The orphaned singer is "going home to the old country" as a sailor on Unicorn. It is hard work and hard bread for twelve days to Liverpool. At Glasgow "girls were very kind ... I bid farewell To the darned old Unicorn"
Unicorn Partial text(s) *** A *** From Helen Creighton, Songs and Ballads from Nova Scotia, #149, pp. 326-328. "Sung by Mr. Ben Henneberry, Devil's Island." When I was young and in my prime To the seas I had to go. My parents died when I was young, The truth to you I'll show. But of all the times that ever I had Since the hour that I was born, Was going home to the old country On board of the Unicorn. (6 additional stanzas)
This song is item dD46 in Laws's Appendix II. - BS
Although this seems to be an independent song, I've given it the keyword "floatingverses" because so many of the lines are commonplace. - RBW