Mackinnon's Ghost

'Twas at that dreary hour almost
When strumpets leave the street,
In glided hang'd Mackinnon's ghost
And stood at Is'bel's feet.

Her face th'anatomizing knife
Had deeply furrow'd o'er;
And that fell hand that took a life
Was drench'd with native gore.

Her breast, now cold to Cupid's aim,
The scalpel's gash display'd;
And slow her strangled accents came,
While this the spectre said:

"Bethink thee, Is'bel, of thy crimes -
"Bethink thee of my woe -
"And wisely keep in mind betimes
"The gallows and Munro.

"Behold my visage, black as night,
"Deformed with many a wound -
"See round my throat the necklace tight
"By Law and Justice bound.

"Behold my tongue, half bitten through,
"That daily lied and curst -
"And mark mine eyes, lascivious blue,
"From forth their sockets burst.

"Behold my carcass, hack'd and flay'd,
"Which round and sleek should be -
"And then bethink thee, careless jade,
"The same may hap to thee!

"Tho' thou art fat, and full of scorn,
"Where now half drunk you snoose,
"'Tis but of late, that all forlorn,
"You wept th' impending noose.

"'Tis but of late, from holes and bores,
"The mob flock'd out like bees,
"And all with mud, the plague of w----s,
"Bedaub'd thy green pelisse.

"Too true, our prototypes of yore
"Endured much more offence;
"As witness Lives of Mistress Shore,
"And Lines on Lucky Spence.

"But tho's no longer carted we
"Move stately thro' the crowd;
"Nor shrug our backs and shoulders bare
"The shouting streets along -

"Yet through this town thou darest not flaunt,
"According to thy will -
"And I was hang'd (most ungallant!)
"Because I needs must kill.

"Oh then be cautious Is'bel dear,
"I bid a last adieu;
"But first my sweetheart's fame I'll clear
"Whom some folks call a Jew.

"No Jew is he - whom I adore -
"Their law prohibits swine -
"And did he flesh like that abhor,
"He'd loathe both yours and mine.

"But hist - the drawling watch alarms
"Too soon, my conscious ear -
"Farewell - I leave thee in the arms
"Of thy stout Grenadier.

"Farewell - the salt wives hoarsely bawl -
"Adieu - forgetful friend -
"Come see me in the Surgeon's Hall,
"Where my poor bones depend."

Then quick away the spirit pass'd,
(Discharg'd her friendly task,)
And up got trembling Bell in haste,
To seek the brandy flask.

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Copyright © 2001, Jack Campin