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STORIES . . . . .51 












LADS . . . . .164 














HE character and form of the unpre- 
meditated creations of man's imagination 
depend as much upon external circum- 
stances, and upon impressions from with- 
out, as upon the variation of character 
in man himself. The ferocity of Scandinavian or Gothic 
heroes could admit into their mystic creed no beings but 
those which inspired awe and terror, because it was unac- 
customed to the quiet enjoyments of peace, to pleasant 
meadows or laughing glens ; it contemplated only steel, 
and wounds, and blood. The wild hunter, who tracked 
his prey over the barren mountains which were as much 
his home as that of the beasts he pursued, to whom nature 
presented herself in her most gigantic and awful forms, 
himself acquainted only with danger, must have a creed 
which partook of the character of everything around him 
— the supernatural world was to him peopled with fierce 

VOL. II. 1 


and malignant demons. Just so the solitary hermit, who 
in the earlier ages of western Christianity fixed his abode 
in the deserts and the fens, rude and inhospitable tracts, 
could conceive them to be peopled by nothing but devils. 
But to the peaceful peasant, on whom nature ever smiled 
in her most joyous mood, she was peopled by gay and 
harmless spirits, who like himself loved to play and laugh — 
the beings he feared were restricted to the mountains whose 
heads rose in the dim distance, or their visits were confined 
within the darkness of night. 

Thus, the only beings with whom a Beowulf would claim 
acquaintance were those against whom he might signalize 
his valour, the nickers who set upon him in the sea amidst 
the fury of the tempest, the grendel, the nightly devourer 
of royal thanes, and the fire-drake whose vengeance carried 
destruction amongst his subjects. The literature which 
these remote ages have left us is not of that kind which would 
indicate to us the lighter superstitions of our forefathers. 
The impressions of fear are deeper and more permanent 
than those of mirth, and are more speedily communicated. 
The monks, whose greatest error was not that of scepti- 
cism, partook in all the superstitions of the vulgar — they 
disbelieved none of the fables of paganism, but they looked 
upon them in a new light. To them all spirits were either 
angels or devils, and as their canons assured them that the 
beings of the vulgar creed, which were in fact the remains 
of paganism, were not to be admitted into the former class, 
they threw them indiscriminately into the latter. The 
creed of the monks could naturally admit of no harmless 
devils, of none who played for the sake of play alone, and 
the pranks and gambols and mischievous tricks of a puck 
or a hobgoblin were only so many modes by which the evil 


one sought to allure the simple countryman into his power, 
to lead him to temptation and sin. But the playful freaks 
of Satan were not so often performed before the monks 
themselves, and therefore seldom found a place in their 
legends. The fears of the peasantry, on the other hand, 
were soon imparted to their spiritual teachers, and the 
latter were, or believed themselves to be, constantly per- 
secuted by the malignity of the demons. It is our impres- 
sion, indeed, that the monkish superstitions were entirely 
founded upon the older popular superstitions : instead of 
fighting against the errors of paganism, they soon fell 
themselves into that of supposing that they were engaged 
in a more substantial war against the spirits who belonged 
to the older creed, and whose interest it would be to sup- 
port it. Thus, in their eagerness for the battle, they created 
their opponents. As the monks were generally successful 
in these encounters, they became bolder, and resolved to 
attack the enemy in his stronghold, seeking solitary resi- 
dences among the fens and wilds. Hence, perhaps, arose 
in some degree the passion for becoming hermits. From 
all these circumstances it arises that, in the legends of the 
monks, although it is the creed of the peasantry which is 
presented to us, yet that creed is there so distorted and so 
partially represented as to be with difficulty recognized. 

We have thus but little knowledge of the mirthful beings, 
the Pucks and Robin Goodfellows, of the peasantry, during 
the earlier ages of our history. That the popular mytho- 
logy included such beings we have abundant proofs in the 
numerous allusions to them at a somewhat later period, 
namely, the twelfth century, after which the traces of them 
again nearly disappear, until the period when the invention 
of printing, and the consequent facility of making books, 


created a literature for the vulgar, and when the stories of 
their popular belief which had hitherto been preserved 
orally were collected for their diversion. Then we find 
that, as in earlier ages separate ballads had been woven 
together into epic cycles, so these popular stories were 
strung together, and a certain character of reality given to 
them in the person of a single hero, a Robin Goodfellow, 
a Hudekin, or, as in the curious tract of which we are going 
to speak, a Friar Rush. The sudden appearance of these 
stories and collections of stories gives rise to problems 
relating to their formation, which the want of a sufficient 
acquaintance with the stories in their earlier form renders 
it sometimes difficult to resolve ; and it is only by an his- 
torical comparison of our scanty data that we can arrive 
at any satisfactory knowledge of the nature and sources of 
the materials of which they are composed. 

In this research, we must not reject even the legends of 
the monks, for they sometimes illustrate the lighter super- 
stitions of our peasantry, as we may easily enough suppose, 
because, so long as the monks believed the imaginary 
pranks of the hobgoblins to be so many temptations of the 
evil one, there was no reason why, though they were gene- 
rally subjected to severer trials, he should not at times 
practise upon them the same jokes, by way of diversifying 
his attacks. When the great Luther could believe a girl 

* See Michelet's interesting work, the Mtmoires de Luther, 1836, 
torn. 3, p. 170. The alchemists and the rosicrucians even in the se- 
venteenth century reproduced the superstitions of the monks and 
peasantry of an earlier period. In the MS. Harl. 6482 (17th century), 
a most extensive collection of the doctrines of these people, we have 
the following account of the hobgoblins. " Of spirits called Hobgoblins 
or Robin Goodfellowes. These kinde of spirits are more familiar and 


to be possessed by " a jovial spirit,'' * we may easily pardon 
the monks if we sometimes find them in their legends 
subjected to temptations of the evil one which are very 
equivocal in their nature, and in which he shows himself 
in a no less equivocal form. Indeed in some of these 
temptations it is difficult to say what was the harm intended, 
and we can only explain the monkish story by translating 
it into the language and creed of the peasantry, and by 
introducing Robin Goodfellow upon the stage. As an 
example we will take a saint of the twelfth century, because 
we have abundant authorities to prove that the frolicsome 
elves then held their place in the popular mythology. Every 
one must have heard of St. Godric and his solitary her- 
mitage at Finchale, near Durham, on the banks of the Wear, 
a spot too wild not to be haunted by hosts of hobgoblins. 
Generally speaking, though it is certain that they led him a 
very uneasy life, Godric seems to have been too strong or 
too cunning for his spiritual tormentors. In one instance, 
according to a story told in the first volume, (p. 264,) 
a goblin appeared to him in the night, and told him that 
by digging in a certain place he woidd find a treasure. 
Godric was not covetous, but he thought it would be a 

domestical than others, and, for some causes to us unknown, abide in 
one place more than in another, so that some never almost depart from 
some particular houses, as though they were their proper mansions, 
making in them sundry noises, rumours, mockeries, gawds, and gests, 
without doing any harme at all, and some have heard them play on 
gitterns and jews' harps, and ring bells, and make answer to those that 
call them, and speak with certain signs, laughters, and merry gestures, 
so that those of the house come at last to be so familiar and well 
acquainted with them that they fear them not at all." The writer 
goes on to say that, though they seem harmless, they would do harm if 
they could, and that everybody ought to be on his guard against them. 


more Christianlike act to take the money and distribute it 
among the poor, than to let it lie buried in the earth — he 
believed the evil one, in spite of the admonitions of his 
faith which characterized him as a liar from the beginning, 
— but out of the hole which he dug, instead of treasure, 
there came a troop of elves, who laughed at the hermit 
and fled away. Godric's chief employment was digging in 
his garden. One day, while he was at work, came a man 
whose stature and appearance were sufficient to create sus- 
picion — he reproached Godric with idleness, and the saint, 
who was again deceived, gave him his spade, and allowed 
him to proceed in his work, while he himself went to his 
devotions. On his return, he found to his astonishment 
that the stranger in the course of an hour had done the 
work of eight days. With the sacred images which were 
in his book he put to flight the evil one, and he made the 
earth which had been dug do penance by lying fallow for 
seven years.* 

If we look upon the two foregoing stories as mere saints' 
legends, they are out of their place, and appear to us to 
have no object — the whole amount of the evil done or 
intended by the devil was but a merry frolic ; but when 
we look upon them in another light, when we consider 
that Godric himself was but a peasant, and that naturally 

* The life of Godric is given in Capgrave, Legenda Nova Angl. — but 
there exists in MS. a life much longer and very interesting, written by 
a person who conversed with the hermit, MS. Harl. No. 2277. The 
digging story is found in the MS. at fol. 48, v°., in Capgrave, fol. clx. 
v°., Ed. Wynk. de Worde. The treasure legend occurs, at fol. 60, v ., 
in the MS. (Capg. fol. clxiij, v°.) The elves mentioned in the latter 
were very small and black, which was their general colour in the 
monkish stories. Godric often saw such elves, see the MS. fol. 62. 


enough he partook in the superstitions of his fellows, we 
recognize in the first a treasure legend, one which may be 
compared with any of those in Crofton Croker's Irish Tales, 
and in the tall gentleman who dug so efficiently there can 
be no doubt that we have the laborious elf, the Scottish 
Brownie, the Portunus of Gervase of Tilbury ; who, in the 
same century, tells us that these spirits, when they found 
anything undone in the house they entered at night, fell 
to work and finished it in an inconceivably short space of 
time (si quid gestandum in domo fuerit, aut onerosi operis 
agendum, ad operandum se jungunt, citius humana facilitate 
expediunt.) Godric was frequently a witness of the play- 
ful rogueries of the demon, as well when performed upon 
others as upon himself (MS. Harl. fol. 47, v°.), and on one 
occasion the evil one amused himself, and no doubt the 
saint also, by dancing before him most ludicrously in the 
form of a distended sack (f. 69, v°.) 

Another story which is told of Godric is equally pertinent 
to our subject. One day in autumn, the saint was gathering 
his apples. Suddenly there appeared on the other side of 
his hedge a great rough-looking fellow, whose outer garment, 
open from his neck to his thighs, resembled green bark, 
beneath which he seemed to be clad in a rough bullock's 
hide. " Give me some apples, hermit !" shouted the 
stranger, and he shouted more than once, for at first 
Godric paid little attention to him. At last the hermit, 
turning towards him, said that if he would have any he 
must ask for them in the name of charity. " I ask for 
them in the name of charity, then," was the answer, in a 
gruff and rather embarrassed tone. "Take them," said 
Godric, "in the name of charity, and give God thanks." 
But the stranger threw them down, and, turning about, 


after saluting Godric by certain gestures which were none 
of the most becoming, marched slowly away, leaving how- 
ever a testimony of his fiendlike nature in the odour which 
followed him, at which the poor saint was so horrified 
that "every hair of his body stood stiff like the bristles of 
a boar." In our note below, we give this curious story as 
it stands in the original.* It may, we think, be true, as 
it is told by one who conversed with the hermit, but it 
must be true just as long afterwards another person took 
the keeper of a forest for Robin Goodfellow : such boors 
as Godric' s devil were not confined to the twelfth century. 
Godric judged of the nature of his visiter by the smell 
which he left behind him, but to us the colour of his coat 
tells what class of beings the saint was thinking of. 

Contemporary with Godric there lived at Farnham, in 
Yorkshire, another pious rustic, whose name was Ketel, and 
whom we may term the elf-seer. The historian William 
of Newbury relates many wonderful anecdotes of him. 
While but a lad, Ketel was one day returning from the 

* " Cum poma colligeret in auturnpno quidam procerus et circa 
humeros plusquani homo distentus, lustrabat sepem, habens exterius 
operimeutum quasi de cortice viridi, ab humeris usque ad renes dissu- 
tum, interius autem velud corium bovis hirsutum. Qui vociferans, 
' Heremita,' dicebat, ' da mihi de pomis.' Ille prius tacuit, sed cum 
importunius instaret, conversus ad eum, ' Frustra,' inquid, ' laboras, 
nisi pro caritate rogaveris.' Tunc imperfecta verbi prolatione, ' Pro 
caritate,' dixit, • postulo.' Ad haec sanctus, poma proferens, ait, ' Ac- 
cipe, et Deo gratias age.' Ille oblata respuit, et coepit recedere lento 
gressu cum fcetore, posteriora sua ostendens, et verenda nimis longa et 
horrida pro se trahens. Ex hoc turpi aspectu itavir sanctus inhorruit, 
ut omnes sui corporis pilos tanquam setas porcorum exsurgere et 
rigere sentiret. Quanto autem ille temptator longius discedebat, tanto 
magis et foetor et turpitudo crescebat. " MS. Harl. fol. 59, v°. 


field, riding on the waggon-horse, when suddenly, in a 
place perfectly level and smooth, the horse stumbled as 
though he had met with an obstacle, and his rider was 
thrown to the ground. As he raised himself up, Ketel 
beheld two very small black elves, who were laughing most 
lustily at the trick they had played upon him. From that 
hour was given to him the power of seeing the elves, 
wherever they might be and whatever they might be doing, 
and he often saved people from their malice. He assured 
those who were fortunate enough to gain his confidence, 
for he did not tell these things to everybody, that there 
were some hobgoblins (dcemones) who were large and strong, 
and who were capable of doing much hurt to those who 
might fall into their power ; but that others were very small 
and contemptible, incapable of doing much harm, and very 
stupid and foolish, but which delighted in tormenting and 
teasing mankind. He said that he often saw them sitting 
by the road-side on the look-out for travellers upon whom to 
play their tricks, and laughing in high glee when they could 
cause either them or their horses to stumble, particularly 
when the rider, irritated against his steed, spurred and beat 
him well after the accident. Ketel, as might be supposed, 
drew upon himself by his officiousness, and by his power of 
seeing them, the hatred of the whole fraternity. A story 
equally curious, as showing how the popular legends were 
adopted by the monks of other countries as well as of our 
own, is that of the elf who in the earlier half of the twelfth 
century haunted the cellar of a monastery in the bishopric 
of Treves, told by our English chronicler John of Brom- 
ton. One morning, when the butler entered the cellar, he 
was not a little mortified at finding that during the night 
a whole cask of wine had been emptied, and that at least 



the greater part of its contents had been spilt on the floor. 
Supposing this accident to have arisen out of the careless- 
ness of his 'man, the butler was angry, chid him severely, 
and, locking the door of the cellar, took the key into his 
own charge. But all his precautions were vain, for the 
next morning another cask of wine was in the same con- 
dition. The butler, now utterly astonished, repaired in all 
speed to the father abbot, and, after due consultation, they 
went together to the cellar, where, having sprinkled all the 
barrels with holy water, the latter closed firmly the door, 
sealed it with the seal of the abbey, and took the key into 
his own keeping. Next morning he repaired again to the 
cellar, and found the door exactly as he had left it. The 
door was speedily opened, and the first object which met 
his view was a small black elf (puerulum nigrum mirandse 
parvitatis) sticking fast by his hands to one of the vessels on 
which the holy water had been thrown. The abbot took 
the elf, clothed him in the habit of a monk, and kept him 
long in the school of the monastery, where he never grew 
any bigger. But one day an abbot from a neighbouring 
monastery came to examine the scholars, and, on hearing 
the story, counselled his brother abbot to keep no longer 
the devil in his house. The moment his monkish robe was 
taken from him, the elf vanished. Similar stories run 
through the mythology of all the western people ; — we will 
only point out the story of the Haunted Cellar in Crofton 
Croker's Irish Fairy Legends, with the premisal that we 
consider the greater part of those legends as being of Saxon 
rather than of Irish origin. 

We could easily multiply our examples of fairy stories 
inserted among the monkish legends, particularly those of 
a less ludicrous nature. Godric and Ketel having been 


both rustics, their lives abound more with legends founded 
upon those of the peasantry than the life of any other 
saint, and they thus show us more distinctly the connexion 
between the superstitions of the two classes. We have 
at the same time a few independent allusions (or nearly 
independent, inasmuch as though related by monks they 
are given as popular legends) to these stories in their 
original form. We will give two examples of such allu- 
sions, which are quoted by the Grimms in the introduction 
to the Irische Elfenmarchen. The first is of the ninth 
century, and is told by the monk of San Gallen, whose 
work is printed in the fifth volume of Dom Bouquet. It 
is a story of the laborious playful goblin (daemon qui dici- 
tur larva, cui curse est ludicris hominum illusionibus vacare), 
and the latter part of it may be compared with the fore- 
going story of the elf who haunted the abbot's cellar. Our 
goblin frequented the forge of a smith, where he played 
all night with the anvil and hammers, to the no small 
annoyance of their proprietor, who resolved to drive him 
away by the signing of the cross. But the elf had formed 
an attachment to the place, and was not willing to go : 
" Gossip," said he to the smith, " let me play in thy forge, 
and if thou wilt place here thy pitcher thou shalt find it 
every day full of wine." The terms were readily accepted, 
and every night the elf repaired to the cellar of the bishop, 
filled his pitcher with wine, and, clumsily enough, left the 
cask open so that all the rest of the wine ran out upon 
the floor. The bishop soon perceived what was going on 
in his cellar, and supposing that the mischief must be the 
work of some spiritual adversary, he sprinkled the cellar 
with holy water, and fortified it with the sign of the cross. 
The night following the elf entered as usual with his pitcher, 


but he could neither touch the wine nor escape from the 
place, and in the morning they took him and bound him 
to a stake, where he was condemned to undergo the punish- 
ment due to a thief. Amidst his stripes he never ceased 
to cry, "Alas! alas! I have lost my gossip's pitcher!" 
Our other extract is from a very old penitential which is 
preserved in a manuscript at Vienna ; it alludes evidently to 
the same class of stories, and to a practice which had arisen 
out of them, and points out the necessary penitence for 
those who " had thrown little bows and small shoes into 
their cellars and barns, in order that the hobgoblins might 
come thither to play with them, and might in return bring 
them other people's goods." 

From some cause or other, with which we are not well 
acquainted, our chronicles of the twelfth century are full of 
fairy legends. The Cambrian Giraldus, Gervase of Tilbury, 
William of Newbury, and several others, give us so much 
curious information on the popular mythology of their time, 
that we can, without much difficulty, sketch the outlines of 
the vulgar creed. We are there made acquainted with the 
mischievous elf in all his different shapes, and Gervase even 
is doubtful whether, on account of the harmlessness of his 
jokes, he ought to call him a demon or not — " Ecce enim 
Anglia dsemones quosdam habet, daemones, inquam, nescio 
dixerim an secretas et ignotae generationis effigies." 

The familiar goblin of Gervase of Tilbury, like the fir- 
darrig of the Irish, and Milton's 'lubber fiend,' loved to 
seat himself before the remains of the fire after the family 
had retired to their slumbers ; he then appeared as a very 
little man, with an aged countenance, his face all covered 
with wrinkles. He was very harmless, and his great cha- 
racteristic was simplicity, in which he resembled the rustics, 


whose houses he commonly frequented. One of his names, 
indeed, (folletus, Gerv. T., the modern French follet, which 
is a diminutive of the old French fols, fou,) signifies the 
little madcap, and may refer both to his simplicity and to 
his pranks. The follets of Gervase haunted generally the 
houses of country-people, whence neither holy water nor 
exorcism could expel them. They were invisible, and 
made known their arrival by throwing about stones, and 
wood, and even the pots and kettles. They also talked 
with great freedom. Giraldus tells us many stories of the 
domestic and playful elves of his native county of Pem- 
broke, where they were very common, and plagued people 
by throwing dirt at them, and by cutting and tearing their 
garments. They took great delight also in telling people's 
secrets, and they paid no heed to the priests or their con- 
jurations. Sometimes they entered into people, who thus 
became possessed, and they there continued their tricks 
and their conversation. An elf of this kind, in human 
form, entered the house of one Elidore Stakepole,* in that 
county, where he hired himself as a servant, and proved 
himself extremely faithful and diligent. As in every in- 
stance where an elf, whether puck, or brownie, or troll, 
has formed an attachment to a place, he has brought good 
luck along with him, so the family of Elidore Stakepole 
prospered exceedingly — everything went well with them. 
But Elidore, like many another in his situation, ruined 
himself by his curiosity. The elf was accustomed, during 
the night, to resort to the river, which shows his con- 
nexion with the whole family of the Teutonic alfen. One 
night he was watched, and the next day he quitted for ever 
the house of Elidore Stakepole, after telling the family 
* See before, vol. i, p. 269. 


who he was, and how he had been begotten by an incubus 
on a woman of the parish. 

