1855 | Nantucket, MA

The Good Life

The benefits of wedding a sailor.

I have made up my mind now to be a sailor’s wife,
To have a purse full of money and a very easy life,
For a clever sailor husband is so seldom at his home,
That his wife can spend the dollars with a will that’s all her own,
Then I’ll haste to wed a sailor, and send him off to sea,
For a life of independence is the pleasant life for me, 
But every now and then I shall like to see his face,
For it always seems to me to beam with manly grace,
With his brow so nobly open, and his dark and kindly eye,
Oh my heart beats fondly toward him whenever he is nigh,
But when he says, “Goodbye, my love, I’m off across the sea,”
First I cry for his departure, then laugh because I’m free,
Yet I’ll welcome him most gladly, whenever he returns
And share with him so cheerfully all the money that he earns
For he’s a loving husband, though he leads a roving life
And well I know how good it is to be a sailor’s wife.

About This Text

“The Nantucket Girls Song.” These lines were recorded by Eliza Brock, who was married to the master of the Nantucket ship Lexington, in a journal she kept during a whaling trip between 1853 and 1856. It appears toward the end of her journal, with the name Martha Ford and the region in which Brock had made Ford’s acquaintance. It is not known if Ford was the author of the poem or if she merely had related it to Brock.