Young Susan was a blooming maid, so valiant, stout and bold,
And when her sailor went to sea, young Susan, we are told,
Put on a jolly sailor's dress, and daubed her hands with tar,
To cross the raging seas for love, on board of a man-of-war.
It was in Portsmouth harbour this gallant ship was moored,
And when young Susan shipped there were nine hundred men aboard;
'Twas then she was contented, all bedaubed with pitch and tar,
To be with her sweet William on board of a man-of-war.
When in the Bay of Biscay, she aloft like lightning flew,
Respected by the officers and all the jovial crew;
In battle she would boldly run, not fearing wound or scar,
And did her duty by her gun, on board of a man-of-war.
She faced the walls of China, where her life was not insured,
And little did young William think his Susan was on board;
But by a cruel cannon ball she did receive a scar,
And she got slightly wounded, on board of a man-of-war.
When on the deck young Susan fell, of all the whole ship's crew,
Her William was the very first who to her assistance flew;
She said, "My jolly sailor, I've for you received a scar,
Behold your faithful Susan bold, on board of a man-of-war."
Then William on his Susan gazed with wonder and surprise,
He stood some moments motionless, while tears stood in his eyes,
He cried, "I wish instead of you I had received that scar,
O, love, why did you venture on board of a man-of-war?"
At length to England they returned, and quickly married were,
The bells did ring, and they did sing, and banished every care!
They often think upon that day when she received that scar,
When Susan followed her own true love on board of a man-of-war.
Kidson, Traditional Tunes
, 1891, pp. 102-3
See entries by Malcolm Douglas in the discussion thread.
(Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six
In a British Man O' War