Main Content

The Banks of The Nile


courtesy of

Farewell, my dearest Nancy, Farewell I must away.
I hear the drums a-beating and no longer I can stay.

For we're orders out of Portsmouth Town and for many a long mile
For to fight the blacks and heathens on the banks of the Nile. Oh,

I'll cut off my curly locks and along with you I'll go
I'll dress myself in velveteen and go and see Egypt, too.

I'll fight and bear thy banners well, kind fortune upon thee smile.
And we'll comfort one another on the banks of the Nile.

Oh, your waist it is too slender love and your waist it is too small.
I'm afraid that you won't answer me if l should on you call

Your delicate constitution will not stand the unwholesome soil.
Nor the dark, nor the sandy climate on the banks of the Nile.

O Willie, dearest William don't leave me here to mourn,
You'll make me curse and rue the day for whenever I'd been born.

For the parting of my own true love and the parting of me life
Now stay at home, dear William and I will be thee wife.

My curse upon the war and the hour that it began
For it has robbed our count -e-ry of many a gallant man

It took from us our old sweethearts protectors of our soil
And their blood does steep the grass that's deep on the banks of the Nile.

Let a hundred days be darkened and let maidens give a sigh
It would melt the very elements to hear the wounded cry

Let a hundred days be brightened and let the maidens give a smile
But remember Abercrombie on the banks of the Nile.

O now the war is over and back I'll then return
Unto my wife and family I'll leave behind to mourn.

We'll call them in around me boys and there's no end of toil.
And no more we'll go a roving on the banks of the Nile.

The author of this website has put a lot of time and effort into gathering the greatest collection of sea shanties for the world to enjoy - There are songs that have been to sung to a job of work at sea for many, many years and collecting them has been a great endeavour. - Roger Chartier has made the effort out of his own interest and the requests that he has gotten to do this work from fellow musicians who wanted a good source of sea shanties to draw on and learn from. He has been told that for this effort he is a remarkable man.