27 July 2011 0 Comments

Flash Frigate

I sing of a frigate, a frigate of fame

And in the West Indies she bore a great name

For cruel, hard treatment of every degree

Like slaves in the galleys we ploughed the salt sea



Derry Down, Down, Down Derry Down


At four in the morning our day’s work begun

Come, lash up your hammocks, boys, every one.

Seven turns with the lashing so neatly must show

And all of one size through a hoop they must show



The next thing we do is to holystone the decks

Mizzen-topmen from the forehatch their buckets must fetch

And its fore and main topmen so loudly they bawl

Come, fetch up your holystones, squilgees and all



The decks being scrubbed and the rigging coiled down

It’s clean up your bright work which is found all around

Your gun-caps and aprons so neatly must shine

And in white frocks and trousers you must all toe the line



The next thing we hear is “All hands to make sail

Way aloft!” and “Lay out!” and “Let fall!” is the hail

O, your royals and your skysails and moonsails so high

At the sound of the call your skyscrapers must fly



But now, my brave boys, comes the best of the fun

All hands about ship and reef topsails in one

O, it’s “lay aloft, topmen,” as the helm goes down

And it’s “clew down your topsails,” as the mainyard swings round



Trice up, and lay out, and take two snug reefs in one

And all in one moment this work must be done

Then man your head braces, topsail-halyards and all

And hoist away topsails as you let go and haul



Our second lieutenant, you all know him well

He comes up on deck and cuts a great swell

O, it’s “bear a hand here,” and “bear a hand there

And at the lee gangway he serves out our share



Now, all your bold seaman who plough the salt sea

Beware this frigate wherever she be

For they’ll beat you and bang you till you ain’t worth a damn

And send you an invalid to your own native land

Leave a Reply