Blackthorne’s Chantey

The wonderful “sailor’s song” performed by a tipsy Captain Pilot John Blackthorn in the 1980 movie-mini series Shogun, based on the novel by James Clavell.  Eric Bercovici was one of the producers for the series and when it came time for the scene Bercovici composed this little ditty for Richard Chamberlain (Blackthorn) to perform.  It appears in a scene during which Blackthorne sits with three pretty, giggling servant girls and he is getting drunk on sake.  He feels happy and he gets to his feet to sing this song and dance a “sailor’s hornpipe”; the door suddenly slides open and the high lord Toranaga and entourage appear, curious about the noise coming from the room.  Blackthorne is subsequently obliged to perform the whole of the dance and ditty… Although of recent creation the song has the hallmarks of older folk songs and I think it worthy to add to the repertoire!

 

I promised her rings for her fingers
sparkling flowers for her flaxen hair
I swore that I’d never
but stay by her side at the shore

Chorus:

Fare-thee-well, oh you Barbary merchants
Fare-thee- well to the Spanish blockade
Fare-thee-well to the straits of Gibraltar
and the treacherous seas of Cathay

I gave her my promise to marry
and took her sweet vow in return
I swore that I’d never
set sail in foul weather
but stay by her side at the shore

Chorus:

I built her a cottage in Chatham
gave her children to sit by the fire
I swore that I’d never
set sail in foul weather
but stay by her side at the shore

Chorus:

But our cottage is too small for a sailor
without the blue sea and the sky
Though I swore that I’d never
set sail in foul weather
I left her behind at the shore

Final Chorus: 2x

|: Take me back, oh you Barbary merchants
let me risk the Spanish blockade
carry me to the straits of Gibraltar
and the treacherous seas of Cathay
:|