#02110

The Old Bo's'n (3-variants - Kenneth Peacock)
See also:Johnny's Gone To Sea (Max F Hunter)
And also: The Boatswain And The Tailor
(Elisabeth Greenleaf and Grace Mansfield)

Click to jump down to Variant B

Click to jump down to Variant C

Variant A

It's of an old bo's'n in London he did dwell,
He had a beautiful wife and a tailor loved her well,
And when the old bo's'n he got out of the way,
Oh the frolic of the tailor, with 'er he used to play.
To me laddie who dee whack with my right fall a day.

He went into her house and those words to her he said:
"And we'll go up the stairs and we'll get into the bed."
They had not been in bed but an hour by the clock
Oh, when down at the door the old bo's'n he did knock.
To me laddie who dee whack with my right fall a day.

"Oh, now," said the tailor, "oh, where shall I go?
And where shall I hide for I'm sure I do not know."
"You get into my husband's chest and there you will lie still,
You're as safe into the chest as a mouse is in a mill."
To me laddie who dee whack with my right fall a day.

"You get into husband's chest and there you will stay,
While I go down for to let my husband in,
Oh, while I go down for to let my husband in,
For he's standing at the door with three other of his men."
To me laddie who dee whack with my right fall a day.

She went down the stairs for to let her husband in,
She flew into his arms and embraced him by a kiss,
She flew into his arms and embraced him by a kiss,
Saying, "My jolly husband, what do you mean by this?"
To me laddie who dee whack with my right fall a day.

"Oh, I did not come here to disturb you at your rest,
But this very night I come after my chest;
My ship she is ready and she's fitted for the sea,
Oh, and this very night I must take the chest with me."
To me laddie who dee whack with my right fall a day.

They went up the stairs and they brought the chest down,
They carried it along but they never laid it down;
They carried it along within a mile from the town,
When the sweat from the sailors began to pour down.
To me laddie who dee whack with my right fall a day.

When up speaks the sailor, "I think I've done my best."
And up spoke another saying, "The devil is in the chest."
And up spoke another, "Sure, I know I heard him knock!"
When up jumps the old bo's'n the chest for to unlock.
To me laddie who dee whack with my right fall a day.

"Hello, my fine fellow, and what brought you here?
It's some bad misfortune I greatly do fear,
For since it is my lot for to carry you away,
I will sweat myself to death for to carry you to sea."
To me laddie who dee whack with my right fall a day.

He carried him to Jamaica where they sold this poor man,
For rum and tobacco they sold him there and then;
For rum and tobacco they sold this poor man,
And they leaved him all alone for to plow the Turkey land.
To me laddie who dee whack with my right fall a day.

####.... Author unknown. This variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1952 from Gordon M Willis [1911-2001] of St John's, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, pp.306-307, by the National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved ....####

Click to jump up to Variant A

Click to jump down to Variant C

Variant B

There was an old bo's'n in Dover did dwell,
He had a handsome wife and a tailor loved her well;
And soon as this old bo's'n got out of the way,
This frolicsome young tailor with his wife used to play.
Fall the laddie lie doh, fall the laddie day.

They went straight home their frolic for to have,
And they went straight home and jumped into the bed;
But they had not been in bed an hour by the clock,
When this old bo's'n at the door gave a knock.
Fall the laddie lie doh, fall the laddie day.

"Oh, hide me, oh, hide me, where shall I go?
Oh, hide me, oh, hide me, I'm sure I do not know."
"But you get into my husband's chest and there if you lie still,
You will be just as happy as a mouse unto a mill."
Fall the laddie lie doh, fall the laddie day.

She went downstairs to let her husband in,
There stood the old bo's'n and three more of his men;
He flew into her arms and embraced her with a kiss,
"Oh, now my jolly husband what do you mean by this?"
Fall the laddie lie doh, fall the laddie day.

"I did not come here to disturb you of your rest,
But this very night I come after my chest;
Our ship she is all ready and fitted for the sea,
And this very night I must take my chest away."
Fall the laddie lie doh, fall the laddie day.

