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Crime & punishment

Yorkshire tragedy

(91) Yorkshire tragedy

                     THE YORKSHIRE TRAGEDY.

A correct Account of the MURDER on the 9th of March, of RACHAEL CROSSLEY,
of KIRRBURTON, near HUDDERSFIELD, by WILLIAM SHAW, her Sweetheart.

            PART FIRST.

Young lovers all pray now attend,
And listen unto me,
While unto you I here relate
A dreadful tragedy.
Near Huddersfield a damsel liv'd,
Most beautiful and fair,
Until by love she was betray'd,
And drawn into a snare.
Rachael Crossley was her name,
Her stature was but small,
Her neighbours all around did her
Little Rachael call.
One William Shaw long courted her
And soon her heart beguil'd,
To his desires she did give away,
And then she prov'd with child.
He often vow'd he'd marry her,
But as oft his vows did break,
Yet Rachael still did love him well,
More for her infant's sake.
For four years more he courted her,
And promis'd, but in Tain,
At length, to her misfortune,
She proved with child again
As they walked out one evening,
Rachael to him did say—
William, dear, my time is near,
Fray fix our wedding day.
He said, my dear Rachael,
May cease to sing and mourn,
We'll soon be publish'd in the church,
And wed at Penistone.
He did appoint the ninth of March,
To walk with her that night,
Then to appoint their wedding day,
And put all things to right.
With youthful heart she met him there,
And through the fields did stray,
At a lonely place he seized her,
And took her life away.
He said thou little harlot, thou
Never shall be my wife.
For here upon this very spot,
I'll take away thy life.
Then be took her in his arms,
And gave her a mortal wound.
O spare me and my babe, she cried,
And fell upon the ground.
In vain she scream'd and cried,
To help her none was near.
He said, no merey I will shew,
Our wedding shall be here.
He broke her skull and bruis'd her frame,
And in her gore she lay,
The babe he murder'd in her womb,
So took two lives away.
Her body fair he mangled sore,
But still she was alive,
And down a pit full sixty yards,
To hide her did contrive.
When the colliers went to work,
They stagger'd to behold
A female form upon the ground,
All bloody, wet and cold.
I hen Shaw being quickly taken
To York was sent with speed,
And at the assizes he was tried
For this most cruel deed.
He was sentenc'd to be hang'd
Upon the gallows tree,
And thousands spectators went
His awful death to see
So all young men whose heedless ways,
Fast to destruction run,
Repent in time while yet you may,
And strive his fate to shun.
May his sad end cause you to mend,
And turn to better ways,
Lest you like him hang on a tree,
Exposed to vulgar gaze.
And for young Rachael's hapless fate.
Let pity drop a tear,
And may all youthful lovers mourn
Her distiny severe.
And since poor Shaw for this sad deed
Received bis dreadful doom,
May we not hope they both have met
Where sorrows never come.

         PART SECOND.

Ye youths whose hearts are prone,
Come listen unto me,
About a cruel murder,
Which in Yorkshire has been done.
'Twas at Kirkburton in that shire,
The maiden fair did dwell,
And in that town long time she lived,
'Till this to her befel.
On the twenty ninth of February,
She wrote to him with speed,
Such tenderness she did express
'Twould make a heart to bleed.
She said—my dearest William,
I am with child by thee,
Therefore, my dear, pray let me know,
When thou wilt marry me.
On Wednesday the ninth of March,
This young man did repair
To Rachael's father's house,
To meet his lover there.
Saying—Rachael, dear pray let us walk,
Into the coalpit field,
And then the secrets of my heart.
To you shall be revealed.
With clasped hands and uplift eyes,
She cried O spare my life,
I never more will ask of you,
To make me your wedded wife.
But still she smiling said to him,
While trembling with much fear,
Co William, William, spare my life,
Think on your baby dear,
Lo, all ye dissolute young men,
A timely warning take.
Likewise ye fair young maidens,
For this poor damsel's sake;
And oh, beware of flattering tongues.
For they'll prove your overthrow,
So may you crown your future days,
In comfort, peace and love.

G. Walker, Jun., Printer, Sadler-Street, Durham.
309

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