Part 2 out of 6
[THE following ingenious production has been copied literally from
a broadside posted against the 'parlour' wall of a country inn in
Gloucestershire. The verses are susceptible of two
interpretations, being Catholic if read in the columns, but
Protestant if read across.]
I HOLD as faith What ENGLAND'S CHURCH alows
What ROME'S church saith My conscience disavows
Where the KING'S head That CHURCH can have no shame
The flocks misled That holds the POPE supreame.
Where the ALTARS drest There's service scarce divine
The peoples blest With table, bread, and wine.
He's but an asse Who the COMMUNION flies
Who shuns the MASSE Is CATHOLICK and wise.
London: printed for George Eversden, at the signe of the
Maidenhead, in St. Powle's Church-yard, 1655. CUM PRIVILEGIO.
Ballad: THE THREE KNIGHTS. (TRADITIONAL.)
[THE THREE KNIGHTS was first printed by the late Davies Gilbert,
F.R.S., in the appendix to his work on CHRISTMAS CAROLS. Mr.
Gilbert thought that some verses were wanting after the eighth
stanza; but we entertain a different opinion. A conjectural
emendation made in the ninth verse, viz., the substitution of FAR
for FOR, seems to render the ballad perfect. The ballad is still
popular amongst the peasantry in the West of England. The tune is
given by Gilbert. The refrain, in the second and fourth lines,
printed with the first verse, should be repeated in recitation in
THERE did three Knights come from the west,
With the high and the lily oh!
And these three Knights courted one ladye,
As the rose was so sweetly blown.
The first Knight came was all in white,
And asked of her if she'd be his delight.
The next Knight came was all in green,
And asked of her if she'd be his queen.
The third Knight came was all in red,
And asked of her if she would wed.
'Then have you asked of my father dear?
Likewise of her who did me bear?
'And have you asked of my brother John?
And also of my sister Anne?'
'Yes, I've asked of your father dear,
Likewise of her who did you bear.
'And I've asked of your sister Anne,
But I've not asked of your brother John.'
Far on the road as they rode along,
There did they meet with her brother John.
She stooped low to kiss him sweet,
He to her heart did a dagger meet. (2)
'Ride on, ride on,' cried the servingman,
'Methinks your bride she looks wondrous wan.'
'I wish I were on yonder stile,
For there I would sit and bleed awhile.
'I wish I were on yonder hill,
There I'd alight and make my will.'
'What would you give to your father dear?'
'The gallant steed which doth me bear.'
'What would you give to your mother dear?'
'My wedding shift which I do wear.
'But she must wash it very clean,
For my heart's blood sticks in every seam.'
'What would you give to your sister Anne?'
'My gay gold ring, and my feathered fan.'
'What would you give to your brother John?'
'A rope, and a gallows to hang him on.'
'What would you give to your brother John's wife?'
'A widow's weeds, and a quiet life.'
Poem: THE BLIND BEGGAR OF BEDNALL GREEN. SHOWING HOW HIS DAUGHTER
WAS MARRIED TO A KNIGHT, AND HAD THREE THOUSAND POUND TO HER
[Percy's copy of THE BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER OF BEDNALL GREEN is known to
be very incorrect: besides many alterations and improvements which
it received at the hands of the Bishop, it contains no less than
eight stanzas written by Robert Dodsley, the author of THE ECONOMY
OF HUMAN LIFE. So far as poetry is concerned, there cannot be a
question that the version in the RELIQUES IS far superior to the
original, which is still a popular favourite, and a correct copy of
which is now given, as it appears in all the common broadside
editions that have been printed from 1672 to the present time.
Although the original copies have all perished, the ballad has been
very satisfactorily proved by Percy to have been written in the
reign of Elizabeth. The present reprint is from a modern copy,
carefully collated with one in the Bagford Collection, entitled,
'The rarest ballad that ever was seen,
Of the Blind Beggar's Daughter of Bednal Green.'
The imprint to it is, 'Printed by and for W. Onley; and are to be
sold by C. Bates, at the sign of the Sun and Bible, in Pye Corner.'
The very antiquated orthography adopted in some editions does not
rest on any authority. For two tunes to THE BLIND BEGGAR, see
THIS song's of a beggar who long lost his sight,
And had a fair daughter, most pleasant and bright,
And many a gallant brave suitor had she,
And none was so comely as pretty Bessee.
And though she was of complexion most fair,
And seeing she was but a beggar his heir,
Of ancient housekeepers despised was she,
Whose sons came as suitors to pretty Bessee.
Wherefore in great sorrow fair Bessee did say:
'Good father and mother, let me now go away,
To seek out my fortune, whatever it be.'
This suit then was granted to pretty Bessee.
This Bessee, that was of a beauty most bright,
They clad in grey russet; and late in the night
From father and mother alone parted she,
Who sighed and sobbed for pretty Bessee.
She went till she came to Stratford-at-Bow,
Then she know not whither or which way to go,
With tears she lamented her sad destiny;
So sad and so heavy was pretty Bessee.
She kept on her journey until it was day,
And went unto Rumford, along the highway;
And at the King's Arms entertained was she,
So fair and well favoured was pretty Bessee.
She had not been there one month at an end,
But master and mistress and all was her friend:
And every brave gallant that once did her see,
Was straightway in love with pretty Bessee.
Great gifts they did send her of silver and gold,
And in their songs daily her love they extolled:
Her beauty was blazed in every decree,
So fair and so comely was pretty Bessee.
The young men of Rumford in her had their joy,
She showed herself courteous, but never too coy,
And at their commandment still she would be,
So fair and so comely was pretty Bessee.
Four suitors at once unto her did go,
They craved her favour, but still she said no;
I would not have gentlemen marry with me!
Yet ever they honoured pretty Bessee.
Now one of them was a gallant young knight,
And he came unto her disguised in the night;
The second, a gentleman of high degree,
Who wooed and sued for pretty Bessee.
A merchant of London, whose wealth was not small,
Was then the third suitor, and proper withal;
Her master's own son the fourth man must be,
Who swore he would die for pretty Bessee.
'If that thou wilt marry with me,' quoth the knight,
'I'll make thee a lady with joy and delight;
My heart is enthralled in thy fair beauty,
Then grant me thy favour, my pretty Bessee.'
The gentleman said, 'Come marry with me,
In silks and in velvet my Bessee shall be;
My heart lies distracted, oh! hear me,' quoth he,
'And grant me thy love, my dear pretty Bessee.'
'Let me be thy husband,' the merchant did say,
'Thou shalt live in London most gallant and gay;
My ships shall bring home rich jewels for thee,
And I will for ever love pretty Bessee.'
Then Bessee she sighed and thus she did say:
'My father and mother I mean to obey;
First get their good will, and be faithful to me,
And you shall enjoy your dear pretty Bessee.'
To every one of them that answer she made,
Therefore unto her they joyfully said:
'This thing to fulfil we all now agree,
But where dwells thy father, my pretty Bessee?'
'My father,' quoth she, 'is soon to be seen:
The silly blind beggar of Bednall Green,
That daily sits begging for charity,
He is the kind father of pretty Bessee.
'His marks and his token are knowen full well,
He always is led by a dog and a bell;
A poor silly old man, God knoweth, is he,
Yet he's the true father of pretty Bessee.'
'Nay, nay,' quoth the merchant, 'thou art not for me.'
'She,' quoth the innholder, 'my wife shall not be.'
'I loathe,' said the gentleman, 'a beggar's degree,
Therefore, now farewell, my pretty Bessee.'
'Why then,' quoth the knight, 'hap better or worse,
I weigh not true love by the weight of the purse,
And beauty is beauty in every degree,
Then welcome to me, my dear pretty Bessee.
'With thee to thy father forthwith I will go.'
'Nay, forbear,' quoth his kinsman, 'it must not be so:
A poor beggar's daughter a lady shan't be;
Then take thy adieu of thy pretty Bessee.'
As soon then as it was break of the day,
The knight had from Rumford stole Bessee away;
The young men of Rumford, so sick as may be,
Rode after to fetch again pretty Bessee.
