Willie Williamson                        SA1971.214.5

Known by several Whalsay men,  this ballad of derring-do has a long history which dates from December 1669 when  Captain John Kempthorne in the warship, Mary Rose, fought off seven Algerian pirate vessels during a voyage to Cadiz.  Kempthorne was knighted for his efforts (Palmer, 42).  By the 18th century names had changed and in Firth’s collection Naval songs and Ballads this song was called Captain Mansfield’s Fight with the Turkes at SeaRobert Hutchison sings a shorter  version  to a different tune (scroll down to find it). The Roud index (no. 951) contains just 4 versions.

‘Twas of a ship from her ballast port
With anchors two upon her bow
She steered a course right east south east
Just as the wind it did allow.

We had not sailed from our ballast port
A league but thirteen off the land
When we espied ten Turkey men of war
Hauled to the wind as they could stand.

“Come strike, come strike, you English dogs;
Come strike, and come down on our lea.
You’ll come on board this hour and moment
Our slaves for ever for to be.”

Then he spake our captain bold,
Oh what a courageous man was he:
“Before I lower one fore-yard down
You may come on board and speak with me.”

“Go up, go up, my jolly bosun,
Up to the mainmast top go ye
And there you’ll spread King George’s flag,
For under it we’ll live or dee.”

“Go up, go up, my jolly sailors.
Up to the foremast top go ye
And there you’ll spread your sails right  trig,
See that you do it cleverly.”

Powder and shot we wanted none
To sponge our guns as you may see;
We had not fought one half an hour
Till we perceived one Turkey flee

We fought on like champions bold,
Like men-o-war when they do meet,
And e’er the morning sun arose
We spied but one sail of the fleet.

Oh three we sunk and three we burned
And three of them did run away
And one we took to Bristol town
To show that we had won the day.

Now anyone who wants to know
Our captain our good ship’s name,
He was Captain Mansfield of Bristol town
She was the Marigold the ship of fame.

Robert T. Hutchison                                   SA1974.12.4 

Oh ‘twas from the port of Liverpool that we set sail
With a hundred an’ twenty brave young men,
All picked and chosen every one.

We had just sailed a league, a league;
We’d just sailed a league but three,
When we spied ten Turkish men-of-war
Hauled to the wind as they could be

“Oh go up go up my merry bosun,
Up to our main topmast go ye,
An’ see ye spread King George’s flag;
See that you do it cleverly.”

Oh its three we sank and’ three we burned
An’ three of them they run away,
An’ one we carried to a foreign port 
To show that we had won the day.

“Yons just four verses that I keen. I think there maybe were anither ane o’ it.”