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SONG LXI.

THE THIEF AND CORDELIER.

BY MATHEW PRIOR ESO

WH

Tune, King John and the abbot of Canterbury.
HO has e'er been at Paris must needs know the

Grève,
The fatal retreat of th' unfortunate brave;
Where honour and justice most oddly contribute
To ease heroes pains by a halter and gibbet.

Derry down, down, hey derry down.

There Death breaks the shackles which force had put on,
And the hangman completes what the judge had begun;
There the squire of the pad, and the knight of the post,
Find their pains no more balk’d, and their hopes no more

crofs'd.
Derry down, &C.

Great claims are there made, and great secrets are known ;
And the king, and the law, and the thief has his own:
But my hearers cry out, what a deuce dost thou ail?
Put off thy reflections, and give us thy tale.

Derry down, &c.

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'Twas there, then, in civil respect to harsh laws,
And for want of false witness to back a bad cause,
A Norman, though late, was oblig'd to appear;
And who to assist but a grave Cordelier !

Derry down, c.

The

The squire, whose good grace was to open the scene,
Seem'd not in great haste that the show should begin;
Now fitted the halter, now travers’d the cart;
And often took leave, but was loth to depart.

Derry down, &c.

What frightens you thus, my good fon? says the priest;
You murder'd, are sorry, and have been confess’d:
O father! my sorrow will scarce save my bacon ;
For 'twas not that I murder'd, but that I was taken.

Derry down, &c.

Pough! prithee ne'er trouble thy head with such fancies;
Rely on the aid you shall have from Saint Francis :
If the money you promis'd be brought to the chest,
You have only to die; let the church do the rest.

Derry down, &c.

And what will folks say, if they see you afraid ?
It reflects upon me, as I knew not my trade :
Courage, friend ! to-day is your period of sorrow,
And things will go better, believe me, to-morrow.

Derry down, 8c

To-morrow! our hero replied in a fright;
He that's hang'd before noon ought to think of to-night.
Tell your beads, quoth the priest, and be fairly truss’d up;
For you surely to-night shall in paradise sup.

Derry down, &c.

Alas!

Alas! quoth the squire, howe'er sumptuous the treat,
Parbleu! I shall have little stomach to eat:
I should therefor efteem it

great
favour and

grace, Would you be so kind as to go in my place.

Derry down, &c.

That I would, quoth the father, and thank you to boot;
But our actions, you know, with our duty must suit :
The feast I propos’d to you, I cannot tafte ;
For this night, by our order, is mark'd for a fast.

Derry down, &c.

Then, turning about to the hangman, he said,
Dispatch me, I prithee, this troublesome blade:
For thy cord and my cord both equally tie;
And we live by the gold for which other men die.

Derry down, down, hey derry down.

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Full twice a day to church he went,

And so devout would be,
Sure never was a faint on earth,

If that no saint was he.

This vex'd his wife unto the heart;

She was of wrath so full,
That, finding no hole in his coat,

She pick'd one in his fcull.

But then her heart 'gan to relent,

And griev'd me was full fore; That, quarter to him for to give,

She cut him into four.

All in the dark and dead of night

These quarters the convey'd, And in a ditch, at Marybone,

His marrowbones the laid.

His head, at Westminster, she threw

All in the Thames so wide ; Says she, my dear, the wind sets fair,

And you may have the tide.

But Heav'n, whose pow'r no limit knows,

On earth, or in the main,
Soon caus'd this head for to be thrown

Upon the land again.

This head being found, the justices

Their heads together laid,
And all agreed, there must have been

Some body to this head.

But, fince no body could be found,

High mounted on a shelf,
They e'en set up this head to be

A witness for itself.

Next, that it no self-murder was,

The case itself explains;
For no man could cut off his head,

And throw it in the Thames.

Ere many days had gone and pass'd,

The deed, at length, was known;
And Kath'rine fhe confess’d, at last,

The fact to be her own.

God prosper long our noble king,

Our lives and safeties all;
And grant that we may take advice

By Kath'rine Hayeses fall *.

* She was burned alive for this murder, gth May, 1726. The ballad will scarcely be thought void of merit: but it is to be hoped that its author is the only one who ever attempted to be witty on so shocking a Subject,

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