* Though some of the inhabitants of Pelton still sing this song to their children, yet they are not now aware either of its origin or its application; and the proverbial saying of “they’ll all come back, like the pies o’ Pelton,” is equally obscure.
† This ode, which extends to forty verses, was written by John Carr, LL.D., (son of William and Ann Carr,) Master of the Grammar School, at Hertford, a native of Muggleswick, born in 1732. He died 6th June, 1807, at Hertford, aged 75.
Those verses only which are locally interesting, are given here.
Though thy borders be stripp’d of each tree,
Where trees were indulg’d to decay,
Their image still pictures to me
Thy villagers, gambolling gay.
Nor by fancy shall aught be unseen,
Where thy fountains flow murmuring by—
Where I mix’d in the sports on the green—
Where I wept with the woe-begone eye.
Past rapine arises anew;
Not a bird can be safe in her nest;
That orchard again is in view;
Those apples were always the best.
The boy quits, enamour’d of ease,
For thy cool embraces, his book;
Thy minnows, that play where they please,
O Derwent! how happy they look !
How oft, by no pity controll’d,
An impaler of brandlings* I’ve been !
How oft return’d hungry and cold,
Unburthen’d with booty, I ween!
When thy hyads impetuously pour’d
A deluge from every hill,
The dams, by thy torrents devour’d,
The Miller aghast in his mill.
* The brandling is a small worm, which is cleaned in moss, and used as a bait in trout fishing.—J. C. Probably so called from being used in fishing for the brandling species.—Brockett. 45
Thy rage did but temper the air;
Far distant the mildew of health,
Where guilt vainly decorates care,
Disdaining the gewgaws of wealth.
Simplicity heard in her cot
Long tales of hard winters and wars,
And still hop’d to better her lot
By the change of the moon and the stars.
* * * * * * *
For a story they stir up the fire, *
* Henry the Eighth having resolved on demolishing the religious houses, his commissioners are reported, after a long search, to have despaired of finding Alba Landa, or Blanchland; when they were unexpectedly led to it by the sound of a bell.
† At Muggleswick there was a Camera, or house of entertainment for the Monks, the vestiges of which still remained.—Vide Ang. Sac. p. 740.
‡ Eb, from which Ebchester has its name, was a royal virgin of great repute.—J. C.
§ Cor-bridge, in Northumberland, Con-set, and Ben-field side, in Durham, were the places where these brothers resided.—J. C.
* Jane Frizzle was a notorious witch on the Northumberland side of the river, who practised on men, maidens, and cattle.
Whom Belgium found time to bemoan
Whom Gallia could listening love.
Say, when will thou cease to complain?
Oh, Derwent! thy destiny cries:
Far off, on the banks of the Seine,
Thy darling, thy Maddison* dies!
ELSIE MARLEY. †
Elsie Marley’s grown so fine
She cannot get up to sarve the swine,
* The last four lines are inscribed on the monument of George Maddison, of Hole-house, in the parish of Lanchester, Esq., who filled various diplomatic situations, and who was appointed under-secretary of state for foreign affairs in 1782, and secretary to the extraordinary embassy to his most Christian Majesty, 2nd April, 1783, (at an allowance of £300 for his equipage, and 40 shillings a day for his ordinary entertainment—Privy Seal papers.) He died suddenly in Paris, 27th Aug. 1783, strongly suspected to have been poisoned. His brother John was also employed on many diplomatic missions; he was appointed to the receiver general’s office in the Post Office in 1766; and secretary for the foreign department of it, 11th July, 1787, instead of Anthony Todd, Esq., (also a Bishopric man,) who was desired to “resign in his favour.”—He died 24th Oct., 1808, aged 65.
† Elsie Marley has given her name to a tune which is spirited and lively, which is frequently called for as a dance at the country fairs. Her maiden name was Harrison, and she was the first wife of Ralph Marley, who kept a public house at Picktree, bearing the sign of the Swan, with the appropriate motto:
“The Swan doth love the water clear,
And so does man good ale and beer.”
She was a handsome, buxom, bustling landlady, and brought good custom to the house by her civility and attention. On the march of the Dutch troops to Scotland, in the forty-five, the soldiers amused themselves by shooting at the Swan, and it remained a long time afterwards in a tattered condition, from having served as a target to the mercenaries. Elsie had a son, Harri-
But lays in bed till eight or nine,
And surely she does take her time.
And do you ken Elsie Marley, honey?
The wife that sells the barley, honey;
She lost her pocket and all her money
A back o’ the bush i’ the garden, honey.*
Elsie Marley is so neat,
‘Tis hard for one to walk the street,
But every lad and lass you meet,
Cries, do you ken Elsie Marley, honey?
Elsie Marley wore a straw hat,
But now she’s getten a velvet cap,
The Lambton lads † mun pay for that—
Do you ken Elsie Marley, honey?
Elsie keeps good gin and ale
In her house below the dale,
Where every tradesman up and down,
Does call and spend his half-a-crown.
son Marley, whose son Ralph was living a few years since, with a numerous progeny. Elsie suffered from a long and severe illness, and was at length found drowned in a pond near Bygo, where it is supposed she had fallen in by accident, and could not extricate herself through weakness.
* This is a poetical license. Elsie was an active manager, and the household affairs were entrusted to her sole controul. She went to Newcastle quarterly to pay the brewer’s bill, &c.; and on one of these occasions (it was the fair day) she had 20 guineas in her pocket, sewed up in a corner. On the Sand-hill she was hustled and clapping her hand to her side, she exclaimed aloud, “O honney, honney, I’ve lost my pocket and all my money.’