Outlaws and Highwaymen

‘Devol’s last Farewel’
The Bagford Ballads, ed. J. W. Ebsworth, 2 vols, (Hertford, Ballad Society, 1878), I, pp. 14–16


Devol’s last Farewel:
Containing an Account of many frolicksom Intriegues
and notorious Robberies which he committed:
Concluding with his mournful Lamentation, on
the Day of his Death.

To the Tune of, Upon the Change.
Licensed according to Order.

You bold undaunted Souls attend
To me, who did the Laws offend;
For now I come to let you know
What prov’d my fatal overthrow,
And brought my Glory to decay;
     it was my Gang, for whom I hang,
Well-a-day, well-a-day.

Unto a Duke I was a Page,
And succour’d in my tender Age,
Until the Devil did me intice,
To leave of Vertue and follow Vice;
No sooner was I led astray,
     but Wickedness did me possess,
Well-a-day, well-a-day.

If I my Crimes to mind shou’d call,
And lay them down before you all,
They would amount to such a Sum,
That there is few in Christendom,
So many wanton Pranks did play;
     but now too late, I mourn my fate,
Well-a-day, well-a-day.

Upon the Road, I do declare,
I caus’d some Lords and Ladies fair,
To quit their Coach, and dance with us;1
This being done, the Case was thus,
They for their Musick needs must pay;
     but now at last, those Ioaks are past,
Well-a-day, well-a-day.

Another time, I and my Gang,
We fell upon a Noble-man;
In spite of all that he could do,
We took his Gold and Silver too,
And with the same we rid away;
     but being took, for death I look,
Well-a-day, well-a-day.

When I was mounted on my Steed,
I thought myself a Man indeed;
With Pistol cock’d and glittering Sword,
Stand and deliver, was the word,
Which makes me now lament and say,
     pity the fall of great Devol,
Well-a-day, well-a-day.

I did belong unto a Crew,
Of swaggering Blad[e]s as ever drew,
Stout Whitherington and Dowglas both,
We were all three engag’d by Oath,2
Upon the Road to take our way;
     but now Devol, must pay for all,
Well-a-day, &c.

Because I was a Frenchman born,
Some Persons treated me with scorn,
But being of a daring Soul,
Although my Deeds was some thing foul,
My gaudy Plumes I did display,
     but now my Pride, is laid aside,
Well-a-day, &c

I reigned with an undaunted mind
Some years, but now at last I find,3
The Pitcher that so often goes
Unto the Well, as Proverb shows,
Comes broken home at last we say;
     for now I see my Destiny,
Well-a-day, &c.

Then being brought to Iustice-hall,
Try’d, and condemn’d before them all;
Where many noble Lords did come,
And Ladies for to hear my Doom,
Then Sentence pass’d, without delay,
     The Halter first, and Tybourn last,
In one Day, in one Day.4

Textual Note

In the original, stanza 8 has ‘Souls’ for ‘Soul’.


Notes and page design © Gillian Spraggs 2001, 2002, 2007
Text added to site on 21 November 2002 | Page last modified on 28 August 2007

return to top | site map