The Bloody Murtherer:


The Bloody Murtherer:


OR, The Sorrowfull Lamentation of James Selbee, who was Executed at Goodman's-fields, on the 2d of May, for the Murther which he Com-mitted on the Body of MRS. Bartlett.


James Selbee goes to see a prostitute, Mrs. Barlett, and in a drunken state, stabs her to death. He tries to murder her nurse but fails and is arrested and convicted.

Digital Object

Image notice

Full size images of all ballad sheets available at the bottom of this page.

Image / Audio Credit

Magdalene College - Pepys Library, Pepys Ballads 2.200; EBBA 20814. Audio recording by Molly McKew.

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ALl you that come to see my fatal end,
Unto my dying words I pray attend;
Let my misfortunes now a warning be
To e'ry one of high and low degree.

Had I been kind and loving to my Wife,
I might have liv'd a long and happy life;
But having run a loose lascivious race,
My days will end in shame and sad disgrace.

My Duty towards God I did neglect,
Therefore what mercy can I now expect;
When I before the mighty Judge appear,
To answer for my sins committed here.

In wicked pleasures I my days have spent,
And never had the Power to Repent,
Till now at last my dismal doom I see,
The just reward of Cruel Villany

Here to the World I solemnly declare,
I seldom did frequent the House of Prayer,
But Harlots Houses and Carousing too,
And now I see what it has brought me to.

Upon a Sabbath day it happen'd so,
To mrs. Bartletts House I chanc'd to go.
One that did live by base Debauchery,
And this has prov'd a fatal day to me.

I entred in, and sat me down a while,
Then came the Harlot with a pleasing smile,
Invited me streight to an upper Room,
Where we in sin the Sabbath did consume.

The Glass with Sider then went freely round,
Nay, Mum likewise in plenty did abound,
And Cherry-brandy too, we drank beside,
'Till all my Senses they were stupyfied

I finding this, I fain would gone my way,
But Bartlett she intreated me to stay;
And further to oblige me, said that I
All night between her Nurse and she should lye.

But I despis'd the profer which she made,
Then calling to her Nurse and likewise said,
Go fetch one gill of Cherry-brandy more,
This done, then I'll hasten out of door?

Then I did take in hand a bloody Knife,
With which I soon bereaved her of life,
For why, I cut her throat immediately,
Thus Drunk I sent her to Eternity.

This done, the Nurse I strove to kill,
But Heaven would not let me have my will,
I soon was seiz'd, and unto Justice brought,
And this has now my sad destruction wrought.

In Sodoms sins, you know her days she spent,
Yet this can be no proper Argument,
That I should thus her bloody Butcher be,
Therefore I suffer for my Villany.

My loving Wife, a Thousand times farewel,
Thy sorrows here no Tongue or Pen can tell
Yet God above I hope will still provide,
For thee and all thy little ones beside.

O let me be a warning to you all,
That comes this day to see my dismal fall,
Serve ye the Lord and shun all evil ways,
And by that means you may prolong your days,

Lord tho' my sins are of a scarlet dye,
Yet let my Prayers come up to thee on High.
My supplications unto thee I'll make
Oh save my soul e'en for thy mercies [sake.]





Execution Location

Goodman's fields

Printing Location

Printed for P. Brooksby, J. Deacon, J. Blare, and J. Back.

Tune Data

Fortune my Foe, also known as, Aim not too High


the bloody murtherer.mp3


“The Bloody Murtherer:,” Execution Ballads, accessed May 30, 2024,

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