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Title: Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, Volume I (of 3) - Consisting of Old Heroic Ballads, Songs and Other Pieces - of Our Earlier Poets Together With Some Few of Later Date
Author: Percy, Thomas
Language: English
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                            PERCY'S RELIQUES


                              RELIQUES OF
                            ANCIENT ENGLISH

                        TOGETHER WITH SOME FEW
                             OF LATER DATE


                          THOMAS PERCY, D.D.

                           BISHOP OF DROMORE

                    PREFACES, NOTES, GLOSSARY, ETC.


                       HENRY B. WHEATLEY, F.S.A.

                           IN THREE VOLUMES

                                VOL. I

                   LONDON: GEORGE ALLEN & UNWIN LTD.

                 RUSKIN HOUSE 40 MUSEUM STREET, W.C.1

  First Published by Swan Sonnenschein  _April     1885_
  Reprinted                             _August    1891_
      "                                 _August    1899_
      "                                 _December  1909_
      "                                 _January   1927_

                             GREAT BRITAIN




  Editor's Preface                                                    ix


  The Minstrels                                                     xiii

  Ballads and Ballad Writers                                        xxiv

  Imitators and Forgers                                             xliv

  Authenticity of Certain Ballads                                 xlviii

  Preservers of the Ballads                                        lviii

  Life of Percy                                                     lxxi

  Folio MS. and the _Reliques_                                     lxxxi

  Ballad Literature since Percy                                      xci

  Dedications                                                          1

  Advertisement to the fourth edition                                  4

  Preface                                                              7


   1.  The ancient Ballad of Chevy-chase                              19

   2.  The Battle of Otterbourne                                      35
       Illustration of the Names in the foregoing ballads             51

   3.  The Jew's Daughter. A Scottish Ballad                          54

   4.  Sir Cauline                                                    61
       Copy from the Folio MS.                                        76

   5.  Edward, Edward. A Scottish Ballad                              82

   6.  King Estmere                                                   85
       On the word Termagant                                          96

   7.  Sir Patrick Spence. A Scottish Ballad                          98

   8.  Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne                                102

   9.  An Elegy on Henry Fourth, Earl of Northumberland, by Skelton  117

  10.  The Tower of Doctrine, by Stephen Hawes                       127

  11.  The Child of Elle                                             131
       Fragment from the Folio MS.                                   138

  12.  Edom o' Gordon. A Scottish Ballad                             140
       Captain Carre, from the Folio MS                              148


          (_Containing Ballads that illustrate Shakespeare._)

   1.  Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough, and William of Cloudesley      153

   2.  The aged Lover renounceth Love, by Lord Vaux                  179

   3.  Jephthah judge of Israel                                      182

   4.  A Robyn Jolly Robyn                                           185

   5.  A Song to the lute in musicke, by R. Edwards                  187

   6.  King Cophetua and the Beggar-maid                             189

   7.  Take thy old cloak about thee                                 195

   8.  Willow, Willow, Willow                                        199

   9.  Sir Lancelot du Lake                                          204

  10.  Corydon's Farewell to Phillis                                 209
       The Ballad of constant Susanna                                209

  11.  Gernutus the Jew of Venice                                    211

  12.  The passionate Shepherd to his Love, by Marlowe               220
       The Nymph's Reply, by Sir W. Raleigh                          223

  13.  Titus Andronicus's Complaint                                  224

  14.  Take those lips away                                          230

  15.  King Leir and his three daughters                             231

  16.  Youth and Age, by Shakespeare                                 237

  17.  The Frolicksome Duke, or the Tinker's good Fortune            238

  18.  The Friar of Orders Gray, by Percy                            242


   1.  The more modern Ballad of Chevy-chace                         249
       Illustration of the Northern Names                            263

   2.  Death's final Conquest, by James Shirley                      264

   3.  The Rising in the North                                       266
       Copy from the Folio MS                                        274

   4.  Northumberland betrayed by Douglas                            279
       Copy from the Folio MS                                        289

   5.  My Mind to me a Kingdom is, by Sir Edward Dyer                294

   6.  The Patient Countess, by W. Warner                            298

   7.  Dowsabell, by M. Drayton                                      304

   8.  The Farewell to Love, from Beaumont and Fletcher              310

   9.  Ulysses and the Syren, by S. Daniel                           311

  10.  Cupid's Pastime, by Davison                                   314

  11.  The character of a happy life, by Sir H. Wotton.              317

  12.  Gilderoy. A Scottish Ballad                                   318

  13.  Winifreda                                                     323

  14.  The Witch of Wokey                                            325

  15.  Bryan and Pereene. A West Indian Ballad, by Dr. Grainger      328

  16.  Gentle River, Gentle River. Translated from the Spanish       331

  17.  Alcanzor and Zayda, a Moorish Tale                            338


  An Essay on the Ancient Minstrels in England                       343

  Notes and Illustrations                                            382


  On the Origin of the English Stage, &c                             431

  Index to Vol. I                                                    459


  Page 27, Note [142], after _Fit_ read "see vol. 2, p. 182."

  Page 76, add [***] at end of _Sir Cauline_.




In undertaking the supervision of a new edition of the _Reliques of
Ancient English Poetry_, I felt that no safer or better guidance
could be followed than that of Bishop Percy himself; and as he always
strove, in the several editions published by himself, to embody therein
the sum of the knowledge of his times, so I, following at a distance,
have endeavoured, by gathering from many quarters particulars published
since his death, to make his book still more worthy of the great
reputation it has acquired.

Each edition published during the lifetime of the author contained
large additions and corrections; but since the publication of the
fourth edition, in 1794, no changes worth mentioning have been made,
with the exception of such as occur in a revision brought out by the
Rev. R. A. Willmott in 1857. His object, however, was to form a handy
volume, and he therefore cleared away all Percy's Essays and Prefaces,
and added short notices of his own, founded on Percy's facts, and, in
some instances, on recent information.

The desire for a new edition of the _Reliques_ has more particularly
grown since the publication of the original folio MS. in 1867, and I
trust that the readers of the present edition may feel disposed to
accept it as in some degree satisfying this desire.

In the preparation of the present edition, the whole of Percy's work
has been reprinted from his fourth edition, which contains his last
touches; and in order that no confusion should be occasioned to the
reader, all my notes and additions have been placed between brackets.
The chief of these are the additional prefaces to the various pieces,
the glossarial notes at the foot of the page, and the collation of
such pieces as are taken from the folio MS. The complete glossary,
which will be appended to the third volume, might seem to render the
glossarial notes unnecessary; but there may be some readers who will
find them useful. With regard to the pieces taken from the folio
MS., the originals have been printed after Percy's copies in those
cases which had undergone considerable alterations. Readers have now,
therefore, before them complete materials for forming an opinion as to
the use the Bishop made of his manuscript.

After commencing my work, I found that to treat the Essays
interspersed throughout the book as the Prefaces had been treated,
would necessitate so many notes and corrections as to cause confusion;
and as the Essays on the English Stage, and the Metrical Romances,
are necessarily out of date, the trouble expended would not have been
repaid by the utility of the result. I have, therefore, thrown them to
the end of their respective volumes, where they can be read exactly as
Percy left them.

In concluding these explanations, I have much pleasure in expressing
my thanks to those friends who have assisted me, and to those writers
without whose previous labours mine could not have been performed,
more particularly to Messrs. Furnivall and Hales, who most kindly gave
me permission to use any part of their edition of the folio MS. To
Mr. Hales I am also indebted for many valuable hints, of which I have
gladly availed myself.

                                                      HENRY B. WHEATLEY.



Several questions of general interest have arisen for discussion by
the editor during the work of revision. Notes upon these have been
brought together, so as to form an introduction, which it is hoped
may be of some use to the readers of the _Reliques_, in the absence
of an exhaustive compilation, which has yet to be made. Here there is
no attempt at completeness of treatment, and the notes are roughly
arranged under the following headings:--

  The Minstrels.
  Ballads and Ballad Writers.
  Imitators and Forgers.
  Authenticity of certain Ballads.
  Preservers of the Ballads.
  Life of Percy.
  Folio MS. and the _Reliques_.
  Ballad Literature since Percy.


When Percy wrote the opening sentence in his first sketch of that
"Essay on the Ancient English Minstrels" (1765), which was the
foundation of the literature of the subject, he little expected the
severe handling he was to receive from the furious Ritson for his
hasty utterance. His words were, "The minstrels seem to have been the
genuine successors of the ancient bards, who united the arts of poetry
and music, and sung verses to the harp of their own composing." The
bishop was afterwards convinced, from Ritson's remarks, that the rule
he had enunciated was too rigid, and in the later form of the Essay he
somewhat modified his language. The last portion of the sentence then
stood, "composed by themselves or others," and a note was added to the
effect that he was "wedded to no hypothesis."

Sir Walter Scott criticised the controversy in his interesting article
on _Romance_ in the supplement to the _Encyclopædia Britannica_, where
he wrote: "When so popular a department of poetry has attained this
decided character, it becomes time to inquire who were the composers
of these numerous, lengthened, and once-admired narratives which are
called metrical romances, and from whence they drew their authority.
Both these subjects of discussion have been the source of great
controversy among antiquarians; a class of men who, be it said with
their forgiveness, are apt to be both positive and polemical upon the
very points which are least susceptible of proof, and which are least
valuable if the truth could be ascertained; and which, therefore, we
would gladly have seen handled with more diffidence and better temper
in proportion to their uncertainty." After some remarks upon the
essays of Percy and Ritson, he added, "Yet there is so little room for
this extreme loss of temper, that upon a recent perusal of both these
ingenious essays, we were surprised to find that the reverend editor of
the _Reliques_ and the accurate antiquary have differed so very little
as in essential facts they appear to have done. Quotations are indeed
made by both with no sparing hand; and hot arguments, and on one side,
at least, hard words are unsparingly employed; while, as is said to
happen in theological polemics, the contest grows warmer in proportion
as the ground concerning which it is carried on is narrower and more
insignificant. In reality their systems do not essentially differ."
Ritson's great object was to set forth more clearly than Percy had done
that the term _minstrel_ was a comprehensive one, including the poet,
the singer, and the musician, not to mention the _fablier_, _conteur_,
_jugleur_, _baladin_, &c.

Ritson delighted in collecting instances of the degradation into which
the minstrel gradually sank, and, with little of Percy's taste, he
actually preferred the ballad-writer's songs to those of the minstrel.
Percy, on the other hand, gathered together all the material he could
to set the minstrel in a good light. There is abundant evidence that
the latter was right in his view of the minstrel's position in feudal
times, but there were grades in this profession as in others, and
law-givers doubtless found it necessary to control such Bohemians as
wandered about the country without licence. The minstrel of a noble
house was distinguished by bearing the badge of his lord attached to
a silver chain, and just as in later times the players who did not
bear the name of some courtier were the subjects of parliamentary
enactments, so the unattached minstrels were treated as vagrants.
Besides the minstrels of great lords, there were others attached to
important cities. On May 26, 1298, as appears by the Wardrobe accounts
of Edward I., that king gave 6_s._ 8_d._ to Walter Lovel, the harper
of Chichester, whom he found playing the harp before the tomb of St.
Richard in the Cathedral of Chichester.

Waits were formerly attached to most corporate towns, and were, in
fact, the corporation minstrels. They wore a livery and a badge, and
were formed into a sort of guild. No one, even were he an inhabitant
of the town, was suffered to play in public who was not free of the
guild. Besides singing out the hours of the night, and warning the town
against dangers, they accompanied themselves with the harp, the pipe,
the hautboy, and other instruments. They played in the town for the
gratification of the inhabitants, and attended the mayor on all state
occasions. At the mayor's feast they occupied the minstrels' gallery.
From the merchants' guild book at Leicester, it appears that as early
as 1314 "Hugh the Trumpeter" was made free of the guild, and in 1481
"Henry Howman, a harper," was also made free, while in 1499 "Thomas
Wylkyns, Wayte," and in 1612 "Thomas Pollard, musician," were likewise

Percy collected so many facts concerning the old minstrels, that it is
not necessary to add much to his stock of information, especially as,
though a very interesting subject in itself, it has really very little
to do with the contents of the _Reliques_.

The knightly Troubadours and Trouvères, and such men as Taillefer, the
Norman minstrel, who at the battle of Hastings advanced on horseback
before the invading host, and gave the signal for attack by singing the
Song of Roland, who died at Roncesvalles, had little in common with the
authors of the ballads in this book.

The wise son of Sirach enumerates among those famous men who are worthy
to be praised "such as found out musical tunes, and recited verses in
writing;" but, according to Hector Boece, the early Scottish kings
thought otherwise. In the Laws of Kenneth II., "bardis" are mentioned
with vagabonds, fools, and idle persons, to be scourged and burnt on
the cheek, unless they found some work by which to live; and the same
laws against them were, according to Boece, still in force in the
reign of Macbeth, nearly two centuries later. Better times, however,
came, and Scotch bards and minstrels were highly favoured in the reign
of James III.; but the sunshine did not last long. In 1574, "pipers,
fiddlers, and minstrels" are again branded with the opprobrious term of
vagabonds, and threatened with severe penalties; and the Regent Morton
induced the Privy Council to issue an edict that "nane tak upon hand
to emprent or sell whatsoever book, ballet, or other werk," without
its being examined and licensed, under pain of death and confiscation
of goods. In August, 1579, two poets of Edinburgh (William Turnbull,
schoolmaster, and William Scot, notar, "baith weel belovit of the
common people for their common offices"), were hanged for writing a
satirical ballad against the Earl of Morton; and in October of the
same year, the Estates passed an Act against beggars and "sic as
make themselves fules and are bards ... minstrels, sangsters, and
tale tellers, not avowed in special service by some of the lords of
parliament or great burghs."

The minstrels had their several rounds, and, as a general rule, did not
interfere with each other; but it is probable that they occasionally
made a foray into other districts, in order to replenish their worn-out
stock of songs.

One of the last of the true minstrels was Richard Sheale, who enjoys
the credit of having preserved the old version of _Chevy Chase_. He was
for a time in the service of Edward, Earl of Derby, and wrote an elegy
on the Countess, who died in January, 1558. He afterwards followed
the profession of a minstrel at Tamworth, and his wife was a "sylke
woman," who sold shirts, head clothes, and laces, &c., at the fairs of
Lichfield and other neighbouring towns. On one occasion, when he left
Tamworth on horseback, with his harp in his hand, he had the misfortune
to be robbed by four highwaymen, who lay in wait for him near Dunsmore
Heath. He wrote a long account of his misfortune in verse,[2] in which
he describes the grief of himself and his wife at their great loss,
and laments over the coldness of worldly friends. He was robbed of
threescore pounds--a large amount in those days--not obtained, however,
from the exercise of his own skill, but by the sale of his wife's
wares. This money was to be devoted to the payment of their debts,
and in order that the carriage of it should not be a burden to him he
changed it all for gold. He thought he might carry it safely, as no one
would suspect a minstrel of possessing so much property, but he found
to his cost that he had been foolishly bold. To add to his affliction,
some of his acquaintances grieved him by saying that he was a lying
knave, and had not been robbed, as it was not possible for a minstrel
to have so much money. There was a little sweetness, however, in the
poor minstrel's cup, for patrons were kind, and his loving neighbours
at Tamworth exerted themselves to help him. They induced him to brew a
bushel of malt, and sell the ale.

All this is related in a poem, which gives a vivid picture of the life
of the time, although the verse does not do much credit to the poet's

When the minstrel class had fallen to utter decay in England, it
flourished with vigour in Wales; and we learn that the harpers and
fiddlers were prominent figures in the Cymmortha, or gatherings of the
people for mutual aid. These assemblies were of a similar character to
the "Bees," which are common among our brethren in the United States.
They were often abused for political purposes, and they gave some
trouble to Burghley as they had previously done to Henry IV. In the
reign of that king a statute was passed forbidding rhymers, minstrels,
&c. from making the Cymmortha. The following extract from a MS. in the
Lansdowne Collection in the British Museum, on the state of Wales in
Elizabeth's reign, shows the estimation in which the minstrels were
then held:--

"Upon the Sundays and holidays the multitudes of all sorts of
men, women, and children of every parish do use to meet in sundry
places, either on some hill or on the side of some mountain, where
their harpers and crowthers sing them songs of the doings of their

Ben Jonson introduces "Old Father Rosin," the chief minstrel of
Highgate, as one of the principal characters in his _Tale of a
Tub_; and the blind harpers continued for many years to keep up the
remembrance of the fallen glories of the minstrel's profession. Tom
D'Urfey relates how merrily _blind Tom_ harped, and mention is made
of "honest Jack Nichols, the harper," in Tom Brown's _Letters from_
_the Dead to the Living_ (Works, ii. 191). Sir Walter Scott, in the
article on _Romance_ referred to above, tells us that "about fifty
or sixty years since" (which would be about the year 1770) "a person
acquired the nickname of 'Roswal and Lillian,' from singing that
romance about the streets of Edinburgh, which is probably the very last
instance of the proper minstrel craft." Scott himself, however, gives
later instances in the introduction to the _Minstrelsy of the Scottish
Border_. He there writes: "It is certain that till a very late period
the pipers, of whom there was one attached to each border town of note,
and whose office was often hereditary, were the great depositaries of
oral, and particularly of poetical tradition. About spring-time, and
after harvest, it was the custom of these musicians to make a progress
through a particular district of the country. The music and the tale
repaid their lodging, and they were usually gratified, with a donation
of seed corn. This order of minstrels is alluded to in the comic song
of _Maggy Lauder_, who thus addresses a piper:

    'Live ye upo' the border?'"[4]

To this is added the following note:--"These town pipers, an
institution of great antiquity upon the borders, were certainly
the last remains of the minstrel race. Robin Hastie, town piper of
Jedburgh, perhaps the last of the order, died nine or ten years ago;
his family was supposed to have held the office for about three
centuries. Old age had rendered Robin a wretched performer, but he
knew several old songs and tunes, which have probably died along with
him. The town-pipers received a livery and salary from the community
to which they belonged; and in some burghs they had a small allotment
of land, called the Pipers' Croft." Scott further adds:--"Other
itinerants, not professed musicians, found their welcome to their
night's quarters readily ensured by their knowledge in legendary lore.
John Græme, of Sowport, in Cumberland, commonly called the Long Quaker,
a person of this latter description, was very lately alive, and several
of the songs now published have been taken down from his recitation." A
note contains some further particulars of this worthy:--"This person,
perhaps the last of our professed ballad reciters, died since the
publication of the first edition of this work. He was by profession an
itinerant cleaner of clocks and watches, but a stentorian voice and
tenacious memory qualified him eminently for remembering accurately and
reciting with energy the border gathering songs and tales of war. His
memory was latterly much impaired, yet the number of verses which he
could pour forth, and the animation of his tone and gestures, formed
a most extraordinary contrast to his extreme feebleness of person and
dotage of mind." Ritson, in mentioning some relics of the minstrel
class, writes:--"It is not long since that the public papers announced
the death of a person of this description somewhere in Derbyshire; and
another from the county of Gloucester was within these few years to be
seen in the streets of London; he played on an instrument of the rudest
construction, which he properly enough called a _humstrum_, and chanted
(amongst others) the old ballad of _Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor_,
which, by the way, has every appearance of being originally a minstrel
song." He adds further in a note:--"He appeared again in January, 1790,
and called upon the present writer in the April following. He was
between sixty and seventy years of age, but had not been brought up to
the profession of a minstrel, nor possessed any great store of songs,
of which that mentioned in the text seemed the principal. Having, it
would seem, survived his minstrel talents, and forgot his epic, nay
Pindaric art, he has been of late frequently observed begging in the

These quotations relate to the end of the last or to the very early
part of the present century, but we can add a notice of minstrels
who lived well on towards the middle of this century. Mr. J. H.
Dixon, in the preface to his _Scottish Traditional Versions of
Ancient Ballads_, printed for the Percy Society in 1845, writes as
follows:--"Although the harp has long been silent in the dales of the
north of England and Scotland, it has been succeeded by the violin,
and a class of men are still in existence and pursuing their calling,
who are the regular descendants and representatives of the minstrels
of old. In his rambles amongst the hills of the North, and especially
in the wild and romantic dales of Yorkshire, the editor has met with
several of these characters. They are not idle vagabonds who have no
other calling, but in general are honest and industrious, though poor
men, having a local habitation as well as a name, and engaged in some
calling, pastoral or manual. It is only at certain periods, such as
Christmas, or some other of the great festal seasons of the ancient
church, that they take up the minstrel life, and levy contributions
in the hall of the peer or squire, and in the cottage of the farmer
or peasant. They are in general well-behaved, and often very witty
fellows, and therefore their visits are always welcome. These minstrels
do not sing modern songs, but, like their brethren of a bygone age,
they keep to the ballads. The editor has in his possession some old
poems, which he obtained from one of these minstrels, who is still
living and fiddling in Yorkshire."

In his _Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of
England_, 1846, Mr. Dixon notices one of these relics of the past, viz.
Francis King, who was well known in the western dales of Yorkshire as
"the Skipton Minstrel:"--"This poor minstrel, from whose recitation two
of our ballads were obtained, met his death by drowning in December,
1844. He had been at a merry meeting at Gargrave in Craven, and it is
supposed that owing to the darkness of the night he had mistaken his
homeward road, and walked into the water. He was one in whose character
were combined the mimic and the minstrel, and his old jokes and older
ballads and songs ever insured him a hearty welcome. His appearance
was peculiar, and owing to one leg being shorter than its companion,
he walked in such a manner as once drew from a wag the remark, 'that
few _kings_ had had more ups and downs in the world!' As a musician his
talents were creditable, and some of the dance tunes that he was in the
habit of composing showed that he was not deficient in the organ of
melody. In the quiet churchyard of Gargrave may be seen the minstrel's

Percy wrote an interesting note upon the division of some of the long
ballads into fits (see vol. ii. p. 182). The minstrel's payment for
each of these fits was a groat; and so common was this remuneration,
that a groat came to be generally spoken of as "fiddler's money."

Puttenham describes the blind harpers and tavern minstrels as giving
a fit of mirth for a groat; and in Ben Jonson's _masque of the
Metamorphosed Gipsies_, 1621, Townshead, the clown, cries out, "I
cannot hold now; there's my groat, let's have a fit for mirth sake."

The payment seems to have remained the same, though the money became
in time reduced in value, so that, as the minstrel fell in repute, his
reward became less. In 1533, however, a Scotch eighteen-penny groat
possessed a considerable buying power, as appears from the following

"Sir Walter Coupar, chaplaine in Edinburghe, gate a pynte of vyne, a
laiffe of 36 vnce vaight, a peck of aite meill, a pynte of aill, a
scheipe head, ane penny candell and a faire woman for ane xviii. penny

After the Restoration, the sixpence took the place of the groat; and it
is even now a current phrase to say, when several sixpences are given
in change, "What a lot of fiddlers' money!"


One of the most important duties of the old minstrel was the chanting
of the long romances of chivalry, and the question whether the ballads
were detached portions of the romances, or the romances built up from
ballads, has greatly agitated the minds of antiquaries. There seems
reason to believe that in a large number of instances the most telling
portions of the romance were turned into ballads, and this is certainly
the case in regard to several of those belonging to the Arthurian
cycle. On the other side, such poems as Barbour's _Bruce_ and Blind
Harry's _Wallace_ have, according to Motherwell, swept out of existence
the memory of the ballads from which they were formed. When Barbour
wrote, ballads relative to Bruce and his times were common, "for the
poet, in speaking of certain 'thre worthi poyntis of wer,' omits the
particulars of the 'thrid which fell into Esdaill,' being a victory
gained by 'Schyr Johne the Soullis,' over 'Schyr Andrew Hardclay,' for
this reason:--

    'I will nocht rehers the maner,
    For wha sa likes thai may her,
    Young wemen quhen thai will play,
    Syng it amang thaim ilk day.'"[7]

Another instance of the agglutinative process may be cited in the
gradual growth of the Robin Hood ballads into a sort of epic, the first
draught of which we may see in the _Merrye Geste_. The directness and
dramatic cast of the minstrel ballad, however, form a strong argument
in favour of the theory that they were largely taken from the older
romances and chronicles, and the fragmentary appearance of some of them
gives force to this view. Without preface, they go at once straight
to the incident to be described. Frequently the ballad opens with a
conversation, and some explanation of the position of the interlocutors
was probably given by the minstrel as a prose introduction. Motherwell,
in illustration of the opinion that the abrupt transitions of the
ballads were filled up by the explanations of the minstrels, gives the
following modern instance:--

"Traces of such a custom still remain in the lowlands of Scotland
among those who have stores of these songs upon their memory. Reciters
frequently, when any part of the narrative appears incomplete, supply
the defect in prose.... I have heard the ancient ballad of _Young
Beichan and Susan Pye_ dilated by a story-teller into a tale of very
remarkable dimensions--a paragraph of prose, and then a _screed_ of
rhyme, alternately given. From this ballad I may give a short specimen,
after the fashion of the venerable authority from whom I quote: 'Well
ye must know that in the Moor's castle there was a massymore, which is
a dark, deep dungeon for keeping prisoners. It was twenty feet below
the ground, and into this hole they closed poor Beichan. There he
stood, night and day, up to his waist in puddle water; but night or
day, it was all one to him, for no ae styme of light ever got in. So he
lay there a long and weary while, and thinking on his heavy weird, he
made a mournfu' sang to pass the time, and this was the sang that he
made, and grat when he sang it, for he never thought of ever escaping
from the massymore, or of seeing his ain country again:

    'My hounds they all ran masterless,
    My hawks they flee from tree to tree;
    My youngest brother will heir my lands,
    And fair England again I'll never see.

    Oh were I free as I hae been,
    And my ship swimming once more on sea;
    I'd turn my face to fair England,
    And sail no more to a strange countrie.'

'Now the cruel Moor had a beautiful daughter, called Susan Pye, who was
accustomed to take a walk every morning in her garden, and as she was
walking ae day she heard the sough o' Beichan's sang, coming, as it
were, from below the ground,'" &c.[8]

The contrast between the construction of minstrel ballads and those
of the ballad-mongers who arose as a class in the reign of Elizabeth
is very marked. The ballad-singers who succeeded the minstrels were
sufficiently wise not to reject the treasures of their predecessors,
and many of the old songs were rewritten and lengthened to suit
their purpose. _Sir Patrick Spence_ would perhaps be the best
of the minstrel ballads to oppose to one of the best of the later
ballads, such as the _Beggar's Daughter of Bednall Green_; but as its
authenticity has been disputed, it will be well to choose another,
and _Captaine Carre_, which Ritson allows to have been one of the few
minstrel ballads he acknowledges, will do well for the purpose. As both
these poems are before our readers, it will only be necessary to quote
the first stanzas of each. The version in the folio MS. of _Captain
Carre_ commences abruptly thus:--

    "ffaith maister, whither you will,
      whereas you like the best,
    unto the castle of Bitton's borrow,
      and there to take your rest."[9]

This is a remarkable contrast to the opening of the _Beggar's

    "Itt was a blind beggar, had long lost his sight,
    He had a faire daughter of bewty most bright;
    And many a gallant brave suiter had shee,
    For none was soe comelye as pretty Bessee."[10]

Some may think, however, that this ballad is an adaptation by the
ballad-monger from an older original, so that perhaps a still better
instance of the great change in form that the ballads underwent will
be found in the _Children in the Wood_.[11] This favourite ballad is
one of the best specimens of that didactic style which is so natural in
the hands of the master, but degenerates into such tedious twaddle when
copied by the pupil. The first stanza is:--

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

To put the matter simply, we may say that the writer of the old
minstrel ballad expected an unhesitating belief for all his statements.
"If fifteen stalwart foresters are slain by one stout knight,
single-handed, he never steps out of his way to prove the truth of
such an achievement by appealing to the exploits of some other notable
manslayer."[12] On the other hand the professional ballad-writer
gives a reason for everything he states, and in consequence fills
his work with redundancies. Percy understood the characteristics
of the older ballads, and explained the difference between the two
classes of ballads in his _Essay on the Ancient Minstrels_,[13] but
unfortunately he did not bear the distinction in mind when he altered
some of the ballads in the folio MS. So that we find it to have been
his invariable practice to graft the prettinesses and redundancies of
the later writers upon the simplicity of the earlier. For instance,
in his version of _Sir Cauline_ he inserts such well-worn saws as the

    "Everye white will have its blacke,
      And everye sweete its sowre:
    This founde the ladye Cristabelle
      In an untimely howre."[14]

Ritson also remarks upon the distinctive styles of the ancient and
modern writers, but, as observed above, he had the bad taste to prefer
the work of the later ballad-writer. His opinion is given in the
following passage:--"These songs [of the minstrels] from their wild
and licentious metre were incapable of any certain melody or air; they
were chanted in a monotonous stile to the harp or other instrument,
and both themselves and the performers banished by the introduction of
ballad-singers without instruments, who sung printed pieces to fine and
simple melodies, possibly of their own invention, most of which are
known and admired at this day. The latter, owing to the smoothness of
their language, and accuracy of their measure and rime, were thought
to be more poetical than the old harp or instrument songs; and though
critics may judge otherwise, the people at large were to decide, and
did decide: and in some respects, at least, not without justice, as
will be evident from a comparison of the following specimens.

"The first is from the old _Chevy Chase_, a very popular minstrel
ballad in the time of Queen Elizabeth:--

    'The Persé owt of Northombarlande,
      And a vowe to God mayd he,' &c.[15]

How was it possible that this barbarous language, miserably chanted
'by some blind crowder with no rougher voice than rude stile,' should
maintain its ground against such lines as the following, sung to a
beautiful melody, which we know belongs to them?--

    'When as king Henry rul'd the land,
      The second of that name,
    Besides the queen he dearly lov'd,
      A fair and comely dame,' &c.[16]

The minstrels would seem to have gained little by such a contest. In
short, they gave up the old _Chevy Chase_ to the ballad-singers,
who, desirous, no doubt, to avail themselves of so popular a subject,
had it new written, and sung it to the favourite melody just mentioned.
The original, of course, became utterly neglected, and but for its
accidental discovery by Hearne, would never have been known to

Percy held the view, which was afterwards advocated by Scott, that
the Borders were the true home of the romantic ballad, and that the
chief minstrels originally belonged either to the north of England or
the south of Scotland;[18] but later writers have found the relics of
a ballad literature in the north of Scotland. The characteristics of
the ballad doubtless varied to some extent in different parts of the
country, but there is no reason to believe that the glory of being
its home can be confined to any one place. Unfortunately this popular
literature was earlier lost in the plains than among the hills, while
the recollection of the fatal fields of Otterburn, Humbledon, Flodden,
Halidon, Hedgeley, Hexham, &c., would naturally keep it alive longer
among the families of the Border than elsewhere.

Before proceeding further, it may be as well to say a few words upon
the word _ballad_. The strong line of demarcation that is now drawn
between an ordinary song and a ballad is a late distinction, and even
Dr. Johnson's only explanation of the word "ballad" in his _Dictionary_
is "a song." One of his quotations is taken from Watts, to the effect
that "ballad once signified a solemn and sacred song, as well as
trivial, when Solomon's Song was called the ballad of ballads; but now
it is applied to nothing but trifling verse." The "balade" as used by
Chaucer and others was a song written in a particular rhythm, but later
writers usually meant by a ballad a song that was on the lips of the

It is not necessary to enlarge here upon the change of meaning that the
word has undergone, nor to do more than mention the relation that it
bears to the word ballet. As a _ballad_ is now a story told in verse,
so a _ballet_ is now a story told in a dance. Originally the two were
one, and the ballad was a song sung while the singers were dancing.

When Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun wrote, "I knew a very wise man, so much
of Sir Christopher's sentiment that he believed if a man were permitted
to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a
nation," he referred to the popular songs of the people, but, in point
of fact, a nation makes its own ballads, which do not become current
coin until stamped with public approval. No song will change a people's
purpose, but the national heart will be found written in a country's
songs as a reflection of what has happened.

The successful ballad-writer requires a quick eye and ear to discern
what is smouldering in the public mind, and then if his words
fall in with the humour of the people his productions will have a
powerful influence, and may set the country in a blaze. _Ça ira_
and the _Carmagnole_ had much influence on the progress of the great
French Revolution, as _Mourir pour la Patrie_ had upon that of 1848.
_Lilliburlero_ gave the finishing stroke to the English Revolution of
1688, and its author (Lord Wharton) boasted that he had rhymed King
James out of his dominions.

The old ballad filled the place of the modern newspaper, and history
can be read in ballads by those who try to understand them; but the
type is often blurred, and in attempting to make out their meaning,
we must be careful not to see too much, for the mere fact of the
existence of a ballad does not prove its popularity or its truth.

Literature is often presumed to assert a larger influence over a nation
than it really does, and there is little doubt that literature is more
a creation of the people than the people are a creation of literature.
Where a healthy public opinion exists, people are less affected to
action by what is written than is sometimes supposed, but still there
is an important reflex action, and--

      "Words are things, and a small drop of ink
    Falling like dew upon a thought, produces
    That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think."

There are recorded instances of the powerful influence of ballads, and
we know how much Dibdin's sea songs did for the British navy, when they
placed before the sailor an ideal of his own feelings, and painted men
he wished to be like.

The songs of a country are the truly natural part of its poetry, and
really the only poetry of the great body of the people. Percy, in the
dedication to his _Reliques_, calls ballads the "barbarous productions
of unpolished ages." Nevertheless they are instinct with life, and live
still, while much of the polished poetry of his age, which expelled
nature from literature, is completely dead. Nature is the salt that
keeps the ballad alive, and many have maintained a continuance of
popularity for several centuries.

A good ballad is not an easy thing to write, and many poets who have
tried their hand at composition in this branch of their art have
signally failed, as may be seen by referring to some of the modern
pieces in this book, which Percy hoped would "atone for the rudeness of
the more obsolete poems."

The true ballad is essentially dramatic, and one that is to make
itself felt should be all action, without any moralizing padding, for
it is a narrative in verse meant for the common people. James Hogg,
himself a successful ballad-writer, has something to say about a good
song: "A man may be sair mista'en about many things, sic as yepics,
an' tragedies, an' tales, an' even lang set elegies about the death
o' great public characters, an' hymns, an' odes, an' the like, but he
canna be mista'en about a sang. As sune as it's down on the sclate I
ken whether it's gude, bad, or middlin'. If any of the two last I dight
it out wi' my elbow; if the first, I copy it o'er into writ and then
get it aff by heart, when it's as sure o' no' being lost as if it war
engraven on a brass plate. For though I hae a treacherous memory about
things in ordinar', a' my happy sangs will cleave to my heart to my
dying day, an' I should na wonder gin I war to croon a verse or twa
frae some o' them on my deathbed."

All ballads are songs, but all songs are not ballads, and the
difference between a ballad and a song is something the same as that
between a proverb and an apophthegm, for the ballad like the proverb
should be upon many lips. A poet may write a poem and call it a ballad:
but it requires the public approval before it becomes one in fact.

The objects of the minstrel and the ballad-singer were essentially
different: thus the minstrel's stock of ballads usually lasted him his
lifetime, and as his living depended upon them they were jealously
guarded by him from others. Nothing he objected to more than to see
them in print. The chief aim of the ballad-singer, on the other hand,
was to sell his collection of printed broadsides, and to obtain
continually a new stock, so as to excite the renewed attention of his

Henry Chettle mentions in his _Kind Hart's Dream_, 1592, the sons of
one Barnes, who boasted that they could earn twenty shillings a day by
singing ballads at Bishop's Stortford and places in the neighbourhood.
The one had a squeaking treble, the other "an ale-blown bass."

One of the most popular singers of the early time was a boy named
Cheeke, and nicknamed "Outroaring Dick." He was originally a mechanic,
but renounced that life for ballad-singing, by which occupation he
earned ten shillings a day. He was well known in Essex, and was not
missed for many years from the great fair at Braintree. He had a rival
in Will Wimbars, who sung chiefly doleful tragedies. Mat Nash, a man
from the "North Countrie," made the Border ballads his own by his
manner of singing them, in which he accompanied his voice by dramatic
action. _Chevy Chase_ was his _tour de force_. Lord Burghley was
so pleased with his singing that he enabled him to retire from his
occupation. The gipsies have furnished many female singers, and one
of them, named Alice Boyce, who came to London in Elizabeth's reign,
paid the expenses of her journey up to London by singing the whole way.
She had the honour of singing, "O, the broom" and "Lady Green Sleeves"
before the queen. Gravelot, the portrait painter in the Strand, had
several sittings from ballad-singers; and Hogarth drew the famous
"Philip in the Tub" in his Wedding of the _Industrious Apprentice_.

Street singing still continues, and one of the songs of thirty years
ago tells of "the luck of a cove wot sings," and how many friends he
has. One of the verses is as follows:--

    "While strolling t'other night,
    I dropped in a house, d'ye see;
    The landlord so polite,
    Insisted on treating me;
    I called for a glass of port,
    When half-a-bottle he brings;
    'How much?'--'Nothing of the sort,'
    Says he, 'you're a cove wot sings.'"

Mr. Chappell gives a large number of early quotations relating to
ballad-singing, in his interesting _History of Ballad Literature_,
and observes that "some idea of the number of ballads that were printed
in the early part of the reign of Elizabeth may be formed from the
fact that seven hundred and ninety-six ballads left for entry at
Stationers' Hall remained in the cupboard of the Council Chamber of
the Company at the end of the year 1560, to be transferred to the new
Wardens, and only forty-four books."[19] Some of the old writers, like
Shakspere's Mopsa, loved "a ballad in print;" but more of them disliked
the new literature that was rising up like a mushroom, and took every
opportunity of having a fling at it.

Webbe, in his _Discourse of English Poetrie_ (1586), refers to "the
un-countable rabble of ryming ballet-makers and compylers of senseless
sonnets;" and Chettle complains in _Kind Hart's Dream_ (1592), that
"now ballads are abusively chanted in every street; and from London,
this evil has overspread Essex and the adjoining counties. There is
many a tradesman of a worshipful trade, yet no stationer, who after a
little bringing up apprentices to singing brokery, takes into his shop
some fresh men, and trusts his servants of two months' standing with
a dozen groats' worth of ballads, in which, if they prove thrifty, he
makes them pretty chapmen, able to spread more pamphlets by the State
forbidden than all the booksellers in London." Bishop Hall (1597) does
not forget to satirize ballad-writing among other things more worthy of

    "Some drunken rhymer thinks his time well spent,
    If he can live to see his name in print;
    Who, when he is once fleshed to the presse,
    And sees his handsell have such faire successe
    Sung to the wheele and sung unto the payle,
    He sends forth thraves of ballads to the sale."

That is, by the spinsters and milkmaids. Shakspere also refers to the
love which women at work have for a ballad in _Twelfth Night_ (act i.
sc. 4):

    "The spinsters and knitters in the sun,
    And the free maids that weave their thread with bones
    Do use to chant it."

The larger number of ballads are anonymous, but we are told that in the
reign of Henry VIII., "the most pregnant wits" were employed in writing
them, and that the king himself set the example. The ballad, however,
here referred to probably only meant an ordinary song. In course of
time rhymesters succeeded poets, because, as the world becomes more
educated, the poet confines himself to the refined, and the people
have to content themselves with poor poetasters. Stirring times will,
however, always give birth to some real poetry among the masses,
because whatever is true and earnest must find an echo in many hearts.
In Elizabeth's reign, as we have already seen, the ballad-writer had
sunk very low in public esteem. In further illustration of this we
find in _Martin Mar-sixtus_ (1592) the following diatribe: "I lothe to
speak it, every red-nosed rhymester is an auther, every drunken man's
dream is a book; and he whose talent of little wit is hardly worth a
farthing, yet layeth about him so outrageously as if all Helicon had
run through his pen. In a word, scarce a cat can look out of a gutter,
but out starts a halfpenny chronicler, and presently a proper new
ballet of a strange sight is indited." The producer and the product
had not greatly changed in forty years, for we find the following
character in the curious little book, entitled _Whimzies, or a New Cast
of Characters_ (1631):

"A ballad-monger is the ignominious nickname of a penurious poet, of
whom he partakes in nothing but in povertie. He has a singular gift of
imagination, for he can descant on a man's execution long before his
confession. Nor comes his invention far short of his imagination. For
want of truer relations, for a neede, he can finde you out a Sussex
dragon, some sea or inland monster, drawne out by some Shoe-lane man in
a Gorgon-like feature, to enforce more horror in the beholder."

The chief of the ballad-writers were William Elderton, Thomas Deloney,
Richard Johnson, and Anthony Munday. Elderton was known as the prince
of ballad-mongers; but, unfortunately, he was as notorious for his love
of the bottle, and he is said to have drunk himself to death before the
year 1592. Camden tells us that "he did arm himself with ale (as old
Father Ennius did with wine) when he ballated," and two epitaphs made
upon him are registered in the _Remaines_, the Latin one of which is
also printed at p. 221 of vol. ii., with Oldys's translation, and the

    "Here is Elderton lying in dust,
    Or lying Elderton; chuse which you lust.
    Here he lies dead, I do him no wrong,
    For who knew him standing, all his life long?"

Nash asserts that "Elderton consumed his alecrammed nose to nothing
in bear-bayting" an enemy "with whole bundells of ballets;"[20] and
Gabriel Harvey attacks "Father Elderton and his son Greene as the
ringleaders of the riming and scribbling crew."

According to Stow, Elderton was an attorney in the Sheriffs' Courts of
the City of London, and wrote some verses on the new porch and stone
statues at Guildhall. Ritson does not think that his poetical powers
are to be compared with those of Deloney and Johnson. Drayton also
appears to have had a low opinion of him, for he writes:--

    "I scorn'd your ballad then, though it were done
    And had for finis, William Elderton,"

but Benedick, in _Much Ado about Nothing_ (act v. sc. 2) does him the
honour of singing one of his songs:--

    "The god of love
    That sits above,
    And knows me, and knows me
    How pitiful I deserve."

Thomas Deloney, the shoemaker's historiographer, was a voluminous
writer of ballads, which he himself collected into Garlands, with
different taking titles. Several of his pieces are printed in these
volumes. Nash calls him "the balleting silk-weaver of Norwich;" and in
his _Have with you to Saffron Walden_, he remarks on the ballad-maker's
change of style: "He hath rhyme enough for all miracles, and wit to
make a _Garland of Good Will_, &c., but whereas his muse, from the
first peeping forth, hath stood at livery at an ale-house wisp, never
exceeding a penny a quart, day or night--and this dear year, together
with the silencing of his looms, scarce that--he is constrained
to betake himself to carded ale, whence it proceedeth that, since
Candlemas, or his jigg of _John for the King_, not one merry ditty
will come from him; nothing but _The Thunderbolt against Swearers_;
_Repent, England, Repent_, and the _Strange Judgments of God_." Kemp,
the comic actor and morris-dancer, was particularly angry with the
ballad-makers in general, and Deloney in particular, and addresses
them in the following terms:--

"Kemp's humble request to the impudent generation of Ballad-makers
and their coherents, that it would please their rascalities to pitty
his paines in the great journey he pretends, and not fill the country
with lyes of his never done actes as they did in his late _Morrice to
Norwich_. I knowe the best of ye, by the lyes ye writ of me, got not
the price of a good hat to cover your brainless heds. If any of ye
had come to me, my bounty should have exceeded the best of your good
masters the ballad-buiers. I wold have apparrelled your dry pates in
party-coloured bonnets, and bestowed a leash of my cast belles to have
crown'd ye with cox-combs.

"I was told it was the great ballet-maker, T. D., alias Tho. Deloney,
chronicler of the memorable lives of the 6 yeamen of the West, Jack
of Newbery, the Gentle-Craft, and such like honest men, omitted by
Stow, Hollinshead, Grafton, Hal, Froysart, and the rest of those wel
deserving writers."[21]

Richard Johnson, the author of the _Seven Champions of Christendom_,
like Deloney, collected his own ballads into a book, and his _Crown
Garland of Golden Roses_ was once highly popular.

Anthony Munday, a draper in Cripplegate, and a member of the Drapers'
Company, has the fame of being a voluminous writer of ballads,
but none of his productions are known to exist. Kemp calls him
"Elderton's immediate heir," but he does not seem to have walked in
his predecessor's disreputable steps, but to have lived respected to
the good age of eighty. He died Aug. 10, 1633, and was buried in St.
Stephen's, Coleman-street, where a monument with an inscription in
praise of his knowledge as an antiquary was erected. He wrote many of
the annual city pageants, besides plays, which caused Meres to call him
"the best plotter" of his age.

Chettle disguised Munday as Anthony Now-Now, and Ben Jonson ridiculed
him in _The Case is Altered_, as Antonio Balladino, the pageant poet.
To the question, "You are not the pageant poet to the city of Milan,
are you?" he is made to answer, "I supply the place, sir, when a worse
cannot be had, sir." He had several enemies who ran him down, but he
also had friends who stood up for him. William Webbe, in his _Discourse
of English Poetrie_, describes Munday as "an earnest traveller in this
art," and says that he wrote "very excellent works, especially upon
nymphs and shepherds, well worthy to be viewed and to be esteemed as
rare poetry."

Thomas Middleton, the dramatic poet, who produced the Lord Mayor's
pageant for the mayoralty of his namesake, Sir Thomas Middleton (_The_
_Triumphs of Truth_), in 1613, attacks poor Munday most viciously. On
the title-page he declares his pageant to have been "directed, written,
and redeem'd into forme, from the ignorance of some former times and
their common writer," and in his book he adds:--"The miserable want of
both [art and knowledge] which in the impudent common writer hath often
forced from me much pity and sorrow, and it would heartily grieve any
understanding spirit to behold many times so glorious a fire in bounty
and goodness offering to match itselfe with freezing art, sitting in
darknesse with the candle out, looking like the picture of Blacke

When the civil war broke out, the majority of the poets were ready to
range themselves on the side of the King. Alexander Brome was the most
voluminous writer of royalist songs, but Martin Parker, the writer of
_The King shall enjoy his own again_, must take rank as the leading
ballad-writer of his time. This was one of those songs that cheer the
supporters of a losing cause, and help them to win success in the end.
It is supposed to have formed a by no means unimportant item in the
causes that brought about the Restoration. Parker is said to have been
the leading spirit in a society of ballad-writers; he certainly was not
the "Grub Street scribbler" that Ritson has called him. The Puritans
hated this "ballad-maker laureat of London," and lost no opportunity of
denouncing him and his works. Mr. Chappell has written an interesting
notice of him in his _Popular Music of the Olden Time_, where he
mentions some other royalist ballad writers, as John Wade, the author
of _The Royal Oak_, Thomas Weaver, the author of a _Collection of_
_Songs_, in which he ridiculed the Puritans so effectually that the
book was denounced as a seditious libel against the Government, and
John Cleveland, who, according to Anthony Wood, was the first to come
forth as a champion of the royal cause. The last of these was one of
the very few ballad writers whose names are enrolled in the list of
British poets.

In December, 1648, Captain Betham was appointed Provost Marshal, with
power to seize upon all ballad-singers, and five years from that
date there were no more entries of ballads at Stationers' Hall, but
when Cromwell became Protector he removed the ban against ballads
and ballad-singers. After the Restoration, the courtier poets wrote
for the streets, and therefore most of the ballads were ranged on
the side of the Court. After a time, however, the Court fell into
popular disfavour, and it was then discovered that ballad-singers and
pamphleteers had too much liberty. Killigrew, the Master of the Revels
to Charles II., licensed all singers and sellers of ballads, and John
Clarke, a London bookseller, rented of Killigrew this privilege for a
period, which expired in 1682. Besides licensers of the singers and
sellers, there were licensers of the ballads themselves. These were Sir
Roger L'Estrange, from 1663 to 1685, Richard Pocock, from 1685 to 1688,
J. Fraser, from 1689 to 1691, and Edmund Bohun, who died in 1694, the
year that the licensing system also expired.

When James, Duke of York, went to Scotland to seek for that popularity
which he had lost in England, he is supposed to have taken with him
an English ballad-maker to sing his praises, and this man is believed
to have produced _The Banishment of Poverty by H. R. H. James, Duke
of Albany_. Ballad-singing was very much out of favour among the
authorities in the eighteenth century, and in 1716 the Middlesex grand
jury denounced the singing of "scandalous" ballads about the streets
as a common nuisance, tending to alienate the minds of the people. In
July, 1763, we are told that "yesterday evening two women were sent to
Bridewell by Lord Bute's order for singing political ballads before his
lordship's door in South Audley Street."

Ballads were then pretty much the same kind of rubbish that they are
now, and there was little to show that they once were excellent. The
glorious days when--

    "Thespis, the first professor of our art,
    At country wakes sung ballads from a cart,"[22]

had long ago departed. There are but few instances of true poets
writing for the streets in later times, but we have one in Oliver
Goldsmith. In his early life in Dublin, when he often felt the want
of a meal, he wrote ballads, which found a ready customer at five
shillings each at a little bookseller's shop in a by-street of the
city. We are informed that he was as sensitive as to the reception
of these children of his muse as in after years he was of his more
ambitious efforts; and he used to stroll into the street to hear his
ballads sung, and to mark the degrees of applause with which they
were received. Most of the modern ballad-writers have been local in
their fame, as Thomas Hoggart, the uncle of Hogarth the painter, whose
satiric lash made him a power in his native district of Cumberland,
dreaded alike by fools and knaves.

The chief heroes of the older ballads were King Arthur and his knights,
Robin Hood, and Guy of Warwick. The ballads relating to the first of
these appear to have been chiefly chipped off from the great cycle of
Arthurian romances. The popularity of Robin Hood was at one time so
great that Drayton prophesied in his _Polyolbion_:--

    "In this our spacious isle I think there is not one
    But he hath heard some talk of him, and little John,
    And to the end of time the tales shall ne'er be done
    Of Scarlock, George a Green, and Much the Miller's son.
    Of Tuck the merry Friar, which many a sermon made
    In praise of Robin Hood, his outlaws, and their trade."

From a local hero he grew into national fame, and superseded Arthur in
popular regard. He then sunk into a mere highwayman, to be again raised
into fame by literary men, Ritson being the chief of these. Wakefield
is still proud of its Pinder, who was one of Robin Hood's company--

    "In Wakefield there lives a jolly Pinder;
    In Wakefield all on a green,"

and one of the thoroughfares of that place is now called Pinder Field
Road. Robin Hood was a purely English hero, but Guy of Warwick was
almost as popular in foreign countries as in his own land. The earliest
of English political ballads was an outcome of the Barons' wars in
the reign of Henry III.,[23] and each period of political excitement
since then has been represented in ballads. The controversies between
Protestant and Papist were carried on in verse, and Laud and his clergy
were attacked by the ballad-writers of the Puritan party.


No attempt was made to produce false antique ballads until the true
antiques had again risen in public esteem, and one of the first to
deceive the connoisseurs was Lady Wardlaw, who was highly successful
in her object when she gave _Hardyknute_ to the world (see vol. ii. p.
105). She seems to have been quite contented with the success which
attended the mystification, and does not appear to have taken any
particular pains to keep her secret close. Suspicions were rife long
before the publication of the _Reliques_, but when they appeared the
whole truth came out. With regard to the other ballads, to which she
had added verses, there does not appear to have been any attempt at
concealment. The recent endeavour to attribute a large number of the
romantic ballads of Scotland to her pen will be considered further on.

A large number of poets have imitated the old ballad, but very few have
been successful in the attempt to give their efforts the genuine ring
of the original. Tickell and Goldsmith entered into the spirit of their
models, but Scott succeeded best in old Elspeth's fragment of a chant
(the Battle of Harlaw) in the _Antiquary_. W. J. Mickle, the translator
of the _Lusiad_, contributed several imitations to Evans's _Collection
of Old Ballads_, but although these are beautiful poems in themselves,
their claim to antiquity was made to rest chiefly upon a distorted
spelling. One of the most remarkably successful imitations of modern
times is the ballad of _Trelawny_, which the late Rev. R. S. Hawker,
of Morwenstow, wrote to suit the old burden of "And shall Trelawny
die." This spirited ballad deceived Scott, Macaulay, and Dickens, who
all believed it to be genuine, and quoted it as such. In 1846 it was
actually printed by J. H. Dixon in his "Ancient Poems, Ballads, and
Songs of the Peasantry of England, taken down from oral tradition,
and transcribed from private manuscripts, rare broadsides, and scarce
publications," published by the Percy Society. Mr. Dixon was probably
deceived by Davies Gilbert, who sent the ballad to the _Gentleman's
Magazine_ in 1827, and said that it formerly "resounded in every house,
in every highway, and in every street." In 1832 Hawker had, however,
himself acknowledged the authorship. He wrote in his _Records of the
Western Shore_ (p. 56), "With the exception of the chorus contained
in the last two lines, this song was written by me in the year 1825.
It was soon after inserted in a Plymouth paper. It happened to fall
into the hands of Davies Gilbert, Esq., who did me the honour to
reprint it at his private press at East Bourne, under the impression,
I believe, that it is an early composition of my own. The two lines
above-mentioned formed, I believe, the burthen of the old song, and are
all that I can recover."[24] Hawker was fond of these mystifications,
and although he did not care to lose the credit of his productions, he
was amused to see another of his ballads, _Sir Beville_, find its way
into a collection of old ballads.

A far more beautiful ballad than _Hardyknute_ is _Auld Robin Gray_, in
which a lady of rank caught the spirit of the tender songs of peasant
life with excellent effect. Lady Anne Barnard kept her secret for fifty
years, and did not acknowledge herself the author of it until 1823,
when she disclosed the fact in a letter to Sir Walter Scott.

These were harmless attempts to deceive, such as will always be common
among those who take a pleasure in reducing the pride of the experts;
and when they were discovered no one was found to have been injured by
the deceit. It is far different, however, when a forgery is foisted
in among genuine works, because when a discovery is made of its
untrustworthiness, the reputation of the true work is injured by this
association with the false. Pinkerton inserted a large number of his
own poems in his edition of _Select Scottish Ballads_ (1783), which
poems he alleged to be ancient. He was taken severely to task by Ritson
on account of these fabrications, and he afterwards acknowledged his

One of the most barefaced of literary deceptions was the work published
in 1810 by R. H. Cromek, under the title of _Remains of Nithsdale and
Galloway Song_. Although the ballads contained in these volumes are
very varied in their subject, they were almost entirely composed by
Allan Cunningham, who produced whatever was required of him by his

Poets are often the worst of editors, as they find the temptation
to "improve" their originals too strong to resist. Allan Cunningham
published in 1826 a collection of the _Songs of Scotland_, in which
he availed himself so largely of this license that Motherwell felt
called upon to reprobate the work in the strongest terms. He observes:
"While thus violating ancient song, he seems to have been well aware
of the heinousness of his offending. He might shudder and sicken at
his revolting task indeed! To soothe his own alarmed conscience, and,
if possible, to reconcile the mind of his readers to his wholesale
mode of hacking and hewing and breaking the joints of ancient and
traditionary song; and to induce them to receive with favour the
conjectural emendations it likes him to make, he, in the course of his
progress, not unfrequently chooses to sneer at those, and to underrate
their labours, who have used their best endeavours to preserve ancient
song in its primitive and uncontaminated form."[26] These are by no
means the hardest words used by Motherwell in respect to the _Songs of

The worst among the forgers, however, was a man who ought to have been
above such dishonourable work, viz., Robert Surtees, the author of
the _History of the County Palatine of Durham_, in whose honour the
Surtees Society was founded. In Scott's _Minstrelsy of the Scottish
Border_ will be found three ballads--_The Death of Featherstonhaugh_,
_Lord Ewrie_, and _Bartram's Dirge_, which are treated by Sir Walter
as true antiques, and of the genuine character of which he never had
a doubt. They are all three, however, mere figments of Surtees's
imagination. Each of the ballads was accompanied by fictitious
historical incidents, to give it an extra appearance of authenticity.
_Featherstonhaugh_ was said to be "taken down from the recitation of a
woman eighty years of age, mother of one of the miners in Alston Moor;"
_Lord Ewrie_ was obtained from "Rose Smith, of Bishop Middleham,
a woman aged upwards of ninety-one;" and _Bartram's Dirge_ from
"Anne Douglas, an old woman who weeded in his (Surtees's) garden."
On other occasions Sir Walter Scott was deluded by his friend with
false information. Mr. George Taylor makes the following excuse in
his _Life of Surtees_ (p. 25): "Mr. Surtees no doubt had wished to
have the success of his attempt tested by the unbiassed opinion of
the very first authority on the subject, and the result must have
been gratifying to him. But at a later period of their intimacy, when
personal regard was added to high admiration for his correspondent,
he probably would not have subjected him to the mortification of
finding that he could be imposed on in a matter where he had a right to
consider himself as almost infallible. And it was most likely from this
feeling that Mr. Surtees never acknowledged the imposition: for so late
as the year 1830, in which Scott dates his introduction to the edition
of the _Minstrelsy_, published in 1831, the ballad of the _Death of
Featherstonhaugh_ retains its place (vol. i. p. 240) with the same
expressions of obligation to Mr. Surtees for the communication of it,
and the same commendation of his learned proofs of its authenticity."
In spite of this attempted justification, we cannot fail to stigmatize
Surtees's forgery as a crime against letters which fouls the very wells
of truth.


As was to be expected, the existence of the forgeries just referred
to caused several persons to doubt the genuineness of many of the
true ballads. Finlay wrote, in 1808, "the mention of _hats_ and
_cork-heeled shoon_ (in the ballad of _Sir Patrick Spence_) would
lead us to infer that some stanzas are interpolated, or that its
composition is of a comparatively modern date;"[27] and, in 1839,
the veteran ballad-collector, Mr. David Laing, wrote as follows:
"Notwithstanding the great antiquity that has been claimed for _Sir
Patrick Spence_, one of the finest ballads in our language, very
little evidence would be required to persuade me but that we were
also indebted for it to Lady Wardlaw (_Stenhouse's Illustrations
of the Lyric Poetry and Music of Scotland_, with additional notes
to Johnson's _Scots Musical Museum_, p. 320[27])." At p. 457[27]
of the same book, Mr. Laing, after quoting from Finlay, made the
following further observations: "Bishop Percy also remarks that 'an
ingenious friend thinks the author of _Hardyknute_ has borrowed
several expressions and sentiments from the foregoing and other old
Scottish songs in this collection.' It was this resemblance with the
localities Dunfermline and Aberdour, in the neighbourhood of Sir Henry
Wardlaw's seat, that led me to throw out the conjecture, whether
this much-admired ballad might not also have been written by Lady
Wardlaw herself, to whom the ballad of _Hardyknute_ is now universally

Mr. J. H. Dixon, in 1845, considered that the suspicion had become a
certainty, and wrote of Lady Wardlaw as one "who certainly appears to
have been a great adept at this species of literary imposture." "This
celebrated lady is _now known_ to be the author of _Edward! Edward!_
and of _Sir Patrick Spence_, in addition to _Hardyknute_."[29] Mr.
Dixon and the late Mr. Robert Chambers have also thrown out hints of
their disbelief in the authenticity of the recitations of Mrs. Brown of

These, however, were mere skirmishing attacks, but in 1859 Robert
Chambers marshalled his forces, and made a decisive charge in his
publication entitled _The Romantic Scottish Ballads, their Epoch and
Authorship_. He there explains his belief as follows:--

"Upon all these considerations I have arrived at the conclusion
that the high-class romantic ballads of Scotland are not ancient
compositions--are not older than the early part of the eighteenth
century--and are mainly, if not wholly, the production of one mind.
Whose was this mind is a different question, on which no such
confident decision may, for the present, be arrived at; but I have no
hesitation in saying that, from the internal resemblance traced on
from _Hardyknute_ through _Sir Patrick Spence_ and _Gil Morrice_ to
the others, there seems to be a great likelihood that the whole were
the composition of the authoress of that poem, namely, Elizabeth Lady
Wardlaw of Pitreavie."

Scotsmen were not likely to sit down tamely under an accusation by
which their principal ballad treasures were thus stigmatized as false
gems, and we find that several writers immediately took up their pens
to refute the calumny. It will be seen that the charge is divided into
two distinct parts, and it will be well to avoid mixing them together,
and to consider each part separately.

I. Certain ballads, generally supposed to be genuine, were really
written by one person, in imitation of the antique.

II. The author of this deceit was Lady Wardlaw, the writer of

I. The ballads in the _Reliques_, which are instanced by Chambers, are
as follows:--

  1. _Sir Patrick Spence._
  2. _Gil Morrice._
  3. _Edward! Edward!_
  4. _Jew's Daughter._
  5. _Gilderoy._
  6. _Young Waters._
  7. _Edom o' Gordon._
  8. _Bonny Earl of Murray._

Two of these (2 and 7) are in the Folio MS., which was written before
Lady Wardlaw was born; _Edom o' Gordon_ also exists in another old
MS. copy; _Gilderoy_ (5) is known to have been a street ballad, and the
remainder are found in other copies. It is not necessary to discuss
each of these cases separately, and we shall therefore reserve what we
have to say for the special consideration of _Sir Patrick Spence_.

Before proceeding, we must first consider how far Chambers's previous
knowledge of ballad literature prepared him for this inquiry; and
we cannot rate that knowledge very highly, for in his _Collection
of Scottish Songs_, he actually attributes Wotton's _Ye Meaner
Beauties_ to Darnley, and supposes Mary Queen of Scots to have been the
subject of the author's praises. At this period also his scepticism had
not been aroused, for all the ballads that he thought spurious in 1859
had been printed by him in 1829 as genuine productions.

To return to the main Point at issue. Chambers writes:--

"It is now to be remarked of the ballads published by the successors
of Percy, as of those which he published, that there is not a particle
of positive evidence for their having existed before the eighteenth
century. Overlooking the one given by Ramsay in his _Tea-table
Miscellany_, we have neither print nor manuscript of them before the
reign of George III. They are not in the style of old literature. They
contain no references to old literature. As little does old literature
contain any references to them. They wholly escaped the collecting
diligence of Bannatyne. James Watson, who published a collection of
Scottish poetry in 1706-1711, wholly overlooks them. Ramsay, as we see,
caught up only one."

Mr. Norval Clyne (_Ballads from Scottish History_, 1863, p. 217) gives
a satisfactory answer to the above. He writes:--

"The want of any ancient manuscript can be no argument against the
antiquity of a poem, versions of which have been obtained from oral
recitation, otherwise the great mass of ballads of all kinds collected
by Scott, and by others since his time, must lie under equal suspicion.
Bannatyne, in the sixteenth century, and Allan Ramsay, in the early
part of the eighteenth, were not collectors of popular poetry in the
same sense as those who have since been so active in that field. The
former contented himself, for the most part, with transcribing the
compositions of Dunbar, Henrysone, and other "makers," well known by
name, and Ramsay took the bulk of his _Evergreen_ from Bannatyne's MS.
That a great many poems of the ballad class, afterwards collected and
printed, must have been current among the people when the _Evergreen_
was published, no one that knows anything of the subject will deny."
The old ballads lived on the tongues of the people, and a small
percentage of them only were ever committed to writing, so that a
fairer test of authenticity is the existence of various versions.
Of known forgeries no varieties exist, but several versions of _Sir
Patrick Spence_ have been rescued from oblivion.

It is not probable that any fresh ballads will be obtained from
recitation, but it is in some degree possible, as may be seen from an
instance of a kindred nature in the field of language. We know that
local dialects have almost passed away, and yet some of the glossaries
of them lately issued contain words that explain otherwise dark
passages in manuscripts of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Chambers further affirms that the sentiment of these ballads is not
congenial to that of the peasantry--"it may be allowably said, there is
a tone of _breeding_ throughout these ballads, such as is never found
in the productions of rustic genius." This, however, is begging the
question, for it does not follow that the songs of the peasantry were
written by the peasantry. It is they who have remembered them, and held
to them with greater tenacity than the educated classes.

We now come to the text that bears specially upon _Sir Patrick Spence_,
and we will give it in Chambers's own words:--"The Scottish ladies sit
bewailing the loss of Sir Patrick Spence's companions 'wi' the gowd
kaims in their hair.' Sir Patrick tells his friends before starting on
his voyage, 'Our ship must sail the faem;'[30] and in the description
of the consequences of his shipwreck, we find 'Mony was the feather-bed
that flattered on the faem.'[30] No old poet would use _faem_ as an
equivalent for the sea; but it was just such a phrase as a poet of the
era of Pope would use in that sense." In the first place, we should
be justified in saying that this test is not a fair one, because no
one will contend that the ballads have not been altered in passing
from hand to hand, and new words inserted; but Mr. Norval Clyne has a
complete answer for this particular objection; he writes: "Bishop Gawin
Douglas completed his translation of Virgil's Æneid on 22nd July, 1513,
and in his Prologue to the twelfth book are these lines:--

    'Some sang ring-sangs, dancis, ledis, roundis,
    With vocis schil, quhil all the dale resounds,
    Quhareto they walk into their karoling,
    For amourous layis dois all the rochis ring:
    Ane sang 'The schip salis over the salt fame,
    Will bring thir merchandis and my lemane hame.'

Here we have the expression, to which attention is called, occurring in
a popular song in common use before the battle of Flodden. I have seen
it remarked, however, that it is the elliptical use of 'sail the faem'
for 'sail over the faem,' which indicates an authorship not older than
the day of Queen Anne. My answer to this objection shall also be an
example from an 'old poet.' One of the _Tales of the Three Priests of
Peblis_ assigned to the early part of the sixteenth century, describes
in homely verse the career of a thrifty burgess, and contains these
lines (_Sibbald's Chronicle of Scottish Poetry_, 1802):--

    'Then bocht he wool, and wyselie couth it wey;
    And efter that sone saylit he the sey.'"[31]

These quotations completely set aside one portion of the charge, and
the other, in which an attempt is made to show that a similar form of
expression is constantly occurring in the several poems, is really
of little weight, pressed as it is with some unfairness. We have
already seen that the old minstrels used certain forms of expression
as helps to memory, and these recur in ballads that have little or
no connection with each other. Chambers, following David Laing, uses
Percy's note at the end of _Sir Patrick Spence_[32] as an engine of
attack against the authenticity of the ballad, but there is really no
reason for the conclusion he comes to, "that the parity he remarked
in the expressions was simply owing to the two ballads being the
production of one mind," for a copyist well acquainted with ballad
literature would naturally adopt the expressions found in them in his
own composition.

II. The consideration of the opinion that Lady Wardlaw was the author
of _Sir Patrick Spence_ and other ballads, need not detain us long,
because the main point of interest is their authenticity, and the
question of her authorship is quite a secondary matter: that falls to
the ground if the grand charge is proved false, and need not stand
even if that remains unrefuted. The only reason for fixing upon Lady
Wardlaw appears to have been that as these ballads were transmitted to
Percy by Lord Hailes, and one of them was an imitation of the antique
by Lady Wardlaw, and another was added to by the same lady, therefore
if a similarity between the ballads could be proved, it would follow
that all were written by her. Now the very fact that the authorship of
_Hardyknute_ was soon discovered is strong evidence against any such
supposition, because none of her associates had any suspicion that she
had counterfeited other ballads, and could such a wholesale manufacture
have been concealed for a century it would be a greater mystery than
the vexed question, who was Junius? The other point, whether the author
of the indistinct and redundant _Hardyknute_ could have written the
clear and incisive lines of _Sir Patrick Spence_ may be left to be
decided by readers who have the two poems before them in these volumes.

A few particulars may, however, be mentioned. The openings of these
ballads form excellent contrasted examples of the two different styles
of ballad writing. _Sir Patrick Spence_ commences at once, like other
minstrel ballads, with the description of the king and his council:--

    "The king sits in Dumferling toune,
      Drinking the blude-reid wine:
    O quhar will I get guid sailòr
      To sail this schip of mine?

    Up and spak an eldern knicht,
      Sat at the kings richt kne:
    Sir Patrick Spence is the best sailòr,
      That sails upon the se."

The king then sends a letter to Spence. There is no description of how
this was sent, but we at once read:--

    "The first line that Sir Patrick red,
      A loud lauch lauched he;
    The next line that Sir Patrick red,
      The teir blinded his ee."

_Hardyknute_, on the other hand, is full of reasons and illustrative
instances in the true ballad-writer's style:--

    "Stately stept he east the wa',
      And stately stept he west,
    Full seventy years he now had seen
      Wi' scarce seven years of rest.
    He liv'd when Britons breach of faith
      Wrought Scotland mickle wae:
    And ay his sword tauld to their cost,
      He was their deadlye fae."

Having placed the openings of the two poems in opposition, we will do
the same with the endings. How different is the grand finish of _Sir
Patrick Spence_--

    "Have owre, have owre to Aberdour,
      It's fiftie fadom deip,
    And thair lies guid Sir Patrick Spence,
      Wi' the Scots lords at his feit."

from the feeble conclusion of _Hardyknute_:--

    "'As fast I've sped owre Scotlands faes,'--
      There ceas'd his brag of weir,
    Sair sham'd to mind ought but his dame,
      And maiden fairly fair.
    Black fear he felt, but what to fear
      He wist nae yet; wi' dread
    Sai shook his body, sair his limbs,
      And a' the warrior fled."

_Sir Patrick Spence_ gives us a clear picture that a painter could
easily reproduce, but _Hardyknute_ is so vague that it is sometimes
difficult to follow it with understanding, and if the same author wrote
them both she must have been so strangely versatile in her talents that
there is no difficulty in believing that she wrote all the romantic
ballads of Scotland.

How little Chambers can be trusted may be seen in the following
passage, where he writes: "The first hint at the real author came out
through Percy, who in his second edition of the _Reliques_ (1767) gives
the following statement, 'There is more than reason,' &c.,[33] to which
he adds the note: 'It is rather remarkable that Percy was not informed
of these particulars in 1765; but in 1767, _Sir John Hope Bruce having_
_died in the interval_ (June, 1766), they were communicated to him.
It looks as if the secret had hung on the life of this venerable
gentleman." Who would suspect, what is the real fact of the case,
that Percy's quoted preface was actually printed in his first edition
(1765), and that Chambers's remarks fall to the ground because they
are founded on a gross blunder.[34]


Printed broadsides are peculiarly liable to accidents which shorten
their existence, and we therefore owe much to the collectors who have
saved some few of them from destruction. Ballads were usually pasted
on their walls by the cottagers, but they were sometimes collected
together in bundles. Motherwell had "heard it as a by-word in some
parts of Stirlingshire that a collier's library consists but of four
books, the Confession of Faith, the Bible, a bundle of Ballads, and
Sir William Wallace. The first for the gudewife, the second for the
gudeman, the third for their daughter, and the last for the son, a
selection indicative of no mean taste in these grim mold-warps of

The love of a good ballad has, however, never been confined to the
uneducated. Queen Mary II., after listening to the compositions of
Purcell, played by the composer himself, asked Mrs. Arabella Hunt
to sing Tom D'Urfey's ballad of "Cold and Raw," which was set to a
good old tune, and thereby offended Purcell's vanity, who was left
unemployed at the harpsichord. Nevertheless, the composer had the
sense afterwards to introduce the tune as the bass of a song he wrote
himself. When ballads were intended for the exclusive use of the
ordinary ballad-buyers they were printed in black letter, a type that
was retained for this purpose for more than a century after it had
gone out of use for other purposes. According to Pepys the use of
black letter ceased about the year 1700, and on the title-page of his
collection he has written "the whole continued down to the year 1700,
when the form till then peculiar thereto, viz. of the black letter with
pictures, seems (for cheapness sake) wholly laid aside for that of the
white letter without pictures." White-letter printing of non-political
street ballads really commenced about 1685, and of political ballads
about half a century earlier. The saving referred to by Pepys as being
made by the omission of woodcuts could not have been great, for they
seldom illustrated the letterpress, and were used over and over again,
so that cuts which were executed in the reign of James I. were used on
ballads in Queen Anne's time.

Until about the year 1712 ballads were universally printed on
broadsides, and those intended to be sold in the streets are still so
printed, but after that date such as were intended to be vended about
the country were printed so as to fold into book form.

The great ballad factory has been for many years situated in Seven
Dials, where Pitts employed Corcoran and was the patron of "slender
Ben," "over head and ears Nic," and other equally respectably
named poets. The renowned Catnach lived in Seven Dials, and left a
considerable business at his death. He was the first to print yards of
songs for a penny, and his fame was so extended, that his name has come
to be used for a special class of literature.

Although, thanks to the labours of far-sighted men, our stock of old
ballads and songs is large, we know that those which are irrevocably
lost far exceed them in number. It is therefore something to recover
even the titles of some of these, and we can do this to a considerable
extent by seeking them in some of the old specimens of literature. In
_Cockelbie's Sow_, a piece written about 1450, which was printed in
Laing's _Select Remains of the Ancient Popular Poetry of Scotland_
(Edinburgh, 1822), there is a list of the songs sung at a meeting. In
Henryson's curious old pastoral, _Robin and Makyne_ (vol. 2, p. 85),
reference is made to the popular tales and songs, which were even then

    "Robin, thou hast heard sung and say,
      In gests and storys auld,
    'The man that will not when he may
      Sall hav nocht when he wald.'"

To the prologues of Gawin Douglas's translation of Virgil's _Æneid_, we
are indebted for a knowledge of four old songs, a fact that outweighs
in the opinion of some the merits of the work itself, which was the
first translation of a classic that ever appeared in England.

In the Catalogue of Captain Cox's Library, printed in Laneham's letter
on the Kenilworth entertainments, there is a short list of some of the
popular ballads of his time, but it is sorely tantalizing to read of
"a bunch of ballets and songs all auncient," "and a hundred more he
hath fair wrapt in parchment, and bound with a whipcord." We learn the
names of ballads which were popular in old Scotland from the _Complaynt
of Scotland_, a most interesting list, which Mr. Furnivall has fully
illustrated and explained in his edition of Laneham. Another source of
information for learning the names of songs no longer known to exist
are the medleys, which are made up of the first lines of many songs.
The extreme popularity of ballads in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries is reflected in the literature of the time, which is full
of allusions to them. Burton, the anatomist of melancholy, who put a
little of almost everything into his book, could not be expected to
overlook ballads. He says: "The very rusticks and hog-rubbers ... have
their wakes, whitson ales, shepherds' feasts, meetings on holy dayes,
countrey dances, roundelayes ... instead of odes, epigrams and elegies,
&c., they have their ballads, countrey tunes, _O the Broom, the bonny,_
_bonny Broom_, ditties and songs, _Bess a Bell she doth excel_." The
favourite songs of Father Rosin, the minstrel in Ben Jonson's _Tale of
a Tub_ (act i. sc. 2), are _Tom Tiler_, the _Jolly Joiner_, and the
_Jovial Tinker_. The old drama is full of these references, and one of
the most frequent modes of revenge against an enemy was to threaten
that he should be _balladed_. Thus Massinger writes:--

               "I will have thee
    Pictur'd as thou art now, and thy whole story
    Sung to some villainous tune in a lewd ballad,
    And make thee so notorious in the world,
    That boys in the street shall hoot at thee."[36]

Fletcher sets side by side as equal evils the having one's eyes dug
out, and the having one's name sung

    "In ballad verse, at every drinking house."[37]

The ballad-writers are called base rogues, and said to "maintaine a St.
Anthonie's fire in their noses by nothing but two-penny ale."[38]

Shakspere was not behind his contemporaries in his contemptuous
treatment of "odious ballads," or of "these same metre ballad-mongers,"
but he has shown by the references in _King Lear_ and _Hamlet_ his
high appreciation of the genuine old work, and there is no doubt that
the creator of Autolycus loved "a ballad but even too well."

There have been two kinds of collectors, viz. those who copied such
fugitive poetry as came in their way, and those who bought up all the
printed ballads they could obtain.

Of the manuscript collections of old poetry, the three most celebrated
are the Maitland MS. in the Pepysian Library, Cambridge, the Bannatyne
MS. presented by the Earl of Hyndford to the Advocates' Library,
Edinburgh, and the famous folio MS. which formerly belonged to Percy,
and is now in the British Museum. The Maitland MS., which contains
an excellent collection of Scotch poetry, was formed by Sir Richard
Maitland, of Lethington, Lord Privy Seal and Judge in the Court of
Session (b. 1496, d. 1586). Selections from this MS. were printed by
Pinkerton in 1786.

In the year 1568, when Scotland was visited by the Plague, a certain
George Bannatyne, of whom nothing is known, retired to his house to
escape infection, and employed his leisure in compiling his most
valuable collection of Scottish poetry. This MS. was lent out of the
Advocates' Library to Percy, and he was allowed to keep it for a
considerable time. Sir David Dalrymple published "Some ancient Scottish
Poems" in 1770, which were taken from this MS.

The great Lord Burghley was one of the first to recognize the value
of ballads as an evidence of the popular feeling, and he ordered all
broadsides to be brought to him as they were published. The learned
Selden was also a collector of them, but the Chinese nation was before
these wise men, and had realized an idea that has often been suggested
in Europe. One of their sacred books is the _Book of Songs_, in
which the manners of the country are illustrated by songs and odes, the
most popular of which were brought to the sovereign for the purpose.

The largest collections of printed ballads are now in Magdalene
College, Cambridge, in the Bodleian at Oxford, and in the British
Museum. Some smaller collections are in private hands. In taking
stock of these collections, we are greatly helped by Mr. Chappell's
interesting preface to the _Roxburghe Ballads_. The Pepysian
collection deposited in the library of Magdalene College, Cambridge,
consisting of 1,800 ballads in five vols., is one of the oldest and
most valuable of the collections. It was commenced by Selden, who
died in 1654, and continued by Samuel Pepys till near the time of his
own death in 1703. Tradition reports that Pepys borrowed Selden's
collection, and then "forgot" to return it to the proper owner. Besides
these five volumes, there are three vols. of what Pepys calls penny
merriments. There are 112 of these, and some are garlands that contain
many ballads in each.

Cambridge's rival, Oxford, possesses three collections, viz. Anthony
Wood's 279 ballads and collection of garlands, Francis Douce's 877 in
four vols., and Richard Rawlinson's 218.

Previously to the year 1845, when the Roxburghe collection was
purchased, there were in the British Museum Library about 1,000
ballads, but Mr. Chappell, without counting the _Roxburghe Ballads_,
gives the number as 1292 in 1864. They are as follows:--

  Bagford Collection                                                 355
  Volume of Miscellaneous Ballads and Poems, 17th century             31
  Volume, mostly political, from 1641                                250
  Volume in King's Library, principally relating to London,
      from 1659 to 1711                                               60
  The Thomason Collection of Tracts                                  304
  Satirical Ballads on the Popish Plot, from Strawberry Hill sale     27
  Luttrell Collection, vol. ii.                                      255
  Miscellaneous                                                       10

The celebrated Roxburghe collection was bought by Rodd at Benjamin
Heywood Bright's sale in 1845 for the British Museum, the price being
_£_535. It was originally formed by Robert Harley, first Earl of
Oxford, and as John Bagford was one of the buyers employed by the Earl,
he is the reputed collector of the ballads. At the sale of the Harleian
Library, this collection became the property of James West, P.R.S.,
and when his books were sold in 1773, Major Thomas Pearson bought it
for, it is said, _£_20. This gentleman, with the assistance of Isaac
Reed, added to the collection, and bound it in two volumes with printed
title-pages, indexes, &c. In 1788, John, Duke of Roxburghe, bought it
at Major Pearson's sale for _£_36 14_s._ 6_d._, and afterwards added
largely to it, making a third volume. At the Duke's sale in 1813, the
three volumes were bought for _£_477 15_s._, by Harding, who sold them
to Mr. Bright for, it is supposed, _£_700. The collection consists of
1335 broadsides, printed between 1567 and the end of the eighteenth
century, two-thirds of them being in black letter. Bright added a
fourth volume of eighty-five pages, which was bought for the British
Museum for _£_25 5_s._

Some early ballads are included in the collection of broadsides
in the library of the Society of Antiquaries, and a collection of
proclamations and ballads was made by Mr. Halliwell Phillipps, and
presented by him to the Chetham Library at Manchester.

The late George Daniel picked up a valuable collection of ballads at an
old shop in Ipswich, which is supposed to have come from Helmingham
Hall, Suffolk, where it had lain unnoticed or forgotten for two
centuries or more. It originally numbered 175 to 200 ballads, but was
divided by Daniel, who sold one portion (consisting of eighty-eight
ballads) to Thorpe, who disposed of it to Heber. At Heber's sale
it was bought by Mr. W. H. Miller, of Britwell, and from him it
descended to Mr. S. Christie Miller. Twenty-five ballads known to
have belonged to the same collection were edited by Mr. Payne Collier
for the Percy Society in 1840. The portion that Daniel retained was
bought at the sale of his library by Mr. Henry Huth, who has reprinted
seventy-nine of the best ballads. Other known private collections
are five volumes belonging to Mr. Frederic Ouvry, President of the
Society of Antiquaries, which contain Mr. Payne Collier's collection
of Black-letter Ballads, the Earl of Jersey's at Osterley Park, and
one which was formed by Mr. Halliwell Phillipps, who printed a full
catalogue of the ballads contained in it, and then disposed of it to
the late Mr. William Euing of Glasgow.

We owe our gratitude to all these collectors, but must also do
honour to those writers who in advance of their age tried to lead
their contemporaries to fresher springs than those to which they
were accustomed. The first of these was Addison, who commented on
the beauties of _Chevy Chase_ and the _Children in the Wood_ in
the _Spectator_. He wrote: "it is impossible that anything should be
universally tasted and approved by a multitude, though they are only
the rabble of a nation, which hath not in it some peculiar aptness to
please and gratify the mind of man."

Rowe was another appreciator of this popular literature, and his
example and teaching may have had its influence in the publication of
the first _Collection of Old Ballads_, for the motto to the first
volume is taken from the prologue to Rowe's _Jane Shore_ (first acted
in 1713):--

    "Let no nice sir despise the hapless dame
    Because recording ballads chaunt her name;
    Those venerable ancient song enditers
    Soar'd many a pitch above our modern writers.
    They caterwauled in no romantic ditty,
    Sighing for Philis's or Cloe's pity;
    Justly they drew the Fair and spoke her plain,
    And sung her by her Christian name--'twas Jane.
    Our numbers may be more refined than those,
    But what we've gain'd in verse, we've lost in prose;
    Their words no shuffling double meaning knew,
    Their speech was homely, but their hearts were true."

Parnell, Tickell, and Prior belonged to the small band who had the
taste to appreciate the unfashionable old ballad. Prior says of himself
in a MS. essay quoted by Disraeli in the _Calamities of Authors_: "I
remember nothing further in life than that I made verses: I chose Guy
Earl of Warwick for my first hero, and killed Colborne the giant before
I was big enough for Westminster school." The few were, however, unable
to convert the many, and Dr. Wagstaffe, one of the wits of the day,
ridiculed Addison for his good taste, and in a parody of the famous
essay on _Chevy Chase_ he commented upon the _History of Tom Thumb_,
and pretended to point out the congenial spirit of this poet with

There is still another class of preservers of ballads to be mentioned,
viz. those whose tenacious memories allow them to retain the legends
and songs they heard in their youth, but as Prof. Aytoun writes: "No
Elspats of the Craigburnfoot remain to repeat to grandchildren that
legendary lore which they had acquired in years long gone by from
the last of the itinerant minstrels." The most celebrated of these
retailers of the old ballads was Mrs. Brown of Falkland, wife of the
Rev. Dr. Brown, for from her both Scott and Jamieson obtained some of
their best pieces. Her taste for the songs and tales of chivalry was
derived from an aunt, Mrs. Farquhar, "who was married to the proprietor
of a small estate near the sources of the Dee in Braemar, a good old
woman, who spent the best part of her life among flocks and herds,
[but] resided in her latter years in the town of Aberdeen. She was
possest of a most tenacious memory, which retained all the songs she
had heard from nurses and countrywomen in that sequestered part of the
country."[39] Doubts have been expressed as to the good faith of Mrs.
Brown, but they do not appear to be well grounded. Another of these
ladies from whose mouths we have learnt so much of the ever-fading
relics of the people's literature was Mrs. Arrot.

The earliest printed collection of Scottish popular poetry known to
exist is a volume printed at Edinburgh, "by Walter Chepman and Androw
Myllar, in the year 1508," which was reprinted in facsimile by David
Laing in 1827. The next work of interest in the bibliography of ballads
is "Ane Compendious Booke of Godly and Spirituall Songs, collected out
of sundrie partes of the Scripture, with sundrie of other ballates,
chainged out of prophaine songs for avoiding of Sinne and Harlotrie,"
printed in 1590 and 1621, and reprinted by J. G. Dalzell in 1801, and
by David Laing in 1868. It contains parodies of some of the songs
mentioned in the _Complaint of Scotland_, and is supposed to be the
work of three brothers--James, John, and Robert Wedderburn, of Dundee.
To the last of the three Mr. Laing attributed the _Complaint_, but Mr.
Murray, the latest editor of that book, is unable to agree with him.

The first book of "prophane" songs published in Scotland was a musical
collection entitled "Cantus Songs and Fancies to several musicall
parts, both apt for voices and viols: with a brief introduction to
musick, as it is taught by Thomas Davidson in the Musick School of
Aberdeen. Aberdeen, printed by John Forbes." 1662, 1666, and 1682.

The next work in order of time is "A Choise Collection of Comic and
Serious Scots Poems, both ancient and modern, by several hands.
Edinburgh, printed by James Watson." In three parts, 1706, 1709, 1710.
Supposed to have been compiled by John Spottiswood, author of _Hope's
Minor Practicks_.

All these works emanated from Scotchmen, and the only works of the
same character that were published in England were small collections
of songs and ballads, called Garlands and Drolleries. These are too
numerous to be noticed here; but that they were highly popular may be
judged from the fact that a thirteenth edition of _The Golden Garland
of Princely Delight_ is registered. The Garlands are chiefly small
collections of songs on similar subjects. Thus, there were Love's
Garlands, Loyal Garlands, Protestant Garlands, &c. Considerable pains
seem to have been taken in order to obtain attractive titles for these
little brochures. Thus, on one we read:--

    "The sweet and the sower,
    The nettle and the flower,
    The thorne and the rose,
    This garland compose."

Drolleries were collections of "jovial poems" and "merry songs," and
some of them were confined to the songs sung at the theatres.

One of the first English collections of any pretensions was Dryden's
_Miscellany Poems_, published in 1684-1708, which was shortly
after followed by Tom D'Urfey's _Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge
Melancholy_, 1719-20. But the first attempt to bring together a large
number of popular ballads, as distinguished from songs, was made in
"A Collection of Old Ballads, corrected from the best and most ancient
copies extant, with Introductions historical, critical, or humorous."
London. Vols I. and II. 1723. Vol. III. 1725.

The object of most of the works referred to above was the publication
of songs to be sung; the object of this one was the presentment of
ballads to be read. It had a large sale, and the editor (who is said to
have been Ambrose Phillips) expresses his satisfaction in the Preface
to Vol. II.: "Though we printed a large edition for such a trifle, and
in less than two months put it to the press again, yet could we not get
our second edition out before it was really wanted." In spite, however,
of its satisfactory reception, it does not appear to have taken any
permanent position in literature, although it must have prepared the
public mind to receive the _Reliques_. This collection contains one
hundred and fifty-nine ballads, out of which number twenty-three are
also in the _Reliques_.[40] Many of the others are of considerable
interest, but some had better have been left unprinted, and all are of
little critical value.

In the year after the first two volumes of the English collection were
published, Allan Ramsay issued in Edinburgh "The Evergreen, being a
collection of Scots poems wrote by the ingenious before 1600," the
principal materials of which were derived from the Bannatyne MS. This
was followed in the same year (1724) by "The Tea-Table Miscellany:
a Collection of choice Songs, Scots and English," a work which is
frequently referred to by Percy in the following pages. In neither of
these works was Ramsay very particular as to the liberties he allowed
himself in altering his originals. In order to make the volumes fit
reading for his audience, which he hoped would consist of

    "Ilka lovely British lass,
      Frae ladies Charlotte, Ann, and Jean,
    Down to ilk bonnie singing lass
      Wha dances barefoot on the green,"

Ramsay pruned the songs of their indelicacies, and filled up the gaps
thus made in his own way. The _Tea-table Miscellany_ contains upwards
of twenty presumably old songs, upwards of twelve old songs much
altered, and about one hundred songs written by the editor himself,
Crawford, Hamilton, and others.

In 1725, William Thomson, a teacher of music in London, brought out
a collection of Scottish songs, which he had chiefly taken from the
_Tea-table Miscellany_ without acknowledgment. He called his book
_Orpheus Caledonius_.

For some years before Percy's collection appeared, the Foulises,
Glasgow's celebrated printers, issued from their press, under the
superintendence of Lord Hailes, various Scottish ballads, luxuriously
printed with large type, in a small quarto size.

These were the signs that might have shown the far-sighted man that a
revival was at hand. At last the time came when, tired out with the
dreary and leaden regularity of the verse-writers of the day, the
people were ready to receive poetry fresh from nature. The man who
arose to supply the want (which was none the less a want that it was
an unrecognized one) was Thomas Percy, a clergyman living in a retired
part of the country, but occasionally seen among the _literati_ of the


Thomas Percy was born on April 13th, 1729, at Bridgnorth in Shropshire,
in a street called the Cartway. His father and grandfather were
grocers, spelt their name Piercy, and knew nothing of any connection
with the noble house of Northumberland.[41] His early education was
received at the grammar school of Bridgnorth, and in 1746, being
then in his eighteenth year, and having obtained an exhibition, he
matriculated as a commoner at Christ Church, Oxford.

He took the degree of B.A. on May 2nd, 1750, that of M.A. on July 5th,
1753, and shortly after was presented by his college to the living
of Easton Maudit, in the county of Northampton. In this poor cure he
remained for twenty-five years, and in the little vicarage his six
children (Anne, Barbara, Henry, Elizabeth, Charlotte, and Hester),
were all born. Percy's income was increased in 1756 by the gift of
the rectory of Wilby, an adjacent parish, in the patronage of the
Earl of Sussex, and on April 24th, 1759, he married Anne, daughter of
Barton Gutteridge,[42] who was his beloved companion for forty-seven
years. It was to this lady, before his marriage to her, that Percy
wrote his famous song, "O Nancy, wilt thou go with me?" Miss Matilda
Lætitia Hawkins stated in her _Memoirs_, that these charming verses
were intended by Percy as a welcome to his wife on her release from
a twelve-month's confinement in the royal nursery, and Mr. Pickford
follows her authority in his _Life of Percy_, but this is an entire
mistake, for the song was printed as early as the year 1758 in the
sixth volume of Dodsley's _Collection of Poems_. Anyone who reads
the following verses will see, that though appropriate as a lover's
proposal, they are very inappropriate as a husband's welcome home to
his wife.

    "O Nancy, wilt thou go with me,
      Nor sigh to leave the flaunting town?
    Can silent glens have charms for thee,
      The lowly cot and russet gown?
    No longer drest in silken sheen,
      No longer deck'd with jewels rare,
    Say, canst thou quit each courtly scene,
      Where thou wert fairest of the fair?

    "O Nancy, when thou'rt far away,
      Wilt thou not cast a wish behind?
    Say, canst thou face the parching ray,
      Nor shrink before the wintry wind?
    O, can that soft and gentle mien
      Extremes of hardship learn to bear,
    Nor, sad, regret each courtly scene,
      Where thou wert fairest of the fair?

    "O Nancy, canst thou love so true,
      Through perils keen with me to go?
    Or, when thy swain mishap shall rue,
      To share with him the pang of woe?
    Say, should disease or pain befall,
      Wilt thou assume the nurse's care?
    Nor wistful, those gay scenes recall,
      Where thou wert fairest of the fair?

    "And when at last thy love shall die,
      Wilt thou receive his parting breath?
    Wilt thou repress each struggling sigh,
      And cheer with smiles the bed of death?
    And wilt thou o'er his breathless clay
      Strew flowers, and drop the tender tear?
    Nor then regret those scenes so gay,
      Where thou wert fairest of the fair?"

By the alteration of a few words, such as _gang_ for _go_, _toun_ for
_town_, &c., "Oh Nanny, wilt thou gang with me?" was transposed into a
Scotch song, and printed as such in Johnson's _Musical Museum_. Burns
remarked on this insertion: "It is too barefaced to take Dr. Percy's
charming song, and by the means of transposing a few English words into
Scots, to offer it to pass for a Scots song. I was not acquainted with
the editor until the first volume was nearly finished, else had I known
in time I would have prevented such an impudent absurdity." Stenhouse,
suggested[43] that Percy may have had in view the song called _The
young Laird and Edinburgh Kate_, printed in Ramsay's _Tea-Table
Miscellany_, the second stanza of which is somewhat similar--

    "O Katy, wiltu gang wi' me,
    And leave the dinsome town awhile?
    The blossom's sprouting from the tree,
    And a' the simmer's gawn to smile."

Mr. Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, however, hinted[44] that "perhaps both
the author of _The Young Laird and Edinburgh Katy_, and the Bishop,
took the idea of their ballads from a song in Lee's beautiful tragedy
of _Theodosius, or the Force of Love_."

Dr. Rimbault communicated this poem to the editors of the folio MS.
from a MS. dated 1682, or fifteen years earlier than Lee's version. It
is called _The Royal Nun_, and the first stanza is as follows:--

    "Canst thou, Marina, leave the world,
      The world that is devotion's bane,
    Where crowns are toss'd and sceptres hurl'd,
      Where lust and proud ambition reign?
    Canst thou thy costly robes forbear,
      To live with us in poor attire;
    Canst thou from courts to cells repair
      To sing at midnight in the quire?"[45]

The likeness in this stanza to Percy's song is not very apparent, and
the subject is very different. The other three stanzas have nothing in
common with _O Nancy_. Even could it be proved that Percy had borrowed
the opening idea from these two poems, it does not derogate from his
originality, for the charm of the song is all his own.

A portrait of Mrs. Percy holding in her hand a scroll inscribed _Oh
Nancy_, is preserved at Ecton House, near Northampton, the seat of Mr.
Samuel Isted, husband of Percy's daughter Barbara.

The song was set to music by Thomas Carter, and sung by Vernon at
Vauxhall in 1773.

In 1761 Percy commenced his literary career by the publication of a
Chinese novel, _Hau Kiau Chooan_, in four volumes, which he translated
from the Portuguese, and in the same year he undertook to edit the
works of the Duke of Buckingham. In 1762 he published "Miscellaneous
Pieces relating to the Chinese," and in 1763 commenced a new edition
of Surrey's Poems, with a selection of early specimens of blank verse.
The "Buckingham" and "Surrey" were printed, but never published, and
the stock of the latter was destroyed by fire in 1808. In 1763 were
published "Five Pieces of Runic Poetry--translated from the Icelandic
Language," and in the following year appeared "A New Translation of the
Song of Solomon from the Hebrew, with Commentary and Notes," and also
"A Key to the New Testament." Dr. Johnson paid a long-promised visit to
the Vicarage of Easton Maudit in the summer of 1764, where he stayed
for some months, and the little terrace in the garden is still called
after him, "Dr. Johnson's Walk." At this time Percy must have been full
of anxiety about his _Reliques_, which were shortly to be published,
and in the preparation of which he had so long been engaged. The poet
Shenstone was the first to suggest the subject of this book, as he
himself states in a letter to a friend, dated March 1, 1761. "You have
heard me speak of Mr. Percy; he was in treaty with Mr. James Dodsley
for the publication of our best old ballads in three volumes. He has a
large folio MS. of ballads, which he showed me, and which, with his own
natural and acquired talents, would qualify him for the purpose as well
as any man in England. I proposed the scheme to him myself, wishing to
see an elegant edition and good collection of this kind. I was also to
have assisted him in selecting and rejecting, and fixing upon the best
readings; but my illness broke off the correspondence in the beginning
of winter."

In February, 1765, appeared the first edition of the _Reliques_, which
gave Percy a name, and obtained for him the patronage of the great.
He became Chaplain and Secretary to the Duke of Northumberland, with
whose family he kept up intimate relations throughout his life. The
Northumberland _Household Book_, which he compiled in accordance with
the wishes of his patron, was privately printed in the year 1768.[46]
In 1769 he was appointed Chaplain to George III., and in the following
year appeared his translation of Mallet's _Northern Antiquities_. Each
of these three works was the first of its class, and created a taste
which produced a literature of the same character. The _Household
Book_ gave rise to a large number of publications which have put us
in possession of numerous facts relating to the domestic expenses and
habits of the royal and noble families of old England. The mythology
of the Eddas was first made known to English readers by Percy, and
in his Preface to Mallet's work he clearly pointed out the essential
difference between the Celtic and Teutonic races, which had previously
been greatly overlooked.

The remuneration which Percy received for his labours was not large.
Fifty pounds was the pay for the Chinese novel, and one hundred guineas
for the first edition of the _Reliques_. The agreements he made with
the Tonsons were fifty guineas for Buckingham's _Works_ and twenty
guineas for Surrey's _Poems_. He also agreed to edit the _Spectator_
and _Guardian_, with notes, for one hundred guineas, but was obliged
to abandon his intention on account of the engrossing character of his
appointments in the Northumberland family.

About this time Mrs. Percy was appointed nurse to Prince Edward, the
infant son of George III., afterwards Duke of Kent, and father of her
present Majesty, who was born in 1767.

In 1770 Percy took his degree of D.D. at Cambridge, having incorporated
himself at Emmanuel College, the master of which was his friend, Dr.
Farmer, to be remembered as the Shakspere commentator. Later on in the
year he lost his eldest daughter, and in January, 1771, yet another
child was buried in the village church. In 1771 he printed the _Hermit_
_of Warkworth_, which exhibited his continued interest in the subject
of the _Reliques_, and we find him for many years after this date
continually writing to his literary correspondents for information
relating to old ballads.

In 1778 Percy obtained the Deanery of Carlisle, which four years
afterwards he resigned on being appointed to the bishopric of Dromore,
worth _£_2,000 a year. He did not resign his vicarage and rectory until
the same time, and he was succeeded in the first by Robert Nares, the
compiler of the well-known glossary. It was in 1778 that the memorable
quarrel between Percy and Johnson occurred which is graphically
described by Boswell. The cause of the heat was the different views
held by the two disputants as to the merits of the traveller Pennant.
When the reconciliation was brought about Johnson's contribution to the
peace was, "My dear sir, I am willing you shall hang Pennant."

In this same year Percy was writing about his son Henry, then a tall
youth of fifteen, who he hoped in a few years would be able to edit
the _Reliques_ for him, but in April, 1783, soon after he had settled
at Dromore, a great sorrow fell upon him, and this only and much-loved
son died at the early age of twenty. In 1780 a large portion of
Northumberland House, Strand, was consumed by fire, when Percy's
apartments were burnt. The chief part of his library, was, however,
saved. Four very interesting letters of the bishop's, written to George
Steevens in 1796 and 1797, are printed in the _Athenæum_ for 1848
(pp. 437 and 604). The first relates to his edition of Goldsmith's
works, which was published in 1801 in four volumes octavo. His object
in undertaking the labour was to benefit two surviving relations
of Goldsmith, and he complains to Steevens that the publishers had
thwarted him in his purpose. The second letter is on the same subject,
and the third and fourth relate to his work on blank verse before
Milton, attached to Surrey's Poems. In 1798 the Irish Rebellion broke
out, and Percy sent a large quantity of correspondence and valuable
books to his daughter, Mrs. Isted, for safe preservation at Ecton
House. In 1806 his long and happy union with Mrs. Percy was abruptly
brought to a close, and to add to his afflictions he became totally
blind. He bore his trials with resignation, and ere five more years had
passed by, he himself was borne to the tomb. On the 30th of September,
1811, he died in the eighty-third year of his age, having outlived
nearly all his contemporaries.[47]

That his attachment to "Nancy" was fervent as well as permanent, is
shown by many circumstances. One of these is a little poem printed for
the first time in the edition of the folio MS.[48]

                     MARCH 22, 1788, BY DR. PERCY.

    "Deep howls the storm with chilling blast,
      Fast falls the snow and rain,
    Down rush the floods with headlong haste,
      And deluge all the plain.

    "Yet all in vain the tempest roars,
      And whirls the drifted snow;
    In vain the torrents scorn the shore,
      To Delia I must go.

    "In vain the shades of evening fall,
      And horrid dangers threat,
    What can the lover's heart appal,
      Or check his eager feet?

    "The darksome vale he fearless tries,
      And winds its trackless wood;
    High o'er the cliff's dread summit flies,
      And rushes through the flood.

    "Love bids atchieve the hardy task,
      And act the wondrous part;
    He wings the feet with eagle's speed,
      And lends the lion-heart.

    "Then led by thee, all-powerful boy,
      I'll dare the hideous night;
    Thy _dart_ shall guard me from annoy,
      Thy _torch_ my footsteps light.

    "The cheerful blaze--the social hour--
      The friend--all plead in vain;
    Love calls--I brave each adverse power
      Of peril and of pain."

Percy had naturally a hot temper, but this cooled down with time, and
the trials of his later life were accepted with Christian meekness.
One of his relations, who as a boy could just recollect him, told Mr.
Pickford "that it was quite a pleasure to see even then his gentleness,
amiability, and fondness for children. Every day used to witness his
strolling down to a pond in the palace garden, in order to feed his
swans, who were accustomed to come at the well-known sound of the old
man's voice." He was a pleasing companion and a steady friend. His
duties, both in the retired country village and in the more elevated
positions of dean and bishop, were all performed with a wisdom and
ardour that gained him the confidence of all those with whom he was
brought in contact. The praise given to him in the inscription on the
tablet to his memory in Dromore Cathedral does not appear to have gone
beyond the truth. It is there stated that he resided constantly in his
diocese, and discharged "the duties of his sacred office with vigilance
and zeal, instructing the ignorant, relieving the necessitous, and
comforting the distressed with pastoral affection." He was "revered for
his piety and learning, and beloved for his universal benevolence, by
all ranks and religious denominations."

There are three portraits of Percy. The first and best known was
painted by Reynolds in May, 1773. It represents him habited in a black
gown and bands, with a loose black cap on his head, and the folio
MS. in his hand. It is not known whether the original is still in
existence, but engravings from it are common. The next was painted by
Abbot in 1797, and hangs at Ecton Hall. Percy is there represented as
a fuller-faced man, in his episcopal dress, and wearing a wig. We have
Steevens's authority for believing this to be an excellent likeness.
An engraving from it is prefixed to the "Percy Correspondence," in
Nichols's _Illustrations of Literature_.

In the third volume of Dibdin's _Bibliographical Decameron_ is a
beautiful engraving from a watercolour drawing, which represents the
bishop in his garden at Dromore, when totally blind, feeding his


What were the sources from which Percy obtained the chief contents of
his celebrated work? They were:--1. The folio MS.; 2. Certain other
MS. collections, the use of which he obtained; 3. The Scotch ballads
sent to him by Sir David Dalrymple (better known by his title of Lord
Hailes, which he assumed on being appointed one of the Judges of the
Court of Session in Edinburgh); 4. The ordinary printed broadsides; 5.
The poems he extracted from the old printed collections of fugitive
poetry--_The Paradise of Dainty Devices, England's Helicon_, &c.

In considering the above sources, it will be necessary to give some
little space to the discussion of the connection between the folio MS.
and the _Reliques_, as it is not generally understood by the ordinary
readers of the latter.

The folio MS. came into Percy's hands early in his life, and the
interest of its contents first caused him to think of forming his own
collection. One of the notes on the covers of the MS. is as follows:--

"When I first got possession of this MS. I was very young, and being
no degree an antiquary, I had not then learnt to reverence it; which
must be my excuse for the scribble which I then spread over some parts
of its margin, and, in one or two instances, for even taking out the
leaves to save the trouble of transcribing. I have since been more
careful. T. P."

He showed it to his friends, and immediately after the publication of
the _Reliques_ he deposited it at the house of his publishers, the
Dodsleys, of Pall Mall. In spite of all this publicity, Ritson actually
denied the very existence of the MS. Another memorandum on the cover of
the folio was written on Nov. 7, 1769. It is as follows:--

"This very curious old manuscript, in its present mutilated state, but
unbound and sadly torn, &c., I rescued from destruction, and begged
at the hands of my worthy friend Humphrey Pitt, Esq., then living at
Shiffnal, in Shropshire, afterwards of Priorslee, near that town; who
died very lately at Bath (viz., in summer 1769). I saw it lying dirty
on the floor, under a Bureau in ye Parlour: being used by the maids
to light the fire. It was afterwards sent, most unfortunately, to an
ignorant Bookbinder, who pared the margin, when I put it into Boards
in order to lend it to Dr. Johnson. Mr. Pitt has since told me that
he believes the transcripts into this volume, &c., were made by that
Blount who was author of _Jocular Tenures_, &c., who he thought was of
Lancashire or Cheshire, and had a remarkable fondness for these old
things. He believed him to be the same person with that Mr. Thomas
Blount who published the curious account of King Charles the 2ds escape
intitled _Boscobel_, &c., Lond. 1660, 12mo, which has been so often
reprinted. As also the _Law Dictionary_, 1671, folio, and many other
books which may be seen in Wood's _Athenæ_, ii. 73, &c. A Descendant
or Relation of that Mr. Blount was an apothecary at Shiffnal, whom I
remember myself (named also Blount). He (if I mistake not) sold the
Library of the said predecessor Thos. Blount to the above-mentioned Mr.
Humphy Pitt: who bought it for the use of his nephew, my ever-valued
friend Robt Binnel. Mr. Binnel accordingly had all the printed books,
but this MS. which was among them was neglected and left behind at Mr.
Pitt's house, where it lay for many years. T. PERCY."

Mr. Furnivall believes that the copier of the MS. must have been a man
greatly inferior to Thomas Blount, who was a barrister of the Middle
Temple, of considerable learning.

