37 - High Barbary

Words by Traditional
Tune by Traditional

High Barbary refers to the Rif coast of North Africa, home to Ottoman and Maghrebi 'barbary pirates' who operated out of the ports of Salé, Rabat, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, seizing merchant ships in the Mediterranean and Eastern North Atlantic, and taking slaves in coastal raids. This song celebrates a victory of two English shops over one of the Barbary pirates.

There were two lofty ships from old England came
Blow high, blow low and so sail we
One was the Prince of Luther, the other Prince of Wales
All a-cruisin’ down the coast of High Barbary

Aloft there, aloft there our jolly bosun cried
Look ahead, look astern, look to weather an’ a-lee

There’s naught upon the stern, sir, there’s naught upon our lee
But there’s a lofty ship to wind’ard, an’ she’s sailin’ fast and
free

Oh hail her, oh hail her, our gallant captain cried
Are you a man-o-war, or a privateer? cried he

Oh, I’m not a man-o-war, nor privateer, said he
But I am salt sea pirate all a-looking for me fee

For Broadside, for broadside a long time we lay
'Til at last the Prince of Luther shot the pirate’s mast away

Oh quarter, oh quarter those pirates they did cry
But the quarter that we gave them was we sank 'em in the sea