Naval Songs & Ballads - online book

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

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Their money they had earnt full dear And could not stay another half-year.
A council then they streight did call Of pick-thanks made to please Whitehall, And there they were adjudg'd to dye ; But no man knows wherefore, nor why. What times are these ! Was't ever known 'Twas death for men to ask their own ?
Yet some seem'd milder than the rest, And told them that, their fault confest, And pardon askt and humbly crav'd, Their lives perhaps might then be sav'd ; But they their cause scorn'd to betray Or own't a crime to ask their pay.
Thus they the seamen's martyrs dyed, And would not yield to unjust pride; Their lives they rather would lay down Than yield it sin to ask their own.
Thus they for justice spent their blood
To do all future seamen good.
Wherefore let seamen all and some Keep the days of their martyrdom, And bear in mind these dismal times, When true men suffer for false crimes ; England ne'er knew the like till now, Nor e'er again the like will know.
But now suppose they had done ill, In asking pay too roughly, still When 'twas their due and need so prest, They might have pardon found at least;
The King and Queen some mercifull call,
But seamen find it not at all.
To robbers, thieves, and felons they
Freely grant pardons ev'ry day;
Only poor seamen, who alone
Do keep them on their father's throne, Must have at all no mercy shown : Nay, tho' there wants fault, they'l find one.