Percy afterwards kept the volume very much to himself, and Ritson
affirmed that "the late Mr. Tyrwhitt, an excellent judge and diligent
peruser of old compositions, and an intimate friend of the owner, never
saw it."[50] Although Jamieson was obliged by receiving a copy of three
of the pieces in the MS., he was not allowed a sight of the volume,
and no one else was permitted to make any use of it. This spirit of
secrecy was kept up by the bishop's descendants, who refused all who
applied to see it. Sir Frederic Madden alone was allowed to print some
pieces in his _Syr Gawayne_ for the Bannatyne Club, 1839. The public
obtained a glimpse of its contents through Dr. Dibdin, who copied from
Percy's list the first seventy-two entries, and would have finished
the whole, had he not been stopped by his entertainers (Mr. and Mrs.
Samuel Isted, of Ecton Hall), when they found out what he was about. He
gave in his _Bibliographical Decameron_ a description of the MS. which
he thus handled in the winter of 1815. Mr. Furnivall writes as follows
of his several attempts to get the MS. printed, and of his success at
last: "The cause of the printing of Percy's MS., of the publication of
the book, was the insistence time after time by Professor Child, that
it was the duty of English antiquarian men of letters to print this
foundation document of English balladry, the basis of that structure
which Percy raised, so fair to the eyes of all English-speaking men
throughout the world. Above a hundred years had gone since first the
_Reliques_ met men's view, a Percy Society had been born and died,
but still the Percy manuscript lay hid in Ecton Hall, and no one was
allowed to know how the owner who had made his fame by it had dealt
with it, whether his treatment was foul or fair. No list even of its
contents could be obtained. Dibdin and Madden, and many a man less
known had tried their hands, but still the MS. was kept back, and this
generation had made up its mind that it was not to see the desired
original in type.... I tried to get access to the MS. some half-a-dozen
years ago. Repulsed, I tried again when starting the Early English Text
Society. Repulsed again, I tried again at a later date, but with the
like result. Not rebuffed by this, Professor Child added his offer of
_£_50 to mine of _£_100, through Mr. Thurstan Holland, a friend of his
own and of the owners of the MS., and this last attempt succeeded." The
less said the better about the conduct of these owners who were only to
be tempted to confer a public benefit by the increased offers of two
private gentlemen, but there cannot be two opinions about the spirited
conduct of Mr. Furnivall and Professor Child. The three volumes[51]
that the printed edition of the MS. occupy, form a handsome monument
of well-directed labour. The text is printed with the most careful
accuracy under the superintendence of Mr. Furnivall, and the elaborate
prefaces which exhibit that union of judgment and taste for which Mr.
Hales is so well known, leave nothing to be desired.

"The manuscript itself is a 'scrubby, shabby paper' book, about fifteen
and a half inches long by five and a half wide, and about two inches
thick, which has lost some of its pages both at the beginning and
end.... The handwriting was put by Sir F. Madden at after 1650 A.D.; by
two authorities at the Record Office whom I consulted, in the reign of
James I. rather than that of Charles I., but as the volume contains,
among other late pieces, one on the siege of Newark in Charles I.'s
time (ii. 33), another on the taking of Banbury in 1642 (ii. 39),
and a third, _The King inioyes his rights againe_, which contains a
passage[52] that (as Mr. Chappell observes in _Pop. Mus._ ii. 438, note
2) fixes the date of the song to the year 1643, we must make the date
about 1650, though rather before than after, so far as I can judge. I
should keep it in Charles I.'s reign, and he died Jan. 30, 1649, but
within a quarter of a century one can hardly determine.... The dialect
of the copier of the MS. seems to have been Lancashire, as is shown by
the frequent use of the final _st, thoust_ for _thou shalt, Ist_ for
_I will, youst_ for _you will_, _unbethought_ for _umbethought_, and
the occurrence of the northern terms, like _strang_, _gange_, &c. &c.
Moreover, the strong local feeling shown by the copier in favour of
Lancashire and Cheshire, and the Stanleys, in his choice of _Flodden
Feilde_, _Bosworth Feilde_, _Earles of Chester_, _Ladye Bessiye_,
confirms the probability that he was from one of the counties named.
That much, if not all, of the MS. was written from dictation and
hurriedly is almost certain, from the continual miswriting of _they_
for _the_, _rought_ for _wrought_, _knight_ for _night_ (once), _me_
fancy for _my_ fancy, _justine_ for _justing_."[53]

A very erroneous impression has grown up as to the proportion of pieces
in the _Reliques_ which were taken from the MS. This is owing to a
misleading statement made by Percy in his preface, to the effect that
"the greater part of them are extracted from an ancient MS. in the
editor's possession, which contains near two hundred poems, songs, and
metrical romances." The fact is that only one-fourth were so taken. The
_Reliques_ contain 180 pieces, and of these only forty-five[54] are
taken from the manuscript. We thus see that a very small part of the
manuscript was printed by Percy. He mentions some of the other pieces
in various parts of his book, and he proposed to publish a fourth
volume of the _Reliques_ at some future period that never came.

Mr. Furnivall has the following remarks on the gains to literature by
the publication of the manuscript: "It is more that we have now for
the first time _Eger and Grime_ in its earlier state, _Sir Lambewell_,
besides the _Cavilere's_ praise of his hawking, the complete versions
of _Scottish Feilde_ and _Kinge Arthur's Death_, the fullest of
_Flodden Feilde_ and the verse _Merline_, the _Earle of Westmorlande_,
_Bosworth Feilde_, the curious poem of _John de Reeve_, and the fine
alliterative one of _Death and Liffe_, with its gracious picture of
Lady dame Life, awakening life and love in grass and tree, in bird and
man, as she speeds to her conquest over death."

In 1774 Percy wrote: "In three or four years I intend to publish a
volume or two more of old English and Scottish poems in the manner of
my _Reliques_." And again in 1778: "With regard to the _Reliques_, I
have a large fund of materials, which when my son has compleated his
studies at the University, he may, if he likes it, distribute into
one or more additional volumes." The death of this son put an end to
his hopes, but before the fourth edition was required, the bishop
had obtained the assistance of his nephew, the Rev. Thomas Percy. In
1801 he wrote as follows to Jamieson, who had asked for some extracts
from the folio: "Till my nephew has completed his collection for the
intended fourth volume it cannot be decided whether he may not wish
to insert himself the fragments you desire; but I have copied for you
here that one which you particularly pointed out, as I was unwilling to
disappoint your wishes and expectations altogether. By it you will see
the defective and incorrect state of the old text in the ancient folio
MS., and the irresistible demand on the editor of the _Reliques_ to
attempt some of those conjectural emendations, which have been blamed
by one or two rigid critics, but without which the collection would not
have deserved a moment's attention."

Percy has been very severely judged for the alterations he made in
his manuscript authorities; and Ritson has attempted to consider his
conduct as a question of morality rather than one of taste. As each
point is noticed in the prefaces to the various pieces, it is not
necessary to discuss the question here. It may, however, be remarked
that, in spite of all Ritson's attacks (and right was sometimes on his
side), the _Reliques_ remain to the present day unsuperseded.

Mr. Thoms communicated to the _Notes and Queries_ (5th series, v.
431) the following note, which he made upwards of forty years ago,
after a conversation with Francis Douce:--

"Mr. Douce told me that the Bishop (Percy) originally intended to have
left the manuscript to Ritson; but the reiterated abuse with which that
irritable and not always faultless antiquary visited him obliged him to
alter his determination. With regard to the alterations (? amendments)
made by Percy in the text, Mr. Douce told me that he (Percy) read to
him one day from the MS., while he held the work in his hand to compare
the two; and 'certainly the variations were greater than I could have
expected,' said my old friend, with a shrug of the shoulders."

Of the other sources from which Percy drew his materials little need be
said. 2. Some of the ballads were taken from MSS. in public libraries,
and others from MSS. that were lent to him. 3. The Scotch ballads
supplied by Sir David Dalrymple have already been referred to. 4.
The printed ballads are chiefly taken from the Pepys Collection at
Cambridge. 5. When the _Reliques_ were first published, the elegant
poems in the _Paradyse of Daynty Devises, England's Helicon_, were
little known, and it was a happy thought on the part of Percy to
intersperse these smaller pieces among the longer ballads, so as to
please the reader with a constant variety.

The weak point in the book is the insertion of some of the modern
pieces. The old minstrel believed the wonders he related; but a poet
educated in modern ideas cannot transfer himself back to the times of
chivalry, so that his attempts at imitating "the true Gothic manner"
are apt to fill his readers with a sense of unreality.

After the first edition of the _Reliques_ was printed, and before it
was published, Percy made a great alteration in its arrangement. The
first volume was turned into the third, and the third into the first,
as may be seen by a reference to the foot of the pages where the old
numbering remains. By this means the _Arthur Ballads_ were turned off
to the end, and _Chevy Chase_ and _Robin Hood_ obtained the place of
honour. Several ballads were also omitted at the last moment, and the
numbers left vacant. These occur in a copy of two volumes at Oxford
which formerly belonged to Douce. In Vol. III. (the old Vol. I.),
Book 1, there is no No. 19; in the Douce copy this is filled by _The
Song-birds_. In Vol. II., Book 3, there are no Nos. 10 and 11; but in
the Douce copy, Nos. 9, 10, and 11 are _Cock Lorrell's Treat_, _The
Moral Uses of Tobacco_, and _Old Simon the Kinge_. Besides these
omissions it will be seen that in Book 3 of Vol. III. there are two
Nos. 2; and that _George Barnwell_ must have been inserted at the last
moment, as it occupies a duplicate series of pages 225-240, which are
printed between brackets. In 1765 the volumes were published in London.
In the following year a surreptitious edition was published in Dublin,
and in 1767 appeared a second edition in London. In 1775 was published
the third edition, which was reprinted at Frankfort in 1790. The fourth
edition, ostensibly edited by the Rev. Thomas Percy, but really the
work of the bishop himself, was published in 1794. Many improvements
were made in this edition, and it contains Percy's final corrections;
the fifth edition, published in 1812, being merely a reprint of the

The year 1765 was then a memorable one in the history of literature.
The current ballads which were bawled in the street, or sung in the
ale-house, were so mean and vulgar that the very name of ballad had
sunk into disrepute. It was therefore a revelation to many to find
that a literature of nature still existed which had descended from
mother to child in remote districts, or was buried in old manuscripts,
covered with the dust of centuries. It is necessary to realize this
state of things in order to understand Percy's apologetic attitude.
He collected his materials from various sources with great labour,
and spared no pains in illustrating the poetry by instructive prose.
Yet after welding with the force of genius the various parts into
an harmonious whole, he was doubtful of the reception it was likely
to obtain, and he called the contents of his volumes "the barbarous
productions of unpolished ages." He backed his own opinion of their
interest by bringing forward the names of the chiefs of the republic
of letters, and ill did they requite him. Johnson parodied his verses,
and Warburton sneered at him as the man "who wrote about the Chinese."
Percy looked for his reward where he received nothing but laughter; but
the people accepted his book with gladness, and the young who fed upon
the food he presented to them grew up to found new schools of poetry.

Few books have exerted such extended influence over English literature
as Percy's _Reliques_. Beattie's _Minstrel_ was inspired by a perusal
of the _Essay on the Ancient Minstrels_; and many authors have
expressed with gratitude their obligations to the bishop and his book.

How profoundly the poetry of nature, which lived on in the ballads of
the country, stirred the souls of men is seen in the instance of two
poets of strikingly different characteristics. Scott made his first
acquaintance with the _Reliques_ at the age of thirteen, and the place
where he read them was ever after imprinted upon his memory. The bodily
appetite of youth was unnoticed while he mentally devoured the volumes
under the huge leaves of the plantain tree. Wordsworth was not behind
Scott in admiration of the book. He wrote: "I have already stated how
much Germany is indebted to this work, and for our own country, its
poetry has been absolutely redeemed by it. I do not think there is
an able writer in verse of the present day who would not be proud to
acknowledge his obligation to the _Reliques_. I know that it is so
with my friends; and for myself, I am happy in this occasion to make a
public avowal of my own." After such men as these have spoken, who can
despise our old ballads?


The impetus given to the collection of old ballads by the publication
of _Reliques_ showed itself in the rapid succession of volumes of the
same class which issued from the press. Most of these were devoted to
the publication of Scottish ballads exclusively. In 1769, David Herd,
a native of St. Cyrus, in Kincardineshire, who had spent most of his
life as clerk in an accountant's office in Edinburgh, published his
_Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads_, &c., a work which
was enlarged into two volumes in 1776.[55] He was a most successful
and faithful collector, and not being a poet, he was preserved from
the temptation of tampering with his stores. Motherwell mentions
twenty ballads which had not appeared in a collected form before the
publication of this work. Herd was assisted in his editorial labours by
George Paton.

In 1777 appeared the first edition of Evans's _Old Ballads,
Historical and Narrative_, in two volumes. The best edition of this
work, edited by the son of the original compiler, was published in 4
vols., 1810.

In 1781 Pinkerton published his _Scottish Tragic Ballads_, which
was followed in 1783 by _Select Scottish Ballads_. These volumes
contained several fabrications by the editor, as already stated on a
previous page.

In 1783 Ritson commenced the publication of that long series of volumes
which is of such inestimable value to the literary antiquary, with _A
Select Collection of English Songs_. _The Bishopric Garland, or_
_Durham Minstrel_, followed, in 1784; _The Yorkshire Garland_, in
1788; the _Pieces of Ancient Popular Poetry_, in 1791; _Ancient Songs
and Ballads from the reign of Henry II. to the Revolution_, in 1787;
_The Northumberland Garland_, in 1793; _Scottish Songs_, in 1794; and
_Robin Hood_, in 1795.

In 1787 was commenced _The Scots Musical Museum_, by James Johnson.
Johnson was a music-seller and engraver in Edinburgh, and the work was
really projected by William Tytler of Woodhouselee, Dr. Blacklock, and
Samuel Clark. The first volume was partly printed, when Burns became
acquainted with the object of the work. He then entered into the scheme
with enthusiasm, and besides "begging and borrowing" old songs, wrote
many new songs himself.

In 1801 was published at Edinburgh, _Scottish Poems of the XVIth
Century_, edited by J. G. Dalzell, which contains a reprint of _Ane
Compendious Booke of Godly and Spirituall Songs_, already referred to

In 1802 appeared the first two volumes of the only work which is
worthy to stand side by side with the _Reliques_. Sir Walter Scott's
_Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border_ is a book that can be read
through, and it and the _Reliques_ are the only works of the class in
which the materials are welded into a whole, so as no longer to appear
a collection of units.

In 1806, Robert Jamieson published at Edinburgh his _Popular Ballads
and Songs, from Tradition, Manuscripts, and scarce editions_. He was
working upon this book at the same time that Scott was engaged upon
his _Minstrelsy_, and he obtained much of his material from the same
source as Scott, viz. Mrs. Brown, of Falkland; but he, nevertheless,
was able to print seventeen ballads that had not before appeared in any
published collection. Jamieson has the following remarks on himself in
the Introduction to the first volume:--

"Being obliged to go, at a few weeks' warning, to a distant part of the
world, and to seek, on the shores of the frozen Baltic, for (which his
own country seems to deny him) the means of employing his talents and
industry in some such manner as may enable him to preserve (for a time,
at least) his respectability and a partial independence in the world,
the following sheets have been prepared for the press, amidst all the
anxiety and bustle of getting ready and packing up for a voyage." (Vol.
i. p. xvii.)

John Finlay of Glasgow published in 1808 his _Scottish Historical and
Romantic Ballads_. These volumes only contain twenty-six ballads in all.

John Gilchrist's _Collection of Ancient and Modern Scottish Ballads,
Tales, and Songs_, (Edinburgh 1815) is a carefully edited work,
compiled from former books.

In 1822 David Laing published his valuable _Select Remains of the
Ancient Popular Poetry of Scotland_, and in 1824 C. K. Sharpe printed
privately a little volume which he entitled _A Ballad Book_. James
Maidment printed also privately _A North Countrie Garland_ in the
same year (1824).

In 1825 E. V. Utterson printed "Select Pieces of Early English Poetry,
republished principally from early printed copies in Black Letter."

Peter Buchan commenced his ballad career by publishing at Peterhead,
in 1825, a little volume entitled "Gleanings of Scotch, English,
and Irish scarce old ballads, chiefly tragical and historical, many
of them connected with the localities of Aberdeenshire." In 1828 he
published his "Ancient Ballads and Songs of the North of Scotland,
hitherto unpublished." He affirmed that his materials were faithfully
and honestly transcribed, and "they have suffered no change since they
fortunately were consigned to me by their foster parents." A portrait
is given in this book, which represents the compiler as a wild-looking,
unkempt, man. Besides these two books Buchan made a large collection of
ballads, songs, and poems, which he took down from the oral recitation
of the peasantry. These were pronounced by Scott to be "decidedly
and indubitably original." The two folio MS. volumes in which they
were contained came into the possession of the Percy Society, and a
selection was made from them by J. H. Dixon, in 1845, who entitled
his work _Scottish Traditional Versions of Ancient Ballads_ (Percy
Society Publications, vol. xvii.).

In 1826 Allan Cunningham published _The Songs of Scotland_, to which
reference has already been made.

George R. Kinloch published in 1827, "Ancient Scottish Ballads,
recovered from tradition, and never before published." He states in his
introduction that "the present collection is almost entirely composed
of ballads obtained in the 'North Countrie,' a district hitherto but
little explored, though by no means destitute of traditional poetry."

In this same year appeared William Motherwell's _Minstrelsy, Ancient
and Modern_, a work of the most sterling character, which contains the
best account of ballad literature extant.

In 1829 Robert Chambers published his collection of _Scottish Ballads_,
which contains eighty pieces, of which number twelve are modern, or
imitations. At this period the editor had not elaborated his theory
that _Sir Patrick Spence_ and certain other ballads were modern

Peter Cunningham published _The Songs of England and Scotland_, in
1835, and Thomas Wright printed _The Political Songs of England from
the reign of John to that of Edward II._ in 1839, for the Camden

In 1840 was founded, in honour of Bishop Percy, the Percy Society,
which continued to print some of the old Garlands and various
collections of old Ballads until 1852.

William Chappell published in 1840 his valuable _Collection of
National English Airs, consisting of Ancient Song, Ballad and Dance
Tunes_, which work was re-arranged and enlarged, and issued in 1855
as _Popular Music of the Olden Time_. This work is a mine of wealth
concerning both the airs and the words of our ballad treasures. It was
a truly national undertaking, and has been completed with great skill.
No ballad lover can get on without it.

In 1844 Alexander Whitelaw published _The Book of Scottish Ballads_,
and _The Book of Scottish Song_. An edition of the former was printed
in 1875, and one of the latter in 1866, which contains about twelve
hundred and seventy songs.

In 1847 John Matthew Gutch published "_A Lytell Geste of Robin Hode_,
with other Ancient and Modern Ballads and Songs relating to this
celebrated yeoman."

In the same year appeared Frederick Sheldon's _Minstrelsy of the
English Border_, but it is a work of very little value.

Dr. Rimbault printed in 1850 those valuable _Musical Illustrations
of Bishop Percy's Reliques_, which are so frequently quoted in the
following pages.

Professor Francis James Child, of Harvard College, one of our greatest
authorities on Ballad lore, published at Boston, U.S., a very complete
collection of _English and Scottish Ballads_, in eight volumes. The
first volume contains a full list of the principal collections of
Ballads and Songs.

In 1858 William Edmondstoune Aytoun published his _Ballads of
Scotland_, which contain collated versions of one hundred and
thirty-nine ballads, with short introductions.

The year 1867 was memorable as seeing the publication of the first
instalment of the Folio Manuscript under the editorship of J. W. Hales
and F. J. Furnivall.

In 1868 appeared "Scottish Ballads and Songs, historical and
traditionary, edited by James Maidment, Edinburgh, 1868," 2 vols. The
number of pieces is small but select, and the introductions are full
and elaborate.

In 1871 Messrs. Ogle of Glasgow published a well edited collection of
Scottish Ballads, with an interesting introduction and notes, entitled
"The Ballad Minstrelsy of Scotland. Romantic and Historical. Collated
and Annotated."

Upon the completion of the Percy Folio, Mr. Furnivall started the
Ballad Society, for the publication of the various collections of
ballads that exist. Mr. Chappell has edited half of the Roxburghe
Ballads in several parts, and Mr. Furnivall himself has printed some
interesting ballads from manuscripts. All these have been presented to
readers with a wealth of illustrative notes.

The books referred to above form but a portion of the literature of
the subject. So mighty has been the growth of the small seed set by
Percy, that the despised outcasts which the literary leaders attempted
to laugh out of existence have made good their right to a high position
among the poetry of the nation, and proved that they possessed the
germs of a long and vigorous life.

                                                                H. B. W.


[1] See article on "Waits' Badges," by Llewellyn Jewitt, in
_Reliquary_, vol. xii. p. 145.

[2] Chant of Richard Sheale, Brydges' _British Bibliographer_, vol. iv.
p. 100.

[3] Ellis's _Original Letters_, Second Series, vol. iii. p. 49.

[4] See Percy's remarks on this line at p. 379 (note).

[5] Ritson's _Ancient Songs and Ballads_, ed. 1829, vol. i. p. xxvi.

[6] Marjoreybank's _Annals of Scotland_, Edinb. 1814, p. 5, quoted in
Motherwell's _Minstrelsy_, p. xxx. (note).

[7] Motherwell's _Minstrelsy_, 1827, p. xlvii.

[8] Motherwell's _Minstrelsy_, p. xv.

[9] See below. p. 148.

[10] Vol. ii. p. 172.

[11] Vol. iii. bk. ii. art. 18.

[12] Motherwell's _Minstrelsy_, p. xiii.

[13] See below, p. 380.

[14] See below, p. 70.

[15] See below, p. 23.

[16] See vol. ii. p. 158.

[17] Ritson's _Ancient Songs and Ballads_, ed. 1829, vol. i. p. xxxiii.

[18] See below, p. 378.

[19] _Popular Music of the Olden Time_, vol. i. p. 106.

[20] _Pierce Penilesse, his Supplication to the Devill_, 1592.

[21] Kemp's _Nine Daies' Wonder_, 1600, sign. d 3.

[22] Dryden's _Prologue_ to Lee's _Sophonisba_.

[23] _Richard of Almaigne_, see vol. ii. p. 3.

[24] _Notes and Queries_, 5th series, vol. v. p. 524.

[25] See _Ancient Scottish Poems_, 1786, vol. i. p. cxxxi.

[26] _Minstrelsy, Ancient and Modern_, 1827, p. xcvii.

[27] _Scottish Ballads_, vol. i. p. 46.

[28] Mr. Laing, with his usual kindness, has been so good as to answer
my inquiry whether he still held the opinion he published in 1839.
He writes (June 2, 1876): "I still adhere to the general inference
that this ballad is comparatively a modern imitation, and although
we have no positive evidence as to the authorship, I can think of no
one that was so likely to have written it as Elizabeth Halket, Lady
Wardlaw of Pitreavie, who died in 1727, aged fifty. Had Bishop Percy's
correspondence with Sir David Dalrymple, Lord Hailes, been preserved,
some interesting information would no doubt have been obtained
regarding these ballads sent from Scotland."

[29] _Scottish Traditional Versions of Ancient Ballads_ (Percy Society,
vol. xvii. p. xi.).

[30] Neither of these lines occur in Percy's version, but they are both
in the one printed by Scott.

[31] _Ballads from Scottish History_, 1863, pp. 223-4.

[32] "An ingenious friend thinks the author of _Hardyknute_ has
borrowed several expressions and sentiments from the foregoing and
other old Scottish songs in this collection."

[33] See vol. ii. p. 105, of the present edition.

[34] It has been necessary in the foregoing remarks to give reasons why
the opinions of the late Dr. Robert Chambers on this subject are not
to be taken on trust, but it is hoped that these criticisms will not
be understood as written with any wish to detract from the literary
character of one who did so much good work during a laborious and ever
active life.

[35] _Minstrelsy_, p. xlvi.

[36] _Parliament of Love._

[37] _Queen of Corinth._

[38] Dekker's _Honest W._, 1604, act i. sc. 1.

[39] Scott's _Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border_.

[40] The following is a list of these ballads:--

Vol. I. "Fair Rosamond and King Henry II.," "Queen Eleanor's
Confession," "St. George and the Dragon," "The Dragon of Wantley,"
"Chevy Chace," "The Lamentation of Jane Shore," "Sir Andrew Barton's
Death," "Prince of England's Courtship to the King of France's
Daughter," "The Lady turn'd Serving-Man," "The Children in the Wood,"
"The Bride's Burial," "The Lady's Fall," "Lord Thomas and Fair
Ellinor," "Gilderoy."

Vol. II. "King Leir and his Three Daughters," "King Arthur and the
Knights of the Round Table," "King John and the Abbot of Canterbury,"
"The Wanton Wife of Bath," "The Spanish Lady's Love," "The Blind Beggar
of Bednal Green."

Vol. III. "The Baffled Knight," "William and Margaret," "The
Gaberlunzie Man."

[41] Percy communicated to Dr. Nash, for the _History of
Worcestershire_ (vol. ii. p. 318), a pedigree in which he attempted
to identify his family with that of the descendants of Ralph, third
Earl of Northumberland. Nash subjoined a note to the effect that
he had examined the proofs of all the particulars above mentioned,
and Boswell, in his _Life of Johnson_, expressed the opinion that,
"both as a lawyer accustomed to the consideration of evidence, and
as a genealogist versed in the study of pedigrees," he was fully
satisfied. Mr. Furnivall is rather unjust to Percy when he suggests
that the pedigree was treated like the ballads, and the gaps filled
up, for the cases are not quite analogous. The pedigree may not be of
greater authenticity than many other doubtful ones, but at all events
his Patrons the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland acknowledged the
connection between them when he was in some way distinguished.

[42] On Percy's tomb his wife's name is spelt _Goodriche_.

[43] _Illustrations of the Lyric Poetry and Music of Scotland_, 1853,
p. 29.

[44] Stenhouse's Illustrations, p. 112.

[45] Bishop Percy's Folio MS. vol. i. p. xli. (note).

[46] The book was reprinted entire in the fourth volume of the
_Antiquarian Repertory_, 1809; and a second edition was published by
Pickering in 1827.

[47] In 1810 he was the only survivor of the original members of the
Literary Club, founded by Johnson and Reynolds in 1764.

[48] Percy Folio MS., vol. i. p. lv.

[49] The chief particulars of the above sketch of Percy's life are
taken from the interesting life by the Rev. J. Pickford in Hales and
Furnivall's edition of the Folio MS., vol. i. p. xxvii.

[50] Ancient Songs, 1790, p. xix.

[51] _Bishop Percy Folio Manuscript: Ballads and Romances._ Edited by
John W. Hales, M.A., and Frederick J. Furnivall, M.A., London (Trübner
and Co.), 1867-68, 3 vols.


    "ffull 40 yeeres his royall crowne
    hath beene his fathers and his owne."

                                       _Percy Folio MS_. (ii. 25/17-18.)

[53] Furnivall's Forewords, p. xiii.

[54] The following is a list of these, taken from Mr. Furnivall's

  Sir Cauline.
  King Estmere.
  Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne.
  The Child of Elle.
  Edom O'Gordon (or Captaine Carre).
  Adam Bell, Clym o' the Clough, and William of Cloudesly.
  Take thy old Cloak about thee (or Bell my wife).
  Sir Lancelot du Lake.
  The more modern Ballad of Chevy Chase.
  The Rising in the North.
  Northumberland betrayed by Douglas.
  The Not-browne Mayd.
  Sir Aldingar.
  Gentle Heardsman, tell to me.
  The Beggar's Daughter of Bednal Green.
  Sir Andrew Barton.
  Lady Bothwell's Lament.
  The Murder of the King of Scots.
  The King of Scots and Andrew Browne, though in the Folio, was
    printed by Percy from the Antiquaries' copy.
  Mary Ambree.
  The Winning of Cales.
  The Spanish Lady's Love.
  The Complaint of Conscience.
  K. John and the Abbot of Canterbury.
  The Heir of Lynne.
  To Althea from Prison (When Love with unconfined wings).
  Old Tom of Bedlam.
  The Boy and the Mantle.
  The Marriage of Sir Gawaine.
  King Arthur's Death.
  The Legend of King Arthur.
  Old Robin of Portingale.
  Child Waters.
  Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard.
  Gil Morrice.
  Legend of Sir Guy.
  Guy and Amarant.
  The Shepherd's Resolution.
  The Lady's Fall.
  The King of France's Daughter.
  A Lover of Late.
  The King and Miller of Mansfield.
  The Wandering Prince of Troy.
  The Aspiring Shepherd.

[55] This work was reprinted twice during the year 1869: 1. at
Edinburgh under the editorial care of Mr. Sidney Gilpin; 2. at Glasgow.


                         THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
                      COUNTESS OF NORTHUMBERLAND;
                           IN HER OWN RIGHT,
                          BRYAN, AND LATIMER.


Those writers, who solicit the protection of the noble and the great,
are often exposed to censure by the impropriety of their addresses: a
remark that will, perhaps, be too readily applied to him, who, having
nothing better to offer than the rude songs of ancient minstrels,
aspires to the patronage of the Countess of Northumberland, and hopes
that the barbarous productions of unpolished ages can obtain the
approbation or notice of her, who adorns courts by her presence, and
diffuses elegance by her example.

But this impropriety, it is presumed, will disappear, when it is
declared that these poems are presented to your Ladyship, not as
labours of art, but as effusions of nature, showing the first efforts
of ancient genius, and exhibiting the customs and opinions of remote
ages: of ages that had been almost lost to memory, had not the gallant
deeds of your illustrious ancestors preserved them from oblivion.

No active or comprehensive mind can forbear some attention to the
reliques of antiquity. It is prompted by natural curiosity to survey
the progress of life and manners, and to inquire by what gradations
barbarity was civilized, grossness refined, and ignorance instructed;
but this curiosity, Madam, must be stronger in those who, like your
Ladyship, can remark in every period the influence of some great
progenitor, and who still feel in their effects the transactions and
events of distant centuries.

By such bonds, Madam, as I am now introducing to your presence, was
the infancy of genius nurtured and advanced, by such were the minds of
unlettered warriors softened and enlarged, by such was the memory of
illustrious actions preserved and propagated, by such were the heroic
deeds of the Earls of Northumberland sung at festivals in the hall of
Alnwick; and those songs, which the bounty of your ancestors rewarded,
now return to your Ladyship by a kind of hereditary right; and, I
flatter myself, will find such reception as is usually shown to poets
and historians, by those whose consciousness of merit makes it their
interest to be long remembered.

          I am,
                  Your Ladyship's
                      Most humble,
                  And most devoted Servant,
                            THOMAS PERCY.[56]

                            ETC. ETC. ETC.
                      LITTLE WORK WAS ORIGINALLY
                     NOW, WITH THE UTMOST REGARD,
                      TO HER BELOVED AND HONOURED


[56] This dedication is prefixed to the first edition of the
_Reliques_, (1765), the second edition (1767), and the third edition

[57] The Duchess of Northumberland died in the year 1776, and the above
inscription appears in the fourth edition (1794) and the fifth edition
(1812), besides many subsequent editions.



Twenty years have near elapsed since the last edition of this work
appeared. But, although it was sufficiently a favourite with the
public, and had long been out of print, the original editor had no
desire to revive it. More important pursuits had, as might be expected,
engaged his attention; and the present edition would have remained
unpublished, had he not yielded to the importunity of his friends, and
accepted the humble offer of an editor in a nephew, to whom, it is
feared, he will be found too partial.

These volumes are now restored to the public with such corrections and
improvements as have occurred since the former impression; and the text
in particular hath been emended in many passages by recurring to the
old copies. The instances, being frequently trivial, are not always
noted in the margin; but the alteration hath never been made without
good reason; and especially in such pieces as were extracted from the
folio manuscript so often mentioned in the following pages, where any
variation occurs from the former impression, it will be understood to
have been given on the authority of that MS.

The appeal publicly made to Dr. Johnson in the first page of the
following Preface, so long since as in the year 1765, and never once
contradicted by him during so large a portion of his life, ought to
have precluded every doubt concerning the existence of the MS. in
question. But such, it seems, having been suggested, it may now be
mentioned, that, while this edition passed through his press, the MS.
itself was left for near a year with Mr. Nichols, in whose house, or
in that of its possessor, it was examined with more or less attention
by many gentlemen of eminence in literature. At the first publication
of these volumes it had been in the hands of all, or most of, his
friends; but, as it could hardly be expected that he should continue
to think of nothing else but these amusements of his youth, it was
afterwards laid aside at his residence in the country. Of the many
gentlemen above-mentioned, who offered to give their testimony to the
public, it will be sufficient to name the Honourable Daines Barrington,
the Reverend Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode, and those eminent Critics on
Shakespeare, the Reverend Dr. Farmer, George Steevens, Esq., Edmund
Malone, Esq., and Isaac Reed, Esq., to whom I beg leave to appeal for
the truth of the following representation.

The MS. is a long narrow folio volume, containing 195 Sonnets, Ballads,
Historical Songs, and Metrical Romances, either in the whole or in
part, for many of them are extremely mutilated and imperfect. The first
and last leaves are wanting; and of fifty-four pages near the beginning
half of every leaf hath been torn away, and several others are injured
towards the end; besides that through a great part of the volume the
top or bottom line, and sometimes both have been cut off in the binding.

In this state is the MS. itself: and even where the leaves have
suffered no injury, the transcripts, which seem to have been all made
by one person (they are at least all in the same kind of hand), are
sometimes extremely incorrect and faulty, being in such instances
probably made from defective copies, or the imperfect recitation of
illiterate fingers; so that a considerable portion of the song or
narrative is sometimes omitted; and miserable trash or nonsense not
unfrequently introduced into pieces of considerable merit. And often
the copyist grew so weary of his labour as to write on without the
least attention to the sense or meaning; so that the word which should
form the rhyme is found misplaced in the middle of the line; and we
have such blunders as these, _want and will_ for _wanton will_;[59]
even _pan and wale_ for _wan and pale_,[60] &c., &c.

Hence the public may judge how much they are indebted to the composer
of this collection; who, at an early period of life, with such
materials and such subjects, formed a work which hath been admitted
into the most elegant libraries; and with which the judicious antiquary
hath just reason to be satisfied, while refined entertainment hath been
provided for every reader of taste and genius.

                                   THOMAS PERCY,
                         FELLOW OF ST. JOHN'S COLLEGE, OXFORD.


[58] Published in three volumes small octavo in 1794. "Printed by John
Nichols for F. and C. Rivington."

[59] [Fol. MS.] Page 130, ver. 117. (This must have been copied from a

[60] [Fol. MS.] Page 139, ver. 164, viz.

    "his visage waxed pan and wale."



The reader is here presented with select remains of our ancient English
bards and minstrels, an order of men, who were once greatly respected
by our ancestors, and contributed to soften the roughness of a martial
and unlettered people by their songs and by their music.

The greater part of them are extracted from an ancient folio
manuscript, in the editor's possession, which contains near 200 poems,
songs, and metrical romances. This MS. was written about the middle of
the last century; but contains compositions of all times and dates,
from the ages prior to Chaucer, to the conclusion of the reign of
Charles I.[61]

This manuscript was shewn to several learned and ingenious friends,
who thought the contents too curious to be consigned to oblivion, and
importuned the possessor to select some of them, and give them to the
press. As most of them are of great simplicity, and seem to have been
merely written for the people, he was long in doubt, whether, in the
present state of improved literature, they could be deemed worthy
the attention of the public. At length the importunity of his friends
prevailed, and he could refuse nothing to such judges as the author of
the _Rambler_ and the late Mr. Shenstone.

Accordingly such specimens of ancient poetry have been selected, as
either shew the gradation of our language, exhibit the progress of
popular opinions, display the peculiar manners and customs of former
ages, or throw light on our earlier classical poets.

They are here distributed into volumes, each of which contains an
independent series of poems, arranged chiefly according to the order
of time, and shewing the gradual improvements of the English language
and poetry from the earliest ages down to the present. Each volume,
or series, is divided into three books, to afford so many pauses, or
resting-places to the reader, and to assist him in distinguishing
between the productions of the earlier, the middle, and the latter

In a polished age, like the present, I am sensible that many of these
reliques of antiquity will require great allowances to be made for
them. Yet have they, for the most part, a pleasing simplicity, and many
artless graces, which in the opinion of no mean critics[62] have been
thought to compensate for the want of higher beauties, and, if they do
not dazzle the imagination, are frequently found to interest the heart.

To atone for the rudeness of the more obsolete poems, each volume
concludes with a few modern attempts in the same kind of writing:
and, to take off from the tediousness of the longer narratives, they
are everywhere intermingled with little elegant pieces of the lyric
kind. Select ballads in the old Scottish dialect, most of them of the
first-rate merit, are also interspersed among those of our ancient
English minstrels; and the artless productions of these old rhapsodists
are occasionally confronted with specimens of the composition of
contemporary poets of a higher class; of those who had all the
advantages of learning in the times in which they lived, and who wrote
for fame and for posterity. Yet perhaps the palm will be frequently due
to the old strolling minstrels, who composed their rhymes to be sung to
their harps, and who looked no farther than for present applause, and
present subsistence.

The reader will find this class of men occasionally described in the
following volumes, and some particulars relating to their history in an
Essay subjoined. (Appendix I.)

It will be proper here to give a short account of the other collections
that were consulted, and to make my acknowledgements to those gentlemen
who were so kind as to impart extracts from them; for, while this
selection was making, a great number of ingenious friends took a share
in the work, and explored many large repositories in its favour.

The first of these that deserved notice was the Pepysian library
at Magdalen College, Cambridge. Its founder, Sam. Pepys, Esq.,[63]
Secretary of the Admiralty in the reigns of Charles II. and James II.
had made a large collection of ancient English ballads, near 2,000
in number, which he has left pasted in five volumes in folio; besides
Garlands and other smaller miscellanies. This collection he tells us
was "begun by Mr. Selden; improved by the addition of many pieces elder
thereto in time; and the whole continued down to the year 1700; when
the form peculiar till then thereto, viz., of the black letter with
pictures, seems (for cheapness sake) wholly laid aside for that of the
white letter without pictures."

In the Ashmole Library at Oxford is a small collection of ballads made
by Anthony Wood in the year 1676, containing somewhat more than 200.
Many ancient popular poems are also preserved in the Bodleyan library.

The archives of the Antiquarian Society at London contain a multitude
of curious political poems in large folio volumes, digested under the
several reigns of Hen. VIII., Edw. VI., Mary, Elizabeth, James I.,

In the British Museum is preserved a large treasure of ancient English
poems in MS. besides one folio volume of printed ballads.

From all these some of the best pieces were selected; and from many
private collections, as well printed, as manuscript, particularly from
one large folio volume which was lent by a lady.

Amid such a fund of materials, the editor is afraid he has been
sometimes led to make too great a parade of his authorities. The
desire of being accurate has perhaps seduced him into too minute and
trifling an exactness; and in pursuit of information he may have been
drawn into many a petty and frivolous research. It was, however,
necessary to give some account of the old copies; though often,
for the sake of brevity, one or two of these only are mentioned,
where yet assistance was received from several. Where any thing was
altered that deserved particular notice, the passage is generally
distinguished by two inverted 'commas.' And the editor has endeavoured
to be as faithful as the imperfect state of his materials would
admit. For, these old popular rhymes being many of them copied only
from illiterate transcripts, or the imperfect recitation of itinerant
ballad-singers, have, as might be expected, been handed down to us
with less care than any other writings in the world. And the old
copies, whether MS. or printed, were often so defective or corrupted,
that a scrupulous adherence to their wretched readings would only
have exhibited unintelligible nonsense, or such poor meagre stuff,
as neither came from the bard, nor was worthy the press; when, by a
few slight corrections or additions, a most beautiful or interesting
sense hath started forth, and this so naturally and easily, that the
editor could seldom prevail on himself to indulge the vanity of making
a formal claim to the improvement; but must plead guilty to the charge
of concealing his own share in the amendments under some such general
title, as a _Modern Copy_, or the like. Yet it has been his design to
give sufficient intimation where any considerable liberties[66] were
taken with the old copies, and to have retained either in the text
or margin any word or phrase which was antique, obsolete, unusual,
or peculiar, so that these might be safely quoted as of genuine and
undoubted antiquity. His object was to please both the judicious
antiquary, and the reader of taste; and he hath endeavoured to gratify
both without offending either.

The plan of the work was settled in concert with the late elegant Mr.
Shenstone, who was to have borne a joint share in it had not death
unhappily prevented him[67]: most of the modern pieces were of his
selection and arrangement, and the editor hopes to be pardoned if he
has retained some things out of partiality to the judgment of his
friend. The old folio MS. above-mentioned was a present from Humphrey
Pitt, Esq., of Prior's-Lee, in Shropshire,[68] to whom this public
acknowledgement is due for that, and many other obliging favours. To
Sir David Dalrymple, Bart., of Hailes, near Edinburgh, the editor is
indebted for most of the beautiful Scottish poems with which this
little miscellany is enriched, and for many curious and elegant remarks
with which they are illustrated. Some obliging communications of the
same kind were received from John MacGowan, Esq., of Edinburgh; and
many curious explanations of Scottish words in the glossaries from
John Davidson, Esq., of Edinburgh, and from the Rev. Mr. Hutchinson,
of Kimbolton. Mr. Warton, who has twice done so much honour to the
Poetry Professor's chair at Oxford, and Mr. Hest, of Worcester
College, contributed some curious pieces from the Oxford libraries.
Two ingenious and learned friends at Cambridge deserve the editor's
warmest acknowledgements: to Mr. Blakeway, late fellow of Magdalen
College, he owes all the assistance received from the Pepysian library:
and Mr. Farmer, fellow of Emanuel, often exerted, in favour of this
little work, that extensive knowledge of ancient English literature
for which he is so distinguished.[69] Many extracts from ancient MSS.
in the British Museum, and other repositories, were owing to the kind
services of Thomas Astle, Esq., to whom the public is indebted for
the curious Preface and Index annexed to the Harleyan Catalogue.[70]
The worthy Librarian of the Society of Antiquaries, Mr. Norris,
deserved acknowledgement for the obliging manner in which he gave the
editor access to the volumes under his care. In Mr. Garrick's curious
collection of old plays are many scarce pieces of ancient poetry, with
the free use of which he indulged the editor in the politest manner.
To the Rev. Dr. Birch he is indebted for the use of several ancient
and valuable tracts. To the friendship of Dr. Samuel Johnson he owes
many valuable hints for the conduct of the work. And, if the Glossaries
are more exact and curious than might be expected in so slight a
publication, it is to be ascribed to the supervisal of a friend, who
stands at this time the first in the world for northern literature, and
whose learning is better known and respected in foreign nations than
in his own country. It is, perhaps, needless to name the Rev. Mr. Lye,
editor of _Junius's Etymologicum_, and of the _Gothic Gospels_.

The names of so many men of learning and character the editor hopes
will serve as an amulet to guard him from every unfavourable censure,
for having bestowed any attention on a parcel of old ballads. It was at
the request of many of these gentlemen, and of others eminent for their
genius and taste, that this little work was undertaken. To prepare it
for the press has been the amusement of now and then a vacant hour
amid the leisure and retirement of rural life, and hath only served as
a relaxation from graver studies. It has been taken up at different
times, and often thrown aside for many months, during an interval of
four or five years. This has occasioned some inconsistencies and
repetitions, which the candid reader will pardon. As great care has
been taken to admit nothing immoral and indecent, the editor hopes he
need not be ashamed of having bestowed some of his idle hours on the
ancient literature of our own country, or in rescuing from oblivion
some pieces (though but the amusements of our ancestors) which tend to
place in a striking light their taste, genius, sentiments, or manners.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Except in one paragraph, this Preface is given with little
  variation from the first edition in MDCCLXV.


[61] Chaucer quotes the old Romance of _Libius Disconius_, and some
others, which are found in this MS. (See the _Essay_, vol. iii.
Appendix I.) It also contains several songs relating to the civil war
in the last century, but not one that alludes to the Restoration.

[62] Mr. Addison, Mr. Dryden, and the witty Lord Dorset, &c. See the
_Spectator_, No. 70. To these might be added many eminent judges now
alive. The learned Selden appears also to have been fond of collecting
these old things. See below.

[63] A life of our curious collector Mr. Pepys may be seen in the
continuation of Mr. Collier's Supplement to his _Great Diction._ 1715,
at the end of vol. iii. folio. Art. Pep.[64]

[64] [In Percy's time Pepys was not known as the author of that _Diary_
which will keep his name in remembrance so long as English literature
continues to exist.]

[65] [The Society of Antiquaries have published a catalogue of this
collection by Robert Lemon, 8vo. 1866.]

[66] Such liberties have been taken with all those pieces which have
three asterisks subjoined, thus [***].

[67] That the editor hath not here under-rated the assistance he
received from his friend, will appear from Mr. Shenstone's own letter
to the Rev. Mr. Graves, dated March 1, 1761. See his _Works_, vol.
iii. letter cii. It is doubtless a great loss to this work that Mr.
Shenstone never saw more than about a third of one of these volumes, as
prepared for the press.

[68] Who informed the editor that this MS. had been purchased in a
library of old books, which was thought to have belonged to Thomas
Blount, Author of the _Jocular Tenures_, 1679, 4to. and of many other
publications enumerated in Wood's _Athenæ_, ii. 73; the earliest
of which is _The Art of making Devises_, 1646, 4to. wherein he is
described to be "of the Inner Temple." If the collection was made by
this lawyer (who also published the _Law Dictionary_, 1671, folio),
it should seem, from the errors and defects with which the MS. abounds,
that he had employed his clerk in writing the transcripts, who was
often weary of his task.

[69] To the same learned and ingenious friend, since Master of Emanuel
College, the editor is obliged for many corrections and improvements
in his second and subsequent editions; as also to the Rev. Mr. Bowle,
of Idmistone, near Salisbury, editor of the curious edition of _Don
Quixote_, with Annotations in Spanish, in 6 vols. 4to.; to the Rev. Mr.
Cole, formerly of Blecheley, near Fenny-Stratford, Bucks; to the Rev.
Mr. Lambe, of Noreham, in Northumberland (author of a learned _History
of Chess_, 1764, 8vo. and editor of a curious _Poem on the Battle of
Flodden Field_, with learned Notes, 1774, 8vo.); and to G. Paton, Esq.,
of Edinburgh. He is particularly indebted to two friends, to whom the
public as well as himself, are under the greatest obligations; to
the Honourable Daines Barrington, for his very learned and curious
_Observations on the Statutes_, 4to.; and to Thomas Tyrwhitt, Esq.,
whose most correct and elegant edition of Chaucer's _Canterbury Tales_,
5 vols. 8vo. is a standard book, and shows how an ancient English
classic should be published. The editor was also favoured with many
valuable remarks and corrections from the Rev. Geo. Ashby, late fellow
of St. John's College, in Cambridge, which are not particularly pointed
out because they occur so often. He was no less obliged to Thomas
Butler, Esq., F.A.S., agent to the Duke of Northumberland, and Clerk
of the Peace for the County of Middlesex, whose extensive knowledge of
ancient writings, records, and history, have been of great use to the
editor in his attempts to illustrate the literature or manners of our
ancestors. Some valuable remarks were procured by Samuel Pegge, Esq.,
author of that curious work the _Curialia_, 4to.; but this impression
was too far advanced to profit by them all; which hath also been the
case with a series of learned and ingenious annotations inserted in
the _Gentleman's Magazine_ for August, 1793, April, June, July, and
October, 1794, and which, it is hoped, will be continued.

[70] Since Keeper of the Records in the Tower.




                           SERIES THE FIRST.



  I never heard the olde song of Percy and Duglas, that I found not
  my heart mooved more then with a trumpet: and yet is it sung but
  by some blinde crouder, with no rougher voyce, then rude stile;
  which being so evill apparelled in the dust and cobwebbes of
  that uncivill age, what would it worke, trymmed in the gorgeous
  eloquence of Pindar!--_Sir Philip Sidney's Apologie for Poetrie_,




The fine heroic song of _Chevy-Chase_ has ever been admired by
competent judges. Those genuine strokes of nature and artless passion,
which have endeared it to the most simple readers, have recommended
it to the most refined; and it has equally been the amusement of our
childhood, and the favourite of our riper years.

Mr. Addison has given an excellent critique[71] on this very
popular ballad, but is mistaken with regard to the antiquity of the
common-received copy; for this, if one may judge from the style, cannot
be older than the time of Elizabeth, and was probably written after the
elogium of Sir Philip Sidney: perhaps in consequence of it. I flatter
myself, I have here recovered the genuine antique poem; the true
original song, which appeared rude even in the time of Sir Philip, and
caused him to lament, that it was so evil-apparelled in the rugged garb
of antiquity.

This curiosity is printed, from an old manuscript,[72] at the end of
Hearne's preface to Gul. Newbrigiensis _Hist._ 1719, 8vo. vol. i. To
the MS. copy is subjoined the name of the author, Rychard Sheale;[73]
whom Hearne had so little judgement as to suppose to be the same with a
R. Sheale, who was living in 1588. But whoever examines the gradation
of language and idiom in the following volumes, will be convinced that
this is the production of an earlier poet. It is indeed expressly
mentioned among some very ancient songs in an old book intituled, _The
Complaint of Scotland_[74] (fol. 42), under the title of the _Huntis of
Chevet_, where the two following lines are also quoted:--

    "The Perssee and the Mongumrye mette,[75]
    That day, that day, that gentil day:"[76]

which, tho' not quite the same as they stand in the ballad, yet differ
not more than might be owing to the author's quoting from memory.
Indeed whoever considers the style and orthography of this old poem
will not be inclined to place it lower than the time of Henry VI.: as
on the other hand the mention of James the Scottish King,[77] with
one or two anachronisms, forbids us to assign it an earlier date.
King James I. who was prisoner in this kingdom at the death of his
father,[78] did not wear the crown of Scotland till the second year of
our Henry VI.,[79] but before the end of that long reign a third James
had mounted the throne.[80] A succession of two or three Jameses, and
the long detention of one of them in England, would render the name
familiar to the English, and dispose a poet in those rude times to give
it to any Scottish king he happened to mention.

So much for the date of this old ballad: with regard to its subject,
altho' it has no countenance from history, there is room to think it
had originally some foundation in fact. It was one of the Laws of the
Marches frequently renewed between the two nations, that neither party
should hunt in the other's borders, without leave from the proprietors
or their deputies.[81] There had long been a rivalship between the
two martial families of Percy and Douglas, which heightened by the
national quarrel, must have produced frequent challenges and struggles
for superiority, petty invasions of their respective domains, and sharp
contests for the point of honour; which would not always be recorded
in history. Something of this kind, we may suppose, gave rise to the
ancient ballad of the _Hunting a' the Cheviat_.[82] Percy earl of
Northumberland had vowed to hunt for three days in the Scottish border
without condescending to ask leave from earl Douglas, who was either
lord of the soil, or lord warden of the marches. Douglas would not
fail to resent the insult, and endeavour to repel the intruders by
force; this would naturally produce a sharp conflict between the two
parties: something of which, it is probable, did really happen, tho'
not attended with the tragical circumstances recorded in the ballad:
for these are evidently borrowed from the _Battle of Otterbourn_,[83]
a very different event, but which after-times would easily confound
with it. That battle might be owing to some such previous affront as
this of Chevy Chase, though it has escaped the notice of historians.
Our poet has evidently jumbled the two subjects together: if indeed the
lines,[84] in which this mistake is made, are not rather spurious, and
the after-insertion of some person, who did not distinguish between the
two stories.

Hearne has printed this ballad without any division of stanzas, in long
lines, as he found it in the old written copy; but it is usual to find
the distinction of stanzas neglected in ancient MSS.; where, to save
room, two or three verses are frequently given in one line undivided.
See flagrant instances in the _Harleian Catalogue_, No. 2253, s. 29,
34, 61, 70, _et passim_.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [Bishop Percy did well to open his book with _Chevy Chase_ and the
  _Battle of Otterburn_, as these two are by far the most remarkable
  of the old historical ballads still left to us, and all Englishmen
  must feel peculiar interest in _Chevy Chase_, as it is one of the
  few northern ballads that are the exclusive growth of the south
  side of the Border. The partizanship of the Englishman is very
  amusingly brought out in verses 145-154, where we learn that the
  Scotch king had no captain in his realm equal to the dead Douglas,
  but that the English king had a hundred captains as good as Percy.
  A ballad which stirred the soul of Sidney and caused Ben Jonson to
  wish that he had been the author of it rather than of all his own
  works cannot but be dear to all readers of taste and feeling. The
  old version is so far superior to the modern one (see Book iii.
  No. 1) that it must ever be a source of regret that Addison, who
  elegantly analyzed the modern version, did not know of the original.

  It will be well to arrange under three heads the subjects on which
  a few words require to be added to Percy's preface, viz. 1. the
  title, 2. the occasion, 3. the author. 1. In the old version the
  title given in the ballad itself is _the hunting of the Cheviat_,
  and in the _Complaynt of Scotlande_ it is referred to as _The
  Huntis of Chevot_. The title of the modern version is changed
  to _Chevy Chase_, which Dr. E. B. Nicholson has suggested to
  be derived from the old French word _chevauchée_, a foray or
  expedition (see _Notes and Queries_, 3rd series, vol. xii. p. 124);
  but this explanation is not needed, as the original of the modern
  title is found in ver. 62 as _Chyviat Chays_, which naturally
  became contracted into _Chevy Chase_, as _Teviotdale_ into
  _Tevidale_ (ver. 50).

  2. The ballad is so completely unhistorical that it is difficult
  to give any opinion as to the occasion to which it refers, but
  apparently it was written, as Bishop Percy remarks, to commemorate
  a defiant expedition of one of the Lords of the Marches upon the
  domain of another, but that the names of Percy and Douglas led the
  writer into a confusion with the battle of Otterburn, which was
  fresh in the people's memory owing to the ballad of the _Battle_
  _of Otterburn_. In fact Professor Child throws out the hint that
  possibly Sidney referred to the _Battle of Otterburn_ and not to
  the _Hunting of the Cheviat_, as he only mentions the old song
  of _Percie and Douglas_, but it has so long been believed that
  Sidney spoke of _Chevy Chase_ that we should be sorry to think
  otherwise now. In the note immediately following the modern version
  (see Book iii. No. 1.) Bishop Percy suggests the possibility that
  the ballad may refer to the battle of Pepperden fought in 1436, but
  this view is highly improbable for the following reason. In both
  the ancient and modern versions the battle of Humbledown is alluded
  to as a future event caused by the death of Percy at Chevy Chase.
  Now as Humbledown was fought in the year 1402, and as the battle
  of Otterburn was the only conflict of importance on the Borders
  which preceded it, and as, moreover, Otterburn is mentioned in the
  ballad, there cannot well be any reference to a battle fought so
  many years afterwards.

  3. Bishop Percy is unnecessarily severe in his remark upon Hearne,
  as that learned antiquary was probably correct in identifying the
  Richard Sheale of the old ballad with Richard Sheale the minstrel.
  Whether, however, the latter was the author, as is argued by C.
  in Brydges' _British Bibliographer_ (vol. 4, pp. 95-105), is
  another matter. The other examples of the minstrel's muse are so
  inferior to this ballad that it is impossible to believe him to be
  the author. Doubtless it was recited by him, and being associated
  with his name the transcriber may naturally have supposed him to
  be its maker. Sheale really flourished (or withered, as Mr. Hales
  has it) at a rather earlier period than the date 1588 mentioned by
  Percy would lead us to imagine, for he appears to have been writing
  before 1560, nevertheless the language is of a much earlier date
  than this, and, moreover, a ballad of the Borders is not likely to
  have been invented at Tamworth, where Sheale lived.

  _Chevy Chase_ was long a highly popular song, and Bishop Corbet,
  in his _Journey into France_, speaks of having sung it in his
  youth. The antiquated beau in Davenant's play of the _Wits_ also
  prides himself on being able to sing it, and in _Wit's Intepreter_,
  1671, a man when enumerating the good qualities of his wife, cites
  after the beauties of her mind and her patience "her curious voice
  wherewith she useth to sing _Chevy Chace_." Many other ballads
  were sung to the same tune, so that we are not always sure as to
  whether the original is referred to or some more modern song. The
  philosopher Locke, when Secretary to the Embassy sent by Charles
  II. to the Elector of Brandenburg, wrote home a description of the
  Brandenburg church singing, in which he says, "He that could not
  though he had a cold make better music with a chevy chace over a
  pot of smooth ale, deserved well to pay the reckoning and to go
  away athirst."[85] The writer here probably referred to any song
  sung to this tune.]

       *       *       *       *       *


    The Persé owt of Northombarlande.
      And a vowe[87] to God mayd he,
    That he wolde hunte in the mountayns
      Off Chyviat within dayes thre,
    In the mauger[88] of doughtè Dogles,[89]                           5
      And all that ever with him be.

    The fattiste hartes in all Cheviat
      He sayd he wold kill, and cary them away:
    Be my feth, sayd the dougheti Doglas agayn,
      I wyll let[90] that hontyng yf that I may.                      10

    Then the Persé owt of Banborowe cam,[91]
      With him a myghtye meany;[92]
    With fifteen hondrith archares bold;[93]
      The wear chosen out of shyars thre.[94]

    This begane on a monday at morn                                   15
      In Cheviat the hillys so he;[95]
    The chyld may rue that ys un-born,
      It was the mor pitté.

    The dryvars thorowe the woodes went[96]
      For to reas[97] the dear;                                       20
    Bomen bickarte uppone the bent[98]
      With ther browd aras[99] cleare.

    Then the wyld[100] thorowe the woodes went
      On every syde shear;[101]
    Grea-hondes thorowe the greves glent[102]                         25
      For to kyll thear dear.

    The begane in Chyviat the hyls abone[103]
      Yerly[104] on a monnyn-day;[105]
    Be[106] that it drewe to the oware off none[107]
      A hondrith fat hartes ded ther lay.                             30

    The blewe a mort uppone the bent,[108][109]
      The semblyd on sydis shear;[110]
    To the quyrry[111] then the Persè went
      To se the bryttlynge[112] off the deare.

    He sayd, It was the Duglas promys                                 35
      This day to meet me hear;
    But I wyste he wold faylle verament:[113]
      A gret oth the Persè swear.

    At the laste a squyar of Northombelonde
      Lokyde at his hand full ny,                                     40
    He was war ath[114] the doughetie Doglas comynge:
      With him a myghtè meany,[115]

    Both with spear, 'byll,' and brande:[116][117]
      Yt was a myghti sight to se.
    Hardyar men both off hart nar hande                               45
      Wear not in Christiantè.

    The wear twenty hondrith spear-men good
      Withouten any fayle;[118]
    The wear borne a-long be the watter a Twyde,
      Yth[119] bowndes of Tividale.                                   50

    Leave off the brytlyng of the dear, he sayde,
      And to your bowys look ye tayk good heed;[120]
    For never sithe[121] ye wear on your mothars borne
      Had ye never so mickle need.[122]

    The dougheti Dogglas on a stede                                   55
      He rode all his men beforne;[123]
    His armor glytteryde as dyd a glede;[124]
      A bolder barne[125] was never born.

    Tell me 'what' men ye ar, he says,[126]
      Or whos men that ye be:                                         60
    Who gave youe leave to hunte in this
      Chyviat chays in the spyt of me?

    The first mane that ever him an answear mayd,
      Yt was the good lord Persè:
    We wyll not tell the 'what' men we ar, he says,[127]              65
      Nor whos men that we be;
    But we wyll hount hear in this chays
      In the spyte of thyne, and of the.

    The fattiste hartes in all Chyviat
      We have kyld, and cast[128] to carry them a-way.                70
    Be my troth, sayd the doughtè Dogglas agayn,[129]
      Ther-for the ton[130] of us shall de this day.

    Then sayd the doughtè Doglas
      Unto the lord Persè:
    To kyll all thes giltless men,                                    75
      A-las! it wear great pittè.

    But, Persè, thowe art a lord of lande,
      I am a yerle[131] callyd within my contre;
    Let all our men uppone a parti[132] stande;
      And do the battell off the and of me.                           80

    Nowe Cristes cors[133] on his crowne,[134] sayd the lord Persè.[135]
      Who-soever ther-to says nay.
    Be my troth, doughtè Doglas, he says,
      Thow shalt never se that day;

    Nethar in Ynglonde, Skottlonde, nar France,                       85
      Nor for no man of a woman born,
    But and[136] fortune be my chance,
      I dar met him on man for on.[137][138]

    Then bespayke a squyar off Northombarlonde,
      Ric. Wytharynton[139] was his nam;                              90
    It shall never be told in Sothe-Ynglonde, he says,
      To kyng Herry the fourth for sham.

    I wat[140] youe byn great lordes twaw,[141]
      I am a poor squyar of lande;
    I wyll never se my captayne fyght on a fylde,                     95
      And stande my-selffe, and looke on,
    But whyll I may my weppone welde,
      I wyll not 'fayl' both harte and hande.

    That day, that day, that dredfull day:
      The first Fit[142] here I fynde.                               100
    And youe[143] wyll here any mor athe hountyng a the Chyviat,
      Yet ys ther mor behynde.


    The Yngglishe men hade ther bowys yebent,
      Ther hartes were good yenoughe;
    The first of arros that the shote off,[144]
      Seven skore spear-men the sloughe.[145]

    Yet bydys[146] the yerle Doglas uppon the bent,[147]               5
      A captayne good yenoughe,
    And that was sene verament,
      For he wrought hom both woo and wouche.[148]

    The Dogglas pertyd his ost in thre,
      Lyk a cheffe cheften off pryde,                                 10
    With suar[149] speares off myghttè tre
      The cum[150] in on every syde.

    Thrughe our Yngglishe archery
      Gave many a wounde full wyde;
    Many a doughete the garde to dy,[151]                             15
      Which ganyde them no pryde.

    The Yngglishe men let thear bowys be,[152]
      And pulde owt brandes that wer bright;[153]
    It was a hevy syght to se
      Bryght swordes on basnites[154] lyght.                          20

    Thorowe ryche male, and myne-ye-ple[155][156]
      Many sterne[157] the stroke downe streght:[158]
    Many a freyke,[159] that was full free,
      Ther undar foot dyd lyght.

    At last the Duglas and the Persè met,                             25
      Lyk to captayns of myght and mayne;[160]
    The swapte[161] togethar tyll the both swat[162]
      With swordes, that wear of fyn myllàn.[163]

    Thes worthè freckys[164] for to fyght
      Ther-to the wear full fayne,                                    30
    Tyll the bloode owte off thear basnetes sprente,[165]
      As ever dyd heal or rayne.[166]

    Holde the, Persè, sayd the Doglas,[167]
      And i' feth I shall the brynge
    Wher thowe shalte have a yerls wagis                              35
      Of Jamy our Scottish kynge.

    Thoue shalte have thy ransom fre,
      I hight[168] the hear this thinge,
    For the manfullyste man yet art thowe,
      That ever I conqueryd in filde fightyng.                        40

    Nay 'then' sayd the lord Persè,
      I tolde it the beforne,
    That I wolde never yeldyde be
      To no man of a woman born.

    With that ther cam an arrowe hastely                              45
      Forthe off a mightie wane,[169]
    Hit hathe strekene the yerle Duglas
      In at the brest bane.

    Thoroue lyvar and longs bathe[170]
      The sharp arrowe ys gane,                                       50
    That never after in all his lyffe days,
      He spayke mo wordes but ane,
    That was,[171] Fyghte ye, my merry men, whyllys ye may,
      For my lyff days ben gan.

    The Persè leanyde on his brande,                                  55
      And sawe the Duglas de;
    He tooke the dede man be the hande,
      And sayd, Wo ys me for the!

    To have savyde thy lyffe I wold have pertyd with
      My landes for years thre,                                       60
    For a better man of hart, nare of hande
      Was not in all the north countrè.

    Off all that se a Skottishe knyght,
      Was callyd Sir Hewe the Mongon-byrry,
    He sawe the Duglas to the deth was dyght[172];                    65
      He spendyd[173] a spear a trusti tre:

    He rod uppon a corsiare[174]
      Throughe a hondrith archery;
    He never styntyde, nar never blane,[175]
      Tyll he came to the good lord Persè.                            70

    He set uppone the lord Persè
      A dynte,[176] that was full soare;
    With a suar spear of a myghtè tre
      Clean thorow the body he the Persè bore,[177]

    Athe tothar syde, that a man myght se,                            75
      A large cloth yard and mare:
    Towe bettar captayns wear nat in Christiantè,
      Then that day slain wear ther.

    An archar off Northomberlonde
      Say slean was the lord Persè,[178]                              80
    He bar a bende-bow in his hande,
      Was made off trusti tre:

    An arow, that a cloth yarde was lang,
      To th' hard stele halyde he;[179]
    A dynt, that was both sad and soar,                               85
      He sat on Sir Hewe the Mongon-byrry.

    The dynt yt was both sad and sar,[180][181]
      That he of Mongon-byrry sete;
    The swane-fethars, that his arrowe bar,
      With his hart blood the wear wete.[182]                         90

    Ther was never a freake wone foot wolde fle,
      But still in stour[183] dyd stand,
    Heawyng on yche othar,[184] whyll the myght dre,[185]
      With many a bal-ful brande.

    This battell begane in Chyviat                                    95
      An owar befor the none,
    And when even-song bell was rang
      The battell was nat half done.

    The tooke 'on' on ethar hand
      Be the lyght off the mone;                                     100
    Many hade no strenght for to stande,
      In Chyviat the hyllys aboun.[186][187]

    Of fifteen hondrith archars of Ynglonde
      Went away but fifti and thre;
    Of twenty hondrith spear-men of Skotlonde,                       105
      But even five and fifti:

    But all wear slayne Cheviat within:
      The hade no strengthe to stand on hie;[188]
    The chylde may rue that ys un-borne,
      It was the mor pittè.                                          110

    Thear was slayne with the lord Persè
      Sir John of Agerstone,
    Sir Roger the hinde[189] Hartly,
      Sir Wyllyam the bolde Hearone.

    Sir Jorg the worthè Lovele[190][191]                             115
      A knyght of great renowen,
    Sir Raff the ryche Rugbè
      With dyntes wear beaten dowene.

    For Wetharryngton my harte was wo,
      That ever he slayne shulde be;                                 120
    For when both his leggis wear hewyne in to,[192]
      Yet he knyled and fought on hys kne.[193]

    Ther was slayne with the dougheti Douglas
      Sir Hewe the Mongon-byrry,
    Sir Davye Lwdale, that worthè was,                               125
      His sistars son was he:

    Sir Charles a Murrè, in that place,
      That never a foot wolde fle;
    Sir Hewe Maxwell, a lorde he was,
      With the Duglas dyd he dey.                                    130

    So on the morrowe the mayde them byears
      Off byrch, and hasell so 'gray;'[194]
    Many wedous[195] with wepyng tears,[196]
      Cam to fach ther makys[197] a-way.

    Tivydale may carpe[198] off care,                                135
      Northombarlond may mayk grat mone,[199]
    For towe such captayns, as slayne wear thear,
      On the march perti[200] shall never be none.[201]

    Word ys commen to Edden-burrowe,
      To Jamy the Skottishe kyng,                                    140
    That dougheti Duglas, lyff-tenant of the Merches,
    He lay slean Chyviot with-in.

    His handdes dyd he weal[202] and wryng,
      He sayd, Alas, and woe ys me!
    Such another captayn Skotland within,                            145
      He sayd, y-feth shuld never be.[203]

    Worde ys commyn to lovly Londone
      Till[204] the fourth Harry our kyng,[205]
    That lord Persè, leyff-tennante of the Merchis,[206]
      He lay slayne Chyviat within.                                  150

    God have merci on his soll, sayd kyng Harry,
      Good lord, yf thy will it be!
    I have a hondrith captayns in Yynglonde, he sayd,
      As good as ever was hee:
    But Persè, and I brook[207] my lyffe,                            155
      Thy deth well quyte[208] shall be.

    As our noble kyng made his a-vowe,
      Lyke a noble prince of renowen,
    For the deth of the lord Persè,
      He dyd the battel of Hombyll-down:                             160

    Wher syx and thritte Skottish knyghtes
      On a day wear beaten down:
    Glendale glytteryde on ther armor bryght,
      Over castill, towar, and town.

    This was the hontynge off the Cheviat;                           165
      That tear begane this spurn:[209]
    Old men that knowen the grownde well yenoughe,
      Call it the Battell of Otterburn.

    At Otterburn began this spurne
      Uppon a monnyn day:[210]                                       170
    Ther was the dougghté Doglas slean,
      The Persè never went away.

    Ther was never a tym on the march partes
      Sen the Doglas and the Persè met,
    But yt was marvele, and the redde blude ronne not,
      As the reane doys in the stret.                                176

    Jhesue Christ our balys bete,[211]
      And to the blys us brynge!
    Thus was the hountynge of the Chevyat:
      God send us all good ending!                                   180

       *       *       *       *       *

  [***] The style of this and the following ballad is uncommonly
  rugged and uncouth, owing to their being writ in the very coarsest
  and broadest northern dialect.

  The battle of Hombyll-down, or Humbledon, was fought Sept. 14,
  1402 (anno 3 Hen. IV.), wherein the English, under the command of
  the Earl of Northumberland and his son Hotspur, gained a complete
  victory over the Scots. The village of _Humbledon_ is one mile
  northwest from Wooler, in Northumberland. The battle was fought in
  the field below the village, near the present Turnpike Road, in
  a spot called ever since _Red-Riggs_. Humbledon is in _Glendale
  Ward_, a district so named in this county, and mentioned above in
  ver. 163.


[71] _Spectator_, Nos. 70, 74.

[72] [MS. Ashmole, 48, in the Bodleian Library. The Rev. W. W. Skeat
has printed the ballad from the MS. in his _Specimens of English
Literature_, 1394-1579. Clarendon Press Series, 1871.]

[73] Subscribed, after the usual manner of our old poets, expliceth
(explicit) quoth Rychard Sheale.

[74] One of the earliest productions of the Scottish press, now to be
found. The title-page was wanting in the copy here quoted; but it is
supposed to have been printed in 1540. See Ames. [It is now believed
to have been printed in 1549. See the new edition by J. A. H. Murray,
printed for the Early English Text Society (Extra Series), 1872.]

[75] See Pt. ii. v. 25.

[76] See Pt. i. v. 99.

[77] Pt. ii. v. 36, 140.

[78] Who died Aug. 5, 1406, in the 7th year of our Hen. IV.

[79] James I. was crowned May 22, 1424; murdered Feb. 21, 1436-7.

[80] In 1460.--Hen. VI. was deposed 1461: restored and slain 1471.

[81] Item.... Concordatum est, quod, ... nullus unius partis vel
alterius ingrediatur terras, boschas, forrestas, warrenas, loca,
dominia quæcunque alicujus partis alterius subditi, causa venandi,
piscandi, aucupandi, disportum aut solatium in eisdem, aliave quacunque
de causa, absque licentia ejus ... ad quem ... loca ... pertinent, aut
de deputatis suis prius capt. et obtent. Vid. Bp. Nicolson's _Leges
Marchiarum_, 1705, 8vo. pp. 27, 51.

[82] This was the original title. See the ballad, Pt. i. v. 101; Pt.
ii. v. 165.

[83] See the next ballad.

[84] Vid. Pt. ii. v. 167.

[85] [Chappell's Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. i. p. 198; vol.
ii. p. 774.]

[86] _Fit._ see ver. 100.

[87] [should be "an avowe," a vow (see v. 157, Fit. 2).]

[88] [in spite of.]

[89] Ver. 5, _magger_ in Hearne's PC. [Printed Copy.]

[90] [hinder.]

[91] Ver. 11. The the Persé. _PC._

[92] [company.]

[93] Ver. 13. archardes bolde off blood and bone. _PC._

[94] By these "_shyars thre_" is probably meant three districts in
Northumberland, which still go by the name of _shires_, and are all in
the neighbourhood of _Cheviot_. These are _Island-shire_, being the
district so named from Holy-Island: _Norehamshire_, so called from the
town and castle of Noreham (or Norham): and _Bamboroughshire_, the ward
or hundred belonging to Bamborough castle and town.

[95] [high.]

[96] Ver. 19. throrowe. _PC._

[97] [rouse.]

[98] [bowmen skirmished in the long grass.]

[99] [broad arrows.]

[100] [wild deer.]

[101] [entirely.]

[102] [the bushes glanced.]

[103] [above.]

[104] [early.]

[105] [Monday.]

[106] [by.]

[107] [hour of noon.]

[108] [they blew a note over the dead stag on the grass.]

[109] Ver. 31. blwe a mot. _PC._

[110] [on all sides.]

[111] [slaughtered game.]

[112] [quartering.]

[113] [truly.]

[114] [aware of.]

[115] V. 42. myghtte. _PC. passim_.

[116] [battle axe and sword.]

[117] V. 43. brylly. _PC._

[118] V. 48. withowte ... feale. _PC._

[119] [in the.]

[120] V. 52. boys _PC._

[121] [since.]

[122] V. 54. ned. _PC._

[123] [Ver. 56. Percy and Hearne print, "att his men."]

[124] [glowing coal.]

[125] [man.]

[126] Ver. 59. whos. _PC._

[127] Ver. 65. whoys. _PC._

[128] [mean.]

[129] Ver. 71. agay. _PC._

[130] [the one of us shall die.]

[131] [earl.]

[132] [apart or aside.]

[133] [curse.]

[134] [head.]

[135] Ver. 81. sayd the the. _PC._

[136] [but if.]

[137] [one man for one.]

[138] Ver. 88. on _i.e. one_.

[139] This is probably corrupted in the MS. for _Rog. Widdrington_, who
was at the head of the family in the reign of K. Edw. III. There were
several successively of the names of _Roger_ and _Ralph_, but none of
the name of _Richard_, as appears from the genealogies in the Heralds'

[140] [_for_ wot, know.]

[141] [two.]

[142] Fit. see vol. 2, p. 182.

[143] [if you.]

[144] Ver. 3. first, _i.e. flight_.

[145] [slew.]

[146] [abides.]

[147] V. 5. byddys. _PC._

[148] [mischief, wrong.]

[149] [sure.]

[150] [they come.]

[151] [many a doughty one they made to die.]

[152] V. 17. boys. _PC._

[153] V. 18. briggt. _PC._

[154] [helmets.]

[155] [Mr. Skeat suggests that this is a corruption for manople, a
large gauntlet.]

[156] V. 21. throrowe. _PC._

[157] [many fierce ones they struck down.]

[158] V. 22. done. _PC._

[159] [strong man.]

[160] Ver. 26. to, _i.e. two_. _Ibid._ and of. _PC._

[161] [exchanged blows.]

[162] [did sweat.]

[163] [Milan steel.]

[164] [men.]

[165] [spurted out.]

[166] V. 32. ran. _PC._

[167] V. 33. helde. _PC._

[168] [promise.]

[169] _Wane_, _i.e. ane_, one, &c. man, an arrow came from a mighty
one: from a mighty man. [misreading for _mane_ (?) see v. 63, fit. i.]

[170] Ver. 49. throroue. _PC._

[171] This seems to have been a Gloss added.

[172] [put.]

[173] [grasped.]

[174] [courser.]

[175] [he never lingered nor stopped.]

[176] [blow.]

[177] V. 74. ber. _PC._

[178] Ver. 80. Say, _i. e. Sawe_.

[179] V. 84. haylde. _PC._

[180] [sore.]

[181] V. 87. far. _PC._

[182] This incident is taken from the battle of Otterbourn; in which
Sir Hugh Montgomery, Knt. (son of John Lord Montgomery) was slain with
an arrow. Vid. _Crawford's Peerage_.

[183] [fight.]

[184] [hewing at each other.]

[185] [suffer.]

[186] [hills above.]

[187] Ver. 102. abou. _PC._

[188] V. 108. strenge ... hy. _PC._

[189] [gentle.]

[190] [Mr. Skeat reads Lou_m_be.]

[191] V. 115. lóule. _PC._

[192] V. 121. in to, _i.e. in two_.

[193] V. 122. kny. _PC._

[194] Ver. 132. gay. _PC._

[195] [widows.]

[196] A common pleonasm, see the next poem, Fit. 2d. V. 155; so Harding
in his Chronicle, chap. 140, fol. 148, describing the death of Richard
I. says,

    "He shrove him then unto Abbots thre
    With great sobbyng ... and wepyng teares."

So likewise Cavendish in his _Life of Cardinal Wolsey_, chap. 12, p.
31, 4to.: "When the Duke heard this, he replied with weeping teares,"

[197] [mates.]

[198] [complain]

[199] V. 136. mon. _PC._

[200] [on the marches (see ver. 173).]

[201] V. 138. non. _PC._

[202] [wail.]

[203] V. 146. ye feth. _PC._

[204] [to, unto]

[205] For the names in this and the foregoing page, see the Remarks at
the end of the next ballad.

[206] Ver. 149. cheyff tennante. _PC._

[207] [if I enjoy.]

[208] [requited.]

[209] [that tearing or pulling began this kick.]

[210] [Monday.]

[211] [better our bales, or remedy our evils.]



The only battle wherein an Earl of Douglas was slain fighting with a
Percy was that of Otterbourne, which is the subject of this ballad. It
is here related with the allowable partiality of an English poet, and
much in the same manner as it is recorded in the English Chronicles.
The Scottish writers have, with a partiality at least as excusable,
related it no less in their own favour. Luckily we have a very
circumstantial narrative of the whole affair from Froissart, a French
historian, who appears to be unbiassed. Froissart's relation is prolix;
I shall therefore give it, with a few corrections, as abridged by
Carte, who has, however, had recourse to other authorities, and differs
from Froissart in some things, which I shall note in the margin.

In the twelfth year of Richard II., 1388, "The Scots taking advantage
of the confusions of this nation, and falling with a party into the
West-marches, ravaged the country about Carlisle, and carried off
300 prisoners. It was with a much greater force, headed by some of
the principal nobility, that, in the beginning of August,[212] they
invaded Northumberland; and, having wasted part of the county of
Durham,[213] advanced to the gates of Newcastle; where, in a skirmish,
they took a 'penon' or colours[214] belonging to Henry lord Percy,
surnamed Hotspur, son to the Earl of Northumberland. In their retreat
home, they attacked a castle near Otterbourn: and, in the evening of
Aug. 9 (as the English writers say, or rather, according to Froissart,
Aug. 15), after an unsuccessful assault were surprised in their camp,
which was very strong, by Henry, who at the first onset put them into
a good deal of confusion. But James Earl of Douglas rallying his men,
there ensued one of the best-fought actions that happened in that age;
both armies showing the utmost bravery:[215] the earl Douglas himself
being slain on the spot;[216] the Earl of Murrey mortally wounded;
and Hotspur,[217] with his brother Ralph Percy, taken prisoners.
These disasters on both sides have given occasion to the event of the
engagement's being disputed. Froissart (who derives his relation from
a Scotch knight, two gentlemen of the same country, and as many of
Foix)[218] affirming that the Scots remained masters of the field; and
the English writers insinuating the contrary. These last maintain that
the English had the better of the day: but night coming on, some of the
northern lords, coming with the Bishop of Durham to their assistance,
killed many of them by mistake, supposing them to be Scots; and the
Earl of Dunbar, at the same time falling on another side upon Hotspur,
took him and his brother prisoners, and carried them off while both
parties were fighting. It is at least certain, that immediately after
this battle the Scots engaged in it made the best of their way home:
and the same party was taken by the other corps about Carlisle."

Such is the account collected by Carte, in which he seems not to
be free from partiality: for prejudice must own that Froissart's
circumstantial account carries a great appearance of truth, and he
gives the victory to the Scots. He, however, does justice to the
courage of both parties; and represents their mutual generosity in
such a light, that the present age might edify by the example. "The
Englyshmen on the one partye, and Scottes on the other party, are
good men of warre, for whan they mete, there is a hard fighte without
sparynge. There is no hoo[219] betwene them as long as speares,
swordes, axes, or dagers wyll endure; but lay on eche upon other: and
whan they be well beaten, and that the one party hath obtayned the
victory, they than glorifye so in their dedes of armes, and are so
joyfull, that suche as be taken, they shall be ransomed or they go out
of the felde;[220] so that shortely _eche of them is so contente
with other, that at their departynge curtoysly they will saye, God
thanke you_. But in fyghtynge one with another there is no playe,
nor sparynge." _Froissart's Chronicle_ (as translated by Sir Johan
Bourchier Lord Berners), cap. cxlii.

The following Ballad is (in this present edition) printed from an old
MS. in the Cotton Library[221] (_Cleopatra_, c. iv.), and contains many
stanzas more than were in the former copy, which was transcribed from
a MS. in the Harleian Collection [No. 293, fol. 52.] In the Cotton MS.
this poem has no title, but in the Harleian copy it is thus inscribed,
_A songe made in R. 2. his tyme of the battele of Otterburne,
betweene Lord Henry Percye earle of Northomberlande and the earle
Douglas of Scotlande_, Anno 1388.

But this title is erroneous, and added by some ignorant transcriber
of after-times: for, 1. The battle was not fought by the Earl of
Northumberland, who was absent, but by his son, _Sir Henry Percy_,
Knt., surnamed _Hotspur_ (in those times they did not usually give the
title of _Lord_ to an Earl's eldest son). 2. Altho' the battle was
fought in Richard II.'s time, the song is evidently of later date, as
appears from the poet's quoting the chronicles in _Pt. II._, ver. 26;
and speaking of Percy in the last stanza as dead. It was, however,
written in all likelihood as early as the foregoing song, if not
earlier. This, perhaps, may be inferred from the minute circumstances
with which the story is related, many of which are recorded in no
chronicle, and were probably preserved in the memory of old people. It
will be observed that the authors of these two poems have some lines in
common; but which of them was the original proprietor must depend upon
their priority; and this the sagacity of the reader must determine.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [We have here a ballad founded upon a true historical event, in
  which the writer attempts to be as truthful as his national bias
  will allow him. In Chevy Chase, Percy is the aggressor, but in
  the "Battle of Otterburn," Douglas commences the encounter by his
  action. At the period under notice the king of England (Richard
  II.) was occupied in dissension with his uncle, the Duke of
  Gloucester, and the Parliament, while Robert II., King of Scotland,
  was very old, and his eldest son lame and inactive, so that the
  Border chieftains were pretty much left to their own devices. The
  Earl of Fife, a younger son of King Robert, and certain of the
  great nobles, arranged among themselves that an inroad should be
  made into England as a reprisal for the injuries the Scotch had at
  various times sustained from the English, and the expedition was
  placed under the command of James, Earl of Douglas.

  Besides the ballad we are now considering there are metrical
  accounts of the battle in John Hardyng's _Chronicle_, Joannes de
  Fordun's _Scoti-Chronicon_, and Wyntoun's _Orygynal Cronykil of_
  _Scotland_. In 1857, Robert White published an interesting _History
  of the Battle of Otterburn, fought in 1388, with Memoirs of the
  Warriors who engaged in that memorable conflict_. This book is
  written in an enthusiastic spirit by one who was born and bred on
  the Borders, and who kept alive in his soul the true old Border
  spirit. He listened on his mother's knee to the stanzas of the
  modern ballad of _Chevy Chase_, which she chanted to him, and he
  grew up with a feeling which he retained through life, that Percy
  and Douglas were far greater men than Napoleon and Wellington.

  The exact date of the battle is an open question, for the
  authorities disagree as to this particular; thus Buchanan fixes it
  on July 21st, and other writers name, respectively, August 5th,
  9th, 10th, 15th, and 19th. White thinks that the battle was fought
  on the evening of Wednesday and morning of Thursday, 19th and 20th
  of August, immediately before the full moon. In the year 1388 the
  new moon fell on the 6th of August, and Douglas is not likely to
  have chosen a period of dark evenings for his expedition. Another
  disputed point is the number of men in the Scottish army, under
  Douglas. Froissart gives the numbers at three or four hundred
  men-at-arms, and two thousand infantry; Wyntoun, at near seven
  thousand men; Buchanan, at three hundred horse and two thousand
  foot, besides servants and attendants; Godscroft, at four thousand
  horsemen; Ridpath, at three thousand men; and Scott, at three
  hundred men-at-arms, who, with their followers, made up from a
  thousand to fifteen hundred men, with two thousand chosen infantry.
  White makes the following statement as the result of his sifting of
  the conflicting accounts:--

  Men-at-arms                                                        400
  Attendants on ditto, footmen, lackeys, and grooms                1,200
  Infantry mounted                                                 2,000
  Attendants on ditto, boys to take care of horses, sutlers, &c    3,000

  It has been supposed that the first part of this ballad down to
  verse 112 was originally of Scottish manufacture, for two reasons:
  1st, because Hume, of Godscroft, refers to "a Scots song," which
  begins as this does; and 2nd, because haymaking has been over at
  least a month in England at Lammas, when Scotch husbandmen are
  still busy "winning their hay." This last reason, however, cannot
  be considered a very conclusive one, as the seasons must be much
  alike on the two sides of the Border. The second part is written
  from a thoroughly English stand-point. The two Scottish versions,
  viz. the one given by Scott in his _Minstrelsy of the Scottish
  Border_, and the one in _Herd's Collection_, are very different
  from the English ballad.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    Yt felle abowght the Lamasse tyde,
     Whan husbonds wynn ther haye,[222]
    The dowghtye Dowglasse bowynd[223] hym to ryde,
     In Ynglond to take a praye:

    The yerlle[224] of Fyffe,[225] withowghten stryffe,                5
     He bowynd hym over Sulway:[226]
    The grete wolde ever together ryde;
     That race they may rue for aye.

    Over 'Ottercap' hyll they[227] came in,
     And so dowyn by Rodelyffe cragge,                                10
    Upon Grene 'Leyton' they lyghted dowyn,
     Styrande[228] many a stagge:[229]

    And boldely brente[230] Northomberlonde,
      And haryed[231] many a towyn;
    They dyd owr Ynglyssh men grete wrange,[232]                      15
      To battell that were not bowyn.[233]

    Than spake a berne[234] upon the bent,[235]
      Of comforte that was not colde,
    And sayd, We have brent Northomberlond,
      We have all welth in holde.                                     20

    Now we have haryed all Bamboroweshyre,
      All the welth in the worlde have wee;
    I rede[236] we ryde to Newe Castell,
      So styll and stalwurthlye.[237]

    Uppon the morowe, when it was daye,                               25
      The standards schone fulle bryght;
    To the Newe Castelle the toke the waye,
      And thether they cam fulle ryght.

    Sir Henry Percy laye at the Newe Castelle,
      I telle yow withowtten drede;                                   30
    He had byn a march-man[238] all hys dayes,
      And kepte Barwyke upon Twede.

    To the Newe Castell when they cam,
      The Skottes they cryde on hyght,[239]
    Syr Harye Percy, and thow byste[240] within,                      35
      Com to the fylde, and fyght:

    For we have brente Northomberlonde,
      Thy eritage good and ryght;
    And syne my logeyng I have take,[241]
      With my brande dubbyd many a knyght.                            40

    Sir Harry Percy cam to the walles,
      The Skottyssh oste for to se;
    "And thow hast brente Northomberlond,
      Full sore it rewyth[242] me.

    Yf thou hast haryed all Bambarowe shyre,                          45
      Thow hast done me grete envye;[243]
    For the trespasse thow hast me done,
      The tone[244] of us schall dye."

    Where schall I byde the, sayd the Dowglas?
      Or where wylte thow come to me?                                 50
    "At Otterborne in the hygh way,[245]
      Ther maist thow well logeed be.

    The roo[246] full rekeles ther sche rinnes,[247]
      To make the game and glee:
    The fawkon and the fesaunt[248] both,                             55
      Amonge the holtes on 'hee.'[249][250]

    Ther maist thow have thy welth at wyll,
      Well looged ther maist be.
    Yt schall not be long, or I com the tyll,"[251]
      Sayd Syr Harry Percye.                                          60

    Ther schall I byde the, sayd the Dowglas,
      By the fayth of my bodye.
    Thether schall I com, sayd Syr Harry Percy;
      My trowth I plyght to the.

    A pype of wyne he gave them over the walles,                      65
      For soth, as I yow saye:
    Ther he mayd the Douglas drynke,
      And all hys oste that daye.

    The Dowglas turnyd him homewarde agayne,
      For soth[252] withowghten naye,                                 70
    He tooke his logeyng at Oterborne
      Uppon a Wedyns-day:

    And ther he pyght[253] hys standerd dowyn,
      Hys gettyng[254] more and lesse,
    And syne[255] he warned hys men to goo                            75
      To chose ther geldyngs gresse.

    A Skottysshe knyght hoved[256] upon the bent,[257]
      A wache[258] I dare well saye:
    So was he ware[259] on the noble Percy
      In the dawnynge of the daye.                                    80

    He prycked[260] to his pavyleon dore,
      As faste as he myght ronne,
    Awaken, Dowglas, cryed the knyght,
      For hys love, that syttes yn trone.[261]

    Awaken, Dowglas, cryed the knyght,                                85
      For thow maiste waken wyth wynne:[262]
    Yender have I spyed the prowde Percy,
      And seven standardes wyth hym.

    Nay by my trowth, the Douglas sayed,
      It ys but a fayned taylle:                                      90
    He durste not loke on my bred[263] banner,
      For all Ynglonde so haylle.[264]

    Was I not yesterdaye at the Newe Castell,
      That stonds so fayre on Tyne?
    For all the men the Percy hade,                                   95
      He cowde not garre[265] me ones to dyne.

    He stepped owt at hys pavelyon dore,
      To loke and it were lesse;
    Arraye yow, lordyngs, one and all,
      For here bygynnes no peysse.[266]                              100

    The yerle of Mentaye,[267] thow arte my eme,[268]
      The forwarde[269] I gyve to the:
    The yerlle of Huntlay cawte[270] and kene,
      He schall wyth the be.

    The lorde of Bowghan[271] in armure bryght                       105
      On the other hand he schall be:
    Lorde Jhonstone, and lorde Maxwell,
      They to schall be with me.

    Swynton fayre fylde upon your pryde
      To batell make yow bowen:[272]                                 110
    Syr Davy Scotte, Syr Walter Stewarde,
      Syr Jhon of Agurstone.

                                A FYTTE.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The Perssy came byfore hys oste,[273]
      Wych was ever a gentyll knyght,
    Upon the Dowglas lowde can he crye,
      I wyll holde that I have hyght:[274][275]

    For thow haste brente Northumberlonde.                             5
      And done me grete envye;
    For thys trespasse thou hast me done,
      The tone of us schall dye.

    The Dowglas answerde hym agayne
      With grete wurds up on 'hee,'[276]                              10
    And sayd, I have twenty agaynst 'thy' one,[277][278]
      Byholde and thow maiste see.

    Wyth that the Percye was grevyd sore,
      For sothe as I yow saye:
    [[279]He lyghted dowyn upon his fote,                             15
    And schoote[280] his horsse clene away.

    Every man sawe that he dyd soo,
      That ryall[281] was ever in rowght;[282]
    Every man schoote hys horsse him froo,
      And lyght hym rowynde abowght.                                  20

    Thus Syr Hary Percye toke the fylde,
      For soth, as I yow saye:
    Jesu Cryste in hevyn on hyght
      Dyd helpe hym well that daye.

    But nyne thowzand, ther was no moo;                               25
      The cronykle wyll not layne:[283]
    Forty thowsande Skottes and fowre
      That day fowght them agayne.

    But when the batell byganne to joyne,
      In hast ther came a knyght,                                     30
    'Then' letters fayre furth hath he tayne
      And thus he sayd full ryght:

    My lorde, your father he gretes yow well,
      Wyth many a noble knyght;
    He desyres yow to byde
      That he may see thys fyght.

    The Baron of Grastoke ys com owt of the west,
      Wyth hym a noble companye;
    All they loge at your fathers thys nyght,
      And the Battel fayne wold they see.                             40

    For Jesu's love, sayd Syr Harye Percy,
      That dyed for yow and me,
    Wende to my lorde my Father agayne,
      And saye thow saw me not with yee:[284]

    My trowth ys plyght to yonne Skottysh knyght,                     45
      It nedes me not to layne,[285]
    That I schulde byde hym upon thys bent,
      And I have hys trowth agayne:

    And if that I wende off thys grownde
      For soth unfoughten awaye,                                      50
    He wolde me call but a kowarde knyght
      In hys londe another daye.

    Yet had I lever[286] to be rynde[287] and rente,
      By Mary that mykel maye;[288]
    Then ever my manhod schulde be reprovyd                           55
      Wyth a Skotte another daye.

    Wherfore schote, archars, for my sake,
      And let scharpe arowes flee:
    Mynstrells, playe up for your waryson,[289]
      And well quyt it schall be.                                     60

    Every man thynke on hys trewe love,
      And marke hym to the Trenite:[290]
    For to God I make myne avowe
      Thys day wyll I not fle.

    The blodye Harte in the Dowglas armes,                            65
      Hys standerde stode on hye;
    That every man myght full well knowe:
      By syde stode Starres thre.

    The whyte Lyon on the Ynglysh parte,
      Forsoth as I yow sayne;[291]                                    70
    The Lucetts and the Cressawnts both:
      The Skotts faught them agayne.[292]]

    Uppon sent Andrewe lowde cane they crye,
      And thrysse they schowte on hyght,
    And syne marked them one owr Ynglysshe men,                       75
      As I have tolde yow ryght.

    Sent George the bryght owr ladyes knyght,
      To name they[293] were full fayne,
    Owr Ynglysshe men they cryde on hyght,
      And thrysse the schowtte agayne.                                80

    Wyth that scharpe arowes bygan to flee,
      I tell yow in sertayne;
    Men of armes byganne to joyne;
      Many a dowghty man was ther slayne.

    The Percy and the Dowglas mette,                                  85
      That ether of other was fayne;
    They schapped[294] together, whyll that the swette,
      With swords of fyne Collayne;[295]

    Tyll the bloode from ther bassonetts[296] ranne,
      As the roke[297] doth in the rayne.                             90
    Yelde the to me, sayd the Dowglàs,
      Or ells thow schalt be slayne:

    For I see, by thy bryght bassonet,
      Thow arte sum man of myght;
    And so I do by thy burnysshed brande,[298]                        95
      Thow art an yerle, or ells a knyght.[299]

    By my good faythe, sayd the noble Percy,
      Now haste thou rede[300] full ryght,
    Yet wyll I never yelde me to the,
      Whyll I may stonde and fyght.                                  100

    They swapped together, whyll that they swette,
      Wyth swordes scharpe and long;
    Ych on other so faste they beette,
      Tyll ther helmes cam in peyses dowyn.

    The Percy was a man of strenghth,                                105
      I tell yow in thys stounde,[301]
    He smote the Dowglas at the swordes length,
      That he felle to the growynde.

    The sworde was scharpe and sore can byte,
      I tell yow in sertayne;                                        110
    To the harte, he cowde hym smyte,
      Thus was the Dowglas slayne.

    The stonderds stode styll on eke syde,
      With many a grevous grone;
    Ther the fowght the day, and all the nyght,                      115
      And many a dowghty man was 'slone.'[302]

    Ther was no freke,[303] that ther wolde flye,
      But styffly in stowre[304] can stond,
    Ychone[305] hewyng on other whyll they myght drye,[306]
      Wyth many a bayllefull bronde.                                 120

    Ther was slayne upon the Skottes syde,
      For soth and sertenly,
    Syr James a Dowglas ther was slayne,
      That daye that he cowde dye.[307]

    The yerlle Mentaye of he was slayne,                             125
      Grysely[308] groned uppon the growynd;
    Syr Davy Scotte, Syr Walter Steward,
      Syr 'John' of Agurstonne.[309]

    Syr Charlles Morrey in that place,
      That never a fote wold flye;                                   130
    Sir Hughe Maxwell, a lorde he was,
      With the Dowglas dyd he dye.

    Ther was slayne upon the Skottes syde,
      For soth[310] as I yow saye,
    Of fowre and forty thowsande Scotts                              135
      Went but eyghtene awaye.

    Ther was slayne upon the Ynglysshe syde,
      For soth and sertenlye,
    A gentell knyght, Sir John Fitz-hughe,
      Yt was the more petye.                                         140

    Syr James Harebotell ther was slayne,
      For hym ther hartes were sore,
    The gentyll 'Lovelle' ther was slayne,[311]
      That the Percyes standerd bore.

    Ther was slayne uppon the Ynglyssh perte,                        145
      For soth as I yow saye;
    Of nyne thowsand Ynglyssh men
      Fyve hondert cam awaye:

    The other were slayne in the fylde,
      Cryste kepe ther sowles from wo,                               150
    Seyng ther was so fewe fryndes
      Agaynst so many a foo.

    Then one the morne they mayd them beeres[312]
      Of byrch, and haysell graye;
    Many a wydowe with wepyng teyres                                 155
      Ther makes[313] they fette[314] awaye.

    Thys fraye bygan at Otterborne,
      Bytwene the nyghte and the day:
    Ther the Dowglas lost hys lyfe,
      And the Percy was lede awaye.[315]                             160

    Then was ther a Scottyshe prisoner tayne,
      Syr Hughe Mongomery was hys name,
    For soth as I yow saye,
      He borowed the Percy home agayne.[316]

    Now let us all for the Percy praye[317]                          165
      To Jesu most of myght,
    To bryng hys sowle to the blysse of heven,
      For he was a gentyll knyght.


  [***] Most of the names in the two preceding ballads are found to
  have belonged to families of distinction in the North, as may be
  made appear from authentic records. Thus in


[Second Fit, ver. 112. _Agerstone._] The family of _Haggerston_ of
_Haggerston_, near Berwick, has been seated there for many centuries,
and still remains. _Thomas Haggerston_ was among the commissioners
returned for Northumberland in 12 Hen. 6, 1433. (Fuller's _Worthies_,
p. 310.) The head of this family at present is _Sir Thomas Haggerston_,
Bart., of _Haggerston_ above-mentioned.

N.B. The name is spelt _Agerstone_, as in the text, in Leland's
_Itinerary_, vol. vii. p. 54.[318]

[Ver. 113. _Hartly._] _Hartley_ is a village near the sea in the barony
of Tinemouth, about 7 m. from North-Shields. It probably gave name to a
family of note at that time.

[Ver. 114. _Hearone._] This family, one of the most ancient, was long
of great consideration in Northumberland. _Haddeston_, the Caput
Baroniæ of _Heron_, was their ancient residence. It descended 25
Edw. I. to the heir general _Emiline Heron_, afterwards Baroness
_Darcy_.--_Ford, &c._, and _Bockenfield_ (in com. eodem) went at the
same time to _Roger Heron_, the heir male; whose descendants were
summoned to Parliament: Sir _William Heron_ of Ford Castle being
summoned 44 Edw. III.--Ford Castle hath descended by heirs general
to the family of Delaval (mentioned in the next article).--_Robert
Heron_, Esq., who died at Newark in 1753, (father of the Right Hon. Sir
_Richard Heron_, Bart.) was heir male of the _Herons_ of Bockenfield, a
younger branch of this family.--Sir _Thomas Heron Middleton_, Bart., is
heir male of the _Herons_ of Chip-Chase, another branch of the Herons
of Ford Castle.

[Ver. 115. _Lovele._] _Joh. de Lavale, miles_, was sheriff of
Northumberland 34 Hen. VIII. _Joh. de Lavele, mil._ in the 1 Edw. VI.
and afterwards. (Fuller, 313.) In Nicholson this name is spelt _Da
Lovel_, p. 304. This seems to be the ancient family of _Delaval_, of
_Seaton Delaval_, in Northumberland, whose ancestor was one of the 25
_Barons_ appointed to be guardians of _Magna Charta_.[319]

[Ver. 117. _Rugbè._] The ancient family of _Rokeby_, in Yorkshire,
seems to be here intended. In Thoresby's _Ducat. Leod._, p. 253, fol.,
is a genealogy of this house, by which it appears that the head of the
family, about the time when this ballad was written, was Sir _Ralph
Rokeby_, Knt., _Ralph_ being a common name of the _Rokebys_.[320]

[Ver. 119. _Wetharrington._] _Rog. de Widrington_ was sheriff of
Northumberland in 36 of Edw. III. (Fuller, p. 311.)--_Joh. de_
_Widrington_ in 11 of Hen. IV. and many others of the same name
afterwards.--See also Nicholson, p. 331.--Of this family was the late
Lord Witherington.

[Ver. 124. _Mongonberry._] Sir _Hugh Montgomery_ was son of _John_ Lord
_Montgomery_, the lineal ancestor of the present Earl of Eglington.

[Ver. 125. _Lwdale._] The ancient family of the _Liddels_ were
originally from Scotland, where they were lords of _Liddel Castle_, and
of the Barony of _Buff_. (Vid. Collins's _Peerage_.) The head of this
family is the present Lord Ravensworth, of Ravensworth Castle, in the
county of Durham.[321]


[Ver. 101. _Mentaye._] At the time of this battle the Earldom of
_Menteith_ was possessed by _Robert Stewart_, Earl of Fife, third son
of K. Robert II., who, according to Buchanan, commanded the Scots that
entered by Carlisle. But our minstrel had probably an eye to the family
of _Graham_, who had this earldom when the ballad was written. See
Douglas's _Peerage of Scotland_, 1764, fol.

[Ver. 103. _Huntleye._] This shews this ballad was not composed before
1449; for in that year Alexander Lord of Gordon and Huntley, was
created Earl of _Huntley_, by K. James II.

[Ver. 105. _Bowghan._] The Earl of _Buchan_ at that time was _Alexander
Stewart_, fourth son of K. Robert II.

[Ver. 107. _Jhonstone--Maxwell._] These two families of _Johnstone_
Lord of _Johnston_, and _Maxwell_ Lord of _Maxwell_, were always very
powerful on the borders. Of the former family was _Johnston_ Marquis of
Annandale: of the latter was _Maxwell_ Earl of Nithsdale. I cannot find
that any chief of this family was named Sir _Hugh_; but Sir _Herbert
Maxwell_ was about this time much distinguished. (See Doug.) This might
have been originally written Sir _H. Maxwell_, and by transcribers
converted into Sir _Hugh_. So above, in No. I. v. 90. _Richard_ is
contracted into _Ric._

[Ver. 109. _Swintone._] _i. e._ The Laird of _Swintone_; a small
village within the Scottish border, 3 miles from Norham. This family
still subsists, and is very ancient.

[Ver. 111. _Scotte._] The illustrious family of _Scot_, ancestors of
the Duke of Buccleugh, always made a great figure on the borders.
Sir _Walter Scot_ was at the head of this family when the battle was
fought; but his great-grandson, Sir _David Scot_, was the hero of that
house when the ballad was written.

[Ibid. _Stewarde._] The person here designed was probably Sir _Walter
Stewart_, Lord of Dalswinton and Gairlies, who was eminent at that
time. (See Doug.) From him is descended the present Earl of Galloway.

[Ver. 112. _Agurstonne._] The seat of this family was sometimes subject
to the kings of Scotland. Thus _Richardus Haggerstoun, miles_, is
one of the Scottish knights who signed a treaty with the English in
1249, temp. Hen. III. (Nicholson, p. 2, note).--It was the fate of many
parts of Northumberland often to change their masters, according as the
Scottish or English arms prevailed.

[Ver. 129. _Murrey._] The person here meant was probably Sir _Charles
Murray_ of Cockpoole, who flourished at that time, and was ancestor of
the _Murrays_ sometime Earls of Annandale. See Doug. _Peerage_.

[Ver. 139. _Fitz-hughe._] Dugdale (in his _Baron._ v. i. p. 403)
informs us that _John_, son of Henry Lord _Fitzhugh_, was killed at the
battle of Otterbourne. This was a Northumberland family. Vid. Dugd. p.
403, col. 1, and Nicholson, pp. 33, 60.

[Ver. 141. _Harbotle._] _Harbottle_ is a village upon the river Coquet,
about 10 m. west of Rothbury. The family of _Harbottle_ was once
considerable in Northumberland. (See Fuller, pp. 312, 313.) A daughter
of _Guischard Harbottle_, Esq., married Sir _Thomas Percy_, Knt.,
son of _Henry_ the fifth,--and father of _Thomas_ seventh, Earls of


[212] Froissart speaks of both parties (consisting in all of more than
40,000 men) as entering England at the same time: but the greater part
by way of Carlisle.

[213] And, according to the ballad, that part of Northumberland called
Bamboroughshire; a large tract of land so named from the town and
castle of Bamborough; formerly the residence of the Northumbrian kings.

[214] This circumstance is omitted in the ballad. Hotspur and Douglas
were two young warriors much of the same age.

[215] Froissart says the English exceeded the Scots in number three
to one, but that these had the advantage of the ground, and were also
fresh from sleep, while the English were greatly fatigued with their
previous march.

[216] By Henry L. Percy, according to this ballad, and our old English
historians, as Stow, Speed, &c., but borne down by numbers, if we may
believe Froissart.

[217] Hotspur (after a very sharp conflict) was taken prisoner by John,
Lord Montgomery, whose eldest son, Sir Hugh, was slain in the same
action with an arrow, according to Crawford's _Peerage_ (and seems also
to be alluded to in the foregoing ballad, p. 31), but taken prisoner
and exchanged for Hotspur, according to this ballad.

[218] Froissart (according to the English translation) says he had his
account from two squires of England, and from a knight and squire of
Scotland, soon after the battle.

[219] So in Langham's _Letter concerning Queen Elizabeth's
entertainment at Killingworth Castle_, 1575, 12°. p. 61. "Heer was
no ho in devout drinkyng."

[220] _i. e._ They scorn to take the advantage, or to keep them
lingering in long captivity.

[221] The notice of this MS. I must acknowledge with many other
obligations, owing to the friendship of _Thomas Tyrwhitt_, Esq., late
Clerk of the House of Commons.

