Christmas at Sea

Christmas at Sea The Longest Johns
Christmas at Sea The Longest Johns

Christmas at Sea is a sort of Longest Johns original, Based on the poem Christmas at Sea by Robert Louis Stevenson, written in the 1800s.

Christmas at Sea is featured in The Longest Johns' christmas album, named also Christmas at Sea.


The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the naked hand
  The decks were like a slide, where a seamen scarce could stand
  The wind was a nor'wester, blowing squally off the sea
  And cliffs and spouting breakers were the only things a-lee

They heard the surf a-roaring before the break of day
But 'twas only with the peep of light we saw how ill we lay
We tumbled every hand on deck instanter, with a shout,
And we gave her the maintops'l, and stood by to go about

All day we tacked and tacked between the South Head and the North
All day we hauled the frozen sheets, and got no further forth
All day as cold as charity, in bitter pain and dread,
For very life and nature we tacked from head to head

We gave the South a wider berth, for there the tide-race roared
But every tack we made we brought the North Head close aboard
We saw the cliffs and houses, and the breakers running high,
And the coastguard in his garden, with his glass against his eye

The frost was on the village roofs as white as ocean foam
The good red fires were burning bright in every 'long-shore home
The windows sparkled clear, and the chimneys volleyed out
And I vow we sniffed the victuals as the vessel went about

The bells upon the church were rung with a mighty jovial cheer
For it's just that I should tell you how (of all days in the year)
This day of our adversity was blessed Christmas morn,
And the house above the coastguard's was the house where I was born

O well I saw the pleasant room, the pleasant faces there,
My mother's silver spectacles, my father's silver hair
And well I saw the firelight, like a flight of homely elves,
Go dancing round the china-plates that stand upon the shelves

And well I knew the talk they had, the talk that was of me,
Of the shadow on the household and the son that went to sea
And O the wicked fool I seemed, in every kind of way,
To be here and hauling frozen ropes on blessed Christmas Day

They lit the high sea-light, and the dark began to fall
"All hands to loose topgallant sails," I heard the captain call
"By the Lord, she'll never stand it," our first mate Jackson, cried
..."It's the one way or the other, Mr. Jackson," he replied

She staggered to her bearings, but the sails were new and good,
And the ship smelt up to windward just as though she understood
As the winter's day was ending, in the entry of the night,
We cleared the weary headland, and passed below the light

And they heaved a mighty breath, every soul on board but me,
As they saw her nose again pointing handsome out to sea
But all that I could think of, in the darkness and the cold,
Was just that I was leaving home and my folks were growing old

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