The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #138169   Message #3161741
Posted By: Charley Noble
28-May-11 - 11:06 AM
Thread Name: John Masefield-Songs from Poems (PermaThread)
Subject: RE: John Masefield-Songs from Poems
Here's Masefield's tribute to a typical sailor's spree in Sailortown:

From Salt Water Poems & Ballads, by John Masefield, The MacMillan Co., NY, © 1916, pp. 38-39.

A Night at Dago Tom's
(John Masefield)

Oh yesterday, I t'ink it was, while cruisin' down the street,
I met with Bill. — "Hullo," he says, "let's give the girls a treat."
We'd red bandanas round our necks 'n' our shrouds new rattled down,
So we filled a couple of Santy Cruz and cleared for Sailor Town.

We scooted south with a press of sail till we fetched to a caboose,
The "Sailor's Rest," by Dago Tom, alongside "Paddy's Goose."
Red curtains to the windies, ay, 'n' white sand to the floor,
And an old blind fiddler liltin' the tune of "Lowlands No More."

He played the "Shaking of the Sheets" 'n' the couples did advance,
Bowing, stamping, curtsying, in the shuffling of the dance;
The old floor rocked and quivered, so it struck beholders dumb,
'N' afterwards there was sweet songs 'n' good Jamaikey rum.

'N' there was many a merry yarn of many a merry spree
Aboard the ships with royals set a-sailing on the sea,
Yarns of the hooker Spindrift, her as had the clipper-bow, —
"There ain't no ships," says Bill to me, "like that there hooker now."

When the old blind fiddler played the tune of "Pipe the Watch Below,"
The skew-eyed landlord dowsed the glim and bade us "stamp 'n' go,"
'N' we linked it home, did Bill 'n' I, adown the scattered streets,
Until we fetched to Land o' Nod atween the linen sheets.

Notes:

"Santy Cruz" is of course a reference to bottles of rum.

"Doused the glim" is to turn down the wick of a lantern.

Here's the song:

Adapted for singing by Andy Kenna as recorded on Salt Water Ballads, Liverpool Forebitter, © 2002 with minor word changes by Charlie Ipcar, 5/27/2011 (copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12 to line up chords):

A NIGHT AT DAGO TOM'S-2
(John Masefield)

C--------------------------G-C-----------G---------------G7
Now yesterday, I think it was, while cruisin' down the street,
--------------------------------------------------C--------------F-C
I met with Bill. — "Hullo," says he, "let's give the gals a treat!"
-------G--C-------------------------------F-----------------------
Red ban-danas round our necks, our shrouds new rattled down,
-----C-------G-C------G--C-------------------------------G7
We nabbed a couple of Santy Cruz, and cleared for Sailor Town –
------C------------------G-C------G--C----------G--------------------G7
We cleared for Sail-or Town, me boys, we cleared for Sailor Town,
-----C------G-C-------G-C------------F----C-------------F---G--C
We nabbed a couple of Santy Cruz, and cleared for Sail-or Town.

We scooted south with a press of sail till we fetched to a caboose,
The "Sailor's Rest" at Dago Tom's, 'longside "Paddy's Goose" –
Red curtains in the windies, white sand upon the floor,
And an old blind fiddler liltin' a tune of "Lowlands, No More" –
Of "Lowlands, No More," me boys, of "Lowlands, No More,"
And an old blind fiddler liltin' a tune of "Lowlands, No More."

He played the "Shaking of the Sheets" and the couples did advance,
Bowing, stamping, curtsying, in the shuffling of the dance –
The old floor shook and shivered, it struck beholders dumb,
And afterwards we sang sweet songs and drank Jamaikey rum –
And drank Jamaikey rum, me boys, and drank Jamaikey rum.
And afterwards we sang sweet songs and drank Jamaikey rum.

And many the merry yarn we spun of many the merry spree,
Aboard our ships with all royals set a-sailing on the sea,
Yarns of the flying Spindrift, her as had the clipper-bow, —
"There ain't no ships," says Bill to me, "like that there hooker now" –
"Like that there hooker now," me boys, "like that there hooker now,"
"There ain't no ships," says Bill to me, "like that there hooker now."

When the old blind fiddler struck up the tune "Pipe the Watch Below,"
The skew-eyed landlord dowsed the glim and bade us "stamp 'n' go" –
So we linked arms, did Bill and I, and staggered down the street,
Until we found two doxies, aye, to lay beneath the sheets –
To lay beneath the sheets, me boys, to lay beneath the sheets,
Until we found two doxies, aye, to lay beneath the sheets.

I especially like Andy's change in wording for the last line of the poem; "Land o' Nod" just doesn't cut it!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble