Heart of Oak

Words: David Garrick 1759

Music: Dr William Boyce (1716 – 1769)

Heart of Oak is the official march of the Royal Navy. David Garrick was a famous actor of the day, and is credited with coining the phrase ‘break a leg’.

Heart of Oak

Come, cheer up, my lads, ’tis to glory we steer,
To add something more to this wonderful year;
To honour we call you, as freemen not slaves,
For who are as free as the sons of the waves?

CHORUS: Hearts of oak are our ships,
Jolly tars are our men, we always are ready;
Steady, boys, steady!
We’ll fight and we’ll conquer again and again.

We ne’er see our foes but we wish them to stay,
They never see us but they wish us away;
If they run, why we follow, and run them ashore,
And if they won’t fight us, we cannot do more.


They swear they’ll invade us, these terrible foes,
They frighten our women, our children and beaus,
But should their flat bottoms in darkness get o’er,
Still Britons they’ll find to receive them on shore.


We’ll still make them fear and we’ll still make them flee,
And drub them ashore as we’ve drubbed them at sea,
Then cheer up, my lads, with our hearts let us sing,
Our soldiers, our sailors, our airmen, our Queen.


Random Quote

England and its political identity have been subsumed within and conflated with the institutions of the British state, symbolised by the playing of the British national anthem at England’s World Cup matches.

— Simon Lee, Yorkshire Post

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