[222] Ver. 2. _winn their heaye. Harl. MS._ This is the Northumberland
phrase to this day: by which they always express "getting in their hay."

[223] [prepared.]

[224] [earl.]

[225] _Robert Stuart_, second son of K. _Robert II._

[226] _i. e._ "over Solway frith." This evidently refers to the other
division of the Scottish army, which came in by way of Carlisle.
_Bowynd_, or _Bounde him_; _i. e._ hied him.

[227] _They_: sc. the Earl of Douglas and his party. The several
stations here mentioned are well-known places in Northumberland.
_Ottercap-hill_ is in the parish of Kirk Whelpington, in Tynedale-ward.
_Rodeliffe_ (or as it is more usually pronounced _Rodeley_) _Cragge_
is a noted cliff near _Rodeley_, a small village in the parish of
Hartburn, in Morpeth-ward. It lies south-east of Ottercap, and has,
within these few years, been distinguished by a small tower erected by
Sir Walter Blacket, Bart., which in _Armstrong's_ map of Northumberland
is pompously called _Rodely-castle_. _Green Leyton_ is another small
village in the same parish of Hartburn, and is south-east of Rodeley.
Both the original MSS. read here corruptly, _Hoppertop_ and _Lynton_.

[228] [stirring.]

[229] V. 12. This line is corrupt in both the MSS., viz. "_Many a_
_styrande stage_." Stags have been killed within the present century on
some of the large wastes in Northumberland.

[230] [burnt.]

[231] [pillaged.]

[232] [wrong.]

[233] [ready.]

[234] [man.]

[235] [field.]

[236] [advise.]

[237] [stoutly.]

[238] _Marche-man_, _i. e._ a scourer of the marches.

[239] [aloud.]

[240] [art.]

[241] Ver. 39. _Syne_ seems here to mean _since_.

[242] [regrets.]

[243] [injury.]

[244] [the one.]

[245] Otterbourn is near the old Watling Street road, in the parish
of Elsdon. The Scots were encamped in a grassy plain near the river
_Read_. The place where the Scots and English fought, is still called
Battle Riggs.

[246] [roe.]

[247] Ver. 53. _Roe-bucks_ were to be found upon the wastes not far
from Hexham in the reign of Geo. I.--Whitfield, Esq., of Whitfield, is
said to have destroyed the last of them.

[248] [falcon and pheasant.]

[249] [woods on high.]

[250] V. 56. _hye_, MSS.

[251] [come unto thee.]

[252] [truth.]

[253] [pitched.]

[254] [booty.]

[255] [then.]

[256] [hovered.]

[257] Ver. 77. _upon the best bent._ MS.

[258] [spy.]

[259] [aware.]

[260] [spurred.]

[261] [enthroned.]

[262] [joy.]

[263] [broad.]

[264] [strong.]

[265] [force.]

[266] [peace.]

[267] The Earl of Menteith.

[268] [uncle.]

[269] [van.]

[270] [cautious.]

[271] The Lord Buchan.

[272] [ready.]

[273] Ver. 1, 13. _Pearcy_, all MSS.

[274] [promised or engaged.]

[275] V. 4. I will hold to what I have promised.

[276] Ver. 10. _hye_, MSS.

[277] He probably magnifies his strength to induce him to surrender.

[278] V. 11. _the one_, MS.

[279] All that follows, included in brackets, was not in the first

[280] [let go.]

[281] [royal.]

[282] [rout.]

[283] [deceive.]

[284] [eye.]

[285] [break my word.]

[286] [rather.]

[287] [flayed?]

[288] [great maid.]

[289] [reward.]

[290] [commit himself to God by a sign.]

[291] [say to you.]

[292] The ancient arms of Douglas are pretty accurately emblazoned in
the former stanza, and if the readings were, _The crowned harte_, and
_Above stode starres thre_, it would be minutely exact at this day. As
for the Percy family, one of their ancient badges of cognizances was a
_whyte lyon_ statant, and the _silver crescent_ continues to be used
by them to this day. They also give _three luces argent_ for one of
their quarters.

[293] _i. e._ the English.

[294] [swapped? _i.e._ smote.]

[295] [Cologne steel.]

[296] [helmets.]

[297] [steam.]

[298] [sword.]

[299] Being all in armour he could not know him.

[300] [guessed.]

[301] [time.]

[302] Ver. 116. slayne. MSS.

[303] [man.]

[304] [fight.]

[305] [each one.]

[306] [endure.]

[307] V. 124, _i.e._ He died that day.

[308] [dreadfully.]

[309] Our old minstrel repeats these names, as Homer and Virgil do
those of their heroes:

    "----fortemque Gyam, fortemque Cloanthum," &c. &c.

Both the MSS. read here, "_Sir James_," but see above, Pt. I., ver. 112.

[310] [truth.]

[311] Ver. 143. Covelle. MS. For the names in this page, see the
remarks at the end of this ballad.

[312] V. 153. one, _i.e._ on.

[313] [mates.]

[314] [fetch.]

[315] sc. captive.

[316] In the Cotton MS. is the following note on ver. 164, in an
ancient hand:--

"Syr Hewe Mongomery takyn prizonar, was delyvered for the restorynge of

[317] Ver. 165. _Percyes._--_Harl. MS._

[318] [Sir Walter Scott suggests that the person here alluded to was
one of the Rutherfords, barons of Edgerstane or Edgerston, who at this
time were retainers of the house of Douglas, but in _Chevy Chase_ Sir
John of Agerstone was on Percy's side.]

[319] [This is a misreading, as the person intended was a Lumley.]

[320] Sir W. Scott supposes "Sir Raffe the ryche Rugbè" to be Sir Ralph
Neville of Raby Castle, son of the first Earl of Westmoreland, and
cousin-german to Hotspur. He is called Sir Ralph Raby in the modern
version of the ballad.

[321] More probably the Sir David Lambwell of the modern version.



                           A SCOTTISH BALLAD,

Is founded upon the supposed practice of the Jews in crucifying or
otherwise murdering Christian children, out of hatred to the religion
of their parents: a practice which has been always alledged in excuse
for the cruelties exercised upon that wretched people, but which
probably never happened in a single instance. For, if we consider, on
the one hand, the ignorance and superstition of the times when such
stories took their rise, the virulent prejudices of the monks who
record them, and the eagerness with which they would be catched up by
the barbarous populace as a pretence for plunder; on the other hand,
the great danger incurred by the perpetrators, and the inadequate
motives they could have to excite them to a crime of so much horror; we
may reasonably conclude the whole charge to be groundless and malicious.

The following ballad is probably built upon some Italian legend, and
bears a great resemblance to the Prioresse's Tale in Chaucer: the poet
seems also to have had an eye to the known story of _Hugh of Lincoln_,
a child said to have been there murdered by the Jews in the reign of
Henry III. The conclusion of this ballad appears to be wanting: what it
probably contained may be seen in Chaucer. As for _Mirry-land Toun_,
it is probably a corruption of _Milan_ (called by the Dutch _Meylandt_)
_Town_: the _Pa_ is evidently the river _Po_; although the Adige, not
the Po, runs through Milan.

Printed from a MS. copy sent from Scotland.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [This ballad, which is also known under the title of _Sir Hugh of_
  _Lincoln_, was at one time so widely popular that it is preserved
  in six different versions, besides fragments, and has originated
  a literature of its own. Mons. Francisque Michel discovered a
  Norman-French version in the Royal Library at Paris, which is
  supposed to date back to the period when the murder of Sir Hugh
  was to have been committed. This was first published in the year
  1834 under the title, "Hugues de Lincoln: Recueil de Ballades
  Anglo-Normande et Ecossoises relatives au meurtre de cet enfant
  commis par les Juifs en MCCLV." The Rev. Dr. A. Hume communicated
  a very full paper on the subject of the tradition to the Literary
  and Philosophical Society of Liverpool, on November 13, 1848,
  which is published in the Proceedings (No. 5), and Mr. J. O.
  Halliwell printed, in 1849, a small volume containing "Ballads
  and Poems respecting Hugh of Lincoln." In the _Athenæum_ for Dec.
  15, 1849, there is a condemnatory review of Dr. Hume's work, to
  which the reviewer has added some valuable information of his own.
  Percy's remark that _Mirry-land town_ is a corruption of Milan
  town, and _Pa_ of the river Po, seems far-fetched, as there is
  no reason for supposing that the ballad was in any way connected
  with Italy. Jamieson's version reads _Merry Lincoln_, and in
  Motherwell's the scene is changed to Maitland town. In some parts
  of England the ballad has degenerated into a sort of nursery
  rhyme, the Northamptonshire version reading "Merry Scotland," and
  the Shropshire one, "Merry-cock land." Mr. J. H. Dixon suggests
  _mere-land town_, from the mere or fen lakes, and reads wa' for
  Pa'. (_Notes and Queries_, 3rd Series, vol. ix. p. 30, note.)

  Miss Agnes Strickland communicated the following lines obtained
  from oral tradition at Godalming, in Surrey, to Mr. Halliwell, who
  printed them in his tract:--

    "He toss'd the ball so high, so high,
      He toss'd the ball so low;
    He toss'd the ball in the Jew's garden,
      And the Jews were all below.

    "Oh! then out came the Jew's daughter,
      She was dressèd all in green:
    'Come hither, come hither, my sweet pretty fellow,
      And fetch your ball again.'"

  The tradition upon which this ballad is founded--that the Jews
  use human blood in their preparation for the Passover, and are
  in the habit of kidnapping and butchering Christian children
  for the purpose--is very widely spread and of great antiquity.
  Eisenmenger[322] refers to a case which occurred at Inmestar, in
  Syria, so early as the year 419, but the earliest case recorded
  as having occurred in Europe is that of William of Norwich,
  in 1137. The following is a translation from a passage in the
  _Peterborough Chronicle_ (which ends with the death of Stephen
  and the accession of Henry the Second), relating to this remarkable
  superstition:--"Now we will say something of what happened in King
  Stephen's time. In his time the Jews of Norwich bought a Christian
  child before Easter, and tortured him with all the same torturing
  that our Lord was tortured. And on Good Friday (lang fridæi) they
  hanged him on a cross, for our Lord's love; and afterwards buried
  him. They thought (wenden) that it should be concealed, but our
  Lord showed that he was a holy martyr (mr), and the monks took
  him and buried him solemnly in the monastery (minst). And he maketh
  through our Lord wonderful and manifold miracles. And he was called
  Saint William." Mr. Earle, in his note to this passage,[323] says
  that "S. William seems to have retained his celebrity down to the
  time of the Reformation, at least in Norfolk. In Loddon church,
  which is advanced perpendicular of about 1500, there is a painting
  of his crucifixion on a panel of the rood-screen, still in fair

  St. William's fame, however, was eclipsed in other parts of England
  by that of Sir Hugh of Lincoln, whose death was celebrated by
  historians and poets. Henry III. being often in want of money, was
  glad to take any opportunity of extorting it from the unfortunate
  Jews, and in 1255 his exchequer particularly required replenishing
  on account of the expected arrival in England of his son Edward's
  newly married wife, Eleanor of Castile. In this year a young boy
  was murdered, and, opportunely for the king, the crime was charged
  to the Jews. It was asserted that the child had been stolen,
  fattened on bread and milk for ten days, and crucified with all
  the cruelties and insults of Christ's passion, in the presence of
  all the Jews in England, who had been summoned to Lincoln for the
  purpose. The supposed criminals were brought to justice, and the
  king's commission for the trial, and the warrant to sell the goods
  of the several Jews who were found guilty, are still preserved.
  The Jew into whose house the child had gone to play, tempted by
  the promise of his life, made a full confession, and threw the
  guilt upon his brethren. Ninety-one Jews of Lincoln were sent
  to London as accomplices, and thrown into dungeons. Eighteen of
  the richest were hanged on a gallows, and twenty more imprisoned
  in the Tower of London. The king was enriched by the spoils, and
  the clergy of Lincoln did not lose their opportunity, for the
  minster was made famous by the possession of the martyr's tomb.
  Dean Milman, in relating these circumstances, says: "Great part
  of the story refutes itself, but I have already admitted the
  possibility that among the ignorant and fanatic Jews there might
  be some who, exasperated by the constant repetition of the charge,
  might brood over it so long, as at length to be tempted to its
  perpetration."[324] Any such explanation as this, however, does not
  seem necessary, for the wide-spread existence of the superstition
  goes far to prove the entire falsehood at least of the later cases,
  and the story of Sir Hugh was but a revival of that of St. William.
  It is worth mentioning, in passing, that this calumny was in fact a
  recoil upon the Jews themselves of a weapon they had used against
  the Christians. As early as the third century they affirmed that
  Christians in celebrating their mysteries used to kill a child and
  eat its flesh. Pagans probably learnt the calumny from the Jews,
  and also charged the Christians with eating children.

  The whole proceedings in the case of Sir Hugh are chronicled by
  Matthew Paris, who was in high favour with Henry III., and from
  his pages the account is transferred to the Chronicles of Grafton,
  Fabyan, and Holinshed. Chaucer most probably consulted the same
  source when he included the story in his _Canterbury Tales_,
  although he shifts the scene to Asia, and makes his Prioress say,
  when ending her tale with a reference to Sir Hugh:--

    "O younge Hughe of Lyncoln; slayn also
    With cursed Jewes (as it is notable,
    For it nys _but a litel while ago_)."

  Tyrwhitt, in his edition of Chaucer, notes that he found in the
  first four months of the _Acta Sanctorum_ of Bollandus the names of
  five children canonized as having been murdered by the Jews, and he
  supposes that the remaining eight months would furnish at least as
  many more. Tyrwhitt accepts Percy's interpretation of Mirry-land
  as a corruption of the name of Milan, and under this erroneous
  impression he suggests that the real occasion of the ballad may
  have been the murder of the boy Simon, at Trent, in 1475.[325]

  The superstition upon which all these stories are founded is said
  still to prevail among the ignorant members of the Greek Church,
  and it was revived at Damascus in 1840 in consequence of the
  disappearance of a priest named Thomaso. Two or three Jews were put
  to death before a proper judicial examination could be made, and
  the popular fury was so excited that severe persecution extended
  through a large part of the Turkish empire. Sir Moses Montefiore
  visited the various localities with the object of obtaining redress
  for his people, and he was successful. On November 6, 1840, a
  firman for the protection of the Jews was given at Constantinople,
  which contained the following passage:--"An ancient prejudice
  prevailed against the Jews. The ignorant believed that the Jews
  were accustomed to sacrifice a human being, to make use of his
  blood at the Passover. In consequence of this opinion the Jews of
  Damascus and Rhodes, who are subjects of our empire, have been
  persecuted by other nations.... But a short time has elapsed since
  some Jews dwelling in the isle of Rhodes were brought from thence
  to Constantinople, where they had been tried and judged according
  to the new regulations, and their innocence of the accusations made
  against them fully proved." The calumny, however, was again raised
  in October, 1847, and the Jews were in imminent peril when the
  missing boy, who had been staying at Baalbec, reappeared in good

  Within the last few years the Greek Patriarch at Constantinople has
  issued a pastoral letter, in which he points out the wickedness
  of the Christian persecution of the Jews. He says: "Superstition
  is a detestable thing. Almost all the Christian nations of the
  East have taken up the extravagant idea that the Israelites enjoy
  shedding Christian blood, either to obtain thereby a blessing from
  heaven, or to gratify their national rancour against Christ. Hence
  conflicts and disturbances break out, by which the social harmony
  between the dwellers in the same land, yea, the same fatherland,
  is disturbed. Thus a report was lately spread of the abduction of
  little Christian children in order to give a pretext for suspicion.
  We on our side abhor such lying fancies; we regard them as the
  superstitions of men of weak faith and narrow minds; and we disavow
  them officially."

  The superstition, however, still lives on, and according to the
  _Levant Herald_ (1874), the Mahometans are beginning to fall into
  the delusion that the sacrificial knife is applied by the Jews to
  young Turks as well as to young Christians.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    The rain rins doun through Mirry-land toune,
      Sae dois it doune the Pa:
    Sae dois the lads of Mirry-land toune,
      Quhan they play at the ba'.[326]

    Than out and cam the Jewis dochtèr,                                5
      Said, Will ye cum in and dine?
    "I winnae cum in, I cannae cum in,
      Without my play-feres[327] nine."

    Scho[328] powd[329] an apple reid and white
      To intice the yong thing in:                                    10
    Scho powd an apple white and reid,
      And that the sweit bairne did win.

    And scho has taine out a little pen-knife,
      And low down by her gair,[330]
    Scho has twin'd[331] the yong thing and his life;                 15
      A word he nevir spak mair.

    And out and cam the thick thick bluid,
      And out and cam the thin;
    And out and cam the bonny herts bluid:
      Thair was nae life left in.                                     20

    Scho laid him on a dressing borde,
      And drest him like a swine,
    And laughing said, Gae nou and pley
      With your sweit play-feres nine.

    Scho rowd[332] him in a cake of lead,                             25
      Bade him lie stil and sleip.
    Scho cast him in a deip draw-well,
      Was fifty fadom deip.

    Quhan bells wer rung, and mass was sung,
      And every lady went hame:                                       30
    Than ilka lady had her yong sonne,
      Bot lady Helen had nane.

    Scho rowd hir mantil hir about,
      And sair sair gan she weip:
    And she ran into the Jewis castèl,                                35
      Quhan they wer all asleip.

    My bonny sir Hew, my pretty sir Hew,
      I pray thee to me speik.
    "O lady, rinn to the deip draw-well,
      Gin[333] ye your sonne wad seik."                               40

    Lady Helen ran to the deip draw-well,
      And knelt upon her kne:
    My bonny sir Hew, an[334] ye be here,
      I pray thee speik to me.

    "The lead is wondrous heavy, mither,                              45
      The well is wondrous deip,
    A keen pen-knife sticks in my hert,
      A word I dounae[335] speik.

    Gae hame, gae hame, my mither deir,
      Fetch me my windling sheet,                                     50
    And at the back o' Mirry-land toun,
      Its thair we twa fall meet."
           *       *       *       *       *


[322] _Entdecktes Judenthum_, vol. ii. p. 220.

[323] _Two of the Saxon Chronicles Parallel_, 1865, p. 371.

[324] _History of the Jews_, ed. 1863, vol. iii. p. 249.

[325] Mr. Hales points out to me the following reference to the
superstition in Marlowe's _Jew of Malta_, act iii.:--

    "_Friar Jacomo._ Why, what has he done?

    _Friar Barnardine._ A thing that makes me tremble to unfold.

    _Jac._ What, has he crucified a child?

    _Bar._ No, but a worse thing; 'twas told me in shrift;
    Thou know'st 'tis death, an if it be reveal'd."

Dyce in his note quotes from Reed a reference to Tovey's _Anglio_
_Judaica_, where instances of such crucifixion are given.

[326] [ball.]

[327] [play-fellows.]

[328] [she.]

[329] [pulled.]

[330] [dress.]

[331] [parted in two.]

[332] [she rolled.]

[333] [if.]

[334] [if.]

[335] [cannot.]



This old romantic tale was preserved in the Editor's folio MS. but in
so very defective and mutilated a condition (not from any chasm in the
MS. but from great omission in the transcript, probably copied from the
faulty recitation of some illiterate minstrell), and the whole appeared
so far short of the perfection it seemed to deserve, that the Editor
was tempted to add several stanzas in the first part, and still more
in the second, to connect and compleat the story in the manner which
appeared to him most interesting and affecting.

There is something peculiar in the metre of this old ballad: it is not
unusual to meet with redundant stanzas of six lines; but the occasional
insertion of a double third or fourth line, as ver. 31, &c. is an
irregularity I do not remember to have seen elsewhere.

It may be proper to inform the reader before he comes to Pt. ii. v.
110, 111, that the Round Table was not peculiar to the reign of K.
Arthur, but was common in all the ages of chivalry. The proclaiming a
great turnament (probably with some peculiar solemnities) was called
"holding a Round Table." Dugdale tells us, that the great baron Roger
de Mortimer "having procured the honour of knighthood to be conferred
'on his three sons' by K. Edw. I. he, at his own costs, caused a
tourneament to be held at Kenilworth; where he sumptuously entertained
an hundred knights, and as many ladies, for three days; the like
whereof was never before in England; and there began the Round Table,
(so called by reason that the place wherein they practised those feats
was environed with a strong wall made in a round form:) And upon the
fourth day, the golden lion, in sign of triumph, being yielded to him;
he carried it (with all the company) to Warwick."--It may further
be added, that Matthew Paris frequently calls justs and turnaments
_Hastiludia Mensæ Rotundæ_.

As to what will be observed in this ballad of the art of healing being
practised by a young princess; it is no more than what is usual in
all the old romances, and was conformable to real manners: it being
a practice derived from the earliest times among all the Gothic and
Celtic nations, for women, even of the highest rank, to exercise the
art of surgery. In the Northern Chronicles we always find the young
damsels stanching the wounds of their lovers, and the wives those of
their husbands.[336] And even so late as the time of Q. Elizabeth, it
is mentioned among the accomplishments of the ladies of her court,
that the "eldest of them are skilful in surgery." See Harrison's
_Description of England_, prefixed to Hollinshed's _Chronicle, &c._

       *       *       *       *       *

  [This story of _Sir Cauline_ furnishes one of the most flagrant
  instances of Percy's manipulation of his authorities. In the
  following poem all the verses which are due to Percy's invention
  are placed between brackets, but the whole has been so much altered
  by him that it has been found necessary to reprint the original
  from the folio MS. at the end in order that readers may compare the
  two. Percy put into his version several new incidents and altered
  the ending, by which means he was able to dilute the 201 lines of
  the MS. copy into 392 of his own. There was no necessity for this
  perversion of the original, because the story is there complete,
  and moreover Percy did not sufficiently indicate the great changes
  he had made, for although nearly every verse is altered he only
  noted one trivial difference of reading, viz. aukeward for backward
  (v. 109).

  Motherwell reprinted this ballad in his _Minstrelsy_, and in his
  prefatory note he made the following shrewd guess, which we now
  know to be a correct one:--"We suspect too that the ancient ballad
  had a less melancholy catastrophe, and that the brave Syr Cauline,
  after his combat with the 'hend Soldan' derived as much benefit
  from the leechcraft of fair Cristabelle as he did after winning the
  Eldridge sword." Professor Child has expressed the same view in his
  note to the ballad.

  Buchan printed a ballad entitled _King Malcolm and Sir Colvin_,
  which is more like the original than Percy's version, but Mr. Hales
  is of opinion that this was one of that collector's fabrications.]

       *       *       *       *       *


    [In Ireland, ferr over the sea,
      There dwelleth a bonnye kinge;
    And with him a yong and comlye knighte,
      Men call him syr Caulìne.

    The kinge had a ladye to his daughter,                             5
      In fashyon she hath no peere;
    And princely wightes that ladye wooed
      To be theyr wedded feere.[337]]

    Syr Cauline loveth her best of all,
      But nothing durst he saye;                                      10
    Ne descreeve[338] his counsayl to no man,
      But deerlye he lovde this may.[339]

    Till on a daye it so beffell,
      Great dill[340] to him was dight;[341]
    The maydens love removde his mynd,                                15
      To care-bed went the knighte.

    One while he spred his armes him fro,
      One while he spred them nye:
    And aye! but I winne that ladyes love,
      For dole[342] now I mun[343] dye.                               20

    And whan our parish-masse was done,
      Our kinge was bowne[344] to dyne:
    He sayes, Where is syr Cauline,
      That is wont to serve the wyne?

    Then aunswerde him a courteous knighte,                           25
      And fast his handes gan wringe:
    Sir Cauline is sicke, and like to dye
      Without a good leechìnge.[345]

    Fetche me downe my daughter deere,
      She is a leeche fulle fine:                                     30
    Goe take him doughe,[346] and the baken bread,
    And serve him with the wyne soe red;
      Lothe I were him to tine.[347]

    Fair Christabelle to his chaumber goes,
      Her maydens followyng nye:                                      35
    O well, she sayth, how doth my lord?
      O sicke, thou fayr ladyè.

    Nowe ryse up wightlye,[348] man, for shame,
      Never lye soe cowardlee;
    For it is told in my fathers halle,                               40
      You dye for love of mee.

    Fayre ladye, it is for your love
      That all this dill I drye:[349]
    For if you wold comfort me with a kisse,
    Then were I brought from bale to blisse,                          45
      No lenger wold I lye.

    [Sir knighte, my father is a kinge,
      I am his onlye heire;
    Alas! and well you knowe, syr knighte,
      I never can be youre fere.                                      50

    O ladye, thou art a kinges daughtèr,
      And I am not thy peere,
    But let me doe some deedes of armes
      To be your bacheleere.[350]

    Some deedes of armes if thou wilt doe,                            55
      My bacheleere to bee,
    (But ever and aye my heart wold rue,
      Giff[351] harm shold happe to thee,)]

    Upon Eldridge[352] hill there groweth a thorne,
      Upon the mores brodinge;[353]                                   60
    And dare ye, syr knighte, wake there all nighte
      Until the fayre mornìnge?

    For the Eldridge knighte, so mickle[354] of mighte,
      Will examine you beforne:[355]
    And never man bare life awaye,                                    65
      But he did him scath[356] and scorne.

    [That knighte he is a foul paynìm,[357]
      And large of limb and bone;
    And but if heaven may be thy speede,
      Thy life it is but gone.                                        70

    Nowe on the Eldridge hilles Ile walke,[358]
      For thy sake, fair ladìe;]
    And He either bring you a ready tokèn,
      Or He never more you see

    The lady is gone to her own chaumbère,                            75
      Her maydens following bright:
    [Syr Cauline lope[359] from care-bed soone,
    And to the Eldridge hills is gone,]
      For to wake there all night.

    Unto midnight, that the moone did rise,                           80
      He walked up and downe;
    Then a lightsome bugle heard he blowe
      Over the bents[360] soe browne;
    Quoth hee, If cryance come till[361] my heart,
      I am ffar from any good towne.                                  85

    And soone he spyde on the mores so broad,
      A furyous wight and fell;[362]
    A ladye bright his brydle led,
      Clad in a fayre kyrtèll:
    And soe fast he called on syr Caulìne,                            90
      O man, I rede[363] thee flye,
    For 'but' if cryance comes till thy heart,
      I weene but thou mun dye.

    He sayth, 'No' cryance comes till my heart,
      Nor, in faith, I wyll not flee;                                 95
    For, cause thou minged[364] not Christ before,
      The less me dreadeth thee.

    [The Eldridge knighte, he pricked his steed;
      Syr Cauline bold abode:
    Then either shooke his trustye speare,]                          100
    And the timber these two children[365] bare
      Soe soone in sunder slode.[366]

    Then tooke they out theyr two good swordes,
      And layden[367] on full faste,
    [Till helme and hawberke, mail and sheelde,                      105
      They all were well-nye brast.[368]]

    The Eldridge knight was mickle of might,
      And stiffe in stower[369] did stande,
    But syr Cauline with a 'backward' stroke,[370]
      He smote off his right hand;                                   110
    That soone he with paine and lacke of bloud
      Fell downe on that lay-land.[371]

    [Then up syr Cauline lift his brande
      All over his head so hye:
    And here I sweare by the holy roode,                             115
      Nowe, caytiffe, thou shalt dye.

    Then up and came that ladye brighte,
      Fast wringing of her hande:
    For the maydens love, that most you love,
      Withold that deadlye brande:                                   120

    For the maydens love, that most you love,
      Now smyte no more I praye;
    And aye whatever thou wilt, my lord,
      He shall thy hests[372] obaye.

    Now sweare to mee, thou Eldridge knighte,                        125
      And here on this lay-land,
    That thou wilt believe on Christ his laye,[373]
      And therto plight thy hand:

    And that thou never on Eldridge come
      To sporte, gamon,[374] or playe:                               130
    And that thou here give up thy armes
      Until thy dying daye.

    The Eldridge knighte gave up his armes
      With many a sorrowfulle sighe;
    And sware to obey syr Caulines hest,                             135
      Till the tyme that he shold dye.]

    And he then up and the Eldridge knighte
      Sett him in his saddle anone,
    And the Eldridge knighte and his ladye
      To theyr castle are they gone.                                 140

    [Then he tooke up the bloudy hand,
      That was so large of bone,
    And on it he founde five ringes of gold
      Of knightes that had be slone.[375]

    Then he tooke up the Eldridge sworde,                            145
      As hard as any flint:
    And he tooke off those ringès five,
      As bright as fyre and brent.

    Home then pricked[376] syr Cauline
      As light as leafe on tree:                                     150
    I-wys he neither stint ne blanne,[377]
      Till he his ladye see.

    Then downe he knelt upon his knee
      Before that lady gay:
    O ladye, I have bin on the Eldridge hills:                       155
      These tokens I bring away.

    Now welcome, welcome, syr Caulìne,
      Thrice welcome unto mee,
    For now I perceive thou art a true knighte,
      Of valour bolde and free.                                      160

    O ladye, I am thy own true knighte,
      Thy hests for to obaye:
    And mought I hope to winne thy love!--
      Ne more his tonge colde say.

    The ladye blushed scarlette redde,                               165
      And fette[378] a gentill sighe:
    Alas! syr knight, how may this bee,
      For my degree's soe highe?

    But sith thou hast hight,[379] thou comely youth,
      To be my batchilere,                                           170
    Ile promise if thee I may not wedde
      I will have none other fere.[380]

    Then shee held forthe her lilly-white hand
      Towards that knighte so free;
    He gave to it one gentill kisse,                                 175
    His heart was brought from bale to blisse,
      The teares sterte[381] from his ee.

    But keep my counsayl, syr Caulìne,
      Ne let no man it knowe;
    For and ever my father sholde it ken,                            180
      I wot he wolde us sloe.[382]

    From that daye forthe that ladye fayre
      Lovde syr Caulìne the knighte:
    From that daye forthe he only joyde
      Whan shee was in his sight.                                    185

    Yea and oftentimes they mette
      Within a fayre arbòure,
    Where they in love and sweet daliaunce
      Past manye a pleasaunt houre.]

       *       *       *       *       *

  [***] In this conclusion of the _First Part_, and at the beginning
  of the _Second_, the reader will observe a resemblance to the story
  of _Sigismunda and Guiscard_, as told by Boccace and Dryden. See
  the latter's description of the lovers meeting in the cave; and
  those beautiful lines, which contain a reflection so like this of
  our poet, "_everye white_," &c., viz.:

    "But as extremes are short of ill and good,
    And tides at highest mark regorge their flood;
    So Fate, that could no more improve their joy,
    Took a malicious pleasure to destroy
      Tancred, who fondly loved," &c.



    Everye white will have its blacke,
      And everye sweete its sowre:
    This founde the ladye Christabelle
      In an untimely howre.

    For so it befelle, as syr Caulìne                                  5
      Was with that ladye faire,
    The kinge her father walked forthe
      To take the evenyng aire:

    And into the arboure as he went
      To rest his wearye feet,                                        10
    He found his daughter and syr Caulìne
      There sette in daliaunce sweet.

    The kinge hee sterted forthe, i-wys,[383]
      And an angrye man was hee:
    Nowe, traytoure, thou shalt hange or drawe,                       15
      And rewe shall thy ladìe.

    Then forthe syr Cauline he was ledde,
      And throwne in dungeon deepe:
    And the ladye into a towre so hye,
      There left to wayle and weepe.                                  20

    The queene she was syr Caulines friend,
      And to the kinge sayd shee:
    I praye you save syr Caulines life,
      And let him banisht bee.

    Now, dame, that traitor shall be sent                             25
      Across the salt sea fome:
    But here I will make thee a band,[384]
    If ever he come within this land,
      A foule deathe is his doome.

    All woe-begone was that gentil knight                             30
      To parte from his ladyè;
    And many a time he sighed sore,
      And cast a wistfulle eye:
    Faire Christabelle, from thee to parte,
      Farre lever[385] had I dye.                                     35

    Faire Christabelle, that ladye bright,
      Was had forthe of the towre;
    But ever shee droopeth in her minde,
    As nipt by an ungentle winde
      Doth some faire lillye flowre.                                  40

    And ever shee doth lament and weepe
      To tint[386] her lover soe:
    Syr Cauline, thou little think'st on mee,
      But I will still be true.

    Manye a kynge, and manye a duke,                                  45
      And lorde of high degree,
    Did sue to that fayre ladye of love;
      But never shee wolde them nee.[387]

    When manye a daye was past and gone,
      Ne comforte she colde finde,                                    50
    The kynge proclaimed a tourneament,
      To cheere his daughters mind:

    And there came lords, and there came knights,
      Fro manye a farre countryè,
    To break a spere for theyr ladyes love                            55
      Before that faire ladyè.

    And many a ladye there was sette
      In purple and in palle:[388]
    But faire Christabelle soe woe-begone
      Was the fayrest of them all.                                    60

    Then manye a knighte was mickle of might
      Before his ladye gaye;
    But a stranger wight, whom no man knewe,
      He wan the prize eche daye.

    His acton[389] it was all of blacke,                              65
      His hewberke,[390] and his sheelde,
    Ne noe man wist whence he did come,
    Ne noe man knewe where he did gone,
      When they came from the feelde.

    And now three days were prestlye[391] past                        70
      In feates of chivalrye,
    When lo upon the fourth mornìnge
      A sorrowfulle sight they see.

    A hugye giaunt stiffe and starke,
      All foule of limbe and lere;[392]                               75
    Two goggling eyen like fire farden,[393]
      A mouthe from eare to eare.

    Before him came a dwarffe full lowe,
      That waited on his knee,
    And at his backe five heads he bare,                              80
      All wan and pale of blee.[394]

    Sir, quoth the dwarffe, and louted[395] lowe,
      Behold that hend[396] Soldàin!
    Behold these heads I beare with me!
      They are kings which he hath slain.                             85

    The Eldridge knìght is his own cousìne,
      Whom a knight of thine hath shent:[397]
    And hee is come to avenge his wrong,
    And to thee, all thy knightes among,
      Defiance here hath sent.                                        90

    But yette he will appease his wrath
      Thy daughters love to winne:
    And but thou yeelde him that fayre mayd,
      Thy halls and towers must brenne.[398]

    Thy head, syr king, must goe with mee;                            95
      Or else thy daughter deere;
    Or else within these lists soe broad
      Thou must finde him a peere.[399]

    The king he turned him round aboute,
      And in his heart was woe:                                      100
    Is there never a knighte of my round tablè,
      This matter will undergoe?

    [Is there never a knighte amongst yee all
      Will fight for my daughter and mee?
    Whoever will fight yon grimme soldàn,                            105
      Right fair his meede shall bee.

    For hee shall have my broad lay-lands,
      And of my crowne be heyre;
    And he shall winne fayre Christabelle
      To be his wedded fere.                                         110

    But every knighte of his round table
      Did stand both still and pale;
    For whenever they lookt on the grim soldàn,
      It made their hearts to quail.

    All woe-begone was that fayre ladyè,                             115
      When she sawe no helpe was nye:
    She cast her thought on her owne true-love,
      And the teares gusht from her eye.

    Up then sterte the stranger knighte,
      Sayd, Ladye, be not affrayd:                                   120
    Ile fight for thee with this grimme soldàn,
      Thoughe he be unmacklye[400] made.

    And if thou wilt lend me the Eldridge sworde,
      That lyeth within thy bowre,
    I truste in Christe for to slay this fiende                      125
      Thoughe he be stiff in stowre.

    Goe fetch him downe the Eldridge sworde,
      The kinge he cryde, with speede:
    Nowe heaven assist thee, courteous knighte;
      My daughter is thy meede.[401]                                 130

    The gyaunt he stepped into the lists,
      And sayd, Awaye, awaye:
    I sweare, as I am the hend soldàn,
      Thou lettest[402] me here all daye.

    Then forthe the stranger knight he came                          135
      In his blacke armoure dight:
    The ladye sighed a gentle sighe,
      "That this were my true knighte!"

    And nowe the gyaunt and knighte be mett
      Within the lists soe broad;                                    140
    And now with swordes soe sharpe of steele,
      They gan to lay on load.[403]

    The soldan strucke the knighte a stroke,
      That made him reele asyde;
    Then woe-begone was that fayre ladyè,                            145
      And thrice she deeply sighde.

    The soldan strucke a second stroke,
      And made the bloude to flowe:
    All pale and wan was that ladye fayre,
      And thrice she wept for woe.                                   150

    The soldan strucke a third fell stroke,
      Which brought the knighte on his knee:
    Sad sorrow pierced that ladyes heart,
      And she shriekt loud shriekings three.

    The knighte he leapt upon his feete,                             155
      All recklesse of the pain:
    Quoth hee, But[404] heaven be now my speede,
      Or else[405] I shall be slaine.

    He grasped his sworde with mayne and mighte,
      And spying a secrette part,                                    160
    He drave it into the soldan's syde,
      And pierced him to the heart.

    Then all the people gave a shoute,
      Whan they sawe the soldan falle:
    The ladye wept, and thanked Christ,                              165
      That had reskewed her from thrall.[406]

    And nowe the kinge with all his barons
      Rose uppe from offe his seate,
    And downe he stepped intò the listes,
      That curteous knighte to greete.                               170

    But he for payne and lacke of bloude
      Was fallen intò a swounde,
    And there all walteringe in his gore,
      Lay lifelesse on the grounde.

    Come downe, come downe, my daughter deare,                       175
      Thou art a leeche of skille;
    Farre lever[407] had I lose halfe my landes,
      Than this good knighte sholde spille.[408]

    Downe then steppeth that fayre ladyè,
      To helpe him if she maye;                                      180
    But when she did his beavere raise,
    It is my life, my lord, she sayes,
      And shriekte and swound awaye.

    Sir Cauline juste lifte up his eyes
      When he heard his ladye crye,                                  185
    O ladye, I am thine owne true love;
      For thee I wisht to dye.

    Then giving her one partinge looke,
      He closed his eyes in death,
    Ere Christabelle, that ladye milde,                              190
      Begane to drawe her breathe.

    But when she found her comelye knighte
      Indeed was dead and gone,
    She layde her pale cold cheeke to his,
      And thus she made her moane.                                   195

    O staye, my deare and onlye lord,
      For mee thy faithfulle feere;[409]
    'Tis meet that I shold followe thee,
      Who hast bought my love soe deare.

    Then fayntinge in a deadlye swoune,                              200
      And with a deepe-fette[410] sighe,
    That burst her gentle hearte in twayne,
      Fayre Christabelle did dye.]



  [The following is the original ballad from which Percy concocted
  his own. It is reprinted from _Bishop Percy's Folio MS., ed.
  Hales and Furnivall_, vol. iii. p. 1.

    Iesus: lord mickle of might,
      _tha_t dyed ffor vs on the roode
    to maintaine vs in all our right,
      _tha_t loues true English blood.

    ffor by a K_nigh_t I say my song,                                  5
      was bold & ffull hardye;
    S_i_r Robert Briuse wold fforth to ffight
      in-to Ireland ouer the sea;

    & in _tha_t land dwells a king
      _whi_ch ouer all does beare the bell,                           10
    & w_i_th him there dwelled a curteous K_nigh_t,
      men call him S_i_r Cawline.

    And he hath a Ladye to his daughter,
      of ffashyon shee hath noe peere;
    K_night_s & lordes they woed her both,                            15
      trusted to haue beene her peere.

    S_i_r Cawline loues her best of oné,
      but nothing durst hee say
    to discreeue his councell to noe man,
      but deerlye loued this mayd.                                    20

    till itt beffell vpon a day,
      great dill to him was dight;
    the maydens loue remoued his mind,
      to care bed went the Knight;

    & one while he spread his armes him ffroe,                        25
      & cryed soe pittyouslye
    "ffor the maydens loue _tha_t I haue most minde,
      this day may comfort mee,
    or else ere noone I shalbe dead!"
      thus can S_i_r Cawline say.                                     30

    when our p_ar_ish masse _tha_t itt was done,
      & our king was bowne to dine,
    he sayes, "where is S_i_r Cawline
      _tha_t was wont to serue me w_i_th ale and wine?"

    but then answered a curteous K_nigh_t                             35
      ffast wringinge his hands,
    "S_i_r Cawlines sicke, & like to be dead
      w_i_thout and a good leedginge."

    "ffeitch yee downe my daughter deere,
      shee is a Leeche ffull ffine;                                   40
    I, and take you doe & the baken bread,
    and eene on the wine soe red,
    & looke no day[n]tinesse ffor him to deare,
      for ffull loth I wold him teene."

    this Ladye is gone to his chamber,                                45
      her maydens ffollowing Nye,
    "O well," shee sayth, "how doth my Lord?"
      "O sicke!" againe saith hee.

    "I, but rise vp wightlye, man, for shame:
      neuer lye soe cowardlye here!                                   50
    itt is told in my ffathers hall,
      ffor my loue you will dye."

    "itt is ffor y_ou_r Loue, ffayre Ladye,
      _tha_t all this dill I drye.
    ffor if you wold comfort me w_i_th a Kisse,                       55
    then were I brought ffrom bale to blisse,
      noe longer here wold I lye."

    "alas! soe well you know, S_i_r K_nigh_t,
       I cannott bee yo_u_r peere."
    "ffor some deeds of armes ffaine wold I doe                       60
      to be yo_u_r Bacheeleere."

    "vpon Eldridge hill there growes a thorne
      vpon the mores brodinge;
    & wold you, S_i_r Knight, wake there all night
      to day of the other Morninge?                                   65

    "ffor the Eldrige K_ing tha_t is mickle of Might
      will examine you beforne;
    & there was neuer man _tha_t bare his liffe away
      since the day _tha_t I was borne."

    "but I will ffor yo_u_r sake, ffaire Ladye,                       70
      walke on the bents [soe] browne,
    & Ile either bring you a readye token
      or Ile neuer come to you againe."

    but this Ladye is gone to her Chamber,
      her Maydens ffollowing bright;                                  75
    & S_i_r Cawlins gone to the mores soe broad,
      ffor to wake there all night.

    vnto midnight they Moone did rise,
      he walked vp and downe,
    & a lightsome bugle then heard he blow                            80
      ouer the bents soe browne.
    saies hee, "and if cryance come vntill my hart,
    I am ffarr ffrom any good towne;"

    & he spyed ene a litle him by,
    a ffuryous King and a ffell,                                      85
    & a ladye bright his brydle led,
    _tha_t seemlye itt was to see;

    & soe fast hee called vpon S_i_r Cawline,
      "Oh man, I redd thee fflye!
    ffor if cryance come vntill thy hart,                             90
      I am a-feard least thou mun dye."

    he sayes, "[no] cryance comes to my hart,
      nor ifaith I ffeare not thee;
    ffor because thou minged not christ before,
      Thee lesse me dreadeth thee."                                   95

    but S_i_r Cawline he shooke a speare,
      the K_ing_ was bold, and abode,
    & the timber these 2 Children bore
      soe soone in sunder slode,
    ffor they tooke & 2 good swords,                                 100
      & they Layden on good Loade.

    but the Elridge K_ing_ was mickle of might,
      & stiffly to the ground did stand;
    but S_i_r Cawline w_i_th an aukeward stroke
      he brought him ffrom his hand,                                 105
    I, & fflying ouer his head soe hye,
      ffell downe of _tha_t Lay land:

    & his lady stood a litle thereby,
      ffast ringing her hands:
    "for they maydens loue _tha_t you haue most meed,                110
      smyte you my Lo_r_d no more,

    & heest neu_er_ come vpon Eldrige [hill]
      him to sport, gamon, or play,
    & to meete noe man of middle earth,
      & _tha_t liues on christs his lay."                            115

    but he then vp, and _tha_t Eldryge K_ing_
      sett him in his sadle againe,
    & _tha_t Eldryge K_ing_ & his Ladye
      to their castle are they gone.

    & hee tooke then vp & _tha_t Eldryge sword                       120
      as hard as any fflynt,
    & soe he did those ringes 5,
      harder than ffyer, and brent.

    ffirst he p_re_sented to the K_ing_s daughter
      they hand, & then they sword.                                  125
    "but a serrett buffett you haue him giuen,
      the K_ing_ & the crowne!" she sayd,
    "I, but 34 stripes
      comen beside the rood."

    & a Gyant that was both stiffe [&] strong,                       130
      he lope now them amonge,
    & vpon his squier 5 heads he bare,
      vnmackley made was hee.

    & he dranke then on the K_ing_s wine,
      & hee put the cup in his sleeue;                               135
    & all thé trembled & were wan
      ffor feare he shold them greeffe.

    "Ile tell thee mine Arrand, K_ing_," he sayes,
      "mine errand what I doe heere;
    ffor I will bren thy temples hye,                                140
      or Ile haue thy daughter deere;
    in, or else vpon, yond more soe brood
      thou shalt ffind mee a ppeare."

    the K_ing_ he turned him round about,
      (Lo_rd_, in his heart he was woe!),                            145
    says, "is there noe K_nigh_t of the round table
      this matter will vndergoe?

    "I, & hee shall haue my broad Lands,
      & keepe them well his liue;
    I, and soe hee shall my daughter deere,                          150
      to be his weded wiffe."

    & then stood vp S_i_r Cawline
      his owne errand ffor to say.
    "ifaith, I wold to god, S_i_r," sayd S_i_r Cawline,
      "_tha_t Soldan I will assay.                                   155

    "goe, ffeitch me downe my Eldrige sword,
      ffor I woone itt att [a] ffray."
    "but away, away!" sayd the hend Soldan,
      "thou tarryest mee here all day!"

    but the hend Soldan and S_i_r Cawline                            160
      thé ffought a sum_m_ers day:
    now has hee slaine _tha_t hend Soldan,
      & brought his 5 heads away.

    & the K_ing_ has betaken him his broade lands
      & all his venison.                                             165

    "but take you too & yo_u_r Lands [soe] broad,
      & brooke them well yo_u_r liffe,
    ffor you p_ro_mised mee yo_u_r daughter deere
      to be my weded wiffe."

    "now by my ffaith," then sayes our K_ing_,                       170
      "ffor _tha_t wee will not striffe;
    ffor thou shalt haue my daughter dere
      to be thy weded wiffe."

    the other morninge S_i_r Cawline rose
      by the dawning of the day,                                     175
    & vntill a garden did he goe
      his Mattins ffor to say;
    & _tha_t bespyed a ffalse steward--
      a shames death _tha_t he might dye!--

    & he lett a lyon out of a bande,                                 180
      S_i_r Cawline ffor to teare;
    & he had noe wepon him vpon,
      nor noe wepon did weare.

    but hee tooke then his Mantle of greene,
      into the Lyons mouth itt thrust;                               185
    he held the Lyon soe sore to the wall
      till the Lyons hart did burst.

    & the watchmen cryed vpon the walls
      & sayd, "S_i_r Cawlines slaine!
    and w_i_th a beast is not ffull litle,                           190
      a Lyon of Mickle mayne."
    then the K_ing_s daughter shee ffell downe,
      "for peerlesse is my payne!"

    "O peace, my Lady!" sayes S_i_r Cawline,
      "I haue bought thy loue ffull deere.                           195
    O peace, my Lady!" sayes S_i_r Cawline,
      "peace, Lady, ffor I am heere!"

    then he did marry this K_ing_s daughter
      w_i_th gold & siluer bright,
    & 15 sonnes this Ladye beere                                     200
      to S_i_r Cawline the Knight.



[336] See _Northern Antiquities, &c._ vol. i. p. 318; vol. ii. p. 100.
_Memoires de la Chevalerie_, tom. i. p. 44.

[337] [mate.]

[338] [describe.]

[339] [maiden.]

[340] [grief.]

[341] [wrought.]

[342] [sorrow.]

[343] [must.]

[344] [made ready.]

[345] [medical care.]

[346] [This is an odd misreading of Percy's. The MS. has "I and take
you doe and the baken bread," where _doe_ is the auxiliary verb and the
_and_ redundant.]

[347] [lose.]

[348] [swiftly.]

[349] [pain I suffer.]

[350] [knight.]

[351] [if.]

[352] [spectral, lonesome.]

[353] [wide moors.]

[354] [great.]

[355] [before.]

[356] [harm.]

[357] [pagan.]

[358] Perhaps _wake_, as above in ver. 61.

[359] [leaped.]

[360] [fields.]

[361] [if fear come to.]

[362] [fierce.]

[363] [advise.]

[364] [mentioned.]

[365] _i. e._ Knights. See the Preface to _Child Waters_, vol. iii.

[366] [split.]

[367] [laid.]

[368] [burst.]

[369] [battle.]

[370] Ver. 109, aukeward. MS.

[371] [green sward.]

[372] [commands.]

[373] [law.]

[374] [fight.]

[375] [slain.]

[376] [spurred.]

[377] [neither stopped nor lingered.]

[378] [fetched.]

[379] [since thou hast engaged.]

[380] [mate.]

[381] [started.]

[382] [I know he would slay us.]

[383] [verily.]

[384] [bond or covenant.]

[385] [rather.]

[386] [lose.]

[387] [nigh.]

[388] [fine cloth.]

[389] [leather jacket.]

[390] [coat of mail.]

[391] [quickly.]

[392] [countenance.]

[393] [flashed.]

[394] [complexion.]

[395] [bowed.]

[396] [courteous.]

[397] [injured.]

[398] [burn.]

[399] [equal.]

[400] [mis-shapen.]

[401] [reward.]

[402] [detainest.]

[403] [give blows.]

[404] [unless.]

[405] ["or else," redundant from a misunderstanding of the word _but_.]

[406] [captivity.]

[407] [rather.]

[408] [come to harm.]

[409] [mate.]

[410] [deep-drawn.]



                          A SCOTTISH BALLAD.

             _From a MS. copy transmitted from Scotland._

  [The affectedly antique orthography of this ballad has caused
  some to suppose that it was a modern invention, probably by Lady
  Wardlaw, the author of _Hardyknute_, but Motherwell obtained
  another version from the recitation of an old woman, which he
  printed in his _Minstrelsy_ under the title of "Son Davie, son
  Davie." He there says that there is reason to believe that Lord
  Hailes "made a few slight verbal improvements in the copy he
  transmitted, and altered the hero's name to Edward, a name which,
  by the bye, never occurs in a Scottish ballad except where allusion
  is made to an English king."

  There is a Swedish ballad of the same character entitled _The_
  _Fratricide's Lament and Dialogue with his Mother before he
  wanders away from home for ever_.

  The form of a dialogue between a mother and her son is a favourite
  one in the old ballads, and "Lord Donald" in Kinloch's _Scottish
  Ballads_ and "Lord Randal" in Scott's _Minstrelsy_ bear some
  likeness to the ballad of "Edward." The hero is supposed to have
  been poisoned by eating toads prepared as a dish of fishes, and the
  last stanza of Kinloch's ballad is as follows:--

    "What will ye leave to your true love, Lord Donald,
                                           My son?
    What will ye leave to your true love,
                    My jollie young man?
    The tow and the halter for to hang on yon tree,
    And lat her hang there for the poysoning o' me."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    Quhy dois your brand sae drop wi' bluid,[411]
                        Edward, Edward?
    Quhy dois your brand sae drop wi' bluid?
              And quhy sae sad gang yee, O?[412]
    O, I hae killed my hauke sae guid,                                 5
                        Mither, mither:
    O, I hae killed my hauke sae guid:
              And I had nae mair bot hee,[413] O.

    Your haukis bluid was nevir sae reid,
                        Edward, Edward.                               10
    Your haukis bluid was nevir sae reid,
              My deir son I tell thee, O.
    O, I hae killed my reid-roan steid,
                        Mither, Mither:
    O, I hae killed my reid-roan steid,                               15
              That erst was sae fair and free, O.

    Your steid was auld, and ye hae gat mair,
                        Edward, Edward:
    Your steid was auld, and ye hae gat mair,
              Sum other dule ye drie,[414] O.                         20
    O, I hae killed my fadir deir,
                        Mither, mither:
    O, I hae killed my fadir deir,
              Alas! and wae is me, O!

    And quhatten penance wul ye drie[415] for that,                   25
                        Edward, Edward?
    And quhatten penance will ye drie for that?
              My deir son, now tell me, O.
    Ile set my feit in yonder boat,
                                Mither, mither:                       30
    Ile set my feit in yonder boat,
                  And Ile fare[416] ovir the sea, O.

    And quhat wul ye doe wi' your towirs and your ha',[417]
                                Edward, Edward?
    And quhat wul ye doe wi' your towirs and your ha',                35
                  That were sae fair to see, O?
    Ile let thame stand til they doun fa',[418]
                                Mither, mither:
    Ile let thame stand til they doun fa',
                  For here nevir mair maun I bee, O.                  40

    And quhat wul ye leive to your bairns and your wife,
                                Edward, Edward?
    And quhat wul ye leive to your bairns and your wife,
                  Quhan ye gang ovir the sea, O?
    The warldis room,[419] let thame beg throw life,                  45
                                Mither, mither:
    The warldis room, let thame beg throw life,
                  For thame nevir mair wul I see, O.

    And quhat wul ye leive to your ain mither deir,
                                Edward, Edward?                       50
    And quhat wul ye leive to your ain mither deir?
                  My deir son, now tell me, O.
    The curse of hell frae me sall ye beir,
                                Mither, mither:
    The curse of hell frae me sall ye beir,                           55
                  Sic counseils ye gave to me, O.

       *       *       *       *       *

This curious song was transmitted to the editor by Sir David Dalrymple,
Bart., late Lord Hailes.


[411] [why does your sword so drop with blood.]

[412] [and why so sad go ye.]

[413] [no other but he.]

[414] [some other grief you suffer.]

[415] [undergo.]

[416] [pass.]

[417] [hall.]

[418] [fall.]

[419] [the world's large.]



This old Romantic Legend (which is given from two copies, one of them
in the editor's folio MS., but which contained very great variations),
bears marks of considerable antiquity, and, perhaps, ought to have
taken place of any in this volume. It would seem to have been written
while part of Spain was in the hands of the Saracens or Moors: whose
empire there was not fully extinguished before the year 1491. The
Mahometans are spoken of in v. 49, &c., just in the same terms as in
all other old romances. The author of the ancient Legend of _Sir Bevis_
represents his hero, upon all occasions, breathing out defiance against

    "Mahound and Termagaunte;"[420]

and so full of zeal for his religion, as to return the following polite
message to a Paynim king's fair daughter, who had fallen in love with
him, and sent two Saracen knights to invite him to her bower,

    "I wyll not ones stirre off this grounde,
    To speake with an heathen hounde.
    Unchristen houndes, I rede you fle.
    Or I your harte bloud shall se."[421]

Indeed they return the compliment by calling him elsewhere "A christen

This was conformable to the real manners of the barbarous ages: perhaps
the same excuse will hardly serve our bard, for that Adland should be
found lolling or leaning at his gate (v. 35) may be thought, perchance,
a little out of character. And yet the great painter of manners, Homer,
did not think it inconsistent with decorum to represent a king of the
Taphians leaning at the gate of Ulysses to inquire for that monarch,
when he touched at Ithaca as he was taking a voyage with a ship's cargo
of iron to dispose in traffic.[423] So little ought we to judge of
ancient manners by our own.

Before I conclude this article, I cannot help observing, that the
reader will see, in this ballad, the character of the old Minstrels
(those successors of the Bards) placed in a very respectable
light:[424] here he will see one of them represented mounted on a
fine horse, accompanied with an attendant to bear his harp after him,
and to sing the poems of his composing. Here he will see him mixing
in the company of kings without ceremony: no mean proof of the great
antiquity of this poem. The farther we carry our inquiries back, the
greater respect we find paid to the professors of poetry and music
among all the Celtic and Gothic nations. Their character was deemed
so sacred, that under its sanction our famous king Alfred (as we have
already seen)[425] made no scruple to enter the Danish camp, and was at
once admitted to the king's headquarters.[426] Our poet has suggested
the same expedient to the heroes of this ballad. All the histories of
the North are full of the great reverence paid to this order of men.
Harold Harfagre, a celebrated King of Norway, was wont to seat them
at his table above all the officers of his court: and we find another
Norwegian king placing five of them by his side in a day of battle,
that they might be eye-witnesses of the great exploits they were to
celebrate.[427] As to Estmere's riding into the hall while the kings
were at table, this was usual in the ages of chivalry; and even to this
day we see a relic of this custom still kept up, in the champion's
riding into Westminster Hall during the coronation dinner.[428]

Some liberties have been taken with this tale by the editor, but none
without notice to the reader in that part which relates to the subject
of the harper and his attendant.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [Percy refers to two copies of this ballad, but there is every
  reason to believe that one of these was the bishop's own
  composition, as it was never seen by others and has not since been
  found. The copy from the folio MS. was torn out by Percy when he
  was preparing the fourth edition of the _Reliques_ for the press,
  and is now unfortunately lost, so that we have no means of telling
  what alterations he made in addition to those which he mentions in
  the footnotes. The readings in the fourth edition are changed in
  several places from those printed in the first edition.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    Hearken to me, gentlemen,
      Come and you shall heare;
    Ile tell you of two of the boldest brethren[429]
      That ever borne y-were.

    The tone[430] of them was Adler younge,                            5
      The tother was kyng Estmere;
    The were as bolde men in their deeds,
      As any were farr and neare.

    As they were drinking ale and wine
      Within kyng Estmeres halle:[431]                                10
    When will ye marry a wyfe, brothèr,
      A wyfe to glad us all?

    Then bespake him kyng Estmere,
      And answered him hastilee:[432]
    I know not that ladye in any land                                 15
      That's able[433] to marrye with mee.

    Kyng Adland hath a daughter, brother,
      Men call her bright and sheene;[434]
    If I were kyng here in your stead,
      That ladye shold be my queene.                                  20

    Saies, Reade me,[435] reade me, deare brother,
      Throughout merry Englànd,
    Where we might find a messenger
      Betwixt us towe to sende.

    Saies, You shal ryde yourselfe, brothèr,                          25
      Ile beare you companye;
    Many throughe fals messengers are deceived,[436]
      And I feare lest soe shold wee.

    Thus the renisht[437] them to ryde
      Of twoe good renisht[438] steeds,                               30
    And when the came to king Adlands halle,
      Of redd gold shone their weeds.[439]

    And when the came to kyng Adlands hall
      Before the goodlye gate,
    There they found good kyng Adlànd                                 35
      Rearing[440] himselfe theratt.

    Now Christ thee save, good kyng Adlànd;
      Now Christ you save and see.
    Sayd, You be welcome, king Estmere,
      Right hartilye to mee.                                          40

    You have a daughter, said Adler younge,
      Men call her bright and sheene,
    My brother wold marrye her to his wiffe,
      Of Englande to be queene.

    Yesterday was att my deere daughtèr                               45
      Syr Bremor the kyng of Spayne;[441]
    And then she nicked[442] him of naye,
      And I doubt sheele[443] do you the same.

    The kyng of Spayne is a foule paynim,[444]
      And 'leeveth[445] on Mahound;                                   50
    And pitye it were that fayre ladyè
      Shold marrye a heathen hound.

    But grant to me, sayes kyng Estmere,
      For my love I you praye;
    That I may see your daughter deere                                55
      Before I goe hence awaye.

    Although itt is seven yeers and more
      Since my daughter was in halle,
    She shall come once downe for your sake
      To glad my guestès alle.                                        60

    Downe then came that mayden fayre,
      With ladyes laced in pall,[446]
    And halfe a hundred of bold knightes,
      To bring her from bowre to hall;
    And as many gentle squiers,                                       65
      To tend upon them all.

    The talents of golde were on her head sette,
      Hanged low downe to her knee;
    And everye ring on her small fingèr,
      Shone of the chrystall free.                                    70

    Saies, God you save, my deere madàm;
      Saies, God you save and see.
    Said, You be welcome, kyng Estmere,
      Right welcome unto mee.

    And if you love me, as you saye,                                  75
      Soe well and hartilèe,
    All that ever you are comen about
      Soone sped now itt shal bee.

    Then bespake her father deare:
      My daughter, I saye naye;                                       80
    Remember well the kyng of Spayne,
      What he sayd yesterdaye.

    He wold pull downe my halles and castles,
      And reave[447] me of my lyfe
    I cannot blame him if he doe,                                     85
      If I reave him of his wyfe.

    Your castles and your towres, father,
      Are stronglye built aboute;
    And therefore of the king of Spaine[448]
      Wee neede not stande in doubt.                                  90

    Plight me your troth, nowe, kyng Estmère,
      By heaven and your righte hand,
    That you will marrye me to your wyfe,
      And make me queene of your land.

    Then kyng Estmere he plight his troth                             95
      By heaven and his righte hand,
    That he wolde marrye her to his wyfe,
      And make her queene of his land.

    And he tooke leave of that ladye fayre,
      To goe to his owne countree,                                   100
    To fetche him dukes and lordes and knightes,
      That marryed the might bee.

    They had not ridden scant a myle,
      A myle forthe of the towne,
    But in did come the kyng of Spayne,                              105
      With kempès[449] many one.

    But in did come the kyng of Spayne,
      With manye a bold baròne,
    Tone day to marrye kyng Adlands daughter,
      Tother daye to carrye her home.                                110

    Shee sent one after kyng Estmère
      In all the spede might bee,
    That he must either turne againe and fighte,
      Or goe home and loose his ladyè.

    One whyle then the page he went,                                 115
      Another while he ranne;
    Till he had oretaken king Estmere,
      I wis, he never blanne.[450]

    Tydings, tydings, kyng Estmere!
      What tydinges nowe, my boye?                                   120
    O tydinges I can tell to you,
      That will you sore annoye.

    You had not ridden scant a mile,
      A mile out of the towne,
    But in did come the kyng of Spayne                               125
      With kempès many a one:

    But in did come the kyng of Spayne
      With manye a bold baròne,
    Tone daye to marrye king Adlands daughter,
      Tother daye to carry her home.                                 130

    My ladye fayre she greetes you well,
      And ever-more well by mee:
    You must either turne againe and fighte,
      Or goe home and loose your ladyè.

    Saies, Reade me, reade me, deere brothèr,                        135
      My reade shall ryde[451] at thee,
    Whether it is better to turne and fighte,
      Or goe home and loose my ladye.

    Now hearken to me, sayes Adler yonge,
      And your reade must rise[452] at me,                           140
    I quicklye will devise a waye
      To sette thy ladye free.

    My mother was a westerne woman,
      And learned in gramaryè.[453]
    And when I learned at the schole,                                145
      Something shee taught itt mee.

    There growes an hearbe within this field,
      And iff it were but knowne,
    His color, which is whyte and redd,
      It will make blacke and browne:                                150

    His color, which is browne and blacke,
      Itt will make redd and whyte;
    That sworde is not in all Englande,
      Upon his coate will byte.

    And you shal be a harper, brother,                               155
      Out of the north countrye;
    And Ile be your boy, soe faine of fighte,[454]
      And beare your harpe by your knee.

    And you shal be the best harpèr,
      That ever tooke harpe in hand;                                 160
    And I wil be the best singèr,
      That ever sung in this lande.

    Itt shal be written in our forheads
      All and in grammaryè,
    That we towe are the boldest men,                                165
      That are in all Christentyè.

    And thus they renisht them to ryde,
      On tow good renish steedes:
    And when they came to king Adlands hall,
      Of redd gold shone their weedes.                               170

    And whan the came to kyng Adlands hall,
      Untill the fayre hall yate,[455]
    There they found a proud portèr
      Rearing himselfe thereatt.

    Sayes, Christ thee save, thou proud portèr;                      175
      Sayes, Christ thee save and see.
    Nowe you be welcome, sayd the portèr,
      Of what land soever ye bee.

    Wee beene harpers, sayd Adler younge,
      Come out of the northe countrye;                               180
    Wee beene come hither untill this place,
      This proud weddinge for to see.

    Sayd, And your color were white and redd,
      As it is blacke and browne,
    I wold saye king Estmere and his brother                         185
      Were comen untill this towne.

    Then they pulled out a ryng of gold,
      Layd itt on the porters arme:
    And ever we will thee, proud portèr,
      Thow wilt saye us no harme.                                    190

    Sore he looked on kyng Estmère,
      And sore he handled the ryng,
    Then opened to them the fayre hall yates,
      He lett[456] for no kind of thyng.

    Kyng Estmere he stabled his steede                               195
      Soe fayre att the hall bord;
    The froth, that came from his brydle bitte,
      Light in kyng Bremors beard.

    Saies, Stable thy steed, thou proud harpèr,
      Saies, Stable him in the stalle;                               200
    It doth not beseeme a proud harpèr
      To stable 'him' in a kyngs halle.[457]

    My ladde he is so lither,[458] he said,
      He will doe nought that's meete;
    And is there any man in this hall                                205
      Were able him to beate.

    Thou speakst proud words, sayes the king of Spaine,
      Thou harper here to mee:
    There is a man within this halle,
      Will beate thy ladd and thee.                                  210

    O let that man come downe, he said,
      A sight of him wold I see;
    And when hee hath beaten well my ladd,
      Then he shall beate of mee.

    Downe then came the kemperye man,[459]                           215
      And looked him in the eare;
    For all the gold, that was under heaven,
      He durst not neigh him neare.[460]

    And how nowe, kempe, said the kyng of Spaine,
      And how what aileth thee?                                      220
    He saies, It is writt in his forhead
      All and in gramaryè,
    That for all the gold that is under heaven,
     I dare not neigh him nye.

    Then kyng Estmere pulld forth his harpe,                         225
      And plaid a pretty thinge:
    The ladye upstart from the borde,
      And wold have gone from the king.

    Stay thy harpe, thou proud harpèr,
      For Gods love I pray thee                                      230
    For and thou playes as thou beginns,
      Thou'lt till[461] my bryde from mee.

    He stroake upon his harpe againe,
      And playd a pretty thinge;
    The ladye lough[462] a loud laughter,                            235
      As shee sate by the king.

    Saies, sell me thy harpe, thou proud harper,
      And thy stringès all,
    For as many gold nobles 'thou shalt have'
      As heere bee ringes in the hall.                               240

    What wold ye doe with my harpe, 'he sayd,
      If I did sell itt yee?
    "To playe my wiffe and me a Fitt,[463]
      When abed together wee bee."

    Now sell me, quoth hee, thy bryde soe gay,                       245
      As shee sitts by thy knee,
    And as many gold nobles I will give,
      As leaves been on a tree.

    And what wold ye doe with my bryde soe gay,
      Iff I did sell her thee?                                       250
    More seemelye it is for her fayre bodye
      To lye by mee then thee.

    Hee played agayne both loud and shrille,[464]
      And Adler he did syng,
    "O ladye, this is thy owne true love;                            255
      Noe harper, but a kyng.

    "O ladye, this is thy owne true love,
      As playnlye thou mayest see;
    And Ile rid thee of that foule paynim,
      Who partes thy love and thee."                                 260

    The ladye looked, the ladye blushte,
      And blushte and lookt agayne,
    While Adler he hath drawne his brande,
      And hath the Sowdan slayne.

    Up then rose the kemperye men,                                   265
      And loud they gan to crye:
    Ah! traytors, yee have slayne our kyng,
      And therefore yee shall dye.

    Kyng Estmere threwe the harpe asyde,
      And swith[465] he drew his brand;[466]                         270
    And Estmere he, and Adler yonge
      Right stiffe in stour[467] can stand.

    And aye their swordes soe sore can byte,
      Throughe help of Gramaryè
    That soone they have slayne the kempery men,                     275
      Or forst them forth to flee.

    Kyng Estmere tooke that fayre ladyè,
      And marryed her to his wiffe,
    And brought her home to merry Englànd
      With her to leade his life.                                    280


  [***] The word _Gramaryè_,[468] which occurs several times in
  the foregoing poem, is probably a corruption of the French word
  _Grimoire_, which signifies a conjuring book in the old French
  romances, if not the art of necromancy itself.

  [+±+] _Termagaunt_ (mentioned above, p. 85) is the name given
  in the old romances to the god of the Saracens, in which he is
  constantly linked with _Mahound_ or Mahomet. Thus, in the legend
  of _Syr Guy_, the Soudan (Sultan), swears

    "So helpe me _Mahowne_ of might,
    And _Termagaunt_ my god so bright."

                                                      _Sign._ p. iii. b.

This word is derived by the very learned editor of Junius from the
Anglo-Saxon +Tyr+ very, and +Magan+ mighty. As this word had so
sublime a derivation, and was so applicable to the true God, how
shall we account for its being so degraded? Perhaps +Tyr-magan+ or
_Termagant_ had been a name originally given to some Saxon idol,
before our ancestors were converted to Christianity; or had been the
peculiar attribute of one of their false deities; and therefore the
first Christian missionaries rejected it as profane and improper to
be applied to the true God. Afterwards, when the irruptions of the
Saracens into Europe, and the Crusades into the East, had brought them
acquainted with a new species of unbelievers, our ignorant ancestors,
who thought all that did not receive the Christian law were necessarily
pagans and idolaters, supposed the Mahometan creed was in all respects
the same with that of their pagan forefathers, and therefore made no
scruple to give the ancient name of _Termagant_ to the god of the
Saracens, just in the same manner as they afterwards used the name of
_Sarazen_ to express any kind of pagan or idolater. In the ancient
romance of _Merline_ (in the editor's folio MS.) the Saxons themselves
that came over with Hengist, because they were not Christians, are
constantly called Sarazens.

However that be, it is certain that, after the times of the Crusades,
both _Mahound_ and _Termagaunt_ made their frequent appearance in the
pageants and religious interludes of the barbarous ages; in which they
were exhibited with gestures so furious and frantic, as to become
proverbial. Thus Skelton speaks of Wolsey:--

    "Like _Mahound_ in a play,
    No man dare him withsay."

                                                       Ed. 1736, p. 158.

In like manner Bale, describing the threats used by some papist
magistrates to his wife, speaks of them as "grennyng upon her lyke
_Termagauntes_ in a playe." (_Actes of Engl. Votaryes_, pt. ii. fo.
83, Ed. 1550, 12mo.) Accordingly in a letter of Edward Alleyn, the
founder of Dulwich College, to his wife or sister, who, it seems, with
all her fellows (the players), had been "by my Lorde Maiors officer[s]
mad to rid in a cart," he expresses his concern that she should "fall
into the hands of suche _Tarmagants_." (So the orig. dated May 2,
1593, preserved by the care of the Rev. Thomas Jenyns Smith, Fellow of
Dulw. Coll.) Hence we may conceive the force of Hamlet's expression
in Shakspeare, where, condemning a ranting player, he says, "I could
have such a fellow whipt for ore-doing _Termagant_: it out-herods
Herod" (Act iii. sc. 3). By degrees the word came to be applied to
an outrageous turbulent person, and especially to a violent brawling
woman; to whom alone it is now confined, and this the rather as, I
suppose, the character of _Termagant_ was anciently represented on the
stage after the eastern mode, with long robes or petticoats.

Another frequent character in the old pageants or interludes of our
ancestors, was the _sowdan_ or _soldan_, representing a grim eastern
tyrant. This appears from a curious passage in Stow's _Annals_ (p.
458). In a stage-play "the people know right well that he that plaieth
the _sowdain_, is percase a sowter [shoe-maker]; yet if one should
cal him by his owne name, while he standeth in his majestie, one
of his tormenters might hap to break his head." The _sowdain_, or
_soldan_, was a name given to the Sarazen king (being only a more rude
pronunciation of the word _sultan_), as the soldan of Egypt, the soudan
of Persia, the sowdan of Babylon, &c., who were generally represented
as accompanied with grim Sarazens, whose business it was to punish and
torment Christians.

I cannot conclude this short memoir, without observing that the French
romancers, who had borrowed the word _Termagant_ from us, and applied
it as we in their old romances, corrupted it into _Tervagaunte_; and
from them La Fontaine took it up, and has used it more than once in his
tales. This may be added to the other proofs adduced in these volumes
of the great intercourse that formerly subsisted between the old
minstrels and legendary writers of both nations, and that they mutually
borrowed each other's romances.


[420] See a short Memoir at the end of this Ballad, Note [+±+].

[421] Sign C. ii. b.

[422] Sign C. i. b.

[423] Odyss. _a._ 105.

[424] See vol. ii., note subjoined to 1st part of _Beggar of Bednal_,

[425] See the _Essay on the Antient Minstrels_ (Appendix I.)

[426] Even so late as the time of Froissart, we find minstrels and
heralds mentioned together, as those who might securely go into an
enemy's country. Cap. cxl.

[427] _Bartholini Antiq. Dan._ p. 173. _Northern Antiquities_, &c.,
vol. i. pp. 386, 389, &c.

[428] See also the account of Edw. II. in the _Essay on the Minstrels_,
and Note [X].

[429] Ver. 3. brether, f. MS.

[430] [the one.]

[431] V. 10. his brother's hall f. MS.

[432] V. 14. hartilye, f. MS.

[433] He means fit, suitable.

[434] [shining.]

[435] [advise me.]

[436] Ver. 27. many a man ... is, f. MS.

[437] [they got ready?]

[438] [harnessed.]

[439] [garments.]

[440] [leaning.]

[441] V. 46. the king his sonne of Spayn, f. MS.

[442] [refused.]

[443] [she will.]

[444] [pagan.]

[445] [believeth.]

[446] [robe of state.]

[447] [bereave.]

[448] Ver. 89. of the King his sonne of Spaine, f. MS.

[449] [soldiers or knights.]

[450] [stopped.]

[451] _sic_ MS. It should probably be _ryse_, _i.e._ my counsel shall
arise from thee. See ver. 140.

[452] _sic_ MS.

[453] See at the end of this ballad, note [***].

[454] [fond of fighting.]

[455] [gate.]

[456] [he left? _or_ he let be opened?]

[457] Ver. 202. to stable his steede, f. MS.

[458] [lazy or wicked.]

[459] [soldier or fighting man.]

[460] [approach him near.]

[461] _i.e._ entice.

[462] [laughed.]

[463] _i.e._ a tune, or strain of music.

[464] Ver. 253. Some liberties have been taken in the following
stanzas; but wherever this edition differs from the preceding, it hath
been brought nearer to the folio MS.

[465] [quickly.]

[466] [sword.]

[467] [fight.]

[468] [or grammar, and hence used for any abstruse learning.]



                           A SCOTTISH BALLAD,

Is given from two MS. copies transmitted from Scotland. In what age
the hero of this ballad lived, or when this fatal expedition happened
that proved so destructive to the Scots nobles, I have not been
able to discover; yet am of opinion, that their catastrophe is not
altogether without foundation in history, though it has escaped my own
researches. In the infancy of navigation, such as used the northern
seas were very liable to shipwreck in the wintry months: hence a law
was enacted in the reign of James III. (a law which was frequently
repeated afterwards), "That there be na schip frauched out of the realm
with any staple gudes, fra the feast of Simons day and Jude, unto the
feast of the purification of our Lady called Candelmess." _Jam. III.
Parlt. 2, ch. 15._

In some modern copies, instead of Patrick Spence hath been substituted
the name of Sir Andrew Wood, a famous Scottish admiral who flourished
in the time of our Edward IV., but whose story has nothing in common
with this of the ballad. As Wood was the most noted warrior of
Scotland, it is probable that, like the Theban Hercules, he hath
engrossed the renown of other heroes.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [The fact that this glorious ballad was never heard of before
  Percy printed it in 1765, caused some to throw doubts upon its
  authenticity, and their scepticism was strengthened by the note at
  p. 102, which refers to the author of _Hardyknute_. It was thought
  that the likeness in expression and sentiment there mentioned might
  easily be explained if the two poems were both by Lady Wardlaw.
  This view, advocated by Robert Chambers in his general attack on
  the authenticity of all _The Romantic Scottish Ballads_ (1859),
  has not met with much favour, and Professor Child thinks that the
  arguments against the genuineness of _Sir Patrick Spence_ are so
  trivial as hardly to admit of statement. He writes, "If not ancient
  it has been always accepted as such by the most skilful judges,
  and is a solitary instance of a successful imitation in manner
  and spirit of the best specimens of authentic minstrelsy."[469]
  Coleridge, no mean judge of a ballad, wrote--

    "The bard be sure was weather-wise who framed
    The grand old ballad of Sir Patrick Spens."

  Antiquaries have objected that Spence is not an early Scottish
  name, but in this they are wrong, for Professor Aytoun found it in
  a charter of Robert III. and also in Wyntoun's _Chronicle_.

  There has been considerable discussion as to the historical event
  referred to in the ballad, and the present version does not contain
  any mention of one of the points that may help towards a settlement
  of the question. The version in Scott's _Minstrelsy_ contains the
  following stanza:--

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

P  rofessor Aytoun would change the third line to

    "The king's daughter _to_ Noroway,"

  as he agrees with Motherwell in the view that the ballad refers
  to the fate of the Scottish nobles who in 1281 conveyed Margaret,
  daughter of Alexander III., to Norway, on the occasion of her
  nuptials with King Eric.

  Fordun relates this incident as follows:--"In the year 1281
  Margaret, daughter of Alexander III., was married to the King of
  Norway, who, leaving Scotland in the last day of July, was conveyed
  thither in noble style in company with many knights and nobles. In
  returning home after the celebration of her nuptials, the Abbot of
  Balmerinoch, Bernard of Monte-alto, and many other persons, were
  drowned." As to the scene of the disaster, Aytoun brings forward an
  interesting illustration of the expression "half over to Aberdour,"
  in line 41. He says that in the little island of Papa Stronsay one
  of the Orcadian group lying over against Norway, there is a large
  grave or tumulus which has been known to the inhabitants from time
  immemorial as "the grave of Sir Patrick Spens," and he adds, that
  as the Scottish ballads were not early current in Orkney, it is
  unlikely that the poem originated the name.

  The other suggestions as to an historical basis for the ballad
  are not borne out by history. It is well, however, to note in
  illustration of line 1, that the Scottish kings chiefly resided in
  their palace of Dunfermline from the time of Malcolm Canmore to
  that of Alexander III.

  The present copy of the ballad is the shortest of the various
  versions, but this is not a disadvantage, as it gains much in force
  by the directness of its language.

  Buchan prints a ballad called _Young Allan_, which is somewhat like
  _Sir Patrick Spence_.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    The king sits in Dumferling toune,
      Drinking the blude-reid wine:
    O quhar will I get guid sailòr,
      To sail this schip of mine?

    Up and spak an eldern knicht,                                      5
      Sat at the kings richt kne:
    Sir Patrick Spence is the best sailòr,
      That sails upon the se.

    The king has written a braid letter,[470]
      And signd it wi' his hand;                                      10
    And sent it to Sir Patrick Spence,
      Was walking on the sand.

    The first line that Sir Patrick red,
      A loud lauch lauched he:
    The next line that Sir Patrick red,                               15
      The teir blinded his ee.

    O quha is this has don this deid,
      This ill deid don to me;
    To send me out this time o'the yeir,
      To sail upon the se?                                            20

    Mak hast, mak haste, my mirry men all,
      Our guid schip sails the morne.[471]
    O say na sae, my master deir,
      For I feir a deadlie storme.

    Late late yestreen I saw the new moone                            25
      Wi' the auld moone in hir arme;
    And I feir, I feir, my deir mastèr,
      That we will com to harme.

    O our Scots nobles wer richt laith[472]
      To weet their cork-heild schoone;[473]                          30
    Bot lang owre[474] a' the play wer playd,
      Thair hats they swam aboone.[475]

    O lang, lang, may thair ladies sit
      Wi' thair fans into their hand,
    Or eir they se Sir Patrick Spence                                 35
      Cum sailing to the land.

    O lang, lang, may the ladies stand
      Wi' thair gold kems[476] in their hair,
    Waiting for thair ain deir lords,
      For they'll se thame na mair.                                   40

    Have owre,[477] have owre to Aberdour,[478]
      It's fiftie fadom deip:
    And thair lies guid Sir Patrick Spence,
      Wi' the Scots lords at his feit.[479]


[469] [_English and Scottish Ballads_, vol. iii. p. 149.]

[470] _A braid letter_, _i.e._ open, or patent; in opposition to close

[471] [to-morrow morning.]

[472] [loth.]

[473] [to wet their cork-heeled shoes.]

[474] [long ere.]

[475] [above the water.]

[476] [combs.]

[477] [half over.]

[478] A village lying upon the river Forth, the entrance to which is
sometimes denominated _De mortuo mari_.

[Finlay observes that Percy's note is incorrect. The truth is that De
Mortuo Mari is the designation of a family (Mortimer) who were lords of
Aberdour. They are believed to have received their name from the Dead
Sea, in Palestine, during the times of the Crusades.]

[479] An ingenious friend thinks the author of _Hardyknute_ has
borrowed several expressions and sentiments from the foregoing and
other old Scottish songs in this collection.



We have here a ballad of Robin Hood (from the editor's folio MS.) which
was never before printed, and carries marks of much greater antiquity
than any of the common popular songs on this subject.

The severity of those tyrannical forest laws that were introduced by
our Norman kings, and the great temptation of breaking them by such
as lived near the royal forests at a time when the yeomanry of this
kingdom were everywhere trained up to the long-bow, and excelled all
other nations in the art of shooting, must constantly have occasioned
great numbers of outlaws, and especially of such as were the best
marksmen. These naturally fled to the woods for shelter, and, forming
into troops, endeavoured by their numbers to protect themselves from
the dreadful penalties of their delinquency. The ancient punishment for
killing the king's deer was loss of eyes and castration, a punishment
far worse than death. This will easily account for the troops of
banditti which formerly lurked in the royal forests, and, from their
superior skill in archery and knowledge of all the recesses of those
unfrequented solitudes, found it no difficult matter to resist or elude
the civil power.

Among all those, none was ever more famous than the hero of
this ballad, whose chief residence was in Shirewood forest, in
Nottinghamshire, and the heads of whose story, as collected by Stow,
are briefly these.

"In this time [about the year 1190, in the reign of Richard I.] were
many robbers, and outlawes, among the which Robin Hood, and Little
John, renowned theeves, continued in woods, despoyling and robbing the
goods of the rich. They killed none but such as would invade them; or
by resistance for their own defence.

"The saide Robert entertained an hundred tall men and good archers with
such spoiles and thefts as he got, upon whom four hundred (were they
ever so strong) durst not give the onset. He suffered no woman to be
oppressed, violated, or otherwise molested: poore mens goods he spared,
abundantlie relieving them with that which by theft he got from abbeys
and the houses of rich carles: whom Maior (the historian) blameth for
his rapine and theft, but of all theeves he affirmeth him to be the
prince, and the most gentle theefe."--_Annals_, p. 159.

The personal courage of this celebrated outlaw, his skill in archery,
his humanity, and especially his levelling principle of taking from
the rich and giving to the poor, have in all ages rendered him the
favourite of the common people, who, not content to celebrate his
memory by innumerable songs and stories, have erected him into the
dignity of an earl. Indeed, it is not impossible but our hero, to
gain the more respect from his followers, or they to derive the more
credit to their profession, may have given rise to such a report
themselves: for we find it recorded in an epitaph, which, if genuine,
must have been inscribed on his tombstone near the nunnery of Kirklees
in Yorkshire; where (as the story goes) he was bled to death by a
treacherous nun to whom he applied for phlebotomy:--

        "Hear undernead dis laitl stean
    lai[gh] robert earl of huntingtun
    nea arcir ver a[gh] hie sae geud
    an pipl kauld im Robin Heud
    sick utlaws as hi an is men
    vil England nivir si agen.
      obiit 24 kal. dekembris. 1247."[480]

This epitaph appears to me suspicious; however, a late antiquary has
given a pedigree of _Robin Hood_, which, if genuine, shows that he had
real pretensions to the Earldom of Huntingdon, and that his true name
was _Robert Fitz-ooth_.[481] Yet the most ancient poems on Robin Hood
make no mention of this earldom. He is expressly asserted to have been
a yeoman[482] in a very old legend in verse, preserved in the archives
of the public library at Cambridge,[483] in eight _fyttes_, or parts,
printed in black letter, quarto, thus inscribed: "¶ Here begynneth a
lytell geste of Robyn hode and his meyne, and of the proude sheryfe of
Notyngham." The first lines are--

        "Lithe and lysten, gentylmen,
    That be of fre-bore blode:
    I shall you tell of a good _yeman_,
    His name was Robyn hode.

        "Robyn was a proude out-lawe,
    Whiles he walked on grounde;
    So curteyse an outlawe as he was one,
    Was never none yfounde," &c.

The printer's colophon is, "¶ Explicit Kinge Edwarde and Robin hode
and Lyttel Johan. Enprented at London in Flete-strete at the sygne of
the sone by Wynkin de Worde." In Mr. Garrick's Collection[484] is a
different edition of the same poem, "¶ Imprinted at London upon the
thre Crane wharfe by Wyllyam Copland," containing at the end a little
dramatic piece on the subject of Robin Hood and the Friar, not found in
the former copy, called, "A newe playe for to be played in Maye games
very plesaunte and full of pastyme. ¶([···])[r¶]."

I shall conclude these preliminary remarks with observing, that the
hero of this ballad was the favourite subject of popular songs so early
as the time of King Edward III. In the _Visions of Pierce Plowman_,
written in that reign, a monk says:--

    "I can rimes of Roben Hod, and Randal of Chester,
    But of our Lorde and our Lady, I lerne nothyng at all."

                                                      Fol. 26, ed. 1550.

See also in Bishop Latimer's _Sermons_[485] a very curious and
characteristic story, which shows what respect was shown to the memory
of our archer in the time of that prelate.

The curious reader will find many other particulars relating to this
celebrated outlaw, in Sir John Hawkins's _Hist. of Music_, vol. iii. p.
410, 4to.

For the catastrophe of Little John, who, it seems, was executed for a
robbery on Arbor-hill, Dublin (with some curious particulars relating
to his skill in archery), see Mr. J. C. Walker's ingenious _Memoir
on the Armour and Weapons of the Irish_, p. 129, annexed to his
_Historical Essay on the Dress of the Ancient and Modern Irish_.
Dublin, 1788, 4to.

Some liberties were, by the editor, taken with this ballad; which, in
this edition, hath been brought nearer to the folio MS.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [Robin Hood is first mentioned in literature in _Piers Plowman_,
  the earliest of the three forms of which poem was written probably
  about the year 1362. The ballad of _Robin Hood and the Monk_,
  printed in Child's _English and Scottish Ballads_, as the oldest
  of its class, and possibly as old as the reign of Edward II.,

    "In somer when the shawes be sheyne
      And leves be large and longe
    Hit is full mery in feyre foreste
      To here the foulys song."

  Verses which bear a strong likeness to the opening lines of the
  present ballad.

  Gisborne is a market town in the West Riding of the county of York
  on the borders of Lancashire, and Guy of that place is mentioned by
  William Dunbar in a satirical piece on "Schir Thomas Nory," where
  he is named in company with Adam Bell and other well-known worthies.

  It is not needful to extend this note with any further particulars
  of Robin Hood, as he possesses, in virtue of his position as a
  popular hero, a literature of his own. Those who wish to know more
  of his exploits should consult Ritson's (1795) and Gutch's (1847)
  Collections of _Robin Hood Ballads_, Child's _Ballads_, vol. v. and
  Chappell's _Popular Music of the Olden Time_, vol. i. pp. 387-400.

  There are several Robin Hood Ballads in the folio MS., but Percy
  only chose the one containing an account of the encounter with
  Guy for printing. Ritson copied this ballad from Percy's book,
  but indulged at the same time in a tirade against the bishop's
  treatment of his original.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    When shaws beene sheene,[486] and shradds[487] full fayre,[488]
      And leaves both large and longe,
    Itt is merrye walking in the fayre forrèst
      To heare the small birdes songe.[489]

    The woodweele[490] sang, and wold not cease,[491]                  5
      [Sitting upon the spraye,[492]
    Soe lowde, he wakened Robin Hood,[492]
      In the greenwood where he lay.[492]

    Now by my faye,[493] sayd jollye Robìn,[492]
      A sweaven[494] I had this night;[492]                           10
    I dreamt me of tow wighty[495] yemen,[492]
      That fast with me can fight.][492]

    Methought they did mee beate and binde,
      And tooke my bow mee froe;[496]
    If I be Robin alive in this lande,                                15
      Ile be wroken[497] on them towe.

    Sweavens are swift, Master, quoth John,
      As the wind that blowes ore a hill;
    For if itt be never so loude this night,
      To-morrow itt may be still.                                     20

    Buske yee, bowne yee,[498] my merry men all,
      And John shall goe with mee,
    For Ile goe seeke yond wight yeomen,
      In greenwood where thé bee.

    Thé cast on their gownes of grene,                                25
      [And tooke theyr bowes each one;
    And they away to the greene forrèst]
      A shooting forth are gone;[499]

    Untill they came to the merry greenwood,
      Where they had gladdest bee,                                    30
    There were thé ware[500] of a wight yeomàn,
      His body leaned to a tree.

    A sword and a dagger he wore by his side,
      Of manye a man the bane;[501]
    And he was clad in his capull hyde[502]                           35
      Topp and tayll and mayne.

    Stand you still, master, quoth Litle John,
      Under this tree so grene,
    And I will go to yond wight yeoman
      To know what he doth meane.[503]                                40

    Ah! John, by me thou settest noe store,
      And that I farley[504] finde:[505]
    How offt send I my men beffore,
      And tarry my selfe behinde?

    It is no cunning a knave to ken,                                  45
      And a man but heare him speake;
    And itt were not for bursting of my bowe,
      John, I thy head wold breake.

    As often wordes they breeden bale,[506]
      So they parted Robin and John;                                  50
    And John is gone to Barnesdale:
      The gates[507] he knoweth eche one.

    But when he came to Barnesdale,
      Great heavinesse there hee hadd,
    For he found tow of his owne fellòwes                             55
      Were slaine both in a slade.[508]

    And Scarlette he was flyinge a-foote
      Fast over stocke and stone,
    For the sheriffe with seven score men
      Fast after him is gone.                                         60

    One shoote now I will shoote, quoth John,[509]
      With Christ his might and mayne;
    Ile make yond fellow that flyes soe fast,
      To stopp he shall be fayne.[510]

    Then John bent up his long bende-bowe,[511]                       65
      And fetteled[512] him to shoote:
    The bow was made of a tender boughe,
      And fell downe to his foote.

    Woe worth, woe worth thee, wicked wood,[513]
      That ere thou grew on a tree;                                   70
    For now this day thou art my bale,
      My boote[514] when thou shold bee.

    His shoote it was but loosely shott,
      Yet flewe not the arrowe in vaine,[515]
    For itt mett one of the sherriffes men,                           75
      Good William a Trent was slaine.

    It had bene better of William a Trent
      To have bene abed with sorrowe,[516]
    Than to be that day in the green wood slade[517]
      To meet with Little Johns arrowe.[518]                          80

    But as it is said, when men be mett
      Fyve can doe more than three,[519]
    The sheriffe hath taken little John,[520]
      And bound him fast to a tree.

    Thou shalt be drawen by dale and downe,                           85
      And hanged hye on a hill.
    But thou mayst fayle of thy purpose, quoth John,[521]
      If itt be Christ his will.[522]

    Let us leave talking of Litle John,
      And thinke of Robin Hood,[523]                                  90
    How he is gone to the wight yeomàn,
      Where under the leaves he stood.

    Good morrowe, good fellowe, sayd Robin so fayre,[524]
      "Good morrowe, good fellow, quoth he:"
    Methinkes by this bowe thou beares in thy hande                   95
      A good archere thou sholdst bee.[525]

    I am wilfull[526] of my waye, quo' the yeman,[527]
      And of my morning tyde.
    Ile lead thee through the wood, sayd Robin;
      Good fellow, Ile be thy guide.                                 100

    I seeke an outlàwe, the straunger sayd,[528]
      Men call him Robin Hood;
    Rather Ild meet with that proud outlàwe[529]
      Than fortye pound soe good.[529]

    [Now come with me, thou wighty yeman,[530]                       105
      And Robin thou soone shalt see:[530]
    But first let us some pastime find[530]
      Under the greenwood tree.][530]

    First let us some masterye[531] make[532]
      Among the woods so even,[532]                                  110
    Wee may chance to meet with Robin Hood
      Here att some unsett steven.[533]

    They cutt them downe two summer shroggs,[534]
      That grew both under a breere,[535]
    And sett them threescore rood in twaine                          115
      To shoote the prickes[536] y-fere.[537]

    Leade on, good fellowe, quoth Robin Hood,[538]
      Leade on, I doe bidd thee.
    Nay by my faith, good fellowe, hee sayd,[539]
      My leader thou shalt bee.[540]                                 120

    The first time Robin shot at the pricke,[541]
      He mist but an inch it froe:[541]
    The yeoman he was an archer good,[541]
      But he cold never shoote soe.

    The second shoote had the wightye yeman,[542]                    125
      He shote within the garlànde:[543]
    But Robin he shott far better than hee,
      For he clave the good pricke wande.[544]

    A blessing upon thy heart, he sayd;[545]
      Good fellowe, thy shooting is goode;                           130
    For an thy hart be as good as thy hand,
      Thou wert better then Robin Hoode.

    Now tell me thy name, good fellowe, sayd he,[546]
      Under the leaves of lyne.[547]
    Nay by my faith, quoth bolde Robìn,[548]                         135
      Till thou have told me thine.[549]

    I dwell by dale and downe, quoth hee,
      And Robin to take Ime sworne;
    And when I am called by my right name
      I am Guye of good Gisbòrne.                                    140

    My dwelling is in this wood, sayes Robin,
      By thee I set right nought:
    I am Robin Hood of Barnèsdale,
      Whom thou so long hast sought.[550]

    He that had neither beene kithe nor kin,                         145
      Might have seene a full fayre sight,
    To see how together these yeomen went
      With blades both browne[551] and bright.

    To see how these yeomen together they fought[552]
      Two howres of a summers day:                                   150
    Yett neither Robin Hood nor sir Guy[553]
      Them fettled to flye away.

    Robin was reachles[554] on a roote,
      And stumbled at that tyde;
    And Guy was quicke and nimble with-all,                          155
      And hitt him ore the left side.

    Ah deere Lady, sayd Robin Hood, tho
      That art both mother and may',[555]
    I think it was never mans destinye
      To dye before his day.                                         160

    Robin thought on our ladye deere,
      And soone leapt up againe,
    And strait he came with a "backward" stroke,[556]
      And he sir Guy hath slayne.[557]

    He took sir Guys head by the hayre,                              165
      And sticked itt on his bowes end:
    Thou hast beene a traytor all thy liffe,
      Which thing must have an ende.

    Robin pulled forth an Irish kniffe,
      And nicked sir Guy in the face,                                170
    That he was never on woman born,
      Cold tell whose head it was.[558]

    Saies, Lye there, lye there, now sir Guye,[559]
      And with me be not wrothe;
    If thou have had the worse strokes at my hand,                   175
      Thou shalt have the better clothe.

    Robin did off his gowne of greene,
      And on sir Guy did it throwe,
    And hee put on that capull hyde,
      That cladd him topp to toe.                                    180

    The bowe, the arrowes, and little horne,
      Now with me I will beare;[560]
    For I will away to Barnèsdale,
      To see how my men doe fare.

    Robin Hood sett Guyes home to his mouth,                         185
      And a loud blast in it did blow.
    That beheard the sheriffe of Nottingham,
      As he leaned under a lowe.[561]

    Hearken, hearken, sayd the sheriffe,
      I heare nowe tydings good,                                     190
    For yonder I heare sir Guyes horne blowe,
      And he hath slaine Robin Hoode.

    Yonder I heare sir Guyes horne blowe,
      Itt blowes soe well in tyde,
    And yonder comes that wightye yeoman,                            195
      Cladd in his capull hyde.

    Come hyther, come hyther, thou good sir Guy,
      Aske what thou wilt of mee.
    O I will none of thy gold, sayd Robin,[562]
      Nor I will none of thy fee:                                    200

    But now I have slaine the master, he sayes,
      Let me go strike the knave;
    This is all the rewarde I aske;
      Nor noe other will I have.

    Thou art a madman, said the sheriffe,                            205
      Thou sholdest have had a knights fee:
    But seeing thy asking hath beene soe bad,
      Well granted it shale be.

    When Litle John heard his master speake,
      Well knewe he it was his steven:[563]                          210
    Now shall I be looset, quoth Litle John,
      With Christ his might in heaven.

    Fast Robin hee hyed him to Little John,
      He thought to loose him belive;[564]
    The sheriffe and all his companye                                215
      Fast after him did drive.

    Stand abacke, stand abacke, sayd Robin;
      Why draw you mee soe neere?
    Itt was never the use in our countryè,
      Ones shrift another shold heere.                               220

    But Robin pulled forth an Irysh kniffe,
      And losed John hand and foote,
    And gave him sir Guyes bow into his hand,
      And bade it be his boote.[565]

    Then John he took Guyes bow in his hand,[566]                    225
      His boltes and arrowes eche one:
    When the sheriffe saw Little John bend his bow,
      He fettled him to be gone.

    Towards his house in Nottingham towne,[567]
      He fled full fast away;                                        230
    And soe did all his companye:
      Not one behind wold stay.

    But he cold neither runne soe fast,[568]
      Nor away soe fast cold ryde,[568]
    But Litle John with an arrowe soe broad,[568]                    235
      He shott him into the 'backe'-syde.[568]

       *       *       *       *       *

  [***] The title of _Sir_ was not formerly peculiar to knights, it
  was given to priests, and sometimes to very inferior personages.

  Dr. Johnson thinks this title was applied to such as had taken
  the degree of A. B. in the universities, who are still stiled,
  _Domini_, "Sirs," to distinguish them from Undergraduates, who have
  no prefix, and from Masters of Arts, who are stiled _Magistri_,


[480] See Thoresby's _Ducat. Leod._ p. 576. _Biog. Brit._ vi. 3933.

[481] Stukeley, in his _Palæographia Britannica_, No. II. 1746.

[482] See also the following ballad, v. 147.

[483] Num. D. 5. 2.

[484] _Old Plays_, 4to. K. vol. x.

[485] Ser. 6th before K. Ed. Apr. 12. fol. 75, Gilpin's _Life of Lat._,
p. 122.

[486] [when woods are bright.]

[487] [twigs.]

[488] [Ver. 1. shales, f. MS.]

[489] [V. 4. birds singe, f. MS.]

[490] [woodpecker or thrush.]

[491] [V. 5. woodweete, f. MS.]

[492] [In place of ver. 6-12 between brackets the f. MS. has--

    "Amongst the leaves a lyne
    [*       *       *       *       *]
    And it is by two wight yeomen
    By deare God that I meane."]

[493] [faith.]

[494] [dream.]

[495] [strong.]

[496] [from me.]

[497] [revenged.]

[498] [dress ye, get ye ready.]

[499] [Ver. 28. a shooting gone are they, f. MS.]

[500] [were they aware.]

[501] [V. 34. had beene many a mans bane, f. MS.]

[502] [horse-hide.]

[503] [V. 40. to know his meaning trulye, f. MS.]

[504] [strange.]

[505] [V. 42. and thats a ffarley thinge, f. MS.]

[506] [breed mischief.]

[507] _i.e._ ways, passes, paths, ridings. _Gate_ is a common word in
the north for _way_.

[508] [greensward between two woods.]

[509] [Ver. 61. yet one shoote I'le shoote, says Little John, f. MS.]

[510] [V. 64. to be both glad & ffaine, f. MS.]

[511] [V. 65. John bent up a good veiwe bowe, f. MS.]

[512] [prepared.]

[513] [V. 69. woe worth thee, wicked wood, says litle John, f. MS.]

[514] help.

[515] [Ver. 74. the arrowe flew in vaine, f. MS.]

[516] [V. 78. to hange upon a gallowe, f. MS.]

[517] [V. 79. then for to lye in the green-woode, f. MS.]

[518] [V. 80. there slaine with an arrowe, f. MS.]

[519] [V. 82. 6 can doe more then 3, f. MS.]

[520] [V. 83. and they have tane litle John, f. MS.]

[521] [V. 87. But thou may ffayle, quoth litle John, f. MS.]

[522] [V. 88. If itt be christ's own will, f. MS.]

[523] [V. 90-92. in place of these three verses the f. MS. has:--

    "for hee is bound fast to a tree,
    and talke of Guy and Robin Hood
    In they green woode where they bee
    [how these two yeomen together they mett
      under the leaves of Lyne,
    to see what marchandise they made
      even at that same time."]]

[524] [Ver. 93. good morrow, good fellow! quoth Sir Guy, f. MS.]

[525] [V. 96. a good archer thou seems to bee, f. MS.]

[526] [ignorant.]

[527] [V. 97. quoth Sir Guye, f. MS.]

[528] [V. 101. I seeke an outlaw, quoth Sir Guye, f. MS.]

[529] [V. 103-4.--

    "I had rather meet with him upon a day
    Then 40li. of golde."]

[530] [V. 105-8. in place of these four verses the f. MS. has--

    "Iff you tow mett itt wold be seene whether were better
      afore yee did part awaye;
    Let us some other pastime find,
      good ffellow, I thee pray:"]

[531] [trial of skill.]

[532] [V. 109-10.

    "Let us some other masteryes make,
    and wee will walke in the woods even," f. MS.]

[533] [at a time not previously appointed.]

[534] [shrubs.]

[535] [briar.]

[536] [mark in the centre of the target.]

[537] [Ver. 116. prickes full near, f. MS.]

[538] [V. 117. sayd Sir Guye, f. MS.]

[539] [V. 119. nay by my faith, quoth Robin Hood, f. MS.]

[540] [V. 120. the leader, f. MS.]

[541] [V. 121-23:--

    "the first good shoot that Robin ledd
    did not shoote an inch the pricke ffroe.
    Guy was an archer good enoughe."]

[542] [V. 125. the 2nd shoote Sir Guy shott.]

[543] [the ring within which the prick was set.]

[544] [pole.]

[545] [V. 129. gods blessing on thy heart! sayes Guye.]

[546] [Ver. 133. tell me thy name, good fellow, quoth Guy.]

[547] [lime.]

[548] [V. 135. good robin.]

[549] [V. 136-140:--

    "I dwell by dale and downe, quoth Guye,
    and I have done many a curst turne;
    and he that calles me by my right name,
    calles me Guy of good Gysborne."]

[550] V. 144. a ffellow thou hast long sought.

[551] The common epithet for a sword or other offensive weapon, in the
old metrical romances is _Brown_, as "brown brand," or "brown sword,"
"brown bill," &c., and sometimes even "bright brown sword." Chaucer
applies the word _rustie_ in the same sense; thus he describes the

    "And by his side he bare a rusty blade."

    _Prol._ ver. 620.

And even thus the God _Mars_:--

    "And in his hand he had a rousty sword."

    _Test. of Cressid._ 188

Spenser has sometimes used the same epithet. See Warton's _Observ._
vol. ii. p. 62. It should seem, from this particularity, that our
ancestors did not pique themselves upon keeping their weapons bright:
perhaps they deemed it more honourable to carry them stained with the
blood of their enemies. [As the swords are here said to be bright as
well as brown, they could not have been rusty. The expression nut-brown
sword was used to designate a Damascus blade.]

[552] [Ver. 149. "to have seen how these yeomen together fought."]

[553] [V. 151-2:--

    "itt was neither Guy nor Robin Hood
    that ffettled them to flye away."]

[554] [careless.]

[555] [maid.]

[556] V. 163. awkwarde, MS.

[557] [V. 164. "good sir Guy hee has slayne," f. MS.]

[558] [Ver. 172. cold tell who Sir Guye was.]

[559] [V. 173. good Sir Guye.]

[560] [V. 182:--

    "and with me now Ile beare
    ffor now I will goe to Barnesdale," f. MS.]

[561] [small hill.]

[562] [Ver. 199:--

    "Ile none of thy gold, sayes Robin Hood
    nor Ile none of itt have," f. MS.]

[563] [voice.]

[564] [quickly.]

[565] [help.]

[566] [Ver. 225-8:--

    "But John tooke Guyes bow in his hand,
      his arrowes were rawstye by the roote;
    the sherriffe saw little John draw a bow
      and ffettle him to shoote."]

[567] [V. 229. Towards his house in Nottingham.]

[568] [V. 233-6:--

    "But he cold neither soe fast goe,
      nor away soe fast runn,
    but litle John with an arrow broade
      did cleave his head in twinn," f. MS.]




The subject of this poem, which was written by _Skelton_, is the death
of _Henry Percy_, fourth earl of Northumberland, who fell a victim to
the avarice of Henry VII. In 1489 the parliament had granted the king
a subsidy for carrying on the war in Bretagne. This tax was found so
heavy in the North, that the whole country was in a flame. The E. of
Northumberland, then lord lieutenant for Yorkshire, wrote to inform
the king of the discontent, and praying an abatement. But nothing is
so unrelenting as avarice: the king wrote back that not a penny should
be abated. This message being delivered by the earl with too little
caution, the populace rose, and, supposing him to be the promoter of
their calamity, broke into his house, and murdered him, with several
of his attendants, who yet are charged by Skelton with being backward
in their duty on this occasion. This melancholy event happened at the
earl's seat at Cocklodge, near Thirske, in Yorkshire, April 28, 1489.
See Lord Bacon, &c.

If the reader does not find much poetical merit in this old poem (which
yet is one of Skelton's best), he will see a striking picture of the
state and magnificence kept up by our ancient nobility during the
feudal times. This great earl is described here as having, among his
menial servants, _knights_, _squires_, and even _barons_: see v. 32.
183. &c. which, however different from modern manners, was formerly not
unusual with our greater barons, whose castles had all the splendour
and offices of a royal court before the laws against retainers abridged
and limited the number of their attendants.

