The Project Gutenberg eBook of English and Scottish Ballads, Volume VIII

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Title: English and Scottish Ballads, Volume VIII

Editor: Francis James Child

Release date: September 27, 2013 [eBook #43825]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Simon Gardner, Dianna Adair, Louise Davies and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images
generously made available by the Digital & Multimedia
Center, Michigan State University Libraries.)


Transcriber's Notes

Archaic, dialect and inconsistent spellings and hyphenation have been retained as in the original. Minor corrections to format and punctuation together with regularisation of poetry line numbering have been made without comment. Any other changes to the text have been listed at the end of the book.

Notes with reference to ballad line numbers are presented at the end of each ballad and the presence of a note is indicated by links in the text.

[Pg i]





[Pg ii]

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1858, by Little, Brown and Company, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.


[Pg iii]


1.King John and the Abbot of Canterbury3
2.Captain Wedderburn's Courtship11
3.Lay the Bent to the Bonny Broom18
4.King Edward Fourth and the Tanner of Tamworth21
5.The King and the Miller of Mansfield32
6.Gernutus, the Jew of Venice45
7.The Frolicksome Duke, or, The Tinker's Good Fortune54
8 a.The Heir of Linne. [Percy.]60
8 b.The Heir of Linne. [Traditional version]70
9.The Wandering Jew76
10.Proud Lady Margaret83
11.Reedisdale and Wise William87
12 a.Geordie. [Musical Museum.]92
12 b.Geordie. [Kinloch.]96
13.The Gaberlunzie Man98
14.The Turnament of Totenham101
15.The Wyf of Auchtirmuchty116
16.The Friar in the Well122
17.Get up and bar the Door125
18.The Dragon of Wantley128
Kempy Kaye. [Sharpe.]139
Kempy Kaye. [Kinloch.]141
[Pg iv]The Jovial Hunter of Bromsgrove144
The Bludy Serk147
The Wanton Wife of Bath152
The Gentleman in Thracia158
Sir Richard Whittington's Advancement165
Catskin's Garland, or, The Wandering young Gentlewoman172
The Taming of a Shrew182
Titus Andronicus's Complaint188
John Dory194
Sir Eglamore196
Jephthah, Judge of Israel198
Queen Dido, or, The Wandering Prince of Troy207
George Barnwell213
The Duke of Athol's Nurse. [Buchan.]228
The Duke of Athol's Nourice. [Kinloch.]231
The Hireman Chiel233
Armstrong and Musgrave243
Fair Margaret of Craignargat249
Richie Storie255
The Farmer's Old Wife257
The Duel of Wharton and Stuart259
Saddle to Rags265
The Fause Knight upon the Road269
Gifts from over Sea271
The Courteous Knight272
The Northern Lord and Cruel Jew277
Gight's Lady285

[Pg 1]


[Pg 3]


Stories resembling that contained in the following ballad are to be met with in the literature of most of the nations of Europe; for example, in the Gesta Romanorum, (No. XIX. and [XXXV.] of Madden's Old English Versions,) in the amusing German tale Der Phaffe Amis, 98-180, in Eulenspiegel, (Marbach, p. 28,) and the English Owlglass (31st Adventure in the recent edition), in the Grimm's Kinder-und-Haus-marchen, No. 152, in Sacchetti's Novels, No. 4, the Patrañuelo of Juan Timoneda, Alcala, 1576 (Ritson, Anc. Songs, ii. 183), the Contes à rire, i. 182, (Gent. Mag. 65, i. 35,) etc., etc. King John and the Abbot, says Grundtvig (ii. 650), is universally known in Denmark in the form of a prose tale; and a copy is printed in Gamle danske Minder (1854) No. 111, The King and the Miller.

Wynken de Worde, printed in 1511, a little collection of riddles, translated from the French, like those propounded by King John to the Abbot, with the title Demaundes Joyous. By this link the present ballad is connected with a curious class of compositions, peculiar to the Middle Ages—the Disputations, or Wit-Combats, of which the dialogues of Salomon and Marcolf (existing in many languages) are the most familiar, and those of Salomon and Saturn (in Anglo-Saxon) the oldest preserved specimens. These dialogues, in their earlier shape grave contests for[Pg 4] superiority in knowledge and wisdom, underwent a change about the twelfth century, by which they became essentially comic. The serious element, represented by Salomon, was retained after this, merely to afford material, or contrast, for the coarse humor of Marcolf, whose part it is, under the character of a rude and clownish person, "facie deformis et turpissimus," to turn the sententious observations of the royal sage into ludicrous parodies.[1]

The hint, and possibly a model, for these disputations may have been found in Jewish tradition. We learn from Josephus, (Antiquities, Book VIII. ch. v.) that Hiram of Tyre and Solomon sent one another sophistical puzzles and enigmas to be solved, on condition of forfeiting large sums of money in case of failure, and that Solomon's riddles were all guessed by Abdæmon of Tyre, or by Abdimus, his son, for authorities differ. This account coincides with what we read in Chronicles, (Book II. ch. ii. 13, 14,) of the man sent by Hiram to Solomon, who, besides a universal knowledge of the arts, was skilful "to find out every device that might be put to him" by cunning men—that is, apparently, "hard questions," such as the Queen of Sheba came to prove Solomon with,[Pg 5] (1 Kings, x. i.) some account of which is given in the Talmud.—See, on the whole subject, Kemble's masterly essay on Salomon and Saturn, printed by the Ælfric Society: also Grässe, Sagenkreise des Mittelalters, p. 406-471; the Grimms' Kinder-und-Hausmärchen, vol. iii. p. 236, ed. 1856; F. W. V. Schmidt, Taschenbuch deutscher Romanzen, p. 82.

Examples of the riddle-song pure and simple will be found under Captain Wedderburn's Courtship.

This ballad is taken from Percy's Reliques, ii. 329. The copy in Durfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy, iv. 29, or A Collection of Old Ballads, ii. 49, is vastly inferior to the present.

"The common popular ballad of King John and the Abbot," says Percy, "seems to have been abridged and modernized about the time of James I., from one much older, entitled King John and the Bishop of Canterbury. The Editor's folio MS. contains a copy of this last, but in too corrupt a state to be reprinted; it however afforded many lines worth reviving, which will be found inserted in the ensuing stanzas.

"The archness of the following questions and answers hath been much admired by our old ballad-makers; for besides the two copies above mentioned, there is extant another ballad on the same subject, (but of no great antiquity or merit,) entitled King Olfrey and the Abbot. [Old Ball. ii. 55.] Lastly, about the time of the civil wars, when the cry ran against the bishops, some puritan worked up the same story into a very doleful ditty, to a solemn tune, concerning King Henry and a Bishop; with this stinging moral:

'Unlearned men hard matters out can find,
When learned bishops princes eyes do blind.'

[1] Among those nations who originated and developed the character of Marcolf (the German and the French) his fame has declined, but in Italy, where the legend was first introduced towards the end of the sixteenth century, his shrewd sayings, like the kindred jests of the Eulenspiegel in Germany, have an undiminished popularity, and his story, both in the form of a chap-book and of a satirical epic, (the Bertoldo,) is circulated throughout the length and breadth of the country, whence it has also been transplanted into Greece.

[Pg 6]

"The following is chiefly printed from an ancient black-letter copy, to the tune of Derry-down."

An ancient story Ile tell you anon
Of a notable 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, 5
Concerning the Abbott of Canterbùrye;
How for his house-keeping and high renowne,
They rode poste for him to fair London towne.
An hundred men, the king did heare say,
The abbot kept in his house every day; 10
And fifty golde chaynes, without any doubt,
In velvet coates waited the abbot about.
"How now, father abbot, I heare it of thee,
Thou keepest a farre better house than mee;
And for thy house-keeping and high renowne, 15
I feare thou work'st treason against my crown."
"My liege," quo' the abbot, "I would it were knowne
I never spend nothing, but what is my owne;
And I trust your grace will doe me no deere,
[Pg 7]For spending of my owne true-gotten geere." 20
"Yes, yes, father abbot, thy fault it is highe,
And now for the same thou needest must dye;
For except thou canst answer me questions three,
Thy head shall be smitten from thy bodìe.
"And first," quo' the king, "when I'm in this stead, 25
With my crowne of golde so faire on my head,
Among all my liege-men so noble of birthe,
Thou must tell me to one penny what I am worthe.
"Secondlye, tell me, without any doubt,
How soone I may ride the whole world about; 30
And at the third question thou must not shrink,
But tell me here truly what I do think."
"O these are hard questions for my shallow witt,
Nor I cannot answer your grace as yet:
But if you will give me but three weekes space, 35
Ile do my endeavour to answer your grace."
"Now three weeks space to thee will I give,
And that is the longest time thou hast to live;
For if thou dost not answer my questions three,
Thy lands and thy livings are forfeit to mee." 40
Away rode the abbot all sad at that word,
[Pg 8] And he rode to Cambridge, and Oxenford;
But never a doctor there was so wise,
That could with his learning an answer devise.
Then home rode the abbot of comfort so cold, 45
And he mett his shepheard a going to fold:
"How now, my lord abbot, you are welcome home;
What newes do you bring us from good King John?"
"Sad newes, sad newes, shepheard, I must give,
That I have but three days more to live; 50
For if I do not answer him questions three,
My head will be smitten from my bodìe.
"The first is to tell him there in that stead,
With his crowne of golde so fair on his head,
Among all his liege men so noble of birth, 55
To within one penny of what he is worth.
"The seconde, to tell him, without any doubt,
How soone he may ride this whole world about:
And at the third question I must not shrinke,
But tell him there truly what he does thinke." 60
"Now cheare up, sire abbot, did you never hear yet,
That a fool he may learne a wise man witt?
Lend me horse, and serving men, and your apparel,
[Pg 9] And Ile ride to London to answere your quarrel.
"Nay frowne not, if it hath bin told unto mee, 65
I am like your lordship, as ever may bee;
And if you will but lend me your gowne,
There is none shall knowe us at fair London towne."
"Now horses and serving-men thou shalt have,
With sumptuous array most gallant and brave, 70
With crozier, and miter, and rochet, and cope,
Fit to appear 'fore our fader the pope."
"Now, welcome, sire abbot," the king he did say,
"Tis well thou'rt come back to keepe thy day:
For and if thou canst answer my questions three,75
Thy life and thy living both saved shall bee.
"And first, when thou seest me here in this stead,
With my crowne of golde so fair on my head,
Among all my liege-men so noble of birthe,
Tell me to one penny what I am worth." 80
"For thirty pence our Saviour was sold
Among the false Jewes, as I have bin told:
And twenty-nine is the worth of thee,
For I thinke thou art one penny worser than hee."
The king he laughed, and swore by St. Bittel, 85
[Pg 10] "I did not think I had been worth so littel!
—Now secondly tell me, without any doubt,
How soone I may ride this whole world about."
"You must rise with the sun, and ride with the same
Until the next morning he riseth againe; 90
And then your grace need not make any doubt
But in twenty-four hours you'll ride it about."
The king he laughed, and swore by St. Jone,
"I did not think it could be gone so soone!
—Now from the third question thou must not shrinke, 95
But tell me here truly what I do thinke."
"Yea, that shall I do, and make your grace merry;
You thinke I'm the abbot of Canterbury;
But I'm his poor shepheard, as plain you may see,
That am come to beg pardon for him and for mee." 100
The king he laughed, and swore by the masse,
"Ile make thee lord abbot this day in his place!"
"Now naye, my liege, be not in such speede,
For alacke I can neither write ne reade."
"Four nobles a week, then I will give thee, 105
[Pg 11] For this merry jest thou hast showne unto mee;
And tell the old abbot when thou comest home,
Thou hast brought him a pardon from good King John."

85, Meaning probably St. Botolph.


The two following ballads, in connection with the foregoing, will serve as specimens of the anciently highly-popular class of riddle songs. No ballad, says Motherwell, is even now more frequently met with on the stalls than Captain Wedderburn's Courtship. It was first published in The New British Songster, Falkirk, 1785, and afterwards in Jamieson's Popular Ballads, ii. 154, from which the present copy is taken. Chambers gives a few different readings from a copy furnished by Mr. Kinloch—Scottish Ballads, p. 331.

A fragment of this piece is given in Minstrelsy of the English Border, p. 230, under the title of The Laird of Roslin's Daughter. Riddles like those in the following ballads are found in Proud Lady Margaret, p. 83 of this volume, The Courteous Knight, in the Appendix, and The Bonny Hind Squire, in Scottish Traditional Versions of Ancient Ballads, p. 42, Percy Society, vol. xvii.—three varieties of one original: and in Gifts from over Sea, Appendix, p. 290. Also, in several of the ancient Norse poems; in the ancient Danish ballad Svend Vonved, Grundtvig, No. 18; in Sven Svanehvit, Svenska F. V., No. 45; Hammershaimb's Færöiske Kvæder, ii. No. 4; Landstad's[Pg 12] Norske Folkeviser, p. 369; Erk's Liederhort, No. 153; Uhland, No. 1, 2, 3; Erlach, iii. 37; Wunderhorn, ii. 407; Tschischka and Schottky, Oesterreichische Volksl. p. 28; Haupt and Schmaler, Volksl. der Wenden, i. No. 150, ii. No. 74; Talvj, Volksl. der Serben, ii. 77; Goetze, Stimmen des russischen Volkes, p. 163; etc., etc. See especially Grundtvig, i. 237, ii. 648, from whom we have borrowed some of these references.

"The following copy was furnished from Mr. Herd's MS. by the editor of the Border Minstrelsy, and the present writer has supplied a few readings of small importance from his own recollection, as it was quite familiar to him in his early youth." Jamieson.

The Lord of Roslin's daughter
Walk'd thro' the wood her lane,
And by came Captain Wedderburn,
A servant to the king.
He said unto his serving men, 5
"Were't not against the law,
I would tak her to my ain bed,
And lay her neist the wa'."
"I am walking here alone," she says,
"Amang my father's trees; 10
And you must let me walk alane,
Kind sir, now, if you please;
The supper bell it will be rung,
And I'll be mist awa';
Sae I winna lie in your bed, 15
[Pg 13] Either at stock or wa'."
He says, "My pretty lady,
I pray lend me your hand,
And you shall hae drums and trumpets
Always at your command; 20
And fifty men to guard you with,
That well their swords can draw;
Sae we'se baith lie in ae bed,
And ye'se lie neist the wa'."
"Haud awa frae me," she said, 25
"And pray lat gae my hand;
The supper bell it will be rung,
I can nae langer stand;
My father he will angry be,
Gin I be miss'd awa; 30
Sae I'll nae lie in your bed,
Either at stock or wa'."
Then said the pretty lady,
"I pray tell me your name:"
"My name is Captain Wedderburn, 35
A servant to the king.
Tho' thy father and his men were here,
Of them I'd have nae awe;
But tak you to my ain bed,
And lay you neist the wa'." 40
He lighted aff his milk-white steed,
And set this lady on,
[Pg 14] And held her by the milk-white hand,
Even as they rade along;
He held her by the middle jimp, 45
For fear that she should fa',
To tak her to his ain bed,
And lay her neist the wa'.
He took her to his lodging-house;
His landlady look'd ben; 50
Says, "Mony a pretty lady
In Edenbruch I've seen,
But sic a lovely face as thine
In it I never saw;
Gae mak her down a down-bed, 55
And lay her neist the wa'."
"O haud awa' frae me," she says,
"I pray ye lat me be;
I winna gang into your bed,
Till ye dress me dishes three: 60
Dishes three ye maun dress to me,
Gin I should eat them a',
Afore that I lie in your bed,
Either at stock or wa'.
"Its ye maun get to my supper 65
A cherry without a stane;
And ye maun get to my supper
A chicken without a bane;
And ye maun get to my supper
[Pg 15]A bird without a ga'; 70
Or I winna lie in your bed,
Either at stock or wa'."
"Its whan the cherry is in the flirry,
I'm sure it has nae stane;
And whan the chicken's in the egg, 75
I'm sure it has nae bane;
And sin the flood o' Noah,
The dow she had nae ga';
Sae we'll baith lie in ae bed,
And ye'se lie neist the wa'." 80
"O haud your tongue, young man," she says,
"Nor that gait me perplex;
For ye maun tell me questions yet,
And that is questions six:
Questions six ye tell to me, 85
And that is three times twa,
Afore I lie in your bed,
Either at stock or wa'.
"What's greener than the greenest grass?
What hicher than the trees? 90
What's war nor an ill woman's wish?
What's deeper than the seas?
What bird sings first? and whareupon
[Pg 16] The dew doth first down fa'?
Ye sall tell afore I lay me down 95
Between you and the wa'."
"Vergris is greener than the grass;
Heaven's hicher than the trees;
The deil's warse nor a woman's wish;
Hell's deeper than the seas; 100
The cock craws first; on cedar top
The dew down first doth fa';
And we'll lie baith in ae bed,
And ye'se lie neist the wa'."
"O haud your tongue, young man," she says, 105
"And gi'e your fleechin' o'er,
Unless you'll find me ferlies,
And that is ferlies four;
Ferlies four ye maun find me,
And that is twa and twa; 110
Or I'll never lie in your bed,
Either at stock or wa'.
"And ye maun get to me a plumb
That in December grew;
And get to me a silk mantel, 115
That waft was ne'er ca'd thro';
A sparrow's horn; a priest unborn,
This night to join us twa;
Or I'll nae lie in your bed,
[Pg 17]Either at stock or wa'." 120
"My father he has winter fruit
That in December grew;
My mither has an Indian gown,
That waft was ne'er ca'd thro';
A sparrow's horn is quickly found; 125
There's ane on every claw;
There's ane upon the neb o' him;
Perhaps there may be twa.
"The priest he's standing at the door,
Just ready to come in; 130
Nae man can say that he was born,
To lie it were a sin;
A wild bore tore his mither's side,
He out o' it did fa';
Then we'll baith lie in ae bed, 135
And thou's lie neist the wa'."
Little kend Girzy Sinclair
That morning whan she raise,
That this wad be the hindermaist
O' a' her maiden days; 140
But now there's nae within the realm,
I think, a blyther twa;
And they baith lie in ae bed,
And she lies neist the wa'.

78. The peasants in Scotland say that the dove that was sent out of the Ark by Noah flew till she burst her gall, and that no dove since that time ever had a gall. J.

[Pg 18]


From Durfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy, iv. 129, with the title A Riddle wittily expounded. The same in Jamieson's Popular Ballads, ii. 155, and in The Borderer's Table Book, vii. 83. A fragment of this ballad, called The Three Sisters, is printed in Gilbert's Ancient Christmas Carols, (2d ed.) p. 65, and has a different burden. It begins

There were three sisters fair and bright,
Jennifer gentle and Rosemaree,
And they three loved one valiant knight,
As the dew flies over the mulberry tree.

There was a lady in the North-country,
Lay the bent to the bonny broom,
And she had lovely daughters three,
Fa, la la la, fa, la la la ra re.
There was a knight of noble worth,
Which also lived at the North.
The knight, of courage stout and brave, 5
A wife he did desire to have.
He knocked at the lady's gate,
One evening when it was late.
The eldest sister let him in,
[Pg 19]And pinn'd the door with a silver pin. 10
The second sister, she made his bed,
And laid soft pillows under his head.
The youngest [sister] that same night,
She went to bed to this young knight.
And in the morning when it was day, 15
These words unto him she did say.
"Now you have had your will," quoth she,
"I pray, Sir Knight, you marry me."
This young brave knight to her reply'd.
"Thy suit, fair maid, shall not be deny'd, 20
"If thou canst answer me questions three,
This very day will I marry thee."
"Kind sir, in love, O then," quoth she,
"Tell me what your three questions be."
"O what is longer than the way? 25
Or what is deeper than the sea?
"Or what is louder than a horn?
Or what is sharper than a thorn?
"Or what is greener than the grass?
[Pg 20]Or what is worse than a woman was?" 30
"O love is longer than the way,
And hell is deeper than the sea.
"And thunder's louder than the horn,
And hunger's sharper than a thorn.
"And poyson's greener than the grass, 35
And the devil's worse than the woman was."
When she these questions answered had,
The knight became exceeding glad.
And having truly try'd her wit,
He much commended her for it. 40
And after, as 'tis verified,
He made of her his lovely bride.
So now, fair maidens all, adieu;
This song I dedicate to you.
I wish that you may constant prove 45
Unto the man that you do love.

9. youngest.

25. i.e. the milky way.

35. "Vergris is greener than the grass." C. W.'s Courtship, v. 97.

[Pg 21]


The next two ballads belong to a class of tales extremely numerous in England, in which the sovereign is represented as conversing on terms of good fellowship with one of his humbler subjects who is unacquainted with the royal person. In several of the best of these stories, the monarch is benighted in the forest, and obliged to demand hospitality of the first man he meets. He is at first viewed with suspicion and treated with rudeness, but soon wins favor by his affability and good humor, and is invited to partake of a liberal supper, composed in part of his own venison. In due time the king reveals his true character to his astonished and mortified host, who looks to be punished alike for his familiarity and for deer-stealing, but is pardoned for both, and even handsomely rewarded for his entertainment.

The earliest of these stories seems to be that of King Alfred and the Neatherd, in which the herdsman's wife plays the offending part, and the peasant himself is made Bishop of Winchester. Others of very considerable antiquity are the tales of Henry II. and the Cistercian Abbot in the Speculum Ecclesiæ of Giraldus Cambrensis, (an. 1220,) printed in Reliquiæ Antiquæ, i. 147; King Edward and the Shepherd, and The King [Edward] and the Hermit, in Hartshorne's Metrical Tales, (p. 35, p. 293, the latter previously in The British Bibliographer, iv. 81;) Rauf Coilzear, how he harbreit King Charlis, in Laing's Select Remains; John the Reeve,[Pg 22] an unprinted piece in the Percy MS., founded on an adventure between King Edward I. and one of his bailiffs, which is highly commended by Dr. Percy "for its genuine humor, diverting incidents, and faithful picture of rustic manners;" and The King and the Barker, the original of the present ballad. (See also the seventh and eighth fits of the Little Gest of Robin Hood.) More recent specimens are the two pieces here given, and others mentioned by Percy: King Henry and the Soldier, King Henry VIII. and the Cobbler, King James I. and the Tinker, King William and the Forester, &c. It is obvious that a legend of immemorial antiquity has been transferred by successive minstrels or story-tellers to the reigning monarch of their own times. An anecdote of the same character is related by Mr. Wright of Prince George of Denmark, and a poor artisan of Bristol, (Essays, ii. 172.)

The meeting of King Richard with Friar Tuck in Ivanhoe, was suggested by the tale of King Edward and the Hermit. "The general tone of the story," says Scott, "belongs to all ranks and to all countries, which emulate each other in describing the rambles of a disguised sovereign, who, going in search of information or amusement into the lower ranks of life, meets with adventures diverting to the reader or hearer, from the contrast betwixt the monarch's outward appearance and his real character. The Eastern tale-teller has for his theme the disguised expeditions of Haroun Alraschid, with his faithful attendants Mesrour and Giafar, through the midnight streets of Bagdad, and Scottish tradition dwells upon the similar exploits of James V., distin[Pg 23]guished during such excursions by the travelling name of the Goodman of Ballengeigh, as the Commander of the Faithful, when he desired to be incognito, was known by that of Il Bondocani."

The King and the Barker is printed in Ritson's Anc. Pop. Poetry, p. 61; the modern ballad of King Alfred and the Shepherd, in Old Ballads, i. 41; King James and the Tinkler, in Richardson's Borderer's Table Book, vii. 8, and in the Percy Soc. Publications, vol. xvii., Ancient Poems, &c. p. 109.

"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 modernized 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." Percy's Reliques, ii. 87.

The old copies, according to Ritson, contain a great many stanzas which Percy "has not injudiciously suppressed." King Henry the Fourth and the Tanner of Tamworth stands in the Registers of the Stationers' Company, as licensed in 1564-5. The Tanner of Tamworth is introduced into the First Part of Heywood's play of Edward the Fourth.

In summer time, when leaves grow greene,
And blossoms bedecke the tree,
King Edward wolde a hunting ryde,
[Pg 24] Some pastime for to see.
With hawke and hounde he made him bowne, 5
With horne, and eke with bowe;
To Drayton Basset he tooke his waye,
With all his lordes a rowe.
And he had ridden ore dale and downe
By eight of clocke in the day, 10
When he was ware of a bold tannèr,
Come ryding along the waye.
A fayre russet coat the tanner had on,
Fast buttoned under his chin,
And under him a good cow-hide, 15
And a mare of four shilling.
"Nowe stande you still, my good lordes all,
Under the grene wood spraye;
And I will wend to yonder fellowe,
To weet what he will saye. 20
"God speede, God speede thee," sayd our king,
"Thou art welcome, sir," sayd hee;
"The readyest waye to Drayton Basset
[Pg 25] I praye thee to shewe to mee."
"To Drayton Basset woldst thou goe 25
Fro the place where thou dost stand,
The next payre of gallowes thou comest unto,
Turne in upon thy right hand."
"That is an unreadye waye," sayd our king,
"Thou doest but jest I see; 30
Nowe shewe me out the nearest waye,
And I pray thee wend with mee."
"Awaye with a vengeance!" quoth the tanner:
"I hold thee out of thy witt:
All daye have I rydden on Brocke my mare, 35
And I am fasting yett."
"Go with me downe to Drayton Basset,
No daynties we will spare;
All daye shalt thou eate and drinke of the best,
And I will paye thy fare." 40
"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, 45
"And send them well to priefe;"
The tanner wolde faine have beene away,
[Pg 26] For he weende he had beene a thiefe.
"What art thou," hee sayde, "thou fine fellòwe?
Of thee I am in great feare; 50
For the cloathes thou wearest upon thy backe
Might beseeme a lord to weare."
"I never stole them," quoth our king,
"I tell you, sir, by the roode;"
"Then thou playest, as many an unthrift doth, 55
And standest in midds of thy goode."
"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." 60
"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; 65
"I praye thee tell me trowe:"
"l am a barker, sir, by my trade;
Nowe tell me what art thou?"
"I am a poore courtier, sir," quoth he,
[Pg 27]"That am forth of service worne; 70
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 winne75
By fortye shilling a yere."
"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." 80
"Why if with me thou faine wilt change,
As change full well maye wee,
By the faith of my bodye, thou proude fellòwe,
I will have some boot of thee."
"That were against reason," sayd the king, 85
"I sweare, so mote I thee;
My horse is better than thy mare,
And that thou well mayst see."
"Yea, sir, but Brocke is gentle and mild,
And softly she will fare; 90
Thy horse is unrulye and wild, i-wiss,
Aye skipping here and theare."
"What boote wilt thou have?" our king reply'd;
[Pg 28] "Now tell me in this stound;"
"Noe pence, nor half-pence, by my faye, 95
But a noble in gold so round."
"Here's twentye groates of white moneyè,
Sith thou wilt have it of mee;"
"I would have sworne now," quoth the tanner,
"Thou hadst not had one penniè. 100
"But since we two have made a change,
A change we must abide;
Although thou hast gotten Brocke my mare,
Thou gettest not my cowe-hide."
"I will not have it," sayd the kynge, 105
"I sweare, so mought I thee;
Thy foule cowe-hide I wolde not beare,
If thou woldst give it to mee."
The tanner hee tooke his good cowe-hide,
That of the cow was hilt, 110
And threwe it upon the king's sadèlle,
That was soe fayrelye gilte.
"Now help me up, thou fine fellòwe,
'Tis time that I were gone;
When I come home to Gyllian my wife, 115
Sheel say I am a gentilmon."
The king he tooke him up by the legge,
[Pg 29] The tanner a f** lett fall;
"Nowe marrye, good fellowe," sayd the kyng,
"Thy courtesye is but small." 120
When the tanner he was in the kinges sadèlle,
And his foote in his stirrup was,
He marvelled greatlye in his minde,
Whether it were golde or brass.
But when his steede saw the cows taile wagge, 125
And eke the blacke cowe-horne,
He stamped, and stared, and awaye he ranne,
As the devill had him borne.
The tanner he pulld, the tanner he sweat,
And held by the pummil fast; 130
At length the tanner came tumbling downe,
His necke he had well-nye brast.
"Take thy horse again with a vengeance," he sayd,
"With mee he shall not byde;"
"My horse wolde have borne thee well enoughe, 135
But he knewe not of thy cowe-hide.
"Yet if againe thou faine woldst change,
As change full well may wee,
By the faith of my bodye, thou jolly tannèr,
I will have some boote of thee." 140
"What boote wilt thou have?" the tanner replyd,
[Pg 30] "Nowe tell me in this stounde;
"Noe pence nor half-pence, sir, by my faye,
But I will have twentye pound."
"Here's twentye groates out of my purse, 145
And twentye I have of thine;
And I have one more, which we will spend
Together at the wine."
The king set a bugle horne to his mouthe,
And blewe both loude and shrille; 150
And soone came lords, and soone came knights,
Fast ryding over the hille.
"Nowe, out alas," the tanner he cryde,
"That ever I sawe this daye!
Thou art a strong thiefe; yon come thy fellowes 155
Will beare my cowe-hide away."
"They are no thieves," the king replyde,
"I sweare, soe mote I thee;
But they are lords of the north country,
Here come to hunt with mee." 160
And soone before our king they came,
And knelt downe on the grounde;
Then might the tanner have beene awaye,
He had lever than twentye pounde.
"A coller, a coller, here," sayd the king, 165
[Pg 31] "A coller," he loud gan crye;
Then woulde he lever then twentye pound,
He had not beene so nighe.
"A coller! a coller!" the tanner he sayd,
"I trowe it will breed sorrowe; 170
After a coller commeth a halter;
I trow I shall be hang'd to-morrowe."
"Be not afraid, tanner," said our king;
"I tell thee, so mought I thee,
Lo here I make thee the best esquire 175
That is in the North countrie.
"For Plumpton-parke I will give thee,
With tenements faire beside,—
'Tis worth three hundred markes by the yeare,—
[Pg 32]To maintaine thy good cow-hide." 180
"Gramercye, my liege," the tanner replyde;
"For the favour thou hast me showne,
If ever thou comest to merry Tamwòrth,
Neates leather shall clout thy shoen."

16. 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.—Percy.

56. i. e. hast no other wealth, but what thou carriest about thee.—Percy.

176. This stanza is restored from a quotation of this ballad in Selden's Titles of Honour, who produces it as a good authority to prove, that one mode of creating Esquires at that time, was by the imposition of a collar. His words are, "Nor is that old pamphlet of the Tanner of Tamworth and King Edward the Fourth so contemptible, but that wee may thence note also an observable passage, wherein the use of making Esquires, by giving collars, is expressed." (Sub. Tit. Esquire; & vide in Spelmanni Glossar. Armiger.) This form of creating Esquires actually exists at this day among the Sergeants at Arms, who are invested with a collar (which they wear on Collar Days) by the King himself.

This information I owe to Samuel Pegge, Esq., to whom the public is indebted for that curious work, the Curialia, 4to.—Percy.


"The following is printed, with corrections from the Editor's folio MS. collated with an old black-letter copy in the Pepys collection, entitled A pleasant ballad of King Henry II. and the Miller of Mansfield, &c."—Percy's Reliques, iii. 22.

Other copies, slightly different, in A Collection of Old Ballads, i. 53, and Ritson's Ancient Songs, ii. 173.


