The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #123746   Message #2727592
Posted By: Artful Codger
20-Sep-09 - 05:20 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: British Man of War
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: British Man of War
The Bodley has quite a number of copies of BMoW. One of their copies of Susan's answer is dated between 1833 and 1841, so we know BMoW must have been written at least by 1841.

This song could have predated the Opium Wars, considering that bands of well-organized Chinese pirates had long threatened British trade in that region; I doubt colonial minds would have drawn much distinction between Chinese pirates and the Chinese nation in general. But the "British flag is insulted" and "walls of China" lines suggest a more formal confrontation.

BTW, the tune for the Canadian version posted at the GEST site is quite different from the one Bellamy uses; it's in major rather than Aeolian/Dorian, and sprightly, an odd contrast to the lyrics.