When I Was A Young Thing (Kenneth Peacock)

When I was a young thing I lived with my granny,
My mama was dead and my pa gone to sea;
At five I was like a duck in the puddle,
I wanted to paddle right up to my knees.

Ofttimes I came home with my boots full of water,
My granny she scold'd me and drove me to bed;
At dreams I'd been roving about on the ocean,
Enjoying my slumber in my nice cradle bed.

At seven I la'nched my first boat on the ocean,
A dear little barque with a rudder and wheel;
My heart gave a bounce when I saw her keel over,
And turn up her sails to the summer-soft gale.

At nine I resolved that I would be a sailor,
And follow my dada right across the whole main,
And leave my old granny and all her fine dandies,
Her peacocks and turkeys she keeps in the lane.

At ten I was ordered now unto a captain,
He measured me now from the top to the toe;
He said with a smile, "Jack, you'll make a fine sailor,
With a tarpaulin jacket you'll cut a fine show."

That night I slept rather sound in my hammock,
I dreamt of old granny right away on the shore;
Soon I was aroused by the bo's'n's loud whistle,
All things around me seemed to whistle and roar.

I jumped out of my hammock, my sea-legs forsook me,
I stumbled and scrambled right away to the deck;
Soon I was pitched headlong into the lee-scuttle,
Our ship was a-rolling and almost a wreck.

The wind came in gushes, rushed through our riggin',
Keep down on those bracelets, let none of them slack;
Come aboard your fore-isle, tip gun-sail and buntline,
Come steady, come steady, come aboard your fore-tack.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland ballad ....####

Collected in 1958 by Kenneth Peacock from Levi Everett Bennett [1899-?] of St Paul's, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 3, pp.893-894, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

From The Age Of Sail Ship & Shipbuilding Terminology:
Buntline - rope tied to the foot of a square sail that keeps it from opening or bellying when it is being hauled up for furling to the yard. Normally there were multiple somewhat evenly-spaced buntlines leading through blocks on a yard to the foot of the square sail bent to that yard.
Fore - forward part of a ship or a position towards the bow.
Lee - downwind, towards the side of a ship away from the wind.
Scuttle - small hatch or port opening.
Tack - lower, forward corner of a fore-and-aft sail. In square-rigged ships, it is the rope used to hold in the lower corners of the courses and staysails on the weather side. Also called takke in Old English.


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