Often referred to as Liverpool's unofficial national anthem, this rollicking song must be known to every Liverpudlian who recognizes the phrase "folk music" (a fragment of it was, after all, recorded by the Beatles). Those familiar with the song maintain adamantly that there exist a number of obscene verses which serve to fill out the missing episodes of the tale; unfortunately, none of them actually know these apochryphal lyrics. The piece is much rarer in print than in oral tradition. Hugill expresses surprise that it is not mentioned by other collectors, but redresses the imbalance somewhat by including several sets himself.
Come gather round, you sailor lads, and listen to my plea,
And when you've heard my tale you'll pity me,
I was a bloody fool in the port of Liverpool,
The first time that I came home from sea.
We was paid off at the Home, from the port of Sierra Leone,
And three pounds ten a week, it was my pay,
With a pocket full of tin, I was very soon taken in
By a girl with the name of Maggie May.
Oh Maggie, Maggie May, they have taken her away,
To walk upon Van Diemen's cruel shore,
She robbed so many sailors, and dosed so many whalers,
And she'll never roam down Lime Street any more.
Oh, well do I remember when I first met Maggie May,
She was cruising up and down old Canning Place,
With a figure so divine, like a frigate of the line,
And me, being a sailor, I gave chase.
Next morning I awoke, I was flat and stony broke,
No jacket, trousers, waistcoat could I find,
When I asked her where they were, she said: My very dear sir,
They're down in Kelly's Pawnshop, Number Nine.
To the pawnshop I did go, but no clothes there could I find,
And the police came and took that girl away,
And the judge he guilty found her of robbing a homeward-bounder,
And he paid her passage back to Botany Bay.