Rogue’s Gallery: The Art of the Siren, #9
Capstan shanty. Earliest known reference in the logbook of the Nellie of 1796 (though a ballad by the same name, registered in England December 14, 1624 with the Stationers’ Company, may also be related to it). Opening Chapter 40: Midnight, Forecastle of Moby-Dick.
Song: Bill Frisell: Spanish Ladies (2:22 minutes)
from Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, ANTI- 2006.
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Image: William-Adolphe Bouguereau: Femme Coquillage, 1885.
Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish Ladies,
Farewell and adieu to you, ladies of Spain;
For we’ve received orders for to sail for old England,
But we hope in a short time to see you again.
Chorus: We will rant and we’ll roar like true British sailors,
We’ll rant and we’ll roar all on the salt sea.
Until we strike soundings in the channel of old England;
From Ushant to Scilly is thirty five leagues.
We hove our ship to with the wind from sou’west, boys
We hove our ship to, deep soundings to take;
‘Twas forty-five fathoms , with a white sandy bottom,
So we squared our main yard and up channel did make. — Chorus.
The first land we sighted was called the Dodman,
Next Rame Head off Plymouth, off Portsmouth the Wight;
We sailed by Beachy, by Fairlight and Dover,
And then we bore up for the South Foreland light. — Chorus.
Then the signal was made for the grand fleet to anchor,
And all in the Downs that night for to lie;
Let go your shank painter, let go your cat stopper!
Haul up your clewgarnets, let tacks and sheets fly! — Chorus.
Now let ev’ry man drink off his full bumper,
And let ev’ry man drink off his full glass;
We’ll drink and be jolly and drown melancholy,
And here’s to the health of each true-hearted lass. — Chorus.