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A Bundle of Ballads by Henry Morley

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And all his merry meyn-e.
The knight light downe of his good palfr-ey,
Rob-in when he gan see.
So courteysly he did adown his hood,
And set him on his knee.

"God thee save, good Robin Hood,
And all this company."

"Welcome be thou, gentle knight,
And right welc-ome to me."
Then bespake him Robin Hood,
To that knight so free,
"What need driveth thee to green wood?
I pray thee, sir knight, tell me.
And welcome be thou, gentle knight,
Why hast thou be so long?"

"For the abbot and the high justice
Would have had my lond."

"Hast thou thy land again?" said Robin,
"Truth then tell thou me."

"Yea, fore God," said the knight,
"And that thank I God and thee.
But take not a grief," said the knight,
"That I have been so long;
I came by a wresteling,
And there I did help a poor yeom-an,
With wrong was put behind."

"Nay, fore God," said Rob-in,
"Sir knight, that thank I thee;
What man that helpeth a good yeom-an,
His friend then will I be."

"Have here four hundred pound," then said the knight,
"The which ye lent to me;
And here is also twenty mark
For your courtes-y."

"Nay, fore God," then said Robin,
"Thou brook it well for aye,
For our Lady, by her cellarer,
Hath sent to me my pay;
And if I took it twice,
A shame it were to me:
But truly, gentle knight,
Welc-ome art thou to me."

When Rob-in had told his tale,
He laughed and had good cheer.
"By my troth," then said the knight,
"Your money is ready here."

"Brook it well," said Rob-in,
"Thou gentle knight so free;
And welcome be thou, gentle knight,
Under my trystell tree.
But what shall these bows do?" said Robin,
"And these arrows i-feathered free?"

"It is," then said the knight,
"A poor pres-ent to thee."

"Come now forth, Little John,
And go to my treasur-y,
And bring me there four hundred pound,
The monk over-told it to me.
Have here four hundred pound,
Thou gentle knight and true,
And buy horse and harness good,
And gild thy spurs all new:
And if thou fail an-y spend-ing,
Come to Robin Hood,
And by my troth thou shalt none fail
The whiles I have any good.
And brook well thy four hundred pound,
Which I lent to thee,
And make thyself no more so bare,
By the counsel of me."

Thus then holp him good Rob-in,
The knight of all his care.
God, that sitteth in heaven high,
Grant us well to fare.


Now hath the knight his leave i-take,
And went him on his way;
Robin Hood and his merry men
Dwelled still full many a day.
Lithe and listen, gentle men,
And hearken what I shall say,
How the proud sheriff of Nottingham
Did cry a full fair play;
That all the best archers of the north
Should come upon a day,
And they that shoot all of the best
The game shall bear away.

'He that shooteth all of the best
Furthest fair and law,
At a pair of fynly butts,
Under the green wood shaw,
A right good arrow he shall have,
The shaft of silver white,
The head and the feathers of rich red gold,
In England is none like.'

This then heard good Rob-in,
Under his trystell tree:
"Make you ready, ye wight young men,
That shooting will I see.
Busk you, my merr-y young men,
Ye shall go with me;
And I will wete the sheriff's faith,
True an if he be."

When they had their bows i-bent,
Their tackles feathered free,
Seven score of wight young men
Stood by Robin's knee.
When they came to Nottingham,
The butts were fair and long,
Many was the bold arch-er
That shooted with bow-es strong.

"There shall but six shoot with me,
The other shall keep my head,
And stand with good bow-es bent
That I be not deceived."

The fourth outlaw his bow gan bend,
And that was Robin Hood,
And that beheld the proud sher-iff,
All by the butt he stood.
Thri-es Robin shot about,
And alway he cleft the wand,
And so did good Gilbert,
With the whit-e hand.
Little John and good Scathelock
Were archers good and free;
Little Much and good Reynold,
The worst would they not be.
When they had shot about,
These archers fair and good,
Evermore was the best,
For sooth, Robin Hood.
Him was delivered the good arr-ow,
For best worthy was he;
He took the gift so courteysly
To green wood wold-e he.

They cri-ed out on Robin Hood,
And great horns gan they blow.
"Wo worth thee! treason!" said Rob-in,
"Full evil thou art to know!
And woe be thou, thou proud sher-iff,
Thus gladding thy guest,
Otherwise thou behot-e me
In yonder wild for-est;
But had I thee in green wood,
Under my trystell tree,
Thou shouldest leave me a better wed
Than thy true lewt-e."

Full many a bow there was bent,
And arrows let they glide,
Many a kirtle there was rent,
And hurt man-y a side.
The outlaw-es shot was so strong,
That no man might them drive,
And the proud sherif-es men
They fled away full blive.
Robin saw the busshement to-broke,
In green wood he would have be,
Many an arrow there was shot
Among that company.
Little John was hurt full sore,
With an arrow in his knee,
That he might neither go nor ride:
It was full great pit-e.

"Master," then said Little John,
"If ever thou lovest me,
And for that ilk-e Lord-es love,
That died upon a tree,
And for the meeds of my serv-ice,
That I have serv-ed thee,
Let nev-er the proud sher-iff
Aliv-e now find me;
But take out thy brown sword,
And smite all off my head,
And give me wound-es dead and wide,
That I after eat no bread."

"I wold-e not that," said Rob-in,
"John, that thou wer-e slawe,
For all the gold in merry England,
Though it lay now on a rawe."

"God forbid," said Little Much,
"That died on a tree,
That thou shouldest, Little John,
Part our company!"
Up he took him on his back,
And bare him well a mile,
Many a time he laid him down,
And shot another while.

Then was there a fair cast-ell,
A little within the wood,
Double-ditched it was about,
And wall-ed, by the rood;
And there dwelled that gentle knight,
Sir Richard at the Lee,
That Rob-in had lent his good,
Under the green wood tree.
In he took good Rob-in,
And all his compan-y:

"Welcome be thou, Robin Hood,
Welc-ome art thou me;
And much thank thee of thy comf-ort,
And of thy courtesy,
And of thy great kind-eness,
Under the green wood tree;
I love no man in all this world
So much as I do thee;
For all the proud sheriff of Nottingham,
Right here shalt thou be.
Shut the gates, and draw the bridge,
And let no man come in;
And arm you well, and make you read-y,
And to the wall ye win.
For one thing, Rob-in, I thee behote,
I swear by Saint Quin-tin,
These twelve days thou wonest with me,
To sup, eat, and dine."

Boards were laid, and cloth-es spread,
Readily and anon;
Robin Hood and his merry men
To meat gan they gon.


