The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #77777   Message #1391005
Posted By: Joe Offer
28-Jan-05 - 03:49 AM
Thread Name: Origins: The Cruel Ship's Captain (Broadside?)
Subject: Lyr Add: CAPTAIN JAMES
I think I should post at least the first version from Gale Huntington's Songs the Whalemen Sang (1964) This is from the ship Walter Scott of Nantucket, 1840.


Captains listen to my story
A warning you must take by me
See that you don't abuse your sailors
While you're rolling on the sea

Richard Paddy was my servant
A handsome sprightly lad was he
His mother bound him to me an apprentice
For to cross the rolling sea

As we had been to South Carolina
And we were returning home
Cruelly this boy I murdered
Such a thing was never known

A trifling offense he gave me
Which did my loving heart enrage
Straightway to the mast I bound him
There I kept him several days

With his hand and arms extended
I no succor to him gave
Swearing if my men relieved him
Not a moment should he live

When three days I there had kept him
He with hunger loud did cry
Now for God's sake pray relieve me
Or with hunger I shall die

Eighteen bitter stripes I gave him
Which did cause the purple gore to run
None there was that dare relieve him
Such a thing was never known

When five days I thus had kept him
He to languish did begin
Praying for a little water
I some vinegar gave to him

The poor soul requested to drink it
As I had proposed when I had done
I made him drink the purple gore
That from his bleeding wound did run

When many days I thus had kept him
Up to him I then did go
He says my dearest loving master
One small favor to me show

Don't leave me here thus for to suffer
Kill and send me to the grave
One small piece of bread afford me
Which in humanity I crave

Oh that I had but one small morsel
Which the dogs they do despise
He says oh Lord send me some water
From the lofty blissful skies

Hearing what he said unto me
Would have grieved a Christian's heart
Often time he cried dear mother
Did you but know the cruel smart

How your tender son does suffer
It would grieve you to the heart
More bitter grief no tongue can utter
Lord relieve me from my fate

When my men they disobeyed me
I like a fury cursed and swore
That I would have them hang for pirates
When I did arrive on shore

But they knowing my intention
Little to me they did say
And they had me apprehended
When I had got home from sea

How can I now ask for mercy
When no mercy I would afford
On a poor distressed creature
Yet some mercy show me Lord

I thought that my money would have saved me
Knowing that the boy was poor
But the cries of his dear mother
Would have grieved a heart full sore

She was resolved to prosecute me
She no gold nor bribe would take
Captain James for cruel murder
Now the gibbet is your fate

the tune doesn't work as well as I'd like it to.

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