Naval Songs & Ballads - online book

3 Centuries Of Naval History In Shanties & Sea Songs With Lyrics & Notes

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Wherein is described by their own hands their unfeigned penitence for their offences past, their patience in welcoming their death, and their dutiful minds towards her Majesty. Their apology for their acts is that they only attacked foreign ships and 'never made one English prey.'
Comparatively few of the ballads of the Eliza­bethan period relate to voyages of discovery ;• plunder and fighting were more attractive subjects^ to the audience for which they were intended. There is, however, A Commendation of the adven­turous Viage of the worthy Captain M. Thomas Stutely Esquire and others towards the land called Terra Florida, which appeared in 1563 (Collier, Old Ballads from Early Printed Copies, Percy Society, 1840, p. 72). Of another on the same subject, dated two years earlier, made by one beynge greatly impoverished by the viage prepared for Terra Floryday, only a fragment has survived. Thomas Cavendish's circumnavigation of the world was too remarkable a feat to escape attention, and in November 1583 two ballads upon the subject appeared. One was entitled A ballad of Master Cavendish his voyage, who by travel compassed the globe of the world arriving in England- with abundance of treasure; the other Of the famous and honourable coming of Master Cavendish's ship called the Desire before the Queens Majestie and her court at Greenwich the 12 of November 1588 (Arber, Stationers' Registers, ii. 236). Neither of these is now in existence. By a singular contrast Ralegh, whose explorations and exploits deserved celebra­tion, is only commemorated by the ballad Sir] Walter Raleigh Sailing in the Lowlands, «; romantic story about a little ship-boy of which several traditional versions exist. To a version of this which was printed in the reign of Charles II.,