5 APRIL 1957, Page 37

s, Shiver My Timbers !

SPECTATOR COMPETITION No. 370 e More and more merchant ships fly the flags of unnautical nations and we read that Liberian tanker tonnage now exceeds Great Britain's. Taxation is said to be destroying more British shipping than ever the Dons or Doenitz did. The usual prizes were offered for a suitable lament in sea shanty or salty verse form.

I ASKED for salty verse and, shiver my timbers, I got it. Drake was in and out of his hammock; anchors were weighed and ensigns were lowered a I over the place; and some of the epithets used to describe the unnautical nations were too nautical to publish. And nobody struck any note of false optimism. It was generally taken for granted that as a ship-owning nation we were sunk. H. A. C. Evans apologised to Cowper but to no 0 le else for writing : Toll for the ships,

The ships they launch no more To rumble down the slips On Clyde or Jarrow's shore.

Sonic comptlitors were so busy writing the !ath certificate that they omitted the cause of .tath. Not, so Rhoda Elliott, who told us

There's taxes on the cargo; There's taxes on the gin; There's taxes going out And there's taxes coming in.

Whilst Mrs. Agnes Kennett had Drake

Slung between the round shot in Old Monrovia Bay, An' dodging. arl the tax in Plymouth Hoe. Commander G. W. S. Childs, who ought to [ know, thought that even mermaids preferred to 'Iluy British, although in his amusing `Mermaid's Lament' he included the cryptic lines I sadly miss the British Tar

(Though he was often Finnish).

As the British" Merchant Navy sank with 'the Old Red Duster' 'flying, parting shots were fired Swiss, Luxembourgers, Lebanese, Lybians, 'Czechs and Austrian's. Judith Robinson put in 1 rough word for the Eskimcis, and P. M., cleverly Making a dismal forecast to the tune of `Four Jolly Sailormen,' told us : But they don't fly the British flag-the sun, lads, is set-

They're from Utah, Bolivia, Iran and Tibet.

I enjoyed J. E. Hinder's breezy entry and early gave him a prize. He had a tax-dodging =ssel registered at Chicacacuhanaville in Fre- antagrua, And as she passed at thirty knots against a nor'- east breeze,

Her owner put his whisky down and hailed us : 'If you please When next you dock in London Town just take my greetings true To HM's kind Commissioners of Inland Revenue.'

I recommend that the six guineas be shared equally among Alan M. Laing (for a near- genuine shanty); D. R. Peddy (for a rollicking song of taxation); and Christopher Place (for a straightforward lament with a personal touch). Further commendations to Douglas Hawson, S. M. Mansell and Areas, the last of whom did end on a note of defiance.



0, where's the Red Ens'n that once fluttered free? (Way-hay, let the ship drown.)

The foreigner's flag's in command of the sea (0, taxes and such have done us all down).

0, the Yankees and Wogs are all cocking their snooks (Way-hay, let the ship drown).

Since the broth of Britannia takes too many cooks (0, taxes and such have done us all down).

Come all ye Jack Tars, take your hankerchers out (Way-hay, let the ship drown).

And weep for old England : she's way up the spout (0, taxes and such have done us all down).

O happy the day when they're digging my grave (Way-hay, let the ship drown).

Since Britain no longer is ruling the wave (0, taxes and such have done us all down).


She's tramped around the sea-lanes Since 1 was just a lad, And always been the lady, like- The sweetest ship I've had. But now they've struck the Duster It's as if they'd broke 'er heart, She's vicious in a heavy sea And sullen from the start.

A ship, she got 'er pride, mate, The same as you and me, And when that pride is broken It's a shameful thing to see.

The Owner saves the taxes, see, And-that's the reason why. LIBERIA! I ask you, mate! It makes you want to cry.


I must get down to the seize again, to the way of the final demand,

And all I'll see will be Wog ships, with landlubbers in command,

And all I'll hear will be spirituals, with calypsos thrown in for measure, While cargoes of rum and bananas sail, where once there was buried treasure.

I must get down to the freeze again, to the Treasury's ceaseless strife, Where they cut off a pound-and-a-half of flesh, then stop off to whet the knife, And all I'll see is the Swiss fleet, and a North Tibetan tanker

While the Queen's tars are in home ports, and their ships are kept at anchor.

I must get down to the squeeze again, for the call of the Revenue

Is a wild call, and a clear call, and it's calling to me

and you, And all ask is a likely yarn, when I meet the Tax

Inspector, And a bold face, and a strong nerve, and nary a lie-detector.



0 I was born in Liverpool town

Where the gals are frisky when the blinds go down, But I works me ticket and draws me pay

As a black-faced red chest. from Liberi-ay I Me ma was white and me dad a dago And they brought up eleven on tripe and sago But the owner was taxed till he yelled, 'Belay! You're gonna be a red chest from Liberi-ay!'

Monrovia's only a one-hoss town And the black-eyed beauties they gets me down But the tax man he's driven the trade away. And I've got to be a red chest from Liberi-ayl • sProbablY from `Regtster.