Young Ben he was a nice young man,
A carpenter by trade;
And he fell in love with Sally Brown,
That was a lady’s maid.
But as they fetch’d a walk one day,
They met a press-gang crew;
And Sally she did faint away,
Whilst Ben he was brought to.
The Boatswain swore with wicked words,
Enough to shock a saint,
That though she did seem in a fit,
‘Twas nothing but a feint.
“Come, girl,” said he, “hold up your head,
He’ll be as good as me;
For when your swain is in our boat,
A boatswain he will be.”
So when they’d made their game of her,
And taken off her elf,
She roused, and found she only was
A coming to herself.
“And is he gone, and is he gone?”
She cried, and wept outright:
“Then I will to the water side,
And see him out of sight.”
A waterman came up to her,
young woman,” said he,
“If you weep on so, you will make
Eye-water in the sea.”
“Alas! they’ve taken my beau Ben
To sail with old Benbow;”
And her woe began to run afresh,
As if she’d said Gee woe!
Says he, “They’ve only taken him
To the Tender ship, you see”;
“The Tender-ship,” cried Sally Brown
“What a hard-ship that must be!”
“O! would I were a mermaid now,
For then I’d follow him;
But Oh! I’m not a fish-woman,
And so I cannot swim.
“Alas! I was not born beneath
The virgin and the scales,
So I must curse my cruel stars,
And walk about in Wales.”
Now Ben had sail’d to many a place
That’s underneath the world;
But in two years the ship came home,
And all her sails were furl’d.