John Gay

(30 June 1685 – 4 December 1732 / Barnstaple, England)

A Ballad


I.
'Twas when the seas were roaring
With hollow blasts of wind;
A damsel lay deploring,
All on a rock reclin'd.
Wide o'er the roaring billows
She cast a wistful look;
Her head was crown'd with willows,
That tremble o'er the brook.

II.
Twelve months are gone and over,
And nine long tedious days,
Why didst thou, vent'rous lover,
Why didst thou trust the seas?
Cease, cease, thou cruel ocean,
And let my lover rest:
Ah! what's thy troubled motion
To that within my breast?

III.
The merchant robb'd of pleasure
Sees tempests in despair;
But what's the loss of treasure
To losing of my dear?
Should you some coast be laid on
Where gold and diamonds grow
You'd find a richer maiden,
But none that loves you so.

IV.
How can they say that nature
Has nothing made in vain
Why then beneath the water
Should hideous rocks remain?
No eyes the rocks discover,
That lurk beneath the deep,
To wreck the wandering lover,
And leave the maid to weep.

V.
All melancholy lying,
Thus wail'd she for her dear;
Repay'd each blast with sighing,
Each billow with a tear;
When, o'er the white wave stooping,
His floating corpse she spied;
Then like a lily drooping,
She bow'd her head and died.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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