A True Relation of the Death of Sir Andrew Barton, Pirate and Rover

Author(s): Anonymous


WHEN Flora with her fragrant flowers.
Bedeck'd the earth ſo trim and gay,
And Iris with his dainty ſhowers,
Came to preſent the month of May,
King Henry would a hunting ride;
Over the River of Thames paſs'd he,
Unto a mountain top alſo
Did walk ſome pleaſure for to ſee.
Where forty merchants he eſpy'd,
With forty ſail come towards him:
Who then no ſooner were arriv'd,
But on their knees did thus complain:
An't pleaſe your Grace we cannot ſail,
Unto France a voyage to be ſure.
But Sir Barton he makes us quail,
And robs us of our merchants ſtore.
Vex'd was the King and turned him,
Said to the Lords of high degree,
Have I ne'er a Lord whithin my realm,
Dares fetch that traitor unto me?
To him reply'd Charles Lord Howard.
I will, my Liege, with heart and hand,
If it pleaſe you grant me leave, he ſaid,
I will perform what you command.
To him then ſpoke King Henry,
I fear, my Lord, you are too young
No whit at all, nay Liege, quoth he,
I hope to prove in valour ſtrong.
The Scotch Knight now I vow to ſeek,
In what place ſo e'er he be,
And bring him a-ſhore with all might,
Or into Scotland he ſhall carry me,
A hundred men the King then ſaid
Out of my realm ſhall choſen be;
Beſides ſailors and ſhip-boys,
For to guide a ſhip on the ſea.
Bowmen and gunners of good ſkill,
Shall for this ſervice choſen be;
And hey at thy command and will,
In all affairs ſhall wait on thee.
Lord Hower call'd a gunner then:
Who was the beſt in all the realm;
His age was three ſcore years and ten,
And Peter Simon was his name.
My Lord then call'd a bowman rate,
Whoſe active hands had gained fame;
A gentleman born in Yorkſhire,
And William Horſly was his name.
Horſly, quoth he, I muſt go to ſea,
For to ſeek a traitor with good ſpeed:
Of a hundred bowmen brave, quoth he.
I have choſe thee to be their head.
If you, my Lorrd, have choſen me,
Of a hunred men to be their head,
Upon a main-maſt I will be hang'd,
If twelve ſcore I miſs a ſhilling's breadth.
Lord Howard then of courage bold,
Went to ſea with pleaſant cheer,
Not curb'd with winter's piercing cold,
Tho' 'twas a ſtormy time of year,
Not long he had been on the ſea,
More in days than number three;
But one Harry Hunt he there eſpy'd,
A merchant of Newcaſtle was he,
To him Lord Howard called out amain,
And ſtrictly charged him to ſtand;
Demanded then from whence he came,
Or whence he did intend to land.
The merchant then made anſwer ſoon,
With heavy heart and careful mind,
My Lord my ſhip it doth belong
Unto Newcaſtle-upon-tine.
Can'ſt thon ſhow me, the Lord did ſay,
As thou didſt ſail by day or night,
A Scotiſh rover on the ſeas,
His name is Andrew Barton, Knight.
At this the merchant ſigh'd and ſaid,
With grieved mind, and well-away,
But over well I knew that wight,
I was his priſoner but yeſterday.
As I, my Lord, did ſail from France,
A Bordeaux voyage to make ſo far:
I met with Sir Andrew Barton, Knight,
Who rob'd me of my merchant ware,
And mickle debts god-wot, I owe,
And every man doth crave his own,
And I am bound for London now,
Of our gracious King to beg a boon.
Shew me him, ſaid Lord Howard then,
Let me but once the villain ſee,
And every penny he hath from thee ta'en.
I'll double it with Shillings three,
Now, God forbid, the merchant ſaid,
I fear your aim that you will miſs;
God bleſs you from this tyranny,
For little do you think what a man he is.
He is braſs within, and ſteel without,
His ſhip moſt huge, and mighty ſtrong;
With eighteen pieces of ordinance,
He carrieth on each ſide along.
With beams for his top-caſtle,
As being alſo huge and high:
That neither Engliſh nor Portugal
Can Sir Andrew Barton once paſs by.
Hard news thou ſheweſt then ſaid the Lord,
For to welcome angels unto the ſea,
But as I ſaid, I'll bring him abroad,
Or into Scotland he ſhall carry me,
The merchant ſaid, if you will do ſo,
Take counsel then I pray, withal.
Let no man to his top-caſtle go,
Nor ſtrive to let his beams down fall.
Lend me ſeven pieces of ordinance then,
On each ſide of my ſhip, ſaid he:
And by to-morrow, my good Lord,
Again I will your honour ſee.
A glaſs I'll ſet as may be ſeen,
Whither you ſail by day or night,
And to-morrow before before ſeven,
You ſhall meet Sir Andrew Barton, Knight.
The merchant ſet my Lord a glaſs,
So well aparent in his ſight;
That on the morrow as the promiſe was,
He ſaw Sir Andrew Barton, Knight.
The Lord then ſwore a mighty oath,
Now by the heavens that be of might
By faith believe me, and by troth,
I think he is a worrhy Knight.
Fetch me my lion out of hand,
Saith he, with roſe and ſtreamers high:
Set up withal a willow wand.
That merchant-like I may paſs by.
That bravely did Lord Howard paſs,
And on an anchor roſe ſo high;
No top-ſail at length he caſt,
But as a foe did him defy.
Sir Andew, Barton ſeeing him,
Thus ſcornfully for to paſs by,
As 'tho he cared not a pin,
For him and his company.
Then called he for his men amain,
Fetch back yon pedlar, now quoth he,
