Roll Down

Outward-bound Capstan Chantey composed by Englishman Peter Bellamy for his folk opera “The Transports.” © 1977.  “. . . it tells the story of the first people from Britain to settle in Australia in the “First Fleet” of 1787. This song, as a few other from this outstanding work, have reached the coveted status in the folk music genre as being believed by many to be actually a song of historical origins, and sometimes one will hear additional verses as well as variations on those below.

 

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Sweet ladies of Plymouth, we bid you good-bye,
Roll-oll, roll-oll-oll down!
We will rock you and roll you again by and by,   [beat]
Walk a-round, me brave boys, and roll down!

Refrain:
And we will roll-oll, roll-oll-oll down,   [beat]
Walk a-round, me brave boys, and roll down!

 

The anchor’s aweigh and the sails are unfurled,
Roll-oll…
We’re bound for to sail her halfway ’round the world,
Walk a-round…

Refrain:

In the wide Bay of Biscay the seas do run high,
Them poor sickly transports they’ll wish they could die,

Refrain:

When the wild coast of Africa it do appear,
Them poor nervous transports will tremble with fear,

Refrain:

When the Cape of Good Hope it is rounded at last
Them poor lonesome transports they’ll long for the past
,

Refrain:

When the great southern whales on our quarter do spout,
Them poor simple transports, they’ll goggle and shout,

Refrain:

When we arrive off Australia’s strand,
Them poor weary transports, they’ll long for the land,

Refrain:

And when we return for old England’s shore,
Them poor stranded transports, we’ll see ’em no more,

Refrain:

Then, sweet ladies of Plymouth, we’ll pay all your rent,
And go roving no more till our money’s all spent,

Refrain 2x:

 

 

 

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