Dalhousie University Archives

The Fourteenth of February

[Page 227]

The Fourteenth of February 1

On the fourteenth day of February,
As we sailed from the land,
In the bold {"Prince of Royals"}[Princess Royal]2.
Bound for Newfoundland
With forty brave seamen,
For our ship company,
So boldly from the north'ard
To east'ard bore she.
We had not been sailing
More than two days or three,
When the man from our mizzenmast,3
A sail he did see.
She came bearing down upon us,
To see what we were.
And under her mizzenmast,
Black colors did wear.
"Good Lord!" cries our {capting}[captain],
"What shall we do now!
There comes a bold pirate ship,
To rob us I know."
"Oh no! cries the chief mate,
It'll ne'er be said so,
We'll shake out a reef, my boys,
And from her we'll go."
It's when the bold pirate,
She hove alongside,
With a loud-speaking trumpet,
"Whence came you here!" cried.
Our captain being loath, my boys,
Answered them so,
"We've come from fair London town,
Bound for a Corow."
"Come haul down your topsail,
And heave your ship [too],
For I have a letter,
To send home by you."
"We'll haul down our topsail,
And we'll heave our ship to,
But it'll be in some harbour,
Not alongside of you."
They chased us to windward,
For all that long day,
They chased us to windward,
But could make no way.
They fired guns after us,
For to cut down our sails,
But the bold {"Prince of Royals"}[Princess Royal]
soon showed them her tail
It’s now my brave boys,
Since the pirate has gone,
Go down to your grog, me boys,
O go down, every one!
Go down to your grog, me boys,
And be of good cheer,
For whilst we have sea room,
My boys never fear.


Fourteenth of February: this ballad was interpreted by British musician Billy Bragg in the late 1990s(YouTube).
Princess Royal: a British sloop that was active in the late 1700s . It was eventually captured at "Nootka Sound by Esteban José Martínez"(Wikipedia).
Mizzenmast: the name of a relatively small mast on a sailing vessel(Encyclopaedia Britannica).
Anon.. Date: 2014-11-12