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RICHARD OF AL MAIGNE, “ A ballad made by one of the adherents to Simon de " Montfort, earl of Leicester, Yoon after the battle of Lewes, " which was fought May 14, 1264,"
-affords a curious fpecimen of ancient Satire, and shews that the liberty, asumed by the good people of this realm, of abusing their kings and princes at pleasure, is a privilege of very long standing Vol. II. B
To render this antique libel intelligible, the reader is to understand that just before the battle of Lewes which proved fo fatal to the interests of Henry III. the barons bad offered his brother Richard King of the Romans 30,000l. to pro. cure a peace upon such terms, as would have divefted Henry of all his regal power, and therefore the treaty proved abor tive.-The consequences of that battle are well known: the king, prince Edward his son, his brother Richard and mang of his friends, fell into the hands of their enemies : while two great barons of the king's party, John earl of Warren, und Hugh Bigot the king's Jufliciary, had been glad to escape into France.
In the if stanza the aforesaid sum of THIRTY THOUSAND pounds is alluded to, but with the usual misrepresentation of party malevolence, is asserted to have been the exorbitant demand of the king's brother.
With regard to the 2d A. the Reader is to note that Richard, along with the earldom of Cornwall, bad the honours of WALING FORD and Eyre confirmed to him on his marriage with Sanchia daughter of the Count of Provence,
-WINDSOR cafle was the chief fortress belonging to the king, and had been garrisoned by foreigners: a circumstance which furnishes out the burtben of each stanza.
The 3d f. alludes to a remarkable circumstance which bappened on the day of the battle of Lewes. After the battle was loft, Richard king of the Romans took refuge in a Windmill, which he baricadoed, and maintained for some time against the Barons, but in the evening was obliged to Surrender. See a very full account of this in the Chronicle of Mailros. Oxon. 1684. p. 229.
The 4th R. is of obvious interpretation : Richard, who bad been elected king of the Romans in 1256, and had afterwards gone over to take polleffion of his dignity, avas ir the year 1259, about to return into England, when the barons raised a popular clamour, that he was bringing with bin foreigners 10 over-run the kingdom: upon which be was forced to dismiss almost all his followers, otherwise the barons Rould have opposed bis landing.
In the 5th A. the writer regrets the escape of the Earl of Warren, and in the 6th and 9tb fts. infinuates, that, if be and Sir Hugh Bigot once fell into the hands of their adverfaries, they pould never, more return home; a circumstance which fixes the date of this ballad; for, in the year 1265, both these noblemen lanıled in South Wales, and the royal party foon after gained the ascendant. See Holingshed, Rapin, &c.
The following is copied from a very ancient MS. in the British Museum. [Harl. MSS. 2253: S. 23.] This MS. is judged, from the peculiarities of the writing, to be not later than the time of Richard II. ; th being every where expressed by the character þ; the Ÿ is pointed after the Saxon manner, and the í bath an
oblique ftroke over it. Prefixed to this ancient libel on government is a small de fign, which the engraver intended should correspond with the subject. On the one fide a Satyr (emblem of Petulance and Ridicule) is trampling on the ensigns of Royalty; on the other, Faction under the masque of Liberty is exciting Ignorance and Popular Rage to deface the Royal Image ; which stands on a pedestal inscribed MAGNA CHARTA, to denote that the rights of the king, as well as those of the people, are founded on the laws; and that to attack one, is in effect to demolib both.
ITTETH alle stille, ant herkneth to me;
The kyng of Alemaigne, bi mi leaute,
in the countre,
Ant so he dude more.
Tricthen Malt thou never more,
Richard of Alemaigne, whil that he wes kying,
The kyng of Alemaigne wende do ful wel,
To helpe Wyndefore.
The kyng of Alemaigne gederede ys hoft,
To store Wyndesore.
By God, that is aboven ous, he dude muche fynne,
For love of Wyndefore. 30
Sire Simond de Mountfort hath suore bi ys chýn,
Shuld he never more come to is ön,
To help of Wyndesore.
Sire Simond de Montfort hath suore bi ys cop,
To helpe Wyndesore.
Be the luef, be the loht, fire Edward,
Ant that reweth fore
Forsoke thyn emes lore
Ver. 40. g'te here MS. i. e. grant their. Vid. Gloss.
*.* This Ballad will rise in its importance with the Reader, when he finds, that it is even believed to have occafioned a Law in our statute Book, viz. “ Against sanderous 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 “ Obferish vations upon the Statutes, &c.” 4t0. ad Edit. 1765, P 71.
However, in the Harl. Colle&tion may be found other fatirical and defamatory rhymes of the same age, that might have their share in contributing to this first Law against libels. B 3