“The Young Earl of Essex's Victory over the Emperor of Germany”


The Queen appoints Essex to command the fleet against Germany. The Emperor, learning who opposes him, would avoid battle, but his son begs for the command. Essex is victorious, and the German prince must be exhibited in London before he is sent home


Needless to say, there is no history in this song. By the time Britain developed a respectable Navy, the "emperorship" of Germany (i.e. the Holy Roman Empire) was little more than a token office.

The broadside copy (Child's A) may be from the publishing house of John White, meaning that it was likely issued in the years before White's death in 1769. It is reasonable to assume that the Hannoverian Succession of 1714 had made the British more aware of Germany, and some anonymous (Jacobite?) balladeer decided to grant the English a victory over them.

Internal evidence, to be sure, points to the reign of Queen Elizabeth, who of course was the first great Queen of England, and who was friendly with an Earl of Essex. Her reign also saw the voyage of the Spanish Armada, resulting in the first real battle of seagoing gunships. But the Germany of Elizabeth's time was in no sense a country; feuds between Catholics and Protestants were constant, and Protestants at that time generally did not go to war with Protestants.

This song should not be confused with the broadside "The Earl of Essex," printed e.g. by Logan. - RBW


  1. Child 288, "The Young Earl of Essex's Victory over the Emperor of Germany" (2 texts)
  2. Bronson 288, "The Young Earl of Essex's Victory over the Emperor of Germany" (2 versions)
  3. Roud #123
  4. BI, C288


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1777
Found in: Britain(Scotland(Aber))