#00571
The Bold Princess Royal (Helen Creighton) video
See also: Kelly The Pirate (Kenneth Peacock)
#1562: YouTube video by raymondcrooke ©2010
~ Used with permission ~

midi file   alt: midi file

On the fourteenth of February we sailed from the land
On the bold Princess Royal bound for Newfoundland;
With forty brave seamen for our ship's company
From the eastward to the westward, and so sailed we.
With forty brave seamen for our ship's company
From the eastward to the westward, and so sailed we.

On the eighteenth of February so fair blew the sky
When the man from our masthead a sail he did spy;
She came bearing down on us for to see what we were,
And under her mizzen-peak black colors she wore.
She came bearing down on us for to see what we were,
And under her mizzen-peak black colors she wore.

"Good Lord!" Cries our captain, "What shall we do now?
Here comes a bold pirate to rob us, I know!."
"Oh no!" cries our first mate, "That never can be so,
We will shake out a reef, boys, and from her we'll go."
"Oh no!" cries our first mate, "That never can be so,
We will shake out a reef, boys, and from her we'll go."

In time this bold pirate she hove alongside,
With a loud-speaking trumpet, "Whence come you?" she cried,
Our captain being aft, my boys, he answered her so:
"We are come from fair London and are bound for Callao."
Our captain being aft, my boys, he answered her so:
"We are come from fair London and are bound for Callao."

"Then back your main-topsail and heave your ship to,
For I have got some letters to send home by you."
"I will back my main-topsail and heave my ship to,
But it will be in some harbour, not alongside of you."
"I will back my main-topsail and heave my ship to,
But it will be in some harbour, not alongside of you."

They chased us to windward, they chased us that day,
They chased us to windward but could not make way;
They fired shots after us, but none could prevail,
For the bold Princess Royal soon showed them her tail.
They fired shots after us, but none could prevail,
For the bold Princess Royal soon showed them her tail.

"Thank God!" cries our captain, "Now the pirates are gone,
Go down to your grog, boys, go down everyone;
Go down to your grog, boys, and be of good cheer,
For it's while we have sea-room, brave boys, never fear."
Go down to your grog, boys, and be of good cheer,
For it's while we have sea-room, brave boys, never fear."

####.... Variant of a 19th-century British broadside ballad [Laws K29] American Balladry From British Broadsides (G Malcolm Laws, 1957). Also a variant of a British broadside ballad, The Bold Princess Royal, published by H Disley (London) sometime between 1860 and 1863 and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Firth c.12(63) ....####
Collected by Helen Creighton [1899-1989] and published in Songs And Ballads From Nova Scotia (Dent, 1932; Dover 1966).

A variant was collected in 1958 from George Decker of Rocky Harbour, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.835-837, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that the Princess Royal was named after Queen Victoria's daughter, but for some reason the ship is called Prince of Royal in Newfoundland. Peacock also noted that Bold Manone puts in another appearance in this ballad after his crushing defeat of Captain Craig (See William Craig And Bold Manone).

A variant was also collected in 1929 from Manuel Roberts of Wesleyville, NL, aboard the SS Sagona, and published as #35, The Bold Princess Royal (pp.78-80) in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland, by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1933; and Folklore Associates, Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1968).

A variant was arranged and recorded by Mike Hanrahan of St John's, NL, (Freeing Lonesome Tune, trk#3, 2009, Independent, recorded at Rabbittown Theatre, The Sound Solution, Source4Sound).

The video above features a live performance by Anita Best at the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, 2010.



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