The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #136851   Message #3127095
Posted By: JeffB
02-Apr-11 - 03:30 PM
Thread Name: Royal Oak/Turkish Man of War/Cpt Mansfield's Fight
Subject: RE: Origins: Turkish man of war
My version goes like this :-

1        On the twenty-fourth of February the weather being clear
        we spied ten sail of Turkish men-o-war belonging to Algeer.

ch        To me ri-fol-lether-o ri-fol-lether-o ri-fol-lether-o day
                        Fother-didle-di fother-diddle-di
        To me ri-fol-lether-o ri-fol-lether-o ri-fol-lether-o day

2        "Pull down your colours you English dogs, pull 'em down do not refuse.
         Pull down your colours you English dogs or your precious lives you'll lose."

3        Our captain being a valiant man and well-bespoken he,
       "Oh we'll not die like dogs," he said, "But we'll fight them manfully."

4        The first that came to our ship's side it was a pink so clear,
       commanded by a big pasha and belonging to Algeer.

5        And the next that came to our ship's side it was the "Rose and Crown"
       but we fired into her one hard broadside and quickly sent her down.

6        Oh three we sunk and three we burned and three we chased away,
       and one we brought to Bristol Town to show we'd won the day.

7        So if anyone should then enquire as to our captain's name,
        Captain Merrifield he was called, from Bristol Town he came.

I made this note to go with it :-

This is a typical member of the "Royal Oak" family of songs. A pink is a fast-sailing flat-bottomed Mediterranean craft with narrow stern. The "Rose and Crown" could conceivably refer to the star and crescent device on an Islamic flag. Songs of this period describe any Muslim as Turk or Moor without any national distinction.

Songs of this sort could derive from an action on 29th December 1669 in which a squadron under Admiral Kempthorne defeated a flotilla of seven Algerian craft.

Hope that helps.