We’ve updated our Terms of Use to reflect our new entity name and address. You can review the changes here.
We’ve updated our Terms of Use. You can review the changes here.

The Bold Princess Royal​/​The Olde favourite

from The Long Grey Line by Debra Cowan



trad. arr. Cowan/Bartley)
From the singing of The Copper Family, East Sussex, UK

In my opinion, one cannot sing traditional songs without paying tribute to The Coppers. I first heard an Irish version of this song years ago, but enjoyed the Copper version much better. It’s always nice to see the good guys win. The jig comes from West Clare in County Clare, Ireland


On the fourteenth of February we sailed from the land
In the Bold Princess Royal bound for New Foundland
We had forty bright sailors for our ship’s company
And boldly from the east’ards to the west’ard bore we

We had not been sailing scarce days two or three
When a man from our top-mast a sail he did see
Come bearing down on us to see who we were
And from under her mizzen red colours she wore

“Great god” cried our captain “what shall we do now?
For there comes a bold pirate to rob us I know”
“Oh no” cried the chief mate “that cannot be so
We will shake out our reef, boys and away we will go”

It was the next morning, at the dawning of day
This lofty, large pirate shot under our lee
Whence came you cried the pirate, we answered him so
“We are out of fair London bound for Callao”

“Then back your main topsails and heave your ship to
For I have a letter I’ll send down to you
If I back my main topsails and heave my ship to
It will be for some pilot-not alongside of you”

He chased us to the east’ard and all that long day
He chased us to west’ard three nights and a day
He fired shots upon us but none did prevail
And the Bold Princess Royal she showed him her tail

“Oh now” cried our captain “that pirates undone!
Go down for your grog boys go down everyone!
Go down for your grog boys and be of good cheer!
For as long as we have got sea room, bonny boys never fear”


from The Long Grey Line, released January 23, 2001
Vocals: Debra Cowan
Guitar: Geoff Bartley
English Concertina: Jim Williams
Anglo Concertina: Ron Lister (Old Favourite)
English Concertina Drone: Debra Cowan (Old Favourite)


all rights reserved



Debra Cowan Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

Singer Debra Cowan performs a cappella and with guitar, interpreting a wide range of folk songs. Debra has two acclaimed solo recordings to her credit, and her third, “Fond Desire Farewell” was produced by former Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks. A former California resident, she now resides in Massachusetts and tours all over North America and the United Kingdom. ... more

contact / help

Contact Debra Cowan

Streaming and
Download help

Shipping and returns

Redeem code

Report this track or account