Before leaving the familiar elf of the twelfth century, we 
will present to our readers an inedited legend from a work 
of the beginning of the next century, the manuscript chro- 
nicle of Ralph of Coggeshale, which is particularly curious, 
from its singular resemblance to the more modern story of 
the German Hinzelmann. During the reign of the first 
Richard, there appeared frequently, and for a long space of 
time, in the house of Sir Osbern de Bradwell, at Dagworth 
in Suffolk, " a certain fantastical spirit," who conversed 
with the family of the aforesaid knight, always imitating the 
voice of an infant. He called himself Malkin ; and he said 
that his mother and brother dwelt in a neighbouring house, 
and that they often chided him because he had left them and 
had presumed to hold converse with mankind. The things 
which he did and said were both wonderful and very laugh- 
able, and he often told people's secrets. At first the family 
of the knight were extremely terrified, but by degrees they 
became used to him, and conversed familiarly with him. 
With the family he spoke English ; and that, too, in the 
dialect of the place ; but he was by no means deficient in 
learning ; for, when the chaplain made his appearance, he 
talked in Latin with perfect ease, and discoursed with him 
upon the Scriptures. He made himself heard and felt too, 
readily enough, but he was never seen but once. It seems 
that he was most attached to one of the female part of the 
family, a fair maiden, who had long prayed him to show 
himself to her ; at last, after she had promised faithfully 
not to touch him, he granted her request, and there ap- 
peared to her a small infant, clad in a white frock. He 
also said that he was born at Lavenham ; that his mother 


left him for a short time in a field where she was gleaning ; 
that he had been thence suddenly carried away, and had 
been in his present condition seven years ; and that after 
another seven years he should be restored to his former 
state. He said that he and his companions had each a 
cap, by means of which they were rendered invisible. This 
is the German tarn-kappe. He often asked for food and 
drink, which, when placed on a certain chest, immediately 
disappeared. The writer, from whom this story is quoted, 
asserts that he had it from the chaplain who figures in it.* 

* " De quodam fantastico spiritu. — Tempore regis Ricardi, apud 
Daghewurthe in Suthfolke, iu dornum domini Osberni de Bradewelle, 
quidam fantasticus spiritus multociens et multo tempore apparuit, 
loquens cum familia prsedicti militis, vocem infantis unius anni in sono 
imitatus, ac se Malekin vocitabat. Matrem vero suam cum fratre in 
domo vicina manere asserebat, et se frequenter ab eisdem objurgari 
dicebat, eo quod ab eis discedens cum hominibus loqui przesunieret. 
Mira et risui digna et agebat et loquebatur, et aliquoties aliorum oc- 
cultos actus retegens. Ex colloquiis ejus primo uxor militis et tota 
famibia valde territa est, sed postmodum ejus verbis et ridiculosis acti- 
bus assuefacti, confidenter ac familiariter cum eo loquebantur, plurima 
ab eo inquirentes. Loquebatur autem Anglice secundum idioma regionis 
illius, interdum etiam Latine, et de Scripturis sermocinabatur cum 
capellano ejusdem militis, sicut ipse nobis veraciter protestatus est. 
Audiri et sentiri potuit, sed minime videri, nisi semel a quadam puella 
de thalamo visa est in specie parvissimi infantis, qui induebatur quadam 
alba tunica, nimium prius a puella rogata et adjurata ut se visibilem 
ei exhiberet, quo nullo modo ejus petitioni consentire voluit, donee 
puella per Deum juraret, quod earn nee tangeret nee teneret. Con- 
fessa est quoque quod nata erat apud Lauaham, et dum mater ejus 
secum earn deferret in campum ubi cum aliis messuit, et solam earn 
relinqueret in parte agri, a quadam ala rapta est et transposita, et jam 
.vij. annis cum eadem manserat, et dicebat quod prout abos .vij. annos 
reverteretur ad pristinam hominum cobabitationem. Capello quo- 


Another story has been pointed out to us in a manu- 
script of the thirteenth century, preserved in the Bodleian 
library at Oxford, which at once introduces Robin Good- 
fellow both in name and action. It occurs amongst a col- 
lection^ short stories, moralized after the manner of the 
time, and, as a specimen of the whole, we give both the 
tale and its moral. w Once Robinet was in a certain house 
in which certain soldiers were resting for the night, and, 
after having made a great clamour during the better part 
of the night, to their no small annoyance, he was suddenly 
quiet. Then said the soldiers to each other, ' Let us now 
sleep, for Robinet himself is asleep.' To which Robinet 
made reply, ' I am not asleep, but am resting me, in order 
to shout the louder after.' And the soldiers said, ' It seems, 
then, that we shall have no sleep to night.' So sinners 
sometimes abstain for a while from their wicked ways, in 
order that they may sin the more vigorously afterwards 
.... The soldiers are the angels about Christ's body, Robin 
is the devil or the sinner," &c* 

This last story, if it be of the thirteenth century, is 

dam se et alios uti dicebat, qui se invisibiles reddebat. Cibaria et 
potus ab assistentibus multociens exigebat, quae super quandam archam 
reposita, amplius non inveniebantur." — MS. Cotton. Vespas. D. X. 
fol. 89, v°. The confusion of genders makes the latter part rather 

* " Nota de Robinet o qui fuit in quadam domo in qua milites quidam 
quadam nocte hospitati sunt, et cum media nocte multum clamasset, et 
milites valde inquietasset et a sompno impedisset, tandem clamore 
fassus quievit. Et dixerunt milites ad invicem, ' Dormiamus modo, 
quia modo dormit Robinetus.' Quibus Robinetus respondit, ' Non 
dormio, sed quiesco, ut melius postea clamem.' Et dixerunt milites, 

' Ergo non dormiemus hac nocte' Milites sunt angeli Robinns 

diabolus vel peccator." — MS. Digby, Auct. C. 10. 


an almost solitary allusion to the pranks of the familiar 
elf in England for a long period after the century preced- 
ing. During the latter part of the twelfth century, and 
the whole of the thirteenth, a great struggle and a vast 
revolution of feelings and notions were going forward in 
our island. With the change came in gradually a new 
and more refined literature ; the saints' legends were 
thrown aside to make way for the romances; and the 
gross and mischievous elves lost their reputation before 
that of the more airy and genteel race who were denomi- 
nated by the newly-introduced name of fairies. It is worthy 
indeed of remark, that the manuscripts of the lives and 
miracles of the English saints are by far the best and the 
most numerous during the twelfth and the earlier half of 
the thirteenth centuries. We must therefore pass over the 
centuries which follow, and come immediately to the period 
of the formation of those histories, of which we shall at 
present consider the adventures of Friar Rush to be the 
representative, the more so as his was a story popular 
throughout the whole of Teutonic Europe. 

Ferdinand Wolf, of Vienna, a scholar well known for his 
interesting labours in the medieval literature of France and 
Germany, published a few years ago a German poetical 
history of Friar Rush, of the earlier part of the sixteenth 
century, which is the earliest version of the story of which 
we have any knowledge ; and, as might perhaps be ex- 
pected, is the simplest in its details. Its hero is intro- 
duced to us as a bona fide devil ; but there are too many 
traits in his actions and character to allow us to be mis- 
taken in identifying him with the elves of whom we have 
been speaking. There was once, as the legend tells us, a 
fair abbey — 


" In distant land, beside a wood, 
Well known to fame, an abbey stood ; 
A numerous brotherhood within ; 
But ill did abbey discipline 
Sort with the joyous warmth of youth, 
And oftener dwelt their thoughts, in sooth, 
On gentle damsel's charms and beauty, 
Than on thfcir gospels or their duty." 

We give the passage thus loosely paraphrased as a speci- 
men of the style of the old German poem — 

" Ain kloster vor eim walde lag, 

Dar in man vil der wunder pflag. 
Do waren munch ein michel theil, 

Sie waren iung vnd dar zuo geil, 
Vnd schwartze kutten truogen sie dar ; 

Sie dienten gott gar wenig zwar. 
Ein yetlicher wolt haben ein eigen weib ; 

Des ward vnder ynen maucher streyt." 

The German legend places the abbey in Denmark — 

" In Denmarck bey Helsinghore genant, 
Do ym das kloster was wol bekannt :" 

The Danish poem, on the contrary, fixes it in Germany, 
in ' Saxon-land;' and the English, leaving the question 
entirely unresolved, tells us simply that it was * beyond 
the sea/ Be this as it may, our worthy friend, Friar 
Rush, saw that there was a noble occasion of doing mis- 
chief, and he repaired to the abbey in the garb of a youth 
who sought employment. He was well received by the 
abbot, and appointed to serve in the kitchen. But he 
soon made it manifest that he was fitted for higher and 
more confidential service. Before night he performed the 
part of a skilful envoy, and procured for the father abbot 


the company of the dame whom he had long desired. The 
fame of Rush was soon spread amongst the community, 
and every brother of the abbey was fitted with a bedfellow 
after his liking. Time passed on, and Rush made con- 
tinual advances in favour, when a sudden quarrel arose 
between him and the ' master cook/ who seconded his 
orders by rude strokes of a staff which lay ready at hand. 
Rush was enraged, seized the cook, and threw him into a 
pot which was boiling on the fire, where he was scalded to 
death. The abbot and the friars, hearing that an accident 
had happened to their cook, unanimously chose Rush into 
his place, who in his new office gained daily an increase 
of their good graces by the excellent dishes which he pre- 
pared for them, particularly on fast-days. For seven years 
did Rush serve in the abbey kitchen, and in the eighth, he 
was called before the abbot, and was made a friar in reward 
for his services. 

One day the friars found brother Rush sitting in the 
gateway cutting wooden staves, and they asked him what 
he was doing, and he told them that he was making 
them weapons, with which, in case of danger, they might 
defend their abbey. And about the same time there arose 
great dissension between the abbot and the prior, and 
between the monks, and all for the sake of a woman ; 
and each party went secretly to Friar Rush and provided 
themselves with stout 3taves. The same night at matins, 
there was a great fray ; the abbot struck the prior, and the 
prior struck the abbot again, and every monk drew forth 
his staff, and there were given plenty of hard blows. 
Rush, to increase the confusion, blew out the lights, so 
that none knew his friend from his foe ; and then, seiz- 
ing the great bench, he threw it amidst the combatants, 


whereby not a few had broken bones, so that they all lay 
together in the chapel in a most dismal state. When the 
fray was ended, Rush came with a light, pretended to feel 
great concern for what had happened, aided them to rise, 
and counselled them to seek repose in their beds. 

The devils of the legends, like the elves whose place 
they had usurped, were very simple, and were often 
cheated or disconcerted by a trifle. So it happened in 
the end with Friar Rush. One day, when he was return- 
ing late to his cloister, reflecting that there was nothing 
in the kitchen for dinner, he tore in two pieces a cow 
which was grazing in the fields where he passed, and 
carried the one half home with him to the abbey. Next 
day the owner was dismayed at finding but the half of his 
cow. As night drew on suddenly while he was still in the 
fields, he took shelter in a hollow tree. Now it so hap- 
pened that this identical night had been appointed by 
Lucifer, the prince of the devils, to meet his emissaries on 
earth, and to hear from them an account of their proceed- 
ings : and they came flocking like so many birds to the 
very tree in which the countryman had concealed himself. 
Without perceiving that they were overlooked and over- 
heard, they began each to give an account of himself, until 
it came at last to the turn of Rush, who told how he had 
been admitted as cook in the abbey, how he had set the 
monks by the ears, and had given them staves wherewith 
to break each other's heads — all of which they had done to 
his entire satisfaction — and how he hoped in the end to 
make them kill one another, and so bring them all to hell. 
Next morning the countryman left his hiding-place, re- 
paired straight to the abbot, and gave him a faithful ac- 
count of all that he had seen and heard. The abbot called 


Rush before him, conjured him into the form of a horse, 
drove him from the place, and forbade him ever to return 

Rush, driven away in spite of himself by the ban of the 
abbot, hied over the sea to England, where he entered the 
body of the king's daughter, and caused her many a day 
of torment. The king, her father, sent to Paris for the 
most skilful " masters," who at last forced Rush to tell his 
name, and to confess that none had power to dispossess 
him except the abbot of " Kloster Esron," for such was 
the name of the abbey where he had dwelt. The abbot 
came, called Rush out of the maiden, forced him into his 
former shape of a horse, which he condemned him hence- 
forth to retain, and made him carry over the sea to Den- 
mark himself and the reward which the king of England 
had given him. 

Such is the outline of the German legend of Friar Rush. 
The fundamental legend was perhaps a Latin monkish 
story, now unknown, which took its birth in Denmark, 
and which was soon spread orally among the people, thus 
taking a more popular form — at a later period the original 
story, the popular form which it had thus taken, and the 
well-known legend of St. Zeno, had all been combined 
together in forming a larger poem, still confined to Den- 
mark, and it is probable that, either orally or in writing, 
it was thence carried into Germany. The proposition, 
however, as thus put, gives rise to one or two questions, 
that may at least be stated, if not discussed. First, are we 
authorized to infer, from the circumstances of the locality 
of Friar Rush's abbey being placed by the German poem 
in Denmark, and of the existence of the legend itself in 
that country, that that legend was originally Danish ? 


After a fair consideration of the question, it appears to us 
that the probability at least is for this opinion, which is 
that held by the learned editor of the German poem. But 
we are inclined also to think that, during the twelfth and 
thirteenth centuries, and perhaps later, it was very com- 
mon, when people would tell a legend supposed to have 
happened in another land, to place its locality in Denmark ; 
we have thus in Giraldus the story of a household spirit 
who served a bishop in Denmark (perhaps the oldest form 
of the story of Hudekin) ; we have several stories among 
our saints' legends the scene of which is Denmark. Had 
the name of Denmark been thus accidentally introduced, the 
story might have been adventitious to that country, and 
yet might at a later period have localized itself there. 

Laying aside, however, the question of locality, there 
arises another of much greater importance to the history of 
the legend — did the character of Friar Rush exist among 
the people independently of the legend which is now inse- 
parable from his name ? Or, in other words, was Friar Rush 
a genera] or a particular name in the popular mythology ? 
The preface of the work just quoted furnishes us with a 
passage which we think sets aside all doubt on this ques- 
tion, because it alludes to a tale that with little variation 
occurs constantly in the popular mythology ; — we mean 
the " mira historia" which Pontoppidan relates on the faith 
of Resenius, — how a nobleman in Denmark one day 
threatened jokingly his children that Friar Rush should 
come and take them, and, how the friar was instantly pre- 
sent, and by force invisible held the nobleman's carriage 
fast to the spot. We are inclined to think that at an early 
period there came into the popular mythology of our west- 
ern lands a personage in the character of a monk or friar. 


In Germany the monk was sometimes Riibezahl, and the 
story which we quote for our authority affords us another 
instance how the writers on witchcraft and spirits in the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, like the monks who 
preceded them, confounded elves with devils, which na- 
turally arose from their belief in the existence of the former, 
and their own peculiar sentiments with regard to the 
latter.* In the popular superstitions of England there 
certainly existed such a friar, who was not less mischievous 
than Brother Rush. Everybody knows the "friar's lan- 
tern" in Milton which led people astray from their path. 
Harsnet alludes to the practice of laying a bowl of cream to 
propitiate " Robin Goodfellow, the Friar, and Sisse (i. e. 
Cicely), the dairy-maid," in which three personages we 
suspect that we see three others, the Robin Hood, Friar 
Tuck, and maid Marian of the old popular morrice-dance. 
Denmark, therefore, and Germany also, may have had their 
Friar Rush, and we suspect that sueh a personage under 
the same name was well known to our English peasantry, 
for, the first time we meet with him in England, which is 
early in the latter half of the sixteenth century, he is by no 
means introduced as a foreigner. We are inclined there- 
fore to think that the sojourn of Rush in the abbey was 

* " Ferunt in montanis Bobemiae non raro apparere monachum, 
quem nominant Rubezal, et perssepe in thermis conspicuum, iter per 
montanas sylvas facturis sese adjungere, eosque bono animo esse 
jubere, se enim ignaros itineris recto tramite per sylvam deducturum, 
quos simul ac in nemore in avia deduxerit, ut quo se vertant prorsus 
nesciant, eum protinus in arborem subsilire, tantumque cacbinnum 
tollere, ut vastum inde nemus resonet. Monachus iste vel Rubezal est 
Satanus ipse, qui assumpta monacbi specie istas nugas agit." — Magica 
de Spectris, Lugd. Bat. 1656, p. 79. (Collected by Grosius.) 


originally a legend of Friar Rush, and not the legend of 
Friar Rush, but that this particular legend became so popu- 
lar that it either absorbed or eclipsed all the others, so as 
by degrees to leave its hero identified only -with itself. The 
groundwork was a simple story of the visit of the mischievous 
elf to a monastery, a legend common enough if we may 
judge by the German stories in Wierus. 

A legend, like a ball of snow, is enlarged by rolling, and 
so soon as Friar Rush became the acknowledged hero of a 
history, that history increased rapidly in its passage from 
one hand to another. In the old version, which was pub- 
lished in England, we have many circumstances that are 
not found in the German, and these additions show us very 
distinctly in what light those from whom they came must 
have looked upon the personage of the friar. The English 
story of Friar Rush is in prose. During his stay in the 
abbey, after the battle of the staves, Rush continues here 
his tricks upon the abbot and monks, at one time covering 
the abbot's waggon with tar when he was told to grease it, 
at another drinking wine at the abbot's expense, and saying 
that he had given it to the horses, and lastly breaking down 
the stairs of the dormitory, so that when the monks at 
night would descend to their matins, they all fall down and 
break their bones. Such stories also have been told of 
Robin Goodfellow. After having been driven from the 
monastery, Friar Rush enters into service, and becomes on 
the whole a very honest and harmless fellow, still retaining 
one characteristic of the old industrious elf, that of doing 
much work in a short space of time. He hires himself to 
a countryman, whose wife is a terrible scold, and will not 
permit her husband to keep a servant, in order that he may 
be obliged to go to the fields, and thus give her an oppor- 


tunity of receiving the visits of her paramour, the priest. 
Rush becomes very jealous of the interests of his master. 
At supper, the first day, — 

" As they sate at meate, Rush demanded of his master 
what he should doe the next day ? His master answered, 
thou must rise early and goe to the field, and make an end 
of that which I was about this day, (which was a great 
dayes worke) ; so when they had supt they went to bed. 
Early in the morning Rush arose and went to the field, 
and wrought so lustily, that he had done his work betimes ; 
for when his master came to bring him his breakfast, all 
his worke was finished, whereat his master had great mar- 
vaile ; then they sate downe to breakfast, which being 
ended they went home, and did such things as were there 
to bee done ; when his dame sawe that he had so soone 
ended his business, she thought that he was a profitable 
servant, and said little, but left him alone. In the even- 
ing Rush demanded of his master what hee should doe 
the next morrow ? His master appointed him twice so much 
as hee did the day before, which Rush refused not, but got 
up earely in the morning, and went to the field, and about 
his worke ; so soone as his master was ready, he tooke his 
man's breakfast and came to the field, thinking to helpe 
Rush; (but he was no sooner come from his house but the 
priest came to see his wife, and presently she made ready 
some good meate for them to be merry withall, and whyle 
it was a dressing, they sate sporting together, — who had 
beene there should have seene many loving touches.) And 
when the goodman came to the field, he found that Rush 
had done all that which he appointed, whereof he had great 
marvaile ; then they sate downe to breakfast, and as they 
sate together, Rush beheld his master's shoone, and per- 

VOL. II. 2 


ceived that for fault of greasing they were very hard : then 
said Rush to his master, why are not your shoes better 
greased, I marvaile that you can goe in them, they be so 
hard 1 Have you no more at home ? Yes, said his master, I 
have another payre lying under a great chest at home in 
my chamber. Then said Rush, I will goe home and grease 
them that you may put them on to-morrow ; and so he 
walked homeward merrily and sung by the way. And 
when he approached neare the house he sang out very loude ; 
with that his dame looked out at the window, and per- 
ceived that it was her servant : shee said unto the priest, 
alas, what shall we doe ? Our servant his come home, and 
my husband will not be long after. And with that she thrust 
the meate into the oven, and all that was upon the table. 
Where shall I hyde me, said the priest ? Goe into the 
chamber, and creepe under the great chest, among the olde 
shoone, and I shall cover you, and so he did. And when 
Rush was come into the house, his dame asked him why he 
came home so soone. Rush answered and said, I have 
done all my busines, and master commanded me to come 
home and grease his shoone. Then he went into the cham- 
ber and looked under the chest, and there hee found the 
priest, and tookehim by the heeles and drew him out, and 
said, thou whoreson priest, what doost thou here ? With 
that the priest held up his hands and cryed him mercy, and 
desired him to save his honesty, and hee would never more 
come there ; and so Rush let him goe for that once." 

We give the foregoing extract as a specimen of the style 
of the English Friar Rush. The priest broke his word, 
returned, and was again surprized by Rush, who found him 
hidden under the straw in the stable. A second time he was 
permitted to escape, though not till after he had received 


" three or foure good dry stripes," and had promised so- 
lemnly never to return. Yet the priest ventured to break 
his word again, and in a visit to the farmer's wife their 
merriment was a third time interrupted by the well-known 
song of Rush, who was returning from his labours. 

" Then wringing her hands she said unto the priest, goe 
hyde you, or else you be but dead. Where shall I hyde 
me, said the priest ? Goe up into the chamber and leape 
into the basket that hangeth out of the window, and I shall 
call you when he is gone againe. Then anon in came 
Rush, and she asked him why he came home so soone. 
Then said Rush, I have done all my busines in the field, and 
my master hath sent me home to wash your cheese-basket, 
for it is full ofhaires, and so he went into the chamber, and 
with his knife he cut the rope that the basket hung by, and 
downe fell priest and all into a great poole of water that 
was under the window : then went he into the stable for a 
horse and rode into the poole and tooke the rope that hung 
at the basket, and tying it to the horses tayle, rode 
through the poole three or four tymes. Then he rode 
through the towne to cause the people to wonder at him, 
and so came home againe. And all this while he made as 
though he had knowne nothing, but looking behinde him, 
espyed the priest. Then he alighted downe, and said unto 
him, thou shalt never more escape me, thy life his lost. 
With that the priest held up his hands and said, heere is a 
hundred peeces of gold, take them and let me goe. So 
Rush tooke the golde and let the priest goe. And when his 
master came home, he gave him the halfe of his money, 
and bade him farewell, for he would goe see the world." 

After leaving the farmer, Rush went into the service of a 
gentleman whose daughter was possessed, and persuaded 


him to send for the abbot of the monastery where he had 
resided, who cured the maiden, conjured Rush into his own 
likeness of a horse, made him carry him home as well as a 
quantity of lead which the gentleman had given him, and 
then confined him to "an olde castle that stood farre 
within the forrest," and the story ends with the pious ex- 
clamation, " from which devill and all other devills defend 
us, good Lord ! Amen." 

We have spoken of the collections of tales, which, at the 
end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth 
centuries, were formed in England under the title of the 
Adventures and Pranks of Robin Goodfellow, as closely 
resembling in their shape and character the legend of Friar 
Rush, and as thus affording a new proof of the identity of 
those two personages of the popular mythology. Few of 
these collections have been preserved, but we have good 
reason for believing that at one time they were extremely 
popular. There is in the library of the lord Francis 
Egerton, a unique prose tract, in black letter, of the date 
1628, entitled Robin-Goodfellow his mad Pranks and 
merry Jests, which has been reprinted by Mr Collier. 
Before leaving the subject, we will give an analysis of a 
small tract in ballad verse on the adventures of this hero, 
which is supposed to have been printed about the year 
1600. Robin Goodfellow, like the familiar elves of the 
twelfth century, is represented as the offspring of an in- 
cubus ; whilst he was yet a child his tricks were the plague 
of the neighbours, whose complaints so grieved his mother, 
that at last he ran away to escape punishment, and after 
wandering some time hired himself to a tailor, in whose 
service he played a joke not unlike that of Rush on the 
abbot's waggon. 


1 He had a goune which must be made 

Even with all haste and speed ; 
The maid must have't against next day, 

To be her wedding weed. 

The taylor he did labour hard 

Till twelve a clock at night ; 
Betweene him and his servant then 

They finished aright 

The gowne, but putting on the sleeves : 

Quoth he unto his man, 
I'll go to bed : whip on the sleeves 

As fast as e'er you can. 

So Robin straightway takes the gowne, 

And hangs it on a pin, 
Then takes the sleeves and whips the gowne ; 

Till day he nere did lin. 

His master rising in the morne, 

And seeing what he did, 
Began to chide ; quoth Robin then, 

I doe as I was bid. 

His master thenlhe gowne did take 

And to his worke did fall : 
By that time he had done the same, 

The maid for it did call. 

Quoth he to Robin, goe thy wayes 

And fetch the remnants hither 
That yesterday we left ; said he, 

We'll breake our fasts together. 

Then Robin hies him up the staires 

And brings the remnants downe, 
Which he did know his master sav'd 

Out of the woman's gowne. 


The taylor he was vext at this, 

He meant remnants of meat, 
That this good woman, ere she went, 

Might there her breakfaste eate." 

Robin afterwards runs away, and, falling asleep in a 
forest, is there visited by his father, who according to the 
fashion of the time is called Oberon, and who makes known 
to him his origin and his power of transforming himself to 
what shape he will, a power which he delays not to put in 
practice, and 

" Turnes himselfe into what shape 

He thinks upon, or will ; 
Sometimes a neighing horse was he, 

Sometimes a gruntling hog, 
Sometimes a bird, sometimes a crow, 

Sometimes a snarling dog." 

Straight he hies to a wedding, in the shape of a fiddler, 
and there he puts out the candles, frightens the guests, 
drinks the posset, and runs away " laughing, hoe ! hoe ! 
hoe !" But the last story of our tract is the most curious, 
with regard to the history of our legends. We have seen 
that in the English legend Friar Rush took delight in dis- 
concerting and punishing the adulterous priest. In the 
same manner the German Hudekin hinders a fair dame 
from being faithless to her husband. Precisely a similar 
story is told here of Robin Goodfellow. An old man seeks 
to seduce his niece, who, it seems, was his ward, and he 
hinders her from marrying a young man whom she loves. 
In the midst of her distress, Robin makes his appearance. 