As swift as the wind to ride they were seen,
Until they came near unto Bednall Green,
And as the knight lighted most courteously,
They fought against him for pretty Bessee.
But rescue came presently over the plain,
Or else the knight there for his love had been slain;
The fray being ended, they straightway did see
His kinsman come railing at pretty Bessee.
Then bespoke the blind beggar, 'Although I be poor,
Rail not against my child at my own door,
Though she be not decked in velvet and pearl,
Yet I will drop angels with thee for my girl;
'And then if my gold should better her birth,
And equal the gold you lay on the earth,
Then neither rail you, nor grudge you to see
The blind beggar's daughter a lady to be.
'But first, I will hear, and have it well known,
The gold that you drop it shall be all your own.'
With that they replied, 'Contented we be!'
'Then here's,' quoth the beggar, 'for pretty Bessee!'
With that an angel he dropped on the ground,
And dropped, in angels, full three thousand pound;
And oftentimes it proved most plain,
For the gentleman's one, the beggar dropped twain;
So that the whole place wherein they did sit,
With gold was covered every whit.
The gentleman having dropped all his store,
Said, 'Beggar! your hand hold, for I have no more.'
'Thou hast fulfilled thy promise aright,
Then marry my girl,' quoth he to the knight;
'And then,' quoth he, 'I will throw you down,
An hundred pound more to buy her a gown.'
The gentlemen all, who his treasure had seen,
Admired the beggar of Bednall Green;
And those that had been her suitors before,
Their tender flesh for anger they tore.
Thus was the fair Bessee matched to a knight,
And made a lady in other's despite.
A fairer lady there never was seen
Than the blind beggar's daughter of Bednall Green.
But of her sumptuous marriage and feast,
And what fine lords and ladies there prest,
The second part shall set forth to your sight,
With marvellous pleasure and wished-for delight.
Of a blind beggar's daughter so bright,
That late was betrothed to a young knight,
All the whole discourse therefore you may see;
But now comes the wedding of pretty Bessee.
It was in a gallant palace most brave,
Adorned with all the cost they could have,
This wedding it was kept most sumptuously,
And all for the love of pretty Bessee.
And all kind of dainties and delicates sweet,
Was brought to their banquet, as it was thought meet,
Partridge, and plover, and venison most free,
Against the brave wedding of pretty Bessee.
The wedding through England was spread by report,
So that a great number thereto did resort
Of nobles and gentles of every degree,
And all for the fame of pretty Bessee.
To church then away went this gallant young knight,
His bride followed after, an angel most bright,
With troops of ladies, the like was ne'er seen,
As went with sweet Bessee of Bednall Green.
This wedding being solemnized then,
With music performed by skilfullest men,
The nobles and gentlemen down at the side,
Each one beholding the beautiful bride.
But after the sumptuous dinner was done,
To talk and to reason a number begun,
And of the blind beggar's daughter most bright;
And what with his daughter he gave to the knight.
Then spoke the nobles, 'Much marvel have we
This jolly blind beggar we cannot yet see!'
'My lords,' quoth the bride, 'my father so base
Is loth with his presence these states to disgrace.'
'The praise of a woman in question to bring,
Before her own face is a flattering thing;
But we think thy father's baseness,' quoth they,
'Might by thy beauty be clean put away.'
They no sooner this pleasant word spoke,
But in comes the beggar in a silken cloak,
A velvet cap and a feather had he,
And now a musician, forsooth, he would be.
And being led in from catching of harm,
He had a dainty lute under his arm,
Said, 'Please you to hear any music of me,
A song I will sing you of pretty Bessee.'
With that his lute he twanged straightway,
And thereon began most sweetly to play,
And after a lesson was played two or three,
He strained out this song most delicately:-
'A beggar's daughter did dwell on a green,
Who for her beauty may well be a queen,
A blithe bonny lass, and dainty was she,
And many one called her pretty Bessee.
'Her father he had no goods nor no lands,
But begged for a penny all day with his hands,
And yet for her marriage gave thousands three,
Yet still he hath somewhat for pretty Bessee.
'And here if any one do her disdain,
Her father is ready with might and with main
To prove she is come of noble degree,
Therefore let none flout at my pretty Bessee.'
With that the lords and the company round
With a hearty laughter were ready to swound;
At last said the lords, 'Full well we may see,
The bride and the bridegroom's beholden to thee.'
With that the fair bride all blushing did rise,
With crystal water all in her bright eyes,
'Pardon my father, brave nobles,' quoth she,
'That through blind affection thus doats upon me.'
'If this be thy father,' the nobles did say,
'Well may he be proud of this happy day,
Yet by his countenance well may we see,
His birth with his fortune could never agree;
And therefore, blind beggar, we pray thee bewray,
And look to us then the truth thou dost say,
Thy birth and thy parentage what it may be,
E'en for the love thou bearest pretty Bessee.'
'Then give me leave, ye gentles each one,
A song more to sing and then I'll begone,
And if that I do not win good report,
Then do not give me one groat for my sport:-
'When first our king his fame did advance,
And sought his title in delicate France,
In many places great perils passed he;
But then was not born my pretty Bessee.
'And at those wars went over to fight,
Many a brave duke, a lord, and a knight,
And with them young Monford of courage so free;
But then was not born my pretty Bessee.
'And there did young Monford with a blow on the face
Lose both his eyes in a very short space;
His life had been gone away with his sight,
Had not a young woman gone forth in the night.
'Among the said men, her fancy did move,
To search and to seek for her own true love,
Who seeing young Monford there gasping to die,
She saved his life through her charity.
'And then all our victuals in beggar's attire,
At the hands of good people we then did require;
At last into England, as now it is seen,
We came, and remained in Bednall Green.
'And thus we have lived in Fortune's despite,
Though poor, yet contented with humble delight,
And in my old years, a comfort to me,
God sent me a daughter called pretty Bessee.
And thus, ye nobles, my song I do end,
Hoping by the same no man to offend;
Full forty long winters thus I have been,
A silly blind beggar of Bednall Green.'
Now when the company every one,
Did hear the strange tale he told in his song,
They were amazed, as well they might be,
Both at the blind beggar and pretty Bessee.
With that the fair bride they all did embrace,
Saying, 'You are come of an honourable race,
Thy father likewise is of high degree,
And thou art right worthy a lady to be.'
Thus was the feast ended with joy and delight,
A happy bridegroom was made the young knight,
Who lived in great joy and felicity,
With his fair lady dear pretty Bessee.
Ballad: THE BOLD PEDLAR AND ROBIN HOOD.
[THIS ballad is of considerable antiquity, and no doubt much older
than some of those inserted in the common Garlands. It appears to
have escaped the notice of Ritson, Percy, and other collectors of
Robin Hood ballads. The tune is given in POPULAR MUSIC. An aged
woman in Bermondsey, Surrey, from whose oral recitation the present
version was taken down, said that she had often heard her
grandmother sing it, and that it was never in print; but we have
since met with several common stall copies. The subject is the
same as that of the old ballad called ROBIN HOOD NEWLY REVIVED; OR,
THE MEETING AND FIGHTING WITH HIS COUSIN SCARLETT.]
THERE chanced to be a pedlar bold,
A pedlar bold he chanced to be;
He rolled his pack all on his back,
And he came tripping o'er the lee.
Down, a down, a down, a down,
Down, a down, a down.
By chance he met two troublesome blades,
Two troublesome blades they chanced to be;
The one of them was bold Robin Hood,
And the other was Little John, so free.
'Oh! pedlar, pedlar, what is in thy pack,
Come speedilie and tell to me?'
'I've several suits of the gay green silks,
And silken bowstrings two or three.'
'If you have several suits of the gay green silk,
And silken bowstrings two or three,
Then it's by my body,' cries BITTLE John,
'One half your pack shall belong to me.'
Oh! nay, oh! nay,' says the pedlar bold,
'Oh! nay, oh! nay, that never can be,
For there's never a man from fair Nottingham
Can take one half my pack from me.'