Lithe and listen, gentle men,
And hearken unto your song;
How the proud sheriff of Nottingham,
And men of arm-es strong,
Full fast came to the high sher-iff,
The country up to rout,
And they beset the knight's cast-ell,
The wall-es all about.
The proud sher-iff loud-e gan cry,
And said, "Thou traitor knight,
Thou keepest here the king's enemy,
Against the laws and right!"

"Sir, I will avow that I have done,
The deeds that here be dight,
Upon all the land-es that I have,
As I am a true knight.
Wend-e forth, sirs, on your way,
And doth no more to me,
Till ye wite our king-es will
What he will say to thee."

The sheriff thus had his answ-er,
Without an-y leas-ing,
Forth he yode to London town,
All for to tell our king.
There he told him of that knight,
And eke of Robin Hood,
And also of the bold arch-ers,
That noble were and good.
"He would avow that he had done,
To maintain the outlaws strong;
He would be lord, and set you at nought,
In all the north lond."

"I will be at Nottingham," said the king,
"Within this fortnight,
And take I will Robin Hood,
And so I will that knight.
Go home, thou proud sher-iff,
And do as I bid thee,
And ordain good arch-ers enow,
Of all the wide countree."

The sheriff had his leave i-take,
And went him on his way;
And Robin Hood to green wood
Upon a certain day;
And Little John was whole of the arrow,
That shot was in his knee,
And did him straight to Robin Hood,
Under the green wood tree.
Robin Hood walked in the for-est,
Under the leav-es green,
The proud sher-iff of Nottingham,
Therefore he had great teen.

The sheriff there failed of Robin Hood,
He might not have his prey,
Then he awaited that gentle knight,
Both by night and by day.
Ever he awaited that gentle knight,
Sir Richard at the Lee.
As he went on hawking by the river side,
And let his hawk-es flee,
Took he there this gentle knight,
With men of arm-es strong,
And led him home to Nottingham ward,
I-bound both foot and hond.

The sheriff swore a full great oath,
By him that died on a tree,
He had liever than an hundred pound,
That Robin Hood had he.

Then the lad-y, the knight-es wife,
A fair lad-y and free,
She set her on a good palfr-ey,
To green wood anon rode she.
When she came to the for-est,
Under the green wood tree,
Found-e she there Robin Hood,
And all his fair meyn-e.

"God thee save, good Robin Hood,
And all thy compan-y;
For our deare Ladyes love,
A boon grant thou to me.
Let thou never my wedded lord
Shamefully slain to be;
He is fast i-bounde to Nottingham ward,
For the love of thee."

Anon then said good Rob-in,
To that lad-ye free,
"What man hath your lord i-take?"

"The proud sheriff," then said she.
"Forsooth as I thee say;
He is not yet three mil-es
Pass-ed on your way."

Up then stert-e good Rob-in,
As a man that had be wode:
"Busk you, my merr-y young men,
For him that died on a rode;
And he that this sorrow forsaketh,
By him that died on a tree,
Shall he never in green wood be,
Nor longer dwell with me."

Soon there were good bows i-bent,
More than seven score,
Hedge ne ditch spar-ed they none,
That was them before.

"I make mine avow," said Robin,
"The knight would I fain see,
And if I ma-y him take,
Iquit then shall he be."

And when they came to Nottingham,
They walk-ed in the street,
And with the proud sheriff, i-wis,
Soon-e gan they meet.

"Abide, thou proud sher-iff," he said,
"Abide and speak with me,
Of some tidings of our king,
I would fain hear of thee.
This seven year, by dere-worthy God,
Ne yede I so fast on foot,
I make mine avow, thou proud sheriff,
Is not for thy good."

Robin bent a good bow-e,
An arrow he drew at his will,
He hit so the proud sher-iff,
On the ground he lay full still;
And ere he might up arise,
On his feet to stand,
He smote off the sheriff's head,
With his bright brand.

"Lie thou there, thou proud sher-iff,
Evil mote thou thrive;
There might no man to thee trust,
The whiles thou were alive."

His men drew out their bright swords
That were so sharp and keen,
And laid on the sher-iff's men,
And drived them down bidene.
Robin stert to that knight,
And cut atwo his band,
And took him in his hand a bow,
And bade him by him stand.
"Leav-e thy horse thee behind,
And learn for to ren;
Thou shalt with me to green wood,
Through mire, moss, and fen;
Thou shalt with me to green wood,
Without an-y leas-ing,
Till that I have get us grace,
Of Edward our comely king."


The king came to Nottingham,
With knights in great array,
For to take that gentle knight,
And Robin Hood, if he may.
He asked men of that countr-e,
After Robin Hood,
And after that gentle knight,
That was so bold and stout.

When they had told him the case,
Our king understood their tale,
And seised in his hand
The knight-es landes all,
All the pass of Lancashire,
He went both far and near,
Till he came to Plompton park,
He failed many of his deer.
Where our king was wont to see
Herd-es many one
He could unneth find one deer,
That bare an-y good horn.
The king was wonder wroth withal,
And swore by the trinit-e,
"I would I had Robin Hood,
With eyen I might him see;
And he that would smite off the knight-es head.
And bring it to me,
He shall have the knight-es lands,
Sir Rychard at the Lee;
I give it him with my chart-er,
And seal it with my hand,
To have and hold for ever-more,
In all merr-y Engl-and."

Then bespake a fair old knight,
That was true in his fay,
"Ah, my lieg-e lord the king,
One word I shall you say:
There is no man in this countr-y
May have the knight-es lands,
While Robin Hood may ride or gon,
And bear a bow in his hands,
That he ne shall lose his head,
That is the best ball in his hood:
Give it no man, my lord the king,
That ye will any good!"

Half a year dwelled our comely king,
In Nottingham, and well more,
Could he not hear of Robin Hood,
In what country that he were;
But alw-ay went good Rob-in
By halk and eke by hill,
And alway slew the king-es deer,
And welt them at his will.

Then bespake a proud forstere,
That stood by our king's knee,
"If ye will see good Rob-in,
Ye must do after me.
Take five of the best knyght-es
That be in your lede,
And walk down by your abb-ey,
And get you monk-es weed.
And I will be your led-es man,
And led-e you the way,
And ere ye come to Nottingham,
Mine head then dare I lay,
That ye shall meet with good Rob-in,
Alive if that he be,
Ere ye come to Nottingham,
With eyen ye shall him see."

Full hastily our king was dight,
So were his knight-es five,
Each of them in monk-es weed,
And hasted them thither blithe.
Our king was great above his cowl,
A broad hat on his crown,
Right as he were abbot-like,
They rode up into the town.
Stiff boots our king had on,
Forsooth as I you say,
He rode sing-ing to green wood,
The convent was clothed in gray,
His mail horse, and his great som-ers,
Followed our king behind,
Till they came to green-e wood,
A mile under the lind:
There they met with good Rob-in,
Standing on the way,
And so did many a bold arch-er,
For sooth as I you say.

