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The Walloping Window Blind

[ Roud 19559 ; Ballad Index FSWB243 ; words Charles Edward Carryl]

Debra Cowan sang Walloping Window Blind—collected by Helen Hartness Flanders on 27 August 1943 from Lena Bourne Fish of East Jaffrey, New Hampshire—in 2005 on her album of songs from the Flanders Collection, Dad’s Dinner Pail. She noted:

Originally a poem by Charles Carryl, this song was sung by children in schools at the beginning of the 20th century. We’re not quite sure about the origin of the first two verses in Mrs. Fish’s version. Out of all the source singers that I had listened to, Mrs. Fish was my favorite. She sang with exuberance and a confidence that came through in the recordings. She contributed over 150 songs to the Flanders Collection and also sang for collectors Anne and Frank Warner. This song grabbed my attention with the line, “I’m off to my love with a boxing glove”.


Debra Cowan sings Walloping Window Blind

A new ship lies anchored in the bay
While the captain and mate did dine.
And hearty was the grog that filled their mugs
But one thing disturbed their minds.
At the Mariners’ Inn while they both sat in
And the talk was quite unkind,
For amid their cheers they would often hear
A walloping window blind.

Chorus (after each verse):
So blow you winds high ho,
A-roving I will go.
I’ll stay no more on England’s shore
So let the music play.
I’m off on the morning train,
I’ll cross the raging main,
For I’m off to my love with the boxing gloves
Ten thousand miles away.

Said the captain to the mate, “It must be fate
For our ship is un-named you know.
And the walloping blind disturbs my mind
When the raging winds doth blow.”
“To hell with fate,” said the sturdy mate,
“Such trifles we will not mind.
O’er the waves we’ll skip and we’ll name our ship
The Walloping Window Blind.”

Now a capital ship for an ocean trip
Is the Walloping Window Blind.
No gale that blew disturbed her crew
Or troubled the captain’s mind.
And the man at the wheel was said to feel
Contempt for the wind that blow,
For it often appeared when the gale had cleared
That he’d been in his bunk below.

The bosun and the mate were very sedate,
Yet fond of amusement too;
And they played hopscotch on the starboard watch
While the captain tickled the crew.
And the gunner we had was apparently mad
For he’d sit on the after-rail,
And fire salutes with the captain’s boots
In the teeth of a blooming gale.