Avery and the Merchants of Bristol

This is our song about Captain John Avery. Using material from ‘A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pirates’ by Captain Charles Johnson and other sources, it highlights, to Avery’s evident misfortune, that pirates are just as active on land as they are on sea.

Avery and the Merchants of Bristol
Music: na-mara, Lyrics: P. McNamara

Gibson awoke from his drunken slumbers – there stood Avery, his gun at hand
“We’re now bound for Madagascar and of The Duke I’ve ta’en command”
(And) when they reached that distant shore, at anchor they there did meet
Two fine sloops and fifty sailors, and he pressed them to his fleet

Chorus
Avery the great deceiver, sailing on the seven seas
Lying, cheating and pirateering, scorned both friends and enemies
Rich as Croesus they did say, down Madagascar’s shore
But the merchants of Bristol laid him down in a pauper’s grave so poor

To the dusty shores of far Arabia, these three ships then steered a course
A pilgrim ship they there did plunder - a Sultan’s treasure took by force
Mohammedans were turned around; Mecca they ne’er did see
While home to port in Madagascar, fled John Avery

Chorus

But Avery he was ever scheming, it was his plan to steal the hoard
For protection, he commanded, upon the Duke the jewels be stored
With just the southern stars awake, to brighten up the night
The Duke raised sail and by the dawn had quietly slipped from sight

Chorus

Around the Horn and north to Boston, Avery he then did sail,
The Duke was sold, the plunder shared, and ne’er a one could scent his trail
Home to Bideford town he rolled, with diamonds in great store
(But ) Fearing the hangman he laid low (and) company foreswore

Chorus

By secret means he then entreated, Bristol traders fence his hoard
‘Upon their honour’ they declared, his good patience they’d reward
Months of silence then did pass ‘til at last they did confer
Where they tell him to ‘Go to the devil or the court should he prefer’.

Chorus

And thus was Avery that king of pirates, this was how he was undone
All his jewels they were taken all his treasures they were gone
In penury he lived and died, where he came to understand
(That) pirates sailing on the sea are matched by those on land!

Chorus

Music: na-mara, Lyrics: P. McNamara
track number: 
7