Jemmy and Nancy of Yarmouth, or, The constant lovers (1870-1885)

Jemmy and Nancy of Yarmouth, or, The constant lovers  (1870/1885) 










Lovers, I pray lend an ear to my story,
Take an example by this constant pair;
How love a young woman did blast in her glory—
Beautiful Nancy of Yarmouth, we hear.

She was a merchant's only daughter,
Heir unto fifteen hundred a year;
A young man who courted her call'd her his jewel,
The son of a gentleman who lived near.

Many long years the fair maid he admir'd,
When they were infants in love they agreed:
And when at age this young couple arriv'd,
Cupid an arrow between them display'd.

Their tender hearts were linked together—
But when her parents the same they did hear,
They to their charming young beautiful daughter
Acted a part that was hard and severe.

Daughter they said give o'er your proceeding;
If that against our consent you do wed,
For evermore we resolve to disown you,
If you wed with one that is so mean bred.

Her mother said, You have a great fortune,
Besides you are beautiful, charming, and young,
You are a match, dear child, that is fitting
For any lord that is in Christendom.

Then did reply the young beautiful virgin,
Riches and honour I both do defy,
If that I am denied of my dearest lover,
Then farewell world! which is all vanity.

Then said her father, 'Tis my resolution,
Although I have no more daughters but thee,
If that with him you resolve for to marry,
Banish'd for ever from me thou shalt be.

Well, cruel father, but this I desire,
Grant me that Jemmy once more I may see,
Though you do us part, I still will be loyal.
For none in the world I admire but he.

For the young man he sent in a passion.
Saying, for ever, sir, now take your leave;
I have a match more fit for my daughter,
Therefore it is but a folly to grieve.

Honoured father, then said the young lady,
Promis'd we are by the powers above;
Why of all comforts will you bereave me,
Our love is fix'd never to be remov'd,

Then said her father, A trip to the ocean.
You first shall go in a ship of my own,
And I'll consent you shall have my daughter,
When to Yarmouth again you return.

Honoured sir, then said the two lovers,
Since 'tis your will we are bound to obey,
Our constant hearts never be parted.
But our eager desires no longer can stay.

Then said kind Nancy, Behold, dearest Jemmy,
Here take this ring, the pledge of our vows,
And with it my heart, keep it safe in your bosom,
Carry it with you wherever you go.

Then in his arms he close did enfold her,
While crystal tears like a fountain did flow;
Crying, My heart in return I do give you,
And you shall be present wherever I go.

When on the ocean, my dear, I am sailing,
The thoughts of my jewel the compass shall steer
These tedious long days time soon will devour,
And bring me home again safe to my dear.

Therefore be constant, my dear lovely jewel,
For by the Heavens! if you are untrue,
My troubled ghost shall torment you for ever,
Dead or alive I will have none but you.

Her lovely arms round his neck then she twined,
And saying, My dear when you are on the seas,
If the fates unto us should prove cruel,
That we each other no more ever see;

No man alive shall ever enjoy me—
Soon as the tidings of death reach my ear,
Then like a poor unfortunate lover,
Down to the grave I will go with my dear.

Then with a sorrowful sigh he departed,
The wind next morning blew a pleasant gale;
All things being ready, the fam'd Mary Gailey
Then for Barbadoes she straightway set sail.

Jemmy was floating upon the wide ocean,
And her cruel parents were plotting the while,
How that the heart of their beautiful daughter,
With cursed gold should strive to beguile.

Many a lord of fame, birth, and breeding,
Came to court this young beautiful maid;
But their rich presents and proffers she slighted,
Constant I'll be to my jewel, she said.

Young Jemmy was comely in every feature,
A Barbadoes Lady whose fortune was great,
So fixed her eyes that she cried, If I have not
This brave English sailor I die for his sake.

She dressed herself in gallant attire,
With costly diamonds she plaited her hair,
And a hundred slaves well dressed to attend her,
She sent for this young man to come to her.

Come noble sailor, she cried, can you fancy
A lady whose riches are very great
A hundred slaves you shall have to attend you,
And music to charm you in your silent sleep.