Robin took the king-es horse,
Hastily in that stead,
And said, "Sir abbot, by your leave,
A while ye must abide;
We be yeom-en of this for-est,
Under the green wood tree,
We live by our king-es deer,
Other shift have not we;
And ye have churches and rent-es both,
And gold full great plent-y;
Give us some of your spend-ing,
For saint Charity."

Than bespake our comely king,
Anon then said he,
"I brought no more to green-e wood,
But forty pound with me.
I have lain at Nottingham,
This fortnight with our king,
And spent I have full much good,
On many a great lording;
And I have but forty pound,
No more then have I me;
But if I had an hundred pound,
I would give it to thee."

Robin took the forty pound,
And departed it in two part-ye,
Halfendell he gave his merry men,
And bade them merr-y to be.
Full courteously Rob-in gan say,
"Sir, have this for your spend-ing,
We shall meet another day."

"Gramerc-y," then said our king,
"But well thee greeteth Edw-ard our king,
And sent to thee his seal,
And biddeth thee come to Nottingham,
Both to meat and meal."
He took out the broad tarpe,
And soon he let him see;
Robin coud his courtesy,
And set him on his knee:
"I love no man in all the world
So well as I do my king,
Welcome is my lord-es seal;
And, monk, for thy tid-ing,
Sir abbot, for thy tiding-es,
To-day thou shalt dine with me,
For the love of my king,
Under my trystell tree."

Forth he led our comely king,
Full fair by the hand,
Many a deer there was slain,
And full fast dightand.
Robin took a full great horn,
And loud he gan blow;
Seven score of wight young men,
Came ready on a row,
All they kneel-ed on their knee,
Full fair before Rob-in.
The king said himself unto,
And swore by saint Austin,
"Here is a wonder seemly sight,
Me thinketh, by Goddes pine;
His men are more at his bidd-ing,
Than my men be at mine!"

Full hastily was their dinner i-dight,
And thereto gan they gon,
They served our king with all their might,
Both Robin and Little John.
Anon before our king was set
The fatt-e venison,
The good white bread, the good red wine,
And thereto the fine ale brown.
"Mak-e good cheer," said Rob-in,
"Abb-ot, for charit-y;
And for this ilk-e tiding-e,
Bless-ed mote thou be.
Now shalt thou see what life we lead,
Or thou henn-es wend,
Then thou may inform our king,
When ye together lend."

Up they stert all in haste,
Their bows were smartly bent,
Our king was never so sore agast,
He weened to have be shent.
Two yard-es there were up set,
Thereto gan they gang;
But fifty pace, our king said,
The mark-es were too long.
On every side a rose garl-and,
They shot under the line.
"Whoso faileth of the rose garland," said Robin,
"His tackle he shall tine,
And yield it to his master,
Be it never so fine,--
For no man will I spare,
So drinke I ale or wine,--
And bear a buffet on his head
I-wys right all bare."

And all that fell in Robin's lot,
He smote them wonder sair.
Twi-es Robin shot about,
And ever he cleaved the wand,
And so did good Gilb-ert,
With the lily white hand;
Little John and good Scath-elock,
For nothing would they spare,
When they failed of the garl-and,
Robin smote them fall sair.
At the last shot that Robin shot,
For all his friends fair,
Yet he failed of the garl-and,
Three fingers and mair.

Then bespak-e good Gilb-ert,
And thus he gan say,
"Master," he said, "your tackle is lost,
Stand forth and take your pay."
"If it be so," said Rob-in,
"That may no better be:
Sir abbot, I deliver thee mine arrow,
I pray thee, sir, serve thou me."

"It falleth not for mine order," said our king;
"Robin, by thy leave,
For to smite no good yeom-an,
For doubt I should him grieve."

"Smite on boldly!" said Rob-in,
"I give thee larg-e leave."

Anon our king, with that word,
He fold up his sleeve,
And such a buffet he gave Rob-in,
To ground he yede full near.

"I make mine avow to God," said Robin,
"Thou art a stalworthy frere;
There is pith in thine arm," said Rob-in,
"I trow thou canst well shoot!"

Thus our king and Robin Hood
Together then they met.

Robin beheld our comely king
Wistly in the face,
So did Sir Richard at the Lee,
And kneeled down in that place;
And so did all the wild outl-aws,
When they see them kneel.
"My lord the king of Engl-and,
Now I know you well.
Merc-y," then Robin said to our king,
"Under your trystal tree,
Of thy goodness and thy grace,
For my men and me!
Yes, fore God," said Robin,
"And also God me save;
I ask merc-y, my lord the king,
And for my men I crave."

"Yes, fore God," then said our king,
"Thy petition I grant thee,
With that thou leave the green wood,
And all thy compan-y;
And come home, sir, to my court,
And there dwell with me."

"I make mine avow," said Rob-in,
"And right so shall it be;
I will come to your court,
Your service for to see,
And bring with me of my men
Seven score and three.
But me like well your serv-ice,
I come again full soon,
And shoot at the donn-e deer,
As I am wont to doon."


"Hast thou any green cloth," said our king,
"That thou wilt sell now to me?"
"Yea, fore God," said Robin.
"Thirty yards and three."

"Robin," said our king,
"Now pray I thee,
To sell me some of that cloth,
To me and my meyn-e."

"Yes, fore God," then said Rob-in,
"Or else I were a fool;
Another day ye will me clothe,
I trow, against the Yule."

The king cast off his cot-e then,
A green garment he did on,
And every knight had so, i-wis,
They cloth-ed them full soon.
When they were clothed in Lincoln green,
They cast away their gray.
Now we shall to Nottingham,
All thus our king gan say.
Their bows they bent and forth they went,
Shooting all in-fere,
Toward the town of Nottingham,
Outlaws as they were.
Our king and Robin rode together,
For sooth as I you say,
And they shot pluck-buffet,
As they went by the way;
And many a buffet our king wan,
Of Robin Hood that day:
And nothing spar-ed good Rob-in
Our king in his pay.
"So God me help-e," said our king,
"Thy name is nought to lere,
I should not get a shot of thee,
Though I shot all this year."

All the people of Nottingham
They stood and beheld,
They saw nothing but mantles of green,
They covered all the feld;
Then every man to other gan say,
"I dread our king be slone;
Come Robin Hood to the town, i-wis,
On live he leaveth not one."
Full hastily they began to flee,
Both yeomen and knaves,
And old wives that might evil go,
They hopp-ed on their staves.

The king be lough full fast,
And commanded them again;
When they see our comely king,
I-wis they were full fain.
They ate and drank, and made them glad,
And sang with not-es hie.
Then bespake our comely king
To Sir Richard at the Lee:
He gave him there his land again,
A good man he bade him be.
Robin thanked our comely king,
And set him on his knee.

