The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #2169   Message #8144
Posted By: LaMarca
07-Jul-97 - 10:44 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Admiral Benbow
Subject: Lyr Add: Admiral Benbow
Lance, I have a couple texts to that Admiral Benbow at home, including a couple verses that Tabor doesn't sing. It's a more detailed description of the actual battle. She leaves out the verses about the two captains who turned tail and ran; they were later court-martialed for cowardice. Here's the text Tabor sings (from memory; I'll type in amendments tomorrow if I've screwed up any of the words):

ADMIRAL BENBOW

We sailed from Virginia and thence to Fayall
Where we watered our ships and then we weighed all
Full in view on the seas, boys, seven sails we did espy
So we mannÚd our capstans and weighed speedily.

Now the first we come up on was a brigantine sloop
And we asked if the others was as big as they looked
Ah, but turning to windward, as near as we could lie
We saw there were ten men of war cruising by.

We drew up our squadron in very nice line
And so boldly we fought them for full four hours time
But the day being spent, boys, and night a-coming on
We left them alone until early next morn.

Now the very next morning the engagement proved hot
And brave Admiral Benbow received a chance* shot
And as he lay wounded to his merry men he did say,
"Take me up in your arms, boys, and carry me away!"

Oh, the guns they did rattle and the bullets did fly,
But brave Admiral Benbow for rout would not cry;
"Take me down to my cabin where there's ease for my smarts,
If my merry men see me, it would sure break their hearts."

Now, the very next morning at the break of the day
They hoisted their topsails and so bore away;
We bore to Port Royal, where the people flocked much
To see Admiral Benbow buried in Kingston Church.

So come all you brave fellows, wherever you've been,
Let us drink a good health to the King and the Queen,
And another good health to the girls that we know,
And a third in remembrance of great Admiral Benbow.

*I've seen this printed as "chance" shot but also as "chain" shot in another source. Chain shot was a particularly nasty form of ammo where several balls were linked with iron chain. When shot at ship's rigging, it would wrap itself around masts, spars, etc. and cause great damage.

I like this song quite a bit; it's a lot more interesting than the "Oh, my name it is Benbow, I did sail" versions!