Benbow

(Admiral ), in an engagement with the French near St. Martha, on the Spanish coast, in 1701, had his legs and thighs shivered into splinters by a chain-shot, but, supported in a wooden frame, he remained on the quarter-deck till morning, when Du Casse bore away. Almeyda, the Portuguese governor of India, in his engagement with the united fleet of Cambay'a and Egypt, had his legs and thighs shattered in a similar manner; but, instead of retreating, had himself bound to the ship's mast, where he “waved his sword to cheer on the combatants,” till he died from loss of blood. (See Cynægiros, Jaafer, etc.)

Whirled by the cannon's rage, in shivers torn,
His thighs far shattered o'er the waves are borne; 
Bound to the mast the god-like hero stands,
Waves his proud sword and cheers his woeful bands;
Though winds and seas their wonted aid deny,
To yield he knows not, but he knows to die.

Camoens: Lusiad, book x.

Benbow

A sot, generous, free, idle, and always hanging about the ale-house. He inherited a good estate, spent it all, and ended life in the workhouse. The tale is in Crabbe's Borough.

Benbow, a boon companion, long approved
By jovial sets, and (as he thought) beloved,
Was judged as one to joy and friendship prone, 
And deemed injurious to himself alone.

Letter xvi.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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