“Bay of Biscay”

Author: Andrew Cherry (1762-1812) (source: Bodleian notes to broadside Harding B 25(903); also John Bartlett,_Familiar Quotations_, 15th ed (1980))
Earliest date: before 1825 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 28(73))
Keywords: rescue sea ship storm wreck


A ship is wrecked at night in a storm in the Bay of Biscay. At daybreak "a sail in sight appears" and the crew is rescued.


The tune was at least well enough known to be used for a parody (Bodleian, Harding B 16(198c), "Paddy's Wake" ("Loud howl'd each Irish mourner")) and, years later, another wreck broadside (Bodleian, Harding B 14(335), "Wreck of the ship Reform, commanded by commodore Russell" ("Loud roared the dreadful thunder")). - BS

Not to be confused with "Bay of Biscay, Oh (Ye Gentlemen of England II) (The Stormy Winds Did Blow)" [Laws K3], which also involves a rescued crew but in different circumstances, nor with the song about a sailor's life, "The Bonny Bay of Biscay-O."

Andrew Cherry's other noteworthy piece iss "The Green Little Shamrock of Ireland.' - RBW