Sarah Potter Writes

Pursued by the Muses of prose and poetry

Music Passion — a capella

My rather belated contribution to August’s Music Passion for a capella (songs without musical accompaniment), is a 19th century “tack and sheet” sea shanty called Haul Away Joe. To find out more about adollyciousirony’s monthly musical extravaganza and how you can join in, please visit .


When I was a little lad and so me mother told me,
Way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe.
That if I did not kiss the girls me lips would grow all moldy.
Way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe.

Way haul away, we’re bound for better weather.
Away haul away, we’ll haul away Joe.
Way haul away, we’ll haul away together.
Away haul away, we’ll haul away Joe.

King Louis was the king of France before the revolution.
And then he got his head chopped off. It spoiled his constitution.

Saint Patrick was a gentleman. He came from decent people.
He built a church in Dublin town and on it put a steeple.

Once I was in Ireland a’digging turf and taties.
But now I’m on a Yankee ship a haulin’ on the braces.

Once I had a German girl, but she was fat and lazy.
But now I got an Irish girl. She damn near drove me crazy.

Way haul away, rock and roll me over.
Way haul away, well roll me in the clover.

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9 thoughts on “Music Passion — a capella

  1. Thanks so much my dear for this entry 🙂 I enjoyed it! xoxo


  2. Love this Sarah – the melody is familiar so I may have heard it a long time ago, but it’s very atmospheric – you can sense the sailors at work while they sing it.


    • I’m glad you love this as much as I do, Andrea. And indeed it is most atmospheric. I can almost smell the brine mingled with their sweat and see the muscles on their backs and arms flexed with the effort of their work. For the majority of sailors, I think it was a very hard life, which means that the singing of these shanties were most likely a good way of expressing comradeship and keeping up morale — especially for those enlisted against their will.


  3. Pingback: Acapella Music Passion Entries… Enjoy! – allaboutlemon-All Around, In, And Out Of My Own Universe

  4. Very entertaining words to this shanty. 🙂 I was fascinated by the old photos of those sailors who have long since passed on, and found them strangely moving.


    • I know what you mean about those old photos being moving. To think that those sailors were once full-bloodied living men, each one with a personal history of his own to tell.

      What a shame that photography wasn’t invented earlier in time, although there were many great painters long before then, but not so many who depicted those of lowly social class. More likely that artists would find himself commissioned to paint some opulent Admiral than the men who sailed in the fleet under his command. As for anyone ever being commissioned to paint a pirate …lol!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Acapella Music Passion Update – allaboutlemon-All Around, In, And Out Of My Own Universe

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