5 - Barrett's Privateers

Words by Stan Rogers
Tune by Stan Rogers

Oh, the year was 1778
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
A letter of marque came from the king
To the scummiest vessel I’ve ever seen

God damn them all! I was told
We’d cruise the seas for American gold
We’d fire no guns, shed no tears
But I’m a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett’s Privateers

Oh, Elcid Barrett cried the town
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
For twenty brave men all fishermen who
Would make for him the Antelope’s crew

God damn them all! I was told…

The Antelope sloop was a sickening sight
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
She’d a list to the port and her sails in rags
And the cook in the scuppers with the staggers and jags

On the King’s birthday we put to sea
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
We were 91 days to Montego Bay
Pumping like madmen all the way

On the 96th day we sailed again
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
When a bloody great Yankee hove in sight
With our cracked four pounders we made to fight

Now the Yankee lay low down with gold
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
She was broad and fat and loose in the stays
But to catch her took the Antelope two whole days

Then at length we stood two cables away
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
Our cracked four pounders made an awful din
But with one fat ball, the Yank stove us in

The Antelope shook and pitched on her side
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
Barrett was smashed like a bowl of eggs
And the main truck carried off both me legs

So here I lay in my 23rd year
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
It’s been 6 years since we sailed away
And I just made Halifax yesterday