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British navy homeward bound song sung at the capstan  

Lyrics courtesy of

Fare well and a–dieu to you fair Spanish ladies   
Fare well and a-dieu to you ladies of Spain

For we’ve received orders to sail to old England  
And hope very shortly to see you a-gain

We’ll rant and we’ll roar like true British sailors 
We’ll rant and we’ll rave across the salt seas

Till we strike soundings in the channel of old England  
From here to home is so many leagues

We hove our ship to with the wind at the sou’west boys  
We hove our ship to for to take soundings clear

In fifty-five fathoms with a fine sandy bottom  
We filled maintops’le up channel did steer…..


The first land we made was a point called the deadman   
Next Ramshead off Plymouth, Start, Portland and Wight
We sailed then by Beachie by Fairlee and Dover

Then bore straight away for South Foreland Light….


Now the signal was made for the Grand Fleet to anchor
We clewed up our tops’ls stuck out tacks and sheets

We stood by our stoppers, we brailed in our spankers  
And anchored ahead of the noblest of fleet


Let every man here drink up his full bumper
Let every man here drink up his full bowl

And let us be jolly and drown melancholy   
Drink a health to each jovial and true hearted soul…

CHORUS (Irish Songs and Chords) New Bedford, Ma. History - www.

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