Blood Red Roses


h1 April 1st, 1999

BloodRed.jpg

The chanteyman often used improvisation and parody in his solo lines to the advantage and amusement of the crew, but the chorus lines, on which the work action was based, were repetitive and changeless. For example, in using Blood Red Roses to raise the top-sails, top gallant sails (t'ga'n's'ls), or sky-s'ls, the chanteyman, who on some ships also put his back to the task, would have sung:

Chanteyman: Our boots and clothes are all in pawn

Crew: Go down Ye blood red roses. Go down

Chanteyman: And its flamin' drafty 'round Cape Horn

Crew: Go down Ye blood red roses. Go down

The word Go, was the signal for the men to haul back on the halyards.

Lyrics:
Our boots and clothes are all in pawn
Go down, you blood red roses, Go down.
And its flamin' drafty 'round Cape Horn,
Go down, you blood red roses, Go down.
cho: Oh, you pinks and posies,
Go down, you blood red roses, Go down.
My dear old mother said to me,
My dearest son, come home from sea.
It's 'round Cape Horn we all must go
'Round Cape Horn in the frost and snow.
You've got your advance, and to sea you'll go
To chase them whales through the frost and snow.
It's 'round Cape Horn you've got to go,
For that is where them whalefish blow.
It's growl you may, but go you must,
If you growl too much your head they'll bust.
Just one more pull and that will do
For we're the boys to kick her through.

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