And ere this way he comes again,
I'll teach him well his courteſy.
A peice of ordinance being ſhot,
By this proud pirate fiercely then;
Into Lord Howard's middle deck,
Which cruel ſhot kill'd fourteen men.
He call'd then Peter Simon be,
Look now thy word do ſtand inſtead,
For thou ſhalt be hang'd on the main maſt,
If thou miſs twelve ſcore one ſhillings breadth.
Then Peter Simon gave a ſhot,
Which Sir Andrew muckle ſcare;
In at his deck it came ſo hot,
Kill'd fifteen of his men of war;
Alas! then ſaid the pyrate ſtout,
I am in danger now I ſee;
This is ſome Lord I greatly fear.
Who is ſat out to conquer me.
Then Henry Hunt with rigour hot,
Came bravely on the other ſide:
Who likewiſe ſhot in at his deck,
And kill'd fifty of his men beſides;
Then out, alas! Sir Andrew cry'd,
What may a man now think or ſay?
Yon merchant thief that gierces me.
He was my priſoner yeſterday.
Then did he on Gordian call,
Unto the tops caſtle for to go:
And bid his beams he ſhould let fall
For he greatly fear'd an overthrow,
The Lord call'd Horſley then in haſte,
Look that thy word do ſtand inſtead:
For hanged thou ſhalt be on main-maſt
If thou miſs twelve ſcore one ſhillings breadth.
Then up the main maſt ſwerved he,
This ſtout and mighty Gordion;
But Horſley he moſt happily
Shot him under the collar bone.
Then call'd he on his nephew, and
Said ſiſter's ſon, I have no more;
Three hundred pounds I will give thee,
If thou wilt to the top caſtle go.
Then ſtoutly he began to climb,
For off the maſt ſcorn'd to depart:
But Horſly ſoon prevented him,
And deadly pierc'd him to the heart.
His men being ſlain then up a-main
Did this proud pirate climb with ſpeed,
For armour of proof he had put on,
And not dint of arrows dread.
Come hither Horſly, ſaid the Lord,
See thou thy arrows aim aright;
Great means to thee I'll ſure afford,
And if thou ſpeed'ſt 'thou ſhall be a night.
Sir Andrew did climb up the tree,
With right good will and all his main;
Then upon his breaſt hit horſly he,
But the arrow did return again
Then Horſly 'ſpy'd a private place,
With a private eye in a ſecret part,
His arrows ſwiftly flew apace,
And Smote Sir Andrew to the heart.
Fight on, fight on, my merry men,
A little I am hurt, but am not ſlain,
I will lie down and bleed awhile,
And come and fight with you again.
And don't, ſaid, fear Engliſh rogues,
And of your foes ſtand not in awe;
But ſtand faſt by St Andrew's Croſs,
Until you here my whiſtle blow.
They never did here his whiſtle blow,
Which made them all moſt ſore afraid;
Then Horſley ſaid, My Lord a-broad,
For now Sir Andrew Barton's dead.
Thus boarded they this gallant ſhip,
with right goodwill, and all their main,
Eighteen ſcore ſcots alive in it,
Beſides as many more were ſlain,
The Lord went where Sir Andrew lay,
And quikly then cut off his head.
I ſhouid leave England many a day,
If thou wert alive as thou wert dead.
Thus from the war Lord Howard came,
With mickle joy and triumphing;
The pyrates head he brought along,
For to preſent unto the King
Who bravery unto him did ſay,
Before he well knew what was done,
Where is the Knight and pyrate gay,
That I myſelf may give the doom?
You may thank God, then ſaid the Lord,
And for men in the ſhip, quoth he,
That we are ſafely come on ſhore,
Sith you never had ſuch an enemy
That is Henry Hunt and Peter Simon,
William Horſley, and Peter's ſon;
Therefore reward them for their pains,
For they did ſervice in their turn.
To the merchant therefore the King did ſay,
In lieu of that he hath from thee taken,
And give to thee a noble a day,
For Andrew's whiſtle and his chain,
Tho Peter Simon on a crown a day,
And half a crown to Peter's ſon;
And that was for a ſhot ſo gay.
Which bravely broght Sir Andrew down.
Horſley, I will make thee a Knight,
And in Yorkſhire thou ſhalt dwell;
Lord Howard ſhall Lord Bury be,
For this act deſerveth well.
Ninty pounds our Engliſhmen,
Who in this fight did ſtoutly ſtand,
And twelve-pence a day to the Scots, till these
Come to my brother King's high-land.


Cite this Document

APA Style:

A True Relation of the Death of Sir Andrew Barton, Pirate and Rover. 2023. In The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 11 December 2023, from

MLA Style:

"A True Relation of the Death of Sir Andrew Barton, Pirate and Rover." The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2023. Web. 11 December 2023.

Chicago Style

The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing, s.v., "A True Relation of the Death of Sir Andrew Barton, Pirate and Rover," accessed 11 December 2023,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. 2023. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


A True Relation of the Death of Sir Andrew Barton, Pirate and Rover

Document Information

Document ID 106
Title A True Relation of the Death of Sir Andrew Barton, Pirate and Rover
Year group 1700-1750
Genre Verse/drama
Year of publication 1700
Wordcount 1802

Author information: Anonymous

Author ID 490
Surname Anonymous