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With hare sharpe swerdes he grounde the stel,
To helpe Wyndesore.
The kyng of Alemaigne gederede ys host,
To store Wyndesore.
By God, that is aboven ous, he dude muche sýnne,
For love of Wyndesore.
Sire Simond de Mountfort hath suore bi ýs chyn,
To help of Wyndesore.
Sire Simond de Montfort hath suore bi ys cop,
To helpe Wyndesore.
Be the luef, be the loht, sire Edward,
Ant that reweth sore
Forsoke thyn emes lore
*** This Ballad will rise in its importance with the reader, when he finds, that it is even believed to have occasioned a law in our statute book, viz. " Against slanderous reports or tales, to cause discord betwixt king and people.' (Westm. Primer, c. 34. anno 3. Edw. I.) That it had this effect is the opinion of an eminent writer: See · Observations upon the Statutes, &c.' 4to. 2d Edit. 1766, p. 71.
However, in the Harl. Collection may be found other satirical and defamatory rhymes of the same age, that might have their share in contributing to this first law against libels.
ON THE DEATH OF K. EDWARD THE
FIRST. We have here an early attempt at elegy. Edward I. died July 7, 1307, in the 35th year of his reign, and 69th of his age. This poem appears to have been composed soon after his death. According to the modes of thinking peculiar to those times, the writer dwells more upon his devotion, than his skill in government, and pays less attention to the martial and political abilities of this great monarch, in which he had no equal, than to some little weaknesses of superstition, which he had in common with all his cotemporaries. The king had in the decline of life vowed an expedition to the holy land, but finding his end approach, he dedicated the sum of 32,0001. to the maintenance of a large body of knights (140 say historians, 80 says our poet), who were to carry his heart with them into Palestine. This dying command of the king was never performed. Our poet, with the honest prejudices of an Englishman, attributes this failure to the advice of the king of France, whose daughter Isabel, the young monarch, who succeeded, immediately married. But the truth is, Edward and his destructive favourite, Piers Gaveston, spent the money upon their pleasures. To do the greater honour
Ver. 44, This stanza was omitted in the former editions.
to the memory of his hero, our poet puts his eloge in the mouth of the Pope, with the same poetic licence, as a modern bard' would have introduced Britannia, or the Genius of Europe pouring forth his praises.
This antique elegy is extracted from the same MS. volume as the preceding article ; is found with the same peculiarities of writing and orthography; and though written at near the distance of half a century, contains little or no variation of idioma : whereas the next following poem by Chaucer, which was probably written not more than fifty or sixty years after this, exhibits almost a new language. This seems to countenance the opinion of some antiquaries, that this great poet made considerable innovations in his mother tongue, and introduced many terms, and new modes of speech from other languages.
ALLE, that beoth of huerte trewe,
A stounde herkneth to my song
That maketh me syke, ant sorewe among;
Of wham God hath don ys wille;
That he so sone shall ligge stille.
Al Englond ahte for te knowe
Of wham that song is, that y synge;
Yent al this world is nome con springe:
Ant in werre war ant wys,
Of Christendome he ber the prys.
Byfore that oure kyng was ded,
He spek ase mon that wes in care,
“Y charge ou by oure sware,
Y deze, y ne may lyven na more;
For he is nest to buen y-core.
RELIQUES OF ANCIENT POETRY.
That hit be write at mi devys,
With fourscore knyhtes al of prys,
Ayein the hethene for te fyhte,
Myself ycholde yef that y myhte.'
Kyng of Fraunce, thou hevedest [sinne,
That thou the counsail woldest fonde,
To wende to the holy londe:
All Engelond to yeme ant wysse,
To wynnen us heveriche blisse.
The messager to the pope com,
And seyde that our kynge was ded:
Ywis his herte was full gret:
Ant spec a word of gret honour.
Of Christendome he ber the flour.'
The Pope to is chaumbre wende,
For dol ne mihte he speke na more;
That muche couthen of Cristes lore,
Ver. 33, sunne, MS.—Ver. 35, kyng Edward, MS.—Ver. 43, ys is probably & contraction of in hys or yn his.
* The name of the person who was to preside over this business.
Bothe the lasse, ant eke the more,
Bed hem bothe rede ant synge: Gret deol me myhte se thore,
Mony mon is honde wrynge.
The Pope of Peyters stod at is masse
With ful gret solempnetè,
'Kyng Edward honoured thou be: God love thi sone come after the,
Bringe to ende that thou hast bygonne, The holy crois y-mad of tre,
So fain thou woldest hit hav y-wonne.
Jerusalem, thou hast i-lore
The flour of al chivalrie
Alas! that he yet shulde deye!
Oure banners, that bueth broht to grounde; 70 Wel! longe we mowe clepe and crie
Er we a such kyng han y-founde.'
Nou is Edward of Carnarvan
King of Engelond al aplyht, God lete him ner be worse man
Then his fader, ne lasse of myht, To holden is pore men to rhyt,
And understonde good counsail, Al Engelong for to wysse ant dyht;
Of gode knyhtes darh him nout fail.
Thah mi tonge were mad of stel,
Ant min herte yzote of bras,