On Board a Ninety-Eight

(On Board a 98)

When I was young and scarce eighteen, I drove a roaring trade,
And many a sly trick have I played on many a pretty maid.
Well my parents saw that would not do for I soon should spend their store;
So they resolved that I should go on board a man-of-war.

Well, a bold press-gang surrounded me, their warrant they did show,
They felt that I was go to sea and face the daring foe.
Then as off they lugged me to the boat, it was then I cursed my fate!
For then I found that I should float on board a "98".

And when first I put my foot on board, how I did stand and stare!
For our Admiral, he gave the word, "There is no time to spare."
So we weighed our anchor, we shook out sail, and off they bore me straight
To face the French in storm and gale on board a "98".

And as times fled, I bolder grew, I hardened was to war.
I'd run aloft with my ship's crew and valued not a scar.
And right well I did my duty do till I got bosun's mate,
And bless me, soon got bosun too on board a "98".

So the years rolled by and at Trafalgar, brave Nelson, he fought and fell.
And when they capsized that hardy tar, I took a rap as well.
So to Greenwich College I came back because I'd saved my pate.
They've only knocked a wing off Jack on board a "98".

So now I can my cocoa take, my pouch with 'bacco stored.
In my blue coat and my three-cocked hat I am as happy as a Lord,
Cause I've done my duty, I served my King, and now I bless my fate.
But bless me, I'm too old to sing. I'm nearly 98.