Summers his Frolick.


Summers his Frolick.


Shewing, How he was Condemned (this last Lent Assizes, 1693 / 4. at Alisbury) for a Highway-Man. And how he sold his body, in Goal, for eight shillings to a Surgeon, to be made an Anatomy of after it was hang'd, and how he drank the money all out in Wine before he went to be Executed.


While in jail, a highway robber sells his body to a surgeon for dissection after his execution, and then spends the money on wine.

Digital Object

Image / Audio Credit

Magdalene College - Pepys Library, Pepys Ballads 2.198; EBBA 20812

Set to tune of...


G Od prosper long the Just and Good, our lives and safetys all,
A woful Frollick once there did
in Alisbury befall.
All in the Land of Buckingham
a set of Robbers dwell,
As they that on the Forrest-sides
of Whittledown can tell.
For neither Sheep, nor Cows, nor Colts,
nor Deer, nor Pigs, nor Fowl,
Can e're escape their filtching hands, but some of all are stole.
Nay, Butchers that to Market go, with honest minds, to sell
Their Goods, cannot with safety thence return Home where they dwell.
For Rogues, all night, the narrow Lanes beset, and block the Gates,
And when Men stop to open them, they strike them in their Pates.
Knock'd down a Butcher fell from Horse, all stun'd in dirt and gore,
And then they rob'd his pockets clear of what he had in Store.
Some bloody Rogues (full bad as these) took worser things in hand,
To Kill and Murther all they Robb'd, although they yield to stand.
With such was fill'd the Alisbury Goal, this Sizes Ninety Three,
A Knot of such Notorious Rogues you well can never see.
A Nd that their number might be full of Rogues of every size,
A Pick-pocket in face of Court, of a Juror made a prize.
With him seven more were then condemn'd, all Rogues as bad as he,
To take their leaves of all the World upon the Gallows Tree.
But mark my friends what now I say, and hark to this sad Ditty,
These Villains after Sentence past, had on themselves no pitty.
For, being sent from Bar to Goal, some fell to Drink and Swear,
When one would think that at that time, they should have fell to Prayer.
But they who serve the Devil long in vile and wicked ways,
To Goalers and the Hang-man too are great and certain Preys.
And when they're under locks and keys, and chains and fetters sure,
Them to repent the Devil stops, for that he can't endure.
But puts them off to rant and drink, damn and curse, and swagger,
To play at Cards and Dices too and all things that are badder.
And when they mony want, they sell their lives and bodys too,
A Story like was never read in Books both old and new.
For when that Summers in the Goal, there could not sell his Soul,
For none would bid him mony for't, it was so black and foul.
He then stood up and put to Sale his body all alive,
For to be had, when it was hang'd, for shillings three and five.
A Surgeon then to encrease his skill, in bodies to Disect,
In Goal did come and there did buy his body all compleat.
The price he paid were Shillings eight, for more it was not worth,
Unless it better prov'd when that to Hanging it came forth.
No sooner was the money paid, and put in Summers hands,
But straight he drank it out in wine, until he could not stand.
O fye on such that thus purpose their souls and bodys too!
Who first live bad and then dye worse, when they bid all adieu.
Such souls must to the Devil go, but bodies not to grave,
Who sell their bodys, that for wine some money they may have.
May all bad people warning take, from this ungodly wretch,
For lost their soul and bodes are, if they like him shall stretch.
And now the Saying is fullfill'd, which in most mouths is rife,
He sold himself, and spent it all before he lost his life.
Tho' Heraclitus Ridens is unknown, and hardly seen with eyes,
Yet wise men say, it must be he that laughs until he crys.

Method of Punishment



highway robbery



Execution Location

Alisbury, Buckinghamshire

Printing Location

Printed for J. Deacon at the Angel in Guilt-spur-street, without Newgate.




“Summers his Frolick.,” Execution Ballads, accessed May 20, 2024,

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