Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 6 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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ruffians, however, were at length apprehended through the vigilance and activity of the Stewarts of Athol, and conducted to Edinburgh, where they were tried, condemned, and executed, in February, 1638. Gilde-roy, seeing his accomplices taken and hanged, went up, and in revenge burned several houses belonging to the Stewarts in Athol. This new act of atrocity was the prelude to his ruin. A proclamation was issued offering £1,000 for his apprehension. The in­habitants rose en masse, and pursued him from place to place, till at length he, with five more of his asso­ciates, was overtaken and secured. They were next carried to Edinburgh, where after trial and conviction, they expiated their offences on the gallows, in the month of July, 1638."
In the vulgar story-books, Gilderoy, besides com­mitting various monstrous and unnatural crimes, en­joys the credit of having picked Cardinal Richelieu's pocket in the King's presence, robbed Oliver Crom­well, and hanged a judge.
The ballad is said to have been composed not long after the death of Gilderoy, " by a young woman of no mean talent, who unfortunately became attached to this daring robber, and had cohabited with him for some time before his being apprehended." A black-letter copy printed in England as early as 1650 has been preserved. Another, with " some slight varia­tions," is contained " in Playford's Wit and Mirth, first edition of vol. iii., printed in 1703." The piece is next found in Pills to purge Melancholy, v. 39, and, with one different stanza, in Old Ballads, i. 271. In the second volume (p. 106) of Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius (1733), it appears with considerable al-

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