Our Captain Cried All Hands

The tune and first verse were collected by George Gardiner from George Smith, Fareham, Hampshire c.1908. The remainder came from Frank Purslow. Perhaps it was the last line of the song, which has a definite air of Christian hope, that gave Ralph Vaughan Williams the idea to ‘iron out the tune’ and set to it John Bunyan’s 1684 poem To Be A Pilgrim.

The painting is Sweethearts and Wives by John Ingle Lee, 1860, courtesy of The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

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