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Haul Up the Main

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Here's a rollicking new sea shanty after the character of the old classics. That is to say, ribald, sexist, and irreverent! So... FAIR WARNING: delicate sensibilities in any of those areas may be offended. Listener discretion, and all that rot.

This is more of an in-port drinking song than an on-board working song. It's a story told by a sailor who has signed aboard a ship, leaving his girl of dubious virtue behind. He proceeds to give his hearers a litany of the principal members of the ship's crew, beginning with the rum-soaked skipper right on through to ship's chaplain, who turns out to be rather less than sanctified.

A tankard of your favorite grog is recommended for listening.


I signed on the good ship "Endeavor" today
Sing yo-ho me bullies and haul up the main!
My kit's all aboard and I'm sailing away
To work like a dog for a sailor man's pay

Sing yo-ho me bullies and haul up the main!

I’ve left sweet Em'ly behind on the shore
While I am gone she’ll be minding the store
Oh I do love that girl, tho' she’s naught but a whore!

Now our captain’s a mariner as fine as they come
He could navigate blind with the tip of his thumb
If he were not so besotted with rum!

Our first mate is jolly, and chock-full o’ fun
We hope someday he’ll hang or be shot with a gun
And consigned down to Hell for the deeds he has done!

Our second mate’s a noble man, friend to us all
So polite while he flogs yer, so upright and tall
May he soon be washed over-board in a squall!

Now the gunnery mate, he’s got a glass eye
He’s as blind as a bat, and would not hurt a fly
Couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn if he’d try!

Ship’s surgeon’s a wizard with sailor men’s ills
He's always dispensin’ them little white pills
He cures almost as many men as he kills!

The cook, he’s a man who works hard with a will
We pray to the Lord he will never be killed
For the bastard’s a master at cookin’ up swill!

Ship's carpenter's a gray-bearded peg-legged rat
He'd steal yer last farthing in 2 seconds flat
I'd build him his coffin much quicker than that!

And last, there’s ship’s chaplain: fine man o’ the cloth
But he came not aboard, and for that I am wroth. . .
He stayed back with sweet Em’ly, that damned Visigoth!

Sing yo-ho me bullies and haul up the main!
Sing yo-ho me bullies and haul up the main!