Tom Pepper

From Edward B Trumbull, Salem, Massachusetts

Sources: The James Madison Carpenter Collection AFC 1972/001 MS pp. 00349-51, 09211

Trumbull shipped in 1868, learned this song 1868-74.

  1. In the naval action once engaged
    We fired away like fun
    With a round of grape and canister shot
    We slaughtered everyone
    When the fight was over we mustered hands
    A stranger mustered too
    And although he was on board of our ship
    He was not one of our crew.Chorus:
    To my title fo rol, de rol, de rol
    To my tittie fo rol de ray
    To my tittie fo rol, de rol, de rol
    To my tittie fo rol de ray.
  2. Hello said the captain, how can this be?
    How did you come on board?
    But there he stood and scratched his head
    And never uttered a word
    Until an old tar who was standing by
    Said there is no denying
    From the bow gun of our enemy’s ship
    I saw the beggar come flying.
  3. We christened him in a tub of grog
    ‘Tom Pepper’ we named him.
    He drank up all the grog he could get
    No sailor did blame him.
    He ate more beef than all the crew
    So upon one fine day
    We rammed him home in our bow-gun
    And fire the beggar away.
  4. After cruising many a year
    I took a trip in a barque
    And while becalmed upon the line
    We caught a monstrous shark
    And in this shark there was a brig
    With provisions she was stored
    Among the beef this bloody old thief
    Tom Pepper was on board.
  5. He soon cleared the decks and lockers too
    Of everything he saw
    And all the beef there was on board
    Would not ease his hungry jaw
    For fear of famine we should be
    We dragged him up on deck
    And overboard we threw poor Tom
    With a grind-stone around his neck.
  6. After cruising many a year
    I thought I would cruise no more
    And since I’d got some money saved
    I thought I would stop on shore.
    While crossing over London Bridge
    Amongst a lot of old wives
    I saw Tom Pepper behind the fence
    A-grinding old scissors and knives.
  7. Hello, said I, How can this be
    I thought you fast asleep
    With a carpenter’s grindstone round your neck
    Moored in the ocean deep.
    Said he, Not liking much my berth
    And being inclined to roam
    I slipped my cable and took a passage
    Upon the grindstone home.
Lyrics from the recording: