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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 7/Clever Tom Clinch

CLEVER TOM CLINCH


GOING TO BE HANGED. 1727.


AS clever Tom Clinch, while the rabble was bawling,
Rode stately through Holborn to die in his calling,
He stopt at the George for a bottle of sack,
And promis'd to pay for it when he came back.
His waistcoat, and stockings, and breeches, were white;
His cap had a new cherry riband to tye't.
The maids to the doors and the balconies ran,
And said, "Lack-a-day! he's a proper young man!"
But, as from the windows the ladies he spy'd,
Like a beau in the box, he bow'd low on each side;
And, when his last speech the loud hawkers did cry,
He swore from his cart, "It was all a damn'd lye!"
The hangman for pardon fell down on his knee;
Tom gave him a kick in the guts for his fee:
Then said, I must speak to the people a little;
But I'll see you all damn'd before I will whittle[1].
My honest friend Wild[2] (may he long hold his place)
He lengthen'd my life with a whole year of grace.
Take courage, dear comrades, and be not afraid,
Nor slip this occasion to follow your trade;
My conscience is clear, and my spirits are calm,
And thus I go off without prayer-book or psalm;
Then follow the practice of clever Tom Clinch,
Who hung like a hero, and never would flinch.


  1. A cant word for confessing at the gallows.
  2. The noted thief-catcher, under keeper of Newgate, who was hanged for receiving stolen goods.