A work shanty that is popular on our education sails is the ever-versatile Drop of Nelson’s Blood! The base of the verse is:

A [something you’d miss on a long sea voyage] wouldn’t do us any harm! .

The desired item changes quite a bit depending on who is singing the song. You can hear some traditional desires from grown-up sailors in the video below. Kids come up with a lot of different things as they imagine what they’d truly miss during months at sea. Some of the items that long-time crew member and officer Kori Pepper has heard:  family, chocolate, and playing soccer. And riding horses!

This sea shanty would have historically been heard after January of 1806 when Admiral Nelson was given a state funeral after his death at the Battle of Trafalgar in the Napoleonic Wars.

Get ready to keep a beat and try to keep pace with this fun and ever-changing sea shanty! Music and lyrics below.

Note: The tunes, lyrics and history of a single sea song or shanty are often diverse and debated, given how these songs were passed along and changed (often simultaneously on many ships all over the seas). This is part of what is beautiful and fascinating about them. What we’re representing in this blog post is only one, and certainly not the only, version of a song and its history.

 

Full Lyrics - Drop of Nelson's Blood

Oh, a drop of Nelson’s blood wouldn’t do us any harm

A drop of Nelson’s blood wouldn’t do us any harm

A drop of Nelson’s blood wouldn’t do us any harm

An’ we’ll all hang on behind.

 

(Chorus):

So we’ll roll the old chariot along

we’ll roll the golden chariot along.

So we’ll roll the old chariot along

And we’ll all hang on behind!

 

Oh, a little mug of beer wouldn’t do us any harm

A little mug of beer wouldn’t do us any harm

A little mug of beer wouldn’t do us any harm

An’ we’ll all hang on behind.

 

Chorus:

So we’ll roll the old chariot along

We’ll roll the golden chariot along.

So we’ll roll the old chariot along

An’ we’ll all hang on behind!

 

Oh, a [ insert what you’d miss on a long sea vogage ] wouldn’t do us any harm

A [ insert ] wouldn’t do us any harm

A [ insert ] wouldn’t do us any harm

An’ we’ll all hang on behind.

 

Chorus:

So we’ll roll the old chariot along

We’ll roll the golden chariot along.

So we’ll roll the old chariot along

An’ we’ll all hang on behind!