Lord Dernwentwater

No: 208; variant: 208H

  1. THE king he wrote a letter, And seale:d it with gold, And sent it to Lor Derwentwater, To read it if he could.
  2. The first three lines he looked upon, They made him to smile; And the next three lines he looked upon Made tears fall from his eyes.
  3. O then bespoke his gay lady, As she on a sick-bed lay: ‘Make your will, my lord, Before you go away.’
  4. ‘O there is for my eldest son My houses and my land, And there is for my youngest son Ten thousand pounds in hand.
  5. ‘There is for you, my gay lady, My true and lawful wife, The third part of my whole estate, To maintain you a lady’s life.’
  6. Then he called to his stable-groom To bring him his gray steed; For he must to London go, The king had sent indeed.
  7. When he put his foot in the stirrup, To mount his grey steed, His gold ring from his finger burst, And his nose began to bleed.
  8. He had not gone but half a mile When it began to rain; ‘Now this is a token,’ his lordship said, ‘That I shall not return again.’
  9. When he unto London came, A mob did at him rise, And they calle:d him a traitor, Made the tears fall from his eyes.
  10. ‘A traitor, a traitor!’ his lordship said, . . . . Is it for keeping eight score men To fight for pretty Jimmee?’
  11. O then bespoke a grave man, With a broad axe in his hand: ‘Hold your tongue, Lord Derwentwater, Your life lies at my command.’
  12. ‘My life, my life,’ his lordship said, ‘My life I will give to thee, And the black velvet coat upon my back, Take it for thy fee.’
  13. Then he laid his head upon the block, He did such courage show, And asked the executioner To cut it off at one blow.