A gruesome poem with a sharp twist at the end. It's thought to date back to the build up to the First World War- its conclusion shows the pride of the author in Belfast's industrial strength (then at its formidable peak), and disparages that of the coming enemy.

THE BALLAD OF WILLIAM BLOAT
(Raymond Calvert)

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

With a razor gash he settled her hash
Oh never was crime so quick
But the drip drip drip on the pillowslip
Of her lifeblood made him sick.
And the pool of gore on the bedroom floor
Grew clotted and cold and thick.

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

He took the sheet from the wife's coul' feet
And twisted it into a rope
And he hanged himself from the pantry shelf,
'Twas 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 beginning.
He went to Hell but his wife got well
And is still alive and sinning.
For the razor blade was German made
But the sheet was Belfast linen.

By Raymond Calvert, from "The Ulster Reciter", edited by Joe McPartland. Dates back at least as far as the first world war. Have heard from the copyright holder, may need to remove this peice. Am awaiting confirmation.

(The Shankhill Road was and is one of the centres of Ulster Protestantism, which explains the crack about the Pope. Some sources finish with "Irish linen" or "Ulster linen".).

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