Paddy, Lay Back

(Paddy, Get Back; Mainsail Haul)

I was broke and out of a job in the city of London;
I went down the Shadwell Docks to get a ship

Paddy, get back, take in the slack!
Heave away your capstan,heave a pawl, heave a pawl!
'Bout ship and stations, there, be handy,
Rise tacks 'n' sheets, 'n' mains'l haul!

There was a Yankee ship a-laying in the basin.
Shipping master told me she was going to New York!

If I ever get my hands on that shipping master,
I will murder him if it's the last thing that I do!

When the pilot left the ship the captain told us
We were bound around Cape Horn to Callao!

And he said that she was hot and still a-heating,
And the best thing we could do was watch our step.

Now, the mate and second mate belond to Boston,
And the captain b'longed in Bangor down in Maine.

The three of them were rough-n'-tumble fighters.
When not fighting amongst themselves they fought with us.

Oh, they called us out one night to reef the tops'ls.
There was belayin' pins a-flyin' around the deck.

We came on deck and went to set the tops'ls.
Not a man among the bunch could sing a song.

Oh, the mate he grabbed ahold of me by the collar.
"If you don't sing a song I'll break your blasted neck!"

I got up and gave them a verse of "Reuben Ranzo."
Oh, the answer that I got would make you sick.

It was three long months before we got to Callao,
And the ship she was a-called a floating hell.

We filled up there at Callao with saltpetre,
And then back again around Cape Horn!


We filled up with saltpetre to the hatches,
And then bound back around Cape Horn to Liverpool.

From Songs of the Sailor and Lumberman by William Main Doerflinger (1951, '72, '91)

It was a cold and dreary morning in December (December)
And all of me money it was spent (spent, spent)
Where it went to, I can’t remember (remember)
So down to the shipping office I went (went, went)

Paddy lay back, (Paddy lay back)
Take in your slack (take in your slack)
Take a turn around your capstan heave a pawl.
'Bout ship, stations, boys, be handy (be handy!)
We’re bound for Valparaiso ‘round the horn

Well it seems there was a great demand for sailors (for sailors)
For the colonies, and for Frisco and for France (France, France)
Well, I shipped aboard the limey barque the Hotspur (the Hotspur)
And got paralytic drunk on my advance (vance, vance)

Well, I joined her on a cold December morning (morning)
A-flapping of me flippers to keep me warm (keep me warm)
With the south cone hoisted as a warning (a warning)
To stand by the coming of a storm (storm, storm)

Well, I woke up in the morning stiff and sore (sore)
And I knew that I was outward bound again (bound again)
And a voice come a-bawling at the door (door)
Lay aft men, and answer to your name (to your name)

Now it was on the quarter deck when first I seen ‘em (seen 'em)
Such an ugly bunch I never seen before (seen before)
Cause there was a bum and stiff from every quarter (quarter)
And it made my poor old heart feel sick and sore (sore, sore)

Common version