104 - Young Susan on Board of a Man-of-War

Words by Traditional
Tune by Traditional

Collected in Frank Kidson’s Traditional Tunes, this song (yet another on the popular theme of a woman going to sea in disguise to be with her lover) was apparently "much thought of among the seafaring classes round about Hull."

Young Susan was a blooming maid, so valiant, true and bold,
And when her sailor went to sea, young Susan, we are told,
She put on a jolly sailor’s clothes, and daubed her hands with tar,
To cross the raging seas for love, on board of a man-of-war.

When in the Bay of Biscay, she aloft like lightning flew,
Respected by the officers and all of the jovial crew;
In battle she would boldly run, not fearing wound nor scar,
And do her duty by the gun, on board of a man-of-war.

She faced the walls of China, where her life was not insured,
And little did young William think his Susan was on board;
But by a cruel cannon ball she did receive a scar,
And she got dreadfully wounded, on board of a man-of-war.

When on the deck young Susan fell, of all of the whole ship’s crew,
Her William was the very first to her assistance flew;
She said, “My jolly sailor bold, I’ve for you received a scar,
Behold your faithful Susan bold, on board of a man-of-war.”

Then William on his Susan gazed with wonder and surprise,
He stood some moments motionless, while the tears rolled from his eyes,
He cried, “I wish instead of you I had received that scar,
O, love, why did you venture thus on board of a man-of-war?”

At length to England they returned, and quickly married were.
And the bells did ring, and they all did sing, and banished every care!
They often think upon that day when she received the scar,
And Susan followed her true love on board of a man-of-war.