Then the pedlar he pulled off his pack,
And put it a little below his knee,
Saying, 'If you do move me one perch from this,
My pack and all shall gang with thee.'
Then Little John he drew his sword;
The pedlar by his pack did stand;
They fought until they both did sweat,
Till he cried, 'Pedlar, pray hold your hand!'
Then Robin Hood he was standing by,
And he did laugh most heartilie,
Saying, 'I could find a man of a smaller scale,
Could thrash the pedlar, and also thee.'
'Go, you try, master,' says Little John,
'Go, you try, master, most speedilie,
Or by my body,' says Little John,
'I am sure this night you will not know me.'
Then Robin Hood he drew his sword,
And the pedlar by his pack did stand,
They fought till the blood in streams did flow,
Till he cried, 'Pedlar, pray hold your hand!'
'Pedlar, pedlar! what is thy name?
Come speedilie and tell to me.'
'My name! my name, I ne'er will tell,
Till both your names you have told to me.'
'The one of us is bold Robin Hood,
And the other Little John, so free.'
'Now,' says the pedlar, 'it lays to my good will,
Whether my name I chuse to tell to thee.
'I am Gamble Gold (3) of the gay green woods,
And travelled far beyond the sea;
For killing a man in my father's land,
From my country I was forced to flee.'
'If you are Gamble Gold of the gay green woods,
And travelled far beyond the sea,
You are my mother's own sister's son;
What nearer cousins then can we be?'
They sheathed their swords with friendly words,
So merrily they did agree;
They went to a tavern and there they dined,
And bottles cracked most merrilie.
Ballad: THE OUTLANDISH KNIGHT.
[THIS is the common English stall copy of a ballad of which there
are a variety of versions, for an account of which, and of the
presumed origin of the story, the reader is referred to the notes
on the WATER O' WEARIE'S WELL, in the SCOTTISH TRADITIONAL VERSIONS
OF ANCIENT BALLADS, published by the Percy Society. By the term
'outlandish' is signified an inhabitant of that portion of the
border which was formerly known by the name of 'the Debateable
Land,' a district which, though claimed by both England and
Scotland, could not be said to belong to either country. The
people on each side of the border applied the term 'outlandish' to
the Debateable residents. The tune to THE OUTLANDISH KNIGHT has
never been printed; it is peculiar to the ballad, and, from its
popularity, is well known.]
AN Outlandish knight came from the North lands,
And he came a wooing to me;
He told me he'd take me unto the North lands,
And there he would marry me.
'Come, fetch me some of your father's gold,
And some of your mother's fee;
And two of the best nags out of the stable,
Where they stand thirty and three.'
She fetched him some of her father's gold,
And some of the mother's fee;
And two of the best nags out of the stable,
Where they stood thirty and three.
She mounted her on her milk-white steed,
He on the dapple grey;
They rode till they came unto the sea side,
Three hours before it was day.
'Light off, light off thy milk-white steed,
And deliver it unto me;
Six pretty maids have I drowned here,
And thou the seventh shall be.
'Pull off, pull off thy silken gown,
And deliver it unto me,
Methinks it looks too rich and too gay
To rot in the salt sea.
'Pull off, pull of thy silken stays,
And deliver them unto me;
Methinks they are too fine and gay
To rot in the salt sea.
'Pull off, pull off thy Holland smock,
And deliver it unto me;
Methinks it looks too rich and gay,
To rot in the salt sea.'
'If I must pull off my Holland smock,
Pray turn thy back unto me,
For it is not fitting that such a ruffian
A naked woman should see.'
He turned his back towards her,
And viewed the leaves so green;
She catched him round the middle so small,
And tumbled him into the stream.
He dropped high, and he dropped low,
Until he came to the side, -
'Catch hold of my hand, my pretty maiden,
And I will make you my bride.'
'Lie there, lie there, you false-hearted man,
Lie there instead of me;
Six pretty maids have you drowned here,
And the seventh has drowned thee.'
She mounted on her milk-white steed,
And led the dapple grey,
She rode till she came to her own father's hall,
Three hours before it was day.
The parrot being in the window so high,
Hearing the lady, did say,
'I'm afraid that some ruffian has led you astray,
That you have tarried so long away.'
'Don't prittle nor prattle, my pretty parrot,
Nor tell no tales of me;
Thy cage shall be made of the glittering gold,
Although it is made of a tree.'
The king being in the chamber so high,
And hearing the parrot, did say,
'What ails you, what ails you, my pretty parrot,
That you prattle so long before day?'
'It's no laughing matter,' the parrot did say,
'But so loudly I call unto thee;
For the cats have got into the window so high,
And I'm afraid they will have me.'
'Well turned, well turned, my pretty parrot,
Well turned, well turned for me;
Thy cage shall be made of the glittering gold,
And the door of the best ivory.' (4)
Ballad: LORD DELAWARE. (TRADITIONAL.)
[THIS interesting traditional ballad was first published by Mr.
Thomas Lyle in his ANCIENT BALLADS AND SONGS, London, 1827. 'We
have not as yet,' says Mr. Lyle, 'been able to trace out the
historical incident upon which this ballad appears to have been
founded; yet those curious in such matters may consult, if they
list, PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, for 1621 and
1662, where they will find that some stormy debating in these
several years had been agitated in parliament regarding the corn
laws, which bear pretty close upon the leading features of the
ballad.' Does not the ballad, however, belong to a much earlier
period? The description of the combat, the presence of heralds,
the wearing of armour, &c., justify the conjecture. For De la
Ware, ought we not to read De la Mare? and is not Sir Thomas De la
Mare the hero? the De la Mare who in the reign of Edward III., A.D.
1377, was Speaker of the House of Commons. All historians are
agreed in representing him as a person using 'great freedom of
speach,' and which, indeed, he carried to such an extent as to
endanger his personal liberty. As bearing somewhat upon the
subject of the ballad, it may he observed that De la Mare was a
great advocate of popular rights, and particularly protested
against the inhabitants of England being subject to 'purveyance,'
asserting that 'if the royal revenue was faithfully administered,
there could be no necessity for laying burdens on the people.' In
the subsequent reign of Richard II, De In Mare was a prominent
character, and though history is silent on the subject, it is not
improbable that such a man might, even in the royal presence, have
defended the rights of the poor, and spoken in extenuation of the
agrarian insurrectionary movements which were then so prevalent and
so alarming. On the hypothesis of De la Mare being the hero, there
are other incidents in the tale which cannot be reconciled with
history, such as the title given to De la Mare, who certainly was
never ennobled; nor can we ascertain that he was ever mixed up in
any duel; nor does it appear clear who can be meant by the 'Welsh
Lord, the brave Duke of Devonshire,' that dukedom not having been
created till 1694 and no nobleman having derived any title whatever
from Devonshire previously to 1618, when Baron Cavendish, of
Hardwick, was created the first EARL of Devonshire. We may
therefore presume that for 'Devonshire' ought to be inserted the
name of some other county or place. Strict historical accuracy is,
however, hardly to be expected in any ballad, particularly in one
which, like the present, has evidently been corrupted in floating
down the stream of time. There is only one quarrel recorded at the
supposed period of our tale as having taken place betwixt two
noblemen, and which resulted in a hostile meeting, viz., that
wherein the belligerent parties were the Duke of Hereford (who
might by a 'ballad-monger' be deemed a WELSH lord) and the Duke of
Norfolk. This was in the reign of Richard II. No fight, however,
took place, owing to the interference of the king. Our minstrel
author may have had rather confused historical ideas, and so mixed
up certain passages in De la Mare's history with this squabble; and
we are strongly inclined to suspect that such is the case, and that
it will be found the real clue to the story. Vide Hume's HISTORY
OF ENGLAND, chap. XVII. A.D. 1398. Lyle acknowledges that he has
taken some liberties with the oral version, but does not state what
they were, beyond that they consisted merely in 'smoothing down.'
