Page images

He laid his hand on the iron chains,
And like flax they moulder'd asunder,
And the coffin lid that was barr'd so firm
He burst with his voice of thunder.

And he bade the Old Woman of Berkeley rise
And come with her master away,

And the cold sweat stood on the cold cold corpse,
At the voice she was forced to obey.

She rose on her feet in her winding sheet,
Her dead flesh quiver'd with fear,

And a groan like that which the old woman gave
Never did mortal hear.

She follow'd the fiend to the church door,
There stood a black horse there,

His breath was red like furnace smoke,
eyes like a meteor's glare.


The fiend he flung her on the horse,
And he leapt up before,

And away like the lightning's speed they went,
And she was seen no more.

They saw her no more, but her cries and shrieks
For four miles round they could hear,

And children at rest at their mother's breast,
Started and screamed with fear.


THE doctor whisper'd to the nurse,
And the surgeon knew what he said,
And he grew pale at the doctor's tale,
And trembled in his sick bed.

Now fetch me my brethren, and fetch them with speed,
The surgeon affrighted said,

The parson and the undertaker,

Let them hasten, or I shall be dead.

The parson and the undertaker

They hastily came complying,

And the surgeon's apprentices ran up stairs
When they heard that their master was dying.

The 'prentices all they enter'd the room,
By one, by two, by three,

With a sly grin came Joseph in,
First of the company.


surgeon swore, as they enter'd his door,— 'Twas fearful his oaths to hear,→

Now send these scoundrels to the devil,
For God's sake, my brethren dear.

He foam'd at the mouth with the rage he felt,
And he wrinkled his black eyebrow,
That rascal Joe would be at me, I know,
But, zounds, let him spare me now.

Then out they sent the 'prentices,
The fit it left him weak;

He look'd at his brothers with ghastly eyes,
And faintly struggled to speak.

All kinds of carcasses I have cut up,
And the judgment now must be!
But, brothers, I took care of you,
take care of me!

So pray

I have made candles of infants' fat,
The sextons have been my slaves,
I have bottled babes unborn, and dried
Hearts and livers from rifled graves.

And my 'prentices will surely come,
And carve me bone from bone,

And I, who have rifled the dead man's grave,
Shall never rest in
my own.

Bury me in lead when I am dead,

My brethren, I entreat,

And see the coffin weigh'd, I beg,

Lest the plumber should be a cheat.

And let it be solder'd closely down,
Strong as strong can be, I implore,
And put it in a patent coffin,

That I may rise no more.

If they carry me off in the patent coffin,
Their labour will be in vain,

Let the undertaker see it bought of the maker,
Who lives in St. Martin's lane.

And bury me in my brother's church,
For that will safer be,

And, I implore, lock the church door,
pray take care of the key.

And all night long let three stout men
The vestry watch within,

To each man give a gallon of beer
And a keg of Holland's gin;

Powder, and ball, and blunderbuss,
To save me if he can,

And eke five guineas if he shoot

A resurrection man.

And let them watch me for three weeks,

My wretched corpse

to save,

For then I think that I may stink

Enough to rest in my grave.

The surgeon laid him down in his bed,

His eyes grew deadly dim,

Short came his breath, and the struggle of death

Distorted every limb.

They put him in lead when he was dead,

And shrouded up so neat,

And they the leaden coffin weigh,

Lest the plumber should be a cheat.

They had it solder'd closely down,
And examined it o'er and o'er,
And they put it in a patent coffin,
That he might rise no more.

For to carry him off in a patent coffin

Would, they thought, be but labour in vain, So the undertaker saw it bought of the maker Who lives by St. Martin's lane.

In his brother's church they buried him,
That safer he might be,

They lock'd the door, and would not trust
The sexton with the key.

And three men in the vestry watch,

To save him if they can,

And should he come there to shoot they swear
A resurrection man.

And the first night, by lantern light,
Through the churchyard as they went,
A guinea of gold the sexton showed
That Mr. Joseph sent.

But conscience was tough, it was not enough,
And their honesty never swerved,
And they bade him go, with Mister Joe,
To the devil as he deserved.

So all night long, by the vestry fire,
They quaff'd their gin and ale,
And they did drink, as you may think,
And told full many a tale.

The second night, by lantern light,

Through the churchyard as they went, He whisper'd anew, and show'd them two

That Mister Joseph sent.

The guineas were bright, and attracted their sight, They look'd so heavy and new,

And their fingers itch'd as they were bewitch'd,

And they knew not what to do.

But they waver'd not long, for conscience was strong,

And they thought they might get more;

And they refused the gold, but not

So rudely as before.

So all night long, by the vestry fire,
They quaff'd their gin and ale,
And they did drink, as you may think,
And told full many a tale.

The third night, as by lantern light
Through the churchyard as they went,
He bade them see, and show'd them three.
That Mister Joseph sent.

They look'd askance with greedy glance,
The guineas they shone bright,
For the sexton on the yellow gold
Let fall his lantern light.

And he look'd sly, with his roguish eye,

And gave a well-timed wink,

And they could not stand the sound in his hand, For he made the guineas chink.

And conscience late, that had such weight,

All in a moment fails,

For well they knew, that it was true

A dead man told no tales.

And they gave all their powder and ball,
And took the gold so bright,

And they drank their beer and made good cheer
Till now it was midnight.

Then, though the key of the church door

Was left with the parson his brother,

It opened at the sexton's touch,

Because he had another.

And in they go with that villain Joe,
To fetch the body by night,
And all the church look'd dismally,
By his dark-lantern light.

They laid the pick-axe to the stones,
And they moved them soon asunder,
They shovell'd away the hard-prest clay,
And came to the coffin under.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »