The Longest Song Wiki

This song has a lot of varied names, including The Dreadnought, The Flash Frigate, Don Pedro, and others. It shares a tune with a contemporary song called The Bachelor. The earliest textual record of the song dates to 1863, but the ships named in the various versions of the song make it difficult to trace which was first. The tune is "Derry Down", which circulated dance halls in the mid 19th century.

This song is performed primarily on Andy's solo livestreams.

Factoids

HMS La Pique was a 36 gun fifth-rate frigate launched in 1834 and kept in service for three quarters of a century.

During a storm in 1835 she ran ashore at Belle Island, Newfoundland, but is reported to have made the journey back to England, rudderless and weather beaten just a month later where, in Portsmouth, it was discovered that a large rock had punctured her hull and been carried across the Atlantic with it. The stone reportedly sits on display in a historic dockyard in Portsmouth to this day.

La Pique participated in naval action at Acre, served on station in the West Indies, and acted as the cable ship for laying the telegraph cable to Portsmouth Harbour, and served as a Hospital Hulk for 40 years. All of this amongst many other military accolades.

In 1910 La Pique met a sorry end, sold for scrap for a total of £2,300.

Lyrics

It's of a flash frigate, La Pique was her name
All in the West Indies she bore great fame:
For cruel bad usage of ev'ry degree,
Like slaves in the galley we ploughed the salt sea.

(Chorus)
Derry down, down, down derry-down.
Derry down, down, down derry-down.

Now at four in the morning our work does begin,
In our 'tween decks and cock-pit a bucket might swim,
Our main and top foremen so loudly do bawl,
For sand and for holystone both great and small.

(Chorus)

Now our decks being washed down and swabbed up quite dry,
It's lash up your hammocks our bos'n does cry;
Seven turns of a lashing so neatly must show,
and all of one size through a loop they must go.

(Chorus)

Now, Mister McKeever, you knows him quite well,
He comes up on deck and he cuts a great swell;
It's up on them yards boys, or God damn your eyes!
I've a pump handle here that'll soon trim your size!

(Chorus)

And now, my brave boys, comes the best of the fun,
It's hands about ship and reef topsails in one;
It's lay aloft, topmen, as the hell-um goes down,
And clew down your tops'ls as the mainyard comes 'round.

(Chorus)

Now, your quids of tobacco, I'd have you to mind,
If you spits upon deck it's your death warrant signed,
If you spits over bow, over gangway, or stern,
You're sure of three dozen to help you to learn.

(Chorus)

So now, brother sailors, wherever you be,
From all fancy frigates I'd have you keep free,
For they'll haze you and work you 'til you ain't worth a damn,
And send you half dead to your dear native land.

(Chorus til finish)