Burke's Execution

Let old and young unto my song a while attention pay.
The news I'll tell will please you well, the monster Burke's away.
At the head of Libberton Wynd he finished his career,
There's few, I'm sure, rich or poor, for him would shed a tear.

CHORUS: Now Burke, the murderer, is dead, his troubles here are o'er,
        We can't tell where his spirit's fled, he'll Burke the folk no more.

Eighteen hundred and twenty-nine, let it recorded be
Twenty-eight day of January he suffer'd on a tree.
To Edinbro', numbers did go, that day before 'twas noon,
For to see Burke, that cruel Turk, receive his awful doom.

They brought him from the Calton Jail, some time in the night,
They thought the crowd would do the job had they waited till daylight,
From the lock-up they brought Burk out about the hour of eight,
Where about forty-thousand folk impatiently did wait.

The injur'd crowd, they groan'd aloud, this monster to behold,
Who in his time had thought no crime to murder young and old.
When the scaffold he did ascend, the people all did cry,
Bring out Will Hare, we think it fair, that he also should die.

As round his neck the rope it went, the shouts did rend the sky,
Its "Burk him, Burk him, the blood-hound", the people all did cry.
The shouts they did continue on, until he was cut down,
The like was never heard before in Edinbro' town.

His bloody den, it does remain, for strangers to behold,
Where him and Hare, they did not spare the lives of young or old.
In memory his bones will be preserv'd for years to come,
Ye Burkites!  now beware, lest you do meet with the same doom.

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Copyright © 2001, Jack Campin