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IN presenting a New Edition of the PICTORIAL BOOK OF 
ANCIENT BALLAD POETRY, it is only necessary to state that 
some additions have been made to it, and the whole has been 
re-arranged; and though it is scarcely possible to fix upon the 
exact period of all the pieces, yet some attempt has been 
made to place most of them in chronological order, so that as 
the earliest belong to the reign of Henry VI., the volume will 
show the progress of Ballad Poetry from that time; when, 
however, more than one version of a Ballad is given, it has 
been thought best to place them together, the earliest preced 
ing the later. The doings of Robin Hood and his Merrie 
Men, which form a prominent feature in this collection, and 
are comprised in ten pieces, embracing the earliest known 
Ballad, and ending with that upon his death, from Ritson's 
Robin Hood's Garland, printed at York, have been also kept 
together, as to have separated them would have spoilt the 
interest of the subject, and lessened their value. 

The sources from which the Ballads have been derived are 
pointed out in the introductory notice prefixed to each, by 
reference to which it will be seen that not only Percy, Rilson, 


Evans, Scott, Jamieson, Buchan, and other well known and 
popular collections, have been resorted to, but also some 
reprints of the Percy Society, which are perhaps less familiar 
to the general reader. To the Editors of these, and of the 
other volumes from which any of our materials are taken, 
many thanks are due for the zeal and care they have exercised, 
in rescuing from loss so many poems, of which a large propor 
tion existed only in collections, whose bulk concealed the 
beauties to be found there, or else in fly-sheets, extant only in 
the libraries of a few of the learned. 

The numerous popular imitations of Ancient Ballad 
Poetry from the pens of authors of so high a rank as Scott, 
Southey, Coleridge, Taylor, Perc} 7 , Chatterton, Leyden, 
Maginn, &c., mark so strongly the progress of national taste, 
and are themselves so fixed in the minds of old and young of 
our own times, that it was thought this publication would 
have been unsatisfactory without it contained a selection of 
them. And finally, to complete the subject in all its branches, 
and to show the resemblances as well as the differences 
between Foreign and English Ballads, a few translations 
have been added, very similar in structure to that of our own 
old Ballads, though their wild and fanciful nature contrasts 
strongly with the rough simplicity of the latter. 



Chevy Chase. (Later Version) 9 

Robin Hood and the Monk 17 

Robyn Hode and the Potter 27 

A Lytell Geste of Robyn Hode 36 

Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne 84 

A True Tale of Robin Hood 91 

Robin Hood and the Beggar 106 

Robin Hood and the Stranger 117 

Robin Hood, his Birth, Breeding, Valour, and Marriage ... 127 

Robin Hood and Little John ... 134 

Robin Hood's Death and Burial 139 

Lady Bessy 142 

King Estmere 170 

The Nut-Browne Mayde 178 

The Felon Sow of Rokeby, and the Friars of Richmond ... 187 

The Outlaw Murray 195 

The Wandering Jew 205 

Gernutus the Jew 209 

The Northern Lord and Cruel Jew 214 

The Battle of Otterbourne 220 

Another Version (Scottish) of Later Date 228 


The Blind Beggar's Daughter of Bednal Green 232 

Another Version of later date 240 

Sir Andrew Barton 247 

Another Version of later date 256 

The Children in the Wood 263 

Erlinton. (Supposed Original of the Child of Elle) 268 

The Child of Elle 270 

Adam Bel, Clym of the Cloughe, and Wyllyam of Cloudesle 276 

King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid 295 

The Spanish Lady's Love 299 

Sir Hugh le Blond. (The Original of Sir Aldingar) 303 

Sir Aldingar 307 

Childe Maurice 314 

Child Noryce 318 

Gil Morrice 321 

King Malcolm and Sir Colvin 327 

Sir Cauline 330 

The Gay Goss-Hawk 341 

The Jolly Goshawk 346 

Fair Rosamond 350 

Sir Lancelot du Lake 356 

Robin Goodfellow 360 

Patient Grissell 369 

The King and a Poore Northerne Man 376 

111 May-day 388 

The Heir of Linne. (Scotch) 393 

The Drunkard's Legacy. (The English Ballad) 397 

The Heir of Linne. (Supposed Later Version) 403 

Captain Car. (Supposed to be the Original of Edom o'Gordon) 410 

Edom o'Gordon 414 

The Death of Farcy Reed 419 

Young Bondwell 424 

Lord Beichan. (An English Version of the same) 430 

Robin Conscience : 437 

The Blessed Conscience 451 

The Berkshire Lady's Garland 456 

The Suffolk Miracle... .463 




Hardyknute LADY WARDLAW. 469 

Valentine and Ursine DR. PERCY 479 

The Birth of St. George ANON 490 

Sir James the Rose ANON. 496 

Another MICHAEL BRUCE... 499 

The Hermit of Warkworth DR. PERCY 506 

The Bristowe Tragedie CHATTERTON ... 530 

The Red-Cross Knight MICKLE 541 

Owen of Carron LANGHORNE ... 552 

The Lady of the Black Tower MRS. M. ROBINSON. 568 

Hardyknute. Part Second PINKERTON ... 576 

John Gilpin COWPER 588 

Catskin's Garland ANON. ... ... 596 

The Story of Catskin ANON 605 

The Unnatural Father ANON 611 

The Eve of St. John SIR W. SCOTT ...618 

Glenfinlas Lord Ronald's Coronach ... SIR W. SCOTT ... 624 

Lord Soulis DR. LEYDEN ... 632 

The Cout of Keeldar DR. LEYDEN ...640 

The Mermaid DR. LEYDEN ... 648 

May of the Moril Glen JAMES HOGG ... 656 

Gondoline H. K. WHITE ...667 

The Witch of Fife ... JAMES HOGG ...676 

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner S. T. COLERIDGE-.. 685 

The Eve of St. Jerry DR. MAGINN ...703 

The Rime of the Auncient Waggonere ... ANON 708 

Our Ladye's Girdle JAMES TELFER 713 

The Knight's Revenge .DELTA 722 

Sir Delaval and the Monk ROB. OWEN 733 

Sir Guy the Seeker M. G. LEWIS ... 741 

The Lists of Naseby Wold. (Friendship's Offering) 750 

Roprecht the Robber R. SOUTHEY ... 757 

The Luck of Muncaster ANON. 768 

The Feaste of Alle Deuiles ANON. 777 

The Worme of Lambton REV. J. WATSON. 784 

Sir Turlough, or the Churchyard Bride ... W. CARLETON ... 796 


Then the Perse owt of Banborowe cam, 

With him a myghtye meany: 
With fifteen hondrith archares bold; 

The wear chosen out of shyars thre. 

This begane on a monday at morn 

In Cheviat the hilly s so he; 
The chyld may rue that ys un-born, 

It was the mor pitte. 

The dryvars thorowe the woodes went 

For to reas the dear; 
Bomen bickarte uppone the bent 

With ther browd aras cleare. 

Then the wyld thorowe the woodes went 

On every syde shear; 
Grea-hondes thorowe the greves glent 

For to kyll thear dear. 

The begane in Chyviat the hyls above 

Yerly on a monnyn day; 
Be that it drewe to the oware off none 

A hondrith fat hartes ded there lay. 

The blewe a mort uppone the bent, 

The semblyd on sydis shear; 
To the quyrry then the Perse went 

To se the bryttlynge off the deare. 

He sayd, It was the Duglas promys 

This day to meet me hear; 
But I wyste he wold faylle verament: 

A gret oth the Perse swear. 

At the laste a squyar of Northombelonde 

Lokyde at his hand full ny, 
He was war ath the doughetie Doglas comynge: 

With him a myghte meany, 

Both with spear, byll, and brande: 

Yt was a myghti sight to se. 
Hardyar men both off hart nar hande 

Wear not in Christiante. 

The wear twenty hondrith spear-men good 

Withouten any fayle; 
The wear borne a-long be the waiter a Twyde, 

Yth bowndes of Tividale. 


Leave off the brytlyng of the dear, he sayde, 

And to your bowys tayk good heed; 
For never sithe ye wear on your mothars borne 

Had ye never so mickle need. 

The dougheti Dogglas on a stede 

He rode att his men beforne; 
His armor glytteryde as dyd a glede; 

A bolder barne was never born. 

Tell me what men ye ar, he says, 

Or whos men that ye be: 
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 Perse: 
We wyll not tell the what men we ar, he says, 

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 to carry them a-way. 
Be my troth, sayd the doughte Dogglas agayn, 

Ther-for the ton of us shall de this day. 

Then sayd the doughte Doglas 

Unto the lord Perse: 
To kyll all thes giltles men, 

A-las ! it wear great pitte. 

But, Perse, thowe art a lord of lande, 

I am a yerle callyd within my centre; 
Let all our men uppone a parti stande; 

And do the battell off the and of me. 

Nowe Cristes corse on his crowne, sayd the lord Perse, 

Who-soever ther-to says nay. 
Be my troth, doughte Doglas, he says, 

Thow shalt never se that day; 

Nethar in Ynglonde, Skottlonde, nar France, 

Nor for no man of a woman born, 
But and fortune be my chance, 

I dar met him on man for on. 


Then bespayke a squyar off Northombarlonde, 

Ric. Wytharynton was his nam; 
It shall never be told in Sothe-Ynglonde, he says, 

To kyng Herry the fourth for sham. 

I wat youe byn great lordes twa, 

I am a poor squyar of lande; 
I wyll never se my captayne fyght on a fylde, 

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 here I fynde. 
And you wyll here any mor athe hountynge athe 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, 
Seven skore spear-men the sloughe. 

Yet bydys the yerle Doglas uppon the- bent, 

A captayne good yenoughe, 
And that was sene verament, 

For he wrought horn both woo and wouche. 

The Dogglas pertyd his ost in thre, 

Lyk a cheffe cheften off pryde, 
With suar speares off myghtte tre 

The cum in on every syde. 

Thrughe our Yngglishe archery 
Gave many a wounde full wyde; 

Many a doughete the garde to dy, 
Which ganyde them no pryde. 

The Yngglyshe men let thear bowys be, 
And pulde owt brandes that wer bright; 

It was a hevy syght to se 

Bryght swordes on basnites lyght, 

Thorowe ryche male, and myne-ye-ple 
Many sterne the stroke downe streght? 

Many a freyke, that was full free, 
Ther undar foot dyd lyght. 


At last the Duglas and the Perse met, 

Lyk to captayns of myght and mayne; 
The swapte togethar tyll the both swat 

With swordes, that wear of fyn myllan. 

Thes worthe freckys for to fyght 

Ther-to the wear full fayne, 
Tyll the bloode owte off thear basnetes sprente, 

As ever dyd heal or rayne. 

Holde the, Perse, sayd the Doglas, 

And i' feth I shall the brynge 
Wher thowe shalte have a yerls wagis 

Of Jamy our Scottish kynge. 

Thoue shalte have thy ransom fre, 

I hight the hear this thinge, 
For the manfullyste man yet art thow, 

That ever I conqueryd in filde fightyng. 

Nay then sayd the lord Perse, 

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 

Forthe off a mightie wane, 
Hit hathe strekene the yerle Duglas 

In at the brest bane. 

Thoroue lyvar and longs bathe 

The sharp arrowe ys gane, 
That never after in all his lyffe days 

He spayke mo wordes but ane, 
That was, Fyghte ye, my merry men, whyllys ye may, 

For my lyff days ben gan. 

The Perse leanyde on his brande, 

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, 
For a better man of hart, nare of hande 

Was not in all the north countre. 


Off all that se a Skottishe knyght, 

"Was callyd Sir Hewe the Mongon-byrry, 

He sawe the Duglas to the deth was dyghtj 
He spendyd a spear a trusti tre: 

He rod uppon a corsiare 

Throughe a hondrith archery; 
He never styntyde, nar never blane 

Tyll he came to the good lord Perse. 

He set uppone the Lord Perse 

A dynte, that was full soare; 
With a suar spear of a myghte tre 

Clean thorow the body he the Perse bore, 

Athe tothar syde, that a man myght se, 

A large cloth yard and mare: 
Towe bettar captayns wear nat in Cristiante, 

Then that day slain wear thare. 

An archar of Northomberlonde 

Say slean was the lord Perse, 
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; 
A dynt, that was both sad and soar, 

He sat on Sir Hewe the Mongon-byrry. 

The dynt yt was both sad and soar, 

That he of Mongon-byrry sete; 
The swane-fethars, that his arrowe bar, 

With his hart blood the wear wete. 

Ther was never a freak wone foot wolde fle, 

But still in stour dyd stand, 
Heawyng on yche othar, whyll the myght dre, 

With many a bal ful brande. 

This battell begane in Chyviat 

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; 
Many hade no strength for to stande, 

la Chyviat the hyllys abone. 


Of fifteen hondrith archers of Ynglonde 

Went away but fifti and thre ; 
Of twenty hondrith spear-men of Skotlondft, 

But even five and fifti: 

But all wear slayne Cheviat within: 
The hade no strengthe to stande on he: 

The chylde may rue that is un-borne, 
It was the mor pitte. 

Thear was slayne with the lord Perse 

Sir John of Agerstone, 
Sir Roger the hinde Hartly, 

Sir Wyllyam the bolde Hearone. 

Sir Jorg the worthe Lovele 

A knyght of great renowen, 
Sir Raff the riche Rugbe 

With dyntes wear beaten dowene. 

For Wetharryngton my harte was wo, 

That ever he slayne shulde be; 
For when both his leggis wear hewyne in to, 

He knyled and fought on hys kne. 

Ther was slayne with the dougheti Douglas 

Sir Hewe the Mongon-byrry, 
Sir Davye Lwdale, that worthe was, 

His sistars son was he: 

Sir Charles a Murre, in that place, 

That never a foot wolde fie; 
Sir Hewe Maxwell, a lorde he was, 

With the Duglas dyd he dey. 

So on the morrowe the mayde them byears> 

Off byrch, and hasell so gray; 
Many wedous with wepyng tears, 

Cam to fach ther makys a-way. 

Tivydale may carpe off care, 

Northombarlond may mayk grat mone, 

For towe such captayns, as slayne wear thear, 
On the march perti shall never be none. 

Word ys commen to Edden-burrowe 

To Jamy the Skottishe kyng, 
That dougheti Duglas, lyff-tenant of the Merchea, 

He lay slean Cbyviot with-in. 


His handdes dyd he weal and wryng, 

He sayd, Alas, and woe ys me! 
Such another captayn Skotland within 

He said, y-feth shuld never be. 

Word ys commyn to lovly Londone 

Till the fourth Harry our kyng, 
That lord Perse, leyff-tennante of the Merchis, 

He lay slayne Chyviat within. 

God have merci on his soil, 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 Perse, and I brook my lyffe, 

Thy deth well quyte shall be. 

As our noble kyng made his a-vowe, 

Lyke a noble prince of renowen, 
For the deth of the lord Perse, 

He dyd the battel of Hombyll-down: 

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; 

That tear begane this spurn. 
Old men that knowen the grownde well yenoughe, 

Call it the Battell of Otterburn. 

At Otterburn began this spurne: 

Uppon a monnyn day: 
Ther was the dougghte Doglas slean, 

The Perse never went away. 

Ther was never a tym on the march partes 

Sen the Doglas, and the Perse met, 
But yt was marvele, and the rede blude ronnc not, 

As the reane doys in the stret. 

Jhesue Crist our balys bete, 

And to the blys us brynge! 
Thus was the hountynge of the Chevyat: 

God send us all good ending ! 


f [THEBE are two \ersions of this ballad. The older, which 
he calls the ' genuine antique poem, the true original song,' 
fiishop Percy thinks, was written not later than the time of 
Henry VI. ; and the more modern one, which we hare 
adopted, as more intelligible to the general reader, ' not 
much later than the time of Queen Elizabeth.' When if 
ever the ' woefull hunting 1 befell, can only be conjectured. 
' This celebrated lay,' says Mr. Hallam, ' relates a totally fic 
titious event with all historical particularity, and with real 
rv names." Perhaps, however, the ballad had, originally, 
fioine foundation in fact. It was a law of the Marches 
that neither party should hunt on the other's bor 
ders without leave from the proprietors or their 
deputies. Some transgression of this law may be 
commemorated in ' The Hunting a' the Cheviat' 
ifor such was the original title and this ' hunting* 
'may have led to the battle of Otterbourne, in 1388, 
the only one mentioned in history wherein a Douglas 
i was slain fighting with a Percy. Be this, however, 
as it may, the ballad itself has ever been a general 
favourite. Sidney, the soul of chivalry,' never 
heard the old song of Percie and Douglas, that he 
'found not his heart moved more than with the sound of 
a trumpet,' and Mr. Addison wrote an elaborate com 
mentary upon it. (Spectator, 70, 74.) 

prosper long our noble king, 
Our lives and safetyes all; 
A woefull hunting once there did 
In Chevy-Chase befall. 


To drive the deere with hound and horne, 

Erie Percy took his way; 
The child may rue that is unborne 

The hunting of that day. 

The stout Erie of Northumberland 

A vow to God did make, 
His pleasure in the Scottish woods 

Three summers days to take; 

The cheefest harts in Chevy-Chase 

To kill and beare away. 
These tydings to Erie Douglas came, 

In Scotland where he lay: 

Who sent Erie Percy present word, 
He would prevent his sport. 

The English erle, not fearing that, 
Did to the woods resort, 

With fifteen hundred bowmen bold, 

All chosen men of might, 
Who knew full well in time of neede 

To ayme their shafts aright. 

The gallant greyhounds swiftly ran 
To chase the fallow deere: 

On Munday they began to hunt 
Ere daylight did appeare; 

And long before higli noone they had 
An hundred fat buckes slain; 

Then having dined, the drovyers went 
To rouse the deere again. 

The bowmen mustered on the hills, 

Well able to endure; 
Their backsides all, with special! care, 

That day were guarded sure. 

The hounds ran swiftly through the woods, 

The nimble deere to take; 
That with their cryes the hills and dales 

An eccho shrill did make. 

Lord Percy to the quarry went, 
To view the slaughterd deere; 
Quoth he, Erie Douglas promised 

This day to meet me heere: 


But if I thought he wold not come, 

Noe longer wold I stay. 
With that a brave young gentleman 

Thus to the erle did say: 

Loe, yonder doth Erie Douglas come, 

His men in armour bright; 
Full twenty hundred Scottish speres 

All mai'ching in our sight; 

All men of pleasant Tivydale, 
Fast by the river Tweede: 

cease your sport, Erie Percy said, 
And take your bowes with speede: 

And now with me, my countrymen, 
Your courage forth advance; 

For never was there champion yett, 
In Scotland or in France, 

That ever did on horsebaeke come, 
But if my hap it were, 

1 durst encounter man for man, 
With him to break a spere. 

Erie Douglas on his milke-white steede, 

Most like a baron bold, 
Rode foremost of his company, 

Whose armour shone like gold. 

Show me, sayd hee, whose men you bee, 

That hunt so boldly heere, 
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, 

Nor show whose men wee bee : 

Yet will wee spend our deerest blood, 

Thy cheefest harts to slay. 
Then Douglas swore a solempne oathe, 

And thus in rage did say 

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, pitye it were, 
And great offence to kill 

Any of these our guiltlesse men, 
For they have done no ill. 

Let you and me the battel trye, 

And set our men aside. 
Accurst be he, Erie Percy sayd, 

By whom this is denyed. 

Then stept a gallant squier forth, 
Witherington was his name, 

Who said, I wold not have it told 
To Henry, our king, for shame, 

That e'er my captain fought on foote, 

And I stood looking on. 
You be two erles, sayd Witherington, 

And I a squier alone: 

I'll doe the best that doe I may, 
While I have power to stand: 

While I have power to weeld my sword, 
I'll fight with heart and hand. 

Our English archers bent their bowes, 
Their hearts were good and trew ; 

At the first flight of arrowes sent, 
Full fourscore Scotts they slew. 

Yet bides Erie Douglas on the bent, 
As chieftain stout and good ; 

As valiant captain, all unmoved, 
The shock he firmly stood. 

His host he parted had in three, 
As leader ware and tryd ; 

And soon his spearmen on their foes 
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. 

And throwing strait their bowes away. 

They graspt their swords so bright : 
And now sharp blows, a heavy shower, 

On shields and helmets light. 


They closed full fast on every e side, 

Noe slacknes there was found ; 
And many a gallant gentleman 

Lay gasping on the ground, 

Christ ! it was a griefe to see, 
And likewise for to heare, 

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 lions wode, they layd on lode, 

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 down did feele. 

Yeeld thee, Lord 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, 

And thus report of thee, 
Thou art the most courageous knight 

That ever I did see. 

Noe, Douglas, quoth Erie Percy then, 
Thy proffer I doe scorne; 

1 will not yeelde to any Scott 
That ever yett was borne. 

With that there came an arrow keene 

Out of an English bow, 
Which strucke Erie Douglas to the heart, 

A deep and deadlye blow : 

Who never spake more words than these 

Fight on my merry men all ; 
For why, my life is at an end, 

Lord Percy sees my fall. 

Then leaving liffe, Erie Percy tooke 

The dead man by the hand ; 
And said, Erie Douglas, for thy life 

Wold I had lost my land. 



O Christ ! my very hart doth bleed 
With sorrow for thy sake ; 

For sure a more redoubted knight 
Mischance cold never take. 

A knight amongst the Scotts there was, 
Which saw Erie Douglas dye, 

Who streight in wrath did vow revenge 
Upon the Erie Percye : 

Sir Hugh Mountgomerye was he calld, 
Who, with a spere most bright, 

Well mounted on a gallant steed, 
Ran fiercely through the fight ; 

And past the English archers all, 
Without all dread or feare ; 

And through Erie Percye's body then 
He thrust his hateful! spere ; 

With such a vehement force and might 

He did his body gore, 
The staff went through the other side 

A large cloth-yard and more. 

So thus did both these noble? aye, 
Whose courage none could staine : 

An English archer then perceiv'd 
The noble erle was slaine : 

He had a bow bent in his hand, 

Made of a trusty tree ; 
An arrow of a cloth -yard long 

Up to the head drew hee : 

Against Sir Hugh Mountgomerye 
So right the shaft he sett, 

The gray goose wing that was thereon 
In his hart's bloode was wett. 

This fight did last from breake of day 

Till setting of the sun ; 
For when they rung the evening-bell, 

The battel scarce was done. 

With brave Erie Percy there was slaine 

Sir John of Egerton, 
Sir Robert Ratcliff, and Sir John, 

Sir James, that bold baron. 



And with Sir George and stout Sir James, 

Both knights of good account, 
Good Sir Ralph Raby there was slaine, 

Whose prowesse did surmount. 

For Witherington needs I must waile, 

As one in doleful dumpes ; 
For when his legs were smitten off, 

He fought upon his stumpes. 

And with Erie Douglas there was slaine 

Sir Hugh Mountgomerye, 
Sir Charles Murray, that from the feeld 

One foote wold never flee. 

Sir Charles Murray of Ratcliff, too, 

His sister's sonne was hee; 
Sir David Lamb, so well esteemd, 

Yet saved cold not bee. 

And the Lord Maxwell in like case 

Did with Erie Douglas dye: 
Of twenty hundred Scottish speres, 

Scarce fifty -five did flye. 

Of fifteen hundred Englishmen, 

Went home but fifty-three; 
The rest were slaine in Chevy- Chase, 

Under the greenewood tree. 

Next day did many widowes come, 

Their 'husbands to bewayle; 
They washt their wounds in brinish teares, 

But all wold not prevayle. 

Theyr bodies, bathed in purple gore, 

They bare with them away; 
They kisst them dead a thousand times, 

Ere they were cladd in clay. 

This newes was brought to Eddenborrow. 

Where Scottland's king did raigne, 
That brave Erie Douglas suddenlye 

Was with an arrow slaine: 

heavy newes, King James did say, 
Scottland can witnesse bee 

1 have not any captaine more 

Of such account as hee. 



Like tydings to King Henry came 

Within as short a space, 
That Percy of Northumberland 

Was slaine in Chevy- Chase: 

Now God be with him, said our king, 

Sith it will noe better bee; 
I trust I have within my realme 
5? V) Five hundred as good as hee. 

Yet shall not Scots or Scotland say 

But I will vengeance take: 
I'll be revenged on them all, 

For brave Erie Percye's sake. 

This vow full well the king performd 

After at Humbledowne; 
In one day fifty knights were slayne, 

With lordes of great renowne: 

And of the rest, of small account, 

Did many hundreds dye. 
Thus endeth the hunting of Chevy-Chase, 

Made by the Erie Percy. 

God save, our king, and bless this land, 
In plentye, joye, and peace; 

And grant, henceforth, that foule debate 
'Twixt noblemen may cease. 



[This ballad was first printed by the Rev. C. H. Harts- 
borne, in his 'Ancient Metrical Tales,' (London, 1829,) 
from a MS. preserved in the University of Cambridge. Its 
existence was unknown to Ritson, who speaks of it as 'a 
legend once extant, of perhaps a still earlier date, than the 
4 Lytell Geste,' which he considered as ' probably the oldest 
thing upon the subject we now possess.' It afforded him, in 
his own words, ' some little satisfaction to be able to give,' 
' as he did, (Robin Hood, i. Ixxxv.,) ' even a fragment, from a 
-, single leaf, fortunately preserved in one of the volumes of 
vp" old printed ballads in the British Museum, in a hand-writing 
as old as Henry the Sixth's time. ' This fragment consists of 
the latter half of stanza 70, the three following stanzas, 
and of what is contained between the second lines of stanzas 
78 and 81 inclusive respectively. In the MS. from which Mr. 
Hartshorne printed, which is in some parts so damaged by 
the damp as to be illegible, the only title the ballad bears is, 
'A Tale of Robin Hood.' The propriety of the more parti 
cular designation of ' Robin Hood and the Monk,' willhow- 
, ; ever be apparent to every reader.] This ballad is believed 
. JL to be the earlie t known of the Robin Hood pieces. 

^ N somer when the shawes be sheyne, 

And leves be large and longe, 
Hit is fulle mery in feyre foreste 

To here the foulys song. 

c 17 


To se the dere draw to the dale, 

And leve the hilles hee, 
And shadow hem in the leves grene 

Vndur the grene wode tre. 

Hit befel on whitsontide, 

Erly in a may mornyng, 
The son up fayre can shyne, 

And the briddis mery can syng. 

This is a mery mornyng, seid litulle Johne 

Be hym that dyed on tre, 
A more mery man then I am one 

Lyves not in cristiante". 

Pluk vp thi hert my dere mayster, 

Litulle Johne can sey, 
And thynk hit is a fulle fayre tyme 

In a mornynge of may. 

Ze on thynge greves me seid Robyne, 
And does my hert myche woo, 

That I may not so solem day 
To mas nor matyns goo. 

Hit is a fourtnet and more, seyd hee, 

Syn I my sauyour see ; 
To-day wil I to Notyngham, seid Robyn, 

With the myght of mylde Mary. 

Then spake Moche the mylner (s) sune, 

Euer more wel hym betyde, 
Take xii of thi wyght zemen 

Welle weppynd be ther side. 

Such on wolde thi selfe slon 

That xii dar not abyde, 
Off alle my mery men, seid Robyne, 

Be my feithe I wil non haue. 

But litulle Johne shall beyre my bow 
Til that me list to drawe 

Thou shalle beyre thin own said Litulle Jon, 

Maister & I will beyre myne, 
And we wille shete a peny, seid litulle Jon, 
18 A7 nder the grene wode lyne. 


I wil not shete a peny, seyd Robyn Hode, 

In feith litulle Johne with thee, 
But euer for on as thou shetes, seid Robyn, 

In feith I holde the thre. 

Thus shet thei forthe these zemen too 

Bothe at buske and brome, 
Til litulle Johne wan of his maister 

Vs. to hose and shone. 

A ferly strife fel them betwene 

As they went hi the way ; 
Litulle John seid he had won v shyllyngs, 

And Robyn Hode seid schortly nay. 

With that Robyn Hode lyed litul Jone, 
And smote hym with his honde, 

Litul John waxed wroth therwith, 
And pulled out his bright bronde. 

Were thou not my maister, seid litulle Johne, 

Thou shuldis by hit ful sore, 
Get the a man where thou wilt Robyn, 

For thou getes me no more. 

Then Robyn goes to Notycgham 

Hymselfe mornynge allone, 
And litulle Johne to mery Scherewode, 

The pathes he knowe alkone. 

Whan Robyn came to Notyngham, 

Sertenly withoutene layne, 
He prayed to God and myld Mary 

To brynge hym out saue agayne. 

He gos into seynt Mary (s) chirche, 
And knelyd downe before the rode, 

Alle that euer were the churche within 
Beheld wel Robyne Hode. 

Beside hym stode a gret hedid munke, 

I pray to God woo he be, 
Ful sone he knew gode Robyn (Hode) 

As sone as he hym se. 

Out at the durre he ran 

Ful sone and anon, 
Alle the zatis of Notyngham 

He made to be sparred euerychonc. 


Rise vp, he seid, thou prowde schereff, 

Buske the and make the bowne, 
I haue spyed the kynges felone, 

For sothe he is in this towne. 

I haue spyed the false felone, 

As he stondes at his masse, 
Hit is longe of the seide the munke, 

And euer he fro vs passe. 

This traytur (s) name is Robyn Hode, 

Vndur the grene wode lynde, 
He robbyt me onys of a C pound, 

Hit shalle neuer out of my mynde. 

Vp then rose this prowd schereff, 

And zade toward hym zare ; 
Many was the modur son, 

To the kyrk with hym can fare. 

In at the durres thei throly thrast 

With staves ful gode ilkone, 
Alas, alas, seid Robyn Hode, 

Now mysse I litulle Johne. 

But Robyne toke out a too-hond swordc. 

That hangit down be his kne, 
Ther as the schereff and his men stode thyckust, 

Thidurward wold he. 

Thryes thorow at them he ran, 

Ther for sothe as I yow say, 
And woundyt many a modur sone, 

And xii he slew that day. 

His sworde vpon the schireff hed 

Sertanly he brake in too ; 
The smyth that the made, seid Robyn, 

I pray God wyrke hym woo. 

For now am I weppynlesse, seid Robyne, 

Alasse agayn my wylle ; 
But if I may fle these traytors fro, 

I wot thei wil me kylle. 

Robyns men to the churche ran 

Throout hem euer ilkon, 
Sum fel in swonyng as thei were dede, 
And lay still as any stone. 


Non of theym were in her mynde 
But only litulle Jon. 

Let be your rule, seid litulle Jon, 
For his luf that dyed on tre, 

Ze that shulde be duzty men 
Hit is gret shame to se. 

Oure maister has bene hard bystode, 

And zet scapyd away, 
Pluk up your hertes and leve this mone, 

And herkyn what I shal say. 

He has seruyd our lady many a day, 

And zet wil securly, 
Therfore I trust in her specialy 

No wycked deth shal he dye. 

Therfor be glad, seid litul Johne, 

And let this rnournyng be, 
And I shall be the munkes gyde 

With the myght of mylde Mary. 

And I mete hym, seid litull Johne, 
We wille go but we too 

Loke that ze kepe wel owe tristil tre 

Vndur the levys smale, 
And spare non of this venyson 

That gose in thys vale. 

Forche thei went these zemen too, 

Litul Johne and Moche onfere, 
And lokid on Moche emys hows 

The hyeway lay fulle nere. 

Litul John stode at a window in the mornyngt, 

And lokid forth at a stage, 
He was war wher the munke came ridynge, 

And with hym a litul page. 

Be my feith, seid Litul Johne to Moche, 

I can the tel tithyngus gode ; 
I se wher the munk comys rydyng, 

I know hym be his wyde node. 


Thei went into the way these zemen bothe, 

As curtes men and hende, 
Thei spyrred tithyngus at the munke 
As thei hade bene his frende. 

Fro whens come ze, seid litul Johrie, 
Tell vs tithyngus I yow pray 

Off a false owtlay (called Robyn Hode) 
Was takyn zisturday. 

He robbyt me and my felowes bothe 

Of xx marke in serten ; 
If that false owtlay be takyn, 

For sothe we wolde be fayne. 

So did he me, seid the munke, 

Of a C pound and more ; 
I layde furst hande hym apon, 

Ze may thonke me therfore. 

I pray god thanke yow, seid litulle Johne, 

And we wil when we may, 
We wil go with yow with your leve, 

And brynge yow on your way. 

For Robyn Hode hase many a wilde felow, 

I telle yow hi certen, 
If thei wist ze rode this way, 

In feith ze shulde be slayn. 

As tbei went talkyng be the way, 
The munke and litulle Johne, 

Johne toke the munkes horse be the hede 
Ful sone and anone 

Johne toke the munkes horse be the hed, 

For sothe as I yow say, 
So did Muche the litulle page, 

For he shulde not stirre away. 

Be the golett of the hode 

Johne pulled the munke downe, 

Johne was nothynge of hym agast, 
He lete hym falle on his crowne. 

Litulle John was sore agrevyd, 

And drew out his swerde in hye. 
The munke saw he shulde be derl, 
22 Lowd mercy can he crye. 


He was my maister, seid litulle Johne, 
That thou base browzt in bale, 

Shalle thou neuer cum at oure kynge 
For to telle hym tale. 

John smote of the munkes hed. 

No longer wolde he dwelle 
So did Moche, the litulle page, 

For ferd lest he wold tell. 

Ther thei beryed hem both, 
In nouther mosse nor lynge, 

And litulle Johne and Muche infere 
Bare the letturs to oure kynge. 

He kneled down vpon his kne, 
God zow saue my lege lorde, 
Jesus yow saue and se. 

God yow saue my lege kyng, 

To speke Johne was fulle bolde ; 
He gaf hym the letturs in his bond, 

The kynge did hit unfold. 

The kynge red the letturs anon, 

And seid so mot I the, 
Ther was neuer zoman in mery Inglond 

I longut so sore to see. 

"Wlier is the munke that these shuld haue browzt, 

Oure kynge can say, 
Be my trouthe, seid litulle Jone, 

He dyed aftur the way. 

The kyng gaf Moche and litul Jon 

XX pound in sertan, 
And made theim zemen of the crowne, 

And bade theim go agayn. 

He gaf Johne the seel in hand, 

The scheref for to here, 
To brynge Robyn hym to, 

And no man do hym dere. 

Johne toke his leve at oure kyng, 

The sotbe as I yow siv ; 
The next wiy to Notyngham 

To take he zede the wa. 


Whan Johne came to Notyngham 
The zatis were sparred ychone 

Johne callid vp the porter, 
He answerid sone anon. 

What is the cause, seid litul John, 
Thou sparris the zates so fast ? 

Because Robyn Hode, seid (the) porter, 
In depe prison is cast. 

Johne, and Moche, and Wylle Scathlok, 

For sothe as I yow say, 
Thir slew oure men vpon oure wallis, 

And sawtenet vs euery day. 

Litulle Johne spyrred aftur the schereff, 

And sone he hym fonde, 
He oppyned the kyngus priue seelle, 

And gaf hym in his honde. 

Whan the schereff saw the kyngus seelle 
He did of his hode anon, 

Wher is the munke that bare the letturs ? 
He seid to litulle Johne. 

He is so fayn of him, seid litulle Johne, 

For sothe as I yow sey ; 
He has made hym ahot of Westmynster, 

A lorde of that abbay. 

The scheref made John gode chere, 
And gaf hym wine of the best ; 

At nyzt thei went to her bedde, 
And euery man to his rest. 

When the scheref was on-slepe 
Dronken of wine and ale, 

Litul Johne and Moche for sothe 
Toke the way vnto the gale ; 

Litul Johne callid vp the jayler, 
And bade hym rise anon ; 

He seid Robyn Hode had brokyn preson, 
And out of hit was gon. 

The portere rose anon sertan, 

As sone as he herd John calle ; 
Litul Johne was redy with a swerd, 
24 A.nd bare hym to the walle. 


Now will I be porter, seid litul Johne, 

And take the keyes in honde ; 
He toke the way to Robyn Hode, 

And sone he hym vnbonde. 

He gaf hym a gode swerd in his hond, 

His bed [ther-] with for to kepe, 
And ther as the walle was lowyst 

Anon downe can thei lepe. 

Be that the cok began to crow, 

The day began to sprynge, 
The scheref fond the jaylier ded, 

The comyn belle made he rynge. 

He made a crye thoroowt al the tow (n), 

Whedur he be zoman or knave, 
That cowthe brynge hym Robyn Hode, 

His warisone he shuld haue. 

For I dar neuer, said the scheref, 

Cum before oure kynge ; 
For if I do I wot serten, 

For sothe he wil me henge. 

The scheref made to seke Notyngham, 

Bothe be strete and stye, 
And Robyn was in mery Scherwode 

As lizt as lef on lynde. 

Then bespake gode litulle Johne 

To Robyn Hode can he say, 
I haue done the a gode turne for an euylle, 

Quyte 'me' whan thoumay. 

I haue done the a gode turne, said litulle Johne, 

For sothe as I you saie, 
I haue brouzt the vndur (the) grene wode lyne, 

Fare wel, and haue gode day. 

Nay be my trouthe, seid Robyn Hode, 

So shalle hit neuer be, 
I make the maister, seid Robyne Hode, 

Off alle my men and me. 

Nay be my trouthe, seid litulle Johne, 

So shall hit neuer be, 
But lat me be a felow, seid litulle Johne, 

No nodur kepe 111 be. 


Thus Johne gate Robyn Hode out of prisone 

Sertan withoutyn layne, 
When his men saw hym hoi and sounde 

For sothe they were ful fayne. 

They filled in wyne, and made him glaa 

Vndur the levys smale, 
And zete pastes of venysone 

That gode was ' withal.' 

Than worde came to our kynge, 

How Robyn Hode was gone, 
And how the scheref of Notyngham 

Durst neuer loke hyme vpone. 

Then bespake oure cumly kynge, 

In an augur hye, 
Litulle Johne hase begyled the schereff, 

In faith so hase he me. 

Litulle Johne has begyled vs bothe, 

And that fulle wel I se, 
Or ellis the schereff of Notyngham 

Hye hongut shuld he be. 

i made hem zemen of the crowne, 
And gaf hem fee with my bond, 

I gaf hem grithe, seid oure kyng, 
Thorowout alle mery Inglond. 

I gaf hem grithe, then seid oure kyng, 

I say, so mot I the, 
For sothe soche a zeman as he is on 

In alle Ingland ar not thre. 

He is trew to his maister, seide oure kynge, 

I sey, be swete seynt Johne, 
He louys bettur Robyn Hode, 

Then he dose vs ychone. 

Robyne Hode is euer bond to him, 

Bothe in strete and stalle, 
Speke no more of this matter, seid our kynge, 

But John has begyled vs alle. 

Thus endys the talkyng of the munke, 

And Robyne Hode I wysse ; 
God, that is euer a crowned kyng, 
26 Bryng vs alle to his blisse. 

[This ballad is taken from Ritson's ' Robin Hood.' Ac 
cording to him, it had never appeared in print before. For 
he says, ' this curious, and hitherto unpublished, and even 
unheard of old piece is given from a manuscript, among 
Bishop More's collections, in the public library of the Uni 
versity of Cambridge, (Ee. 4. 35.) In a recent elaborate 
and curious article of the Archaeological Journal, which 
appears to settle the question of the antiquity of the Robin 
Hood ballads, this is stated to be the second in point of chro 
nology as such we place it here. At the end of the original 
is, ' Expleycyt Robyn Hode.' In the MS. stanza 29 is mis 
placed after stanza 24 ; and the first two lines of stanza 43 
are transposed.' The corrections were made by Ritson 
who appears also, by the manner in which he printed the 
j title of the ballad, which we follow, to have added the 
words in brackets.] 

N schomer, when the leves spryng, 
The bloschems on every bowe, 

So merey doyt the berdys syng, 

Yn wodys merey now. 27 


Herkens, god yemen, 

Comley, cortessey, and god, 
On of the best that yever bar bou, 

Hes name was Roben Hode. 

Roben Hood was the yemans name, 

That was boyt corteys and fre, 
For the loffe of owr ladey, 

All wemen werschep he. 

Bot as the god yeman stod on a day, 

Among hes mery maney, 
He was war of a prowd potter, 

Cam dryfyng owyr the ley. 

Yonder comet a prod potter, seyde Roben, 
That long hayt hantyd this wey, 

He was never so corteys a man 
On peney of pawage to pay. 

Y met hem hot at Wentbreg, eeyde Lytyll John, 
And therfor yeffell mot he the, 

Seche thre strokes he me gafe, 
Yet they cleffe by my seydys. 

Y ley forty shillings, seyde Lytyll John, 

To pay het thes same day, 
Ther ys nat a man among hus all 

A wed schall make hem ley. 

Her ys forty shillings, seyde Roben, 

Mor, and thow dar say, 
That y schall make that prowde potter, 

A wed to me schall he le 

Ther thes money they leyde, 
They toke het a yeman to kepe ; 

Roben befor the potter he breyde, 
And up to hem can lepe. 

Handys apon hes horse he leyde, 

And bad hem stonde foil stell. 
The potter schorteley to hem seyde, 

Felow, what ys they well ? 

All thes thre yer, and mor, potter, he seyde, 

Thou hast hantyd thes wey, 
Yet wer tow never so cortys a man 
28 One peney of pauage to pay. 


What ys they name, seyde the potter, 

For'pauage thow aske of me? 
" Roben Hod ys mey name, 

A wed schall thow leffe me." 

Wed well y now leffe, seyde the potter, 

Nor pavag well y now pay ; 
Awey they honde fro mey horse, 

Y well the tene eyls, he mey fay. 

The potter to hes cart he went, 

He was not to seke, 
A god to-hande staffe therowt be hent, 

Befor Roben he lepe. 

Robeu howt with a swerd bent, 

A bokeler en his honde therto ; 
The potter to Roben he went, 

And seyde, Felow, let mey horse go. 

Togeder then went thes two yemen, 

Het was a god seyt to se ; 
Therof low Robyn hes men, 

Ther they stod onder a tre. 

Leytell John to hes felowhes seyde, 

Yend potter welk steffeley stonde. 
The potter, with a caward stroke, 

Smot the bokeler owt of hes honde ; 

And ar Roben meyt get hen agen, 

Hes bokeler at hes fette, 
The potter yn the neke hem toke, 

To the gronde sone he yede. 

That saw Roben hes men, 

As thay stode ender a bow : 
Let us helpe owr master, seyed Lytell John, 

Yonder potter els well hem sclo. 

Thes yemen went with a breyde, 

To ther master they cam. 
Leytell John to hes master seyde, 

Ho haet the wager won ? 

Schall y haff yowr forty shillings seyde Lytel John, 

Or ye, master, schall haffe myne ? 
Yeff they wer a hundred, seyde Roben, 

Y fethe, they ben all theyne. 


Het ys fol leytell cortesey, seyde the potter, 

As y haffe harde weyse men saye, 
Yeff a por yeman com drywyng ower the wey, 

To let hem of hes gorney. 

Be mey trowet, thow seys soyt, seyde Roben, 

Thow seys god yemenrey ; 
Vnd thow dreyffe forthe yevery day, 
Thow schalt never be let for me. 

Y well prey the, god potter, 

A felischepe well thow haffe ? 
Geffe me they clothyng, and thow schalt hafe myne 

Y well go to Notynggam. 

Y grant therto, seyde the potter, 

Thow schalt feynde me a felow gode ; 

Bot thow can sell mey pottes well, 
Com ayen as thow yode. 

Nay, be mey trowt, seyde Roben, 

And then y bescro mey hede, 
Yeffe y bryng eney pottes ayen, 

And eney weyffe well hem chepe. 

Than spake Leytell John, 

And all hes felowhes heynd, 
Master, be well war of the screffe of Notynggam, 

For he ys leytell howr frende. 

Thorow the helpe of howr ladey, 

Felowhes, let me alone ; 
leyt war howte, seyde Roben, 

To Notynggam well y gon. 

Robyn went to Notynggam, 

Thes pottes for to sell ; 
The potter abode with Robens men, 

Ther he fered not eylle. 

Tho Roben droffe on hes wey, 

So merey ower the londe. 
Heres mor and affter ys to saye, 

The best ys beheynde. 


When Roben cam to Notynggam, 

The soyt yef y scholde saye, 
30 He set op hes horse anon, 

And gaffe hem hotys and haye. 


Yn the medys of the towne, 

Ther he schowed hes war, 
Pottys ! pottys ! he gan crey foil sone, 

Haffe hansell for the mar. 

Foil effen agenest the screifeys gate, 

Schowed he hes chaffar ; 
Weyffes and wedowes abowt hem drow, 

And chepyd fast of hes war. 

Yet, Pottys, gret chepe ! creyed Robyn, 

Y loffe yeffell thes to stonde. 
\.nd all that saw hem sell, 

Seyde he had be no potter long. 

The pottys that wer werthe pens feyffe, 

He solde tham for pens thre : 
Preveley seyde man and weyffe, 

Ywunder potter schall never the. 

Fhos Roben solde foil fast, 

Tell he had pottys hot feyffe ; 
Op he hem toke -jf his car, 

And sende hem to the screffeys weyffe. 

r herof sche was foil fayne, 

Gereamarsey, sir, than seyde sche, 
When ye com to thes centre ayen, 
Y schall bey of they pottys, so mot y the 

Ye schall haffe of the best, seyde Roben, 

And swar be the treneyte. 
Foil corteysley she gan hem call, 

Com deyne with the screfe and me. 

Godamarsey, seyde Roben, 

Yowr bedyng schall be doyn. 
A mayden yn the pottys gan her, 

Roben and the screffe weyffe folowed anon. 

Whan Roben ynto the hall cam, 

The screffe sone he met, 
The potter cowed of corteysey, 

And sone the screffe he gret. 

" Loketh what thes potter hayt geffe yow and 

Feyffe pottys smalle and grete !" 
He ys fol wellcom, seyd the screffe, 

Let os was, and go to mete. 31 


As they sat at her methe, 

With a nobell cher, 
Two of the screffes men gan speke 

Off a gret wager, 

Was made the thother daye, 

Off a schotyng was god and feyne 

Off forty shillings, the soyt to saye, 
Who scholde thes wager wen. 

Styll than sat thes prowde potter, 

Thos than thowt he, 
As y am a trow Cerstyn man, 

Thes schotyng well y se. 

Whan they had fared of the best, 

With bred and ale and weyne, 
To the bottys they made them prest, 

With bowes and boltys foil feyne. 

The screffes men schot foil fast, 

As archares that weren godde, 
Ther cam non ner ney the marke 

Bey halfe a god archares bowe. 

Stell then stod the prowde potter, 

Thos than seyde he, 
And y had a bow, be the rode, 

On schot scholde yow se. 

Thow schall haffe a bow, seyde the screffe, 
The best that thou well cheys of thre ; 

Thow semyst a stalward and a stronge, 
Asay schall thow be. 

The screffe comandyd a yeman that stod hem oey, 

Affter bowhes to wende ; 
The best bow that the yeman browthe 

Roben set on a stryng. 

" Now schall y wet and thow be god, 

And polle het op to thy ner." 
So god me helpe, seyde the prowde potter, 

Thys ys hot rygzt weke ger. 

To a quequer Roben went, 

A god bolt owthe he toke, 
So ney on to the marke he went, 
32 He fayled not a fothe. 


All they schot abowthe agen, 

The screffes men and he, 
Off the marke he welde not fayle, 

He cleffed the pretre on thre. 

The screfFes men thowt gret schame, 

The potter the mastry wan ; 
The screffe lowe and made god game, 

And seyde, Potter, thow art a man ; 
Thow art worthey to her a bowe, 

Yn what plas that thow gang. 

In mey cart y haffe a bowe, 

Forsoyt, he seyde, and that a godde ; 

Yn mey cart ys the bow 

That I had of Robyn Hode. 

Knowest thou Robyn Hode ? seyde the screffe, 

Potter, y prey the tell thou me. 
" A hundred torne y haffe schot with hem, 

Under hes tortyll tre." 

Y had lever nar a hundred ponde, seyde the screffe, 

And swar be the trenite, 
Y had lever nar a hundred ponde, he seyde, 

That the fals owtelawe stod be me. 

And ye well do afftyr mey red, seyde the potter, 

And boldeley go with me, 
And to morrow, or we het bred, 

Roben Hode wel we se. 

Y well queyt the, kod the screffe, 

And swer be god of meythe. 
Schetyng thay left, and horn they went, 

Her scoper was redey deythe. 

Upon the morrow, when het was day, 

He boskyd hem forthe to reyde ; 
The potter hes carte forthe gan ray, 

And wolde not be leffe behynde. 

He toke leffe of the screffys wyffe, 

And thankyd her of all thyng ; 
" Dam, for mey loffe, and ye" well thys wer, 

Y geffe you her a golde ryng." 

Gramarsey, seyde the wejffe, 

Sir, God eylde het the. 
The screffes hart was never so leythe, 
33 The feyr forest to se. 



And when he cam ynto the foreyst, 

Yonder the leffes grene, 
Berdys ther sange on bowhes prest, 

Het was gret goy to sene. 

Her het ys merey to be, seyde Roben, 
For a man that had hawt to spende ; 

Be mey home we schall awet 
Yeff Roben Hode be ner hande. 

Roben set hes home to hes mowthe, 
And blow a blast that was foil god, 

That herde hes men that ther stode, 
Fer downe yn the wodde. 

1 her mey master, seyde Leytyll John : 
They ran as thay wer wode. 

Whan thay to thar master cam, 
Leytell John wold not spar : 

" Master, how haffe yow far yn Notynggam ? 
Haffe yow sowlde yowr war ?" 

" Ye, be mey trowthe, Leytyll John, 

Loke thow take no car ; 
Y haffe browt the screffe of Notynggam, 

For all howr chaffar." 

He ys foil wellcom, seyde Leytyll John, 

Thes tydyng ys foil godde. 
The screffe had lever nar a hundred ponde 

He had never sene Roben Hode. 

" Had I west that beforen, 
At Notynggam when we wer, 

Thow scholde not com yn feyr forest 
Of all thes thowsande eyr." 

That wot I well, seyde Roben, 

Y thanke god that y be her ; 
Therfor schall ye leffe yowr horse with hos, 

And all yowr bother ger. 

That fend I godys forbode, kod the screffe, 

So to lese mey godde. 
" Hether ye cam on horse foil ney, 

And horn schall ye go on fote ; 
And gret well they weyfFe at home, 
34 The woman ys foil godde. 


Y schall her sende a wheyt palffrey, 

Her hambellet as the weynde ; 
Ner for the loffe of yowr weyffe, 

Off mor sorow scholde yow seyng." 

Thes parted Robyn Hode and the screffe, 

To Notynggam he toke the waye : 
Hes weyffe feyr welcomed hem horn, 

And to hem gan sche saye : 

Seyr, how haffe yow fared yn grene foreyst ? 

Haffe ye browt Roben horn ? 
" Dam, the deyell spede hem, bothe bodey and bow, 

Y haffe hade a foil grete skorne. 

Of all the god that y haffe lade to grene wod, 

He hayt take het fro me, 
All hot this feyr palffrey, 

That he hayt sende to the." 

With that sche toke op a lowde lawhyng, 

And swhar be hem that deyed on tre ; 
" Now haffe yow payed for all the pottys 

That Roben gaffe to me." 

Now ye be com horn to Notynggam, 

Ye schall haffe good ynowe." 
Now speke we of Roben Hode, 

And of the pottyr onderthe grene bowhe. 

" Potter, what was they pottys worthe 
To Notynggam that y ledde with me ?" 

They wer worth two nobellys, seyd he, 
So mot y treyffe or the ; 

So cowde y had for tham, 
And y had ther be. 

Thow schalt hafe ten ponde, seyde Roben, 

Of money feyr and fre ; 
And yever whan thow comest to grene wod, 

Wellcom, potter, to me. 

Thes partyd Robyn, the screffe, and the potter, 

Ondernethe the grene wod tre. 
Ged haffe mersey on Roben Hodys solle, 

And saffe all god yemanrey ! 35 

' This ancient legend,' as Ritson calls It, is taken 
from his ' Robin Hood,' where it was given ' from the copy 
of an edition, in 4 and black letter, by Wynkyn de 
Worde, preserved in the public library at Cambridge ; 
compared with, and, in some places, corrected by, another 
impression (apparently from the former), likewise in 4 
and black letter, by William Copland ; a copy of which 
is among Garrick's old plays in the British Museum.' 
Ritson also adopted' several ' variations' of an edition 
printed for Edward "White, 4, black letter, no date, but 
entered in the Stationers' books, the 13th May, 1594.' 
He likewise made some ' necessary corrections,' divided 
the poem into stanzas, and supplied the words between 
brackets. A fragment of another edition, printed at 
Edinburgh, by Andrew Myllar and Walter Chepman, in 
1508, is stated by Ritson to be in the Advocates' Library 
of that city. The full title of the first edition, according 
to him, is as follows: ' Here begin neth a mery geste of 
Robyn Hode and his meyne, and of the proud sheryfe of 
Notyngham ;' and tiie printer's colophon runs thus: Ex- 
plycit. Kynge Edwarde and Robin hode and Lytell Johan 
Enprented at London in Flete strete at the sygne of the 
sone By Wynken de Worde.' As to the ballad itself, see 
the Note, p. 201.] 

ITHE and lysten, gentylmen, 
That be of frebore blode; 

I shall you tell of a good yeman, 
His name was Robyn Hode. 


Robyn was a proude outlawe, 
"Whyles he walked on grounde, 

So courteyse an outlawe as he was one 
Was never none yfounde. 

Robyn stode in Bernysdale, 

And lened hyra to a tree, 
And by hyra stode Lytell Johan, 

A good yeman was he ; 

And also dyde good Scathelock, 
And Much the millers sone; 

There was no ynche of his body, 
But it was worthe a grome. 

Than bespake hym Lytell Johan 

All unto Robyn Hode, 
* Mayster, yf ye wolde dyne betyme, 

It wolde do you moch good.' 

Or els some byshop or abbot] 
That may paye for the best; 

Or some knyght or some squyere 
That dwelleth here by west.' 

A good maner than had Robyn, 
In londe where that he were, 

Every daye or he woulde dyne 
Thre messes wolde he here : 

The one in the worshyp of the fader, 
The other of the holy goost, 

The thyrde was of our dere lady, 
That he loved of all other moste. 

Robyn loved our dere lady, 
For doute of dedely synne; 

Wolde he never do company harme 
That ony woman was ynne. 

Mayster,' than sayd Lytell Johan, 
' And we our borde shall sprede, 

Tell us whether we shall gone, 
And what lyfe we shall lede; 


Where we shall take, where we shall leve, 

Where we shall abide behynde, 
Where we shall robbe, where we shall reve, 

Where we shall bete and bynde.' 

* Ther of no fors,' said Robyn, 
. ' We shall do well ynough; 
But loke ye do no housbonde harme 
That tylleth with his plough; 

No more ye shall no good yeman, 
That walketh by grene wode shawe, 

Ne no knyght, ne no squyer, 
That wolde be a good felawe. 

These byshoppes, and thyse archebysshoppes, 

Ye shall them bete and bynde; 
The hye sheryfe of Notyngharae, 

Hym holde in your mynde.' 

' This worde shall be holde,' sayd Lytyll Johan, 

' And this lesson shall we lere; 
It is ferre dayes, god sende us a gest, 

That we were at our dynere.' 

' Take thy good bowe in thy hande,' said Robyn, 

' Let Moche wende with the, 
And so shall Wyllyam Scathelocke, 

And no man abyde with me: 

And walke up to the Sayles, 

And so to Watlynge-strete, 
And wayte after some unketh gest, 

Up-chaunce ye mowe them mete. 

Be he erle or ony bar6n, 

Abbot or ony knyght, 
Brynge hym to lodge to me, 

Hys dyner shall be dyght.' 

They wente unto the Sayles, 

These yemen all thre, 
They loked est, they loked west, 

They myght no man see. 

But as they loked in Barnysdale, 

By a derne strete, 
Then came there a knyght rydynge, 

Full sone they gan hym mete; 


All dreri then was his semblaunte, 

And lytell was hys pryde, 
Hys one fote in the sterope stode, 

That other waved besyde. 

Hys hode hangynge over hys eyen two, 

He rode in symple aray; 
A soryer man than he was one 

Rode never in somers-day. 

Lytell Johan was curteyse, 

And set hym on his kne: 
' Welcome be ye, gentyll knyght, 

Welcome are you to me, 

Welcome be thou to grene wood, 

Hende knyght and fre; 
My mayster hath abyden you fastynge, 

Syr, all these cures thre.' 

* Who is your mayster?' sayd the knyght. 

Johan sayde, ' Robyn Hode.' 
' He is a good yeman,' sayd the knyght, 
' Of hym I have herde moch good. 

I graunte,' he sayd, ' with you to wende, 

My brethren all in -fere; 
My purpose was to have deyned to day 

At Ely the or Dankastere.' 

Forthe than went this gentyll knyght, 

With a carefull chere, 
The teres out of his eyen ran, 

And fell downe by his lere. 

They brought hym unto the lodge dore, 

When Robyn gan hym se, 
Full curteysly dyde of his hode, 

And set hym on his kne. 

' Welcome, syr knyght,' then said Robyn, 

' Welcome thou arte to me, 
I haue abyde you fastynge, syr, 

All these houres thre.' 

Then answered the gentyll knyght 
With wordes fayre and fre, 

* God the save, good Robyn, 

And all thy fayre meyne.' 


They washed togyder and wyped bothe, 

And set tyll theyr dynere; 
Brede and wyne they had ynough, 

And nombles of the dere; 

Swannes and fesauntes they had full good, 

And foules of the revere; 
There fayled never so lytell a byrde, 

That ever was bred on brere. 

4 Do gladly, syr knyght,' sayd Robyn. 

' Gramercy, syr,' sayd he, 
' Such a dyner had I not 

Of all these wekes thre ; 

If I come agayne, Robyn, 

Here by this countre, 
As good a dyner I shall the make, 

As thou hast made to me.' 

' Gramercy, knyght,' sayd Robyn, 

' My dyner whan I have, 
I was never so gredy, by dere worthy god, 

My dyner for to crave. 

But pay or ye wende,' sayd Robyn, 

Me thynketh it is good ryght; 
It was never the maner, by dere worthy god, 

A yeman to pay for a knyght.' 

I have nought in my cofers,' sayd the knyght, 

' That I may profer for shame.' 
' Lytell Johan, go loke,' sayd Robyn, 

' Ne let not for no blame. 

Tell me trouth,' sayd Robyn, 

' So god have parte of the.' 
'I have no more but ten shillings,' sayd the knyght, 

' So god have parte of me.' 

4 Yf thou have no more,' sayd Robyn, 

' I wyll not one peny; 
And yf thou have nede of ony more, 

More shall I len the. 

Go now forth, Lytell Johan, 

The trouthe tell thou me, 
Yf there be no more but ten shillings, 

Not one penny that I se.' 


Lytell Johan spred downe his mantell, 

Full fayi e upon the grounde, 
And there he found in the knyghtes cofer 

But even halfe a pounde. 

Lytyll Johan let it lye full styll, 
And went to his mayster full lowe. 

* What tydynge, Johan?' sayd Robyn. 

' Syr, the knyght is trewe inough.' 

* Fyll of the best wyne,' sayd Robyn, 

' The knyght shall begynne; 
Moch wonder thynketh me 
Thy clothynge is so thynne. 

Tell me one worde,' sayd Robyn, 

* And counsell shall it be; 
I trowe thou were made a knyght of forse, 

Or elles of yemanry ; 

Or elles thou hast ben a sory housband, 

And leved in stroke and stryfe; 
An okerer, or elles a lechoure,' said Robyn, 

' With wronge hast thou lede thy lyfe.' 

' I am none of them,' sayd the knyght, 

' By god that made me; 
An hondreth wynter here before, 

Myne aunsetters knyghtes have be 

But ofte it hath befal, Robyn, 

A man hath be dysgrate; 
But god that syteth in heven above 

May amend his state. 

Within two or thre yere, Robyn,' he sayd, 

' My neyghbores well it kende, 
Foure hondreth pounde of good money 

Full wel than myghte I spende. 

Now have I no good,' sayd the knyght^ 
' But my chyldren and my wyfe; 

God hath shapen such an ende, 
Tyll god may amende my lyfe.' 

' In what maner,' sayd Robyn, 

' Hast thou lore thy riches?' 
' For my grete foly,' he sayd, 

' And for my kiudenesse. 



I had a sone, for soth, Robyn, 
That sholde have ben my eyre, 

When he was twenty wynter olde, 
In felde wolde juste full feyre; 

Pie slewe a knyght of Lancastshyre, 

And a squyre bolde; 
For to save hym in his ryght, 

My goodes beth sette and solde; 

My londes beth set to wedde, Robyn, 

Untyll a certayne daye, 
To a ryche abbot here besyde, 

Of Saynt Mary abbay.' 

' What is the somme?' sayd Robyn, 
' Trouthe than tell thou me.' 

' Syr,' he sayd, ' foure hondred pounde, 
The abbot tolde it to me.' 

Now, and thou lese thy londe,' sayd Robyn, 

' What shaU fall of the?' 
' Hastely I wyll me buske,' sayd the knyght, 
' Over the salte see, 

And se where Cryst was quycke and deed, 

On the mounte of Caluare 
Fare well, frende, and have good daye, 

It may noo better be ' 

Teeres fell out of his eyen two, 
He wolde haue gone his waye 

' Farewell, frendes, and have good day, 
I ne have more to pay.' 

' Where be thy friendes?' sayd Robyn. 

' Syr, never one wyll me know; 
Whyle I was ryche inow at home, 

Grete bost then wolde they blowe, 

And now they renne awaye fro me, 

As bestes on a rowe; 
They take no more heed of me 

Then they me never sawe.' 

For ruthe then wepte Lytell Joban, 

Scathelocke and Much in frere. 
' Fyll of the best wyne, sayd Robyn, 
42 ' For here is a symple chere. 


Hast thou ony frendes,' sayd Robyn, 

* Thy borowes that wyll be?' 

' I have none,' then sayd the knyght, 

* But god that dyed on a tree.' 

' Do waye thy japes,' sayd Robyn, 

' Therof will I right none; 
Wenest thou I wyll have god to borowe? 

Peter, Poule, or Johan? 

Nay, by hym that me made, 

And shope both sonne and mone; 

Fynde a better borowe,' sayd Robyn, 
' Or mony getest thou none.' 

' I have none other,' sayd the knight, 

' The sothe for to say, 
But yf it be our dere lady, 

She fayled me never or this day.' 

* By dere worthy god,' sayd Robyn, 
' To seche all England thorowe, 

Yet founde I never to my pay 
A moch better borowe. 

Come now forthe, Lytell Johan, 

And goo to my tresoure, 
And brynge me foure hondred pounde, 

And loke that it well tolde be.' 

Forthe then wente Lytell Johan, 

And Scathelocke went before, 
He tolde out foure houndred pounde, 

By eyghtene score. 

' Is this well tolde?' said lytell Much. 

Johan sayd, ' What greveth the? 
It is almes to help a gentyll knyght 

That is fall in poverte. 

Mayster,' than said Lytell Johan, 

' His clothynge is full thynne, 
Ye must gyve the knyght a lyveray 

To lappe his body ther in. 

For ye have scarlet and grene, mayster, 

And many a ryche aray; 
There is no marchaunt in mery Englonde, 

So ryche, I dare well saye.' 


' Take hym thre yerdes of every coloure, 

And loke that well mete it be.' 
Lytell Johan toke none other mesure 

But his bowe tre, 

And of every handfull that he met 

He lept ouer fotes thre. 
' What devilkyns draper,' sayd litell Much, 

Thynkyst thou to be?' 

Scathelocke stoode full styll and lough, 

And sayd, * By god allmyght, 
Johan may gyve hym the better mesure, 

By god, it cost him but lyght.' 

Mayster,' sayd Lytell Johan, 

All unto Robyn Hode, 
* Ye must gyve that knight an hors, 

To lede home al this good.' 

' Take hym a gray courser,' sayd Robyn, 

' And a sadell newe; 
He is our ladyes messengere, 

God lene that he be true.' 

And a good palfraye,' sayd lytell Moch, 

' To mayntayne hym in his ryght.' 
' And a payre of botes,' sayd Scathelocke, 

' For he is a gentyll knyght.' 

' What shalt thou gyve hym, Lytel Johan?' sayd Robyn. 

' Syr, a payre of gylte spores clene, 
To pray for all this company : 

God brynge hym out of tene!' 

1 Whan shall my daye be,' sayd the knyght, 

' Syr, and your wyll be?' 
'This daye twelve moneth,' sayd Robyn, 

' Under this grene wode tre. 

It were grete shame,' sayd Robyn, 

| A knyght alone to ryde, 
Without squyer, yeman, or page, 

To walke by hys syde. 

I shall the lene Lytyll Johan my man, 

For he shall be thy knave; 
In a yemans stede he may the stonde, 

Yf thou grete nede have.' 



Nowe is the knyght went on this way, 

This game he thought full good, 
When he loked on Bernysdale, 

He blyssed Robyn Hodej 

And whan he thought on Bernysdale, 

On Scathelock, Much, and Johan, 
He blyssed them for the best company 

That ever he in come. 

Then spake that gentyll knyght, 

To Lytel Johan gan he saye, 
* To-morowe I must to Yorke toune, 

To Saynt Mary abbay; 

And to the abbot of that place 

Foure hondred pounde I must pay; 
And but I be there upon this nyght 

My londe is lost for ay.' 

The abbot sayd to his covent, 

There he stode on grounde, 
' This day twelfe moneth came there a knyght 

And borowed foure hondred pounde. 

[He borowed foure hondred pounde,] 

Upon all his londe fre, 
But he come this ylke day 

Dysherytye shall he be.' 

' It is full erely,' sayd the pryoure, 

' The day is not yet ferre gone, 
I had lever to pay an hondred pounde, 

And lay it downe a none. 

The knight is ferre be yonde the see, 

In Englonde is his ryght, 
And suffreth honger and colde, 

And many a sory nyght: 

It were grete pyte,' said the pryoure, 

* So to have his londe, 
And ye be so lyght of your conseyence 

Ye do to him much wronge.' , 


' Thou art euer in my berde,' sayd the abbot, 

By god and saynt Rycharde.' 
With that cam in a fat-heded monke, 

The heygh selerer; 

He is dede or hanged,' sayd the monke, 
By god that bought me dere, 

And we shall have to spende in this place 
Foure hondred pounde by yere.' 

The abbot and the hy selerer, 

Sterte forthe full bolde, 
The high justyce of Englonde 

The abbot there dyde holde. 

The hye justyce and many mo 

Had take into their honde 
Holy all the knyghtes det, 

To put that knyght to wronge. 

They demed the knyght wonder sore, 

The abbot and hys meyne: 
* But he come this ylke day 

Dysheryte shall he be.' 

' He wyll not come yet,' sayd the justyce, 

* I dare well undertake.' 
But in sorowe tyme for them all 

The knyght came to the gate. 

Than bespake that gentyll knyght 

Untyll hys meyne, 
' Now put on your symple wedes 

That ye brought fro the see.' 

[They put on their symple wedes,] 
And came to the gates anone, 

The porter was redy hymselfe, 
And welcomed them everychone. 

' Welcome, syr knyght,' sayd the porter, 

' My lorde to mete is he, 
And so is many a gentyll man, 

For the love of the.' 

The porter swore a full grete othe, 

' By god that made me, 
Here be the best coresed hors, 

That ever yet sawe I me. 


Lede them into the stable,' he sayd, 
' That eased might they be.' 

* They shall not come therin,' sayd the knyght, 

' By god that dyed on a tre.' 

Lordes were to mete isette 

In that abbotes hall, 
The knyght went forth and kneled downe, 

And salved them grete and small. 

4 Do gladly, syr abbot,' sayd the knyght, 

' I am come to holde my day.' 
The fyrst word the abbot spake, 

' Hast thou brought my pay?' 

' Not one peny,' sayd the knyght, 

' By god that maked me.' 
' Thou art a shrewed dettour,' sayd the abbot; 

' Syr justyce, drynke to me. 

What doost thou here,' sayd the abbot, 
'But thou haddest brought thy pay?' 

* For god,' than sayd the knight, 

' To pray of a lenger daye.' 

' Thy daye is broke,' sayd the justyce, 

' Londe getest thou none.' 
' Now, good syr justyce, be my 'frende, 

And fende me of my fone.' 

* I am holde with the abbot,' sayd the justyce, 

' Bothe with cloth and fee.' 

* Now, good syr sheryf, be my frende.' 

* Nay for god,' sayd he. 

' Now, good syr abbot, be my frende, 

For thy curteyse, 
And holde my londes in thy honde 

Tyll I have made the gree; 

And I wyll be thy true servaunte, 

And trewely serve the, 
Tyl ye have foure hondred pounde 

Of money good and free.' 

The abbot sware a full grete othe, 

' By god that dyed on a tree, 
Get the londe where thou may, 

For thou getest none of me.' 


* By dere worthy god,' then sayd she knyght, 
' That all this worlde wrought, 

But I have my londe agayne 
Full dere it shall be bought; 

God, that was of a mayden borne, 

Lene us well to spede! 
For it is good to assay a frende 

Or that a man have nede.' 

The abbot lothely on him gan loke, 
And vylaynesly hym gan call; 

' Out/ he sayd, ' thou false knyght, 
Spede the out of my hall !' 

' Thou lyest,' then sayd the gentyll knyght, 

' Abbot in thy hal; 
False knyght was I never, 

By god that made us all.' 

Up then stode that gentyll knyght, 
To the abbot sayd he, 

* To suffre a knyght to knele so longe, 

Thou canst no curteysye; 

In joustes and in tournement 

Full ferre than have I be, 
And put myselfe as ferre in prees 

As ony that ever I se.' 

* What wyll ye gyve more?' said the justyce> 

' And the knyght shall make a releyse; 
And elles dare I safly swere 

Ye holde never your londe in pees.' 

' An hondred pounde,' sayd the abbot. 

The justyce said, ' Gyve him two.' 
' Nay, be god,' said the knyght, 

Yet gete ye it not soo: 

Though ye wolde gyve a thousande more, 
Yet were ye never the nere; 

Shall there never be myn eyre, 
Abbot, justyse, ne frere.' 

He sterte hym to a horde anone, 

Tyll a table rounde, 
And there he shoke out of a bagge 
43 Even foure hondred pounde. 


' Have here thy golde, syr abbot,' sayd the knyght, 

* Which that thou lentest me; 
Haddest thou ben curteys at my comynge, 

Rewarde sholdest thou have be.' 

The abbot sat styll, and ete no more, 

For all his ryall chere, 
He caste his hede on his sholder, 

And fast began to stare. 

' Take me my golde agayne,' sayd the abbot, 
' Syr justyce, that I toke the.' 

* Not a peny,' sayd the justyce, 

* By god, that dyed on a tree.' 

* Syr abbot, and ye men of lawe, 

Now have I holde my daye, 
Now shall I have my londe agayne, 
For ought that you can saye.' 

The knyght stert out of the dore, 

Awaye was all his care, 
And on he put his good clothynge,. 

The other he lefte there. 

He wente hym forthe full mery syngynge, 

As men have tolde in tale, 
His lady met hym at the gate, 

At home in Wierysdale. 

' Welcome, my lorde,' sayd his lady; 
' Syr, lost is all your good ?' 

* Be mery, dame,' sayd the knyght, 

* And praye for Robyn Hode, 

That ever his soule be in blysse, 

He holpe me out of my tene; 
Ne had not be his kyndenesse, 

Beggers had we ben. 

The abbot and I acordyd ben, 

He is served of his pay, 
The good yeman lent it me, 

As I came by the way.' 

This knyght than dwelled fayre at home, 

The soth for to say, 
Tyll he had got foure hondreth pounde, 

All redy for too paye. 



And every arowe an elle longe, 

With pecocke well ydyght, 
Inocked all with whyte sylver, 

It was a semly syght. 

He purveyed hym an hondreth men, 

Well harneysed in that stede, 
And hymselfe in that same sete, 

And clothed in whyte and rede. 

He bare a launsgay in his honde, 

And a man ledde his male, 
And reden with a lyght songe, 

Unto Bernysdale. 

As he went at a brydge ther was a wrastelyng, 

And there taryed was he, 
And there was all the best yemen, 

Of all the west countree. 

A full fayre game there was upset, 

A whyte bull up ipyght; 
A grete courser with sadle and brydil, 

With golde burneyshed full bryght ; 

A payre of gloves, a rede golde rynge, 

A pype of wyne, in good fay; 
What man bereth him best, I wys, 

The pryce shall bere away. 

There was a yeman in that place, 

And best worthy was he, 
And for he was ferre and frend bestad, 

Islayne he sholde have be. 

The knyght had reuth of this yeman, 

In place where that he stode, 
He said that yoman sholde have no harme, 

For love of Eobyn Hode. 

The knyght presed into the place, 

An hondred folowed hym fre, 
With bowes bent, and arowes sharpe, 

For to shende that company. 


They sholdred all, and made hym rome, 

To wete what he wolde say, 
He toke the yeman by the honde, 

And gave hym all the playe; 

He gave hym fyve marke for his wyne, 

There it laye on the molde, 
And bad it sholde be sette a broche, 

Drynke who so wolde. 

Thus longe taryed this gentyll knyght, 

Tyll that playe was done, 
So longe abode Robyn fastynge, 

Thre houres after the none. 


Lyth and lysten, gentyll men, 

All that now be here, 
Of Lytell Johan, that was the knyghtes man, 

Good myrthe ye shall here. 

It was upon a mery day, 

That yonge men wolde go shete, 
Lytell Johan fet his bowe anone, 

And sayd he wolde them mete. 

Thre tymes Lytell Johan shot about, 

And alway cleft the wande, 
The proude sheryf of Notyngham 

By the markes gan stande. 

The sheryf swore a full grete othe, 

By hym that dyed on a tre, 
This man is the best archere 

That yet sawe I me. 

' Say me now, wyght yonge man, 

What is now thy name? 
In what countre were thou born, 

And where is thy wonnynge \\ an?' 

' In Holdernesse I was bore, 

I wys all of my dame, 
Men call me Reynolde Grenelefe, 

Whan I am at hame.' 



' Say me, Reynaud Grenelefe, 

Wolte thou dwell with me? 
And every yere I will the gyve 

Twenty marke to thy fee.' 

' I have a mayster,' sayd Lytell Johan, 

' A curteys knight is he, 
May ye gete leve of hym, 

The better may it bee.' 

The sheryfe gate Lytell Johan 

Twelve monethes of the knyght, 
Therfore he gave him ryght anone 

A good hors and a wyght. 

Now is Lytel Johan the sheryffes man, 

He gyve us well to spede, 
But alway thought Lytell Johan 

To quyte hym well his mede. 

' Now so god me helpe,' sayd Lytel Johan, 

' And he my trewe lewte, 
I shall be the worste servaunte to hym 

That ever yet had he.' 

It befell upon a Wednesday, 

The sheryfe on hontynge was gone 

And Lytel Johan lay in his bed, 
And was foryete at home. 

Therfore he was fastynge 

Tyl it was past the none. 
' Good syr stuard, I pray the, 

Geve me to dyne,' sayd Lytel Johan ; 

' It is to long for Grenelefe, 

Fastynge so long to be; 
Therfore I pray the, stuarde, 

My dyner gyve thou me.' 

' Shalt thou never ete ne drynke,' sayd the stuarde, 

* Tyll my lord be come to towne.' 
* I make myn avowe to god,' sayd Lytell Johan, 

I had lever to cracke thy crowne.' 

The b'utler was ful uncurteys, 

There he stode on flore, 
He sterte to the buttery, 

And shet fast the dore. 


Lytell Johan gave the buteler such a rap, 

His backe yede nygh on two, 
Tho he lyved an hundreth wynter, 

The WOTS he sholde go. 

He sporned the dore with his fote, 

It went up wel and fyne, 
And there he made a large lyveray 

Both of ale and wyne. 

' Syth ye wyl not dyne,' sayd Lytel Johan, 

' I shall gyve you to drynke, 
And though ye lyve an hondred wynter, 

On Lytell Johan ye shall thynk.' 

Lytell Johan ete, and Lytell [Johan] dronke, 

The whyle that he wolde. 
The sheryfe had in hys kechyn a coke, 

A stoute man and a bolde. 

* I make myn avowe to god,' sayd the coke, 

' Thou arte a shrewde hynde, 
In an housholde to dwel, 

For to ask thus to dyne.' 

And there he lent Lytel Johan 

Good strokes thre. 
' I make myn avowe,' said Lytell Johan, 

' These strokes lyketh well me. 

Thou arte a bolde man and an hardy, 

And so thynketh me; 
And or I passe fro this place, 

Asayed better shalt thou be.' 

Lytell Johan drewe a good swerde, 

The coke toke another in honde; 
They thought nothynge for to fle, 

But styfly for to stonde. 

There they fought sore togyder, 

Two myle way and more, 
Myght neyther other harme done, 

The mountenaunce of an houre. 

' I make myn avowe to god,' sayd Lytell- Johan, 

' And be my trewe lewte, 
Thou art one of the best swerdemen, 

That ever yet sawe I me. 


Coowdest thou shote as well in a bowe, 
To grene wood thou sholdest with me, 

And two tymes in the yere thy clothynge 
Ichaunged sholde be; 

And every yere of Robyn Hode 

Twenty marke to thy fee.' 
' Put up thy swerde,' sayd the coke, 

' And felowes wyll we be.' 

Then he fette to Lytell Johan 

The numbles of a doo, 
Good brede and full good wyne, 

They ete and dranke therto. 

And whan they had dronken well, 
Ther trouthes togyder they plyght, 

That they wolde be with Robyn 
That ylke same day at nyght. 

The dyde them to the tresure-hous, 

As fast as they myght gone, 
The lockes that were of good stele 

They brake them everychone ; 

They toke away the sylver vessell, 

And all that they myght get, 
Peces, masars, and spones, 

Wolde they non forgete; 

Also they toke the good pence, 
Thre hondred pounde and thre; 

And dyde them strayt to Robyn Hode, 
Under the grene wode tre. 

* God the save, my dere mayster, 

And Cryst the save and se.' 
And than sayd Robyn to Lytell Johan, 

* Welcome myght thou be; 

And also be that fayre yeman 
Thou bryngest there with the. 

What tydynges fro Notyngham? 
Lytell Johan, tell thou me.' 

Well the greteth the proude sheryfe, 

And sende the here by me 
His coke and his sylver vessell, 
54 And thre hondred pounde and thre,' 



' I make myn avow to god,' sayd Robyn, 

' And to the trenyte, 
It was never by his good vvyll, 

This good is come to me.' 

Lytell Johan hym there bethought, 

On a shrewed wyle, 
Fyve myle in the forest he ran, 

Hym happed at his wyll; 

Than he met the proud sheryf, 
Huntynge with hounde and home, 

Lytell Johan coud his curteysye, 
And kneled hym beforne: 

' God the save, my dere mayster, 
And Cryst the save and se.' 

* Raynolde Grenelefe,' sayd the sheryfe, 

4 Where hast thou nowe be?' 

' I have be in this forest, 

A fayre syght can I se, 
It was one of the fayrest syghtes 

That ever yet sawe I me; 

Yonder I se a ryght fayre hart, 

His coloure is of grene, 
Seven score of dere upon an herde 

Be with hym all bedene; 

His tynde are so sharp, mayster, 

Of sexty and well mo, 
That I durst not shote for drede 

Lest they wolde me sloo.' 

* I make myn avowe to god,' sayd the sheryf, 

1 That syght wolde I fayn se.' 
' Buske you thyderwarde, my dere mayster, 
Anone, and wende with me.' 

The sheryfe rode, and Lytell Johan 

Of fote he was full smarte, 
And whan they came afore Robyn; 

' Lo, here is the mayster harte !' 

Styll stode the proude sheryf, 

A sory man was he: 
Wo worthe the, Raynolde Grenelefe! 
Thou hast now betrayed me.' 


' I make myn avowe to god,' sayd Lytell Johan, 

' Mayster, ye be to blame, 
I was mysserved of my dynere, 

When I was with you at hame.' 

Soone he was to supper sette, 

And served with sylver whyte ; 
And whan the sheryf se his vessell, 

For sorowe he myght not ete. 

* Make good chere,' sayd Robyn Hode, 

' Sheryfe, for charyte, 
And for the love of Lytell Johan, 

Thy lyfe is graunted to the.' 

When they had supped welj, 

The day was all agone, 
Robyn commaunded Lytell Johan 

To drawe of his hosen and his shone, 

His kyrtell and his cote a pye, 

That was furred well fyne, 
And take him a grene mantel], 

To lappe his body therin. 

Robyn commaunded his wyght young men, 

Under the grene wood tre, 
They shall lay in that same sort; 

That the sheryf myght them se. 

All nyght laye that proud sheryf, 

In his breche and in his sherte, 
No wonder it was in grene wode, 

Tho his sydes do smerte. 

' Make glad chere,' sayd Robyn Hode, 

' Sheryfe, for charyte, 
For this is our order I wys, 

Under the grene wood tre.' 

' This is harder order,' sayd the sheryfe, 

' Than ony anker or frere; 
For al the golde in mery Englonde 

I wolde not longe dwell here.' 

4 All these twelve monethes,' sayd Robyu, 

' Thou shalte dwell with me; 
I shall the teche, proud sheryfe, 

An outlawe for to be.' 


' Or I here another nyght lye,' sayd the sheryl'e, 

' Robyn, nowe, I pray the, 
Smyte of my hede rather to-morne, 

And I forgyve it the. 

Lete me go,' then sayd the sheryf, 

' For saynt Charyte, 
And I wyll be the best frende 

That ever yet had the.' 

' Thou shalte swere me an othe,' sayd Robyn, 

' On my bryght bronde, 
Thou shalt never awayte me scathe, 

By water ne by londe; 

And if thou fynde ony of my men, 

By nyght or by day, 
Upon thyne othe thou shalt swere, 

To helpe them that thou may.' 

Now have the sheyrf iswore his othe, 

And home he began to gone, 
He was as full of grene wode 

As ever was hepe of stone. 


The sheryf dwelled in Notynghame, 

He was fayne that he was gone, 
And Robyn and his mery men 

Went to wode anone. 

' Go we to dyner,' sayd Lytell Johan. 

Robyn Hode sayd, 'Nay; 
For I drede our lady be wroth with me, 

For she sent me not my pay.' 

' Have no dout, mayster,' sayd Lytell Johan, 

' Yet is not the sonne at rest, 
For I dare saye, and saufly swere, 

The knyght is trewe and trust.' 

' Take thy bovve in thy hande,' sayd Robyn, 

' Let Moche wende with the, 
And so shall Wyllyam Scathelock, 

And no man abyde with me, 



And walk up into the Sayles, 

And to "Watlynge-strete, 
And wayte after some unketh gest, 

Up-chaunce ye may them mete. 

Whether he be messengere, 
Or a man that myrthes can, 

Or yf he be a pore man, 

Of my good he shall have some.' 

Forth then stert Lytel Johan, 

Half in tray and tene, 
And gyrde hym with a full good swerde, 

IJnder a mantel of grene. 

They went up to the Sayles, 

These yemen all thre; 
They loked est, they loked west, 

They myght no man se. 

But as they loked in Bernysdale, 

By the hye waye, 
Than were they ware of two blacke monkes, 

Eche on a good palferay. 

Then bespake Lytell Johan, 

To Much he gan say, 
' I dare lay my lyfe to wedde, 

That these monkes have brought our pay. 

Make glad chere,' sayd Lytell Johan, 
' And frese our bowes of ewe, 

And loke your hertes be seker and sad, 
Your strynges trusty and trewe. 

The monke hath fifty two men, 
And seven somers full stronge, 

There rydeth no bysshop in this londe 
So ryally, I understond. 

Brethern,' sayd Lytell Johan, 
' Here are no more but we thre; 

But we brynge them to dyner, 
Our mayster dare we not se. 

Bende your bowes,' sayd Lytell Johan, 
4 Make all yon prese to stonde, 

The formost monke, his lyfe and his detb 
Is closed in my honde. 



Abyde, chorle monke,' sayd Lytell Johan, 

' No ferther that thou gone; 
Yf thou doost, by dere worthy god, 

Thy deth is in my honde. 

And evyll thryfte on thy hede,' sayd Lytell Johan, 

' Ryght under thy hattes bonde, 
For thou hast made our mayster wroth, 

He is fastynge so longe.' 

' Who is your mayster?' sayd the monke. 
Lytell Johan sayd, ' Robyn Hode.' 

* He is a stronge thefe,' sayd the monke, 

' Of hym herd I never good.' 

' Thou lyest,' than sayd Lytell Johan, 

' And that shall rewe the; 
He is a yeman of the forest, 

To dyne he hath bode the.' 

Much was redy with a bolte, 

Redly and a none, 
He set the monke to fore the brest, 

To the grounde that he can gone. 

Of fyfty two wyght yonge men, 

There abode not one, 
Saf a lytell page, and a grome, 

To lede the somers with Johan. 

They brought the monke to the lodge dore, 

"Whether he were loth or lefe, 
For to speke with Robyn Hode, 

Maugre in theyr tethe. 

Robyn dyde adowne his hode, 

The monke whan that he se; 
The monke was not so curteyse, 

His hode then let he be. 

* He is a chorle, mayster, by dere worthy god,' 

Than said Lytell Johan. 

* Thereof no force,' sayd Robyn, 

' For curteysy can he none. 

How many men,' sayd Robyn, 

' Had this monke, Johan?' 
' Fifty and two whan that we met, 

But many of them be gone.' 



' Let blowe a home,' sayd Robyn, 
' That felaushyp may us knowe;' 

Seven score of wyght yemen, 
Came pryckynge on a rowe, 

And everych of them a good mantell 

Of scarlet and of raye, 
All they came to good Robyn, 

To wyte what he wolde say. 

They made the monke to washe and wype, 

And syt at his denere, 
Robyn Hode and Lytel Johan 

They served him bothe in fere. 

* Do gladly, monke,' sayd Robyn. 

' Gramercy, syr,' said he. 

* Where is your abbay, whan ye are at home, 

And who is your avowe?' 

' Saynt Mary abbay,' sayd the monke, 

' Though I be symple here.' 
' In what offyce?' sayd Robyn. 

' Syr, the hye selerer.' 

' Ye be the more welcome,' sayd Robyn, 

' So ever mote I the. 
Fyll of the best wyne,' sayd Robyn, 

' This monke shall drynke to me. 

But I have grete mervayle, sayd Robyn, 

' Of all this longe day, 
I drede our lady be wroth with me, 

She sent me not my pay.' 

4 Have no doute, mayster,' sayd Lytell Johan, 

' Ye have no nede I saye, 
This monke it hath brought, I dare well swere, 

For he is of her abbay.' 

* And she was a borowe,' sayd Robyn, 

' Betwene a knyght and me, 
Of a lytell money that I hym lent, 
Under the grene wode tree; 

And yf thou hast that sylver ibroughte, 

I pray the let me se, 
And I shall helpe the eftsones, 
60 Yf thou have nede of me.' 


The monke swore a full grete othe, 

With a sory chere, 
' Of the borowehode thou spekest to me, 

Herde I never ere.' 

' I make myn avowe to god,' sayd Robyn, 

* Monke, thou art to blame, 
For god is holde a ryghtwys man, 

And so is his dame. 

Thou toldest with thyn owne tongc, 

Thou may not say nay, 
How thou arte her servaunt, 

And servest her every day: 

And thou art made her messengere, 

My money for to pay, 
Therfore I can the more thanke, 

Thou arte come at thy day. 

What is in your cofers?' sayd Robyn, 

' Trewe than tell thou me.' 
* Syr,' he sayd, ' twenty marke, 

Al so mote I the.' 

' Yf there be no more,' sayd Robyn, 

' I wyll not one peny; 
Yf thou hast myster of ony more, 

Syr, more I shall lende to the; 

And yf I fynde more,' sayd Robyn, 

' I wys thou shalte it forgone; 
For of thy spendynge sylver, monk, 

Thereof wyll I ryght none. 

Go nowe forthe, Lytell Johan, 

And the trouth tell thou me; 
If there be no more but twenty marke, 

No peny that I se.' 

Lytell Johan spred his mantell downe, 

As he had done before, 
And he tolde out of the monkes male, 

Eyght hundreth pounde and more. 

Lytell Johan let it lye full styll, 
And went to his mayster in hast; 

' Syr,' he sayd, ' the monke is trewe ynowe, 
Our lady hath doubled your cost.' 



' I make myn avowe to god,' sayd Robyn, 

' Monke, what tolde I the? 
Our lady is the trewest woman, 

That ever yet founde I me. 

By dere worthy god,' said Kobyn, 

' To seche all Englond thorowe, 
Yet founde I never to my pay 

A moche better borowe. 

Fyll of the best wyne, do hym drynke,' said Robyn; 

' And grete well thy lady hende, 
And yf she have nede of Robyn Hode, 

A frende she shall hym fynde; 

And yf she nedeth ony more sylver, 

Come thou agayne to me, 
And, by this token she hath me sent, 

She shall have such thre.' 

The monke was going to London ward, 

There to holde grete mote, 
The knyght that rode so hye on hors, 

To brynge hym under fote. 

Whether be ye away?' sayd Robyn. 

' Syr, to maners in this londe, 
Too reken with our reves, 

That have done moch wronge.' 

' Come now forth, Lytell Johan, 

And harken to my tale, 
A better yemen I knowe none, 

To seke a monkes male.' 

* How much is in yonder other cofer?' said Robyn, 

The soth must we see.' 
' By our lady,' than sayd the monke, 
' That were no curteysye, 

To bydde a man to dyner, 

And syth hym bete and bynde.' 

* It is our olde maner,' sayd Robyn, 

' To leve but lytell behynde.' 

The monke toke the hors with spore, 

No lenger wolde he abyde. 
' Aske to drynke,' than said Robyn, 

' Or that ye forther ryde.' 
C2 J J 


' Nay, for god,' than sayd the monke, 

' Me reweth I cam so nere, 
For better chepe I myght have dyned, 

In Blythe or in Dankestere.' 

' Grete well your abbot,' said Robyn, 

' And your pryour, I you pray, 
And byd hym send me such a monke, 

To dyner every day.' 

Now lete we that monke be styll, 

And speke we of that knyght, 
Yet he came to holde his day, 

Whyle that it was lyght. 

He dyde hym streyt to Bernysdale, 

Under the grene wode tre, 
And he founde there Robyn Hode, 

And all his mery meyne. 

The knyght lyght downe of his good palfray, 

Robyn whan he gan see, 
So curteysly he dyde adoune his hode, 

And set hym on his knee. 

' God the save, good Robyn Hode, 

And al this company.' 
' Welcome be thou, gentyll knyght, 

And ryght welcome to me.' 

Than bespake hym Robyn Hode, 

To that knyght so fre, 
' What nede dryveth the to grene wode? 

I pray thee, syr knyght, tell me. 

And welcome be thou, gentyl knyght, 

Why hast thou be so longe?' 
1 For the abbot and the hye justyce 

Wolde have had my londe.' 

* Hast thou thy lond agayne?' sayd Robyn, 

' Treuth than tell thou me.' 

* Ye, for god,' sayd the knyght, 

' And that thanke I god and the. 

' But take not a grefe, I have be so longe; 

I came by a wrastelynge, 
And there I dyd holpe a pore yeman, 

With wronge was put behynde.' 



' Nay, for god,' sayd Robyn, 

' Syr knyght, that thanke I the; 
What man that helpeth a good yeman, 

His frende than wyll I be.' 

Have here foure hondred pounde,' than sayd the knyght, 

' The whiche ye lent to me; 
And here is also twenty marke 

For your curteysy.' 

' Nay, for god,' than sayd Robyn, 

' Thou broke it well for ay, 
For our lady, by her selerer, 

Hath sent to me my pay; 

And yf I toke it twyse, 

A shame it were to me: 
But trewely, gentyll knyght, 

Welcom arte thou to me.' 

When Robyn had tolde his tale, 

He leugh and had good chere. 
* By my trouthe,' then sayd the knyght, 

' Your money is redy here.' 

Broke it well,' sayd Robyn, 

* Thou gentyll knyght so fre; 
And welcome be thou, gentill knyght, 

Under my trystell tree. 

But what shall these bowes do?' sayd Robyn, 

' And these arowes ifedered fre?' 
' By god,' than sayd the knyght, 

' A pore present to the.' 

' Come now forth, Lytell Johan, 

And go to my treasure, 
And brynge me there foure hondred pounde 

The monke over-tolde it me. 

Have here foure hondred pounde, 

Thou gentyll knyght and trewe, 
And bye hors and harnes good, 

And gylte thy spores all newe: 

And yf thou fayle ony spendynge, 

Com to Robyn Hode, 
And by my trouth thou shalt none fayle, 
64 The whyles I have any good. 


And broke well thy four hundred pound, 

Whiche I lent to the, 
And make thy selfe no more so bare, 

By the counsell of me.' 

Thus than holpe hym good Robyn, 

The knyght all of his care. 
God, that sytteth in heven hye, 

Graunte us well to fare. 


Now hath the knyght his leve itake, 

And wente hym on his way; 
Robyn Hode and his mery men 

Dwelled styll full many a day. 

Lyth and lysten, gentil men, 

And herken what I shall say, 
How the proud sheryfe of Notyngham 

Dyde crye a full fayre play; 

That all the best archers of the north 

Sholde come upon a daye, 
And he that shoteth alder best 

The game shall bere away. 

* He that shoteth alder best 

Furthest fayre and lowe, 
At a payre of fynly buttes, 

Under the grene wode shawe, 

A. ryght good arowe he shall have, 

The shaft of sylver whyte, 
The heade and the feders of ryche rede golde, 

In Englond is none lyke.' 

This then herde good Robyn, 

Under his trystell tre: 
' Make you redy, ye wyght yonge men, 

That shotynge wyll I se. 

Buske you, my mery yonge men, 

Ye shall go with me; 
And I wyll wete the shryves faythj 

Trewe and yf he be.' Co 


Whan they had theyr bowes ibent, 

Theyr takles fedred fre, 
Seven score of wyght yonge men 

Stode by Robyn's kne. 

Whan they cam to Notyngham, 
The buttes were fayre and longe, 

Many was the bolde archere 

That shoted with bowes stronge. 

' There shall but syx shote with me, 
The other shal kepe my hede, 

And stande with good bowes bent, 
That I be not desceyved.' 

The fourth outlawe his bowe gan bende, 
And that was Robyn Hode, 

And that behelde the proude sheryfe, 
All by the but he stode. 

Thryes Robyn shot about, 
And alway he slist the wand, 

And so dyde good Gylberte, 
With the whyte hande. 

Lytell Johan and good Scatheloke 
Were archers good and fre; 

Lytell Much and good Reynolde, 
The worste wolde they not be. 

Whan they had shot aboute, 
These archours fayre and good, 

Evermore was the best, 
Forsoth, Robyn Hode. 

Hym was delyvered the goode ar6w, 

For best worthy was he; 
He toke the yeft so curteysly, 

To grene wode wolde he. 

They cryed out on Robyn Hode, 
And great homes gan they blowe. 

* Wo worth the, treason !' sayd Robyn, 
' Full evyl thou art to knowe. 

And wo be thou, thou proud sheryf, 

Thus gladdynge thy gest, 
Other wyse thou behote me 
66 In yonder wylde forest; 


But had I the in grene wode, 

Under my trystell tre, 
Thou sholdest leve me a better wedde 

Than thy trewe lewte.' 

Full many a bowe there was bent, 
And arowes let they glyde, 

Many a kyrtell there was rent, 
And hurt many a syde. 

The outlawes shot was so stronge, 
That no man myght them dryve, 

And the proud sheryfes men 
They fled away full blyve. 

Eobyn sawe the busshement to-broke 
In grene wode he \volde have be, 

Many an arowe there was shot 
Amonge that company. 

Lytell Johan was hurte full sore, 

With an arowe in his kne, 
That he myght neyther go nor ryde; 

It was full grete pyte. 

Mayster,' then sayd Lytell Johan, 

' If ever thou lovest me, 
And for that ylke lordes love, 
That dyed upon a tre, 

And for the medes of my servyce, 

That I have served the, 
Lete never the proude sheryf 

Alyve now fynde me; 

But take out thy browne swerde, 

And smyte all of my hede, 
And gyve me woundes dede and wyde, 

No lyfe on me be lefte.' 

' I wolde not that,' sayd Robyn, 
' Johan, that thou were slawe, 

For all the golde in mery Englond, 
Though it lay now on a rawe.' 

' God forbede,' sayd Lytell Much, 

* That dyed on a tre, 
That thou sholdest, Lytell Johan, 

Parte our company.' 



Up he toke him on his backe, 
And bare hym well a myle; 

Many a tyme he layd hym downc, 
And shot another whyle. 

Then was there a fayre castell, 

A lytell within the wode, 
Double-dyched it was about, 

And walled, by the rode; 

And there dwelled that gentyll knyght, 

Syr Richard at the Lee, 
That Robyn had lent his good, 

Under the grene wode tree. 

In he toke good Robyn, 

And all his company: 
' Welcome be thou, Robyn Hode, 

Welcome arte thou [to] me; 

And moche [I] thanke the of thy comfort, 

And of thy curteysye. 
And of thy grete kyndenesse, 

Under the grene wode tre; 

I love no man in all this worlde 

So much as I do the; 
For all the proud sheryf of Notyngham, 

Ryght here shalt thou be 

Shyt the gates, and drawe the bridge, 

And let no man com in; 
And arme you well, and make you redy, 

And to the walle ye wynne. 

For one thyng, Robyn, I the behote, 

I swere by saynt Quyntyn, 
These twelve dayes thou wonest with me, 

To suppe, ete, and dyne.' 

Hordes were layed, and clothes spred, 

Reddely and anone; 
Robyn Hode and his mery men 

To mete gan they gone. 




Lythe and lysten, gentylmen, 

And herken unto your songe; 
How the proude sheryfe of Notyngham, 

And men of armes stronge, 

Full faste came to the hye sheryfe, 

The countre up to rout, 
And they beset the knyghts cast^ll, 

The walles all about. 

The proude sheryfe loude gan crye, 

And sayd, ' Thou traytour knyght, 
Thou kepeste here the kynges enemye, 

Agayne the lawes and ryght.' 

' Syr, I wyll avowe that I have done, 

The dedes that here be dyght, 
Upon all the londes that I have, 

As I am a trewe knyght. 

Wende forthe, syrs, on your waye, 

And doth no more to me, 
Tyll ye wytte our kynges wyll 

What he woll say to the.' 

The sheref thus had his answere, 

With out ony leasynge, 
Forthe he yode to London toune, 

All for to tel our kynge. 

There he tolde hym of that knyght, 

And eke of Robyn Hode, 
And also of the bolde archeres, 

That noble were and good. 

* He wolde avowe that he had done, 

To mayntayne the outlawes stronge, 
He wolde be lorde, and set you at nought, 
In all the north londe.' 

* I woll be at Notyngham,' sayd the kynge, 

' Within this fourtynyght, 
And take I wyll Robyn Hode, 

And so I wyll that knyght. 69 



Go home, thou proud sheryf, 

And do as I bydde the, 
And ordayne good archeres inowe 

Of all the wyde countree.' 

The sheryf had his leve itake, 

And went hym on his way; 
And Robyn Hode to grene wode [went] 

Upon a certayn day; 

And Lytell Johan was hole of the arowe, 

That shote was in his kne, 
And dyde hym strayte to Robyn Hode, 

Under the grene wode tre. 

Robyn Hode walked in the foreste, 

Under the leves grene, 
The proud sheryfe of Notyngham, 

Therfore he had grete tene. 

The sheryf there fayled of Robyn Hode, 

He myght not have his pray, 
Then he awayted that gentyll knyght, 

Bothe by nyght and by daye. 

Ever he awayted that gentyll knyght, 

Syr Ry chard at the Lee; 
As he went on haukynge by the ryver syde 

And let his haukes flee, 

Toke he there this gentyll knyght, 

With men of armes stronge, 
And lad hym home to Notyngham warde, 

Ibonde both fote and honde. 

The sheryf swore a full grete othe, 

By hym that dyed on a tre, 
He had lever than an hondrede pounde, 

That Robyn Hode had he. 

Then the lady, the knyghtes wyfe, 

A fayre lady and fre, 
She set her on a gode palfray, 

To grene wode anon rode she. 

"When she came to the forest, 

Under the grene wode tre, 
Founde she there Robyn Hode, 

And all his fayre meynfe. 


* God the save, good Robyn Hode, 

And all thy company; 
For our dere ladyes love, 
A bone graunte thou mo. 

Let thou never my wedded lorde 

Shamfully slayne to be; 
He is fast ibounde to Notyngham warde, 

For the love of the.' 

Anone then sayd good Robyn, 
To that lady fre, 

* What man hath your lorde itake?' 

* The proude shirife,' than sayd she. 

[' The proude sheryfe hath hym itake] 

Forsoth as I the say; 
He is not yet thre myles 

Passed on his waye.' 

Up then sterte good Robyn, 
As a man that had be wode; 

* Buske you, my mery younge men, 

For hym that dyed on a rode; 

And he that this sorowe forsaketh, 

By hym that dyed on a tre, 
And by him that al thinges maketh, 

No lenger shall dwell with me.' 

Sone there were good bowes ibent, 

Mo than seven score, 
Hedge ne dyche spared they none, 

That was them before. 

' I make myn avowe to god,' sayd Robyn, 
' The knyght wolde I fayn se, 

And yf I may hym take, 
Iquyt than shall he bee.' 

And whan they came to Notyngham, 

They walked in the strete, 
And with the proud sheryf, I wys, 

Sone gan they mete. 

4 Abyde, thou proud sheryf,' he sayd, 

' Abyde and speake with me, 
Of some tydynges of our kynge, 

I wolde fayne here of the. 


This seven yere, by dere worthy god, 

Ne yede I so fast on fote, 
I make myn avowe to god, thou proude sheryfe, 

It is not for thy good.' 

Robyn bent a good bowe, 

An arowe he drewe at his wyll, 
He hyt so the proud sheryf, 

Upon the ground he lay full styll; 

And or he myght up aryse, 

On his fete to stonde, 
He smote of the shery ves hede, 

With his bryght bronde. 

' Lye thou there, thou proud sheryf, 

Evyll mote thou thryve; 
There myght no man to the trust, 

The whyles thou were alyve.' 

His men drewe out theyr bryght swerdes, 

That were so sharpe and kene, 
And layde on the sheryves men, 

And dryved them downe bydene. 

Robyn stert to that knyght, 

And cut a two his bonde, 
And toke hym in his hand a bowe, 

And bade hym by hym stonde. 

* Leve thy hors the behynde, 

And lerne for to renne; 
Thou shalt with me to grene wode, 

Through myre, mosse and fenne; 

Thou shalt with me to grene wode, 

Without ony leasynge, 
Tyll that I have gete us grace, 

Of Edwarde our comly kynge.' 


The kynge came to Notynghame, 

With knyghtes in grete arraye, 
For to take that gentyll knyght, 
72 And Robyn Hode, yf he may. 


He asked men of that countre, 

After Robyn Hode, 
And after that gentyll knyght, 

That was so bolde and stout. 

Whan they had tolde hym the case 

Our kynge understonde ther tale, 
And seased in his honde 

The knyghtes londes all, 

All the passe of Lancasshyre, 

He went both ferre and nere, 
T}11 he came to Plomton parke, 

He faylyd many of his dere. 

There our kynge was wont to se 

Herdes many one, 
He coud unneth fynde one dere, 

That bare ony good borne. 

The kynge was wonder wroth withall, 

And swore by the trynyte, 
* I wolde I had Robyn Hode, 

With eyen I myght hym se; 

And he that wolde smyte of the knyghtes hede, 

And brynge it to me, 
He shall have the knyghtes londes, 

Syr Rycharde at the Le; 

I gyve it hym with my charter, 

And sele it with my honde, 
To have and holde for ever-more, 

In all mery Englonde.' 

Tlinn bespake a fayre olde knyght, 

That was treue in his fay, 
' A, my lege lorde the kynge, 

One worde I shall you say; 

There is no man in this countre 

May have the knyghtes londes, 
Whyle Robyn Hode may ryde or gone, 

And bere a bo we in his Londes; 

That he ne shall lese his hede, 

That is the best ball in his hode: 
Give it no man, my lorde the kynge, 

That ye wyll any good.' 7 


Half a yere dwelled our comly kynge 
In Notyngham, and well more, 

Coude he not here of Robyn Hode, 
In what countre that he were; 

But alway went good Robyn 

By halke and eke by hyll, 
And alway slewe the kynges dere, 

And welt them at his wyll. 

Than bespake a proude fostere, 
That stode by our kynges kne, 

' If ye wyll se good Robyn, 
Ye must do after me; 

Take fy ve of the best knyghtes 

That be in your lede, 
And walk downe by yon abbay, 

And gete you monkes wede. 

And I wyll be your ledes man, 

And lede you the way, 
And ot ye come to Notyngham, 

Myn hede then dare I lay, 

That ye shall mete with good Robyn. 

On lyve yf that he be, 
Or ye come to Notyngham, 

With eyen ye shall hym se.' 

Full hastly our kynge was dyght, 

So were his knyghtes fyve, 
Everych of them in monkes wede, 

And hasted them thyder blyth. 

Our kynge was grete above his cole, 
A brode hat on his crowne, 

Ryght as he were abbot-lyke, 
They rode up in-to the towne. 

Styf botes our kynge had on, 

Forsoth as I you say, 
He rode syngynge to grene wode, 

The covent was clothed in graye, 

His male hors, and his grete somers, 

Folowed our kynge behynde, 
Tyll they came to grene wode, 
74 A myle under the lynde, 


There they met with good Robyn, 

Stondynge on the waye, 
And so dyde many a bolde archere, 

For soth as I you say. 

Robyn toke the kynges hors, 

Hastely in that stede, 
And sayd, < Syr abbot, by your leve, 

A whyle ye must abyde; 

"We be yemen of this foreste, . 

Under the grene wode tre, 
We lyve by our kynges dere, 

Other shyft have not we; 

And ye have chyrches and rentes both, 

And gold full grete plente ; 
Gyve us some of your spendynge, 

For saynt Charyte.' 

Than bespake our cumly kynge, 

Anone than sayd he, 
' I brought no more to grene wode, 

But forty pounde with me; 

I have layne at Notyngham, 

This fourtynyght with our kynge, 

And spent I have full moche good, 
On many a grete lordynge; 

And I have but forty pounde, 

No more than have I me, 
But yf I had an hondred pounde, 

I would geve it to the.' 

Robyn toke the forty pounde, 
And departed it in two partye, 

Halfendell he gave his mery men, 
And bad them mery to be. 

Full curteysly Roby gan say, 

' Syr, have this for your spendyng, 

We shall mete a nother day.' 

' Gramercy,' then sayd our kynge; 

' But well the greteth Edwarde our kynge, 

And sent to the his scale, 
And byddeth the com to Notyngham, 

Both to mete and mele.' 



He toke out the brode tarpe, 

And sone he lete hym se; 
Robyn coud his courteysy, 

And set hym on his kne: 

' I love no man in all the worlde 

So well as I do my kynge, 
Welcome is my lordes seale; 

And, monke, for thy tydynge, 

Syr abbot, for thy tydynges, 
To day thou shalt dyne with me, 

For the love of my kynge, 
Under my trystell tre.' 

Forth he lad our comly kynge, 

Full fayre by the honde, 
Many a dere there was slayne, 

And full fast dyghtande. 

Robyn toke a full grete home, 

And loude he gan blowe, 
Seven score of wyght yonge men, 

Came redy on a rowe, 

All they kneeled on theyr kne, 

Full fayre before Robyn. 
The kynge sayd hymselfe untyll, 

And swore by saynt Austyn, 

* Here is a wonder semely syght, 

Me thynketh, by goddes pyne; 
His men are more at his byddynge, 
Then my men be at myn.' 

Full hastly was theyr dyner idyght, 

And therto gan they gone, 
They served our kynge with al theyr myght 

Both Robyn and Lytell Johan. 

Anone before our kynge was set 

The fatte venyson, 
The good whyte brede, the good red wyne, 

And therto the fyne ale browne. 

Make good chere,' sayd Robyn, 

' Abbot, for chary te; 
And for this ylke tydynge, 
76 Blyssed mote thou be. 


Now shalte thou se what life we lede, 

Or thou hens wende, 
Than thou may enfourme our kynge, 

Whan ye togyder lende.' 

Up they sterte all in hast, 

Theyr bowes were smartly bent, 
Our kynge was never so sore agast, 

He wende to have be shente. 

Two yerdes there were up set, 

There to gan they gange; 
By fifty pase, our kynge sayd, 
The merkes were to longe. 

On every syde a rose garlonde, 

They shot under the lyne. 
' Who so fayleth of the rose garlonde,' sayd Robyn, 

' His takyll he shall tyne, 

And yelde it to his mayster, 

Be it never so fyne, 
For no man wyll I spare, 

So drynke I ale or wyne. 

And bere a buffet on his hede, 

I wys right all bare.' 
And all that fell in Robyns lote, 

He smote them wonder sare. 

Twyse Robyn shot aboute, 

And ever he cleved the wande, 
And so dyde good Gylberte, 

With the whyte hand. 

Lytell Johan and good Scathelocke, 

For nothynge wolde they spare, 
When they fay led of the garlonde, 

Robyn smote them full sare. 

At the last shot that Robyn shot, 

For all his frendes fare, 
Yet he fayled of the garlonde, 

Thre fyngers and mare. 

Thau bespake good Gylberte, 

And thus he gan say, 
' Mayster,' he sayd, ' your takyll is lost, 

Stand forth and take your pay.' 


' If it be so,' said Robyn, 

' That may no better be; 
Syr abbot, I delyver the myn arowe, 

I pray the, syr, serve thou me.' 

* It falleth not for myn order,' sayd the kynge, 

* Robyn, by thy leve, 
For to smyte no good yeman, 
For doute I sholde hym greve.' 

' Smyte on boldely,' sayd Robyn, 

' I give the large leve.' 
Anone our kynge, with that worde, 

He folde up his sieve, 

And sych a buffet he gave Robyn, 
To grounde he yede full nere. 

' I make myn avowe to god,' sayd Robyn, 
' Thou art a stalworthe frere; 

There is pith in thyn arme,' sayd Robyn, 
' I trowe thou canst well shote.' 

Thus our kynge and Robyn Hode 
Togeder than they met. 

Robyn behelde our comly kynge 

Wystly in the face, 
So dyde syr Richarde at the Le, 

And kneled downe in that place; 

And so dyde all the wylde outlawes 
"When they oe them knele. 

* My lorde the kynge of Englonde, 

Now I knowe you well.' 

' Mercy,' then Robyn sayd to our kynge, 

' Under your trystyll tre, 
Of thy goodnesse and thy grace, 

For my men and me! 

Yes, for god,' sayd Robyn, 

' And also god me save; 
I aske mercy, my lorde the kynge, 

And for my men I crave.' 

' Yes, for god,' then sayd our kynge, 

' Thy peticion I graunt the, 
With that thou leve the grene wode, 

And all thy company; 


And come home, syr, to my courte, 

And there dwell with me.' 
' I make myn avowe to god,' sayd Robyn, 

* And ryght so shall it be; 

I wyll come to your courte, 

Your servyse for to se, 
And brynge with me of my men 

Seven score and thre. 

But me lyke well your servyse, 

I come agayne full soone, 
And shote at the downe dere, 

As I am wonte to done.' 


' Haste thou ony grene cloth,' sayd our kynge, 
' That thou wylte sell now to me?' 

* Ye, for god,' sayd Robyn, 

' Thyrty yerdes and thre.' 

* Robyn,' sayd our kynge, 

' Now pray I the, 
To sell me some of that cloth, 
To me and my meyne.' 

' Yes, for god,' then sayd Robyn, 

' Or elles I were a fole; 
Another day ye wyll me clothe, 

I trowe, ayenst the Yole.' 

The kynge kest of his cote then, 

A grene garment he dyde on, 
And every knyght had so, I wys, 

They clothed them full soone. 

Whan they were clothed in Lyncolne grene, 

They kest awaye theyr graye. 
' Now we shall to Notyngham,' 

All thus our kynge gan say. 

Theyr bowes bente and forth they went, 

Shotynge all in-fere, 
Towarde the towne of Notyngham, 

Outlawes as they were. 79 


Our kynge and Robyn rode togyder, 

For soth as I you say, 
And they shote plucke-buffet, 

As they went by the way; 

And many a buffet our kynge wan, 

Of Robyn Hode that day; 
And nothynge spared good Robyn 

Our kynge in his pay. 

' So god me helpe,' sayd our kynge, 
' Thy game is nought to lere, 

I sholde not get a shote of the, 
Though I shote all this yere.' 

All the people of Notyngham 

They stode and behelde, 
They sawe nothynge but mantels of grene 

That covered all the felde; 

Than every man to other gan say, 
I drede our kynge be slone; 

Come Robyn Hode to the towne, I wys, 
On lyve he leveth not one. 

Full hastly they began to flee, 

Both yemen and knaves, 
And olde wyves that myght evyll gooy 

They hypped on theyr staves. 

The kynge loughe full fast, 

And commanded theym agayne; 

When they se our comly kynge, 
I wys they were full fayne. 

They ete and dranke, and made them glad, 

And sange with notes hye. 
Than bespake our comly kynge 

To syr Rycharde at the Lee: 

He gave hym there his londe agayne, 
A good man he bad hym be. 

Robyn thanked our comly kynge, 
And set hyni on his kne. 

Had Robyn dwelled in the kynges courte 

But twelve monethes and thre, 
That he had spent an hondred pounde, 

And all his mennes fe. 


In every place where Robyn came, 
Ever more he layde downe, 

Both for knyghtes and for squyres, 
To gete hym grete renowne. 

By than the yere was all agone, 
He had no man but twayne, 

Lytell Johan and good Scathelocke, 
Wyth hym all for to gone. 

Robyn sawe yonge men shote, 

Full fayre upon a day; 
'Alas!' than sayd good Robyn, 

' My welthe is went away. 

Somtyme I was an archere good, 
A styffe and eke a stronge, 

I was commytted the best archere 
That was in mery Englonde. 

' Alas!' then sayd good Robyn, 

' Alas and well a woo! 
Yf I dwele lenger with the kynge, 

Sorowe wyll me sloo.' 

Forth than went Robyn Hode 
Tyll he came to our kynge ; 

' My lorde the kynge of Englonde, 
Graunte me myn askynge. 

I made a chapell in Bernysdale, 

That semely is to se, 
It is of Mary Magdalene, 

And thereto wolde I be; 

I myght never in this seven nyght. 

No tyme to slepe ne wynke, 
Nother all these seven dayes, 

Nother ete ne drynke. 

Me longeth sore to Bernysdale, 

I may not be therfro, 
Barefote and wolwarde I have hyght 

Thyder for to go.' 

' Yf it be so,' than sayd our kynge, 

' It may no better be; 
Seven nyght I gyve the leve, 

No lengre, to dwell fro me.' 





' Gramercy, lorde,' then sayd Robyn 

And set hym on his kne; 
He toke his leve full courteysly, 

To grene wode then went he. 

Whan he came to grene wode, 

In a mery mornynge, 
There he herde the notes small 

Of byrdes mery syngynge. 

' It is ferre gone,' sayd Robyn, 

* That I was last here, 
Me lyste a lytell for to shote 

At the donne dere.' 

Robyn slewe a full grete harte, 

His home than gan he blow, 
That all the outlawes of that forest^ 

That home coud they knowe, 

And gadred them togyder, 

In a lytell throwe, 
Seven score of wight yonge men 

Came redy on a rowe; 

And fayre dyde of theyr hodes, 

And set them on theyr kne: 
1 Welcome,' they sayd, ' our mayster, 

Under this grene wode tre.' 

Robyn dwelled in grene wode 

Twenty yere and two, 
For all drede of Edwarde our kynge, 

Agayne wolde he not goo. 

Yet he was begyled, I wys, 

Through a wycked woman, 
The pryoresse of Kyrkesly, 

That nye was of his kynne, 

For the love of a knyght, 

Syr Roger of Donkester, 
That was her owne special!, 

Full evyll mote they fare. 

They toke togyder theyr counsell 

Robyn Hode for to sle, 
And how they myght best do that dede. 

His banis for to be. 


Than bespake good Robyn, 

In place where as he stode, 
' Tomorow I muste to Kyrkesley, 

Craftely to be leten blode.' 

Syr Roger of Donkestere, 

By the pryoresse he lay, 
And there they betrayed good Robyn Hode, 

Through theyr false playe. 

Cryst have mercy on his soule, 

That dyed on the rode! 
For he was a good outlawe, 

And dyde pore men moch god. 

[In a learned and highly interesting work, entitled, Essays on subjects connected with 
the Literature, Popular Superstitions, and History of England in the Middle Ages, by 
Thomas Wright, M.A., F.S.A., &c. &c.,' (London, 1846,) there is an Essay ' On the popular 
cycle of the Robin Hood Ballads,' from which, by Mr. Wright's permission, the following 
extract is made. 

' This singular production [A Lytell Geste of Robyn Hode] would seem to be an attempt to 
string together some of the ballads [of the Robin Hood cycle] that were then popular, into 
something like a consistent story. It is, in fact, an epic poem, and it is, as such, both perfect 
and beautiful. This cycle consisted of the common popular stories of outlaw warfare in the 
green wood, as they were sung at the festivals and rejoicings of the peasantry, with whom, at 
the time the songs were made, such tales must naturally have been favourites. As far as we 
can judge, the different incidents of the cycle were not numerous; and it is probable that the 
compiler of the ' Geste ' introduced into it all that he knew. This poem, indeed, seems, at 
the period of its publication, to have been the grand representative of the cycle, and to have 
contained at least most of that which was commonly sung about the roads and streets. One, 
perhaps, of th ballads which contributed to the formation of this poem, may have been 
simply the adventure of Robin Hood and the Knight, which here occupies the first and 
second ' fyttes,' and is made to ran more or less through the whole. 

