EVER and again, in the literary and antiquarian papers, there flickers up debate as to the Mystery of Lord Bateman. This problem in no way concerns the existing baronial house of Bateman, which, in Burke, records no predecessor before a knight and lord mayor of 1717. Our Bateman comes of lordlier and more ancient lineage. The question really concerns ' The Loving Ballad of Lord Bateman. Illustrated by George Cruikshank, London: Charles Tilt, Fleet Street. And Mustapha Syried, Constantinople. MDCCCXXXIX.'
The tiny little volume in green cloth, with a design of Lord Bateman's marriage ceremony, stamped in gold, opens with a 'Warning to the Public, concerning the Loving Ballad of Lord Bateman.' The Warning is signed George Cruikshank, who, however, adds in a postscript: 'The above is not my writing.' The ballad follows, and then comes a set of notes, mainly critical. The author of the Warning remarks: 'In some collection of old English Ballads there is an ancient ditty, which, I am told, bears some remote and distant resemblance to the following Epic Poem.'