When Frederic was a little lad
He proved so brave and daring,
His father thought he'd 'prentice him
To some career seafaring.
I was, alas! his nurserymaid,
And so it fell to my lot
To take and bind the promising boy
Apprentice to a pilot –
A life not bad for a hardy lad,
Though surely not a high lot,
Though I’m a nurse, you might do worse
Than make your boy a pilot.
Rosina Brandram as Ruth (1901)
I was a stupid nurserymaid,
On breakers always steering,
And I did not catch the word aright,
Through being hard of hearing;
Mistaking my instructions,
Which within my brain did gyrate,
I took and bound this promising boy
Apprentice to a pirate.
A sad mistake it was to make
And doom him to a vile lot.
I bound him to a pirate – you –
Instead of to a pilot.
I soon found out, beyond all doubt,
The scope of this disaster,
But I hadn’t the face to return to my place,
And break it to my master.
A nurserymaid is not afraid
Of what you people call work,
So I made up my mind to go as a kind
Of piratical maid-of-all-work.
And that is how you find me now,
A member of your shy lot,
Which you wouldn’t have found, had he been bound
Apprentice to a pilot.