Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafesj

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home

Origins: Burke and Hare (ballads about)


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: 'Burke & Hare' DT Version sources (8)
(origins) Origins: Burke's Confession (3)
Daft Jamie: Burke & Hare ballad sheets (16)
happy? – Jan 28 (Burke) (3)
Lyr Add: Daft Jamie (ballad about Burke & Hare) (8)
BS: butt and ben (34)

GUEST,chex29 03 Feb 00 - 03:55 PM
GUEST,Prock477 03 Feb 00 - 04:03 PM
MMario 03 Feb 00 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,prock477 03 Feb 00 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,cujimmy 03 Feb 00 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,Bud Savoie 03 Feb 00 - 06:25 PM
Abby Sale 03 Feb 00 - 11:28 PM
cujimmy 04 Feb 00 - 07:56 PM
Liz the Squeak 05 Feb 00 - 02:55 AM
maple_leaf_boy 05 Nov 10 - 12:48 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Nov 10 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,Diva 05 Nov 10 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,Diva 05 Nov 10 - 03:11 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Nov 10 - 08:08 PM
Jim Dixon 08 Nov 10 - 02:11 PM
Jim Dixon 08 Nov 10 - 02:18 PM
Jim Dixon 08 Nov 10 - 02:31 PM
Jim Dixon 08 Nov 10 - 02:57 PM
Jim Dixon 08 Nov 10 - 08:28 PM
Joe Offer 28 May 22 - 01:32 AM
Joe Offer 28 May 22 - 01:36 AM
Share Thread
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum Child
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:

Subject: burke and Hare
From: GUEST,chex29
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 03:55 PM

What are the other words to Burke and Hare ,the greatful assistants for Dr. Knox anatomy shop?

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: burke and Hare
From: GUEST,Prock477
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 04:03 PM

Is that "Burke and Hare were a terrible pair,merciless beyond belief"

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: burke and Hare
From: MMario
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 04:20 PM

you mean these?

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: burke and Hare
From: GUEST,prock477
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 04:21 PM

Didn't they smother waifs and strays and sell body parts to the anatomist Dr. Knox?

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: burke and Hare
From: GUEST,cujimmy
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 05:31 PM

They were grave diggers who dug up newly buried people ( dead people ) in Edinburgh and the lothians, they used to drink in my local pub The Crown Inn in Blackburn West Lothian. I,m sure I,ve have spoken to them in there a few times - ps " The Crown is a nice friendly pub but beware of the Whiskey ".

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: burke and Hare
From: GUEST,Bud Savoie
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 06:25 PM

The resurrectionists, also called grave robbers, or body snatchers, or sack-them-up men, dug up the newly buried for sale to Dr. Knox. Burke and Hare were not resurrectionists, but outright murderers, Dr. Knox's best source of fresh cadavers. Their big mistake was doing in Mary Paterson the prostitute (some of the medical students were acquainted with her), and "Daft Jamie", the town idiot, whom everyone knew. Burke was hanged and Hare was last seen walking alone down the road toward London. A now out-of-print book called "Dead and Buried?" tells the tale in detail.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: burke and Hare
From: Abby Sale
Date: 03 Feb 00 - 11:28 PM

Some other stuff:

Edinburgh: One of Scotland's great culture heroes, William Burke, was hanged to a crowd of 20,000 on 1/28/1829. His partner, William Hare, had turned him in & thus Hare got off. The crime, of course, was at first bodysnatching. Later on, it was sort of snatching the bodies before they were quite ready for burial.

As I get the story, it was Burke's own fault. Seems Burke was spending some of his earnings on a pretty whore and was caught (non-flagrante) by his wife. Burke protested that she was only a "client," and the wife shouldn't be jealous, he was doing nothing wrong. Naturally he had to follow through and kill her.

The whore was so pretty, however, that she was preserved in whiskey, not dissected, and rented out by the medical school to artists for life studies. In all this genius-like behavior, the police eventually got interested, rattled Hare somewhat who turned in Burke.

