A lamentable new Ballad upon the Earle of Essex his death.


A lamentable new Ballad upon the Earle of Essex his death.


To the tune of. The Kings last good-night.
A lamentable Ditty composed upon the death of Robert Lo[rd Devereux] late Earle of Essex, who was beheaded in the Tower of London, o[n Ashwenesday] in the morning, 1600.

Digital Object

Image / Audio Credit

Magdalene College - Pepys Library, Shelfmark: Pepys Ballds 1.106-107; EBBA 20044 // EBBA 32617

Set to tune of...

The Kings last good-night. // Welladay 


ALL you that cry, O hone O hone
come now & sing O Lord with me
For why our Jewell is from us gone,
the valiant Knight of Chivalry:
Of rich and poore beloved was he,
in time an honourable Knight:
When by our Lawes condemnd was he
and lately tooke his last good-night.

Count him not like to Campion,
(these traiterous men) or Babington
Nor like the Earle of Westmerland,
by whom a number were undone:
He never yet hurt mothers son,
his quarell stil mantaind the right,
which maks the teares my cheks down run
when I think on his last goodnight.

The Portingals can witnesse be,
his Dagger at Lisbone gate he flung
And like a Knight of Chivalry,
his Chaine upon the same he hung,
would God that he would thither come
to fetch them both in order right,
Which thing was by his honour done,
yet lately tooke his last good-night.

The Frenchmen they can testifie,
the Towne of Gourney he tooke in,
And marchd to Rone immediately,
not caring for his foes a pin:
with bullets then he piercd their skin
and made them flee farre from his sight
He at that time did credit win,
and now hath tane his last good-night.

And stately Cales can witnesse well,
even by his Proclamation right:
He did command them all straitly,
to have a care of Infants lives:
That none should ravish maid nor wife
which was against their order right.
Therefore they prayd for his long life
which latly tooke his last good-night.

Would God he had nere Ireland known
nor set his feet on Flanders ground:
Then might we well enjoy our owne,
where now our jewel will not be found
Which makes our woes stil to abound
trickling with salt teares in our sight
to heare his name in our eares to sound
Lord Devereux took his last good-night

Ashwednesday that dismall day,
when he came forth of his chamber doore
Upon a Scaffold there he saw,
his headsman standing him before,
The Nobles all they did deplore.
shedding their salt teares in his sight
He said farewell to rich and poore.
at his good-morrow and good-night.

My Lords, quoth he, you stand but by,
to see performance of the Law?
Its I that have deservd to dye,
and yeeld my life unto the blow,
I have deservd to dye, I know,
but nere against my Countries right,
Nor to my Queene was never foe,
upon my death at my good-night.

farewel Elizabeth my gracious Queen
God blesse thee & thy Councell all
Farewell you Knights of Chivalry,
farewell my Souldiers stout and tall,
Farewell the Commons great & small,
into the hands of men I light.
My life shall make amends for all,
for Essex bids the world good-night.

Farewell deare wife & children three,
farewell my yong and tender son,
Comfort your selves mourne not for me,
although you fall be now begun,
My time is come, the glasse [i]s run,
comfort your selves, in former light
Seeing by my fall you are undone,
your father bids the world good-night

Dericke, thou knowest, at Cales I savd
thy life, lost for a Rape there done,
Which thou thy selfe canst testifie,
thine owne hand three & twenty hung,
But now thou seest my time is come,
by chance into thy hands I light,
Strike out the blow, that I may know,
thou Essex lovd at his good-night.

When England counted me a Papist,
the workes of Papists I defie,
I nere worshipt Saint, nor Angel in heaven,
nor to the Virgin Mary I,
But to Christ, which for my sins did die
trickling with sad teares in his sight,
Spreding my armes to God on high,
Lord Jesus receive my soule this night


[SWeet] Englands pride is gon,
welladay, welladay,
[Whi]ch makes her sigh and grone
evermore still:
[He] did her fame advance,
[In] Ireland, Spaine, and France,
[And] now by [?] all chance,
is from us tane.

[He] was a vertuous Peere,
welladay, welladay,
[And] was esteemed deare,
evermore still:
[He] alwayes helpt the poore,
which makes them sigh ful sore
His death they doe deplore,
in every place.

[Br]ave honour gracd him still,
gallantly, gallantly,
[He] nere did deed of ill,
well it is knowne,
[But] Envy that foule fiend,
[Wh]ose malice nere had end,
[Hath br]ought true vertues friend
[unto t]his thrall.

[At Tilt] he did surpasse,
gallantly, gallantly
[All men] that is and was
[eve]rmore still:
[One day as it] was seene,
[In honour of]our Queene
[Such deeds] nere bin seene,
[as he did do,]
[Abroad and eke a]t home,
[gallantly, galla]ntly,
[For valour there was] none,
[like him before,]
[But Ireland France and Spain,]
[That feared great Essexs na]me,

And England lovd the same,
in every place.

