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Lyr Req: The Smuggler/Will Watch the Bold Smuggler

KG 26 Mar 98 - 04:42 PM
KG 07 Apr 98 - 05:11 PM
bigj 30 Apr 98 - 07:04 PM
Jim Dixon 12 Apr 09 - 03:50 PM
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Subject: Will Watch the Bold Smuggler
From: KG
Date: 26 Mar 98 - 04:42 PM

Does anybody know where I can get hold of, or hear the tune for, 'Will Watch the Bold Smuggler' apparently written by John Davy?

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Subject: John Davy / Will Watch the Bold Smuggler
From: KG
Date: 07 Apr 98 - 05:11 PM

Can anybody tell me where I might find, or hear, the music for 'The Ballad of Will Watch the Bold Smuggler', apparently composed by John Davy?

Many thanks


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Subject: RE: Will Watch the Bold Smuggler
From: bigj
Date: 30 Apr 98 - 07:04 PM

There are versions of the song on 'A Garland for Sam' - Sam Larner - Topic Records 12T244 or on Peter Kennedy's Folktracks Cassettes 'Stormy Weather Boys' by Bob Roberts FSA 047.

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From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 Apr 09 - 03:50 PM

The oldest copy I can find of the lyrics is in Ashburner's New Vocal and Poetic Repository:
"A collection of favourite songs and poetic fugitive pieces;
interspersed with a variety of comic stories and tales,
odd sermons, epigrams, anecdotes, &c.
Selected for their merit or whimsicality,
and not included in the Thespian Gleanings,
(with many originals)
by Queery Queerum, Esq. A. S. S.
Confidential Secretary to the Lord Chief Justice Joker."
(Ulverston: Printed by George Ashburner, 1807)


'TWAS one morn, when the wind from the northward blew keenly,
While sullenly roared the big waves of the main,
A famed smuggler, Will Watch, kissed his Sue then serenely,
Took helm, and to sea boldly steered out again.
Will had promised his Sue that this trip, if well ended,
Should coil up his hopes, and he'd anchor ashore.
When his pockets were lined, why, his life should be mended.
The laws he had broken, he'd never break more.

His sea-boat was trim, made her port, took her lading,
Then Will stood for home, reached the offing, and cried:
"This night, if I've luck, furls the sails of my trading.
In dock I can lay, serve a friend, too, beside."
Will lay-to till the night came on, darksome and dreary.
To crowd every sail then he piped up each hand.
But a signal soon spied—'twas a prospect uncheery—
A signal that warned him to bear from the land.

"The Philistines are out!" cries Will. "Well, take no heed on't!
Attacked, who's the man that will flinch from his gun?
Should my head be blown off, I shall ne'er feel the need on't.
We'll fight while we can. When we can't, boys, we'll run."
Through the haze of the night a bright flash now appearing,
"Oh! Oh!" cries Will Watch, "the Philistines bear down.
Bear a hand, my tight lads, e'er we think about sheering.
One broadside pour in, should we swim, boys, or drown.

"But should I be popped off, you, my mates, left behind me,
Regard my last words; see 'em kindly obeyed:
Let no stone mark the spot; and my friends, do you mind me:
Near the beach is the grave where Will Watch would be laid."
Poor Will's yarn was spun out, for a bullet next minute
Laid him low on the deck, and he never spoke more.
His bold crew fought the brig while a shot remained in it,
Then sheered, and Will's hulk to his Susan they bore.

In the dead of the night his last wish was complied with.
To few known his grave, and to few known his end.
He was borne to the earth by the crew that he died with.
He'd the tears of his Susan, the prayers of each friend.
Near his grave dash the billows; the winds loudly bellow.
Yon ash, struck with lightning, points out the cold bed
Where Will Watch, the bold smuggler, that famed lawless fellow,
Once feared, now forgot, sleeps in peace with the dead.

[The tune can be seen in The Vocal Companion by John Parry (London: D'Almaine and Co., 1837).

[Skip Henderson sings some version of this on his album "The Poet and Pirate Overtures," 2007.]

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Mudcat time: 18 March 5:52 AM EDT

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