The next ballad which seems to have been used ir. the compilation of this ' Geste ' was the 
same story, a little varied in its details, with that of Robin and the Potter. 

The third ballad used in the formation of this ' Geste ' was one of Robin Hood and the 

Monk ; and perhaps the only other was that which furnished the last two ' fyttes,' the 

" meeting of Robin and the King ; and it would seem that he had used the ' explicit ' of the 

ballad itself, or that he had it in his mind, when he wrote at the end' Explycit Kynge 

Edwarde and Robyn Hode and Lytell Johan.' ' 

From the nature of the stories which formed the cycle of Robin Hood ballads, Mr. Wright 
' concludes that the character and popular history of Robin Hood was formed upon the ballads, 
and not the ballads upon the person. There arises, however,' he says, ' thereupon an inter 
esting question who was the person that in these ballads bears the name or title of Robin 
Hood ? a question at the same time which certainly does not admit of a very easy solution ;' 
and as to which the reader is referred to the ' Essay ' from which the foregoing extract is 
taken, the whole of which will amply repay perusal. He may also consult, with advantage 
and pleasure, Thierry, ' Histoire de la ConquSte de 1'Angleterre par les Normands,' bk. xi. 
vol. iv. p. 56 68, 7th ed., Paris, 1846 ; or the translation by William Hazlitt, Esq., (European 
Library, London, 1847.)] 

[This ballad was first printed, ' from the Editor's 
Folio MS.,' in Percy's Reliques of Ancient English 
Poetry." In his opinion it ' carries marks of much 
greater antiquity than any of the common popular 
songs on this subject.' In the fourth edition of his 
work, the Doctor states that ' some liberties' had been 
taken by him with this ballad ; which in that edition 
had been ' brought nearer to the Folio MS.' The 
changes by which it was thus ' brought nearer' to 
the original may, of course, be seen by comparing 
the two editions together ; but the nature and extent 
of the ' liberties' taken with the ballad as it stood in 
the ' Folio MS.,' must remain a secret until an op 
portunity shall be afforded of examining that cele 
brated volume. Whatever they were, they called 
forth the anger of Ritson, who speaks of them as 
'wanton, arbitrary, and injudicious;' and of justi 
fying such conduct as ' beyond the conception of a 
person not habituated to liberties of this nature, nor 
destitute of all manner of regard to truth and 
probity.' Of the hero of this and so many other 
ballads, the reader may find every known particular, 
collected with indefatigable perseverance and re 
search, In Ritson's ' Robin Hood,' 8vo, London, 1832.] 

HEN shaws beene sheene, and shradds 
full fayre, 

And leaves both large and longe, 
Itt is merry e walky ng in the fayre forrest 

To heare the small birdes songe. 


The woodweele sang, and wold not cease, 

Sitting upon the spraye, 
Soe lowde, he wakened Robin Hood, 

In the greenwood where he lay. 

Now by my faye, sayd jollye Robin, 

A sweaven I had this night; 
I dreamt me of tow wighty yemen, 

That fast with me can fight. 

Methought they did mee beate and binde, 

And tooke my bow mee froe; 
Iff I be Robin alive in this lande, 

He be wroken on them towe. 

Sweavens are swift, master, quoth John, 
As the wind blowes ore the hill; 

For if itt be never so loude this night, 
To-morrow it may be still. 

Buske yee, bowne yee, my merry men all, 
And John shall goe with mee, 

For He goe seeke yond wight yeomen, 
In greenwood where the bee. 

Then they cast on their gownes of grene, 
And tooke theyr bowes each one; 

And they away to the greene forrest 
A shooting forth are gone; 

Untill they came to the merry greenwood, 
Where they had gladdest to bee, 

There, were the ware of a wight yeoman, 
That body leaned to a tree. 

A sword and a dagger he wore by his side, 

Of manye a man the bane; 
And he was clad in his capull hyde 

Topp and tayll and mayne. 

Stand you still, master, quoth Little John, 

Under this tree so grene, 
And I will go to yond wight yeoman 

To know what he doth meane. 

Ah! John, by me thou settest noe store, 

And that I farley finde: 
How offt send I my men beffore, 

And tarry my selfe behinde? 



It is no cunning a knave to ken, 
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, 
So they parted Robin and John; 

And John is gone to Barnesdale: 
The gates he knoweth eche one. 

But when he came to Barnesdale, 
Great heavinesse there hee hadd, 

For he found tow of his owne fellowes 
Were slaine both in a slade. 

And Scarlette he was flying a-foote 
Faste over stocke and stone, 

For the proud sheriffe with seven score men 
Fast after him is gone. 

One shoote now I will shoote, quoth John, 
With Christ his might and mayne; 

lie make yond fellow that flyes soe fast, 
To stopp he shall be fayne. 

Then John bent up his long bende-bowe, 

And fetteled him to shoote: 
The bow was made of tender boughe, 

And fell down at his foote. 

Woe worth, woe worth thee, wicked wood, 
That ere thou grew on a tree; 

For now this day thou art my bale, 
My boote when thou shold bee. 

His shoote it was but loosely shott, 
Yet flewe not the arrowe in vaine, 

For itt mett one of the sherriffes men, 
Good William a Trent was slaine. 

It had bene better of William a Trent 
To have bene abed with sorrowe, 

Than to be that day in the green wood slade 
To meet with Little Johns arrowe. 

But as it is said, when men be mett 

Fyve can doe more than three, 
The sheriffe hath taken Little John, 

And bound him fast to a tree. 


Thou shalt be drawen by dale and downe, 

And hanged hye on a hill. 
But thou mayst fayle of thy purpose, quoth John, 

If itt be Christ his will. 

Let us leave talking of Little John, 

And thinke of Robin Hood, 
How he is gone to the wight yeoman, 

Where under the leaves he stood. 

Good morrowe, good fellowe, sayd Robin so fayre, 
Good morrowe, good fellow, quoth, he: 

Methinkes by this bowe thou beares in thy hande 
A good archere thou sholdst bee. 

I am wilfulle of my waye, quo' the yeman, 

And of my morning tyde. 
He lead thee through the wood, sayd Robin; 

Good fellow, He be thy guide. 

I seeke an outlawe, the straunger sayd, 

Men call him Robin Hood; 
Rather lid meet with that proud outlawe 

Than fortye pound soe good. 

Now come with me, thou wighty yeman, 

And Robin thou soone shalt see: 
But first let us some pastime find 

Under the greenwood tree. 

First let us some masterye make 

Among the woods so even, 
We may chance to meet with Robin Hood 

Here att some unsett steven. 

They cutt them down two summer shroggs, 

That grew both under a breere, 
And sett them threescore rood in twaine 

To shoote the prickes y-fere. 

Leade on, good fellowe, quoth Robin Hood, 

Leade on, I doe bidd thee. 
Nay by my faith, good fellowe, hee sayd, 

My leader thou shalt bee. 

The first time Robin shot at the pricke, 

He mist but an inch it froe; 
The yeoman he was an archer good, 

But he cold never shoote soe. 



The second shoote had the wightye yeraan, 

He shot within the garlande; 
But Robin he shott far better than hee, 

For he clave the good pricke wande. 

A blessing upon thy heart, he sayd; 

Goode fellowe, thy shooting is goode; 
For an thy hart be as good as thy hand, 

Thou wert better than Robin Hoode. 

Now tell me thy name, good fellowe, sayd he, 

Under the leaves of lyne. 
Nay by my faith, quoth bolde Robin, 

Till thou have told me thine. 

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 Guy of good Gisborne. 

My dwelling is in this wood, sayes Robin, 

By thee I set right nought: 
I am Robin Hood of Barnesdale, 

Whom thou so long hast sought. 

He that had neyther beene kithe nor kin, 
Might have seen a full fayre sight, 

To see how together these yeomen went 
With blades both browne and bright. 

To see how these yeomen together they fought 

Two howres of a summers day: 
Yett neither Robin Hood nor sir Guy 

Them fettled to flye away. 

Robin was reachles on a roote, 

And stumbled at that tyde; 
And Guy was quicke and nimble with-all, 

And hitt him ore the left side. 

Ah deere Lady, sayd Robin Hood thou, 

Thou art but mother and may', 
I think it was never mans destinye 

To dye before his day. 

Robin thought on our lady deere, 

And soone leapt up againe, 
And strait he came with a ' backward' stroke, 

And he sir Guy hath slayne. 


He took sir Guys head by the hayre, 

And stuck itt upon his bowes end; 
Thou hast beene a traytor all thy life, 

Which thing must have an ende. 

Robin pulled forth an Irish knife, 

And nicked sir Guy in the face, 
That he was never on woman born, 

Cold tell whose head it was. 

Saies, Lye there, lye there, now sir Guye, 

And with me be not wrothe; 
If thou have had the worst strokes at my hand, 

Thou shalt have the better clothe. 

Robin did off his gowne of greene, 

And on sir Guy did throwe, 
And hee put on that capull hyde, 

That cladd him topp to toe. 

The bowe, the arrowes, and little home, 

Now with me I will beare; 
For I will away to Barnesdale, 

To see how my men doe fare. 

Robin Hood sett Guyes home to his mouth, 

And a loud blast in it did blow, 
That beheard the sheriffe of Nottingham, 

As he leaned under a lowe. 

Hearken, hearken, sayd the sheriffe, 

I heare no we ty dings good, 
For yonder I heare sir Guyes home blowe, 

And he hath slayne Robin Hoode. 

Yonder I heare sir Guyes home blowe, 

Itt blowes soe well in tyde, 
And yonder comes that wightye yeoman, 

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, 

Nor I will none of thy fee: 

But now I have slaine the master, he sayes, 

Let me goe strike the knave; 
For this is all the rewarde I aske; 

Nor noe other will I have. 



Thou art a madman, said the sheriffs, 
Thou sholdst have had a knightes fee: 

But seeing thy asking hath beene soe bad, 
Well granted it shale be. 

When Little John heard his master speake, 

Well knewe he it was his steven: 
Now shall I be looset, quoth Little John, 

With Christ his might in heaven. 

Fast Robin hee hyed him to Little John, 

He thought to loose him belive: 
The sheriffe and all his companye 

Fast after him can drive. 

Stand abacke, stand abacke, sayd Robin; 

Why draw you mee so neere? 
Itt was never the use in our countrye, 

Ones shrift another shold heere. 

But Robin pulled forth an Irysh knife, 

And losed John hand and foote, 
And gave him sir Guyes bow into his hand, 

And bade it be his boote. 

Then John he took Guyes bow in his hand, 

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 

He fled full fast away; 
And soe did all the companye: 

Not one behind wold stay. 

But he cold neither runne soe last, 

Nor away soe fast cold ryde, 
But Little John with an arrowe soe 

He shott him into the backe-syde. 

[This ballad is taken from Ritson's ' Robin Hood,' where 
it was ' given from an edition in black letter, printed for 
I. Clarke, W. Thackeray, and T. Passenger, 1686, remain 
ing hi the curious library left by Anthony a Wood.' It 
was written by Martin Parker, ' a great writer of ballads,' 
or, as Ritson calls bun hi another place, (' Ancient Songs, 
&c., ii. 263), ' a Grub-street scribbler, and great ballad, 
monger of Charles the First's time.' Several of his bal 
lads, Ritson remarks, are still extant in the Pepysian and 
other collections. The full title of the present ballad, as 
given by Ritson, is as follows : ' A true tale of Robin 
Hood ; or, A briefe touch of the life and death of that re 
nowned outlaw Robert Earl of Huntingdon, vulgarly called 
Robin Hood, who lived and dyed in A.D. 1198, being the 
9th year of King Rifthard the First, commonly called 
Richard Cceur de Lyon. Carefully collected out of the 
truest writers of our English chronicles ; and published 
for the satisfaction of those who desire truth from fals- 
hood.' With regard to the manner of the hero's death, a 
more particular and somewhat different account is given 
in another ballad, entitled 'Robin Hood's Death and 

OTH gentlemen and yeomen bold, 

Or whatsoever you are, 
To have a stately story told 

Attention now prepare: 9i 


It is a tale of Robin Hood, 
Which i to you will tell; 

Which, being rightly understood, 
I know will please you well. 

This Robin, so much talked on, 
Was once a man of fame, 

Instiled Earl of Huntington, 
Lord Robin Hood by name. 

In courtship and magnificence 
His carriage won him praise, 

And greater favour with his prince 
Than any in those days. 

In bounteous liberality, 
He too much did excell, 

And loved men of quality 
More than exceeding well." 

His great revenues all he sold 
For wine and costly chear; 

He kept three hundred bow-men bold, 
He shooting lov'd so dear. 

No archer in his living time, 
With him might well compare; 

He practis'd all his youthful prime 
That exercise most rare. 

At last, by his profuse expense, 
He had consumed his wealth; 

And, being outlaw'd by his prince, 
In woods he liv'd by stealth. 

The abbot of Saint Maries rich, 
To whom he money ought, 

His hatred to the earl was such 
That he his downfal wrought. 

So being outlaw'd (as 'tis told) 
He with a crew went forth 

Of lusty cutters stout and bold, 
And robbed in the north. 

Among the rest one Little John, 
A yeoman bold and free, 

"Who could (if it stood him upon) 
With ease encounter three. 



One hundred men in all he got, 

With whom (the story says) 
Three hundred common men durst not 

Hold combat any waies. 

They Yorkshire woods frequented much, 

And Lancashire also, 
Wherein, their practises were such 

That they wrought muckle woe. 

None rich durst travel to and fro, 

Though ne'er so strongly arm'd, 
But by these thieves (so strong in show) 

They still were rob'd and harm'd. 

His chiefest spight to th' clergy was, 

That Irv'd in monstrous pride: 
No one of them he would let pass 

Along the highway side, 

But first they must to dinner go, 

And afterwards to shrift: 
Full many a one he served so, 

Thus while he liv'd by theft. 

No monks nor fryers he would let go, 

Without paying their fees: 
If they thought much to be used so, 

Their stones he made them lese. 

For such as they the country fill'd 

With bastards in those days: 
Which to prevent, these sparks did geld 

All that came in their ways. 

But Robin Hood so gentle was, 

And bore so brave a mind, 
If any in distress did pass, 

To them he was so kind, 

That he would give and lend to them, 

To help them in their need: 
This made all poor men pray for him, 

And wish he well might speed. 

The widow and the fatherless 
He would send means unto; 
And those whom famine did oppress 

Found him a friendly foe. 




Nor would he do a woman wrong. 

But see her safe convey'd: 
He would protect with power strong 

All those who crav'd his aid. 

The abbot of Saint Maries then, 

"Who him undid before, 
Was riding with two hundred men, 

And gold and silver store: 

But Robin Hood upon him set, 

With his couragious sparks, 
And all the coyn perforce did get, 

Which was twelve thousand marks. 

He bound the abbot to a tree, 

And would not let him pass, 
Before that to his men and he 

His lordship had said mass: 

Which being done, upon his horse 

He set him fast astride, 
And with his face towards his tail 

He forced him to ride. 

His men were forced to be his guide, 

For he rode backward home. 
The abbot, being thus villify'd, 

Did sorely chafe and fume. 

Thus Robin Hood did vindicate 

His former wrongs receiv'd: 
For 'twas this covetous prelate 

That him of land bereav'd. 

The abbot he rode to the king, 

With all the haste he could; 
And to his grace he everything 

Exactly did unfold: 

And said that if no course were ta'n, 

By force or stratagem, 
To take this rebel and his train, 

No man should pass for them. 

The king protested by and by 

Unto the abbot then, 
That Robin Hood with speed should dye 

With all his merry men. 



But ere the king did any send, 

He did another feat, 
Which did his grace much more offend, 

The fact indeed was great. 

For in a short time after that 

The king's receivers went 
Towards London with the coyn they'd got, 

For 's highness northern rent: 

Bold Robin Hood and Little John, 

With the rest of their train, 
Not dreading law, set them upon, 

And did their gold obtain. 

The king, much moved at the same, 

And the abbot's talk also, 
In this his anger did proclaim, 

And sent word to and fro, 

That whosoever alive or dead 

Could bring bold Robin Hood, 
Should have one thousand marks well paid 

In gold and silver good. 

This promise of the king did make 

FuU many yeomen bold 
Attempt stout Robin Hood to take 

With all the force they could. 

But still when any came to him, 

Within the gay green wood, 
He entertainment gave to them 

With venison fat and good; 

And shew'd to them such martial sport 

With his long bow and arrow, 
That they of him did give report, 

How that it was great sorow 

That such a worthy man as he 

Should thus be put to shift, 
Being a late lord of high degree, 

Of living quite bereft. 

The king to take him more and more 

Sent men of mickle might; 
But he and his still beat them sore, 

And conquered them in fight: 9,3 



Or else with love and courtesie 
To him he won their hearts. 

Thus still he lived by robbery 
Throughout the northern parts; 

And all the country stood in dread 
Of Robin Hood and 's men: 

For stouter lads ne'r liv'd by bread, 
In those days, nor since then. 

The abbot, which before i nam'd, 
Sought all the means he could 

To have by force this rebel ta'n, 
And his adherents bold. 

Therefore he arm'd five hundred men 

With furniture compleat; 
But the outlaws slew half of them, 

And made the rest retreat. 

The long bow and the arrow keen 

They were so used unto, 
That still he kept the forrest green 

In spight o' th' proudest foe. 

Twelve of the abbot's men he took, 
Who came to have him ta'n, 

When all the rest the field forsook, 
These he did entertain 

With banqueting and merriment, 
And having used them well, 

He to their lord them safely sent, 
And will'd them him to tell, 

That if he would be pleased at last 

To beg of our good king, 
That he might pardon what was past, 

And him to favour bring, 

He would surrender back againe 

The money which before 
Was taken by him and his men 

From him and many more. 

Poor men might safely pass by him, 
And some that way would cause, 

For well they knew that to help them 
He evermore did use. 


But where he knew a miser rich 

That did the poor oppress, 
To feel his coyn his hands did itch, 

He'd have it, more or less. 

And sometimes, when the highway fail'd, 

Then he his courage rouses, 
He and his men have oft assail'd 

Such rich, men in their houses: 

So that, through dread of Robin then, 

And his adventurous crew, 
The misers kept great store of men, 

Which else maintain'd but few. 

King Richard, of that name the first, 

Sirnamed Coeur de Lyon, 
Went to defeat the pagans curst, 

Who kept the coasts of Sion. 

The bishop of Ely, chancellor, 

Was left a vice-roy here, 
Who, like a potent emperor, 

Did proudly domineer. 

Our chronicles of him report, 

That commonly he rode 
With a thousand horse from court to court, 

Where he would make abode. 

He, riding downwards towards the north, 

With his aforesaid train, 
Robin and his men did issue forth, 

Them all to entertain; 

And with the gallant gray-goose wing 
They shew'd to them such play 

That made their horses kick and fling, 
And down their riders lay. 

Full glad and fain the bishop was, 

For all his thousand men, 
To seek what means he could to pass 

From out of Robin's ken. 

Two hundred of his men were kill'd, 

And fourscore horses good, 
Thirty, who did as captives yield, 

Were carried to the green wood; 

Which afterwards were ransomed, 
For twenty marks a man: 

The rest set spurs to horse and fled 
To th' town of Warrington. 

The bishop, sore inraged, then 
Did, in King Richard's name, 

Muster up a power of northern men, 
These outlaws bold to tame. 

But Robin with his courtesie 

So won the meaner sort, 
That they were loath on him to try 

What rigour did import. 

So that bold Robin and his train 

Did live unhurt of them, 
Until King Richard came again 

From fair Jerusalem: 

And then the talk of Robin Hood 

His royal ears did fill; 
His grace admired that i' th' green wood 

He was continued still. 

So that the country far and near 
Did give him great applause; 

For none of them need stand in fear 
But such as broke the laws. 

He wished well unto the king, 
And prayed still for his health, 

And never practis'd anything 
Against the common-wealth. 

Only, because he was undone 

By th' cruel clergy then, 
All means that he could think upon 

To vex such kind of men, 

He enterpriz'd with hateful spleen; 

For which he was to blame, 
For fault of some to wreak his teen 

On all that by him came. 

With wealth that he by roguery got, 

Eight alms-houses he built, 
Thinking thereby to purge the blot 
98 Of blood which he had spilt. 


Such was their blind devotion then, 

Depending on their works; 
Which if 'twere true, we Christian me 

Inferiour were to Turks. 

But, to speak true of Robin Hood, 

And wrong him not a jot, 
He never would shed any mans blood 

That him invaded not. 

Nor would he injure husbandmen, 

That toil at cart and plough; 
For well he knew wer't not for them 

To live no man knew how. 

The king in person, with some lords, 

To Nottingham did ride, 
To try what strength and skill affords 

To crush this outlaw's pride. 

And, as he once before had done, 

He did again proclaim, 
That whosoever would take upon 

To bring to Nottingham, 

Or any place within the land, 

Rebellious Robin Hood, 
Should be preferr'd in place to stand 

With those of noble blood. 

When Robin Hood heard of the same, 

Within a little space, 
Into the town of Nottingham 

A letter to his grace 

He shot upon an arrow head, 

One evening cunningly; 
Which was brought to the king, and read 

Before his majesty. 

The tenour of the letter was 

That Robin would submit, 
And be true liegeman to his grace 

In anything that's fit, 

So that his highness would forgive 

Him and his merry men all; 
If not, he must i' th' green wood live^ 

And take what chance did fall. 



The king would fain have pardoned him, 
But that some lords did say, 

This president will much condemn 
Your grace another day. 

While that the king and lords did stay 

Debating on this thing, 
Some of these outlaws fled away 

Unto the Scottish king. 

For they suppos'd, if he were ta'n, 

Or to the king did yield, 
By th' commons all the rest of 's train 

Full quickly would be quelled. 

Of more than full an hundred men, 

But forty tarried still, 
Who were resolv'd to stick to him, 

Let Fortune work her will. 

If none had fled, all for his sake 
Had got their pardon free ; 

The king to favour meant to take 
His merry men, and he. 

But e're the pardon to him came, 

This famous archer dy'd: 
His death and manner of the same 

I'le presently describe. 

For, being vext to think upon 

His followers' revolt, 
In melancholy passion 

He did recount his fault 

Perfidious traytors! said he then, 

In all your dangers past 
Have i you guarded as my men, 

To leave me thus at last! 

This sad perplexity did cause 

A feaver, as some say, 
Which him unto confusion draws, 

Though by a stranger way. 

This deadly danger to prevent, 
He hied him with all speed 

Unto a nunnery, with intent 
For his health's sake to bleed 



A faithless fryer did pretend 

In love to let him blood, 
But he by falshood wrought the end 

Of famous Robin Hood. 

The fryer, as some say, did this 

To vindicate the wrong 
Which to the clergy he and and his 

Had done by power strong. 

Thus dyed he by treachery, 

That could not die by force: 
Had he liv'd longer, certainly 

King Richard, in remorse, 

Had unto favour him receiv'd, 

His brave men elevated: 
'Tis pitty he was of life bereav'd 

By one which he so hated. 

A treacherous leach this fryer was. 

To let him bleed to death; 
And Robin was, methinks, an ass 

To trust him with his breath. 

His corps the prioress of the place, 

The next day that he dy'd, 
Caused to be buried, in mean case, 

Close by the high-way side. 

And over him she caused a stone 

To be fixt on the ground, 
An epitaph was set thereon, 

Wherein his name was found; 

The date o' th' year and day also 

She made to be set there; 
That all, who by the way did go, 

Might see it plain appear, 

That such a man as Robin Hood 

Was buried in that place; 
And how he lived in the green wood 

And robbed for a space. 

It seems that though the clergy he 

Had put to mickle woe, 
He should not quite forgotten be, 

Although he was their foe. 101 


This woman, though she did him hate, 

Yet loved his memory; 
And thought it wondrous pitty that 

His fame should ever dye. 

This epitaph, as records tell, 

Within this hundred years, 
By many was discerned well; 

But time all things out-wears. 

His followers, when he was dead, 
Were some repriev'd to grace; 

The rest to foreign countries fled. 
And left their native place. 

Although his funeral was but mean, 

This woman had in mind, 
Least his fame should be buried clean 

From those that came behind. 

For certainly, before nor since, 

No man ere understood, 
Under the reign of any prince, 

Of one like Robin Hood. 

Full thirteen years, and something more, 

These outlaws lived thus: 
Feared of the rich, loved of the poor: 

A thing most marvellous. 

A thing impossible to us 

This story seems to be; 
None dares be now so venturous, 

But times are changed, we see. 

We that live in these latter days 

Of civil government, 
If need be, have an hundred ways 

Such outlaws to prevent. 

In those days men more barbarous wero, 

And lived less in awe; 
Now (God be thanked) people fear 

More to offend the law. 

No waring guns were then in use, 
They dreamt of no such thing; 
Our Englishmen in fight did use 
102 The gallant gray-goose wing; 


In which activity these men, 
Through practise, were so good, 

That in those days none equal'd them, 
Especially Robin Hood. 

So that, it seems, keeping in caves, 

In woods and forests thick, 
They'd beat a multitude with staves, 

Their arrows did so prick. 

And none durst neer unto them come, 

Unless in courtesie; 
All such he bravely would send home, 

With mirth and jollity: 

Which courtesie won him such love 

As i before have told, 
'Twas the chief cause that he did prove 

More prosperous than he could. 

Let us be thankful for these times 
Of plenty, truth and peace; 

And leave our great and horrid crimes, 
Least they cause this to cease. 

I know there's many feigned tales 
Of Robin Hood and 's crew ; 

But chronicles, which seldome fails, 
Reports this to be true. 

Let none then think this is a lye, 
For, if 'twere put to th' worst, 

They may the truth of all descry, 
I' th' reign of Richard the First. 

If any reader please to try, 

As i direction shew, 
The truth of this brave history, 

He'll find it true I know. 

And i shall think my labour well 

Bestow'd to purpose good, 
When 't shall be said that i did 

True tales of Robin Hood. 


[The Epitaph mentioned in the ballad is given as under, by Ritson, from ' the papers of the 
learned Dr. Gale, late dean of Yorke' : 

f^ear tmtterneatt tits laitl stean 
lai? robm carl of fjuntingtun 
nea arcir bcv a? I)ic sa geufc 
an jpipl luiulti im robin Jjcuti 
sicfe utlato? a? f)i an i? men 
btl tnglantt nibr sf agen. 

olutt 24 lull trcfccmlms 1247. 

Notwithstanding this epitaph, however, and the protestation of veracity with which this 
' True Tale' concludes, critics have been found, not having the fear of Ritson before their 
eyes, sceptical enough to doubt, not alone the title "of this ballad to the character it so ear 
nestly challenges to itself, but the very existence of its hero ! Mr. Wright's scepticism may be 
seen in his work referred to, p. 201 ; and while these sheets are passing through the press, 
another ' mad, abandoned critic,' (alter et idem f) discourses thus irreverently of ' Robert 
Earl of Huntington' : 

' And now throwing aside the poetical earldom, and the popular liaison with Maid 
Marian, and the ballads clearly subsequent to the Lytell Geste we arrive at the question, 
who and what, after all, was Robin Hood ? Where and when did he really live ? What do 
contemporary English chroniclers say respecting him ? Not a word. What evidence does 
any contemporary author afford concerning him? None at all. What proof is there, in 
short, that he ever existed, or did any one of the feats attributed to him? The testimony 
only of ballads and popular tradition. Nothing else. For, although he is mentioned in two 
Scottish chronicles, written several hundred years after the most recent of the periods at 
which he is supposed to have lived, it is plain that the authors of the chronicles in question 
knew nothing of him beyond the ballads ; and merely assigned a speculative date to the life 
and adventures of the person whom the ballads celebrated. The first of these chronicles is 
the Scotichronicon, partly written by Fordun, a canon of Aberdeen, between the years 1377 
and 1384, and partly by Bower, Abbot of St. Columba, about the year 1450. The other is 
Major or Mair, whose Historia Majoris Britannia, was first published in 1512, and appeal's to 
have been written a very little while before. 

It is quite unnecessary to offer any comment upon the contradictory statements of these 
two writers. It is clear that they wrote from the ballads and from common tradition. They 
relied upon those sources alone, and so must we. And what can we learn from them ? What 
is the testimony of tradition ? It confounds the movements of different periods and different 
races monuments between the erection of which many ages and many revolutions must 
have intervened ; it huddles together things natural and artificial ; remains Hritish, Roman, 
Saxon relics in all parts of the kingdom; and assigns them all to Robin Hood. And 
what of the ballads ? So long as all contemporary history continues to be a blank respecting 
the hero of them, we may accept the ballads and the traditions as evidence of the widely 
diffused popularity of the story; but for anything we can see to the contrary, they rather 
show that it ought to be placed among our national fictions than among our national 

Two French writers have recently endeavoured to fix the wandering Robin within 
certain definite limits both of time and space. Thierry [vide supra, p. 201,] and the author 
of Thise de Litterature sur Us Vicissitudes et les Transformations ttu Cycle populaire de Robin 
Hood, (Paris, 1832,) would throw him back to the reign of the first Norman kings. They 
discover under his disguise one of the Saxon patriots, who so long resisted the Norman rule. 
These writers differ a little from each other, but their theory is in principle the same, and it 
IB no more than a theory, a picturesque imagination, very taking and romantic, but totally 
at variance with the spirit of the Robin Hood ballads, which is one of loyalty to the sovereign, 
not of opposition to his sway. Besides, the silence of conternpocaiy historians is what lawyers 



call a negative pregnant. These historians name the most distinguished Saxon outlaws ; but 
they are ominously silent regarding Robin Hood. It is easy to dovetail the existence and 
adventures of the hero of the green wood upon any passage which indicates the existence of 
band of outlaws. This is what the Scotichronicon has done in the reign of Henry III., and 
Mair in that of Richard I., and Thierry and Barry at other periods. But until some real 
authority can be produced for Robin Hood's existence, at some one period or other, he must 
remain Iiistorically a dream ; or, if scholars please, a myth ' the hunter and the deer, a 
shade.' But, in the meantime, ho may be just as useful or renowned. The old Giant-killer 
of Greece, commonly called Hercules, will astonish schoolboys by his labours to the end of 
time ; and Robin Hood will have home and shelter in the very heart of English song and 
fancy, as long as there is pleasure and freshness, freedom, and adventure, in birds and 
ball-i !.-, in green woods, and the ail 1 that blows over the early morning of a nation's being.' 
Ed Kcv,, July, 1847.] 


[This ballad is taken from Ritson's Robin Hood ;' 
where it was ' given from a modern copy printed a 
Newcastle, where it was accidentally picked up : no 
other edition having been ever seen or heard of.' The 
original title, according to Ritson, is ' A pretty dia 
logue betwixt Robin Hood and a beggar.' He con 
siders it to be 'a north-country, or, perhaps, Scottish 
composition of some antiquity.' In the copy from 
which he printed there was no division of stanzas ; and 
each line of it was thrown by Ritson into two ; a step 
which he considered ' sufficiently justified by the fre 
quent recurrence of the double rhyme.' Ritson remarks 
that ' a similar story,' Comment un moine se de 
barasse des voleurs,' may be found in ' Le Moycn de 
parvenir,' i. 304, ed. 1739.' In stanza 48, the first two 
lines are ' wanting in the original.'] 


YTH and listen, gentlemen, 

That be of high born blood, 
I'll tell you of a brave booting 

That befell Robin Hood. 


Robin Hood upon a day, 

He went forth him alone, 
And as he came from Barnsdale 

Into fair evening, 

He met a beggar on the way, 

Who sturdily could gang ; 
He had a pike-staff in his hand 

That was both stark and strang ; 

A clouted clock about him was, 

That held him frae the cold, 
The thinnest bit of it, I guess, 

Was more than twenty fold. 

His meal-poke hang about his neck, 

Into a leathern whang, 
Well fasten' d to a broad bucle, 

That was both stark and strang. 

He had three hats upon his head, 

Together sticked fast, 
He car'd neither for wind nor wet, 

In lands where'er he past. 

Good Robin cast him in the way, 

To see what he might be, 
If any beggar had money, 

He thought some part had he. 

Tarry, tarry, good Robin says, 

Tarry and speak with me. 
He heard him as he heard him not, 

And fast on his way can hy. 

'Tis be not so, says good Robin, 

Nay, thou must tarry still. 
By my troth, said the bold beggar, 

Of that I have no will. 

It is far to my lodging house, 

And it is growing late, 
If they have supt e'er I come in 

I will look wondrous blate. 

Now, by my truth, says good Robin, 

I see well by thy fare, 
If thou shares well to thy supper, 

Of mine thou dost not care, 107 


Who wants my dinner all this day, 
And wots not where to ly, 

And would I to the tavern go, 
I want money to buy. 

Sir, you must lend me some money 

Till we meet again. 
The beggar answer' d cankardly, 

I have no money to lend : 

Thou art a young man as I, 
And seems to be as sweer ; 

If thou fast till thou get from me 
Thou shalt eat none this year. 

Now, by my truth, says good Robin, 
Since we are assembled so, 

If thou hast but a small farthing, 
I'll have it e'er thou go. 

Come, lay down thy clouted cloak, 
And do no longer stand, 

And loose the strings of all thy pokes, 
I'll ripe them with my hand. 

And now to thee I make a vow, 

If thou make any din, 
I shall see a broad arrow, 

Can pierce a beggar's skin. 

The beggar smil'd, and answer made, 

Far better let me be ; 
Think not that I will be afraid, 

For thy nip crooked tree ; 

Or that I fear thee any whit, 
For thy curn nips of sticks, 

I know no use for them so meet 
As to be puding-pricks. 

Here I defy thee to do me ill, 
For all thy boisterous fair, 

Thou's get nothing from me but ill, 
Would' st thou seek evermair. 

Good Robin bent his noble bow, 

He was an angry man, 
And in it set a broad arrow ; 
108 Lo ! e'er 'twas drawn a span, 


The beggar, with his noble tree, 
Reach' d him so round a rout, 

That his bow and his broad arrow, 
In flinders flew about. 

Good Robin bound him to his brand, 
But that prov'd likewise vain, 

The beggar lighted on his hand 
With his pike-staff again : 

I wot he might not draw a sword 

For forty days and mair. 
Good Robin could not speak a word, 

His heart was ne'er so sair. 

He could not fight, he could not flee, 

He wist not what to do ; 
The beggar with his noble tree 

Laid lusty slaps him to. 

He paid good Robin back and side, 

And laist him up and down, 
And with his pyke-staff laid on loud, 

Till he fell in a swoon. 

Stand up, man, the beggar said, 

'Tis shame to go to rest ; 
Stay till thou get thy money told, 

I think it were the best : 

And syne go to the tavern house, 
And buy forth wine and ale ; 

Hereat thy friends will crack full crouse, 
Thou hast been at the dale. 

Good Robin answer' d ne'er a word, 

But lay still as a stane ; 
His cheeks were pale as any clay, 

And closed were his een. 

The beggar thought him dead but fail, 
And boldly bound his way, 

I would ye had been at the dale, 
And gotten part of the play. 


Now three of Robin's men, by chance. 

Came walking by the way, 
And found their master in a trance, 

On ground where that he lav. 



Up have they taken good Robin, 

Making a piteous bear, 
Yet saw they no man there at whom 

They might the matter spear. 

They looked him all round about, 
' But wound on him saw nane, 
Yet at his mouth came hocking out 
The blood of a good vain. 

Cold water they have gotten syne, 

And cast unto his face ; 
Then he began to hitch his ear, 

And speak within short space. 

Tell usj dear master, said his men. 

How with you stands the case, 
Good Robin sigh'd e'er he began 

To tell of his disgrace. 

" I have been watchman in this wood 
Near hand this twenty year, 

Yet I was never so hard bestead, 
As ye have found me here ; 

A beggar with a clouted clock, 

Of whom I feared no ill 
Hath with his pike-staff cla'd my back, 

I fear 'twill never be well. 

See, where he goes o'er yon hill, 

With hat upon his head ; 
If e'er ye loved your master well, 

Go now revenge this deed ; 

And bring him back again to me, 

If it lie in your might, 
That I may see, before I die, 

Him punish' d in my sight : 

And if you may not bring him back, 

Let him not go loose on ; 
For to us all it were great shame 

If he escape again." 

' One of us shall with you remain, 

Because you're ill at ease, 
The other two shall bring him back, 

To use him as you please.' 


Now, by my truth, says good Robin, 

I true there's enough said, 
And he get scouth to wield his tree, 

I fear you'll both be paid. 

' Be not fear'd, our master, 

That we two can be dung 
With any bluter base beggar, 

That has nought but a rung 

His staff shall stand him in no stead, 
That you shall shortly see, 

But back again he shall be led, 
And fast bound shall he be, 

To see if ye will have him slain, 
Or hanged on a tree.' 

' But cast you sliely in his way, 

Before he be aware, 
And on his pyke-staff first hands lay, 

Ye'll speed the better far.' 

Now leave we Robin with his man, 

Again to play the child, 
And learn himself to stand and gang 

By halds, for all his eild. 

Now pass we to the bold beggar, 

That raked o'er the hill, 
Who never mended his pace more, 

Than he had done no ill. 


And they have taken another way, 
Was nearer by miles three. 

They stoutly ran with all their might, 
Spared neither dub nor mire, 

They started at neither how nor height, 
No travel made them tire. 

Till they before the beggar wan, 

And cast them in his way ; 
A little wood lay in a glen, 

And there they both did stay; 

They stood up closely by a tree, 

In each side of the gate, 
Untill the beggar came them nigh, 

That thought of no such latr 


And as he was betwixt them past, 
They lept upon him baith ; 

The one his pyke-staff gripped fast, 
They feared for its skaith. 

The other he held in his sight 
A drawen durk to his breast, 

And said, False carel, quit thy staff, 
Or I shall be thy priest. 

His pyke-staff they have taken him frae, 
And stuck it in the green, 

He was full loath to let it gae, 
An better might it been. 

The beggar was the feardest man, 
Of any that e'er might be, 

To win away no way he can ; 
Nor help him with his tree. 

Nor wist he wherefore he was ta'en, 
Nor how many was there ; 

He thought his life days had been gane, 
He grew into despair. 

Grant me my life, the beggar said, 
For him that dyM on the tree, 

And hold away that ugly knife, 
Or else for fear I'll die. 

I griev'd you never in all my life, 

Neither by late orjpr, 
You have great sin ifyou would slay 

A silly poor beggar. 

Thou liest, false lown, they said again, 
For all that may be sworn ; 

Thou hast near slain the gentlest man 
Of one that e'er was born ; 

And back again thou shall be led, 
And fast bound shalt thou be, 

To see if he will have thee slain, 
Or hanged on a tree. 

The beggar then thought all was wrong, 

They were set for his wrack, 
He saw nothing appearing then 
112 But ill upon warse back. 


Were he out of their hands, he thought, 

And had again his tree, 
He should not be led back for nought, 

With such as he did see. 

Then he bethought him on a wile, 

it could take effect, 
How he might the young men beguile, 

And give them a begeck. 

Thus to do them shame for ill 

His beastly breast was bent, 
He found the wind blew something shrill, 

To further his intent. 

He said, Brave gentlemen, be good, 

And let a poor man be ; 
When ye have taken a beggar's blood, 

It helps you not a flee. 

It was but in my own defence, 

If he has gotten skaith ; 
But I will make a recompence 

Is better for you baith. 

If ye will set me fair and free, 

And do me no more dear, 
An hundred pounds I will you give, 

And much more odd silver, 

That I have gather' d this many years, 

Under this clouted cloak, 
And hid up wonder privately, 

In bottom of my poke. 

The young men to the council yeed, 

And let the beggar gae ; 
They wist full well he had no speed, 

From them to run away. 

They thought they would the money tak 

Come after what so may ; 
And yet they would not take him back, 

But in that place him slay. 

By that good Robin would not know 

That they had gotten coin, 
It would content him well to show 

That there they had him slain. 


They said, False carel, soon have done, 
And tell forth thy money, 

For the ill turn that thou hast done 
It's but a simple plee. 

And yet we will not have thee back, 
Come after what so may, 

If thou wilt do that which thou spak, 
And make us present pay. 

O then he loosed his clouted clock, 
And spread it on the ground, 

And thereon lay he many a poke, 
Betwixt them and the wind. 

He took a great bag from his hals, 
It was near full of meal, 

Two pecks in it at least there was, 
And more, I wot full well. 

Upon this cloak he set it down, 
The mouth he opened wide, 

To turn the same he made him bown, 
The young men ready spy'd ; 

In every hand he took a nook 
Of that great leathren mail, 

And with a fling the meal he shook 
Into their face all hail : 

Wherewith he blinded them so close, 
A stime they could not see ; 

And then in heart he did rejoice, 
And clap'd his lusty tree. 

He thought if he had- done them wrong, 
In mealing of their cloaths, 

For to strike off the meal again 
With his pyke-staff he goes. 

E'er any of them could red their een 
Or a glimmring might see, 

like one of them a dozen had, 
Well laid on with his tree. 

The young men were right swift of foot, 

And boldly bound away, 
The beggar could them no more hit 
H4 For all the haste he mav. 


What's all this haste ? the beggar said, 

May not you tarry still, 
Untill your money be received ? 

I'll pay you with good will. 

The shaking of my pokes, I fear, 

Hath blown into your een ; 
But I have a good pyke-staff here 

Can ripe them out full clean. 

The young men answered never a word, 

They were dum as a stane ; 
In the thick wood the beggar fled, 

E'er they riped their een : 

And syne the night became so late, 

To seek him was in vain : 
But judge ye if they looked blate 

When they cam home again. 

Good Robin speer'd how they had sped. 

They answered him, Full ill. 
That cannot be, good Robin says, 

Ye have been at the mill. 

The mill it is a meat-rife part, 
They may lick what they please, 

Most like ye have been at the art, 
Who would look at your claiths. 

They hang'd their heads, they drooped down, 

A word they could not speak. 
Robin said, Because I fell a-sound, 

I think ye'll do the like. 

Tell on the matter, less or more, 

And tell me what and how 
Ye have done with the bold beggar, 

I sent you for right now. 

And when they told him to an end, 

As I have said before, 
How that the beggar did them blind, 

What mister presses more ? 

And how in the thick woods he fled, 
E'er they a stinie could see ; 


And how they scarcely could win home, 
Their bones were baste so sore ; 

Good Robin cry'd, Fy ! out ! for shame 
We're sham'd for evermore. 

Altho good Robin would full fain 

Of his wrath revenged be, 
He smiPd to see his merry young men 

Had gotten a taste of the tree. 


[This baliad is taken from Ritson's ' Robin Hood, 
where it was given ' from an old black-letter copy in the 
collection of Anthony a Wood.' ' The title now given it,' 
says Ritson, 'is that which it seems to have originally borne, 
having been foolishly altered to ' Robin Hood newly re 
vived." The Second Part, given in Ritson, and here, ' from 
an old black-letter copy in Major Pearson's' the Roxburgh* 
' Collection,' now in the British Museum, ' is constant!/ 
printed,' says Ritson, ' as an independent article, unde 
the title of 'Robin Hood, Will Scadlock, and Little John; 
or, a Narrative of their Victories obtained against the 
Prince of Aragon and the two giants ; and how Will Scad- 
lock married the princess. Tune of Robin Hood ; or, Hey 
down down, a down.' ' Instead of which are given in all 
former editions,' what Ritson calls ' the incoherent stanzas,' 
which will be found at page 387, and which, according to 
him, ' have all the appearance of being the fragment of a 
quite different ballad.' Be this as it may, there can, it is 
apprehended, be little doubt that this ' Second Part ' U 
altogether apocryphal, and ought never to have been re 
ceived into the Robin Hood canon.] 

OME listen awhile, you gentlemen all, 

That are this bower within, 
For a story of gallant bold Robin Hood, 

I purpose now to begin. ^7 


What time of day ? quo Robin Hood then, 

Quoth Little John, 'tis in the prime. 
Why then we will to the green wood gang, 

For we have no vittles to dine. 

As Robin Hood walkt the forrest along, 

It was in the mid of the day, 
There he was met of a deft young man, 

As ever walkt jn the way. 

His doublet was of silk tis said, 

His stockings like scarlet shone ; 
And he walked on along the way, 

To Robin Heed then unknown. 

A herd of deer was in the bend, 

All feeling before his face : 
Now the best of you He have to my dinner, 

And that in a little space. 

Now the stranger he made no mickle adoe, 

But he bends and a right good bow, 
And the best of all the herd he slew, 

Forty good yards him froe. 

Well shot, well shot, quo Robin Hood then, 

That shot it was shot in time ; 
And if thou wilt accept of the place, 

Thou shalt be a bold yeoman of mine. 

Go play the chiven, the stranger said, 

Make haste and quickly go ; 
Or with my fist, be sure of this, 

He give thee buffets sto'. 

Thou hadst not best buffet me, quo Robin Hood, 

For though I seem forlorn, 
Yet I have those will take my part, 

If I but blow my horn. 

Thou wast not best wind thy horn, the stranger said, 

Beest thou never so much in haste, 
For I can draw a good broad sword, 

And will quickly cut the blast. 

Then Robin Hood bent a very good bow, 

To shoot, and that he would fain ; 
The stranger he bent a very good bow, 

To shoot at bold Robin again. 


Hold thy hand, hold thy hand, quo Robin Hood, 

To shoot it -would be in vain ; 
For if we should shoot the one at the other, 

The one of us may be slain. 

But let's take our swords and our broad bucklers, 

And gang under yonder tree. 
As I hope to be saved, the stranger he said, 

One foot I will not flee. 

Then Robin lent the stranger a blow, 

'Most scared him out of his wit ; 
Thou never felt blow, the stranger he said, 

That shall be better quit. 

The stranger he drew out a good broad sword, 

And hit Robin on the crown, 
That from every haire of bold Robin's head 

The blood ran trickling down. 

God a mercy, good fellow, quod Robin Hood then, 

And for this that thou hast done, 
Tell me, good fellow, what thou art, 

Tell me where thou dost won. 

The stranger then answered bold Robin Hood, 

He tell thee where I do dwell ; 
In Maxwell town I was bred and born, 

My name is young Gamwell. 

For killing of my own father's steward, 

I am forc'd to this English wood ; 
And for to seek an uncle of mine, 

Some call him Robin Hood. 

But art thou a cousin of Robin Hood, then 

The sooner we should have done. 
As I hope to be saved, the stranger then said 

I am his own sister's son. 

But, lord, what kissing and courting was there, 

When these two cousins did greet ! 
And they went all that summer's day, 

And Little John did not meet. 

And when they met with Little John, 

He unto them did say, 
O! master, pray where have you been, 

You have tarried so long away ? 


I met with a stranger, quo Robin Hood, 

Full sore he hath beaten me. 
Then He have a bout with him, quod Little John, 

And try if he can beat me. 

() no, O no, quo Robin Hood then, 

Little John, it may not be so ; 
For he is my own dear sister's son, 

And cousins I have no mo. 

But he shall be a bold yeoman of mine, 

My chief man next to thee ; 
And I Robin Hood, and thou Little John, 

And Scadlock he shall be. 

And well be three of the bravest outlaws, 

That live in the north country. 
If you will hear more of bold Robin Hood, 

In the second part it will be. 


Now Robin Hood, Will Scadlock, and Little John, 

"Were walking over the plain, 
With a good fat buck, which Will Scadlock 

With his strong bow had slain. 

Jog on, jog on, cries Robin Hood, 

The day it runs full fast ; 
For tho' my nephew me a breakfast gave, 

I have not broke my fast. 

Then to yonder lodge let us take our way, 

I think it wondrous good, 
Where my nephew, by my bold yeomen, 

Will be welcom'd unto the green wood. 

With that he took his bugle horn, 

Full well he could it blow : 
Straight from the woods caine marching down, 

One hundred tall fellows and mo. 

. Stand, stand to your arms, says Will Scadlock, 

Lo ! the enemies are within ken. 
With that Robin Hood he laugh'd aloud, 
120 '* Crying, they are my bold yeomen. 


Who when they arriv'd, and Robin espy'd, 

Cry'd, master, what is your will ? 
We thought you had in danger been, 

Your horn did sound so shrill. 

Now nay, now nay, quoth Robin Hood, 

The danger is past and gone ; 
I would have you welcome my nephew here, 

That has paid me two for one. 

In feasting and sporting they passed the day, 

Till Phoebus sunk into the deep ; 
Then each one to his quarters hied, 

His guard there for to keep. 

Not long had they walked within the green-wood, 

But Robin he soon espy'd, 
A beautiful damsel all alone, 

That on a black palfrey did ride. 

Her riding-suit was of a sable hue black, 

Cypress over her face, 
Thro' which her rose-like cheeks did blush, 

All with a comely grace. 

Come tell me the cause, thou pretty one, 

Quoth Robin, and tell me a right, 
From whence thou comest, and whither thou goest, 

All in this mournful plight ? 

From London I came, the damsel reply 'd, 

From London upon the Thames, 
Which circled is, O, grief to tell ! 

Besieged with foreign arms, 

By the proud Prince of Arragon, 

Who swears by his martial hand, 
To have the princess to his spouse, 

Or else to waste this land, 

Except such champions can be found, 

That dare fight three to three, 
Against the prince, and giants twain, 

Most horrid for to see ; 

Whose grisly looks, and eyes like brands, 

Strike terror where they come ; 
With serpents hissing on their helms, 

Instead of feathered plume. 


The princess shall be the victor's prize, 
The King hath vow'd and said ; 

And he that shall the conquest win, 
Shall have her to his bride. 

Now we are four damsels sent abroad, 
To the east, west, north, and south, 

To try whose fortune is so good, 
To find these champions out. 

But all in vain we have sought about 

For none so bold there are, 
Who dare adventure life and blood, 

To free a lady fair. 

When is the day ? quoth Robin Hood, 

Tell me this and no more ; 
On midsummer next, the damsel said, 

Which is June the twenty-four. 

With that the tears trickled down her cheeks, 

And silent was her tongue ; 
With sighs and sobs she took her leave, 

And away her palfrey sprung. 

The news struck Robin to the heart, 

He fell down on the grass, 
His actions and his troubled mind 

Shew'd he perplexed was. 

Where lies your grief? quoth Will Scadlock, 

O master, tell to me ; 
If the damsel s eyes have pierc'd your heart, 

I'll fetch her back to thee. 

Now nay, now nay, quoth Robin Hood, 
She doth not cause my smart ; 

But 'tis the poor distressed princess, 
That wounds me to the heart : 

I'll go fight the giants all, 

To set the lady free ; 
The devil take my soul, quoth Little John, 

If I part with thy company. 

Must I stay behind ? quoth Will Scadlock, 

No, no, that must not be ; 
lie make the third man in the fight, 
122 So we shall be three to three. 


These words cheer' d Robin to the heart, 

Joy shone upon his face ; 
Within his arms he hugged them both, 

And kindly did embrace. 

Quoth he, we'll put on motley grey, 

And long staves in our hands, 
A script and bottle by our sides, 

As come from the holy land. 

So we may pass along the highway, 

None will ask us from whence we came ; 

But take us pilgrims for to be, 
Or else some holy men. 

Now they are on their journey gone, 

As fast as they may speed ; 
Yet for all their haste, ere they arriv'd, 

The princess forth was led, 

To be delivered to the prince, 

Who in the list did stand, 
Prepar'd to fight, or else receive 

His lady by the hand. 

With that he walk'd about the list, 

With giants by his side ; 
Bring forth, quoth he, your champions, 

Or bring me forth my bride. 

This is the four and twentieth day, 

The day prefixt upon ; 
Bring forth my bride, or London burns, 

I swear by Alcaron. 

Then cries the King, and Queen likewise, 

Both weeping as they spake, 
Lo ! we have breught our daughter dear, 

Whom we are forc'd to forsake. 

With that stept bold Robin Hood, 
Cries, my liege, it must not be so, 

Such beauty as the fair princess 
Is not for a tyrant's mow. 

The prince he then began to storm, 

Cries, fool, fanatic, baboon ! 
How dare thou stop my valour's prize 

I'll kill thee with a frown. 


Thou tyrant Turk, thou infidel, 
Thus Robin began to reply, 

Thy frowns I scorn ; lo ! here's my gage, 
And thus I thee defy. 

And for those two Goliahs here, 

That stand on either side, 
Here are two little Davids by, 

That soon shall tame their pride. 

Then did the king for armour send, 
For lances, swords, and shields ; 

And thus all three in armour bright 
Came marching into the field. 

The trumpets began to sound a charge, 

Each singled out his man ; 
Their arms in pieces soon were hew'd, 

Blood sprang from every vein. 

The prince he reacht Robin Hood a blow, 
He struck with might and main, 

Which made him to reel about the field, 
As though he had been slain. 

God a mercy, quoth Robin, for that blow, 
The quarrel shall soon be try'd, 

This stroke shall shew a full divorce 
Betwixt thee and thy bride. 

So from his shoulders he cut his head, 
Which on the ground did fall, 

And grumbled sore at Robin Hood, 
To be so dealt withal. 

The giants then began to rage, 
To see their prince lie dead : 

Thou's be the next, quoth Little John, 
Unless thou wilt guard thy head. 

With that his faulchion he wherl'd about, 
It was both keen and sharp, 

He clove the giant to the belt, 
And cut in twain his heart. 

Will Scadlock well had play'd his part, 

The giant he had brought to his knee ; 
Quoth Will, the devil cannot break his fast, 
124 Unless he have you all three. 


So with his faulchion he ran him through, 

A deep and ghastly wound ; 
Who damn'd and foam'd, curst and blasphem'd, 

And then fell to the ground. 

Now all the lists with shouts ere fill'd, 

The skies they did resound, 
Which brought the princess to herself, 

Who had fallen into a swound 

The king and queen, and princess fair. 

Came walking to the place, 
And gave the champions many thanks, 

And did them farther grace. 

Tell me, quoth the king, whence you are, 

That thus disguised came, 
Whose valour speaks that noble blood 

Doth run through every vein. 

A boon, a boon, quoth Robin Hood, 

On my knees I beg and crave ; 
By my crown, quoth the king, I grant, 

Ask what, and thou shalt have. 

Then pardon I beg for my merry men, 

Which are in the green wood, 
For Little John and Will Scadlock, 

And for me, bold Robin Hood. 

Art thou Robin Hood ? quoth the king ; 

For the valour thou hast shown 
Your pardons I do freely grant, 

And welcome every one. . 

The princess I promis'd the victor's prize, 

She cannot have you all three. 
She shall choose, quoth Robin ; said Little John, 

Then little share falls to me. 

Then did the princess view all three, 

With a comely lovely grace, 
And took Will S'cadlock by the hand, 

Saying, here I make my choice. 

With that a noble lord stept forth, 

Of Maxfield earl was he, 
Who look'd Will Scadlock in the face, 

And wept most bitterlv. .125 


Quoth he, I had a son like thee, 

Whom I lov'd wondrous well ; 
But he is gone, or rather dead, 

His name it is young Gam well. 

Then did Will Scadlock fall on his knees, 

Crying, father ! father ! here, 
Here kneels your son, your young Gam well, 

You said you lov'd so dear. 

But, lord ! what embracing and kissing was there, 

When all these friends were met I 
They are gone to the wedding, and so to the bedding ; 

And so I bid you good night. 

fThe following are the Stanzas mentioned in the Int.uductory Notice, p. 878. ] 

Then bold Robin Hood to the north lie would go, 

With valour and mickle might, 
With sword by his side, which oft had been tried, 

To fight and recover his right. 
The first that he met was a bonny bold Scot, 

His servant he said he would be : 
No, quoth Robin Hood, it cannot be good, 

For thou wilt prove false unto me. 
Thou hast not been true to sire nor cuz, 

Nay, marry, the Scot he said, 
As true as your heart, lie never part, 

Gude master, be not afraid. 
Then Robin turned his face to the east, 

Fight on, my merry men stout, 
Our cause is good, quo brave Robin Hood, 

And we shall not be beaten out. 
The battel grows hot on every side, 

The Scotchman made great moan ; 
Quoth Jockey, gude faith, they fight on each side, 

Would I were with my wife Joan ! 
The enemy compast brave Robin about, 

"Tis long ere the battel ends ; 
There's neither will yield, nor give up the field, 

For both are supplied with friends. 
This song it was made in Robin Hood's dayes ; 

Let's pray unto Jove above, 
To give us true peace, that mischief may cease, 

And war may give place unto love. 

[Pt. 2. St. 22. ' Alcftron,' says Ritson, ' is a deity formed by metathesis from Alcoran, a' [the] 
' hook.' Thus in the old metrical romance of * The Sowdon of Babyloue," 
' And songo the dirige of Alkaron, 

That bibill is of here laye ;' 
Alkaron is expressly the name of a book, (i. e., The Koran) : iH the following passage it is that of 

' He defycd Mahnundc, and Apolyne, 

Jubiter, Astarot, and Alcaron also.' 

Wynken de Worde printed ' A lytell treatyse of the Turkes law, called Alcaron, <Stc.' See Herbert, 
224. It was, at the same time, a proper name in the East ; as, ' Accaron princeps insulte Cypri', 
Is mentioned by Roger Hoveden, 786.'] 



[This ballad is printed from Ritson's 'Robin Hood;' 
where it is given ' from a black-letter copy in the possession 
of the Duke of Roxburgh. The full title of the original,' 
says Ritspn, ' is, ' A new ballad of bold Robin Hood : shew 
ing his birth, breeding, valour, and marriage at Titbury 
Bull-running. Calculated for the meridian of Staffordshire, 
but may serve for Derbyshire or Kent.' ' With regard to its 
antiquity, the editor of the ' Collection of Old Ballads,' 
1723, thinks it 'one of the oldest extant on the subject.' 
On the other hand, to Dr. Percy it ' seems of much later 
date than most of the others ; and can scarce be older,' he 
says, ' than the reign of King Charles I.' (Reliques, I. cii.) 
For this opinion, and for ' thinking that it is not found in 
the Pepys collection,' Ritson, after his manner, falls foul of 
the Bishop ; without, however, doing more than pointing 
out that ' in the second volume of that collection, any 
person disposed to the search, will find at least TWO COPIES 
of it, both in black letter.' Be its precise date, however, 
what it may, the reader will probably agree with Dr. Percy, 
that ' from this ballad's concluding with an exhortation to 
' pray for the king,' &c., it is evidently posterior to the 
reign of Queen Elizabeth.'] 

IND gentlemen, will you be patient awhile? 

Ay, and then you shall hear anon 
A very good ballad of bold Robin Hood, 

And of his brave man Little John. 



In Locksly town, in merry Nottinghamshire, 

In merry sweet Locksly town, 
There bold Robin Hood he was born and was bred, 

Bold Robin of famous renown. 

The father of Robin a forrester was, 

And he shot in a lusty strong bow 
Two north-country miles and an inch at a shot, 

As the Pindar of Wakefield does know. 

For he brought Adam Bell, and Clim of the Clugh, 

And William of Clowdesle, 
To shoot with our forrester for forty mark, 

And the forrester beat them all three. 

His mother was neece to the Coventry knight, 

Which Warwickshire men call Sir Guy; 
For he slew the blue bore that hangs up at the gate, 

Or mine host of the Bull tells a lie. 

Her brother was Gamwel, of Great Gamwel-hall, 

A noble house-keeper was he, 
Ay, as ever broke bread in sweet Nottinghamshire, 

And a 'squire of famous degree. 

The mother of Robin said to her husband, 

My honey, my love, and my dear, 
Let Robin and I ride this morning to Gamwel, 

To taste of my brother's good cheer. 

And he said, I grant thee thy boon, gentle Joan, 

Take one of my horses, I pray: 
The sun is arising, and therefore make haste, 

For to-morrow is Christmas day. 

Then Robin Hood's father's grey gelding was brought^ 

And saddled and bridled was he; 
God-wot a blue bonnet, his new suit of cloaths, 

And a cloak that did reach to his knee. 

She got on her holyday kirtle and gown, 

They were of a light Lincoln green; 
The cloath was homespun, but for colour and make 

It might have beseemed our queen. 

And then Robin got on his basket-hilt sword, 

And his dagger on his tother sider 
And said, My dear mother, let's haste to be gone. 

We have forty long miles to ride. 



When Robin had mounted his gelding so grey, 

His father, without any trouble, 
Set her up behind him, and bad her not fear, 

For his gelding had oft carried double. 

And when she was settled, they rode to their neighbours, 
And drank and shook hands with them all; 

And then Robin gallopt, and never gave o're, 
Till they lighted at Gamwel-hall. 

And now you may think the right worshipful 'squire 

Was joyful his sister to see; 
For he kist her, and kist her, and swore a great oath, 

Thou art welcome, kind sister, to me. 

To-morrow, when mass had been said at the chappel, 

Six tables were covered in the hall, 
And in comes the 'squire and makes a short speech, 

It was, Neighbours, you're welcome all. 

But not a man here shall taste my March beer, 

Till a Christmas carrol he does sing. 
Then all clapt their hands, and they shouted and sung, 

Till the hall and the parlour did ring. 

Now mustard and brawn, roast beef and plumb pies, 

Were set upon every table; 
And noble George Gamwel said, Eat, and be merry, 

And drink, too, as long as you're able. 

When dinner was ended, his chaplain said grace, 
And, Be merry, my friends, said the 'squire; 

It rains and it blows, but call for more ale, 
And lay some more wood on the fire. 

And now call ye Little John hither to me, 

For Little John is a fine lad, 
At gambols and juggling, and twenty such tricks, 

As shall make you both merry and glad. 

When Little John came, to gambols they went, 

Both gentlemen, yeomen, and clown; 
And what do you think? Why, as true as I live, 

Bold Robin Hood put them all down. 

And now you may think the right worshipful ! sqm r c 

Was joyful this sight for to see; 
For he said, Cousin Robin, thou'st go no more home, 

But tarry and dwell here with me. 

K 129 



Thou shalt have my land when I die, and till then, 

Thou shalt be the staff of my age. 
Then grant me my boon, dear uncle, said Robin, 

That Little John may be my page. 

And he said, Kind cousin, I grant thee thy boon ; 

With all my heart, so let it be. 
Then come hither, Little John, said Robin Hood, 

Come hither my page unto me. 

Go fetch me my bow, my longest long bow, 
And broad arrows one, two, or three, 

For when 'tis fair weather we'll into Sherwood, 
Some merry pastime to see. 

When Robin Hood came into merry Sherwood, 

He winded his bugle so clear; 
And twice five and twenty good yeomen and bold, 

Before Robin Hood did appear. 

Where are your companions all ? said Robin Hood, 

For still I want forty and three, 
Then said a bold yeoman, Lo, yonder they stand, 
- All under the greenwood tree. 

As that word was spoke, Clorinda came by, 
The queen of the shepherds was she ; 

And her gown was of velvet as green as the grass, 
And her buskin did reach to her knee. 

Her gate it was graceful, her body was straight, 
And her countenance free from pride; 

A bow in her hand, and a quiver of arrows 
Hung dangling by her sweet side. 

Her eyebrows were black, ay, and so was her hair, 
And her skin was as smooth as glass ; 

Her visage spoke wisdom, and modesty too ; 
Sets with Robin Hood such a lass! 

Said Robin Hood, Lady fair, whither away ? 

O whither, fair lady, away? 
And she made him answer, To kill a fat buck; 

For to-morrow is Titbury day. 

Said Robin Hood, Lady fair, wander with me 

A little to yonder green bower; 
There set down to rest you, and you shall be sure, 

Of a brace or a leash in an hour. 


And as we were going towards the green bower 
Two hundred good bucks we espy'd ; 

She chose out the fattest that was in the herd, 
And she shot him through side and side. 

By the faith of my body, said bold Robin Hood, 

I never saw woman like thee ; 
And com'st thou from east, or com'st thou from west, 

Thou need'st not beg venison of me. 

However, along to my bower you shall go, 

And taste of a forrester's meat ; 
And when we came thither we found as good cheer 

As any man needs for to eat. 

For there was hot venison, and warden pies cold, 
Cream clouted, and honeycombs plenty ; 

And the servitors they were, besides Little John, 
Good yeomen at least four and twenty. 

Clorinda said, Tell me your name, gentle sir; 

And he said, 'Tis bold Robin Hood: 
Squire Gamwel's my uncle, but all my delight 

Is to dwell in the merry Sherwood ; 

For 'tis a fine life, and 'tis void of all strife, 

So 'tis, sir, Clorinda reply'd. 
But oh! said bold Robin, how sweet would it be, 

If Clorinda would be my bride. 

She blusht at the motion; yet, after a pause, 

Said, Yes, sir, and with all my heart. 
Then let us send for a priest, said Robin Hood, 

And be married before we do part. 

But she said, It may not be so, gentle sir, 

For I must be at Titbury feast; 
And if Robin Hood will go thither with me, 

I'll make him the most welcome guest. 

Said Robin Hood, Reach me that buck, Little John, 

For I'll go along with my dear; 
And bid my yeomen kill six brace of bucks, 

And meet me to-morrow just here. 

Before he had ridden five Staffordshire miles, 

Eight yeomen, that were too bold, 
Bid Robin Hood stand, and deliver his buck: 

A truer tale never was told. 



I will not, faith, said bold Robin; come, John, 

Stand by me, and we'll beat 'em all. 
Then both drew their swords, and so cut 'em, and slasht'em, 

That five out of them did fall. 

The three that remain'd call'd to Robin for quarter, 

And pitiful John begg'd their lives; 
When John's boon was granted, he gave them good counsel, 

And sent them all home to their wives. 

This battle was fought near to Titbury town, 

When the bagpipes baited the bull; 
I'm the king of the fiddlers, and I swear 'tis truth, 

And I call him that doubts it a gull : 

For I saw them fighting, and fiddled the while; 

And Clorinda sung, ' Hey derry down! 
The bumkins are beaten, put up thy sword, Bob, 

And now let's dance into the town.' 

Before we came in, we heard a great shouting, 

And all that were in it look'd madly; 
For some were on bull-back, some dancing a morris, 

And some singing Arthur-a-Bradley. 

And there we see Thomas, our justice's clerk, 

And Mary, to whom he was kind; 
For Tom rode before her, and call'd Mary madam, 

And kiss'd her full sweetly behind: 

And so may your worships. But we went to dinner, 

With Thomas, and Mary, and Nan; 
They all drank a health to Clorinda, and told her, 

Bold Robin Hood was a fine man. 

When dinner was ended, Sir Roger, the parson 

Of Dubbridge, was sent for in haste: 
He brought his mass-book, and he bad them take hands, 
, And joyn'd them in marriage full fast. 

And then, as bold Robin Hood and his sweet bride 
Went hand in hand to the green bower, 

The birds sung with pleasure in merry Sherwood, 
And 'twas a most joyful hour. 

And when Robin came in sight of the bower, 

Where are my yeomen? said he: 
And Little John answer'd, Lo, yonder they stand, 
132 All under the green-wood-tree. 


Then a garland they brought her by two and by two, 
And plac'd them all on the bride's head: 

The music struck up, and we all fell to dance, 
Till the bride and bridegroom were a-bed. 

And what they did there must be counsel to me, 

Because they lay long the next day; 
And I had haste home, but I got a good piece 

Of bride-cake, and so came away. 

Now, out, alas! I had forgotten to tell ye, 

That marry'd they were with a ring; 
And so will Nan Knight, or be buried a maiden: 

And now let us pray for the king; 

That he may have children, and they may have more, 

To govern and do us some good: 
And then I'll make ballads in Robin Hood's bower, 

And sing 'em in merry Sherwood. 



[ThU balla'd is taken from Ritson's ' Robin Hood,' 
where it was given as corrected from a copy in the 
Collection of Old Ballads,' 1723. The title it there 
bears is as follows : ' Robin Hood and Little John : 
being an account of their first meeting, their fierce 
encounter, and conquest. To which is added, their 
friendly agreement ; and how he came to be called 
Little John. Tune of Arthur a Bland.' With regard 
to this latter point, ' the notion,' says Ritson, ' that he 
obtained this appellation ironically, from his superior 
stature, is doubtless ill-founded.' He admits, however, 
that it is ' of considerable antiquity,' being traceable at 
least as far back as to ' that most veracious historian, 
Maister Hector Bois,' according to whom (Historic of 
Scotland, translatit be maister Johne Bellenden, Edin. 
1541,) Little John ' hes bone fourtene fut of hycht, 
with square membris effering thairto.' Be this, how 
ever, as it might, certain it is that ' the honour of his 
death and burial is, like that of Homer's birth, ' con 
tended for by rival nations ;' namely England, Scotland, 
and Ireland : the favoured spot in the first being ' the 
village of Hathersage, about six miles from Castlcton, 
in Derbyshire; In Scotland, 'the kirke of Pette, in 
Murray land, quhare,' says Bois, ' the banis of Lyiill 
Johne remanis in gret admiratioun of pepill ;' and, in 
the Emerald Isle, Arbor-hill, Dublin ; where, according 
to Mr. Walker, (Hist. Essay on the Dress of the Ancient 
and Modern Irish,) ' he was publicly executed for 
robbery.' The evidence in support of these claims, 
respectively, may be seen in Ritson, as above.] 

HEN Robin Hood was about twenty years 

He happen' d to meet Little Jobn, 
A jolly brisk blade, right fit for the trade, 

For he was a lusty young man. 


Tho' he was call'd Little, his limbs they were large, 
And his stature was seven foot high ; 

Whereever he came, they quaked at his name, 
.For soon he would make them to fly. 

How they came acquainted, I'll tell you in brief, 

If you would but listen awhile ; 
For this very jest, among all the rest, 

I think it may cause you to smile. 

For Robin Hood said to his jolly bowmen, 

Pray tarry you here in this grove ; 
And see that you all observe well my call, 

While thorough the forest I rove. 

We have had no sport for these fourteen long days, 

Therefore now abroad will I go ; 
Now should I be beat, and cannot retreat, 

My horn I will presently blow. 

Then he did shake hands with his merry men all, 
And bid them at present good b'yw'e ; 

Then as near the brook his journey he took, 
A stranger he chanc'd to espy. 

They happen'd to meet on a long narrow bridge, 
And neither of them would give way ; 

Quoth bold Robin Hood, and sturdily stood, 
I'll shew you right Nottingham play. 

With that from his quiver an arrow he drew, 

A broad arrow with a goose-wing ; 
The stranger reply' d, I'll liquor thy hide, 

If thou offer to touch the string. 

Quoth bold Robin Hood, Thou dost prate like an ass, 

For were I to bend but my bow, 
I could send a dart, quite through thy proud heart, 

Before thou couldst strike me one blow. 

Thou talk'st like a coward, the stranger reply* d; 

Well arm'd with a long bow you stand, 
To shoot at my breast, while I, I protest, 

Have nought but a staff in my hand. 

The name of a coward, quoth Robin, I scorn, 

Therefore my long bow I'll lay by ; 
And now for thy sake, a staff I will take, 

The truth .of thy manhood to try. 


Then Robin Hood stept to a thicket of trees, 

And chose him a staff of ground oak ; 
Now this being done, away he did run 
To the stranger, and merrily spoke. 

Lo ! see my staff is lusty and tough, 
Now here on the bridge we will play ; 

Whoever falls in, the other shall win 
The battle, and so we'll away. 

With all my whole heart, the stranger reply' d, 

I scorn in the least to give out : 
This said, they fell to't without more dispute, 

And their staffs they did flourish about. 

At fiist Robin he gave the stranger a bang, 
So hard that he made his bones ring ; 

The stranger he said, This must be repaid, 
I'll give you as good as you bring. 

So long as I'm able to handle a staff, 
To die in your debt, friend, I scorn : 

Then to it each goes, and follow their blows, 
As if they'd been threshing of corn. 

The stranger gave Robin a crack on the crown, 
Which caused the blood to appear ; 

Then Robin enrag'd, more fiercely engag'd, 
And follow'd his blows more severe. 

So thick and so fast he did lay it on him, 

With a passionate fury ->nd ire ; 
At every stroke he made him 10 smoke, 

As if he had been all on fire. 

then into fury the stranger he grew, 
And gave him a terrible look. 

And with it a blow, that laid him full low, 
And tumbl'd him into the brook. 

1 prithee, good fellow, O where art thou now ? 
The stranger, in laughter, he cry'd : 

Quoth bold Robin Hood, Good faith, in the flood, 
And floating along with the tide. 

I needs must acknowledge thou art a brave soul, 

With thee I'll no longer contend ; 
For needs must I say, thou hast got the day, 
136 Our battel shall be at an end. 


Then unto the bank he did presently wade, 

And pull'd himself out by a thorn ; 
Which done, at last he blowd a loud blast, 

Straightway on his fine bugle-horn. 

The eccho of which through the Tallies did fly, 

At which his stout bowmen appear'd, 
All cloathed in green, most gay to be seen, 

So up to their master they steer'd. 

O, what is the matter ? quoth William Stutely, 

Good master, you are wet to the skin ; 
No matter, quoth he, the lad which you see, 

In fighting has tumbled me in 

He shall not go scot-free, the others reply 'd ; 

So strait they were seizing him there, 
To duck him likewise ; but Robin Hood cries, 

He is a stout fellow ; forbear. 

There's no one shall wrong thee, friend, be not afraid, 

These bowmen upon me do wait ; 
There's threescore and nine ; if thou wilt be mine, 

Thou shalt have my livery strait, 

And other accoutrements fit for a man ; 

Speak up, jolly blade, never fear ; 
I'll teach you also the use of the bow, 

To shoot at the fat fallow deer. 

O, here is my hand, the stranger reply'd, 

I'll serve you with all my whole heart ; 
My name is John Little, a man of good mettle, 

Ne'er doubt me, for I'll play my part. 

His name shall be alter' d, quoth William Stutely, 

And I will his godfather be ; 
Prepare then a feast, and none of the least, 

For we will be merry, quoth he. 

They presently fetch' d him a brace of fat does, 

With humming strong liquor likewise ; 
They lov'd what was good ; so in the green wood 

This pretty sweet babe they baptize. 

He was, I must tell you, but seven foot high, 

And, may be, an ell in the waist ; 
A sweet pretty lad ; much feasting they had ; 

Bold Robin the christening grac'd. 137 


With all his bowmen which stood in a ring, 
And were of the Nottingham breed ; 

Brave Stutely came then, with seven yeomen, 
And did in this manner proceed. 

This infant was called John Little, quoth he, 

His name shall be changed anon ; 
The words we'll transpose : so whereever he goes, 

His name shall be call'd Little John. 

They all with a shout made the elements ring ; 

As soon as the office was ore ; 
To feasting they went, with true merriment, 

And tippled strong liquor gillore. 

Then Robin he took the pretty sweet babe, 
And cloath'd him from top to the toe, 

In garments of green, most gay to be seen, 
And gave him a curious long bow. 

Thou shalt be an archer, as well as the best, 
And range in the green wood with us ; 

Where we'll not want gold or silver, behold, 
While bishops have ought in their purse. 

We live here like 'squires, or lords of renown, 

Without ere a foot of free land ; 
We feast on good cheer, with wine, ale, and beer, 

And every thing at our command. 

Then musick and dancing did finish the day ; 

At length, when the sun waxed low, 
Then all the whole train the grove did refrain, 

And unto their caves they did go. 

And so, ever after, as long as they liv'd, 

Altho' he was proper and tall, 
Yet, nevertheless, the truth to express, 

Still Little John they did him call. 


Tune of Robin Hood's last farewell, &c. 

['This very old and curious piece is preserved solely in the editions of 'Robin Hood's 
Garland,' printed at York, (or such as have been taken from them,) where it is made to con 
clude with some foolish lines, (adopted from the London copy of a ballad, entitled ' Robin Hood 
the Valiant Knight,') in order to introduce the epitaph. It is here given from a collation of 
two different copies, containing numerous variations, a few of which are retained in the 
notes at foot.' RITSON.] 

There is an account of Robin Hood's death, which differs materially from this, given in the 
ballad just alluded to, which states that the hero being taken ill after his conflict with the 
valiant knight, 

" He sent for a monk, to let him blood, 
Who took his life away." 

WHEN Robin Hood and Little John 

Went o'er yon bank of broom, 
Said Robin Hood to Little John 

We have shot for many a pound. 

But I am not able to shoot one shot more, 

My arrows will not flee; 
But I have a cousin lives down below, 

Please God, she will bleed me. 

Now Robin is to fair Kirkley gone, 

As fast as he can win; 
But before he came there, as we do hear, 

He was taken very ill. 

And when that he came to fair Kirkley-hall, 

He knockt all at the ring, 
But none was so ready as his cousin herself 

For to let bold Robin in. 

Will you please to sit down, cousin Robin, said she, 

And drink some beer with me? 
No, I will neither sit nor drink, 

Till I am blooded by thee. 


Well, I have a room, cousin Robin, she said, 

Which you never did see, 
And if you please to walk therein, 

You blooded by me shall be. 

She took him by the lilly-white hand, 
And led him to a private room, 

And there she blooded bold Robin Hood, 
Whilst one drop of blood would run. 

She blooded him in the vein of the arm, 

And lockt him up in the room; 
There did he bleed all the live-long day, 

Until the next day at noon. 

He then bethought him of a casement door, 

Thinking for to be gone; 
He was so weak he could not leap, 

Nor he could not get down. 

He then bethought him of his bugle-horn, 
Which hung low down to his knee; 

He set his horn unto his mouth, 
And blew out weak blasts three. 

Then Little John, when hearing him, 

As he sat under the tree, 
I fear my master is near dead, 

He blows so wearily. 

Then Little John to fair Kirkley is gone, 

As fast as he can dree; 
But when he came to Kirkley-hall, 

He broke locks two or three; 

Untill he came bold Robin to, 

Then he fell on his knee; 
A boon, a boon, cries Little John, 

Master, I beg of thee. 

What is that boon, quoth Robin Hood, 

Little John, then begs of me? 
It is to burn fair Kirkley-hall, 

And all their nunnery. 

Now nay, now nay, quoth Robin Hood, 

That boon I'll not grant thee; 
I never hurt woman in all my life, 

Nor man in woman's company. 



I never hurt fair maid in all my time, 

Nor at my end shall it be; 
But give me bent bow in my hacd, 

And a broad arrow I'll let flee; 
And where this arrow is taken up 

There shall my grave digged be. 

Lay me a green sod under my head, 

And another at my feet, 
And lay my bent bow by my side, 

Which was my music sweet; 
And make my grave of gravel and green. 

Which is most right and meet. 

Let me have length and breadth enough, 

With a green sod under my head; 
That they may say, when I am dead, 

Here lies bold Robin Hood. 

These words they readily promised him, 

Which did bold Robin please: 
And there they buried bold Robin Hood, 

Near to the fair Kirkleys. 

[St. 15 is omitted in one edition. 
St. 17, line 3, 4 : 

With verdant sods most neatly put, 

Sweet as the green wood tree. 

St. 18, line 2. This line is manifestly impertinent and corrupt. We mlarht re&i 
With a stone upon the sod. 


[Tills ballad Is taken, by permission of J. O. Halliwell, 
Esq., from the reprint, edited by him for the Percy 
Society, of one of the 'only two copies that have been pre 
served, contained in a MS. of the time of Charles II., in 
the possession of Mr. Bateman. The other copy is pre 
served in MS. Harl. 367, and appears to have been tran 
scribed about the year 1600.' The title, as given by Mr. 
Halliwell, is, * The most pleasant Song of Lady Bessy, the 
eldest daughter of King Edward the Fourth, and how she 
married King Henry the Seventh, of the House of Lan 
caster.' ' It appears,' says Mr. Halliwell, ' that the poem 
was composed by Bessy's ' true esquire,' Humphrey 
Brereton, who was in the service of Lord Stanley.' At all 
events, ' its antiquity is satisfactorily proved by the multi 
plicity of those minute traits of language and manners, 
which must have been forgotten by a more recent writer. 
The peculiar features of the age, the costume, and the 
difficulty of correspondence, are too faithfully described to 
leave any reasonable doubt of the early period of the 
author.' For all the known particulars respecting Eliza 
beth of York, we follow Mr. Halliwell's example in re 
ferring the reader to Sir H. Nicolas' Memoir prefixed to 
' Privy Purse Expenses of Elizabeth of York,' 8vo, 1830 ; 
and -Miss Strickland's ' Lives of the Queens of England,' 
vol. 4.] 

! OR Jesus sake be merry and glad, 
Be blythe of blood, of bone, and blee, 

And of your words be sober and sad, 
And a little while listen to me: 


I shall tell you how Lady Bessy made her moan, 

And down she kneeled upon her knee 
Before the Earle of Darby her self alone, 

These were her words fair and free: 
Who was your beginner, who was your ground, 

Good father Stanley, will you tell me? 
Who married you to the Margaret Richmond, 

A Dutchess of a high degree? 
And your son the Lord George Strange 

By that good lady you had him by. 
And Harden lands under your hands, 

And Moules dale also under your fee, 
Your brother Sir William Stanley by parliament 

The Holt Castle who gave him truely? 
Who gave him Brome-field, that I now ment? 

Who gave him Chirk-land to his fee? 
Who made him High Chamberlain of Cheshire? 

Of that country farr and near 
They were all wholly at his desire, 

When he did call they did appear; 
And also the Forrest of Delameer, 

To hunt therm both day and night 
As often as his pleasure were, 

And to send for baron and knight; 
Who made the knight and lord of all? 

Good father Stanley, remember thee ! 
It was my father, that king royall, 

He set you in that room so high. 
Remember Richmond banished full bare, 

And lyeth in Brittain behind the sea, 
You may recover him of his care, 

If your heart and mind to him will greet 
Let him come home and claim his right, 

And let us cry him King Henry ! 
And if you will maintain him with might, 

In Brittain he needeth not long to tarry. 
Go away, Bessy, the Lord said then, 

I tell thee, now, for certainty, 
That fair words make oft fooles full faine, 

When they be but found vain glory. 
Oh! father Stanley, to you I call, 

For the love of God remember thee, 
Since my father King Edward, that king royall 

At Westminster on his death bed lee; 
He called to him my unckle Richard, 

So he did Robert of Brackenbury, 
And James Terrill he was the third; ,, 


He sent them to Ludlovv in the west countrey, 
To fetch the Duke of York and the Duke of Clarence, 

These two lords born of a high degree. 
The Duke of York should have been prince, 

And king after my father free, 
But a balle-full game was then among, 

When they doomed these two lords to dye: 
They had neither justice nor right, but had great wrong, 

Alack ! it was the more pitty ! 
Neither were they burried in St. Maries, 

In church or churchyard or holy place j 
Alas! they had dolefull destinies, 

Hard was their chance, worse was their disgrace! 
Therefore help, good father Stanley, while you have space, 

For the love of God and mild Mary, 
Or else in time to come you shall, alas! 

Remember the words of Lady Bessy.' 
Good Lady Bessy, be content, 

For tho' your words be never so sweet, 
If King Richard knew, you must be shent, 

And perchance cast into prison deep; 
Then had you cause to waill and weep, 

And wring your hands with heavy chear; 
Therefore, good lady, I you beseek 

To move me no more in this matter. 
Oh! good father Stanley, listen now and hear; 

Heare is no more but you and I: 
King Edward that was my father dear, 

On whose estate God had mercy, 
In Westminster as he did stand, 

On a certain day in a study, 
A book of reason he had in his hand, 

And so sore his study he did apply, 
That his tender tears fell on the ground, 

All men might see that stood him by: 
There were both earls and lords of land, 

But none of them durst speak but I. 
I came before my father the king, 

And kneeled down upon my knee; 
I desired him lowly of his blessing, 

And full soon he gave it unto me: 
And in his arms he could me thring, 

And set me in a window so high; 
He spake to me full sore weeping, 

These were the words he said to me: 
Daughter, as thou wilt have my blessing, 
144 Do as 1 shall councell thee, 


And to my words give good listning, 

For one day they may pleasure thee: 
Here is a book of Reason, keep it well, 

As you will have the love of me; 
Neither to any creature do it tell, 

Nor let no liveing lord it see, 
Except it be to the Lord Stanley, 

The which I love full heartiley: 
All the matter to him show you may, 

For he and his thy help must be; 
As soon as the truth to him is shown 

Unto your words he will agree; 
For their shall never son of my body be gotten 

That shall be crowned after me, 
But you shall be queen and wear the crown, 

So doth expresse the prophecye ! 
He gave me tax and toland, 

And also diamonds to my degree, 
To gett me a prince when it pleaseth Christ, 

The world is not as it will be : 
Therefore, good father Stanley, grant my request 

For the love of God I desire thee; 
All is at your commandment down in the west, 

Both knight and squire and the commentie; 
You may choose then where you like best, 

I have enough both of gold and fee; 
I want nothing but the strength of men, 

And good captains two or three. 
Go away, Bessy, the lord said then, 

To this will I never agree, 
For women oft time cannot faine, 

These words they be but vain glory! 
For and I should treason begin 

Against King Richard his royalty, 
In every street within London 

The Eagle's foot should be pulled down, 
And as yet in his great favour I am, 

But then shoud I loose my great renownel 
I shoud be called traitor thro' the same 

Full soon in every markett towne ! 
That were great shame to me and my name, 

I had rather spend ten thousand pounde. 
O father Stanley, to you I mak my moane, 

For the love of God remember thee; 
It is not three days past and gone, 

Since my unckle Richard sent after me 
A batchelor and a bold baron, 

L 145 


A Doctor of Divinitye, 
And bad that I should to his chamber gone, 

His love and his leman that I should bee; 
And the queen that was his wedded feere, 

He would her poyson and putt away; 
So would he his son and his heir, 

Christ knoweth he is a proper boy! 
Yet I had rather burn in a tunne 

On the Tower Hill that is so high, 
Or that I would to his chamber come, 

His love and his leman will I not be ! 
I had rather be drawn with wild horses five, 

Through every street of that citty, 
Or that good woman should lose her life, 

Good father, for the love of mee. 
I am his brother's daughter dear; 

He is my uncle, it is no nay; 
Or ever I woud be his wedded feere, 

With sharp swords I will me slay; 
At his bidding if I were then, 

And follow'd also his cruel intent, 
I were well worthy to suffer pain, 

And in a fire for to be brent. 
Therefore, good father Stanley, some pitty take 

On the Earle Richmond and me, 
And the rather for my father's sake, 

Which gave thee the He of Man so free; 
He crowned thee with a crown of lead, 

He holpe the first to that degree; 
He set thee the crown upon thy head, 

And made thee the lord of that countrey; 
That time you promised my father dear, 

To him to be both true and just, 
And now you stand in a disweare, 

Oh! Jesu Christ, who may men trust? 

good lady, I say againe 

Your fair words shall never move my mind; 
King Richard is my lord and sov'raign, 
To him I will never be unkind. 

1 will serve him truely till I die, 
I will him take as I him find; 

For he hath given to mine and me, 
His bounteous gifts do me so bind. 

Yet good father Stanley, remember thee, 
As I have said so shall it prove, 

If he of his gift be soe free, 
146 It is for fear and not for love; 


For if he may to his purpose come, 

You shall not live these years three, 
For these words to me he did once move 

In Sandall Castle underneath a tree: 
He said there shall no branch of the eagle fly 

Within England, neither far nor nigh; 
Nor none of the Talbots to run him by, 

Nor none of their lineage to the ninth degree; 
But he would them either hang or head, 

And that he swear full grievously. 
Therefore help, gentle lord, with all speed; 

For when you woud fain it will not be. 
Your brother dwellith in the Holt Castle, 

A noble knight forsooth is he; 
All the Welsh-men love him well, 

He may make a great company. 
Sir John Savage is your sister's son, 

He is well beloved within his shire, 
A great company with him will come, 

He will be ready at your desire. 
Gilbert Talbott is a captain pure, 

He will come with main and might; 
To you he will be fast and sure, 

Against my uncle king and knight. 
Let us raise an host with him to fight, 

Soon to the ground we shall him ding, 
For God will stand ever with the right, 

For he hath no right to be king! 
Go away, Bessy, the Lord can say; 

Of these words, Bessy, now lett be; 
I know king Richard would not me betray, 

For all the gold in Christantye. 
I am his subject, sworn to be true: 

If I should seek treason to begin, 
I and all mine full sore should rue, 

For we were as like to lose as winne. 
Beside that, it were a deadly sin 

To refuse my king, and him betray: 
The child is yet unborne that might moan in time, 

And think upon that woefull day. 
Wherefore, good lady, I do you pray, 

Keep all things close at your hart root; 
So now fair past it is of the day, 

To move me more it is no boot. 
Then from her head she cast her attire, 

Her colour changed as pale as lead, 
Her faxe that shoan as the gold wire 



She tair it of besides her head, 
And in a swoon down can she swye, 

She spake not of a certain space! 
The Lord had never so great pitty 

As when he saw her in that case, 
And in his arms he can her embrace; 

He was full sorry then for her sake. 
The tears fell from her eyes apace, 

But at the last these words she spake, 
She said, to Christ my soul I betake, 

For my body in Tem'ms drown'd shall be! 
For I know my sorrow will never slake, 

And my bones upon the sands shall lye! 
The fishes shall feed upon me their fill; 

This is a dolefulle destinye! 
And you may remedy this and you will, 

Therefore the bone of my death I give to theel 
And ever she wept as she were woode, 

The Earle on her had so great pitty, 
That her tender heart turned his mood. 

He said, stand lip now, Lady Bessye, 
As you think best I will agree. 

Now I see the matter you do not faine, 
I have thought in this matter as much as yee: 

But it is hard to trust women, 
For many a man is brought into great woe, 

Through telling to women his privity: 
I trust you will not serve me so 

For all the gold in Christantie. 
No, father, he is my mortall foe, 

On him fain wrooken woud I bee! 
He hath put away my brethren two, 

And I know he would do so by me; 
But iny trust is in the Trinity, 

Through your help we shall bale to him bring, 
And such a day on him to see 

That he and his full sore shall rue! 
O Lady Bessye, the Lord can say, 

Betwixt us both forcast we must 
How we shall letters to Richmond convey, 

No man to write I dare well trust; 
For if he list to be unjust 

And us betray to King Richard, 
Then you and I are both lost; 

Therefore of the scribe I am afraid. 
You shall not need none such to call, 

Good father Stanley, hearken to me 


What my father, King Edward, that king royal, 

Did for my sister, my Lady Wells, and me: 
He sent for a scrivener to lusty London, 

He was the best in that citty; 
He taught us both to write and read full soon. 

If it please you, full soon you shall see: 
Lauded be God, I had such speed, 

That I can write as well as he, 
And also indite and full well read 

And that (Lord) soon shall you see, 
Both English and alsoe French, 

And also Spanish, if you had need. 
The Earle said, You are a proper wench, 

Almighty Jesus be your speed, 
And give us grace to proceed out, 

That we may letters soon convey 
In secrett wise and out of doubt 

To Richmond, that lyeth beyond the sea. 
We must depart, lady, the earle said then; 

Wherefore keep this matter secretly, 
And this same night, betwixt rtine and ten. 

In your chamber 1 think to be. 
Look that you make all things ready, 

Your maids shall not our councell hear, 
For I will bring no man with me 

But Humphrey Brereton, my true esquire. 
He took his leave of that lady fair, 

And to her chamber she went full tight, 
And for all things she did prepare, 

Both pen and ink, and paper white. 
The lord unto his study went, 

Forecasting with all his might 
To bring to pass all his intent: 

He took no rest till it was night. 
And when the stars shone fair and bright, 

He him disguised in strange mannere. 
He went unknown of any wyght, 

No more with him but his esquire. 
And when he came her chamber near, 

Full privily there can he stand, 
To cause the lady to appeare 

He made a signe with his right hand; 
And when the lady there him wist, 
She was as glad as she might be. 
Char-coals in chimneys there were cast, 

Candles on sticks standing full high; 
She opened the wickett and let him in, 149 



And said, welcome, lord and knight soe free I 
A rich chair was set for him, 

And another for that fair lady. 
They ate the spice and drank the wine, 

He had all things at his intent; 
They rested them as for a time, 

And to their study then they went. 
Then that lady so fair and free, 

"With rudd as red as rose in May, 
She kneeled down upon her knee, 

And to the lord thus can she say: 
Good father Stanley, I you pray, 

Now here is no more but you and I; 
Let me know what you will say, 

For pen and paper I have ready. 
He saith, commend me to my son George Strange, 

In Latham Castle there he doth lye, 
When I parted with him his heart did change, 

From Latham to Manchester he road me by. 
Upon Salford Bridge I turned my horse againe, 

My son George by the hand I hent; 
I held so hard forsooth certaine, 

That his formast finger out of the joint went; 
I hurt him sore, he did complain, 

These words to him then I did say: 
Son, on my blessing, turne home againe, 

This shall be a token another day. 
Bid him come like a merchant of Farnfield, 

Of Coopland, or of Kendall, wheather that it be, 
And seven with him, and no more else, 

For to bear him company. 
Bid him lay away watch and ward, 

And take no heed to mynstrel's glee; 
Bid him sit at the lower end of the board, 

When he is amongst his meany, 
His back to the door, his face to the wall, 

That comers and goers shall not him see; 
Bid him lodge in no common hall, 

But keep him unknowne right secretly. 
Commend me to my brother Sir William so dear, 

In the Holt Castle there dwelleth hee; 
Since the last time that, we together were, 

In the forest of Delameere both fair and free, 
And seven harts upon one hearde, 

Were brought to the buck sett to him and me; 
But a forester came to me with a whoore bearde, 

And said, good sir, awhile rest ye, 


I have found you a hart in Darnall Park, 

Such a one I never saw with my eye. 
I did him crave, he said I shoud him have; 

He was brought to the broad heath truely; 
At him I let my grayhound then slipp, 

And followed after while I might dree. 
He left me lyeing in an ould moss pitt, 

A loud laughter then laughed he; 
He said, Rise up, and draw out your cousin; 

The deer is dead, come you and see. 
Bid him come as a marchant of Carnarvon, 

Or else of Bew-morris whether it be; 
And in his company seven Welshmen, 

And come to London and speak to me; 
I have a great mind to speak with him, 

I think it long since I him see. 
Commend me to Sir John Savage, that knight, 

Lady, he is my sister's sone, 
Since upon a friday at night 

Before my bedside he kneeled downe: 
He desired me as I was uncle dear, 

Many a time full tenderly, 
That I would lowly King Richard require 

If I might get him any fee. 
I came before my soveraigne Lord, 

And kneeled down upon my knee, 

So soon to me he did accord 

I thanked him full courteously, 
A gatt him an hundred pounds in Kent 

To him and bis heirs perpetually, 
Alsoe a manor of a duchy rent, 

Two hundred pounds he may spend thereby, 
And high sheriff of Worcestershire, 

And alsoe the park of Tewksbury. 
He hath it all at his desire, 

Therewith dayley he may make merry. 
Bid him come as a merchant man 

Of West Chester, that fair city, 
And seven yeomen to wait him on, 

Bid him come to London and speak with me. 
Commend me to good Gilbert Talbott, 

A gentle esquire forsooth is he; 
Once on a Fryday, full well I woot 

King Richard called him traitour high: 
But Gilbert to his fawchon prest, 

A bold esquire forsooth is he; 
Their durst no sarjant him arreast, 



He is called so perlous of his body. 
In the Tower Street I meet him then 

Going to Westminster to take sanctuarie; 
I light beside my horse I was upon, 

The purse from my belt I gave him truely; 
I bad him ride down into the North-West, 

Perchance a knight in England I might him see 
Wherefore pray him at my request 

To come to London to speak with me. 
Then said the royall Lord so just, 

Now you have written, and sealed have I, 
There is no messenger that we may trust, 

To bring these writeings into the West Couiitrey. 
Because our matter it is so high, 

Least any man wou'd us descry. 
Humphrey Brereton, then said Bessye, 

Hath been true to my father and me; 
He shall take the writeings in hand, 

And bring them into the West Countrey: 
I trust him best of all this land 

On this message to go for me. 
Go to thy bed, Father, and sleep full soon, 

And I shall wake for you and me, 
By tomorrow at the riseing of the sune, 

Humphrey Brereton shall be with thee. 
She brings the Lord to his bed so trimly dight 

All that night where he shoud lye, 
And Bessy waked all that night, 

There came no sleep* within her eye: 
In the morning when the day can spring, 

Up riseth young Bessye, 
And maketh hast in her dressing; 

To Humphrey Brereton gone is she: 
But when she came to Humphrey's bower bright, 

With a small voice called she, 
Humphrey answered that lady bright, 

Saith, Who calleth on me so early ? 
I am King Edward's daughter right, 

The Countesse clear, young Bessy, 
In all hast with mean and might 

Thou must come speak with the Earle of Darby. 
Humphrey cast upon him a gowne, 

And a pair of slippers upon his feet- 
Alas! said Humphrey, 1 may not ride, 

My horse is tired as you may see; 
Since I came from London city, 

Neither night nor day, I tell you plain, 


There came no sleep within my eye; 

On my business I thought certaine. 
Lay thee down Humphrey, he said, and sleep, 

I will give space of hours three: 
A fresh horse I thee beehyte, 

Shall bring thee through the West Countrey. 
Humphrey slept not hours two, 

But on his journey well thought hee; 
A fresh horse was brought him tooe, 

To bring him through the West Countrey. 
Then Humphrey Brereton with mickle might, 

Hard at Latham knocketh hee; 
Who is it, said the porter, this time of the night, 

That so hastily calleth on mee? 
The porter then in that state, 

That time of the night riseth hee, 
And forthwith opened me the gate, 

And received both my horse and me. 
Then said Humphrey Brereton, truely 

With the Lord Strange speak would I faine, 
From his father the Earle of Darby. 

Then was I welcom that time certaine; 
A torch burned that same tide, 

And other lights that he might see; 
And brought him to the bedd side 

Where as the Lord Strange lie. 
The lord mused in that tide, 

Said, Humphrey Brereton, what mak'st thou here? 
How fareth my father, that noble lord, 

In all England that hath no peer? 
Humphrey took him a letter in hand, 

And said, Behold, my lord, and you may see. 
When the Lord Strange looked the letter upon, 

The tears trickled downe from his eye: 
He said, we must come under a cloud, 

We must never trusted bee; 
We may sigh and make a great moane, 

This world is not as it will bee. 
Have here, Humphrey, pounds three, 

Better rewarded may thou bee; 
Commend me to my father dear, 

His daily blessing he would give me; 
He said also in that tide, 

Tell him also thus from me; 
If I be able to go or ride, 

This appointment keep will I. 
When Humphrey received the gold, I say, 




Straight to Manchester rideth hee, 
The sun was light up of the day, 

He was aware of the Warden and Edward Stanley; 
The one brother said to the other, 

As they together their mattins did say: 
Behold, he said, my own dear brother, 

Yonder comes Humphrey Brereton, it is no nay, 
My father's servant at command 

Some hasty tydeings bringeth hee. 
He took them either a letter in hand, 

And bad them behold, read and see: 
They turn'd their backs shortly tho', 

And read those letters readily. 
Up they leap and laughed too, 

And also they made game and glee, 
Fair fare our father, that noble lord, 

To stirr and rise now beginneth hee; 
Buckingham's blood shall be wroken, 

That was beheaded in Salsbury; 
Fare fall that countesse, the king's daughter, 

That fair lady, young Bessye, 
We trust in Jesus in time hereafter, 

To bring thy love over the sea. 
Have here, Humphrey, of either of us shillings ten, 

Better rewarded may thou bee. 
He took the gold of the two gentlemen, 

To sir John Savage then rideth hee; 
He took him then a letter in hand, 

And bad him behold, read and see: 
When sir John Savage looked the letter upon, 

All blackned the knight's blee; 
Woman's wisdom is wondrous to hear, loe, 

My uncle is turned by young Bessye: 
Whether it turn to waile or woe, 

At my uncle's bidding will I bee. 
To Sheffield Castle at that same tide, 

In all the hast that might bee, 
Humphrey took his horse and forth could rid< 

To Gilbert Talbot fair and free. 
He took him a letter in his hand, 

Behold, said Humphrey, read and see; 
When he the letter looked upon, 

A loud laughter laughed hee, 
Fare fall that Lord in his renowne there, 

To stirr and rise beginneth hee: 
Fair fall Bessye that countesse clear, 

That such councell cou'd give truely; 


Commend me to my nephew nigh of blood, 

The young Earle of Shrewsbury, 
Bid him neither dread for death nor good; 

In the Tower of London if he bee, 
I shall make London gates to tremble and quake, 

But my nephew borrowed shall bee. 
Commend me to the countesse that fair make, 

King Edward's daughter, young Bessy: 
Tell her I trust in Jesu that hath no pear, 

To bring her love over the sea. 
Commend me to that lord to me so dear, 

That lately was made the Earle of Darby; 
And every hair of my head 

For a man counted might bee, 
With that lord without any dread, 

With him will I live and dye. 
Have here, Humphrey, pounds three, 

Better rewarded may thou bee: 
Look to London gates thou ride quickly, 

In all the hast that may bee; 
Commend me to that countesse young Bessy, 

She was King Edward's daughter dear, 
Such a one she is, I say truely, 

In all this land she hath no peer. 
He took his leave at that time, 

Strait to London rideth he, 
In all the hast that he could wind, 

His journey greatly he did apply. 
But when he came to London, as I weene, 

It was but a little before the evening, 
There was he warr, walking in a garden, 

Both the earle, and Richard the king. 
When the earle did Humphrey see, 

When he came before the king, 
He gave him a privy twink then with his eye, 

Then downe falls Humphrey on his knees kneeling; 
Welcome, Humphrey, says the lord, 

I have missed thee weeks three. 
I have been in the west, my lord, 

There born and bred was I, 
For to sport and play me certaine, 

Among my friends far and nigh. 
Tell me, Humphrey, said the earle then, 

How fareth all that same countrey? 
Of all the countreys I dare well say, 

They be the flower of chivalry; 
For they will bycker with their bowes, 



They will fight and never fly. 
Tell me, Humphrey, I thee pray, 

How fareth King Richard his commenty? 
When King Richard heard him say so, 

In his heart he was right merry; 
He with his cap that was so dear, 

He thanked that lord most courteously: 
And said, Father Stanley, thou art to me near, 

You are the chief of our poor commenty; 
Half England shall be thine, 

It shall be equall between thee and me; 
I am thine and thou art mine, 

So two fellows will we bee. 
I swear by Mary, that mild maiden, 

I know no more such under the skye; 
When I am king and wear the crown, then 

I will be chief of the poor commenty: 
Task nor mize I will make none, 

In no countrey farr nor nigh; 
If their goods I shoud take and pluck them downe, 

For me they woud fight full faintly: 
There is no riches to me so rich, 

As is the love of our poor commenty. 
When they had ended all their speeches, 

They take their leave full heartiley; 
And to his bower King Richard is gone. 

The earle and Humphrey Brereton 
To Bessy's bower anon were gone; 

When Bessy Humphrey did see anon, 
She took him in her arms and kissed him times three. 

Welcome, she said, Humphrey Brereton; 
How hast thou spedd in the West Countrey 

I pray thee tell me quickly and anon. 
Into a parlour they went from thence, 

There were no more but he and sheer 
Humphrey, said Bessy, tell me e're we go hence 

Some tideings out of the West Countrey; 
If I shall send for yonder prince 

To come over the sea, for the love of me, 
And if King Richard shoud him convince, 

Alas! it were great ruthe to see, 
Or murthered among the Stanley's blood to be, 

Indeed that were great pitty; 
That sight on that prince I woud not see, 

For all the gold in Christantie! 
Tell me, Humphrey, I thee pray, 

How hast thou spedd in the West Countrey? 


What answer of them thou had now say, 

And what reward they gave to thee. 
By the third day of May it shall be seen, 

In London all that they will bee; 
Thou shalt in England be a queen, 

Or else doubtless that they will dye. 
Thus they proceed forth the winter then, 

Their councell they kept close all three, 
The earle he wrought by prophecy certaine, 

In London he would not abide or bee, 
But in the subburbs without the city 

An ould inn chosen hath hee. 
A drew an Eagle foot on the door truely, 

That the western men might know where he did lye. 
Humphrey stood on a high tower then, 

He looked into the West Countrey; 
Sir William Stanley and seven in green, 

He was aware of the Eagle drawne; 
He drew himselfe so wonderous nigh, 

And bad his men go into the towne, 
And drink the wine and make merry; 

Into the same inn he went full prest, 
Whereas the earle his brother lay. 

Humphrey full soon into the west 
Looks over a long lee; 

He was aware of the Lord Strange and seven in green, 
Come rideing into the city. 

When he was aware of the Eagle drawn, 
He drew himself so wonderously nigh, 

He bad his men go into the towne certain, 
And drink the wine and make merry; 

And he himselfe drew then, 
Where as his father in the inne lay. 

Humphrey looked in the west, I say, 
Sixteen in green then did he see; 

He was aware of the Warden and Edward Stanley, 
Come rideing both in one company. 

When they were aware of the Eagle drawne, 
The gentlemen they drew it nee; 

And bad their men go into the towne, 
And drink the wine and make merry. 

And did go themselves into the same inn full prest, 
Where the earle their father lay. 

Yet Humphrey beholdeth into the west, 
Andlooketh towards the north countrey; 

He was aware of Sir John Savage and Sir Gilbert Talbot 
Came rideing both in one company. 



When they were aware of the Eagle drawn, 
Themselves grew it full nigh, 

And bad their men go into the towne, 
To drink the wine and make merry. 

They did go themselves into the same inn, 
Where as the earle and Bessy lye. 

When all the lords together were, 
Amongst them all Bessy was full buissy; 

With goodly words Bessy then said there, 
Fair lords, what will you do for me? 

Will you relieve yonder prince, 
That is exiled beyond the sea? 

I would not have King Richard him to convince, 
For all the gold in Christentye. 

The Earle of Darby came forth then, 
These words he said to young Bessye, 

Ten thousand pounds will I send, 
Bessy, for the love of thee, 

And twenty thousand Eagle feet, 
The queen of England for to make thee; 

Then Bessy most lowly the earle did greet, 
And thankt his honor most heartiley. 

Sir William Stanley came forth then, 
These words he said to fair Bessy: 

Remember, Bessy, another time, 
Who doth the most, Bessy, for thee; 

Ten thousand coats, that shall be red certaine, 
In an hours warning ready shall bee; 

In England thou shalt be our queen, 
Or doubtlesse I will dye. 

Sir John Savage came forth then, 
These words he said to young Bessye, 

A thousand marks for thy sake certaine, 
Will I send thy love beyond the sea. 

Sir Gilbert Talbott came forth then, 
These were the words he said to Bessy: 

Ten thousand marks for thy sake certaine, 
I will send to beyond the sea. 

The Lord Strange came forth then, 
These were the words he said to Bessy: 

A little money and few men, 
Will bring thy love over the sea; 

Let us keep our gold at home, said he, 
For to wage our company; 

For if we should send it over the sea, 
We shoud put our gold in jeopartie. 
Ig8 Edward Stanley came forth then, 


These were the words he said to Bessye: 

Remember, Bessye, another time, 
Who that now doth the best for thee, 

For there is no power that I have, 
Nor no gold for to give thee; 

I will be under my father's banner, if God me save, 
There either to live or dye. 

Bessye came forth before the lords all, 
And downe she falleth upon her knee; 

Nineteen thousand pound of gold I shall 
Send my love behind the sea, 

A love letter, and a gold ring, 
From my heart root rite will I. 

Who shall be the messenger the same to bring, 
Both the gold and the writeing over the sea? 

Humphrey Brereton, said Bessy, 
I know him trusty and true certaine, 

Therefore the writeing and the gold truely 
By him shall be carried to Little Brittaine. 

Alas, said Humphry, I dare not take in hand, 
To carry the gold over the sea; 

These galley shipps they be so strange, 
They will me night so wonderously; 

They will me robb, they will me drowne, 
They will take the gold from me. 

Hold thy peace, Humphrey, said Bessye then, 
Thou shalt it carry without jepordye; 

Thou shalt not have any caskett nor any male, 
Nor budgett, nor cloak sack, shall go with thee; 

Three mules that be stiff and strong withall, 
Sore loaded with gold shall they bee, 

With saddle-side skirted I do tell thee 
Wherein the gold sowe will I: 

If any man faine whose is the shipp truely 
That saileth forth upon the sea, 

Say it is the Lord Lislay, 
In England and France well beloved is he. 

Then came forth the Earle of Darby, 

These words he said to young Bessy: 
He said, Bessye, thou art to blame 

To appoint any shipp upon the sea; 
I have a good shipp of my owne, 

Shall carry Humphrey with the mules three; 
An eagle shall be drawne upon the mast top, 

That the Italians may it see; 
There is no freak in all France 
159 The eagle that dare come nee. 


If any one ask whose shipp it is, then 

Say it is the Earles of Darby. 
Humphrey took the three mules then, 

Into the west wind wou'd hee, 
Without all doubt at Liverpoole 

He took shipping upon the sea: 
With a swift wind and a liart, 

He so saild upon the sea, 
To Beggrames Abbey in Little Brittain, 

Where as the English Prince lie; 
The porter was a Cheshire man, 

Well he knew Humphrey when he him see; 
Humphrey knockt at the gate truely, 

Where as the porter stood it by, 
And welcomed me full heartiley, 

And received then my mules three; 
I shall thee give in this breed 

To thy reward pounds three; 
I will none of thy gold, the porter said, 

Nor Humphrey none of the fee, 
I will open thee the gates certaine 

To receive thee and the mules three; 
For a Cheshire man born am I certain, 

From the Malpas but miles three. 
The porter opened the gates that time, 

And received him and the mules three. 
The wine that was in the hall that time 

He gave to Humphrey Brereton truely. 
Alas! said Humphrey, how shoud I doe., 

I am strayed in a strange countrey, 
The Prince of England I do not know, 

Before I never did him see. 
I shall thee tell, said the porter then, 

The Prince of England know shall ye, 
Low where he siteth at the butts certaine, 

With other lords two or three; 
He weareth a gown of velvet black 

And it is cutted above the knee, 
With a long visage and pale and black 

Thereby know that prince may ye; 
A wart he hath, the porter said, 

A little alsoe above the chinn, 
His face is white, his wart is redd, 

No more than the head of a small pinn; 
You may know the prince certaine, 

As soon as you look upon him truely. 
160 He received the wine of the porter, then 


With him he took the mules three. 
When Humphrey came before that prince, 

He falleth downe upon his knee, 
He delivereth the letters which Bessy sent, 

And so did he the mules three, 
A rich ring with a stone, 

Thereof the prince glad was hee; 
He took the ring of Humphrey then, 

And kissed the ring times three. 
Humphrey kneeled still as any stone, 

As sure as I do tell to thee; 
Humphrey of the prince answer gott none, 

Therefore in heart was he heavy; 
Humphrey stood up then full of skill, 

And then to the prince said he: 
Why standest thou so still at thy will, 

And no answer dost give to me? 
I am come from the Stanleys' blood so dear, 

King of England for to make thee, 
A fairer lady then thou shalt have to thy fair, 

There is not one in all christantye; 
She is a countesse, a king's daughter, Humphrey said, 

The name of her it is Bessye, 
She can write, and she can read, 

Well can she work by prophecy; 
I may be called a lewd messenger, 

For answer of thee I can gett none, 
I may sail home with heavy cheare, 

What shall I say when I come home? 
The prince he took the Lord Lee, 

And the Earle of Oxford was him nee, 
The Lord Ferris wou'd not him beguile truely, 

To councell they are gone all three; 
When they had their councell taken, 

To Humphrey then turned he: 
Answer, Humphrey, I can give none truely 

Within the space of weeks three; 
The mules into a stable were taken anon, 

The saddle skirts unopened were, 
Therein he found gold great plenty 

For to wage a company. 
He caused the abbot to make him chear: 

In my stead now let him be, 
If I be king and wear the crown 

Well acquited Abbott shalt thou be. 
Early in the morning they made them knowne, . 

As soon as the light they cou'd see; 

M 161 


With him he taketh his lords three, 

And straight to Paris he took his way. 
An herriott of arms they made ready, 

Of men and money they cou'd him pray, 
And shipps to bring him over the sea, 

The Stanleys' blood for me hath sent, 
The King of England for to make me, 

And I thank them for their intent, 
For if ever in England I wear the crowne, 

Well accquited the King of France shall be? 
Then answered the King of France anon, 

Men nor money he getteth none of me, 
Nor no shipps to bring him over the sea; 

In England if he wear the crowne, 
Then will he claim them for his own truely: 

With this answer departed the prince anon, 
And so departed the same tide, 

And the English lords three 
To Beggrames Abbey soon coud the ride, 

There as Humphrey Brereton then lee; 
Have Humphrey a thousand mark here, 

Better rewarded may thou be; 
Commend me to Bessy that Countesse clear, 

Before her never did I see: 
I trust in God she shall be my feer, 

For her I will travell over the sea; 
Commend me to my father Stanley, to me so dear, 

My owne mother married hath he, 
Bring him here a love letter full right 

And another to young Bessye, 
Tell her, I trust in Jesus full of might 

That my queen that she shall bee; 
Commend me to Sir William Stanley, 

That noble knight in the west countrey, 
Tell him that about Michaelmas certaine 

In England I do hope to be; 
Att Milford haven I will come inn 

With all the power that make may I, 
The first towne I will come inn 

Shall be the towne of Shrewsbury; 
Pray Sir William Stanley, that noble knight, 

That night that he will look on me: 
Commend me to Sir Gilbert Talbot, that royall knight, 

He much in the north countrey, 
And Sir John Savage, that man of might, 
. Pray them all to look on me, 
162 For I trust in Jesus Christ so full of might, 


In England for to abide and bee. 
I will none of thy gold, sir prince, said Humphrey, then, 

Nor none sure will I have of thy fee, 
Therefore keep, thy gold thee within, 

For to wage thy company; 
If every hair were a man, 

With thee, sir prince, will I be: 
Thus Humphrey Brereton his leave hath tone, 

And saileth forth upon the sea, 
Straight to London he rideth then, 

There as the earle and Bessy lay; 
And bad them behold, read and see. 

The earle took leave of Richard the king, 
And into the west wind wou'd he; 

He left Bessye in Leicester then 
And bad her lye in pryvitye, 

For if king Richard knew thee here anon, 
In a fire burned thou must be. 

Straight to Latham the earle is gone, 
There as the Lord Strange then lee; 

He sent the Lord Strange to London, 
To keep King Richard company. 

Sir William Stanley made anone 
Ten thousand coats readily, 

Which were as redd as any blood, 
Thereon the hart's head was set full high, 

Which after were tryed both trusty and good 
As any cou'd be in Christantye. 

Sir Gilbert Talbot ten thousand doggs 
In one hour's warning for to be, 

And Sir John Savage fifteen white hoods, 
Which wou'd fight and never flee; 

Edward -Stanley had three hundred men, 
There were no better in Christantye; 

Sir Rees ap Thomas, a knight of Wales certain, 
Eight thousand spears brought he 

Sir William Stanley sat in the Holt Castle, 
And looked over his head so high; 

Which way standeth the wind, can any tell? 
I pray you, my men, look and see. 

The wind it standeth south east, 
So said a knight that stood him by. 

This night yonder prince, truely 
Into England entereth hee. 

He called a gentleman that stood him nigh, 
His name was Rowland of Warburton, 

He bad him go to Shrewsbury that night, 


And bid yonder prince come inn: 

But when Rowland came to Shrewsbury, 
The portculles was let downe; 

They called him Henry Tydder, io scorn truely, 
And said, in England he shou'd wear no crowne; 

Rowland bethought him of a wyle then, 
And tied a writeing to a stone, 

And threw the writeing over the wall certain, 
And bad the bailiffs to look it upon: 

They opened the gates on every side, 
And met the prince with procession; 

And wou'd not in Shrewsbury there abide, 
But straight he drest him to Stafford towne. 

King Richard heard then of his comeing, 
He called his lords of great renowne; 

The Lord Pearcy he came to the king 
And upon his knees he falleth downe, 
I have thirty thousand fighting men 
For to keep the crown with thee. 

The Duke of Northfolk came to the king anone, 
And downe he falleth upon his knee; 

The Earle of Surrey, that was his heir, 
Were both in one company; 

We have either twenty thousand men here, 
For to keep the crown with thee. 

The Lord Latimer, and the Lord Lovell, 
And the Earle of Kent he .stood him by, 

The Lord Ross, and the Lord Scrope, I you tell, 
They were all in one company; 

The Bishopp of Durham, he was not away, 
Sir William Bonner he stood him by, 

The good Sir William of Harrington, as I say, 
Said, he wou'd fight and never fly. 
King Richard made a messenger, 
And sent him into the west countrey, 

And bid the Earle of Darby make him bowne, 
And bring twenty thousand men unto me, 

Or else the Lord Strange his head I will him send, 
And doubtless his son shall dye; 

For hitherto his father I took for my friend, 
And now he hath deceived me. 

Another herald appeared then 
To Sir William Stanley that doughty knight, 

Bid him bring to me ten thousand men, 
Or else to death he shall be dight. 

Then answered that doughty knight, 
And spake to the herald without letting; 



Say, upon Bosseworth Field I meen to fight, 
Uppon Monday early in the morning; 

Such a breakfast I him behight, 
As never did knight to any king. 

The messenger home can him gett, 
To tell King Richard this tydeing. 

Fast together his hands then cou'd he ding, 
And said, the Lord Strange shou'd surely dye; 

And putt him into the Tower of London, 
For at liberty he shou'd not bee. 