Would that he had left it 'in the ROUGH!' The last verse has every
appearance of being apocryphal; it looks like one of those
benedictory verses with which minstrels were, and still are, in the
habit of concluding their songs. Lyle says the tune 'is pleasing,
and peculiar to the ballad.' A homely version, presenting only
trivial variations from that of Mr. Lyle, is still printed and
IN the Parliament House, a great rout has been there,
Betwixt our good King and the Lord Delaware:
Says Lord Delaware to his Majesty full soon,
'Will it please you, my liege, to grant me a boon?'
'What's your boon,' says the King, 'now let me understand?'
'It's, give me all the poor men we've starving in this land;
And without delay, I'll hie me to Lincolnshire,
To sow hemp-seed and flax-seed, and hang them all there.
'For with hempen cord it's better to stop each poor man's breath,
Than with famine you should see your subjects starve to death.'
Up starts a Dutch Lord, who to Delaware did say,
'Thou deserves to be stabbed!' then he turned himself away;
'Thou deserves to be stabbed, and the dogs have thine ears,
For insulting our King in this Parliament of peers.'
Up sprang a Welsh Lord, the brave Duke of Devonshire,
'In young Delaware's defence, I'll fight this Dutch Lord, my sire;
'For he is in the right, and I'll make it so appear:
Him I dare to single combat, for insulting Delaware.'
A stage was soon erected, and to combat they went,
For to kill, or to be killed, it was either's full intent.
But the very first flourish, when the heralds gave command,
The sword of brave Devonshire bent backward on his hand;
In suspense he paused awhile, scanned his foe before he strake,
Then against the King's armour, his bent sword he brake.
Then he sprang from the stage, to a soldier in the ring,
Saying, 'Lend your sword, that to an end this tragedy we bring:
Though he's fighting me in armour, while I am fighting bare,
Even more than this I'd venture for young Lord Delaware.'
Leaping back on the stage, sword to buckler now resounds,
Till he left the Dutch Lord a bleeding in his wounds:
This seeing, cries the King to his guards without delay,
'Call Devonshire down, - take the dead man away!'
'No,' says brave Devonshire, 'I've fought him as a man,
Since he's dead, I will keep the trophies I have won;
For he fought me in your armour, while I fought him bare,
And the same you must win back, my liege, if ever you them wear.'
God bless the Church of England, may it prosper on each hand,
And also every poor man now starving in this land;
And while I pray success may crown our King upon his throne,
I'll wish that every poor man may long enjoy his own.
Ballad: LORD BATEMAN.
[THIS is a ludicrously corrupt abridgment of the ballad of LORD
BEICHAN, a copy of which will be found inserted amongst the EARLY
BALLADS, An. Ed. p. 144. The following grotesque version was
published several years ago by Tilt, London, and also, according to
the title-page, by Mustapha Syried, Constantinople! under the title
of THE LOVING BALLAD OF LORD BATEMAN. It is, however, the only
ancient form in which the ballad has existed in print, and is one
of the publications mentioned in Thackeray's Catalogue, see ANTE,
p. 20. The air printed in Tilt's edition is the one to which the
ballad is sung in the South of England, but it is totally different
to the Northern tune, which has never been published.]
LORD BATEMAN he was a noble lord,
A noble lord of high degree;
He shipped himself on board a ship,
Some foreign country he would go see.
He sailed east, and he sailed west,
Until he came to proud Turkey;
Where he was taken, and put to prison,
Until his life was almost weary.
And in this prison there grew a tree,
It grew so stout, and grew so strong;
Where he was chained by the middle,
Until his life was almost gone.
This Turk he had one only daughter,
The fairest creature my eyes did see;
She stole the keys of her father's prison,
And swore Lord Bateman she would set free.
'Have you got houses? have you got lands?
Or does Northumberland belong to thee?
What would you give to the fair young lady
That out of prison would set you free?'
'I have got houses, I have got lands,
And half Northumberland belongs to me
I'll give it all to the fair young lady
That out of prison would set me free.'
O! then she took him to her father's hall,
And gave to him the best of wine;
And every health she drank unto him,
'I wish, Lord Bateman, that you were mine!
'Now in seven years I'll make a vow,
And seven years I'll keep it strong,
If you'll wed with no other woman,
I will wed with no other man.'
O! then she took him to her father's harbour,
And gave to him a ship of fame;
'Farewell, farewell to you, Lord Bateman,
I'm afraid I ne'er shall see you again.'
Now seven long years are gone and past,
And fourteen days, well known to thee;
She packed up all her gay clothing,
And swore Lord Bateman she would go see.
But when she came to Lord Bateman's castle,
So boldly she rang the bell;
'Who's there? who's there?' cried the proud porter,
'Who's there? unto me come tell.'
'O! is this Lord Bateman's castle?
Or is his Lordship here within?'
'O, yes! O, yes!' cried the young porter,
'He's just now taken his new bride in.'
'O! tell him to send me a slice of bread,
And a bottle of the best wine;
And not forgetting the fair young lady
Who did release him when close confine.'
Away, away went this proud young porter,
Away, away, and away went he,
Until he came to Lord Bateman's chamber,
Down on his bended knees fell he.
'What news, what news, my proud young porter?
What news hast thou brought unto me?'
'There is the fairest of all young creatures
That ever my two eyes did see!
'She has got rings on every finger,
And round one of them she has got three,
And as much gay clothing round her middle
As would buy all Northumberlea.
'She bids you send her a slice of bread,
And a bottle of the best wine;
And not forgetting the fair young lady
Who did release you when close confine.'
Lord Bateman he then in a passion flew,
And broke his sword in splinters three;
Saying, 'I will give all my father's riches
If Sophia has crossed the sea.'
Then up spoke the young bride's mother,
Who never was heard to speak so free,
'You'll not forget my only daughter,
If Sophia has crossed the sea.'
'I own I made a bride of your daughter,
She's neither the better nor worse for me;
She came to me with her horse and saddle,
She may go back in her coach and three.'
Lord Bateman prepared another marriage,
And sang, with heart so full of glee,
I'll range no more in foreign countries,
Now since Sophia has crossed the sea.'
Ballad: THE GOLDEN GLOVE; OR, THE SQUIRE OF TAMWORTH.
[THIS is a very popular ballad, and sung in every part of England.
It is traditionally reported to be founded on an incident which
occurred in the reign of Elizabeth. It has been published in the
broadside form from the commencement of the eighteenth century, but
is no doubt much older. It does not appear to have been previously
inserted in any collection.]
A WEALTHY young squire of Tamworth, we hear,
He courted a nobleman's daughter so fair;
And for to marry her it was his intent,
All friends and relations gave their consent.
The time was appointed for the wedding-day,
A young farmer chosen to give her away;
As soon as the farmer the young lady did spy,
He inflamed her heart; 'O, my heart!' she did cry.
She turned from the squire, but nothing she said,
Instead of being married she took to her bed;
The thought of the farmer soon run in her mind,
A way for to have him she quickly did find.
Coat, waistcoat, and breeches she then did put on,
And a hunting she went with her dog and her gun;
She hunted all round where the farmer did dwell,
Because in her heart she did love him full well:
She oftentimes fired, but nothing she killed,
At length the young farmer came into the field;
And to discourse with him it was her intent,
With her dog and her gun to meet him she went.
'I thought you had been at the wedding,' she cried,
'To wait on the squire, and give him his bride.'
'No, sir,' said the farmer, 'if the truth I may tell,
I'll not give her away, for I love her too well'
'Suppose that the lady should grant you her love,
You know that the squire your rival will prove.'
'Why, then,' says the farmer, 'I'll take sword in hand,
By honour I'll gain her when she shall command.'
It pleased the lady to find him so bold;
She gave him a glove that was flowered with gold,
And told him she found it when coming along,
As she was a hunting with her dog and gun.
The lady went home with a heart full of love,
And gave out a notice that she'd lost a glove;
And said, 'Who has found it, and brings it to me,
Whoever he is, he my husband shall be.'
The farmer was pleased when he heard of the news,
With heart full of joy to the lady he goes:
'Dear, honoured lady, I've picked up your glove,
And hope you'll be pleased to grant me your love.'
