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Agamemnon

[Hamish Maclaren (1901-1987)]

Hamish Maclaren's Ballad of the Agamemnon was published in his book Sailor With Banjo (New York: MacMillan, 1930). He noted:

In fact having been recently promoted commodore, Nelson was flying his pennant on board the Captain when for half an hour he took on single-handed half a Spanish armada. But it was, I believe, even then as the captain of the Agamemnon that he was best known, and, anyhow, I am certainly not going to wreck the old sailors' chorus for a trifling error like that.

The Teacups sang Agamemnon, adapted and set to music by Paul Davenport, in 2020 on their third and final album, In Which…. They noted:

A rousing song about Nelson's favourite ship and its eventful life. This poem by Hamish Maclaren was given a fantastic tune by Paul Davenport, and passed to us on a sampler of stuff he wasn't going to use. We're really pleased to have it.

Lyrics

Hamish Maclaren's Ballad of the Agamemnon

Where is Henry Adams now, that planned the Agamemnon?
Sink him in his hammock, boys, he's gone far away!
Oak and iron and blood of her, his fair one, his darling,
Foundered in the River Plate, in Maldonaldos Bay.

Where are all the shipwrights now that built the Agamemnon?
Let them lie at rest, boys, under the green grass.
Saw and swinging riveters we'll never more be hearing
On Beaulieu's woodland waters where the Agamemnon was.

Where is Captain Nelson now, that sailed the Agamemnon?
Fought and beat the Spanish crews in Cape St. Vincent Bay —
Oak and iron blood of her, his fine one, his darling —
Sink him in his hammock, boys, he's gone far away!

The Teacups sing Agamemnon

Where is Henry Adams now, that planned the Agamemnon?
Foundered on the River Plate, in Maldonaldos Bay.
𝄆 Oak and iron blood of her, his fine one, his darling,
Sink him in his hammock, boys, he's gone far away! 𝄇

Where are all the Beaulieu boys, that built the Agamemnon?
Let them lie ‘neath waving grass, contented where they lay.
𝄆 Swords and swinging riveters, their sounds will not be waking them,
Sink them in their hammocks, boys, they've gone far away! 𝄇

Where is Captain Nelson now, that sailed the Agamemnon?
Fought and beat the Spanish crews in Cape St Vincent Bay —
𝄆 Oak and iron blood of her, his fine one, his darling,—
Broach the keg of brandy, boys, and send him far away! 𝄇

Where are all the jolly tars, that crewed the Agamemnon?
Men for whom the carronades were less hard work than play.
𝄆 Oak and iron blood were they, and every girl a darling,
Sink them in their hammocks, lads, they've gone far away! 𝄇

Sing the shanty loud, my boys, we'll rouse the Agamemnon!
Stamp it round her capstan and her anchor we will weigh.
𝄆 Where are all the wooden walls, the cloud of sails a-bearing,
They're foundered, sunk or broken, and they've gone far away! 𝄇

(Repeat first verse, with extra repeat of last line)

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Tim McElwaine for the Teacups' lyrics.