_John Skelton_, who commonly styled himself Poet Laureat, died June 21,
1529. The following poem, which appears to have been written soon after
the event, is printed from an ancient MS. copy preserved in the British
Museum, being much more correct than that printed among _Skelton's
Poems_ in bl. let. 12mo. 1568.--It is addressed to Henry Percy, fifth
earl of Northumberland, and is prefaced, &c. in the following manner:


    Ad dominum properato meum mea pagina Percy,
      Qui Northumbrorum jura paterna gerit,
    Ad nutum celebris tu prona repone leonis,
      Quæque suo patri tristia justa cano.
    Ast ubi perlegit, dubiam sub mente volutet
      Fortunam, cuncta quæ male fida rotat.
    Qui leo sit felix, & Nestoris occupet annos;
      Ad libitum cujus ipse paratus ero.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [Percy does not do justice to Skelton's poetical powers in the
  above note, as this _Elegy_ is written in a style not at all
  characteristic of him and is also far from being one of his best
  poems. Skelton was one of the earliest personal satirists in our
  language, and he flew at high game when he attacked the powerful
  Wolsey with fierce invective, in his "Why come ye nat to courte?"
  His _Boke of Phyllyp Sparrowe_ is described by Coleridge as "an
  exquisite and original poem," and its subject entitles him to the
  designation of the modern Catullus. It was very popular in his day,
  and the nursery rhyme of _Who killed Cock robin?_ was probably
  paraphrased from the portion of the poem in which the funeral of
  the sparrow is related. Skelton was a distinguished scholar and his
  earlier poems are written in the serious strain of the _Elegy_,
  but curiously enough about the time that he took orders (1498)
  and became rector of Diss in Norfolk, he began to write in a more
  natural, frolicsome and satirical vein, and adopted the metre now
  known as Skeltonian. He was not very particular as to the words he
  used, but he does not deserve the opprobrious epithet that Pope
  applies to him in the couplet--

    "Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learned by rote,
    And beastly Skelton heads of houses quote."

  Skelton graduated as poet laureate at the two Universities
  of Oxford and Cambridge, and the King allowed him to wear an
  appropriate decoration at court. There is a full length portrait
  of the poet in Brydges' _British Bibliographer_ (vol. iv. p. 389),
  taken from one on the back of the title of _A ryght delectable
  tratyse upon a goodly Garlande or Chaplet of Laurell by Mayster
  Skelton, Poete laureat_.

  The Rev. Alexander Dyce published the first complete collected
  edition of Skelton's Poetical Works in 1843 (2 vols. 8vo.)]

       *       *       *       *       *


    I wayle, I wepe, I sobbe, I sigh ful sore
      The dedely fate, the dolefulle destenny
    Of him that is gone, alas! withoute restore,
      Of the blode[569] royall descendinge nobelly;
      Whos lordshepe doutles was slayne lamentably                     5
    Thorow treson ageyn[570] hym compassyd and wrought;
    Trew to his prince, in word, in dede, and thought.

    Of hevenly poems, O Clyo calde by name
      In the college of musis goddess hystoriall,
    Adres the to me, whiche am both halt and lame                     10
      In elect uteraunce to make memoryall:
      To the for soccour, to the for helpe I call
    Myne homely rudnes and drighnes to expelle
    With the freshe waters of Elyconys[571] welle.

    Of noble actes auncyently enrolde,                                15
      Of famous princis and lordes of astate,[572]
    By thy report ar wonte to be extold,
      Regestringe trewly every formare date;
      Of thy bountie after the usuall rate,
    Kyndle in me suche plenty of thy noblès,[573]                     20
    Thes sorrowfulle dities that I may shew expres.

    In sesons past who hathe harde or sene
      Of formar writinge by any presidente
    That vilane hastarddis[574] in ther furious tene,[575]
      Fulfyld with malice of froward entente,                         25
      Confeterd[576] togeder of commoun concente
    Falsly to slo[577] ther moste singular goode lorde?
    It may be registerde of shamefull recorde.

    So noble a man, so valiaunt lorde and knight,
      Fulfilled with honor, as all the worlde dothe ken;              30
    At his commaundement, whiche had both day and night
      Knyghtis and squyers, at every season when
      He calde upon them, as menyall houshold men:
    Were no thes commones uncurteis karlis of kynde[578]
    To slo their owne lorde? God was not in their minde.              35

    And were not they to blame, I say also,
      That were aboute hym, his owne servants of trust,
    To suffre hym slayn of his mortall fo?
      Fled away from hym, let hym ly in the dust:
      They bode[579] not till the rekening were discust.              40
    What shuld I flatter? what shulde I glose[580] or paynt?
    Fy, fy for shame, their harts wer to faint.

    In Englande and Fraunce, which gretly was redouted;[581]
      Of whom both Flaunders and Scotland stode in drede;
    To whome grete astates obeyde and lowttede;[582]                  45
      A mayny[583] of rude villayns made him for to blede:
      Unkindly they slew hym, that holp them oft at nede:
    He was their bulwark, their paves,[584] and their wall,
    Yet shamfully they slew hym; that shame mot[585] them befal.

    I say, ye commoners, why wer ye so stark mad?                     50
      What frantyk frensy fyll[586] in youre brayne?
    Where was your wit and reson, ye shuld have had?
      What willfull foly made yow to ryse agayne[587]
      Your naturall lord? alas! I can not fayne.
    Ye armed you with will, and left your wit behynd;                 55
    Well may you be called comones most unkynd.

    He was your chyfteyne, your shelde, your chef defence,
      Redy to assyst you in every tyme of nede:
    Your worship[588] depended of his excellence:
      Alas! ye mad men, to far ye did excede:                         60
      Your hap was unhappy, to ill was your spede:
    What movyd you agayn hym to war or to fight?
    What aylde you to sle your lord agyn all right?

    The grounde of his quarel was for his sovereyn lord,
      The welle concernyng of all the hole lande,                     65
    Demaundyng soche dutyes as nedis most acord
      To the right of his prince which shold not be withstand;
      For whos cause ye slew hym with your awne hande:
    But had his nobill men done wel that day,
    Ye had not been hable to have saide him nay.                      70

    But ther was fals packinge,[589] or els I am begylde:
      How-be-it the matter was evident and playne,
    For yf they had occupied[590] ther spere and ther shelde,
      This noble man doutles had not be slayne.
      Bot men say they wer lynked with a double chayn,                75
    And held with the commouns under a cloke,
    Whiche kindeled the wyld fyre that made all this smoke.

    The commouns renyed[591] ther taxes to pay
      Of them demaunded and asked by the kinge;
    With one voice importune, they playnly said nay:                  80
      They buskt them on a bushment[592] themself in baile[593] to bringe:
      Agayne the kings plesure to wrastle or to wringe,[594]
    Bluntly as bestis withe boste[595] and with cry
    They saide, they forsede[596] not, nor carede not to dy.

    The noblenes of the northe this valiant lorde and knyght,         85
      As man that was innocent of trechery or trayne,
    Presed forthe boldly to witstand the myght,
      And, lyke marciall Hector, he fauht them agayne,
      Vigorously upon them with myght and with mayne,
    Trustinge in noble men that wer with hym there:                   90
    Bot all they fled from hym for falshode or fere.

    Barons, knights, squyers, one and alle,
      Togeder with servaunts of his famuly,
    Turnid their backis, and let ther master fall,
      Of whos [life] they counted not a flye;                         95
      Take up whos wolde for them, they let hym ly.
    Alas! his golde, his fee, his annuall rente
    Upon suche a sort[597] was ille bestowde and spent.

    He was envyronde aboute on every syde
      Withe his enemys, that were stark mad and wode;[598]           100
    Yet whils he stode he gave them woundes wyde:
      Alas for routhe![599] what thouche his mynde were goode,
      His corage manly, yet ther he shed his bloode!
    All left alone, alas! he fawte in vayne;
    For cruelly amonge them ther he was slayne.                      105

    Alas for pite! that Percy thus was spylt,[600]
      The famous erle of Northumberlande:
    Of knightly prowès the sworde pomel and hylt,
      The myghty lyoun[601] doutted[602] by se and lande!
      O dolorous chaunce of fortuns fruward hande!                   110
    What man remembring how shamfully he was slayne,
    From bitter weepinge hymself kan restrayne?

    O cruell Mars, thou dedly god of war!
      O dolorous teusday, dedicate to thy name,
    When thou shoke thy sworde so noble a man to mar!                115
      O grounde ungracious, unhappy be thy fame,
      Whiche wert endyed with rede blode of the same!
    Moste noble erle! O fowle mysuryd[603] grounde
    Whereon he gat his fynal dedely wounde!

    O Atropos, of the fatall systers thre,                           120
      Goddes mooste cruell unto the lyf of man,
    All merciles, in the ys no pitè!
      O homycide, whiche sleest[604] all that thou kan,
      So forcibly upon this erle thow ran,
    That with thy sworde enharpid[605] of mortall drede,             125
    Thou kit[606] asonder his perfight[607] vitall threde!

    My wordis unpullysht be nakide and playne,
      Of aureat[608] poems they want ellumynynge;[609]
    Bot by them to knoulege ye may attayne
      Of this lordis dethe and of his murdrynge.                     130
      Which whils he lyvyd had fuyson[610] of every thing,
    Of knights, of squyers, chef lord of toure and toune,
    Tyl fykkill[611] fortune began on hym to frowne.

    Paregall[612] to dukis, with kings he myght compare,
      Surmountinge in honor all erls he did excede,                  135
    To all cuntreis aboute hym reporte[613] me I dare.
      Lyke to Eneas benygne in worde and dede,
      Valiaunt as Hector in every marciall nede,
    Provydent, discrete, circumspect, and wyse,                      139
    Tyll the chaunce ran agyne him of fortunes duble dyse.

    What nedethe me for to extoll his fame
      With my rude pen enkankerd all with rust?
    Whos noble actis shew worsheply his name,
      Transcendyng far myne homely muse, that must
      Yet sumwhat wright supprisid with hartly lust,[614]            145
    Truly reportinge his right noble astate,
    Immortally whiche is immaculate.

    His noble blode never disteynyd was,
      Trew to his prince for to defende his right,
    Doublenes hatinge, fals maters to compas,                        150
      Treytory[615] and treson he bannesht out of syght,
      With trowth to medle was all his hole delyght,
    As all his kuntrey kan testefy the same:
    To slo suche a lord, alas, it was grete shame.

    If the hole quere[616] of the musis nyne                         155
      In me all onely wer sett and comprisyde,
    Enbrethed with the blast of influence dyvyne,
      As perfightly as could be thought or devysyd;
      To me also allthouche it were promysyde
    Of laureat Phebus holy the eloquence,                            160
    All were to litill for his magnyficence.

    O yonge lyon, bot tender yet of age,[617]
      Grow and encrese, remembre thyn astate,
    God the assyst unto thyn herytage,
      And geve the grace to be more fortunate,                       165
      Agayne rebellyouns arme to make debate.
    And, as the lyoune, whiche is of bestis kinge,
    Unto thy subjectis be kurteis and benyngne.

    I pray God sende the prosperous lyf and long,
      Stabille thy mynde constant to be and fast,                    170
    Right to mayntein, and to resist all wronge:
      All flattringe faytors[618] abhor and from the cast,
      Of foule detraction God kepe the from the blast:
    Let double delinge in the have no place,
    And be not light of credence in no case.                         175

    Wythe hevy chere, with dolorous hart and mynd,
      Eche man may sorrow in his inward thought,
    Thys lords death, whose pere is hard to fynd
      Allgyf[619] Englond and Fraunce were thorow saught.
      Al kings, all princes, all dukes, well they ought              180
    Bothe temporall and spirituall for to complayne
    This noble man, that crewelly was slayne.

    More specially barons, and those knygtes bold,
      And all other gentilmen with hym enterteynd
    In fee, as menyall men of his housold,                           185
      Whom he as lord worsheply manteynd:
      To sorowfull weping they ought to be constreynd,
    As oft as thei call to ther remembraunce,
    Of ther good lord the fate and dedely chaunce.

    O perlese prince of hevyn emperyalle,                            190
      That with one worde formed al thing of noughte;
    Hevyn, hell, and erth obey unto thi kall;
      Which to thy resemblance wondersly hast wrought
      All mankynd, whom thou full dere hast boght,
    With thy blode precious our finaunce[620] thou dyd pay,          195
    And us redemed, from the fendys pray;[621]

    To the pray we, as prince incomperable,
      As thou art of mercy and pite the well,
    Thou bringe unto thy joye etermynable[622]
      The sowle of this lorde from all daunger of hell,              200
      In endles blis with the to byde and dwell
    In thy palace above the orient,
    Where thou art lorde, and God omnipotent.

    O quene of mercy, O lady full of grace,
      Maiden moste pure, and goddis moder dere,                      205
    To sorowfull harts chef comfort and solace,
      Of all women O floure withouten pere,
      Pray to thy son above the starris clere,
    He to vouchesaf by thy mediatioun
    To pardon thy servant, and bringe to salvacion.                  210

    In joy triumphaunt the hevenly yerarchy,[623]
      With all the hole sorte[624] of that glorious place,
    His soule mot[625] receyve into ther company
      Thorowe bounte of hym that formed all solace:
      Well of pite, of mercy, and of grace,                          215
    The father, the son, and the holy goste
    In Trinitate one God of myghts moste.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [+±+] I have placed the foregoing poem of _Skelton's_ before the
  following extract from _Hawes_, not only because it was written
  first, but because I think _Skelton_ is in general to be considered
  as the earlier poet; many of his poems being written long before
  _Hawes's Graunde Amour_.


[569] The mother of Henry, first Earl of Northumberland, was Mary
daughter to Henry E. of Lancaster, whose father Edmond was second
son of K. Henry III.--The mother and wife of the second Earl of
Northumberland were both lineal descendants of K. Edward III.--The
_Percys_ also were lineally descended from the Emperour Charlemagne
and the ancient Kings of France, by his ancestor Josceline de Lovain
(son of Godfrey Duke of Brabant), who took the name of _Percy_ on
marrying the heiress of that house in the reign of Hen. II. Vid. Camden
_Britan._, Edmondson, &c.

[570] [against.]

[571] [Helicons.]

[572] [estate.]

[573] [nobleness.]

[574] [rough fellows.]

[575] [wrath.]

[576] [confederated.]

[577] [slay.]

[578] [churls by nature.]

[579] [abode.]

[580] [gloss over.]

[581] [dreaded.]

[582] [crouched.]

[583] [a number.]

[584] [large shield.]

[585] [may.]

[586] [fell.]

[587] [against.]

[588] [honour.]

[589] [false dealing.]

[590] [used.]

[591] [refused.]

[592] [they prepared themselves for an ambush.]

[593] [trouble.]

[594] [contend.]

[595] [pride.]

[596] [heeded.]

[597] [set.]

[598] [wild.]

[599] [pity.]

[600] [destroyed.]

[601] Alluding to his crest and supporters. _Doutted_ is contracted for

[602] [dreaded.]

[603] [misused, applied to a bad purpose.]

[604] [slayest.]

[605] [hooked or edged.]

[606] [cut.]

[607] [perfect.]

[608] [golden.]

[609] [embellishing.]

[610] [abundance.]

[611] [fickle.]

[612] [equal.]

[613] [refer.]

[614] [overpowered with hearty desire.]

[615] [treachery.]

[616] [whole choir.]

[617] [the earl's son was only eleven years old at the time of his
father's death.]

[618] [deceivers.]

[619] [although.]

[620] [fine or forfeiture.]

[621] [prey of the fiends.]

[622] [interminable.]

[623] [hierarchy.]

[624] [whole company.]

[625] [may.]



The reader has here a specimen of the descriptive powers of _Stephen
Hawes_, a celebrated poet in the reign of Hen. VII. tho' now little
known. It is extracted from an allegorical poem of his (written in
1505.) intitled, _The History of Graunde Amoure and La Bel Pucell,
called the Pastime of Pleasure, &c._ 4to. 1555. See more of Hawes
in _Ath. Ox._ v. 1. p. 6. and Warton's _Observ._ v. 2. p. 105. He
was also author of a book, intitled, _The Temple of Glass. Wrote by
Stephen Hawes, gentleman of the bedchamber to K. Henry VII._ Pr. for
Caxton, 4to. no date.

The following Stanzas are taken from Chap. III. and IV. of the Hist.
above-mentioned. "How Fame departed from Graunde Amoure and left him
with Governaunce and Grace, and how he went to the Tower of Doctrine,
&c."--As we are able to give no small lyric piece of Hawes's, the
reader will excuse the insertion of this extract.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [Most readers will probably be satisfied with the seventy-four
  lines that Percy has extracted from Hawes's long didactic poem,
  but those who wish to read the whole will find it reprinted by
  Mr. Thomas Wright in the fifteenth volume of the Percy Society's
  publications. The account of Rhetorick and the other allegorical
  nullities is weary reading, but the chapter in commendation of
  Gower, Chaucer and the author's master Lydgate, "the chefe orygynal
  of my lernyng," is interesting from a literary point of view. The
  poem was very popular in its own day and passed through several
  editions, and it has found admirers among critics of a later
  age. The Rev. Dr. Hodgson in a letter to Percy, dated Sept. 22,
  1800,[626] speaks of it in very extravagant terms, and regrets that
  it had not then found an editor, as he regarded it "as one of the
  finest poems in our own or any other language." Warton describes
  Hawes as the only writer deserving the name of a poet in the reign
  of Henry VII. and says that "this poem contains no common touches
  of romantic and allegoric fiction." Mr. Wright however looks at it
  as "one of those allegorical writings which were popular with our
  forefathers, but which can now only be looked upon as monuments of
  the bad taste of a bad age." Hawes was a native of Suffolk, but
  the dates of his birth and death are not known. He studied in the
  University of Oxford and afterwards travelled much, becoming "a
  complete master of the French and Italian poetry."]

       *       *       *       *       *

                               CAP. III.

           *       *       *       *       *
    I loked about and saw a craggy roche,
      Farre in the west, neare to the element,
    And as I dyd then unto it approche,
      Upon the toppe I sawe refulgent
      The royal tower of MORALL DOCUMENT,                              5
    Made of fine copper with turrettes fayre and hye,
    Which against Phebus shone so marveylously,

    That for the very perfect bryghtnes
      What of the tower, and of the cleare sunne,
    I could nothyng behold the goodlines                              10
      Of that palaice, whereas Doctrine did wonne:[627]
      Tyll at the last, with mysty wyndes donne,
    The radiant brightnes of golden Phebus
    Auster gan cover with clowde tenebrus.[628]

    Then to the tower I drewe nere and nere,                          15
      And often mused of the great hyghnes
    Of the craggy rocke, which quadrant did appeare:
      But the fayre tower, so much of ryches
      Was all about, sexangled doubtles;
    Gargeyld[629] with grayhoundes, and with manylyons,               20
    Made of fyne golde; with divers sundry dragons.[630]

    The little turrets with ymages of golde
      About was set, whiche with the wynde aye moved.
    Wyth propre vices,[631] the I did well beholde
      About the towers, in sundry wyse they hoved[632]                25
      With goodly pypes, in their mouthes i-tuned,
    That with the wynde they pyped a daunce,
    I-clipped[633] _Amour de la hault plesaunce_.

                                CAP. IV.

    The toure was great and of marvelous wydnes,
      To whyche ther was no way to passe but one,                     30
    Into the toure for to have an intres:[634]
      A grece[635] there was y-chesyled all of stone
      Out of the rocke, on whyche men dyd gone
    Up to the toure, and in lykewyse dyd I
    Wyth bothe the Grayhoundes in my company:[636]                    35

    Tyll that I came unto a ryall gate,
      Where I sawe stondynge the goodly Portres,
    Whiche axed me, from whence I came a-late?
      To whome I gan in every thynge expresse
      All myne adventure, chaunce, and busynesse,                     40
    And eke my name; I tolde her every dell:
    Whan she herde this, she lyked me right well.

    Her name, she sayd, was called COUNTENAUNCE;
      Into the besy[637] courte she dyd me then lede,
    Where was a fountayne depured[638] of pleasance,                  45
      A noble sprynge, a ryall conduyte hede,
      Made of fyne golde enameled with reed;
    And on the toppe four dragons blewe and stoute
    Thys dulcet water in foure partyes dyd spout.

    Of whyche there flowed foure ryvers ryght clere,                  50
      Sweter than Nylus[639] or Ganges was theyr odoure;
    Tygrys or Eufrates unto them no pere:
      I dyd than taste the aromatyke lycoure,
      Fragraunt of fume, swete as any floure;
    And in my mouthe it had a marveylous cent[640]                    55
    Of divers spyces, I knewe not what it ment.

    And after thys farther forth me brought
      Dame Countenaunce into a goodly Hall,
    Of jasper stones it was wonderly wrought:
      The wyndowes cleare depured all of crystall,                    60
      And in the roufe on hye over all
    Of golde was made a ryght crafty vyne;
    In stede of grapes the rubies there did shyne.

    The flore was paved with berall clarified,
      With pillers made of stones precious,                           65
    Like a place of pleasure so gayely glorified,
      It myght be called a palaice glorious,
      So muche delectable and solacious;[641]
    The hall was hanged hye and circuler
    With cloth of arras in the rychest maner.                         70

    That treated well of a ful noble story,
      Of the doubty waye to the Tower Perillous;[642]
    Howe a noble knyght should wynne the victory
      Of many a serpente fowle and odious.
           *       *       *       *       *


[626] Nichols' _Illustrations of Literature_, vol viii. p. 344.

[627] [dwell.]

[628] [dark.]

[629] [from gargoyle the spout of a gutter.]

[630] Greyhounds, Lions, Dragons, were at that time the royal

[631] [devices.]

[632] [heaved.]

[633] [called.]

[634] [entrance.]

[635] [a flight of steps.]

[636] This alludes to a former part of the Poem.

[637] [busy. Percy reads base or lower court.]

[638] [purified.]

[639] Nysus. _PC._

[640] [scent.]

[641] [affording solace.]

[642] The story of the poem.



Is given from a fragment in the Editor's folio MS. which, tho'
extremely defective and mutilated, appeared to have so much merit,
that it excited a strong desire to attempt a completion of the story.
The Reader will easily discover the supplemental stanzas by their
inferiority, and at the same time be inclined to pardon it, when he
considers how difficult it must be to imitate the affecting simplicity
and artless beauties of the original.

_Child_ was a title sometimes given to a knight.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [The _Child of Ell_, as it appears in the folio MS., is a fragment
  without beginning or ending, so that Percy was forced to add some
  verses in order to fit it for his book, but the above note does not
  give any adequate notion of his contributions to the ballad. The
  verses that are entirely due to the bishop's pen are placed between
  brackets, and it will be seen from the copy of the original printed
  at the end that the remaining thirty lines are much altered from
  it. It is unfortunate that Percy's taste was not sufficient to save
  him from adding sentimental verses so out of character with the
  directness of the original as--

    "Fair Emmeline sighed, fair Emmeline wept,
      And aye her heart was woe:
    At length he seized her lilly-white hand,
      And downe the ladder he drewe."

  On the other hand, the poem as it stands is certainly elegant, and
  Sir Walter Scott was justified in his high praise when he pointed
  out the beauty of verses 181-184.

    "The baron he stroked his dark brown cheek,
      And turned his head aside
    To wipe away the starting tear,
      He proudly strave to hide."

  Scott published a ballad called "Erlinton" for the first time
  in his _Border Minstrelsy_, which he says "seems to be the rude
  original, or perhaps a corrupt and imperfect copy of _The Child of

  The original fragment from the MS. is worth reading for its own
  sake as a genuine antique, which must outweigh in interest all
  manufactured imitations.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    [On yonder hill a castle standes
      With walles and towres bedight,[643]
    And yonder lives the Child of Elle,
      A younge and comely knighte.

    The Child of Elle to his garden wente,                             5
      And stood at his garden pale,
    Whan, lo! he beheld fair Emmelines page
      Come trippinge downe the dale.

    The Child of Elle he hyed him thence,
      Y-wis he stoode not stille,                                     10
    And soone he mette faire Emmelines page
      Come climbing up the hille.

    Nowe Christe thee save, thou little foot-page,
      Now Christe thee save and see!
    Oh telle me how does thy ladye gaye,                              15
      And what may thy tydinges bee?

    My lady shee is all woe-begone,
      And the teares they falle from her eyne;
    And aye she laments the deadlye feude
      Betweene her house and thine.                                   20

    And here shee sends thee a silken scarfe
      Bedewde with many a teare,
    And biddes thee sometimes thinke on her,
      Who loved thee so deare.

    And here shee sends thee a ring of golde                          25
      The last boone thou mayst have,
    And biddes thee weare it for her sake,
      Whan she is layde in grave.

    For, ah! her gentle heart is broke,
      And in grave soone must shee bee,                               30
    Sith her father hath chose her a new new love,
      And forbidde her to think of thee.

    Her father hath brought her a carlish[644] knight,
      Sir John of the north countràye,
    And within three dayes shee must him wedde,                       35
      Or he vowes he will her slaye.

    Nowe hye thee backe, thou little foot-page,
      And greet thy ladye from mee,
    And telle her that I her owne true love
      Will dye, or sette her free.                                    40

    Nowe hye thee backe, thou little foot-page,
      And let thy fair ladye know
    This night will I bee at her bowre-windòwe,
      Betide me weale or woe.

    The boye he tripped, the boye he ranne,                           45
      He neither stint ne stayd
    Untill he came to fair Emmelines bowre,
      Whan kneeling downe he sayd,

    O ladye, I've been with thy own true love,
      And he greets thee well by mee;                                 50
    This night will he bee at thy bowre-windòwe,
      And dye or sette thee free.

    Nowe daye was gone, and night was come,
      And all were fast asleepe,
    All save the ladye Emmeline,                                      55
      Who sate in her bowre to weepe:

    And soone shee heard her true loves voice
      Lowe whispering at the walle,
    Awake, awake, my deare ladyè,
      Tis I thy true love call.                                       60

    Awake, awake, my ladye deare,
      Come, mount this faire palfràye:
    This ladder of ropes will lette thee downe,
      Ile carrye thee hence awaye.

    Nowe nay, nowe nay, thou gentle knight,                           65
      Nowe nay, this may not bee;
    For aye shold I tint my maiden fame,
      If alone I should wend with thee.

    O ladye, thou with a knighte so true
      Mayst safelye wend alone,                                       70
    To my ladye mother I will thee bringe,
      Where marriage shall make us one.

    "My father he is a baron bolde,
      Of lynage proude and hye;
    And what would he saye if his daughtèr                            75
      Awaye with a knight should fly?

    Ah! well I wot, he never would rest,]
      Nor his meate should doe him no goode,
    Until he had slayne thee, Child of Elle,
      And seene thy deare hearts bloode."                             80

    O ladye, wert thou in thy saddle sette,
      And a little space him fro,
    I would not care for thy cruel fathèr,
      Nor the worst that he could doe.

    O ladye, wert thou in thy saddle sette,                           85
      And once without this walle,
    I would not care for thy cruel fathèr,
      Nor the worst that might befalle.

    [Faire Emmeline sighed, fair Emmeline wept,
      And aye her heart was woe:                                      90
    At length he seized her lilly-white hand,
      And downe the ladder he drewe:

    And thrice he clasped her to his breste,
      And kist her tenderlìe:
    The teares that fell from her fair eyes,                          95
      Ranne like the fountayne free.]

    Hee mounted himselfe on his steede so talle,
      And her on a fair palfràye,
    And slung his bugle about his necke,
      And roundlye they rode awaye.                                  100

    [All this beheard her owne damsèlle,
      In her bed whereas shee ley,
    Quoth shee, My lord shall knowe of this,
      Soe I shall have golde and fee.

    Awake, awake, thou baron bolde!                                  105
      Awake, my noble dame!
    Your daughter is fledde with the Child of Elle,
      To doe the deede of shame.

    The baron he woke, the baron he rose,
      And called his merrye men all:                                 110
    "And come thou forth, Sir John the knighte,
      Thy ladye is carried to thrall."[645]]

    Faire Emmeline scant had ridden a mile,
      A mile forth of the towne,
    When she was aware of her fathers men                            115
      Come galloping over the downe:

    [And foremost came the carlish knight,
      Sir John of the north countràye:
    "Nowe stop, nowe stop, thou false traitòure,
      Nor carry that ladye awaye.                                    120

    For she is come of hye lineàge,
      And was of a ladye borne,
    And ill it beseems thee a false churl's sonne
      To carrye her hence to scorne."]

    Nowe loud thou lyest, Sir John the knight,                       125
      Nowe thou doest lye of mee;
    A knight mee gott, and a ladye me bore,
      Soe never did none by thee.

    But light nowe downe, my ladye faire,
      Light downe, and hold my steed,                                130
    While I and this discourteous knighte
      Doe trye this arduous deede.

    But light now downe, my deare ladyè,
      Light downe, and hold my horse;
    While I and this discourteous knight                             135
      [Doe trye our valour's force.

    Fair Emmeline sighed, fair Emmeline wept,
      And aye her heart was woe,
    While twixt her love and the carlish knight
      Past many a baleful blowe.                                     140

    The Child of Elle hee fought soe well,
      As his weapon he waived amaine,
    That soone he had slaine the carlish knight,
      And layd him upon the plaine.

    And nowe the baron, and all his men                              145
      Full fast approached nye:
    Ah! what may ladye Emmeline doe?
      Twere nowe no boote[646] to flye.

    Her lover he put his horne to his mouth,
      And blew both loud and shrill,                                 150
    And soone he saw his owne merry men
      Come ryding over the hill.

    "Nowe hold thy hand, thou bold baròn,
      I pray thee hold thy hand,
    Nor ruthless rend two gentle hearts,                             155
      Fast knit in true love's band.

    Thy daughter I have dearly loved
      Full long and many a day;
    But with such love as holy kirke
      Hath freelye sayd wee may.                                     160

    O give consent, shee may be mine,
      And blesse a faithfull paire:
    My lands and livings are not small,
      My house and lineage faire:

    My mother she was an earl's daughtèr,                            165
      And a noble knyght my sire----
    The baron he frowned, and turn'd away
      With mickle dole and ire."

    Fair Emmeline sighed, faire Emmeline wept,
      And did all tremblinge stand:                                  170
    At lengthe she sprang upon her knee.
      And held his lifted hand.

    Pardon, my lorde and father deare,
      This faire yong knyght and mee:
    Trust me, but for the carlish knyght,                            175
      I never had fled from thee.

    Oft have you called your Emmeline
      Your darling and your joye;
    O let not then your harsh resolves
      Your Emmeline destroye.                                        180

    The baron he stroakt his dark-brown cheeke,
      And turned his heade asyde
    To whipe awaye the starting teare,
      He proudly strave to hyde.

    In deepe revolving thought he stoode,                            185
      And mused a little space;
    Then raised faire Emmeline from the grounde,
      With many a fond embrace.

    Here take her, Child of Elle, he sayd,
      And gave her lillye white hand;                                190
    Here take my deare and only child,
      And with her half my land:

    Thy father once mine honour wrongde
      In dayes of youthful pride;
    Do thou the injurye repayre                                      195
      In fondnesse for thy bride.

    And as thou love her, and hold her deare,
      Heaven prosper thee and thine:
    And nowe my blessing wend wi' thee,
      My lovelye Emmeline.]                                          200


       *       *       *       *       *

  [+±+] From the word _kirke_ in ver. 159, this hath been thought to
  be a Scottish Ballad, but it must be acknowledged that the line
  referred to is among the additions supplied by the Editor: besides,
  in the Northern counties of England, _kirk_ is used in the common
  dialect for _church_, as well as beyond the Tweed.

       *       *       *       *       *

        [The following thirty-nine lines are the whole of the
        fragment which Percy used as the groundwork of his poem. They
        are taken from _Bishop Percy's Folio Manuscript_, vol. i. p.

    Sayes, Christ thee save, good child of Ell!
      Christ saue thee and thy steede!

    My father sayes he will noe meate,
      Nor his drinke shall doe him noe good,
    till he have slaine the Child of Ell
      And have seene his harts blood.

    I wold I were in my sadle sett,
      And a mile out of the towne,
    I did not care for your father
      And all his merry men!

    I wold I were in my sadle sett,
      And a little space him froe,
    I did not care for your father
      And all that long him to!

    He leaned ore his saddle bow
      To kisse this Lady good;
    The teares that went them two betweene
      Were blend water and blood.

    He sett himselfe on one good steed
      This lady of one palfray
    And sett his litle horne to his mouth
      And roundlie he rode away.

    He had not ridden past a mile
      A mile out of the towne,
    Her father was readye with her seven brether
      He said, sett thou my daughter downe!
    For itt ill beseemes thee, thou false churles sonne,
      To carry her forth of this towne!

    But lowd thou lyest, Sir John the Knight!
      That now doest lye of me;
    A knight me gott and a lady me bore;
      Soe never did none by thee.

    But light now downe, my lady gay,
      Light downe and hold my horsse
    Whilest I and your father and your brether
      Doe play us at this crosse;

    But light now downe, my owne trew loue,
      And meeklye hold my steede,
    Whilest your father [and your brether] bold.]

                        [_Half a page missing._]


[643] [bedecked.]

[644] [churlish.]

[645] [into captivity.]

[646] [no advantage.]




                           A SCOTTISH BALLAD,

Was printed at Glasgow, by Robert and Andrew Foulis, MDCCLV. 8vo. 12
pages. We are indebted for its publication (with many other valuable
things in these volumes) to Sir David Dalrymple, Bart., who gave it as
it was preserved in the memory of a lady that is now dead.

The reader will here find it improved and enlarged with several fine
stanzas, recovered from a fragment of the same ballad, in the Editor's
folio MS. It is remarkable that the latter is entitled _Captain Adam
Carre_, and is in the English idiom. But whether the author was English
or Scotch, the difference originally was not great. The English
Ballads are generally of the North of England, the Scottish are of the
South of Scotland, and of consequence the country of ballad-singers
was sometimes subject to one crown, and sometimes to the other, and
most frequently to neither. Most of the finest old Scotch songs
have the scene laid within twenty miles of England, which is indeed
all poetic ground, green hills, remains of woods, clear brooks. The
pastoral scenes remain: of the rude chivalry of former ages happily
nothing remains but the ruins of the castles, where the more daring
and successful robbers resided. The house or castle of the _Rodes_
stood about a measured mile south from Duns, in Berwickshire: some of
the ruins of it may be seen to this day. The _Gordons_ were anciently
seated in the same county: the two villages of East and West Gordon lie
about ten miles from the castle of the Rodes.[647] The fact, however,
on which the ballad is founded, happened in the north of Scotland,[648]
yet it is but too faithful a specimen of the violences practised in
the feudal times in every part of this Island, and indeed all over

From the different titles of this ballad, it should seem that the old
strolling bards or minstrels (who gained a livelihood by reciting
these poems) made no scruple of changing the names of the personages
they introduced, to humour their hearers. For instance, if a Gordon's
conduct was blameworthy in the opinion of that age, the obsequious
minstrel would, when among Gordons, change the name to Car, whose clan
or sept lay further west, and _vice versâ_. The foregoing observation,
which I owed to Sir David Dalrymple, will appear the more perfectly
well founded, if, as I have since been informed (from _Crawford's
Memoirs_), the principal Commander of the expedition was a _Gordon_,
and the immediate agent a _Car_, or _Ker_; for then the reciter might,
upon good grounds, impute the barbarity here deplored, either to a
Gordon or a Car, as best suited his purpose. In the third volume the
reader will find a similar instance. See the song of _Gil Morris_,
wherein the principal character introduced had different names given
him, perhaps from the same cause.

It may be proper to mention that, in the folio MS., instead of the
"Castle of the Rodes," it is the "Castle of Bittons-borrow," and
also "Dractons-borrow," and "Capt. Adam Carre" is called the "Lord
of Westerton-town." Uniformity required that the additional stanzas
supplied from that copy should be clothed in the Scottish orthography
and idiom: this has therefore been attempted, though perhaps

       *       *       *       *       *

  [Percy's note, which goes to prove that the historical event
  referred to in this ballad occurred in the north of Scotland,
  negatives the view which is expressed just before, that the
  borders are the exclusive country of the ballad singers, at all
  events in this particular instance. Sir David Dalrymple appears
  to have altered the place of action from Towie to Rodes under a
  misconception. An extract from _Crawford's Memoirs_ (an. 1571,
  p. 240, ed. 1706), is a proper companion to the passage from
  Spotswood, and explains the title in the folio MS. The person sent
  was "one Captain Ker with a party of foot.... Nor was he ever
  so much as cashiered for this inhuman action, which made Gordon
  share in the scandal and the guilt." Gordon, in his _History of
  the Family of Gordon_, informs us that, in the true old spirit
  of Scottish family feuds, the Forbes's afterwards attempted to
  assassinate Gordon in the streets of Paris.

  Percy showed good taste in rejecting the termination given in
  Dalrymple's version, which certainly does not improve the ballad,
  and has moreover a very modern flavour. The husband is there made
  to end his days as follows:--

    "And round and round the wa's he went
    Their ashes for to view.
    At last into the flames he flew
    And bad the world adieu."

  This ballad is found in various versions, which proves how
  wide-spread was the popularity of the striking story which it
  relates. In the version given from the Cotton MS. by Ritson in his
  _Ancient Songs_ (vol. ii. p. 38, ed. 1829) the husband takes
  no vengeance on Captain Car. Another version, entitled _Loudoun
  Castle_, is reprinted in _Child's English and Scottish Ballads_
  (vol. vi. p. 254), from the _Ballads and Songs of Ayrshire_, where
  the scene is changed to Loudoun Castle, which is supposed to have
  been burnt about three hundred and sixty years ago by the clan
  Kennedy. In Ritson's version the castle is called Crechcrynbroghe,
  and in the _Genealogy of the Forbes_, by Matthew Lumsden, of
  Tullikerne, written in 1580 (Inverness, 1819, p. 44), the name is
  changed to Cargaffe. From this latter source we learn that the lady
  of Towie was Margaret Campbell, daughter of Sir John Campbell, of
  Calder, and that the husband, far from flying into the flames,
  married a second wife, a daughter of Forbes of Reires, who bare him
  a son named Arthur.]


    It fell about the Martinmas,
      Quhen the wind blew shril and cauld,
    Said Edom o' Gordon to his men,
      We maun draw till a hauld.[649]

    And quhat a hauld sall we draw till,                               5
      My mirry men and me?
    We wul gae to the house o' the Rodes,
      To see that fair ladìe.

    The lady stude on hir castle wa',
      Beheld baith dale and down:                                     10
    There she was ware of a host of men
      Cum ryding towards the toun.[650]

    O see ye nat, my mirry men a'?
      O see ye nat quhat I see?
    Methinks I see a host of men:                                     15
      I marveil quha they be.

    She weend[651] it had been hir luvely lord,
      As he cam ryding hame;
    It was the traitor Edom o' Gordon,
      Quha reckt nae sin nor shame.                                   20

    She had nae sooner buskit[652] hirsel,
      And putten on hir goun,
    But Edom o' Gordon and his men
      Were round about the toun.

    They had nae sooner supper sett,                                  25
      Nae sooner said the grace,
    But Edom o' Gordon and his men,
      Were light about the place.

    The lady ran up to hir towir head,
      Sa fast as she could hie,                                       30
    To see if by hir fair speechès
      She could wi' him agree.

    But quhan he see this lady saif,
      And hir yates[653] all locked fast,
    He fell into a rage of wrath,                                     35
      And his look was all aghast.

    Cum doun to me, ye lady gay,
      Cum doun, cum doun to me:
    This night sall ye lig[654] within mine armes,
      To-morrow my bride sall be.                                     40

    I winnae[655] cum doun, ye fals Gordòn,
      I winnae cum doun to thee;
    I winnae forsake my ain dear lord,
      That is sae far frae me.

    Give owre your house, ye lady fair,                               45
      Give owre your house to me,
    Or I sall brenn[656] yoursel therein,
      Bot and[657] your babies three.

    I winnae give owre, ye false Gordòn,
      To nae sik traitor as yee;                                      50
    And if ye brenn my ain dear babes,
      My lord sall make ye drie.[658]

    But reach my pistoll, Glaud, my man,[659]
      And charge ye weil my gun:[659]
    For, but an[660] I pierce that bluidy butcher,                    55
      My babes we been undone.

    She stude upon hir castle wa',
      And let twa bullets flee:[659]
    She mist that bluidy butchers hart,
      And only raz'd his knee.                                        60

    Set fire to the house, quo' fals Gordòn,
      All wood wi' dule[661] and ire:
    Fals lady, ye sail rue this deid,
      As ye bren in the fire.

    Wae worth,[662] wae worth ye, Jock my man,                        65
      I paid ye weil your fee;
    Quhy pu' ye out the ground-wa' stane.[663]
      Lets in the reek[664] to me?

    And ein[665] wae worth ye, Jock my man,
      I paid ye weil your hire;                                       70
    Quhy pu' ye out the ground-wa stane,
      To me lets in the fire?

    Ye paid me weil my hire, lady;
      Ye paid me weil my fee:
    But now I'm Edom o' Gordons man,                                  75
      Maun either doe or die.

    O than bespaik hir little son,
      Sate on the nurses knee:
    Sayes, Mither deare, gi' owre this house,
      For the reek it smithers me.                                    80

    I wad gie a' my gowd,[666] my childe,
      Sae wald I a' my fee,
    For ane blast o' the western wind,
      To blaw the reek frae thee.

    O then bespaik hir dochter dear,                                  85
      She was baith jimp[667] and sma:
    O row[668] me in a pair o' sheits,
      And tow me[669] owre the wa.

    They rowd hir in a pair o' sheits,
      And towd hir owre the wa:                                       90
    But on the point of Gordons spear,
      She gat a deadly fa.

    O bonnie bonnie was hir mouth,
      And cherry were hir cheiks,
    And clear clear was hir yellow hair,                              95
      Whereon the reid bluid dreips.

    Then wi' his spear he turnd hir owre,
      O gin hir face was wan![670]
    He sayd, ye are the first that eir
      I wisht alive again.                                           100

    He turnd hir owre and owre againe,
      O gin hir skin was whyte![670]
    I might ha spared that bonnie face
      To hae been sum mans delyte.

    Busk and boun,[671] my merry men a',                             105
      For ill dooms I doe guess;
    I cannae luik in that bonnie face,
      As it lyes on the grass.

    Thame, luiks to freits, my master deir,[672]
      Then freits wil follow thame:[672]                             110
    Let it neir be said brave Edom o' Gordon
      Was daunted by a dame.

    But quhen the ladye see the fire
      Cum flaming owre hir head,
    She wept and kist her children twain,                            115
      Sayd, Bairns, we been but dead.

    The Gordon then his bougill[673] blew,
      And said, Awa', awa';
    This house o' the Rodes is a' in flame,
      I hauld it time to ga'.                                        120

    O then bespyed hir ain dear lord,
      As hee cam owr the lee;
    He sied[674] his castle all in blaze
      Sa far as he could see.

    Then sair, O sair his mind misgave,                              125
      And all his hart was wae;
    Put on, put on, my wighty men,
      So fast as ye can gae.

    Put on, put on, my wighty[675] men,
      Sa fast as ye can drie;[676]                                   130
    For he that is hindmost of the thrang,
      Sall neir get guid o' me.

    Than sum they rade, and sum they rin,
      Fou fast out-owr the bent;[677]
    But eir the foremost could get up,                               135
      Baith lady and babes were brent.

    He wrang his hands, he rent his hair,
      And wept in teenefu' muid:[678]
    O traitors, for this cruel deid
      Ye sall weep teirs o'bluid.                                    140

    And after the Gordon he is gane,
      Sa fast as he might drie;[679]
    And soon i' the Gordon's foul hartis bluid,
      He's wroken[680] his dear ladie.


       *       *       *       *       *

[The following is the version of the ballad in the Percy Folio, which
is entitled _Captaine Carre_. Bishop Percy's Folio MS., ed. J. W. Hales
and F. J. Furnivall, 1867, vol. i., pp. 79-83.

    ffaith, Master, whither you will,
      whereas you like the best,
    Unto the castle of Bittons borrow,
      and there to take your rest.

    But yonder stands a Castle faire,
      is made of lyme and stone,
    Yonder is in it a fayre lady,
      her lord is ridden and gone.

    The lady stood on her castle wall,
      she looked upp and downe,
    She was ware of an hoast of men
      came rydinge towards the towne.

    See you not my merry men all,
      and see you not what I doe see?
    Methinks I see a hoast of men
      I muse who they shold be.

    She thought it had beene her lovly Lord,
      he had come ryding home:
    it was the traitor, Captaine Carre
      the Lord of Westerton towne

    They had noe sooner super sett,
      and after said the grace
    but the traitor Captaine Carre
      was light about the place.

    Give over thy house, thou lady gay
      I will make thee a band [_i.e._ bond]
    all night within mine armes thoust lye,
      to-morrow be the heyre of my land.

    Ile not give over my house, shee said
      neither for ladds nor man,
    nor yet for traitor Captaine Carre,
      Untill my lord come home.

    But reach me my pistoll pee [_i.e._ piece]
      and charge you well my gunne,
    Ile shoote at the bloody bucher
      the lord of westerton.

    She stood uppon her castle wall
      and let the bulletts flee,
    and where shee mist....

                        [_Half a page missing._]

    But then bespake the little child
      that sate on the nurses knee,
    saies, mother deere, give ore this house
      for the smoake it smoothers me.

    I wold give all my gold, my childe,
      soe wold I doe all my fee,
    for one blast of the westerne wind
      to blow the smoke from thee.

    But when shee saw the fier
      came flaming ore her head,
    She tooke them upp her children two
      Sayes, babes we all beene dead!

    But Adam then he fired the house,
      a sorrowfull sight to see:
    now hath he burned this lady faire
      and eke her children three

    Then Captain Carre he rode away,
      he staid noe longer at that tide,
    he thought that place it was to warme
      soe neere for to abide

    He calld unto his merry men all
      bidd them make hast away
    for we have slaine his children three
      all, and his lady gay.

    Word came to lovly loudon[1]
      to loudon[681] wheras her lord lay,
    his castle and his hall was burned
      all and his lady gay.

    Soe hath he done his Children three,
      More dearer unto him
    then either the silver or the gold
      that men soe faine wold win.

    But when he looket this writing on,
      Lord in is hart he was woe!
    saies, I will find thee, Captain Carre,
      wether thou ryde or goe!

    Buff yee, bowne yee, my merry men all
      with tempered swords of steele,
    for till I have found out Captaine Carre,
      My hart it is nothing weele.

    But when he came to dractons Borrow,
      soe long ere it was day,
    and ther he found him, Captaine Carre;
      that night he ment to stay.]

                        [_Half a page missing._]


[647] This ballad is well known in that neighbourhood, where it
is intitled _Adam O'Gordon_. It may be observed, that the famous
freebooter whom Edward I. fought with, hand to hand, near Farnham, was
named _Adam Gordon_.

[648] Since this ballad was first printed, the subject of it has
been found recorded in Abp. Spotswood's _History of the Church of_
_Scotland_, p. 259, who informs us that, "Anno 1571. In the north
parts of Scotland, _Adam Gordon_ (who was deputy for his brother
the earl of Huntley) did keep a great stir; and under colour of
the queen's authority, committed divers oppressions, especially
upon the Forbes's.... Having killed Arthur Forbes, brother to the
lord Forbes.... Not long after he sent to summon the house of Tavoy
pertaining to Alexander Forbes. The _Lady_ refusing to yield without
direction from her husband, he put fire unto it, and burnt her therein,
with children and servants, being twenty-seven persons in all.

"This inhuman and barbarous cruelty made his name odious, and stained
all his former doings; otherwise he was held very active and fortunate
in his enterprizes."

This fact, which had escaped the Editor's notice, was in the most
obliging manner pointed out to him by an ingenious writer who signs his
name H. H. (Newcastle, May 9) in the _Gentleman's Magazine_ for May,

[649] [to a hold.]

[650] [dwelling-house.]

[651] [thought.]

[652] [dressed.]

[653] [gates.]

[654] [lie.]

[655] [will not.]

[656] [burn.]

[657] [and also.]

[658] [suffer.]

[659] These three lines are restored from Foulis's edition, and the
fol. MS., which last reads _the bullets_, in ver. 58.

[660] [unless.]

[661] [mad with sorrow.]

[662] [woe betide.]

[663] [ground-wall stone.]

[664] [smoke.]

[665] [even.]

[666] [gold.]

[667] [slender.]

[668] [roll.]

[669] [let me down.]

[670] Ver. 98, 102. _O gin, &c._ a Scottish idiom to express great

[671] [make ready to go.]

[672] V. 109, 110. _Thame, &c. i.e._ Them that look after omens of
ill luck, ill luck will follow.

[673] [bugle.]

[674] [saw.]

[675] [nimble.]

[676] [endure.]

[677] [full fast over the meadows.]

[678] [in wrathful mood.]

[679] [bear.]

[680] [revenged.]

[681] [printed _London_ in the edition of the MS.]

                       THE END OF THE FIRST BOOK.



                           SERIES THE FIRST.





Our great dramatic poet having occasionally quoted many ancient
ballads, and even taken the plot of one, if not more, of his plays
from among them, it was judged proper to preserve as many of these as
could be recovered, and, that they might be the more easily found, to
exhibit them in one collective view. This Second Book is therefore set
apart for the reception of such ballads as are quoted by Shakespeare,
or contribute in any degree to illustrate his writings: this being the
principal point in view, the candid reader will pardon the admission of
some pieces that have no other kind of merit.




Were three noted outlaws, whose skill in archery rendered them formerly
as famous in the north of England, as Robin Hood and his fellows were
in the midland counties. Their place of residence was in the forest
of Englewood, not far from Carlisle (called corruptly in the ballad
Englishwood, whereas Engle, or Ingle-wood, signifies wood for firing).
At what time they lived does not appear. The author of the common
ballad on "The Pedigree, Education and Marriage of Robin Hood," makes
them contemporary with Robin Hood's father, in order to give him the
honour of beating them, viz.:

    "The father of Robin a Forester was,
      and he shot in a lusty long-bow,
    Two north-country miles and an inch at a shot,
      as the Pinder of Wakefield does know:

    For he brought Adam Bell, and Clim of the Clugh,
      and William a Clowdéslee,
    To shoot with our Forester for forty mark;
      and the Forester beat them all three."

                       _Collect. of Old Ballads_, vol. i. (1723), p. 67.

This seems to prove that they were commonly thought to have lived
before the popular hero of Sherwood.

Our northern archers were not unknown to their southern countrymen:
their excellence at the long-bow is often alluded to by our ancient
poets. Shakespeare, in his comedy of _Much adoe about nothing_, act
i., makes Benedick confirm his resolves of not yielding to love, by
this protestation, "If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat,[682] and
shoot at me, and he that hits me, let him be clapt on the shoulder,
and called _Adam_:" meaning _Adam Bell_, as Theobald rightly observes,
who refers to one or two other passages in our old poets wherein he is
mentioned. The Oxford editor has also well conjectured, that "Abraham
Cupid" in _Romeo and Juliet_, act ii. sc. 1, should be "_Adam_ Cupid,"
in allusion to our archer. Ben Jonson has mentioned _Clym o' the
Clough_ in his _Alchemist_, act i. sc. 2. And Sir William Davenant, in
a mock poem of his, called "_The long vacation in London_," describes
the Attorneys and Proctors, as making matches to meet in Finsbury

    "With loynes in canvas bow-case tyde:[683]
    Where arrowes stick with mickle pride; ...
    Like ghosts of _Adam Bell_ and _Clymme_.
    Sol sets for fear they'l shoot at him."

                                             _Works_, 1673, fol. p. 291.

I have only to add further concerning the principal hero of this
Ballad, that the _Bells_ were noted rogues in the North so late as the
time of Q. Elizabeth. See in Rymer's _Foedera_, a letter from lord
William Howard to some of the officers of state, wherein he mentions

As for the following stanzas, which will be judged from the style,
orthography, and numbers, to be of considerable antiquity, they were
here given (corrected in some places by a MS. copy in the Editor's old
folio) from a black-letter 4to. _Imprinted at London in Lothburye by
Wyllyam Copland_ (no date). That old quarto edition seems to be exactly
followed in _Pieces of Ancient Popular Poetry, &c._ Lond. 1791,[684]
8vo., the variations from which that occur in the following copy, are
selected from many others in the folio MS. above-mentioned, and when
distinguished by the usual inverted 'comma,' have been assisted by

In the same MS. this Ballad is followed by another, intitled _Younge
Cloudeslee_, being a continuation of the present story, and reciting
the adventures of Willian of Cloudesly's son: but greatly inferior to
this both in merit and antiquity.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [The version here printed differs but slightly from the one in the
  Folio MS. (ed. Hales and Furnivall, 1868, vol. iii. p. 76), and as
  the latter is of no critical value it has been thought unnecessary
  to point out the various readings. A fragment of an older edition
  than Copland's mentioned above has been recovered by Mr. Payne
  Collier, which is attributed to the press of Wynkyn de Worde by Mr.
  W. C. Hazlitt.

  This spirited ballad is mentioned by Laneham in his Catalogue of
  Captain Cox's ballads, and the various editions it has passed
  through, and the frequent references to it in literature, prove its
  great and deserved popularity.

  The circumstances of the second Fit resemble closely the rescue of
  Robin Hood by Little John, as related in "Robin Hood and the Monk,"
  and the incident of the shot at the apple in the third Fit bears a
  curious likeness to the very ancient myth which is associated with
  William Tell. "Allane Bell" is mentioned by Dunbar in company with
  Robin Hood, Guy of Gisborne, and others, which proves that in his
  time these names had become mere abstractions.]

       *       *       *       *       *


    Mery it was in the grene forest
      Amonge the levès grene,
    Wheras men hunt east and west
      Wyth bowes and arrowes kene;

    To raise the dere out of theyr denne;                              5
      Suche fightes hath ofte bene sene;
    As by thre yemen of the north countrèy,
      By them it is I meane.

    The one of them hight Adam Bel,
      The other Clym of the Clough,[685]                              10
    The thyrd was William of Cloudesly,
      An archer good ynough.

    They were outlawed for venyson,
      These yemen everych-one;
    They swore them brethren upon a day,                              15
      To Englyshe wood for to gone.

    Now lith[686] and lysten, gentylmen,
      That of myrthes loveth to here:
    Two of them were single men,
      The third had a wedded fere.[687]                               20

    Wyllyam was the wedded man,
      Muche more then was hys care:
    He sayde to hys brethren upon a day,
      To Carleile he would fare;[688]

    For to speke with fayre Alyce his wife,                           25
      And with hys chyldren thre.
    By my trouth, sayde Adam Bel,
      Not by the counsell of me:

    For if ye go to Carlile, brother,
      And from thys wylde wode wende,[689]                            30
    If that the justice may you take,
      Your lyfe were at an ende.

    If that I come not to-morowe, brother,
      By pryme[690] to you agayne,
    Truste you then that I am 'taken,'[691]                           35
      Or else that I am slayne.

    He toke hys leave of hys brethren two,
      And to Carlile he is gon:
    There he knocked at his owne windòwe
      Shortlye and anone.                                             40

    Wher be you, fayre Alyce, he sayd,
      My wife and chyldren three?
    Lyghtly let in thyne owne husbànde,
      Wyllyam of Cloudeslee.

    Alas! then sayde fayre Alyce,                                     45
      And syghed wonderous sore,
    Thys place hath ben besette for you
      Thys halfe a yere and more.

    Now am I here, sayde Cloudeslee,
      I would that in I were.                                         50
    Now fetche us meate and drynke ynoughe,
      And let us make good chere.

    She fetched hym meate and drynke plentye,
      Lyke a true wedded wyfe;
    And pleased hym with that she had,                                55
      Whome she loved as her lyfe.

    There lay an old wyfe in that place,
      A lytle besyde the fyre,
    Whych Wyllyam had found of charytyè
      More than seven yere.                                           60

    Up she rose, and forth shee goes,
      Evill mote[692] shee speede therfore;
    For shee had sett no foote on ground
      In seven yere before.

    She went unto the justice hall,                                   65
      As fast as she could hye:
    Thys night, shee sayd, is come to town
      Wyllyam of Cloudeslyè.

    Thereof the justice was full fayne,[693]
      And so was the shirife also.                                    70
    Thou shalt not trauaile hither, dame, for nought,
      Thy meed thou shalt have ere thou go.

    They gave to her a ryght good goune,
      Of scarlate, 'and of graine':
    She toke the gyft, and home she wente,                            75
      And couched her doune agayne.

    They raysed the towne of mery Carleile
      In all the haste they can;
    And came thronging to Wyllyames house,
      As fast as they might gone.                                     80

    There they besette that good yemàn
      Round about on every syde:
    Wyllyam hearde great noyse of folkes,
      That thither-ward fast hyed.

    Alyce opened a backe wyndòwe,[694]                                85
      And loked all aboute,
    She was ware of the justice and shirife bothe,
      Wyth a full great route.[695]

    Alas! treason, cryed Alyce,
      Ever wo may thou be!                                            90
    Goe into my chamber, my husband, she sayd,
      Swete Wyllyam of Cloudeslee.

    He toke hys sword and hys bucler,
      Hys bow and hys chyldren thre,
    And wente into hys strongest chamber,                             95
      Where he thought surest to be.

    Fayre Alyce, like a lover true,
      Took a pollaxe in her hande:
    Said, He shall dye that cometh in
      Thys dore, whyle I may stand.                                  100

    Cloudeslee bente a right good bowe,
      That was of a trusty tre,
    He smot the justise on the brest,
      That hys arowe burst in three.

    'A' curse on his harte, saide William,                           105
      Thys day thy cote dyd on!
    If it had ben no better then myne,
      It had gone nere thy bone.

    Yelde the Cloudeslè, sayd the justise,
      And thy bowe and thy arrowes the fro.[696]                     110
    'A' curse on hys hart, sayd fair Alyce,
      That my husband councelleth so.

    Set fyre on the house, saide the sherife,
      Syth it wyll no better be,
    And brenne[697] we therin William, he saide,                     115
      Hys wyfe and chyldren thre.

    They fyred the house in many a place,
      The fyre flew up on hye:
    Alas! then cryed fayre Alìce,
      I se we here shall dye.                                        120

    William openyd a backe wyndòw,
      That was in hys chamber hie,
    And there with sheetes he did let downe
      His wyfe and children three.

    Have you here my treasure, sayde William,                        125
      My wyfe and my chyldren thre:
    For Christès love do them no harme,
      But wreke you all on me.

    Wyllyam shot so wonderous well,
      Tyll hys arrowes were all agoe,                                130
    And the fyre so fast upon hym fell,
      That hys bowstryng brent[698] in two.

    The sparkles brent and fell upon
      Good Wyllyam of Cloudeslè:
    Than was he a wofull man, and sayde,                             135
      Thys is a cowardes death to me.

    Leever[699] had I, sayde Wyllyam,
      With my sworde in the route to renne,[700]
    Then here among myne enemyes wode[701]
      Thus cruelly to bren.                                          140

    He toke hys sword and hys buckler,
      And among them all he ran,
    Where the people were most in prece,[702]
      He smot downe many a man.

    There myght no man abyde hys stroakes,                           145
      So fersly[703] on them he ran:
    Then they threw wyndowes, and dores on him,
      And so toke that good yemàn.

    There they hym bounde both hand and fote,
      And in a deepe dungeon him cast:                               150
    Now Cloudesle, sayd the justice,[704]
      Thou shalt be hanged in hast.

    'A payre of new gallowes, sayd the sherife,[705]
      Now shal I for thee make;'
    And the gates of Carleil shal be shutte:                         155
      No man shal come in therat.

    Then shall not helpe Clym of the Cloughe,
      Nor yet shall Adam Bell,
    Though they came with a thousand mo,
      Nor all the devels in hell.                                    160

    Early in the mornynge the justice uprose,
      To the gates first can he gone,
    And commaunded to be shut full close
      Lightilè[706] everych-one.

    Then went he to the markett place,                               165
      As fast as he coulde hye;
    There a payre of new gallowes he set up
      Besyde the pyllorye.

    A lytle boy 'among them asked,'
      What meaned that gallow-tre?                                   170
    They sayde to hange a good yemàn,
      Called Wyllyam of Cloudeslè.

    That lytle boye was the towne swyne-heard,
      And kept fayre Alyces swyne;
    Oft he had seene William in the wodde,                           175
      And geuen hym there to dyne.

    He went out att a crevis of the wall,
      And lightly to the woode dyd gone;
    There met he with these wightye[707] yemen[708]
      Shortly and anone.                                             180

    Alas! then sayde the lytle boye,
      Ye tary here all too longe;
    Cloudeslee is taken, and dampned[709] to death,
      And readye for to honge.[710]

    Alas! then sayd good Adam Bell,                                  185
      That ever we saw thys daye!
    He had better have tarryed with us,
      So ofte as we dyd hym praye.

    He myght have dwelt in grene forèste,
      Under the shadowes greene,[711]                                190
    And have kepte both hym and us att reste,
      Out of all trouble and teene.[712]

    Adam bent a ryght good bow,
      A great hart sone hee had slayne:
    Take that, chylde, he sayde, to thy dynner,                      195
      And bryng me myne arrowe agayne.

    Now go we hence, sayed these wightye yeomen,[713]
      Tarry we no longer here;
    We shall hym borowe[714] by God his grace,
      Though we buy itt full dere.                                   200

    To Caerleil wente these bold yemen,
      All in a mornyng of maye.
    Here is a FYT of Cloudeslye,
      And another is for to saye.

       *       *       *       *       *


    And when they came to mery Carleile,
      All in 'the' mornyng tyde,
    They founde the gates shut them untyll[715]
      About on every syde.

    Alas! then sayd good Adam Bell,                                    5
      That ever we were made men!
    These gates be shut so wonderous fast,
      We may not come therein.

    Then bespake him Clym of the Clough,
      Wyth a wyle we wyl us in bryng;                                 10
    Let us saye we be messengers,
      Streyght come nowe from our king.

    Adam said, I have a letter written,
      Now let us wysely werke,
    We wyl saye we have the kynges seale;                             15
      I holde the porter no clerke.

    Then Adam Bell bete on the gates
      With strokes great and stronge:
    The porter marveiled, who was therat,
      And to the gates he thronge.[716]                               20

    Who is there now, sayde the porter,
      That maketh all thys knockinge?
    We be tow messengers, quoth Clim of the Clough,
      Be come ryght from our kyng.

    We have a letter, sayd Adam Bel,                                  25
      To the justice we must itt bryng;
    Let us in our message to do,
      That we were agayne to the kyng.

    Here commeth none in, sayd the porter,
      By hym that dyed on a tre,                                      30
    Tyll a false thefe be hanged,
      Called Wyllyam of Cloudeslè.

    Then spake the good yeman Clym of the Clough,
      And swore by Mary fre,
    And if that we stande long wythout,                               35
      Like a thefe hanged shalt thou be.

    Lo! here we have the kynges seale:
      What, Lurden,[717] art thou wode?[718][719]
    The porter went[720] it had ben so,
      And lyghtly dyd off hys hode.[721]                              40

    Welcome is my lordes seale, he saide;
      For that ye shall come in.
    He opened the gate full shortlye:
      An euyl openyng for him.

    Now are we in, sayde Adam Bell,                                   45
      Wherof we are full faine;[722]
    But Christ he knowes, that harowed[723] hell,
      How we shall com out agayne.

    Had we the keys, said Clim of the Clough,
      Ryght wel then shoulde we spede,                                50
    Then might we come out wel ynough
      When we se tyme and nede.

    They called the porter to counsell,
      And wrang his necke in two,
    And caste hym in a depe dungeon,                                  55
      And toke hys keys hym fro.

    Now am I porter, sayd Adam Bel,
      Se brother the keys are here,
    The worst porter to merry Carleile
      That 'the' had thys hundred yere.                               60

    And now wyll we our bowes bend,
      Into the towne wyll we go,
    For to delyuer our dere brothèr,
      That lyeth in care and wo.

    Then they bent theyr good ewe bowes,                              65
      And loked theyr stringes were round,[724]
    The markett place in mery Carleile
      They beset that stound.[725]

    And, as they loked them besyde,
      A paire of new galowes 'they' see,                              70
    And the justice with a quest[726] of squyers,
      That judged William hanged to be.

    And Cloudeslè lay redy there in a cart,
      Fast bound both fote and hand;
    And a stronge rop about hys necke,                                75
      All readye for to hange.

    The justice called to him a ladde,
      Cloudeslees clothes hee shold have,
    To take the measure of that yemàn,
      Therafter to make hys grave.                                    80

    I have sene as great mervaile, said Cloudesle,
      As betweyne thys and pryme,
    He that maketh a grave for mee,
      Hymselfe may lye therin.

    Thou speakest proudlye, said the justice,                         85
      I will thee hange with my hande.
    Full wel herd this his brethren two,
      There styll as they dyd stande.

    Then Cloudeslè cast his eyen asyde,
      And saw hys 'brethren twaine'                                   90
    At a corner of the market place,
      Redy the justice for to slaine.

    I se comfort, sayd Cloudeslè,
      Yet hope I well to fare,
    If I might have my handes at wyll                                 95
      Ryght lytle wolde I care.

    Then spake good Adam Bell
      To Clym of the Clough so free,
    Brother, se you marke the justyce wel;
      Lo! yonder you may him se:                                     100

    And at the shyrife shote I wyll
      Strongly wyth an arrowe kene;
    A better shote in mery Carleile
      Thys seven yere was not sene.

    They loosed their arrowes both at once,[727]                     105
      Of no man had they dread;
    The one hyt the justice, the other the sheryfe,
      That both theyr sides gan blede.[728]

    All men voyded,[729] that them stode nye,
      When the justice fell to the grounde,                          110
    And the sherife nye hym by;
      Eyther had his deathes wounde.

    All the citezens fast gan flye,
      They durst no longer abyde:
    There lyghtly they losed Cloudeslee,                             115
      Where he with ropes lay tyde.

    Wyllyam start to an officer of the towne,
      Hys axe 'from' hys hand he wronge,
    On eche syde he smote them downe,
      Hee thought he taryed to long.                                 120

    Wyllyam sayde to hys brethren two,
      Thys daye let us lyve and die,
    If ever you have nede, as I have now,
      The same shall you finde by me.

    They shot so well in that tyde,                                  125
      Theyr stringes were of silke ful sure,
    That they kept the stretes on every side;
      That batayle did long endure.

    They fought together as brethren true,
      Lyke hardy men and bolde,                                      130
    Many a man to the ground they threw,
      And many a herte made colde.

    But when their arrowes were all gon,
      Men preced[730] to them full fast,
    They drew theyr swordès then anone,                              135
      And theyr bowes from them cast.

    They went lyghtlye on theyr way,
      Wyth swordes and buclers round;
    By that it was mydd of the day,
      They made many a wound.                                        140

    There was an out-horne[731] in Carleil blowen,
      And the belles backwàrd dyd ryng,
    Many a woman sayde, Alas!
      And many theyr handes dyd wryng.

    The mayre of Carleile forth com was,                             145
      Wyth hym a ful great route:[732]
    These yemen dred hym full sore,
      Of theyr lyves they stode in great doute.[733][734]

    The mayre came armed a full great pace,
      With a pollaxe in hys hande;                                   150
    Many a strong man wyth him was,
      There in that stowre[735] to stande.

    The mayre smot at Cloudeslee with his bil,[736]
      Hys bucler he brast[737] in two,
    Full many a yeman with great evyll,                              155
      Alas! Treason they cryed for wo.
    Kepe well the gates fast, they bad,
      That these traytours therout not go.

    But al for nought was that they wrought,
      For so fast they downe were layde,                             160
    Tyll they all thre, that so manfulli fought,
      Were gotten without, abraide.[738]

    Have here your keys, sayd Adam Bel,
      Myne office I here forsake,
    And yf you do by my counsell                                     165
      A new porter do ye make.

    He threw theyr keys at theyr heads,
      And bad them well to thryve,[739]
    And all that letteth any good yeman
      To come and comfort his wyfe.                                  170

    Thus be these good yeman gon to the wod
      As lyghtly, as lefe on lynde;[740]
    The lough and be mery in theyr mode,
      Theyr enemyes were ferr behynd.

    When they came to Englyshe wode,[741]                            175
      Under the trusty tre,
    There they found bowes full good,
      And arrowes full great plentye.

    So God me help, sayd Adam Bell,
      And Clym of the Clough so fre,                                 180
    I would we were in mery Carleile,
      Before that fayre meynye.[742]

    They set them downe, and made good chere,
      And eate and dranke full well.
    A second FYT of the wightye yeomen:[743]                         185
      Another I wyll you tell.

       *       *       *       *       *


    As they sat in Englyshe wood,
      Under the green-wode tre,
    They thought they herd a woman wepe,
      But her they mought[744] not se.

    Sore then syghed the fayre Alyce:                                  5
      'That ever I sawe thys day!'
    For nowe is my dere husband slayne:
      Alas! and wel-a-way!

    Myght I have spoken wyth hys dere brethren,
      Or with eyther of them twayne,                                  10
    To show them what him befell,
      My hart were out of payne.

    Cloudeslè walked a lytle beside,
      He looked under the grene wood lynde,
    He was ware of his wife, and chyldren three,                      15
      Full wo in harte and mynde.

    Welcome, wyfe, then sayde Wyllyam,
      Under 'this' trusti tre:
    I had wende[745] yesterday, by swete saynt John,
      Thou sholdest me never 'have' se.[746]                          20

    "Now well is me that ye be here,
      My harte is out of wo."
    Dame, he sayde, be mery and glad,
      And thanke my brethren two.

    Herof to speake, said Adam Bell,                                  25
      I-wis it is no bote:
    The meate, that we must supp withall,
      It runneth yet fast on fote.

    Then went they downe into a launde,[747]
      These noble archares all thre;                                  30
    Eche of them slew a hart of greece,[748]
      The best that they cold se.

    Have here the best, Alyce, my wyfe,
      Sayde Wyllyam of Cloudeslye;
    By cause ye so bouldly stode by me                                35
      When I was slayne full nye.

    Then went they to suppère
      Wyth suche meate as they had;
    And thanked God of ther fortune:
      They were both mery and glad.                                   40

    And when they had supped well,
      Certayne withouten lease,[749]
    Cloudeslè sayd, We wyll to our kyng,
      To get us a charter of peace.

    Alyce shal be at our sojournyng                                   45
      In a nunnery here besyde;
    My tow sonnes shall wyth her go,
      And there they shall abyde.

    Myne eldest son shall go wyth me;
      For hym have 'you' no care:[750]                                50
    And he shall bring you worde agayn,
      How that we do fare.

    Thus be these yemen to London gone,
      As fast as they myght 'he,'[751]
    Tyll they came to the kynges pallàce,                             55
      Where they woulde nedes be.

    And whan they came to the kynges courte,
      Unto the pallace gate,
    Of no man wold they aske no leave,
      But boldly went in therat.                                      60

    They preced prestly[752] into the hall,
      Of no man had they dreade:
    The porter came after, and dyd them call,
      And with them began to chyde.

    The usher sayde, Yemen, what wold ye have?                        65
      I pray you tell to me:
    You myght thus make offycers shent:[753]
      Good syrs, of whence be ye?

    Syr, we be out-lawes of the forest
      Certayne withouten lease;                                       70
    And hether we be come to the kyng,
      To get us a charter of peace.

    And whan they came before the kyng,
      As it was the lawe of the lande,
    The kneled downe without lettyng,                                 75
      And eche held up his hand.

    The sayed, Lord, we beseche the here,
      That ye wyll graunt us grace;
    For we have slayne your fat falow dere
      In many a sondry place.                                         80

    What be your nams, then said our king,
      Anone that you tell me?
    They sayd, Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough,
      And Wyllyam of Cloudeslè.

    Be ye those theves, then sayd our kyng,                           85
      That men have tolde of to me?
    Here to God I make an avowe,
      Ye shal be hanged al thre.

    Ye shal be dead without mercy,
      As I am kynge of this lande.                                    90
    He commanded his officers everich-one,
      Fast on them to lay hande.

    There they toke these good yemen,
      And arested them al thre:
    So may I thryve, sayd Adam Bell,                                  95
      Thys game lyketh not me.

    But, good lorde, we beseche you now,
      That yee graunt us grace,
    Insomuche as 'frely' we be to you come,
      'As frely' we may fro you passe,                               100

    With such weapons, as we have here,
      Tyll we be out of your place;
    And yf we lyve this hundreth yere,
      We wyll aske you no grace.

    Ye speake proudly, sayd the kynge;                               105
      Ye shall be hanged all thre.
    That were great pitye, then sayd the quene,
      If any grace myght be.

    My lorde, whan I came fyrst into this lande
      To be your wedded wyfe,                                        110
    The fyrst boone that I wold aske,[754]
      Ye would graunt it me belyfe:[755]

    And I asked you never none tyll now;
      Therefore good lorde, graunt it me,
    Now aske it, madam, sayd the kynge,                              115
      And graunted it shal be.

    Then, good my lord, I you beseche,
      These yemen graunt ye me.
    Madame, ye myght have asked a boone,
      That shuld have been worth them all thre.                      120

    Ye myght have asked towres, and townes,
      Parkes and forestes plentè.
    None soe pleasant to my pay,[756] shee sayd;
      Nor none so lefe[757] to me.

    Madame, sith it is your desyre,                                  125
      Your askyng graunted shal be;
    But I had lever have geven you
      Good market townes thre.

    The quene was a glad woman,
      And sayde, Lord, gramarcy:[758][759]                           130
    I dare undertake for them,
      That true men shal they be.

    But good my lord, speke som mery word,
      That comfort they may se.
    I graunt you grace, then sayd our king;                          135
      Washe, felos, and to meate go ye.

    They had not setten but a whyle
      Certayne without lesynge,[760]
    There came messengers out of the north
      With letters to our kyng.                                      140

    And whan the came before the kynge,
      They knelt downe on theyr kne;
    And sayd, Lord, your officers grete you well,
      Of Carleile in the north cuntrè.

    How fareth my justice, sayd the kyng,                            145
      And my sherife also?
    Syr, they be slayne without leasynge,
      And many an officer mo.

    Who hath them slayne, sayd the kyng;
      Anone that thou tell me?                                       150
    "Adam Bell, and Clime of the Clough,
      And Wyllyam of Cloudeslè."

    Alas for rewth![761] then sayd our kynge:
      My hart is wonderous sore;
    I had lever[762] than a thousande pounde,                        155
      I had knowne of thys before;

    For I have graunted them grace,
      And that forthynketh[763] me:
    But had I knowne all thys before,
      They had been hanged all thre.                                 160

    The kyng hee opened the letter anone,
      Himselfe he red it thro,
    And founde how these outlawes had slain
      Thre hundred men and mo:

    Fyrst the justice, and the sheryfe,                              165
      And the mayre of Carleile towne;
    Of all the constables and catchipolles
      Alyve were 'scant' left one:[764]

    The baylyes, and the bedyls both,
      And the sergeauntes of the law,                                170
    And forty fosters of the fe,[765]
      These outlawes had yslaw:[766]

    And broke his parks, and slayne his dere;
      Of all they chose the best;
    So perelous out-lawes, as they were,                             175
      Walked not by easte nor west.

    When the kynge this letter had red,
      In hys harte he syghed sore:
    Take up the tables anone he bad,
      For I may eat no more.                                         180

    The kyng called hys best archars
      To the buttes wyth hym to go:
    I wyll se these felowes shote, he sayd,
      In the north have wrought this wo.

    The kynges bowmen buske them blyve,[767][768]                    185
      And the quenes archers also;
    So dyd these thre wyghtye yemen;
      With them they thought to go.

    There twyse, or thryse they shote about
      For to assay theyr hande;                                      190
    There was no shote these yemen shot,
      That any prycke[769] myght stand.

    Then spake Wyllyam of Cloudeslè;
      By him that for me dyed,
    I hold hym never no good archar,                                 195
      That shoteth at buttes so wyde.

    'At what a butte now wold ye shote,'
      I pray thee tell to me?
    At suche a but, syr, he sayd,
      As men use in my countree.                                     200

    Wyllyam wente into a fyeld,
      And 'with him' his two brethren:[770]
    There they set up two hasell roddes[771][770]
      Twenty score paces betwene.[772]

    I hold him an archar, said Cloudeslè,                            205
      That yonder wande cleveth in two.
    Here is none suche, sayd the kyng,
      Nor no man can so do.[773]

    I shall assaye, syr, sayd Cloudeslè,
      Or that I farther go.                                          210
    Cloudesly with a bearyng arowe[774]
      Clave the wand in two.[770]

    Thou art the best archer, then said the king,
      Forsothe that ever I se.
    And yet for your love, sayd Wyllyam,                             215
      I wyll do more maystery.[775]

    I have a sonne is seven yere olde,
      He is to me full deare;
    I wyll hym tye to a stake;
      All shall se, that be here;                                    220

    And lay an apple upon hys head,
      And go syxe score paces hym fro,[776]
    And I my selfe with a brode aròw
      Shall cleve the apple in two.

    Now haste the, then sayd the kyng,                               225
      By hym that dyed on a tre,
    But yf thou do not, as thou hest sayde,
      Hanged shalt thou be.

    And thou touche his head or gowne,
      In fyght that men may se,                                      230
    By all the sayntes that be in heaven,
      I shall hange you all thre.

    That I have promised, said William,
      That I wyll never forsake.
    And there even before the kynge                                  235
      In the earth he drove a stake:

    And bound thereto his eldest sonne,
      And bad hym stand styll thereat;
    And turned the childes face him fro,
      Because he should not start.                                   240

    An apple upon his head he set,
      And then his bowe he bent:
    Syxe score paces they were meaten,[777]
      And thether Cloudeslè went.

    There he drew out a fayr brode arrowe,                           245
      Hys bowe was great and longe,
    He set that arrowe in his bowe,
      That was both styffe and stronge

    He prayed the people, that wer there,
      That they 'all still wold' stand,                              250
    For he that shoteth for such a wager,
      Behoveth a stedfast hand.[778]

    Muche people prayed for Cloudeslè,
      That his lyfe saved myght be,
    And whan he made hym redy to shote,                              255
      There was many weeping ee.

    'But' Cloudeslè clefte the apple in two,
      'His sonne he did not nee.'[779]
    Over Gods forbode, sayde the kinge,
      That thou shold shote at me.                                   260

    I geve thee eightene pence a day,
      And my bowe shalt thou bere,
    And over all the north countrè
      I make the chyfe rydère.[780]

    And I thyrtene pence a day, said the quene,[781]                 265
      By God, and by my fay;[782]
    Come feche thy payment when thou wylt,
      No man shall say the nay.

    Wyllyam, I make the a gentleman
      Of clothyng, and of fe:                                        270
    And thy two brethren, yemen of my chambre,
      For they are so semely to se.

    Your sonne, for he is tendre of age,
      Of my wyne-seller he shall be;
    And when he commeth to mans estate,                              275
      Better avaunced shall he be.

    And, Wyllyam, bring me your wife, said the quene,
      Me longeth her sore to se:
    She shall be my chefe gentlewoman,
      To governe my nurserye.                                        280

    The yemen thanked them all curteously.
      To some byshop wyl we wend,[783]
    Of all the synnes, that we have done,
      To be assoyld[784] at his hand.

    So forth be gone these good yemen,                               285
      As fast as they might 'he[785]';
    And after came and dwelled with the kynge,
      And dyed good men all thre.

    Thus endeth the lives of these good yemen;
      God send them eternall blysse;                                 290
    And all, that with a hand-bowe shoteth:
      That of heven may never mysse. Amen.


[682] Bottles formerly were of leather; though perhaps a wooden bottle
might be here meant. It is still a diversion in Scotland to hang up a
cat in a small cask or firkin, half filled with soot: and then a parcel
of clowns on horseback try to beat out the ends of it, in order to show
their dexterity in escaping before the contents fall upon them.

[683] _i.e._ Each with a canvas bow-case tied round his loins.

[684] [Ritson's book.]

[685] _Clym of the Clough_, means Clem. [Clement] of the Cliff: for so
Clough signifies in the North.

[686] [attend.]

[687] [companion or wife.]

[688] Ver. 24. _Caerlel_, in _PC. passim_.

[689] [from this wild wood depart.]

[690] [six o'clock in the morning.]

[691] V. 35. _take, PC. tane_, MS.

[692] [might.]

[693] [glad.]

[694] Ver. 85. sic MS. _shop window, PC._

[695] [company.]

[696] [from thee.]

[697] [burn.]

[698] [burnt.]

[699] [sooner.]

[700] [in the crowd to run.]

[701] [wild.]

[702] [in a crowd.]

[703] [fiercely.]

[704] Ver. 151. Sic MS. _hye Justice, PC._

[705] V. 153, 4, are contracted from the folio MS. and _PC._

[706] [quickly.]

[707] [lusty.]

[708] Ver. 179. _yonge men, PC._

[709] [condemned.]

[710] [hang.]

[711] Ver. 190. sic MS. _shadowes sheene, PC._

[712] [vexation.]

[713] V. 197. _jolly yeomen_, MS. _wight yong men, PC._

[714] [redeem.]

[715] [unto.]

[716] [hastened.]

[717] [sluggard or stupid fellow.]

[718] [mad.]

[719] Ver. 38. _Lordeyne, PC._

[720] _i. e._ weened, _thought_ (which last is the reading of the folio
MS.)----Calais, or Rouen was taken from the English by showing the
governor, who could not read, a letter with the king's seal, which was
all he looked at.

[721] [doffed his hood.]

[722] [glad.]

[723] [despoiled.]

[724] So Ascham in his _Toxophilus_ gives a precept; "The Stringe
must be rounde" (p. 149. Ed. 1761): otherwise, we may conclude from
mechanical principles, the Arrow will not fly true.

[725] [hour.]

[726] [inquest.]

[727] Ver. 105. _lowsed thre, PC._

[728] V. 108. _can bled_, MS.

[729] [went off.]

[730] [pressed.]

[731] _Outhorne_, is an old term signifying the calling forth of
subjects to arms by the sound of a horn. See Cole's _Lat. Dict._,
Bailey, &c. [Perhaps "a nouthorne," or neat's horn, from nowt, cattle.]

[732] [company.]

[733] [fear.]

[734] Ver. 148. _For of_, MS.

[735] [fight.]

[736] [pike or halbert.]

[737] [burst.]

[738] [abroad.]

[739] This is spoken ironically.

[740] [lime tree.]

[741] Ver. 175. _merry green wood_, MS.

[742] [company.]

[743] Ver. 185. see Part I. ver. 197.

[744] [might.]

[745] [thought.]

[746] Ver. 20. _never had se, PC._ and MS.

[747] [clear space in a forest.]

[748] [fat hart.]

[749] [without lying.]

[750] Ver. 50. _have I no care, PC._

[751] _i.e._ hie, hasten.

[752] [pressed quickly.]

[753] [blamed.]

[754] Ver. 111, 119. sic. MS. _bowne, PC._

[755] [at once.]

[756] [satisfaction.]

[757] [dear.]

[758] [I thank you.]

[759] Ver. 130. _God a mercye_, MS.

[760] [lying.]

[761] [pity.]

[762] [rather.]

[763] [vexeth.]

[764] Ver. 168. _left but one_, MS. _not one, PC._

[765] [foresters of the king's demesnes.]

[766] [slain.]

[767] [get them ready instantly.]

[768] V. 185. _blythe_, MS.

[769] _i.e._ mark.

[770] Ver. 202, 203, 212. _to, PC._

[771] [hazel rods.]

[772] V. 204. _i.e._ 400 yards.

[773] V. 208. sic MS. _none that can, PC._

[774] [an arrow that carries well.]

[775] [trial of skill.]

[776] V. 222. _i.e._ 120 yards.

[777] Ver. 243. sic, MS. _out met, PC._

[778] V. 252. _steedye_, MS.

[779] [nigh.]

[780] [ranger.]

[781] Ver. 265. _And I geve the xvij pence, PC._

[782] [faith.]

[783] V. 282. _And sayd to some Bishopp wee will wend_, MS.

[784] [absolved.]

[785] _he_, _i.e._ hie, hasten.



The Grave-digger's song in _Hamlet_, act v. is taken from three
stanzas of the following poem, though greatly altered and disguised,
as the same were corrupted by the ballad-singers of Shakespeare's
time; or perhaps so designed by the poet himself, the better to suit
the character of an illiterate clown. The original is preserved among
Surrey's Poems, and is attributed to Lord _Vaux_, by George Gascoigne,
who tells us, it "was thought by some to be made upon his death-bed;"
a popular error which he laughs at. (See his _Epist. to Yong Gent._
prefixed to his _Posies_, 1575, 4to.) It is also ascribed to Lord Vaux
in a manuscript copy preserved in the British Museum.[786] This Lord
was remarkable for his skill in drawing feigned manners, &c. for
so I understand an ancient writer. "The Lord Vaux his commendation
lyeth chiefly in the facilitie of his meetre, and the aptnesse of his
descriptions such as he taketh upon him to make, namely in sundry of
his Songs, wherein he showeth the _counterfait action_ very lively
and pleasantly." _Arte of Eng. Poesie_, 1589, p. 51. See another _Song_
by this Poet in vol. ii. No. viii.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [Thomas second Lord Vaux, the author of this poem, was born in the
  year 1510. He wrote several small pieces of the same character
  which evince taste and feeling, and his contributions to the
  _Paradise of Dainty Devices_ exceed in number those of Richard
  Edwards himself, whose name appears upon the original title-page
  as the chief author. Lord Vaux was a courtier as well as a poet,
  and was one of the splendid retinue which attended Wolsey in his
  embassy, in the 19th Henry VIII., 1527, to the Court of France
  to negotiate a peace. He took his seat in the House of Lords in
  the 22nd Henry VIII., and two years afterwards, 1532, waited on
  the king to Calais and thence to Boulogne. He was rewarded with
  the Order of the Bath at the Coronation of Anne Boleyn, and was
  also appointed Captain of the Island of Jersey, which office he
  surrendered in the 28th Henry VIII.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    I loth that I did love,
      In youth that I thought swete,
    As time requires: for my behove[787]
      Me thinkes they are not mete.[788]

    My lustes they do me leave,                                        5
      My fansies all are fled;[789]
    And tract of time begins to weave
      Gray heares upon my hed.

    For Age with steling steps,
      Hath clawde me with his crowch,[790][791]                       10
    And lusty 'Youthe' awaye he leapes,[792]
      As there had bene none such.

    My muse doth not delight
      Me, as she did before:
    My hand and pen are not in plight,                                15
      As they have bene of yore.

    For Reason me denies,
      'All' youthly idle rime;[793]
    And day by day to me she cries,
      Leave off these toyes in tyme.                                  20

    The wrinkles in my brow,
      The furrowes in my face
    Say, Limping age will 'lodge' him now,[794]
      Where youth must geve him place.

    The harbenger of death,                                           25
      To me I se him ride,
    The cough, the cold, the gasping breath,
      Doth bid me to provide

    A pikeax and a spade,
      And eke a shrowding shete,[795]                                 30
    A house of clay for to be made
      For such a guest most mete.

    Me thinkes I heare the clarke,
      That knoles the carefull knell;[796]
    And bids me leave my 'wearye' warke,[797]                         35
      Ere nature me compell.

    My kepers[798] knit the knot,
      That youth doth laugh to scorne,[799]
    Of me that 'shall bee cleane' forgot,[800]
      As I had 'ne'er' bene borne.[801]                               40

    Thus must I youth geve up,
      Whose badge I long did weare:
    To them I yeld the wanton cup,
      That better may it beare.

    Lo here the bared skull;[802]                                     45
      By whose balde signe I know,
    That stouping age away shall pull
      'What' youthful yeres did sow.[803]

    For Beautie with her band,
      These croked cares had wrought,                                 50
    And shipped me into the land,
      From whence I first was brought.

    And ye that bide behinde,
      Have ye none other trust:
    As ye of claye were cast by kinde,                                55
      So shall ye 'turne' to dust.[804]


[786] Harl. MSS. num. 1703, § 25. [Called in that MS. "_The Image of
Death_." There is another copy in the Ashmolean Library (MS. Ashm. No.
48.)] The readings gathered from that copy are distinguished here by
inverted commas. The text is printed from the "_Songs, &c. of the Earl
of Surrey and others_, 1557, 4to."

[787] [behoof.]

[788] [meet or fit.]

[789] Ver. 6. _be, PC._ (printed copy in 1557.)

[790] [crutch.]

[791] V. 10. _Crowch_ perhaps should be _clouch_, clutch, grasp.

[792] Ver. 11. _Life away she, PC._

[793] V. 18. _This, PC._

[794] V. 23. So Ed. 1583 'tis _hedge_ in Ed. 1557. _hath caught him_,

[795] V. 30. _wyndynge-sheete_, MS.

[796] V. 34. _bell_, MS.

[797] V. 35. _wofull, PC._

[798] Alluding perhaps to Eccles. xii. 3

[799] V. 38. _did, PC._

[800] Ver. 39. _clene shal be, PC._

[801] V. 40. _not, PC._

[802] V. 45. _bare-hedde_, M. and some _PCC._

[803] V. 48. _Which, PC. That_, MS. _What_ is etc.

[804] V. 56. _wast, PC._



In Shakespeare's _Hamlet_, act ii. the hero of the play takes occasion
to banter Polonius with some scraps of an old Ballad, which has never
appeared yet in any collection: for which reason, as it is but short,
it will not perhaps be unacceptable to the reader; who will also be
diverted with the pleasant absurdities of the composition. It was
retrieved from utter oblivion by a lady, who wrote it down from memory
as she had formerly heard it sung by her father. I am indebted for it
to the friendship of Mr. _Steevens_.

It has been said, that the original Ballad, in black-letter, is among
Anthony à Wood's Collections in the Ashmolean Museum. But, upon
application lately made, the volume which contained this Song was
missing, so that it can only now be given as in the former Edition.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Banter of Hamlet is as follows:

  "_Hamlet._ 'O Jeptha, Judge of Israel,' what a treasure hadst thou?

  _Polonius._ What a treasure had he, my Lord?

  _Ham._ Why, 'One faire daughter, and no more, the which he loved
  passing well.'

  _Polon._ Still on my daughter.

  _Ham._ Am not I i' th' right, old Jeptha?

  _Polon._ If you call me Jeptha, my Lord, I have a daughter, that I
  love passing well.

  _Ham._ Nay, that follows not.

  _Polon._ What follows then, my Lord?

  _Ham._ Why, 'As by lot, God wot:' and then you know, 'It came to
  passe, As most like it was.' The first row of the pious chanson
  will shew you more."--_Act_ ii. _sc._ 2.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [A more perfect copy of this ballad was reprinted by Evans in his
  _Collection of Old Ballads_ from a black-letter broadside, and
  is included by Child in his _Collection of English and Scottish_
  _Ballads_ (vol. viii. p. 198).

  The wording is rather different in the two versions, and Evans's
  has two additional stanzas. It does not appear that anything is
  left out at line 18 of Percy's version, but in place of the stars
  at line 41 Evans's copy reads--

    "A sacrifice to God on high;
    My promise must be finishéd."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    Have you not heard these many years ago
      Jeptha was judge of Israel?
    He had one only daughter and no mo,
      The which he loved passing well:
        And, as by lott,                                               5
          God wot,
      It so came to pass,
      As Gods will was,
    That great wars there should be,
    And none should be chosen chief but he                            10

    And when he was appointed judge,
      And chieftain of the company,
    A solemn vow to God he made;
      If he returned with victory,
              At his return                                           15
              To burn
        The first live thing,
           *       *       *       *       *
    That should meet with him then,
    Off his house, when he should return agen.                        20

    It came to pass, the wars was oer,
      And he returned with victory;
    His dear and only daughter first of all
      Came to meet her father foremostly:
            And all the way                                           25
            She did play
        On tabret and pipe,
        Full many a stripe,
    With note so high,
    For joy that her father is come so nigh.                          30

    But when he saw his daughter dear
      Coming on most foremostly,
    He wrung his hands, and tore his hair,
      And cryed out most piteously;
            Oh! it's thou, said he,                                   35
            That have brought me
        And troubled me so,
        That I know not what to do.
    For I have made a vow, he sed,
    The which must be replenished:                                    40
           *       *       *       *       *
            "What thou hast spoke
            Do not revoke:
        What thou hast said,
        Be not affraid;                                               45
      Altho' it be I;
      Keep promises to God on high.

    But, dear father, grant me one request,
      That I may go to the wilderness,
    Three months there with my friends to stay;                       50
      There to bewail my virginity;
            And let there be,
            Said she,
        Some two or three
        Young maids with me."                                         55
    So he sent her away,
    For to mourn, for to mourn, till her dying day.



In his _Twelfth Night_, Shakespeare introduces the clown singing
part of the two first stanzas of the following Song; which has been
recovered from an antient MS. of Dr. Harrington's at Bath, preserved
among the many literary treasures transmitted to the ingenious and
worthy possessor by a long line of most respectable ancestors. Of these
only a small part hath been printed in the _Nugæ Antiquæ_, 3 vols.
12mo; a work which the publick impatiently wishes to see continued.

The song is thus given by Shakespeare, act iv. sc. 2:--

    "_Clown._ 'Hey Robin, jolly Robin. [singing.]
          Tell me how thy lady does.'

    _Malvolio._ Fool----

    _Clown._ 'My lady is unkind, perdy.'

    _Malvolio._ Fool----

    _Clown._ 'Alas, why is she so?'

    _Malvolio._ Fool, I say----

    _Clown._ 'She loves another.'--Who calls, ha?"

Dr. _Farmer_ has conjectured that the song should begin thus:

    "Hey, jolly Robin, tell to me
      How does thy lady do?
    My lady is unkind perdy--
      Alas, why is she so?"

But this ingenious emendation is now superseded by the proper readings
of the old song itself, which is here printed from what appears
the most ancient of Dr. Harrington's poetical MSS. and which has,
therefore, been marked No. I. (Scil. p. 68.) That volume seems to have
been written in the reign of King Henry VIII. and, as it contains many
of the Poems of Sir _Thomas Wyat_, hath had almost all the contents
attributed to him by marginal directions written with an old but later
hand, and not always rightly, as, I think, might be made appear by
other good authorities. Among the rest this song is there attributed to
Sir _Thomas Wyat_ also; but the discerning reader will probably judge
it to belong to a more obsolete writer.

In the old MS. to the 3rd and 5th stanzas is prefixed this title,
_Responce_, and to the 4th and 6th, _Le Plaintif_; but in the last
instance so evidently wrong, that it was thought better to omit these
titles, and to mark the changes of the Dialogue by inverted commas.
In other respects the MS. is strictly followed, except where noted
in the margin.--Yet the first stanza appears to be defective, and it
should seem that a line is wanting, unless the four first words were
lengthened in the tune.

       *       *       *       *       *

    A Robyn,
      Jolly Robyn,
    Tell me how thy leman[805] doeth,
      And thou shalt knowe of myn.[806]

    'My lady is unkynde perde.'[807]                                   5
      Alack! why is she so?
    'She loveth an other better than me;
      And yet she will say no.'

    I fynde no such doublenes:
      I fynde women true.                                             10
    My lady loveth me dowtles,
      And will change for no newe.

    'Thou art happy while that doeth last;
      But I say, as I fynde,
    That women's love is but a blast,                                 15
      And torneth with the wynde.'

    Suche folkes can take no harme by love,
      That can abide their torn.[808]
    'But I alas can no way prove
      In love but lake and morn.'                                     20

    But if thou wilt avoyde thy harme
      Lerne this lessen of me,
    At others fieres thy selfe to warme,
      And let them warme with the.


[805] [mistress.]

[806] Ver. 4. _shall_, MS.

[807] [verily.]

[808] [turn.]



This sonnet (which is ascribed to _Richard Edwards_,[809] in the
_Paradise of Daintie Devises_, fo. 31, b.) is by Shakespeare made the
subject of some pleasant ridicule in his _Romeo and Juliet_, act iv.
sc. 5, where he introduces Peter putting this question to the musicians.

  "_Peter_ ... why 'Silver Sound?' why 'Musicke with her silver
  sound?' what say you, Simon Catling?

  _I. Mus._ Marry, sir, because silver hath a sweet sound.

  _Pet._ Pretty! what say you, Hugh Rebecke?

  _2. Mus._ I say, silver sound, because musicians sound for silver.

  _Pet._ Pretty too! what say you, James Sound-post.

  _3. Mus._ Faith, I know not what to say.

  _Pet._ ... I will say for you: It is 'Musicke with her silver
  sound,' because musicians have no gold for sounding."

This ridicule is not so much levelled at the song itself (which for the
time it was written is not inelegant) as at those forced and unnatural
explanations often given by us painful editors and expositors of
ancient authors.

This copy is printed from an old quarto MS. in the Cotton Library
(Vesp. A. 25), intitled, "Divers things of Hen. viij's time:" with some
corrections from _The Paradise of Dainty Devises_, 1596.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [Richard Edwards, one of the chief contributors to the _Paradise_
  _of Dainty Devises_, was a facile and elegant poet much appreciated
  by his contemporaries but unjustly neglected now. Meres in his
  _Wits Treasury_, 1598, praises him, as "one of the best for
  comedy," and Puttenham gives him the same commendation. Thomas
  Twyne and George Turberville, wrote epitaphs upon him, and the
  latter says in the terms of unmeasured eulogy then fashionable--

    "From Plautus he the palme and learned Terence won."

  Edwards was born in Somersetshire about 1523, was educated at
  Oxford, and, in 1561, was constituted by Queen Elizabeth a
  Gentleman of the Royal Chapel and Master of the Singing Boys there.
  He attended the Queen on her visit to Oxford in 1566, and was
  employed to compose a play called _Palamon and Arcite_, which was
  acted before her Majesty in Christ Church Hall.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    Where gripinge grefes the hart would wounde,
      And dolefulle dumps[810] the mynde oppresse,
    There musicke with her silver sound
      With spede is wont to send redresse:
    Of trobled mynds, in every sore,                                   5
    Swete musicke hathe a salve in store.

    In joye yt maks our mirthe abounde,
      In woe yt cheres our hevy sprites;
    Be-strawghted[811] heads relyef hath founde,
      By musickes pleasaunt swete delightes:                          10
    Our senses all, what shall I say more?
    Are subjecte unto musicks lore.

    The Gods by musicke have theire prayse;
      The lyfe, the soul therein doth joye:
    For, as the Romayne poet sayes,                                   15
      In seas, whom pyrats would destroy,
    A dolphin saved from death most sharpe
    Arion playing on his harpe.

    O heavenly gyft, that rules the mynd,
      Even as the sterne dothe rule the shippe!                       20
    O musicke, whom the gods assinde
      To comforte manne, whom cares would nippe!
    Since thow both man and beste doest move,
    What beste ys he, wyll the[812] disprove?


[809] Concerning him see Wood's _Athen. Oxon._ and Tanner's _Biblioth._
also Sir John Hawkins's _Hist. of Music, &c._

[810] [sorrowful gloom.]

[811] [distracted.]

[812] [what beast is he, will thee.]



Is a story often alluded to by our old Dramatic Writers. Shakespeare,
in his _Romeo and Juliet_, act ii. sc. 1, makes Mercutio say,

    ----"Her (Venus's) purblind son and heir,
    Young Adam[813] Cupid, he that shot so true,
    When King Cophetua loved the beggar-maid."

As the 13th line of the following ballad seems here particularly
alluded to, it is not improbable but Shakespeare wrote it _shot
so trim_, which the players or printers, not perceiving the
allusion, might alter to _true_. The former, as being the more
humorous expression, seems most likely to have come from the mouth of

       *       *       *       *       *

In the 2d Part of _Hen. IV._ A. 5, Sc. 3, Falstaff is introduced
affectedly saying to Pistoll,

    "O base Assyrian knight, what is thy news?
    Let king Cophetua know the truth thereof."

These lines, Dr. Warburton thinks, were taken from an old bombast play
of _King Cophetua_. No such play is, I believe, now to be found; but it
does not therefore follow that it never existed. Many dramatic pieces
are referred to by old writers,[815] which are not now extant, or even
mentioned in any list. In the infancy of the stage, plays were often
exhibited that were never printed.

It is probably in allusion to the same play that Ben Jonson says, in
his Comedy of _Every Man in his Humour_, A. 3, Sc. 4:

  "I have not the heart to devour thee, an' I might be made as _rich_
  as King Cophetua."

At least there is no mention of King Cophetua's _riches_ in the present
ballad, which is the oldest I have met with on the subject.

It is printed from Rich. Johnson's _Crown Garland of Goulden Roses_,
1612,[816] 12mo. (where it is intitled simply _A Song of a Beggar and
a King_:) corrected by another copy.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [In the _Collection of Old Ballads_, 1723 (vol. i. p. 138) there is
  a ballad on the same subject as the following popular one. It is
  entitled "_Cupid's Revenge_, or an account of a king who slighted
  all women, and at length was constrained to marry a beggar, who
  proved a fair and virtuous queen."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    I read that once in Affrica
      A princely wight[817] did raine,
    Who had to name Cophetua,
      As poets they did faine:
    From natures lawes he did decline,                                 5
    For sure he was not of my mind,
    He cared not for women-kinde,
      But did them all disdaine.
    But, marke, what hapned on a day,
    As he out of his window lay,                                      10
    He saw a beggar all in gray,
      The which did cause his paine.

    The blinded boy, that shootes so trim,[818]
      From heaven downe did hie;
    He drew a dart and shot at him,                                   15
      In place where he did lye:
    Which soone did pierse him to the quicke,
    And when he felt the arrow pricke,
    Which in his tender heart did sticke,
      He looketh as he would dye.                                     20
    What sudden chance is this, quoth he,
    That I to love must subject be,
    Which never thereto would agree,
      But still did it defie?

    Then from the window he did come,                                 25
      And laid him on his bed,
    A thousand heapes of care did runne
      Within his troubled head:
    For now he meanes to crave her love,
    And now he seekes which way to proove                             30
    How he his fancie might remoove,
      And not this beggar wed.
    But Cupid had him so in snare,
    That this poor begger must prepare
    A salve to cure him of his care,                                  35
      Or els he would be dead.

    And, as he musing thus did lye,
      He thought for to devise
    How he might have her companye,
      That so did 'maze his eyes.                                     40
    In thee, quoth he, doth rest my life;
    For surely thou shalt be my wife,
    Or else this hand with bloody knife
      The Gods shall sure suffice.
    Then from his bed he soon arose,                                  45
    And to his pallace gate he goes;
    Full little then this begger knowes
      When she the king espies.

    The gods preserve your majesty,
      The beggers all gan cry:                                        50
    Vouchsafe to give your charity
      Our childrens food to buy.
    The king to them his pursse did cast,
    And they to part it made great haste;
    This silly woman was the last                                     55
      That after them did hye.
    The king he cal'd her back againe,
    And unto her he gave his chaine;
    And said, With us you shal remaine
      Till such time as we dye:                                       60

    For thou, quoth he, shalt be my wife,
      And honoured for my queene;
    With thee I meane to lead my life,
      As shortly shall be seene:
    Our wedding shall appointed be,                                   65
    And every thing in its degree:
    Come on, quoth he, and follow me,
      Thou shalt go shift thee cleane.
    What is thy name, faire maid? quoth he.
    Penelophon,[819] O king, quoth she:                               70
    With that she made a lowe courtsèy;
      A trim one as I weene.

    Thus hand in hand along they walke
      Unto the king's pallàce:
    The king with courteous comly talke                               75
      This begger doth imbrace:
    The begger blusheth scarlet red,
    And straight againe as pale as lead,
    But not a word at all she said,
      She was in such amaze.                                          80
    At last she spake with trembling voyce,
    And said, O king, I doe rejoyce
    That you wil take me for your choyce,
      And my degree's so base.

    And when the wedding day was come,                                85
      The king commanded strait
    The noblemen both all and some
      Upon the queene to wait.
    And she behaved herself that day,
    As if she had never walkt the way;[820]                           90
    She had forgot her gowne of gray,
      Which she did weare of late.
    The proverbe old is come to passe,
    The priest, when he begins his masse,
    Forgets that ever clerke he was;                                  95
      He knowth not his estate.

    Here you may read, Cophetua,
      Though long time fancie-fed,
    Compelled by the blinded boy
      The begger for to wed:                                         100
    He that did lovers lookes disdaine,
    To do the same was glad and faine,
    Or else he would himselfe have slaine,
      In storie, as we read.
    Disdaine no whit, O lady deere,[821]                             105
    But pitty now thy servant heere,
    Least that it hap to thee this yeare,
      As to that king it did.

    And thus they led a quiet life
      During their princely raigne;                                  110
    And in a tombe were buried both,
      As writers sheweth plaine.[822]
    The lords they tooke it grievously,
    The ladies tooke it heavily,
    The commons cryed pitiously,                                     115
      Their death to them was paine,
    Their fame did sound so passingly,
    That it did pierce the starry sky,
    And throughout all the world did flye
      To every princes realme.[823]                                  120


[813] See above, Preface to Song I. Book II. of this vol.

[814] Since this conjecture first occurred, it has been discovered that
_shot so trim_ was the genuine reading.

[815] See _Meres Wits Treas._ f. 283; _Arte of Eng. Poes._ 1589, p. 51,
111, 143, 169.

[816] [Reprinted by the Percy Society in the sixth volume of their

[817] [man.]

[818] [exact.]

[819] Shakespeare (who alludes to this ballad in his _Love's Labour's_
_Lost_, act iv. sc. 1.) gives the beggar's name _Zenelophon_, according
to all the old editions: but this seems to be a corruption; for
_Penelophon_, in the text, sounds more like the name of a woman.--The
story of the King and the Beggar is also alluded to in _K. Rich. II_
act v, sc. 3.

[820] Ver. 90. _i.e._ tramped the streets.

[821] Ver. 105. Here the poet addresses himself to his mistress.

[822] V. 112. _Sheweth_ was anciently the plur. numb.

