History of Down Among the Dead Men
Down Among the Dead Men is an English song that won by its fine melody the position of National. It appears to have originated in the early years of Queen Anne’s reign, and the earliest copies are said to commence:
Here’s a health to the Queen and a lasting peace
Let faction be damn’d and discord cease
Grove had a copy of the song and music on an engraved half-sheet, circa 1715, headed: “A song sung by Mr. Dyer at Mr. Bullock’s Booth at Southwark Fair.” This begins:
Here’s a health to the mem’ry of Queen Anne
Come pledge me, every Englishman
For tho’ her body’s in the dust
Her memory shall live, and must
And they that Anna’s health deny
Down among the dead men
let him lie
The first named is a drinking song; the second has more political bearing. The music is the same in both instances.
The tune alone is in the third volume of the ‘Dancing Master,’ 1726, in Walsh’s ‘Compleat Country Dancing Master,’ etc.
Many songs were adapted to this fine air, mostly of a political nature. On eis in Hogg’s ‘Jacobite Relics’ 1st series. The ‘Dead Men’ mentioned in the song are merely the empty bottles rolled under the table.