Lett us leave Richard and his lords full of pride, 
And talk we more of the Stanleys' blood, 

That brought Richmond over the sea with wind and tyde, 
From Litle Brittain into England over the flood. 

Now is Earle Richmond into Stafford come, 
And Sir William Stanley to Litle Stoone; 

The prince had rather then all the gold in Christantyc, 
To have Sir William Stanley to look upon; 

A messenger was made ready anone, 
That night to go to Litle Stoon; 

Sir William Stanley he rideth to Stafford towne, 
With a solemn company ready bowne. 

When the knight to Stafford was comr? 
That Earle Richmond might him see, 

He took him in his arms then, 
And there he kissed him times three; 

The welfare of thy body doth comfort me more 
Then all the gold in Christantye. 

Then answered that royall knight there, 
And to the prince these words spake he, 

Remember, man, both night and day, 
Who doth now the most for thee; 

In England thou shalt wear a crown, I say, 
Or else doubtless I will dye; 

A fairer lady then thou shalt have for thy feer, 
Was there never in Christanty; 

She is a countesse, a king's daughter, 
And there to both wise and witty; 

I must this night to Stone, my soveraigne ; 
For to comfort my company. 

The prince he took him by the hand, 
And said, farewell, Sir William, fair and free. 

Now is word come to Sir William Stanley there, 
Early in the Monday, in the morning, 

That the Earle of Darby, his brother dear, 
Had given battle to Richard the king. 

That wou'd I not, said Sir William anone, 



For all the gold in Christantye, 

That the battle shou'd be donej 
Straight to Lichfield cou'd he ride, 

In all the hast that might bee, 
And when he came to Lichfield that tyde, 

All they cryed King Henry: 
Straight to Bolesvvorth can they go 

In all the hast that might be, 
But when he came Boles\vorth Field unto, 

There met a royall company; 
The Earle of Darby thither was come, 

And twenty thousand stood him by; 
Sir John Savage, his sister's son, - 

He was his nephew of his blood so nigh, 
He had fifteen hundred fighting men, 

That wou'd fight and never flye ; 
Sir William Stanley, that royall knight, then 

Ten thousand red coats had he, 
They wou'd bicker with their bows there, 

They wou'd fight and never flye; 
The Red Rosse, and the Blew Boar, 

They were both a solemn company; 
Sir Rees ap Thomas he was thereby, 

With ten thousand spears of mighty tree; 
The Earle of Richmond went to the Earle of Darby, 

Arid downe he falleth upon his knee, 
Said, father Stanley, full of might, 

The vaward I pray you give to me, 
For I am come to claime my right, 

And faine revenged wou'd I bee. 
Stand up, he said, my son, quickly, 

Thou hast thy mother's blessing truely, 
The vaward, son, I will give to thee, 

So that thou wilt be ordered by me: 
Sir William Stanley, my brother dear, 

In the battle he shall be; 
Sir John Savage, he hath no peer, 

He shall be a wing then to thee; 
Sir Rees ap Thomas shall break the array, 

For he will fight and never flee; 
I myselfe will hove on the hill, I say, 

The fair battle I will see. 
King Richard he hoveth upon the mountaine; 

He was aware of the banner of the bould Stanley, 
And saith, Fetch hither the Lord Strange certain, 

For he shall dye this same day; 
166 To the death, Lord, thee ready make, 


For I tell thee certainly 
That them shalt dye for thy uncle's sake, 

Wild William of Stanley. 
If I shall dye, said the Lord Strange then, 

As God forbid it shou'd so bee, 
Alas! for my lady that is at home, 

It should be long or she see me, 
But we shall meet at doomsday, 

When the great doom shall be. 
He called for a gent in good fay, 

Of Lancashire, both fair and free, 
The name of him it was Lathum; 

A ring of gould he took from his finger, 
And threw it to the gent then, 

And bad him bring it to Lancashire, 
To his lady that was at home; 

At her table she may sit right, 
Or she see her lord it may be long, 

I have no foot to fligh nor fight, 
I must be murdered with the king: 

If fortune my uncle Sir William Stanley loose the field, 
As God forbid it shou'd so bee, 

Pray her to take my eldest son and child, 
And exile him over behind the sea; 

He may come in another time 
By feild or fleet, by tower or towne, 

Wreak so he may his father's death in fyne, 
Upon Richard of England that weareth the c rown. 

A knight to King Richard then did appeare, 
The good Sir William of Harrington. 

Let that lord have his life, my dear 
Sir king, I pray you grant me this boone, 

We shall have upon this field anon, 
The father, the son, and the uncle all three; 

Then shall you deem, lord, with your own mouth then, 
What shall be the death of them all three. 

Then a block was cast upon the ground, 
Thereon the lord's head was laid, 

A slave over his head can stand, 
And thus that time to him thus said: 

.In faith there is no other booty tho', 
But need that thou must be dead. 

Harrington in hart was full woe, 
When he saw that the lord must needs be dead. 

He said, our ray break eth on ev'ry side, 
We put our feyld in jepordie. 

He took up the lord that tyde, 



King Richard after did him never see. 

Then they blew up their bevvgles of brass, 
That made many a wife to cry alas! 

And many a wive's child fatherlesse; 
They shott of guns then very fast, 

Over their heads they could them throw; 
Arrows flew them between, 

As thick as any hayle or snowe, 
As then that time might plaine be scene; 

Then Rees ap Thomas with the black raven, 
Shortly he brake their array; 

Then with thirty thousand fighting men 
The Lord Pearcy went his way; 

The Duke of Northefolke wou'd have fledd with a good will, 
With twenty thousand of his company; 

They went up to a wind millne uppon a hill, 
That stood soe fayre and wonderousse bye; 

There he met Sir John Savage, a royall knight, 
And with him a worthy company; 

To the death was he then dight, 
And his sonne prisoner taken was he; 

Then the Lord Alroes began for to flee, 
And so did many other moe; 

When King Richard that sight did see, 
In his heart hee was never soe woe: 

I pray you my merry men, be not away, 
For upon this field will I like a man dye, 

For I had rather dye this day, 
Then with the Standley prisoner to be. 

A knight to King Richard can say there, 
Good Sir William of Harrington; 

He said, sir king, it hathe no peer, 
Upon this feyld to death to be done, 

For there may no man these dints abide; 
Low, your horse is ready at your hand; 

Sett the crown upon my head that tyde, 
Give me my battle axe in my hand; 

I make a vow to myld Mary that is so bright, 
I will dye the king of merry England. 

Besides his head they hewed the crown down right, 
That after he was not able to stand; 

They dinge him downe as they were woode, 
They beat his bassnet to his heade, 

Until the braynes came out with the bloode; 
They never left him till he was dead. 

Then carryed they him to Leicester, 
168 And pulled his head under his feet. 


Bessye mett him with a merry cheare, 
And with these words she did him greete; 

How like you the killing of my brethren dear? 
Welcome, gentle uncle, home! 

Great solace ytt was to see and hear, 
When the battell yt was all done; 

I tell you, masters, without lett, 
When the Red Rosse soe fair of hew, 

And young Bessye together mett, 
It was great joy I say to you. 

A bishopp them marryed with a ringe 
The two bloods of great renowne. 

Bessy said, now may we singe, 
Wee two bloods are made all one. 

The Earle of Darby hee was there, 
And Sir William Stanley, that noble knight, 

Upon their heads he set the crown so fair, 
That was made of gould so bright. 

And there he came under a cloud, 
That some time in England looked full high; 

But then the hart he lost his head, 
That after no man cou'd him see. 

But Jesus, that is both bright and shine, 
And born was of myld Mary, 

Save and keepe our noble kinge, 
And also the poore commentie Amen. 


This old romantic legend' is taken from 
Percy's ' Reliques,' where it was given ' from 
two copies, one of them in the Editor's Folio 
MS., but which contained very great varia 
tions.' In an old book, entitled, ' The Com- 
playnt of Scotland," ' one of the earliest pro 
ductions of the Scottish Press now to be found, 
supposed to have been printed about 1540' an 
ancient romance is mentioned, under the title, 
' How the King of Estmureland married the 
King's daughter of Westmureland,' which Sir 
Walter Scott suggested might possibly have 
been ' the original of the beautiful legend of 
K ; ng Estmere.' Be this as it may, the legend 
itself ' bears marks," as Bishop Percy says, ' of 
great antiquity.' In his opinion ' it would seem 
to have been written while a great part of Spain 
was in the hands of the Saracens or Moors t 
whose empire there was not fully extinguished 
before the year 1491. The Mahometans arc 
spoken of In v. 49, &c., just in the same terms 
as in all other old romances.*] 

EARKEN to me, gentlemen, 
Come and you shall heare; 

He tell you of two of the boldest 

That ever born y-were. 


The tone of them was Adler yonge, 

The t other was kyng Estmere; 
The were as bolde men in their deedes, 

As any were farr and neare. 

As they were drinking ale and wine 

Within kyng Estmeres halle : 
When will ye marry a wyfe, brother, 

A wyfe to gladd us all? 

Then bespake him kyng Estmere, 

And answered him hastilee: 
I knowe not that ladye in any lande, 

That is able to marry with mee. 

Kyng Adland hath a daughter, brother, 

Men call her bright and sheene; 
If I were kynge here in your stead, 

That ladye shold be queene. 

Sayes, Reade me, reade me, deare brother, 

; Throughout merry England, 
Where we might find a messenger 

Betweene us two to sende. 

Sayes, You shall ryde yourselfe, brother, 

He beare you companee; 
Many throughe fals messengers are deceived, 

And I feare lest soe shold wee. 

Thus the renisht them to ryde 

Of twoe good renisht steedes, 
And when they came to kyng Adlands halle, 

Of red golde shone their weedes. 

And when the came to kyng Adlands halle 

Before the goodlye yate, 
Ther they found good kyng Adland 

Rearing himselfe theratt. 

Nowe Christ thee save, good kyng Adland; 

Nowe Christ thee save and see. . 
Sayd, You be welcome, kyng Estmere, 

Right hartilye to mee. 

You have a daughter, sayd Adler yonge, 

Men call her bright and sheene, 
My brother woid marrye her to his wiffe, 

Of Englande to be queene. 



Yesterdaye was att my dere daughter 
Syr Breraor the kyng of Spayne; 

And then she nicked him of naye, 
I feare sheele-do youe the same. 

The kyng of Spayne is a foule paynim, 

And 'leeveth on Mahound; 
And pitye it were that fayre ladye 

Shold marrye a heathen hound. 

But grant to me, sayes kyng Estmere, 

For my love I you praye; 
That I may see your daughter dere 

Before I goe hence aw aye. 

Althoughe itt is seven yeare and more 
Syth my daughter was in halle, 

She shall come downe once for your sake 
To glad my guestes alle. 

Downe then came that mayden fayre, 

With ladyes lacede in pall, 
And halfe a hondred of bolde knightes, 

To bring her from bowre to hall; 
And eke as many gentle squieres, 

To waite upon them all. 

The talents of golde, were on her head sette, 
Hunge lowe downe to her knee; 

And everye rynge on her small finger, 
Shone of the chrystall free. 

Sayes, Christ you save, my deare madarue; 

Sayes, Christ you save and see. 
Sayes, You be welcome, kyng Estmere. 

Right welcome unto mee. 

And iff you love me, as you saye, 

So well and hartilee, 
All that ever you are comen about 

Soone sped now itt may bee. 

Then bespake her father deare: 

My daughter, I saye naye; 
Remember well the kyng of Spayne, 

What he sayd yesterdaye. 

He wold pull downe my halles and castles, 
And reave me of my lyfe: 


And ever I feare that paynim kyng, 
Iff I reave him of his wyfe. 

Your castles and your towres, father, 

Are stronglye built aboute; 
And therefore of that foule paynim 

Wee neede not stande in doubte. 

Plyght me your troth, nowe, kyng Estmere, 
By heaven and your righte hande, 

That you will marrye me to your wyfe, 
And make me queene of your land. 

Then kyng Estmere he plight his troth 

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, 
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 kynge of Spayne, 

With kempes many a one. 

But in did come the kyng of Spayne, 

With manye a grimme barone, 
Tone day to marrye kyng Adlands daughter, 

T other daye to carrye her home. 

Then shee sent after kyng Estmere 

In all the spede might bee, 
That he must either returne and fighte, 

Or goe home and lose his ladye. 

One whyle then the page he went. 

Another whyle he ranne; 
Till he had oretaken king Estmere, 

I wis, he never blanne. 

Tydinges, tydinges, kyng Estmere! 

What tydinges nowe, my boye? 
O tydinges I can tell to you, 

That will you sore annoye. 

You had not ridden scant a myle, 
A myle out of the towne, 



But in did come the kyng of Spayne 
With kempes many a one: 

But in did come the kyng of Spayne 
With manye a grimme barone, 

Tone day to marrye kyng Adlands daughter, 
T other daye to carrye her home. 

That ladye fayre she greetes you well, 
And ever-more well by mee: 

You must either turne againe and fighte, 
Or goe home and lose your ladye. 

Sayes, Reade me, reade me, deare brother, 

My reade shall ryde at thee, 
Wbiche way we best may turne and fighte, 

To save this fayre ladye. 

Now hearken to me, sayes Adler yonge, 
And your reade must rise at me, 

I quicklye will devise a waye 
To sette thy ladye free. 

My mother was a westerne woman, 

And learned in gramarye, 
And when I learned at the schole, 

Something shee taught itt me. 

There groweth an hearbe within this fielde, 
And iff it were but knowne, 

His color, which is whyte and redd, 
It will make blacke and browne: 

His color, which is browne and blacke, 
Itt will make redd and whyte; 

That sword is not in all Englande, 
Upon his coate will byte. 

And you shal be a harper, brother, 

Out of the north countree; 
And He be your boye, so faine of fighte, 

To beare your harpe by your knee. 

And you shall be the best harper, 
That ever tooke harpe in hand; 

And I will be the best singer, 
That ever sung in this land. 

Itt shal be written in our forheads 

All and in grammarye, 


That we towe are the boldest men, 
That are in all Christentye. 

And thus they renisht them to ryde, 

On towe good renish steedes; 
And whan they came to kyng Adlands hall, 

Of redd gold shone their weedes. 

And whan the came to kyng Adlands hall 

Untill the fayre hall yate, 
There they found a proud porter 

Rearing himselfe theratt. 

Sayes, Christ thee save, thou proud porter* 

Sayes, Christ thee save and see. 
Nowe you be welcome, sayd the porter. 

Of what land soever ye bee. 

We been harpers, sayd Adler yonge, 

Come out of the northe countree; 
We 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, 
Ed saye king Estmere and his brother 

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 porter, 

Thow wilt saye us no harme. 

Sore he looked on kyng Estmere, 

And sore he handled the ryng, 
Then opened to them the fayre hall yates, 

He lett for no kind of thyng. 

Kyng Estmere he light off his steede 

Up att the fayre hall board; 
The frothe, that came from his brydle bitte, 

Light on kyng Bremors beard. 

Sayes, Stable thy steede, thou proud harper, 

Go stable him in the stalle; 
Itt doth not beseeme a proud harper 

To stable him in a kyngs halle. 

My ladd he is so lither, he sayd, 

He will do nought that's meete; 



And aye that I cold but find the man, 
Were able him to beate. 

Thou speakst proud words, sayd the Paynim king, 

Thou harper here to mee: 
There is a man within this halle, 

That will beate thy lad and thee. 

O lett that man come downe, he sayd, 

A sight of him wold I see; 
And whan hee hath beaten well my ladd, 

Then he shall beate of mee. 

Downe then came the kemperye man, 

And looked him in the eare; 
For all the gold, that was under heaven, 

He durst not neigh him neare. 

And how nowe, kempe, sayd the kyng of Spayne, 

And how what aileth thee? 
He sayes, Itt is written in his forhead 

All and in gramarye, 
That for all the gold that is under heaven, 

I dare not neigh him nye. 

Kyng Estmere then pulled forth his harpe, 

And played thereon so sweete: 
Upstarte the ladye from the kynge, 

As hee sate at the meate. 

Now stay thy harpe, thou proud harper, 

Now stay thy harpe, I say; 
For an thou playest as thou beginnest, 

Thou'lt till my bride awaye. 

He strucke upon his harpe agayne, 

And playd both fayre and free; 
The ladye was so pleasde theratt, 

She laught loud laughters three. 

Nowe sell me thy harpe, sayd the kyng of Spayne, 
Thy harpe and stryngs eche one, 

And as many gold nobles thou shalt have, 
As there be stryngs thereon. 

And what wold ye doe with my harpe, he sayd, 

Iff I did sell it yee ? 
' To playe my wiffe and me a fitt, 
176 When abed together we bee.' 


Now sell me, quoth hee, thy bryde soe gay, 

As shee sitts laced in pall, 
And as many gold nobles I will give, 

As there be rings in the hall. 

And what wold ye doe with my bryde soe gay, 

Iff I did sell her yee? 
More seemelye it is for her fayre bodye 

To lye by mee than thee. 

Hee played agayne both loud and shrille, 

And Adler he did syng, 
' O ladye, this is thy owne true love; 

Noe harper, but a kyng. 

O ladye, this is thy owne true love, 

As playnlye thou inayest see; 
And fie rid thee of that foule pay mm, 

Who partes thy love and thee/ 

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, 

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 he drew his brand; 
And Estmere he, and Adler yonge 

Right stiffe in stour can stand. 

And aye their swordes soe sore can byte, 

Throughe help of Gramarye, 
That soone they have slayne the kempery men, 

Or forst them forth to flee. 

Kyng Estmere tooke that fayre ladye, 

And marryed her to his wyfe, 
And brought her home to merrye England 

With her to leade his lyfe. 

[In this ballad, the reader will see the character of the old minstrels, those successors of 
the bards, placed in a very respectable light : one of them being represented mounted on 
a fine horse, accompanied with an attendant to bear his harp after him, and to sing the 
puems of his composing ; and mixing in the company of kings without ceremony ; no 
mean proof of the great antiquity of this poem. As to Estmere's riding into the hall while 
t he k ings 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.' Percy^ , ' 

vj THk 


[This fine old ballad appears to have been first printed, about 
1520, in a black-letter book, entitled, ' The Customes of Lou- 
don, or, Arnoldes Chronicle ;' no earlier copy having been dis- 
covered. It was probably an old piece, even then j or an anti- - 
quary like Arnolde would hardly have inserted it among his 
historical Collections. Indeed it has been supposed to have 
been written as early as the year 1400. It was revived in ' The 
Muses Mercury' for June, 1707 ; where it is said to be ' near 
three hundred years old.' Prior, who founded upon it his 
' Henry and Emma,' printed it with his Poems, (1718,) assert 
ing it to have been written near three hundred years since ;' 
and Dr. Percy included it in his ' Reliques.' ' Its sentimental 
beauties," he says, ' have always recommended it to readers of 
taste, notwithstanding the rust of antiquity which obscures the 
style and expression.' We give it in that rust ; nothing doubt 
ing that every reader will prefer it to any modern polish that 
could be put upon it.] 

Eit ryght or wrong, these men among 

On women do complayne; 
AfFyrmynge this, how that it is 

A labour spent in vayne, 
To love them wele; for never a dele 

They love a man agayne: 
For late a man do what he can, 
J Theyr favour to attayne, 
Yet, yf a newe do them pursue, 

Theyr first true lover than 
Laboureth for nought; for from her thought 

He is a banyshed man. 


I say not nay, but that all day 

It is bothe writ and sayd 
That womans faith is, as who sayth, 

All utterly decayd; 
But, neverthelesse, ryght good wytnesse 

In this case might be layd, 
That they love true and continue: 

Recorde the Not-browne Mayde: 
Which, when her love came, her to prove, 

To her to make his mone, 
Wolde not depart: for in her hart 

She loved but hym alone. 

Than betwaine us late us dyscus 

What was all the manere 
Betwayne them two: we wyll also 

Tell all the payne and fere 
That she was in. Nowe I begyn, 

So that ye me answere; 
Wherefore, all ye, that present be, 

I pray you, gyve an ere. 
I am the knyght; I come by nyght, 

As secret as I can; 
Sayinge, Alas! thus standeth the case, 

I am a banyshed man. 

And I your wyll for to fulfyll 

In this wyll not refuse; 
Trustying to shewe, in wordes fewe, 

That men have an yll use 
(To theyr own shame) women to blame, 

And causeless them accuse ; 
Therfore, to you I answere nowe, 

All women to excuse, 
Myne owne hart dere, with you what chere? 

I pray you tell anone; 
For, in my mynde, of aU mankynde 

I love but you alone. 

It standeth so; a deed is do, 

Whereof grete harm shall growe; 
My destiny is for to dy 

A shamefull deth, I trowe; 
Or elles to flee: the one must be. 

None other way I knowe, 
But to withdrawe, as an outlawe, 

And take me to my bowe. 


Wherefore adue, my owne hart true! 

None other rede I can: 
For I must to the grene wode go, 

Alone, a banyshed man. 

Lord, what is thys worldys blysse, 
That changeth as the mone! 

My somers day in lusty May 
Is derked before the none. 

1 hear you say, Farewell! Nay, nay, 

We depart not so sone. 
Why say ye so? wheder wyll ye go? 

Alas! what have ye done? 
All my welfare to sorrowe and care 

Sholde chaunge yf ye were gone; 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 

I can beleve, it shall you greve, 

And somewhat you dystrayne : 
But aftyrwarde, your paynes harde 

Within a day or twayne 
Shall sone aslake; and ye shall take 

Comfort to you agayne. 
Why sholde ye ought? for to make thought, 

Your labour were in vayne. 
And thus I do, and pray you to, 

As hartely as I can ; 
For I must to the grene wode go, 

Alone, a banyshed man. 

Now syth that ye have shewed to me 

The secret of your mynde, 
I shall be playne to you agayne, 

Lyke as ye shall me fynde. 
Syth it is so that ye wyll go, 

I wolle not leve behynde ; 
Shall never be sayd, the Not- Browne Mayde 

Was to her love unkynde : 
Make you redy, for so am I, 

Allthough it were anone ; 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 

Yet I you rede to take good hede 

What men wyll thynke, and say .: 
Of yonge and olde it shall be tolde, 
180 That ye be gone away, 


Your wanton wyll for to fulfyll, 

In grene wode you to play ; 
And that ye myght from your delyght 

No longer make delay. 
Rather than ye sholde thus for me 

Be called an yll woman, 
Yet wolde I to the grene wode go, 

Alone, a banyshed man. 

Though it be songe of old and yonge, 

That I sholde be to blame, 
Theyrs be the charge, that speke so large 

In hurtynge of my name : 
For I wyll prove, that faythfulle love 

It is devoyd of shame ; 
In your dystresse, and hevynesse, 

To part with you, the same : 
And sure all tho, that do not so, 

True lovers are they none; 
For in my mynde, of all mankynde, 

I love but you alone. 

I counceyle you, remember howe 

It is no mayden's lawe 
Nothynge to dout, but to renne out 

To wode with an outlawe ; 
For ye must there in your hand bere 

A bowe, redy to drawe ; 
And as a thefe, thus must you lyve. 

Ever in drede and awe. 
Whereby to you grete harme myght growe 

Yet had I lever than, 
That I had to the grene wode go, 

Alone, a banyshed man. 

I thynke not nay, but as ye say, 

It is no mayden's lore : 
But love may make me for your sake, 

As I have sayd before, 
To come on fote, to hunt and shote 

To get us mete in store ; 
For so that I your company 

May have, I aske no more : 
From which to part it maketh my hart 

As cold as ony stone ; 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 



For an outlawe this is the lawe, 

That men hym take and bynde ; 
Without pyte, hanged to be, 

And waver with the wynde. 
If I had nede, (as God forbede !) 

What rescous coud ye fynde ? 
Forsoth, I trowe, ye and your bowe 

For fere wolde draw behynde : 
And no mervayle ; for lytell avayle 

Were in your counceyle than : 
Wherefore I wyll to the grene wode go, 

Alone, a banyshed man. 

Ryght wele knowe ye, that women be 

But feble for to fyght ; 
No womanhede it is indede 

To be bolde as a knyght : 
Yet, in such fere, yf that ye were 

With enemyes day or nyght, 
I wolde withstande, with bowe in hande, 

To greve them as I myght, 
And you to save; as women have 

From deth many one : 
For in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 

Yet take good hede, for ever I drede 

That ye coude not sustayne 
The thornie wayes, the depe valeies, 

The snowe, the frost, the rayne. 
The colde, the hete; for dry or wete, 

We must lodge on the playne; 
And us above, none other rofe 

But a brake bush or twayne : 
Which sone sholde greve you, I beleve, 

And ye wolde gladly than 
That I had to the grenewode go, 

Alone, a banyshed man. 

Syth I have here been partynere, 
With you of joy and blysse, 

I must also parte of your wo 
Endure, as reson is. 

Yet I am sure of one plesure, 
And, shortely, it is this; 

That, where ye be, me seemeth, parde, 
182 I colde not fare amysse. 


Without more speche, I you beseche 

That we were sone agone, 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 

If ye go thyder, ye must consyder, 

When ye have lust to dyne, 
There shall no mete be for to gete, 

Nor drinke, bere, ale, ne wyne, 
No shetes clene, to lye betwene, 

Made of threde and twyne; 
None other house but leves and bowes, 

To cover your hed and myne. 
Oh myne harte swete, this evyll dyete, 

Sholde make you pale and wan ; 
Wherfore I wyll to the grene wode go, 

Alone,, a banyshed man. 

Among the wylde dere, such an archere, 

As men say that ye be, 
Ne may not fayle of good vitayle, 

Where is so grete plente. 
And water clere of the ryvere, 

Shall be full swete to me. 
With which in hele, I shall ryght wele 

Endure, as ye shall see; 
And, or we go, a bedde or two 

I can provyde anone; 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 

Lo yet, before, ye must do more, 

Yf ye wyll go with me; 
As cut your here up by your ere, 

Your kyrtle by the kne ; 
With bowe in hande, for to withstande 

Your enemyes, yf nede be ; 
And this same nyght, before day-lyght, 

To wode-warde wyll I fle. 
Yf that ye wyll all this fulfill, 

Doit shortely as ye can: 
Els wyll I to .the grene wode go, 

Alone, a banyshed man. 

I shall as nowe do more for you 
Than longeth to womanhede, 

To shorte my here, a bow to bere, 
To shote in tyme of nede.. 



0, my swete mother, before all other 

For you I have most drede ; 
But nowe adue! I must ensue 

"Where fortune doth me lede. 
All this make ye: Now let us fle; 

The day cometh fast upon: 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 

Nay, nay, not so; ye shall not go, 

And I shall tell ye why: 
Your appetyght is to be lyght 

Of love, I wele espy: 
For lyke as ye have sayed to me, 

In lyke wyse, hardely, 
Ye wolde answere whosoever it were, 

In way of company. 
It is sayd of old, Sone hot, sone coldej 

And so is a woman ; 
Wherfore I to the wode wyll go, 

Alone, a banyshed man. 

Yf ye take hede, it is no nede 

Such wordes to say by me ; 
For oft ye prayed and longe assayed, 

Or I you loved, parde : 
And though that I, of auncestry, 

A baron's daughter be, 
Yet have you proved howe I you loved, 

A squyer of low degre ; 
And ever shall, whatso befall ; 

To dye therfore anone ; 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 

A baron's chylde to be begylde, 

It were a cursed dede ! 
To be felawe with an outlawe 

Almighty God forbede ! 
Yt beter were, the poor squyere 

Alone to forest yede, 
Than ye sholde say, another day, 

That, by my cursed dede, 
Ye were betrayd : Wherefore, good mayd, 

The best rede that I can, 
Is, that I to the grene wode go, 
.. Alone, a banyshed man, 


Whatever befall, I never shall 

Of this thyng you upbrayd ; 
But, yf ye go, and leve me so, 

Than have ye me betrayd. 
Remember you wele, howe that ye dele ; 

For yf ye, as ye sayd, 
Be so unkynde to leve behynde 

Your love, the Not-Browne Mayd, 
Trust me truly, that I shall dye 

Sone after ye be gone ; 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 

Yf that ye went, ye sholde repent ; 

For in the forest nowe 
I have purvayed me of a mayd, 

Whom I love more than you ; 
Another fayrere than ever ye were, 

I dare it wele avowe, 
And of you bothe eche sholde be wrothe 

With other, as I trowe : 
It were myne ese to lyve in pese ; 

So wyll I, yf I can ; 
Wherfore I to the wode wyll go, 

Alone, a banyshed man. 

Though in the wode I undyrstode 

Ye had a paramour, 
All this may nought remove my thought, 

But that I wyll be your. 
And she shall fynde me soft- and kynde 

And courteys every hour; 
Glad to fulfyll all that she wyll 

Commaunde me to my power. 
For had ye, lo, an hundred mo, 

Of them I wolde be one; 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 

Myne own dere love, I see the prove 

That ye be kynde and true; 
Of mayde and wyfe, in all my lyfe, 

The best that ever I knewe. 
Be merry and glad; be no more sad; 

The case is chaunged newe; 
For it were ruthe, that, for your truthe, 

Ye sholde have cause to rewe. 


Be not dismayed ; whatever I sayd 

To you, when I began ; 
I wyll not to the grene wode go, 

I am no banyshed man. 

These tydings be more gladd to me, 

Than to be made a quene, 
Yf I were sure they sholde endure : 

But it is often sene, 
When men wyll breke promyse, they speke 

The wordes on the splene. 
Ye shape some wyle me to begyle, 

And stele from me, I wene : 
Than were the case worse than it was, 

And I more wo-begone : 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 

Ye shall not nede further to drede : 

I wyll not disparage 
You (God defend !) syth ye descend 

Of so grete a lynage. 
Now undyrstande ; to Westmarlande, 

Which is myne herytage, 
I wyll you brynge ; arid with a rynge, 

By way of maryage 
I wyll you take, and lady make, 

As shortely as I can : 
Thus have you won an erlys son, 

And not a banyshed man. 

Here may ye se, that women be 

In love, meke, kynde and stable : 
Late never man reprove them than, 

Or call them variable ; 
But, rather, pray God, that we may 

To them be comfortable ; 
Which sometyme proveth such as he loveth, 
Yf they be charytable. 
For syth men wolde that women sholde 

Be meke to them each one ; 
Moche more ought they to God obey, 
And serve but hym alone. 

[This ballad is taken from the Notes to Sir Walter Scott's 
poem of ' Rokeby,' in the fifth canto of which it is re 
ferred to, where it is given from ' a manuscript in the pos 
session of Mr. Rokeby, of Northamptonshire, descended of 
the ancient Barons of Rokeby.' It was first published, from 
what Sir Walter calls ' an inaccurate MS., not corrected very 
happily,' in Whitaker's ' History of Craven ;' from whence 
it was transferred, 'with some well-judged conjectural im 
provements,' to Evans's ' Old Fallads.' But Sir Walter con 
siders that Mr. Rokeby's MS. furnishes ' a more authenti 
cated and full, though still imperfect, edition of this humor 
ous composition.' ' It is,' he says, ' one of the very best of 
the ancient minstrel's mock romances, and has no small 
portion of comic humour. Ralph Rokeby, who, for the 
jest's sake apparently, bestowed this intractable animal on 
the convent of Richmond, seems to have flourished in the 
time of Henry VII., which, since we know not the date of 
Friar Theobald's Wardenship, to which the poem refers, 
may indicate that of the composition itself.' It has been 
suggested to the Editor, by Mr. Dixon, his obligations to 
whom he has more than once had the pleasure of acknow 
ledging, that ' the ballad is probably the effusion of some 
waggish monk of Sawlaye, or Bolton, who wished to ridicule 
the Benedictines of Richmond The language, Mr. Dixon 
says, is that of the mountain-district of Craven, in -the 
West Riding of Yorkshire, as spoken by the inhabitants in 
the present day.' Stanza 22 is defective in the original.] 

E men that will of aunters winne, 
That late within this land hath beene, 

Of one I will you tell ; 
And of a sow that was sea strang ; 
Alas ! that ever she lived sea lang, 

For fell folk did she whell. 



She was mare than other three, 
The grisliest beast that ere might be, 

Her head was great and gray : 
She was bred in Rokeby wood, 
There were few that thither goed, 

That came on live away. 

Her walk was endlong Greta side ; 
There was no bren that durst her bide, 

That was frae heaven to hell ; 
Nor never man that had that might, 
That ever durst come in her sight, 

Her force it was so fell. 

Ralph of Rokeby, with good will, 
The fryers of Richmond gave her till, 

Full well to garre them fare ; 
Fryar Middleton by bis name, 
He was sent to fetch her hame, 

That rued him sine full sare. 

With him tooke he wicht men two, 
Peter Dale was one of thoe, 

That ever was brim as beare ; 
And well durst strike with sword and knife, 
And fight full manly for his life, 

What time as mister ware. 

These three men went at God's will, 
This wicked sew while they came till, 

Liggan under a tree ; 
Rugg and rusty was her haire ; 
She raise up with a felon fare, 

To fight against the three. 

She was so grisely for to meete, 
She rave the earth up with her feete, 

And bark came fro the tree ; 
When Fryar Middleton her saugh, 
Weet ye well he might not laugh, 
188 Full earnestly look't hee. 


Those men of aunters that was so wight, 
They bound them bauldly for to fight, 

And strike at her full sare : 
Until a kiln they garred her flee, 
Wold God send them the victory, 

They wold ask him noa mare. 

The sew was in the kiln hole down, 
As they were on the balke aboon, 

For hurting of their feet ; 
They were so vaulted with this sew, 
That among them was a stalworth stew, 

The kiln began to reeke. 

Durst noe man neigh her with his hand, 
But put a rape down with his wand, 

And haltered her full meete ; 
They hurled her forth against her will, 
Whiles they came into a hill 

A little fro the street. 

And there she made them such a fray ; 
If they should live to Doomes-day, 

They tharrow it ne'er forge tt ; 
She braded upon every side, 
And ran on them gaping full wide, 

For nothing would she lett. 

She gave such brades at the band 
That Peter Dale had in his hand, 

He might not hold his feet ; 
She chafed them to ancJ fro, 
The wight men was never soe woe, 

Their measure was not so meete. 

She boundi lies boldly to abide ; 
To Peter Dale she came aside, 

With many a hideous yell ; 
She gaped soe wide and cried soe hee, 
The Fryar seid, I conjure thee, 

Thou art a fiend of hell. 




Thou art come hither for some traine, 
I conjure thee to go agayne 

Where thou wast wont to dwell. 
He sayned him with crosse and creede, 
Took forth a booke, began to reade 

In St. John his gospell. 

The sew she would not Latin heare, 
But rudely rushed at the Frear, 

That blinked all his blee ; 
And when she would have taken her hold, 
The Fryar leaped as Jesus wold, 

And healed him with a tree. 

She was as brim as any beare, 
For all their meate to labour there, 

To them it was no boote : 
Upon trees and bushes that by her stood, 
She ranged as she was wood, 

And rave them up by roote. 

He sayd, Alas! that I was Frear ! 
And I shall be rugged in sunder here, 

Hard is my destinie ! 
Wist my brethren in this houre, 
That I was sett in such a stoure, 

They would pray for me. 

This wicked beast that wrought this woe, 
Tooke that rape from the other two, 

And then they fledd all three ; 
They fledd away by Watling-street, 
They had no succour but their feet, 

It was the more pity. 

The feild it was both lost and wonne ; 
The sew went hame, and that full soone, 

To Morton on the Greene ; 
Waen Ralph of Rokeby saw the rape, 
He wist that there had been debate, 

Whereat the sew had beene. 


He bad them stand out of her way, 
For she had had a sudden fray, 

I saw never so keene ; 
Some new things shall we heare 
Of her and Middleton the Frear, 

Some hattell hath there beene. 

But all that served him for nought, 
Had they not better succour sought, 

They were served therfore loe. 
Then Mistress Rokeby came anon, 
And for her brought shee meate full soone, 

The sew came here unto. 

She gave her meate upon the flower, 


When Fryar Middleton came home 
His brethren was full faine ilkone, 

And thanked God of his life ; 
He told them all unto the end, 
How he had foughten with a fiend, 

And lived through mickle strife. 

We gave her battell half a day, 
And sithen was fain to fly away, 

For saving of our life ; 
And Peter Dale would never blinu, 
But as fast as he could ryn, 

Till he came to his wife. 

The warden said, I am full of woe, 
That ever ye should be torment so, 

But wee with you had beene ! 
Had wee been there your brethren all, 
Wee should have garred the warle fall, 

That wrought you all this teyne. 



Fryar Middleton said soon, Nay, 
In faith you would have fled away, 

When most mister had been ; 
You will all speake words at hame, 
A man would ding you every ilk ane, 

And if it be as I weine. 

He look't so griesly all that night, 
The warden said, Yon man will fight 

If you say ought but good ; 
Yon guest hath grieved him so sare, 
Hold your tongues and speake noe mare, 

He looks as he were woode. 

The warden waged on the morne, 
Two boldest men that ever were borne, 

I weine, or ever shall be ; 
The one was Gilbert Griffin's son, 
Full mickle worship has he wonne, 

Both by land and sea. 

The other was a bastard son of Spain, 
Many a Sarazin hath he slain, 

His dint hath gart them die. 
These two men the battle undertooke, 
Against the sew, as says the booke, 

And sealed security, 

That they should boldly bide and figbt, 
And skomfit her in maine and might, 

Or therefore should they die. 
The warden sealed to them againe, 
And said, In field if ye be slain, 

This condition make I : 

We shall for you pray, sing, and read 
To doomesday with hearty speede, 

With all our progeny. 
Then the letters well was made : 
Bands bound with seales brade, 

As deedes of armes should be 


These men of armes that were so wight, 
With armour and with brandes bright, 

They went this sew to see ; 
She made on them slike a rerd, 
That for her they were sare afer'd, 

And almost bound to flee. 

She came roveing them againe ; 
That saw the bastard son of Spaine, 

He braded out his brand ; 
Full spiteously at her he strake, 
For all the fence that he could make, 

She gat sword out of hand ; 
And rave in sunder half his shielde, 
And bare him backward in the feilde, 

He might not her gainstand. 

She would have riven his privich geare, 
But Gilbert with his sword of werre, 

He strake at her full strong, 
On her shoulder till she held the swerd ; 
Then was good Gilbert sore afer'd, 

When the blade brake in throng. 

Since in his hands he hath her tane, 
She tooke Mm by the shoulder bane 

And held her hold full fast, 
She strave so stiffly in that slower, 
That through all his rich armour 

The blood came at the last. 

Then Gilbert grieved was sae sare, 
That he rave off both hide and haire, 

The flesh came fro the bone ; 
And with all force he felled her there, 
And wann her worthily in werre, 

And band her him alone. 

And lift her on a horse sea hee, 
Into two paniers well-made of a tre, 

And to Richmond they did hay : 
When they saw her come, 
They sang merrily Te Deum, 

The Fryers on that day. 


They thanked God and St. Francis, 
As they had won the best of pris, 

And never a man was slaine ; 
There did never a man more manly, 
Knight Marcus, nor yett Sir Gui, 

Nor Loth of Louthyane. 

If ye will any more of this, 
In the Fryers of Richmond 'tis 

In parchment good and fine ; 
And how Fryar Middelton that was so kend, 
At Greta-bridge conjured a feind 

In likeness of a swine. 

It is well known to many a man, 
That Fryar Theobald was warden than, 

And this fell in his time ; 
And Christ them bless both farre and neare, 
All that for solace list this to heare, 

And him that made the rhime. 

Ralph Rokeby with full good-will, 

The Fryers of Richmond he gave her till, 

This sew to mend their fare : 
Fryar Middleton by his name, 
Would needs bring the fat sew hame, 

That rued him since full sare. 


[This ballad is taken from Scott's ' Minstrelsy,' where it 
was given ' principally from a copy, apparently of con 
siderable antiquity, found among the papers of Mrs. Cock- 
burn, of Edinburgh,' authoress of the beautiful song, ' The 
Flowers of the Forest.' Mr. Plummer, then sheriff-depute 
of Selkirkshire, gave Sir Walter ' a few additional verses,* 
which he ' threw into what seemed their proper place.' 
Another copy, in Mr. Herd's MSS., was occasionally mada 
use of; and in the edition of 1830 'two verses were re 
stored from the recitation* of the celebrated traveller, 
MungoPark. The beautiful old tale, as Sir Walter calls it, 
has been, he says, for ages, a popular song in Selkirkshire ; 
and was considered by him to have been composed about 
the reign of James V." He was ' unable to ascertain the 
historical foundation of the tale,' which, however, ac 
cording to him, ' commemorates a transaction supposed to 
have taken place betwixt a Scottish monarch and an 
ancestor of the ancient family of Philiphaugh, in Selkirk 
shire ;' and he thought it probable that ' the tradition 
handed down in this song might have had more founda 
tion than it would be proper positively to assert.' For 
this tradition, as given by Sir Walter, the reader is re 
ferred to the Notes, p. 1 15.] 

TTRICKE Foreste is a feir foreste, 
In it grows manie a semelie trie; 

There's hart and hynd, and dae and rae, 
And of a' wilde beastes grete plentie 



There's a feir castelle, bigged wi' lyme and stane: 

O! gin it stands not pleasauntlie! 
In the forefront o' that castelle feir, 

Twa unicorns are bra' to see; 
There's the picture of a knight, and a ladye bright, 

And the grene hollin abune their brie. 

There an Outlaw keepis five hundred men; 

He keepis a royalle companie! 
His merryemen are a' in ae liverye clad, 

O' the Linkome grene saye gaye to see; 
He and his ladye in purple clad, 

O! gin they lived not royallie! 

Word is gane to our nobil king, 

In Edinburgh, where that he lay, 
That there was an Outlaw in Ettricke Foreste, 

Counted him nought, nor a' his courtrie gay. 

* I make a vovve,' then the gude king said, 

' Unto the man that deir bought me, 
I'se either be king of Ettricke Foreste, 
Or king of Scotlonde that Outlaw sail be!' 

Then spak the lord, hight Hamilton, 
And to the nobil king said he, 

* My sovereign prince, sum counsell take, 

First at your nobilis, syne at me. 

' I redd ye, send yon braw Outlaw till, 

And see gif your man cum will he: 
Desyre him cum and be your man, 

And hald of you yon Foreste frie. 

' Gif he refuse to do that, 

We'll conquess baith his landis and he! 
Or else, we'll throw his castell down, 

And make a widowe o' his gay ladye.' 

The king then call'd a gentleman, 

James Boyde, (the earl of Arran his brother was he.) 
When James he cam before the king, 

He knelit befor him on his kne. 

Wellcum, James Boyd!' said our nobil king; 

' A message ye maun gang for me: 
Ye maun hye to Ettricke Foreste, 

To yon Outlaw, where bydeth he; 


' Ask him of whom he haldis his landis, 

Or man, wha may his master be, 
And desyre him cum, and be my man, 

And hald of me yon Foreste frie. 

.' To Edinburgh to cum and gang, 

His safe warrant I sail gie; 
And gif he refuses to do that, 

We'll conquess baith his landis and he. 

' Thou may'st vow I'll cast his castell down, 

And mak a widowe o' his gay ladye; 
I'll hang his merry emen, payr by payr, 

In ony frith where I may them see.' 

James Boyd tuik his leave o' the nobil king, 

To Ettricke Foreste feir cam he; 
Down Birkendale Brae when that he cam 

He saw the feir Foreste wi' his e'e. 

Baith dae and rae, and hart and hinde, 

And of a' wilde beastis great plentie ; 
He heard the bows that bauldly ring, 

And arrows whidderan' hym near bi. 

Of that feir castell he got a sight ; 

The like he neir saw wi' his e'e ! 
On the fore front o' that castell feir, 

Twa unicorns were gaye to see ; 
The picture of a knight, and ladye bright, 

And the grene hollin abune their brie. 

Thereat he spyed five hundred men, 

Shuting with bows on Newark Lee ; 
They were a' in ae livery clad, 

O' the Lincome grene sae gaye to see. 

His men were a' clad in the grene, 

The knight was armed capapie, 
With a bended bow, on a milk-white steed; 

And I wot they ranked right bonnilie. 

Therby Boyd kend he was master man, 

And serv'd him in his ain degre. 
' God mot thee save, braw Outlaw Murray! 

Thy ladye, and all thy chyvalrie!' 
' Marry, thou's wellcum, gentleman, 

Some king's messenger thou seernis to be.' 



' The king of Scotlonde sent me here, 
And, gude Outlaw, I am sent to thee; 

I wad wot of whom ye hald your landis, 
Or man, wha may thy master be?' 

' Thir landis are MINE!' the Outlaw said; 

' I ken nae king in Christentie; 
Frae Soudron I this Foreste wan, 

Whan the king nor his knightis were not to see.* 

' He desyres you'l cum to Edinburgh, 

And hauld of him this Foreste frie; 
And, gif ye refuse to do this, 

He'll conquess baith thy landis and thee. 
He hath vow'd to cast thy castell down, 

And mak a widowe o' thy gaye ladye; 

He'll hang thy merryemen, payr by payr, 
In ony frith where he may them finde.' 

' Aye, by my troth !' the Outlaw said, 
' Than wald I thinke me far behinde. 

' Ere the king my feir countrie get, 

This land that's nativest to me! 
Mony o' his nobilis sail be cauld, 

Their ladyes sail be right wearie.' 

Then spak his ladye, feir of face, 

She seyd, ' Without consent of me, 
That an Outlaw suld cum befor a king; 

I am right rad of treasonrie. 
Bid him be gude to his lordis at hame, 

For Edinburgh my lord sail nevir see.' 

James Boyd tuik his leave o' the Outlaw kene, 

To Edinburgh boun is he; 
When James he cam before the king, 

He knelit lowlie on his kne. 

' Welcum, James Boyd!' seyd our nobil king; 

' What Foreste is Ettricke Foreste frie?' 
* Ettricke Foreste is the feirest foreste 

That evir man saw wi' his e'e. 

' There's the dae, the rae, the hart, the hynde, 
And of a' wild beastis grete plentie; 

There's a pretty castell of lyme and stane, 
O gif it standis not pleasauntlie! 


' There's in the forefront o' that castell, 

Twa unicorns, sae bra' to see; 
There's the picture of a knight, and a ladye bright, 

Wi' the grene hollin abune their brie. 

* There the Outlaw keepis five hundred men, 

He keepis a royalle curapanie ! 
His merrymen in ae livery clad, 

O' the Linkome grene sae gaye to see: 
He and his ladye in purple clad; 

! gin they live not royallie! 

* He says, yon Foreste is his awinj 

He wan it frae the Southronie; 
Sae as he wan it, sae will he keep it, 
Contrair all kingis in Christentie.' 

* Gar warn me Perthshire, and Angus baith; 

Fife up and downe, and Louthians three, 

And graith my horse!' said our nobil king, 

* For to Ettricke Foreste hie will I me.' 

Then word is gane the Outlaw till, 

In Ettricke Foreste, where dwelleth he, 

That the king was cuming to his countrie, 
To conquess baith his landis and he. 

' I mak a vow,' the Outlaw said, 

' I mak a vow, and that trulie, 
Were there but three men to tak my pairt, 

Yon king's cuming full deir suld be!' 

Then messengers he called forth, 

And bade them hie them speedilye 

' Ane of ye gae to Halliday, 
The laird of the Corehead is he. 

' He certain is my sister's son; 

Bid him cum quick and succour me! 
The king cums on for Ettricke Foreste, 

And landless men we a' will be.' 

' What news? What news?' said Halliday, 

' Man, frae thy master unto me?' 
' Not as ye wad; seeking your aide; 

The king's his mortal enemie.' ^ 


1 Aye, by my troth!' said Halliday, 
' Even for that it repenteth me; 

For gif he lose feir Ettricke Foreste, 
He'll tak feir Moffatdale frae me. 

' I'll meet him wi' five hundred men, 
And surely mair, if mae may be; 

And before he gets the Foreste feir, 
We a' will die on Newark Lee!' 

The Outlaw call'd a messenger, 
And bid him hie him speedilye, 

To Andrew Murray of Cockpool 
' That man's a deir cousin to me; 

Desyre him cum, and mak me ayd, 
With a' the power that he may be.* 

* It starids me hard,' Andrew Murray said, 

* Judge gif it stand na hard wi' me; 
To enter against a king wi' crown, 

And set my landis in jeopardie! 
Yet, if I cum not on the day, 

Surely at night he sail me see.' 

To Sir James Murray of Traquair, 
A message cam right speedilye 

' What news? What news?' James Murray said, 
' Man, frae thy master unto me?* 

' What neids I tell ? for weell ye ken, 

The king's his mortal enemie; 
And now he is coming to Ettricke Foreste, 

And landless men ye a' will be.' 

' And, by my trothe,' James Murray said, 
' Wi' that Outlaw will I live and die; 

The king has gifted my landis lang syne 
It cannot be nae warse wi' me.' 

Che king was cuming through Caddon Ford, 
And full five thousand men was he; 

They saw the derke foreste them before, 
They thought it awsome for to see. 

*hen spak' the lord, hight Hamilton, 
And to the nobil king said he, 

* My sovereign liege, sum council tak', 
200 . First at your nobilis, syne at me. 


' Desyre him mete thee at Penmmscore, 

And bring four in his cumpanie; 
Five erles sail gang yoursel' befor, 

Gude cause that you suld honour'd be. ' 

' And, gif he refuses to do that, 

We'll conquess baith his landis and he; 
There sail nevir a Murray, after him, 

Hald land in Ettricke Foreste frie.' 

Then spak' the kene laird of Buckscleuth, 
A stalworthye man, and sterne was he 

* For a king to gang an outlaw till, 

Is beneath his state and his dignitie. 

* The man that wons yon foreste intill, 

He lives by reif and felonie! 
Wherfore, brayd on, my sovereign liege! 

Wi' fire and sword we'll follow theej 
Or, gif your courtrie lords fa' back, 

Our borderers sail the onset gi'e.' 

Then out and spak' the nobil king, 

And round him cast a wilie e'e 
' Now had thy tongue, Sir Walter Scott, 

Nor speik of reif nor felonie: 
For, had everye honeste man his awin kye, 

A right pure clan thy name wad be!' 

The king then call'd a gentleman, 

Royal banner-bearer there was he; 
James Hop Pringle of Torsonse, by name; 

He cam' and knelit upon his knee. 

' Wellcum, James Pringle of Torsonse! 

A message ye maun gang for me; 
Ye maun gae to yon Outlaw Murray, 

Surely where bauldly bideth he. 

* Bid him mete me at Permanscore, 

And bring four in his cumpanie; 
Five erles sail cum wi' mysel', 

Gude reason I suld honour'd be. 

4 And, gif he refuses to do that, 

Bid him luke for nae good o' me! 
There sail nevir a Murray, after him, 

Have land in Ettricke Foreste frie.' 



James cam' before the Outlaw kene, 
And serv'd him in his ain degree 

'Welcum, James Pringle of Torsonse! 
What message frae the king to me?' 

* He bids ye mete him at Permanscore, 

And bring four in your cumpanie; 
Five erles sail gang himsel' befor, 
Nae mair in number will he be. 

' And, gif you refuse to do that, 
(I freely here upgive wi' thee) 

He'll cast yon bonnie castle down, 

And make a widowe o' that gay ladye. 

* He'll loose yon bluidhound borderers, 

Wi' fire and sword to follow thee; 
There will nevir a Murray, after thysel', 
Have land in Ettricke Foreste frie.' 

' It stands me hard,' the Outlaw said; 

'Judge gif it stands na hard wi' me; 
Wha reck not losing of mysel', 

But a' my offspring after me. 

4 My merryemen's lives, my widowe's teirs 
There lies the pang that pinches me; 

When I am straught in bluidie card, 
Yon castell will be right dreirie. 

' Anld Halliday, young Halliday, 
Ye sail be twa to gang wi' me; 

Andrew Murray, and Sir James Murray, 
We'll be nae mae in cumpanie.' 

When that they cam' before the king, 
They fell befor him on their knee 

* Grant mercie, mercie, nobil king! 

E'en for his sake that dyed on trie.' 

' Sicken like mercie sail ye have; 

On gallows ye sail hangit be!' 
' Over God's forbode,' quo' the Outlaw then, 

' I hope your grace will bettir be! 
Else, ere you come to Edinburgh port, 

I trow thin guarded sail ye be: 


' Thir landis of Ettricke Foreste feir, 

I wan them from the enemie; 
Like as I wan them, sae will I keep them, 

Contrair a' kingis in Christentie.' 

All the nobilis the king about, 

Said pitie it were to see him dee 
' Yet graunt me mercie, sovereign prince! 

Extend your favour unto me! 

' I'll give thee the keys of my castell, 

Wi' the blessing o' my gaye ladye, 
Gin thou'lt make me sheriffe of this foreste, 

And a' my offspring after me.' 

' Wilt thou give me the keys of thy castell, 

Wi' the blessing of thy gaye ladye? 
I'se make thee sheriffe of Ettricke Foreste, 

Surely while upward grows the trie; 
If you be not traitour to the king, 

Forfaulted sail thou nevir be.' 

' But, prince, what sail cum o' my men? 

When I gae back, traitour they'll ca' me; 
I had rather lose my life and land, 

Ere my merryemen rebuked me.' 

' Will your merryemen amend their lives? 

And a' their pardons I grant thee 
Now, name thy landis where'er they lie, 

And here I render them to thee.' 

* Fair Philiphaugh is mine by right, 

And Lewinshope still mine shall be; 
Newark, Foulshiells, and Tinnies baith, 
My bow and arrow purchased me. 

* And I have native steads to me, 

The Newark Lee and Hangingshaw; 
I have mony steads in the foreste shaw, 
But them by name I dinna knaw.' 

The keys o' the castell he gave the king, 

Wi' the blessing o' his feir ladye; 
He was made sheriffe of Ettricke Foreste, 

Surely while upward grows the trie; 
And if he was na traitour to the king, 

Forfaulted he suld nevir be. 



Wha ever heard, in ony times, 

Sicken an outlaw in his degree, 
Sic favour get befor a king, 

As did the Outlaw Murray of the foreste frie? 

[' The tradition of Ettrick Forest bears, that the Outlaw was a man of prodigious strength, 
possessing a baton or club, with which he laid lee (i. e., waste) the country for many miles 
round ; and that he was at length slain by Buccleuch, or some of his clan, at a little mount, 
covered with fir-trees, adjoining to Newark Castle, and said to have been a part of the garden. 
A varying tradition bears the place of his death to have been near to the house of the Duke 
of Buccleuch's game-keeper, beneath the castle ; and that the fatal arrow was shot by Scott 
of Haining, from the ruins of a cottage on the opposite side of the Yarrow. This castle is 
by the common people supposed to have been the scene of the tale. This is highly improbable, 
because Newark was always a royal fortress. Indeed, Mr. Plummer remembered the insignia 
of the unicorns, &c., so often mentioned in the ballad, in existence upon the old tower at 
Hangingshaw, the seat of the Philiphaugh family. This tower has been demolished for many 
years. It stood in a romantic and solitary situation on the classical banks of the Yarrow. 
When the mountains around Hangingshaw were covered with the wild copse which consti 
tutes a Scottish forest, a more secure stronghold for an outlawed baron can hardly be 

In the verse commencing ' Fair Philiphaugh,' and the following, the ceremony of feudal 
investiture is supposed to be gone through, by the Outlaw resigning his possessions into the 
bands of the king, and receiving them back to be held of him as superior. The lands of 
Philiphaugh are still possessed by the Outlaw's representative. Hangingshaw and Lewins- 
hope were sold of late years. Newark, Foulshiels, and Tinnies, have long belonged to the 
family of Buccleuch. SCOTT.] 


[The story of the Wandering Jew is of considerable 
antiquity. Several persons have at various times assumed 
the name and character, all but one of whom must of 
course have been impostors. An account of them may be 
seen in Calmet, ' Dictionary of the Bible." ' The story that 
is told in the following ballad,' says Dr Percy, ' is of one 
who appeared at Hamburgh in 1547, and pretended he had 
been a Jewish shoemaker at the time of Christ's crucifixion.' 
The ballad itself, however, the Dr. thinks to be ' of later 
date.' He printed it in his ' Reliques,' from a black-letter 
copy in the Pcpys Collection. The present version is 
chiefly that of Percy, compared, however, with, and in some 
few instances altered according to, two broadsides in the 
British Museum ; one of which has the following title : 
' The Wandering Jew : or, the Shoemaker of Jerusalem. 
Who lived when our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was 
crucified, and appointed by him to live till his coming 
again. Tune, The Lady's Fall. Printed by and for W. 
[illiam] O. [nley!, and sold by the Booksellers at Pye Corner 
and London-Bridge.' At the end of each stanza is the 
following moral ' burden :' 

' Repent therefore, O England ! 

Repent whi!st you have space ; 
And do not, like this wicked Jew, 

Despise God's proffered grace.'] 

HEN as in fair Jerusalem 

Our Saviour Christ did live, 
And for the sins of all the world 

His own dear life did give ; 
The wicked Jews with scoffs and scorns 

Did dailye him molest, 
That never till he left his life, 

Our Saviour could not rest. 205 


When they had crown'd his head with thorns, 

And scourg'd him with disgrace, 
In scornful sort they led him forth 

Unto his dying place ; 
Where thousands thousands in the street 

Beheld him pass along, 
Yet not one gentle heart was there, 

That pittyd this his wrong. 

Both old and young reviled him, 

As in the street he went, 
And nought he found but churlish taunts, 

By every one's consent : 
His owne deare crosse he bore himself, 

A burthen far too great, 
Which made him in the street to faint, 

With blood and water-sweat. 

Being weary thus, he sought for rest, 

To ease his burthened soul, 
Upon a stone ; the which a wretch 

Did churlishly controul ; 
And sayd, Away ! thou king of Jews, 

Thou shalt not rest thee here ; 
Pass on ; thy execution place 

Thou seest, now draweth neare. 

And thereupon he thrust him thence ; 

At which our Saviour said, 
I sure will rest, but thou shalt walk, 

And have no journey stayd. 
With that this cursed shoemaker, 

For offering Christ this wrong, 
Left wife and children, house and all, 

And went from thence along. 

Where after he had seen the blood 

Of Jesus Christ thus shed, 
And to the cross his bodye nail'd, 

Away with speed he fled, 
Without returning back again 

Unto his dwelling place, 
And wandereth up and down the world, 

A runagate most base. 


No resting could he find at all, 

No ease, nor hearts content ; 
No house, no home, no dwelling place : 

But wandring forth he went, 
From town to town in foreign lands, 

With grieved conscience still, 
Repenting for the heinous guilt 

Of his fore-passed sin. 

Thus after some few ages past 

In wandring up and down, 
He much again desired to see 

Jerusalems fair town, 
But finding it all quite destroy' d, 

He wandred thence with woe, 
Our Saviours words which he had spoke, 

To verifie and show. 

I'll rest ! sayd hee, but thou shalt walk, 

So doth this wandring Jew 
From place to place, but cannot stay 

For seeing countries new ; 
Declaring still the power of him, 

Whereas he comes or goes ; 
And of all things done in the east, 

Since Christ his death, he shows. 

The world he still doth compass round 

And see those nations strange, 
That hearing of the name of Christ, 

Their idol gods do change : 
To whom he hath told wondrous things 

Of times forepast and gone, 
And to the princes of the world 

Declares his cause of moan : 

Desiring still to be dissolv'd, 

And yield his mortal breath ; 
But, if the Lord hath thus decreed, 

He shall not yet see death. 
For neither looks he old or young, 

But as he did those times, 
When Christ did suffer on the cross, 

For mortal sinners crimes. 


He hath past through many a foreign place, 

Arabia, Egypt, Africa, 
Grecia, Syria, and great Thrace, 

And through all Hungaria. 
Where Paul and Peter preached Christ, 

Those hlest apostles deare ; 
Where he hath told our Saviours words, 

In countries far and near. 

And lately in Bohemia, 

With many a German town ; 
And now in Flanders, as tis thought, 

He wandreth up and down : 
Where learned men with him confer 

Of those his lingering days, 
And wonder much to hear him tell 

His journies, and his ways. 

If people give this Jew an alms, 

The most that he will take 
Is not above a groat a time : 

Which he for Jesus' sake, 
Will kindly give unto the poor, 

And thereof make no spare, 
Affirming still that Jesus Christ 

Of him hath daily care. 

He ne'er was seen to laugh or smile, 

But weep and make great moan ; 
Lamenting still his miseries, 

And days forepast and gone : 
If he hear any one blaspheme, 

Or take God's name in vaine, 
He tells them that they crucifie 

Their Saviour Christ again. 

' If you had seen his death,' saith he, 
' As these mine eyes have done, 

Ten thousand thousand times would ye, 
His torments think upon : 

And suffer for his sake all paine, 
All torments, and all woes.' 

These are his words and this his life 
208 Whereas he comes or goes. 

[This ballad was printed by Dr. Percy, in his 'Reliques,' 
from an 'ancient black-letter copy in the Pepys Collection, 
-compared with the Ashmole copy entitled, ' A New 
Song, showing the crueltie of Gernutus, a Jewe, who, lend 
ing to a merchant an hundred crowns, would have a pound 
of his fleshe, because he could not pay him at the time ap 
pointed. To the tune of ' Blacke and Yellow. 1 ' It is in 
vested with an interest beyond that which of itself it might 
have inspired, by the circumstance of its having in all pro 
bability been known to and employed by Shakespeare in the 
construction of his play of ' The Merchant of Venice For 
that it was written before that play, was the opinion of 
Warton, (' Observations on the Faerie Queene,' i. 128,) who 
first rlrew attention to the ballad ; and seems to be that of 
critics in general. This is equivalent to assigning it a date 
at least as old as 1598, in which year, we know, from Meres' 
' Palladis Tamia,' that Shakespeare's play was in existence ; 
though it does not appear to have been printed before 
the year 1600. (Pictorial Shakespeare, p. 192, London, 1846.) 
The original source, however, to which both Shakespeare 
and the ballad-maker were indebted, was undoubtedly the 
Pecorone of Sir Giovanni Florentine, which was printed in 
Italy in the year 1544. There is another ballad on the same 
subject, entitled, ' The Northern Lord and Cruel Jew,' 
which was given by Mr. Buchan in liis ' Gleanings of Scotch, 
English, and Trish scarce Old Ballads,' Peterhead, 1825. 


N Venice towne not long agoe 

A cruel Jew did dwell, 
, . 1 ^Vhich lived all on usurie. 

- As Italian writers tell. 209- 




Gernutus called was the Jew, 

"Which never thought to dye ; 
Nor ever yet did any good 

To them in streets that lie. 

His life was like a barrow hogge, 

That liveth many a day, 
Yet never once did any good, 

Until men will him slay. 

Or like a filthy heap of dung, 

That lyeth in a whoard ; 
Which never can do any good, 

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. 

His heart doth think on many a wile, 

How to deceive the poore ; 
His mouthe is almost full of mucke ; 

Yet still he gapes for more. 

His wife must lend a shilling, 

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 : 
This was the living of the wife, 

Her cow she did it call. 

Within that citie dwelt that time 

A marchant of great fame, 
Which, being distressed in his need, 

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 

Whatsoever he would demand of him, 

And pledges he should have. 
No, (quoth the Jew, with flearing lookes,) 

Sir, aske what you will have. 


No penny for the loane of it 

For one year you shall pay ; 
You may do me as goode a turne, 

Before my dying day. 

But we will have a merry jeast, 

For to be talked long ; 
You shall make me a bond, quoth he, 

That shall be large and strong : 

And this shall be the forfeyture ; 

Of your own fleshe a pound. 
If you agree, make you the bond, 

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, 

The marchant's ships were all at sea, 

And money came not in ; 
Which way to take, or what to doe, 

To think he doth begin ; 

And to Gernutus strait he comes 

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 ; 
And little good the forfeiture 

Will doe you, I dare say. 

With all all my heart, Gernutus sayd, 
Commaund it to your minde ; 

In things of bigger waight then this 
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 : 

And layd him into prison strong, 

And sued his bond withall ; ^ 

And when the judgement day was come, 
For judgement he did call. 


The marchant's friends came thither fast, 

With many a weeping eye, 
For other means they could not find, 

But he that day must dye. 

Of the Jew's Crueltie : setting forth the mercifulness of tJie Judge towards the Marchant 

Some offered for his hundred crownes 

Five hundred for to pay ; 
And some a thousand, two or three, 

Yet still he did denay. 

And at the last ten thousand crownes 

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. 
Then sayd the Judge, Yet, good my friend, 

Let me of you desire 

To take the fleshe from such a place, 

As yet you let him live : 
Do so and lo ! an hundred crownes 

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. 

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 

With whetted blade in hand, 
To spoyle the bloud of innocent, 

By forfeite of his bond. 

And as he was about to strike 

On him the deadly blow, 
Stay (quoth the judge) thy crueltie ; 

I charge thee to do so. 

Sith needs thou wilt thy forfeit have, 
Which is of fleshe a pound, 
See that thou shed no drop of bloud, 
. Nor yet the man confound. 


For if thou doe, like murderer, 

Thou here shalt hanged be ; 
Likewise of flesh see that thou cut 

No more than 'longes to thee : 

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 frantick mad, 

And wotes not what to say ; 
Quoth he at last, Ten thousand crownes 

I will that he shall pay ; 

And so I graunt to let him free, 
The judge doth answere make ; 

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, 

Thy judgement shall be showne. 

Either take your pound of flesh, quoth he. 

Or cancel! me your bond. 
O cruell judge, then quoth the Jew, 

That doth against me stand ! 

And so with griping grieved mind 

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, 

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, 
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 

That meaneth so to do. 


[From Buchan's Gleanings of Scotch, English, and Irish scarce old Ballads. 
Peterhead, 1825.] 

A NOBLE lord of high renown, 

Two daughters had, the eldest brown, 

The youngest beautiful and fair, 

By chance a noble knight came there. 

Her father said, kind sir, I have 
Two daughters, which do you crave? 
One that is beautiful, he cried, 
The noble knight he then replied: 

She's young, she's beautiful and gay, 
And is not to be given away, 
But as jewels are bought and sold, 
She shall bring me her weight in gold, 

The price I think ye need not grudge, 
Since I will freely give as much 
With her one sister, if I can 
Find out some other nobleman. 

With that bespoke the noble knight, 
I'd sooner have the beauty bright, 
At that vast rate, renowned lord, 
Than the other with a vast reward. 

So then the bargain it was made, 
But ere the money could be paid, 
He had it of a wealthy Jew, 
The sum so large, the writings drew 

That if he failed, or missed the day, 
So many ounces he should pay 
Of his own flesh, instead of gold; 
All was agreed, the sum was told. 

So he returned immediately 
Unto the Lord, where he did buy 
His daughter fine, I do declare, 
And paid him down the money there. 

21 i 


He bought her there it is well known 
Unto mankind, she was his own, 
By her a son he did enjoy, 
A sweet and comely handsome boy. 

At length the time of pay was near, 
When the knight did begin to fear, 
He dreaded much the cruel Jew, 
Because the money it was due. 

His lady asked him why he grieved? 
He said, my jewel, I received 
Such sum of money of a Jew, 
And now the money it is due. 

And now the day of payment 's come, 
I'm sure I cannot pay the sum, 
He'll have my flesh weight for weight, 
Which makes my grief and sorrow great. 

Hush, never fear him, she replied, 
We'll cross the raging ocean wide, 
And so secure you from the fate: 
To her request he yielded straight. 

Then having passed the raging seas, 
They travelled on, till by degrees 
Unto the German court they came, 
The knight, his son, and comely dame. 

Unto the Emperor he told 
His story of the sum of gold, 
That he had borrowed of a Jew, 
And that for fear of death he flew. 

The Emperor he did erect 
A court for them, and showed respect 
Unto his guests, because they came 
From Britain, that blest land of fame 

As here he lived in delight, 
A Dutch lord told our English knight, 
That he a ton of gold would lay, 
He could enjoy his lady gay. 

From her the lord he was to bring, 
A rich and costly diamond ring, 
That was to prove and testify 
How he did with his lady lie. 



He tries, but never could obtain 
Her favour, but with high disdain 
She did defy his base intent} 
So to her chambermaid he went, 

And told her if she would but steal 
Her lady's ring, and to conceal 
The same, and bring it to him straight. 
She should enjoy a fine estate. 

In hopes of such a fine reward, 
The ring she stole, then the Dutch lord 
Did take it to the noble knight, 
Who almost swooned at the sight. 

Home he goes to the lady straight. 
Meeting her at the palace gate, 
He flung her headlong into the mote, 
And left her there to sink or float. 

Soon after that, in clothes of green, 
She like a warlike knight was seen, 
And in most gallant gay deport 
She rode unto the Emperor's court. 

Now when the Emperor beheld 
Her brave deportment, he was filled 
With admiration at the sight, 
Who called herself an English knight. 

The Emperor then did reply, 
We have an English knight to die 
For drowning of his lady gay; 
Quoth she, I'd see him if I may. 

'Twas granted, so to him she came, 
And calling of him by his name, 
She said, kind sir, be of good cheer, 
Your friend I'll be, you need not fear. 

She to the Emperor did ride, 
And said, now let this cause be tried 
Once more, for I've a mind to save 
This noble gallant from the grave 

It being done, the court was set, 

The Dutch lord came, seeming to fret, 

About the ring seeming to fear, 

How truth would make his shame appear. 


And so it did, and soon they call 
The maid, who on her knees did fall 
Before the court, and did confess 
The Dutch lord's unworthiness. 

The Court replied, is it so? 
The lady, too, for aught we know, 
May be alive, therefore we'll stay 
The sentence till another day. 

Now the Dutch lord gave him a ton 
Of gold, which he had justly won, 
And so he did with shame and grief, 
And thus the knight obtained relief. 

The Dutch lord to revenge the spite 
Upon our noble English knight, 
Did send a letter out of hand, 
And so the Jew did understand, 

How he was in a German court, 
So here upon this good report, 
The Jew has crost the ocean wide> 
Resolving to be satisfied. 

Soon as e'er he fixed his eyes, 
Unto the knight in wrath he cries, 
Your hand and seal I pray behold, 
Your flesh I'll have instead of gold. 

Said the noble knight in green, 
May not your articles be seen? 
Yes that they may, replied the Jew, 
And I'm resolved to have my due. 

So then the knight began to read, 
At length she said, I find indeed 
Nothing but flesh you are to have, 
Answers the Jew, that's all I crave. 

The poor distressed knight was brought, 
The bloody minded Jew he thought 
That day to be revenged on him, 
And part his flesh from every limb. 

The knight in green said, Mr. Jew, 
There's nothing else but flesh your due, 
Then see no drop of blood you shed, 
For if you do, off goes your head. 



Pray take your due with all my heart, 
But with his blood I will not part. 
With that the Jew sneaked away, 
And had not one word more to say. 

No sooner were these troubles past, 
But his wife's father came at last, 
Resolving for to have his life, 
For drowning his beloved wife. 

Over the seas her father brought 
Many brave horses, one was bought 
By the pretended knight in green, 
Which was the best that e'er was seen. 

So to the German court he came, 
Declaring such a one by name 
- Had drowned his fair daughter dear, 
And ought to die a death severe. 

They brought him from the prison then, 
Guarded by many armed men, 
Unto the place where he must die, 
And the young knight was standing by. 

Then from her side her sword she drew, 
And run her gelding through and through. 
Her father said, why do you so? 
I may, it is my own, you know. 

You sold your gelding, 'tis well known, . 
I bought it, making it my own, 
And may do what I please with it; 
And then to her he did submit. 

Here is a man arraigned and cast, 
And brought to suffer death at last, 
Because your daughter dear he slew, 
What if he did, what's that to you? 

You had your money when you sold 
Your daughter for her weight in gold; 
Wherefore he might, it is well known, 
Do what he pleased with his own. 

So having changed her garments green, 
And dressed herself like a fair queen, 
Her father and her husband straight 
21 $ Both knew her, and their joys were grea* 


Soon they did carry the report 
Unto the famous German court, 
How the renowned English knight 
Had found his charming lady bright. 

So the Emperor and the lords of fame, 
With cheerful hearts they did proclaim 
An universal joy to see 
His lady's life at liberty. 


[This ballad is taken from Percy's ' Reliques ;' where it 
was 'printed from an old MS. in the Cotton Lihrary, (Cleo 
patra, c. iv. >' In that MS. it has no title ; but in a copy in 
the Harleian Collection [No. 293, fol. 52,] it is, according to 
Percy, 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-' says Dr. Percy, 'is erroneous : 
for, 1. The battle was not fought by the Earl of Northum- 
berlande, who was absent, nor is once mentioned in the 
ballad ; but by his son Sir Henry Percy, Knt., surname. 
Hotspur; in those times they did not usually give the title 
of Lord to an earl's eldest son. 2. Although 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 
' Chevy Chase,'(Sup. p. 1,) if not earlier, with which poem, it 
will be observed, it has some lines in common. With regard 
to the battle itself, which was fought on the 15th August, 
1388, the particulars are circumstantially related by Frois- 
sart, (Cronycle, by Berners, c. cxlij.,) who gives the victory 
to the Scotch. 'The ground on which it took place," says 
Sir Walter Scott, ('Minstrelsy,' i. 347, ed. ] 830.) still retains 
the name of the Battle-Cross ; and on a neighbouring emi 
nence called Fawdoun Hill, may yet be discerned the ves 
tiges of the Scottish Camp.' 


T felle abowght the Lamasse tyde, 
When husbonds wynn ther haye, 

The dowghtye Dowglasse bowynd 
In Ynglond to take a praye : 



The yerlle of Fyffe, withowghten stryffe, 
He bowynd hym over Sulway : 

The grete wolde ever together ryde ; 
That race they may rue for aye. 

Over Ottercap hyll they came in, 
And so dowyn by Rodelyffe cragge, 

Upon Grene Leyton they lyghted dowyn, 
Styrande many a stagge : 

And boldely brente Northomberlonde, 

And haryed many a towyn ; 
They dyd owr Ynglyssh men grete wrange, 

To battell that were not bowyn. 

Then spake a berne upon the bent, 
Of comforte that was not colde, 

And ayd, We have brent Northomberlond, 
We have all welth in holde. 

Now we have haryed all Bamboroweshyre, 
All the welth in the worlde have wee ; 

I rede we ryde to Newe Castell, 
So sty 11 and stalwurthlye. 

Uppon the morowe, when it was daye, 
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 ; 
He had byn a marche-man all hys dayes, 

And kepte Barwyke upon Twede. 

To the Newe Castell when they cam, 
The Skottes they cryde on hyght, 

Syr Harye Percy,, and thou byste within, 
Come to the fylde, and fyght : 

For we have brente Northomberlonde, 

Thy eritage good and ryght ; 
And syne my logeyng I have take, 

With my brande dubbyd many a knyght. 

Sir Harry Percy cam to the walles, 

The Skottyssh oste for to se ; 
" And thow hast brente Northomberlond, 

Full sore it rewyth me. 



Yf thou hast haryed all Bambarowe shyre, 
Thow hast done me grete envye; 

For the trespasse thow hast me done, 
The tone of us schall dye." 

Where schall I byde the, sayd the Dowglas ? 

Or where wylte thow come to me, 
" At Otterborne in the hygh way, 

Ther maist thow well logeed be. 

The roo full rekeles ther sche rinnes, 

To make the game and glee : 
The fawkon and the fesaunt both, 

Ainonge the holtes oa hee. 

Ther maist thow have thy welth at wyll, 

Well looged ther maist be. 
Yt schall not be long, or I com the tyll," 

Sayd Syr Harry Percye. 

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, 

For soth, as I yow saye : 
Ther he mayd the Dowglas drynke, 

And all hys oste that daye. 

The Dowglas turnyd hym homewarde agayne. 

For soth withowghten naye, 
He tooke his logeyng at Oterborne 

Uppon a Wedyns-day: 

And ther he pyght hys standerd dowyn, 

Hys gettyng more and lesse, 
And syne he warned hys men to goo 

To chose ther geldyngs gresse. 

A Skottysshe knyght hoved upon the bent, 

A wache I dare well saye : 
So was he ware on the noble Percy 

In the dawnynge of the daye. 

He prycked to his pavyleon dore, 

As faste as he myght ronne, 
Awaken, Dowglas, cryed the knyght, 

For hys love, that syttes yn trone. 


Awaken, Dowglas, cryed the knyght, 
For thow maiste waken wyth wynne : 

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 : 
He durste not loke on my bred banner, 

For all Ynglonde so haylle. 

Was I not yesterdaye at the Newe Castell, 
That stonds so fayre on Tyne ? 

For all the men that Percy hade, 

He cowde not garre me ones to dyne. 

He stepped owt at hys pavelyon dore, 

To loke and it were lesse ; 
Araye yow, lordyngs, one and all, 

For here bygynnes no peysse. 

The yerle of Mentaye, thow arte my erne, 

The fowarde I gyve te the : 
The yerlle of Huntlay cawte and kene, 

He schall wyth the be. 

The lorde of Bowghan in artnure bryght 
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 : 
Syr Davy Scotte, Syr Walter Stewarde, 

Syr Jhon of Agurstone. 


The Perssy came byfore hys oste, 
Wych was ever a gentyll knyght, 

Upon the Dowglas lowde can he crye, 
I wyll holde that I have hyght: 

For thow haste brente Northumberlonde 

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, 
And sayd, I have twenty agaynst thy one, 

Byholde and thow maiste see. 



Wyth that the Percye was grevyd sore, 

For sot he as I yow saye : 
He lyghted dowyn upon his fote, 

And schoote his horsse clene away. 

Every man sawe that he dyd soo, 
That ryall was ever in rowght ; 

Every man schoote hys horsse him froo, 
And lyght him rowynde abowght. 

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 

The cronykle wyll not layne ; 
Forty thowsande Skottes and fowre 

That day fowght them agayne. 

But when the batell byganne to joyne, 

In hast ther came a knyght, 
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. 

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 : 

My trowth ys plyght to yonne Skottysh knyght, 

It nedes me not to layne, 
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, 
He wolde me call but a kowarde knyght 
224 In hys londe another daye. 


Yet had I lever to be rynde and rente, 

By Mary that mykel maye ; 
Then ever my raanhod schulde he reprovyd 

Wyth a Skotte another daye. 

Wherfore schote, archars, for my sake, 

And let scharpe arowes flee ; 
Mynstrells, playe up for your waryson, 

And well quyt it schall be. 

Every man thynke on hys trewe love, 
And marke hym to the Trenite : 

For to God I make myne avowe 
This day wyll I not fle. 

The blodye Harte in the Dowglas armes, 

Hys standerde stode on hye ; 
That every man myght full well kuowe : 

By syde stode Starres thre. 

The whyte Lyon on the Ynglysh parte, 

Forsoth as I yow sayne ; 
The Lucetts and the Cressawnts both : 

The Skotts faught them agayne. 

Uppon sent Andrewe lowde cane they crye, 
And thrysse they schowte on hyght, 

And syne marked them one owr Ynglysshe men, 
As I have tolde yow ryght. 

Sent George the bryght owr ladyes knyght, 

To name they were full fayne, 
Owr Ynglysshe men they cryde on hyght 

And thrysse the schowtte agayne. 

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, 

That ether of other was fayne ; 
They schapped together, whyll that the swette, 

With swords of fyne Collayne ; 

Tyll the blood from ther bassonetts ranne, 

As the roke doth in the rayne. 
Yelde the to me, sayd the Dowglas, 
. 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, 

Thow art an yerle, or ells a knyght. 

By my good faythe, sayd the noble Percy, 

Now haste thou rede full ryght, 
Yet wyll I never yelde me to the, 

Why 11 I may stonde and fyght. 

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, 

I tell yow in thys stounde, 
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 ; 
To the harte he cowde hym smyte, 

Thus was the Dowglas slayne. 

The stonders stode styll on eke syde 

With many a grevous grone ; 
Ther the fowght the day, and all the nyght, 

And many a dowghty man was slone. 

Ther was no freke, that ther wolde flye, 

But styffly in stowre can stond, 
Ychone hewyng on other whyll they myght drye, 

Wyth many a bayllefull bronde. 

Ther was slayne upon the Skottes syde, 

For soth and sertenly, 
Syr James a Dowglas ther was slayne, 

That daye that he cowde dye. 

The yerlle of Mentayne he was slayne, 

Grysely groned uppon the growynd ; 
Syr Davy Scotte, Syr Walter Steward, 

Syr John of Agurstonne. 

Syr Charlies Morrey in that place 

That never a fote wold flye ; 
Sir Hughe Maxwell, a lord he was, 

With the Dowglas dvd he dve. 



Ther "ras slayne upon the Skottes syde, 

For soth as I yow saye, 
Of fowre and forty thowsande Scotts 

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. 

Syr James Harebotell ther was slayne, 
For hym ther hartes were sore, 

The gentyll Lovelle ther was slayne, 
That the Percyes standerd bore. 

Ther was slayne uppon the Ynglyssh perte, 

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, 

Seyng ther was .so fewe fryndes 
Agaynst so many many a foo. 

Then one the morne they mayd them beeres 

Of byrch, and haysell graye ; 
Many a wydowe with wepyng teyres 

Ther makes they fette awaye. 

Thys fraye bygan at Otterborne 
Bytwene the nyghte and the day : 

Ther the Dowglas lost hys lyfe, 
And the Percy was lede awaye. 

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. 

Now let us all for the Percy praye 

To Jesu most of myght, 
To bryng hys sowle to the blysse of heven, 

For he was a gentyll knyght. 


[From ' Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.' The following edition of the Battle of Otter- 
bourne is essentially different from that which is published in the ' Reliques of Ancient 
Poetry,' and is obviously of Scottish composition. The ballad published in the ' Keliques" IB 
avowedly an English production ; and the author, with a natural partiality, leans to the side 
of his countrymen ; yet that ballad, or some one similar, modified probably by national pre 
judice, must have been current in Scotland during the reign of James VI. : for Godscroft, in 
treating of this battle, mentions its having been the subject of popular song, and proceeds 
thus: 'But that which is commonly sung of 'the Hunting of Cheviot' seemeth indeed 
poetical, and a mere fiction, perhaps, to stir up virtue ; yet a fiction whereof there is no 
mention, either in the Scottish or English Chronicle. Neither are the songs that are made 
of them both one ; for the ' Scots Song made of Otterbourne' telleth the time about Lammas | 
and also the occasion, to take preys out of England; also the dividing the armies betwixt 
the Earls of Fife and Douglas, and their several journeys, almost as in the authentic history.' 

I cannot venture to assert that the stanzas here published belong to the ballad alluded to 
by Godscroft ; but they come much nearer to his description than the copy published in tl c 
first edition, which represented Douglas as falling by the poniard of a faithless page. Yet we 
learn from the same author, that the story of the assassination was not without foundation in 
tradition ; though it teems to have no other 1 ut the common desire of assigning some remote 
and extraordinary cause for the death of a great man. The following ballad is also inaccurate 
in many other particulars, and is much shorter and more indistinct than that printed in the 
' Reliques,' although many verses are almost the same. Hotspur, for instance, is called Earl 
Percy, a title he never enjoyed. Neither was Douglas buried on the field of battle, but in 
Melrose Abbey, where his tomb is still shown. 

' This song was first published from Mr. Herd's ' Collection of Scottish Songs and Ballads,' 
Edin. 1774, 2 vols. octavo ; but two recited copies have fortunately been obtained from the 
recitation of old persons residing at the head of Ettrick forest, by which the story is brought 
out, and completed in a manner much more correspondent to the true history.' SCOTT.] 

IT fell about the Lammas tide, 

When the muir-men win their hay, 

The doughty earl of Douglas rode 
Into England to catch a prey. 

He chose the Gordons and the Graemes, 
With them the Lindesays, light and gay; 

But the Jardines wald not with him ride, 
And they rue it to this day. 

And he has burn'd the dales of Tyne, 

And part of Bambrough shire ; 
And three good towers on Roxburgh fells, 

He left them all on fire. 

And he march'd up to Newcastle, 

And rode it round about; 
' O wha's the lord of this castle, 

Or wha's the lady o't?' 

But up spake proud Lord Percy, then, 

And O but he spake hie! 
' I am the lord of this castle, 

My wife's the lady gay.' 


' If thou'rt the lord of this castle, 

Sae weel it pleases me! 
For, ere I cross the border fells, 

The tane of us shall die.' 

He took a lang spear in his hand, 

Shod with the metal free, 
And for to meet the Douglas there, 

He rode right furiouslie. 

But O how pale his lady look'd 

Frae aff the castle wa', 
When down, before the Scottish spear, 

She saw proud Percy fa'. 

* Had we twa been upon the green 

And never an eye to see, 
I wad hae had you flesh and fell; 
But your sword sail gae wi' me.' 

* But gae ye up to Otterbourne, 

And wait there day is three; 
And, if I come not ere three dayis end, 
A fause knight ca' ye me.' 

* The Otterbourne's a bonnie burn; 

'Tis pleasant there to be; 
But there is nought at Otterbourne, 
To feed my men and me. 

The deer rins wild on hill and dale, 
The birds fly wild from tree to tree; 

But there is neither bread nor cale, 
To fend my men and me. 

Yet I will stay at Otterbourne, 
Where you shall welcome be; 

And, if ye come not at three dayis end, 
A fause lord I'll ca' thee.' 

' Thither will I come,' proud Percy said, 
' By the might of Our Ladye!' 

' There will I bide thee,' said the Douglas, 
* My trowth I plight to thee.' 

They lighted high on Otterbourne, 

Upon the bent sae brown; 
They lighted high on Otterbourne, 

And threw their pallions down. 



And he that had a bonnie boy, 

Sent out his horse to grass; 
And he that had not a bonnie boy, 

His ain servant he was. 

But up then spake a little page, 

Before the peep of dawn 
' O waken ye, waken ye, my good lord, 

For Percy's hard at hand.' 

' Ye lie, ye lie, ye liar loud! 

Sae loud I hear ye lie: 
For Percy had no men yestreen, 

To dight my men and me. 

But I hae dream'd a dreary dream, 

Beyond the Isle of Sky; 
I saw a dead man win a fight, 

And I think that man was I.' 

He belted on his good braid sword, 

And to the field he ran; 
But he forgot the helmet good, 

That should have kept his brain. 

When Percy wi' the Douglas met, 

I wat he was fu fain! 
They swakked their swords, till sair they swat, 

And the blood ran down like rain. 

But Percy with his good broad sword, 

That could so sharply wound, 
Has wounded Douglas on the brow, 

Till he fell to the ground. 

Then he call'd on his little foot-page, 

And said * Run speedilie, 
And fetch my ain dear sister's son, 

Sir Hugh Montgomery.' 

1 My nephew good,' the Douglas said, 

' What recks the death of ane! 
Last night I dream'd a dreary dream, 

And I ken the day's thy ain. 

My wound is deep; I fain would sleep; 

Take thou the vanguard of the three, 
And hide me by the braken bush, 

That grows on yonder lilye lee. 


* O bury me by the braken bush, 

Beneath the blooming briar, 
Let never living mortal ken, 

That ere a kindly Scot lies here,' 

He lifted up that noble lord, 

Wi' the saut tear in his e'e; 
He hid him in the braken bush, 

That his merrie men might not see. 

The moon was clear, the day drew near, 

The spears in flinders flew, 
But mony a gallant Englishman 

Ere day the Scotsmen slew. 

The Gordons good, in English blood, 

They steep 'd their hose and shoon; 
The Lindsays flew like fire about, 

Till all the fray was done. 

The Percy and Montgomery met, 

That either of other were fain; 
They swakked swords, and they twa swat, 

And aye the blude ran down between. 

'Yield thee, O yield thee, Percy!' he said, 

' Or else I vow I'll lay thee low !' 
Whom to shall I yield,' said Earl Percy, 
Now that I see it must be so?' 

' Thou shalt not yield to lord nor loun, 

Nor yet shalt thou yield to me; 
But yield thee to the braken bush, 

That grows upon yon lilye lee!' 

* I will not yield to a braken bush, 

Nor yet will I yield to a briar; 
But I would yield to Earl Douglas, 

Or Sir Hugh the Montgomery, if he were here.' 

As soon as he knew it was Montgomery, 
He stru 1 his sword's point in the gronde; 

And the Montgomery was a courteous knight, 
And quickly took him by the honde. 

This deed was done at Otterbourne, 

About the breaking of the day; 
Earl Douglas was buried at the braken bush, 

And the Percy led captive away. 2 3l 


[This ballad is taken from Percy's ' Reliques,' where it is 
given ' chiefly from his Folio MS., compared with two ancient 
printed copies.' ' The concluding stanzas, however, which con 
tain the old beggar's discovery of himself,' were substituted 
by the Doctor, apparently from his own pen, for ' those of the 
vulgar ballad,' to remove the ' absurdities and inconsistencies ' 
of these latter, and to reconcile the story to 'probability and 
true history. For this,' he says, ' informs us that at the decisive 
battle of Evesham, fought August 4, 1265, when Simon de 
Montfort, the great Earl of Leicester, was slain at the head of 
the barons, his eldest son, Henry, fell by his side, and in con 
sequence of that defeat, his whole family sunk for ever." With 
regard to the date of the ballad, Dr. Percy thinks it was written 
in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, ' from the arms of England 
being called the ' Queenes Armes,' and from its tune being 
quoted in other old pieces written in her time.' In the British 
Museum are two copies, one in black-letter, bearing the fol 
lowing title : ' The Rarest Ballad that ever was seen Of the 
Blind Beggers Daughter of Bednal Green.' In both these 
copies the arms of England are called the ' King's Arms.' The 
' Angell' was a gold coin, of the value of about ten shillings.] 


TT 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. 



And though shee was of favour most faire, 
Yett seeing shee was but a poor beggar's heyre, 
Of ancyent housekeepers despised was shee, 
Whose sonnes came as suitors to prettye Bessee. 

Wherefore in great sorrow faire Bessy did say, 
Good father and mother let me goe away 
To seek out my fortune, whatever itt bee. 
This suite then they granted to prettye Bessee. 

Then Bessy, that was of bewtye soe bright, 
All cladd in gray russett, and late in the night, 
From father and mother alone parted shee, 
Who sighed and sobbed for prettye Bessee. 

Shee went till shee came to Stratford-le-Bow; 
Then knew shee not whither, nor which way to goe: 
With teares shee lamented her hard destinie, 
Soe sadd and soe heavy was pretty Bessee. 

Shee kept on her journey untill it was day, 
And went unto Rumford along the hye way; 
Where at the Queene's Armes entertained was shee: 
Soe faire and wel favoured was pretty Bessee. 

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

Great gifts they did send her of silver and gold, 
And in their songs day lye her love was extold; 
Her beawtye was blazed in every degree; 
Soe faire and soe comelye was pretty Bessee. 

The young men of Rumford in her had their joy; 
Shee shewed herself curteous, and modestlye coye; 
And at her commandment still wold they bee, 
Soe faire and soe comelye was prettye Bessee. 

Foure suitors att once unto her did goe; 
They craved her favor, but still she sayd Noe; 
I wold not wish gentles to marry with mee: 
Yett ever they honoured prettye Bessee. 

The first of them was a gallant young knight, 

And he came unto her disguisde in the night: 

The second a gentleman of good degree, 

Who wooed and sued for prettye Bessee, 233 


A merchant of London, whose wealth was not small, 
He was the third suiter, and proper withall: 
Her masters own sonne the fourth man must bee, 
Who swore he would dye for pretty Bessee. 

And if thou wilt marry with mee, quoth the knight, 
lie make thee a ladye with joy and delight; 
My heart's so inthralled by thy bewtie, 
That soone I shall dye for prettye Bessee. 

The gentleman sayd, Come, marry with mee, 
As fine as a ladye my Bessy shal bee; 
My life is distressed: O heare me, quoth hee; 
And grant me thy love, my prettye Bessee. 

Let me bee thy husband, the merchant cold say, 
Thou shalt live in London both gallant and gay; 
My shippes shall bring home rych Jewells for thee, 
And I will for ever love pretty Bessee. 

Then Bessy shee sighed, and thus shee did say: 
My father and mother I meane to obey; 
First gett their good-will, and be faithfull to mee, 
And you shall enjoy e your prettye Bessee. 

To every one, this answer shee made; 
Wherfore unto her they joyfullye sayd 
This thing to fulfill we all doe agree; 
But where dwells thy father, my prettye Bessee? 

My father, shee said, is soone to be seene; 
The seely blind beggar of Bednal-Greene, 
That daylye sits begging for charitie, 
He is the good father of pretty Bessee. 

His markes and his tokens are knowen very well; 
He always is led with a dogg and a bell: 
A seely olde man, God knoweth, is'hee, 
Yet hee is the father of pretty Bessee ! 

Nay then, quoth the merchant, thou art not for mee; 
Nor, quoth the innholder, my wiffe thou shalt bee: 
I lothe, sayd the gentle, a beggars degree, 
And therefore, adewe, my pretty Bessee! 

Why then, quoth the knight, hap better or worse, 
I waighe not true love by the waight of the pursse, 
And bewtye is bewtye in every degree; 
Then welcome unto me, my pretty Bessee. 


With thee to thy father forthwith I will goe. 
Nay soft, said his kinsmen, it must not be soe; 
A poor beggars daughter noe ladye shal bee, 
Then take thy adew of pretty Bessee. 

But soone after this, by breake of the day, 
The knight had from Rumford stole Bessy away. 
The younge men of Rumford, as thicke might bee, 
Rode after to feitch againe pretty Bessee. 

As swifte as the winde to ryde they were scene, 
Untill they came neare unto Bednal-Greene; 
And as the knight lighted most courteouslie 
They all fought against him for pretty Bessee. 

But rescew came speedilye over the plaine, 

Or else the young knight for his love had been sluine. 

This fray being ended, then straitway he see 

His kinsmen come rayling at pretty Bessee. 

Then spake the blind beggar, Although I bee poore, 
Yett rayle not against my child at my own doore; 
Though ghee be not decked in velvett and pearle, 
Yet will I dropp angells with you for my girle. 

And then if my gold may better her birthe, 
And equall the gold that you lay on the earth, 
Then neyther rayle nor grudge you to see 
The blind beggars daughter a lady to bee. 

But first you shall promise, and have itt well knowne, 
The gold that you drop shall all be your owne. 
With that they replyed, Contented bee wee. 
Then here's, quoth the beggar, for pretty Bessee. 

With that an angell he cast on the ground, 

And dropped in angels full three thousand pound; 

And oftentimes itt was proved most plaine, 

For the gentlemens one, the beggar dropt twayne: 

Soe that the place wherein they did sitt, 
With gold it was covered every whitt. 
The gentlemen then having dropt all their store, 
Sayd, Now, beggar, hold, for wee have noe more. 

Thou hast fulfilled thy promise arright. 
Then marry, quoth he, my girle to this knight; 
And heere, added hee, I will now throw eyou downe 
A hundred pounds more to buy her a gowne. 


The gentlemen all, that this treasure had scene. 
Admired the beggar of Bednal-Greene; 
And all those that were her suitors before, 
Their fleshe for very anger they tore. 

Thus was faire Besse matched to the knight, 

And then made a ladye in others despite: 

A fairer ladye there never was scene, 

Than the blind beggars daughter of Bednal-Greene. 

But of their sumptuous marriage and feast, 
What brave lords and knights thither were prest, 
The second fitt shall set forth to your sight, 
With marveilous pleasure and wished delight. 


Off a blind beggars daughter most bright, 
That late was betrothed unto a younge knight; 
All the discourse thereof you did see; 
But now comes the wedding of pretty Bessee. 

Within a gorgeous palace most brave, 
Adorned with all the cost they cold have, 
This wedding was kept most sumptuouslie, 
And all for the creditt of pretty Bessee. 

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

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

To church then went this gallant younge knight; 
His bride followed after, an angell most bright, 
With troopes of ladyes, the like nere was scene, 
As went with sweete Bessy of Bednal-Greene. 

This marryage being solempnized then, 
With musicke performed by the skilfullest men, 
The nobles and gentles sate downe at that tyde, 
236 Each one admiring the beautifull bryde. 


Now, after the sumptuous dinner was done, 

To talke and to reason a number begunn; 

They talkt of the blind beggars daughter most bright, 

And what with his daughter he gave to the knight. 

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

* The prayse of a woman in questyon to bringe 
Before her own face, were a flattering thinge; 
But wee thinke thy father's baseness,' quoth they, 
' Might by thy bewtye be cleane put awaye.' 

They had noe sooner these pleasant words spoke, 
But in comes the beggar cladd in a silke cloke; 
A faire velvet capp, and a fether had hee; 
And now a musicyan forsooth he wold bee. 

He had a daintye lute under his arme, 
He touched the strings, which made such a charme, 
Saies, Please you to heare any musicke of mee, 
He sing you a song of pretty Bessee. 

With that his lute he twanged straightway, 
And thereon begann most sweetlye to play; 
And after that lessons were playd two or three, 
He straynd out this song most delicatelie. 

A poore beggar's daughter did dwell on a greene, 
Who for her fairenesse might well be a queene; 
A blithe bonny lasse, and a daintye was shee, 
And many one called her pretty Bessee. 

Her father hee had noe goods, nor noe land, 
But beggd for a penny all day with his hand; 
And yett to her marriage hee gave thousands three, 
And still he hath somewhat for pretty Bessee. 

And if any one here her birth doe disdaine, 
Her father is ready, with might and with maine, 
To proove shee is come of noble degree: 
Therfore never flout att prettye Bessee.' 

With that the lords and the companye round 
With harty laughter were readye to swound; 
Att last said the lords, Full well wee may see 
The bride and the beggar's behoulden to thee. 



On this the bride all blushing did rise, 
The pearlie drops standing within her faire eyes; 
O pardon my father, grave nobles, quoth shee, 
That throughe blinde affection thus doteth on mee. 

If this be thy father, the nobles did say, 
Well may he be proud of this happy day; 
Yett by his countenance well may wee see, 
His birth and his fortune did never agree: 

And therfore, blind man, we pray thee bewray 
(And looke that the truth thou to us doe say), 
Thy birth and thy parentage, what itt may bee, 
For the love that thou bearest to pretty Bessee. 

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

Sir Simon de Montfort my subject shal bee; 
Once chiefe of all the great barons was hee: 
Yet fortune so cruelle this lorde did abase, 
Now loste and forgotten are hee and his race. 

When the barons in armes did King Henrye oppose, 
Sir Simon de Montfort their leader they chose; 
A leader of courage undaunted was hee, 
And oft-times he made their enemyes flee. 

At length in the battle on Eveshame plaine, 
The barons were routed, and Montfort was slaine; 
Moste fatall that battel did prove unto thee, 
Thoughe thou wast not borne then, my prettye Bessee! 

Along with the nobles that fell at that tyde, 
His eldest son Henrye, who fought by his side, 
Was fellde by a blowe he receivde in the fight, 
A blowe that deprivde him for ever of sight. 

Among the dead bodyes all lifelesse he laye, 
Till evening drewe on of the following daye, 
When by a young ladye discoverd was hee; 
And this was thy mother, my prettye Bessee 

A barons faire daughter stept forth in the nighte 
To search for her father, who fell in the fight, 
And seeing young Montfort, where gasping he laye, 
., Was moved with pitye, and brought him awaye. 


In secrette she nurst him, and swaged his paine, 
While he throughe the realme was beleevd to be slaine; 
At lengthe his faire bride she consented to bee, 
And made him glad father of prettye Bessee. 

And nowe lest oure foes our lives sholde betraye, 
We clothed ourselves in beggars arraye; 
Her jewelles shee solde, and hither came wee; 
All our comfort and care was our prettye Bessee. 

And here have wee lived in fortunes despite, 
Thoughe poore, yet contented with humble delighte: 
Full forty winters thus have I beene 
A silly blind beggar of Bednal-Greene. 

And here, noble lordes, is ended the song, 
Of one that once to your own ranke did belong: 
And thus have you learned a secrette from mee 
That ne'er had beene knowne, but for prettye Bessee.' 

Now when the faire companye everye one, 
Had heard the strange tale in the song he had showne, 
They all were amazed, as well they might bee, 
Both at the blinde beggar and pretty Bessee. 

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

Thus was the feast ended with joy e and delighte; 

A bridegroome most happy then was the younge knighte; 

In joy and felicitie long lived hee, 

All with his faire ladye, the pretty Bessee. 



[From Mr. Dixon's ' Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of England.' 
In the introductory note to the ballad, the concluding stanzas are erroneously surmised to 
have come from the pen of Percy. They were altered by Robert Dodsley, the author of 
' The Economy of Human Life.'] 

THIS song's of a beggar who long lost his sight, 
And had a fair daughter, most pleasant and bright; 
And many a gallant brave suitor had she, 
And none was so comely as pretty Bessee. 

And though she was of complexion most fair, 
And seeing she was but a beggar his heir, 
Of ancient housekeepers despised was she, 
Whose sons came as suitors to pretty Bessee, 

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

This Bessee, that was of a beauty most bright, 
They clad in gray russet, and late in the night 
From father and mother alone parted she, 
Who sighed and sobbed for pretty Bessee. 

She went till she came to Stratford-at-Bow, 
Then she knew not whither or which way to go; 
With tears she lamented her sad destiny, 
So sad and so heavy was pretty Bessee* 


She kept on her journey until it was day, 
And went unto Rumford along the highway; 
And at the King's Arms entertained was she, 
So fair and well favoured was pretty Bessee. 

She had not been there one month at an end, 
But master and mistress and all was her friend: 
And every brave gallant that once did her see, 
Was straightway in love with pretty Bessee. 

Great gifts they did send her of silver and gold, 
And in their songs daily her love they extoll'd; 
Her beauty was blazed in every degree, 
So fair and so comely was pretty Bessee. 

The young men of Rumford in her had their joy, 
She shewed herself courteous, but never too coy, 
And at their commandment still she would be, 
So fair and so comely was pretty Bessee. 

Four suitors at once unto her did go, 
They craved her favour, but still she said no: 
I would not have gentlemen marry with me. 
iTet ever they honoured pretty Bessee. 

Now one of them wa,s a gallant young knight, 
And he came unto her disguised in the night; 
The second, a gentleman of high degree, 
Who wooed and sued for pretty Bessee. 

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

If that thou wilt marry with me, quoth the knight, 
I'll make thee a lady with joy and delight; 
My heart is enthralled in thy fair beauty, 
Then grant me thy favour, my pretty Bessee. 

The gentleman said, Come marry with me, 
In silks and in velvets my Bessee shall be; 
My heart lies distracted, oh ! hear me, quoth he, 
And grant me thy love, my dear pretty Bessee. 

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



Then Bessee she sighed, and thus she did say; 
My father and mother I mean to obey; 
First get their goodwill, and be faithful to me, 
And you shall enjoy your dear pretty Bessee. 

To every one of them that answer she made, 

Therefore unto her they joyfully said: 

This thing to fulfill we all now agree; 

But where dwells thy father, my pretty Bessee? 

My father, quoth she, is soon to be seen; 
The silly blind beggar of Bednall Green, 
That daily sits begging for charity, 
He is the kind father of pretty Bessee. 

Elis marks and his token are knowen full well, 
He always is led by a dog and a bell; 
A poor silly old man, God knoweth, is he, 
Yet he is the true father of pretty Bessee. 

Nay, nay, quoth the merchant, thou art not for me; 
She, quoth the innholder, my wife shall not be; 
I loathe, said the gentleman, a beggars degree, 
Therefore, now farewell, my pretty Bessee. 

Why then, quoth the knight, Jiapp better or worse, 
I weigh not true love by the weight of the purse, 
And beauty is beauty in every degree, 
Then welcome to me, my dear pretty Bessee. 

With thee to thy father forthwith I will go. 
Nay, forbear, quoth his kinsman, it must not be so: 
A poor beggars daughter a lady sha' n't be; 
Then take thy adieu of thy pretty Bessee. 

As soon then as it was break of the day, 
The knight had from Rumford stole Bessee away; 
The young men of Rumford, so sick as may be, 
Rode after to fetch again pretty Bessee. 

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

But rescue came presently over the plain, 
Or else the knight there for his love had been slain; 
The fray being ended, they straightway did see 
His kinsman come railing at pretty Bessee. 


Then bespoke the blind beggar, altho' I be poor, 
Rail not against my child at my own door; 
Though she be not decked in velvet and pearl, 
Yet I will drop angels with thee for my girl; 

And then if my gold should better her birth, 
And equal the gold you lay on the earth, 
Then neither rail you, nor grudge you to see 
The blind beggars daughter a lady to be. 

But first, I will hear, and have it well known, 
The gold that you drop it shall be all your own ; 
"With that they replied, contented we be; 
Then heres, quoth the beggar, for pretty Bessee. 

With that an angel he dropped on the ground, 
And dropped, in angels, full three thousand pound; 
And oftentimes it proved most plain, 
For the gentlemans one, the beggar dropped twain. 

So that the whole place wherein they did sit, 
With gold was covered every whit; 
The gentleman having dropt all his store, 
Said, Beggar! your hand hold, for I have no more. 

Thou hast fulfilled thy promise aright, 
Then marry my girl, quoth he, to the knight; 
And then, quoth he, I will throw you down, 
An hundred pound more to buy her a gown. 

The gentlemen all, who his treasure had seen, 
Admired the beggar of Bednall Green. 
And those that had been her suitors before, 
Their tender flesh for anger they tore. 

Thus was the fair Bessee matched to a knight, 

And made a lady in others despite. 

A fairer lady there never was seen 

Then the blind beggars daughter of Bednall Green. 

But of her sumptuous marriage and feast, 
And what fine lords and ladies there prest, 
The second part shall set forth to your sight, 
With marvellous pleasure, and wished for delight. 

Of a blind beggars daughter so bright, 
That late was betrothed to a young knight, 
All the whole discourse therefore you may see, 
But now comes the wedding of pretty Bessee. 

24 <> 



IT was in a gallant palace most brave, 
Adorned with all the cost they could have, 
This wedding it was kept most sumptuously, 
And all for the love of pretty Bessee. 

And all kind of dainties and delicates sweet, 
Was brought to their banquet, as it was thought meet, 
Partridge, and plover, and venison most free, 
Against the brave wedding of pretty Bessee, 

The wedding thro' England was spread by report, 
So that a great number thereto did resort, 
Of nobles and gentles of every degree, 
And all for the fame of pretty Bessee. 

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

This wedding being solemnized then, 
With music performed by skilfullest men, 
The nobles and gentlemen down at the side, 
Each one beholding the beautiful bride. 

But after the sumptuous dinner was done, 

To talk and to reason a number begun, 

And of the blind beggars daughter most bright; 

And what with his daughter he gave to the knight. 

Then spoke the nobles, much marvel have we 
This jolly blind beggar we cannot yet see! 
My lords, quoth the bride, my father so base 
Is loathe with his presence these states to disgrace. 

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

They no sooner this pleasant word spoke. 
But in comes the beggar in a silken cloak, 
A velvet cap and a feather had he, 
244 And now a musician, forsooth, he would be. 


And being led in from catching of harm, 
He had a dainty lute under his arm, 
Said, please you to hear any music of me, 
A song I will give you of pretty Bessee. 

With that his lute he twanged straightway, 
And thereon began most sweetly to play, 
And after a lesson was played two or three, 
He strained out this song most delicately: 

A BEGGAR'S daughter did dwell on a green, 
Who for her beauty may well be a queen, 
A .blythe bonny lass, and dainty was she, 
And many one called her pretty Bessee. 

Her father he had no goods nor no lands, 
But begged for a penny all day with his hands, 
And yet for her marriage gave thousands three, 
Yet still he hath somewhat for pretty Bessee. 

And here if any one do her disdain, 
Her father is ready with might and with main 
To prove she is come of noble degree, 
Therefore let none flout at my pretty Bessee. 

With that the lords and the company round 
With a hearty laughter were ready to swound; 
At last said the lords, Full well we may see, 
The bride and the bridegrooms beholden to thee. 

With that the fair bride all blushing did rise, 
With crystal water all in her bright eyes, 
Pardon my father, brave nobles, quoth she, 
That through blind affection thus doats upon me. 

If this be thy father, the nobles did say, 
Well may he be proud of this happy day, 
Yet by his countenance well may we see, 
His birth with his fortune could never agree, 

And therefore, blind beggar, we pray thee bewray, 
And look to us then the truth thou dost say, 
Thy birth and thy parentage what it may be, 
E'en for the love thou bcarest to pretty Bessee. 

Then give me leave, ye gentles each one, 
A song more to sing and then I'll begone, 
And if that I do not win good report, 
Then do not give me one groat for my sport; 


WHEN first our king his fame did advance, 
And sought his title in delicate France, 
In many places great perils past he, 
But then was not born my pretty Bessee. 

And at those wars went over to fight, 

Many a brave duke, a lord, and a knight, 

And with them young Monford of courage so free, 

But then was not born my pretty Bessee. 

And there did young Monford with a blow on the face 
Lose both his eyes in a very short space; 
His life had been gone away with his sight, 
Had not a young woman gone forth in the night. 

Among the said men, her fancy did move, 
To search and to seek for her own true love, 
Who seeing young Monford there gasping to die, 
She saved his lie through her charity. 

And then all our victuals in beggars attire, 
At the hands of good people we then did require, 
At last into England, as now it is seen 
We came, and remained in Bednall Green. 

And thus we we have lived in Fortune's despyght, 
Though poor, yet contented with humble delight, 
And in my old years, a comfort to me, 
God sent me a daughter called pretty Bessee. 

And thus, ye nobles, my song I do end, 
Hoping by the same no man to offend; 
Full forty long winters thus I have been, 
A silly blind beggar of Bednall Green. 

Now when the company every one, 
Did hear the strange tale he told in his song, 
They were amazed, as well as they might be 
Both at the blind beggar and pretty Bessee. 

With that the fair bride they all did embrace, 
Saying, You are come of an honourable race, 
Thy father likewise is of high degree, 
And thou art right worthy a lady to be. 

Thus was the feast ended with joy and delight, 
A happy bridegroom was made the young knight, 
Who lived in great joy and felicity, 
With his fair lady dear pretty Bessee. 

[This ballad was printed by Percy in his Reliques,' and 
by Kitson in his ' Ancient Songs and Ballads.' In the 
British Museum there Is a black-letter copy, in broadside, 
with the title, ' A true relation of the Life and Death of Sir 
Andrew Barton, a Pyrate and Rover of the Seas ;' to the 
tune of ' Come, follow, my love,' &c. These several versions 
vary considerably from one another. That which Is here 
given is Percy's, which, he says, ' received great improve 
ments from the folio MS., wherein was an ancient copy, 
which, though very incorrect, seemed in many respects 
superior to the common ballad ;' which the Doctor thinks 
'evidently modernized and abridged from it.' He also 
' amended and improved' his text ' in some places by a black- 
letter copy in the Pepys Collection, as also by conjecture.' 
The ballad ' appears,' he says, ' to have been written in the 
reign of Elizabeth ;' and Ritson assigns It the same date. 
' The story,' says the latter, ' is to be found in most of the 
English chronicles, under the year 151 1 :' it is told by Hume, 
(Hist, of England, ch. 27.) 


HEN Flora with her fragrant flowers 

Bedeckt the earth so trim and gaye, 
And Neptune with his daintye showers 

Came to present the monthe of Maye; 
King Henrye rode to take the ayre, 

Over the river of Thames past hee; 
When eighty merchants of London came, 

And downe they knelt upon their knee. 




* 0, yee are welcome, rich merchants; 

Good saylors, welcome unto mee.' 
They swore by the rood, they were saylors good, 

But rich merchants they cold not bee : 
' To France nor Flanders dare we pass: 

Nor Bourdeaux voyage dare we fare; 
And all for a rover that lyes on the seas, 

Who robbs us of our merchant ware.' 

King Henrye frownd, and turned him rounde, 

And swore by the Lord, that was mickle of might, 
' I thought he had not beene in the world, 

Durst have wrought England such unright.' 
The merchants sighed, and said, ' Alas.!' 

And thus they did their answer frame, 
' He is a proud Scott, that robbs on the seas, 

And Sir Andrewe Barton is his name.' 

The king lookt over his left shoulder, 

And an angry e look then looked hee: 
' Have I never a lorde in all my realme, 

Will feitch yond tray tor unto mee?' 
' Yea, that dare I;' lord Howard sayes; 

* Yea, that dare I with heart and hand; 
If it please your grace to give me leave, 

Myselfe wil be the only man.' 

' Thou art but yong;' the kyng replyed: 

' Yond Scott hath numbred manye a yeare.' 
' Trust me, my liege, He make him quail, 

Or before my prince I will never appeare.' 
* Then bowemen and gunners thou slialt have, 

And chuse them over my realme so free; 
Besides good mariners, and shipp-boyes, 

To guide the great shipp on the sea.' 

The first man, that Lord Howard chose, 

Was the ablest gunner in all the realm, 
Thoughe he was threescore yeeres and ten: 

Good Peter Simon was his name. 
' Ir-jter,' sais hee, ' I must to the sea, 

To bring home a traytor live or deal: 
Before all others I have chosen thee; 

Of a hundred gunners to be the head.' 


' If you, my lord, have chosen mee 

Of a hundred gunners to be the head, 
Tiien hang me up on your maine-mast tree, 

If I misse my marke one shilling bread.' 
My lord then chose a boweman rare, 

Whose active hands had gained fame. 
In Yorkshire was this gentleman borne, 

And William Horseley was his name. 

4 Horseley,' sayd he, * I must with speede 

Go seeke a traytor on the sea, 
And now of a hundred bowemen brave 

To be the head I have chosen thee.' 
* If you,' quoth hee, ' have chosen mee 

Of a hundred bowemen to be the head; 
On your maine-mast lie hanged bee, 

If I miss twelvescore one penny bread.' 

With pikes and gunnes, and bowemen bold. 

This noble Howard is gone to the sea; 
With a valyant heart and a pleasant cheare, 

Out at Thames mouth sayled he. 
And days he scant had sayled three, 

Upon the voyage, he tooke in hand, 
But there he mett with a noble shipp, 

And stoutely made itt stay and stand. 

* Thou must tell me,' lord Howard said, 

' Now who tliou art, and what's thy name; 
And shewe me where thy dwelling is: 

And whither bound, and whence thou came.' 
' My name is Henry Hunt,' quoth hee, 

With a heavye heart, and a carefull mind; 
' I and my shipp doe both belong 

To the Newcastle, that stands upon Tyne.' 

' Hast thou not heard, nowe, Henrye Hunt, 

As thou hast sayled by daye and by night, 
Of a Scottish rover on the seas; 

Men call him sir Andrew Barton, knight ?' 
Then ever he sighed, and sayd ' Alas !' 

With a grieved mind, and well aw ay ! 
' But over-well I knowe that wight, 

I was his prisoner yesterday. 


' As I was sayling uppon the sea, 

A Burdeaux voyage for to fare ; 
To his hach-borde he clasped me, 

And robd me of all my merchant ware: 
And mickle debts, God wot, I owe, 

And every man will have his owne; 
And I am nowe to London bounde, 

Of our gracious king to beg a boone.' 

' That shall not need,' lord Howard sais; 

' Lett me but once that robber see, 
For every penny tane thee froe 

It shall be doubled shillings three.' 
' Nowe God forefend,' the merchant said, 

1 That you shold seek soe far amisse ! 
God keepe you out of that traitors hands! 

Full litle ye wott what a man hee is. 

' Hee is brasse within, and steele without, 

With beames on his topcastle stronge; 
And eighteen pieces of ordinance 

He carries on each side along: 
And he hath a pinnace deerlye dight, 

St. Andre wes crosse, that is his guide; 
His pinnace beareth ninescore men, 

And fifteen canons on each side. 

' Were ye twentye shippes, and he but one; 

I sweare by kirke, and bower, and hall; 
He wold overcome them everye one, 

If once his beames they doe downe fall.' 
* This is cold comfort,' sais my lord, 

* To wellcome a stranger thus to the sea; 
Yet He bring him and his shipp to shore, 

Or to Scottlaad hee shall carrye mee.' 

' Then a noble gunner you must have, 

And he must aim well with his ee, 
And sinke his pinnace into the sea, 

Or else hee never orecome will bee: 
And if you chance his shipp to borde, 

This counsel I must give withall, 
Let no man to his topcastle goe 

To strive to let his beams downe fall. 


' And seven pieces of ordinance, 

I pray your honour lend to mee, 
On each side of my shipp along, 

And I will lead you on the sea. 
A glasse He sett, that may be scene, 

Whether you sayle by day or night; 
And to-morrowe, I sweare, by nine of the clocke 

You shall meet with Sir Andrewe Barton, knight.' 


THE merchant sett my lorde a glasse 

Soe well apparent in his sight, 
And on the morrowe, by nine of the clocke, 

He shewed him Sir Andrewe Barton, knight. 
His hachebord it was gilt with gold, 

Soe deerlye dight it dazzled the ee : 

* Nowe, by my faith,' lord Howarde sais, 

' This is a gallant sight to see. 

* Take in your ancyents, standards eke, 

So close that no man may them see; 
And put me forth a white willowe wand, 

As merchants use to sayle the sea.' 
But they stirred neither top, nor mast; 

Stoutly they past Sir Andrew by. 
' What English churles are yonder,' he sayd, 

' That can soe litle curtesye ? 

' Now, by the roode, three yeares and more 

I have beene admirall over the sea; 
And never an English nor Portingall 

Without my leave can passe this way.' 
Then called he forth his stout pinnace; 

' Fetch backe yond pedlars nowe to mee : 
I sweare by the masse, yon English churles 

Shall all hang att my maine-mast tree.' 

With that the. pinnace itt shott off, 

Full well lord Howard might it ken; 
For itt stroke down my lord's fore mast, 

And killed fourteen of his men. 
' Come hither, Simon,' sayes my lord, 

' Looke that thy word be true, thou said; 
For at my maine-mast thou shalt hang, 

If thou misse thy marke one shilling bread.' 


