How's My Boy?

"Ho, sailor of the sea!
How's my boy--my boy?"
"What's your boy's name, good wife,
And in what good ship sailed he?"
"My boy John--
He that went to sea--
What care I for the ship, sailor?
My boy's my boy to me.

"You come back from sea
And not know my John!
I might as well have asked some landsman
Yonder down in the town.
There's not an ass in all the parish
But he knows my John.

"How's my boy--my boy?
And unless you let me know,
I'll swear you are no sailor,
Blue jacket or no,
Brass button or no, sailor,
Anchor and crown or no!
Sure his ship was the Jolly Briton."--
"Speak low, woman, speak low!"

"And why should I speak low, sailor,
About my own boy John?
If I was loud as I am proud
I'd sing him o'er the town!
Why should I speak low, sailor?"
"That good ship went down."

"How's my boy--my boy?
What care I for the ship, sailor,
I never was aboard her.
Be she afloat, or be she aground,
Sinking or swimming, I'll be bound,
Her owners can afford her!
I say, how's my John?"
"Every man on board went down,
Every man aboard her."

How's my boy--my boy?
What care I for the men, sailor?
I'm not their mother--
How's my boy--my boy?
Tell me of him and no other!
How's my boy--my boy?"
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