Notes: (taken from Shanties
of the Seven Seas (Hugill) and Folk Songs and
Ballads of Scotland) This is a Capstan Chantey. It is also well
known in the navy, where it is sung as a song, chanteys not being permitted. Captain
Kettlewell, R.N., who has made a special study of this song, has told Sharp that when it
is sung on board ship, the conclusion of the chorus is, or always used to be, greeted with
a shot of "Heave and pawl!". (The pawl is the catch which prevents
the recoil of the windlass).
The distances given from Ushant to Scilly by different collectors are:
34 leagues - Davis & Tozer, Hugill;
35 leagues - Sharp, whall, Sampson, Shell;
45 leagues - Bullen.
Sharp and Whall give 45 fathoms as the depth of the Channel. A version altered to suit a Bluenose ship approaching its homeport was to be heard among Nova Scotian seamen fifty years ago.
Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish ladies,
Farewell and adieu to you, ladies of Spain;
For we have received orders to sail to old England,
But we hope in a short time to see you again.
cho: We'll rant and we'll roar like true British sailors,
We'll rant and we'll roar across the salt seas;
Until we strike soundings in the Channel of old England:
From Ushant to Scilly 'tis thirty-five leagues.
Then we hove our ship to, with the wind at sou'-west, my boys,
Then we hove our ship to, for to strike soundings clear;
Then we filled the main topsail and bore right away, my boys,
And straight up the Channel of old England did steer.
So the first land we made it is called the Deadman,
Next Ram Head off Plymouth, Start, Portland and the Wight;
We sailed hy Beachy, by Fairly and Dungeness,
And then bore away for the South Foreland light.
Now the signal it was made for the Grand Fleet to anchor,
All on the Downs that night for to meet;
Then stand by your stoppers, see clear your shank-painters,
Haul all your clew garnets, stick out tacks and sheets.
Now let every man drink up his full bottle,
Let every man drink up his full bowl;
For we will be jolly and drown melancholy,
With a health to each jovial and true-hearted soul.