Paddy, Get Back
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John Renfro Davis


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Lyrics
This was a capstan shanty. It is also known as The Liverpool Song, Paddy, Lay Back, Mainsail Haul and Valparaiso Round the Horn.

The Panama Canal was opened to general traffic in 1914. Therefore, this shanty (which sings of rounding the horn) dates before that time. Although Frank Shay suggests it is a more modern creation, Hugill dates it at least to the time of the Liverpool-New York packet ships (mid 1800s).

I was broke and out of a job in the city of London;
I went down to the Shadwell Docks to get a ship.
Paddy, get back, take in the slack!
Heave away your capstan, heave a pawl,
Heave a pawl!
Bout ship and stations, there, be handy,
Rise tacks 'n sheets, 'n mains'l haul!


There was a Yankee ship a-laying in the basin.
Shipping master told me she was going to New York!
Paddy, get back, take in the slack!
Heave away your capstan, heave a pawl,
Heave a pawl!
Bout ship and stations, there, be handy,
Rise tacks 'n sheets, 'n mains'l haul!


If I ever get my hands on that shipping master,
I will murder him if it's the last thing that I do!
Paddy, get back, take in the slack!
Heave away your capstan, heave a pawl,
Heave a pawl!
Bout ship and stations, there, be handy,
Rise tacks 'n sheets, 'n mains'l haul!


When the pilot left the ship the captain told us
We were bound around Cape Horn to Callao!
Paddy, get back, take in the slack!
Heave away your capstan, heave a pawl,
Heave a pawl!
Bout ship and stations, there, be handy,
Rise tacks 'n sheets, 'n mains'l haul!


And he said that she was hot and still a-heating,
And the best thing we could do was watch our step.
Paddy, get back, take in the slack!
Heave away your capstan, heave a pawl,
Heave a pawl!
Bout ship and stations, there, be handy,
Rise tacks 'n sheets, 'n mains'l haul!


Now, the mate and second mate belonged to Boston,
And the captain b'longed in Bangor down in Maine.
Paddy, get back, take in the slack!
Heave away your capstan, heave a pawl,
Heave a pawl!
Bout ship and stations, there, be handy,
Rise tacks 'n sheets, 'n mains'l haul!


The three of them were rough-n'-tumble fighters.
When not fighting amongst themselves
      they fought with us.
Paddy, get back, take in the slack!
Heave away your capstan, heave a pawl,
Heave a pawl!
Bout ship and stations, there, be handy,
Rise tacks 'n sheets, 'n mains'l haul!


Oh, they called us out one night to reef the tops'ls.
There was belayin'-pins a-flyin' around the deck.
Paddy, get back, take in the slack!
Heave away your capstan, heave a pawl,
Heave a pawl!
Bout ship and stations, there, be handy,
Rise tacks 'n sheets, 'n mains'l haul!


We came on deck and went to set the tops'ls.
Not a man among the bunch could sing a song.
Paddy, get back, take in the slack!
Heave away your capstan, heave a pawl,
Heave a pawl!
Bout ship and stations, there, be handy,
Rise tacks 'n sheets, 'n mains'l haul!


Oh, the mate he grabbed ahold of me by the collar.
'If you don't sing a song I'll break your blasted neck!'
Paddy, get back, take in the slack!
Heave away your capstan, heave a pawl,
Heave a pawl!
Bout ship and stations, there, be handy,
Rise tacks 'n sheets, 'n mains'l haul!


I got up and gave them a verse of 'Reuben Ranzo.'
Oh, the answer that I got would make you sick.
Paddy, get back, take in the slack!
Heave away your capstan, heave a pawl,
Heave a pawl!
Bout ship and stations, there, be handy,
Rise tacks 'n sheets, 'n mains'l haul!


It was three long months before we got to Callao,
And the ship she was a-called a floating hell.
Paddy, get back, take in the slack!
Heave away your capstan, heave a pawl,
Heave a pawl!
Bout ship and stations, there, be handy,
Rise tacks 'n sheets, 'n mains'l haul!


We filled up there at Callao with saltpetre,
And then back again around Cape Horn!
Paddy, get back, take in the slack!
Heave away your capstan, heave a pawl,
Heave a pawl!
Bout ship and stations, there, be handy,
Rise tacks 'n sheets, 'n mains'l haul!

Related Links
From Songs of the Sailor and Lumberman and
Shanties from the Seven Seas
See Bibliography for full information.