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JWB Lyr Req: The Montague (and other shipwreck songs) (16) Lyr Add: CAPTAIN BARTON'S DISTRESS ON BOARD THE... 16 Jul 04


Here's one about shipwreck and slavery, from Roy Palmer's "Oxford Book of Sea Songs" (recently republished as "Boxing the Compass").

CAPTAIN BARTON'S DISTRESS ON BOARD THE LICHFIELD

being under Slavery seventeen months and fourteen days

Come all you brave seamen that ploughs on the main,
Give ear to my story so true to maintain,
Concerning the Lichfield that was cast away
On the Barbary shore by the dawn of the day.

The tenth of November, the weather being fine,
We sailed from Kinsale, five ships of the line,
With two bombs and two frigates, with transports also,
We was bound unto Goree to fight our proud foe.

The twenty-ninth of November by the dawn of the light
We spied land that put us in a fright.
We strove for to weather but we run quite aground;
The seas mountain high made our sorrow abound.

Our masts we cut away our wreck for to ease,
And being exposed to the mercy of the seas,
Where one hundred and thirty poor seamen did die,
Whilst we all for mercy most loudly did cry.

Two hundred and twenty of us got on shore;
No sooner we landed but were stripped by the Moors,
Without any subsistence but dead hogs and sheep
That was drove on shore by the sea from the ship.

For seven days together with us did remain,
Our bodies quite naked for to increase our pain,
'Til some Christian merchant that lives in the land
Sent us relief by his bountiful hand.

Unto our fleet the same fate did share,
Then unto Morocco we all marched there,
Where they are captives in slavery to be
'Til old England thought proper for to set them free.

When the black king we all came before
He stroked his long beard, by Mahomet he swore,
"They are all stout and able, and fit for the hoe.
Pray to my gardens, pray let them go."

We had cruel Moors our drivers to be.
By the dawn of the day at the hoe we must be
Until four o'clock in the afternoon,
Without any remission, boys. Work was our doom.

If that you offer for to strike a Moor,
Straightway to the king they will have you before,
Where they will bastinade you 'til you have your fill.
If that will not do you, blood they will spill.

So now in Morocco we shall remain
Until our ambassador cross the main,
Where our ransom he'll bring, and soon set us free,
And then to Gibraltar we will go speedily.

So now, my brave boys, to old England we're bound.
We will have store of liquors our sorrow to drown.
We will drink a good health. Success never fail.
Success to the bawds and the whores of Kinsale.


No tune given by Palmer. I sing it to the tune of "The Silk Merchant's Daughter" -- which is also a shipwreck, disaster at sea with cannibalism song.

Jerry


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