In addition to the DT song, there are several others, eg. "Burke's Confession," Grieg, _F-S of the N-E_, #XXXVI

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: burke and Hare
From: cujimmy
Date: 04 Feb 00 - 07:56 PM

ayev what the hell, are there ony scotts lads and lassies oot there who would like to spin the yarn further - but add further facts - they did drink in the crown inn - and what can ye tell us further - cujimmyayecu

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: burke and Hare
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 05 Feb 00 - 02:55 AM

There is a really good film about this, it is either Hammer Horror, or their successor, Amicus. I can't remember the name off the top of my head (haven't watched the video for a while) but it stars Peter Cushing. OK, so they don't stick completely to the truth, but hey, who does!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Burke and Hare
From: maple_leaf_boy
Date: 05 Nov 10 - 12:48 PM

Recently a "black comedy" has been released about Burke and Hare. I
think it's only being showed in U.K. theatres. It's shocking how
somebody can make a "comedy" out of a story about serial killers.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: BURKE AND HARE
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Nov 10 - 03:02 PM

This one?
Jim Carroll


1. William Burke it is my name.
I stand condemned alone.
I left my native Ireland
In the county of Tyrone;
And o'er to Scotland I did sail,
Employment for to find.
No thought of cruel murder
Was then into my mind.

2. At Edinburgh trade was slack.
No work there could I find;
And so I took the road again,
To Glasgow was inclined;
But stopping at the West-port
To find refreshment there,
O cursed be the evil hour
I met with William Hare!

3. With flattering words he greeted me
And said good fortune smiled.
He treated me to food and drink
And I was soon beguiled.
He said: “There’s riches to be had,
And fortune's to be made,
For atomists have need of us,
So join me in that trade.

4. Hare he kept a lodging-house.
Therein a man had died.
His death went unreported
And of burial was denied.
We put the dead man in a cart
And through the streets did ride,
And Robert Knox, the atomist,
The dead man he did buy.

5. To rob the new dug graves by night
It was not our intent.
To be taken by the nightwatch
Or by spies was not our bent.
The plan belonged to William Hare
And so the plot was laid.
He said that "murder's safer
Than the resurrection trade."

6. Two women they were in the plot:
The wife of William Hare,
The other called McDougal,
And travellers they did snare.
They lured them to the lodging house,
And when they'd drunken deep,
Hare and me, we smothered them
As they lay fast asleep.

7. At first in fear and dread I was,
But later grew more bold.
In nine short months we killed fifteen
And then their bodies sold.
The doctors did not question us,
But quickly paid our fee.
The price they paid, it prospered us,
Both William Hare and me.

8. But soon our crimes they were found out.
In jail we were confined,
And cruel guilt it tore my heart
And much despairs my mind;
And Hare, who first ensnared me
And led me far astray,
Has turned King's evidence on me
And sworn my life away.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Burke and Hare
From: GUEST,Diva
Date: 05 Nov 10 - 03:10 PM

I remember Gus Russell singing this one, many moons ago at Kilmarnock Folk club

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Burke and Hare
From: GUEST,Diva
Date: 05 Nov 10 - 03:11 PM

Think I'll go and see the film

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: POOR DAFT JAMIE (J. B.)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Nov 10 - 08:08 PM

From Songs and Ballads of Clydesdale By A. Nimmo (Edinburgh and Glasgow: John Menzies & Co., 1882), page 229:

Written By J. B.

Attendance give whilst I relate
How poor daft Jamie met his fate;
'Twill make your hair stand on your head
As I unfold the horrid deed.

That hellish monster, William Burke,
Like Reynard, sneaking on the lurk,
Coyducked his prey into his den,
And then the woeful work began.

"Come, Jamie, drink a glass wi' me,
And I'll gang wi' ye in a wee,
To seek your mother i' the town—
Come, drink, man, drink, and sit ye down."

"Na, na! I'll no drink wi' thee the noo,
For if I do 'twill mak' me fou."
"Tuts man! a wee, wee drap will do you guid.
'Twill cheer your heart and warm your bluid."

At last he took the fatal glass,
Not dreaming what would come to pass.
When once he drank he wanted more,
Till he fell drunk upon the floor.

Burke cast himself on Jamie's face,
And clasped him in his foul embrace;
But Jamie waking in surprise,
Writhed in an agony to rise.