Simon was old, but his heart itt was bold. 

His ordinance he laid right lowe; 
He put in chaine full nine yardes long, 

With other great shott lesse, and moe; 
And he lette goe his great gunnes shott; 

Soe well he settled itt with his ee, 
The first sight that Sir Andrew sawe, 

He see his pinnace sunke in the sea. 

And when he saw his pinnace sunke, 

Lord ! how his heart with rage did swell ! 
' No we cutt my ropes, itt is time to be gon; 

He fetch yond pedlars backe my sell.' 
When my Lord sawe Sir Andrewe loose, 

Within his heart hee was full faihe : 
*Nowe, spread your ancyents, strike up drumtnes, 

Sound all your trumpets out amaine.' 

' Fight on, my men,' Sir Andrewe sais, 

' Weale howsoever this geere will sway; 
Itt is my lord admirall of England, 

Is come to seeke mee on the sea.' 
Simon had a sonne, who shott right well, 

That did Sir Andrewe mickle scare; 
In att his decke he gave a shott, 

Killed threescore of his men of warre. 

Then Henrye Hunt with rigour hott 

Came bravely on the other side ; 
Soone he drove downe his fore-mast tree, 

And killed fourscore men beside. 
' Nowe, out alas ! ' Sir Andrewe cryed, 

' What may a man now thinke, or say ? 
Yonder merchant theefe, that pierceth rnee, 

He was my prisoner yesterday. 

* Come hither to me, thou Gordon got>d, 

That aye was readye att my call ; 
I will give thee three hundred markes, 

If thou wilt let my beames downe fall ' 
Lord Howard hee then calld in haste, 

' Horseley, see thou be true in stead ; 
For thou shalt at the maine-mast hang, 

If thou misse twelvescore one penny bread,' 


Then Gordon swarved the maine-mast tree, 

He swarved it with might and maine ; 
But Horseley with a bearing arrowe, 

Stroke the Gordon through the braine ; 
And he fell unto the haches again, 

And sore his deadlye wounde did bleed : 
Then word went through Sir Andrews men, 

How that the Gordon hee was dead. 

* Come hither to mee, James Hambilton, 

Thou art my only sisters sonne, 
If thou wilt let my beames downe fall, 

Six hundred nobles thou hast wonne.' 
With that he swarved the maine-mast tree, 

He swarved it with nimble art ; 
But Horseley with a broad arrowe 

Pierced the Hambilton thorough the heart : 

And downe he fell upon the deck, 

That with his blood did streame amaine : 
Then every Scott cryed, ' Well-away ! 

Alas, a comelye youth is slaine !'- 
All woe begone was Sir Andrew then, 

With griefe and rage his heart did swell : 
' Go fetch me forth my armour of proofe, 

For I will to the topcastle mysell. 

* Goe fetch me forth my armour of proofe ; 

That gilded is with gold soe cleare : 
God be with my brother John of Barton ! 

Against the Portingalls hee it ware ; 
And when he had on this armour of proofe, 

He was a gallant sight to see : 
Ah ! nere didst thou meet with living wight, 

My deere brother, could cope with thee.' 

' Come hither, Horseley,' sayes my lord, 

* And looke your shaft that itt goe right, 
Shoot a good shoote in time of need, 

And for it thou shalt be made a knight.' 
' He shoot my best,' quoth Horseley then, 

' Your honour shall see, with might and maine ; 
But if I were hanged at your maine-mast, 

I have now left but arrowes twaine.' 



Sir Andrew he did swarve the tree, 

With right good will he swarved then 
Upon his breast did Horseley hitt, 

But the arrow bounded back agen. 
Then Horseley spyed a privye place 

With a perfect eye in a secrette part ; 
Under the spole of his right arme 

He smote Sir Andrew to the heart. 

'Fight on, my men !' Sir Andrew sayes, 

' A little Ime hurt, but yett not slaine ; 
He but lye downe and bleede a while, 

And then Be rise and fight againe. 
Fight on, my men !' Sir Andrew sayes, 

* And never flinche before the foe ; 
And stand fast by St. Andrewes crosse 

Untill you heare my whistle blowe.' 

They never heard his whistle blow, 

Which made their hearts waxe sore adread- 
Then Horseley sayd, ' Aboard, my lord, 

For well I wott Sir Andrew's dead.' 
They boarded then his noble shipp, 

They boarded it with might and maine; 
Eighteen score Scots alive they found, 

The rest were either maimed or slaine. 

Lord Howard tooke a sword in hand, 

And off he smote Sir Andrewes head; 
' I must have left England many a daye, 

If thou wert alive as thou art dead.' 
He caused his body to be cast 

Over the hatchbord into the sea, 
And about his middle three hundred crownes: 

' Wherever thou land this will bury thee.' 

Thus from the warres Lord Howard came, 

And backe he sayled ore the maine, 
With mickle joy and triumphing 

Into Thames mouth he came againe. 
Lord Howard then a letter wrote, 

And sealed it with scale and ring; 
' Such a noble prize have I brought to your grace, 

As never did subject to a king. 


' Sir Andrewes shipp I bring with meej 

A braver shipp was never none: 
Nowe hath your grace two shipps of warr, 

Before in England was but one.' 
King Henryes grace with royall cheere 

Welcomed the noble Howard home, 
' And where,' said he, ' is this rover stout, 

That I myselfe may give the doome?' 

' The rover, he is safe, my leige, 

Full many a fadom in the sea; 
If he were alive as he is dead, 

I must have left England many a day: 
And your grace may thank four men i' the ship 

For the victory wee have wonne, 
These are William Horseley, Henry Hunt, 

And Peter Simon, and his sonne.' 

To Henry Hunt, the king then sayd, 

* In lieu of what was from thee tane, 
A noble a day now thou shalt have, 

Sir Andre wes jewels and his chayne. 
And Horseley, thou shalt be a knight, 

And lands and livings shalt have store; 
Howard shall be erle Surrye hight, 

As Howards erst have beene before. 

' Nowe, Peter Simon, thou art old, 

I will maintaine thee and thy sonne: 
And the men shall have five hundred markea 

For the good service they have done.' 
Then in came the queene with ladyes fair 

To see Sir Andrewe Barton, knight: 
They weend that hee were brought on shore, 

And thought to have seen a gallant sight. 

But when they see his deadlye face, 

And eyes soe hollow in his head, 
' I wold give,' quoth the king, ' a thousand markes, 

This man were alive as hee is dead: 
Yett for the manfull part hee playd, 

Which fought soe well with heart and hand, 
His men shall have twelvepence a day, 

Till they come to my brother king's high land.* 


[From a Broadside in the British Museum ; Printed by and lor W. O. 
and sold by the Booksellers.] 

WHEN Flora with her fragrant flowers, 

Bedeckt the earth so trim and gay, 
And Neptune with his dainty showers, 

Came to present the month of May, 
King Henry would a-hunting ride, 

Over the river Thames passed he, 
Unto a mountain-top also 

Did walk, some pleasure for to see. 

Where forty merchants he espy'd, 

With fifty sail came towards him, 
Who then no sooner were arrived, 

But on their knees did thus complain; 
' An't please your grace, we cannot sail 

To France no voyage to be sure, 
But Sir Andrew Barton makes us quail, 

And robs us of our merchant ware.' 

Vext was the king, and turning him, 

Said to the lords of high degree, 
' Have 1 ne'er a lord within my realm, 

Dare fetch that tray tour unto me?' 
To him replyd Charles Lord Howard, 

' I will, my liege, with heart and hand; 
If it will please you grant me leave,' he said, 

' I will perform what you cammand.' 


To him then spoke King Henry, 
' I fear, my lord, you are too 

* No wbit at all, my liege,' quoth he; 

* I hope to prove in valour strong. 
The Scotch knight I vow to seek, 

In what place soever he be, 
And bring ashore with all his might, 

Or into Scotland he shall carry mu 

* A hundred men,' the king then said, 

' Out of my realm shall chosen be, 
Besides sailors and ship-boys, 

To guide a great ship on the sea. 
Bowmen and gunners of good skill, 

Shall for this service chosen be, 
And they at thy command and will 

In all affairs shall wait on thee.' 

Lord Howard call'd a gunner then, 

Who was the best in all the realm, 
His age was threescore years and ten, 

And Peter Simon was his name. 
My lord call'd then a bow -man rare, 

Whose active hands had gained fame, 
A gentleman born in Yorkshire, 

And William Horsely was his name. 

Horsely !' quoth he, ' I must to sea, 

To seek a tray tor, with good speed: 
Of a hundred bow -men brave,' quoth he, 

' I have chosen thee to be the head.' 
* If you, my lord, have chosen me 

Of a hundred men to be the head, 
Upon the mainmast I'll hanged be, 

If twelve-score I miss one shilling's breadth.' 

Lord Howard then of courage bold, 

Went to the sea with pleasant cheer, 
Not curbed with winter's piercing cold, 
Tho' it was the stormy time of year. 
Not long had he been on sea, 

More in days than number three, 
But one Henry Hunt then he espy'd, 
257 A merchant of Newcastle was he. 




To him Lord Howard call'd out amain, 

And strictly charged him to stand; 
Demanding then from whence he came, 

Or where he did intend to land. 
The merchant then made answer soon, 

With heavy heart and careful mind, 
' My lord, my ship it doth belong 

' Unto New -castle upon Tine.' 

' Canst thou show me,' the lord did say, 

' As thou didst sail by day and night, 
A Scottish rover on the sea, 

His name is Andrew Barton, knight?* 
Then the merchant sighed and said, 

With grieved mind and well a way, 
'But over well I know that wight, 

I was his prisoner yesterday. 

As I, my lord, did sail from France, 

A Burdeane voyage to take so far, 
I met with Sir Andrew Barton thence, 

Who robb'd me of my merchant ware. 
And mickle debts God knows I owe, 

And every man doth crave his own; 
And I am bound to London now, 

Of our gracious King to beg a boon.' 

' Show me him,' said Lord Howard then 

' Let me once the villain see, 
And every penny he hath from thee ta'en, 

I'll double the same with shillings three.' 
* Now, God forbid,' the merchant said, 

* I fear your aim that you will miss; 
God bless you from his tyranny, 

For little you think what man he is. 

He is brass within and steel without, 

His ship most huge and mighty strong, 
With eighteen pieces of ordinance, 

He carrieth on each side along. 
With beams for his top-castle, 

As also being huge and high, 
That neither English nor Portugal, 

Can Sir Andrew Barton pass by.' 


' Hard news thou shewst,' then said the lord, 

' To welcome strangers to the sea; 
But as I said, I'll bring him aboard, 

Or into Scotland he shall carry me.' 
The merchant said, ' If you will do so, 

Take councel, then, I pray withal, 
Let no man to his top castle go, 

Nor strive to let his beams downfall/ 

' Lend me seven pieces of ordnance, then 

Of each side of my ship,' said he, 
* And to-morrow, my Lord, 

Again I will your honour see: 
A glass I set as may be seen, 

Whether you sail by day or night; 
And to-morrow be sure before seven, 

You shall see Sir Andrew Barton, Knight.' 

The merchant set my Lord a glass, 

So well apparent in his sight, 
That on the morrow, as his promise was, 

He saw Sir Andrew Barton, Knight: 
The Lord then swore a mighty oath, 

' Now by the heavens that be of might, 
By faith, believe me, and my troth, 

I think he is a worthy knight.' 

Sir Andrew Barton seeing him 

Thus scornfully to pass by, 
As tho' he cared not a pin 

For him and his company; 
Then called he his men amain, 

' Fetch back yon pedlar now,' quoth he, 
And ere this way he comes again, 

I'll teach him well his courtesie.' 

1 Fetch me my lyon out of hand,' 

Saith the Lord, ' with pole and streamer high; 
Set up withal a willow-wand, 

That merchant like I may pass by:' 
Thus bravely did Lord Howard pass, 

And on anchor rise so high; 
No top sail at last he cast, 

But as a foe did him defie. 



A piece of ordnance soon was shot 

By this proud pirate fiercely then, 
Into Lord Howard's middle deck, 

Which cruel shot killed fourteen men. 
He called then Peter Simon, he: 

' Look how thy word do stand instead, 
For thou shall be hanged on main-mast, 

If thou miss twelve score one penny breadth.' 

Then Peter Simon gave a shot, 

Which did Sir Andrew mickle scare, 
In at his deck it came so hot, 

Killed fifteen of his men of war. 
' Alas,' then said the Pirate stout, 

'I am in danger now I see; 
This is some Lord, I greatly fear, 

That is set on to conquer me.' 

Then Henry Hunt, with rigour hot, 

Came bravely on the other side, 
Who likewise shot in at his deck, 

And killed fifty of his men beside. 
Then * Out alas,' Sir Andrew cryd, 

* What may a man now think or say, 
Yon merchant thief that pierceth me, 

He was my prisoner yesterday.' 

Then did he on Gordion call 

Unto the top castle for to go, 
And bid his beams he should let fall, 

For he greatly fear'd an overthrow. 
The Lord call'd Horsely now in haste, 

* Look that thy word stand in stead, 
For thou shall be hanged on mainmast, 

If thou miss twelve score a shilling's breadth.' 

Then up mast tree swerved he, 

This stout and mighty Gordion; 
But Horsely he most happily 

Shot him under his collar-bone: 
Then call'd he on his nephew then, 

Said, ' Sister's son, I have no mo, 
Three hundred pound I will give thee, 

If thou will to top castle go.' 


Then stoutly he began to climb, 

From off the mast scorn'd to depart. 
But Horsely soon prevented him, 

And deadly pierced him to the heart. 
His men being slain, then up amain, 

Did this proud pirate climb with speed, 
For armour of proof he had on, 

And did not dint of arrows dread 

' Come hither, Horsley,' said the Lord, 

' See thou thy arrows aim aright; 
G reat means to thee I will afford, 

And if thou speedst, 111 make thee knight' 
Sir Andrew did climb up the tree, 

With right good will and all his main; 
Then upon the breast hit Horsley he, 

Till the arrow did return again. 

Then Horsley spied a private place, 
With a perfect eye, in a secret part, 

His arrow swiftly flew apace, 

And smote Sir Andrew to the heart. 

Fight on, fight on, my merry men all, 

A little I am hurt, yet not slain; 
I'll but lie down and bleed awhile, 
And come and fight with you again.' 

* And do not,' said he, ' fear English rogues, 

And of your foes stand not in awe, 
But stand fast by St. Andrew's crosse, 

Until you hear my whistle blow.' 
They never heard his whistle blow, 

Which made them all full sore afraid. 
Then Horsely said, * My Lord, aboard, 

For now Sir Andrew Barton's dead.' 

Thus boarded they his gallant ship, 

With right good will and all their main, 
Eighteen score Scots alive in it, 

Besides as many more was slain. 
The Lord went where Sir Andrew lay, 

And quickly thence cut off his head; 
' I should forsake England many a day, 

If thou wert alive as thou art dead.' 


Thus from the wars Lord Howard came, 

With mickle joy and triumphing; 
The pirate's head he brought along 

For to present unto our King: 
Who haply unto him did say, 

Before he well knew what was done, 
* Where is the knight and pirate gay, 

.That I myself may give the doom?' 

' You may thank God,' then said the Lord, 

' And four men in the ship,' quoth he, 
That we are safely come ashore, 

Sith you never had such an enemy; 
That is Henry Hunt, and Peter Simon, 

William Horsely, and Peter's son; 
Therefore reward them for their pains, 

For they did service at their turn.' 

To the merchant therefore the king he said, 

In lieu of what he hath from thee tane, 
I give thee a noble a-day, 

Sir Andrew's whistle and his chain: 
To Peter Simon a crown a-day, 

And half-a-crown a-day to Peter's son, 
And that was for a shot so gay, 

Which bravely brought Sir Andrew down, 

Horsely, I will make thee a knight, 

And in Yorkshire thou shalt dwell: 
Lord Howard shall Earl Bury hight, 

For this act he deserveth well. 
Ninety pound to our Englishmen, 

Who in this fight did stoutly stand; 
And twelve-pence a-day to the Scots, till they 

Come to my brother king's high land. 


[The subject of this ballad was thought by Dr. Percy 
. who printed it in his ' Reliques, from two ancient copies, 
one of them in black letter, in the Pepys Collection,' to 
be taken ' from an old play, of a young child murthered in 
a wood by two ruffins, with consent of his unkle. By 
> Rob. Yarrington, 1601.' This opinion , however, will pro 
bably be thought inconsistent with the fact that the ballad 
was entered in the Stationers' books in the year 1595 ; and 
would therefore seem to have been written before the 
' lamentable tragedy' upon which the Doctor considered it 
to have been founded. Internal evidence, too, seems strong 
in favour of its originality and thorough English character; 
whereas the scene of the play is laid in Italy. The present 
version is chiefly that of Percy, compared, however, with 
an old copy in the British Museum, bearing this title : 
The Norfolk Gentleman's Last Will and Testament, who 
on his death-bed committed the keeping of his two chil 
dren, a boy and a girl, to his own brother, who did most 
wickedly cause them to be destroyed, that so he might 
possess himself and children of the estate ; but, by the just 
judgments of the Almighty, himself and all that he had, was 
destroyed from off the face of the earth. To the tune of 
Rogero, &c. London : Printed by and for W. D., and sold by 
C. Boxes, at the Sun and Bible, in Gilt-Spur Street.'] 

OW 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, 
Whose wealth and riches did surmount 

Most men of his estate. 


Sore sicke he was, and like to dye, 

No helpe his life could save; 
His wife by him as sicke did lye, 

And both possest one grave. 
No love between these two was lost, 

Each was to other kinde, 
In love they lived, in love they dyed, 

And left two babes behinde: 

The one a fine and pretty boy, 

Not passing three yeares old; 
The other a girl more young than he, 

And made in beautyes molde. 
The father left his little son, 

As plainlye doth appeare, 
When he to perfect age should come, 

Three hundred poundes a yeare. 

And to his little daughter Jane, 

Five hundred poundes in gold, 
To be paid downe on marriage-day, 

Which might not be controlld: 
But if the children chance to dye, 

Ere they to age should come, 
Their uncle should possesse their wealth; 

For so the wille did run. 

Now, brother, said the dying man, 

Look to my children deare; 
Be good unto my boy and girl, 

No friendes else have they here: 
To God and you I do commend 

My children deare this day; 
But little while be sure we have 

Within this world to staye. 

You must be father and mother both, 

And uncle all in one; 
God knowes what will become of them, 

When I am dead and gone. 
With that bespake their mother deare, 

O brother kinde, quoth shee, 
You are the man must bring my babes 

To wealth or miseries 


If you do keep them carefully, 

Then God will you reward; 
But if you otherwise should deal, 

God will your deedes regard. 
With lippes as cold as any stone, 

They kist their children small: 
God bless you both, my children deare! 

With that the teares did fall. 

These speeches then their brother spake 

To this sicke couple there: 
The keeping of your little ones, 

Sweet sister, do not feare: 
God never prosper me nor mine, 

Nor aught else that I have, 
If I do wrong your children deare, 

When you are layd in grave. 

The parents being dead and gone, 

The children home he takes, 
And brings them straite unto his house, 

Where much of them he makes. 
He had not kept these pretty babes 

A twelvemonth and a daye, 
But, for their wealth, he did devise 

To make them both awaye. 

He bargaind with two ruffians strong, 

Which were of furious mood, 
That they should take the children young, 

And slaye them in a wood: 
He told his wife an artful tale, 

He would the children send 
To be brought up in faire London, 

With one that was his friend. 

Away then went those pretty babes, 

Rejoycing at that tide, 
Rejoycing with a merry minde 

They should on cock-horse ride. 
They prate and prattle pleasantly, 

As they rode on the waye, 
To those that should their butchers be, 

And work their lives decay e: 2 6J5 


So that the pretty speeche they had, 

Made Murders heart relent; 
And they that undertooke the deed, 

Full sore did now repent. 
Yet one of them, more hard of heart, 

Did vowe to do his charge, 
Because the wretch, that hired him, 

Had paid him very large. 

The other woVt agree thereto, 

So here they fall to strife; 
With one another they did fight 

About the childrens life: 
And he that was of mildest mood, 

Did slaye the other there. 
Within an unfrequented wood; 

The babes did quake for feare! 

He took the children by the hand, 

Teares standing in their eye, 
And bade them straitwaye follow him, 

And look they did not crye: 
And two long miles he ledd them on, 

While they for food complaine: 
Staye here, quoth he, I'll bring you bread, 

When I come back againe. 

These pretty babes, with hand in hand, 

Went wandering up and downe: 
But never more they sawe the man 

Approaching from the town: 
Their prettye lippes with black-berries 

Were all besmeared and dyed, 
And when they saw the darksome night, 

They sat them downe and cryed. 

Thus wandered these two pretty babes, 

Till deathe did end their grief, 
In one anothers arms they dyed, 

As wanting due relief: 
No burial these pretty babes 

Of any man receives, 
Till Robin-red-breast painfully 

Did cover them with leaves. 


And now the heavy wrathe of God 

Upon their uncle fell; 
Yea, fearfull fiends did haunt his house, 

His conscience felt an hell: 
His barnes were fired, his goods consumed, 

His landes were barren made, 
His cattle dyed within the field, 

And nothing with him stayd. 

And in the voyage to Portugal 

Two of his sonnes did dye; 
And to conclude, himselfe was brought 

To want and miserye: 
He pawnd and mortgaged all his land 

Ere seven yeares came about. 
And now at length this wicked act 

Did by this meanes come out: 

The fellowe, that did take in hand 

These children for to kill, 
Was for a robbery judged to dye, 

Such was God's blessed will: 
Who did confess the very truth, 

As here hath been displayd: 
Their uncle having dyed in gaol. 

Where he for debt was layd. 

You that executors be made, 

And overseers eke, 
Of children that be fatherless 

And infants mild and meeke; 
Take you example by this thing, 

And yield to each his right, 
Lest God with such like miserye 

Your wicked minds requite. 


[From Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.'] 

[Sir Walter Scott imagines this to be the rude original of the following ballad the 
Child of Elle. Agreeing with such great authority, we here give it precedence.] 

EBLINTON had a fair daughter, 

I wat he weird her in a great sin, 
For he has built a bigly bower, 

An' a' to put that lady in. 

An' he has warn'd her sisters six, 

An' sae has he her brethren se'en, 
Outher to watch her a' the night, 

Or else to seek her morn an e'en. 

She hadna been i' that bigly bower, 

Na not a night, but barely ane, 
Till there was "Willie, her ain true love, 

Chapp'd at the door, cryin', 'Peace within!' 

O whae is this at my bower door, 
That chaps sae late, or kens the gin?' 

* O it is Willie, your ain true love, 

I pray you rise an' let me in!' 

* But in my bower there is a wake, 

An' at the wake there is a wane; 
But I'll come to the green-wood the morn, 
Whar blooms the brier, by mornin' dawn.' 

Then she's gane to her bed again, 

Where she has layen till the cock crew thrice, 

Then she said to her sisters a', 
* Maidens, 'tis time for us to rise.' 

She pat on her back her silken gown, 

An' on her breast a siller pin, 
An' she's tane a sister in ilka hand, 

An' to the green-wood she is gane. 

She hadna walk'd in the green-wood, 

Na not a mile but barely ane, 
Till there was Willie, her ain true love, 

Whae frae her sisters has her ta'en. 


He took her sisters by the hand, 

He kiss'd them baith, ar/ sent them hame, 
An' he's ta'en his true love him behind, 

And through the green-wood they are garie. 

They hadna ridden in the bonnie green-wood, 

Na not a mile but barely ane, 
When there came fifteen o' the boldest knights, 

That ever bare flesh, blood, or bane. 

The foremost was an aged knight, 
He wore the grey hair on his chin, 

Says, ' Yield to me thy lady bright, 
An' thou shall walk the woods within.* 

* For me to yield my lady bright 

To such an aged knight as thee, 
People wad think I war gane mad, 
Or a' the courage flown frae me.' 

But up then spake the second knight, 
I wat he spake right boustouslie, 

* Yield me thy life, or thy lady bright, 

Or here the tane of us shall die.' 

' My lady is my warld's meed: 

My life 1 winna yield to nane; 
But if ye be men of your manhead, 

Ye'il only fight me ane by ane.' 

He lighted aff his milk-white steed, 
An' gae his lady him by the head, 

Say'n, ' See ye dinna change your cheer, 
Untill ye see my body bleed.' 

He set his back unto an aik, 

He set his feet against a stane, 
An' he has fought these fifteen men, 

An' kill'd them a' but barely ane; 
For he has left that aged knight, 

An' a' to carry the tidings hame. 

When he gaed to his lady fair, 
I wat he kiss'd her tenderlie; 

* Thou art mine ain love, I have thee bought; 

Now we shall walk the green-wood free.' 


[This ballad is taken from Percy's ' Keliques,' where it 
was 'given from a fragment in the Editor's folio MS.; 
which, though extremely defective and mutilated, ap 
peared to have so much merit, that it excited a strong 
desire to attempt a completion of the story. The reader,' 
says Dr. Percy, ' w.ll easily discover the supplemental 
stanzas by their inferiority, and at the same time be in 
clined to pardon it, when he considers how difficult it 
must be to imitate the affecting simplicity and artless 
beauties of the original.' Probably, however, the reader 
will be inclined to agree with Sir Walter Scott ('Min 
strelsy of the Scottish Border') in ' ascribing its greatest 
beauties to the poetical taste of the ingenious Editor. 
They are,' he says, ' in the true style of Gothic em- 

N yonder hill a castle standes, 
With walles and towres bedight, 

And yonder lives the Child of Elle, 
A younge and comely knighte. 


The Child of Elle to his garden wente, 

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, 
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, 

And what may thy tydinges bee? 

My lady shee is all woe-begone, 

And the teares they falle from her eyoe; 

And aye she laments the deadlye feude 
Betweene her house and thine. 

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 

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, 
Sith her father hath chose her a new new love, 

And forbidde her to think of thee. 

Her father hath brought her a carlish knight, 

Sir John of the north countraye, 
And within three dayes shee must him wedde, 

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. 

Nowe hye thee backe, thou little foot-page, 

And let thy fair ladye know 
This night will I bee at her bowre-windowe, 

Betide me weale or woe. 



The boye he tripped, the boye he ranne, 

He neither stint ne stayd 
Untill he came to fair Emmelines bowre, 

Whan kneeling downe he sayd, 

O ladye, Ive been with thy own true love, 
And he greets thee well by mee; 

This night will he bee at thy bowre-windowe, 
And dye or sette thee free. 

Nowe daye was gone, and night was come, 

And all were fast asleepe, 
All save the ladye Emmeline, 

"Who sate in her bowre to weepe: 

And soone shee heard her true loves voice 

Lowe whispering at the walle, 
Awake, awake, my deare ladye, 

Tis I thy true love call. 

Awake, awake, my ladye deare, 
Come, mount this faire palfraye: 

This ladder of ropes will lette thee downe, 
He carrye thee hence awaye. 

Nowe nay, nowe nay, thou gentle knight, 

Nowe nay, this may not bee; 
For aye sould I tint my maiden fame, 

If alone I should wend with thee. 

O ladye, thou with a knighte so true, 

Mayst safelye wend alone, 
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 daughter 

Awaye with a knight should fly? 

Ah ! well I wot, he never would rest, 
Nor his meate should doe him no goode, 

Till he had slayne thee, Child of Elle, 
And scene thy deare hearts bloode.' 

ladye, wert thou in thy saddle sette, 
And a little space him fro, 

1 would not care for thy cruel father, 

Nor the worst that he could doe. 


ladye, wert thou in thy saddle sette, 
And once without this walle, 

1 would not care for thy cruel father, 
Nor the worst that might befalle. 

Faire Emmeline sighed, faire Emmeline wept, 

And aye her heart was woe: 
At length he seizde her lilly-white hand, 

And downe the ladder he drewe: 

And thrice he claspde her to his breste, 

And kist her tenderlie: 
The teares that fell from her fair eyes, 

Ranne like the fountayne free. 

Hee mounted himselfe on his steede so talle, 

And her on a faire palfraye, 
And slung his bugle about his necke, 

And roundlye they rode awaye. 

All this beheard her owne damselle, 

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! 

Awake, my noble dame! 
Your daughter is fledde with the Childe of Elle 

To doe the deede of shame. 

The baron he woke, the baron he rose, 
And called his merry e men all: 

* And come thou forth, Sir John the knighte, 

The ladye is carried to thrall.' 

Fair Emmeline scant had ridden a mile, 

A mile forth of the towne, 
When she was aware of her fathers men 

Come galloping over the downe: 

And foremost came the carlish knight, 
Sir John of the north countraye: 

* Nowe stop, nowe stop, thou false traitoure, 

Nor carry that ladye awaye. 

For she is come of hye lynage, 

And was of a ladye borne, 
And ill it beseems thee a false churles sonne 

To earrye her hence to scorne.' 

T 273 


Nowe loud thou lyest, Sir John the knight, 
Nowe thou doest lye of mee; 

A knight mee gott, and a la dye me bore, 
Soe never did none by thee. 

But light nowe downe, my ladye faire, 
Light downe, and hold my steed, 

While I and this discourteous knighte 
Doe trye this arduous deede. 

But light now downe, my deare ladye, 
Light downe, and hold my horse; 

While I and this discourteous knight 
Doe trye our valours force. 

Fair Emmeline sighde, fair Emmeline wept, 
And aye her heart was woe, 

While twixt her love and the carlish knight 
Past many a baleful blowe. 

The Child of Elle hee fought soe well, 
As his weapone he wavde amaine, 

That soone he had slaine the carlish knight, 
And layde him upon the plaine. 

And nowe the baron, and all his men 

Full fast approached nye: 
Ah! what may ladye Emmeline doe? 

Twere now no boote to flye. 

Her lover he put his home to his mouth, 
And blew both loud and shrill, 

And soone he saw his owne merry men 
Come ryding over the hill. 

' Nowe hold thy hand, thou bold baron, 

I pray thee, hold thy hand, 
Nor ruthless rend two gentle hearts, 

Fast knit in true loves band. 

Thy daughter I have dearly lovde 

Full long and many a day; 
But with such love as holy kirke 

Hath freelye sayd wee may. 

O give consent, shee may be mine, 
And blesse a faith full paire: 

My lands and livings are not small, 
My house and lynage faire: 



My mother she was an earles daughter, 

And a noble knyght my sire 

The baron he frownde, and turnde away 

With mickle dole and ire. 

Fair Emmeline sighde, faire Emmeline wept, 

And did all tremblinge stand: 
At lengthe she sprange 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, 

I never had fled from thee. 

Oft have you callde your Emmeline 

Your darling and your joye; 
O let not then your harsh resolves 

Your Emmeline destroye. 

The baron he stroakt his dark-brown cheeke, 

And turnde his heade asyde 
To whipe awaye the starting teare, 

He proudly strave to hyde. 

In deepe revolving thought he stoode, 

And musde a little space: 
Then raisde faire Emmeline from the grounde, 

With many a fond embrace. 

Here take her, Child of Elle, he sayd, 

And gave her lillye hand; 
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 

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. 

[Stanza 40. ' From the word kirke, this hath been thought to be a Scottish 
ballad ; but it must be acknowledged that the line referred to is among the 
additions su; pliod by the Editor : besides, in the northern counties of Eng 
land, kirk is used in the common dialect for chwch, as well as beyond the 
Tweed.' Percy.'} 


[This ' very ancient, curious, and popular performance' 
is taken from Ritson's ' Pieces of Ancient Popular Poetry,' 
(London, 17!>1.) It had previously appeared in Percy's 
' Reliques.' By both Editors it was given from an old black- 
letter quarto, without date, ' imprinted at London in Loth- 
burye, by Wyllyam Copland,' preserved among Garricks 
Old I'lays, in the British Museum. Dr. Percy, however, 
' corrected* this ' old quarto,' in some places, by a copy in 
his Folio MS., whereas Ritson appears to have followed it 
implicitly. ' No earlier edition,' he says, ' is known.' Of 
the heroes of the ballad, ' there is,' according to Ritson, 
' no other memorial than the following legend.' Nume 
rous allusions to them, however, as Dr. Percy points out, 
occur in various authors. Among others, Shakespeare, in 
'Much Ado About Nothing,' Act I, Sc. i., seems to refer to 
' Adam Bell, "as also in ' Romeo and Juliet,' Act II., Sc. i. 
Ben Jonson, in his ' Alchemist,' Act I. Sc. i., mentions 
' Clim o" the Clough ; ' whilst both are named together 
by Sir \Villiam Davenant, in his poem, 'The Long 
Vacation in London.' And in the ballad entitled, ' Robin 
Hood, his Birth, Breeding, Valour, and Marriage,' Supra, 
p. 26, all three of them are represented as being contem 
poraries of ' the father of Robin.' ' Clym of the Cloughe' 
is explained by Percy to mean Clem, (Clement) of the Cliff ; 
and Ritson thinfis ' Cloudesle' the same with Clodsley. ' A. 
ballad of William Clowdisley,' (never printed before,) was,' 
he says, 'allowed by the Stationer's Company to Edward- 
White, on the 16th August, 1586.' < Englishe-Wood, is 
Englewood or Inglcwood, in Cumberland ; and signifies, ac 
cording to Percy, ' wood for firing ;' or, according to Ritson, 
' a wood in which extraordinary fires were made on particu 
lar occasions.'] 

ERY it was in grene forest, 

Amonge the leves grene, 
Wher that men walke east and west, 

Wyth bowes and arrowes kene, 


To ryse the dere out of theyr denne, 
Such sightes hath ofte bene sene ; 

As by thre yemen of the north countrey, 
By them it is I meane : 

The one of them hight Adam Bel, 
The other Clym of the Clough, 

The thyrd was William of Cloudesly, 
An archer good ynough. 

They were outlawed for venyson, 

These yemen everechone ; 
They swore them brethren upon a day, 

To Englysshe-wood for to gone. 

Now lith and lysten, gentylmen, 
That of myrthes loveth to here : 

Two of them were single men, 
The third had a wedded fere. 

Wyllyam was the wedded man, 
Muche more then was hys care, 

He sayde to hys brethren upon a day, 
To Caerlel he would fare. 

For to speke with fayre Alse hys wife, 

And with hys chyldren thre. 
By my trouth, sayde Adam Bel, 

Not by the counsell of me ; 

For if ye go to Caerlel, brother. 
And from thys wylde wode wende, 

If the justice mai you take, 
Your lyfe were at an ende. 

If that I come not tomorrowe, brother, 

By pryme to you agayne, 
Trutse not els but that I am take, 

Or else that I am slayne. 

He toke hys leave of hys brethren two, 

And to Carlel he is gon, 
There he knocked at hys owne windowe, 

Shortlye and anone. 

Where be you, fayre Alyce, my wyfe 

And my chyldren three ? 
Lyghtly let in thyne owne husbande, 

Wyllyam of Cloudesle. 


Alas ! then sayde fayre Alyce, 

And syghed wonderous sore, 
Thys place hath ben besette for you, 

Thys half yere and more. 

Now am I here, sayde Cloudesle, 

I woulde that I in were : 
Now feche us meate and drynke yuoughe, 

And let us make good chere. 

She fetched hym meat and drynke plenty, 

Lyke a true wedded wyfe, 
And pleased hym wyth that she had, 

Whome she loved as her lyfe. 

There lay an old wyfe in that place, 

A lytle besyde the fyre, 
Whych Wyllyam had found of cherytye 

More then seven yere ; 

Up she rose and walked ful styll, 
Evel mote she spede therefoore, 

For she had not set. no fote on ground 
In seven yere before. 

She went unto the justice hall, 

As fast as she could hye ; 
Thys nyght is come unto this town 

Wyllyam of Cloudesle. 

Thereof the justice was full fayne, 

And so was the shirife also ; 
Thou shalt not travaile hether, dame, for nought, 

Thy meed thou shalt have or thou go. 

They gave to her a ryght good goune, 
Of scarlat it was as I heard sayne, 

She toke the gyft and home she wente, 
And couched her downe agayne. 

They raysed the towne of mery Carlel, 
In all the hast that they can, 

And came thronging to Wyllyames house, 
As fast as they myght gone. 

Theyr they besette that good yeman, 

Round about on every syde ; 
Wyllyam hearde great iioyse of folkes 

That heyther-ward they hyed. 



Alyce opened a shot-wyndow, 

And loked all about, 
She was ware of the justice and shirife bothe, 

Wyth a full great route. 

Alas ! treason ! cry'd Aleyce, 

Ever wo may thou be ! 
Go into my chambre, my husband, she sayd, 

Swete Wyllyam of Cloudesle. 

He toke hys sweard and hys bucler, 

Hys bow hys chyldren thre, 
And wente into hys strongest chamber, 

Where he thought surest to be. 

Fayre Alice, folowed him as a lover true, 

With a pollaxe in her hande ; 
He shal be dead that here cometh in 

Thys dore whyle I may stand. 

Cloudesle bent a wel good bowe, 

That was of trusty tre, 
He smot the justise on the brest, 

That hys arrowe brest in thre. 

Gods curse on his hartt, saide William, 

Thys day thy cote tlyd on, 
If it had ben no better then myne, 

It had gone nere thy bone. 

Yelde the Cloudesle, sayd the justise, 
And thy bowe and thy arrowes the fro. 

Gods curse on hys hart, sayde fair Alice, 
That my husband councelleth so. 

Set fyre on the house, saide the sherife, 

Syth it wyll no better be, 
And brenne we therin William, he saide, 

Hys wyfe and chyldren thre. 

They fyred the house in many a place, 

The fyre flew up on hye ; 
Alas ! then cryed fayr Alice, 

I se we here shall dy. 

William openyd hys backe wyndow, 

That was in hys chambre on hie, 
And wyth shetes let hys wyfe downe, 

And hys chyldren thre. 

J J 279 


Have here my treasure, sayde William, 
My wyfe and my chyldren thre, 

For Christes love do them no harme, 
But wreke you all on me. 

Wyllyam shot so wonderous well, 

Tyll hys arrowes were all ygo, 
And the fyre so fast upon hym fell, 

That hys bowstryng brent in two. 

The spercles brent and fell hym on, 

Good Wyllyam of Cloudesle ! 
But than wax he a wofull man, 

And sayde, thys is a cowardes death to me. 

Lever I had, sayde Wyllyam, 

With my sworde ia the route to renne, 

Then here among myne ennemyes wode, 
Thus cruelly to bren. 

He toke hys sweard and hys buckler, 

And among them all he ran, 
Where the people were most in prece, 

He smot downe many a man. 

There myght no man stand hys stroke, 

So fersly on them he ran ; 
Then they threw wyndowes and dores on him, 

And so toke that good yeman. 

There they hym bounde both hand and fote, 
And in depe dongeon hym cast ; 

Now, Cloudesle, sayd the hye justice, 
Thou shalt be hanged in hast. 

One vow shal I make, sayde the sherife, 

A payre of new galowes shall I for the make, 

And the gates of Caerlel shal be shutte, 
There shall no man come in therat. 

Then shall not helpe dim of the Cloughe, 

Nor yet shall Adam Bell, 
Though they came with a thousand mo, 

Nor all the devels in hell. 

Early in the mornyng the justice uprose, 

To the gates first gan he gon, 
And commaundede to be shut full cloce 

Lightile" everychone. 

280 J 


Then went he to the market-place, 

As fast as he coulde hye, 
A payre of new gallous there dyd he up set, 

Besyde the pyllory. 

A lytle boy stod them amonge, 

And asked what meaned that gallow tre 

They sayde, to hange a good yeaman, 
Called Wyllyam of Cloudesle. 

That lytle boye was the towne swyne-heard, 

And kept fayre Alyce swyne, 
Oft he had seene Cloudesle in the wodde, 

And gey en hym there to dyne. 

He went out att a creves in the wall, 

And lightly to the wood dyd gone, 
There met he with these wight yongemen, 

Shortly and anone. 

Alas I then sayde that lytle boye, 

Ye tary here all to longe ; 
CloudeslS is taken and dampned to death, 

All readye for to honge. 

Alas ! then sayde good Adam Bell, 

That ever we see thys daye ! 
He myght her with us have dwelled, 

So ofte as we dyd him praye ! 

He myght have taryed in grene foreste, 

Under the shadowes sheene, 
And have kepte both hym and us in reaste, 

Out of trouble and teene ! 

Adam bent a ryght good bow, 

A great hart sone had he slayne, 
Take that, chylde, he sayde to thy dynner, 

And bryng me myne arrowe agayne. 

Now go we hence, sayed these wight yongmeii, 

Tary we no lenger here ; 
We shall hym borowe, by Gods grace, 

Though we bye it full dere. 

To Caerlel went these good yemen, 

On a mery mornyng of Maye. 
Here is a fyt of Cloudesli, 

And another is for to saye. 281 




And when they came to mery Caerlell, 

In a fayre mornyng tyde, 
They founde the gates shut them untyll, 

Round about on every syde. 

Alas ! than sayd good Adam Bell, 
That ever we were made men ! 

These gates be shut so wonderous wel, 
That we may not come here in. 

Then spake him Clym of the Clough, 
Wyth a wyle we wyl us in bryng ; 

Let us saye we be messengers, 

Streyght come nowe from our king. 

Adam said, I have a letter written wel, 

Now let us wysely werke, 
We wyl saye we have the kinges scales, 

I holde the portter no clerke. 


Then Adam Bell bete on the gate, 

With strokes great and strong, 
The porter herde suche noyse therat, 

And to the gate he throng. 

Who is there nowe, sayde the porter, 

That maketh all thys knocking ? 
We be tow messengers, sayde Clim of the Clough, 

Be come ryght from our kyng. 

We have a letter, sayd Adam Bel, 

To the justice we must it bryng : 
Let us in our messag to do, 

That we were agayne to our kyng. 

Here comineth none hi, sayd the porter, 

Be hym that dyed upon a tre, 
Tyll a false thefe be hanged, 

Called Wyllyam of Cloudesle. 

Then spake the good yeman Clym of the Clough, 

Aj^" 1 swore by Mary fre, 
And if that we stande longe wythout, 

Lyke a thefe hanged shalt thou be. 

Lo heje we have the kynges scale ; 

What I lordeyne, art thou wode ? 
The porter went it had ben so, 

And lyghtly dyd of hys hode. 

Welcome be my lordes scale, he saide, 

For that ye shall come in. 
He opened the gate full shortly e, 

An evyl openyng for him. 

Now are we in, sayde Adam Bell, 

Thereof we are full faine, 
But Christ knows, that harowed hell, 

How we shall com out agayne. 

Had we the keys, said Clim of the dough, 

Ryght wel then shoulde we spede ; 
Then might we come out wel ynough, 

When we se tyme and nede. 

They called the porter to counsell, 

And wrange hys necke in two, 
And caste him in a depe donge6n, 

And toke hys keys hym fro. 283 


Now am I porter, sayde Adam Bel, 
Se brother the keys have we here, 

The worst porter to merry Caerlel 
That ye had thys hundred yere : 

And now wyll we our bowes bend, 

Into the towne wyll we go, 

' For to delyrer our dere brother, 

That lyveth in care and wo. 

And thereupon they bent theyr bowes, 
And loked theyr stringes were round, 

The market-place in mery Caerlel, 
They beset that stound ; 

And as they loked them besydt , 
A paire of new galowe s ther thei see, 

And the justice with a quest of squyers, 

That had judged Cloudesle there hanged to be 

And Cloudesle hymselfe lay redy in a carte, 

Fast both fote and hande, 
And a stronge rop about hys necke, 

All ready e for to hange. 

The justice called to him a ladde, - 
Cloudesles clothes should he have, 

To take the measure of that yeman, 
And therafter to make hys grave. 

I have seen as great a mearveile, said Cloudesli, 

As betwyene thys and pryme, 
He that maketh thys grave for me, 

Himselfe may lye theriu. 

Thou speakest proudli, saide the justice, 
I shall the hange with my hande : 

Full wel herd hys brethren two, 
There styll as they dyd stande. 

Then Cloudesle cast hys eyen asyde, 
And saw hys to brethren stand 

At a corner of the market place, 

"With theyr good bows bent in ther hand. 

I se comfort, sayd Cloudesle, 

Yet hope I well to fare ; 
If I might have my handes at wyll, 
284 Ryght lytle wolde I care. 


Then spake good Adam* Bell, 

To Clym of the Clough so free, 
Brother, se ye marke the justyce wel, 

Lo yonder ye may him see ; 

And at the shyrife shote I wyll, 

Strongly with arrowe kene, 
A better shote in mery Caerlel 

Thys seven yere was not sene. 

They lowsed their arrowes both at once, 

Of no man had they dread, 
The one hyt the justice, the other the sheryfe, 

That both theyr sides gan blede. 

All men voyded that them stode nye, 
When the justice fell downe to the grounde, 

And the sherife fell nyghe hym by, 
Eyther had his deathes wounde. 

All the citezens fast gan flye, 

They durst no longer abyde, 
They lyghtly then loused Cloudesl, 

Where he with ropes lay tyde. 

Wyllyam searte to an officer of the towne, 
Hys axe out ot hys hande he wronge, 

On eche syde he smote them downe, 
Hym thought he taryed all to long. 

Wyllyam sayde to hys brethren two, 

Thys daye let us lyve and dye, 
If ever you have nede as I have now, 

The same shall you fynde by me. 

They shot so well in that tyde, 

For theyr stringes were of silke ful sure, 

That they kept the stretes on every side ! 
That batayle dyd longe endure. 

They fought together as brethren tru, 

Lyke hardy men and bolde, 
Many a man to the ground they thrue, 

And many a herte made colde. 

But when their arrowes were all gon, 

Men preced to them full fast, 
They drew theyr swordes then anone, 

And theyr bowes from them cast. 285 


They went lyghtlye on theyr way, 
Wyth swordes and buclers round, 

By that it was myd of the day, 
They made mani a wound. 

There was an out-home in Caerlel blowen, 
And the belles bacward did ryng, 

Many a woman sayd alas ! 

And many theyr handes dyd wryng. 

The mayre of Caerlel forth com was, 
And with hym a ful great route, 

These yemen dred him full sore, 

For of theyr lyves they stode in great doute. 

The mayre came armed a full great pace, 

"With a pollaxe in hys hande, 
Many a strong man wyth him was, 

There in that stowre to stande. 

The mayre smot at Cloudlesle with his bil, 

Hys bucler he brust in two, 
Full many a yeman with great evyll, 

Alas ! treason ! they cryed for wo. 
Kepe we the gates fast they bad, 

That these traytours thereout not go. 

But al for nought was that they wrought, 
For so fast they downe were layde, 

Tyll they all thre, that so manfulli fought, 
Were gotten without abraide. 

Have here your keys, sayd Adam Bel, 

Myne office I here forsake, 
Yf you do by my councell, 

A new porter do ye make. 

He threw theyr keys at theyr heads, 
And bad them evell to thryve, 

And all that letteth any good yeman 
To come and comfort hys wyfe. 

Thus be these good yemen gon to the wod, 

And lyghtly as lefe on lynde, 
They lough and be mery in theyr mode, 

Theyr ennemyes were ferre behynd. 

When they came to Englyshe-wode, 

Under the trusty tre, 
They found bowes full good, 
286 And arrowes full great plentye. 


So God me help, sayd Adam Bell, 
And Clym of the Clough so fre, 

I would we were in mery Caerlel, 
Before that fayre meyny. 

They set them downe and made good chere, 
And eate and drynke full well. 

Here is a fet of these wight yong men, 
An other I wyll you tell. 


As they sat in Englyshe-wood 

Under theyr trusty tre, 
They thought they herd a woman wepe, 

But her they mought not se. 

Sore then syghed the fayre Alyce, 

And sayde,' alas ! that ever I sawe thys day ! 
For now is my dere husband slayne, 

Alas ! and wel a way ! 

Myght I have spoken with hys dere brethren, 

Or with eyther of them twayne, 
To let them know what him befell 

My hart were put out of payne ! 


Cloudesle walked a lytle besyde, 

And loked under the grenewood linde, 

He was ware of hys wife and chyldren thre, 
Full wo in hart and mynde. 

Welcome wife, then sayde Wyllyam, 

Under this trusti tre ; 
I had wende yesterday, by swete saynt John, 

Thou shulde me never have se. 

Now well is me, she sayde, that ye be here, 

My hart is out of wo. 
Dame, he sayde, be mery and glad, 

And thanke my brethren two. 

Hereof to speake, sayd Adam Bell, 

I wis it is no bote ; 
The meat that we must supp withall, 

It runneth ye.t fast on fote. 

Then went they down into a launde, 
These noble archares all thre, 

Eche of them slew a hart of greece, 
The best they could there se. 

Have here the best, Alyce my wyfe, 
Sayde "Wyllyam of Cloudesle, 

By cause ye so bouldly stod by me, 
When I was slayne full nye. 

Then went they to supper, 

Wyth suche meat as they had, 

And thanked God of ther fortune, 
They were both mery and glad. 

And when they had supped well, 

Certayne without any leace, 
Cloudesle sayd, we wyll to our kyng, 

To get us a charter of peace ; . 

Alee shal be at our sojournyng, 

In a nunry here besyde, . 
My tow sonnes shall wyth her go, 

And ther they shall abyde : 

Myne eldest son shall go wyth me, 

For hym have I no care, 
And he shall you breng worde agayn 
33 How that we do fare. 


Thus be these yemen to London gone, 

As fast as they myght liye, 
Tyll they came to the kynges pallace, 

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. 

They preced prestly into the hall, 

Of no man had they dreade : 
The porter came after, and dyd them call, 

And with them began to chyde. 

The ussher sayed, Yemen, what wold ye have ? 

I pray you tell me : 
You myght thus make oflycers shent : 

Good syrs, of whence be ye ? 

Syr, we be out lawes of the forest, 

Certayne without any lease ; 
And hether we be come to our kyng, 

To get us a charter of peace. 

And whan they came before the kyng, 
As it was the lawe of the lande, 

They kneled downe without lettyng. 
And eche helde up his hand. 

They sayed, Lord, we beseche the here, 
That ye wyll graunt us grace ; 

For we have slaine your fat falow der, 
In many a son dry place. 

What be your names ? then said our king, 

Anone that you tell me. 
They sayd, Adam Bel, Clim of the Clough, 

And Wyllyam of Cloudesle. 

Be ye those theves, then sayd our kyng, 
That men have tolde of to me ? 

Here to God I make a vowe, 
Ye shal be hanged al thre : 

Ye shal be dead without mercy, 
As I am kynge of this lande. 
He commanded his officers everichone, 

289 Fast on them to lay hand. 



There they toke these good yemen, 

And arested them al thre. 
So may I thryve, sayd Adam Bell, 

Thys game lyketh not me. 

But, good lorde, we beseche you now, 

That you graunt us grace, 
Insomuche as we to you be comen, 

Or els that we may fro you passe, 

With suche weapons as we have here, 
Tyll we be out of your place ; 

And yf we ly ve this hundreth yere, 
We wyll aske you no grace. 

Ye speake proudly, sayd the kynge ; 

Ye shal be hanged all thre. 
That were great pityc, then sayd the quene, 

If any grace myght be. 

My lorde, whan I came fryst into this lancle 

To be your wedded wyfe, 
The fyrst bowne that I wold aske, 

Ye would graunt it me belyfe : 

And I asked never none tyll now ; 

Therefore, good lorde, graunt it me. 
Now aske it, madam, sayd the kynge, 

And graunted shall it be. 

Then, good my lord, I you beseche, 

These yemen graunt ye me. 
Madame, ye myght have asked a bowne, 

That shuld have ben worth them all three : 

Ye myght have asked towrt:?, and townes, 

Parkes and forestes plenty. 
None soe pleasant to mi pay, she said ; 

Nor none so lefe to me. 

Madame, sith it is your desyre, 
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 -, 
I dare undertake for them, 
290 That true men shal they be. 


But, good lord, speke som mery word, 

That comfort they may se. 
I graunt you grace, then said our king; 

Wasshe, felos, and to meate go ve. 

They had not setten but a whyle, 

Certayne without lesynge, 
There came messengers out of the north 

With letters to our kyng. 

And whan they came hefore the kynge, 

They kneled downe on theyr kne ; 
And sayd, Lord, your offycers grete you wel, 

Of Caerlel in the north cuntre. 

How fare my justice, sayd the kyng, 

And my sherife also ? 
Syr, they be slayne, without leasynge, 

And many an officer mo. 

"Who hath them slayne ? sayd the kyng ; 

Anone thou tell me. 
Adam Bel, and Clime of the Clough, 

And "Wyllyam of Cloudesle\ 

Alas ! for rewth ! then sayd our kynge ; 

My hart is wonderous sore ; 
I had lever than a thousande pounde, 

I had knowne of thys before ; 

For I have graunted them grace, 

And that forthynketh me ; 
But had I knowne all thys before, 

They had been hanged all thre. 

The kyng opened the letter anone, 

Hymselfe he red it tho, 
And founde how these thre outlawes had slaine 

Thre hundred men and mo : 

Fyrst the justice, and the sheryfe, 

And the mayre of Caerlel towne ; 
Of all the constables and catchipolles 
Alyve were left not one : 

The baylyes, and the bedyls both, 

And the sergeauntes of the law, 
And forty fosters of the fe, 

These outlawes had yslaw : 291 


And broke his parks, and slaine his dere ; 

Over all they chose the best ; 
So perelous outlawes as they were 

Walked not by easte nor west. 

When the kynge this letter had red, 
In hys harte he syghed sore : 

Take up the table anone he bad, 
For I may eat no more. 

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, 
And the quenes archers also ; 

So dyd these thre wyght yemen ; 
With them they thought to go. 

There twyse or thryse they shote about, 
For to assay theyr hande ; 

There was no shote these yemen shot, 
That any prycke myght them stand. 

Then spake Wyllyam of Cloudesle; 

By him that for me dyed, 
I hold hym never no good archar, 

That shuteth at buttes so wyde. 

Whereat ? then sayd our kyng, 

I pray thee tell me. 
At suche a but, syr, he sayd, 

As men use in my countree. 

Wyllyam went into a fyeld, 
And his to brethren with him, 

There they set up to hasell roddes, 
Twenty score paces betwene. 

I hold him an archar, said Cloudesle, 
That yonder wande cleveth in two. 

Here is none suche, sayd the kyng,' 
Nor none that can so do. 

I shall assaye, syr, sayd Cloudesle, 

Or that I farther go. 
Cloudesly, with a bearyng arow, 

Clave the wand in to. 


Thou art the best archer, theu said the king, 

For sothe that ever I se. 
And yet for your love, sayd Wylliam, 

I wyll do more maystry. 

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 ; 

And lay an apele upon hys head, 

And go syxe score paces hym fro, 
And I myselfe with a brode arow 

Shall cleve the apple in two. 

Now haste the, then sayd the kyng, 

By hym that dyed on a tre, 
But yf thou do not, as thou hest sayde, 

Hanged shalt thcu be. 

And thou touche his head or gowne, 

In syght that men may se, 
By all the sayntes that be in heaven, 

I shall hange you all thre. 

That I have promised, said William, 

I wyl it never forsake. 
And there even before the kynge 

In the earth he drove a stake ; 

And bound therto his eldest sonne, 

And bad hym stande styll thereat ; 
And turned the childes face fro him, 

Because he shuld not sterte. 

An apple upon his head he set, 

And then his bowe he bent: 
Syxe score paces they were outmet, 

And thether Cloudesle went. 

There he drew out a fayr brode arrowe, 

Hys bowe was great and longe, 
He set that arrowe in his bowe, 

That was both styffe and stronge : 

He prayed the people that was there, 

That they wolde styll stande, 
For he that shooteth for such a wager, 

Behoveth a stedfast hand. 293 


Muche people prayed for Cloudesle, 

That hys lyfe saved myght be, 
And whan he made hym redy to shote, 

There was many a weping eye. 

Thus Cloudesle clefte the apple in two, 

That many a man myght see ; 
Ouer Gods forbode, sayde the kynge, 

That thou shote at me. 

I geve the xviii pence a day, 

And my bowe shalt thou beare. 
And over all the north countre 

I make the chyfe rydere. 

And I geve the xvii pence a day, said the quene, 

By God, and by my fay : 
Come feche thy payment when thou wylt, 

No man shall say the nay. 

"Wyllyam, I make the a gentelman 

Of clothyng, and of fe : 
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 shall he be ; 
And whan he commeth to mannes estate, 

Better avaunced shall he be. 

And, Wylliam, bring me your wife, said the quene, 

Me longeth her sore to se : 
She shall be my chefe gentelwoman, 

To goverue my nursery. 

The yemen thanketh them full curteously, 
And sayde, to some bysshop wyl we wend, 

Of all the synnes, that we have done, 
To be assoyld at his hand. 

So forth be gone these good yemen, 

As fast as they might hye, 
And after came and dwelled wyth the kynge, 

And dyed good men all thre. 

Thus endeth the lives of these good yemen : 

God send them eternall blysse ! 
And all, that with handebowe shoteth, 

That of heaven may never mysse ! 

[This ballad is taken from "The Crown Garland ot 
Golden Iloses.'as reprinted in 1842 by the Pc-rcy Society ; 
where it is entitled simply ' A song of a .Beggar and a 
King.' It was printed by Percy in his 'Reliones,' cor 
rected by another copy. The Story, as Percy remarks, 
is often alluded to by our old dramatic writers: ho 
instances Shakespeare, 'Love's Labour's Lost,' Act i. 
Sc. 2; and Act IT. Sc. 1 : 'King Richard II.,' Act v. 
Sc. 3 ; ' King Henry IV.,' part 2, Act v. Sc. 3 : : Romeo 
and Juliet,' Act ii. Sc. 1 ; Ben Jonson, ' Every Man in 
his Humour ' Act iii. Sc. 4. It was an old ballad in tha 
days of Shakespeare, for in the first of the above men 
tioned passages, in reply to Don Armado's question, ' Is 
there not a ballad, boy, of the King and the Beggar," he 
makes Moth say, ' The world was very guilty of such a 
ballad some three ages since;' while, from the next 
part of his answer, 'but, I think, now 'tis not to be 
found,' it would seem to have been scarce as well as old. 
The ' Crown Garland,' in which it has been handed 
down to our day, was first published in 1G12; fourteen 
years after the first appearance of 'Love's Labour's 
Lost.' It may therefore ha?e been recovered in the 

READ that once in Affrica 
A princely wight did raino, 

Who had to name Cophetua, 
As poets they did fame ; 


From natures lawes he did decline, 
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, 

He saw a beggar all in gray, 
The which did cause his paine. 

The blinded boy that shootes so trim, 

From heaven downe did hie; 
He drew a dart and shot at him, 

In place where he did lye: 
Which soone did pierse him to the quicke, 
And when he felt the arrow pricke, 
Which in bis tender heart did sticke, 

He looked as he would dye. 
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, 

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 
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, 

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. 
In thee, quoth he, doth rest my life; 
For surely thou shalt be my wife, 
Or else this hand with bloody knife, 
296 The gods shall sure suffice. 


Then from his bed he soon arose, 
And to his pallace gate he goes ; 
Full little then this heggar knowes 
When she the king espies. 

The gods preserve your majesty, 

The beggers all gan cry ; 
Vouchsafe to give your charity, 

Our children's 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 

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 rcmaine 

Till such time as we dye : 

For thou, quoth she, shall be my wife, 

And honoured for my queene ; 
With thee I mean to lend my life, 

As shortly shall be scene : 
Our wedding shall appointed be, 
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, O King, quoth she ; 
With that she made a lowe courtsey ; 

A trim one as I weene. 

Thus hand in hand along they walke 

Unto the king's pallace : 
The king with courteous comly talke 

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. 
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, 

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; 
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, 

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 : 
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, lady deere, 
But pitty now thy servant heere, 
Least that it hap to thee this yeare, 

As that king it did. 

And thus they led a quiet life 

During their princely raine; 
And in a tombe were buried both, 

As writers sheweth plaine. 
The lords they tooke it grievously, 
The ladies tooke it heavily, 
The commons cryed piteously, 

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 flya 

To every princes realme. 


[' This pathetic tale,' which, 'whether viewed as a pic 
ture of human emotions under circumstances applicable to 
all times, or as a noble and discriminating tribute to the 
English national character of the seventeenth century, is,' 
gays a writer in the Edinburgh Review for April, 1846, 
' one of the most remarkable and perfect compositions of 
its class,' is taken from Percy's ' Reliques,' where it was 
' printed from an old black-letter copy, corrected in part by 
the editor's folio MS.' A copy in black letter, ' m-inted 
by and for W.plliam] O.[nley] and Sold by the bocksellers 
of Pye-corner and London Bridge ;' and another, in Roman 
character, are in the Roxburghe Collection, in the British 
Museum. It ' most probably took its rise,' says Percy, ' from 
one of those descents made on the Spanish coast in the time 
of Queen Elizabeth : and in all likelihood, from that which 
is celebrated in the ballad,' entitled ' The Winning of Cales' 
(Cadiz), by Lord Essex, in 1596. Of its authorship, nothing, 
it has been remarked, appears to be known. Nor are we 
informed, says a critic in the Quarterly Review for October, 
184C, ' when or where the events took place, nor who were 
the principal characters ; and consequently, as seven cities 
in Greece disputed the honour of having given birth to 
Homer, some half dozen counties in England have claimed, 
each for her own special honour, the hero of this song.' 
On this suliiect, farther information will be found in the 
note, p. 302.] 

ILL you hear a Spanish lady, 

How she wooed an English man ? 
if C Garments gay as rich as may be 
\jl " Decked with jewels she had on. 

'J Of a comely countenance and grace was she, 
And by birth and parentage of high degree. 



As his prisoner tiiere he kept her, 

In his hands her life did lye; 
Cupid's bands did tye them faster 

By the liking of an eye. 
In his courteous company was all her joy, 
To favour him in any thing she was not coy. 

But at last there came commandment 

For to set the* ladies free, 
With their jewels still adorned, 

None to do them injury. 
Then said this lady mild, ' Full woe is me; 
O, let me still sustain this kind captivity! 

Gallant captain, shew some pity 

To a ladye in distresse; 
Leave me not within this city, 

For to dye in heavinesse: 
Thou hast set this present day my body free, 
But my heart in prison still remains with thee.' 

' How should'st thou, fair lady, love me, 

Whom thou knowst thy country's foe? 
Thy fair wordes make me suspect thee: 

Serpents lie where flowers grow.' 
' All the harm I wishe to thee, most courteous knight, 
God grant the same upon my head may fully light! 

Blessed be the time and season, 

That you came on Spanish ground; 
If our foes you may be termed, 

Gentle foes we have you found: 
With our city, you have won our hearts eche one, 
Then to your country bear away, that is your owne.' 

' Rest you still, most gallant lady; 

Rest you still, and weep no more; 
Of fair lovers there is plenty, 

Spain doth yield a wondrous store.' 
' Spaniards fraught with jealousy we often find, 
But Englishmen through all the world are counted kind. 

Leave me not unto a Spaniard, 

You alone enjoy my heart; 
I am lovely, young, and tender, 

Love is likewise my desert: 

Still to serve thee day and night my mind is prest; 
300 The wife of every Englishman is counted blest.' 


' It wold be a shame, fair lady, 

For to bear a woman hence; 
English soldiers never carry 

Any such without offence.' 
' I'll quickly change myself, if it be so, 
And like a page He follow thee, where'er thou go. 

' I have neither gold nor silver 

To maintain thee in this case, 
And to travel is great charges, 

As you know, in every place.' 
' My chains and jewels every one shal be thy own, 
And eke five hundred pounds in gold that lies unknown.' 

' On the seas are many dangers, 

Many storms do there arise, 
Which wil be to ladies dreadful, 

And force tears from watery eyes.' 
' Well ! in troth, I shall endure extremity, 
For I could find in heart to lose my life for thee.' 

* Courteous ladye, leave this fancy, 

Here comes all that breeds the strife; 
I in England have already 

A sweet woman to my wife : 
I will not falsify my vow for gold nor gain, 
Nor yet for all the fairest dames that live in Spain.' 

' O! how happy is that woman 

That enjoys so true a friend! 
Many happy days God send her! 

Of my suit I make an end: 
On my knees I pardon crave for my offence, 
Which did from love and true affection first commence. 

Commend me to thy lovely lady, 

Bear to her this chain of gold; 
And these bracelets for a token; 

Grieving that I was so bold . 
All my jewels in like sort take thou with thee, 
For they are fitting for thy wife, but not for me. 

I will spend my days in prayer, 

Love and all her laws defye ; 
In a nunnery will I shroud mee 

Far from any companye: 

But ere my prayers have an end, be sure of this, 
To pray for thee and for thy love I will not miss. 


Thus farewell, most gallant captain ! 

Farewell too my heart's content ! 
Count not Spanish ladies wanton, 

Though to thee my love was bent: 
Joy and true prosperity goe still with thee!' 
* The like fall ever to thy share, most fair ladie.' 

[' It was a tradition in the West of England,' says Percy, ' that the person admired by the 
Spanish lady was a gentleman of the Popham family, and that her picture, with the pearl 
necklace mentioned in the ballad, was, not many years ago, preserved at Littlccot, near 
Hungerford, Wilts, the seat of that respectable family. Another tradition hath pointed out 
Sir Richard Levison, of Trentham, in Staffordshire, as the subject of this ballad ; who mar 
ried Margaret, daughter of Charles, Earl of Nottingham ; and was eminently distinguished 
as a naval officer and commander, in all the expeditions against the Spaniards, in the latter 
end of Queen Elizabeth's reign, particularly in that to Cadiz, in 1596, when he was aged 27. 
He died in 1605, and has a monument, with his effigy in brass, in Wolverhampton church.' 

In the Edinburgh Review, No. 168, April, 1846, the writer, speaking of the uncertainty 
there is about both the traditions relative to the supposed actors in the scene of this ballad, 
as given by Percy, says, ' Had the necklace been still extant, the preference would have been 
due to Littlecot ; but, as that piece of evidence had disappeared before Percy's time, we own 
we incline to prefer the claim of the Admiral to that of ' the gentleman of the Popham 
family.' ' This produced a letter, which appeared in ' The Times' of April 30th, 1846, in 
which the writer, who signs himself ' Charles Lee,' and dates from ' Coldrey, Hants,' affirms 
that ' the necklace is still extant, in the possession of a member of my family, and in the 
house from whence I write.' ' The hero," he goes on to say, ' of this beautiful ballad was my 
ancestor, Sir John Bolle, of Thorpe Hall, Lincolnshire, of most ancient and loyal family, and 
father of that Col. Bolle, who fell in Alton Church, whilst fighting against the rebels, in 
December, 1G43. Of the truth of this I am prepared to give to the curious in these matters 
the most abundant evidence.' Mr. Lee then refers to Illingworth's ' Topographical Account 
of Scampton, with Anecdotes of the Family of Bolles," m which work it is stated, he says, 
that ' the portrait of Sir John, drawn in 1596, at the age of 36 years, having on the gold chain 
given him by the Spanish lady, &c., is still in the possession of his descendant, Captain Birch." 
' That portrait,' says Mr. Lee, ' is now in the possession of Captain Birch's successor, Thomas 
Bosvill Bosvill, Esq., of Ravenfield Park, Yorkshire, and may be seen by any one.' Mr. Lee 
then adds, from Illingworth, ' On Sir John Bolle'g departure from Cadiz, the Spanish lady 
sent, as presents to his wife, a profusion of jewels and other valuables, amongst which was 
her portrait, drawn in green, plate, money, and other treasure. Some articles are still in 
the possession of the family, though her picture was unfortunately, and by accident, disposed 
of about half a century since. This portrait being drawn in green, gave occasion to her being 
called in the neighbourhood of Thorpe Hall, ' the green lady,' where, to this day, there is a 
traditionary superstition among the vulgar, that Thorpe Hall was haunted by the green lady, 
who used nightly to take her seat in a particular tree near the mansion.' Mr. Lee concludes 
his interesting letter, by mentioning, that ' in Illingworth there is a long and full account 
of the Spanish lady, and the ballad given at length.' 

The ballad would appear to have been always popular ; and, like ' The Nut-Brown Maid,' 
has found imitators among more modern poets. The reader of Shenstoue, if, indeed, ' hi these 
degenerate days' he have any readers, will remember the Moral Tale, as he calls it, entitled 
' Love and Honour," in which, to use his own words, he ' brought out the ' Spanish Ladye and 
her Knight' in less grovelling accents than the simple guise of ancient record ;' while no one 
for who does not read him ? will require to be reminded of Wordsworth's ' Armenian Lady's 
Love,' in which he has been eloquently said (Ed. Rev.) to have imitated 'the purity of senti 
ment, the expressive transitions of dialogue, and the peculiar melody of versification,' of ' The 
Spanish Lady's Love.'J 



[From ' Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.'' This ballad,' says Sir Walter, ' is a northern 
composition, and seems to have been the original of the legend called Sir Aldingar, which is 
printed in the Reliques of Antient Poetry. The names of Aldingar and Rodingham approach 
near to each other in sound, though not in orthography, and the one might, by reciters, be 
easily substituted for the other. I think I have seen both the name and the story in an 
ancient prose chronicle, but am unable to make any reference in support of my belief. The 
tradition upon which the ballad is founded, is universally current in the Mearns ; and the 
editor is informed that, till very lately, the sword with which Sir Hugh le Blond was believed 
to have defended the life and honour of the queen, was carefully preserved by his descendants, 
the viscounts of Arbuthnot. 

I was favoured with the following copy of Sir Hugh le Blond by K. Williamson Burnet, 
Esq. of Monboddo, who wrote it down from the recitation of an old woman, long in the service 
of the Arbuthnot family. Of course the diction is very much humbled, and it has, in all proba 
bility, undergone many corruptions ; but its antiquity is indubitable, and the story, though in 
differently told, is in itself interesting. It is believed that there have been many more 

THE birds sang sweet as ony bell, 

The world had not their make, 
The queen she's gone to her chamber, 

With Rodingham to talk. 

' I love you well, my queen, my dame 

'Bove land and rents so clear, 
And for the love of you, my queen, 

Would thole pain most severe.' 

' If well you love me, Rodingham, 

I'm sure so I do thee: 
I love you well as any man, 

Save the king's fair bodye.' 

' I love you well, my queen, my dame; 

Tis truth that I do tell: 
And for to lye a night with you, 

The salt seas I would sail.' 

'Away, away, O Rodingham! 

You are both stark and stoor; 
Would you defile the king's own bed, 

And make his queen a whore? 

* To-morrow you'd be taken sure, 

And like a traitor slain; 
And I'd be burned at a stake, 

Although I be the queen.' 


He then stepp'd out at her room-door, 

All in an angry mood; 
Until he met a leper-man, 

Just by the hard way-side. 

He intoxicate the leper-man 

With liquors very sweet; 
And gave him more and more to drink, 

Until he fell asleep. 

He took him in his arms two, 

And carried him along, 
Till he came to the queen's own bed, 

And there he laid him down. 

He then stepp'd out of the queen's bower, 

As swift as any roe, 
Till he came to the very place 

Where the king himself did go. 

The king said unto Rodingham, 
* What news have you to me?' 

He said, ' Your queen's a false woman, 
As I did plainly see.' 

He hasten'd to the queen's chamber, 

So costly and so fine, 
Until he came to the queen's own bed, 

Where the leper-man was lain. 

He looked on the leper-man, 
Who lay on his queen's bed; 

He lifted up the snaw-white sheets, 
And thus he to him said: 

* Plooky, plooky, are your cheeks 

And plooky is your chin, 
And plooky are your arms two 

My bonnie queen's layne in. 

' Since she has lain into your arms, 
She shall not lye in mine; 

Since she has kiss'd your ugsome mouth, 
She never shall kiss mine.' 

In anger he went to the queen, 

Who fell upon her knee; 
He said, ' You false, unchaste woman, 
304 What's this you've done to me?' 


The queen then turn'd herself about, 
The tear blinded her e'e 

* There's not a knight in a* your court 

Dare give that name to me.' 

He said, ' 'Tis true that I do say; 

For I a proof did make: 
You shall be taken from my bower, 

And burned at a stake. 

* Perhaps I'll take my word agai 

And may repent the same, 
If that you'll get a Christian mar. 
To fight that Rodingham.' 

' Alas ! alas ! ' then cried our queen, 

* Alas, and woe to me ! 
There's not a man in all Scotland 

Will fight with him for me.' 

She breathed unto her messengers, 
Sent them south, east, and west; 

They could find none to fight with him, 
Nor enter the contest. 

She breathed on her messengers, 
She sent them to the north; 

And there they found Sir Hugh le Blond, 
To fight him he came forth. 

When unto him they did unfold 
The circumstance all right, 

He bade them go and tell the queen, 
That for her he would fight. 

The day came on that was to do 

That dreadful tragedy; 
Sir Hugh le Blond was not come up 

To fight for our lady. 

* Put on the fire,' the monster said; 

' It is twelve on the bell!' 
"Tis scarcely ten, now,' said the king; 
' I heard the clock myselV 

Before the hour the queen is brought, 

The burning to proceed; 
La a black velvet chair she's set, 

305 A token for the dead. 



She saw the flames ascending high, 
The tears blinded her 'e: 

* Where is the worthy knight,' she said, 

4 Who is to fight for me?' 

Then up and spake the king himseT, 

* My dearest have no doubt, 
For yonder comes the man himsel', 

As bold as e'er set out.' 

They then advanced <to fight the duel 
With swords ot temper'd steel, 

Till down the blood of Rodingham 
Came running 'to his Jbeel. 

Sir Hugh took out a lusty sword, 

'Twas of the metal clear; 
And he has pierced Rodingham 

Till's heart-blood did appear. 

4 Confess your treachery, now,' he said, 

4 This day before you die!' 
4 1 do confess my treachery, 

I shall no longer lye: 

* I like to wicked Hainan ;am, 

This day I shall be slain.' 
The queen was brought to her chamber, 
A good woman again. 

The queen then ^said unto the king, 

' Arbattle's near the sea. 
Give it unto the northern knigtot. 

That this day fought for me.' 

Then said the king, ' Come here, sir knight, 

And drink a glass of wine; 
And, if Arbattle's not -enough, 

To it we'll Fordoun join.' 



[' This old tabulous legend,' as it is styled by Dr. 
Percy, is taken from his ' Reliques,' where it was first 
printed ' from the Editor's _Folio MS., with conjectural 
emendations, and the insertion of some additional stanzas 
to supply and complete the story.' And, with this single 
item of information, Dr. Percy left it to the reader to 
form his own conjectures concerning as well his ' con 
jectural emendations and additional stanzas' as the 
ballad itself generally. The only other remark he makes 
is, that it had been suggested to him ' that the author 
of the poem seems to have had in his eye the story of 
Gunhilda, who is sometimes called Eleanor, and was 
married to the Emperor (here called .King) Henry.' 
Some light may be thought to have been thrown upon 
the matter, by the publication, in the ' Minstrelsy of the 
Scottish Border,' of a ballad, entitled ' Sir Hugh le Blond,' 
which, says Sir Walter Scott, ' seems to have been the 
original of the legend of Sir Aldingar. The incidents 
are nearly the same in both ballads, excepting that' in 
Sir Hugh a mortal champion combats for the queen. 
Of this the reader may judge for himself, by comparing 
this ballad with that of 'Sir Hugh. 1 

UR king he kept a false stewarde, 
Sir Aldingar they him call; 

A falser steward than he was one, 
Servde not in bower nor hall. 


He wolde have layne by our comelye queene, 
Her deere worshippe to betrayer 

Our queene she was a good woman, 
And evermore said him naye. 

Sir Aldingar was wrothe in his mind, 
With her hee was never content, 

Till traiterous meanes he colde devyse, 
In a fyer to have her brent. 

There came a lazar to the king's gate, 
A lazar both blinde and lame: 

He tooke the lazar upon his backe, 
Him on the queenes bed has layne. 

* Lye still, lazar, wheras thou lyest, 

Looke thou goe not hence away; 
He make thee a whole man and a sound 
In two bowers of the day.' 

Then went him forth Sir Aldingar, 

And hyed him to our king: 
' If I might have grace, as I have space, 

Sad tydings I could bring.' 

Say on, say on, Sir Aldingar, 
Saye on the soothe to mee. 

* Our queene hath chosen a new new love, 

And shee will have none of thee. 

If shee had chosen a right good knight, 
The lesse had beene her shame; 

But she hath chose her a lazar man, 
A lazar both blinde and lame.' 

If this be true, then Aldingar, 
The tyding thou tellest to me, 

Then will I make thee a rich rich knight, 
Rich both of golde and fee. 

But if it be false, Sir Aldingar, 

As God nowe grant it bee! 
Thy body, I sweare by the holye rood. 

Shall hang on the gallows tree. 

He brought our king to the queenes chamber, 

And opend to him the dore. 
A lodlye love, King Harry says, 

For our queene dame Elinore! 



If thou were a man, as thou art none, 

Here on my sword thoust dye; 
But a payre of new gallowes shall be built, 

And there shalt thou hang on hye. 

Forth then hyed our king. I wysse, 

And an angry man was hee; 
And soone he found queene Elinore, 

That bride so bright of blee. 

Now God you save, our queene, madame, 

And Christ you save and see; 
Here you have chosen a newe newe love, 

And you will have none of mee. 

If you had chosen a right good knight, 

The lesse had been your shame: 
But you have chose you a lazar man, 

A lazar both blinde and lame. 

Therfore a fyer there shall be built, 

And brent all shalt thou bee. 
* Now out alacke !' said our comly queene, 

Sir Aldingar's false to mee. 

Now out alacke! sayd our comlye queene, 

My heart with griefe will brast. 
I had thought swevens had never been true, 

I have proved them true at last. 

I dreamt in my sweven on Thursday eve, 

In my bed wheras I laye. 
I dreamt a grype and a grimlie beast 

Had carry ed my crowne awaye; 

My gorgett and my kirtle of golde, . 

And all my faire head-geere; 
And he wold worrye me with his tush, 

And to his nest y-beare: 

Saving there came a little gray hawke, 

A merlin him they call, 
Which untill the grounde did strike the grype, 

That dead he downe did fall. 

Giffe I were a man, as now I am none, 

A battell wold I prove, 
To fight with that traitor Aldingar: 

Att him I cast my glove. 



But seeing line able noe battell to make, 
My liege, grant me a knight 

To fight with that traitor, Sir Aldingar, 
To maintaine me in my right.' 

* Now forty dayes I will give thee 
To seeke thee a knight therm: 

If thou find not a knight in forty dayes, 
Thy bodye it must brenn.' 

Then shee went east, and shee went west, 
By north and south bedeene: 

But never a champion colde she find, 
Wolde fight with that knight soe keene. 

Now twenty dayes were spent and gone, 
Noe helpe there might be had; 

Many a teare shed our comelye queene 
And aye her heart was sad. 

Then came one of the queenes damselles, 
And knelt upon her knee 

4 Cheare up, cheare up, my gracious dame, 
I trust yet helpe may be. 

And here I will make mine avowe, 
And with the same me binde; 

That never will I return to thee, 
Till I some helpe may finde.' 

Then forth she rode on a faire palfraye, 

O'er hill and dale about: 
But never a champion colde she finde, 

Wolde fighte with that knight so stout. 

And nowe the daye drewe on a pace, 
When our good queene must dye; 

All woe-begone was that fair damselle, 
When she found no helpe was nye. 

All woe-begone was that faire damselle, 
And the salt teares fell from her eye: 

When lo! as she rode by a river side, 
She met with a tinye boye. 

A tinye boye she mette, God wot, 

All clad in mantle of golde; 
He seemed noe more in mans likenesse, 

Than a childe of four yeere olde. 
310 J 


Why grieve you, damselle faire? he sayd, 

And what doth cause you moane? 
The damsell scant wolde deigne a looke, 

But fast she pricked on. 

Yet turne againe, thou faire damselle, _ . 

And greete thy queene from mee; 
When bale is at hyest, boote is nyest, 

Nowe helpe enoughe may bee. 

Bid her remember what she dreamt 

In her bedd, wheras shee laye; 
How when the grype and the grimly beast 

Wolde have carried her crowne awaye, 

Even then there came the little gray hawke, 

And saved her from his clawes: 
Then bidd the queene be merry at hart, 

For heaven will fende her cause. 

Back then rode that fair damselle, 

And her hart it lept for glee: 
And when she told her gracious dame, 

A gladd woman then was shee. 

But when the appointed day was come, 

No helpe appeared nye: 
Then woeful, woeful was her hart, 

And the teares stood in her eye. 

And nowe a fyer was built of wood, 

And a stake was made of tree; 
And now queene Elinor forth was led, 

A sorrowful sight to see. 

Three times the herault he waved his hand, 

And three times spake on hye: 
Giff any good knight will fende this dame, 

Come forth, or shee must dye. 

No knight stood forth, no knight there came, 

No helpe appeared nye: 
And now the fyer was lighted up, 

Queene Elinor she must dye. 

And now the fyer was lighted up, 

As hot as hot might bee; 
When riding upon a little white steed, 

The tinye boye they see. 311 


* Away with that stake, away with those brands, 
And loose our comelye queene: 

I am come to fight with Sir Aldingar, 
And prove him a traitor keene.' 

Forth then stood Sir Aldingar; 

But when he saw the chylde, 
He laughed, and scoffed, and turned his backe, 

And weened he had been beguylde. 

' Now turne, now turne thee, Aldingar, 

And eyther fighte or flee; 
I trust that I shall avenge the wronge, 

Thoughe I am so small to see.' 

The boye pulld forth a well good sworde 

So gilt it dazzled the ee; 
The first stroke stricken at Aldingar 

Smote off his leggs by the knee. 

' Stand up, stand up, thou false traitor, 

And fighte upon thy feete, 
For and thou thrive, as thou beginst, 

Of height wee shall be meete.' 

A priest, a priest, sayes Aldingar, 

While I am a man alive; 
A priest, a priest, sayes Aldingar, 

Me for to houzle and shrive. 

I wolde have laine by our comlie queene, 

But shee wolde never consent; 
Then I thought to betraye her unto our kinge, 

In a fyer to have her brent. 

There came a lazar to the kings gates, 

A lazar both blind and lame: 
I tooke the lazar upon my backe, 

And on her bedd had him layne. 

Then ranne I to our comlye king, 

These tidings sore to tell. 
But ever alacke! sayes Aldingar, 

Falsing never doth well. 

Forgive, forgive me, queene, madame, 

The short time I must live. 
' Nowe Christ forgive thee, Aldingar, 
g . As freely I forgive.' 


Here take thy queene, our King Harrye, 

And love her as thy life, 
For never had a king in Christentye, 

A truer and fairer wife. 

King Harrye ran to claspe his queene, 

And loosed her full sone: 
Then turnd to look for the tinye boye: 

The boye was vanisht and gone. 

But first he had touchd the lazar man, 
And stroakt him with his hand: 

The lazar under the gallowes tree 
All whole and sounde did stand. 

The lazar under the gallowes tree 
Was comely e, straight, and tall: 

King Henrye made him his head stewarde, 
To wayte withinn his hall. 

[Stanza 18. Of the 'grype,' or 'griffin', Sir John Man- 
deville, in his Voyage and Travaile," (Ed. 1725, London, 
8vo,) gives the following veritable account: 

' In that Contree ben many Griffounes, more plentee 
than in ony other Contree. Sum men seyn, that thei ban 
the Body upward, as an Egle, and benethe as a Lyoun : 
and treuly thei seyn sothe, that thei ben of that schapp. 
But o Griffbun hathe the body more gret and is more 
strong thanne 8 Lyouns, of suche Lyouns as ben o this 
half; and more gret and strongere, than an 100 Egles, 
suche as we ban amonges us. For o Griffoun there will here, 
fleyinge to his nest, a gret Hors, or 2 Oxen Yoked togidere, 
as thei gon at the plowghe. For he hathe his Talouns so 
longe and so large and grete, upon his Feet, as thoughe 
thei weren Home of grete Oxen or of Bugles or of Kyzn, 
so that men make Cuppea of hem, to drynken of: and of 
hire Ribbes and of the Pennes of hire Wenges, men maken 
Bowes fulle stronge, to schote with Arwes and quarelle.' 

The reader will nnd a very learned and highly-interest 
ing summary of the opinions of writers, ancient and 
modern, on this subject, in the Encyclppaedia Metropoli - 
tana ; Art., ' Griffons.'] 


[' This is the set of the ballad to which Dr. Percy refers, as occurring In his folio MS., under 
the title of ' Childo Maurice ;' and it has been printed by Mr. Jamieson, in his collection from 
that MS. with minute fidelity, who thereby hath conferred no small favour on the lovers of 
ancient song. As it is not only a curious version withal, but likewise peculiarly illustrative 
both of the sets which have gone before, and of that one which gives a title to this prolix 
argument ; it is to be hoped that no apology will be necessary for presenting it here to the 
reader, more especially as the valuable collection from which it is extracted hath not been 
BO well received by the world as its merits deserve.' MOTHEBWELL.] 

CIIILDE MAURICE hunted ithe silven wood 
he hunted it round about 
& noebody y* he found theren 
nor noebody without 

and tooke his silver combe in his hand 
to kembe his yellow lockes 

he says come hither thou little footpage 
y 1 runneth lowly by my knee 
ffor thou shalt goe to John Steward's wiffe 
& pray her speake w* mee 

& as it ffalls out many times 

as knotts been knitt on a kell 

or merchantmen gone to leave London 

either to buy ware or sell 

and grete thou doe y' ladye well 
ever so well ffroe mee 

and as it ffalls out many times 

as any harte can thinke 

as schoole masters are in any schoole house 

writting with pen and inke 

ffor if I might as well as shee may 
this night I wold w th her speake 

& heere I send a mantle of greene 
as greene as any grasse 
and bid her come to the silver wood 
to hunt w* Childe Maurice. 


there I send her a ring of gold 
a ring of precyous stone 
and bid her come to the silver wood 
let for no kind of man; 

one while this little boy he yode 
another while he ran 
until he came to John Steward's hall 
I wis he never blan 

and of nurture the child had good 
he ran up hall & bower ffree 
and when he came to this lady fiaire 
sayes God you save and see 

I am come fFrom Childe Maurice 
a message unto thee 
& Childe Maurice he greetes you well 
& ever soe well ffrom me 

and as it falls out oftentimes 

as knotts been knitt on a kell 

or merchant men gone to leeve London 

either to buy or sell 

& as oftentimes he greetes you well 
as any hart can thinke 
or schoolemaster in any schoole 
wryting w th pen and inke 

& heere he sends a mantle of greene 
as greene as any grasse 
& he bidds you come to the silver wood 
to hunt w th child Maurice 

& heere he sends you a ring of gold 
a ring of precyous stone 
he prayes you to come to the silver wood 
let for no kind of man 

now peace now peace thou litle fotpage 
ffor Christe's sake I pray thee 
ffor if my Lo heare one of those words 
thou must be hanged hye 

John Steward stood under the castle wall 
& he wrote the words every one 

* 315 


& he called unto his horsse keeper 
make readye you my steede 
and soe he did to his Chamberlaine 
make ready then my weed 

& he cast a lease upon his backe 
& he rode to the silver wood 
& there he sought all about 
about the silver wood 

& there he found him Child Maurice 
sitting upon a blocke 
w* a silver combe in his hand 
kembing his yellow locke 

he sayes how now how now Child Maurice 
alacke how may this bee 
but then stood by him Child Maurice 
& sayd these words trulye 

I do not know your ladye he said 
if that I do her see 
ffor thou hast sent her love tokens 
more now then 2 or 3 

for thou hast sent her a mantle of greene 
as greene as any grasse 
& bade her come to the silver wood 
to hunt w th Childe Maurice 

and by my faith now Childe Maurice 
the tane of us shall dye 
now by my troth sayd Child Maurice 
& that shall not be I 

but he pulled out a bright browne sword 
& dryed it on the grasse 
& soe fast he smote at John Steward 
I wis he never rest 

then hee pulled forth his bright browne sword 
& dryed itt on his sleeve 
& the ffirst good stroke John Steward stroke 
Child Maurice head he did cleeve 

& he pricked it on his sword's poynt 
went singing there beside 
and he rode till he came to the ladye ffaire 
316 whereas his ladye lyed 


and sayes dost thou know Child Maurice head 

iff that thou dost it see 

and llap it soft, and kisse itt offt 

ffor thou lovedst him better than mee 

but when shee looked on Childe Maurice head 
shee never spake words but three 
I never beare noe childe but one 
and you have slain him trulye 

sayes wicked be my merry men all 
I gave meate drink and clothe 
but cold they not have holden me 
when I was in all that wrath 

ffor I have slaine one of the courteousest knights 
that ever betrode a steede 
soe have I done one of the fairest ladyes 
that ever ware womans weede 


[This is the very ancient -traditionary ballad which was first printed by Mr Motherwell, 
In his ' Minstrelsy, Ancient and Modern,' Glasg. 1827, verbatim as it was taken down from the 
singing of widow M'Cormick, who, at that date, (January, 1825,) resided in Westbrae -street 
of Paisley. ' With much deference to the opinion of others skilled in these matters, he chal 
lenged for it, in point of antiquity, a precedence far above any of its fellows : indeed, in his 
judgment, it has every appearance of being the prime root from which all the variations of 
the ballad heretofore known, have originated." 

' It may be remarked, too,' he says, ' that it obviously preserves the true title of the ballad, 
Morice' and ' Maurice' being evident corruptions of ' Norice,' a nursling or foster, corrup 
tions which, from similarity of sound in the enunciation, oan easily be conceived as likely ones 
into which reciters, who learn by the ear, are exccudingly apt to fall ; and corruptions of 
which the experience of every one who has attempted to collect these interesting monuments 
of early song, can 'furnish ample parallels. Again, its clear, straightforward, rapid, and 
succinct narrative its extreme simplicity of style and utter destitution of all ornament, 
argue most powerfully in behalf of the primitiveness and authenticity f its text. It is, in 
fact, the very anatomy of a perfect ballad, wanting nothing that it should have, and having 
nothing that it should want. By testimony of a most unexceptionable description but which 
it would be tedious here to detail the editor can distinctly trace this ballad as existing in its 
present shape at least a century ago, which carries it decidedly beyond the date of the first 
printed copy of Gil Morice ; and this, with a poem which has been preserved but by oral 
tradition, is no mean positive antiquity. If we imagine it a more ancient version than that 
contained in Dr. Percy's MS., our sole means of arriving at a satisfactory conclusion must be 
derived from such internal evidence as the ballad itself affords ; and, both versions being now 
before the reader, he is enabled to judge deliberately for himself, and to form his own opinion 
on that which many will, ere this, I suspect, have deemed a very unimportant subject. 

' In conclusion, it may be mentioned that the ballad is exceedingly rare ; and, so far as the 
editor has been able to learn, it has escaped the notice of our most eminent collectors of 
traditionary poetry.'] 

CHILD NORYCE is a clever young man, 

He wavers wi' the wind; 
His horse was silver shod before, 

With the beaten gold behind. 

He called to his little man John, 
Saying, " You don't see what I see; 

For oh yonder I see the very first woman, 
That ever loved me. 

" Here is a glove, a glove," he said, 

" Lined with the silver grey; 
You may tell her to come to the merry green wood, 

To speak to Child Nory. 

" Here is a ring, a ring," he says, 

" Its all gold but the stane; 

You may tell her to come to the merry green wood, 
31g And ask the leave o' nane." 


" So well do I love jour errand, my master, 

But far better do I love my life; 
O would ye have me go to Lord Barnard's castel, 

To betray away Ms wife?" 

" O don't I give you meat," he says, 

" And don't I pay you fee? 
How dare you stop my errand," he says, 

" My orders you must obey." 

Oh when he came to Lord Barnard's castel, 

He tinkled at the ring; 
Who was as ready as Lord Barnard himself,* 

To let this little boy in. 

" Here is a glove, a glove," he says, 

" Lined with the silver grey; 
You are bidden to come to the merry green wood, 

And ask the leave o' name." 

Lord Barnard he was standing toy, 

And an angry man was he: 
" Oh, little did I think there was a lord in this world, 

My lady loved but me !" 

Oh he dressed himself in the holland smocks, 

And garments that was gay ; 
And he is away to the merry green wood, 

To speak to Child Nory. 

Child Noryce sits on yonder tree 

He whistles and he sings; 
" O wae be to me," says Child Noryce, 

" Yonder my mother comes!" 

Child Noryce he came off the tree, 

His mother to take off the horse; 
" Och, alace, alace," says Child Noryce, 

My mother was ne'er so gross." 

Lord Barnard he had a little small sword, 

That hung low down by his knee; 
He cut the head off Child Noryce, 

And put the body on a tree. 

This unquestionably should be Lady Barnard, instead of her lord, see third stanza under; 
but as it was so recited, this obvious error the editor did not conceive himself warranted to 
correct, more especially as he has found it out of his power to obtain anothw copy o f the ballad 
from any different quarter. 

31 y 


And when he came to his castel, 

And to his lady's hall, 
He threw the head into her lap, 

Saying, " Lady, there is a ball !" 

She turned up the bloody head, 
She kissed it frae cheek to chin; 

" Far better do I love this bloody head, 
Than all my royal kin. 

" When I was in my father's castell, 

In my virginitie; 
There came a lord into the north, 

Gat Child Noryce with me." 

" O wae be to thee, lady Magaret," he saii, 
" And an ill death may you die; 

For if you had told me he was your sou, 
He had ne'er been sb ; n by me." 



[This ballad, interest ng as well for its own intrinsic 
merits as for having fun isbed the plot of the tragedy of 
' Douglas,' and supplied the materials for the more modern 
ballad, ' Owen of Carron,' is taken from Percy's ' Re- 
liques,' where it is said to have ' run through two editions 
in Scotland ; the second being printed at Glasgow in 1755, 
8vo. Prefixed to them both,' says Dr. Percy, ' was an 
advertisement, setting forth that the preservation of it was 
owing to " a lady, wl:o favoured the printers with a copy, 
as it was carefully collected from the mouths of old women 
and nurses;" and requesting " any reader that could 
render it more correct or complete," to oblige the public' 
by so doing. Accordingly, ' sixteen additional verses were 
handed about in MS., 1 which the Dr. ' inserted in their 
proper places ;' with the remark that they ' were, perhaps, 
after all, only an ingenious interpolation.' They are here 
inclosed in brackets. In the ' folio MS.' was a ' very old 
imperfect copy of this ballad," bearing the title, ' Childe 
Maurice;' which was given ly Mr Jamieson in his col 
lection from that MS. ; rnd sifter him by Mr. Motherwell, 
in ' Minstrelsy, Ancient and Modern,' Glasgow, 1827, 4to. 
In the same work Mr. Mctherwell also prints, ' for the first 
time, a very ancient traditionary ballad on the same sub 
ject, which he considers to have been ' the prime root 
from which all the variations of the ballad heretofore known 
have originated.' 

IL Morrice was an erles son, 
His name it waxed wide ; 

It was-nae for his great riches, 
Nor zet his mickle pride ; 

Bot it was for a lady gay, 
That livd on Carron side. 


Quhair sail I get a bonny boy, 

That will win hose and shoen ; 
That will gae to lord Barnards ha', 

And bid his lady cum ? 
And ze maun rin rny errand, Willie ; 

And ze may rin wi' pride ; 
Quhen other boys gae on their foot, 

On horse-back ze sail ride. 

O no I Oh no ! my master dear ! 

I dare nae for my life ; 
I'll no gae to the bauld barons, 

For to triest turth his wife. 
My bird "Willie, my boy Willie ; 

My dear Willie, he sayd ; 
How can ze strive against the stream ? 

For I sail be obeyd. 

Bot, O my master dear ! he cryd, 
In grene wod ze're zour lain ; 

Gi owre sic thochts, I walde ze rede, 
For fear ze should be tain. 

Haste, haste, I say, gae to the ha', 
Bid hir cum here wi speid : 

If ze refuse my heigh command, 
111 gar zour body bleid. 

Gae bid hir take this gay mantel, 

"Tis a' gowd bot the hem ; 
Bid hir cum to the gude grene wode, 

And bring nane bot hir lain : 
And there it is, a silken sarke, 

Hir ain hand sewd the sleive ; 
And bid hir cum to Gill Morice, 

Speir nae bauld barons leave. 

Yes, I will gae zour black errand, 

Though it be to zour cost ; 
Sen ze by me will nae be warn'd, 

In it ze sail find frost. 
The baron he is a man of might, 

He neir could bide to taunt, 
As ze will see before its nicht, 

How sma' ze hae to vaunt. 

And sen I maun zour errand rin 

Sae sair against my will, 
I'se make a vow and keip it trow, 
322 It sail be done for ill. 


And quhen he came to broken brigue, 
He bent his bow and swam ; 

And quhen he came to grass growing, 
Set down his feet and ran. 

And quhen he came to Barnards ha', 

Would neither chap nor ca' : 
Bot set his bent bow to his breist, 

And lichtly lap the wa'. 
He wauld nae tell the man his errand, 

Though he stude at the gait ; 
Bot straiht into the ha' he cam, 

Quhair they were set at meit. 

Hail ! hail ! my gentle sire and dame ! 

My message winna waite ; 
Dame, ze maun to the gude grene wod 

Before that it be late. 

Ze're bidden tak this gay mantel, 
Tis a' gowd hot the hem ; 

Zou maun gae to the gude grene wode, 
Ev'n by your sel alane. 

And there it is, a silken sarke, 

Your ain hand sewd the sleive ; 
Ze maun gae speik to Gill Morice ;. 

Speir nae bauld barons leare. 
The lady stamped wi' hir foot, 

And winked wi' hir ee : 
Bot a' that she coud say or do, 

Forbidden he wad nae bee. 

Its surely to my bow'r-woman ; 

It neir could be to me. 
I brocht it to lord Barnards lady ; 

I trow that ze be she. 
'Then up and spack the wylie nurse, 

(The bairn upon hir knee) 
If it be cum frae Gill Morice, 

It's deir welcum to mee. 

Ze leid, ze leid, ye filthy nurse, 

Sae loud I heard ze lee, 
I brocht it to lord Barnards lady ; 
323 I trow ze be nae shee. 



Then up and spack the bauld bardn, 

An angry man was hee ; 
He's, tain the tahle wi' his foot, 

Sae has he wi' his knee ; 
Till siller cup and mazer dish 

In flinders he gard flee. 

Gae bring a robe of zour eliding, 

That hings upon the pin ; 
And I'll gae to the gude grene wode, 

And speik wi' zour lemman. 
O bide at hame, now lord Barnard, 

I warde ze bide at hame ; 
Neir wyte a man for violence, 

That neir wate ze wi' nane. 

Gill Morice sate in gude grene wode, 

He whistled and he sang : 
what mean a' the folk coming, 

My mother tarries lang. 
[His hair was like the threeds of gold, 

Drawne frae Minerva's loome : 
His lipps like roses drapping dew, 

His breath was a' perfume. 

His brow was like the mountain snae 

Gilt by the morning beam : 
His cheeks like living roses glow ; 

His een like azure stream. 
The boy was clad in robes of grene, 

Sweete as the infant spring : 
And like the mavis on the bush, 

He gart the vallies ring.] 

The baron came to the grene wode, 

Wi' mickle dule and care, 
And there he first spied Gill Morice, 

Kameing his zellow hair : 
[That sweetly wavd around his face, 

That face beyond compare : 
He sang sae sweet it might dispel 

A' rage but fell despair.] 

Nae wonder, nae wonder, Gill Morice, 

My lady loed thee weel, 
The fairest part of my bodie 

Is blacker than thy heel. 


Zet neir the less now, Gill Morice, 

For a' thy great beautie, 
Ze's rew the day ze eir was born ; 

That head sail gae wi' me. 

Now he has drawn his trusty brand, 

And slaited on the strae ; 
And thro' Gill Morice' fair body 

He's gar cauld iron gae, 
And he has tain Gill Morice' head 

And set it on a speir ; 
The meanest man in a' his train 

Has gotten that head to bear. 


And he has tain Gill Morice up, 

Laid him across his steid, 
And brocht him to his painted bowr, 

And laid him on a bed. 
The lady sat on castle wa', 

Beheld baith dale and doun ; 
\nd there she saw Gill Morice' head 

Cum trailing to the toun. 

Far better I loe that bluidy head, 

Both and that zellow hair, 
Than lord Barnard, and a' his lands, 

As they lig here and thair. 
And she has tain her Gill Morice, 

And kissd baith mouth and chin : 
I was once as fow of Gill Morice 

As the hip is o' the stean. 

I got ze in my father's house, 

Wi' mickle sin and shame ; 
I brocht thee up in gude grene wode, 

Under the heavy rain. 
Oft have I by thy cradle sitten, 

And fondly seen thee sleip ; 
But now I gae about thy grave, 

The saut tears for to weip. 

And syne she kissd his bluidy cheik, 

And syne his bluidy chin : 
O better I loe my Gill Morice 

Than a' my kith and kin ! 
Away, away, ze ill woman, 

And an il deith oiait ze dee : 
Gin I had kend he'd bin zour son, 

He'd neir bin slain for mee. 325 


Obraid me not, my lord Barnard ! 

Obraid me not for shame ! 
Wi' that saim speir O pierce my heart! 

And put me out o' pain. 
Since nothing bot Gil Morice head 

Thy jelous rage could quell, 
Let that saim hand now tak hir life, 

That neir to thee did ill. 

To me nae after days nor nichts 

Will eir be saft or kind ; 
I'll fill the air with heavy sighs, 

And greet till I am blind. 
Enouch of blood by me's bin spilt, 

Seek not zour death frae me ; 
I rather lourd it had been my sel 

Than eather him or thee. 

With waefo wae I hear zour plaint ; 

Sair, sair I rew the deid, 
That eir this cursed hand of mine 

Had gard his body bleid. 
Dry up zour tears, my winsome dame, 

Ze neir can heal the wound ; 
Ze see his head upon the speir, 

His heart's blude on the ground. 

I curse the hand that did the deid, 

The heart that thocht the ill ; 
The feet that bore me wi' silk speid, 

The comely zouth to kill. 
I'll ay lament for Gil Morice, 

As gin he were mine ain ; 
I'll neir forget the dreiry day 

On which the zouth was slain. 


[From Buchan's ' Ancient Ballads and Songs, &c.'j 

THESE ance liv'd a king in fair Scotland, 

King Malcolm called by name; 
Whom ancient history gives record, 

For valour, worth, and fame. 

And it fell ance upon a day, 

The king sat down to dine; 
And then he miss'd a favourite knight, 

Whose name was Sir Colvin. 

But out it speaks another knight, 
Ane o' Sir Colvin's kin; 

* He's lyin' in bed right sick in love, 

All for yotfr daughter Jean.' 

* O waes me,' said the royal king, 

' I'm sorry for the same; 
She maun take bread and wine sae red, 
Give it to Sir Colvin.' 

Then gently did she bear the bread, 

Her page did carry the wine; 
And set a table at his bed, 

1 Sir Colvin, rise and dine.' 

* O well love I the wine, lady, 

Come frae your lovely hand; 
But better I love your fair body, 
Than all fair Scotland's strand.' 

* hold your tongue now, Sir Colvin, 

Let all your folly be; 
My love must be by honour won, 
Or nane shall enjoy me. 

But on the head o' Elrick's hill, 

Near by yon sharp hawthorn, 
Where never a man with life e'er came 

Sin' our sweet Christ was born; 



O ye'll gang there and walk a' night, 
And boldly blaw your horn; 

With honour that ye do return, 
Ye'll marry me the morn.' 

Then up it raise him, Sir Colvin, 
And dress'd in armour keen; 

And he is on to Elrick s hill, 
Without light o' the meen. 

At midnight mark the meen upstarts, 
The knight walk'd up and down; 

While loudest cracks o' thunder roar'd, 
Out ower the bent sae brown. 

Then by the twinkling of an e'e, 
He spied an armed knight; 

A fair lady bearing his brand, 
Wi' torches burning bright. 

Then he cried high as he came nigh, 
' Coward, thief, I bid you flee ! 

There is not ane comes to this hill, 
But must engage wi' me-. 

Ye'll best take road before I come, 
And best take foot and flee; 

Here is a sword baith sharp and broad, 
Will quarter you in three.' 

Sir Colvin said, ' I'm not afraid 

Of any here J see; 
You ha'e not ta'en your God before, 

Less dread ha'e I o' thee.' 

Sir Colvin then he drew his sword, 
His foe he drew his brand; 

And they fought there on Elrick's hill 
Till they were bluidy men. 

The first an' stroke the knight he strake, 
Ga'e Colvin a slight wound; 

The next an' stroke Lord Colvin strake, 
Brought's foe unto the ground. 

* I yield, I yield,' the knight he said, 

' I fairly yield to thee; 
Nae ane came e'er to Elrick-hill 

E'er gain'd such victorie. 


I and my forbears here did haunt 
Three hundred years and more; 

I'm safe to swear a solemn oath, 
We were never beat before.' 

An asking,' said the lady gay, 

' An asking ye'll grant me.' 
* Ask on, ask on,' said Sir Colvin, 

* What may your asking be?' 

' Ye'll gi'e me hame my wounded knight 

Let me fare on my way; 
And I'se ne'er be seen on Elrick's hill, 

By night, nor yet by day. 
And to this place we'll come nae mair, 

Could we win safe away. 

To trouble any Christian one 

Lives in the righteous law; 
We'll come nae mair unto this place, 

Could we win safe awa'.' 

' ye'se get hame your wounded knight, 

Ye shall not gang alane; 
But I maun ha'e a word o' him, 

Before that we twa twine.' 

Sir Colvin being a book-learn'd man. 

Sae gude in fencing tee; 
He's drawn a stroke behind his hand, 

And. followed in speedilie. 

Sae fierce a stroke Sir Colvin's drawn, 

And followed in speedilie; 
The knight's brand, and sword hand, 

In the air he gar'd them flee. 

It flew sae high into the sky, 

And lighted on the ground; 
The rings that were on these fingers, 

Were worth five hundred pound. 

Up he has ta'en that bluidy hand, 

Set it before the king; 
And the morn it was Wednesday, 

When he married his daughter Jean. 


[' This old romantic tale,' says Dr. Percy, from whose 
' Reliques' it is taken, ' 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 minstrel,) that it 
was necessary to supply several stanzas in the first part, 
and still more in the second, to connect and complete 
the story.' Of the extent of the additions, by which 
the story was thus connected and completed by the Dr., 
some idea may be formed by comparing the ballad, as 
given by him, with one published by Mr. Buchan, in 
his ' Ancient Ballads and Songs of the North of Scot 
land. (Edinb. 1828,)' entitled ' King Malcolm and Sir 
Colvin.' The similarity of names will be obvious at 
once; and, although in the catastrophe the two ballads 
differ widely, and there is not in ' King Malcolm and 
Sir Colvin ' any thing at all corresponding with the 
second part of ' Sir Cauline ;' yet the resemblance of 
the latter to the former, as far as it goes, is, notwith 
standing, very striking, and on the supposition of their 
being two independent ballads, not a little remarkable. 
Probably, however, the old Scotch ballad published by 
Mr. Buchan, or some version of it, formed the ground 
work of ' Sir Cauline.' Or it may be regarded as 
' some illiterate minstrel's faulty recitation.' 

N Ireland, ferr over the sea, 

There dwelleth a bonnye kinge ; 
And with him a yong and comlye knighte, 

Men call him syr Cauline. 


The kinge had a ladye to his daughter, 

In fashyon she hath no peere ; 
And princely wightes that ladye wooed 

To be theyr wedded feere. 

Syr Cauline loveth her best of all, 

But nothing durst he saye ; 
Ne descreeve his counsayl to no man, 

But deerlye he lovde this may. 

Till on a daye it so beffell, 

Great dill to him was dight ; 
The maydens love removde his mynd, 

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 now I mun dye. 

And whan our parish-masse was done, 

Our kinge was bowne to dyne : 
He says, Where is syr Cauline, 

That is wont to serve the wyne ? 

Then aunswerde him a courteous knighte, 

And fast his handes gan wringe : 
Sir Cauline is sicke, and like to dye 

Without a good leechmge. 

Fetche me downe my daughter deere, 

She is a leeche fulle fine : 
Goe take him doughe, and the baken bread, 
And serve him with the wyne soe red ; 

Lothe I were him to tine. 

Fair Christabelle to his chaumber goes, 

Her maydens followyng nye : 
O well, she sayth, how doth my lord ? 

O sicke, thou fayr ladye. 

Nowe ryse up wightlye, man, for shame, 

Never lye soe cowardlee ; 
For it is told in my fathers halle, 

You dye for love of mee. 

Fayre ladye, it is for your lov 

That all this dill I drye : 
For if you wold comfort me with a kisse, 
Then were I brought from bale to blisse, 

No leuger wold I lye. 331 


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. 

ladye, thou art a kinges daughter, 

And I am not thy peere, 
But let me doe some deedes of armes 

To be your bacheleere. 

Some deedes of armes if thou wilt doe, / 

My bacheleere to bee, 
(But ever and aye my heart wold rue, 

Giff harm shold happe to thee,) 

Upoa Eldridge hill there groweth a thorne, 

Upon the mores brodinge ; 
And dare ye, syr knighte, wake there all nighte 

Untill the fayre morninge ? 

For the Eldridge knighte, so mickle of mighte, 

Will examine you beforne ; 
And never man bare life awaye, 

But he did him scath and scorne. 

That knighte he is a foul paynhn, 

And large of limb and bone ; 
And but if heaven may be thy speede, 

Thy life it is but gone. 

Nowe on the Eldridge hilles He walke, 

For thy sake fair ladie ; 
And He either bring you a ready token, 

Or He never more you see. 

The lady is gone to her own chaumbere, 

Her maydens following bright : 
Syr Cauline lope from care-bed soone, 
And to the Eldridge hills is gone, 
For to wake there all night. 

Unto midnight, that the moone did rise, 

He walked up and downe ; 
Then a lightsome bugle heard he blowe 

Over the bents soe browne : 
Quoth hee, If cryance come till my heart, 
332 I am ffar from any good towne. 


And soone he spyde on the mores so broad, 

A furyous wight and fell ; 
A ladye bright his brydle led, 

Clad hi a fayre kyrtell : 

And soe fast he called on syr Cauline, 

man, I rede thee flye, 

For, ' but' if cryance come till thy heart, 

1 weene but thou mun dye. 

He sayth, ' No' cryance comes till my heart, 

Nor, in faith, I wyll not flee ; 
For, cause thou minged not Christ before, 

The less me dreadeth thee. 

The Eldridge knighte, he pricked his steed ; 

Syr Cauhne bold abode : 
Then either shooke his trustye speare, 
And the timber these two children bare 

Soe soone in sunder slode. 

Then tooke they out theyr two good swordes, 

And layden on full faste, 
Till helme and hawberke, mail and sheelde, 

They all were well-nye brast. 

The Eldridge knight was mickle of might, 

And stiffe in stower did stande, 
But syr Cauline with a ' backward' stroke, 

He smote off his right-hand ; 
That soone he with paine and lacke of bloud 

Fell downe on that lay-land. 

Then up syr Cauline lift his brande 

All over his head so hye : 
And here I sweare by the holy roode, 

Nowe, caytiffe, thou shalt dye. 

Then up and came that ladye brighte, 

Faste wringing of her hande : 
For the maydens love, that most you love, 

Withold that deadlye brande : 

For the maydens love, that most you love, 

Now smyte no more I praye ; 
And aye whatever thou will, my lord, 

He shall thy hests obaye. 

Now sweare to mee, thou Eldridge knighte, 

And here on this lay-land, 
That thou wilt believe on Christ his laye, 

And thereto plight thy hand : 333 


And that thou never on Eldridge come 
To sporte, gamon, or playe : 

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, 
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. 

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. 

Then he tooke up the Eldridge sworde 

As hard as any flint : 
And he tooke off those riuges five, 

As bright as fyre and brent. 

Home then pricked syr Cauline 

As light as leafe on tree : 
I-wys he neither stint ne blanne, 

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 : 

These tokens I bring away. 

Now welcome, welcome, syr Cauline, 

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

O ladye, I am thy own true knighte, 

Thy bests for to obaye : 
And mought I hope to winne thy love ! 

No more his tonge colde say. 

The ladye blushed scarlette redde, 

And fette a gentill sighe : 
Alas ! syr knight, how may this bee, 
334 For my degree's soe highe? 


But sith thou hast hight, thou comely youth, 

To be my batchilere, 
He promise if thee I may not wedde, 

I will have none other fere. 

Then shee held forthe her lilly-white hand 

Towards that knighte so free : 
He gave to it one gentill kisse, 
His heart was brought from bale to blisse, 

The teares sterte from his ee. 

But keep my counsayl, syr Cauline 

Ne let no man it knowe ; 
For and erer my father sholde it ken, 

I wot he wolde us sloe. 

From that daye forthe that ladye fayre 
Lovde syr Cauline the knighte : 

From that daye forthe he only joyde 
Whan shee was in his sight. 

Yea and oftentimes they mette . 

Within a fayre arboure, 
Where they in love and sweet daliaunce 

Past manye a pleasaunt houre. 


EVE RYE 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 Caulme 

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, 
He found his daughter and syr Cauline 

There sette in daliaunce sweet. 

The kinge hee sterted forthe, i-wys, 

And an angrye man was hee : 
Nowe, traytoure, thou shalt hange or drawe, 

And rewe shall thy ladie. 


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. 

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 

Across the salt sea fome : 
But here I will make thee a band, 
If ever he come within this land, 

A foule deathe is his doome. 

All woe-begone was that gentil knight 

To parte from his lady? ; 
And many a time he sighed sore, 

And caste a wistfulle eye : 
Faire Christabelle, from thee to parte, 

Farre lever had I dye. 

Fair 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. 

And ever shee doth lament and weepe 

To tint her lover, soe : 
Syr Cauline, thou little think' st on mee, 

But I will still be true. 

Manye a kinge, and manye a duke, 

And lords of high degree, 
Did sue to that fayre ladye of love ; 

But never shee wolde them nee. 

When manye a daye was past and gone, 

Ne comtbrte she colde finde, 
The kynge proclaimed a tourneament, 

To cheere his daughters mind : 

And there came lords, and there came knights, 

Fro manye a farre countrye, 
To break a spere for theyr ladyes love 
336 Before that faire ladye. 


And many a ladye there was sette 

In purple and in palle : 
But faire Christabelle soe woe-begone 

Was the fayrest of them all. 

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 it was all of blacke, 

His hewberke, and his sheelde, 
Ne noe man wist whence he did come, 
Ne noe man knewe where he did gone, 

When they came out the feelde. 

And now three days were prestlye past 

In feates of chivalrye, 
When lo upon the fourth mornmge 

A sorrowfulle sight they see. 

A hugye giaunt stiffe and starke, 

All foule of limbe and lere ; 
Two goggling eyen like fire farden, 

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, 

All wan and pale of blee. 

Sir, quoth the dwarffe, and louted lowe, 

Behold that hend Soldain ! 
Behold these heads I beare with me ! 

They are kings which he hath slain. 

The Eldridge knight is his own cousine, 

Whom a knight of thine hath shent : 
And hee is come to avenge his wrong, 
And to thee, all thy knightes among, 

Defiance here hath sent. 

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. 

Thy head, syr king, must goe with mee ; 

Or else thy daughter deere ; 
Or else within these lists soe broad 

Thou must finde him a peere. 

Z 337 


The king he turned him round aboute, 

And in his heart was woe : 
Is there never a knighte of my round table, 

This matter will undergoe ? 

Is there never a knighte amongst yee all 
Will fight for my daughter and mee ? 

Whoever will fight yon grimme soldan, 
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. 

But every knighte of his round table 

Did stand both still and pale ; 
For whenever they lookt on the grim soldan, 

It made their hearts to quail. 

All woe-begone was that fayre ladye, 
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 aifrayd : 
He fight for thee with this grimme soldan, 

Thoughe he be unmacklye made. 

And if thou wilt lend me the Eldridge sworde, 

That lyeth within thy bowre, 
I truste in Christe for to slay this fiende 

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. 

The gyaunt he stepped into the lists, 

And sayd, Awaye, awaye : 
I sweare, as I am the bend soldan, 

Thou lettest me here all daye. 

Then forthe the stranger knight he came 

In his blacke armour dight : 
The ladye sighed a gentle sighe, 

" That this were my true knighte 1" 


And nowe the gyaunt and knighte be mett 

Within the lists soe broad ; 
And now with swordes soe sharpe of steele, 

They gan to lay on load. 

The soldan strucke the knighte a stroke, 

That made him reele asyde ; 
Then woe-hegone was that fayre ladye, 

And thrice she deeply sighde. 

The soldan strucke a second stroke, 

And made the blonde to flowe : 
All pale and wan was that ladye fayre, 

And thrice she wept for woe. 

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, 

All recklesse of the pain : 
Quoth hee, But heaven be now my speede, 

Or else I shall be slaine. 

He grasped his sworde with mayne and mighte, 

And spying a secrette part, 
He drave it into the soldan' s syde, 

And pierced him to the heart. 

Then all the people gave a shoute, 

When they sawe the soldan falle : 
The ladye wept, and thanked Christ, 

That had reskewed her from thrall. 

And nowe the kinge with all his barons 

Rose uppe from oife his seate, 
And downe he stepped into the listes, 

That curteous knighte to greete. 

But he for payne and lacke of bloude 

Was fallen into a swounde, 
And there all walteringe in his gore, 

Lay lifelesse on the grounde. 

Come downe, come downe, my daughter deare, 

Thou art a leeche of skille ; 
Farre lever had I lose halfe my landes, 

Than this good knighte sholde spille. 339 


Downe then steppeth that fayre ladye, 

To helpe him if she maye ; 
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 hearde his ladye crye, 

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, 

Begane to drawe her breathe. 