'It's already granted, I will be your bride;
I love the sweet breath of a farmer,' she cried.
'I'll be mistress of my dairy, and milking my cow,
While my jolly brisk farmer is whistling at plough.'
And when she was married she told of her fun,
How she went a hunting with her dog and gun:
'And now I've got him so fast in my snare,
I'll enjoy him for ever, I vow and declare!'
Ballad: KING JAMES I. AND THE TINKLER. (5) (TRADITIONAL.)
[THIS ballad of KING JAMES I. AND THE TINKLER was probably written
either in, or shortly after, the reign of the monarch who is the
hero. The incident recorded is said to be a fact, though the
locality is doubtful. By some the scene is laid at Norwood, in
Surrey; by others in some part of the English border. The ballad
is alluded to by Percy, but is not inserted either in the RELIQUES,
or in any other popular collection. It is to be found only in a
few broadsides and chap-books of modern date. The present version
is a traditional one, taken down, as here given, from the recital
of the late Francis King. (6) It is much superior to the common
broadside edition with which it has been collated, and from which
the thirteenth and fifteenth verses were obtained. The ballad is
very popular on the Border, and in the dales of Cumberland,
Westmoreland, and Craven. The late Robert Anderson, the Cumbrian
bard, represents Deavie, in his song of the CLAY DAUBIN, as singing
THE KING AND THE TINKLER.]
AND now, to be brief, let's pass over the rest,
Who seldom or never were given to jest,
And come to King Jamie, the first of our throne,
A pleasanter monarch sure never was known.
As he was a hunting the swift fallow-deer,
He dropped all his nobles; and when he got clear,
In hope of some pastime away he did ride,
Till he came to an alehouse, hard by a wood-side.
And there with a tinkler he happened to meet,
And him in kind sort he so freely did greet:
'Pray thee, good fellow, what hast in thy jug,
Which under thy arm thou dost lovingly hug?'
'By the mass!' quoth the tinkler, 'it's nappy brown ale,
And for to drink to thee, friend, I will not fail;
For although thy jacket looks gallant and fine,
I think that my twopence as good is as thine.'
'By my soul! honest fellow, the truth thou hast spoke,'
And straight he sat down with the tinkler to joke;
They drank to the King, and they pledged to each other;
Who'd seen 'em had thought they were brother and brother.
As they were a-drinking the King pleased to say,
'What news, honest fellow? come tell me, I pray?'
'There's nothing of news, beyond that I hear
The King's on the border a-chasing the deer.
'And truly I wish I so happy may be
Whilst he is a hunting the King I might see;
For although I've travelled the land many ways
I never have yet seen a King in my days.'
The King, with a hearty brisk laughter, replied,
'I tell thee, good fellow, if thou canst but ride,
Thou shalt get up behind me, and I will thee bring
To the presence of Jamie, thy sovereign King.'
'But he'll be surrounded with nobles so gay,
And how shall we tell him from them, sir, I pray?'
'Thou'lt easily ken him when once thou art there;
The King will be covered, his nobles all bare.'
He got up behind him and likewise his sack,
His budget of leather, and tools at his back;
They rode till they came to the merry greenwood,
His nobles came round him, bareheaded they stood.
The tinkler then seeing so many appear,
He slily did whisper the King in his ear:
Saying, 'They're all clothed so gloriously gay,
But which amongst them is the King, sir, I pray?'
The King did with hearty good laughter, reply,
'By my soul! my good fellow, it's thou or it's I!
The rest are bareheaded, uncovered all round.' -
With his bag and his budget he fell to the ground,
Like one that was frightened quite out of his wits,
Then on his knees he instantly gets,
Beseeching for mercy; the King to him said,
'Thou art a good fellow, so be not afraid.
'Come, tell thy name?' 'I am John of the Dale,
A mender of kettles, a lover of ale.'
'Rise up, Sir John, I will honour thee here, -
I make thee a knight of three thousand a year!'
This was a good thing for the tinkler indeed;
Then unto the court he was sent for with speed,
Where great store of pleasure and pastime was seen,
In the royal presence of King and of Queen.
Sir John of the Dale he has land, he has fee,
At the court of the king who so happy as he?
Yet still in his hall hangs the tinkler's old sack,
And the budget of tools which he bore at his back.
Ballad: THE KEACH I' THE CREEL.
[THIS old and very humorous ballad has long been a favourite on
both sides of the Border, but had never appeared in print till
about 1845, when a Northumbrian gentleman printed a few copies for
private circulation, from one of which the following is taken. In
the present impression some trifling typographical mistakes are
corrected, and the phraseology has been rendered uniform
throughout. KEACH I' THE CREEL means the catch in the basket.]
A FAIR young May went up the street,
Some white fish for to buy;
And a bonny clerk's fa'n i' luve wi' her,
And he's followed her by and by, by,
And he's followed her by and by.
'O! where live ye my bonny lass,
I pray thee tell to me;
For gin the nicht were ever sae mirk,
I wad come and visit thee, thee;
I wad come and visit thee.'
'O! my father he aye locks the door,
My mither keeps the key;
And gin ye were ever sic a wily wicht,
Ye canna win in to me, me;
Ye canna win in to me.'
But the clerk he had ae true brother,
And a wily wicht was he;
And he has made a lang ladder,
Was thirty steps and three, three;
Was thirty steps and three.
He has made a cleek but and a creel -
A creel but and a pin;
And he's away to the chimley-top,
And he's letten the bonny clerk in, in;
And he's letten the bonny clerk in.
The auld wife, being not asleep,
Tho' late, late was the hour;
I'll lay my life,' quo' the silly auld wife,
'There's a man i' our dochter's bower, bower;
There's a man i' our dochter's bower.'
The auld man he gat owre the bed,
To see if the thing was true;
But she's ta'en the bonny clerk in her arms,
And covered him owre wi' blue, blue;
And covered him owre wi' blue.
'O! where are ye gaun now, father?' she says,
'And where are ye gaun sae late?
Ye've disturbed me in my evening prayers,
And O! but they were sweit, sweit;
And O! but they were sweit.'
'O! ill betide ye, silly auld wife,
And an ill death may ye dee;
She has the muckle buik in her arms,
And she's prayin' for you and me, me;
And she's prayin' for you and me.'
The auld wife being not asleep,
Then something mair was said;
'I'll lay my life,' quo' the silly auld wife,
'There's a man by our dochter's bed, bed;
There's a man by our dochter's bed.'
The auld wife she gat owre the bed,
To see if the thing was true;
But what the wrack took the auld wife's fit?
For into the creel she flew, flew;
For into the creel she flew.
The man that was at the chimley-top,
Finding the creel was fu',
He wrappit the rape round his left shouther,
And fast to him he drew, drew:
And fast to him he drew.
'O, help! O, help! O, hinny, noo, help!
O, help! O, hinny, do!
For HIM that ye aye wished me at,
He's carryin' me off just noo, noo;
He's carryin' me off just noo.'
'O! if the foul thief's gotten ye,
I wish he may keep his haud;
For a' the lee lang winter nicht,
Ye'll never lie in your bed, bed;
Ye'll never lie in your bed.'
He's towed her up, he's towed her down,
He's towed her through an' through;
'O, Gude! assist,' quo' the silly auld wife,
'For I'm just departin' noo, noo;
For I'm just departin' noo.'
He's towed her up, he's towed her down,
He's gien her a richt down fa',
Till every rib i' the auld wife's side,
Played nick nack on the wa', wa';
Played nick nack on the wa'.
O! the blue, the bonny, bonny blue,
And I wish the blue may do weel;
And every auld wife that's sae jealous o' her dochter,
May she get a good keach i' the creel, creel;
May she get a good keach i' the creel!
Ballad: THE MERRY BROOMFIELD; OR, THE WEST COUNTRY WAGER.
