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​William Glen

This song is by Nic Jones and appears on the album From The Devil To A Stranger (1978).

Oh it's of a ship and a ship of fame
Launched off the stocks, bound to sail the main;
With one hundred and fifty brisk young men
Well picked and chosen every one
And William Glenn was the captain's name.
He was a fine and a tall young man
As fine a sailor as sailed the sea;
And we were sailing to New Barbary.

On the first of April, then we set sail,
Blessed with a fine and a prosperous gale.
And we were bound for New Barbary
With all of our whole ship's company.
We hadn't been sailing a league or two
Till all of our whole ship's jovial crew,
They all fell sick but sixty-three
As we were sailing to New Barbary.

One night the Captain then he did dream,
A voice came to him and said to him:
"Prepare yourself and your company
For tomorrow night you must lie with me."
This woke the captain in a terrible fright,
It being the third watch of the night.
And aloud for the bosun then he did call
And to him told his secrets all.

"Bosun," he said, "it grieves my heart
To think I've played a villain's part:
A man I slew in Staffordshire
And all for the sake of his lady fair.
And of the ghost of that I am afraid
That has in me such terror bred.
So keep the secret within your breast
And pray to the lord that he gives you rest."

We hadn't been a sailing a league but three
Till raging grew the roaring sea.
There rose a tempest up in the skies
Which did our seamen much surprise
And the main mast sprung by the break of day
Which made our rigging all but to give way;
And did our seamen much affright
The terrors of that awful night.

And then the bosun he did declare
That the captain was a murderer.
This so enraged the whole ship's crew
That overboard our captain threw.
Our treacherous captain he being gone
Immediately there came a calm
And the winds abated and so did the sea
And we went sailing to New Barbary.

And when we came to the Spanish Shore
Our good little ship for to repair,
The people there were amazed to see
Our dismal case and such misery.
Now seamen all wherever you may be
I pray you take a warning from me:
As you love life won't you have care
And never go sailing with a murderer.

Credits Edit

  • Traditional/Arranged Nic Jones
  • Roud Folk Song Index #478