The Old Trincomalee

When I was only nine or ten
I found myself at sea
I can’t remember where or when
Or how it came to be
For I wasn’t even four foot then
Though now I’m four foot three
And I am a powder monkey
On the old Trincomalee

I was too small to work aloft
And still too short to climb
The rigging where the sails are doffed
Though I hope to do in time
Well the captain he eyed me up and down
‘What shall I do with thee?’
He made me powder monkey on
The old Trincomalee

My sailor stripes are blue and white
I’ve a cap of scarlet red
We’re grafting morning, noon and night
But we’re watered and we’re fed
And we’re well-rehearsed, our cannon crew
For every emergency
And I am their powder monkey
On the old Trincomalee

The dangers here are plain to see
We face them every day
A cannon-ball might easily
Take both your legs away
We keep our eighteen pounders primed
And I tread carefully
To stay a powder monkey
On the old Trincomalee

I well remember one fine day
It was not long ago
We chased a slaver all the way
From Val-par-eye-zee-o
To somewhere in the ocean
It might have been Fee-jee
Grins that young powder monkey
On the old Trincomalee

We chased him south and east and west
And when we got close to him
My heart was thumping in my chest
And the gunner’s face was grim
‘Unseam him lads!’ the captain cries
I was where I should be
A working powder monkey
On the old Trincomalee

He’s fired and flashed, but soon was done
We mashed him fore and aft
And there was nowhere for him to run
How we cheered and jeered and laughed
Over two hundred freed that day
From hellish slavery
Says the proud young powder monkey
On the old Trincomalee

That very young powder monkey
On the old Trincomalee

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