At last, with nerves unstrung before,
He threw the villain on the floor;
And though alarmed, and weakened too,
He would have soon o'ercome the foe.

But help was near, for it Burke cried,
And soon his friend was at his side.
Hare tripped up Jamie's heels, and o'er
He fell, alas! to rise no more.

Now both these bloodhounds him engage
As hungry tigers filled with rage;
Nor did they handle axe or knife
To take away poor Jamie's life.

No sooner done, than in a chest
They crammed this lately welcomed guest
And bore him into Surgeons' Square—
A victim fresh, a subject rare!

And soon he's on the table laid,
Exposed to the dissecting blade,
But where his members now may lay
Is not for me, nor you, to say.

But this I'll say—"Some thoughts did rise;"
It filled the students with surprise
That so short time should intervene
Since Jamie on the streets was seen.

But though his body is destroyed,
His soul can never be decoyed
From that celestial state of rest
Where he, I trust, is with the blest.

Above is a copy of a broadside sung on the streets of Edinburgh after the execution of the murderer, Burke, and is a graphic account of the popular belief of the manner in which Daft Jamie was murdered. He was a poor harmless imbecile, well known on the streets of Edinburgh; usually bare-headed, bare-footed, and walked about with his hands clasped together, and may be said to have inaugurated the Beard Movement, for at that time, if not the only, he was almost the only person to be seen unshaven upon the streets. No case ever struck the public heart or imagination with greater horror than the West Port murders. The young women of Edinburgh, when they went out after sunset, kept their hands and aprons upon their mouths lest they should be suffocated with a plaster. Burke and Hare were well known at Carnwath, having on the previous harvest been employed at Carlindean. It was believed they murdered a poor hawker woman on that farm the night before they left; at any rate, she was never seen there again. It was only for one that Burke was executed, but the actual number perpetrated was confessed to be at least 16 murders! When he appeared on the scaffold in company with the hangman, he was saluted with a hurrah as loud as George IV received when he first alighted at Holyrood. I heard them both. "Choke him, Hangie! choke him!" was loudly and repeatedly vociferated.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: WILLIAM BURKE
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 02:11 PM

From The History of Burke and Hare and of the Resurrectionist Times by George Mac Gregor (Glasgow: Thomas D. Morison, 1884), page 290:


O Burke, cruel man, how detested thy name is!
Thy dark deeds of blood are a stain on our times.
O savage, relentless, forever infamous,
Long, long will the world remember thy crimes.

Thrice ten human beings, weep all you who hear it,
Were caught in his snares and caught in his den,
The shades of thy victims may elude thy vile spirit,
O Burke, cruel monster, thou basest of men.

The weary, the old, and the way-faring stranger,
Were woo'd by his kindness and led to his door,
But little knew they that the path led to danger,
O little knew they that their wanderings were o'er.

Little knew they that the beams of the morning,
To wake them to brightness, would shine all in vain,
And little their friend knew, who watched their returning,
That they were ne'er more to return back again.

O gather the bones of the murdered together,
And give them a grave in some home of the dead,
That their poor weeping friends with sad hearts may go thither,
And shed tears of sorrow above their cold bed.

Ye great men of learning, ye friends of dissection,
Who travell'd through blood to the temple of gain,
And bright human life for your hateful inspection,
O give the poor friends the white bones of the slain.

But woe to the riches and skill thus obtained,
Woe to the wretch that would injure the dead,
And woe to his portion whose fingers are stained
With the red drops of life that he cruelly shed.

Tho' Burke has been doom'd to expire on the gallows,
The vilest that ever dishonoured the tree,
Yet some may survive him whose hearts are as callous,
O, who will be safe if the tigers be free?

Let none e'er reside in the crime marked dwellings,
For ever disgraced by Burke and by Hare,
May the cold damp of horror lie dark in their ceilings,
And their pale ghastly walls still be dismal and bare.

Let their guilt and their gloom speak of nothing but terror,
Some dark deeds of blood to the stranger declare,
And ages to come ever mark them with horror,
For the ghosts of the murdered will still gather there.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 02:18 PM

From The History of Burke and Hare and of the Resurrectionist Times by George Mac Gregor (Glasgow: Thomas D. Morison, 1884), page 294:


Why didst thou wander from my side,
My joy, my treasure, and my pride?
Though others little thought of thee,
Though wert a treasure dear to me.

