Paddy Lay Back – Forebitter

Interesting Facts about The Liverpool Song

“Paddy Lay Back – Forebitter”, also called “Mainsail Haul”, was both capstan shanty and forebitter, according to Stan Hugill very popular, especially in Liverpool ships. Stan Hugill knows this song directly from two people, from his father and from John Connolly (Liverpool-Irish sailing-ship man), whose last line sang in fashion you can find in the lyrics. Stan Hugill tells us also that this song have two forms, the eight-line verse (forebitter form), and four-line verse (shanty pattern). This song will be reconstructed as the forebitter.

The source of this sea shanty

The music: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed: p 325).
The lyrics: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed: p 321, 322).

The Record of The Liverpool Song

You also can find this record on my YouTube channel here or directly listen below. Additionally, if you want to share your opinion about the record or share your opinion you can do it in my Facebook forum here, or leave a comment at the bottom of this blog article.

Paddy Lay Back - Forebitter

The musical notation

The full lyrics

Paddy Lay Back – Forebitter

Twas a cold an’ dreary mornin’ in December,
An’ all of me money being spent,
What day it was I hardly can remember,
So down to the shippin’ office went,

Now that day there wuz a great demand for sailors,
For the Colonies and for ‘Frisco and for France,
And I shipped aboard a Limey barque the Hotspur,
And went upon the spree with my advance.

– Paddy, lay Back! Take in yer slack!
– Hands to man the capstan – heave a pawl – heave a pawl!
– ‘Bount ship, stations, boys, be handy!
– Raise tacks, sheets an’ mains’l haul!

* 2 *

Now I joined her on a cold December mornin’,
A-frappin’ o’ me flippers to keep me warm.
With the south cone a-hoisted as a warnin’,
To stand by comin’ o’ a storm.

Now some of out fellers had bin drinkin’,
An’ I mmeself wuz heavy on the booze;
An’ I wuz on me ol’ sea-chest a-thinkin’
I’d turn into me bunk an’ have a snooze.

* 3 *

I woke up in the mornin’ sick an’ sore,
An’ knew I wuz outward bound again;
When I heard a voice a-bawlin’ at the door,
‘Lay aft, men, an’ answer to yer names!’

‘Twas on the quarterdeck where first I saw ’em,
Such an ugly bunch I’d niver seen afore;
For there wuz a bum an’ stiff from every quarter,
An’ it made me poor ol’ heart fell sick an’ sore.

* 4 *

There wuz Spaniards an’ Dutchmen an ‘Roosians,
An’ Johnny Crappos jist across from France;
An’ most o’ ’em couldn’t speak a word o’ English,
But answered to the name of ‘Minth’s Advance’.

I wist I wuz in the ‘Jolly Sailor’,
Along with Irish Kate a-drinkin’ beer;
An’ then I thought what jolly chaps were sailors,
An’ with me flipper I wiped away a tear.

* 5 *

I knew in me box I had a bottle,
By the boardin’-master ’twas put there;
An’ I wanted something for to wet me throttle,
Somethin’ for to drive away dull care.

So down upon me knees I went like thunder,
Put me hand into the bottom o’ the box,
An, what wuz me great surprise an’ wonder’
Found only a bottle o’ medicine for the pox.

Related to this Forebitter

The Fishes – W. B. Whall

Ratcliffe Highway

Blow Ye Winds in the Morning