Gals of Tavera Prose in Tamaris | World Anvil

Gals of Tavera

There was a ship, the Eliza Lee With forty-eight cannons and a hull so green She sailed for Tavera in a land so free With women by the dozens sitting 'pon my knee   Tis sixty days by an easterly gale Through the eye of the storm and across the vale It's a land without war for I long so dear Tavera my home is so very near   A pretty Verona her eyes so dark She opens her mouth and sings like a lark She dances with fire her skirts all a-twirl But it's money she needs and marries and earl   Odette she can cook for a beggar or king In return all she asks is you grace her a ring She'll cry and she'll wave every time you set sail But I want my freedom no children no veil   Mashas are big in waist and in height She'll clean and she'll wash when there's no man in sight Never make a fuss, no if you please It's the army that she wants and a man ne'er at ease   In Galasi there are lovers ever so fine Bosoms quite full and big behinds They'll steal your heart all free and fancy Next time you're in port they're with the other dandy   And then I met my Betty Jane with beauty like a daisy She works all day and works all night and very rarely lazy She's Astor stock with a face so like a faerie All I want and all I need, she's the girl I'm going to marry

The first known record of Gals of Tavera comes from the diary of Boatswain's Mate Henry Mayor. In it, he describes a fo'c'sle man singing about a mythical island called Tavera where there are women of all sorts. In true seafaring fashion, the song continues with the sailor visiting the whole continent and meeting various girls, but none of them quite live up to his expectations. Now, the song has taken on a slightly new meaning. It describes the stereotypes of women of various nationalities ending with an Astorian woman who makes for the perfect sailor's wife. A second lesser known version exists in which the story is about getting to Tavera. In that version, many believe it to be an allusion to heaven and the trials of life.

Cover image: by Alishahr


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