> Brass Monkey > Songs > Doctor Fauster’s Tumblers / The Night of Trafalgar / Prince William

Doctor Fauster’s Tumblers / The Night of Trafalgar / Prince William

[a, c: trad. arr. Brass Monkey; b: Thomas Hardy / Howard Evans]

Two tunes enclose verses sung by Martin Carthy on Brass Monkey’s 1983 album See How It Runs. This LP was re-released in 1993 as second half of the CD The Complete Brass Monkey. This set was included in the Topic compilation The Voice of Folk.

The See How It Runs sleeve notes commented:

Doctor Fauster’s Tumblers: From Audrey Town’s A Frolick, 1979. A selection of dances from the mid-eighteenth century.

The Night of Trafalgar: Thomas Hardy’s loathing of war and all that it does to people is nicely placed in this song from his mighty and unperformed work The Dynasts, where fishermen who have a very hard life indeed consider themselves blessed in comparison to the men at Trafalgar who, having endured the hardships of battle with its enormous numbers of dead and wounded, had then to cope with a huge storm which, by all accounts, took more lives than the battle itself. The tune for this lament for those nobodies who actually fought the battle, who won and lost it and were lost, is by Howard Evans.

Prince William: First published in 1731 in Walsh’s Compleat Country Dancing Master, then reprinted in Pat Shaw’s Holland As Seen in the English Country Dance in 1960, then recorded by Dudley Caufman’s Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra on F&W Records in the USA, with tremendous panache, which caused it to be learned in Jim Brickwedde’s front room in Minneapolis in 1983.


Masrtin Carthhy sings The Night of Trafalgar

In the mid October nighttime
When the wind raved round the land
And the back sea met the front sea
And our doors were blocked with sand
And we heard the drub of Dead Man’s Bay
Where bones of thousands are
We knew not what the day had done
Done for us at Trafalgar

Pull hard and make the North
Or down we go, one says, says he
We pulled and bedtime brought the storm
Home snug slept we
But our gallants all the while
After fighting through the day
Were beating up and down the dark
Sou’ west of Cadiz Bay

The victor and the vanquished
Then the storm it tossed and tore
As hard they strove those worn out men
Upon that surly shore
Dead Nelson and his half dead crew
His foes from near and far
Were rolled together on the deep
That night at Trafalgar


Copied from the LP sleeve notes by Garry Gillard, thanks to Wolfgang Hell.