Shiny O

Bristol Shantymen say that James Taft Hatfield, who crossed the Atlantic on the full-rigged bark Ahkera in 1886, was the only person to record the song. They assume that the men sang "shiny-o" as a reference to the sweat on their bodies. The hen and the chickens" are probably stormy petrels - birds which are similar to the albatross but light brown in colour. Sailors associated them with high winds and called them "Mother Carey's chickens".



Captain, captain, you are a dandy   
Way, shiny-o
Captain, captain,you love your brandy
 Way, shiny-o

Won't you ferry me over to Dover
Queenstown to Dover is a hundred miles or over

Captain, captain, how deep is the water
It measures one inch six feet and a quarter

Captain, captain, I love your daughter
For her I'd sail across this water

Hens and chickens are flying over
When she pitches, she pitches into Dover