Traverse City Record-Eagle

Life

January 26, 2014

Pass the macaroni, mate

One might wonder what British Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson would think about the sea shanty that keeps his memory awash in the seas of re-enactments and boat festivals around the Great lakes and elsewhere.

The first lyric is, “Oh, a drop of Nelson’s Blood wouldn’t do us any harm.”

The admiral died in 1805 during the Battle of Trafalgar off the Spanish coast against the combined naval forces of France and Spain. Nelson’s body was preserved in a barrel of brandy and brought back to England for a hero’s funeral. Nelson is credited with saving Britain from the threat of a French invasion by Napoleon.

Legend has it that sailors aboard the vessel that carried his body home took nips from the barrel or used pieces of hollow macaroni as straws and drank the barrel dry.

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