Mudcat Café message #3027191 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17805   Message #3027191
Posted By: Jim Dixon
08-Nov-10 - 08:28 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Burke and Hare (ballads about)
Subject: Lyr Add: A NEW SONG (on Burke and Hare; Bodleian)
From the Bodleian Library broadside collection, Harding B 14(191):


Good people all, I pray attend
To these few lines which I do write,
About Burke's lamentation,
Who died on January 28.

In eighteen-hundred and twenty-seven,
Their cruel work begun.
Burke and Hare before 29
Many cruel murders had done.

Neither young nor old we spared,
Me and my comrade Hare.
Like barbarians or cannibals,
With our wills no lives we'd spare.

We and our wives with hearts like stones
Never once on God did call,
Like beasts of prey, people may say,
Without feeling at all.

Had we but been resurrection men,
And taken none but the dead,
And that to men of feeling,
Doth strike their hearts with dread.

But the devil hardened our hearts so,
Murder was no dread at all;
So all that came within our grasp
Was surely doomed to fall.

Our hands we stained with human blood
And never thought on our souls.
One night in Hare's we orders got
For a subject or two. [sic]

Hare says to Burke, now I do think,
As business quick does call,
If you'll agree our wives to take,
We'll cast lots which first shall fall.

With this I did not seem to agree,
Till Hare these words did state:
These women will deceive us, Burke,
We'll rue when it is too late.

So we instantly did agree
Lest they should us trepan,
But we were apprehended
Before the deed was done.

We and our wives in different cells
Were fast for to abide,
When we were brought before the judge
And jury to be tried.

Then Hare he turn'd king's evidence.
His crime was of a deeper die. [sic; dye?]
He was my first and only tutor
And chief of these bloody crimes.

By suffocation eight died in Burke's house;
Six the same way died in Hare's;
And two in a stable Burke doth say,
All by the plans of Hare.

Woe be the time I met with him!
It was a cruel day to me.
It brought disgrace unto my friends,
And prov'd my destiny.

One day a child about 5 years old
Upon my knee I bled to death.
I gave it spice to keep it quiet
Till it resigned its breath.

When its little head fell on my breast,
Its heart's blood then did fall.
Its innocence cried, "Cruel Burke!"
That griev'd me worse than alló

A pain that nearly rends my heart
Such as no tongue can tell.
I feel no peace; I feel no rest.
My conscience feels a hell.

The ghosts of them aloud do cry
For vengeance on their foes.
So vengeance now has wet the sword [sic; whet the sword?]
That through my heart does go.

Now my time is up; the hour is come.
The doleful bell does toll.
I hope the Lord will hear my prayer
And have mercy on my soul.

Now I must join eternity
Where I can sin no more.
So I, William Burke, bid all adieu
Till we meet on that unknown shore.

Stephenson, Printer, Gateshead