The Longest Song Wiki

This song appeared in the February 2019 livestream, led by Josh Bowker. It is a TLJ original written by Josh Bowker when he was still a member of the band.

Four Hours is the third track in the 2020 album Cures What Ails Ya.

Lyrics submitted by PDPGinsu of the Longest Johns Discord, verified against the stream by Anathema Mask.

Factoids

Four Hours refers to the way watches were kept aboard sailing vessels. Traditionally, ships at sea (particularly among the British navy) kept five four-hour watches per day, and two two-hour watches. Sailors were expected to rotate in four hour shifts, serving four hours of work and four hours of rest alternating. After the second work period they would be allowed some time to rest and recover before returning to work. In a two-division system, this meant rotating the port and starboard divisions to ensure that the ship was always staffed by equally fresh workers. As time went on, it progressed to a three-division system which, notably, forms part of the basis for modern eight-hour shift work.

For particularly troublesome sailors, there was also the four-on-four-off, or 'watch-and-watch', a punishment detail where the sailor serves repeated stretches of four hour intervals without a rest interval between. It was a notable and particular savagery, brutal for the fact that just as the person serving their time finds time to rest they are being roused to return to work.

Lyrics

Come me boys and heave with me
Let's get off this curs-ed sea
Let's be home to lovers and wives
And leave behind these four hour lives

{Chorus}
(Four Hours)
workin' on the swell
(Four Hours)
Sloggin' in the rain
(Four Hours)
Workin' to the bell and
(Four Hours)
'Til it starts again

Come me boys and heave with me
The wind's my friend and my enemy
It carries me home but it must be tamed
Everything lost or everything gained

{Chorus}

Come me boys and heave with me 
Got scabrous hands and bloody knees
 But when the bell tolls, I'll go below
My hands will callus and my strength will grow

{Chorus}

Come me boys and heave away
Soaked and heavy heaving under the spray
Will I ever shed this salt on my brow?
Better the dust from under my plow

{Chorus}

When I'm back in Bristol town
I'll buy my love a silken gown
We'll lie in each others arms and rest
Un-til that bell sounds in my chest

{Chorus}

(Four Hours)
Haulin' on the sheets!
(Four Hours)
Keepin' our feet!
(Four Hours)
Wrap me in the shroud and
(Four Hours)
Lay me in the ground