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A is for the Anchor that lies at our bow,
B is for the Bowsprit an' the jibs all lie low,
Oh! C is for the Caps'n we all run around,
D is for the Davits to low'r the boat down.

Sooo! merrily, so merrily, so merrily sail we,
There's no mortal on earth like a sailor at sea,
Blow high or blow low! as the ship sails along,
Give a sailor his grog an' there's nothing goes wrong!

E is for the Earring when reefing we haul,
F is for the Fo'c'sle where the bullies do brawl,
Oh! G is for the Galley where the saltjunk smells strong,
H is for the Halyards we hoist with a song.

I is for the Eyebolt - no good for the feet,
J is for the Jobs, boys, stand by the lee sheet,
Oh! K is for the Knightheads where the shantyman stands,
L is for the Leeside hard found by new hands.

M is for the Maindeck - as white as new snow,
N is for the Nigger gals in the land to which we go,
Oh! O is for the Orlop, 'neath the 'tweendecks it lays,
P is for the Peter flow on sailin' day.

Q is for the Quadrant - to the wheel it lies near,
R is for the Rudder - it helps us to steer,
Oh! S is for the Sheerpole over which we must climb,
T is for the Topman, 'way loft every time.

U is for the Uniform - only worn aft,
V is for the Vangs running from the main gaff,
Oh! W is for the Water -we're on pint and pound,
X marks the spot where Ol' Stormy was drowned.

Y is for the Yard-arm - needs a good sailorman,
Z is for Zoe - I'm her fancy-man,
So this is the end of me bully ol' song.
Heave away, buckos, oh, heave long an' strong!

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Source: Hugill, Stan, (1969), Shanties and Sailors Songs, London, Herbert Jenkins

Another version is in the discussion thread, published on "Folk Music of the United States: American Sea Songs and Shanties (I)" [LP], the notes for which were edited by Duncan B.M. Emrich (Library of Congress AAFS L26, pp. 11-12).

These notes say "The Sailor's Alphabet" is not a shanty, but, rather, a song sung by the men when they were relaxed in the forecastle, or enjoying themselves ashore. It does not appear in either Doerflinger or Colcord, but it is quite obviously patterned on, or related to, the various other "Alphabet" songs, such as "The Lumberman's Alphabet" and "The Soldier's Alphabet."

Roud: 159 (Search Roud index at VWML)

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