[THIS old West-country ballad was one of the broadsides printed at
the Aldermary press. We have not met with any older impression,
though we have been assured that there are black-letter copies. In
Scott's MINSTRELSY OF THE SCOTTISH BORDER is a ballad called the
BROOMFIELD HILL; it is a mere fragment, but is evidently taken from
the present ballad, and can be considered only as one of the many
modern antiques to be found in that work.]
A NOBLE young squire that lived in the West,
He courted a young lady gay;
And as he was merry he put forth a jest,
A wager with her he would lay.
'A wager with me,' the young lady replied,
'I pray about what must it be?
If I like the humour you shan't be denied,
I love to be merry and free.'
Quoth he, 'I will lay you a hundred pounds,
A hundred pounds, aye, and ten,
That a maid if you go to the merry Broomfield,
That a maid you return not again.'
'I'll lay you that wager,' the lady she said,
Then the money she flung down amain;
'To the merry Broomfield I'll go a pure maid,
The same I'll return home again.'
He covered her bet in the midst of the hall,
With a hundred and ten jolly pounds;
And then to his servant he straightway did call,
For to bring forth his hawk and his hounds.
A ready obedience the servant did yield,
And all was made ready o'er night;
Next morning he went to the merry Broomfield,
To meet with his love and delight.
Now when he came there, having waited a while,
Among the green broom down he lies;
The lady came to him, and could not but smile,
For sleep then had closed his eyes.
Upon his right hand a gold ring she secured,
Drawn from her own fingers so fair;
That when he awaked he might be assured
His lady and love had been there.
She left him a posie of pleasant perfume,
Then stepped from the place where he lay,
Then hid herself close in the besom of broom,
To hear what her true love did say.
He wakened and found the gold ring on his hand,
Then sorrow of heart he was in;
'My love has been here, I do well understand,
And this wager I now shall not win.
'Oh! where was you, my goodly goshawk,
The which I have purchased so dear,
Why did you not waken me out of my sleep,
When the lady, my love, was here?'
'O! with my bells did I ring, master,
And eke with my feet did I run;
And still did I cry, pray awake! master,
She's here now, and soon will be gone.'
'O! where was you, my gallant greyhound,
Whose collar is flourished with gold;
Why hadst thou not wakened me out of my sleep,
When thou didst my lady behold?'
'Dear master, I barked with my mouth when she came,
And likewise my collar I shook;
And told you that here was the beautiful dame,
But no notice of me then you took.'
'O! where wast thou, my servingman,
Whom I have clothed so fine?
If you had waked me when she was here,
The wager then had been mine.'
In the night you should have slept, master,
And kept awake in the day;
Had you not been sleeping when hither she came,
Then a maid she had not gone away.'
Then home he returned when the wager was lost,
With sorrow of heart, I may say;
The lady she laughed to find her love crost, -
This was upon midsummer-day.
'O, squire! I laid in the bushes concealed,
And heard you, when you did complain;
And thus I have been to the merry Broomfield,
And a maid returned back again.
'Be cheerful! be cheerful! and do not repine,
For now 'tis as clear as the sun,
The money, the money, the money is mine,
The wager I fairly have won.'
Ballad: SIR JOHN BARLEYCORN.
[THE West-country ballad of SIR JOHN BARLEYCORN is very ancient,
and being the only version that has ever been sung at English
merry-makings and country feasts, can certainly set up a better
claim to antiquity than any of the three ballads on the same
subject to be found in Evans's OLD BALLADS; viz., JOHN BARLEYCORN,
THE LITTLE BARLEYCORN, and MAS MAULT. Our west-country version
bears the greatest resemblance to THE LITTLE BARLEYCORN, but it is
very dissimilar to any of the three. Burns altered the old ditty,
but on referring to his version it will be seen that his
corrections and additions want the simplicity of the original, and
certainly cannot be considered improvements. The common ballad
does not appear to have been inserted in any of our popular
collections. SIR JOHN BARLEYCORN is very appropriately sung to the
tune of STINGO. See POPULAR MUSIC, p. 305.]
THERE came three men out of the West,
Their victory to try;
And they have taken a solemn oath,
Poor Barleycorn should die.
They took a plough and ploughed him in,
And harrowed clods on his head;
And then they took a solemn oath,
Poor Barleycorn was dead.
There he lay sleeping in the ground,
Till rain from the sky did fall:
Then Barleycorn sprung up his head,
And so amazed them all.
There he remained till Midsummer,
And looked both pale and wan;
Then Barleycorn he got a beard,
And so became a man.
Then they sent men with scythes so sharp,
To cut him off at knee;
And then poor little Barleycorn,
They served him barbarously.
Then they sent men with pitchforks strong
To pierce him through the heart;
And like a dreadful tragedy,
They bound him to a cart.
And then they brought him to a barn,
A prisoner to endure;
And so they fetched him out again,
And laid him on the floor.
Then they set men with holly clubs,
To beat the flesh from his bones;
But the miller he served him worse than that,
For he ground him betwixt two stones.
O! Barleycorn is the choicest grain
That ever was sown on land;
It will do more than any grain,
By the turning of your hand.
It will make a boy into a man,
And a man into an ass;
It will change your gold into silver,
And your silver into brass.
It will make the huntsman hunt the fox,
That never wound his horn;
It will bring the tinker to the stocks,
That people may him scorn.
It will put sack into a glass,
And claret in the can;
And it will cause a man to drink
Till he neither can go nor stand.
Ballad: BLOW THE WINDS, I-HO!
[THIS Northumbrian ballad is of great antiquity, and bears
considerable resemblance to THE BAFFLED KNIGHT; OR, LADY'S POLICY,
inserted in Percy's RELIQUES. It is not in any popular collection.
In the broadside from which it is here printed, the title and
chorus are given, BLOW THE WINDS, I-O, a form common to many
ballads and songs, but only to those of great antiquity. Chappell,
in his POPULAR MUSIC, has an example in a song as old as 1698:-
'Here's a health to jolly Bacchus,
I-ho! I-ho! I-ho!'
and in another well-known old catch the same form appears:-
'A pye sat on a pear-tree,
I-ho, I-ho, I-ho.'
'Io!' or, as we find it given in these lyrics, 'I-ho!' was an
ancient form of acclamation or triumph on joyful occasions and
anniversaries. It is common, with slight variations, to different
languages. In the Gothic, for example, Iola signifies to make
merry. It has been supposed by some etymologists that the word
'yule' is a corruption of 'Io!']
THERE was a shepherd's son,
He kept sheep on yonder hill;
He laid his pipe and his crook aside,
And there he slept his fill.
And blow the winds, I-ho!
Sing, blow the winds, I-ho!
Clear away the morning dew,
And blow the winds, I-ho!
He looked east, and he looked west,
He took another look,
And there he spied a lady gay,
Was dipping in a brook.
She said, 'Sir, don't touch my mantle,
Come, let my clothes alone;
I will give you as much money
As you can carry home.'
'I will not touch your mantle,
I'll let your clothes alone;
I'll take you out of the water clear,
My dear, to be my own.'
He did not touch her mantle,
He let her clothes alone;
But he took her from the clear water,
And all to be his own.
He set her on a milk-white steed,
Himself upon another;
And there they rode along the road,
Like sister, and like brother.
And as they rode along the road,
He spied some cocks of hay;
'Yonder,' he says, 'is a lovely place
For men and maids to play!'
And when they came to her father's gate,
She pulled at a ring;
And ready was the proud porter
For to let the lady in.
And when the gates were open,
This lady jumped in;
She says, 'You are a fool without,
And I'm a maid within.
'Good morrow to you, modest boy,
I thank you for your care;
If you had been what you should have been,
I would not have left you there.
'There is a horse in my father's stable,
He stands beyond the thorn;
He shakes his head above the trough,
But dares not prie the corn.
'There is a bird in my father's flock,
A double comb he wears;
He flaps his wings, and crows full loud,
But a capon's crest he bears.
'There is a flower in my father's garden,
They call it marygold;
The fool that will not when he may,
He shall not when he wold.'
Said the shepherd's son, as he doft his shoon,
'My feet they shall run bare,
And if ever I meet another maid,
I rede that maid beware.'
