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Frankie's Trade

[words Rudyard Kipling, music Peter Bellamy]

Frankie's Trade is a poem about Sir Francis Drake from Rudyard Kipling's book Rewards and Fairies. Peter Bellamy sang it on his first album of songs set to Kipling's poems, Oak, Ash & Thorn. His former Young Tradition band mates Royston Wood and Heather Wood plus Robin Dransfield joined in on the chorus lines. Peter Bellamy commented in the album's sleeve notes:

This song comes from the story Simple Simon which describes the early adventures of Sir Francis Drake as related by Simon Cheyneys, a 16th Century shipbuilder and burgess of the town of Rye. The tune is based on the first line of the well-known sea-shanty Go Down Ye Blood Red Roses.

Jon Boden sang Frankie's Trade as the August 8, 2010 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day and in 2011 on Folk Police Recordings' tribute CD Oak Ash Thorn.

Lyrics

Old Horn to All Atlantic said:
    (A-hay O! To me O!)
“Now where did Frankie learn his trade?
For he ran me down with a three-reef mains'le.”
    (All round the Horn!)

Atlantic answered: “Not from me!
    (A-hay O! To me O!)
You'd better ask the cold North Sea,
For he ran me down under all plain canvas.”
    (All round the Horn!)

The North Sea answered: “He's my man,
    (A-hay O! To me O!)
For he came to me when he began--
It's Frankie Drake in an open coaster.
    (All round the Sands!)

“I caught him young and I used him sore,
    (A-hay O! To me O!)
So you never shall startle Frankie more,
Without capsizing Earth and her waters.
    (All round the Sands!)

“I did not favour him at all,
    (A-hay O! To me O!)
I made him pull and I made him haul--
And stand his trick with the common sailors.
    (All round the Sands!)

“I froze him stiff and I fogged him blind,
    (A-hay O! To me O!)
And kicked him home with his road to find
By what he could see of a three-day snow-storm.
    (All round the Sands!)

“I learned him his trade o' winter nights,
    (A-hay O! To me O!)
'Twixt Mardyk Fort and Dunkirk lights
On a five-knot tide with the forts a-firing.
    (All round the Sands!)

“Before his beard began to shoot,
    (A-hay O! To me O!)
I showed him the length of the Spaniard's foot--
And I reckon he clapped the boot on it later.
    (All round the Sands!)

“If there's a risk which you can make
    (A-hay O! To me O!)
That's worse than he was used to take
Nigh every week in the way of his business;
    (All round the Sands!)

“If there's a trick that you can try
    (A-hay O! To me O!)
Which he hasn't met in time gone by,
Not once or twice, but ten times over;
    (All round the Sands!)

“If you can teach him aught that's new,
    (A-hay O! To me O!)
I'll give you Bruges and Niewport too,
And the ten tall churches that stand between 'em.”
    (All round the Sands!)
So storm along, my gallant Captains!
    (All round the Horn!)

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Req; Kipling's Frankie's Trade.