Mudcat Café message #3026905 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17805   Message #3026905
Posted By: Jim Dixon
08-Nov-10 - 02:31 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Burke and Hare (ballads about)
Subject: Lyr Add: DAFT JAMIE
This is probably the best of the songs I have found on this subject. (Though I have no tune.) It seems entirely appropriate to Halloween.

From The History of Burke and Hare and of the Resurrectionist Times by George Mac Gregor (Glasgow: Thomas D. Morison, 1884), page 296:


DAFT JAMIE.

O! dark was the midnight when Hare fled away.
Not a star in the sky gave him one cheering ray;
But still now and then, would the blue lightnings glare,
And some strange cries assail'd him, like shrieks of despair.

CHORUS: Over vale, over hill, I will watch thee for ill.
I will haunt all thy wanderings and follow thee still.

But, lo! as the savage ran down the wild glen,
For no place did he fear like the dwellings of men,
Where the heath lay before him all dismal and bare,
The ghost of Daft Jamie appeared to him there.

I am come, said the shade, from the land of the dead,
Though there is for Jamie no grass-covered bed;
Yet I'm come to remind you of deeds that are past,
And to tell you that justice will find you at last.

O! Hare, thou hast been a dark demon of blood,
But vengeance shall chase thee o'er field and o'er flood.
Though you fly away from the dwellings of men,
The shades of thy victims shall rise in thy den.

When night falls on the world, O! how can you sleep?
In your dreams do you ne'er see my poor mother weep?
Sadly she wept, but, O! long shall she mourn,
E'er poor wandering Jamie from the grave shall return.

From the grave, did I say, and though calm is the bed
Where slumber is dreamless, the home of the dead,
Where friends may lament, there sorrow may be,
Yet no grave rises as green as the world for me.

O! Hare, go to shelter thy fugitive head,
In some land that is not of the living or dead;
For the living against thee may justly combine,
And the dead must despise such a spirit as thine.

O! Hare fly away, but this world cannot be
The place of abode to a demon like thee,
There is gall in your heart; poison is in your breath;
And the glare of your eyes is as fearful as death.

When the blue lightnings flash'd through the glen, and it shone,
And there rose a wild cry, and there heaved a deep groan,
AS the Ghost of the innocent boy disappear'd,
But his shrieks down the glen, in the night breeze were heard.