I'm a gay young sailor stout and strong.
a bow like vessel I do belong,
All carved in anchor so fine and rare,
Our gallant seamen a lord did wear.
Our captain's name was William Gower
His crew amounted to just four score.
Our seamen's brave as ever crossed the sea
Bound for New York in Amerikee.
Our captain in his cabin lay
And a dreadful voice to him did say:
Prepare yourself and ship's company
For tomorrow night in the deep might lay.
O boatsman, boatsman, don;t ley none know
What we poor sailors do undergo,
But keep my secrets in your breast
And pray to God to give you rest.
O boatsman, boatsman, it grieves my heart
To think I've acted a villain's part
By keeping that which was not my due,
Starved my passengers and ship's crew.
I killed my wife and children three,
'Twas all for the sake of jealousy.
And a gay young sailor he beared the blame
He was hanged and quartered for the same.
It is his ghost, I am afraid,
This very night my heart betrayed.
The sea runs over us both fore and aft
Till a very few men was left on the deck.
At length our boatsman did declare
Our captain was a strong murderer.
The sea emerged all the ship's crew
And overboard the captain threw.
The wind did cease and calm the sea
And we sailed safe to Amerikee.
abc | midi | pdf
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 Betsy Prince (76) at Haselbury Plucknett, Somerset, 27 December 1905
See also version (A) (related links)
Roud: 478 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six