“On Board of the Victory”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1839 (broadside, Bodleian Firth c.13(280))
Keywords: courting war ship father mother sailor pressgang grief loneliness love navy separation sea lover nobility
Found in: Canada(Mar,Newf) US(MW)


"I am a young girl whose fortune is great." Her father has her lover, "below my degree," impressed. After a fight with the press-gang he is shipped aboard the Victory. She dreams of being with him on board and prays for his return.


Ironically, Mr. Clergy's family is of French descent. - PJS

HMS _Victory_ was launched in 1765, commissioned in 1778, and served in the wars with France associated with the American Revolutionar. She served in the Mediterranean during the early phases of the French revolution. She was withdrawn from sea service in 1812, and dry-docked in 1922. It will be evident that many young men served on her at battles other than Trafalgar -- but, as most Napoleonic songs mention Waterloo, so most naval songs of the era seem to assume a setting at Trafalgar. - RBW

[In] broadside Harding B 20(178), [the girl's] sweetheart is killed with Nelson at Trafalgar. - BS

Historical references




  1. Peacock, pp. 484-485, "On Board of The Victory" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Leach-Labrador 41, "Victory" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Creighton-Maritime, p. 42, "On Board of the Victory" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Dean, pp. 95-96, "On Board the Victory" (1 text)
  5. Roud #2278
  6. BI, Peac484