ALL in the Downs the fleet was moor’d,
The streamers waving in the wind,
When black-eyed Susan came on board;
Oh! where shall I my true love find?
Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true,
If my sweet William sails among the crew.
William, who high upon the yard,
Rock’d with the billows to and fro;
Soon as her well known voice he heard,
He sigh’d and cast his eyes below:
The cord slides swiftly thro’ his glowing hands,
And quick as lightning on the deck he stands.
So the sweet lark, high pois’d in air,
Shuts close his pinions to his breast
(If chance his mate’s shrill voice he hear)
And drops at once into her nest:
The noblest captain in the British fleet
Might envy William’s lips those kisses sweet.
O Susan, Susan, lovely dear!
My vows shall ever true remain,
Let me kiss off that falling tear,
We only part to meet again:
Change as ye list, ye winds, my heart shall be
The faithful compass that still points at thee.
Believe not what the landmen say,
Who tempt with doubts thy constant mind;
They’ll tell, the sailors when away,
In every port a mistress find:
Yes, yes, believe them when they tell thee so,
For thou art present wheresoe’er I go:
If to fair India’s coast we sail,
Thy eyes are seen in diamonds bright,
Thy breath is Africk’s spicy gale,
Thy skin is ivory so white;
Thus every beauteous object that I view,
Makes in my soul some charms of lovely Sue.
Tho’ battles call me from thy arms,
Let not my pretty Susan morn,
Tho’ cannons roar, yet safe from harms
William shall to his dear return;
Love turns aside the balls that round me fly,
Left precious tears should drop from Susan’s eye.
The boatswain gave the dreadful word,
The fails their swelling bosom spread,
No longer must she stay aboard;
They kiss’d; she sigh’d; he hung his head:
Her lessening boat unwilling rows to land,
Adieu, she cries, and wav’d her lilly hand.