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EBBA 32460

Huntington Library - Miscellaneous
Ballad XSLT Template
The GOSPORT Tragedy:
Or, The Perjured Ship-Carpenter.

IN Gosport of late there a damsel did dwell,
For wit and for beauty did many excel;
A young man did court her to be his dear,
And he by his trade was a ship-carpenter.

He said, Oh! dear Molly, if you will agree,
And will consent to marry me;
My love you will ease me of sorrow and care,
If you will but wed a ship-carpenter.

With blushes more charming than roses in June.
She answerd sweet William, To wed Im too young.
Young men are so fickle I see very plain,
If a maid is not coy they will her disdain.

They flatter and swear their charms they adore,
When gaind their consent, they care for no more;
The handsomest creature that ever was born,
When man has enjoyd, he will hold in scorn.

My charming Molly what makes you say so?
Thy beautys the haven to which I would go.
So into that country I chance for to steer
There will cast anchor, and stay with my dea

I neer shall be cloyd with the charme of me love,
My love is as true as the turtle-dove;
And all I crave is to wed with my dear,
And when thou art mine no danger I fear.

The life of a virgin, sweet William, I prize,
For marriage brings sorrows and troubles likewise;
I am loath to venture, and therefore forbear
For I will not wed a ship-carpenter.

For in the time of war to the sea you must go,
And leave wife and children in sorrow and woe?
The seas they are perilous, therefore forbear,
For I will not wed with a ship-carpenter.

But yet all in vain, she his suit did deny,
Though he still did Press her to make her comply;
At length with his cunning he did her betray,
And to lewd desire he led her away.

But when with-child this young woman were,
The tydings she instantly sent to her dear;
And by the good Heaven he swore to be true.
Saying, I will wed no other but you.

They passed on till at length we hear,
The king wants sailors, to see he repairs,
Which grieved the damsel unto the heart.
To think she so soon with a lover must part.

She said, my dear William ere thou gost to sea,
Remember the vows that thou madest to me;
But if you forsake me I never shall rest,
Oh! why dost thou leave me with sorrow opprest?

Then with kind embraces to her he did say,
Ill wed thee, dear Molly, ere I go away;
And if to-morrow to me thou dost come,
A licence Ill buy, and it shall be done.

So with kind embraces he parted that night,
She wen[t] to meet him in the morning light;
He said dear charmer thou must go with me,
Before we are wedded, a friend to see.

He led her through valleys and groves so deep,
At length this maiden began for to weep;
Saying, William, I fancy thou leadst me astray,
On purpose my innocent life to betray.

He said that is true, and none you can save,
For I all this night have been digging a grave;
Poor innocent soul, when she heard him say so,
Her eyes like a fountain began for to flow.

O perjurd creature, the worst of all men,
Heavens reward thee when Im dead and gone:
O pity the infant, and spare my life,
Let me go distressd if Im not thy wife.

Her hands white as lillies in sorrow she wrung,
Beseeching for mercy, saying, what have I done
To you my dear William, what makes you severe?
For to murder one that loves you so dear.

And said heres no time disputing to stand,
And instaantly taking the knife in his hand;
He pierced her body till the blood it did flow,
Then into the grave her body did throw.

He coverd her body, then home he did run,
Leaving none but birds her death to mourn;
On board the Bedford he enterd straitway,
Which lay at Portsmouth out bound for the sea.

For carpenters mate he was enterd we hear,
Fitted for his voyage away he did steer;
But as in his cabbin one night he did lie,
The voice of his sweetheart he heard to cry.

O perjurd villain, awake now and hear,
The voice of your love, that lovd you so dear;
This ship out of Portsmouth never shall go,
Till I am revenged for this overthrow.

She afterward vanished with shrieks and cries,
Flashes of lightning did dart from her eyes;
Which put the ships crew into great fear,
None saw the ghost, but the voice they did hear.

Charles Stuart, a man of courage so bold,
One night was going into the Hold:
A beautiful creature to him did appear,
And she in her armes had a daughter most fair.

The charms of this so glorious a face,
Being merry in drink, he goes to embrace:
But to his surprize it vanishd away,
So he went to the captain without more delay.

And told him the story, which when he did hear,
The captain said, some of my men I do fear
Have done some murder, and if it be so,
Our ship in great danger to the sea must go.

One at a time then his merry men all,
Into his cabbin he did strait call,
And said, my lads the news I do hear
Doth much surprize me with sorrow and fear

This ghost which appeard in the dead of the night
Which all my seaman so sadly did fright;
I fear has been wrongd by some of my crew,
And therefore the person I fain would know.

Then William affrighted did tremble with fear
And began by the powers above to swear;
He nothing at all of the matter did know,
But as from the captain he went to go.

Unto his surprize his true love did see,
With that he immediately fell on his knee:
And said, heres my true love, where shall I run?
O save me, or else I am surely undone.

Now he the murder confessed out of hand,
And said, before me my Molly doth stand,
Sweet injurd ghost thy pardon I crave.
And soon I will seek thee in the silent grave.

No one but this wretch did see this sad sight,
Then raving distracted he dyd in the night:
As soon as her parents these tydings did hear
They sought for the body of their daughter dear.

Near a place calld Southampton in a valley deep
The body was found, while many did weep
At the fall of the damsel and her daughter dear,
In Gosport church they buryd her there.

I hope that this may be a warning to all,
Young men how innocent maids they enthral:
Young men be constant and true to your love,
Then a blessing indeed will attend you above.


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