Can't They Dance the Polka

(Can't You Dance the Polka?; O You Santy)

Oh, once I loved a pretty girl
That I called Rosie mine,
Her cheeks were red, her hair did curl,
She was as straight as a line.

And away Rosie,
My own Ro'
Oh, my New York girls,
Can't you dance a polka?

She lived down in a little street
Close by the old clock tower;
And ev'ry eve we used to meet
And wander by the hour.

One night I went unto her house,
And knocked low at the door;
And heard my Rosie's little feet
A-tripping o'er the floor.

She ope'd the door and whispered low
"I can't come out tonight,
My father's here, you'd better go,
Oh! dear, I'm in a fright."

I said, "I'll not go off like this
So do not be afraid;
Just ope the door, give me a kiss,
Rosie, my pretty maid."

"Oh leave me quick, be off my dear
If you care for my life;
The man whose footsteps you now hear
Calls me his wedded wife."

And so I wandered quick away,
Before her husband came;
I thought unwise 'twould be to stay,
Not knowing Rosie's name.

I wedded then a New York girl
As true to me as steel;
She puts my brain quite in a whorl
So happy I do feel.

From Sailors' Songs or "Chanties" by Frederick J. Davis and Ferris Tozer (1886)

As I came down the Bowery
One evening in July
I met a maid who asked my trade
And a sailor John said I
Ch: Then away, you Santy, my dear Annie,
Oh you New York girls, can't you dance the polka?

To Tiffany's I took her;
I did not mind expense.
I bought her two gold earrings,
They cost me fifteen cents.

She said, "If you're a sailor,
Now take me home you may,"
But when I reached her cottage door
She unto me did say:

"My young man he's a sailor,
With his hair cut short behind;
My young man he's a sailor,
And he sails in the Black Ball line."

From Roll and Go by Joanna Carver Colcord (1924)
Categories: Heaving Shanties
Tags: American
DT Index: 4216, 4217