Henry, our royall king, would ride a hunting
To the greene forest so pleasant and faire;
To see the harts skipping, and dainty does tripping,
Unto merry Sherwood his nobles repaire:
Hawke and hound were unbound, all things prepar'd 5
For the game, in the same, with good regard.
All a long summers day rode the king pleasantlye,
[Pg 33] With all his princes and nobles eche one;
Chasing the hart and hind, and the bucke gallantlye,
Till the dark evening forc'd all to turne home. 10
Then at last, riding fast, he had lost quite
All his lords in the wood, late in the night.
Wandering thus wearilye, all alone, up and downe,
With a rude miller he mett at the last;
Asking the ready way unto faire Nottingham, 15
"Sir," quoth the miller, "I meane not to jest,
Yet I thinke, what I thinke, sooth for to say;
You doe not lightlye ride out of your way."
"Why, what dost thou think of me," quoth our king merrily,
"Passing thy judgment upon me so briefe?" 20
"Good faith," sayd the miller, "I mean not to flatter thee,
I guess thee to bee but some gentleman thiefe;
Stand thee backe, in the darke; light not adowne,
Lest that I presentlye crack thy knaves crowne."
"Thou dost abuse me much," quoth the king, "saying thus; 25
I am a gentleman; lodging I lacke."
"Thou hast not," quoth th' miller, "one groat in thy purse;
All thy inheritance hanges on thy backe."
"I have gold to discharge all that I call;
[Pg 34]If it be forty pence, I will pay all." 30
"If thou beest a true man," then quoth the miller,
"I sweare by my toll-dish, I'll lodge thee all night."
"Here's my hand," quoth the king; "that was I ever."
"Nay, soft," quoth the miller, "thou may'st be a sprite.
Better I'll know thee, ere hands we will shake; 35
With none but honest men hands will I take."
Thus they went all along unto the millers house,
Where they were seething of puddings and souse;
The miller first enter'd in, after him went the king;
Never came hee in soe smoakye a house. 40
"Now," quoth hee, "let me see here what you are:"
Quoth the king, "Looke your fill, and doe not spare."
"I like well thy countenance, thou hast an honest face:
With my son Richard this night thou shalt lye."
Quoth his wife, "By my troth, it is a handsome youth, 45
Yet it's best, husband, to deal warilye.
Art thou no run-away, prythee, youth, tell?
[Pg 35] Shew me thy passport, and all shal be well."
Then our king presentlye, making lowe courtesye,
With his hatt in his hand, thus he did say; 50
"I have no passport, nor never was servitor,
But a poor courtyer, rode out of my way:
And for your kindness here offered to mee,
I will requite you in everye degree."
Then to the miller his wife whisper'd secretlye, 55
Saying, "It seemeth, this youth's of good kin,
Both by his apparel, and eke by his manners;
To turne him out, certainlye were a great sin."
"Yea," quoth hee, "you may see he hath some grace,
When he doth speake to his betters in place." 60
"Well," quo' the millers wife, "young man, ye're welcome here;
And, though I say it, well lodged shall be:
Fresh straw will I have laid on thy bed so brave,
And good brown hempen sheets likewise," quoth shee.
"Aye," quoth the good man; "and when that is done, 65
Thou shalt lye with no worse than our own sonne."
"Nay, first," quoth Richard, "good-fellowe, tell me true,
[Pg 36] Hast thou noe creepers within thy gay hose?
Or art thou not troubled with the scabbado?"
"I pray," quoth the king, "what creatures are those?" 70
"Art thou not lowsy nor scabby?" quoth he:
"If thou beest, surely thou lyest not with mee."
This caus'd the king, suddenlye, to laugh most heartilye,
Till the teares trickled fast downe from his eyes.
Then to their supper were they set orderlye, 75
With hot bag-puddings, and good apple-pyes;
Nappy ale, good and stale, in a browne bowle,
Which did about the board merrilye trowle.
"Here," quoth the miller, "good fellowe, I drinke to thee,
And to all courtnalls that courteous be." 80
"I pledge thee," quoth our king, "and thanke thee heartilye
For my good welcome in everye degree:
And here, in like manner, I drinke to thy sonne."
"Do then," quoth Richard, "and quicke let it come."
"Wife," quoth the miller, "fetch me forth lightfoote, 85
And of his sweetnesse a little we'll taste."
A fair ven'son pastye brought she out presentlye,
[Pg 37] "Eate," quoth the miller, "but, sir, make no waste.
Here's dainty lightfoote!" "In faith," sayd the king,
"I never before eat so daintye a thing." 90
"I-wis," quoth Richard, "no daintye at all it is,
For we doe eate of it everye day."
"In what place," sayd our king, "may be bought like to this?"
"We never pay pennye for itt, by my fay:
From merry Sherwood we fetch it home here; 95
Now and then we make bold with our kings deer."
"Then I thinke," sayd our king, "that it is venison."
"Eche foole," quoth Richard, "full well may know that:
Never are wee without two or three in the roof,
Very well fleshed, and excellent fat: 100
But, prythee, say nothing wherever thou goe;
We would not, for two pence, the king should it knowe."
"Doubt not," then sayd the king, "my promist secresye;
The king shall never know more on't for mee:"
A cupp of lambs-wool they dranke unto him then, 105
[Pg 38] And to their bedds they past presentlie.
The nobles, next morning, went all up and down,
For to seeke out the king in everye towne.
At last, at the millers 'cott,' soone they espy'd him out,
As he was mounting upon his faire steede; 110
To whom they came presently, falling down on their knee;
Which made the millers heart wofully bleede;
Shaking and quaking, before him he stood,
Thinking he should have been hang'd, by the rood.
The king perceiving him fearfully trembling, 115
Drew forth his sword, but nothing he sed:
The miller downe did fall, crying before them all,
Doubting the king would have cut off his head.
But he his kind courtesye for to requite,
Gave him great living, and dubb'd him a knight. 120


When as our royall king came home from Nottingham,
And with his nobles at Westminster lay,
Recounting the sports and pastimes they had taken,
[Pg 39] In this late progress along on the way,
Of them all, great and small, he did protest, 5
The miller of Mansfields sport liked him best.
"And now, my lords," quoth the king, "I am determined
Against St. Georges next sumptuous feast,
That this old miller, our new confirm'd knight,
With his son Richard, shall here be my guest: 10
For, in this merryment, 'tis my desire
To talke with the jolly knight, and the young squire."
When as the noble lords saw the kinges pleasantness,
They were right joyfull and glad in their hearts:
A pursuivant there was sent straighte on the business, 15
The which had often-times been in those parts.
When he came to the place where they did dwell,
His message orderlye then 'gan he tell.
"God save your worshippe," then said the messenger,
"And grant your ladye her own hearts desire; 20
And to your sonne Richard good fortune and happiness,
That sweet, gentle, and gallant young squire.
Our king greets you well, and thus he doth say,
[Pg 40] You must come to the court on St. George's day.
"Therefore, in any case, faile not to be in place." 25
"I-wis," quoth the miller, "this is an odd jest:
What should we doe there? faith, I am halfe afraid."
"I doubt," quoth Richard, "to be hang'd at the least."
"Nay," quoth the messenger, "you doe mistake;
Our king he provides a great feast for your sake." 30
Then sayd the miller, "By my troth, messenger,
Thou hast contented my worshippe full well:
Hold, here are three farthings, to quite thy gentleness,
For these happy tydings which thou dost tell.
Let me see, hear thou mee; tell to our king, 35
We'll wayt on his mastershipp in everye thing."
The pursuivant smiled at their simplicitye,
And making many leggs, tooke their reward,
And his leave taking with great humilitye,
To the kings court againe he repair'd; 40
Shewing unto his grace, merry and free,
The knightes most liberall gift and bountie.
When he was gone away, thus gan the miller say:
"Here come expences and charges indeed;
Now must we needs be brave, tho' we spend all we have, 45
[Pg 41] For of new garments we have great need.
Of horses and serving-men we must have store,
With bridles and saddles, and twentye things more."
"Tushe, Sir John," quoth his wife, "why should you frett or frowne?
You shall ne'er be att no charges for mee; 50
For I will turne and trim up my old russet gowne,
With everye thing else as fine as may bee;
And on our mill-horses swift we will ride,
With pillowes and pannells, as we shall provide."
In this most statelye sort, rode they unto the court; 55
Their jolly sonne Richard rode foremost of all,
Who set up, for good hap, a cocks feather in his cap,
And so they jetted downe to the kings hall;
The merry old miller with hands on his side;
His wife like maid Marian did mince at that tide. 60
[Pg 42]
The king and his nobles, that heard of their coming,
Meeting this gallant knight with his brave traine,
"Welcome, sir knight," quoth he, "with your gay lady;
Good Sir John Cockle, once welcome againe;
And so is the squire of courage soe free." 65
Quoth Dicke, "A bots on you! do you know mee?"
Quoth our king gentlye, "How should I forget thee?
That wast my owne bed-fellowe, well it I wot."
"Yea, sir," quoth Richard, "and by the same token,
Thou with thy farting didst make the bed hot." 70
"Thou whore-son unhappy knave," then quoth the knight,
"Speake cleanly to our king, or else go sh***."
The king and his courtiers laugh at this heartily,
While the king taketh them both by the hand;
With the court-dames and maids, like to the queen of spades, 75
The millers wife did soe orderly stand,
A milk-maids courtesye at every word;
And downe all the folkes were set to the board.
There the king royally, in princelye majestye,
Sate at his dinner with joy and delight; 80
[Pg 43] When they had eaten well, then he to jesting fell,
And in a bowle of wine dranke to the knight:
"Here's to you both, in wine, ale, and beer;
Thanking you heartilye for my good cheer."
Quoth Sir John Cockle, "I'll pledge you a pottle, 85
Were it the best ale in Nottinghamshire:"
But then said our king, "Now I think of a thing;
Some of your lightfoote I would we had here."
"Ho! ho!" quoth Richard, "full well I may say it
'Tis knavery to eate it, and then to betray it." 90
"Why art thou angry?" quoth our king merrilye;
"In faith, I take it now very unkind:
I thought thou wouldst pledge me in ale and wine heartily."
Quoth Dicke, "You are like to stay till I have din'd:
You feed us with twatling dishes soe small; 95
Zounds, a blacke-pudding is better than all."
"Aye, marry," quoth our king, "that were a daintye thing,
Could a man get but one here for to eate:"
With that Dicke straite arose, and pluckt one from his hose,
Which with heat of his breech gan to sweate.
The king made a proffer to snatch it away:— 100
[Pg 44] "'Tis meat for your master: good sir, you must stay."
Thus in great merriment was the time wholly spent,
And then the ladyes prepared to dance:
Old Sir John Cockle, and Richard, incontinent 105
Unto their places the king did advance.
Here with the ladyes such sport they did make,
The nobles with laughing did make their sides ake.
Many thankes for their paines did the king give them,
Asking young Richard then, if he would wed; 110
"Among these ladyes free, tell me which liketh thee?"
Quoth he, "Jugg Grumball, Sir, with the red head,
She's my love, she's my life, her will I wed;
She hath sworn I shall have her maidenhead."
Then Sir John Cockle the king call'd unto him, 115
And of merry Sherwood made him o'erseer,
And gave him out of hand three hundred pound yearlye:
"Take heed now you steele no more of my deer;
And once a quarter let's here have your view;
And now, Sir John Cockle, I bid you adieu." 120

57. for good hap: i. e. for good luck; they were going on a hazardous expedition. P.

60. Maid Marian in the Morris dance, was represented by a man in woman's clothes, who was to take short steps in order to sustain the female character. P.

[Pg 45]


Percy's Reliques, i. 224.

In Douce's Illustrations of Shakespeare, (i. 278,) and Malone's Shakespeare, (v. 3, 154, ed. 1821,) we are referred to a great many stories resembling that of the present ballad. Two or three of these are found in the Persian, and there can be no doubt that the original tale is of eastern invention. The oldest European forms of the story are in the Gesta Romanorum, (Wright's Latin Stories, Percy Soc. viii. 114, Madden's Old English Versions, p. 130,) the French romance of Dolopathos (v. 7096, et seq.), and the Pecorone of Ser Giovanni Fiorentino, written in 1378, but not printed till 1558.

Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice is known to have been played before 1598, and there is some reason to believe that it was produced as early as 1594. The resemblance in many particulars between the play and the narrative in the Pecorone is conclusive to the fact that Shakespeare was acquainted with the Italian novel, directly or by a translation. In Gosson's School of Abuse, (1579,) mention is made of a play called The Jew, in which was represented "the greediness of worldly choosers, and bloody minds of usurers." It is possible that Shakespeare may have made use of the incidents of this forgotten piece in the construction of his plot, but as our knowledge of the older play amounts literally to the description of it given by Gosson, nothing positive is to be said on that[Pg 46] point. Silvayn's Orator, translated from the French by Anthony Munday in 1596, affords the earliest discovered printed notice, in English, of the bond and forfeiture, in a "Declamation, Of a Jew, who would for his debt have a pound of flesh of a Christian;" and a striking coincidence between the Jew's plea for the execution of the contract, and the reasoning of Shylock before the Senate, may be regarded by some as of weight sufficient to offset the evidence presented to show that the Merchant of Venice was on the stage in 1594.

No dated copy of the ballad of Gernutus is known. It is on the whole more likely that the ballad is older than Shakespeare's comedy, but it may have been called forth by the popularity of that very piece. To judge by the first stanza alone, the writer had derived his materials from an Italian novel.

We give in the Appendix another ballad, presenting considerable diversity in the incidents, which we presume to be the one mentioned by Douce under the title of The Cruel Jews Garland.

In 1664, we are informed by Mr. Collier, Thomas Jordan made a ballad out of the story of the Merchant of Venice, in his Royal Arbor of Loyal Poesie, taking some liberties with the original plot.

The following was printed from an ancient black-letter copy in the Pepys collection, (compared with the Ashmole copy,) entitled,

"A new Song, shewing the crueltie of 'Gernutus, a Jewe,' who, lending to a merchant an hundred crowns, would have a pound of his fleshe, because he could not pay him at the time appointed. To the tune of Black and Yellow."

[Pg 47]


In Venice towne not long agoe
A cruel Jew did dwell,
Which lived all on usurie,
As Italian writers tell.
Gernutus called was the Jew, 5
Which never thought to dye,
Nor ever yet did any good
To them in streets that lie.
His life was like a barrow hogge,
That liveth many a day, 10
Yet never once doth any good,
Until men will him slay.
Or like a filthy heap of dung,
That lyeth in a whoard;
Which never can do any good, 15
Till it be spread abroad.
So fares it with the usurer,
He cannot sleep in rest
For feare the thiefe will him pursue,
To plucke him from his nest. 20
His heart doth thinke on many a wile
[Pg 48] How to deceive the poore;
His mouth is almost ful of mucke,
Yet still he gapes for more.
His wife must lend a shilling, 25
For every weeke a penny;
Yet bring a pledge that is double worth,
If that you will have any.
And see, likewise, you keepe your day,
Or else you loose it all: 30
This was the living of the wife,
Her cow she did it call.
Within that citie dwelt that time
A marchant of great fame,
Which being distressed in his need, 35
Unto Gernutus came:
Desiring him to stand his friend
For twelvemonth and a day;
To lend to him an hundred crownes;
And he for it would pay 40
Whatsoever he would demand of him,
And pledges he should have:
"No," quoth the Jew, with flearing lookes,
"Sir, aske what you will have.
"No penny for the loane of it 45
[Pg 49] For one year you shall pay;
You may doe me as good a turne,
Before my dying day.
"But we will have a merry jeast,
For to be talked long: 50
You shall make me a bond," quoth he,
"That shall be large and strong.
"And this shall be the forfeyture,—
Of your owne fleshe a pound:
If you agree, make you the bond, 55
And here is a hundred crownes."
"With right good will," the marchant he says,
And so the bond was made.
When twelve month and a day drew on,
That backe it should be payd, 60
The marchants ships were all at sea,
And money came not in;
Which way to take, or what to doe,
To thinke he doth begin.
And to Gernutus strait he comes, 65
With cap and bended knee;
And sayde to him, "Of curtesie,
I pray you beare with mee.
"My day is come, and I have not
[Pg 50]The money for to pay; 70
And little good the forfeyture
Will doe you, I dare say."
"With all my heart," Gernutus sayd,
"Commaund it to your minde:
In thinges of bigger waight then this 75
You shall me ready finde."
He goes his way; the day once past,
Gernutus doth not slacke
To get a sergiant presently,
And clapt him on the backe. 80
And layd him into prison strong,
And sued his bond withall;
And when the judgement day was come,
For judgement he did call.
The marchants friends came thither fast, 85
With many a weeping eye,
For other means they could not find,
But he that day must dye.


Of the Jews crueltie; setting foorth the mercifulnesse of the Judge towards the Marchant. To the tune of Black and Yellow.

Some offered for his hundred crownes
[Pg 51] Five hundred for to pay;
And some a thousand, two or three,
Yet still he did denay.
And at the last ten thousand crownes 5
They offered, him to save:
Gernutus sayd, "I will no gold,
My forfeite I will have.
"A pound of fleshe is my demand,
And that shall be my hire." 10
Then sayd the judge, "Yet, good my friend,
Let me of you desire
"To take the fleshe from such a place,
As yet you let him live:
Do so, and lo! an hundred crownes 15
To thee here will I give."
"No, no," quoth he, "no, judgement here;
For this it shall be tride;
For I will have my pound of fleshe
From under his right side." 20
It grieved all the companie
His crueltie to see,
For neither friend nor foe could helpe
But he must spoyled bee.
The bloudie Jew now ready is 25
[Pg 52] With whetted blade in hand,
To spoyle the bloud of innocent,
By forfeit of his bond.
And as he was about to strike
In him the deadly blow, 30
"Stay," quoth the judge, "thy crueltie;
I charge thee to do so.
"Sith needs thou wilt thy forfeit have,
Which is of flesh a pound,
See that thou shed no drop of bloud, 35
Nor yet the man confound.
"For if thou doe, like murderer
Thou here shalt hanged be:
Likewise of flesh see that thou cut
No more than longes to thee. 40
"For if thou take either more or lesse,
To the value of a mite,
Thou shalt be hanged presently,
As is both law and right."
Gernutus now waxt franticke mad, 45
And wotes not what to say;
Quoth he at last, "Ten thousand crownes
I will that he shall pay;
"And so I graunt to set him free."
[Pg 53]The judge doth answere make; 50
"You shall not have a penny given;
Your forfeyture now take."
At the last he doth demaund
But for to have his owne:
"No," quoth the judge, "doe as you list, 55
Thy judgement shall be showne.
"Either take your pound of flesh," quoth he,
"Or cancell me your bond:"
"O cruell judge," then quoth the Jew,
"That doth against me stand!" 60
And so with griping grieved mind
He biddeth them fare-well:
Then all the people prays'd the Lord,
That ever this heard tell.
Good people, that doe heare this song, 65
For trueth I dare well say,
That many a wretch as ill as hee
Doth live now at this day;
That seeketh nothing but the spoyle
Of many a wealthy man, 70
And for to trap the innocent
[Pg 54] Deviseth what they can.
From whome the Lord deliver me,
And every Christian too,
And send to them like sentence eke 75
That meaneth so to do.

61. griped, Ashmole copy.


Percy's Reliques, i. 255.

The story of this ballad, like that of the preceding, was probably derived from the east. It is the same as the tale of The Sleeper Awakened in the Arabian Nights, and a like incident is found also in the tale of Xailoun in the Continuation of the Arabian Nights. Interpolations from European sources are said to have been made by the translators both of the Arabian Nights and of the Continuation, and it has been suggested that The Sleeper Awakened is one of these. (Gent. Mag. 64, I. 527.) It is even true that this story does not occur in the manuscript used by Galland. It is found, however, in one manuscript, and is accordingly admitted into the recent version.—Marco Polo relates that Ala-eddin, "the Old Man of the Mountain," was accustomed to employ a device resembling that of the ballad, to persuade his youthful votaries of his power to transport them to Paradise. (Chap. xxi. of Marsden's translation.) A similar anecdote is told as historically true by the Arabic writer El-Is-hakee, who printed his work in the early[Pg 55] part of the 17th century (Lane's Thousand and One Nights, ii. 376), while in Europe the story is related of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, by Heuterus, Rerum Burgund. lib. iv.; of the Emperor Charles the Fifth, by Sir Richard Barckley, in A Discourse on the Felicitie of Man, 1598; and of the Marquess of Worcester, in The Apothegms of King James, King Charles, the Marquess of Worcester, &c. 1658. Warton had seen among Collins's books a collection of prose tales in black-letter, dated 1570, among which was this story. It was until lately, and no doubt is still, found in the stalls, under the title of The Frolicksome Courtier and the Jovial Tinker. (See Douce's Illustrations, and Malone's Shakespeare.)

Which of the many forms of the story was known to the author of the old play of The Taming of a Shrew, on which Shakespeare's comedy is founded, it would be more difficult than important to determine. Mr. Halliwell mentions a Dutch comedy, called Dronkken Hansje, (1657,) having the plot of the Induction to these plays.

This ballad was given from a black-letter copy in the Pepys collection.

Now as fame does report, a young duke keeps a court,
One that pleases his fancy with frolicksome sport:
But amongst all the rest, here is one I protest,
Which will make you to smile when you hear the true jest:
A poor tinker he found, lying drunk on the ground, 5
[Pg 56] As secure in sleep as if laid in a swound.
The duke said to his men, "William, Richard, and Ben,
Take him home to my palace, we'll sport with him then."
O'er a horse he was laid, and with care soon convey'd
To the palace, altho' he was poorly arrai'd: 10
Then they stript off his cloaths, both his shirt, shoes, and hose,
And they put him to bed for to take his repose.
Having pull'd off his shirt, which was all over durt,
They did give him clean holland, this was no great hurt:
On a bed of soft down, like a lord of renown, 15
They did lay him to sleep the drink out of his crown.
In the morning, when day, then admiring he lay,
For to see the rich chamber, both gaudy and gay.
Now he lay something late, in his rich bed of state,
Till at last knights and squires they on him did wait; 20
And the chamberlain bare, then did likewise declare,
He desired to know what apparel he'd ware:
The poor tinker amaz'd, on the gentleman gaz'd,
[Pg 57] And admired how he to this honour was rais'd.
Tho' he seem'd something mute, yet he chose a rich suit, 25
Which he straitways put on without longer dispute,
With a star on his side, which the tinker offt ey'd,
And it seem'd for to swell him 'no' little with pride;
For he said to himself, "Where is Joan my sweet wife?
Sure she never did see me so fine in her life." 30
From a convenient place, the right duke, his good grace,
Did observe his behaviour in every case.
To a garden of state, on the tinker they wait,
Trumpets sounding before him: thought he, this is great:
Where an hour or two, pleasant walks he did view, 35
With commanders and squires in scarlet and blew.
A fine dinner was drest, both for him and his guests;
He was plac'd at the table above all the rest,
In a rich chair 'or bed,' lin'd with fine crimson red,
With a rich golden canopy over his head: 40
As he sat at his meat, the musick play'd sweet,
[Pg 58] With the choicest of singing his joys to compleat.
While the tinker did dine, he had plenty of wine,
Rich canary, with sherry and tent superfine.
Like a right honest soul, faith, he took off his bowl, 45
Till at last he began for to tumble and roul
From his chair to the floor, where he sleeping did snore,
Being seven times drunker than ever before.
Then the duke did ordain, they should strip him amain,
And restore him his old leather garments again: 50
'Twas a point next the worst, yet perform it they must,
And they carry'd him strait, where they found him at first,
Then he slept all the night, as indeed well he might;
But when he did waken, his joys took their flight.
For his glory 'to him' so pleasant did seem, 55
That he thought it to be but a meer golden dream;
Till at length he was brought to the duke, where he sought
For a pardon, as fearing he had set him at nought.
But his highness he said, "Thou'rt a jolly bold blade:
[Pg 59]Such a frolick before I think never was plaid." 60
Then his highness bespoke him a new suit and cloak,
Which he gave for the sake of this frolicksome joak,
Nay, and five hundred pound, with ten acres of ground:
"Thou shalt never," said he, "range the counteries round,
Crying old brass to mend, for I'll be thy good friend, 65
Nay, and Joan thy sweet wife shall my duchess attend."
Then the tinker reply'd, "What! must Joan my sweet bride
Be a lady in chariots of pleasure to ride?
Must we have gold and land ev'ry day at command?
Then I shall be a squire, I well understand. 70
Well I thank your good grace, and your love I embrace;
I was never before in so happy a case."

[Pg 60]


Percy's Reliques, ii. 135.

"The original of this ballad," says Percy, "is found in the Editor's folio MS., the breaches and defects in which, rendered the insertion of supplemental stanzas necessary. These it is hoped the reader will pardon, as indeed the completion of the story was suggested by a modern ballad on a similar subject. From the Scottish phrases here and there discernible in this poem, it would seem to have been originally composed beyond the Tweed."

The modern ballad here mentioned is probably The Drunkards Legacy, printed from an old chap-book, in Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs, p. 151, Percy Society, vol. xvii. The Scottish version of the Heir of Linne is annexed to the present in the only form in which it is now to be obtained.

The incident by which the hidden treasure is discovered in this ballad, occurs (as observes a writer in the British Bibliographer, iv. 182) in a story of Cinthio's, Heccatomithi, Dec. ix. nov. 8: but the argument of that story is in other respects different, being in fact the following epigram:

Χρυσον ανηρ εὑρων ελιπε βροχον; αυταρ ὁ χρυσον,
ὁν λιπεν, ουχ εὑρον, ηπσεν ὁν ευρε βροχον.
Brunck's Anthologia, vol. i. p. 106.

[Pg 61]


Lithe and listen, gentlemen,
To sing a song I will beginne:
It is of a lord of faire Scotlànd,
Which was the unthrifty heire of Linne.
His father was a right good lord, 5
His mother a lady of high degree;
But they, alas! were dead him froe,
And he lov'd keeping companie.
To spend the daye with merry cheare,
To drinke and revell every night, 10
To card and dice from eve to morne,
It was, I ween, his hearts delighte.
To ride, to runne, to rant, to roare,
To alwaye spend and never spare,
I wott, an' it were the king himselfe, 15
Of gold and fee he mote be bare.
Soe fares the unthrifty lord of Linne
Till all his gold is gone and spent;
And he maun sell his landes so broad,
His house, and landes, and all his rent. 20
His father had a keen stewàrde,
[Pg 62] And John o' the Scales was called hee:
But John is become a gentel-man,
And John has gott both gold and fee.
Sayes, "Welcome, welcome, Lord of Linne, 25
Let nought disturb thy merry cheere;
Iff thou wilt sell thy landes soe broad,
Good store of gold Ile give thee heere."
"My gold is gone, my money is spent;
My lande nowe take it unto thee: 30
Give me the golde, good John o' the Scales,
And thine for aye my lande shall bee."
Then John he did him to record draw,
And John he cast him a gods-pennie;
But for every pounde that John agreed, 35
The lande, i-wis, was well worth three.
He told him the gold upon the borde,
He was right glad his land to winne;
"The gold is thine, the land is mine,
And now Ile be the lord of Linne." 40
Thus he hath sold his land soe broad,
[Pg 63] Both hill and holt, and moore and fenne,
All but a poore and lonesome lodge,
That stood far off in a lonely glenne.
For soe he to his father hight. 45
"My sonne, when I am gonne," sayd hee,
"Then thou wilt spend thy lande so broad,
And thou wilt spend thy gold so free.
"But sweare me nowe upon the roode,
That lonesome lodge thou'lt never spend; 50
For when all the world doth frown on thee,
Thou there shalt find a faithful friend."
The heire of Linne is full of golde:
"And come with me, my friends," sayd hee,
"Let's drinke, and rant, and merry make, 55
And he that spares, ne'er mote he thee."
They ranted, drank, and merry made,
Till all his gold it waxed thinne;
And then his friendes they slunk away;
They left the unthrifty heire of Linne. 60
He had never a penny left in his purse,
Never a penny left but three,
And one was brass, another was lead,
And another it was white monèy.
"Nowe well-aday," sayd the heire of Linne, 65
[Pg 64] "Nowe well-aday, and woe is mee,
For when I was the lord of Linne,
I never wanted gold nor fee.
"But many a trustye friend have I,
And why shold I feel dole or care? 70
Ile borrow of them all by turnes,
Soe need I not be never bare."
But one, i-wis, was not at home;
Another had payd his gold away;
Another call'd him thriftless loone, 75
And bade him sharpely wend his way.
"Now well-aday," sayd the heire of Linne,
"Now well-aday, and woe is me;
For when I had my landes so broad,
On me they liv'd right merrilee. 80
"To beg my bread from door to door,
I-wis, it were a brenning shame;
To rob and steal it were a sinne;
To worke, my limbs I cannot frame.
"Now Ile away to [the] lonesome lodge, 85
For there my father bade me wend:
When all the world should frown on mee
I there shold find a trusty friend."

34. i. e. earnest-money; from the French denier à Dieu. At this day, when application is made to the Dean and Chapter of Carlisle to accept an exchange of the tenant under one of their leases, a piece of silver is presented, by the new tenant, which is still called a God's-penny. Percy.

[Pg 65]


Away then hyed the heire of Linne,
Oer hill and holt, and moor and fenne,
Untill he came to [the] lonesome lodge,
That stood so lowe in a lonely glenne.
He looked up, he looked downe, 5
In hope some comfort for to winne;
But bare and lothly were the walles;
"Here's sorry cheare," quo' the heire of Linne.
The little windowe, dim and darke,
Was hung with ivy, brere, and yewe; 10
No shimmering sunn here ever shone,
No halesome breeze here ever blew.
No chair, ne table he mote spye,
No chearful hearth, ne welcome bed,
Nought save a rope with renning noose, 15
That dangling hung up o'er his head.
And over it in broad lettèrs,
These words were written so plain to see:
"Ah! gracelesse wretch, hast spent thine all,
And brought thyselfe to penurie? 20
"All this my boding mind misgave,
[Pg 66] I therefore left this trusty friend:
Let it now sheeld thy foule disgrace,
And all thy shame and sorrows end."
Sorely shent wi' this rebuke, 25
Sorely shent was the heire of Linne;
His heart, i-wis, was near to-brast
With guilt and sorrowe, shame and sinne.
Never a word spake the heire of Linne,
Never a word he spake but three: 30
"This is a trusty friend indeed,
And is right welcome unto mee."
Then round his necke the corde he drewe,
And sprang aloft with his bodìe,
When lo! the ceiling burst in twaine, 35
And to the ground come tumbling hee.
Astonyed lay the heire of Linne,
Ne knewe if he were live or dead:
At length he looked, and sawe a bille,
And in it a key of gold so redd. 40
He took the bill, and lookt it on,
Strait good comfort found he there:
Itt told him of a hole in the wall,
In which there stood three chests in-fere.
Two were full of the beaten golde, 45
[Pg 67] The third was full of white monèy;
And over them in broad lettèrs
These words were written so plaine to see.
"Once more, my sonne, I sette thee clere;
Amend thy life and follies past; 50
For but thou amend thee of thy life,
That rope must be thy end at last."
"And let it bee," sayd the heire of Linne,
"And let it bee, but if I amend:
For here I will make mine avow, 55
This reade shall guide me to the end."
Away then went with a merry cheare,
Away then went the heire of Linne;
I-wis, he neither ceas'd ne blanne,
Till John o' the Scales house he did winne. 60
And when he came to John o' the Scales,
Upp at the speere then looked hee;
There sate three lords upon a rowe,
Were drinking of the wine so free.
And John himselfe sate at the bord-head, 65
Because now lord of Linne was hee;
"I pray thee," he said, "good John o' the Scales,
"One forty pence for to lend mee."
"Away, away, thou thriftless loone;
[Pg 68]Away, away, this may not bee: 70
For Christs curse on my head," he sayd,
"If ever I trust thee one pennie."
Then bespake the heire of Linne,
To John o' the Scales wife then spake he:
"Madame, some almes on me bestowe, 75
I pray for sweet saint Charitie."
"Away, away, thou thriftless loone,
I sweare thou gettest no almes of mee;
For if we should hang any losel heere,
The first we wold begin with thee." 80
Then bespake a good fellòwe,
Which sat at John o' the Scales his bord;
Sayd, "Turn againe, thou heir of Linne;
Some time thou wast a well good lord.
"Some time a good fellow thou hast been, 85
And sparedst not thy gold and fee;
Therefore Ile lend thee forty pence,
And other forty if need bee.
"And ever I pray thee, John o' the Scales,
To let him sit in thy companie: 90
For well I wot thou hadst his land,
And a good bargain it was to thee."
Up then spake him John o' the Scales,
[Pg 69] All wood he answer'd him againe:
"Now Christs curse on my head," he sayd, 95
"But I did lose by that bargàine.
"And here I proffer thee, heire of Linne,
Before these lords so faire and free,
Thou shalt have it backe again better cheape
By a hundred markes than I had it of thee."
"I drawe you to record, lords," he said, 100
With that he cast him a gods-pennie:
"Now by my fay," sayd the heire of Linne,
"And here, good John, is thy monèy."
And he pull'd forth three bagges of gold, 105
And layd them down upon the bord;
All woe begone was John o' the Scales,
Soe shent he cold say never a word.
He told him forth the good red gold.
He told it forth [with] mickle dinne. 110
"The gold is thine, the land is mine,
And now Ime againe the lord of Linne."
Sayes, "Have thou here, thou good fellòwe,
Forty pence thou didst lend mee:
Now I am againe the lord of Linne, 115
And forty pounds I will give thee.
"Ile make thee keeper of my forrest,
[Pg 70] Both of the wild deere and the tame;
For but I reward thy bounteous heart,
I-wis, good fellowe, I were to blame." 120
"Now welladay!" sayth Joan o' the Scales;
"Now welladay, and woe is my life!
Yesterday I was lady of Linne,
Now Ime but John o' the Scales his wife."
"Now fare thee well," sayd the heire of Linne, 125
"Farewell now, John o' the Scales," said hee:
"Christs curse light on mee, if ever again
I bring my lands in jeopardy."


From Scottish Traditional Versions of Ancient Ballads, p. 30, Percy Society, vol. xvii.

