Bold Hawke (Lehr and Best)

The eighteenth day of December last
in Torbay we did lay -
Bold Hawke he hoisted his flag, my boys,
and soon got underway;
The heavens may protect us with
a sweet and pleasant breeze,
We hoisted up her topsail
and soon crossed over the waves.

The twenty-eighth of that same month
the weather being clear -
Bold Hawke he spied five lofty ships
to the leeward of us lay;
Bold Hawke himself he mounted
up in the lofty air,
His wings he spread so large, my boys,
and right after them did steer.

The first broadside we gave to them
we hit one on a cream -
'Twas such a glorious broadside,
the likes was seldom seen;
We gave to them another
like thunder loud did roar,
We sunk the French so fast, my boys,
all on their native shore.

To see the Lily of France, my boys,
see how she's sinking down -
With many a heavy sigh on board,
with many a heavy wound;
The Rising Sun we burneth
and the French Glory likewise,
We sunk the Lily of France, my boys,
and the rest we made our prize.

So now the wars are over,
we'll fill the sparkling bowl -
It's while we're on the sea or land,
our enemies we'll control;
Here's luck to our commander
both loyal, just, and true,
Likewise Sir Edward Hawke, my boys,
and the Royal George's crew.

####.... Author unknown (see note below) ....####
Collected by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best in 1977 from Ernest J Barter [1918-1983] of Ramea, NL, and published as #10 in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.18-19, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press © 1985/2003).

Genevieve Lehr noted that this song commemorates the defeat of the Brest Fleet in November 1759, at Quiberon Bay on the coast of France by Sir Edward Hawke [1705-1781]. This battle was recorded in British history as one of the greatest naval victories of all time. Lehr also noted that the song appeared in a collection of broadsheet ballads called Real Sailor Songs, collected and edited by John Aston (1891), with an introduction by A L Lloyd (1973). Lloyd says the author of Hawke's Engagement, as it is known in that collection, was most likely someone aboard the flagship Royal George.

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