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The Bob Zentz Songbook

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The Ballad of the Eastern Crown

From Closehauled on the Wind of a Dream

Adapted from the poetry of C. Fox Smith (1882-1954)

Music and additional lyrics © 2003, 2007 Bob Zentz

 

 

1.  I’ve sailed in hookers plenty since first I went to sea  (C)

And sail and steam are good or bad, was all alike to me  (C-G7)

There’s some have tried to starve me, and some have tried to drown  (C-F)

But I never met the equal of the Eastern Crown  (C-G-C)

 

2.  Her funnel’s like a chimney, her sides is like a tub

And pay is middlin’ scanty, and likewise is the grub

She’s hard to beat for steering bad, she’s hard to beat for grime

And rollin’ is her hobby, Lord, she’s rollin’ all the time

 

     Rollin’ down to Singapore, rollin’ up to Maine

     Rollin’ ‘round the Puget Sound, and then home again

     A long roll, a short roll, a roll in between

     And the crew cursing Rosie as she ships it green

 

3.  We sailed for Philadephia, New York and Montreal

Dischargin’ general cargo at various ports of call

We knocked about a year or so ‘tween Callao and Nome

And then to Portland, Oregon to load with deals for home

 

4.  She’s met with accidents a few, which is her usual way

She’s scrapped the bowsprit off a barque in San Francisco Bay

She shed propeller blades and plates wherever she has been

And last she’s fouled her bloomin’ screw on a German submarine

 

     A-rollin’ in the sunshine, rollin’ in the rain

     Rollin’ up the Channel, and we’re home again

     A long roll, a short roll, a roll in between

     And the crew cursing Rosie as she ships it green

 

5.  As on the high and drafty bridge, I stood my wheel one day

“If we should sight a submarine,” I heard the old man say

“I’d do as admirals retired and other folks have said

I’d run the old Red Duster up and ring full speed ahead”

 

6.  I said, “Before I heave her to or haul my colors down

By gosh, they’ll catch a tartar if they catch the Eastern Crown

I’ve thought it out both high and low, it seems best to me”

“Pursue a zigzag course,” he says, “and see what we shall see”

 

     A-rollin’ in the doldrums, rollin’ in the foam

     Rollin’ by the fast-net and we’re nearly home

     A long roll, a short roll, a roll in between

     And the crew cursing Rosie as she ships it green

 

7.  He said it, and he meant it, and he acted as he said

And sure enough we sighted one a-beam of Lizard Head

You should have heard the engines grunt, you should seen ‘er roll

As beaten all her records as we shoveled on the coal

 

8.  They missed us by a spittin’ length, her rollin’ served us well

But it served her better after as you’re gonna hear me tell

She somehow rolled herself atop of that bloomin’ submarine

And the oil upon the waters was the last of it was seen

 

     Rollin’ up to London Town, down by the bow

     Rollin’ home to Surrey Docks, ain’t we heroes now?

     A long roll, a short roll, a roll in between

     And the crew cursing Rosie as she ships it green

 

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