The Privateer

The wind was east by north east
And blew a pleasant breeze
Our captain cries we’ll hoist our sail
And we will search the seas.

We had not sailed long before
A ship she hove in sight
Our captain cries “There lies a prize
Brave boys if you will fight.”

But when we drew up close to her
We found her for to be
A man of war that had come from York
And was bound for Canardie.

She had ninety five men on her deck
While we’d but thirty four
She’d more than double to our men
Which grieved our hearts full sore.

Our captain says we’ll pass her by
If we can her avoid
For if we try to fight her now
We all shall be destroyed.

As soon as we tacked a gun she gave
Which did us much surprise
And then her grape shot she let fly
Rite in our face and eyes.

We fought her there an hour or more
Until guns grew hot
And then we drew up near to her
Within a pistol shot.

We fought her there till not a man
On her deck could walk or stand
And then we went on board of her
And took our swords in hand.

To Boston harbor steered our course
To bring our prize to land
Five hundred guineas was each man’s share
With money in our hand.

Song Text Source: 

Phillips Manuscript supplemented by the recording

Gordon, Robert Winslow, 1888-1961
Date Recorded: 
September, 1924
Track Duration (h:m:s): 
Original Medium: 
wax cylinder
American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
Call Number/Physical Location: 
AFS 19011A: G89 Misc 150

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