51  The Loyal English Man's WISH/ For the Preservation of/ The King and Queen [Pepys 5.63]

Author: Anonymous

Recording: The Loyal English Man's WISH

Emotions - joy Environment - flowers/trees Gender - marriage Places - European Places - Irish Politics - Royalist Politics - celebration Politics - domestic Politics - foreign affairs Politics - war Religion - prayer Royalty - praise

Song History

The Loyal English Man's WISH was published in white-letter formats with musical notation by Thomas Moore late in 1692. 

Historical Context and Content

This ballad appeared on the market as William III was enjoying a winter respite from military campaigning back in the English court. The song celebrated a significant naval victory for the united Anglo-Dutch navy at the battle of La Hogue in May 1692, during which a huge proportion of the ousted James II’s (French) invasion fleet was burned. This success signalled an end to James II’s hopes of re-invading England with French and Irish troops. As the song put it:

Now the Clouds is gon o're,

That Troubled us sore:

Since the Sun-shine apears,

We shall be Deliver'd,

We shall be Deliver'd

From Fury and Fears.

The balladeer also reminded listeners of William's victory in Ireland at the battle of the Boyne (1690) and wished him more victories in Flanders, where allied European armies were struggling to hold off Louis XIV’s territorial ambitions.

Publication History

Authorship of the song is unknown but its publisher, Thomas Moore, was both a printer and a wholesale bookseller. Stationers' Company records throw up two possible Thomas Moores. One was apprenticed to a king's printer, James Flesher, and was freed in 1677 (that is, he completed his apprenticeship and was able to set up independently). This man seems an unlikely candidate, however, because 1. he was not trained as a music printer (a skilled occupation) and 2. no ballads were produced under the name T. Moore before 1691. A more likely candidate (potentially the son of the first) and possibly freed by patrimony in 1691 (the records are unclear on this), was sufficiently well-off to join the company’s livery in 1698. This Thomas Moore played a significant part in the growing music-print trade in late seventeenth-century London.

Moore will have printed many items for others, but most of what survives of his own publication catalogue consists of loyal ballads (several with naval themes), and a few laudatory poems, all published between 1691 and c.1705. Our featured edition was typical of Moore’s musical notation ballads, in that he used an engraved block for the music, which, at the time, was much the best way to get an ‘exact’ and usable rendition. It was an expensive option, however, entailing the use of a specialist music engraver, such as Thomas Cross, who engraved many single sheet songs in the 1690s and early 1700s. Engraved songs usually cost at least double and up to six times the normal price for a ballad.

The second edition of the song was also a Moore production according to the imprint. Though the verses were virtually identical, the musical notation was created using letterpress. Moore produced numerous ballads without notation, and a few with illustrations, but no other example of a Moore production using letterpress music survives. This songsheet was cheaper to print and to buy than the engraved version and it may be that Moore employed a printer with music type to make the song more affordable. Another possibilty is that the letterpress edition was pirated by a hawker, who found the song was selling well and asked another printer to replicate a cheaper version of Moore's song as best he could.


While the words of The Loyal English Man's WISH were very much tied to their moment, and just two copies survive, one from each edition, the song’s tune became a lasting hit. Moore himself printed several more ballads that were set to it, though it is impossible to know if his engraved tune - now the earliest known source - helped to popularise it.

The name of the tune proved rather poignant as Mary did not, as it happens, live long. She died, childless, in 1694, much mourned by the nation, leaving her unpopular Dutch husband to rule alone.

Angela McShane


John Ehrman, The Navy in the War of William III, 1689–1697: Its State and Direction (Cambridge, 1953).

Christopher Marsh, Music and society in early modern England (Cambridge, 2010), p. 54.



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Featured Tune History

No tune specified but notation provided (standard name: Let Mary live long)

The purpose of this section is to provide brief notes on the melody followed by detailed evidence relating to  its career, paying particular attention to the ‘echoes’ (inter-song associations and connections) that may have been set up if it was nominated for the singing of more than one ballad. In the list presented in the ‘Songs and Summaries’ section below, we have endeavoured to include as many of the black-letter ballads that used the tune as possible, under any of its variant names. Titles from our chart of best-sellers are presented in bold type (these are also in colour when there is a link to the relevant ballad page on the website). It should be noted that it is extremely difficult to date many ballads precisely and the chronological order in which the songs are listed is therefore very approximate (we have drawn on previous attempts to date the ballads, making adjustments when additional evidence can be brought into play).  In most cases, we list the earliest surviving edition of a ballad, though in many instances there may have been earlier versions, now lost.