Had Robin dwelled in the king's court
But twelv-e months and three,
That he had spent an hundred pound,
And all his menn-es fee,
In every place where Robin came,
Ever more he laid down,
Both for knights and squires,
To get him great renown.
By then the year was all agone,
He had no man but twain,
Little John and good Scathlocke,
With him all for to gane.

Robin saw yong-e men to shoot,
Full fair upon a day,
"Alas!" then said good Rob-in,
"My wealth is went away.
Sometime I was an archer good,
A stiff and eke a strong,
I was committed the best arch-er
That was in merry Englond.
Alas!" then said good Rob-in,
"Alas and well away!
If I dwell longer with the king,
Sorrow will me slay!"

Forth then went Robin Hood,
Till he came to our king:
"My lord the king of Englond,
Grant me mine ask-ing.
I made a chapel in Barnysdale,
That seemly is to see,
It is of Mary Magdalene,
And thereto would I be;
I might never in this seven-night,
No time to sleep ne wink,
Neither all these seven days,
Neither eat ne drink.
Me longeth sore to Barnysdale,
I may not be therefro,
Barefoot and woolward I have hight
Thither for to go."

"If it be so," then said our king,
"It may no better be;
Seven-night I give thee leave,
No longer, to dwell fro me."

"Gram-ercy, lord," then said Rob-in,
And set him on his knee;
He took his leave full courteously,
To green wood then went he.
When he came to green-e wood,
In a merr-y morning,
There he heard the not-es small
Of bird-es merry sing-ing.
"It is ferre gone," said Rob-in,
"That I was last here,
Me list a little for to shoot
At the dunne deer."
Robin slew a full great hart,
His horn then gan he blow,
That all the outlaws of that for-est,
That horn could they know,
And gathered them together,
In a little throw,
Seven score of wight young men,
Came ready on a row;
And fair did off their hoods,
And set them on their knee:
"Welcome," they said, "our mast-er,
Under this green wood tree!"

Robin dwelled in green wood,
Twenty year and two,
For all dread of Edward our king,
Again would he not go.
Yet he was beguiled, i-wis,
Through a wicked wom-an,
The Prioress of Kirklees,
That nigh was of his kin,
For the love of a knight,
Sir Roger of Doncaster,
That was her own special,
Full evil mote they thee,

They took together their couns-el,
Robin Hood for to sle,
And how they might best do that deed,
His banis for to be.
Then bespak-e good Rob-in,
In place whereas he stood,
"To-morrow I must to Kirklees,
Craftily to be letten blood."
Sir Roger of Doncaster,
By the Prioress he lay,
And there they betrayed good Robin Hood,
Through their fals-e play.
Christ have mercy on his soul,
That di-ed on the rood!
For he was a good outlaw,
And did poor men much good.


In summer time, when leaves grow green,
And blossoms bedeck the tree,
King Edward would a hunting ride,
Some pastime for to see.

With hawk and hound he made him boun,
With horn, and eke with bow;
To Drayton Basset he took his way,
With all his lords arow.

And he had ridden o'er dale and down
By eight of clock in the day,
When he was ware of a bold tann-er,
Come riding along the way.

A fair russet coat the tanner had on,
Fast buttoned under his chin,
And under him a good cow-hide,
And a mare of four shill-ing.

"Now stand you still, my good lords all
Under the green wood spray;
And I will wend to yonder fell-ow,
To weet what he will say."--

"God speed, God speed thee," said our king.--
"Thou art welcome, sir," said he.--
"The readiest way to Drayton Basset
I pray thee to show to me."--

"To Drayton Basset wouldst thou go,
Fro the place where thou dost stand?
The next pair of gallows thou comest unto
Turn in upon thy right hand."--

"That is an unready way," said our king,
"Thou doest but jest, I see;
Now show me out the nearest way,
And I pray thee wend with me."--

"Away with a vengeance!" quoth the tanner:
"I hold thee out of thy wit:
All day have I ridden on Brock my mare,
And I am fasting yet."--

"Go with me down to Drayton Basset,
No dainties we will spare;
All day shalt thou eat and drink of the best,
And I will pay thy fare."--

"Gram-ercy for nothing," the tanner replied,
"Thou payest no fare of mine:
I trow I've more nobles in my purse,
Than thou hast pence in thine."--

"God give thee joy of them," said the king,
"And send them well to prief."--
The tanner would fain have been away,
For he weened he had been a thief.

"What art thou," he said, "thou fine fell-ow?
Of thee I am in great fear,
For the clothes thou wearest upon thy back
Might beseem a lord to wear."--

"I never stole them," quoth our king,
"I tell you, sir, by the rood."--
"Then thou playest, as many an unthrift doth,
And standest in midst of thy good."--

"What tidings hear you," said the king.
"As you ride far and near?"--
"I hear no tidings, sir, by the mass,
But that cow-hides are dear."--

"Cow-hides! cow-hides! what things are those?
I marvel what they be!"--
"What, art thou a fool?" the tanner replied;
"I carry one under me."--

"What craftsman art thou?" said the king,
"I pray thee tell me trow.""--
"I am a barker, sir, by my trade.
Now tell me what art thou?"--

"I am a poor courtier, sir," quoth he,
"That am forth of service worn;
And fain I would thy 'prentice be,
Thy cunning for to learn."--

"Marry, heaven forfend," the tanner replied,
"That thou my 'prentice were!
Thou'dst spend more good than I should win,
By forty shilling a year."--

"Yet one thing would I," said our king,
"If thou wilt not seem strange:
Though my horse be better than thy mare,
Yet with thee I fain would change."--

"Why, if with me thou fain wilt change,
As change full well may we,
By the faith of my body, thou proud fell-ow
I will have some boot of thee."--

"That were against reason," said the king,
"I swear, so mote I thee:
My horse is better than thy mare,
And that thou well may'st see."--

"Yea, sir, but Brock is gentle and mild,
And softly she will fare;
Thy horse is unruly and wild, i-wis;
Aye skipping here and there."--

"What boot wilt thou have?" our king replied;
"Now tell me in this stound."--
"No pence, nor halfpence, by my fay,
But a noble in gold so round."--

"Here's twenty groats of white mon-ey,
Sith thou wilt have it of me."--
"I would have sworn now," quoth the tanner,
"Thou hadst not had one penni-e.

"But since we two have made a change,
A change we must abide;
Although thou hast gotten Brock my mare,
Thou gettest not my cow-hide."--

"I will not have it," said the king,
"I swear, so mote I thee;
Thy foul cow-hide I would not bear,
If thou wouldst give it to me."

The tanner he took his good cow-hide
That of the cow was hilt;
And threw it upon the king's sad-elle,
That was so fairly gilt.

