This is a broadside ballad from 1619 it tells the tale of a noble family whose charity led them to become the victims of 3 witches. 'Beaver' Castle is in fact Belvoir Castle in England, but is written here how it has always been pronounced (apparantly Anglo Saxons couldn't get their tongues round the French pronuciation).
more about broadside ballads
Of three Lincolne-shire Witches, Joane Flower, and her two Daughters,
Margret and Phillip Flower, against Henry Lord Rosse, with others the Children of the Right
Honourable the Earle of Rutland, at Beaver Castle, who for the same were executed at Lincolne the 11. of March last. To the tune of the Ladies fall.
OF damned deeds, and deadly dole,
I make my mournfull song,
By Witches done in Lincolne-shire,
where they have lived long:
And practisd many a wicked deed,
within that Country there,
Which fills my brest and bosome full,
of sobs, and trembling feare.
One Beaver Castle is a place,
that welcome gives to all,
By which the Earle of Rutland gaines
the loves of great and small:
His Countesse of like friendlinesse,
Doth beare as free a mind:
Also from them both rich and poore,
helps and succour find.
Amongst the rest were Witches three,
that to this Castle came,
Margaret and Phillip Flower,
And Joane their Mothers name:
Which Women dayly found reliefe,
and were contented well:
That the last this Margret was,
received there to dwell.
[?]oke unto such houshold charge,
[?] unto her belongd,
[?] she possest with fraud and guile,
her place and office wrongd,
[?] Secretly purloyned things
to her mother home:
[?] unlawfull howers from thence,
did nightly go and come.
When the Earle and; Countesse heard,
[?]r dealings knew,
[?]ved much that she should prove,
[?] so untrue.
And so discharg'd her of the house,
therein to come no more:
For of heer lewd and filching prankes,
of proofes there were some store.
And likewise that her Mother was,
a woman full of wrath,
A swearing and blaspheming wretch,
forespeaking sodaine death:
And how that neighbours in her lookes,
malitious signes did see:
And some affirm'd she dealt with Sprits,
and so a Witch might be.
And that her Sister Phillip was
well knowne a Strumpet lewd,
And how she had a young mans love,
bewitched and subdued,
Which made the young man often say,
he had no power to leave
Her curst inticing company,
that did him so deceave.
When to the Earle and Countesse thus,
these just complaints were made,
Their hearts began to breed dislike,
and greatly grew affraid:
Commanding that she never should,
returne unto their sight,
Nor back into the Castle come,
but be excluded quite.
Whereat the old malitious feend,
with these her darlings thought:
The Earle and Countesse them disgrac't,
and their discredits wrought:
In turning thus despightfully,
her daughter out of dores,
For which revengement, in her mind
she many a mischiefe stores.
Heereat the Divell made entrance in,
his Kingdome to inlarge.
And puts his executing wrath,
unto these womens charge:
Not caring whom it lighted on,
the Innocent or no,
And offered them his diligence,
to flye, to run, and go.
And to attend in pretty formes,
of Dog, of Cat, or Rat,
To which they freely gave consent,
and much rejoyc't thereat:
And as it seemd they sould their soules,
for service of such Spirits,
And sealing it with drops of blood,
damnation so inherits.
These Women thus being Devils grown
most cunning in their Arts:
With charmes and with enchanting spells,
they played most damned parts:
They did forespeake, and Cattle kild,
that neighbours could not thrive,
And oftentimes their Children young,
of life they would deprive.
At length the Countess and her Lord,
to fits of sickness grew:
The which they deemd the hand of God,
and their corrections due:
Which crosses patiently they bore,
misdoubting no such deed,
As from these wicked Witches heere,
Yet so their mallice more increast,
that mischief set in foot,
To blast the branches of that house,
and undermine the root:
Their eldest son Henry Lord Rosse,
possest with sicknesse strange,
Did lingring, lye tormented long,
till death his life did change.
Their second sonne Lord Francis next,
felt like continuing woe:
Both day and night in grievous sort,
yet none the cause did know:
And then the Lady Katherin,
into such torments fell:
By these their devilish practises,
as grieves my heart to tell.
to be continued...