I little thought when thee I left,
So soon of thee to be bereft;
Or that when after me you sought
You would by ruffian men be caught.

Thy playful manners fill'd with joy
The aged sire and sportive boy;
Of real joy you had enough,
When you could give or take a snuff.

The tricks you play'd with childish art,
Bound you the closer to my heart;
Thy kindness to thy mother prov'd
How dearly she by thee was lov'd.

What horrid monsters were these men
Who lur'd thee to their fatal den;
That den, whose deeds as yet untold,
Were done for sake of sordid gold.

But they alone were not to blame;
For when these dauntless monsters came
With human creatures scarcely cold,
The doctors took them, we were told.

Nor did they leave the doctor's door
Without an order to bring more!
But Justice stern aloud doth cry—
"Let all who wink at murder die!"

And justice shall to me be done,
On all who murder'd my poor son;—
I'll make appeal to Britain's King,
That one and all of them may swing.

But that will not restore my son,
Or remedy the mischief done;
He murder'd is—no peace I have,
I shall go mourning to my grave.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: DAFT JAMIE
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 02:31 PM

This is probably the best of the songs I have found on this subject. (Though I have no tune.) It seems entirely appropriate to Halloween.

From The History of Burke and Hare and of the Resurrectionist Times by George Mac Gregor (Glasgow: Thomas D. Morison, 1884), page 296:


O! dark was the midnight when Hare fled away.
Not a star in the sky gave him one cheering ray;
But still now and then, would the blue lightnings glare,
And some strange cries assail'd him, like shrieks of despair.

CHORUS: Over vale, over hill, I will watch thee for ill.
I will haunt all thy wanderings and follow thee still.

But, lo! as the savage ran down the wild glen,
For no place did he fear like the dwellings of men,
Where the heath lay before him all dismal and bare,
The ghost of Daft Jamie appeared to him there.

I am come, said the shade, from the land of the dead,
Though there is for Jamie no grass-covered bed;
Yet I'm come to remind you of deeds that are past,
And to tell you that justice will find you at last.

O! Hare, thou hast been a dark demon of blood,
But vengeance shall chase thee o'er field and o'er flood.
Though you fly away from the dwellings of men,
The shades of thy victims shall rise in thy den.

When night falls on the world, O! how can you sleep?
In your dreams do you ne'er see my poor mother weep?
Sadly she wept, but, O! long shall she mourn,
E'er poor wandering Jamie from the grave shall return.

From the grave, did I say, and though calm is the bed
Where slumber is dreamless, the home of the dead,
Where friends may lament, there sorrow may be,
Yet no grave rises as green as the world for me.

O! Hare, go to shelter thy fugitive head,
In some land that is not of the living or dead;
For the living against thee may justly combine,
And the dead must despise such a spirit as thine.

O! Hare fly away, but this world cannot be
The place of abode to a demon like thee,
There is gall in your heart; poison is in your breath;
And the glare of your eyes is as fearful as death.

When the blue lightnings flash'd through the glen, and it shone,
And there rose a wild cry, and there heaved a deep groan,
AS the Ghost of the innocent boy disappear'd,
But his shrieks down the glen, in the night breeze were heard.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: THE LAMENT
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 02:57 PM

From The History of Burke and Hare and of the Resurrectionist Times by George Mac Gregor (Glasgow: Thomas D. Morison, 1884), page 299:


O Woe for bonny Scotland,
For murder is abroad,
And we must flee for refuge,
To an avenging God.
For we have seen that Law alone,
Can do us little gude,
As it has let three demons loose,
To work mair deeds of blude.

Ye bloody fiends, ye hellish fiends,
Dare ye here yet be seen,
With the mark of blood upon your brows,
And murder in your een!
O woe for my ain Scotland,
For thou art now the land,
Chosen for such deeds of darkness,
As man before ne'er plann'd.

