Digital Tradition Mirror

The Black Cook

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The Black Cook

If you'll listen awhile, I will sing you a ditty
Concerning a doctor who lived in Carrtown,
By seamen so bold he was fairly outwitted
And fifty gold guineas was forced to pay down
     These jolly jack tars and their comrades, well grogged,
     Their money all spent and their credit far gone;
     From Fairport's bright town to the Keys they had wandered
     And bound to obtain some money for fun.

The cook of our ship, being one of their number
A bold lad was he, and his color was black,
For wit and for wisdom, hew always was ready
To think of a way to get cash in a crack.
     Said he to his comrades," I've heard people say
     That a corpse can be sold quite readily here.
     Go take me alive, wrap me up in my hammock
     And sell me to buy some whiskey and beer,"

The crew being glad to accept of his offer
Away to the house where the doctor did dwell,
And into his ear, most softly did whisper,
"Kind doctor. We have a fine corpse for to sell."
     "A corpse!" said the doctor, like one in amazement,
     "Oh, where did you get it? Oh, tell me, I pray!
     Get it and bring it unto me this evening,
     And fifty gold guineas to you I will pay!"

The crew being glad to accept of his offer,
Away to the ship, why, they quickly did steer.
And now pay attention to all that I mention,
And the rest of my story you quickly will here.
     They took the black cook, tied him up in his hammock
     And he, being a lad both steady and strong,
     Under his coat, in the way of protection
     Carried a knife with a blade about half a yard long.

That night, after dark, when the streets were deserted
The crew they struck out with the cook on their back;
When they got to the house where the doctor resided,
'Twas in a dark room they concealed the poor black.
     And after the doctor had paid them their money
     They told him the cook he had died upon sea,
     And rather than have his dead body for to bury,
     "Why, we've sold him to you, sir, now he's out of the way."

The doctor went up for the tools to dissect him,
And soon he came down with a saw in his hand.
When he got to the room where the corpse was residing
Why Jack, with his cutlass, most boldly did stand.
     And there stood the doctor, like one in amazement
     He thought the black cook was a very rich prize,
     In a voice loud as thunder, Jack boldly beheld him
     Crying "Damn your eyes, doctor, I'll skin you alive!"

The doctor was glad to retreat in a hurry
And of his late bargain was soon to repent,
While Jack he went out where his comrades were drinking
And the rest of the night was most pleasantly spent.

recorded Ellen Stekert- Songs of a New York Lumberjack; John
  Roberts - Across the Western Ocean
Tune: Var. of Larry O'Gaff

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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