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KING EDWARD IV. AND THE TANNER OF TAMWORTH. 305
Now, gentle heardsman, aske no more,
But keepe my secretts I thee pray:
Show me the right and readye way.
For he must ever guide thee still:
And soe, faire pilgrim, fare thee well!”
*** To show what constant tribute was paid to OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM, I shall give a few extracts from the “Household-Book of Henry Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland.” Printed 1770, 8vo.
Sect. XLIII. page 337, &c. ITEM, My Lorde usith yerly to send afor Michaelmas for his Lordschip’s
Offerynge to our Lady of Walsyngebam,-iiijd. ITEM, My Lorde usith ande accustumyth to sende yerely for the
upholdynge of the Light of Wax which his Lordschip fyndith birnynge yerly befor our Lady of Walsyngham, contenynge æ j lb. of Wax in it after v i j d. ob. for the fyndynge of every lb. redy wrought by a covenaunt maid with the Channon by great, for the hole yere,
for the fyndinge of the said Lyght byrning,-v i s. v ii i j d. ITEM, My Lord useth and accustomith to syende yerely to the Channon
that kepith the Light before our Lady of Walsyngham, for his reward for the hole yere, for kepynge of the said Light, lightynge of it at all
service tymes daily thorowt the yere,-a i j d. ITEM, My Lord usith and accustomyth yerely to send to the Prest that
kepith the Light, lyghtynge of it at all service tymes daily thorowt the yere, -i i j s. i i jd.
King Edward XV. and the Tanner of Tamworth
was a story of great fame among our ancestors. The author of the Art of English Poesie, 1589, 4to, seems to speak of it as a real fact. Describing that vicious mode of speech, which the Greeks called Acyron, i. e. “ When we use a dark and obscure word, utterly repugnant to that we should express ;” he adds, “Such manner of uncouth speech did the Tanner of Tainworth use to King Edward the Fourth; which Tanner, having a great while mistaken him, and used very broad talke with him, at length perceiving by his traine that it was the king, was afraide VOL. I.
he should be punished for it, [and] said thus, with a certain rude repentance,
“I hope I shall be hanged to-morrow,' for [I feare me] I shall be hanged; whereat the king laughed a good, not only to see the Tanner's vaine feare, but also to heare his illshapen terme: and gave him for recompence of his good sport, the inheritance of Plumpton-parke. I am afraid," concludes this sagacious writer, “ the poets of our times that speake more finely and correctedly, will come too short of such a reward.”—p. 214. The phrase here referred to is not found in this ballad at present, but occurs with some variation in another old poem, entitled, John the Reeve, described in the following volume. -See the Preface to The King and the Miller, viz.
“ Nay, sayd John, by Gods grace
Hee shold not touch this tonne :
That in his mouth shold come.”—Pt. ii. st. 24. The following text is selected (with such other corrections as occurred) from two copies in black letter. The one in the Bodleian library, entitled, “A merrie, pleasant, and delectable historie betweene King Edward the Fourth, and a Tanner of Tamworth, &c., printed at London, by John Danter, 1596.” This copy, ancient as it now is, appears to have been modernised and altered at the time it was published; and many vestiges of the more ancient readings were recovered from another copy (though more recently printed), in one sheet folio, without date, in the Pepys Collection.
But these are both very inferior in point of antiquity to the old ballad of The King and the Barker, reprinted with other “Pieces of Ancient Popular Poetry from Authentic Manuscripts, and old Printed Copies, edited by Ritson," Lond. 1791, 8vo. As that very antique poem had never occurred to the Editor of the Reliques, till he saw it in the above collection, he now refers the curious reader to it, as an imperfect and incorrect copy of the old original ballad.
In summer time, when leaves grow greene,
And blossoms bedecke the tree,
Some pastime for to see.
With horne, and eke with bowe;
With all his lordes a rowe.
i Vide Gloss.
2 Nor in that of the Barker mentioned below,
And he had ridden ore dale and downe
By eight of clocke in the day,
Come ryding along the waye.
Fast buttoned under his chin,
And a mare of four shilling 3
Under the grene wood spraye;
To weet what he will saye.
“ Thou art welcome, sir,” sayd hee.
I praye thee to shewe to mee.”
Fro the place where thou dost stand ?
Turne in upon thy right hand.”
“ Thou doest but jest I see;
And I pray thee wend with mee.”
“I hold thee out of thy witt:
And I am fasting yett.”
No daynties we will spare;
And I will paye thy fare."
V. 20, Weet, i.e., to know. 3 In the reign of Edward IV., Dame Cecill, lady of Torboke, in her will dated March 7, A.D. 1466, among many other bequests has this, “ Also I will that my sonne Thomas of Torboke have 13s. 4d. to buy him an horse.” --Vide Harleian Catalogue, 2176. 27. Now if 13s. 4d. would purchase a steed fit for a person of quality, a tanner's horse might reasonably be valued at four or five shillings.
“Gramercye for nothing,” the tanner replyde,
“Thou payest no fare of mine : I trowe I've more nobles in my purse,
Than thou hast pence in thine.” “God give thee joy of them,” sayd the king,
“And send them well to priefe;" The tanner wolde faine have beene away,
For he weende he had beene a thiefe.
Of thee I am in great feare;
Might beseeme a lord to weare.”
“I tell you, sir, by the roode.” “Then thou playest, as many an unthrift doth,
And standest in midds of thy goode.” 4 " What tydinges heare you,” sayd the kynge,
“ As you ryde farre and neare?” “I heare no tydinges, sir, by the masse,
But that cowe-hides are deare.” “ Cowe-hides ! cowe-hides ! what things are those ?
I marvell what they bee ?”. “What, art thou a foole?" the tanner reply'd ;
“I carry one under mee.” “ What craftsman art thou,” sayd the king;
"I praye thee tell me trowe.” “I am a barker, sir, by my trade;
Nowe tell me what art thou ?" “I am a poore courtier, sir," quoth he,
" That am forth of service worne; And faine I wolde thy prentise bee,
Thy cunninge for to learne.” “Marrye heaven forfend,” the tanner replyde,
" That thou my prentise were; Thou woldst spend more good than I shold winne
By fortye shilling a yere.” 4 1. e. hast no other wealth but what thou carriest about thee. 51. e. a dealer in bark. 1
“Yet one thinge wolde I,” sayd our king,
“If thou wilt not seeme strange ; Thoughe my horse be better than thy mare,
Yet with thee I faine wold change.”
As change full well maye wee,
I will have some boot of thee.”
“ I sweare, so mote I thee; My horse is better than thy mare,
And that thou well mayst see.”
And softly she will fare;
Aye skipping here and theare.”
“Now tell me in this stound.” “ Noe pence, nor half pence, by my faye,
But a noble in gold so round.” “ Here's twentye groates of white moneyè,
Sith thou will have it of mee." “I would have sworne now," quoth the tanner, - Thou hadst not had one penniè.
100 “ But since we too have made a change,
A change we must abide;
Thou gettest not my cowe-hide.”
If thou woldst give it to mee.”
110 And threwe it upon the king's sadelle,
That was soe fayrelye gilte.