But when she found her comelye knisjhte 

Indeed was dead and gone, 
She lavde her pale cold cheeke to his 

And thus she made her moane. 

O staye, my deare and onlye lord, 

For mee thy faithfulle feere 
'Tis meet that I shold followe thee, 

Who hast bought my love so deare. 

Then fayntinge in a deadlye swoune, 

And with a deep-fette sighe, 
That burst her gentle heart in twayne 

Fayre Christabelle did dye. 


[This ballad is taken from ' The Minstrelsy of the Scot 
tish Border,' where it was given, as ' never before published, 
partly from one, under the same title, in Mrs. Brown's Col 
lection, and partly from a MS. of some antiquity, penes Edit, 
The stanzas appearing to possess most merit were selected 
from each copy.' It is to be regretted that Sir Walter 
Scott did not give the two versions in their genuine state 
rather than a third made up of them. Some idea, how 
ever, of what they were may be gotten from comparing the 
ballad, as given by him, with what Mr. Motherwell calls ' a 
less complete version ' of it, which he prints in his ' Min 
strelsy,' under the title of 'The Jolly Goshawk.' With 
regard to the story, ' there is,' Sir Walter Scott says, 
'some resemblance betwixt it and an Irish Fairy Tale, 
called ' The Adventures of Faravla, Princess of Scotland, 
and Carral O'Daly, son of Donogho More O'Daly, Chief 
Bard of Ireland.' Tho princess, being desperately in love 
with Carral, despatches in search of him a faithful 
confidante, who, by her magical art, transforms herself 
into a hawk, and, resting upon the windows of the bard, 
conveys to him information of the distress of the Princess 
of Scotland.] 

WALY, waly, my gay goss-hawk, 
Gin your feathering be sheen !" 

" And waly, waly, my master dear, 

Gin ye look pale and lean ! 341 


" O have ye tint, at tournament, 
Your sword, or yet your spear ? 

Or mourn ye for the Southern lass, 
Whom you may not win near ? " 

" I have not tint, at tournament, 
My sword, nor yet my spear ; 

But sair I mourn for nay true love, 
Wi' mony a bitter tear. 

" But weel's me on ye, my gay goss-hawk, 
Ye can baith speak and flee ; 

Ye sail carry a letter to my love, 
Bring an answer back to me." 

" But how sail I your true love find, 

Or how suld I her know ? 
I bear a tongue ne'er wi' her spake, 

An eye that ne'er her saw." 

" O weel sail ye my true love ken, 

Sae sune as ye her see ; 
For, of a' the flowers of fair England, 

The fairest flower is she. 

" The red, that's on my true love's cheik, 
Is like blood drops on the snaw ; 

The white, that is on her breast bare, 
Like the down o' the white sea-maw. 

" And even at my love's hour door 
There grows a flowering birk ; 

And ye maun sit and sing thereon 
As she gangs to the kirk. 

" Ajid four-and-twenty fair ladyes 

Will to the mass repair ; 
But well may ye my ladye ken, 

The fairest ladye there." 

Lord William has written a love letter, 
Put it under his pinion gray ; 

And he is awa' to Southern land 
As fast as wings can gae. 

And even at that ladye's hour 

There grew a flowering birk ; 
And he sat down and sung thereon 
342 As she gaed to the kirk. 


And weel he kent that ladye fair 

Atnang her maidens free ; 
For the flower, that springs in May morning, 

Was not sae sweet as she. 

He lighted at the ladye's gate, 

And sat him on a pin ; 
And sang fu' sweet the notes o' love, 

Till a' was cosh within. 

And first he sang a low low note, 

And syne he sang a clear ; 
And aye the o'erword o' the sang 

Was " Your love can no win here." 

" Feast on, feast on, my maidens a', 

The wine flows you amang, 
While I gang to my shot-window, 

And hear yon bonnie bird's sang. 

" Sing on, sing on, my bonnie bird, 

The sang ye sung yestreen : 
For weel I ken, by your sweet singing, 

Ye are frae my true love seen." 

O first he sang a merry sang, 

And syne he sang a grave ; 
And syne he peck'd his feathers gray, 

To her the letter gave. 

" Have there a letter from lord William : 

He says he's sent ye three, 
He canna wait your love langer, 

But for your sake he'll die." 

" Gae bid him bake his bridal bread, 

And brew his bridal ale ; 
And I shall meet him at Mary's kirk, 

Lang, lang ere it be stale." 

The lady's gane to her chamber. 
And a md'anfu' woman was she ; 

As gin she had ta'en a sudden brash, 
And were about to die. 

"A boon, a boon, my father deir 

A boon I beg of thee ! " 
Ask not that paughty Scottish lord, 

For him you ne'er shall see. 


" But, for your honest asking else 
Weel granted it shall be." 

" Then, gin I die in Southern land, 
In Scotland gar bury me. 

" And the first kirk that ye come to, 
Ye's gar the mass be sung ; 

And the next kirk that ye come to, 
Ye's gar the bells be rung. 

And when ye come to St. Mary's kirk, 
Ye's tarry there till night." 

And so her father pledged his word, 
And so his promise plight. 

She has ta'en her to her bigly bour 
As fast as she could fare ; 

And she has drank a sleepy draught, 
That she had mix'd wi' care. 

And pale, pale grew her rosy cheek, 
That was sae bright of blee, 

And she seemed to be as surely dead 
As any one could be. 

Then spak' her cruel step-minnie, 
"Tak' ye the burning lead, 

And drap a drap on her bosome, 
To try if she be dead." 

They took a drap o' boiling lead, 
They drapp'd on her breast ; 

"Alas! alas!" her father cried, 
" She's dead without the priest." 

She neither chatter'd with her teeth, 
Nor chiver'd with her chin ; 

" Alas ! alas !" her father cried, 
" There is nae breath within." 

Then up arose her seven brethrei 
And hew'd to her a bier; 

They hew'd it frae the solid aik, 
Laid it o'er wi' silver clear. 

Then up and gat her seven sisters, 

And sewed to her a kell ; 
And every steek that they put in 
344 Sewed to a siller bell. 


The first Scots kirk that they cam* to, 

They garr'd the bells be rung, 
The next Scots kirk that they cam' to, 

They garr'd the mass be sung. 

But when they cam' to St. Mary's kirk, 
There stood spearmen all in a raw ; 

And up and started lord William, 
The chieftane amang them a'. 

" Set down, set down the bier," he said ; 

" And let me look her upon :" 
But as soon as lord William touched her hand, 

Her colour began to come. 

She brightened like the lily flower, 

Till her pale colour was gone ; 
With rosy cheik, and ruby lip, 

She smiled her love upon. 

" A morsal of your bread, my lord, 

And one glass of your wine : 
For I ha'e fasted these three lang days, 

All for your sake and mine. 

" Gae hame, gae hame, my seven bauld brothers ! 

Gae hame and blaw your horn ! 
I trow ye wad ha'e gi'en me the skaith, 

But I've gi'en you the scorn. 

" Commend me to my grey father, 

That wish'd my saul gude rest ! 
But wae be to my cruel step-dame, 

Garr'd burn me on the breast." 

" Ah ! woe to you, you light woman ! 

An ill death may you dee ! 
For we left father and sisters at hame 

Breaking their hearts for thee." 


[Firom MotherwelFs * Minstrelsy .*] 

' WELL is me my Jolly Goshawk, 
That ye can speak and flee; 

For ye can carry a love letter 
To my true love from me." 

O how can I carry a letter to her, 

When her I do not know ? 
I bear the lips to her never spak, 

And the eyes that she never saw." 

" The thing of my love's face that's white, 

Is that of dove or maw ; 
The thing of my love's face that's red, 

Is like blood shed on snaw. 

And when you come to the castell, 

Light on the bush of ash; 
And sit you there and sing our loves, 

As she comes from the mass* 

And when she goes into the house, 

Sit ye upon the whin; 
And sit you there and sing our loves 

As she goes out and in." 

And when he flew to that castell, 

He lighted on the ash; 
And there he sat and sung their loves, 

As she came from the mass. 

And when she went into the house, 

He flew unto the whin; 
And there he sat and sung their loves, 

As she went out and in. 



" Come hitherward my maidens all, 

And sip red wine anon, 
Till I go to my west window, 

And hear a birdie's moan." 

She is gone unto her west window, 

And fainly aye it drew, 
And soon into her white silk lap 

The bird the letter threw. 

" Yere bidden send your love a send, 

For he has sent you twa; 
And tell him where he can see you, 

Or he cannot live ava." 

" I send him the rings from my white finger 

The garlands off my hair; 
I send Mm the heart that's in my breast, 

What would my love have mair; 
And at the fourth kirk in fair Scotland, 

Ye'll bid him meet me there." 

She hied her to her father dear, 

As fast as gang could she; 
" An asking, an asking, my father dear, 

An asking ye grant me, 
That if I die in fair England, 

In Scotland gar bury me. 

At the first kirk of fair Scotland, 

You cause the bells be rung; 
At the second kirk of fair Scotland, 

You cause the mass be sung; 

At the third kirk of fair Scotland, 

You deal gold for my sake; 
And at the fourth kirk of fair Scotland, 

O ! there you'll bury me at. 

And now my tender father dear, 

This asking grant you me." 
" Your asking is but small," he said, 

Weel granted shall it be." 

[The lady asks the same boon and receives a similar answer, first from her 
mother, then from her sister, and lastly from her seven brothers.] 

Then down as dead that lady dropped 

Beside her mother's knee; 
Then out it spak an auld witch wife, 

By the fire-side sat she, 347 


Says, " Drap the hot lead on her cheek, 

And drap it on her chin, 
And drap it on her rose red lips, 

And she will speak again; 
For much a lady young will do, 

To her true love to win." 

They drapp'd the hot lead on her cheek, 

So did they on her chin; 
They drapp'd it on her rose red lips, 

But they breathed none again. 

Her brothers they went to a room, 

To make to her a bier; 
The boards of it were cedar wood, 

And the plates on it gold so dear. 

Her sisters they went to a room, 

To make to her a sark; 
The cloth of it was satin fine, 

And the steeking silken wark. 

" But well is me, my Jolly Goshawk, 

That ye can speak and flee; 
Come show to me any love tokens 

That you have brought to me." 

" She sends you the rings from her fingers, 

The garlands from her hair; 
She sends you the heart within her breast, 

And what would you have rnair; 
And at the fourth kirk of fair Scotland, 

She bids you meet her there." 

" Come hither, all my merry young men, 
And drink the good red wine; 

For we must on to fair England, 
To free my love from pine." 

At the first kirk of fair Scotland, 

They gart the bells be rung; 
At the second kirk of fair Scotland, 

They gart the mass be sung. 

At the third kirk of fair Scotland, 

They dealt gold for her sake; 
And the fourth kirk of fair Scotland, 

Her true love met them at. 


" Set down, set down the corpse," lie said, 

" Till I look on the dead; 
The last time that I saw her face, 

She ruddy was and red. 
But now, alas! and woe is me, 

She's wallowed like a weed." 

He rent the sheet upon her face, 

A little aboon her chin; 
With lily white cheek, and lemin* eyne, 

She lookt and laught to him. 

** Give me a chive of your bread, my love, 

A bottle of your wine; 
For I have fasted for your love, 

These weary lang days nine; 
There's not a steed in your stable, 

But would have been dead ere syne. 

Gae hame, gae hame, my seven brothers, 
Gae hame and blaw the horn; 

For you can say in the south of England, 
Your sister gave you a scorn. 

I came not here to fair Scotland, 

To lye amang the meal; 
But I came here to fair Scotland, 

To wear the silks so weel. 

I came not here to fair Scotland, 

To lye among the dead; 
But I come here to fair Scotland, 

To wear the gold so red.' 




[The ballad of 'Fair Rosamond,' says Dr. Percy, ('Re- 
liques,' ii., 155,; ' appears to have been first published in 
'Strange Histories, or Songs and Sonnets of Kinges, 
Princes, Dukes, Lords, Ladyes, Knights, and Gentlemen, 
&c. By Thomas Deloney, London, 161S, 4to. In the 
' Reliques' the ballad was ' printed, with conjectural emen 
dations, from four ancient copies in black-letter ; two of 
them in the Pepys library.' These several copies vary con 
siderably one from another. Our text is not that of any one 
of them, to the exclusion of the others ; though it princi 
pally follows the version of the 'Strange Histories,' as re 
printed by the Percy Society from the only known perfect 
copy; the date of which howeverisnnt 1612, but 1607. With 
regard to the heroine, she was, according to Stowe, 'the fayre 
daughter of Walter Lord Clifford, concubine to Henry II. 
(poisoned by Queen Elianor, as some thought) and dyed at 
Woodstocke [A.D.I 177,] where King Henry had made for her 
a house-'of wonderfulle working, so that no man or woman 
might come to her, but he that was instructed by the King, 
or such as were right secret with him touching the matter. 
This house after some was named Labyrinthus, or Dedalues 
worke, which was wrought like unto a knot in a garden, 
called a Maze ; but it was commonly said that lastly the 
queenexiame to her by a clue of thridde, or silke, and so 
dealt with her, that she lived not long after : but when she 
was dead, she was buried at Godstow, in an house of nunnes 
beside Oxford, with these verses upon her tombe : 

Hie jacet in tumba, rosa mundi, non rosa munda : 
Non redolet, sed olet, quse redolere solet.] 

HEN as king Henry rulde this land 
The second of that name, 

Besides the queene, he dearly lovde 
A faire and comely dame. 


Most peerlesse was her beautye founde, 

Her favour, and her face ; 
A sweeter creature in this worlde 

Did never prince embrace. 

Her crisped lockes like threads of golde 

Appeard to each man's sight ; 
Her sparkling eyes, like Orient pearles, 

Did cast a hearenlye light. 

The blood within her crystal cheekes 

Did such a colour drive, 
As though the lillye and the rose 

For mastership did strive. 

Yea Rosamond, fair Rosamond, 

Her name was called so, 
To whom our queene, dame Elinor, 

Was known a deadlye foe. 

The king therefore, for her defence, 

Against the furious queene, 
At Woodstocke builded such a bower, 

The like was never seene. 

Most curiously that bower was built 

Of stone and timber strong, 
An hundred and fifty doors 

Did to this bower belong : 

And they so cunningly e contriv'd 

With turnings round about, 
That none but with a clue of thread, 

Could enter in or out. 

And for his love and ladyes sake, 

That was so faire and brighte, 
The keeping of this bower he gave 

Unto a valiant knighte. 

But fortune, that doth often frowne 

Where she before did smile, 
The kinges delighte, the ladyes joy, 

Full soon shee did beguile : 

For why, the kinges ungracious sonne, 

Whom he did high advance, 
Against his father raised warres 

Within the realme of France. 351 


But yet before our comelye king 
The English land forsooke, 

Of Rosamond, his lady faire, 
His farewelle thus he tooke : 

' My Rosamond, my only Rose, 
That pleasest best mine eye : 

The fairest flower in all the worlde 
To feed my fantasye : 

The flower of mine affected heart, 
Whose sweetness doth excelle : 

My royal Rose, a thousand times 
I bid thee nowe farwelle ! 

For I must leave my fairest flower, 
My sweetest Rose, a space, 

And cross the seas to famous France, 
Proud rebelles to abase. 

But yet, my Rose, be sure thou shalt 
My coming shortlye see, 

And in my heart, when hence I am, 
He beare my Rose with mee.' 

When Rosamond, that ladye brighte, 
Did heare the king saye soe, 

The sorrowe of her grieved heart 
Her outward lookes did showe ; 

And from her cleare and crystall eyes 
The teares gusht out apace, 

Which like the silver-pearled dewe 
Ranne downe her comely face. 

Her lippes, erst like the corall redde, 
Did waxe both wan and pale, 

And for the sorrow she conceivde 
Her vitall spirits faile ; 

And falling down all in a swoone 
Before king Henryes face, 

Full oft he in his princelye armes 
Her bodye did embrace : 

And twentye times, with watery eyes, 

He kist her tender cheeke, 
Untill he had revivde againe 
352 Her senses milde and meeke. 


' Why grieves my Rose, my sweetest Rose ? ' 

The king did often say, 
1 Because,' quoth shee, ' to bloodye wanes 

My lord must pass awaye. 

But since your grace on forrayne coa 

Amonge your foes unkinde 
Must goe to hazard life and limbe, 

Why should I staye behinde ? 

Nay rather let me, like a page, 

Your sworde and target beare ; 
That on my breast the blowes may lighte, 

Which would offend you there. 

Or lett mee, in your royal tent, 

Prepare your bed at nighte, 
And with sweete baths refresh your grace, 

At your returne from fighte. 

So I your presence may enjoye 

No toil I will refuse ; 
But wanting you, my life is death ; 

Nay, death He rather chuse ! ' 

' Content thyself, my dearest love ; 

Thy rest at home shall bee 
In Englandes sweet and pleasant isle, 

For travell fits not thee. 

Faire ladies brooke not bloodye warres ; 

Sweet peace their pleasures breede ; 
The nourisher of hearts content, 

Which fancy first did feede. 

My Rose shall rest in Woodstocke 

With musickes sweet delight ; 
Whilst I, amonge the piercing pikes, 

Against my foes do fighte. 

My Rose in robes of pearle, and golde, 

With diamonds richly dighte ; 
Shall dance the galliards of my lore, 

Whilst I my foes do fighte. 

And you, sir Thomas, whom I truste 

To bee my loves defence ; 
Be carefull of my gallant Rose 

When I am parted hence.' 353 

A A 


And therewithal! he fetcht a sigh, 
As though his heart \vould breake : 

And Rosamond, for very griefe, 
Not one plaine word could speake. 

And at their parting well they mighte 

In heart be grieved sore : 
After that daye faire Rosamond 

The king did see no more. 

For when his grace had past the seas, 
And into France was gone ; 

With envious heart, queene Elinor, 
To Woodstocke came anone. 

And forth she calles the trustye knighte, 
Which kept this curious bower ; 

Who with his clue of twined thread, 
Came from this famous flower. 

And when that they had wounded him, 
The queene his thread did gette, 

And went where ladye Rosamond 
Was like an angell sette. 

But when the queene with stedfast eye 
Beheld her heavenlye face, 

She was amazed in her minde 
At her exceeding grace. 

' Cast off from thee thy robes,' she said, 
' That riche and costlye bee ; 

And drinke thou up this deadlye draught, 
Which I have brought to thee.' 

Then presentlye upon her knees 
Sweet Rosamond did falle ; 

And pardon of the queene she crav'd 
For her offences all. 

' Take pitty on my youthfull yeares,' 
Faire Rosamond did crye ; 

' And lett mee not with poison stronge 
Enforced bee to dye. 

I will renounce my sinfuil life, 
And in some cloyster bide ; 
Or else be banisht, if you please, 
354 To range the world soe wide. 


And for the fault which I have done, 
Though I was forc'd theretoe, 

Preserve my life, and punish mee 
As you thinke good to doe.' 

And with these words, her lillie handes 

She wrunge full often there ; 
And downe along her lovely face 

Did trickle many a teare. 

But nothing could this furious queene 

Therewith appeased bee ; 
The cup of deadlye poyson stronge, 

As she knelt on her knee, 

Shee gave this comelye dame to drinke ; 

Who tooke it in her hand, 
And from her bended knee arose, 

And on her feet did stand : 

And casting up her eyes to heaven, 

Shee did for mercye calle ; 
And drinking up the poison stronge, 

Her life she lost withalle. 

And when that death through everye line be 
Had showde its greatest spite, 

Her chiefest foes did plaine confesse 
Shee was a glorious wight. 

Her body then they did entomb, 

When life was fled away, 
At Godstowe, neare to Oxford towne, 

As may be scene this day. 

[This ballad, the first two lines of which are sung by 
Falstaff, in Henry IV. pt. 2, Act ii. sc. 4, was given in 
Percy's 'Reliques,' from 'a printed copy, corrected in part 
by the Folio MS." It is also contained in Ritson's ' Ancient 
Songs and Ballads,' where it is said to be by Thomas 
Deloney . ' Neither of these versions, however, is so correct 
as that of an old black-letter copy, in broadside, in the 
British Museum, entitled, 

' The Noble Acts newly found, 
Of Arthur of the Table Round.' 

To the tune of ' Flying Fame.' ' Printed by and for Alex. 
Milbourn, in Green- Arbor-Court, Jn the Little Old-Baily.' 
From i at copy it is here printed. In the same collection 
there is another copy, also in broadside, in Roman letter, 
the title of which is 'The Noble Achievements of King 
Arthur, and his Knights of the Round Table.' To the tune 
of Flying Fame.' These titles, as Ritson remarks, and as 
the reader will see, are incorrect, though the subject of the 
ballad, as Dr. Percy points out, is taken from the ancient 
romance of ' King Arthur,' (commonly called ' Morte 
d' Arthur,') being a poetical translation of ch. cviii., cix., 
ex., in Part I., as they stand in edition 1634, 4 to.] 

HEN Arthur first in court began, 

And was approved king; 
By force of arms great victories won, 

And conquest home did bring; 



Then into Britain straight he came, 

Where fifty good and able 
Knights then repaired unto him, 

Which were of the Round Table. 

And many justs and tournaments 

Before him there were prest, 
Wherein these knights did then excell, 

And fir surmount the rest. 

But one Sir Lancelot du Lake, 

Who was approved well, 
He, in his fights and deeds of arms, 

All others did excell. 

When he had rested him awhile, 
To play, and game, and sportj 

He thought he wold approve himself 
In some adventurous sort. 

He armed rode in forrest wide, 

And met a damsel faire, 
Who told him of adventures great; 

Whereto he gave good eare. 

Such wold I find, quoth Lancelot, 

For that cause came I hither. 
Thou seemst, quoth she, a knight full good, 

And I will bring thee thither, 

Whereas the mightiest knight doth dwell, 

That now is of great fame: 
Wherefore tell me what knight thou art; 

And what may be thy name. 

My name is Lancelot du Lake. 

Quoth she, It likes me, then; 
Here dwells a knight that never was 

O'ermatcht of any man; 

Who hath in prison threescore knights 
And four, that he hath bound; 

Knights of King Arthur's court they be, 
And of the Table Round. 

She brought him to a river then, 

And also to a tree, 
Whereon a copper bason hung 

And many shields to see. 


He struck soe hard, the bason broke : 
When Tarquine heard the sound, 

He drove a horse before him straight, 
Whereon a knight was bound. 

Sir knight, then sayd sir Lancelot, 
Bring me that horse-load hither, 

And lay him down, and let him rest ; 
We'll try our force together : 

For, as I understand, thou hast. 

As far as thou art able, 
Done great despite and shame unto 

The knights of the Round Table. 

If thou art of the Table Round, 

Quoth Tarquin speedilye, 
Both thee, and all thy fellowship, 

I utterly defye. 

That's over much, quoth Lancelot tho ; 

Defend thee by and by. 
They put their spurs unto their steeds, 

And each at other fly. 

They coucht their spears, and horses run, 
As though they had been thunder ; 

And each struck then upon the shield, 
Wherewith they brake asunder. 

Their horses' backs brake under them ; 

The knights they were astound : 
To avoyd their horses they made haste 

To fight upon the ground. 

They tooke them to their shields full fast, 
Their swords they drew out then ; 

With mighty strokes most eagerlye 
Each one at other run. 

They wounded were, and bled full sore, 
For breath they both did stand ; 

And leaning on their swords a awhile, 
Quoth Tarquine, Hold thy hand ; 

And tell to me what I shall ask 

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 : 

Soe that thou be not hee, 
I will deliver all the rest, 

And eke accord with thee. 

That is well said, quoth Lancelot ; 

But sith it soe must bee, 
What knight is that thou hatest soe, 

I pray thee show to me ? 

His name 's Sir Lancelot du Lake ; 

He slew my brother dear ; 
Him I suspect of all the rest : 

I wold I had him here. 

Thy wish thou hast, but now unknown ; 

I am Lancelot du Lake, 
Now knight of Arthur's Table Round, 

Bang Hand's son of Benwake ; 

And I defye thee ; do thy worst. 

Ha, ha, quoth Tarquine tho, 
One of us two shall end our lives, 

Before that we do go. 

If thou bee Lancelot du Lake, 
Then welcome shalt thou bee ; 

Wherefore see thou thyself defend, 
For now defye I thee. 

They buckled then together fast, 

Like unto wild boars rashing, 
And with their swords and shields they ran 

At one another slashing. 

The ground besprinkled was with blood : 

Tarquine began to faint ; 
For he had backt and bore his shield, 

So low, he did repent. 

This soon espied Sir Lancelot : 

He leapt upon him then, 
He pulld him dowjie upon his knee, 

And, rushing oft' his helm, 

Forthwith he strucfce^is necke in two ; 

And when he had so done, 
From prison threescore knights and four 

Deliverd everye one. 



[This ballad is printed from a reprint, edited by J. P. 
Collier, Esq., for the Percy Society, of an unique black- 
letter copy, in his own possession, ' printed early in the 
seventeenth century as a chap-book.' It was originally 
illustrated with a woodcut upon the title-page, nearly the 
whole of which, however, has been torn away : with the 
woodcut, part of the letter-press has unfortunately disap 
peared. The vacancies thus occasioned have been sup 
plied by Mr. Collier from conjecture, and are inserted be 
tween brackets. With the ballad, or rather song, in Percy's 
' Reliques,' entitled ' The Merry Pranks of Robin Good- 
fellow,' the reader is doubtless familiar. It is attributed 
by Peck to Ben Jonson ; and it is no slight confirmation of 
this that Mr. Collier possesses a contemporary MS. version, 
to which the initials B. J. are appended. This MS. copy 
contains some variations from Percy's version, which was 
printed from an ancient black-letter copy in the British 
Museum,' and an additional stanza, which the reader will 
find at the end of the present ballad. With regard to the 
hero, the reader may consult the reprint, by Mr. Collier, for 
the Percy Society, of a black-letter tract (1628) in the pos 
session of Lord Francis Egerton, (now Earl of Ellesmere,) 
entitled ' The Mad Pranks and Merry Jests of Robin Good- 
fellow ;' and Mr. Wright's Essay on Fairy Mythology, in the 
Foreign Quarterly Review, No. 35.] 


Shewing his Birth, and whose Sonne he wa . 

ERE doe begin the merry iests 
f. Of Robin Good-fellow; 
i I'de wish you for to reade this booke, 
If you his pranks would know. 


But first I will declare his birth, 

And what his mother was, 
And then how Robin merrily 

Did bring his knacks to passe. 

In time of old, when fayries us'd 

To wander in the night, 
And through key-holes swiftly glide, 

Now marke my story right, 
Among these pretty fairy elves 

Was Oberon, their king, 
Who us'd to keepe them company 

Still at their revelling. 

And sundry houses they did use, 

But one, above the rest, 
Wherein a comely lasse did dwell, 

That pleas'd King Oberon best. 
This lovely damsell, neat and faire, 

So courteous, meek, and mild, 
As sayes my booke, by Oberon 

She was begot with child. 

She knew not who the father was 

But thus to all would say 
In night-time he to her still came, 

And went away ere day. 
The midwife having better skill 

Than had this new-made mother, 
Quoth she, ' Surely some fairy 'twas, 

For it can be no other.' 

And so the old wife rightly judg'd. 

For it was so indeed. 
This fairy shew'd himself most kind, 

And helpt his love at need; 
For store of linnen he provides, 

And brings her for her baby; 
With dainty cates and choised fare, 

He serv'd her like a lady. 

The Christening time then being [come, 

Most merry they [did pass; 
The gossips dra[ined a cheerful cup 

As then provided was. 
And Robin was [the infant call'd, 

So named the [gossips by; 
What pranks [he played both day and night, 

I'll tell you cer[tainly. , 



Shewing how Robin Good-fellow carried himself6 v and how he run 
away from his Mother. 

["While yet he was a little la]d 

[And of a tender age,] 
He us'd much waggish tricks to men, 

As they at him would rage. 
Unto his mother they complain'd, 

Which grieved her to heare, 
And for these pranks she threatned him, 

He should have whipping cheare, 

If that he did not leave his tricks, 

His jeering mocks and mowes; 
Qouth she, ' Thou vile untutor'd youth, 

These prankes no breeding shewes: 
I cannot to the market goe, 

But ere I backe returne, 
Thou scofst my neighbours in such sort, 

Which makes my heart to mourne. 

But I will make you to repent 

These things, ere I have done: 
I will no favour have on thee, 

Although thou beest my sonne.' 
Robin was griev'd to hear these words, 

Which she to him did say, 
But to prevent his punishment, 

From her he run way. 

And travelling long upon the way, 

His hunger being great, 
Unto a taylor's house he came, 

And did entreat some meat: 
The taylor tooke compassion then 

Upon this pretty youth, 
And tooke him for his prentice straight, 

As I have heard in truth. 




How Robin Good-fellow left his Master, and also how Oberon told him he should 
be turned into what shape he could wish or desire. 

Now Robin Good-fellow, being plac't 

With a taylor, as you heare, 
He grew a workman in short space, 

So well he ply'd his geare. 
He had a gowne which must be made, 

Even with all haste and speed, 
The maid must have't against next day 

To be her wedding weed. 

The taylor he did labour hard 

Till twelve a clock at night; 
Betweene him and his servant then 

They finished aright 
The gowne, but putting on the sleeves: 

Quoth he unto his man, 
' lie goe to bed: whip on the sleeves 

As fast as ere you can.' 

So Robin straightway takes the gowne 

And hangs it on a pin, 
Then takes the sleeves and whips the gowne, 

Till day he nere did lin. 
His master rising in the morne, 

And seeing what he did, 
Begun to chide; quoth Robin then, 

' I doe as I was bid.' 

His Master then the gowne did take, 

And to his worke did fall: 
By that time he had done the same, 

The maid for it did call. 
Quoth he to Robin, * Goe thy wayes 

And fetch the remnants hither, 
That yesterday we left,' said he, 

' Wee'l breake our fasts together.' 

Then Robin hies him up the staires 

And brings the remnants downe, 
Which he did know his master sav'd 

Out of the woman's gowne. 363 


The taylor he was vext at this; 

He meant remnants of meat, 
That this good woman, ere she went, 

Might there her breakfast eate. 

Quoth she, ' This is a breakfast good, 

I tell you, friend, indeed; 
And to requite your love, I will 

Send for some drinke with speed.' 
And Robin he must goe for it 

With all the speed he may: 
He takes the pot and money too, 

And runnes from thence away. 

When he had wandred all the day, 

A good way from the towne, 
Unto a foreste then he came; 

To sleepe he laid him downe. 
Then Oberon came, with all his elves, 

And danc'd about his sonne, 
With musick pleasing to the eare; 

And, when that it was done, 

King Oberon layes a scroule by him, 

That he might understand 
Whose sonne he was, and how hee'd grant 

Whate'er he did demand: 
To any forme that he did please 

Himselfe he would translate; 
And how one day hee'd send for him 

To see his fairy state. 

Then Robin longs to know the truth 

Of this mysterious skill, 
And turnes himselfe into what shape 

He thinks upon or will. 
Sometimes a neighing horse was he, 

Sometimes a gruntling hog, 
Sometimes a bird, sometimes a crow, 

Sometimes a snarling dog. 




How Robin Good-fellow was merry at the Bridehouse. 

Now Robin having got this art, 

He oft would make good sport, 
And hearing of a wedding day, 

He makes him ready for't. 
Most like a joviall fidler then 

He drest himselfe most gay, 
And goes unto the wedding house, 

There on his crowd to play. 

He welcome was unto this feast, 

And merry they were all; 
He play'd and sung sweet songs all day, 

At night to sports did fall. 
He first did put the candles out, 

And being in the dark, 
Some would he strike, and some would pinch, 

And then sing like a lark. 

The candles being light againe, 

And things well and quiet, 
A goodly posset was brought in 

To mend their former diet. 
Then Robin for to have the same 

Did turn him to a beare; 
Straight at that sight the people all 

Did run away for feare. 

Then Robin did the posset eate, 

And having serv'd them so, 
Away goes Robin with all haste, 

Then laughing hoe, hoe, hoe! 


Declaring how Robin Good-fellow served an old lecherous Man. 

There was an old man had a neece, 

A very beauteous maid; 
To wicked lust her unkle sought 

This faire one to perswade. 




But she a young man lov'd too deare 

To give consent thereto; 
'Twas Robin's chance upon a time 

To heare their grievous woe. 
' Content yourselfe,' then Robin saies, 

' And I will ease your griefe, 
I have found out an excellent way 

That will yeeld you reliefe.' 

He sends them to be married straight, 

And he, in her disguise, 
Hies home with all the speed he may 

To blind her uncle's eyes: 
And there he plyes his work amaine, 

Doing more in one houre, 
Such was his skill and workmanship, 

Than she could doe in foure. 

The old man wondred for to see 

The worke goe on so fast, 
And there withall more worke doth he 

Unto good Robin cast. 
Then Robin said to his old man, 

' Good uncle, if you please 
To grant me but one ten pound, 

I'll yeeld your love-suit ease.' 

* Ten pounds,' quoth he, ' I will give thcc, 

Sweet neece, with all my heart, 
So thou wilt grant to me thy love, 
To ease my troubled heart/ 

* Then let me a writing have,' quothe he, 

' From your owne hand with speed, 
That I may marry my sweet-heart 
When I have done this deed.' 

The old man he did give consent 

That he these things should have, 
Thinking that it had bin his neece, 

That did this bargain crave; 
And unto Robin then quoth he, 

' My gentle n[eece, behold, 
Goe thou into [thy chamber soone, 

And I'le goe [bring the gold,' 


When he into [the chamber came, 

Thinking in[deed to play, 
Straight Robin [upon him doth fall, 

And carries h[im away 
Into the chamb[er where the two 

Faire lovers [did abide, 
And gives to th[em their unkle old, 

It and the g[old beside. 

The old man [vainly Robin sought, 

So man[y shapes he tries; 
Someti]mes he was a hare or hound, 

Som[etimes like bird he flies. 
The [more he strove the less he sped, 

Th[e lovers all did see; 
And [thus did Robin favour them. 

Full [kind and merrilie. 

[Thus Robin lived a merry life 

As any could enjoy, 
'Mongst country farms he did resort, 

And oft would folks annoy:] 
But if the maids doe call to him, 

He still away will goe 
In knavish sort, and to himselfe 

He'd laugh out hoe, hoe, hoe! 

He oft would beg and crave an almes, 

But take nought that they'd give: 
In severall shapes he'd gull the world 

Thus madly did he live. 
Sometimes a cripple he would seeme, 

Sometimes a souldier brave: 
Sometimes a fox, sometimes a harej 

Brave pastimes would he have. 

Sometimes an owle he'd seeme to be, 

Sometimes a skipping frog; 
Sometimes a kirne, in Irish shape, 

To leape ore mire or bog: 
Sometime he'd counterfeit a voyce, 

And travellers call astray, 
Sometimes a walking fire he'd be, 

And lead them from their way. 



Some call him Robin Good-fellow, 

Hob-goblin or mad Crisp, 
And some againe doe tearme him oft 

By name of Will the Wispe; 
But call him by what name you list, 

I have studied on my pillow, 
I think the best name he deserves 

Is Robin the Good Fellow. 

At last upon a summer's night 

King Oberon found him out, 
And with his elves in dancing wise 

Straight circled him about. 
The fairies danc't, and little Tom Thumb 

On his bag-pipe did play, 
And thus they danc't their fairy round 

Till almost break of day. 

Then Phebus he most gloriously 

Begins to grace the aire, 
When Oberon with his fairy traine 

Begins to make repaire, 
With speed unto the fairy land, 

They swiftly tooke their way, 
And I out of my dreame awak't, 

And so 'twas perfect day. 

Thus having told my dreame at full, 

I'le bid you all farewell. 
If you applaud mad Robin's prankes, 

May be ere long I'le tell 
Some other stories to your eares, 

Which shall contentment give: 
To gaine your favours I will seeke 

The longest day I live. 

[The following is the additional stanza' mentioned in the introductory Note, p. 

When as my fellow elves and I 

In circled ring do trip around, 
If that our sports by any eye 
Do happen to be seen or found ; 

If that they 

No words do say, 
But mum continue as they go, 

Each night I do 

Put groat in shoe, 
And wind out laughing, ho, ho, ho 1) 


[This ballad is taken from the reprint, by the Percy 
Society, of a ' tract in the form of a sum 11 8vo chap-book, 
entitled ' The pleasant and sweet History of Patient Grissell, 
shewing how she, from a poore Man's Daughter, came to be 
a great Lady in France, being a Patterne to all vertuous 
Women. Translated out of Italian. London : Printed by 
E. P. for John Wright, dwelling in Giltspur-street at the 
signe of the Bible.' ' The date, as we learn from the ' Intro 
duction" to the reprint, ' has unfortunately been cut away ; 
but it is not, perhaps, older than 1630, although it must have 
gone through many previous editions," inasmuch as the title- 
page bears a representation of ' Queen Elizabeth in her robes, 
wearing her crown, and sustaining her globe and sceptre ;' 
and it may consequently be referred to some period of her 
reign. It consists of eleven chapters, of which the first two 
and the last two are in prose, and were added, in the opinion 
of the editor of the reprint, ' for the sake of giving it greater 
bulk, novelty, and importance." A black letter broadside, 
in the British Museum, bears the title, ' An excellent Ballad 
_> of a Noble Marquesse and Patient Grissell, To the Tune of 
" ' The Bride's Good-morrow.' Printed by and for Alex. Mil- 
bourn, in Green Arbor Court in the Little Old Bailey." 

How the Marquesse of Salusa, riding a Hunting, fell 
in Love with the faire Grissull. 

NOBLE Marquesse, 
As he did ride a hunting 

Hard by a forest side, 
A faire and comely maiden, 
As she did sit a spinning, 

His gentle eye espide. 

2 B 369 


Most faire and comely, 

And of comely grace was she, 

Although in simple attire: 
She sung full sweetly, 
With pleasant voyce melodiously, 

Which set the lord's heart on fire. 
The more he lookt, the more he might; 
Beauty bred his heart's delight, 

And to this comely damsell then he went. 
God speed, quoth he, thou famous flower, 
Faire mistresse of this homely bower 

Where love and vertue dwel with sweet content. 

With comely gesture, 

And modest mild behaviour, 

She bid him welcome then: 
She entertained him 
In faithful friendly manner, 

And all his gentlemen. 
The noble Marquesse 
In's heart felt such a flame 

Which set his sences at strife: 
Quoth he, faire maiden, 
Shew me soone what is thy name, 

I meane to make thee my wife. 
Grissell is my name, quoth she, 
Far unfit for your degree, 

A silly maiden and of parents poore. 
Nay, Grissell, thou art rich, he said, 
A vertuous, faire, and comely maid; 

Grant me thy love, and I will aske no more. 

How the Marquesse married faire Grissel, and how the Lords desired him to 
put her away, because she was of so meane a blood. 

At length she consented, 
And being both contented, 

They married were with speed; 
Her country russet 
Was chang'd to silke and velvet, 

As to her state agreed- 
And when that she 
Was trimly tyred in the same, 

Her beauty shined most bright, 
Farre staining every 
Other faire and princely dame 

That did appeare in her sight. 


Many envied her therefore, 
Because she was of parents poore, 

And 'twixt her lord and she great strife did raise. 
Some said this, and some said that, 
And some did call her beggar's brat, 

And to her lord they would her oft dispraise. 

O! noble Marquesse, 

Quoth they, why dost thou wrong us, 

Thus basely for to wed, 
That might have gotten 
An honourable lady 

Into your princely bed ? 
Who will not now 
Your noble issue still deride 

Which shall hereafter be borne, 
That are of blood so base 
Borne by the mother's side? 

The which will bring them in scorn. 
Put her, therefore, quite away 
And take to you a lady gay, 

Whereby your linage may renowned be. 
Thus every day they seem'd to prate, 
That maliced Grissels good estate, 

Who all this while tooke it most patiently. 

How the noble Marquesse had two Children by Patient Grissell, how he sent 
for them, and told her they must be murthered, and of her patience. 

When that the Marquesse 

Did see that they were bent thus 

Against his faithfull wife, 
Whom he most dearely, 
Tenderly and entirely 

Beloved as his life; 
Minding in secret 
For to prove her patient heart, 

Thereby her foes to disgrace; 
Thinking to shew her 
A hard discourteous part, 

That men might pitty her case. 
Great with child this lady was, 
And at last it came to passe, 

Two goodly children at one birth she had. 
A son and daughter God had sent, 
Which did her father wel content, 

And which did make their mother's heart full glad. 


Great royall feasting 

Was at these childrens' christening, 

And princely triumph made; 
Six weeks together, 
All nobles that came thither, 

Were entertaind and staid: 
And when all these pleasant 
Sporting quite were done, 

The Marquesse a messenger sent 
For his young daughter, 
And his pretty smiling sonne, 

Declaring his full intent, 
How that the babes must murthred be; 
For so the Marquesse did decree. 

Come let me have the children, then he said. 
With that faire Grissell wept full sore, 
She wrung her hands, and said no more, 

My gracious lord must have his will obey'd. 

Of the gret sorrow that Patient Grissel made for her children. 

She tooke the babies, 

Even from the nursing ladies, 

Betweene her tender armes: 
She often wishes, 
With many sorrowful kisses, 

That she might ease their harmes. 
Farewell, farewell, 
A thousand times, my children deare, 

Never shall I see you againe: 
'Tis long of me, 
Your sad and wofull mother here 

For whose sake both must be alaine. 
Had I beene borne of royall race, 
You might have lived in happy case; 

But you must dye for my unworthinesse. 
Come, messenger of death (quoth she) 
Take my dearest babes to thee, 

And to their father my complaints expresse. 

He tooke the children, 
And to his noble master 

He brought them both with speed; 
Who in secret sent them 
Unto a noble lady, 
372 To be brought up in deed. 


Then to faire Grissell 
With a heavy heart he goes, 

Where she sate mildly all alone: 
A pleasant gesture 
And a lovely looke she shewes, 

As if no griefe she had knowne. 
(Qd he) my children, now are slaine: 
What thinks fair Grissel of the same? 

Sweet Grissel, now declare thy mind to me. 
Sith you, my lord, are pleased with it, 
Poore Grissel thinks the action fit: 

Both I and mine at your command will be. 

How Patient Grissel was parted from the noble Marquesse, and sent to 
her father againe, and of a great marriage was prepared the second 
match of the Marquesse. 

My nobles murmur, 

Faire Grissell, at thy honour 

And I no joy can have, 
Till thou be banisht 
Both from the court and presence, 

As they unjustly crave. 
Thou must be stript 
Out of thy stately garments all; 

And as thou earnest to me, 
In homely gray, 
Instead of bisse and purest pall, 

Now all thy cloathing must be: 
My lady thou must be no more, 
Nor I thy lord, which grieves me sore. 

The poorest life must now content thy mind. 
A groat to thee I must not give, 
Thee to maintain e while I doe live; 

Against my Grissell such great foes I find. 

When gentle Grissell 

Did heare these wofull tidings 

The teares stood in her eyes, 
Nothing she answered, 
No words of discontentment 

Did from her lips arise. 
Her velvet gowne 
Most patiently she stripped off, 

Her kirtle of silke with the same: 
Her russet gowne 
Was brought againe with many a scoffe, 

To beare them herself she did frame. 



When she was drest in this array, 
And was ready to part away, 

God send long life unto ray lord, quoth she, 
Let no offence be found in this, 
To give my love a parting kisse. 

With watery eyes, farewell, my deare, said he. 


How Patient Grissel was sent for to the wedding, and of her 
great humility and patience. 

From princely palace 
Unto her father's cottage 

Poore Grissell now is gone. 
Full sixteene winters 
She lived there contented; 

No wrong she thought upon. 
And at that time through 
All the land the speeches went, 

The Marquesse should married be 
Unto a noble lady great, 
Of high descent; 

And to the same all parties did agree. 
The Marquesse sent for Grissell faire, 
The brides bed-chamber to prepare, 

That nothing therein might be found awry. 
The bride was with her brother come, 
Which was great joy to all and some; 

But Grissell tooke all this most patiently. 

And in the morning, 

When as they should be wedded, 

Her patience there was tride: 
Grissel was charged 
Herselfe in friendly manner 

For to attire the bride. 
Most willingly 
She gave consent to doe the same; 

The bride in bravery was drest, 
And presently 
The noble Marquesse thither came 

With all his lords at his request. 
O! Grissell, I would aske of thee, 
If to this match thou wilt agree? 

Methinks thy lookes are waxed wondrous coy. 
With that they all began to smile, 
And Grissel she replied the while, 

God send lo^d Marquesse many years of joy 


How the Marquesse, being moved with her patience, gave her two children, 
were friends, and after lived in peace. 

The Marquesse was moved 
To see his best beloved 

Thus patient in distresse. 
He stept unto her, 
And by the hand he tooke her; 

These words he did expresse: 
Thou art my bride, 
And all the bride I meane to have: 

These two thy own children be. 
The youthfull lady 
On her knees did blessing crave, 

Her brother as well as she. 
And you that envied her estate, 
Whom I have made my loving mate, 

Now blush for shame, and honour vertuous life. 
The chronicles of lasting fame 
Shall evermore extol the name 

Of Patient Grissel, my most constant wife. 

[The story of Patient Grissell was first told to English readers by the father of English 
poetry, in whose delightful ' Canterbury Tales' it is given as that of the Clerk of Oxenford. The 
Clerk, speaking for his creator, says he had heard it from Petrarch at Padua. However this 
might be, certain it is, that Petrarch was acquainted with the story, for a letter has been 
preserved, hi which he sends Boccaccio a Latin version of it. Whether Boccaccio was pre 
viously acquainted with it, or was indebted for it in the first instance to Petrarch, he gave it 
a place in bis Decameron, which indeed is the earliest work in which it has been found. 
The French,* however, lay claim to it,' and brought it on the stage in Paris as early as 1393. 
(Warton, Hist. Eng. Poetry, ii. 251 ; edit. 1824,) and the Germans in 1550. It was also made 
the foundation of a ' Pleasant Comodie,' by Dekker, Chettle, and Haughton, which was edited, 
a few years ago, for the Shakespeare Society, by J. P. Collier, Esq., to whose ' Introduction' 
we must refer the reader who desires farther information respecting it,J 



[This ballad is taken from the reprint, for the Percy 
Society, under the editorial care of J. P. Collier, Esq., of 
a black-letter tract, ' Printed at Ljmdon, by Tho. Cotes, 
and are to be sold by Francis Grove, dwelling upon Snow- 
hill, Ifi40,' the title of which, as given by Mr. Collier, is 
as follows: 'The King and a Poore Northerne Man. 
Shewing how a Poore Northumberland Man, a Tenant to 
the King, being wronged by a Lawyer, (his Neighbour,) 
went to the King himself to make knowne his Grievances. 
Full of simple mirth and merry plaine jests." No older 
edition is known, according to Mr. Collier ; nor any other 
copy of that from which he printed. There is, however, 
as mentioned by him, a broadside in Bagford's Collection, 
in the British Museum, entitled ' The King and Northern 
Man,' printed ' by W. O., and to be sold by the Book 
sellers in Pye Corner and London Bridge.' And since 
Mr. Collier's reprint was made, the Roxburghe Collection 
of Ballads has been added to the same national repository, 
in which collection is another copy, also in broadside, and 
in black-letter, the title of which varies but little from 
that given above. The ballad is therein directed to be 
sung 'to the tune of Slut;' and is 'printed by and for 
Alex. Milbourn, at the Stationer's Arms in Green Arbor- 
court, in the Little Old Bailey.' For some information re 
specting the story and the authorship of the ballad, th< 
reader is referred to the Note, p. 387.] 

OME hearken to me all around, 
And I will tell you a merry tale 

Of a Northumberland man that held some 

Which was the King's land, in a dale. 


He was borne and bred thereupon, 

And his father had dwelt there long before, 

Who kept a good house in that country, 
And staved the wolfe from off his doore. 

Now for this farm the good old man 

Just twenty shillings a-year did pay. 
At length came cruell death with his dart, 

And this old farmer he soone did slay; 

Who left behind him an aulde wife then, 

That troubled was with mickle paine, 
And with her cruches she walkt about, 

For she was likewise blinde and lame. 

When that his corpes were laid in the grave, 

His eldest sonne possesse did the farme, 
At the same rent as the father before: 

He took great paines and thought no harme. 

By him there dwelt a Lawyer false, 

That with his farme was not content, 
But over the poore man still hang'd his nose, 

Because he did gather the King's rent. 

This farme layd by the Lawyer's land, 

Which this vild kerne had a mind unto: 
The deele a good conscience had he in his bulke, 

That sought this poore man for to undoe. 

He told him he his lease had forfite, 

And that he must there no longer abide: 
The King by such lownes hath mickle wrong done, 

And for you the world is broad and wide. 

The poore man pray'd him for to cease, 
And content himselfe, if he would be willing; 

And picke no vantage in my lease, 
And I will give thee forty shilling. 

Its neither forty shillings, no forty pound, 
Ise warrant thee, so can agree thee and me, 

Unlesse thou yield me thy farme so round, 
And stand unto my curtesie. 

The poore man said he might not do sa; 

His wife and his bearnes will make him ill warke. 
If thou wilt with my farme let me ga, 

Thou seenies a good fellow, Ise give thee five marke. 



The Lawyer would not be so content, 

But farther in the matter he means to smell. 

The neighbours bad the poore man provide his rent, 
And make a submission to the King himselL 

This poore man now was in a great stond, 

His senses they were almost wood: 
I thinke, if he had not tooke grace in 's mind, 

That he would never againe beene good. 

His head was troubled in such a bad plight, 
As though his eyes were apple gray; 

And if good learning he had not tooke, 
He wod a cast himselfe away. 

A doughty heart he then did take, 
And of his mother did blessing crave, 

Taking farewell of his wife and bearnes; 
It earned his heart them thus to leave. 

Thus parting with the teares in his eyne, 

His bob-taild dog he out did call: 
Thou salt gang with me to the King: 

And so he tooke his leave of them all. 

He had a humble staffe on his "backe, 

A jerkin, I wat, that was of gray, 
With a good blue bonnet, he thought it no lacke; 

To the King he is ganging as fast as he may 

He had not gone a mile out o' th' toone, 
But one of his neighbours he did espy: 

How far ist to th' King? for thither am I boone 
As fast as ever I can hye. 

I am sorry for you, neighbour, he sayd, 

For your simplicity I make mone: 
Ise warrant you, you may ask for the King, 

When nine or ten dayes journey you have gone. 

Had I wist the King wond so farre, 

Ise neere a sought him a mile out o'th* toone: 

Hes either a sought me, or wee'd neere a come nare; 
At home I had rather spent a crowne. 

Thus past he alang many a weary mile, 
In raine, and wet, and in foule mire, 
That ere he came to lig in his bed, 
378 His dog and he full ill did tire. 


Hard they did fare their charges to save, 

But alas hungry stomackes outcrie for meate, 

And many a sup of cold water they dranke , 
When in the lang way they had nought to eate. 

Full lile we know his hard griefe of mind, 

And how he did long London to ken; 
And yet he thought he should finde it at last, 

Because he met so many men. 

At length the top of kirkes he spide, 
And houses so thicke that he was agast: 

I thinke, quoth he, their land is full deere, 
For there's nought that here lies wast. 

Tut when he came into the city of London, 
Of every man for the King he did call. 

They told him that him he neede not feare, 
For the King he lies now at Whitehall. 

For Whitehall he then made inquire; 

But as he passed strange geere he saw: 
The bulkes with such gue gaws were dressed, 

That his mind a tone side it did draw. 

Gud God, unto himselfe he did say, 

What a deele a place I am come unto ! 
Had a man, I thinke, a thousiie pounds in's purse, 

Himselfe he might quickly here undoe. 

At night then a lodging him a got, 

And for his supper he then did pay: 
He told the host then heed goe lig in his bed, 

Who straight took a candle and shewd him the way. 

Then with spying of farlies in the citie, 
Because he had never been there beforne, 

He lee so long a bed the next day, 

The Court was remov'd to Windsor that morne. 

You ha laine too long then, then said his host, 
You ha laine too long by a great while: 

The King is now to Windsor gone; 
He's farther to seeke by twenty mile. 

I thinke I was curst, then said the poore man; 

If I had been wise I might ha consider: 
Belike the King of me has gotten some weet: 

He had neere gone away had not I come hither. 


He fled not for you, said the hoste; 

But hie you to Windsor as fast as you may: 
Be sure it will requite your cost, 

For looke, what's past the King will pay. 

But when he came at Windsor Castle, 
With his bumble staff upon his backe, 

Although the gates wide open stood, 

He layd on them till he made um cracke. 

Why, stay! pray friend, art mad? quoth the Porter, 
What makes thee keepe this stirre to day? 

Why, I am a tenant of the Kings, 
And have a message to him to say. 

The King has men enough, said the Porter, 
Your message well that they can say. 

Why, there's neere a knave the King doth keepe, 
Shall ken my secret mind to day. 

I were told, ere I came from home, 

Ere I got thither it would be dear bought: 

Let me in, Ise give thee a good single penny, 

I see thou wilt ha small, ere thou't doe for nought. 

Gramercy, said the Porter then, 

Thy reward's so great, I cannot say nay. 

Tender's a Nobleman within the court, 
lie first heare what he will say. 

When the Porter came to the Nobleman, 
He sayd he would shew him a pretty sport: 

There's sike a clowne come to the gate 

AS came not this seven yeares to the Court. 

He cals all knaves the King doth keepe; 

He raps at the gates and makes great din; 
He's passing liberall of reward; 

Heed give a good single penny to be let in. 

Let him in, sayd the Nobleman. 

Come in, fellow, the Porter gan say: 
If thou come within thy selfe, he sayde, 

Thy staffe behind the gate must stay. 

And this cuckolds curre must lig behind: 

What a deele, what a cut hast got with thee. 
The King will take him up for his owne sel, 
380 Ise warrant, when as he him doth see. 


Beshrew thy limbes, then said the poore man; 

Then mayst thou count me foole or worse. 
I wat not what banckrout lies by the King; 

For want of money he may picke my purse. 

That's to be fear'd, the Porter said, 

Ise wish you goe in well armed; 
For the King he hath got mickle company, 

And among them all you may soone be harmed. 

Let him in with his staffe and his dog, said the Lord, 
And with that he gave a nod with's head, and beck 
with's knee; 

If you be Sir King, then said the poore man, 
As I can very well thinke you be; 

For I was told ere I came from home 

You're the goodliest man ere I saw beforne, 

With so many jingle jangles about ones necke 
As is about yours, I never saw none. 

I am not the King, said the Nobleman, 

Fellow, although I have a proud coat. 
If you be not the King, helpe me to the speech of him, 

You seeme a good fellow, Ise gi you a groat. 

Gramercy, said the Nobleman, 

The reward's so great, I cannot say nay. 
He go know the Kings pleasure, if I can ; 

Till I come againe be sure thou stay. 

Heres sike a staying, then said the poore man; 

Belike the King's better than any in our countrey; 
I might be gone to th' farthest nuke i' th' house, 

Neither lad nor lowne to trouble me. 

When the Nobleman came to the King, 

He said he would shew his Grace good sport : 

Heres such a clowne come to the gate, 

As came not this seven yeares to the Court. 

He cals all knaves your Highnesse keepes, 
And more than that, he termes them wotse. 

Heele not come in without his staffe and his dogge, 
For fare some bankrout will picke his purse. 

Let him in with his staffe and his dog, said our King, 

That of his sport we may see some. 
Weele see how heele handle everything, 

As soone as the match of bowles is done. 381 


Th 1 ? Nobleman led him through many a roome, 

And through many a gallery gay. 
What a deele doth the King with so many toome houses, 

That he gets um not fild with corne and hay? 

What gares these babies and babies all? 

Some ill have they done that they hang by the walls : 
And staring aloft at the golden roofe toppe, 

At a step he did stumble, and downe he falles. 

Stand up, good fellow, the Nobleman sayd; 

What, art thou drunke or blind, I trow? 
Ise neither am blinde nor drunke, he sed, 

Although, in my sowle, you oft are so. 

It is a disease, said the Lord againe, 

That many a good man is troubled withall. 

Quoth the Country man then, yet I made your proud stones 
To kisse my backeside, though they gave me a fall. 

At last they spide the King in an ally, 

Yet from his game he did not start; 
The day was so hot, he cast off his doublet; 

He had nothing from the wast up but his shirt. 

Loe, yonder's the King, said the Nobleman, 

Behold, fellow, loe, where he goes. 
Beleevet hee's some unthrift, sayes the poore man, 

That has lost his money and pawnd his cloathes. 

How hapt he hath gat neere a coate to his backe? 

This bowling I like not; it hath him undone. 
Ise warrant that fellow in those gay cloathes, 

He hath his coyne and his doublet won. 

But when he came before the King, 

The Nobleman did his curtesie: 
The poore man followed after him, 

And gave a nod with his head and a becke with his knee. 

If you be Sir King, then said the poore man, 

As I can hardly thinke you be, 
Here is a gude fellow that brought me hither, 

Is liker to be the King than ye. 

I am the King, his Grace now sayd, 

Fellow, let me thy cause understand. 
If you be Sir King, Ime a tenant of yours, 
_ That was borne and upbrought within your owne lande. 


There dwels a Lawyer hard by me, 

And a fault in my lease he sayes he hath found; 
And all was for felling five poore ashes, 

To build a house upon my owne ground. 

Hast thou a lease here? said the King, 

Or canst thou shew to me the deed? 
He put it into the King's owne hand, 

And said, Sir, 'tis here, if that you can read. 

Why, what if I cannot? said our King, 

That which I cannot, another may. 
I have a boy of mine owne not seven yeares old, 

A will read you as swift as yould run i' th' highway. 

Lets see thy lease, then said our King. 

Then from his blacke boxe he puld it out. 
He gave it into the Kings owne hand, 

With four or five knots ty'd fast in a clout. 

Wast neere unloose these knots? said the King: 
He gave it to one that behind him did stay. 

It is a proud horse, then said the poore man, 

Will not carries owne provinder along the highway. 

Pay me forty shillings, as Ise pay you, 

I will not thinke much to unloose a knot: 
I would I were so occupied every day; 

Ide unloose a score on um for a groat. 

When the King had gotten these letters to read, 

And found the truth was very so; 
I warrant thee, thou hast not forfeit thy lease, 

If that thou hadst felld five ashes moe. 

I, every one can warrant me, 

But all your warrants are not worth a flea, 
For he that troubles me and will not let me goe, 

Neither cares for warrant of you nor me. 

The Lawyer he is sike a crafty elfe, 

A will make a foole of twenty such as me, 

And if that I said gang hang mysel, 
Ise trow, he and I sud neere agree. 

For he's too wise for all our towne, 

And yet we ha got crafty knaves beside. 
Heele undoe me and my wife and bearnes : 

Alas, that ever I saw this tide! 3gs 


Thoust have an injunction, said our King; 

From troubling of thee he will cease: 
Heele either shew thee a good cause why, 

Or else heele let thee live in peace. 

What's that injunction? said the poore man, 

Good sir, to me I pray you say. 
Why, it is a letter He cause to be written; 

But art the u as simple as thou shewest for to day? 

Why, ift be a letter, Ime neere the better; 

Keep't to yourselfe and trouble not me. 
I could a had a letter cheaper written at home, 

And neere a come out of mine owne countrey. 

Thoust have an attachment, said our King; 

Charge all thou seest to take thy part. 
Till he pay thee an hundred pound, 

Be sure thou never let him start. 

A, wais me! the poore man saide then; 

You ken no whit what you now do say. 
A won undoe me a thousand times, 

Ere he such a mickle of money will pay. 

And more than this, there's no man at all 
That dares anongst him for to lift a hand, 

For he has got so much guile in his budget 
That he will make all forfeit their land. 

It any seeme against thee to stand, 

Be sure thou come hither straight way. 

A, marry, is that all Ise get for my labour? 
Then I may come trotting every day. 

Thou art hard a beleefe, then said our King: 
To please him with letters he was right willing. 

I see you have taken great paines in writing, 
With all my heart He give you a shilling. 

He have none of thy shilling, said our King; 

Man, with thy money God give thee win. 
He threw it into the Kings bosome; 

The money lay cold next to his skin. 

Beshrew thy heart, then said our King; 
Thou art a carle something too bold: 
Dost thou not see I am hot with bowling? 
884 The money next to my skin lies cold. 


I neere wist that before, said the poore man 

Before sike time as I came hither. 
If the Lawyers in our countrey thought 'twas cold, 

They would not heape up so much together. 

The King called up his Treasurer, 

And bad him fetch him twenty pound. 
If ever thy errant lye here away, 

lie beare thy charges up and downe. 

When the poore man saw the gold tendred, 

For to receive it he was willing. 
If I had thought the King had so mickle gold, 

Beshrew my heart, Ide a kept my shilling. 

Now farewell, good fellow, quoth the King, 
See that my command you well doe keepe; 

And when that the Lawyer you have in your hands, 
Looke that he doe pay you before he doe sleepe. 

Gods benison light on your soule, then he sayd, 
And send you and yours where ever you gang: 

If that I doe ever meete with your fewd foes, 

Ise sweare by this staffe that their hide I won bang. 

And farewell, brave lads now, unto you all; 

I wod all may win and neane of you leese. 
Haude; take this same tester, among you awe; 

I ken that you courtiers do all looke for fees. 

Thus with a low courtsie of them he tooke leave, 

Thinking from the court to take his way; 
But some of the gentlemen then of the Kings 

Would needs invite him at dinner to stay. 

A little entreaty did soone serve his turne: 
A thought himsel as good a man as them all. 

But where (quoth he) sail I have this same feast? 
Then straightway they ushered him into the hall. 

Such store of che: re on the board there was plast, 
That made the countryman much for to muse. 

Quoth he, I doe think you are all crafty knaves, 
That such a service you will not refuse. 

I nere saw such a flipper de flapper before, 

Here's keele I do think is made of a whetstone : 

Heer's dousets and flappjacks, and I ken not what ; 

I thinke, in the worlde such feasts there is none. 335 


When he had well din'd and had filled his panch, 
Then to the wine cellar they had him straight way, 

Where they with brave Claret and brave old Canary, 
They with a foxe tale him soundly did pay. 

So hard they did ply him with these strong wines, 
That he did wrong the long seames of his hose, 

That two men were faine to leade him up stay res; 
So, making indentures, away then he goes. 

The poore man got home next Sunday; 

The Lawyer soone did him espy. 
Oh, Sir, you have been a stranger long, 

I thinke from me you have kept you by. 

It was for you indeed, said the poore man, 

The matter to the King as I have tell. 
I did as neighbours put it in my head, 

And made a submission to the King mysel. 

What a deel didst thou with the King? said the Lawyer; 

Could not neighbours and friends agree thee and me? 
The deel a neighbour or friend that I had, 

That would a bin sike a daies man as he. 

He has gin me a letter, but I know not what they cal 't; 

But if the King's words be true to me, 
When you have read and perused it over, 

I hope you will leave and let me be. 

He has gin me another, but I know not what 'tis; 

But I charge you all to hold him fast. 
Pray you that are learned this letter reade; 

Which presently made them all agast. 

Then they did reade this letter plaine, 

The Lawyer must pay him a hundred pound. 

You see the King's letter, the poore man did say, 
And unto a post he sal straight way be bound. 

Then unto a post they tide him fast, 
And all men did rate him in cruell sort; 

The lads and the lasses, and all the towne 
At him had great glee, pastime and sport. 

He pay it, He pay it, the Lawyer said, 

The attachment, I say, it is good and faire; 
You must needes something credit me, 
3gg Till I g;oe home and fetch sow*, meare. 


Credit! nay thats it the King forbad: 
He bad, if I got thee, I should thee stay. 

The Lawyer payd him an hundred pound 
In ready money, ere he went away. 

Would every Lawyer were served thus! 

From troubling poore men they would cease: 
They'd either show them a good cause why, 

Or else they'd let them live in peace. 

And thus I end my merry tale, 

Which shews the plain man's simplenesse, 

And the Kings great mercy in righting his wrongs, 
And the Lawyers fraud and wickednesse. 

M. P. 

[Tht initials, M. P., which, as will be seen, are appended to this ballad, were intended, in 
the opinion of Mr. Collier, to make the reader suppose that it was written by Martin Parker, 
the celebrated and popular ballad-maker; though he regards the story as ' much older than 
1640.' It was known of old, by the name of ' Too Good to be True,' as Mr. Collier shows: 
by reference to Henslowe's Diary, (since edited by him for the Shakespeare Society, vide 
pp. 204, 6, 7,) and the second of two stanzas at the commencement of the Bagford broadside 
mentioned above, in which the ' book' from which the author professes to have taken the 
history,' is called ' The Second Lesson, too good to be true.* Those stanzas are as follows : 

To drive away the weary day, 

A book I chanc'd to take in hand, 
And therein I read assuredly 
A story, as you shall understand. 

Perusing many a history over, 

Amongst the leaves I chanc'd to view 
The books name, and the title is this, 

The Second Lesson, too good to be true.' 

'Lessons,' as Mr. Collier remarks, was the title of the several divisions of collections of 
[.epuUur histories.} 


v ! 

[This ballad is taken from ' The Crown Garland of Golden 
Roses,' Part II., as reprinted, by the Percy Society, from the 
rare edition of 1659 ; the author of which was Richard John 
son, mentioned, p. 490, as the author of ' The Seven Cham 
pions of Christendom." The full title of it is as follows : 
' The story of 111 May-Day in the time of King Henry 
the Eighth, and why it was so called : and how Queen 
Katherine begged the lives of Two Thousand London 
'Prentices. To the tune of ' Essex's Good Night." It 
was inserted in the ' Collection of Old Ballads,' London, 
1723 ; in Evans's ' Old Ballads,' and in ' Songs of the 
London 'Prentices,' which has also been reprinted by the 
Percy Society. It is stated in Evans to be founded on a 
fact which happened on the May-eve of the year 1517, 
the 8th of Henry the Eighth's reign, of which he gives a 
detailed account, a summary of which will be found 
in the note, p. 392. The reader of ' The Fortunes of 
Nigel' will not fail to recognise in Jin Vin and his fellows 
the worthy successors of the London 'Prentices of ' 111 May- 

ERTJSE the stories of this land, 

And with advisement mark the same ; 
And you shall justly understand 

How ill May-day first got the name. 
For when King Henry Eighth did reign, 

And ruPd our famous kingdom here ; 
His royal queen he had from Spain, 

With whom he liv'd full many a year. 


Queen Katherine named, as stories tell, 

Sometime his elder brother's wife, 
By which unlawful marriage fell 

An endless trouble during life. 
But such kind love he still conceiv'd 

Of his fair queen, and of her friends, 
Which being by Spain and France perceiv'd, 

Their journeys fast for England bends. 

And with good leave were suffered 

Within our kingdom here to stay ; 
Which multitudes made victuals dear, 

And all things else from day to day. 
For strangers then did so increase, 

By reason of King Henry's queen; 
And privilege in many a place 

To dwell, as was in London seen. 

Poor tradesmen had small dealing then, 

And who but strangers bore the bell ? 
Which was a grief to Englishmen, 

To see them here in London dwell. 
Wherefore, God wot, upon May Eve, 

As prentices on maying went, 
Who made the magistrates believe 

At all to have no other intent. 

But such a May-game it was known, 

As like in London never were, 
For by the same full many a one, 

With loss of life did pay full dear. 
For thousands came with Bilboa blade, 

As with an army they could meet ; 
And such a bloody slaughter made, 

Of foreign strangers in the street, 

That all the channels ran down with blood 

In every street where they remain' d ; 
Yea, every one hi danger stood, 

That any of their part maintain'd. 
The rich, the poor, the old, the young, 

Beyond the seas though born and bred, 
By prentices there suffered wrong, 

When armed thus they gathered head. 


Such multitudes together went, 

No warlike troops could them withstand ; 
Nor yet by policy them prevent, 

What they by force thus took in hand : 
Till at the last King Henry's power 

This multitude encompass' d round, 
Where with the strength of London's tower, 

They were by force suppress' d and bound. 

And hundreds hang'd, by martial law, 

On sign-posts at their master's doors, 
By which the rest were kept in awe, 

And frighted from such loud uproars. 
And others which the fact repented, 

(Two thousand prentices at last), 
Were all unto the king presented, 

As mayors and magistrates thought best. 

With two and two together tied, 

Through Temple-Bar and Strand they go, 
To Westminster, there to be tried, 

With ropes about their necks also. 
But such a cry in every street 

Till then was never heard nor known, 
By mothers for their children sweet, 

Unhappily thus overthrown. 

Whose bitter moans and sad laments 

Possess the court with trembling fear; 
Whereat the queen herself relents, 

Though it concern' d her country dear. 
What if, quoth she, by Spanish blood 

Have London's stately streets been wet, 
Yet will I seek this country's good, 

And pardon for these young men get. 

Or else the world will speak of me, 

And say Queen Katherine was unkind ; 
And judge me still the cause to be, 

These young men did these fortunes find. 
And so, disrob'd from rich attires, 

With hair hang'd down, she sadly hies, 
And of her gracious lord requires 

A boon, which hardly he denies. 


"The lives," (quoth she), " of all the blooms 

Yet budding green, these youths I crave ; 
O, let them not have timeless tombs, 

For nature longer limits gave !" 
In saying so, the pearled tears 

Fell trickling from her princely eyes, 
Whereat his gentle queen he cheers, 

And says, " Stand up, sweet lady, rise ! 

The lives of them I freely give, 

No means this kindness shall debar, 
Thou hast thy boon, and they may live 

To serve me in my Boulogne war." 
No sooner was this pardon given, 

But peals of joy rung through the hall, 
As though it thunder 'd down from heaven, 

The queen's renown amongst them all. 

For which, (kind queen), with joyful heart, 

She gave to them both thanks and praise, 
And so from them did gently part, 

And hVd beloved all her days : 
And when King Henry stood in need 

Of trusty soldiers at command, 
These prentices prov*d men indeed, 

And fear'd no foes of warlike band. 

For at the siege of Tours, in France, 

They showed themselves brave Englishmen : 
At Boulogne too they did advance 

Saint George's lusty standard then. 
Let Tourenne, Tournay, and those towns 

That good King Henry nobly won, 
Tell London's prentices' renowns, 

And of their deeds by them were done. 

For ill May-day, and ill May-games, 

Perform' d in young and tender days, 
Can be no hindrance to their fames, 

Or strains of manhood any ways, 
But now it is ordain' d by law, 

We see on May-day's eve at night, 
To keep unruly youths in awe, 

By London's watch in armour bright. 



Still to prevent the like misdeed, 
Which once through headstrong young men came; 

And that's the cause that I do read, 
May-day doth get so ill a name. 

[The following is a summary of the account, mentioned in the Introductory Note as being given 
in Evans's ' Old Ballads,' of the ' fact' upon which this ballad is founded. Two apprentices of 
London, playing in the streets about eleven o'clock on the May-eve of the year 1517, in contraven 
tion of an order issued some time previously, requiring all persons to be within doors by nine at 
night, the alderman of the ward came to arrest them. The apprentices resisted, and by their cries 
brought so many of their fellows to their assistance, that the alderman was forced to fly. Encou 
raged by this, and by the increase of their numbers, they hastened to the prisons, and delivered 
those who had been committed for abusing strangers ; many of whom were at that time settled in 
England, with particular privileges, to the injury, as was then thought, of the native inhabitants. 
The Lord Mayor and Sheriffs being unable to restrain them by persuasion or force, they made a 
furious rush to the house of a very rich foreigner, whom, as he was a great trader, they particu 
larly hated, broke open his doors, killed every one they met with there, and rifled all the goods ; 
and in other places they committed divers outrages. At length the Earls of Shrewsbury and Surrey, 
with the assistance of the inns of court men, cleared the streets of the rioters, and took numbers of 
them prisoners. Two hundred and seventy-eight were found guilty ; but, through the intercession 
of Queen Katherine, not above twelve or fifteen suffered death, the remainder being ordered to 
appear before the King at Westminster, in white shirts, and halters about their necks ; whom the 
King eventually pardoned.] 


[From ' Scottish Traditional Versions of Ancient Ballads.' Printed by the Percy 
Society, under the editorship of Mr. Dixon, 1845.] 

The bonny heir, and the weel-faur'd heir 
And the wearie heir o' Linne, 

Yonder he stands at his father's yetts, 
And naebody bids him come in. 

O! see for he gangs, an' see for he stands, 

The wearie heir o' Linne; 
O! see for he stands on the cauld casey, 

And nae an' bids him come in. 

But if he had been his father's heir, 

Or yet the heir o' Linne; 
He woldna stand on the cauld casey, 

Some an' wad taen him in. 

Sing ower again that sang, nourice, 

The sang ye sang just noo; 
I never sang a sang i' my life, 

But I wad sing ower to you. 

O! see for he gangs, an' see for he stands, 

The weary heir o' Linne; 
0! see for he stands on the cauld casey, 

An' nae an' bids him come in. 

But if he had been his father's heir, 

Or yet the heir o' Linne ; 
He wadna stand on the cauld casye, 

Some ane wad taen him in. 

When his father's lands a sellin' were, 

His claise lay weel in fauld, 
But now he wanders on the shore, 

Baith hungry, weet, and cauld. 

As Willie he gaed down the toun, 
The gentlemen were drinkin'; 

Some bade gie Willie a glass, a glass, 
And some bade him gie nane; 

Some bade gie Willie a glass, a glass, 
The weary heir o' Linne. 


As Willie he cam' up the toun, 

The fishers were a sittin'; 
Some bade gie Willie a fish, a fish, 

Some bade gie him a fin; 
Some 'bade gie him a fish, a fish, 

And let the palmer gang. 

He turned him richt and roun' about, 

As will as a woman's son; 
And taen his cane into his hand, 

And on his way to Linne. 

His nourrice at her window look'd, 

Beholding dale and down, 
And she beheld this distress'd young man 

Come walkin' to the town. 

Come here, come here, Willie, she said, 

And set yoursel' wi me; 
I hae seen you in better days, 

And in jovial companie. 

Gie me a sheave o' your bread, nourrice, 

And a bottle o' your wine, 
And I'll pay you it a' ower again, 

When I'm the laird o' Linne. 

Ye'se got a sheave o' my bread, Willie, 

And a bottle o' my wine, 
An' ye'll pay me when the sea's gang dry, 

But ye'll ne'er be heir o' Linne. 

Then he turned him richt and roun' about, 

As will as a woman's son; 
And aff he set, and bent his way, 

And straightway came to Linne. 

But when he came to that castle, 
They were set down to dine; 

A score o' nobles there he saw, 
Sat drinking at the wine. 

Then some bad' gie him beef, the beer, 

And some bad' gie him the bane; 
And some bad' gie him naething at a', 
394 But let the palmer gang. 


Then out it speake the new came laird, 

A saucie word spak' he; 
Put roun' the cup, gie my rival a sup, 

Lat him fare on his way. 

Then out it speaks Sir Ned Magnew, 

Ane o' young Willie's kin; 
This youth was ance a sprightlie boy 

As ever lived in Linne. 

He turned him richt and roun' about, 

As will as a woman's son; 
Then minded him on a little wee key, 

That his mither left to him. 

His mither left him this little wee key 

A little before she deed; 
And bad' him keep this little wee kee 

Till he was in maist need. 

Then forth he went, an' these nobles left, 

A' drinkin' in the room; 
Wi' walkin' rod intill his land, 

He walked the castle roun'. 

There he found out a little door, 
For there the wee key slippit in; 

An' there he got as muckle red gowd 
As freed the lands o' Linne. 

Back through the nobles then he went, 

A saucie man was then; 
I'll tak' the cup frae this new-come laird, 

For he ne'er bad' me sit doun. 

Then out it speaks the new-come laird, 

He spak' wi' mock an' jeer, 
I'd gie a seat to the laird o' Linne, 

Sae be that he were here. 

When the lands o' Linne a sellin* were, 

A' men said they were free; 
This lad shall hae them frae me this day 

If he'll gie the third pennie. 

I tak' ye witness, nobles a', 

Gude witnesses yell be; 
I'm promis'd the lands o' Linne this day, 

If I gie the third pennie. 



Ye've taen us witnesses, Willie, they said, 

Gude witnesses we'll be; 
Buy the lands o' Linne who likes, 

They'll ne'er be bought by thee. 

He's done him to a gamin' table, 

For it stood fair and clean ; 
There he tauld doun as much rich gowd 

As freed the lands o' Linne. 

Thus having done, he turn'd about, 

A saucie man was he; 
Tak' up your monie, my lad, he says, 

Tak' up your third pennie. 

Aft hae I gane wi' barefeet cauld, 

Likewise wi' legs fu' bare; 
And mony day walked at these yetts 

Wi' muckle dool an' care. 

But now my sorrow's past and gane, 

And joy's returned to me; 
And here I've gowd enough forbye, 

Ahin' this third pennie. 

As Willie he gaed doun the toun, 
There he craw'd wonderous crouse; 

He ca'd the may afore them a', 
The nourrice o' the house. 

Come here, come here, my nurse, he says, 

I'll pay your bread and wine; 
Seas ebb and flow as they wont to do, 

Yet I'm the laird o' Linne. 

An' he gaed up the Gallowgate port, 

His hose aboon his shoon; 
But lang ere he came down again 

Was convoyed by lords fifteen. 



First, giving an account of a gentleman's having a wild son, and who, foreseeing he would come 
to poverty, had a cottage built with one door to it, always kept fast ; and how, on his dying bed, 
he charged him not to open it till he was poor and slighted, which the young man promised 
he would perform. Secondly, of the young man's pawning his estate to a vintner, who, when 
poor, kicked him out of doors ; when, thinking it time to see his legacy, he broke open the 
cottage door, where, instead of money, he found a gibbet and halter, which he put round his 
neck, and jumping off the stool, the gibbet broke, and a thousand pounds came down upon 
his head, which lay hid in the ceiling. Thirdly, of his redeeming his estate, and fooling .the 
vintner out of two hundred pounds ; who, for being jeered by his neighbours, cut his own 
throat. And lastly, of the young man's reformation. Very proper to be read by all who are 
given to drunkenness. 

[From ' Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of England.' Edited, for the 
Percy Society, by J. H. Dixon, Esq.] 

YOUNG people all, I pray draw near, 
And listen to my ditty here; 
Which subject shews that drunkenness 
Brings many mortals to distress. 

As, for example, now I can 
Tell you of one, a gentleman, 
Who had a very good estate, 
His earthly travails they were great, 

We understand he had one son 
Who a lewd wicked race did run; 
He daily spent his father's store, 
When moneyless, he came for more. 

The father, oftentimes with tears, 
Would this alarm sound in his ears; 
Son ! thou dost all my comfort blast 
And thou wilt come to want at last. 

The son these words did little mind, 
To cards and dice he was inclined; 
Feeding his drunken appetite 
In taverns, which was his delight. 

The father, ere it was too late, 
He had a project in his pate, 
Before his aged days were run, 

To make provision for his son. 



Near to his house, we understand, 
He had a waste plat of land, 
Which did but little profit yield, 
On which he did a cottage build. 

The Wise-Man's Project was its name, 
There were few windows in the same; 
Only one door, substantial thing, 
Shut by a lock, went by a spring. 

Soon after he had played this trick, 
It was his lot for to fall sick; 
As on his bed he did lament, 
Then for his drunken son he sent. 

He shortly came to his bed-side; 
Seeing his son, he thus replied: 
I have sent for you to make my will, 
Which you must faithfully fulfil. 

In such a cottage is one door, 
Ne'er open it, do thou be sure, 
Until thou art so poor, that all 
Do then despise you, great and small. 

For, to my grief, I do perceive, 
When I am dead, this life you live 
Will soon melt all thou hast away; 
Do not forget these words, I pray. 

When thou hast made thy friends thy foes, 
Pawned all thy lands, and sold thy clothes; 
Break ope the door, and there depend 
To find something thy griefs to end. 

Thus having spoke, the son did say, 
Your dying words I will obey. 
Soon after this his father dear 
Did die, and buried was, we hear. 


Now, pray observe the second part, 
And you shall hear his sottish heart; 
He did the tavern so frequent, 

Till he three hundred pounds had spent. 


This being done, we understand, 
He pawned the deeds of all his land 
Unto a tavern-keeper, who, 
When poor did him no favour shew. 

For to fulfil his father's will, 
He did command this cottage still: 
At length great sorrow was his share, 
Quite moneyless, with garments bare. 

Being not able for to work, 
He in the tavern there did lurk; 
From box to box, among rich men, 
Who oftentimes reviled him then. 

To see him sneak so up and down, 
The vintner on him he did frown ; ' 
And one night kicked him out of door, 
Charging him to come there no more. 

He in a stall did lie all night, 
In this most sad and wretched plight; 
Then thought it was high time to see 
His father's promised legacy. 

Next morning, then, opprest with woe, 
This young man got an iron crow, 
And, as in tears he did lament, 
Unto this little cottage went. 

When he the door had open got, 
This poor, distressed, drunken sot, 
Who did for store of money hope, 
He saw a gibbet and a rope. 

Under this rope was placed a stool, 
Which made him look just like a fool; 
Crying, Alas ! what shall I do? 
Destruction now appears in view. 

As my father foresaw this thing, 
What sottishness to me- would bring; 
As moneyless, and free of grace, 
His legacy I will embrace. 

So then, opprest with discontent, 

Upon the stool he sighing went, 

And then his precious life to check, 

Did place the rope about his neck. 399 


Crying, Thou God, who sitt'st on high, 
And on my sorrow casts an eye; 
Thou knowest that I've not done well, 
Preserve my precious soul from hell. 

'Tis true the slighting of thy grace, 
Has brought me to this wretched case; 
And as through folly I'm undone, 
I'll now eclipse my morning sun. 

When he with sighs these words had spoke, 
Jumped off, and down the gibbet broke; 
In falling, as it plain appears, 
Dropt down about this young man's ears, 

In shining gold, a thousand pound! 
Which made the blood his ears surround: 
Though in amaze, he cried, I'm sure 
This golden salve will cure the sore. 

Blest be my father, then, he cried, 
Who did this part for me so hide; 
And while I do alive remain, 
I never will get drunk again. 


Now, by the third part you shall hear, 
This young man, as it doth appear, 
With care he then secured his chink, 
And to this vintner's went to drink. 

When the proud vintner did him see, 
He frowned on him immediately, 
And said, Begone! or else with speed, 
I'll kick thee out of doors, indeed. 

Smiling, the young man he did say, 
Thou cruel knave! tell me, I pray, 
As I have here consumed my store, 
How durst thou kick me out of door? 

To me thou hast been too severe; 
The d^eds of eight score pounds a-year, 
I pawned them for three hundred pounds, 
That I spent here; why make such frowns? 


The vintner said unto him, Sirrah! 
Bring me one hundred pounds to-morrow, 
By nine o'clock, take them again, 
So get you out of doors till then. 

He answered, If this chink I bring, 
I fear thou wilt do no such thing. 
He said, I'll give under my hand, 
A note that I to this will stand. 

Having the note, away he goes, 
And straightway went to one of those 
That made drink when moneyless, 
And did the truth to him confess. 

They both went to this heap of gold, 
And in a bag he fairly told 
A thousand pounds, in yellow-boys, 
And to the tavern went their ways. 

This bag they on the table set, 
Making the vintner for to fret, 
He said, Young man, this will not do, 
For I was but in jest with you. 

So then bespoke the young man's friend, 
Vintner! thou mayest sure depend, 
In law this note it will you cast, 
And he must have his land at last. 

This made the vintner to comply; 
He fetched the deeds immediately. 
He had one hundred pounds, and then 
The young man got his deeds again. 

At length the vintner 'gan to think 
How he was fooled out of his chink; 
Said, When 'tis found how I came off, 
My neighbours will me game and scoff. 

So to prevent their noise and clatter, 
The vintner he, to mend the matter, 
In two days after, it doth appear, 
He cut his throat from ear to ear. 

Thus he untimely left the world, 
That to this young man proved a churL 
Now he who followed drunkenness, 
Lives sober and doth lands possess. 



Instead of wasting of his store 
As formerly, resolves no more 
To act the same, but does, indeed, 
Relieve all those that are in need. 

Let all young men, now, for my sake, 
Take care how they such havoc make; 
For drunkenness, you plain may see, 
Had like his ruin for to be. 

[This ballad is takc-n from Percy's ' Rcliques. 1 ' The 
original' he ' found in his folio MS ,the breaches and defects 
in which, 'he says, ' rendered the insertion of supplemental 
stanzas necessary. These/ he hoped, the reader would 
' pardon , as indeed the completion of the story was suggested 
by a modern ballad on a similar subject.' The Dr. adds, 
' that from the Scottish phrases here and there discernible 
in the poem, it should seem to have been originally com 
posed beyond the Tweed.' Upon this hint subsequent 
collectors have acted ; and the result has been the bringing 
to light of a traditionary version still current in Scotland, 
which was probably the ' original ' of the celebrated folio 
MS. This version, the first three stanzas only of which had 
previously appeared in print, was first given entire by Mr. 
Dixon, in ' Scottish Traditional Versions of Ancient Pn> 
lads,' edited by him for the Percy Society, London, 1845. 
The same gentleman, in another work edited by him for 
the Percy Society, (Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of 
the Peasantry of England, London, 1846,) gives, 'from an 
old chap-book without date or printer's name,' a ballad 
entitled ' The Drunkard's Legacy,' which he considers to be 
the ' Modern ballad' alluded to by Percy, ' which,' rays Mr. 
Dixon, 'although styled by him a modern ballad, is only 
so comparatively speaking ; for it must have been written 
long anterior to Percy's time, and by his own confession 
must be older than the latter portion of ' The Heir of 


ITHE and listen, gentlemen, 

To sing a song I will beginne : 
It is of a lord of faire Scotland, 

Which was the unthrifty heire of Linne. 


His father was a right good lord, 
His mother a lady of high degree ; 

But they, alas ! were dead, him froe, 
And he lov'd keeping companie. . 

To spend the daye with merry cheare, 
To drinke and revell every night, 

To card and dice from eve to morne, 
It was, I ween, his hearts delighte. 

To ride, to runne, to rant, to roare, 
To alwaye spend and never spare, 

I.wott, an' it were the king himselfe, 
Of gold and fee he mote be bare. 

Soe fares the unthrifty lord of Linne 
Till all his gold is gone and spent ; 

And he maun sell his landes so broad, 
His house, and landes, and all his rent 

His father had a keen stewarde, 

And John o' the Scales was called hee : 

But John is become a gentel-man, 
And John has gott both gold and fee. 

Sayes, " Welcome, welcome, lord of Linne, 
Let nought disturb thy merry cheere ; 

Iff thou wilt sell thy landes soe broad, 
Good store of gold He give thee heere." 

" My gold is gone, my money is spent ; 

My lande nowe take it unto thee : 
Give me the golde, good John o' the Scales, 

And thine for aye my lande shall bee." 

Then John he did him to record draw, 
And John he cast him a Gods-pennie ; 

But for every pounde that John agreed, 
The lande, I wis, was well worth three. 

He told him the gold upon the borde, 
He was right glad his land to winne : 

" The gold is thine, the land is mine, 
And now He be the lord of Linne." 

Thus he hath sold his land soe broad, 
Both hill and holt, and moore and fennc, 

All but a poore and lonesome lodge, 
That stood far off in a lonely glenne. 


For soe he to his father hight, 

" My sonne, when I am gonne," sayd hee, 
" Then thou wilt spend thy lande so broad, 

And thou wilt spend thy gold so free : 

But sweare me nowe upon the roode, 

That lonesome lodge thou'lt never spend ; 

For when all the world doth frown on thee, 
Thou there shalt find a faithful friend." 

The heire of Linne is full of golde : 

" And come with me, my friends," sayd hee, 

" Let's drinke, and rant, and merry make, 
And he that spares, ne'er mote he thee." 

They ranted, drank, and merry made, 

Till all his gold it waxed thinne ; 
And then his friendes they slunk away ; 

They left the unthrifty heire of Linne. 

He had never a penny left in his purse, 

Never a penny left but three, 
And one was brass, another was lead, 

And another it was white money. 

" Nowe well-aday," sayd the heire of Linne, 
" Nowe well-aday," and woe is mee ! 

For when I was the lord of Linne, 
I never wanted gold nor fee. 

But many a trustye friend have I, 
And why shold I feel dole or care ? 

lie borrow of them all by turnes, 
Soe need I not be never bare." 

But one, I wis, was not at home ; 

Another had payd his gold away ; 
Another call'd him thriftless loone, 

And bade him sharpely wend his way. 

" Now well-aday," sayd the heire of Linne, 

" Now well-aday, and woe is me ! 
For when I had my landes so broad, 

On me they liv'd right merrilee. 

To beg my bread from door to door 

I wis, it were a brenning shame : 
To rob and steal it were a sinne: 

To worke my limbs I cannot frame. 


Now He away to lonesome lodge, 
For there my father bade me wend ; 

When all the world should frown on mee, 
I there shold find a trusty friend." 


Away then hyed the heire of Linne 
O'er hill and holt, and moor and fenne, 

Untill he came to lonesome lodge, 
That stood so lowe in a lonely glenne. 

He looked up, he looked downe, 
In hope some comfort for to winne : 

But bare and lothly were the walles. 

" Here's sorry cheare," quo* the heire of Linne. 

The little windowe dim and darke 
Was hung with ivy, brere, and yewe ; 

No shimmering sunn here ever shone ; 
No halesome breeze here ever blew. 

No chair, ne table he mote spye, 
No chearful hearth, ne welcome bed, 

Nought save a rope with renning noese, 
That dangling hung up o'er his head. 

And over it in broad letters, 

These words were written so plain to see : 
" Ah ! gracelesse wretch, hast spent thine all, 

And brought thyselfe to penurie ? 

All this my boding mind misgave, 

I therefore left this trusty friend : 
Let it now sheeld thy foulc disgrace, 

And all thy shame and soirows end." 

Sorely shent wi' this rebuke, 

Sorely shent was the heire of Linne ; 

His heart, I wis, was near to brast 

With guilt and sorrowe, shame and sinne 

Never a word spake the heire of Linne, 

Never a word he spake but three : 
" This is a trusty friend indeed, 

And is right welcome unto mee." 


Then round his necke the corde he drewe, 

And sprang aloft with his bodie : 
When lo ! the ceiling burst in twaine, 

And to the ground came tumbling hee. 

Astonyed lay the heire of Linne, 

Ne knewe if he were live or dead : 
At length he looked, and sawe a bille, 

And hi it a key of gold so redd. 

He took the bill and lookt it on, 

Strait good comfort found he there : 
Itt told him of a hole in the wall, 

In which there stood three chests in-fere. 

Two were full of the beaten golde, 

The third was full of white money ; 
And over them in broad letters 

These words were written so plaine to see : 

" Once more, my sonne, I sette thee clere ; 

Amend thy life and follies past ; 
For but thou amend thee of thy life, 

That rope must be thy end at last." 

*' And let it bee," sayd the heire of Linne ; 

" And let it bee, but if I amend : 
For here I will make mine avow, 

This reade shall guide me to the end." 

Away then went with a merry cheare, 

Away then went the heire of Linne ; 
I wis, he neither ceas'd ne blanne, 

Till John o' the Scales house he did winne. 

And when he came to John o' the Scales, 

Upp at the speere then looked hee ; 
There sate three lords upon a rowe, 

Were drinking of the wine so free. 

And John himself sate at the bord-head, 

Because now lord of Linne was hee. 
" I pray thee," he said, " good John o' the Scales, 

One forty pence for to lend mee." 

" Away, away, thou thriftless loone ; 

Away, away, this may not bee : 
For Christs curse on my head," he sayd, 

If ever I trust thee one pennie." 407 


Then bespake the heire of Linne, 

To John o' the Scales wife then spake he : 

" Madame, some almes on me bestowe, 
I pray for sweet saint Charitie." 

" Away, away, thou thriftless loone, 
I swear thou gettest no almes of mee ; 

For if we shold hang any losel heere, 
The first we wold begin with thee." 

Then bespake a good fellowe, 

Which sat at John o' the Scales his bord ; 
Sayd, " Turn againe, thou heire of Linne ; 

Some time thou wast a well good lord : 

Some time a good fellow thou hast been, 
And sparedst not thy gold and fee ; 

Therefore He lend thee forty pence, 
And other forty if need bee. 

And ever, I pray thee, John o' the Scales, 
To let him sit in thy companie : 

For well I wot thou hadst his land, 
And a good bargain it was to thee." 

Up then spake him John o' the Scales, 
All wood he answer' d him againe : 

" Now Christs curse on my head," he sayd, 
" But I did lose by that bargaine. 

And here I proffer thee, heire of Linne, 
Before these lords so faire and free, 

Thou shalt have it backe again better cheape, 
By a hundred markes, than I had it of thee.' 

" I drawe you to record, lords," he said. 

With that he cast him a gods pennie : 
" Now by my fay," sayd the heire of Linne, 

" And here, good John, is thy money." 

And he pull'd forth three bagges of gold, 
And layd them down upon the bord : 

All woe begone was John o' the Scales, 
Soe shent he cold say never a word. 

He told him forth the good red gold, 

He told it forth mickle dinne. 
" The gold is thine, the land is mine, 
408 And "ow Ime againe the lord of Linne," 


Sayes, " Have thou here, thou good fellowa, 

Forty pence thou didst lend mee : 
Now I am againe the lord of Linne, 

And forty pounds I will give thee. 

lie make the keeper of my forrest, 
Both of the wild deere and the tame ; 

For but I reward thy bounteous heart, 
I wis, good fellowe, I were to blame." 

" Now welladay !" sayth Joan o' the Scales : 
" Now welladay ! and woe is my life ! 

Yesterday I was lady of Linne, 

Now Ime but John o' the Scales his wife." 

" Now fare thee well," sayd the heire of Linne ; 

" Farewell now, John o' the Scales," said hee : 
" Christs curse light on me, if ever again 

I bring my lands in jeopardy." 


[From Ritson's ' Ancient Songs and Ballads.'] 

IT befell at Martynmas 

When wether waxed colde, 

Captain Care said to his men, 
We must go take a holde. 

' Haille, master, and wither you will, 
And wither ye like it best.' 

* To the castle of Crecrynbroghe; 

And there we will take our reste.' 

' I knowe wher is a gay castle, 

Is build of lyme and stone, 
Within there is a gay ladie, 

Her lord is ryd from horn.' 

The ladie lend on her castle-walle, 

She loked upp and downe, 
There was she ware of an host of men, 

Come riding to the towne. 

* Come yow hither, my meri men all. 

And look what I do see; 
Yonder is there a host of men, 
I musen who they bee.' 

She thought he had been her own wed lord, 
That had come riding home; 

Then was it traitour captaine Care, 
The lord of Easter towne. 

They were no sooner at supper sett, 

Than after said the grace, 
Or captaine Care and all his men 

Were lighte aboute the place. 

' Gyve over thi howsse, thou lady gay, 

And I will make the a bande, 
To-nighte thoust ly within my arm, 
410 To-morrowe thou shall ere my Ian.' 


Then bespack the eldest sonne, 
That was both whitt and redde, 

mother dere, geve over your howsse 
Or elles we shal be deade. 

1 will not geve over my hous, she saithe, 
Not for feare of my lyfle, 

It shal be talked throughout the land 
The slaughter of a wyffe. 

Fetch me my pestilett, 

And charge me my goune, 
Then I may shott at the bloddy butcher, 

The lord of Easter-towne. 

She styfly stod on her castle-wall, 

And let the pellettes flee, 
She myst the blody bucher, 

And slew other three. 

I will not give over my hous, she saithe, 

Nether for lord nor lowne, 
Nor yet for traitour captaine Care, 

The lord of Easter-towne. 

I desire of captaine Care, 

And all his bloddye bande, 
That he would save my eldest sonne. 

The eare of all my lande. 

' Lap him in a sheet,' he sayth, 

' And let him downe to me, 
And I shall take him in my annes, 

His waran wyll I be.' 

The captayne said unto himselfe, 

Wyth sped before the rest; 
He cut his tonge out of his head, 

His hart out of his brest. 

He lapt them in a handerchef, 
And knet it of knottes three, 

And cast them over the castell-wall 
At that gay ladye. 

' Fye upon thee, captaine Care, 

And all thy bloddy band, 
For thou hast slayne my eldest sonne^ 

The ayre of all my land. 


Then bespake the yongest sonn, 
That sat on the nurses knee, 

Sayth, mother gay, geve ower your house, 
[The smoke] it smoldereth me. 

I wold geve my gold, she saith, 

And so I walde my fee, 
For a blaste of the wastern wind 

To dryve the smoke from thee. 

Fy upon thee, John Hamleton, 

That ever I paid the hyre, 
For thou hast broken my castle-wall, 

And kyndled in it fyre. 

The lady gate to her close parler, 
The fire fell aboute -her head, 

She toke up her children three, 
Seth, babes, we are all dead. 

Then bespake the hye steward, t 

That is of hye degree, 
Saith, Ladie gay, you are no bote 

Wethere ye fighte or flee. 

Lord Hamleton dremd in his dreame, 

In Carvall where he laye, 
His halle was all of fyre, 

His ladie slayne or daye. 

Busk and boune, my merry men all, 

Even and go with me, 
For I dremd that my hall was on fyre 

My lady slayne or day. 

He busked him and bouned him, 

All like a worthi knighte, 
And when he saw his hall burning, 

His harte was no dele lighte. 

He sett a trumpett till his mouth, 
He blew as it plesed his grace, 

Twenty score of Hambletons 
Was light aboute the place. 

Had I knowne asmuch yesternighte 

As I do to-daye, 
Captaine Care and all his men 
412 Should not have gone so quite [awaye.] 


Fye upon thee, Captain Care, 

And all thy blody bande, 
Thou hast slayne my lady gaye, 

More worth than all thy lande. 

Yf thou had ought any ill will, he said, 
Thou shoulde have taken my lyffe, 

And have saved my children three, 
All and my lovesome wyffe. 


[This ballad is taken from Percy's 'Heliques,' where it 
was given from a copy ' printed at Glasgow, by Robert and 
Andrew Foulis,' 1755, 8vo, 12 pages. In the ' Reliques' it 
was 'improved, and enlarged with several fine stanzas, 
recovered from a fragment in the Dr.'s Folio MS., entitled 
'Captain Adam Carrse,' and in the English idiom.' The 
ballad is, according to Percy, well known in the neighbour 
hood of the castle, or ' house o' the Rodes,' where it is 
called Adam o' Gordon. ' Of the ballad to which the above- 
mentioned fragment appears to have belonged,' Ritson, in 
his ' Ancient Songs and Ballads,' gave from ' a Miscel 
laneous Collection in the Cotton Library, marked Vespa- 
nian A. xxv., under the name of ' Captain Car,' an ' ent re 
ancient copy, the undoubted original,' as he thought, ' of 
the Scottish ballad.' And Mr. Motherwell ( ' Minstrelsy,' 
Introd. Ixvii.) says he has 'heard a different set of this 
ballad,' which, however, he does not give, the locality of 
which, according to him, is ' Loudoun Castle, in Ayrshire.'] 

T fell about the Martinmas, 

Quhen the wind blew schril and cauld, 
Said Edom o' Gordon to his men, 

We maun draw to a hauld. 


And quhat a hauld sail we draw till 

My mirry men and me ? 
We wul gae to the house o' the Rodes, 

To see that fair ladie. 

The lady stude on hir castle wa', 

Beheld baith dale and down : 
There she was ware of a host of men 

Cum ryding towards the toun. 

O see ze nat, my mirry men a* ? 

see ze nat quhat I see ? 
Methinks I see a host of men : 

1 marveil quha they be. 

She weend it had been hir luvely lord, 

As he cam ryding hame ; 
It was the traitor Edom o' Gordon, 

Quha reckt nae sin nor shame. 

She had nae sooner buskit hirsel, 

And putten on hir goun, 
Till Edom o' Gordon and his men 

Were round about the toun. 

They had nae sooner supper sett, 

Nae sooner said the grace, 
Till 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, 
To see if by her fair speeches 

She could wi' him agree. 

But quhan he see this lady saif, 

And hir yates all locked fast, 
He fell into a rage of wrath, 

And his look was all aghast. 

Cum doun to me, ze lady gay, 

Cum doun, cum doun to me : 
This night sail ye lig within mine armes, 

To-morrow my bride sail be. 

I winnae cum doun, ze fals Gordon, 

I winnae cum doun to thee ; 
I winnae forsake my ain dear lord, 

That is sae far frae me. 



Give owre zour house, ze lady fair, 
Give owre zour house to me, 

Or I sail brenn yoursel therein, 
Bot and zour babies three. 

I winnae give owre, ze fals Gordon, 
To nae sik traitor as zee ; 

And if ze brenn my ain dear babes, 
My lord sail make ze drie. 

But reach me hether my guid bend-bowe, 
Mine arrows one by one ; 

For, but an I pierce that bluidy butcher, 
My babes we been undone. 

She stude upon her castle wa', 

And let twa arrows flee : 
She mist that bluidy butchers hart, 

And only raz'd his knee. 

Set fire to the house, quo' fals Gordon, 
All wood wi' dule and ire : 

Fals lady, ze sail rue this deid, 
As ze brenn in the fire. 

Wae worth, wae worth ze, Jock my man, 

I paid ze weil zour fee ; 
Quhy pow ze out the ground-wa stane, 

Lets in the reek to me ? 

And ein wae worth ze, Jock my man, 

I paid ze weil zour hire ; 
Quhy pow ze out the ground-wa stane, 

To me lets in the fire ? 

Ze paid me weil my hire, lady ; 

Ze paid me weil my fee : 
But now Tme Edom o' Gordons man, 

Maun either doe or die. 

than bespaik hir little son, 
Sate on the nourice' knee : 

Sayes, Mither deare, gi owre this house 
For the reek it smithers me. 

1 wad gie a' my gowd, my childe, 

Sae wad I a' my fee, 
For ane blast o' the westlin wind, 
416 To blaw the reek frae thee. 


O then bespaik her dochter dear, 
She was baith jimp and sma : 

O row me hi a pair o' sheits, 
And tow me owre the wa. 

The rowd hir in a pair o' sheits, 

And towd hir owre the wa : 
But on the point of Gordons spear 

She gat a deadly fa. 

bonnie bonnie was hir mouth, 
And cherry were hir cheiks, 

And clear clear was hir zellow hair, 
Whareon the reid bluid dreips. 

Then wi' his spear he turnd hir owre, 

gin her face was wan ! 

He sayd, Ze are the first that eir 

1 wisht alive again. 

He turnd hir owre and owre again, 

gin hir skin was whyte ! 

1 might ha spared that bonnie face, 
To hae been sum mans delyte. 

Busk and boun, my merry men a', 

For ill dooms I doe guess ; 
I cannae luik in that bonny face, 

As it lyes on the grass. 

Thame, luiks to freits, my master deir, 
Then freits wil follow thame : 

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, 

Sayd, Bairns, we been but dead. 

The Gordon then his bougill blew, 

And said, Awa', awa' ; 
This house o' the Rodes is a' in flame, 

1 hauld it time to ga'. 

O then bespyd hir ain dear lord, 

As hee cam owr the lee ; 
He sied his castle all in blaze 

So far as he could see. 

2 IB 


Then sair, O sair his mind misgave, 

And all his hart was wae ; 
Put on, put on, my wighty men, 

So fast as ze can gae. 

Put on, put on, my wighty men, 

So fast as ze can drie ; 
For he that is hindmost of the thrang, 

Sail neir get guid o' me. 

Than sum they rade, and sum they rin, 

Fou fast out-owr the bent ; 
But eir the foremost could get up, 

Baith lady and babes were brent. 

He wrang his hands, he rent his hair, 

And wept in teenefu muid : 
O traitors, for this cruel deid 

Ze sail weep teirs o' bluid. 

And after the Gordon he is gane, 

Sa fast as he might drie ; 
And soon i' the Gordon's foul hartis bluid, 

He's wroken his dear ladle. 



[This ' version of an ancient and popular Northumber 
land ballad' is taken, by pel-mission of J. H. Dixon, Esq., 
' - 

. -. , . 

James Telfer, of Saughtree, Liddesdale, from the chanting 
of Kitty Hall, an old woman who resided at Fairloans, 
Roxburgshire. Mr. Robert White communicated it to 
'The Local Historian's Table Book,' a periodical work pub 
lished at Newcastle-on-Tyne ; where only it had appeared 
previously to its insertion in Mr. Dixon 's book. It may be 
mentioned here, as a literary rumour, for the correctness of 
which however we are far fi-om vouching, that Sir Walter 
Scott is said to have had a copy of this ballad ; but that, 
under the influence of a feeling altogether unintelligible in 
such a man, he never would allow it to be seen. From the 
notes of Mr. Dixon and Mr. White, we learn that 'the 
barbarous murder of Reed by the Halls and the Crosiers, 
whose displeasure he had incurred in the execution of his 
office of suppressing and ordering the apprehension of 
thieves and other breakers of the law, is an historical fact, 
whic i is said to have occurred in the sixteenth century ; and 
that the circumstances attending it are accurately detailed 
in the ballad.'] 

OD send the land deliverance 
Frae every reaving, riding Scot ; 

We'll sune hae neither cow nor ewe, 

We'll sune hae neither staig nor stot. 419 


The outlaws come frae Liddesdale, 
They herry Redesdale far and near ; 

The rich man's gelding it maun gang, 
They canna pass the puir man's meare. 

Sure it were weel, had ilka thief 
Around his neck a halter strang ; 

And curses heavy may they light 
On traitors vile oursels amang. 

Now Parcy Reed has Crosier ta'en, 
He has delivered him to the law ; 

But Crosier says he'll do waur than that, 
He'll make the tower o' Troughend fa*. 

And Crosier says he will do waur 
He will do waur if waur can be ; 

He'll make the hairns a' fatherless ; 
And then, the land it may lie lee. 

To the hunting, ho ! cried Parcy Reecl, 
The morning sun is on the dew ; 

The cauler hreeze frae off the fells 
Will lead the dogs to the quarry true. 

To the hunting, ho ! cried Parcy Reed, 
And to the hunting he has gane ; 

And the three fause Ha's o' Girsonsfield 
Alang wi' him he has them ta'en. 

They hunted high, they hunted low, 
By heathery hill and birken shaw ; 

They raised a buck on Rooken Edge, 
And blew the mort at fair Ealylawe. 

They hunted high, they hunted low, 
They made the echoes ring amain ; 

With music sweet o' horn and hound, 
They merry made fair Redesdale glen. 

They hunted high, they hunted low, 
They hunted up, they hunted down, 

Until the day was past the prime, 
And it grew late in the afternoon. 

They hunted high ha Batinghope, 

When as the sun was sinking low, 
Says Parcy then, ca' off the dogs, 
420 Well bait our steeds and homeward go. 


They lighted high in Batinghope, 

Atween the brown and benty ground ; 

They had but rested a little while, 
Till Parcy Reed was sleeping sound. 

There's nane may lean on a rotten staff', 
But him that risks to get a fa' ; 

There's nane may in a traitor trust, 
And traitors black were every Ha.' 

They've stown the bridle off his steed, 
And they've put water in his lang gun ; 

They've fixed his sword within the sheath, 
That out again it winna come. 

Awaken ye, waken ye, Parcy Reed, 

Or by your enemies be ta'en ; 
For yonder are the five Crosiers 

A-coming owre the Hingin-stane. 

If they be five, and we be four, 
Sae that ye stand alang wi' me, 

Then every man ye will take one, 
And only leave but two to me : 

We will them meet as brave men ought, 
And make them either fight or flee. 

We mayna stand, we carma stand, 
We daurna stand alang wi' thee ; 

The Crosiers haud thee at a feud, 
And they wad kill baith thee and we. 

O, turn thee, turn thee, Johnie Ha', 
O, turn thee, man, and fight wi' me ; 

When ye come to Troughend again, 
My gude black naig I will gie thee ; 

He cost full twenty pound o' gowd, 
Atween my brother John and me. 

I mayna turn, I canna turn, 

I daurna turn and fight wi' thee ; 

The Crosiers haud thee at a feud, 
And they wad kill baith thee and me. 

O, turn thee, turn thee, Willie Ha', 
O, turn thee, man, and fight wi' me ; 

When ye come to Troughend again, 
A yoke o' owsen I'll gie thee. 

I mayna turn, I canna turn, 

I daurna turn and fight wi' thee ; 

The Crosiers haud thee at a feud, 
And they wad kill baith thee and me. 


O, turn thee, turn thee, Tommy Ha' 
O, turn now, man, and fight wi' me ; 

If ever we come to Troughend again, 
My daughter Jean I'll gie to thee. 

I mayna turn, I canna turn, 

I daurna turn and fight wi' thee ; 

The Crosiers haud thee at a feud, 
And they wad kill baith thee and me. 

O, shame upon ye, traitors a' ! 

I wish your hames ye may never see ; 
Ye've stown the bridle off my naig, 

And I can neither fight nor flee. 

Ye've stown the bridle off' my naig, 
And ye've put water i' my lang gun ; 

Ye've fixed my sword within the sheath, 
That out again it winna come. 

He had but time to cross himsel' 
A prayer he hadna time to say, 

Till round him came the Crosiers keen, 
All riding graithed, and in array. 

Weel met, weel met, now Parcy Reed, 
Thou art the very man we sought ; 

Owre lang hae we been in your debt, 
Now will we pay ye as we ought. 

We'll pay thee at the nearest tree, 

Where we shall hang thee like a hound. 

Brave Parcy rais'd his fankit sword, 
And fell'd the foremost to the ground. 

Alake, and wae for Parcy Reed 
Alake he was an unarmed man : 

Four weapons pierced him all at once, 
As they assailed him there and than. 

They fell upon him all at once, 
They mangled him most cruellie ; 

The slightest wound might caused his deid, 
And they have gi'en him thirty-three. 

They hacket off his hands and feet, 
And left him lying on the lee. 

Now, Parcy Reed, we've paid our debt, 
Ye canna weel dispute the tale. 

Tlie Crosiers said, and off they fade 
They rade the airt o' Liddesdale. 


It was the hour o' gloamin' gray, 

When herds come in frae fauld and pen ; 

A herd he saw a huntsman lie, 

Says he, can this be Laird Troughen' ? 

There's some will ca' me Parcy Reed, 
And some will ca' me Laird Troughen' ; 

It's little matter what they ca' me, 
My faes hae made me ill to ken. 

There's some will ca' me Parcy Reed, 
And speak my praise in tower and town ; 

It's little matter what they do now, 
My life-blood rudds the heather brown. 

There's some will ca' me Parcy Reed, 

And a' my virtues say and sing ; 
I would much rather have just now 

A draught o' water frae the spring ! 

The herd flung aff his clouted shoon, 

And to the nearest fountain ran ; 
He made his bonnet serve a cup, 

And wan the blessing o' the dying man. 

Now, honest herd, ye maun do mair, 

Ye maun do mair as I ye tell ; 
Ye maun bear tidings to Troughend, 

And bear likewise my last farewell. 

A farewell to my wedded wife, 

A farewell to my brother John, 
Wha sits into the Troughend tower, 

Wi' heart as black as any stone. 

A farewell to my daughter Jean, 

A farewell to my young sons five ; 
Had they been at their father's hand, 

I had this night been man alive. 

A farewell to my followers a', 

And a' my neighbours gude at need 
Bid them think how the treacherous Ha's 

Betrayed the life o' Parcy Reed. 

The laird o' Clennel bears my bow, 

The laird o' Brandon bears my brand ; 
Whene'er they ride i' the border side, 

They'll mind the fate o' the laird Troughend. 423 

[Traditional. From Scottish Tradit onal Versions of Ancient Ballads.' This ver ion is 
substituted for the one intended to have been given from Jamieson's ' Popular Ballads and 
So gs,' both as being better in itself, and less known.] 


YOUNG Bondwell was a squire's ae son, 
And a squire's ae son was he; 

He went abroad to a foreign land, 
To serve for meat and fee. 

He hadna been in that countrie 

A twalmonth and a day, 
Till he was cast in a prison strang, 

For the sake of a lovely may. 

O! if my father get word o' this, 
At hame in his ain countrie, 

He'll send red gowd for my relief, 
And a bag o' white monie! 

O! gin an earl would borrow me, 

At his bridle I wad rin; 
Or gin a widow wad borrow me, 

I'd swear to be her son. 

Or gin a may wad borrow me, 

I'd wed her wi' a ring, 
Infeft her wi' the ha's an bowers 

O' the bonny towers o' Linne. 

But it fell ance upon a day, 
Dame Essels she thought lang; 

And she is to the jail-house door 
To hear young Bondwell's sang. 

Sing on, sing on, my bonny Bondwell, 
The sang ye sang just noo; 

I never sang the sang, ladye, 
But I wad was't on you. 

O! gin my father get word o' this, 
At hame in his ain countrie, 

He'll send red gowd for my relief, 
An' a baar o' white monie! 


0! gin an earl wad borrow me, 

At his bridle I wad rin; 
Or gin a widow wad borrow me, 

I'd swear to be her son. 

Or gin a may wad borrow me, 

I wad wed her wi' her ring; 
Infeft her wi' the ha's and bouirs 

O' the bonny towers o' Linne. 

She's stole the keys o' the jail-house door, 

Where under the bed they lay; 
She's opened to him the jail-house door, 

And set young Bondwell free. 

She gae 'm a steed was swift in need, 

A saddle o' royal bend, 
A hunner pund o' pennies round, 

Bade him gae rove an' spend. 

A couple o' hounds o' ae litter, 

And Caen they ca'd the ane; 
Twa gay goss-hawks she gae likeways, 

To keep him on thought lang. 

When mony days were past and gane 

Dame Essels thought fu' lang; 
And she is to her lanely bouir, 

To shorten her wi' a sang. 

The sang had sic a melodic, 

It lull'd her fast asleep; 
Up starts a woman clad in green, 

And stood at her bed feet. 

Win up, win up, Dame Essels, she says, 

This day ye sleep ower lang; 
The morn is the squire's weddin' day, 

In the bonny towers o' Linne. 

Ye'll dress yoursel* in the robes o' green, 

Your maids in robes sae fair; 
And ye'll put girdles about their middles, 

Sae costly, rich, and rare. 

Ye'll take your Maries alang wi' ye, 

Till ye come to yon strand; 
There ye'll see a ship wi' sails a' up 

Come sailin' to dry land. 425 



Ye'll take a wand into your hand, 
Ye'll stroke her round about; 

And ye'll take God your pilot to be, 
To drown ye'll take nae doubt. 

Then up it raise her, Dame Essels, 
Sought water to wash her hands; 

But aye the faster that she washed 
The tears they trickling ran. 

Then in it came her father dear, 

And in the floor steps he, 
What ails Dame Essels, my dochter dear, 

Ye weep sae bitterlie? 

Want ye a sma' fish frae the flood, 

Or turtle frae the sea? 
Or is there a man in a' my realm 

This day has offended thee? 

I want nae sma' fish frae the flood, 

Nor turtle frae the sea; 
But young Bondwell, your ain prisoner, 

This day has offended me. 

Her father turn'd him round about, 

A solemn oath sware he, 
If this be true ye tell me now, 

High hangit he shall be. 

To-morrow mornin' he shall be 

Hung high upon a tree: 
Dame Essels whispered to hersel, 

Father, ye've tauld a lee. 

She dress'd hersel in robes o' green, 

Her maids in robes so fair; 
Wi' gowden girdles round their middles, 

Sae costly, rich, and rare. 

She's taen her mantle her about, 

A maiden in every hand; 
They saw a ship in sails a' up 

Come sailin' to dry land. 

She's taen a wand intill her hand, 
And stroked her round about; 

And she's taen God her pilot to be, 
To drown she took nae doubt. 


So they sail'd on, and farther on, 

Till to the water o' Tay, 
There they spied a bonny little boy 

Was waterin' his steeds sae gay. 

What news, what news, my little boy? 

What news hae ye to me? 
Are there any weddins in this place? 

Or any gaun to be? 

There is a weddin in this place, 

A weddin very soon; 
The morn's the young squire's weddin day, 

In the bonny towers o' Linne. 

then she walked alang the way, 
To see what cou'd be seen; 

And there she saw the proud porter, 
Drest in a mantle green. 

What news, what news, porter? she said, 

What news hae ye to me? 
Are there any weddins i' this place? 

Or any gaun to be? 

There is a weddin i' this place? 

A weddin very soon, 
The morn's young Bond well's weddin' day, 

The bonny squire o' Linne. 

Gae to your master, porter, she said, 

Gae ye right speedilie; 
Bid him come and speak wi' a may, 

That wishes his face to see. 

The porter's up to his master gone, 

Fell low down on his knee; 
Win up, win up, my porter, he said, 

Why bow ye low to me? 

1 hae been porter at your yetts 

These thirty years and three; 
But fairer mays than's at them now 
My eyes did never see. 

The foremost she is drest in green, 

The rest in fine attire; 
Wi' gowden girdles round their middles, 

Well worth a sheriff's hire. 



Then out it speaks Bondwell's ain bride, 

Was a' gowd to the chin; 
They canno' be fairer thereone, she says, 

Than we that are herein. 

There is a difference, my dame, he said, 
'Tween that ladye's colour and yours; 

As much difference as ye were a stock, 
She o' the lily flowers. 

Then out it spaks him young Bondwell, 

An angry man was he, 
Cast up the yetts, baith wide an' braid, 

These ladyes I may see. 

Quickly up stairs dame Essel's gane, 
Her maidens next her wi'; 

Then said the bride, This ladye's face 
Shows the porter's tauld na lee. 

