“William and Phillis”


Phyllis tells William that her father will not have her wed a sailor. She dresses as a sailor and they sail for America. They escape a storm in a longboat and land in America, marry and live happily.


The Bodleian broadsides are more complete than Creighton-SNewBrunswick and are the source for the description; for example, Creighton-SNewBrunswick omits the cross-dressing.

"William and Phillis" is "William and Harriet" with a happy ending. Instead of dying together on a desert island, the lovers land in America, are helped back to health and live happily. - BS

Cross references

  • cf. "William and Harriet" (theme; tune per broadsides Bodleian Harding B 11(1174), Bodleian Harding B 11(1173), Bodleian 2806 c.16(159), Bodleian Harding B 11(4226), Bodleian Firth c.12(250), Bodleian 2806 c.16(159), Bodleian Harding B 11(4228))
  • cf. "The Great Elopement to America" (plot)


  • Bodleian, Harding B 11(1174), "William and Phillis," J. Catnach (London), 1813-1838; also Harding B 11(1173), 2806 c.16(159), Harding B 11(4228), Harding B 16(308d), Harding B 11(4227), Harding B 11(4229), Harding B 11(929), "William and Phillis"; Firth c.12(250), 2806 c.16(159), Harding B 11(4226), "William and Philis"


  1. Creighton-SNewBrunswick 33, "Phyllis and Young William" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #1429
  3. BI, CrSNB033


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1839 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(1174))
Found in: Canada(Mar)