Hunslet Rugby - 'We've swept the seas before boys'

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paulslo
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun 19 Apr, 2015 7:18 pm

Hunslet Rugby - 'We've swept the seas before boys'

Post by paulslo »

There are some old posts on Secret Leeds about the Hunslet club song - now known only by a few lines from its chorus. On the Hunslet former players website there's a tale that it was first sung by some Hunslet fans waiting at the Cemetery Tavern for the team to return from an important away game in the early 1890's. Allegedly it's an old Russian sea shanty taught to the fans by a veteran of the Crimean War. The first part of the story is probably true, but the stuff about the song itself is not. Overlooking the improbability of British sailors singing enemy songs, and the enemy courteously translating it into English for them, there is a much more likely source.'
'We've swept the seas before, boys' was a popular music hall patriotic song written around 1852, at the time of worries about a French invasion by the forces of Emperor Louis Napoleon (Bonaparte's grandson). The song was written by Joseph Bryan Geoghegan (1816-1889), who wrote many other songs besides. I've not found any music for it, though someone on Youtube has written their own tune to accompany the words. The original words are

1. Napoleon talks of war, boys,
And boasts his mighty force;
But vain his aim, despite his name,
To ride the world's high horse.
While waters wash the shore, boys,
Our own we will retain.
We've swept the seas before, boys,
And so we can again.

CHORUS: And so we can, so we can,
So we can again.
We've swept the seas before, boys,
And so we can again.

2. Napoleon talks of war, boys,
And of his fleet does boast.
He thinks it is quite easy
For to land upon our coast;
But let those Frenchmen try to come
Across the briny main!
We've swept the seas before, boys,
And so we can again.

3. Napoleon talks of war, boys.
His threats no fear imparts.
He may have money, ships, and men,
But has he British hearts?
And should the Eagle soar, boys,
To lord it o'er the main,
We've clipp'd his wings before, boys,
And so we can again.

4. Napoleon talks of war, boys,
But at him we can smile,
Recalling back those glorious days:
Trafalgar and the Nile.
With Waterloo and more, boys,
On many a well-fought plain,
We've beat the French before, boys,
And so we can again.

5. Napoleon talks of war, boys,
Though perhaps he don't intend
To strike—and yet he is not the first
Who's turn'd to strike his friend;
But should his cannon roar, boys,
Undaunted we'll remain.
We've beat such foes before, boys,
And so we will again.

6. Napoleon talks of war, boys,
But let him bear in mind,
That England, Ireland, and Scotland,
In Union they are joined;
And the freedom that we boast of
Those countries will maintain.
We've beat the world before, boys,
And so we can again.

The Hunslet song changes 'can' to 'shall' but - unless there's another contender, I think this must be the song that supporters used to sing, and that Peter O'Toole apparently knew all the words of.
Cheers, Paul

MiggyBill
Posts: 111
Joined: Fri 11 Mar, 2016 6:00 pm

Re: Hunslet Rugby - 'We've swept the seas before boys'

Post by MiggyBill »

There's a few old Hunslet lads singing the chorus here

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_ ... rugby+song

My late dad used to sing it to me when I was a lad, he was friends with Ginger Burnell many years ago.

volvojack
Posts: 1348
Joined: Tue 26 Jan, 2016 11:57 am

Re: Hunslet Rugby - 'We've swept the seas before boys'

Post by volvojack »

Living in South Leeds i got to know quite a few Hunslet players, in those days most of them were part time players, i knew Kenny Ayres and Brian Gabbitas. they were on £8 for a win, £6 for a draw and £4 if they lost.

iansmithofotley
Posts: 464
Joined: Fri 28 Dec, 2007 4:10 pm

Re: Hunslet Rugby - 'We've swept the seas before boys'

Post by iansmithofotley »

Hi. Jack,

I thought you might have known the great Geoff Gunney?

https://www.hunsletrlfc.com/general/geo ... y-aged-83/

Ian

volvojack
Posts: 1348
Joined: Tue 26 Jan, 2016 11:57 am

Re: Hunslet Rugby - 'We've swept the seas before boys'

Post by volvojack »

Ian,
I did not know him pesonally but quite a few of the team used to meet either in the Kings Arms, stocks hill, the New Inn on Dewsbury Rd.and there was a pub on Hunslet Moor that an ex. player had.
I also know an Hunslet lad that talked himself out of the 1965 final over a dispute cocerning money. Can't say his name as he is a friend,Wot a silly lad.

volvojack
Posts: 1348
Joined: Tue 26 Jan, 2016 11:57 am

Re: Hunslet Rugby - 'We've swept the seas before boys'

Post by volvojack »

Ian
Two lads I knew well were Maurice Langton and Alan Preece he became the landlord of the pub on Harrogate Road chapel Allerton ( think it was the New Inn )
Memory not what it used to be

iansmithofotley
Posts: 464
Joined: Fri 28 Dec, 2007 4:10 pm

Re: Hunslet Rugby - 'We've swept the seas before boys'

Post by iansmithofotley »

Hi Jack,

I remember their names, but I did not know them. As far as I aware, there was never a 'New Inn' in Chapel Allerton. The pubs in the area were the Regent in Regent Street, the Nag's Head in Town Street, the Mexborough in Harrogate Road, the Queen's in Harrogate Road and, in later years, the Mustard Pot in Stainbeck Lane.

Ian

volvojack
Posts: 1348
Joined: Tue 26 Jan, 2016 11:57 am

Re: Hunslet Rugby - 'We've swept the seas before boys'

Post by volvojack »

iansmithofotley wrote:
Sun 22 Dec, 2019 12:08 pm
Hi Jack,
T
I remember their names, but I did not know them. As far as I aware, there was never a 'New Inn' in Chapel Allerton. The pubs in the area were the Regent in Regent Street, the Nag's Head in Town Street, the Mexborough in Harrogate Road, the Queen's in Harrogate Road and, in later years, the Mustard Pot in Stainbeck Lane.

Ian
That's the one Ian The Mexborough Ta

volvojack
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Joined: Tue 26 Jan, 2016 11:57 am

Re: Hunslet Rugby - 'We've swept the seas before boys'

Post by volvojack »

Ian,
Guess you will know the name of the Tetley's house on the left hand side of the street where the Police station was (off Harrogate Road) Ken Buck was the landlord when we used to go in there.

iansmithofotley
Posts: 464
Joined: Fri 28 Dec, 2007 4:10 pm

Re: Hunslet Rugby - 'We've swept the seas before boys'

Post by iansmithofotley »

Hi Jack,

It was the Regent in Regent Street, just a bit further up Harrogate Road, on the right, from Chapeltown Police Station.

Ian

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