The bonny heir, and the weel-faur'd heir,
And the wearie heir o' Linne,
Yonder he stands at his father's yetts,
An naebody bids him come in.
O see for he gangs, an' see for he stands, 5
The wearie heir o' Linne;
O see for he stands on the cauld casey,
And nae an' bids him come in.
But if he had been his father's heir,
[Pg 71]Or yet the heir o' Linne, 10
He wou'dna stand on the cauld casey,
Some an' wad taen him in.
"Sing ower again that sang, nourice,
The sang ye sang just noo;"
"I never sang a sang i' my life, 15
But I wad sing ower to you."
O see for he gangs, an' see for he stands,
The wearie heir o' Linne;
O see for he stands on the cauld casey,
An' nae an' bids him come in. 20
But if he had been his father's heir,
Or yet the heir o' Linne,
He wadna stand on the cauld casye,
Some ane wad taen him in.
When his father's lands a sellin' were, 25
His claise lay weel in fauld,
But now he wanders on the shore,
Baith hungry, weet, and cauld.
As Willie he gaed down the toun,
The gentlemen were drinkin'; 30
Some bade gie Willie a glass, a glass,
And some bade him gae nane;
Some bade gie Willie a glass, a glass,
[Pg 72] The weary heir o' Linne.
As Willie he cam' up the toun, 35
The fishers were a sittin';
Some bade gie Willie a fish, a fish,
Some bade gie him a fin;
Some bade gie him a fish, a fish,
And lat the palmer gang. 40
He turned him richt and roun' about,
As will as a woman's son,
And taen his cane into his hand,
And on his way to Linne.
His nourice at her window look'd, 45
Beholding dale and doun,
And she beheld this distress'd young man
Come walkin' to the town.
"Come here, come here, Willie," she said,
"And set yoursel' wi me; 50
I hae seen you i' better days,
And in jovial companie."
"Gie me a sheave o' your bread, nourice,
And a bottle o' your wine,
And I'll pay you it a' ower again, 55
When I'm the laird o' Linne."
"Ye'se got a sheave o' my bread, Willie,
[Pg 73] "And a bottle o' my wine,
An' ye'll pay me when the seas gang dry,
But ye'll ne'er be heir o' Linne." 60
Then he turn'd him richt and roun' about,
As will as woman's son;
And aff he set, and bent his way,
And straightway came to Linne.
But when he cam to that castle, 65
They were set doun to dine;
A score o' nobles there he saw,
Sat drinkin' at the wine.
Then some bad' gie him beef, the beef,
And some bad' gie him the bane; 70
And some bad' gie him naething at a',
But lat the palmer gang.
Then out it speaks the new come laird,
A saucie word spak' hee;
"Put roun' the cup, gie my rival a sup, 75
Lat him fare on his way."
Then out it speaks Sir Ned Magnew,
Ane o' young Willie's kin;
"This youth was ance a sprightlie boy
As ever lived in Linne." 80
He turned him richt and roun' about,
[Pg 74] As will as woman's son;
Then minded him on a little wee key,
That his mither left to him.
His mither left him this little wee key 85
A little before she deed;
And bad him keep this little wee key
Till he was in maist need.
Then forth he went, an' these nobles left,
A' drinkin' in the room; 90
Wi' walkin' rod intill his hand,
He walked the castle roun'.
There he found out a little door,
For there the wee key slippit in,
An' there he got as muckle red gowd 95
As freed the lands o' Linne.
Back through the nobles then he went,
A saucie man was then;
"I'll tak' the cup frae this new-come laird,
For he ne'er bad me sit doun." 100
Then out it speaks the new-come laird,
He spak' wi' mock an' jeer;
"I'd gie a seat to the laird o' Linne,
Sae be that he were here.
"When the lands o' Linne a sellin' were, 105
[Pg 75] A' men said they were free;
This lad shall hae them frae me this day,
If he'll gie the third pennie."
"I tak' ye witness, nobles a',
Gude witnesses ye'll be; 110
I'm promis'd the lands o' Linne this day,
If I gie the third pennie."
"Ye've taen us witnesses, Willie," they said,
"Gude witnesses we'll be;
Buy the lands o' Linne who likes, 115
They'll ne'er be bought by thee."
He's done him to a gamin' table,
For it stood fair and clean;
There he tauld doun as much rich gowd
As freed the lands o' Linne. 120
Thus having done, he turn'd about,
A saucie man was he;
"Tak' up your monie, my lad," he says,
"Tak' up your third pennie.
"Aft hae I gane wi' barefeet cauld, 125
Likewise wi' legs fu' bare,
And mony day walk'd at these yetts
Wi' muckle dool an' care.
"But now my sorrow's past and gane,
[Pg 76]And joy's returned to me; 130
And here I've gowd enough forbye,
Ahin this third pennie."
As Willie he gaed doun the toun,
There he craw'd wonderous crouse;
He ca'd the may afore them a', 135
The nourice o' the house.
"Come here, come here, my nurse," he says,
"I'll pay your bread and wine;
Seas ebb and flow as they wont to do,
Yet I'm the laird o' Linne." 140
An' he gaed up the Gallowgate port,
His hose aboon his shoon;
But lang ere he cam down again
Was convoyed by lords fifteen.

58. your wine.


In the year 1228, we are informed by Matthew Paris, an Armenian archbishop visited England, with letters from the Pope, to make the tour of the holy places. During a sojourn at the monastery of St. Albans, he was asked by one of the brethren if he knew anything of the famous Joseph, so much spoken of, who had been present at the crucifixion, and was still living as a witness to the truth of the Christian[Pg 77] faith. The archbishop responded that the fact was indeed as reported, and one of his retinue added, that his master had personally known this extraordinary character, and had admitted him to his table only a short time before setting out for the West; that he had been porter to Pontius Pilate, and was named Cartaphilus; that when the Jews were dragging Christ from the judgment-hall, he had struck him in the back with his fist, saying, "Go faster, Jesus: why dost thou tarry?"—whereupon Christ turned to him and said, "I go, but thou shalt tarry till my coming." After the death of Jesus, Cartaphilus had been converted, and baptized by Ananias, under the name of Joseph. Still the sentence pronounced upon him by the Saviour was not revoked, and he remained in the world, awaiting the Lord's second advent, living in Armenia, or some other country of the East. Whenever he reached the age of a hundred, he fell into a trance, and when he revived, found himself again about thirty years old, as he had been at the epoch of Christ's suffering.

This story Matthew Paris heard at St. Albans, of which monastery he was himself a brother, a few years after the memorable visit of the Armenian prelate. His contemporary, Philippe Mouskes, Bishop of Tournay, has incorporated the substance of his narrative into his rhymed chronicle, edited by the Baron de Reiffenberg, v. 25524, et seq. We hear nothing more of the Wandering Jew from this time until the middle of the 16th century, when he presents himself at Hamburgh, (in 1547,) calling himself Ahasuerus, who had been a shoemaker at Jerusalem. The ballad which follows is founded upon some narrative[Pg 78] of this event, many of which were published. It will be noticed that in the second form of the legend, the punishment of perpetual existence, which gives rise to the old names, Judæus non mortalis, Ewiger Jude, is aggravated by a condemnation to incessant change of place, which is indicated by a corresponding name, Wandering Jew, Juif Errant, etc.

It is unnecessary, and would be impossible, to specify the various times and places at which the Wandering Jew has successively reappeared. The legend being firmly believed by the vulgar throughout Christendom, an opportunity for imposture was afforded which could not fail to be improved. The last recorded apparition was at Brussels, in April, 1774, and on this occasion the wanderer had again changed his name to Isaac Laquedem. Of the origin of the tradition we know nothing. M. Lacroix has suggested that it took its rise in a grand and beautiful allegory in which the Hebrew race were personified under the figure of the Everlasting Wanderer. See Calmet's Bible Dictionary, Grässe, Die Sage vom Ewigen Juden, Dresden and Leipsic, 1844, Paul Lacroix's Bibliographical Preface to Doré's Designs, La Légende du Juif Errant, etc. Paris, 1856.

This ballad is taken from Percy's Reliques, ii. 317, and was from a black-letter copy in the Pepys collection.

When as in faire Jerusalem
Our Saviour Christ did live,
And for the sins of all the worlde
His own deare life did give,
[Pg 79]The wicked Jewes with scoffes and scornes 5
Did dailye him molest,
That never till he left his life,
Our Saviour could not rest.
When they had crown'd his head with thornes,
And scourg'd him to disgrace, 10
In scornfull sort they led him forthe
Unto his dying place,
Where thousand thousands in the streete
Beheld him passe along,
Yet not one gentle heart was there, 15
That pityed this his wrong.
Both old and young reviled him,
As in the streete he wente,
And nought he found but churlish tauntes,
By every ones consente: 20
His owne deare cross he bore himselfe,
A burthen far too great,
Which made him in the streete to fainte,
With blood and water sweat.
Being weary thus, he sought for rest, 25
To ease his burthened soule,
Upon a stone; the which a wretch
Did churlishly controule;
And sayd, "Awaye, thou King of Jewes,
Thou shalt not rest thee here; 30
Pass on; thy execution place
[Pg 80] Thou seest nowe draweth neare."
And thereupon he thrust him thence;
At which our Saviour sayd,
"I sure will rest, but thou shalt walke, 35
And have no journey stayed."
With that this cursed shoemaker,
For offering Christ this wrong,
Left wife and children, house and all,
And went from thence along. 40
Where after he had seene the bloude
Of Jesus Christ thus shed,
And to the crosse his bodye nail'd,
Awaye with speed he fled,
Without returning backe againe 45
Unto his dwelling place,
And wandred up and downe the worlde,
A runnagate most base.
No resting could he finde at all,
No ease, nor hearts content; 50
No house, nor home, nor biding place;
But wandring forth he went
From towne to towne in foreigne landes,
With grieved conscience still,
Repenting for the heinous guilt 55
Of his fore-passed ill.
Thus after some fewe ages past
In wandring up and downe,
[Pg 81] He much again desired to see
Jerusalems renowne. 60
But finding it all quite destroyd,
He wandred thence with woe,
Our Saviours wordes, which he had spoke,
To verifie and showe.
"I'll rest," sayd hee, "but thou shalt walke;" 65
So doth this wandring Jew,
From place to place, but cannot rest
For seeing countries newe;
Declaring still the power of him,
Whereas he comes or goes; 70
And of all things done in the east,
Since Christ his death, he showes.
The world he hath still compast round
And seene those nations strange,
That hearing of the name of Christ, 75
Their idol gods doe change:
To whom he hath told wondrous thinges
Of time forepast and gone,
And to the princes of the worlde
Declares his cause of moane: 80
Desiring still to be dissolv'd,
And yeild his mortal breath;
But, if the Lord hath thus decreed,
He shall not yet see death.
For neither lookes he old nor young, 85
[Pg 82] But as he did those times,
When Christ did suffer on the crosse
For mortall sinners crimes.
He hath past through many a foreigne place,
Arabia, Egypt, Africa, 90
Grecia, Syria, and great Thrace,
And throughout all Hungaria:
Where Paul and Peter preached Christ,
Those blest apostles deare,
There he hath told our Saviours wordes, 95
In countries far and neare.
And lately in Bohemia,
With many a German towne,
And now in Flanders, as 'tis thought,
He wandreth up and downe: 100
Where learned men with him conferre
Of those his lingering dayes,
And wonder much to heare him tell
His journeyes and his wayes.
If people give this Jew an almes, 105
The most that he will take
Is not above a groat a time:
Which he, for Jesus' sake,
Will kindlye give unto the poore,
And thereof make no spare, 110
Affirming still that Jesus Christ
[Pg 83] Of him hath dailye care.
He ne'er was seene to laugh nor smile,
But weepe and make great moane;
Lamenting still his miseries, 115
And dayes forepast and gone.
If he heare any one blaspheme,
Or take God's name in vaine,
He telles them that they crucifie
Their Saviour Christe againe. 120
"If you had seene his death," saith he,
"As these mine eyes have done,
Ten thousand thousand times would yee
His torments think upon,
And suffer for his sake all paine 125
Of torments, and all woes:"
These are his wordes, and eke his life,
Whereas he comes or goes.


From Minstrelsy of the Scotish Border, iii. 32. This copy of the ballad is imperfect. A complete version is inserted in the Appendix from Buchan's Ballads of the North of Scotland, i. 91. There is another, also defective, called The Bonny Hind Squire, in Scottish Traditional Versions of Ancient Ballads, p. 42, Percy Soc. vol. xvii.

[Pg 84]

'Twas on a night, an evening bright,
When the dew began to fa',
Lady Margaret was walking up and down,
Looking o'er her castle wa'.
She looked east, and she looked west, 5
To see what she could spy,
When a gallant knight came in her sight,
And to the gate drew nigh.
"You seem to be no gentleman,
You wear your boots so wide; 10
But you seem to be some cunning hunter,
You wear the horn so syde."
"I am no cunning hunter," he said,
"Nor ne'er intend to be;
But I am come to this castle 15
To seek the love of thee;
And if you do not grant me love,
This night for thee I'll die."
"If you should die for me, sir knight,
There's few for you will mane, 20
For mony a better has died for me
Whose graves are growing green.
"But ye maun read my riddle," she said,
"And answer me questions three;
And but ye read them right," she said, 25
[Pg 85] "Gae stretch ye out and die.
"Now what is the flower, the ae first flower,
Springs either on moor or dale?
And what is the bird, the bonnie bonnie bird,
Sings on the evening gale?" 30
"The primrose is the ae first flower
Springs either on moor or dale;
And the thristlecock is the bonniest bird
Sings on the evening gale."
"But what's the little coin," she said, 35
"Wald buy my castle bound?
And what's the little boat," she said,
"Can sail the world all round?"
"O hey, how mony small pennies
Make thrice three thousand pound? 40
Or hey, how mony small fishes
Swim a' the salt sea round?"
"I think ye maun be my match," she said,
"My match and something mair;
You are the first e'er got the grant 45
Of love frae my father's heir.
"My father was lord of nine castles,
My mother lady of three;
My father was lord of nine castles,
[Pg 86]And there's nane to heir but me. 50
"And round about a' thae castles,
You may baith plow and saw,
And on the fifteenth day of May
The meadows they will maw."
"O hald your tongue, Lady Margaret," he said, 55
"For loud I hear you lie!
Your father was lord of nine castles,
Your mother was lady of three;
Your father was lord of nine castles,
But ye fa' heir to but three. 60
"And round about a' thae castles,
You may baith plow and saw,
But on the fifteenth day of May
The meadows will not maw.
"I am your brother Willie," he said, 65
"I trow ye ken na me;
I came to humble your haughty heart,
Has gar'd sae mony die."
"If ye be my brother Willie," she said;
"As I trow weel ye be, 70
This night I'll neither eat nor drink,
But gae alang wi' thee."
"O hald your tongue, Lady Margaret," he said,
[Pg 87] "Again I hear you lie;
For ye've unwashen hands, and ye've unwashen feet, 75
To gae to clay wi' me.
"For the wee worms are my bedfellows,
And cauld clay is my sheets,
And when the stormy winds do blow,
My body lies and sleeps." 80

76. Unwashen hands and unwashen feet.—Alluding to the custom of washing and dressing dead bodies. S.


Motherwell's Minstrelsy, p. 298, and Buchan's Ballads of the North of Scotland, ii. 70: from recitation.

When Reedisdale and Wise William
Was drinking at the wine,
There fell a roosing them amang,
On one unruly time.
For some of them has roosed their hawks, 5
And other some their hounds;
And other some their ladies fair,
And their bow'rs whare they walk'd in.
When out it spak him Reedisdale,
[Pg 88]And a rash word spake he: 10
Says, "There is not a lady fair,
In bower wherever she be,
But I could aye her favour win,
With one blink of my e'e."
Then out it spak him Wise William, 15
And a rash word spak he:
Says, "I have a sister of my own,
In bower wherever she be,
And ye will not her favour win,
With three blinks of your e'e." 20
"What will you wager, Wise William?
My lands I'll wad with thee:"
"I'll wad my head against your land,
Till I get more monie."
Then Reedisdale took Wise William, 25
Laid him in prison strang;
That he might neither gang nor ride,
Nor no word to her send.
But he has written a braid letter,
Between the night and day, 30
And sent it to his own sister,
By dun feather and gray.
When she had read Wise William's letter,
She smiled and she leuch:
Said, "Very weel, my dear brother, 35
[Pg 89] Of this I have eneuch."
She looked out at her west window,
To see what she could see,
And there she spied him Reedisdale,
Come riding o'er the lea. 40
Says, "Come to me, my maidens all,
Come hitherward to me;
For here it comes him Reedisdale,
Who comes a-courting me."
"Come down, come down, my lady fair, 45
A sight of you give me:"
"Go from my yetts now, Reedisdale,
For me you will not see."
"Come down, come down, my lady fair,
A sight of you give me; 50
And bonnie is the gowns of silk
That I will give to thee."
"If you have bonnie gowns of silk,
O mine is bonnie tee;
Go from my yetts now, Reedisdale, 55
For me you shall not see."
"Come down, come down, my lady fair,
A sight of you I'll see;
And bonnie jewels, broaches, rings,
[Pg 90]I will give unto thee." 60
"If you have bonnie broaches, rings,
O mine are bonnie tee;
Go from my yetts now, Reedisdale,
For me you shall not see."
"Come down, come down, my lady fair, 65
One sight of you I'll see;
And bonnie is the halls and bowers
That I will give to thee."
"If you have bonnie halls and bowers,
O mine is bonnie tee; 70
Go from my yetts now, Reedisdale,
For me you shall not see."
"Come down, come down, my lady fair,
A sight of you I'll see;
And bonnie is my lands so broad 75
That I will give to thee."
"If you have bonnie lands so broad,
O mine is bonnie tee;
Go from my yetts now, Reedisdale,
For me you will not see." 80
"Come down, come down, my lady fair
A sight of you I'll see;
And bonnie is the bags of gold
[Pg 91] That I will give to thee."
"If you have bonnie bags of gold, 85
I have bags of the same;
Go from my yetts now, Reedisdale,
For down I will not come."
"Come down, come down, my lady fair,
One sight of you I'll see; 90
Or else I'll set your house on fire,
If better cannot be."
Then he has set the house on fire,
And all the rest it took;
He turned his wight horse head about, 95
Said, "Alas! they'll ne'er get out."
"Look out, look out, my maidens fair,
And see what I do see;
How Reedisdale has fired our house,
And now rides o'er the lea. 100
"Come hitherward, my maidens fair,
Come hither unto me;
For through this reek, and through this smeek,
O through it we must be."
They took wet mantles them about, 105
Their coffers by the band;
And through the reek, and through the flame,
[Pg 92] Alive they all have wan.
When they had got out through the fire,
And able all to stand, 110
She sent a maid to Wise William,
To bruik Reedisdale's land.
"Your lands is mine, now, Reedisdale,
For I have won them free:"
"If there is a good woman in the world, 115
Your one sister is she."


From the Musical Museum, p. 357.

"Geordie, an old Ballad," was first printed in Johnson's Museum, from a copy furnished by Burns. The occasion of the ballad has not been satisfactorily determined. In the opinion of Mr. Kinloch, it is to be found in the factions of the family of Huntly during the reign of Queen Mary. George Gordon, Earl of Huntly, having been sent by the Queen to apprehend a notorious robber, was thought not to have been faithful to his trust. He returned without accomplishing the object of his expedition, and was committed to prison because of his failure. Some of the Queen's council were in favor of banishing him to France, others of putting him to death, but he was released, on condition of paying a fine and performing certain other stipulations. Motherwell states that there is much variation in the recited copies of this[Pg 93] piece, and mentions one styled Geordie Luklie. Kinloch prints a version not materially different from that of the Museum. Allan Cunningham has reprinted the Museum copy with less change than is customary with him; Songs of Scotland, ii. 186. We give in the Appendix a ballad from Buchan, called Gight's Lady, which contains a story widely diverse from that which follows. In Ritson's Northumberland Garland, p. 43, there is a "lamentable ditty" on the death of one George Stoole, which appears to be an imitation of the Scottish ballad.

There was a battle in the north,
And nobles there was many,
And they hae kill'd Sir Charlie Hay,
And they laid the wyte on Geordie.
O he has written a lang letter, 5
He sent it to his lady;
"Ye maun cum up to Enbrugh town,
To see what word's o' Geordie."
When first she look'd the letter on
She was baith red and rosy, 10
But she had na read a word but twa,
Till she wallow't like a lily.
"Gar get to me my gude grey steed,
My menzie a' gae wi' me,
For I shall neither eat nor drink, 15
[Pg 94] Till Enbrugh town shall see me."
And she has mountit her gude grey steed
Her menzie a' gaed wi' her;
And she did neither eat nor drink,
Till Enbrugh town did see her. 20
And first appear'd the fatal block,
And syne the aix to head him,
And Geordie cumin down the stair,
And bands o' airn upon him.
But tho' he was chain'd in fetters strang, 25
O' airn and steel sae heavy,
There was na ane in a' the court,
Sae bra' a man as Geordie.
O she's down on her bended knee,
I wat she's pale and weary,— 30
"O pardon, pardon, noble king,
And gie me back my dearie.
"I hae born seven sons to my Geordie dear,
The seventh ne'er saw his daddie;
O pardon, pardon, noble king, 35
[Pg 95] Pity a waefu' lady!"
"Gar bid the headin-man mak haste,"
Our king reply'd fu' lordly;—
"O noble king, tak a' that's mine,
But gie me back my Geordie." 40
The Gordons cam, and the Gordons ran,
And they were stark and steady;
And ay the word amang them a',
Was, "Gordons, keep you ready."
An aged lord at the king's right hand, 45
Says, "Noble king, but hear me;
Gar her tell down five thousand pound,
And gie her back her dearie."
Some gae her marks, some gae her crowns,
Some gae her dollars many; 50
And she's tell'd down five thousand pound,
And she's gotten again her dearie.
She blinkit blythe in her Geordie's face,
Says, "Dear I've bought thee, Geordie;
But there sud been bluidy bouks on the green, 55
Or I had tint my laddie."
He claspit her by the middle sma',
And he kist her lips sae rosy;
"The fairest flower o' woman-kind,
Is my sweet, bonnie lady!" 60

20. Cunningham here inserts a stanza "from the recitation of Mrs. Cunningham," which is not in the other printed copies:

And soon she came to the water broad,
Nor boat nor barge was ready;
She turned her horse's head to the flood,
And swam through at Queensferry.

[Pg 96]


Kinloch's Ancient Scottish Ballads, p. 192.

There was a battle in the North,
And rebels there were monie;
And monie ane got broken heads,
And taken was my Geordie.
My Geordie O, my Geordie O, 5
O the love I bear to Geordie;
For the very grund I walk upon,
Bears witness I loe Geordie.
As she gaed up the tolbooth stair,
The cripples there stood monie; 10
And she dealt the red gowd them among,
To pray for her love Geordie.
And whan she cam into the hall,
The nobles there stood monie;
And ilka ane stood hat on head, 15
But hat in hand stood Geordie.
Up bespak a Norlan lord,
[Pg 97] I wat he spak na bonnie,—
"If ye'll stay here a little while,
Ye'll see Geordie hangit shortly." 20
Then up bespak a baron bold,
And O but he spak bonnie,—
"If ye'll pay doun five hundred crowns,
Ye'se get your true-love Geordie."
Some lent her guineas, some lent her crowns, 25
Some lent her shillings monie;
And she's paid doun five hundred crowns,
And she's gotten her bonnie love Geordie.
When she was mounted on her hie steed,
And on ahint her Geordie, 30
Nae bird on the brier e'er sang sae clear,
As the young knight and his ladie.
"My Geordie O, my Geordie O,
O the love I bear to Geordie;
The very stars in the firmament 35
Bear tokens I loe Geordie."

[Pg 98]


Tea-Table Miscellany, i. 104; Old Ballads, iii. 259.

It is tradition that King James the Fifth of Scotland was in the habit of wandering about his dominions in disguise, and engaging in amours with country girls. One of these is thought to be described in the witty ballad of The Jolly Beggar, (Herd's Scotish Songs, ii. 164, Ritson's Scotish Songs, i. 168,) and another in The Gaberlunzie-Man, both of which are universally attributed (though without evidence) to James's pen. The character of James V., it has been remarked (Gent. Mag. Oct. 1794, p. 913,) resembled both in licentiousness and genius, that of the troubadour sovereign, William the Ninth, Count of Poitiers, who appears to have had the same vagrant habits.

With The Jolly Beggar may be compared Der Bettelmann, in Hoffmann's Schlesische Volkslieder, p. 45.

The pawky auld carle came o'er the lee,
Wi' many goode'ens and days to me,
Saying, "Goodwife, for your courtesie,
"Will you lodge a silly poor man?"
The night was cauld, the carle was wat, 5
And down ayont the ingle he sat;
My daughters shoulders he gan to clap,
And cadgily ranted and sang.
"O wow!" quo' he, "were I as free,
[Pg 99]As first when I saw this country, 10
How blyth and merry wad I be,
And I wad never think lang."
He grew canty, and she grew fain,
But little did her auld minny ken,
What thir slee twa togither were say'ng, 15
When wooing they were sae thrang.
"And O!" quo' he, "ann ye were as black,
As e'er the crown of my dady's hat,
'Tis I wad lay thee by my back,
And awa' wi' me thou shou'd gang." 20
"And O!" quo' she, "ann I were as white,
As e'er the snaw lay on the dyke,
I'd clead me braw, and lady-like,
And awa with thee I'd gang."
Between the twa was made a plot; 25
They raise a wee before the cock,
And wilily they shot the lock,
And fast to the bent are they gane.
Up the morn the auld wife raise,
And at her leisure pat on her claise; 30
Syne to the servant's bed she gaes,
To speer for the silly poor man.
She gaed to the bed where the beggar lay,
The strae was cauld, he was away;
She clapt her hands, cry'd "Waladay! 35
For some of our gear will be gane."
[Pg 100] Some ran to coffers, and some to kists,
But nought was stown that cou'd be mist:
She danc'd her lane, cry'd, "Praise be blest!
I have lodg'd a leal poor man. 40
"Since nathing's awa', as we can learn,
The kirn's to kirn, and milk to earn;
Gae butt the house, lass, and waken my bairn,
And bid her come quickly ben."
The servant gade where the daughter lay, 45
The sheets was cauld, she was away;
And fast to her goodwife can say,
"She's aff with the gaberlunzie-man."
"O fy gar ride, and fy gar rin,
And haste ye, find these traytors again; 50
For she's be burnt, and he's be slain,
The wearifu' gaberlunzie-man."
Some rade upo' horse, some ran a-fit,
The wife was wood, and out o' her wit;
She cou'd na gang, nor yet cou'd she sit, 55
But ay she curs'd and she ban'd.
Mean time far hind out o'er the lee,
Fu' snug in a glen, where nane cou'd see,
The twa, with kindly sport and glee,
Cut frae a new cheese a whang. 60
The priving was good, it pleas'd them baith;
To lo'e her for aye he gae her his aith;
Quo' she, "To leave thee, I will be laith,
[Pg 101] My winsome gaberlunzie-man.
"O kend my minny I were wi' you, 65
Illfardly wad she crook her mou;
Sic a poor man she'd never trow,
After the gaberlunzie-man."
"My dear," quo' he, "ye're yet o'er young,
And ha' na lear'd the beggars tongue, 70
To follow me frae town to town,
And carry the gaberlunzie on.
"Wi' cauk and keel, I'll win your bread,
And spindles and whorles for them wha need,
Whilk is a gentil trade indeed, 75
To carry the gaberlunzie, O.
I'll bow my leg, and crook my knee,
And draw a black clout o'er my eye;
A cripple or blind they will ca' me,
While we shall be merry and sing."


The Turnament of Totenham was first printed in the History of Totenham, (1631,) by the Rev. Wilhelm Bedwell, rector of the parish, who, says Percy, "so little entered into the spirit of the poem he was publishing, that he contends for its being a serious narrative of a real event, and thinks it must have been written before the time of Edward III., because turnaments were prohibited in that reign." The simple parson derived his copy from a manuscript lent[Pg 102] him by George Withers. In the first edition of the Reliques, Percy reprinted Bedwell's text, with some conjectural emendations, but for the revised edition he employed a manuscript in the Harleian collection (No. 5396), pointed out to him by Tyrwhitt. This manuscript is thought to have been written in the reign of Henry VI. Since the publication of the Harleian text, the manuscript used by Bedwell has been found in the Public Library of the University of Cambridge, (Ff. 5, 48,) and a correct copy published by Mr. Wright in a miniature volume. We have given this last text, as on the whole the best, though in places it requires emendation from the Harleian copy. The Cambridge manuscript (the same as that which contains the ballad of Robin Hood and the Monk,) Mr. Wright believes to have been written as early as the reign of Edward II. In this MS. there is subjoined to the Turnament an extravagantly burlesque account of the feast mentioned in the last stanzas.

Percy's copy will be found in the Reliques, ii. 13. Ritson's (Ancient English Songs, i. 85,) is nearly identical.

This ballad, it has been observed, appears to be "a burlesque upon the old feudal custom of marrying an heiress to the knight who should vanquish all his opponents, at a solemn assembly holden for that purpose." See the remarks in the Gentleman's Magazine for July, 1794, p. 613.

Of alle these kene conqueroures to carpe is oure kynde;
[Pg 103] Off fel feghtyng folke ferly we fynde;
The turnament of Totenham have I in mynde;
Hit were harme sich hardynesse were holdyn behynde,
In story as we rede 5
Off Hawkyn, of Harry,
Off Tymkyn, of Tyrry,
Off thaym that were duzty
And hardy in dede.
Hit befel in Totenham on a dere day, 10
Ther was made a shurtyng be the hye way;
Thider come alle the men of that contray,
Off Hisselton, of Hygate, and of Hakenay,
And alle the swete swynkers:
Ther hoppyd Hawkyn, 15
Ther dawnsid Dawkyn,
Ther trumpyd Tymkyn,
And [all] were true drynkers.
Tille the day was gon and evesong paste,
That thai shulde reckyn thaire skot and thaire counts caste: 20
Perkyn the potter in to the prees paste,
And seid, "Rondill the refe, a dozter thu haste,
Tibbe thi dere.
[Pg 104] Therfor fayne wete wolde I,
Whether these felows or I, 25
Or which of alle this bachelery,
Were the best worthy to wed hir to his fere."
Upsterte the gadlyngs with thaire lang staves,
And seid, "Rondyll the refe, lo, this lad raves;
How prudly among us thy dozter he craves; 30
And we ar richer men then he, and more gode haves,
Off catell and of corne."
Then seid Perkyn, "To Tibbe I have hyzt,
That I will be alle wey redy in my rizt,
With a fleyle for to fyght, this day seven nyzt, 35
And thouz hit were to morne."
Then seid Rondill the refe, "Ever be he waryd
That aboute this carpyng lenger wolde be taryd:
I wolde not my dozter that she were myskaryd,
But at hir moost worship I wolde she were maryd. 40
[Ther]ffor the turnament shalle begynne
[Pg 105] This day seven nyzt,
With a flayle for to fyzt:
And he that is moste of myzt
Shalle brok hir with wynne. 45
"He that berys hym best in the turnament,
Him shal be grauntid the gre be the comyn assent,
Ffor to wynne my dozter with duztynesse of dent,
And Coppull, my brode hen, that was brozt out of Kent,
And my donned cow. 50
Ffor no spence will I spare,
Ffor no catell wille I care;
He shalle have my gray mare,
And my spottyd sowe."
Ther was mony a bolde lad theire bodys to bede: 55
Than thei toke theire leve and hamwarde thei zede,
And alle the weke afterward thei graythed her wede,
Tille hit come to the day that thei shulde do thaire dede.
Thei armyd theym in mattes,
Thei sett on theire nolles 60
Gode blake bolles,
Ffor to kepe theire pollis
[Pg 106] Ffor batteryng of battes.
Thei sewed hem in schepe skynnes, for thei shuld not brest,
And everilkon of hem a blac hatte in stidde of a crest, 65
A baskett or a panyer before on thaire brest,
And a flayle in theire honde; for to fyzt prest,
Forth con thei fare.
Ther was kid mycull fors,
Who shulde best fend his cors; 70
He that hade no gode hors,
Borowyd hym a mare.
Sich another clothyng have I not sene ofte,
When alle the gret cumpany come ridand to the crofte;
Tibbe on a gray mare was sett up on lofte; 75
Upon a secke full of senvye, for she shuld sitt softe,
And ledde tille the gappe:
Fforther wold she not than,
For the luf of no man,
Tille Coppull, hir brode hen, 80
[Pg 107] Were brozt in to hir lappe.
A gay gyrdull Tibbe hade [on], borowed for the nones,
And a garland on hir hed, full of ruell bones,
And a broch on hir brest, full of saphre stones,
The holy rode tokynyng was writon for the nones: 85
For no spendyng they [had] spare[d].
When joly Jeynken wist hir thare,
He gurde so fast his gray mare,
That she lete a fowkyn fare
At the rerewarde. 90
"I make a vow," quod Tibbe, "Coppull is comyn of kynde;
I shalle falle fyve in the felde, and I my flayle fynde."
"I make a vow," quod Hudde, "I shalle not leve behynde;
[Pg 108] May I mete with Lyarde, or Bayarde the blynde,
I wot I schalle theym greve." 95
"I make a vow," quod Haukyn,
"May I mete with Daukyn,
Ffor alle his rich kyn,
His flayle I shalle hym reve."
"I make a vow," quod Gregge, "Tib, [son] thu shal se 100
Which of alle the bachelery grauntid is the gre.
I shalle skomfet hem alle, for the luf of thé,
In what place that I come, thei shall have dout of me.
Ffor I am armyd at the fole;
In myn armys I ber well 105
A doz troz and a pele,
A sadull withowt panele,
With a flece of wole."
"Now go down," quod Dudman, "and bere me bet abowte:
[Pg 109]I make a vow thei shall abye that I fynde owte.110
Have I twyse or thrise riden thruz the rowte,
In what place that I come, of me thei shall ha[ve] doute.
Myn armys bene so clere:
I bar a ridell and a rake,
Poudurt with the brenyng drake, 115
And thre cantels of a cake
In ilke a cornere."
"I make a vow," quod Tirry, "and swere be my crede,
Saw thu never yong boy forther his body bede:
Ffor when thei fyzt fastest, and most er in drede, 120
I shalle take Tib be the hond and away hir lede.
Then byn myn armys best:
I ber a pilch of ermyn,
Poudert with a catt skyn;
The chefe is of pechmyn, 125
That stondis on the creste."
"I make a vow," quod Dudman, "and swere be the stra,
[Pg 110] Whils me ys left my mer, thu gets hir not swa.
For she is wel shapyn, as lizt as a ra;
Ther is no capull in this myle before her will ga. 130
She wil me not begyle;
I dar sothely say,
She will be[re me] on Monday
Ffro Hissiltoun to Haknay,
Nozt other halfe myle." 135
"I make a vow," quod Perkyn, "thu carpis of cold rost.
I wil wyrke wiselier without any boost.
Ffyve of the best capuls that ar in this host,
I will hem lede away be another coost:"
And then lowz Tibbe. 140
"Weloo, boyes, here is he
That will fyzt and not fle:
Ffor I am in my jolyté:
I go forth, Tibbe."
When thai had thaire othes made, forth can thei hie, 145
[Pg 111] With flayles and harnys and trumpis made of tre.
Ther were all the bachilers of that contre:
Thei were dizt in aray, as thaim self wolde be.
Theire baner was ful bryzt,
Off an olde raton fell; 150
The chefe was of a ploo-mell,
And the schadow of a bell,
Quarterd with the mone lizt.
I wot it was no childer gamme when thei to geder mett,
When ilke a freke in the felde on his felow bette, 155
And leid on stifly—for no thyng wold thei lett—
And fozt ferly fast, til theyre hors swett.
And few wordis were spokyn.
Ther were flayles al to-flaterde,
Ther were scheldis al to-claterde, 160
Bolles and disshis al to-baterde,
And mony hedis ther were brokyn.
Ther was clenkyng of cart sadils, and clatering of cannes;
Off fel frekis in the feeld brokyn were thaire fannes;
[Pg 112]Off sum were the hedis brokyn, of sum the brayn pannes, 165
And evel were they besene er they went thannes,
With swippyng of swipylles.
The laddis were so wery forfozt,
That thai myzt fyzt no more on loft,
But creppid aboute in the crofte, 170
As thei were crokid crypils.
Perkyn was so wery that he began to lowte:
"Helpe, Hudde, I am ded in this ilke rowte;
An hors, for forty penys, a gode and a stoute,
That I may liztly cum of my [noye] owte. 175
Ffor no cost wil I spare."
He stert up as a snayle,
And hent a capull be the tayle,
And rauzt of Daukyn his flayle,
And wan hym a mare. 180
"Perkyn wan fyve, and Hudde wan twa.
Glad and blith thai were that thei had don sa;
Thai wolde have thaim to Tibbe, and present hir with tha;
The capuls were so wery that thei myzt not ga,
But stille can thei stonde. 185
"Alas!" quod Hud, "my joye I lese:
Me had lever then a ston of chese
That dere Tibbe had alle these,
[Pg 113] And wist hit were my sonde."
Perkyn turnyd hym aboute in that ilke throng; 190
He fouzt fresshly, for he had rest hym long.
He was war of Tirry take Tib be the hond,
And wold have lad hir away with a luf-song;
And Perkyn after ran,
And of his capull he hym drowe, 195
And gaf hym of his flayle inowe.
Then "Te he," quod Tib, and lowe:
"Ze ar a duzty man."
Thus thai tuggat and thei ruggat, til hit was ny nyzt.
Alle the wyves of Totenham come to se that sizt, 200
To fech home thaire husbondis that were thaym trouthe-plizt,
With wispys and kexis, that was a rich lizt,
[Pg 114] Her husbondis home to fech.
And sum they had in armys,
That were febull wreches, 205
And sum on whelebarowes,
And sum on criches.
They gedurt Perkyn aboute on every side,
And graunt hym ther the gre, the more was his pride.
Tib and he with gret myrth hamward can ride, 210
And were al nyzt togedur til the morow tide.
And to chirch thay went.
So wel his nedis he hase spedde,
That dere Tibbe he shall wedde;
The chefe men that hir thider ledde 215
Were of the turnament.
To that rich fest come mony for the nonys;
Sum come hiphalt, and sum trippande thither on the stonys;
Sum with a staffe in his honde, and sum too at onys;
Of sum were the hedis brokyn, of sum the schulder bonys. 220
With sorow come they thidur.
Woo was Hawkyn, wo was Harry,
[Pg 115] Woo was Tomkyn, woo was Tirry,
And so was al the company,
But zet thei come togeder. 225
At that fest were thei servyd in a rich aray:
Every fyve and fyve had a cokeney.
And so they sate in jolite al the long daye;
Tibbe at nyzt, I trow, hade a sympull aray.
Micull myrth was thaym among: 230
In every corner of the howse
Was melodye deliciouse,
Ffor to here preciouse,
Off six mennys song.

