Come all you thoughtless young men,
a warning take by me,
And think upon my unhappy fate to be hanged upon a tree;
My name is William Corder, to you I do declare,
I courted Maria Marten, most beautiful and fair.
I promised I would marry her upon a certain day,
Instead of that I was resolved to take her life away.
I went into her father's house the 18th day of May,
Saying, "My dear Maria, we will fix the wedding day.
If you will meet me at the Red Barn,
as sure as I have life,
I will take you to Ipswich town,
and there make you my wife."
I then went home and fetched my gun,
my pickaxe and my spade,
I went into the Red Barn, and there I dug her grave.
With heart so light, she thought no harm to meet me she did go,
I murdered her all in the Barn and laid her body low;
After the horrid deed was done,
she lay weltering in her gore,
Her bleeding, mangled body I buried under the Red Barn floor.
Now all things being silent, her spirit could not rest,
She appeared unto her mother,
who suckled her at her breast;
For many a long month or more,
her mind being sore oppress'd,
Neither night nor day she could not take any rest.
Her mother's mind, being so disturbed,
she dreamt three nights o'er,
Her daughter she lay murdered
beneath the Red Barn floor;
She sent the father to the barn
when he the ground did thrust,
And there he found his daughter
mingling with the dust.
My trial is hard, I could not stand,
most woeful was the sight,
When her jaw-bone was brought to prove
which pierced my heart quite;
Her aged father standing by,
likewise his loving wife,
And in her grief her hair she tore,
she scarcely could keep life.
Adieu, adieu, my loving friends,
my glass is almost run,
On Monday next will be my last,
when I am to be hang'd;
So you young men who do pass by,
with pity look on me,
For murdering Maria Marten
I was hanged upon the tree."