But all would not prevaile
welladay, welladay,
His deeds did not availe,
more was the pitty,
He was condemd to die,
for treason certainly,
But God that sits on high,
knoweth all things.

That Sunday in the morne,
welladay, welladay,
That he to the Citie came,
with all his troupe:
That first began the strife,
and causd him lose his life
And others did the like,
as well as hee

Yet her Princely Majesty,
graciously, graciously,
Hath pardon given free,
to many of them:
She hath releasd them quite
and given them their right,
They may pray day and night,
God to defend her.

Shrove tusday in the night,
welladay, welladay,
With a heavy hearted sprite,
as it is said:
The Lieutenant of the Tower,
who kept him in his power,
At ten a clocke that houre,
to him did come.

And said unto him there
mournfully, mournfully,
My Lord you must prepare,
to dye to morrow.
Gods will be done quoth he,
yet shall you strangely see
God strong in me to be,
though I am weake.

I pray you pray for me,
welladay, welladay:
That God may strengthen me,
against that houre:
Then straight way he did call
to the Guard under the wall,
And did intreat them all
for him to pray.

For to morrow is the day,
welladay, welladay,
That I the debt must pay,
which I doe owe:
It [is] my life I mean:
[Which I must pay the Queen]

Even so hath Justice given,
that I must dye.

In the morning was he brought
welladay, welladay,
Where a Scaffold was set up
within the Tower:
Many Lords were present then
with other Gentlemen,
Which were appointed then
to see him die.

You Noble Lords, quoth he,
welladay, welladay,
That must the witnesse be,
of this my death:
Know I never lovd Papistry,
but still did it defie,
And Essex thus did dye,
here in this place.

I have a sinner been,
welladay, welladay,
Yet never wrongd my Queene,
in all my life:
My God, I did offend,
which grives me at my end,
May all the rest amend,
I doe forgive them.

To the State I nere ment ill,
welladay, welladay,
Neither wisht the Commons il,
in all my life:
But lovd all with my heart,
and alwayes tooke their part,
Whereas there was desart,
in any place.

Then mildly did he crave,
mournfully, mournfully,
He might that fovour have,
private to pray:
He then praid heartily,
and with great ferver
To god that sits on hi[e]
for to receive him.

And then he praid ag[ain]
mournfully, mou[rnfully]
God to preserve [his Queen,]
from all her fo[es.]
And send her lo[ng to reign,]
true Justice [remain]
And not to le[t proud Spain]
once to of[fend her,]
His Gown [he stript off then]
wellada[y, welladay,]
And put [off his Hat and Band,]
and [hung them by,]
Pray[ing still continually,
[To God that sits on high,]

[Wed]nesday [Fragment from the far left of 1.106]

[That he m]ight patiently,
[then suf]fer death.

[My Heads-m]an that must be,
[then sa]id he cheerfully,
[Let him] come here to me,
[that I] may him see,
[Who kn]eeled to him then,
[Art th]ou (quoth he) the man,
[Who art] appointed now,
[my lif]e to free.

[Yes my] Lord, did he say,
[wella]day, welladay,
[Forgiv]e me, I you pray,
[for this i]s your death,
[I here d]oe thee forgive,
[And m]ay true Justice live,
[No foul]e crime to forgive,
[With]in their place.

[Then h]e kneeld downe againe,
[mour]nfully, mournfully,
[And wa]s required by some,
[there] standing by:
[To forg]ive his enemies,
[Before] death close his eyes,
[Which he] did in hearty wise,
[thankin]g them for it.

[That they] would remember him
[welladay] welladay,
[That he m]ight forgive them all,
[that hath] him wrongd,
[Now my L]ords I take my leave
[Sweet Chr]ist my soule receive,
[Now when] you will prepare,
[I am] ready.

[He laid his he]ad on the blocke,
[welladay,] welladay,
[But his Dou]blet let the stroke,
[But he ther]e did say:
[What must] be done (quoth he)
[Shall be d]one presently,
[There his d]oublet off put he,
[and layd d]owne againe.

[Then the H]eadsman did his part.
[He was ne]ver seene to start,
[for all t]he blowes:
[His soul now] it is at rest,
[In heav]en amongst the blest,
[Where G]od send us to rest,
[when it] shall please him.

Method of Punishment






Execution Location

Tower of London

Printing Location

London for C. W.


damaged, lots of missing words. Think it begins on right hand side, not sure if it's two ballads or one weirdly printed




“A lamentable new Ballad upon the Earle of Essex his death.,” Execution Ballads, accessed May 30, 2024, https://omeka.cloud.unimelb.edu.au/execution-ballads/items/show/847.

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