The ladye unto Bondwell spake, 
These words pronounced she: 

Oh! hearken, hearken, fause Bondwell 
These words that I tell thee. 

Is this the way ye keep your vows, 

That ye did make to me; 
When your feet were in iron fetters, 

Ae foot ye cou'dna flee? 

I stole the keys o' the jail-house door, 
Frae under the bed they lay, 

And open'd up the jail-house door, 
Set you at liber tie; 

Gae ye a steed was swift in need, 

A saddle o' royal bend ; 
A hunner pund o' pennies round, 

Bade you gae rove an' spend, 

A couple o' hounds o' ae litter, 

Caen they caa'd the ane; 
Twa gay goss-hawks as swift's e'er flew, 

To keep ye on thought lang. 

But since this day ye've broke your vows, 

For which ye're sair to blame; 
And since nae mare I'll get o' you, 
428 O, Caen! will ye gae hame? 


0, Caen! O, Caen! the ladye cried, 

And Caen he did her ken; 
They baith flapt round the ladye's knee, 

Like a couple o' armed men. 

He's to his bride wi' hat in hand, 

And hail'd her courteouslie. 
Sit down by me, my bonny Bondwell, 

What makes this courtesie? 

An askin', an askin', fair ladye, 

An askin' ye'll grant me. 
Ask on, ask on, my bonny Bondwell, 

What may your askin be? 

Five hundred pund to ye I'll gie, 

O' gowd an' white monee, 
If ye'll wed John, my ain cousin, 

He looks as fair as me. 

Keep well your monie, Bondwell, she said, 

Nae monie I ask o' thee; 
Your cousin John was my first love, 

My husband now he's be. 

Bondwell was married at morning air, 

John in the afternaun; 
Dame Essels is ladye ower a' the bouirs, 

And the hierh towers o' 


[This is ' an English traditional version of a ballad 
which,' as is remarked hy Mr. Dixon, (' Scottish Tra 
ditional Versions ef Ancient Ballads,') ' exists in a 
variety of forms, both in England and Scotland, and 
is well known by the titles of ' Lord Bateman,' ' Lord 
Beichan,' ' Young Beichan and Susie Pye, ' ' Young 
Bekie,' ' Young Bondwell,' &c.' The ballad was first 
brought before the antiquarian world by Jamieson, 
who, in his ' Popular Ballads and Songs,' (ii. 1 17,) gave 
two oral versions, taken down from the recitation of 
the late Mrs. Brown, of Falkland. This very inte 
resting story,' says Mr. Dixon, 'does not appear to 
have previously existed in print, except in the form 
of the common stall broadside of ' Lord Bateman.' 
In this, ' the hero is represented as a Northumbrian, 
having large possessions in his native county,' agree 
ably to a ' tradition that he was one of the ancient 
and noble V. order family of Bartram or Bertram, a 
race now extinct, but of whom it could have been 
truly asserted, in their palmy days, that half 
Northumberland be'onged 10 them.' The present 
version of the ballad was communicated by Mr. 
Dixon to The Local Historian's Table-Book,' 
1842 ; and is included in his ' Ancient Poems," &c., 
(supra) from whence it is, by his permission, here 

ORD Beichan he was a noble lord, 
A noble lord of high degree, 

He shipped himself on board a ship, 
He longed strange countries for to see. 


He sailed east, he sailed west, 
Until he came to proud Turkey, 

Where he was ta'en by a savage Moor, 
Who handled him right cruellie. 

For he viewed the fashions of that land, 
Their way of worship viewed he; 

But to Mahound or Termagant 
Would Beichan never bend a knee. 

So on each shoulder they've putten a bore, 
In each bore they've putten a tye; 

And they have made him trail the wine 
And spices on his fair bodie. 

They've casten him in a donjon deep, 
Where he could neither hear nor see; 

For seven long years they've kept him there, 
Till he for hunger's like to dee. 

And 'in his prison a tree there grew, 
So stout and strong there grew a tree; 

And unto it was Beichan chained, 
Until his life was most weary. 

This Turk he had one only daughter 
Fairer creature did eyes ne'er see; 

And every day, as she took the air, 
Near Beichan's prison passed she. 

[And bonny, meek, and mild, was she, 
Though she was come of an ill kin; 

And oft she sighed, she knew not why, 
For him that lay the donjon in.] 

O ! so it fell upon a day 

She heard young Beichan sadly sing : 
[And aye and ever in her ears 

The tones of hapless sorrow ring.] 

My hounds they all go inasterless; 

My hawks they fly from tree to tree; 
My younger brother will heir my land; 

Fair England again I'll never see. 

And all night long no rest she got, 

Young Beichan's song for thinking on: 
She's stown the keys from her father's head. 
And to the prison strong is gone. 


And she has oped the prison doors, 
I wot she opened two or three, 

Ere she could come young Beichan at, 
He was lockt up so curiouslie. 

But when she came young Beichan before, 
Sore wondered he that maid to see! 

He took her for some fair captive 
Fair Ladye, I pray, of what countrie ? 

Have you got houses ? have you got lands ? 

Or does Northumberland 'long to thee ? 
What could ye give to the fair young ladye 

That out of prison would set you free ? 

I have got houses, I have got lands, 
And half Northumberland 'longs to me; 

I'll give them all to the ladye fair 
That out of prison will set me free v 

Near London town I have a hall, 
With other castles, two or three; 

111 give them all to the ladye fair 
That out of prison will set me free. 

Give me the troth of your right hand, 

The troth of it give unto me; 
That for seven years yell no ladye wed, 

Unless it be along with me. 

Ill give thee the troth of my right hand, 

The troth of it 111 freely gie, 
That for seven years 111 stay unwed, 

For kindness thou dost show to me. 

And she has bribed the proud warder 
With golden store, and white money; 

She's gotten the keys of the prison strong, 
And she has set young Beichan free. 

She's gi'en him to eat the good spice cake, 

She's gi'en him to drink the blood-red wine; 
And every health she drank unto him, 

I wish, Lord Beichan, that you were mine : 
4oid she's bidden him sometimes think on her, 
132 That so kindly freed him out of pine. 


She's broken a ring from her finger, 

And to Beichan half of it gave she, 
Keep it to mind you of that love 

The lady bore that set you free. 

O ! she took him to her father's harbour, 

And a ship of fame to him gave she; 
Farewell, farewell, to you, Lord Beichan, 

Shall I e'er again you see ? 

Set your foot on the good ship board, 

And haste ye back to your own countrie; 

And before seven years have an end, 
Come back again, love, and marry me. 

Now seven long years are gone and past, 

And sore she longed her love to see; 
For ever a voice within her breast 

Said, Beichan has broken his vow to thee. 
So she's" set her foot on the good ship board, 

And turned her back on her own countrie. 

She sailed east, she sailed west, 

Till to fair England's shore came she; 
Where a bonny shepherd she espied, 

Feeding his sheep upon the lea. 

What news, what news, thou bonnie shepherd ? 

What news hast thou to tell to me? 
Such news I hear, ladye, he said, 

The like never was in this countrie. 

There is a weddin' in yonder hall, 

Has lasted thirty days and three; 
But young Lord Beichan won't bed with his bride, 

For love of one that's ayond the sea. 

She's putten her hand in her pocket, 

Gi'en him the gold and white money; 
Here, tak' ye that, my bonnie boy, 

For the good news thou tellst to me. 

When she came to Lord Beichan's gate, 

She tirled softly at the pin; 
And ready was the proud warder 

To open and let this ladye in. 

2 F 433 



When she came to Lord Beichan's castle, 

So boldly she rang the bell; 
Who's there? who's there? cried the proud porter, 

Who's there? unto me come tell. 

O! is this Lord Beichan's castle? 

Or is that noble lord within? 
Yea, he is in the hall among them all, 

And this is the day of his weddin'. 

And has he wed anither love? 

And has he clean forgotten me? 
And sighing said that ladye gay, 

I wish I was in my own countrie. 

And she has ta'en her gay gold ring, 
That with her love she brake so free; 

Gie him that, ye proud porter, 
And bid the bridegroom speak to me. 

Tell him to send me a slice of bread, 

And a cup of blood-red wine, 
And not to forget the fair young ladye 

That did release him out of pine. 

Away and away went the proud porter, 
Away and away and away went he, 

Until he came to Lord Beichan's presence, 
Down he fell on his bended knee. 

What aileth thee, my proud porter, 
Thou art so full of courtesie? 

I've been porter at your gates 
Its thirty long years now and three, 

But there stands a lady at them now, 
The like of her I ne'er did see. 

For on every finger she has a ring, 
And on her mid-finger she has three; 

And as much gay gold above her brow 
As would an earldom buy to me; 

And as much gay clothing round about her 
As would buy all Northumberlea. 

It's out then spak' the bride's mother, 
Aye, and an angry woman was she, 

Ye might have excepted the bonnie bride, 
And two or three of our companie. 


0! hold your tongue, ye silly frow, 

Of all your folly let me be; 
She's ten times fairer than the bride, 

And all that's in your companie. 

She asks one sheave of my lord's white bread, 

And a cup of his red red wine; 
And to remember the ladye's love 

That kindly freed him out of pine. 

Lord Beichan then in a passion flew, 
And broke his sword in splinters three: 

O! well a day! did Beichan say, 
That I so soon have married thee! 

For it can be none but dear Saphia, 
That's crost the deep for love of me ! 

And quickly hied he down the stair, 

Of fifteen steps he made but three; 
He's ta'en his bonnie love in his arms, 

And kist, and kist her tenderlie. 

O! have ye taken another bride? 

And have ye quite forgotten me? 
And have ye quite forgotten one 

That gave you life and libertie? 

She's looked o'er her left shoulder, 

To hide the tears stood in her ee; 
Now fare-thee-well, young .Beichan, she says, 

I'll try to think no more on thee. 

O! never, never, my Saphia, 

For surely this can never be; 
Nor ever shall I wed but her 

That's done and dreed so much for me. 

Then out and spak' the forenoon bride: 

My Lord, your love is changed soon ; 
At morning I am made your bride, 

And another' s chose, ere it be noonl 

O! sorrow not, thou forenoon bride, 

Our hearts could ne'er united be; 
Ye must return to your own countrie; 

A double dower I'll send with thee. 



And up and spak' the young bride's mother, 
Who never was heard to speak so free, 

And so you treat my only daughter, 
Because Saphia has crost the sea. 

I own I made a bride of your daughter, 
She's ne'er a whit the worse for me, 

She came to me with her horse and saddle, 
She may go back with her coach and three. 

He's ta'en Saphia by the hand, 
And gently led her up and down; 

And aye as he kist her rosy lips, 

Ye're welcome, dear one, to your own. 

He's ta'en her by the milk-white hand, 
And led her to yon fountain stane; 

Her name he's changed from Saphia, 

And he's called his bonnie love Lady Jane. 

Lord Beichan prepared another marriage, 
And sang with heart so full of glee; 

111 range no more in foreign countries, 
Now since my love has crost the sea, 

43 fi 


[This ballad is taken from ' Songs and Ballads rela 
tive to the London Prentices and Trades,' &c., edited 
for the Percy Society by Charles Mackay, Esq. 'It 
would appear,' says Mr. Mackay, ' to have been first 
published at Edinburgh, in 1683, in a small duodecimo 
vrao.t of twenty-four pages, and has since been (very 
incorrectly) printed in the first volume of the Harleian 
Miscellany. The local allusions are interesting at this 
distance of time, and the satire is of such a character 
as never to be out of date. The idea seems to have 
been suggested by Lydgate's ballad of ' London Lack- 
penny.' '] 

HAVE been quite through England wide 
With many a faint and weary stride, 
To see what people there abide 

That love me, 

Poor Robin Conscience is my name, 
A Sore vexed with reproach and blame, 
] J For all wherever yet I came 

Reprove me. 


Few now endure my presence here, 
I shall be banishd quite I fear, 
I am despised every where, 

And scorned, 

Yet is my fortune now and then 
To meet some good woman or man, 
Who have, when they my woes did scan, 

Sore mourned. 

To think that Conscience is despised, 
Which ought to be most highly prized, 
This trick the devil hath devised 

To blind men, 

'Cause Conscience tells them of their ways, 
Which are so wicked now-a-days, 
They stop their ears to what he says; 

Unkind men! 

I first of all went to the court, 
Where lords and ladies did resort, 
My entertainment there was short; 

Cold welcome! 

As soon as e'er my name they heard, 
They ran away full sore afeard, 
And thought some goblin had appeard, 

From hell come. 

'Conscience,' quoth one, 'begone with speed, 
The court few of thy name doth breed, 
We of thy presence have no need; 

Be walking; - 

Thou tellst us of our pride and lust, 
Which spite of thee we follow must.' 
So out of court was Conscience thrust, 

No talking. 

Thus banished from the court, I went 
To Westminster incontinent, 
Where I, alas, was sorely shent 

For coming; 

The lawyers did against me plead; 
1 'Twas no great matter,' some there said, 
' If Conscience quite were knocked in th' head.' 

Then running 



From them I fled with winged haste; 
They did so threaten me to baste, 
Thought it was vain my breath to waste 

In counsel. 

For lawyers cannot me abide, 
Because for falsehood I them chide, 
And he that holds not on their side 

Must down still. 

Unto the city hied I then, 

To try what welcome there tradesmen 

Would give poor Robin Conscience; when 

I came there, 

The shop-keepers that use deceit 
Did come about me and did threat, 
Unless I would begone, to beat 

Me lame there 

And every one, both high and low, 
Held Conscience as a mortal foe, 
Because he doth ill vices show 

Each minute. 

Therefore the city in uproar 
Against me rose, and me so tore 
That I'm resolved I'll never more 

Come in it. 

On Friday I to Smithfield went, 
Where being come, incontinent 
The horse-coursers with one consent 

Did chide me; 

They said that I was not myself, 
And said I was a pinching elf, 
And they could get more store of pelf, 

Beside me. 

I told them of a cheating trick 
Which makes the horses run and kick, 
By putting in an eel that's quick 

I' th' belly; 

Another which they use full oft 
To bear their lame jades' heads aloft, 
And beat their buttocks till they're soft 

As jelly. 



I told them that their wealth would rot, 
That they by cheating men thus got, 
But they for this same tale would not 

Abide me, 

And charged me quickly to begone; 
Quoth they, ' Of Conscience we use none;' 
Those whom I follow with my mone 

Out- ride me. 

From thence I stept into Long Lane, 
Where many brokers did remain, 
To try how they would entertain 

Poor Conscience 

But my name when I to them told, 
The women did begin to scold, 
The men said they that word did hold 

But nonsense. 

For Conscience is so hard a word 
That scarce the broker can afford 
To read it, for his mouth is stored 

With lying; 

He knows not what this Conscience means, 
That is no cause unto his gains; 
Thus I was scorned for my pains; 

All crying, 

' Away with Conscience from this lane, 
For we his presence do disdain:' 
They said if I came there again 

Among them, 

They said they'd band me back and side; 
Being menaced, away I hied; 
Thus wordlings think that, when I chide, 

I wrong them. 

Among the butchers then went I: 
As soon as e'er they did me spy, 
They threatened me most spitefully 

To kill me; 

Quoth one, 'If Conscience here should dwell, 
We were not able to live well, 
Nor could we gain by the meat we sell; 
440 Nor will we 


Be bound to follow Conscience nice, 
Which would confine us to a price; 
Robin, be ruled by my advice, 

(Quoth he then) 

And get thee to some other place; 
We hate to look thee in the face:' 
I, hearing this, from them a-pace 

Did flee then. 

To Newgate Market went I then, 
Where country-women, maids, and men, 
Were selling needful things; and when 

They saw me, 

At me the butter-woman rails, 
Whose butter weighd not down the scales; 
Another comes, and with her nails 

Did claw me. 

The bakers which stood in a row 
Began to brawl at me also, 
And charged me away to go, 

Because I 

Told them they did make lesser bread; 
Did not the laws put them in dread; 
There's some of them would wish them dead, 

Might laws die. 

Thus chid of them, my way I took 
Unto Pye-corner, where a cook 
Glanced at me as the devil did look 

O'er Lincoln. 

' Conscience,' quoth he, ' thou shewst no wit 
In coming to this place unfit; 
I'll run thee thorow with a spit; 

Then think on 

These words to thee which I have said, 
I cannot well live by my trade, 
If I should still require thy aid 

In selling: 

Sometimes one joint I must roast thrice, 
Ere I can sell it at my price; 
.Then here's for thee, who art so nice, 

No dwelling.' 441 


Perforce he drove me backward still, 

Until I came unto Snow-hill; 

The sale-men there, with voices shrill, 

Fell on me. 

I was so irksome in their sight, 
That they conjured me to flight, 
Or else they swore (such was their spight), 

They'd stone me. 

At Turn-again Lane the fish-wives there 

And wenches did so rail and swear, 

Quoth they, ' No Conscience shall come here, 

We hate him;' 

Their bodges which for half-pecks go, 
They vowed at my head to throw ; 
No Conscience they were bred to know, 

But prating. 

Away then frighted by these scolds, 

To Fleet Street straight my love it holds, 

Where men, whose tongues were made in moulds 

Of flattery, 

Did cry, ' What lack you, countryman?' 
But seeing me away they ran, 
As though the enemy had began 

His battery. 

One said to others, * Sir, ill news, 
Here Conscience comes us to abuse, 
Let us his presence all refuse 


And boldly stand against him all; 
We ne'er had use of him, nor shall 
He live with us; what chance did call 

Him hither?' 

The haberdashers that sell hats, 
Hit Robin Conscience many pats, 
And like a company of cats 

They scratcht him. 

Quoth they, < Why comest thou unto us? 
We love not Conscience;' rufing thus, 
They gave him words opprobious, 

And matcht him. 


The mercers and silk-men also, 

That live in Paternoster Row, 

Their hate against poor Conscience show, 

And when I 

Came to that place they all did set 
On me, 'cause I their gain would let, 
Who will both swear and lie to get 

One penny. 

From thence unto Cheapside I past, 
Where words in vain I long did waste, 
Out of the place I soon was chased: 

Quoth one man, 

' Conscience, for thy presumption base, 
Intruding to this golden place, 
Thou death deservest, therefore a-pace 
Begone, man! 

Thinkst thou that we have so much gold 
Before our eyes still to behold, 
Will by this Conscience be controlled 

And curbed? 

O, no! poor fellow, haste away, 
For if long in this place thou stay, 
Thou shalt be (I'll be bold to say) 


From thence I turned down Bread Street, 
A cheese-monger I there did meet, 
He hied away with winged feet 

To shun me; 

* How, now,' quoth I, ' why run ye so?' 
Quoth he, ' Because I well do know, 
That thou art Conscience, my old foe; 

Thou'st done me 

Great wrong: while I made use of thee, 
And dealt with all men honestly, 
A rich man I could never be; 

But since then 
I banisht have thy company, 
And used deceit with those that buy, 
I thrive; and therefore, Robin, hie 

Thee hence then.' 


I left him with his bad intent, 

And unto Fish Street straight I went, 

Among those lads who wish that Lent 

Were all year. 

As soon as e'er they me espy'd, 
They all at once upon me cry'd, 
And swore that Conscience should not guide, 

A stall there. 

I seeing things thus seeming strange 
That all men did from goodness range, 
Did hie me straight to the Exchange. 

A merchant 

Was so affrighted when I came, 
That presently he blusht for shame, 
His countenance did show the same 

In searchant. 

Quoth he, ' Friend Robin, what dost thou 
Here among us merchants now? 
Our business will not allow 

To use thee; 

For we have traffic without thee, 
And thrice best if thou absent be; 
I for my part will utterly 

Refuse thee.' 

Now I, being thus abused below, 
Did walk up stairs, where on a row 
Brave shops of ware did make a show 

Most sumptuous. 

But when the shop-folk me did spy, 
They drew their dark light instantly, 
And said, in coming there, was I 


The gallant girls that there sold knacks, 
Which ladies and brave women lacks, 
When they did see me, they did wax 
In choler. 

Quoth they, ' We ne'er knew Conscience yet, 
And, if he conies our gains to let, 
We'll banish him; he'll here not get 
444 One scholar.' 


I, being jeered thus and scornd, 

Went down the stairs, and sorely mournd, 

To think that I should thus be turned 

A begging. 

To Grace-church Street I went along, 
Where dwell a great ungracious throng, 
That will deceive both old and young 

With cogging; 

As drapers, poulterers, and such, 
Who think they never get too much; 
The word Conscience to them is Dutch, 

Or Spanish; 

And harder too, for speech they'll learn, 
With all their heart, to save their turn, 
But Conscience, when they him discern, 

They banish. 

1, seeing all the city given 

To use deceit, in spight of heaven, 

To leave their company I was driven, 

Perforce then; 

So over London Bridge in haste 
I, hisst and scoft of all men, past: 
Then I to Southwark took at last 

My course then. 

When I came there, I hoped to find 
Welcome according to my mind: 
But they are rather more unkind 

Than London. 

All sorts of men and women there 
Askt how I durst to them appear, 
And swore my presence they would clear 


Then I, being sore athirst, did go 
Into an alehouse in the Row, 
Meaning a penny to bestow 

On strong beer. 

But, 'cause I for a quart did call, 
My hostess swore she'd bring me small, 
Or else I should have none at all. 

Thus wronged ther ;, 



I bade her on her licence look, 

' O Sir,' quoth she, ' ye are mistook, 

I have a lesson without book 

Most perfect. 

If I my licence should observe, 
And not in any point to swerve, 
Both I and mine, alas! should starve, 

Not surfeit. 

Instead of a quart-pot of pewter, 
I fill small jugs, and need no tutor; 
I quart'ridge give to the geometer 

Most duly; 

And he will see, and yet be blind; 
A knave, made much of, will be kind; 
If you be one, sir, tell your mind 

Most truly. 

' No, no,' quoth I, ' I am no knave, 
No fellowship with such I have; 
My name is Robin Conscience brave, 

That wander 

From place to place, in hope that some 
Will as a servant give me room; 
But all abuse me, where I come, 

With slander/ 

Now when my hostess heard me tell 
My name, she swore I should not dwell 
With her, for I would make her sell 

Full measure. 

She did conjure me to depart; 
' Hang Conscience,' quoth she, give me art; 
I have not got by a penny a quart, 

My treasure.' 

So out of doors I went with speed, 
And glad she was to be thus freed 
Of Conscience, that she thence might speed 

In frothing. 

To the King's Bench I needs would go; 
The jailer did me backward throw: 
Quoth he, 'For Conscience here ye know 

Is nothing.' 


Through Blackman Street I went, where whores 

Stood gazing there at many doors; 

There two or three bawds against me roars 

Most loudly: 

And bade me to get thence apace, 
Or else they'd claw me by the face; 
They swore they scorned me and all grace 

Most proudly. 

I walkt into St. George's field, 
Where rooking rascals I beheld, 
That all the year their hopes did build 

On cheating; 

They were close playing at nine pins, 
I came and told them of their sins: 
Then one among the rest begins, 

In treating 

That I would not torment them so. 

I told them that I would not go: 

"Why then,' quoth he, ' I'll let thee know 

We care not; 

And yet we'll banish thee perforce.' 
Then he began to swear and curse, 
And said, ' Prate on till thou art hoarse, 

And spare not.' 

I left them in their wickedness, 
And went along in great distress, 
Bewailing of my bad success 

And speed. 

A windmill standing there hard by, 
Towards the same then passed I; 
But when the miller did me spy, 

He cryed, 

' Away with Conscience, I'll none such, 
That dwell with honesty so much, 
I shall not quickly fill my hutch 

By due toll; 

But must for every bushel of meal 
A peck, if not three gallons, steal; 
Therefore with thee I will not deal, 

Thou true soul.* 


Then leaving cities, skirts and all, 
Where my welcome it was but small, 
I went to try what would befall 

I' th' country. 

There thought I to be entertained, 
But I was likewise there disdained, 
As long as bootless I complained 

To th' gentry. 

And yet no service could I have; 
Yet, if I would have play'd the knave, 
I might have had maintainance brave 

Among them. 

Because that I was Conscience poor, 
Alas! they thrust me out of door, 
For Conscience many of them swore 

Did wrong them. 

Then went I to the yeomanry, 
And farmers all of the countrey, 
Desiring them most heartily 

To take me: 

1 told them I would sell their corn 
Unto the poor; but they did turn 
Me out of doors, and with great scorn 

Forsake me. 

One said, he had no use of me 
To sell his corn ; ' for I,' quoth he, 
' Must not be only ruled by thee 

In selling. 

If I shall Conscience entertain, 
He'd make me live in crossing grain, 
Here is for thee, I tell thee plain, 

No dwelling.' 

Thus from the rich men of the world 
Poor Conscience up and down is hurled, 
Like angry cats at me they snarled, 

And checkt me. 

Alas! what shall I do, thought I. 
Poor Robin, must I starve and die? 
Aye, that I must, if nobody 
448 Respect me. 


At last I to myself bethought 

Where I must go, and heaven brought 

Me to a place where poor folks wrought 

Most sorely; 

And there they entertained me well, 
"With whom I ever mean to dwell, 
With them to stay it thus befel, 

Though poorly. 

Thus people that do labour hard, 
Have Robin Conscience in regard, 
For which they shall have their reward 

In heaven; 

For all their sorrows here on earth, 
They shall be filled with true mirth; 
Crowns shall to them at second birth 

Be given. 

And all these caitiffs that denyM 
To entertain him for their guide, 
When they by Conscience shall be tried 

And judged, 

Then will they wish that they had used 
Poor Conscience, whom they have refused, 
Whose company they have abused 

And grudged. 

Thus Robin Conscience, that hath had 
Amongst most men a welcome bad, 
He now hath found to make him glad, 


'Mong honest folks that hath no lands, 
But get their living with their hands, 
These are the friends that to him stands 

And 's guiding. 

These still keep Conscience from grim death, 
And ne'er gainsay whate'er he saith; 
These lead their lives so here beneath, 
That, dying, 

They may ascend from poverty 
To glory and great dignity, 
Where they shall live and never die; 

2 G While frying 


In hell the wicked lie, who would 

Not use true Conscience as they should. 

This is but for a moral told 

You; in it 

He that observes may somewhat spy 
That savours of divinity, 
For conscionable folks do I 

Begin it. 

And so I'll bring all to an end: 

It can nt) honest man offend, 

For those that Conscience do defend, 

It praises. 

And if that any gall'd jade kick, 
The author hath devised a trick, 
To turn him loose, i' th' fields to pick 

Up daisies. 



[This ballad, Mr. DUon informs the Editor, has long been sung iu Pendle Forest, Lanca 
shire, and the neighbourhood, having been handed down by tradition. It was first printed by , 
Peter Whittle, F.S.A., of Preston, Lancashire, whose copy was taken from the recitation of a 
Lancashire fiddler. There are various versions, but the differences between them are uiau*- 

APOLLO with his radiant beams, 

Inflamed the aire so faire, 
Phaeton, with his fiery teames, 

The heat of wars did beare, 
The day was hot, the evening coole, 

And pleasures did abound: 
And meads with many a chrystal poole, 

Did yield a joyful sound. 

This fragrant time to pleasures prest, 

Myself for to solace, 
I walk'd forth as I thought best, 

Into a private place. 
And as I went, myself alone, 

There came to my presence 
A friend, who seem'd to make great moan, 

And said, ' Go get you hence.' 

'Alas! good sir, what is the cause 

You this have said to me?' 
' Indeed,' he said, ' the Prince's lawes 

Will bear no more with thee: 
For Bishop Younge will summon thee; 

You must to his presence: 
For In this lande you cannot live, 
And keep your conscience.' 

* I am told, I must not ride; 
What is my best to dor" 
' Good Sir, here you must not abide, 

Unless to Church you go, 
Or, else to Preston you must wende, 

For here is no residence; 
For in this lande you have no friend 
To keep your conscience.' 


Then did I thinke it was the best 

For me in time to provide: 
For Bishop Younge would me molest^ 

If here I should abide, 
Then did I cause my men to prepare 

A ship for my defence, 
For in this lande I could not fare, 

And keep my conscience. 

When my ship that it was hired, 

My men returned againe, 
The time was almost full expired 1 , 

That here I should remaine; 
To Preston town I should have gone 

To make recognizance; 
For other helps perceived I none, 

But keept my conscience. 

To lovely Lea, then I me hied, 

And Hoghton bade farewell: 
It was more time for me to ride, 

Than longer there to dwell. 
I durst not trust my dearest friend, 

But secretly stole hence, 
To take the fortune God should send, 

And keep my conscience. 

When to the sea I came until, 

And passed by the gate, 
My cattle all with voices shrill, 

As if they'd mourned my fate, 
Did leap and roar as if they had 

Understood my diligence: 
It seem'd my cause they understood, 

Thro' God's good providence. 

At Hoghton high, which is a bower 

Of sports and Lordly pleasure; 
I wept and left that lofty tower, 

Which was my chiefest treasure. 
To save my soule and lose the rest, 

It was my true pretence: 
Like frighted bird, I left my 

To keep my conscience. 


Thus took I there my leave, alas! 

And rode to the sea side; 
Into the ship I hied apace, 

Which did for me abide. 
With sighs, I sailed from merry England, 

I asked of none Licence: 
Wherefore my estate fell from my hand, 

And was forfeit to my Prince. 

Thus merry England that I've left, 

And cut the raging sea, 
Whereof the waves have me bereft, 

Of my so deare country. 
With sturdy storms and blustering blast, 

We were in great suspence; 
Full sixteen days and nights the last, 

And all for my conscience. 

When on the shore I was arrived, 

Thro' France I took my way; 
And into Antwerp I me hied, 

In hope to make my stay. 
When to the city I did come, 

I thought that my absence 
Would to my men be cumbersome, 

Tho' they made me no offence. 

At Hoghton, where I used to rest, 

Of men I had greate store, 
Full twenty Gentlemen at least, 

Of Yeomen good threescore. 
And of them all, I brought but two 

With me, when I came thence; 
I left them all the world knows how, 

To keep my conscience. 

But when my men came to me still, 

Lord! how rejoiced I, 
To see them with so good a will, 

To leave their own country! 
Both friends and kin they did forsake, 

And all for my presence; 
Alive or dead, amends I'll make, 

And give them recompence. 



But fortune had me so bereft 

Of all my goods and lands, 
That for my men nothing was left, 

But at my brethren's hands. 
Then did I think the truth to prove, 

Whilst I was in absence, 
That I might try their constant love, 

And keep my conscience. 

When to my Brethren I had sent, v 

The welcome that they made, 
Was false reports me to present, 

Which made my conscience sad. 
My brethren all did thus me crosse, 

And little regard my fall, 
Save only one, that rued my loss, 

That is Richard, of Parke Hall. 

He was the comfort that I had, 

I proved his diligence; 
He was as just, as they were bad, 

Which cheered my conscience; 
When this report of them I heard, 

My heart was sore with griefe, 
In that my purpose was so marred, 

My nen should want relief. 

Good cause I had to love my men, 

And them to recompense; 
Their lives they ventured, I know when, 

And left their dear parents. 
Then to come home straightways I meant, 

My men for to relieve; 
My Brethren sought this to prevent. 

And sums of gold did give. 

A thousand marks they offered then, 

To hinder my licence; 
That I should not come home again, 

To keep my conscience. 
But if that day I once had seen, 

My lands to have againe; 
And that my Prince had changed been, 

I would not me have staine. 


I should my men so well have paid, 
Thro' God's good providence, 

That they should ne'er have been afraid, 
To lose their due expense. 

But now my life is at an end, 

And death is at the doore, 
That grisly ghost his bow doth bend, 

And thro' my body gore, 
Which nature now must yield to clay 

And death will take me hence: 
And now I shall go where I may, 

To enjoy niy conscience. 

Faire England! now ten times adieu 

And friends that therein dwell; 
Farewell my brother Richard true, 

Whom I did love so well: 
Farewell, farewell, good people all, 

And learn experience; 
Love not too much the golden ball, 

But keep your conscience. 

All you who now this song shall heare, 

Help me for to bewail 
The wight, who scarcely had his peer, 

'Till death did him assail; 


[This ballad is taken, by permission of J. H. Dixon, Esq., 
from ' Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs, of the Peasan 
try of England, edited by li im for the Percy Society, Lon 
don, 1846. When Mr. Dion first met with it, he ' deemed 
the story to be wholly fictitious, but ' strange' as the ' rela 
tion' may appear, the incidents narrated are,' he says, 
' true,' or at least founded on fact. The scene of the ballad 
is Whitley Park, near Reading, in Berkshire. William 
Kondrick, of Whitley, armr, was created a baronet in 1679, 
and died in 1685, leaving issue one son, Sir William Ken - 
drick, of Whitley, Bart., who married Miss Mary House, of 
Beading, and died in 1699, without issue male, leaving an 
only daughter, the heroine of the ballad. She married Ben 
jamin Child, Esq., a young and handsome, but very poor 
attorney of Reading, and the marriage is traditionally re 
ported to have been brought about exactly aa related in' 
the ballad. It was celebrated in St. Mary's Church, Read 
ing, the bride wearing a thick veil. In 1714, Mr. Child was 
high sheriff of Berkshire.' Mr. Dixon, therefore, consider 
ing, ' nine or ten years to have elapsed betwixt his marriage 
and his holding that office,' would fix the date of the ballad, 
supposing the author, who is unknown, to have composed it, 
shortly after the events which it records, about 1706.' It 
was sung 'to the tune of The Royal Forester.' .Notwith 
standing this circumstantiality of detail, however, it may 
be doubted whether the ' story, of the ballad is originally 
English . Certainly it is extant in French of the sixteenth 
century, as the Editor is informed by Thomas Wright, Esq., 
M.A., the learned and zealous Secretary of the Percy Society.] 


Showing Cupid's conquest over a coy lady 

of five thousand a year. 
ACHELORS of every station, 
Mark this strange and true relation, 
"Which in brief to you I bring, 
Never was a stranger thing ! 


You shall find it worth the hearing ; 
Loyal love is most endearing, 
When it takes the deepest root, 
Yielding charms and gold to boot. 

Some will wed for love of measure ; 
But the sweetest joy and pleasure ; 
Is in faithful love, you'll find, 
Graced with a noble mind. 

Such a noble disposition 
Had this lady, with submission, 
Of whom I this sonnet write, 
Store of wealth, and beauty bright. 

She had left, by a good grannum, 
Full five thousand pounds per annum, 
Which she held without control ; 
Thus she did in riches roll. 

Though she had vast store of riches, 
Which some persons much bewitches, 
Yet she bore a virtuous mind, 
Not the least to pride inclined. 

Many noble persons courted 
This young lady, 'tis reportec , 
But their labour proved in vain, 
They could not her favour gain. 

Though she made a strong resistance, 
Yet by Cupid's true assistance, 
She was conquered after all ; 
How it was declare I shall. 

Being at a noble wedding, 
Near the famous town of Redding, 
A young gentleman she saw, 
Who belonged to the law. 

As she viewed his sweet behaviour, 
Every courteous carriage gave her 
New 'addition to her grief, 
Forced she was to seek relief. 

Privately she then enquired 

About him, so much admired ; 

Both his name, and where he dwelt, 

Such was the hot flame she felt. 457 


Then at night, this youthful lady 
Called her coach, which being ready, 
Homewards straight she did return, 
But her heart with flames did burn. 


Showing the lady's letter of a challenge to fight him upon his refusing 
to wed her in a mask, without knowing who she was. 

Night and morning, for a season, 
In her closet would she reason 
With herself, and often said, 
Why has love my heart betrayed ? 

I, that have so many slighted, 
Am at length so well requited ; 
For my griefs are not a few ! 
Now I find what love can do. 

He that has my heart in keeping, 
Though I for his sake be weeping, 
Little knows what grief I feel ; 
But I'll try it out with steel. 

For I will a challenge send him, 
And appoint where I'll attend him, 
In a grove, without delay, 
By the dawning of the day. 

He shall not the least discover, 
That I am a virgin lover, 
By the challenge which I send ; 
But for justice I contend. 

He has caused sad distraction, 
And I come for satisfaction, 
Which if he denies to give, 
One of us shall cease to live. 

Having thus her mind revealed, 
She her letter closed and sealed, 
Which, when it came to his hand, 
The young man was at a stand. 

In her letter she conjured him 
For to meet, and well assured him, 
468 Recompense he must afford, 

Or dispute it with the sword. 


Having read this strange relation, 
He was in a consternation ; 
But advising with his friend, 
He persuades him to attend. 

Be of courage, and make ready, 
Faint heart never won fair lady ; 
In regard it must be so, 
I along with you must go. 


Showing how they met by appointment in a grove, where she obliged him 
to fight or wed her. 

Early on a summer's morning, 
When bright Phoebus was adorning 
Every bower with its beams, 
The fair lady came, it seems. 

At the bottom of a mountain, 
Near a pleasant crystal fountain, 
There she left her gilded coach, 
While the grove she did approach. 

Covered with her mask, and walking, 
There she met her lover talking, 
With a friend that he had brought, 
So she asked him whom he sought. 

I am challenged by a gallant, 
Who resolves to try my talent ; 
Who he is I cannot say, 
But I hope to show him play. 

It is I that did invite you, 
You shall wed me, or I'll fight you, 
Underneath those spreading trees ; 
Therefore, choose you which you please. 

/ou shall find I do not vapour, 
I have brought my trusty rapier, 
Therefore, take your choice, said she, 
Either fight or marry me. 

Said he, Maaam, pray what mean you .' 

In my life I've never seen you ; 

Pray unmask, your visage show, 459 

Then I'll tell you ave or no. 


I will not my face uncover 
Till the marriage ties are over ; 
Therefore, choose you which you will, 
Wed me, sir, or try your skill. 

Step within that pleasant bower, 
With your friend one single hour ; 
Strive your thoughts to reconcile, 
And I'll wander here the while. 

While this beauteous lady waited ; 
The young bachelors debated 
What was best for to be done : 
Quoth his friend, The hazard run. 

If my judgment can be trusted, 
Wed her first, you can't be worsted ; 
If she's rich, you'll rise to fame, 
If she's poor, why! you're the same. 

He consented to be married ; 
All three in a coach were carried 
To a church without delay, 
Where he weds the lady gay. 

Tho* sweet pretty Cupids hovered 
Round her eyes, her face was covered 
With a mask, he took her thus, 
Just for better or for worse. 

With a courteous kind behaviour, 
She presents his friend a favour, 
And withal dismissed him straight, 
That he might no longer wait. 


Showing how they rode together in her gilded coach to her noble seat, 

or castle, fyc. 

As the gilded coach stood ready, 
The young lawyer and his lady 
Rode together, till they came 
To her house of state and fame ; 

Which appeared like a castle, 
Where you might behold a parcel 
Of young cedars, tall and straight, 
460 Just before her palace gate. 


Hand in hand they walked together, 
To a hall, or parlour, rather, 
Which was beautiful and fair, 
All alone she left him there 

Two long hours there he waited 
Her return, at length he fretted, 
And began to grieve at last, 
For he had not broke his fast. 

Still he sat like one amazed, 
Round a spacious room he gazed, 
Which was richly beautified ; 
But, alas ! he lost his bride. 

There was peeping, laughing, sneering, 
All within the lawyer's hearing ; 
But his bride he could not see ; 
Would I were at home ! thought he. 

While his heart was melancholy, 
Said the steward, brisk and jolly, 
Tell me, friend, how came you here ? 
You've some bad design, I fear. 

He replied, dear loving master, 
You shall meet with no disaster 
Through my means, in any case, 
Madam brought me to this place. 

Then the steward did retire, 
Saying, that he would enquire 
Whether it was true or no : 
Ne'er was lover hampered so. 

Now the lady who had filled him 
With those fears, full well beheld him, 
From a window, as she drest, 
PleaseM at the merry jest. 

When she had herself attired 
In rich robes to be admired, 
She appeared in his sight, 
Like a moving angel bright. 

Sir ! my servants have related, 
How some hours you have waited 
In my parlour, tell me who 
In my house you ever knew ? 


Madam ! if I have offended, 
It is more than I intended ; 
A young lady brought me here : 
That is true, said she, my dear. 

I can be no longer cruel 
To my joy and only jewel ; 
Thou art mine, and I am thine, 
Hand and heart I do resign ! 

Once I was a wounded lover, 
Now these fears are fairly over ; 
By receiving what I gave, 
Thou art lord of what I have. 

Beauty, honour, love and treasure, 
A rich golden stream of pleasure, 
"With his lady he enjoys ; 
Thanks to Cupid's kind decoys. 

Now he's cloathed in rich attire, 
Not inferior to a 'squire ; 
Beauty honour, riches' store, 
What can man desire more ? 



To the Tune of ' My Bleeding Heart.' 

[From a Broadside in the Roxburghe Collection, British Museum. ' Printed by and for 
A.M., and sold by the Booksellers of Pye-Corner and London-Bridge.'] 

A WONDER stranger ne'er was known 
Then what I now shall treat upon. 
In Suffolk there did lately dwell 
A farmer rich and known full well. 

He had a daughter fair and bright, 
On whom he placed his chief delight, 
Her beauty was beyond compare, 
She was both virtuous and fair. 

There was a young man living by, 
Who was so charmed with her eye, 
That he could never be at rest, 
He was with love so much possest. 

He made addresses to her, and she 
Did grant him love immediately; 
But when her father came to here, 
He parted her and her poor dear. 

Forty miles distant was she sent 
Up to his brother's with intent, 
That she should there so long remain 
Till she had changed her mind again. 

Hereat this young man sadly grieved, 
But knew not how to be relieved, 
He sighed and sob'd continually 
That his true love he could not see. 

She by no means could to him send 
Who was her hearts espoused friend, 
She sighed, she grieved, but all in vain, 
For she confined must still remain. 

He mourned so much that doctors art 
Could give no ease unto his heart, 
Who was so strangely terrified, 
That in short time for love he dyht. 



She that from him was sent away, 
Knew nothing of his dying day, 
But constant still she did remain, 
To love the dead was then in vain. 

After he had in grave been laid 
A month or more, unto this maid 
He comes about middle of the night 
Who joyed to see her hearts delight. 

Her father's horse which well she knew, 
Her mother's hood and safeguard too, 
He brought with him to testifie 
Her parents order he came by. 

Which when her unckle understood, 
He hop't it would be for her good, 
And gave consent to her straightway, 
That with him she should come away. 

When she was got her love behind, 
They pass'd as swift as any wind, 
That in two hours or little more 
He brought her to her father's door. 

But as they did this great haste make 
He did complain his head did ake, 
Her handkerchief she then took out 
And tyed the same his head about. 

And unto him she thus did say, 
Thou art as cold as any clay; 
When we come home a fire wee'l have, 
But little dreamt he went to grave. 

Soon were they at her father's door, 
And after she ne'r see him more; 
He set the horse up then he said, 
And there he set this harmless maid. 

She knockt, and straight a man he cryed, 
Whose there, 'tis I, she then replyed, 
Who wondred much her voice to hear, 
And was possest with dread and fear. 

Her father he did tell, and then 
He stared like an affrighted man. 
Down stairs he ran, and when he see her, 
464 Cry'd out my child how cam'st thou here? 


Pray, sir, did not you send for me 
By such a messenger said she? 
Which made his hair stand on his head, 
As knowing well that he was dead. 

Where is he? then to her he said, 
He's in the stable, quoth the maid. 
Go in, said he, and go to bed, 
Tie see the horse well littered. 

He stared about, and there could hee 
No shape of any mankind see, 
But found his horse all on a sweat, 
Which made him in a deadly fret. 

His daughter he said nothing too, 
Nor no one else though well they knew, 
That he was dead a month before, 
For fear of grieving her full sore. 

Her father to his father went, 
Who was deceased, with this intent, 
To tell him what his daughter said. 
So both came back unto this maid. 

They ask'd her and she still did say 
'Twas he that then brought her away, 
Which when they heard they were amazed, 
And on each other strangely gaz'd. 

A handkerchief she said she tyed 
About his head and that they tryed, 
The sexton they did speak unto 
That he the grave would then undoe. 

Affrighted then they did behold 
His body turning into mould; 
And though he had a month been dead 
This kerchief was about his head. 

This thing unto her then they told, 
And the whole truth they unfold; 
She was thereat so terrified, 
And griev'd, she quickly after dyed. 

Part not true love you rich men then, 
But if they be right honest men, 
Your daughter's love give them their way, 
For force oft breeds their lives decay. 46/5 





[This ' fine morsel of heroic poetry,' as it is styled by 
Dr. Percy, was first published in 1719, under the title, 
' Hardyknute, a Fragment;' Edinburgh, folio. The ex 
penses of publication were* borne, in part at least, by the 
Lord President Forbes and Sir Gilbert Elliot, afterwards 
Lord Justice Clerk of Scotland, who believed it to be, 
what it was represented to them as being, a genuine old 
ballad. As such too it was admitted by Allan Ramsay 
into his ' Evergreen, being a Collection of Scots poems 
wrote by the ingenious before 1600;' and it seems to 
have ' generally passed for ancient,' until Dr. Percy, in 
his ' Reliques of Ancient English Poetry,' London, 1755, 
put an end to whatever doubt may have existed in refer 
ence to the point, by giving the name of the author. 
This was Lady Wardlaw, wife of Sir Henry VVardlaw, of 
Balumlie, in Fife. The MS. was sent to Lord Binnington 
by her brother-in-law, Sir John Bruce, of Kinross, as 
having been ' found by him in an old vault at Dumfer- 
line, written on-, vellum, in a fair Gothic character, but 
much defaced by time.' Subsequently, however, Lady 
Wardlaw acknowledged being the author, and by way of 
proving herself so, produced the last two stanzas, which 
were not in the copy first printed ] 

TATELY stept he east the wa', 

And stately stept he west, 
Full seventy years he now had seen, 

WT 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. 


High on a hill his castle stood, 

With ha's and tow'rs a height, 
And goodly chambers fair to se, 

Where he lodged mony a knight. 
His dame sae peerless anes and fair, 

For chast and beauty deem'd, 
Nae marrow had in all the land, 

Save ELENOR the qneen. 

Full thirteen sons to him she bare, 

All men of valour stout ; 
In bloody fight with sword ia hand 

Nine lost their lives bot dcubt : 
Four yet remain, lang may they liv 

To stand by liege and land ; 
High was their fame, high was their rmgnt, 

And high was their command. 

Great love they bare to FAIRLY fair, 

Their sister saft and dear, 
Her girdle shaw'd her middle gimp, 

And gowden glist her hair. 
What waefu' wae her beauty bred ' 

Waefu' to young and auld, 
Waefu' I trow to kyth and kin, 

As story ever tauld. 

The king of Norse in summer tyde, 

Puff'd up with pow'r and might 
Landed in fair Scotland the isle 

With mony a hardy knight. 
The tydings to our good Scots king 

Came, as he sat at dine, 
With noble chiefs in brave aray 

Drinking the blood-red wine. 

" To horse, to horse, my royal liege, 
Your faes stand on the strand, 

Full twenty thousand glittering spears 
The king of Norse commands." 

" Bring me my steed Mage dapple gray," 
Our good king rose and cry'd, 

A trustier beast in a' the land 
476 A Scots king nevir try'd. 


" Go little page, tell Hardyknute, 

That lives on hill sae hie, 
To draw his sword, the dread of faes, 

And haste and follow me." 
The little page flew swift as dart 

Flung by his master's arm, 
" Come down, come down, lord Hardyknute, 

And rid your king frae harm." 

Then red, red grew his dark-brown cheeks, 

Sae did his dark-brown brow ; 
His looks grew keen, as they were wont 

In dangers great to do ; 
He's ta'en a horn as green as glass, 

And gi'en five sounds sae shill, 
That trees hi green wood shook thereat, 

Sae loud rang ilka hill. 

His sons in manly sport and glee, 

Had past that summer's morn, 
When low down in a grassy dale, 

They heard their father's horn. 
" That horn," quo' they, " ne'er sounds in peace, 

We've other sport to bide." 
And soon they hy*d them up the hill, 

And soon were at his side. 

" Late, late the yestreen I ween'd in peace 

To end my lengthened life, 
My age might well excuse my arm 

Frae manly feats of strife ; 
But now that Norse do's proudly boast 

Fair Scotland to inthrall, 
It's ne'er be said of Hardyknute, 

He fear'd to fight or fall. 

Robin of Rothsay, bend thy bow, 

Thy arrows shoot sae leel, 
That mony a comely countenance 

They've turnd to deadly pale. 
Brade Thomas take you but your lance, 

You need nae weapons mair, 
If you fight wi't as you did anes 

'Gainst Westmoreland's fierce heir. 


And Malcolm, light of foot as stag 

That runs in forest wild, 
Get me my thousands three of men 

Well bred to sword and shield : 
Bring me my horse and harnisine, 

My blade of mettal clear. 
If faes but ken'd the hand it bare, 

They soon had fled for fear. 

Farewell my dame sae peerless good, 

(And took her by the hand,) 
Fairer to me in age you seem, 

Thati maids for beauty fam'd. 
My youngest son shall here remain 

To guard these stately towers, 
And shut the silver bolt that keeps 

Sae fast your painted bowers." 

And first she wet her comely cheiks, 

And then her boddice green, 
Her silken cords of twirtle twist, 

Well plett with silver sheen ; 
And apron set with mony a dice 

Of needle-wark sae rare, 
Wove by nae hand, as ye may guess, 

Save that of FAIRLY fair. 

And he has ridden o'er muir and moss, 

O'er hills and mony a glen, 
When he came to a wounded knight 

Making a heavy mane ; 
" Here maun I lye, here maun I dye, 

By treacherie's false guiles ; 
Witless I was that e'er ga faith 

To wicked woman's smiles." 

" Sir knight, gin you were in my bower, 

To lean on silken seat, 
My lady's kindly care you'd prove, 

Who ne'er knew deadly hate ; 
Herself wou'd watch you a' the day, 

Her maids a dead of night ; 
And FAIRLY fair your heart wou'd cheat 
472 . As she stands in your sight. 


Arise young knight, and mount your stead, 

Full lowns the shynand day : 
Choose frae my menzie whom ye please 

To lead you on the way." 
With smileless look, and visage wan 

The wounded knight reply 'd, 
" Kind chieftain, your intent pursue, 

For here I maun abyde. 

To me nae after day nor night 

Can e're be sweet or fair, 
But soon beneath some draping tree, 

Cauld death shall end my care." 
With him nae pleading might prevail ; 

Brave Hardyknute to gam 
With fairest words, and reason strong, 

Strave courteously hi vain. 

Syne he has gane far hynd out o'er 

Lord Chattan's land sae wide ; 
That lord a worthy wight was ay, 

When faes his courage sey'd : 
Of Pictish race by mother's side, 

When Picts rul'd Caledon, 
Lord Chattan claim' d the princely maid, 

When he sav'd Pictish crown. 

Now with his fierce and stalwart train, 

He reach' d a rising hight, 
Quhair braid encampit on the dale, 

Norss menzie lay in sicht. 
" Yonder my valiant sons and feirs 

Our raging revers wait 
On the unconquert Scottish sward 

To try with us their fate. 

Make orisons to him that sav'd 

Our sauls upon the rude ; 
Syne bravely shaw your veins are fill'd 

With Caledonian blude." 
Then furth he drew his trusty glave, 

While thousands all around 
Drawn frae their sheaths glanc'd in the sun : 

And loud the bougies sound. 473 


To joyn his king adoun the hill 

In hast his merch he made, 
While, playand pibrochs, minstralls meit 

Afore him stately strade, 
" Thrice welcome valiant stoup of weir, 

Thy nations shield and pride ; 
Thy king nae reason has to fear 

When thou art by his side." 

When bows were bent and darts were thrawn ; 

For thrang scarce cou'd they flee ; 
The darts clove arrows as they met, 

The arrows dart the tree. 
Lang did they rage and fight fu' fierce, 

With little skaith to mon, 
But bloody, bloody was the field, 

Ere that lang day was done. 

The king of Scots, that sindle brook' d 

The war that look'd like play, 
Drew his braid sword, and brake his bow, 

Sin bows seem'd but delay. 
Quoth noble Rothsay, " Mine I'll keep, 
I wat it's bled a score." 
" Haste up niy merry men," cry'd the king, 

As he rode on before. 

The king of Norse he sought to find, 

With him to mense the faught, 
But on his forehead there did light 

A sharp unsonsie shaft ; 
As he his hand put up to feel 

The wound, an arrow keen, 
O waefu' chance ! there pinn'd his hand 

In midst between his een. 

" Revenge, revenge," cry'd Rothsay's heir, 

" Your mail-coat sha' na bide 
The strength and sharpness of my dart :" 

Then sent it through his side. 
Another arrow well he mark'd, 

It pierc'd his neck in twa, 
His hands then quat the silver reins, 

He low as earth did fa'. 


" Sair bleids my liege, sair, sair he bleeds I" 

Again wi' might he drew 
And gesture dread his sturdy bow, 

Fast the braid arrow flew : 
Wae to the knight he ettled at ; 

Lament now queen Elgreed ; 
High dames too wail your darling's fall, 

His youth and comely meed. 

" Take aff, take aff his costly jupe 

(Of gold well was it twin'd, 
Knit like the fowler's net, through quhilk, 

His steelly harness shin'd) 
Take, Norse, that gift frae me, and bid 

Him venge the blood it bears ; 
Say, if he fece my bended bow, 

He sure nae weapon fears." 

Proud Norse with giant body tall, 

Braid shoulders and arms strong, 
Cr/d, " Where is Hardy knute sae fam'd, 

And fear'd at Britain's throne : 
Tho' Britons tremble at his name, 

I soon shall make him wail, 
That e'er my sword was made sae sharp, 

Sae saft his coat of mail." 

That brag his stout heart cou'd na bide, 

It lent him youthfu' micht : 
" I'm Hardyknute ; this day," he cry'd, 

"To Scotland's king I heght 
To lay thee low, as horses hoof; 

My word I mean to keep." 
Syne with the first stroke e'er he strake, 

He garr'd his body bleed. 

Norss' een like gray gosehawk's stair'd wyld, 

He sigh'd wi' shame and spite ; 
"Disgrac'd is now my far-fam'd arm 

That left thee power to strike :" 
Then ga' his bead a blow sae fell, 

It made him doun to stoup, 
As laigh as he to ladies us'd 

In courtly guise to lout. 



Fu' soon he rais'd his bent body, 

His bow he marvell'd sair, 
Sin blows till then on him but darr'd 

As touch of FAIRLY fair : 
Norse marvell'd too as sair as he 

To see his stately look ; 
Sae soon as e'er he strake a fae, 

Sae soon his life he took. 

Where like a fire to heather set, 

Bauld Thomas did advance, 
Ane sturdy fae with look enrag'd 

Up toward him did prance ; 
He spurr'd his steid through thickest ranks 

The hardy youth to quell, 
Wha stood unmov'd at his approach 

His fury to repell. 

"That short brown shaft sae meanly trimm'd. 

Looks like poor Scotlands gear, 
But dreadfull seems the rusty point 1" 

And loud he leugli in jear. 
" Oft Britons bood has dimm'd its shine ; 

This point cut short their vaunt :" 
Syne pierc'd the boasters bearded cheek ; 

Nae time he took to taunt. 

Short while he in his saddle swang, 

His stirrup was nae stay, 
Sae feeble hang his unbent knee 

Sure taiken he was fey : 
Swith on the harden't clay he fell, 

Right far was heard the thud : 
But Thomas look't nae as he lay 

All waltering in his blud : 

With careless gesture, mind unmov't, 

On rode he north the plain ; 
His seem in throng of fiercest strife 

When winner ay the same : 
Not yet his heart dames dimplet cheek 

Could mease soft love to bruik, 
Till vengefu' Ann return' d his scorn. 

Then languid grew his luik. 


In thraws of death, with walowit che 

All panting on the plain, 
The fainting corps of warriours lay, 

Ne're to arise again ; 
Ne're to return to native land, 

Nae mair with blithsorae sounds 
To boast the glories of the day, 

And shaw their shining wounds. 

On Norways coast the widowit dame 

May wash the rocks with tears, 
May lang luik ow*r the shipless seas 

Befor her mate appears. 
Cease, Emma, cease to hope in vain 

Thy lord lyes in the clay ; 
The valiant Scots nae revers thole 

To carry life away. 

Here on a lee, where stands a cross 

Set up for monument, 
Thousands fu' fierce that summer's day 

Fill'd keen war's black intent. 
Let Scots, while Scots, praise Hardyknute, 

Let Norse the name ay dread, 
Ay how he faught, aft how he spar'd, 

Shall latest ages read. 

Now loud and chill blew th' westlin wind, 

Sair beat the heavy shower, 
Mirk grew the night ere Hardyknute 

Wan near his stately tower. 
His tow'r that us'd wi' torches blaze 

To shine sae far at night, 
Seem'd now as black as mourning weed, 

Nae marvel sair he sigh'd. 

" There's nae light in my lady's bower, 

There's nae light in my ha' ; 
Nae blink shines round my FAIRLY fair, 

Nor ward stands on my wa' ; 
What bodes it ? Robert, Thomas, say ;" 

Nae answer fitts their dread. 
" Stand back, my sons, I'le be your guide ;" 

But by they past with spee/i. 


" 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 

Sair shook his body, sair his limbs, 

And a' the warrior fled. 


[In this ballad as printed in a work entitled, ' Scottish Tragic Ballads,' London, 1781, in 
which, to use the Editor's own words, ' the mutilated Fragment of Ilardyknute was given in its 
original perfection,' the latter half of stanza 18 ran thus: 

Still him to win strave Hardyknute, 

Nor strave he lang in vain ; 
Short pleiding eithly inicht prevale 

Him to his lure to gain.' 

And between this stanza and that which in the original edition, and in our copy, stands next, 
was inserted the following: 

I will return wi' speid to bide 

Your plaint and mend your wae : 
But private grudge maun neir be quelled, 

Before our countries fae. 
Mordac, thy eild may best be spaird 

The fields of stryfe fraemang ; 
Convey Sir Knicht to my abode, 

And meise his egrp pang.' 

To which was appended this note. ' This stanza is now first printed. It is surprising its omis 
sion was not marked in the fragment formerly published, as without it the circumstance of the 
knight's complaint is altogether foreign and vague. The loss was attempted to be glossed over 
by many variations of the preceding four lines ; but the defect was palpable to the most inatten 
tive reader.' Be this as it may, the stanza was not found in the original edition, nor has it ben 
adopted in any subsequent one ; find the accomplished Editor of the work in which it first 
appeared, was in all probability its author. It seemed necessary, however, to give it and the 
alteration of the pi-eceding stanza here, as without them the ' Second Part ' is unintelligible.] 


[This ballad is taken from Percy's ' Reliques.' In his 
Folio MS., he says, ' was an old poem on this subject, 
in a wretched corrupt state, unworthy the press : from 
which were taken such particulars as could be adopted.' 
In all probability, however, the ballad, as itstands, is to 
be looked upon as the composition of Dr. Percy him 
self, particularly as there is appended to it the mark by 
which are distinguished those ballads with which consi 
derable liberties had been taken. ' The old story-book 
of Valentine and Orson {which suggested the plan of 
the tale, but is not strictly followed in it,) was origin 
ally,' says Percy, ' a translation from the French, 
being one of their earliest attempts at romance. The 
circumstance of the bridge of bells is taken from the 
old metrical legend of Sir John Bevit, and has also been 
copied in the Seven Champwnt. The original lines 

' Over the dyke a bridge there lay, 
That man and beast might passe away : 
Under the bridge were sixty belles ; 
Right as the Romans telles ; 
That there might no man passe in, 
But all they rang with a gyn.'] 


HEN Flora 'gins to decke the fields 

With colours fresh and fine, 
Then holy clerkes their matins sing 

To good St. Valentine ! 479 


The king of France that morning fair 
He would a hunting ride ; 

To Artois forest prancing forth 
In all his princelye pride. 

To grace his sports a courtly train 

Of gallant peers attend ; 
And with their loud and cheerful cryes 

The hills and valleys rend. 

Through the deep forest swift they pass, 
Through woods and thickets wild ; 

When down within a lonely dell 
They found a new-born child ; 

All in a scarlet kercher lay'd 

Of silk so fine and thin ; 
A golden mantle wrapt him round, 

Pinn'd with a silver pin. 

The sudden sight surpriz'd them all ; 

The courtiers gather' d round ; 
They look, they call, the mother seek ; 

No mother could be found. 

At length the king himself drew near, 

And as he gazing stands, 
The pretty babe look'd up and smil'd, 

And stretch'd his little hands. 

Now, by the rood, king Pepin says, 
This child is passing fair ; 

I wot he is of gentle blood ; 
Perhaps some prince's heir. 

Goe bear him home unto my cour 
With all the care ye may : 

Let him be christen' d Valentine, 
In honour of this day : 

And look me out some cunning nurse ; 

Well nurtur'd let him bee ; 
Nor ought be wanting that becomes 

A bairn of high degree. 

They look'd him out a cunning nurse ; 

And nurtur'd well was hee ; 
Nor ought was wanting that became 
480 A bairn of high degree. 


Thus grewe the little Valentine, 

Belov'd of king and peers ; 
And shew*d in all he spake or did 

A wit beyond his years. 

But chief in gallant feates of arms 

He did himself advance, 
That ere he grewe to man's estate 

He had no peere in France. 

And now the early downe began 

To shade his youthful chin ; 
When Valentine was dubb'd a knight, 

That he might glory win. 

A boon, a boon, my gracious liege, 

I beg a boon of thee ! 
The first adventure that befalls, 

May be reserv*d for mee. 

The first adventure shall be thine ; 

The king did smiling say. 
Nor many days, when lo ! there came 

Three palmers clad in graye. 

Help, gracious lord, they weeping say*d ; 

And knelt, as it was meet : 
From Artoys forest we be come, 

With weak and weary e feet. 

Within those deep and dreary woods 

There wends a savage boy ; 
Whose fierce and mortal rage doth yield 

Thy su'bjects dire annoy. 

'Mong ruthless beares he sure was bred ; 

He lurks within their den : 
With beares he lives, with beares he feeds, 

And drinks the blood of men. 

To more than savage strength he joins 

A more than human skill ; 
For arms, ne cunning may suffice 

His cruel rage to still : 

Up then rose sir Valentine, 

And claim' d that arduous deed. 
Go forth and conquer, say*d the king, 

And great shall be thy meed. 481 

2 i 

Well mounted on a milk-white steed, 
His armour white as snow ; 

As well beseemed a virgin knight, 
Who ne'er had fought a foe : 

To Artoys forest he repairs 
With all the haste he may ; 

And soon he spies the savage youth 
A rending of his prey. 

His unkempt hair all matted hung 
His shaggy shoulders round : 

His eager eye all fiery glow'd ; 
His face with fury frown' d. 

Like eagles' talons grew his nails ; 

His limbs were thick and strong ; 
And dreadful was the knotted oak 

He bare with him along. 

Soon as sir Valentine approach'd, 
He starts with sudden spring ; 

And yelling forth a hideous howl, 
He made the forests ring. 

As when a tyger fierce and fell 
Hath spyed a passing roe, 

And leaps at once upon his throat ; 
So sprung the savage foe ; 

So lightly leap'd with furious force 
The gentle knight to seize : 

But met his tall uplifted spear, 
Which sunk him on his knees. 

A second stroke so stiff and stern 

Had laid the savage low ; 
But springing up, he raised his club, 

And aim'd a dreadful blow. 

The watchful warrior bent his head, 
And shun'd the coming stroke ; 

Upon his taper spear it fell, 
And all to shivers broke. 

Then lighting nimbly from his steed, 
He drew his burnisht brand : 

The savage quick as lightning flew 
To wrest it from his hand. 



Three times he grasp' d the silver hilt ; 

Three times he felt the blade ; 
Three times it fell with furious force ; 

Three ghastly wounds it made. 

Now with redoubled rage he roar'd ; 

His eye-ball flashed with fire ; 
Each hairy limb with fury shook, 

And all his heart was ire. 

Then closing fast with furious gripe 

He clasp' d the champion round, 
And with a strong and sudden twist, 

He laid him on the ground. 

But soon the knight, with active spring, 

O'erturned his hairy foe ; 
And now between their sturdy fists 

Past many a bruising blow. 

They roll'd and grappled on the groun 

And there they struggled long : 
Skilful and active was the knight ; 

The savage he was strong. 

But brutal force and savage strength 

To art and skill must yield : 
Sir Valentine at length prevail' d, 

And won the well-fought field. 

Then binding strait his conquer' d foe 

Fast with an iron chain ; 
He tyes him to his horse's tail, 

And leads him o'er the plain. 

To court his hairy captive soon 

Sir Valentine doth bring ; 
And kneeling downe upon his knee, 

Presents him to the king. 

With loss of blood and loss of strength 

The savage tamer grew ; 
And to sir Valentine became 

A servant try'd and true. 

And 'cause with beares he erst was bred. 

Ursine they call his name ; 
A name which unto future times 

The Muses shall proclaime. 483 



In high renown with prince and peere 

Now liv'd sir Valentine ; 
His high renown with prince and peere 

Made envious hearts repine. 

It chanc'd the king upon a day 
Prepar'd a sumptuous feast : 

And there came lords, and dainty dames, 
And many a nohle guest. 

Amid their cups, that freely flow'd, 

Their revelry and mirth, 
A youthful knight tax'd Valentine, 

Of base and doubtful birth. 

The foul reproach, so grossly urg'd, 
His generous heart did wound ; 

And strait he vow"d he ne'er would rest 
Till he his parents found. 

Then bidding king and peers adieu, 

Early one summer's day, 
With faithful Ursine by his side, 

From court he took his way. 

O'er hill and valley, moss and moor, 
For many a day they pass ; 

At length, upon a moated lake, 
They found a bridge of brass. 

Beyond it rose a castle fair, 

Y-built of marble stone : 
The battlements were gilt with gold, 

And glittered in the sun. 

Beneath the bridge, with strange device, 
A hundred bells were hung ; 

That man nor beast might pass thereon, 
But strait their larum rung. 

This quickly found the youthful pair, 
"Who boldly crossing o'er, 

The jangling sound bedeaft their ears, 
And rung from shore to shore. 

Quick at the sound the castle gates 

Unlock' d and opened wide, 
And strait a gyant huge and grim 
484 Stalk 'd forth with stately pride. 


Now yield you, caitiffs, to my will ; 

He cried with hideous roar ; 
Or else the wolves shall eat your flesh, 

And ravens drink your gore. 

Vain boaster, said the youthful knight, 

I scorn thy threats and thee : 
I trust to force thy brazen gates, 

And set thy captives free. 

Then putting spurs unto his steed, 

He aim'd a dreadful thrust ; 
The spear against the gyant glanc'd, 

And caus'd the blood to burst. 

Mad and outrageous with the pain, 

He whirl' d his mace of steel ; 
The very wind of such a blow 

Had made the champion reel. 

It haply mist ; and now the knight 

His glittering sword display'd ; 
And riding round with whirlwind speed 

Oft made him feel the blade. 

As when a large and monstrous oak 

Unceasing axes hew : 
So fast around the gyant' s limbs 

The blows quick-darting flew. 

As when the boughs with hideous fal 

Some hapless woodman crush : 
With such a force the enormous foe 

Did on the champion rush. 

A fearful blow, alas ! there came, 

Both horse and knight it took, 
And laid them senseless in the dust ; 

So fatal was the stroke. 

Then smiling forth a hideous grin, 

The gyant strydes in haste, 
And, stooping, aims a second stroke : 

" Now cay tiff breathe thy last ! " 

But ere it fell, two thundering blows 

Upon his scull descend : 
From Ursine's knotty club they came 

Who ran to save his friend. 435 


Down sunk the gyant gaping wide, 

And rolling his grim eyes : 
The hairy youth repeats his blows : 

He gasps, he groans, he dies. 

Quickly sir Valentine reviv'd 
With Ursine' s timely care : 

And now to search the castle walls 
The venturous youths repair. 

The blood and bones of murder' d knights 
They found where'er they came ; 

At length within a lonely cell 
They saw a mournful dame. 

Her gentle eyes were dim'd with tears ; 

Her cheeks were pale with woe : 
And long sir Valentine besought 

Her doleful tale to know. 

" Alas ! young knight," she weeping said, 
Condole my wretched fate ; 

A childless mother here you see ; 
A wife without a mate. 

" These twenty winters here forlorn, 
I've drawn my hated breath ; 

Sole witness of a monster's crimes, 
And wishing aye for death^ 

" Know, I am sister of a king, 

And in my early years 
Was married to a mighty prince, 

The fairest of his peers. 

" With him I sweetly UVd in love 
A twelvemonth and a day : 

When lo ! a foul and treacherous priest 
Y-wrought our love's decay. 

" His seeming goodness wan him pow'r 5 

He had his master's ear : 
And long to me and all the world 

He did a saint appear. 

" One day, when we were all alone, 

He proffered odious love : 
The wretch with horror I repuls'd, 
486 And from my presence 'drove. 


" He feign' d remorse, and pitco 13 beg'd 

His crime I'd not reveal : 
Which, for his seeming penitence, 

I promis'd to conceal. 

" With treason, villainy, and wrong, 

My goodness he repay'd : 
With jealous doubts he filFd my lord, 

And me to woe betray' d. 

" He hid a slave within my bed, 

Then rais'd a bitter cry. 
My lord, possest with rage, condemn' d 

Me, all unheard, to dye. 

" But, 'cause I then was great with child, 

At length my life he spar'd : 
But bad me instant quit the realme, 

One trusty knight my guard. 

" Forth on my journey I depart, 

Opprest with grief and woe ; 
And tow'rds my brother's distant court, 

With breaking heart I goe. 

" Long time thro' sundry foreign lands 

We slowly pace along : 
At length, within a forest wild, 

I fell in labour strong. 

" And while the knight for succour sought, 

And left me there forlorn, 
My childbed pains so fast increast, 

Two lovely boys were born. 

"The eldest fair, and smooth, as snow 

That tips the mountain hoar : 
The younger' s little body rough 

With hairs was cover' d o'er. 

"But here afresh begin my woes : 

While tender care I took 
To shield my eldest from the cold, 

And wrap him in my cloak, 

" A prowh'ng bear burst from the wood, 

And seiz'd my younger son ; 
Affection lent my weakness wings, 

And after them I run. . ib7 


" But all forewearied, weak, and spent, 

I quickly swooned away : 
And there beneath the greenwood shade 

Long time I lifeless lay. 

" At length the knight brought me relief, 
And rais'd me from the ground 

But neither of my pretty babes 
Could ever more be found. 

And while in search we wander' d far, 

We met that gyant grim ; 
"Who ruthless slew my trusty knight, 

And bare me off with him. 

" But charm'd by heaVn, or else my griefs, 

He offer' d me no wrong ; 
Save that within these lonely walls 

I've been immur'd so long." 

Now, surely, said the youthful knight, 

You are lady Bellisance, 
Wife to the Grecian Emperor : 

Your brother's king of France. 

For in your royal brother's court 

Myself my breeding had ; 
Where oft the story of your woes 

Hath made my bosom sad. 

If so, know your accuser's dead, 
And dying own'd his crime ; 

And long your lord hath sought you out, 
Thro' every foreign clime. 

And when no tidings he could learn 
Of his much-wronged wife ; 

He vow'd thenceforth within his court 
To lead a "hermit's life. 

Now heaven is kind ; the lady said ; 

And dropt a joyful tear : 
Shall I once more behold my lord? 

That lord I love so dear ? 

But madam, said sir Valentine, 

And knelt upon his knee : 
Know you the cloak what wrapt your babe, 
488 If you the same should see ? 


And pulling forth the cloak of gold, 
In which himself was found ; 

The lady gave a sudden shriek, 
And fainted on the ground. 

But by his pious care reviv'd, 
His tale she heard anon ; 

And soon by other tokens found 
He was indeed her son 

But who's this hairy youth ? she said : 

He much resembles thee : 
The bear devour' d my younger son, 

Or sure that son were he. 

Madam, this youth with bears was bred, 
And rear'd within their den. 

But recollect ye any mark 
To know your son again ? 

Upon his little side, quoth she, 

Was stampt a bloody rose. 
Here, lady, see the crimson mark 

Upon his body grows! 

Then clasping both her newfound sons 
She bath'd their cheeks with tears : 

And soon towards her brother's court 
Her joyful course she steers. 

What pen can paint king Pepin's joy, 

His sister then restor'd I 
And soon a messenger was sent 

To chear her drooping lord. 

Who came hi late with all his peers, 
To fetch her home to Greece ; 

Where many happy years they reign 'd 
In perfect lore and peace. 

To them sir Ursine did succeed 

And long the scepter bare, 
Sir Valentine he stay'd in Fra 

And was his uncle's heir. 


This ballad is taken from 'Percy's 'Reliques.' ' It can. 
not be denied,' says the Doctor, ' but that a great part of it 
is modern.' ' It may be safely denied, however,' says Ritson, 
i' Ancient Songs and Ballads,' i. xxxi.) ' that the least part 
of it is ancient.' The [reader will probably agree with the 
critic, particularly as no mention is made by Dr. Percy of 
its existing, in any shape or form, in his Folio MS. ' The 
incidents,' he says, ' are -chiefly taken from the old story 
book of the ' Seven Champions of Christendom, 1 written 
by ' one Richard Johnson, who lived in the reigns of Eliza 
beth and James ; which, though now the plaything of chil 
dren, was formerly in high repute.' As to St. George him 
self, ' whose martial history is allowed to be apocryphal,' 
his very existence has ;been doubted. The reader who de 
sires to investigate the matter, may consult Pettingal's' Dis 
sertation on the Origin of the Equestrian Figure of the 
George and of the Garter,' London, 1753 ; and Milner's 
' Historical and Critical Enquiry into the Existence and 
Character of Saint George,' Sec., London 1-92." 1 

ISTEN lords, in bower and hall, 

I sing the wonderous birth 
Of brave St. George, whose valorous arm 

Rid monsters from the earth. 


Distressed ladies to relieve 

He travell' d many a day, 
In honour of the Christian faith, 

Which shall endure for aye. 

In Coventry some time did dwell 
A knight of worthy fame, 

High steward of this noble realme ; 
Lord Albret was his name. 

He had to wife a princely dame, 

"Whose beauty did excell. 
This virtuous lady, being with child, 

In sudden sadness fell. 

For thirty nights no sooner sleep 
Had clos'd her wakeful eyes, 

But, lo ! a foul and fearful dream 
Her fancy would surprize : 

She dreamt a dragon fierce and fell 
Conceiv*d within her womb ; 

Whose mortal fangs her body rent 
Ere he to life could come. 

All woe-begoixe, and sad was she ; 

She nourisht constant woe : 
Yet strove to hide it from her lord, 

Lest he should sorrow know. 

In vaine she strove ; her tender lord, 
Who watch' d her slightest look, 

Discover' d soon her secret pain, 
And soon that pain partook. 

And when to him the fearful cause 

She weeping did impart, 
With kindest speech he strove to heal 

The anguish of her heart. 

Be comforted, my lady dear, 
Those pearly drops refrain ; 

Betide me weal, betide me woe, 
I'll try to ease thy pain. 

And for this foul and fearful dream, 

That eauseth all thy woe, 
Trust me I'll travel far away 

But I'll the meaning knowe. 


Then giving many a fond embrace, 

And shedding many a teare, 
To the weird lady of the woods, 

He purpos'd to repaire. 

To the weird lady of the woods, 

Full long and many a day, 
Thro' lonely shades and thickets rough 

He winds his Tveary way. 

At length he reach' d a dreary dell 

With dismal yews o'erhung ; 
Where cypress spred its mournful boughs, 

And poisonous nightshade sprung. 

No chearful gleams here pierc'd the gloom, 

He heard no chearful sound ; 
But shrill night-ravens' yelling scream, 

And serpents hissing round. 

The shriek of fiends and damned ghosts 

Ran howling thro' his ear; 
A chilling horror froze his heart, 

Tho' all unus'd to fear. 

Three times he strives to win his way, 
And pierce those sickly dews : 

Three times to bear his trembling corse 
His knocking knees refuse. 

At length upon his beating breast 

He signs the holy crosse ; 
And, rouzing up his wonted might, 

He treads th' unhallowM mosse. 

Beneath a pendant craggy cliff, 

All vaulted like a grave, 
And opening in the solid rock, 

He found the inchanted cave. 

An iron gate clos'd up the mouth, 

All hideous and forlorne ; 
And, fasten' d by a silver chain, 

Near hung a brazed home. 

Thwr offering up a secret prayer, 
Three times he blowes amaine : 

Three times a deep and hollow sound 
Did answer him againe. 


" Sir Knight, thy lady beares a son, 

Who, like a dragon bright, 
Shall prove most dreadful to his foes, 

And terrible in fight. 

His name advanc'd in future times 

On banners shall be worn : 
But lo ! thy lady's life must passe 

Before he can be born." 

All sore opprest with fear and doubt 

Long time lord Albret stood ; 
At length he winds his doubtful way 

Back thro' the dreary wood. 

Eager to clasp his lovely dame 

Then fast he travels back : 
But when he reach' d his castle gate, 

His gate was hung with black. 

In every court and hall he found 

A sullen silence reigne ; 
Save where, amid the lonely towers, 

He heard her maidens' plaine ; 

And bitterly lament and weep, 

With many a grievous grone : 
Then scare his bleeding heart misgave, 

His lady's life was gone. 

With faultering step he enters in, 

Yet half afraid to goe ; 
With trembling voice asks why they grieve, 

Yet fears the cause to knowe. 

" Three times the sun hath rose and set ;" 
They said, then stopt to weep : 

" Since heaven hath laid thy lady deare 
In death's eternal sleep. 

" For, ah ! in travel sore she fell, 

So sore that she must dye ; 
Unless some shrewd and cunning leech 

Could ease her presentlye. 

But when a cunning leeche was fet, 

Too soon declared he, 
She, or her babe must lose its life ; 

Both saved could not be. 


Now take my life, thy lady said, 

My little infant save : 
And O commend me to my lord, 

When I am laid in grave. 

O tell him how that precious habe 

Cost him a tender wife ; 
And teach my son to lisp her name, 

"Who died to save his life. 

Then calling still upon thy name, 

And praying still for thee ; 
Without repining or complaint, 

Her gentle soul did flee." 

What tongue can paint lord Albret's woe, 

The bitter tears he shed, 
The bitter pangs that wrung his heart, 

To find his lady dead? 

He beat his breast : he tore his hair ; 

And shedding many a tear, 
At length he askt to see his son ; 

The son that cost so dear. 

New sorrowe seiz'd the damsells all : 
At length they faultering say; 

" Alas ! my lord, how shall we tell ? 
Thy son is stoln away. 

Fair as the sweetest flower of spring, 

Such was his infant mien : 
And on his little body stampt 

Three wondrous marks were seen: 

A blood-red cross was on his arm ; 

A dragon on his breast ; 
A little garter all of gold 

Was round his leg exprest. 

Three carefull nurses we provide 

Our little lord to keep : 
One gave him sucke, one gave him food 

And one did lull to sleep. 

But lo I all in the dead of night, 

We heard a fearful sound : 
Loud thunder clapt ; the castle shook ; 

And lightning flasht around. 


Dead with affright at first we lay ; 

But rousing up anon, 
We ran to see our little lord : 

Our little lord was gone ! 

But how or where we could not tell ; 

For lying on the ground, 
In deep and magic slumbers laid, 

The nurses there we found . 

O grief on grief ! lord Albret said : 
No more his tongue cou'd say, 

When falling in a deadly swoone, 
Long time he lifeless lay. 

At length restor'd to life and sense 

He nourisht endless woe, 
No future joy his heart could taste, 

No future comfort know. 

So withers on the mountain top 

A fair and stately oake, 
Whose vigorous arms are borne away 

By some rude thunder-stroke. 

At length the castle irksome grew, 
He loathes his wonted home ; 

His native country he forsakes, 
In foreign lands to roame. 

There up and downe he wandered far, 

Clad in a palmer's gown : 
Till his brown locks grew white as wool, 

His beard as thistle down. 

At length, all wearied, down in death 

He laid his reverend head. 
Meantime amid the lonely wilds 

His little son was bred. 

There the weird lady of the woods 

Had borne him far away, 
And train' d him up in feates of armcs, 

And every martial play. 495 

[From Motherwell's Minstrelsy.'] 

O HEARD ye o' Sir James the Kose, 
The young heir o' Buleighan? 

For he has killed a gallant squire, 
And his friends are out to take him. 

Now he's gone to the house of Marr, 
Where the NoUrice was his leman; 

To seek his dear he did repair, 
Thinking she would befriend him. 

Where are ye going, Sir James?' she says; 

' Or where now are you riding?' 
' Oh, I am bound to a foreign land, 
For now I'm under hiding. 

Where shall I go, where shall I run, 
Where shall I go to hide me? 

For I have kill'd a gallant squire, 
And they're seeking to slay me.' 

' O go ye down to yon ale-house 

And I'll there pay your lawin'; 
And if I be a maiden true, 
I'll meet you in the dawinV 

' I'll no go down to yon ale-house 

For you to pay my lawin'; 
There's forty shillings for one supper, 
111 stay in't till the dawinV 

He turned him richt and round about, 
And rowed him in his brechanj 

And he has gone to tak' a sleep, 
In the lowlands o' Buleighan. 

He had not weel gone out o' sight, 

Nor was he past Milstrethen, 
Till four-and-twenty belted knights 
496 Came riding ower the Lethan. 


' have ye seen Sir James the Rose, 

The young heir of Buleighan? 
For he has killed a gallant squire, 
And we're sent out to tak' him.' 

1 I have seen Sir James/ she says; 

' For he passed by here on Monday; 
If the steed be swift that he rides on, 
He's past the hichts o' Lundie.' 

As they rode on man after man, 
Then she cried out behind them, 

* If you do seek Sir James the Rose, 

I'll tell you where you'll find him/ 

* Seek ye the bank abune the mill, 

In the lowlands of Buleighan; 
And there you'll find Sir James the Rose, 
Lying sleeping in his brechan. 

Ye must not awake him out of sleep, 

Nor yet must you affright him; 
Till you drive a dart quite through his heart, 

And through his body pierce him.' 

They sought the bank abune the mill, 

In the lowlands of Buleighan, 
And there they found Sir James the Rose, 

Lying sleeping in his brechan. 

Up then spake Sir John the Graeme, 

Who had the charge a-keeping, 

4 It shall ne'er be said, dear gentlemen, 

We killed him when a-sleeping.' 

They seized his broad sword and his targe, 

And closely him surrounded; 
And when he wakened out of sleep, 

His senses were confounded. 

* O pardon, pardon, gentlemen 

Have mercy now upon me.' 

* Such as you gave, such you shall have, 

And so we fall upon thee.' 

' Donald, my man, wait me upon, 
And I'll gie you my brechan: 
And if you stay here till I die, 

You'll get my trews of tartan. 497 


There is fifty pounds in my pocket, 
Besides my trews and brechan, 

Ye'll get my watch and diamond ring, 
And take me to Loch Largan.' 

Now they've ta'en out his bleeding heart, 

And stuck it on a speir; 
Then took it to the house o' Marr, 

And gave it to his deir. 

But when she saw his bleeding heart, 

She was like one distracted, 
She wrung her hands, and tore her hair, 

Crying, ' O what have I acted! 

It's for your sake, Sir James the Rose, 
That my poor heart's a breaking; 

Cursed be the day I did thee betray, 
Thou brave knight o' Buleighan!' 

Then up she rose, and forth she goes; 

And in that fatal hour, 
She bodily was borne away, 

And never was seen more. 

But where she went was never kenti 

And so, to end the matter, 
A traitor's end you may depend 

Can never be no better. 


4'.. A 

[This ballad ' is said to have been written,' says Mr. 

Nf other well, (' Minstrelsy, Ancient and Modern,' Glasgow, 
1827,) ' by Michael Bruce,' a young Scottish poet, who was 

orn at Kinnesswood, in Kinross-shire, in 1746, and died, of 
consumption, in 1767, before he had completed his 22nd year. 
This ' consumption' of his, says Sir Walter Scott, (Life, by 
Lockhart, ch. 65,; ' has been the life of his verses.' His 
poems were first published in 1770, by his friend the Rev. 
John Logan author of the beautiful lines ' To the Cuckoo,' 
which, however, have been claimed by some of Bruce's 
relations and friends, as his. The present ballad is one of 
' two modern ballads' the other being ' Elfrida and Sir 
James of Perth,' which, according to Mr. Motherwell, ' have 
sprung out of an old one,' bearing the same name. ' It 
might be curious,' he says, ' to ascertain which of these 
mournful ditties is the senior, were it for nothing else than 
perfectly to enjoy the cool impudence with which the grace 
less youngster has appropriated to itself, without thanks or 
acknowledgment, all the best things which occur in the 
other.' That ' Elfrida and Sir James of Perth," is a ' mourn 
ful ditty,' in more senses than one, few, probably, will be 
found to deny ; but whether Bruce's ballad deservei to be so 
characterised, may admit of doubt. 

F all the Scottish northern chiefs, 

Of high and warlike name, 
The bravest was Sir James the Rose, 

A knicht of meikle fame. 409 


His growth was as the tufted fir, 
That crowns the mountain's brow ; 

And, waving o'er his shoulders broad, 
His locks of yellow flew. 

The chieftain of the brave clan Ross, 

A firm undaunted band ; 
Five hundred warriors drew their sword, 

Beneath his high command. 

In bloody fight thrice had he stood, 
Against the English keen, 

Ere two and twenty opening springs 
This blooming youth had seen. 

The fair Matilda dear he loved, 

A maid of beauty rare ; 
Ev'n Margaret on the Scottish throne 

Was never half so fair. 

Lang had he wooed, lang she refused, 
With seeming scorn and pride ; 

Yet aft her eyes confest the love 
Her fearful words denied. 

At last she blest his well-tried faith, 
Allowed his tender claim : 

She vowed to him her virgin heart 
And owned an equal flame. 

Her father, Buchan's cruel lord, 
Their passion disapproved ; 

And bade her wed Sir John the Graeme, 
And leave the youth she loved. 

Ae nicht they met, as they were wont, 

Deep in a shady wood, 
Where, on a bank beside a burn, 

A blooming saugh-tree stood. 

Concealed among the underwood, 

The crafty Donald lay, 
The brother of Sir John the Graeme ; 

To hear what they would say. 

When thus the maid began : " My sire 

Your passion disapproves, 
And bids me wed Sir John the Graeme ; 
500 ^0 here must end our loves. 


" My father's will must be obeyed ; 

Nocht boots me to withstand ; 
Some fairer maid, in beauty's bloom, 

Must bless thee with her hand. 

" Matilda soon shall be forgot, 

And from thy mind effaced : 
But may that happiness be thine, 

Which I can never taste." 

" What do I hear 1 Is this thy vow ? 

Sir James the Rose replied : 
" And will Matilda wed the Graeme, 

Though sworn to be my bride ? 

" His sword shall sooner pierce my heart 

Than reave me of thy charms." 
Then claspt her to his beating breast, 

Fast lockt into his arms. 

" I spake to try thy love," she said 

" I'll ne'er wed man but thee : 
My grave shall be my bridal bed, 

Ere Graeme my husband be. 

" Take then, dear youth, this faithful kis 

In witness of my troth ; 
And every plague become my lot, 

That day I break my oath ! " 

They parted thus : the sun was set : 

Tip hasty Donald flies ; 
And, " Turn thee, turn thee, beardless youth ! " 

He loud insulting cries. 

Soon turned about the fearless chief, 

And soon his sword he drew ; 
For Donald's blade, before his breast, 

Had pierced his tartans through. 

" This for my brother's slighted love ; 

His wrongs sit on my arnu" ,* 

Three paces back the youth retired, 

And saved himself from harm. 

Returning swift, his hand he reared, 

Frae Donald's head above, 
And through the brain and crashing bones 

His sharp-edged weapon drove. 



He staggering reeled, then tumbling down 

A lurtip of breathless clay : 
" So fall my foes !" quoth valiant Rose, 

And stately strode away. 

Through the green-wood he quickly hiea, 

Unto Lord Buchan's hall ; 
And at Matilda's window stood, 

And thus began to call : 

" Art thou asleep, Matilda dear ? 

Awake, my love, awake ! 
Thy luckless lover on thee calls, 

A long farewell to take. 

For I have slain fierce Donald Graeme ; 

His blood is on my sword : 
And distant are my faithful men, 

Nor can assist their lord. 

Co Skye I'll now direct my way, 
Where my two brothers bide, 

And raise the valiant of the Isles, 
To combat by my side." 

" O do not so," the maid replies ; 

" With me till morning stay ; 
For dark and dreary is the night, 

And dangerous the way 

ill night I'll watcn you in the park ; 

My faithful page I'll send, 
To run and raise the Ross's clan, 
Their master to defend." 

Beneatn a bush he laid him down, 
A.nd wrapt him in his plaid ; 

While, trembling for her lover's fate, 
At distance stood the maid. 

Swift ran the page o'er hill and dale, 

Till, in a lonely glen, 
He met the furious Sir John Graeme, 

With twenty of his men. 

" Where goest thou, little page ?" he said 

ie So late who did thee send ?" 
" 1 go to raise the Ross's clan, 
602 Their master to defend ; 


" For lie hath slain Sir Donald Graeme ; 

His blood is on his sword : 
And far, far distant are his men, 

That should assist their lord." 

" And has he slain my brother dear ?" 

The furious Graeme replies; 
" Dishonour blast my name, but he 

By me, ere morning, dies ! 

" Tell me, where is Sir James the Rose ; 

I will thee well reward." 
"He sleeps into Lord Buchan's park ; 

Matilda is his guard." 

They spurred their steeds in furious mood, 

And scoured along the lee ; 
They reacht Lord Buchan's lofty towers, 

By dawning of the day. 

Matilda stood without the gate; 

To whom the Graeme did say, 
" Saw ye Sir James the Rose last night ? 

Or did he pass this way ?" 

" Last day, at noon," Matilda said, 

" Sir James the Rose, past by : 
He furious prickt his sweaty steed, 

And onward fast did hie. 

" By this he is at Edinburgh, 

If horse and man hold good." 
" Your page, then, lied, who said he was 

Now sleeping hi the wood." 

She wrung her hands, and tore her hair ; 

" Brave Rose thou art betrayed ; 
And ruined by those means," she cried, 

" From whence I hoped thine aid !" 

By this the valiant knight awoke ; 

The virgin's shrieks he heard ; 
And up he rose and drew his sword, 

Whence the fierce band appeard. 

" Your sword last night my brother slew ; 

His blood yet dims its shine : 
And, ere the setting of the sun, 

Your blood shall reek on mine." 



" You word it well," the chief replied ; 

" But deeds approve the man : 
Set by your band, and hand to hand, 

We'll try what valour can. 

" Oft boasting hides a coward's heart ; 

My weighty sword you fear, 
Which shone in front of Flodden-field, 

When you kept in the rear." 

With dauntless step he forward strode, 
And dared him to the fight : 

But Graeme gave back, and feared his arm ; 
For well he knew its might. 

Four of his men, the bravest four, 
Sank down beneath his sword : 

But still he scorned the poor revenge, 
And sought their haughty lord. 

Behind him basely came the Graeme, 
And pierced him in the side : 

Out spouting came the purple tide, 
And all his tartans dyed. 

But yet his sword quat not the grip, 

Nor dropt he to the -ground, 
Till through his enemy's heart his steel 

Had forced a mortal wound. 

Graeme, like a tree with wind o'erthrown, 

Fell breathless on the clay ; 
And down beside him sank the Rose, 

And faint and dying lay. 

The sad Matilda saw him fall : 
" O ! spare his life !" she cried ; 

" Lord Buchan's daughter begs his life ; 
Let her not be denied !" 

Her well-known voice the hero heard ; 

He raised his death-closed eyes, 
And fixt them on the weeping maid, 

And weakly thus replies : 

" In vain Matilda begs the life, 

By death's arrest denied : 
My race is run adieu, my love" 
504 Then closed his eyes and died. 


The sword, yet warm, from his left side 

With frantic hand she drew : 
" I come, Sir James the Rose," she cried; 

" I come to follow you ! " 

She leaned the hilt against the ground, 

And hared her snowy breast ; 
Then fell upon her lover's face, 

And sank to endless rest. 


s* <, 


( i'his ballad was written by Dr. Percy, afterwards Bishop 
ot Dromore in Ireland; ' a poet and a man of taste,' says 
Sir Walter Scott, (' Minstrelsy,' i. 44, &c.,) ' who, com 
manding access to the individuals and institutions which 
could best afford him materials for executing the task of 
collecting and illustrating ancient popular poetry ,g ave the 
public the result of his researches in a work entitled 
Reliques of Ancient English Poetry,' (London, 1765); a 
1 work which must always be held among the first of its class 
in point of merit, and which the taste with which the mate- 
H rials were chosen, the extreme felicity with which they were 
\ ' illustrated, the display at once of antiquarian knowledge 
and classical reading which the collection indicated, render 
it difficult to imitate, and impossible to excel.' How deeply 
indebted to the ' learned and amiable prelate's, work the 
present collection is, the reader of it does not require to be 
reminded. It was not merely as a collector and illustrator, 
however, ' a gatherer and disposer of other men's stuff, 'that 
the doctor excelled : for ' in the actual imitation of the 
ancient ballad,' says the great authority already quoted, 
' he was eminently successful. The ' Hermit of Wark worth,' 
and other minstrel tales of his composition, must always be 
remembered with fondness by those who have perused them 
in that period of life when the feelings are strong, and the 
taste for poetry, especially of this simple nature, is keen and 
poignant.' The ballad was first published in 1771, underthe 
title, ' The Hermit of Warkworth. A Northumberland 
Ballad. In three Fits or Cantos.' London; 4to; from which 
edition it is here taken. It was accompanied with an In 
troduction and Notes, such parts of which as are necessary 
to the understanding, or pertinent in illustrating it, will ba 
\ found in the Notes.] 

** ARK was the night, and wild the storm, 

And loud the torrent's roar ; 
And loud the sea was heard to dash 

Against the distant shore. 


Musing on man's weak hapless state, 

The lonely hermit lay, 
When, lo ! he heard a female voice 

Lament in sore dismay. 

With hospitable haste he rose, 

And waked his sleeping fire, 
And snatching up a lighted brand, 

Forth hied the reverend sire. 

All sad beneath a neighbouring tree 

A beauteous maid he found, 
Who beat her breast, and with her tears 

Bedewed the mossy ground. 

O weep not, lady, weep not so, 

Nor let vain fears alarm ; 
My little cell shall shelter thee, 

And keep thee safe from harm. 

It is not for myself I weep, 

Nor for myself I fear, 
But for my dear and only friend, 

Who lately left me here : 

And while some sheltering bower he sought 

Within this lonely wood, 
Ah ! sore I fear his wandering feet 

Have slipt in yonder flood. 

O! trust in Heaven, the hermit said, 

And to my cell repair ; 
Doubt not but I shall find thy friend, 

And ease thee of thy care. 

Then climbing up his rocky stairs, 

He scales the cliff so high, 
And calls aloud and waves his light 

To guide the stranger's eye. 

Among the thickets long he winds, 

With careful steps and slow, 
At length a voice returned his call, 

Quick answering from below : 

O tell me, father, tell me true, 

If you have chanced to see 
A gentle maid I lately left , 

Beneath some neighbouring tree ; 



But either I have lost the place, 

Or she hath gone astray : 
And much I fear this fatal stream 

Hath snatcht her hence away. 

Praise Heaven, my son, the hermit said, 

The lady's safe and well : 
Aud soon he joined the wandering youth, 

And brought him to his cell. 

Then well was seen, these gentle friends 

They loved each other dear : 
The youth he prest her to his heart, 

The maid let fall a tear. 

Ah ! seldom had their host, I ween, 

Beheld so sweet a pair : 
The youth was tall with manly bloom ; 

She slender, soft, and fair. 

The youth was clad in forest green, 

With bugle-horn so bright ; 
She in a silken robe and scarf, 

Snatcht up in hasty flight. 

Sit down, my children, says the sage 

Sweet rest your limbs require : 
Then heaps fresh fuel on the hearth, 

And mends his little fire. 

Partake, he said, my simple store, 
Dried fruits, and milk, and curds ; 

And spreading all upon the board, 
Invites with kindly words. 

Thanks, father, for thy bounteous fare, 

The youthful couple say ; 
Then freely ate, and made good cheer, 

And talkt their cares away. 

Now say, my children (for perchance 

My counsel may avail), 
What strange adventure brought you here 

Within this lonely dale ? 

First tell me, father, said the youth 
(Nor blame mine eager tongue,) 

What town is near ? What lands are these ? 
And to what lord belong ? 


Alas ! my son, the hermit said. 

Why do I live to say, 
The rightful lord of these domains 

Is banisht far away ? 

Ten winters now have shed their snows 

On this my lowly hall, 
Since valiant Hotspur (so the North 

Our youthful lord did call) 

Against Fourth Henry Bolingbroke 

Led up his northern powers, 
And stoutly fighting, lost his life 

Near proud Salopia's towers. 

One son he left, a lovely boy, 

His country's hope and heir ; 
And, oh ! to save him from his foes, 

It was his grandsire's care. 

In Scotland safe he placed the child 

Beyond the reach of strife, 
Not long before the brave old earl 

At Bramham lost his life. 

And now the Percy name, so long 

Our northern pride and boast, 
Lies hid, alas! beneath a cloud; 

Their honours reft and lost. 

No chieftain of that noble house 

Now leads our youth to arms ; 
The bordering Scots despoil our fields. 

And ravage all our farms. 

Their halls and castles, once so fair, 

Now moulder in decay ; 
Proud strangers now usurp their lands, 

And bear their wealth away. 

Not far from hence, where yon full stream 

Runs winding down the lea, 
Fair Warkworth lifts her lofty towers, 

And overlooks the sea. 

Those towers, alas ! now lie forlorn, 

With noisome weeds o'erspread, 
Where feasted lords and courtly dames, 

And where the poor were fed. 50 9 


Meantime, far off, 'mid Sccttish hills, 
The Percy lives unknown ; 

On stranger's bounty he depends, 
And may not claim his own. 

O might I with these aged eyes 
But live to see him here, 

Then should my soul depart in bliss ! 
He said, and dropt a tear- 

And is the Percy still so loved 
Of all his friends and thee ? 

Then hless me, father, said the youtli, 
For I, thy guest, am he. 

Silent he gazed, then turned aside 
To wipe the tears he shed ; 

And lifting up his hands and eyes, 
Poured blessings on his head : 

Welcome, our dear and much-loved lord, 
Thy country's hope and care : 

But who may this young lady be, 
That is so wondrous fair ? 

Now, father, listen to my tale, 
And thou shalt know the truth ; 

And let thy sage advice direct 
My unexperienced youth. 

In Scotland I've been nobly bred 
Beneath the Regent's hand, 

In feats of arms, and every lore 
To fit me for command. 

With fond impatience long I burned 

My native land to see ; 
\i length I won my guardian friend 

To yield that boon to me. 

Then up and down, in hunter's garb, 

I wandered as in chase, 
Till, in the noble Neville's house, 

I gained a hunter's place. 

Sometime with him I lived unknown, 

Till I'd the hap so rare 
To please this young and gentle dame, 
610 That baron's daughter fair. 


Now, Percy, said the blushing maid, 

The truth I must reveal ; 
Souls great and generous, like to thine, 

Their noble deeds conceal. 

It happened on a summer's day, 

Led by the fragrant breeze, 
I wandered forth to take the air 

Among the greenwood trees. 

Sudden a band of rugged Scots, 

That near in ambush lay, 
Moss-troopers from the border-side, 

There seized me for their prey. 

My shrieks had all been spent in vain ; 

But Heaven that saw my grief, 
Brought this brave youth within my call, 

Who flew to my relief. 

With nothing but his hunting spear, 

And dagger in his hand, 
He sprung like lightning on my foes, 

And caused them soon to stand. 

He fought till more assistance came ; 

The Scots were overthrown ; 
Thus freed me, captive, from their bands 

To make me more his own. 

D happy day ! the youth replied ; 

Blest were the wounds I bare ! 
From that fond hour she deigned to smile, 

And listen to my prayer. 

And when she knew my name and birth, 

She vowed to be my bride ; 
But oh ! we feared (alas, the while) 

Her princely mother's pride: 

Sister of haughty Bolingbroke, 

Our house's ancient foe, 
To me I thought a banisht wight 

Could ne'er such favour show. 

Despairing then to gain consent, 

At length to fly with me 
I won this lovely timorous maid ; 

To Scotland bound are we. 511 


This evening, as the night drew on, 

Fearing we were pursued, 
We turned adown the right-hand path, 

And gained this lonely wood ; 

Then lighting from our weary steeds 

To shun the pelting shower, 
We met thy kind conducting hand, 

And reacht this friendly bower. 

Now rest ye both, the hermit said ; 

Awhile your cares forego : 
Nor, lady, scorn my humble bed ; 

We'll pass the night below. 


Lovely smiled the blushing morn, 

And every storm was fled ; 
But lovelier far, with sweeter smile, 

Fair Eleanor left her bed. 

She found her Henry all alone, 
And cheered him with her sight : 

The youth, consulting with his friend, 
Had watcht the livelong night. 

What sweet surprise o'erpowered her breast, 
Her cheeks what blushes dyed, 

When fondly he besought her there 
To yield to be his bride ! 

Within this lonely hermitage 

There is a chapel meet ; 
Then grant, dear maid, my fond request, 

And make my bliss complete. 

O Henry, when thou deignst to sue, 

Can I thy suit withstand ? 
When thou, loved youth, hast won my heart, 

Can I refuse my hand ? 

For thee I left a father's smiles 

And mother's tender care ; 
And whether weal or woe betide, 
612 Thy lot I mean to share. 


And wilt thou, then, O generous maid, 

Such matchless favour show, 
To share with me, a banisht wight, 

My peril, pain, or woe ? 

Now Heaven, I trust, hath joys in store 

To crown thy constant breast ; 
For, know, fond hope assures my heart 

That we shall soon be blest. 

Not far from hence stands Coquet Isle, 

Surrounded by the sea ; 
There dwells a holy friar, well known 

To all thy friends and thee : 

'Tis Father Bernard, so revered 

For every worthy deed : 
To Raby Castle he shall go, 

And for us kindly plead. 

To fetch this good and holy man 

Our reverend host is gone ; 
And soon, I trust, his pious hands 

Will join us both in one. 

Thus they in sweet and tender talk 

The lingering hours beguile : 
At length they see the hoary sage 

Come from the neighbouring isle. 

With pious joy and wonder mixt 

He greets the noble pair, 
And glad consents to join their hands 

With many a fervent prayer. 

Then straight to Raby's distant walls 

He kindly wends his way : 
Meantime in love and dalliance sweet 

They spend the livelong day. 

And now, attended by their host, 

The hermitage they viewed, 
Deep-hewn within a craggy cliff, 

And overhung with wood. 

And near a flight of shapely steps, 

All cut with nicest skill, 
And piercing through a stony arch, 

Ran winding up the hill. 513 



There, deckt with many a flower and herb, 

His little garden stands ; 
With fruitful trees in shady rows, 

All planted by his hands. 

Then, scoopt within the solid rock, 
Three sacred vaults he shows : 

The chief a chapel, neatly archt, 
On branching columns rose. 

Each proper ornament was there 

That should a chapel grace : 
The latice for confession framed, 

And holy-water vase. 

O'er either door a sacred text 

Invites to godly fear ; 
A.nd in a little scutcheon hung 

The cross, and crown, and spear. 

Up to the altar's ample breadth 

Two easy steps ascend ; 
And near, a glimmering solemn light 

Two well-wrought windows lend 

Beside the altar rose a tomb, 

All in the living stone, 
On which a young and beauteous maid 

In goodly sculpture shone. 

A kneeling angel, fairly carved, 
Leaned hovering o'er her breast ; 

A weeping warrior at her feet, 
And near to these her crest. 

The cliff, the vault, but chief the tomb. 

Attract the wondering pair : 
Eager they ask, What hapless dame 

Lies sculptured here so fair ? 

The hermit sighed, the hermit wept, 
For sorrow scarce could speak ; 

At length he wiped the trickling tears 
That all bedewed his cheek : 

Alas ! my children, human life 

Is but a vale of woe ; 
And very mournful is the tale 

Which ye so fain would know. 



Young lord, thy grandsire had a friead 

In days of youthful fame; 
Yon distant hills were his domains; 

Sir Bertram was his name. 

Where'er the nohle Percy fought, 

His friend was at his side; 
And many a skirmish with the Scots 

Their early valour tried. 

Young Bertram loved a beauteous maid, 

As fair as fair might be; 
The dew-drop on the lily's cheek 

Was not so fair as she. 



Fair Widdrington the maiden's name, 
Yon towers her dwelling-place ; 

Her sire an old Northumbrian chief, 
Devoted to thy race. 

Many a lord, and many a knight, 

To this fair damsel came ; 
But Bertram was her only choice ; 

For him she felt a flame. 

Lord Percy pleaded for his friend , 

Her father soon consents ; 
None but the beauteous maid herself 

His wishes now prevents. 

But she with studied fond delays 

Defers the blissful hour, 
And loves to try his constancy, 

And prove her maiden power. 

That heart, she said, is lightly prized 
. Which is too lightly won, 

And long shall rue that easy maid, 
Who yields her love too soon. 

Lord Percy made a solemn feast 

In Aln wick's princely hall, 
And there came lords, and there came knights, 

His chiefs and barons all. 

With wassail, mirth, and revelry, 

The castle rung around : 
Lord Percy called for song and harp, 

And pipes of martial sound. 

The minstrels of thy noble house, 

All clad in robes of blue, 
With silver crescents on their arras, 

Attend in order due. 

The great achievements of thy race 
They sung : their high command : 

" How valiant Mainfred o'er the seas 
First led his northern band. 

Brave Galfrid next to Normandy 

With venturous Rollo came ; 
And from his Norman castles won, 
616 Assumed the Percy name. 


They sung how in the Conqueror's fleet 

Lord William shipt his powers, 
And gained a fair young Saxon bride 

With all her lands and towers. 

Then journeying to the Holy Land, 

There bravely fought and died : 
But first the silver crescent wan, 

Some Paynim Soldan's pride. 

They sung how Agnes, beauteous heir, 

The queen's own brother wed, 
Lord Josceline, sprung from Charlemagne, 

In princely Brabant bred. 

How he the Percy name revived, 

And how his noble line 
Still foremost in their country's cause 

With godlike ardour shine." 

With loud acclaims the listening crowd 

Applaud the master's song, 
And deeds of arms and war became 

The theme of every tongue. 

Now high heroic acts they tell, 

Their perils past recall : 
When lo ! a damsel young and fair 

Stept forward through the hall. 

She Bertram courteously addrest ; 

And kneeling on her knee 
Sir knight, the lady of thy love 

Hath sent this gift to thee. 

Then forth she drew a glittering helme, 

Well-plated many a fold, 
The casque was wrought of tempered steel, 

The crest of burnisht gold. 

Six knight, thy lady sends the.e this, 

And yields to be thy bride, 
When thou hast proved this maiden gift 

Where sharpest blows are tried. 

Young Bertram took the shining helme, 

And thrice he kist the same : 
Trust me, I'll prove this precious casque 

With deeds of noblest fame. 517 


Lord Percy and his barons bold 

Then fix upon a day 
To scour the marches, late opprest, 

And Scottish wrongs repay. 

The knights assembled on the hills, 
A thousand horse and more : 

Brave Widdrington, though sunk in years 
The Percy standard bore. 

Tweed's limpid current soon they pass, 
And range the borders round : 

Down the green slopes of Tiviotdale 
Their bugle-horns resound. 

As when a lion in his den 

Hath heard the hunter's cries, 

And rushing forth to meet his foes, 
So did the Douglas rise. 

Attendant on their chief's command 

A thousand warriors wait : 
And now the fatal hour drew on 

Of cruel keen debate. 

A chosen troop of Scottish youths 

Advance before the rest ; 
Lord Percy markt their gallant mien, 

And thus his friend addrest. 

Now, Bertram, prove thy lady's helme, 

Attack yon forward band ; 
Dead or alive I'll rescue thee, 

Or perish by their hand. 

Young Bertram bowed, with glad assent, 
And spurred his eager steed, 

And calling on his lady's name, 
Rusht forth with whirlwind speed. 

As when a grove of sapling oaks 

The livid lightning rends, 
So fiercely 'mid the opposing ranks 

Sir Bertram's sword descends. 

This way and that he drives the steel, 
And keenly pierces through ; 

And many a tall and comely knight 
"With furious force he sle'w. 


Now closing fast on every side, 
They hem Sir Bertram round ; 

But dauntless he repels their rage, 
And deals forth many a wound. 

The vigour of his single arm 

Had well-nigh won the field, 
When ponderous fell a Scottish axe, 

And clove his lifted shield. 

Another blow his temples took, 
And reft his helme in twain 

That beauteous helme, his lady's gift ! 
His blood bedewed the plain. 

Lord Percy saw his champion fall 

Amid the unequal fight ; 
And now, my noble friends, he said, 

Let's save this gallant knight. 

Then rushing in, with stretcht-out shield 

He o'er the warrior hung, 
As some fierce eagle spreads her wing 

To guard her callow young. 

Three times they strove to seize their prey, 
Three times they quick retire : 

What force could stand his furious strokes, 
Or meet his martial fire ? 

Now, gathering round on every part, 

The battle raged amain ; 
And many a lady wept her lord, 

That hour untimely slain. 

Percy and Douglas, great in arms, 
There all their courage showed ; 

And all the field was strewed with dead, 
And all with crimson flowed. 

At length the glory of the day 

The Scots reluctant yield, 
And, after wonderous valour shown, 

They slowly quit the field. 

All pale, extended on their shields, 

And weltering in his gore, 
Lord Percy's knights their bleeding friend 

To Wark's fair castle bore. 



Well hast thou earned my daughter's love, 

Her father kindly said ; 
And she herself shall dress thy wounds, 

And tend thee in thy hed. 

A message went, no daughter came ; 

Fair Isabel ne'er appears ; 
Beshrew me, said the aged chief, 

Young maidens have their fears. 

Cheer up, my son, thou shalt her see 

So soon as thou canst ride, 
And she shall nurse thee in her bower, 

And she shall be thy bride. 

Sir Bertram at her name revived ; 

He blest the soothing sound ; 
Fond hope supplied the nurse's care, 

And healed his ghastly wound. 


One early morn, while dewy drops 
Hung trembling on the tree, 

Sir Bertram from his sick-bed rose, 
His bride he would go see. 

A brother he had in prime of youth, 
Of courage firm and keen, 

And he would tend him on the way, 
Because his wounds were green. 

All day o'er moss and moor they rode, 
By many a lonely tower ; 

And 'twas the dew-fall of the night 
Ere they drew near her bower. 

Most drear and dark the castle seemed, 
That wont to shine so bright ; 

And long and loud Sir Bertram called 
Ere he beheld a light. 

At length her aged nurse arose, 

With voice so shrill and clear : 
What wight is this that calls so loud, 
520 And knocks so boldly here ? 


'Tis Bertram calls, thy lady's love, 

Come from his bed of care : 
All day I've ridden o'er moor and moss. 

To see thy lady fair. 

Now out, alas ! (she loudly shriekt) 

Alas ! how may this be ? 
For six long days are gone and past 

Since she set out to thee. 

Sad terror seized Sir Bertram's heart, 

And oft he deeply sighed ; 
When now the drawbridge was let down, 

And gates set open wide. 

Six days, young knight, are past and gone 

Since she set out to thee, 
And sure, if no sad harm had hapt, 

Long since thou wouldst her see. 

For when she heard thy grievous chance, 

She tore her hair, and cried, 
Alas ! I've slain the comeliest knight 

All through my folly and pride ! 

And now to atone for my sad fault, 

And his dear health regain, 
I'll go myself, and nurse my love, 

And soothe his bed of pain. 

Then mounted she her milk-white steed 

One morn by break of day, 
And two tall yeomen went with her 

To guard her on the way. " 

Sad terror smote Sir Bertram's heart, 

And grief o'erwhelmed his mind : 
Trust me, said he, I ne'er will rest 

Till I thy lady find. 

That night he spent in sorrow and care ; 

And with sad boding heart, 
Or ever the dawning of the day, 

His brother and he depart. 

Now, brother, we'll our ways divide, 

O'er Scottish hills to range ; 
Do thou go north, and I'll go west, 

And all our dress we'll change. 521 



Some Scottish carle hath seized my love 

And borne her to his den, 
And ne'er will I tread English ground 

Till she is restored agen. 

The brothers straight their paths divide, 
O'er Scottish hills to range ; 

And hide themselves in quaint disguise, 
And oft their dress they change. 

Sir Bertram, clad in gown of gray, 

Most like a palmer poor, 
To halls and castles wanders round, 

And begs from door to door. 

Sometimes a minstrel's garb he wears, 
With pipes so sweet and shrill ; 

And wends to every tower and town, 
O'er every dale and hill. 

One day as he sat under a thorn, 

All sunk in deep despair, 
An aged pilgrim passed him by, 

Who marked his face of care. 

All minstrels yet that ever I saw, 

Are full of game and glee : 
But thou art sad and wo-begone ; 

I marvel whence it be ! 

Father, I serve an aged lord, 
Whose grief afflicts my mind ; 

His only child is stolen away, 
And fain I would her find. 

Cheer up, my son ; perchance (he said) 

Some tidings I may bear ; 
For oft when human hopes have failed, 

Then heavenly comfort's near. 

Behind yon hills, so steep and high, 

Down in the lowly glen, 
There stands a castle fair and strong, 

Far from th' abode of men. 

As late I chanced to crave an alms, 

About this evening hour, 
Me thought I heard a lady's voice 

Lamenting in the tower. 


And when 1 asked what harm had hapt, 

What lady sick there lay? 
They rudely drove me from the gate, 

And bade me wend away. 

These tidings caught Sir Bertram's ear ; 

He thanked him for his tale ; 
And soon he hasted o'er the hills, 

And soon he reacht the vale. 

Then drawing near those lonely towers, 
Which stood in dale so low, 

And sitting down beside the gate, 
His pipes he 'gan to blow. 

Sir porter, is thy lord at home 

To hear a minstrel's song? 
Or may I crave a lodging here, 

Without offence or wrong ? 

My lord, he said, is not at home 

To hear a minstrel's song ; 
And should I lend thee lodging here, 

My life would not be long. 

He playd again so soft a strain, 
Such power sweet sounds impart, 

He won the churlish porter's ear, 
And moved his stubborn heart. 

Minstrel, he said, thou playst so sweet, 
Fair entrance thou shouldst win ; 

But, alas ! I'm sworn upon the rood 
To let no stranger in. 

Yet, minstrel, in yon rising cliff 
Thou'lt find a sheltering cave ; 

And here thou shalt my supper share, 
And there thy lodging have. 

All day he sits beside the gate, 
And pipes both loud and clear : 

All night he watches round the walls, 
In hopes his love to hear. 

The first night, as he silent watcht> 

All at the midnight hour, 
He plainly heard his lady's voice 

Lamenting in the tower. 


The second night the moon shone clear, 

And gilt the spangled dew ; 
He saw his lady through the grate, 

But 'twas a transient view. 

The third night, wearied out, he slept 

Till near the morning tide, 
When, starting up, he seized his sword 

And to the castle hied. 

When lo ! he saw a ladder of ropes 

Depending from the wall ; 
And o'er the moat was newly laid 

A poplar strong and tall. 

And soon he saw his love descend, 

Wrapt in a tartan plaid, 
Assisted by a sturdy youth, 

In Highland garb y-clad. 

Amazed, confounded at the sight, 

He lay unseen and still ; 
And soon he saw them cross the stream, 

And mount the neighbouring hill. 

Unheard, unknown of all within, 

The youthful couple fly ; 
But what can 'scape the lover's ken, 

Or shun his piercing eye 1 

With silent step he follows close 

Behind the flying pair, 
And saw her hang upon his arm 

With fond familiar air. 

Thanks, gentle youth, she often said ; 

My thanks thou well hast won : 
For me what wiles hast thou contrived I 

For me what dangers run ! 

And ever shall my grateful heart 

Thy services repay : 
Sir Bertram would no farther hear, 

But cried, Vile traitor, stay ! 

Vile traitor ! yield that lady up ! 
And quick his sword he drew : 

The stranger turned in sudden rage, 
And at Sir Bertram flew. 


With mortal hate their vigorous arms 

Gave many a vengeful blow ; 
But Bertram's stronger hand prevailed, 

And laid the stranger low. 

Die, traitor, die ! A deadly thrust 

Attends each furious word ; 
Ah ! then fair Isabel knew his voice, 

And rasht beneath his sword. 

stop, she cried ; O stop thy arm, 
Thou dost thy brother slay ! 

And here the hermit paused and wept : 
His tongue no more could say. 

At length he cried, Ye lovely pair, 

How shall I tell the rest ? 
Ere I could stop my piercing sword, 

It fell, and stabbed her breast. 

Wert thou thyself that hapless youth ? 

Ah ! cruel fate ! they said. 
The hermit wept, and so did they : 

They sighed ; he hung his head. 

O ! blind and jealous rage, he cried, 

"What evils from thee flow ? 
The hermit paused ; they silent mourned ; 

He wept, and they were woe. 

Ah ! when I heard my brother's name, 
And saw my lady bleed, 

1 raved, I wept, I curst my arm, 

That wrought the fatal deed. 

In vain I claspt her to my breast, 
And closed the ghastly wound ; 

In vain I prest his bleeding corpse, 
And raised it from the ground. 

My brother, alas ! spake never more ; 

His precious life was flown ; 
She kindly strove to soothe my pain, 

Regardless of her own. 

