Naval Songs & Ballads - online book

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

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Guerriere by the Constitution on August 19, 1812, was the subject of an American song subsequently reprinted as a broadside in London (p. 309). The capture of the Chesapeake by the Shannon in June 1, 1813, was the subject of three English ballads, two of which are here reprinted (p. 311). The metre of the best known is the same as that of the song on the Constitution and Guerriere, and one was-evidently intended as an answer to the other, though it appears uncertain which was published first. The last of the series narrates the capture of the President on January 15, 1815, and is called The Endymioris Triumph. It just mentions the existence of the rest of the squadron, but does not attribute any part in the result of the fight to the Pomone or the Tenedos (p. 313).
Peace was not wholly welcome either to the younger officers or to some of the sailors. In 1815, as in 1763 there were some who openly expressed their regret. One example is a parody of Dibdin, entitled The Midshipman s Lamentation. It begins ' What is it to you if my eye I am piping ?' If the peace is a fact he trembles to think what his next station will be :
' Four years of my time I've served and better,
But what's that to me ? Why, it's not worth a groat.
Besides, to the purser I am a great debtor— I have not yet paid for my cockt hat and coat.'
No resource will be left him except to turn shoe­black :
' How oft in the cabin I've studied navigation Out of a book writ by John Hamilton Moore,
But now I'm afraid I shall soon take my station With my brushes and black ball close to my door.' {Madden Collection, Cambridge.)