#00075
The Sailor's Alphabet (Kenneth Peacock) MIDI, video
See also: Sailor's Alphabet (MacEdward Leach)
#186: YouTube video by hultonclint ©2009
~ Used with permission ~

midi file   alt: midi file

A   for the anchor which hangs on our bow,
B   for the bow-sprits through the wild seas do plow;
C   for the capstan we turn 'round and 'round, and
D   the davits we lower our boats down.

So merry, so merry, so merry are we,
No mortals on earth are like sailors at sea;
Blow high or blow low as the good ship sails on,
Give the sailor his grog and there's nothing goes wrong.

E   for the ensign which flies from our peak,
F   for the fo'c'sle where the sailors do sleep;
G   for the galley where the cook moves around,
H   for the halyards we move up and down.

So merry, so merry, so merry are we,
No mortals on earth are like sailors at sea;
Blow high or blow low as the good ship sails on,
Give the sailor his grog and there's nothing goes wrong.

I   for the iron on our good ship's main boom,
J   for the jib which moves her along;
K   for the keelson, the keel is below,
L   for the lanyards we move to and fro.

So merry, so merry, so merry are we,
No mortals on earth are like sailors at sea;
Blow high or blow low as the good ship sails on,
Give the sailor his grog and there's nothing goes wrong.

M   for the mainmast so stout and so strong,
N   for the needle which never points wrong;
O   for the oars we row our boats out
P   for the pumps which keep her afloat.

So merry, so merry, so merry are we,
No mortals on earth are like sailors at sea;
Blow high or blow low as the good ship sails on,
Give the sailor his grog and there's nothing goes wrong.

Q   for the quarter-deck, where the officers move around,
R   for the rigging we run up and down;
S   for the sailors which move her along,
T   for the topsails we pull up and down.

So merry, so merry, so merry are we,
No mortals on earth are like sailors at sea;
Blow high or blow low as the good ship sails on,
Give the sailor his grog and there's nothing goes wrong.

U   for the Union which flies from our peak,
V   for the vittles which the sailors do eat;
W   for the wheel where we all take our turn,
X,   Y, and Z is the name on our stern.

So merry, so merry, so merry are we,
No mortals on earth are like sailors at sea;
Blow high or blow low as the good ship sails on,
Give the sailor his grog and there's nothing goes wrong.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a traditional sea shanty, arranged by Stan Hugill (Aboard The Cutty Sark, 1979, pp.341-342) ....####
Collected in 1958 from Mrs Gladys Snow of Cormack, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.885-886, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was sung in 1950 by Martin Reddigan [1903-1980] of Calvert, NL, and published as Sailor's Alphabet in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

The video above features an acapella variant by Ranzo, the YouTube Chanteyman, from Hartford, Connecticut. Ranzo tells us in his notes accompanying this shanty that it was for the pumps though it was probably more often sung as a forebitter.

Note: Fore-bitts are sturdy posts located on the fore-deck or forward part of a vessel to which anchor or mooring lines may be attached. A forebitter is a song sung on the fore-deck during leisure time available to sailors, as opposed to a shanty or work song.



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