Bertram, she said; be comforted, 

And live to think on me : 
May we in heaven that union prove, 

Which here was not to be ! 


Bertram, she said, I still was true ; 

Thou only hadst my heart : 
May we hereafter meet in bliss ! 

We now, alas ! must part. 

For thee I left my father's hall, 

And flew to thy relief ; 
When, lo ! near Chiviot's fatal hills 

I met a Scottish chief, 

Lord Malcolm's son, whose proffered love 
I had refused with scorn ; 

He slew my guards, and seized on me 
Upon that fatal morn. 

And in these dreary hated walls 
He kept me close confined, 

And fondly sued and warmly prest 
To win me to his mind. 

Each rising morn increased my pain, 
Each night increased my fear : 

When wandering in this northern garb, 
Thy brother found me here. 

He quickly formed his brave design 

To set me captive free ; 
And on the moor his horses wait, 

Tied to a neighbouring tree. 

Then haste, my love, escape away, 

And for thyself provide, 
And sometime fondly think on her 

Who should have been thy bride. 

Thus pouring comfort on my soul 
Even with her latest breath, 

She gave one parting fond embrace, 
And closed her eyes in death. 

In wild amaze, in speechless woe, 

Devoid of sense I lay : 
Then sudden all in frantic mood 

I meant myself to slay : 

And rising up in furious haste, 

I seized the bloody brand : 
A sturdy arm here interposed, 
626 And wrencht it from my hand. 


A crowd, that from the castle came, 

Had mist their lovely ward, 
And seizing me, to prison bare, 

And deep in dungeon barred. 

It chanced that on that very morn 
Their chief was prisoner ta'en : 

Lord Percy had us soon exchanged, 
And strove to soothe my pain. 

And soon those honoured dear remains 

To England were conveyed, 
And there within their silent tombs 

With holy rites were laid. 

For me, I loathed my wretched h'fe, 

And oft to end it sought ; 
Till time, and thought, and holy men, 

Had better counsels taught. 

They raised my heart to that pure source 
Whence heavenly comfort flows : 

They taught me to despise the world, 
And calmly bear its woes. 

No more the slave of human pride, 

Vain hope, and sordid care, 
I meekly vowed to spend my life 

In penitence and prayer. 

The bold Sir Bertram now no more, 

Impetuous, haughty, wild, 
But poor and humble Benedict, 

Now lowly, patient, mild. 

My lands I gave to feed the poor, 

And sacred altars raise, 
And here, a lonely anchoret, 

I came to end my days. 

This sweet sequestered vale I chose, 
These rocks, and hanging grove ; 

For oft beside that murmuring stream 
My love was wont to rove. 

My noble friend approved my choice ; 

This blest retreat he gave ; 
And here I carved her beauteous form, 

And scoopt this holy cave. 


Full fifty winters, all forlorn, 
My life I've lingered here ; 

And daily o'er this sculptured saint 
I drop the pensive tear. 

\nd thou, dear brother of my heart, 

So faithful and so true, 
The sad remembrance of thy fate 

Still makes my bosom rue ! 

Yet not unpitied passed my life, 

Forsaken, or forgot, 
The Percy and his noble son 

Would grace my lowly cot. 

Oft the great earl, from toils of state 
And cumbrous pomp of power, 

Would gladly seek my little cell 
To spend the tranquil hour. 

But length of life is length of woe ; 

I lived to mourn his fall : 
I lived to mourn his godlike son, 

Their friends and followers all. 

But thou the honours of thy race, 
Loved youth, shalt now restore, 

And raise again the Percy name 
More glorious than before. 

. He ceased, and on the lovely pair 

His choicest blessings laid, 
While they with thanks and pitying tears 
His mournful tale repaid. 

And now what present course to take, 
They ask the good old sire, 

And, guided by his sage advice, 
To Scotland they retire. 

Meantime their suit such favour found 

At Raby's stately hall, 
Earl Neville and his princely spous 

Now gladly pardon all. 

She, suppliant at her nephew's throne, 

The royal grace implored : 
To all the honours of his race 
528 The Percy was restored. 


The youthful earl still more and more 
Admired his beauteous dame : 

Nine noble sons to him she bore, 
All worthy of their name. 

[Warkworth Castle, in Northumberland, stands very boldly on a neck of land near the sea-shore, 
almost surrounded by the river Coquet, (called by our old Latin historians Coqueda,) which runs 
with a clear rapid stream, but when swollen with rain becomes violent and dangerous. 

About a mile from the Castle, in a deep romantic valley, are the remains of an Hermitage; of 
which the chapel is still entire. This is hollowed with great elegance in a cliff near the river, as 
are also two adjoining apartments, which probably served for the sacristy and vestry, or were ap 
propriated to some other sacred uses : for the former of these, which runs parallel with the chapel, 
is thought to have had an altar in it, at which mass was occasionally celebrated, as well as in the 
chapel itself. 

Each of these apartments is extremely small ; for that which was the principal chapel does not 
in length exceed eighteen feet ; nor is more than seven feet and a half in breadth and height ; it 
is, however, very beautifully designed and executed in the solid rock ; and has all the decorations of 
a complete gothic Churc'i, or Cathedral in miniature. But what principally distinguishes the chapel, 
is a small tomb or monument, on the south side of the altar ; on the top of which lies a female 
figure, extended in the manner that effigies are usually exhibited, praying on ancient tombs. This 
figure, which is very delicately designed, some have ignorantly called an image of the Virgin Mary; 
though it has not the least resemblance to the manner in which she is represented in the Romish 
churches, who is usually erect, as the object of adoration, and never in a prostrate or recumbent 
posture. Indeed the real image of the blessed Virgin probably stood in a small nich, still visible be 
hind the altar; wherfcas the figure of a Bull's Head, which is rudely carved at this Lady's feet, the 
usual place for the crest in old monuments, plainly proves her to have been a very different per 

About the tomb are several other figures ; which, as well as the principal one above-mentioned, 
are cut in the natural rock, in the same manner as the little chapel itself, with all its ornaments, 
and the two adjoining apartments. What slight traditions are scattered through the country con 
cerning the origin and foundation of this hermitage, tomb, &c , are delivered to the reader in the 
preceding rhymes. 

It is universally agreed, that the founder was one of the Bertram family, which had once consi 
derable possessions in Northumberland, and were anciently Lords of Bothel Castle, situate about 
ten miles from Warkworth ; he has been thought to be the same Bertram that endowed Brinkburn 
Priory, and built Brenkshaugh Chapel, which both stand in the same winding valley higher up 
the river. 

But Brinkburn Priory was founded in the reign of King Henry I., whereas the form of the 
("othic windows in this chapel, especially of those near the altar, is found rather to resemble the 
style of architecture that prevailed about the reign of King Edward III. And indeed that the 
sculpture in this chapel cannot be much older, appears from the crest which is placed at the Lady's 
feet on the tomb ; for Camden informs us, that armorial crests did not become hereditary till about 
the reign of King Edward II. 

These appearances, still extant, strongly confirm the account given in the poem, and plainly 
prove that the Hermit of Warkworth was not the same person that founded Brinkburn Priory in 
the twelfth century, but rather one of the Bertram family who lived at a later period. 

It will, perhaps, gratify the curious reader to be informed, that from a word or two formerly 
legible over one of the chapel doors, it is believed that the text there inscribed was that Latin 
verse of the Psalmist, which is in our translation, (Ps. xlii. 3.) 


It is also certain, that the memory of the first Hermit was held in such regard and veneration 
by the Percy family, that they afterwards maintained a Chantry Priest, to reside in the Hermitage, 
and celebrate Mass in the chapel, whose allowance, uncommonly liberal and munificent, was con 
tinued down to the dissolution of the monasteries ; and then the whole salary, together with the 
Hermitage and all its dependencies, reverted back to the family, having never been endowed 
in Mortmain. 

St. 54. Adjoining to the Cliff, which contains the Chapel of the Hermitage, are the remains of 
a small building, in which the Hermit dwelt. This consisted of one lower apartment, with a 
little bed-chamber over it, and is now in ruins: whereas the Chapel, cut in the solid rock, is still 
very entire and perfect. 

St. 63. In the little island of Coquet, near Warkworth, are still seen the ruins of a Cell, which 
belonged to the Benedictine Monks of Tinemouth- Abbey. 

St. 77. This is a Bull's Head, the crest of the Widdrington family. All the figures, &c. here 
described are still visible, only somewhat effaced with length of time. 

St. 93. In Lower Normandy are three places of the name of Percy: whence the family took the 
surname De Percy. 

St. 123. Wark Castle, a fortress belonging to the English, and of great note in ancient times, 
stood on the southern bank of the river Tweed, a little to the east of Tiviotdale, and not far from 
Kelso. It is now entirely destroyed. PERCY. 

2 629 


[This ballad was written by the ' marvellous boy,' Thomas Chatterton, who died, by 
bis own hand, it would seem, in 1770, aged seventeen years, nine months, and some days. 
It is one of the ' Poems' which he gave to the world as having been written by Thomas 

Rowley, ' parish preeste of St. John's, in the 
city of Bristol, in the fifteenth century ;' and 
found by himself among some parchments taken by 
^' 8 father, whose uncle was the sexton, from the 
Muniment Room of St. Mary Redcliffe church, at 
Bristol. The literary controversy to which these 
poems gave rise is well known. Probably, how 
ever, it would be difficult now-a-days to find a be 
liever in ' Rowley the priest.' When and where 
the Ballad first appeared is a matter upon which 
editors and biographers seem one and all to be 
ignorant. It is here taken from the edition of 
1777 (Lond. 8vo.), where it is stated to be 're 
printed from the copy printed at London in 1772, 
_-; , with a few corrections from a copy made by Mr. 
I ==-Jj i, Catcott, from one in Chatterton's handwriting.' 
3i=C_ In all probability, however, it was first published 
in Chatterton's life-time, having been given by 
him to Mr. Catcott. The person here celebrated 
under the name of Sir Charles Bawdin, was 
probably Sir Baldewyn Fulford, Knt., a zealous 
Lancastrian, who was executed at Bristol in the 
latter end of 1461, the first year of Edward the 

HE featherd songster chaunticleer 

Han wounde hys bugle-horne, 
^j And tolde the earlie villager 

The commynge of the morne. 


Kynge Edwarde sawe the ruddie streakes 

Of lyghte eclypse the greie, 
And herde the raven's croakynge throte 

Proclayme the fated dale. 

' Thou'rt ryght,' quod hee, ' for by the Godde 

That syttes enthron'd on hyghe! 
Charles Bawdin, and hys fellowes twaine, 

To-daie shall surelie die.' 

Thenne wythe a jugge of nappy ale 
Hys knyghts dydd onne hymm waite; 

* Goe tell the traytour thatt to-daie 

Hee leaves thys mortall state.' 

Syr Canterlone thenne bendedd lowe, 

Wythe harte brymmfulle of woe; 
Hee journey'd to the castle-gate, 

And. to Syr Charles dydd goe. 

But whenne hee came, hys children twaine, 

And eke hys lovynge wyfe, 
Wyth brinie tears dydd we'tt the floore, 

For goode Syr Charleses lyfe. 

' O goode Syr Charles!' sayd Canterlone, 

' Badde tydings I doe brynge." 
' Speke boldlie, manne,' sayd brave Syr Charles; 

* Whatte says thie tray tor kynge?' 

* I greeve to telle; before yonne sonne 

Does fromme the welkin flye, 
Hee hathe uponne hys honnour sworn, 
Thatt thou shalt surelie die.' 

* Wee all must die,' quod brave Syr Charles ; 

* Of thatte I'm not affearde; 
Whatte bootes to lyve a little space? 

Thanke Jesu, I'm prepard: 

Butt telle thye kynge, for myne hee's not, 

I'de sooner die to-daie, 
Thanne lyve hys slave, as manie are, 

Tho' I shoulde lyve for aie.' 

Thenne, Canterlone hee dydd goe out, 

To tell the maior straite, 
To gett all thynges ynne.reddyness 

For goode Syr Charles's fate. 



Thenne Maister Canynge saughte the kyngf 
And felle down onne hys knee; 

' I'm come,' quod hee, ' unto your grace, 
To move your clemencye.' 

' Thenne,' quod the king, ' youre tale speke out, 
You have been much oure friend; 

Whatever youre request may bee, 
Wee wylle to ytte attende.' 

' My nobile leige ! alle my request 

Ys for a nobile knyghte, 
Who, tho' mayhap hee has donne wrong 

Hee thoughte ytte stylle was ryghte. 

Hee has a spouse and children twaine; 

Alle rewynd are for aie, 
Yf thatt you are resolvd to lett 

Charles Bawdin die to-daie.* . 

* Speke nott of such a traytour vile,' 

The kynge ynne furie saydj 

Before the evening starre doth sheene, 

Bawdin shall loose hys hedde. 

Justice does loudlie for hym call, 
And hee shalle have hys meede; 

Speke, Maister Canynge! whatte thynge else 
Att present doe you neede:' 

4 My nobile leige!' goode Canynge sayde, 

* Leave justice to our Godde, 
And laye the yronne rule asyde; 

Be thyne the olyve rodde. 

Was Godde to searche our hertes and reinea 

The best were synners grete; 
Christ's vycarr only knowes ne synne, 

Ynne alle thys mortall state. 

Lette mercie rule thyne infante reigne, 
'T'wylle faste thye crowne fulle sure; 

From race to race thy familie 
Alle sov'reigns shall endure: 

But yffe withe bloode and slaughter thou 

Beginne thy infante reigne, 
Thy crowne uponne thy childrennes brows 
_ S2 Wylle never long remayne.' 


' Canynge, awaie! Thys tray tour vile 
Has scorn'd my power and mee; 

Howe canst thou thenne for such a manu 
Intreate my clemencye?' 

' Mie nobile leige! the truh'e brave 

Wylle val'rous actions prize; 
Respect a brave and nobile mynde 

Altho' ynne enemies.' 

' Canynge, awaie! By Godde ynne Heav'n, 

Thatte dydd mee being gyve, 
I wylle nott taste a bitt of breade, 

Whilst thys Syr Charles dothe lyve! 

Bie Marie, and alle Seinctes ynne Heav'n, 

Thys sunne shall be hys laste!' 
Thenne Canynge droppt a brinie teare, 

And from the presence paste. 

Wyth herte brymfulle of gnawyng grief, 

Hee to Syr Charles dydd goe, 
And satt hymm downe uponne a stoole, 

And teares beganne to flowe. 

' Wee alle must die,' quod brave Syr Chaneo, 
Whatte bootes ytte howe or whenne? 

Dethe ys the sure, the certaine fate, 
Of alle we mortall menne. 

Saye why, my friend, thie honest soul 

Runns overr att thyne eye; 
Is ytte for my most welcome doome, 

Thatt thou doste child-lyke crye?' 

Quod godlie Canynge, ' I doe weepe, 

Thatt thou soe soone must dye, 
And leave thy sonnes and helpless wyfe; 

'Tys thys that wettes myne eye.' 

* Thenne drie the teares that out thyne eye 

From godlie fountaines sprynge; 
Dethe I despise, and alle the power 

Of Edwarde, traytor kynge. 

Whan through the tyrant's welcom means 

I shall resigne my lyfe, 
The Godde I serve wylle soone provyde 

For bothe mye sonnes and wyfe. 



Before I sawe the lyghtsome sunne, 

Thys was appointed mee; 
Shall mortal manne repyne or grudge 

Whatt Godde ordeynes to bee? 

Howe oft ynne battaile have I stoode, 

^Whan thousands dy'd arounde; 
Whan smokynge streemes of crimson bloode 

Imbrew'd the fatten'd grounde: 

Howe dydd I knowe thatt ev'ry darte 

That cutte the airie waie, 
Myghte nott fynde passage toe my herte, 

And close myne eyes for aie? 

And shall I nowe, forr feere of dethe, 

Looke wanne and bee dysmay'd? 
Ne! fromme my herte flie childishe feere, 

Bee alle the manne display'd.' 

' Ah, goddelike Henrie ! Godde forfende 

And guarde thee and thie %onne, 
Yff 'tis hys wylle; but yff 'tis nott, 

Why, thenne hys wylle bee donne.' 

* My honest friende, my faulte has beene 
To serve Godde and mye prynce; 

And thatt I no tyme-server am, 
My dethe wylle soone convynce 

Ynne London citye was I borne, 

Of parents of grete note; 
My fadre dyd a nobile armes 

Emblazon onne hys cote; 

I make ne doubte butt hee ys gone 

Where soone I hope to goe, 
Where wee for ever shall bee blest 

From oute the reech of woe. 

Hee taughte mee justice and the laws 

Wyth pitie to unite; 
And eke hee taughte mee howe to knowe 

The wronge cause fromme the ryghte: 

Hee taughte mee wyth a prudent hande 

To feede the hungrie-poore, 
Ne lette mie servants dryve awaie, 

The hungrie fromme my doore: 


And none can say butt alle mye lyfe 

I have hys wordyes kept: 
And summ'd the actyonns of the dale 

Eache nyghte before I slept. 

I have a spouse, goe aske of her 

Yff I defyl'd her bedde? 
I have a kynge, and none can laie 

Blacke treason onne my hedde. 

JTnne Lent and onne the holie eve, 

Fromme fleshe I dydd refrayne; 
Whie should I thenne appeare dismay a 

To leave thys worlde of payne? 

Ne! hapless Henrie! I rejoyce 

I shalle ne see thie dethe; 
Moste willynglie ynne thye juste cause 

Doe I resign my brethe. 

Oh, fickle people! rewyn'd londe! 

Thou wylt kenne peace ne moe; 
Whyle Richard's sonnes exalt themselves, 

Thye brookes wyth bloude wylle flowe. 

Saie, were ye tyr'd of godlie peace, 

And godlie Henrie's reigne, 
Thatt you dydd choppe youre easie dales 

For those of bloude and payne? 

Whatte tho' I onne a sledde bee drawne 

And mangled by a hynde, 
I doe defye the traytor's power, 

Hee can ne harm my mynde: 

Whatte tho', uphoisted onne a pole, 

Mye lymbes shall rotte ynne ayre, 
And ne ryche monument of brasse 

Charles Bawdin's name shall bear; 

Yette ynne the holie booke above, 

Whyche tyme can't eate awaie, 
There wythe the servants of the Lorde 

Mye name shall lyve for aie. 

Thenne welcome dethe! for lyfe eterne 

I leave thys mortall lyfe: 
Farewelle vayne worlde, and alle that's deare, 

Mye sonnes and lovynge wyfe! .,. 


No we dethe as welcome to mee comes 

As e'er the moneth of Male; 
Nor woulde I even wyshe to lyve, 

Wyth my dere wyfe to stale.' 

Quod Canynge, ' 'Tys a goodlie thynge, 

To bee prepared to die; 
And from tliys world of peyne and greefe 

To Godde ynne heav'n to flie.' 

And nowe the bell beganne to tolle, 

And claryonnes to sounde; 
Syr Charles hee herde the horses' feete 

A-prauncing onne the grounde. 

And just before the officers 

His lovynge wyfe came ynne, 
Weepynge unfeigned teeres of woe 

Wythe loude and dysmalle dynne. 

' Sweet Florence! nowe I praie forbere, 

Ynne quiet lett mee die; 
Praie Godde thatt ev'ry Christian soule 

Maye looke onne dethe as I. 

Sweet Florence! why these brinie teeres? 

Theye washe my soule awaie, 
And almost make mee wyshe for lyfe, 

"Wythe thee, sweete dame, to staie. 

'Tys butt a journie I shalle goe 

Untoe the lande of blysse; 
Nowe, as a proofs of husbande's love 

Receive thys holie kysse.' 

Thenne Florence, fault'ring ynne her saie, 

Tremblynge these wordes spoke: 
Ah, cruele Edwarde! bloudie kynge! 
My herte ys welle nyghe broke. 

Ah, sweete Syr Charles! why wylt thou goe 

"Wythoute thye lovynge wyfe? 
The cruelle axe thatt cuttes thye necke, 

Ytte eke shall ende mye lyfe.' 

And nowe the officers came ynne, 

To brynge Syr Charles awaie, 
Whoe turnedd toe hys lovynge wyfe 

And thus to her dydd saie: 


' I goe to lyfe, and not to dethe, 

Truste thou ynne Godde above, 
And teache thye sonnes to feare the Lorde, 

And ynne theyre hertes hym love. 

Teache them to runne the nobile race 

Thatt I theyre fader runne, 
Florence! shou'd dethe thee take adieu! 

Yee officers leade onne.' 

Thenne Florence raved as anie madde, 

And dydd her tresses tere; 
' Oh stale, mie husbande, lorde, and lyfe ! 

Syr Charles thenne droppt a tere. 

' Tyll tyredd oute wythe ravynge loud, 

Shee fellen onne the flore ; 
Syr Charles exerted alle hys inyghte, 

And march'd fromme oute the dore. 

Uponne a sledde hee mounted thenne, 

Wythe lookes fulle brave and swete, 
Lookes that enshone ne more concern 

Thanne anie ynne the strete. 

Before hym went the council-menne. 

Ynne Scarlett robes and golde, 
And tassils spanglyng ynne the sunne, 

Muche glorious to beholde : 

The freers of Seincte Augustyne nex f 

Appeared to the syght, 
Alle cladd ynne homelie russett weedes ; 

Of godlie monkysh plyght. 

Ynne diff'rent partes a godlie psaulmc. 

Most sweetlie theye dydd chaunt; 
Behynde theyr backe syx mynstrelles can.j, 

Who tuned the strunge bataunt. 

Thenne fyve-and-twentye archers came; 

Eachone the bowe dydd bende, 
From rescue of Kynge Henrie's friends, 

Syr Charles forr to defend. 

Bolde as a lyon came Syr Charles, 

Drawne onne a clothe-layde sledde, 
Bye two blacke stedes ynne trappynges white, 

Wyth plumes uponne theyre hedde. 537 


Behynde hym fyve-and-twentye moe 
Of archers stronge and stoute, 

Wythe bended bowe eachone ynne hande, 
Marched ynne goodlie rout. 

Seincte Jameses freers marched next, 
Eachone hys parte dydd chaunt; 

Behynde theyre backes syx mynstrelles came, 
Who tuned the strunge bataunt. 

Then came the maior and eldermenne, 

Ynne clothe of Scarlett deckt; 
And theyre attendyng menne eachone 

Lyke easterne princes trickt. 

And after them a multitude 

Of citizenns dydd thronge; 
The wyndowes were alle fulle of heddes, 

As hee dydd passe alonge. 

And whenne hee came to the hyghe crosse 
Syr Charles dydd turne and saie, 

' thou thatt savest manne fromme sinne, 
Washe mye soule clean thys daie.' 

At the grete mynsterr wyndowe sate, 
The kynge ynne myckle state, 

To see Charles Bawdin goe alonge 
To hys most welcom fate. 

Soone as the sledde drewe nyghe enowe, 
Thatt Edwarde, hee myghte here, 

The brave Syr Charles hee dydd stande uppe, 
And thus hys words declare : 

' Thou seest me, Edward! tray tour vile! 

Exposed to infamie; 
Butt bee assured, disloyall manne, 

I'm greaterr nowe thanne thee. 

Bye foule proceedyngs, murdre, bloude, 

Thou wearest nowe a crowne; 
And hast appoynted mee to dye, 

By power nott thyne owne. 

Thou thynkest I shall dye to daie; 

I have beene dede till nowe, 
And soone shall lyve to weare a crowne 

For aie uponne my browe; 



Whylst thou, perhapps, for som few yeares, 

Shalt rule thys fyckle lande, 
To lett them knowe howe wyde the rule 

'Twixt kynge and tyrant hande; 

Thye power unjust, thou tray tour slave! 

Shall falle onne thye owne hedde ' 
Fromme out of hearyng of the kynge, 

Departed thenne the sledde. 

Kynge Edwardes soule rush'd to hys face, 

Hee turn'd hys hedde awaie, 
And to hys broder Gloucester 

Hee thus dydd speke and sale: 

' To hyrn that soe-much-dreaded dethe 

Ne ghastlie terrors brynge; 
Beholde the manne! hee spake the truthe; 

Hee's greater thanne a kynge !' 

' Soe lett hym die!' Duke Richard sayde; 

* And maye eachone oure foes 
Bende downe theyre neckes to bloudie axe, 

And feede the carryon crowes.' 

And nowe the horses gentlie drewe 

Syr Charles uppe the hyghe hylle; 
The axe dyd glysterr ynne the sunne, 

Hys pretious bloude to spylle. 

Syr Charles dydd uppe the scaffolde goe, 

As uppe a gilded carre 
Of victorye, bye val'rous chiefs 

Gayn'd ynne the bloudie warre. 

And to the people hee dydd saie: 

' Beholde you see mee dye, 
For servynge loyally mye kynge, 

My kynge most rightfullie. 

As long as Edwarde rules thys land, 

Ne quiet you wylle knowe; 
Youre sonnes and husbandes shalle bee slaine, 

And brookes wythe bloude shalle flowe. 

You leave youre goode and lawfulle kynge, 

Whenne ynn adversitye; 
Lyke mee, untoe the true cause styck; 

And for the true cause dye.' 039 


Thenne hee, wythe preestes, uponne hys knees, 

A prayer to Godde dydd make, 
Beseechynge hym unto hymselfe, 

Hys partynge soule to take. 

Thenne kneelynge downe, hee layde hys hedde, 

Most seemlie onne the blocke; 
Whyche fromme hys bodie fayre at once 

The able heddesmanne stroke: 

And oute the bloude beganne to flowe, 

And rounde the scaffolde twyne; 
And teares. enow to wash't awaie, 

Dydd flowe fromme each manne's eyne. 

The bloudie axe hys bodie fayre 

Ynto foure parties cutte; 
And everye parte and eke hys hedde, 

Uponne a pole was putte. 

One parte dydd rotte onne Kynwulph-hylle, 

One onne the mynster-tower, 
And one from off the castle-gate 

The crowen dydd devoure. 

The other onne Seincte Poules goode-gate, 

A dreery spectacle; 
Hys hedde was placed onne the hyghe crosse, 

Ynne hyghe streete most nobile. 

Thus was the ende of Baw din's fate; 

Godde prosper longe oure kynge, 
And grante hee maye wythe Bawdin's soule, 

Ynne Heav'n Godde's mercie syng! 


[This ballad, so well known by the beautiful glee for 
which it has furnished words, was first published in 
Evans's ' Old Ballads, Historical and Narrative, with soma 
of modern date;' the first edition of which appeared in 
1777> in two volumes, and a second, in four volumes, in 
1784. It is understood, as Sir Walter Scott observes, 
(Introd. Rem. on Pop. Poetry,) to have been the produc 
tion of William Julius Mickle, translator of the Lusiad, 
though never claimed by him, nor received among his works. 
' His facility of versification,' says Sir Walter, ' was so 
great, that, being a printer by profession, he frequently put 
his lines into types without taking the trouble previously to 
put them into writing ;' and, as, with this facility, ' he 
united a power of verbal melody which might have been 
envied by bards of much greater renown, he must be con 
sidered as very successful in these efforts, if his ballads be 
regarded as avowedly modern productions. If they are to 
be judged of as accurate imitations of ancient poetry, they 
have less merit ; the deception being only maintained by a 
huge store of double consonants, strewed at random into 
ordinary words, resembling the real fashion of antiquity as 
little as the niches, turrets, and tracery of plaster stuck 
upon a modern front.' Upon this hint from so high an 
authority, we have ventured to avoid the incongruity 
against which it is directed.] 

LOW, warder ! blow thy sounding horn, 

And thy banner wave on high ; 
For the Christians have fought in the holy land, 

And have won the victory ! ' 
Loud, loud the warder blew his horn, 

And his banner waved on high : 
' Let the mass be sung, and the bells be rung, 

And the feast eat merrily.' 


Then bright the castle banners shone 

On every tower on high, 
And all the minstrels sang aloud 

For the Christian's victory : 
And loud the warder blew his horn, 

On every turret high, 
' Let the mass be sung, and the bells be rung, 

And the feast eat merrily. 

The warder he lookt from the tower on high, 

As far as he could see : 
' I see a bold Knight ! and by his red cross, 

He comes from the East country.' 
Then loud that warder blew his horn ; 

And called, till he was hoarse, 
' There comes a bold Knight, and on his shield bright 

He beareth a flaming cross.' 

Then down the lord of the castle came 

The Red-cross Knight to meet, 
And when the Red- cross Knight he spied, 

Right loving he did him greet : 
' Thou'rt welcome here, Sir Red-cross Knight, 

For thy fame's well known to me ! 
And the mass shall be sung, and the bells shall be rung, 

And we'll feast right merrily.' 

' O ! I am come from the holy land, 

Where Christ did live and die ; 
Behold the device I bear on my shield, 

The Red-cross Knight am I : 
And we have fought in the holy land, 

And we've won the victory ; 
For with valiant might did the Christians fight, 

And made the proud Pagans fly.' 

' Thou'rt welcome here, dear Red-cross Knight ! 

Come, lay thy armour by ; 
And, for the good tidings thou dost bring, 

We'll feast us merrily : 
For all in my castle shall rejoice, 

That we've won the victory ; 

And the mass shall be sung, and the bells shall be rung, 
642 And the feast eat merrily ! ' 


' O, I cannot stay,' cried the Red-cross Knight, 

' But must go to my own country ; 
"Where manors and castles will be my reward, 

And all for my. bravery.' 
' O ! say not so, thou Red-cross Knight ! 

But if you'll bide with me, 
With manors so wide, and castles beside, 

I'll honour thy bravery.' 

* I cannot stay,' cried the Red-cross Knight, 

' Nor can I bide with thee ; 
But I must haste to my king and his knights, 

Who're waiting to feast with me.' 
' O ! mind them not, dear Red-cross Knight ! 

But stay and feast with me ; 
And the mass shall be sung, and the bells be rung, 

And we'll banquet merrily.' 

' I cannot stay,' cried the Red-cross Knight, 

' Nor can I feast with thee ; 
But I must haste to a pleasant bower, 

"Where a lady's waiting for me ! ' 
' O say not so, dear Red-cross Knight, 

Nor heed that fond lady ; 
For she can't compare with my daughter so rare, 

And she shall attend on thee.' 

' Now must I go,' said the Red-cross Knight, 

' For that lady I'm to wed, 
And the feast-guests and bride-maids all are met, 

And prepared the bridal bed ! ' 
' Now nay, now nay, thou Red-cross Knight, 

My daughter shall wed with thee ; 
And the mass shall be sung, and the bells shall be rung, 

And we'll feast right merrily ! ' 

And now the silver lute's sweet sound, 

Re-echoed through the hall, 
And in that lord's fair daughter came, 

With her ladies clad in pall ; 
That lady was deckt in costly robes, 

And shone as bright as day, 
And with courtesy sweet, the knight she did greet, 

And prest him for to stay. 543 


' Right welcome, brave Sir Red-cross Knight ! 

Right welcome unto me : 
And here I hope long time thou'lt stay, 

And bear us company ; 
And for thy exploits in the holy land, 

That hath gained us the victory, 
The mass shall be sung, and the bells be rung, 

And we'll feast right merrily.' 

' Though ever thou press me, lady fair ! 

I cannot stay with thee.' 
That lady frowned, to hear that knight 

So slight her courtesy. 
' It grieves me much, thou lady fair, 

That here I cannot stay, 
For a beauteous lady is waiting for me, 

Whom I've not seen many a day.' 

' Now fie on thee, uncourteous knight, 

Thou shouldst not say me nay ; 
As for the lady that's waiting for thee, 

Go see her another day. 
So say no more, but stay, brave knight, 

And bear us company ; 
And the mass shall be sung, and the bells shall be rung, 

And we'll feast right merrily.' 


And, as the lady prest the knight, 

With her ladies clad in pall ; 
O ! then bespake a pilgrim-boy, 

As he stood in the hall, 
' Now Christ thee save, Sir Red-cross Knight, 

I'm come from the north country ; 
Where a lady is laid all on her death bed, 

And evermore calls for thee.' 

' Alas ! alas ! thou pilgrim- boy, 

Sad news thou tellest me ; 
Now must I ride full hastily, 

To comfort that dear lady ! ' 
' heed him not ! ' the ladies cried, 

' But send a page to see ; 
While the mass is sung, and the bells are rung, 
644 And we feast merrily.' 


Again bespake the pilgrim-boy, 

' Ye need not send to see : 
For know, Sir Knight, that lady's dead, 

And died for love.' of thee ! ' 
O ! then the Red-cross Knight was pale, 

And not a word could say ! 
But his heart did swell, and his tears down fell, 

And he almost swooned away. 

' Now fie on thee, thou weakly knight, 

To weep for a lady dead : 
Were I a noble knight like thee, 

I'd find another to wed. 
So, come cheer and comfort thy heart, 

And be good company ; 
And the mass shall be sung, and the bells be rung, 

And we'll feast thee merrily.' 

In vain that wily lady strove, 

The sorrowing knight to cheer, 
Each word he answered with a groan, 

Each soothing with a tear. 
' And now farewell thou noble lord, 

And farewell lady fair ! 
In pleasure and joy your hours employ, 

Nor think of my despair.' 

' And where is her grave ? ' cried the Red-cross Knight, 

The grave where she doth lay ! 
' O, I know it well,' cried the pilgrim-boy, 

' And I'll show thee on the way.' 
The knight was sad, the pilgrim sighed, 

While the warder loud. did cry, 
Let the mass be sung, and the bells be rung, 

And the feast eat merrily. 

Meanwhile arose the lord's daughter, 

And to her ladies did call, 
O ! what shall we say, to stay the knight, 

For he must not leave the hall ! 
For much that lady was in love, 

With the gallant Red-cross Knight, 
And ere many a day, with this knight so gay, 

Had hoped her troth to plight. 545 

2 N 


' O ! ' then bespake these ladies gay 

As they stood clad in pall, 
' O ! we'll devise how to make this knigh 

Stay in the castle hall.' 
' Now that's well said, my ladies dear ; 

And if he'll stay with me, 
Then the mass shall be sung, and the bells be rung, 

And we'll feast right merrily.' 

Then softly spake those ladies fair, 

Low whispering at the wall, 
* O, we've devised how to keep the knight, 

In thy fair castle hall : 
Now, lady, command the warder blithe, 

To come from yon tower high, 
With tidings to say to inveigle away 

Yon wily pilgrim-boy ! ' 

Go, run ! go, run, my foot-page dear, 

To the warder take thy way, 
And one of my ladies shall go with thee, 

To tell thee what to say : 
And now if we can but compel the knight, 

To stay in the castle with me, 
Then the mass shall be sung, and the bells shall be rung, 

And we'll all feast merrily.' 

The warder came, and blew his horn, 

And thus aloud did cry, 
' Ho ! is there a pilgrim in the hall, 

Come from the north country ? 
For there's a foot-page waits without, 

To speak with him alone.' 
Thus the warder did call till out of the hall 

The pilgrim-boy is gone. 

Meanwhile bespake the ladies gay> 

As they stood clad in pall, 
' Right glad, brave knight, we welcome thee 

Unto our castle hall.' 
But the knight he heeded not their talk, 

Although they cried with glee, 
Let the mass be sung, and the bells be rung, 

And feast thee merriJy. 


' But where' s the pilgrim-boy,' he cried, 

' To show me my lady's grave ? ' 
That he should be sought for throughout the place, 

The knight full oft did crave. 
Then loud replied the ladies gay, 

' Now foul that knave befall ; 
For lucre he hath beguiled thee, 

And now hath fled the hall. 

And now, Sir Knight, do not give heed 

To what he said to thee, 
But send a page to the north country, 

That lady fair to see ; 
And, while he's gone to comfort her, 

O ! thou shalt share our glee ; 
While the mass is sung, and the bells are rung, 

And the feast eat merrily. 

But while those ladies, blithe and gay, 

Attuned their lutes to joy, 
The knight was sad, and searcht around, 

To find the pilgrim-boy : 
He searcht the castle all about, 

Through every turn and wind, 
But all in vain his toil and pain, 

The pilgrim-boy to find. 

In vain the lord's fair daughter sent 

Her messengers to call 
The knight, he would not heed their words, 

Nor enter the castle hall. 
In vain the wanton ladies sung, 

And clamorous warders cry, 
Let the mass be sung, and the bells be rung, 

And the feast eat merrily. 

O ! then bespake those ladies gay, 

As they stood clad in pall, 
' Weep not, weep not, dear lady, 

Though he'll not enter the hall ; 
But send to the warder from the tower, 

To bring the pilgrim-boy, 
Whom we'll persuade to lend his aid, 

This proud knight to decoy. 547 


We'll make that boy, on pain of death, 

The Red-cross Knight deceive ; 
So that no more on his account, 

The fair young knight shall grieve, 
And then we'll keep the Red-cross Knight, 

To bear us company ; 
And the mass shall be sung, and the bells shall be rung, 

And we will feast merrily.' 


And now 'twas night, all dark and drear, 

And cold cold blew the wind, 
While the Red-cross Knight sought all about, 

The pilgrim-boy to find. 
And still he wept, and still he sighed, 

As he mourned his lady dear ! 
'And where' s the feast; and where' s the guest 

Thy bridal bed to cheer ?' 

Again he sighed ; and wept forlorn, 

For his lady that was dead ! 
' Lady, how sad thy wedding-tide! 

How cold thy bridal bed !' 
Thus the Rsd-cross Knight roamed sore and sad, 

While all around did cry, 
Let the minstrels sing, and the bells 'yring, 

And the feast be eat merrily.' 

And now the gentle moon around 

Her silver lustre shed, 
Brightened each ancient wall and tower, 

And distant mountain's head ; 
By whose sweet light the knight perceived, 

(A sight which gave him joy !) 
From a dungeon dread, the warder led 

The faithful pilgrim-boy! 

In vain the warder strove to hide 

The pilgrim-boy from him ; 
The knight he ran and claspt the youth, 

In spite of the warder grim. 
The warder, though wrath, his banner waved: 

And still aloud did cry, 
Let the minstrels sing, and the bells 'yring, 

And the feast eat merrily. 


' I'm glad I've found thee, pilgrim-boy, 

And thou shalt go with me ; 
And thou shalt lead to my lady's grave, 

And great thy reward shall be.' 
The affrighted pilgrim wrung his hands, 

And shed full many a tear : 
' Her grave !' he cried, and mournful sig hed, 

' I dread's not far from here!' 

The knight he led the pilgrim-boy, 

Into the castle hall, 
Where sat the lord, and his daughter fair, 

And the ladies clad in pall. 
* I go !' he cried, ' with the pilgrim-boy, 

So think no more of me, 
But let your minstrels sing, and your bells all ring, 

And feast ye merrily.' 

Up then arose the lord's daughter, 
And called to the pilgrim-boy 

* O come to me ! for I've that to say 

Will give to thee much joy.' 
Full loth the pilgrim was to go, 

Full loth from the knight to part : 
And, lo ! out of spite, with a dagger bright 

She hath stabbed him to the heart. 

' Why art thou pale, thou pilgrim-boy ?' 

The knight, all wondering cried, 
' Why dost thou faint thou pilgrim-boy, 

When I am by thy side T 

* Oh ! I am stabbed, dear Red-cross Knight, 

Yet grieve not thou for me ; 
But let the minstrels sing, and the bells 'yring, 
And feast thee merrily. ' 

The knight he ran and claspt the youth, 

And oped his pilgrim-vest ; 
And, lo ! it was his lady fair, 

His lady dear, he prest ! 
Her lovely breast, like ermine white, 

Was panting with the fright; 
Her dear heart's blood, in crimson flood, 

Ran pouring in his sight. 549 


* Grieve not for me, my faithful knight !' 

The lady, faint, did cry j 
' I'm well content, my faithful knight, 

Since in thy arms I die ! 
Then comfort thee, my constant love ! 

Nor think thee more of me ; 
But let the minstrels sing, and the bells 'yring, 

\nd feast thee merrily. 

Like pilgrim-boy I've followed thee, 

In truth full cheerfully ; 
Resolved, if thou shouldst come to ill, 

Dear knight ! to die with thee : 
And much I feared, some wily fair 

Would keep thee from my sight ; 
And, by her bright charms, lure from my arms, 

My dear loved Red-cross Knight ! ' 

' O Heaven forfend !' the knight replied, 

That thou shouldst die for me ; 
But if so hapless is thy fate, 

Thy knight will die with thee !' 
' O say not so ! for, well my knight 

Hath proved his love for me ! 
But let the minstrels sing, and the bells 'yring, 

And feast thee merrily.' 

The knight he prest her to his heart, 

And bitterly he sighed : 
The lovely lady strove to cheer, 

Till, in his arms, she died ! 
The knight he laid her corpse adown, 

And his deadly sword drew forth ; 
Then lookt he around and grimly frowned, 

All woe-begone with wrath. 

O then bespake the ladies fair, 

As they stood clad hi pall, 
' O ! this will be our burial-place 

That was our castle hall. 
No more, to our silver lute's sweet sound, 

Shall we dance with revelry ; 
Nor the mass be sung, nor the bells be rung, 
., Nor the feast be eat merrily.' 


Then up arose the lord's daughter, 

And never a word spake she, 
But quick upon the knight's drawn sword 

She flung her franticly : 
The knight to his own dear lady turned, 

And laid him by her side, 
With tears embraced her bleeding corpse, 

Sighed her dear name and died ! 

O ! then bespake the affrighted lord, 

And full of woe spake he, 
' Foul fall the hour this Red-cross knight 

Did come to visit me ! 
For now no more will my daughter fair, 

Rejoice my guests and me, 
Nor the mass be sung, nor the bells be rung, 

Nor the feast held merrily.' 

And then he spake to the ladies fair, 

As they stood clad in pall, 
' Lo ! this thy lady's burial place, 

That was her castle hall ! 
O then be warned, from her sad fate, 

And hate the wanton love ; 
But in him confide who for thee died 

And now sits throned above. 

'"Warder, no more resound thy horn, 

Nor thy banner wave on high ; 
Nor the mass be sung, nor the bells be rung, 

Nor the feast eat merrily.' 
No more the warder blows his horn, 

Nor his banner waves on high, 
Nor the mass is sung, nor the bells 'yrung, 

Nor the feast eat merrily. 


[This ballad was written by Dr. John Langhorne, (born 
1735, died 1779,) author of the well-known ' Letters of 
Theodosius and Constantia,' and of ' A Translation of 
Plutarch's Lives,' written in conjunction with his brother, 
' which,' says Mr. Campbell, ',' Specimens of the British 
Poets,' London' 1841,) 'might be reckoned a real service to 
the bulk of the reading community ;' and which, it may be 
added, still keeps its place as the translation of Plutarch 
' Owen of Carron' was first published in 1778, 4to, from 
which edition it is here taken, and was according to Mr. 
Campbell, 'the last of the author's works. It will not,' he 
says, ' be much to the advantage of this story to compare 
it with the simple and affecting ballad of ' Oil Maurice,' 
(Supra, Vol. 1., p. 188,) from which it is drawn. Yet 
having read ' Owen of Carron' with delight when I was a 
boy, I am still so far a slave to early associations as to 
retain some predilection for it.' In this feeling, probably, 
many readers of the ' Pictorial Balladist ' will participate ; 
while those who cannot refer any ' predilection ' they may 
have for it to ' early associations,' may find a reason for 
likine; it in the ballad itself.] 


N Carron' s side the primrose pale 
Why does it wear a purple hue ? 

Ye maidens fair of Marlivale, 

Why stream your eves with pity's dew? 


'Tis nil with gentle Owen's blood 

That purple grows the primrose pale ; 

That pity pours the tender flood 
From each fair eye in Marlivale. 

The evening star sat in his eye, 
The sun his golden tresses gave, 

The north's pure mom her orient dye, 
To him who rests in yonder grave ! 

Beneath no high, historic stone, 
Though nobly born, is Owen laid ; 

Stretcht on the greenwood's lap alone. 
He sleeps beneath the waving shade. 

There many a flowery race hath sprung, 
And fled before the mountain gale, 

Since first his ample dirge he sung ; 
Ye maidens fair of Marlivale ! 

Yet still, when May with fragrant feet 
Hath wander'd o'er your meads of gold, 

That dirge I hear so simply sweet 
Far echoed from each evening fold. 


'Twas in the pride of William's day, 
When Scotland's honours flourisht still, 

That Moray's earl, with mighty sway, 
Bare rule o'er many a Highland hill. 

And far for him their fruitful store 
The fairer plains of Carron spread ; 

In fortune rich, in offspring poor, 
An only daughter crown'd his bed. 

O ! write not poor the wealth that flows 
In waves of gold round India's throne, 

All in her shining breast that glows, 

To Ellen's charms, were earth and stone. 

For her the youth of Scotland sigh'd, 

The Frenchman gay, the Spaniard grave, 

And smoother Italy applied, 
And many an English baron brave. 

In vain by foreign arts assail' d 

No foreign loves her breast beguile, 

And England's honest valour fail'd, 
Paid with a cold, but courteous smile. 



' Ah ! woe to thee, young Nithisdale, 
That o'er thy cheek those roses stray'd, 

Thy breath, the violet of the vale, 
Thy voice, the music of the shade ! 

Ah ! woe to thee, that Ellen's love 

Alone to thy soft tale would yield ! 
For soon those gentle arms shaft prove, 

The conflict of a ruder field.' 

'Twas thus a wayward sister spoke, 

And cast a rueful glance behind, 
As from her dim wood-glen she broke, 

And mounted on the moaning wind. 

She spoke and vanisht more unmoved 
Than Moray's rocks, when storms invest, 

The valiant youth by Ellen loved, 
With aught that fear or fate suggest. 

For love, me thinks, hath power to raise 

The soul beyond a vulgar state ; 
Th' unconquer'd banners he displays 

Control our fears and fix our fate. 


'Twas when, on summer's softest eve, 

Of clouds that wander' d west away, 
Twilight with gentle hand did weave 

Her fairy robe of night and day ; 

When all the mountain-gales were still, 
And the waves slept against the shore, 

And the sun, sunk beneath the hill, 
Left his last smile on Lemmermore ; 

Led by those waking dreams of thought 
That warm the young unpractised breast, 

Her wonted bower sweet Ellen sought, 

And Carron murmur' d near, and sooth'd her into rest. 

There is some kind and courtly sprite 

That o'er.the realm of fancy -reigns, 
Throws sunshine on the mask of night, 

And smiles at slumber's powerless chains : 

'Tis told, and I believe the tale, 

At this soft hour that sprite was there, 
And spread with fairer flowers the vale, 
5-54 And fill'd with sweeter sounds the air. 


A bower he framed (for he could frame 
What long might weary mortal wigh 

Swift as the lightning's rapid flame 
Darts on the unsuspecting sight.) 

Such bower he framed with magic hand, 
As well that wizard bard hath wove, 

In scenes where fair Armida's wand 
Waved all the witcheries of lore. 

Yet was it wrought in simple show ; 

Nor Indian mines nor orient shores 
Had lent their glories here to glow, 

Or yielded here their shining stores. 

All round a poplar's trembling arms 

The wild rose wound her damask flower ; 

The woodbine lent her spicy charms, 
That loves to weave the lover's bower. 

The ash, that courts the mountain-air, 
In all her painted blooms array'd, 

The wilding's blossom blushing fair, 
Combined to form the flowery shade. 

With thyme that loves the brown hill's breast, 
The cowslip's sweet reclining head, 

The violet of sky-woven vest, 

Was all the fairy ground bespread. 

But who is he, whose locks so fair 
Adown his manly shoulders flow ? 

Beside him lies the hunter's spear, 
Beside him sleeps the warrior's bow. 

He bends to Ellen (gentle sprite ! 

Thy sweet seductive arts forbear) 
He courts her arms with fond delight, 

And instant vanishes in air. 


Hast thou not found in early dawn 

Some soft ideas melt away, 
If o'er sweet vale, or flowery lawn, 

The sprite of dreams hath bid thee stray ? 

Hast thou not some fair object seen, 
And, when the fleeting form was past, 

Still on thy memory found its mien, 
And felt the fond idea last ! 



Thou hast and oft the pictured view, 
Seen in some vision counted vain, 

Has struck thy wondering eye anew, 
And brought the long-lost dream again. 

With warrior bow, with hunter's spear, 
With locks adown his shoulder spread, 

Young Nithisdale is ranging near 

He's ranging near yon mountain's head. 

Scarce had one pale moon past away, 
And fill'd her silver urn again, 

When in the devious chase to stray, 
Afar from all his woodland train, 

To Carron's banks his fate consign' d, 
And, all to shun the fervid hour, 

He sought some friendly shade to find, 
And found the visionary bower. 


Led by the golden star of love, 
Sweet Ellen took her wonted way, 

And in the deep-defending grove 
Sought refuge from the fervid day 

O ! who is he whose ringlets fair 
Disorder'd o'er his green vest flow, 

Reclined in rest whose sunny hair 

Half hides the fair cheek's ardent glow ? 

"Tis he, that sprite's illusive guest, 
(Ah me ! that' sprites can fate control !) 

That lives still imaged on her breast, 
That lives still pictured in her soul. 

As when some gentle spirit fled 
From earth to breathe Elysian air, 

And, in the train whom we call dead, 
Perceives its long-loved partner there ; 

Soft, sudden pleasure rushes o'er, 

Resistless, o'er its airy frame, 
To find its future- fate restore 

The object of its former flame : 

So Ellen stood less power to move 

Had he, who, bound in slumber's chain, 

Seem'd haply o'er his hills to rove, 
And wind his woodland chase again. 


She stood, but trembled mingled fear, 
And fond delight, and melting love, 

Seized all her soul ; she came not near, 
She came not near that fated grove. 

She strives to fly from wizard's wand 
As well might powerless captive fly 

The new-cropt flower falls from her hand, 
Ah ! fall not with that flower to die ! 

Hast thou not seen some azure gleam 

Smile in the morning's orient eye, 
And skirt the reddening cloud's soft beam 

What time the sun was hasting nign ? 

Thou hast and thou canst fancy well 
As any Muse that meets thine ear, 

The soul-set eye of Nithisdale, 

When, waked, it fixed on Ellen near. 

Silent they gazed that silence broke ; 

' Hail, goddess of these groves,' he cried 
' O let me wear thy gentle yoke I 

O let me in thy service bide ! 

For thee I'll climb the mountain steep, 
Unwea-ied chase the destined prey ; 

For thee I'll pierce the wild wood deep, 
And part the sprays that vex thy way. 

For thee ' ' O stranger, cease,' she said, 
And swift away, like Daphne, flew ; 

But Daphne's flight was not delay 'd 
By aught that to her bosom grew. 

"Iwas Atalanta's golden fruit, 

The fond idea that confined 
Fair Ellen's steps, and blest his suit, 

Who was not far, not far behind. 


O love ! within those golden vales, 

Those genial airs where thou wast born, 

Where nature, listening thy soft tales, 
Leans on the rosy breast of morn ; 

Where the sweet smiles, the graces dwell, 
And tender sighs the heart emove, 

in silent eloquence to tell 

Thy tale, O soul-subduing love ! 


Ah ! wherefore should grim rage be nigh, 
And dark distrust, with changeful face, 

And jealousy's reverted eye 

Be near thy fair, thy favour 'd place ? 


Earl Barnard was of high degree, 
And lord of many a lowland hind ; 

And long for Ellen love had he, 
Had love, but not of gentle kind. 

From Moray's haUs her absent hour 
He watcht with all a miser's care ; 

The wide domain, the princely dower 
Made Ellen more than Ellen fair. 

Ah wretch ! to think the liberal soul 
May thus with fair affection part ! 

Though Lothian's vales thy sway control, 
Know, Lothian is not worth one heart. 

Studious he marks her absent hour, 
And, winding far where Carron flows, 

Sudden he sees the fated bower, 

And red rage on his dark brow glows. 

For who is he ? 'Tis Nithisdale ! 

And that fair form with arm reclined 
On his? 'Tis Ellen of the vale, 

'Tis she (O powers of vengeance !) kind. 

Should he that vengeance swift pursue ? 

No that would all his hopes destroy ; 
Moray would vanish from his view, 

And rob him of a miser's joy. 

Unseen to Moray's halls he hies 
He calls his slaves, his ruffian, band, 

And, ' Haste to yonder groves,' he cries, 
'And ambusht lie by Carron' s strand. 

What time ye mark from bower or glen 

A gentle lady take her way, 
To distance due, and far from ken, 

Allow her length of time to stray. 

Then ransack straight that range of grove 
With hunter's spear, and vest of green, 

If chance a rosy stripling roves, 
Ye well can aim your arrows keen.' 


And now the ruffian slaves are nigh, 
And Ellen takes her homeward way ; 

Though stay'd by many a tender sigh, 
She can no longer, longer stay. 

Pensive, against yon poplar pale 
The lover leans his gentle heart, 

Revolving many a tender tale, 
And wondring still how they could part. 

Three arrows pierced the desert air, 
Ere yet his tender dreams depart ; 

And one struck deep his forehead fair, 
And one went through his gentle heart. 

Love's waking dream is lost in sleep 
He lies beneath yon poplar pale ; 

Ah ! could we marvel ye should weep, 
Ye maidens fair of Marlivale ! 


When all the mountain gales were still, 
And the wave slept against the shore, 

And the sun, sunk beneath the hill, 
Left his last smile on Lemmermore ; 

Sweet Ellen takes her wonted way 
Along the fairy-featured vale ; 

Bright o'er his wave does Carrou play, 
And soon she'll meet her Nithisdale. 

She'll meet him soon for, at her sight, 
Swift as the mountain deer he sped ; 

The evening shades will sink in night 
Where art thou, loitering lover, fled ? 

O ! she will chide thy trifling stay, 

E'en now the soft reproach she frames : 

' Can lovers brook such long delay ? 
Lovers that boast of ardent flames ! ' 

He comes not weary with the chase, 
Soft slumber o'er his eyelids throws 

Her veil we'll steal one dear embrace, 
We'll gently steal on his repose. 

This is the bower we'll softly tread 
He sleeps beneath yon poplar pale 

Lover, if e'er thy heart has bled, 
Thy heart will far forego my tale ! 



Ellen is not in princely bower, 

She's not in Moray's splendid train ; 
Their mistress dear, at midnight hour, 

Her weeping maidens seek in vain. 

Her pillow swells not deep with down ; 

For her no balms their sweets exhale : 
Her limbs are on the pale turf thrown, 

Prest by her lovely cheek as pale. 

On that fair cheek, that flowing hair, 
The broom its yellow leaf hath shed, 

And the chill mountain's early air 

Blows wildly o'er her beauteous head. 

As the soft star of orient day, 

When clouds involve his rosy light, 

Darts through the gloom a transient ray, 
And leaves the world once more to night, 

Returning life illumes her eye, 

And slow its languid orb unfolds, 

What are those bloody arrows nigh ? 
Sure, bloody arrows she beholds ! 

What was that form so ghastly pale, 
That low beneath the poplar lay ? 

'Twas some poor youth " Ah Nithisdale !' 
She said, and silent sunk away. 


The morn is on the mountains spread, 
The woodlark trills his liquid strain 

Can morn's sweet music rouse the dead ? 
Give the set eye its soul again ? 

A shepherd of that gentler mind 
Which nature not profusely yields, 

Seeks in these lonely shades to find 
Some wanderer from his little fields. 

Aghast he stands and simple fear 
O'er all his paly visage glides 

* Ah me ! what means this misery here ? 
What fate this lady fair betides ?' 

He bears her to his friendly home, 

When life, he finds, has but retired ; 
"With haste he frames the lover's tomb, 
660 For his is quite, is quite expired ! 



' O hide me in the humble bower,' 
Returning late to life, she said ; 

' I'll bind thy crook with many a flower ; 
With many a rosy wreath thy head. 

Good shepherd, haste to yonder grove, 

And if my love asleep is laid, 
O ! wake him not ; but softly move 

Some pillow to that gentle head. 

Sure, thou wilt know him, shepherd swain, 
Thou knowst the sunrise o'er the sea 

But O ! no lamb in all thy train 
Was e'er so mild, so mild as he.' 

' His head is on the wood-moss laid ; 

I did not wake his slumber deep 
Sweet sings the red-breast o'er the shade 

Why, gentle lady, would you weep? ' 

As flowers that fade in burning day, 
At evening find the dew-drop dear, 

But fiercer feel the noontide ray, 
When softened by the nightly tear ; 

Returning in the flowing tear, 

This lovely flower, more sweet than they, 
Found her fair soul, and, wandering near, 

The stranger, reason, crost her way. 

Found her fair soul Ah ! so to find 
Was but more dreadful grief to know ! 

Ah ! sure the privilege of mind, 
Cannot be worth the wish of woe ! 


On melancholy's silent urn, 

A softer shade of sorrow falls, 
But Ellen can no more return, 

No more return to Moray's halls. 

Beneath the low and lonely shade, 

The slow-consuming hour she'll weep, 

Till nature seeks her last-left aid, 
In the sad sombrous arms of sleep. 

' These jewels, all unmeet for me, 

Shalt thou,' she said, ' good shepherd take ; 
These gems will purchase gold for thee, 

And these be thine for Ellen's sake. 
2 o 



' So fail thou not, at eve or morn, 

The rosemary's pale bough to bring 

Thou knowst where I was found forlorn, 
Where thou hast heard the red-breast sing. 

" Heedful I'll tend thy flocks the while, 
Or aid thy shepherdess's care, 

For I will share her humble toil, 
And I her friendly roof will share.' 


And now two longsome years are past 

In luxury of lonely pain 
The lovely mourner, found at last, 

To Moray's halls is borne again. 

Yet has she left one object dear, 

That wears love's sunny eye of joy- 
Is Nithisdale reviving here ? 
Or is it but a shepherd's boy ? 

By Carron's side, a shepherd's boy, 

He binds his vale-flowers with the reed ; 

She wears love's sunny eye of joy, 
And birth he little seems to heed. 


But ah ! no more his infant sleep 

Closes beneath a mother's smile, 
Who, only when it closed, would weep, 
And yield to tender woe the while. 

No more, with fond attention dear, 
She seeks th' unspoken wish to find ; 

No more shall she, with pleasure's tear, 
See the soul waxing into mind. 


Does nature bear a tyrant's breast? 

Is she the fiend of stern control ? 
Wears she the despot's purple vest? 

Or fetters she the free-born soul ? 

Where, worst of tyrant's, is thy claim 
In chains thy children's breasts to bind ? 

Gavest thou the Promethean flame ? 
The incommunicable mind ? 

Thy offspring are great nature's free, 

And of her fair dominion heirs ; 
Each privilege she gives to thee ; 
562 Know, that each privilege is theirs, 


They have thy feature, wear thine eye, 
Perhaps some feelings of thy heart ; 

And wilt thou their loved hearts deny 
To act their fair, their proper part ? 


The lord of Lothian's fertile vale, 

Ill-fated Ellen, claims thy hand ; 
Thou know'st not that thy Nithisdale 

Was low laid by his ruffian hand. 

And Moray, with unfather'd eyes, 

Fixt on fair Lothian's fertile dale, 
Attends his human sacrifice, 

Without the Grecian painter's veil. 

O married love ! thy hard shall own, 

Where two congenial souls unite, 
Thy golden chain inlaid with down, 

Thy lamp with heaven's own splendour bright. 

But if no radiant star of love, 

O Hymen ! smile on thy fair rite, 
Thy chain a wretched weight shall prove, 

Thy lamp a sad sepulchral light. 


And now has time's slow wandering wing 
Borne many a year unmark'd with speed 

Where is the boy by Carron's spring, 

Who bound his vale-flowers with the reed ? 

Ah me ! those flowers he binds no more : 

No early charm returns again ; 
The parent, nature, k-seps in store 

Her best joys for her little train. 

No longer heed the sunbeam bright 
That plays on Carron's breast he can, 

Reason has lent her quivering light, 
And shown the chequer'd field of man. 


As the first human heir of earth 
With pensive eye himself survey'd, 

And, all unconscious of his birth, 

Sat thoughtful oft in Eden's shade; 



In pensive thought so Owen stray' d 
Wild Carron's lonely woods among, 

And once within their greenest glade, 
He fondly framed this simple song : 


'Why is this crook adorn' d with gold ? 
Why am I tales of ladies told ? 
Why does no labour me employ, 
If I am but a shepherd's boy ? 

A silken vest like mine so green 
In shepherd's hut I have not seen 
Why should I in such vesture joy, 
If I am but a shepherd's boy ? 

I know it is no shepherd's art 
His written meaning to impart 
They teach me sure an idle toy, 
If I am but a shepherd's boy. 

This bracelet bright that binds my arm 
It could not come from shepherd's farm ; 
It only would that arm annoy, 
If I were but a shepherd's boy. 

And O thou silent picture fair, 
That lovest to smile upon me there, 
O say, and fill my heart with joy, 
That I am not a shepherd's boy.' 


Ah, lovely youth ! thy tender lay 
May not thy gentle life prolong ; 

Seest thou yon nightingale a prey ? 

The fierce hawk hovering o'er his song ? 

His little heart is large with love ; 

He sweetly hails his evening star ; 
And fate's more pointed arrows move, 

Insidious, from his eye afar. 


The shepherdess, whose kindly care 
Had watcht o'er Owen's infant breath, 

Must now their silent mansions share, 
Whom time leads calmly down to death. 


* O tell me, parent if thou art, 

What is this lovely picture dear ? 
Why wounds its mournful eye my heart 1 
Why flows from mine th' unbidden tear ? ' 

* Ah, youth ! to leaye thee loth am I, 

Though I be not thy parent dear ; 
And wouldst thou wish, or ere I die, 
The glory of thy birth to hear ? 

But it will make thee much bewail, 

And it will make thy fair eye swell,' 
She said, and told the woesome tale, 

As sooth as shepherdess might tell. 


The heart that, sorrow doomed to share, 

Has worn the frequent seal of woe, 
Its sad impressions learns to bear, 

And finds full oft its ruin slow. 

But when that seal is first imprest, 
When the young heart its pain shall try, 

From the soft, yielding, trembling breast, 
Oft seems the startled soul to fly. 

Yet fled not Owen's wild amaze 

In paleness clothed, and lifted hands, 
And horror's dread unmeaning gaze, 

Mark the poor statue as it stands. 

The simple guardian of his life 

Lookt wistful for the tear to glide ; 
But, when she saw his tearless strife, 

Silent, she lent him one and died. 


' No, I am not a shepherd's boy,' 

Awaking from his dream, he said : { 

' Ah, where is now the promised joy, 

Of this ? for ever, ever fled ! 

O picture dear ! for her loved sake 

How fondly could my heart bewail ! 
My friendly shepherdess, O wake, 

And tell me more of this sad tale : 

O tell me more of this sad tale 

No : thou enjoy thy gentle sleep 1 
And I will go to Lothian's vale, 

And more than all her waters weep.' 565 



Owen to Lothian's vale is fled 

Earl Barnard's lofty towers appear 

' O art thou there ? ' the full heart said, 
' O art thou there, my parent dear ? ' 

Yes, she is there : from idle state 
Oft has she stole her hour to weep ; 

Think how she ' by thy cradle sat,' 
And how she 'fondly saw thee sleep.' 

Now tries his trembling hand to frame 
Full many a tender line of love ; 

And still he blots the parent's name, 
For that, he fears, might fatal prove. 


O'er a fair fountain's smiling side 

Reclined a dim tower, clad with moss, 

Where every bird was wont to bide, 
That languisht for its partner's loss. 

This scene he chose, this scene assign' d, 
A parent's first embrace to wait, 

And many a soft fear fill'd his mind, 
Anxious for his fond letter's fate. 

The hand that bore those lines of lore, 
The well-informing bracelet bore 

Ah ! may they not unprosperous prove ! 
Ah ! safely pass yon dangerous door ! 


' She comes not ; can she then delay ? ' 
Cried the fair youth, and dropt a tear 

' Whatever filial love could say, 
To her I said, and call'd her dear. 

She comes, O ! no encircled round, 
'Tis some rude chief with many a spear. 

My hapless tale that earl has found 
Ah me ! my heart ! for her I fear.' 

His tender tale that earl had read, 
Or ere it reacht his lady's eye ; 
His dark brow wears a cloud of red, 
566 In rage he deems a rival nigh. 



'Tis o'er those locks that waved in gold, 
That waved adown those cheeks so fair, 

Wreathed in the gloomy tyrant's hold, 
Hang from the sever'd head in air ! 

That streaming head he joys to bear 
In horrid guise to Lothian's halls ! 

Bids his grim ruffians place it there, 
Erect upon the frowning walls. 

The fatal tokens forth he drew 

' Knowst thou these Ellen of the vale ? ' 

The pictured bracelet soon she knew, 
And soon her lovely cheek grew pale. 

The trembling victim straight he led, 
Ere yet her soul's first fear was o'er : 

He pointed to the ghastly head 
She saw and sunk to rise no more. 



[This ballad was written by Mrs. Mary Robinson, 
better known perhaps to some readers by the sobriquet 
of ' Perdita,' who was born at Bristol in what in her 
'Autobiography,' she calls the 'tempestuous night' of 
the 27th November, 1758 ; and died, after a somewhat 
eventful career, in the year 1800, at the comparatively 
early age of 42. When and where it first appeared we 
are unable, after a pretty diligent search, to discover. 
Probably, however, it was in one of the periodicals of 
her day, in which many of her poetical pieces were first 
published, with one or other of the signatures, Laura, 
Laura Maria, Julia, Daphne, Oberon, Echo, and 
Louisa. After her death, her poems were collected and 
published in 3 vols. 12mo. (London, 1806.) edited by 
her daughter. This is now a very scarce work ; there 
is no copy of it in the British Museum ; nor have we 
been fortunate enough to meet with one elsewhere. 
The present version is taken from an edition of her 
Poetical Works published bv Jones and Co., London, 

ATCH no more the twinkling stars; 
Watch no more the chalky bourne; 
Lady! from the holy wars 
Never will thy love return! 

Cease to watch, and cease to mourn, 
Thy lover never will return! 

" Watch no more the yellow moon. 

Peering o'er the mountain's head ; 
Rosy day, returning soon, 

Will see thy lover pale and dead ! 
Cease to weep, and cease to mourn, 
Thy lover will no more return ! 

" Lady, in the holy wars, 

Fighting for the Cross, he died ; 
Low he lies, and many scars 

Mark his cold and mangled side ; 
In his winding sheet he lies, 
Lady ! check those rending sighs. 

" Hark ! the hollow sounding gale 

Seems to sweep in murmurs by, 
Sinking slowly down the vale ; 
Wherefore, gentle lady, sigh ? 

Wherefore moan, and wherefore sigh ? 
Lady, all that live must die. 

" Now the stars are fading fast : 

Swift their brilliant course are run ; 
Soon shall dreary night be past : 
Soon shall rise the cheering sun ! 
The sun will rise to gladden thee : 
Lady, lady, cheerful be." 

So spake a voice ! While sad and lone, 

Upon a lofty tower, reclined, 
A lady sat : the pale moon shone, 
And sweetly blew the summer wind ; 
Yet still disconsolate in mind, 
The lovely lady sat reclined. 

The lofty tower was ivy clad ; 

And round a dreary forest rose ; 
The midnight bell was tolling sad 
'Twas tolling for a soul's repose ! 
The lady heard the gates unclose, 
And from her seat in terror rose. 

The summer moon shone bright and clear ; 

She saw the castle gates unclose ; 
And now she saw four monks appear, 
Loud chaunting for a soul's repose. 
Forbear, oh, lady ! look no more 
They past a livid corpse they bore. 


They past, and all was silent now ; 
The breeze upon the forest slept ; 
The moon stole o'er the mountain's brow ; 
Again the lady sigh'd and wept : 
She watcht the holy fathers go 
Along the forest path below. 

And now the dawn was bright, the dew 

Upon the yellow heath was seen ; 
The clouds were of a rosy hue, 
The sunny lustre shone between : 
The lady to the chapel ran, 
"While the slow matin prayer began. 

And then, once more, the fathers grey 
She markt employ' d in holy prayer : 
Her heart was full, she could not pray, 
For love and fear were masters there. 
Ah, lady ! thou wilt pray ere long 
To sleep those lonely aisles among ! 

And now the matin prayers were o'er ; 

The barefoot monks of order grey, 
Were thronging to the chapel door, 
When there the lady stopt the way : 

" Tell me," she cried, " whose corpse so pale, 
Last night ye bore along the vale ?" 

" Oh, lady ! question us no more : 

No corpse did we bear down the dale !" 
The lady sunk upon the floor, 

Her quivering lip was deathly pale. 

The bare-foot monks now whisper' d, sad, 
" God grant our lady be not mad." 

The monks departing, one by one, 

The chapel gates in silence close ; 
When from the altar-steps of stone, 
The trembling lady feebly goes : 
While morning sheds a ruby light, 
The painted windows glowing bright. 

And now she heard a hollow sound ; 

It seem'd to come from graves below ; 
And now again she lookt around, 

A voice came murmuring sad and slow ; 

And now she heard it feebly cry, 
570 Lady ! all that live must die ! 


" Watch no more from yonder tower, 
Watch no more the star of day ! 
Watch no more the dawning hour, 
That chases sullen night away ! 

Cease to watch, and cease to mourn, 
Tny bver will no more return !" 

She lookt around, and now she view'd, 

Clad in a doublet gold and green, 
A youthful knight : he frowning stood, 
And noble was his mournful mien ; 
And now he said, with heaving sigh, 
" Lady, all that live must die !" 

She rose to quit the altar's stone, 

She cast a look to heaven and sigh'd, 
When lo ! the youthful knight was gone ; 
And, scowling by the lady's side, 
With sightless skull and bony hand, 
She saw a giant spectre stand ! 

His flowing robe was long and clear, 

His ribs were white as drifted snow : 
The lady's heart was chill' d with fear : 
She rose, but scarce had power to go : 
The spectre grinn'd a dreadful smile, 
And walkt beside her down the aisle. 

And now he waved his rattling nand ; 

And now they reacht the chapel door, 
And there the spectre took his stand ; 
While, rising from the marble floor, 
A hollow voice was heard to cry, 
" Lady, all that live must die ! 

" Watch no more the evening star ! 

Watch no more the glimpse of morn ! 
Never from the holy war, 
Lady, will thy love return ! 
See this bloody cross ; and see 
His bloody scarf he sends to thee. 1 " 

And now again the youthful knight 
Stood smiling by the lady's side ; 
His helmet shone with crimson light, 

His sword with drops of blood was dyed : 
And now a soft and mournful song 
Stole the chapel aisles among. 671 


Now from the spectre's paley cheek 

The flesh began to waste away ; 
The vaulted doors were heard to creak, 
And dark became the summer day ! 
The spectre's eyes were sunk, but he 
Seem'd with their sockets still to see ! 

The second bell is heard to ring : 

Four barefoot monks of orders grey, 
Again their holy service sing ; 

And round the chapel altar pray : 
The lady counted o'er and o'er, 
And shudder' d while she counted four ! 

" Oh ! fathers, who was he, so gay, 

That stood beside the chapel door ? 
Oh ! tell me, fathers, tell me pray." 
The monks replied, "We fathers four, 
Lady, no other have we seen, 

Since in this holy place we've been ! " 


Now the merry bugle horn 

Through the forest sounded far ; 
When on the lofty tower, forlorn, 
The lady watcht the evening star ; 
The evening star that seem'd to be 
Rising from the darken' d sea ! 

The summer sea was dark and still, 

The sky was streakt with lines of gold, 
The mist rose grey above the hill, 
And low the clouds of amber roll'd : 
The lady on the lofty tower 
Watcht the calm and silent hour. 

And, while she watcht, she saw advance 

A ship, with painted streamers gay ; 
She saw it on the green wave dance, 
And plunge amid the silver spray ; 

While from the forest's haunts, forlorn, 
Again she heard the bugle horn. 

The sails were full ; the breezes rose ; 
The billows curl'd along the shore ; 
And now the day began to close ; 

The bugle horn was heard no more, 
572 But, rising from the watery way, 

An airy voice was heard to say : 


" Watch no more the evening star ; 

Watch no more the billowy sea ; 
Lady, from the holy war 

Thy lover hastes to comfort thee : 
Lady, lady, cease to mourn ; 
Soon thy lover will return.'* 

Now she hastens to the bay ; 

Now the rising storm she hears ; 
Now the smiling sailors say, 
" Lady, lady, check your fears : 
Trust us lady ; we will be 
Your pilots o'er the stormy sea," 

Now the little bark she view'd, 

Moor'd beside the flinty steep ; 
And now upon the foamy flood, 

The tranquil breezes seem'd to sleep. 
The moon arose ; her silver ray 
Seem'd on the silent deep to play. 

Now music stole across the main : 

It was a sweet but mournful tone ! 
It came a slow and dulcet strain ; 

It came from where the pale moon shone : 
And, while it pass'd across the sea, 
More soft, and soft, it seem'd to be. 

Now on the deck the lady stands ; 

The vessel steers across the main ; 
It steers towards the holy land, 
Never to return again ; 

Still the sailors cry, "We'll be 
Your pilots o'er the stormy sea." 

Now she hears a low voice say, 

" Deeper, deeper, deeper still ; 

Hark ! the black' ning billows play ; 

Hark ! the waves the vessel fill : 

Lower, lower, down we go ; 

All is dark and still below." 

Now a flash of vivid light 

On the rolling deep was seen ! 
And now the lady saw the knight, 
With doublet rich of gold and green : 
From the sockets of his eyes, 
A pale and streaming light she spies ! 


And now his form transparent stood, 

Smiling with a ghastly mien ; 
And now the calm and boundless flood 
Was like the emerald, bright and green ; 
And now 'twas of a troubled hue, 
While, " Deeper, deeper," sang the crew. 

Slow advanced the morning light, 

Slow they plough' d the wavy tide ; 

When, on a cliff of dreadful height, 

A castle's lofty towers they spied : 

The lady heard the sailor-band 

Cry, " Lady, this is holy land. 

" Watch no more the glittering spray ; 

Watch no more the weedy sand ; 
Watch no more the star of day ; 
Lady, this is holy land : 
This castle's lord shall welcome thee ; 
Then, lady, lady, cheerful be." 

Now the castle gates they pass ; 

Now across the spacious square, 
Cover' d high with dewy grass, 
Frembling steals the lady fair : 
And now the castle's lord was seen, 
Clad in a doublet gold and green. 

He led her through the gothic hall, 

With bones and skulls encircled round ; 
" Oh, let not this thy soul appal !" 

He cried, "for this is holy ground." 
He led her through the chambers lone, 
'Mid many a shriek and many a groan. 

Now to the banquet-room they came : 

Around a table of black stone 
She markt a faint and vapoury flame ; 
Upon the horrid feast it shone 

And there, to close the maddening sight, 
Unnumber'd spectres met the light. 

Their teeth -were like the brilliant, bright ; 
Their eyes were blue as sapphire clear ; 
Their bones were of a polisht white ; 
Gigantic did their ribs appear ! 
574 And now the knight the lady 'ed, 

And placed her at the tablf'< nead! 


Just now the lady woke : for she 

Had slept upon the lofty tower, 

And dreams of dreadful phantasie 

Had fill'd the lonely moon-light hour ; 
Her pillow was the turret-stone, 
And on her breast the pale moon shone. 

But now a real voice she hears : 

It was her lover's voice ; for he, 
To calm her bosom's rending fears, 

That night had cross' d the stormy sea : 
" I come," said he, " from Palestine, 
To prove myself, sweet lady, thine." 


[This ' second part ' of ' Hardyknute ' was first pub 
lished in the work mentioned in the note on page 478, 
entitled, ' Scottish Tragic Ballads,' London, 1781. The 
editor professed, in his ' Dissertation on the Tragic 
Ballad,' prefixed to the work, to be ' indebted, for most 
of the stanzas recovered, to the memory of a lady in 
Lanarkshire.' He subsequently however admitted that 
they were his own composition. To Mr. Plnkerton, 
therefore, the reader is indebted for a ' continuation,' 
which, unlike the generality of such productions, is 
little, if at all, inferior to the original fragment.] 


ETURN, return, ye men of bluid, 

And bring me back my chylde ! " 
A dolefu voice frae mid the ha 

Reculd, wi echoes wylde. 
Bestraught wi dule and dreid, na pouir 

Had Hardyknute at a ; 
Full thrise he raught his ported speir, 

And thrise he let it fa. 


" ,O haly God, for his deir sake, 

*Wha savd us on the rude 
He tint his praier, and drew his glaive, 

Yet reid wi Norland bluid. 
" Brayd on, brayd on, my stalwart sons, 

Grit cause we ha to feir ; 
But aye the canny ferce contemn 

The hap they canna veir." 

' Return, return, ye men of bluid, 

And bring me back my chylde !' 
The dolefu voice frae mid the ha 

Reculd, wi echoes wylde. 
The storm grew rife, throuch a the lift 

The rattling thunder rang, 
The black rain shour'd, and lichtning glent 

Their harnisine alang. 

What feir possest their boding breests 

Whan, by the gloomy glour, 
The castle ditch wi deed bodies 

They saw was filled out owr ! 
Quoth Hardyknute " I wold to Chryste 

The Norse had wan the day, 
Sae I had keipt at hame but anes, 

Thilk bluidy feats to stay." 

Wi speid they past, and sune they recht 

The base-courts sounding bound, 
Deip groans sith heard, and throuch the mirk 

Lukd wistfully around. 
The moon, frae hind a sable cloud, 

Wi sudden twinkle shane, 
Whan, on the cauldrif eard, they fand 

The gude Sir Mordac layn. 

Besprent wi gore, fra helm to spur, 

Was the trew-heartit knicht ; 
Swith frae his steid sprang Hardyknute 

Muv'd wi the heavy sicht. 
" O say thy master's shield in weir, 

His sawman in the ha, 
What hatefu chance cold ha the pouir 

To lay thy eild s^e law?" 
2 P 



To his complaint the bleiding knicht 

Returnd a piteous mane, 
And recht his hand, whilk Hardyknute 

Claucht streitly in his am. 
' Gin eir ye see Lord Hardyknute 

Frae Mordac ye maun say, 
Lord Draffan's treasonn to confute 

He usd his steddiest fay. 

He micht na mair, for cruel dethe 

Forhad him to proceid : 
" I vow to God, I winna sleip 

Till I see Draffan bleid. 
My sons your sister was owr fair : 

But bruik he sail na lang 
His gude betide ; my last forbode 

He'll trow belyve na sang. 

Bown ye my eydent friends to kyth 

To me your luve sae deir ; 
The Norse' defeat mote weil persuade 

Nae riever ye neid feir." 
The speirmen, wi a michty shout, 

Cryd ' Save our master deir ! 
While he dow beir the sway hot care 

Nae reiver we sail feir.' 

' Return, return, ye men of bluid 

And bring me back my chylde !' 
The dolefu voice frae mid the ha 

Reculd wi echoes wylde. 
" I am to wyte my valiant friends :" 

And to the ha they ran, 
The stately dore full streitly steiked 

Wi iron boltis thrie they fand. 

The stately dore, thouch streitly steiked 
Wi waddin iron boltis thrie, 

Richt sune his micht can eithly gar 
Frae aff it's hinges flie. 

" Whar ha ye tane my dochter deir ? 
Mair wold I see her deid 

Than see her in your bridal bed, 
578 For a your portly meid. 


What thouch my gude and valiant lord 

Lye strecht on the cauld clay ? 
My sons the dethe may ablins spair 

To wreak their sisters wae. 
O my leil lord, cold I but ken 

Where thy dear corse is layn, 
Fra gurly weil, and warping blast 

I'd shield it wi my ain ! 

Dreir dethe richt sune will end my dule, 

Ye riever ferce and vile, 
But thouch ye slay me, frae my heart 

His luve ye'll neir exile." 
Sae did she crune wi heavy cheir, 

Hyt luiks, and bleirit eyne ; 
Then teirs first wet his manly cheik 

And snawy baird bedeene. 

' Na rie>er here, my dame sae deir, 

But your leil lord you see ; 
May hiest harm betide his life 

Wha brocht sic harm to thee ! 
Gin anes ye may believe my word, 

Nor am I usd to lie, 
By 'day-prime he or Hardyknute 

The bluidy dethe shall die." 

The ha, whar late the linkis bricht 

Sae gladsum shind at een, 
Whar penants gleit a gowden bleise 

Our knichts and ladys shene, 
Was now sae mirk, that, throuch the bound, 

Nocht mote they wein to see, 
Alse throuch the southern port the moon 

Let fa a blinkand glie. 

" Are ye in suith my deir luvd lord ? " 

Nae mair she doucht to say, 
But swounit on his harnest neck 

Wi joy and tender fay. 
To see her in sic balefu sort 

Revived his selcouth feirs ; 
But sune she raisd her comely liu'k, 

And saw his faing teirs. 570 


" Ye are nae wont to greit wi wreuch, 

Grit cause ye ha I dreid ; 
Hae a our sons their lives redemd 

Frae furth the dowie feid?" 
' Saif are our valiant sons, ye see, 

But lack their sister deir; 
When she's aw a, bot any doubt, 

We ha grit cause to feir.' 

" Of a our wrangs, and her depart, 

Whan ye the suith sail heir, 
Na marvel that ye ha mair cause, 

Than ye yit weit, to feir. 
O wharefore heir yon feignand knicht 

Wi Mordac did ye send? 
Ye suner wald ha perced his heart 

Had ye his ettling kend." . 

" What may ye mein, my peirles dame? 

That knicht did muve my ruthe 
We balefu mane; I did na dout 

His curtesie and truthe. 
He maun ha tint wi sma renown 

His life in this fell rief ; 
Richt fair it grieves me that he heir ' 

Met sic an ill relief." 

Quoth she, wi teirs that down her cheiks 

Ran like a silver shouir, 
" May ill befa the tide that brocht 

That fause knicht to our touir ; 
Ken'd ye na Draffan's lordly port, 

Thouch cled in knichtly graith? 
Tho hidden was his hautie luik 

The visor black benethe?" 

" Now, as I am a knicht of weir, 

I thocht his seeming trew; 
But, that he sae deceived my ruthe, 

Full fairly he sail rue." 
" Sir Mordac to the sounding ha 

Came wi his cative fere ;" 
' My syre has sent this wounded knicht 

To pruve your kyndlie care. 


Your sell maun watch him a the day, 

Your maids at deid of nicht ; 
And Fairly fair his heart maun cheir 

As she stands in his sicht.' 
" Nae suner was Sir Mordac gane, 

Than up the featour sprang ;" 
' The luve alse o your dochter deir 

I feil na ither pang. 

Tho Hardyknute lord Draffan's suit 

Refus'd wi mickle pryde ; 
By his gude dame and Fairly fair 

Let him not be deny'd.' 
" Nocht muvit wi the captive's speech, 

Nor wi his stern command ; 
I treasoun ! cryd, and Kenneth's blade 

Was glisterand in his hand. 

My son lord Draffan heir you see, 

Wha means your sister's fay 
To win by guile, when Hardyknute 

Strives in the irie fray." 
' Turn thee ! thou riever Baron, turn ! ' 

" Bauld Kenneth cryd aloud ; 
But, sune as Draffan spent his glaive, 

My son lay in his bluid." 

' I did nocht grein that bluming face 

That dethe sae sune sold pale ; 
Far less that my trew luve, throuch me, 

Her blither's dethe sold wail. 
But syne ye sey our force to prive, 

Our force we sail you shaw ! ' 
" Syne the shrill-sounding horn bedeen 

He tuik frae down the wa. 

Ere the portculie cold be flung, 

His kyth the base-court fand ; 
Whan scantly o their count a teind 

Their entrie micht gainstand. 
Richt sune the raging rievers stude 

At their fause master's syde, 
Wha, by the haly maiden, sware 

Na harm sold us betide. 581 


What syne befell ye well may guess, 

Reft o our eilds delicht." 
' We sail na lang be reft, by morne 

Sail Fairly glad your sicht. 
Let us be gane my sons, or now 

Our meny chide our stay ; 
Fareweil my dame ; your dochter's luve 

Will sune cheir your effray.' 

Then pale pale grew her teirfu cheik ; 

' Let ane o my sons thrie 
Alane gyde this emprize, your eild 

May ill sic travel drie. 
O whar were I, were my deir lord, 

And a my sons, to bleid ! 
Better to bruik the wrang than sae 

To wreak the hie misdede. 

The gallant Rothsay rose bedeen 

His richt of age to pleid ; 
And Thomas shawd his strenthy speir : 

And Malcolm mein'd his speid. 
' My sons your stryfe I gladly see, 

But it sail neir be sayne, 
That Hardyknute sat in his ha, 

And heird his son was slayne. 

My lady deir, ye neid na feir ; 

The richt is on our syde :' 
Syne rising with richt frawart haste 

Nae parly wald he byde. 
The lady sat in heavy mude, 

Their tunefu march to heir, 
While, far ayont her ken, the sound 

Na mair mote roun her eir. 

O ha ye sein sum glitterand touir, 

Wi mirrie archers crownd, 
Wha vaunt to see their trembling fae 

Kept frae their countrie's bound? 
Sic ausum strenth shawd Hardyknute ; 

Sic seimd his stately meid, 
Sic pryde he to his meny bald, 

Sic feir his faes he gied. 


Wi glie they past our mountains rude, 

Our muirs and mosses weit ; 
Sune as they saw the rising sun, 

On Draffan's touirs it gleit. 
O Fairly bricht I marvel sair, 

That featour eer ye lued, 
Whase treasoun wrocht your father's bale, 

And shed your brither's blude 

The -ward ran to his youthfu lord, 

Wha sleipd his bouir intill : 
' Nae time for sleuth, your raging faes 

Fare down the westlin hill. 
And, by the libbard's gowden low 

In his blue banner braid, 
That Hardyknute his dochter seiks 

And Draffan's dethe, I rede.' 

" Say to my bands of matchless micht, 

Wha camp law in the dale, 
To busk their arrows for the fecht, 

And streitly gird their mail. 
Syne meit me here, and wein to find 

Nae just or turney play ; 
Whan Hardyknute braids to the field, 

War bruiks na lang delay." 

His halbrick bricht he braced bedeen ; 

Fra ilka skaith and harm 
Securit by a warloc auld, 

Wi mony a fairy charm. 
A seimly knicht cam to the ha ; 

' Lord Draffan I thee braive, 
Frae Hardyknute my worthy lord, 

To fecht wi speir or glaive.' 

" Your hautie lord me braives in vain 

Alane his micht to prive, 
For wha, in single feat of weir, 

Wi Hardyknute may strive ? 
But sith he meins our strenth to sey, 

On case he sune will find, 
That thouch his bands leave mine in ire, 

In force they're far behind. 


Yet cold I wete that he wald yield 

To what bruiks nae remeid, 
I for his dochter wald nae hain 

To ae half o my steid." 
Sad Hardyknute apart frae a 

Leand on his birnist speir; 
And, whan he on his Fairly deimd, 

He spar'd nae sich nor teir. 

" What meins the felon cative vile? 

Bruiks this reif na remeid? 
I scorn his gylefu vows ein thoucht 

They recht to a his steid." 
Bownd was lord Draffan for the fecht, 

Whan lo ! his Fairly deir ' 
Ran frae her hie bouir to the ha 

Wi a the speid of feir. 

Ein as the rudie star of morne 

Peirs throuch a cloud of dew, 
Sae did she seim, as round his neck 

Her snawy arms she threw. 
' O why, O why, did Fairly wair 

On thee her thouchtles luve? 
Whase cruel heart can ettle aye 

Her father's dethe to pruve !' 

And first he kissd her bluming cheik, 

And syne her bosom deir ; 
Than sadly strade athwart the ha, 

And drapd ae tendir teir. 
" My meiny heid my words wi care, 

Gin ony weit to slay 
Lord Hardyknute, by hevin I sweir 

Wi lyfe he sail nae gae." 

* My maidens bring my bridal gowne, 

I little trewd yestrene, 
To rise frae bonny Draffan's bed, 

His bluidy dethe to sene.' 
Syne up to the hie baconie 

She has gane wi a her train, 
And sune she saw her stalwart lord 

Attein the bleising plain. 


Owr Nethan's weily streim he fared 

Wi seeming ire and pryde ; 
His blason, glisterand owr his helm, 

Bare Allan by his syde. 
Richt sune the bugils blew, and lang 

And bludy was the fray ; 
Eir hour of mine, that elric tyde, 

Had hundreds tint their day. 

Like beacon bricht at deid of nicht, 

The michty chief muvd on ; 
His basaet, bleising to the sun, 

"Wi deidly lichtning shone. 
Draffan he socht, wi him at anes 

To end the cruel stryfe ! 
But aye his speirmen thranging round 

Forfend their leider's lyfe. 

The winding Clyde wi valiant bluid 

Ran reiking mony a mile ; 
Few stude the faucnt, yet dethe alane 

Cold end their irie toil. 
' Wha flie, I vow, sail frae my speir 

Receive the dethe they dreid !' 
Cryd Draffan, as alang the plain 

He spurd his bluid-red steid. 

Up to him sune a knicht can prance, 

A graith'd in silver mail : 
" Lang have I socht thee throuch the field, 

This lance will tell my tale." 
Rude was the fray, till Draffan' s skill 

Oercame his youthfn micht ; 
Perc'd throuch the visor to the eie 

Was slayne the comly knicht. 

The visor on the speir was deft, 

And Draffan Malcolm spied ; 
* Ye should your vaunted speid this day, 

And not your strenth, ha seyd.' 
" Cative, awa ye maun na flie," 

Stout Rothsay cry'd bedeen, 
" Till, frae my glaive, ye wi ye beir 535 

The wound ye fein'd yestrene." 


* Mair o your kins bluid ha I spilt 

Than I docht evir grein ; 
See Rothsay whar your brither lyes 

In dethe afore your eyne, 
Scant Rothsay stapt the faing teir ; 

" O hatefu cursed deid ! 
Sae Draffan seiks our sister's luve, 

Nor feirs far ither meid !" 

Swith on the word an arrow earn 

Frae ane o Rothsay 's band, 
And smote on Draffan's lifted targe, 

Syne Rothsays splent it fand. 
Perc'd throuch the knie to his ferce steid, 

Wha pranc'd wi egre pain, 
The chief was forcd to quit the stryfe, 

And seik the nether plain. 

His minstrals there wi dolefu care 

The bludy shaft withdrew ; 
But that hs sae was bar'd the fecht 

Sair did the leider rue. 
' Cheir ye my mirrie men,' Draffan cryd, 

Wi meikle pryde and glie ; 
' The prise is ours ; nae chieftan bides 

Wi us to bate the grie.' 

That hautie boast heard Hardyknute, 

Whar he lein'd on his speir, 
Sair weiried wi the nune-tide heat, 

And toilsum deids of weir. 
The first sicht, whan he past the thrang, 

Was Malcolm on the swaird : 
" Wold hevin that dethe my eild had tane, 

And thy youtheid had spard ! 

" Draffan I ken thy ire, but now 

Thy raicht I mein to see ! " 
But eir he strak the deidly dint 

The syre was on his knie. 
' Lord Hardyknute stryke gif ye may, 

I neir will stryve wi thee ; 
5 Forfend your dochter see you slayne 

Frae whar she sits on hie ! 


Yestrene the priest in haly band 

Me joind wi Fairly deir ; 
For her sake let us part in peace, 

And neir meet mair in weir.' 
" Oh king of hevin, what seimly speech 

A featour's lips can send 1 
And art thou he wha baith my sons 

Brocht to a bluidy end ? 

Haste, mount thy steid, or I sail licht 

And meit thee on the plain ; 
For by my forbere's saul we neir 

Sail part till ane be slayne." 
' Now mind thy aith,' syne Draffan stout 

To Allan leudly cryd, 
Wha drew the shynand blade bot dreid 

And perc'd his masters syde. 

Law to the bleiding eard he fell, 

And dethe sune clos'd his eyne. 
" Draffan, till now I did na ken 

Thy dethe cold muve my tein. 
I wold to Chryste thou valiant youth, 

Thou wert :n life again ; 
May ill befa my ruthles wrauth 

That brocht thee to sic pain ! 

Fairly, anes a my joy and pryde, 

Now a my grief and bale, 
Ye maun wi haly maidens byde 

Your deidly faut to wail. 
To Icolm beir ye Draffan's corse, 

And dochter anes sae deir, 
Whar she may pay his heidles luve 

Wi mony a mournfu teir.'' 




[ The Diverting History of John Gilpin, show 
ing how he went farther than he intended, and 
came safe home again,' was written, as probably 
every reader knows, by William Cowper. The 
story was related to him by Lady Austen, wh 
had heard it in her childhood, and made so vivid 
an impression upon the poet, that the next 
morning he told her the ludicrous incident had 
kept him awake with laughter during the night, 
and that he had converted it into a ballad. It 
first appeared, anonymously, in the Public 
Advertiser,' 1782 ; and, with the help of the 
public recitations given of it by Henderson the 
comedian, with all the humour his comic powers 
could throw into it, speedily obtained, and has 
ever since enjoyed, unrivalled popularity. It 
was first published, as Cowper's avowed pro 
duction, in the second volume of his ' Poems.'] 

OHN GILPIN was a citizen 
Of credit and renown, 

A train -band captain eke was he 
Of famous London town. 


John Gilpin's spouse said to her dear, 

Though wedded we have been 
These twice ten tedious years, yet we 

No holiday have seen. 

To-morrow is our wedding day, 

And we will then repair 
Unto the Bell at Edmonton, 

All in a chaise and pair. 

My sister, and my sister's child, 

Myself and children three, 
Will fill the chaise ; so you must ride 

On horseback after we. 

He soon replied, I do admire 

Of womankind but one, 
And you are she, my dearest dear j 

Therefore it shall be done. 

I am a linen-draper bold, 

As all the world doth know, 
And my good friend the calender 

Will lend his horse to go. 

Quoth Mrs. Gilpin, That's well said; 

And for that wine is dear, 
We will be furnisht with our own, 

Which is both bright and clear. 

John Gilpin kist his loving wife; 

O'erjoyed was he to find 
That, though on pleasure she was bent, 

She had a frugal mind. 

The morning came, the chaise was brought, 

But yet was not allowed 
To drive up to the door, lest all 

Should say that she was proud. 

So three doors off the chaise was stayed, 

Where they did all get in; 
Six precious souls, and all agog 

To dash through thick and thin. 

Smack went the whip, round went the wheels, 

Were never folk so glad; 
The stones did rattle underneath, 

As if Cheapside were mad. 589 


John Gilpin at his horse's side 
Seized fast the flowing mane, 

And up he got, in haste to ride ; 
But soon came down again; 

For saddle-tree scarce reacht had he, 

His journey to begin, 
When, turning round his head, he saw 

Three customers come in. 

So down he came; for loss of time, 
Although it grieved him sore, 

Yet loss of pence, full well he knew, 
Would trouble him much more. 

'Twas long before the customers 
Were suited to their mind; 

When Betty screaming came down stairs, 
' The wine is left behind!' 

Good lack! quoth he yet bring it me, 
My leathern belt likewise, 

In which I bear my trusty sword 
When I do exercise. 

Now Mistress Gilpin, careful soul, 
Had two stone bottles found, 

To hold the liquor that she loved, 
And keep it safe and sound. 

Each bottle had a curling ear, 
Through which the belt he drew, 

And hung a bottle on each side, 
To make his balance true. 

Then over all, that he might be 

Equipt from top to toe, 
His long red cloak, well brusht and neat, 

He manfully did throw. 

Now see him mounted once again 

Upon his nimble steed, 
Full slowly pacing o'er the stones 

With caution and good heed. 

But finding soon a smoother road 

Beneath his well-shod feet, 
The snorting beast began to trot, 
690 Which galled him in his seat. 


So, fair and softly, John he cried, 

But John he cried in vain; 
That trot became a gallop soon, 

In spite of curb and rein. 

So stooping down, as needs he must 

Who cannot sit upright, 
He grasp t the mane with both his hands, 

And eke with all his might. 

His horse, which never in that sort 

Had handled been before, 
What thing upon his back had got 

Did wonder more and more. 

Away went Gilpin, neck or nought; 

Away went hat and wig; 
He little dreamt when he set out 

Of running such a rig. 

The wind did blow, the cloak did fly, 

Like streamer long and gay, 
Till, loop and button failing both, 

At last it flew away. 

Then might all people well discern 

The bottles he had slung; 
A bottle swinging at each side, 

As hath been said or sung. 

The dogs did bark, the children screamed, 

Up flew the windows all; 
And every soul cried out, Well done! 

As loud as he could bawl. 

Away went Gilpin who but he? 

His fame soon spread around; 
He carries weight! he rides a race! 

'Tis for a thousand pound! 

And still, as fast as he drew near, 

'Twas wonderful to view 
How in a trice the turnpike men 

Their gates wide open threw. 

And now, as he went bowing down 

His reeking head full low, 
The bottles twain behind his back 

Were shattered at a blow. 



Down ran the wine into the road, 

Most piteous to be seen, 
Which made his horse's flanks to smoke 

As they had basted been. 

But still he seemed to carry weight, 

With leathern girdle braced; 
For all might see the bottle necks 

Still dangling at his waist. 

Thus all through merry Islington 

These gambols he did play, 
Until he came unto the Wash 

Of Edmonton so gay. 

And there he threw the Wash about 

On both sides of the way, 
Just like unto a trundling mop 

Or a wild goose at play. 

At Edmonton his loving wife 

From the balcony spied 
Her tender husband, wondering much 

To see how he did ride. 

Stop, stop, John Gilpin! Here's the house- 

They all aloud did cry; 
The dinner waits, and we are tired: 

Said Gilpin So am I! 

But yet his horse was not a whit 

Inclined to tarry there ; 
For why? his owner had a house 

Full ten miles off at Ware. 

So like an arrow swift he flew, 

Shot by an archer strong; 
So did he fly which brings me to 

The middle of my song. 

Away went Gilpin out of breath, 

And sore against his will, 
Till at his friend the calender's 

His horse at last stood still. 

The calender, amazed to see 

His neighbour in such trim, 
Laid down his pipe, flew to the gate, 

And thus accosted him: 


What news? what news? your tidings tell 
Tell me you must and shall 

Say why bareheaded you are come, 
Or why you come at all? 

Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit, 

And loved a timely joke; 
And thus unto the calender 

In merry guise he spoke : 

I came because your horse would come; 

And, if I well forebode, 
My hat and wig will soon be here 

They are upon the road. 

The calender, right glad to find 

His friend in merry pin, 
Returned him not a single word, 

But to the house went in. 

Whence straight he came with hat and wip 

A wig that flowed behind, 
A hat not much the worse for wear, 

Each comely in its kind. 

He held them up, and in his turn 

Thus showed his ready wit, 
My head is twice as big as yours, 

They therefore needs must fit. 

But let me scrape the dirt away 

That hangs upon your face; 
And stop and eat, for well you may 

Be in a hungry case. 

Said John, It is my wedding day, 

And all the world would stare 
If wife should dine at Edmonton, 

And I should dine at Ware. 

So turning to his horse, he said, 

I am in haste to dine; 
'Twas for your pleasure you came here, 

You shall go back for mine. 

Ah, luckless speech, and bootless boast! 

For which he paid full dear; 
For, while he spake, a braying ass 

Did sing most loud and clear; 



Whereat his horse did snort, as he 

Had heard a lion roar, 
And gallopt off with all his might, 

As he had done before. 

Away went Gilpin, and away 

Went Gilpin's hat and wig: 
He lost them sooner than at first; 

For why? they were too big. 

Now Mistress Gilpin, when she saw 

Her husband posting down 
Into the country far away, 

She pulled out half-a-crown; 

And thus unto the youth she said, 
That drove them to the Bell, 

This shall be yours when you bring back 
My husband safe and well. 

The youth did ride, and soon did meet 

John coming back amain; 
Whom in a trice he tried to stop, 

By catching at his rein; 

But not performing what he meant, 
And gladly would have done, 

The frighted steed he frighted more, 
And made him faster run. 

Away went Gilpin, and away 

Went post-boy at his heels, 
The post-boy's horse right glad to miss 

The lumbering of the wheels. 

Six gentlemen upon the road 

Thus seeing Gilpin fly, 
With post-boy scampering in the rear, 

They raised the hue and cry: 

Stop thief ! stop thief ! a highwayman ! 

Not one of them was mute; 
And all and each that passed that way 

Did join in the pursuit. 

And now the turnpike gates again 

Flew open in short space; 
The tollmen thinking as before 

That Gilpin rode a race. 


And so he did, and won it too, 

For he got first to town; 
Nor stopt till where he had got up 

He did again get down. 

Now let us sing, long live the king, 
And Gilpin, long live he; 

And, when he next doth ride abroad, 
May I be there to see! 

[In Hone's ' Table Book,' ii. 79, the three following stanzas are stated to 
have been 'found, in the handwriting of Cowper, among the papers of 
Mrs. Unwin.' In the opinion of Mr. Hone's correspondent ' they evidently 
formed part of an intended episode to the Diverting History of John Gilpin.' 
They are not given in any edition of the poet's works.] 

Then Mrs. Gilpin sweetly said 

Unto her children three, 
' IT! clamber o'er this style so highj 

And you climb after me.' 

But having climbed unto the top, 

She could no farther go, 
But sate, to every passer by, 

A spectacle and show : 

Who said, ' Your spouse and you this day 

Both show your horsemanship, 
And if you stay till he comes back 

Your horse will need no whip.' 



[This ballad is printed from three copies; two In 
broadside, printed respectively by T. Cheney, Banbury, 
and the late celebrated Mr. Pitts, for the use of which the 
editor is indebted to the kindness of Mr. Fillinham, and 
Mr. Dixon ; and one in a chap-book, printed at Glasgow, 
by J. and M. Robertson, 1805, with which he has been 
favoured by Mr. Wright. Of these, the first, being appa 
rently the oldest, has been adopted as the text ; while, as 
the ballad is not known to exist in any other form, and is 
by no means common, the more important various read 
ings of the other two, which are numerous and consider 
able, are given in the Notes. This course will, it is hoped, 
be thought better than making up a text from the three. 
The broadside, printed at Banbury gives the title of the 
ballad as follows : ' Catskin's Garland ; or, the Wander- 
Ing Young Gentlewoman. In Five Parts. 1. Of a rich 
'Squire's Daughter, near London, who was forced from 
home by her cruel Father ; how she made herself a gar 
ment of catskins, and wandered up and down. 2. How 
she came one morning to a Knight's Door, and begged to 
lie in the Stables, which was soon granted, and how she 
was entertained after. 3. How he discovered Catskin in 
rich attire, that she had brought from home. How he 
fell in love with her, and married her. 4. How her 
mother and sister died, and her father came disguised 
like a beggar to her gate. 5. How he gave her ten thou 
sand pounds.' Of the ballad itself little appears to be 
known. It may, however, be safely asserted to be much 
older than the oldest of the copies from which it is here 
taken. As to the story of it, see the Note, p. 04.] 


OU fathers and mothers and children also, 
Come near unto me, and soon you shall know, 
The sense of my ditty, for I dare to say, 
The like hasn't been heard of this many long day. 


This subject which to you I am to relate, 
It is of a 'squire who had a large estate; 
And the first dear infant his wife she did bare, 
Was a young daughter, a beauty most fair. 

He said to his wife, * Had this but been a boy, 
It would please me better, and increase my joy; 
If the next be of the same sort, I declare, 
Of what I am possessed it shall have no share.' 

In twelve months after, this woman, we hear, 
Had another daughter, of beauty most clear; 
And when her father knew 'twas a female, 
In-to a bitter passion he presently fell. 

Saying, ' Since this is of the same sort as the first, 
In my habitation she shall not be nurs'd; 
Pray let it be sent into the country, 
For where I am, truly this child shall not be.' 

With tears his dear wife unto him did say, 
' My dear, be contented, I'll send her away.' 
Then into the country this child she did send, 
For to be brought up by an intimate friend. 

Altho' that her father hated her so, 

He good education on her did bestow, 

And with a gold locket, and robes of the best, 

This slighted young damsel was commonly drest. 

But when unto stature this damsel was grown, 
And found from her father she had no love shewn, 
She cried, * Before I will lie under his frown, 
I am fully resolv'd to range the world round.' 


But now mark, good people, the cream of the jest, 
In what a strange manner this female was drest; 
Catskins into a garment she made, I declare, 
The which for her clothing she daily did wear: 

Her own rich attire, and jewels beside, 
They up in a bundle together were ty'd; 
And to seek her fortune she wander'd away 

And when she had wander'd a cold winter's day. 



In the evening-tide she came to a town, 
Where at a knight's door she sat herself down, 
For to rest herself, who was weary for sure. 
This noble knight's lady then came to the door, 

And seeing this creature in such sort of dress, 
The lady unto her these words did express, 
' From whence came you, or what will you have v * 
She said, ' A nights rest in your stable I crave.' 

The lady said to her, * I grant thy desire, 
Come into the kitchen and stand by the fire;' 
Then she thank'd the lady, and went in with haste, 
Where she was gaz'd on from biggest to the least. 

And, being warm'd, her hunger was great, 
They gave her a plate of good food for to eat; 
Aud then to an outhouse this damsel was led, 
Where with fresh straw she soon made her a bed. 

And when in the morning the day-light she saw, 
Her rich robes and jewels she hid in the straw; 
And being very cold, she then did retire, 
And went into the kitchen, and stood by the fire. 

The cook said, ' My lady promis'd that thee 
Shouldest be a scullion to wait upon me: 
What say'st thou, girl, art thou willing to bide?' 
4 With all my heart,' then she to her reply'd. 

To work at her needle she could very well, 
And raising of paste few could her excel; 
She being so handy, the cook's heart did win, 
And then she was call'd by the name of Catskin. 

PART 111. 

This knight had a son both comely and talL 
Who often times used to be at a ball, 
A mile out of town, and one evening tide, 
To see a fine dancing away he did ride. 

Catskin said to his mother, ' Madam, let me 
Go after your son, this ball for to see.' 
With that, in a passion this lady she grew, 
And struck her with a ladle, and broke it in two. 


Being thus served, she then got away, 
And in her rich garments herself did array, 
Then to see this ball she then did retire, 
Where she danc'd so fine all did her admire. 

The sport being done, this young squire did say, 
* Young lady, where do you live, tell me, I pray?' 
Her answer to him was, ' Sir, that I will tell, 
At the sign of the broken ladle I dwell.' 

She being very nimble, got home first 'tis said, 
And with her catskin robes she soon was arrayed; 
Then into the kitchen again she did go, 
But where she had been none of them did know. 

Next night the young 'squire, himself to content, 

To see the ball acted, away then he went. 

She said, ' Let me go this ball for to view;' 

She struck her with a skimmer, and broke it in two. 

Then out of doors she ran, being full of heaviness, 
And with her rich garments herself she did dress, 
For to see this ball she ran away with speed, 
And to see her dancing all wonder'd indeed. 

The ball being ended, the 'squire said then, 
' Pray where do you live?' She answered him, 
' Sir, because you ask me, account I will give, 
At the sign of the broken skimmer I live.' 

Being dark, she left him, and home did hie, 
And in her catskin robes she was drest presently, 
And into the kitchen among them she went, 
But where she had been they were all innocent. 

The 'squire came home and found Catskin there, 
He was in amaze, and began for to swear, 
' For two nights at the ball has been a lady, 
The sweetest of beauties that e'er I did see. 

She was the best dancer in all the whole place, 
And very much like our Catskin in the face; 
Had she not been drest in that costly degree, 
I would .have sworn it was Catskin's body.' 

Next night he went to see this ball once more; 

Then she ask'd his mother to go as before, 

Who having a bason of water in hand, 

She threw it at Catskin, as I understand. 599 


Shaking her wet ears, out of doors she did run, 
And dressed herself when this thing she had done; 
To see this ball acted she then run her ways, 
To see her fine dancing all gave her the praise. 

And having concluded, the young squire he 
Said, ' From whence do you come, pray now tell me?' 
Her answer was, ' Sir, you shall know the same, 
From the sign of the bason of water I came.' 

Then homeward she hurried, as fast as might be, 
This young 'squire then was resolved to see 
Whereto she belong'd, then follow'd Catskin, 
Into an old straw -house he saw her creep in. 

He said, ' O brave Catskin, I find it is thee, 
Who these three nights together has so charmed me, 
Thou'rt the sweetest creature my eyes e'er beheld, 
With joy and comfort my heart it is fill'd. 

Thou art the cook's scullion, but as I have life, 
Grant me thy love and I'll make thee my wife, 
And you shall have maids to wait at your call.' 
' Sir, that cannot be, I've no portion at all.' 

' Thy beauty is portion, my joy and my dear, 
I prize it far better than thousands a year, 
And to gain my friends' consent, I've got a trick, 
I'll go to my bed and feign myself sick. 

There's none shall attend me but thee, I protest, 
And some day or other in thy richest dress 
Thou shalt be drest; if my parents come nigh, 
I'll tell them that for thee sick I do lie.' 


Having thus- consulted, this couple parted; 
Next day this young 'squire took to his bed, 
When his dear parents this thing perceiv'd, 
For fear of his death they were heartily, griev'd. 

To tend him they sent for a nurse presently, 
He said, ' None but Catskin my nurse now shall be.* 
His parents said, ' No.' He said, ' But she shall, 
goo Or else I'll have none for to nurse me at all.' 


His parents both wonder'd to hear him say thus, 
That no one but Catskin must be his nurse; 
So then his dear parents their son to content, 
Up into the chamber poor Catskin they sent. 

Sweet cordials and other rich things were prepar'd, 
Which betwixt this young couple was equally shar'd; 
And when all alone, they in each other's arms, 
Enjoy'd one another in love's pleasant charms. 

At length on a time poor Catskin, 'tis said, 
In her rich attire she then was array'd; 
And when his mother the chamber drew near, 
Then much like a goddess did Catskin appear. 

Which caus'd her to startle, and thus she did say, 
' What young lady's this, son, tell me I pray?' 
He said, ' It is Catskin, for whom I sick lie, 
And without I have her with speed I shall die.' 

His mother ran down for to call the old knight, 
Who ran up to see this amazing great sight; 
He said, * Is this Catskin we hold so in scorn? 
I ne'er saw a finer dame since I was born.' 

The old knight said to her, ' I pry'thee tell me, 
From whence dost thou come, and of what family.' 
Then who was her parents she gave them to know, 
And what was the cause of her wandering so. 

The young 'squire said, ' It' you will save my life, 
Pray grant this young creature may be my wife.' 
His father reply'd, ' Your life for to save, 
If you are agreed my consent you shall have.' 

Next day, with great triumph and joy as we hear, 
There were many coaches came far and near; 
She much like a goddess drest in great array, 
Catskin to the 'squire was married that day. 

For several days this great wedding did last, 
Where was many topping and gallant rich guests; 
And for joy the bells rung all over the town, 
And bottles of claret went merrily round. 

When Catskin was married, her fame to raise, 

To see her modest carriage all gave her the praise; 

Thus her charming beauty the squire did win, 

And who lives so great as he and Catskin. 001 



Now in the fifth part I'll endeavour to shew, 
How things with her parents and sister did go; 
Her mother and sister of life bereft, 
And all alone the old knight he was left. 

And hearing his daughter being married so brave, 
He said, ' In my noddle a fancy I have; 
Drest like a poor man a journey I'll make, 
And see if on me some pity she'll take.' 

Then drest like a beggar he goes to the gate, 
Where stood his daughter, who appear 'd very great; 
He said, ' Noble lady, a poor man I be, 
And am now forced to crave charity.' 

With a blush she asked him from whence he came; 
With that then he told her, and also his name; 
She said, ' I'm your daughter, whom you slighted so, 
Yet, nevertheless, to you kindness I'll shew. 

Thro' mercy the Lord hath provided for me. 
Now, father, come in and sit down,' then said she. 
Then the best of provisions the house could afford, 
For to make him welcome was set on the board. 

She said, ' Thou art welcome, feed hearty, I pray; 
And, if you are willing, with me you shall stay, 
So long as you live.' Then he made this reply, 
* I am only come thy love for to try. 

Thro' mercy, my child, I am rich, and not poor, 
I have gold and silver enough now in store; 
And for the love that at thy house I have found, 
For a portion I'll give thee ten thousand pounds.' 

So in a few days after, as I understand, 
This man he went home and sold off his land; 
And ten thousand pounds to his daughter did give, 
And now altogether in love they do live. 

[In the following list of various readings, P. denotes Mr Pitts' edition, and 6 the Glasgow 


St. 1, line 2. Come' ; Draw, P. ; Come draw, G, Line 4 heard of;' printed. P., and G. 
St. 2, line 2. ' Squire' ; young squire, P. ; Squire's son, G. Line 4. fair'; rare, G. 
St. 3, line 1. but' f child, P., and G. Line 4. it' he, P. , she, G. 


St. 4, line 3. ' father' ; husband. Line 4. strong bitter, G., omitting ' presently'. 

St. 6, line 2. ' my dear" ; husband, P., and G. lane 3. ' this child she'; with speed her, V. , 

it, G. Line 4. 'an intimate' ; one who was her, P., and G. 
St. 7, line 4. 'damsel'; female, P. 
St. 8. line 2. ' her father" ; him. Line 4. ' range the world' ; travel the country, P. 


St. 1, line 1. G. omits ' mark'. Line 2. a strange' ; sort of. P., and G. ; ' female* ; creature, 

P. ; lady, G. Line 3. With Catskin* she made a robe I declare ; line 4. clothing" | 

covering, P., and G. 
St. 2, line 1 . ' own' ; new, G. Line 2. ' they* ; then. P., and G. ' together 1 ; by her way they f 

P. ; by her then, G. Line 4. ' wandered* ; travelled, P., and G. ' cold' j whole, G. 
St. 3, line 1. P. omits ' tide' ; line 2. ' where', and ' herself. Line 3. weary for sure' ; tired, 

sore, P. ; tired to be sure, G. 
St. 4, line 1. fair creature ; line 3. Whence earnest thou girl, and what wouldst thou have ? P. 

Line 4. ' said' ; cry'd ; ' rest' ; quarters, G. 
St. 5, line 4. ' biggest' ; highest, P. 
St. 6, line 1. Well warmed' ; P., and G. Line 2. ' plate' ; piece, P. ; dish, G. ; ' food' ; meat, 

G. Line 3. ' damsel' ; fair creature, P. ; creature, G. ; ' led', had, P. 

St. 7, line 2. ' rich robes' ; riches, P. Line 4. To the kitchen and stand, P. ; to go to the, G . 
St. 8, line 1. hath promised that thou; line 2. Shalt be as 4 scullion to wait on me now, O. 

Line 4. truly to him she, P., and G. 
St. 9. for raising, P., and G. 


St. 1, line 1. ' Knight'; lady, P., and G. Line 4. To dance at this ball, P. ; to see the ball 

acted, G. 
St. 2, line 2. P. omits 'your* and ' for", fine ball ; line 3. ' she grew' ; flew; which she broke 

in two, G. 
St. 3, line 1. ' got' ; went, G. Line 2. ' in her 1 ; with, P. ; with a, G. Line 3. P. omits ' to 

see'. ' She then', with speed, P. ; great speed, G. Line 4. ' fine* ; bravely, P. ; rarely, G 
St. 6, line 1. 'night'; day, G. ; 'himself to'; to give him, P. Line 2. 'see the ball acted, 

away then' ; dance at this ball again, P. Line 3. pray let, P., and G. ; ' view' ; see ; 

line 4. ' two' ; three, G. 

St. 7, line 1. ' full of ; with, G. Line 2. ' she' ; soon, P., which in line 3, omits ' to see*. 
St. 8, line 1. young squire then said, P.; young squire then, G. Line 2. Said, where, &C M 

G. ' him' ; again, P., and G. 

St. 9, line 1. 'left'; lost, G. homeward, P., and G. 
St. 10, line 1. When the squire, P., and G. Line 3. P. omits 'been'. 
St. 11, line 3- ' hi that costly' ; to that comely, G. Line 4. ' was Catskin's body* ; had been 

Catskin boldly, P. ; bodily, G. 

St. 12, line 1. To the ball be did go once more, P., and G. Line 8. let her go, &c., P. 
St. 13, line 3. To the Kail once more she then went, P. 

St. 1 4, line 1 . young squire said he, P. Line 2. ' now* ; lady ; line 3. soon shall know, P., and G 
St. 16, line 4. 'comfort'; content, P.; contentment, G. 
St. 17, line 2. But thy love ; line 3. ' to wait', for to be, P., and G. 
St. 18, line 2. a thousand, P. Line 3. 'gain'; have, P., and G. 
St. 19, line 1. ' protest* ; prole? s ; line 3. ' drest', clad, P. Line 4. sick and like to die, G. 


St. 1, line 4. ' heartily* ; sorely, P. 

St. 2, line 1. ' presently', speedily ; line 3. no, son, P. Line 4. I shall have no nuise, G. 
St. 3, line 2. must needs, G. 
St. 4, line 2. P., and G. omit ' young*. 
St. 6, line 1. ' startle', stare ; line 2 ; ' son' ; come, P. Line 3. B lyi tis Catskin. G. 



St. 7, line 1. ' ran down' ; then hastened, to call up the knight, P. ' call' ; till, G. Line 2, 

great amazing, P. 

St. 8, line 3. was' ; were, P., and G. ' them' ; him, G. 

St. 9, line 1. G. omits young". ' said' ; cry'd ; line 2. she may, &c., P., and G. 
St. 10, line 2. 'came' ; both, G. Line 3. ' She' ; then; 'great' ; rich, P., and G. 
St. 11, line 1. P. omits ' great'. Line 2. 'rich guests', report; line 4. 'claret went'; canary 

roll'd, P. ; troll'd, G. 
St. 12, line 2. ' To see' ; who saw, P. 


St. 1, line 3. are bereft ; line 4. ' knight' ; squire, P., and G. 

