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Barrett's Privateers


This is a modern folk song in the style of a sea shanty, written by Canadian musician Stan Rogers,
having been inspired after a song session with the Friends of Fiddler's Green at the Northern Lights
Festival Boreal in Sudbury, Ontario. The song was first released on the album "Fogarty's Cove" in 1976.
Although Barrett, the Antelope and other specific instances mentioned in the song are fictional,
"Barrett's Privateers" is full of many authentic details of privateering in the late 18th century.

Music by - The Irish Descendants


Lyrics by Stan Rogers

Oh, the year was 1778,
HOW I WISH I WAS IN SHERBROOKE NOW!
A letter of marque came from the king,
To the scummiest vessel I'd ever seen,

God damn them all!
I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns-shed no tears
Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers.


Oh, Elcid Barrett cried the town,
HOW I WISH I WAS IN SHERBROOKE NOW!
For twenty brave men all fishermen who
would make for him the Antelope's crew

God damn them all!
I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns-shed no tears
Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers.


The Antelope sloop was a sickening sight,
HOW I WISH I WAS IN SHERBROOKE NOW!
She'd a list to the port and her sails in rags
And the cook in scuppers with the staggers and the jags

God damn them all!
I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns-shed no tears
Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers.


On the King's birthday we put to sea,
HOW I WISH I WAS IN SHERBROOKE NOW!
We were 91 days to Montego Bay
Pumping like madmen all the way

God damn them all!
I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns-shed no tears
Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers.


On the 96th day we sailed again,
HOW I WISH I WAS IN SHERBROOKE NOW!
When a bloody great Yankee hove in sight
With our cracked four pounders we made to fight

God damn them all!
I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns-shed no tears
Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers.


The Yankee lay low down with gold,
HOW I WISH I WAS IN SHERBROOKE NOW!
She was broad and fat and loose in the stays
But to catch her took the Antelope two whole days

God damn them all!
I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns-shed no tears
Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers.


Then at length we stood two cables away,
HOW I WISH I WAS IN SHERBROOKE NOW!
Our cracked four pounders made an awful din
But with one fat ball the Yank stove us in

God damn them all!
I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns-shed no tears
Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers.


The Antelope shook and pitched on her side,
HOW I WISH I WAS IN SHERBROOKE NOW!
Barrett was smashed like a bowl of eggs
And the Maintruck carried off both me legs

God damn them all!
I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns-shed no tears
Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers.


So here I lay in my 23rd year,
HOW I WISH I WAS IN SHERBROOKE NOW!
It's been 6 years since we sailed away
And I just made Halifax yesterday

God damn them all!
I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns-shed no tears
Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier
The last of Barrett's Privateers.




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