"Now help me up, thou fine fell-ow,
'Tis time that I were gone:
When I come home to Gyllian my wife,
She'll say I am a gentilmon."

When the tanner he was in the king's sad-elle,
And his foot in the stirrup was;
He marvelled greatly in his mind,
Whether it were gold or brass.

But when his steed saw the cow's tail wag,
And eke the black cow-horn;
He stamped, and stared, and away he ran,
As the devil had him borne.

The tanner he pulled, the tanner he sweat,
And held by the pummel fast:
At length the tanner came tumbling down;
His neck he had well-nigh brast.

"Take thy horse again with a vengeance!" he said,
"With me he shall not bide!"--
"My horse would have borne thee well enough,
But he knew not of thy cow-hide.

"Yet if again thou fain wouldst change,
As change full well may we,
By the faith of my body, thou jolly tann-er,
I will have some boot of thee."--

"What boot wilt thou have?" the tanner replied,
"Now tell me in this stound."--
"No pence nor halfpence, sir, by my fay,
But I will have twenty pound."--

"Here's twenty groats out of my purse;
And twenty I have of thine:
And I have one more, which we will spend
Together at the wine."

The king set a bugle horn to his mouth,
And blew both loud and shrill:
And soon came lords, and soon came knights,
Fast riding over the hill.

"Now, out alas!" the tanner he cried,
"That ever I saw this day!
Thou art a strong thief, yon come thy fell-ows
Will bear my cow-hide away!"--

"They are no thieves," the king replied,
"I swear, so mote I thee:
But they are the lords of the north countr-y,
Here come to hunt with me."

And soon before our king they came,
And knelt down on the ground:
Then might the tanner have been away,
He had liever than twenty pound.

"A collar, a collar, here!" said the king,
"A collar!" he loud gan cry;
Then would he liever than twenty pound,
He had not been so nigh.

"A collar, a collar," the tanner he said,
"I trow it will breed sorrow;
After a collar cometh a halter,
I trow I'll be hanged to-morrow."--

"Be not afraid, tanner," said our king;
"I tell thee, so mote I thee,
Lo here I make thee the best esquire
That is in the north countrie.

"For Plumpton Park I will give thee,
With tenements fair beside:
'Tis worth three hundred marks by the year,
To maintain thy good cow-hide."--

"Gram-ercy, my liege," the tanner replied
"For the favour thou hast me shown;
If ever thou comest to merry Tam-worth,
Neat's leather shall clout thy shoon."


The king sits in Dumferling toune,
Drinking the blude-reid wine:
"O whare will I get a skeely skipper
To sail this new ship of mine?"

Up and spak an eldern knicht,
Sat at the king's right knee:
"Sir Patrick Spens is the best sail-or
That ever sailed the sea."

Our king has written a braid letter,
And sealed it with his hand;
And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens,
Was walking on the sand.

"To Noroway, to Noroway,
To Noroway o'er the faem;
The king's daughter of Noroway,
'Tis thou maun bring her hame."

The first word that Sir Patrick read,
A loud laugh laughed he:
The neist word that Sir Patrick read,
The tear blinded his ee.

"O wha is this has done this deed,
And tauld the king o' me;
To send us out this time o' the year,
To sail upon the sea?

"Be it wind, be it weet, be it hail, be it sleet,
Our ship must sail the faem,
The king's daughter of Noroway,
'Tis we must fetch her hame."

They hoysed their sails on Monenday morn,
Wi' a' the speed they may;
They hae landed in Noroway,
Upon a Wodensday.

They hadna been a week, a week,
In Noroway, but twae,
When that the lords o' Noroway
Began aloud to say,--

"Ye Scottishmen spend a' our king's goud,
And a' our queenis fee."--
"Ye lie, ye lie, ye liars loud,
Fu' loud I hear ye lie;

"For I brought as much white monie
As gane my men and me,
And I brought a half-fou of gude red goud,
Out o'er the sea wi' me.

"Make ready, make ready, my merry men a',
Our gude ship sails the morn!"--
"Now, ever alack, my master dear,
I fear a deadly storm!

"I saw the new moon, late yestreen,
Wi' the auld moon in her arm;
And if we gang to sea, master,
I fear we'll come to harm."

They hadna sailed a league, a league,
A league but barely three,
When the lift grew dark, and the wind blew loud,
And gurly grew the sea.

The ankers brak, and the topmasts lap,
It was sic a deadly storm;
And the waves cam o'er the broken ship,
Till a' her sides were torn.

"O where will I get a gude sail-or
To take my helm in hand,
Till I get up to the tall topmast
To see if I can spy land?"--

"O here am I, a sailor gude,
To take the helm in hand,
Till you go up to the tall topmast,
But I fear you'll ne'er spy land."

He hadna gane a step, a step,
A step but barely ane,
When a bolt flew out of our goodly ship,
And the salt sea it came in.

"Gae, fetch a web o' the silken claith,
Another o' the twine,
And wap them into our ship's side,
And let nae the sea come in."

They fetched a web o' the silken claith,
Another o' the twine,
And they wapped them round that gude ship's side,
But still the sea cam in.

O laith, laith, were our gude Scots lords
To wet their cork-heeled shoon!
But lang or a' the play was played
They wat their hats aboon.

And mony was the feather bed
That flattered on the faem;
And mony was the gude lord's son
That never mair cam hame.

The ladies wrang their fingers white,
The maidens tore their hair,
A' for the sake of their true loves;
For them they'll see nae mair.

O lang, lang, may the ladies sit,
Wi' their fans into their hand,
Before they see Sir Patrick Spens
Come sailing to the strand!

And lang, lang, may the maidens sit,
Wi' their gold combs in their hair,
Awaiting for their ain dear loves!
For them they'll see nae mair.

O forty miles off Aberdeen
'Tis fifty fathoms deep,
And there lies gude Sir Patrick Spens,
Wi' the Scots lords at his feet.


It fell about the Martinmas,
When the wind blew shrill and cauld,
Said Edom o' Gordon to his men,
"We maun draw till a hauld.

"And what a hauld sall we draw till,
My merry men and me?
We wull gae to the house o' the Rode,
To see that fair lad-ie."

The ladie stude on her castle wa',
Beheld baith dale and down:
There she was ware of a host of men
Come riding towards the toun.

"O see ye nat, my merry men a'?
O see ye nat what I see?
Methinks I see a host of men:
I marvel wha they be!"

She weened it had been her luvely lord,
As he came riding hame;
It was the traitor Edom o' Gordon,
Wha recked nae sin nor shame.

She had nae sooner buskit hersel,
And putten on her goun,
But Edom o' Gordon and his men
Were round about the toun.

They had nae sooner supper set,
Nae sooner said the grace,
But Edom o' Gordon and his men
Were light about the place.

