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!
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Whiskey is the life of man, Ch: Whiskey, Johnny! Oh, I'll drink whiskey while I can, Ch: Whiskey for my Johnny-oh!
O whiskey straight and whiskey strong, Give me some whiskey and I'll sing you a song.
O Whiskey makes me wear old clo'es, Whiskey gave me a broken nose.
Whiskey killed my poor old dad, Whiskey druv me mother mad.
If whiskey comes to near my nose, I tip it up and down she goes.
I had a girl, her name was Lize, She put whiskey in her pies.
My wife and I can not agree; She puts whiskey in her tea.
Here comes the cook with the whiskey can, A glass of grog for every man.
A glass of grog for every man, And a bottle full for the shantyman...