Bay of Biscay
DESCRIPTION: A ship is wrecked at night in a storm in the Bay of Biscay. At daybreak "a sail in sight appears" and the crew is rescued.
AUTHOR: Andrew Cherry (1762-1812) (source: Bodleian notes to broadside Harding B 25(903); also John Bartlett,_Familiar Quotations_, 15th ed (1980))
EARLIEST DATE: before 1825 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 28(73))
KEYWORDS: rescue sea ship storm wreck
REFERENCES (2 citations):
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #110, p. 9, "The Bay of Biscay O!" (1 reference)
ADDITIONAL: Reginald Nettel, _Seven Centuries of Popular Song_, Phoenix House, 1956, p. 169, "(The Bay of Biscay)" (1 partial text)
Bodleian, Harding B 28(73), "The Bay of Biscay, O" ("Loud roard the dreadful thunder"), W. Armstrong (Liverpool), 1820-1824; also Harding B 11(3128), Harding B 25(903), "In the Bay of Biscay O"; Firth b.25(71), Harding B 11(196), Harding B 15(17a), Harding B 11(192), Harding B 11(193), Harding B 25(148), "[The] Bay of Biscay O[!]"; Firth b.25(82), Firth c.12(305), Harding B 11(194), Harding B 11(195), 2806 b.10(79), 2806 c.17(22), Firth c.21(118), Firth b.27(72), "[The] Bay of Biscay"
LOCSinging, as108370, "Bay of Biscay," L. Deming (Boston), n.d.
NOTES [131 words]: The tune was at least well enough known to be used for a parody (Bodleian, Harding B 16(198c), "Paddy's Wake" ("Loud howl'd each Irish mourner")) and, years later, another wreck broadside (Bodleian, Harding B 14(335), "Wreck of the ship Reform, commanded by commodore Russell" ("Loud roared the dreadful thunder")). - BS
Not to be confused with "Bay of Biscay, Oh (Ye Gentlemen of England II) (The Stormy Winds Did Blow)" [Laws K3], which also involves a rescued crew but in different circumstances, nor with the song about a sailor's life, "The Bonny Bay of Biscay-O."
Andrew Cherry's other noteworthy piece is "The Green Little Shamrock of Ireland."
According to Nettel, this was written for an opera called "Spanish Dollars," which was staged in 1805; the music was by John Davy. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.2
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.