Versions and variations

Notation for this tune appears on the song sheet itself and we have used this version for our recording. A very similar example can be found in Wit and Mirth (1719-20) and it seems likely that this was copied directly from the ballad. In addition, the tune appears in Henry Atkinson’s handwritten book of violin tunes, dating from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.  Atkinson also wrote the tune title, ‘Let Mary Live Long’, on one of the book’s opening pages, perhaps with reference to his infant daughter, Mary, born in 1698 (poignantly, the names of his deceased wife and son are recorded on the same page). Atkinson’s version of the tune differs only slightly from the printed examples. The melody does not seem to have been known by alternative names (though the opening word, ‘Let’, was sometimes dropped).

 Echoes (an overview)

The tune and the lyrics for The Loyal English Man’s WISH probably came into existence together in 1692. ‘Let Mary Live Long’ is a complex melody and by no means easy to sing, yet it enjoyed considerable success as the setting for subsequent black-letter ballads. In several of these, the loyal devotion of the original is channelled into songs celebrating William’s exploits in Flanders or calling upon English men to join the war effort (see, for example, THE LATE Bloody Fight in Flanders and The Farmers Son of Devonshire: BEING The Valiant Coronet’s Return from Flanders).

Four songs, however, took the tune in an interesting new direction by nominating it for ballads full of complaint about the hard economic times that prevailed in England during the early 1690s (examples include Poor Man’s Complaint and THE Inn-keeper's Complaint). The costs of war contributed significantly to this situation, and most of these ballads mention the high taxes of the period. The melody thus became part of the argument about the pros and cons of fighting on the continent. We cannot know why the authors of ballads about hardship chose such a loyal tune, but it seems possible that they were signalling their devotion to the crown even while criticising the consequences of royal policies. THE Inn-keeper’s Complaint put this complex position in writing by complaining about the excise while simultaneously looking forward to the day when King William would bring ‘The Crown of old Lewis’ (Louis XIV) to England in triumph.

Intriguingly, the largest group of ballads set to this tune carried it in yet another direction, apparently taking inspiration from the quasi-romantic terms in which the original song discussed the Queen: ‘Let Mary Live long,/ She’s Vertuous and Witty,/ All Charmingly pritty’ (the song also concluded by expressing the hope that King William would continue to ‘Enjoy/ Blest MARY in Love’). Almost half of the ballads listed below deal with courtship and marriage, and relations between the sexes are usually presented as fraught and difficult (see, for example, Joan’s sorrowful Lamentation and The Young Mens Answer TO THE LADIES of London’s Petition). Perhaps the economic depression and the songs that complained about it had made it difficult to write thoroughly upbeat courtship ballads to this melody.

The songs listed below are tied together not only by their melody but by a striking number of textual cross-references, only a few of which can be mentioned here. There are clear parallels, for example, between the following couplets from three different ballads: ‘With watery Eyes,/ I behold the Excise’ (Poor Man’s Complaint); ‘For the Malt here does rise,/ Beside double Excise’ (THE Inn-keeper’s Complaint); and ‘As I closed my Eyes,/ The kind watery Skies’ (The Frantick ‘Squire). The fact that each couplet is sung to the same lines of the tune intensifies the resonance.

Two other lines in The Frantick ‘Squire - ‘with Kingdoms of Treasure,/ and wealth out of measure’  - are echoed in A Pleasant JIGG  by the couplet, ‘To dally in pleasure,/ We’ll Toy out of measure’ (again at the same point in the melody). The expression ‘behold my condition’ appears both in Joan’s sorrowful Lamentation and in KENTISH DICK, and several ballads have verses with a ninth line that laments negative economic trends in very similar language (‘And ruine all labour’; ‘Which ruins good trading’; ‘Which ruins our calling’). Overall, it seems likely that listeners experienced individual songs to this tune as part of a broader group rather than as separate entities.

[See 'Postscript', below, for additional notes on the melody].

Songs and Summaries

The Loyal English Man’s WISH For the Preservation of The King and Queen (T. Moore, 1692). Pepys 5.63; EBBA 22283. Royalty – praise; Politics – celebration, domestic, foreign affairs, Royalist; Emotions – joy; Gender – marriage; Environment – flowers/trees; Places – Irish, European.  A song in praise of William and Mary, beginning and ending with the Queen but concentrating on the the King in between.

