These Papist Priests Were Drawne Along

These fragments come from a popular ballad on the death of two Jesuit priests. The death of traitors in England was particularly gristly and involved hanging, drawing, and quartering. A description and explanation can be found here.  The combination of such horrifying subject matter with a catchy and memorable melody – this ballad was to be sung to the tune of ‘A Rich Merchant Man’ – reveals the fascinating way in which death was regarded in early modern England. Everybody would have had access to ballads such as this because they were mass produced and very cheap. A source of entertainment to many, but also a powerful means by which the government could demonise Catholicism and warn of the dangers of Popish practises.

A Warning to All Priests and Jesuits

Then Jesuites, Priests, and Fryers,
to Rome make haste away,
Least that the Gallowes doe prove your hires
if you in England stay.

The names of these two Priests
like Traytors Judg’d to die,
Shall herein briefely be exprest,
to you immediately.

They that our Lawes contemn’d,
the one call’d Albert Roe,
And Father Renals being condemn’d,
above seven yeares agoe.

From Newgate they were sent
like birds both of one feather.
And lovingly up Holborne went
both on one fledge together.

Fast bound and guarded strong,
unto their dying place,
These Papist Priests were drawne along
to suffer in disgrace.

Then hang’d till almost dead,
and so immediately,
Were both cut downe and quartered,
as Traitors use to die.

Then Jesuites Priests and Fryers,
to Rome make haste away,
Least that the Gallowes prove your bires,
if you in England stay.

Their members and their hearts,
were all in fire burn’d,
Their guts, and all their inward parts,
were straight to ashes turn’d.

Thus with a shamefull end,
they finisht up their dayes,
So must the rest which dares offend,
in such presumptuous waies.

© 2009-2012 All Rights Reserved

One comment

  • November 21, 2010 - 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I suppose the murders had to be gristly because they wanted to send a powerful message to the population.

    But did the ordinary citizen have to actually _watch_ the priests being hung, drawn and quartered? I don’t think I would have ever been able to keep down a meal again 🙁

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