Friday, 27 June 2008

Heart of Oak

More on our "obscure old fashioned songs I like" section, Heart of Oak. Its an 18th century "marching to battle" sort of song, which is still sung today apparently. But only in the navy, presumably, since singing hearty war shanties tends to give away your position to islamic extremists.

It was originally an opera, apparently, so a lot of words had to be filled in by soldiers themselves to get this version. Apparently I have completely misjudged soldiers as none of the verses feature "raping hot chicks in places you just conquered" or "this one time i totally shot this dude and it was awesome" and are quite in keeping with the general theme.

Come cheer up, my lads! 'tis to glory we steer,

To add something more to this wonderful year;

To honour we call you, not press you like slaves,

For who are so free as the sons of the waves?


Heart of oak are our ships, heart of oak are our men;

We always are ready, steady, boys, steady!

We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again.

We ne'er see our foes but we wish them to stay,

They never see us but they wish us away;

If they run, why we follow, and run them ashore,

For if they won't fight us, we cannot do more.


They swear they'll invade us, these terrible foes,

They frighten our women, our children, and beaus;

But should their flat bottoms in darkness get o'er,

Still Britons they'll find to receive them on shore.


We'll still make them fear, and we'll still make them flee,

And drub 'em on shore, as we've drubb'd 'em at sea;

Then cheer up, my lads! with one heart let us sing:

Our soldiers, our sailors, our statesmen and Queen.


Think about it man, who is as free as the sons of the waves? No one, my friend, no one.

Apparently Canada has its own version, adopted from the British. I dont know how that works exactly, since I am pretty sure they are not sons of the waves at all. Maybe they substitute "snow" or "mooses" or something.

1 comment:

The Silly Addiction said...

Man, that brings back such happy memories of Hornblower. When I was twelve, if a dude had dissed Hornblower in my presence, I would have leap upon him and removed his face with my teeth.

Interestingly, in Forrester's recounting of "Heart of Oak", the chorus is a little different. It goes "Heart of oak are our ships, jolly tars are our men".

Hornblower muses that the men probably did not appreciate being called tars, which makes me wonder if it's the 18th Century version of "fat cunt".