A Capital Ship

Maritime-themed 1885 Song based on a Children’s Nonsense Poem

Charles Edward Carryl (1841-1920)

A capital ship for an ocean trip
was the “Walloping Window Blind.”
No wind that blew dismayed her crew
or troubled the Captain’s mind.
The man at the wheel was made to feel
contempt for the wildest blo-o-ow,
Tho’ it often appeared when the gale had cleared,
That he’d been in his bunk below.

So blow ye winds, heigh-ho,
A-roving I will go,
I’ll stay no more on England’s shore,
so let the music play-ay-ay,
I’m off on the morning train,
I’ll cross the bounding main.
I’m off to my love with a boxing glove,
ten thousand miles away.

The Bosun’s mate was very sedate,
Yet fond of amusement too.
He played hopscotch with the starboard watch,
While the Captain tickled the crew.
The gunner we had was apparently mad,
For he sat on the after ra-a-ail,
And he fired salutes with the Captain’s boots
In the teeth of the booming gale.


The Captain sat on the Commodore’s hat
And dined in a royal way,
Off roasted pigs and pickles and figs,
And gummery bread each day.
The Cook he was Dutch and behaved as such
For the diet he gave the crew – oo – oo,
Was a couple of tons of hot-cross buns
Served up with sugar and glue.


And we all felt ill as mariners will
On a diet that’s cheap and rude;
And we shivered and shook as we dipped the cook
In a tub of his gluesome food.
Then nautical pride we laid aside,
And we cast the vessel ashore [or-or]
On the Gulliby Isles, where the Poohpooh smiles,
And the Anagazanders roar.



image of album cover for Bounding Main Lost at Sea - click for more info about the album

Song Notes

This is a charming and befuddled song about a ship of fools, based on a children’s poem by Charles Edward Carryl. A friend of the group recalled this song from memories of her childhood, one of the favorites sung at summer camp.

Additional lyrics gathered by Donald A. Duncan from his website: Poetry of the Sea. He notes that the chorus of this song is borrowed from another song, “Ten Thousand Miles Away.”

From Wikipedia:  [Charles E. Carryl]’s poem “The Walloping Window Blind” can be sung to the same tune as Ten Thousand Miles Away, using the same refrain (or with minor changes). It has been variously named “Capital Ship”, “Blow, Ye Winds, Heigh-Ho”, and “The Walloping Window-Blind”.