'The Three Revellers; or Impiety Punished' - A LEGEND OF HOLBECH - a true story by Thomas Hardwicke Rawnsley (1789 – 1861) of Bourne, (written about the year 1800) .

In the bleak noxious Fen that to Lincoln pertains
Where agues assert their fell sway,
There the Bittern hoarse moans and the seamew complains
As she flits o'er the watery way.

While with strains thus discordant, the natives of air
With screams and with shrieks the ear strike,
The toad and the frog croaking notes of despair
Join the din, from the bog and the dyke.

Mid scenes that the senses annoy and appal
Sad and sullen old Holbech appears,
As if doomed to bewail her hard fate from the Fall,
Like a Niobe washed with her tears.

From fogs pestilential that hovered around,
To ward off despair and disease,
The juice of the grape was most generous found.
Source of comfort, of joy, and of ease.

At the " Chequers" long famed to quaff then did delight
The Burghers both ancient and young.
With smoking and cards, passed the dull winter night.
They joked and they laughed and they sung.

Three revellers left, when the midnight was come.
Unable their game to pursue.
Repaired, most unhallowed, to visit the tomb
Where enshrouded lay one of their crew.

For he, late-departed, renowned was at whist.
The marsh-men still tell of his fame,
Till Death with a spade struck the cards from his fist
And spoiled both his hand and his game.

Cold and damp was the night; thro' the churchyard they prowled,
As wolves by fierce hunger subdued,
'Gainst the doors they huge gravestones impetuous rolled
Which recoiled at such violence rude.

From the sepulchre's jaws their old comrade uncased,
(How chilling the tale to relate),
Upreared 'gainst the wall on the table was placed
A corpse, in funereal state.

By a taper's faint blaze and with Luna's faint light
That would sometimes emit them a ray,
The cards were produced, and they cut with delight
To know who with "Dumby" should play.

Exalted on basses the bravoes kneeled round
Exulting and proud of the deed,
To Dumby they bent with respect most profound
And said "Sir! it is your turn to lead."

The game then commenced, when one offered him aid,
And affected to guide his cold hand
"While another cried out, "Bravo! Dumby, well played,
I see you've the cards at command."

Thus impious, they jokèd devoid of all grace.
When dread sounds shook the walls of the church,
And lo! Dumby sank down, and a ghost in his place
Shrieked dismal "Haste! haste! save your lurch!"

Astounded they stared; but the fiend disappeared
And Dumby again took his seat,
So they deemed 'twas but fancy, nor longer they feared
But swore that "Old Dumb should be beat."

Eight to nine was the game, Dumby's partner called loud
"Speak once, my old friend, or we're done
Remember our stake 'tis my coat or your shroud
Now answer and win — can you one?"

"What silent, my Dumby, when most I you need
Dame Fortune our wishes has crossed,"
When a voice from beneath, howled, "your fate is decreed
The game and the gamesters are lost."

Then strange! most terrific and horrid to view!
Three Demons thro' earth burst their way:
Each one chose his partner, his arms round him threw
And vanished in smoke with his prey.

Notes: A seamew is a Lincolnshire name for a common gull. Niobe in Greek mythology, was a the daughter of Tantalus and wife of King Amphion of Thebes. She was turned into stone as she wept for the loss of her children, after they had been killed by Apollo and Artemis.
Source: Rawnsley, William (1914) Highways and byways In Lincolnshire. Macmillan & Co. pp. 479-479