The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

Will Douglas - English Royalist poet in the 17th century

Cromwell is dead, and risen; and dead again,
And risen the third time after he was slain
No wonder! For he’s messenger of Hell:
And now he buffets us, now posts to tell
What’s past; and for one more game new counsel takes
Of his good friend the Devil, who keeps the stakes.

Will Douglas did not get the best of reviews on his poetry, but it did reflect the myriad of tales about Cromwell's demise, or as it otherwise put 'News of his death may be premature'.

However, the identity of this poet is lost. 

Who was he?

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Comment by William Douglas on January 20, 2023 at 13:08
This song is called variously "Old Cromwell", Old Father Crummett, Old Grimes, etc. The oldest versions seem to be the Cromwell versions. In the mid 1600's Scottish prisoners of war were sent here by Cromwell, so I first assumed it might have been made by them. Upon finding this quote, however, I'm thinking the origins may be earlier. I was also curious if one of the prisoners, perhaps the writer, was this Will Douglas. He obviously had no love for Cromwell. It seems he was also of a stature that anything he wrote would be notable and recorded by the writer of the chronicle.
I have seen the abbreviation "Wil." or "Will." in various period documents. Wondering if this is the 7/8th Earl? He did not come to Maine, but perhaps someone close to him did.
Anyway, here are the lyrics, as sung here in Maine. It's obvious to me that it was made after Cromwell's death, as was the original "Cromwell is dead, and risen; and dead again," which raises the question about it being written "upon these rumors" of Cromwell's death in battle 1649. Clearly, the song was inspired by motifs in the previous poem. Personally, I'm fascinated by the growth of the "great tree" with the terrible apples, and the "Identity" of the old woman in the red dress...
1) Old Father Crummett (Oliver Cromwell) went down to Whitehall
And there he fell sick amongst them all
2) Old Father Crummett (Oliver Cromwell) was laid in his grave
The Devil came after him before he was dead
3) Out of his grave there grew a great tree
And it bore the worst apples that ever you'll see
4) Before they were ripe and fit for a fall
There came an old woman who gathered them all
5) Her dress it was red and her petticoat green
She was the worst lookin' critter that ever was seen

Making conections

The more information you can give about the people you mention, the more chance there is of someone else connecting with your family.

Dates and places of births, deaths and marriages all help to place families.

Professions also help.

'My great-grandmother mother was a Douglas from Montrose' does not give many clues to follow up! But a bit of flesh on the bones makes further research possible. But if we are told who she married, what his profession was and where the children were baptised, then we can get to work.

Maybe it is time to update the information in your profile?

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