On Board of a Ninety-eight
DESCRIPTION: The singer was a rake at sixteen when his parents, afraid he would waste all their money, ship him on a man-of-war. When battle begins, he wishes he could run away but at Trafalgar he fights well. Now "I'm too old to sail, for I'm almost ninety-eight"
EARLIEST DATE: before 1839 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(2843))
KEYWORDS: age battle navy war father mother rake sailor
1805 - Battle of Trafalgar ends Napoleon's hopes of invading Britain
FOUND IN: Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Peacock, pp. 1012-1013, "On Board of the Ninety-eight" (1 text, 1 tune)
Bodleian, Harding B 11(2843), "On Board of a Ninety-Eight," J. Catnach (London), 1813-1838; also Johnson Ballads 2728[a few words illegible], Firth c.12(398), "On Board of a Ninety-Eight"
NOTES [118 words]: "Ninety-eight" refers to the number of guns carried by the ship. For example, at Trafalgar, Nelson's flagship Victory, with 100 guns, led but with two ninety-eight gun ships, Temeraire and Neptune, in close support. Source: Horatio Nelson by Tom Pocock, quoted on The Nelson Society site. - BS
(We should note, incidentally, that the number of guns on a ship was somewhat nominal, with light guns, e.g., being under-counted; an official "98" might have in excess of 110 actual weapons. In addition, ships came in nominal rates -- 64 guns, 74 guns, 98 guns, etc. The 100 guns of Victory made it a heavy man-of-war, but there were more heavily-armed ships. Though usually not very seaworthy ones....) - RBW
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.