Naval Songs & Ballads - online book

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

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Easter Hymns

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
INTRODUCTION               xliii
the Duke of York, are amongst the Luttrell collection in the British Museum. Like a sturdy oak, stricken by thunder, says the poet, Harman's body fell on the deck, but his soul flew upwards to heaven, and the other dead British heroes helped him in to the mansions of the blest,
' Lawson, Minnes, Spragge and many more beside, As soon as they the labouring soul espied, Let down their beams, and pointed out the way To the bright mansions of Eternal Day.'
Our last ballad of the reign of Charles II. is The Benjamin s Lamentation. Though no ship of that name can be found in the lists of the navy, it will serve as an example of the class of ballads relating to shipwrecks, and its metrical form is of some interest. Possibly it is an early chanty.
The short reign of James II. affords us only two ballads of interest, both of which come from the collections of Samuel Pepys. One relates the pro­sperous hunt of William Phipps for the treasure of a Spanish galleon wrecked in the Bahamas (p. 96). He sailed in September 1686 in a King's ship called the James and Mary, returning in June 1687 with cargo valued at 300,000/. (Luttrell's Diary, i. 407-8; Hutchison, Massachusetts Bay, i. 397 ; Ellis, Cor­respondence, i. 295, 325). James knighted him on June 28, 1687. The second is still more interesting, for it shows that even in time of peace the hostility of the Spaniards to the English in the West Indies was so great that a man of war was treacherously attacked as it lay in a Spanish harbour. The Dartmouth, the vessel in question, was a fifth-rate, carrying twenty-eight guns, and according to a note by Pepys the ballad was composed by Hovenden Walker (subsequently Rear-Admiral of the White) who was then serving on board her (p. 92).