Sweet Ladies of Plymouth


(also known as Roll Down and Around me Brave Boys)


The late Peter Bellamy wrote this as part of his now legendary folk opera “Transports”, first performed in 1978 with cast that included The Watersons, Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, A. L. Lloyd, June Tabor, Cyril Tawney and Dave Swarbrick.  This song was sung by Bert Lloyd, playing Abe Carman in a story based on two convicts transported to New South Wales with the first fleet. 

Sweet Ladies of Plymouth ("The Transports" Shanty)

Words and Music: Peter Bellamy

Sweet ladies of Plymouth we're saying "Goodbye",
Ro-o-oll down.
But we'll rock you and roll you again bye and bye,
Walk around m' brave boys and roll down.

And we will Ro-o-oll down,
Walk around m' brave boys and roll down.

Our anchor's a-weigh and the sails are unfurled,
And we're bound for to take her half way round the world,

In the wide Bay of Biscay the seas will run high,
And those poor seasick Transports will wish they could die.

When the Cape of Good Hope it is rounded at last,
The poor homesick Transports will long for the past.

And when we arrive off Australia's strand,
The poor weary Transports will long for the land.

And when we set sail for old England's shore,
Those poor stranded Transports we'll see then no more.

Then sweet ladies of Plymouth we'll pay all your rent,
And go roving no more 'til our money's all spent.