“The Death of Ben Hall”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1905 (Paterson, Old Bush Songs)
Keywords: death homicide outlaw abuse Australia
Found in: Australia

Description

Ben Hall's cowardly murder is recalled, as well as his nobility: "He never robbed a needy man, The records sure will show. How staunch and loyal to his mates, how manly to the foe." The singer bids him farewell

Notes

Ben Hall is widely regarded as "the noblest of the bushrangers." The story is that he was hounded from his home by the police, and only then turned to crime. Even as a bushranger, he attacked only the rich and never shed blood. For background, see the notes to "Ben Hall."

To tell this song from the other Ben Hall songs, consider this first stanza:

Come all Australia's sons to me, a hero has been slain,

Cowardly butchered in his sleep upon the Lachlan plain.

Oh, do not stay your seemly grief but let a teardrop fall,

Oh, so many hearts will always mourn the fate of bold Ben Hall.

(note: with some settings of the tune, this is the first two stanzas) - RBW

Historical references

Cross references

References

  1. Meredith/Anderson, pp. 98-99, "Bold Ben Hall" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Fahey-Eureka, pp. 90-91, "The Death of Ben Hall" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Paterson/Fahey/Seal, pp. 81-84, "The Death of Ben Hall" (1 text. Note that the song appears to begin with the unrelated stanza "My name is Ben Hall from Urunga I came," but this is in fact a separate poem which just ended up on the same page)
  4. BI, MA098