A ballad of Captain Kidd

The title page from Sarah Churchill's booklet. Ms 101734

The title page from Sarah Churchill’s booklet. Ms 101734

This coming weekend we have a Behind the Scenes Tour about “creepy” things at CHS. I don’t think anyone thought of this little gem I found, a booklet with two poems copied by Sarah Churchill before 1791 (that is the date of the newspaper used as a cover). The bulk of the text is a copy of “The dying words of Captain Kidd, a noted pirate whom was hang’d at execution dock.” The ballad was first published in London in 1701 and soon made it across the Atlantic to America where it was printed about 1730 until 1820. As always, things get “lost” in translation, and William Kidd became Robert Kidd in the American version, which is how Sarah copied it.

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