Page images
PDF
EPUB

He styrt up as a snayle,
And hent a capul be the tayle,
And [reft] Dawkin hys flayle,

And wan there a mare.

180

Perkyn wan five, and Hud wan twa:
Glad and blythe thay ware, that they had don sa;
Thay wold have tham to Tyb, and present hur with

tha:
The capulls were so wery, that thay myzt not ga,
But styl gon thay stond.

185 * Alas!' quoth Hudde, my joye I lese; Mee had lever then a ston of chese, That dere Tyb had al these,

And wyst it were my sond.'

Perkyn turnyd hym about in that ych thrang, 190
Among thos wery boyes he wrest and he wrang;
He threw tham doun to the erth, and thrast tham

amang,
When he saw Tyrry away wyth Tyb fang,
And after hym ran;
Off his horse he hym drogh,

195
And gaf hym of hys flayl inogh:
• We te he!' quoth Tyb, and lugh,

• Ye er a dughty man.' [Thus] thay tugged, and rugged, tyl yt was nere nyzt: All the wyves of Tottenham came to se that syzt 200 Wyth wyspes, and kexis, and ryschys there lyzt, To fetch hom ther husbandes, that were tham trouth

plyzt;

And sum brozt gret harwos, Ver. 179, razt, MS.–Ver. 185, stand, MS.–Ver. 189, sand, MS.-Ver. 199, Thys, Ms.

205

Ther husbandes hom to fetch,
Sum on dores, and sum on hech,
Sum on hyrdyllys, and som on crech,

And sum on whele-barows.

A

[ocr errors]

Thay gaderyd Perkyn about, [on] everych syde,
And grant hym ther (the gre,] the more was hys pryde:
Tyb and he, wyth gret [mirth], homward con thay ryde,
And were al nyzt togedyr, tyl the morn tyde: 211
And thay (to church went:7

So wele hys nedys he has sped,
That dere Tyb he [hath] wed;
The prayse-folk that hur led,

Were of the Turnament.

215

To that ylk fest com many for the nones;
Some come hyphalte, and some trippand [t

the stonys; Sum a staf in hys hand, and sum two at onys; Of sum were the hedes broken, of some the schulder bonys:

220 With sorrow come thay thedyr.

Wo was Hawkyn, wo was Herry,
Wo was Tomkyn, wo was Terry,
And so was all the bachelary,
When thay met togedyr.

225

1 At that fest thay wer servyd with a ryche aray, Every fyve & fyve had a cokenay;

Ver. 204, hom for to fetch, MS.- Ver. 208, about everych side, MS.— Ver. 209, the gre, is wanting in MS.- Ver. 210, mothe, MS.-Ver. 212, And thay ifere assent, MS.–Ver. 214, had wed, MS.-Ver. 215, The cheesemen, PC. - Ver. 218, trippand on, MS.

. In the former impressions this concluding stanza was only given from Bedwell's printed edition, but it is here copied from the old MS. wherein it has been since found separated from the rest of the poem, by several pages of a money account, and other heterogeneous matter.

And so thay sat in jolyte al the lung day;
And at the last thay went to bed with ful gret deray:
Mekyl myrth was them among;

230
In every corner of the hous
Was melody delycyous
For to here precyus

Of six menys song.? .

V

FOR THE VICTORY AT AGINCOURT. That our plain and martial ancestors could wield their swords much better than their pens, will appear from the following homely rhymes, which were drawn up by some poet laureate of those days to celebrate the immortal victory gained at Agincourt, Oct. 25, 1415. This song or hymn is given merely as a curiosity, and is printed from a MS. copy in the Pepys collection, vol. I. folio. It is there accompanied with the musical notes.

Deo gratias, Anglia, redde pro victoria!
OWRE kynge went forth to Normandy,
With grace and myzt of chivalry;
The God for hym wrouzt marvelously,
Wherefore Englonde may calle, and cry

Deo gratias:
Deo gratias, Anglia, redde pro victoria.

5

He sette a sege, the sothe for to say,
To Harflue toune with ryal aray;
That toune he wan, and made a fray, 10
That Fraunce shall rywe tyl domès day.

Deo gratias, &c. * Six-men's song, i.e. a song for six voices. So Shakespeare uses · Threeman song-men,' in his Winter's Tale, A. IV. Sc. 2. to denote men that could sing catches composed for three voices. Of this sort are Weelkes's Madrigals mentioned below, Book II. Song 9. So again Shakesp. bas • Three-men beetle ; ' i.e. a beetle or rammer worked by three men. 2 Hen. IV. A. I. Sc. 2.

