As I wuz a roll-in' down the High-way one morn,
I spied a flash pack-et from ol' Wapping town
As soon as I seed her I slacked me main brace,
An' I hoist-ed me stun-sl's an' to her gave chase,
Oh, me rig-gin's slack, Aye me ratt-lin's are fray'd,
I've ratt-led me rig-gin' down Rat-cliffe High-way!
Her flag wuz three colours, her masthead wuz low,
She wuz round at the counter an’ bluff at the bow;
From larboard to starboard an’ so rolled she,
She wuz sailin’ at large, she wuz runnin’ free.
I fired me bow-chaser, the signal she new
She backed her main tops'l an' for me hove to'
I lowered down me jolly-boat an' roved alongside,
An' I found madam's gangway wuz open an' wide.
I hailed her in English, she answered me clear,
“I’m from the Black Arrow bound to the Shakespeare”;
So I wore ship wid a what d’yer know,
An’ I passed her me hawser an’ took her in tow.
I entered her little cabin, an' swore, "Damn your eyes!"
She wuz nothin' but a fireship rigged up in disguise;
She had a foul bottom, from sternpost to fore;
'Tween the wind and water she ran me ashore.
She set fire to me riggin', as well as me hull,
An' away to the lazareet I had to scull.
Wid me helm hard-a-starboard as I rolled along,
Me shipmates cried, "Hey, Jack, yer mainyard is sprung!"
Now I’m safe in harbour, me moorings all fast,
I lay here quite snug, boys, till all danger is past;
With me mainyard all served, boys, an’ parcelled an’ tarred,
Wasn't that a stiff breeze, boys, that sprung me