18. sic MS. Harl. according to Percy.

24-27. MS. Harl.

Therfor faine wyt wold I,
Whych of all thys bachelery
Were best worthye
To wed hur to hys fere.

v. 27 should be divided into two.

35-36. MS. Harl.

If that it schuld be thys day sevenyzt,
Or elles zet to morn.

36. Wright. tomorowe.

41. sic MS. Harl.

47. Wright, He.

65. MS. Harl. Ilk on toke a blak hat.

72. MS. Harl. He gat hym a mare.

73. MS. Harl. gadryng.

78-81. MS. Harl.

For cryeng of the men,
Forther wold not Tyb then,
Tyl scho had hur brode hen,
Set in hur lap.

82. on. MS. Harl.

85. MS. Harl. With the holy, &c. wrotyn.

86. Wolde they spare. Wright.

v. 91-99. Stands thus in MS. Harl.

"I wow to God," quoth Herry, "I schal not lefe behynde,
May I mete wyth Bernard on Bayard the blynde.
Ich man kepe hym out of my wynde,
For whatsoever that he be before me I fynde,
I wot I schall hym greve."
"Wele sayd," quoth Hawkyn,
"And I wow," quoth Dawkyn,
"May I mete wyth Tomkyn,
Hys flayle I schal hym reve."

104-108. Here stand vs. 113-117 in MS. Harl.

109-117. This stanza is written as follows in MS. Harl.:

"I vow to God," quoth Hawkyn, "Yf he have the gowt,
Al that I fynde in the felde thrustand here aboute,
Have I twyes or thryes redyn thrugh the route,
In ych a stede ther thay me se, of me thay schal have doute.
When I begyn to play,
I make a vowe that I ne schall,
But yf Tybbe wyl me call,
Or I be thryes don fall,
Ryzt onys com away.

122-126. Here stand v. 104-108 in MS. Harl.

128. Whyls me ys left my merth. MS. Harl. Whil I am most mery. Wright.

We must obviously read "mer," i. e. mare, with Percy and Ritson; otherwise the rest of the stanza is nonsense. The th which is added in the MS. Harl., was caught from the thou following.

132-3. MS. Harl.

Sche wyl me bere, I dar say,
On a lang-somerys day.

141. MS. H. wele.

144. MS. H. Wyth so forth, Gybbe.
Wright.  Joo forth.

145. hie, MS. Harl.
te, Wright.

150-151. MS. H.

Of an old rotten fell,
The cheveron of a plow-mell.

153. MS. H. Poudred.

159-161. MS. H. slatred—flatred—schatred.

175. my noye. MS. H.
myn one.  Wright.

191-194. MS. Harl.

Among those wery boyes he wrest and he wrang,
He threw tham doun to the erth, and thrast them amang,
When he saw Tyrry away wyth Tyb fang,
And after hym ran.

201-207. Here evidently corrupted. In MS. Harl. as follows:

Wyth wyspes, and kexis, and ryschys there lyzt,
To fetch hom ther husbandes that were tham trouth-plyzt.
And sum brozt gret harwos
Ther husbandes hom to fetch,
Sum on dores, and sum on hech,
Sum on hyrdyllys, and sum on crech,
And sum on whele-barows.

212. MS. H. And thay ifere assent.

215. MS. H. The prayse-folk that hur led.

224-5. MS. H.

And so was all the bachelary,
When thay met togedyr.

226. MS. H. with a ryche aray.

229. MS. H.

And at the last thay went to bed with ful gret deray.

N. B. The letter z in our reprint of this poem often represents the old character Ȝ, which has generally the force of gh (aspirated g), sometimes of y.

[Pg 116]


This ballad has been handed down, through manuscript and oral tradition, in several forms. The oldest copy is furnished by the Bannatyne MS., and this has been often printed, with more or less correctness: as in Ramsay's Evergreen, ii. 137; Lord Hailes's Ancient Scotish Poems, &c. p. 215; Herd's Scotish Songs, ii. 237; Pinkerton's Select Scottish Ballads, ii. 97. Our text is that of Laing, Select Remains, &c., which professes to be carefully given from the manuscript. Mr. Laing has added in the margin the most important variations of other editions. Allan Ramsay altered several verses and added others.

In the Bannatyne MS. this piece is subscribed with the name of "Mofat," and on this ground the authorship has been attributed to Sir John Moffat, who is supposed to have lived in the earlier part of the 16th century.

Ritson, who intended to insert the Wife of Auchtermuchty in a projected volume of Select Scotish Poems, says in a manuscript note, "The subject of this poem seems to be borrowed from the first part of a story in the Silva Sermonum Jucundissimorum, Basil. 1568, 8vo. p. 116, though certainly from a more ancient authority." (Laing.) This story is cited at the end of the volume from which we print. In Wright and Halliwell's Reliquiæ Antiquæ, ii. 195, is the first fit of an English ballad on the same subject, "from a MS. on paper, of the reign of Henry VII," (Ballad of a Tyrannical Husband.) John Grumlie in Cun[Pg 117]ningham's Songs of Scotland, ii. 123, is another variety. See also Nursery Rhymes of England, p. 32, Per. Soc. vol. iv. In 1803, there appeared at Edinburgh a translation of Ramsay's ballad into Latin rhyme.

In Auchtirmuchty thair dwelt ane man,
An husband, as I hard it tauld,
Quha weill could tippill owt a can,
And naithir luvit hungir nor cauld.
Quhill anis it fell upoun a day, 5
He yokkit his pluch upoun the plane;
Gif it be trew as I hard say,
The day was foull for wind and rane.
He lowsit the pluche at the landis end,
And draif his oxin hame at evin; 10
Quhen he come in he lukit bend,
And saw the wyf baith dry and clene,
And sittand at ane fyre, beik and bauld,
With ane fat soup, as I hard say;
The man being verry weit and cauld, 15
Betwene thay twa it was na play.
Quoth he, "Quhair is my horsis corne?
My ox hes naithir hay nor stray;
Dame, ye mon to the pluch to morne;
I salbe hussy, gif I may." 20
"Husband," quoth scho, "content am I
To tak the pluche my day about,
Sa ye will reull baith kavis and ky,
[Pg 118] And all the house baith in and owt.
"But sen that ye will husyskep ken, 25
First ye sall sift and syne sall kned;
And ay as ye gang but and ben,
Luk that the bairnis dryt not the bed.
Yeis lay ane soft wisp to the kill;
We haif ane deir ferme on o[u]r heid; 30
And ay as ye gang furth and in,
Keip weill the gaislingis fra the gled."
The wyf was up richt late at evin,
I pray God gif her evill to fair!
Scho kyrnd the kyrne, and skumd it clene, 35
And left the gudeman bot the bledoch bair.
Than in the mornyng up scho gatt,
And on hir hairt laid hir disjune;
Scho put als mekle in hir lap,
As micht haif ser[v]d them baith at nune. 40
Sayis, "Jok, will thou be maister of wark,
And thou sall had, and I sall kall;
Ise promise thé ane gude new sark,
Athir of round claith or of small."
Scho lousit oxin aucht or nyne, 45
And hynt ane gad-staff in hir hand;
And the gudman raiss eftir syne,
And saw the wyf had done command.
And caud the gaislingis furth to feid;
Thair was bot sevensum of thame all; 50
[Pg 119] And by thair cumis the gredy gled,
And likkit up five, left him bot twa.
Than out he ran in all his mane,
How sune he hard the gaislingis cry;
Bot than or he come in agane, 55
The calfis brak louss and sowkit the ky.
The calvis and ky being met in the lone,
The man ran with ane rung to red;
Than by thair cumis ane ill-willy cow,
And brodit his buttok quhill that it bled. 60
Than hame he ran to an rok of tow,
And he satt doun to say the spynning;
I trow he lowtit our neir the low,
Quoth he, "This wark hes ill begynning."
Than to the kyrn that he did stoure, 65
And jumlit at it quhill he swatt:
Quhen he had jumlit a full lang houre,
The sorrow crap of butter he gatt.
Albeit na butter he could gett,
Yit he wes cummerit with the kyrne, 70
And syne he het the milk our hett,
And sorrow a spark of it wald yirne.
Than ben thair come ane gredy sow,
I trow he cund hir littil thank;
For in scho schot hir mekle mow, 75
And ay scho winkit and scho drank.
He cleikit up ane crukit club,
[Pg 120] And thocht to hitt the sow ane rout;
The twa gaislingis the gled had left,
That straik dang baith thair harnis out. 80
[He gat his foot upon the spyre,
To have gotten the flesche doune to the pat;
He fell backward into the fyre,
And brack his head on the keming stock.
Yit he gat the mekle pat upon the fyre, 85
And gat twa cannes, and ran to the spout;
Er he came in, quhat thought ye of that?
The fyre brunt aw the pat-a... out.]
Than he beur kendling to the kill,
But scho start all up in ane low; 90
Quhat evir he hard, quhat evir he saw,
That day he had na will to mow.
Then he yeid to tak up the bairnis,
Thocht to haif fund thame fair and clene;
The first that he gat in his armis 95
Was all bedirtin to the ene.
The first that he gat in his armis,
It was all dirt up to the eine;
"The devill cut of thair handes," quoth he,
"That fild you all sa fow this strene." 100
[Pg 121] He trailit foull scheitis doun the gait,
Thought to haif wescht thame on ane stane;
The burne wes rissin grit of spait,
Away fra him the scheitis hes tane.
Then up he gat on ane know heid, 105
On hir to cry, on hir to schout;
Scho hard him, and scho hard him not,
Bot stoutly steird the stottis about.
Scho draif the day unto the night,
Scho lousit the pluch, and syne come hame; 110
Scho fand all wrang that sould bene richt,
I trow the man thought richt grit schame.
Quoth he, "My office I forsaik,
For all the dayis of my lyf,
For I wald put ane house to wraik, 115
Had I bene twenty dayis gudwyf."
Quoth scho, "Weill mote ye bruke your place,
For trewlie I will never excep it:"
Quoth he, "Feind fall the lyaris face,
Bot yit ye may be blyth to get it." 120
Than up scho gat ane mekle rung,
And the gudman maid to the doir;
Quoth he, "Dame, I sall hald my tung,
For and we fecht I'ill get the woir."
Quoth he, "Quhen I forsuk my pluche, 125
I trow I but forsuk my seill;
And I will to my pluch agane,
Ffor I and this howse will nevir do weill."

81-88. This stanza, which does not occur in the Bannatyne MS., or in the ordinary printed copies, is given by Laing from a MS. "written in a hand not much later than the year 1600."

106. MS. cray.

122. MS. dur.

[Pg 122]


An old story, often referred to, e. g. in Skelton's Colyn Cloute, v. 879. The ballad is found in various collections in the British Museum, and is cited in part from one of these, in Dyce's note to the passage in Skelton. There is a Scottish version in Kinloch's Ballad Book, p. 25. The following is from Durfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy, iii. 325 (The Fryer and the Maid), but as that copy is abridged, we have supplied the omitted stanzas from Chappell's Popular Music, p. 273.

As I lay musing all alone,
A merry tale I thought upon;
Now listen a while, and I will you tell
Of a fryer that loved a bonny lass well.
He came to her when she was going to bed, 5
Desiring to have her maidenhead;
But she denyed his desire,
And said that she did fear hell-fire.
"Tush, tush," quoth the fryer, "thou needst not doubt,
If thou wert in hell, I could sing thee out:" 10
"Why then," quoth the maid, "thou shalt have thy request;"
[Pg 123] The fryer was as glad as a fox in his nest.
"But one thing more I must require,
More than to sing me out of hell-fire;
That is, for doing of the thing, 15
An angel of money you must me bring."
"Tush, tush," quoth the fryer, "we two shall agree;
No money shall part thee, [my love,] and me;
Before thy company I will lack,
I'll pawn the grey gown off my back." 20
The maid bethought her on a wile,
How she might this fryer beguile.
When he was gone, the truth to tell,
She hung a cloth before a well.
The fryer came, as his bargain was, 25
With money unto his bonny lass;
"Good morrow, fair maid;" "Good morrow," quoth she;
"Here is the money I promis'd thee."
She thank'd him, and she took the money:
"Now lets go to't, my own dear honey:" 30
"Nay, stay awhile, some respite make;
If my master should come, he would us take."
"Alas!" quoth the maid, "my master doth come."
[Pg 124] "Alas!" quoth the fryer, "where shall I run?"
"Behind yon cloth run thou," quoth she, 35
"For there my master cannot see."
Behind the cloth the fryer went,
And was in the well incontinent.
"Alas!" quoth he, "I'm in the well;"
"No matter," quoth she, "if thou wert in hell. 40
"Thou saidst thou could sing me out of hell:
I prithee sing thyself out of the well.
Sing out," quoth she, "with all thy might,
Or else thou'rt like to sing there all night."
The fryer sang out with a pitiful sound, 45
"O help me out, or I shall be drown'd."
["I trow," quoth she, "your courage is cool'd;"
Quoth the fryer, "I never was so fool'd.
"I never was served so before;"
"Then take heed," quoth she, "thou com'st here no more." 50
Quoth he, "For sweet St. Francis sake,
On his disciple some pity take:"
Quoth she, "St. Francis never taught
His scholars to tempt young maids to naught."
The friar did entreat her still 55
That she would help him out of the well:
She heard him make such piteous moan,
[Pg 125] She help'd him out, and bid him begone.
Quoth he, "Shall I have my money again,
Which from me thou hast before-hand ta'en?" 60
"Good sir," quoth she, "there's no such matter;
I'll make you pay for fouling the water."
The friar went along the street,
Dropping wet, like a new-wash'd sheep;
Both old and young commended the maid 65
That such a witty prank had play'd.]

13. request.


Herd's Scottish Songs, ii. 63.

First printed by Herd in a slightly different form, ed. 1776, ii. 159; also Johnson's Museum, p. 310, and Ritson's Scottish Songs, i. 226. The hero of this story is traditionally known as one Johnie Blunt, who lived on Crawford Moor. Several versions of a song called by his name are current among the Scottish peasantry, one of which is given in Johnson's Museum, p. 376.—This ballad, says Stenhouse, furnished Prince Hoare with one of the principal scenes in his musical entertainment of No Song, no Supper, "acted at Drury Lane in 1790, and since throughout the United Kingdom with great success."

It fell about the Martinmas time,
[Pg 126] And a gay time it was than,
That our gudewife had puddings to mak,
And she boil'd them in the pan.
The wind blew cauld frae east and north, 5
And blew into the floor;
Quoth our gudeman to our gudewife,
"Get up and bar the door."
"My hand is in my hussyskep,
Goodman, as ye may see; 10
An' it shou'dna be barr'd this hunder year,
It's ne'er be barr'd by me."
They made a paction 'tween them twa,
They made it firm and sure,
That the first word whaever spak, 15
Should rise and bar the door.
Than by there came twa gentlemen,
At twelve o'clock at night,
Whan they can see na ither house,
And at the door they light. 20
"Now whether is this a rich man's house,
Or whether is it a poor?"
But ne'er a word wad ane o' them speak,
For barring of the door.
And first they ate the white puddings, 25
[Pg 127] And syne they ate the black:
Muckle thought the gudewife to hersell,
Yet ne'er a word she spak.
Then ane unto the ither said,
"Here, man, tak ye my knife; 30
Do ye tak aff the auld man's beard,
And I'll kiss the gudewife."
"But there's na water in the house,
And what shall we do than?"
"What ails ye at the pudding bree 35
That boils into the pan?"
O up then started our gudeman,
An angry man was he;
"Will ye kiss my wife before my een,
And scald me wi' pudding bree?"
O up then started our gudewife, 40
Gied three skips on the floor;
"Gudeman, you have spak the first word;
Get up and bar the door."

[Pg 128]


Percy's Reliques, iii. 350. Old Ballads, i. 37.

This in its way most admirable ballad is clearly a parody of some ancient K[oe]mpevise. The armor studded with spikes connects this story with the legend of the Worm of Lambton (see vol. i. p. 281, and post, p. 136), which, we are inclined to think with Grundtvig (i. 346), may have some radical connection with Regner Lodbrog's fight with the snake that guarded Thora's bower. The well in v. 100 corresponds to the pit in which the hero stands in Ormekampen, Grundtvig, i. 342.—Printed by Percy from a copy in Roman letter, in the Pepys Collection, "collated with such others as could be procured." Percy.

Old stories tell how Hercules
A dragon slew at Lerna,
With seven heads, and fourteen eyes,
To see and well discerne-a:
But he had a club, this dragon to drub, 5
Or he had ne'er done it, I warrant ye:
But More of More-Hall, with nothing at all,
He slew the dragon of Wantley.
This dragon had two furious wings,
Each one upon each shoulder; 10
With a sting in his tayl, as long as a flayl,
Which made him bolder and bolder.
He had long claws, and in his jaws
Four and forty teeth of iron;
With a hide as tough as any buff, 15
[Pg 129] Which did him round environ.
Have you not heard how the Trojan horse
Held seventy men in his belly?
This dragon was not quite so big,
But very near, I'll tell ye. 20
Devoured he poor children three,
That could not with him grapple;
And at one sup he eat them up,
As one would eat an apple.
All sorts of cattle this dragon did eat; 25
Some say he ate up trees,
And that the forests sure he would
Devour up by degrees;
For houses and churches were to him geese and turkies;
He ate all, and left none behind, 30
But some stones, dear Jack, that he could not crack,
Which on the hills you will find.
In Yorkshire, near fair Rotherham,
The place I know it well,
Some two or three miles, or thereabouts, 35
I vow I cannot tell;
But there is a hedge, just on the hill edge,
And Matthew's house hard by it;
O there and then was this dragon's den,
[Pg 130]You could not chuse but spy it. 40
Some say, this dragon was a witch;
Some say, he was a devil;
For from his nose a smoke arose,
And with it burning snivel;
Which he cast off, when he did cough, 45
In a well that he did stand by,
Which made it look just like a brook
Running with burning brandy.
Hard by a furious knight there dwelt,
Of whom all towns did ring, 50
For he could wrestle, play at quarter-staff, kick, cuff and huff,
Call son of a w...., do any kind of thing.
By the tail and the main, with his hands twain,
He swung a horse till he was dead;
And that which is stranger, he for very anger 55
Eat him all up but his head.
These children, as I told, being eat,
Men, women, girls, and boys,
Sighing and sobbing, came to his lodging,
And made a hideous noise; 60
"O save us all, More of More-Hall,
Thou peerless knight of these woods;
Do but slay this dragon, who won't leave us a rag on,
[Pg 131] We'll give thee all our goods."
"Tut, tut," quoth he, "no goods I want: 65
But I want, I want, in sooth,
A fair maid of sixteen, that's brisk and keen,
With smiles about the mouth,
Hair black as sloe, skin white as snow,
With blushes her cheeks adorning, 70
To anoynt me o'er night, ere I go to fight,
And to dress me in the morning."
This being done, he did engage
To hew the dragon down;
But first he went, new armour to 75
Bespeak at Sheffield town;
With spikes all about, not within but without,
Of steel so sharp and strong,
Both behind and before, arms, legs, and all o'er,
Some five or six inches long. 80
Had you but seen him in this dress,
How fierce he look'd and how big,
You would have thought him for to be
Some Egyptian porcupig.
He frighted all, cats, dogs, and all, 85
Each cow, each horse, and each hog:
For fear they did flee, for they took him to be
Some strange outlandish hedge-hog.
To see this fight, all people then
[Pg 132]Got up on trees and houses; 90
On churches some, and chimneys too;
But these put on their trowses,
Not to spoil their hose. As soon as he rose,
To make him strong and mighty,
He drank by the tale, six pots of ale, 95
And a quart of aqua-vitæ.
It is not strength that always wins,
For wit doth strength excell;
Which made our cunning champion
Creep down into a well, 100
Where he did think, this dragon would drink,
And so he did in truth;
And as he stoop'd low, he rose up and cry'd, "Boh!"
And hit him in the mouth.
"Oh," quoth the dragon, "pox take thee, come out! 105
Thou disturb'st me in my drink:"
And then he turn'd, and s... at him;
Good lack how he did stink!
"Beshrew thy soul, thy body's foul,
Thy dung smells not like balsam; 110
Thou son of a w...., thou stink'st so sore,
Sure thy diet is unwholesome."
Our politick knight, on the other side,
Crept out upon the brink,
[Pg 133]And gave the dragon such a douse, 115
He knew not what to think:
"By cock," quoth he, "say you so, do you see?"
And then at him he let fly
With hand and with foot, and so they went to't;
And the word it was, Hey boys, hey! 120
"Your words," quoth the dragon, "I don't understand";
Then to it they fell at all,
Like two wild boars so fierce, if I may
Compare great things with small.
Two days and a night, with this dragon did fight 125
Our champion on the ground;
Though their strength it was great, their skill it was neat,
They never had one wound.
At length the hard earth began to quake,
The dragon gave him a knock, 130
Which made him to reel, and straitway he thought,
To lift him as high as a rock,
And thence let him fall. But More of More-Hall,
Like a valiant son of Mars,
As he came like a lout, so he turn'd him about,135
And hit him a kick on the a...
"Oh," quoth the dragon, with a deep sigh,
[Pg 134] And turn'd six times together,
Sobbing and tearing, cursing and swearing,
Out of his throat of leather; 140
"More of More-Hall! O thou rascàl!
Would I had seen thee never;
With the thing at thy foot, thou hast prick'd my a... gut,
And I am quite undone forever."
"Murder, murder," the dragon cry'd, 145
"Alack, alack, for grief;
Had you but mist that place, you could
Have done me no mischief."
Then his head he shaked, trembled and quaked,
And down he laid and cry'd; 150
First on one knee, then on back tumbled he,
So groan'd, kickt, s..., and dy'd.

29, were to him gorse and birches. Other copies.

⁂ In the improved edition of the Reliques, a most extraordinary attempt to explain the foregoing burlesque as an allegory (!) is made in a "Key" appended to the ballad, and said to be "communicated by Godfrey Bosville, Esq., of Thorp, near Malton, in Yorkshire."

"Warncliff Lodge, and Warncliff Wood (vulgarly pronounced Wantley), are in the parish of Penniston, in Yorkshire. The rectory of Penniston was part of the dissolved monastery of St. Stephen's, Westminster; and was granted to the Duke of Norfolk's family: who therewith endowed an hospital, which he built at Sheffield, for women. The trustees let the impropriation of the great tithes of Penniston to the Wortley family, who got a great deal by it, and wanted[Pg 135] to get still more: for Mr. Nicholas Wortley attempted to take the tithes in kind, but Mr. Francis Bosville opposed him, and there was a decree in favour of the modus in 37th Eliz. The vicarage of Penniston did not go along with the rectory, but with the copyhold rents, and was part of a large purchase made by Ralph Bosville, Esq., from Queen Elizabeth, in the 2d year of her reign: and that part he sold in 12th Eliz. to his elder brother Godfrey, the father of Francis; who left it, with the rest of his estate, to his wife, for her life, and then to Ralph, third son of his uncle Ralph. The widow married Lyonel Rowlestone, lived eighteen years, and survived Ralph.

"This premised, the ballad apparently relates to the lawsuit carried on concerning this claim of tithes made by the Wortley family. 'Houses and churches were to him geese and turkeys:' which are titheable things, the Dragon chose to live on. Sir Francis Wortley, the son of Nicholas, attempted again to take the tithes in kind: but the parishioners subscribed an agreement to defend their modus. And at the head of the agreement was Lyonel Rowlestone, who is supposed to be one of 'the stones, dear Jack, which the Dragon could not crack.' The agreement is still preserved in a large sheet of parchment, dated 1st of James I., and is full of names and seals, which might be meant by the coat of armour, "with spikes all about, both within and without." More of More-hall was either the attorney, or counsellor, who conducted the suit. He is not distinctly remembered, but More-hall is still extant at the very bottom of Wantley [Warncliff] Wood, and lies so low, that it might be said to be in a well: as the Dragon's den [Warncliff Lodge] was at the top of the wood 'with Matthew's house hard by it.' The keepers belonging to the Wortley family were named, for many generations, Matthew Northall: the last of them left this lodge, within memory, to be keeper to the Duke of Norfolk. The present owner of More-hall still attends Mr. Bosville's Manor Court at Oxspring, and pays a rose a year. 'More of More-Hall, with nothing at all, slew the Dragon of Wantley.' He gave him, instead of tithes, so small a modus, that it was in effect, nothing at all, and was slaying him with a vengeance. 'The poor children three,' &c., cannot surely[Pg 136] mean the three sisters of Francis Bosville, who would have been coheiresses, had he made no will? The late Mr. Bosville had a contest with the descendants of two of them, the late Sir George Saville's father, and Mr. Copley, about the presentation to Penniston, they supposing Francis had not the power to give this part of the estate from the heirs at law; but it was decided against them. The Dragon (Sir Francis Wortley) succeeded better with his cousin Wordesworth, the freehold lord of the manor, (for it is the copyhold manor that belongs to Mr. Bosville,) having persuaded him not to join the refractory parishioners, under a promise that he would let him his tithes cheap: and now the estates of Wortley and Wordesworth are the only lands that pay tithes in the parish.

"N. B. The 'two days and a night,' mentioned in ver. 125, as the duration of the combat, was probably that of the trial at law."

Note to p. 128, and p. 131, v. 75-80. Grundtvig, ii. 653, refers to a B[oe]otian legend in Pausanias ix. 26, 5, for an instance of a similar contrivance. The story goes, that one Menestratus, to save a friend who was about to be exposed in due course to a dragon, made himself a brazen breastplate, which had on every scale a hook with the point bent upwards. Armed in this, he went voluntarily to meet the monster, and destroyed him, though at the expense of his own life.

[Pg 137]


[Pg 139]


From Sharpe's Ballad Book, p. 81.

There is a resemblance in two points between this ballad and the Danish Greve Genselin (Grundtvig, No. 16, translated by Jamieson, Illustrations, p. 310). The characters in both are giants: the smallest kemp that danced at Genselin's bridal was "fifteen ells to his knee." Secondly, the bridal in the one ballad and the wooing in the other are described in a style of extravagant parody; more gross in the English, however, than in the Danish, where it is confined to the bride's enormous appetite. This portion of Greve Genselin occurs also in Tord af Havsgaard (Grundtvig, No. 1), which ballad is founded upon the story of Thor's Hammer in the Edda.

Kempy Kaye's a wooing gane,
Far far ayont the sea,
An' he has met with an auld auld man,
His gudefather to be.
"Gae scrape yeersel, and gae scart yeersel, 5
And mak your bruchty face clean,
For the wooers are to be here the nicht,
And yeer body's to be seen.
"What's the matter wi' you, my fair maiden,
You luk so pale and wan? 10
I'm sure you was once the fairest maiden
[Pg 140] That ever the sun shined on."
Sae they scrapit her, and they scartit her,
Like the face of an assy pan,
And in cam Kempy Kaye himself, 15
A clever and tall young man.
His teeth they were like tether sticks,
His nose was three feet lang;
Between his shouthers was ells three,
Between his een a span. 20
"I'm coming to court your dochter dear,
An' some pairt of your gear:"
"An' by my sooth," quo' Bengoleer,
"She'll sair a man o' weir.
"My dochter she's a thrifty lass; 25
She span seven year to me;
An' if it war weil counted up,
Full ten wobs it would be."
He led his dochter by the han',
His dochter ben brought he; 30
"O is she not the fairest lass
That's in great Christendye?"
Ilka hair intil her head
Was like a heather cow,
And ilka louse aninder it 35
[Pg 141] Was like a lintseed bow.
She had lauchty teeth, an' kaily lips,
An' wide lugs fu' o' hair;
Her pouches fu' o' pease-meal daigh,
War hinging down her spare. 40
Ilka ee intil her head
Was like a rotten ploom,
An' down down browit was the quean,
An' sairly did she gloom.
Ilka nail upon her hand 45
Was like an iron rake,
An' ilka teeth into her head
Was like a tether stake.
She gied to him a gay gravat
O' the auld horse's sheet, 50
And he gied her a gay gold ring
O' the auld couple reet.

7, 8. Var.

For Kempy Kaye's to be here the nicht,
Or else the morn at een.

16-20. See King Henry, v. 21,22, vol. i. p. 148, and The Wee Wee Man, vol. i. p. 126, note. Also Carle of Carlile, v. 177-188 in Madden's Syr Gawayne, p. 256.

36. Var. Was like a brucket yowe.


From Kinloch's Ballad Book, p. 41.

Kempy Kaye is a wooing gane
Far far ayont the sea,
And there he met wi' auld Goling,
His gudefather to be, be,
[Pg 142]His gudefather to be. 5
"Whar are ye gaun, O Kempy Kaye,
Whar are ye gaun sa sune?"
"O I am gaun to court a wife,
And think na ye that's weel dune, dune,
And think na ye that's weel dune?" 10
"And ye be gaun to court a wife,
As ye do tell to me,
'Tis ye sall hae my Fusome Fug,
Your ae wife for to be, be,
Your ae wife for to be." 15
"Rise up, rise up my Fusome Fug,
And mak your foul face clean,
For the brawest wooer that ere ye saw
Is come develling doun the green, green,
Is come develling doun the green." 20
Up then raise the Fusome Fug,
To mak her foul face clean;
And aye she curs'd her mither
She had na water in, in,
She had na water in. 25
She rampit out, and she rampit in,
She rampit but and ben;
The tittles and tattles that hang frae her tail
Wad muck an acre o' land, land,
Wad muck an acre o' land. 30
She had a neis upon her face
[Pg 143] Was like an auld pat-fit;
Atween her neis bot and her mou
Was inch thick deep o' dirt, dirt,
Was inch thick deep o' dirt. 35
She had twa een intil her head
War like twa rotten plooms;
The heavy brows hung down her face,
And O I vow she glooms, glooms!
And O I vow she glooms! 40
Ilka hair that was on her head
Was like a heather cow,
And ilka louse that lookit out
Was like a lintseed bow, bow,
Was like a lintseed bow. 45
When Kempy Kaye cam to the house,
He lookit thro' a hole,
And there he saw the dirty drab
Just whisking oure the coal, coal,
Just whisking oure the coal. 50
He gied to her a braw silk napkin,
Was made o' an auld horse brat;
"I ne'er wore a silk napkin a' my life,
But weel I wat Is'e wear that, that,
But weel I wat Is'e wear that. 55
"He gied to her a braw gowd ring,
Was made frae an auld brass pan,
"I ne'er wore a gowd ring in a' my life,
But now I wat I'se wear ane, ane,
[Pg 144]But now I wat Is'e wear ane." 60
Whan thir twa loves had met thegither,
O kissing to tak their fill,
The slaver that hang atween their twa gabs
Wad hae tether'd a ten year auld bill, bill,
Wad hae tether'd a ten year auld bill. 65


From Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of England, edited by Robert Bell, p. 124. This ballad, says the editor, "has long been popular in Worcestershire and some of the adjoining counties. It was printed for the first time by Mr. Allies of Worcester, under the title of The Jovial Hunter of Bromsgrove; but amongst the peasantry of that county, and the adjoining county of Warwick, it has always been called The Old Man and his Three Sons—the name given to a fragment of the ballad still used as a nursery song in the north of England, the chorus of which slightly varies from that of the ballad: (see p. 250 of the same publication.)" Mr. Bell imagines that there is an allusion to this ballad in As You Like It, i. 2, where Le Beau says

"There comes an old man and his three sons,"

and Celia replies,

"I could match this beginning with an old tale."

