04 May 2008

The night before Larry was stretched

The night before Larry was stretch’d,
The boys they all paid him a visit;
A bit in their sacks, too, they fetch’d—
They sweated their duds till they riz it;
For Larry was always the lad,
When a friend was condemn’d to the squeezer,
But he’d pawn, all the togs that he had,
Just to help the poor boy to a sneezer,
And moisten his gob ’fore he died.

II

‘’Pon my conscience, dear Larry’, says I,
‘I’m sorry to see you in trouble,
And your life’s cheerful noggin run dry,
And yourself going off like its bubble!’
‘Hould your tongue in that matter,’ says he;
‘For the neckcloth I don’t care a button,
And by this time to-morrow you’ll see
Your Larry will be dead as mutton:
All for what? ‘Kase his courage was good!’

III

The boys they came crowding in fast;
They drew their stools close round about him,
Six glims round his coffin they placed
He couldn’t be well waked without ’em,
I ax’d if he was fit to die,
Without having duly repented?
Says Larry, ‘That’s all in my eye,
And all by the clargy invented,
To make a fat bit for themselves.

IV

Then the cards being called for, they play’d,
Till Larry found one of them cheated;
Quick he made a hard rap at his head—
The lad being easily heated,
‘So ye chates me bekase I’m in grief!
O! is that, by the Holy, the rason?
Soon I’ll give you to know you d—d thief!
That you’re cracking your jokes out of sason,
And scuttle your nob with my fist’.

V

Then in came the priest with his book
He spoke him so smooth and so civil;
Larry tipp’d him a Kilmainham look,
And pitch’d his big wig to the devil.
Then raising a little his head,
To get a sweet drop of the bottle,
And pitiful sighing he said,
‘O! the hemp will be soon round my throttle,
And choke my poor windpipe to death!’

VI

So mournful these last words he spoke,
We all vented our tears in a shower;
For my part, I thought my heart broke
To see him cut down like a flower!
On his travels we watch’d him next day,
O, the hangman I thought I could kill him!
Not one word did our poor Larry say,
Nor chang’d till he came to King William;
Och, my dear! then his colour turned white.

VII

When he came to the nubbing-cheat,
He was tack’d up so neat and so pretty;
The rambler jugg’d off from his feet, 9 cart
And he died with his face to the city.
He kick’d too, but that was all pride,
For soon you might see ’twas all over;
And as soon as the nooze was untied,
Then at darkey we waked him in clover,
And sent him to take a ground-sweat.



4 comments:

Semaj Mahgih said...

Charming ditty.

jams o donnell said...

Indeed.. An old Irish canting ballad

Sean Jeating said...

Did not know this, Jams. Thanks.
The title reminded me of that it's also the night before Bobby Sands died.

Sorry for having been such an ignoramus. Hope you are well again, Jams. Wishing you and the not-wife a joyous start into the new week.

jams o donnell said...

It's not so famous perhaps Sean but I hope you enjoyed it!