Victoria Nautical Song Circle's
April 2000 Song Of The Month


Now if you want a merchant ship to sail the seas at large
Ye'’ll not have any trouble if ye have a good discharge,
Signed by the Board o' Trade an' ev'rything exact,
For there's nothin' done on a Lime juice ship contrary to the act


So-o! Haul, boys, yer weather mainbrace an' ease away yer lee
Hoist jib an' tawps'ls lads an' let the ship go free,
Hurrah, boys, hurrah! We'll sing this jubilee,
Damn an' bugger the Navy, boys, A merchant ship for me!

2. Now when ye join a merchant ship ye’ll hear yer Articles read.
They’ll tell ye of yer beef an' pork, yer butter an' yer bread,
Yer sugar, tea an' coffee, boys, yer peas an' beans exact,
Yer limejuice an' vinegar, boys, according to the Act.

3. No watch an' watch the first day out, according to the Act.
Ten days out we all lay aft to get our limejuice whack.
Fetch out her handy billy, boys, and clap it on the tack,
For we gonna set the mains'l, oh, according to the Act.

4. It’s up on deck, me bully boys, with many a curse we go,
Awaiting to hear eight bells struck that we may go below.
Eight bells is struck, the watch is called, the log is hove exact;
Relieve the wheel an' go below, according to the Act.

Alternatively use chorus above as a fifth verse and for chorus;
"Shout, boys, shout! For I tell you it's a fact
There's nothing done on a limejuice ship contrary to the Act."

Collected by Stan Hugill. "Limejuicers" - American reference to British seamen who were given same at prescribed intervals at sea to fight scurvey. Eight Bells struck at the end of a watch.

From Mariner's Dictionary ed. Gershom Bradford:. "Handy Billy" - a watch tackle, "Watch Tackle" - one comprising a single & double block, "Tackle" - (Tay-kle), a purchase composed of blocks("pulleys") and ropes. "Tack" - the rope holding down the lower forward corner of a fore and aft sail or the lower corner to the weather side of a square sail.

To Victoria Nautical Song Circle main page or Previous Songs Of The Month List.