One of the oldest halyard shanties; praise and warning for the use of alcohol are about equally mingled in these verses. It was also used at the windlass brakes.
When used to raise a sail, the chorus had two pulls quick in succession, making it suitable for the heavy-but-not-too-heavy topsail yard.
Masefield's version evidently continues on, if the "discreet little book published by the Percy Society, from the relics of Bishop Percy's collection" can be found. Accordingly, the ballad then dates from the sixteenth century. Please get in contact if this book can be found!