Heave My Boys Away (aka Capstan bar)

Jim Mageean says this beautiful homeward-bounder was used at the capstan but does not appear in many of the shanty collections.  It seems to be an English variant of a Scandinavian shanty. It is found in a book called 'Old Sea Shanties' (1904) by J. Bradford and A. Fagge.  Hugill says he learnt it from a Scandinavian seaman (Big Skan), but the text is very similar to Bradford and Fagge. Hugill does not know whether it was sung much on English ships.

Heave Me Boys

Walk around for we’re rollin’ homeward

Heave me boys together

The old bully ship is a lyin’ windward

Heave me boys away

And we’re taunt and trim and winds a-blowin’

Snug up aloft and the ships a-goin’


Refrain: Heave her, or we’ll strand her

And the old ships rollin’ home.


O sing and heave and weave and sing boys

O heave and make that capstan spring boys

And its blow ye winds for London Town-o

Where them girls all dress so fine-o



O the ropes are taunt and the winds a- blowin’

So heave me boys for the ships a-goin’

And its goodbye girls we’re bound to leave you

Goodbye Sally and goodbye Lulu



So walk around for we’re rollin’ homeward

The old bully ship is a-lying windward

And we’re taunt an trim and the winds a-blowing

Snug up a-loft and the ships a-goin

Refrain x 2