DESCRIPTION: A sarcastic piece about the arbitrary rule of law in Lydford, the terrible jail conditions -- dogs are fed better than prisoners -- and open town knavery. "By God's grace I'll come there no more"
AUTHOR: William Browne (1590-1645) (source: Dixon-Peasantry)
EARLIEST DATE: 1701 (Prince's _Worthies of Devon_ according to Dixon-Peasantry)
KEYWORDS: abuse crime law prison punishment trial humorous nonballad recitation
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South)) [see note]
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Dixon-Peasantry, Poem #11, pp. 46-50, "Lydford Law" (1 text)
NOTES: Dixon-Peasantry: "In Anglo-Saxon times, the town of Lidford on Dartmoor, had the privelege of coining, and long after such privelege was abolished, courts were held there for the purposes of trying all offences connected with coining, as well as for the settling of mining disputes."
The first three lines -- "I oft have heard of Lydford law, How in the morn they hand and draw, And sit in judgement after" -- have become a Devonshire street rhyme -- "First hang and draw, Then hear the cause by Lydford law" -- which preserves the meaning [see G.F. Northall, English Folk-Rhymes (London, 1892 ("Digitized by Google")), p. 19]. - BS
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