Alas for Mary Paterson,
Cut off in her young days,
Wi' a' her sins upon her,
And in her wicked ways;
While steep'd in drunk stupidity,
And overcome by sleep,
On his devoted victim
Burke took the dreadful leap.

And alas for the old woman,
Entic'd to revelry,
Under the mask of country kindness,
By a Judas for his fee;
That he might sell her body,
When he had done the deed,
And with the price of human blood,
His loathsome carcass feed.

O'hon for poor Daft Jamie,
Whom we shall miss away,
In his own happy idiocy,
Sae gude-natur'd and gay!
O! who shall cheer the mother
For the want of her poor boy,
By's simpleness the more endear'd
To her—her only joy.

But our all-gracious Maker
Will surely soon look down,
On this detested murder
With his all-powerful frown!

* * * * * *

In search of his dear mother,
Burke found him wand'ring then,
And for to see his parent,
Was lur'd to Hare's dread den;
Where he was ply'd with liquor,
(And all by coaxings prest),
Till he was quite o'erpow'red,
And laid him down to rest.

The two fell fiends they watch'd then,
Until he soundly slept,
Then Hare upon his destin'd prey
With murderous purpose crept.
And having fastened on him,
Hare strove his life to take;
Which recall'd his long lost reason,
And did his senses wake.

He shook the butcher from him,
And seeing no help there,
He fought with all the frenzy
Of madness and despair.
His cowardly assassin,
Did crouch beneath his blows,
And called on Burke his comrade
To give the murderous close.

The two, conjoin'd together,
Depriv'd him of his life;
But not before he left them
Marks of the desperate strife.
In his tremendous struggle,
Though weaken'd much by drink,
He showed how men do fight for life,
When on death's dreadful brink.

His body, it is said, (if true,
Let those who bought beware)
Was sold to an Anatomist;
And some one did declare,
When it lay on his table
For the dissecting knife,
That it was poor daft Jamie,
Whom he saw strong in life

But yesterday; and more 'twas strange
As all knew passing well,
He was a stout and hearty youth,
The rest I may not tell;
But loudly it's been whisper'd,
That damning marks of strife
Show'd clear that death by violence
Had twin'd him of his life.

'Tis told, that then the body
Was laid in spirits strong,
To remove all such suspicions,
And hide the cruel wrong.
If so! O righteous Heaven,
To thee we look for aid;
Nor will thy kindling anger
Be longer much delay'd!

Thou art the poor's avenger,
The idiot's only guard,
The childless mother's helper,
The good man's high reward.
To Thee then we are looking,
To appease the cry of blood
Which runs throughout our city,
Like a portentous flood!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: A NEW SONG (on Burke and Hare; Bodleian)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 08:28 PM

From the Bodleian Library broadside collection, Harding B 14(191):


Good people all, I pray attend
To these few lines which I do write,
About Burke's lamentation,
Who died on January 28.

In eighteen-hundred and twenty-seven,
Their cruel work begun.
Burke and Hare before 29
Many cruel murders had done.

Neither young nor old we spared,
Me and my comrade Hare.
Like barbarians or cannibals,
With our wills no lives we'd spare.

We and our wives with hearts like stones
Never once on God did call,
Like beasts of prey, people may say,
Without feeling at all.

Had we but been resurrection men,
And taken none but the dead,
And that to men of feeling,
Doth strike their hearts with dread.

But the devil hardened our hearts so,
Murder was no dread at all;
So all that came within our grasp
Was surely doomed to fall.

Our hands we stained with human blood
And never thought on our souls.
One night in Hare's we orders got
For a subject or two. [sic]

Hare says to Burke, now I do think,
As business quick does call,
If you'll agree our wives to take,
We'll cast lots which first shall fall.

With this I did not seem to agree,
Till Hare these words did state:
These women will deceive us, Burke,
We'll rue when it is too late.

So we instantly did agree
Lest they should us trepan,
But we were apprehended
Before the deed was done.

We and our wives in different cells
Were fast for to abide,
When we were brought before the judge
And jury to be tried.

Then Hare he turn'd king's evidence.
His crime was of a deeper die. [sic; dye?]
He was my first and only tutor
And chief of these bloody crimes.

By suffocation eight died in Burke's house;
Six the same way died in Hare's;
And two in a stable Burke doth say,
All by the plans of Hare.

