The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #152746   Message #3573305
Posted By: Jim Dixon
06-Nov-13 - 08:38 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Half-Hung (Hanged) McNaughton/MacNaghten
Subject: Lyr Add: HALF HANGED MACNAGHTEN (from FullSet)
Besides the YouTube video, I was also able to listen to this song on Spotify and at FullSet's website. (It's the last song in the SoundCloud box.) This helped a great deal. Here is the song with my corrections:

As recorded by FullSet on "Notes at Liberty" (2011)

1. Come closer to the fireside; pull in your chair.
I've a story to tell you; the entire tale(?) beware.*
It's a tale of tragic sorrow and the dark deeds of love.
I'm the only man here knows the truth, and I'll tell you all I know.

2. This talk of John MacNaghten and his darling Mary Ann
And how he came to hang that day in the town of Strabane.
It's true that he shot Mary Ann, put her in the grave,
Yet every lady in the land prayed that he'd be saved.

3. MacNaghten was a charming rogue; the finest knew his name.
He dealt the cards with noble folk and he played the gambler's game,
But the lure of pleasant parlours and ladies grand and fair
Took all his money and his land and left him to despair.

4. Now with a heart that was as low as a man's heart can go,
He went to his old friend Andrew Knox and told him of his woe.
"Come in, come in," Knox said to him. "You're welcome, my good man.
Come meet my wife Honoria and my daughter Mary Ann."

5. Mary Ann was just fifteen with beauty seldom seen,
With golden hair and skin so fair which nothing could exceed.
MacNaghten bowed and took her hand; she curtsied gracefully.
He vowed to marry Mary Ann and so their fate was sealed.

6. Miss Knox was soon enchanted with MacNaghten's worldly way
As hand in hand they strolled the land that would all be hers someday.
She said she'd gladly be his wife if her father would agree,
But he said he'd rather see her dead than in MacNaghten's company.

7. MacNaghten's mind went wild with rage as he formed his final plan:
He'd kill the MP Andrew Knox and take his Mary Ann.
The coach was bound for Dublin town, the Knoxes all on board.
In Strabane he made his stand with a pistol and a sword.

8. MacNaghten thought that Mary Ann was seated on the right.
He shot three times through the left; the bullets pierced her side.
Andrew Knox then fired two shots; MacNaughten quickly fled.
He was now a hunted man and Mary Ann was dead.

9. MacNaghten soon was caught and tried; they sentenced him to die.
His words of love for Mary Ann brought tears to the ladies' eyes.
On the gallows he was proud and brave; he spoke no final words.
He put the rope around his neck and he jumped off with great force.

10. But the rope broke with a mighty crack and he fell down to the ground.
The soldiers they all turned their backs and the people gathered round.
They called out to MacNaghten to take the chance and run,
But he climbed back on the gallows as the crowd sat still and stunned.

11. It was then he spoke his final words; his voice was cracked and dry.
There was silence in the winter air and a strange look in his eye.
He said that he would rather die than live his life in shame.
He'd rather die than let Half-Hanged MacNaghten be his name!

12. Now the hanging of MacNaghten and the death of Mary Ann
Is known by rich and poor alike all across the land.
They say it's because of love of gold that Mary Ann Knox died,
But you know now the story's told they both were killed by pride.

* I am still not satisfied with verse 1 line 2. It sounds like she's singing "the entire did beware" but that makes no sense.

I assume this song is newly written. FullSet's web site gives no information on its origin. I searched for old ballads about this event and found none.