Ballad: THE BEAUTIFUL LADY OF KENT; OR, THE SEAMAN OF DOVER.
[WE have met with two copies of this genuine English ballad; the
older one is without printer's name, but from the appearance of the
type and the paper, it must have been published about the middle of
the last century. It is certainly not one of the original
impressions, for the other copy, though of recent date, has
evidently been taken from some still older and better edition. In
the modern broadside the ballad is in four parts, whereas, in our
older one, there is no such expressed division, but a word at the
commencement of each part is printed in capital letters.]
A SEAMAN of Dover, whose excellent parts,
For wisdom and learning, had conquered the hearts
Of many young damsels, of beauty so bright,
Of him this new ditty in brief I shall write;
And show of his turnings, and windings of fate,
His passions and sorrows, so many and great:
And how he was blessed with true love at last,
When all the rough storms of his troubles were past.
Now, to be brief, I shall tell you the truth:
A beautiful lady, whose name it was Ruth,
A squire's young daughter, near Sandwich, in Kent,
Proves all his heart's treasure, his joy and content.
Unknown to their parents in private they meet,
Where many love lessons they'd often repeat,
With kisses, and many embraces likewise,
She granted him love, and thus gained the prize.
She said, 'I consent to be thy sweet bride,
Whatever becomes of my fortune,' she cried.
'The frowns of my father I never will fear,
But freely will go through the world with my dear.'
A jewel he gave her, in token of love,
And vowed, by the sacred powers above,
To wed the next morning; but they were betrayed,
And all by the means of a treacherous maid.
She told her parents that they were agreed:
With that they fell into a passion with speed,
And said, ere a seaman their daughter should have,
They rather would follow her corpse to the grave.
The lady was straight to her chamber confined,
Here long she continued in sorrow of mind,
And so did her love, for the loss of his dear, -
No sorrow was ever so sharp and severe.
When long he had mourned for his love and delight,
Close under the window he came in the night,
And sung forth this ditty:- 'My dearest, farewell!
Behold, in this nation no longer I dwell.
'I am going from hence to the kingdom of Spain,
Because I am willing that you should obtain
Your freedom once more; for my heart it will break
If longer thou liest confined for my sake.'
The words which he uttered, they caused her to weep;
Yet, nevertheless, she was forced to keep
Deep silence that minute, that minute for fear
Her honoured father and mother should hear.
Soon after, bold Henry he entered on board,
The heavens a prosperous gale did afford,
And brought him with speed to the kingdom of Spain,
There he with a merchant some time did remain;
Who, finding that he was both faithful and just,
Preferred him to places of honour and trust;
He made him as great as his heart could request,
Yet, wanting his Ruth, he with grief was oppressed.
So great was his grief it could not be concealed,
Both honour and riches no pleasure could yield;
In private he often would weep and lament,
For Ruth, the fair, beautiful lady of Kent.
Now, while he lamented the loss of his dear,
A lady of Spain did before him appear,
Bedecked with rich jewels both costly and gay,
Who earnestly sought for his favour that day.
Said she, 'Gentle swain, I am wounded with love,
And you are the person I honour above
The greatest of nobles that ever was born; -
Then pity my tears, and my sorrowful mourn!'
'I pity thy sorrowful tears,' he replied,
'And wish I were worthy to make thee my bride;
But, lady, thy grandeur is greater than mine,
Therefore, I am fearful my heart to resign.'
'O! never be doubtful of what will ensue,
No manner of danger will happen to you;
At my own disposal I am, I declare,
Receive me with love, or destroy me with care.'
'Dear madam, don't fix your affection on me,
You are fit for some lord of a noble degree,
That is able to keep up your honour and fame;
I am but a poor sailor, from England who came.
'A man of mean fortune, whose substance is small,
I have not wherewith to maintain you withal,
Sweet lady, according to honour and state;
Now this is the truth, which I freely relate.'
The lady she lovingly squeezed his hand,
And said with a smile, 'Ever blessed be the land
That bred such a noble, brave seaman as thee;
I value no honours, thou'rt welcome to me;
'My parents are dead, I have jewels untold,
Besides in possession a million of gold;
And thou shalt be lord of whatever I have,
Grant me but thy love, which I earnestly crave.'
Then, turning aside, to himself he replied,
'I am courted with riches and beauty beside;
This love I may have, but my Ruth is denied.'
Wherefore he consented to make her his bride.
The lady she clothed him costly and great;
His noble deportment, both proper and straight,
So charmed the innocent eye of his dove,
And added a second new flame to her love.
Then married they were without longer delay;
Now here we will leave them both glorious and gay,
To speak of fair Ruth, who in sorrow was left
At home with her parents, of comfort bereft.
When under the window with an aching heart,
He told his fair Ruth he so soon must depart,
Her parents they heard, and well pleased they were,
But Ruth was afflicted with sorrow and care.
Now, after her lover had quitted the shore,
They kept her confined a fall twelvemonth or more,
And then they were pleased to set her at large,
With laying upon her a wonderful charge:
To fly from a seaman as she would from death;
She promised she would, with a faltering breath;
Yet, nevertheless, the truth you shall hear,
She found out a way for to follow her dear.
Then, taking her gold and her silver also,
In seaman's apparel away she did go,
And found out a master, with whom she agreed,
To carry her over the ocean with speed.
Now, when she arrived at the kingdom of Spain,
From city to city she travelled amain,
Enquiring about everywhere for her love,
Who now had been gone seven years and above.
In Cadiz, as she walked along in the street,
Her love and his lady she happened to meet,
But in such a garb as she never had seen, -
She looked like an angel, or beautiful queen.
With sorrowful tears she turned her aside:
'My jewel is gone, I shall ne'er be his bride;
But, nevertheless, though my hopes are in vain,
I'll never return to old England again.
'But here, in this place, I will now be confined;
It will be a comfort and joy to my mind,
To see him sometimes, though he thinks not of me,
Since he has a lady of noble degree.'
Now, while in the city fair Ruth did reside,
Of a sudden this beautiful lady she died,
And, though he was in the possession of all,
Yet tears from his eyes in abundance did fall.
As he was expressing his piteous moan,
Fair Ruth came unto him, and made herself known;
He started to see her, but seemed not coy,
Said he, 'Now my sorrows are mingled with joy!'
The time of the mourning he kept it in Spain,
And then he came back to old England again,
With thousands, and thousands, which he did possess;
Then glorious and gay was sweet Ruth in her dress.
When over the seas to fair Sandwich he came,
With Ruth, and a number of persons of fame,
Then all did appear most splendid and gay,
As if it had been a great festival day.
Now, when that they took up their lodgings, behold!
He stripped off his coat of embroidered gold,
And presently borrows a mariner's suit,
That he with her parents might have some dispute,
Before they were sensible he was so great;
And when he came in and knocked at the gate,
He soon saw her father, and mother likewise,
Expressing their sorrow with tears in their eyes,
To them, with obeisance, he modestly said,
'Pray where is my jewel, that innocent maid,
Whose sweet lovely beauty doth thousands excel?
I fear, by your weeping, that all is not well!'
'No, no! she is gone, she is utterly lost;
We have not heard of her a twelvemonth at most!
Which makes us distracted with sorrow and care,
And drowns us in tears at the point of despair.'
'I'm grieved to hear these sad tidings,' he cried.
'Alas! honest young man,' her father replied,
'I heartily wish she'd been wedded to you,
For then we this sorrow had never gone through.'
Sweet Henry he made them this answer again;
'I am newly come home from the kingdom of Spain,
From whence I have brought me a beautiful bride,
And am to be married to-morrow,' he cried;
'And if you will go to my wedding,' said he,
'Both you and your lady right welcome shall be.'
They promised they would, and accordingly came,
Not thinking to meet with such persons of fame.
All decked with their jewels of rubies and pearls,
As equal companions of lords and of earls,
Fair Ruth, with her love, was as gay as the rest,
So they in their marriage were happily blessed.