The lady ran up to her tower head,
Sae fast as she could hie,
To see if by her fair speech-es
She could wi' him agree.

But whan he see this lady saif,
And her gat-es all locked fast,
He fell into a rage of wrath,
And his look was all aghast.

"Come down to me, ye lady gay,
Come down, come down to me!
This night sall ye lig within mine arms
To-morrow my bride sall be."--

"I winna come down, ye false Gord-on,
I winna come down to thee;
I winna forsake my ain dear lord,
That is sae far frae me."--

"Give o'er your house, ye lady fair,
Give o'er your house to me,
Or I sall bren yoursel therein,
Bot and your babies three."--

"I winna give o'er, ye false Gord-on
To nae sic traitor as ye;
And if ye bren my ain dear babes,
My lord sall make you dree.

"But reach my pistol, Glaud, my man,
And charge ye weel my gun:
For, but an I pierce that bluidy butcher
My babes we been undone."

She stude upon her castle wa',
And let twa bullets flee:
She missed that bluidy butcher's heart
And only rased his knee.

"Set fire to the house!" quo' false Gord-on,
All wood wi' dule and ire:
"False lady, ye sall rue this deed,
As ye bren in the fire!"--

"Wae worth, wae worth ye, Jock my man,
I paid ye weel your fee:
Why pu' ye out the ground-wa' stane,
Lets in the reek to me?

"And e'en wae worth ye, Jock my man,
I paid ye weel your hire;
Why pu' ye out the ground-wa' stane,
To me lets in the fire?"--

"Ye paid me weel my hire, lady;
Ye paid me weel my fee;
But now I'm Edom o' Gordon's man,
Maun either do or dee."

O then bespake her little son,
Sate on the nurse's knee:
Says, "Mither dear, gi'e o'er this house,
For the reek it smithers me."--

"I wad gi'e a' my gowd, my child,
Sae wad I a' my fee,
For ane blast o' the western wind
To blaw the reek frae thee."

O then bespake her dochter dear,
She was baith jimp and sma',
"O row me in a pair o' sheets,
And tow me o'er the wa'."

They rowd her in a pair o' sheets,
And towd her o'er the wa':
But on the point of Gordon's spear
She gat a deadly fa'.

O bonnie bonnie was her mouth,
And cherry were her cheeks,
And clear clear was her yellow hair,
Whereon the reid bluid dreeps.

Then wi' his spear he turned her o'er,--
O gin her face was wan!
He said, "Ye are the first that e'er
I wished alive again."

He turned her o'er and o'er again,--
O gin her skin was white!
"I might ha' spared that bonnie face
To hae been some man's delite.

"Busk and boun, my merry men a',
For ill dooms I do guess;
I canna luik in that bonnie face,
As it lies on the grass."--

"Tham luiks to freits, my master dear,
Then freits will follow thame:
Let it neir be said brave Edom o' Gordon
Was daunted by a dame!"--

But when the ladie see the fire
Come flaming o'er her head,
She wept and kissed her children twain,
Said, "Bairns, we been but dead!"

The Gordon then his bugle blew,
And said, "Awa', awa';
This house o' the Rodes is a' in flame,
I hauld it time to ga'."

O then bespied her ain dear lord,
As he came o'er the lee;
He spied his castle all in blaze
Sae far as he could see.

Then sair, O sair his mind misgave,
And all his heart was wae;
"Put on! put on! my wighty men,
So fast as ye can gae!

"Put on! put on! my wighty men,
Sae fast as ye can dree;
For he that is hindmost of the thrang
Sall neir get guid o' me!"

Then some they rade, and some they rin,
Fou fast out-o'er the bent,
But ere the foremost could get up,
Baith ladie and babes were brent.

He wrang his hands, he rent his hair,
And wept in teenefu' muid:
"O traitors! for this cruel deed
Ye sall weep tears o' bluid!"

And after the Gordon he is gane,
So fast as he might dree;
And soon i' the Gordon's foul heart's bluid
He's wroken his dear ladie.


Now ponder well, you parents dear,
These words which I shall write;
A doleful story you shall hear,
In time brought forth to light.
A gentleman of good account
In Norfolk dwelt of late,
Who did in honour far surmount
Most men of his estate.

Sore sick he was, and like to die,
No help his life could save;
His wife by him as sick did lie,
And both possessed one grave.
No love between these two was lost,
Each was to other kind;
In love they lived, in love they died,
And left two babes behind:

The one a fine and pretty boy,
Not passing three years old;
The other a girl more young than he,
And framed in beauty's mould.
The father left his little son,
As plainly doth appear,
When he to perfect age should come,
Three hundred pounds a year.

And to his little daughter Jane
Five hundred pounds in gold,
To be paid down on marriage-day,
Which might not be controlled:
But if the children chance to die,
Ere they to age should come,
Their uncle should possess their wealth;
For so the will did run.

"Now, brother," said the dying man,
"Look to my children dear;
Be good unto my boy and girl,
No friends else have they here:
To God and you I recommend
My children dear this day;
But little while be sure we have
Within this world to stay.

"You must be father and mother both,
And uncle all in one;
God knows what will become of them,
When I am dead and gone."
With that bespake their mother dear,
"O brother kind," quoth she,
"You are the man must bring our babes
To wealth or misery:

"And if you keep them carefully,
Then God will you reward;
But if you otherwise should deal,
God will your deeds regard."
With lips as cold as any stone,
They kissed their children small:
"God bless you both, my children dear!"
With that the tears did fall.

These speeches then their brother spake
To this sick couple there,--
"The keeping of your little ones,
Sweet sister, do not fear:
God never prosper me nor mine,
Nor aught else that I have,
If I do wrong your children dear,
When you are laid in grave!"

The parents being dead and gone,
The children home he takes,
And brings them straight unto his house,
Where much of them he makes.
He had not kept these pretty babes
A twelvemonth and a day,
But, for their wealth, he did devise
To make them both away.

He bargained with two ruffians strong,
Which were of furious mood,
That they should take these children young,
And slay them in a wood.
He told his wife an artful tale,
He would the children send
To be brought up in fair Lond-on,
With one that was his friend.

Away then went those pretty babes,
Rejoicing at that tide,
Rejoicing with a merry mind,
They should on cock-horse ride.
They prate and prattle pleasantly,
As they rode on the way,
To those that should their butchers be,
And work their lives' decay:

So that the pretty speech they had,
Made Murder's heart relent;
And they that undertook the deed,
Full sore did now repent.
Yet one of them more hard of heart,
Did vow to do his charge,
Because the wretch that hir-ed him
Had paid him very large.

The other won't agree thereto,
So here they fall to strife;
With one another they did fight,
About the children's life:
And he that was of mildest mood,
Did slay the other there,
Within an unfrequented wood;
The babes did quake for fear!

