Next time you’re out skylarking, give a thought to the scurvy little sailor lads of George III’s navy:
“Skylarking” comes from a time when
…it was thought that to reduce scurvy soldiers should exercise themselves, so, in the evenings, they were ordered to dance the hornpipe to the tune of the “Song and Skylark”. This of course produced merriment and relaxation, and continued, subject to the captain’s orders, long after the ration of lime-juice had been introduced.
Jean Harrowven Origins of Rhymes, Songs and Sayings
and thanks to my learned friend John who gave me the book.