“Mary’s Ghost” (A Pathetic Ballad)

“Mary’s Ghost” (A Pathetic Ballad)

From Thomas Hood’s ‘Whims and Oddities’ 2nd Series

"Twas in the middle of the night, 
       To sleep young William tried, 
When Mary's ghost came stealing in, 
     And stood at his bed-side 

O William dear! - O William dear! 
     My rest eternal ceases;
Alas! my everlasting peace 
     Is broken into pieces!

I thought the last of all my cares
    Would end with my last minute,
But, though I went to my long home,
    I did not stay long in it. 

The body-snatchers they have come, 
    And made a snatch at me;-
It's very hard them kind of men,    
    Won't let a body be.  

You thought that I was buried deep,
    Quite decent-like and chary,
But from her grave in Mary-Bone,
    They've come and boned your Mary. 

The arm that used to take your arm,
     Is took to Dr. Vyse;
And both my legs are gone to walk
    The hospital at Guy's.

I vow'd that you should have my hand, 
    But fate gives us denial;-
You'll find it there, at Dr Bell's,
    In spirits, and a phial.  

As for my feet - the little feet,
    You used to call so pretty,
There's one, I know, in Bedford Row,
    The t'other's in the city.  

I can't tell you where my head is gone,
     But Dr. Carpue can,;-
As for my trunk, it's all pack'd up 
     To go by Pickford's van.

 I wish you'd go to Mr. P.
     And save me such a ride, -
I don't half like the outside place
    They've took for my inside. 

The cockerel it crows- I must be gone-
     My William, we must part!
But I'll be yours in death, although
      Sir Astley has my heart 

Don't go to weep upon my grave,
     And think that I'll be there, 
They haven't left an atom there
     Of my anatomie 

I've been researching the macabre world of body snatching since 2005 when I looked at the topic in depth for my Under Grad dissertation. Since then, I've been absolutely fascinated by this often forgotten side of Britain's history.