The Canal Boat Song
O take the wax out off your ears and listen to my song,
It's the story of the sea I will relate (will relate).
I'm a sailor you can tell by my fresh salt water smell,
Many a time have I been shipwrecked for my fate (for my fate).
O it's lower the funnel, stop the ship and reef the anchor chain,
Throw the cargo overboard and haul it back again.
Trice the lifeboats up aloft while the stormy seas do blow,
Cock o'the watch, ship struck a match, heave-ho, heave-ho.
She was a four-wheel barque, silver plated fore and aft,
With a cargo of fresh fish we did embark.
O we'd not been long at sea, when we struck a Christmas tree,
And we all fell down a coal-hole in the dark.
Then a-sailing round the lake, we'd a marvellous escape,
The wind blew off the skipper's wooden leg.
Down on the deck he fell, and he swore like merry heck,
And we had to bathe his foot with ham and eggs.
Then a-sailing round the bay, the crew were making hay,
And the fireman spread a picnic on the deck.
The skipper went below to scrape her with a hoe,
And the bosun hung the windlass round his neck.
Then the anchor sprang a leak and delayed us half a week,
As all the time the skipper raved and roared.
So we hit him with a brick and he went so awfully sick,
That he went and threw his eyebrows overboard.
One day we all got drunk and the poor old ship she sunk,
We all rushed up on deck to see the fun.
With the cargo on our backs for the shore we all made tracks,
And we went and dried our whiskers in the sun.
Collected from the singing of Bill Murphy, a London dock hand by Peter Kennedy.
© E.F.D.S. Publications
Words and tune from Canal Songs by Jon Raven