[823] An ingenious friend thinks the two last stanzas should change




Is supposed to have been originally a Scotch ballad. The reader here
has an ancient copy in the English idiom, with an additional stanza
(the 2d.) never before printed. This curiosity is preserved in the
Editor's folio MS. but not without corruptions, which are here removed
by the assistance of the Scottish Edit. Shakespeare, in his _Othello_,
act ii. has quoted one stanza, with some variations, which are here
adopted: the old MS. readings of that stanza are however given in the

       *       *       *       *       *

  [The Scottish version referred to above was printed in Ramsay's
  _Tea Table Miscellany_, and the king mentioned on line 49 is there
  named Robert instead of Stephen. He is King Harry in the folio MS.

  The "corruptions" to which Percy alludes are all noted at the foot
  of the page, and in one instance at least (line 15) the MS. gives
  an important new reading. Mr. Hales thinks that the MS. version is
  the oldest form of the ballad, because the definite mention of the
  court looks more original than the use of the general term of town,
  and he says, "the poem naturally grew vaguer as it grew generally

  Besides the reference to this ballad in _Othello_ mentioned by
  Percy above, Mr. Hales has pointed out to me another evident
  allusion in the _Tempest_, act iv. sc. 1, where Trinculo says,

    "_O King Stephano, O Peere_: O worthy Stephano,
    Looke what a _wardrobe_ here is for thee."

                                (Folio 1623, Booth's ed. p. 15, col. 2.)

  The cloak that had been in wear for forty-four years was likely
  to be a sorry clout at the end of that time, but the clothes of
  all classes were then expected to last from year to year without
  renewal. Woollen cloths were of old the chief material of male and
  female attire. When new the nap was very long, and after being worn
  for some time, it was customary to have it shorn, a process which
  was repeated as often as the stuff would bear it. Thus we find the
  Countess of Leicester (Eleanor third daughter of King John, and
  wife of Simon de Montfort) in 1265, sending Hicque the tailor to
  London to get her robes re-shorn.[825]]

       *       *       *       *       *

    This winters weather itt waxeth cold,
      And frost doth freese on every hill,
    And Boreas blowes his blasts soe bold,
      That all our cattell are like to spill;[826]
    Bell my wiffe, who loves noe strife,                               5
      She sayd unto me quietlye,
    Rise up, and save cow Crumbockes liffe,
      Man, put thine old cloake about thee.


    O Bell, why dost thou flyte[827] 'and scorne'?[828]
      Thou kenst my cloak is very thin:[829]                          10
    Itt is soe bare and overworne
      A cricke[830] he theron cannot renn:[831]
    Then Ile noe longer borrowe nor lend,
      'For once Ile new appareld bee,[832]
    To-morrow Ile to towne and spend,'                                15
      For Ile have a new cloake about mee.


    Cow Crumbocke is a very good cowe,
      Shee ha beene alwayes true to the payle,
    Shee has helpt us to butter and cheese, I trow,
      And other things shee will not fayle;                           20
    I wold be loth to see her pine,[833]
      Good husband, councell take of mee,[834]
    It is not for us to go soe fine,[835]
      Man, take thine old cloake about thee.


    My cloake it was a verry good cloake,                             25
      Itt hath been alwayes true to the weare,
    But now it is not worth a groat;[836]
      I have had it four and forty yeere:
    Sometime itt was of cloth in graine,[837]
      'Tis now but a sigh clout[838] as you may see,                  30
    It will neither hold out winde nor raine;
      And Ile have a new cloake about mee.


    It is four and fortye yeeres agoe
      Since the one of us the other did ken,
    And we have had betwixt us towe                                   35
      Of children either nine or ten;
    Wee have brought them up to women and men;
      In the feare of God I trow they bee;
    And why wilt thou thyselfe misken?[839]
      Man, take thine old cloake about thee.                          40


    O Bell my wiffe, why dost thou 'floute!'[840]
      Now is nowe, and then was then:
    Seeke now all the world throughout,
      Thou kenst not clownes from gentlemen.
    They are cladd in blacke, greene, yellowe, or 'gray',[841]        45
      Soe far above their owne degree:
    Once in my life Ile 'doe as they,'[842]
      For Ile have a new cloake about mee.


    King Stephen was a worthy peere,[843]
      His breeches cost him but a crowne,[844]                        50
    He held them sixpence all too deere;[845]
      Therefore he calld the taylor Lowne.[846][847]
    He was a wight of high renowne,[848]
      And thouse[849] but of a low degree:
    Itt's pride that putts this countrye downe,                       55
      Man, take thine old cloake about thee.


    'Bell my wife she loves not strife,[850]
      Yet she will lead me if she can;
    And oft, to live a quiet life,
      I am forced to yield, though Ime good-man:'                     60
    Itt's not for a man with a woman to threape,[851]
      Unlesse he first give oer the plea:
    As wee began wee now will leave,[852]
      And Ile take mine old cloake about mee.[853]


[824] [Folio MS. ed. Hales and Furnivall, vol. ii. p. 320.]

[825] [Botfield's _Manners and Household Expenses of England_, 1841.]

[826] [spoil or come to harm.]

[827] [scold.]

[828] [Ver. 9. O Bell my wiffe, why dost thou fflyte.]

[829] [V. 10. itt is soe sore over worne.]

[830] [insect.]

[831] [run.]

[832] [V. 14-15. in place of these two the MS. has "Ile goe ffind the
court within."]

[833] [starve.]

[834] [V. 22. Therefore good husband ffollow my councell now.]

[835] [V. 23. Forsake the court and follow the ploughe.]

[836] [Ver. 27. Itt hath cost mee many a groat.]

[837] [scarlet.]

[838] [a cloth to strain milk through.]

[839] [mistake.]

[840] V. 41. _flyte_, MS.

[841] [V. 45. yellow and blew.]

[842] [V. 47. once in my life Ile take a vew.]

[843] Ver. 49. King Harry ... a verry good king, MS.

[844] V. 50. I trow his hose cost but, MS.

[845] V. 51. He thought them 12d. over to deere, MS.

[846] [rascal.]

[847] V. 52. clowne, MS.

[848] V. 53. He was king and wore the crowne, MS.

[849] [thou art.]

[850] [V. 57-60:--

    "O Bell my wiffe! why dost thou fflyte
      now is now and then was then;
    wee will live now obedyent lyffe
      thou the woman and I the man."]

[851] [argue.]

[852] [V. 63. wee will live nowe as wee began.]

[853] [V. 64. Ile have.]



It is from the following stanzas that Shakespeare has taken his song of
the _Willow_, in his _Othello_, act iv. sc. 3, though somewhat varied
and applied by him to a female character. He makes Desdemona introduce
it in this pathetic and affecting manner:

    "My mother had a maid call'd Barbara:
    She was in love; and he, she lov'd, prov'd mad,
    Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garlànd!And did forsake her.
        She had a Song of--_Willow_.
    An old thing 'twas, but it express'd her fortune,
    And she died singing it."

This is given from a black-letter copy in the Pepys collection, thus
intitled, _A Lover's Complaint, being forsaken of his Love. To a_
_pleasant tune._

       *       *       *       *       *

  ["Willow, willow" was a favourite burden for songs in the sixteenth
  and seventeenth centuries, and one of John Heywood's songs has the

    "All a grene wyllow; wyllow, wyllow, wyllow,
    All a grene wyllow is my garland."

  In the _Gorgeous Gallery of Gallant Inventions_ (1578) there is a
  slightly different burden--

    "Willow, willow, willow, sing all of green willow,
    Sing all of green willow, shall be my garland."

  There is another copy of the following song in the Roxburghe
  Collection (i. 54, 55) printed in _Roxburghe Ballads_ (ed. W.
  Chappell, 1869, Part I. p. 171). Both these are of the first half
  of the seventeenth century, and an earlier copy than either is
  printed by Mr. Chappell in his _Popular Music of the Olden Time_,
  i. 206.

  Dr. Rimbault[854] has drawn attention to the following parody,
  dated 1668--

    "A poore soule sat sighing near a ginger-bread stall,
      O ginger-bread O, ginger-bread O!
    With his hands in his pockets, his head on the wall,
      O ginger-bread O, ginger-bread O!
    You pye-wifes of Smithfield, what would ye be at!
      Who talks of plum-pudding? here's better than that,
    For here's ginger-bread O, ginger-bread O!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

    A poore soule sat sighing under a sicamore tree;
      O willow, willow, willow!
    With his hand on his bosom, his head on his knee:
      O willow, willow, willow!
      O willow, willow, willow!                                        5
    Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garlànd.

    He sigh'd in his singing, and after each grone,
      Come willow, &c.
    I am dead to all pleasure, my true-love is gone;
      O willow, &c.                                                   10
    Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garlànd.

    My love she is turned; untrue she doth prove:
      O willow, &c.
    She renders me nothing but hate for my love.
      O willow, &c.                                                   15
    Sing, O the greene willow, &c.

    O pitty me, (cried he) ye lovers, each one;
      O willow, &c.
    Her heart's hard as marble; she rues not my mone.
      O willow, &c.                                                   20
    Sing, O the greene willow, &c.

    The cold streams ran by him, his eyes wept apace;
      O willow, &c.
    The salt tears fell from him, which drowned his face:
      O willow, &c.                                                   25
    Sing, O the greene willow, &c.

    The mute birds sate by him, made tame by his mones:
      O willow, &c.
    The salt tears fell from him, which softened the stones.
      O willow, &c.                                                   30
    Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garlànd!

    Let nobody blame me, her scornes I do prove;
      O willow, &c.
    She was borne to be faire; I, to die for her love.
      O willow, &c.                                                   35
    Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garlànd.

    O that beauty should harbour a heart that's so hard!
      Sing willow, &c.
    My true love rejecting without all regard.
      O willow, &c.                                                   40
    Sing, O the greene willow, &c.

    Let love no more boast him in palace, or bower;
      O willow, &c.
    For women are trothles,[855] and flote[856] in an houre.
      O willow, &c.                                                   45
    Sing, O the greene willow, &c.

    But what helps complaining? In vaine I complaine:
      O willow, &c.
    I must patiently suffer her scorne and disdaine.
      O willow, &c.                                                   50
    Sing, O the greene willow, &c.

    Come, all you forsaken, and sit down by me,
      O willow, &c.
    He that 'plaines of his false love, mine's falser than she.
      O willow, &c.                                                   55
    Sing, O the greene willow, &c.

    The willow wreath weare I, since my love did fleet;
      O willow, &c.
    A Garland for lovers forsaken most meete.
      O willow, &c.                                                   60
    Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garlànd!

       *       *       *       *       *


    Lowe lay'd by my sorrow, begot by disdaine;
      O willow, willow, willow!
    Against her too cruell, still still I complaine,
      O willow, willow, willow!
      O willow, willow, willow!                                        5
    Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garlànd!

    O love too injurious, to wound my poore heart!
      O willow, &c.
    To suffer the triumph, and joy in my smart:
      O willow, &c.                                                   10
    Sing, O the greene willow, &c.

    O willow, willow, willow! the willow garlànd,
      O willow, &c.
    A sign of her falsenesse before me doth stand:
      O willow, &c.                                                   15
    Sing, O the greene willow, &c.

    As here it doth bid to despair and to dye,
      O willow, &c.
    So hang it, friends, ore me in grave where I lye:
      O willow, &c.                                                   20
    Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garlànd.

    In grave where I rest mee, hang this to the view
      O willow, &c.
    Of all that doe knowe her, to blaze her untrue.
      O willow, &c.                                                   25
    Sing, O the greene willow, &c.

    With these words engraven, as epitaph meet,
      O willow, &c.
    "Here lyes one, drank poyson for potion most sweet."
      O willow, &c.                                                   30
    Sing, O the greene willow, &c.

    Though she thus unkindly hath scorned my love,
      O willow, &c.
    And carelesly smiles at the sorrowes I prove;
      O willow, &c.                                                   35
    Sing, O the greene willow, &c.

    I cannot against her unkindly exclaim,
      O willow, &c.
    Cause once well I loved her, and honoured her name:
      O willow, &c.                                                   40
    Sing, O the greene willow, &c.

    The name of her sounded so sweete in mine eare,
      O willow, &c.
    It rays'd my heart lightly, the name of my deare;
      O willow, &c.                                                   45
    Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garlànd.

    As then 'twas my comfort, it now is my griefe;
      O willow, &c.
    It now brings me anguish, then brought me reliefe.
      O willow, &c.                                                   50
    Sing, O the greene willow, &c.

    Farewell, faire false hearted: plaints end with my breath!
      O willow, willow, willow!
    Thou dost loath me, I love thee, though cause of my death.
      O willow, willow, willow!                                       55
      O willow, willow, willow!
    Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garlànd.


[854] [Rimbault's _Musical Illustrations of Percy's Reliques_, 1850, p.

[855] [faithless.]

[856] [change.]



This ballad is quoted in Shakespeare's second Part of _Henry IV._ act
ii. The subject of it is taken from the ancient romance of K. Arthur
(commonly called _Morte Arthur_) being a poetical translation of
chap. cviii. cix. cx. in Pt. 1st, as they stand in ed. 1634, 4to. In
the older editions the chapters are differently numbered.--This song
is given from a printed copy, corrected in part by a fragment in the
Editor's folio MS.

In the same play of _2 Hen. IV. Silence_ hums a scrap of one of the
old ballads of Robin Hood. It is taken from the following stanza of
_Robin Hood and the Pindar of Wakefield_.

    "All this beheard three wighty yeomen,
      Twas Robin Hood, Scarlet, and John:
    With that they espy'd the jolly Pindàr
      As he sate under a thorne."

That ballad may be found on every stall, and therefore is not here

       *       *       *       *       *

  [This is a rhymed version of some chapters in Malory's _Mort_
  _d'Arthur_ (Book vi. of Caxton's edition), said to have been
  written by Thomas Deloney towards the end of Elizabeth's reign. It
  first occurs in the _Garland of Good Will_, reprinted by the Percy
  Society (vol. xxx.)

  The ballad appears to have been highly popular, and it is quoted
  by Marston in the _Malcontent_ and by Beaumont and Fletcher in the
  _Little French Lawyer_, as well as by Shakspere.

  The copy in the Percy MS. (ed. Hales and Furnivall, 1867, vol. i.
  p. 84) is imperfect in two places, and lines 30 to 60, 73 to 76,
  and 95 to 124 are not to be found there, but with these exceptions
  it is much the same as the ballad printed here.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    When Arthur first in court began,
      And was approved king,
    By force of armes great victorys wanne,
      And conquest home did bring.

    Then into England straight he came                                 5
      With fifty good and able
    Knights, that resorted unto him,
      And were of his round table:

    And he had justs and turnaments,
      Whereto were many prest,[857]                                   10
    Wherin some knights did farr excell
      And eke surmount the rest.

    But one Sir Lancelot du Lake,
      Who was approved well,
    He for his deeds and feats of armes,                              15
      All others did excell.

    When he had rested him a while,
      In play, and game, and sportt,[858]
    He said he wold goe prove himselfe
      In some adventurous sort.                                       20

    He armed rode in a forrest wide,
      And met a damsell faire,
    Who told him of adventures great,
      Wherto he gave great eare.

    Such wold I find, quoth Lancelott:                                25
      For that cause came I hither.
    Thou seemst, quoth shee, a knight full good,
      And I will bring thee thither.

    Wheras a mighty knight doth dwell,[859]
      That now is of great fame:                                      30
    Therfore tell me what wight thou art,
      And what may be thy name.

    "My name is Lancelot du Lake."
      Quoth she, it likes me than:[860]
    Here dwelles a knight who never was                               35
      Yet matcht with any man:

    Who has in prison threescore knights
      And four, that he did wound;
    Knights of king Arthurs court they be,
      And of his table round.                                         40

    She brought him to a river side.
      And also to a tree,
    Whereon a copper bason hung,
      And many shields to see.

    He struck soe hard, the bason broke;                              45
      And Tarquin soon he spyed:
    Who drove a horse before him fast,
      Whereon a knight lay tyed.

    Sir knight, then sayd Sir Lancelôtt,
      Bring me that horse-load hither,                                50
    And lay him downe, and let him rest:
      Weel try our force together:

    For, as I understand, thou hast,
      Soe far as thou art able,
    Done great despite and shame unto                                 55
      The knights of the Round Table.

    If thou be of the Table Round,
      Quoth Tarquin speedilye,
    Both thee and all thy fellowship
      I utterly defye.                                                60

    That's over much, quoth Lancelott tho,[861]
      Defend thee by and by.
    They sett their speares[862] unto their steeds,
      And eache att other flie.

    They coucht theire speares, (their horses ran,                    65
      As though there had beene thunder)
    And strucke them each immidst their shields,
      Wherewith they broke in sunder.

    Their horsses backes brake under them,
      The knights were both astound:[863]                             70
    To avoyd their horsses they made haste
      And light upon the ground.

    They tooke them to their shields full fast,
      Their swords they drew out than,
    With mighty strokes most eagerlye                                 75
      Each at the other ran.

    They wounded were, and bled full sore,
      They both for breath did stand,
    And leaning on their swords awhile,
      Quoth Tarquine, Hold thy hand,                                  80

    And tell to me what I shall aske.
      Say on, quoth Lancelot tho.
    Thou art, quoth Tarquine, the best knight
      That ever I did know;

    And like a knight, that I did hate:                               85
      Soe that thou be not hee,
    I will deliver all the rest,
      And eke accord with thee.

    That is well said, quoth Lancelott;
      But sith it must be soe,                                        90
    What knight is that thou hatest thus?
      I pray thee to me show.

    His name is Lancelot du Lake,
      He slew my brother deere;
    Him I suspect of all the rest:                                    95
      I would I had him here.

    Thy wish thou hast, but yet unknowne,
      I am Lancelot du Lake,
    Now knight of Arthurs Table Round;
      King Hauds son of Schuwake;[864]                               100

    And I desire thee do thy worst,
      Ho, ho, quoth Tarquin tho,
    One of us two shall end our lives
      Before that we do go.

    If thou be Lancelot du Lake,                                     105
      Then welcome shalt thou bee:
    Wherfore see thou thyself defend,
      For now defye I thee.

    They buckled then together so,
      Like unto wild boares rashing;[865]                            110
    And with their swords and shields they ran
      At one another slashing:

    The ground besprinkled was with blood:
      Tarquin began to yield;
    For he gave backe for wearinesse,                                115
      And lowe did beare his shield.

    This soone Sir Lancelot espyde,
      He leapt upon him then,
    He pull'd him downe upon his knee,
      And rushing off his helm,                                      120

    Forthwith he strucke his necke in two,
      And, when he had soe done,
    From prison threescore knights and four
      Delivered everye one.


[857] [ready.]

[858] Ver. 18. _to sportt_, MS.

[859] Ver. 29. _Where_ is often used by our old writers for _whereas_:
here it is just the contrary.

[860] [then.]

[861] [then.]

[862] [spurs?]

[863] [stunned.]

[864] [Ver. 100. "King Ban's son of Benwick." _Malory._]

[865] _Rashing_ seems to be the old hunting term to express the stroke
made by the wild boar with his fangs. To _rase_ has apparently a
meaning something similar. See Mr. _Steevens's_ Note on _K. Lear_, act
iii. sc. 7, (ed. 1793, vol. xiv. p. 193) where the quartos read,

                      "Nor thy fierce sister
    In his anointed flesh _rash_ boarish fangs."

So in _K. Richard III._ act iii. sc. 2, (vol. x. p. 567, 583.)

                              "He dreamt
    To night the Boar had _rased_ off his helm."



Is an attempt to paint a lover's irresolution, but so poorly executed,
that it would not have been admitted into this collection, if it had
not been quoted in Shakespeare's _Twelfth-Night_, act ii. sc. 3.--It is
found in a little ancient miscellany, intituled, _The Golden Garland of
Princely Delights_, 12mo. bl. let.

In the same scene of the _Twelfth-Night_, _Sir Toby_ sings a scrap of
an old ballad, which is preserved in the Pepys Collection (vol. i. pp.
33, 496), but as it is not only a poor dull performance, but also very
long, it will be sufficient here to give the first stanza:


    There dwelt a man in Babylon
      Of reputation great by fame;
    He took to wife a faire womàn,
      Susanna she was callde by name:
    A woman fair and vertuous;
                              Lady, lady:
    Why should we not of her learn thus
                              To live godly?

If this song of _Corydon_, &c. has not more merit, it is at least an
evil of less magnitude.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [Dr. Rimbault refers to an earlier copy of this song in a rare
  musical volume entitled _The First Booke of Ayres, composed by
  Robert Jones_, 1601, where it is accompanied by the original
  music for four voices. This tune appears to have been a very
  popular one, and several Scottish songs are to be sung to the
  "toon of sal I let her go." The air is also to be found in a Dutch
  collection of Songs published at Haarlem in 1626.

  In Brome's comedy of _The Jovial Crew_, acted in 1641 at the
  Cockpit in Drury Lane, there is an allusion perhaps to this song:

    "Let her go, let her go,
    I care not if I have her, I have her or no."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    Farewell, dear love; since thou wilt needs be gone,
    Mine eyes do shew, my life is almost done.
      Nay I will never die, so long as I can spie
    There be many mo, though that she doe goe,
      There be many mo, I fear not:                                    5
      Why then let her goe, I care not.

    Farewell, farewell; since this I find is true,
    I will not spend more time in wooing you:
      But I will seek elsewhere, if I may find love there:
      Shall I bid her goe? what and if I doe?                         10
        Shall I bid her goe and spare not?
        O no, no, no, I dare not.

    Ten thousand times farewell;--yet stay a while:--
    Sweet, kiss me once; sweet kisses time beguile:                   14
    I have no power to move. How now am I in love?
    Wilt thou needs be gone? Go then, all is one.
      Wilt thou needs be gone? Oh, hie thee!
      Nay stay, and do no more deny me.

    Once more adieu, I see loath to depart
    Bids oft adieu to her, that holds my heart.                       20
      But seeing I must lose thy love, which I did choose,
      Goe thy way for me, since that may not be.
        Goe thy ways for me. But whither?
        Goe, oh, but where I may come thither.

    What shall I doe? my love is now departed.                        25
    She is as fair, as she is cruel-hearted.
      She would not be intreated, with prayers oft repeated,
      If she come no more, shall I die therefore?
        If she come no more, what care I?
        Faith, let her goe, or come, or tarry.                        30



In the "_Life of Pope Sixtus V._ translated from the Italian of Greg.
Leti, by the Rev. Mr. Farneworth, folio," is a remarkable passage to
the following effect:

"It was reported in Rome, that Drake had taken and plundered St.
Domingo in Hispaniola, and carried off an immense booty. This account
came in a private letter to Paul Secchi, a very considerable merchant
in the city, who had large concerns in those parts, which he had
insured. Upon receiving this news, he sent for the insurer Sampson
Ceneda, a Jew, and acquainted him with it. The Jew, whose interest it
was to have such a report thought false, gave many reasons why it could
not possibly be true, and at last worked himself into such a passion,
that he said, I'll lay you a pound of flesh it is a lye. Secchi, who
was of a fiery hot temper, replied, I'll lay you a thousand crowns
against a pound of your flesh that it is true. The Jew accepted the
wager, and articles were immediately executed betwixt them, That, if
Secchi won, he should himself cut the flesh with a sharp knife from
whatever part of the Jew's body he pleased. The truth of the account
was soon confirmed; and the Jew was almost distracted, when he was
informed, that Secchi had solemnly swore he would compel him to an
exact performance of his contract. A report of this transaction was
brought to the Pope, who sent for the parties, and, being informed of
the whole affair, said, When contracts are made, it is but just they
should be fulfilled, as this shall: Take a knife, therefore, Secchi,
and cut a pound of flesh from any part you please of the Jew's body. We
advise you, however, to be very careful; for, if you cut but a scruple
more or less than your due, you shall certainly be hanged."

The editor of that book is of opinion that the scene between Shylock
and Antonio in the _Merchant of Venice_ is taken from this incident.
But Mr. Warton, in his ingenious _Observations on the Faerie Queen_,
vol. i. p. 128, has referred it to the following ballad. Mr. Warton
thinks this ballad was written before Shakespeare's play, as being not
so circumstantial, and having more of the nakedness of an original.
Besides, it differs from the play in many circumstances, which a meer
copyist, such as we may suppose the ballad-maker to be, would hardly
have given himself the trouble to alter. Indeed he expressly informs us
that he had his story from the Italian writers. See the _Connoisseur_,
vol. i. No. 16.

After all, one would be glad to know what authority _Leti_ had for
the foregoing fact, or at least for connecting it with the taking of
St. Domingo by Drake; for this expedition did not happen till 1585,
and it is very certain that a play of the _Jewe_, "representing the
greedinesse of worldly chusers, and bloody minds of usurers," had been
exhibited at the playhouse called the _Bull_ before the year 1579,
being mentioned in Steph. Gosson's _Schoole of Abuse_,[866] which was
printed in that year.

As for Shakespeare's _Merchant of Venice_, the earliest edition known
of it is in quarto 1600; though it had been exhibited in the year 1598,
being mentioned, together with eleven others of his plays, in Meres's
_Wits Treasury_, &c. 1598, 12mo. fol. 282.

Since the first edition of this book was printed, the editor hath had
reason to believe that both _Shakespeare_ and the author of this ballad
are indebted for their story of the Jew (however they came by it) to
an Italian novel, which was first printed at Milan in the year 1558,
in a book intitled, _Il Pecorone, nel quale si contengono Cinquanta
Novelle antiche, &c._ republished at Florence about the year 1748, or
9.[867] The author was _Ser. Giovanni Fiorentino_, who wrote in 1378;
thirty years after the time in which the scene of Boccace's _Decameron_
is laid. (Vid. _Manni, Istoria del Decamerone di Giov. Boccac._ 4to.
Fior. 1744.)

That Shakespeare had his plot from the novel itself, is evident from
his having some incidents from it, which are not found in the ballad:
and I think it will also be found that he borrowed from the ballad some
hints that were not suggested by the novel. (See pt. ii. ver. 25, &c.
where, instead of that spirited description of _the whetted blade_, &c.
the prose narrative coldly says, "The Jew had prepared a razor, &c."
See also some other passages in the same piece.) This however is spoken
with diffidence, as I have at present before me only the abridgement of
the novel which Mr. _Johnson_ has given us at the end of his Commentary
on Shakespeare's Play. The translation of the Italian story at large
is not easy to be met with, having I believe never been published,
though it was printed some years ago with this title,--"_The Novel_,
from which the _Merchant of Venice_ written by Shakespeare is taken,
translated from the Italian. To which is added a translation of a novel
from the _Decamerone_ of Boccaccio. London, Printed for M. Cooper,
1755, 8vo."

The following is printed from an ancient black-letter copy in the
Pepys collection,[868] intitled, "_A New Song_, shewing the crueltie
of _Gernutus_, a _Jewe_, who, lending to a merchant an hundred crowns,
would have a pound of his fleshe, because he could not pay him at the
time appointed. To the tune of Black and Yellow."

       *       *       *       *       *

  [This is the first of four ballads printed by Percy as probable
  sources for the plots of four of Shakspere's plays, but as we are
  unable to fix any satisfactory date for the first appearance of the
  ballads, it is well-nigh impossible to settle their claim to such

  The story of the Jew who bargained for a pound of a Christian's
  flesh in payment of his debt is so widely spread, that there is no
  necessity for us to believe that Shakspere used this rather poor
  ballad, more especially as it is probable from the extract from
  Gosson mentioned above that Shakspere found the two plots of the
  bond and the caskets already joined together. There is, however,
  something in Percy's note about the whetting of the knife in
  verses 25-26, and it would be quite in accordance with the poet's
  constant practice for him to take this one point from the ballad
  of Gernutus. The ballad was probably versified from one of the
  many stories extant, because, even if it be later than Shakspere's
  play, it is impossible to believe that the ballad-writer could
  have written so bald a narration had he had the _Merchant of
  Venice_ before him.

  Some forms of the story are to be found in Persian, and there is
  no doubt that the original tale is of Eastern origin. The oldest
  European forms are in the English _Cursor Mundi_ and _Gesta_
  _Romanorum_, and the French romance of _Dolopathos_. See Miss
  Toulmin Smith's paper "On the Bond-story in the _Merchant of_
  _Venice_," "Transactions of the New Shakspere Society," 1875-6 p.
  181. Professor Child prints a ballad entitled _The Northern Lord
  and Cruel Jew_ (_English and Scottish Ballads_, vol. viii. p. 270),
  which contains the same incident of the "bloody minded Jew."

  Leti's character as an historian stands so low that his story may
  safely be dismissed as a fabrication.]

       *       *       *       *       *


    In Venice towne not long agoe
      A cruel Jew did dwell,
    Which lived all on usurie,
      As Italian writers tell.

    Gernutus called was the Jew,                                       5
      Which never thought to dye,
    Nor ever yet did any good
      To them in streets that lie.

    His life was like a barrow hogge,[869]
      That liveth many a day,                                         10
    Yet never once doth any good,
      Until men will him slay.

    Or like a filthy heap of dung,
      That lyeth in a whoard;[870]
    Which never can do any good,                                      15
      Till it be spread abroad.

    So fares it with the usurer,
      He cannot sleep in rest,
    For feare the thiefe will him pursue
      To plucke him from his nest.                                    20

    His heart doth thinke on many a wile,
      How to deceive the poore;
    His mouth is almost ful of mucke,
      Yet still he gapes for more.

    His wife must lend a shilling,                                    25
      For every weeke a penny,
    Yet bring a pledge, that is double worth,
      If that you will have any.

    And see, likewise, you keepe your day,
      Or else you loose it all:                                       30
    This was the living of the wife,
      Her cow she did it call.[871]

    Within that citie dwelt that time
      A marchant of great fame,
    Which being distressed in his need,                               35
      Unto Gernutus came:

    Desiring him to stand his friend
      For twelve month and a day,
    To lend to him an hundred crownes:
      And he for it would pay                                         40

    Whatsoever he would demand of him,
      And pledges he should have.
    No, (quoth the Jew with flearing[872] lookes)
      Sir, aske what you will have.

    No penny for the loane of it                                      45
      For one year you shall pay;
    You may doe me as good a turne,
      Before my dying day.

    But we will have a merry jeast,
      For to be talked long:                                          50
    You shall make me a bond, quoth he,
      That shall be large and strong:

    And this shall be the forfeyture;
      Of your owne fleshe a pound.
    If you agree, make you the bond,                                  55
      And here is a hundred crownes.

    With right good will! the marchant says:
      And so the bond was made.
    When twelve month and a day drew on
      That backe it should be payd,                                   60

    The marchants ships were all at sea,
      And money came not in;
    Which way to take, or what to doe
      To thinke he doth begin:

    And to Gernutus strait he comes                                   65
      With cap and bended knee,
    And sayde to him, Of curtesie
      I pray you beare with mee.

    My day is come, and I have not
      The money for to pay:                                           70
    And little good the forfeyture
      Will doe you, I dare say.

    With all my heart, Gernutus sayd,
      Commaund it to your minde:
    In thinges of bigger waight then this                             75
      You shall me ready finde.

    He goes his way; the day once past
      Gernutus doth not slacke
    To get a sergiant presently;
      And clapt him on the backe                                      80

    And layd him into prison strong,
      And sued his bond withall;
    And when the judgement day was come,
      For judgement he did call.

    The marchants friends came thither fast,                          85
      With many a weeping eye,
    For other means they could not find,
      But he that day must dye.

       *       *       *       *       *


  "Of the Jews crueltie; setting foorth the mercifulnesse of the
  Judge towards the Marchant. To the tune of _Blacke and Yellow_."

    Some offered for his hundred crownes
      Five hundred for to pay;
    And some a thousand, two or three,
      Yet still he did denay.[873]

    And at the last ten thousand crownes                               5
      They offered, him to save.
    Gernutus sayd, I will no gold:
      My forfeite I will have.

    A pound of fleshe is my demand,
      And that shall be my hire.                                      10
    Then sayd the judge, Yet, good my friend,
      Let me of you desire

    To take the flesh from such a place,
      As yet you let him live:
    Do so, and lo! an hundred crownes                                 15
      To thee here will I give.

    No: no: quoth he; no: judgment here:
      For this it shall be tride,
    For I will have my pound of fleshe
      From under his right side.                                      20

    It grieved all the companie
      His crueltie to see,
    For neither friend nor foe could helpe
      But he must spoyled bee.

    The bloudie Jew now ready is                                      25
      With whetted blade in hand,[874]
    To spoyle the bloud of innocent,
      By forfeit of his bond.

    And as he was about to strike
      In him the deadly blow:                                         30
    Stay (quoth the judge) thy crueltie;
      I charge thee to do so.

    Sith needs thou wilt thy forfeit have;
      Which is of flesh a pound:
    See that thou shed no drop of bloud,                              35
      Nor yet the man confound.[875]

    For if thou doe, like murderer,
      Thou here shalt hanged be:
    Likewise of flesh see that thou cut
      No more than longes[876] to thee:                               40

    For if thou take either more or lesse
      To the value of a mite,
    Thou shalt be hanged presently,
      As is both law and right.

    Gernutus now waxt franticke mad,                                  45
      And wotes[877] not what to say;
    Quoth he at last, Ten thousand crownes,
      I will that he shall pay;

    And so I graunt to set him free.
      The judge doth answere make;                                    50
    You shall not have a penny given;
      Your forfeyture now take.

    At the last he doth demaund
      But for to have his owne.
    No, quoth the judge, doe as you list,                             55
      Thy judgement shall be showne.

    Either take your pound of flesh, quoth he,
      Or cancell me your bond.
    O cruell judge, then quoth the Jew,
      That doth against me stand!                                     60

    And so with griping grieved mind[878]
      He biddeth them fare-well.
    'Then' all the people prays'd the Lord,
      That ever this heard tell.

    Good people, that doe heare this song,                            65
      For trueth I dare well say,
    That many a wretch as ill as hee
      Doth live now at this day;

    That seeketh nothing but the spoyle
      Of many a wealthey man,                                         70
    And for to trap the innocent
      Deviseth what they can.

    From whome the Lord deliver me,
      And every Christian too,
    And send to them like sentence eke                                75
      That meaneth so to do.


[866] Warton, _ubi supra_.

[867] [This book has been frequently reprinted.]

[868] Compared with the Ashmole Copy.

[869] [a castrated hog.]

[870] [hoard or heap.]

[871] Ver. 32. Her _Cow_, &c. seems to have suggested to Shakespeare
_Shylock's_ argument for usury taken from Jacob's management of Laban's
sheep, act i. to which _Antonio_ replies,

    "Was this inserted to make interest good?
    Or are your gold and silver _Ewes_ and rams?
    _Shy._ I cannot tell, I make it _breed as fast_."

[872] [sneering.]

[873] [refuse.]

[874] The passage in Shakespeare bears so strong a resemblance to this,
as to render it probable that the one suggested the other. See act iv.
sc. 2.

    "_Bass._ Why doest thou whet thy knife so earnestly?" &c.

[875] [destroy.]

[876] [belongs.]

[877] [knows.]

[878] Ver. 61. _griped_, Ashmol. copy.



This beautiful sonnet is quoted in the _Merry Wives of Windsor_, act
iii. sc. 1, and hath been usually ascribed (together with the _Reply_)
to Shakespeare himself by the modern editors of his smaller poems. A
copy of this madrigal, containing only four stanzas (the 4th and 6th
being wanting), accompanied with the first stanza of the answer, being
printed in "_The Passionate Pilgrime_, and _Sonnets to sundry notes
of Musicke_, by Mr. _William Shakespeare, Lond._ printed for _W.
Jaggard_, 1599." Thus was this sonnet, &c. published as Shakespeare's
in his lifetime.

And yet there is good reason to believe that (not Shakespeare, but)
_Christopher Marlow_ wrote the song, and _Sir Walter Raleigh_ the
_Nymph's Reply_: For so we are positively assured by Isaac Walton, a
writer of some credit, who has inserted them both in his _Compleat
Angler_,[879] under the character of "that smooth song, which was
made by Kit. Marlow, now at least fifty years ago; and ... an Answer
to it, which was made by Sir Walter Raleigh in his younger days....
Old-fashioned poetry, but choicely good."--It also passed for Marlow's
in the opinion of his contemporaries; for in the old poetical
miscellany, intitled _England's Helicon_, it is printed with the
name of _Chr. Marlow_ subjoined to it; and the _Reply_ is subscribed
_Ignoto_, which is known to have been a signature of Sir _Walter
Raleigh_. With the same signature _Ignoto_, in that collection, is an
imitation of Marlow's beginning thus:

    "Come live with me, and be my dear,
    And we will revel all the year,
    In plains and groves, &c."

Upon the whole I am inclined to attribute them to _Marlow_, and
_Raleigh_; notwithstanding the authority of Shakespeare's Book of
Sonnets. For it is well known that as he took no care of his own
compositions, so was he utterly regardless what spurious things were
fathered upon him. Sir _John Oldcastle_, The _London Prodigal_, and The
_Yorkshire Tragedy_, were printed with his name at full length in the
title-pages, while he was living, which yet were afterwards rejected
by his first editors _Heminge_ and _Condell_, who were his intimate
friends (as he mentions both in his will), and therefore no doubt had
good authority for setting them aside.[880]

The following sonnet appears to have been (as it deserved) a great
favourite with our earlier poets: for, besides the imitation
above-mentioned, another is to be found among _Donne's_ Poems, intitled
_The Bait_, beginning thus:

    "Come live with me, and be my love,
    And we will some new pleasures prove
    Of golden sands, &c."

As for _Chr. Marlow_, who was in high repute for his dramatic writings,
he lost his life by a stab received in a brothel, before the year 1593.
See A. Wood, i. 138.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [These exquisite poems by Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter
  Raleigh at once became popular favourites, and were often
  reprinted. The earliest appearance of the first was in Marlowe's
  _Jew of Malta_. An imperfect copy was printed by W. Jaggard with
  the _Passionate Pilgrim_ in 1599, and the first stanza of the
  _Reply_ was then added to it. In the following year both poems were
  correctly printed in _England's Helicon_, the first being signed
  "Chr. Marlow" and the second "Ignoto." When Walton introduced the
  poems into his _Angler_ he attributed the _Reply_ to Raleigh, and
  printed an additional stanza to each as follows:--

  _Passionate Shepherd_ (after verse 20).

    "Thy silver dishes for thy meat
    As precious as the gods do eat
    Shall on an ivory table be
    Prepared each day for thee and me."

    "What should we talk of dainties then
    Of better meat than's fit for men?
    These are but vain, that's only good
    Which God hath blest and sent for food."

  In the Roxburghe Collection of Ballads (i. 205) is a street ballad
  in which these two songs are united and entitled _A most excellent
  ditty of the Lover's promises to his beloved_, with _the Lady's
  prudent answer to her Love_. The verses referred to above as
  added by Walton are here printed, but they take the place of verses
  17 to 20 of each song respectively.

  Mr. Chappell and Dr. Rimbault have both drawn attention to the
  proofs of the popularity of Marlowe's song to be found in out
  of the way places. In _Choice, Chance, and Change, or Conceits
  in their Colours_ (1606), Tidero being invited to live with
  his friend, replies, "Why, how now? do you take me for a woman,
  that you come upon me with a ballad of _Come live with me and be
  my love_?" In _The World's Folly_, 1609, there is the following
  passage: "But there sat he, hanging his head, lifting up the eyes,
  and with a deep sigh singing the ballad of _Come live with me and
  be my love_, to the tune of _Adew my deere_." Nicholas Breton
  refers to it in 1637 as "the old song," but Walton considered it
  fresh enough to insert in his _Angler_ in 1653, although Marlowe
  had then been dead sixty years.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    Come live with me, and be my love,
    And we wil all the pleasures prove
    That hils and vallies, dale and field,
    And all the craggy mountains yield.

    There will we sit upon the rocks,                                  5
    And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
    By shallow rivers, to whose falls
    Melodious birds sing madrigals.

    There will I make thee beds of roses
    With a thousand fragrant posies,                                  10
    A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
    Imbrodered all with leaves of mirtle;

    A gown made of the finest wool,
    Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
    Slippers lin'd choicely for the cold;                             15
    With buckles of the purest gold;

    A belt of straw, and ivie buds,
    With coral clasps, and amber studs:
    And if these pleasures may thee move,
    Then live with me, and be my love.                                20

    The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
    For thy delight each May morning:
    If these delights thy mind may move,
    Then live with me, and be my love.

       *       *       *       *       *


    If that the World and Love were young,
    And truth in every shepherd's toung,
    These pretty pleasures might me move
    To live with thee, and be thy love.

    But time drives flocks from field to fold,                         5
    When rivers rage, and rocks grow cold,
    And Philomel becometh dumb,
    And all complain of cares to come.

    The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
    To wayward winter reckoning yield:                                10
    A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
    Is fancies spring, but sorrows fall.

    Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
    Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies,
    Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten,                          15
    In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

    Thy belt of straw, and ivie buds,
    Thy coral clasps, and amber studs;
    All these in me no means can move
    To come to thee, and be thy love.                                 20

    But could youth last, and love still breed,
    Had joyes no date, nor age no need;
    Then those delights my mind might move
    To live with thee, and be thy love.


[879] First printed in the year 1653, but probably written some time

[880] Since the above was written, Mr. _Malone_, with his usual
discernment, hath rejected the stanzas in question from the other
sonnets, &c. of Shakespeare, in his correct edition of the _Passionate_
_Pilgrim_, &c. See his _Shakesp._ vol. x. p. 340.



The reader has here an ancient ballad on the same subject as the play
of _Titus Andronicus_, and it is probable that the one was borrowed
from the other: but which of them was the original it is not easy to
decide. And yet, if the argument offered above for the priority of
the ballad of the _Jew of Venice_ may be admitted, somewhat of the
same kind may be urged here; for this ballad differs from the play in
several particulars, which a simple ballad-writer would be less likely
to alter than an inventive tragedian. Thus in the ballad is no mention
of the contest for the empire between the two brothers, the composing
of which makes the ungrateful treatment of _Titus_ afterwards the more
flagrant: neither is there any notice taken of his sacrificing one
of Tamora's sons, which the tragic poet has assigned as the original
cause of all her cruelties. In the play Titus loses twenty-one of his
sons in war, and kills another for assisting Bassianus to carry off
Lavinia: the reader will find it different in the ballad. In the latter
she is betrothed to the emperor's son: in the play to his brother.
In the tragedy only two of his sons fall into the pit, and the third
being banished returns to Rome with a victorious army, to avenge the
wrongs of his house: in the ballad all three are entrapped and suffer
death. In the scene the emperor kills Titus, and is in return stabbed
by Titus's surviving son. Here Titus kills the emperor, and afterwards

Let the reader weigh these circumstances and some others wherein he
will find them unlike, and then pronounce for himself. After all,
there is reason to conclude that this play was rather improved by
Shakespeare with a few fine touches of his pen, than originally written
by him; for, not to mention that the style is less figurative than his
others generally are, this tragedy is mentioned with discredit in the
Induction to Ben Jonson's _Bartholomew Fair_, in 1614, as one that had
then been exhibited "five and twenty or thirty years:" which, if we
take the lowest number, throws it back to the year 1589, at which time
Shakespeare was but 25: an earlier date than can be found for any other
of his pieces:[881] and if it does not clear him entirely of it, shews
at least it was a first attempt.[882]

The following is given from a copy in _The Golden Garland_ intitled
as above; compared with three others, two of them in black letter in
the Pepys Collection, intitled, _The Lamentable and Tragical History
of Titus Andronicus, &c._ To the tune of, _Fortune_. Printed for E.
Wright. Unluckily none of these have any dates.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [No original from which the plot of the play of _Titus Andronicus_
  could be taken has yet been discovered, and it is just possible
  that this ballad may have given the hint, but the Registers of
  the Stationers' Company go some way towards proving a negative to
  this supposition, for on the 6th of February, 1593-4, John Danter
  registered _A noble Roman Historye of Tytus Andronicus_, and also
  _the ballad thereof_.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    You noble minds, and famous martiall wights,
    That in defence of native country fights,
    Give eare to me, that ten yeeres fought for Rome,
    Yet reapt disgrace at my returning home.

    In Rome I lived in fame fulle threescore yeeres,                   5
    My name beloved was of all my peeres;
    Full five and twenty valiant sonnes I had,
    Whose forwarde vertues made their father glad.

    For when Romes foes their warlike forces bent,
    Against them stille my sonnes and I were sent;                    10
    Against the Goths full ten yeeres weary warre
    We spent, receiving many a bloudy scarre.

    Just two and twenty of my sonnes were slaine
    Before we did returne to Rome againe:
    Of five and twenty sonnes, I brought but three                    15
    Alive, the stately towers of Rome to see.

    When wars were done, I conquest home did bring,
    And did present my prisoners to the king,
    The queene of Goths, her sons, and eke a moore,
    Which did such murders, like was nere before.                     20

    The emperour did make this queene his wife,
    Which bred in Rome debate and deadlie strife;
    The moore, with her two sonnes did growe soe proud.
    That none like them in Rome might bee allowd

    The moore soe pleas'd this new-made empress' eie,                 25
    That she consented to him secretlye
    For to abuse her husbands marriage bed,
    And soe in time a blackamore she bred.

    Then she, whose thoughts to murder were inclinde,
    Consented with the moore of bloody minde                          30
    Against myselfe, my kin, and all my friendes,
    In cruell sort to bring them to their endes.

    Soe when in age I thought to live in peace,
    Both care and griefe began then to increase:
    Amongst my sonnes I had one daughter bright,                      35
    Which joy'd, and pleased best my aged sight;

    My deare Lavinia was betrothed than
    To Cesars sonne, a young and noble man:
    Who in a hunting by the emperours wife,
    And her two sonnes, bereaved was of life.                         40

    He being slaine, was cast in cruel wise,
    Into a darksome den from light of skies:
    The cruell moore did come that way as then
    With my three sonnes, who fell into the den.

    The moore then fetcht the emperour with speed,                    45
    For to accuse them of that murderous deed;
    And when my sonnes within the den were found,
    In wrongfull prison they were cast and bound.

    But nowe, behold! what wounded most my mind,
    The empresses two sonnes of savage kind                           50
    My daughter ravished without remorse,
    And took away her honour, quite perforce.

    When they had tasted of soe sweete a flowre,
    Fearing this sweete should shortly turne to sowre,
    They cutt her tongue, whereby she could not tell                  55
    How that dishonoure unto her befell.

    Then both her hands they basely cutt off quite,
    Whereby their wickednesse she could not write;
    Nor with her needle on her sampler sowe
    The bloudye workers of her direfull woe.                          60

    My brother Marcus found her in the wood,
    Staining the grassie ground with purple bloud,
    That trickled from her stumpes, and bloudlesse armes:
    Noe tongue at all she had to tell her harmes.

    But when I sawe her in that woefull case,                         65
    With teares of bloud I wet mine aged face:
    For my Lavinia I lamented more
    Then for my two and twenty sonnes before.

    When as I sawe she could not write nor speake,
    With grief mine aged heart began to breake;                       70
    We spred an heape of sand upon the ground,
    Whereby those bloudy tyrants out we found.

    For with a staffe, without the helpe of hand,
    She writt these wordes upon the plat of sand:
    "The lustfull sonnes of the proud emperèsse                       75
    Are doers of this hateful wickednèsse."

    I tore the milk-white hairs from off mine head,
    I curst the houre, wherein I first was bred,
    I wisht this hand, that fought for countrie's fame,
    In cradle rockt, had first been stroken lame.                     80

    The moore delighting still in villainy
    Did say, to sett my sonnes from prison free
    I should unto the king my right hand give,
    And then my three imprisoned sonnes should live.

    The moore I caus'd to strike it off with speede,                  85
    Whereat I grieved not to see it bleed,
    But for my sonnes would willingly impart,
    And for their ransome send my bleeding heart.

    But as my life did linger thus in paine,
    They sent to me my bootlesse hand againe,                         90
    And therewithal the heades of my three sonnes,
    Which filld my dying heart with fresher moanes.

    Then past reliefe I upp and downe did goe,
    And with my tears writ in the dust my woe:
    I shot my arrowes[883] towards heaven hie,                        95
    And for revenge to hell did often crye.

    The empresse then, thinking that I was mad,
    Like furies she and both her sonnes were clad,
    (She nam'd Revenge, and Rape and Murder they)
    To undermine and heare what I would say.                         100

    I fed their foolish veines[884] a certaine space,
    Untill my friendes did find a secret place,
    Where both her sonnes unto a post were bound,
    And just revenge in cruell sort was found.

    I cut their throates, my daughter held the pan                   105
    Betwixt her stumpes, wherein the bloud it ran:
    And then I ground their bones to powder small,
    And made a paste for pyes streight therewithall.

    Then with their fleshe I made two mighty pyes,
    And at a banquet servde in stately wise:                         110
    Before the empresse set this loathsome meat;
    So of her sonnes own flesh she well did eat.

    Myselfe bereav'd my daughter then of life,
    The empresse then I slewe with bloudy knife,
    And stabb'd the emperour immediatelie,                           115
    And then myself: even soe did Titus die.

    Then this revenge against the Moore was found,
    Alive they sett him halfe into the ground,
    Whereas he stood untill such time he starv'd.
    And soe God send all murderers may be serv'd.                    120


[881] Mr. _Malone_ thinks 1591 to be the æra when our author commenced
a writer for the stage. See in his _Shakesp._ the ingenious _Attempt to
ascertain the order in which the plays of Shakespeare were written_.

[882] Since the above was written, Shakespeare's memory has been fully
vindicated from the charge of writing the above play by the best
criticks. See what has been urged by _Steevens_ and _Malone_ in their
excellent editions of Shakespeare, &c. [The question of Shakspere's
authorship is not by any means so completely settled in the negative as
this note would imply. The external evidence for its authenticity is as
strong as for most of the other plays. See _New Shakspere Society's
Transactions_, Part i. p. 126, for a list of passages which seem to
bear evidence of Shakspere's hand in their composition.]

[883] If the ballad was written before the play, I should suppose this
to be only a metaphorical expression, taken from that in the Psalms,
"They shoot out their arrows, even bitter words." Ps. 64. 3.

[884] _i.e._ encouraged them in their foolish humours, or fancies




The first stanza of this little sonnet, which an eminent critic[885]
justly admires for its extreme sweetness, is found in Shakespeare's
_Measure for Measure_, act iv. sc. 1. Both the stanzas are preserved in
Beaum. and Fletcher's _Bloody Brother_, act v. sc. 2. Sewel and Gildon
have printed it among Shakespeare's smaller poems, but they have done
the same by twenty other pieces that were never writ by him; their book
being a wretched heap of inaccuracies and mistakes. It is not found in
Jaggard's old edition of Shakespeare's _Passionate Pilgrim_,[886] &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [The second stanza is an evident addition by another and inferior
  hand, so that Percy's expression above--"both the stanzas are
  preserved"--gives a false impression.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    Take, oh take those lips away,
      That so sweetlye were forsworne;
    And those eyes, the breake of day,
      Lights, that do misleade the morne:
    But my kisses bring againe,                                        5
    Seales of love, but seal'd in vaine

    Hide, oh hide those hills of snowe,
      Which thy frozen bosom beares,
    On whose tops the pinkes that growe,
      Are of those that April wears:                                  10
    But first set my poor heart free,
    Bound in those icy chains by thee.


[885] Dr. Warburton in his _Shakesp._

[886] Mr. Malone, in his improved edition of Shakespeare's _Sonnets_,
&c. hath substituted this instead of Marlow's Madrigal, printed above;
for which he hath assigned reasons, which the reader may see in his
vol. x. p. 340.



The reader has here an ancient ballad on the subject of _King Lear_,
which (as a sensible female critic has well observed[887]) bears so
exact an analogy to the argument of Shakespeare's play, that his having
copied it could not be doubted, if it were certain that it was written
before the tragedy. Here is found the hint of Lear's madness, which the
old chronicles[888] do not mention, as also the extravagant cruelty
exercised on him by his daughters. In the death of Lear they likewise
very exactly coincide. The misfortune is, that there is nothing to
assist us in ascertaining the date of the ballad but what little
evidence arises from within; this the reader must weigh and judge for

It may be proper to observe, that Shakespeare was not the first of
our dramatic poets who fitted the story of _Leir_ to the stage. His
first 4to. edition is dated 1608: but three years before that had been
printed a play intitled, _The true Chronicle History of Leir and_
_his three daughters Gonorill, Ragan, and Cordella, as it hath been_
_divers and sundry times lately acted, 1605, 4to_.--This is a very poor
and dull performance, but happily excited Shakespeare to undertake
the subject, which he has given with very different incidents. It is
remarkable, that neither the circumstances of Leir's madness, nor his
retinue of a select number of knights, nor the affecting deaths of
Cordelia and Leir, are found in that first dramatic piece: in all which
Shakespeare concurs with this ballad.

But to form a true judgement of Shakespeare's merit, the curious reader
should cast his eye over that previous sketch; which he will find
printed at the end of _The Twenty Plays of Shakespeare_, republished
from the quarto impressions by _George Steevens_, Esq.; with such
elegance and exactness as led us to expect that fine edition of all the
works of our great dramatic poet, which he hath since published.

The following ballad is given from an ancient copy in the _Golden_
_Garland_, bl. let. intitled, _A lamentable song of the Death of King_
_Leir and his Three Daughters_. _To the tune of When flying Fame._

       *       *       *       *       *

  [The old play referred to above, although printed as late as the
  year 1605, was probably only a re-impression of a piece entered
  in the _Stationers' Register_ in 1594, as it was a frequent
  practice of the publishers to take advantage of the popularity
  of Shakspere's plays on the stage, by publishing dramas having
  somewhat the same titles as his.

  The Cordella of the play is softened in the ballad to Cordelia, the
  form used by Shakspere and Spenser, but the name Ragan is retained
  in place of Shakspere's Regan.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    King Leir once ruled in this land
      With princely power and peace;
    And had all things with hearts content,
      That might his joys increase.
    Amongst those things that nature gave,
      Three daughters fair had he,
    So princely seeming beautiful,
      As fairer could not be.

    So on a time it pleas'd the king
      A question thus to move,                                        10
    Which of his daughters to his grace
      Could shew the dearest love:
    For to my age you bring content,
      Quoth he, then let me hear,
    Which of you three in plighted troth                              15
      The kindest will appear.

    To whom the eldest thus began;
      Dear father, mind, quoth she,
    Before your face, to do you good,
      My blood shall render'd be:                                     20
    And for your sake my bleeding heart
      Shall here be cut in twain,
    Ere that I see your reverend age
      The smallest grief sustain.

    And so will I, the second said;                                   25
      Dear father, for your sake,
    The worst of all extremities
      I'll gently undertake:
    And serve your highness night and day
      With diligence and love;                                        30
    That sweet content and quietness
      Discomforts may remove.

    In doing so, you glad my soul,
      The aged king reply'd;
    But what sayst thou, my youngest girl,                            35
      How is thy love ally'd?
    My love (quoth young Cordelia then)
      Which to your grace I owe,
    Shall be the duty of a child,
      And that is all I'll show.                                      40

    And wilt thou shew no more, quoth he,
      Than doth thy duty bind?
    I well perceive thy love is small,
      When as no more I find.
    Henceforth I banish thee my court,                                45
      Thou art no child of mine;
    Nor any part of this my realm
      By favour shall be thine.

    Thy elder sisters loves are more
      Than well I can demand,                                         50
    To whom I equally bestow
      My kingdome and my land,
    My pompal state and all my goods,
      That lovingly I may
    With those thy sisters be maintain'd                              55
      Until my dying day.

    Thus flattering speeches won renown,
      By these two sisters here;
    The third had causeless banishment,
      Yet was her love more dear:                                     60
    For poor Cordelia patiently
      Went wandring up and down,
    Unhelp'd, unpity'd, gentle maid,
      Through many an English town:

    Untill at last in famous France                                   65
      She gentler fortunes found;
    Though poor and bare, yet she was deem'd
      The fairest on the ground:
    Where when the king her virtues heard,
      And this fair lady seen,                                        70
    With full consent of all his court
      He made his wife and queen.

    Her father king Leìr this while
      With his two daughters staid:
    Forgetful of their promis'd loves,                                75
      Full soon the same decay'd;
    And living in queen Ragan's court,
      The eldest of the twain,
    She took from him his chiefest means,
      And most of all his train.                                      80

    For whereas twenty men were wont
      To wait with bended knee:
    She gave allowance but to ten,
      And after scarce to three:
    Nay, one she thought too much for him;                            85
      So took she all away,
    In hope that in her court, good king,
      He would no longer stay.

    Am I rewarded thus, quoth he,
      In giving all I have                                            90
    Unto my children, and to beg
      For what I lately gave?
    I'll go unto my Gonorell:
      My second child, I know,
    Will be more kind and pitiful,                                    95
      And will relieve my woe.

    Full fast he hies then to her court;
      Where when she heard his moan
    Return'd him answer, That she griev'd
      That all his means were gone:                                  100
    But no way could relieve his wants;
      Yet if that he would stay
    Within her kitchen, he should have
      What scullions gave away.

    When he had heard, with bitter tears,                            105
      He made his answer then;
    In what I did let me be made
      Example to all men.
    I will return again, quoth he,
      Unto my Ragan's court;                                         110
    She will not use me thus, I hope,
      But in a kinder sort.

    Where when he came, she gave command
      To drive him thence away:
    When he was well within her court                                115
      (She said) he would not stay.
    Then back again to Gonorell,
      The woeful king did hie,
    That in her kitchen he might have
      What scullion boys set by.                                     120

    But there of that he was deny'd,
      Which she had promis'd late:
    For once refusing, he should not
      Come after to her gate.
    Thus twixt his daughters, for relief                             125
      He wandred up and down;
    Being glad to feed on beggars food,
      That lately wore a crown.

    And calling to remembrance then
      His youngest daughters words,                                  130
    That said the duty of a child
      Was all that love affords:
    But doubting to repair to her,
      Whom he had banish'd so,
    Grew frantick mad; for in his mind                               135
      He bore the wounds of woe:

    Which made him rend his milk-white locks,
      And tresses from his head,
    And all with blood bestain his cheeks,
      With age and honour spread.                                    140
    To hills and woods and watry founts,
      He made his hourly moan,
    Till hills and woods, and sensless things,
      Did seem to sigh and groan.

    Even thus possest with discontents,                              145
      He passed o're to France,
    In hopes from fair Cordelia there,
      To find some gentler chance;
    Most virtuous dame! which when she heard
      Of this her father's grief,                                    150
    As duty bound, she quickly sent
      Him comfort and relief:

    And by a train of noble peers,
      In brave and gallant sort,
    She gave in charge he should be brought                          155
      To Aganippus' court;
    Whose royal king, with noble mind
      So freely gave consent,
    To muster up his knights at arms,
      To fame and courage bent.                                      160

    And so to England came with speed,
      To repossesse king Leir,
    And drive his daughters from their thrones
      By his Cordelia dear.
    Where she, true-hearted noble queen,                             165
      Was in the battel slain:
    Yet he good king, in his old days,
      Possest his crown again.

    But when he heard Cordelia's death,
      Who died indeed for love                                       170
    Of her dear father, in whose cause
      She did this battle move;
    He swooning fell upon her breast,
      From whence he never parted:
    But on her bosom left his life,                                  175
      That was so truly hearted.

    The lords and nobles when they saw
      The end of these events,
    The other sisters unto death
      They doomed by consents;                                       180
    And being dead, their crowns they left
      Unto the next of kin:
    Thus have you seen the fall of pride,
      And disobedient sin.


[887] Mrs. Lennox. _Shakespeare illustrated_, vol. iii. p. 302.

[888] See Jeffery of Monmouth, Holinshed, &c. who relate Leir's history
in many respects the same as the ballad.



Is found in the little collection of Shakespeare's Sonnets, intitled
the _Passionate Pilgrime_,[889] the greatest part of which seems to
relate to the amours of Venus and Adonis, being little effusions of
fancy, probably written while he was composing his larger poem on that
subject. The following seems intended for the mouth of Venus, weighing
the comparative merits of youthful Adonis and aged Vulcan. In the
_Garland of Good Will_ it is reprinted, with the addition of four more
such stanzas, but evidently written by a meaner pen.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Crabbed Age and Youth
      Cannot live together;
    Youth is full of pleasance,
      Age is full of care:
    Youth like summer morn,                                            5
      Age like winter weather,
    Youth like summer brave,
      Age like winter bare:
    Youth is full of sport,
    Ages breath is short;                                             10
      Youth is nimble, Age is lame:
    Youth is hot and bold,
    Age is weak and cold;
      Youth is wild, and Age is tame.
    Age, I do abhor thee,                                             15
    Youth, I do adore thee;
      O, my love, my love is young:
    Age, I do defie thee;
    Oh sweet shepheard, hie thee,
      For methinks thou stayst too long.                              20


[889] Mentioned above, Song XI. B. II.



The following ballad is upon the same subject as the _Induction_ to
Shakespeare's _Taming of the Shrew_: whether it may be thought to have
suggested the hint to the dramatic poet, or is not rather of later
date, the reader must determine.

The story is told[890] of _Philip_ the _Good_, Duke of Burgundy; and is
thus related by an old English writer: "The said Duke, at the marriage
of Eleonora, sister to the king of Portugall, at Bruges in Flanders,
which was solemnised in the deepe of winter; when as by reason of
unseasonable weather he could neither hawke nor hunt, and was now
tired with cards, dice, &c. and such other domestick sports, or to see
ladies dance; with some of his courtiers, he would in the evening walke
disguised all about the towne. It so fortuned, as he was walking late
one night, he found a countrey fellow dead drunke, snorting on a bulke;
he caused his followers to bring him to his palace, and there stripping
him of his old clothes, and attyring him after the court fashion, when
he wakened, he and they were all ready to attend upon his excellency,
and persuade him that he was some great Duke. The poor fellow admiring
how he came there, was served in state all day long: after supper he
saw them dance, heard musicke, and all the rest of those court-like
pleasures: but late at night, when he was well tipled, and again fast
asleepe, they put on his old robes, and so conveyed him to the place,
where they first found him. Now the fellow had not made them so good
sport the day before, as he did now, when he returned to himself: all
the jest was to see how he looked upon it. In conclusion, after some
little admiration, the poore man told his friends he had seen a vision;
constantly believed it; would not otherwise be persuaded, and so the
jest ended." Burton's _Anatomy of Melancholy_, pt. ii. sect. 2. Memb.
4, 2nd ed. 1624, fol.

This ballad is given from a black-letter copy in the Pepys Collection,
which is intitled as above. "To the tune of _Fond Boy_."

       *       *       *       *       *

  [The story of this ballad is of Eastern origin, and is the same as
  the tale of _the Sleeper awakened_ in the _Arabian Nights_. The
  story crops up in many places, some of which are pointed out in
  Prof. Child's _English and Scottish Ballads_ (vol. viii. p. 54).
  The question, however, of its origin is not of immediate interest
  in the discussion of Shakspere's plots, because the author of the
  old play, _Taming of a Shrew_, had already used the subject
  and named the tinker Slie, so that we have not far to seek for
  Shakspere's original.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    Now as fame does report a young duke keeps a court,
    One that please his fancy with frolicksome sport:
    But amongst all the rest, here is one I protest,
    Which will make you to smile when you hear the true jest:
    A poor tinker he found, lying drunk on the ground,                 5
    As secure in a sleep as if laid in a swound.

    The duke said to his men, William, Richard, and Ben,
    Take him home to my palace, we'll sport with him then.
    O'er a horse he was laid, and with care soon convey'd
    To the palace, altho' he was poorly arrai'd:                      10
    Then they stript off his cloaths, both his shirt, shoes and hose,
    And they put him to bed for to take his repose.

    Having pull'd off his shirt, which was all over durt,
    They did give him clean holland, this was no great hurt:
    On a bed of soft down, like a lord of renown,                     15
    They did lay him to sleep the drink out of his crown.
    In the morning when day, then admiring he lay,
    For to see the rich chamber both gaudy and gay.

    Now he lay something late, in his rich bed of state,
    Till at last knights and squires they on him did wait;            20
    And the chamberling bare, then did likewise declare,
    He desir'd to know what apparel he'd ware:
    The poor tinker amaz'd, on the gentleman gaz'd,
    And admired how he to this honour was rais'd.

    Tho' he seem'd something mute, yet he chose a rich suit,          25
    Which he straitways put on without longer dispute;
    With a star on his side, which the tinker offt ey'd,
    And it seem'd for to swell him 'no' little with pride;
    For he said to himself, Where is Joan my sweet wife?
    Sure she never did see me so fine in her life.                    30

    From a convenient place, the right duke his good grace
    Did observe his behaviour in every case
    To a garden of state, on the tinker they wait,
    Trumpets sounding before him: thought he, this is great:
    Where an hour or two, pleasant walks he did view,                 35
    With commanders and squires in scarlet and blew.

    A fine dinner was drest, both for him and his guests,
    He was plac'd at the table above all the rest,
    In a rich chair 'or bed,' lin'd with fine crimson red,
    With a rich golden canopy over his head:                          40
    As he sat at his meat, the musick play'd sweet,
    With the choicest of singing his joys to compleat.

    While the tinker did dine, he had plenty of wine,
    Rich canary with sherry and tent superfine.
    Like a right honest soul, faith, he took off his bowl,            45
    Till at last he began for to tumble and roul
    From his chair to the floor, where he sleeping did snore,
    Being seven times drunker than ever before.

    Then the duke did ordain, they should strip him amain,
    And restore him his old leather garments again:                   50
    'Twas a point next the worst, yet perform it they must,
    And they carry'd him strait, where they found him at first;
    Then he slept all the night, as indeed well he might;
    But when he did waken, his joys took their flight.

    For his glory 'to him' so pleasant did seem,                      55
    That he thought it to be but a meer golden dream;
    Till at length he was brought to the duke, where he sought
    For a pardon, as fearing he had set him at nought;
    But his highness he said, Thou'rt a jolly bold blade,
    Such a frolick before I think never was plaid.                    60

    Then his highness bespoke him a new suit and cloak,
    Which he gave for the sake of this frolicksome joak;
    Nay, and five-hundred pound, with ten acres of ground,
    Thou shalt never, said he, range the counteries round,
    Crying old brass to mend, for I'll be thy good friend,            65
    Nay, and Joan thy sweet wife shall my duchess attend.

    Then the tinker reply'd, What! must Joan my sweet bride
    Be a lady in chariots of pleasure to ride?
    Must we have gold and land ev'ry day at command?
    Then I shall be a squire I well understand:                       70
    Well I thank your good grace, and your love I embrace,
    I was never before in so happy a case.


[890] By Ludov. Vives in _Epist._, and by Pont. Heuter. _Rerum
Burgund._ l. 4.



Dispersed thro' Shakespeare's plays are innumerable little fragments
of ancient ballads, the entire copies of which could not be recovered.
Many of these being of the most beautiful and pathetic simplicity, the
Editor was tempted to select some of them, and with a few supplemental
stanzas to connect them together, and form them into a little _tale_,
which is here submitted to the reader's candour.

One small fragment was taken from Beaumont and Fletcher.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [Ritson exhibits a bit of grim humour in his _Ancient Songs_, vol.
  ii. ed. 1829, p. 64, where he prints a parody of Percy's _Friar of_
  _Orders Gray_, under the title of the _Jovial Tinker_, and prefixes
  to it the exact words that Percy uses above. The parody commences--

    "It was a jovial tinker,
      All of the north countrie,
    As he walk'd forth, along the way
      He sung right merrily."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    It was a friar of orders gray
      Walkt forth to tell his beades;
    And he met with a lady faire
      Clad in a pilgrime's weedes.

    Now Christ thee save, thou reverend friar,                         5
      I pray thee tell to me,
    If ever at yon holy shrine
      My true love thou didst see.

    And how should I know your true love
      From many another one?                                          10
    O by his cockle hat, and staff,
      And by his sandal shoone.[891]

    But chiefly by his face and mien,
      That were so fair to view;
    His flaxen locks that sweetly curl'd,                             15
      And eyne of lovely blue.

    O lady, he is dead and gone!
      Lady, he's dead and gone!
    And at his head a green grass turfe,
      And at his heels a stone.                                       20

    Within these holy cloysters long
      He languisht, and he dyed,
    Lamenting of a ladyes love,
      And 'playning of her pride.

    Here bore him barefac'd on his bier                               25
      Six proper youths and tall,
    And many a tear bedew'd his grave
      Within yon kirk-yard wall.

    And art thou dead, thou gentle youth!
      And art thou dead and gone!                                     30
    And didst thou dye for love of me!
      Break, cruel heart of stone!

    O weep not, lady, weep not soe;
      Some ghostly comfort seek:
    Let not vain sorrow rive thy heart,                               35
      Ne teares bedew thy cheek.

    O do not, do not, holy friar,
      My sorrow now reprove;
    For I have lost the sweetest youth,
      That e'er wan ladyes love.                                      40

    And nowe, alas! for thy sad losse,
      I'll evermore weep and sigh;
    For thee I only wisht to live,
      For thee I wish to dye.

    Weep no more, lady, weep no more,                                 45
      Thy sorrowe is in vaine:
    For violets pluckt the sweetest showers
      Will ne'er make grow againe.

    Our joys as winged dreams doe flye,
      Why then should sorrow last?                                    50
    Since grief but aggravates thy losse,
      Grieve not for what is past.

    O say not soe, thou holy friar;
      I pray thee, say not soe:
    For since my true-love dyed for mee,                              55
      'Tis meet my tears should flow.

    And will he ne'er come again?
      Will he ne'er come again?
    Ah! no, he is dead and laid in his grave,
      For ever to remain.                                             60

    His cheek was redder than the rose;
      The comliest youth was he!
    But he is dead and laid in his grave:
      Alas, and woe is me!

    Sigh no more, lady, sigh no more,                                 65
      Men were deceivers ever:
    One foot on sea and one on land,
      To one thing constant never.

    Hadst thou been fond, he had been false,
      And left thee sad and heavy;                                    70
    For young men ever were fickle found,
      Since summer trees were leafy.

    Now say not so, thou holy friar,
      I pray thee say not soe;
    My love he had the truest heart:                                  75
      O he was ever true!

    And art thou dead, thou much-lov'd youth,
      And didst thou dye for mee?
    Then farewell home; for ever-more
      A pilgrim I will bee.                                           80

    But first upon my true-loves grave
      My weary limbs I'll lay,
    And thrice I'll kiss the green-grass turf,
      That wraps his breathless clay

    Yet stay, fair lady; rest awhile                                  85
      Beneath this cloyster wall:
    See through the hawthorn blows the cold wind.
      And drizzly rain doth fall.

    O stay me not, thou holy friar;
      O stay me not, I pray;                                          90
    No drizzly rain that falls on me,
      Can wash my fault away.

    Yet stay, fair lady, turn again,
      And dry those pearly tears;
    For see beneath this gown of gray                                 95
      Thy owne true-love appears.

    Here forc'd by grief, and hopeless love,
      These holy weeds I sought;
    And here amid these lonely walls
      To end my days I thought.                                      100

    But haply for my year of grace[892]
      Is not yet past away,
    Might I still hope to win thy love,
      No longer would I stay.

    Now farewell grief, and welcome joy                              105
      Once more unto my heart;
    For since I have found thee, lovely youth,
      We never more will part.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [***] As the foregoing song has been thought to have suggested
  to our late excellent Poet _Dr. Goldsmith_, the plan of his
  beautiful ballad of _Edwin and Emma_ (first printed in his _Vicar
  of Wakefield_) it is but justice to his memory to declare, that
  his poem was written first, and that if there is any imitation in
  the case, they will be found both to be indebted to the beautiful
  old ballad _Gentle Herdsman_, &c. printed in the second volume of
  this Work, which the Doctor had much admired in manuscript, and has
  finely improved. See vol. ii. book i. song xiv. ver. 37.


[891] These are the distinguishing marks of a pilgrim. The chief
places of devotion being beyond sea, the pilgrims were wont to put
cockle-shells in their hats to denote the intention or performance of
their devotion. _Warb. Shakesp._ vol. viii., p. 224.

[892] The year of probation, or noviciate.

                       THE END OF THE SECOND BOOK



                           SERIES THE FIRST.






At the beginning of this volume we gave the old original Song of
_Chevy Chace_. The reader has here the more improved edition of that
fine heroic ballad. It will afford an agreeable entertainment to the
curious to compare them together, and to see how far the latter bard
has excelled his predecessor, and where he has fallen short of him. For
tho' he has every where improved the versification, and generally the
sentiment and diction; yet some few passages retain more dignity in the
ancient copy; at least the obsoleteness of the style serves as a veil
to hide whatever might appear too familiar or vulgar in them. Thus, for
instance, the catastrophe of the gallant Witherington is in the modern
copy exprest in terms which never fail at present to excite ridicule:
whereas in the original it is related with a plain and pathetic
simplicity, that is liable to no such unlucky effect: See the stanza in
page 32, which, in modern orthography, &c. would run thus.

    "For Witherington my heart is woe,
      That ever he slain should be:
    For when his legs were hewn in two,
      He knelt and fought on his knee."

So again the stanza which describes the fall of Montgomery is somewhat
more elevated in the ancient copy:

    "The dint it was both sad and sore,
      He on Montgomery set:
    The swan-feathers his arrow bore
      With his hearts blood were wet."

                                                                  p. 31.

We might also add, that the circumstances of the battle are more
clearly conceived and the several incidents more distinctly marked in
the old original, than in the improved copy. It is well known that the
ancient English weapon was the long bow, and that this nation excelled
all others in archery; while the Scottish warriours chiefly depended on
the use of the spear: this characteristic difference never escapes our
ancient bard, whose description of the first onset is to the following

"The proposal of the two gallant earls to determine the dispute by
single combat being over-ruled; the English, says he, who stood with
their bows ready bent, gave a general discharge of their arrows,
which slew seven score spearmen of the enemy: but, notwithstanding so
severe a loss, Douglas like a brave captain kept his ground. He had
divided his forces into three columns, who, as soon as the English had
discharged the first volley, bore down upon them with their spears,
and breaking through their ranks reduced them to close fighting. The
archers upon this dropt their bows and had recourse to their swords,
and there followed so sharp a conflict, that multitudes on both sides
lost their lives." In the midst of this general engagement, at length,
the two great earls meet, and after a spirited rencounter agree to
breathe; upon which a parley ensues, that would do honour to Homer

Nothing can be more pleasingly distinct and circumstantial than this:
whereas, the modern copy, tho' in general it has great merit, is here
unluckily both confused and obscure. Indeed the original words seem
here to have been totally misunderstood. "Yet bydys the yerl Douglas
upon the _Bent_," evidently signifies, "Yet the earl Douglas abides in
the _Field_:" whereas the more modern bard seems to have understood by
_Bent_, the inclination of his mind, and accordingly runs quite off
from the subject[893]:

    "To drive the deer with hound and horn
      Earl Douglas had the bent."

                                                                 v. 109.

One may also observe a generous impartiality in the old original bard,
when in the conclusion of his tale he represents both nations as
quitting the field without any reproachful reflection on either: though
he gives to his own countrymen the credit of being the smaller number.

    "Of fifteen hundred archers of England
      Went away but fifty and three;
    Of twenty hundred spearmen of Scotland,
      But even five and fifty."

                                                                  p. 32.

He attributes _Flight_ to neither party, as hath been done in the modern
copies of this ballad, as well Scotch as English. For, to be even with
our latter bard, who makes the Scots to _flee_, some reviser of North
Britain has turned his own arms against him, and printed an edition at
Glasgow, in which the lines are thus transposed:

    "Of fifteen hundred Scottish speirs
      Went hame but fifty-three:
    Of twenty hundred Englishmen
      Scarce fifty-five did flee."

And to countenance this change he has suppressed the two stanzas
between ver. 240 and ver. 249.--From that Edition I have here reformed
the Scottish names, which in the modern English ballad appeared to be

When I call the present admired ballad modern, I only mean that it
is comparatively so; for that it could not be writ much later than
the time of Q. Elizabeth, I think may be made appear; nor yet does
it seem to be older than the beginning of the last century.[894] Sir
Philip Sidney, when he complains of the antiquated phrase of _Chevy
Chase_, could never have seen this improved copy, the language of
which is not more ancient than that he himself used. It is probable
that the encomiums of so admired a writer excited some bard to revise
the ballad, and to free it from those faults he had objected to it.
That it could not be much later than that time, appears from the
phrase _doleful dumps_: which in that age carried no ill sound with
it, but to the next generation became ridiculous. We have seen it pass
uncensured in a sonnet that was at that time in request, and where it
could not fail to have been taken notice of, had it been in the least
exceptionable: see above, book ii. song v. ver. 2. Yet, in about half a
century after, it was become burlesque. Vide _Hudibras_, Part I. c. 3,
v. 95.

This much premised, the reader that would see the general beauties of
this ballad set in a just and striking light, may consult the excellent
criticism of Mr. Addison.[895] With regard to its subject: it has
already been considered in page 20. The conjectures there offered
will receive confirmation from a passage in the _Memoirs of Carey
Earl of Monmouth_, 8vo. 1759, p. 165; whence we learn that it was an
ancient custom with the borderers of the two kingdoms, when they were
at peace, to send to the Lord Wardens of the opposite Marches for leave
to hunt within their districts. If leave was granted, then towards
the end of summer they would come and hunt for several days together
"with their _greyhounds for deer_:" but if they took this liberty
unpermitted, then the Lord Warden of the border so invaded, would not
fail to interrupt their sport and chastise their boldness. He mentions
a remarkable instance that happened while he was Warden, when some
Scotch gentlemen coming to hunt in defiance of him, there must have
ensued such an action as this of Chevy Chace, if the intruders had been
proportionably numerous and well-armed; for, upon their being attacked
by his men at arms, he tells us, "some hurt was done, tho' he had given
especiall order that they should shed as little blood as possible."
They were in effect overpowered and taken prisoners, and only released
on their promise to abstain from such licentious sporting for the

Since the former impression of these volumes hath been published, a new
edition of _Collins's Peerage_, 1779, &c., 9 Vols. 8vo. which contains,
in volume ii. p. 334, an historical passage, which may be thought to
throw considerable light on the subject of the preceding ballad: viz.

"In this ... year, 1436, according to Hector Boethius, was fought
the Battle of Pepperden, not far from the Cheviot Hills, between the
Earl of Northumberland (IId Earl, son of Hotspur,) and Earl William
Douglas, of Angus, with a small army of about four thousand men each,
in which the latter had the advantage. As this seems to have been a
private conflict between these two great chieftains of the Borders,
rather than a national war, it has been thought to have given rise to
the celebrated old Ballad of _Chevy-Chase_; which, to render it more
pathetic and interesting, has been heightened with tragical incidents
wholly fictitious." See _Ridpath's Border Hist._ 4to, p. 401.

The following text is given from a copy in the Editor's folio MS.
compared with two or three others printed in black-letter.--In the
second volume of _Dryden's Miscellanies_ may be found a translation of
Chevy-Chace into Latin rhymes. The translator, Mr. Henry Bold, of New
College, undertook it at the command of Dr. Compton, bishop of London;
who thought it no derogation to his episcopal character, to avow a
fondness for this excellent old ballad. See the preface to _Bold's
Latin Songs_, 1685, 8vo.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [The following version varies in certain particulars from the one
  in the MS. folio (ed. Hales and Furnivall, 1867, vol. ii. p. i),
  and the most important variations are noted at the foot of the
  page. Some of the alterations in the arrangement of the words are
  improvements, but others are the reverse, for instance verses
  129-132. Percy follows the copy printed in the _Collection of Old
  Ballads_, 1723 (vol. i. p. 108), much more closely than the MS.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    God prosper long our noble king,
      Our lives and safetyes all!
    A woefull hunting once there did[896]
      In Chevy-Chace befall;

    To drive the deere with hound and horne,                           5
      Erle Percy took his way;[897]
    The child may rue that is unborne,
      The hunting of that day.

    The stout Erle of Northumberland
      A vow to God did make,                                          10
    His pleasure in the Scottish woods
      Three summers days to take;

    The cheefest harts in Chevy-Chace
      To kill and beare away.
    These tydings to Erle Douglas came,                               15
      In Scottland where he lay:

    Who sent Erle Percy present word,
      He wold prevent his sport.
    The English Erle, not fearing that,
      Did to the woods resort                                         20

    With fifteen hundred bow-men bold;
      All chosen men of might,
    Who knew full well in time of neede
      To ayme their shafts arright.

    The gallant greyhounds swiftly ran,                               25
      To chase the fallow deere:
    On munday they began to hunt,
      Ere day-light did appeare;

    And long before high noone they had
      An hundred fat buckes slaine;                                   30
    Then having dined, the drovyers went
      To rouze the deare againe.

    The bow-men mustered on the hills,
      Well able to endure;
    Theire backsides all, with speciall care,                         35
      That day were guarded sure.[898]

    The hounds ran swiftly through the woods,
      The nimble deere to take,[899]
    That with their cryes the hills and dales
      An eccho shrill did make.                                       40

    Lord Percy to the quarry[900] went,
      To view the slaughter'd deere;[901]
    Quoth he, Erle Douglas promised
      This day to meet me heere:

    But if I thought he wold not come,                                45
      Noe longer wold I stay.
    With that, a brave younge gentleman
      Thus to the Erle did say:

    Loe, yonder doth Erle Douglas come,
      His men in armour bright;                                       50
    Full twenty hundred Scottish speres
      All marching in our sight;

    All men of pleasant Tivydale,
      Fast by the river Tweede:
    O cease your sports, Erle Percy said,                             55
      And take your bowes with speede;

    And now with me, my countrymen,
      Your courage forth advance;
    For there was never champion yett,
      In Scotland or in France,                                       60

    That ever did on horsebacke come,
      But if my hap[902] it were,
    I durst encounter man for man,
      With him to break a spere.

    Erle Douglas on his milke-white steede,                           65
      Most like a baron bold,
    Rode formost of his company,
      Whose armour shone like gold.

    Show me, sayd hee, whose men you bee,
      That hunt soe boldly heere,                                     70
    That, without my consent, doe chase
      And kill my fallow-deere.

    The first man that did answer make,
      Was noble Percy hee;
    Who sayd, Wee list not to declare,                                75
      Nor shew whose men wee bee:

    Yet wee will spend our deerest blood,
      Thy cheefest harts to slay.
    Then Douglas swore a solempne oathe,
      And thus in rage did say,                                       80

    Ere thus I will out-braved bee,
      One of us two shall dye:
    I know thee well, an erle thou art;
      Lord Percy, soe am I.

    But trust me, Percy, pittye it were,                              85
      And great offence to kill
    Any of these our guiltlesse men,
      For they have done no ill.

    Let thou and I the battell trye,
      And set our men aside.                                          90
    Accurst bee [he], Erle Percy sayd,
      By whome this is denyed.[903]

    Then stept a gallant squier forth,
      Witherington was his name,
    Who said, I wold not have it told                                 95
      To Henry our king for shame,

    That ere my captaine fought on foote,
      And I stood looking on.[904]
    You bee two erles, sayd Witherington,
      And I a squier alone:                                          100

    Ile doe the best that doe I may,
      While I have power to stand:
    While I have power to weeld my sword,
      Ile fight with hart and hand.

    Our English archers bent their bowes,[905]                       105
      Their harts were good and trew;
    Att the first flight of arrowes sent,
      Full four-score Scots they slew.

    [906][Yet bides Earl Douglas on the bent,[907]
      As Chieftain stout and good.                                   110
    As valiant Captain, all unmov'd
      The shock he firmly stood.

    His host he parted had in three,
      As Leader ware and try'd,
    As soon his spearmen on their foes                               115
      Bare down on every side.

    Throughout the English archery
      They dealt full many a wound:
    But still our valiant Englishmen
      All firmly kept their ground:                                  120

    And throwing strait their bows away,
      They grasp'd their swords so bright:
    And now sharp blows, a heavy shower,
      On shields and helmets light.]

    They closed full fast on everye side,                            125
      Noe slacknes there was found;
    And many a gallant gentleman
      Lay gasping on the ground.

    O Christ! it was a griefe to see,[908]
      And likewise for to heare,                                     130
    The cries of men lying in their gore,
      And scattered here and there.

    At last these two stout erles did meet,
      Like captaines of great might:
    Like lyons wood,[909] they layd on lode,                         135
      And made a cruell fight:

    They fought untill they both did sweat,
      With swords of tempered steele;
    Until the blood, like drops of rain,
      They trickling downe did feele.                                140

    Yeeld thee, O Percy, Douglas sayd;
      In faith I will thee bringe,
    Where thou shalt high advanced bee
      By James our Scottish king:

    Thy ransome I will freely give,                                  145
      And this report of thee,
    Thou art the most couragious knight,
      That ever I did see.

    Noe, Douglas, quoth Erle Percy then,
      Thy proffer I doe scorne;                                      150
    I will not yeelde to any Scott,
      That ever yett was borne.

    With that, there came an arrow keene
      Out of an English bow,
    Which struck Erle Douglas to the heart,[910]                     155
      A deepe and deadlye blow:

    Who never spake more words than these,[911]
      Fight on, my merry men all;
    For why, my life is at an end;
      Lord Percy sees my fall.                                       160

    Then leaving liffe, Erle Percy tooke
      The dead man by the hand;
    And said, Erle Douglas, for thy life[912]
      Wold I had lost my land.

    O Christ! my verry hart doth bleed                               165
      With sorrow for thy sake;
    For sure, a more redoubted knight
      Mischance cold never take.

    A knight amongst the Scotts there was,
      Which saw Erle Douglas dye,                                    170
    Who streight in wrath did vow revenge
      Upon the Lord Percye:

    Sir Hugh Mountgomery was he call'd,
      Who, with a spere most bright,
    Well-mounted on a gallant steed,                                 175
      Ran fiercely through the fight;

    And past the English archers all,
      Without all dread or feare;
    And through Earl Percyes body then
      He thrust his hatefull spere;                                  180

    With such a vehement force and might
      He did his body gore,
    The staff ran through the other side
      A large cloth-yard, and more.

    So thus did both these nobles dye,                               185
      Whose courage none could staine:
    An English archer then perceiv'd
      The noble erle was slaine;

    He had a bow bent in his hand,[913]
      Made of a trusty tree;                                         190
    An arrow of a cloth-yard long
      Up to the head drew hee:[914]

    Against Sir Hugh Mountgomerye,
      So right the shaft he sett,
    The grey goose-winge that was thereon,                           195
      In his harts bloode was wett.

    This fight did last from breake of day,
      Till setting of the sun;
    For when they rung the evening-bell,[915]
      The battel scarce was done.                                    200

    With stout Erle Percy, there was slaine
      Sir John of Egerton,[916]
    Sir Robert Ratcliff, and Sir John,[917]
      Sir James that bold barrôn:

    And with Sir George and stout Sir James,                         205
      Both knights of good account,
    Good Sir Ralph Raby there was slaine,
      Whose prowesse did surmount.

    For Witherington needs must I wayle,
      As one in doleful dumpes;[918]                                 210
    For when his leggs were smitten off,
      He fought upon his stumpes.

    And with Erle Douglas, there was slaine
      Sir Hugh Mountgomerye,
    Sir Charles Murray, that from the feeld[919]                     215
      One foote wold never flee.

    Sir Charles Murray, of Ratcliff, too,[920]
      His sisters sonne was hee;
    Sir David Lamb, so well esteem'd,[921]
      Yet saved cold not bee.                                        220

    And the Lord Maxwell in like case
      Did with Erle Douglas dye:
    Of twenty hundred Scottish speres,
      Scarce fifty-five did flye.

    Of fifteen hundred Englishmen,                                   225
      Went home but fifty-three;
    The rest were slaine in Chevy-Chase,
      Under the greene woode tree.

    Next day did many widdowes come,
      Their husbands to bewayle;                                     230
    They washt their wounds in brinish teares,
      But all wold not prevayle.

    Theyr bodyes, bathed in purple gore,[922]
      They bare with them away:
    They kist them dead a thousand times,                            235
      Ere they were cladd in clay.

    The newes was brought to Eddenborrow,
      Where Scottlands king did raigne,
    That brave Erle Douglas suddenlye
      Was with an arrow slaine:                                      240

    O heavy newes, King James did say,
      Scottland may witnesse bee,
    I have not any captaine more
      Of such account as hee.

    Like tydings to King Henry came,                                 245
      Within as short a space,
    That Percy of Northumberland
      Was slaine in Chevy-Chese:

    Now God be with him, said our king,
      Sith it will noe better bee;                                   250
    I trust I have, within my realme,
      Five hundred as good as hee:

    Yett shall not Scotts nor Scotland say,
      But I will vengeance take:
    I'll be revenged on them all,                                    255
      For brave Erle Percyes sake.

    This vow full well the king perform'd
      After, at Humbledowne;
    In one day, fifty knights were slayne,
      With lords of great renowne:                                   260

    And of the rest, of small account,
      Did many thousands dye:[923]
    Thus endeth the hunting of Chevy-Chase,
      Made by the Erle Percy.

    God save our king, and bless this land                           265
      With plentye, joy, and peace;
    And grant henceforth, that foule debate
      'Twixt noblemen may cease.


The surnames in the foregoing Ballad are altered, either by accident or
design, from the old original copy, and in common editions extremely
corrupted. They are here rectified, as much as they could be. Thus,

[Ver. 202, _Egerton_.] This name is restored (instead of _Ogerton_,
com. ed.) from the Editor's folio MS. The pieces in that MS. appear to
have been collected, and many of them composed (among which might be
this ballad) by an inhabitant of Cheshire; who was willing to pay a
compliment here to one of his countrymen, of the eminent family _De_ or
_Of Egerton_ (so the name was first written) ancestors of the present
Duke of Bridgwater: and this he could do with the more propriety, as
the _Percies_ had formerly great interest in that county. At the fatal
battle of Shrewsbury all the flower of the Cheshire gentlemen lost
their lives fighting in the cause of _Hotspur_.

[Ver. 203, _Ratcliff_.] This was a family much distinguished in
Northumberland. _Edw. Radcliffe, mil._ was sheriff of that county
in the 17 of Hen. VII. and others of the same surname afterwards.
(See _Fuller_, p. 313.) Sir _George Ratcliff_, Knt. was one of the
commissioners of inclosure in 1552. (See _Nicholson_, p. 330.) Of this
family was the late Earl of _Derwentwater_, who was beheaded in 1715.
The Editor's folio MS. however, reads here, _Sir Robert Harcliffe and
Sir William_.

The _Harcleys_ were an eminent family in Cumberland. (See _Fuller_,
p. 224.) Whether this may be thought to be the same name, I do not

[Ver. 204. _Baron._] This is apparently altered, (not to say corrupted)
from _Hearone_, in p. 32, ver. 114.

[Ver. 207. _Raby._] This might be intended to celebrate one of the
ancient possessors of _Raby Castle_, in the county of Durham. Yet it
is written _Rebbye_, in the fol. MS. and looks like a corruption of
_Rugby_ or _Rokeby_, an eminent family in Yorkshire, see pp. 32, 52.
It will not be wondered that the _Percies_ should be thought to bring
followers out of that county, where they themselves were originally
seated, and had always such extensive property and influence.[924]

[Ver. 215. _Murray._] So the Scottish copy. In the com. edit. it is
_Carrel_ or _Currel_; and _Morrell_ in the fol. MS.

[Ver. 217. _Murray._] So the Scot. edit.--The common copies read
_Murrel_. The fol. MS. gives the line in the following peculiar manner,

    "Sir Roger Heuer of Harcliffe too."

[Ver. 219. _Lamb._] The folio MS. has

    "Sir David Lambwell, well esteemed."

This seems evidently corrupted from _Lwdale_ or _Liddell_, in the old
copy, see ver. 125. (pp. 32, 52).


[893] In the present Edition, instead of the unmeaning lines here
censured, an insertion is made of four stanzas modernized from the
ancient copy.

[894] A late writer has started a notion that the more modern copy "was
written to be sung by a party of English, headed by a Douglas in the
year 1524; which is the true reason why, at the same time that it gives
the advantage to the English soldiers above the Scotch, it gives yet so
lovely and so manifestly superior a character to the Scotch commander
above the English." See _Say's Essay on the Numbers of Paradise
Lost_, 4to. 1745, p. 167.

This appears to me a groundless conjecture: the language seems too
modern for the date above-mentioned; and, had it been printed even so
early as Queen Elizabeth's reign, I think I should have met with some
copy wherein the first line would have been,

    "God prosper long our noble queen,"

as was the case with the _Blind Beggar of Bednal Green_; see vol. ii.
book ii. No. x. ver. 23.

[895] In the _Spectator_, Nos. 70, 74.

[896] [Ver. 3. there was, f. MS.]

[897] [V. 6. took the way, f. MS.]

[898] Ver. 36. That they were, f. MS.

[899] The Chiviot Hills and circumjacent wastes are at present void
of deer, and almost stript of their woods: but formerly they had
enough of both to justify the description attempted here and in the
Ancient Ballad of _Chevy-Chase_. Leland, in the reign of Hen. VIII.
thus describes this county: "In Northumberland, as I heare say, be no
Forests, except Chivet Hills; where is much _Brushe-Wood_, and some
_Okke_; Grownde ovargrowne with Linge, and some with Mosse. I have
harde say that Chivet Hilles stretchethe xx miles. There is greate
Plenté of _Redde-Dere_, and _Roo-Bukkes_." _Itin._ vol. vii. page
56.--This passage, which did not occur when pages 40, 42 were printed
off, confirms the accounts there given of the _Stagge_ and the _Roe_.

[900] [slaughtered game.]

[901] [Ver. 42. the tender deere, f. MS.]

[902] [fortune.]

[903] [Ver. 92. it is, f. MS.]

[904] [V. 98. I stand, f. MS.]

[905] [Ver. 105. bend their bowes, f. MS.]

[906] The 4 stanzas here inclosed in brackets, which are borrowed
chiefly from the ancient copy, are offered to the reader instead of the
following lines, which occur in the Editor's folio MS.

    To drive the deere with hound and horne,
      Douglas bade on the bent;
    Two captaines moved with mickle might
      Their speres to shivers went.

[907] [field.]

[908] [Ver. 129-132. This stanza in the MS. is far superior to the poor
one in the text.

    "O Christ! it was great greeve to see
      how eche man chose his spere
    and how the blood out of their brests
      Did gush like water cleare."]

[909] [furious.]

[910] [Ver. 155. who scorke Erle Douglas on the brest, f. MS.]

[911] [V. 157. who never sayd, f. MS.]

[912] [V. 163. who said, Erle Dowglas, for thy sake, f. MS.]

[913] [Ver. 189. he had a good bow in his hand, f. MS.]

[914] [V. 192. to the hard head haled hee, f. MS.]

[915] Sc. the Curfew bell, usually rung at 8 o'clock, to which the
moderniser apparently alludes, instead of the "Evensong Bell," or Bell
for vespers, of the original author before the Reformation. See p. 31,
Ver. 97.

[916] For the surnames, see the Notes at the end of the ballad.

[917] [Ver. 203. Sir Robert Harcliffe and Sir William, f. MS.]

[918] _i.e._ "I, as one in deep concern, must lament" The construction
here has generally been misunderstood. The old MS. reads "toofull

[919] [V. 215. Sir Charles Morrell, f. MS.]

[920] [V. 217. Sir Roger Hever, of Harclifte, f. MS.]

[921] [V. 219. Sir David Lambwell well esteem'd.]

[922] [Ver. 233. purple blood, f. MS.]

[923] [Ver. 262. hundreds dye, f. MS.]

[924] See note controverting the above on p. 52.



These fine moral stanzas were originally intended for a solemn
funeral song, in a play of James Shirley's, intitled, "The Contention
of Ajax and Ulysses:"[925] no date, 8vo.--Shirley flourished as a
dramatic writer early in the reign of Charles I.: but he outlived the
Restoration. His death happened October 29, 1666. Æt. 72.

This little poem was written long after many of these that follow, but
is inserted here as a kind of Dirge to the foregoing piece. It is said
to have been a favourite song with K. Charles II. [to whom, according
to Oldys, it was often sung by "old" Bowman.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    The glories of our birth and state
      Are shadows, not substantial things;
    There is no armour against fate:
      Death lays his icy hands on kings:
          Scepter and crown                                            5
          Must tumble down,
    And in the dust be equal made
    With the poor crooked scythe and spade.

    Some men with swords may reap the field,
      And plant fresh laurels where they kill:                        10
    But their strong nerves at last must yield;
      They tame but one another still.
          Early or late
          They stoop to fate,
    And must give up their murmuring breath,                          15
    When they pale captives creep to death.

    The garlands wither on your brow,
      Then boast no more your mighty deeds;
    Upon death's purple altar now
      See where the victor victim bleeds:                             20
          All heads must come
          To the cold tomb,
    Only the actions of the just
    Smell sweet, and blossom in the dust.


[925] Acted for the first time "at the Military Ground in Leicester
Fields" in 1659.



The subject of this ballad is the great Northern Insurrection in the
12th year of Elizabeth, 1569; which proved so fatal to Thomas Percy,
the seventh Earl of Northumberland.

There had not long before been a secret negotiation entered into
between some of the Scottish and English nobility, to bring about a
marriage between Mary Q. of Scots, at that time a prisoner in England,
and the Duke of Norfolk, a nobleman of excellent character, and firmly
attached to the Protestant religion. This match was proposed to all the
most considerable of the English nobility, and among the rest to the
Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, two noblemen very powerful
in the North. As it seemed to promise a speedy and safe conclusion of
the troubles in Scotland, with many advantages to the crown of England,
they all consented to it, provided it should prove agreeable to Q.
Elizabeth. The Earl of Leicester (Elizabeth's favourite) undertook to
break the matter to her, but before he could find an opportunity, the
affair had come to her ears by other hands, and she was thrown into a
violent flame. The Duke of Norfolk, with several of his friends, was
committed to the Tower, and summons were sent to the Northern Earls
instantly to make their appearance at court. It is said that the Earl
of Northumberland, who was a man of a mild and gentle nature, was
deliberating with himself whether he should not obey the message, and
rely upon the queen's candour and clemency, when he was forced into
desperate measures by a sudden report at midnight, Nov. 14, that a
party of his enemies were come to seize on his person.[926] The Earl
was then at his house at Topcliffe in Yorkshire. When rising hastily
out of bed, he withdrew to the Earl of Westmoreland, at Brancepeth,
where the country came in to them, and pressed them to take arms in
their own defence. They accordingly set up their standards, declaring
their intent was to restore the ancient religion, to get the succession
of the crown firmly settled, and to prevent the destruction of the
ancient nobility, &c. Their common banner[927] (on which was displayed
the cross, together with the five wounds of Christ) was borne by an
ancient gentleman, Richard Norton, Esq., of Norton-conyers; who,
with his sons (among whom, Christopher, Marmaduke, and Thomas, are
expressly named by Camden), distinguished himself on this occasion.
Having entered Durham, they tore the Bible, &c., and caused mass to
be said there: they then marched on to Clifford-moor near Wetherbye,
where they mustered their men. Their intention was to have proceeded on
to York, but, altering their minds, they fell upon Barnard's castle,
which Sir George Bowes held out against them for eleven days. The two
earls, who spent their large estates in hospitality, and were extremely
beloved on that account, were masters of little ready money; the E.
of Northumberland bringing with him only 8000 crowns, and the E. of
Westmoreland nothing at all for the subsistence of their forces, they
were not able to march to London, as they had at first intended. In
these circumstances, Westmoreland began so visibly to despond, that
many of his men slunk away, tho' Northumberland still kept up his
resolution, and was master of the field till December 13, when the Earl
of Sussex, accompanied with Lord Hunsden and others, having marched out
of York at the head of a large body of forces, and being followed by a
still larger army under the command of Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick,
the insurgents retreated northward towards the borders, and there
dismissing their followers, made their escape into Scotland. Tho' this
insurrection had been suppressed with so little bloodshed, the Earl of
Sussex and Sir George Bowes, marshal of the army, put vast numbers to
death by martial law, without any regular trial. The former of these
caused sixty-three constables to be hanged at once. And the latter
made his boast, that, for sixty miles in length, and forty in breadth,
betwixt Newcastle and Wetherby, there was hardly a town or village
wherein he had not executed some of the inhabitants. This exceeds the
cruelties practised in the West after Monmouth's rebellion: but that
was not the age of tenderness and humanity.

Such is the account collected from Stow, Speed, Camden, Guthrie, Carte,
and Rapin; it agrees in most particulars with the following ballad,
which was apparently the production of some northern minstrel, who was
well affected to the two noblemen. It is here printed from two MS.
copies, one of them in the Editor's folio collection. They contained
considerable variations, out of which such readings were chosen as
seemed most poetical and consonant to history.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [The Northern Rebellion of 1569 has been nobly commemorated in
  verse. Besides the two following ballads there is the one entitled
  the _Earle of Westmorlande_, in the folio MS. which was printed
  for the first time in 1867, and also Wordsworth's matchless poem
  of the _White Doe of Rylstone_. Those readers who wish for further
  particulars respecting this ill-starred insurrection, should see
  Mr. Hales's interesting introduction to the _Earl of Westmoreland_
  (Folio MS., ed. Hales and Furnivall, vol. i. p. 292).

  Percy acknowledges above that he has not followed the folio MS.
  very closely, and his variations will be seen by comparing his
  version with the copy now printed at the end.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    Listen, lively lordings all,
      Lithe and listen unto mee,
    And I will sing of a noble earle,
      The noblest earle in the north countrie.

    Earle Percy is into his garden gone,                               5
      And after him walkes his faire ladìe:[928]
    I heard a bird sing in mine eare,
      That I must either fight, or flee.

    Now heaven forefend, my dearest lord,
      That ever such harm should hap to thee:                         10
    But goe to London to the court,
      And faire fall truth and honestìe.

    Now nay, now nay, my ladye gay,
      Alas! thy counsell suits not mee;
    Mine enemies prevail so fast,                                     15
      That at the court I may not bee.

    O goe to the court yet, good my lord,
      And take thy gallant men with thee:
    If any dare to doe you wrong,
      Then your warrant they may bee.                                 20

    Now nay, now nay, thou lady faire,
      The court is full of subtiltìe;
    And if I goe to the court, lady,
      Never more I may thee see.

    Yet goe to the court, my lord, she sayes,                         25
      And I myselfe will ryde wi' thee:
    At court then for my dearest lord,
      His faithfull borrowe[929] I will bee

    Now nay, now nay, my lady deare;
      Far lever[930] had I lose my life,                              30
    Than leave among my cruell foes
      My love in jeopardy and strife.

    But come thou hither, my little foot-page,
      Come thou hither unto mee,
    To maister Norton thou must goe                                   35
      In all the haste that ever may bee.

    Commend me to that gentlemàn,
      And beare this letter here fro mee;
    And say that earnestly I praye,
      He will ryde in my companìe.                                    40

    One while the little foot-page went,
      And another while he ran;
    Untill he came to his journeys end,
      The little foot-page never blan.[931]

    When to that gentleman he came,                                   45
      Down he kneeled on his knee;
    And tooke the letter betwixt his hands,
      And lett the gentleman it see.

    And when the letter it was redd
      Affore that goodlye companye,                                   50
    I wis, if you the truthe wold know,
      There was many a weeping eye.

    He sayd, Come thither, Christopher Norton,
      A gallant youth thou seemst to bee;
    What doest thou counsell me, my sonne,                            55
      Now that good erle's in jeopardy?

    Father, my counselle's fair and free;
      That erle he is a noble lord,
    And whatsoever to him you hight,
      I wold not have you breake your word.                           60

    Gramercy, Christopher, my sonne,
      Thy counsell well it liketh mee,
    And if we speed and scape with life,
      Well advanced shalt thou bee.

    Come you hither, my nine good sonnes,[932]                        65
      Gallant men I trowe you bee:
    How many of you, my children deare,
      Will stand by that good erle and mee?

    Eight of them did answer make,
      Eight of them spake hastilie,                                   70
    O father, till the daye we dye
      We'll stand by that good erle and thee.

    Gramercy now, my children deare,
      You showe yourselves right bold and brave;
    And whethersoe'er I live or dye,                                  75
      A fathers blessing you shal have.

    But what sayst thou, O Francis Norton,
      Thou art mine eldest sonn and heire:
    Somewhat lyes brooding in thy breast;
      Whatever it bee, to mee declare.                                80

    Father, you are an aged man,
      Your head is white, your bearde is gray;
    It were a shame at these your yeares
      For you to ryse in such a fray.

    Now fye upon thee, coward Francis,                                85
      Thou never learnedst this of mee:
    When thou wert yong and tender of age,
      Why did I make soe much of thee?

    But, father, I will wend with you,
      Unarm'd and naked will I bee;                                   90
    And he that strikes against the crowne,
      Ever an ill death may he dee.

    Then rose that reverend gentleman,
      And with him came a goodlye band
    To join with the brave Erle Percy,                                95
      And all the flower o' Northumberland.

    With them the noble Nevill came,
      The erle of Westmorland was hee:
    At Wetherbye they mustred their host,
      Thirteen thousand faire to see.                                100

    Lord Westmorland his ancyent[933] raisde,
      The Dun Bull he rays'd on hye,
    And three Dogs with golden collars
      Were there sett out most royallye.[934]

    Erle Percy there his ancyent spred,                              105
      The Halfe-Moone shining all soe faire:[935]
    The Nortons ancyent had the crosse,
      And the five wounds our Lord did beare.

    Then Sir George Bowes he straitwaye rose,
      After them some spoyle to make:                                110
    Those noble erles turn'd backe againe,
      And aye they vowed that knight to take.

    The baron he to his castle fled,
      To Barnard castle then fled hee.
    The uttermost walles were eathe[936] to win,                     115
      The earles have wonne them presentlie.

    The uttermost walles were lime and bricke;
      But thoughe they won them soon anone,
    Long e'er they wan the innermost walles,
      For they were cut in rocke of stone.                           120

    Then newes unto leeve[937] London came
      In all the speede that ever might bee,
    And word is brought to our royall queene
      Of the rysing in the North countrie.

