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In joye yt maks our mirthe abounde,

In woe yt cheres our hevy sprites;
Be-strawghted heads relyef hath founde,

By musickes pleasaunt swete delightes :
Our senses all, what shall I say more?
Are subjecte unto musicks lore.
The Gods by musicke have theire prayse;

The lyfe, the soul therein doth joye;
For, as the Romayne poet sayes,

In seas, whom pyrats would destroy,
A dolphin saved from death most sharpe
Arion playing on his harpe.
O heavenly gyft, that rules the mynd,

Even as the sterne dothe rule the shippe !
O musicke, whom the Gods assinde

To comforte manne, whom cares would nippe !
Since thow both man and beste doest move,
What beste ys he, wyll the disprove ?

VI. King Cophetua and the Beggar-Maid is a story often alluded to by our old dramatic writers. Shakspeare in his Romeo and Juliet, act ü. sc. 1, makes Mercutio say,

- “Her (Venus's] purblind son and heir,
Young Adam Cupid, he that shot so true,

When King Cophetua loved the beggar-maid. As the 13th line of the following ballad seems here particularly alluded to, it is not improbable but Shakspeare wrote it shot so trim, which the players or printers, not perceiving the allusion, might alter to true. The former, as being the more humorous expression, seems most likely to have come from the mouth of Mercutio.?

In the 2nd Part of Hen. IV. act v. sc. 3, Falstaff is introduced affectedly saying to Pistoll,

“O base Assyrian knight, what is thy news ?

Let king Cophetua know the truth thereof."

1 See above, preface to Song i. Book ii. of this vol. p. 106, 107.

2 Since this conjecture was first made, it has been discovered that shot so trim was the genuine reading.–See Shakspeare, edit. 1793, xiv. 393.

These lines Dr. Warburton thinks were taken from an old bombast play of King Cophetua. No such play is, I believe, now to be found; but it does not therefore follow that it never existed. Many dramatic pieces are referred to by old writers, which are not now extant, or even mentioned in any list. In the infancy of the stage, plays were often exhibited that were never printed.

It is probably in allusion to the same play, that Ben Jonson says in his Comedy of Every Man in his Humour, act iii. sc. 4:

"I have not the heart to devour thee, an' I might be made as rich as King Cophetua.” At least there is no mention of King Cophetua's riches in the present ballad, which is the oldest I have met with on the subject.

It is printed from Rich. Johnson's Crown Garland of Goulden Roses, 1612, 12mo (where it is entitled simply, A Song of a Beggar and a King): corrected by another copy.

I READ that once in Affrica

A princely wight did raine,
Who had to name Cophetua,

As poets they did faine.
From natures lawes he did decline,
For sure he was not of my minde,
He cared not for women-kind,

But did them all disdaine.
But marke what hapned on a day;
As he out of his window lay,
He saw a beggar all in gray,

The which did cause his paine.
The blinded boy that shootes so trim

From heaven downe did hie,
He drew a dart and shot at him,

In place where he did lye:
Which soone did pierse him to the quicke,
And when he felt the arrow pricke,
Which in his tender heart did sticke,
He looketh as he would dye.

“ What sudden chance is this,” quoth he,
“That I to love must subject be,
Which never thereto would agree,

But still did it defie?”

3 See Mere's Wits Treas. fol. 283. Arte of Eng. Poes. 1589, pp. 51, 111, 143, 169.

Then from the window he did come,

And laid him on his bed ;
A thousand heapes of care did runne

Within his troubled head.
For now he meanes to crave her love,
And now he seekes which way to proove
How he his fancie might remoove,

And not this beggar wed.
But Cupid had him so in snare,
That this poor begger must prepare
A salve to cure him of his care,

Or els he would be dead.

And as he musing thus did lye,

He thought for to devise
How he might have her companye,

That so did 'maze his eyes.
“In thee,” quoth he, “ doth rest my life;
For surely thou shalt be my wife,
Or else this hand with bloody knife,

The Gods shall sure suffice.”
Then from his bed he soon arose,
And to his pallace gate he goes ;
Full little then this begger knowes

When she the king espies.

“ The gods preserve your majesty,"

The beggers all gan cry;
6 Vouchsafe to give your charity,

Our childrens food to buy."
The king to them his purse did cast,
And they to part it made great haste;
This silly woman was the last

That after them did hye.
The king he cald her back againe,
And unto her he gave his chaine ;
And said, “ With us you shal remaine

Till such time as we dye. “For thou," quoth he, “shalt be my wife,

And honoured for my queene;

With thee I meane to lead my life,

As shortly shall be seene :
Our wedding shall appointed be,
And every thing in its degree; .
Come on," quoth he, “and follow me,

Thou shalt go shift thee cleane.
What is thy name, faire maid ?” quoth he.
“Penelophon,4 0 King," quoth she;
With that she made a lowe courtsey;

A trim one as I weene.
Thus hand in hand along they walke

Unto the king's pallàce:
The king with courteous, comly talke

This begger doth embrace.
The begger blusheth scarlet red,
And straight againe as pale as lead,
But not a word at all she said,

She was in such amaze.
At last she spake with trembling voyce,
And said, “0 King, I doe rejoyce
That you wil take me for your choyce,

And my degree so base.”
And when the wedding day was come,

The king commanded strait
The noblemen, both all and some,

Upon the queene to wait.
And she behaved herself that day
As if she had never walkt the way;
She had forgot her gowne of gray,

Which she did weare of late.
The proverbe old is come to passe,
The priest, when he begins his masse,
Forgets that ever clerke he was;
He knowth not his estate.

Ver. 90, i. e. tramped the streets. 4 Shakespeare (who alludes to this ballad in his Love's Labour Lost, act iv. sc. 1) gives the Beggar's name Zenelophon, according to all the old editions: but this seems to be a corruption; for Penelophon, in the text, sounds more like the name of a woman. The story of the King and the Beggar is also alluded to in King Rich. II. act. v. sc. 3.



Here you may read Cophetua,

Through long time fancie-fed,
Compelled by the blinded boy

The begger for to wed :
He that did lovers lookes disdaine,
To do the same was glad and faine,
Or else he would himselfe have slaine,

In storie, as we read.
Disdaine no whit, O lady deere,
But pitty now thy servant heere,
Least that it hap to thee this yeare,

As to that king it did.
And thus they led a quiet life
During their princely raine,
And in a tombe were buried both,

As writers sheweth plaine.
The lords they tooke it grievously,
The ladies tooke it heavily,
The commons cryed pitiously,

Their death to them was paine.
Their fame did sound so passingly,
That it did pierce the starry sky,
And throughout all the world did flye

To every princes realme.5




V. 105, Here the poet addresses himself to his mistress.

V. 112, sheweth was anciently the plur. numb. SAs ingenious friend thinks the two last stanzas should change place.


Take thy Old Cloak about Thee is supposed to have been originally a Scottish ballad. The reader here has an ancient copy in the English idiom, with an additional stanza (the 2d) never before printed. This curiosity is preserved in the Editor's folio MS., but not without corruptions, which are here removed by the assistance of the Scottish edit. Shakspeare in his Othello, act ii., has quoted one stanza, with some variations, which are here adopted : the old MS. readings are however given in the margin.

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