The Saucy Sailor Boy
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Lesley Nelson-Burns

According to Stan Hugill, this shanty probably originated in the eighteenth century on shore. There are several variants both in England and America. Sources differ as to whether it was a pumping shanty or a forebitter. Hugill says it was "most certainly" used when pumping a ship out. He was a saucy sailor boy
Who'd come from afar,
To ask a maid to be the bride
Of a poor Jack tar.

The maiden, a poor fisher girl,
Stood close by his side;
With scornful look she answered thus;
I'll not be your bride.

You're mad to think I'd marry you
Too ragged you are;
Begone, you saucy sailor boy,
Begone you Jack tar.

I've money in my pocket, love,
And bright gold in store;
These clothes of mine are all in rags,
But coin can buy more.

Though black my hands my gold is clean
So I'll sail afar,
A fairer maid than you, I ween,
Will wed this Jack tar.

Stay! Stay! you saucy sailor boy,
Do not sail afar;
I love you and will marry you,
You silly Jack tar.

'Twas but to tease I answered so,
I thought you could guess
That when a maiden answers no
She always means yes.

Begone you pretty fisher girl,
Too artful are you;
So spake the saucy sailor boy,
Gone was her Jack tar.

Related Links
From Fifty Sailors' Songs or Chanties and
Shanties from the Seven Seas
See Bibliography for full information.