Toll for the Brave
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


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This tune is a march written by George Frederick Handel for Scipio (1725). The words were written by William Cowper in 1782 to commemorate the tragic loss of the ship the Royal George.

The Royal George was launched in 1756 and had a distinguished career in the Seven Years War. At the time of her sinking in 1782, she was the flagship of Admiral Richard Kempenfelt. Kempenfelt had been promoted Rear Admiral following his victory over a French convoy off Ushant in 1781. The ship sank while anchored off shore for repairs, with a loss of the Admiral and 800 men.

Richard Kempenfelt was of Swedish descent. In addition to being an Admiral, he wrote several hymns published in, Original Hymns and Poems. By Philotheorus (1777).

Toll for the Brave!
Brave that are no more,
All sunk beneath the wave;
Fast by their native shore!
Eight hundred of the Brave,
Whose courage well was tried,
Had made the vessel heel,
And laid her on her side,
A land breeze shook the shrouds,
And she was overset,
Down went the Royal George
With all her crew complete.

Toll for the Brave!
The Brave that are no more,
All sunk beneath the wave
Fast by their native shore!


Toll for the Brave!
Brave Kempenfelt is gone;
His last sea fight is fought;
His work of glory done.
It was not in the battle,
No tempest gave the shock,
She sprang no fatal leak,
She ran upon no rock.
His sword was in his sheath,
His fingers held the pen,
When Kempenfelt went down,
With twice four hundred men.

Toll for the Brave!
The Brave that are no more,
All sunk beneath the wave
Fast by their native shore!


Weigh the vessel up,
Once dreaded by our foes,
And mingle with our cup
The tears that England owes.
Her timbers yet are sound,
And she may float again,
Full charg'd with England's thunder,
And plough the distant main.
But Kempenfelt is gone,
His victories are o'er,
And he and his eight hundred
Must plough the wave no more.

Toll for the Brave!
The Brave that are no more,
All sunk beneath the wave
Fast by their native shore!


Related Links
From The Scottish Student's Songbook
See Bibliography for full information.