SHINE (VARIANT #1) (ANONYMOUS TOAST) (no title, date, or location)


The iceberg that sunk the "Titanic."
Photo taken from rescue ship "Carpathia," Apr 15, 1912.

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Lyrics as reprinted in Alan Lomax (as "a bawdy rhyme, very popular in Coahoma County"), The Land Where the Blues Began, New York, NY, 1993, pp. 53-54.

It was on the fifth of May1
When the great Titanic went down.
Po Shine was on the bottom of the deck.
The captain and his mate was havin a little chat.
Po Shine ran up to the top of the deck,
Say, "Captain, captain, the water is now
Coming in the boiler room door."
He say, "Go back, Po Shine, and pump the water back;
We got one hundred and fifty-two pumps to keep the water back."
Po Shine dashed his black ass overboard and began to swim.
The captain say, "Come back, Po Shine, and save po me.
I'll make you just as rich as any son-of-a-bitch can be."
Po Shine looked back over his shoulder and said,
"What good is money to me, in the middle of the sea?"
Went right ahead.
Just then a millionaire girl walked from the bottom of the deck.
She say, "Come back, Po Shine, and save po me.
I might turn your wife, it's true."
He looked back over his shoulder and said,
"Honey, you're purty-lookin jelly roll, it's true,"
He said, "There are a thousand
In New York as good as you."
He swim right ahead.
Just then a whale, he jumped up and grinned.
Po Shine looked back
Over his shoulder again at him --
Jumped up and walked the water
Like Christ did in Galilee.

When the Titanic went down,
Po Shine was down in Harlem,
Almost damn drunk.
The Devil was laying across his bed.
He got up and walked to the door
And looked out and he said,
"They been a long time comin,
But they welcome to Hell."

1The Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, not on May 5.

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