The Sailor’s Alphabet


(Folk song)

So merry, so merry, so merry are we,
No mortal on earth’s like a sailor at sea,
So merry are we as we’re sailing along,
Give a sailor his grog and then nothing goes wrong.

Oh, A is the anchor and that you all know,
B is the bowsprit that’s over the bow
C is the capstan with which we heave ’round
And D are the decks where our sailors are found.

Oh, E is the ensign our mizzen-peak flew,
F is the co’c’sle where we muster our crew,
G are the guns, sir, by which we all stand,
And H are the halyards that oft’ times are manned.

Oh, I is the iron of our stunsail boom sheet,
J is the jib that oft weathers the bleat,
K is the keelson away down below,
And L are the lanyards that give us good hold.

M is our mainmast so stout and so strong,
N is the needle that never points wrong,
O are the oars of our jollyboat’s crew,
And P is the pennant of red, white and blue.

Q is the quarterdeck where our captain oft stood,
R is the rigging that ever holds good.
S are the stilliards that weigh out our beef,
And T are the topsails we oft’ times do reef.

Oh, U is the Union at which none dare laugh,
V are the vangs that steady the gaff,
W’s the wheel that we all take in time,
And X is the letter for which we’ve no rhyme.

Oh, Y are the yards that we oft’ times do brace.
Z is the letter for which we’ve no place.
The bosun pipes grog, so we’ll all go below.
My song it is finished, I’m glad that it’s so.


  • Song with chords (PDF)
  • MIDI file
  • Listen to the song
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