Death of Ben Hall, The
DESCRIPTION: Ben Hall's cowardly murder is recalled, as well as his nobility: "He never robbed a needy man, The records sure will show. How staunch and loyal to his mates, how manly to the foe." The singer bids him farewell
EARLIEST DATE: 1905 (Paterson, Old Bush Songs)
KEYWORDS: death homicide outlaw abuse Australia
May 5, 1865 - Ben Hall is ambushed and killed by police near Forbes, Australia
FOUND IN: Australia
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Meredith/Anderson, pp. 98-99, "Bold Ben Hall" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fahey-Eureka, pp. 90-91, "The Death of Ben Hall" (1 text, 1 tune)
Paterson/Fahey/Seal, pp. 81-84, "The Death of Ben Hall" (1 text. Note that the song appears to begin with the unrelated stanza "My name is Ben Hall from Urunga I came," but this is in fact a separate poem which just ended up on the same page)
ADDITIONAL: Bill Wannan, _The Australians: Yarns, ballads and legends of the Australian tradition_, 1954 (page references are to the 1988 Penguin edition), pp 17-18, "The Ballad of Ben Hall" (1 text)
Bill Beatty, _A Treasury of Australian Folk Tales & Traditions_, 1960 (I use the 1969 Walkabout Paperbacks edition), p. 267, "The Ballad of Ben Hall" (1 text)
cf. "Ben Hall" (plot)
cf. "The Ballad of Ben Hall" (plot)
cf. "Streets of Forbes" (plot)
cf. "My Name is Ben Hall" (subject)
NOTES: Ben Hall is widely regarded as "the noblest of the bushrangers." The story is that he was hounded from his home by the police, and only then turned to crime. Even as a bushranger, he attacked only the rich and never shed blood. For background, see the notes to "Ben Hall."
To tell this song from the other Ben Hall songs, consider this first stanza:
Come all Australia's sons to me, a hero has been slain,
Cowardly butchered in his sleep upon the Lachlan plain.
Oh, do not stay your seemly grief but let a teardrop fall,
Oh, so many hearts will always mourn the fate of bold Ben Hall.
(note: with some settings of the tune, this is the first two stanzas) - RBW
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