The Acoustic Music Archive

Fountains Flowing (Our Captain Calls All Hands) - Chords, Lyrics and Origins


Although a regular churchgoer, I have never really been a great fan of the hymn 'To be a Pilgrim'.  Something about it has always seemed a bit shallow to me.  I guess it's about overcoming difficulties on the road to redemption, and, for me anyway, it seems to trivialize those difficulties.  The tune, when played on a church organ, always seems a bit too strident and somehow too symmetrical for my taste.  All of that changed, however, when I heard the folk version.  Going by two names, 'Fountains Flowing' and 'Our Captain Cries all Hands', it has been recorded by Martin CarthyJune Tabor (with and without The Oysterband) and others. I won't say too much about the origins.  You can find that out here and here.  But I will say that, when played on a stringed instrument that strident melody suddenly develops a delicate beauty, and the words are to die for.


Capo at 2nd Fret

C                                F          C            G7   C

Our captain calls all hands to sail tomorrow,

C                                F          C                  G7  C
Leaving my dear to mourn in grief and sorrow

Am7               Em7  Am7
Dry up those bridy tears and

C                                   G7
Leave off weeping,

      C         F            G7     C             G7   C
So happy we may be at our next meeting


Our captain calls all hands to sail tomorrow,
Leaving my dear to mourn in grief and sorrow.
Dry up those bridy tears and leave off weeping,
So happy we may be at our next meeting

How can you go abroad, fighting for strangers?
You'd do well to stay at home, free from all dangers.
You courted me a while just to deceive me.
Now my poor heart you've won, you're bound to leave me.

Down on the ground she fell like one a-dying,
All tearing of her hair, weeping and sighing.
There's no believeing one, not your own brother,
So girls if you must love, love one another.

I said goodbye my dear, father and mother.
I am your only son; I have no brother,
But don't you weep for me, for I am going
To everlasting joy and fountains flowing.


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