Haul Away Joe

According to Stan Hugill, this is a famous tack and sheet shanty. Because of the many verses (he lists 20) he believes it may have been used as a halyard song (sheet shanties were usually no longer than three or four verses). Sometimes the word "pull" or "haul" was used instead of Joe.


Haul Away Joe
When I was a little boy, so my mother told me,
Way haul away, we'll haul away Joe
If I did not kiss the girls, my lips would grow all mouldy,
Way haul away, we'll haul away Joe
I ran away from Exmouth Town and shipped aboard a whaler,
Because the girl I courted there would only have a sailor

First I met a Plymouth girl and she was fat and lazy,
Then I met a Yorkshire girl, she damn near drove me crazy,

So listen while I sing to you about me darlin' Nancy,
She's copper-bottomed, clipper-built, she's just me style an' fancy.

King Louis was the king of France before the revolution
He went and got his head chopped off which spoiled his constitution
Away haul away, the good ship now is rolling,
Away, haul away, the sheet is now unfolding,
The cook is in the galley boys making duff so handy
The captain's in his cabin lads, drinking rum and brandy

You call yerself a second mate an' cannot tie a bowline,
Ye cannot even stand up straight when the packet she's a-rollin'.
We’re running down a stormy sea and rolling through the thunder
It’s every man aloft me boys or we’ll be going under.
We’re sailing back to Exmouth Town the crew is looking frisky,
We’ll soon be sloshing back the ale and maybe even whisky.
The bosun says he knows a place where we can find a doxy,
The last shipmate he sent in there they got a dose of poxy.
Away haul away we’ll haul away together
Away haul away, we're bound for better weather,