[Pg 145]

Old Sir Robert Bolton had three sons,
Wind well thy horn, good hunter;
And one of them was Sir Ryalas,
For he was a jovial hunter.
He ranged all round down by the wood side, 5
Wind well thy horn, good hunter,
Till in a tree-top a gay lady he spied,
For he was a jovial hunter.
"O, what dost thee mean, fair lady?" said he,
Wind well thy horn, good hunter; 10
"The wild boar's killed my lord, and has thirty men gored,
And thou beest a jovial hunter.
"O what shall I do this wild boar for to see?"
Wind well thy horn, good hunter;
"O, thee blow a blast, and he'll come unto thee, 15
As thou beest a jovial hunter.
Then he blowed a blast, full north, east, west and south,
Wind well thy horn, good hunter;
And the wild boar then heard him full in his den,
As he was a jovial hunter. 20
Then he made the best of his speed unto him,
Wind well thy horn, good hunter;
[Swift flew the boar, with his tusks smeared with gore,]
[Pg 146] To Sir Ryalas, the jovial hunter.
Then the wild boar, being so stout and so strong, 25
Wind well thy horn, good hunter;
Thrashed down the trees as he ramped him along,
To Sir Ryalas, the jovial hunter.
"O what dost thee want of me?" wild boar, said he,
Wind well thy horn, good hunter; 30
"O I think in my heart I can do enough for thee,
For I am the jovial hunter."
Then they fought four hours in a long summer day,
Wind well thy horn, good hunter;
Till the wild boar fain would have got him away 35
From Sir Ryalas, the jovial hunter.
Then Sir Ryalas drawed his broad sword with might,
Wind well thy horn, good hunter;
And he fairly cut the boar's head off quite,
For he was a jovial hunter. 40
Then out of the wood the wild woman flew,
Wind well thy horn, good hunter;
"O my pretty spotted pig thou hast slew,
For thou beest a jovial hunter.
"There are three things, I demand them of thee, 45
Wind well thy horn, good hunter;
"It's thy horn, and thy hound, and thy gay lady,
As thou beest a jovial hunter."
"If these three things thou dost ask of me,"
[Pg 147]Wind well thy horn, good hunter; 50
It's just as my sword and thy neck can agree,
For I am a jovial hunter."
Then into his long locks the wild woman flew,
Wind well thy horn, good hunter;
Till she thought in her heart to tear him through, 55
Though he was a jovial hunter.
Then Sir Ryalas drawed his broad sword again,
Wind well thy horn, good hunter;
And he fairly split her head into twain,
For he was a jovial hunter. 60
In Bromsgrove church, the knight he doth lie,
Wind well thy horn, good hunter;
And the wild boar's head is pictured thereby,
Sir Ryalas, the jovial hunter.

23. Inserted by Bell.


The Bludy Serk, both story and morality, is taken from the Gesta Romanorum; see two forms of the tale in Madden's Old English Versions, &c. p. 22, p. 404.

This poem is preserved in the Bannatyne Manuscript, and has been several times printed. The present copy is from Laing's Select Remains of the Ancient Popular Poetry of Scotland. The author is Robert Henryson, whose ballad of Robene and Makyne has been given in the fourth volume of this collection.

[Pg 148]

This hindir yeir I hard be tald,
Thair was a worthy king;
Dukis, erlis, and barronis bald,
He had at his bidding.
The lord was anceane and ald, 5
And sexty yeiris cowth ring;
He had a dochter, fair to fald,
A lusty lady ying.
Off all fairheid scho bur the flour,
And eik hir faderis air; 10
Off lusty laitis and he honour;
Meik, bot and debonair.
Scho wynnit in a bigly bour;
On fold wes none so fair;
Princes luvit hir, paramour, 15
In cuntries our all quhair.
Thair dwelt a lyt besyde the king
A fowll gyane of ane;
Stollin he hes the lady ying,
Away with hir is gane; 20
And kest hir in his dungering,
Quhair licht scho micht se nane;
Hungir and cauld and grit thristing
Scho fand in to hir wame.
He wes the laithliest on to luk 25
That on the grund mycht gang;
His nailis wes lyk ane hellis cruk,
Thairwith fyve quarteris lang.
Thair wes nane that he ourtuk,
[Pg 149]In rycht or yit in wrang, 30
But all in schondir he thame schuke,
The gyane wes so strang.
He held the lady day and nycht
Within his deip dungeoun;
He wald nocht gif of hir a sicht 35
For gold nor yit ransoun,
Bot gife the king mycht get a knycht
To fecht with his persoun,
To fecht with him, both day and nycht,
Quhill ane wer dungin doun. 40
The king gart seik baith fer and neir,
Beth be se and land,
Off any knycht gife he micht heir,
Wald fecht with that gyand.
A worthy prince, that had no peir, 45
Hes tane the deid on hand,
For the luve of the lady cleir,
And held full trewe cunnand.
That prince come prowdly to the toun,
Of that gyane to heir, 50
And fawcht with him, his awin persoun,
And tuke him presonier,
And kest him in his awin dungeoun,
Allane withouttin feir,
With hungir, cawld, and confusioun, 55
As full weill worthy weir;
Syne brak the bour, had hame the bricht,
[Pg 150] Vnto hir fadir he;
Sa evil wondit was the knycht,
That he behuvit to de. 60
Unlusum was his likame dicht,
His sark was all bludy;
In all the warld was thair a wicht
So petyouse for to se!
The lady murnyt, and maid grit mone, 65
With all her mekle micht:
"I lufit nevir lufe, bot one,
That dulfully now is dicht!
God sen my lyfe wer fra me tone,
Or I had sene yone sicht; 70
Or ellis in begging evir to gone,
Furth with yone curtass knycht!"
He said, "Fair lady, now mone I
De, trestly ye me trow:
Tak ye my sark that is bludy, 75
And hing it forrow yow:
First think on it, and syne on me,
Quhen men cumis yow to wow."
The lady said, "Be Mary fre,
Thairto I mak a wow." 80
Quhen that scho lukit to the serk,
Scho thocht on the persoun,
And prayit for him with all hir harte,
That lowsd hir of bandoun,
Quhair scho was wont to sit full merk, 85
In that deip dungéoun;
And ever quhill scho wes in quert,
[Pg 151] That wass hir a lessoun.
Sa weill the lady luvit the knycht,
That no man wald scho tak: 90
Sa suld we do our God of micht
That did all for us mak;
Quhilk fullély to deid was dicht,
For sinfull manis saik;
Sa suld we do both day and nycht, 95
With prayaris to him mak.


This king is lyk the trinitie,
Baith in hevin and heir:
The manis saule to the lady,
The gyane to Lucefeir: 100
The knycht to Chryst, that deit on tre,
And coft our synnis deir:
The pit to hell, with panis fell,
The syn to the woweir.
The lady was wowd, but scho said nay, 105
With men that wald hir wed;
Sa suld we wryth all syn away,
That in our breistis bred.
I pray to Jesu Chryst verrey
For us his blud that bled, 110
To be our help on domysday,
Quhair lawis ar straitly led.
The saule is Godis dochtir deir,
And eik his handewerk,
That was betrasit with Lucifeir, 115
[Pg 152] Quha sittis in hell full merk.
Borrowit with Chrystis angell cleir,
Hend men, will ye nocht herk?
For his lufe that bocht us deir,
Think on the Bludy Serk! 120

58. MS. deir.


Evans's Old Ballads, i. 277; Collection of 1723, ii. 173.

This excellent ballad, to adopt the encomium of Addison, (Spectator, No. 247,) was admitted by Percy into the earlier editions of the Reliques, (iii. 146, 1st ed.) though excluded from the revised edition of 1794. The same story circulates among the peasantry of England and Scotland in the form of a penny tract or chap-book; Notices of Popular Histories, p. 16, Percy Soc. vol. xxiii., Notes and Queries, New Series, vol. iii. p. 49. The jest is an old one. Mr. Halliwell refers to a fabliau in Barbazan's collection, which contains the groundwork of this piece; Du Vilain qui conquist Paradis par Plait, Meon's ed. iv. 114.

In Bath a wanton wife did dwell,
As Chaucer he doth write,
Who did in pleasure spend her days,
In many a fond delight.
Upon a time love sick she was, 5
[Pg 153] And at the length did die;
Her soul at last at Heaven's gate
Did knock most mightily.
Then Adam came unto the gate:
"Who knocketh there?" quoth he: 10
"I am the Wife of Bath," she said,
"And fain would come to thee."
"Thou art a sinner," Adam said,
"And here no place shall have;"
"And so art thou, I trow," quoth she, 15
"And gip, a doting knave!
"I will come in in spite," she said,
"Of all such churls as thee;
Thou wert the causer of our woe,
Our pain and misery; 20
"And first broke God's commandments,
In pleasure of thy wife:"
When Adam heard her tell this tale,
He run away for life.
Then down came Jacob at the gate, 25
And bids her pack to hell:
"Thou false deceiver, why?" said she;—
"Thou mayst be there as well.
"For thou deceiv'dst thy father dear,
And thine own brother too:" 30
Away slunk Jacob presently,
[Pg 154] And made no more ado.
She knocks again with might and main,
And Lot he chides her straight:
"Why then," quoth she, "thou drunken ass, 35
Who bid thee here to prate?
"With thy two daughters thou didst lie,
On them two bastards got:"
And thus most tauntingly she chaft
Against poor silly Lot. 40
"Who calleth there," quoth Judith then,
"With such shrill sounding notes?"
"This fine minks surely came not here,"
Quoth she, "for cutting throats!"
Good Lord, how Judith blush'd for shame, 45
When she heard her say so!
King David hearing of the same,
He to the gate did go.
Quoth David, "Who knocks there so loud,
And maketh all this strife?" 50
"You were more kind good sir," she said,
"Unto Uriah's wife.
"And when thy servant thou didst cause
In battle to be slain,
Thou causedst then more strife than I, 55
Who would come here so fain."
"The woman's mad," said Solomon,
[Pg 155] "That thus doth taunt a king;"
"Not half so mad as you," she said,
"I trow, in many a thing. 60
"Thou hadst seven hundred wives at once,
For whom thou didst provide,
And yet three hundred wh...., God wot,
Thou didst maintain beside.
"And those made thee forsake thy God, 65
And worship stocks and stones;
Besides the charge they put thee to
In breeding of young bones.
"Hadst thou not been besides thy wits,
Thou wouldst not thus have ventur'd; 70
And therefor I do marvel much
How thou this place hast entered."
"I never heard," quoth Jonas then,
"So vile a scold as this;"
"Thou wh...son runaway," quoth she, 75
"Thou diddest more amiss."
"They say," quoth Thomas, "women's tongues
Of aspen leaves are made;"
"Thou unbelieving wretch," quoth she,
"All is not true that's said." 80
When Mary Magdalen heard her then,
She came unto the gate;
Quoth she, "Good woman, you must think
[Pg 156] Upon your former state."
"No sinner enters in this place," 85
Quoth Mary Magdalen then;
"'Twere ill for you, fair mistress mild,"
She answered her again.
"You for your honesty," quoth she,
"Had once been ston'd to death, 90
Had not our Saviour Christ come by,
And written on the earth.
"It was not by your occupation
You are become divine;
I hope my soul, by Christ's passion, 95
Shall be as safe as thine."
Then rose the good apostle Paul;
Unto this wife he cried,
"Except thou shake thy sins away,
Thou here shalt be denied." 100
"Remember, Paul, what thou hast done
All thro' a lewd desire,
How thou didst persecute God's church
With wrath as hot as fire."
Then up starts Peter at the last, 105
And to the gate he hies;
"Fond fool," quoth he, "knock not so fast;
Thou weariest Christ with cries."
"Peter," said she, "content thyself,
[Pg 157]For mercy may be won; 110
I never did deny my Christ
As thou thyself hast done."
When as our Saviour Christ heard this,
With heavenly angels bright,
He comes unto this sinful soul, 115
Who trembled at his sight.
Of him for mercy she did crave;
Quoth he, "Thou hast refused
My proffer'd grace and mercy both,
And much my name abused." 120
"Sore have I sinn'd, O Lord," she said,
"And spent my time in vain;
But bring me, like a wand'ring sheep,
Into thy fold again.
"O Lord my God, I will amend 125
My former wicked vice;
The thief for one poor silly word
Past into Paradise."
"My laws and my commandments,"
Saith Christ, "were known to thee; 130
But of the same, in any wise,
Not yet one word did ye."
"I grant the same, O Lord," quoth she;
"Most lewdly did I live;
But yet the loving father did 135
[Pg 158] His prodigal son forgive."
"So I forgive thy soul," he said,
"Through thy repenting cry;
Come you therefore into my joy,
I will not thee deny." 140


From Collier's Roxburghe Ballads, p. 17.

This ballad is founded on a tale in the Gesta Romanorum, (Old English Versions, &c. p. 140.) Nearly the same story occurs in Barbazan's Fabliaux, ii. 440, and also, says Madden, in the Contes Tartares of Gueulette, iii. 157, and many other places. The model for all these is of course the Judgment of Solomon, in 1 Kings, iii. 16-27. See Douce, ii. 385.

Mr. Collier remarks that this ballad is without date, but was undoubtedly written late in the sixteenth, or early in the seventeenth, century.

In searching ancient chronicles,
It was my chance to finde
A story worth the writing out,
In my conceit and mind.
It is an admonition good 5
That children ought to have,
With reverence for to thinke upon
Their parents laid in grave.
In Thracia liv'd a gentleman,
[Pg 159]Of noble progeny, 10
Who rul'd his household with great fame,
And true integrity.
This gentleman did take to wife
A neat and gallant dame,
Whose outward shew and beauty bright 15
Did many hearts inflame.
The luster that came from her lookes,
Her carriage and her grace,
Like beauteous Cynthia did outshine
Each lady in that place. 20
And being puffed up in pride,
With ease and jollity,
Her husband could not her content;
She other men must try.
Lasciviously long time she liv'd, 25
Yet bore it cunningly;
For she had those that watch'd so well,
That he could nought espy.
With bribes and gifts she so bewitch'd
The hearts of some were neere, 30
That they conceal'd her wickednesse,
And kept it from her deare.
Thus spending of her time away
In extreme wantonesse,
Her private friends, when she did please, 35
Unto her had accesse.
But the all-seeing eye of heaven
Such sinnes will not conceale,
And by some meanes at last will he
[Pg 160]The truth of all reveale. 40
Upon a time sore sicke she fell,
Yea to the very death,
And her physician told her plaine
She must resigne her breath.
Divines did likewise visit her, 45
And holy counsell gave,
And bade her call upon the Lord,
That he her soule might save.
Amongst the rest, she did desire
They would her husband bring; 50
"I have a secret to reveale,"
She said, "my heart doth sting."
Then he came posting presently
Unto her where she lay,
And weeping then he did desire, 55
What she to him would say.
She did intreat that all might voyd
The roome, and he would stay;
"Your pardon, husband, I beseech,"
Unto him she did say: 60
"For I have wrong'd your marriage-bed,
And plaid the wanton wife;
To you the truth I will reveale,
Ere I depart this life.
"Foure hopefull sonnes you think you have; 65
To me it best is knowne,
And three of them are none of yours;
Of foure but one's your owne,
And by your selfe on me begot,
[Pg 161]Which hath a wanton beene; 70
These dying teares forgivenesse beg;
Let mercy then be seene."
This strooke her husband in a dump,
His heart was almost dead;
But rouzing of his spirits up, 75
These words to her he said.
"I doe forgive thee with my heart,
So thou the truth wilt tell,
Which of the foure is my owne sonne,
And all things shall be well." 80
"O pardon me, my husband deare,"
Unto him she did say;
"They are my children every one,"
And so she went away.
Away he goes with heavy heart; 85
His griefes he did conceale,
And like a wise and prudent man,
To none did it reveale.
Not knowing which to be his owne,
Each of his love did share, 90
And to be train'd in vertues paths
Of them he had a care.
In learning great and gentle grace
They were brought up and taught,
Such deare affection in the hearts 95
Of parents God hath wrought.
They now were growne to mens estates,
[Pg 162] And liv'd most gallantly;
Each had his horse, his hawke, his hound,
And did their manhood try. 100
The ancient man did joy thereat,
But yet he did not know
Which was his sonne amongst the foure;
That bred in him much woe.
At length his glasse of life was run, 105
The fates doe so decree;
For poore and rich they all must dye,
And death will take no fee.
Unto some judges he did send,
And counsell that were grave, 110
Who presently to him did come
To know what he would have.
They coming then to his beds side,
Unto them he did say:
"I know you all to be my friends, 115
Most faithfull every way;
And now, before I leave the world,
I beg this at your hands,
To have a care which of my sonnes
Shall have my goods and lands." 120
And to them all he did relate
What things his wife had done.
"There is but one amongst the foure
That is my native sonne;
And to your judgement I commit, 125
When I am laid in grave,
Which is my sonne, and which is fit
[Pg 163] My lands and goods to have."
He dying, they in councill sate
What best were to be done; 130
For 'twas a taske of great import
To judge which was his sonne.
The brothers likewise were at strife,
Which should the living have,
When as the ancient man was dead, 135
And buried in his grave.
The judges must decide the cause,
And thus they did decree:
The dead man's body up to take,
And tye it to a tree; 140
A bow each brother he must have,
And eke an arrow take,
To shoot at their dead fathers corps,
As if he were a stake.
And he whose arrow nearest hit 145
His heart, as he did stand,
They'd judge him for to be right heire,
And fit to have the land.
On this they all did straight agree,
And to the field they went; 150
Each had a man his shaft to beare,
And bow already bent.
"Now," quoth the judges, "try your skill
Upon your father there,
That we may quickly know who shall 155
Unto the land be heire."
The oldest took his bow in hand,
[Pg 164] And shaft, where as he stood,
Which pierc'd so deep the dead mans brest,
That it did run with blood. 160
The second brother then must shoot,
Who straight did take his aime,
And with his arrow made a wound,
That blood came from the same.
The third likewise must try his skill 165
The matter to decide;
Whose shaft did make a wound most deep
Into the dead man's side.
Unto the fourth and youngest, then,
A bow and shaft were brought; 170
Who said, "D'ee thinke that ere my heart
Could harbour such a thought,
To shoot at my dear father's heart,
Although that he be dead,
For all the kingdomes in the world 175
That farre and wide are spread?"
And turning of him round about,
The teares ran downe amaine:
He flung his bow upon the ground,
And broke his shaft in twaine. 180
The judges seeing his remorse,
They then concluded all
He was the right, the other three
They were unnaturall.
And so he straight possest the lands, 185
[Pg 165] Being made the heire of all,
And heaven by nature in this kind
Unto his heart did call.
His brothers they did envy him,
But yet he need not care, 190
And of his wealth, in portions large,
Unto them he did share.


This ballad is taken from The Crowne-Garland of Golden Roses, p. 20, Percy Society, vol. vi. Another copy is in A Collection of Old Ballads, i. 130. A play called The History of Whittington was entered on the Stationers' books in Feb. 1604, and the "famous fable of Whittington and his puss" is mentioned in Eastward Hoe, 1605. (Weber and Halliwell.)

"There is something so fabulous," (says the editor of Old Ballads, following Grafton and Stow,) "or at least, that has such a romantic appearance, in the history of Whittington, that I shall not choose to relate it; but refer my credulous readers to common tradition, or to the penny histories. Certain it is that there was such a man; a citizen of London, by trade a mercer, and one who has left public edifices and charitable works enow behind him, to transmit his name to posterity. Amongst others, he founded a house of prayer; with an allowance for a master, fellows, choristers, clerks, &c., and an almshouse for[Pg 166] thirteen poor men, called Whittington College. He entirely rebuilt the loathsome prison, which then was standing at the west gate of the city, and called it Newgate. He built the better half of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, in West-Smithfield, and the fine library in Grey-Fryars, now called Christ's Hospital: as also great part of the east end of Guildhall, with a chapel, and a library in which the records of the city might be kept.... 'Tis said of him, that he advanced a very considerable sum of money towards carrying on the war in France, under this last monarch. He married Alice, the daughter of Hugh and Molde Fitzwarren: at whose house, traditions say, Whittington lived a servant, when he got his immense riches by venturing his cat in one of his master's ships. However, if we may give credit to his own will, he was a knight's son; and more obliged to an English king and prince, than to any African monarch, for his riches. For when he founded Whittington College, and left a maintenance for so many people, as above related, they were, as Stow records it, for this maintenance bound to pray for the good estate of Richard Whittington, and Alice his wife, their founders; and for Sir William Whittington, and Dame Joan his wife; and for Hugh Fitzwarren, and Dame Molde his wife; the fathers and mothers of the said Richard Whittington and Alice his wife; for King Richard the Second, and Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, special lords and promoters of the said Richard Whittington, &c."

Richard Whittington was Sheriff of London in the 18th year of Richard the Second, 1394, was then knighted, and chosen Mayor in the 22d year of the[Pg 167] same reign, 1398. He was again Mayor in the 9th year of Henry the Fourth, 1407, and the 8th of Henry the Fifth, 1420.

Keightley has devoted a chapter of his Tales and Popular Fictions (the seventh) to the legend of Whittington and his Cat. He cites two similar stories from Thiele's Danish Popular Traditions, another from the letters of Count Magalotti, a Florentine of the latter half of the 17th century, another from the Facezie of Arlotto, a Tuscan humorist of the 15th century, another, of Venetian origin, from a German chronicle of the 13th century, and finally one from the Persian Tarikh al Wasaf, a work said to have been composed at the end of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th century. Mr. Halliwell adds one more of a Portuguese wrecked on the coast of Guinea, from the Description of Guinea, 1665.

Here must I tell the praise
Of worthy Whittington,
Known to be in his dayes
Thrice Maior of London.
But of poor parentage, 5
Borne was he, as we heare,
And in his tender age
Bred up in Lancashire.
Poorely to London than
Came up this simple lad, 10
Where, with a marchant-man,
Soone he a dwelling had;
And in a kitchen plast,
[Pg 168] A scullion for to be,
Whereas long time he past 15
In labour drudgingly.
His daily service was
Turning spitts at the fire;
And to scour pots of brasse,
For a poore scullions hire. 20
Meat and drinke all his pay,
Of coyne he had no store;
Therefore to run away,
In secret thought he bore.
So from this marchant-man, 25
Whittington secretly
Towards his country ran,
To purchase liberty.
But as he went along,
In a fair summer's morne, 30
Londons bells sweetly rung,
"Whittington, back return!"
Evermore sounding so,
"Turn againe, Whittington;
For thou in time shall grow 35
Lord-Maior of London."
Whereupon back againe
Whittington came with speed,
A prentise to remaine,
As the Lord had decreed. 40
"Still blessed be the bells;
[Pg 169] (This was his daily song)
They my good fortune tells,
Most sweetly have they rung.
If God so favour me, 45
I will not proove unkind;
London my love shall see,
And my great bounties find."
But see his happy chance!
This scullion had a cat, 50
Which did his state advance,
And by it wealth he gat.
His maister ventred forth,
To a land far unknowne,
With marchandize of worth, 55
As is in stories showne.
Whittington had no more
But this poor cat as than,
Which to the ship he bore,
Like a brave marchant-man. 60
"Vent'ring the same," quoth he,
"I may get store of golde,
And Maior of London be,
As the bells have me told."
Whittington's marchandise, 65
Carried was to a land
Troubled with rats and mice,
As they did understand.
The king of that country there,
As he at dinner sat, 70
Daily remain'd in fear
[Pg 170] Of many a mouse and rat.
Meat that in trenchers lay,
No way they could keepe safe;
But by rats borne away, 75
Fearing no wand or staff.
Whereupon, soone they brought
Whittingtons nimble cat;
Which by the king was bought;
Heapes of gold giv'n for that. 80
Home againe came these men
With their ships loaden so,
Whittingtons wealth began
By this cat thus to grow.
Scullions life he forsooke 85
To be a marchant good,
And soon began to looke
How well his credit stood.
After that he was chose
Shriefe of the citty heere, 90
And then full quickly rose
Higher, as did appeare.
For to this cities praise,
Sir Richard Whittington
Came to be in his dayes 95
Thrise Maior of London.
More his fame to advance,
Thousands he lent his king,
To maintaine warres in France,
Glory from thence to bring. 100
And after, at a feast
[Pg 171] Which he the king did make,
He burnt the bonds all in jeast,
And would no money take.
Ten thousand pound he gave 105
To his prince willingly,
And would not one penny have;
This in kind curtesie.
God did thus make him great,
So would he daily see 110
Poor people fed with meat,
To shew his charity.
Prisoners poore cherish'd were,
Widdowes sweet comfort found;
Good deeds, both far and neere, 115
Of him do still resound.
Whittington Colledge is
One of his charities;
Records reporteth this
To lasting memories. 120
Newgate he builded faire,
For prisoners to live in;
Christs-Church he did repaire,
Christian love for to win.
Many more such like deedes 125
Were done by Whittington;
Which joy and comfort breedes,
To such as looke thereon.
Lancashire, thou hast bred
[Pg 172]This flower of charity: 130
Though he be gon and dead
Yet lives he lastingly.
Those bells that call'd him so,
"Turne again, Whittington,"
Call you back many moe 135
To live so in London.

109. made.


Moore's Pictorial Book of Ancient Ballad Poetry, p. 596.

Only in a very debased form is this enchanting tale preserved by English tradition. The following ballad is given, in the collection cited above, from a modern broadside, but has here received a few improvements from two other copies cited by the editor. Mr. Halliwell has printed another version of Catskin in The Nursery Rhymes of England, p. 48, Percy Society, vol. iv. The story is possessed by almost every nation in Europe. It is found not only among the Northern races, but among the Hungarians, Servians, Wallachians, Welsh, Italians, and French. In Germany it is current in a great variety of forms, the two most noteworthy of which are Aschenputtel, to which correspond Cennerentola in the Pentamerone (i. 6), the Cendrillon of Perrault, and the Finette Cendron of Madame d'Aulnoy; and Allerlei-Rauh, which is the same as the Peau d'Ane of Perrault, the She-Bear of the Pentamerone (ii. 6), and the [Pg 173]Doralice of Straparola (i. 4).—See the Grimms' Kinder-und-Haus-Märchen, No. 21, 65, and notes in vol. iii.; also the Swedish story of The Little Gold Shoe, and The Girl clad in Mouse-skin, from the Danish, in Thorpe's Yule Tide Stories, pp. vii. 112, 375.

You fathers and mothers, and children also,
Come near unto me, and soon you shall know
The sense of my ditty, for I dare to say,
The like hasn't been heard of this many long day.
This subject which to you I am to relate, 5
It is of a 'squire who had a large estate;
And the first dear infant his wife she did bare,
Was a young daughter, a beauty most fair.
He said to his wife, "Had this but been a boy,
It would please me better, and increase my joy; 10
If the next be of the same sort, I declare,
Of what I am possessed it shall have no share."
In twelve months after, this woman, we hear,
Had another daughter, of beauty most clear;
And when her father knew 'twas a female, 15
Into a bitter passion he presently fell.
Saying, "Since this is of the same sort as the first,
In my habitation she shall not be nurs'd;
Pray let it be sent into the country,
[Pg 174]For where I am, truly this child shall not be." 20
With tears his dear wife unto him did say,
"My dear, be contented, I'll send her away."
Then into the country this child she did send,
For to be brought up by an intimate friend.
Altho' that her father hated her so, 25
He good education on her did bestow,
And with a gold locket, and robes of the best,
This slighted young damsel was commonly drest.
But when unto stature this damsel was grown,
And found from her father she had no love shewn, 30
She cried, "Before I will lie under his frown,
I am fully resolv'd to range the world round."
But now mark, good people, the cream of the jest,
In what a strange manner this female was drest:
Catskins into a garment she made, I declare, 35
The which for her clothing she daily did wear.
Her own rich attire, and jewels beside,
They up in a bundle together were ty'd;
And to seek her fortune she wander'd away,
And when she had wander'd a cold winter's day, 40
In the evening-tide she came to a town,
Where at a knight's door she sat herself down,
For to rest herself, who was weary for sure.
[Pg 175] This noble knight's lady then came to the door,
And seeing this creature in such sort of dress, 45
The lady unto her these words did express,
"From whence came you, or what will you have?"
She said, "A night's rest in your stable I crave."
The lady said to her, "I grant thy desire,
Come into the kitchen, and stand by the fire;" 50
Then she thank'd the lady, and went in with haste,
Where she was gaz'd on from biggest to the least.
And, being warm'd, her hunger was great,
They gave her a plate of good food for to eat;
And then to an outhouse this damsel was led, 55
Where with fresh straw she soon made her a bed.
And when in the morning the day-light she saw,
Her rich robes and jewels she hid in the straw;
And being very cold, she then did retire,
And went into the kitchen, and stood by the fire. 60
The cook said, "My lady promis'd that thou
Shouldest be a scullion to wait on me now:
What say'st thou, girl, art thou willing to bide?"
"With all my heart," then she to her reply'd.
To work at her needle she could very well, 65
And [for] raising of paste few could her excel;
She being so handy, the cook's heart did win,
And then she was call'd by the name of Catskin.

[Pg 176]

This knight had a son both comely and tall,
Who often-times used to be at a ball, 70
A mile out of town, and one evening-tide,
To see a fine dancing away he did ride.
Catskin said to his mother, "Madam, let me
Go after your son, this ball for to see."
With that, in a passion this lady she grew, 75
And struck her with a ladle, and broke it in two.
Being thus served, she then got away,
And in her rich garments herself did array;
Then to see this ball she then did retire,
Where she danced so fine all did her admire. 80
The sport being done, this young squire did say,
"Young lady, where do you live, tell me, I pray?"
Her answer to him was, "Sir, that I will tell;
At the sign of the Broken Ladle I dwell."
She being very nimble, got home first, 'tis said, 85
And with her catskin robes she soon was arrayed;
Then into the kitchen again she did go,
But where she had been none of them did know.
Next night the young 'squire, himself to content,
To see the ball acted, away then he went. 90
She said, "Let me go this ball for to view;"
She struck her with a skimmer, and broke it in two.
Then out of doors she ran, being full of heaviness,
[Pg 177] And with her rich garments herself she did dress;
For to see this ball she ran away with speed, 95
And to see her dancing all wonder'd indeed.
The ball being ended, the 'squire said then,
"Pray where do you live?" She answered again,
"Sir, because you ask me, account I will give;
At the sign of the Broken Skimmer I live." 100
Being dark, she left him, and home[ward] did hie,
And in her catskin robes she was drest presently,
And into the kitchen among them she went,
But where she had been they were all innocent.
[When] the 'squire came home and found Catskin there, 105
He was in amaze, and began for to swear,
"For two nights at the ball has been a lady,
The sweetest of beauties that e'er I did see.
"She was the best dancer in all the whole place,
And very much like our Catskin in the face; 110
Had she not been drest in that costly degree,
I would have sworn it was Catskin's body."
Next night he went to see this ball once more;
Then she ask'd his mother to go as before;
Who having a bason of water in hand, 115
She threw it at Catskin, as I understand.
Shaking her wet ears, out of doors she did run,
[Pg 178] And dressed herself when this thing she had done;
To see this ball acted she then run her ways,
To see her fine dancing all gave her the praise. 120
And having concluded, the young squire he
Said, "From whence do you come, pray now tell me?"
Her answer was, "Sir, you shall know the same,
From the sign of the Bason of Water I came."
Then homeward she hurried, as fast as might be. 125
This young 'squire then was resolved to see
Whereto she belong'd, then follow'd Catskin:
Into an old straw-house he saw her creep in.
He said, "O brave Catskin, I find it is thee,
Who these three nights together has so charmed me; 130
Thou'rt the sweetest creature my eyes e'er beheld;
With joy and comfort my heart it is fill'd.
"Thou art the cook's scullion, but as I have life,
Grant me [but] thy love, and I'll make thee my wife,
And you shall have maids to wait at your call." 135
"Sir, that cannot be; I've no portion at all."
"Thy beauty is portion, my joy and my dear;
I prize it far better than thousands a year;
And to gain my friends' consent, I've got a trick;
I'll go to my bed and feign myself sick. 140
"There's none shall attend me but thee, I profess,
[Pg 179] And some day or other in thy richest dress
Thou shalt be drest; if my parents come nigh,
I'll tell them that for thee sick I do lie."
Having thus consulted, this couple partèd. 145
Next day this young 'squire took to his bed.
When his dear parents this thing perceiv'd,
For fear of his death they were heartily griev'd.
To tend him they sent for a nurse presently:
He said, "None but Catskin my nurse now shall be."150
His parents said, "No." He said, "But she shall,
Or else I'll have none for to nurse me at all."
His parents both wonder'd to hear him say thus,
That no one but Catskin must be his nurse;
So then his dear parents their son to content, 155
Up into the chamber poor Catskin they sent.
Sweet cordials and other rich things were prepar'd,
Which betwixt this young couple was equally shar'd;
And when all alone, they in each other's arms
Enjoy'd one another in love's pleasant charms. 160
At length on a time poor Catskin, 'tis said,
In her rich attire she then was array'd;
And when his mother the chamber drew near,
Then much like a goddess did Catskin appear.
Which caus'd her to startle, and thus she did say; 165
[Pg 180] "What young lady's this, son, tell me I pray?"
He said, "It is Catskin, for whom I sick lie,
And without I have her with speed I shall die."
His mother ran down for to call the old knight,
Who ran up to see this amazing great sight; 170
He said, "Is this Catskin we hold so in scorn?
I ne'er saw a finer dame since I was born."
The old knight said to her, "I pry'thee tell me,
From whence dost thou come, and of what family."
Then who was her parents she gave them to know, 175
And what was the cause of her wandering so.
The young 'squire said, "If you will save my life,
Pray grant this young creature may be my wife."
His father reply'd, "Your life for to save,
If you are agreed, my consent you shall have." 180
Next day, with great triumph and joy, as we hear,
There were many coaches came far and near;
She much like a goddess drest in great array,
Catskin to the 'squire was married that day.
For several days this great wedding did last, 185
Where was many topping and gallant rich guests;
And for joy the bells rung all over the town,
And bottles of claret went merrily round.
When Catskin was married, her fame to raise,
To see her modest carriage all gave her the praise; 190
Thus her charming beauty the squire did win,
And who lives so great as he and Catskin?