He took the children by the hand,
Tears standing in their eye,
And bade them straightway follow him,
And look they did not cry:
And two long miles he led them on,
While they for food complain:
"Stay here," quoth he, "I'll bring you bread,
When I come back again."

These pretty babes, with hand in hand,
Went wandering up and down;
But never more could see the man
Approaching from the town:
Their pretty lips with black-berries,
Were all besmeared and dyed;
And when they saw the darksome night,
They sat them down and cried.

Thus wandered these poor innocents,
Till death did end their grief;
In one another's arms they died,
As wanting due relief:
No burial this pretty pair
Of any man receives,
Till Robin-red-breast piously
Did cover them with leaves.

And now the heavy wrath of God
Upon their uncle fell;
Yea, fearful fiends did haunt his house,
His conscience felt an hell:
His barns were fired, his goods consumed,
His lands were barren made,
His cattle died within the field,
And nothing with him staid.

And in a voyage to Portugal
Two of his sons did die;
And to conclude, himself was brought
To want and miser-y:
He pawned and mortgaged all his land
Ere seven years came about;
And now at length this wicked act
Did by this means come out:

The fellow that did take in hand
These children for to kill,
Was for a robbery judged to die;
Such was God's blessed will;
Who did confess the very truth,
As here hath been displayed:
Their uncle having died in gaol,
Where he for debt was laid.

You that executors be made,
And overse-ers eke
Of children that be fatherless
And infants mild and meek;
Take you example by this thing,
And yield to each his right,
Lest God with such like misery
Your wicked minds requite.



It was a blind beggar, had long lost his sight,
He had a fair daughter of beauty most bright;
And many a gallant brave suitor had she,
For none was so comely as pretty Bessee.

And though she was truly of favour most fair,
Yet seeing she was but a poor beggar's heir,
Of ancient housekeepers despis-ed was she,
Whose sons came as suitors to pretty Bessee.

Wherefore in great sorrow fair Bessy did say,
"Good father, and mother, let me go away
To seek out my fortune, whatever it be."
This suit then they granted to pretty Bessee.

Then Bessy, that was of a beauty so bright,
All clad in grey russet, and late in the night
From father and mother alone parted she;
Who sigh-ed and sobb-ed for pretty Bessee.

She went till she came into Stratford-le-Bow;
Then knew she not whither, nor which way to go:
With tears she lamented her hard destin-ie,
So sad and so heavy was pretty Bessee.

She kept on her journey until it was day,
And went unto Rumford along the highway;
Where at the Queen's Arms entertain-ed was she:
So fair and well-favoured was pretty Bessee.

She had not been there a month to an end,
But master and mistress and all was her friend:
And every brave gallant, that once did her see,
Was straightway enamoured of pretty Bessee.

Great gifts they did send her of silver and gold,
And in their songs daily her love was extolled;
Her beauty was blaz-ed in every degree,
So fair and so comely was pretty Bessee.

The young men of Rumford in her had their joy;
She showed herself courteous, and modestly coy,
And at her command-ement still would they be;
So fair and so comely was pretty Bessee.

Four suitors at once unto her did go;
They crav-ed her favour, but still she said no;
I would not wish gentles to marry with me;
Yet ever they honour-ed pretty Bessee.

The first of them was a gallant young knight,
And he came unto her disguised in the night:
The second a gentleman of good degree,
Who woo-ed and su-ed for pretty Bessee:

A merchant of London, whose wealth was not small,
He was the third suitor, and proper withal:
Her master's own son the fourth man must be,
Who swore he would die for pretty Bessee.

"And, if thou wilt marry with me," quoth the knight,
"I'll make thee a lady with joy and delight;
My heart's so inthrall-ed by thy beaut-ie,
That soon I shall die for pretty Bessee."

The gentleman said, "Come, marry with me,
As fine as a lady my Bessy shall be:
My life is distress-ed: O hear me," quoth he;
And grant me thy love, my pretty Bessee."

"Let me be thy husband," the merchant could say,
"Thou shalt live in London both gallant and gay;
My ships shall bring home rich jewels for thee,
And I will for ever love pretty Bessee."

Then Bessy she sigh-ed, 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 pretty Bessee."

To every one this answer she made,
Wherefore unto her they joyfully said,--
"This thing to fulfil we all do agree:
But where dwells thy father, my pretty Bessee?"

"My father," she said, "is soon to be seen:
The seely blind beggar of Bethnal Green,
That daily sits begging for charit-ie,
He is the good father of pretty Bessee."

"His marks and his tokens are known very well;
He always is led with a dog and a bell:
A seely old man, God knoweth, is he,
Yet he is the father of pretty Bessee."

"Nay then," quoth the merchant, "thou art not for me:"
"Nor," quoth the innholder, "my wife thou shalt be:"
"I loathe," said the gentle, "a beggar's degree,
And therefore adieu, 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 unto me, my pretty Bessee:

"With thee to thy father forthwith I will go."
"Nay soft," quoth his kinsmen, "it must not be so;
A poor beggar's daughter no lady shall be;
Then take thy adieu of pretty Bessee."

But soon after this, by the break of the day,
The knight had from Rumford stole Bessy away.
The young men of Rumford, as thick as might be,
Rode after to fetch again pretty Bessee.

As swift as the wind to ride they were seen,
Until they came near unto Bethnal Green;
And as the knight lighted most courteouslie,
They all fought against him for pretty Bessee.

But rescue came speedily over the plain,
Or else the young knight for his love had been slain.
This fray being ended, then straightway he see
His kinsmen come railing at pretty Bessee.

Then spake the blind beggar, "Although I be poor,
Yet rail not against my child at my own door:
Though she be not deck-ed in velvet and pearl,
Yet will I drop angels with you for my girl.

"And then, if my gold may better her birth,
And equal the gold that you lay on the earth,
Then neither rail nor grudge you to see
The blind beggar's daughter a lady to be.

"But first you shall promise, and have it well known,
The gold that you drop shall all be your own."
With that they repli-ed, "Contented be we."
"Then here's," quoth the beggar, "for pretty Bessee!"

And with that an angel he cast on the ground,
And dropp-ed in angels full three thousand pound;
And oftentimes it was prov-ed most plain,
For the gentlemen's one the beggar dropped twain:

So that the place, wherein they did sit,
With gold it was cover-ed every whit.
The gentlemen then having dropt all their store,
Said, "Now, beggar, hold; for we have no more.

"Thou hast fulfill-ed thy promise aright."
"Then marry," quoth he, "my girl to this knight;
And here," added he, "I will now throw you down
A hundred pounds more to buy her a gown."

The gentlemen all, that this treasure had seen,
Admir-ed the beggar of Bethnal Green:
And all those, that were her suitors before,
Their flesh for very anger they tore.

