I guess I should have posted this sea song — apparently, it ain't a shanty — for Trafalgar Day (21st October). But here goes anyway. This is certainly rousing and someone has posted it with some pretty good graphics at YouTube. I found looking around the Net that the song has also been posted by a site called The Art of Manliness … which sounds pretty primal to me. ;-)

There are also Canadian, American and Australian versions of this sailors' song (links to follow). Here's the original:




That video uses a recording by an American choir called Robert Shaw & Robert Shaw Chorale; and, to be frank, I doubt any English performers could sing it so well. The American singers here sound rather like English Westcountrymen, who had a strong seafaring tradition, so that their voices sound right for this to me.

Lyrics:

Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish Ladies,
Farewell and adieu to you, ladies of Spain;
For we’ve received orders for to sail for old England,
But we hope in a short time to see you again.

Chorus:
We’ll rant and we’ll roar like true British sailors,
We’ll rant and we’ll roar all on the salt seas.
Until we strike soundings in the channel of old England;
From Ushant to Scilly is thirty-five leagues.

We hove our ship to with the wind from sou’west, boys
We hove our ship to, our soundings for to see;
Then the signal was made for the Grand Fleet to anchor,
And all in the Downs that night for to be.

chorus

Now let every man toss off a full bumper,
Now let every man toss of a full bowl,
And we’ll drink and be merry and drown melancholy,
Singing here’s a good health to all true-hearted souls.

chorus
Alternative Canadian, American and Australian versions here:

We'll Rant And We'll Roar

The tune used for this has also been used for an American nineteenth-century sentimental ballad called The Streets of Laredo. But no link: I couldn't find a version on YouTube that didn't make me wince: I had to hit stop after a few seconds of Johnny Cash. Pete Seeger would probably do it well, but couldn't find a version by him on YouTube.