Gosport tragedy, or, The perjured ship carpenter/Gosport Tragedy

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GOSPORT TRAGEDY.

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

He ſaid, My dear Molly, if you will agree,
And now will conſent, love, to marry me,
Your love it will eaſe me of ſorrow and care,
If you will but marry a ſhip carpenter.

With bluſhes more charming than roſes in June,
She anſwer'd, ſweet William, to wed I'm too young,
For young men are fickle, I ſee very plain,
If a maid ſhe is kind they'll her quickly diſdain.

They'll flatter, & tell how her charms they adore,
If they gain her conſent, they'll care for no more;
The most beautiful woman that ever was born,
If a man has enjoy'd her, her beauty he'll ſcorn.

My charming ſweet Molly, why do you ſay ſo?
Thy beauty is the haven to which I will go;
And if in that channel I chance for to ſteer,
There I will caſt anchor and ſtay with my dear.

I ne'er will be cloy'd with the charms of my love,
My love is as true as the ſweet turtle dove,
And all that I crave is to marry my dear,
And when you're my own, no danger I'll fear.

The life of a virgin, ſweet William I prize,
For marriage brings ſorrow and trouble likewiſe;
I'm loth for to venture, and therefore forbear,
For I will not marry a ſhip carpenter.

For in time of war to the ſeas you muſt go,
And leave wife and children in ſorrow and wo;
I'm loth for to venture, and therefore forbear,
For I will not marry a ſhip carpenter.

But yet all in vain ſhe his ſwit did deny.
For ſtill unto love he's forc'd her to comply;
At length with his curning her heart he betray'd,
Unto lewd deſires he led her aſtray.

But when with child this young damſel did prove,
The tidings immediately ſhe ſent to her love,
And by the good Heavens he ſwore to be true,
Saying, I will marry none other but you.

This paſt on a while, at length we do hear;
The King wanted ſailors, to ſea he muſt ſteer,
Which griev'd the young damſel indeed to the heart,
To think with ſweet Will ſo ſoon for to part.

She ſaid, My dear Will, e'er ye go to ſea,
Remember the vows you made unto me;
And if that you leave me, I never ſhall reſt,
And why will you leave me with ſorrow oppreſt.

The kindeſt expreſſions he to her did ſay,
I'll marry my Molly ere I go away;
And if that to me to-morrow you come,
The prieſt ſhall be brought love, & all ſhall be done.

With kindeſt embraces they parted that night,
She went for to meet him the next morning light,
He ſaid, My dear charmer, you muſt go with me,
Before we are marry'd a friend for to ſee.

He led her through groves and vallies ſo deep,
At length this fair damſel began for to weep,
Saying, William, I fancy you lead me aſray,
On purpoſe my innocent life to betray.

He ſaid, That is true, and none can you ſave,
For I all this night have been digging your grave,
Poor harmleſs creature,when the heard him ſay ſo,
Her-eyes like a-fountain began for to flow.

A grave and a ſpade ſtanding by ſhe did ſee,
And ſaid, Muſt this be a bride-bed for me?
O perjured creature, thou word of all men!
Heav'n will reward you when I'm dead and gone.

O pity my infant, and ſpare my ſweet life,
Let me go diſtreſs'd, if I'm not your wife;
O take not my life, leſt my foul you betray,
Muſt I in my youth be thus hurried away!

Her hands white as lilies in ſorrow ſhe wrung,
Intreating for mercy, ſaying, What have I done
To you my dear Will! What makes you ſo ſevere,
To murder your true love, that you lov'd ſo dear?

He ſaid, There's no time diſputing to ſtand,
And inſtantly taking his knife in his hand,
He pierced her heart, while the bleed it did flow,
And into the grave her fair body did throw

He cover'd her body, and home he did come,
Leaving none but the birds her death to bemoan;
On board of the Bedford he enter'd ſtraightway.
Which, lay at Portſmouth, and bound for the ſea.

For Carpenter's mate he was enter’d we hear,
Fit for the voyage away then to ſteer,
But as in the cabin one night he did ly,
The voice of his true love he heard ſor to ſay,

O perjured William! awake now and hear.
The words of your true love that lov'd you ſo dear,
The ſhip out of Portſmouth it never ſhall go,
Till I be reveng'd of this lad overthrow.

This ſpoken, ſhe vaniſh'd with ſhrieks & with cries,
The flaſhes of lightning did dart from her eyes,
which put the ſhip's crew in a terrible fear,
Tho' none ſaw the Ghoſt the voice they did hear.

Charles Stewart a man of courage ſo bold,
one night a: he was going down to the hold,
beautiful damſel to him did appear,
and the in her arms had a baby ſo dear.

Being merry in drink, he went to embrace,
The charms of this ſo lovely a face,
but to his ſurprize the vanish away,
He went to the Captain without more delay;

He told the whole ſtory, which when he did hear.
He ſaid, Now ſome of my men I do fear,
Has done ſome murder and if it be ſo,
Our ſhip's in great danger if to ſea ſhe does go.

Then on a time his merry men all,
into the great cabin to him he did call,
and ſaid, My dear ſailors, this news I do hear,
Does really ſurpriſſe me with ſorrow and fear.

The Ghoſt which appear'd in dead of the night,
and all my brave ſailors did ſorely affright,
fear has been wrong'd by ſome of the crew,
and therefore the perſon I fain would know,

Then William aſtoniſhed, did tremble with fear,
and began by the Powers above for to ſwear,
He nothing at all of the mater did know,
But as from the Captain he went for to go,

Unto his ſurpriſe he his true love did ſee,
with that he immediately fell on his knee,
ſaying, Here's my true love, where shall I run?
O ſave me, or elſe my poor foul is undone,

The murder he did confeſs out of hand,
Saying, Here before me my Molly does ſtand,
Poor injured Ghoſt! thy pardon I crave,
And ſoon ſhall follow thee down to the grave.

There's none but the wretch did behold the ſad ſigh
Then roving diſtracted; he died in the night;
But when that her parents theſe tidings did hear
They ſought for the body of their daughter dear.

Near a place call'd Southampton in a valley ſo deep
The body was found, while many did weep,
At the fall of a damſel and baby ſo fair,
And in Goſport church-yard they buried were.

I hope this will be a warning to all
Young men, who innocent maids do enthral,
Young men be conſtant and true to your love,
And bleſſings will attend you be ſure from above.


This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.