Notes

Original poem by
Burt Franklin Jenness

Printable version

MP3 Sample

Ballad of the Old Navy

Poem by Burt Franklin Jenness
from SEA LANES, edited by Burt Franklin Jenness,
The Churchill Publishing Co., Boston, US, 1921, pp. 79-80.

Adapted by Charlie Ipcar, 1/21/08
Tune: TRAD It's Advertised in Boston (Harlow)

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The sea's a place for sailormen
In fair or stormy weather;
'Round the world an' back again
We's all good mates together.

Chorus:
So cheer up, me lively lads,
In spite of stormy weather;
Cheer up, me lively lads,
Let's all get drunk together!


We went ashore last pay day night,
Bill Dykes the mate, and me;
We cruised about till we got tight;
'Twas all a glorious spree!

(Chorus)

We veered an' hauled an' tacked an' beat,
An' shifted course some more,
Till we fetched up on Bleecher Street,
An' steered for South Street shore.

(Chorus)

An' we wuz ridin' even keel,
Consid'rin' where we'd been,
Till a pair of cops put up a deal
An' tried to run us in.

(Chorus)

So Bill, he sez: "'Turn To' has gone,
I think I heard 'er blow,"
An' he winked at me, an' I wuz on,
An' then he sez: "Let's go!"

(Chorus)

So Bill, he took th' bigger one,
An' 'course I took th' other,
An' so help me, when th' job wuz done
Y'd think that they wuz brothers;.

(Chorus)

Th' port side light o' one wuz red,
Th' starb'ard showin' green;
It's just luck he wuzn't dead,
While his mate lay careened.

(Chorus)

For I downed him cold in th' mornin' watch.
With his own b'layin' pin;
Th' top of his head wuz an awful splotch
An' his jaw wuz busted in.

(Chorus)

Then Bill, he sez: "All's well below,"
An' he cast his weather eye
Around the street, an' sez: "Let's go,
An' leave them lubbers die."

(Chorus)

Two sailors rollin' down the dock,
A-makin' heavy weather,
A-hoisted in with tackle an' block,
Flung in the brig together!

(Chorus)

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A Ballad Of The Old Navy

Poem by Burt Franklin Jenness
From SEA LANES, edited by Burt Franklin Jenness,
The Churchill Publishing Co., Boston, US, 1921, pp. 79-80.

The sea's a place for sailormen in fair or stormy weather;
'Round the world and back again they're all good mates together.

We went ashore on pay day night, Bill Dykes, the mate, and me;
We cruised about till we got tight an' then went on a spree.
We veered an' hauled an' tacked an' beat, an' shifted course some more,
Till we fetched up on Bleecher Street, an' steered for Jersy shore
An' we wuz ridin' even keel, consid'rin where we'd been,
Till a pair of cops put up a deal an' tried t' run us in.
An' Bill, he sez: "'Turn To' has gone, I think I heard 'er blow,"
An' he winked at me, an' I wuz on, an' then he sez: "Les' go!"

So Bill, he took th' biggest one, an' 'course I took th' other,
An' s' help me, when th' job wuz done y' couldn't tell one from t'other.
Th' port side light o' one wuz green, an' th' starb'ard showin' red,
An' t'other wuz bleedin' in b'tween, an' I thought he wuz dead,
Fer I downed him cold in th' mornin' watch with his wood b'layin' pin;
An' th' top uv his head wuz an awful splotch an' his jaw wuz busted in.
'N then Bill, he sez: "Tis well b'low," an' he cast his weather eye
Aroun' the street, an' he sez: "Les' go, an' leave the' lubbers die."

Two sailors rolling down the dock, and making heavy weather,
A-hoisted in with tackle and block, and into the brig together.

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Notes:

This poem is a vivid description of a glorious spree in sailortown, replete with nautical jargon, and I think it might be appropriately sung to "Let's All Get Drunk Together." There's also some nice internal rhyming in this poem.

"Turn To" is the traditional call for changing watch aboard ship.

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