44 He sends them to be married straight, 
And he, in her disguise, 
Hies home with all the speed he maj 
To blind her unkle's eyes ; 

And there he plyes his worke amaine, 

Doing more in one hourc, 
Such was his skill and workmanship, 
Than she can doe in four e. 

The old man wonder'd for to see 

The worke goe on so fast, 
And therewithall more worke doth he 

Unto good Robin cast. 

Then Robin said to his old man, 

Good unkle, if you please 
To grant to me but one ten pound, 

I'll yield your love-suit ease. 

Ten pounds, quoth he, I will give thee, 

Sweet niece, with all my heart, 
So thou wilt grant to me thy love, 

To ease my troubled heart. 

Then let me a writing have, quoth he, 
From your owne hand with speed, _ 

That I may marry my sweetheart 
"When I have done this deed." 

Robin obtains the money and the writing, and immedi- 
ately seizes the old man, carries him to the chamber where 
are the niece and her husband, and himself quickly eludes 
the old fellow's vengeance, and goes to play his pranks 


" Thus Robin lived a merry life 
As any could enjoy, 
'Mong country farms he did resort, 
And oft would folks annoy ; 

But if the maids doe call to him, 

He still away will goe 
In knavish sort, and to himselfe 

He'd laugh out hoe ! hoe ! hoe ! 

He oft would beg and crave an almes, 
But take nought that they'd give ; 

In several shapes he'd gull the world, 
Thus madly did he live. 

Sometimes a cripple he would seeme, 
Sometimes a souldier brave : 

Sometimes a fox, sometimes a hare ; 
Brave pastimes would he have. 

Sometimes an owle he'd seem to be, 
Sometimes a skipping frog ; 

Sometime a kirne, in Irish shape, 
To leape ore mire or bog : 

Sometimes he'd counterfeit a voyce, 
And travellers call astray : 

Sometimes a walking fire he'd be, 
And lead them from their way. 

Some call him Robin-Goodfellow, 
Hob-goblin, or Mad Crisp ; 

And some againe doe tearme him oft 
By name of Will the Wispe : 

But call him by what name you list, 
I have studied on my pillow, 

I think the best name he deserves 
Is Robin the Good Fellow." 


It would be easy for us to trace the familiar and mis- 
chievous elf in England, in a hundred different shapes, up 
to the present day. But we have done enough for our 
purpose — we have shown the existence of this personage 
of the popular mythology from an extremely early period 
up to the time of the formation of the adventures of Friar 
Rush and Robin Goodfellow ; we have also, we think, ad- 
duced sufficient reasons for supposing that the one, as well 
as the other, was a general and not a particular name ; or, 
to use again a distinction which we have already employed, 
that the foundations of these tale-books were legends, but 
not the legends of the personages whose names they bear. 
There is no stronger distinguishing characteristic of the 
different families of people than that afforded by their pop- 
ular superstitions, and, were it but on this account, they 
are well worthy of our attention. Our language, our man- 
ners, our institutions, our political position, through ten 
centuries, have been undergoing a continual and important 
change ; yet during this long period our popular mythology, 
deeply imprinted in the minds of the peasantry, has re- 
mained the same, and, where it has not been driven away 
by schoolmasters and steam-engines, it still exists unaltered. 
It has not only existed during this period, but it has from 
time to time stepped forth from its obscurity and exerted a 
powerful influence on the world around. First, it was 
received or retained unwittingly by the Christian mis- 
sionaries and converts, and created in their hands a race 
of beings, designated by the name of demons, which never 
existed in the pure Christian creed. Afterwards its influ- 
ence was felt by philosophy, and it had no little share in 
the strange vagaries of alchymy and magic. Next, it 
appeared in a more terrible form than all ; singularly 



enough, as our forefathers became more enlightened, the 
popular superstitions seized more forcibly than ever upon 
their minds ; and the destruction of many thousands of 
persons in the space of a few years for the imaginary crime 
of witchcraft will bear a permanent and substantial testi- 
mony to what superstition can do. The Puritans, who 
succeeded the Papists, were by no means less superstitious 
than their predecessors — their devils were but a repetition 
of those of the monks of earlier times. The popular notion 
of devils and their works, as it now exists, decidedly owes 
its origin to the old mixture of popular mythology with 
Christianity — to it we must attribute the ludicrous charac- 
ter which has so often in popular stories been given to the 
demons, their stupidity, and their simplicity. To such 
devils as these do we owe devil's bridges, and devil's 
arrows, and devil's holes, and devil's dykes, and the like, 
which are continually met with in the wilder and more 
mountainous parts of our island. To these devils, too, we 
owe haunted houses and haunted castles — they delight in 
throwing about the chairs and the crockery-ware. Such, 
also, are the devils who still sometimes make their appear- 
ance among the Welsh peasantry, and of whom they tell a 
multiplicity of tales. 

Of these tales we will give the following as a specimen — 
it is one that we have ourselves heard told in the Welsh 
marches, — it is the story of Morgan Jones and the devil. 
Those who would have another may look into any Welsh 
guide for that of the Devil's Bridge in Carmarthenshire. 
Doubtless the Devil's Hole in the Peak had a similar 
legend connected with it, whose original may also have 
had some connection with the elf-story told by Gervase 
of Tilbury as having occurred at this spot. But let us 


return to our story. Some twenty years ago, when in 
retired parts of the country the communication between 
one place and another was much slower and less frequent 
than it is now, there was a good deal of horse-stealing 
carried on in the English counties on the borders of Wales. 
Those counties were and are very full of pretty little towns 
and villages, in one or another of which there were fairs 
for the sale of live stock almost every day of the year, and 
it was easy to steal a horse from one parish, and carry it 
away and sell it at some one of these fairs, almost before 
the rightful owner knew that he had lost it. Well, it so 
happened that about this time lived a lazy careless rollick- 
ing sort of fellow, by name Morgan Jones, who contrived 
to make a living somehow or other, but how it was nobody 
well knew, though most people suspected it was not the 
most honest livelihood a person might gain. In fact, every 
body was sure that Morgan was deeply implicated in horse- 
stealing, and many a time had he been brought before the 
justice on suspicion, but do what they could nobody could 
find sufficient evidence to convict him. People wondered 
and talked about it for a long time, until at last they came 
to the only natural conclusion, namely, that Morgan Jones 
must have dealings with the evil one. 

Now it once chanced that Morgan and some of his chosen 
cronies were making themselves jolly over sundry pots of 
ale and pipes of tobacco, at a round white deal table, in 
the clean parlour of a very neat little alehouse, as all village 
alehouses are in that part of the country. And they began 
to get very happy and comfortable together, and were tell- 
ing one another their adventures, till at last one spoke 
plainly out, and told Morgan Jones that it was commonly 
reported he had to do with the devil. 


" Why yes," answered Morgan, "there's some truth in 
that same, sure enough ; I used to meet with him now and 
then, but we fell out, and I have not seen him these two 

"Aye!" exclaimed each of the party, "how's that, 

" Why, then, be quiet, and I'll tell ye it all." And 
thereupon Morgan emptied his pot, and had it filled again, 
and took a puff of his pipe, and began his story. 

"Well then," says he, "you must know that I had not 
seen his honour for a long time, and it was about two 
months ago from this that I went one evening along the 
brook shooting wild-fowl, and as I was going whistling 
along, whom should I spy coming up but the devil him- 
self? But you must know he was dressed mighty fine, 
like any grand gentleman, though I knew the old one well 
by the bit of his tail which hung out at the bottom of his 
trousers. Well, he came up, and says he, ' Morgan, how 
are ye?' and says I, touching my hat, 'pretty well, your 
honour, I thank ye.' And then says he, ' Morgan, what 
are ye looking a'ter, and what's that long thing ye're car- 
rying with ye?' And says I, 'I'm only walking out by 
the brook this fine evening, and carrying my backy-pipe 
with me to smoke.' Well, you all know the old fellow is 
mighty fond of the backy ; so says he, ' Morgan, let's have 
a smoke, and I'll thank ye.' And says I, ' You're mighty 
welcome.' So I gave him the gun, and he put the muzzle 
in his mouth to smoke, and thinks I, ' I have you now, 
old boy,' 'cause you see I wanted to quarrel with him ; so 
I pulled the trigger, and off went the gun bang in his 
mouth. 'Puff!' says he, when he pulled it out of his 
mouth, and he stopped a minute to think about it, and 


says he, ' D — d strong backy, Morgan ! ' Then he gave 
me the gun, and looked huffed, and walked off, and sure 
enough I've never seen him since. And that's the way I 
got shut of the old gentleman, my boys !" 

Such is the ludicrous story of Morgan Jones, who had 
to do with a proper Welsh devil, without doubt. 



OME years have now passed since Dimlop's 
History of Fiction was first published, 
during which great advances have been 
made in the general knowledge of the 
subject on which it treats, and many new 
facts have been discovered. Yet it is a valuable book of 
reference for general readers, and contains a large mass of 
popular information on the romantic writers of ancient 
and modern times ; though it is deficient in arrangement, and 
it certainly does not give a correct historical view of the 
origin and progress of fiction and romance. 

Nothing can be more erroneous than the attempt to 
trace the origin of romantic literature to one particular 
source, be that source either Eastern, or Gothic, or Grecian, 
for each of these have formed the ground of different hy- 
potheses, which have been supported with equal ingenuity 
and perseverance. Every country has possessed, in its 
own primeval literature, the first germ of romance, which 
has been developed more or less under different circum- 
stances, influenced frequently by accidents, and has been 
in course of time modified in its form and character, by 
intercourse with a foreign literature in a different stage of 
development. The earliest class of romance was of a 
purely mythic character. Epithets given to the Deity by 


his worshippers, in the infancy of nations, were afterwards 
mistaken for names of different personages ; and the 
attributes expressed or implied by them were gradually 
transformed into deeds and actions of the individual, and 
were, in course of time, combined and confounded with 
the dim and gigantic traditions of real events which had 
survived through several generations, when memory was 
the only means of preserving them. These appear first in 
a poetical shape, because poetry was the only form of 
literary composition found in the primeval age. It is to 
this source that we owe the poetic legends of Troy and 
Thebes, and the whole range of Grecian (as well as Teu- 
tonic) mythology ; and it is this nature of the origin of 
these legends that has left so much room for disputing 
whether the legends themselves are historical or purely 
mythic. The Eddas, indigenous to the north of Europe, 
are of this character. The Anglo-Saxons had as complete 
a family of gods as that which figures in the Grecian 
mythology : Woden, and his descendants Bed-wiga, and 
Hwala, and Hadra, and Heremon, and Heremod, and 
Beowa, and Taetwa, and Geata, and Godwulf, and Finn, 
and some thirteen more in succession,* were the demigods 
or heroes of the fabulous age of our primitive forefathers, 
and stand at the head of the Saxon mythic genealogy, to 
which the different branches of the Saxon blood-royal 
traced its descent ; as the great families of Greece claimed 
descent from Theseus, Hercules, &c. Each of the names 
on the list was no doubt the subject of a series of romantic 

* A curious dissertation on the Anglo-Saxon mythic genealogical 
list, by Mr. Kemble, will be found in the second volume of his edition 
of Beowulf. 


adventures, many of which were well known among our 
forefathers as late as the twelfth century, though the only 
one which has descended to our own time, in anything 
approaching to a complete state, is the romance of Beowulf, 
the Beowa of the foregoing list. The Saxon Beowulf and 
the German Niehelungen Lied belong to the same class of 
literary productions as the Iliad and the Grecian cyclic 

We have few remains of the popular literature of the 
Anglo-Saxons, but, from different allusions in old writers, 
we are led to believe that it was rich in legendary stories. 
These were generally of a purely national character, and 
have consequently not unfrequently found their way into 
chronicles and histories. The legendary story of king 
Ina, from the Brief history of the bishoprick of Somerset y 
printed in one of the earlier publications of the Camden 
Society (Mr. Hunter's Ecclesiastical Documents), furnishes 
a very good example of Anglo-Saxon fictions : 

" Formerly there were two kings reigning in England ; 
one beyond the Humber, the other on this side of it. It 
happened that the king who reigned on this side the 
Humber, the number of his days being completed, went 
the way of all flesh. He left no heir behind him ; where- 
upon, in the kingdom which he had governed, there arose 
a cessation of the administration of justice, and with it 
injustice ; so that no room was left either for peace or 
equity. The unjust man condemned the just ; the strong 
oppressed the weak ; and the more powerful a man was, 
the more injurious was he to his neighbour. What more ? 
Thus the want of an heir to the kingdom brought a 
miserable desolation : which beholding, the bishops and 
chief persons of the realm, desirous to obtain a king to 


reign over them, consulted the Lord at London. The 
reply they received was, that they should seek out a man 
whose name was Ina, and make him king. When the 
chief men of the realm heard this, they immediately 
despatched many messengers in every direction who should 
seek out this person called Ina, and bring him to them : 
who, when they had sought him for a long time without 
success, a party of them, who had been inquiring in the 
western provinces, namely, in Cornwall and Devonshire, 
were returning, wearied in spirit, and directing their course 
towards London. These men, as they were travelling 
through the provinces, and had arrived at a certain town 
which is called Somerton, chanced to see there a cer- 
tain husbandman with his plough, who, with a loud voice, 
was calling out for ' Ina,' that he might come with the 
oxen of his father, who was a partner of the husband- 
man. The messengers hearing this, inquired of the hus- 
bandman what he was calling ; who- replied, that he had 
called for Ina, the son of his partner, that he should come 
with his father's oxen. As soon as the messengers had 
seen Ina, and perceived that he was a handsome youth, 
tall and robust, they rejoiced with exceeding joy : * This,' 
said they, ( is he of whom we are in search.' When they 
expressed their desire to take him with them, they were 
not suffered to do so by the father, nor yet by the neigh- 
bours, without giving a pledge and security that no harm 
should happen to him while he was in their hands. This 
being done, they brought him to London, to the chiefs and 
nobles of the realm, who, when they saw Ina, a young 
man, very handsome, and, as it seemed, very brave, they 
made him king, committing to him the kingdom and all 
belonging to it ; and he was immediately consecrated by 


the bishops. While these things were scarcely concluded, 
there came one who told the king, that the king on the 
other side the Humber had lately died, leaving an only 
daughter his heir, whose name was Adelburgh. When 
the king heard this, he sent a royal embassy to Adelburgh, 
with proposals of marriage ; and that their two realms 
should be united in one monarchy. But Adelburgh, when 
she had received the proposal, despised it, and spurned the 
thought of marriage with the king, because it was said he 
was the son of a husbandman. King Ina, when he re- 
ceived this reply, thinking that he should himself have 
better success, determined to go in person ; and, pretend- 
ing that he was a messenger of the king, came to Adel- 
burgh, and repeated the proposals which before had been 
made to her. But she, nevertheless, as before, rejected 
the proposal, on the ground that the king's father was 
a husbandman ; which, when the king heard, thinking 
anxiously what he should do, that by some means or other 
he might succeed, he determined to remain with her some 
days, and even months, in the character of a servant waiting 
upon her. Now it happened that Adelburgh appointed 
a feast to be held for the chief persons of her realm. 
Ina, on the day of the festival, had the office assigned him 
by his mistress of placing the dishes on the table at the 
banquet. While he was performing this duty, being 
dressed in royal apparel, and appearing to far greater 
advantage than the other persons who were present, the 
lady, again and again admiring him, became exceedingly 
enamoured, and ordered a couch to be prepared for him 
at night in her own apartments. In a secret interview, at 
midnight, Ina again opened his embassy to Adelburgh. 
He could not, however, prevail to be heard, until, at 


length, he declared to her who he was, and that he 
himself was the king : when she, wondering exceed- 
ingly at what had happened, was amazed, and, with 
hearty good will, acquiesced in his proposal. This being 
settled, the king departed; and being returned into his 
own country, sent a splendid embassy to conduct the lady 
to him. When she arrived at the town which was then 
called Cideston, but now "Wells, they were there solemnly 
married. " 

Dunlop has erroneously placed at the head of the His- 
tory of Fiction the works of the Byzantine novelists, the 
Greek scriptores erotici. There is no reason for supposing 
that the writings of Longus, and Achilles Tatius, and the 
other Greek authors of the same class, exercised any influ- 
ence on the romantic literature of the West, until long 
after the age of the restoration of learning. Yet, by some 
unaccountable accident, one story, which appears to belong 
to this class, had found its way to the extreme West at 
a very early period ; and it is also singular that the original 
Greek form of this story appears to be entirely lost. The 
story to which we allude is that of Apollonius of Tyre, 
which was extremely popular in the West of Europe during 
the middle ages, and formed the plot of the Pericles of 
Shakespeare. There exists an Anglo-Saxon version of this 
story, apparently of the tenth century, made directly from 
a Latin version, which is of very common recurrence in 
old manuscripts, and which must therefore be considered 
as more ancient than the period just mentioned. The 
earliest Greek version of this story, which appears to 
be made from a previous Greek text, is of a much more 
recent date. * 

* Dunlop's account of this romance is an instance of the want of 

44 dux lop's history 

The mythological, or purely mythic, romances of the 
middle ages, were followed by another cycle of fictions, 
which may be termed semimythic, as being built on a 
general outline of historical events, confused and exagge- 
rated by popular legends. Among these stands foremost 
the extensive Frankish cycle, founded upon the history of 
the Karlovingian race of princes. The gigantic events of 
the age of Charles Martel and Charlemagne, the terrible 
struggle between Christian and Saracen for the empire of 
the West, left a shadow behind them which widened and 
widened as the distance became greater, and gave birth to 
a host of romantic stories, that were gaining strength un- 
observedly, until they suddenly made their appearance, in 
the twelfth century, in the national literature of France. 
They first took their place in literature, as it appears, in 
the fabulous narrative of Charlemagne's expedition into 
Spain, published in Latin prose under the name of arch- 
bishop Turpin. The first known poem of this class was 
composed in the Anglo-Norman tongue, by an Englishman 
named Turold or Thorold, who appears to have lived as 
far back as the reign of king Stephen ; it has been printed 
under the title of the Chanson de Roland. It is a noble 
specimen of the romance literature of this early age. 
After the publication of this work, the metrical romances 
relating to the Karlovingian heroes increased rapidly, and 
were known by the general title of Chansons de Geste ; 
for they were believed to be purely historical. The ro- 

accurate criticism displayed in his work. He first describes the Greek 
romance as one of those later Greek imitations composed in the twelfth 
and thirteenth centuries, and then speaks of a Latin version as being 
" formed as early as the eleventh century," overlooking his own ana- 
chronism, and not apparently aware of the earlier Anglo-Saxon version. 


mances of Garin of Lorraine, of Berte, of Wituchind, of 
Parise la Duchesse, of Ogier le Danois, and several others, 
have been recently printed by the French antiquaries ; but 
the number and length of these romances is so extra- 
ordinary, that we can never hope to see more than a small 
collection in print.* 

Some years after the appearance of the work of the 
pretended Turpin, another fabulous narrative in Latin 
prose was given to the public, which became likewise a 
fertile source of metrical romances. This was the Historia 
Britonum of Geoffrey of Monmouth, published in 1147, a 
work of which the history is involved in the greatest ob- 
scurity. It appears, however, to belong to the purely 
mythic, rather than to the semimythic, class of romances ; 
it was avowedly taken from the traditions of Bretagne, and 
the most natural way of explaining its origin seems to be 
the supposition that the Bretons had a national mythic 
genealogy, like that of the Anglo-Saxons, a subject equally 
of popular legends, and that the personages of this gene- 
alogy had been taken by Geoffrey of Monmouth and his 
followers as historical characters. It would appear that 
these legends, under various forms, were floating about as 
popular traditions, and soon after Geoffrey's time, the 
romances of the St. Graal* of Lancelot, &c, appeared from 
the pens of Walter Mapes, Robert de Borron, and others ; 
and in a short space of time the romances of Arthur and 
his Knights of the Round Table became as numerous and 
popular as those of the cycle of Charlemagne. At present 
it is difficult for us to analyse the construction of these 

* See a former Essay on the Chansons de Geste, in our first 


romances ; but as far as we can judge, the earlier ones 
were implicitly copied from existing traditions, while the 
later compositions of the same class owed much to the 
mere invention of the writers, who copied and altered the 
incidents of older stories, and filled up the outline with new 
details of their own. These details had charms for the age 
in which they were written ; but although valuable as pic- 
tures of medieval society, they are wearisome to us by their 

During the thirteenth century, the two cycles of Charle- 
magne and king Arthur occupied by much the largest 
portion of the romantic literature of the day. There were, 
however, a few other classes of subjects which shared the 
honour of public popularity. In England, an interesting 
class had appeared as early as the twelfth century, the 
plots of which are generally laid in the Danish wars, from 
which circumstance they have been called the Anglo-Danish 
cycle, but which appear in reality to be only a reproduction 
of the older mythic romances of the Anglo-Saxons. To 
this class belong such romances as Havelok, Horn, Guy of 
Warwick, Bevis of Hampton, Wade, &c. On the other 
hand, the increased study of the classic writers of anti- 
quity in the schools of France had brought into fashion the 
names of the Grecian and Roman heroes, and a strong 
tinge of medieval character was given to their adventures, 
in the shape of romances of Troy, of Thebes, of Alexander 
the Great, &c. The writers of this latter class of romances 
give us strange accounts of the authorities from whom they 
derived their materials. Benoit de St. More, the author 
of the earliest romance on the siege of Troy (taken from the 
supposititious history of Dares Phrygius), tells the following 
singular anecdote of Homer : 


" Homers, qui fu clers mervelleus 
Et sages et escienteus, 
Escrist de la destrucion, 
Del grand siege, et de l'acheson 
Por coi Troye fut desertee, 
Qui ainz puis ne fu abitee. 
Mais ne dist pas ses livres voir ; 
Car bien savons, sans nul espoir, 
Qu'il ne fu pas de c. anz nez 
Que li granz oz fu asanblez. 
II i faut, sanz somes parfit, 
C'onques n'i fu, ne rein n'en vit. 
Quant il en ot son livre fet, 
Et en Atbenes Tot retret, 
Si ot estrange contend-on : 
Danpner le vostrent par reison, 
Por ce qu'ot fet les dame-dex 
Combatre o les homes charnex, 
Et les deesses ansement 
Feisoit combatre avoec la gent. 
Et quant son livre receterent, 
Pluisor por ce le refuserent ; 
Mes tant fu Homers de grant pris, 
Et tant fist puis, si con je truis, 
Que ses livres fu receuz 
Et en auctorite tenuz." 

u Homer, who was a marvellous clerk, 
And wise and learned, 
Wrote of the destruction, 
And of the long siege, and of the reason 
For which Troy was deserted, 
Which was never afterwards inhabited. 
But his book does not tell the truth ; 
For we know well, without any doubt, 
That he was not born till a hundred years 
After the great host was assembled. 


It is quite certain, therefore, 

That he was not present, and saw nothing of it. 

When he had completed his book, 

And had published it in Athens, 

There arose a strange contention : 

They wanted to condemn it, with reason, 

Because he had made the gods 

Fight with carnal men, 

And the goddesses similarly 

He made fight with the people. 

And when they recited his book, 

Many on that account refused it : 

But Homer was in such great esteem, 

And he exerted himself so much, as I find, 

That his book was received 

And held for good authority." 

