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Collection of eighty street ballads: Will Watch the Bold Smuggler

Collection of eighty street ballads on forty sheets, mostly with a woodcut printed at London, the majority by J. Catnach (1820ñ1830). London: n.p., n.d. University of Minnesota Libraries. WILSON Rare Books Quarto 820.1 C683.

Pasted to album leaf 40: broadside containing "Will Watch the Bold Smuggler" (left column) and "The Heart That Can Feel for Another" (right column).

<Image: wood engraving of a ship under sail.>

Will Watch the Bold Smuggler.

J. Catnach, Printer, 2, Monmouth-court, 7 Dials.
Cards Printed very Cheap
 Sold by Bennet, Brighton, & Pierce, Southborough.
      'T WAS one morn when the winds from the northward blew keen
          And sullenly roar'd the big waves of the main;
      A famed smuggler, Will Watch, kiss'd his Sue then serenely,
          Took helm and to sea, boldly steer'd out again.
      Will had promis'd his Sue that this trip if well ended,
          Should coil up his hopes, and he'd anchor on shore,
      When his pockets were lined, why his life should be mended,
          The laws he had broken he' never break more.

      His sea boat was trim, made her port took her lading,
          Then Will stood for home reach'd the offing & cried,
      This night if I've luck furls the sails of my trading
          In dock I can lay, serve a friend too beside.
      Still lay too till night came on darksome and dreary
          To crowd every sail, then he pip'd up all hands,
      But a signal soon spied 'twas a prospect uncheerly,
          A signal that warn'd him to bear from the land.

      The Philistines are out, cries Will we'll take no heed on't,
          Attack'd, who's the man that will flinch from his gun
      Should my head be blown off I shall ne'r feel the need on't,
          We'll fight while we can, when we can't boys we'll run,
      Through the haze of the night a bright flash now appearing,
          O ho! cries Will Watch the Philistines bear down,
      Hear a hand my tight lads e're ye think about sheering,
          One broadside pour in should we swim boys or go down

      But should I be pop'd off you my mates left behind me,
          Regard my last words see them kindly obeyed,
      Let no stone mark the spot, and my friends do you mind me,
          Near the beach is the grave where Will Wach would be laid<.>
      Poor Will's yarn was spun out, for a bullet next minute,
          Laid him low on the deck and he never spoke more,
      His bold crew fought the brig, while a shot remain'd in it,
          Then sheer'd and Will's hulk <t>o his Susan they bore.

      <In> the dead of the night his last whish complied with,
          To few known his grave, and to few known his end,
      He was borne to the earth by the crew that he died with,
          He'd the prayers of his Susan, the tears of his friends.
      Near his grave dash the billows, the winds loudly bellow,
          Yon ash struck with lightning points out the cold bed,
      Where Will Watch the bold smuggler, that fam'd lawless fellow
          Once feared,  now forgot, sleeps in ease with the dead.

Basic transcription by Wil Kurth.  Pointed brackets mark emendations.

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Michael Hancher
Department of English, University of Minnesota
URL: <http://umn.edu/home/mh/will.html>
Comments to: mh@umn.edu
Created 1 July 1997
Revised 2 July 1997