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Broadsheet ballad titled 'Death of Parker'

Date: 1813 - 1838
Overall: 253 x 68 mm, 0.022 kg
Medium: Woodcut engraving and printed text on paper mounted on card.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Broadsheet
Object No: 00017432
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    A broadsheet ballad titled 'Death of Parker'. The ballad tells of the execution of Richard Parker for his part in the 1797 Mutiny of British Fleet at the Nore. The story is related by his wife Anne Parker.
    SignificanceBroadsheets were designed as printed ephemera to be published and distributed rapidly. This also meant they were quickly disposed of with many of them not surviving the test of time. The museum's broadsheet collection is therefore a rare and valuable example of how maritime history was communicated to a wide audience, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries. They vibrantly illustrate many of the themes and myths surrounding life at sea. Some of them also detail stories about transportation, migration.

    Ye Gods above, protect the widow,
    And with pity look down on me,
    Help me, help me out of trouble,
    And out of all calamity.
    For by the death of my brave Parker,
    Fortune hath prov’d to me unkind;
    Tho’ doom’d by law, he was to suffer,
    I can’t erase him from my mind.

    Parker he was my lawful husband,
    My bosom friend I lov’d so dear;
    At the awful moment he was going to suffer
    I was not allowed to come near.
    In vain I strove, in vain I asked,
    Three times, o’er and o’er again,
    But they replied, you must be denied,
    You must return on shore again.

    First time I attempted my love to see,
    I was obliged to go away,
    Oppress’d with grief, and broken hearted,
    To think that they should me stay.
    I thought I saw the yellow flag flying,
    A signal for my husband to die,
    A gun was fired, as they required,
    As the time it did draw nigh.

    The boatswain did his best endeavour,
    To get me on shore without delay,
    When I stood trembling and confounded,
    Ready to take his body away.
    Though his trembling hand did wave,
    As a signal of farewell,
    The grief I suffered at this moment,
    No heart can paint, or tongue can tell.

    My fleeting spirit I thought would follow,
    The soul of him I love so dear,
    No friend, nor neighbour would come nigh me,
    For to ease me of my grief and care.
    Every moment I thought an hour,
    Till the law its course had run,
    I wish’d to finish the doleful task,
    His imprudence had begun.

    In the dead of night, 'tis silent,
    And all the world are fast asleep,
    My trembling heart that knows no comfort,
    O’er his grave does often weep,
    Each lingering minute that passes,
    Brings me nearer to the shore,
    When we shall shine in endless glory,
    Never to be parted more

    Farewell Parker thou bright genius,
    That was once my only pride,
    Tho' parted now it won't be long,
    E'er I'm buried by thy side,
    ?l you that see my tender ditty,
    Don't laugh at me in disdain,
    ?atlook down with ?ye of pity,
    ? my ? aim.

    Richard Parker (1767 – 1797) was an English sailor executed for his role in a mutiny in the Royal Navy which took place at the Nore, in the Thames Estuary, in 1797.
    Parker was arrested on 13 June, court-martialled and executed on board the SANDWICH on 30 June 1797.
    Parker's wife Anne, later rescued his body from an unconsecrated burial ground and smuggled it into London, where crowds gathered to see it. After receiving Christian rites, it was buried in the grounds of St Mary Matfelon Church.
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