King WILLIAM'S Welcome from Flande[r]s; OR, The True Protestants Loyal Health For his Happy and Safe Return. Tune of, Mary live Long (P. Brooksby, J. Deacon, J. Blare, and J. Back, 1692).  Pepys 2.331; EBBA 20950.  Politics – celebration, foreign affairs, Royalist; Royalty – praise; Emotions – joy; Gender – masculinity; News – political; Places – European; Recreation – alcohol.  A song that praises King William in extravagant terms upon the occasion of his return from the continent.

Poor Man’s Complaint... To the Tune of Let Mary live long (C. Bates, 1692-93?). Pepys 2.88; EBBA 20711. Economy – hardship/prosperity, livings, taxation, trade, extortion; Employment – unemployment; Society – rich/poor; Morality – social/economic; Religion – charity; Emotions – despair. ‘Honest Plain-Dealing’ complains about the current plight of the poor, drawing attention to taxation, unemployment, economic depression, lack of charity, and the manner in which immigrants are permitted to ‘live on our shore’.

The Frantick ‘Squire: Whose passionate Love for a Young Lady caused his Distraction... To the Tune of Let Mary live long (P. Brooksby, Deacon, J. Blare, and J. Back, 1692-96). Crawford 800; EBBA 33672. Emotions – love, disdain, despair; Gender – courtship, masculinity, femininity; Disability – mental; Environment – flowers/trees; Places – English. A man tells the sad tale of his descent into madness as a result of a sweetheart’s disdain, and he now resolves – having regained his senses – never to adore a woman again.

Joan’s sorrowful Lamentation... To the Tune of Let Mary live long (P. Brooksby, J. Deacon, J. Blare, J. Back, 1692-96).  Pepys 3.91; EBBA 21092. Family – pregnancy/childbirth; Gender – courtship, masculinity, sex; Morality – romantic/sexual; Emotions – anxiety, disdain. John made a vow to Joan and then got her pregnant but now he refuses to marry her, stating that he has no wish to be tied ‘to sorrow and noise’.

A Pleasant JIGG Betwixt Jack and his Mistress... Tune of Mary Live Long (P. Brooksby, J. Deacon, J. Blare, J. Back, 1692-96).  Pepys 3.14; EBBA 21007.  Gender – marriage, adultery, sex; Humour – bawdry, domestic/familial; Emotions – longing, anger; Employment – apprenticeship/ service. An apprentice is seduced by his mistress, then punished by his master.

Old England’s New Save-all: OR, The Boasting Farmer’s Vain-glory... To the Tune of, Let Mary live long (P. Brooksby, 1692-98). Pepys 4.327; EBBA 21990. Employment – crafts/trades, agrarian, sailors/soldiers; Economy – hardship/prosperity, trade; Emotions – anger, frustration; Recreaton – alcohol, good fellowship; Gender – masculinity; Morality – social/economic; Politics – foreign affairs. A group of ‘labouring tradesmen’ bemoan the hardship of their lives, complaining about rich farmers and the French in particular before one of their number suggests that they all join the army.

The Farmers Son of Devonshire: BEING The Valiant Coronet’s Return from Flanders... Tune of Mary live long (J. Deacon, 1692-99). Crawford 1259; EBBA 33880. Employment – sailors/soldiers, agrarian; Gender – masculinity; Politics – foreign affairs, Royalist; Bodies – injury; Death –warfare; Violence – between states; Disability – physical; Society – rural life; Emotions – excitement, anxiety, patirotism; Places – European; Royalty – praise. Will is back from the wars and seeks to persuade his farming brother Jack to join the army, but Jack is a simple soul and prefers mowing, plowing, his wife and his ‘sweet Life’ to bullets and battles.

KENTISH DICK; OR, THE Lusty Coach-Man of Westminster... Tune of, Let Mary live long (J. Deacon, 1692-99). Euing 148; EBBA 31856. Gender – masculinity, sex, femininity; Employment – crafts/trades; Humour – bawdry; Family – pregnancy/childbirth; Bodies – looks/physique; Emotions – longing, anxiety, disdain; Morality – romantic/sexual; Places – English, travel/transport. This describes a sex-obsessed London coachman, originally from Kent, who impregnates young women of all sorts but always refuses to marry them (not surprisingly, they plot at the end to free him of his ‘nutmegs’).

THE Inn-keeper's Complaint; OR, THE Country Victuallor's Lamentation for the Dearness of MALT... To the Tune of, Let Mary live long (J. Blare, 1692-1706).  Pepys 4.330; EBBA 21993.  Employment – crafts/trades; Economy – hardship, prices/wages, taxation; Politics – foreign affairs, domestic, controversy; Recreation – alcohol, good fellowship, food; Emotions – anxiety.  England’s inn-keepers complain that the high price of malt is forcing them to abandon the generous measures and other benefits that they were previously able to offer their customers.