    Her grace she turned her round about,                            125
      And like a royall queene shee swore,[938]
    I will ordayne them such a breakfast,
      As never was in the North before.

    Shee caus'd thirty thousand men berays'd,
      With horse and harneis[939] faire to see;                      130
    She caused thirty thousand men be raised,
      To take the earles i'th' North countrie.

    Wi' them the false Erle Warwick went,
      Th' erle Sussex and the lord Hunsdèn;
    Untill they to Yorke castle came                                 135
      I wiss, they never stint ne blan.[940]

    Now spred thy ancyent, Westmorland,
      Thy dun bull faine would we spye:
    And thou, the Erle o' Northumberland,
      Now rayse thy half moone up on hye.                            140

    But the dun bulle is fled and gone,
      And the halfe moone vanished away:
    The Erles, though they were brave and bold,
      Against soe many could not stay.

    Thee, Norton, wi' thine eight good sonnes,                       145
      They doom'd to dye, alas! for ruth!
    Thy reverend lockes thee could not save,
      Nor them their faire and blooming youthe.

    Wi' them full many a gallant wight
      They cruellye bereav'd of life:                                150
    And many a childe made fatherlesse,
      And widowed many a tender wife.


[The following version of this ballad is from the Folio MS (ed. Hales
and Furnivall, 1867, vol. ii. p. 210.)

    Listen liuely lordings all,
      and all that beene this place within!
    if youle giue eare vnto my songe,
      I will tell you how this geere did begin.                        4

    It was the good Erle of Westmorlande,
      a noble Erle was called hee;
    and he wrought treason against the crowne;
      alas, itt was the more pittye!                                   8

    and soe itt was the Erle of Northumberland,
      another good Noble Erle was hee,
    they tooken both vpon on part,
      against their crowne they wolden bee.                           12

    Earle Pearcy is into his garden gone,
      and after walks his awne ladye;
    "I heare a bird sing in my eare
      that I must either ffight or fflee."                            16

    "God fforbidd," shee sayd, "good my Lord,
      that euer soe that it shalbee!
    but goe to London to the court,
      and faire ffall truth and honestye!"                            20

    "but nay, now nay, my Ladye gay,
      that euer it shold soe bee;
    my treason is knowen well enoughe;
      att the court I must not bee."                                  24

    "but goe to the Court! yet, good my Lord,
      take men enowe with thee;
    if any man will doe you wronge,
      your warrant they may bee."                                     28

    "but nay, now nay, my Lady gay,
      for soe itt must not bee;
    If I goe to the court, Ladye,
      death will strike me, and I must dye."                          32

    "but goe to the Court! yett, [good] my Lord,
      I my-selfe will ryde with thee;
    if any man will doe you wronge,
      your borrow I shalbee."                                         36

    "but nay, now nay, my Lady gay,
      for soe it must not bee;
    for if I goe to the Court, Ladye,
      thou must me neuer see.                                         40

    "but come hither, thou litle footpage,
      come thou hither vnto mee,
    for thou shalt goe a Message to Master Norton
      in all the hast that euer may bee:                              44

    "comend me to that gentleman;
      bring him here this letter from mee,
    and say, 'I pray him earnestlye
      that hee will ryde in my companye.'"                            48

    but one while the foote page went,
      another while he rann;
    vntill he came to Master Norton,
      the ffoot page neuer blanne;                                    52

    and when he came to Master Nortton
      he kneeled on his knee,
    and tooke the letter betwixt his hands,
      and lett the gentleman it see.                                  56

    and when the letter itt was reade
      affore all his companye,
    I-wis, if you wold know the truth,
      there was many a weeping eye.                                   60

    he said, "come hither, Kester Nortton,
      a ffine ffellow thou seemes to bee;
    some good councell, Kester Nortton,
      this day doe thou giue to mee."                                 64

    "Marry, Ile giue you councell, ffather,
      if youle take councell att me,
    that if you haue spoken the word, father,
      that backe againe you doe not flee."                            68

    "god amercy, Christopher Nortton,
      I say, god amercye!
    if I doe liue and scape with liffe,
      well advanced shalt thou bee;                                   72

    "but come you hither, my nine good sonnes,
      in mens estate I thinke you bee;
    how many of you, my children deare,
      on my part that wilbe?"                                         76

    but eight of them did answer soone,
      and spake ffull hastilye,
    sayes "we willbe on your part, ffather,
      till the day that we doe dye."                                  80

    "but god amercy, my children deare,
      and euer I say god amercy!
    and yett my blessing you shall have,
      whether-so euer I liue or dye.                                  84

    "but what sayst thou, thou ffrancis Nortton,
      mine eldest sonne and mine heyre trulye?
    some good councell, ffrancis Nortton,
      this day thou giue to me."                                      88

    "but I will giue you councell, ffather,
      if you will take councell att mee;
    for if you wold take my councell, father,
      against the crowne you shold not bee."                          92

    "but ffye vpon thee, ffrancis Nortton!
      I say ffye vpon thee!
    when thou was younge and tender of age
      I made ffull much of thee."                                     96

    "but your head is white, ffather," he sayes,
      "and your beard is wonderous gray;
    itt were shame ffor your countrye
      if you shold rise and fflee away."                             100

    "but ffye vpon thee, thou coward ffrancis!
      thou neuer tookest that of mee!
    when thou was younge and tender of age
      I made too much of thee."                                      104

    "but I will goe with you, father," Quoth hee;
      "like a naked man will I bee;
    he that strikes the first stroake against the crowne,
      an ill death may hee dye!"                                     108

    but then rose vpp Master Nortton that Esquier
      with him a ffull great companye;
    and then the Erles they comen downe
      to ryde in his companye.                                       112

    att whethersbye thé mustered their men
      vpon a ffull fayre day;
    13000 there were seene
      to stand in battel ray.                                        116

    the Erle of Westmoreland, he had in his ancyent
      the Dume bull in sight most hye,
    and 3 doggs with golden collers
      were sett out royallye.                                        120

    the Erle of Northumberland, he had in his ancyent
      the halfe moone in sight soe hye,
    as the Lord was crucifyed on the crosse,
      and sett forthe pleasantlye.                                   124

    and after them did rise good Sir George Bowes,
      after them a spoyle to make;
    the Erles returned backe againe,
      thought euer that Knight to take                               128

    this Barron did take a Castle then,
      was made of lime and stone;
    the vttermost walls were ese to be woon;
      the Erles haue woon them anon;                                 132

    but tho they woone the vttermost walls
      quickly and anon,
    the innermost walles thé cold not winn,
      thé were made of a rocke of stone.                             136

    but newes itt came to leeue London
      in all they speede that euer might bee;
    and word it came to our royall Queene
      of all the rebells in the north countrye.                      140

    shee turned her grace then once about,
      and like a royall Queene shee sware,
    sayes, "I will ordaine them such a breake-fast
      as was not in the North this 1000 yeere!"                      144

    shee caused 30000 men to be made
      with horsse and harneis all quicklye;
    and shee caused 30000 men to be made
      to take the rebells in the North countrye.                     148

    they took with them the false Erle of Warwicke,
      soe did they many another man;
    vntill they came to yorke Castle,
      I-wis they neuer stinted nor blan.                             152

    "spread thy ancyent, Erle of Westmoreland!
      The halfe moone ffaine wold wee see!"
    but the halfe moone is fled and gone,
      and the Dun bull vanished awaye;                               156
    and ffrancis Nortton and his 8 sonnes
      are ffled away most cowardlye.

    Ladds with mony are counted men
      men without mony are counted none;                             160
    but hold your tounge! why say you soe?
      men wilbe men when mony is gone.



[926] This circumstance is overlooked in the ballad.

[927] Besides this, the ballad mentions the separate banners of the two

[928] This lady was Anne, daughter of Henry Somerset, E. of Worcester.

[929] [surety.]

[930] [rather.]

[931] [lingered.]

[932] ["The Act of Attainder 13th Elizabeth, only mentions Richard
Norton, the father and _seven_ sons, and in 'a list of the rebels in
the late northern rebellion, that are fled beyond the seas,' the same
seven sons are named. Richard Norton, the father, was living long after
the rebellion in Spanish Flanders. See Sharp's _Bishoprick Garland_, p.
10."--Child's Eng. and Scot. Ballads, Vol. 7, p. 87 (note).]

[933] [standard.]

[934] [Ver. 102. _Dun Bull, &c._] The supporters of the _Nevilles_,
Earls of Westmoreland, were Two Bulls Argent, ducally collar'd Gold,
armed Or, &c. But I have not discovered the device mentioned in the
ballad, among the badges, &c. given by that house. This, however, is
certain, that among those of the _Nevilles_, Lords Abergavenny (who
were of the same family) is a _Dun Cow_ with a golden Collar: and the
_Nevilles_ of Chyte in Yorkshire (of the Westmoreland branch) gave
for their crest, in 1513, a _Dog's_ (Greyhound's) Head erased. So
that it is not improbable but _Charles Neville_, the unhappy Earl
of Westmoreland here mentioned, might on this occasion give the above
device on his banner. After all our old minstrel's verses here may have
undergone some corruption; for, in another Ballad in the same folio
MS. and apparently written by the same hand, containing the sequel of
this Lord Westmoreland's history, his banner is thus described, more
conformable to his known bearings:

    "Sett me up my faire Dun Bull,
    With Gilden Hornes, hee beares all soe hye."

[935] [Ver. 106. _The Half-Moone, &c._] The _Silver Crescent_ is a
well-known crest or badge of the Northumberland family. It was probably
brought home from some of the Cruzades against the Sarazens. In an
ancient Pedigree in verse, finely illuminated on a roll of vellum, and
written in the reign of Henry VII. (in possession of the family) we
have this fabulous account given of its original. The author begins
with accounting for the name of _Gernon_ or _Algernon_, often born by
the _Percies_; who, he says, were

      "... Gernons fyrst named of Brutys bloude of Troy:
      Which valliantly fyghtynge in the land of Persè [_Persia_]
    At pointe terrible ayance the miscreants on nyght,
    An hevynly mystery was schewyd hym, old bookys reherse;
    In hys scheld did schyne a _Mone_ veryfying her lyght,
    Which to all the ooste yave a perfytte fyght,
    To vaynquys his enemys, and to deth them persue;
    And therefore the _Persès_ [Percies] the Cressant doth renew."

In the dark ages no family was deemed considerable that did not derive
its descent from the Trojan Brutus; or that was not distinguished by
prodigies and miracles.

[936] [easy.]

[937] [dear.]

[938] This is quite in character: her majesty would sometimes swear at
her nobles, as well as box their ears.

[939] [armour.]

[940] [lingered.]




This ballad may be considered as the sequel of the preceding. After
the unfortunate Earl of Northumberland had seen himself forsaken of
his followers, he endeavoured to withdraw into Scotland, but falling
into the hands of the thievish borderers, was stript and otherwise
ill-treated by them. At length he reached the house of Hector, of
Harlaw, an Armstrong, with whom he hoped to lie concealed: for,
Hector had engaged his honour to be true to him, and was under great
obligations to this unhappy nobleman. But this faithless wretch
betrayed his guest for a sum of money to Murray the Regent of Scotland,
who sent him to the castle of Lough-leven, then belonging to William
Douglas. All the writers of that time assure us that Hector, who was
rich before, fell shortly after into poverty, and became so infamous,
that _to take Hector's cloak_, grew into a proverb to express a man who
betrays his friend. See Camden, Carleton, Holinshed, &c.

Lord Northumberland continued in the castle of Lough-leven till the
year 1572; when James Douglas, Earl of Morton, being elected Regent, he
was given up to the Lord Hunsden at Berwick, and being carried to York
suffered death. As Morton's party depended on Elizabeth for protection,
an elegant historian thinks "it was scarce possible for them to refuse
putting into her hands a person who had taken up arms against her.
But, as a sum of money was paid on that account, and shared between
Morton and his kinsman Douglas, the former of whom, during his exile
in England, had been much indebted to Northumberland's friendship, the
abandoning this unhappy nobleman to inevitable destruction was deemed
an ungrateful and mercenary act." Robertson's Hist.

So far history coincides with this ballad, which was apparently written
by some Northern bard soon after the event. The interposal of the
_witch-lady_ (v. 53) is probably his own invention: yet, even this hath
some countenance from history; for about 25 years before, the Lady Jane
Douglas, Lady Glamis, sister of the earl of Angus, and nearly related
to Douglas of Lough-leven, had suffered death for the pretended crime
of witchcraft; who, it is presumed, is the Witch-lady alluded to in
verse 133.

The following is selected (like the former) from two copies, which
contained great variations; one of them in the Editor's folio MS. In
the other copy some of the stanzas at the beginning of this Ballad are
nearly the same with what in that MS. are made to begin another Ballad
on the escape of the E. of Westmoreland, who got safe into Flanders,
and is feigned in the ballad to have undergone a great variety of

       *       *       *       *       *

  [Percy wrote the following note on the version of this ballad in
  his folio MS. "To correct this by my other copy which seems more
  modern. The other copy in many parts preferable to this." It will
  be seen by comparing the text with the folio MS. copy, now printed
  at the end, that the alterations are numerous. The first three
  stanzas are taken with certain changes from the ballad of "The Erle
  of Westmoreland" (Folio MS. vol. i. p. 300). The alterations made
  in them are not improvements, as, for instance, the old reading of
  verse 2 is--

    "And keepe me heare in deadlye feare,"

  which is preferable to the line below--

    "And harrowe me with fear and dread."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    How long shall fortune faile me nowe,
      And harrowe[941] me with fear and dread?
    How long shall I in bale[942] abide,
      In misery my life to lead?

    To fall from my bliss, alas the while!                             5
      It was my sore and heavye lott:
    And I must leave my native land,
      And I must live a man forgot.

    One gentle Armstrong I doe ken,
      A Scot he is much bound to mee:                                 10
    He dwelleth on the border side,
      To him I'll goe right privilìe.

    Thus did the noble Percy 'plaine,
      With a heavy heart and wel-away,
    When he with all his gallant men                                  15
      On Bramham moor had lost the day.

    But when he to the Armstrongs came,
      They dealt with him all treacherouslye;
    For they did strip that noble earle:
      And ever an ill death may they dye.                             20

    False Hector to Earl Murray sent,
      To shew him where his guest did hide:
    Who sent him to the Lough-levèn,
      With William Douglas to abide.

    And when he to the Douglas came,                                  25
      He halched[943] him right curteouslie:
    Say'd, Welcome, welcome, noble earle,
      Here thou shalt safelye bide with mee.

    When he had in Lough-leven been
      Many a month and many a day;                                    30
    To the regent[944] the lord warden[945] sent,
      That bannisht earle for to betray.

    He offered him great store of gold,
      And wrote a letter fair to see:
    Saying, Good my lord, grant me my boon,                           35
      And yield that banisht man to mee.

    Earle Percy at the supper sate
      With many a goodly gentleman:
    The wylie Douglas then bespake,
      And thus to flyte[946] with him began:                          40

    What makes you be so sad, my lord,
      And in your mind so sorrowfullyè?
    To-morrow a shootinge will bee held
      Among the lords of the North countryè.

    The butts are sett, the shooting's made,                          45
      And there will be great royaltye:
    And I am sworne into my bille,[947]
      Thither to bring my lord Percye.

    I'll give thee my hand, thou gentle Douglas,
      And here by my true faith, quoth hee,                           50
    If thou wilt ryde to the worldes end,
      I will ryde in thy companye.

    And then bespake a lady faire,
      Mary à Douglas was her name:
    You shall byde here, good English lord,                           55
      My brother is a traiterous man.

    He is a traitor stout and stronge,
      As I tell you in privitie:
    For he hath tane liverance[948] of the erle,[949]
      Into England nowe to 'liver thee.                               60

    Now nay, now nay, thou goodly lady,
      The regent is a noble lord:
    Ne for the gold in all Englànd,
      The Douglas wold not break his word

    When the regent was a banisht man,                                65
      With me he did faire welcome find;
    And whether weal or woe betide,
      I still shall find him true and kind.

    Betweene England and Scotland it wold breake truce,
      And friends againe they wold never bee,                         70
    If they shold 'liver a banisht erle
      Was driven out of his own countrie.

    Alas! alas! my lord, she sayes,
      Nowe mickle is their traitorie;
    Then lett my brother ryde his wayes,                              75
      And tell those English lords from thee,

    How that you cannot with him ryde,
      Because you are in an ile of the sea,[950]
    Then ere my brother come againe
      To Edenborow castle[951] Ile carry thee.                        80

    To the Lord Hume I will thee bring,
      He is well knowne a true Scots lord,
    And he will lose both land and life,
      Ere he with thee will break his word.

    Much is my woe, Lord Percy sayd,                                  85
      When I thinkie on my own countrie,
    When I thinke on the heavye happe[952]
      My friends have suffered there for mee.

    Much is my woe, Lord Percy sayd,
      And sore those wars my minde distresse;                         90
    Where many a widow lost her mate,
      And many a child was fatherlesse.

    And now that I a banisht man,
      Shold bring such evil happe with mee,
    To cause my faire and noble friends                               95
      To be suspect of treacherie:

    This rives[953] my heart with double woe;
      And lever had I dye this day,
    Than thinke a Douglas can be false,
      Or ever he will his guest betray.                              100

    If you'll give me no trust, my lord,
      Nor unto mee no credence yield;
    Yet step one moment here aside,
      Ile showe you all your foes in field.

    Lady, I never loved witchcraft,                                  105
      Never dealt in privy wyle;
    But evermore held the high-waye
      Of truth and honour, free from guile

    If you'll not come yourselfe my lorde,
      Yet send your chamberlaine with mee;                           110
    Let me but speak three words with him,
      And he shall come again to thee.

    James Swynard with that lady went,
      She showed him through the weme[954] of her ring
    How many English lords there were                                115
      Waiting for his master and him.

    And who walkes yonder, my good lady,
      So royallyè on yonder greene?
    O yonder is the lord Hunsdèn:[955]
      Alas! he'll doe you drie and teene.[956]                       120

    And who beth yonder, thou gay ladye,
      That walkes so proudly him beside?
    That is Sir William Drury,[957] shee sayd,
      A keene captàine hee is and tryde.

    How many miles is itt, madàme,                                   125
      Betwixt yond English lords and mee?
    Marry it is thrice fifty miles,
      To saile to them upon the sea.

    I never was on English ground,
      Ne never sawe it with mine eye,                                130
    But as my book it sheweth mee,
      And through my ring I may descrye.

    My mother shee was a witch ladye,
      And of her skille she learned[958] mee;
    She wold let me see out of Lough-leven                           135
      What they did in London citìe.

    But who is yond, thou lady faire,
      That looketh with sic an austerne[959] face?
    Yonder is Sir John Foster,[960] quoth shee,
      Alas! he'll do ye sore disgrace.                               140

    He pulled his hatt down over his browe;
      He wept; in his heart he was full of woe:
    And he is gone to his noble Lord,
      Those sorrowful tidings him to show.

    Now nay, now nay, good James Swynàrd,                            145
      I may not believe that witch ladìe:
    The Douglasses were ever true,
      And they can ne'er prove false to mee.

    I have now in Lough-leven been
      The most part of these years three,                            150
    Yett have I never had noe outrake,[961]
      Ne no good games that I cold see.

    Therefore I'll to yond shooting wend,
      As to the Douglas I have hight:[962]
    Betide me weale, betide me woe,                                  155
      He ne'er shall find my promise light.

    He writhe[963] a gold ring from his finger,
      And gave itt to that gay ladìe:
    Sayes, It was all that I cold save,
      In Harley woods where I cold bee.[964]                         160

    And wilt thou goe, thou noble lord,
      Then farewell truth and honestìe;
    And farewell heart and farewell hand;
      For never more I shall thee see.

    The wind was faire, the boatmen call'd,                          165
      And all the saylors were on borde;
    Then William Douglas took to his boat,
      And with him went that noble lord.

    Then he cast up a silver wand,
      Says, Gentle lady, fare thee well!                             170
    The lady fett[965] a sigh soe deep,
      And in a dead swoone down shee fell.

    Now let us goe back, Douglas, he sayd,
      A sickness hath taken yond faire ladìe;
    If ought befall yond lady but good,                              175
      Then blamed for ever I shall bee.

    Come on, come on, my lord, he sayes;
      Come on, come on, and let her bee:
    There's ladyes enow in Lough-leven
      For to cheere that gay ladìe.                                  180

    If you'll not turne yourself, my lord,
      Let me goe with my chamberlaine;
    We will but comfort that faire lady,
      And wee will return to you againe.

    Come on, come on, my lord, he sayes,                             185
      Come on, come on, and let her bee:
    My sister is craftye, and wold beguile
      A thousand such as you and mee.

    When they had sayled[966] fifty myle,
      Now fifty mile upon the sea;                                   190
    Hee sent his man to ask the Douglas,
      When they shold that shooting see.

    Faire words, quoth he, they make fooles faine,[967]
      And that by thee and thy lord is seen:
    You may hap[968] to thinke itt soone enough,                     195
      Ere you that shooting reach, I ween.

    Jamye his hatt pulled over his browe,
      He thought his lord then was betray'd;
    And he is to Erle Percy againe,
      To tell him what the Douglas sayd.                             200

    Hold upp thy head, man, quoth his lord;
      Nor therefore lett thy courage fayle,
    He did it but to prove thy heart,
      To see if he cold make it quail.

    When they had other fifty sayld,                                 205
      Other fifty mile upon the sea,
    Lord Percy called to Douglas himselfe,
      Sayd, What wilt thou nowe doe with mee?

    Looke that your brydle be wight,[969] my lord,
      And your horse goe swift as shipp att sea:                     210
    Looke that your spurres be bright and sharpe,
      That you may pricke her while she'll away.

    What needeth this, Douglas, he sayth;
      What needest thou to flyte[970] with mee?
    For I was counted a horseman good                                215
      Before that ever I mett with thee.

    A false Hector hath my horse,
      Who dealt with mee so treacherouslìe:
    A false Armstrong hath my spurres,
      And all the geere belongs to mee.                              220

    When they had sayled other fifty mile,
      Other fifty mile upon the sea;
    They landed low by Berwicke side,
      A deputed 'laird' landed Lord Percye.[971]

    Then he at Yorke was doomde to dye,                              225
      It was, alas! a sorrowful sight:
    Thus they betrayed that noble earle,
      Who ever was a gallant wight.


  [The following version of the Betrayal of Northumberland is from
  the Folio MS. (ed. Hales and Furnivall, vol. ii. p. 218.)

    Now list and lithe you gentlemen,
      and Ist tell you the veretye,
    how they haue delt with a banished man,
      driuen out of his countrye.                                      4

    when as hee came on Scottish ground
      as woe and wonder be them amonge,
    ffull much was there traitorye
      thé wrought the Erle of Northumberland.                          8

    when they were att the supper sett,
      beffore many goodly gentlemen
    thé ffell a fflouting and mocking both,
      and said to the Erle of Northumberland,                         12

    "What makes you be soe sad, my Lord,
      and in your mind soe sorrowffullye?
    in the North of Scotland to-morrow theres a shooting,
      and thither thoust goe, my Lord Percye.                         16

    "the buttes are sett, and the shooting is made,
      and there is like to be great royaltye,
    and I am sworne into my bill
      thither to bring my Lord Pearcy."                               20

    "Ile giue thee my land, Douglas," he sayes,
      "and be the faith in my bodye,
    if that thou wilt ryde to the worlds end,
      Ile ryde in thy companye."                                      24

    and then bespake the good Ladye,--
      Marry a Douglas was her name,--
    "you shall byde here, good English Lord;
      my brother is a traiterous man;                                 28

    "he is a traitor stout and stronge,
      as Ist tell you the veretye,
    for he hath tane liuerance of the Erle,
      and into England he will liuor thee."                           32

    "Now hold thy tounge, thou goodlye Ladye,
      and let all this talking bee;
    ffor all the gold thats in Loug Leuen,
      william wold not Liuor mee!                                     36

    "it wold breake truce betweene England & Scottland,
      and friends againe they wold neuer bee
    if he shold liuor a bani[s]ht Erle
      was driuen out of his owne countrye."                           40

    "hold your tounge, my Lord," shee sayes,
      "there is much ffalsehood them amonge;
    when you are dead, then they are done,
      soone they will part them friends againe.                       44

    "if you will giue me any trust, my Lord,
      Ile tell you how you best may bee;
    youst lett my brother ryde his wayes,
      and tell those English Lords trulye                             48

    "how that you cannot with them ryde
      because you are in an Ile of the sea,
    then, ere my Brother come againe,
      to Edenborrow castle Ile carry thee,                            52

    "Ile liuor you vnto the Lord Hume,
      and you know a trew Scothe Lord is hee,
    for he hath lost both Land and goods
      in ayding of your good bodye."                                  56

    "Marry! I am woe! woman," he sayes,
      "that any freind fares worse for mee;
    for where one saith 'it is a true tale,'
      then two will say it is a Lye.                                  60

    "when I was att home in my [realme]
      amonge my tennants all trulye,
    in my time of losse, wherin my need stoode,
      they came to ayd me honestlye;                                  64

    "therfore I left many a child ffatherlese,
      and many a widdow to looke wanne;
    and therfore blame nothing, Ladye,
      but the woeffull warres which I began."                         68

    "If you will giue me noe trust, my Lord,
      nor noe credence you will give mee,
    and youle come hither to my right hand,
      indeed, my Lord, Ile lett you see."                             72

    saies, "I neuer loued noe witchcraft,
      nor neuer dealt with treacherye,
    but euermore held the hye way;
      alas! that may be seene by mee!"                                76

    "if you will not come your selfe, my Lord,
      youle lett your chamberlaine goe with mee,
    three words that I may to him speake,
      and soone he shall come againe to thee."                        80

    when James Swynard came that Lady before,
      shee let him see thorrow the weme of her ring
    how many there was of English lords
      to wayte there for his Master and him.                          84

    "but who beene yonder, my good Ladye,
      that walkes soe royallye on yonder greene?"
    "yonder is Lord Hunsden, Jamye," she saye;
      "alas! heele doe you both tree and teene!"                      88

    "and who beene yonder, thou gay Ladye,
      that walkes soe royallye him beside?"
    "yond is Sir William Drurye, Jamy," shee sayd,
      "and a keene Captain hee is, and tryde."                        92

    "how many miles is itt, thou good Ladye,
      betwixt yond English Lord and mee?"
    "marry thrise fifty mile, Jamy," shee sayd,
      "and euen to seale and by the sea:                              96

    "I neuer was on English ground,
      nor neuer see itt with mine eye,
    but as my witt and wisedome serues,
      and as [the] booke it telleth mee.                             100

    "my mother, shee was a witch woman,
      and part of itt shee learned mee;
    shee wold let me see out of Lough Leuen
      what they dyd in London cytye."                                104

    "but who is yond, thou good Layde,
      that comes yonder with an Osterne fface?"
    "yonds Sir John fforster, Jamye," shee sayd;
      "methinks thou sholdest better know him then I."               108
    "Euen soe I doe, my goodlye Ladye,
      and euer alas, soe woe am I!"

    he pulled his hatt ouer his eyes,
      and, lord, he wept soe tenderlye!
    he is gone to his Master againe,
      and euen to tell him the veretye.

    "Now hast thou beene with Marry, Jamy," he sayd,
      "Euen as thy tounge will tell to mee;                          116
    but if thou trust in any womans words,
      thou must refraine good companye."

    "It is noe words, my Lord," he sayes,
      "yonder the men shee letts mee see,                            120
    how many English Lords there is
      is wayting there for you and mee;

    "yonder I see the Lord Hunsden,
      and hee and you is of the third degree;                        124
    a greater enemye, indeed, my Lord,
      in England none haue yee,"

    "and I haue beene in Lough Leven
      the most part of these yeeres three:                           128
    yett had I neuer noe out-rake,
      nor good games that I cold see;

    "and I am thus bidden to yonder shooting
      by William Douglas all trulye;                                 132
    therfore speake neuer a word out of thy mouth
      That thou thinkes will hinder mee."

    then he writhe the gold ring of his ffingar
      and gaue itt to that Ladye gay;                                136
    sayes, "that was a Legacye left vnto mee
      in Harley woods where I cold bee."

    "then ffarewell hart, and farewell hand,
      and ffarwell all good companye!                                140
    that woman shall neuer beare a sonne
      shall know soe much of your privitye."

    "now hold thy tounge, Ladye," hee sayde,
      "and make not all this dole for mee,                           144
    for I may well drinke, but Ist neuer eate,
      till againe in Lough Leuen I bee."

    he tooke his boate att the Lough Leuen
      for to sayle now ouer the sea,                                 148
    and he hath cast vpp a siluer wand,
      saies "fare thou well, my good Ladye!"
    the Ladye looked ouer her left sholder;
      in a dead swoone there fell shee.                              152

    "goe backe againe, Douglas!" he sayd,
      "and I will goe in thy companye.
    for sudden sicknesse yonder Lady has tane,
      and euer, alas, shee will but dye!                             156

    "if ought come to yonder Ladye but good,
      then blamed fore that I shall bee,
    because a banished man I am,
      and driuen out of my owne countrye."                           160

    "come on, come on, my Lord," he sayes,
      "and lett all such talking bee;
    theres Ladyes enow in Lough Leuen,
      and for to cheere yonder gay Ladye."                           164

    "and you will not goe your selfe, my Lord,
      you will lett my chamberlaine goe with me;
    wee shall now take our boate againe,
      and soone wee shall ouertake thee."                            168

    "come on, come on, my Lord," he sayes,
      "and lett now all this talking bee!
    ffor my sister is craftye enoughe
      for to beguile thousands such as you and mee."                 172

    When they had sayled fifty myle,
      now fifty mile vpon the sea,
    hee had fforgotten a message that hee
      shold doe in lough Leuen trulye:                               176
    hee asked 'how ffar it was to that shooting,
      that William Douglas promised me.'

    "now faire words makes fooles faine;
      and that may be seene by thy Master and thee,                  180
    ffor you may happen think itt soone enoughe
      when-euer you that shooting see."

    Jamye pulled his hatt now ouer his browe;
      I wott the teares fell in his eye;                             184
    and he is to his Master againe,
      and ffor to tell him the veretye

    he sayes, "fayre words makes fooles faine,
      and that may be seene by you and mee,                          188
    ffor wee may happen thinke itt soone enoughe
      when-euer wee that shooting see."

    "hold vpp thy head, Jamye," the Erle sayd,
      "and neuer lett thy hart fayle thee;                           192
    he did itt but to prove thee with,
      and see how thow wold take with death trulye."

    when they had sayled other fifty mile,
      other fifty mile vpon the sea,                                 196
    Lord Peercy called to him, himselfe,
      and sayd, "Douglas what wilt thou doe with mee?"

    "looke that your brydle be wight, my Lord,
      that you may goe as a shipp att sea;                           200
    looke that your spurres be bright and sharpe,
      that you may pricke her while sheele awaye."

    "what needeth this, Douglas," he sayth.
      "that thou needest to ffloute mee?                             204
    for I was counted a horsseman good
      before that euer I mett with thee.

    "A ffalse Hector hath my horsse;
      and euer an euill death may hee dye!                           208
    and Willye Armestronge hath my spurres
      and all the geere belongs to mee."

    when thé had sayled other fifty mile,
      other fifty mile vpon the sea,                                 212
    thé landed low by Barwicke side;
      a deputed land Landed Lord Percye.



[941] [harass.]

[942] [evil.]

[943] [saluted.]

[944] James Douglas, Earl of Morton, elected regent of Scotland
November 24, 1572.

[945] Of one of the English marches. Lord Hunsden.

[946] [contend.]

[947] [sworn in writing.]

[948] [money for delivering you up.]

[949] Of the Earl of Morton, the Regent.

[950] _i. e._ Lake of Leven, which hath communication with the sea.

[951] At that time in the hands of the opposite faction.

[952] [fortune.]

[953] [rends.]

[954] [hollow.]

[955] The Lord Warden of the East marches.

[956] [ill and injury.]

[957] Governor of Berwick.

[958] [taught.]

[959] [austere.]

[960] Warden of the Middle-march.

[961] [an outride or expedition.]

[962] [promised.]

[963] [twisted.]

[964] _i. e._ Where I was. An ancient idiom.

[965] [fetched.]

[966] There is no navigable stream between Lough-Leven and the sea: but
a ballad-maker is not obliged to understand geography.

[967] [glad.]

[968] [chance.]

[969] [strong.]

[970] [contend.]

[971] Ver. 224. Fol. MS. reads _land_, and has not the following stanza.



This excellent philosophical song appears to have been famous in the
sixteenth century. It is quoted by Ben Jonson in his play of _Every
Man out of his Humour_, first acted in 1599, act i. sc. 1, where an
impatient person says--

    "I am no such pil'd cynique to believe
    That beggery is the onely happinesse,
    Or, with a number of these patient fooles,
    To sing, 'My minde to me a kingdome is,'
    When the lanke hungrie belly barkes for foode."

It is here chiefly printed from a thin quarto Music book, intitled,
"Psalmes, Sonets, and Songs of sadnes and pietie, made into Musicke
of five parts: &c. By William Byrd, one of the Gent. of the Queenes
Majesties honorable Chappell.--Printed by Thomas East, &c." 4to. no
date: but Ames in his _Typog._ has mentioned another edit. of the same
book, dated 1588, which I take to have been later than this.

Some improvements and an additional stanza (sc. the 5th), were had from
two other ancient copies; one of them in black letter in the Pepys
Collection, thus inscribed, "A sweet and pleasant sonet, intitled, 'My
Minde to me a Kingdom is.' To the tune of, In Crete, &c."

Some of the stanzas in this poem were printed by Byrd separate from the
rest: they are here given in what seemed the most natural order.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [The longest and apparently earliest version of this favourite poem
  is signed "E. Dier," in MS. Rawl. Poet. 85, fol. 17 in the Bodleian
  Library, and Dr. Hannah[972] attributes it to Sir Edward Dyer, the
  friend of Spenser and Sidney, whose little pieces were chiefly
  printed in _England's Helicon_. Sir Edward Dyer, of Sharpham Park,
  Somersetshire, was born about the year 1540. He was educated at
  Oxford, and afterwards was employed in several embassies. On the
  death of Sir John Wolley he was made Chancellor of the Order of the
  Garter, and at the same time knighted. He was an alchemist and dupe
  of Dr. Dee and Edward Kelly. Sir Egerton Brydges quotes from Aubrey
  the statement that he had four thousand pounds a year, and had
  four-score thousand pounds left to him, which he wasted almost all,
  but Sir Egerton considers the sums almost incredible for the time.

  In "Posthumi or Sylvesters Remains, revived out of the ashes of
  that silver-tongued translatour and divine Poet Laureat," at the
  end of the translation of the _Divine Weekes_ of Du Bartas, 1641,
  there is the following parody of this favourite poem:


    "I waigh not Fortunes frowne or smile,
    I joy not much in earthly joyes,
    I seeke not state, I reake not stile,
    I am not fond of fancies Toyes:
      I rest so pleased with what I have,
      I wish no more, no more I crave.

    "I quake not at the Thunders crack,
    I tremble not at noise of warre,
    I swound not at the newes of wrack,
    I shrink not at a Blazing Starre;
      I feare not losse, I hope not gaine;
      I envie none, I none disdaine.

    "I see ambition never pleas'd,
    I see some Tantals starv'd in store,
    I see golds dropsie seldome eas'd,
    I see even Midas gape for more:
      I neither want, nor yet abound,
      Enough's a feast, content is crown'd.

    "I faine not friendship where I hate,
    I fawne not on the great (in show)
    I prize, I praise a meane estate,
    Neither too lofty nor too low:
      This, this is all my choice, my cheere,
      A minde content, a conscience cleere."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    My minde to me a kingdome is;
      Such perfect joy therein I finde
    As farre exceeds all earthly blisse,
      That God or Nature hath assignde:
    Though much I want, that most would have,                          5
    Yet still my mind forbids to crave.

    Content I live, this is my stay;
      I seek no more than may suffice:
    I presse to beare no haughtie sway;
      Look what I lack my mind supplies.                              10
    Loe! thus I triumph like a king,
    Content with that my mind doth bring.

    I see how plentie surfets oft,
      And hastie clymbers soonest fall;
    I see that such as sit aloft                                      15
      Mishap doth threaten most of all:
    These get with toile, and keep with feare:
    Such cares my mind could never beare.

    No princely pompe, nor welthie store,
      No force to winne the victorie,                                 20
    No wylie wit to salve a sore,
      No shape to winne a lovers eye;
    To none of these I yeeld as thrall,
    For why my mind despiseth all.

    Some have too much, yet still they crave,                         25
      I little have, yet seek no more:
    They are but poore, tho' much they have;
      And I am rich with little store:
    They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;
    They lacke, I lend; they pine, I live.                            30

    I laugh not at anothers losse,
      I grudge not at anothers gaine;
    No worldly wave my mind can tosse,
      I brooke that is anothers bane:
    I feare no foe, nor fawne on friend;                              35
    I lothe not life, nor dread mine end.

    I joy not in no earthly blisse;
      I weigh not Cresus' welth a straw;
    For care, I care not what it is;
      I feare not fortunes fatall law:                                40
    My mind is such as may not move
    For beautie bright or force of love.

    I wish but what I have at will;
      I wander not to seeke for more,
    I like the plaine, I clime no hill;                               45
      In greatest stormes I sitte on shore,
    And laugh at them that toile in vaine
    To get what must be lost againe.

    I kisse not where I wish to kill;
      I feigne not love where most I hate;                            50
    I breake no sleep to winne my will;
      I wayte not at the mighties gate;
    I scorne no poore, I feare no rich;
    I feele no want, nor have too much.

    The court, ne cart, I like, ne loath;                             55
      Extreames are counted worst of all:
    The golden meane betwixt them both,
      Doth surest sit, and fears no fall:
    This is my choyce, for why I finde,
    No wealth is like a quiet minde.                                  60

    My welth is health, and perfect ease;
      My conscience clere my chiefe defence:
    I never seeke by brybes to please,
      Nor by desert to give offence:
    Thus do I live, thus will I die;                                  65
    Would all did so as well as I!


[972] [_The Courtly Poets, from Raleigh to Montrose._ Edited by J.
Hannah, D.C.L., London, 1870. (Aldine Poets.)]



The subject of this tale is taken from that entertaining Colloquy of
_Erasmus_, intitled, "Uxor #Mempsigamos#, sive Conjugium:" which has
been agreeably modernized by the late Mr. _Spence_, in his little
Miscellaneous Publication, intitled, "_Moralities_, &c. by Sir Harry
Beaumont," 1753, 8vo. pag. 42.

The following stanzas are extracted from an ancient poem intitled
_Albion's England_, written by _W. Warner_, a celebrated poet in the
reign of Q. Elizabeth, though his name and works are now equally
forgotten. The reader will find some account of him in vol. ii. book
ii. song 24.

The following stanzas are printed from the author's improved edition
of his work, printed in 1602, 4to.; the third impression of which
appeared so early as 1592, in bl. let. 4to. The edition in 1602 is in
thirteen books; and so it is reprinted in 1612, 4to.; yet, in 1606, was
published "A Continuance of Albion's England, by the first author, W.
W. Lond. 4to.:" this contains Books xiv. xv. xvi. There is also extant,
under the name of Warner, "Syrinx, or a seven-fold Historie, pleasant,
and profitable, comical, and tragical," 4to.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [The title of this poem challenges comparison with _Patient_
  _Griselda_, but it is in fact a totally different story, and as Mr.
  Hales says, "represents rather tact and management than patience in
  the wife of an unfaithful (not a tempting and essaying) husband."
  The first edition of Warner's poem was published in 1586, and the
  numerous impressions of it prove its popularity. The full title
  is as follows: "Albion's England, a continued History of the same
  Kingdome from the Originals of the first inhabitants thereof, unto
  the raigne of Queen Elizabeth."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    Impatience chaungeth smoke to flame, but jelousie is hell;
    Some wives by patience have reduc'd ill husbands to live well:
    As did the ladie of an earle, of whom I now shall tell.
    An earle 'there was' had wedded, lov'd; was lov'd, and lived long
    Full true to his fayre countesse; yet at last he did her wrong.    5
    Once hunted he untill the chace, long fasting, and the heat
    Did house him in a peakish graunge[973] within a forest great.
    Where knowne and welcom'd (as the place and persons might afforde)
    Browne bread, whig,[974] bacon, curds and milke were set him on
        the borde.
    A cushion made of lists, a stoole halfe backed with a hoope       10
    Were brought him, and he sitteth down besides a sorry coupe.[975]
    The poore old couple wisht their bread were wheat, their whig
        were perry,
    Their bacon beefe, their milke and curds were creame, to make him
    Meane while (in russet neatly clad, with linen white as swanne,
    Herselfe more white, save rosie where the ruddy colour ranne:     15
    Whome naked nature, not the aydes of arte made to excell)
    The good man's daughter sturres to see that all were feat[976]
        and well;
    The earle did marke her, and admire such beautie there to dwell.
    Yet fals he to their homely fare, and held him at a feast:
    But as his hunger slaked, so an amorous heat increast.
    When this repast was past, and thanks, and welcome too; he sayd   21
    Unto his host and hostesse, in the hearing of the mayd:
    Yee know, quoth he, that I am lord of this, and many townes;
    I also know that you be poore, and I can spare you pownes.[977]
    Soe will I, so yee will consent, that yonder lasse and I          25
    May bargaine for her love; at least, doe give me leave to trye.
    Who needs to know it? nay who dares into my doings pry?
    First they mislike, yet at the length for lucre were misled;
    And then the gamesome earle did wowe[978] the damsell for his bed.
    He took her in his armes, as yet so coyish to be kist,            30
    As mayds that know themselves belov'd, and yieldingly resist.
    In few, his offers were so large she lastly did consent;
    With whom he lodged all that night, and early home he went.
    He tooke occasion oftentimes in such a sort to hunt.
    Whom when his lady often mist, contrary to his wont,              35
    And lastly was informed of his amorous haunt elsewhere;
    It greev'd her not a little, though she seem'd it well to beare.
    And thus she reasons with herselfe, some fault perhaps in me;
    Somewhat is done, that so he doth: alas! what may it be?
    How may I winne him to myself? he is a man, and men               40
    Have imperfections; it behooves me pardon nature then.
    To checke him were to make him checke,[979] although hee now were
    A man controuled of his wife, to her makes lesser haste,
    If duty then, or daliance may prevayle to alter him;
    I will be dutifull, and make my selfe for daliance trim.          45
    So was she, and so lovingly did entertaine her lord,
    As fairer, or more faultles none could be for bed or bord.
    Yet still he loves his leiman,[980] and did still pursue that game,
    Suspecting nothing less, than that his lady knew the same:
    Wherefore to make him know she knew, she this devise did frame:   50
    When long she had been wrong'd, and sought the foresayd meanes
        in vaine,
    She rideth to the simple graunge, but with a slender traine.
    She lighteth, entreth, greets them well, and then did looke about her:
    The guiltie houshold knowing her did wish themselves without her;
    Yet, for she looked merily, the lesse they did misdoubt[981] her.  55
    When she had seen the beauteous wench (then blushing fairnes fairer)
    Such beauty made the countesse hold them both excus'd the rather.
    Who would not bite at such a bait? thought she: and who (though loth)
    So poore a wench, but gold might tempt? sweet errors lead them both.
    Scarse one in twenty that had bragg'd of proffer'd gold denied,   60
    Or of such yeelding beautie baulkt, but, tenne to one, had lied.
    Thus thought she: and she thus declares her cause of coming thether;
    My lord, oft hunting in these partes, through travel, night or wether,
    Hath often lodged in your house; I thanke you for the same;
    For why? it doth him jolly ease to lie so neare his game.         65
    But, for you have not furniture beseeming such a guest,
    I bring his owne, and come myselfe to see his lodging drest.
    With that two sumpters were discharg'd, in which were hangings brave,
    Silke coverings, curtens, carpets, plate, and al such turn should have.
    When all was handsomly dispos'd, she prayes them to have care     70
    That nothing hap in their default,[982] that might his health impair:
    And, Damsell, quoth shee, for it seemes this houshold is but three,
    And for thy parents age, that this shall chiefely rest on thee;
    Do me that good, else would to God he hither come no more.
    So tooke she horse, and ere she went bestowed gould good store.   75
    Full little thought the countie[983] that his countesse had done so;
    Who now return'd from far affaires did to his sweetheart go.
    No sooner sat he foote within the late deformed cote,[984]
    But that the formall change of things his wondring eies did note.
    But when he knew those goods to be his proper goods; though late,  80
    Scarce taking leave, he home returnes the matter to debate.
    The countesse was a-bed, and he with her his lodging tooke;
    Sir, welcome home (quoth shee); this night for you I did not looke.
    Then did he question her of such his stuffe bestowed soe.
    Forsooth, quoth she, because I did your love and lodging knowe;   85
    Your love to be a proper wench, your lodging nothing lesse;
    I held it for your health, the house more decently to dresse.
    Well wot I, notwithstanding her, your lordship loveth me;
    And greater hope to hold you such by quiet, then brawles, 'you' see.
    Then for my duty, your delight, and to retaine your favour,       90
    All done I did, and patiently expect your wonted 'haviour.
    Her patience, witte and answer wrought his gentle teares to fall:
    When (kissing her a score of times) amend, sweet wife, I shall:
    He said, and did it; 'so each wife her husband may' recall.


[973] [rude and lone country house.]

[974] [buttermilk or sour whey.]

[975] [pen for poultry.]

[976] [nice or neat.]

[977] [pounds.]

[978] [woo.]

[979] To _check_ is a term in falconry, applied when a hawk stops
and turns away from his proper pursuit: to _check_ also signifies to
reprove or chide. It is in this verse used in both senses.

[980] [mistress.]

[981] [suspect.]

[982] [happen from their neglect.]

[983] [earl.]

[984] [cottage.]



The following stanzas were written by _Michael Drayton_, a poet of some
eminence in the reigns of Q. Elizabeth, James I. and Charles I.[985]
They are inserted in one of his Pastorals, the first edition of which
bears this whimsical title, "Idea. The Shepheards Garland fashioned in
nine Eglogs. Rowlands sacrifice to the nine muses. Lond. 1593." 4to.
They are inscribed with the author's name at length "To the noble and
valerous gentleman master Robert Dudley, &c." It is very remarkable
that when Drayton reprinted them in the first folio edit. of his works,
1619, he had given those Eclogues so thorough a revisal, that there is
hardly a line to be found the same as in the old edition. This poem had
received the fewest corrections, and therefore is chiefly given from
the ancient copy, where it is thus introduced by one of his Shepherds:

    "Listen to mee, my lovely shepheards joye.
      And thou shall heare, with mirth and mickle glee,
    A pretie tale, which when I was a boy,
      My toothles grandame oft hath tolde to me."

The author has professedly imitated the style and metre of some of
the old metrical romances, particularly that of _Sir Isenbras_[986]
(alluded to in v. 3), as the reader may judge from the following

    "Lordynges, lysten, and you shal here, &c.
           *       *       *       *       *
    Ye shall well heare of a knight,
    That was in warre full wyght,
      And doughtye of his dede:
    His name was Syr Isenbras,
    Man nobler then he was
      Lyved none with breade.
    He was lyvely, large, and longe,
    With shoulders broade, and armes stronge,
      That myghtie was to se:
    He was a hardye man, and hye,
    All men hym loved that hym se,
      For a gentyll knight was he:
    Harpers loved him in hall,
    With other minstrells all,
      For he gave them golde and fee," &c.

This ancient legend was printed in black-letter, 4to. by Wyllyam
Copland; no date.[987] In the Cotton Library (Calig. A 2) is a MS.
copy of the same romance containing the greatest variations. They are
probably two different translations of some French original.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Farre in the countrey of Arden,
    There won'd[988] a knight, hight Cassemen,
      As bolde as Isenbras:
    Fell[989] was he, and eger bent,
    In battell and in tournament,                                      5
      As was the good Sir Topas.

    He had, as antique stories tell,
    A daughter cleaped[990] Dowsabel,
      A mayden fayre and free:
    And for she was her fathers heire,                                10
    Full well she was y-cond the leyre[991]
      Of mickle curtesie.

    The silke well couth she twist and twine,
    And make the fine march-pine,[992]
      And with the needle werke:                                      15
    And she couth helpe the priest to say
    His mattins on a holy-day,
      And sing a psalme in kirke.

    She ware a frock of frolicke greene,
    Might well beseeme a mayden queene,                               20
      Which seemly was to see;
    A hood to that so neat and fine,
    In colour like the colombine,
      Y-wrought full featously.[993]

    Her features all as fresh above,                                  25
    As is the grasse that growes by Dove;
      And lyth[994] as lasse of Kent.
    Her skin as soft as Lemster wooll,[995]
    As white as snow on Peakish Hull,[996]
      Or swanne that swims in Trent.                                  30

    This mayden in a morne betime
    Went forth, when May was in her prime,
      To get sweete cetywall,[997]
    The honey-suckle, the harlocke,[998]
    The lilly and the lady-smocke,                                    35
      To deck her summer hall.

    Thus, as she wandred here and there,
    Y-picking of the bloomed breere,
      She chanced to espie
    A shepheard sitting on a bancke,                                  40
    Like chanteclere he crowed crancke,[999]
      And pip'd full merrilie.

    He lear'd[1000] his sheepe as he him list,
    When he would whistle in his fist,
      To feede about him round;                                       45
    Whilst he full many a carroll sung,
    Untill the fields and medowes rung,
      And all the woods did sound.

    In favour this same shepheards swayne
    Was like the bedlam Tamburlayne,[1001]                            50
      Which helde prowd kings in awe:
    But meeke he was as lamb mought be;
    An innocent of ill as he[1002]
      Whom his lewd brother slaw.

    The shepheard ware a sheepe-gray cloke,                           55
    Which was of the finest loke,[1003]
      That could be cut with sheere:
    His mittens were of bauzens[1004] skinne,
    His cockers[1005] were of cordiwin,[1006]
      His hood of meniveere.[1007]                                    60

    His aule and lingell[1008] in a thong,
    His tar-boxe on his broad belt hong,
      His breech of coyntrie[1009] blewe:
    Full crispe and curled were his lockes,
    His browes as white as Albion rocks:                              65
      So like a lover true,

    And pyping still he spent the day,
    So merry as the popingay;[1010]
      Which liked Dowsabel:
    That would she ought, or would she nought,                        70
    This lad would never from her thought;
      She in love-longing fell.

    At length she tucked up her frocke,
    White as a lilly was her smocke,
      She drew the shepheard nye;                                     75
    But then the shepheard pyp'd a good,
    That all his sheepe forsooke their foode,
      To heare his melodye.

    Thy sheepe, quoth she, cannot be leane,
    That have a jolly shepheards swayne,                              80
      The which can pipe so well:
    Yea but, sayth he, their shepheard may,
    If pyping thus he pine away
      In love of Dowsabel.

    Of love, fond boy, take thou no keepe,[1011]                      85
    Quoth she; looke thou unto thy sheepe,
      Lest they should hap to stray.
    Quoth he, so had I done full well,
    Had I not seen fayre Dowsabell
      Come forth to gather maye.                                      90

    With that she gan to vaile her head,
    Her cheeks were like the roses red,
      But not a word she sayd:
    With that the shepheard gan to frowne,
    He threw his pretie pypes adowne,                                 95
      And on the ground him layd.

    Sayth she, I may not stay till night,
    And leave my summer-hall undight,[1012]
      And all for long of thee.
    My coate,[1013] sayth he, nor yet my foulde                      100
    Shall neither sheepe nor shepheard hould,
      Except thou favour mee.

    Sayth she, Yet lever were I dead,
    Then I should lose my mayden-head,
      And all for love of men.                                       105
    Sayth he, Yet are you too unkind.
    If in your heart you cannot finde
      To love us now and then.

    And I to thee will be as kinde
    As Colin was to Rosalinde,                                       110
      Of curtesie the flower.
    Then will I be as true, quoth she,
    As ever mayden yet might be
      Unto her paramour.

    With that she bent her snow-white knee,                          115
    Downe by the shepheard kneeled shee,
      And him she sweetely kist:
    With that the shepheard whoop'd for joy,
    Quoth he, ther's never shepheards boy
      That ever was so blist.                                        120


[985] He was born in 1563, and died in 1631. _Biog. Brit._

[986] As also Chaucer's _Rhyme of Sir Topas_, v. 6.

[987] [Reprinted by Utterson. The _Romance of Sir Isumbras_ was printed
from the MS. by Mr. Halliwell in the _Thornton Romance_ (Camden
Society, 1844).]

[988] [dwelt.]

[989] [keen.]

[990] [named.]

[991] [she was taught the learning.]

[992] [march-pane, a kind of biscuit.]

[993] [dexterously.]

[994] [gentle or tender.]

[995] Leominster, or Lemster, was long famous for its wool, and Skelton
refers to "good Lemster wool" in his _Elynour Rummin_.

[996] Peakish hill; this may refer to the well-known Derbyshire
mountain called the Peak.

[997] herb valerian, or mountain spikenard.

[998] perhaps charlock, or wild rape.

[999] exultingly.

[1000] pastured.

[1001] Alluding to _Tamburlaine the great, or the Scythian Shepheard_,
1590, 8vo. an old ranting play ascribed to Marlowe.

[1002] Sc. Abel.

[1003] [fleece of wool.]

[1004] [sheepskin gloves with the wool on the inside.]

[1005] [short boots.]

[1006] [leather.]

[1007] [mixed fur.]

[1008] [rosined thread.]

[1009] [Coventry.]

[1010] [parrot.]

[1011] [heed.]

[1012] [undecked.]

[1013] [cot.]



  From Beaumont and Fletcher's play, intitled _The Lover's Progress_.
                            act iii. sc. 1.

    Adieu, fond love, farewell you wanton powers;
      I am free again.
    Thou dull disease of bloud and idle hours,
      Bewitching pain,
      Fly to fools, that sigh away their time:                         5
      My nobler love to heaven doth climb,
    And there behold beauty still young,
      That time can ne'er corrupt, nor death destroy,
    Immortal sweetness by fair angels sung,
      And honoured by eternity and joy:                               10
    There lies my love, thither my hopes aspire,
    Fond love declines, this heavenly love grows higher.



Affords a pretty poetical contest between Pleasure and Honour. It is
found at the end of _Hymen's Triumph: a pastoral tragicomedie_,
written by Daniel, and printed among his works, 4to. 1623.[1014]
_Daniel_, who was a contemporary of Drayton's, and is said to have been
poet laureat to Queen Elizabeth, was born in 1562, and died in 1619.
_Anne_, Countess of Dorset, Pembroke, and Montgomery (to whom Daniel
had been tutor), has inserted a small portrait of him in a full-length
picture of herself, preserved at Appleby Castle, in Cumberland.

This little poem is the rather selected for a specimen of Daniel's
poetic powers, as it is omitted in the later edition of his works, 2
vols. 12mo. 1718.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [Samuel Daniel was born in Somersetshire, and educated at Magdalen
  Hall, Oxford. He left college without a degree, "his geny being,"
  according to Ant. à Wood, "more prone to easier and smoother
  subjects than in pecking and hewing at logic." He was tutor to Lady
  Anne Clifford, subsequently Countess of Pembroke, and afterwards
  groom of the privy chamber to Anne, queen of James I. Browne calls
  him in _Britannia's Pastorals_, "Wel-languaged Daniel," and the
  union of power of thought with sweetness and grace of expression
  exhibited by him is highly praised by Southey and Coleridge. He
  was free from indelicacy in his writings, and Fuller says of him
  that "he carried in his Christian and surname two holy prophets,
  his monitors, so to qualify his raptures that he abhorred all

       *       *       *       *       *


    Come, worthy Greeke, Ulysses come,
      Possesse these shores with me,
    The windes and seas are troublesome,
      And here we may be free.
    Here may we sit and view their toyle,                              5
      That travaile in the deepe,
    Enjoy the day in mirth the while,
      And spend the night in sleepe.


    Faire nymph, if fame or honour were
      To be attain'd with ease,                                       10
    Then would I come and rest with thee.
      And leave such toiles as these:
    But here it dwels, and here must I
      With danger seek it forth;
    To spend the time luxuriously                                     15
      Becomes not men of worth.


    Ulysses, O be not deceiv'd
      With that unreall name:
    This honour is a thing conceiv'd,
      And rests on others' fame.                                      20
    Begotten only to molest
      Our peace, and to beguile
    (The best thing of our life) our rest,
      And give us up to toyle!


    Delicious nymph, suppose there were                               25
      Nor honor, nor report,
    Yet manlinesse would scorne to weare
      The time in idle sport:
    For toyle doth give a better touch
      To make us feele our joy;                                       30
    And ease findes tediousnes, as much
      As labour yeelds annoy.


    Then pleasure likewise seemes the shore,
      Whereto tendes all your toyle;
    Which you forego to make it more,                                 35
      And perish oft the while.
    Who may disport them diversly,
      Find never tedious day;
    And ease may have variety,
      As well as action may.                                          40


    But natures of the noblest frame
      These toyles and dangers please;
    And they take comfort in the same,
      As much as you in ease:
    And with the thought of actions past                              45
      Are recreated still:
    When pleasure leaves a touch at last
      To shew that it was ill.


    That doth opinion only cause,
      That's out of custom bred;                                      50
    Which makes us many other laws,
      Than ever nature did.
    No widdowes waile for our delights,
      Our sports are without blood;
    The world we see by warlike wights                                55
      Receives more hurt than good.


    But yet the state of things require
      These motions of unrest,
    And these great spirits of high desire
      Seem borne to turne them best:                                  60
    To purge the mischiefes, that increase
      And all good order mar:
    For oft we see a wicked peace,
      To be well chang'd for war.


    Well, well, Ulysses, then I see                                   65
      I shall not have thee here;
    And therefore I will come to thee,
      And take my fortune there.
    I must be wonne that cannot win,
      Yet lost were I not wonne:                                      70
    For beauty hath created bin
      T' undoo or be undone.


[1014] In this edition it is collated with a copy printed at the end of
his "_Tragedie of Cleopatra_. London, 1607, 12mo."



This beautiful poem, which possesses a classical elegance hardly to
be expected in the age of James I. is printed from the 4th edition
of Davison's Poems,[1015] &c. 1621. It is also found in a later
miscellany, intitled, "Le Prince d'Amour," 1660, 8vo. Francis Davison,
editor of the poems above referred to, was son of that unfortunate
secretary of state who suffered so much from the affair of Mary Q.
of Scots. These poems, he tells us in his preface, were written by
himself, by his brother [Walter], who was a soldier in the wars of the
Low Countries, and by some dear friends "anonymoi." Among them are
found some pieces by Sir J. Davis, the Countess of Pembroke, Sir Philip
Sidney, Spenser, and other wits of those times.

In the fourth vol. of _Dryden's Miscellanies_, this poem is attributed
to Sydney Godolphin, Esq.; but erroneously, being probably written
before he was born. One edit. of Davison's book was published in 1608.
Godolphin was born in 1610, and died in 1642-3. Ath. Ox. ii. 23.

       *       *       *       *       *

    It chanc'd of late a shepherd swain,
      That went to seek his straying sheep,
    Within a thicket on a plain
      Espied a dainty nymph asleep.

    Her golden hair o'erspred her face;                                5
      Her careless arms abroad were cast;
    Her quiver had her pillows place;
      Her breast lay bare to every blast.

    The shepherd stood and gaz'd his fill;
      Nought durst he do; nought durst he say;                        10
    Whilst chance, or else perhaps his will,
      Did guide the god of love that way.

    The crafty boy that sees her sleep,
      Whom if she wak'd he durst not see;
    Behind her closely seeks to creep,                                15
      Before her nap should ended bee.

    There come, he steals her shafts away,
      And puts his own into their place;
    Nor dares he any longer stay,
      But, ere she wakes, hies thence apace.                          20

    Scarce was he gone, but she awakes,
      And spies the shepherd standing by:
    Her bended bow in haste she takes,
      And at the simple swain lets flye.

    Forth flew the shaft, and pierc'd his heart,                      25
      That to the ground he fell with pain:
    Yet up again forthwith he start,
      And to the nymph he ran amain.

    Amazed to see so strange a sight,
      She shot, and shot, but all in vain;                            30
    The more his wounds, the more his might
      Love yielded strength amidst his pain.

    Her angry eyes were great with tears,
      She blames her hand, she blames her skill;
    The bluntness of her shafts she fears,                            35
      And try them on herself she will.

    Take heed, sweet nymph, trye not thy shaft,
      Each little touch will pierce thy heart:
    Alas! thou know'st not Cupids craft;
      Revenge is joy; the end is smart.                               40

    Yet try she will, and pierce some bare;
      Her hands were glov'd, but next to hand
    Was that fair breast, that breast so rare,
      That made the shepherd senseless stand.

    That breast she pierc'd; and through that breast                  45
      Love found an entry to her heart;
    At feeling of this new-come guest,
      Lord! how this gentle nymph did start?

    She runs not now; she shoots no more;
      Away she throws both shaft and bow:                             50
    She seeks for what she shunn'd before,
      She thinks the shepherds haste too slow.

    Though mountains meet not, lovers may:
    What other lovers do, did they:
      The god of love sate on a tree,                                 55
      And laught that pleasant sight to see.


[1015] See the full title in Vol. ii. Book iii. No. iv.



This little moral poem was writ by Sir _Henry Wotton_, who died Provost
of Eton in 1639. Æt. 72. It is printed from a little collection of his
pieces, intitled. _Reliquiæ Wottonianæ_, 1651, 12mo.; compared with one
or two other copies. [Ben Jonson is said to have greatly admired these
verses, and to have known them by heart.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    How happy is he born or taught,
      That serveth not anothers will;
    Whose armour is his honest thought,
      And simple truth his highest skill:

    Whose passions not his masters are;                                5
      Whose soul is still prepar'd for death;
    Not ty'd unto the world with care
      Of princes ear, or vulgar breath:

    Who hath his life from rumours freed;
      Whose conscience is his strong retreat:                         10
    Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
      Nor ruine make oppressors great:

    Who envies none, whom chance doth raise,
      Or vice: Who never understood
    How deepest wounds are given with praise;                         15
      Nor rules of state, but rules of good:

    Who God doth late and early pray
      More of his grace than gifts to lend;
    And entertaines the harmless day
      With a well-chosen book or friend.                              20

    This man is freed from servile bands
      Of hope to rise, or feare to fall;
    Lord of himselfe, though not of lands;
      And having nothing, yet hath all.



Was a famous robber, who lived about the middle of the last century, if
we may credit the histories and storybooks of highwaymen, which relate
many improbable feats of him, as his robbing Cardinal Richelieu, Oliver
Cromwell, &c. But these stories have probably no other authority than
the records of Grub-street. At least the _Gilderoy_, who is the hero
of Scottish songsters, seems to have lived in an earlier age; for,
in Thompson's _Orpheus Caledonius_, vol. ii. 1733, 8vo. is a copy of
this ballad, which, tho' corrupt and interpolated, contains some lines
that appear to be of genuine antiquity: in these he is represented as
contemporary with Mary Q. of Scots: _ex. gr._

    "The Queen of Scots possessed nought,
      That my love let me want:
    For cow and ew he to me brought,
      And een whan they were scant.
    All these did honestly possess
      He never did annoy,
    Who never fail'd to pay their cess
      To my love Gilderoy."

These lines perhaps might safely have been inserted among the following
stanzas, which are given from a written copy, that appears to have
received some modern corrections. Indeed, the common popular ballad
contained some indecent luxuriances that required the pruning-hook.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [The subject of this ballad was a ruffian totally unworthy of the
  poetic honours given to him, and the poem itself can in no way
  be looked upon as historic. To mention but one instance of its
  departure from truth--the song is said to have been written by a
  young woman of a superior station in society who had been induced
  to live with the freebooter, but the fact was that one thousand
  marks having been offered for his apprehension, he was betrayed by
  his mistress Peg Cunningham, and captured after killing eight of
  the men sent against him, and stabbing the woman.

  He was one of the proscribed clan Gregor, and a notorious lifter of
  cattle in the Highlands of Perthshire for some time before 1636. In
  February of that year seven of his accomplices were taken, tried,
  condemned, and executed at Edinburgh. These men were apprehended
  chiefly through the exertions of the Stewarts of Athol, and in
  revenge Gilderoy burned several of the houses belonging to the
  Stewarts. In a few months, however, he was captured, as before
  mentioned, and in July, 1636, was hanged with five accomplices at
  the Gallowlee, between Leith and Edinburgh. As a mark of unenviable
  distinction, Gilderoy was hanged on a gallows higher than the rest.
  It is curious that this wretched miscreant, who robbed the poor and
  outraged all women who came in his way, should have become popular
  in the south of Britain. His adventures, with the various details
  noticed above by Percy, are related in Captain Alexander Smith's
  _History of Highwaymen_, &c., 1719, and in Johnson's _Lives and
  Exploits of Highwaymen_, 1734.

  The earliest known version of this song was printed in London in
  1650, and another is included in _Westminster Drollery_, 1671. The
  latter consists of five stanzas, the first being:

    "Was ever grief so great as mine
      Then speak dear bearn, I prethee,
    That thus must leave my Gilderoy,
      O my benison gang with thee.
    Good speed be with you then Sir she said
      For gone is all my joy:
    And gone is he whom I love best,
      My handsome Gilderoy."

  The second stanza is Percy's fifth, with some of the "luxuriances"
  he refers to. The third stanza is a variation of Percy's first.

    "Now Gilderoy was bonny boy
      Would needs to th' King be gone
    With his silken garters on his legs,
      And the roses on his shoone.
    But better he had staid at home
      With me his only joy,
    For on a gallow tree they hung
      My handsome Gilderoy."

  The fourth stanza is a variety of Percy's eleventh, and the fifth
  of his ninth.

  There is another version of this song in the _Collection of
  Old Ballads_, 1723 (vol. i.), entitled "The Scotch Lover's
  Lamentation, or Gilderoy's last farewell," which contains some
  few "luxuriances," but is on the whole superior to the "improved"
  one here printed. This was altered by Lady Wardlaw, who added the
  stanzas between brackets, besides the one quoted above by Percy.

  Gilderoy is now, perhaps, better known by Campbell's song than by
  this ballad. The name is a corruption of the Gaelic _gille roy_,
  red-haired boy.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    Gilderoy was a bonnie boy,
      Had roses tull[1016] his shoone,
    His stockings were of silken soy,[1017]
      Wi' garters hanging doune:
    It was, I weene, a comelie sight,                                  5
      To see sae trim a boy;
    He was my jo[1018] and hearts delight,
      My handsome Gilderoy.

    Oh! sike twa charming een he had,
      A breath as sweet as rose,                                      10
    He never ware a Highland plaid,
      But costly silken clothes;
    He gain'd the luve of ladies gay,
      Nane eir tull him was coy:
    Ah! wae is mee! I mourn the day                                   15
      For my dear Gilderoy.

    My Gilderoy and I were born,
      Baith in one toun together,
    We scant were seven years beforn,
      We gan to luve each other;                                      20
    Our dadies and our mammies thay,
      Were fill'd wi' mickle joy,
    To think upon the bridal day,
      Twixt me and Gilderoy.

    For Gilderoy that luve of mine,                                   25
      Gude faith, I freely bought
    A wedding sark[1019] of holland fine,
      Wi' silken flowers wrought:
    And he gied me a wedding ring,
      Which I receiv'd wi' joy,                                       30
    Nae lad nor lassie eir could sing,
      Like me and Gilderoy.

    Wi' mickle joy we spent our prime,
      Till we were baith sixteen,
    And aft we past the langsome time,                                35
      Among the leaves sae green;
    Aft on the banks we'd sit us thair,
      And sweetly kiss and toy,
    Wi' garlands gay wad deck my hair
      My handsome Gilderoy.                                           40

    [Oh! that he still had been content,
      Wi' me to lead his life;
    But, ah! his manfu' heart was bent,
      To stir in feates of strife:
    And he in many a venturous deed,                                  45
      His courage bauld wad try;
    And now this gars[1020] mine heart to bleed,
      For my dear Gilderoy.

    And when of me his leave he tuik,
      The tears they wat mine ee,                                     50
    I gave tull him a parting luik,
      "My benison gang wi' thee;
    God speed thee weil, mine ain dear heart,
      For gane is all my joy;
    My heart is rent sith we maun part,                               55
      My handsome Gilderoy."]

    My Gilderoy baith far and near,
      Was fear'd in every toun,
    And bauldly bare away the gear,[1021]
      Of many a lawland loun:                                         60
    Nane eir durst meet him man to man,
      He was sae brave a boy;
    At length wi' numbers he was tane,
      My winsome[1022] Gilderoy.

    Wae worth[1023] the loun that made the laws,                      65
      To hang a man for gear,
    To 'reave of life for ox or ass,
      For sheep, or horse, or mare:
    Had not their laws been made sae strick,
      I neir had lost my joy,                                         70
    Wi' sorrow neir had wat my cheek,
      For my dear Gilderoy.

    Giff Gilderoy had done amisse,
      He mought hae banisht been;
    Ah! what fair cruelty is this,                                    75
      To hang sike handsome men:
    To hang the flower o' Scottish land,
      Sae sweet and fair a boy;
    Nae lady had sae white a hand,
      As thee, my Gilderoy.                                           80

    Of Gilderoy sae fraid they were,
      They bound him mickle strong,
    Tull Edenburrow they led him thair,
      And on a gallows hung:
    They hung him high aboon the rest,                                85
      He was sae trim a boy;
    Thair dyed the youth whom I lued best,
      My handsome Gilderoy.

    Thus having yielded up his breath,
      I bare his corpse away,                                         90
    Wi' tears, that trickled for his death,
      I washt his comelye clay;
    And siker[1024] in a grave sae deep,
      I laid the dear-lued boy,
    And now for evir maun I weep,                                     95
      My winsome Gilderoy.



[1016] [for _till_ to.]

[1017] [silk.]

[1018] [sweetheart.]

[1019] [shift.]

[1020] [makes.]

[1021] [property.]

[1022] [winning.]

[1023] [woe betide.]

[1024] [secure.]



This beautiful address to conjugal love, a subject too much neglected
by the libertine Muses, was, I believe, first printed in a volume of
_Miscellaneous Poems, by several hands_, published by D. [David]
Lewis, 1726, 8vo.

It is there said, how truly I know not, to be "a translation from the
ancient British language."

       *       *       *       *       *

    Away; let nought to love displeasing,
      My Winifreda, move your care;
    Let nought delay the heavenly blessing,
      Nor squeamish pride, nor gloomy fear.

    What tho' no grants of royal donors                                5
      With pompous titles grace our blood;
    We'll shine in more substantial honors,
      And to be noble we'll be good.

    Our name, while virtue thus we tender,
      Will sweetly sound where-e'er 'tis spoke:                       10
    And all the great ones, they shall wonder
      How they respect such little folk.

    What though from fortune's lavish bounty
      No mighty treasures we possess;
    We'll find within our pittance plenty,                            15
      And be content without excess.

    Still shall each returning season
      Sufficient for our wishes give;
    For we will live a life of reason,
      And that's the only life to live.                               20

    Through youth and age in love excelling,
      We'll hand in hand together tread;
    Sweet-smiling peace shall crown our dwelling,
      And babes, sweet-smiling babes, our bed.

    How should I love the pretty creatures,                           25
      While round my knees they fondly clung;
    To see them look their mothers features,
      To hear them lisp their mothers tongue.

    And when with envy time transported,
      Shall think to rob us of our joys,                              30
    You'll in your girls again be courted,
      And I'll go a wooing in my boys.



Was published in a small collection of poems, intitled _Euthemia, or
the Power of Harmony_, &c. 1756, written in 1748, by the ingenious Dr.
_Harrington_, of Bath, who never allowed them to be published, and
withheld his name till it could no longer be concealed. The following
copy was furnished by the late Mr. _Shenstone_, with some variations
and corrections of his own, which he had taken the liberty to propose,
and for which the author's indulgence was intreated. In this edition
it was intended to reprint the author's own original copy; but, as
that may be seen correctly given in _Pearch's_ Collection, vol. i.
1783, p. 161, it was thought the reader of taste would wish to have the
variations preserved, they are, therefore, still retained here, which
it is hoped the worthy author will excuse with his wonted liberality.

_Wokey-hole_ is a noted cavern in Somersetshire, which has given birth
to as many wild fanciful stories as the Sybils Cave, in Italy. Thro'
a very narrow entrance, it opens into a very large vault, the roof
whereof, either on account of its height, or the thickness of the
gloom, cannot be discovered by the light of torches. It goes winding a
great way underground, is crossed by a stream of very cold water, and
is all horrid with broken pieces of rock: many of these are evident
petrifactions; which, on account of their singular forms, have given
rise to the fables alluded to in this poem.

       *       *       *       *       *

    In aunciente days tradition showes
    A base and wicked elfe arose,
      The Witch of Wokey hight:
    Oft have I heard the fearfull tale
    From Sue, and Roger of the vale,                                   5
      On some long winter's night.

    Deep in the dreary dismall cell,
    Which seem'd and was ycleped hell,
      This blear-eyed hag did hide:
    Nine wicked elves, as legends sayne,                              10
    She chose to form her guardian trayne,
      And kennel near her side.

    Here screeching owls oft made their nest,
    While wolves its craggy sides possest,
      Night-howling thro' the rock:                                   15
    No wholesome herb could here be found;
    She blasted every plant around,
      And blister'd every flock.

    Her haggard face was foull to see;
    Her mouth unmeet a mouth to bee;                                  20
      Her eyne of deadly leer,
    She nought devis'd, but neighbour's ill;
    She wreak'd on all her wayward will,
      And marr'd all goodly chear.

    All in her prime, have poets sung,                                25
    No gaudy youth, gallant and young,
      E'er blest her longing armes;
    And hence arose her spight to vex,
    And blast the youth of either sex,
      By dint of hellish charms.                                      30

    From Glaston came a lerned wight,
    Full bent to marr her fell despight,
      And well he did, I ween:
    Sich mischief never had been known,
    And, since his mickle lerninge shown,                             35
      Sich mischief ne'er has been.

    He chauntede out his godlie booke,
    He crost the water, blest the brooke,
      Then--pater noster done,--
    The ghastly hag he sprinkled o'er;                                40
    When lo! where stood a hag before,
      Now stood a ghastly stone.

    Full well 'tis known adown the dale:
    Tho' passing strange indeed the tale,
      And doubtfull may appear,                                       45
    I'm bold to say, there's never a one,
    That has not seen the witch in stone,
      With all her household gear.

    But tho' this lernede clerke did well;
    With grieved heart, alas! I tell,                                 50
      She left this curse behind:
    That Wokey-nymphs forsaken quite,
    Tho' sense and beauty both unite,
      Should find no leman kind.

    For lo! even, as the fiend did say,                               55
    The sex have found it to this day,
      That men are wondrous scant:
    Here's beauty, wit, and sense combin'd,
    With all that's good and virtuous join'd,
      Yet hardly one gallant.                                         60

    Shall then sich maids unpitied moane?
    They might as well, like her, be stone,
      As thus forsaken dwell.
    Since Glaston now can boast no clerks;
    Come down from Oxenford, ye sparks,                               65
      And, oh! revoke the spell.

    Yet stay--nor thus despond, ye fair;
    Virtue's the gods' peculiar care;
      I hear the gracious voice:
    Your sex shall soon be blest agen,                                70
    We only wait to find sich men,
      As best deserve your choice.



                         A WEST INDIAN BALLAD,

Is founded on a real fact, that happened in the island of St.
Christophers about the beginning of the present reign. The Editor owes
the following stanzas to the friendship of Dr. _James Grainger_[1025]
who was an eminent physician in that island when this tragical incident
happened, and died there much honoured and lamented in 1767. To this
ingenious gentleman the public are indebted for the fine _Ode on
Solitude_, printed in the fourth vol. of Dodsley's _Miscel._ p. 229, in
which are assembled some of the sublimest images in nature. The reader
will pardon the insertion of the first stanza here, for the sake of
rectifying the two last lines, which were thus given by the author:

    "O Solitude, romantic maid,
    Whether by nodding towers you tread,
    Or haunt the desart's trackless gloom,
    Or hover o'er the yawning tomb,
    Or climb the Andes' clifted side,
    Or by the Nile's coy source abide,
    Or starting from your half-year's sleep
    From Hecla view the thawing deep,
    Or at the purple dawn of day
    Tadmor's marble wastes survey," &c.

alluding to the account of Palmyra published by some late ingenious
travellers, and the manner in which they were struck at the first sight
of those magnificent ruins by break of day.[1026]

       *       *       *       *       *

    The north-east wind did briskly blow,
      The ship was safely moor'd;
    Young Bryan thought the boat's-crew slow,
      And so leapt over-board.

    Pereene, the pride of Indian dames,                                5
      His heart long held in thrall;
    And whoso his impatience blames,
      I wot, ne'er lov'd at all.

    A long long year, one month and day,
      He dwelt on English land,                                       10
    Nor once in thought or deed would stray,
      Tho' ladies sought his hand.

    For Bryan he was tall and strong,
      Right blythsome roll'd his een,
    Sweet was his voice whene'er he sung,                             15
      He scant had twenty seen.

    But who the countless charms can draw,
      That grac'd his mistress true;
    Such charms the old world seldom saw,
      Nor oft I ween the new.                                         20

    Her raven hair plays round her neck,
      Like tendrils of the vine;
    Her cheeks red dewy rose-buds deck,
      Her eyes like diamonds shine.

    Soon as his well-known ship she spied,                            25
      She cast her weeds away,
    And to the palmy shore she hied,
      All in her best array.

    In sea-green silk so neatly clad,
      She there impatient stood;                                      30
    The crew with wonder saw the lad
      Repell the foaming flood.

    Her hands a handkerchief display'd.
      Which he at parting gave;
    Well pleas'd the token he survey'd,                               35
      And manlier beat the wave.

    Her fair companions one and all,
      Rejoicing crowd the strand;
    For now her lover swam in call,
      And almost touch'd the land.                                    40

    Then through the white surf did she haste,
      To clasp her lovely swain;
    When, ah! a shark bit through his waste:
      His heart's blood dy'd the main!

    He shriek'd! his half sprang from the wave,                       45
      Streaming with purple gore,
    And soon it found a living grave,
      And ah! was seen no more.

    Now haste, now haste, ye maids, I pray,
      Fetch water from the spring:                                    50
    She falls, she swoons, she dies away,
      And soon her knell they ring.

    Now each May morning round her tomb
      Ye fair, fresh flowerets strew,
    So may your lovers scape his doom,                                55
      Her hapless fate scape you.


[1025] Author of a poem on the Culture of the _Sugar-Cane_, &c.

[1026] So in p. 235, it should be, _Turn'd her magic ray_.



                      TRANSLATED FROM THE SPANISH.

Although the English are remarkable for the number and variety of their
ancient ballads, and retain perhaps a greater fondness for these old
simple rhapsodies of their ancestors, than most other nations; they are
not the only people who have distinguished themselves by compositions
of this kind. The Spaniards have great multitudes of them, many of
which are of the highest merit. They call them in their language
_Romances_, and have collected them into volumes under the titles of
_El Romancero_, _El Cancionero_,[1027] &c. Most of them relate to their
conflicts with the Moors, and display a spirit of gallantry peculiar
to that romantic people. But of all the Spanish ballads none exceed
in poetical merit those inserted in a little Spanish _History of the
civil wars of Granada_, describing the dissensions which raged in that
last seat of Moorish empire before it was conquered in the reign of
Ferdinand and Isabella, in 1491. In this history (or perhaps romance) a
great number of heroic songs are inserted and appealed to as authentic
vouchers for the truth of facts. In reality the prose narrative seems
to be drawn up for no other end, but to introduce and illustrate those
beautiful pieces.

The Spanish editor pretends (how truly I know not) that they are
translations from the Arabic or Morisco language. Indeed, from the
plain unadorned nature of the verse, and the native simplicity of the
language and sentiment, which runs through these poems, one would judge
them to have been composed soon after the conquest of Granada[1028]
above mentioned; as the prose narrative in which they are inserted was
published about a century after. It should seem, at least, that they
were written before the Castillians had formed themselves so generally,
as they have done since, on the model of the Tuscan poets, or had
imported from Italy that fondness for conceit and refinement, which has
for near two centuries past so much infected the Spanish poetry, and
rendered it so frequently affected and obscure.

As a specimen of the ancient Spanish manner, which very much resembles
that of our English bards and minstrels, the reader is desired candidly
to accept the two following poems. They are given from a small
collection of pieces of this kind, which the Editor some years ago
translated for his amusement when he was studying the Spanish language.
As the first is a pretty close translation, to gratify the curious it
is accompanied with the original. The metre is the same in all these
old Spanish ballads: it is of the most simple construction, and is
still used by the common people in their extemporaneous songs, as we
learn from _Baretti's Travels_. It runs in short stanzas of four lines,
of which the second and fourth alone correspond in their terminations;
and in these it is only required that the vowels should be alike, the
consonants may be altogether different, as

          pone           casa           meten          arcos
          noble          cañas          muere          gamo

Yet has this kind of verse a sort of simple harmonious flow, which
atones for the imperfect nature of the rhyme, and renders it not
unpleasing to the ear. The same flow of numbers has been studied in
the following versions. The first of them is given from two different
originals, both of which are printed in the _Hist. de las civiles
guerras de Granada_, Mad. 1694. One of them hath the rhymes ending
in _aa_, the other in _ia_. It is the former of these that is here
reprinted. They both of them begin with the same line:

    "Rio verde, rio verde,"[1029]

which could not be translated faithfully:

    "Verdant river, verdant river,"

would have given an affected stiffness to the verse; the great merit
of which is easy simplicity; and therefore a more simple epithet was
adopted, though less poetical or expressive.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [The two following Spanish ballads are peculiarly out of place in a
  collection of English ballads, and they are not very good specimens
  of the class from which they are taken. Those who wish for
  information on Spanish ballads must refer to Ticknor's _History of_
  _Spanish Literature_; T. Rodd's _Ancient Spanish Ballads, relating_
  _to the Twelve Peers of France mentioned in Don Quixote_, 2 vols.
  London, 1821; and J. G. Lockhart's _Ancient Spanish Ballads,_
  _historical and romantic_, 1823.]


    Rio verde, rio verde,
      Quanto cuerpo en ti se baña
    De Christianos y de Moros
      Muertos por la dura espada!

    Y tus ondas cristalinas                                            5
      De roxa sangre se esmaltan:
    Entre Moros y Christianos
      Muy gran batalla se trava.

    Murieron Duques y Condes,
      Grandes señores de salva:                                       10
    Murio gente de valia
      De la nobleza de España.

    En ti murio don Alonso,
      Que de Aguilar se Ilamaba;
    El valeroso Urdiales,                                             15
      Con don Alonso acababa.

    Por un ladera arriba
      El buen Sayavedra marcha;
    Naturel es de Sevilla,
      De la gente mas granada.                                        20

    Tras el iba un Renegado,
      Desta manera le habla;
    Date, date, Sayavedra,
      No huyas de la Batalla.

    Yo te conozco muy bien,                                           25
      Gran tiempo estuve en tu casa;
    Y en la Plaça de Sevilla
      Bien te vide jugar cañas.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Gentle river, gentle river,
      Lo, thy streams are stain'd with gore,
    Many a brave and noble captain
      Floats along thy willow'd shore.

    All beside thy limpid waters,                                      5
      All beside thy sands so bright,
    Moorish Chiefs and Christian Warriors
      Join'd in fierce and mortal fight.

    Lords, and dukes, and noble princes
      On thy fatal banks were slain:                                  10
    Fatal banks that gave to slaughter
      All the pride and flower of Spain.

    There the hero, brave Alonzo
      Full of wounds and glory died:
    There the fearless Urdiales                                       15
      Fell a victim by his side.

    Lo! where yonder Don Saavedra
      Thro' their squadrons slow retires;
    Proud Seville, his native city,
      Proud Seville his worth admires.                                20

    Close behind a renegado
      Loudly shouts with taunting cry;
    Yield thee, yield thee, Don Saavedra,
      Dost thou from the battle fly?

    Well I know thee, haughty Christian,                              25
      Long I liv'd beneath thy roof;
    Oft I've in the lists of glory
      Seen thee win the prize of proof.

    Conozco a tu padre y madre,
      Y a tu muger doña Clara;                                        30
    Siete anos fui tu cautivo,
      Malamente me tratabas.

    Y aora lo seras mio,
      Si Mahoma me ayudara;
    Y tambien te tratare,                                             35
      Como a mi me tratabas.

    Sayavedra que lo oyera,
      Al Moro bolvio la cara;
    Tirole el Moro una flecha,
      Pero nunca le acertaba.                                         40

    Hiriole Sayavedra
      De una herida muy mala:
    Muerto cayo el Renegado
      Sin poder hablar palabra.

    Sayavedra fue cercado                                             45
      De mucha Mora canalla,
    Y al cabo cayo alli muerto
      De una muy mala lançada.

    Don Alonso en este tiempo
      Bravamente peleava,                                             50
    Y el cavallo le avian muerto,
      Y le tiene por muralla.

    Mas cargaron tantos Moros
      Que mal le hieren y tratan:
    De la sangre, que perdia,                                         55
      Don Alonso se desmaya.

    Al fin, al fin cayo muerto
      Al pie de un pena alta.----
    ----Muerto queda don Alonso,
      Eterna fama ganara.                                             60

       *       *       *       *       *

    Well I know thy aged parents,
      Well thy blooming bride I know;                                 30
    Seven years I was thy captive,
      Seven years of pain and woe.

    May our prophet grant my wishes,
      Haughty chief, thou shalt be mine:
    Thou shalt drink that cup of sorrow,                              35
      Which I drank when I was thine.

    Like a lion turns the warrior,
      Back he sends an angry glare:
    Whizzing came the Moorish javelin,
      Vainly whizzing thro' the air.                                  40

    Back the hero full of fury
      Sent a deep and mortal wound:
    Instant sunk the Renegado,
      Mute and lifeless on the ground.

    With a thousand Moors surrounded,                                 45
      Brave Saavedra stands at bay:
    Wearied out but never daunted,
      Cold at length the warrior lay.

    Near him fighting great Alonzo
      Stout resists the Paynim bands;                                 50
    From his slaughter'd steed dismounted
      Firm intrench'd behind him stands.

    Furious press the hostile squadron,
      Furious he repels their rage:
    Loss of blood at length enfeebles:                                55
      Who can war with thousands wage!

    Where yon rock the plain o'ershadows
      Close beneath its foot retir'd,
    Fainting sunk the bleeding hero,
      And without a groan expir'd.                                    60

           *       *       *       *       *

  [***] In the Spanish original of the foregoing ballad follow a few
  more stanzas, but being of inferior merit were not translated.

  _Renegado_ properly signifies an Apostate; but it is sometimes used
  to express an Infidel in general; as it seems to do above in ver.
  21, &c.

  The image of the _Lion_, &c. in ver. 37, is taken from the other
  Spanish copy, the rhymes of which end in _ia_, viz.

    "Sayavedra, que lo oyera,
      "Como un leon rebolbia."


[1027] _i.e._ The ballad-singer.

[1028] See vol. iii. Appendix.

[1029] Literally, _Green river, green river_. [Percy found out, after
writing this, that _Rio Verde_ is the name of a river in Spain, a fact,
which he writes, "ought to have been attended to by the translator, had
he known it."]



                            A MOORISH TALE,

                      IMITATED FROM THE SPANISH.

The foregoing version was rendered as literal as the nature of the
two languages would admit. In the following a wider compass hath been
taken. The Spanish poem that was chiefly had in view is preserved in
the same history of the _Civil Wars of Granada_, f. 22, and begins with
these lines:

    "Por la calle de su dama
      "Passeando se anda," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Softly blow the evening breezes,
      Softly fall the dews of night;
    Yonder walks the Moor Alcanzor,
      Shunning every glare of light.

    In yon palace lives fair Zaida,                                    5
      Whom he loves with flame so pure:
    Loveliest she of Moorish ladies;
      He a young and noble Moor.

    Waiting for the appointed minute,
      Oft he paces to and fro;                                        10
    Stopping now, now moving forwards,
      Sometimes quick, and sometimes slow.

    Hope and fear alternate teize him,
      Oft he sighs with heart-felt care.----
    See, fond youth, to yonder window                                 15
      Softly steps the timorous fair.

    Lovely seems the moon's fair lustre
      To the lost benighted swain,
    When all silvery bright she rises,
      Gilding mountain, grove, and plain.                             20

    Lovely seems the sun's full glory
      To the fainting seaman's eyes,
    When some horrid storm dispersing
      O'er the wave his radiance flies.

    But a thousand times more lovely                                  25
      To her longing lover's sight
    Steals half-seen the beauteous maiden
      Thro' the glimmerings of the night.

    Tip-toe stands the anxious lover,
      Whispering forth a gentle sigh:                                 30
    Alla[1030] keep thee, lovely lady;
      Tell me, am I doom'd to die?

    Is it true the dreadful story,
      Which thy damsel tells my page,
    That seduc'd by sordid riches                                     35
      Thou wilt sell thy bloom to age?

    An old lord from Antiquera
      Thy stern father brings along;
    But canst thou, inconstant Zaida,
      Thus consent my love to wrong?                                  40

    If 'tis true now plainly tell me,
      Nor thus trifle with my woes;
    Hide not then from me the secret,
      Which the world so clearly knows.

    Deeply sigh'd the conscious maiden,                               45
      While the pearly tears descend:
    Ah! my lord, too true the story;
      Here our tender loves must end.

    Our fond friendship is discover'd,
      Well are known our mutual vows:                                 50
    All my friends are full of fury;
      Storms of passion shake the house.

    Threats, reproaches, fears surround me;
      My stern father breaks my heart:
    Alla knows how dear it costs me,                                  55
      Generous youth, from thee to part.

    Ancient wounds of hostile fury
      Long have rent our house and thine;
    Why then did thy shining merit
      Win this tender heart of mine?                                  60

    Well thou know'st how dear I lov'd thee
      Spite of all their hateful pride,
    Tho' I fear'd my haughty father
      Ne'er would let me be thy bride.

    Well thou know'st what cruel chidings                             65
      Oft I've from my mother borne;
    What I've suffered here to meet thee
      Still at eve and early morn.

    I no longer may resist them;
      All, to force my hand combine;                                  70
    And to-morrow to thy rival
      This weak frame I must resign.

    Yet think not thy faithful Zaida
      Can survive so great a wrong;
    Well my breaking heart assures me                                 75
      That my woes will not be long.

    Farewell then, my dear Alcanzor!
      Farewell too my life with thee!
    Take this scarf a parting token;
      When thou wear'st it think on me.                               80

    Soon, lov'd youth, some worthier maiden
      Shall reward thy generous truth;
    Sometimes tell her how thy Zaida
      Died for thee in prime of youth.

    --To him all amaz'd, confounded,                                  85
      Thus she did her woes impart:
    Deep he sigh'd, then cry'd,--O Zaida!
      Do not, do not break my heart.

    Canst thou think I thus will lose thee?
      Canst thou hold my love so small?                               90
    No! a thousand times I'll perish!----
      My curst rival too shall fall.

    Canst thou, wilt thou yield thus to them?
      O break forth, and fly to me!
    This fond heart shall bleed to save thee,                         95
      These fond arms shall shelter thee.

    'Tis in vain, in vain, Alcanzor,
      Spies surround me, bars secure:
    Scarce I steal this last dear moment,
      While my damsel keeps the door.                                100

    Hark, I hear my father storming!
      Hark, I hear my mother chide!
    I must go: farewell for ever!
      Gracious Alla be thy guide!


[1030] _Alla_ is the Mahometan name of God.

                       THE END OF THE THIRD BOOK.






                              APPENDIX I.



The Minstrels[A][1031] were an order of men in the middle ages, who
subsisted by the arts of poetry and music, and sang to the harp verses
composed by themselves, or others.[1032] They also appear to have
accompanied their songs with mimicry and action; and to have practised
such various means of diverting as were much admired in those rude
times, and supplied the want of more refined entertainment.[B] These
arts rendered them extremely popular and acceptable in this and all the
neighbouring countries; where no high scene of festivity was esteemed
complete, that was not set off with the exercise of their talents; and
where, so long as the spirit of chivalry subsisted, they were protected
and caressed, because their songs tended to do honour to the ruling
passion of the times, and to encourage and foment a martial spirit.

The Minstrels seem to have been the genuine successors of the ancient
Bards,[C] who under different names were admired and revered, from
the earliest ages, among the people of Gaul, Britain, Ireland,
and the North; and indeed by almost all the first inhabitants of
Europe, whether of Celtic or Gothic race;[1033] but by none more
than by our own Teutonic ancestors,[1034] particularly by all the
Danish tribes.[1035] Among these they were distinguished by the
name of Scalds, a word which denotes "Smoothers and Polishers of
language."[1036] The origin of their art was attributed to Odin or
Woden, the father of their gods; and the professors of it were held in
the highest estimation. Their skill was considered as something divine;
their persons were deemed sacred; their attendance was solicited by
kings; and they were everywhere loaded with honours and rewards.
In short, Poets and their art were held among them in that rude
admiration, which is ever shewn by an ignorant people to such as excel
them in intellectual accomplishments.

As these honours were paid to Poetry and Song, from the earliest times,
in those countries which our Anglo-Saxon ancestors inhabited before
their removal into Britain, we may reasonably conclude that they
would not lay aside all their regard for men of this sort immediately
on quitting their German forests. At least so long as they retained
their ancient manners and opinions, they would still hold them in high
estimation. But as the Saxons, soon after their establishment in this
island, were converted to Christianity; in proportion as literature
prevailed among them, this rude admiration would begin to abate, and
Poetry would be no longer a peculiar profession. Thus the Poet and the
Minstrel early with us became two persons.[D] Poetry was cultivated by
men of letters indiscriminately, and many of the most popular rhymes
were composed amidst the leisure and retirement of monasteries. But
the Minstrels continued a distinct order of men for many ages after
the Norman Conquest, and got their livelihood by singing verses to the
harp at the houses of the great.[E] There they were still hospitably
and respectfully received, and retained many of the honours shewn to
their predecessors, the Bards and Scalds.[F] And though, as their
art declined, many of them only recited the compositions of others,
some of them still composed songs themselves, and all of them could
probably invent a few stanzas on occasion. I have no doubt but most of
the old heroic ballads in this collection were composed by this order
of men; for although some of the larger metrical romances might come
from the pen of the monks or others, yet the smaller narratives were
probably composed by the minstrels who sang them. From the amazing
variations which occur in different copies of the old pieces, it is
evident they made no scruple to alter each other's productions; and the
reciter added or omitted whole stanzas according to his own fancy or

In the early ages, as was hinted above, the profession of oral
itinerant poet was held in the utmost reverence among all the Danish
tribes; and therefore we might have concluded that it was not unknown
or unrespected among their Saxon brethren in Britain, even if history
had been altogether silent on this subject. The original country of
our Anglo-Saxon ancestors is well known to have lien chiefly in the
Cimbric Chersonese, in the tracts of land since distinguished by the
name of Jutland, Angelen, and Holstein.[1037] The Jutes and Angles in
particular, who composed two-thirds of the conquerors of Britain, were
a Danish people, and their country at this day belongs to the crown of
Denmark;[1038] so that when the Danes again infested England, three or
four hundred years after, they made war on the descendants of their own
ancestors.[1039] From this near affinity we might expect to discover
a strong resemblance between both nations in their customs, manners,
and even language; and, in fact, we find them to differ no more than
would naturally happen between a parent country and its own colonies,
that had been severed in a rude, uncivilized state, and had dropt all
intercourse for three or four centuries, especially if we reflect that
the colony here settled had adopted a new religion, extremely opposite
in all respects to the ancient paganism of the mother country; and that
even at first, along with the original Angli, had been incorporated a
large mixture of Saxons from the neighbouring parts of Germany; and
afterwards, among the Danish invaders, had come vast multitudes of
adventurers from the more northern parts of Scandinavia. But all these
were only different tribes of the same common Teutonic stock, and spoke
only different dialects of the same Gothic language.[1040]

From this sameness of original and similarity of manners we might
justly have wondered if a character so dignified and distinguished
among the ancient Danes as the Scald or Bard, had been totally unknown
or unregarded in this sister nation. And, indeed, this argument is so
strong, and, at the same time, the early annals of the Anglo-Saxons
are so scanty and defective,[G] that no objections from their silence
could be sufficient to overthrow it. For if these popular bards were
confessedly revered and admired in those very countries which the
Anglo-Saxons inhabited before their removal into Britain, and if they
were afterwards common and numerous among the other descendants of
the same Teutonic ancestors, can we do otherwise than conclude that
men of this order accompanied such tribes as migrated hither, that
they afterwards subsisted here, though perhaps with less splendor than
in the North, and that there never was wanting a succession of them
to hand down the art, though some particular conjunctures may have
rendered it more respectable at one time than another? And this was
evidently the case; for though much greater honours seem to have been
heaped upon the northern Scalds, in whom the characters of historian,
genealogist, poet, and musician were all united, than appear to have
been paid to the minstrels and harpers[H] of the Anglo-Saxons, whose
talents were chiefly calculated to entertain and divert, while the
Scalds professed to inform and instruct, and were at once the moralists
and theologues of their pagan countrymen. Yet the Anglo-Saxon minstrels
continued to possess no small portion of public favour, and the arts
they professed were so extremely acceptable to our ancestors that the
word "Glee," which particularly denoted their art, continues still
in our own language to be of all others the most expressive of that
popular mirth and jollity, that strong sensation of delight, which is
felt by unpolished and simple minds.[I]

       *       *       *       *       *

II. Having premised these general considerations, I shall now proceed
to collect from history such particular incidents as occur on this
subject; and, whether the facts themselves are true or not, they are
related by authors who lived too near the Saxon times, and had before
them too many recent monuments of the Anglo-Saxon nation, not to
know what was conformable to the genius and manners of that people;
and therefore we may presume that their relations prove at least the
existence of the customs and habits they attribute to our forefathers
before the Conquest, whatever becomes of the particular incidents and
events themselves. If this be admitted, we shall not want sufficient
proofs to show that minstrelsy and song were not extinct among the
Anglo-Saxons, and that the professor of them here, if not quite so
respectable a personage as the Danish Scald, was yet highly favoured
and protected, and continued still to enjoy considerable privileges.

Even so early as the first invasion of Britain by the Saxons an
incident is recorded to have happened, which, if true, shews that
the minstrel or bard was not unknown among this people, and that
their princes themselves could, upon occasion, assume that character.
Colgrin, son of that Ella who was elected king or leader of the Saxons
in the room of Hengist,[1041] was shut up in York, and closely besieged
by Arthur and his Britons. Baldulph, brother of Colgrin, wanted to
gain access to him, and to apprize him of a reinforcement which was
coming from Germany. He had no other way to accomplish his design but
to assume the character of a minstrel. He therefore shaved his head and
beard, and dressing himself in the habit of that profession, took his
harp in his hand. In this disguise he walked up and down the trenches
without suspicion, playing all the while upon his instrument as an
harper. By little and little he advanced near to the walls of the city,
and, making himself known to the sentinels, was in the night drawn up
by a rope.

Although the above fact comes only from the suspicious pen of Geoffry
of Monmouth,[K] the judicious reader will not too hastily reject it,
because, if such a fact really happened, it could only be known to
us through the medium of the British writers: for the first Saxons,
a martial but unlettered people, had no historians of their own; and
Geoffry, with all his fables, is allowed to have recorded many true
events that have escaped other annalists.

We do not, however, want instances of a less fabulous æra, and more
indubitable authority: for later history affords us two remarkable
facts,[L] which I think clearly shew that the same arts of poetry and
song, which were so much admired among the Danes, were by no means
unknown or neglected in this sister nation, and that the privileges and
honours which were so lavishly bestowed upon the northern Scalds, were
not wholly withheld from the Anglo-Saxon minstrels.

Our great King Alfred, who is expressly said to have excelled in
music,[1042] being desirous to learn the true situation of the Danish
army, which had invaded his realm, assumed the dress and character of a
minstrel,[M] when, taking his harp, and one of the most trusty of his
friends disguised as a servant[1043] (for in the early times it was not
unusual for a minstrel to have a servant to carry his harp), he went
with the utmost security into the Danish camp; and, though he could not
but be known to be a Saxon by his dialect, the character he had assumed
procured him a hospitable reception. He was admitted to entertain
the king at table, and staid among them long enough to contrive that
assault which afterwards destroyed them. This was in the year 878.

About fifty years after,[1044] a Danish king made use of the same
disguise to explore the camp of our king Athelstan. With his harp in
his hand, and dressed like a minstrel,[N] Aulaff,[1045] king of the
Danes, went among the Saxon tents; and, taking his stand near the
king's pavilion, began to play, and was immediately admitted. There he
entertained Athelstan and his lords with his singing and his music,
and was at length dismissed with an honourable reward, though his
songs must have discovered him to have been a Dane.[O] Athelstan was
saved from the consequences of this stratagem by a soldier, who had
observed Aulaff bury the money which had been given him, either from
some scruple of honour or motive of superstition. This occasioned a

Now, if the Saxons had not been accustomed to have minstrels of their
own, Alfred's assuming so new and unusual a character would have
excited suspicions among the Danes. On the other hand, if it had not
been customary with the Saxons to shew favour and respect to the Danish
Scalds, Aulaff would not have ventured himself among them, especially
on the eve of a battle.[P] From the uniform procedure, then, of both
these kings, we may fairly conclude that the same mode of entertainment
prevailed among both people, and that the minstrel was a privileged
character with each.

But if these facts had never existed, it can be proved from undoubted
records that the minstrel was a regular and stated officer in the court
of our Anglo-Saxon kings: for in Doomesday book, "Joculator Regis,"
the king's minstrel, is expressly mentioned in Gloucestershire, in
which county it should seem that he had lands assigned him for his

       *       *       *       *       *

III. We have now brought the inquiry down to the Norman Conquest; and
as the Normans had been a late colony from Norway and Denmark, where
the Scalds had arrived to the highest pitch of credit before Rollo's
expedition into France, we cannot doubt but this adventurer, like the
other northern princes, had many of these men in his train, who settled
with him in his new duchy of Normandy, and left behind them successors
in their art; so that when his descendant, William the Bastard,
invaded this kingdom in the following century,[1046] that mode of
entertainment could not but be still familiar with the Normans. And
that this is not mere conjecture will appear from a remarkable fact,
which shews that the arts of poetry and song were still as reputable
among the Normans in France as they had been among their ancestors in
the north; and that the profession of Minstrel, like that of Scald, was
still aspired to by the most gallant soldiers. In William's army was
a valiant warrior, named Taillefer, who was distinguished no less for
the minstrel-arts,[R] than for his courage and intrepidity. This man
asked leave of his commander to begin the onset, and obtained it. He
accordingly advanced before the army, and with a loud voice animated
his countrymen with songs in praise of Charlemagne and Roland, and
other heroes of France; then rushing among the thickest of the English,
and valiantly fighting, lost his life.

Indeed, the Normans were so early distinguished for their
minstrel-talents, that an eminent French writer[S] makes no scruple to
refer to them the origin of all modern poetry, and shews that they were
celebrated for their songs near a century before the troubadours of
Provence, who are supposed to have led the way to the poets of Italy,
France, and Spain.[1047]

We see then that the Norman Conquest was rather likely to favour the
establishment of the minstrel profession in this kingdom, than to
suppress it: and although the favour of the Norman conquerors would be
probably confined to such of their own countrymen as excelled in the
minstrel arts--and in the first ages after the Conquest, no other songs
would be listened to by the great nobility but such as were composed
in their own Norman French--yet as the great mass of the original
inhabitants were not extirpated, these could only understand their
own native gleemen or minstrels; who must still be allowed to exist,
unless it can be proved that they were all proscribed and massacred,
as, it is said, the Welsh Bards were afterwards by the severe policy of
King Edward I. But this we know was not the case; and even the cruel
attempts of that monarch, as we shall see below, proved ineffectual.[S2]

The honours shewn to the Norman or French minstrels by our princes
and great barons, would naturally have been imitated by their English
vassals and tenants, even if no favour or distinction had ever been
shewn here to the same order of men, in the Anglo-Saxon and Danish
reigns. So that we cannot doubt but the English harper and songster
would, at least in a subordinate degree, enjoy the same kind of
honours, and be received with similar respect among the inferior
English gentry and populace. I must be allowed, therefore, to consider
them as belonging to the same community, as subordinate members at
least of the same college; and therefore, in gleaning the scanty
materials for this slight history, I shall collect whatever incidents
I can find relating to minstrels and their art, and arrange them, as
they occur in our own annals, without distinction, as it will not
always be easy to ascertain, from the slight mention of them by our
regular historians, whether the artists were Norman or English; for
it need not be remarked that subjects of this trivial nature are but
incidentally mentioned by our ancient annalists, and were fastidiously
rejected by other grave and serious writers; so that, unless they
were accidentally connected with such events as became recorded in
history, they would pass unnoticed through the lapse of ages, and be as
unknown to posterity as other topics relating to the private life and
amusements of the greatest nations.

