What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor?

Melody - Melody-

What'll we do with a drunken sailor,
What'll we do with a drunken sailor,
What'll we do with a drunken sailor,
Earl-aye in the morning?

Way hay and up she rises
Patent blocks o' diff'rent sizes,
Way hay and up she rises
Earl-aye in the morning

1. Sling him in the long boat till he's sober,
2. Keep him there and make 'im bale 'er.
3. Pull out the plug and wet him all over,
4. Take 'im and shake 'im, try an' wake 'im.
5. Trice him up in a runnin' bowline.
6. Give 'im a taste of the bosun's rope-end.
7. Give 'im a dose of salt and water.
8. Stick on 'is back a mustard plaster.
9. Shave his belly with a rusty razor.
10. Send him up the crow's nest till he falls down,
11. Tie him to the taffrail when she's yardarm under,
12. Put him in the scuppers with a hose-pipe on him.
13. Soak 'im in oil till he sprouts flippers.
14. Put him in the guard room till he's sober.
15. Put him in bed with the captain's daughter*).
16. Take the Baby and call it Bo'sun.
17. Turn him over and drive him windward.
18. Put him in the scuffs until the horse bites on him.
19. Heave him by the leg and with a rung console him.
20. That's what we'll do with the drunken sailor.

*) A relative of the cat-o-nine-tails

Ebrio quid faciamus nauta,

Ebrio quid faciamus nauta,
Ebrio quid faciamus nauta,
Ebrio quid faciamus nauta
Hora matutina?

Euge! Et spumat salum,
Euge! Et spumat salum,
Euge! Et spumat salum
Hora matutina.

2. Crapulam primum edormiscat . . . .

3. Quem aqua frigida rigemus . . . .

One of the best known of all sea shanties, 'What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor?' is a windlass and capstan work song. It was a favourite runabout or 'stamp and go' shanty and, unlike many, it did not require a soloist, being originally sung by all hands as they ran away with the braces when swinging the yards round in tacking the ship. Many versions of the song exist and its modal melody has suffered many a change. As R. R. Terry pointed out: 'I have generally found that perversions of the tune are due to sailors who took to the sea as young men in the last days of the sailing ship and consequently did not imbibe to the full the old traditions. With the intolerance of youth, they assumed that the modal turn given to a shanty by the older sailor was the mark of ignorance, since it did not square with their idea of a major or minor key.' No amount of 'regularising', however, can disguise the old modality of this popular shanty.

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