[The Ladies of] London’s Petition... Tune of, Mary live long (Josiah Blare, 1692-1706). Crawford 1412; EBBA 33938. Gender – masculinity, femininity, courtship, sex, adultery/cuckoldry; Family – pregnancy/childbirth; Emotions – longing, anxiety, anger; Recreation – alcohol; Bodies – looks/physique; Morality – romantic/sexual; Employment – agraian, prostitution; Society – old/young; Politics – parliament. Young women complain to ‘the Parliament of old Women’ that men are currently refusing to marry for a wide variety of offensive reasons.

The Young Mens Answer TO THE LADIES of London’s Petition... To the Tune of, Mary live long (Josiah Blare, 1692-1706). Douce 2(262b). Gender – femininity, masculinity, courtship, marriage, adultery/cuckoldry; Emotions – anger, suspicion; Bodies – clothing, adornment; Morality – romantic/sexual; Politics – parliament. Young men answer the ballad above, complaining that women are deceitful, loud-mouthed, vain and bent on taking control – there are therefore very good reasons for men to avoid marriage.

The Crafty Scotch Pedler: OR, THE Downfal of TRADING... Tune of, Mary live long (C. Bates, 1692-1716). Pepys 4.326; EBBA 21989. Places – nationalities; Economy – prices/wages, taxation, trade, shopping; Emotions – anger, hatred; Employment – crafts/trades; Morality – social/economic. A vigorous complaint about the manner in which Scottish pedlars undercut the trade of honest English shopkeepers and cheat their customers in all imaginable ways (Scotland is described as ‘that nursery of knaves’).

THE LATE Bloody Fight in Flanders... To the Tune of, Let Mary live long (P. Brooksby, 1693). Pepys 2.342; EBBA 20961. Politics – foreign affairs; Death – warfare; Violence – between states; Emotions – excitement, pride; Employment – sailors/soldiers; News – international; Royalty – praise. This celebrates a major victory over the numerically superior forces of the French in Flanders, and it looks forward to further successes for King William and his ‘brave thundering boys’.

THE Kentish Frolick, OR, Sport upon Sport... Tune of, Let Mary live long (E. Tracey, 1695-1719). Pepys 3.242; EBBA 21256. Gender – singles, courtship; Recreation – swimming, alcohol; Humour – extreme situations/surprises; Bodies – looks/physique; Environment – rivers; Emotions – contentment, anxiety; Places – English. Six maidens swim naked in a river, thinking that they have found a secret location, but they are joined by six young men who ‘tickle their Geer’ and then steal their clothes, but it all ends happily with a sociable drink back in town.


The tune was also used for numerous white-letter ballads, many of which address themes similar to those considered above. Several celebrate the exploits of King William or mock his enemies (see, for example, King WILLIAM Triumphant and A ROYAL LETTER From A Mournful Monarch). Some deal with troublesome gender relations (Labour in Vain). Others suggest slightly wider thematic variety in the white-letter ballads; there are songs, for example, about a man tried for stealing a magpie, the supernatural ringing of church bells at night, and the violent death of a celebrated actor.

Christopher Marsh


Henry Atkinson, violin manuscript (1695-c.1750), Northumberland Record Office, MS MU 207, pp. 6-7 (second pagination series).

Christopher Marsh, Music and society in early modern England (Cambridge, 2010), p. 54 (Henry Atkinson’s version of the tune is also recorded as track 8 on the CD and online recordings that accompany this book).

Claude Simpson, The British broadside ballad and its music (New Brunswick, 1966), pp. 437-38.

Wit and Mirth; or Pills to Purge Melancholy (1719-20), vol. 6, p. 83.

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Featured Woodcut History

Standard woodcut name: Let Mary live long notation

The purpose of this section is to provide evidence relating to  the career of the image under discussion, paying particular attention to the ‘reflections’ (inter-song associations and connections) that may have been set up if it was chosen to illustrate more than one ballad. The list given below includes all ballads from the Pepys and Roxburghe collections that feature this woodcut or a close variant (these are the two largest collections, including approximately 3300 sheets, in total). References to ballads from other collections occur only when the featured edition of the song under consideration here (or the featured edition of another song from our list) comes from such a source. Ballads from our chart of best-sellers are presented in bold type, and they also appear in colour where there is a link to another song in the database. Please note, however, that the editions of hit songs listed below are not necessarily those for which digital images are presented on this website. Cross-references to other examples of our featured woodcuts are also presented in bold. It is extremely difficult to date many ballads precisely and the chronological order in which the songs are listed is therefore very approximate (we have drawn on previous attempts to date the ballads, making adjustments when additional evidence can be brought into play).

