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The Bob Zentz Songbook

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The Tryphena’s Extra Hand

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.  In the clipper ship Tryphena, swingin’ nor’ard from the line  (C-F-C)

With the trade wind blowin’ steady and her flyin’ kites a-shine  (F-C-G7)

Five and sixty days from Angier with her freight of Foochow teas  (C-F-C)

There a sailor man lay dyin’ and the words he spoke were these  (F-C-G7-C)

 

     2.  “Many a year I’ve knowed this packet, and I’ve got to like her well  (F-C)

     And I’ve not much hope of heaven, and I’ve not much use for hell  (F-C-G)

     But if so be as they’ll let me, by the great hook-block I swear  (C-F-C)

     When the old Tryphena wants me, dead as livin’ I’ll be there”  (F-C-G7-C)

 

3.  There’ll be one more at the halyards, there’ll be one on the yard

Fistin’ down from thundering courses, when they’re frosted good and hard

One more tallyin’ on the forebrace when they’re waist neck deep in foam

One more hand to sweat the tops’l’s up and sheet t’ga’ns’l’s home

 

     4.  So just off the Western islands when he smell’t the land he died

     And they laid him back the main y’rd and they dropped him overside

     Then they squared away for England, pulley haulin’ with a will

     But for all they thought they’d left him, well, he sailed aboard her still

 

5.  And the chaps as was his shipmates, went the way as all chaps go

And the folks as was her owners sold the old ship long ago

But whoever owned or sold her, and whoever went or came

The Tryphena’s extra hand he sailed aboard her just the same

 

6.  And he never signed no articles, he never drawed no pay

And he never scoffed no vittles, but by night as well as day

Though you’d never know his comin’ and you’d never see him go

He’d be always somewhere handy when it’s comin’ on a blow

 

     7.  And he’d stand by wheel and lookout and you’d kind of feel him near

     Kind of see him and not see him, kind of hear him and not hear

     And the funny thing about it was you somehow couldn’t swear

     Though you knew it sure as shootin’ when the extra hand was there

 

8.  And in port when all the chaps had gone ashore to take their ease

And left the ship as lonely and as quiet as you please

Not a blessed soul aboard her but the galley cat and you

Then you’d hear a sort of somethin’, more than once I’ve heard it too

 

9.  Like a feller up aloft there, putterin ‘round amongst the gear

Seizing there another rat line putting on a mousing here

And rum-tumming old tunes over, such as shell-backs used to know

In the good old China tea trade, many, many’s the year ago!

 

And rum-tumming old tunes over, such as shell-backs used to know

In the good old China tea trade, many, many’s the year ago!

 

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