Demon of the Seas, The

DESCRIPTION: On board the pirate ship Demon of the Seas Captain Moore outrun ships of war until "two men of war were fitted out By Edward, England's King" to bring him in. The pirates destroy those ships but are destroyed by a third.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1847 (Journal of William Histed of the Cortes)
KEYWORDS: fight navy death pirate
FOUND IN: Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Ives-FolksongsOfNewBrunswick, pp. 151-153, "The Demon of the Seas" (1 text, 1 tune)
Huntington-SongsTheWhalemenSang, pp. 78-79, "The Demon of the Sea" (1 text, 1 tune)
Frank-NewBookOfPirateSongs 43, "The Demon of the Sea" (2 texts, 2 tunes; #36 in the first edition)
ADDITIONAL: Leslie Shepard, _John Pitts, Ballad Printer of Seven Dials, London 1765-1844_, Private Library Association, 1969, p. 66, "The Demon of the Sea"/Oh No my Love Not I" (reprint of a Pitts broadside)

Roud #1962
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Brave Old Oak" (tune)
NOTES [331 words]: Huntington states, without evidence, that the King Edward involved is Edward VI (reigned 1547-1553). The difficulty in this, of course, is that Edward VI died while he was still only a boy; he didn't fit out anything in his own right.
Nonetheless, if an English King Edward is meant, it almost has to be Edward VI. Edward VII (reigned 1901-1910) is obviously too late. The Edwards prior to Edward VI are largely eliminated by the mention of guns. Edward I (1272-1307) and Edward II (1307-1327) simply didn't have cannon. They began to be used in the reign of Edward III (1327-1377), but not on shipboard -- they were still too experimental.
By the time of Edward IV (1461-1470, 1471-1483) and Edward V (1483), cannon were well-established as weapons, but only on land; they had been mounted on ships, but hardly used. It's surprising to hear guns mentioned even in connection with Edward VI's navy, since this is before the Spanish Armada really caused naval gunnery to be tested -- but at least it's possible.
I know of no famous pirate named Moore (excluding the Captain of the Flying Cloud, which is obviously too late). Could it possibly be an error for "Moor" -- i.e. one of the corsairs from North Africa?
Leslie Shepard, John Pitts, Ballad Printer of Seven Dials, London 1765-1844, Private Library Association, 1969, p. 65, quotes an interview by Henry Mayhew with the alleged author of this piece (who is, however, not named). He complained about the pay:
"The first song I ever sold was to a concert-room manager. The next I sold had great success. It was called the 'Demon of the Sea', and was to the tune of 'The Brave Old Oak.' Do I remember how it began? Yes, sir, I remember every word of it.... That song was written for a concert-room, but it was soon in the streets, and ran a whole winter. I got only 1 [shilling] for that. Then I wrote the 'Pirate of the Isles,' and other ballads of that sort. The concert-rooms pay no better than the printers in the sheets...."
Last updated in version 5.0
File: IvNB151

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 2021 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.