On this account it can hardly be expected that we should be able
to produce regular and unbroken annals of the minstrel art and its
professors, or have sufficient information whether every minstrel
or harper composed himself, or only repeated, the songs he chanted.
Some probably did the one, and some the other: and it would have
been wonderful indeed if men whose peculiar profession it was, and
who devoted their time and talents to entertain their hearers with
poetical compositions, were peculiarly deprived of all poetical genius
themselves, and had been under a physical incapacity of composing
those common popular rhymes which were the usual subjects of their
recitation. Whoever examines any considerable quantity of these, finds
them in style and colouring as different from the elaborate production
of the sedentary composer at his desk or in his cell, as the rambling
harper or minstrel was remote in his modes of life and habits of
thinking from the retired scholar, or the solitary monk.[T]

It is well known that on the Continent, whence our Norman nobles came,
the bard who composed, the harper who played and sang, and even the
dancer and the mimic, were all considered as of one community, and were
even all included under the common name of Minstrels.[1048] I must
therefore be allowed the same application of the term here without
being expected to prove that every singer composed, or every composer
chanted, his own song; much less that every one excelled in all the
arts, which were occasionally exercised by some or other of this

       *       *       *       *       *

IV. After the Norman Conquest, the first occurrence which I have
met with relating to this order of men is the founding of a priory
and hospital by one of them: scil. the Priory and Hospital of St.
Bartholomew, in Smithfield, London, by Royer or Raherus, the King's
Minstrel, in the third year of King Henry I. A.D. 1102. He was the
first prior of his own establishment, and presided over it to the time
of his death.[T2]

In the reign of K. Henry II. we have upon record the name of Galfrid or
Jeffrey, a harper, who in 1180 received a corrody or annuity from the
Abbey of Hide, near Winchester: and, as in the early times every harper
was expected to sing, we cannot doubt but this reward was given to him
for his music and his songs; which, if they were for the solace of the
monks there, we may conclude would be in the English language.[U]

Under his romantic son, K. Richard I., the minstrel profession seems
to have acquired additional splendor. Richard, who was the great
hero of chivalry, was also the distinguished patron of poets and
minstrels. He was himself of their number, and some of his poems are
still extant.[1049] They were no less patronized by his favourites and
chief officers. His Chancellor, William Bishop of Ely, is expressly
mentioned to have invited singers and minstrels from France, whom
he loaded with rewards; and they in return celebrated him as the
most accomplished person in the world.[U2] This high distinction and
regard, although confined, perhaps, in the first instance to poets
and songsters of the French nation, must have had a tendency to do
honour to poetry and song among all his subjects, and to encourage
the cultivation of these arts among the natives, as the indulgent
favour shewn by the monarch or his great courtiers to the Provençal
_Troubadour_, or Norman _Rymour_, would naturally be imitated by their
inferior vassals to the English gleeman or minstrel. At more than a
century after the Conquest, the national distinctions must have begun
to decline, and both the Norman and English languages would be heard in
the houses of the great[U3]; so that probably about this æra, or soon
after, we are to date that remarkable intercommunity and exchange of
each other's compositions which we discover to have taken place at some
early period between the French and English minstrels: the same set of
phrases, the same species of characters, incidents, and adventures,
and often the same identical stories being found in the old metrical
romances of both nations.[V]

The distinguished service which Richard received from one of his own
minstrels, in rescuing him from his cruel and tedious captivity, is a
remarkable fact, which ought to be recorded for the honour of poets
and their art. This fact I shall relate in the following words of an
ancient writer.[1050]

"The Englishmen were more then a whole yeare, without hearing any
tydings of their king, or in what place he was kept prisoner. He had
trained up in his court a Rimer or Minstrill,[1051] called Blondell
de Nesle: who (so saith the Manuscript of old Poesies,[1052] and
an auncient manuscript French Chronicle) being so long without the
sight of his lord, his life seemed wearisome to him, and he became
confounded with melancholly. Knowne it was, that he came backe from
the Holy Land: but none could tell in what countrey he arrived.
Whereupon this Blondel, resolving to make search for him in many
countries, but he would heare some newes of him; after expence of
divers dayes in travaile, he came to a towne[1053] (by good hap) neere
to the castell where his maister king Richard was kept. Of his host he
demanded to whom the castell appertained, and the host told him, that
it belonged to the duke of Austria. Then he enquired whether there
were any prisoners therein detained or no: for alwayes he made such
secret questionings wheresoever he came. And the hoste gave answer,
there was one onely prisoner, but he knew not what he was, and yet he
had bin detained there more then the space of a yeare. When Blondel
heard this, he wrought such meanes, that he became acquainted with
them of the castell, _as Minstrels doe easily win acquaintance any
where_:[1054] but see the king he could not, neither understand that it
was he. One day he sat directly before a window of the castell, where
king Richard was kept prisoner, and began to sing a song in French,
which king Richard and Blondel had sometime composed together. When
king Richard heard the song, he knew it was Blondel that sung it: and
when Blondel paused at halfe of the song, the king '_began the other
half and completed it_.'[1055] Thus Blondel won knowledge of the king
his maister, and returning home into England, made the barons of the
countrie acquainted where the king was." This happened about the year

The following old Provençal lines are given as the very original
song:[1056] which I shall accompany with an imitation offered by Dr.
Burney (ii. 237.)


  _Domna vostra beutas_          Your beauty, lady fair,
  _Elas bellas faissos_          None views without delight;
  _Els bels oils amoros_         But still so cold an air
  _Els gens cors ben taillats_   No passion can excite:
  _Don sieu empresenats_         Yet this I patient see
  _De vostra amor que mi lia._   While all are shun'd like me.


  _Si bel trop affansia_         No nymph my heart can wound
  _Ja de vos non portrai_        If favour she divide,
  _Que major honorai_            And smiles on all around
  _Sol en votre deman_           Unwilling to decide:
  _Que sautra des beisan_        I'd rather hatred bear
  _Tot can de vos volria._       Than love with others share.

The access which Blondel so readily obtained in the privileged
character of a minstrel, is not the only instance upon record of
the same nature.[V2] In this very reign of K. Richard I. the young
heiress of D'Evreux, Earl of Salisbury, had been carried abroad and
secreted by her French relations in Normandy. To discover the place
of her concealment, a knight of the Talbot family spent two years in
exploring that province: at first under the disguise of a pilgrim, till
having found where she was confined, in order to gain admittance he
assumed the dress and character of a harper, and being a jocose person
exceedingly skilled in "the Gests of the ancients"[1057]--so they
called the romances and stories which were the delight of that age--he
was gladly received into the family, whence he took an opportunity
to carry off the young lady, whom he presented to the king; and he
bestowed her on his natural brother William Longespee (son of fair
Rosamond), who became in her right Earl of Salisbury. [V3]

The next memorable event which I find in history, reflects credit on
the English minstrels; and this was their contributing to the rescue
of one of the great Earls of Chester when besieged by the Welsh. This
happened in the reign of K. John, and is related to this effect:[1058]--

Hugh the first Earl of Chester, in his charter of foundation of
St. Werburg's Abbey in that city, had granted such a privilege to
those, who should come to Chester fair, that they should not be then
apprehended for theft or any other misdemeanor, except the crime were
committed during the fair. This special protection, occasioning a
multitude of loose people to resort to that fair, was afterwards of
signal benefit to one of his successors. For Ranulph the last Earl of
Chester, marching into Wales with a slender attendance, was constrained
to retire to his castle of Rothelan (or Rhuydland) to which the Welsh
forthwith laid siege. In this distress he sent for help to the Lord De
Lacy, Constable of Chester: "Who, making use of the minstrells of all
sorts, then met at Chester fair, by the allurement of their musick,
got together a vast number of such loose people, as, by reason of the
before specified priviledge, were then in that city; whom he forthwith
sent under the conduct of Dutton (his steward)," a gallant youth, who
was also his son in law. The Welsh, alarmed at the approach of this
rabble, supposing them to be a regular body of armed and disciplined
veterans, instantly raised the siege and retired.

For this good service Ranulph is said to have granted to De Lacy by
charter the patronage and authority over the minstrels and the loose
and inferior people; who, retaining to himself that of the lower
artificers, conferred on Dutton the jurisdiction of the minstrels and
harlots:[1059] and under the descendants of this family the minstrels
enjoyed certain privileges, and protection for many ages. For even
so late as the reign of Elizabeth, when this profession had fallen
into such discredit that it was considered in law as a nuisance, the
minstrels under the jurisdiction of the family of Dutton are expressly
excepted out of all acts of parliament made for their suppression; and
have continued to be so excepted ever since.[W]

The ceremonies attending the exercise of this jurisdiction are thus
described by Dugdale[1060] as handed down to his time, viz. "That at
midsummer fair there, all the minstrels of that countrey resorting to
Chester, do attend the heir of Dutton, from his lodging to St. John's
church (he being then accompanied by many gentlemen of the countrey)
one of 'the minstrels' walking before him in a surcoat of his arms
depicted on taffata; the rest of his fellows proceeding (two and two)
and playing on their several sorts of musical instruments. And after
divine service ended, give the like attendance on him back to his
lodging; where a court being kept by his (Mr. Dutton's) Steward, and
all the minstrels formally called, certain orders and laws are usually
made for the better government of that Society, with penalties on those
who transgress."

In the same reign of K. John we have a remarkable instance of a
minstrel, who to his other talents superadded the character of
Soothsayer, and by his skill in drugs and medicated potions was able to
rescue a knight from imprisonment. This occurs in Leland's Narrative
of the Gestes of Guarine (or Warren) and his sons, which he "excerptid
owte of an old Englisch boke yn ryme,"[1061] and is as follows:

Whitington Castle, in Shropshire, which together with the coheiress
of the original proprietor had been won in a solemn turnament by
the ancestor of the Guarines,[1062] had in the reign of K. John
been seized by the Prince of Wales, and was afterwards possessed by
Morice, a retainer of that Prince, to whom the king out of hatred to
the true heir Fulco Guarine (with whom he had formerly had a quarrel
at Chess)[1063] not only confirmed the possession, but also made him
governor of the marches, of which Fulco himself had the custody in
the time of K. Richard. The Guarines demanded justice of the king,
but obtaining no gracious answer, renounced their allegiance and
fled into Bretagne. Returning into England, after various conflicts,
"Fulco resortid to one John of Raumpayne, a Sothsayer and Jocular
and Minstrelle, and made hym his spy to Morice at Whitington." The
privileges of this character we have already seen, and John so well
availed himself of them, that in consequence of the intelligence
which he doubtless procured, "Fulco, and his brethrene laide waite
for Morice, as he went toward Salesbyri, and Fulco ther woundid hym:
and Bracy" (a knight, who was their friend and assistant), "cut of
Morice['s] hedde." This sir Bracy being in a subsequent rencounter
sore wounded, was taken and brought to K. John; from whose vengeance
he was however rescued by this notable minstrel; for "John Rampayne
founde the meanes to cast them, that kepte Bracy, into a deadely
slepe; and so he and Bracy cam to Fulco to Whitington," which on the
death of Morice had been restored to him by the Prince of Wales. As
no further mention occurs of the minstrel, I might here conclude this
narrative; but I shall just add, that Fulco was obliged to flee into
France, where assuming the name of Sir Amice, he distinguished himself
in justs and turnaments; and, after various romantic adventures by sea
and land (having in the true stile of chivalry rescued "certayne ladies
owt of prison"), he finally obtained the king's pardon, and the quiet
possession of Whitington Castle.

In the reign of K. Henry III. we have mention of Master Richard the
King's harper, to whom in his 36th year (1252) that monarch gave not
only forty shillings, and a pipe of wine, but also a pipe of wine to
Beatrice his wife.[1064] The title of _magister_, or master, given to
this minstrel deserves notice, and shews his respectable situation.

       *       *       *       *       *

V. The harper, or minstrel, was so necessary an attendant on a royal
personage, that Prince Edward (afterwards K. Edward I.) in his Crusade
to the Holy Land, in 1271, was not without his harper, who must have
been officially very near his person, as we are told by a contemporary
historian[1065] that, in the attempt to assassinate that heroic prince,
when he had wrested the poisoned knife out of the Sarazen's hand and
killed him with his own weapon, the attendants, who had stood apart
while he was whispering to their master, hearing the struggle, ran
to his assistance, and one of them, to wit his harper, seizing a
tripod or trestle, struck the assassin on the head and beat out his
brains.[1066] And though the Prince blamed him for striking the man
after he was dead, yet his near access shews the respectable situation
of this officer; and his affectionate zeal should have induced Edward
to entreat his brethren the Welsh Bards afterwards with more lenity.

Whatever was the extent of this great monarch's severity towards the
professors of music and of song in Wales; whether the executing by
martial law such of them as fell into his hands was only during the
heat of conflict, or was continued afterwards with more systematic
rigor;[1067] yet in his own court the minstrels appear to have
been highly favoured; for when, in 1306, he conferred the order of
knighthood on his son, and many others of the young nobility, a
multitude of minstrels were introduced to invite and induce the new
knights to make some military vow.[X] And

Under the succeeding reign of K. Edward II. such extensive privileges
were claimed by these men, and by dissolute persons assuming their
character, that it became a matter of public grievance, and was
obliged to be reformed by an express regulation in A.D. 1315.[Y]
Notwithstanding which, an incident is recorded in the ensuing year,
which shews that minstrels still retained the liberty of entering at
will into the royal presence, and had something peculiarly splendid in
their dress. It is thus related by Stow.[Z]

"In the year 1316, Edward the second did solemnize his feast of
Pentecost at Westminster, in the great hall: where sitting royally at
the table with his peers about him, there entered a woman _adorned
like a minstrel_, sitting on a great horse trapped, _as minstrels_
_then used_; who rode round about the tables, shewing pastime; and at
length came up to the king's table, and laid before him a letter, and
forthwith turning her horse saluted every one and departed."----The
subject of this letter was a remonstrance to the king on the favours
heaped by him on his minions, to the neglect of his knights and
faithful servants.

The privileged character of a minstrel was employed on this occasion,
as sure of gaining an easy admittance; and a female the rather deputed
to assume it, that in case of detection, her sex might disarm the
king's resentment. This is offered on a supposition, that she was
not a real minstrel; for there should seem to have been women of this
profession,[Aa] as well as of the other sex; and no accomplishment is
so constantly attributed to females, by our ancient bards, as their
singing to and playing on the harp.[Aa2]

In the fourth year of K. Richard II. John of Gaunt erected at Tutbury
in Staffordshire, a court of minstrels, similar to that annually kept
at Chester (p. 363), and which, like a Court-Leet or Court-Baron, had
a legal jurisdiction, with full power to receive suit and service from
the men of this profession within five neighbouring countries, to enact
laws, and determine their controversies; and to apprehend and arrest
such of them as should refuse to appear at the said court, annually
held on the 16th of August. For this they had a charter by which they
were empowered to appoint a king of the minstrels, with four officers
to preside over them.[Bb] These were every year elected with great
ceremony; the whole form of which as observed in 1680, is described by
Dr. Plott:[1068] in whose time however they appear to have lost their
singing talents, and to have confined all their skill to "wind and
string music."[1069]

The minstrels seem to have been in many respects upon the same footing
as the heralds; and the king of the minstrels, like the king at arms,
was both here and on the Continent an usual officer in the courts of
princes. Thus we have in the reign of K. Edward I. mention of a King
Robert, and others. And in 16 Edw. II. is a grant to William de Morlee
"the king's Minstrel, stiled _Roy de North_,"[1070] of houses which had
belonged to another king, John le Boteler.[Bb2] Rymer hath also printed
a licence granted by K. Richard II. in 1387, to John Caumz, the king of
his minstrels, to pass the seas, recommending him to the protection and
kind treatment of all his subjects and allies.[1071]

In the subsequent reign of K. Henry IV. we meet with no particulars
relating to the minstrels in England, but we find in the Statute Book
a severe law passed against their brethren the Welsh bards; whom our
ancestors could not distinguish from their own _Rimours, Ministralx_;
for by these names they describe them.[Bb3] This act plainly shews
that far from being extirpated by the rigorous policy of K. Edward I.,
this order of men were still able to alarm the English government,
which attributed to them "many diseases and mischiefs in Wales," and
prohibited their meetings and contributions.

When his heroic son K. Henry V. was preparing his great voyage for
France in 1415, an express order was given for his minstrels, fifteen
in number, to attend him:[1072] and eighteen are afterwards mentioned,
to each of whom he allowed xii_d._ a day, when that sum must have been
of more than ten times the value it is at present.[1073] Yet when he
entered London in triumph after the battle of Agincourt, he, from a
principle of humility, slighted the pageants and verses which were
prepared to hail his return; and, as we are told by Holinshed,[1074]
would not suffer "any Dities to be made and song by minstrels, of
his glorious victorie; for that he would whollie have the praise and
thankes altogether given to God."[Bb4] But this did not proceed from
any disregard for the professors of music or of song; for at the feast
of Pentecost which he celebrated in 1416, having the Emperor and the
Duke of Holland for his guests, he ordered rich gowns for sixteen of
his minstrels, of which the particulars are preserved by Rymer.[1075]
And having before his death orally granted an annuity of 100 shillings
to each of his minstrels, the grant was confirmed in the first year
of his son K. Henry VI., A.D. 1423, and payment ordered out of the

The unfortunate reign of K. Henry VI. affords no occurrences respecting
our subject; but in his 34th year, A.D. 1456, we have in Rymer[1077] a
commission for impressing boys or youths, to supply vacancies by death
among the king's minstrels; in which it is expressly directed that they
shall be elegant in their limbs, as well as instructed in the minstrel
art, wherever they can be found, for the solace of his Majesty.

In the following reign, K. Edward IV. (in his 9th year, 1469) upon
a complaint that certain rude husbandmen and artificers of various
trades had assumed the title and livery of the king's minstrels, and
under that colour and pretence had collected money in diverse parts of
the kingdom and committed other disorders, the king grants to Walter
Haliday, Marshal, and to seven others his own minstrels whom he names,
a charter,[1078] by which he creates, or rather restores a fraternity
or perpetual Gild (such, as he understands, the brothers and sisters
of the fraternity of minstrels had in times past) to be governed by a
Marshal appointed for life and by two wardens to be chosen annually;
who are impowered to admit brothers and sisters into the said Gild, and
are authorized to examine the pretensions of all such as affected to
exercise the minstrel profession; and to regulate, govern, and punish
them throughout the realm (those of Chester excepted).--This seems to
have some resemblance to the Earl Marshal's Court among the heralds,
and is another proof of the great affinity and resemblance which the
minstrels bore to the members of the College of Arms.

It is remarkable that Walter Haliday, whose name occurs as marshal in
the foregoing charter, had been retained in the service of the two
preceding monarchs, K. Henry V.[1079] and VI.;[1080] nor is this the
first time he is mentioned as marshal of the king's minstrels, for in
the third year of this reign, 1464, he had a grant from K. Edward of
ten marks per annum during life directed to him with that title.[1081]

But besides their marshal, we have also in this reign mention of a
Sergeant of the minstrels, who upon a particular occasion was able
to do his royal master a singular service, wherein his confidential
situation and ready access to the king at all hours is very apparent;
for "as he [K. Edward IV.] was in the north contray in the monneth of
Septembre, as he lay in his bedde, one namid Alexander Carlile, that
was _Sariaunt of the Mynstrellis_, cam to him in grete hast, and badde
hym aryse for he hadde enemyes cummyng for to take him, the which
were within vi. or vii. mylis, of the which tydinges the king gretely
marveylid, &c."[1082] This happened in the same year, 1469, wherein
the king granted or confirmed the charter for the fraternity or Gild
above-mentioned; yet this Alexander Carlisle is not one of the eight
minstrels to whom that charter is directed.[1083]

The same charter was renewed by K. Henry VIII. in 1520, to John Gilman
his then marshal, and to seven others his minstrels;[1084] and on
the death of Gilman he granted in 1529 this office of Marshal of his
minstrels to Hugh Wodehouse,[1085] whom I take to have borne the office
of his serjeant over them.[1086]

       *       *       *       *       *

VI. In all the establishments of royal and noble households, we find
an ample provision made for the minstrels; and their situation to have
been both honourable and lucrative. In proof of this it is sufficient
to refer to the Household Book of the Earl of Northumberland, A.D.
1512.[Cc] And the rewards they received so frequently recur in ancient
writers that it is unnecessary to crowd the page with them here.[Cc2]

The name of minstrel seems however to have been gradually appropriated
to the musician only, especially in the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries; yet we occasionally meet with applications of the term in
its more enlarged meaning as including the singer, if not the composer
of heroic or popular rhymes.[1087]

In the time of K. Henry VIII. we find it to have been a common
entertainment to hear verses recited, or moral speeches learned for
that purpose, by a set of men who got their livelihood by repeating
them, and who intruded without ceremony into all companies; not only in
taverns, but in the houses of the nobility themselves. This we learn
from Erasmus, whose argument led him only to describe a species of
these men who _did not sing_ their compositions; but the others that
_did_, enjoyed without doubt the same privileges.[Dd]

For even long after, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, it was usual
"in places of assembly" for the company to be "desirous to heare of
old adventures and valiaunces of noble knights in times past, as
those of king Arthur, and his knights of the round table, Sir Bevys
of Southampton, Guy of Warwicke and others like" in "short and long
meetres, and by breaches or divisions (sc. Fits)[1088] to be more
commodiously sung to the harpe," as the reader may be informed by a
courtly writer in 1589.[1089] Who himself had "written for pleasure
a litle brief romance or historicall ditty ... of the Isle of Great
Britaine" in order to contribute to such entertainment. And he subjoins
this caution: "Such as have not premonition hereof" (viz. that his
poem was written in short metre, &c. to be sung to the harpe in such
places of assembly), "and consideration of the causes alledged, would
peradventure reprove and disgrace every romance, or short historicall
ditty for that they be not written in long meeters or verses
Alexandrins," which constituted the prevailing versification among the
poets or that age, and which no one now can endure to read.

And that the recital of such romances sung to the harp was at that time
the delight of the common people, we are told by the same writer,[1090]
who mentions that "common rimers" were fond of using rimes at short
distances, "in small and popular musickes song by these Cantabanqui"
(the said common rimers) "upon benches and barrels heads," &c. "or
else by blind harpers or such like Taverne minstrels that give a
fit of mirth for a groat; and their matter being for the most part
stories of old time, as the Tale of Sir Topas, the reportes of Bevis
of Southampton, Guy of Warwicke, Adam Bell, and Clymme of the Clough,
and such other old romances, or historicall rimes," &c. "also they be
used in carols and rounds, and such light or lascivious poemes, which
are commonly more commodiously uttered by these buffons, or vices
in playes, then by any other person. Such were the rimes of Skelton
(usurping the name of a poet laureat) being in deede but a rude
railing rimer, and all his doings ridiculous."[1091]

But although we find here that the minstrels had lost much of their
dignity, and were sinking into contempt and neglect: yet that they
still sustained a character far superior to anything we can conceive at
present of the singers of old ballads, I think, may be inferred from
the following representation.

When Queen Elizabeth was entertained at Killingworth Castle by the Earl
of Leicester in 1575, among the many devices and pageants which were
contrived for her entertainment, one of the personages introduced was
to have been that of an ancient minstrel: whose appearance and dress
are so minutely described by a writer there present,[1092] and give us
so distinct an idea of the character, that I shall quote the passage at

"A person very meet seemed he for the purpose, of a xlv years old,
apparelled partly as he would himself. His cap off; his head seemly
rounded Tonsler wise:[1093] fair kembed, that with a sponge daintily
dipt in a little capon's greace was finely smoothed, to make it shine
like a mallard's wing. His beard smugly shaven: and yet his shirt after
the new trink, with ruffs fair starched, sleeked and glistering like
a pair of new shoes, marshalled in good order with a setting stick,
and strut, that every ruff stood up like a wafer. A side (_i.e._ long)
gown of Kendal green, after the freshness of the year now, gathered at
the neck with a narrow gorget, fastened afore with a white clasp and
a keeper close up to the chin; but easily, for heat to undo when he
list. Seemly begirt in a red caddis girdle: from that a pair of capped
Sheffield knives hanging a' two sides. Out of his bosom drawn forth a
lappet of his napkin[1094] edged with a blue lace, and marked with a
true love, a heart, and a D for Damian, for he was but a batchelor yet.

"His gown had side (_i.e._ long) sleeves down to mid-leg, slit from the
shoulder to the hand, and lined with white cotton. His doublet-sleeves
of black worsted: upon them a pair of poynets[1095] of tawny chamlet
laced along the wrist with blue threaden points, a wealt towards the
hand of fustian-a-napes. A pair of red neather stocks. A pair of pumps
on his feet, with a cross cut at the toes for corns: not new indeed,
yet cleanly blackt with soot, and shining as a shoing horn.

"About his neck a red ribband suitable to his girdle. His harp in
good grace dependent before him. His wrest[1096] tyed to a green lace
and hanging by. Under the gorget of his gown a fair flaggon chain
(pewter,[1097] for) silver, as a squire minstrel of Middlesex, that
travelled the country this summer season, unto fairs and worshipful
mens houses. From his chain hung a scutcheon, with metal and colour,
resplendant upon his breast, of the ancient arms of Islington."

This minstrel is described as belonging to that village. I suppose
such as were retained by noble families wore the arms of their patrons
hanging down by a silver chain as a kind of badge.[1098] From the
expression of squire minstrel above, we may conclude there were other
inferior orders, as yeomen minstrels or the like.

This minstrel, the author tells us a little below, "after three lowly
courtsies, cleared his voice with a hem ... and ... wiped his lips with
the hollow of his hand for 'filing his napkin, tempered a string or two
with his wrest, and after a little warbling on his harp for a prelude,
came forth with a solemn song, warranted for story out of King Arthur's
acts, &c." This song the reader will find printed in this work, vol.
iii. book i. No. 3.

Towards the end of the sixteenth century this class of men had lost
all credit, and were sunk so low in the public opinion, that in the
39th year of Elizabeth,[1099] a statute was passed by which "minstrels,
wandering abroad," were included among "rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy
beggars," and were adjudged to be punished as such. This act seems to
have put an end to the profession.[Ee2]

       *       *       *       *       *

VII. I cannot conclude this account of the ancient English minstrels,
without remarking that they are most of them represented to have
been of the North of England. There is scarce an old historical
song or ballad [Ff] wherein a minstrel or harper appears, but he
is characterized by way of eminence to have been "of the North
countreye:"[1100] and, indeed, the prevalence of the Northern dialect
in such compositions shews that this representation is real.[1101] On
the other hand, the scene of the finest Scottish ballads is laid in
the south of Scotland; which should seem to have been peculiarly the
nursery of Scottish minstrels. In the old song of Maggy Lawder, a piper
is asked, by way of distinction, "Come ye frae the Border?"[1102]
The martial spirit constantly kept up and exercised near the frontier
of the two kingdoms, as it furnished continual subjects for their
songs, so it inspired the inhabitants of the adjacent counties on both
sides with the powers of poetry. Besides, as our southern metropolis
must have been ever the scene of novelty and refinement, the northern
countries, as being most distant, would preserve their ancient manners
longest, and, of course, the old poetry, in which those manners are
peculiarly described.

The reader will observe in the more ancient ballads of this collection,
a cast of style and measure very different from that of contemporary
poets of a higher class; many phrases and idioms, which the minstrels
seem to have appropriated to themselves, and a very remarkable licence
of varying the accent of words at pleasure, in order to humour the
flow of the verse, particularly in the rhimes; as

  _Countrìe_    _harpèr_    _battèl_    _mornìng_
  _Ladìe_       _singèr_    _damsèl_    _lovìng_,

instead of _coùntry_, _làdy_, _hàrper_, _sìnger_, &c. This liberty
is but sparingly assumed by the classical poets of the same age; or
even by the latter composers of heroical ballads, I mean by such as
professedly wrote for the press. For it is to be observed, that so long
as the minstrels subsisted, they seem never to have designed their
rhymes for literary publication, and probably never committed them to
writing themselves; what copies are preserved of them were doubtless
taken down from their mouths. But as the old minstrels gradually wore
out, a new race of ballad-writers succeeded, an inferior sort of minor
poets, who wrote narrative songs merely for the press. Instances of
both may be found in the reign of Elizabeth. The two latest pieces in
the genuine strain of the old minstrelsy that I can discover are No. 3
and 4 of book iii. in this volume. Lower than these I cannot trace the
old mode of writing.

The old minstrel ballads are in the northern dialect, abound with
antique words and phrases, are extremely incorrect, and run into the
utmost licence of metre; they have also a romantic wildness, and are
in the true spirit of chivalry. The other sort are written in exacter
measure, have a low or subordinate correctness, sometimes bordering
on the insipid, yet often well adapted to the pathetic; these are
generally in the southern dialect, exhibit a more modern phraseology,
and are commonly descriptive of more modern manners. To be sensible of
the difference between them, let the reader compare in this volume No.
3 of book iii. with No. 11 of book ii.

Towards the end of Queen Elizabeth's reign (as is mentioned above), the
genuine old minstrelsy seems to have been extinct, and henceforth the
ballads that were produced were wholly of the latter kind, and these
came forth in such abundance that in the reign of James I. they began
to be collected into little miscellanies, under the name of Garlands,
and at length to be written purposely for such collections. [Ff2]

       *       *       *       *       *

  P.S. By way of postscript should follow here the discussion of
  the question whether the term Minstrels was applied in English to
  singers and composers of songs, &c. or confined to musicians only.
  But it is reserved for the concluding note.[Gg]

                         THE END OF THE ESSAY.


[1031] The larger Notes and Illustrations referred to by the capital
letters [A] [B] &c. are thrown together to the end of this essay.

[1032] Wedded to no hypothesis, the author hath readily corrected any
mistakes which have been _proved_ to be in this essay; and considering
the novelty of the subject, and the time and place when and where he
first took it up, many such had been excusable.--That the term Minstrel
was not confined, as some contend, to a meer musician in this country,
any more than on the Continent, will be considered more fully in the
last note [Gg] at the end of this essay.

[1033] Vid. Pelloutier, _Hist. des Celtes_, tom. i. l. 2. c. 6. 10.

[1034] _Tacit. de Mor. Germ._ cap. 2.

[1035] Vid. _Bartholin. de Causis contemptæ a Danis mortis_, lib. 1.
cap. 10.--_Wormij Literatura Runic._ ad finem.--See also _Northern_
_Antiquities, or, A Description of the Manners, Customs, &c. of the_
_ancient Danes and other northern nations: from the French of M._
_Mallet_. London, printed for T. Carnan, 1770, 2 vols. 8vo.

[1036] _Torfæi Præfat. ad Orcad. Hist._--Pref. to _Five pieces of
Runic Poetry_, &c.

[1037] Vid. _Chronic. Saxon. à Gibson._ pp. 12, 13, 4to.--_Bed. Hist._
_Eccles. à Smith_, lib. 1, c. 15.--"Ealdsexe [Regio antiq. Saxonum] in
cervice Cimbricæ Chersonesi, Holsatiam proprie dictam, Dithmarsiam,
Stormariam, et Wagriam, complectens."--_Annot. in Bed. à Smith_, p.
52. Et vid. _Camdeni Britan_.

[1038] "Anglia Vetus, hodie etiam Anglen, sita est inter Saxones et
Giotes [Jutos], habens oppidum capitale ... Sleswick."--_Ethelwerd_,
lib. 1.

[1039] See _Northern Antiquities_, &c. vol i. pp. 7, 8, 185, 259, 260,

[1040] See _Northern Antiquities_, Preface, p. xxvi.

[1041] See Rapin's _Hist._ (by Tindal, fol. 1732, vol. i. p. 36) who
places the incident here related under the year 495.

[1042] By Bale and Spelman. See Note [M].

[1043] _Ibid._

[1044] _Anno_ 938. Vid. Rapin, &c.

[1045] So I think the name should be printed, rather then Anlaff, the
more usual form (the same traces of the letters express both names
in MS.), Aulaff being evidently the genuine northern name Olaff, or
Olave. Lat. Olaus. In the old Romance of _Horn-Childe_ (see vol. iii.
Appendix), the name of the king his father is Allof, which is evidently
Ollaf, with the vowels only transposed.

[1046] Rollo was invested in his new duchy of Normandy, A.D. 912.
William invaded England, A.D. 1066.

[1047] Vid. _Hist. des Troubadours_, 3 tom. passim, & vid. _Fableaux
ou Contes du XII. & du XIII. Siécle, traduits, &c. avec des Notes
historiques & critiques, &c._ par M. le Grand. Paris, 1781, 5 tom.

[1048] See Notes [B] and [Aa]

[1049] See a pathetic song of his in Mr. Walpole's _Catalogue of
Royal Authors_, vol. i. p. 5. The reader will find a translation of
it into modern French, in _Hist. littéraire des Troubadours_, 1774, 3
tom. 12mo. See vol. i. (p. 58) where some more of Richard's poetry is
translated. In Dr. Burney's _Hist. of Music_, vol. ii. p. 238, is a
poetical version of it in English.

[1050] Mons. Favine's _Theatre of Honour and Knighthood_, translated
from the French. London, 1623, fol. tom. ii. p. 49. An elegant relation
of the same event (from the French of Presid. Fauchet's _Recueil_, &c.)
may be seen in _Miscellanies in prose and verse_: by Anna Williams,
London, 1766, 4to. p. 46. It will excite the reader's admiration to be
informed that most of the pieces of that collection were composed under
the disadvantage of a total deprivation of sight.

[1051] Favine's words are, "Jongleur appellé Blondiaux de Nesle,"
Paris, 1620, _4to_. p. 1106. But Fauchet, who has given the same
story, thus expresses it, "Or ce roy ayant nourri un Menestrel appellé
Blondel, &c." liv. 2, p. 92. _Des anciens Poëtes François._ He is
however said to have been another Blondel, not Blondel (or Blondiaux)
de Nesle: but this no way affects the circumstances of the story.

[1052] This the author calls in another place, _An ancient MS. of old_
_Poesies, written about those very times_. From this MS. Favine gives a
good account of the taking of Richard by the duke of Austria, who sold
him to the emperor. As for the MS. chronicle, it is evidently the same
that supplied Fauchet with this story. See his _Recueil de l'Origine de
la Langue & Poesie Françoise, Ryme, & Romans, &c._ Par. 1581.

[1053] Tribales. "Retrudi eum præcepit in Triballis: a quo carcere
nullus ante dies istos exivit."--_Lat. Chron. of Otho of Austria_: apud

[1054] _Comme Menestrels s'accointent legerement._--Favine. (Fauchet
expresses it in the same manner.)

[1055] I give this passage corrected, as the English translator of
Favine's book appeared here to have mistaken the original:--Scil. "Et
quant Blondel eut dit la moitie de la Chanson, le Roy Richart se prist
a dire l'autre moitie et l'acheva."--FAVINE, p. 1106. Fauchet has also
expressed it in nearly the same words. _Recueil_, p. 93.

[1056] In a little romance or novel, intitled, _La Tour Tenebreuse, et_
_les Jours lumineux, Contes Angloises, accompagnez d'Historiettes, &_
_tirez a'une ancienne Chronique composee par Richard, surnomme Coeur
de Lion, Roy d'Angleterre, &c._ Paris, 1705, 12mo. In the Preface to
this Romance the editor has given another song of Blondel de Nesle, as
also a copy of the song written by K. Richard, and published by Mr.
Walpole, mentioned above (in Note [1049], p. 357), yet the two last are
not in Provençal like the sonnet printed here; but in the old French,
called _Langage Roman_.

[1057] The words of the original, viz. "Citharisator homo jocosus in
Gestis antiquorum valde peritus," I conceive to give the precise idea
of the ancient minstrel. See Note [V2]. That Gesta was appropriated to
romantic stories, see Note [I], Part IV. (i.)

[1058] See Dugdale (Bar. i. 42, 101), who places it after 13 John, A.D.
1212. See also Plot's _Staffordsh._ Camden's _Britann._ (Cheshire).

[1059] See the ancient record in Blount's _Law Dictionary_. (Art.

[1060] _Ibid._ p. 101.

[1061] Leland's _Collectanea_, vol. i. p. 261, 266, 267.

[1062] This old feudal custom of marrying an heiress to the knight who
should vanquish all his opponents in solemn contest, &c. appears to be
burlesqued in the _Turnament of Totenham_ (see vol. ii. book i. No. 4),
as is well observed by the learned author of _Remarks_, &c. in _Gent.
Mag._ for July, 1794, p. 613.

[1063] "John, sun to K. Henry, and Fulco felle at variance at
Chestes [r. Chesse]; and John brake Fulco[s] hed with the Chest
borde: and then Fulco gave him such a blow, that he had almost
killid hym."--Lel. _Coll._ 1, p. 264. A curious picture of courtly
manners in that age! Notwithstanding this fray, we read in the next
paragraph, that "K. Henry dubbid Fulco & 3 of his bretherne knightes at

[1064] Burney's _Hist._ ii. p. 355. Rot. Pip. An. 36, H. 3. "Et in uno
dolio vini empto & dato Magistro Ricardo Citharistæ Regis, xl sol. per
br. Reg. Et in uno dolio empto & dato Beatrici uxori ejusdem Ricardi."

[1065] Walter Hemmingford (_vixit temp._ Edw. I.) in Chronic. cap. 35,
inter _V. Hist. Ang. Scriptores_, vol. ii. Oxon. 1687, fol. p. 591.

[1066] "Accurrentes ad hæc Ministri ejus, qui a longe steterunt,
invenerunt eum (scil. Nuntium) in terra mortuum, et apprehendit unus
eorum tripodem, scilicet Cithareda suus & percussit eum in capite, et
effundit cerebrum ejus. Increpavitque eum Edwardus quod hominem mortuum
percussisset."--_Ibid._ These _ministri_ must have been upon a very
confidential footing, as it appears above in the same chapter that they
had been made acquainted with the contents of the letters, which the
assassin had delivered to the prince from his master.

[1067] See Gray's _Ode_: and the Hist. of the Gwedir Family in
_Miscellanies by the Hon. Daines Barrington_, 1781, 4to. p. 386; who
in the laws, &c. of this monarch could find no instances of severity
against the Welsh. See his _Observations on the Statutes_, 4to. 4th
edit. p. 358.

[1068] _Hist. of Staffordshire_, Ch. 10, Section 69-76, p. 433, & seqq.
of which see extracts in Sir J. Hawkins's _Hist. of Music_, vol. ii. p.
64, and Dr. Burney's _Hist._ vol. ii. p. 360 & seqq.

N.B. The barbarous diversion of Bull-running was no part of the
original institution, &c. as is fully proved by the Rev. Dr. Pegge in
_Archæologia_, vol. ii. No. xiii. p. 86.

[1069] See the charge given by the steward, at the time of the
election, in Plot's _Hist._ ubi supra; and in Hawkins, p. 67, Burney,
p. 363-4.

[1070] So among the heralds _Norrey_ was anciently stiled _Roy d'Armes_
_de North_ (Anstis, ii. 300). And the kings at armes in general were
originally called _Reges Heraldorum_ (_Ibid._ 302), as these were
_Reges Minstrallorum_.

[1071] Rymer's, _Fædera_, tom. vii. p. 555.

[1072] Rymer, ix. 255.

[1073] _Ibid._ p. 260.

[1074] See his _Chronicle_, sub anno 1415 (p. 1170). He also gives
this other instance of the king's great modesty, "that he would not
suffer his helmet to be carried with him, and shewed to the people,
that they might behold the dintes and cuttes, whiche appeared in the
same, of such blowes and stripes, as hee received the daye of the
battell."--_Ibid._ Vid. T. de Elmham, c. 29, p. 72.

The prohibition against vain and secular songs would probably not
include that inserted in our 2nd vol. No. v. which would be considered
as a hymn. The original notes may be seen reduced and set to score
in Mr. Stafford Smith's _Collection of English Songs for 3 and 4
voices_, and in Dr. Burney's _Hist. of Music_, ii. p. 384.

[1075] T. ix. 336.

[1076] _Ibid._ x. 287. They are mentioned by name, being _ten_ in
number: one of them was named Thomas Chatterton.

[1077] Tom. xi. 375.

[1078] See it in Rymer, t. xi. 642, and in Sir J. Hawkins, vol. iv. p.
366, note. The above charter is recited in letters patent of K. Charles
I. 15 July (11 Anno Regni) for a corporation of musicians, &c. in
Westminster, which may be seen, _ibid._

[1079] Rymer, ix. 255.

[1080] _Ibid._ xi. 375.

[1081] Rymer, xi. 512.

[1082] Here unfortunately ends a curious fragment (an. 9, E. IV.), ad
calcem _Sprotti Chron._ Ed. Hearne, Oxon. 1719, 8vo. Vid. T. Warton's
_Hist._ ii. p. 134, note [C].

[1083] Rymer, xi. 642.

[1084] _Ibid._ xiii. 705.

[1085] _Ibid._ xiv. 2. 93.

[1086] So I am inclined to understand the term Serviens noster Hugo
Wodehous, in the original Grant (see Rymer, _ubi supra_). It is
needless to observe that _Serviens_ expressed a serjeant as well as
a servant. If this interpretation of _Serviens_ be allowed, it will
account for his placing Wodehouse at the head of his Gild, although
he had not been one of the eight minstrels who had had the general
direction. The serjeant of his minstrells, we may presume, was next in
dignity to the marshal, although he had no share in the government of
the Gild.

[1087] See below, and Note [Gg].

[1088] See vol. ii. book 2, No. 10.

[1089] Puttenham in his _Arte of English Poesie_, 1589, 4to. p. 33. See
the quotation in its proper order in vol ii. book ii. No. 10.

[1090] _Ibid._ p. 69. See vol. ii. book 2, No. 10.

[1091] Puttenham, &c. p. 69.

[1092] See a very curious "Letter: whearin, part of the entertainment
untoo the Queenz Maiesty, at Killingwoorth Castl, in Warwick Sheer,
in this soomerz Progress 1575, iz signified," &c. bl. l. 4to. vid. p.
46, & seqq. (Printed in Nichols's _Collection of Queen Elizabeth's
Progresses_, &c. in 2 vols. 4to.) We have not followed above the
peculiar and affected orthography of this writer, who was named Ro.
Laneham, or rather Langham.

[1093] I suppose "Tonsure-wise," after the manner of the monks.

[1094] _i.e._ handkerchief. So in Shakspear's _Othello_, passim.

[1095] Perhaps, points.

[1096] The key, or screw, with which he tuned his harp.

[1097] The reader will remember that this was not a real minstrel, but
only one personating that character; his ornaments therefore were only
such as _outwardly_ represented those of a real minstrel.

[1098] As the house of Northumberland had anciently three minstrels
attending on them in their castles in Yorkshire, so they still retain
three in their service in Northumberland, who wear the badge of the
family (a silver crescent on the right arm), and are thus distributed;
_viz._ one for the barony of Prudhoe, and two for the barony of
Rothbury. These attend the court leets and fairs held for the Lord, and
pay their annual suit and service at Alnwick castle; their instrument
being the ancient Northumberland bagpipe (very different in form and
execution from that of the Scots, being smaller; and blown, not with
the breath, but with a small pair of bellows).

This, with many other venerable customs of the ancient Lord Percys, was
revived by their illustrious representatives the late Duke and Dutchess
of Northumberland.

[1099] Anno Dom. 1597. Vid. _Pult. Stat._ p. 1110, 39 Eliz.

[1100] See this vol. Song 6, v. 156, 180, &c.

[1101] Giraldus Cambrensis, writing in the reign of K. Henry II.
mentions a very extraordinary habit or propensity, which then prevailed
in the north of England, beyond the Humber, for "symphonious harmony,"
or singing "in two parts, the one murmuring in the base, and the other
warbling in the acute or treble." (I use Dr. Burney's version, vol.
ii. p. 108.) This he describes as practised by their very children
from the cradle; and he derives it from the Danes (so _Daci_ signifies
in our old writers) and Norwegians, who long over-ran and in effect
new-peopled the northern parts of England, where alone this manner of
singing prevailed. (Vide _Cambriae Descriptio_, cap. 13, and in Burney,
_ubi supra_.) Giraldus is probably right as to the origin or derivation
of this practise, for the Danish and Icelandic scalds had carried the
arts of poetry and singing to great perfection at the time the Danish
settlements were made in the north. And it will also help to account
for the superior skill and fame of our northern minstrels and harpers
afterwards: who had preserved and transmitted the arts of their scaldic
ancestors. See _Northern Antiquities_, vol. i. c. 13, p. 386, and _Five
pieces of Runic poetry_, 1763, 8vo. Compare the original passage in
Giraldus, as given by Sir John Hawkins, i. 408, and by Dr. Burney,
ii. 108, who are both at a loss to account for this peculiarity, and
therefore doubt the fact. The credit of Giraldus, which hath been
attacked by some partial and bigotted antiquaries, the reader will find
defended in that learned and curious work, _Antiquities of Ireland_, by
Edward Ledwich, LL.D. &c. Dublin, 1790, 4to. p. 207, & seqq.

[1102] This line being quoted from memory, and given as old Scottish
poetry, would have been readily corrected by the copy published
in _Scottish Songs_, 1794, 2 vols. 12mo. i. p. 267, thus (though
apparently corrupted from the Scottish idiom):

    "Live you upo' the Border?"

had not all confidence been destroyed by its being altered in the
_Historical Essay_, prefixed to that publication (p. cx.) to

    "Ye live upo' the Border,"

the better to favour a position, that many of the pipers "might live
upon the border, for the conveniency of attending fairs, &c. in both
kingdoms." But whoever is acquainted with that part of England knows
that on the English frontier rude mountains and barren wastes reach
almost across the island, scarcely inhabited by any but solitary
shepherds; many of whom durst not venture into the opposite border on
account of the ancient feuds and subsequent disputes concerning the
Debatable Lands, which separated the boundaries of the two kingdoms,
as well as the estates of the two great families of Percy and Douglas;
till these disputes were settled, not many years since, by arbitration
between the _present_ Lord Douglas, and the _late_ Duke and Dutchess of




[A] [_The Minstrels, &c._]

The word _minstrel_ does not appear to have been in use here before
the Norman Conquest: whereas it had long before that time been adopted
in France.[1103] Menestrel, so early as the eighth century, was a
title given to the _Maestro di Capella_ of K. Pepin, the father of
Charlemagne; and afterwards to the Coryphæus, or leader of any band
of musicians (v. Burney's _Hist. of Music_, ii. 268). This term
_menestrel_, _menestrier_ was thus expressed in Latin, _ministellus_,
_ministrellus_, _ministrallus_, _menesterellus_, &c. (Vid. _Gloss. Du
Cange_, and Supplement.)

Menage derives the French words above mentioned from _ministerialis_
or _ministeriarius_, barbarous Latin terms, used in the middle ages to
express a workman or artificer (still called in Languedoc _ministral_),
as if these men were styled artificers or performers by way of
excellence (vid. _Diction. Etym._) But the origin of the name is given
perhaps more truly by Du Cange, "Ministelli ... quos vulgo _menestreux_
vel _menestriers_ appellamus, quod minoribus aulæ _ministris_
accenserentur." (_Gloss._ iv. p. 769.) Accordingly, we are told, the
word "_minister_" is sometimes used "pro _ministellus_" (_Ibid._),
and an instance is produced which I shall insert at large in the next

Minstrels sometimes assisted at divine service, as appears from the
record of the ninth of Edw. IV. quoted above in p. 371 by which
Haliday and others are erected into a perpetual Gild, &c. See the
original in _Rymer_, xi. 642. By part of this record it is recited to
be their duty to pray (_exorare_: which it is presumed they did by
assisting in the chant, and musical accompaniment, &c.) The same also
appears from the passage in the Supplem. to Du Cange, alluded to above.
"Minister ... pro _Ministellus_ Joculator[1104]--Vetus ceremoniale MS.
B. M. deauratæ Tolos. Item, etiam congregabuntur Piscatores, qui debent
interesse isto die in processione cum _Ministris_ seu Joculatoribus:
quia ipsi Piscatores tenentur habere isto die _Joculatores_, seu
_Mimos_ ob _honorem Crucis_--et vadunt primi ante processionem cum
_Ministris_ seu Joculatoribus semper pulsantibus usque ad ecclesiam S.
Stephani" (_Gloss_. 773). This may perhaps account for the clerical
appearance of the minstrels, who seem to have been distinguished by
the tonsure, which was one of the inferior marks of the clerical
character.[1105] Thus Jeffery of Monmouth, speaking of one who acted
the part of a minstrel, says, _Rasit capillos suos & barbam_ (see note
[K]). Again, a writer in the reign of Elizabeth, describing the habit
of an ancient minstrel, speaks of his head as "rounded tonster-wise"
(which I venture to read tonsure-wise), "his beard smugly shaven." See
above, p. 375.

It must, however, be observed, that notwithstanding such clerical
appearance of the minstrels, and though they might be sometimes
countenanced by such of the clergy as were of more relaxed morals,
their sportive talents rendered them generally obnoxious to the more
rigid ecclesiastics, and to such of the religious orders as were of
more severe discipline; whose writings commonly abound with heavy
complaints of the great encouragement shewn to those men by the princes
and nobles, and who can seldom afford them a better name than that of
_scurræ, famelici, nebulones_, &c. of which innumerable instances may
be seen in Du Cange. It was even an established order in some of the
monasteries, that no minstrel should ever be suffered to enter their

We have, however, innumerable particulars of the good cheer and great
rewards given to the minstrels in many of the convents, which are
collected by T. Warton (i. 91, &c.) and others. But one instance,
quoted from Wood's _Hist. Antiq. Univ. Ox._ i. 67. (Sub. An. 1224)
deserves particular mention. Two itinerant priests, on a supposition
of their being _mimi_ or _minstrels_, gained admittance. But the
cellarer, sacrist, and others of the brethren, who had hoped to have
been entertained with their diverting arts, &c. when they found them to
be only two indigent ecclesiastics, who could only administer spiritual
consolation, and were consequently disappointed of their mirth, beat
them and turned them out of the monastery. (_Ibid._ p. 92.) This
passage furnishes an additional proof that a minstrel might by his
dress or appearance be mistaken for an ecclesiastic.

[B] [_The minstrels use mimicry and action, and other means of
diverting, &c._] It is observable that our old monkish historians do
not use the words _cantator_, _citharædus_, _musicus_, or the like,
to express a minstrel in Latin, so frequently as _mimus_, _histrio_,
_joculator_, or some other word that implies gesture. Hence it might
be inferred that the minstrels set off their songs with all the arts
of gesticulation, &c. or according to the ingenious hypothesis of Dr.
Brown, united the powers of melody, poem, and dance. (See his _History
of the Rise of Poetry_, &c.)

But indeed all the old writers describe them as exercising various
arts of this kind. Joinville, in his _Life of S. Lewis_, speaks
of some Armenian minstrels, who were very dextrous tumblers and
posture masters. "Avec le Prince vinrent trois Menestriers de la
Grande Hyermenie (Armenia) ... et avoient trois cors--Quand ils
encommenceoient a corner, vous dissiez que ce sont les voix de
cygnes, ... et fesoient les plus douces melodies.--Ils fesoient
trois merveilleus _saus_, car on leur metoit une touaille desous les
piez, et tournoient tout debout ... Les deux tournoients les testes
arieres," &c. (See the extract at large, in the Hon. D. Barrington's
_Observations on the Anc. Statutes_, 4to. 2nd edit. p. 273, omitted in
the last impression.)

This may also account for that remarkable clause in the press warrant
of Henry VI. "_De Ministrallis propter solatium regis providendis_,"
by which it is required, that the boys, to be provided _in arte
Ministrallatûs instructos_, should also be _membris naturalibus_
_elegantes_. See above, p. 370. (_Observ. on the Anc. Stat._ 4th edit.
p. 337.)

Although by minstrel was properly understood, in English, one who sang
to the harp, or some other instrument of music, verses composed by
himself or others; yet the term was also applied by our old writers to
such as professed either music or singing separately, and perhaps to
such as practised any of the sportive arts connected with these.[1107]
Music, however, being the leading idea, was at length peculiarly called
minstrelsy, and the name of minstrel at last confined to the musician

In the French language all these arts were included under the general
name of _menestraudie_, _menestraudise_, _jonglerie_, &c. (Med. Lat.
_menestellorum ars_, _ars joculatoria_, &c.) "On peut comprendre sous
le nom de jonglerie tout ce qui appartient aux anciens chansonniers
Provençaux, Normands, Picards, &c. Le corps de la jonglerie etoit formé
des _trouveres_, ou _troubadours_, qui composoient les chansons, et
parmi lesquels il y avoit des _improvisateurs_, comme on en trouve en
Italie; des _chanteurs_ ou _chanteres_ qui executoient ou chantoient
ces compositions; des _conteurs_ qui faisoient en vers ou en prose les
contes, les recits, les histoires; des _jongleurs_ ou _menestrels_
qui accompagnoient de leurs instrumens,--L'art de ces chantres ou
chansonniers, etoit nommé la Science Gaie, _Gay Saber_." (Pref.
_Anthologie Franç._ 1765, 8vo. p. 17.) See also the curious Fauchet
(_De l'Orig. de la Lang. Fr._ p. 72, &c.) "Bien tost après la division
de ce grand empire François en tant de petits royaumes, duchez, &
comtez, au lieu des Poetes commencerent a se faire cognoistre les
_trouverres_, et _chanterres_, _contëours_, et _juglëours_: qui sont
trouveurs, chantres, conteurs, jongleurs, ou jugleurs, c'est à dire,
menestriers chantans avec la viole."

We see then that _jongleur_, _jugleur_, (Lat. _joculator_, _juglator_)
was a peculiar name appropriated to the minstrels. "Les jongleurs
ne faisoient que chanter les poesies sur leurs instrumens. On les
appelloit aussi Menestrels," says Fontenelle, in his _Hist. du Theat._
_Franc._ prefixed to his _Life of Corneille_.

[C] [_Successors of the ancient bards._] That the minstrels in many
respects bore a strong resemblance both to the British bards and to
the Danish scalds, appears from this, that the old monkish writers
express them all without distinction by the same names in Latin.
Thus Geoffrey of Monmouth, himself a Welshman, speaking of an old
pagan British King, who excelled in singing and music so far as to
be esteemed by his countrymen the patron deity of the bards, uses
the phrase _Deus_ Joculatorum; which is the peculiar name given to
the English and French minstrels.[1108] In like manner, William
Malmesbury, speaking of a Danish king's assuming the profession of
a scald, expresses it by _professus_ mimum; which was another name
given to the minstrels in middle latinity.[1109] Indeed, Du Cange,
in his _Glossary_, quotes a writer who positively asserts that the
minstrels of the middle ages were the same with the ancient bards.
I shall give a large extract from this learned glossographer, as he
relates many curious particulars concerning the profession and arts of
the minstrels; whom, after the monks, he stigmatizes by the name of
_scurræ_; though he acknowledges their songs often tended to inspire

"Ministelli, dicti præsertim _scurræ_, Mimi, joculatores." ...
"Ejusmodi _scurrarum_ munus erat principes non suis duntaxat ludicris
oblectare, sed et eorum aures variis avorum, adeoque ipsorum principum
laudibus, non sine assentatione, cum cantilenis & musicis instrumentis
demulcere ...

"Interdum etiam virorum insignium & heroum gesta, aut explicata
& jocunda narratione commemorabant, aut suavi vocis inflexione,
fidibusque decantabant, quo sic dominorum, cæterorumque qui his
intererant ludicris, nobilium animos ad virtutem capessendam, et
summorum virorum imitationem accenderent: quod fuit olim apud Gallos
bardorum ministerium, ut auctor est Tacitus. Neque enim alios à
_ministellis_, veterum Gallorum _bardos_ fuisse pluribus probat
Henricus Valesius ad 15 Ammiani.... Chronicon Bertrandi Guesclini.

    "Qui veut avoir renom des bons & des vaillans
    Il doit aler souvent a la pluie & au champs
    Et estre en la bataille, ainsy que fu Rollans,
    Les Quatre Fils Haimon, & Charlon li plus grans,
    Li dus Lions de Bourges, & Guions de Connans
    Perceval li Galois, Lancelot, & Tristans,
    Alixandres, Artus, Godfroi li Sachans,
    De quoy cils _menestriers_ font les nobles _Romans_."

"Nicolaus de Braia describens solenne convivium, quo post
inaugurationem suam proceres excepit Lud. VIII. rex Francorum, ait
inter ipsius convivii apparatum, in medium prodiisse mimum, qui regis
laudes ad cytharam decantavit."

Our author then gives the lines at length, which begin thus,

    "Dumque fovent genium geniali munere Bacchi,
    Nectare commixto curas removente Lyæo
    Principis a facie, citharæ celeberrimus arte
    Assurgit mimus, ars musica quem decoravit.
    Hic ergo chorda resonante subintulit ista:
    Inclyte rex regum, probitatis stemmate vernans,
    Quem vigor & virtus extollit in æthera famæ," &c.

The rest may be seen in Du Cange, who thus proceeds, "Mitto reliqua
similia, ex quibus omnino patet ejusmodi mimorum & ministellorum
cantilenas ad virtutem principes excitasse.... Id præsertim in pugnæ
præcinctu, dominis suis occinebant, ut martium ardorem in eorum animis
concitarent: cujusmodi cantum _Cantilenam Rollandi_ appellat Will.
Malmesb. lib. 3. Aimoinus, lib. 4. de Mirac. S. Bened. c. 37. Tanta
vero illis securitas ... ut scurram se precedere facerent, qui musico
instrumento res fortiter gestas et priorum bella præcineret, quatenus
his acrius incitarentur, &c." As the writer was a monk, we shall not
wonder at his calling the minstrel, _scurram_.

This word _scurra_, or some one similar, is represented in the
Glossaries as the proper meaning of _leccator_ (Fr. _leccour_) the
ancient term by which the _minstrel_ appears to be expressed in the
Grant to Dutton, quoted above in page 363. On this head I shall produce
a very curious passage, which is twice quoted in Du Cange's _Glossary_.
(Sc. ad verb. Menestellus & ad verb. Lecator.) "Philippus Mouskes in
Philip. Aug. fingit Carolum M. Provincie comitatum scurris & mimis suis
olim donasse, indeque postea tantum in hac regione poetarum numerum

    "Quar quant li buens Rois Karlemaigne
    Ot toute raise a son demaine
    Provence, qui mult iert plentive
    De vins, de bois, d'aigue, de rive,
    As leccours as menestreus
    Qui sont auques luxurieus
    Le donna toute et departi."

[D] _The poet and the minstrel early with us became two persons._ The
word scald comprehended both characters among the Danes, nor do I
know that they had any peculiar name for either of them separate. But
it was not so with the Anglo-Saxons. They called a poet +Sceop.+ and
+Leoðþyrta+: the last of these comes from +Leoð+, a song; and the
former answers to our old word make (Gr. #Poiêtês#), being derived
from +Scippan+ or +Sceopan+, _formare_, _facere_, _fingere_, _creare_
(Ang. to shape). As for the minstrel, they distinguished him by the
peculiar appellation of +Gligman+, and perhaps by the more simple title
of +Ðearpere+, harper: (See below, notes [H], [I].) This last title,
at least, is often given to a minstrel by our most ancient English
rhymists. See in this work vol. i. book i. No. 6, vol. iii. book i. No.

[E] [_Minstrels ... at the houses of the great, &c._] Du Cange
affirms, that in the middle ages the courts of princes swarmed so
much with this kind of men, and such large sums were expended in
maintaining and rewarding them, that they often drained the royal
treasures: especially, he adds, of such as were delighted with their
flatteries (_præsertim qui ejusmodi ministellorum assentationibus_
_delectabantur_). He then confirms his assertion by several passages
out of monastic writers, who sharply inveigh against this extravagance.
Of these I shall here select only one or two, which show what kind of
rewards were bestowed on these old songsters.

"Rigordus de Gestis Philippi Aug. an. 1185. 'Cum in curiis regum seu
aliorum principum, frequens turba histrionum convenire soleat, ut ab
eis aurum, argentum, equos, seu vestes,[1110] quos persæpe mutare
consueverunt principes, ab eis extorqueant, verba joculatoria variis
adulationibus plena proferre nituntur. Et ut magis placeant, quicquid
de ipsis principibus probabiliter fingi potest, videlicet omnes
delitias et lepores, et visu dignas urbanitates et cæteras ineptias,
trutinantibus buccis in medium eructare non erubescunt. Vidimus
quondam quosdam principes, qui vestes diu excogitatas, et variis
florum picturationibus artificiosè elaboratas, pro quibus forsan 20
vel. 30 marcas argenti consumpserant, vix revolutis septem diebus,
histrionibus, ministris diaboli, ad primam vocem dedisse, &c."

The curious reader may find a similar, though at the same time a
more candid account, in that most excellent writer, Presid. Fauchet
(_Recueil de la Lang. Fr._ p. 73), who says, that, like the ancient
Greek #Aoidoi#, "Nos trouverres, ainsi que ceux la, prenans leur
subject sur les faits des vaillans (qu'ils appelloyent geste, venant
de _gesta_ Latin) alloyent ... par les cours rejouir les princes ...
Remportans des grandes recompences des seigneurs, qui bien souvent leur
donnoyent jusques aux robes qu'ils avoyent vestues: & lesquelles ces
juglëours ne failloyent de porter aux autres cours, à fin d'inviter les
seigneurs a pareille liberalité. Ce qui a duré si longuement, qu'il me
souvient avoir veu Martin Baraton (ja viel menestrier d'Orleans) lequel
aux festes et nopces batoit un tabourin d'argent, semé des plaques
aussi d'argent gravees des armoiries de ceux a qui il avoit appris a
danser." Here we see that a minstrel sometimes performed the function
of a dancing-master.

Fontenelle even gives us to understand, that these men were often
rewarded with favours of a still higher kind. "Les princesses & les
plus grandes dames y joignoient souvent leurs faveurs. Elles etoient
fort foibles contre les beaux esprits." (_Hist. du Théat._) We are not
to wonder then that this profession should be followed by men of the
first quality, particularly the younger sons and brothers of great
houses. "Tel qui par les partages de sa famille n'avoit que la moitié
ou le quart d'une vieux chateaux bien seigneurial, alloit quelque
temps courir le monde en rimant, et revenoit acquerir le reste de
Chateau." (_Fontenelle, Hist. du Théat._) We see then, that there was
no improbable fiction in those ancient songs and romances, which are
founded on the story of minstrels being beloved by kings' daughters,
&c., and discovering themselves to be the sons of some sovereign
prince, &c.

[F] The honours and rewards lavished upon the minstrels were not
confined to the continent. Our own countryman Johannes Sarisburiensis
(in the time of Henry II.) declaims no less than the monks abroad,
against the extravagant favour shown to these men. Non enim more
nugatorum ejus seculi in histriones & mimos, et hujusmodi monstra
hominum, ob famæ redemptionem & dilatationem nominis effunditis opes
vestras, &c. (_Epist._ 247.[1111])

The monks seem to grudge every act of munificence that was not applied
to the benefit of themselves and their convents. They therefore bestow
great applauses upon the Emperor Henry, who, at his marriage with
Agnes of Poictou, in 1044, disappointed the poor minstrels, and sent
them away empty. "Infinitam histrionum & joculatorum multitudinem sine
cibo & muneribus vacuam & moerentem abire permisit." (_Chronic.
Virtziburg._) For which I doubt not but he was sufficiently stigmatized
in the songs and ballads of those times. Vid. Du Cange, _Gloss._ tom.
iv. p 771, &c.

[G] [_The annals of the Anglo-Saxons are scanty and defective._]
Of the few histories now remaining that were written before the
Norman Conquest, almost all are such short and naked sketches and
abridgements, giving only a concise and general relation of the more
remarkable events, that scarce any of the minute circumstantial
particulars are to be found in them: nor do they hardly ever descend
to a description of the customs, manners, or domestic economy of their
countrymen. The _Saxon Chronicle_, for instance, which is the best
of them, and upon some accounts extremely valuable, is almost such
an epitome as Lucius Florus and Eutropius have left us of the Roman
history. As for Ethelward, his book is judged to be an imperfect
translation of the _Saxon Chronicle_;[1112] and the _Pseudo Asser_,
or _Chronicle of St. Neot_, is a poor defective performance. How
absurd would it be then to argue against the existence of customs or
facts, from the silence of such scanty records as these! Whoever would
carry his researches deep into that period of history, might safely
plead the excuse of a learned writer, who had particularly studied the
Ante-Norman historians. "Conjecturis (licet nusquam sine verisimili
fundamento) aliquoties indulgemus ... utpote ab historicis jejune
nimis & indiligenter res nostras tractantibus coacti ... Nostri ...
nudâ factorum commemoratione plerumque contenti, reliqua omnia, sive
ob ipsarum rerum, sive meliorum literarum, sive historicorum officii
ignorantiam, fere intacta prætereunt." Vide plura in _Præfat. ad_
_Ælfr. Vitam a Spelman_. Ox. 1678, fol.

[H] [_Minstrels and harpers._] That the harp (_cithara_) was the common
musical instrument of the Anglo-Saxons, might be inferred from the very
word itself, which is not derived from the British, or any other Celtic
language, but of genuine Gothic original, and current among every
branch of that people: viz. Ang.-Sax. +Ðearpe, Ðearpa;+ Iceland. harpa,
haurpa; Dan. and Belg. harpe; Germ, harpffe, harpffa; Gal. harpe; Span.
harpa; Ital. arpa. (Vid. _Jun. Etym., Menage Etym._ &c.) As also from
this, that the word +Ðearpe+ is constantly used, in the Anglo-Saxon
versions, to express the Latin words _cithara_, _lyra_, and even
_cymbalum_: the word _psalmus_ itself being sometimes translated +Ðearp
sang+, harp song (_Gloss, Jun. R. apud Lye Anglo-Sax. Lexic._)

But the fact itself is positively proved by the express testimony of
Bede, who tells us that it was usual at festival meetings for this
instrument to be handed round, and each of the company to sing to it
in his turn. See his _Hist. Eccles. Anglor._ lib. iv. c. 24, where
speaking of their sacred poet Cædmon, who lived in the times of the
Heptarchy (_ob. circ._ 680) he says:

"Nihil unquam frivoli & supervacui poematis facere potuit; sed ea
tantummodo, quæ ad religionem pertinent, religiosam ejus linguam
decebant. Siquidem in habitu sæculari, usque ad tempora provectioris
ætatis constitutus, nil carminum aliquando didicerat. Unde nonnunquam
in convivio, cum esset lætitia causa ut omnes per ordinem cantare
deberent, ille ubi appropinquare sibi citharam cernebat, surgebat a
mediâ coenâ, et egressus ad suam domum repedabat."

I shall now subjoin King Alfred's own Anglo-Saxon translation of this
passage, with a literal interlineary English version.

  +Ðe.. næfre noht leasunga. ne ideles leoðes pyrcean ne mihte;+
  _He ... never no leasings, nor idle songs compose ne might_;
  +ac efne ða an ða ðe to æfestnesse belumpon. [et]+
  _but lo! only those things which to religion [piety] belong, and_
  +his ða æfestan tungan gedafenode singan: [hj]æs he se man+
  _his then pious tongue became to sing: He was the [a] man_
  +in peorolt-hade geseted oð ða tide ðe he pæs of+
  _in worldly [secular] state set to the time in which he was of an_
  +gelyfedre ylde. [et] he næfre ænig leoþ geleornode. [et] he+
  _advanced age; and he never any song learned. And he_
  +forþon oft in gebeorscipe ðonne ðær pæs blisse intinga+
  _therefore_ OFT _in an entertainment when there was for merriment_
  +gedemed. [þ/] hi ealle sceoldan ðuph engeby+
  _sake adjudged [or decreed], that they_ ALL _should through their_
  +rdnesse be hearpan singan. ðonne he geseah ða hearpan+
  _turns by [to the]_ HARP SING; _when he saw the_ HARP
  +him nealæcan. ðonne aras he for sceome fram ðam symle+
  _him approach, then arose he FOR_ SHAME _from the supper_
  +[et] ham eode to his huse.+
  _and home yode [went] to his house._

                 _Bed. Hist. Eccl. a Smith._ Cantab. 1722, fol. p. 597.

In this version of Alfred's it is observable, (1) that he has expressed
the Latin word _cantare_, by the Anglo-Saxon words "+be hearpan
singan+," sing to the harp; as if they were synonymous, or as if his
countrymen had no idea of singing unaccompanied with the harp: (2) That
when Bede simply says, _surgebat a mediâ coenâ_, he assigns a motive,
"+aras for sceome+," arose for shame: that is, either from an austerity
of manners, or from his being deficient in an accomplishment which so
generally prevailed among his countrymen.

[I] [_The word_ glee _which peculiarly denoted their art_, &c.] This
word glee is derived from the Anglo-Saxon +Gligg+, (Gligg) _musica_,
music, minstrelsy (Somn). This is the common radix, whence arises such
a variety of terms and phrases relating to the minstrel art, as affords
the strongest internal proof, that this profession was extremely common
and popular here before the Norman Conquest. Thus we have


(1) +Glip+ (Gliw.), _mimus_, a minstrel. +Gligman, gligmon, gliman+,
(gleeman[1113]) _histrio_, _mimus_, _pantomimus_; all common names
in middle latinity for a minstrel; and Somner accordingly renders
the original by a minstrel--a player on a timbrel or taber. He adds,
a fidler; but although the _fythel_ or _fiddle_, was an ancient
instrument, by which the _jogelar_ or minstrel sometimes accompanied
his song (see Warton, i. 17), it is probable that Somner annexes here
only a modern sense to the word, not having at all investigated the

+Gliimen, gliigmen+, (Gleemen), _histriones_, minstrels. Hence,

+Gligmanna-yppe+. _Orchestra_, vel _pulpitus_. The place where the
minstrels exhibited their performances.

(2) But their most proper and expressive name was

+Gliphleoþriend+, _musicus_, a minstrel; and

+Gliphleoþriendlica+, _musicus_, musical.

These two words include the full idea of the minstrel character,
expressing at once their music and singing, being compounded of +Glip+,
_musicus, mimus_, a musician, minstrel; and +Leoð+, _carmen_, a song.

(3) From the above word +Gligg+, the profession itself was called.

+Gligcræft+ (glig _or_ glee-craft), _musica, histrionia, mimica
gesticulatio_: which Somner rightly gives in English, ministrelsy,
mimical gesticulation, mummery. He also adds stage-playing: but here
again I think he substitutes an idea too modern, induced by the word
_histrionia_, which in middle latinity only signifies the minstrel-art.

However, it should seem that both mimical gesticulation and a kind
of rude exhibition of characters were sometimes attempted by the old
minstrels: but

(4) As musical performance was the leading idea, so

+Gliopian+, is _Cantus musicos edere_; and

+Gligbeam, glipbeam+ (glig or glee-beam), _tympanum_; a timbrel or
taber. (So Somn.) Hence

+Glypan.+ _Tympanum pulsare_; and

+Glip-megen; gliypiende-maden+; (glee-maiden), _tympanistria_: which
Somner renders a she-minstrel; for it should seem that they had females
of this profession; one name for which was also +Glypbydenestra+.

(5) Of congenial derivation to the foregoing is

+Glypc.+ (Glywc), _Tibia_, a pipe or flute.

Both this and the common radix +Gligg+ are with great appearance of
truth derived by Junius from the Icelandic Gliggur, _flatus_; as
supposing that the first attempts at music among our Gothic ancestors
were with wind-instruments. Vid. _Jun. Etym. Ang._ v. Glee.


But the minstrels, as is hinted above, did not confine themselves
to the mere exercise of their primary arts of music and song, but
occasionally used many other modes of diverting. Hence, from the above
root was derived, in a secondary sense:

(1) +Gleo+, and +pinsum glip+, _facetiæ_.

+Gleopian+, _jocari_; to jest, or, be merry (Somn.), and

+Gleopiend+, _jocans_; jesting, speaking merrily. (Somn.)

+Gligman+, also signified _jocista_, a jester.

+Glig-gamen+, (glee-games), _joci_. Which Somner renders, merriments,
or merry jests, or tricks, or sports, gamboles.

(2) Hence, again, by a common metonymy of the cause for the effect:

+Glie+, _gaudium_, _alacritas_, _lætitia_, _facetiæ_; joy, mirth,
gladness, cheerfulness, glee. (Somner.) Which last application of the
word still continues, though rather in a low debasing sense.


But however agreeable and delightful the various arts of the minstrels
might be to the Anglo-Saxon laity, there is reason to believe, that
before the Norman Conquest, at least, they were not much favoured by
the clergy; particularly by those of monastic profession. For, not to
mention that the sportive talents of these men would be considered by
those austere ecclesiastics, as tending to levity and licentiousness,
the pagan origin of their art would excite in the monks an insuperable
prejudice against it. The Anglo-Saxon harpers and gleemen were the
immediate successors and imitators of the Scandinavian scalds, who were
the great promoters of Pagan superstition, and fomented that spirit of
cruelty and outrage in their countrymen the Danes, which fell with such
peculiar severity on the religious and their convents. Hence arose a
third application of words derived from +Gligg+, minstrelsy, in a very
unfavourable sense, and this chiefly prevails in books of religion and
ecclesiastic discipline. Thus:

(1) +Glig+ is _ludibrium_, laughing to scorn.[1114] So in S. Basil.
Regul. II. +Di hæfdon him to glige halpende minegunge.+ _ludibrio
habebant salutarem ejus admonitionm_. (10.) This sense of the word was
perhaps not ill-founded, for as the sport of rude uncultivated minds
often arises from ridicule, it is not improbable but the old minstrels
often indulged a vein of this sort, and that of no very delicate kind.
So again,

+Glig-man+ was also used to signify _scurra_, a saucy jester (Somn.)

+Glig-georn+, _dicax, scurriles jocos supra quàm par est amans_.
Officium Episcopale, 3.

+Glipian+. _Scurrilibus oblectamentis indulgere; scurram agere._ Canon.
Edgar. 58.

(2) Again, as the various attempts to please, practised by an order of
men who owed their support to the public favour, might be considered
by those grave censors, as mean and debasing: Hence came from the same

+Gliper+. _Parasitus, assentator_; a fawner, a togger, a parasite, a
flatterer.[1115] (Somn.)


To return to the Anglo-Saxon word +Gligg+: notwithstanding the various
secondary senses in which this word (as we have seen above) was so
early applied; yet

The derivative _glee_ (though now chiefly used to express merriment and
joy) long retained its first simple meaning, and is even applied by
Chaucer to signify music and minstrelsy. (Vid. Jun. Etym.) E.g.

    "For though that the best harper upon live
    Would on the best sounid jolly harpe
    That evir was, with all his fingers five
    Touch aie o string, or aie o warble harpe
    Were his nailes pointed nevir so sharpe
        It shoulde makin every wight to dull
        To heare is _glee_, and of his strokes full."

                                                         _Troyl. L._ ii.

Junius interprets _glees_ by _musica instrumenta_, in the following
passages of Chaucer's third boke of Fame:--

    "... Stoden ... the castell all aboutin
    Of all maner of _mynstrales_
    And _jestours_ that tellen tales
    Both of wepyng and of game,
    And of all that longeth unto fame:
    There herde I play on a harpe
    That sowned both well and sharpe
    Hym Orpheus full craftily;
    And on this syde fast by
    Sate the harper Orion;
    And Eacides Chirion;
    And other harpers many one,
    And the Briton Glaskyrion."

After mentioning these, the great masters of the art, he proceeds:--

    "And small harpers with her _glees_
    Sat under them in divers sees."
           *       *       *       *       *

Again, a little below, the poet having enumerated the performers on all
the different sorts of instruments, adds:--

    "There sawe I syt in other sees
    Playing upon other sundry _glees_,
    Which that I cannot neven[1116]
    More than starres ben in heven," &c.

Upon the above lines I shall only make a few observations:

(1) That by jestours, I suppose we are to understand gestours; scil.
the relaters of gests (Lat. _gesta_) or stories of adventures both
comic and tragical; whether true or feigned; I am inclined to add,
whether in prose or verse. (Compare the record below, in marginal
note, subjoined to v. 2.) Of the stories in prose, I conceive we have
specimens in that singular book the _Gesta Romanorum_, and this will
account for its seemingly improper title. These were evidently what
the French called _conteours_, or story-tellers, and to them we are
probably indebted for the first prose romances of chivalry, which may
be considered as specimens of their manner.

(2) That the "Briton Glaskeryon," whoever he was, is apparently the
same person with our famous harper Glasgerion, of whom the reader will
find a tragical ballad, in vol. iii. book 1, No. 7. In that song may be
seen an instance of what was advanced above in note [E] of the dignity
of the minstrel profession, or at least of the artifice with which the
minstrels endeavoured to set off its importance.

Thus "a king's son is represented as appearing in the character of a
harper or minstrel in the court of another king. He wears a collar (or
gold chain) as a person of illustrious rank; rides on horseback, and is
admitted to the embraces of a king's daughter."

The minstrels lost no opportunity of doing honour to their art.

(3) As for the word _glees_, it is to this day used in a musical sense,
and applied to a peculiar piece of composition. Who has not seen the
advertisements, proposing a reward to him who should produce the best
catch, canon, or glee?

[K] [_Comes from the pen of Geoffrey of Monmouth._] Geoffrey's own
words are: "Cum ergo alterius modi aditum [Baldulphus] non haberet,
rasit capillos suos et barbam,[1117] cultumque joculatoris cum
cythara fecit. Deinde intra castra deambulans, modulis quos in lyra
componebat, sese cytharistam exhibebat." _Galf. Monum. Hist._ 4to.
1508, lib. vii. c. 1.--That _joculator_ signifies precisely a minstrel,
appears not only from this passage, where it is used as a word of like
import to _citharista_ or harper (which was the old English word for
minstrel), but also from another passage of the same author, where
it is applied as equivalent to _cantor_. See lib. i. cap. 22, where,
speaking of an ancient (perhaps fabulous) British king, he says: "Hic
omnes cantores quos præcedens ætas habuerat & in modulis & in omnibus
musicisinstrumentis excedebat; ita ut Deus Joculatorum videretur."
Whatever credit is due to Geoffrey as a relater of facts, he is
certainly as good authority as any for the signification of words.

[L] [_Two remarkable facts._] Both these facts are recorded by William
of Malmesbury; and the first of them, relating to Alfred, by Ingulphus
also. Now Ingulphus (afterwards abbot of Croyland) was near forty
years of age at the time of the Conquest,[1118] and consequently was
as proper a judge of the Saxon manners, as if he had actually written
his history before that event: he is therefore to be considered as
an Anti-Norman writer; so that whether the fact concerning Alfred be
true or not, we are assured from his testimony, that the _joculator_
or minstrel was a common character among the Anglo-Saxons. The same
also may be inferred from the relation of William of Malmesbury, who
outlived Ingulphus but thirty-three years.[1119] Both these writers
had doubtless recourse to innumerable records and authentic memorials
of the Anglo-Saxon times, which never descended down to us; their
testimony therefore is too positive and full to be overturned by the
mere silence of the two or three slight Anglo-Saxon epitomes, that are
now remaining (vid. note [G]).

As for Asser Menevensis, who has given a somewhat more particular
detail of Alfred's actions, and yet takes no notice of the following
story; it will not be difficult to account for his silence, if we
consider that he was a rigid monk, and that the minstrels, however
acceptable to the laity, were never much respected by men of the more
strict monastic profession, especially before the Norman Conquest,
when they would be considered as brethren of the Pagan scalds.[1120]
Asser therefore might not regard Alfred's skill in minstrelsy in a very
favourable light; and might be induced to drop the circumstance related
below, as reflecting in his opinion no great honour on his patron.

The learned editor of Alfred's life in Latin, after having examined the
scene of action in person, and weighed all the circumstances of the
event, determines from the whole collective evidence, that Alfred could
never have gained the victory he did, if he had not with his own eyes
previously seen the disposition of the enemy by such a stratagem as is
here described. Vid. _Annot. in Ælfr. Mag. Vitam_, p. 33, Oxon. 1678.

[M] [_Alfred ... assumed the dress and character of a minstrel].
Fingens se_ joculatorem, _assumpta cithara, &c. Ingulphi Hist._ p.
869.--_Sub specie mimi ... ut_ joculatoriæ _professor artis. Gul.
Malmesb._ l. 2, c. 4, p. 43. That both _joculator_ and _mimus_ signify
literally a minstrel, see proved in notes [B], [K], [N], [Q], &c. See
also note [Gg].

Malmesbury adds, _Unius tantum fidelissimi fruebatur conscietitiâ_.
As this confidant does not appear to have assumed the disguise of a
minstrel himself, I conclude that he only appeared as the minstrel's
attendant. Now that the minstrel had sometimes his servant or attendant
to carry his harp, and even to sing to his music, we have many
instances in the old metrical romances, and even some in this present
collection. See vol. i. song vi., vol. iii. song vii., &c. Among the
French and Provençal bards, the _trouverre_, or inventor, was generally
attended with his singer, who sometimes also played on the harp, or
other musical instrument. "Quelque fois durant le repas d'un prince on
voyoit arriver un trouverre inconnu avec ses menestrels ou jongleours,
et il leur faisoit chanter sur leurs harpes ou vielles les vers qu'il
avoit composés. Ceux qui faisoient les sons _aussi_ bien qui les _mots_
etoient les plus estimés." _Fontenelle, Hist, du Theatr._

That Alfred excelled in music is positively asserted by Bale, who
doubtless had it from some ancient MS. many of which subsisted in
his time, that are now lost; as also by Sir J. Spelman, who we may
conclude had good authority for this anecdote, as he is known to
have compiled his life of Alfred from authentic materials collected
by his learned father; this writer informs us that Alfred "provided
himself of musitians, not common, or such as knew but the practick
part, but men skilful in the art itself, whose skill and service he
yet further improved with his own instruction." p. 199. This proves
Alfred at least to have understood the theory of music; and how
could this have been acquired without practising on some instrument?
Which, we have seen above, note [H], was so extremely common with the
Anglo-Saxons, even in much ruder times, that Alfred himself plainly
tells us, it was _shameful_ to be ignorant of it. And this commonness
might be one reason, why Asser did not think it of consequence enough
to be particularly mentioned in his short life of that great monarch.
This rigid monk may also have esteemed it a slight and frivolous
accomplishment savouring only of worldly vanity. He has however
particularly recorded Alfred's fondness for the oral Anglo-Saxon poems
and songs. (_Saxonica poemata die nocteque ... audiens ... memoriter_
_retinebat_, p. 16. _Carmina Saxonica memoriter discere_, &c. p. 43,
and _ib._) Now the poems learnt by rote, among all ancient unpolished
nations, are ever songs chanted by the reciter, and accompanied with
instrumental melody.[1121]

[N] _With his harp in his hand, and dressed like a minstrel._ Assumptâ
manu citharâ ... professus _mimum_, qui hujusmodi arte stipem
quotidianam mercaretur ... Jussus abire pretium cantus accepit.
_Malmesb._ l. 2, c. 6. We see here that which was rewarded was (not
any mimicry or tricks, but) his _singing (cantus)_; this proves beyond
dispute, what was the nature of the entertainment Aulaff afforded
them. Perhaps it is needless by this time to prove to the reader,
that _mimus_ in middle latinity signifies a minstrel, and _mimia_,
minstrelsy, or the minstrel-art. Should he doubt it, let him cast his
eye over the two following extracts from Du Cange.

"_Mimus_: Musicus qui instrumentis musicis canit. Leges Palatinæ Jacobi
II. Reg. Majoric. In domibus principum, ut tradit antiquitas _mimi_ seu
joculatores licitè possunt esse. Nam illorum officiam tribuit
lutitiam ... Quapropter volumus et ordinamus, quod in nostra curia
mimi debeant esse quinque, quorum duo sint tubicinatores, et tertius
sit tabelerius (i. e. a player on the tabor.)[1122] Lit. remiss. ann.
1374. Ad mimos cornicitantes, seu bucinantes accesserunt."

Mimia, Ludus Mimicus, Instrumentum (potius, Ars Joculatoria). Ann.
1482.... "Mimia & cantu victum acquiro."

Du Cange, _Gloss._ tom. iv. 1762. Supp. c. 1225.

[O] [_To have been a Dane._] The northern historians produce such
instances of the great respect shewn to the Danish scalds in the courts
of our Anglo-Saxon kings, on account of their musical and poetic
talents (notwithstanding they were of so hateful a nation), that, if a
similar order of men had not existed here before, we cannot doubt but
the profession would have been taken up by such of the natives as had a
genius for poetry and music.

"Extant Rhythmi hoc ipso (Islandico) idiomate Angliæ, Hyberniæque
Regibus oblati & liberaliter compensati, &c. Itaque hinc colligi potest
linguam Danicam in aulis vicinorum regum, principumque familiarem
fuisse, non secus ac hodie in aulis principum peregrina idiomata in
deliciis haberi cernimus. Imprimis Vita Egilli Skallagrimii id invicto
argumento adstruit. Quippe qui interrogatus ab Adalsteino, Angliæ rege,
quomodo manus Eirici Blodoxii, Northumbriæ regis, postquam in ejus
potestatem venerat, evasisset, cujus filium propinquosque
occiderat, ... rei statim ordinem metro, nunc satis obscuro, exposuit,
nequaquam ita narraturus non intelligenti."--Vid. _plura apud Torfæi
Præfat. ad_ _Orcad. Hist._ fol.

This same Egill was no less distinguished for his valour and skill
as a soldier, than for his poetic and singing talents as a scald;
and he was such a favourite with our king Athelstan that he at one
time presented him with "duobus annulis & scriniis duobus bene magnis
argento repletis.... Quinetiam hoc addidit, ut Egillus quidvis præterea
a se petens, obtineret; bona mobilia, sive immobilia, præbendam vel
præfecturas. Egillus porro regiam munificentiam gratus excipiens,
Carmen Encomiasticon, à se, linguâ Norvegicâ, (quæ tum his regnis
communis), compostum, regi dicat; ac pro eo, duas Marcas auri puri
(pondus Marcæ ... 8 uncias æquabat) honorarii loco retulit."--_Arngr.
Jon. Rer. Islandic._ lib. 2, p. 129.

See more of Egill, in _The Five Pieces of Runic Poetry_, p. 45, whose
poem, there translated, is the most ancient piece all in rhime, that
is, I conceive, now to be found in any European language, except Latin.
See Egill's Islandic original, printed at the end of the English
version in the said _Five Pieces_, &c.

[P] [_If the Saxons had not been accustomed to have minstrels of_
_their own ... and to shew favour and respect to the Danish scalds._]
If this had not been the case, we may be assured, at least, that the
stories given in the text could never have been recorded by writers
who lived so near the Anglo-Saxon times as Malmesbury and Ingulphus,
who, though they might be deceived as to particular facts, could not be
so as to the general manners and customs, which prevailed so near their
own times among their ancestors.

[Q] [_"In Doomesday Book" &c.] Extract. ex Libro Domesday_: et vid.
Anstis, _Ord. Gart._ ii. 304.


 Fol. 162. col. 1. _Berdic Jocu  lator Regis habet_ iii. _villas, et
                      ibi_ v. _car. nil redd._"

That _joculator_ is properly a minstrel might be inferred from the
two foregoing passages of Geoffery of Monmouth (v. Note [K]), where
the word is used as equivalent to _citharista_ in one place, and
to _cantor_ in the other: this union forms the precise idea of the

But more positive proofs have already offered, _vid. supra_, pp.
385, 399. See also p. 409 _note_ Du Cange's _Gloss._, vol. iii. c.
1543: "Jogulator pro Joculator.--_Consilium Masil._ an. 1381. Nullus
Ministreys, seu Jogulator, audeat pinsare vel sonare instrumentum
cujuscumque generis," &c. &c.

As the minstrel was termed in French _jongleur_ and _jugleur_; so he
was called in Spanish _jutglar_ and _juglar_. "Tenemos canciones y
versos para recitar muy antiguos y memorias ciertas de los Juglares,
que assistian en los banquetes, como los que pinta Homero."--_Prolog. a
las Comed. de Cervantes_, 1749, 4to.

"El anno 1328, en las siestas de la Coronacion del Rey, Don Alonso el
IV. de Aragon, ...[1123] el Juglar Ramaset cantò una Villanesca de
la Composicion del ... infante (Don Pedro): y otro Juglar, llamado
Novellet, recitò y representò en voz y sin cantar mas de 600 versos,
que hizo el Infante en el metro, que llamaban Rima vulgar."--_Ibid._

"Los Trobadores inventaron la Gaya Ciencia ... estos Trobadores, eran
casi todos de la primera Nobleza. Es verdad, que ya entonces se havian
entrometido entre las diversiones Cortesanos, los Contadores, los
Cantores, los Juglares, los Truanes, y los Bufones."--_Ibid._

In England the king's juglar continued to have an establishment in the
royal household down to the reign of Henry VIII. (vid. Note [Cc]).
But in what sense the title was there applied does not appear. In
Barklay's _Egloges_, written circ. 1514, jugglers and pipers are
mentioned together. _Egl._ iv. (vid. T. Warton's Hist. ii. 254).

[R] [_A valliant warrior, named Taillefer, &c._] See Du Cange, who
produces this as an instance, "Quod Ministellorum munus interdum
præstabant milites probatissimi. Le Roman De Vacce, _MS._

    "'Quant il virent Normanz venir
    Mout veissiez Engleiz fremir....
    Taillefer qui mout bien chantoit,
    Sur un cheval, qui tost alloit,
    Devant euls aloit chantant
    De Kallemaigne & de Roullant,
    Et d'Olivier de Vassaux,
    Qui mourruent en Rainschevaux.'

"Qui quidem Taillefer a Gulielmo obtinuit ut primus in hostes irrueret,
inter quos fortiter dimicando occubuit."--_Gloss._ tom. iv. 769, 770,

"Les anciennes chroniques nous apprennent, qu'en premier rang de l'
Armée Normande, un ecuyer nommé Taillefer, monté sur un cheval armé,
chanta la Chanson De Roland, qui fut si long tems dans les bouches
des François, sans qu'il soit resté le moindre fragment. Le Taillefer
après avoir entonné le chanson que les soldats repetoient, se jetta le
premier parmi les Anglois, et fut tué."--Voltaire, _Add. Hist. Univ._
p. 69.

The reader will see an attempt to restore the _Chanson de Roland_, with
musical notes, in Dr. Burney's _Hist._ ii. p. 276. See more concerning
the Song of Roland, vol. iii. appendix, sect. ii. note M.

[S] [_An eminent French writer, &c._] "M. l'Eveque de la Ravaliere, qui
avoit fait beaucoup de recherches sur nos anciennes Chansons, pretend
que c'est à la Normandie que nous devons nos premiers Chansonniers,
non à la Provence, et qu'il y avoit parmi nous des Chansons en langue
vulgaire avant celles des Provençaus, mais posterieurement au Regne de
Philippe I. ou à l'an 1100."--v. _Revolutions de la Langue Françoise, à
la suite des Poesies du Roi de Navarre._ "Ce seroit une antériorité
de plus d'un demi siécle à l'époque des premiers Troubadours, que
leur historien Jean de Nostredame fixe à l'an 1162, &c."--_Pref. a
l'Anthologie Franç._ 8vo. 1765.

This subject hath been since taken up and prosecuted at length in the
Prefaces, &c. to M. Le Grand's _Fabliaux ou Contes du XII. & du XIII.
Siécle_, Paris, 1788, 5 tom. 12mo. who seems pretty clearly to have
established the priority and superior excellence of the old rimeurs of
the north of France, over the troubadours of Provence, &c.

[S2] [_Their own native gleemen or minstrels must be allowed to
exist._] Of this we have proof positive in the old metrical romance
of _Horn-Child_, (vol. iii. appendix), which, although from the
mention of Sarazens, &c. it must have been written at least after the
first Crusade in 1096, yet from its Anglo-Saxon language or idiom,
can scarce be dated later than within a century after the Conquest.
This, as appears from its very exordium, was intended to be sung to a
popular audience, whether it was composed by, or for, a gleeman, or
minstrel. But it carries all the internal marks of being the production
of such a composer. It appears of genuine English growth, for after
a careful examination, I cannot discover any allusion to French or
Norman customs, manners, composition or phraseology: no quotation "As
the Romance sayth:" not a name or local reference which was likely
to occur to a French rimeur. The proper names are all of northern
extraction. Child Horn is the son of Allof (_i.e._ Olaf or Olave), king
of Sudenne (I suppose Sweden), by his queen Godylde, or Godylt. Athulf
and Fykenyld are the names of subjects. Eylmer or Aylmere is king of
Westnesse (a part of Ireland), Rymenyld is his daughter; as Erminyld is
of another king Thurstan; whose sons are Athyld and Beryld. Athelbrus
is steward of K. Aylmer, &c. &c. All these savour only of a northern
origin, and the whole piece is exactly such a performance as one would
expect from a gleeman or minstrel of the north of England, who had
derived his art and his ideas from his scaldic predecessors there.
So that this probably is the original, from which was translated the
old French fragment of _Dan Horn_, in the Harleyan MS. 527, mentioned
by Tyrwhitt (Chaucer iv. 68), and by T. Warton (Hist. i. 38), whose
extract from _Horn-Child_ is extremely incorrect.

Compare the stile of Child-Horn with the Anglo-Saxon specimens in short
verses and rhime, which are assigned to the century succeeding the
Conquest, in Hickes's _Thesaurus_, tom. i. cap. 24, pp. 224 and 231.

[T] [_The different production of the sedentary composer and the_
_rambling minstrel._] Among the old metrical romances, a very few are
addressed to readers, or mention reading: these appear to have been
composed by writers at their desk, and exhibit marks of more elaborate
structure and invention. Such is _Eglamour of Artas_ (No. 20, vol. iii.
appendix), of which I find in a MS. copy in the Cotton Library, A. 2,
folio 3, the II. Fitte thus concludes:

    "... thus ferr have I red."

Such is _Ipomydon_ (No. 23, iii. appendix), of which one of the
divisions (Sign. E. ii. b. in pr. copy) ends thus:

    "Let hym go, God him spede
    Tyll efte-soone we of him reed (_i.e._ read)"

So in _Amys and Amylion_[1124] (No. 31. iii. appendix) in sta. 3d. we

    "In Geste as we rede,"

and similar phrases occur in stanzas 34, 125, 140, 196, &c.

These are all studied compositions, in which the story is invented with
more skill and ingenuity, and the style and colouring are of superior
cast, to such as can with sufficient probability be attributed to the
minstrels themselves.

Of this class I conceive the romance of _Horn Child_ (mentioned in the
last note, [S2], and in No. 1, vol. iii. appendix), which, from the
naked unadorned simplicity of the story, I would attribute to such an

But more evidently is such the _Squire of Lowe Degree_ (No. 24, iii.
appendix), in which is no reference to any French original, nothing
like the phrase which so frequently occurs in others, "As the Romance
sayth,"[1125] or the like. And it is just such a rambling performance,
as one would expect from an itinerant bard. And

Such also is _A lytell Geste of Robyn Hode, &c._ in eight fyttes, of
which are extant two editions, 4to. in black letter, described more
fully in this volume, book i. No. 8. This is not only of undoubted
English growth, but, from the constant satire aimed at abbots and their
convents, &c. could not possibly have been composed by any monk in his

Other instances might be produced; but especially of the former kind is
_Syr Launfal_ (No. 11, iii. appendix), the 121st st. of which has

    "In Romances as we rede."

This is one of the best invented stories of that kind, and I believe
the only one in which is inserted the name of the author.

[T2] _Royer or Raherus, the king's minstrel._ He is recorded by Leland
under both these names, in his _Collectanea_, scil. vol. i. p. 61.

"Hospitale S. Bartholomæi in West-Smithfelde in London." Royer Mimus
Regis fundator."

"Hosp. Sti. Barthol. Londini. Raherus Mimus Regis H. 1. primus
fundator, an. 1102, 3. H. 1. qui fundavit etiam Priorat. Sti.
Barthol."--_Ibid._ p. 99.

That _mimus_ is properly a minstrel in the sense affixed to the word
in this essay, one extract from the accounts (Lat. _computis_) of the
priory of Maxtock near Coventry, in 1441, will sufficiently show,
scil.: "Dat. Sex. Mimis Dni. Clynton cantantibus, citharisantibus,
ludentibus, &c. iiii. s." (T. Warton, ii. 106, note q.) The same year
the prior gave to a _doctor prædicans_ for a sermon preached to them
only 6_d._

In the _Monasticon_, tom. ii. p. 166, 167, is a curious history of the
founder of this priory, and the cause of its erection: which seems
exactly such a composition as one of those which were manufactured by
Dr. Stone, the famous legend-maker, in 1380; (see T. Warton's curious
account of him, in vol. ii. p. 190, note), who required no materials to
assist him in composing his narratives, &c. For in this legend are no
particulars given of the founder, but a recital of miraculous visions
exciting him to this pious work, of its having been before revealed
to K. Edward the Confessor, and predicted by three Grecians, &c. Even
his minstrel profession is not mentioned, whether from ignorance or
design, as the profession was perhaps falling into discredit when this
legend was written. There is only a general indistinct account that
he frequented royal and noble houses, where he ingratiated himself
_suavitate joculari_. (This last is the only word that seems to have
any appropriated meaning.) This will account for the indistinct,
incoherent account given by Stow: "Rahere, a pleasant-witted gentleman,
and therefore in his time called the King's Minstrel."--_Survey of
Lond._ ed. 1598, p. 308.

[U] [_In the early times every harper was expected to sing._] See on
this subject K. Alfred's version of Cædman, above in note [H] p. 391.

So in _Horn-Child_, K. Allof orders his steward Athelbrus to

    "--teche him of harpe and of song."

In the _Squire of Lowe Degree_ the king offers to his daughter,

    "Ye shall have harpe, sautry,[1126] and song."

And Chaucer, in his description of the limitour or mendicant friar,
speaks of harping as inseparable from singing (i. p. 11, ver. 268):--

    "--in his harping, whan that he hadde songe."

[U2] [_At the most accomplished, &c._] See Hoveden, p. 103, in the
following passage, which had erroneously been applied to K. Richard
himself, till Mr. Tyrwhitt ("Chaucer," iv. p. 62) shewed it to belong
to his Chancellor: "Hic ad augmentum et famam sui nominis, emendicata
carmina, et rhythmos adulatorios comparabat; et de regno Francorum
Cantores et Joculatores muneribus allexerat, ut de illo canerent in
plateis: et jam dicebatur ubique, quod non erat talis in orbe." For
other particulars relating to this chancellor, see T. Warton's _Hist._
vol. ii. addit. to p. 113 of vol. i.

[U3] [_Both the Norman and English languages would be heard at the
houses of the great._] A remarkable proof of this is that the most
diligent inquirers after ancient English rhimes find the earliest
they can discover in the mouths of the Norman nobles, such as that of
Robert, Earl of Leicester, and his Flemings in 1173, temp. Hen. II.
(little more than a century after the Conquest), recorded by Lambarde
in his _Dictionary of England_, p. 36:

    "Hoppe Wyliken, hoppe Wyliken
    Ingland is thine and myne," &c.

and that noted boast of Hugh Bigot, Earl of Norfolk, in the same reign
of K. Henry II. vid. _Camdeni Britannia_ (art. Suffolk), 1607, folio

    "Were I in my castle of Bungey
    Vpon the riuer of Waueney
    I would ne care for the king of Cockeney."

Indeed, many of our old metrical romances, whether originally English,
or translated from the French to be sung to an English audience, are
addressed to persons of high rank, as appears from their beginning
thus: "Listen, Lordings," and the like. These were prior to the time
of Chaucer, as appears from vol. iii. appendix (sect. ii.). And yet to
his time our Norman nobles are supposed to have adhered to their French

[V] [_That intercommunity, &c. between the French and English_
_Minstrels, &c._] This might, perhaps, in a great measure be
re-referred even to the Norman Conquest, when the victors brought with
them all their original opinions and fables; which could not fail to be
adopted by the English minstrels and others who solicited their favour.
This interchange, &c. between the minstrels of the two nations would
be afterwards promoted by the great intercourse produced among all the
nations of Christendom in the general crusades, and by that spirit
of chivalry which led knights, and their attendants the heralds, and
minstrels, &c. to ramble about continually from one court to another in
order to be present at solemn turnaments, and other feats of arms.

[V2] [_Is not the only instance, &c._] The constant admission
granted to minstrels was so established a privilege, that it became
a ready expedient to writers of fiction. Thus, in the old romance of
_Horn-Child_, the Princess Rymenyld being confined in an inaccessible
castle, the prince, her lover, and some assistant knights with
concealed arms assume the minstrel character, and approaching the
castle with their "gleyinge" or minstrelsy, are heard by the
lord of it, who being informed they were "harpeirs, jogelers, and
fythelers,"[1127] has them admitted, when

    "Horn sette him abenche (_i.e._ on a bench).
    Is (_i.e._ his) harpe he gan clenche
    He made Rymenild a lay."

This sets the princess a weeping and leads to the catastrophe, for he
immediately advances to "the Borde" or table, kills the ravisher, and
releases the lady.

[V3] [... _Assumed the dress and character of a harper, &c._] We
have this curious _historiette_ in the records of Lacock Nunnery in
Wiltshire, which had been founded by this Countess of Salisbury. See
Vincent's _Discovery of Errors in Brookes Catalogue of Nobility_, &c.
folio, pp. 445-6, &c. Take the following extract, and see Dugdale's
_Baron_, i. p. 175.

"Ela uxor Gullielmi Longespee primi, nata fuit apud Ambresbiriam, patre
et matre Normannis.

"Pater itaque ejus defectus senio migravit ad Christum, A.D. 1196.
Mater ejus ante biennium obiit.... Interea Domina charissima clam
per cognatos adducta fuit in Normanniam, & ibidem sub tutâ et arctâ
custodiâ nutrita. Eodem tempore in Anglia fuit quidam miles nomine
Gulielmus Talbot, qui induit se habitum Peregrini (_Anglicè_, a
Pilgrim) in Normanniam transfretavit & moratus per duos annos, huc
atque illuc vagans, ad explorandam dominam Elam Sarum. Et illâ inventâ,
exuit habitum Peregrini, & induit se quasi Cytharisator & curiam ubi
morabatur intravit. Et ut erat homo Jocosus, in Gestis Antiquorum
valde peritus, ibidem gratanter fuit acceptus quasi familiaris. Et
quando tempus aptum invenit, in Angliam repatriavit, habens secum istam
venerabilem dominam Elam & hæredem Comitatus Sarum; & eam Regi Richardo
præsentavit. Ac ille lætissime eam suscepit, & Fratri suo Guillelmo
Longespee maritavit....

A.D. 1226 Dominus Guill. Longespee primus nonas Martii obiit. Ela vero
uxor ejus et 7 annis supervixit.... Una die Duo monasteria fundavit
primo mane xvi Kal. Maii. A.D. 1232. apud Lacock, in quo sanctæ degunt
Canonissæ.... Et Henton post nonam, anno vero ætatis suæ, xlv. &c."

[W] For the preceding account Dugdale refers to _Monast. Angl._ i.
(r. ii.) p. 185, but gives it as enlarged by D. Powel, in his _Hist._
_of Cambria_, p. 196, who is known to have followed ancient Welsh
MSS. The words in the Monasticon are: "Qui accersitis Sutoribus
Cestriæ et Histrionibus, festinanter cum exercitu suo venit domino
suo facere succursum. Walenses vero videntes multitudinem magnam
venientem, relictâ obsidione fugerunt.... Et propter hoc dedit comes
antedictus.... Constabulario dominationem Sutorum et Histrionum.
Constabularius vero retinuit sibi et hæredibus suis dominationem
Sutorum: et Histrionum dedit vero Seneschallo." So the passage should
apparently be pointed; but either _et_ or _vero_ seems redundant.

We shall see below in note [Z] the proper import of the word
_histriones_; but it is very remarkable that this is not the word used
in the grant of the constable De Lacy to Dutton, but "magisterium
omnium _leccatorum_ et _meretricium_ totius Cestreshire, sicut liberius
illum (_sic_) magisterium teneo de comite" (_vid._ Blount's _Ancient
Tenures_, p. 156). Now, as under this grant the heirs of Dutton
confessedly held for many ages a _magisterial_ jurisdiction over all
the minstrels and musicians of that county, and as it could not be
conveyed by the word _meretrices_, the natural inference is, that the
minstrels were expressed by the term _leccatores_. It is true, Du Cange
compiling his Glossary could only find in the writers he consulted
this word used in the abusive sense, often applied to every synonyme
of the sportive and dissolute minstrel, viz. _Scurra_, _vaniloquus_,
_parasitus_, _epulo_, &c. (This I conceive to be the proper arrangement
of these explanations, which only express the character given to the
minstrel elsewhere: see Du Cange, _passim_, and notes, [C], [E], [F],
[I], iii. 2, &c.) But he quotes an ancient MS. in French metre, wherein
the leccour (Lat. _leccator_) and the minstrel are joined together, as
receiving from Charlemagne a grant of the territory of Provence, and
from whom the Provençal troubadours were derived, &c. See the passage
above in note [C] p. 387.

The exception in favour of the family of Dutton is thus expressed in
the statute, Anno 39, Eliz. chap. iv. entitled, "An Act for punishment
of Rogues, Vagabonds, and Sturdy Beggars."

"§ II.... All fencers, bearwards, common players of enterludes, and
minstrels, wandering abroad (other than players of enterludes belonging
to any baron of this realm, or any other honourable personage of
greater degree, to be authorised to play under the hand and seal of
arms of such baron or personage): all juglers, tinkers, pedlers, &c....
shall be adjudged and deemed rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy beggars, &c.

"§ X. Provided always that this act, or any thing therein contained,
or any authority thereby given, shall not in any wise extend to
disinherit, prejudice, or hinder John Dutton of Dutton, in the county
of Chester, Esquire, his heirs or assigns, for, touching or concerning
any liberty, preheminence, authority, jurisdiction, or inheritance,
which the said John Dutton now lawfully useth, or hath, or lawfully may
or ought to use within the county-palatine of Chester, and the county
of the city of Chester, or either of them, by reason of any ancient
charters of any kings of this land, or by reason of any prescription,
usage, or title whatsoever."

The same clauses are renewed in the last act on this subject, passed in
the present reign of George III.

[X] [_Edward I ... at the knighting of his son, &c._] See _Nic. Triveti
Annales_, Oxon. 1719, 8vo. p. 342.

