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



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.