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205

210

215

Wyllyam wente into a fyeld,

And 'with him' his two brethren:
There they set up two hasell roddes,

Full twenty score betwene.
“I hold him an archar,” said Cloudeslè,

“ That yonder wande cleveth in two;"
“Here is none suche," sayd the kyng,

“ Nor none that can so do.”
“I shall assaye, Syr,” sayd Cloudeslè,

“ Or that I farther go.”
Cloudesly, with a bearyng arowe,

Clave the wand in two.
“ Thou art the best archer," then said the king,

“For sothe that ever I se.”
“And yet for your love,” sayd Wyllyam,

“I wyll do more maystery.”
“I have a sonne is seven yere olde,

He is to me full deare;
I wyll hym tye to a stake,

All shall se that be here;
“And lay an apple upon hys head,

And go syxe score hym fro,
And I my selfe, with a brode arów,

Shall cleve the apple in two."
“Now haste the," then sayd the kyng,

“ By Hym that dyed on a tre;
But yf thou do not as thou hest sayde,

Hanged shalt thou be.
“ And thou touche his head or gowne,

In syght that men may se,
By all the sayntes that be in heaven,

I shall hange you all thre.”

220

225

230

V. 202, 203, 212, to. P.C.

V. 204, twenty score paces. P.C. i. e. 400 yards. V. 208, sic MS., none that can. P.C. V. 222, six-score paces. P.C., i. e. 120 yards.

“ That I have promised,” said William,

" That I wyll never forsake :" And there even before the kynge,

In the earth he drove a stake,

235

And bound therto his eldest sonne,

And bad hym stand styll thereat, And turned the childes face him fro,

Because he should not start.

240

An apple upon his head he set,

And then his bowe he bent; Syxe score paces they were meaten,

And thether Cloudeslè went.

245

There he drew out a fayr brode arrowe,

Hys bowe was great and longe, He set that arrowe in his bowe,

That was both styffe and stronge.

250

He prayed the people, that wer there,

That they would still stand,
“ For he that shoteth for such a wager,

Behoveth a stedfast hand.”
Muche people prayed for Cloudeslè,

That hys lyfe saved myght be,
And whan he made hym redy to shote,

There was many weeping ee.
• But’ Cloudeslè clefte the apple in two,

As many a man myght se. “ Over Gods forbode," sayde the kinge,

“ That thou shold shote at me.

255

260.

“I geve thee eightene pence a day,

And my bowe shalt thou bere, And over all the north countrè,

I make thee chyfe rydère.”

V. 243, sic MS., out met. P.C.
V. 252, steedye. MS. V. 265, and I geve the xvii pence. P.C.

“ And I thyrtene pence a day,” said the quene, 265

“ By God and by my fay; Come feche thy payment when thou wylt,

No man shall say the nay." “ Wyllyam, I make the a gentleman, Of clothyng and of fe,

270 And thy two brethren, yemen of my chambre,

For they are so semely to se.
“Your sonne, for he is tendre of age,

Of my wyne-seller he shall be,
And when he commeth to mans estate,

275 Better avaunced shall he be.” “ And, Wyllyam, bring to me your wife,” said the “ Me longeth her sore to se;

[quene. She shall be my chefe gentlewoman, To governe my nurserye.”

280 The yemen thanked them full curteously,

“To some byshop wyl we wend, Of all the synnes that we have done

To be assoyld at his hand.”

285

So forth be gone these good yemen,

As fast as they might 'he;'2
And after came and dwelled with the kynge,

And dyed good men all thre.
Thus endeth the lives of these good yemen,

God send them eternall blysse,
And all that with a hand-bowe shoteth,

That of heven they may never mysse. Amen.

290

V. 282, And sayd to some Bishopp wee will wend. MS.

2 he, i. e. hie, hasten. See the Glossary.

II.

The Aged Lover renounceth Love. The Grave-digger's song in Hamlet, act v., is taken from three stanzas of the following poem, though greatly altered and disguised, as the same were corrupted by the ballad singers of Shakspeare's time; or perhaps so designed by the poet bimself, the better to paint the character of an illiterate clown. The original is preserved among Surrey's Poems, and is attributed to Lord Vaux, by George Gascoigne, who tells us, it " was thought by some to be made upon his death-bed;" a popular error which he laughs at. (See his Epist. to Yong Gent. prefixed to his Posies, 1575, 4to.) It is also ascribed to Lord Vaux in a manuscript copy preserved in the British Museum. This lord was remarkable for his skill in drawing feigned manners, &c., for so I understand an ancient writer. “The Lord Vaux his commendation Iyeth chiefly in the facilitie of his meetre, and the aptnesse of his descriptions such as he taketh upon him to make, namely in sundry of his Songs, wherein he showeth the counterfait action very lively and pleasantly.”—Arte of Eng. Poesie, 1589, p. 51. See another song by this poet in vol. ii. no. viii.

I LOTHE that I did love,

In youth that I thought swete,
As time requires : for my behove

Me thinkes they are not mete.
My lustes they do me leave,

My fansies all are fled;
And tract of time begins to weave

Gray heares upon my hed.
For Age with steling steps

Hath clawde me with his crowch,
And lusty “Youthe' away he leapes,
· As there had bene none such.
My muse doth not delight

Me, as she did before ;
My hand and pen are not in plight,

15 As they have bene of yore. Ver. 6, be. P.C. (printed copy in 1557.] V. 10, crorch perhaps should be clouch, cluch, grasp. V. 11, life away she. P.C.

1 Harl. MSS. num. 1703, $ 25. The readings gathered from that copy are distinguished here by inverted commas. The text is printed from the “Songs, &c., of the Earl of Surrey and others, 1557, 4to."

For Reason me denies

• All' youthly idle rime;
And day by day to me she cries,

“Leave off these toyes in tyme.”
The wrinkles in my brow,

The furrowes in my face
Say, “ Limping Age will · lodge' him now

Where Youth must geve him place."
The harbenger of death,

To me I se him ride:
The cough, the cold, the gasping breath

Doth bid me to provide
A pikeax and a spade,

And eke a shrowding shete,
A house of clay for to be made

For such a guest most mete.
Me thinkes I hear the clarke

That knoles the careful knell,
And bids me leave my 'wearye' warke,

Ere Nature me compell.
My kepers 2 knit the knot,

That Youth doth laugh to scorne,
Of me that shall bee cleane' forgot,

As I had ne'er' been borne.
Thus must I Youth geve up,

Whose badge I long did weare;
To them I yelde the wanton cup,

That better may it beare.
Lo here the bared skull,

By whose bald signe I know,
That stouping Age away shall pull

What’ youthful yeres did sow.
V. 18, this. P.C. V. 23, sic ed. 1583; 'tis hedge in ed. 1557. hath
caught him. MS.
V. 30, wyndynge-sheete. MS.

V. 34, bell. MS. V. 35, wofull. P.C. V. 38, did. P.C. V. 39, clene shal be. P.C. V. 40, not. P.C. V. 45, bare-hedde. MS. and some P.cc. V. 48, Which. P.C., That. MS. What is conject.

? Alluding perhaps to Eccles. xii. 3. VOL. I.

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