Page images
PDF
EPUB

No chair, ne table he mote spye,

No chearful hearth, ne welcome bed, Nought save a rope with renning noose,

That dangling hung up o'er his head.

15

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 foule disgrace,

And all thy shame and sorrows end.'

25

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.'

30

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.

[blocks in formation]

Astonyed lay the heire of Linne,

Ne knewe if he were live or dead: At length he looked, and sawe a bille,

And in it a key of gold so redd.

40

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. 1

45

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:

2

‘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: 2 For here I will make mine avow,

This reade 3 shall guide me to the end.'

55

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. 60

And when he came to John o' the Scales,

Upp at the speere 4 then looked hee; There sate three lords upon a rowe,

Were drinking of the wine so free. Ver. 60, an old northern phrase.

i in-fere, i.e. together.-—i.e. unless I amend.—3 i.e. advice, counsel. 4 Perhaps the hole in the door or window, by which it was speered, i.e. sparred, fastened, or shut.-In Bale's 2d Part of the Acts of Eng. Votaries, we have this phrase, (fo. 38.) The dore thereof oft tymes opened and speared agayne.'

65

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 to mee.'

Away, away, thou thriftless loone;

Away, away, this may not bee:
For Christ's curse on my head,' he sayd,

*If ever I trust thee one pennie.'

70

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.'

75

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.'

80

Then bespake a good felldwe,

Which sat at John o' the Scales his bord; Sayd, “Turn againe, thou heire of Linne;

Some time thou wast a well good lord:

85

Some time a good fellow thou hast been,

And sparedst not thy gold and fee; Therefore Ile lend thee forty pence,

And other forty if need bee.

90

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 Christ's curse on my head,' he sayd, 95

But I did lose by that bargdine.
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. 100

I drawe you to rècord, 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.

105

110

He told him forth the good red gold,

He told it forth with mickle dinne. “The gold is thine, the land is mine, ..

And nowe Ime againe the lord of Linne.'

Sayes, 'Have thou here, thou good felldwe,

Forty pence thou didst lend mee: Now I am againe the lord of Linne,

And forty pounds I will give thee.

115

Ile make the[e] keeper of my forrèst,

Both of the wild deere and the tame;
For but I reward thy bounteous heart,
I wis, good fellowe, I were to blame.'

Ver. 34. 102, cast, is the reading of the MS.

120

“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 ; 125

“Farewell now, John o'the Scales,' said hee: *Christ's curse light on me, if ever again

I bring my lands in jeopardy.' *** #14 In the present edition of this ballad several ancient readings are restored from the folio MS.

VI.

GASCOIGNE'S PRAISE OF THE FAIR BRIDGES, AFTERWARDS LADY SANDES,

ON HER HAVING A SCAR IN HER FOREHEAD. George Gascoigne was a celebrated poet in the early part of Queen Elizabeth's reign, and appears to great advantage among the miscellaneous writers of that age. He was author of three or four plays, and of many smaller poems; one of the most remarkable of which is a satire in blank verse, called “The Steele-glass,' 1576, 4to.

Gascoigne was born in Essex, educated in both universities, whence he removed to Gray's-inn; but, disliking the study of the law, became first a dangler at court, and afterwards a soldier in the wars of the Low Countries. He had no great success in any of these pursuits, as appears from a poem of his, intitled · Gascoigne's Wodmanship, written to lord Gray of Wilton.' Many of his epistles dedicatory are dated in 1575, 1576, from his poore house in Walthamstoe:' where he died a middle-aged man in 1578, according to Anth. Wood: or rather in 1577, if he is the person meant in an old tract, intitled, • A remembrance of the well employed Life and godly End of Geo. Gascoigne, Esq; who deceased at Stamford in Lincolnshire, Oct. 7, 1577, by Geo. Whetstone, Gent. an eye-witness of his godly and charitable end in this world,' 4to. no date-rFrom a MS. of Oldys.]

Mr. Thomas Warton thinks Gascoigne has much exceeded all the poets of his age, in smoothness and harmony of versification.'1 But the truth is, scarce any of the earlier poets of Q. Elizabeth's time are found deficient in harmony and smoothness, though those qualities appear so rare in the writings of their

* Observations on the Faerie Queen, Vol. II. p. 168.

« PreviousContinue »