Bedlam Boys (Tom of Bedlam)
and music traditional
to see my Tom of Bedlam, 10,000 miles I'd travel
Mad Maudlin goes on dirty
toes, to save her shoes from gravel.
I sing bonnie boys, bonnie mad boys,
Bedlam boys are bonnie
For they all
go bare and they live by the air,
And they want no drink nor money.
I went down to Satin's
kitchen, for to beg me food one morning
There I got souls piping hot, all on
the spit a turning.
I picked up a cauldron, Where boiled 10,000 harlots
Though full of flame I
drank the same, to the health of all such varlets.
staff has murdered giants, my bag a long knife carries
For to cut mince pies
from children's thighs, with which to feed the fairies.
white as lightning, shall on my travels guide me
The moon would quake and the
stars would shake, when' ere they espied me.
gypsy slut nor doxy, shall win my Mad Tom from me
I'll weep all night, the
stars I'll fight, the fray will well become me.
when next I have murdered, the Man-In-The-Moon to powder
His staff I'll break,
his dog I'll bake, they'll howl no demon louder.
drink to Tom of Bedlam, he'll fill the seas in barrels
I'll drink it all, all
brewed with gall, with Mad Maudlin I will travel.
Background: Tom of Bedlam is one of the earliest songs about madness that was first introduced in 1618. Bedlam was a common name for St. Mary Bethlehem hospital in London (now called Bethlem Royal Hospital) which housed the insane. During the 18th century it was a popular diversion to visit the hospital to watch the antics of the poor inmates. Admission was one penny and it is said the hospital realized an income of four hundred pounds a year from visitors.
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