Modern Street Ballads


It is of a rich merchant near London we hear,
Had a comely young daughter most beauteous and fair,
Twenty thousand bright guineas was her portion in gold,
Till she fell in love with a young sailor bold.

O! when that the merchant these tidings did hear,
Upon the young sailor, he vengeance did swear;
He says, your true love shall no more plough the sea,
For before to-morrow morning his butcher I’ll be.

O, when that she heard her own father say so,
Her mind was o’erwhelmed with sorrow and woe;
She thought to herself, If I could see my dear,
I quickly would warn him of the danger that’s near.

In a suit of bold sailors apparel complete,
She dressed herself from the head to the feet,
With pumps on her feet, and a cane in her hand,
She met her dear William as he walked through the Strand.

She says, My dear William, O, instantly flee,
For my father doth swear that your butcher he’ll be,
So straight unto Dover, I’d have you repair,
And in forty-eight hours, I’ll meet you there.

As he kiss’d her fair cheek, the tear stood in each eye,
She says I will save you, or else I will die.
Then straightway she gave him a handful of gold,
And she marched up the street like a sailor so bold.

She, meeting her father, as he walked up the Strand,
He mistook her for William, saying, You are the man,
A Sword from his side then he instantly drew,
And her beautiful body he pierc’d it quite through.

When he found what he’d done, he sunk down in despair,
He wringed his hands, and he tore off his hair,
Crying, wretched monster, Oh! what have I done?
I have killed the flower of fair London town.

Then up from the ground he did instantly start,
And leaned on the sword, till he pierced his heart;
Forgive me, he cried, as he drew his last breath,
Then he closed his eyes in the cold arms of death.

Now when that young William the tidings did hear,
He died broken hearted by grief and despair,
Thus father, and daughter, and young sailor bold,
Met an untimely death for the sake of curs’d gold.

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