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The Lied, Art Song, and Choral Texts Archive

A dog's life

Language: English

Oh, a sailor's life's a dog's life, an' that's the truth, says Bill,
A sailor's life's a dog's life, look at it 'ow you will;
You break your back with workin' for 'arf a coolie's pay,
An' a sailor's life's a dog's life, look at it 'ow you may.

There's mates to kick an' 'aze you (an' you dursen't 'it 'em back)
There's cold to freeze your innards an' there's 'eat as burns you black;
There's junk as tough as green 'eart 'an weevils in the bread,
An' fistin' frozen canvas till you're wishin' you were dead.

But you bet I'm goin' to quit it next time I jump ashore;
As soon as I strike ol' 'Frisco you won't see me no more;
I'll set a course sou'westward to an island as I know,
Where we laid once loadin' copra - might be twenty year ago.

I'll lay out on the beach there where the sun is good an' 'ot,
An' I won't need no more trousis when I've wore out them I've got;
With a gunny round my middle an' a soul to call my own,
I wouldn't charge my fortune for the King's upon his throne.

But when we'd finished loading and sailing day came round,
With the pilotboat alongside and the mud hook off the ground,
And the towboat cast the hawser off and left us with a cheer,
Why, there'd be Bill a-growling as he'd done for twenty yerar.

Oh a sailor's life's a dog's life, an' that's a fact my son;
'Is pay's no more'n a coolie's, 'is work is never done;
But you bet I'm goin' to quit it fust chance as comes my way,
For a sailor's life's a dog's life, look at it 'ow you may.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

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