Click on arrow to hear the song performed by Derek B. Scott, Professor of Critical Musicology, University of Leeds, to his own piano accompaniment.

Professor Scott explains that little is known of Harper, who composed a number of successful songs in the 1850s, and even less is known of “M.H.” The subject matter is one to provoke alarm, and allows the singer ample room for a melodramatic performance. Nevertheless, Protestant listeners would feel safe in their parlours hearing that the bandit’s interest seems to be restricted to robbing monks and pilgrims. The unusual touch of the fandango rhythm in the accompaniment suggests a Spanish location. The song, however, has a shock in store (a loud chord in an unrelated key) just before it concludes.


Scott, Derek B. The Singing Bourgeois: Songs of the Victorian Drawing Room and Parlour. 2nd ed. Aldershot, Hampshire; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2001.

Created 7 January 2016