A Song, on the Confession and Dying Words of William Stevenson,


A Song, on the Confession and Dying Words of William Stevenson,


Merchant, late of North-Allerton, in the County of York, aged 27 Years, who was executed at Durham on Saturday the 26th of August, 1727, for the barbarous Murder of Mary Fawden, near Hartlepool in the Bishoprick of Durham; taken from his own Mouth the Night before his Execution, by a Person that went to visit him while in Goal.


From Gwenda Morgan, Peter Rushton, Rogues, thieves, and the rule of law: the problem of law enforcement in north-east England, 1718-1800, p. 139:

William Stevenson's murder of his pregnant lover in 1727, by throwing her down the cliffs near Hartlepool, was celebrated in a long ballad with many prurient and bloody details whose verses were remembered locally for decades afterwards. It is highly ambiguous concerning the innocence of the victim, Mary Fawden,....

Digital Object

Image / Audio Credit

Huntington Library, Shelfmark: HEH 289784; EBBA ID: 32526

Set to tune of...

Since Caelia's my Foe


GOOD Lord! I'm undone, thy Face I would shun,
I've anger'd my God, and displeased his Son:
I dare not come nigh thy great Majesty,
Oh! where shall I hide my poor Soul when I die.

Thy Vengence I dread on my guilty Head,
All Hopes of thy Mercy from me now are fled;
My poor sinful Soul is filthy and foul,
And Terror and Horror in my Conscience roll.

The Shame of my Race, and Mankind's disgrace,
My Actions all over were wicked and base;
No Devil in Hell that from Glory fell,
Can now with my Blood-guilty Soul parallel.

Her Affections I drew, how could I embrue
My Hands in her Blood! Oh! my God, I do rue
The curst hellish Deed, I made her to bleed,
That never did wrong me in thought, word, or deed.

I us'd my whole art, 'till I stole her Heart,
And swore to befriend her, and still take her Part,
Thus being beguil'd, she soon prov'd with Child,
Which made her weep sorely, but I only smil'd.

With sighs and with groans with tears and with moans
She utter'd such Plaints a would soften flint Stone;
Oh! where shall I hide my Shame oft she cry'd,
Dear Sir, take some pity, and for me provide. [only one page on EBBA]





Tune Data

Since Caelia's my Foe, (Simpson 1966, pp. 661-62)


A Song, on the confession and dying words of william stevenson.jpg



“A Song, on the Confession and Dying Words of William Stevenson,,” Execution Ballads, accessed May 30, 2024, https://omeka.cloud.unimelb.edu.au/execution-ballads/items/show/858.

Output Formats