The Saucy Sailor Boy
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Lesley Nelson-Burns

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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.