To these subjects of romance were added a few taken 
from the holy Scriptures, and some founded on the events 
of the crusades and other more recent occurrences. 

In giving to his book the title of the History of Fiction, 
Dunlop appears to have intentionally avoided the more 
general term of romance, and to imply that his plan ex- 
cluded such fabulous narratives as were not originally the 
inventions of the authors. By this, however, he has been 
led into the contradiction of taking up those romances of 
chivalry — including the cycles of Charlemagne and the 
Round Table — which were either founded upon the mythic 
and semimythic romances, or merely new editions or ver- 
sions of them. And by making a further arbitrary division 
between the prose and metrical romances, and including 
the former only in his plan, he has made another historical 
mistake; and, taking up the romances of those cycles only 
in their more modern prosaic form, he has given, as a part 


of the subdivision of fiction, a large class of writings which 
are totally distinct in their origin from the inventions of 
the Greek novelists and their imitators, and from the stories 
or fabliaux which came from the East, and which ought 
to have been considered in their purer and earlier form. It 
is true, that the earlier examples of the romances of the 
Round Table, those composed by Mapes and Borron, are 
in prose ; but this is evidently an accidental circumstance. 
The medieval romances in their original shape were poems 
— they were called chansons, or songs, notwithstanding 
their length (extending sometimes to forty or fifty thou- 
sand lines), because they were literally sung by the min- 
strel, who, in this respect, represented the bard of a more 
primitive age. They were not composed as novels for 
the amusement of the closet. 

In the twelfth century a new class of fictions makes its 
appearance in the literature of the West, evidently of 
Oriental origin, — the short tales, or fabliaux. These are 
of a gayer character than the romances, and are generally 
founded on the incidents and intrigues of domestic life. 
They become very numerous in the thirteenth century, 
when they seem to have been most popular in England 
and France ; but, carried soon into Italy, they there ob- 
tained increased popularity through the Decameron of 
Boccaccio and his numerous imitators ; and at a later 
period, singularly enough, after the original fabliaux seem 
to have been nearly forgotten, they received a new popu- 
larity in France and England by importation from Italy,, 
and became the food of a very numerous class of story- 
tellers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Most 
of these, being only servile imitators and copyists, have 
long been consigned to the shelves of the mere bibliogra- 

VOL. II. 3 


pher, who prizes them for their rarity ; but they have 
still this simple value in the eyes of the historian of medi- 
eval fiction, that they preserve here and there a story of 
which the original fabliau is lost, and which forms a link 
in the general chain in tracing their transmission from the 
East. Dunlop's account of the Italian story-tellers, and their 
subsequent imitators, is the most useful part of his book. 

The foregoing observations show how the groundwork 
of medieval fiction must be looked for in the primeval his- 
tory of the nations of modern Europe, and how its field 
was gradually enlarged by the adoption of Grecian legends 
and the admission of Eastern stories. The only direct 
attempts at original invention is to be looked for in the 
allegorical romances, such 'as the Romance of the Rose, and 
those of a purely religious character. But the influence 
of the national legends is seen in almost all the medieval 
attempts at inventive romance, and was felt in some in- 
stances down to a very late period. 

After the fifteenth century, the Greek novels, to which 
we have already alluded, were printed and read ; and these 
appear to have given the first hint of the pastoral romances, 
which afterwards enjoyed such a long popularity. We refer 
to Dunlop's work for the history of fiction subsequent to 
this period. It is the only book of any utility on this 
subject in our language, and required a new edition. We 
could have wished to see its plan modified, or at least to 
see it accompanied with annotations embodying some of 
the important discoveries made in this branch of literary 
history since its first publication ; or rather, we ought 
perhaps to say, that we wish for a new work, more accu- 
rate and more complete, on the same subject. But such a 
work does not appear at present to be forthcoming. 



HE history of popular fictions offers many 
subjects for deep reflection. It is in these 
rude records of an early state of society, 
but more durable than even the written 
documents of later history, that we may 
trace the primeval affinity of nations now widely separated 
by space and diversity of language and manners ; and the 
traveller hears, with surprise and joy, the inhabitants of 
the distant wilds of India tell the same stories which have 
been the delight of his childhood in his own native land 
in the West. The national fictions of a people may be 
arranged in different classes, which have been transmitted 
and preserved in several different ways. Some of them — 
such as the mythic romances — are often as ancient as the 
tribe to which they belong, and have been in part carried 
away as a birthright when it branched off from the primi- 
tive stock ; and these prove community of origin with 
other tribes in which the same mythic legends are found 
to exist. They are features common to the different chil- 
dren of one family. Another class of fictions has been 
mutually borrowed at some early period, when the different 
races who now preserve them have been in a position of 


more intimate intercourse than at any subsequent time. 
A remarkable example of this latter class is furnished by 
the popular tales which were the favorite entertainment 
of our forefathers in the thirteenth and following centuries, 
and most of which were derived from the East. They are 
convincing monuments of a state of friendly intercourse 
between the Christians and Saracens, which is but faintly 
indicated in the more prejudiced writings of the monkish 

Every one who is at all acquainted with the literary his- 
tory of the middle ages, is aware that an important part of 
the business of the jongleur, or minstrel, was to tell 
stories, often of a ludicrous, and not unfrequently of a 
very coarse, description. Our literary historians have 
fallen into the error of supposing the jongleur to be merely 
the descendant of the older bard : he was, on the contrary, 
peculiar to the age which followed the crusades, and was 
without doubt an importation from the East. His attri- 
butes were far more varied than those of the Saxon or 
German minstrel. He was alternately a story-teller, a 
musician, a mountebank, and a conjuror ; and we find in 
his suite even the dancing-girls who are still cherished in 
oriental countries. These could have been transmitted 
from one people to another only in times of intimate and 
friendly intercourse, differing much from what we generally 
picture to ourselves as the relations between Christian and 
Saracen in the ages of the crusaders. These periods of 
peaceful intercommunication were those which are so in- 
dignantly denounced by the ecclesiastical historians for 
that laxity of manners, which allowed the champions of the 
Church to intermix with the infidels, and when the per- 
formances of the jongleur and the dancing-girls were 


more attractive than the din of arms.* We meet with 
incidents, not only in the medieval romances, but in the 
drier pages of the chronicler, which show that it was not 
uncommon for Saracenic minstrels and jongleurs to follow 
their vocation in Christian countries. In the half histo- 
rical, half legendary history of Fulke fitz Warine, one of 
the outlaws, "who knew enough of tabour, harp, viol, 
sitole, and jonglerie" (savoit assez de tabour, harpe, viole, 
sitole, e jogelerie), blackens his face and skin, and repairs 
to the court of king John in the disguise of a Moorish 
minstrel, and he is there welcomed, makes "much min- 
strelsy of tabour, and other instruments," and shows by 
his sleight-of-hand that he was a bon jogelere. The early 
romances furnish other instances of Moorish minstrels, or 
persons in that disguise, entertained at the courts of 
Christian barons and princes, and conversely of Christian 
jongleurs who visited the Saracens. The emperor Fre- 
deric II, celebrated for his love of letters, and for his 
enmity to the pope, was accused of having, while in Syria, 
in 1229, received into his palace Saracen guests, and of 
having caused Christian dancing-girls to play before them.f 
And, in 1241, when Richard earl of Cornwall visited the 
emperor, there were Saracenic dancing- girls and jongleurs 

* Ex omni gente Christiana facinorosi, luxuriosi, ebriosi, mimi, 
histriones, hoc genus omne in terrain sanctam tanquam in sentinam 
quandam confluxerat, eamque obscoenis moribus et actibus inquinabat. 
Guillelm. Neubrigens. de rebus Anglicis, lib. hi, c. 15. Compare the 
account given by Jac. de Vitriaco, Hist. Orient, cap. 73, p. 74, 83, 
who also particularises the jongleurs and minstrels. 

f Item in palatio suo Achonensi fecit convivari Saracenos, et fecit 
eis habere mulieres Christianas saltatrices, ad ludendum coram eis. 
Matth. Paris, vol. ii, p. 361. 


attached to the imperial court, who astonished him with 
their performances.* His papal enemies accused Frederic 
of keeping these infidel women for the indulgence of his 
passions (which they imagined to be a greater sin than in- 
continence with females who held the Christian faith) ; 
but he defended himself against this charge, on the ground 
that they were dancing-girls employed to afford entertain- 
ment to his court. 

In the thirteenth century, the stories of the jongleur of 
Western Europe, put into easy French verse, became nu- 
merous under the title of ' fabliaux/ and a considerable 
number are still preserved in manuscripts. A very large 
portion of these fabliaux, as might be expected, may at once 
be traced to oriental prototypes, some of them being nearly 
identical with the Eastern originals, whilst others have 
been more or less modified in the course of transmission, 
to suit the difference in manners and religious creed of the 
people who adopted them. A good example of the kind 
of modification which they thus underwent, is furnished by 
the Arabian story of the Hunchback, which is the sub- 
ject of at least two different fabliaux of the thirteenth cen- 
tury, and appears subsequently under other forms, both in 

* Duse enim puellse Saracenae, corporibus elegantes, super pavimenti 
planiciem quatuor globos sphericos pedibus ascendebant, plautis suis 
subponentes, una videlicet duos, et alia reliquos duos, et super eosdem 
globos hue et illuc plaudentes transmeabant ; et quo eas spiritus ferebat, 
volventibus sphaeris ferebantur, brachia ludendo et canendo diversimode 
contorquentes, et corpora secundum modulos replicantes, cymbalatin- 
nientia vel tabellas in manibus collidentes, et jocose se gerentes et 
prodigialiter exagitantes. Et sic mirabile spectaculum intuentibus tarn 
ipsse quam alU joculatores praebuerunt. Matth. Paris, vol. ii, p. 569. 
This is a curious picture of the performance of the jongleurs. 


French and English. It is not necessary to give more than a 
brief outline of the story in the Thousand and One Nights. 
The hunchback is regaled at supper by a tailor and his 
wife, and is choaked by a fish-bone. Fearing to be accused 
of murder, they carry him to a physician, and depart. 
The physician running against him in his haste, knocks 
the patient down, and, finding him without animation, 
supposes that he has been accidentally the cause of his 
death. He consults with his wife, and they determine to 
convey the body to the court of the house of a neighbour, 
who was the steward of the sultan's kitchen ; the steward 
comes home in the night, and supposes the intruder to be 
a thief, strikes the hunchback with a mallet, and, as he 
imagines, kills him. In his distress, he carries the dead 
man into the street, and places him upright against a wall 
near the market. A Christian broker, in a state of in- 
toxication, shortly afterwards passes by, and supposing 
the hunchback to be a person concealed there for the 
purpose of insulting him, strikes him down, and being 
caught in the act of beating the dead body, is at once 
accused of the murder. 

In the early French versions of the story, a monk occu- 
pies the place of the hunchback, and the catastrophe 
arises out of an affair of gallantry. The first is entitled, 
Du segretain moine. The sacristan attempts to seduce 
the wife of a burgher, to whose house he is allured, and 
he is there immediately slain by the husband. The latter, 
to avoid discovery, carries the body through the postern of 
the abbey by which the monk had issued, and places him 
on a seat in one of the out-houses. Soon afterwards, the 
prior of the abbey comes to the place with a candle, and, 
supposing the sacristan to be asleep, attempts to rouse him 


with a blow, and the body falls to the ground. The prior 
now finds that he is dead, and it being known that 
he had quarrelled with the sacristan the day before, he 
fears that he may be accused of murder. In this dilemma, 
he recollects that the sacristan had been observed to pay 
especial attention to the burgher's wife, and he carries him 
back to the door of the house in which he had been mur- 
dered. The burgher, hearing a noise at the door, opens 
it, and is thrown down by the weight of the body, which 
falls upon him. His wife, alarmed by her husband's cries, 
hastens to the spot with a light, and they are terrified to 
find the corpse returned. By the advice of the lady, the 
burgher carries it to the dunghill of a farmer who lived at 
some distance from his house, in order to bury it there. 
It happened that the farmer had cured a flitch of bacon, 
which he had left hanging in his pantry. A thief had 
succeeded in carrying it out of the house, and had buried 
it in a sack under the surface of the dunghill, intending to 
fetch it away in the night. The burgher, finding the 
sack, took out the bacon and carried it home, leaving the 
body of the corpulent sacristan in its place. Meanwhile, 
the thief was gambling with his companions in a tavern, 
and they proposed to sup on a portion of the stolen 
bacon. The thief hastened to the dunghill, found the 
sack, and bore it in triumph to the tavern ;* but when the 
maid proceeded to empty it of its contents, the first object 
which presented itself was a pair of boots, and they then 
found that their booty had undergone a singular trans- 
formation. Unable to account for the change, they cle- 

* Chascun li crie unlecomme. The use of this latter word (welcome) 
proves the fabliau to have been written in England. 


termined to make the farmer bear the consequeuces, and 
the clever thief who stole it carried the monk back, 
introducedhimself into the house by stealth, and hanged 
the body up on the same hook which had held the bacon. 
In the morning the farmer awoke before daylight, hungry, 
and ill at ease ; and while his wife was making a fire, he 
went in the dark to cut a slice of the bacon for their 
breakfast ; but, handling it roughly, the beam, being 
rotten, gave way, and the weighty mass fell upon him. 
A light was now obtained, and they discovered a monk 
instead of a flitch, and recognised him for the sacristan of 
the neighbouring abbey. It would appear that his repu- 
tation was none of the best ; and in order to get rid of 
him, they mounted the body on one of the farmer's horses, 
in an upright position, and fixed an old rusty spear in his 
hand. The horse being let loose, terrified at the shouts of 
the farmer and his wife, rushes through the court of the 
abbey, overthrowing the sub-prior and others in its way ; 
and, finally, rolls exhausted into a neighbouring ditch, 
from which it is raised by the monks, who, finding their 
sacristan dead, suppose that he had become mad, that he 
had stolen the farmer's horse, and that he had been killed 
by the fall. The incidents in this story vary much from 
that of the Hunchback, although the outline is identical ; 
but it is not improbable that other versions of the same 
story were once current in the East, and the fabliau may 
owe less to the imagination of the Western jongleur, than 
at first glance we are led to suppose. 

A second fabliau on this subject is entitled, Bu 
prestre c'on porte ; and, like the one just described, it is 
printed in the collection of Barbazan. A priest, surprised 
by the injured husband, is killed, and the guilty wife, with 



the assistance of her maid servant, carries the body out 
during the night, and places it against the door of a house 
which the priest was in the habit of visiting. The good 
man of the house opens the door, and is thrown down by 
the fall of the body, which is discovered to be that of the 
priest. By the advice of his wife, he carries the body to- 
wards the fields to bury it ; but finding a peasant asleep, 
with his mare feeding beside him, he places the dead priest 
on its back, and returns home. The peasant wakes, and 
supposing that some one was stealing his mare, strikes him 
down with his staff, and then finds that it is a priest from 
the neighbouring monastery. The rustic then places the 
corpse upon his mare, with the intention of carrying it to 
a distance ; but in his way he falls in with three robbers, 
who save themselves by flight, leaving behind them a sack 
containing a stolen 'bacon.' This he carries off, after 
having placed the body in the sack. The robbers return, 
find the sack, which appears not to have been touched, 
and carry it to a tavern, and the same incidents occur as in 
the former story, until the priest is suspended in the larder 
of the person from whom the bacon had been stolen. In 
the middle of the night, the chamberlain of a bishop who 
had come to visit the abbey (where he was anything but 
welcome), comes to the house to seek a supper, and the 
host discovers the body of the priest. After the departure 
of his guest, he carries the body to the abbey, finds the 
door of the prior's chamber open, and places it there 
against the wall. The prior coming to his room, and 
fearing to be accused of the priest's death, carries him to 
the chamber of the bishop, and places him on his bed. 
The latter, waking in the night, and feeling a heavy body 
on his bed, supposes it to be a dog, and, seizing a club, 


beats it until a light is brought ; and finding the priest 
slain, he buries him with due ceremonies the following 

In some cases the incidents of the original story have 
been so strictly preserved in its transmission from the 
East, that it loses much of its point from its want of ac- 
cordance with Western feelings. One of the most popular 
stories of the middle ages, which appears in a great variety 
of forms, is that of an old procuress, who undertook to 
persuade a beautiful and chaste wife to consent to the de- 
sires of a young man. The old woman has a little dog, 
to which she administers mustard with its food, and its 
eyes are filled with tears. She then pays a visit to the 
matron, who, naturally enough, asks why the dog weeps. 
The wicked woman tells her that the dog was her daughter, 
who had refused to listen to the prayers of a lover, and 
that, as a punishment, she had been changed, by sorcery, 
into the animal before her. The lady, believing this story, 
rather than incur the same fate, agrees to an appointment 
with her amourenx. This story was derived through the 
Arabians from India, where it is found in the large collec- 
tion of stories entitled Vrikat-Katha. But it is much 
more intelligible in the Indian story, which depends on 
the Brahrnmic doctrine of the transmigration of souls ; it 
was the soul of the woman pretended to have been cruel 
to her suitor, which had migrated into the body of the 
dog, an unclean animal, which was therefore looked upon 
as a grievous punishment. A similar incident is found in 
another popular medieval story. A simple countryman 
carried a lamb to market, and six rogues agreed together 
to cheat him of his merchandise. They took their stations 
in the six streets of the town through which he had to 


pass, and each accosted him in turn with the question, 
" For how much will you sell your dog?" At first the rus- 
tic asserts resolutely that it is a lamb ; but, finding so 
many persons in succession taking it for a dog, he becomes 
terrified, begins to believe that the animal is bewitched, 
and gives it up to the last of the six inquirers, in order to 
be relieved from his apprehensions. This story, in its 
original form, is found in the Indian collection entitled 
Pantchatantra ; and we there understand better why the 
man abandoned the animal when he was persuaded that 
it was a dog, because this in the Brahminic creed is an 
unclean animal. Three rogues meet a Brahmin carrying 
a goat which he has just bought for sacrifice : one after 
another they tell him that it is a dog which he is carrying ; 
and, at last, believing that his eyes are fascinated, and fear- 
ing to be polluted by the touch of an unclean animal, he 
abandons it to the thieves, who carry it away. The same 
story is found in several Arabian collections, and from 
them, no doubt, it came to the West. 

The period at which the transmission of these stories 
from the East appears to have been going on most actively 
was the twelfth century. Besides the mode of transmission 
indicated above, which was the one that acted most largely, 
two or three of the more popular Eastern collections passed 
through a direct translation. The famous collection, which 
in the East went under the title of Sendabad, was trans- 
lated into Latin at least early in the thirteenth century, 
and became very popular in almost every language of 
Western Europe, under the name of the Romance of the 
Seven Sages. The no less celebrated collection, entitled 
h\ the East Calila and Dimna, was also translated into 
Latin in the thirteenth century. Another collection, under 


the title of Disciplina clericalis, was derived from the 
Spanish Arabs in the twelfth century, through a converted 
Jew named Peter Alfonsi. All these translations tended 
to extend the popularity of the Eastern stories in Western 

This popularity was increased by another circumstance, 
which has tended, more than anything else, to preserve a 
class of the medieval stories, which were less popular as 
fabliaux, down to the present time. In the twelfth cen- 
tury there arose in the church a school of theologians, who 
discovered in everything a meaning symbolical of the moral 
duties of man, or of the deeper mysteries of religion. They 
moralised or symbolised in this manner the habits of the 
animal creation, the properties of plants, the laws of the 
planetary movements, the parts of a building, and the dif- 
ferent members of the human body, romances and popular 
stories, and even the narratives of historical events. The 
stories of which we have been speaking were peculiarly 
adapted for this purpose, having been, in their eastern 
originals, frequently employed to illustrate moral themes ; 
and the medieval divines, in thus adapting them, were only 
making a wider application of a mode of teaching, which 
had long been rendered familiar by the European fables.* 
In fact, this symbolical application began with fables, like 

* Sir Frederick Madden, in the introduction to his edition of the 
English Gesta Romanorum (printed for the Roxburgh Club), points 
out a curious coincidence of a story found in an Arabian writer, with 
a morality nearly identical with the morality of the same story in a 
Latin collection of stories ; but this by no means proves that the 
monkish system of moralizing the stories was derived directly from the 
East, which, indeed, is not probable. 



those composed by Odo de Cirington in the twelfth cen- 
tury ; and the distinction between these and many of the 
stories or fabliaux being not very strongly defined, it soon 
extended itself to the rest. In the thirteenth century these 
stories with moralizations were already used extensively by 
the monks in their sermons, and each preacher made col- 
lections in writing for his own private use. An immense 
number of manuscripts of this kind, chiefly of the four- 
teenth century, are still preserved. Many of the stories are 
evidently borrowed from one another ; others appear to 
have been taken down from the recitation of the jongleur 
or common story-teller, and fitted at once by the writer 
with a moralization to serve as occasion might require. 
The mass of these stories are of the kind we have described 
above, and are evidently of Eastern origin ; but there are 
also some which are mere medieval applications of classic 
stories and abridged romances, while others are anecdotes 
taken from history, and stories founded on the supersti- 
tions and manners of the people of Western Europe. Not 
only were these private collections of tales with morali- 
zations, as we have just observed, very common in the 
fourteenth century, but several industrious writers under- 
took to compile and publish larger and more carefully 
arranged works for the use of preachers, who might not be 
so capable of making selections for themselves. Among 
these the most remarkable are the Promptuarium Exemplo- 
rum, the Summa Predicantium of John Bromyard, the 
Repertorium Morale of Peter Berchorius, and some others. 
It was at some period of the fourteenth century, that a 
writer whose name is unknown, made a collection of these 
stories, which he put under the names of different sup- 
posed emperors of Rome, who are generally made the chief 


actors in the various plots, This is the work which has 
been since so famous under the title of Gesta Romanorvm. 

The idea of giving this peculiar form to the stories seems 
to have originated in the caprice of the compiler; and 
classic ears are somewhat shocked by such names as those 
of the emperors Dorotheus, Asniodeus, and Polinius, mixed 
indiscriminately with those of Diocletian, and Claudius, 
and Vespasian. The date of the compilation of the Gesta 
Romanorum appears to be a matter of the greatest doubt ; 
the arguments adduced by the editor of the Roxburgh Club 
edition of the early English text, to prove their antiquity, 
only prove that the stories themselves were popular before 
the compilation of this work, which is an incontrovertible 
fact. We are inclined to agree with Douce in thinking 
that there is no reason whatever for supposing Peter 
Berchorius to be the author. But this is a question of 
very little importance ; for the Gesta Romanorum, like so 
many of the popular productions of the middle ages, 
represents the spirit and genius of the time much more 
than those of the individual writer. 

