Whatever became of the deep-water rover,
The man hard as iron with stout heart of oak,
Plying his trade all the seven seas over,
He's faded from memory like wind-driven smoke,
And where is he now that salty old shellback,
Made useless by engines and screws at the stern,
He's gone with the windlass and billowing canvas,
We'll never witness the rover's return.
There's many more ships now but many less sailors,
What little romance there once was is now gone,
But there's still not much glamour in being a tailor,
So magically down to the sea men are drawn,
And who can explain the allure of the siren,
She's weaving her melodies out of men's dreams,
Knowing full-well but ignoring the irony,
Stumbling in haste, falling-in with her schemes.
The call of the sea echoes down through the ages,
Promising much but delivering nought,
For there's too much ill-usage and too little wages,
Delusions of freedom for men who've been bought,
Although lofty skysails give way to black funnels,
Containers, not barrels nor bales in the hold,
Some always reject life in dark city tunnels,
And spend all their days chasing after fool's gold.
And they cannot explain when they're taxed for a reason,
If you need to ask then you can't understand,
But still they go sailing whatever the season,
From the Skipper and Mate, to the lowest deckhand,
And history shows there's never much glory,
Just hardship and danger again and again,
But they hear different drums and they live different stories,
These common sailors are not common men.
They were called "common sailors", they were uncommon men.