Heave Away, My Johnnies

Also known as 'The Irish Emigrant', this is another shanty from the collection of Hugill, who remarks that it is an example of a brake-windlass shanty, which in actual use on a ship was sung to a varying rhythm. The first line was fairly slow, as the brakes or levers were pulled down to waist level, and the next line faster as a second movement brought them down to knee level. Similar versions of the shanty appear in Colcord and Doerflinger. The "Tapscott" referred to in the song was William Tapscott, Liverpool agent for the Black Ball Line (and also, for a time, of the Red Cross Line).

Oh as I walked out one summer's morn, down by the Salthouse Docks,
     Heave away, my Johnnies, heave away,
I met an emigrant Irish girl conversing with Tapscott,
     And away my bully boys, we're all bound to go.

Good morning Mister Tapscott, Good morning my gal, says he,
It's, have you got any packet ships all bound for Amerikee?

Oh yes, I've got a packet ship, I have got one or two,
I've got the 'Jinny Walker' and I've got the 'Kangaroo'.

I've got the 'Jinny Walker', and today she do set sail,
With five and fifty emigrants and a thousand bags of meal.

The day was fine when we set sail, but night had barely come,
But every emigrant never ceased to wish himself at home.

That night as we was sailing through the Channel of Saint James,
A dirty nor'west wind come up and blew us back again.

We snugged her down and laid her to, with reefed main topsail set,
It was no joke, I tell you, 'cause our bunks and clothes was wet.

It cleared up fine at break of day, and we set sail once more,
And every emigrant sure was glad when we reached America's shore.

So now I'm in Philadelphia, and working on the canal,
To sail again in a packet ship, I'm sure I never shall.

Oh, but I'll go home in a National Boat, that carries both steam and sail,
With lashings of corned beef every day, and none of your yellow meal.

© Golden Hind Music