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Bedlam Boys

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"Bedlam Boys", or 'Mad Tom of Bedlam' is one of the earliest songs about madness that was first introduced in 1618. Bedlam was a common name for St. Bartholomew's 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.

There are many different versions of this song, and many different lyrics and extra verses, verses cut out etc, but I chose this version as the closest (as far as my research dictates) to the original lyrics.

Two of the lesser-known verses I have left out from this version are:

No 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.

So 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.

This last verse is in contestation, which is why I left it out. Another version of this final verse has it as:
I now regret that ever
Poor Tom I so disdain-ed
My wits are lost since him I crossed
and now I must go chain-ed
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For to see Mad Tom of Bedlam, 10,000 miles I'd travel.
Mad Maudlin goes on dirty toes for to save her shoes from gravel.

Chorus: Still 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 Satan's kitchen, for to get me food one morning,
And there I found souls piping hot, all on the spit a-turnin'


My staff has murdered giants, my bag a long knife carries,
For to cut mince pies from children's thighs, and feed them to the fairies.


The spirits white as lightning do on me travels guide me,
The earth does shake the moon doth quake whenever they espie me


And when that I'll be a-murderin' the man in the moon to a powder,
His staff I'll brake, his dog I'll shake, and there'll howl no demon louder.

repeat first verse
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Hits: 5557
Comments: 8
Fans: 3
Plays: 154
Downloads: 216
Votes: 7
Uploaded: Feb 28, 2008 - 02:28:41 PM
Last Updated: Feb 28, 2008 - 02:28:41 PM Last Played: Jun 15, 2019 - 04:09:35 PM
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said 4160 days ago (February 28th, 2008)
I like the feelings in this one... Good voices/vocals.... I like the lyrics... And the way the drums play... Thanks for sharing this....
said 4160 days ago (February 28th, 2008)
I like the 'Thrum' of the sound base you have complimented by your vocals.. Lyrics are over my head, so to speak, but is a weakness of mine own

. - Harold
dirigent said 4160 days ago (February 28th, 2008)
magic atmosphere - wonderful singing, superb track, love it :-)
Check out my latest song called Flow My Tears
Feter said 4160 days ago (February 28th, 2008)
Bedlam Boys
Awesome singing .the song itself just impressive !
thnx alot for sharin such gem ...!!
Check out my latest song called Roll with it
said 4159 days ago (February 29th, 2008)
Really good.


I liked this you sing it really good and it was so sad as well, as I have read up on BedlamSt. Bartholomew's hospital which housed the insane
years ago. You captured this perfect thank you for sharing.

alfalpha said 4143 days ago (March 16th, 2008)
This is...
...one of my favourite folk songs. You have brought something new & interesting insofaras the sense of 'bedlam' (pardon the pun), with the use of the 'urgent' bass track as well as the eerie sustained 'string' track.

You extra vocals add yet another sense of 'insanity' to this arrangement.

Averil, this is one of your best thus far...


Check out my latest song called Mania- w/DavisAmerica-The 'Sprout' Remix
elfdaughter said 4143 days ago (March 16th, 2008)
Thanks, Alf!
Thanks, alfy! That was the idea! :D
Check out my latest song called The Kynges Ballade
screamalexz said 4114 days ago (April 14th, 2008)
i like your voice and the production on the vocals. gives it a very etheral and woodsy feel. i think you should play your harp on this one.
Check out my latest song called Broken Spirit
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Name: Averil "Tincolindo" White
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne UK
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A medieval re-enactor, seamstress, craftswoman and general dogsbody..... ... [see more]

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