Black-Eyed Susan...who was she? Well, no one's sure, but the legend says it all comes from an Old English poem of the post-Elizabethan era entitled simply, "Black-Eyed Susan," written by a very famous poet of the day named John Gay, 1685-1732:
All in the downs, the fleet was moored,
Banners waving in the wind.
When Black-Eyed Susan came aboard,
and eyed the burly men.
"Tell me ye sailors, tell me true
Does my Sweet William sail with you?"
There are several stanzas, explaining that her William was on board, "high upon the yardarm", and quickly scrambled down for a fond farewell with his lady love. It seems he was off to the high seas, but promised ardently to be safe and true:
Though battle call me from thy arms,
Let not my pretty Susan mourn;
Though cannons roar, yet safe from harms,
William shall to his Dear return.
Love turns aside the balls that round me fly,
Lest precious tears should drop from Susan's eye.
NOTE: The watermark in the lower right corner of the image w...