lyrics text

Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy


Adieu sweet lovely Nancy
Ten thousand times adieu
I am bound to cross the ocean
To seek for something new
Come change your ring with me dear girl
Come change your ring with me
That it might be a token of true love
When I am on the sea

And now that I am on the sea
I know not where I am
Kind letters I will write to you
From every foreign land
The secrets of my mind dear girl
Are the best of all goodwill
So let your body be where it is
My heart will be with you still

There's a heavy storm arising
See how it gathers round
While we poor souls on the ocean
Are fighting for the crown
Our officer commands us
And it's him we must obey
Expecting every moment
For to get washed away

There are tinkers, tailors, shoemakers
Lie snoring fast asleep
While we poor souls on the ocean
Are ploughing through the deep
There's no-one to defend us love
And keep us from the cold
On the ocean wide where we must bide
Like jolly sailors bold

And now the wars are over
They'll be peace on every shore
We'll drink to our wives and our children
And the girls that we adore
We'll call for liquor merrily
And spend our money free
And when our money is all gone
We'll boldly go to sea

When this song was first performed there were no mobile phones or internet, and a sailor could be gone for a very long time, never knowing if his girl would still be waiting for him on his return.

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