The East Indiaman

Traditional. Arr. by Tom Lewis
(Recorded by Tom Lewis on Mixed Cargo)

Many's the time I've sung this song when the wind's been blowing half-a-gale,
Hoisting up a yard or shaking out a reef or hauling on the sheets of a sail,
I've shipped on board of a man-of-war, in the Merchant Service too,
I've fought for m' King and m' country while I've sailed on the ocean blue.

Illy, ally, illy, ally, oh - cheerily, boys, cheerily,
Bend your backs and give a pull, cheerily I say (I say!),
With a long pull and a strong pull we'll haul away together, boys,
Belay every inch of that, belay, boys, belay.

On a bright May day we sailed away on a big East India ship,
Though it's many, many years ago, m' boys, I'll not forget that trip,
We said "goodbye" to Portsmouth quay, to Susan, Kate and Jane,
And we hadn't been a'sailing but an hour or more when we joined in the old refrain:

Now I'm back from the sea again, gonna' put down m' roots on the shore,
Have a bit of a spell with m' long-haired gel, she's the one I do adore,
But there's no doubt, should a war break-out, and seamen be required again,
I'll join with m' crew, m' duty for to do and we'll join in the old refrain.

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