“Emmet's Death”


"He dies to-day." The judge smiles because "a demon dwelt where his heart should be." The jailer has a tear in his eye because Emmet had "spoke in so kind a way." A girl "lacked the life to speak ... despair had drank up her last wild tear."

Supplemental text

Emmet's Death
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From James N. Healy, ed., The Mercier Book of Old Irish Street
Ballads, Volume Two (1969), #27, pp. 73-74. Source not indicated.

'He dies to-day," said the heartless judge,
  Whilst he sat down to the feast,
And a smile was upon his ashy lip,
  As he uttered a ribald jest;
For a demon dwelt where his heart should be,
  That lived upon blood and sin
And as oft as that vile judge gave him food,
  The demon throbbed within.

(20 additional lines, not properly divided into stanzas)


Hayes's text is attributed to "S.F.C." - BS

For the sad background of this typically Irish story, see the notes to "Bold Robert Emmet." - RBW

Historical references

  • Sep 20, 1803 - Robert Emmet (1778-1803) is hanged

Cross references


  • Bodleian, 2806 b.10(17), "Emmet's Death", unknown, n.d.


  1. O'Conor, p. 69, "Emmet's Death" (1 text)
  2. Healy-OISBv2, pp. 73-74, "Emmet's Death" (1 text)
  3. ADDITIONAL: Edward Hayes, The Ballads of Ireland (Boston, 1859), Vol I, p. 248, "Emmet's Death"
  4. ST OCon069 (Partial)
  5. BI, OCon069


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1855 (Edward Hayes, The Ballads of Ireland (Boston, 1859), Vol I)