Lowlands, Lowlands, Low

 A halyard chantey and sometimes used as a quick, or “short haul” chantey, as it has been explained to us, such as trimming up a sail.  “Lowlands” appears frequently in English sea-related songs and refers to the Netherlands, or sometimes specifically Holland, and in any case the waters to the north of said country as well.  

Jos. Morneault

picture found in: Patterson, J.E. “Sailors’ Work Songs.” Good Words 41(28) (June 1900): 391-397. Author Illustration by W. Symons.

picture found in: Patterson, J.E. “Sailors’ Work Songs.” Good Words 41(28) (June 1900): 391-397.
Author Illustration by W. Symons.

Our packet is the Island Lass
Low lands lowlands lowlands low
There’s a man there howlin’ in the main topmast
Low lands lowlands lowlands low
He’s got the name of Hammer Toes
Low lands lowlands lowlands low
The old man he’s from Barbados
Low lands lowlands lowlands low
The monkey’s dressed in a soldier’s clothes
Low lands lowlands lowlands low
And where he got ’em, Go only knows
Low lands lowlands lowlands low
He feeds us bread as hard as brass
Low lands lowlands lowlands low
Our bunk’s as hard as a bailem’s ass
Low lands lowlands lowlands low
It’s up aloft that yard must go
Low lands lowlands lowlands low
Up aloft from down below
Low lands lowlands lowlands low
We’ll haul ’em high and let ’em dry
Low lands lowlands lowlands low
We’ll trice ’em up into the sky
Low lands lowlands lowlands low
Lowlands, me boys, and up she goes
Low lands lowlands lowlands low
Get changed, me boys, for your shore-going clothes
Low lands lowlands lowlands low

 

 

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