Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 7 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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164                  tOED DERWENT WATER.
James Radcliff, Earl of Derwentwater, fell into the hands of the Whigs at the surrender of Pres­ton, on the very day of the battle of Sheriff-Muir, and suffered death in February, 1716, for his partici­pation in the rebellion. Smollet has described him as an amiable youth,—brave, open, generous, hospi­table, and humane. " His fate drew tears from the spectators, and was a great misfortune to the country in which he lived. He gave bread to multitudes of people whom he employed on his estate;—the poor, the widow, and the orphan rejoiced in his bounty." (History of England, quoted by Cromek.) We are told that the aurora borealis was remarkably vivid on the night of the earl's execution, and that this phenomenon is consequently still known in the north by the name of " Lord Derwentwater's Lights."
Although this ballad is said to have been extremely popular in the North of England for a long time after the event which gave rise to it, no good copy has as yet been recovered. The following was obtained by Motherwell (Minstrelsy, p. 849) from the recitation of an old woman. Another copy, also from recitation but " restored to poetical propriety," is given in the Gentleman's Magazine, for June, 1825 (p. 489), and