McKinnon's Garland

Now ponder well, ye she gallants,
    Who make a trade of sinning,
And lure the lustful to your haunts,
    With grog and glances winning,-
Who spread your beds with tap'stry, yea,
    With Egypt's finest linen,-
Take warning all, and some, I pray,
    By wretched Moll McKinnon.

This Moll she was, as it appears,
    A Quarter-Master's daughter,
And at the age of sixteen years,
    A Rogue to ruin brought her,-
Some say a Cameronian,
    Some, Cameron - first did win in,-
To her good grace,- 'tis now all one
    To us, or Moll McKinnon.

This sad affair, it soon took air,
    And vexed the Quarter-Master;
His honour there had got a scar,
    For which he found no plaster.
So heeding not the plot, and sore
    Temptation she had been in,
He turn'd, with buffets, out of door
    The beauteous Moll McKinnon.

Then Molly went upon the Town,
    A darling of the Scarlets,
And much of up - but more of down
    She had, like other harlots;
A-well-a-day, the South Bridge Street,
    That e'er she kept an Inn in!
There many a w---e, and many a cheat,
    Frequented Moll McKinnon.

One fatal night some Prentices,
    Bent like ungodly young men,
On chambering and wantonness,
    Repair'd to her dark dungeon;
The door was barr'd - 'twas very hard,
    And so they rais'd a din in
(While caps were torn, some groat the yard,)
    This bower of Moll McKinnon.

Now Molly she was drinking tea,
    With Mister Hodge, the grocer,
And old Jane Lundie, quietly,
    That drab who does not know, Sir? -
When up runs her hand-maiden, Curly,
    The room door pops her head in:-
"O! Mistress, what a hurly burly;
    "O! help us, stout McKinnon."

The stout McKinnon up she rose,
    God wot but she was wroth then,
And towards her own house she goes,
    With many a bloody oath then,-
And coming there, she seized a knife,
    The grinder's hands had been in;
And reaved poor Howat of his life,-
    O! cruel Moll McKinnon!

'Tis said, beside this naughty feat,
    She has murder'd folks in plenty,
And cast them on the open street,
    At least some ten or twenty!
Nor Judith, who cut throats by night,
    Nor she who drove a pin in
A sleeper's skull, could match the might
    Of desperate Moll McKinnon.

All in his blood they carried him
    To the Infirmary Royal,-
Poor lad, he died,-  and she in time
    Was brought to stand her trial-
Jane, and the other dirty moles,
    Swore stout through thick and thin in
Her favour - tho' they damn'd their souls,-
    The Judge condemned McKinnon.

The verdict given, a grievous groan
    Resounded through this city,
And Nymphs from Weigh-house to the Trone,
    Shed tears of aquavitae. -
Ye Cowgate maids, to soothe your grief,
    O! pour not drams of gin in!
Tho' that, or whisky, give relief,
    It ruin'd Moll McKinnon.

The rotten cracks of Shakespeare Square,
    Wept off their paint and plaisters,
And scabby Leith Walk's scabbiest fair,
    Swoon'd dead at Moll's disasters,-
Their oldest sores new op'd their lips,
    Such sympathy there's sin in,
And palsey seized the stoutest hips,
    At thoughts of Moll McKinnon!

When mother Midnight heard the news,
    She gave a doleful grunt, Sir,
And Oh! quoth she, to die in shoes,
    'Tis such a d---d affront, Sir,-
My comfort is, I've run my race,
    The rot, each ulcerous shin in,
Must save me from thy cursed case,
    Thou ill-starr'd b---h McKinnon!

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Copyright © 2001, Jack Campin