This was a sentiment which was apparently not that
uncommon. There are well documented cases of girls going to sea
dressed as men. At a time when gender was almost exclusively
indicated by clothes and demeanor, and habits of hygiene allowed
cohabitation without exposure, it was certainly possible.
The Wistful One.
My window opens upon the sea
And the smell of the sea comes in to me -
And the voice of the sea that calls and calls,
And the sea's hands beating upon my walls.
Sometimes I wake in the night and hear
The sound of the sea, and it seems so near
That I wonder how I have strength of will
To listen and listen and lie so still.
I wonder how I can stay in bed
With a smoth'ring ceiling over my head!
I envy the men who can dip and ride
And drown, if they will, in the brown, salt tide.
Oh why is a half-grown lad so free
To pack his clothes and put out to sea,
While a maid must live out her life on shore
Mending and washing and sweeping the floor?
Some moonless night, when the sky is black,
I'll run away and I'll never come back;
And maybe the girl who used to be me
Will be far away, like a lad, at sea!