Paddy, Lay Back


Lyrics from Shanties from the Seven Seas, by Stan Hugill

'Twas a cold an' dreary mornin' in December, (December)
An' all of me money it was spent (it was spent),
Where it went to Lord I can't remember (remember),
So down to the shippin' office went, (went, went),

Paddy, lay back (Paddy, lay back)!
Take in yer slack (take in yer slack)!
Take a turn around the capstan - heave a pawl - heave a pawl!
'Bout ship, stations, boys, be handy (be handy)!
Raise tacks, sheets, an' mains'l haul!


Alternative final line of chorus:
For we're bound for Valaparaiser 'round the Horn!

That day there wuz a great demand for sailors (for sailors),
For the Colonies and for 'Frisco and for France (an' for France),
So I shipped aboard a Limey barque the Hotspur (the Hotspur),
An' got paralytic drunk on my advance ('vance, 'vance),

Paddy, lay back (Paddy, lay back)!
Take in yer slack (take in yer slack)!
Take a turn around the capstan-heave a pawl - heave a pawl!
'Bout ship, stations, boys, be handy (be handy)!
Raise tacks, sheets, an' mains'l haul!


Now I joined her on a cold December mornin',
A-frappin' o' me flippers to keep me warm.
With the south cone a-hoisted as a warnin',
To stand by the comin' 0' a storm.

Now some of our fellers had bin drinkin',
An' I meself wuz heavy on the booze;
An' I wuz on me ol' sea-chest a-thinkin'
I'd turn into me bunk an' have a snooze.

I woke up in the mornin' sick an' sore,
An' knew I wuz outward bound again;
When I heard a voice a-bawlin' at the door,
'Lay aft, men, an' answer to yer names!'

'Twas on the quarterdeck where first I saw 'em,
Such an ugly bunch I'd niver seen afore;
For there wuz a bum an' stiff from every quarter,
An' it made me poor ol' heart feel sick an' sore.

There wuz Spaniards an' Dutchmen an' Rooshians,
An' Johnny Crapoos jist acrosst from France;
An' most o' 'em couldn't speak a word o' English,
But answered to the name of 'Month's Advance'.

I wisht I wuz in the 'Jolly Sailor',
Along with Irish Kate a-drinkin' beer;
An' then I thought what jolly chaps were sailors,
An' with me flipper I wiped away a tear.

I knew that in me box I had a bottle,
By the boardin'-master 'twas put there;
An' I wanted something for to wet me throttle,
Somethin' for to drive away dull care.

So down upon me knees I went like thunder,
Put me hand into the bottom o' the box,
An' what wuz me great surprise an' wonder,
Found only a bottle o' medicine for the pox.

I felt that I should skip an' join another,
'Twas plain that I had joined a lousy bitch;
But the chances wuz that I might join a worser,
An' we might git through the voyage without a hitch.

I axed the mate a-which a-watch wuz mine-O,
Sez he, 'I'II soon pick out a-which is which';
An' he blowed me down an' kicked me hard a-stern-O,
Callin' me a lousy, dirty son-o'-a-bitch.

Now we singled up an' got the tugs alongside,
They towed us through the locks an' out to sea;
With half the crew a-pukin' o'er the ship's side,
An' the bloody fun that started sickened me.

Although me poor ol' head wuz all a-jumpin',
We had to loose her rags the followin' morn;
I dreamt the boardin'-master I wuz thumpin',
When I found out he'd sent me around the Horn.

I swore I would become a beachie-comber,
An' niver go to sea no ruddy more;
For niver did I want to be a roamer ,
I'd shanghai the boardin'-master an' stay ashore.

But when we got to bully ol' Vallaparaiser,
In the Bay we dropped our mud hook far from shore;
The ol' Man he refused ter let us raise 'er,
An' he stopped the boardin'-masters comin' aboard.

I quickly made me mind up that I'd jump 'er,
I'd leave the beggar an' git a job ashore;
I swum across the Bay an' went an' left 'er,
An' in the English Bar I found a whore.

But Jimmy the Wop he knew a thing or two, sir,
An' soon he'd shipped me outward bound again;
On a Limey to the Chinchas for guanner, boys,
An' soon was I a-roarin' this refrain.

So there wuz I once more again at sea, boys,
The same ol' ruddy business over again;
Oh, stamp the caps'n round an' make some noise, boys,
An' sing again this dear ol' sweet refrain.


Click on the Piece of Eight to return to the Main Page