And so is the men of Thirlwall † and Willie-haver,‡
And all their companies thereabout,
That is minded to do mischief,
And at their stealing stands not out.
But yet we will not slander them all,
For there is of them good enow;
It is a sore consumed tree
That on it bears not one fresh bough.
Lord God! is not this a pitiful case,
That men dare not drive their goods to t’fell,
But limmer thieves drives them away,
That fears neither heaven nor hell?
* So in the ballad of “Northumberland betrayed by Douglas,”— “And ever an ill death may they dye.”—Percy.
† Thirlwall, is said by Fordun to be a name given to the Picts or Roman wall, from its having been thirled or perforated by the Scots and Picts.
‡ Willie-haver, or Willeva, is a small district or township in the parish of Lanercost, near Bewcastle, in Cumberland.—Ritson.
“Warn Willeva, and Spear Edom,
formerly stood, in contradistinction to Westgate at the opposite side of the forest of Weardale.
The mention of the bailiff’s house at the Eastgate is (if such proof were wanting) strongly indicative of the authenticity of the ballad. The family of Emerson, of Eastgath, held under the Bishop, and long exercised the office of bailiff of Wolsingham, and of Forrester, &c. —Surtees.
* A jacket or short coat, plated or institched with small pieces of iron. —Ritson.
The theeves were number’d a hundred men,
I wat they were not of the worst;
That could be choosed out of Thirlwall, and Willie-haver,