Last Will of Edward Ward

I’ve never seen a will in the form of a poem until this one. It’s from 11 May 1732. The Derby Mercury:

In the name of God, the King of Kings,

Whose glory fills the mighty space,

Creator of all Worldly Things,

And giver of both Time and Place,


To Him I do resign my Breath,

And that Immortal Soul He gave me,

Sincerely hoping, after Death,

The Merit of His Son will save me.


Oh! bury not my peaceful Corpse,

In Cripplegate, where discord dwells,

And wrangling parties jangle worse

Than Alley-Scolds or Sunday’s Bells.


To good St Pancras’ holy ground

I dedicate my lifeless Clay,

Till the last trumpet’s joyful sound

Shall raise me to eternal Day.


No costly Funeral prepare,

‘Twixt Sun and Sun I only crave

A Hearse and 1 black coach to bear

My wife and children to my grave.


My Goods and Chattels I desire,

May pay the honest Debts I owe;

The rest (if any) I require

My Wife and children to go.


My blessing unto each I give:

Let that suffice instead of wealth;

May grace attend them while they live,

And Virtue long preserve their health.


My Wife I do appoint the sole

Executrix of this my Will

And set my hand unto the same

In hopes the same she will fulfil.


Made under a dangerous illness and signed this 24th of June 1731.

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