Mudcat Café message #3026932 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17805   Message #3026932
Posted By: Jim Dixon
08-Nov-10 - 02:57 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Burke and Hare (ballads about)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE LAMENT
From The History of Burke and Hare and of the Resurrectionist Times by George Mac Gregor (Glasgow: Thomas D. Morison, 1884), page 299:


O Woe for bonny Scotland,
For murder is abroad,
And we must flee for refuge,
To an avenging God.
For we have seen that Law alone,
Can do us little gude,
As it has let three demons loose,
To work mair deeds of blude.

Ye bloody fiends, ye hellish fiends,
Dare ye here yet be seen,
With the mark of blood upon your brows,
And murder in your een!
O woe for my ain Scotland,
For thou art now the land,
Chosen for such deeds of darkness,
As man before ne'er plann'd.

Alas for Mary Paterson,
Cut off in her young days,
Wi' a' her sins upon her,
And in her wicked ways;
While steep'd in drunk stupidity,
And overcome by sleep,
On his devoted victim
Burke took the dreadful leap.

And alas for the old woman,
Entic'd to revelry,
Under the mask of country kindness,
By a Judas for his fee;
That he might sell her body,
When he had done the deed,
And with the price of human blood,
His loathsome carcass feed.

O'hon for poor Daft Jamie,
Whom we shall miss away,
In his own happy idiocy,
Sae gude-natur'd and gay!
O! who shall cheer the mother
For the want of her poor boy,
By's simpleness the more endear'd
To her—her only joy.

But our all-gracious Maker
Will surely soon look down,
On this detested murder
With his all-powerful frown!

* * * * * *

In search of his dear mother,
Burke found him wand'ring then,
And for to see his parent,
Was lur'd to Hare's dread den;
Where he was ply'd with liquor,
(And all by coaxings prest),
Till he was quite o'erpow'red,
And laid him down to rest.

The two fell fiends they watch'd then,
Until he soundly slept,
Then Hare upon his destin'd prey
With murderous purpose crept.
And having fastened on him,
Hare strove his life to take;
Which recall'd his long lost reason,
And did his senses wake.

He shook the butcher from him,
And seeing no help there,
He fought with all the frenzy
Of madness and despair.
His cowardly assassin,
Did crouch beneath his blows,
And called on Burke his comrade
To give the murderous close.

The two, conjoin'd together,
Depriv'd him of his life;
But not before he left them
Marks of the desperate strife.
In his tremendous struggle,
Though weaken'd much by drink,
He showed how men do fight for life,
When on death's dreadful brink.

His body, it is said, (if true,
Let those who bought beware)
Was sold to an Anatomist;
And some one did declare,
When it lay on his table
For the dissecting knife,
That it was poor daft Jamie,
Whom he saw strong in life

But yesterday; and more 'twas strange
As all knew passing well,
He was a stout and hearty youth,
The rest I may not tell;
But loudly it's been whisper'd,
That damning marks of strife
Show'd clear that death by violence
Had twin'd him of his life.

'Tis told, that then the body
Was laid in spirits strong,
To remove all such suspicions,
And hide the cruel wrong.
If so! O righteous Heaven,
To thee we look for aid;
Nor will thy kindling anger
Be longer much delay'd!

Thou art the poor's avenger,
The idiot's only guard,
The childless mother's helper,
The good man's high reward.
To Thee then we are looking,
To appease the cry of blood
Which runs throughout our city,
Like a portentous flood!