Now, as they returned from the church to an inn,
The father and mother of Ruth did begin
Their daughter to know, by a mole they behold,
Although she was clothed in a garment of gold.
With transports of joy they flew to the bride,
'O! where hast thou been, sweetest daughter?' they cried,
'Thy tedious absence has grieved us sore,
As fearing, alas! we should see thee no more.'
'Dear parents,' said she, 'many hazards I run,
To fetch home my love, and your dutiful son;
Receive him with joy, for 'tis very well known,
He seeks not your wealth, he's enough of his own.'
Her father replied, and he merrily smiled,
'He's brought home enough, as he's brought home my child;
A thousand times welcome you are, I declare,
Whose presence disperses both sorrow and care.'
Full seven long days in feasting they spent;
The bells in the steeple they merrily went,
And many fair pounds were bestowed on the poor, -
The like of this wedding was never before!
Ballad: THE BERKSHIRE LADY'S GARLAND.
IN FOUR PARTS.
To the tune of THE ROYAL FORESTER.
[WHEN we first met with this very pleasing English ballad, we
deemed the story to be wholly fictitious, but 'strange' as the
'relation' may appear, the incidents narrated are 'true' or at
least founded on fact. The scene of the ballad is Whitley Park,
near Reading, in Berkshire, and not, as some suppose, Calcot House,
which was not built till 1759. Whitley is mentioned as 'the
Abbot's Park, being at the entrance of Redding town.' At the
Dissolution the estate passed to the crown, and the mansion seems,
from time to time, to have been used as a royal 'palace' till the
reign of Elizabeth, by whom it was granted, along with the estate,
to Sir Francis Knollys; it was afterwards, by purchase, the
property of the Kendricks, an ancient race, descended from the
Saxon kings. William Kendrick, of Whitley, armr. was created a
baronet in 1679, and died in 1685, leaving issue one son, Sir
William Kendrick, of Whitley, Bart., who married Miss Mary House,
of Reading, and died in 1699, without issue male, leaving an only
daughter. It was this rich heiress, who possessed 'store of wealth
and beauty bright,' that is the heroine of the ballad. She married
Benjamin Child, Esq., a young and handsome, but very poor attorney
of Reading, and the marriage is traditionally reported to have been
brought about exactly as related in the ballad. We have not been
able to ascertain the exact date of the marriage, which was
celebrated in St. Mary's Church, Reading, the bride wearing a thick
veil; but the ceremony must have taken place some time about 1705.
In 1714, Mr. Child was high sheriff of Berkshire. As he was an
humble and obscure personage previously to his espousing the
heiress of Whitley, and, in fact, owed all his wealth and influence
to his marriage, it cannot be supposed that IMMEDIATELY after his
union he would be elevated to so important and dignified a post as
the high-shrievalty of the very aristocratical county of Berks. We
may, therefore, consider nine or ten years to have elapsed betwixt
his marriage and his holding the office of high sheriff, which he
filled when he was about thirty-two years of age. The author of
the ballad is unknown: supposing him to have composed it shortly
after the events which he records, we cannot be far wrong in fixing
its date about 1706. The earliest broadside we have seen contains
a rudely executed, but by no means bad likeness of Queen Anne, the
reigning monarch at that period.]
SHOWING CUPID'S CONQUEST OVER A COY LADY OF FIVE THOUSAND A YEAR.
BACHELORS of every station,
Mark this strange and true relation,
Which in brief to you I bring, -
Never was a stranger thing!
You shall find it worth the hearing;
Loyal love is most endearing,
When it takes the deepest root,
Yielding charms and gold to boot.
Some will wed for love of treasure;
But the sweetest joy and pleasure
Is in faithful love, you'll find,
Graced with a noble mind.
Such a noble disposition
Had this lady, with submission,
Of whom I this sonnet write,
Store of wealth, and beauty bright.
She had left, by a good grannum,
Full five thousand pounds per annum,
Which she held without control;
Thus she did in riches roll.
Though she had vast store of riches,
Which some persons much bewitches,
Yet she bore a virtuous mind,
Not the least to pride inclined.
Many noble persons courted
This young lady, 'tis reported;
But their labour proved in vain,
They could not her favour gain.
Though she made a strong resistance,
Yet by Cupid's true assistance,
She was conquered after all;
How it was declare I shall.
Being at a noble wedding,
Near the famous town of Redding, (7)
A young gentleman she saw,
Who belonged to the law.
As she viewed his sweet behaviour,
Every courteous carriage gave her
New addition to her grief;
Forced she was to seek relief.
Privately she then enquired
About him, so much admired;
Both his name, and where he dwelt, -
Such was the hot flame she felt.
Then, at night, this youthful lady
Called her coach, which being ready,
Homewards straight she did return;
But her heart with flames did burn.
SHOWING THE LADY'S LETTER OF A CHALLENGE TO FIGHT HIM UPON HIS
REFUSING TO WED HER IN A MASK, WITHOUT KNOWING WHO SHE WAS.
Night and morning, for a season,
In her closet would she reason
With herself, and often said,
'Why has love my heart betrayed?
'I, that have so many slighted,
Am at length so well requited;
For my griefs are not a few!
Now I find what love can do.
'He that has my heart in keeping,
Though I for his sake be weeping,
Little knows what grief I feel;
But I'll try it out with steel.
'For I will a challenge send him,
And appoint where I'll attend him,
In a grove, without delay,
By the dawning of the day.
'He shall not the least discover
That I am a virgin lover,
By the challenge which I send;
But for justice I contend.
'He has caused sad distraction,
And I come for satisfaction,
Which if he denies to give,
One of us shall cease to live.'
Having thus her mind revealed,
She her letter closed and sealed;
Which, when it came to his hand,
The young man was at a stand.
In her letter she conjured him
For to meet, and well assured him,
Recompence he must afford,
Or dispute it with the sword.
Having read this strange relation,
He was in a consternation;
But, advising with his friend,
He persuades him to attend.
'Be of courage, and make ready,
Faint heart never won fair lady;
In regard it must be so,
I along with you must go.'
SHOWING HOW THEY MET BY APPOINTMENT IN A GROVE, WHERE SHE OBLIGED
HIM TO FIGHT OR WED HER.
Early on a summer's morning,
When bright Phoebus was adorning
Every bower with his beams,
The fair lady came, it seems.
At the bottom of a mountain,
Near a pleasant crystal fountain,
There she left her gilded coach,
While the grove she did approach.
Covered with her mask, and walking,
There she met her lover talking
With a friend that he had brought;
So she asked him whom he sought.
'I am challenged by a gallant,
Who resolves to try my talent;
Who he is I cannot say,
But I hope to show him play.'
'It is I that did invite you,
You shall wed me, or I'll fight you,
Underneath those spreading trees;
Therefore, choose you which you please.
'You shall find I do not vapour,
I have brought my trusty rapier;
Therefore, take your choice,' said she,
'Either fight or marry me.'
Said he, 'Madam, pray what mean you?
In my life I've never seen you;
Pray unmask, your visage show,
Then I'll tell you aye or no.'
'I will not my face uncover
Till the marriage ties are over;
Therefore, choose you which you will,
Wed me, sir, or try your skill.
'Step within that pleasant bower,
With your friend one single hour;
Strive your thoughts to reconcile,
And I'll wander here the while.'
While this beauteous lady waited,
The young bachelors debated
What was best for to be done:
Quoth his friend, 'The hazard run.
'If my judgment can be trusted,
Wed her first, you can't be worsted;
If she's rich, you'll rise to fame,
If she's poor, why! you're the same.'
He consented to be married;
All three in a coach were carried
To a church without delay,
Where he weds the lady gay.
Though sweet pretty Cupids hovered
Round her eyes, her face was covered
With a mask, - he took her thus,
Just for better or for worse.
With a courteous kind behaviour,
She presents his friend a favour,
And withal dismissed him straight,
That he might no longer wait.
SHOWING HOW THEY RODE TOGETHER IN HER GILDED COACH TO HER NOBLE
SEAT, OR CASTLE, ETC.