From the recording Wild And Wicked Youth
Mark Clavey: vocals, guitar
Mary Hanover: lead vocals, hammered dulcimer
Rachel Gaither: vocals, fiddle
Our title-track and last of our themed-pieces, this song is more commonly known as "The Newry Highwayman" and is one of the most popular highwayman ballads. Fashioned after the final speech of a prisoner about to be hanged, these songs were popular throughout England, and nursed the morbid curiosity that could turn a grisly hanging into a nice a family outing and entertainment for tens of thousands. The song was penned by Robert Hurr (1855-1934) - composer, songwriter, fisherman, and father of six from Southwold, Suffolk, East Anglia. The reference to 'Lord Fielding's gang' (the Bow Street Runners) places the song between 1750 and 1780 - the period in which the Fielding brothers (Henry, who founded the constable's squad, and John, who refined it into the city's first true police force) personally administered the gang.
In Newry town, he was bred and born. In Stephen's Green now he lies in scorn. He served his time to the saddling trade, but he turned out to be--yes he turned out to be a roving blade.
At seventeen I became his wife - he loved me dearly as he loved his life. And to maintain me in fine array, he took to robbing on--he took to robbing on the King's Highway.
He never robbed any poor man yet, nor any tradesman had he beset. He robbed the lords and the ladies bright, and brought their jewels--and brought their jewels to my heart's delight.
He robbed Lord Golding, I do declare, and Lady Mansel, in Grosvenor Square. He shut the shutters and he hid the night, and home he came then--and home he came then to my heart's delight.
To Covent Garden I made my way, with my dear husband to see the play. Lord Fielding's Gang did him pursue, and he was taken by--yes he was taken by that curséd crew.
His father cried, "My daring son." I wept and sighed, "O, I am undone." His mother tore her white locks and cried, saying, "In the cradle"--saying, "In the cradle there he should have died."
And when he's dead and in his grave, a flashy funeral pray let him have. By six bold highwaymen he'll carried be. Give them good broadswords--give them good broadswords and sweet liberty.
Six pretty maidens to bear his pall--give them white garlands and ribbons all. And when he's dead, they will speak the truth: "He was a wild and--he was a wild and a wicked youth."