Saturday, August 8, 2009

Barrett's Privateers

By Stan Rogers
Rise Up Singing chapter: Seas and Sailors, p.199
Everything you need to know about this song is on this extremely well-researched page.
If for some reason that link breaks, here's a runner up.
One note: the Sherbrooke, I talk about is Sherbrooke, Québec.
Stan Rogers was talking about Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia.

C - G C / - F C G (fermata)/ C G C - / - - G F

Oh the year was 1778 (seventeen seventy eight)
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now!
A letter of marque came from the king
To the scummiest vessel I'd ever seen

G C - F / C F C F / G C G F (fermata)/ C F C F / - - G C
God damn them all! I was told
We'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns, shed no tears
Now I'm a broken man on the Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's privateers

Oh, Alcide Barrett cried the town / How I wish...
For twenty brave men, all fishermen, who
Would make for him the Antelope's crew

The Antelope sloop was a sickening sight
She'd a list to port and her sails in rags
And a cook in the scuppers with staggers and jags

On the King's birthday we put to sea
We were ninety-one days to Montego bay
Pumping like madmen all the way

On the ninety-sixth day we sailed again
When a bloody great Yankee hove in sight
With our cracked four-pounders we made to fight

The Yankee lay low down with gold
She was broad and fat and loose in stays
But to catch her took the Antelope two whole days

Then at length we stood two cables away
Our cracked four-pounders made an awful din
But with one fat ball the Yank stove us in

The Antelope shook and pitched on her side.
Barrett was smashed like a bowl of eggs
And the main truck carried off both me legs

So here I lay in my twenty-third year
It's been six years since we sailed away
And I just made Halifax yesterday

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