Farewell and Adieu, My Fair Spanish Lady (Reprise)


To all you reaching this page by typing some variation of this post’s title into a search engine: Please read on. This entry is for you and you alone.

I’d like to thank you, first off, for visiting my humble site here. I know at least one person per day arrives here by searching some combination of the words “Farewell and Adieu, My Fair Spanish Lady” and, though you folks are probably a bit confused when you get here, you’re boosting my stats and making me the number one result on Google for those terms. For that, I thank you humbly.

Also, I realize that the reason is because, like me, you’re misquoting the song completely, which is what brings us together here. Having considered this, and the fact that you are likeley searching for information about the actual song and not some random post about The Turkey Apocalypse or Extraterrestrial Grizzly Bears, I provide the following information as a service to you, my hapless bretheren, in the spirit of solidarity and genuine gratitude.

Tha actual song is entitled “Spanish Ladies” or “Farewell and Adieu” and was a traditional sort of old English sea shanty, a rythmic song sung by sailors doing routine tasks aboard ship. In this case, it was likely sung as the capstan was turned to raise the anchor, thus the tone of departure.

It is a very old song indeed, with many variants, but the most widely recognized lyrics are as follows.

Farewell and adieu unto you Spanish ladies,
Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain;
For it’s we’ve received orders for to sail for old England,
But we hope very soon we shall see you again.

We’ll rant and we’ll roar like true British sailors,
We’ll rant and we’ll roar across the salt seas,
Until we strike soundings in the Channel of old England,
From Ushant to Scilly is thirty-five leagues.

Then we hove our ship to the wind at sou’-west, my boys,
We hove our ship to our soundings for to see;
So we rounded and sounded, and got forty-five fathoms,
We squared our main yard, up channel steered we.


Now the first land we made it is called the Deadman,
Then Ram Head off Plymouth, Start, Portland and Wight;
We sailed by Beachy, by Fairlee and Dungeness,
Until we came abreast of the South Foreland Light.


Then the signal was made for the grand fleet for to anchor,
All in the downs that night for to meet;
Then it’s stand by your stoppers, see clear your shank-painters,
Haul all your clew garnets, stick out tacks and sheets.


Now let every man toss off a full bumper,
And let every man toss off a full bowl;
And we’ll drink and be merry and drown melancholy,
Singing, here’s a good health to all true-hearted souls.


Of course, most of us recognize the tune as it’s sung by Robert Shaw in Jaws where he substitutes “Boston” for England, a version I certainly enjoyed, as a native of that town.

Here’s a more traditional performance.

And here is a bit more information for you.

Anyway, I truly hope that helps you find what you’re looking for. If so, maybe leave me a comment letting me know. Maybe even stick around a bit and join the madness here, if the mood strikes you. Either way, thanks for stopping by and good luck.

And, hey. Happy sailing.


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19 Responses to “Farewell and Adieu, My Fair Spanish Lady (Reprise)”

  1. Trevor Frantzis Says:

    Thanks for giving my Daddy something to listen to while he waits for me.

  2. joe Says:

    thanks ken….you anticipated exactly what I wanted !

  3. Michael Murphy, Westport, Ireland Says:

    Does anybody know where I might get the sheet music for piano accompaniment to the shanty “Farewell to you, you proud Spanish ladies”. It is for an upcoming concert in March (the song is mentioned in James Joyce’s Ulysses).
    Thank you all in hope!
    Michael Murphy, Westport, Ireland.

  4. scunger Says:

    Thanks for this page, you have had the same thoughts as myself with regards to this song.

  5. Thomas Kelley Says:

    Isn’t that a gas? I came to your website exactly as you anticipated, for the very reason you foresaw. I was watching the scene in “Jaws”, where in the boat cabin, they are comparing bodily scars. Robert Shaw sings softly to himself, a verse of the song, which I have just learned is aptly named “Spanish Ladies”. I don’t know why exactly, but I was urged to Google those lyrics, curiousity I suppose. I was guessing at a timetable of WWI, maybe WWII. I was pleasantly surprised to find out it is much older and even more surprised to find out that it was Quint’s personal version of the song I was listening to, replacing England with Boston. I’ve learned more than I could have hoped for and I have you to thank. Very clever introduction on your part. Thank you.

  6. claire malidore Says:

    Love this song.my son sang it on the tall ship Hawaiian Chieftien when he sailed with her for a year.The lovely traditional version is how i love it best(course being English myself it stirs pride)

  7. Anders Says:

    I´ve searched and this might be true also:

    This is a traditional song, lyrics from “Shanties from the Seven Seas”, by Stan Hugill.

    Stan (Stanley James) Hugill (November 19, 1906 – May 13, 1992) was a folk music performer, artist and sea music historian, known as the “Last Working Shantyman” and described as the “20th Century guardian of the tradition”.

  8. Ken Socrates Says:

    Thanks, Ander. Thank you all, in fact. I have always found it a happy lark that folks find their way here for this reason and, being a massive fan of the film “Jaws”, decided to just enjoy the happenstance. You folks have helped me do so.

  9. Hugh Myers Says:

    Actually I was looking for a related song: The Spanish Bride. While I enjoy Spanish Ladies, being a veteran, The Spanish Bride brings tears to my eyes—thanks for the lovely stop…

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  11. marty Says:

    thank you Sir; taught me a lot about the song; happen to be watching Jaws now.

  12. Tom Cosby Says:

    Just watched Jaws on the tube for the first time in years tonight. Googled Farewell and Adieu and found your site. Thanks much for doing this; very informative. Makes me proud of our English heritage!

  13. Bennett Says:

    Wonderful job! Growing up it was a ritual in our house on Trafalgar Day to splice the main brace and toast Lord Nelson. Enjoyed Robert Shaw’s version of the shanty, but the rendering in Master and Commander fits the time and place better. A great song from the same time period is Forty Shillings on The Drum. Though not nautical, it still reflects a time long gone. (watch the Sharpe’s version first) Then we were worrying about Old Boney, now it’s Putin. Not much changes. Regards, Alan

  14. Robbie Tynes Says:

    Thank you so much from the bottom of my seafaring heart,even though I’ve been run aground in the Oklahoma hills a lifetime……but aye! The ancestoral blood in me veins,both Spanish and Scottish,is full sore with salt,salt from the high seas.(have you ever heard the tale of Fogarty Regan? Now there you go! That is a a song of the seas for sure! Some little mighty “tugger”! God speed ,Ken

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