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REIGN OF QUEEN ANNE TO GEORGE II.
641
William, who, high upon the yard, Kock'd with the billows to and fro,
Soon as her well-known voice he heard, He sighed, and cast his eyes below: [hands,
The cord slides swiftly through his glowing
And (quick as lightning) on the deck he stands.
So the sweet lark, high-pois'd in air, Shuts close his pinions to his breast,
(If. chance, his mate's shrill voice he hear,) And drops at once into her nest.
The noblest captain in the British fleet
Might envy William's lip those kisses sweet.
" C> Susan, Susan, lovely dear, My vows shall ever true remain :
Let me kiss off that falling tear, We only part to meet again.
Change as ye list, ye winds ; my heart shall be
The faithful compass that still points to thee.
Believe not what the landmen say,
Who tempt with doubts thy constant mind :
They'll tell thee, sailors, when away, In every port a mistress find.
Yes, yes, believe them when they tell thee so, For thou art present wheresoe'er I go.
If to fair India's coast we sail,
Thy eyes are seen in di'monds bright;
Thy breath is Afric's spicy gale, Thy skin is ivory so white.
Thus every beauteous object that I view,
Wakes in my soul some charm of lovely Sue.
Though battle call me from thy arms, Let not my pretty Susan mourn ;
Though cannons roar, yet safe from harms, William shall to his dear return.
Love turns aside the balls that round me fly,
Lest precious tears should drop from Susan's eye."
The boatswain gave the dreadful word, The sails their swelling bosom spread;
No longer must she stay on board :
They kiss'd, she sigh'd, he hung his head.
Her less'ning boat unwilling rows to land ;
Adieu ! she cries, and wav'd her lily hand.
ADMIRAL BENBOW. The subject of this ballad is mentioned in Evelyn's Diary, under the date of January, 1702-3. " News of Vice-Admiral Benbow's conflict with the French fleet in the West Indies, in which he gallantly behaved himself, and was wounded, and would have had extraordinary success, had not four of his men-of-war stood spectators without coming to his assistance; for this, two of their commanders were tried by a council of war and executed; a third was condemned to perpetual imprisonment, loss of pay, and incapacity to serve in future. The fourth died." Admiral Benbow was a thoroughly gallant seaman. He received his com­mission in the navy for his bravery in beating off a corsair, while in command of a merchant vessel. When the Moors boarded him, they were driven back, leaving thirteen of their number dead upon his deck. He was twice sent to the West Indies by King William. On the second occasion, he fell in with the French Admiral, Du Casse, in August, 1702, near the Spanish coast. A skirmishing action continued for four days, but on the last the Admiral was left alone to engage the French, the other ships having fallen astern. Although thus single-handed, and having his leg shattered by a chain-shot, he would not suffer himself to be removed from the quarter-deck (in this respect the ballad is incorrect), but continued fighting until the following morning, when the French sheered off. The Admiral made signal for his ships to follow, but his orders received no attention, and he was obliged to return to Jamaica, where he caused the officers who behaved so basely, to be tried. The report of the court-martial will be found in The Harleian Miscellany, vol. i., 4to., 1744. There was a treasonable conspiracy among the officers of his fleet, not to fight the French. Admiral Benbow did not long survive this disappointment; it aggravated the effects of his wound, and he expired.







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III