Woe be the time I met with him!
It was a cruel day to me.
It brought disgrace unto my friends,
And prov'd my destiny.

One day a child about 5 years old
Upon my knee I bled to death.
I gave it spice to keep it quiet
Till it resigned its breath.

When its little head fell on my breast,
Its heart's blood then did fall.
Its innocence cried, "Cruel Burke!"
That griev'd me worse than all—

A pain that nearly rends my heart
Such as no tongue can tell.
I feel no peace; I feel no rest.
My conscience feels a hell.

The ghosts of them aloud do cry
For vengeance on their foes.
So vengeance now has wet the sword [sic; whet the sword?]
That through my heart does go.

Now my time is up; the hour is come.
The doleful bell does toll.
I hope the Lord will hear my prayer
And have mercy on my soul.

Now I must join eternity
Where I can sin no more.
So I, William Burke, bid all adieu
Till we meet on that unknown shore.

Stephenson, Printer, Gateshead

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Add: Burke and Hare (Robin Laing)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 May 22 - 01:32 AM

Thread #53720   Message #828541
Posted By: Kenny B (inactive)
17-Nov-02 - 03:20 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Burke & Hare (by Robin Laing)
Subject: Lyr Add: Burke & Hare (by Robin Laing)

(Robin Laing)

Burke & Hare were a terrible pair, their deeds were beyond belief
They worked underground in Edinburgh town, the cruellest kind of thief,

1. For they stole the life from the city's poor, the city's waifs & strays
They got them drunk, laid them on a bunk, And smothered their lives away,

2. Doon Tannoch's Close in the old West port, the rottens had their lair,
And many poor wretch, the pair would fetch, in a box to surgeon's square

3 Ten Pounds each was the deal they'd reached for the contents of every box
And denied folks' life to satisfy the knife o' anatomist Dr Knox, ....Chorus

4. Sixteen souls departed this life, at the hands of the villainous crew
"Sure beats work", said lazy bugger Burke, and Hare took a similar view,

5.   But their evil ways and their drunken days, in nine months were cut short,
For they grew too smart, in their devilish art, and they very soon were caught, .... Chorus

6. William Hare got a terrible scare, turned supergrass with glee,
Snitched on his mate, left him to his fate and he got away scot free,

7. William Burke dangled an jerked, as the hangman ended his life,
As a final twist, the town anatomist, cut him up with his surgeons knife, .... Chorus +

For they stole the life from the city's poor, the city's waifs & strays
They got them drunk, laid them on a bunk, And smothered their lives away,

The swine, ...... they smothered their lives away,

Robin Laing Recording:

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD: Burke and Hare (John Doyle)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 May 22 - 01:36 AM

John Doyle wrote an interesting song titled "Burke and Hare." Anyone have time to transcribe it?

The chorus is the nursery rhyme:
    Up the close and down the stairs
    Back and forth with Burke and Hare
    Burke the butcher, Hare the thief
    And Knox the boy who buys the beef.

(John Doyle)

Gentlemen and ladies, 'round the Royal Mile,
Wearing nothing but the best, and going out in style;
But down in Tanner's Close and and the slums of Westport [pair???]
Shadows in the dark are lurking on the square.
    Up the close and down the stairs
    Back and forth with Burke and Hare
    Burke the butcher, and Hare's a thief
    And Knox the boy who buys the beef.

In the dead of night, we tramped the streets all 'round,
And look for some poor soul our victim to be found,
And then we'll bring him back to our humble abode,
Show him how a proper welcome is bestowed.

In the bar we drink from morning until late,
And when the money's gone, we'll plan somebody's fate.
Be it Mary Patterson, [*** Jamie???] or Janet Brown,
We'll get 'em liquored up and then we'll lay them down.

And when the deed is done, it's in the box we'll store,
To Knox in Surgeon Square, and get our cash and go,
And then he will proceed, with doctors all around,
To lay them on the slab, and then get knuckle (?) down.
CHORUS (twice)

As you can see, I need help here and there.

Here's an hour-long set by John Doyle:

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")

Mudcat time: 19 June 10:18 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 2022 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.