Admiral Benbow
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


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The tune is related to Jack Hall which is dated around 1719. Because Admiral Benbow died in 1702 (Hall was executed in 1701), Sharp supposes that Jack Hall is the earlier tune.

The tune and word patterns are very similar to:

Admiral John Benbow died in 1702. He was the son of a tanner in Shropshire who became admiral. During a battle with the French in the West Indes, all but one of his captains (including Wade and Kirkby) refused to pursue the French as ordered. Captain Walton of the Ruby pursued with Benbow until the Ruby was disabled. Benbow was wounded and his captains persuaded him to give up the chase. However, when they returned to Jamaica he had two of the captains court-martialed (another died before the trial) and shot. Two were suspended. Benbow later died of his wounds.

Come all you seamen bold
and draw near, and draw near,
Come all you seamen bold and draw near.
It's of an admiral's fame,
O brave Benbow was his name,
How he fought all on the main,
you shall hear, you shall hear.

Brave Benbow he set sail
For to fight, for to fight
Brave Benbow he set sail for to fight.
Brave Benbow he set sail
with a fine and pleasant gale
But his captains they turn'd tail
in a fright, in a fright.

Says Kirby unto Wade:
We will run, we will run
Says Kirby unto Wade, we will run.
For I value no disgrace,
nor the losing of my place,
But the enemy I won't face,
nor his guns, nor his guns.

The Ruby and Benbow
fought the French, fought the french
The Ruby and Benbow fought the French.
They fought them up and down,
till the blood came trickling down,
Till the blood came trickling down
where they lay, where they lay.

Brave Benbow lost his legs
by chain shot, by chain shot
Brave Benbow lost his legs by chain shot.
Brave Benbow lost his legs,
And all on his stumps he begs,
Fight on my English lads,
'Tis our lot, 'tis our lot.

The surgeon dress'd his wounds,
Cries Benbow, cries Benbow
The surgeon dress'd his wounds, cries Benbow.
Let a cradle now in haste,
on the quarterdeck be placed
That the enemy I may face
'Til I die, 'Til I die.
Related Links
From One Hundred English Folksongs
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