> Peter Bellamy > Songs > You Gentlemen of England

You Gentlemen of England

[ Roud 1803 ; Laws K2 ; Ballad Index LK02 ; trad.]

Peter Bellamy sang You Gentlemen of England in 1969 on his second LP, Fair England's Shore, and on his privately issued cassette of 1982, The Maritime England Suite. Peter Bellamy commented in the original album's sleeve notes:

You Gentlemen of England first appeared in the Pepys collection; this set of words comes from Modern Street Ballads in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, and the tune I borrowed from Fred Jordan's We Shepherds Are the Best of Men, a close relation to this song.


You gentlemen of England who lives at home at ease,
Oh how little do you dream about all the dangers of the seas.
So give ear unto us mariners, and we will plainly show
All our fears and our cares when the stormy winds do blow.

Should enemies oppose us while England is at war
With any foreign nation, well, we fear not one nor score.
Our roaring guns will teach them our fellow for to know
As she reels on her keel while the stormy winds do blow.

And the sailor must have courage, no danger must he shun
In every kind of weather still his course he has to run;
Now mounted on the high top-mast, how dreadful 'tis below,
Then we ride with the tide while the stormy winds do blow.

But when the danger's over and safe we come on shore
The horrors of the tempest, well, we think of them no more.
For the flowing bowl invites us and joyfully we go;
All the day we drink away though the stormy winds do blow.