Exhumed – Defenders of the Grave Lyrics

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(A welcome to the ghoulish age of late-Georgian Scottish grave-robbery and a warning to the bereaved)

“The security inspired by rank and wealth against these irreverent intrusions on the sanctuary of the dead, is, as we all know, a mistaken confidence, since neither marble nor
heraldry is a protection against such practices; for what the audacious atrocity of the resurrection-man cannot, the venality of the sexton certainly, will accomplish” – Thomas Wakely, The Lancet newspaper 1832

“’…a coffin was registered with the expressed purpose of frustrating the resurrectionists… designed to be made in cast or wrought iron, with concealed spring catches on the inner
side of the lid to prevent levering, and joined in such a way as to thwart any attempt to force the sides of the coffin apart… Some parishes had communal mortsafes or ‘jankers’ – huge coffin-shaped pieces of stone or metal put on new graves.” – Ruth Richardson Death, Dissection, and the Destitute 1987

“Resurrection men, your fate deplore,
Retire with fore vexation,
Your mystery’s gone, your art’s no more,
No more your occupation :
Surgeons no more shall ye ransack
The grave with feelings callous
Tho’ on the Old Bailey turn’d your back,
Your only hopes the gallows” – Mr. Diben The Patent Cof in 1818

Stalk through hallowed headstones
For notes and coin, trade flesh and bone
Your eternal rest may, become nocturnal wrest

The newly deceased, still bereaved
Snatched from their peace, taken without leave
Truncated repose, for the decomposed

Adamantine clasp of the mortsafe, the muddy bonds of earth
Patent coffins do not vouchsafe, calm repose beneath the turf

Stone walls do not a prison make, nor six feet of sod a grave
Pray the lord your soul to take, you’ll need defenders of the –

Graves’ occupants, so dearly prized
But to butcher, not to eulogize
To rest they were laid, now sold under the blade

Who turns the key to the mortsafe, when the sexton stuffs his purse?
Nightwatchmen cannot vouchsafe, calm repose beneath the turf

Stone walls do not a prison make, nor six feet of sod a grave
So pray the lord your soul to take, you’ll need defenders of the grave
Defenders of the grave, hallmarks of this ghoulish age
Defenders of the grave, defenders of the –

Solo – Matthew Harvey
Solo – Michael Burke

Stone walls do not a prison make, nor shovels full of sod a grave
So pray the lord your soul to take, you’ll need defenders of the grave
Defenders of the grave, hallmarks of this ghoulish age
Defenders of the grave, defenders of the – grave