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The Handsome Cabin Boy It's of a pretty female as you will understand Her mind was set on rambling into a foreign land She dressed herself in man's attire and boldly did appear And she engaged with a captain to serve him for a year. The captain's lady being on board, she seemed in great joy To think that the captain had engaged such a handsome cabin boy And many's the time she cuddled and kissed, and she would have liked to toy But 'twas the captain found out the secret of the handsome cabin boy Her cheeks they were like roses, her hair was all a-curl The sailors often smiled and said, he looks just like a girl But eating the captain's biscuit, well, her color it did destroy And the waist did swell of pretty Nell, the handsome cabin boy. As through the Bay of Biscay our gallant ship did plough One night among the sailors there came an awful row They tumbled from their hammocks for their rest it did destroy They complained about the groaning of the handsome cabin boy It's doctor, dearest doctor, the cabin boy did cry My time has come, I am undone, surely I must die The doctor ran with all his might, a-smiling at the fun For to think a cabin boy could have a daughter or a son Now when the sailors heard the joke, they all began to stare The child belongs to none of us, they solemnly did swear And the lady to the captain said "My dear I wish you joy For it was either you or I betrayed the handsome cabin boy." Come all of you bold fellows and we'll drink success to trade And likewise to the cabin boy who was neither man nor maid And if the wars should rise again, us sailors to destroy Well, here's hoping for a jolly lot more like the handsome cabin boy. ----------------------------------------------------------------- A popular broadside ballad of shipboard carryings-on. This version from Louis Killen; it derives from that sung by one of the greatest ballad singers of all times, Jeannie Robertson of Aberdeen. Recorded by John Roberts and Tony Barrand on "Mellow with Ale from the Horn", FHR-04 DT #445 Laws N13 DC
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!