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XLV.

“ True Relation of one Susan Higges, dwelling in Risborow,

a towne in Buckinghamshire, and how she lived 20 yeeres, by robbing on the high wayes, yet uususpected of all that knew her ; till at last coming to Messeldon, and there robbing and murdering a woman; which woman knew her, and standing by her while she gave three groanes, she spat three drop of blood in her face, which never could be washt out, by which shee was knowne, and executed for the aforesaid murder, at the assises in Lent at Brickhill.”

To the tune of-The Worthy London Prentice.
T.

o mourn for my offences,

And former passed sins,
This sad and doleful story,

My heavy heart begins :
Most wickedly I spent my time,

Devoid of godly grace,
A lewder woman never liv’d,

I think in any place.

Near Buckingham I dwelled,

And Susan Higges by name,
Well thought of by good gentlemen,

And farmers of good fame;

Where thus for twenty years at least,

I liv'd in gallant sort : Which made the country marvel much

To hear of my report.

My state was not maintained,

(As you shall understand) By good and honest dealings,

Nor labours of my hand,
But by deceit and cozening shifts

The end whereof we see,
Hath ever been repaid with shame,

And ever like to be.

My servants were young country girls,

Brought up unto my mind,
By nature fair and beautifull,

And of a gentle kind :
Who with their sweet enticing eyes

Did many youngsters move,
To come by night unto my house,

In hope of further love.

But still at their close meetings

(As I the plot had laid)
stept in still at unawares,
While they the wantons play'd,

And would in question bring their names,

Except they did agree,
To give me money for this wrong,

Done to my house and me.

This was but'petty cozenage

To things that I have done, My weapon by the highway side,

Hath me much money won :
In men's attire I oft have rode

Upon a gelding stout,
And done great robberies valiantly,

The countries round about.

I had my scarfes and vizors

My face for to disguise,
Sometimes a beard upon my chin,

To blind the people's eyes :
My Turkey blade and pistols good,

My courage to maintain,
Thus took I many a farmer's purse

Well cram'd with golden gain.

Great store of London merchants,

I boldly have bid stand,
And shewed myself most bravely,
A woman of

my

hand :

You ruffling roysters every one,

In my defence say then
We women still for gallant minds

May well compare with men.

SECOND PART.

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But if so be it chanced

The countries were beset,
With hue, and cries, and warrants,

Into my house I get,
And I so being with my maids,

Would cloak the matter so,
That no man could, by any means,

The right offender know.

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Yet God that still most justly

Doth punish every vice, Did bring unto confusion,

My fortunes in a trice; For by a murder all my-sins

Were strangely brought to light, And such desert I had by law

As justice claim'd by right,

Upon the heath of Misseldon,

I met a woman there,
And robb’d her as from market

Homewards she did repair,
Which woman call'd me by my name,

And said that she me knew,
For which even with her life's dear blood

My hands I did embrue.

But after I had wounded

This woman unto death,
And that her bleeding body

Was almost reft of breath :
She gave a groan, and therewithall

Did spit upon my face
Three drops of blood, that never could

Be wiped from that place.

For after I returned

Unto my house again,
The more that I it wash'd

It more appeared plain :
Each hour I thought that beasts and birds

This murder would reveal,
Or that the air so vile a deed

No longer would conceal.

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