Cyclops, Third Mate


At home I is called Cyril or Cy
But on board
I is Cyclops
The captain called me that
(’E liked to call us names)
Said it was mythical
On account of the eye

But the First Mate
(Who ’ad a lisp)
Said that was just eyewash
An’ the only thing mythical was me mithing limb
The rest just said it was the sound
Of me wooden leg
As I clopped around on deck

Me, I came up through the ranks
I couldn’t find an apprentice-ship
Well, in point of fact I ’aven’t really
Come up through the ranks
I started off as cabin boy
An’ I just got older

We ’ad what they called a ‘seniority system’
So by default
At the age of twenty one
I were made a proper pirate
It was the proudest day of me life
I wish me mum could’ve bin there

Though perhaps not
Since the crew hadn’t seen
A woman in two months

Some said we were buccaneers
’Cause we used to buck the system
But we ’ad our rules
I ’ad me pirate’s licence and a uniform
All official like
It was a bit like being a traffic warden
Only we got to drink
A nice mug of grog with our morning biscuits
Instead of tea
But just like them we used to cruise around
Looking for unwary victims

Sometimes they’d put up a fight
Sometimes they’d beg for mercy
But as we used to say
We’re just doing our job

I remember one time in the Caribbean
We’d taken this merchant ship
And were heading into port
Covered in blood and grinning from ear to ear we were
So was their captain

But that was because we’d just cut ’is throat

Well, we were cut-throats
What d’you expect us to do
Tickle ’im to death?

The captain we ’ad was a real sea-dog
Mad Jack he was called

We all ’ad nicknames
To make us sound mean and menacin’
Somethin’ to inspire fear
But people were just puzzled by mine

Mad Jack ’ad his ways
He was ’ard
But give him his due ’e was fair
’Ard but fair
Never strung anyone up without a proper trial

Well I say proper trial
’E’d say How do you plead?
Guilty or Not Guilty?
If they said Guilty
’E’d ’ang ’em straightaway
No messin’
An’ if they said Not Guilty
They’d get fifty lashes for lyin’
Then ’e’d ’ang ’em

Thinking about it
He was ’ard
But give him his due
’E treated everyone the same
Without fear or favour

That time in the Caribbean
I got paid a ’undredth part of the booty
But I only got half in me pocket
The rest was for the pension fund
(which I never saw nor ’eard of again)

It was that Captain Bob of the pirate ship Ghislaine
Who suggested it
Our captain took to the idea straightaway

A couple of me shipmates were a bit doubtful
But Mad Jack weren’t a man to stand up to
In fact ’e got a bit upset
And nailed ’em by their ears to the mizzen mast

We ’ad all sorts on board
Well they were all scum of course
But some were educated

Didn’t see many vicars
But we always ’ad public schoolboys
I think it was the sodomy and the lash that attracted ’em
Even more than the rum

But overall I think
The biggest bane of our life at sea
Was that Admiral Crichton RN
’E was always after us
’E’s the one who ’ad that brother
A butler to Lord Somebody
An’ got marooned on a desert island
For a year

Yes… in me time
I seen a lot of changes
Some for the better I suppose
But somethin’s been lost along the way
The young ’uns comin’ in
They don’t ’ave the character
They don’t take time to learn the ropes properly
Which on a pirate ship is a bit important to my way of thinkin’

Oh well
Times ’ave changed
And so ’ave us old ’uns I s’pose
Now it’s me walkin’ the plank
(tryin’ to push the wheelbarrer over the mud)
I swapped me gold ear-ring for a ’earing aid
An’ now I got an iPhone an’ a iPad as well as me old eye-patch


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