Thistle in the Wallet

Erith Yacht Club

The finest sailing water on the tidal Thames

Club Ship 'Folgefonn'

Anchor Bay,

Erith, Kent, DA8 2AD

Tel 01322 332943

Secretary Tel 0208 310 2686

email - secretary@erithyachtclub.org.uk

High Barbary

There were two lofty ships that from old England came
Blow high blow low and so sail we
One was the Prince of Luther and the other Prince of Wales
Sailing down along the coast of High Barbary

Aloft there aloft our jolly Bosun cried
Blow high blow low and so sail we
Look ahead and look astern a weather and a lee
Look down along the coast of High Barbary

Oh there's naught upon the stern and naught upon the lee
Blow high blow low and so sail we
But there's a lofty ship to windward and she's sailing fast and free
Sailing down along the coast of High Barbary

Oh hail her oh hail her our jolly Captain cried
Blow high blow low and so sail we
Are you a man of war or a privateer say he
Sailing down along the coast of High Barbary

I'm not a man of war or a privateer says he
Blow high blow low and so sail we
But I'm a salt sea pirate a looking for me fee
Looking down along the coast of High Barbary

So twas broadside to broadside as hour on hour they lay
Blow high blow low and so sail we
Until the Price of Luther shot the pirates mast away
Sailing down along the coast of High Barbary

For quarter, for quarter the pirate then he cried
Blow high blow low and so sail we
The quarter that we gave them we sunk them in the sea
Sunk them down along the coast of High Barbary

An oh it was a cruel site and grived us full sore
Blow high blow low and so sail we
To see them all a drowning as they tried to swim ashore
Drowning down along the coast of High Barbary
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There are many variants of this song, the collector Francis J Child had noted a song The George Aloe and the Sweepstake. There is an entry in the Stationers' Register January 14, 1595 for a ballad The Soldier's Joy. The entry states that this ballad is to be sung to the tune The George Aloe and the Sweepstake. This original ballad refers to two merchant vessels, The George Aloe, and The Sweepstake which were bound for Safee. The George Aloe anchored but the Sweepstake continued, being overtaken by a French ship. Her crew was thrown overboard. The George Aloe then pursued the French ship and defeated her. Though the French crew begged for mercy the English replied they would show them the same mercy that the French showed the crew of the Sweepstake. The ballad was given new words and experienced a resurgence of popularity in America between the years of 1795 and 1815 - when Barbary pirates were attacking American ships. America (and most other nations) paid tribute to the pirates until the government took action in 1801. The pirates were not completely defeated until 1815. Stan Hugill says this is not normally considered a shanty. He does, however, and collected a capstain shanty variant High Harbaree. The words listed here are those from Bob Roberts version

Midi Sequence Credit - Lesley Nelson Burns

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