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Black William

The Emerald

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The Emerald

Rich be the mines in the Realm of New Spain

None richer than those of the Andes

Of silver and gold, the riches are told

And emeralds green, a sight to behold

Riches to tempt a pirate so bold

So listen, me hearties, as me tale unfolds

Listen and I’ll spin it for you

We set sale from Jamaica one fine summer day

Riding the tide that flowed from the bay

Fair were the skies, our spirits were high

We knew to a man that plunder was nigh

Fabulous riches piled to the sky

So in our folly we set our hopes high

Vowing to sack Cartagena

Cartagena won’t fall to our little ship

It would take a large fleet and an army

But our ship it was fast so their ships we harassed

And a moderate sum of gold we amassed

Annoying the Spaniards until at last

They sent out a warship with orders to blast

Our beloved little ship from the ocean

Fate was against us for that very day

A squall had blown our rigging astray

So when we heard the cry that a warship was nigh

Unable to fight them, unable to fly

We gave up all hope, unwilling to try

And we went straight to the rum to drink ‘fore we die

For the cruelty of Spaniards is legend

The battle was swift if battle it was

For we offered their ship no resistance

Still they peppered our sides and they set us alight

The roar of their cannon still gives me a fright

They laughed at the show of our brave English might

And put into chains those still left alive

And burned our ship down to the ocean

Cold be the bands of iron that bound me

To the floor of me cold stone prison

When in walked a guard, his smile too wide

And he bid me to rise and he laughed as I tried

And kicked me again on me back and me side

As I cowered in vain there was nowhere to hide

And I felt consciousness slip from me

Dull be the ache that awoke in me head

But sharpe be the mind behind it

A Spaniard has pride worth far more than his hide

So I poked and I prodded, I pushed and I pried

His good name I slandered, his family defiled

Till finally he broke and he pulled me aside

And murderous words he spoke to me

“Never in God’s blessed realm have I seen

A scoundrel more low than a pirate.

I’ll bless our fair land with your blood in the sand

That honor I’ll take with my very own hand”

And freeing my bonds, he bid me to stand

To see if an Englishman died like a man

Or squealed like a pig at the slaughter

Sharpe be the knife that he dragged cross me throat

But slow was the hand that wielded it

His eyes opened wide as I pushed it aside

And I wrestled it from him, then opened him wide

His blood was just blood for all of his pride

But I’ll give that he fought like a man ‘fore he died

For all of the good it did for him

As I rolled him aside, his clothes I did take

And I assessed me new situation

Free from my cell and armed as well

But still in a dungeon and feeling like hell

And likely the noise rang clear like a bell

How long till they found me I just couldn’t tell

But I wasn’t about to wait for them

The only way out of a dungeon is up

And I climbed the stone stairway to freedom

A guard I dispatched as he slept at his nap

I opened all locks with a clang and a clap

Freed all the prisoners, scattered the rats

These poor sorry souls were the bait for me trap

And I hid near the top of the stairway

A dungeon set free makes a monstrous din

I waited for all the Lord’s guards to come in

They all rushed inside, the door hanging wide

I slipped out unnoticed with purposeful stride

Dressed like a guard it was best not to hide

So I walked to the chapel, me sins to confide

For the brothers were known to be wealthy

“Father, Oh Father, forgive what I’ve done

And don’t go away for there are sins yet to come

Your gold I will take and I’ll make my escape

You’ll fetch a fine ransom, my life I will stake

You’ll get me to freedom or yours I will take

For a brother of Christ a poor hero makes”

When in walked a fair senorita

She was dressed in fine silks with pearls in her hair

The lord of the castle’s own daughter

The lady walked in to confess her own sins

I’d have liked to been privy to those, my friends

But that’s not the direction this tale will spin

For with such a fine hostage the gate I could win

So I gallantly greeted the senorita

I calmly explained that I’d do her no harm

If she’d come without making a nuisance

I gathered up gold till I could carry no more

And with Father and Lady I strode through the door

Though I truly would rather have been home with a whore

It seems my fortunes weren’t looking so poor

When up walked her knightly young brother

“Sister, oh Sister, don’t go over there

For the prisoners have all gotten free from their cells

Though I see you’ve a guard, I beg you, beware

They’re fighting with guards and they seem not to care

And here you’re out walking with pearls in your hair!”

To my surprise, she gave him a stare

And she said “Little brother, you bore me”

“I’m a Lady full grown and can mind my own ways

Without any need of your posturing

So run to our mother and tell her I’m fine

With appropriate escort, spending my time

I’m off to the cellars to bring up some wine

So mind your own business and I will mind mine”

With a wave of her hand she dismissed him

“Follow me quick”, the lady, she cried

I’ll lead you down though the cellars

There’s a well-hidden way few know of these days

It leads under the walls, my uncle did say

It was built against pirates, a quick get away

I found it once hiding, a game I would play

When I needed some peace from my brother

The good Father’s protests died on his lips

As he felt the point of me dagger

I held them both tight as we continued our flight

From the world of the light to perpetual night

She knew the route well, for though deprived of all sight

We soon found ourselves staring into a light

Coming from the other side of a doorway

From the side of a cliff the door opened out

Near a tiny dock in the harbor

“Now that you’re free, you must fly!” cried she

But I fear that you won’t get a ransom for me

I must stay behind, but you, you must flee”

But before I left, I asked favors three

And these are the gifts that she gave me

I asked for a kiss, placed sweet on my lips

For a lusty old pirate I still be

“And the pearls that you wear tied up in your hair

You need them not, your beauty’s so rare”

She gave these to me, not seeming to care

As she let down her hair, I tried not to stare

Though a lusty old pirate I still be

“You still need to ask one more favor, the last

What else would you have of me?

I’ve helped you escape from a perilous fate

I’ve brought you to freedom, I’ve showed you the gate

If my family found out, they surely would hate me

For aiding a pirate they’re sure to berate me

So ask me this final request”

“Why?” says I, “Why? I want to know why

Tell me why have you aided your captor

There surely were times that you could have escaped

Or alerted your brother to your captive state

In the dark of the cellar I’d ne’er found me way

Right true you did lead us, but why I can’t say

And I fear that I don’t understand you”

‘Twas then that she gave me my third parting gift

A mysterious womanly smile

And she pulled from her bodice an emerald green

A more priceless gem I never have seen

“Tis but a token of my good esteem”

Though how that I earned it, I never could glean

For she disappeared back through the doorway

The Father and I stole a boat from the dock

And we made our way back to Jamaica

The good Father’s taken a liking to rum

And found that a pirate’s life is far more fun

Than kneeling and praying about what’s to come

Or hearing repentance for what has been done

So much for the good Father’s ransom

And now my story has come to an end

Though many of you swabs won’t believe it

The gold and the pearls were spent long ago

And just like a pirate I’ve nothing to show

But a tale to tell to the likes of you all

And a yearning to sail to Cartagena once more

To find the lost gate to the castle

By Robert Peters 03/12/2010

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Interesting, mysterious story. Has some good lines, especially "I'll bless our fair land with your blood in the sand" and "And don't go away, for there are sins yet to come."

Very odd rhyme scheme. Scansion needs some work, and you might try making the second and seventh lines rhyme, or rhyming each second line with the previous one.

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A most EXCELLENT tale!

Keep writing, Brother; one of these days we're going to have to name a "Pirate Laureate" for this here Pub! Who knows? It may be you!

Blackbead

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Very well done, William. This was a good story, I'd have liked to read more.

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