The Penitent Gallant,


The Penitent Gallant,


Being, An Account of a Gentleman who lay Condemn'd for the Murther of his Friend, and pretended he could not dye till he had eas'd his Conscience, in sending for thirteen Men, to beg their Pardons, whom he had Cuckolded at Branford.


A man convicted of murder feels guilty about cuckolding thirteen men of Branford and calls them in to confess to them before he is executed.

Digital Object

Image / Audio Credit

Magdalene College - Pepys Library, Pepys Ballads 4.138; EBBA 21802

Set to tune of...

Hyde Park


THere was, I must tell you, a Jocular Spark, who Rambl'd and Revel'd at pleasure,
Young Women he often would kiss in the Dark, and tickle their Giggs out of measure;
He being a wanton young frolicksom Blade,
He was so well skill'd in the Courtezan Trade,
That in seven Weeks he declar'd that he made full thirteen poor Cuckolds in Branford.

As honest good Christians as ever broke Bread, dear friends, I would have you believe it,
Tho' each Man had lusty large Horns on his Head, alas! they could no way perceive it;
Concluding their Wives to be honest and Chaste,
Sweet Women, that hated a wanton Embrace;
Yet now after all you may pitty the Case of the thirteen poor Cuckolds of Branford.

These Cuckolds did love this young Fop as their lives, in Taverns they tippl'd together,
In Corners he kist, and made much of their Wives, whose Heels was as light as a Feather;
They were not the Rabble, I'de have you to know,
But delicate Women as plump as a Doe,
Then listen a while and the Horns you'll hear blow of the thirteen poor Cuckolds of Branford.

But if you wou'd know how this Mischief came out, I pray now attend to the Ditty,
This Gallant he murther'd a Man brave and stout, in cool Blood, the more was the pitty:
And while he in Prison Condemned did lye,
In sad Lamentation he often did cry,
He must ease his Conscience before he could dye, concerning these Cuckolds of Branford.

He told them that he was tormented in mind,
the Guilt like sharp Arrows run through him.
Beseeching the Keeper he would be so kind, as to send for these men to come to him;
Right earnestly he for this favour did plead,
The Keeper he could not deny him indeed,
And therefore to Newgate they sent for with speed, the thirteen poor Cuckolds of Branford.

So soon as the Keeper he sent for them then to come to the Gallant in Prison,
It was an astonishment to these poor Men, who wonder'd what might be the reason,
But knowing him to be their Friend, they presume,
To mount Roan and Dobbin, for Newgate they come,
Not thinking that he had put Pope into Rome, and made them the Cuckolds of Branford.

As these thirteen Cuckolds did enter the Goal, it almost bereft them of Senses,
The Gallant he begg'd with a pittiful Tale, a pardon for all his offenses,
Said he, an Extravagant Race I have run,
Forgive me the Injuries which I have done,
Alas! I have wronged you every one, My Cronyes in private in Branford.

We know not wherein you have wrong'd us, they cry'd the value or weight of a farthing;
But if you will tell us the Truth, they reply'd, you shall have our absolute Pardon;
The Gallant did then on his marrow-bones fall,
And said, your good Wives they have been at my Call,
So that in a word I have Cuckold you all, while I did inhabit at Branford.

With shaking their Noddles they turn'd them about, the foremost was Cuthbert the Hatter,
Now as in a body they came trooping out, the People cry'd, What is the matter?
A Keeper that follow'd, said clear the way wide,
Pray what do you think they should be, he reply'd,
But good honest Christians, not Men that are Try'd, the thirteen poor Cuckolds of Branford.


murder, rape, sodomy

Execution Location


Printing Location

Printed for C. Bates, next door to the Crown-Tavern in West-Smithfield.

Tune Data

Hyde Park (Simpson 1966, pp. 327-8). Recording on EBBA is wrong for the meter, recording is The Crossed Couple, Tantara Rara Tantivy (Simpson 1966, pp. 143-145).




“The Penitent Gallant,,” Execution Ballads, accessed June 24, 2024,

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