Digital Tradition Mirror

Burke and Hare

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(This score available as ABC, SongWright, PostScript, PNG, or PMW, or a MIDI file)
Pennywhistle notation and Dulcimer tab for this song is also available

Burke and Hare

Tae help the folk in medical school, word is passed around
A body nae mair than ten days auld will bring in fourteen pound.
It's a terrible thing, but truth tae say ---in this age o' greed
A man's worth little when he's alive, but plenty when he's deid.

    An' it's doon the close an' up the stair
    A but-an'-ben wi' Burke and Hare
    Burke's the butcher, Hare's the thief
    And Knox is the man that buys the beef.

So in the dark of mony a nicht, when a' guid folks are sleeping
By the dyke and in the kirkyard come twa shadows creeping.
An' mony a man that's cauld richt thru an' safely hid away
He never thocht it wisnae the last he'd see the licht o'day.

But no contentit wi' howkin' deid, a ploy that aye gets harder
They've started pickin' healthy folk, and then committin' murder.
An' a' arood the countryside creeps a fearsome pair---
Be ye man or wife or wean, ye're nae safe from Burke and Hare.

Men and women, auld and young, the sickly and the hale
Were murdered, packed up and sent off tae Knox's human sale.
That man o' skill wi' subjects warm was frequently supplied,
Nor did he question where or how the person brought had died.

But noo auld Reekie can sleep at last; these two will trade nae mair
It's the gallows tree for William Burke, and a pauper's grave for Hare.


Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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