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K. JOHN AND THE ABBOT OF CANTERBURY.
The common popular ballad of King JOHN AND THE ABBOT feen to have been abridged and modernized about the time of James I. from one niuch older, intitled, “ KING “ JOHN AND THE Bishop of CANTERBURY."
The Editor's folio MS. contains a copy of this last, but in 100 corrupt a state to be reprinted; it however afforded many lines worth reviving, which will be found inserted in the ensuing fianzas.
The archness of the following questions and answers bath been much admired by our old ballad-makers; for besides the two copies above mentioned, there is extant another bal. lad on the same subject (but of 110 great antiquity or merit), iniitlel, “ KING OLEREY AND THE ABBOT *.” Lastly, about the time of the civil wars, when the cry ran against the Bishops, fome Puritan worked up the same story into a very dilejul dirty, to a solemn tune, concerning 6. King HENRY AND A BISHOP," with this flinging moral:
66 Unlearned men hard matters out can find,
* See the collection of Hift. Ballads, 3 vols. 1725. Mr. Wife fupe pofis 0 1. FREY to be a corruption of ALFkkd, in bis pamphlet concerning the White Horse in Beikirc, p. 15.
The following is chiefly printed from an ancient blackletter copy, to
The tune of Derry down.”
N ancient story Ile tell you anon
Of a no-able prince, that was called king John; And he ruled England with maine and with might, For he did great wrong, and maintein'd little right.
And Ile tell you a story, a story so merrye,
An hundred men, the king did heare say,
How now, father abbot, I heare it of thee,
feare thou work'st treason against my crown.
My liege, quo' the abbot, I would it were knowne,
Yes, yes, father abbot, thy fault it is highe,
And first, quo' the king, when I'm in this stead, 23
Secondlye, tell me, without any doubt,
O, these are hard questions for my shallow witt,
Now three weeks space to thee will I give,
Away rode the abbot all fad at that word,
Then home rode the abbot of comfort so cold, 45
“ Sad newes, sad newes, shepheard, I must give ;
The first is to tell him there in that stead,
The seconde, to tell him, without any doubt,
Now cheare up, fire abbot, did you never hear yet,
Nay frowne not, if it hath bin told unto mee,
Now horses, and serving-men thou shalt have,
Now welcome, fire abbot, the king he did say,
And first, when thou seest me here in this stead,
“ For thirty pence our Saivour was sold
The king he laughed, and swore by St. Bittel *,
Now secondly tell me, without any doubt,
6. You must rise with the sun, and ride with the same, Until the next morning he riseth againe;
Meaning probably St. Botolpb.