The Ballad of William Bloat

By Raymond Calvert  (1906 - 1959 )


This example of "The Ballad of William Bloat" is performed by Jolly Rogers on their album Loose Cannons, available from the Chivalry Music store.
Please refer to Cantaria's Copyright information

"This is a Belfast song.  We could even call it an early commercial 'jingle' promoting the Belfast linen industry.  "To Hell with the Pope,"  "No Surrender," "Hang King Billy," are familiar slogans in Belfast, a city where Protestants and Catholics manage to live together (William Bloat is a good Protestant)."  (from the Irish Songbook).

Raymond Colville Calvert, the only son and second child of William Henderson Calvert (1865-1952) and Barbara (nee Williamson) (1865-1938). Raymond was born at Banchory House, Helen's Bay, County Down, on Oct.30, 1906 and was educated at Bangor Grammar School and Queen's University, Belfast, where he took his degree in English in 1927 at the age of 20. He was a leading member of the University Dramatic Society, and it was for a cast party in 1926 that he composed "The Ballad of William Bloat'.'

It was first published as a poem in a collection called Brave Crack in 1950 and more recently in an illustrated edition by the Blackstaff Press; as a song it has been recorded in the United States by the Clancy Brothers.

Shankill Road in Belfast is the center of militant Protestantism.

Alternate words are enclosed in [ ]. 

In a mean abode on the Shankill Road
Lived a man named William Bloat;
He had a wife, the curse [bane] of his life,
Who always "got his goat."
So one day at dawn, with her nightdress on—
He cut her bloody throat.

With a razor-gash, he settled her hash,
O, never was crime so quick;
But the steady drip, on the pillow-slip,
Of her life-blood made him sick,
And the pool of gore, on the bedroom floor,
Grew clotted, cold, and thick.

And yet—he was glad that he'd done what he had,
When she lay there stiff and still;
But a sudden awe of the angry law
Struck his soul [heart] with an icy chill.
So, to finish the fun so well begun,
He resolved [decided] himself to kill.

He took the sheet off his wife's cold feet,
And twisted it into a rope,
And he hanged himself from the pantry shelf—
T'was an easy end, let's hope —
In the face of death, with his latest breath,
He solemnly cursed the Pope!

But the strangest turn to the whole concern
Is only just beginnin'! —
He went to Hell, but his wife got well,
And she's still alive and sinnin' —
For the razor blade was German [foreign] made,
But the sheet was—Irish [Belfast] linen!