The wofull lamentation of Edward Smith,


The wofull lamentation of Edward Smith,


a poore penitent prisoner in the Jayle of Bedford, which he wrote a short time before his death. To the tune of, Dainty come thou to me.

Digital Object

Image / Audio Credit

Magdalene College - Pepys Library, Pepys Ballads 1.59 (see also Roxburghe 1.367, EBBA 30248); EBBA 20038

Set to tune of...

Dainty come thou to me


The wofull lamentation of Edward Smith , a poore penitent prisoner
in the Jayle of Bedford, which he wrote a short time before his
death. To the tune of, Dainty come thou to me.

I Am a Prisoner poore,
Opprest with misery:
O Lord doe thou restore
that faith which wants in me.
In woe I waile and weepe,
In griping griefe I cry,
In dungeon darke and deepe,
In fetters fast I lye,
Sighing I sit and moane,
My foule offences all,
My loathsome life is knowne, which makes me live in thrall.

Ned Smith I am, the wight
In prison that remaines,
Tormented day and night, with bands and iron chaines.
My joyes are turn'd to nought,
My hopes are worne away,
My wickednesse hath wrought my downe-fall and decay.
Those gifts that God gave me,
My wants for to supply,
Abused much I have,
To please my fantasie,

My [n]ame I did denie,
In B[ap]ti[s]me given me,
That Sacrament whereby Regenerate I should be.
No wit nor strength may serve
The Law to satisfie:
For death I doe deserve, In right and equity.
For I offended have
Nobles of high degree,
What favour can I crave For life or liberty?

But hope of life is past,
My acts so hainous be:
And liberty is lost, Till death doe set me free.
All men both old and young
Which are at liberty,
And heare my dolefull song, Example take by me.
Be true, and trust in God,
Fly theft, and vice eschew,
Lest Gods most heavy rod Correct your deeds untrue.

Would I had ne'er bin borne
To doe such wicked deeds,
Which makes me live in scorne And shame that sore exceeds.
But that which passed is,
I cannot now recall:
My sinnes and my amisse, O Lord forgive them all.
Woe worth ill company,
Fie on that filthy crue:
Accurst the day may be That ever I them knew.

If life and death were set
Before me for to chose,
Though I might pardon get, My life first would I lose,
Then runne that wicked race,
And doe as I have done,
Sweet Jesus give me grace, That life so lewd to shun.
Fare well my loving wife,
Who sought to turne my minde,
And make me mend my life, Thy words full true I finde.

Farewell my children all,
My tender Babes adue:
Let this your Fathers fall, Be warning good for you.
Deare wife, and Infants three,
Serve God, remember this,
That you true subjects be, Though I have done amisse.
Farewell my Musick sweet,
And Cittron silver sound,
Mourning for me is meet, My sinnes doe so abound.

O Lord, on bended knees,
And hands lift up on hie,
Cast on me gracious eyes, With grace my wants supply.
Lay not unto my charge,
The things that I have done,
Though I have runne at large, And plaid the unthrift sonne.
Yet now I doe repent,
And humbly come to thee,
My sinnes I doe lament, Sweet Jesus comfort me.

O Lord I doe lament,
And onely joy in thee,
To praise thee day and night, For thou redeemedst me.
Lord save our royall King
Whose prisoner poore am I,
Prolong his dayes on earth, With fame and victory.
Against his Majesty,
I have offended sore,
Committing Felony, And now I die therefore,

A dolefull death, God knowes,
Which once I did defie:
Thus must I end my woes Which I take patiently.
By thee O Saviour sweet,
In heaven I hope to rest,
In joy where I shall meet, Those soules whom thou hast blest,
Where we shall sing thy praise,
O God, with voyces high,
When I shall end my dayes, And live eternally.

Printed at London for C.W.


felony, but not clear



Printing Location

London, for C.W.

Tune Data

Dainty come thou to me is often linked with Phillida Flouts me and first appeared in 1600.





“The wofull lamentation of Edward Smith,,” Execution Ballads, accessed February 22, 2024,

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