Modern Street Ballads

This ballad shows that there are two sides to a poacher’s life.


Ye gentlemen both great and small,
Game keepers, poachers, sportsmen, all,
Pray listen to my simple clown,*
I’ll sing you the death of poor Bill Brown,
I’ll sing you the death of poor Bill Brown.

One stormy night as you shall hear,
(It was in the season of the year,)
We went to the woods to catch a fat buck,
But ah! that night we had bad luck,
Bill Brown was shot and his dog was stuck.

When we got to the wood our sport begun,
I saw the Game keeper present his gun,
I call’d on bill to climb the gate,
To fetch the fat buck, but it was too late,
For there he met his untimely fate.

Then, dying he lay upon the ground,
And in that state poor Bill I found,
And when he saw me, he did cry,
“Revenge my death,” I will, said I,
For many a hare we’ve caught hard by.

I knew the man that shot Bill Brown,
I knew him well and could tell his clown,
And to describe it in my song,
Black jacket he had, and waistcoat on,
I knew him well, and they called him Tom.

I dressed myself up, next night in time,
I got to the wood and the clock struck nine,
The reason was, and I’ll tell you why,
To find the game keeper I’ll go try,
Who shot my friend, and he shall die.

I ranged the wood all over and then
I looked at my watch, and it was just ten,
I heard a footstep upon the green,
And I laid down for fear of being seen,
For I plainly saw that it was Tom Green.

Then I took my piece fast in my hand,
Resolved to fire if Tom did stand;
Tom heard the noise, and turn’d him round,
I fired, and brought him down to the ground,
My hand gave him his deep death wound.

Now, revenge, you see, my hopes have crown’d,
I’ve shot the man that shot Bill Brown,
Poor Bill no more these eyes will see,
Farewell, dear friend, farewell to thee,
For I’ve crowned his hopes and his memory.

* Story.

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