Saturday, February 23, 2008

Nantucket Shearing Day Poem from 1833

Now this is Shearing day Alack
And we are round Cape-Horn
And we shall surely miss of this
As sure as we are born

Now half the town and all Bull lanes
Drive up their Sheep together
And in the Sheep-fold shorn are they
Each Ram & Ewe & Wether

And some with lads about the town
On foot to town must tag on
And John-like away they drive
With Girls to Siasconsett

While others to the Shear-pen go
And round the tents do caper
And dance & cut all kinds of Quams
Before a Cat-gut scraper

The tents all filled with Cakes & Wine
And Liquors in galore
Of Beef & Port & Pigs & Fowls
They have abundant store

All nicely cook’d and all serv’d up
As rich as Milk & Honey
Where you can sit & eat your fill
As long as you have Money

But as the Sun keeps going down
The Steam begins to rise
And ’tis quite common there to see
Red Noses and bunged eyes

Now Sable night her curtain spreads
And rather cool the weather
And Beaus & Girls begin to think
Of Jogging home together

And he whose purse is fairly out
On foot to town must tag on
But he can ride who’s flush with cash
In Coach or Cart or Wagon

Now all the Siasconsett folks
Drive into town like thunder
And rattling o’re the pavements they
Make Gawky’s stare in wonder

Some with broken Chaise tied up
Some’s kill’d their horse a racing
But all such things on Shearing day
Sure there is no disgrace in

Now sing long celebrate the day
We’ll ride and dance and spose it
And next when the day comes round
May I be there to see it

Charles Murphey’s poem dated June 25 (1833)
Originally published in the Historic Nantucket, Vol 56, No. 1 (Winter 2007) p. 17-18

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