The sad effects of Covetousness.


The sad effects of Covetousness.


Being, a Relation of a Horrid Murther, commited upon a Maid Servant, in the Town of Lyn; by her Mistriss and her Son, for the Lucre of what she had: But they being apprehended for the same, was accordingly found Guilty, and was also Executed.


A maidservant comes into a legacy; out of greed she is murdered by her mistress and her son, who drive a spike into her head and then try to make it look like she hanged herself.

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Magdalene College - Pepys Library, Pepys Ballads 2.168; EBBA 20785

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The Young-Mans Legacy


WHile I in brief shall make appear, what sins are chiefest in this land,
Who can forbear to shed a tear, when they these Lines shall understand

Covetousness we see each day, to many other sins does lead,
And when we shall to that give way, sad murthers does from thence proceed

For money what will many do, to Satans service they'l engage,
And will their hands in blood imbrue; O! is this not a sinful age.

Tho' many for the same does stretch, yet some will eagerly run on,
And does not fear to make a breach, in all the Laws of God and Man.

Alas, we find the case is clear, offenders will no conscience make,
Although their lives do pay full dear, yet they will not their sins forsake.

And now in brief I will proceed, to tell what grieves my heart full sore,
The like of this sad bloody deed, was hardly ever heard before.

There was an honest Servant-Maid, that lived in the town of Lyn:
Who of her life was soon betray'd, By Murther that notorious sin.

It was the Mistriss and her Son, who prov'd this Maidens overthrow,
There was no Creature, no not one, when they their Cruelty did show.

To death they did this Damsel bring, she did their cruelty behold,
What tempted them to do this thing, these very Lines shall here unfold.

While she did in this place abide, a Servant with humility:
A Friend or a Relation dy'd, who left to her a Legacy.

This to her service then she brought, where wickedness was too too rife,
For this they her destruction wrought, and suddenly they sought her life.

One morning when she riss betimes, to do her work, and thought no ill,
O! then they did commit this crime, her Guiltless blood they then did spill.

They first agreed to knock her down, then presently her wicked Son,
He drove a spike into her head, to finish what they had begun.

When they had her destruction wrought. O! then the Son that wicked Elf,
Did hang her that it might be thought to all, that she had hang'd her self.

But Murther Heaven does forbid, the Blood does still for vengeance cry,
Likewise we know it can't be hid, from our great Gods all-seeing Eye.

She by their Cruelty did fall, alas! we may her grief condole,
They did not give her time to call to God, to pitty her poor Soul.

They to the Bar was brought at last, by this sad wicked Race they run,
And there by Law they both were cast,
first dy'd the Mother, then her Son.

The fruits of Murther here we see, would make a Christians heart to bleed
O that it may a warning be, to all that e're these lines shall read.




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Tune Data

The Young-Mans Legacy is not in The British Broadsie Ballad and its Music (Simpson 1966).




“The sad effects of Covetousness.,” Execution Ballads, accessed July 17, 2024,

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