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The Spanish Armada

[John O’Keefe, Arthur M. Goodhart]

The Spanish Armada is a poem by Irish actor and dramatist John O’Keefe (1747-1833), set to music by Arthur M. Goodhart (1866-1941). A piano-vocal score was published by Novello & Company, London, in 1902 and re-issued by Recital Publications, Huntsville, Texas, in 2013.

Peter Bellamy sang The Spanish Armada in 1982 on his privately issued cassette The Maritime England Suite. He was accompanied by Dorothy Collins on piano and Ursula Pank on cello.


Peter Bellamy sings The Spanish Armada

In May fifteen hundred and eighty-eight,
Cries Philip, “The English I’ll humble;
For I have taken it into my Majesty’s pate,
And their lion, oh! down he shall tumble.
They lords of the sea!”—then his sceptre he shook,—
“I’ll prove it an arrant bravado.
By Neptune! I’ll knock ’em all into a nook,
With the invincible Spanish Armada!”

This fleet then sailed forth, and the winds they did blow,
Their guns made a terrible clatter;
Our noble Queen Bess, ’cause she wanted to know,
Quill’d her ruff and cried, “Pray, what’s the matter?”
“They say, my good Queen,” replied Howard so stout,
“The Spaniard has drawn his toledo,
He’s cock sure that he’ll thump us, and kick us about,
With the invincible Spanish Armada.”

The Lord Mayor of London, a very wise man,
What to do in this case vastly wondered;
Says the Queen, “Send in fifty good ships, if you can.”
Says my Lord, “Ma’am, I’ll send in a hundred.”
Our fire-ships they soon struck their cannons all dumb,
And the Dons run to Ave and Credo.
Great Medina roars out, “Sure the devil is come,
For the invincible Spanish Armada.”

On Effingham’s squadron, though all in a breast
Like open-mouth curs they came bowling;
But our sugar-plums finding they could not digest,
Away home they ran yelping and howling.
When e’er Britain’s foes shall, with envy agog,
In our Channel make such a bravado—
Well, huzza, my brave boys! we’re still able to flog
An invincible Spanish Armada!