What is the Nantucket Girls Song?

Nantucket Girls Song PosterI have made up my mind now to be a Sailor’s wife,
To have a purse full of money and a very easy life,
For a clever sailor husband is so seldom at his home,
That his wife can spend the dollars with a will that’s all her own,
Then I’ll haste to wed a sailor, and send him off to sea,
For a life of independence is the pleasant life for me,
But every now and then I shall like to see his face,
For it always seemes to me to beam with manly grace,
With his brow so nobly open, and his dark and kindly eye,
Oh my heart beats fondly towards him whenever he is nigh,
But when he says Goodbye my love, I’m off across the sea
First I cry for his departure, then laugh because I’m free,
Yet I’ll welcome him most gladly, whenever he returnes
And share with him so cheerfully all the money that he earns
For he’s a loving Husband, though he leads a roving life
And well I know how good it is to be a Sailor’s Wife.

This poem appears in the back pages of a journal kept by Eliza Brock, wife of Peter C. Brock, master of the Nantucket ship Lexington, on a whaling voyage from May 1853 to June 1856. The journal is in the manuscript collection of the Nantucket Historical Association.

Eliza Brock’s journal is a meticulous record of the Lexington’s voyage, recording each day’s weather and diurnal activities of the crew. Brock had an enviable literary style, and her journal is vivid with descriptions of life aboard ship, places visited, and people she met. She was also an accomplished poet. The journal is liberally interspersed with original poetry and essays, mostly of a spiritual or religious nature.

“Nantucket Girls Song” appears, with many other poems and essays, in the pages following the record of the ship’s arriving home in Nantucket. Eliza Brock got the poem from Martha Ford,the wife of a physician on one of the islands visited by the ship.

Order cards or a poster with this poem through our Museum Shop.

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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