Add Explanation
Add Meaning
New! Read & write lyrics explanations
  • Highlight lyrics and explain them to earn Karma points.
Joan Baez – Henry Martin lyrics

There were three brothers in merry Scotland,
In merry Scotland there were three,
And they did cast lots which of them should go,
Should go, should go,
And turn robber all on the salt sea.

The lot it fell first upon Henry Martin,
The youngest of all the three;
That he should turn robber all on the salt sea,
Salt sea, the salt sea.
For to maintain his two brothers and he.

He had not been sailing but a long winter's night
And a part of a short winter's day,
Before he espied a stout lofty ship,
Lofty ship, lofty ship,
Come abibbing down on him straight way.

Hullo! Hullo! Cried Henry Martin,
What makes you sail so nigh?
I'm a rich merchant ship bound for fair London Town,
London Town, London Town
Would you please for to let me pass by?

Oh no! Oh no! Cried Henry Martin,
This thing it never could be,
For I have turned robber all on the salt sea
Salt sea, salt sea.
For to maintain my two brothers and me.

Come lower your tops'l and brail up your mizz'n
And bring your ship under my lee,
Or I will give you a full cannon ball,
Cannon ball, cannon ball,
And your dear bodies drown in the salt sea.

Oh no! We won't lower our lofty topsail,
Nor bring our ship under your lee,
And you shan't take from us our rich merchant goods,
Merchant goods, merchant goods
Nor point our bold guns to the sea.

Then broadside and broadside and at it they went
For fully two hours or three,
Till Henry Martin gave to her the deathshot,
The deathshot, the deathshot,
And straight to the bottom went she.

Bad news, bad news, to old England came,
Bad news to fair London Town,
There's been a rich vessel and she's cast away,
Cast away, cast away,
And all of her merry men drown'd.

Lyrics taken from

  • Email
  • Correct


      Write about your feelings and thoughts

      Know what this song is about? Does it mean anything special hidden between the lines to you? Share your meaning with community, make it interesting and valuable. Make sure you've read our simple tips.
      Min 50 words
      Not bad
      This page is missing some information about the song. Please expand it to include this information. You can help by uploading artist's image, adding song structure elements, writing song meaning or creating lyrics explanation.