Drunken Sailor - Shanty U.K. Archive

Search
Go to content

Main menu

Drunken Sailor

Shanties
Drunken Sailor

Probably the best known of all shanties, What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor is also one of the oldest recorded, the words and tune of the chorus appearing in Francis Allyn Olmstead's 1839 memoir 'Incidents of a Whaling Voyage'.

It was usually regarded
primarily as a stamp-and-go (or walkaway or runaway) shanty, used at halyards where a big crew made this possible. With fewer men it was also used on braces when going about, might also be used as a hand-over hand song when hoisting lighter sails, and was not confined to square riggers - being also commonly used to raise sail on fore-and aft rigged vessels. It was also apparently the only work song permitted in the Royal Navy.

Hugill says that although normally only two or three verses were sung , there were a vast number to choose from, many of them obscene or sacrilegious

Roud 322
Click to play MIDI file
What Shall We Do WithThe Drunken Sailor
The Drunken Sailor


What shall we do with the drunken sailor?
What shall we do with the drunken sailor?
What shall we do with the drunken sailor?

Earlye in the morning


Hooray and up she rises
Hooray and up she rises
Hooray and up she rises
Earlye in the morning


Put him in the longboat till he's sober

Put him in the scuppers with the hose pipe on him

Wake him, shake him, then you'll break him

Give him a taste of the bosun's rope-end

Shave his belly with a rusty razor

Put him in bed with the captain's daughter

Have you seen the captain's daughter

That's what we'll do with the drunken sailor

Play Video
Drunken Sailor, Trimrig & a Doxy, Lancaster Maritime Festival, 2005
Trimrig And A Doxy, Lancaster Maritime Festival, 2005
Alternative words

In the age of political correctness, alternative wording may be applied for the protection of minors:

Make him say he's very, very sorry

Send him on a course of Alcohol Awareness

Give him eighty hours community service

Back to content | Back to main menu