Home Boys Home
Hugill says he heard this from a sailing ship carpenter who had often shipped in Vickers’ Big four-posters of Liverpool, where it was one of the most popular of homeward-bound for use at the capstan. Hugill notes that it is “obscene to a degree” (!) and was one of the several homeward-bound songs which upset the theory offered by collectors that the homeward-bound shanty was never polluted with dirty themes. Mudcat sources suggest that its origins may include a song in Cromeks 'Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway Song', 1810 which has a chorus "Hame, hame, hame, hame fain wad I be, O hame, ham hame, to my ain countrie", and is probably by Allan Cunningham. The model for the chorus can be seen in "The Northern Lasses lamentation", "O the oak, the ash and the bonny ivy tree, Doth flourish at home in my own country", published by P. Brooksby, 1672-84.
Oh well who wouldn't be a sailor lad a-sailing on the main
To gain the good will of his captain's good name
He came ashore one evening for to see
And that was the beginning of my own true love and me
And it's home, boys, home, home I'd like to be
Home for a while in my own country
And where the oak and the ash and the bonny rowan tree
Are all a-growing green in the north country
Well I asked her for a candle to light my way to bed
Likewise for a handkerchief to tie around my head
She tended to my needs like the young maid ought to do
So then I says to her now won't you jump in with me too.
Well she jumped into bed and making no alarm
Thinking a young sailor lad could do to her no harm
I hugged her, I kissed her the whole night long
Till she wished the short night had been seven years long.
Well, early next morning the sailor lad arose
And into Mary's apron threw a handful of gold
Saying take this my dear for the damage that I've done
For tonight I fear I've left you with a daughter or a son.
And if it be a girl child send her out to nurse
With gold in her pocket and with silver in her purse
If it be a boy child he'll wear the jacket blue
And go climbing up the rigging like his daddy used to do.
And so, come all of you fair maidens, a warning take by me
Never let a sailor lad an inch above your knee
I trusted one and he beguiled me
He left me with a pair of twins to dandle on my knee.