"In festo Pentecostes Rex filium suum armis militaribus cinxit, & cum
eo Comites Warenniæ & Arundeliæ, aliosque, quorum numerus ducentos &
quadraginta dicitur excessisse. Eodem die cum sedisset Rex in mensa,
novis militibus circumdatus, ingressa Ministrellorum Multitudo,
portantium multiplici ornatu amictum, ut milites præcipue novos
invitarent, & inducerent, ad vovendum factum armorum aliquod coram

[Y] [_By an express regulation, &c._] See in Hearne's _Append. ad
Lelandi Collectan._ vol. vi. p. 36. "A Dietarie, Writtes published
after the Ordinance of Earles and Barons, Anno Dom. 1315."

"Edward by the grace of God, &c. to sheriffes, &c., greetyng. Forasmuch
as ... many idle persons, under colour of mynstrelsie, and going in
messages, and other faigned busines, have ben and yet be receaved in
other mens houses to meate and drynke, and be not therwith contented
yf they be not largely consydered with gyftes of the Lordes of the
houses, &c.... We wyllyng to restrayne such outrageous enterprises and
idlenes, &c. have ordeyned ... that to the houses of prelates, earles,
and barons, none resort to meate and drynke, unless he be a mynstrel,
and of these minstrels that there come none except it be three or four
minstrels of honour at the most in one day, unlesse he be desired of
the Lorde of the house. And to the houses of meaner men that none come
unlesse he be desired, and that such as shall come so, holde themselves
contented with meate and drynke, and with such curtesie as the maister
of the house wyl shewe unto them of his owne good wyll, without their
askyng of any thyng. And yf any one do agaynst this ordinaunce, at
the firste tyme he to lose his minstrelsie, and at the second tyme to
forsweare his craft, and never to be receaved for a minstrell in any
house.... Yeven at Langley the vi. day of August, in the ix yere of our

These abuses arose again to as great a height as ever in little more
than a century after; in consequence, I suppose, of the licentiousness
that crept in during the civil wars of York and Lancaster. This
appears from the charter, 9 E. IV. referred to in p. xlv. "Ex
querulosâ insinuatione ... Ministrallorum nostrorum accepimus qualiter
nonnulli rudes agricolæ & artifices diversarum misterarum regni nostri
Angliæ, finxerunt se fore ministrallos, quorum aliqui liberatam
nostram eis minime datam portarent, seipsos etiam fingentes esse
minstrallos nostros proprios, cujus quidem liberatæ ac dictæ artis sive
occupationis ministrallorum colore, in diversis partibus regni nostri
prædicti grandes pecuniarum exactiones de ligeis nostris deceptive
colligunt, &c."

Abuses of this kind prevailed much later in Wales, as appears from
the famous commission issued out in 9 Eliz. (1567) for bestowing the
silver harp on the best minstrel, rythmer, or bard, in the principality
of North Wales: of which a fuller account will be given below in note

[Z] [_It is thus related by Stow._] See his Survey of London, &c.
fol. 1633, p. 521 (Acc. of Westm. Hall). Stow had this passage
from Walsingham's _Hist. Ang._ ... "Intravit quædam mulier ornata
histrionali habitu, equum bonum insidens histrionaliter phaleratum,
quæ mensas more histrionum circuivit; & tandem ad Regis mensam per
gradus ascendit, & quandam literam coram rege posuit, & retracto fræno
(salutatis ubique discumbentibus) prout venerat ita recessit," &c.
_Anglic. Norm. Script._ &c. Franc. 1603, fol. p. 109.

It may be observed here, that minstrels and others often rode on
horseback up to the royal table, when the kings were feasting in their
great halls. See in this vol. book I, No. 6.

The answer of the porters (when they were afterwards blamed for
admitting her) also deserves attention. "Non esse moris domus regiæ
histriones ab ingressu quomodolibet prohibere, &c." Walsingh.

That Stow rightly translated the Latin word _histrio_ here by
_minstrel_, meaning a musician that sung, and whose subjects were
stories of chivalry, admits of easy proof; for in the _Gesta
Romanorum_, chap. cxi. Mercury is represented as coming to Argus in
the character of a minstrel; when he "incepit, more _histrionico_
fabulas dicere, et plerumque cantare." (T. Warton, iii. p. li.)
And Muratori cites a passage, in an old Italian chronicle, wherein
mention is made of a stage erected at Milan: "Super quo _histriones_
_cantibant_, sicut modo cantatur de Rolando et Oliverio." _Antich._
_Ital._ ii. p. 6. (_Observ. on the Statutes_, 4th edit. p. 362.)

See also [E] p. 388. [F] p. 389.

[Aa] [_There should seem to have been women of this profession._]
This may be inferred from the variety of names appropriated to them
in the Middle Ages, viz. Anglo-Sax. +Glip-meden+ (Glee-maiden),
&c. +glypiendemaden, glypbydenestra+. (vid. supra, p. 393.) Fr.
_jengleresse_, Med. Lat. _joculatrix_, _ministralissa_, _foemina
ministerialis_, &c. (vid. Du Cange, _Gloss. & Suppl._)

See what is said in p. 371 concerning the "sisters of the fraternity
of minstrels;" see also a passage quoted by Dr. Burney (ii. 315) from
Muratori, of the chorus of women singing thro' the streets accompanied
with musical instruments in 1268.

Had the female described by Walsingham been a _tombestere_, or
dancing-woman (see Tyrwhitt's _Chaucer_, iv. 307, and v. Gloss.) that
historian would probably have used the word _saltatrix_ (see T. Warton,
i. 240, note M.)

These _saltatrices_ were prohibited from exhibiting in churches and
church-yards along with _joculatores_, _histriones_, with whom they
were sometimes classed, especially by the rigid ecclesiastics, who
censured, in the severest terms, all these sportive characters (vid. T.
Warton _in loco citato_, and vide _supra_ not. E, F, &c.).

And here I would observe, that although Fauchet and other
subsequent writers affect to arrange the several members of the
minstrel profession under the different classes of _troverres_ (or
_troubadours_), _chanterres_, _conteours_, and _jugleurs_, &c. (vid.
p. 385) as if they were distinct and separate orders of men, clearly
distinguished from each other by these appropriate terms, we find no
sufficient grounds for this in the oldest writers; but the general
names in Latin, _histrio_, _mimus_, _joculator_, _ministrallus_, &c. in
French, _menestrier_, _menestrel_, _jongleur_, _jugleur_, &c. and in
English, _jogeleur_, _jugler_, _minstrels_, and the like, seem to be
given them indiscriminately. And one or other of these names seem to
have been sometimes applied to every species of men, whose business it
was to entertain or divert (_joculari_) whether with poesy, singing,
music, or gesticulation, singly, or with a mixture of all these. Yet as
all men of this sort were considered as belonging to one class, order
or community (many of the above arts being sometimes exercised by the
same person), they had all of them doubtless the same privileges, and
it equally throws light upon the general history of the profession to
shew what favour or encouragement was given, at any particular period
of time, to any one branch of it. I have not therefore thought it
needful to inquire whether, in the various passages quoted in these
pages, the word minstrel, &c. is always to be understood in its exact
and proper meaning of a singer to the harp, &c.

That men of very different arts and talents were included under the
common name of minstrels, &c. appears from a variety of authorities.
Thus we have _menestrels de trompes_ and _menestrels de bouche_ in
the suppl. to Du Cange, c. 1227, and it appears still more evident from
an old French rhymer, whom I shall quote at large:

    "Le Quens[1128] manda les _Menestrels_;
    Et si a fet[1129] crier entre els,
    Qui la meillor truffe[1130] sauroit
    Dire, ne faire, qu'il auroit
    Sa robe d'escarlate nueve.
    L'uns Menestrels à l'autre reuve
    Fere son mestier, tel qu'il sot,
    Li uns fet l'yvre, l'autre sot;
    Li uns chante, li autre note;
    Et li autres dit la riote;
    Et li autres la jenglerie;[1131]
    Cil qui sevent de jonglerie
    Vielent par devant le Conte;
    Aucuns ja qui fabliaus conte
    Il i ot dit mainte risée," &c.

                            _Fabliaux et Contes_, 12mo. tom. ii. p. 161.

And what species of entertainment was afforded by the ancient
_juggleurs_ we learn from the following citation from an old romance,
written in 1230:

    "Quand les tables ostees furent
    C'il _juggleurs_ in pies esturent
    S'ont vielles, et harpes prisees
    Chansons, sons, vers, et reprises
    Et _gestes_ chantè nos ont."

Sir J. Hawkins, ii. 44, from _Andr. du Chene_. See also Tyrwhitt's
_Chaucer_, iv. p. 299.

All the before mentioned sports went by the general name of
_ministralcia ministellorum ludicra_, &c.--_Charta an._ 1377, _apud_
Rymer, vii. p. 160. "Peracto autem prandio, ascendebat D. Rex in
cameram suam cum Prælatis Magnatibus & Proceribus prædictis: & deinceps
Magnates, Milites & Domini, aliique Generosi diem illum, usque ad
tempus coenæ, in tripudiis, coreis & solempnibus Ministralciis, præ
gaudio solempnitatis illius continuarunt." (Du Cange, _Gloss._ 773.)
This was at the coronation of K. Richard II.

It was common for the minstrels to dance, as well as to harp and sing
(see above, note [E], p. 389); thus in the old Romance of _Tirante el
Blanco_, Val. 1511, the 14th cap. lib. 2, begins thus: "Despues qui las
Mesas fueron alçadas vinieron los Ministriles; y delante del rey, y de
la Reyna dançaron un rato: y despues truxeron colacion."

They also probably, among their other feats, played tricks of slight
of hand, hence the word jugler came to signify a performer of
legerdemain; and it was sometimes used in this sense (to which it is
now appropriated) even so early as the time of Chaucer, who in his
_Squire's Tale_, (ii. 108) speaks of the horse of brass, as:

    An apparence ymade by som magike,
    As _Jogelours_ plaien at thise festes grete."

See also the _Frere's Tale_, i. p. 279, v. 7049.

[Aa2] [_Females playing on the harp._] Thus in the old romance of "Syr
Degore (or Degree," No. 22, iii. appendix) we have (Sign. D. i.):

    "The lady, that was so faire and bright,
    Upon her bed she sate down ryght;
    She harped notes swete and fine.
    (Her mayds filled a piece of wine.)
    And Syr Degore, sate him downe,
    For to hear the harpes sowne."

The 4th line being omitted in the pr. copy, is supplied from the folio

In the _Squyr of lowe Degree_ (No. 24, iii. appendix) the king says to
his daughter (Sign. D. i.):

    "Ye were wont to harpe and syng,
    And be the meryest in chamber comyng."

In the _Carle of Carlisle_, (No. 10. iii. appendix) we have the
following passage (folio MS. p. 451, v. 217).

    "Downe came a lady faire and free,
    And sett her on the Carles knee:
    One whiles shee harped another whiles song,
    Both of paramours and louinge amonge."

And in the Romance of _Eger and Grime_ (No. 12, iii. appendix), we have
(_ibid._ p. 127, col. 2) in part i. v. 263:

    "The ladye fayre of hew and hyde
    Shee sate downe by the bed side
    Shee laid a souter (psaltry) vpon her knee
    Theron shee plaid full lovesomelye.
    ... And her 2 maydens sweetlye sange."

A similar passage occurs in part iv, v. 129 (p. 136.)--But these
instances are sufficient.

[Bb] [_A charter ... to appoint a king of the minstrels._] Intitled
_Carta Le Roy de ministraulx_ (in Latin _histriones_ vid. Plott. p.
437.) A copy of this charter is printed in _Monast. Anglic._ i. 355,
and in Blount's _Law Diction._ 1717 (art. king).

That this was a most respectable officer, both here and on the
continent, will appear from the passages quoted below, and therefore it
could only have been in modern times, when the proper meaning of the
original terms _ministraulz_, and _histriones_ was forgot, that he was
called king of the fidlers; on which subject see below, note [Ee2].

Concerning the king of the minstrels we have the following curious
passages collected by Du Cange, Gloss. iv. 773:

"Rex Ministellorum; supremus inter _ministellos_: de cujus munere,
potestate in cæteros _ministellos_ agit Charta Henrici IV. Regis Angliæ
in _Monast. Anglicano_, tom. i. p. 355. Charta originalis an. 1338.
Je Robert Caveron Roy des Menestreuls du Royaume de France. Aliæ ann.
1357. & 1362. Copin de Brequin Roy des Menestres du Royaume de France.
Computum de auxiliis pro redemptione Regis Johannis, ann. 1367. Pour
une couronne d'argent qu'il donna le jour de la Tiphaine au roy des

"Regestum Magnorum Dierum Trecensium an. 1296. Super quod Joannes
dictus Charmillons Juglator, cui dominus Rex per suas literas tanquam
Regem Juglatorum in civitate Trecensi Magisterium Juglatorum,
quemadmodum suæ placeret voluntati, concesserat." _Gloss._ c. 1587.

There is a very curious passage in Pasquier's _Recherches de la_
_France_, Paris, 1633, folio, liv. 7. ch. 5, p. 611, wherein he appears
to be at a loss how to account for the title of Le Roy assumed by
the old composers of metrical romances; in one of which the author
expressly declares himself to have been a minstrel. The solution of the
difficulty, that he had been _Le Roy des Menestrels_, will be esteemed
more probable than what Pasquier here advances; for I have never seen
the title of _prince_ given to a minstrel, &c. scil.--"A nos vieux
Poetes ... comme ... fust qu'ils eussent certain jeux de prix en leurs
Poesies, ils ... honoroient du nome, tantot de roy, tantot de prince,
celuy qui avoit le mieux faict comme nous voyons entre les archers,
arbalestiers, & harquebusiers estre fait le semblable. Ainsi l'autheur
du Roman d'Oger le Danois, s'appelle Roy.

    "Icy endroict est cil Livre finez
    Qui des enfans Oger est appellez
    Or vueille Diex qu'il soit parachevez
    En tel maniere kestre n'en puist blamez
    Le Roy Adams (r. Adenes) ki il' est rimez.

"Et en celuy de Cleomades,

    "Ce Livre de Cleomades
    Rimé-je le Roy Adenes
    Menestre au bon Duc Henry.

"Mot de Roy, qui seroit tres-mal approprié à un menestrier, si
d'ailleurs on ne le rapportoit a un jeu du priz: Et de faict il semble
que de nostre temps, il y en eust encores quelque remarques, en ce
que le mot de jouingleur s'estant par succession de temps tourné en
batelage nous avons veu en nostre jeunesse les Jouingleurs se trouver
à certain jour tous les ans en la ville de Chauny en Picardie, pour
faire monstre de leur mestrier devant le monde, à qui mieux. Et ce que
j'en dis icy n'est pas pour vilipender ces anciens Rimeurs, ainsi pour
monstrer qu'il n'y a chose si belle qui ne s'aneantisse avec le temps."

We see here that in the time of Pasquier the poor minstrel was sunk
into as low estimation in France, as he was then or afterwards in
England: but by his apology for comparing the jouingleurs, who
assembled to exercise their faculty, in his youth, to the ancient
rimeurs, it is plain they exerted their skill in rhyme.

As for king _Adenes_, or _Adenez_ (whose name in the first passage
above is corruptly printed _Adams_), he is recorded in the
_Bibliothèque des Romans, Amst._ 1734, 12mo. vol. i. p. 232, to
have composed the two romances in verse above-mentioned, and a third
intitled _Le Roman de Bertin_: all three being preserved in a MS.
written about 1270. His _Bon Duc Henry_ I conceive to have been Henry
Duke of Brabant.

[Bb2] [_King of the minstrels, &c._] See Anstis's _Register of the
Order of the Garter_, ii. p. 303, who tells us: "The President or
Governour of the minstrels had the like denomination of _roy_ in France
and Burgundy: and in England, John of Gaunt constituted such an officer
by a patent; and long before his time payments were made by the crown,
to [a] king of the minstrels by Edw. I. 'Regi Roberto Ministrallo
scutifero ad arma commoranti ad vadia Regis anno 5to.' (_Bibl. Cotton.
Vespas._ c. 16, f. 3), as likewise (_Libro Garderob_. 25, E. 1):
'Ministrallis in die nuptiarum comitissæ Holland filiæ Regis, Regi
Pago, Johanni Vidulatori &c. Morello Regi, &c. Druetto Monthaut,
and Jacketto de Scot. Regibus, cuilibet eorum xls.' Regi Pagio de
Hollandia, &c. under Ed II. We likewise find other entries, 'Regi
Roberto et aliis ministrallis facientibus menistrallias (ministralcias,
qu.) suas coram Rege. (_Bibl. Cotton. Nero._ c. 8, p. 84 b. _Comp.
Garderob._) That king granted, 'Willielmo de Morlee dicto Roy de North,
Ministrallo Regis, domos quæ fuerunt' Johannis le Boteler dicti Roy
Brunhaud (_Pat. de terr. forisfact._ 16. E. 3)." He adds below, (p.
304) a similar instance of a _rex juglatorum_, and that the "king
of the minstrels" at length was styled in France _roy des violons_,
(Furitiere, _Diction. Univers._) as with us "king of the fidlers," on
which subject see below, note [Ee2].

[Bb3] The statute 4 Hen. IV. (1402) c. 27, runs in these terms: "Item,
pur eschuir plusieurs diseases et mischiefs qont advenuz devaunt ces
heures en la terre de Gales par plusieurs westours rymours, minstralx
et autres vacabondes, ordeignez est et establiz qe nul westour, rymour
ministral ne vacabond soit aucunement sustenuz en la terre de Gales pur
faire kymorthas ou coillage sur la commune poeple illoeques." This is
among the severe laws against the Welsh, passed during the resentment
occasioned by the outrages committed under Owen Glendour; and as the
Welsh bards had excited their countrymen to rebellion against the
English government, it is not to be wondered that the act is conceived
in terms of the utmost indignation and contempt against this class of
men, who are described as _rymours_, _ministralx_, which are apparently
here used as only synonymous terms to express the Welsh bards with the
usual exuberance of our acts of parliament; for if their _ministralx_
had been mere musicians, they would not have required the vigilance of
the English legislature to suppress them. It was their songs exciting
their countrymen to insurrection which produced "les diseases &
mischiefs en la terre de Gales."

It is also submitted to the reader, whether the same application of
the terms does not still more clearly appear in the commission issued
in 1567, and printed in Evan Evans's _Specimens of Welsh Poetry_,
1764, 4to. p. v. for bestowing the silver harp on "the chief of that
faculty." For after setting forth "that vagrant and idle persons,
naming themselves _minstrels_, _rythmers_, and _bards_, had lately
grown into such intolerable multitude within the Principality in
North Wales, that not only gentlemen and others by their shameless
disorders are oftentimes disquieted in their habitations, but also
expert _minstrels_ and _musicians in tongue and cunynge_ thereby much
discouraged, &c." and "hindred [of] livings and preferment," &c.
it appoints a time and place, wherein all "persons that intend to
maintain their living by name or colour of _minstrels_, _rythmers_, or
_bards_ within five shires of North Wales, shall appear to show their
learnings accordingly," &c. And the commissioners are required to admit
such as shall be found worthy, into and under the degrees heretofore
in use, so that they may "use, exercise, and follow the sciences and
faculties of their professions in such decent order as shall appertain
to each of their degrees." And the rest are to return to some honest
labour, &c. upon pain to be taken as sturdy and idle vagabonds, &c.

[Bb4] Holinshed translated this passage from Tho. de Elmham's _Vita
et Gesta Henrici V._ scil.: "Soli Omnipotenti Deo se velle victoriam
imputari ... in tantum, quod cantus de suo triumpho fieri, seu per
Citharistas vel alios quoscunque cantari penitus prohibebat." (Edit.
Hearnii, 1727, p. 72). As in his version Holinshed attributes the
making, as well as singing ditties to minstrels, it is plain he knew
that men of this profession had been accustomed to do both.

[Cc] [_The Houshold Book, &c._] See Section v.

"Of the noumbre of all my lords servaunts."

"Item, Mynstrals in Houshold iii. viz. a taberet, a luyte, and a
Rebecc." (The rebeck was a kind of fiddle with three strings).

"Sect. XLIV. 3.

"Rewardes to his lordship's Servaunts, &c.

"Item, My lord usith ande accustomith to gyf yerly, when his lordschipp
is at home, to his minstrallis that be daily in his houshold, as his
tabret, lute, ande Rebeke, upon New Yeresday in the mornynge when they
do play at my lordis chamber dour for his lordschip and my lady, xx_s._
viz. xiii_s._ iv_d._ for my lord; and vi_s._ viii_d._ for my lady, if
sche be at my lords fyndynge, and not at hir owen; And for playing at
my lordis sone and heire's chamber doure, the lord Percy, ii_s._ And
for playinge at the chamber doures of my lords yonger sonnes, my yonge
masters, after viii_d._ the pece for every of them.--xxiii_s._ iiii_d._

"Sect. XLIV. 2.

            "Rewards to be geven to strangers, as Players,
                     Mynstralls, or any other, &c.

"Furst, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gif to the kings jugler; ...
when they custome to come unto hym yerly, vi_s._ viii_d._

"Item, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gif yerely to the kings or
queenes Bearwarde, if they have one, when they custom to come unto hym
yerly, vi_s._ viii_d._

"Item, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gyfe yerly to every erles
mynstrellis, when they custome to come to hym yerely, iii_s._ iiii_d._
And if they come to my lorde seldome, ones in ii or iii yeres, than
vi_s._ viii_d._

"Item, my lorde usith and accustomedeth to gife yerely to an erls
mynstralls, if he be his speciall lorde, friende, or kynsman, if
they come yerely to his lordschip.... And, if they come to my 'lord'
seldome, ones in ii or iii years...."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Item, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gyf yerely a dookes or erlis
trumpetts, if they come vi together to his lordschipp, viz. if they
come yerly, vi_s._ viii_d._ And, if they come but in ii or iii yeres,
than x_s._"

"Item, my lorde usith and accustometh to gife yerly, when his lordschip
is at home, to gyf to the kyngs shawmes, when they com to my lorde
yerely, x_s._"

       *       *       *       *       *

I cannot conclude this note without observing that in this enumeration
the family minstrels seem to have been musicians only, and yet both the
earl's trumpets and the king's shawmes are evidently distinguished from
the earl's minstrels, and the king's jugler. Now we find jugglers still
coupled with pipers in Barklay's _Egloges, circ._ 1514. (Warton, ii.

[Cc2] The honours and rewards conferred on minstrels, &c. in the
middle ages were excessive, as will be seen by many instances in these
volumes; v. note [E], [F] &c. But more particularly with regard to
English minstrels, &c. See T. Warton's _Hist. of Eng. Poetry_, i. p.
89-92, 116, &c., ii. 105, 106, 254, &c. Dr. Burney's _Hist. of Music_,
ii. p. 316-319, 397-399, 427-428.

On this head, it may be sufficient to add the following passage from
the _Fleta_, lib. ii. c. 23: "Officium Elemosinarij est ... Equos
relictos, Robas, Pecuniam, et alia ad Elemosinam largiter recipere et
fidelitur distribuere; debet etiam Regem super Elemosinæ largitione
crebris summonitionibus stimulare & præcipue diebus sanctorum, et
rogare ne Robas suas quæ magni sunt precij histrionibus, blanditoribus,
adulatoribus, accusatoribus, vel menestrallis, sed ad Elemosinæ suæ
incrementum jubeat largiri." Et in c. 72: "ministralli, vel adulatoris."

[Dd] [_A species of men who did not sing, &c._] It appears from the
passage of Erasmus here referred to, that there still existed in
England of that species of _jongleurs_ or minstrels, whom the French
called by the peculiar name of _conteours_, or reciters in prose. It
is in his _Ecclesiastes_, where he is speaking of such preachers as
imitated the tone of beggars or mountebanks: "Apud Anglos est simile
genus hominum, quales apud Italos sunt circulatores [mountebanks] de
quibus modo dictum est; qui irrumpunt in convivia magnatum, aut in
Cauponas Vinarias; et argumentum aliquod, quod edidicerunt, recitant;
puta mortem omnibus dominari, aut laudem matrimonii. Sed quoniam ea
linguâ monosyllabis fere constat, quemadmodum Germanica; atque illi
(sc. this peculiar species of reciters) studio vitant cantum, nobis
(sc. Erasmus, who did not understand a word of English) latrare
videntur verius quàm loqui."--_Opera_, tom. v. c. 958 (Jortin, vol. ii.
p. 193). As Erasmus was correcting the vice of preachers, it was more
to his point to bring an instance from the moral reciters of prose,
than from chanters of rhime; though the latter would probably be more
popular, and therefore more common.

[Ee] This character is supposed to have been suggested by descriptions
of minstrels in the romance of _Morte Arthur_; but none, it seems, have
been found which come nearer to it than the following, which I shall
produce, not only that the reader may judge of the resemblance, but to
shew how nearly the idea of the minstrel character given in this essay
corresponds with that of our old writers.

Sir Lancelot, having been affronted by a threatening abusive letter
which Mark, king of Cornwal, had sent to Queen Guenever, wherein he
"spake shame by her and Sir Lancelot," is comforted by a knight, named
Sir Dinadan, who tells him "I will make a lay for him, and when it is
made, I shall make an harper to sing it before him. So anon he went and
made it, and taught it an harper, that hyght Elyot; and when hee could
it, hee taught it to many harpers. And so ... the harpers went straight
unto Wales and Cornwaile to sing the lay ... which was the worst lay
that ever harper sung with harpe, or with any other instrument. And
[at a] great feast that king Marke made for joy of [a] victorie which
hee had ... came Eliot the harper; ... and because he was a curious
harper, men heard him sing the same lay that Sir Dinadan had made, the
which spake the most vilanie by king Marke of his treason, that ever
man heard. When the harper had sung his song to the end, king Marke was
wonderous wroth with him, and said, Thou harper, how durst thou be so
bold to sing this song before me? Sir, said Eliot, wit you wel I am a
minstrell, and I must doe as I am commanded of these lords that _I bear
the armes of_. And Sir king, wit you well that Sir Dinadan a knight
of the Round Table made this song, and he made me to sing it before
you. Thou saiest well, said king Marke, I charge thee that thou hie
thee fast out of my sight. So the harper departed, &c." (Part ii. c.
113, ed. 1634. See also part iii. c. 5.)

[Ee2] [_This art seems to have put an end to the profession, &c._]
Although I conceive that the character ceased to exist, yet the
appellation might be continued, and applied to fidlers, or other
common musicians: which will account for the mistakes of Sir Peter
Leicester, or other modern writers. (See his _Historical Antiquities
of Cheshire_, 1673, p. 141.)

In this sense it is used in an ordinance in the times of Cromwell
(1656), wherein it is enacted that if any of the "persons commonly
called fidlers or minstrels shall at any time be taken playing,
fidling, and making music in any inn, ale-house, or tavern, or shall be
taken proffering themselves, or desiring, or intreating any ... to hear
them play or make music in any of the places aforesaid" they are to be
"adjudged and declared to be rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy beggars."

This will also account why John of Gaunt's king of the minstrels at
length came to be called, like _le roy des violons_ in France (v.
note [Bb2]), king of the fidlers. See the common ballad intitled _The
Pedigree, Education, and Marriage of Robin-hood with Clorinda, queen
of Tutbury Feast_: which, though prefixed to the modern collection on
that subject,[1132] seems of much later date than most of the others;
for the writer appears to be totally ignorant of all the old traditions
concerning this celebrated outlaw, and has given him a very elegant
bride instead of his old noted Lemman, "Maid Marian:" who together with
his chaplain "Frier Tuck," were his favourite companions, and probably
on that account figured in the old morice dance, as may be seen by the
engraving in Mr Steevens's and Mr. Malone's edition of _Shakespeare_:
by whom she is mentioned, 1 Hen. IV. act iii. sc. 3. (See also Warton,
i. 245, ii. 237.) Whereas from this ballad's concluding with an
exhortation to "pray for the king," and "that he may get children,"
&c. it is evidently posterior to the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and can
scarce be older than the reign of K. Charles I. for K. James I. had no
issue after his accession to the throne of England. It may even have
been written since the Restoration, and only express the wishes of the
nation for issue on the marriage of their favourite K. Charles II., on
his marriage with the Infanta of Portugal. I think it is not found in
the Pepys collection.

[Ff] [_Historical song or ballad._] The English word ballad is
evidently from the French _balade_, as the latter is from the Italian
_ballata_; which the Crusca Dictionary defines, _canzone che si canta_
_ballando_: "a song which is sung during a dance." So Dr. Burney (ii.
342,) who refers to a collection of _ballette_, published by Gastaldi,
and printed at Antwerp in 1596 (iii. 226.)

But the word appears to have had an earlier origin: for in the decline
of the Roman empire, these trivial songs were called _ballistea_
and _saltatiunculæ_. _Ballisteum_, Salmasius says, is properly
_ballistium_, Gr. #Ballisteion#. "#apo tou Ballizô# ... #Ballistia#
saltatio ... _Ballistium_ igitur est quod vulgo vocamus _ballet_; nam
inde deducta vox nostra." Salmas. _Not. in_ Hist. Ang. Scriptores, iv.
p. 349.

In the life of the Emperor Aurelian by Fl. Vopiscus may be seen two of
these _ballistea_, as sung by the boys skipping and dancing, on account
of a great slaughter made by the emperor with his own hand in the
Sarmatic war. The first is:

    "Mille, mille, mille decollavimus,
    Unus homo mille decollavimus,
    Mille vivat, qui mille occidit.
    Tantum vini habet nemo
    Quantum fudit sanguinis."

The other was:

    "Mille Sarmatas, mille Francos
    Semel & semel occidimus.
    Mille Persas quærimus."

Salmasius (_in loc._) shows that the trivial poets of that time were
wont to form their metre of trochaic tetrametre catalectics, divided
into distichs. (_Ibid._ p. 350.) This becoming the metre of the hymns
in the church service, to which the monks at length superadded rhyming
terminations, was the origin of the common trochaic metre in the modern
languages. This observation I owe to the learned author of _Irish
Antiquities_, 4to.

[Ff2] [_Little Miscellanies named Garlands, &c._] In the Pepysian and
other libraries are preserved a great number of these in black letter,
12mo. under the following quaint and affected titles, viz.:

1. _A Crowne Garland of Goulden Roses gathered out of England's Royal
Garden, &c._, by Richard Johnson, 1612. [In the Bodleyan Library.]
2. _The Golden Garland of Princely Delight._ 3. _The Garland of
Good-will_, by T. D., 1631. 4. _The Royal Garland of Love and
Delight_, by T. D. 5. _The Garland of Delight, &c._, by Tho. Delone. 6.
_The Garland of Love and Mirth_, by Thomas Lanfier. 7. _Cupid's Garland
set round with Guilded Roses._ 8. _The Garland of Withered Roses_,
by Martin Parker, 1656. 9. _The Shepherd's Garland of Love, Loyalty,
&c._ 10. _The Country Garland._ 11. _The Golden Garland of Mirth and
Merriment._ 12. _The Lover's Garland._ 13. _Neptune's fair Garland._
14. _England's fair Garland._ 15. _Robin Hood's Garland._ 16. _The
Maiden's Garland._ 17. _A Loyal Garland of Mirth and Pastime._ 18.
_A Royal Garland of New Songs._ 19. _The Jovial Garland_, 8th edit.
1691, &c. &c. &c.

This sort of petty publications had anciently the name of Penny
Merriments: as little religious tracts of the same size were called
Penny Godlinesses. In the Pepysian Library are multitudes of both kinds.

[Gg] [_The term minstrel was not confined to a meer musician in_
_this country any more than on the Continent._] The discussion of the
question, whether the term minstrel was applied in England to singers
and composers of songs, &c. or confined to the performers on musical
instruments, was properly reserved for this place, because much light
hath already been thrown upon the subject in the preceding notes, to
which it will be sufficient to refer the reader.

That on the Continent the minstrel was understood not to be a meer
musician but a singer of verses, hath been shown in notes [B], [C],
[R], [Aa], &c.[1133] And that he was also a maker of them is evident
from the passage in [C] p. 386, where the most noted romances are said
to be of the composition of these men. And in [Bb] p. 417, we have the
titles of some of which a minstrel was the author, who has himself left
his name upon record.

The old English names for one of this profession were gleeman,[1134]
jogeler,[1135] and latterly minstrel; not to mention harper, &c.
In French he was called _jongleur_ or _jugleur_, _menestrel_ or
_menestrier_.[1136] The writers of the middle ages expressed the
character in Latin by the words _joculator_, _mimus_, _histrio_,
_ministrellus_, &c. These terms, however modern critics may endeavour
to distinguish and apply them to different classes, and although they
may be sometimes mentioned as if they were distinct, I cannot find
after a very strict research to have had any settled appropriate
difference, but they appear to have been used indiscriminately by the
oldest writers, especially in England, where the most general and
comprehensive name was latterly minstrel, Lat. _ministrellus_, &c.

Thus _joculator_ (Eng. jogeler, or juglar) is used as synonymous to
_citharista_ (note [K] p. 397), and to _cantor_ (p. 397), and to
minstrel (vid. _infra_, p. 425). We have also positive proof that the
subject of his songs were gestes and romantic tales ([V2] note).

So _mimus_ is used as synonymous to _joculator_ ([M] p. 399). He was
rewarded for his singing ([N] p. 400) and he both sang, harped, and
dealt in that sport [T2] which is elsewhere called _ars joculatoria_
([M] _ubi supra_).

Again _histrio_ is also proved to have been a singer ([Z] p. 412) and
to have gained rewards by his _verba joculatoria_ ([E] p. 388). And
_histriones_ is the term by which the Fr. word _ministraulx_ is most
frequently rendered into Latin ([W] p. 410, [Bb] p. 416, &c.)

The fact therefore is sufficiently established that this order of men
were in England, as well as on the Continent, singers: so that it only
becomes a dispute about words, whether here under the more general name
of minstrels, they are described as having sung.

But in proof of this we have only to turn to so common a book as T.
Warton's _History of Eng. Poetry_: where we shall find extracted from
records the following instances:--

"Ex Registr. Priorat. S. Swithin Winton (sub anno 1374). In festo
Alwyni Epi.... Et durante pietancia in Aula Conventus sex ministralli,
cum quatuor citharisatoribus, faciebant ministralcias suas. Et post
cenam, in magna camera arcuata dom. prioris cantabant idem Gestum in
qua Camera suspendebatur, ut moris est, magnum dorsale Prioris habens
picturas trium Regum Colein. Veniebant autem dicti joculatores a
Castello domini Regis & ex familia Epi." (vol. ii. p. 174). Here the
minstrels and harpers are expressly called _joculatores_, and as the
harpers had musical instruments, the singing must have been by the
minstrels, or by both conjointly.

For that minstrels sang we have undeniable proof in the following
entry in the Accompt Roll of the Priory of Bicester, in Oxfordshire
(under the year 1432). "_Dat. Sex_ ministrallis de _Bokyngham_
cantantibus _in refectorio Martyrium Septem Domientium in festo
Epiphanie_, ivs." (vol. ii. p. 175).

In like manner our old English writers abound with passages wherein the
minstrel is represented as singing. To mention only a few:

In the old romance of _Emaré_ (No. 15, vol. iii. appendix), which
from the obsoleteness of the style, the nakedness of the story, the
barrenness of incidents, and some other particulars, I should judge to
be next in point of time to _Hornchild,_ we have:

    "I have herd menstrelles syng yn sawe."--Stanza 27.

In a poem of Adam Davie (who flourished about 1312) we have this

    "Merry it is in halle to here the harpe,
    The Minstrelles synge, the jogelours carpe."

                                                   T. Warton, i. p. 225.

So William of Nassyngton (circ. 1480) as quoted by Mr. Tyrwhitt
(_Chaucer_, iv. 319):--

    "I will make no vain carpinge
    Of dedes of armys ne of amours
    As dus Mynstrelles and Jestours [Gestours]
    That makys carpinge in many a place
    Of Octaviane and Isembrase,
    And of many other Jestes [Gestes]
    And namely whan they come to festes."[1137]

See also the description of the minstrel in note [Ee] from _Morte_
_Arthur_, which appears to have been compiled about the time of this
last writer. (See T. Warton, ii. 235).

By proving that minstrels were singers of the old romantic songs and
gestes, &c. we have in effect proved them to have been the makers
at least of some of them. For the names of their authors being not
preserved, to whom can we so probably ascribe the composition of many
of these old popular rhimes, as to the men who devoted all their time
and talents to the recitation of them: especially as in the rhimes
themselves minstrels are often represented as the makers or composers.

Thus in the oldest of all, _Hornchild_ having assumed the character of
a harper or jogeler, is in consequence said (fo. 92). to have

    "made Rymenild [his mistress] a lay."

In the old romance of _Emaré_, we have this exhortation to minstrels,
as composers, otherwise they could not have been at liberty to chuse
their subjects (st. 2):--

    "Menstrelles that walken fer and wyde
    Her and ther in every a syde
      In mony a dyverse londe
    Sholde ut her bygynnyng
    Speke of that ryghtwes kyng
      That made both see and sonde," &c.

And in the old song or geste of _Guy and Colbronde_ (No. 4, vol. iii.
appendix), the minstrel thus speaks of himself in the first person:

    "When meate and drinke is great plentye
    Then lords and ladyes still wil be
      And sitt and solace lythe
    Then itt is time for _mee_ to speake
    Of keene knights and kempes great
      Such carping for to kythe."

We have seen already that the Welsh bards, who were undoubtedly
composers of the songs they chanted to the harp, could not be
distinguished by our legislators from our own rimers, minstrels (vid.
note [Bb3], p. 418).

And that the Provençal _troubadour_ of our King Richard, who is called
by M. Favine _jongleur_, and by M. Fauchet _menestrel_, is by the old
English translator termed a rimer or minstrel, when he is mentioning
the fact of his composing some verses (p. 359).

And lastly, that Holinshed, translating the prohibition of K. Henry V.,
forbidding any songs to be composed on his victory, or to be sung by
harpers or others, roundly gives it, he would not permit "any ditties
to be made and sung by minstrels on his glorious victory," &c. (vid. p.
370 and note [Bb4]).

Now that this order of men, at first called gleemen, then juglers, and
afterwards more generally minstrels, existed here from the Conquest,
who entertained their hearers with chanting to the harp or other
instruments, songs and tales of chivalry, or as they were called,
gests[1138] and romances in verse in the English language, is proved by
the existence of the very compositions they so chanted, which are still
preserved in great abundance, and exhibit a regular series from the
time our language was almost Saxon, till after its improvements in the
age of Chaucer, who enumerates many of them. And as the Norman French
was in the time of this bard still the courtly language, it shows that
the English was not thereby excluded from affording entertainment
to our nobility, who are so often addressed therein by the title of
lordings: and sometimes more positively "lords and ladies" (p. 427).

And tho' many of these were translated from the French, others are
evidently of English origin[1139] which appear in their turns to
have afforded versions into that language; a sufficient proof of
that intercommunity between the French and English minstrels, which
hath been mentioned in a preceding page. Even the abundance of such
translations into English being all adapted for popular recitation,
sufficiently establishes the fact that the English minstrels had a
great demand for such compositions, which they were glad to supply,
whether from their own native stores or from other languages.

We have seen above that the _joculator_, _mimus_, _histrio_, whether
these characters were the same, or had any real difference, were all
called minstrels; as was also the harper,[1140] when the term implied a
singer, if not a composer of songs, &c. By degrees the name of minstrel
was extended to vocal and instrumental musicians of every kind: and
as in the establishment of royal and noble houses, the latter would
necessarily be most numerous, so we are not to wonder that the band
of music (entered under the general name of minstrels) should consist
of instrumental performers chiefly, if not altogether; for as the
composer or singer of heroic tales to the harp would necessarily be a
solitary performer, we must not expect to find him in the band along
with the trumpeters, fluters, &c.

However, as we sometimes find mention of "Minstrels of Music:"[1141]
so at other times we hear of "expert minstrels and musicians of tongue
and cunning" (B b. iii. p. 418)[1142], meaning doubtless by the former
singers, and probably by the latter phrase composers of songs. Even
"minstrels music" seems to be applied to the species of verse used by
minstrels in the passage quoted below.[1143]

But although from the predominancy of instrumental music minstrelsy
was at length chiefly to be understood in this sense, yet it was
still applied to the poetry of minstrels so late as the time of Queen
Elizabeth, as appears in the following extract from Puttenham's _Arte
of Eng. Poesie_, p. 9, who, speaking of the first composers of Latin
verses in ryme, says, "all that they wrote to the favour or prayse
of princes, they did it in such manner of minstralsie; and thought
themselves no small fooles, when they could make their verses go all in

I shall conclude this subject with the following description of
minstrelcy given by John Lidgate at the beginning of the fifteenth
century, as it shows what a variety of entertainments were then
comprehended under this term, together with every kind of instrumental
music then in use.

    "Al maner Mynstralcye.
    That any man kan specifye.
    Ffor there were Rotys of Almayne,
    And eke of Arragon, and Spayne:
    Songes, Stampes, and eke Daunces;
    Divers plente of plesaunces:
    And many unkouth notys new
    Of swiche folke as lovid treue.[1144]
    And instrumentys that did excelle,
    Many moo than I kan telle.
    Harpys, Fythales, and eke Rotys
    Well according to her [_i.e._ their] notys,
    Lutys, Ribibles, and Geternes,
    More for estatys, than tavernes:
    Orgay[n]s, Cytolis, Monacordys.--
    There were Trumpes, and Trumpettes,
    Lowde Shall[m]ys, and Doucettes."

                                          T. Warton, ii. 225, note [1144].

       *       *       *       *       *

  [-»] The foregoing essay on the ancient minstrels has been very
  much enlarged and improved since the first edition, with respect
  to the Anglo-Saxon minstrels, in consequence of some objections
  proposed by the reverend and learned Mr. Pegge, which the reader
  may find in the second volume of the _Archæologia_, printed by the
  Antiquarian Society: but which that gentleman has since retracted
  in the most liberal and candid manner in the third volume of the
  _Archæologia_, No. xxxiv. p. 310.

  And in consequence of similar objections respecting the English
  minstrels after the Conquest, the subsequent part hath been much
  enlarged, and additional light thrown upon the subject; which,
  to prevent cavil, hath been extended to minstrelsy in all its
  branches, as it was established in England, whether by natives or

       *       *       *       *       *

  [Ritson made a searching examination of this essay, and dissented
  from many of the propositions contained in it. His essay "On the
  Ancient English Minstrels" will be found in his collection of
  _Ancient Songs and Ballads_.]


[1103] The Anglo-Saxon and primary English name for this character
was Gleeman (see below, note [I], sect. 1), so that wherever the term
minstrel is in these pages applied to it before the Conquest, it must
be understood to be only by anticipation. Another early name for this
profession in English was jogeler, or jocular, Lat. _joculator_. (See
p. 353, as also note [V2] and note [Q].) To prevent confusion, we have
chiefly used the more general word minstrel, which (as the author of
the _Observ. on the Statutes_ hath suggested to the editor) might have
been originally derived from a diminutive of the Lat. _minister_, scil.
_ministerellus_, _ministrellus_.

[1104] Ministers seems to be used for minstrels in the account of
the Inthronization of Abp. Neville (An. 6, Edw. IV.). "Then all the
Chaplyns must say grace, and the ministers do sing." Vid. _Lelandi_
_Collectanea_, by Hearne, vol. vi. p. 13.

[1105] It has, however, been suggested to the editor by the learned
and ingenious author of _Irish Antiquities_, 4to. that the ancient
_mimi_ among the Romans had their heads and beards shaven, as is shown
by Salmasius in Notis ad _Hist. August. Scriptores VI. Paris_, 1622,
fol. p. 385. So that this peculiarity had a classical origin, though it
afterwards might make the minstrels sometimes pass for ecclesiastics,
as appears from the instance given below. Dr. Burney tells us that
_histriones_ and _mimi_ abounded in France in the time of Charlemagne
(ii. 221), so that their profession was handed down in regular
succession from the time of the Romans, and therewith some leading
distinctions of their habit or appearance; yet with a change in their
arts of pleasing, which latterly were most confined to singing and

[1106] Yet in St. Mary's church at Beverley, one of the columns hath
this inscription: "Thys Pillar made the Mynstrylls;" having its capital
decorated with figures of five men in short coats; one of whom holds an
instrument resembling a lute. See Sir J. Hawkins' _Hist._ ii. 298.

[1107] Vid. infra, not. [Aa].

[1108] Vid. Not. [B] [K] [Q].

[1109] Vid. Note [N].

[1110] The minstrels in France were received with great magnificence in
the fourteenth century. Froissart describing a Christmas entertainment
given by the Comte de Foix, tells us, that "there were many mynstrels,
as well of hys own, as of straungers, and eache of them dyd their
devoyre in their faculties. The same day the Erle of Foix gave to
haraulds and minstrelles the som of fyve hundred frankes: and gave to
the Duke of Tourayns mynstreles gownes of clothe of gold, furred with
ermyne, valued at two hundred frankes." B. iii. c. 31. Eng. Trans.
Lond. 1525. (Mr. C.)

[1111] Et vid. Policraticon, cap. 8, &c.

[1112] Vid. Nicolson's _Eng. Hist. Lib._ &c.

[1113] Gleeman continued to be the name given to a minstrel both in
England and Scotland almost as long as this order of men continued.

In De Brunne's metrical version of Bishop Grosthead's _Manuel de
Peche_, A.D. 1303 (see Warton, i. 61), we have this,

    "----Gode men, ye shall lere
    When ye any _gleman_ here."

Fabyan (in his Chronicle, 1533, f. 32.) translating the passage from
Geoffrey of Monmouth, quoted below in p. 397 note [K] renders _Deus
Joculatorum_, by God of Gleemen. (Warton's _Hist. Eng. Poet._, Diss.
i.) Fabyan died in 1592.

Dunbar, who lived in the same century, describing in one of his poems,
intitled, _The Daunce_ what passed in the infernal regions "amangis the
Feyndis," says:

    "Na menstralls playit to thame, but dowt,
    For gle-men thaire wer haldin out,
              Be day and eke by nycht."

See Poems from Bannatyne's MS. Edinb. 1770, 12mo. p. 30. Maitland's MS.
at Cambridge reads here _glewe-men_.

[1114] To gleek is used in Shakespeare for "to make sport, to jest," &c.

[1115] The preceding list of Anglo-Saxon words, so full and copious
beyond any thing that ever yet appeared in print on this subject, was
extracted from Mr. Lye's curious _Anglo-Saxon Lexicon_, in MS. but
the arrangement here is the Editor's own. It had however received
the sanction of Mr. Lye's approbation, and would doubtless have been
received into his printed copy, had he lived to publish it himself.

It should also be observed, for the sake of future researches, that
without the assistance of the old English interpretations given by
Somner, in his _Anglo-Saxon Dictionary_, the Editor of the book never
could have discovered that _glee_ signified minstrelsy, or _gligman_ a

[1116] Neven, _i.e._ name.

[1117] Geoffrey of Monmouth is probably here describing the appearance
of the _joculatores_ or minstrels, as it was in his own time. For they
apparently derived this part of their dress, &c. from the _mimi_ of the
ancient Romans, who had their heads and beards shaven (see above p.
383 note [1105]), as they likewise did the mimickry, and other arts of
diverting, which they superadded to the composing and singing to the
harp heroic songs, &c. which they inherited from their own progenitors
the bards and scalds of the ancient Celtic and Gothic nations. The
Longobardi had, like other northern people, brought these with them
into Italy. For "in the year 774, when Charlemagne entered Italy and
found his passage impeded, he was met by a minstrel of Lombardy,
whose song promised him success and victory. _Contigit_ joculatorem
_ex_ Longobardorum _gente ad Carolum venire, et_ cantiunculam a se
compositam, _rotando in conspectu suorum, cantare_." Tom. ii. p. 2.
_Chron. Monast._ Noval. lib. iii. cap. x. p. 717. (T. Warton's
_Hist._ vol. ii. Emend. of vol. i. p. 113.)

[1118] _Natus_, 1030; _scripsit_, 1091; _obit_, 1109. Tanner.

[1119] _Obit, Anno_ 1142. Tanner.

[1120] See above, p. 394. Both Ingulph. and Will. of Malmesb. had been
very conversant among the Normans; who appear not to have had such
prejudices against the minstrels as the Anglo-Saxons had.

[1121] Thus +Leod+, the Saxon word for a poem, is properly a song, and
its derivative _lied_ signifies a ballad to this day in the German
tongue. And _cantare_ we have seen above is by Alfred himself rendered,
+Be hearpan singan.+

[1122] The tabour or tabourin was a common instrument with the French
minstrels, as it had also been with the Anglo-Saxon (_vid._ p. 393):
thus in an ancient Fr. MS. in the Harl. collection (2253, 75), a
minstrel is described as riding on horseback, and bearing his tabour.

    "Entour son col porta son _tabour_,
    Depeynt de Or, e riche Açour."

See also a passage in Menage's _Diction. Etym._ (v. _menestriers_,)
where _tabours_ is used as synonymous to _menestriers_.

Another frequent instrument with them was the viele. This, I am told,
is the name of an instrument at this day, which differs from a guitar,
in that the player turns round a handle at the top of the instrument,
and with his other hand, plays on some keys, that touch the chords, and
produce the sound.

See Dr. Burney's account of the vielle, vol. ii. p. 263, who thinks it
the same with the _rote_ or wheel. See p. 270 in the note.

    "Il ot un Jougleor a Sens,
    Qui navoit pas sovent robe entiere;
    Sovent estoit sans sa _viele_."--_Fabliaux & Cont._ ii. 184, 5.

[1123] "Romanset Jutglar canta alt veux ... devant lo senyor
Rey."--_Chron. d'Aragon_, apud Du Cange, iv. 771.

[1124] It ought to have been observed in its proper place in No. 31,
vol. iii. appendix, that Amys and Amylion were no otherwise "Brothers"
than as being fast friends: as was suggested by the learned Dr.
Samuel Pegge, who was so obliging as to favour the essayist formerly
with a curious transcript of this poem accompanied with valuable
illustrations, &c: and that it was his opinion that both the fragment
of the _Lady Bellesent_ mentioned in the same No. 31, and also the
mutilated tale No. 37, were only imperfect copies of the above romance
of _Amys and Amylion_, which contains the two lines quoted in No. 37.

[1125] Whenever the word _Romance_ occurs in these metrical narratives,
it hath been thought to afford decisive proof of a translation from the
_Romance_, or French language. Accordingly it is so urged by T. Warton
(i. 146, note), from two passages in the pr. copy of _Sir Eglamour_,
viz., Sign. E. i.

    "In Romaunce as we rede."

Again in fol. ult.

    "In Romaunce this cronycle is."

But in the Cotton MS. of the original the first passage is:

    "As I herd a Clerke rede."

And the other thus:

    "In Rome this Gest cronycled ys."

So that I believe references to "the Romaunce," or the like, were often
meer expletive phrases inserted by the oral reciters; one of whom, I
conceive, had altered or corrupted the old _Syr Eglamour_ in the manner
that the copy was printed.

[1126] The harp (Lat. _cithara_) differed from the sautry, or psaltry
(Lat. _psalterium_) in that the former was a stringed instrument, and
the latter was mounted with wire: there was also some difference in the
construction of the bellies, &c. See _Bartholomæus de proprietatibus_
_rerum_, as Englished by Trevisa and Batman, ed. 1584, in Sir J.
Hawkins's _Hist._ vol ii. p. 285.

[1127] Jogeler (Lat. _joculator_) was a very ancient name for a
minstrel. Of what nature the performance of the joculator was, we
may learn from the register of St. Swithin's Priory at Winchester
(T. Warton, i. 69): "Et cantabat Joculator quidam nomine Herebertus
Canticum Colbrondi, necnon Gestum Emme regine a judicio ignis liberate,
in aula Prioris." His instrument was sometimes the fythele, or
fiddle, Lat. _fidicula_: which occurs in the Anglo-Saxon lexicon. On
this subject we have a curious passage from a MS. of the _Lives of
the Saints_ in metre, supposed to be earlier than the year 1200 (T.
Warton's _Hist._ i. p. 17), viz.:

                  "Christofre him served longe
    The kynge loved melodye much of fithele and of songe:
    So that his Jogeler on a day beforen him gon to pleye faste,
    And in a tyme he nemped in his song the devil at laste."

[1128] Le Compte.

[1129] fait.

[1130] _Sornette_, a gibe, a jest, or flouting

[1131] _Janglerie_, _babillage_, _raillerie_.

[1132] Of the 24 songs in what is now called _Robin Hood's Garland_,
many are so modern as not to be found in Pepys's collection completed
only in 1700. In the folio MS. are ancient fragments of the following,
viz.: _Robin Hood and the Beggar_, _Robin Hood and the Butcher_,
_Robin Hood and Fryer Tucke_, _Robin Hood and the Pindar_, _Robin
Hood and Queen Catharine_, in two parts, _Little John and the four
Beggars_, and _Robine Hoode his Death_. This last, which is very
curious, has no resemblance to any that have been published; and the
others are extremely different from the printed copies; but they
unfortunately are in the beginning of the MS. where half of every leaf
hath been torn away.

[1133] That the French minstrel was a singer and composer; &c. appears
from many passages translated by M. Le Grand, in _Fabliaux ou Contes,
&c._ see tom. i. p. 37, 47, ii. 306, 313, & _seqq._ iii. 266, &c.
Yet this writer, like other French critics, endeavours to reduce to
distinct and separate classes the men of this profession under the
precise names of _fablier_, _conteur_, _menetrier_, _menestrel_, and
_jongleur_ (tom. i. pref. p. xcviii.) whereas his own tales confute
all these nice distinctions, or prove at least that the title of
_menetrier_ or minstrel was applied to them all.

[1134] See p. 392.

[1135] See p. 409.

[1136] See p. 359, note [1051].

[1137] The fondness of the English (even the most illiterate) to hear
tales and rimes, is much dwelt on by Rob. de Brunne, in 1330 (Warton,
i. p. 59, 65, 75). All rimes were then sung to the harp: even _Troilus
and Cresseide_, though almost as long as the _Æneid_, was to be
"redde ... or else songe." l. ult. (Warton, i. 388).

[1138] Gests at length came to signify adventures or incidents in
general. So in a narrative of the journey into Scotland of Queen
Margaret and her attendants, on her marriage with K. James IV. in 1503
(in appendix to _Leland. Collect._ iv. p. 265), we are promised an
account "of their gestys and manners during the said voyage."

[1139] The romance of Richard Coeur de Lion (No. 25) I should judge
to be of English origin, from the names Wardrewe and Eldrede, &c. iii.
appendix (sect. ii.). As is also _Eger and Grim_ (No. 12), wherein a
knight is named Sir Gray Steel, and a lady who excells in surgery is
called Loosepaine or Losepain; these surely are not derived from France.

[1140] See the romance of _Sir Isenbras_ (No. 14) sign. a.

    "Harpers loved him in Hall
    With other Minstrels all."

[1141] T. Warton, ii. 258, note (a) from Leland's _Collect._ vol. iv.
append. edit. 1774, p. 267.

[1142] The curious author of the _Tour in Wales_, 1773, 4to. p. 435,
I find to have read these words, "in toune and contrey;" which I can
scarce imagine to have been applicable to Wales at that time. Nor can I
agree with him in the representation he has given (p. 367) concerning
the _Cymmorth_ or meeting, wherein the bards exerted their powers
to excite their countrymen to war; as if it were by a deduction of
the particulars he enumerates, and, as it should seem, in the way of
harangue, &c. After which, "the band of minstrels ... struck up; the
harp, the _crwth_, and the pipe filled the measures of enthusiasm,
which the others had begun to inspire." Whereas it is well known that
the bard chanted his enthusiastic effusions to the harp; and as for the
term minstrel, it was not, I conceive, at all used by the Welsh; and in
English it comprehended both the bard and the musician.

[1143] "Your ordinarie rimers use very much their measures in the odde,
as nine and eleven, and the sharpe accent upon the last sillable, which
therefore makes him go ill favouredly and like a minstrels musicke."
(Puttenham's _Arte of Eng. Poesie_, 1589, p. 59.) This must mean his
vocal music, otherwise it appears not applicable to the subject.

[1144] By this phrase I understand new tales or narrative rymes
composed by the minstrels on the subject of true and faithful lovers,




It is well known that dramatic poetry in this and most other nations
of Europe owes its origin, or at least its revival, to those religious
shows which in the dark ages were usually exhibited on the more
solemn festivals. At those times they were wont to represent in the
churches the lives and miracles of the saints, or some of the more
important stories of scripture. And as the most mysterious subjects
were frequently chosen, such as the Incarnation, Passion, and
Resurrection of Christ, &c., these exhibitions acquired the general
name of mysteries. At first they were probably a kind of dumb shews,
intermingled, it may be, with a few short speeches; at length they grew
into a regular series of connected dialogues, formally divided into
acts and scenes. Specimens of these in their most improved state (being
at best but poor artless compositions) may be seen among Dodsley's _Old
Plays_ and in Osborne's _Harleyan Miscel_. How they were exhibited in
their most simple form we may learn from an ancient novel, often quoted
by our old dramatic poets[1145] intitled ... "a merye jest of a man
that was called Howleglas"[1146], &c., being a translation from the
Dutch language, in which he is named _Ulenspiegle_. Howleglass, whose
waggish tricks are the subject of this book, after many adventures
comes to live with a priest, who makes him his parish clerk. This
priest is described as keeping a leman or concubine, who had but one
eye, to whom Howleglass owed a grudge for revealing his rogueries
to his master. The story thus proceeds: ... "And than in the meane
season, while Howleglas was parysh clarke, at Easter they should play
the Resurrection of our Lorde: and for because than the men wer not
learned, nor could not read, the priest toke his leman, and put her in
the grave for an Aungell: and this seing Howleglas, toke to hym iij
of the symplest persons that were in the towne, that played the iij
Maries; and the Person [_i.e._ Parson or Rector] played Christe, with
a baner in his hand. Than saide Howleglas to the symple persons. Whan
the Aungel asketh you, whome you seke, you may saye, The parsons leman
with one iye. Than it fortuned that the tyme was come that they must
playe, and the Aungel asked them whom they sought, and than sayd they,
as Howleglas had shewed and lerned them afore, and than answered they,
We seke the priests leman with one iye. And than the prieste might
heare that he was mocked. And whan the priestes leman herd that, she
arose out of the grave, and would have smyten with her fist Howleglas
upon the cheke, but she missed him and smote one of the simple persons
that played one of the thre Maries; and he gave her another; and than
toke she him by the heare [hair]; and that seing his wyfe, came running
hastely to smite the priestes leaman; and than the priest seeing this,
caste down hys baner and went to helpe his woman, so that the one gave
the other sore strokes, and made great noyse in the churche. And than
Howleglas seyng them lyinge together by the eares in the bodi of the
churche, went his way out of the village, and came no more there."[1147]

As the old mysteries frequently required the representation of some
allegorical personage, such as Death, Sin, Charity, Faith, and the
like, by degrees the rude poets of those unlettered ages began to form
compleat dramatic pieces consisting entirely of such personifications.
These they intitled moral plays, or moralities. The mysteries were
very inartificial, representing the scripture stories simply according
to the letter. But the moralities are not devoid of invention: they
exhibit outlines of the dramatic art; they contain something of a fable
or plot, and even attempt to delineate characters and manners. I have
now before me two that were printed early in the reign of Henry VIII.,
in which, I think, one may plainly discover the seeds of tragedy and
comedy, for which reason I shall give a short analysis of them both.

One of them is intitled _Every Man_.[1148] The subject of this piece
is the summoning of man out of the world by death; and its moral, that
nothing will then avail him but a well-spent life and the comforts of
religion. This subject and moral are opened in a monologue spoken by
the Messenger (for that was the name generally given by our ancestors
to the prologue on their rude stage); then God[1149] is represented,
who, after some general complaints on the degeneracy of mankind, calls
for Deth, and orders him to bring before his tribunal Every-man, for
so is called the personage who represents the human race. Every-man
appears, and receives the summons with all the marks of confusion
and terror. When Death is withdrawn Every-man applies for relief in
this distress to Fellowship, Kindred, Goods, or Riches, but they
successively renounce and forsake him. In this disconsolate state he
betakes himself to Good-dedes, who, after upbraiding him with his long
neglect of her,[1150] introduces him to her sister Knowledge, and she
leads him to the "holy man Confession," who appoints him penance; this
he inflicts upon himself on the stage, and then withdraws to receive
the sacraments of the priest. On his return he begins to wax faint, and
after Strength, Beauty, Discretion, and Five Wits[1151] have all taken
their final leave of him, gradually expires on the stage, Good-dedes
still accompanying him to the last. Then an Aungell descends to sing
his requiem, and the epilogue is spoken by a person called Doctour, who
recapitulates the whole and delivers the moral:--

    "C. This memoriall men may have in mynde,
    Ye herers, take it of worth old and yonge,
    And forsake Pryde, for he disceyveth you in thende,
    And remembre Beautè, Five Witts, Strength and Discretion,
    They all at last do Every-man forsake;
    Save his Good Dedes there dothe he take;
    But beware, for and they be small,
    Before God he hath no helpe at all," &c.

From this short analysis it may be observed that _Every Man_ is a
grave, solemn piece, not without some rude attempts to excite terror
and pity, and therefore may not improperly be referred to the class of
tragedy. It is remarkable that in this old simple drama the fable is
conducted upon the strictest model of the Greek tragedy. The action is
simply one, the time of action is that of the performance, the scene
is never changed, nor the stage ever empty. Every-man, the hero of the
piece, after his first appearance never withdraws, except when he goes
out to receive the sacraments, which could not well be exhibited in
public, and during his absence Knowledge descants on the excellence and
power of the priesthood, somewhat after the manner of the Greek chorus.
And, indeed, except in the circumstance of Every-man's expiring on the
stage, the Sampson Agonistes of Milton is hardly formed on a severer

The other play is intitled _Hick Scorner_,[1153] and bears no distant
resemblance to comedy; its chief aim seems to be to exhibit characters
and manners, its plot being much less regular than the foregoing. The
prologue is spoken by Pity, represented under the character of an aged
pilgrim; he is joined by Contemplacyon and Perseverance, two holy
men, who, after lamenting the degeneracy of the age, declare their
resolution of stemming the torrent. Pity then is left upon the stage,
and presently found by Frewyll, representing a lewd debauchee, who,
with his dissolute companion Imaginacion, relate their manner of life,
and not without humour describe the stews and other places of base
resort. They are presently joined by Hick-Scorner, who is drawn as a
libertine returned from travel, and, agreeably to his name, scoffs at
religion. These three are described as extremely vicious, who glory
in every act of wickedness; at length two of them quarrel, and Pity
endeavours to part the fray; on this they fall upon him, put him in the
stocks, and there leave him. Pity, thus imprisoned, descants in a kind
of lyric measure on the profligacy of the age, and in this situation
is found by Perseverance and Contemplacion, who set him at liberty,
and advise him to go in search of the delinquents. As soon as he is
gone Frewill appears again, and, after relating in a very comic manner
some of his rogueries and escapes from justice, is rebuked by the two
holy men, who, after a long altercation, at length convert him and his
libertine companion Imaginacioun from their vicious course of life,
and then the play ends with a few verses from Perseverance by way of
epilogue. This and every morality I have seen conclude with a solemn
prayer. They are all of them in rhyme, in a kind of loose stanza,
intermixed with distichs.

It would be needless to point out the absurdities in the plan and
conduct of the foregoing play; they are evidently great. It is
sufficient to observe that bating the moral and religious reflection
of Pity, etc., the piece is of a comic cast, and contains a humorous
display of some of the vices of the age. Indeed, the author has
generally been so little attentive to the allegory, that we need only
substitute other names to his personages, and we have real characters
and living manners.

We see then that the writers of these moralities were upon the very
threshold of real tragedy and comedy, and therefore we are not to
wonder that tragedies and comedies in form soon after took place,
especially as the revival of learning about this time brought them
acquainted with the Roman and Grecian models.

II. At what period of time the moralities had their rise here it is
difficult to discover, but plays of miracles appear to have been
exhibited in England soon after the Conquest. Matthew Paris tells
us that Geoffrey, afterwards Abbot of St. Albans, a Norman, who had
been sent for over by Abbot Richard to take upon him the direction of
the school of that monastery, coming too late, went to Dunstable and
taught in the Abby there, where he caused to be acted (probably by his
scholars) a miracle-play of St. Catharine, composed by himself.[1154]
This was long before the year 1119, and probably within the eleventh
century. The above play of St. Catharine was, for aught that appears,
the first spectacle of this sort that was exhibited in these kingdoms,
and an eminent French writer thinks it was even the first attempt
towards the revival of dramatic entertainments in all Europe, being
long before the representations of mysteries in France, for these did
not begin till the year 1398.[1155]

But whether they derived their origin from the above exhibition or not,
it is certain that holy plays, representing the miracles and sufferings
of the saints, were become common in the reign of Henry II., and a
lighter sort of interludes appear not to have been then unknown.[1156]
In the subsequent age of Chaucer, "Plays of Miracles" in Lent were the
common resort of idle gossips.[1157]

They do not appear to have been so prevalent on the Continent, for the
learned historian of the Council of Constance[1158] ascribes to the
English the introduction of plays into Germany. He tells us that the
Emperor, having been absent from the Council for some time, was at his
return received with great rejoicings, and that the English fathers in
particular did upon that occasion cause a sacred comedy to be acted
before him on Sunday, Jan. 31, 1417, the subjects of which were:--"The
Nativity of our Saviour;" "The Arrival of the Eastern Magi;" and "The
Massacre by Herod." Thence it appears, says this writer, that the
Germans are obliged to the English for the invention of this sort of
spectacles, unknown to them before that period.

The fondness of our ancestors for dramatic exhibitions of this kind,
and some curious particulars relating to this subject, will appear
from the _Houshold Book_ of the fifth Earl of Northumberland, A.D.
1512,[1159] whence I shall select a few extracts which show that the
exhibiting Scripture dramas on the great festivals entered into the
regular establishment, and formed part of the domestic regulations of
our ancient nobility, and, what is more remarkable, that it was as much
the business of the chaplain in those days to compose plays for the
family as it is now for him to make sermons.

  "My Lordes Chapleyns in Household vj. viz. The Almonar, and if he
  be a maker of Interludys, than he to have a servaunt to the intent
  for writynge of the parts; and ells to have non. The maister of
  gramer, &c."

                                                         Sect. v. p. 44.

  "Item, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gyf yerely if his lordship
  kepe a chapell and be at home, them of his lordschipes chapell, if
  they doo play the Play of the _Nativite_ uppon cristynmes day in
  the mornnynge in my lords chapell befor his lordship--xx_s._"

                                                     Sect. xliv. p. 343.

  "Item, ... to them of his lordship chappell and other his
  lordshipis servaunts that doith play the Play befor his lordship
  uppon Shrof-Tewsday at night yerely in reward--x_s._"

                                                         _Ibid._ p. 345.

  "Item, ... to them ... that playth the Play of _Resurrection_
  upon estur day in the mornnynge in my lordis 'chapell' befor his


  "Item, My lorde useth and accustomyth yerly to gyf hym which is
  ordynede to be the Master of the Revells yerly in my lordis hous
  in cristmas for the overseyinge and orderinge of his lordschips
  Playes, Interludes and Dresinge that is plaid befor his lordship
  in his hous in the xijth dayes of Cristenmas and they to have in
  rewarde for that caus yerly--xx_s._"

                                                         _Ibid._ p. 346.

  "Item, My lorde useth and accustomyth to gyf every of the iiij
  Parsones that his lordschip admyted as his Players to com to his
  lordship yerly at Cristynmes ande at all other such tymes as his
  lordship shall comande them for playing of Playe and Interludes
  affor his lordship in his lordshipis hous for every of their fees
  for an hole yere...."

                                                         _Ibid._ p. 351.

  "Item, to be payd ... for rewards to Players for Playes playd in
  Christynmas by Stranegeres in my house after xx_d._[1160] every
  play, by estimacion somme-xxxiij_s._ iiij.[1161]."

                                                         Sect. i. p. 22.

  "Item, My Lorde usith, and accustometh to gif yerely when his
  Lordshipp is at home, to every erlis Players that comes to his
  Lordshipe betwixt Cristynmas ande Candelmas, if he be his special
  Lorde & Frende & Kynsman--xx_s._"

                                                   Sect. xliiii. p. 340.

  "Item, My Lorde usith and accustomyth to gyf yerely, when his
  Lordship is at home to every Lordis Players, that comyth to his
  Lordshipe betwixt Crystynmas and Candilmas--x_s._"


The reader will observe the great difference in the rewards here given
to such players as were retainers of noble personages and such as are
stiled strangers, or, as we may suppose, only strolers.

The profession of a common player was about this time held by some in
low estimation. In an old satire intitled _Cock Lorreles Bote_[1162]
the author, enumerating the most common trades or callings, as
"carpenters, coopers, joyners," &c., mentions--

    "Players, purse-cutters, money-batterers,
    Golde-washers, tomblers, jogelers,
    Pardoners, &c."

                                                            Sign. B. vj.

III. It hath been observed already that plays of miracles, or
mysteries, as they were called, led to the introduction of moral
plays, or moralities, which prevailed so early and became so common
that towards the latter end of K. Henry VII.'s reign John Rastel,
brother-in-law to Sir Thomas More, conceived a design of making them
the vehicle of science and natural philosophy. With this view he
published. _A new interlude and a mery of the nature of the iiii.
elements declarynge many proper points of philosophy naturall, and
of dyvers straunge landys_[1163], &c. It is observable that the poet
speaks of the discovery of America as then recent:

    ----"Within this xx yere
    Westwarde be founde new landes
    That we never harde tell of before this," &c.

The West Indies were discovered by Columbus in 1492, which fixes the
writing of this play to about 1510 (two years before the date of the
above _Houshold Book_). The play of _Hick-Scorner_ was probably
somewhat more ancient, as he still more imperfectly alludes to the
American discoveries, under the name of "the Newe founde Ilonde."
[Sign. A. vij.]

It is observable that in the older moralities, as in that last
mentioned, _Every-man_, &c., is printed no kind of stage direction for
the exits and entrances of the personages, no division of acts and
scenes. But in the moral interlude of _Lusty Juventus_,[1164] written
under Edward VI. the exits and entrances begin to be noted in the
margin.[1165] At length in Q. Elizabeth's reign moralities appeared
formally divided into acts and scenes with a regular prologue, &c. One
of these is reprinted by Dodsley.

Before we quit this subject of the very early printed plays, it may
just be observed that although so few are now extant it should seem
many were printed before the reign of Q. Elizabeth, as at the beginning
of her reign her injunctions in 1559 are particularly directed to the
suppressing of "many Pamphlets, Playes, and Ballads; that no manner
of person shall enterprize to print any such, &c." but under certain
restrictions. Vid. Sect. V.

In the time of Hen. VIII. one or two dramatic pieces had been published
under the classical names of comedy and tragedy,[1166] but they
appear not to have been intended for popular use. It was not till the
religious ferments had subsided that the public had leisure to attend
to dramatic poetry. In the reign of Elizabeth tragedies and comedies
began to appear in form, and could the poets have persevered the
first models were good. _Gorboduc_, a regular tragedy, was acted in
1561;[1167] and Gascoigne, in 1566, exhibited _Jocasta_, a translation
from Euripides, as also _The Supposes_, a regular comedy from Ariosto,
near thirty years before any of Shakespeare's were printed.

The people, however, still retained a relish for their old mysteries
and moralities,[1168] and the popular dramatic poets seem to have
made them their models. From the graver sort of moralities our modern
tragedy appears to have derived its origin, as our comedy evidently
took its rise from the lighter interludes of that kind. And as most
of these pieces contain an absurd mixture of religion and buffoonery,
an eminent critic[1169] has well deduced from thence the origin of our
unnatural tragi-comedies. Even after the people had been accustomed to
tragedies and comedies moralities still kept their ground. One of them,
intitled _The New Custom_,[1170] was printed so late as 1573. At
length they assumed the name of masques,[1171] and with some classical
improvements, became in the two following reigns the favourite
entertainments of the Court.

IV. The old mysteries, which ceased to be acted after the Reformation,
appear to have given birth to a third species of stage exhibition,
which, though now confounded with tragedy and comedy, were by our first
dramatic writers considered as quite distinct from them both. These
were historical plays or histories, a species of dramatic writing which
resembled the old mysteries in representing a series of historical
events simply in the order of time in which they happened, without
any regard to the three great unities. These pieces seem to differ
from tragedies just as much as historical poems do from epic: as the
Pharsalia does from the Æneid.

What might contribute to make dramatic poetry take this form was,
that soon after the mysteries ceased to be exhibited, was published
a large collection of poetical narratives, called _The Mirrour for_
_Magistrates_,[1172] wherein a great number of the most eminent
characters in English history are drawn relating their own misfortunes.
This book was popular, and of a dramatic cast; and therefore, as an
elegant writer[1173] has well observed, might have its influence in
producing historical plays. These narratives probably furnished the
subjects, and the ancient mysteries suggested the plan.

There appears indeed to have been one instance of an attempt at an
historical play itself, which was perhaps as early as any mystery
on a religious subject, for such, I think, we may pronounce the
representation of a memorable event in English history, that was
expressed in actions and rhimes. This was the old Coventry play of
Hock-Tuesday,[1174] founded on the story of the massacre of the Danes,
as it happened on St. Brice's night, November 13, 1002.[1175] The play
in question was performed by certain men of Coventry, among the other
shews and entertainments at Kenelworth Castle, in July, 1575, prepared
for Queen Elizabeth, and this the rather "because the matter mentioneth
how valiantly our English women, for the love of their country, behaved

The writer, whose words are here quoted,[1176] hath given a short
description of the performance, which seems on that occasion to have
been without recitation or rhimes, and reduced to meer dumb-show;
consisting of violent skirmishes and encounters, first between Danish
and English "lance-knights on horseback," armed with spear and shield,
and afterwards between "hosts" of footmen, which at length ended in the
Danes being "beaten down, overcome, and many led captive by our English

This play, it seems, which was wont to be exhibited in their city
yearly, and which had been of great antiquity and long continuance
there,[1178] had of late been suppressed at the instance of some
well-meaning but precise preachers, of whose "sourness" herein the
townsmen complain, urging that their play was "without example of
ill-manners, papistry, or any superstition;"[1179] which shews it to
have been entirely distinct from a religious mystery.[1180] But having
been discontinued, and, as appears from the narrative, taken up of a
sudden after the sports were begun, the players apparently had not been
able to recover the old rhimes, or to procure new ones to accompany the
action: which, if it originally represented "the outrage and importable
insolency of the Danes, the grievous complaint of Huna, king Ethelred's
chieftain in wars,"[1181] his counselling and contriving the plot
to dispatch them, concluding with the conflicts above mentioned, and
their final suppression--"expressed in actions and rhimes after their
manner,"[1182] one can hardly conceive a more regular model of a
compleat drama; and, if taken up soon after the event, it must have
been the earliest of the kind in Europe.[1183]

Whatever this old play, or "storial show,"[1184] was at the time it
was exhibited to Q. Elizabeth, it had probably our young Shakespeare
for a spectator, who was then in his twelfth year, and doubtless
attended with all the inhabitants of the surrounding country at these
"princely pleasures of Kenelworth,"[1185] whence Stratford is only a
few miles distant. And as the Queen was much diverted with the Coventry
play, "whereat her Majestic laught well," and rewarded the performers
with two bucks, and five marks in money, who, "what rejoicing upon
their ample reward, and what triumphing upon the good acceptance,
vaunted their play was never so dignified, nor ever any players before
so beatified;" but especially if our young bard afterwards gained
admittance into the castle to see a play, which the same evening, after
supper, was there "presented of a very good theme, but so set forth by
the actors' well handling, that pleasure and mirth made it seem very
short, though it lasted two good hours and more,"[1186] we may imagine
what an impression was made on his infant mind. Indeed the dramatic
cast of many parts of that superb entertainment which continued
nineteen days, and was the most splendid of the kind ever attempted in
this kingdom; the addresses to the Queen in the personated characters
of a sybille, a savage man, and Sylvanus, as she approached or departed
from the castle, and on the water by Arion, a Triton, or the Lady of
the Lake, must have had a very great effect on a young imagination
whose dramatic powers were hereafter to astonish the world.

But that the historical play was considered by our old writers, and
by Shakespeare himself, as distinct from tragedy and comedy, will
sufficiently appear from various passages in their works. "Of late
days," says Stow, "in place of those stage-playes[1187] hath been
used comedies, tragedies, enterludes, and histories both true and
fayned."[1188] Beaumont and Fletcher, in the prologue to _The Captain_,

    "This is nor Comedy, nor Tragedy,
    Nor History."----

Polonius in _Hamlet_ commends the actors as the best in the world,
"either for tragedie, comedie, historie, pastorall," &c. And
Shakespeare's friends, Heminge and Condell, in the first folio edit.
of his plays, in 1623,[1189] have not only intitled their book "Mr.
William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies," but in their
table of contents have arranged them under those three several heads;
placing in the class of histories "K. John, Richard II. Henry IV. 2
pts. Henry V. Henry VI. 3 pts. Rich. III. and Henry VIII.", to which
they might have added such of his other plays as have their subjects
taken from the old chronicles, or Plutarch's _Lives_.

Although Shakespeare is found not to have been the first who invented
this species of drama,[1190] yet he cultivated it with such superior
success, and threw upon this simple inartificial tissue of scenes
such a blaze of genius, that his histories maintain their ground in
defiance of Aristotle and all the critics of the classic school, and
will ever continue to interest and instruct an English audience. Before
Shakespeare wrote, historical plays do not appear to have attained
this distinction, being not mentioned in Q. Elizabeth's licence in
1574[1191] to James Burbage and others, who are only impowered "to use,
exercyse, and occupie the arte and facultye of playenge Commedies,
Tragedies, Enterludes, Stage-Playes, and such other like." But when
Shakespeare's histories had become the ornaments of the stage, they
were considered by the publick, and by himself, as a formal and
necessary species, and are thenceforth so distinguished in public
instruments. They are particularly inserted in the licence granted by
K. James I. in 1603,[1192] to W. Shakespeare himself, and the players
his fellows; who are authorized "to use and exercise the arte and
faculty of playing Comedies, Tragedies, Histories, Interludes, Morals,
Pastorals, Stage-Plaies, and such like."

The same merited distinction they continued to maintain after his
death, till the theatre itself was extinguished: for they are expressly
mentioned in a warrant in 1622, for licensing certain "late Comedians
of Q. Anne deceased, to bring up children in the qualitie and exercise
of playing Comedies, Histories, Interludes, Morals, Pastorals,
Stage-Plaies, and such like."[1193] The same appears in an admonition
issued in 1637[1194] by Philip, Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, then
Lord Chamberlain, to the master and wardens of the Company of Printers
and Stationers, wherein is set forth the complaint of his Majesty's
servants the players, that "diverse of their books of Comedyes and
Tragedyes, Chronicle-Historyes, and the like," had been printed and
published to their prejudice, &c.

This distinction, we see, prevailed for near half a century; but after
the Restoration, when the stage revived for the entertainment of a new
race of auditors, many of whom had been exiled in France, and formed
their taste from the French theatre, Shakespeare's histories appear
to have been no longer relished; at least the distinction respecting
them is dropt in the patents that were immediately granted after the
king's return. This appears not only from the allowance to Mr. William
Beeston in June, 1660,[1195] to use the house in Salisbury-court "for
a Play-house, wherein Comedies, Tragedies, Tragi-comedies, Pastoralls,
and Interludes, may be acted," but also from the fuller grant (dated
August 21, 1760),[1196] to Thomas Killigrew, Esq., and Sir William
Davenant, Knt., by which they have authority to erect two companies
of players, and to fit up two theatres "for the representation of
Tragydies, Comedyes, Playes, Operas, and all other entertainments of
that nature."

But while Shakespeare was the favourite dramatic poet, his histories
had such superior merit that he might well claim to be the chief, if
not the only historic dramatist that kept possession of the English
stage; which gives a strong support to the tradition mentioned by
Gildon,[1197] that, in a conversation with Ben Jonson, our bard
vindicated his historical plays by urging, that as he had found "the
nation in general very ignorant of history, he wrote them in order
to instruct the people in this particular." This is assigning not
only a good motive, but a very probable reason for his preference of
this species of composition; since we cannot doubt but his illiterate
countrymen would not only want such instruction when he first began to
write, notwithstanding the obscure dramatic chroniclers who preceded
him, but also that they would highly profit by his admirable lectures
on English history so long as he continued to deliver them to his
audience. And as it implies no claim to his being the _first_ who
introduced our chronicles on the stage, I see not why the tradition
should be rejected.

Upon the whole we have had abundant proof that both Shakespeare and
his contemporaries considered his histories, or historical plays, as
of a legitimate distinct species, sufficiently separate from tragedy
and comedy, a distinction which deserves the particular attention of
his critics and commentators; who, by not adverting to it, deprive
him of his proper defence and best vindication for his neglect of the
unities, and departure from the classical dramatic forms. For, if it
be the first canon of sound criticism to examine any work by whatever
rule the author prescribed for his own observance, then we ought not to
try Shakespeare's histories by the general laws of tragedy or comedy.
Whether the rule itself be vicious or not is another inquiry: but
certainly we ought to examine a work only by those principles according
to which it was composed. This would save a deal of impertinent

V. We have now brought the inquiry as low as was intended, but cannot
quit it without entering into a short description of what may be called
the oeconomy of the ancient English stage.

Such was the fondness of our forefathers for dramatic entertainments,
that not fewer than nineteen playhouses had been opened before the year
1633, when Prynne published his _Histriomastix_.[1198] From this writer
it should seem that "tobacco, wine, and beer,"[1199] were in those
days the usual accommodations in the theatre, as within our memory at
Sadler's Wells.

With regard to the players themselves, the several companies were
(as hath been already shewn),[1200] retainers or menial servants to
particular noblemen,[1201] who protected them in the exercise of
their profession: and many of them were occasionally strollers, that
travelled from one gentleman's house to another. Yet so much were
they encouraged, that, notwithstanding their multitude, some of them
acquired large fortunes. Edward Allen, who founded Dulwich College, is
a known instance. And an old writer speaks of the very inferior actors,
whom he calls the hirelings, as living in a degree of splendour which
was thought enormous in that frugal age.[1202]

At the same time the ancient prices of admission were often very
low. Some houses had penny benches.[1203] The "two-penny gallery"
is mentioned in the prologue to Beaumont and Fletcher's _Woman
Hater_;[1204] and seats of three-pence and a groat seem to be intended
in the passage of Prynne above referred to. Yet different houses varied
in their prices: that playhouse called the "Hope" had seats of five
several rates, from sixpence to half-a-crown.[1205] But a shilling
seems to have been the usual price[1206] of what is now called the pit,
which probably had its name from one of the playhouses having been a

The day originally set apart for theatrical exhibition appears to
have been Sunday, probably because the first dramatic pieces were of
a religious cast. During a great part of Queen Elizabeth's reign, the
playhouses were only licensed to be opened on that day:[1208] but
before the end of her reign, or soon after, this abuse was probably

The usual time of acting was early in the afternoon,[1209] plays being
generally performed by day-light.[1210] All female parts were performed
by men, no English actress being ever seen on the public stage[1211]
before the civil wars.

Lastly, with regard to the playhouse furniture and ornaments, a
writer of King Charles II.'s time,[1212] who well remembered the
preceding age, assures us that in general "they had no other scenes nor
decorations of the stage, but only old tapestry, and the stage strewed
with rushes, with habits accordingly."[1213]

Yet Coryate thought our theatrical exhibitions, &c., splendid when
compared with what he saw abroad. Speaking of the Theatre for Comedies
at Venice, he says: "The house is very beggarly and base in comparison
of our stately playhouses in England, neyther can their actors compare
with ours for apparrell, shewes, and musicke. Here I observed certaine
things that I never saw before: For I saw women act, a thing that I
never saw before, though I have heard that it hath been sometimes used
in London; and they performed it with as good a grace, action, gesture,
and whatsoever convenient for a player, as ever I saw any masculine

It ought, however, to be observed, that amid such a multitude of
playhouses as subsisted in the metropolis before the Civil Wars, there
must have been a great difference between their several accommodations,
ornaments, and prices; and that some would be much more shewy than
others, though probably all were much inferior in splendor to the two
great theatres after the Restoration.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [->] The preceding Essay, although some of the materials are new
  arranged, hath received no alteration deserving notice, from what
  it was in the second edition, 1767, except in section IV, which in
  the present impression hath been much enlarged.

  This is mentioned, because, since it was first published, the
  history of the English stage hath been copiously handled by Mr.
  Tho. Warton in his _History of English Poetry_, 1774, &c., 3 vols.
  4to. (wherein is inserted whatever in these volumes fell in with
  his subject); and by Edmond Malone, Esq., who, in his _Historical_
  _Account of the English Stage_ (_Shakesp._ vol. i. part ii. 1790),
  hath added greatly to our knowledge of the oeconomy and usages of
  our ancient theatres.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [This Essay is now entirely out of date, on account of the mass of
  new material for a complete history of the English stage, which has
  been printed since it was written. Information on the subject must
  be sought in the prefaces of the various editions of the dramatists
  and of the collections of mysteries and miracle plays, or in
  Collier's _History of English Dramatic Poetry_, and Halliwell's
  _New Materials for the Life of Shakespeare_.]


[1145] See Ben Jonson's _Poetaster_, act iii. sc. 4, and his _Masque
of the Fortunate Isles_. Whalley's edit. vol. ii. p. 49, vol. vi. p.

[1146] Howleglass is said in the Preface to have died in MCCCCL. At the
end of the book, in MCCCL.

[1147] Imprynted ... by Wyllyam Copland: without date, in 4to. bl. let.
among Mr. Garrick's old plays, K. vol. x.

[1148] This play has been reprinted by Mr. Hawkins in his three vols.
of old plays, intitled, _The Origin of the English Drama_, 12mo.
Oxford, 1773. See vol. i. p. 27.

[1149] The second person of the Trinity seems to be meant.

[1150] The before-mentioned are male characters.

[1151] _i. e._ The five senses. These are frequently exhibited as five
distinct personages upon the Spanish stage (see Riccoboni, p. 98), but
our moralist has represented them all by one character.

[1152] See more of _Every Man_ in vol. ii. pref. to B. ii., note.

[1153] "Imprynted by me Wynkyn de Worde," no date; in 4to. bl. let.
This play has also been reprinted by Mr. Hawkins in his _Origin of the
English Drama_. vol. i. p. 69.

[1154] "Apud Dunestapliam ... quendam ludum de sancta Katerina (quem
miracula vulgariter appellamus) fecit. Ad quæ decoranda, petiit a
sacrista sancti Albani, ut sibi Capæ Chorales accommodarentur, et
obtinuit. Et fuit ludus ille de sancta Katerina." _Vitæ Abbat. ad fin.
Hist. Mat. Paris_, fol. 1639, p. 56. We see here that plays of miracles
were become common enough in the time of Mat. Paris, who flourished
about 1240. But that indeed appears from the more early writings of
Fitz-Stephens: quoted below.

[1155] Vid. _Abregè Chron. de l'Hist. de France_, par M. Henault, à
l'ann. 1179.

[1156] See Fitz-Stephens's description of London, preserved by Stow
(and reprinted with notes, &c., by the Rev. Mr. Pegge, in 1774, 4to.):
"Londonia pro spectaculis theatralibus, pro ludis scenicis, ludos habet
sanctiores, representationes miraculorum," &c. He is thought to have
written in the reign of Henry II. and to have died in that of Richard
I. It is true at the end of this book we find mentioned _Henricum regem
tertium_; but this is doubtless Henry II.'s son, who was crowned during
the life of his father, in 1170, and is generally distinguished as _Rex
juvenis_, _Rex filius_, and sometimes they were jointly named _Reges
Angliæ_. From a passage in his chap. _De Religione_, it should seem
that the body of St. Thomas Becket was just then a new acquisition to
the church of Canterbury.

[1157] See prologue to _Wife of Bath's Tale_, v. 6137, Tyrwhitt's ed.

[1158] M. L'enfant, vid. _Hist. du Conc. de Constance_, vol. ii. p. 440.

[1159] _The Regulations and Establishments of the Houshold of Hen.
Alg. Percy, 5th Earl of Northumb._ Lond. 1770, 8vo. whereof a small
impression was printed by order of the late Duke and Duchess of
Northumberland to bestow in presents to their friends. Although begun
in 1512, some of the regulations were composed so late as 1525.

[1160] This was not so small a sum then as it may now appear; for, in
another part of this MS. the price ordered to be given for a fat ox is
but 13_s._ 4_d._ and for a lean one 8_s._

[1161] At this rate the number of plays acted must have been twenty.

[1162] Pr. at the Sun in Fleet-str. by W. de Worde, no date, b. l. 4to.

[1163] Mr. Garrick has an imperfect copy (_Old Plays_, i. vol.
iii.). Thtu Dramatis Personæ are: "The Messenger [or Prologue].
Nae re naturate. Humanytè. Studyous Desire. Sensuall Appetyte. The
Taverner. Experyence. Ygnoraunce. (Also yf ye lyste ye may brynge in
a dysgysynge.)" Afterwards follows a table of the matters handled in
the interlude; among which are: "Of certeyn conclusions prouvynge the
yerthe must nedes be rounde, and that yt is in circumference above
xxi. M. myle."----"Of certeyne points of cosmographye--and of dyvers
straunge regyons,--and of the new founde landys and the maner of the
people." This part is extremely curious, as it shews what notions were
entertained of the new American discoveries by our own countrymen.

[1164] Described in vol. ii. preface to book ii. The Dramatis Personæ
of this piece are: "Messenger, Lusty Juventus, Good Counsail,
Knowledge, Sathan the devyll, Hypocrisie, Fellowship, Abominable-lyving
[an Harlot], God's-merciful-promises."

[1165] I have also discovered some few _exeats_ and _intrats_ in the
very old interlude of the _Four Elements_.

[1166] Bp. Bale had applied the name of tragedy to his mystery of _Gods
Promises_, in 1538. In 1540 John Palsgrave, B.D., had republished a
Latin comedy, called _Acolastus_, with an English version. Holinshed
tells us (vol. iii. p. 850), that so early as 1520, the king had "a
good comedie of Plautus plaied" before him at Greenwich; but this
was in Latin, as Mr. Farmer informs us in his curious _Essay on the
Learning of Shakespeare_, 8vo. p. 31.

[1167] See _Ames_, p. 316. This play appears to have been first printed
under the name of _Gorboduc_, then under that of _Ferrex and Porrex_,
in 1569; and again under _Gorboduc_, 1590. Ames calls the first edition
quarto; Langbaine, octavo; and Tanner, 12mo.

[1168] The general reception the old moralities had upon the stage will
account for the fondness of all our first poets for allegory. Subjects
of this kind were familiar with every one.

[1169] Bp. Warburt. _Shakesp._ vol. v.

[1170] Reprinted among Dodsley's _Old Plays_, vol.i.

[1171] In some of these appeared characters full as extraordinary as in
any of the old moralities. In Ben Jonson's masque of _Christmas_, 1616,
one of the personages is Minced Pye.

[1172] The first part of which was printed in 1559.

[1173] _Catal. of Royal and Noble authors_, vol. i. p. 166-7.

[1174] This must not be confounded with the mysteries acted on Corpus
Christi Day by the Franciscans at Coventry, which were also called
Coventry Plays, and of which an account is given from T. Warton's
_Hist. of Eng. Poetry_, &c., in Malone's _Shakesp._ vol. ii. part ii.
p. 13-14.

[1175] Not 1012, as printed in Laneham's _Letter_, mentioned below.

[1176] Ro. Laneham, whose letter, containing a full description of
the shows, &c., is reprinted at large in Nichols's _Progresses of Q._
_Elizabeth_, &c., vol. i. 4to. 1788. That writer's orthography being
peculiar and affected, is not here followed.

[1177] Laneham, p. 37.

[1178] _Ibid._ p. 33.

[1179] _Ibid._

[1180] Laneham describes this play of _Hock Tuesday_, which was
"presented in an historical cue by certain good-hearted men of
Coventry" (p. 32), and which was "wont to be play'd in their citie
yearly" (p. 33), as if it were peculiar to them, terming it "their
old storial show" (p. 32). And so it might be as represented and
expressed by them "after their manner" (p. 33): although we are also
told by Bevil Higgons, that St. Brice's Eve was still celebrated by the
northern English in commemoration of this massacre of the Danes, the
women beating brass instruments, and singing old rhimes, in praise of
their cruel ancestors. See his _Short View of Eng. History_, 8vo. p.
17. (The preface is dated 1734.)

[1181] _Ibid._ p. 32.

[1182] Laneham, p. 33.

[1183] The _Rhimes_, &c., prove this play to have been in English:
whereas Mr. Tho. Warton thinks the mysteries composed before 1328 were
in Latin. Malone's _Shakesp._ vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 9.

[1184] Laneham, p. 32.

[1185] See Nichols's _Progresses_, vol. i. p. 57.

[1186] Laneham, p. 38-39. This was on Sunday evening, July 9.

[1187] _The Creation of the World_, acted at Skinner's-well in 1409.

[1188] See Stow's _Survey of London_, 1603, 4to. p. 94 (said in the
title-page to be "written in the year 1598"). See also Warton's
_Observations on Spenser_, vol. ii. p. 109.

[1189] The same distinction is continued in the second and third
folios, &c.

[1190] See Malone's _Shakesp._ vol. i. part ii. p. 31.

[1191] _Ibid._ p. 37.

[1192] _Ibid._ p. 40.

[1193] See Malone's _Shakesp._ vol. i. part ii. p. 49. Here histories,
or historical plays, are found totally to have excluded the mention of
tragedies; a proof of their superior popularity. In an order for the
King's comedians to attend King Charles I. in his summer's progress,
1636 (_ibid._ p. 144), histories are not particularly mentioned; but
so neither are tragedies: they being briefly directed to "act playes,
comedyes, and interludes, without any lett," &c.

[1194] _Ibid._ p. 139.

[1195] This is believed to be the date by Mr. Malone, vol. ii. part ii.
p. 239.

[1196] _Ibid._ p. 244.

[1197] See Malone's _Shakesp._ vol. vi. p. 427. This ingenious writer
will, with his known liberality, excuse the difference of opinion here
entertained concerning the above tradition.

[1198] He speaks in p. 492 of the playhouses in Bishopsgate-street and
on Ludgate-hill, which are not among the seventeen enumerated in the
preface to Dodsley's _Old Plays_. Nay, it appears from Rymer's MSS.
that twenty-three playhouses had been at different periods open in
London; and even six of them at one time. See Malone's _Shakesp._ vol.
i. pt. ii. p. 48.

[1199] So, I think, we may infer from the following passage, viz.: "How
many are there, who, according to their several qualities, spend 2_d._
3_d._ 4_d._ 6_d._ 12_d._ 18_d._ 2_s._ and sometimes 4_s._ or 5_s._ at a
playhouse, day by day, if coach-hire, boat-hire, tobacco, wine, beere,
and such like vaine expences, which playes doe usually occasion, be
cast into the reckoning?" Prynne's _Histriom._ p. 322.

But that tobacco was smoaked in the playhouses appears from Taylor the
Water-poet, in his _Proclamation for Tobacco's Propagation_: "Let
play-houses, drinking-schools, taverns, &c. be continually haunted with
the contaminous vapours of it; nay (if it be possible) bring it into
the churches, and there choak up their preachers." (_Works_, p. 253.)
And this was really the case at Cambridge: James I. sent a letter in
1607 against "taking Tobacco" in St. Mary's. So I learn from my friend
Dr. Farmer.

A gentleman has informed me that once, going into a church in
Holland, he saw the male part of the audience sitting with their hats
on, smoking tobacco, while the preacher was holding forth in his

[1200] See the extracts above, in p. 439, from the _E. of Northumb._
_Houshold Book_.

[1201] See the Preface to Dodsley's _Old Plays_. The author of an old
invective against the stage, called _A third Blast of Retrait from
Plaies_, &c., 1580, 12mo., says: "Alas! that private affection should
so raigne in the nobilitie, that to pleasure their servants, and to
upholde them in their vanitye, they should restraine the magistrates
from executing their office!... They [the nobility] are thought to
be covetous by permitting their servants ... to live at the devotion
or almes of other men, passing from countrie to countrie, from one
gentleman's house to another, offering their service, which is a kind
of beggerie. Who indeede, to speake more trulie, are become beggers
for their servants. For comonlie the good-wil, men beare to their
Lordes, makes them draw the strings of their purses to extend their
liberalitie." Vid. p. 75, 76, &c.

[1202] Stephen Gosson, in his _Schoole of Abuse_, 1579, 12mo., fol. 23,
says thus of what he terms in his margin Players-men: "Over lashing
in apparel is so common a fault, that the very hyerlings of some of
our Players, which stand at revirsion of vi_s._ by the week, jet under
gentlemens noses in sutis of silke, exercising themselves to prating
on the stage, and common scoffing when they come abrode, where they
look askance over the shoulder at every man, of whom the Sunday before
they begged an almes. I speake not this, as though everye one that
professeth the qualitie so abused himselfe, for it is well knowen, that
some of them are sober, discreete, properly learned, honest housholders
and citizens, well-thought on among their neighbours at home." [he
seems to mean Edw. Allen above mentioned] "though the pryde of their
shadowes (I mean those hangbyes, whom they succour with stipend) cause
them to be somewhat il-talked of abroad."

In a subsequent period we have the following satirical fling at the
shewy exterior and supposed profits of the actors of that time.
Vid. Greene's _Groatsworth of Wit_, 1625, 4to.: "What is your
profession?"--"Truly, Sir, ... I am a Player." "A Player?... I took you
rather for a Gentleman of great living; for, if by outward Habit men
should be censured, I tell you, you would be taken for a substantial
man." "So I am where I dwell.... What, though the world once went hard
with me, when I was fayne to carry my playing-fardle a foot-backe:
_Tempora mutantur_ ... for my very share in playing apparrell will not
be sold for two hundred pounds.... Nay more, I can serve to make a
pretty speech, for I was a country Author, passing at a Moral," &c. See
_Roberto's Tale_, sign. D. 3. b.

[1203] So a MS. of _Oldys_, from Tom Nash, an old pamphlet-writer.
And this is confirmed by Taylor the Water-poet, in his _Praise of_
_Beggerie_, p. 99:

    "Yet have I seen a beggar with his many, [sc. vermin]
    Come at a play-house, all in for one penny."

[1204] So in the _Belman's Night-Walks_ by Decker, 1616, 4to. "Pay thy
two-pence to a player, in this gallery thou mayest sit by a harlot."

[1205] Induct. to Ben Jonson's _Bartholomew-fair_. An ancient satirical
piece called _The Blacke Book_, Lond. 1604, 4to., talks of "The
six-penny roomes in play-houses;" and leaves a legacy to one whom he
calls "Arch-tobacco-taker of England, in ordinaries, upon stages both
common and private."

[1206] Shakesp. Prol. to _Hen. VIII._--Beaum. and Fletch. Prol. to the
_Captain_, and to the _Mad-lover_.

[1207] This etymology hath been objected to by a very ingenious writer
(see Malone's _Shakesp._ vol. i. part ii. p. 59), who thinks it
questionable, because, in St. Mary's church at Cambridge, the area that
is under the pulpit, and surrounded by the galleries, is (_now_) called
the pit; which, he says, no one can suspect to have been a _Cockpit_,
or that a playhouse phrase could be applied to a church. But whoever
is acquainted with the licentiousness of boys, will not think it
impossible that they should thus apply a name so peculiarly expressive
of its situation: which from frequent use might at length prevail among
the senior members of the University; especially when those young men
became seniors themselves. The name of Pit, so applied at Cambridge,
must be deemed to have been a cant phrase, until it can be shewn that
the area in other churches was usually so called.

[1208] So Ste. Gosson, in his _Schoole of Abuse_, 1579, 12mo., speaking
of the players, says, "These, because they are allowed to play every
Sunday, make iiii. or v. Sundayes at least every week," fol. 24. So the
author of _A Second and Third Blast of Retrait from Plaies_, 1580,
12mo. "Let the magistrate but repel them from the libertie of plaeing
on the Sabboth-daie.... To plaie on the Sabboth is but a priviledge
of sufferance, and might with ease be repelled, were it thoroughly
followed." P. 61-62. So again: "Is not the Sabboth of al other daies
the most abused?.... Wherefore abuse not so the Sabboth-daie, my
brethren; leave not the temple of the Lord." ... "Those unsaverie
morsels of unseemelie sentences passing out of the mouth of a ruffenlie
plaier, doth more content the hungrie humors of the rude multitude, and
carrieth better rellish in their mouthes, than the bread of the worde,
&c." Vid. p. 63, 65, 69, &c. I do not recollect that exclamations of
this kind occur in Prynne, whence I conclude that this enormity no
longer subsisted in this time.

It should also seem, from the author of the _Third Blast_ above quoted,
that the churches still continued to be used occasionally for theatres.
Thus, in p. 77, he says, that the players (who, as hath been observed,
were servants of the nobility), "under the title of their maisters, or
as reteiners, are priviledged to roave abroad, and permitted to publish
their mametree in everie temple of God, and that throughout England,
unto the horrible contempt of praier."

[1209] "He entertaines us" (says Overbury in his _Character of an_
_Actor_) "in the best leasure of our life, that is, betweene meales;
the most unfit time either for study or bodily exercise." Even so late
as in the reign of Charles II. plays generally began at three in the

[1210] See _Biogr. Brit._ i. 117, n. D.

[1211] I say "no English actress ... on the public stage," because
Prynne speaks of it as an unusual enormity, that "they had Frenchwomen
actors in a play not long since personated in Blackfriars playhouse."
This was in 1629, vid. p. 215. And tho' female parts were performed by
men or boys on the public stage, yet in masques at Court, the Queen and
her ladies made no scruple to perform the principal parts, especially
in the reigns of James I. and Charles I.

Sir William Davenant, after the restoration, introduced women, scenery,
and higher prices. See Cibber's _Apology for his own Life_.

[1212] See _A Short Discourse on the English Stage_, subjoined to
Flecknoe's _Love's Kingdom_, 1674, 12mo.

[1213] It appears from an epigram of Taylor the Water-poet, that one
of the principal theatres in his time, viz. the Globe on the Bankside,
Southwark (which Ben Jonson calls the "Glory of the Bank, and Fort of
the whole Parish"), had been covered with thatch till it was burnt down
in 1613. (See Taylor's _Sculler_, Epig. 22, p. 31. Jonson's _Execration
on Vulcan_.)

Puttenham tells us they used vizards in his time, "partly to supply the
want of players, when there were more parts than there were persons, or
that it was not thought meet to trouble ... princes chambers with too
many folkes." [_Art of Eng. Poes._ 1589, p. 26.] From the last clause,
it should seem that they were chiefly used in the masques at Court.

[1214] Coryate's _Crudities_, 4to. 1611, p. 247.




  Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough, and William of Cloudesley, 153.

  Aged Lover renounceth Love, 179.

  Alcanzor and Zayda, 338.

  Bryan and Pereene, 328.

  Carre, Captain, 148.

  Cauline, Sir, 61.

  Character of a Happy Life, 317.

  Chevy Chase, Ancient Ballad of, 19.

  Chevy Chace, Modern Ballad of, 249.

  Child of Elle, 131.

  Cophetua, King, and the Beggar Maid, 189.

  Corydon's Farewell to Phillis, 209.

  Cupid's Pastime, 314.

  Death's Final Conquest, 264.

  Dowsabell, 304.

  Edom o' Gordon, 140.

  Edward, Edward, 82.

  Estmere, King, 85.

  Farewell to Love, 310.

  Friar of Orders Gray, 242.

  Frolicksome Duke, or the Tinker's Good Fortune, 238.

  Gentle River, Gentle River, 331.

  Gernutus, the Jew of Venice, 211.

  Gilderoy, 318.

  Jephthah, Judge of Israel, 182.

  Jew's Daughter, 54.

  Lancelot du Lake, Sir, 204.

  Leir, King, and his Three Daughters, 231.

  My Mind to me a Kingdom is, 294.

  Northumberland (Henry, 4th Earl of), Elegy on, 117.

  Northumberland betrayed by Douglas, 279.

  Otterbourne, Battle of, 35.

  Passionate Shepherd to his Love, 220.

  Patient Countess, 298.

  Rising in the North, 266.

  Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne, 102.

  Robyn, Jolly Robyn, 185.

  Song to the Lute in Musicke, 187.

  Spence, Sir Patrick, 98.

  Take those Lips away, 230.

  Take thy old Cloak about thee, 195.

  Titus Andronicus's Complaint, 224.

  Tower of Doctrine, 127.

  Ulysses and the Syren, 311.

  Willow, Willow, Willow, 199.

  Winifreda, 323.

  Witch of Wokey, 325.

  Youth and Age, 237.

                        END OF VOLUME THE FIRST

  Transcriber's Notes:

  Simple spelling, grammar, and typographical errors
  were corrected.

  Punctuation normalized.

  Anachronistic and non-standard spellings retained as printed.

  ERRATA on p. vii were incorporated in the document.

  Italics markup is enclosed in _underscores_.

  Greek text is transliterated and enclosed in #number signs#.

  Anglo-Saxon uncial script is enclosed in +plus sign+.

                    Special Characters and Symbols.

  Latin Abbreviation Large Sign Et                                  [et]
  Latin small letter heng                                           [hj]
  Latin small letter thorn with stroke                              [þ/]
  yogh                                                              [gh]
  inverted asterism                                                [***]
  triple dagger (center one reversed)                              [+±+]
  therefore sign                                                   [···]
  reversed pilcrow sign                                             [r¶]
  black right pointing index                                        [-»]
  white right pointing index                                        [->]

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