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JWB Sailors' Songs or Chanties- Songbook Index (100* d) RE: Sailors' Songs or Chanties- Index 13 May 10

Guest Sam,

In Terry's Salt Sea Ballads the song "The Lion man-o'-war" has 6 verses. They are a variant of the song I know as "Warlike Seamen", which is in the Copper Family's repertoire. The melody Terry gives is not very close to the Coopers's tune.

Here's Terry's version:

We hadn't sailed twenty or thirty miles from shore,
Before we spied a large ship and down on us she bore.
She hailèd us in French, my boys, and askèd whence we came.
"We've just come round from Plymouth Sound, and the Lion is our name."

"Are you the Lion man-o'-war, as we suppose you be?"
"We are the Lion man-o'-war as you shall quickly see."
"Then haul your colours from the mast and come along with me,
Or we'll sink the Lion man-o'-war to the bottom of the sea."

Then up and spoke our captain and unto us did say
"Cheer up, cheer up, my merry men, we'll show them British play;
If this had been mine own brothèr the battle should have been tried;
Let every man stand true to his gun, and we'll give them a broadside."

The broadside was given, my boys, which made them all to wonder,
To see their fore-to'-gallant mast come bowling down like thunder.
We beat them from their quarters, no longer could they stay,
And the red hot shot poured in so hot, as we showed them British play.

"Oh now I plainly see you are a vessel of renown;
My ports are all knocked into one and I'll haul my colours down,
And my good sword I'll give to you, and we must go ashore,
And in the prison we will stay, and go to France no more."

So this large ship was taken, in Plymouth Sound 'twas moored;
We drank success and liberty to all that live on shore,
And hauling down the French colours, to hoist the red, white and blue,
We'll drink success unto the Lion and all her jolly crew.


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