We think that Douce acted somewhat inconsiderately in 
calling the common printed text the original Gesta, to dis- 
tinguish it from the edition of the Latin text found in 
English manuscripts. It must, we think, strike every 
reader, that the printed Latin Gesta is not an original 
work, but a mere selection of stories from the Gesta, 
intermixed with much extraneous matter, taken from the 
classical writers and the medieval historians ; and as no 
manuscript has yet been discovered which agrees with 
it, it is natural enough to suppose that it was printed from 
the selections of an individual, which was, perhaps, made 
for the press. It appears to us far from improbable that 


the English Latin text is the original one, and, therefore, 
that the Gesta Romanorum was compiled in England. It 
is quite certain that this is the only one now known which 
is consistent and complete. While it is found in numerous 
manuscripts in this country, and is in all identical, the 
continental manuscripts of the Gesta are of the greatest 
rarity, and we have not met with two which agree with 
each other, each having the same appearance of being the 
capricious compilation of an individual from some com- 
mon source. The English Latin text is supposed to have 
been compiled about the time of Richard II ; the few 
manuscripts of the continental Gesta which we have seen 
are all of the fifteenth century. It is worthy of notice, as 
supporting our new of this question, that some of the 
manuscripts preserved in the German libraries contain 
stories which are in the English Latin text, but which are 
not found in the text of the printed editions. Professor 
Keller's edition is a mere reproduction of the old printed 
text ; and we believe as yet nothing beyond the text has 
been published, so that we have still to look forwards 
with impatience for the opinions and information upon 
this curious subject of a man so learned in the history of 
medieval fiction. 

The Gesta Romanorum is evidently the work of a man 
possessed of a considerable degree of creative imagination : 
it is possible that a few of the stories are of his own inven- 
tion, but it is certain that many of them have undergone 
ingenious modifications in passing through his hands. 
Some of these stories are taken directly from the Bisciplina 
Clericalis of Peter Alphonsi ; as those of the ' Procuress 
and her Dog,' mentioned above (cap. 28), the story of the 
' Three Fellow-travellers' (cap. 106), and several others. 


There are several legends of saints, taken generally from 
the work of Jacobus de Voragine ; such as the stories of 
'Alexius' (cap. 15), 'Julian' (cap. 18), ' Pope Gregory ' 
(cap. 81), &c. We have also a few stories taken from 
romances and popular fabliaux ; and some from Grecian 
fables. The manner in which the latter are adapted to 
the ideas of the middle ages is singularly curious. As an 
instance we may quote the story of 'Argus' (cap. Ill), in 
which Mercury is transformed into a medieval jongleur. 

" A certain nobleman had a certain white cow, which he 
loved much for two things : first, because it was white ; 
and secondly, because it gave abundance of milk. This 
nobleman ordained, in his great love for it, that the cow 
had two horns of gold : and he considered within himself 
in whom he could put trust to guard the cow. Now there 
was at that time a certain man named Argus, who was true 
in all things and had a hundred eyes. This nobleman sent 
a messenger to Argus, that he should come to him without 
delay. And when he had come, the nobleman said to 
him, ' I entrust my cow with golden horns to thy keeping, 
and if thou keepest her well, I will promote thee to great 
riches ; but should her horns be stolen, thou shalt die 
the death.' And Argus took the cow with the horns, and 
led her with him ; and every day he went with her to the 
pasture, and kept her diligently, and conducted her home 
at night. There was a covetous man named Mercury, 
very skilful in the art of music, who desired wonderfully 
to have the cow ; and he was always coming to Argus, to 
try and get the horns from him for love or money. Argus 
fixed in the earth the shepherd's staff he held in his hands, 
and addressing it as though it had been his lord, said : 
1 Thou art my lord, this night I will come to thy castle. 


Thou sayest to me, ' Where is the cow with the horns ? ' 
I answer, ' Behold the cow without horns : for a certain 
thief came while I was asleep and stole the horns away.' 
Thou sayest, ' wretch, hadst thou not a hundred eyes 1 
how came it that they all slept, and that the thief stole the 
horns ? this is a falsehood.' And so I shall be the child of 
death. If I say ' I have sold it,' the danger is the same.' 
Then he said to Mercury, ' Go thy way, for thou wilt gain 
nothing.' Mercury went away, and the next day he came 
with his music and his instrument ; and he began after 
the manner of a jongleur to tell tales, and ever and anon 
to sing before Argus, until two of Argus's eyes began to 
sleep ; and then at his singing two other eyes slept, and 
so on, until they were all overcome with slumber. And 
when Mercury saw this, he cut off the head of Argus, and 
stole the cow with the golden horns." 

This story is evidently abridged and modified from a 
much longer story, entitled Be Mauro Bubulco, printed 
from a manuscript of the thirteenth century in the selec- 
tion of Latin stories, published by the Percy Society, which, 
perhaps, was taken from an older medieval romance, founded 
upon the Grecian story. Another curious instance of the 
transformations which the classic legends underwent, is 
furnished by the following version of the story of Atalanta 
(cap 60.) 

" There was a certain king who had an only daughter, 
very beautiful and graceful, named Rosimunda. This 
damsel, when she had arrived at the tenth year of her 
age, was so skilful in running, that she could always reach 
the goal before any one could touch her. The king caused 
to be proclaimed through his whole kingdom, that whoever 
would run with his daughter and should arrive at the goal 


before her, should have her for his wife and be his heir to 
the whole kingdom ; but that he who should make the 
attempt and fail, should lose his head. When the procla- 
mation was made known, an almost infinite number of 
people offered themselves to run with her, but they all 
failed and lost their heads. There was at that time a cer- 
tain poor man in the city named Abibas, who thought 
within himself, *' I am poor, and born of base blood ; if I 
could by any way overcome this damsel, I should not only 
be promoted myself, but also all my kindred.' He pro- 
vided himself with three devices : first with a garland 
of roses, because it is a thing which damsels wish for; 
secondly, with a girdle of silk, which damsels eagerly 
desire ; and, in the third place, with a silken bag, and 
within the bag a gilt ball, on which was this inscription : 
' Who plays with me will never be tired of playing.' These 
three things he placed in his bosom ; and went to the 
palace and knocked. The porter came, and asked the 
cause of his knocking. ' I am prepared,' he said, ' to run 
with the damsel.* When she heard this, she opened a 
window, and when she had seen him she despised him in 
her heart, and said, ' Lo ! what a wretch he is-with whom 
thou must run ! ' But she could not contradict him, so 
she made herself ready for the race. They both started 
together, but the damsel soon ran a great distance before 
him. When Abibas saw this, he threw the garland of 
roses before her ; and the maiden stooped down, and picked 
it up, and placed it on her head. She was so much de- 
lighted with the garland, and waited so long, that Abibas 
ran before her. When the damsel saw this, she said in 
her heart, 'The daughter of my father must never be 
coupled with such a ribald as this.' Immediately she 


threw the garland into a deep ditch, and ran after him 
and overtook him ; and when she overtook him, she struck 
him a blow, saying, ' Stop, wretch : it is not fit that the 
son of thy father should have me for his wife.' And im- 
mediately she ran before him. When Abibas saw this, he 
threw the girdle of silk before her ; and when she saw it, 
she stooped, and picked it up, and put it round her waist, 
and was so much pleased with it, that she loitered there, 
and Abibas again ran a long distance before her. When 
the damsel saw this she wept bitterly, and tore the girdle 
in three, and ran after him and overtook him. And when 
she overtook him, she raised her hand and gave him a 
blow, saying, ' wretch, thou shalt not have me for thy 
wife!' And immediately she ran a long way before him. 
When Abibas saw this, he waited till she was near, and 
then threw the silken bag before her. And when she saw 
this, she stooped and picked it up, and took out the gilt 
ball, and found the superscription, and read, ' Who plays 
with me shall never be tired of playing.' And she began 
to play so much and so long with the ball, that Abibas 
arrived first at the goal, and so obtained her for his wife." 

Many of these stories, which otherwise we might be 
induced to consider as the inventions of the compiler of 
the Gesta, are found in earlier collections. The following 
(cap. 109) may be quoted as an instance: it inculcates 
the doctrine of fatality, which is still prevalent in the 
East, and which lingered long over the minds of our fore- 

"There was a rich smith, who lived in a certain city 
near the sea; he was very miserly and wicked, and he 
collected much money, and filled the trunk of a tree with 
t, and placed it beside his fire in every body's sight, so 


that none suspected that money was contained in it. It 
happened once when all the inhabitants were hard asleep, 
that the sea entered the house so high that the trunk 
swam, and when the sea retired it carried it away ; and so 
the trunk swam many miles on the sea, until it came to a 
city in which was a certain man who kept a common inn. 
This man rose in the morning, and seeing the trunk afloat 
drew it to land, thinking it was nothing more than a piece 
of wood thrown away or abandoned by somebody. This 
man was very liberal and generous towards poor people 
and strangers. It happened one day that strangers were 
entertained in his house, and it was very cold weather. 
The host began to cut the wood with an axe, and after 
three or four blows he heard a sound ; and when he disco- 
vered the money, he rejoiced, and placed it under safe keep- 
ing, to restore it to the rightful owner, if he should apply for 
it. And the smith went from city to city in search of his 
money, and at last he came to the city and house of the 
innkeeper who had found the trunk. When the stranger 
spoke of his lost trunk, his host understood that the money 
was his, and he thought within himself, ' Now I will try 
if it be God's will that I should restore him his money.' 
The host caused to be made three pasties of dough; the 
first he filled with earth, the second with dead men's bones, 
and the third with the money which he found in the trunk. 
Having done this, he said to the smith, ' We will eat three 
good pasties of excellent flesh which I have ; you shall 
have which you choose.' And the smith lifted them one 
after another, and he found that the one filled with earth 
was the heaviest, and he chose it, and said to the host, ' If 
I want more, I will choose that next,' placing his hand 
on the pasty full of dead men's bones, 'you may keep the 


third pasty yourself.' The host seeing this, said in his 
heart, ' Now I see clearly that it is not the will of God 
that this wretch should have the money/ He immediately 
called together the poor and the weak, the blind and the 
lame, and, in the presence of the smith opened the pasty 
and said, * Behold, wretch, thy money, which I gave thee 
into thy hands, yet thou hast chosen in preference the 
pasties of earth and of dead men's bones, and thou hast 
done well, for it has not pleased God that thou shouldest 
have thy money again !' And immediately the host divided 
the money before his eyes among the poor : and so the 
smith departed in confusion." 

This story is found in different shapes in manuscripts, 
written long before the period of the compilation of the 
Gesta Romanorum. In one, in the British Museum, written 
apparently at the end of the thirteenth century, it is told 
as follows : — 

" A man who dwelt in the neighbourhood of Winchilsea 
collected money in a chest, with which he neither benefited 
himself nor others. Going one day to look at it, he saw 
a little black demon seated upon it, who said to him, ' Be- 
gone, this money is not thine, but it belongs to Godwin 
the smith.' When he heard this, unwilling that it should 
turn to any man's benefit, he hollowed out a great trunk 
of a tree, and placed the money in it, and closed it up, 
and threw it into the sea. The waves carried the trunk to 
the door of the aforesaid Godwin, a righteous and innocent 
man, who dwelt in the next town, and threw it on the dry 
shore the day before Christmas Day. Godwin happening 
to go out that morning, found the trunk, and rejoiced 
much to have such a log for the festival, and he carried it 
to his house and put it in the fireplace. On Christmas 


Eve they lighted the fire, and the metal within the trunk 
began to melt and rim out. When the wife of Godwin 
saw this, she took the log from the fire, and hid it. So it 
happened that the owner of the money was obliged to beg 
from door to door, while the smith from a poor man 
became suddenly rich. It was, however, soon known how 
the miser had thrown his money into the sea, and the 
wife of Godwin, seeing how the case stood, thought that 
she would give the wretch some help, and she made one 
day a loaf, and concealed forty shillings in it, and gave 
it to him. The beggar soon after met some fishermen on 
the shore, and sold the loaf for a penny, and went his way. 
And the fishermen coming as usual to the house of God- 
win, drew out the loaf and gave it to their horses. But 
Godwin's wife recognising it, she gave them oats in ex- 
change for it, and recovered the money. And thus the 
wretched man remained in poverty to the end of his life." 
Another version of this story, differing little from the 
one last given, is printed in the selection of Latin stories 
published by the Percy Society, from a manuscript of the 
earlier part of the fourteenth century. It is also found in 
several other shapes, and in one in the Anglo-Latin text 
of the Gesta Romanorum, three caskets, each bearing an 
inscription, take the place of the three pasties. This is 
the original type of the incident of the caskets in the 
Merchant of Venice. We will give one instance of the 
manner in which stories from ancient history are perverted 
and moralized (cap. 43.) 

"Iu a certain place in the middle of Rome, the earth 
once opened and left a gaping gulf. When the gods were 
consulted upon this, they gave for answer : ' This gulf 
will not be closed until some one will throw himself volun- 


tarily into it.' But when they could persuade nobody to 
do this, Marcus Aurelius said, ' If you will allow me to 
live at my will in Rome for a year, at the end of the year 
I will joyfully and voluntarily throw myself in.' When 
the Romans heard this, they were joyful, and agreed to it, 
and denied him nothing. So he used their goods and 
wives at his pleasure for a year, and then mounting a 
noble horse, leaped headlong into the gulf, and imme- 
diately the earth closed." 

The moralization runs thus : — 

" Rome signifies this world, in the middle of which is 
hell in the centre, which was open before the nativity of 
Christ, and an infinite number of men fell into it, where- 
upon we received an answer from the gods, that is, the 
prophets, that it would never be closed until a virgin should 
give birth to a son, who should fight for mankind against 
the devil, and his soul with divinity should descend to hell, 
from which time you are to know that it will never after- 
wards be opened, until some one open it by mortal sin." 

The moralization here does not appear very applicable. 
But these symbolical interpretations are the most curious 
feature of the work. In the story of the c Procuress and 
the little dog,' we are told that the chaste and beautiful 
matron is the soul cleansed by baptism, the young man 
who attempts to seduce her is the vanity of the world, the 
old woman who effects her ruin is the devil, and, which 
is the oddest of all, the little dog is " the hope of long life 
and too much presumption in God's mercy." In the story 
of ' Argus/ the white cow is the soul, the lord who possesses 
it is Jesus Christ, Argus represents the clergy to whose 
care the soul is intrusted, and Mercury is the devil. In 
the story of ' Rosimunda,' the lady is the soul "which runs 


swiftly in good works as long as it remains in purity of 
life ;" Abibas is the devil, who overtakes the soul by three 
stratagems : the garland, representing pride ; the girdle, 
luxury ; and the ball, avarice. And so with the rest. This 
style of moralization is characteristic of, and fitted for, a 
singular state of society, when the mass of the people 
were wholly uneducated and little accustomed to think for 
themselves, and it required broad material images to convey 
even spiritual ideas. Taking the collection as a whole, it 
gives us an extraordinary picture of the intellectual condi- 
tion of an age which we can hardly understand so well in 
any other historical form, and we might, perhaps, be allowed 
to hazard one general nioralization as a conclusion : — may 
we not look upon the whole collection as representing the 
construction of medieval civilization ? The classic stories 
show the civilization of antiquity on which medieval society 
was founded, while the Gothic garb in which they are 
clothed is the spirit of the Germanic race which overran 
it ; the monkish legends represent that baneful weight of 
papal church influence which checked civilization in its 
progress ; and the beautiful apologues of the East, what are 
they but that Saracenic element, that spirit of movement 
which contributed so much towards the higher mental cul- 
tivation of modern Europe ? 

Professor Keller's edition of the Gesta Romanorum is, 
as we have observed, merely a careful reproduction of the 
early printed text ; but we look forward with some degree 
of interest to his essay and commentary, which is to form 
the second part. We know no scholar of the present day 
better fitted for this task. We could wish, however, to 
see a good edition of the English text of the Latin Gesta, 
which in our opinion is the most ancient one, and which 

VOL. II. 4 


is certainly the best. The Gesta Romanorum deserves a 
new edition less from any great interest possessed by the 
stories themselves, which are much inferior to the more 
common tales of the age, than as a monument of import- 
ance in the history of fiction ; for it was once an extremely 
popular book, and it not only exercised a great influence 
on our literature down to so late a period as the seven- 
teenth century, but it forms one of the most important 
links in the chain of transmission of popular stories from 
one age to another. 

Before leaving this latter subject, and as a conclusion 
to our article, we will point out what appears to us a most 
remarkable instance of this transmission, and one which 
we believe has not been hitherto noticed. It is an example 
in which there is a singularly close resemblance in the 
incidents, and yet no apparent mode of accounting for 
it. Grimm and Schmeller, in their collection of medieval 
Latin poetry, published at Gottingen in 1838, printed a 
metrical story of an adventurer named Unibos ; taken, as 
we are informed, from a manuscript of the eleventh cen- 
tury, though from its general character we should have 
been more inclined to look upon it as a production of the 
twelfth. Unibos, who was so named because he constantly 
lost all his cattle but one, had enemies in the provost, 
mayor, and priest of his town. At length, his last bullock 
dying, he took the hide to a neighbouring fair and sold it, 
and on his way home he accidentally discovered a treasure. 
He thereupon sent to the provost to borrow a pint measure. 
The provost, curious to know the use to which this is to be 
applied, watches through the door, sees the gold, and ac- 
cuses Unibos of robbery. The latter, aware of the provost's 
malice, determines to play a trick upon him, which leads 


him into further scrapes than he expected, though they all 
turn out in the end to his advantage. He tells the provost 
that at the fair to which he had been, bullocks' hides were 
in great request, and that he had sold his own for the gold 
which he saw there. The provost consults with the mayor 
and priest, and they kill all their cattle and carry the hides 
to the fair, where they ask an enormous price for them. 
At first they are only laughed at, but at last they become 
involved in a quarrel with the shoemakers, are carried 
before the magistrates, and are obliged to abandon their 
hides to pay the fine for a breach of the peace. The three 
enemies of Unibos return in great wrath, to escape the 
effects of which he is obliged to have recourse to another 
trick. He smears his wife with bullock's blood, and 
makes her lie down to all appearance dead. The provost 
and his companions arrive, and are horror-struck at the 
spectacle offered to their eyes ; but Unibos takes the matter 
coolly, and tells them that if they will forgive him the 
trick he has played upon them, he will undertake to restore 
his wife to life and make her younger and more handsome 
than she had been before. To this they immediately agree, 
and Unibos, taking a small trumpet out of a wooden box, 
blows on it three times over the body of his wife, with 
strange ceremonies, and when the trumpet sounds the 
third time, she jumps upon her legs. She then washes 
and dresses herself, and appears so much more handsome 
than usual, that the three officials, who all possess wives 
that are getting old and are rather ill-favoured, give a great 
sum of money to possess the instrument, and each of them 
goes immediately and kills his wife, but they find that the 
virtues of the trumpet have entirely disappeared. They 
again repair to the hut of Unibos, who averts their ven- 
geance by another trick, and extorts again a large sum of 


money as the price of his mare. In this they find them- 
selves equally cheated, and they seize upon Unibos, whose 
tricks appear to be exhausted, and give him only the choice 
of his death. He requests to be confined in a barrel, and 
thrown into the sea. On their way to the coast, his three 
enemies enter a public-house to drink, and leave the barrel 
at the door. A herdsman passes at this moment with a 
drove of pigs, and, hearing a person in the barrel, asks 
him how he came there. Unibos answers that he is sub- 
jected to this punishment because he had refused to be 
made provost of a large town. The herdsman, ambitious 
of the honour, agrees to change places with him, and 
Unibos proceeds home with the pigs. The three officials 
continue their journey, and in spite of the exclamations of the 
prisoner in the barrel that he is willing to be provost, they 
throw him into the sea; but what is their astonishment 
on their return at meeting their old enemy, whom they 
supposed drowned, driving before him a fine drove of pigs. 
He tells them that at the bottom of the sea he had found 
a pleasant country where there were innumerable pigs, of 
which he had only brought with him a few. 

Respondet, " sub prodigio 
Maris praecipitatio ; 
Ad regnum felicissimum 
Fui per praecipitium. 
Inde nunquam recederem, 
Si non amassem conjugem, 
Quam vidistis resurgere 
Veracis tubas murmure. 
Non fuit culpa bucinae, 
Sed bucinantis pessime, 
Omnes si vestrae feminae 
Modo stertunt sub pulvere." 


The greedy officials are seduced by his tale, and throw 
themselves from a rock into the sea, and Unibos is thus 
delivered of his enemies. 

The Contes Tartares of Gueulette, which are believed 
to be only imitations of oriental tales, though they are, 
probably, mixed with stories of an Eastern origin, were 
published in 1715. The adventures of the 'Young Calen- 
der/ in this collection, are the exact counterpart of the 
story of 'Unibos,' which it is quite certain that Gueulette 
never saw. The young calender having been cheated by 
three sharpers, in a manner similar to the story of the 
'Rustic and his Lamb,' mentioned in the earlier part of 
the present essay, is eager to be revenged, and having two 
white goats, resembling each other, he goes with one of 
them to the market where he had been cheated. The 
three men, who are there seeking opportunities of depre- 
dation, immediately enter into conversation with him, and 
in their presence he buys various articles of provision, and 
placing them in a basket on the goat's back, orders the 
animal to inform his servant that he had invited some 
friends to dinner, and to give her directions how each of 
the different articles are to be cooked, and then turns it 
loose. The sharpers laugh at him ; but in order to con- 
vince them he was in earnest, he asks them to accompany 
him home. There, to their astonishment, they find the 
dinner prepared exactly according to the calender's direc- 
tions ; and in their hearing, the calender's mother, who 
was in the secret, and who acted the servant, tells her son 
that his friends have sent to excuse themselves, and that 
the goat had delivered his orders, and was now feeding in 
the garden, where, in fact, the other white goat was brows- 
ing on the plants. The calender invites the sharpers to 


join in his dinner, and ends by cheating them of a large 
sum of money in exchange for the supposed miraculous 
goat. Finding the animal endowed with none of the pro- 
perties they expected, they return to take revenge on the 
calender. He receives their reproaches with surprise, calls 
in his pretended servant, and asks why she neglected to 
give them a particular direction relating to the goat which 
he had forgotten, and she makes an excuse. In a feigned 
passion he stabs her in the belly, and she falls down co- 
vered with blood, and apparently dead. The three men are 
horror-struck at this catastrophe ; but the calender tells 
them not to be alarmed. He takes a horn out of a little 
casket, blows it over the body, and his mother, who only 
pretended to be killed, arises, and leaves the room unhurt. 
The three sharpers, in the sequel, buy the horn for a great 
sum of money, return home and sup with their wives ; 
and after supper, anxious to try the virtues of the horn, 
they pick a quarrel with the ladies, and cut their throats. 
The horn proves as great a failure as the goat ; and the 
police, who have been attracted by the noise, force their 
way in, and seize two of the sharpers, who are hanged for 
the murder ; the third escapes. The latter, some time 
afterwards, meets with the calender, puts him in a sack, 
and carries him off with the intention of throwing him 
into a deep river. But on his way he hears the approach 
of horsemen, and, fearing to be discovered, he throws the 
sack into a hole beside the road, and rides off to a distance. 
A butcher now arrives with a flock of sheep, and, discover- 
ing the calender in the sack, proceeds to question him. 
The calender says that he is confined there because he will 
not marry the cadi's daughter, a beautiful damsel, but who 
has been guilty of an indiscretion. The butcher, allured 


by this prospect of advancement, agrees to take his place 
in the sack, and the calender marches off with the sheep. 
The sharper then returns, and, in spite of the promises of 
the butcher to marry the cadi's daughter, throws him into 
the river. But on his way back, he is astonished to meet 
the calender with his sheep. The latter tells him, that 
when he reached the bottom of the river, he found a good 
genius, who gave him those sheep, and told him, that if he 
had been thrown further into the river, he would have ob- 
tained a much larger flock. The sharper, allured by the 
love of gain, allows himself to be confined in a sack, and 
thrown into the river. 

