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A warning for all desperate women
Pepys, i, 120, B.L., two woodcuts, four columns.
Richard Harper secured a license for this ballad on December II, 1633 (Arber's Transcript, iv, 310), as "A warning for all desperate weomen," but this was a reissue of the present sheet, which Francis Coles published in 1628. It is a remarkable example of a good-night written (as the ballad-monger would have us believe) after the guilty woman had actually been burned. Verisimilitude was the least of the ballad-writer's troubles. To be sure, he began with the idea of writing a mere conventional farewell such as all criminals made (or were expected to make) before their execution. Accordingly, with the lighting of the faggots in the second stanza from the end, he changes to the third person, but, forgetting realism, in the final stanza takes up the first person again and makes the dead woman utter a doleful warning. A record of Mrs Davies's trial and condemnation is cited in the introduction to No. 49.
For the tune see Chappell's Popular Music, 1, 196.
To the tune of the Ladies fall.
I VNto the world to make my moane, I know it is a folly, Because that I have spent my time, which haue beene free and iolly, But to the Lord which rules aboue,
I doe for mercy crie, To grant me pardon for the crime, for which on earth I dye.