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A gay young sailor both stout and strong
To a goodly vessel I do belong,
Well carved and anchored so fine and rare
And gallant sailors are loaded there.

Our captain's name was Sir William Gower
And his crew amounted to just four score,
All seamen brave to cross the sea
Bound for New York in Amerikee.

Our captain in his cabin lay
When a dreadful voice to him did say:
Prepare thyself and thy ship's company
For tomorrow night in the deep might lay.

Our captain woke in a dreadful fright
Being in the third watch of the night
And to the bosun aloud did call
Between the secret enclosed them all.

Saying, Bosun, Bosun, let no one know
What we poor sailors do undergo,
But keep the secret but in thy breast
And pray to God to give you rest.

I killed my merchant a neighbour there,
'Twas all for the sake of his lady fair,
I killed my wife and children three
'Twas all for the sake of jealousy.

The gay young sailor he beared the blame,
He was hung and quatered for the same.
It is his ghost, I am afraid,
This very night my heart betrayed.

The sea run over us both fore and aft
Till a very few men a-deck was left,
And then our boatsman did declare
Our captain was a murderer.

The sea enraged all our ship's crew
And overboard our captain threw;
And the wind did cease and calm the sea
And we sailed safe to Amerikee.

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Source: Cecil Sharp's Collection of English Folk Songs, Vol 1, p 63, No 13, ed Maud Karpeles , Oxford University Press, 1974

Sung by Mrs Susan Williams (73) at Haselbury Plucknett, Somerset, 23 August 1905.  See also version B. (related songs)

Roud: 478 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six
Child: 57

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