The third form of this story we owe to our best of story- 
tellers, Samuel Lover. Most of our readers will remember 
the legend of ' Little Fairly,' first published in the Dublin 
University Magazine, and afterwards inserted in the Le- 
gends and Stories of Ireland, (1837.) Little Fairly and 
Great Fairly were the sons of one man, by two wives ; the 
latter inherited the estates, and lived with his mother in 
prosperity, while Little Fairly inherited only one cow, and 
dwelt with his mother in a rude hut. The elder brother, 
who tyrannises over the younger, kills his cow. Little 
Fairly takes the hide to a fair, and by a trick sells it for a 
hundred guineas. On his return, he sends to ask for his 
brother's scales to weigh his money ; and the latter, in his 
curiosity to know why his brother wanted the scales, 
comes to the hut, discovers his brother's riches, and 
charges him with robbery. Little Fairly tells him that 
the money was the proceeds of his hide, an article which 
then fetched a great price at the fair. Great Fairly was a 
greedy man, and, resolving not to lose the occasion, killed 
all the cattle on his estate for the sake of their hides ; but 


when he came to the fair, instead of selling his merchan- 
dise, he was dreadfully beaten, in revenge for the trick 
played by his brother. As soon as he has recovered from 
the effects of his beating, he goes to his brother's hut, and 
by accident kills Little Fairly' s mother. Little Fairly 
turns this also to advantage, and obtains fifty guineas, 
which he represents as having been the price given for his 
mother's body by the doctor in the neighbouring town, 
His avaricious brother immediately goes and kills his own 
mother, and carries her body to the doctor, but narrowly 
escapes being delivered to public justice for the murder. 
Great Fairly, in revenge, seizes his brother, puts him in a 
sack, and carries him off, with the intention of throwing 
him into a bog. He stops at an inn on the way to drink, 
and leaves his brother in the sack, outside the door. A 
farmer passes by with a herd of cattle, which he is per- 
suaded to give Little Fairly, to be allowed to take his place 
in the sack, and he is thrown into the bog. Great Fairly, 
on his return, meets his brother with his cattle, and is in- 
formed that he had found a country at the bottom of the 
bog, abounding in herds, and that when he had carried 
these home, he proposed to return for more. Great Fairly, 
eager to be before his brother, jumps into the bog, and is 

We here find the same story, at three widely different 
periods, and in different countries — in Germany, in the 
eleventh or twelfth century, in France (if Gueulette's story 
be not taken from an Eastern collection) in the eighteenth 
century, and in Ireland at the present day. The resem- 
blance is too close to be accidental ; it is certain that 
neither of the two other writers could have been acquainted 
with the story of "' Unibos,' and we do not think it probable 


that our friend Lover borrowed anything from Gueulette. 
In fact, the Irish story contains several incidents of re- 
semblance to ' Umbos/ which are not found in the French. 
The story is not found in writing, in any document which 
could have formed a medium of transmission. It must, 
therefore, have been preserved in all these countries tra- 
ditionally. It is in this manner that the influence of the 
early popular literature has been continued down to the 
present time. The fables and legends now current among 
the peasantry are the fictions of the middle ages. 




ARIOUS writers have undertaken to build 
romance upon history, but few, except 
those who have occupied themselves with 
researches into its sources, are aware how 
much of history itself is nothing more 
than legend and romance. In the first place, much which 
appears as serious matter of fact will not bear a close 
examination. Facts are conveyed to us, through the 
chroniclers of the time, disfigured by the prejudices of 
religious and political partisans, or exaggerated in their 
passage from one relater to another. The history of 
England abounds in stories of this kind, the falsity of 
which is only discovered from time to time in accidental 
researches. A singular instance was pointed out, some 
time ago, by Mr. Hunter, who was enabled to correct it, by 
discovering the original rolls of accounts relating to the 
event which was the subject of it. One of the persons 
most deeply implicated in the murder of king Edward II, 
in Berkeley Castle, was Sir Thomas de Gournay, who 
subsequently made his escape to the Continent. One 
of our latest historians, Dr. Lingard, tells the sequel of his 
story thus : " Gournay fled into Spain, and was appre- 
hended by the magistrates of Burgos. At the request of 


the king of England, he was examined by them, in the 
presence of an English envoy. What disclosures he made 
were kept secret : but we may suppose that they implicated 
persons of high rank, as the messengers who had him in 
charge received orders to behead him at sea, on his way to 
England." This is the account of Gournay's fate given by 
all historians, and founded upon contemporary writers : he 
was said to have accused queen Isabella, and some of the 
more influential of her partisans. But we learn from 
Mr. Hunter's documents, that Gournay, having been set at 
liberty by the authorities of Burgos, was finally captured at 
Naples ; and we have the account of expenditure by the 
persons who had him in charge during the whole of their 
journey, until they appeared before king Edward in Eng- 
land. They carried Gournay first, by sea, to Aigues- 
Mortes, and thence to Perpignan, and they were then 
obliged, by accidental circumstances, to shape their course 
through Spain, and so to Bayonne and Bordeaux. During 
this journey, large sums are frequently paid to physicians 
for attending the prisoner, which proves both that he was 
labouring under severe illness, and that his guardians were 
anxious to carry him home alive. At Bayonne we find the 
last payments to physicians, and their payments for em- 
balming his body, so that he died there, and his body was 
brought thence to Bordeaux, and afterwards to England. 
Thus the common account of his death is a mere fabrica- 
tion. This, however, is rather the fable than the poetry 
of history. 

Strict historical truth has received injury from another 
source. During the middle ages, an immense number of 
romantic stories floated from country to country, and from 
mouth to mouth. These frequently took a colouring from 


place and circumstances, became located, and were handed 
down to us as historical facts. The first example of this 
kind of location of stories which presents itself, is the well 
known incident of the death of Henry IV of England, who 
expired in the Jerusalem chamber, it having been foretold 
that he shoidd end his days in Jerusalem. Shakespeare 
has adapted this incident with great effect : 

" K. Hen. Doth any name particular belong 
Unto the lodging where I first did swoon ? 

War. ' Tis calVd Jerusalem, my noble lord. 

K. Hen. Laud be to God ! — even there my life must end. 
It hath been prophesied to me many years, 
I should not die but in Jerusalem ; 
Whch vainly I supposed the Holy Land ; — 
But bear me to that chamber ; there I'll lie — 
In that Jerusalem shall Harry die." 

This story had been told of other persons long before 
the time of Henry IV. Pope Sylvester II — the famous 
Gerbert — who was the subject of many legends in after- 
times, died at the beginning of the eleventh century. 
Among other things, he is said to have had recourse to 
supernatural agency, in order to foreknow the length of 
his life, and was told that he should not die until he 
entered Jerusalem. Satisfied with this answer, he followed 
his worldly pursuits in perfect security, until one day, 
while performing divine service in a church in Rome, 
which he had never entered before, he was suddenly 
seized with sickness, and, accidentally inquiring the name 
of the church, he was told that it was popularly called 
Jerusalem. The pope immediately confessed himself, and 
prepared for death. This tale is not only told of other 


persons, but it appears in a variety of forms. According 
to a story of the fourteenth century, a certain person con- 
sulted the devil, and received for answer that he should 
not die until he entered into a glove. He soon afterwards 
came to the town of Gaunt (Ghent,) and there he died. 

It is wonderful how many stories of this class have crept 
into our history. The following occurs in a Latin manu- 
script, and appears to be at least as old as the thirteenth 
century. A wealthy English baron, who had extensive 
possessions in England and Wales, had three sons ; when 
lying on his death-bed, he called them to him and said — 
" If you were compelled to become birds, tell me what 
bird each of you would choose to resemble?" The eldest 
said, " I would be a hawk, because it is a noble bird, and 
lives by rapine." The second said, "I would be a star- 
ling, because it is a social bird and flies in coveys." The 
youngest said, " And I would be a swan, because it has a 
long neck, so that if I had anything in my heart to say, I 
should have plenty of time for reflection before it came to 
my mouth." When the father had heard them, he said to 
the first, " Thou, my son, as I perceive, desirest to live by 
rapine : I give thee my possessions in England, because it 
is a land of peace and justice, and thou canst not rob in it 
with impunity." To the second, he said, " Because thou 
lovest society, to thee I give my possessions in Wales, 
which is a land of discord and war, in order that thy cour- 
tesy may soften down the malice of the natives." And to 
the younger, " To thee I give no land at all, because thou 
art wise, and wilt gain enough by thy wisdom." And as 
he foretold, the youngest son profited by his wisdom, and 
became chief justice of England, which, in those times, 
was the next dignity to that of king. An old chronicler 


tells a similar story of William the Conqueror. The 
monarch was one day pensive and thoughtful; his wise 
men inquired the cause ; and he stated that he wished to 
know what would be the fate of his sons after his death. 
The wise men consulted together, and at length it was pro- 
posed that they should put questions separately to the 
three princes, who were then young. The first who en- 
tered the room was Robert, (afterwards known by the 
surname of Courthose.) " Fair sir," said one of the wise 
men, " answer me a question : if God had made you a 
bird, what bird would you wish to have been?" Robert 
answered, " A hawk, because it resembles most a courteous 
and valiant knight." William Rufus next entered, and 
his answer to the same question was, " I would be an 
eagle, because it is a strong and powerful bird, and feared 
by all other birds, and therefore it is king over them all." 
Lastly, came the younger brother Henry, who had received 
a learned education, and was on that account known by 
the surname of Beauclerc. His choice was a starling, 
"because it is a debonaire and simple bird, and gains its 
living without injury to any one, and never seeks to rob or 
grieve its neighbour." The wise men returned imme- 
diately to the king. Robert, they said, would be bold 
and valiant, and would gain renown and honour, but he 
would finally be overcome by violence, and die in a prison ; 
William would be powerful and strong as the eagle, but 
feared and hated for his cruelty and violence, until he 
ended a bad life by an equally bad death ; but Henry 
would be wise and prudent, peaceful unless when com- 
pelled to war ; he would gain wide lands, and die in peace. 
When king William lay on his death-bed, he remembered 
the saying of his wise men, and bequeathed Normandy to 


Robert, England to William, and his own treasures, with- 
out land, to his younger son Henry, who eventually became 
king of both countries, and reigned long and prosperously. 

King Alfred's visit to the Danish camp in disguise of a 
harper, is another story of this kind. The same stratagem 
is said to have been reacted a few years later, the parties 
being reversed, when one of the Danish chieftains, before 
the battle of Brunanburh, visited in the same disguise the 
camp of king Athelstan. This was a very common story 
in the middle ages, and is found applied to a multitude of 
persons, in history as well as in romance. In fact, in the 
early romances, no disguise is so frequently used by a spy 
as that of a minstrel ; because the minstrel was a sort of 
neutral personage, who was allowed to pass everywhere — 
he was thus, also, the chief popular instrument of convey- 
ing news from one country to another. 

Such stories as these are highly poetical ; they are not 
history, yet they enliven the otherwise dry pages of the 
annalist, without detracting, in any important degree, from 
his truth. They have become thus located, because they 
are characteristic of the person on whom they are fixed, 
and they may be considered as a form in which popular 
feeling has enregistered its opinion of the individual. 
These may truly be termed the poetry of history. 

Popular tradition generally misrepresents the actions, 
but not the character of its hero, who is soon enlisted into 
a number of fabulous or half-fabulous adventures. If hu- 
mility be joined with his bravery, he becomes the hero of 
such tales as that of king Alfred watching the cotter's cakes, 
and submitting to insult and scorn from the ill-tempered 
housewife ; if only brave, we find him slaying lions and 
dragons ; if pious, his life is a series of miracles. Here we 


have the source of many a purely poetic narrative, which 
makes its way into the pages of the historian, to puzzle 
those who try, in vain, to measure the degree of absolute 
truth which they would fain detect in it. It is surprising 
how soon historical personages become invested with 
romantic attributes, which often originated in popular 

The popular mythology of the people also had its influ- 
ence. Thus the legend of mighty princes, carried away 
from the earth, to be restored in future ages, exists in the 
historical traditions of all countries. The German peasant 
still looks forward to the reappearance of the emperor 
Frederic, as a few ages ago the Welsh and Bretons expected 
the return of king Arthur. Long after the battle of 
Hastings there were men who believed that king Harold 
had escaped from the slaughter, and this tradition has been 
a matter of discussion in our days. In the latter part of 
the sixteenth century, the Portuguese believed that king 
Sebastian had not perished in the fatal expedition against 
the Moors ; but that he was still living in disguise among 
his native mountains. Even recently there were people in 
France who looked forward to the resuscitation of Napoleon. 

In the fine old English ballad of Adam Bel, Clym of the 
Cloughe, and William of Cloudesle, the captured outlaw 
gains the king's favour by shooting an apple placed on his 
son's head. — 

" And there, even before the kynge, 

In the earth he drove a stake, 
And hound therto his eldest sonne, 

And bad hym stande styll ther-at ; 
And turned the childes face fro him, 

Because he shuld not sterte. 


An apple upon his head he set, 

And then his howe he bent. 
Syxe score paces they were out met, 

And thether Cloudesle went ; 
There he drew out a fayr brode arrowe, 

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

That was both styffe and stronge. 
He prayed the people that was there 

That they would stylle stande ; 
For he that shooteth for such a wager, 

Behoveth a steadfast hand. 
Muche people prayed for Cloudesle, 

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

There was many a weping eye. 
Then Cloudesle clefte the apple in two, 

That many a man myght se. 
1 Ouer Gods forbode,' sayde the kinge, 

' That thou shote at me !' " 

This incident occurs as a historical fact in the ancient 
northern historian, Saxo Grammaticus. Sprenger, an early- 
writer on these matters, in his Malleus Maleficarum, has a 
chapter de Sagittariis Maleficis, where he relates the same 
story of one Punkler, a magician of Rorbach, in the 
diocese of Worms ; and, if our memory be not very trea- 
cherous, we have read in one of the old treatises on 
spirits and witchcraft, a similar story of a hobgoblin which 
shot an apple off a child's head. Every one knows how 
this incident has taken a historical shape in the personage 
of William Tell. 

The influence of this poetic creativeness, if we may use 
such a word, not only pervades all parts of our national 


history, but contributed largely to the formation of an 
interesting class of particular histories, of which unfor- 
tunately but few specimens remain. These are the half 
historical and half romantic lives of persons, the memory 
of whose actions, or whose fate, had made them notorious. 
They contain at once all the different classes of poetic 
fiction which are above enumerated as being scattered over 
the pages of general history ; yet they, without doubt, give 
us a true picture of the individual, and of the character of 
his age, — far truer than that furnished by the annalist or 
by the critical historian. One of the most remarkable 
histories of this class is the life of the Saxon Hereward, 
who held out for several years, with a band of followers, 
against the Norman Conqueror, in the wild marshy districts 
of Ely and Peterborough, and whose marvellous adventures 
were collected and woven into a narrative early in the 
twelfth century ; for the compiler speaks of having con- 
versed with those who had been personally acquainted with 
his hero. He confesses that many of his stories had been 
preserved in a poetical form, and we know, from other 
authorities, that the adventures of Hereward were the ordi- 
nary subject of popular songs during the greater part of 
the twelfth century. Some parts of the life of Hereward 
are undoubtedly fabulous ; but we cannot hesitate in regard- 
ing the whole story as a true picture of the struggle between 
the last of the Saxon heroes and the oppressors of his 
country. We have two similar histories of personages who 
nourished in the reign of king John : one, an outlawed 
baron — a true Robin Hood — named Fulke fitz Warine ; 
the other a renegade monk employed by John, who was 
believed to have had dealings with the evil one, and who 
was popularly known by the name of Eustace the Monk. 



|N the 14th of October, 1066, the dynasty 
of the Anglo-Saxon kings was overthrown, 
in one long, desperate, and sanguinary 
combat — the battle of Hastings. The 
Norman conqueror at first pretended that 
he had fought only for a throne to which he was entitled, 
and he promised that his people should be molested neither 
in their laws nor in their property. But he gradually and 
insidiously introduced his Norman soldiers into the posses- 
sions of the vanquished, until he made his position suffi- 
ciently strong to throw off altogether the ill-sustained 
mask. Then followed a period of spoliation and ravage. 
The bravest of the Saxons took to the woods and the mo- 
rasses, became outlaws, and lost no opportunity of plun- 
dering and destroying their oppressors, in revenge for the 
injuries which had been inflicted upon their country. 
On a calm evening, in the year 1068,* ill-assorting with 

* The date of our hero's return is fixed, by the annals of John abbot 
of Peterborough — " Anno mlxviii, Herwardus de partibus transmarinis 
rediens in Angliam ad haereditatem suam, et reperiens regem Normannis 
earn contulisse, occisis occupantibus coepit contra regem dimicare." 

It may be right to observe, that our history of Hereward is taken, 
almost literally, from the Gesta Herwardi Saxonis, (preserved in a MS. 
of the twelfth century,) compared with the chronicles of the time. 


the political turbulence and confusion around, a stranger, 
whose stature was below the ordinary standard, but whose 
form exhibited great muscular strength, whose mien and 
bearing told of lofty deeds of prowess, and whose com- 
plexion bespoke a pure Saxon origin, entered the village of 
Brunne, in Lincolnshire, the chief manor of the noble earl 
Leofric. He had with him one attendant, light armed like 
himself, and clothed for a long journey on foot ; for the 
Anglo-Saxons made no great use of horses. The stranger 
turned into a house at the entrance of the village, and 
demanded hospitality of its tenant, a Saxon knight and 
one of earl Leofric' s dependents, who received him with a 
Saxon welcome. But the faces of the inmates bore marks 
of intense sorrow and dejection, and, in answer to his 
questions, they told him that their lord was dead, that a 
Norman had been sent to usurp his possessions, and that 
they were on the point of being delivered over to the 
rapacity of the invaders. When requested to give a more 
particular account of their misfortune, the host said — " It 
is little consistent with the rites of hospitality to make our 
guest a partaker in sorrows which, perhaps, it is not in his 
power to alleviate. Nevertheless, since it is thy will, know 
that, until yesterday, the younger child of our ancient lord, 
the heir to his possessions, unless his elder brother Here- 
ward, a brave soldier, but now absent in some far distant 
land, should return, was living amongst us. He and his 
mother were recommended to our protection by our lord 
on his death-bed. Yesterday the Normans came and seized 
upon his house; they demanded the keys and the treasures, 
and the youth slew two of the intruders, who would have 
laid violent hands upon his parent. The wretches killed 
the boy, and have fixed his head ignominiously above the 


door- way. Alas! we have no power to revenge him. Would 
that his brother Hereward were here ! before to-morrow's 
sun rises they would all taste of the same bitter cup which 
they have forced upon us !" The stranger listened to the 
tale, and groaned inwardly. 

After they had partaken of the evening meal, the family 
retired to rest ; but their guest lay sleepless and thoughtful 
on his bed, until suddenly the distant sounds of singing 
and music, and shouts of riotous applause, burst alternately 
upon his ears. He sprang from his couch, roused a serving 
man of the house, and, inquiring the meaning of this 
tumult, was informed that the Norman intruders were cele- 
brating the entry of their lord into the patrimony of the 
youth they had murdered the day before. The stranger 
put on his arms, threw about him a large black cloak 
which concealed him from observation, and, with his com- 
panion in a similar garb, proceeded through the village to 
the place of boisterous revelry. There, the first object 
which met his eyes was the ghastly head, which he took 
down, kissed, and wrapped in a cloth, and then the two 
adventurers placed themselves in the dark shade within the 
doorway, whence they had a full view of the interior of 
the hall. The Normans were scattered around a blazing 
fire, most of them overcome with drunkenness, and reclin- 
ing on the bosoms of their women. In the midst of the 
hall was a jongleur or minstrel, who chaunted songs of 
reproach against the Saxons, and ridiculed their unpolished 
manners in coarse dances and ludicrous gestures. He was 
proceeding to utter indecent jests against the family of the 
youth whom they had slain, when he was interrupted by 
one of the women, a native of Flanders. " Forget not," 
she said, " that the boy has a brother named Hereward, 


who is famed for his bravery throughout the country whence 
I come ; if he were here, things would wear a different 
aspect to-morrow." The new lord of the house, indignant 
at the boldness of the speaker, raised his head, and ex- 
claimed, " I know the man well, and his wicked deeds, 
which would have brought him ere this to the gallows, had 
he not sought safety in flight ; nor dare he now make his 
appearance anywhere on this side of the Alps." 

The obsequious minstrel seized on the theme thus started 
by his lord, and was proceeding to the most violent invec- 
tives, when he was cut short in an unexpected manner — 
he sank to the ground, his head cloven by the blow of a 
Saxon sword, and the stranger, who had been a concealed 
spectator, rushed upon the defenceless Normans, who fell 
one after another beneath his arm, those who attempted to 
escape being intercepted by his companion at the door. 
The heads of the Norman lord and fourteen of his knights 
were quickly raised over the door-way in place of that of 
the youth they had murdered. 

The stranger was Hereward the Saxon, accompanied by 
his old and trusty follower, named, from his agility, Martin 
with the Light Foot. 

When it was known that Hereward was returned, the 
Normans who had settled in the neighbourhood fled in 
consternation, and the injured Saxons rose on every side, 
and hastened to join his banner. Hereward checked, at 
first, the zeal of his countrymen ; but he selected a strong 
body of his kinsmen and family adherents, and with them 
he attacked and slew such of the Norman invaders as had 
been bold enough to remain on his paternal estates. He 
then repaired to his friend Brand, the Saxon abbot of 
Peterborough, from whom he received the honour of knight- 


hood in the Anglo-Saxon manner ; for amongst our Saxon 
ancestors it was always given by the clergy. After sud- 
denly attacking and killing a Norman baron who had been 
sent against him, Hereward dispersed his followers, pro- 
mising them to return within the space of a year, acquainted 
them with the signal by which his arrival should be made 
known, and then proceeded to Flanders. 


Hereward was the son of Leofric, earl of Chester and 
Mercia, and of that lady Godiva who has been immor- 
talized in the legendary annals of Coventry. From his 
boyhood he had been distinguished among his companions 
by his strength and boldness ; and, as he grew up, his 
adventurous disposition gave rise to continual feuds and 
tumults, which, with various acts of insubordination to- 
wards his parents, drew upon him the enmity of his family. 
He is accused of having, on different occasions, collected 
some of his father's rents to distribute among his wild 
followers ; and his kinsmen were often obliged to raise 
their tenantry in arms to rescue him from some imminent 
danger into which he had fallen through his temerity. 
Earl Leofric at length procured an order from king Edward 
the Confessor to banish him from his country, and at the 
age of eighteen he was driven from his home, with only 
one attendant, a serf of the family, named Martin with 
the Light Foot, who appears to have possessed the same 
adventurous spirit as himself. From this time he was 
known as Hereward the Exile. 

