The Longest Song Wiki

A traditional song of debated Irish origin, this song was re-written and popularized by famed folksinger and royal navy submariner Tom Lewis, of Belfast. Tom credits the chorus as traditional, having harvested it from the novel Send Down a Dove by Charles McHardy.

The Longest Johns perform it both on a separately released Youtube video and in their livestreams.


The original song appears to stem from a toast contemporary to Bristol in 1830, which read

May God above, send down his love,
with swords as sharp as sickles,
to cut the throats of gentlefolks,
who grudge poor men their victuals.
"To the Editor of The Bristol Mercury" (1830)


These lyrics are based on the version performed by the Longest Johns in their Youtube video, the original lyrics can be found here.

This dirty town has been my home since last I was a-sailin'
But I'll not stay another day, I'd sooner go a-whaling

Oh Lord above, send down a dove,
With wings as sharp as razors
To cut the throats of them there blokes
Wot sells bad beer to sailors

Paid off me score and them ashore, me money soon was flying
With Judy Lee upon my knee, and in my ear she's lyin'


With me newfound friends me money spends, just as fast as winking
But when I make to clear the slate, the landlord says: ("Keep Drinking!")


With me pay all gone, me clothes in pawn and Judy set on leaving ("I'm leaving!")
Six months of pay gone in three days, but Judy isn't grieving


When the crimp comes 'round I'll take his pound, and his hand I'll be shaking
Tomorrow morn sail for the Horn, just as dawn is breaking


For one last trip from port I'll ship, but next time round I'm swearing
I'll settle down in my hometown, no more I'll go seafaring

{Chorus til Finish}