Captain Death

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X:1 T:Muse and the hero together are fir'd B:Thomas Park - Select Collection of English Songs with their Original Airs vol. 3 (1813, pp. 302-303) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion M:C| L:1/8 N:"Set by Mr. Oswald" R:Air K:G D|G2 FG A2 Bc|d2 BG A3B|c2 de {e}d2 cB|(cB) AG d3d| e2ce d2 Bd|c2 Ac B3c|d2 cB c2 de|E2 FG F3D| G2 AB c2 BA|d2 ef g3f|e2 ce dB zG|A/B/c BA G2 zd| (e/f/g) gg G2 zG|(B/c/d) dd D3D|E2 GA Bd ze|B2 A>G G2||



CAPTAIN DEATH. AKA – "Muse and the hero together are fir'd (The)." English, Song Air (whole time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. The song, set by James Oswald, tells of a British naval hero of the mid-18th century, Captain Death, commander of the privateer Terrible, who fought an engagement with a French vessel named the Grand Alexander from St. Malo. It begins:

The muse and the hero together are fir'd,
The same noble views have their bosoms inspir'd;
As freedom they love, and for glory contend,
The muse o'er the hero still mourns as a friend;
And here let the muse her poor tribute bequeath
To one British hero, 'tis brave captain Death;
To one British hero, 'tis brave captain Death.

Charles Dickens Jr. wrote of the song in his All the Year Round: A Weekly Journal (vol. IV, 1870):

A sea song very popular in the middle of the last century [Ed. the 18th] was Captain Death, relating to the captain of the Terrible, who was killed in an engagement with the French in December, 1757. It was a tradition in the navy that the Terrible had not only a man named Death for her captain, but one named Devil, or Deville, for her first lieutenant; and a third named Ghost, for her surgeon. It was added, to complete the ominous series of names connected with the ship, that she was fitted out at Execution Dock. The second stanza will suffice as a specimen:

His ship was the Terrible, dreadful to see,
His crew were as brave and gallant as he;
Two hundred and more was their good complement,
And no braver fellows to sea ever went.
Each man was determined to spend his last breath,
In fighting for Britain and brave Captain Death.


Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Ritson (Select Collection of English Songs, vol. 3), 1813; no. 64, pp. 302–303.

Recorded sources: -



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