The marvellous adventures of Hereward, during the 
period of his exile, fill several chapters of the ancient 


biography. When he left his father's house, he first 
directed his steps towards the borders of Scotland, where 
he was received into the household of a rich and powerful 
thane, named Gisebert of Ghent, his godfather. Here again 
his restless courage exposed him to jealousy and hatred. 
Gisebert kept a number of wild beasts of different kinds, 
which, at the festivities of Easter, Whitsuntide, and Christ- 
mas, he let out, to try the strength and courage of the 
youths who were candidates for the honour of knighthood. 
Among the rest, he had a large and fierce Norwegian bear, 
which was carefully chained up in its cell. One day this 
terrible animal escaped by accident from its place of con- 
finement, slew every person it met, and spread terror 
through the house. Here ward rushed forth to meet it, 
and, encountering it singly, as it was hurrying towards the 
apartment devoted to the ladies of the family, after a 
desperate struggle, succeeded in destroying it. By this 
action he secured the favour of the ladies, but the envy of 
his companions knew no bounds : and after having nar- 
rowly escaped a plot laid against his life, he left the house 
of Gisebert in disgust, and proceeded to the extreme part 
of Cornwall, which was then governed by an independent 
British chief. 

The Cornish chief was named Alef ; he had a beautiful 
and accomplished daughter, who appears by the sequel to 
have bestowed her affections upon an Irish prince, but her 
father had promised her hand to one of her own country- 
men, a bad and tyrannical man, although popular among 
the Cornishmen for his extraordinary strength and valour. 
To this man Hereward soon became an object of hatred, 
which broke out into an open quarrel in the hall, at a 
feast, when Hereward answered his boastful taunts against 


his countrymen in such a manner as to excite the mirth of 
the princess. The result was a single combat in a wood 
near the palace, in which Hereward, by his skill and agility, 
overcame and slew his more powerful adversary. The 
Cornishmen, enraged at the loss of their champion, called 
loudly for vengeance. Their chief, however, who seems 
to have promised his daughter more from fear than incli- 
nation, shielded Hereward from their violence, under pre- 
tence of throwing him into prison to await his judgment ; 
and the lady gave him the means of escaping secretly, with 
tokens of remembrance and recommendation to the Irish 
prince, and to the king, his father. 

Soon after his arrival in Ireland, Hereward was joined 
by two of his kinsmen, named Siward the white and Siward 
the Red, who brought him intelligence of his father's 
death, and urged him to return home to his mother. He 
remained only to assist the king at whose court he was 
living in a war against another Irish king, in which he 
again signalized himself by his daring exploits. 

Meanwhile, the Cornish princess was betrothed by her 
father to another suitor, and she sent a messenger in haste 
to the Irish prince, to tell him of the near approach of the 
day fixed for her wedding, and to beg his assistance in 
averting it. He was at this moment engaged with Here- 
ward in a predatory descent on the coast of Cornwall, and 
he immediately sent forty of his soldiers as messengers, to 
claim the lady's hand, in fulfilment of a former promise of 
her father. Hereward, suspicious of the result of this 
message, took with him his three companions, and having 
disguised himself, by colouring his face and staining his 
hair, he arrived on the day of the nuptial feast, and learnt 
that the Irish messengers had been thrown into prison, 

VOL. II. 5 


and that the intended bridegroom was to carry home his 
wife on the following day. Hereward and his companions 
boldly entered the hall at the wedding feast, and seated 
themselves at the lowest places of the tables. The eyes of 
.the princess fell upon the stranger — she thought that she 
recognized the form of Hereward, but his face was unknown 
to her ; yet a string of recollections passed through her 
mind, and she burst into tears. She then called one of 
the attendants, and ordered him to serve the strangers ; but 
Hereward' s affected rudeness, with some words that dropped 
from his mouth, excited her suspicions. It was the custom 
at this time in Cornwall, that, after dinner on the day 
before she left her father's house, the lady in her bridal 
robes should assist her maidens in serving round the cup 
to the guests, while a harper went before, and played to 
each as the cup was offered to him. Hereward had made 
a vow, at parting with the Irish prince, that he would 
receive nothing at a lady's hands until offered by the prin- 
cess herself; and when a harper and one of the maidens 
approached him with the cup, he refused to accept the 
draught, or listen to the minstrel. The reproaches of the 
latter, and the indignant exclamations of the guests, reached 
the ears of the princess, and increased her suspicions; 
she came herself to offer the cup, and it was respectfully 
accepted. She had now no doubt that the stranger was 
Hereward, and, unseen by the rest, she threw, a ring into 
his bosom, while, turning to the company, she excused 
the rudeness of one who was unacquainted with their 

The minstrel, however, remained dissatisfied, and con- 
tinued to reproach the stranger for his breach of the respect 
due to men of his profession, until Hereward seized the 


harp from his hands, and, to the astonishment of all pre- 
sent, touched the chords with exquisite skill. He was 
requested to proceed, and, fearful that a refusal might 
raise suspicions, he again played on the harp, and, not 
only accompanied it with his own voice, but his compa- 
nions joined at intervals, " after the manner of the Saxons." 
The bride, to aid him in his assumed character, sent him 
a rich cloak, the common reward of successful minstrels ; 
and her husband, unwilling to be behindhand in his libe- 
rality, offered him any gift he would ask, except his wife 
and his lands. Here ward reflected a moment, and then 
demanded that he should liberate the Irish messengers 
who had been unjustly imprisoned. The prince was at 
first inclined to grant his request, when one of his fol- 
lowers, who was no friend of minstrels, exclaimed, " This 
is one of their base messengers, who is come to spy thy 
house, and to mock thee by carrying from thee thy enemies 
in return for his frivolous performances." The suspicions 
of the Cornish chief were easily roused, and, fearing to 
raise a tumult by any mark of disrespect shown to the 
privileged class of minstrels in the festive assembly, he 
ordered the doors of the hall to be narrowly watched. 
But Hereward was apprized of the danger by the princess, 
and made his escape with his companions. 

When they had got clear of the precincts of the house, 
the fugitives followed the road along which the Cornish 
chief and his bride must pass, and concealed themselves in 
a wood on the banks of a river which formed the boundary 
of this petty kingdom. The prince had determined to 
carry with him to his own territory the Irish messengers, 
purposing to deprive each of them of his right eye, and 
then send them home. When he came to the river, and 


just as part of his men had passed the water, Hereward 
and his companions rushed from their hiding place, slew 
the Cornish chief, and released the Irishmen from their 
bonds. With their assistance they put the rest of the 
attendants to flight, mounted their horses, and carried 
away the princess. On the second night, they reached the 
camp of the Irish prince, who was marching with his army 
to avenge the insult offered him in the person of his messen- 
gers ; and it is hardly necessary to say that the marriage 
between the two lovers was immediately solemnized. 

Hereward accompanied them to Ireland, and then pre- 
pared to return with his friends to England. They left 
Ireland in two ships, well-stored and armed, but a sudden 
tempest, in which one of the ships was lost, drove them 
beyond the Orcades, and as soon as they had turned the 
northern extremity of Scotland, a second storm carried 
them to the coast of Flanders, and wrecked them in the 
neighbourhood of St. Bertin's. At first they were arrested 
as spies, but, when Hereward' s name and condition were 
known, the count of Flanders received him with hospitality, 
and joyfully accepted his assistance in the wars in which he 
was engaged. His prudence and bravery soon carried his 
name far and wide, and gained him the affections of a 
noble damsel named Turfrida, whom he married. In the 
midst of his successes, and when he seemed to have nearly 
forgotten his home and relatives, the news arrived that his 
country had fallen a prey to the Norman invader, and he 
afterwards learnt the wrongs which had been done to his 
own kinsmen. It was under these circumstances that 
Hereward entrusted his wife to the care of his tried friends, 
the two Siwards, and repaired to England, to ascertain the 
truth of the various reports which had reached him. 



At the time appointed, in the year 1069, Hereward 
returned to his native land, bringing with him his com- 
panions in arms, the two Siwards, with other Saxons who 
had joined him in his exile, and his wife the beautiful 
Turfrida. Finding that, since the catastrophe which had 
attended his former visit, his paternal estates had remained 
unoccupied by the Normans, he proceeded direct to Brunne, 
where some of the bravest of his kinsmen and friends were 
on the look-out for him ; and he then made the signal 
which had been agreed upon, by setting fire to three villas 
on the highest part of the Brunneswold. He was soon at 
the head of a gallant band of Saxon outlaws, who crowded 
to him in the forest, whither he had retired to await the 
result of his signal. Hereward's historian has taken no 
small pride in recording the names of the most distin- 
guished of these brave men who joined the last of their 
ancient lords in raising the standard of rebellion against 
the Conqueror ; some of which are curiously significant of 
the precarious life they led in those troubled days, and of 
the acts of prowess which had marked their individual 
opposition to the invaders. There was Leofric the Mower 
(Moue), so called because being once attacked by twenty 
armed men whilst he was mowing alone in the field, with 
nothing but his scythe to defend himself, he had defeated 
them all, killing several and wounding many. Then there 
was another Leofric, named Prat, or the cunning, because, 
though often taken by his enemies, he had always found 
means to escape after having slain his keepers. With them 
also was Wulric the Black, so named because on one occa- 


sion he had blackened his face with charcoal, and thus 
disguised, had penetrated unobserved among his enemies, 
and killed ten of them with his spear before he made his 
retreat ; and Wulric Hragra, or the Heron, who, passing 
the bridge of Wroxham when four brothers unjustly con- 
demned to be hanged were led by that road to the place of 
execution, had ventured to expostulate with their guards, 
but the latter called him in mockery a heron, and he 
rushed upon them, slew several, drove away the rest, and 
delivered their prisoners. With men like these were joined 
not a few of the sons of the old Saxon nobility, who had 
been, like Here ward, deprived of their patrimony, and 
who, like him in this also, disdained to bow the knee to 
the tyrant. 

These, however, were not the only Saxons who were 
then in arms, for at this moment a show of patriotic resist- 
ance had manifested itself in various parts of England. 
Among others, the monks of Ely, with their abbot Thurstan, 
fortified themselves in their almost inaccessible island among 
the wild fens, and were there joined not only by many of 
the Saxon ecclesiastics and nobles, among whom were arch- 
bishop Stigand, (whom the Normans had deposed from the 
metropolitan see of Canterbury,) bishop Egelwin, (who had 
been similarly deprived of his see of Lincoln,) and the earls 
Edwin, Morcar, and Tosti, but their strength was also re- 
cruited by a party of Danes who came to their assistance. 
The isle of Ely was soon known as the camp of refuge, and 
many of the injured Saxons made their way to it through 
the wild country round, alone or in small parties, for the 
Normans began to watch the approaches. Its defenders, as 
soon as they heard of the arrival of Hereward, sent a depu- 
tation to urge him to unite his strength with theirs, and he 


determined to abandon the open country, and to join in 
the incipient rebellion in the marshes. At this time he 
appears to have been in the heart of Lincolnshire, for we 
are told that he took ship with his followers at Bardney, 
whence they descended the river Witham towards the sea. 
The powerful Norman earl of Warren, who had obtained 
extensive possessions in Lincolnshire, and who hated Here- 
ward for the slaughter of one of his kinsmen, had been 
made acquainted with Hereward's proceedings by spies, 
had set parties of Norman^ soldiers in ambush along the 
banks of the river to intercept him when he landed. The 
Saxons were involved in continual skirmishes with these 
assailants, but it was not until they had accidentally cap- 
tured one of them, that Hereward was made aware of the 
earl of Warren's plots, and of his intention to come the 
next day with a powerful body of knights and others to 
Herbeche, where probably he knew that the narrowness of 
the river, or some other cause, would enable him to stop 
the further progress of the outlaws. But Hereward suc- 
ceeded in reaching the spot before the appointed time, 
passed the dangerous part of the river with his ships, and 
landed his men on the shore opposite to Herbeche, and 
concealed the greater part of them among the brushwood, 
whilst himself, with three knights and four archers, well 
armed, stood on the bank of the river. The earl of Warren 
and his men arrived soon afterwards on the opposite bank, 
and a Norman soldier, perceiving the Saxons, shouted to 
them across the river, reproaching them with their lawless 
lives, and threatening them with the vengeance of the 
Conqueror, who, he said, was bringing a mighty army to 
drive them out of their stronghold. One of Hereward's 
companions gave the Norman a scornful answer, and told 


him to inform his master that he might now have a chance 
of seeing the man he was so diligently seeking. The earl 
of Warren, hearing the noise, came down to the waterside, 
and understanding that it was Hereward who stood before 
him, ordered his men to swim across the water and attack 
him. But the Normans expostulated, for they knew well 
that the Saxon chief would not be there unprepared to 
receive them ; and the earl was venting his rage in empty 
threats and reproaches, when Hereward suddenly snatched 
a bow from the hand of one of his companions, and bend- 
ing forward a little, let fly an arrow, which struck with 
so much force on the breast of the Norman chief, that, 
although the point was turned by his armour, he fell almost 
senseless from his horse, and was carried off" by his attend- 
ants. The Saxons went on board their ships, continued 
their voyage, and were received with joyful acclamations 
in the isle of Ely. 

Hereward was now the leader of most of the hostile 
expeditions undertaken by the Saxons of the isle of Ely. 
Shortly before his return to England, his friend Brand, 
abbot of Peterborough, died, and thus escaped the wrath 
of king William, whom he had offended by several acts of 
patriotism. A Norman ecclesiastic, named Turold, or 
Thorold, who had gained an unenviable notoriety by his 
tyranny over the Anglo-Saxon clergy, was appointed in his 
place. The Norman abbot was escorted to Peterborough 
by a military guard. But Hereward, after making a vain 
attempt to induce the monks of Peterborough to follow 
the example of resistance set them by the monks of Ely, 
determined that the stranger should at all events find an 
empty house. Turold made a halt " with his Frenchmen" 
at Stamford, in order to obtain intelligence of the kind of 


reception he was likely to meet with, and thither came the 
sacristan of Peterborough, named Yware, who, hearing of 
the approach of the outlaws, seized upon the more port- 
able of the treasures confided to his care, which, as it 
happened, were not the most valuable, and fled. Here- 
ward and his men arrived in their ships at Peterborough 
early in the morning of the second of June, 10/0, and 
demanded an entrance into the monastery ; but finding 
that the monks had shut the gates, and were unwilling to 
admit them, they set fire to the adjoining houses, and 
burnt all the monastery, except the church, and nearly all 
the town . Then, to use the words of the Saxon Chronicle, 
which gives the best account of the attack upon Peter- 
borough, " they went into the church, climbed up to the 
holy rood, took there the crown from our Lord's head, 
which was of pure gold, and also the footstool which was 
under his feet, which was likewise of solid gold ; they 
mounted up into the steeple, and brought down the mantle 
which was hid there, which was all of gold and silver; 
they took there two golden shrines and nine shrines of 
silver ; they took also fifteen great crosses, some of gold 
and some of silver ; and they took there so much gold and 
silver, and such great treasure in money and garments and 
books, that no man can count it. They said they did this 
to have security of the church." The monks, however, 
delivered up the church — or rather the bare walls — to 
Turold, and the Saxons looked upon their treasures as for- 
feited, and divided their booty with their Danish auxili- 
aries, who, satisfied with what they had gained, left the 
island and sailed for their native country. 




King William was gradually approaching his army to 
invest the fen country which surrounded the Isle of Ely, 
and he began the attack at a moment when the insurgents 
had been weakened by many causes. Earl Morcar, trusting 
to the insidious promises of the Norman, had ventured to 
his court, and had been treacherously committed to prison; 
earl Edwin, in an attempt to raise an insurrection in the 
North, had been betrayed into the hands of his enemies, 
and mercilessly slain ; and the Danish allies had departed 
with their booty. The king established the main body of 
his army at a place called Abrehede, where the waters and 
fens were narrowest, and there, with immense labour, a 
long, narrow road, or bridge of timber, was constructed, 
on which the Normans were to march over the more diffi- 
cult part of the intervening space. But the soldiers rushed 
forward hastily and incautiously, allured by the reports of 
the great riches which had been gathered together by the 
outlaws ; and suddenly the frail structure gave way under 
the weight of man and armour, and the Norman warriors 
were plunged headlong into the marshes, where they were 
quickly borne down by the weight of their arms. In this 
manner perished the greater part of the besieging army. 
The king was an eye-witness of the disaster; and he sorrow- 
fully relinquished his enterprise, leaving, however, strong 
garrisons on the border of the fens, to protect the country 
from the incursions of the outlaws. The destruction of the 
Norman army was long remembered in the neighbourhood ; 
and the writer of Hereward's life assures us that he had fre- 


quently seen the fishermen drag up the remains of the vic- 
tims, still covered with their rusty armour. 

One Norman knight alone reached the Isle of Ely, and 
he was immediately siezed and carried to Hereward, who 
received him kindly, kept him a few days, showing him 
the strength and resources of the place, and the mode of 
life of its defenders, and then gave him his liberty, on con- 
dition that he should give the king a faithful account of all 
he had seen. The knight strictly fulfilled his promise ; 
and the Norman monarch was beginning to talk of offering 
favorable terms to the Saxon insurgents. But the earl of 
Warren, and another powerful baron, Ivo Taillebois, inter- 
fered. The latter was lord of Spalding, and the chief sup- 
porter of his neighbour, the abbot of Peterborough. He 
was one of those who had most distinguished themselves by 
their tyranny over the Saxons, and was proportionally hated 
by them. The opinion of these two barons was that of 
the courtiers in general, who feared to lose the lands of the 
outlaws which they occupied ; and they urged the king to 
another attempt. Ivo Taillebois said, "I know an old 
woman who would be a match for all the Saxons in the 
island, and it woidd surely be disgraceful for a king to re- 
treat without having effected his object." Being required 
to explain his meaning, Ivo stated that he knew a certain 
sorceress whose enchantments were so powerful, that he 
doubted not she would be able to paralyse the force of the 
islanders, and make them an easy prey to the besiegers. 
It was finally agreed that the woman should be sent for, 
and that they should try the effects of her incantations. 

Meanwhile the Normans watched more and more closely 
all the approaches to the island, and the outlaws could no 
longer obtain intelligence of the designs of their enemies, 


although it was darkly rumoured that they were to be at- 
tacked in some new and extraordinary manner. At length 
Hereward determined to go to the court in disguise. He 
took with him his favorite mare, named Swallow, which, 
though nearly as swift as the bird from which it was named, 
was alean-looking, ill-favoured animal; and, dressedin coarse 
and dirty garments, with his hair and beard close shaven, 
he made his way through the fens unobserved. The first 
person he met was a potter, and a new scheme immediately 
suggested itself to him. Hereward bargained for the pots, 
provided himself with all things appertaining to the trade, 
and proceeded to Brandune, where the king was then hold- 
ing his court, offering his ware for sale by the way. At 
Brandune Hereward took up his lodging at the very house 
in which dwelt the witch who was to be employed against 
the outlaws, with a companion who followed the same dark 
practices as herself. At night Hereward overheard the two 
women discoursing of the manner in which they were to 
proceed against the islanders. Their conversation was 
carried on in the Norman language, and with the less re- 
serve, because they little thought that an English dealer in 
pots knew any other language but his native Saxon. At 
midnight they left the house and proceeded to a fountain 
which flowed towards the east. There they performed 
mysterious ceremonies, addressing questions to the foun- 
tain, and then listening as for an answer. Hereward had 
stolen after them unseen ; and more than once he was 
tempted to draw his sword, and put them to death in the 
midst of their unhallowed observances, but he thought 
that by forbearance he should obtain further information. 
In the morning he took his station in the vicinity of the 


"Pots! pots !" cried Hereward sturdily ; "good pots and 
urns! here is your excellent pottery!" and the servants of 
the king's kitchen, who were in want of these articles, 
called him in. 

At this moment the reeve of the town came on some 
business to the kitchen, and saw the merchant of pots. 
" It is strange," said the reeve, "but I never saw one man 
resemble another so closely in shape and stature, as this 
potter resembles the outlaw Hereward, barring his dress 
and trade." 

All who heard this crowded round the potter to see a 
man like Hereward; and he was led into the king's hall to 
be exhibited to the knights and courtiers. One of them 
asked if he knew the wicked outlaw whom he resembled ? 
"Know him," said he, "alas! I know him too well. 
Would that he were now here that I might be avenged upon 
him ! It was but the other day that he robbed me of a 
cow and four sheep, which were all I had in the world, 
except my mare and these pots, to support myself and two 

It was now the hour of repast, and the servants of the 
king's kitchen began to attend to their different functions. 
After dinner, however, tbe king being gone to follow the 
chace in the surrounding woods, the servants made merry, 
and brought forth wine and ale, and conspired to make the 
potter drunk; but in this they reckoned without their 
host, for a Saxon hero was the last man in the world to be 
outdone in drinking. The consequence was that, while 
Hereward remained perfectly master of himself, the cooks 
and kitchen-men became more and more uproarious, until 
they seized upon their guest, were proceeding to shave his 
crown like that of a monk, and proposed to make him 


dance blindfold in the middle of his pottery. Hereward 
showed resistance, and one of the cooks struck him with 
his hand. The spirit of the Saxon fired up, he struck the 
assailant to the ground with his fist, and seizing a weapon 
which was laying near, a scuffle ensued, in which several 
of the servants of the kitchen were killed, or severely 
wounded, before the potter was secured and shut up in an 
adjoining room. One of the guards then came with fetters 
to bind the prisoner; but Hereward rushed upon him, 
snatched the sword from his hand, slew all who opposed 
his progress, and after leaping over one or two hedges and 
ditches of defence, reached the outer court, mounted his 
mare, which he had left there, and darted off towards the 
woods, closely pursued by as many of the guards and others 
as had been able to get horses. But away went Hereward 
through wood and over plain, distancing all his pursuers 
but one, who followed him to the isle of Someresham, 
where he found himself at the mercy of the man he was 
pursuing, and was deprived of his arms, and only allowed 
to escape with his life that he might bear to the Norman 
king a message from Hereward the Saxon. 

Innumerable were the tricks employed by Hereward to 
deceive the enemies of bis country, who in the hot season, 
when the fens were driest, made their approaches again 
towards the island. The king led his army to a place 
which the old writer calls Alreheche, and there began to 
erect immense works of timber and earth, from which to 
conduct his hostile operations. For this purpose he ordered 
all the fishermen of the fens to assemble with their boats 
at Cotingelade, there to receive his orders. When these 
works were far advanced towards completion, Hereward 
one day, disguised as a fisherman, came in his boat with 


the rest. At night the workmen departed, and the army 
retired from its labours. But when darkness had set in, 
the alarm was suddenly given that the fortifications were 
on fire, and in a few hours the labour of many days was 
utterly destroyed. The historian observes, drily, that 
where Hereward was busy in the day it would have been 
strange if some mischief had not happened before night. 

The witch was at last brought forward to terrify the out- 
laws by her incantations. An elevated frame of timber 
had been placed in an advanced position among the fens, 
the top of which commanded a distant view of the island 
and monastery ; and the Norman soldiers were placed 
among the reeds and brushwood ready to rush forward 
when the sorceress had done her part. She was placed on 
the frame, and began by uttering curses against the island 
and all its inhabitants ; these were followed by a multitude 
of strange ceremonies and exorcisms, accompanied by 
fearful contortions and postures. All these were to be re- 
peated thrice ; and she was beginning the third time, when 
the outlaws, who had been gradually advancing under 
shelter of the surrounding thickets, set fire to the dry reeds 
in front and rear. The flames rushed forth on every side 
with a fearful crackling. The witch sprang in terror from 
the scaffold, and was killed by the fall ; and hundreds of 
devoted Normans perished in the fire or in the water. 
Hereward and his men pursued singly or in parties those 
who escaped ; and the result of this second attack upon 
the island was more disastrous to the Normans even than 
the first. The king himself was among the fugitives ; and 
when he reached his tent, a Saxon arrow was found fixed 
in his armour. In his despair and rage he cursed the ad- 
visers who had led him to put his trust in sorcery. 



