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
lviii          SONGS AND BALLADS
(September 1670. Diary of Dr. John Covel, p. 104, Hakluyt Society, 1893).
A play written in 1681 represents a captain on shore who makes a companion sing one of these songs. Captain Porpuss is described as ' a blunt tarpaulin captain.' When a song is proposed in the drawing-room where he happens to be, he demands a song with some sense in it—not a whining thing about Phillis or Chloris—such a song as he used to hear in the happy days when he was Captain of the Success.
' Well, she was riding at Sole Bay ; 'twas just before the fight (wherein I did such notable service); I had then a lieutenant aboard—a little dapper fellow, but as stout as Hercules; and when we met a-nights in the great cabin, over a jolly bowl of punch, the rogue would sing us the best sea-songs, and so roar 'em out! I think I've a fellow can remember one of them. Sing, Sirrah !
Blow, Boreas, blow, and let thy surly winds
Make the billows foam and roar ! Thou canst no terror breed in valiant minds ;
But, spite of thee, we'll live and find the shore. Then cheer, my hearts, and be not awed,
But keep the gun-room clear; Tho' hell's broke loose, and the devils roar abroad
Whilst we have sea-room here, boys, never fear.
There now, there's life, there's soul, there's sense. As I'm a living man, gentlemen, the rogue has foxed me three times, one after another, only by singing this song.'
(D'Urfey, Sir Barnaby Wkigg, 1681, Act i. scene i. See also Pills to Purge Melancholy, vol. i. ed. 1719, p. 96.)
This song, which was written by D'Urfey himself, was set to music by Purcell, and may be found in his Orpheus Britannicus. The same