[Pg 181]

Now in the fifth part I'll endeavour to shew,
How things with her parents and sister did go;
Her mother and sister of life [are] bereft, 195
And all alone the old knight he was left.
And hearing his daughter being married so brave,
He said, "In my noddle a fancy I have;
Drest like a poor man a journey I'll make,
And see if on me some pity she'll take. 200
Then drest like a beggar he goes to the gate,
Where stood his daughter, who appear'd very great;
He said, "Noble lady, a poor man I be,
And am now forced to crave charity."
With a blush she asked him from whence he came, 205
With that then he told her, and also his name;
She said, "I'm your daughter, whom you slighted so,
Yet, nevertheless, to you kindness I'll shew.
"Thro' mercy the Lord hath provided for me.
Now, father, come in and sit down," then said she. 210
Then the best of provisions the house could afford,
For to make him welcome was set on the board.
She said, "Thou art welcome; feed hearty, I pray;
And, if you are willing, with me you shall stay
So long as you live." Then he made this reply; 215
[Pg 182] "I am only come thy love for to try.
"Thro' mercy, my child, I am rich, and not poor;
I have gold and silver enough now in store;
And for the love that at thy house I have found,
For a portion I'll give thee ten thousand pounds." 220
So in a few days after, as I understand,
This man he went home and sold off his land;
And ten thousand pounds to his daughter did give,
And now altogether in love they do live.

61. thee.

62. upon me.

98. answered him.

141. protest.


Ritson's Ancient Songs and Ballads, ii. 242. "From one of the Sloan MSS. in the Museum, No. 1489. The writing of Charles the First's time." A far superior poem on the very popular subject of the disciplining of wives is that of The Wife Lapped in Morels Skin, printed in Utterson's Select Pieces of Early Popular Poetry, ii. 173, and as an appendix to the Shakespeare Society's edition of the old Taming of a Shrew. As a counterpart to these pieces may be mentioned the amusing poem called Ane Ballad of Matrymonie, in Laing's Select Remains, or, The Honeymoon, Aytoun's Ballads of Scotland, i. 284.

Al you that are assembled heere,
Come listen to my song,
But first a pardon I must crave,
For feare of further wrong;
I must entreat thes good wyves al 5
[Pg 183] They wil not angrye be,
And I will sing a merrye song,
If they thereto agree.
Because the song I mean to sing
Doth touch them most of all, 10
And loth I were that any one
With me shold chide and brawle.
I have anough of that at home,
At boarde, and eake in bed;
And once for singing this same song 15
My wyfe did breake my head.
But if thes good wyves all be pleasd,
And pleased be the men,
Ile venture one more broken pate,
To sing it once agayne. 20
But first Ile tell you what it's cald,
For feare you heare no more;
'Tis calde the Taming of a Shrew,
Not often sung before.
And if I then shall sing the rest, 25
A signe I needs must have;
Hold but your finger up to me,
Or hem,—that's al I crave—
Then wil I sing it with a harte,
And to it roundelye goe; 30
You know my mynde, now let me see
Whether I shal sing't or no. Hem.
Well then, I see you willing are
[Pg 184] That I shall sing the reste;
To pleasure al thes good wyves heire 35
I meane to do my best.
For I do see even by their lookes
No hurte to me they thinke,
And thus it chancte upon a tyme,
(But first give me a drinke.) 40
Not long agoe a lustye lad
Did woe a livelye lasse,
And long it was before he cold
His purpose bring to passe;
Yet at the lenth it thus fell out, 45
She granted his petition,
That she would be his wedded wyfe,
But yet on this condicion.
That she shold weare the breeches on
For one yeare and a day, 50
And not to be controld of him
Whatsoere she'd do or say.
She rulde, shee raignd, she had hir wil
Even as she wold require;
But marke what fell out afterwards, 55
Good wyves I you desyre.
She made him weary of his lyfe;
He wisht that death wold come,
And end his myserye at once,
Ere that the yeare was run; 60
He thought it was the longest yeare
[Pg 185] That was since he was borne,
But he cold not the matter mend,
For he was thereto sworne.
Yet hath the longest day his date; 65
For this we al do know,
Although the day be neer soe long,
To even soone wil it goe.
So fell it out with hir at lenth,
The yeare was now come out; 70
The sun, and moone, and all the starres,
Their race had run about.
Then he began to rouse himselfe,
And to his wyfe he saide,
"Since that your raigne is at an end, 75
Now know me for your heade."
But she that had borne swaye so long
Wold not be under brought,
But stil hir tounge on pattens ran,
Though many blowes she caught. 80
He bet hir backe, he bet hir syde,
He bet hir blacke and blew;
But for all this she wolde not mend,
But worse and worse she grew.
When that he saw she wolde not mend, 85
Another way wrought hee;
He mewde hir up as men mew hawkes,
Where noe light she cold see.
And kept hir without meate or drinke
[Pg 186]For four dayes space and more; 90
Yet for all this she was as ill
As ere she was before.
When that he saw she wold not mend,
Nor that she wold be quiet,
Neither for stroakes nor locking up, 95
Nor yet for want of dyet,
He was almost at his wits end,
He knew not what to doe;
So that with gentlenes againe
He gane his wyfe to woo. 100
But she soone bad him holde his peace,
And sware it was his best,
But then he thought him of a wyle
Which made him be at rest.
He told a frend or two of his 105
What he had in his mynde;
Who went with him into his house,
And when they all had dynde,
"Good wyfe," quoth he, "thes frends of myne
Come hither for your good; 110
There lyes a vayne under your toung,
Must now be letten blood."
Then she began to use hir tearmes,
And rayléd at them fast;
Yet bound they hir for al hir strenth 115
Unto a poaste at laste,
And let hir blood under the toung,
And tho she bled full sore,
Yet did she rayle at them as fast
[Pg 187]As ere she raylde before. 120
"Wel then," quoth he, "the faulte I see,
She hath it from her mother;
It is hir teeth infects hir toung,
And it can be noe other;
And since I now doe know the cause, 125
Whatsoever to me befall,
Ile plucke hir teeth out of hir toung,
Perhaps hir toung and all."
And with a payre of pinsers strong
He pluckt a great tooth out, 130
And for to plucke another thence,
He quicklye went about.
But then she held up both her hands,
And did for mercye pray,
Protesting that against his will, 135
She wold not doe nor saye.
Whereat hir husband was right glad,
That she had changde hir mynde,
For from that tyme unto hir death
She proved both good and kynde. 140
Then did he take hir from the poast,
And did unbind hir then;
I wold al shrews were served thus;
Al good wyves say Amen.

52. she did or said.

[Pg 188]


On the 6th of February, 1593-4, A noble Roman Historye of Tytus Andronicus, was entered in the Stationers' Registers, to John Danter, and also "the ballad thereof." The earliest known edition of Shakespeare's play was in 1600. The differences between this play and the ballad are thus stated by Percy.

"In the ballad is no mention of the contest for the empire between the two brothers, the composing of which makes the ungrateful treatment of Titus afterwards the more flagrant: neither is there any notice taken of his sacrificing one of Tamora's sons, which the tragic poet has assigned as the original cause of all her cruelties. In the play, Titus loses twenty-one of his sons in war, and kills another for assisting Bassianus to carry off Lavinia; the reader will find it different in the ballad. In the latter she is betrothed to the Emperor's son: in the play to his brother. In the tragedy, only two of his sons fall into the pit, and the third, being banished, returns to Rome with a victorious army, to avenge the wrongs of his house: in the ballad, all three are entrapped, and suffer death. In the scene, the Emperor kills Titus, and is in return stabbed by Titus's surviving son. Here Titus kills the Emperor, and afterwards himself." * * * * *

"The following is given from a copy in The Golden Garland, entitled as above; compared with three others, two of them in black letter in the Pepys col[Pg 189]lection, entitled The Lamentable and Tragical History of Titus Andronicus, &c. To the Tune of Fortune. Printed for E. Wright.—Unluckily, none of these have any dates." Percy's Reliques, i. 238.

You noble minds, and famous martiall wights,
That in defence of native country fights,
Give eare to me, that ten yeeres fought for Rome,
Yet reapt disgrace at my returning home.
In Rome I lived in fame fulle threescore yeeres, 5
My name beloved was of all my peeres;
Fulle five-and-twenty valiant sonnes I had,
Whose forwarde vertues made their father glad.
For when Romes foes their warlike forces bent,
Against them stille my sonnes and I were sent; 10
Against the Goths full ten yeeres weary warre
We spent, receiving many a bloudy scarre.
Just two-and-twenty of my sonnes were slaine
Before we did returne to Rome againe:
Of five-and-twenty sonnes, I brought but three 15
Alive, the stately towers of Rome to see.
When wars were done, I conquest home did bring,
And did present my prisoners to the king,
The queene of Goths, her sons, and eke a Moore,
Which did such murders, like was nere before. 20
The emperour did make this queene his wife,
[Pg 190] Which bred in Rome debate and deadly strife;
The Moore, with her two sonnes, did growe soe proud,
That none like them in Rome might bee allowd.
The Moore soe pleas'd this new-made empress' eie, 25
That she consented to him secretlye
For to abuse her husbands marriage bed,
And soe in time a blackamore she bred.
Then she, whose thoughts to murder were inclinde,
Consented with the Moore of bloody minde, 30
Against myselfe, my kin, and all my friendes,
In cruell sort to bring them to their endes.
Soe when in age I thought to live in peace,
Both care and griefe began then to increase:
Amongst my sonnes I had one daughter bright, 35
Which joy'd and pleased best my aged sight.
My deare Lavinia was betrothed than
To Cesars sonne, a young and noble man:
Who, in a hunting, by the emperours wife,
And her two sonnes, bereaved was of life. 40
He, being slaine, was cast in cruel wise
Into a darksome den from light of skies:
The cruell Moore did come that way as then
With my three sonnes, who fell into the den.
The Moore then fetcht the emperour with speed, 45
For to accuse them of that murderous deed;
And when my sonnes within the den were found,
[Pg 191] In wrongfull prison they were cast and bound.
But nowe behold what wounded most my mind:
The empresses two sonnes, of savage kind, 50
My daughter ravished without remorse,
And took away her honour, quite perforce.
When they had tasted of soe sweete a flowre,
Fearing this sweete should shortly turne to sowre,
They cutt her tongue, whereby she could not tell 55
How that dishonoure unto her befell.
Then both her hands they basely cutt off quite,
Whereby their wickednesse she could not write,
Nor with her needle on her sampler sowe
The bloudye workers of her direfull woe. 60
My brother Marcus found her in the wood,
Staining the grassie ground with purple bloud,
That trickled from her stumpes, and bloudlesse armes:
Noe tongue at all she had to tell her harmes.
But when I sawe her in that woefull case, 65
With teares of bloud I wet mine aged face:
For my Lavinia I lamented more
Then for my two-and-twenty sonnes before.
When as I sawe she could not write nor speake,
With grief mine aged heart began to breake; 70
We spred an heape of sand upon the ground,
Whereby those bloudy tyrants out we found.
For with a staffe, without the helpe of hand,
[Pg 192] She writt these wordes upon the plat of sand:
"The lustfull sonnes of the proud emperesse 75
Are doers of this hateful wickednesse."
I tore the milk-white hairs from off mine head,
I curst the houre wherein I first was bred;
I wisht this hand, that fought for countries fame,
In cradle rockt, had first been stroken lame. 80
The Moore, delighting still in villainy,
Did say, to sett my sonnes from prison free,
I should unto the king my right hand give,
And then my three imprisoned sonnes should live.
The Moore I caus'd to strike it off with speede, 85
Whereat I grieved not to see it bleed,
But for my sonnes would willingly impart,
And for their ransome send my bleeding heart.
But as my life did linger thus in paine,
They sent to me my bootlesse hand againe, 90
And therewithal the heades of my three sonnes,
Which filled my dying heart with fresher moanes.
Then past reliefe, I upp and downe did goe,
And with my teares writ in the dust my woe:
I shot my arrowes towards heaven hie, 95
And for revenge to hell often did crye.
The empresse then, thinking that I was mad,
Like Furies she and both her sonnes were clad,
(She nam'd Revenge, and Rape and Murder they)
[Pg 193]To undermine and heare what I would say. 100
I fed their foolish veines a certaine space,
Untill my friendes did find a secret place,
Where both her sonnes unto a post were bound,
And just revenge in cruell sort was found.
I cut their throates, my daughter held the pan 105
Betwixt her stumpes, wherein the bloud it ran:
And then I ground their bones to powder small,
And made a paste for pyes streight therewithall.
Then with their fleshe I made two mighty pyes,
And at a banquet, served in stately wise, 110
Before the empresse set this loathsome meat;
So of her sonnes own flesh she well did eat.
Myselfe bereav'd my daughter then of life,
The empresse then I slewe with bloudy knife,
And stabb'd the emperour immediatelie, 115
And then myself: even soe did Titus die.
Then this revenge against the Moore was found;
Alive they sett him halfe in the ground,
Whereas he stood untill such time he starv'd:
And soe God send all murderers may be serv'd. 120

101. i. e. encouraged them in their foolish humours, or fancies. P.

[Pg 194]


This ballad, formerly a very great favorite, and continually alluded to in works of the 16th and 17th centuries, is found among the "Freemen's Songs of three voices" in Deuteromelia, 1609; also in Playford's Musical Companion, 1687, and for one voice in Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy, vol. i. 1698 and 1707. It is, however, much older than any of these books.

Carew, in his Survey of Cornwall, 1602, p. 135, writes: "Moreover, the prowess of one Nicholas, son to a widow near Foy, is descanted upon in an old three-man's song, namely, how he fought bravely at sea with John Dory, (a Genowey, as I conjecture,) set forth by John, the French King, and, after much bloodshed on both sides, took, and slew him, in revenge of the great ravine and cruelty which he had fore committed upon the Englishmen's goods and bodies." The only King John that could be meant here is of course John II. the Good, (see v. 10,) who was taken prisoner at Poitiers, and died in 1364. No John Doria is mentioned as being in the service of John the Good.—Ritson's Ancient Songs, ii. 57, and Chappell's Popular Music, p. 67.

As it fell on a holy-day,
And upon 'a' holy-tide-a,
John Dory bought him an ambling nag,
[Pg 195] To Paris for to ride-a.
And when John Dory to Paris was come, 5
A little before the gate-a,
John Dory was fitted, the porter was witted,
To let him in thereat-a.
The first man that John Dory did meet,
Was good king John of France-a; 10
John Dory could well of his courtesie,
But fell downe in a trance-a.
"A pardon, a pardon, my liege and my king,
For my merie men and for me-a;
And all the churles in merie England, 15
Ile bring them all bound to thee-a."
And Nicholl was then a Cornish man,
A little beside Bohide-a,
And he mande forth a good blacke barke,
With fifty good oares on a side-a. 20
"Run up, my boy, unto the maine top,
And looke what thou canst spie-a:"
"Who ho! who ho! a goodly ship I do see,
I trow it be John Dory-a."
They hoist their sailes, both top and top, 25
The meisseine and all was tride-a;
And every man stood to his lot,
Whatever should betide-a.
The roring cannons then were plide,
And dub-a-dub went the drumme-a; 30
The braying trumpets lowd they cride,
[Pg 196] To courage both all and some-a.
The grapling-hooks were brought at length,
The browne bill and the sword-a;
John Dory at length, for all his strength, 35
Was clapt fast under board-a.


Courage Crowned with Conquest: Or, a brief relation how that valiant knight and heroick champion, Sir Eglamore, bravely fought with, and manfully slew, a terrible huge great monstrous dragon. To a pleasant new tune.

This ballad is found in The Melancholie Knight, by Samuel Rowlands, 1615; in the Antidote to Melancholy, 1661; in Merry Drollery Complete, 1661; in Dryden's Miscellany Poems, iv. 104; in the "Bagford and Roxburghe collections of Ballads," &c. (Chappell.) The various editions differ considerably. The following is from Ritson's Ancient Songs, (ed. 1790,) p. 211, where it was reprinted from a black-letter copy dated 1672.

Sir Eglamore, that valiant knight,
With his fa, la, lanctre down dilie,
He fetcht his sword and he went to fight,
With his fa, la, lanctre, &c.
As he went over hill and dale,
All cloathed in his coat of male,
[Pg 197] With his fa, la, lanctre, &c.
A huge great dragon leapt out of his den, 5
Which had killed the Lord knows how many men;
But when he saw Sir Eglamore,
Good lack had ye seen how this dragon did roare!
This dragon he had a plaguy hide,
Which could both sword and spear abide; 10
He could not enter with hacks and cuts,
Which vext the knight to the very hearts blood and guts.
All the trees in the wood did shake,
Stars did tremble, and men did quake;
But had ye seen how the birds lay peeping, 15
'Twould have made a mans heart to fall a-weeping.
But it was too late to fear,
For now it was come to fight dog, fight bear;
And as a yawning he did fall,
He thrust his sword in, hilt and all. 20
But now as the knight in choler did burn,
He owed the dragon a shrewd good turn:
In at his mouth his sword he bent,
The hilt appeared at his fundament.
Then the dragon, like a coward, began to fly 25
Unto his den, that was hard by;
And there he laid him down and roar'd;
The knight was vexed for his sword.
"The sword, that was a right good blade,
[Pg 198]As ever Turk or Spaniard made, 30
I for my part do forsake it,
And he that will fetch it, let him take it."
When all this was done, to the ale-house he went,
And by and by his two pence he spent;
For he was so hot with tugging with the dragon, 35
That nothing would quench him but a whole flaggon.
Now God preserve our King and Queen,
And eke in London may be seen
As many knights, and as many more,
And all so good as Sir Eglamore. 40


We have thought it necessary to include in this collection one or two specimens of ballads founded on stories in the Jewish Scriptures. Besides those here selected, it may be well to refer to the following: The Constancy of Susanna, (cited in Twelfth Night,) Evans, i. 11; David and Bathsheba, id. p. 291; Tobias, Old Ballads, ii. 158; Holofernes, The Garland of Goodwill, p. 85, and Old Ballads, ii. 166.

Every one will remember that the ballad of Jephthah is quoted in Hamlet (Act II. sc. 2). Percy published an imperfect copy of this piece, written down from the recollection of a lady (Reliques, i. 193). The following is from a black-letter copy reprinted in Evans, i. 7, which was entitled "Jepha, Judge of Israel."

[Pg 199]

I have read that many years agoe,
When Jeph[th]a, judge of Israel,
Had one fair daughter and no moe,
Whom he loved passing well.
And as by lot, God wot, 5
It came to passe, most like it was,
Great warrs there should be,
And who should be the chiefe but he, but he.
When Jeph[th]a was appointed now
Chiefe captain of the company, 10
To God the Lord he made a vow,
If he might have the victory,
At his return, to burn,
For his offering, the first quick thing,
Should meet with him then, 15
From his house when he came agen, agen.
It chanced so these warrs were done,
And home he came with victory;
His daughter out of doors did run
To meet her father speedily: 20
And all the way did play
To taber and pipe, and many a stripe,
And notes full high,
For joy that he was so nigh, so nigh.
When Jeph[th]a did perceive and see 25
His daughter firm and formostly,
He rent his cloths, and tore his haire,
[Pg 200] And shrieked out most piteously:
"For thou art she," quoth he,
"Hath brought me low—alas, for woe! 30
And troubled me so,
That I cannot tell what to doe, to doe.
"For I have made a vow," quoth he,
Which must not be diminishéd;
A sacrifice to God on high; 35
My promise must be finishéd."
"As ye have spoke, provoke
No further care, but to prepare
Your will to fulfill,
According to God's will, God's will. 40
"For sithence God has given you might
To overcome your enemies,
Let one be offer'd up, as right,
For to perform all promises.
And this let be," quoth she, 45
"As thou hast said; be not afraid;
Although it be I,
Keep promise with God on high, on high.
"But father, do so much for me
As let me go to wildernesse, 50
There to bewaile my virginity,
Three months to bemoan my heavinesse.
And let there go some moe,
Like maids with me." "Content," quoth he,
And sent her away, 55
To mourn till her latter day, her day.
And when that time was come and gone
[Pg 201] That she should sacrificed be,
This virgin sacrificed was,
For to fulfill all promises. 60
As some say, for aye
The virgins there, three times a year,
Like sorrow fulfill
For the daughter of Jeph[th]a still, still, still.

3. more


Evans's Old Ballads, i. 283, from a black-letter copy.

When Samson was a tall young man,
His power and strength increased then,
And in the host and tribe of Dan
The Lord did bless him still.
It chanced so upon a day, 5
As he was walking on his way,
He saw a maiden fresh and gay
In Timnath.
With whom he fell so sore in love,
That he his fancy could not move; 10
His parents therefore he did prove,
And craved their good wills:
"I have found out a wife," quoth he;
"I pray ye, father, give her me;
Though she a stranger's daughter be, 15
I pass not."
Then did bespeak his parents dear,
[Pg 202] "Have we not many maidens here,
Of country and acquaintance near,
For thee to love and like?" 20
"O no," quoth Samson presently,
"Not one so pleasant in my eye,
Whom I could find so faithfully
To fancy."
At length they granted their consent, 25
And so with Samson forth they went;
To see the maid was their intent,
Which was so fair and bright.
But as they were a-going there,
A lion put them in great fear, 30
Whom Samson presently did tear
In pieces.
When they were come unto the place,
They were agreed in the case;
The wedding day appointed was, 35
And when the time was come,
As Samson went for beauty's fees,
The lion's carcass there he sees,
Wherein a sort of honey bees
Had swarmed. 40
Then closely Samson went his way,
And not a word thereof did say,
Untill the merry feasting-day,
Unto the company.
"A riddle I will shew," quoth he; 45
"The meaning if you tell to me,
Within seven days I will give ye
[Pg 203] Great riches.
"But if the meaning you do miss,
And cannot shew me what it is, 50
Then shall you give to me i-wiss
So much as I have said."
"Put forth the riddle then," quoth they,
"And we will tell it by our day,
Or we will lose, as thou dost say, 55
The wager."
"Then make," quoth he, "the total sum.
Out of the eater meat did come,
And from the strong did sweetness run;
Declare it, if you can." 60
And when they heard the riddle told,
Their hearts within them waxed cold,
For none of them could then unfold
The meaning.
Then unto Samson's wife went they, 65
And threatened her, without delay,
If she would not the thing bewray,
To burn her father's house.
Then Samson's wife, with grief and woe,
Desired him the same to shew,
And when she knew, she straight did go, 70
To tell them.
Then were they all full glad of this;
To tell the thing they did not miss;
"What stronger beast than a lion is? 75
What sweeter meat than honey?"
[Pg 204] Then Samson answered them full round,
"If my heifer had not ploughed the ground,
So easily you had not found
My riddle. 80
Then Samson did his losses pay,
And to his father went his way:
But while with them he there did stay,
His wife forsook him quite,
And took another to her love, 85
Which Samson's anger much did move:
To plague them therefore he did prove
His cunning.
A subtle thought he then had found,
To burn their corn upon the ground; 90
Their vineyards he destroyed round,
Which made them fret and fume.
But when they knew that Samson he
Had done them all this injury,
Because his wife did him deny, 95
They killed her.
And afterward they had decreed
To murder Samson for that deed;
Three thousand men they sent with speed,
To bring him bound to them. 100
But he did break his cords apace,
And with the jaw-bone of an ass
A thousand men, ere he did pass,
[Pg 205] He killed.
When all his foes were laid in dust, 105
Then Samson was full sore athirst;
In God therefore was all his trust,
To help his fainting heart:
For liquor thereabout was none:
The Lord therefore from the jaw-bone 110
Did make fresh water spring, alone
To help him.
Then Samson had a joyfull spright,
And in a city lay that night,
Whereas his foes, with deadly spite, 115
Did seek his life to spill:
But he at midnight then awakes,
And tearing down the city gates,
With him away the same he takes
Most stoutly. 120
Then on Delilah, fair and bright,
Did Samson set his whole delight,
Whom he did love both day and night,
Which wrought his overthrow.
For she with sweet words did entreat, 125
That for her sake he would repeat
Wherein his strength, that was so great,
At length, unto his bitter fall,
And through her suit, which was not small, 130
He did not let to show her all
The secrets of his heart.
[Pg 206] "If that my hair be cut," quoth he,
"Which now so fair and long you see,
Like other men then shall I be 135
In weakness."
Then through deceit which was so deep,
She lulled Samson fast asleep;
A man she call'd, which she did keep,
To cut off all his hair. 140
Then did she call his hateful foes,
Ere Samson from her lap arose,
Who could not then withstand their blows,
For weakness.
To bind him fast they did devise, 145
Then did they put out both his eyes;
In prison wofully he lies,
And there he grinds the mill.
But God remembered all his pain,
And did restore his strength again, 150
Although that bound he did remain
In prison.
The Philistines now were glad of this;
For joy they made a feast i-wiss,
And all their princes did not miss 155
To come unto the same.
And being merry bent that day,
For Samson they did send straightway,
That they might laugh to see him play
Among them. 160
Then to the house was Samson led,
[Pg 207] And when he had their fancies fed,
He pluck'd the house upon their head,
And down they tumbled all.
So that with grief and deadly pain, 165
Three thousand persons there were slain;
Thus Samson then, with all his train,
Was brained.

83. But wisht.


Percy's Reliques, iii. 240, and Ritson's Ancient Songs and Ballads, ii. 101.

"Such is the title given in the Editor's folio MS. to this excellent old ballad, which, in the common printed copies, is inscribed, Eneas, wandering Prince of Troy. It is here given from that MS. collated with two different printed copies, both in black-letter, in the Pepys Collection." Percy.

As other ballads on classical subjects, may be mentioned Constant Penelope, Reliques, iii. 324; Pyramus and Thisbe, in A Handfull of Pleasant Delites, p. 42 (Park's Heliconia, vol. ii.); and Hero and Leander in Collier's Roxburghe Ballads, p. 227, from which was formed the song, or ballad, in the Tea-Table Miscellany, ii. 138, Ritson's Scotish Songs, ii. 198, &c.

When Troy towne had, for ten yeeres 'past,'
[Pg 208] Withstood the Greekes in manfull wise,
Then did their foes encrease soe fast,
That to resist none could suffice:
Wast lye those walls, that were soe good, 5
And corne now growes where Troy towne stoode.
Æneas, wandering prince of Troy,
When he for land long time had sought,
At length arriving with great joy,
To mighty Carthage walls was brought; 10
Where Dido queene, with sumptuous feast,
Did entertaine that wandering guest.
And, as in hall at meate they sate,
The queene, desirous newes to heare,
Says, "Of thy Troys unhappy fate, 15
Declare to me, thou Trojan deare:
The heavy hap and chance soe bad,
That thou, poore wandering prince, hast had."
And then anon this comelye knight,
With words demure, as he cold well, 20
Of his unhappy ten yeares 'fight,'
Soe true a tale began to tell,
With wordes soe sweete, and sighes soe deepe,
That oft he made them all to weepe.
And then a thousand sighes he fet, 25
And every sigh brought teares amaine;
That where he sate the place was wett,
As though he had seene those warrs againe:
Soe that the queene, with ruth therfore,
[Pg 209]Said, "Worthy prince, enough, no more." 30
And then the darksome night drew on,
And twinkling starres the skye bespred,
When he his dolefull tale had done,
And every one was layd in bedd:
Where they full sweetly tooke their rest, 35
Save only Dido's boyling brest.
This silly woman never slept,
But in her chamber, all alone,
As one unhappye, alwayes wept,
And to the walls shee made her mone; 40
That she shold still desire in vaine
The thing she never must obtaine.
And thus in grieffe she spent the night,
Till twinkling starres the skye were fled,
And Ph[oe]bus, with his glistering light, 45
Through misty cloudes appeared red;
Then tidings came to her anon,
That all the Trojan shipps were gone.
And then the queene with bloody knife
Did arme, her hart as hard as stone; 50
Yet, something loth to loose her life,
In woefull wise she made her mone;
And, rowling on her carefull bed,
With sighes and sobbes, these words shee sayd:
"O wretched Dido queene!" quoth shee, 55
"I see thy end approacheth neare;
For hee is fled away from thee,
[Pg 210] Whom thou didst love and hold so deare:
What, is he gone, and passed by?
O hart, prepare thyselfe to dye. 60
"Though reason says thou shouldst forbeare,
And stay thy hand from bloudy stroke,
Yet fancy bids thee not to fear,
Which fetter'd thee in Cupids yoke.
Come death," quoth shee, "resolve my smart!"— 65
And with those words shee peerced her hart.
When death had pierced the tender hart
Of Dido, Carthaginian queene,
Whose bloudy knife did end the smart,
Which shee sustain'd in mournfull teene, 70
Æneas being shipt and gone,
Whose flattery caused all her mone,
Her funerall most costly made,
And all things finisht mournfullye,
Her body fine in mold was laid, 75
Where itt consumed speedilye:
Her sisters teares her tombe bestrewde,
Her subjects griefe their kindnesse shewed.
Then was Æneas in an ile
In Grecya, where he stayd long space, 80
Whereas her sister in short while
Writt to him to his vile disgrace;
In speeches bitter to his mind
Shee told him plaine he was unkind.
"False-harted wretch," quoth shee, "thou art; 85
[Pg 211] And traiterouslye thou hast betraid
Unto thy lure a gentle hart,
Which unto thee much welcome made;
My sister deare, and Carthage' joy,
Whose folly bred her deere annoy. 90
"Yett on her death-bed when shee lay,
Shee prayd for thy prosperitye,
Beseeching God, that every day
Might breed thy great felicitye:
Thus by thy meanes I lost a friend; 95
Heaven send thee such untimely end."
When he these lines, full fraught with gall,
Perused had, and wayed them right,
His lofty courage then did fall;
And straight appeared in his sight 100
Queene Dido's ghost, both grim and pale;
Which made this valliant souldier quaile.
"Æneas," quoth this ghastly ghost,
"My whole delight, when I did live,
Thee of all men I loved most; 105
My fancy and my will did give;
For entertainment I thee gave,
Unthankefully thou didst me grave.
"Therfore prepare thy flitting soule
To wander with me in the aire, 110
Where deadlye griefe shall make it howle,
Because of me thou tookst no care:
Delay not time, thy glasse is run,
[Pg 212] Thy date is past, thy life is done."
"O stay a while, thou lovely sprite; 115
Be not soe hasty to convay
My soule into eternall night,
Where itt shall ne're behold bright day:
O doe not frowne; thy angry looke
Hath made my breath my life forsooke. 120
"But, woe is me! all is in vaine,
And bootless is my dismall crye;
Time will not be recalled againe,
Nor thou surcease before I dye.
O lett me live, and make amends 125
To some of thy most dearest friends.
"But seeing thou obdurate art,
And wilt no pittye on me show,
Because from thee I did depart,
And left unpaid what I did owe, 130
I must content myselfe to take
What lott to me thou wilt partake."
And thus, as one being in a trance,
A multitude of uglye feinds
About this woffull prince did dance: 135
He had no helpe of any friends:
His body then they tooke away,
And no man knew his dying day.

1, 21. war. MS. and pr. cop.

[Pg 213]


Percy's Reliques, iii. 297.

"The subject of this ballad is sufficiently popular from the modern play which is founded upon it. This was written by George Lillo, a jeweller of London, and first acted about 1730.—As for the ballad, it was printed at least as early as the middle of the last century.

"It is here given from three old printed copies, which exhibit a strange intermixture of Roman and black-letter. It is also collated with another copy in the Ashmole Collection at Oxford, which is thus entitled: "An excellent ballad of George Barnwell, an apprentice of London, who ... thrice robbed his master, and murdered his uncle in Ludlow. The tune is The Merchant."

There is another copy in Ritson's Ancient Songs, ii. 156. Throughout the Second Part, the first line of each stanza has, in the old editions, two superfluous syllables, which Percy ejected; and Ritson has adopted the emendation.

