The Chantey of the Cook


The Devil take the cook, that old, grey-bearded fellow,
Yo ho, haul away!
Who feeds us odds and ends and biscuits whiskered yellow.
(And the home port's a thousand miles away.)

The Devil take the cook, that dirty old duffer,
Yo ho, haul away!
Each day he makes the captain fatter and bluffer,
(But we'll have to eat hardtack for many a day).

The ship-biscuit's mouldy and the spuds we get are rotten,
Yo ho, haul away!
And the tinned goods that's dished up is seven years forgotten,
Yo ho, haul away!

And each, in his heart, has marked the cook for slaughter,
(And it won't do him any good to pray).
For the coffee's only chickery half-soaked in luke-warm water,
Yo ho, haul away!

It's put on your best duds and join the delegation;
Yo ho, haul away!
We're aft to ask the captain for a decent ration,
(And to drop the cook at Botany Bay. . . .)

Look here, you cabin boy, what has set you laughin'?
Yo ho, haul away!
Don't tell us no lies or we'll clout your ears for chaffin',
For we're not a lot of horses that can live on hay.

What's this you're tellin'? Is it plum duff and puddin'?
Yo ho, haul away!
Why not make it roast beef and let it be a good 'un?
For plum duff and rum's not a feast for every day.

Oh, it ain't the cook's fault that we EAT one day in seven.
Yo ho, haul away!
It's the owners of the ship, — may they never get to heaven
(No matter how hard they pray).

It's the owners of the ship that give us meat that's yellow,
Yo ho, haul away!
And after all the cook's a mighty decent fellow
(Though we'll have to eat rotten grub for many a day).

O Lord up in heaven, when THEIR souls and bodies sever,
Yo ho, haul away!
May the owners squat in hell gnawing at salt-horse forever
And the grub that they give us every day. . . .

Excepting for one thing, O Lord God in heaven,
Yo ho, haul away!
Don't let them have no plum duff one day in seven,
(All together with great vigor)
But forever and forever and unto eternity the truck that we're fed on every day, Amen!
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