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Song: “Rachel Wall’s Last Good-Night”

(c) 2019 by April Grant

A-serving in Boston, I never was content
Until to marry James Wall I gave my consent.
With five sailors and their lovers, to piracy we went,
And for my offense I must die.

We beached our old vessel by the Isles of Shoals,
Crying, “Oh, Lord have mercy on us poor shipwrecked souls,
Our ship it is staved in and the bottom full of holes,”
And for my offense I must die.

Men saw me a-crying and tearing of my hair,
They quickly then landed to relieve my despair,
Their lives we did destroy and their gold and goods did share,
And for my offense I must die.

We sank thirty vessels all in the Gulf of Maine,
And food and drink and fine array in New York we did attain,
Then back to sea again another goodly ship to gain,
And for my offense I must die.

We met with a hurricane while cruising for our fee,
And that’s the last of James Wall the world will ever see,
For the waves they rolled across our deck and drowned them all but me,
And for my offense I must die.

On India Wharf, with a Quaker I did meet,
I struck her in the face, and I knocked her off her feet,
And with her purse and bonnet I went running up the street,
And for my offense I must die.

They’ll hang me as a thief on the Common tonight.
As a free prince of the ocean I should hang in public sight.
Hang me as a pirate, for you know it is my right,
And for my offense I must die.

I wrote this song in honor of Rachel Wall, pirate, murderer, thief, and half of the cutest couple in the history of seafaring serial killers. The tune is my own adaptation, based on “The Bold Soldier” as sung by Lena Bourne Fish.(

Rachel Wall was hanged at Boston, on October 8, 1789, aged about twenty-nine: Rachel Wall, New England’s Only Lady Pirate

Page image from here, artist unknown thus far.

“Rachel Wall’s Last Good-Night” lyrics in a Google doc, ready to print.