Jan 152014
 

Coast of High Barbaree

This is a traditional song which was popular among British and American sailors. It most frequently sung as a ballad but can also be a sea shanty. It tells of a sailing ship that came across a pirate ship off the Barbary Coast (the term used by Europeans from the 16th until the 19th century to refer to much of the collective land of the Berber people – in the middle and western coastal regions of North Africa) and defeated the pirates, who were left to drown. (source)

I only included the non-fighting verses. 🙂

Lyrics

1. There were two ships from old England came.
Blow high, blow low and so sail we.
One she was the Queen of Russia and the other Prince of Wales,
Cruisin’ down on the Coast of Barbaree.

2. “Aloft there, aloft!” our jolly boatswain cries,
Blow high, blow low, and so sailed we;
“Look ahead, look astern, look aweather and alee,
Look along down the Coast of the High Barbaree.”

3. There’s nought upon the stern, there’s nought upon the lee,
Blow high, blow low, and so sailed we;
But there’s a lofty ship to windward, and she’s sailing fast and free,
Sailing down along the Coast of the High Barbaree.

3. “Oh, hail her, Oh, hail her,” our gallant captain cried,
Blow high, blow low, and so sailed we;
“Are you a man-o’-war or a privateer,” said he,
“Cruising down along the Coast of the High Barbaree.”

4.  “Oh, I am not a man-o’-war nor privateer,” said he,
Blow high, blow low, and so sailed we;
“But I’m a salt-sea pirate a-looking for my fee,
“Cruising down the Coast of the High Barbaree.”

5. Oh, ’twas broadside to broadside a long time we lay,
Blow high, blow low, and so sailed we;
Until the Prince of Luther shot the pirate’s masts away,
Cruising down along the Coast of the High Barbaree.

6. “Oh, quarter, Oh, quarter,” those pirates then did cry,
Blow high, blow low, and so sailed we;
But the quarter that we gave them – we sunk them in the sea,
Coming down along the Coast of the High Barbaree.

Another version

Look ahead, look astern, look the weather in the lee.
Blow high! Blow low! And so sailed we.
I see a wreck to windward and a lofty ship to lee.
A sailing down all on the coast of High Barbaree.

O are you a pirate or a man o’war? cried we
Blow high! Blow low! and so sailed we.
O no! I’m not a pirate, but a man o’war, cried he,
A-sailing down all on the coasts of High Barbaree.

Then back up your topsails and heave your vessel to;
Blow high! Blow low! and so sailed we.
For we have got some letters to be carried home by you.
A-sailing down all on the coasts of High Barbaree.

We’ll back up our topsails and heave our vessel to;
Blow high! Blow low! and so sailed we.
But only in some harbour and along the side of you.
A-sailing down all on the coasts of High Barbaree.

Links

 

Song pdf with chords in both versions & midi below

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  One Response to “Coast of High Barbaree”

  1. Hi Beth!
    I’m also a music teacher, I guess you can imagine, and I had a question for you. I want to let others know about an awesome resource for teachers called Donor’s Choose. One of their suggestions is to share through blogs. I don’t personally have a blog, but I thought you might consider sharing it through yours.
    I absolutely love all your online resources and have used many of them!
    The other huge obstacle we face in the classroom can be have the resources (I’m personally trying to build an Orff program from 0 instruments and 0 school funds for the instruments). Anyway, if you haven’t heard of Donor’s Choose, its a great organization and I thought you should hear about it!
    Here’s a link if you want to check out my page:
    http://www.donorschoose.org/mrsshowalter

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