A Warning to Murtherers:


A Warning to Murtherers:


OR, [...] d and Lamentable Relation of the Condemnation, [...], and Excecution, of John Gower Coach-Maker, who was this 23d day of May, [...] executed for Murthering his Wife, by shooting her with a Pistol. Together with [...] er of his Behaviour and Penitent Expiration. Murther doth seldom scape, Hell cannot hide, The Wretch from Fate, Whose hands in Blood is dy'd.


Man shoots wife

Digital Object

Image / Audio Credit

Magdalene College - Pepys Library, Pepys Ballads 3.358v; EBBA 21374

Set to tune of...

Troy Town


[...]y strange I shall relate,
[...] like before was rarely known,
[...]est in the Book of Fate,
[...] of late by Fate been done:
[...] cruel Wretch that wed,
[...] to him most kind and true,
[...] he did frequent her Bed,
[...]er evil ways he knew.

[...] wicked woman he,
[...]npted to a Second wife,
[...] the Law can never be,
[...] the first, retaining life.
When to make way to such a deed, he was resolv'd his wife should dye,
Offering to those that would proceed, in such a Monstrous villany.

Five pounds, but none so wicked were, to undertake the hellish act,
Which made himself not to forbear, to do the bloody Hellish fact:
When under a pretence of Love, he sent for the poor wretch whose fate,
Soon did to her destruction prove, how deep she was in his curst hate.

She lovingly misdoubting not, what was decreed against her life,
Nor in the least did doubt the plot, but like a good obedient wife,
Came to the man whom she loved most, who seem'd as kind as heretofore,
Took her a Lodging, and did boast, he would each day increase loves store.

She well believes and is content, to yield to him in every thing,
Not thinking that her death was meant, and that a Bee, so kind would sting.
One morning towards Hamstead she, Together with her Husband went,
Who was by Hells confedracy, on her most sad destruction bent.

When near to Hamstead they were come, and he espied the coast was clear,
He with a Pistol sign'd her doom, and left her dead as did appear:
For which being try'd and doom'd to dye he greatly did bewail his Fate,
And beg that God would now pass by, the dreadful Crime he thought but late

Did sore repent, wishing all men, by his Just fall would warning take
And not to rush on sins that when, committed brought their lives to slake:
And life not only, but that part,
the soul Immortal unless he,
Who dy'd for man did grace impart, out of abundant Clemency.

Desiring all to pray for him, That Christ would pardon his [sin]
And that he who did once redeem [...] the Thief. would now extend a[...]
His Holy arms, and purge the Gu[ilt] of blood most Innocent and Jus[t]
Which wicked he most vilely spe[ilt...] in violating so his trust.

Praying again that all would take example by his end and be,
More loving and never forsake, her whom his bosome friend mu[st be...]
But lovingly still still accord, in peace and kindness Unity,
And daily strive to fear the Lord['s...]

This said, he unto God commend[s]
His spirit though polute with sin
Hoping he might at his blest hand[s] Receive a pardon and ye[t] win
His favour to his wretched Soul, then was he turned off to grim [Death...]
In chains to hang without Contr[ol...] when he had lost his latest breath.

Method of Punishment

hanging in chains




Printing Location

Printed for I. Wright, I. Clarke, W. Thackeray/ and T. Passinger

Tune Data

Troy Town, is also known as Queen Dido (Simpson 1966, pp. 587-590).




“A Warning to Murtherers:,” Execution Ballads, accessed May 30, 2024, https://omeka.cloud.unimelb.edu.au/execution-ballads/items/show/932.

Output Formats