The Handsome Cabin Boy (Peacock) videos
#790: YouTube video by dickmilesmusic ©2009
~ Used with permission ~

midi file   alt: midi file

It's of a pretty fair maid the truth to you I'll tell,
She had a mind to go roving where the foaming billows swell;
She agreed all with our captain a cabin boy to be,
The wind did blow a pleasant gale and we soon put out for sea.

By day the captain worked so hard, at night he took his ease,
The cabin boy he did his best the captain for to please;
The captain's wife she was on board and seemed for to enjoy,
For to think the captain had engaged such a handsome cabin boy.

The cabin boy was well-behaved and he did his duty well,
And what next follows after, the song itself will tell;
For the captain with his cabin boy would often kiss and toy,
And we soon found out the secret of our handsome cabin boy.

For his cheeks were red like roses and his side-locks they did curl,
The sailors used to smile and say he looked just like a girl;
While eating captain's biscuits his color did destroy,
And the waist did swell of pretty Phil, our handsome cabin boy.

'Twas across the Bay of Biscay our gallant ship did plow,
One night among the sailors there rose a bloody row;
They all bounded from their hammocks, their rest it did destroy,
For they swore they heard the groaning of their handsome cabin boy.

"Oh doctor, Oh doctor," the cabin boy did cry,
The sailors swore by all was good their cabin boy would die;
The doctor ran with all his might, came smiling at the fun,
For to think a sailor lad could have a daughter or a son.

The sailors they were all amazed and at that child did stare,
The child belonged to none of them they solemnly could swear;
Said the captain's wife to her husband: "My dear, I wish you joy,
For 'twas either you or me betrayed our handsome cabin boy."

So we'll all fill up our bumpers and we'll drink success to the trade,
Here's adieu unto our cabin boy for he's neither a man nor a maid;
But if the war would rise again our country to destroy,
We'll try and ship some sailors like our handsome cabin boy.

####.... Variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad, The Female Cabin Boy [Laws N13] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of a 19th century British broadside ballad, The Female Cabin Boy, published by James Lindsay, Jr., and archived in the Murray Collection of the Glasgow Broadside Ballads, manuscript number: Mu23-y1:035 ....####
This variant was collected in 1960 from Mrs Mary Ann Galpin of Codroy, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, pp.280-281, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock commented that this is the bawdiest and certainly the best of the cabin-boy-turned-maid ballads. The fact that the captain's wife is along on the voyage adds fascinating complications. "However," Peacock added, "I feel I am medically incompetent to deal with the psycho-sexual implications of her remark to the captain in verse seven." Peacock concluded with, "See also the note on Blue Jacket And White Trousers."

The video above features an original concertina arrangement of a variant by Dick Miles.

Note: The Bay of Biscay or the Cantabrian Sea is a gulf of the northeast Atlantic Ocean located south of the Celtic Sea. It lies along the western coast of France from Brest south to the Spanish border, and the northern coast of Spain west to Punta de Estaca de Bares, and is named for the Basque province of Biscay, in the Spanish Basque Country. The average depth is 5,723 feet (1,744 metres) with a maximum depth of 9,151 feet (2,789 metres).

The video below features a guitar variant by Tony Archibald from Port St Mary on the Isle of Man.

#1250: YouTube video by threelegsoman ©2010
~ Used with permission ~


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