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
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