All youths of fair Englànd
That dwell both far and near,
Regard my story that I tell,
[Pg 214] And to my song give ear.
A London lad I was, 5
A merchant's prentice bound;
My name George Barnwell; that did spend
My master many a pound.
Take heed of harlots then,
And their enticing trains; 10
For by that means I have been brought
To hang alive in chains.
As I upon a day
Was walking through the street,
About my master's business, 15
A wanton I did meet.
A gallant dainty dame
And sumptuous in attire;
With smiling look she greeted me,
And did my name require. 20
Which when I had declar'd,
She gave me then a kiss,
And said, if I would come to her
I should have more than this.
"Fair mistress," then quoth I, 25
"If I the place may know,
This evening I will be with you;
For I abroad must go,
"To gather monies in,
That are my master's due: 30
And ere that I do home return
[Pg 215] I'll come and visit you."
"Good Barnwell," then quoth she,
"Do thou to Shoreditch come,
And ask for Mrs. Milwood's house, 35
Next door unto the Gun.
"And trust me on my truth,
If thou keep touch with me,
My dearest friend, as my own heart
Thou shalt right welcome be." 40
Thus parted we in peace,
And home I passed right;
Then went abroad, and gathered in,
By six o'clock at night,
An hundred pound and one: 45
With bag under my arm
I went to Mrs. Millwood's house,
And thought on little harm.
And knocking at the door,
Straightway herself came down; 50
Rustling in most brave attire,
With hood and silken gown.
Who, through her beauty bright,
So gloriously did shine,
That she amaz'd my dazzling eyes, 55
She seemed so divine.
She took me by the hand,
And with a modest grace,
"Welcome, sweet Barnwell," then quoth she,
[Pg 216]"Unto this homely place. 60
"And since I have thee found
As good as thy word to be,
A homely supper, ere we part,
Thou shalt take here with me."
"O pardon me," quoth I, 65
"Fair mistress, I you pray;
For why, out of my master's house
So long I dare not stay."
"Alas, good sir," she said,
"Are you so strictly ty'd, 70
You may not with your dearest friend
One hour or two abide?
"Faith, then the case is hard;
If it be so," quoth she,
"I would I were a prentice bound, 75
To live along with thee.
"Therefore, my dearest George,
List well what I shall say,
And do not blame a woman much,
Her fancy to bewray. 80
"Let not affection's force
Be counted lewd desire;
Nor think it not immodesty,
I should thy love require."
With that she turn'd aside, 85
And with a blushing red,
A mournful motion she bewray'd
[Pg 217] By hanging down her head.
A handkerchief she had,
All wrought with silk and gold, 90
Which she, to stay her trickling tears,
Before her eyes did hold.
This thing unto my sight
Was wondrous rare and strange,
And in my soul and inward thought 95
It wrought a sudden change:
That I so hardy grew
To take her by the hand,
Saying, "Sweet mistress, why do you
So dull and pensive stand?" 100
"Call me no mistress now,
But Sarah, thy true friend,
Thy servant, Milwood, honouring thee,
Until her life hath end.
"If thou wouldst here alledge 105
Thou art in years a boy;
So was Adonis, yet was he
Fair Venus' only joy."
Thus I, who ne'er before
Of woman found such grace, 110
But seeing now so fair a dame
Give me a kind embrace,
I supt with her that night,
With joys that did abound;
And for the same paid presently, 115
[Pg 218] In mony twice three pound.
An hundred kisses then,
For my farewel she gave;
Crying, "Sweet Barnwell, when shall I
Again thy company have? 120
"O stay not hence too long;
Sweet George, have me in mind:"
Her words bewicht my childishness,
She uttered them so kind.
So that I made a vow, 125
Next Sunday, without fail,
With my sweet Sarah once again
To tell some pleasant tale.
When she heard me say so,
The tears fell from her eye; 130
"O George," quoth she, "if thou dost fail,
Thy Sarah sure will dye."
Though long, yet loe! at last,
The appointed day was come,
That I must with my Sarah meet; 135
Having a mighty sum
Of money in my hand,
Unto her house went I,
Whereas my love upon her bed
[Pg 219]In saddest sort did lye. 140
"What ails my heart's delight,
My Sarah dear?" quoth I;
"Let not my love lament and grieve,
Nor sighing pine and die.
"But tell me, dearest friend, 145
What may thy woes amend,
And thou shalt lack no means of help,
Though forty pound I spend."
With that she turn'd her head,
And sickly thus did say: 150
"Oh me, sweet George, my grief is great;
Ten pound I have to pay
Unto a cruel wretch;
And God he knows," quoth she,
"I have it not." "Tush, rise," I said, 155
"And take it here of me.
"Ten pounds, nor ten times ten,
Shall make my love decay;"
Then from my bag into her lap,
I cast ten pound straightway. 160
All blithe and pleasant then,
To banqueting we go;
She proffered me to lye with her,
And said it should be so.
And after that same time, 165
I gave her store of coyn,
Yea, sometimes fifty pound at once;
[Pg 220] All which I did purloyn.
And thus I did pass on;
Until my master then 170
Did call to have his reckoning in
Cast up among his men.
The which when as I heard,
I knew not what to say:
For well I knew that I was out 175
Two hundred pound that day.
Then from my master straight
I ran in secret sort;
And unto Sarah Milwood there
My case I did report. 180
But how she used this youth,
In this his care and woe,
And all a strumpet's wiley ways,
The second part may showe.

136. The having a sum of money with him on Sunday, &c., shows this narrative to have been penned before the civil wars: the strict observance of the Sabbath was owing to the change of manners at that period. Percy.

"Young Barnwell comes to thee,
Sweet Sarah, my delight;
I am undone, unless thou stand
My faithful friend this night.
"Our master to accompts 5
Hath just occasion found;
And I am caught behind the hand
Above two hundred pound.
"And now his wrath to 'scape,
[Pg 221]My love, I fly to thee, 10
Hoping some time I may remaine
In safety here with thee."
With that she knit her brows,
And looking all aquoy,
Quoth she, "What should I have to do 15
With any prentice boy?
"And seeing you have purloyn'd
Your master's goods away,
The case is bad, and therefore here
You shall no longer stay." 20
"Why, dear, thou know'st," I said,
"How all which I could get,
"I gave it, and did spend it all
Upon thee every whit."
Quoth she, "Thou art a knave, 25
To charge me in this sort,
Being a woman of credit fair,
And known of good report.
"Therefore I tell thee flat,
Be packing with good speed; 30
I do defie thee from my heart,
And scorn thy filthy deed."
"Is this the friendship, that
You did to me protest?
Is this the great affection, which 35
[Pg 222] You so to me exprest?
"Now fie on subtle shrews!
The best is, I may speed
To get a lodging any where
For money in my need. 40
"False woman, now farewell;
Whilst twenty pound doth last,
My anchor in some other haven
With freedom I will cast."
When she perceiv'd by this, 45
I had store of money there,
"Stay, George," quoth she, "thou art too quick:
Why, man, I did but jeer.
"Dost think for all my speech,
That I would let thee go? 50
Faith, no," said she, "my love to thee
I-wiss is more than so."
"You scorne a prentice boy,
I heard you just now swear:
Wherefore I will not trouble you:" 55
"Nay, George, hark in thine ear;
"Thou shalt not go to-night,
What chance soe're befall;
But man, we'll have a bed for thee,
Or else the devil take all." 60
So I by wiles bewitcht,
And snar'd with fancy still,
Had then no power to 'get' away,
[Pg 223] Or to withstand her will.
For wine on wine I call'd, 65
And cheer upon good cheer;
And nothing in the world I thought
For Sarah's love too dear.
Whilst in her company,
I had such merriment, 70
All, all too little I did think,
That I upon her spent.
"A fig for care and thought!
When all my gold is gone,
In faith, my girl, we will have more, 75
Whoever I light upon.
"My father's rich; why then
Should I want store of gold?"
"Nay, with a father, sure," quoth she,
"A son may well make bold." 80
"I've a sister richly wed;
I'll rob her ere I'll want."
"Nay then," quoth Sarah, "they may well
Consider of your scant."
"Nay, I an uncle have; 85
At Ludlow he doth dwell;
He is a grazier, which in wealth
Doth all the rest excell.
"Ere I will live in lack,
And have no coyn for thee, 90
I'll rob his house, and murder him."
[Pg 224] "Why should you not?" quoth she.
"Was I a man, ere I
Would live in poor estate,
On father, friends, and all my kin, 95
I would my talons grate.
"For without money, George,
A man is but a beast:
But bringing money, thou shalt be
Always my welcome guest. 100
"For shouldst thou be pursued
With twenty hues and cryes,
And with a warrant searched for
With Argus' hundred eyes,
"Yet here thou shalt be safe; 105
Such privy wayes there be,
That if they sought an hundred years,
They could not find out thee."
And so carousing both
Their pleasures to content, 110
George Barnwell had in little space
His money wholly spent.
Which done, to Ludlow straight
He did provide to go,
To rob his wealthy uncle there; 115
His minion would it so.
And once he thought to take
[Pg 225] His father by the way,
But that he fear'd his master had
Took order for his stay.120
Unto his uncle then
He rode with might and main,
Who with a welcome and good cheer
Did Barnwell entertain.
One fortnight's space he stayed, 125
Until it chanced so,
His uncle with his cattle did
Unto a market go.
His kinsman rode with him,
Where he did see right plain, 130
Great store of money he had took:
When, coming home again,
Sudden within a wood,
He struck his uncle down,
And beat his brains out of his head; 135
So sore he crackt his crown.
Then seizing fourscore pound,
To London straight he hyed,
And unto Sarah Millwood all
The cruell fact descryed. 140
"Tush, 'tis no matter, George,
[Pg 226] So we the money have
To have good cheer in jolly sort,
And deck us fine and brave."
Thus lived in filthy sort, 145
Until their store was gone:
When means to get them any more,
I-wis poor George had none.
Therefore in railing sort,
She thrust him out of door; 150
Which is the just reward of those,
Who spend upon a whore.
"O do me not disgrace
In this my need," quoth he:
She called him thief and murderer, 155
With all the spight might be.
To the constable she sent,
To have him apprehended;
And shewed how far, in each degree,
He had the laws offended. 160
When Barnwell saw her drift,
To sea he got straightway;
Where fear and sting of conscience
Continually on him lay.
Unto the lord mayor then, 165
He did a letter write,
In which his own and Sarah's fault
[Pg 227] He did at large recite.
Whereby she seized was,
And then to Ludlow sent, 170
Where she was judg'd, condemn'd, and hang'd,
For murder incontinent.
There dyed this gallant quean,
Such was her greatest gains;
For murder in Polonia, 175
Was Barnwell hang'd in chains.
Lo! here's the end of youth
That after harlots haunt,
Who in the spoil of other men
About the streets do flaunt. 180

120. i.e. for stopping and apprehending him at his father's. P.

[Pg 228]


From Buchan's Ballads of the North of Scotland, ii. 23. Annexed is a less perfect copy from Kinloch's collection. A fragment of this piece is printed in Cromek's Select Scottish Songs by R. Burns, (ii. 196,) with some stanzas of Willy's drowned in Yarrow, (vol. ii. p. 181, of this collection.) Mr. Aytoun has made up a very good ballad from several copies; Ballads of Scotland, 2, 236.

As I gaed in yon greenwood side,
I heard a fair maid singing;
Her voice was sweet, she sang sae complete,
That all the woods were ringing.
"O I'm the Duke o' Athole's nurse, 5
My post is well becoming;
But I wou'd gie a' my half-year's fee,
For ae sight o' my leman."
"Ye say, ye're the Duke o' Athole's nurse,
Your post is well becoming; 10
Keep well, keep well your half-year's fee,
Ye'se hae twa sights o' your leman."
He lean'd him ower his saddle bow,
And cannilie kiss'd his dearie;
"Ohon, and alake! anither has my heart, 15
And I darena mair come near thee!"
"Ohon, and alake! if anither hae your heart,
[Pg 229] These words hae fairly undone me;
But let us set a time, tryst to meet again,
Then in gude friends you will twine me!" 20
"Ye will do you down to yon tavern house,
And drink till the day be dawing;
And, as sure as I ance had a love for you,
I'll come there and clear your lawing.
"Ye'll spare not the wine, altho' it be fine, 25
Nae Malago, tho' it be rarely;
But ye'll aye drink the bonnie lassie's health
That's to clear your lawing fairly."
Then he's done him down to yon tavern house,
And drank till day was dawing; 30
And aye he drank the bonny lassie's health
That was coming to clear his lawing.
And aye as he birled, and aye as he drank
The gude beer and the brandy,
He spar'd not the wine, altho' it was fine, 35
The sack nor the sugar candy.
"It's a wonder to me," the knight he did say,
"My bonnie lassie's sae delaying;
She promis'd, as sure as she loved me ance,
She wou'd be here by the dawing." 40
He's done him to a shott window,
A little before the dawing,
And there he spied her nine brothers bauld,
[Pg 230] Were coming to betray him.
"Where shall I rin, where shall I gang, 45
Or where shall I gang hide me?
She that was to meet me in friendship this day,
Has sent nine men to slay me!"
He's gane to the landlady o' the house,
Says, "O can you supply me? 50
For she that was to meet me in friendship this day,
Has sent nine men to slay me!
She gae him a suit o' her ain female claise,
And set him to the baking;
The bird never sang mair sweet on the bush, 55
Nor the knight sung at the baking.
As they came in at the ha' door,
Sae loudly as they rappit,
And when they came upon the floor,
Sae loudly as they chappit! 60
"O had ye a stranger here last night,
Who drank till the day was dawing?
Come, show us the chamber where he lyes in,
We'll shortly clear his lawing."
"I had nae stranger here last night, 65
That drank till the day was dawing;
But ane that took a pint, and paid it ere he went,
And there's naething to clear o' his lawing."
A lad amang the rest, being o' a merry mood,
To the young knight fell a-talking; 70
The wife took her foot, and gae him a kick,
[Pg 231] Says, "Be busy, ye jilt, at your baking."
They stabbed the house, baith but and ben,
The curtains they spared nae riving,
And for a' that they did search and ca', 75
For a kiss o' the knight they were striving.


Kinloch's Ancient Scottish Ballads, p. 127.

As I cam in by Athol's yetts,
I heard a fair maid singing;
"I am the Duke o' Athol's nourice,
And I wat it weel does set me;
And I wad gie a' my half-year's fee, 5
For ae sicht o' my Johnie."
"Keep weel, keep weel, your half-year's fee,
For ye'll soon get a sicht o' your Johnie;
But anither woman has my heart,
And I am sorry for to leave ye." 10
"Ye'll dow ye doun to yon change-house,
And drink till the day be dawing;
At ilka pint's end ye'll drink the lass' health,
That's coming to pay the lawing."
He hied him doun to yon change-house, 15
And he drank till the day was dawing;
And at ilka pint's end he drank the lass' health,
[Pg 232] That was coming to pay for his lawing.
Aye he ranted, and aye he sang,
And drank till the day was dawing; 20
And aye he drank the bonnie lass' health,
That was coming to pay the lawing.
He spared na the sack, though it was dear,
The wine, nor the sugar-candy;
* * * *
* * * *
He has dune him to the shot-window, 25
To see gin she war coming;
There he saw the duke and a' his merry men,
That oure the hill cam rinning.
He has dune him to the landlady,
To see gin she wad protect him; 30
She buskit him up into woman's claise,
And set him till a baking.
Sae loudlie as they rappit at the yett,
Sae loudlie as they war calling;
"Had ye a young man here yestreen, 35
That drank till the day was dawing?"
"He drank but ae pint, and he paid it or he went,
And ye've na mair to do wi' the lawing."
They searchit the house a' round and round,
And they spared na the curtains to tear them; 40
While the landlady stood upo' the stair-head,
Crying, "Maid, be busy at your baking;"
They gaed as they cam, and left a' undone,
And left the bonnie maid at her baking.

[Pg 233]


From Scarce Ancient Ballads, p. 17. The same in Buchan, ii. 109, The Baron turned Ploughman.

There was a knight, a barone bright,
A bauld barone was he,
And he had only but one son,
A comely youth to see.
He's brought him at schools nine, 5
So has he at schools ten,
But the boy learn'd to haud the plow
Among his father's men.
But it fell ance upon a day
The bauld barone did say, 10
"My son you maun gae court a wife,
And ane o high degree.
"Ye have lands, woods, rents, and bouirs,
Castels and touirs three;
Then go my son and seek some dame 15
To share that gift wi' thee."
"Yes, I have lands and woods, father,
Castels and touirs three;
But what if she like my lands and rents
[Pg 234]Far more than she loves me? 20
"But I will go and seek a wife
That weel can please mine ee,
And I sall fairly try her love
Before she gang wi me."
He then took off the scarlet coat, 25
Bedeck'd wi shinin' gold,
And has put on the hireman's coat,
To keip him frae the cold.
He then laid past the studded sword,
That he could bravely draw, 30
And he's gone skipping down the stair,
Swift as the bird that flaw.
He took a stick into his hand,
Which he could bravely wiel,
And he's gane whistling o'er the lan', 35
Like a young hireman chiel.
And he gaed up yon high high hill,
And low down i the glen,
And there he saw a gay castell,
Wi turrets nine or ten. 40
And he has gone on, and farther on,
Till to the yett drew he,
And there he saw a lady fair,
That pleas'd the young man's ee.
He went streight to the greave's chamber, 45
[Pg 235] And with humilitie,
Said, "Have ye any kind of work
For a hireman chiel like me?"
"What is the work that ye intend,
Or how can we agree? 50
Can ye plow, reap, and sow the corn,
And a' for meat and fee?"
"Yes, I can plow, and reap, and mow,
And sow the corn too;
I can weel manage horse and cow, 55
And a' for meat and fee."
"If ye can haud the plow right weel,
And sow the corn too,
By faith and troth, my hireman chiel,
We shall not part for fee." 60
He['s] put his hand in his pocket,
And taen out shillings nine;
Says, "Take ye that, my hireman chiel,
And turn in here and dine."
He acted all he took in hand, 65
His master lov'd him weel,
And the young lady of the land
Fell in love wi the hireman chiel.
How oft she tried to drown the flame,
And oft wept bitterlie; 70
But still she lov'd the hireman chiel,
[Pg 236] So well's he pleas'd her ee.
She has written a broad letter,
And seal'd it wi' her hand,
And dropt it at the stable door, 75
Where the young man did stand.
"I am in love, my hireman chiel,
I'm deip in love wi thee;
And if ye think me worth your love,
I' the garden green meet me." 80
When he had read the letter o'er,
A loud loud laugh gae he;
Said, "If I manage my business well,
I'm sure to get my fee."
At night they met behind a tree, 85
Low in the garden green,
To tell their tale among the flowers,
And view the e'ening scene.
Next morning by the rising sun,
She, with her maries fair, 90
Walk'd to the fields to see the plow,
And meet the hireman there.
"Good morn, good morn, my lady gay,
I wonder much at you,
To rise so early in the morn, 95
While fields are wet wi dew,
To hear the linnets on the thorn,
And see the plow-boy plow."
"But I wonder much at you, young man,
[Pg 237]I wonder much at you, 100
That ye no other station have
Than hold my father's plow."
"I love as weel to rise each morn
As ye can your maries fair;
I love as weel to hold the plow 105
As I were your father's heir.
"If ye love me, as ye protest,
And I trust weel ye do,
The morn's night at eight o'clock,
In gude green wood meet me." 110
"Yes, I love you, my hireman chiel,
And that most tenderlie,
But when my virgin honor's gone,
I soon will slighted be."
"Take ye no dread, my lady gay, 115
Lat a your folly be;
If ye com a maiden to green wood,
You'll return the same for me."
The lady she went home again
Wi a mary on every hand; 120
She was so very sick in love,
She could not sit nor stand.
It was a dark and cloudy night,
No stars beam'd o'er the lea,
When the lady and the hireman met 125
[Pg 238] Beneath a spreading tree.
He took the lady in his arms,
Embraced her tenderlie,
And thrice he kiss'd her rosy lips
Under the green wood tree. 130
"Hold off your hands, young man, I pray;
I wonder much at thee;
The man that holds my father's plow,
To lay his hands on me."
"No harm I mean, my winsome dame, 135
No impudence at a';
I never laid a hand on you
Till your libertie I saw."
"It is a dark and dismal night, 140
The dew is falling down;
I will go home, least I should spoil
My cap and satin gown."
"If you are wearied so soon,
Why did ye tryst me here?" 145
"I would not weary with you, my dear,
Tho this night were a year."
When morning beams began to peep
Among the branches green,
The lovers rose, and part to meet, 150
And tell their tale again.
"Ye will go home unto the plow,
Where often ye hae been;
I'll tak my mantle folded up,
[Pg 239]And walk i the garden green. 155
"The barone and my mother dear
Will wonder what I mean;
They'll think I've been disturbed sair,
When I am up so soon."
But this pass'd on, and farther on, 160
For two months and a day,
Till word came to the bauld barone,
And an angry man was he.
The barone swore a solemn oath,
An angry man was he, 165
"The morn, before I eat or drink,
High hanged shall he be."
"Farewell, my lovely maiden fair,
A long adieu to thee;
Your father's sworn a solemn swear 170
That hanged I shall be."
"O woe's me," the lady said,
"Yet do not troubled be;
If e'er they touch the hair on thy head,
They'll get no good of me." 175
He turn'd him right and round about,
And a loud loud laugh gae he;
"That man stood never in the court
That dare this day hang me."
The lady spake from her bouir door, 180
An angry woman was she;
"What insolence in you to tryst
[Pg 240] Her to the green wood tree."
"If she had not given her consent,
She had not gone wi me; 185
If she came a maiden to green wood,
She return'd again for me."
He turn'd him right and round about,
And a loud loud laugh gae he;
"Ye may wed your daughter whan ye will, 190
She's none the worse for me."
He has gone whistling o'er the knowe,
Swift as the bird that flaw;
The lady stood in her bouir door,
And lout the salt tears fa. 195
But this pass'd on, and further on,
A twelve month and a day,
Till there came a knight and a barone bright
To woo this lady gay.
He soon gain'd the baronne's will, 200
Likewise the mother gay;
He woo'd and won the lady's love,
But by a slow degree.
"O weel befa' you, daughter dear,
And happy may ye be, 205
To lay your love on the grand knight,
And let the hireman be."
"O haud your tongue, my father dear,
And speak not so to me;
Far more I love the hireman chiel 210
[Pg 241] Than a' the knights I see.
The morn was come, and bells were rung,
And all to church repair;
But like the rose among the throng
Was the lady and her maries fair. 215
But as they walked o'er the field,
Among the flowers fair,
Beneath a tree stood on the plain,
The hireman chiel was there.
"I wish you joy, my gay madam, 220
And aye well may ye be;
There is a ring, a pledge of love,
That ance I got from thee."
"O wae befa' ye, you hireman chiel,
Some ill death may ye die; 225
Ye might hae tauld to me your name,
Your hame, or what countrie."
"If ye luve me, my lady gay,
As ye protest ye do,
Then turn your love from this gay knight, 230
And reach your hand to me."
Then out spake the gay baronne,
And an angry man was he;
"If I had known she was belov'd,
She had never been lov'd by me." 235
When she was set on high horse-back,
[Pg 242] And riding thro' the glen,
They saw her father posting quick,
With fifty armed men.
"Do for yourself, my hireman lad, 240
And for your safety flee;
My father he will take me back,
But married I'll never be."
When they were up yon rising hill,
There low down i' the glen, 245
He saw his father's gilded coach,
Wi' five hundred gentlemen.
"Come back, turn back, my hireman chiel,
Turn back and speak wi' me;
Ye've serv'd me lang for the lady's sake, 250
Come back, and get your fee."
"Your blessing give us instantly,
Is all we crave o' thee;
These seven years I've serv'd for her sake,
But now I'm paid my fee." 255

37. As.

[Pg 243]


From A Collection of Old Ballads, i. 175.

The story of this ballad seems to be the same as that of Lord Livingston, in the third volume of this collection (p. 343). The whole title is as follows:

A pleasant ballad shewing how two valiant knights, Sir John Armstrong and Sir Michael Musgrave, fell in love with the beautiful daughter of the Lady Dacres in the North; and of the great strife that happen'd between them for her, and how they wrought the death of one hundred men.

As it fell out one Whitsunday,
The blith time of the year,
When every tree was clad with green,
And pretty birds sing clear,
The Lady Dacres took her way 5
Unto the church that pleasant day,
With her fair daughter fresh and gay,
A bright and bonny lass.
Sir Michael Musgrave, in like sort,
To church repaired then, 10
And so did Sir John Armstrong too,
With all his merry men.
Two greater friends there could not be,
[Pg 244] Nor braver knights for chivalry,
Both batchelors of high degree, 15
Fit for a bonny lass.
They sat them down upon one seat,
Like loving brethren dear,
With hearts and minds devoutly bent
God's service for to hear; 20
But rising from their prayers tho,
Their eyes a ranging strait did go,
Which wrought their utter overthrow,
All for one bonny lass.
Quoth Musgrave unto Armstrong then, 25
"Yon sits the sweetest dame,
That ever for her fair beauty
Within this country came."
"In sooth," quoth Armstrong presently,
"Your judgment I must verify, 30
There never came unto my eye
A braver bonny lass."
"I swear," said Musgrave, "by this sword,
Which did my knighthood win,
To steal away so sweet a dame, 35
Could be no ghostly sin."
"That deed," quoth Armstrong, "would be ill,
Except you had her right good will,
That your desire she would fulfil,
And be thy bonny lass." 40
By this the service quite was done,
And home the people past;
They wish'd a blister on his tongue
[Pg 245] That made thereof such haste.
At the church door the knights did meet, 45
The Lady Dacres for to greet,
But most of all her daughter sweet,
That beauteous bonny lass.
Said Armstrong to the lady fair,
"We both have made a vow 50
At dinner for to be your guests,
If you will it allow."
With that bespoke the lady free,
"Sir knights, right welcome shall you be;"
"The happier men therefore are we, 55
For love of this bonny lass."
Thus were the knights both prick'd in love,
Both in one moment thrall'd,
And both with one fair lady gay,
Fair Isabella call'd. 60
With humble thanks they went away,
Like wounded harts chas'd all the day,
One would not to the other say,
They lov'd this bonny lass.
Fair Isabel, on the other side, 65
As far in love was found;
So long brave Armstrong she had ey'd,
Till love her heart did wound;
"Brave Armstrong is my joy," quoth she,
"Would Christ he were alone with me, 70
To talk an hour, two, or three,
With his fair bonny lass."
But as these knights together rode,
[Pg 246] And homeward did repair,
Their talk and eke their countenance shew'd 75
Their hearts were clogg'd with care.
"Fair Isabel," the one did say,
"Thou hast subdu'd my heart this day;"
"But she's my joy," did Musgrave say,
"My bright and bonny lass." 80
With that these friends incontinent
Became most deadly foes;
For love of beauteous Isabel,
Great strife betwixt them rose:
Quoth Armstrong, "She shall be my wife, 85
Although for her I lose my life;"
And thus began a deadly strife,
And for one bonny lass.
Thus two years long this grudge did grow
These gallant knights between, 90
While they a-wooing both did go,
Unto this beauteous queen;
And she who did their furies prove,
To neither would bewray her love,
The deadly quarrel to remove 95
About this bonny lass.
But neither, for her fair intreats,
Nor yet her sharp dispute,
Would they appease their raging ire,
Nor yet give o'er their suit. 100
The gentlemen of the North Country
At last did make this good decree,
All for a perfect unity
[Pg 247] About this bonny lass.
The love-sick knights should be set 105
Within one hall so wide,
Each of them in a gallant sort
Even at a several tide;
And 'twixt them both for certainty
Fair Isabel should placed be, 110
Of them to take her choice full free,
Most like a bonny lass.
And as she like an angel bright
Betwixt them mildly stood,
She turn'd unto each several knight 115
With pale and changed blood;
"Now am I at liberty
To make and take my choice?" quoth she:
"Yea," quoth the knights, "we do agree;
Then chuse, thou bonny lass." 120
"O Musgrave, thou art all too hot
To be a lady's love,"
Quoth she, "and Armstrong seems a sot,
Where love binds him to prove.
Of courage great is Musgrave still, 125
And sith to chuse I have my will,
Sweet Armstrong shall my joys fulfil,
And I his bonny lass."
The nobles and the gentles both
That were in present place, 130
Rejoiced at this sweet record;
But Musgrave, in disgrace,
Out of the hall did take his way,
[Pg 248] And Armstrong marryed was next day
With Isabel his lady gay, 135
A bright and bonny lass.
But Musgrave on the wedding-day,
Like to a Scotchman dight,
In secret sort allured out
The bridegroom for the fight; 140
And he, that will not outbraved be,
Unto his challenge did agree,
Where he was slain most suddenly
For his fair bonny lass.
The news whereof was quickly brought 145
Unto the lovely bride;
And many of young Armstrong's kin
Did after Musgrave ride.
They hew'd him when they had him got,
As small as flesh into the pot; 150
Lo! thus befel a heavy lot
About this bonny lass.
The lady young, which did lament
This cruel cursed strife,
For very grief dyed that day, 155
A maiden and a wife.
An hundred men that hapless day
Did lose their lives in that same fray,
And 'twixt those names, as many say,
Is deadly strife still biding. 160

[Pg 249]


"Craignargat is a promontory in the Bay of Luce. Though almost surrounded by the Barony of Mochrum, it was long possessed by a branch of the family of Macdowall, which was probably our heroine's surname.—On the head of Fair Margaret's lovers, it may be remarked, that the Agnews of Lochnaw are a very ancient family, and hereditary sheriffs of Wigton. The Gordon mentioned was probably Gordon of Craighlaw, whose castle was situated about five miles from Craignargat, in the parish of Kirkcowan, considered so remote before the formation of military roads, that the local proverb says,—'Out of the world, and into Kirkcowan.' The Hays of Park dwell on the coast, about six miles from Craignargat; but it is singular that the lady is not complimented with a Dunbar as her lover, the Place of Mochrum, as the old town is called, being only two miles from her reputed residence." Sharpe's Ballad Book, p. 71.

Fair Marg'ret of Craignargat
Was the flow'r of all her kin,
And she's fallen in love with a false young man,
Her ruin to begin.
The more she lov'd, the more it prov'd 5
Her fatal destiny,
And he that sought her overthrow
[Pg 250] Shar'd of her misery.
Before that lady she was born,
Her mother, as we find, 10
She dreamt she had a daughter fair,
That was both dumb and blind.
But as she sat in her bow'r door,
A-viewing of her charms,
There came a raven from the south, 15
And pluck'd her from her arms.
Three times on end she dreamt this dream,
Which troubled sore her mind,
That from that very night and hour
She could no comfort find. 20
Now she has sent for a wise woman,
Liv'd nigh unto the port,
Who being call'd, instantly came,
That lady to comfort.
To her she told her dreary dream, 25
With salt tears in her eye,
Hoping that she would read the same,
Her mind to satisfy.
"Set not your heart on children young,
Whate'er their fortune be, 30
And if I tell what shall befal,
Lay not the blame on me.
"The raven which ye dreamed of,
He is a false young man,
With subtile heart and flatt'ring tongue, 35
[Pg 251] Your daughter to trepan.
"Both night and day, 'tis you I pray
For to be on your guard,
For many are the subtile wyles
By which youth are ensnar'd." 40
When she had read the dreary dream,
It vex'd her more and more,
For Craignargat, of birth and state,
Liv'd nigh unto the shore.
But as in age her daughter wax'd, 45
Her beauty did excel
All the ladies far and near
That in that land did dwell.
The Gordon, Hay, and brave Agnew,
Three knights of high degree, 50
Unto the dame a-courting came,
All for her fair beauty.
Which of these men, they ask'd her then,
That should her husband be;
But scornfully she did reply, 55
"I'll wed none of the three."
"Since it is so, where shall we go
A match for thee to find,
That art so fair and beautiful,
That none can suit thy mind?" 60
With scorn and pride she answer made,
"You'll ne'er choice one for me,
Nor will I wed against my mind,
[Pg 252] For all their high degree."
The brave Agnew, whose heart was true, 65
A solemn vow did make,
Never to love a woman more
All for that lady's sake.
To counsel this lady was deaf,
To judgement she was blind, 70
Which griev'd her tender parents dear,
And troubled sore their mind.
From the Isle of Man a courter came,
And a false young man was he,
With subtile heart and flatt'ring tongue, 75
To court this fair lady.
This young man was a bold outlaw,
A robber and a thief,
But soon he gain'd this lady's heart,
Which caused all their grief. 80
"O will you wed," her mother said,
"A man you do not know,
For to break your parents' heart,
With shame but and with woe?"
"Yes, I will go with him," she said, 85
"Either by land or sea;
For he's the man I've pitchéd on
My husband for to be."
"O let her go," her father said,
"For she shall have her will; 90
My curse and mallison she's got,
[Pg 253] For to pursue her still."
"Your curse, father, I don't regard,
Your blessing I'll ne'er crave;
To the man I love I'll constant prove, 95
And never him deceive."
On board with him fair Margaret's gone,
In hopes his bride to be;
But mark ye well, and I shall tell
Of their sad destiny. 100
They had not sail'd a league but five,
Till the storm began to rise;
The swelling seas ran mountains high,
And dismal were the skies.
In deep despair that lady fair 105
For help aloud she cries,
While crystal tears like fountains ran
Down from her lovely eyes.
"O I have got my father's curse
My pride for to subdue! 110
With sorrows great my heart will break,
Alas what shall I do!
"O were I at my father's house,
His blessing to receive,
Then on my bended knees I'd fall, 115
His pardon for to crave!
"To aid my grief, there's no relief,
To speak it is in vain;
Likewise my loving parents dear
[Pg 254]I ne'er shall see again." 120
The winds and waves did both conspire
Their lives for to devour;
That gallant ship that night was lost,
And never was seen more.
When tidings to Craignargat came, 125
Of their sad overthrow,
It griev'd her tender parent's heart;
Afresh began their woe.
Of the dreary dream that she had seen,
And often thought upon,— 130
"O fatal news," her mother cries,
"My darling, she is gone!
"O fair Marg'ret, I little thought
The seas should be thy grave,
When first thou left thy father's house, 135
Without thy parent's leave."
May this tragedy a warning be
To children while they live,
That they may love their parents dear,
Their blessing to receive. 140

[Pg 255]


"John, third Earl of Wigton, had six sons, and three daughters. The second, Lady Lillias Fleming, was so indiscreet as to marry a footman, by whom she had issue. She and her husband assigned her provision to Lieutenant-Colonel John Fleming, who discharged her renunciation, dated in October, 1673." Sharpe's Ballad Book, p. 95.

The Earl o' Wigton had three daughters,
O braw wallie, but they were bonnie!
The youngest o' them, and the bonniest too,
Has fallen in love wi' Richie Storie.
"Here's a letter for ye, madame, 5
Here's a letter for ye, madame;
The Erle o' Home wad fain presume
To be a suitor to ye, madame."
"I'll hae nane o' your letters, Richie;
I'll hae nane o' your letters, Richie; 10
For I've made a vow, and I'll keep it true,
That I'll have nane but you, Richie."
"O do not say so, madame;
O do not say so, madame;
For I have neither land nor rent, 15
[Pg 256] For to maintain you o', madame.
"Ribands ye maun wear, madame,
Ribands ye maun wear, madame;
With the bands about your neck
O' the goud that shines sae clear, madame." 20
"I'll lie ayont a dyke, Richie,
I'll lie ayont a dyke, Richie;
And I'll be aye at your command
And bidding, whan ye like, Richie."
O he's gane on the braid braid road, 25
And she's gane through the broom sae bonnie,
Her silken robes down to her heels,
And she's awa' wi' Richie Storie.
This lady gaed up the Parliament stair,
Wi' pendles in her lugs sae bonnie; 30
Mony a lord lifted his hat,
But little did they ken she was Richie's lady.
Up then spak the Erle o' Home's lady;
"Was na ye richt sorrie, Annie,
To leave the lands o' bonnie Cumbernauld, 35
And follow Richie Storie, Annie?"
"O what need I be sorrie, madame,
O what need I be sorrie, madame?
For I've got them that I like best,
And was ordained for me, madame." 40
"Cumbernauld is mine, Annie,
Cumbernauld is mine, Annie;
And a' that's mine, it shall be thine,
As we sit at the wine, Annie."