Then went owre kynge, with alle his oste,
Thorowe Fraunce for all the Frenshe boste;
He spared (for) drede of leste, ne most,
Tyl he come to Agincourt coste.

Deo gratias, &c.

15

Than for sothe that knyzt comely
In Agincourt feld he fauzt manly,
Thorow grace of God most myyty
He had bothe the felde, and the victory.

Deo gratias, &c.

20

Ther dukys, and erlys, lorde and barone,
Were take, and slayne, and that wel sone,
And some were ledde in to Lundone
With joye, and merthe, and grete renone.

Deo gratias, &c.

25

30

Now gracious God he save owre kynge,
His peple, and all his wel wyllynge,
Gef him gode lyfe, and gode endynge,
That he with merth mowe savely synge

Deo gratias:
Deo gratias, Anglia, redde pro victoria.

VI.

THE NOT-BROWNE MAYD. The sentimental beauties of this ancient ballad have always recommended it to readers of taste, notwithstanding the rust of antiquity which obscures the style and expression. Indeed if it had no other merit than the having afforded the groundwork to Prior's · Henry and Emma,' this ought to preserve it from oblivion. That we are able to give it in so correct a manner, is owing to the great care and exactness of the accurate editor of the · Prolusions,' 8vo, 1760; who has formed the text from two copies found in two different editions of * Arnolde's Chronicle,' a book supposed to be first printed about 1521. From the copy in the Prolusions' the following is printed, with a few additional

improvements gathered from another edition of Arnolde's book1 preserved in the public library at Cambridge. All the various readings of this copy will be found here, either received into the text, or noted in the margin. The references to the Prolusions' will shew where they occur. In our ancient folio MS. described in the preface, is a very corrupt and defective copy of this ballad, which yet afforded a great improvement in one passage. See v. 310.

It has been a much easier task to settle the text of this poem, than to ascertain its date. The ballad of the “ Nutbrowne Mayd' was first revived in “The Muses' Mercury for June, 1707.' 4to, being prefaced with a little “Essay on the old English Poets and Poetry:' in which this poem is concluded to be

near 300 years old,' upon reasons which, though they appear inconclusive to us now, were sufficient to determine Prior; who there first met with it. However, this opinion had the approbation of the learned Wanley, an excellent judge of ancient books. For that whatever related to the reprinting of this old piece was referred to Wanley, appears from two letters of Prior's preserved in the British Museum (Harl. MSS. No. 3777.] The editor of the Prolusions' thinks it cannot be older than the year 1500, because, in Sir Thomas More's tale of The Serjeant,' &c. which was written about that time, there appears a sameness of rythmus and orthography, and a very near affinity of words and phrases, with those of this ballad. But this reasoning is not conclusive; for if Sir Thomas More made this ballad his model, as is very likely, that will account for the sameness of measure, and in some respect for that of words and phrases, even though this had been written long before: and, as for the orthography, it is well known that the old printers reduced that of most books to the standard of their own times. Indeed it is hardly probable that an antiquary like Arnolde would have inserted it among his historical collections, if it had been then a modern piece; at least he would have been apt to have named its author. But to shew how little can be inferred from a resemblance of rythmus or style, the editor of these volumes has in his ancient folio MS. a poem on the victory of Flodden-field, written in the same numbers, with the same alliterations, and in orthography, phraseology, and style nearly resembling the visions of Pierce Plowman, which are yet known to have been composed above 160 years before that battle. As this poem is a great curiosity, we shall give a few of the introductory lines:

"Grant gracious God, grant me this time,
That I may 'say, or I cease, thy selven to please;
And Mary his mother, that maketh this world;
And all the seemlie saints, that sitten in heaven;
1 will carpe of kings, that conquered full wide,
That dwelled in this land, that was alyes noble;

Henry the seventh, that soveraigne lord, &c.' With regard to the date of the following ballad, we have taken a middle course, neither placed it so high as Wanley and Prior, nor quite so low as the editor of the Prolusions:' we should have followed the latter in dividing every other line into two, but that the whole would have taken up more room than could be allowed it in this volume.

1 This (which my friend Mr. Farmer supposes to be the first edition) is in folio: the folios are numbered at the bottom of the leaf: the song begins at folio 75. The poem has since been collated with a very fine copy that was in the collection of the late James West, Esq; the readings extracted thence are denoted thus 'Mr W.'

« PreviousContinue »