© 2017 John Lucas

The Ballad

At Cambridge on the fatal platform,

What a dreadful sight to see,

On that sad and awful morning,

Doomed to die upon a tree,

Elias Lucas, Mary Reeder,

Youth and vigour, health and bloom,

Men and maidens take a warning,

From these two young creatures' doom.


Oh what thousands are approaching,

Our unhappy fate to see,

Elias Lucas, Mary Reeder,

Die in Cambridge on a tree.

My name is Elias Lucas,

I at Castle Camps did dwell,

I married Mary Reeder's sister,

Loved her and adored her well,

Mary Reeder left her service,

Came to live with wife and me,

By the serpent I was tempted,

To commit adultery.

My sad name is Mary Reeder,

To kill my sister I engaged,

Was I not a sinful creature?

Scarcely twenty years of age,

Sad the day I left my service,

Far from virtue's path to stray,

Then conspired with her husband,

To take my sister's life away.

We prepared a deadly poison,

And the meal my sister gave,

Thought our sinful deed was hidden,

When we laid her in the grave,

But Almighty God in Heaven,

Did our wicked actions see,

Sent two murderers together,

To this sad and fatal tree.

Farewell our parents, friends and neighbours,

Death indeed's a last farewell,

The anguish of our wretched hearts,

No pen can write nor tongue can tell,

We slew a tender wife and sister,

One for whom we should have cared,

In her prime deceived and sent her,

To her Maker, unprepared.

Shed for us a tear of pity,

Nothing can us hope to save,

We must die in Cambridge city,

Moulder in a silent grave,

Pray, young men, for God to guide you,

In the serpent's path don't stray,

Pretty maids, let none advise you,

To depart from virtue's way.