A Terror for TRAITORS


A Terror for TRAITORS


Or, Treason Justly punished.
[Be]ing a Relation of a Damnd Conspiracy against the life of the King, and the Subversion of the Government, hatchd and contrived by ill-affected Persons, namely, Captain Thomas Walcot, William Hone, and John Rouse, who were drawn, hangd, and quarterd, for High-Treason, on Friday the 20. of this instant July: As also, the Lord Russel, who was beheaded in Lincolns-Inn-fields, on the 21. of the same Moneth, whose Fatal and deserved Punishments, may be a Warning for all others to avoid the like Crimes. To the Tune of, Digbys Fare-well, Or, On the bank of a River, etc.

Digital Object

Image / Audio Credit

British Library - Roxburghe, Shelfmark: C.20.f.9.796; EBBA 31479

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YOU Traytors of England how dare you Conspire,
Against such a Prince whose love we admire?
And against his dear Brother that Royal brave Sparke,
Right Heir to the Crown, sweet James Duke of York.
But yet I do hope, that theyl ner have their will,
To touch our dear Princes who nere thought them ill; O Russel you ploted against a good King.
Whose fame through all Nations in AEurope doth Reign

But Heavens will protect him and still be his guide,
And keep him from danger and be on his side;
And all that do plot against him or the Heir,
I hope that their Feet will be catcht in a snare:
By this Conspiration your Ruine youve caught,
And under a hatchet your head you have brought:
O Russel you plotted, etc.

You might have livd manie a year in much Fame,
And added much Honour unto your good Name;
But now this a blot in your Scutcheon will be,
For being concerned with this gross Villany;
But now your dear Parents in heart may lament,
Without all dispute theyve but little content, To think that you plotted, etc.

Your Lady may grieve, and lament for her loss,
To lose you for Treason it proves a great cross,
But it was no more than what was your desert,
No reason but that he should taste of the smart:
[But] had you then been [a] good S[ubject] indeed,
You would not have sufferd, you would have been freed.
But Russel you plotted, etc.

Now let me but ask you a question or two,
What would you have had, or intended to do?
The Laws of this Nation ye would have thrown down,
Then ye would have aimd at the Scepter and Crown;
But Heaven I hope will all Plotting disclose,
And the Laws of the Nation shall punish the Foes Of our great Monarch, and gracious good King, Whose Fame through all Nations in AEurop doth Reign.

When Persons have Honor and Pleasures great store,
Yet still they are having and gruding for more;
Their hearts are deceitful and puffed with pride,
And Lucifer certainly stands by their side,To things most unlawful he makes them conspire,
But he laughs at them all when they stick in the mire, O Russel you plotted, etc.

True Subjects of England are filled with fears,
And for their great Soveraign they shed many tears,
To think this no reason will Traytors convince,
But still theyle be plotting against a good Prince:
Those that should have been a great help to the Land,
They sought for our ruine we well understand. But Russel you plotted, etc.

There was Walcot and Rouse were both in the plot,
And Hone I do reckon must not be forgot;
At Tyburn for certain, each man took his turn,
And then in the fire their bowels did burn,
A death so deserving, none will deny:
For sure they plotted against a good King,
Whose Fame through all Nations in AEurop doth Reign.

Let this be a warning to Rich and to Poor,
To be [true] to their King, and to plot so no more,
And that our good King may have Plenty and P[eace,]
And the Loyal Subjects may daily increase,
There never were People more happy than we,
If unto the Government all would agree. Then hang up those Traitors who love not the King, Whose Fame through all Nations in AEurope doth Reign.

Method of Punishment

hanging, drawing and quartering; beheading


high treason



Execution Location

Lincoln's Inn Fields

Tune Data

Packington's Pound is often cited as Digby's Farewell,Packingtons Pound, On the back of a River, or Amintas' Farewell. The tune first appeared in 1671 and was popular for execution ballads (Simpson 1966, pp. 181-187, 564-570).


Wikipedia: William Russell, Lord Russell (29 September 1639 - 21 July 1683) was an English politician. He was a leading member of the Country Party, forerunners of the Whigs, who opposed the succession of James II during the reign of Charles II, ultimately resulting in his execution for treason. This was followed by the Rye House Plot, a plan to ambush Charles II and his brother James at the Rye House, Hoddesdon, on their way back to London from the Newmarket races. However the plot was disclosed to the government.

Unlike several of his co-conspirators, Russell refusing to escape to Holland. He was accused of promising his assistance to raise an insurrection and bring about the death of the king. He was sent on 26 June 1683 to the Tower of London, where he prepared himself for his death. Monmouth offered to return to England and be tried if doing so would help Russell, and Essex refused to abscond for fear of injuring his friend's chance of escape. However, he was tried and convicted of treason and sentenced to death by beheading.

Russell was executed by Jack Ketch on 21 July 1683 at Lincoln's Inn Fields. The execution was said to have been conducted quite poorly by Ketch. Ketch later wrote a letter of apology. Russell was lauded as a martyr by the Whigs, who claimed that he was put to death in retaliation for his efforts to exclude James from succession to the crown. Russell was exonerated by the reversal of attainder under William III of England. Ketch's execution of Lord Russell at Lincoln's Inn Fields on 21 July 1683 was performed clumsily; a pamphlet entitled The Apologie of John Ketch, Esquire contains his apology, in which he alleges that the prisoner did not "dispose himself as was most suitable" and that he was interrupted while taking aim.

On that occasion, Ketch wielded the instrument of death either with such sadistically nuanced skill or with such lack of simple dexterity - nobody could tell which, that the victim suffered horrifically under blow after blow, each excruciating but not in itself lethal. Even among the bloodthirsty throngs that habitually attended English beheadings, the gory and agonizing display had created such outrage that Ketch felt moved to write and publish a pamphlet title Apologie, in which he excused his performance with the claim that Lord Russell had failed to "dispose himself as was most suitable" and that he was therefore distracted while taking aim on his neck.




“A Terror for TRAITORS,” Execution Ballads, accessed March 5, 2024, https://omeka.cloud.unimelb.edu.au/execution-ballads/items/show/859.

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