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Ixxvi SONGS AND BALLADS
two small merchantmen fought extraordinarily gallant and successful actions against French privateers, which were celebrated in contemporary ballads (pp. 187, 189).
' In January Captain Cobb in the Bacchus, bound from Oporto to Lynn, being attacked by a Spanish privateer, of ten guns and 120 men, maintained a fight of four hours, with only fourteen men and two boys ; and though the privateer boarded him, he cleared his ship by killing several of the enemy. Soon after, one of his shot took place so luckily, that the privateer suddenly foundered, and all he could do was to save about thirty of the Spaniards, who the next day treacherously rose upon him. However, after an obstinate fight, in which eleven were killed, he subdued the rest and brought them into Dartmouth, where this brave man died of the wounds he received in this last action.
' In June, one Richard Hornby, master of a small vessel bound from Yarmouth to Rotterdam, mounting six guns, and having only five men and three boys, was attacked on the coast of Holland by the Marquis de Brancos, a French privateer of eighteen guns and seventy-five men, against whom he defended himself bravely for four hours, repulsing the enemy, who attempted to board him twice. At length a shot of his entering the privateer's powder-room, she blew up, and all her crew perished. This action being represented by the Lords of the Admiralty to his Majesty, he was pleased to reward Captain Hornby with a gold chain and medal of 200/. value.'
(Boyse, ii. 114.)
To this period also belong several ballads commemorating disasters at sea, or escapes from shipwreck. Admiral Cavendish's distress on board the Canterbury (p. 168) must have been written in the year 1728. It is interesting because its metre is probably an imitation of that of You Gentlemen of England, while the refrain,' In the Bay of Biscay O,' evidently inspired the well-known song of that name written by Andrew Cherry (Stone, Sea Songs, ■ p. 32). The latter was first sung by Incledon in