DESCRIPTION: "A beggar man laid himself down to sleep, Rumsty-o, Rumsty-o. A beggar man laid himself down to sleep, On the banks of the Mersey so wide and steep." Two thieves come by and rob the beggar. The singer sees them in the dock, then on Tyburn gallows
EARLIEST DATE: 1887 (College Songs)
KEYWORDS: thief begging punishment execution
FOUND IN: US(NE)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Linscott, pp. 295-296, "Tyburn Hill" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Henry Randall Waite, _College Songs: A Collection of New and Popular Songs of the American Colleges_, new and enlarged edition, Oliver Ditson & Co., 1887, p. 55, "Rumsty Ho!" (1 text, 1 tune) (part 3, p. 68 in the 1876 edition)
ST Lins295 (Partial)
NOTES: Linscott points out that executions at Tyburn (Tye Burn) stopped in 1783 (after which time they took place at Newgate), implying that that dates this song. This doesn't really follow; "Tyburn" had by then become a byword of sorts.
In fact the song seems somewhat confused; why would robbers who worked near the Mersey be hanged at Tyburn?
Nonetheless, the confusion is early: The version in College Songs also says that the crime took place by the Mersey and the criminals executed at Tyburn. Curiously, although College Songs says the piece is "Used by permission," it does not list an author or say by whose permission it is used!
Finally, the form looks rather like a singing game. It's most unfortunate that we can't find more versions of this piece. - RBW
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