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The Black Ship


One cold and bright spring morning / As I was walking out alone

I saw a chicken running / And I thought of you at home

Not caring it might trouble the Queen


But the law is hard and thorough / And it leads to Newgate gaol

I stood at the Assizes / And my freedom was curtailed

They sent me down to Woolwich / And gave me slop for clothes

Now the Retribution has me in its hold


Hannah don't you curse me / Hannah don't desert me

Hannah don't you wish me wrong 

Hannah they will work me / Hannah they will hurt me

Hannah I will lay in the Black Ship until my transport comes


My limbs are double ironed / I can barely stand up straight

We live on pease and ox-cheek / And no man calls me mate

They took my final ha’penny / They took away my soul

When I objected they threw me in the Hole


We march down to Woolwich Warren / Every day at dawn

Throw ballast from the lighters / That someone else has drawn

Some are set to driving piles / Some sift and spread the muck

And all we have in common / Is we all ran out of luck

In my dreams I bring you flowers / And every day is May

We go walking by the river / That’s when I come awake

To the sickly waves a-slapping / Against this rotten wreck

And the Overseer’s footsteps on the deck


One day, if I live that long / I’ll ship for New South Wales

And never see my home again / Or touch the girl I failed

And the thing that hurts the hardest / More than being broke apart 

Is knowing it was I that broke your heart



© MarkGSongs 2016

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