> Tony Rose > Songs > The Fourteenth of July

The Fourteenth of July / The Little Fighting Chance

[ Roud 980 ; Laws J19 ; G/D 1:42 ; Ballad Index LJ19 ; DT LILCHANC ; Mudcat 128449 ; trad.]

Tony Rose sang The Fourteenth of July, accompanied by Dave Burland and Pete and Chris Coe, on his 1976 LP On Banks of Green Willow. He noted:

The tale told in The Fourteenth of July, is a forbear of the amazing exploits of such as the Great Wilson and Roy of the Rovers. It re-affirms what must be the oldest tradition of the lot—the innate superiority of the lone Englishman (vessel) over veritable hordes of wretched foreigners. Collected by Rev. John Broadwood.


Tony Rose sings The Fourteenth of July

On the Fourteenth of July, so clear it was the sky,
A lofty sail of French ships came bearing down so nigh;
Came bearing down upon us right clear out of France,
And the name that we gave her was the Little Fighting Chance.

Chorus (after each verse):
So cheer up, my lively lads for it never shall be said
That the sons of old Britannia shall ever be afraid.

Well, now my brave boys, the gunshots they are come.
We’ll hoist up English colours and we’ll give to them a gun.
To broadside to broadside, we’ll show them gallant sport
Till their lofty yards and topsails come a-tumbling overboard.

We fought them full four hours, the battle it being so hot,
There were fourteen of our foremost men lay dead on the spot,
There were six more they were wounded, there were twenty lads in all.
We will cut down those white lilies of the French dogs one and all!

And now, my brave boys, the prize is all our own,
What shall we do for jury-masts, suppose that they have none?
We’ll take her into harbour with a sweet and pleasant gale
And so early in the morning we’re at the head of old Kinsale.

And now, my brave boys, since we are safe on shore,
We’ll make those lofty ale-houses and taverns for to roar.
Here’s a health to King George and all to his royal fleet.
We will smother all those Frenchmen wherever we do meet!


Transcription by Garry Gillard.