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Witte Zwanen, Zwarte Zwanen
Wie gaat er mee naar Engeland varen
Engeland is gesloten De sleutel is gebroken
Is er dan geen timmerman die de sleutel maken kan? Laat doorgaan laat doorgaan
wie achter is moet voorgaan!

1700s #Dutch #NurseryRhyme
#FolkloreThursday
Translation (1)
White Swans, Black Swans
Who will sail to England with us?
England is closed, the key is broken
Is there no carpenter who can fix the key?
Let through, let through!
Who is behind must go in front!

The most common explanation: the rhyme refers to the 1667 Medway incident (2)
during the 2nd Anglo-Dutch War.
Th Dutch sailed up the Medway - which at a strategic point had an enormous chain from bank to bank - after a searing defeat by the British. They snuck up the river, cut the chain & managed to nick the British Fleets' flagship The Royal Charles. (3)
They sailed it back to Holland in triumph & the English grudgingly admitted that it was a feat well managed, in spite of the embarrassment they suffered.
This is, incidentally, one of my favourite stories in #Maritime #History.
The part I can't stand is that the Royal Charles (4)
was sold for SCRAP by the Dutch Navy in 1673. Unforgivable, considering what an exquisite ship she was (full rigged, 80 guns) and what an infinite piece of history it would have been to this day! (End)
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