There Was a Little Queen in Egypt

GALLEY-SLAVE CHANTEY

Sung at the Oars

There was a little Queen in Egypt,
(Long, a very long time ago)
— Fell in love with a Roman Captain;
(It's chill and bleak, but the wind must blow).

She had a thousand girls to serve her;
(We've left the jettied port behind)
The weight of all her rubies tired her,
(But when were chains of iron kind?)

They cooked ten wild boars for her dinner,
(Bring on, bring on your mouldy bread)
And brought them in on golden platters,
(Yo ho! the open sea's ahead!)

Her slaves played all night long on zithers,
(And we must row and row till dawn)
And She and her Captain loafed in purple,
(And we've but tattered loin-clothes on).

Wine red and white it flowed like rivers....
(And it's brackish water we get to drink)
The world was a tossed-up ball between 'em,
(These long nights make a fellow think).

They say they tossed the ball and they lost it,
(The stars will be coming pretty soon)
That now they lie on a windy headlald,
( — Wish that was the sun instead of the moon).

They say that they sleep and sleep forever,
(While we pull hard in the wind and Wet),
Laid forever away in the darkness,
(And it's precious little sleep we get) —

Side by side in the empty silence —
O Queen of Egypt, O Captain-King,
We, slaves, and chained to our oars, salute you!
God was good and you had your fling!
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