Sea Shanty:”The Courts of High Barbary”

Traditional – Lyrics from Iron Men & Wooden Ships, by Frank Shay

There were two lofty ships from old England came,
Blow high, blow low, and so sailed we;
One was the Prince of Luther, and the other Prince of Wales,
Cruising down along the coast of the High Barbaree.

“Aloft there, aloft!” our jolly boatswain cries,
Blow high, blow low, and so sailed we;
“Look ahead, look astern, look aweather and alee,
Look along down the coast of the High Barbaree.”

There’s nought upon the stern, there’s nought upon the lee,
Blow high, blow low, and so sailed we;
But there’s a lofty ship to windward, and she’s sailing fast and free,
Sailing down along the coast of the High Barbaree.

“Oh, hail her, Oh, hail her,” our gallant captain cried,
Blow high, blow low, and so sailed we;
“Are you a man-o’-war or a privateer,” said he,
“Cruising down along the coast of the High Barbaree.”

“Oh, I am not a man-o’-war nor privateer,” said he,
Blow high, blow low, and so sailed we;
“But I’m a salt-sea pirate a-looking for my fee,
“Cruising down the coast of the High Barbaree.”

Oh, ’twas broadside to broadside a long time we lay,
Blow high, blow low, and so sailed we;
Until the Prince of Luther shot the pirate’s masts away,
Cruising down along the coast of the High Barbaree.

“Oh, quarter, Oh, quarter,” those pirates then did cry,
Blow high, blow low, and so sailed we;
But the quarter that we gave them – we sunk them in the sea,
Coming down along the coast of the High Barbaree.


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