At the Assizes
Hark! how the watchman cries;
Oh, attend unto that sound:
Hark! the judge struggling through the crowd;
They'll have the poor man down.
And hark! the incessant tumult,
Rising with each pounding beat;
Of the arrivals of spectators,
And their struggles to get seats.
Hark at me, at the assizes!
I fear no bill and no surprises:
Hark at them, in all their guises!
They size me up, their tension rises.
A lady asks if I am sorry;
To her I say, no, not at all:
It may make them repent their ways;
If not, then they shall surely fall.
A gentleman asks if I am afraid;
To him I say, no, not at all:
As I stand here in the dock,
And laugh across the crowded hall.
Hark at me, with my brave heart!
I've made more noise than Bonaparte:
I stand assured, proud legs apart,
And wait for the old judge to start.
He asks if I wish for my trial to be removed,
To the County Assizes if I should approve;
From a city jury's prejudice,
Due to public restlessness:
But I am ready with my answer,
I fear not what is to come;
"I don't care where I am tried, sir;
The Lord's will be done.”
The clerk asks, will I pay the costs?
To him I say unflinchingly;
"I's a poor man, I's no money,
I's a poor man, yet I's willing.”
The judge asks if I am guilty
I say; “It was not me, my Lord;
But my God did it,
and on that I give my word.”
Now hark at me, outside the court!
The hissing crowd must have their sport:
I bow and smile in mild retort;
Next week to trial I shall be brought.
So, I say; “Bring it on!
Bring it on! Bring it on!
Bring it on! Bring it on!
Bring it on! Bring it on!
Bring it on! Bring it on!”
(Lyrics: Gary Miller and adapted by Gary Miller from the words of Jonathan Martin / Music: Gary Miller)
© 2017 Whippet Records
Copyright Control MCPS/PRS
This song is part of the 'Mad Martins' project.
'Mad Martins' depicts the extraordinary lives and times of the Martin brothers, William (self-proclaimed “natural philosopher and philosophical conquerer of all nations”), Jonathan (incendiary of York Minster) and John (eminent painter, engraver, town-planner and host), who were born in the late eighteenth century in the South Tyne area of Northumberland.
Other songs from 'Mad Martins' include 'A Painting for Charles', 'A Thin Veneer', 'The Dandy Horse', 'Drainage Scheme', 'Four Bare Walls', 'God and Air', 'In Dreamtime', 'In the Navy (Jonathan's Chantey & Hornpipe)', 'The Leaping Swordsman', 'Madhouse Martin', 'Maria's Testimony', 'Medals', 'My 'Life'', 'The Paint and the Pain', 'Pandemonium', 'Picture the Scriptures', 'Searching for the Waters of Oblivion', '"Shoot the Bishop!"', 'Three Mad Martins (Epitaph)', 'Three Mad Martins (Prophecy)', 'Wicked Old World', 'William, You Were Really Something'.
(from his 'Wanted' poster of February 1829)
He is a rather stout man, about five feet six inches high, with light hair cut close, coming to a point in the centre of the forehead, and high above the temples, and has large bushy red whiskers: he is between forty and fifty years of age; and of singular manners. He usually wears a single-breasted blue coat, with a stand-up collar, and buttons covered with the same cloth; a black cloth waistcoat, and blue cloth trousers; half-boots laced up in front, and a glazed broad-brimmed low-crowned hat. Sometimes he wears a double-breasted blue coat, with yellow buttons. When travelling he wears a large black leather cape coming down to his elbows, with two pockets within the cape; across the back of the leather cape there is a square piece of dark-coloured fur, extending from one shoulder point to the other. At other times he wears a drab-coloured greatcoat, with a large cape and shortish skirts. When seen at York last Sunday, he had on the double-breasted blue coat, a common hat, and his greatcoat.
Meanwhile, Jonathan headed north-westwards, stopping first at Easingwold and then at Thirsk, selling copies of his ‘Life’ to buy bread and beer. He then took a room in Northallerton for the night. Next morning he hitched a lift on a coal-cart through Darlington to Flintoft Bank near West Auckland. From there he struck out across country on foot, spending a night at Allensford on the Derwent. The next day, after making two stops to buy ale, at Ridingmill and Corbridge, he finally reached his old refuge, the home of Edward Kell at Codlaw Hill, four miles from Hexham. He managed to spend two nights here until, on Friday February 6th, he was arrested by William Stanthorpe, an innkeeper and sheriff’s officer who had seen the advertisement in the ‘Newcastle Courant’.
Jonathan was kept for two nights in the house of correction at Hexham before his removal to York City Gaol to await trial.
On March 23rd, his trial opened at the Guildhall, used for crimes committed within the city, but his counsel argued that with a jury of local men a fair hearing could not be guaranteed. The case was then transferred to the county court and adjourned until March 26th.
"What is to happen? I may be acquitted. What then? I shall know that I am preserved for, and appointed to some greater work. God has yet something for me to do, and it will be done. Or they may find me guilty. They may be too blind to perceive the truth. I may be condemned to be hanged. What then? Sent to Heaven only a little the sooner. That, perhaps, may be God's purpose." (Jonathan Martin)