24 - Fire Marengo

Words by Traditional
Tune by Traditional

Screwing cotton was one of the hardest tasks aboard ship: using jackscrews to compress and force bales of cotton into the hold until they were packed solid. There's no consensus on what 'Marengo' means.

Lift him up and carry him along

Fire Marengo, fire away!

Stow him down where he belongs

Fire Marengo, fire away!

Ease him in and let him lay
We’ll screw him down and there he’ll stay

Stow him down in the hold below
Screw him down and then we’ll go

When I get back to London town
I’ll pass my line to little Sally Brown

Sally she’s a pretty little craft
She’s sharp to the fore with a rounded aft

I’ll haul her high I’ll haul her low
I’ll bust her blocks and make her go

Screw the cotton, screw him down
Bound away from Hilo Town

Thought I heard the old man say
That’s one last turn and then belay