Let me put it on record here and now: I have no opinion on the virtues (personal, nautical, martial, political or literary) of Francis Drake. It’s not my period; I don’t know a lot about the man, and if I did I’m not sure I’d be a fan.
Kipling, however, was an admirer – or at least, he found it quite easy to put admiration of Drake into poetic form. Shanty form, even. Bellamy for his part had no particular objection to English patriotism, and he knew a good lyric when one stared him in the face.
And so we have this – and what a song it is. Every time I sing it I end up more than half persuaded that Drake was a great English hero, or at the very least that he was a very good sailor. Which may even be true. It’ll certainly seem true if you listen to the end.
Accompaniment: none. Arrangement: based on Bellamy’s simple but effective arrangement on Oak, Ash and Thorn, although I take it a bit quick.