Cecil Sharp collected the song from Sister Emma of Clewer, Berkshire on
27th February 1909.
Twas 9 o'clock by the bells & we were not far from land
When we saw a mermaid sitting on a rock with a glass & a comb in
& the raging seas did roar & the stormy winds did
& the sailor climbed to the top gallant mast with the
landlubber lying down below.
Then up spoke the captain of the ship & a fine old man was
Says:Ive got a wife in fair Bristol Town & tonight a widow she
Then up then spoke the captain's mate & a fine young man was
Says:I've got two boys in fair Bristol Town & tonight they orphans
Then up spoke the little cabin boy & a good little boy was
O I have a mammy in fair Bristol Town & tonight she'll be
weeping for me.
But I've heard my mammy say there's one who rules the waves
And he can, if he please, bring us all to land &
save us from a watery grave
Then the captain went home to his wife &
the mate to his sons,ne'er to part
But none's so happy as the little cabin boy when his mammy hugged him
close to her heart.
As sung by Mary Humphreys on album "Sharp Practice" (Wild Goose
From Mary Humphreys and Anahata's web site