A variant of the even older and better known Cuckoo’s Nest, the fabulous hornpipe Jacky Tar (sometimes Tarr) is actually the tune of an old song – a sweet little piece that is as charming as its title. Why trousers on? I believe it’s because for trousers were ‘formal’ shore-going attire. We still have that, don’t we? I may learn it one day…
When Jack had pulled the oar, and the boat was gone,
And the lassie on the shore with her head hanging down,
The tears stood in her eyes, and bosom heaving sighs,
Farewell, my dear, she cries, with your trousers on.
Farewell, said he, I go to sea, and you must stay behind,
But do not grieve, for while I live I ever will be kind,
And when I come to land you will meet me on the strand,
And welcome Jackie Tar with his trousers on.
Now peace is proclaimed, and the wars are all o’er,
The fleets they are moored, and the sailors come ashore,
Now you may see her stand with a glass into her hand,
To welcome Jack to land with his trousers on.
While up on high, she catched his, with all her lovely charms,
Her face he knew, and straight he flew and caught her in
Her hand he kindly pressed, as he held her round the waist
And he kissed the bonnie lassie with his trousers on.
O Jack where have you been since you went from me,
And want have you seen upon the raging sea?
I mourned for your sake, while my heart was like to break,
For I thought l’d never see my Jack with his trousers on.
And while you staid, I sighed and prayed to Neptune and
That they would prove kind, and send you home save from
And now to my request they have been pleased to list,
And send you to my breast with your trousers on.
I have sailed the seas for you to the torrid zone,
From the confines of Peru to Van Dieman’s Land,
From the Bay of Baltimore to the coast of Labrador,
But now I’m safe on shore with my trousers on.
I have beat the storms, in many forms, upon the raging main.
I have fought the foes, with deadly blows, and many a hero
I have heard the cannons roar, I have rolled in blood and gore
But now I’m safe on shore, with my trousers on.
I have been aloft when the winds have blown,
And I have been alost when the bombs were thrown,
But like a sailor bold, I am now come from the hold,
With my pockets full of gold, and my trousers on.
And now no more, from shore to shore, I’ll plough the rag-
But free from strife, as a man and wife, we’ll live in peace
To the church this couple hied, and the priest the knot has
And the sailor kissed his bride with his trousers on.