In robes of gold, my dear, I will deck you,
Pearls and rich jewels I'll lay at your feet,
In a chariot of gold you shall ride for your pleasure,
If you can fancy me answer me straight.

Amazed with wonder a while he stood gazing,
Forbear noble lady, at length, he replied,
In flourishing England I've vow'd to a lady,
At my return for to make her my bride.

She is a charming young beautiful creature,
She has my heart and I can love no more
I bear in my eye her sweet lovely feature,
No other creature in earth I'll adore.

Hearing of this, she did rave in distraction,
Crying, Unfortunate maid thus to love,
One that does basely slight all my glory,
And of my person he will not approve.

Lords of renown I their favours have slighted,
Now I must die for a sailor so bold:
I must not blame him because be is constant,
True love I know is far better than gold.

A costly jewel she instantly gave him,
Then in her trembling hand took a knife,
One fatal stroke before they could save her,
Quickly did put an end to her life.

Great lamentation was made for this lady—
Jemmy on board the ship he did steer;
And then to England he homeward came sailing
With a longing desire to meet with his dear.

But when her father found he was returning,
A letter he wrote to the boatswain his friend,
Saying a handsome reward I will give you,
If you the life of young Jemmy will end.

Void of all grace and for sake of the money,
The cruel boatswain the same did complete,
As they on the deck were lovingly walking,
He suddenly tumbled him into the deep.

In dead of the night when all were asleep,
His troubled ghost to his love did appear,
Crying, Arise now beautiful Nancy,
Perform the vow you made to your dear.

She cried, Who is there under my window?
Surely it is the voice of my dear:
Lifting her head off her downy pillow,
Straight to the casement she then did repair.

By light of the moon which brightly was shining,
She espied her lover who to her did say,
Your parents are sleeping, before they awaken,
Stir my dear creature and straight come away.

Jemmy, she cried, if my father should hear thee,
We shall be ruin'd, pray therefore repair,
At the sea-side I will instantly meet you,
With my two maids I will come to thee there.

Her night-gown embroider'd with gold and silver,
Carelessly round her body she throws,
With the two maidens who did attend her,
To meet her true love she instantly goes.

Close in his arms the spirit did enfold her,
Jemmy, she said, you are colder than clay;
Sure you can never be the man I admire,
Paler than death you appear unto me.

Yes, fair creature, I am your true lover,
Dead or alive you know you are mine:
I come for my vow, my dear, you must follow
My body now to a cold watery tomb.

I for your sake refus'd gold and silver,
Beauty and riches for you I despis'd,
A charming young lady for me did expire,
For, thinking of you, I was deaf to her cries.

O my cruel parents have been my undoing,
And I do sleep in a watery tomb,
It is for your promise, my dear, I am sueing,
Dead or alive, love, you are my own.

The trembling lady was sorely affrighted,
Amazed she stood near the brink of the sea,
Her eyes lift to heaven she cried,
Heaven requite you for your cruelty.

Indeed I promis'd, my dearest creature,
Dead or alive I would be his own;
Now to perform my solemn vow I am ready,
And to follow him to his watery tomb.

The maids they heard the sad lamentation,
But the apparition indeed could not see;
Thinking the lady was fallen into distraction,
They strove to persuade her contented to be.

But still she cried, My dear I am coming,
And in thy bosom I'll soon fall asleep;
When she had spoke, this unfortunate lady
Suddenly plunged herself into the deep.

But when to her father the maids told the matter,
He wrung his hands, crying, What have I done?
Oh! dearest child it was thy cruel father
That did provide thee a watery tomb!

Two or three days then being expir'd,
These two unfortunate lovers were seen,
In each other's arms they together were floating,
By the side of a ship on the watery main.

The cruel boatswain was stricken with horror,
Straight did confess he sad deed he had done—
Shewing the letter that came from her father,
Which was the cause of these true lovers' doom.

On board the ship he was tried for the murder,
At the yard's arm was hanged for the same,
Her father he soon broke his heart for his daughter,
Before the ship into the harbour then came.

The cursed gold has caused destruction,
Why should the rich covet after gain?
I hope this story it will be a warning,
That cruel parents may ne'er do the same.

This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.