“The Shaver”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1961 (Hugill)
Keywords: shanty sailor homosexuality youth desertion abuse sex
Found in: Britain


Capstan shanty. Tells of going to sea "when I was just a hairless boy," getting kicked around, enduring bad weather, and jumping ship at the first chance. Cho: "When I was just a shaver, a shaver. Oh, I was fed up with sea, when I was just a shaver."


Hugill says he left out several unprintable verses dealing with homosexual themes which, however common in practice, were rarely sung about. - SL

It sounds, based on Hugill's notes, as if the original did not use the word "shaver," but rather an obscenity, presumably referring to a catamite. I have added keywords on that basis. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Hugill, pp. 338-339, "The Shaver" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #9534
  3. BI, Hugi338