St. 2, line 2. ' fancy' ; scheme, P. 

St. 3, line 1. 'goes' ; went, P., and G. Line %. ' appear'd* ; looked, P. Line 4. your charity, 

P., andG. 
St. 4, line 2. 'And also his name'; and gave her his hand, G. Line 4. some kindness, P., 

and G. 

St. 7, line 1. dear child, P. Line 3. ' house', hands, P., and G. 
St. 8, line 2. all his land, P., and G. Line 4. ' now' ; then ; ' do' ; did ; G 

' The story of this ballad,' says Mr. Halliwell, (' Nursery Rhymes of England,' p. 48,) ' is of 
Oriental origin.' In that work, that gentleman gives a version from the recitation of ' an old 
nurse, aged eighty-one,' which will be found to follow this. The reader will doubtless 
recollect the ' Arabian Nights' ' Tale of ' The two Sisters who envied their younger sister,' 
which, however, has little in common with ' Catskin's Garland,' beyond the general Idea ex 
pressed in the title, and the well-known fairy tale of ' Cinderella' ; between which and the 
present ballad the similarity is very great. Several versions of a story of the same kind, en 
titled ' Ashputtel,' 'are current in Hesse and Zwehrn, and it is one of the most universal 
currency, being popular among the Welsh, as it is also among the Poles ; and Schottky found 
it among the Servian fables. Rollenhagen, in his ' Froschmauseler,' a satire of the sixteeenth 
century, speaks of the despised Aschen-pfissel ; and Luther illustrates from it the snbjection 
of Abel to his brother Cain. MM. Grimm trace out several other proverbial allusions, even 
in the Scandinavian traditions ; and lastly, the story is in the Neapolitan ' Pentamerone,' under 
the title of ' Cennerentola.' Another story, entitled Cat-skin, but differing considerably from 
the ballad, is likewise current in Hesse, and in Paderborn ; it is known as Perrault's ' Peau 
d'Ane', and as Ll'orza,' of the ' Pentamerone,' il. 6. See also Straparola, ' Notti piacevoli.'i. 4.' 
(' Gammer Grethel ; or, German Fairy Tales and Popular Stories' &c. London, 1839.) 
' Catskin's Garland,' however, would seem to be a genuine English ballad, the author of 
which was, in all probability, unacquainted with ' the tongues,' and merely ' did Into rliyme* 
A story current among bis countrymen. J 



THERE once was a gentleman grand, 
Who lived at his country-seat; 

He wanted an heir to his land, 

For he'd nothing but daughters yet. 

His lady's again in the way, 

So she said to her husband with joy, 

' I hope some or other fine day, 

To present you, my dear, with a boy.' 

The gentleman answered gruff, 

' If 't should turn out a maid or a mouse, 
For of both we have more than enough, 

She shan't stay to live in my house.' 

The lady at this declaration, 
Almost fainted away with pain ; 

But what was her sad consternation, 
When a sweet little girl came again! 

She sent her away to be nurs'd, 
Without seeing her gruff papa; 

And when she was old enough, 
To a school she was packed away. 

Fifteen summers are fled, 

Now she left good Mrs. Jervis; 

To see home she was forbid, 

She determined to go and seek service. 

Her dresses so grand and so gay, 
She carefully rolled in a knob, 

Which she hid in a forest away, 
And put on a Catskin robe. 



She knock'd at a castle gate, 

And pray'd for charity; 
They sent her some meat on a plate, 

And kept her a scullion to be. 

My lady look'd long in her face, 

And prais'd her great beauty ; 
I'm sorry I've no better place, 

And you must our scullion be. 

So Catskin was under the cook, 

A very sad life she led, 
For often a ladle she took, 

And broke poor Catskin's head. 

There is now a grand ball to be, 
Where ladies their beauties show; 

' Mrs. Cook,' said Catskin, * dear me! 
How much I should like to go.' 

* You go with your Catskin robe, 

You dirty impudent slut! 
Among the fine ladies and lords, 

A very fine figure you'd cut!' 

A basin of water she took, 

And dashed in poor Catskin's face; 

But briskly her ears she shook, 
And went to her hiding place. 

She washed every stain from her skin, 

In some cristal waterfall; 
Then put on a beautiful dress, 

And hasted away to the balL 

When she entered, the ladies were mute, 
Overcome by her figure and face; 

But the lord, her young master, at once 
Fell in love with her' beauty and grace! 

He pray'd her his partner to be, 

She said, ' Yes,' with a sweet smiling glance; 
All night with no other lady 

But Catskin, our young lord would dance. 

' Pray tell me, fair maid, where you live,' 
For now was the sad parting time; 

But she no other answer would give, 
T.' thl: :i:tych of mystical rhyme, 


Sir, if the truth ft must ttll ; 
fit tlje Sign of the basin of foatev ft fcfotll/ 

Then she flew from the ball-room, and put 

On her Catskin robe again; 
And slipt in unseen by the cook, 

Who little thought where she had been. 

The young lord the very next day, 
To his mother his passion betray'd. 

And declar'd he never would rest, 

Till he'd found out his beautiful maid ! 

There's another grand ball to be, 
Where ladies their beauty show; 

* Mrs. Cook,' said Catskin, ' dear me, 

How much I should like to go.' 

' You go with your Catskin robe, 

You dirty, impudent slut! 
Among the fine ladies and lords, 

A very fine figure you'd cut!' 

In a rage a ladle she took, 

And broke poor Catskin's head; 

But off she went shaking her ears, 
And swift to her forest she fled. 

She washed every blood-stain ofl^ 

In some cristal waterfall; 
Put on a more beautiful dress, 

And hasted away to the ball 

My lord at the ball-room door, 

Was waiting with pleasure and pain; 

He longed to see nothing so much, 
As the beautiful Catskin again. 

When he asked her to dance, she again 
Said ' Yes,' with her first smiling glance; 

And again all the night my young lord, 
With none but fair Catskin did dance! 

Pray tell me,' said he, where you live;' 

For now 'twas the parting time; 
But she no other answer would give, 
Than this distych of mystical rhyme, 



' Ih'nb 3tr, if the trutlj ft must tell ; 
Sit the Sign of the fovofeen tattle ft Btoell.' 

Then she flew from the ball, and put on 

Her Catskin robe again; 
And slipt in unseen by the cook, 

Who little thought where she had been. 

My lord did again the next day, 
Declare to his mother his mind, 

That he never more happy should be, 
Unless he his charmer should find. 

Now another grand ball is to be, 
Where ladies their beauty show; 

Mrs. Cook,' said Catskin, ' dear me 
How much I should like to go.' 

' You go with your Catskin robe, 

You impudent, dirty slut! 
Among the fine ladies and lords, 

A very fine figure you'd cut!' 

In a fury she took the skimmer, 
And broke poor Catskin's head I 

But heart-whole and lively as ever, 
Away to her forest she fled! 

She washed the stains of blood, 

In some cristal waterfall; 
Then put on her most beautiful dress, 
And hasted away to the ball. 

My lord at the ball-room door, 

Was waiting with pleasure and pain; 

He longed to see nothing so much, 
As the beautiful Catskin again. 

When he asked her to dance, she again 
Said ' Yes,' with her first smiling glance; 

And all the night long, my young lord, 
With none but fair Catskin would dance! 

' Pray tell me, fair maid, where you live;' 

For now was the parting time: 
But she no other answer would give, 
608 Than this distych of mystical rhyme, 


Sir, if the truth must tell, 
St the Sign of the broken skimmer ft 

Then she flew from the ball, and threw on 

Her catskin-cloak again, 
And slipt in unseen by the cook, 

Who little thought where she had been. 

But not by my lord unseen, 

For this time he folio vv'd too fast; 

And hid in the forest green, 

Saw the strange things that past! 

Next day he took to his bed, 

And sent for the doctor to come; 

And begg'd him no other than Catskin 
Might come into his room! 

He told him how dearly he lov'd her, 
Not to have her his heart would break; 

Then the doctor kindly promis'd 
To the proud old lady to speak. 

There's a struggle of pride and love, 
For she fear'd her son would die; 

But pride at the last did yield, 
And love had the mastery! 

Then my lord got quickly well, 
When he was his charmer to wed; 

And Catskin before a twelvemonth, 
Of a young lord was brought to bed . 

To a way-faring woman and child, 
Lady Catskin one day sent an alms; 

The nurse did the errand, and carried 
The sweet little lord in her arms. 

The child gave the alms to the child, 
This was seen by the old lady mother; 

* Only see,' said that wicked old woman, 

' How the beggar's brats take to each other f 

This throw went to Catskin's heart, 
She flung herself down on her knees; 

And pray'd her young master and lord, 
To seek out her parents would please. 



They set out in my lord's own coach, 
And travell'd ; but nought befell, 

Till they reach'd the town hard by, 
Where Catskin'-e father did dwell. 

They put up at the head inn, 
Where Catskin was left alone; 

But my lord went to try if her father 
His natural child would own. 

When folks are away, in short time 
What great alterations appear! 

For the cold touch of death had all chill'd 
The hearts of her sisters dear. 

Her father repented too late, 

And the loss of his youngest bemoan'd; 
In his old and childless state, 

He his pride and cruelty own'd! 

The old gentleman sat by the fire, 
And hardly look'd up at my lord; 

He had no hopes of comfort, 
A stranger could afford. 

But my lord drew a chair close by, 

And said, in a feeling tone, 
' Have you not, sir, a daughter, I prs;j. 

You never would see or own?' 

The old man, alarm'd, cried aloud, 

* A hardened sinnner am I! 
I would give all my worldly goods, 

To see her before I die!' 

Then my lord brought his wife and child, 
To their home and parents' face; 

Who fell down and thanks return'd 
To God for -his mercy and grace I 

The bells ringing up in the tower, 
Are sending a sound to the heart; 

There's a charm in the old church bells, 
Which nothing in life can impart! 


[This ballad is printed from a broadside, for the use of 
which the editor has again to acknowledge his obligation to 
Mr. Fillinham. No other edition, in any form whatever, 
has come under the editor's notice. There is no copy of the 
ballad in either of the two great collections in the British 
Museum. Other copies, however, are doubtless in exist 
ence, it being scarcely supposable that a ballad of the nature 
of the present should not have been constantly reprinted. 
With regard to the authorship of it, there does not appear 
to be anything known. It may, however, be safely affirmed 
to be comparatively modern ; not older, perhaps, than the 
latter part of the last century. And there can be little 
doubt that it is a genuine English ballad. If in a literary 
point of view it should be thought not very valuable, its 
apparent rarity may perhaps be accepted as a reason for 
its insertion here. The title, as given by the broadside 
from which it is taken, is as follows : ' The Unnatural 
Father ; or, the Dutiful Son's Reward. In Three Parts.'] 


/ ERE is a looking glass for children dear, 
A looking glass, I say, therefore draw near, 
And view the mercies which the Lord extends 
To those that are obedient to their friends. 



If parents do the thing that is not right, 

Setting their hearts, their love, and whole delight 

Upon one child, and eke the other wrong, 

Trust in the Lord, whose arm and hand is stronp 

In his due time he will these things redress; 
He never leaves his servant comfortless, 
As by this time relation you may find, 
If you his works of providence will mind. 

In Dorsetshire a wealthy man of late, 
Two sons he had; likewise a vast estate- 
The one he loved with affection pure, 
The other one he never could endure; 

But kept him meaner than their meanest slave, 
And often wish'd him in the silent grave, 
As they at each time then at variance fell, 
But for what reason none alive can tell. 

A more obedient son was seldom seen, 
Modest in carriage, of a genteel mien, 
Yet nevertheless his father did him slight, 
And never could endure him in his sight; 

Or if he did, he'd frown upon him still, 
No peace, no joy, no love, or kind good will 
Could he receive from his father's hand, 
Who strove to cut him off from all his lands. 

Many a stroke and heavy blow he felt, 
Which often caus'd his youthful eye to melt 
Into a flood of sad, lamenting tears; 
Thus he with patience suffer'd many years. 

The darling son was clothed in rich array, 
And often did his gaudy plumes display, 
Making his father's gold and silver fly 
Like summer's dust in jovial company. 

While he was thus supported in his pride, 
The other son was scorned and villify'd, 
And by his father often spurn'd and beat, 
Who seemed then to grudge the bread he eat. 

Father, said he, what is the cause of this? 
If I have acted anything amiss, 
Tell me my fault, and I will surely mend, 
For loth I am my parents to offend. 


At this his father's wrath increased more, 
And with these words he thrust him out of doors. 
Go take your lot beyond the ocean main, 
And never let me see your face again. 

The son he little said, but did depart 
From friends and father with a heavy heart, 
Encompass'd round with sorrow, grief, and care, 
To seek his fortune, but he knew not where. 

Poor heart, when this unhappy chance did fall, 
He nothing had then to subsist at all; 
Yet carefully he travelled all the day, 
And then at night upon cold earth he lay. 

Next morning, sleeping on the rural plain, 
He was awaken'd by a shepherd swain, 
Who came that way, and having heard his grief. 
Out of his scrip he gave him some relief. 

This done, in humble part he took his leave, 
With many thanks for what he did receive, 
And so went on to famous London town, 
Where for a time he wander'd up and down. 

And wanting friends, on board he went at last, 
Over the roaring ocean wide he past; 
Where we will leave him to God's providence, 
And shew the other brother's insolence. 


When parents doat upon a certain child, 
He often proves reverse, stubborn, and wild, 
And brings them to the greatest sorrow here, 
As from this late account it will appear. 

One of his sons thus gone beyond the seas, 
The other with [his] parents lived at ease, 
Until by fruits of sinful wantonness 
His family was brought to great distress, 

As you shall hear; for many pounds he spent 
Among the taverns which he did frequent; 
Where, for a harlot's sake, a man he kill'd, 
And therefore was in chains and fetters held 



At Dorchester, in order to be try'd. 
His father hearing of the news reply'd, 
He shall not die, and go down to the grave, 
If all that e'er I have his life can save. 

To one in town he mortag'd all his land, 
Raising five hundred pounds then out of hand, 
To keep his darling son from dismal thrall; 
And yet, dear loving friends, this is not all. 

For he once more did violate the laws, 
And was transported for that very cause, 
From Dorchester, over the raging main, 
Never to see his native land again. 

His aged father did in tears lament, 
His land was mortgag'd, and [his] money spent 
Upon their wicked child, which grieved them sore; 
Besides he ow'd two hundred pounds or more, 

For which he could no satisfaction make, 
Wherefore to jail they did his body take. 
In tears he wept, beseeching for relief; 
His chief companion that he had was grief. 

His downy beds were turn'd to bed of straw ; 
No comfortable friend alive he saw; 
For want of food he daily did repine, 
And tears of woe did serve instead of wine. 

With wringing hands he said, What have I done? 
How have I wrong'd my well beloved son ! 
My son that was endowed with Christian grace. 
To succour him that brought me to disgrace. 

With these, and many more lamenting cries, 
Distilled tears did trickle down his eyes; 
Where we will leave him in that sad distress, 
To show the slighted son's true happiness. 


Now, having treated of his grief and woe, 
As he from time to time did undergo, 
I come to shew you how God's blessed hand 
Restor'd him from a prison to his land. 


Behold that son, so scorn'd and slighted here, 
In his distress kind Providence did steer 
From London city to the Golden shore, 
Where God for him a blessing had in store. 

In process of time, behold he found 

A wealthy fortune, worth ten thousand pound, 

A virtuous wife, both beautiful and fair, 

And had some thoughts to live and settle there. 

But each night he was so disturb'd in mind, 
No ease or satisfaction could he find; 
But still he dream'd most of his friends were dead, 
And that his aged father begg'd his bread. 

Being disturb'd with his nocturnal thought, 
His loving wife, with all his wealth, he brought 
Over the ocean to fair Weymouth town, 
Appearing like some persons of renown. 

Then to his father's house he did repair; 
And finding nothing else but strangers there, 
Concern'd he was, as was his lady gay, 
Supposing that his former dreams were true. 

When meeting with an ancient gentleman, 
He said, Kind Sir, do tell me if you can, 
What is become of such a gentleman. 
Fetching a heaving sigh, he did reply, 

His darling son, whom he did so adore, 
Has brought his aged father to be poor 
By his unparalleled villanies, 
And now for debt in Dorset jail he lies. 

At this sad news his eyes did overflow, 
And said, My loving lady, let us go, 
And see my aged father in distress; 
Alas! I cannot leave him comfortless. 

Then coming to the prison, he beheld 
His aged father dear, with sorrow fill'd, 
Cloathed in rags, lean, thin, and hollow eyes, 
Having no food his hunger to suffice. 

The young man's bowels yearn'd, his heart did bleed. 

Said he, Old father, tell me now with speed, 

How long have you been clos'd confined here 

In this sad place of sorrow so severe? 615 

Right worthy sir, the aged man reply'd, 
Your kind request shall soon be satisfy'd. 
So he began, and told him of all his grief, 
And how his son had been the cause in chief. 

Had you no other son, said he, I pray. 
Yes, sir, I had; but him I sent away: 
One that was loving, courteous, and kind, 
No father could enjoy a sweeter child. 

But in my sorrow here I must confess, 
I loved him that brought me to distress; 
The other I would not one smile allow, 
And so the hand of God is on me now. 

And is the mother of your son alive? 

No, no, [kind] sir; she did not long survive, 

After the sad disaster of the first; 

With utmost grief her tender heart did burst; 

For having sought her son both far and near, 
And [when she] could of him no tidings hear, 
Home she return'd, with tears took to her bed, 
And never after would be comforted. 

The young man's heart was full, he could not speak, 
Therefore he did a private corner take, 
To weep his fill and ease his soul of care; 
Which done, in jail he did a feast prepare, 

And call'd his aged father to the same, 
Who cring'd and bow'd before him as he came. 
The young man said, Sure this may not be done; 
Be cover'd, father, for I am your son 

That very son whom you [so] forc'd away. 
Your lands I will redeem, your debts I'll pay, 
And prove a blessing to your ancient days: 
Dry up your tears, your fainting spirits raise. 

Art thou my son, whom I so long withstood? 
Art thou alive to do thy father good? 
Blessed be God! this news doth cheer my heart, 
Thy duty is much more than my desert. 

O say not so, my aged father dear; 

Who serve the Lord with religious fear 

Must honour parents dear, for conscience' sake, 

Or sure I am a great command they break. 

616 J 


1 have oeen harsh and most severe to thee, 
And turned thee out in thy misery 
To seek thy fortune, this I must confess; 
How can you pity me in my distress? 

In duty, father, I can all forgive, 
And farther, while I have a day to live, 
What I have promis'd I will surely do ; 
The Lord hath prosper'd me to comfort you. 

Soon after this they from the prison go; 
He clothed his father from the top to toe, 
And plac'd him in his happy state once more, 
For which he gaiu'd the love of rich and poor. 


[Tins ballad was written by Walter Scott, 'at Mertoun- 
house, the beautiful seat of Hugh Scott, Esq., of Harden, 
in the autumn of 1799," (Life, by Lockhart c. ix.) and first 
appeared in Lewis' ' Tales of Wonder.' ' The catastrophe,' 
says Sir Walter, ('Minstrelsy,' iv. 68,) 'is founded upon a 
well known Irish tradition. The incidents, except the 
hints alluded to in the notes, are entirely imaginary ; but 
the scene was that of my early childhood, and seemed to 
claim from me this attempt to celebrate them in a Border 
tale. Some idle persons had, during the proprietor's ab 
sence, torn the iron-grated door of Smailholm Tower from 
its hinges, and thrown it down the rock. I was an earnest 
suitor to my friend and kinsman, Mr. Scott of Harden, that 
the dilapidation might be put a stop to, and the mischief 
repaired. This was readily promised, on condition that I 
should make a ballad, of which the scene should be at 
Smailholm Tower, and among the crags where it is situated.' 

- . , . ! . The ballad thus ' made ' was the Eve of St. John, in which, 
^j/ I , , says Mr. Lockhart, 'he re-peoples the tower of Smailholm, 

'y - L~< and touches the one superstition which can still be appealed 
to with full and perfect effect ; the only one which lingers 
in minds long since weaned from all sympathy with the 
machinery of witches and goblins. And surely that mys 
tery was never touched with more thrilling skill than in 
this noble ballad.'] 

HE Baron of Smaylho'me rose with day, 

He spurr'd his courser on, 
Without stop or stay, down the rocky way 

That leads to Brotherstone. 


He went not with the bold Buccleuch, 

His banner broad to rear ; 
He went not 'gainst the English yew 

To lift the Scottish spear. 

Yet his plate-jack was braced, and his helmet was laced, 

And his vaunt-brace of proof he wore ; 
At his saddle-gerthe was a good steel sperthe, 

Full ten pound weight and more. 

The Baron return' d in three days' space, 

And his looks were sad and sour, 
And weary was his courser's pace 

As he reached his rocky tower. 

He came not from where Ancram Moor 

Ran red with English blood, 
Where the Douglas true, and the bold Buccleuch, 

'Gainst keen Lord Ivers stood ; 

Yet was his helmet hack'd and hew'd, 

His acton pierc'd and tore ; 
His axe and his dagger with blood embrued, 

But it was not English gore. 

He lighted at the Chapellage, 

He held him close and still, 
And he whistled twice for his little foot page 

His name was English Will. 

" Come thou hither, my little foot page, 

Come hither to my knee ; 
Though thou art young, and tender of age, 

I think thou art true to me. 

Come, tell me all that thou hast seen, 

And look thou tell me true ; 
Since I from Smaylho'me Tower have been, 

What did thy Lady do ? " 

" My Lady each night, sought the lonely light, 

That burns on the wild Watchfold ; 
For from height to height, the beacons bright, 

Of the English foemen told. 

The bittern clam our' d from the moss, 

The wind blew loud and shrill, 
Yet the craggy pathway she did cross 

To the eiry beacon hill. 6 , 


I watch' d her steps, and silent came 

Where she sat her on a stone ; 
No watchman stood by the dreary flame, 

It burned all alone. 

The second night I kept her in sight, 

Till to the fire she came ; 
And by Mary's might, an armed knight 
Stood by the lonely flame. 

And many a word that warlike lord 

Did speak to my Lady there, 
But the rain fell fast, and loud blew the blast, 

And I heard not what they were. 

Tho third night there the sky was fair, 

And the mountain blast was still, 
As again I watch 'd the secret pair, 

On the lonesome beacon hill ; 

And. I heard her name the midnight hour, 

And name this holy eve ; 
And say, come that night to thy Lady's bower ; 

Ask no bold Baron's leave. 

' He lifts his spear with the bold Buccleuch, 

His Lady is alone ; 
The door she'll undo, to her knight so true, 

On the eve of good St. John.' 

' I cannot come, I must not come, 

I dare not come to thee ; 
On the eve of St. John I must wander alone, 
In thy bower I may not be.' 

* Now out on thee, faint-hearted knight ! 

Thou shouldst not say me nay, 
For the eve is sweet, and when lovers meet, 

Is worth the whole summer's day. 

And I'll chain the blood-hound, and the warder shall not 

And rushes shall be strew* d on the stair ; 
So by the rood stone, and by holy St. John, 

I conjure thee, my love, to be there.' 

' Though the blood-hound be mute, and the rush beneath 

my foot, 

And the warder his bugle should not blow, 
Yet there sleepeth a priest in the chamber to the east, 

And my footstep he would know.' 


' O fear not the priest, who sleepeth to the east, 

For to Dryburgh the way he has ta'en ; 
And there to say mass, till three days do pass, 

For the soul of a knight that is slayne.' 

He turn'd him around, and grimly he frown'd, 

Then he laugh' d right scornfully 
'He who says the mass rite, for the soul of that knight, 

May as well say mass for me. 

At the lone midnight hour, when bad spirits have power, 

In thy chamber will I be.' 
With that he was gone, and my Lady left alone, 

And no more did I see." 

Then changed, I trow, was that bold Baron's brow, 

From dark to blood-red high. 
" Now tell me the mien of the knight thou hast seen, 

For by Mary he shall die !" 

" His arms shone full bright, in the beacon's red light, 

His plume it was scarlet and blue ; 
On his shield was a hound in a silver leash bound, 

And his crest was a branch of the yew." 

" Thou liest, thou liest, thou little foot page, 

Loud dost thou lie to me ; 
For that knight is cold, and low laid in the mould, 

All under the Eildon tree." 

" Yet hear but my word, my noble Lord, 

For I heard her name his name ; 
And that Lady bright she called the knight 

Sir Richard of Coldinghame." 

The bold Baron's brow then changed, I trow, 

From high blood-red to pale. 
" The grave is deep and dark, and the corpse is stiff and stark 

So I may not trust thy tale. 

" Where fair Tweed flows round holy Melrose, 

And Eildon slopes to the plain, 
Full three nights ago, by some secret foe, 

That gallant knight was slain. 

"The varying light deceiv'd thy sight, 

And the wild winds drown'd the name, 
For the Dryburgh bells ring, and the white monks they sing 

For Sir Richard of Coldinghame." Q^I 


He pass'd the court-gate, and he oped the tower grate, 

And he mounted the narrow stair, 
To the bartizan-seat, where, with maids that on her wait, 

He found his Lady fair. 

That Lady sat in mournful mood, 

Look'd over hill and vale, 
Over Tweed's fair flood, and Mertoun's wood 

And all down Tiviotdale. 

" Now hail ! now hail ! thou Lady bright !" 

" Now hail ! thou Baron true ! 
"What news, what news, from Ancram fight ? 

What news from the bold Buccleuch ?" 

" The Ancram Moor is red with gore, 

For many a Southron fgll ; 
And Buccleuch has charged us evermore, 

To watch our beacons well." 

The Lady blush'd red, but nothing she said, 

Nor added the Baron a word ; 
Then she stepp'd down the stair to her chamber fair, 

And so did her moody Lord. 

In sleep the Lady mourn' d, and the Baron toss'd and turn'd, 

And oft to himself he said, 
" The worms around him creep, and his bloody grave is deep. 

It cannot give up the dead." 

It was near the ringing of matin bell, 

The night was well nigh done, 
When a heavy sleep on that Baron fell, 

On the eve of good St. John. 

The Lady look'd through the chamber fair, 

By the light of a dying flame, 
And she was aware of a knight stood there, 

Sir Richard of Coldinghame. 

"Alas! away! away!" she cried, 

" For the holy Virgin's sake." 
" Lady, I know who sleeps by thy side ; 

But, Lady, he will not awake. 

" By Eildon-tree, for long nights three, 

In bloody grave have I lain ; 
The mass and the death-prayer are said for me, 

But, Lady, thev're said in vain. 


" By the Baron's brand, near Tweed's fair strand, 

Most foully slain I fell, 
And my restless sprite on the beacon height 

For a space is doom'd to dwell. 

" At our trysting-place, for a certain space, 

I must wander to and fro ; 
But I had not had power to come to thy bower 

Had'st thou not conjured me so." 

Love master'd fear her brow she cross'd : 

" How, Richard, hast thou sped ? 
And art thou saved, or art thou lost ?" 

The vision shook his head ! 

"Who spilleth life, shall forfeit life ; 

So bid thy Lord believe : 
And lawless love is guilt above ; 

This awful sign receive." 

He laid his left hand on an oaken stand, 

His right hand on her arm : 
The Lady shrunk, and fainting sunk, 

For the touch was fiery warm. 

The sable score of fingers four 

Remain on that board impress' d, 
And for evermore that Lady wore 

A covering on her wrist. 

There is a nun in Melrose bower 

Ne'er looks upon the sun ; 
There is a monk in Dryburgh tower, 

He speaketh word to none. 

That nun who ne'er beholds the day, 

That monk who speaks to none, 
That nun was Smaylho'me's Lady gay, 

That monk the bold Baron. 

[' The circumstance of the nun, ' who never saw the day,' is not entirely imaginary. About 
fifty years ago, an unfortunate female wanderer took up her residence in a dark vault, among 
the ruins of Dryburgh Abbey, which, during the day, she never quitted. When night fell, she 
issued from this miserable habitation, and went to the house of Mr. Haliburton, of Newmains, 
er to that of Mr. Erskine, of Sheilficld, two gentlemen of the neighbourhood. From their charity 
she obtained such necessaries as she could be prevailed on to accept. At twelve each night, she lighted 
her candle, and returned to her vault, assuring her friendly neighbours that, during her absence, 
her habitation was arranged by a spirit, to whom she gave the uncouth name of Fatlipt ; describing 
him as a little man, wearing heavy iron shoes, with which he trampled the clay floor of the vault,' 
to dispel the damps. The cause of her adopting this extraordinary mode of life she wculd never, 
explain. It was, however, believed to have been occasioned by a vow, that, during the absence of 
a man to whom she was attached, she would never look upon the sun. Her lover never returned, 
llo ft 11 during the civil war of 1745-6, and she never more 'would behold the light of dij.' &rcr.-.j 



[This ballad, ' the first original poem he ventured 
to compose," was written by Sir then Mr. Wal 
ter Scott, ' with a design that it should be supposed 
a translation from the Gaelic,' and first appeared 
in Lewis' ' Tales of Wonder,' (1801 .) ' The simple 
tradition,' he says, ' upon which it is founded, runs 
thus : While two Highland hunters were passing 
the night in a solitary bothy, (a hut built for the 
purpose of hunting,) and making merry over their 
venison and whisky, one of them expressed a wish 
that they had pretty lasses to complete their party. 
The words were scarcely uttered, when two beau 
tiful young women, habited in green, entered the 
hut, dancing and singing. One of the hunters was 
seduced by the syren, who attached herself par 
ticularly to him, to leave the hut ; the other re 
mained, and, suspicious of the fair seducers, con 
tinued to play upon a trump, or Jew's harp, some 
strain consecrated to the Virgin Mary. Day at 
length came, and the temptress vanished. Search 
ing in the forest, he found the bones of his un 
fortunate friend, who had been torn to pieces and 
devoured by the fiend into whose toils he had fallen. 
The place was from thence called the Glen of the 
Green Women.'] 

HONE a rie! O hone a rie! 

The pride of Albin's line is o'er, 
And fallen Glenartney's stateliesttree; 

We ne'er shall see Lord Ronald more! 


O, sprung from great Macgillianore, 

The chief that never feard a foe, 
How matchless was thy broad claymore* 

How deadly thine unerring bow! 

Well can the Saxon widows tell 

How, on the Teith's resounding shore, 
The boldest Lowland warriors fell, 

As down from Lenny's pass you bore. 

But o'er his hills, on festal day, 

How blazed Lord Ronald's beltane tree; 

While youths and maids the light strathspey 
So nimbly danced with Highland glee. 

Cheerd by the strength of Ronald's shell, 

E'en age forgot his tresses hoar; 
But now the loud lament we swell, 

O ne'er to see Lord Ronald more! 

From distant isles a chieftain came, 

The joys of Ronald's halls to find, 
And chase with him the dark-brown game 

That bounds o'er Albin's hills of wind. 

'Twas Moy; whom in Columba's isle 

The Seer's prophetic spirit found, 
As, with a minstrel's fire the while, 

He waked his harp's harmonious sound. 

Full many a spell to him was known, 
Which wandering spirits shrink to hear; 

And many a lay of potent tone, 
Was never meant for mortal ear. 

For there, 'tis said, in mystic mood 

High converse with the dead they hold, 
And oft espy the fated shroud 

That shall the future corpse enfold. 

O so it fell, that on a day, 

To rouse the red deer from their den, 
The chiefs have ta'en their distant way, 

And scourd the deep Glenfinlas glen. 

No vassals wait their sports to aid, 

To watch their safety, deck their board; 

Their simple dress, the Highland plaid; 
Their trusty guard, the Highland sword. 

2 a 626 


Three summer days, through brake and dell, 
Their whistling shafts successful flew; 

And still, when dewy evening fell, 
The quarry to their hut they drew. 

In grey Glenfinlas' deepest nook 

The solitary cabin stood, 
Fast by Moneira's sullen brook, 

Which murmurs through that lonely wood. 

Soft fell the night, the sky was calm, 
When three successive days had flown; 

And summer mist in dewy balm 

Steept heathy bank and mossy stone. 

The moon, half hid in silvery flakes, 
Afar her dubious radiance shed, 

Quivering on Katrine's distant lakes, 
And resting on Benledi's head. 

Now in their hut, in social guise, 
Their sylvan fare the chiefs enjoy, 

And pleasure laughs in Ronald's eyes, 
As many a pledge he quaffs to Moy. 

What lack we here to crown our bliss, 
While thus the pulse of joy beats high? 

What but fair woman's yielding kiss, 
Her panting breath, and melting eye? 

' To chase the deer of yonder shades, 
This morning left their father's pile 

The fairest of our mountain maids, 
The daughters of the proud Glengyle. 

' Long have I sought sweet Mary's heart, 
And dropt the tear, and heaved the sigh; 

But vain the lover's wily art, 
Beneath a sister's watchful eye. 

' But thou mayst teach that guardian fair, 
While far with Mary I am flown, 

Of other hearts to cease her care, 
And find it hard to guard her own. 

' Touch but thy harp, thou soon shalt see 

The lovely Flora of Glengyle, 
Unmindful of her charge and me, 

Hang on thy notes 'twixt tear and smile. 


' Or if she choose a melting tale, 

All underneath the greenwood bough, 

Will good St. Oran's rule prevail, 

Stern huntsman of the rigid brow?' 

* Since Enrick's fight, since Morna's death, 

No more on me shall rapture rise, 
Responsive to the panting breath, 
Or yielding kiss, or melting eyes. 

* E'en then, when o'er the heath of woe, 

Where sunk my hopes of love and fame, 
I bade my harp's wild wailings flow, 
On me the Seer's sad spirit came. 

' The last dread curse of angry Heaven, 
With ghastly sights, and sounds of woe, 

To dash each glimpse of joy, was given 
The gift, the future ill to know. 

' The bark thou sawst, yon summer morn, 

So gaily part from Oban's bay, 
My eye beheld her dasht and torn 

Far on the rocky Colonsay. 

The Fergus, too thy sister's son, 
Thou sawst with pride the gallant's power, 
As, marching 'gainst the Laird of Downe, 
He left the skirts of huge Benmore. 

* Thou only sawst their tartans wave, 

As down Benvoirlich's side they wound, 
Heardst but the pibroch, answering brave 
To many a target clanking round. 

I heard the groans, I markt the tears, 

I saw the wound his bosom bore, 
When on the serried Saxon spears 

He pourd his clan's resistless roar. 

' And thou who bidst me think of bliss, 

And bidst my heart awake to glee, 
And court, like thee, the wanton kiss, 

That heart, Ronald, bleeds for thee! 

* I see the death-damps chill thy brow, 

I hear thy warning spirit cry; 

The corpse-lights dance they're gone, and now . . . . ! 
No more is given to gifted eye !' 62 


4 Alone enjoy thy dreary dreams, 

Sad prophet of the evil hour ! 
Say, should we scorn joy's transient beams, 

Because to-morrow's storm may lour? 

* Or sooth or false thy words of woe, 

Clangillian's chieftain ne'er shall fear; 
His blood shall bound at rapture's glow, 
Though doomd to stain the Saxon spear, 

* E'en now, to meet me in yon dell, 

My Mary's buskins brush the dew.' 
He spoke, nor bade the chief farewell, 
But calld his dogs, and gay withdrew. 

Within an hour returnd each hound, 
In rusht the rousers of the deer; 

They howld in melancholy sound, 
Then closely coucht beside the Seer. 

No Eonald yet though midnight came, 
And sad were Moy's prophetic dreams, 

As, bending o'er the dying flame, 

He fed the watch-fire's quivering gleams, 

Sudden the hounds erect their ears, 
And sudden cease their moaning howl; 

Close prest to Moy, they mark their fears 
By shivering limbs, and stifled growl. 

Untoucht the harp began to ring, 
As softly, slowly, oped the door; 

And shook responsive every string, 
As light a footstep prest the floor. 

And by the watch-fire's glimmering light, 
Close by the Minstrel's side was seen 

An huntress maid, in beauty bright, 
All dropping wet her robes of green. 

All dropping wet her garments seem, 
Chilld was her cheek, her bosom bare, 

As, bending o'er the dying gleam, 

She wrung the moisture from her hair. 

With maiden blush she softly said, 
' O gentle huntsman, hast thou seen, 

In deep Glenfinlas' moon-light glade, 
A lovely maid in vest of green: 



' With her a chief in Highland pride; 

His shoulders bear the hunter's bow; 
The mountain dirk adorns his side, 

Far on the wind his tartans flow?' 

' And who art thou; and who are they?' 
All ghastly gazing, Hoy replied; 

* And why, beneath the moon's pale ray, 

Dare ye thus roam Glenfinlas' side?' 

* Where wild Loch Katrine pours her tide, 

Blue, dark, and deep, round many an isle, 
Our father's towers o'erhang her side, 
The castle of the bold Glengyle. 

' To chase the dun Glenfinlas deer, 

Our woodland course this morn we bore, 

And haply met, while wandering here, 
The son of great Macgillianore. 

' O aid me, then, to seek the pair, 

Whom, loitering in the woods, I lost; 
Alone I dare not venture there, 

Where walks, they say, the shrieking ghost.' 

' Yes, many a shrieking ghost walks there; 

Then, first, my own sad vow to keep, 
Here will I pour my midnight prayer, 

Which still must rise when mortals sleep.' 

* O first, for pity's gentle sake, 

Guide a lone wanderer on her way! 
For I must cross the haunted brake, 
And reach my father's towers ere day.' 

* First, three times tell each Ave-bead, 

And thrice a Pater-noster say, 
Then kiss with me the holy reed, 
So shall we safely wind our way.' 

* O shame to knighthood, strange and foul! 

Go, doff the bonnet from thy brow, 
And shroud thee in the monkish cowl, 
Which best befits thy sullen vow. 

* Not so, by high Dunlathmon's fire, 

Thy heart was froze to love and joy, 
When gaily rung thy raptured lyre, 

To wanton Morna's melting eye.' 629 


Wild stared the Minstrel's eyes of flame, 
And high his sable locks arose, 

And quick his colour went and came, 
As fear and rage alternate rose. 

' And thou ! when by the blazing oak 

I lay, to her and love resignd, 
Say, rode ye on the eddying smoke, 

Or saild ye on the midnight wind? 

' Not thine a race of mortal blood, 
Nor old Glengyle's pretended line; 

Thy dame, the Lady of the Flood, 
Thy sire, the Monarch of the Mine.' 

He mutterd thrice St. Oran's rhyme, 
And thrice St. Fillan's powerful prayer; 

Then turnd him to the eastern clime, 
And sternly shook his coal-black hair: 

And, bending o'er his harp, he flung 
His wildest witch-notes on the wind, 

And loud, and high, and strange, they rung, 
As many a magic change they find. 

Tall waxt the Spirit's altering form, 
Till to the roof her stature grew ; 

Then, mingling with the rising storm, 
With one wild yell away she flew. 

Rain beats, hail rattles, whirlwinds tear, 
The slender hut in fragments flew, 

But not a lock of Moy's loose hair 
Was waved by wind, or wet by dew. 

Wild mingling with the howling gale, 
Loud bursts of ghastly laughter rise, 

High o'er the Minstrel's head they sail, 
And die amid the northern skies. 

The voice of thunder shook the wood, 
As ceased the more than mortal yell, 

And, spattering foul, a shower of blood 
Upon the hissing firebrands fell. 

Next dropt from high a mangled arm, 
The fingers straind an half-drawn blade: 

And last, the life-blood streaming warm, 
Torn from the trunk, a gasping head. 


Oft o'er that head, in battling field, 

Streamd the proud crest of high Benmore; 

That arm the broad claymore could wield, 
Which dyed the Teith with Saxon gore. 

Woe to Moneira's sullen rills! 

Woe to Glenfinlas' dreary glen ! 
There never son of Albin's hills 

Shall draw the hunter's shaft agen! 

E'en the tired pilgrim's burning feet 
At noon shall shun that sheltering den, 

Lest, journeying in their rage, he meet 
The wayward Ladies of the Glen. 

And we behind the chieftain's shield 

No more shall we in safety dwell; 
None leads the people to the field 

And we the loud lament must swell. 

O hone a rie! O hone a rie! 

The pride of Albin's line is o'er; 
And fallen Glenartney's stateliest tree; 

We ne'er shall see Lord Ronald more! 

[Stanza 1. hone a rie. signifies ' Alas for the prince, or chief.' 

Stanza 4. The fires lighted by the Highlanders on the first of May, in compliance 
with a custom derived from the Pagan times, are so called. It is a festival celebrated, 
with various superstitious rites, both in the north of Scotland and in Wales. 

Stanza 22. St. Oran was a friend and follower of St. Columba, and was buried in 
Icolmkill. In memory of his rigid celibacy, no female was permitted to pay her de 
votions, or be buried, in the chapel, or the cemetery, called, after him, Rtilig Ouran. 
This is the ' rule' alluded to in the poem. 

Stanza 55. St. Fillan has given his name to many chapels, holy fountains, &c., in 
Scotland Scott.] 



[This ballad, like the preceding, was written by Dr. 
Leyden, and first published in ' Minstrelsy of the Scottish 
Border." The hero, according to Sir Walter Scott, was 
William, Lord Soulis, a powerful baron, descended from 
Alexander II. Local tradition represents him 'as a cruel 
tyrant and sorcerer ; constantly employed in oppressing 
his vassals, harassing his neighbours, and fortifying his 
castle of Hermitage against the King of Scotland, for which 
purpose he employed all means, human and infernal ; 
invoking the fiends, by his incantations, and forcing his 
vassals to drag materials, like beasts of burden. Tradition 
proceeds to relate, that the Scottish king, irritated by 
reiterated complaints, peevishly exclaimed to the peti 
tioners, ' Boil him, if you please, but let me hear no more 
of him.' Satisfied with this answer, they proceeded with 
the utmost haste to execute the commission ; which they 
accomplished, by boiling him alive on the Nine-stane Rig, 
in a cauldron, said to have- been long preserved at Skelf- 
hill, a hamlet betwixt Hawick and the Hermitage. 
Messengers, it is said, were immediately despatched by the 
king, to prevent the effects of such a hasty declaration, 
but they only arrived in time to witness the conclusion of 
the ceremony. The Nine-stane Rig is a declivity about 
one mile in breadth, and four in length, descending upon 
the Water of Hermitage from the range of hills which 
separate Liddesdale and Teviotdale. It derives its name 
from one of those circles of large stones, which are termed 
Druidical, nine of which remained till a late period. Five 
of these stones are still visible, and two are particularly 
pointed out, as those which supported the iron bar, upon 
which the fatal cauldron was suspended. Redcap is a 
popular appellation of that class of spirits which haunt old 
castles. Every ruined tower in the south of Scotland is 
supposed to have an inhabitant of this species.'] 

ORD SO U LIS he sat in Hermitage castle, 
And beside him Old Redcap sly; 

' Now, tell me, thou sprite who art meikle 

of might, 
The death that I must die?' 


' While thou shalt bear a charmed life, 

And hold that life of me, 
'Gainst lance and arrow, sword and knife, 

I shall thy warrant be. 

Nor forged steel, nor hempen band, 

Shall e'er thy limbs confine, 
Till threefold ropes of sifted sand 

Around thy body twine. 

If danger press fast, knock thrice on the chest, 

With rusty padlocks bound; 
Turn away your eyes, when the lid shall rise, 

And listen to the sound.' 

Lord Soulis he sat in Hermitage castle, 

And Redcap was not by; 
And he called in a page, who was witty and sage, 

To go to the barmkin high. 

* And look thou east, and look thou west, 

And quickly come tell to me, 
What troopers haste along the waste, 

And what may their livery be.' 

He looked o'er fell, and he looked o'er flat, 

But nothing, I wist, he saw, 
Save a pyot on a turret that sat 

Beside a corby craw. 

The page he lookt at the skrieh of day, 

But nothing, I wist, he saw, 
Till a horseman gay, in the royal array, 

Rode down the Hazel-shaw. 

' Say, why do you cross o'er muir and moss?* 

So loudly cried the page: 
' I tidings bring, from Scotland's king, 

To Soulis of Hermitage. 

He bids me tell that bloody warden, 

Oppressor of low and high, 
If ever again his lieges complain, 

The cruel Soulis shall die.' 

By traitorous sleight they seized the knight, 

Before he rode or ran, 
And through the key-stone of the vault 

They plunged him, horse and man. 633 


O May she came, and May she gaed, 

By Goran berry green; 
And May she was the fairest maid 

That ever yet was seen. 

O May she came, and May she gaed, 

By Goranberry tower; 
And who was it but cruel Lord Soulis, 

That carried her from her bower. 

He brought her to his castle gray, 

By Hermitage's side; 
Says, ' Be content, my lovely May, 

For thou shalt be my bride.' 

With her yellow hair, that glittered fair, 

She dried the trickling tear; 
She sighed the name of Branxholme's heir, 

The youth that loved her dear. 

'Now, be content, my bonnie May, 

And take it for your hame; 
Or ever and aye shall ye rue the day, 

You heard young Branxholme's name. 

O'er Branxholme tower, ere the morring hour, 
When the lift is like lead so blue, 

The smoke shall roll white on the weary night, 
And the flame shine dimly through.' 

Syne he's ca'd on him Ringan Red, 

A sturdy kemp was he; 
From friend or foe, in border feid. 

Who never a foot would flee. 

Red Ringan sped, and the spearmen led, 

Up Goranberry Slack; 
Aye, many a wight, unmatcht in fight, 

Who never more came back. 

And bloody set the westering sun, 

And bloody rose he up; 
But little thought young Branxholme's nou 

Where he that night should sup. 

He shot the roe-buck on the lee, 

The dun deer on the law; 
The glamour sure was in his ee, 
534 When Ringan nigh did draw. 


O'er heathy edge, through rustling sedge, 

He sped till day was set; 
And he thought it was his merry men true, 

When he the spearmen met. 

Far from relief, they seized the chief; 

His men were far away; 
Through Hermitage Slack they sent him back 

To Soulis' castle gray; 
Syne onward fine for Branxholme tower, 

Where all his merry men lay. 

' Now, welcome, noble Branxholme's heir! 

Thrice welcome,' quoth Soulis, ' to me! 
Say, dost thou repair to my castle fair, 

My wedding guest to be? 
And lovely May deserves, per fay, 

A brideman such as thee!' 

And broad and bloody rose the sun, 

And on the barmkin shone; 
When the page was aware of Red Ringan there, 

Who came riding all alone. 

To the gate of the tower Lord Soulis he speeds, 

As he lighted at the wall, 
Says, ' Where did ye stable my stalwart steeds, 

And where do they tarry all?' 

' We stabled them sure on the Tarras Muir; 

We stabled them sure,' quoth he: 
' Before we could cross that quaking moss, 

They all were lost but me.' 

He clencht his fist, and he knockt on the chest, 

And he heard a stifled groan; 
And, at the third knock, each rusty lock 

Did open one by one. 

He turnd away his eyes, as the lid did rise, 

And he listend silentlie; 
And he heard, breathed slow, in murmurs low, 

' Beware of a coming tree!' 

In muttering sound the rest was drownd; 

No other word heard he; 
But slow as it rose, the lid did close, 

With the rusty padlocks three. 635 


Now rose with Branxholtne's ae brother, 

The Teviot, high and low: 
Bauld Walter by name, of meikle fame, 

For none could bend his bow. 

O'er glen and glade, to Soulis there sped 

The fame of his array, 
And that Teviotdale would soon assail 

His towers and castle gray. 

With clenched fist he knockt on the chest 

And again he heard a groan; 
And he raised his eyes as the lid did rise, 

But answer heard he none. 

The charm was broke, when the spirit spoke. 

And it murmurd sullenlie; 
* Shut fast the door, and for evermore, 

Commit to me the key. 

Alas! that ever thou raisedst thine eyes, 

Thine eyes to look on me ! 
Till seven years are o'er, return no more, 

For here thou must not be.' 

Think not but Soulis was wae to yield 

His warlock chamber o'er; 
He took the keys from the rusty lock, 

That never was ta'en before. 

He threw them over his left shoulder, 

With meikle care and pain; 
And he bade it keep them fathoms deep. 

Till he returnd again. 

And still when seven years are o'er, 

Is heard the jarring sound; 
When slowly opes the charmed dooi 

Of the chamber underground. 

And some within the chamber door 

Have cast a curious eye; 
But none dare tell, for the spirits in hell, 

The fearful sights they spy. 

When Soulis thought on his merry men now, 

A woeful wight was he; 

Says, ' Vengeance is mine, and I will not repinel 
636 But Branxholme's heir shall die.' 


Says ' What would you do, young Branxholme, 

Gin ye had me, as I have thee?' 
' I would take you to the good greenwood, 

And gar your ain hand wale the tree.' 

' Now shall thine ain hand wale the tree, 
For all thy mirth and meikle pride; 

And May shall chuse, if my love she refuse, 
A scrog bush thee beside.' 

They carried him to the good greenwood, 
Where the green pines grew in a row; 

And they heard the cry, from the branches high, 
Of the hungry carrion crow. 

They carried him on from tree to tree, 
The spiry boughs below; 

* Say, shall it be thine, on the tapering pine, 

To feed the hooded crow?' 

' The fir-tops fall by Branxholme wall, 
When the night blast stirs the tree, 

And it shall not be mine to die on the pine 
I loved in infancie.' 

Young Branxholme turnd him, and oft lookt back, 

And aye he past from tree to tree; 
Young Branxholme peept, and puirly spake, 

' O sic a death is no for me!' 

And next they past the aspen gray, 
Its leaves were rustling mournfullie; 

1 Now, chuse thee, chuse thee, Branxholme gay, 
Say, wilt thou never chuse the tree?' 

' More dear to me is the aspen gray, 

More dear than any other tree; 
For beneath the shade that its branches made, 

Have past the vows of my love and me.' 

Young Branxholme peept, and puirly spake, 

Until he did his ain men see, 
With witches hazel in each steel cap, 

In scorn of Soulis' grammarye; 
Then shoulder height for glee he lap, 

' Methinks I spy a coming tree!' 

Aye, many, many come, but few return,* 

Quo' Soulis, the lord of grammarye; 



* No warrior's hand in fair Scotland 
Shall ever dint a wound on me.' 

' Now, by my sooth,' quo' bauld Walter, 
' If that be true we soon shall see.' 

His bent bow he drew, and the arrow was true, 
But never a wound or scar had he. 

Then up bespake him true Thomas, 

He was the lord of Ersyltoun: 
' The wizard's spell no steel can quell, 

Till once your lances bear him down.' 

They bore him down with lances bright, 
But never a wound or scar had he; 

With hempen bands they bound him tight, 
Both hands and feet on the Nine-stane lee. 

That wizard accurst, the bands he burst; 

They moulderd at his magic spell; 
And neck and heel, in the forged steel, 

They bound him against the charms of hell. 

That wizard accurst, the bands he burst, 
No forged steel his charms could bide; 

Then up bespake him true Thomas, 
' We'll bind him yet, whatever betide.' 

The black spae-book from his breast he took, 
Impresst with many a warlock spell; 

And the book it was wrote by Michael Scott, 
Who held in awe the fiends of hell. 

They buried it deep, where his bones they sleep, 
That mortal man might never it see; 

But Thomas did save it from the grave, 
When he returned from Faerie. 

The black spae-book from his breast he took, 
And turnd the leaves with curious hand; 

No ropes, did he find, the wizard could bind, 
But threefold ropes of sifted sand. 

They sifted the sand from the Nine-stane burn, 
And shaped the ropes so curiouslie; 

But the ropes would neither twist nor twine, 
For Thomas true and his gramarye.- 

The black spae-book from his breast he took, 
638 And again he turned it with his hand; 


And he bade each lad of Teviot add 
The barley chaff to the sifted sand. 

The barley chaff to the sifted sand 

They added still by handfulls nine; 
But Redcap sly unseen was by, 

And the ropes would neither twist nor twine. 

And still beside the Nine-stane burn, 
Ribbed like the sand at mark of sea, 

The ropes, that would not twist nor turn, 
Shaped of the sifted sand you see. 

The black spae-book true Thomas he took; 

Again its magic leaves he spread; 
And he found that to quell the powerful spell, 

The wizard must be boiled in lead. 

On a circle of stones they placed the pot, 
On a circle of stones but barely nine; 

They heated it red and fiery hot, 

Till the burnisht brass did glimmer and shine. 

They rolld him up in a sheet of lead, 

A sheet of lead for a funeral pall ; 
They plunged him in the cauldron red, 

And melted him, lead, and bones and all. 

At the Skelf-hill, the cauldron still, 

The men of Liddesdale can show; 
And on the spot, where they boild the pot, 

The spreat and the deer-hair ne'er shall grow. 

[' The tradition,' says Sir Walter Scott, ' regarding the death of Lord Soulie, however 
singular, is not without a parallel in the real history of Scotland. The same extraordi 
nary mode of cookery was actually practised (horresco referens) upon the body of a sheriff 
of the Mearns. This person, whose name was Melville of Glenbervie, bore his faculties 
so harshly, that he became detested by the barons of the country. Reiterated complaints 
of his conduct having been made to James I. (or, as others say, to the Duke of Albany,) 
the monarch answered, in a moment of unguarded impatience, ' Sorrow gin the sheriff 
were sodden, and supped in broo !' The complainers retired, perfectly satisfied. Shortly 
after, the lairds of Arbuthnot, Mather, Laureston, and Pittaraw decoyed Melville to the 
top of the hill of Garvock, above Laurencekirk, under pretence of a grand hunting party. 
Upon this place, still called the Sheriffs Pot, the barons had prepared a fire and a boiling 
cauldron, into which they plunged the unlucky sheriff. After he was sodden (as the king 
termed it) for a sufficient time, the savages, that they might literally observe the royal 
mandate, concluded the scene of abomination by actually partaking of the hell-broth.'] 



[This ballad was written by Dr. Leyden, and first pub 
lished in ' Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.' ' The 
tradition,' says Sir Walter Scott, 'on which it is founded, 
derives considerable illustration from the argument of 
' Lord Soulis' (see next ballad.) ' It is necessary to add, 
that the most redoubted adversary of Lord Soulis was the 
chief of Keeldar, a Northumbrian district, adjacent to 
Cumberland, who perished in a sudden encounter on the 
banks of the Hermitage. Being arrayed in armour of 
proof, he sustained no hurt in the combat; but, stum 
bling in retreating across the river, the hostile party held 
him down below water with their lances till he died ; 
and the eddy, in which he perished, is still called the 
Cput of Keeldar's Pool. His grave, of gigantic size, is 
still pointed out on the banks of the Hermitage, at the 
western corner of a wall, surrounding the burial-ground 
of a ruined chapel. As an enemy of Lord Soulis, his 
memory is revered ; and the popular epithet of Gout, i. e. 
Colt, is expressive of his strength, stature, and activity. 
The Keeldar Stone, by which the Northumbrian chief 
passed in his incursion, is still pointed out, as a boundary 
mark, on the confines of Jed forest and Northumberland. 
It is a rough insulated mass, of considerable dimensions, 
and it is held unlucky to ride thrice withers/tins in a 
direction, that is, contrary to the course of the sun 
around it. The Brown Man of the Muirs is a Fairy of 
the most malignant order.'] 

HE eiry blood-hound howled by night, 
The streamers flaunted red, 

Till broken streaks of flaky light 
O'er Keeldar's mountains spread. 


The lady sighed as Keeldar rose: 

' Come tell me, dear love mine, 
Go you to hunt where Keeldar flows, 

Or on the banks of Tyne?' 

' The heath-bell blows where Keeldar flows, 

By Tyne the primrose pale; 
But now we ride on the Scottish side, 

To hunt in Liddesdale.' 

' Gin you will ride on the Scottish side, 

Sore must thy Margaret mourn; 
For Soulis abhorred is Lyddall's Lord, 

And I fear you'll ne'er return. 

The axe he bears, it hacks and tears; 

'Tis formed of an earth-fast flint; 
No armour of knight, though ever so wight, 

Can bear its deadly dint. 

No danger he fears, for a charmed sword he wears, 

Of adderstone the hilt; 
No Tynedale knight had ever such might 

But his heart-blood was spilt.' 

' In my plume is seen the holly green, 

With the leaves of the rowan tree; 
And my casque of sand, by a mermaid's hand, 

"Was formed beneath the sea. 

Then Margaret, dear, have thou no fear; 

That bodes no ill to me, 
Though never a knight, by mortal might, 

Could match his gramarye.' 

Then forward bound both horse and hound, 

And rattle o'er the vale; 
As the wintry breeze, through leafless trees, 

Drives on the pattering hail. 

Behind their course the English fells 

In deepening blue retire; 
Till soon before them boldly swells 

The muir of dun Redswire. 

And when they reacht the Redswire high, 

Soft beamed the rising sun; 
But formless shadows seemed to fly 

Along the muirland dun. 

2 ' i 



And when he reacht the Redswire high, 

His bugle Keeldar blew; 
And round did float, with clamorous note, 

And scream, the hoarse curlew. 

The next blast that young Keeldar blew, 

The wind grew deadly still; 
But the sleek fern with fingery leaves, 

Waved wildly o'er the hill. 

The third blast that young Keeldar blew, 

Still stood the limber fern; 
And a wee man, of swarthy hue, 

Up started by a cairn. 

His russet weeds were brown as heath 

That clothes the upland fell ; 
And the hair of his head was frizzly red, 

As the purple heather bell. 

An urchin, clad in prickles red, 

Clung cowering to his arm; 
The hounds they howld, and backward fled, 

As struck by Fairy charm. 

* Why rises high the stag-hounds' cry, 
Where stag-hound ne'er should be? 

Why wakes that horn the silent morn, 
Without the leave of me?' 

' Brown dwarf, that o'er the muirland strays, 
Thy name to Keeldar tell!' 

' The Brown Man of the Muirs, who stays 
Beneath the heather-bell. 

'Tis sweet, beneath the heather-bell, 

To live in autumn brown; 
And sweet to hear the laverocks swell 

Far, far from tower and town. 

But woe betide the shrilling horn, 

The chase's surly cheer! 
And ever that hunter is forlorn, 

Whom first at morn I hear.' 

Says, ' Weal nor woe, nor friend nor foe, 

In thee we hope nor dread.' 
But, ere the bugles green could blow, 
642 The wee Brown Man had fled. 


And onward, onward, hound and horse, 
Young Keeldar's band have gone; 

And soon they wheel, in rapid course, 
Around the Keeldar Stone. 

Green vervain round its base did creep, 

A powerful seed that bore; 
And oft, of yore, its channels deep, 

Were stained with human gore. 

And still, when blood drops, clotted thin, 

Hung the grey moss upon, 
The spirit murmurs from within, 

And shakes the rocking stone. 

Around, around young Keeldar wound, 
And called, in scornful tone, 

With him to pass the barrier ground, 
The spirit of the Stone. 

The rude crag rockt; ' I come for death, 

I come to work thy woe!' 
And 'twas the Brown Man of the Heath, 

That murmured from below. 

But onward, onward Keeldar past, 

Swift as the winter wind, 
When, hovering on the driving blast, 

The snow-flakes fall behind. 

They past the muir of berries blae, 

The stone cross on the lee; 
They reacht the green, the bonnie brae, 

Beneath the birchen tree. 

This is the bonnie brae, the green, 

Yet sacred to the brave, 
Where, still, of ancient size, is seen 

Gigantic Keeldar's grave. 

The lonely shepherd loves to mark 

The daisy springing fair, 
Where weeps the birch of silver bark, 

With long dishevelled hair. 

The grave is green, and round is spread 

The curling lady-fern; 
That fatal day the mould was red, 

No moss was on the cairn. 

64 .1 


And next they past the chapel there; 

The holy ground was by, 
Where many a stone is sculptured fair, 

To mark where warriors lie. 

And here, beside the mountain flood, 

A massy castle frownd, 
Since first the Pictish race, in blood, 

The haunted pile did found. 

The restless stream its rocky base 
Assails with ceaseless din; 

And many a troubled spirit strays 
The dungeons dark within. 

Soon from the lofty tower there hied 
A knight across the vale; 

' I greet your master well,' he cried, 
* From Soulis of Liddesdale. 

He heard your bugle's echoing call, 

" In his green garden bower; 

And bids you to his festive hall 

Within his ancient tower.' 

Young Keeldar called his hunter train: 

' For doubtful cheer prepare; 
, And, as you open force disdain, 
Of secret guile beware. 

'Twas here, for Mangerton's brave lord 

A bloody feast was set, 
Who, weetless, at the festal board 

The bull's broad frontlet met. 

Then ever, at uncourteous feast, 
Keep every man his brand; 

And, as you mid his friends are placed, 
Range on the better hand. 

And, if the bull's ill-omened head 
Appear to grace the feast, 

Your whingers, with unerring speed, 
Plunge in each neighbour's breast.' 

In Hermitage they sat at dine, 

In pomp and proud array; 
And oft they filled the blood-red wine, 
644 While merry minstrels play. 


And many a hunting song they sung, 

And song of game and glee; 
Then tuned to plaintive strains their tongue, 

* Of Scotland's luve and lee.' 

To wilder measures next they turn; 

< The Black, Black Bull of Noroway! ; 
Sudden the tapers cease to burn, 

The minstrels cease to play. 

Each hunter bold, of Keeldar's train, 

Sat an enchanted man; 
For, cold as ice, through every vein 

The freezing life-blood ran. 

Each rigid hand the whinger wrung, 

Each gazed with glaring eye; 
But Keeldar from the table sprung, 

Unharmed by Gramarye. 

He burst the doors; the roofs resound; 

With yells the castle rung; 
Before him, with a sudden bound, 

His favourite blood-hound sprung. 

Ere he could pass, the door was barred; 

And, grating harsh from under, 
With creaking, jarring noise, was heard 

A sound like distant thunder. 

The iron clash, the grinding sound, 

Announce the dire sword-mill; 
The piteous bowlings of the hound 

The dreadful dungeon fill. 

With breath drawn in, the murderous crew 

Stood listening to the yell; 
And greater still their wonder grew, 

As on their ear it fell. 

They listened for a human shriek 

Amidst the jarring sound; 
They only heard in echoes weak 

The murmurs of the hound. 

The death-bell rung, and wide were flung 

The castle gates amain; 
While hurry out the armed rout, 

And marshal on the plain. 



Ah! ne'er before in Border feud 

Was seen so dire a fray ! 
Through glittering lances Keeldar hewed 

A red corse-paven way. 

His helmet, formed of mermaid sand, 

No lethal brand could dint; 
No other arms could e'er withstand 

The axe of earth-fast flint. 

In Keeldar's plume the holly green 

And rowan leaves nod on, 
And vain Lord Soulis' sword was seen, 

Though the hilt was adderstone. 

Then up the Wee Brown Man he rose, 

By Soulis of Liddesdale; 
' In vain,' he said, * a thousand blows 

Assail the charmed mail; 

In vain by land your arrows glide, 
In vain your falchions gleam 

No spell can stay the living tide, 
Or charm the rushing stream.' 

And now young Keeldar reacht the stream, 

Above the foamy lin; 
The Border lances round him gleam, 

And force the warrior in. 

The holly floated to the side, 
And the leaf of the rowan pale. 

Alas! no spell could charm the tide, 
Nor the lance of Liddesdale. 

Swift was the Gout o' Keeldar's course 

Along the lily lee; 
But home came never hound nor horse, 

And never home -came he. 

Where weeps the birch with branches green, 

Without the holy ground, 
Between two old gray stones is seen 

The warrior's ridgy mound. 

And the hunters bold, of Keeldar's train, 

Within yon castle's wall, 
In deadly sleep must aye remain, 

Till the ruined towers down fall. 


Each in his hunter's garb arrayed, 

Each holds his bugle horn; 
Their keen hounds at their feet are laid, 

That ne'er shall wake the morn. 

[Stanza 1 . ' Streamers* northern lights. 

St. 5. ' Earth-fast flint' an insulated stone inclosed in a bed of earth. Its blow Is 
reckoned uncommonly severe. 

St. 6. ' Adderstone' a name applied to celts and other round perforated stones. The 
vulgar suppose them to be perforated by the stings of adders. Among the Scottish pea 
santry it is held in high veneration. 

St. 7. The ' Rowan tree,' or mountain ash, is still used by the peasantry, to avert the 
effects of charms and witchcraft. 

St. 16. ' Urchin' hedge-hog. 

St. 24. The ' rocking stone,' commonly held a Druidical monument, has always been 
held in superstitious veneration by the people, who suppose it to be inhabited by spirits. 

St. 33. Castles remarkable for size, strength, and antiquity, are by the common people 
commonly attributed to the Picts, or Pechs, who are not supposed to have trusted solely 
to their skill in masonry in constructing these edifices, but are believed to have bathed 
the foundation-stone with human blood, in order to propitiate the spirit of the soil. 

St. 40. To present a bull's head before a person at a feast, was, in the ancient turbulent 
times of Scotland, a common signal for his assassination. Thus, Lindsay of Pitscottie 
relates in his History, p. 17, that ' efter the dinner was endit, once alle the delicate 
courses taken away, the chancellor (Sir William Crichton) presentit the bullis head 
befoir the Earle of Douglas, in signe and toaken of condemnation to the death.' 

St. 42. The most ancient Scottish song known is here alluded to, and is given by Win- 
toun, in his ' Chronykil,' vol. i. p. 401 : that alluded to in the following verse is a wild 
fanciful popular tale of enchantment, termed, ' The Black Bull of Noroway.' It is pro 
bably the same with the romance of the ' Three Futtit Dog of Noroway,' mentioned in the 
' Complaynt of Scotland.' 

St. 56. That no species of magic had any effect over a running stream was a common 
opinion among the vulgar, and is alluded to in Burns' admirable tale of ' Tarn o' Sham LT." 


[Tins ballad, written by Dr. Leyden, was first pub 
lished in the ' Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.' 
' It is founded,' says Sir Walter Scott, ' upon a 
Gaelic traditional ballad called ' Macphail of Colon- 
say and the Mermaid of Corrivrekin,' a dangerous 
gulf, lying between the islands of Jura and Scarba. 
' The Gaelic story bears, that Macphail of Colonsay 
was carried off by a mermaid while passing the 
gulf above-mentioned ; that they resided together, 
in a grotto beneath the sea, for several years, 
during which time she bore him five children ; but 
finally, he tired of her society, and having prevailed 
upon her to carry him near the shore of Colonsay, 
he escaped to land.' The reader may find more 
about mermaids in the ' Telliamed' of M. Maillet ; 
in Pontoppidan's ' Natural History of Norway' ; 
and in an old work, the ' Kong's Shuggsio, or Royal 
Mirror,' written, it is believed, about 1170. Some 
very remarkable stories are also told of them in 
Waldron's ' History of the Isle of Man.'] 

Jura's heath how sweetly swell 
The murmurs of the mountain bee ! 
How softly mourns the writhed shell 
Of Jura's shore, its parent sea ! 


But softer floating o'er the deep, 

The Mermaid's sweet sea-soothing lay, 
That charmed the dancing waves to sleep, 

Before the bark of Colonsay. 

Aloft the purple pennons wave, 

As, parting gay from Crinan's shore, 
From Morven's wars the seamen brave 

Their gallant chieftain homeward bore. 

In youth's gay bloom, the brave Macphail 
Still blamed the lingering bark's delay ; 

For her he chid the flagging sail, 
The lovely maid of Colonsay. 

And ' raise,' he cried, ' the song of love, 

The maiden sung with tearful smile, 
When first, o'er Jura's hills to rove, 

We left afar the lonely isle ! 

" When on this ring of ruby red 

Shall die," she said, " the crimson hue, 
Know that thy favourite fair is dead, 

Or proves to thee and love untrue." ' 

Now, lightly poised, the rising oar 

Disperses wide the foamy spray, 
And, echoing far o'er Crinan's shore, 

Resounds the song of Colonsay. 

' Softly blow, thou western breeze, 

Softly rustle through the sail! 
Soothe to rest the furrowy seas, 

Before my love, sweet western gale! 

Where the wave is tinged with red, 

And the russet sea-leaves grow, 
Mariners, with prudent dread, 

Shun the shelving reefs below. 

As you pass through Jura's sound, 

Bend your course by Scarba's shore; 
Shun, shun, the gulf profound, 

Where Corrivrekin's surges roar! 

If from that unbottomed deep, 

With wrinkled form and wreathed train, 
O'er the verge of Scarba's steep, 

The sea-snake heave his snowy mane, 649 



Unwarp, unwind his oozy coils, 
Sea-green sisters of the main, 

And, in the gulf where ocean boils, 

The unwieldy wallowing monster chain. 

Softly blow, thou western breeze, 
Softly rustle through the sail! 

Soothe to rest the furrowed seas, 
Before my love, sweet western gale!' 

Thus, all to soothe the chieftain's woe, 
Far from the maid he loved so dear, 

The song arose, so soft and slow, 
He seemed her parting sigh to hear. 

The lonely deck he paces o'er, 

Impatient for the rising day, 
And still from Crinan's moonlight shore, 

He turns his eyes to Colonsay. 

The moonbeams crisp the curling surge. 

That streaks with foam the ocean green: 
While forward still the rowers urge 

Their course, a female form was seen. 

That sea-maid's form, of pearly light, 
Was whiter than the downy spray, 

,And round her bosom heaving bright 
Her glossy yellow ringlets play. 

Borne on a foamy crested wave, 

She reached amain the bounding prow, 

Then clasping fast the chieftain brave, 
She, plunging, sought the deep below. 

Ah ! long beside thy feigned bier, 

The monks the prayer of death shall say; 

And long for thee the fruitless tear 
Shall weep the maid of Colonsay! 

But downward, like a powerless corse, 
The eddying waves the chieftain bear; 

He only heard the moaning hoarse 
Of waters, murmuring in his ear. 

The murmurs sink by slow degrees; 

No more the waters round him rave; 
Lulled by the music of the seas, 

He lies within a coral cave. 


In dreamy mood reclines he long, 

Nor dares his tranced eyes unclose, 
'Till, warbling wild, the sea-maid's song 

Far in the crystal cavern rose; 

Soft as that harp's unseen controul, 
In morning dreams which lovers hear, 

Whose strains steal sweetly o'er the soul, 
But never reach the waking ear. 

As sunbeams through the tepid air, 
When clouds dissolve the dews unseen, 

Smile on the flowers that bloom more fair, 
And fields that glow with livelier green; 

So melting soft the music fell; 

It seemed to soothe the fluttering spray 
' Say, heardst thou not these wild notes swell ? 

Ah! 'tis the song of Colonsay.' 

Like one that from a fearful dream 

Awakes, the morning light to view, 
And joys to see the purple beam, 

Yet fears to find the vision true, 

He heard that strain, so wildly sweet, 

Which bade his torpid languor fly; 
He feared some spell had bound his feet, 

And hardly dared his limbs to try. 

* This yellow sand, this sparry cave, 

Shall bend thy soul to beauty's sway; 
Canst thou the maiden of the wave 

Compare to her of Colonsay ?' 

Roused by that voice of silver sound, 
From the paved floor he lightly sprung, 

And glancing wild his eyes around 

Where the fair nymph her tresses wrung; 

No form he saw of mortal mould; 

It shone like ocean's snowy foam; 
Her ringlets waved in living gold, 

Her mirror crystal, pearl the comb. 

Her pearly comb the siren took, 

And careless bound her tresses wild; 
Still o'er the mirror stole her look, 

As on the wondering youth she smiled. 6d' 


Like music from the greenwood tree, 
Again she raised the melting lay; 

* Fair warrior, wilt thou dwell with me, 
And leave the Maid of Colonsay? 

Fair is the crystal hall for me, 

With rubies and with emeralds set; 

And sweet the music of the sea 

Shall sing, when we for love are met. 

How sweet to dance with gliding feet 
Along the level tide so green; 

Responsive to the cadence sweet 

That breathes along the moonlight scene! 

And soft the music of the main 

Rings from the motley tortoise-shell ; 

While moonbeams o'er the watery plain 
Seem trembling in its fitful swell. 

How sweet, when billows heave their head, 
And shake their snowy crests on high, 

Serene in Ocean's sapphire bed 
Beneath the tumbling surge to lie; 

To trace, with tranquil step, the deep, 
Where pearly drops of frozen dew 

In concave shells unconscious sleep, 
Or shine with lustre, silvery blue! 

Then all the summer sun, from far, 
Pour through the wave a softer ray; 

While diamonds, in a bower of spar, 
At eve shall shed a brighter day. 

Nor stormy wind, nor wintry gale, 
That o'er the angry ocean sweep, 

Shall e'er our coral groves assail, 
Calm in the bosom of the deep. 

Through the green meads beneath the sea, 
Enamoured we shall fondly stray 

Then, gentle warrior, dwell with me, 
And leave the Maid of Colonsay!' 

* Though bright thy locks of glistering gold, 

Fair maiden of the foamy main ! 
Thy life-blood is the water cold, 
652 While mine beats high in every vein: 


If I. beneath thy sparry cave, 

Should in thy snowy arms recline, 

Inconstant as the restless wave, 

My heart would grow as cold as thine.' 

As cygnet down, proud swelled her breast, 
Her eye confessed the pearly tear: 

His hand she to her bosom presst, 
'. Is there no heart for rapture here? 

These limbs, sprung from the lucid sea, 
Does no warm blood their currents fill; 

No heart-pulse riot, wild and free, 
To joy, to love's delirious thrill?' 

' Though all the splendour of the sea 
Around thy faultless beauty shine, 

That heart, that riots wild and free, 
Can hold no sympathy with mine. 

These sparkling eyes, so wild and gay, 
They swim not in the light of love: 

The beauteous Maid of Colonsay, 
Her eyes are milder than the dovel 

Even now, within the lonely isle, 
Her eyes are dim with tears for me; 

And canst thou think that siren smile 
Can lure my soul to dwell with thee?* 

An oozy film her limbs o'erspread, 
Unfolds in length her scaly train; 

She tossed in proud disdain her head, 
And lashed with webbed fin the main. 

'Dwell here alone!' the Mermaid cried, 
* And view far off the sea-nymphs play; 

The prison-wall, the azure tide, 
Shall bar thy steps from Colonsay. 

Whene'er, like Ocean's scaly brood, 
I cleave with rapid fin the wave, 

Far from the daughter of the flood, 
Conceal thee in this coral cave. 

I feel my former soul return, 

It kindles at thy cold disdain: 
And has a mortal dared to spurn 

A daughter of the foamy main?' 



She fled; around the crystal cave 
The rolling waves resume their road; 

On the broad portal idly rave, 
But enter not the nymph's abode. 

And many a weary night went by, 
As in the lonely cave he lay; 

And many a sun rolled through the sky, 
And poured its beams on Colonsay. 

And oft beneath the silver moon, 
He heard afar the Mermaid sing; 

And oft to many a meting tune, 

The shell-formed lyres of ocean ring. 

And when the moon went down the sky, 
Still rose, in dreams, his native plain, 

And oft he thought his love was by, 

And charmed him with some tender strain: 

And heart-sick, oft he waked to weep, 
When ceased that voice of silver sound, 

And thought to plunge him in the deep 
That walled his crystal cavern round. 

But still the ring, of ruby red, 
Retained its vivid crimson hue; 

And each despairing accent fled, 
To find his gentle love so true. 

When seven long lonely months were gone, 
The Mermaid to his cavern came, 

No more mis-shapen from the zone; 
But like a maid of mortal frame. 

' O give to me that ruby ring, 
That on thy finger glances gay, 

And thou shalt hear the Mermaid sing 
The song thou lovest of Colonsay.' 

' This ruby ring, of crimson grain, 
Shall on thy finger glitter gay, 

If thou wilt bear me through the main, 
Again to visit Colonsay.' 

' Except thou quit thy former love, 

Content to dwell for aye with me, 
Thy scorn my finny frame might move 
654 To tear thy limbs amid the sea.' 


' Then bear me swift along the main, 

The lonely isle again to see; 
And when I here return again, 

I plight my faith to dwell with thee.' 

An oozy film her limbs o'erspread, 
While slow unfolds her scaly train; 

With gluey fangs her hands were clad; 
She lashed with webbed fin the main. 

He grasps the Mermaid's scaly sides, 
As with broad fin she oars her way; 

Beneath the silent moon she glides, 
That sweetly sleeps on Colonsay. 

Proud swells her heart! she deems at last 
To lure him with her silver tongue, 

And, as the shelving rocks she past, 
She raised her voice and sweetly sung. 

In softer, sweeter strains she sung, 
Slow gliding o'er the moonlight bay, 

When light to land the chieftain sprung, 
To hail the Maid of Colonsay. 

O sad the Mermaid's gay notes fell, 
And sadly sink remote at sea! 

So sadly mourns the writhed shell 
Of Jura's shore, its parent sea. 

And ever as the year returns, 

The charm-bound sailors know the day ; 
For sadly still the Mermaid mourns 

The lovely Chief of Colonsay. 



(This ballad is taken from ' The Mountain Bard,' 
by Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd ; a work which, in the 
words of Sir Walter Scott, ' contains many legendary 
stories and ballads of great merit.' Of the origin of 
the work the Shepherd, in his * Autobiography," gives 
the following account : ' On the appearance of the 
' Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border,' I was much dis 
satisfied with the imitations of the ancient ballads 
contained in it, and immediately set about imitating 
the ancient ballads myself, selecting a number of tra 
ditionary stories, and put them in metre, chanting 
them to certain old tunes. In these I was more suc 
cessful than in anything I had hitherto tried, although 
they were still but rude pieces of composition. On 
my return to Scotland, (in 1801,) having lost all the 
money that I had made by a regular and industrious 
life, and in ono week too, I again cheerfully hired 
myself as a shepherd with Mr. Harkness, of Mitchell- 
black in Nithsdale. It was while here that I pub 
lished ' The Mountain Bard,' consisting of the above- 
mentioned ballads.' Between these ballads and those 
to which, in his dissatisfaction therewith, they owe 
their existence, this is not the place for instituting a 
comparison. Whatever their respective merits, how 
ever, they one and all may fitly find a 'local habita 
tion' in the * Pictorial Balladist.'] 

WILL tell you of ane wondrous tale, 
As ever was told by man, 

Or ever was sung by minstrel meet 
Since this base world began : 


It is of ane May, and ane lovely May, 

That dwelt in the Moril Glen, 
The fairest flower of mortal frame, 

But a devil amongst the men ; 

For nine of them sticket themselves for love, 

And ten louped in the main, 
And seven -and-thretty brake their hearts, 

And never loved women again ; 

For ilk ane trowit she was in love, 

And ran wodde for a while 
There was siccan language in every look, 

And a speire in every smile. 

And she had seventy scores of ewes, 

That blett o'er dale and down, 
On the bonnie braid lands of the Moril Glen, 

And these were all her own ; 

And she had stotts, and strudy steers, 

And blithsome kids enew, 
That danced as light as gloaming flies 

Out through the falling dew. 

And this May she had a snow-white bull, 

The dread of the hail countrye, 
And three-and-thretty good milk kye, 

To bear him companye ; 

And she had geese and goslings too, 

And ganders of muckil din, 
And peacocks, with their gaudy trains, 

And hearts of pride within j 

And she had cocks with curled kaims, 

And hens, full crou'se and glad, 
That chanted in her own stack-yard, 

And cackillit and laid like mad ; 

But where her minnie gat all that gear 

And all that lordly trim, 
The Lord in Heaven he knew full well, 

But noboby knew but him ; 

For she never yielded to mortal man, 

To prince, nor yet to king 
She never was given in holy church, 

Nor wedded with ane ring. 
2 u 


So all men wist, and all men said ; 

But the tale was in sore mistime, 
For a maiden she could hardly be, 

With a daughter in beauty's prime. 

But this bonny May, she never knew 

A father's kindly claim; 
She never was bless'd in holy church, 

Nor christen'd in holy name. 

But there she lived an earthly flower 

Of beauty so supreme, 
Some fear'd she was of the mermaid's brood, 

Come out of the salt sea faeme. 

Some said she was found in a fairy ring, 

And born of the fairy queen ; 
For there was a rainbow behind the moon 

That night she first was seen. 

Some said her mother was a witch, 

Come frae ane far country ; 
Or a princess loved by a weird warlock 

In a land beyond the sea ! 

O, there are doings here below 

That mortal ne'er should ken ; 
For there are things in this fair world 

Beyond the reach of men. 

Ae thing most sure and certain was 

For the bedesmen told it me 
That the knight who coft the Moril Glen 

Ne'er spoke a word but three. 

And the masons who biggit that wild ha house 

Ne'er spoke word good nor ill ; 
They came like a dream, and pass'd away 

Like shadows o'er the hill. 

They came like a dream, and pass'd away 

Whither no man could tell ; 
But they ate their bread like Christian men, 

And drank of tb crystal well. 

And whenever man said word to them, 
They stay'd their speech full soon ; 
For they shook their heads, and raised their hands, 
658 And look'd to heaven aboon. 


And the lady came and there she 'bade 

For niony a lonely day ; 
But whether she bred her bairn to God 

To read but and to pray 

There was no man wist, though all men guess'd, 

And guess'd with fear and dread ; 
But o she grew ane virgin rose, 

To seemly womanheid ! 

And no man could look on her face, 

And eyne that beam'd so clear, 
But felt a stang gang through his heart, 

Far sharper than a spear. 

It was not like ane prodde or pang 

That strength could overwin, 
But like ane red hot gaud of iron 

Reeking his heart within. 

So that around the Moril Glen 

Our brave young men did lie, 
With limbs as lydder, and as lythe, 

As duddis hung out to dry. 

And aye the tears ran down in streams 

Ower cheeks right woe-begone ; 
And aye they gasped, and they gratte, 

And thus made piteous moan : 

" Alake that I had ever been born, 

Or dandelit on the knee ; 
Or rockit in ane cradle bed, 

Beneath a mother's e'a ! 

" O ! had I died before my cheek 

To woman's breast had lain, 
Then had I ne'er for woman's love 

Endured this burning pain! 

" For love is like the fiery flame 

That quivers through the rain, 
And love is like the pang of death 

That splits the heart in twain. 

" If I had loved earthly thing, 

Of earthly blithesomeness, 
I might have been beloved again, 

And bathed" in earthly bliss. 



" But I have loved ane freakish fay 

Of frowardness and sin, 
With heavenly beauty on the face, 

And heart of stone within. 

" O, for the gloaming calm of death 

To close my mortal day 
The last benighting heave of breath, 

That rends the soul away !" 

But word's gone east, and word's gone west, 

'Mong high and low degree, 
Quhile it went to the king upon the throne, 

And ane worthful man was he. 

" What !" said the king, " and shall we sit 

In sackcloth mourning sad, 
Quhille all mine lieges of the land 

For ane young quean run mad ? 

" Go saddle me my milk-white steed, 

Of true Megaira brode ; 
I will go and see this wondrous dame, 

And prove her by the rode. 

" And if I find her Elfin queen, 

Or thing of fairy kind, 
I will burn her into ashes small, 

And sift them on the wind !" 

The king had chosen fourscore knights 

All busked gallantlye, 
And he is away to the Moril Glen, 

As fast as he can dree. 

And when he came to the Moril Glen, 

Ae morning fair and clear, 
This lovely May on horseback rode 

To hunt the fallow deer. 

Her palfrey was of snowy hue, 

A pale unearthly thing, 
That revell'd over hill and dale 

Like bird upon the wing. 

Her screen was like a net of gold, 

That dazzled as it flew. 
Her mantle was of the rainbow's red, 

Her rail of its bonnie blue. 

660 ' 


A golden comb with diamonds bright, 

Her seemly virgin crown; 
Shone like the new moon's lady light 

O'er cloud of amber brown. 

The lightning that shot from her eyne, 

Flicker'd like elfin brand ; 
It was sharper nor the sharpest spear 

In all Northumberland. 

The hawk that on her bridle arm 

Outspread its pinions blue, 
To keep him steady on the perch 

As his loved mistress flew, 

Although his een shone like the gleam, 

Upon ane sable sea, 
Yet to the twain that o'er them beam'd, 

Compared they could not be. 

Like carry ower the morning sun 

That shimmers to the wind, 
So flew her locks upon the gale, 

And stream'd afar behind. 

The king he wheel'd him round about, 

And calleth to his men, 
" Yonder she comes, this wierdly witch, 

The spirit of the glen ! 

" Come rank your master up behind, 

This serpent to belay ; 
I'll let you hear me put her down 

In grand polemic way." 

Swift came the maid ower strath and stron 

Nae dantonit dame was she 
Until the king her path withstood, 

In might and majestye. 

The virgin cast on him a look, 

With gay and graceful air, 
As on some thing below her note, 

That ought not to have been there. 

The king, whose belt was like to burst, 

With speeches most divine, 
Now felt ane throbbing of the heart, 

And quaking of the spine. 


And aye he gasped for his breath, 

And gasped in dire dismay, 
And waved his arm, and smote his breast ; 

But word he could not say. 

The spankie grewis they scowr'd the dale, 

The dun deer to restrain ; 
The virgin gave her steed the rein, 

And follow'd, might and main. 

" Go bring her back," the king he cried ; 

" This reifery must not be, 
Though you should bind her hands and feet, 

Go bring her back to me." 

The deer she flew, the garf and grew 

They follow'd far behind ; 
The milk-white palfrey brush'd the dew 

Far fleeter nor the wind. 

But woe betide the lords and knights, 

That taiglit in the dell ! 
For though with whip and spur they plied., 

Full far behind they fell. 

They look'd outowre their left shoulders, 

To see what they might see, 
And there the king, in fit of love, 

Lay spurring on the lea. 

And aye he batter'd with his feet, 

And rowted with despair, 
And pull'd the grass up by the roots, 

And flang it on the air ! 

" What ails, what ails my royal liege ? 

Such grief I do deplore." 
" O I'm bewitched," the king replied, 

" And gone for evermore ! 

*' Go bring her back go bring her back- 
Go bring her back to me ; 

For I must either die of love, 
Or own that dear ladye ! 

" That god of love out through my soul 

Hath shot his arrows keen ; 
And I am enchanted through the heart, 

The liver, and the spleen. 


The deer was slain ; the royal train 

Then closed the virgin round, 
And then her fair and lily hands 

Behind her back were bound. 

But who should bind her winsome feet ? 

That bred such strife and pain, 
That sixteen brave and belted knights 

Lay gasping on the plain. 

And when she came before the king, 

Ane ireful carle was he ; 
Saith he, " Dame, you must be my love, 

Or burn beneath ane tree. 

" For I am so sore in love with thee, 

I cannot go nor stand ; 
And thinks thou nothing to put down 

The king of fair Scotland?" 

" No, I can ne'er be love to thee, 

Nor any lord thou hast ; 
For you are married men each one, 

And I a maiden chaste. 

"But here I promise, and I vow 

By Scotland's king and crown, 
Who first a widower shall prove, 

Shall claim me as his own." 

The king had mounted his milk-white steed, 

One word*he said not more, 
And he is away from the Moril Glen, 

As ne'er rode king before. 

He sank his rowels to the naife, 

And scour' d the muir and dale, 
He held his bonnet on his head, 

And louted to the gale, 

Till wives ran skreighing to the door, 

Holding their hands on high ; 
They never saw king in love before, 

In such extremitye. 

And every lord and every knight 

Made bif-jhis several way, 
All galloping as they had been mad, 

Withouteh stop or stay. 603 



But there was never such dool and pain 

In any land befel: 
For there is wickedness in man, 

That grieveth me to tell. 

There was one eye, and one alone, 

Beheld the deeds were done; 
But the lovely queen of Fair Scotland 

Ne'er saw the morning sun ; 

And seventy-seven wedded dames. 

As fair as e'er were born, 
The very pride of all the land, 

Were dead before the morn 

Then there was nought but mourning weeds, 

And sorrow and dismay; 
While burial met with burial still. 

And jostled by the way. 

And graves were howkit in green kirkyards, 

And howkit deep and widej 
While bedlars swarfit for very toil, 

The comely corps to hide. 

The graves, with their unseemly jaws, 

Stood gaping day and night 
To swallow up the fair and young; 

It was ane grievous sight! 

And the bonnie May of the Moril Glen 

Is weeping in despair, 
For she saw the hills of fair Scotland 

Could be her home nae mair. 

Then there were chariots came o'er night, 

As silent and as soon 
As shadow of ane little cloud 

In the wan light of the moon. 

Some said they came out of the rock, 

And some out of the sea; 
And some said they were sent from hell, 

To bring that fair ladye. 

When the day sky began to frame 

The grizly eastern fell, 
And the little wee bat was bound to seek 

His dark and eery cell. 


The fairest flower of mortal frame 

Pass'd from the Moril Glen; 
And ne'er may such a deadly eye 

Shine amongst Christian men! 

In seven chariots, gilded bright, 

The train went o'er the fell, 
All wrapt within a shower of hail; 

Whither no man could tell; 

But there was a ship in the Firth of Forth, 

The like ne'er sail'd the faeme, 
For no man of her country knew 

Her colours or her name. 

Her mast was made of beaten gold, 

Her sails of the silken twine, 
And a thousand pennons stream'd behind, 

And trembled o'er the brine. 

As she lay mirror'd in the main, 

It was a comely view, 
So many rainbows round her play'd 

With every breeze that blew. 

And the hailstone shroud it rattled loud, 

Right over ford and fen, 
And swathed the flower of the Moril Glen 

From eyes of sinful men. 

And the hailstone shroud it wheel'd and row'd, 

As wan as death unshriven, 
Like dead cloth of an angel grim, 

Or winding sheet of heaven. 

It was a fearsome sight to see 

Toil through the morning gray, 
And whenever it reached the comely ship, 

She set sail and away. 

She set her sail before the gale, 

As it began to sing, 
And she heaved and rocked down the tide, 

Unlike an earthly thing. 

The dolphins fled out of her way 

Into the creeks of fife, 
And the blackguard seals they yowlit for dread, 

And swam for death and life. 


But aye the ship, the bonnie ship, 

Outowre the green wave flew, 
Swift as the solan on the wing, 

Or terrified sea-mew. 

No billow breasted on her prow, 

Nor levell'd on the lee; 
She seem'd to sail upon the air 

And never touch the sea. 

And away, and away went the bonnie ship, 
Which man never more did see; 

But whether she went to heaven or hell, 
Was ne'er made known to me. 


[This ballad was written by Henry Kirkc White j a name 
which it is impossible to pronounce or hear without feeling, 
with Lord Byron, (' English Bards and Scotch Reviewers,*' 
' the liveliest regret that so short o period was allotted to 
talents, which would have dignified even the sacred func 
tions they were destined to assume.' He was born at Not 
tingham, on the 2)st March, I78"i, nnd died at Cambridge on 
the 19th Oct. 180G, in his 22nd year; 'in consequence of. 
too much exertion in the pursuit of studios that,' in the 
eloquent language of the noble poet already quoted, ' would 
have matured a mind which disease and poverty could imt 
impair, and which death itself destroyed rather than sub 
dued.' His Lordship's beautiful eulogy on Unhappy 
White,' in the work above-mentioned, is too well known to 
require insertion here. With regard to the ballad, it would 
appearfrom ' The Remains of Henry Kirkc White,' edited 
by Robert Southey, whose generous assistance of the author 
while living, and tribute to his memory, after his death, aro 
familiar to all readers, to have first appeared in what hij 
biographer calls 'the little volume which Ilcnry 
in 1803.' It is here taken from Southey's edition of his 
works above-named, Ijondon, HIG--?2.j 

HE night it was still, and the moon it shone, 

Serenely on the sea, 
And the waves at the foot of the rifted rock 

They murmur' d pleasantly. QQJ 


When Gondoline roam'd along the shore, 

A maiden full fair to the sight ; 
Though love had made bleak the rose on her clieek, 

And turn'd it to deadly white. 

Her thoughts they were drear, and the silent tear 

It fill'd her faint blue eye, 
As oft she heard, in fancy's ear, 

Her Bertrand's dying sigh. 

Her Bertrand was the bravest youth 

Of all our good king's men, 
And he was gone to the Holy Land 

To fight the Saracen. 

And many a month had past away, 

And many a rolling year, 
But nothing the maid from Palestine 

Could of her lover hear. 

Full oft she vainly tried to pierce 

The ocean's misty face ; 
Full oft she thought her lover's bark 

She on the wave could trace. 

And every night she placed a light 

In the high rock's lonely tower, 
To guide her lover to the land, 

Should the murky tempest lower. 

But now despair had seized her breast, 

And sunken in her eye ; 
" O tell me but if Bertrand live, 

And I in peace will die." 

She wander' d o'er the lonely shore, 

The curlew scream'd above, 
She heard the scream with a sickening heart, 

Much boding of her love. 

Yet still she kept her lonely way, 

And this was all her cry, 
" O ! tell me but if Bertrand live, 

And I in peace shall die." 

And now she came to a horrible rift, 

All in the rock's hard side, 
A bleaK and 'blasted oak o'er spread 

The cavern yawning wide. 


And pendant from its dismal top 
The deadly nightshade hung ; 

The hemlock and the aconite 
Across the mouth were flung. 

And all within was dark and drear, 

And all without was calm ; 
Yet Gondoline enter'd, her soul upheld 

By some deep-working charm. 

And as she enter'd the cavern wide, 
The moonbeam gleamed pale, 

And she saw a snake on the craggy rock, 
It clung by its slimy tail. 

Her foot it slipt, and she stood aghast, 

She trod on a bloated toad ; 
Yet, still upheld by the secret charm, 

She kept upon her road. 

And now upon her frozen ear 

Mysterious sounds arose ; 
So, on the mountain's piny top 

The blustering north wind blows. 

Then furious peals of laughter loud 
Were heard with thundering sound, 

Till they died away in soft decay, 
Low whispering o'er the ground. 

Yet still the maiden onward went, 

The charm yet onward led, 
Though each big glaring ball of sight 

Seem'd bursting from her head. 

But now a pale blue light she saw, 

It from a distance came ; 
She follow' d, till upon her sight 

Burst full a flood of flame. 

She stood appall'd ; yet still the charm 

Upheld her sinking soul ; 
Yet each bent knee the other smote, 

And each wild eye did roll. 

And such a sight as she saw there 

No mortal saw before, 
And such a sight as she saw there 

No mortal shall see more. 



A burning cauldron stood in the midst 
The flame was fierce and high, 

And all the cave so wide and long 
Was plainly seen thereby. 

And round about the cauldron stout 
Twelve withered witches stood : 

Their waists were bound with living snakes, 
And their hair was stiff with blood. 

Their hands were gory too ; and red 
And fiercely flamed their eyes ; 

And they were muttering indistinct 
Their hellish mysteries. 

And suddenly they join'd their hands, 

And utter'd a joyous cry. 
And round about the cauldron stout 

They danced right merrily. 

And now they stopt ; and each prepared 

To tell what she had done, 
Since last the lady of the night 

Her waning course had run. 

Behind a rock stood Gondolme, 
Thick weeds her face did veil, 

And she leaned fearful forwarder, 
To hear the dreadful tale. 

The first arose : she said she'd seen 
Rare sport since the blind cat mew'd ; 

She'd been to sea in a leaky sieve, 
And a jovial storm had brew'd. 

She call'd around the winged winds, 

And rais'd a devilish rout ; 
And she laught so loud, the peals were heard 

Full fifteen leagues about. 

She said there was a little bark 

Upon the roaming wave, 
And there was a woman there who'd been 

To see her husband's grave. 

And she had got a child in her arms, 

It was her only child, 
And oft its little infant pranks 
670 Her heavy heart beguiled. 


And there was too in that same bark, 

A father and his son ; 
The lad was sickly, and the sire 

Was old and woe begone. 

And when the tempest waxed strong, 

And the bark could no more it 'bide, 

She said it was jovial fun to hear 
How the poor devils cried. 

The mother claspt her orphan child 

Unto her breast and wept ; 
And sweetly folded in her arms 

The careless baby slept. 

And she told how, in the shape of the wind, 

As manfully it roar'd, 
She twisted her hand in the infant's hair, 

And threw it overboard. 

And to have seen the mother's pangs, 

'Twas a glorious sight to see ; 
The crew could scarcely hold her down 

From jumping in the sea. 

The hag held a lock of the hair in her hand 

And it was soft and fair : 
It must have been a lovely child, 

To have had such lovely hair. 

And she said the father in his arms 

He held his sickly son, 
And his dying throes they fast arose, 

His pains were nearly done. 

And she throttled the youth with her sinewy hands, 

And his face grew deadly blue ; 
And the father he tore his thin gray hair, 

And kiss'd the livid hue. 

And then she told how she bored a hole 

In the bark, and it filled away : 
And 'twas rare to hear how some did swear, 

And some did vow and pray. 

The man and woman they soon were dead, 

The sailors their strength did urge ; 
But the billows that beat were their winding-sheet, 

And the wind sung their funeral dirge. 


She threw the infant's hair in the fire, 

The red flame flamed high, 
And round about the cauldron stout 

They danced right merrily. 

The second begun : She said she had done 
The task that Queen Hecate had set her ; 

And that the devil, the father of evil, 
Had never accomplisht a better. 

She said, there was an aged woman, 

And she had a daughter fair, 
Whose evil habits fill'd her heart 

With misery and care. 

The daughter had a paramour, 

A wicked man was he, 
And oft the woman him against 

Did murmur grievously. 

And the hag had workt the daughter up 

To murder her old mother, 
That then she might seize on all her goods, 

And wanton with her lover. 

And one night as the old woman 

Was sick and ill in bed, 
And pondering solely on the life 

Her wicked daughter led, 

She heard her footstep on the floor, 

And she raised her pallid head, 
And she saw her daughter, with a knife, 

Approaching to her bed. 

And said, My child, I'm very ill, 

I have not long to live, 
Now kiss my cheek, that ere I die 

Thy sins I may forgive. 

And the murderess bent to kiss her cheek, 
And she lifted the sharp bright knife, 

And the mother saw her fell intent, 
And hard she begg'd for life. 

But prayers would nothing her avail, 
And she scream' d aloud with fear, 
But the house was lone, and the piercing screams 
672 Could reach no human ear. 


And though that she was sick, and old, 

She struggled hard, and fought ; 
The murderess cut three fingers through 

Ere she could reach her throat. 

And the hag she held the fingers up, 

The skin was mangled sore, 
And they all agreed a nobler deed 

Was never done before. 

And she threw the fingers in the fire, 

The red flame flamed high, 
And round about the cauldron stout 

They danced right merrily. 

The third arose : She said she'd been 

To holy Palestine ; 
And seen more blood in one short day 

Than they had all seen in nine. 

Now Gondoline, with fearful steps, 

Drew nearer to the flame, 
For much she dreaded now to hear 

Her hapless lover's name. 

The hag related then the sports 

Of that eventful day, 
When on the well-contested field 

Full fifteen thousand lay. 

She said that she in human gore 

Above the knees did wade, 
And that no tongue could truly teii 

The tricks she there had play'd. 

There was a gallant featured youth, 

Who like a hero fought ; 
He kiss'd a bracelet on his wrist, 

And every danger sought. 

And in a vassal's garb disguised, 

Unto the knight she sues, 
And tells him she from Britain comes, 

And brings unwelcome news. 

That three days ere she had embarkt 

His love had given her hand 
Unto a wealthy Thane : and thought 

Him dead in Holy Land. 673 


And to have seen how he did writhe 

When this her tale she told, 
It would have made a wizard's blood 

Within his heart run cold. 

Then fierce he spurr'd his warrior steed, 

And sought the battle's bed ; 
And soon all mangled o'er with wounds 

He on the cold turf bled. 

And from his smoking corse she tore 

His head, half clove in two. 
She ceased, and from beneath her garb 

The bloody trophy drew. 

The eyes were starting from their socks, 

The mouth it ghastly grinn'd, 
And there was a gash across the brow, 

The scalp was nearly skinn'd. 

'Twas Bertrand's head 1 With a terrible scream 

The maiden gave a spring, 
And from her fearful hiding place 

She fell into the ring. 

The lights they fled, the cauldron sank, 
Deep thunders shook the dome, 

And hollow peals of laughter came 
Resounding through the gloom. 

Insensible the maiden lay 

Upon the hellish ground, 
And still mysterious sounds were heard 

At intervals around. 

She woke, she half arose and wild 

She cast a horrid glare, 
The sounds had ceased, the lights had fled, 

And all was stillness there. 

And through an awning in the rock 

The moon it sweetly shone, 
And show'd a river in the cave 

Which dismally did moan. 

The stream was black, it sounded deep 

As it rusht the rocks between, 
It offer' d well, for madness fired 
674 The breast of Gondoline. 


She plunged in, the torrent moan'd 
With its accustom' d sound, 

And hollow peals of laughter loud 
Again rebellow' d round. 

The maid was seen no more. But oft 
Her ghost is known to glide, 

At midnight's silent, solemn hour, 
Along the ocean's side. 



[This ballad was written by James Hogg, the Ettrick 
Shepherd, and is taken from his ' Queen's Wake,' which was 
first published in 1813. ' I was,' he tells us, in the ' Auto 
biography ' prefixed to his ' Poetical Works,' Glasgow, 
1838, ' forty years of age before I wrote the ' Queen's 
Wake.' With regard to the origin of the ballad, or the 
circumstances, real or supposed, upon which it was founded, 
the Shepherd gives but little information He says, indeed, 
that ' the catastrophe of this tale is founded upon popular 
tradition.' Rut of the particulars of that tradition, or the 
locality to which it is peculiar, or any other matter con 
necter, therewith, he says nothing. And it is matter of 
regret that on so interesting a subject we are obliged to 
leave the reader in the ignorance in which we find him ] 

Y\ UHARE half ye been, ye ill womyne, 
) ] These three lang nightis fra hame 
/J Quhat garris the sweit drap fra yer brow, 
Like clotis of the saut sea facm ? 


" It fearis me muckil ye half seen 

Quhat guid man never knew ; 
It fearis me muckil ye haif been 

Quhare the gray cock never crew. 

" But the spell may crack, and the brydel breck, 

Then sherpe yer werde will be ; 
Ye had better sleippe in yer bed at hame, 

Wi' yer deire littil bairnis and me." 

" Sit doune, sit doune, my leil auld man, 

Sit doune, and listen to me ; 
I'll gar the hayre stand on yer crown, 

And the cauld sweit blind yer e'e. 

" But tell nae wordis, my guid auld man, 

Tell never word again ; 
Or deire shall be yer courtisye, 

And driche and sair yer pain. 

" The first leet night, quhan the new moon set, 

Quhan all was douffe and mirk, 
We saddled ouir naigis wi' the moon-fern leif, 

And rode fra Kilmerrin kirk. 

" Some horses ware of the brume-cow framit, 

And some of the greine bay tree ; 
But mine was made of ane humloke schaw. 

And a stout stallion was he. 

" We raide the tod doune on the hill, 

The martin on the law ; 
And we huntyd the hoolet out of brethe, 

And forcit him doune to fa'." 

" Quhat guid was that, ye ill womyne ? 

Quhat guid was that to thee ? 
Ye wald better haif been in yer bed at hame, 

Wi' yer deire littil bairnis and me." 

" And aye we raide, and se merrily we raide, 

Throw the merkist gloffis of the night ; 
And we swam the floode, and we darnit the woode, 

Till we cam' to the Lommond height. 

" And quhan we cam' to the Lommond height, 

Se lythlye we lychtid doune ; 
And we drank fra the hornis that never grew, 

The beer that was never browin. 



" Then up there raise ane wee wee man, 

Fra nethe the moss-gray stane ; 
His fece was wan like the collifloure, 

For he nouthir had blude nor bane. 

" He set ane reid-pipe til his muthe, 

And he playit se bonnilye, 
Till the gray curlew and the black-cock flew 

To listen his melodye. 

" It rang se sweit through the grein Lommond, 

That the nycht-winde lowner blew ; 
And it soupit alang the Loch Leven, 

And wakinit the white sea-mew. 

" It rang se sweit through the grein Lommond, 

Se sweitly butt and se shill, 
That the wezilis laup out of their mouldy holis, 

And dancit on the mydnycht hill. 

" The corby craw cam' gledgin' near, 

The ern ged veeryng bye; 
And the troutis laup out of the Leven Loch, 

Charmit with the melodye. 

" And aye we dancit on the grein Lommond, 

Till the dawn on the ocean grew : 
Ne wonder I was a weary wycht 

Quhau I cam* hame to you." 

" Quhat guid, quhat guid, my weird weird wyfe, 

Quhat guid was that to thee ? 
Qe wald better haif bein in yer bed at hame, 

Wi' yer deire littil bairnis and me." 

" The second nycht, quhan the new moon set, 

O'er the roaryng sea we flew ; 
The cockle-shell our trusty bark, 

Our sailis of the grein sea-rue. 

" And the bauld windis blew, and the fire-flauchtis flew, 

And the sea ran to the &kie ; 
And the thunner it growlit, and the sea-dogs howlit, 

As we gaed scouryng bye, 

" And aye we mountit the sea-grein hillis, 

Quhill we brushit through the cludis of the hevin ; 

Than sousit dounright like the stern-shot light, 
Fra the liftis blue casement driven. 


" But our taickil stood, and our bark was good, 

And se pang was our pearily prowe ; 
Quhan we culdna speil the brow of the wavis, 

We needilit them throu' belowe. 

"As fast as the hail, as fast as the gale, 

As fast as the mydnycht leme, 
We borit the breiste of the burstyng swale, 

Or fluffit i' the flotyng faem. 

" And quhan to the Norraway shore we wan, 
We muntyd our steedis of the wynde, 

And we splashit the floode, and we darnit the woode, 
And we left the shouir behynde. 

" Fleit is the roe on the grein Lommond, 

And swift is the couryng grew, 
The rein-deir dun can eithly run, 

Quhan the houndis and the hornis pursue. 

" But nowther the roe, nor the rein-deir dun, 

The hinde nor the couryng grew, 
Guide fly owr montaine, muir, and dale, 

As our braw stedis they flew. 

" The dales war deep, and the Doffrinis steep, 

And we raise to the skyis ee-bree ; 
Quhite, quhite was our rode, that was never trode, 

Owr the snawis of eternity ! 

" And quhan we cam' to the Lapland lone, 

The fairies war all in array ; 
For all the genii of the north 

War keipyng their holeday. 

" The warlock men and the weird wemyng, 
And the fays of the wood and the steip, 

And the phantom hunteris all war there, 
And the mermaidis of the deip. 

" And they washit us all with the witch-water, 

Distillit fra the muirland dew, 
Quhill our beauty blumit like the Lapland rose, 

That wylde in the foreste grew." 

" Ye lee, ye lee, ye ill womyne, 

Se loud as I heir ye lee ! 
For the warst-faurd wyfe on the shoris of Fyfe 

Is comlye comparit wi' thee." 


' Then the mermaidis sang and the woodlandis rang, 

Se sweitly swellit the quire ; 
On every cliff a herpe they hang, 

On every tree a lyre. 

" And aye the sang, and the woodlandis rang, 
And we drank, and we drank se deip ; 

Then saft in the armis of the warlock men, 
We laid us doun to sleip." 

" Away away, ye ill womyne, 

An ill deide met ye dee ! 
Quhan ye ha'e pruvit se false to yer God, 

Ye can never pruve true to me." 

" And there we learnit fra the fairy foke, 

And fra our master true, 
The wordis that can beire us throu' the air, 

And lokkis and barris undo. 

" Last nycht we met at Maisry's cot ; 

Bicht weil the wordis we knew ! 
And we set a foot on the black cruik-shell, 

And out at the lum we flew. 

" And we flew owr hill, and we flew owr dale, 

And we flew owr firth and sea, 
Until we cam' to merry Carlisle, 

Quhare we lightit on the lea. 

" We gaed to the vault beyound the towir, 

Quhare we enterit free as ayr ; 
And we drank, and we drank of the blshopis wine 

Quhill we culde drynk ne mair." 

" Gin that be true, my guid auld wyfe, 

Whilk thou hast tauld to me, 
Betide my death, betide my lyfe, 

I'll beire thee companye. 

" Neist tyme ye gaung to merry Carlisle 

To drynk of the blude-reid wyne, 
Beshrew my heart, I'll fly with thee, 

If the deil should fly behynde." 

" Ah I little do ye ken, my silly auld man, 

The daingeris we maun dree ; 
Last nychte we drank of the bishopis wyne, 

Quhill near near ta'en war we, 


" Afore we wan to the Sandy Ford, 

The gor-cockis nichering flew ; 
The lofty crest of Ettrick Pen 

"Was wavit about with blue, 
And, flichtering throu' the ayr, we fand 

The chill chill mornyng dew. 

" As we flew ower the hillis of Braid, 

The sun raise fair and cleir ; 
There gurly James, and his baronis braw, 

War out to hunt the deir. 

" Their bowis they drew, their arrowis flew. 

And piercit the ayr with speide, 
Quhill purpil fell the mornyng dew 

Wi' witch-blude rank and reide. 

" Littil do ye ken, my silly auld man, 

The daingeris we maun dree ; 
Ne wonder I am a weary wycht 

Quhan I come hame to thee." 

" But tell me the word, my guid auld wyfe, 

Come tell it speedilye : 
For I lang to drynk of the guid reide wyne, 

And to wyng the ayr with thee. 

" Yer hellish horse I wilna ryde, 

Nor sail the seas in the wynde ; 
But I can flee as weil as thee, 

And I'll drynk quhill ye be blynd." 

" O fy ! O fy ! my leil auld man, 

That word I darena tell ; 
It wald turn this warld all upside down, 

And make it warse than hell. 

" For all the lasses in the land 

Wald munt the wynde and fly ; 
And the men wald doff their doublets syde, 

And after them wald ply." 

But the auld guidman was ane cunnyng auld man, 

And ane cunnyng auld man was he ; 
A ad he watchit, and he watchit for mony a nychte, 

The witches' flychte to see. 

Ane nycht he darnit in Maisry's cot ; 

The fearless haggs cam' in ; 
And he heard the word of awsome weird, 

And he saw their deidis of synn. 681 


Then ane by ane they said that word, 

As fast to the fire they drew ; 
Then set a foot on the black cruik-shell, 

And out at the him they flew. 

The auld guidman cam' fra his hole 

With feire and muckil dreide, 
But yet he culdna think to rue, 

For the wyne cam' hi his head. 

He set his foot in the black cruik-shell, 
With ane fixit and ane wawlying e'e ; 

And he said the word that I darena say, 
And out at the lum flew he. 

The witches skalit the moon-beam pale ; 

Deep groanit the trembling wynde ; 
But they never wist till our auld guidman 

Was horeryng them behynde. 

They flew to the vaultis of merry Carlisle, 

Quhare they enterit free as ayr ; 
And they drank and they drank of the bishopis wyne 

Quhill they culde drynk ne mair. 

The auld guidman he grew se crouse, 

He dauncit on the mouldy ground, 
And he sang the bonniest sangs of Fyfe, 

And he tuzzlit the kerlyngs round. 

And aye he piercit the tither butt, 
And he suckit, and he suckit sae lang, 

Quhill his een they closit, and his voice grew low, 
And his tongue wald hardly gang. 

The kerlyngs drank of the bishopis wyne 
Quhill they scrntit the morning wynde ; 
Then clove again the yielding ayr, 
And left the auld man behynde. 

And aye he sleipit on the damp damp floor, 

He sleipit and he snorit amain ; 
He never dreamit he was far fra name, 

Or that the auld wyvis war gane. 

And aye he sleipit on the damp damp floor, 

Quhill past the mid-day highte, 
Quhan wakenit by five rough Englishmen 
682 That trailit him to the lychte. 


" Now quha are ye, ye silly auld man, 

That sleipis se sound and se well ? 
Or how gat ye into the bishopis vault 

Throu' lokkis and barris of steel 1 " 

The auld guidman he tryit to speak, 

But ane word he culdna fynde ; 
He tryit to think, but his head whirlit round, 

And ane thing he culdna mynde : 
" I cam' fra Fyfe," the auld man cryit, 

" And I cam' on the mydnicht wynde." 

They nickit the auld man, and they prickit the auld man, 

And they yerkit his limbis with twine, 
Quhill the reide blude ran in his hose and shoon, 

But some cryit it was wyne. 

They lickit the auld man, and they prickit the auld man, 

And they tyit him till ane stone ; 
And they set ane bele-fire him about, 

To burn him skin and bone. 

" O wae to me 1" said the puir auld man, 

" That ever I saw the day ! 
And wae be to all the ill wemyng 

That lead puir men astray ! 

" Let nevir ane auld man after this 

To lawless greide inclyne ; 
Let nevir ane auld man after this 

Rin post to the deil for wyne." 

The reike flew up in the auld manis face, 

And choukit him bitterlye ; 
And the lowe cam' up with ane angry blese, 

And it syngit his auld breek-knee. 

He lukit to the land fra whence he cam', 

For lukis he culde get ne mae ; 
And he thochte of his deire little bairnis at hame, 

And O the auld man was wae ! 

But they turnit their facis to the sun, 

With gloffe and wonderous glair, 
For they saw ane thing beth lairge and dun, 

Comin' swaipin down the ayr. 

T u at burd it cam' fra the landis o' Fyfe, 

And it cam' rycht tymeouslye, 
For quha was it but the auld manis wife, 

Just comit his dethe to see. 



Scho put ane reide cap on his heide, 
And the auld guidman lookit fain, 

Then whisperit ane word intil his lug, 
And tovit to the ayr again. 

The auld guidman he ga'e ane bob, 
I' the mids o' the burnyng lowe ; 

And the sheklis that band him to the ring, 
They fell fra his armis like towe. 

He drew his breath, and he said the word. 
And he said it with muckil glee, 

Then set his fit on the burnyng pile, 
And away to the ayr flew he. 

Till aince he cleirit the swirlyng reike, 

He lukit beth ferit and sad ; 
But whan he wan to the lycht blue ayr, 

He lauchit as he'd been mad. 

His armis war spred, and hia heid was hiche, 
And his feite stack out behynde ; 

And the laibies of the auld manis cote 
"War wauffing in the wynde. 

And aye he neicherit, and aye he flew, 
For he thochte the ploy se raire ; 

It was like the voice of the gainder blue, 
Quhan he flees throu' the ayr. 

He lukit back to the Carlisle men 

As he borit the norlan sky ; 
He noddit his heide, and ga'e ane girn, 

But he nevir said guid-bye. 

They vanisht far i' the liftis blue wale, 

Ne mair the English saw, 
But the auld manis lauche cam' on the gale, 

With a lang and a loud gaffa. 

May evir ilke man in the land of Fyfe 

Read what the drinkeris dree ; 
And nevir curse his puir auld wife, 

Richte wicked altho' scho be. 

[ ' The wild and imaginative tale of The Ancient 
Mariner,' which, in the words of Sir Walter Scott, 
' displays so much beauty with much eccentricity,' 
was written, the reader needs scarcely be told, by 
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and is the poem by which 
he is chiefly, if not, indeed, to many readers, exclu 
sively, known. It is here taken from a volume en 
titled ' Sibylline Leaves, a Collection of Poems. By 
8. T. Coleridge, Esq London, 1817;' though that 
was not its first appearance in print. No information 
was afforded by the poet as to the existence of any 
matter-of-fact foundation for the story of the ballad; 
which, indeed, he in all probability wished the reader 
to consider ts a ' trick' of ' strong imagination, bodying 
forth the forms of things unknown, and giving to airy 
nothing a local habitation and a name.' And thus it 
has probably, with most readers, passed for 'more 
strange than true ' For the principal incident, how 
ever, an origin has been found in a passage of Shel- 
vocke's ' Voyage Round the World,' which the reader 
may see by 'referring to the note on page 140. Be 
this as it may, however, the ballad is not the less ' wild 
and imaginative ;' there is, as has been observed by an 
eminent writer, ' nothing else like it ; it is a poem by 
itself; between it and other compositions en part 
materia there is a chasm which you cannot overpass. 
The sensitive reader feels himself insulated, and a 
sea of wonder and mystery flows round him, as round 
the spell-stricken ship itself.' 

T is an ancient Mariner 
And he stoppeth one of three : 
' By thy long gray beard and 

glittering eye, 
Now wherefore stopst thou me? 

Mariner meet- 

eth three gai- 





The bridegroom's doors are opened wide, 
And I am next of kin; 
The guests are met, the feast is set: 
Mayst hear the merry din.' 

He holds him with his skinny hand; 
' There was a ship,' quoth he. 
' Hold off! unhand me, gray-beard loon!' 
Eftsoons his hand dropt he. 

He holds him with his glittering eye 
The Wedding-Guest stood still, 
And listens like a three-years' child: 
The Mariner hath his will. 

The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone: 
He cannot choose but hear: 
And thus spake on that ancient man, 
The bright-eyed Mariner. 

The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared, 

Merrily did we drop 

Below the kirk, below the hill, 

Below the light-house top. 

The Sun came up upon the left, 
Out of the sea came he; 
And he shone bright, and on the right 
Went down into the sea. 

Higher and higher every day, 
Till over the mast at noon- 

Tbe Wedding-Guest is 
spell-bound by the eye 
of the old seafaring 
man, and constrained 
to hear his tale. 

The Mariner tells how 
the ship sailed south 
ward with a good wind 
and fair weather, till it 
reached the Line. 

The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast, 
For he heard the loud bassoon. 

The bride hath paced into the hall, 
Red as a rose is she: 
Nodding their heads before her goes 
The merry minstrelsy. 

The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast, 
Yet he cannot choose but hear; 
And thus spake on that ancient man, 
The bright-eyed Mariner. 

And now the storm -blast came, and he 
Was tyrannous and strong; 
He struck with his o'ertaking wings, 
And chased us south along. 

The Wedding - Guest 
heareth the bridal mu 
sic ; but the Mariner 
continueth his tale. 

The ship driven by a 
storm toward the South 


With sloping masts, and dipping prow, 
As who pursued with yell and blow 
Still tread