Thus the fair Bess was matched to the knight,
And then made a lady in others' despite:
A fairer lady there never was seen
Than the blind beggar's daughter of Bethnal Green.

But of their sumptuous marriage and feast,
What brave lords and knights thither were prest,
The SECOND FITT shall set forth to your sight
With marvellous pleasure, and wish-ed delight.


Of a blind beggar's daughter most bright,
That late was betroth-ed unto a young knight;
All the discourse thereof you did see;
But now comes the wedding of pretty Bessee.

Within a gorgeous palace most brave,
Adorn-ed with all the cost they could have,
This wedding was kept most sumptuousl-ie,
And all for the credit of pretty Bessee.

All kind of dainties, and delicates sweet
Were bought for the banquet, as it was most meet;
Partridge, and plover, and venison most free,
Against the brave wedding of pretty Bessee.

This marriage through England was spread by report,
So that a great number thereto did resort
Of nobles and gentles in every degree;
And all for the fame of pretty Bessee.

To church then went this gallant young knight,
His bride followed after, an angel most bright,
With gay troops of ladies, the like ne'er was seen
As went with sweet Bessy of Bethnal Green.

This marriage being sol-emniz-ed then,
With music performed by the skilfullest men,
The nobles and gentles sate down at that tide,
Each one admiring the beautiful bride.

Now, after the sumptuous dinner was done,
To talk and to reason a number begun;
They talked of the blind beggar's daughter most bright,
And what with his daughter he gave to the knight.

Then spake the nobles, "Much marvel have we,
This jolly blind beggar we cannot here see."
"My lords," quoth the bride, "my father's so base,
He is loth with his presence these states to disgrace."

"The praise of a woman in question to bring
Before her own face, were a flattering thing;
But we think thy father's baseness," quoth they,
"Might by thy beauty be clean put away."

They had no sooner these pleasant words spoke,
But in comes the beggar clad in a silk cloak;
A fair velvet cap and a feather had he,
And now a musician forsooth he would be.

He had a dainty lute under his arm,
He touch-ed the strings, which made such a charm,
Says, "Please you to hear any music of me,
I'll sing you a song of pretty Bessee."

With that his lute he twang-ed straightway,
And thereon began most sweetly to play;
And after that lessons were played two or three,
He strained out this song most delicatel-ie.

"A poor beggar's daughter did dwell on a green,
Who for her fairness might well be a queen:
A blithe bonny lass, and a dainty was she,
And many one call-ed her pretty Bessee.

"Her father he had no goods, nor no land,
But begged for a penny all day with his hand;
And yet to her marriage he gave thousands three,
And still he hath somewhat for pretty Bessee.

"And if any one here her birth do disdain,
Her father is ready, with might and with main,
To prove she is come of a noble degree,
Therefore never flout at pretty Bessee."

With that the lords and the company round
With hearty laughter were ready to swound.
At last said the lords, "Full well we may see,
The bride and the beggar's beholden to thee."

On this the bride all blushing did rise,
The pearly drops standing within her fair eyes.
"O pardon my father, grave nobles," quoth she,
"That through blind affection thus doteth on 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 and his fortune did never agree:

"And therefore, blind man, we bid thee bewray,
(And look that the truth thou to us do say)
Thy birth and thy parentage, what it may be;
For the love that thou bearest to pretty Bessee."

"Then give me leave, nobles and gentles, each one,
One song more to sing, and then I have done;
And if that it may not win good report,
Then do not give me a groat for my sport.

"Sir Simon de Montfort my subject shall be;
Once chief of all the great barons was he,
Yet fortune so cruel this lord did abase,
Now lost and forgotten are he and his race.

"When the barons in arms did King Henry oppose,
Sir Simon de Montfort their leader they chose;
A leader of courage undaunted was he,
And oft-times he made their bold enemies flee.

"At length in the battle on Evesham plain,
The barons were routed, and Montfort was slain;
Most fatal that battle did prove unto thee,
Though thou wast not born then, my pretty Bessee!

"Along with the nobles, that fell at that tide,
His eldest son Henry, who fought by his side,
Was felled by a blow he received in the fight:
A blow that deprived him for ever of sight.

"Among the dead bodies all lifeless he lay,
Till evening drew on of the following day.
When by a young lady discovered was he;
And this was thy mother, my pretty Bessee!

"A baron's fair daughter stept forth in the night
To search for her father, who fell in the fight,
And seeing young Montfort, where gasping he lay,
Was mov-ed with pity, and brought him away.

"In secret she nursed him, and swag-ed his pain,
While he through the realm was believed to be slain:
At length his fair bride she consented to be,
And made him glad father of pretty Bessee.

"And now, lest our foes our lives should betray,
We cloth-ed ourselves in beggar's array;
Her jewels she sold, and hither came we:
All our comfort and care was our pretty Bessee.

"And here have we liv-ed in fortune's despite,
Though poor, yet contented with humble delight:
Full forty winters thus have I been
A silly blind beggar of Bethnal Green.

"And here noble lord-es, is ended the song
Of one that once to your own rank did belong:
And thus have you learn-ed a secret from me,
That ne'er had been known but for pretty Bessee."

Now when the fair company every one,
Had heard the strange tale in the song he had shown,
They all were amaz-ed, as well they might be,
Both at the blind beggar, and pretty Bessee.

With that the fair bride they all did embrace,
Saying, "Sure thou art come of an honourable race,
Thy father likewise is of noble degree,
And thou art well worthy a lady to be."

Thus was the feast ended with joy and delight,
A bridegroom most happy then was the young knight,
In joy and felicity long liv-ed he,
All with his fair lady, the pretty Bessee.


There was a youth, and a well-beloved youth,
And he was a squire's son:
He loved the bailiffs daughter dear,
That lived in Islington.

Yet she was coy, and would not believe
That he did love her so;
No, nor at any time would she
Any countenance to him show.

But when his friends did understand
His fond and foolish mind,
They sent him up to fair Lond-on
An apprentice for to bind.

And when he had been seven long years,
And never his love could see:
"Many a tear have I shed for her sake,
When she little thought of me."

Then all the maids of Islington
Went forth to sport and play,
All but the bailiff's daughter dear;
She secretly stole away.

She pull-ed off her gown of green,
And put on ragged attire,
And to fair London she would go
Her true love to inquire.

And as she went along the high road,
The weather being hot and dry,
She sat her down upon a green bank,
And her true love came riding by.

She started up, with a colour so red,
Catching hold of his bridle-rein;
"One penny, one penny, kind sir," she said,
"Will ease me of much pain."--

"Before I give you one penny, sweetheart,
Pray tell me where you were born."--
"At Islington, kind sir," said she,

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