It does not bring pleasure to my heart
To stand and deliver the sorrowful tale
Of the man who now stands in the rattling cart
With a mind full of woe and a belly full of ale
As God is my witness I shall weep with all of thee
When the drop fell comes and his legs kick the air
When the highwayman dances on the Tyburn gallows tree.
Tell me is there a man in all England
Who would trade his daily toil
For a breakneck speed
For a handsome lass
For a casket of jewels
And a life rich and royal.
Pounding hooves on moonlit mile
Flashing blade in fancies style
Lifting gold, lifting dresses,
Stealing rubies from princesses.
Oh for a week for a night and a day
For the rush of the wind and the pistol's bray.
Sir! For that life would you gladly be
A-dancing with the devil on the Tyburn gallows tree.
They call him the Gentleman Highwayman
They tell me he speaks with a plum in his throat
But how can you chatter in such high company
When you've shit in you britches and your neck's in a rope
When you're pissing and screaming and gasping for air
When your fine leather booties are carving the air?
You can dance blindfolded as your last dying plea
For you don't need a teacher or a half-baked preacher
To learn you how to dance on the Tyburn gallows tree.
Gallows tree, gallows tree,
How do I love thee gallows tree?
Still as the dead
Silent as the sun
Master of all men
Lover of none
Silently waiting ne'er blushing nor chasing
No asker of secrets
No teller of lies
Right hand of blind justice
Old England's best buttress
Cold handed deliverer
Feeder of flies
Accomplice to murder
Mother of shame
Bastard of history
Sweet James Macleane.