Heart of Oak

"Heart of Oak" is the official march of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. It is also the official march of the Canadian Navy, as well as the Canadian Forces' Naval Operations Branch.

The music was composed by Dr William Boyce and the words were written by the 18th Century English actor David Garrick.

The "wonderful year" referenced in the first verse is 1759-60, during which British forces were victorious in several significant battles: the Battle of Lagos on August 19, 1759, the battle of Quebec City on September 13, 1759 and the battle of Quiberon Bay on 20 November 1759. These were followed a few months later by the Battle of Wandiwash in India on 22 January 1760.

Heart of Oak, even though it is the official march of these military branches, was originally written as an opera. Many marches do not have lyrics, but the operatic lyrics were adopted for this march and are still proudly sung by many soldiers and cadets in the Commonwealth.

Lyrics

Come, cheer up, my lads, 'tis to glory we steer,
To add something more to this wonderful year;
To honour we call you, as freemen not slaves,
For who are as free as the sons of the waves?

(Chorus sung once...)
Heart of oak are our ships, jolly tars are our men,
we always are ready; Steady, boys, steady!
We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again.

We never see the French but we wish them to stay,
They always see us and they wish us away;
If they run, we will follow, we will drive them ashore,
And if they won't fight, we can do no more.

(Chorus sung once...)

They swear they'll invade us, these terrible foes,
They frighten our women, our children and beaus,
But should their flat bottoms in darkness get o'er,
Still Britons they'll find to receive them on shore.

(Chorus sung once...)

[Verse sometimes ommitted]
Britannia triumphant, her ships sweep the sea,
Her standard is Justice -- her watchword, 'be free.'
Then cheer up, my lads, with one heart let us sing,
Our soldiers, our sailors, our statesmen, and king.

(Final Chorus sung twice...)

Canadian Version

Come cheer up my lads, tis to glory we steer,
To add something new to this wonderful year;
Tis to honour we call you, as free men not slaves,
For who are so free as the sons of the waves?

(Chorus)
Heart of oak our ships, jolly tars our men,
We always are ready, steady boys, steady.
We'll fight and we'll conquer again, and again.

We ne'er see our foes, but we wish them to stay;
They always see us and they wish us away;
If they run we will follow, we will drive them ashore;
For if they won't fight we can do no more.

(Chorus)

They say they'll invade us, these terrible foes;
Frighten our women, our children, our beaus;
But should their flat-bottoms, in darkness get o'er,
Stout Britons they'll find to defeat them ashore.

(Chorus)

Britannia triumphant, her ships rule the seas,
Her watchword is justice, her password is free.
So come cheer up my lads, with one heart let us sing,
Our soldiers, our sailors, our statesmen, our Queen.

(Chorus sung twice...)

In popular culture

In the "" episode "," an alien double of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard leads his crew in singing this song, much to their surprise.

Sung by Peter Ustinov, Dean Jones and Suzanne Pleshette in the 1968 Disney film "Blackbeard's Ghost".

In the TV movies Sharpe's Company and Sharpe's Challenge, Heart of Oak is sung as encouragement by an officer as the men prepare to launch a Forlorn Hope against the breach in a fortress wall.

External links

* [http://www.stadband.ca/snd/heartofoak.mp3 Heart of Oak (MP3)] at [http://www.stadband.ca/main.php?content=ssi/sound.html&language=en Sounds of the Stadacona Band]
*Listen to [http://www.collectionscanada.ca/obj/m2/f7/10235.mp3 Hearts of Oak] courtesy of [http://www.collectionscanada.ca/gramophone/m2-3001.1-e.html Canadian Historical Sound Recordings]


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