Bold Benjamin, The

DESCRIPTION: Admiral Cole/Captain Chilver sails for Spain on the Benjamin with five hundred men, to gain silver and gold; he returns with sixty-one men. On their return to Blackwall, mothers and widows lament the lost sailors.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1891 (Ashton-RealSailorSongs); before 1679 (Bodleian broadsides)
KEYWORDS: navy war death mourning ship shanty sailor
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (6 citations):
VaughanWilliams/Lloyd-PenguinBookOfEnglishFolkSongs, p. 23, "The Bold Benjamin" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ashton-RealSailorSongs, #38, "The Benjamin's Lamentations For their sad Loss at Sea, by Storms and Tempests" (1 tune)
Palmer-OxfordBookOfSeaSongs 21, "The Benjamins' Lamentation for their sad loss at Sea, by Storms and Tempests" (1 text)
Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex, ZN464, "Captain Chilver's gone to Sea"
ADDITIONAL: C. H. Firth, _Publications of the Navy Records Society_ , 1907 (available on Google Books), p. 89, "The Benjamin's Lamentation for their Sad Loss at Sea by Storms and Tempests" (1 text)
John Ashton, _A Century of Ballads_, Elliot Stock, London, 1887; reprinted 1968 by Singing Tree Press, pp. 209-212, "The Benjamin's Lamentation" (1 text)

Roud #2632
BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Don. b.13(5), "The Benjamin's lamentation for their sad loss at sea by storms and tempests," F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, J. Clarke (London), 1674-1679 (scan not really legible); also Douce Ballads 1(16a), "The Benjamin's lamentation for their sad loss at sea by storms and tempests," W. Onley (London), 1689-1709
NOTES [227 words]: This song is a remake of the black-letter ballad (c. 1679) "The Benjamin's Lamentation for their Sad Loss at Sea, etc." - (PJS)
This is the broadside in the two Bodleian citations. They are very strange broadsides. The first one, the Coles broadside, was scanned in black and white and is very blurred, but it clearly closely related to the Onley broadside -- it appears they use the same woodcut, or at least that the Onley broadside imitated the first of the two woodcuts in the Cole piece. Stranger still, they are PARTLY blackletter. The text varies almost randomly between Roman and blackletter type. Take the first stanza of the Onley broadside. I'll reproduce it, showing the parts in Roman text in all caps.
Captain CHILVER's gone to Sea,
Ay, Boys, O Boys,
With all his Company, Ay,
Captain CHILVER's gone to Sea
With all his Company,
IN THE BRAVE Benjamin, O.
This is a curious imitation of the Cole broadside, which also mixes blackletter and Roman type (seemingly in the same way, although the blurry print makes it impossible to be sure at every point), plus it puts the name Benjamin in italics. One would guess Onley didn't have a lower-case italic type (although he had italic capitals) and so reverted to blackletter. But why the mix of Roman and blackletter? I have no idea.
I know nothing about the wreck in question, if indeed it was real. - RBW
Last updated in version 5.3
File: VWL023

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