A Mournful poem on the death of John Ormsby and Matthew Cushing


A Mournful poem on the death of John Ormsby and Matthew Cushing


who were appointed to be executed on Boston Neck, the 17th of October, 1734.

Image / Audio Credit

Pamphlet location: AAS Record Number: 0F2F82324DC36830, Record Number: w026284
Recorded in Early American Imprints, Series 1, no. 40054 (filmed)


You Sinners all, both young and old
attend to what I write,
And hy to Heart while you have Time,
this sad and doleful Sight.
Behold, I say, two Sinful Men,
who for their wicked Crimes,
Are hast'ning to the Gallows Tree
to Die before their Times,
Who being wicked overmuch,
can't live not half their Days,
This is the Portion of all such
as follow sinful Ways.
Behold poor Ormsby now in Chains;
with sad, and heavy Heart,
Approaching to the Place where he
will have his Just Desert.
No hope of Favour can he have,
from any human Hand,
The Blood which he has spilt must be
purged from off the Land.
Yet if he in Sincerity
to God his Pray'r does make,
He may find Mercy at his Hand,
for Jesus Christ his sake.
And we the Pleasure have to see
him mourning for his Sin.
Lamenting all the crooked Ways
that he has walked in.
He does lament his Drunkenness,
and every other Sin,
And keeping evil Comopany,
which has his ruin been.
His hasty Temper he bewails,
and cruel Passion,
In which he did the Fact that proves
his own Destruction.
Behold poor Cushing coming next,
just in his youthful Prime,
Whose Life is forfeited also,
by his most heinous Crime.
And tho' his Crime is short of that
for which Ormsby must die,
Yet by the Law 'tis Death for those
guilty of Burglary.
Oh! that all Thieves would Warning take,
by his most tragick End,
And would now without more Delay
their Lives and Actions mend.
For what great Profit does he gain
who Robs without Controul,
And wallows for a while in Wealth,
yet loses his own Soul?
He thought (no doubt) the darksom Night
would have conceal'd his Crime.
But it was brought to open Light
within a little Time.
By which we all may plainly see
there is no Place upon
This spacious Earth where Sinners may
hide their Transgression.
Oh! may the Fate of this young Man
scarce turn'd of Twenty Three,
A Warning prove to all our Youth,
of high and low Degree.
And let this Warning loud and shrill
be heard by ev'ry one,
O do no more such Wickedness
as has of late been done.
Lament and wail his woful Caase,
and by him Warning take;
A Sight I think enough to make
a Heart of Stone to ake.

Epitaph upon John Ormsby.
Here lies (hard by an ignominious Tree)
The Body of unhappy John Ormsby;
Who dy'd for murd'ring of poor Thomas Bell,
A Pris'ner with him in the common Goal.
Somme sudden Frenzy surely seiz'd they Brain,
Or this poor harmless Man had ne're been slain.
Madness indeed, thus to assault a Friend,
Who ne're in all his Life did thee offend;
And leave him helpless welt'ring in his Gore,
Almost depriv'd of Life upon the Floor:
And not content with this most horrid Deed,
Thou didst assault another Man with Speed,
And hadst most surely kill'd him on the Spot,
With that uncommon Weapon, a Quart Pot,
(Which had dispatch'd poor Bell but just before,
Who then lay bleeding on the Prison Floor)
Had not the Keeper come i'th'Nick of Time,
And sav'd thee from a second bloody Crime.

On Matthew Cushing
Here lies the Body of young Matthew Cushing,
Whose Crimes cannot be mention'd without blushing:
He by the Province Law was doom'd to die,
For the detested Crime of Burglary.
He broke open the House of Joseph Cook,
A Shoe-Maker in Town, and from him took
Some wearing CLoaths, and two Gowns from his Wife,
For which alas! he pays them with his Life.
Oh! may their Deaths a Warning be to all,
Inclin'd to Theft or Murder, great and small.

Good People all I you beseech
To buy the Verse as well as SPEECH.

Sold at the Heart and Crown in Boston.

Method of Punishment



burglary, murder



Execution Location

Boston Neck

Printing Location

[Boston] Sold [by Thomas Fleet] at the Heart and Crown in Boston., [1734]


“A Mournful poem on the death of John Ormsby and Matthew Cushing,” Execution Ballads, accessed June 15, 2024, https://omeka.cloud.unimelb.edu.au/execution-ballads/items/show/852.

Output Formats