Old Ballads eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 44 pages of information about Old Ballads.



Loud roared the dreadful thunder! 
   The rain a deluge showers! 
The clouds were rent asunder
  By lightning’s vivid powers! 
     The night, both drear and dark,
     Our poor devoted bark,
       Till next day, there she lay,
         In the Bay of Biscay O!

Now dashed upon the billow,
  Our op’ning timbers creak;
Each fears a wat’ry pillow,
  None stop the dreadful leak! 
    To cling to slipp’ry shrouds,
    Each breathless seaman crowds,
      As she lay, till the day,
        In the Bay of Biscay O!

At length the wished-for morrow
  Broke through the hazy sky;
Absorbed in silent sorrow,
  Each heaved the bitter sigh;
    The dismal wreck to view,
    Struck horror to the crew,
      As she lay, on that day,
        In the Bay of Biscay O!

Her yielding timbers sever,
  Her pitchy seams are rent;
When Heaven, all-bounteous ever,
  Its boundless mercy sent! 
A sail in sight appears,
We hail her with three cheers! 
  Now we sail, with the gale,
    From the Bay of Biscay O!

        Andrew Cherry.


All in the Downs the fleet was moored,
  The streamers waving in the wind,
When black-eyed Susan came on board: 
  “Oh! where shall I my true love find? 
Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true,
If my sweet William sails among your crew?”

William, who high upon the yard,
  Rocked by the billows to and fro,
Soon as her well-known voice he heard,
  He sighed, and cast his eyes below: 
The cord glides swiftly through his glowing hands,
And, quick as lightning, on the deck he stands.

So the sweet lark, high poised in air,
  Shuts close his pinions to his breast
(If, chance, his mate’s shrill call he hear),
  And drops at once into her nest: 
The noblest captain in the British fleet
Might envy William’s lips those kisses sweet.

Oh, 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 landsmen say,
  Who tempt with doubts thy constant mind;
They 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,
  Thine eyes are seen in diamonds bright;
Thy breath in Afric’s spicy gale,
  Thy skin in 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 free 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.

Project Gutenberg
Old Ballads from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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