[Pg 257]


The Carl of Kellyburn Braes, composed by Burns for Johnson's Museum, (p. 392,) was founded, he says, "on the old traditionary verses." These we have met with in no other form but the following, which is taken from Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of England, edited by Robert Bell, p. 204. What is styled the original of The Carle of Kellyburn Braes, in Cromek's Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway Song, p. 83, is, like many of the pieces in that volume, for the most part a fabrication. The place of the burden is supplied in Sussex, says Mr. Bell, by a whistling chorus.

Of the same tenor is the ballad of The Devil and the Scold, Collier's Roxburghe Ballads, p. 35.

We subjoin the first stanza of Burns's ballad for the sake of the burden, which is said to be old.

There lived a carl on Kellyburn braes,
Hey, and the rue grows bonnie wi' thyme,
And he had a wife was the plague o' his days,
And the thyme it is wither'd, and the rue is in prime.

There was an old farmer in Sussex did dwell,
And he had a bad wife, as many knew well.
Then Satan came to the old man at the plough,—
[Pg 258] "One of your family I must have now.
"It is not your eldest son that I crave, 5
But it is your old wife, and she I will have."
"O welcome, good Satan, with all my heart!
I hope you and she will never more part."
Now Satan has got the old wife on his back,
And he lugged her along like a pedlar's pack. 10
He trudged away till they came to his hall-gate:
Says he, "Here, take in an old Sussex chap's mate.
O then she did kick the young imps about,—
Says one to the other, "Let's try turn her out."
She spied thirteen imps all dancing in chains, 15
She up with her pattens, and beat out their brains.
She knocked the old Satan against the wall,—
"Let's try turn her out, or she'll murder us all."
Now he's bundled her up on his back amain,
And to her old husband he took her again. 20
"I have been a tormentor the whole of my life,
But I ne'er was tormented till I met with your wife."

[Pg 259]


Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, iii. 77.

The unhappy event upon which the following ballad is founded took place under the reign of James the VI.

"The sufferers in this melancholy affair were both men of high birth, the heirs-apparent of two noble families, and youths of the most promising expectation. Sir James Stuart was a knight of the Bath, and eldest son of Walter, first Lord Blantyre, by Nicholas, daughter of Sir James Somerville of Cambusnethan. Sir George Wharton was also a knight of the Bath, and eldest son of Philip, Lord Wharton, by Frances, daughter of Henry Clifford, Earl of Cumberland. He married Anne, daughter of the Earl of Rutland, but left no issue." Scott.

This ballad was printed in the first edition of Ritson's Ancient Songs, p. 199, from a black-letter copy in Major Pearson's collection, (afterwards part of the Roxburghe.) Scott's version appears to have been obtained from James Hogg. "Two verses have been added," says Sir Walter, "and one considerably improved, from Mr. Ritson's edition. These three stanzas are the fifth and ninth of Part First, and the penult verse of Part Second. I am thus particular, that the reader may be able, if he pleases, to compare the traditional ballad with the original edition. It furnishes striking evidence, that 'without characters, fame lives long.' The difference chiefly to be re[Pg 260]marked betwixt the copies, lies in the dialect, and in some modifications applicable to Scotland; as, using the words "our Scottish Knight." The black-letter ballad, in like manner, terms Wharton "our English Knight."

In this connection we may mention another ballad founded on a duel—Sir Niel and Mac Van, in Buchan's larger collection, ii. 16. A stall copy is called Sir Neil and Glengyle.

It grieveth me to tell you o'
Near London late what did befall,
'Twixt two young gallant gentlemen;
It grieveth me, and ever shall.
One of them was Sir George Wharton, 5
My good Lord Wharton's son and heir;
The other, James Stuart, a Scottish knight,
One that a valiant heart did bear.
When first to court these nobles came,
One night, a-gaming, fell to words,10
And in their fury grew so hot,
[Pg 261] That they did both try their keen swords.
No manner of treating, nor advice,
Could hold from striking in that place;
For, in the height and heat of blood, 15
James struck George Wharton on the face.
"What doth this mean," George Wharton said,
"To strike in such unmanly sort?
But, that I take it at thy hands,
The tongue of man shall ne'er report!" 20
"But do thy worst, then," said Sir James,
"Now do thy worst, appoint a day!
There's not a lord in England breathes
Shall gar me give an inch of way."
"Ye brag right weel," George Wharton said; 25
"Let our brave lords at large alane,
And speak of me, that am thy foe,
For you shall find enough o' ane."
"I'll interchange my glove wi' thine;
I'll show it on the bed of death; 30
I mean the place where we shall fight;
There ane or both maun lose life and breath!"
"We'll meet near Waltham," said Sir James;
"To-morrow, that shall be the day.
We'll either take a single man, 35
And try who bears the bell away."
Then down together hands they shook,
Without any envious sign;
Then went to Ludgate, where they lay,
[Pg 262]And each man drank his pint of wine. 40
No kind of envy could be seen,
No kind of malice they did betray;
But a' was clear and calm as death,
Whatever in their bosoms lay:
Till parting time; and then, indeed, 45
They show'd some rancour in their heart;
"Next time we meet," says George Wharton,
"Not half sae soundly we shall part!"
So they have parted, firmly bent
Their valiant minds equal to try: 50
The second part shall clearly show,
Both how they meet, and how they die.
George Wharton was the first ae man
Came to the appointed place that day,
Where he espyed our Scots lord coming, 55
As fast as he could post away.
They met, shook hands; their cheeks were pale;
Then to George Wharton James did say,
"I dinna like your doublet, George,
It stands sae weel on you this day. 60
"Say, have you got no armour on?
Have you no under robe of steel?
I never saw an Englishman
Become his doublet half sae weel."
"Fy no! fy no!" George Wharton said, 65
[Pg 263] "For that's the thing that mauna be,
That I should come wi' armour on,
And you a naked man truly."
"Our men shall search our doublets, George,
And see if one of us do lie; 70
Then will we prove, wi' weapons sharp,
Ourselves true gallants for to be."
Then they threw off their doublets both,
And stood up in their sarks of lawn;
"Now, take my counsel," said Sir James, 75
"Wharton, to thee I'll make it knawn:
"So as we stand, so will we fight,
Thus naked in our sarks," said he;
"Fy no! fy no!" George Wharton says,
"That is the thing that must not be. 80
"We're neither drinkers, quarrellers,
Nor men that cares na for oursell,
Nor minds na what we're gaun about,
Or if we're gaun to heav'n or hell.
"Let us to God bequeath our souls, 85
Our bodies to the dust and clay:"
With that he drew his deadly sword,
The first was drawn on field that day.
Se'en bouts and turns these heroes had,
Or e'er a drop o' blood was drawn; 90
Our Scotch lord, wond'ring, quickly cry'd,
[Pg 264] "Stout Wharton, thou still hauds thy awn!"
The first stroke that George Wharton gae,
He struck him thro' the shoulder-bane;
The neist was thro' the thick o' the thigh; 95
He thought our Scotch lord had been slain.
"O ever alack!" George Wharton cry'd,
"Art thou a living man, tell me?
If there's a surgeon living can,
He's cure thy wounds right speedily." 100
"No more of that," James Stuart said;
"Speak not of curing wounds to me!
For one of us must yield our breath,
Ere off the field one foot we flee."
They looked oure their shoulders both, 105
To see what company was there:
They both had grievous marks of death,
But frae the other nane wad steer.
George Wharton was the first that fell,
Our Scotch lord fell immediately; 110
They both did cry to Him above
To save their souls, for they boud die.

10. Sir George Wharton was quarrelsome at cards; a temper which he exhibited so disagreeably when playing with the Earl of Pembroke, that the Earl told him, "Sir George, I have loved you long; but by your manner in playing, you lay it upon me either to leave to love you, or to leave to play with you; wherefore choosing to love you still, I will never play with you any more."—Lodge's Illustrations, vol. iii. p. 350. Scott.

[Pg 265]


From Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of England, Percy Society, vol. xvii. p. 126. The editor took this piece down from the recitation of a Yorkshire yeoman. Other ballads are popular with nearly the same plot, one of them called The Crafty Ploughboy, or the Highwayman outwitted. Another of a similar description is Jock the Leg and the Merry Merchant, (Buchan's Ballads of the North of Scotland, ii. 165,) formed on the model of some Robin Hood ballad.

This story I'm going to sing,
I hope it will give you content,
Concerning a silly old man
That was going to pay his rent.
As he was a-riding along, 5
Along all on the highway,
A gentleman-thief overtook him,
And thus unto him did say.
"O well overtaken, old man,
O well overtaken," said he; 10
"Thank you kindly, sir," says the old man,
"If you be for my companie."
"How far are you going this way?"
[Pg 266] It made the old man to smile;
"To tell you the truth, kind sir, 15
I'm just a-going twa mile.
"I am but a silly old man,
Who farms a piece of ground;
My half-year rent, kind sir,
Just comes to forty pound. 20
"But my landlord's not been at hame,—
I've not seen him twelve month or more;
It makes my rent to be large,
I've just to pay him fourscore."
"You should not have told any body, 25
For thieves there are ganging many;
If they were to light upon you,
They would rob you of every penny."
"O never mind," says the old man,
"Thieves I fear on no side; 30
My money is safe in my bags,
In the saddle on which I ride."
As they were a-riding along,
And riding a-down a ghyll,
The thief pulled out a pistòl, 35
And bade the old man stand still.
The old man was crafty and false,
As in this world are many;
He flung his old saddle o'er t' hedge,
[Pg 267]And said, "Fetch it, if thou'lt have any." 40
This thief got off his horse,
With courage stout and bold,
To search this old man's bags,
And gave him his horse to hold.
The old man put foot in stirrup, 45
And he got on astride,
He set the thief's horse in a gallop,—
You need not bid th' old man ride!
"O stay! O stay!" says the thief,
"And thou half my share shalt have:" 50
"Nay, marry, not I," quoth the old man,
"For once I've bitten a knave!"
This thief he was not content;
He thought these must be bags;
So he up with his rusty sword, 55
And chopped the old saddle to rags.
The old man gallop'd and rode
Until he was almost spent,
Till he came to his landlord's house,
And paid him his whole year's rent. 60
He opened this rogue's portmantle;
It was glorious for to behold;
There was five hundred pound in money,
And other five hundred in gold.
His landlord it made him to stare, 65
When he did the sight behold;
"Where did thou get the white money,
[Pg 268] And where get the yellow gold?"
"I met a fond fool by the way,
I swapped horses, and gave him no boot; 70
But never mind," says the old man,
"I got a fond fool by the foot."
"But now you're grown cramped and old,
Nor fit for to travel about;"
"O never mind," says the old man, 75
"I can give these old bones a root!"
As he was a-riding hame,
And a-down a narrow lane,
He spied his mare tied to a tree,
And said, "Tib, thou'lt now gae hame." 80
And when that he got hame,
And told his old wife what he'd done,
She rose and she donned her clothes,
And about the house did run.
She sung, and she danced, and sung, 85
And she sung with a merry devotion,
"If ever our daughter gets wed,
It will help to enlarge her portion!"

[Pg 269]


Motherwell's Minstrelsy, p. lxxiv.

"O whare are ye gaun?"
Quo' the fause knicht upon the road;
"I'm gaun to the scule,"
Quo' the wee boy, and still he stude.
"What is that upon your back?" 5
Quo' the fause knicht upon the road;
"Atweel it is my bukes,"
Quo' the wee boy, and still he stude.
"What's that ye've got on your arm?"
Quo' the fause knicht, &c. 10
"Atweel it is my peit,"
Quo' the wee boy, &c.
"Wha's aucht they sheep?"
Quo' the fause knicht, &c.
"They are mine and my mither's," 15
Quo' the wee boy, &c.
"How monie o' them are mine?"
Quo' the fause knicht, &c.
"A' they that hae blue tails,"
Quo' the wee boy, &c. 20
"I wiss ye were on yon tree,"
[Pg 270] Quo' the fause knicht, &c.
"And a gude ladder under me,"
Quo' the wee boy, &c.
"And the ladder for to break," 25
Quo' the fause knicht, &c.
"And you for to fa' doun,"
Quo' the wee boy, &c.
"I wiss ye were in yon sie,"
Quo' the fause knicht, &c. 30
"And a gude bottom under me,"
Quo' the wee boy, &c.
"And the bottom for to break,"
Quo' the fause knicht upon the road;
"And ye to be drowned," 35
Quo' the wee boy, and still he stude.

[Pg 271]


Appendix to p. 11.

Wright's Songs and Carols, printed from a MS. in the Sloane Collection, No. 8.

I have a zong suster fer bezondyn the se,
Many be the drowryis that [s]che sente me.
[S]che sente me the cherye withoutyn ony ston,
And so [s]che dede [the] dowe withoutyn ony bon:
Sche sente me the brere withoutyn ony rynde,
Sche bad me love my lemman withoute longgyng.
How xuld ony cherye be withoute ston?
And how xuld ony dowe ben withoute bon?
How xuld any brere ben withoute rynde?
How xuld I love myn lemman without longyng?
Quan the cherye was a flour, than hadde it non ston:
Quan the dowe was an ey, than hadde it non bon:
Quan the brere was on-bred, than hadde it non rynd:
Quan the mayden hazt that [s]che louth, [s]che is without longyng.

[Pg 272]


Appendix to p. 11, p. 83.

From Buchan's Ballads of the North of Scotland, i. 91.

There was a knight, in a summer's night,
Appear'd in a lady's hall,
As she was walking up and down,
Looking o'er her castle wall.
"God make you safe and free, fair maid, 5
God make you safe and free!"
"O sae fa' you, ye courteous knight;
What are your wills wi' me?
"My wills wi' you are not sma', lady,
My wills wi' you nae sma'; 10
And since there's nane your bower within,
Ye'se ha'e my secrets a'.
"For here am I a courtier,
A courtier come to thee;
And if ye winna grant your love, 15
[Pg 273] All for your sake I'll dee."
"If that ye dee for me, sir knight,
Few for you will make meen;
For mony gude lord's done the same,
Their graves are growing green." 20
"O winna ye pity me, fair maid,
O winna ye pity me?
O winna ye pity a courteous knight,
Whose love is laid on thee?"
"Ye say ye are a courteous knight, 25
But I think ye are nane;
I think ye're but a millar bred,
By the color o' your claithing.
"You seem to be some false young man,
You wear your hat sae wide; 30
You seem to be some false young man,
You wear your boots sae side."
"Indeed I am a courteous knight,
And of great pedigree;
Nae knight did mair for a lady bright 35
Than I will do for thee.
"O I'll put smiths in your smithy,
To shoe for you a steed;
And I'll put tailors in your bower,
To make you for a weed. 40
"I will put cooks in your kitchen,
And butlers in your ha';
And on the tap o' your father's castle,
[Pg 274] I'll big gude corn and saw."
"If ye be a courteous knight, 45
As I trust not ye be,
Ye'll answer some o' the sma' questions
That I will ask at thee.
"What is the fairest flower, tell me,
That grows in muir or dale? 50
Likewise, which is the sweetest bird
Sings next the nightingale?
Or what's the finest thing," she says,
"That king or queen can wale?
"The primrose is the fairest flower 55
That grows in muir or dale;
The mavis is the sweetest bird
Next to the nightingale;
And yellow gowd's the finest thing
That king or queen can wale. 60
"Ye ha'e asked many questions, lady,
I've you as many told;"
"But, how many pennies round
Make a hundred pounds in gold?
"How many of the small fishes, 65
Do swim the salt seas round?
Or, what's the seemliest sight you'll see
Into a May morning?"
"Berry-brown ale, and a birken speal,
And wine in a horn green; 70
A milk-white lace in a fair maid's dress,
[Pg 275] Looks gay in a May morning."
"Mony's the questions I've ask'd at thee,
And ye've answer'd them a';
Ye are mine, and I am thine, 75
Amo' the sheets sae sma'."
"You may be my match, kind sir,
You may be my match and more;
There ne'er was ane came sic a length,
Wi' my father's heir before. 80
"My father's lord o' nine castles,
My mother she's lady ower three,
And there is nane to heir them all,
No never a ane but me;
Unless it be Willie, my ae brother, 85
But he's far ayont the sea."
"If your father's laird o' nine castles,
Your mother lady ower three;
I am Willie your ae brother,
Was far beyond the sea." 90
"If ye be Willie, my ae brother,
As I doubt sair ye be;
But if it's true ye tell me now,
This night I'll gang wi' thee."
"Ye've ower ill washen feet, Janet, 95
And ower ill washen hands,
And ower coarse robes on your body,
Alang wi' me to gang.
"The worms they are my bed-fellows,
[Pg 276]And the cauld clay my sheet; 100
And the higher that the wind does blaw,
The sounder I do sleep.
"My body's buried in Dumfermline,
And far beyond the sea;
But day nor night, nae rest cou'd get, 105
All for the pride o' thee.
"Leave aff your pride, jelly Janet," he says,
"Use it not ony mair;
Or when ye come where I hae been,
You will repent it sair. 110
"Cast aff, cast aff, sister," he says,
"The gowd lace fray your crown;
For if ye gang where I ha'e been,
Ye'll wear it laigher down.
"When ye're in the gude church set, 115
The gowd pins in your hair,
Ye take mair delight in your feckless dress
Than ye do in your morning prayer.
"And when ye walk in the church-yard,
And in your dress are seen, 120
There is nae lady that sees your face
But wishes your grave were green.
"You're straight and tall, handsome withall,
But your pride owergoes your wit;
But if ye do not your ways refrain, 125
[Pg 277] In Pirie's chair ye'll sit.
"In Pirie's chair you'll sit, I say,
The lowest seat o' hell;
If ye do not amend your ways,
It's there that ye must dwell." 130
Wi' that he vanish'd frae her sight,
Wi' the twinkling o' an eye;
Naething mair the lady saw,
But the gloomy clouds and sky.

50, 56, mire.

54, wile.


Appendix to p. 46.

This ballad, which has some features of resemblance to Cymbeline, as well as to the Merchant of Venice, is taken from Buchan's Gleanings of Scotch, English, and Irish scarce old Ballads, p. 105. Another copy is in Mr. Halliwell's New Boke about Shakspeare, p. 19.

A noble lord of high renown,
[Pg 278] Two daughters had, the eldest brown,
The youngest beautiful and fair:
By chance a noble knight came there.
Her father said, "Kind sir, I have 5
Two daughters: which do you crave?"
"One that is beautiful," he cried;
The noble knight he then replied:
"She's young, she's beautiful and gay,
And is not to be given away, 10
But as jewels are bought and sold;
She shall bring me her weight in gold.
"The price I think ye need not grudge,
Since I will freely give as much
With her one sister, if I can 15
Find out some other nobleman."
With that bespoke the noble knight,
"I'd sooner have the beauty bright,
At that vast rate, renownèd lord,
Than the other with a vast reward." 20
So then the bargain it was made;
But ere the money could be paid,
He had it of a wealthy Jew;
The sum so large, the writings drew
That if he failed, or miss'd the day, 25
So many ounces he should pay
Of his own flesh, instead of gold;
[Pg 279] All was agreed, the sum was told.
So he returned immediately
Unto the lord, where he did buy 30
His daughter fine, I do declare,
And paid him down the money there.
He bought her there, it is well known
Unto mankind; she was his own;
By her a son he did enjoy, 35
A sweet and comely handsome boy.
At length the time of pay drew near,
When the knight did begin to fear;
He dreaded much the cruel Jew,
Because the money it was due. 40
His lady asked him why he grieved:
He said, "My jewel, I received
Such sum of money of a Jew,
And now the money it is due.
"And now the day of payment's come, 45
I'm sure I cannot pay the sum;
He'll have my flesh, weight for weight,
Which makes my grief and sorrow great."
"Hush, never fear him," she replied;
"We'll cross the raging ocean wide, 50
And so secure you from the fate:"
To her request he yielded straight.
Then having pass'd the raging seas,
They travelled on, till by degrees
Unto the German court they came, 55
[Pg 280] The knight, his son, and comely dame.
Unto the Emperor he told
His story of the sum of gold
That he had borrowed of a Jew,
And that for fear of death he flew. 60
The Emperor he did erect
A court for them, and show'd respect
Unto his guests, because they came
From Britain, that blest land of fame.
As here he lived in delight, 65
A Dutch lord told our English knight,
That he a ton of gold would lay,
He could enjoy his lady gay.
From her, the lord he was to bring
A rich and costly diamond ring, 70
That was to prove and testify
How he did with his lady lie.
He tries, but never could obtain
Her favour, but with high disdain
She did defy his base intent; 75
So to her chambermaid he went,
And told her if she would but steal
Her lady's ring, and to conceal
The same, and bring it to him straight,
She should enjoy a fine estate. 80
In hopes of such a fine reward,
[Pg 281] The ring she stole; then the Dutch lord
Did take it to the noble knight,
Who almost swooned at the sight.
Home he goes to the lady straight; 85
Meeting her at the palace gate,
He flung her headlong into the mote,
And left her there to sink or float.
Soon after that, in clothes of green,
She like a warlike knight was seen, 90
And in most gallant gay deport
She rode unto the Emperor's court.
Now when the Emperor beheld
Her brave deportment, he was fill'd
With admiration at the sight, 95
Who call'd herself an English knight.
The Emperor then did reply,
"We have an English knight to die
For drowning of his lady gay;"
Quoth she, "I'd see him, if I may." 100
'Twas granted; so to him she came,
And calling of him by his name,
She said, "Kind sir, be of good cheer;
Your friend I'll be, you need not fear."
She to the Emperor did ride, 105
And said, "Now let this cause be tried
Once more, for I've a mind to save
[Pg 282] This noble gallant from the grave."
It being done, the court was set;
The Dutch lord came, seeming to fret, 110
About the ring seeming to fear,
How truth would make his shame appear.
And so it did, and soon they call
The maid, who on her knees did fall
Before the court, and did confess 115
The Dutch lord's unworthiness.
The court repliéd, "Is it so?
The lady, too, for ought we know,
May be alive; therefore we'll stay
The sentence till another day." 120
Now the Dutch lord gave him a ton
Of gold, which he had justly won,
And so he did with shame and grief,
And thus the knight obtain'd relief.
The Dutch lord to revenge the spite 125
Upon our noble English knight,
Did send a letter out of hand,
And so the Jew did understand,
How he was in a German court;
So here upon this good report, 130
The Jew has cross'd the ocean wide,
Resolving to be satisfied.
Soon as e'er he fixed his eyes,
Unto the knight in wrath he cries,
"Your hand and seal I pray behold; 135
[Pg 283] Your flesh I'll have instead of gold."
[Then] said the noble knight in green,
"May not your articles be seen?"
"Yes, that they may," replied the Jew,
"And I'm resolved to have my due." 140
So then the knight began to read;
At length she said, "I find, indeed,
Nothing but flesh you are to have;"
Answers the Jew, "That's all I crave."
The poor distressed knight was brought; 145
The bloody-minded Jew he thought
That day to be reveng'd on him,
And part his flesh from every limb.
The knight in green said, "Mr. Jew,
There's nothing else but flesh your due; 150
Then see no drop of blood you shed,
For if you do, off goes your head.
"Pray take your due, with all my heart,
But with his blood I will not part."
With that the Jew sneaked away, 155
And had not one word more to say.
No sooner were these troubles past,
But his wife's father came at last,
Resolving for to have his life,
For drowning his beloved wife. 160
Over the seas her father brought
Many brave horses; one was bought
By the pretended knight in green,
[Pg 284] Which was the best that e'er was seen.
So to the German court he came, 165
Declaring, such a one by name
Had drowned his fair daughter dear,
And ought to die a death severe.
They brought him from the prison then,
Guarded by many armed men, 170
Unto the place where he must die,
And the young knight was standing by.
Then from her side her sword she drew,
And run her gelding through and through.
Her father said, "Why do you so?" 175
"I may; it is my own, you know.
"You sold your gelding, 'tis well known;
I bought it, making it my own,
And may do what I please with it;"
And then to her he did submit. 180
"Here is a man arraign'd and cast,
And brought to suffer death at last,
Because your daughter dear he slew;
Which if he did, what's that to you?
"You had your money, when you sold 185
Your daughter for her weight in gold;
Wherefore he might, it is well known,
Do what he pleased with his own."
So having chang'd her garments green,
And dress'd herself like a fair queen, 190
Her father and her husband straight
[Pg 285] Both knew her, and their joys were great.
Soon they did carry the report
Unto the famous German court,
How the renowned English knight 195
Had found his charming lady bright.
So the Emperor and the lords of fame,
With cheerful hearts they did proclaim
An universal joy, to see
His lady's life at liberty.


Appendix to p. 93.

From Buchan's Ballads of the North of Scotland, i. 133.

Buchan complains that all other editions of this ballad "have been deprived of their original beauty and catastrophe" by officious and sacrilegious hands, and adds that his copy "is quite at variance with all its printed predecessors." In this last remark he is certainly correct, but as for his affirmation that the ballad "recounts an affair which actually took place in the reign, or rather minority, of King James VI.," we ask for some authority beyond his note to the ballad.

In another copy mentioned by Motherwell, Geordie, from jealousy, ungratefully drowns his deliverer in the sea.

"First I was lady o' Black Riggs,
And then into Kincraigie;
Now I am the Lady o' Gight,
[Pg 286] And my love he's ca'd Geordie.
"I was the mistress o' Pitfan, 5
And madam o' Kincraigie;
But now my name is Lady Anne,
And I am Gight's own lady.
"We courted in the woods o' Gight,
Where birks and flow'rs spring bonny; 10
But pleasures I had never one,
But sorrows thick and mony.
"He never own'd me as his wife,
Nor honour'd me as his lady,
But day by day he saddles the grey, 15
And rides to Bignet's lady."
When Bignet he got word of that,
That Gight lay wi' his lady,
He's casten him in prison strong,
To ly till lords were ready. 20
"Where will I get a little wee boy,
That is baith true and steady,
That will run on to bonny Gight,
And bring to me my lady?"
"O here am I, a little wee boy, 25
That is baith true and steady,
That will run to the yates o' Gight,
And bring to you your lady."
"Ye'll bid her saddle the grey, the grey,
The brown rode ne'er so smartly; 30
Ye'll bid her come to Edinbro' town,
[Pg 287] A' for the life of Geordie."
The night was fair, the moon was clear,
And he rode by Bevany,
And stopped at the yates o' Gight, 35
Where leaves were thick and mony.
The lady look'd o'er castle wa',
And dear but she was sorry!
"Here comes a page frae Edinbro' town;
A' is nae well wi' Geordie. 40
"What news, what news, my little boy?
Come tell me soon and shortly;"
"Bad news, bad news, my lady," he said,
"They're going to hang your Geordie."
"Ye'll saddle to me the grey, the grey, 45
The brown rade ne'er so smartly;
And I'll awa' to Edinbro' town,
Borrow the life o' Geordie."
When she came near to Edinbro' town,
I wyte she didna tarry; 50
But she has mounted her grey steed,
And ridden the queen's berry.
When she came to the boat of Leith,
I wat she didna tarry;
She gae the boatman a guinea o' gowd, 55
To boat her ower the ferry.
When she came to the pier o' Leith,
The poor they were sae many;
She dealt the gowd right liberallie,
[Pg 288]And bade them pray for Geordie. 60
When she gaed up the tolbooth stair,
The nobles there were many:
And ilka ane stood hat on head,
But hat in hand stood Geordie.
She gae a blink out ower them a', 65
And three blinks to her Geordie;
But when she saw his een fast bound,
A swoon fell in this lady.
"Whom has he robb'd? What has he stole?
Or has he killed ony? 70
Or what's the crime that he has done,
His foes they are sae mony?"
"He hasna brunt, he hasna slain,
He hasna robbed ony;
But he has done another crime, 75
For which he will pay dearly."
Then out it speaks Lord Montague,
(O wae be to his body!)
"The day we hang'd young Charles Hay,
The morn we'll head your Geordie." 80
Then out it speaks the king himsell,
Vow, but he spake bonny!
"Come here, young Gight, confess your sins,
Let's hear if they be mony.
"Come here, young Gight, confess your sins, 85
See ye be true and steady;
And if your sins they be but sma',
[Pg 289] Then ye'se win wi' your lady."
"Nane have I robb'd, nought have I stown,
Nor have I killed ony; 90
But ane o' the king's best brave steeds,
I sold him in Bevany."
Then out it speaks the king again,
Dear, but he spake bonny!
"That crime's nae great; for your lady's sake, 95
Put on your hat now, Geordie."
Then out it speaks Lord Montague,
O wae be to his body!
"There's guilt appears in Gight's ain face,
Ye'll cross examine Geordie." 100
"Now since it all I must confess,
My crime's baith great and mony:
A woman abused, five orphan babes,
I kill'd them for their money."
Out it speaks the king again, 105
And dear but he was sorry!
"Your confession brings confusion,
Take aff your hat now, Geordie."
Then out it speaks the lady hersell,
Vow, but she was sorry! 110
"Now all my life I'll wear the black,
Mourn for the death o' Geordie."
Lord Huntly then he did speak out,
O fair mot fa' his body!
"I there will fight doublet alane, 115
[Pg 290] Or ony thing ails Geordie."
Then out it speaks the king again,
Vow, but he spake bonny!
"If ye'll tell down ten thousand crowns,
Ye'll buy the life o' Geordie." 120
She spread her mantle on the ground,
Dear, but she spread it bonny!
Some gae her crowns, some ducadoons,
And some gae dollars mony.
Then she tauld down ten thousand crowns,— 125
"Put on your hat, my Geordie."
Then out it speaks Lord Montague,
Wae be to his body!
"I wisht that Gight wanted the head;
I might enjoy'd his lady." 130
Out it speaks the lady hersell,
"Ye need ne'er wish my body;
O ill befa' your wizzen'd snout!
Wou'd ye compare wi' Geordie?"
When she was in her saddle set, 135
Riding the leys sae bonny,
The fiddle and fleet play'd ne'er sae sweet,
As she behind her Geordie.
"O Geordie, Geordie, I love you well,
Nae jealousie cou'd move me; 140
The birds in air, that fly in pairs,
Can witness how I love you.
"Ye'll call for one, the best o' clerks,
[Pg 291] Ye'll call him soon and shortly;
As he may write what I indite, 145
A' this I've done for Geordie."
He turn'd him right and round about,
And high, high looked Geordie;
"A finger o' Bignet's lady's hand
Is worth a' your fair body." 150
"My lands may a' be masterless,
My babes may want their mother;
But I've made a vow, will keep it true,
I'll be bound to no other."
These words they caus'd a great dispute, 155
And proud and fierce grew Geordie;
A sharp dagger he pulled out,
And pierc'd the heart o's lady.
The lady's dead, and Gight he's fled,
And left his lands behind him; 160
Altho' they searched south and north,
There were nane there cou'd find him.
Now a' that liv'd into Black Riggs,
And likewise in Kincraigie,
For seven years were clad in black, 165
To mourn for Gight's own lady.

[Pg 293]


☞ Figures placed after words denote the pages in which they occur.


The titles by which ballads are designated in this collection are here printed in Roman letters; other titles, whether of ballads included in this collection, or not, and in general, all other references, in Italic.

In looking for a title, the articles, both the definite and the indefinite, are to be dropped. "O. B." denotes the often-referred-to Collection of 1723: "P. S." Percy Society Publications: = signifies that two pieces are equivalent.

Transcriber's Notes

The following changes have been made to the text where typographical errors have been corrected.

Page iv (Index): changed "Gentleman" to "Gentlewoman" (The Wandering young Gentlewoman)

Page 37 Line 89: removed opening double quotation mark. (Here's dainty lightfoote!")

Page 123 note to line 13: changed "12" to "13" (13. request.)

Page 123 Line 30: changed single to double close quotation mark ("Now lets go to't, my own dear honey:")

Page 133 Line 121: added missing close quotation mark ("Your words," quoth the dragon, "I don't understand";)

Page 144: added closing quotation mark (p. 250 of the same publication.)")

Page 153 Line 11: changed single to double opening qoutation mark ("I am the Wife of Bath," she said,)

Page 157 Line 112: deleted extraneous closing single quotation mark (As thou thyself hast done.")

Page 167 Line 2: changed "Whitttington" to "Whittington" (Of worthy Whittington,)

Page 196: deleted unmatched open quotation marks before "in" (This ballad is found in The Melancholie Knight)

Page 261 Line 28: changed single to double closing quotation mark (For you shall find enough o' ane.")

Page 264 Line 100: changed single to double closing quotation mark (He's cure thy wounds right speedily.")

Page 270 Line 32: changed "Que'" to "Quo'" (Quo' the wee boy, &c.)

Page 279 Line 50: added opening quotation mark ("We'll cross the raging ocean wide,)

Page 293: changed "285" to "287" to match only reference to "berry" in the text (berry, 285)

Page 301: changed "confidentyl" to "confidently" (trestly, truly, confidently.)

Page 306: changed comma to full stop after "Sheriff-Muir" ([Battle of] Sheriff-Muir. 7, 156, 260.)

Page 308: changed "rown" to "Brown" (Brown Robin. 2, 9. Buchan, 2, 299.)

Page 308: added comma after volume number (Constance of Cleveland. 4, 225.)

Page 312: changed full stop to comma after ballad name (Herr Aester ok Fröken Sissa, Swedish bal. 1, 152.)

Page 315: changed comma to full stop after ballad name (Krone der Königin von Afion. 1, 16)