For an in-depth discussion of this track, see the album notes: tinyurl[dot]com/V1NATnotes.
When Fortune’s blind goddess had fled my abode,
And friends proved unfaithful, I took to the road.
To plunder the wealthy and relieve my distress,
I bought you to aid me, my bonny Black Bess.
No wild whip or spur did your sides ever gall.
You needed them not, you’d bound at my call.
For each act of kindness you would me caress.
Thou art never unfaithful, my bonny Black Bess.
When dark sable midnight her mantle had thrown
O’er the bright face of nature, many times we have gone
To the famed Hounslow heath, though an unwelcome guest
To the minions of fortune, my bonny Black Bess.
How gentle you’d stand as the stages I’d stop.
Down to me their money and the jewelry they’d drop.
We’d never rob a poor man or ever oppress
Any widows or orphans, my bonny Black Bess.
When auger-eyed (i.e., Argus-eyed) Justice did hot me pursue
From Yorktown to London like lightning we flew.
No toll gates would stop us, high waters we’d breast.
In eight hours we made it, my bonny Black Bess.
But hate darkens o’er me, despair is my lot.
The law does pursue me for many I’ve shot.
To save me, my friend, you have done your best.
You’re worn out and weary, my bonny Black Bess.
Oh, hark, hear the hounds, they never shall have
A friend like you, so noble and brave.
You must die, my dumb friend, though it does me distress.
There, I’ve shot you, my bonny Black Bess.
They never can say ingratitude dwells
In the breast of Dick Turpin there never was felt.
Now I’m surrounded, soon be at rest,
Once more I’ll be with my bonny Black Bess.
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