They went upstairs the chest for to bring down,
And bringing it along, they never heard a sound;
But they had not took the chest a mile from the town,
When the sweat from the sailors came rolling to the ground.
Fall the laddie lie doh, fall the laddie day.

Said one unto the other, "Let's lay it down and rest."
"Oh, yes," said the other, "the devil's in the chest."
"Yes, yes," said the other, "I'm sure I heard him knock!"
Up steps the old bo's'n his chest for to unlock.
Fall the laddie lie doh, fall the laddie day.

Now my jolly fellow, pray what has brought you here?
And since you have deceived me, it is a sad affair;
And since you have deceived me, I'll take you out to sea,
And sew you up in canvas and buried you will be."
Fall the laddie lie doh, fall the laddie day.

####.... Author unknown. This variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1952 from Henry James (Harry) Curtis [1895-1963] of Joe Batt's Arm, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, pp.308-309, by the National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved ....####

Click to jump up to Variant A

Click to jump up to Variant B

Variant C

'Tis of a jolly bo's'n in London town did dwell,
He had a loving wife and a tailor loved her well;
While the old bo's'n he was gone to sea,
A frolic with the bo's'n's wife the tailor used to be.
With me diddle, all the diddle, all the day,
With me diddle, all the day

The bo's'n he come home in the middle of the night,
Put the poor tailor in a hell of a fright;
"Oh, hide me, oh, hide me," the tailor replied,
"It is your loving husband and tonight I got to die."
With me diddle, all the diddle, all the day,
With me diddle, all the day

"There is an old chest now, it's standing outside,
Oh, you may get in and a-cunning you may hide."
The tailor he went off with his britches and his hose,
Where she followed after with the rest of his clothes.
With me diddle, all the diddle, all the day,
With me diddle, all the day

"I'm sorry, loving woman, to disturb you of your rest,
I'm sorry, loving wife, now I'm come for my chest;
Our ship she lays anchored and ready for to sail,
We're bounding away with a prosperous gale."
With me diddle, all the diddle, all the day,
With me diddle, all the day

Oh, in walked the bo's'n and five more so strong,
Picked up the chest and carried it along;
They carried it along to the end of the town,
The weight of the chest caused the sweat for to roll down.
With me diddle, all the diddle, all the day,
With me diddle, all the day

Said one to the other, "We will lay it down to rest."
"Oh, no," said the other, "for the devil is in the chest."
"Oh, no," said the Bo's'n, "you need not a-fear,
It is the Scotty tailor and now I've got him here.".
With me diddle, all the diddle, all the day,
With me diddle, all the day

"Oh, now, mister tailor, 'tis I got you here,
Oh, now, mister tailor, you need not a-fear;
For I will pursue you and send you off to sea,
No longer will you stay on shore a-cuckolding over me."
With me diddle, all the diddle, all the day,
With me diddle, all the day

####.... Author unknown. This variant was collected in 1958 by Kenneth Peacock from Isaac Freeman Bennett [1896-1981] of St Paul's, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, pp.310-311, by the National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved ....####

Click to jump up to Variant A

Click to jump up to Variant B

Click to jump up to Variant C

All three of the above ballads are variants of the British broadside ballad, The Boatsman And The Chest [Laws Q8] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957).

Kenneth Peacock noted that this ballad is not often found in collections, so he gave three different tunes with their texts. He suggested that those who wish may make their own collation. Peacock also noted that though shorter than variant A, the texts of both B and C are in better condition. He also mentioned that for a similar treatment of this theme, see The Bold Trooper.

A variant was collected by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield in 1929 from Daniel Endacott [1875-1940] of Sally's Cove, NL, as #53, The Boatswain And The Tailor in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1968).

A variant was also collected in 1959 as Johnny's Gone To Sea from Mrs Pearl Brewer of Pocahontas, Arkansas, by Max F Hunter, and archived at the Springfield-Greene County Library in Springfield, Missouri, Volume 9, Catalogue #0351.


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