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'Tis of a pretty female as you shall understand
Her mind was set on roving into some foreign land
Attired in sailor's clothing she boldly did appear
And engaged with a captain to serve him for one year

She engaged with the captain a cabin boy to be
The wind stood fine and clearly and so they put to sea
The captain's lady being on board, she seemed for to enjoy
So glad that the captain had engaged with a handsome cabin boy

Lyrics continue below...

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Now so nimble was this pretty maid, she did her duty well
But mark what follows after, the song it soon will tell
By eating of the captain's biscuits her colour did destroy
And the waist did swell of pretty Nell, the handsome cabin boy

Now as through the Bay of Biscay our gallant ship did plough
One night among the sailors there was a pretty row
They bundled from their hammocks which did their rest destroy
They swore about the groaning of the handsome cabin boy

"Oh doctor, oh doctor," the cabin boy did cry
The sailors swore by all and one the cabin boy would die
The doctor ran with all his might, a-smiling at the fun
To think that a sailor lad could have a daughter or a son

Now when the sailors all heard the joke, they all began to stare
The child belonged to none of them, they solemnly declared
The lady to the captain said, "My lad, I wish you joy
For it's either you or I betrayed the handsome cabin boy."

Writer(s): traditional

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