Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

Dan (The Shantyman) - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Dan -
Beats the band as a shantyman.

On the tip-top concert platform Dan'd never be the rage.
He wouldn't cut much ice upon the operatic stage.
He couldn't do his courting like a fat Italiano
Bawling fit to bust at the principal soprana.
Maybe his words wouldn't always stand repeating,
Maybe his language 'ud shock a mothers' meeting.
But there's not a doubt about it, he's an A-1 shantyman,
Is Dan.

It's 'Pipe up, Dan,' when it's looking kind of blue
For a half-drowned ship and a half-dead crew,
When your heart's in your sea-boots and the cold is in your bones,
And you don't care a darn how soon she goes to Davy Jones,
And it's dark as the devil and blowing all it can -
Oh, he's worth ten men on a rope, is Dan!

Ten men heaving round the capstan bars,
Ten men furling aloft among the stars,
Ten men singing out, sheeting home the sail,
Ten men shouting down a Cape Horn gale . . .
With 'Poor Old Reuben Ranzo' and 'Lowlands Away,'
'Sally Brown' and 'Paddy Doyle' and 'One More Day,'
'Rio Grand' and 'Stormalong' and 'Blow, Boys, Blow,'
And 'Leave Her, Johnnie, Leave Her' when it's time for us to go!

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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