Notes

Original poem
by John Masefield

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Mother Carey
(As told me by the bo'sun)

Poem by John Masefield, 1912
from SALT-WATER POEMS AND BALLADS
published by The Macmillan Co., NY, 1912, pp. 46-47.

Adapted and musically arranged by Charles Ipcar 2009
Tune after Johnnie o' Breadisley

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Now Mother Carey? She's the mother o' witches
An' all them sort o' rips;
She's a fine gal to look at but the hitch is
She's a sight too fond of ships,
She's a sight too fond of ships;
Now she lives on an iceberg to the nor-red,
With her flashman Davy Jones,
An' she combs the weeds upon her for-red
With pore drowned sailors' bones,
With pore drowned sailors' bones.

She's the mother o' wrecks, an' the mother
O' all big winds as blows;
She's up to some deviltry or other
When it rains, or sleets, or snows,
When it rains, or sleets, or snows;
As the big winds blow you can hear her call,
"I wants a young man fine
A brassbounder, beefy-ribbed an' all,
So me an' my mate kin dine,"
So me an' my mate kin dine.

She's a hungry old rip an' she's cruel
To sailormen like we,
Mariners are her chosen gruel
Down beneath the sea,
Down beneath the sea;
She's got the blood o' them she's lured
An' the bones of many a wreck;
She's got barnacles a-growin' on her,
An' shark teeth round her neck,
An' shark teeth round her neck.

Now you know I've ne'er had no schoolin'
Nor read no books like you,
But it just ain't healthy to be foolin'
With that there gristly crew,
With that there gristly crew;
So you may be smart an' you thinks you're lairy,
But if you're to make old bones,
Steer clear, I says, o' Mother Carey,
An' that there Davy Jones,
An' that there Davy Jones.

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Notes:

"Brassbounder" an apprentice officer on a merchant ship; in most shipping companies the apprentices wore caps with thin gold lacing binding them.

"Rip" a dissolute person

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Mother Carey

(As told me by the bo'sun)

Original poem by John Masefield, 1912
from SALT-WATER POEMS AND BALLADS
published by The Macmillan Co., New York, US, 1912, pp. 46-47.

Mother Carey? She's the mother o' the witches
'N' all them sort o' rips;
She's a fine gell to look at, but the hitch is,
She's a sight too fond of ships;
She lives upon an iceberg to the norred,
'N' her man he's Davy Jones,
'N' she combs the weeds upon her forred
With pore drowned sailors' bones.

She's the mother o' the wrecks, 'n' the mother
Of all big winds as blows;
She's up to some deviltry or other
When it storms, or sleets, or snows;
The noise of the wind's her screamin',
'I'm arter a plump, young, fine,
Brass-buttoned, beefy-ribbed young seam'n
So as me 'n' my mate kin dine.'

She's a hungry old rip 'n' a cruel
For sailor-men like we,
She's give a many mariners the gruel
'N' a long sleep under sea;
She's the blood o' many a crew upon her
'N' the bones of many a wreck,
'N' she's barnacles a-growin' on her
'N' shark's teeth round her neck.

I ain't never had no schoolin'
Nor read no books like you,
But I knows 't ain't healthy to be foolin'
With that there gristly two;
You're young, you thinks, 'n' you're lairy,
But if you're to make old bones,
Steer clear, I says, o' Mother Carey,
'N' that there Davy Jones.

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