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A new Spanish tragedy
Wood 401 (137), B.L., two woodcuts, four columns.
In a MS. note Wood dates the ballad "1640 or 41." It was, however, licensed to John Stafford as "a New Spanish Tragedy or the late fight betwixt the Spaniards and Hollanders" on October 15, 1639 (Arber's Transcript, iv, 484). Five other ballads on this event were entered on the same day: only one of them—Martin Parker's "A Lamentable Relation of a Fearful Fight at Sea, upon our English Coast, Between the Spaniard and the Hollander... .To the Tune of Let us to the Wars againe" (cf. No. 73)—appears to be extant. It begins "In every place where men did meet," and is reprinted in Ballads from the Collections of Sir James Balfour, pp. 8-12. Ballads dealing with the first naval engagement of September 6 had been registered on September 16 and September 23 (Arber's Transcript, iv, 478, 480). Of the two ballads registered on the latter day, one is preserved. It is entitled "A famous Sea-fight: OR, [A Bloo]dy Battell, which was fought between the Spaniard [and th]e Hollander, beginning on the sixth day of this present month of September, 163 being Friday.. . .To the Tune of Brave Lord ffilloughiy." It begins "Give ear you lusty gallants, my purpose is to tell," was printed by Francis Grove, is signed by John Lookes, and is preserved (though somewhat mutilated) in the Manchester Collection.
Price's spirited ballad is a good verse rendering of a news-pamphlet: it gives abundant information; and though this information came to him at second hand, his ballad is almost as satisfactory a document to a modern student of history as it was to a news-hungry throng of listeners in Charles I's time. The occasion for the ballad was this: Sir John Pennington, English Admiral guarding the Narrow Seas, was lying in the Downs when the Spanish fleet for Dunkirk, with troops on board, was driven into the Downs, on September 6, by the Dutch fleet under Trump. The latter fleet also anchored there. Pennington insisted that the neutrality of the roadstead be observed. On October 11, however, after receiving large reinforcements from Holland, Trump attacked and destroyed the Spanish fleet, while Pennington helplessly looked on. He had no instructions, indeed, to do anything else, though apparendy he favoured Spain. The victory of the Dutch was received in England with joy, for some people there believed that the Spaniards had come, at the invitation of Charles I, to crush English liberty.