1 Good people give attention to a story you shall hear:
Between the king and my lord Delamere,
A quarrel arose in the Parliament House,
Concerning the taxes to be put in force.
With my fal de ral de ra.
2 I wonder, I wonder that James, our good king,
So many hard taxes upon the poor should bring;
So many hard taxes, as I have heard them say
Makes many a good farmer to break and run away.
3 Such a rout has been in the parliament, as I hear,
Betwixt a Dutch lord and my lord Delamere.
He said to the king, as he sat on the throne,
'If it please you, my liege, to grant me a boon.'
4 'O what is thy boon? Come, let me understand.'
'It's to give me all the poor you have in the land;
I'll take them down to Cheshire, and there I will sow
Both hemp-seed and flax-seed, and hang them in a row.
5 'It's better, my liege, they should die a shorter death
Than for your Majesty to starve them on earth.'
With that up starts a Dutch lord, as we hear,
And he says, 'Thou proud Jack,' to my lord Delamere,
6 'Thou ought to be stabbed,' and he turned him about,
'For affronting the king in the Parliament House.'
Then up got a brave duke, the Duke of Devonshire,
Who said, I will fight for my lord Delamere.
7 'He is under age, as I'll make it appear,
So I'll stand in defence of my lord Delamere.'
A stage then was built, and to battle they went,
To kill or be killed it was their intent.
8 The very first blow, as we understand,
Devonshire's rapier went back to his hand;
Then he mused awhile, but not a word spoke,
When against the king's armour his rapier he broke.
9 O then he stept backward, and backward stept he,
And then stept forward my lord Willoughby;
He gave him a rapier, and thus he did say;
Play low, Devonshire, there's treachery, I see.
10 He knelt on his knee, and he gave him the wound,
With that the Dutch lord fell dead on the ground:
The king calld his soldiers, and thus he did say:
Call Devonshire down, take the dead man away.
11 He answered, My liege, I've killed him like a man,
And it is my intent to see what clothing he's got on.
O treachery! O treachery! as I well may say,
It was your intent, O king, to take my life away.
12 'He fought in your armour, while I fought him bare,
And thou, king, shalt win it before thou dost it wear;
I neither do curse king, parliament, or throne,
But I wish every honest man may enjoy his own.
13 'The rich men do flourish with silver and gold,
While poor men are starving with hunger and cold;
And if they hold on as they have begun,
They'll make little England pay dear for a king.
Child's version B, from Llewellynn Jewitt, Ballads and Songs of Derbyshire, 1867
Not historically accurate, according to Child, May refer to event of 1687 betwee
n the Earl of Devonshire and Colonel Colepepper, which was not in Parliament and
did not involve swords.