Reflections (an overview)

Technically, this was not actually a woodcut but instead an engraving (see Song history) but we will consider it here because it appears on the sheet in the place normally reserved for woodcut images.

Much of the music that was printed on late-seventeenth century ballads was inaccurate or inappropriate, designed to signify the idea of music rather than actually to provide musicians with playable or singable notation. The engraved music on The Loyal English Man’s WISH is therefore a cut above the norm and an entirely performable version of the tune.

This level of sophistication can be related to the fact that this is a white-letter ballad, included in our list of hits primarily because of the manner in which its tune soon infiltrated the different world of black-letter balladry. For the more refined consumers who preferred their ballads in the white-letter format, the appearance of up-to-date and accurate musical notation probably served as another signifier of cultural superiority (as did the fact that this particular tune was easier to perform if one had enjoyed a lifetime of singing lessons). We have searched the two largest ballad collections for other examples of this notation but there are none to be found. The only ballad listed below is therefore our featured edition.

Songs and summaries

The Loyal English Man's WISH For the Preservation of The King and Queen (T. Moore, 1692). Pepys 5.63; EBBA 22283. Politics – celebration, domestic, foreign affairs, Royalist; Emotions – joy, hope, patriotism; Royalty – praise, authority; Gender – masculinity, femininity; Religion - prayerBodies – looks/physique; Places – European, nationalities.  A fervent declaration of loyalty to King William and Queen Mary, praising them for their achievements to date and praying for more of the same in the future (picture placement: the notation appears beneath the title, and there are no other illustrations).

Christopher Marsh

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Related Texts

There are no related texts to report for this ballad but see the Featured tune history for other songs that use the same melody.

Angela McShane

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The Loyal English Man's WISH/ For the Preservation of/ The King and Queen./ Licensed according to Order.

[Play each verse by clicking anywhere within its text]


LET MARY Live long,

She's Vertuous and Witty,

All Charmingly Pritty,

Let MARY Live long,

And Reign many Years.

Now the Clouds is gone o're,

That troubled us sore:

Since the Sun-shine appears,

We shall be Deliver'd,

We shall be Deliver'd

From Fury and Fears.


God bless the KING at Home,

With Laurels to Crown him,

Each Rebel may own him;

And may he Live long

And Reign many Years:

Now the Conquest is plain,

And three Kingdoms Regain'd;

Let his Enemies fall,

Whilst Caesar shall Flourish,

Whilst Caesar shall Flourish,

In spight of 'em all.


All Glorious and Gay,

Let the KING Live forever;

May he Languish never never:

Like Flowers in May,

His Actions smell sweet;

When the Wars are all done,

And he safe in his Throne,

Trophies lay at his Feet,

With loud Acclamations,

With loud Acclamations,

His MAJESTY Greet.


When for Flanders he goes,

May the Enemy fear him,

When e're they come near him;

May he Conquer his Foes

As he did at the Boyn,

May his Army march on,

With the Beat of the Drum,

Whilst Mounsier doth Fly,

The English shall Follow,

The English shall Follow,

And Fight till they Die.


Heav'ns Prosper his Arms,

Both at Home and Abroad

May he always be Lord,

And Guarded from harms

By the Powers above;

May his Enemies all

At his Feet present Fall,

And their Loyalty prove,

Whilst our KING does Enjoy,

Whilst our KING does Enjoy

Blest MARY in Love.


London, Printed and Sold by T. Moore, 1692.

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This ballad is included according to the criteria for List C (see Methodology). The evidence presented here is accurate, to the best of our knowledge, as of 1st January 2024.

New tune titles deriving from the ballad: 'Let Mary live long' (28 ballads).

Appearances on publishers' lists: none.

Other registrations with Stationers' Company: none.

No. of known editions c.1560-1711: 2

No. of extant copies: 2

Specially-commissioned woodcuts: no known pictures but our featured edition includes musical notation for the tune.

Vaughan Williams Memorial Library databases: no references, and therefore no evidence of later collection as a folk-song.

Pre-1640 bonus: no.

POINTS: 56 + 0 + 0 + 4 + 2 + 5 + 0 + 0 = 67

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This box will be used to highlight any new information on this song that might come to light after the launch of the website.

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