From Ushant to Scilly

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Strange New Words

Spanish Ladies features a hidden tragedy, one that is either expressed ironically or cynically, often within the same context. Traditionally, young ordinary seamen will sing the ironic line unwitting (or feigning innocence). Old salts and officers sing it cynically. The official version pretends nothing is wrong at all.

It goes like this:

Farewell and adieu to you Spanish fair ladies
Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain
For we’ve received orders for to sail to old England
But we hope in a short time to see you again / And we fear we are never to see you again.

The story goes like this:

Revolution! Terror! Misery! Sad little singing girls! Everyone was angry in France, and Paris fell to revolution. King Louis XVI went on trial and Austria and Prussia sent word: Harm a hair on poor Louis’ head and we will lay siege to Paris. True to…

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