Page images
PDF
EPUB

50

• Thats a vile sinne,' then sayd the king,

May God forgive it thee!'
* Amen, amen,' quoth earl marshàll;

* And I wish it so may bee.'

* The next vile thing that ever I did,

To you I will discover;
I poysonèd fair Rosamonde,

All in fair Woodstocke bower.'

55

* Thats a vile sinne,' then sayd the king;

May God forgive it thee!
* Amen, amen,' quoth earl marshàll;

* And I wish it so may bee.? '

60

'Do you see yonders little boye,

A tossing of the balle?
That is earl marshalls eldest sonne,

And I love him the best of all.

65

Do you see yonders little boye,

A catching of the balle?
That is king Henryes youngest sonne,

And I love him the worst of all.

[ocr errors]

His head is fashyon'd like a bull;

His nose is like a boare.'
• No matter for that,' king Henrye cryd,

I love him the better therfore.'

The king pulled off his fryars coate,

And appeared all in redde:

Ver. 63, 67, She means that the eldest of these two was by the earl marshall, the youngest by the king.

She shrieked, and cryd, and wrung her hands, 75

And sayd she was betrayde.

The king lookt over his left shoulder,

And a grimme-look looked hee,
* Earl marshall,' he sayd, 'but for my oathe,

Or hangèd thou shouldst bee.'

80

IX.

THE STURDY ROCK. This poem, subscribed M. T. [perhaps invertedly for T. Marshall] 1 is preserved in • The Paradise of Daintie Devises,' quoted above in page 113.—The two first stanzas may be found accompanied with musical notes in An howres recreation in musicke, &c. by Richard Alison, Lond. 1606, 4to:' usually bound up with three or four sets of · Madrigals set to music by Tho. Weelkes, Lond. 1597, 1600, 1608, 4to.' One of these madrigals is so complete an example of the bathos, that I cannot forbear presenting it to the reader.

Thule, the period of cosmographie,

Doth vaunt of Hecla, whose sulphureous fire
Doth melt the frozen clime, and thaw the skie,

Trinacrian Etna's flames ascend not hier:
These things seeme wondrous, yet more wondrous I,
Whose heart with feare doth freeze, with love doth fry.
The Andelusian merchant, that returnes

Laden with cutchinele and china dishes,
Reports in Spaine, how strangely Fogo burnes

Amidst an ocean full of flying fishes:
These things seeme wondrous, yet more wondrous I,

Whose heart with feare doth freeze, with love doth fry. Mr. Weelkes seems to have been of opinion with many of his brethren of later times, that nonsense was best adapted to display the powers of musical composure.

The sturdy rock for all his strength

By raging seas is rent in twaine:
The marble stone is pearst at length,

With little drops of drizling rain:
The oxe doth yeeld unto the yoke,

5 The steele obeyeth the hammer stroke.

1 Vid. Athen. Oxon. p. 152, 316. VOL. II.

I

The stately stagge, that seemes so stout,

By yalping hounds at bay is set:
The swiftest bird, that flies about,

Is caught at length in fowlers net:
The greatest fish, in deepest brooke,
Is soon deceived by subtill hooke.

10

15

Yea, man himselfe, unto whose will

All things are bounden to obey,
For all his wit and worthie skill,

Doth fade at length, and fall away.
There is nothing but time doeth waste;
The heavens, the earth consume at last.

20

But vertue sits triumphing still

Upon the throne of glorious fame:
Though spiteful death mans body kill,

Yet hurts he not his vertuous name:
By life or death what so betides,
The state of vertue never slides.

X.

THE BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER OF BEDNALL

GREEN.

This popular old ballad was written in the reign of Elizabeth, as appears not only from ver. 23, where the arms of England are called the Queenes armes ;' but from its tune's being quoted in other old pieces, written in her time. See the ballad on · Mary Ambree' in this volume. The late Mr. Guthrie assured the Editor, that he had formerly seen another old song on the same subject, composed in a different measure from this; which was truly beautiful, if we may judge from the only stanza he remembered. In this it was said of the old Beggar, that down his neck

his reverend lockes
In comelye curles did wave;
And on his aged temples grewe

The blossomes of the grave.'

The following ballad is chiefly given from the Editor's folio MS. compared with two ancient printed copies: the concluding stanzas, which contain the old beggar's discovery of himself, are not however given from any of these, being very different from those of the vulgar ballad. Nor yet does the Editor offer them as genuine, but as a modern attempt to remove the absurdities and inconsistencies, which so remarkably prevailed in this part of the song, as it stood before: whereas by the alteration of a few lines, the story is rendered much more affecting, and is reconciled to probability and true history. For this informs us, that at the decisive battle of Evesham, (fought Aug. 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 consequence of that defeat, his whole family sunk for ever, the king bestowing their great honours and possessions on his second son Edmund earl of Lancaster.

PART THE FIRST.

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

And though shee was of favor most faire,
Yett seeing shee was but a poor beggars heyre,
Of ancyent housekeepers despised was shee,
Whose sonnes came as suitors to prettye Bessee.

[ocr errors]

Wherefore in great sorrow faire Bessy did

say,
Good father, and mother, let me goe away
To seeke out my fortune, whatever itt bee.'
This suite then they granted to prettye Bessee.

10

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.

15

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 destinle,
So sadd and soe heavy was pretty Bessee.

20

Shee kept on her journey untill it was day,
And went unto Rumford along the hye way;
Where at the Queenes armes entertained was shee:
Soe faire and wel favoured was pretty Bessee.

25

Shee had not beene 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 straight-way enamourd of pretty Bessee.

30

Great gifts they did send her of silver and gold,
And in their songs daylye her love was extold;
Her beawtye was blazèd in every degree;
Soe faire and soe comelye was pretty Bessee.

The

young men of Rumford in her had their joy; She shewed herself curteous, and modestlye coye; And at her commandment still wold they bee; Soe fayre and soe comlye was pretty Bessee.

35

Foure suitors att once unto her did goe;
They craved her favor, but still she said ‘noe;
I wold not wish gentles to marry with mee.'
Yett ever they honorèd prettye Bessee.

40

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 wooèd and suèd for prettye Bessee.

« PreviousContinue »