In 1072, the Isle of Ely, defended by its surrounding 
marshes and the bravery of the Saxon outlaws who had 
fortified it against the Norman invaders, had already held 
out nearly three years against the repeated attacks of king 
William's armies. Treason, however, at last prevailed, 
where open force had been unsuccessful. The monks of 
Ely, wearied with the uneasy mode of life to which they 
were exposed, and alarmed still more by the intelligence 
that all the possessions of their monastery had been confis- 
cated, entered into secret negotiations with the king, and 
it was agreed that they should admit the Normans into the 
monastery, which was the outlaws' chief fortress, while the 
Saxon insurgents were dispersed in search of provisions 
and adventures. It was probably their intention to capture 
Hereward, the great leader of the Saxon patriots ; but he 
was secretly informed of the treacherous plan at the moment 
of its execution, and assembling as many of his men as 
were at hand, he threatened to burn both town and mo- 
nastery, (as he had previously done Peterborough), unless 
the latter was immediately delivered into his hands. This 
bold demonstration was, however, too late, for the Normans 
had already gained the monastery, and the town was spared 
at the intercession of some of Hereward' s friends. The 
Saxons made a desperate resistance, until, overpowered by 
numbers, a large part of them were put to the sword. One 
of the old chroniclers tells us that no less than a thousand 
of the insurgents were slaughtered on this occasion. Of 
those who were taken alive, many had their hands cut off, 
and their eyes put out, and were, in this condition, set at 


liberty. Such of their leaders as fell into the hands of the 
conqueror were imprisoned in some of the strong castles 
which he had built in different parts of the island. 

In one object, however, the Normans were unsuccessful. 
Hereward, with only six of his companions, bravely fought 
their way through the enemy, and escaped into the marshes, 
where their pursuers were unwilling to follow. The Saxon 
fishermen of the fens were necessary to the Norman army 
which besieged the marshes, because they supplied it with 
much of its provisions, and they were, therefore, allowed 
to follow their occupation in peace ; although they were 
devoted to the cause of their countrymen. One of these 
received the seven fugitives in his boat, concealed them at 
the bottom under a heap of straw and reeds, and proceeded 
with his cargo of fish to a point occupied by one of the nu- 
merous guards of Normans placed around the fens to hinder 
communication between the isle of Ely and the surrounding 
country. The fisherman and his companions were well 
known to the Norman soldiers, who were commanded by 
a knight of rank, and their arrival caused no suspicion. 
While they were occupied in landing the provisions, 
Hereward and his followers escaped from the boat, and 
concealed themselves in the adjacent bushes, until the 
Normans, in the greater security, because they supposed 
that the island and its defenders were already in the power 
of the invaders, had seated themselves negligently at their 
evening meal. Hereward fell suddenly upon them in this 
defenceless condition ; all who resisted were slain ; a few 
made their escape ; and the outlaws seized upon their 
horses, and thus mounted they proceeded to gather to- 
gether their scattered companions, and to raise the standard 
of revolt in the wild woodlands which spread over much of 


the neighbouring counties of Huntingdon, Northampton, 
and Lincoln, and thither repaired such of the outlaws of 
Ely as had not been present in the disastrous struggle from 
which their chieftain had so narrowly escaped. The first 
hamlet they came to increased their number to eighteen ; 
by the time they passed Huntingdon, Hereward had col- 
lected above one hundred brave men ; and before the sun 
arose on the following morning, seven hundred Saxons, 
well armed, were assembled in the deep recess of the 
Brunneswald, to resist the oppressors of their country. 
Their daring exploits, and the devastations they committed 
on the property of the Norman intruders, soon proclaimed 
to the mortified king that the capture of the Camp of Re- 
fuge at Ely had not subdued the spirit against which he 
was contending, and he ordered the entire forces of the 
counties of Northampton, Cambridge, Lincoln, Leicester, 
Huntingdon, and Warwick, to be raised under the com- 
mand of Ivo Taillebois and the Norman abbot of Peter- 

Still, however, Hereward continued his desultory war- 
fare, sometimes defeating the parties sent in pursuit of 
him, and sometimes deceiving them by clever stratagems, 
when his companions were not numerous enough to with- 
stand them in fight. It is recorded that, among other 
tricks, the Saxons had the shoes of their horses frequently 
turned backwards, so that when the Norman soldiers fell 
into their track, they were sure to take the wrong direc- 
tion in the pursuit. In this manner Hereward kept his 
enemies constantly on the alert ; and his name was looked 
upon with such terror, that it was commonly said that 
three Normans would fly at the sight of one of the Saxons ; 
and Hereward himself is reported to have beaten singly 


seven Normans on more occasions than one. His deeds 
were the admiration even of his enemies ; some of the 
young Norman knights left their families, and took oaths 
of fidelity to the Saxon chieftain, in order to be partakers 
in his adventures and in his fame. 

One day Ivo Taillebois, hearing that Hereward, with no 
more than a hundred knights, and about two hundred 
footmen, were sojourning in a wood which might be easily 
surrounded, joined all the forces he could collect with 
those of the abbot Turold, and they went together against 
him. Hereward for some time kept his enemies at bay 
with his skirmishing parties, but at length he was obliged 
to post his small army in the strongest position he could, 
and prepare for a general attack from an enemy far supe- 
rior in numbers. It was agreed among the Normans that 
the abbot of Peterborough, with some of the Normans 
of highest rank, should keep guard on the outside of 
the wood, whilst Ivo Taillebois, with the larger part of 
their army, penetrated into it to attack the outlaws in 
their intrenchments. For sometime Hereward withstood 
the attack bravely and successfully ; and then suddenly 
the Saxons gave way, and made a hasty retreat. The 
Normans, exulting in their victory, followed after; but 
while they were slowly forcing their way through the 
entangled thickets, Hereward and his companions, who 
had executed a new stratagem, turned them by a quick 
march, fell unexpectedly upon the party placed under the 
command of abbot Turold, killed many of them, and 
mounting their footmen upon the Norman horses, carried 
the abbot and the more wealthy of his companions into 
the deep recesses of their forest home, where it was in vain 
to pursue them, and they only released their captives on 


the payment of heavy ransoms. From the abbot of Peter- 
borough, who was an especial object of their hatred, the 
outlaws extorted the immense sum at that time, of 30,000 
marks of silver. 

No sooner had the abbot Turold thus obtained his 
liberty, than he showed his eagerness for revenge ; and he 
even offered the treasures and possessions of his church to 
allure soldiers to join in his design. When Hereward 
heard of this, he determined to pay another visit to the 
abbey of Peterborough, Equally rapid in conceiving and 
executing his plans, he suddenly made his appearance at 
night-fall of the very day on which he had received intelli- 
gence of Turold' s proceedings. The abbot, fortunately for 
himself, escaped, and concealed himself from his pursuers. 
But the outlaws burnt the town, which was probably now 
inhabited entirely by Normans, and plundered the church 
of its treasures. These, however, were restored, in conse- 
quence of a dream which Hereward was said to have had 
the following night. 

Hereward' s next hostile expedition was directed against 
the town of Stamford, which had served as a place of 
refuge to some of his bitterest enemies. He marched, as 
usual, in the night, and his expedition was carried on with 
so much silence and secresy, that it was commonly re- 
ported and believed that the Saxons were attended on their 
way by spirits of the wood, bearing lights visible only to 
them, and that their guide was a large white wolf, which 
disappeared as the break of day found them at the end of 
their journey. The town, taken by surprise, was occupied 
without resistance ; and in this instance Hereward exhibited 
his generosity by liberating and pardoning his enemies. 


VI. hereward's DEATH, 

In the midst of these daring exploits, measures were 
suddenly taken to procure a reconciliation between Here- 
ward and the Norman king, to which the former listened 
less from his despair of now being able to liberate his 
country from servitude, than by the persuasions of a beau- 
tiful and wealthy widow, with whom he appears to have 
carried on an intrigue, and who had great power at court. 
We are informed by his biographers that Here ward's first 
wife, Turfrida, whom he thus deserted after she had been 
his faithful companion and adviser in his misfortunes, was 
to be placed as a nun in the abbey of Croyland, that 
he was to receive his pardon, quit his lawless life, and be 
married to the lady Elfrida, for that was the widow's 
name. As the two first conditions were fulfilled, we are 
left to suppose that the marriage took place ; but it is said 
that he afterwards acknowledged that he was never fortu- 
nate in his undertakings after this act of weakness and 
ingratitude. He repaired to William's court with forty of 
his bravest companions, and was received with marked 
attention and favour by the conqueror. Yet the Norman 
barons never ceased to regard the Saxon soldiers with envy 
and hatred, which sometimes broke out into open broils, in 
which the impetuosity of Hereward's temper afforded a 
pretext to his enemies, who accused him before the king, 
and laid to his charge many crimes of which he appears to 
have been innocent, and he was committed to custody at 
Bedford, under the charge of Robert de Horepole, where 
he remained in chains a whole year. 

As many of Hereward's friends and followers as had 


remained with him, when they heard of his imprisonment, 
again congregated in their old haunts, the woods, and held 
secret communion with him by means of his clerk, named 
Leofric, who visited his prison in the disguise of a milkman. 
At length Leofric brought them intelligence, that on a cer- 
tain day Hereward was to be conducted to the castle of 
Buckingham, to be delivered to the keeping of his old and 
greatest enemy, Ivo Taillebois. Having obtained exact 
information, by means of spies, of the road by which he 
was to be carried, the Saxons placed themselves in ambush 
in a wood through which the convoy was to pass, sud- 
denly attacked Hereward' s guards, who were defeated, after 
a desperate struggle, and the hero was delivered from his 
chains by his old and faithful followers. Robert de Hore- 
pole, who had been an indulgent keeper to Hereward, was 
taken prisoner in the scuffle ; but he was immediately 
liberated, and, in consequence of his representations to the 
king, Hereward was again pardoned, and restored to his 

But although Hereward had thus obtained the peace of 
the king, it did not secure him that of the Norman barons, 
his enemies, who sought every opportunity of attacking 
him. He was more than once besieged in his own house, 
and he could not venture abroad without a strong body of 
armed soldiers to defend him ; even at his meals, when it 
was the hospitable custom to eat with open doors, he was 
obliged to place a vigilant watchman at a short distance 
from his house, to warn him against the approach of his 
foes. One day his chaplain, Ailward, who acted as sentinel 
during Hereward' s dinner, fell asleep at his post. A strong 
party of Normans and Bretons took advantage of this cir- 
cumstance to carry their long-cherished designs into execu- 


tion. Hereward was totally unarmed, but he seized upon 
a shield, a lance, and a sword which lay near, and rushed 
out with his old companion-in-arms, named Winter, to 
meet his assailants. " Traitors," he said, "your king has 
given me his peace, yet you come here to take my goods, 
and slay me and my friends. Though you have taken me 
unarmed, at my dinner, you shall have no cheap bargain 
of me !" The first to advance was a knight, who sought 
to revenge many of his friends and companions-in-arms 
slain by the Saxon insurgents, but Hereward at the first 
blow thrust his spear through his body, and he fell a 
corpse to the ground. Then the Normans attacked Here- 
ward from all sides, with lances and swords ; but, though 
soon covered with wounds, he defended himself " like a 
wild boar ;" when his spear was broken, he betook himself 
to his sword, and when that also was rendered useless, he 
took his shield in his right hand and used it as a weapon. 
Fifteen of the assailants had already fallen by his arm, 
when four of his enemies came behind him, and buried 
their spears in his back. Hereward fell upon his knees, 
but with his last effort he hurled his shield at a knight of 
Brittany, named Ralph de Dol, who was advancing to 
attack him. The Saxon hero and the Breton knight fell 
dead at the same instant. A Norman cut off Hereward's 
head, and carried it away as a trophy. Such was the end 
of the last champion of Saxon liberty.* " It was com- 

* This account of Hereward's death, which appears to be the most 
authentic, is given by Geoffrey Gaymar. The compiler of the Latin 
life of the hero leaves us to suppose that he ended his days in peace ; 
but other authorities give us better reason for believing that he came 
to a violent death. One writer says that he was slain in a broil with 
his Norman son-in-law. 


monly supposed," says the writer who has preserved the 
account of his death, " that had there been only four such 
men, the Normans would have been long ago driven out of 
the land." 

" Si jura Dieu et sa vertu, 
Et li autre qui l'ont veu 
Par meinte foiz Font jure, 
Que oncques si hardi ne fut trove; 
Et s'il eust eu od lui trois, 
Mar i eutrassent li Franfois ; 
E s'il ne fust issi occis, 
Touz les cha^ast fors del pais." — Gaimar. 



OW volatile a thing is fame ! After a few 
ages have passed by, the very name is for- 
gotten of the men who have been amongst 
the most famous in their day, — whose ac- 
tions have been the favorite theme which 
the peasant sung over his ale, and whose praise has been 
listened to no less attentively in the feudal hall of the 
nobles. Who is there now, who has heard of the name of 
Eustace the Monk ? Yet, in the beginning of the thir- 
teenth century, his name was sufficient to strike terror into 
the hearts of our countrymen ; and, after his death, the 
supernatural agencies which he was supposed to have used, 
raised everywhere their wonder, as much as the right 
merry tricks which he played upon his enemies excited 
their laughter. 

We have asked, Who at the present day has heard of the 
name of this man ? It is true, however, that his name was 
known to some, — to the few who have spent their lives or 
their leisure in searching through old chronicles, and who 
have there found mention of this most wicked man (vir 
flagitiosissimus) — this traitor and villanous pirate (jproditor 
et pirata nequissimus) — this archpirate (archipirata) — 
this apostate (apostata) — this oppressor from Spain (ty- 



r annus ex Hispania) — this ruffian, — all which terms, and 
more, are there applied to him. But the ground of these 
appellations was unknown, until the life of this extraordi- 
nary man, written by a contemporary, in Norman-French 
verse,* was discovered in a manuscript of the Royal Library at 
Paris, among a collection of metrical fabliaux, romances, 
and saints' legends. Among the latter class the present 
poem seems to have been placed by those who had pre- 
viously made use of the manuscript, and who, therefore, 
read no more than the title, Eustace the Monk ; which will 
easily account for its having remained so long unknown, 
though many poems from the same volume have been 

The history of Eustace presents to us a striking picture 
of those scenes of violence and oppression which were 
every day witnessed during the baronial wars, and of which 
we find many traces in our ancient chronicles. 

Eustace was born in the territory of the count of Bou- 
logne. While young, he went to Toledo, in Spain, at that 
time the grand school of the black art, to be well instructed 
in the mysteries of magic ; and the story tells us that he 
was there favoured to such a degree, that, in his cave 
under the earth, he conversed with the evil one himself, no 
small advantage to him that would be a proficient in these 
sciences. He remained here, says the story, a winter and 
a summer, and became expert in all sorts of conjurations. 
Before his departure, in his last conversation with the 
devil, the latter gave Eustace a faint outline of his future 
destinies, telling him that he should live to make war 

* Roman d'Eustache le Moigne, pirate fameux du xiii e siecle, pu- 
blie par Francisque Michel. Paris, 1834. 


against nobles and princes, and that he should not die 
until he had been concerned in many commotions, after 
which he should be killed on the sea. From Toledo he 
returned directly to St. Saumer, where he became a black 

On his way, it seems that Eustace was accompanied by 
three of his fellow-students, one of whom, we learn, was 
an old man with a beard, who had spent twenty years at 
Toledo, and who was, therefore, a great magician. One 
night they came to Montferrant, where Eustace exhibited 
some of his devilry. On the morn of his departure, he 
ordered a dinner for himself and his companions, at the 
tavern of a rich hostess, who, we are told, was very high 
and very proud. The character and appearance of the 
pilgrims appear not to have gained her good will ; and the 
strange coins which they offered her in payment — for they 
had none of such as were passable in the district — were 
viewed with indignant contempt. Her charge was exor- 
bitant, and her treatment of the guests any thing but 
gentle. Eustace was piqued, and, by the help of his 
magic, he took a ludicrous, but not very decent, revenge 
upon the hostess and her townspeople. Some of the latter 
followed the pilgrims on their way, against whom the old 
man with the beard, whose turn it was now to practise his 
art, caused a great river to arise, as large as the Seine, or 
the Loire, which followed close at their heels, and drove 
them back to the town. Eustace and his companions 
pursued them : and, in the town, the old fellow with the 
beard, by another conjuration, set the townspeople so by 
the ears, that they fought together, tooth and nail, without 
any discrimination. 

After leaving Montferrant, Eustace and his companions 


overtook a carter, who was leading a waggon, drawn by 
four horses, and containing a cask of wine, to a distance 
of six leagues along the road they were journeying. The 
pilgrims demanded of the carter for how much he would 
carry them to the town where he was going. " For twelve 
pence," was the answer. "Agreed," said Eustace; and, 
the bargain being thus concluded, they mounted, and tra- 
velled along at a rattling pace. The carter, however, beat 
the horses unmercifully : the latter pushed forward at an 
uneasy rates, making great leaps, so that the jogging of 
the vehicle bruised the nether parts of Eustace in a most 
miserable manner. " God send thee evil," exclaimed he 
to the carter, " for the villanous pace at which thou art 
driving us !" " Good sir," replied the latter, "we have no 
time to lose ; I must use all speed, for I think it is already 
past noon." To a sepond expostulation, his only answer 
was a few more lashes on the backs of the horses, and the 
cart was dragged along as violently as before. The old 
man with the beard began a new conjuration, and imme- 
diately the horses and the cart, instead of proceeding, 
seemed to be going backward. The carter, as every carter 
would have done, spared neither oath nor whip upon his 
beasts ; but all was vain, and at last he was obliged to let 
the pilgrims go scot-free, who gladly left him, with their 
money in their purses. 

Such is the legendary story of our hero previous to the 
time of his becoming a monk of St. Saumer. When 
Eustace took on himself the religious habit, he laid aside 
none of his former unholy practices. The whole abbey 
was troubled by his conjurations, and he turned every 
thing upside down ; causing the monks, as the story in- 
forms us, to fast when they ought to have been eating, 


and, when they ought to have worn their shoes, to go 
barefoot. A thousand errors he led them into, when they 
ought to have been gravely performing the holy sendees. 

One day, the father abbot was in his chamber : he had 
been bled, and had walked, and a large repast was pre- 
pared for his refreshment. There was plenty of pork, and 
mutton, and wild geese, and venison. Eustace, who lost 
no opportunity of playing his tricks, came to the abbot, 
when he was commencing his dinner, offered himself as a 
servant, and said that, after he had partaken of his repast, 
he would tell him what was his craft. " Thou art a fool," 
replied the abbot ; " may evil fall upon my neck, if thou 
shalt not be well beaten to-morrow." " Many a one lives 
who has been threatened," said Eustace ; and, leaving the 
abbot's room, he went into the kitchen. There, he saw, 
first, a pail full of water, which, by his conjurations, be- 
came quickly red like blood. Then he seated himself upon 
a stool, and, looking round, he saw near him the half of a 
pig. In the hearing of all who were present he pronounced 
his charms, till the half pig suddenly jumped up, and took 
the semblance of an old woman, ugly, and crooked. The 
cooks fled, and told what had happened to the abbot, who 
ran to the spot, and, when he saw the old wretch, shouted 
out, " In the name of St. Peter, fly — fly ! It is certainly 
a devil!" The admonition of the father abbot was not 
thrown away : the kitchen was quickly cleared ; and Eustace, 
having released the pork from his charm, carried it off to 
the tavern of a neighbouring innkeeper, an old friend and 
pot-companion of his own, with whom he spent the whole 
night in eating, drinking, and gambling, —playing away 
every thing — even to the pawning of his crucifixes, images, 
and monk's books. 


We now approach that period of Eustace's life when 
began his quarrel with the count of Boulogne, in conse- 
quence of which he became an outlaw — a true Robin Hood, 
and performed in that character pranks the simple relation 
of which would fill a volume. The origin of his disagree- 
ment with the count was as follows. 

Eustace, it appears, was born at a place called Courset. 
His father Bauduins Buskes, was a peer of the Boulonois, 
well skilled in law, and an experienced pleader. He had 
pleaded a cause in the court against Hainfrois of Heresin- 
guehans, the object of which was to deprive that nobleman 
of a certain manor ; and, in consequence of some disagree- 
ment between them, he had given Hainfrois a blow, which 
was revenged by the murder of Bauduins, near Bassinghen. 
Eustace, who was now a monk, when he heard of the death 
of his father, went to the court to demand justice against 
Hainfrois, whom he charged with being the instigator of 
the murder. The charge was denied, and the cause was 
adjudged to be decided by battle. The pledges and the 
hostages were given; and Hainfrois, having sworn that he 
was upwards of sixty years of age, and his statement being 
confirmed on the oath of twenty-nine of his peers, it was 
allowed that one of his relations, or retainers, might fight 
for him. Accordingly, one of his vassals, Eustace of Mara- 
quise, accepted the challenge— a large, bold, strong, and 
handsome man. On the other part, the challenge was 
accepted by Manesiers, a nephew of Bauduins Busques, a 
large bachelor, handsome, and strong, who charged Hain- 
frois with the death of his uncle. The battle, which was 
fought at Etaples, was fiercely contested, and ended by 
the death of Manesiers. 

Meanwhile, Eustace had been to the count of Boulogne, 


had renounced all intention of standing by the event of 
the combat, and had declared that he would agree to no 
reconciliation until he had revenged the death of his 
father. The monk, however, was allowed to take the rank 
to which the death of his father entitled him : he was a 
seneschal of the Boulonois, a peer, and had all the share 
in the government, which, as such, belonged to him. But 
Hainfrois never ceased to slander him to the duke, till the 
latter called Eustace before him, and demanded of him 
why he had retained the dignities which he held. " I am 
here," was the reply, " ready to give an account of every 
thing, when you have summoned me to answer the charge 
before your peers and your barons : I am one of the peers 
of the Boulonois/' "You shall come to Hardelot," said 
the count, "to answer to the charge there, where you dare 
not make a false statement." " It is treason," cried Eustace : 
" you wish to throw me in prison ;" and he instantly 
left the place. The count confiscated his property, and 
burnt his garden, for which Eustace swore that he would 
take an ample revenge. 

One day, soon after this, Eustace the Monk came to two 
mills which the count had erected near Boulogne. He 
found in one of them a miller, whom he compelled to go 
immediately to the festival which was that day held to 
celebrate the nuptials of Simon de Boulogne. " Tell them," 
he said, "that Eustace the Monk is come to give them 
some light, that they may not eat in the dark. I'll set fire 
to the mills, and give them a couple of bright candles." 
When the miller had delivered his message, the count 
jumped from his seat, the alarm-bell was rung, and both 
mayor and provost prepared to follow the outlaw ; but the 
mills were burnt, and Eustace escaped. Thus commenced 


the hostilities of Eustace the Monk against his enemy, the 
count of Boulogne. 

Eustace was at Clairmarais, and learned there that the 
count was on his way to St. Omers. He dressed himself 
in the garb of a monk, took with him two monks of the 
abbey, and, all three being mounted, rode forth till they 
met the count between two valleys. The count descended 
at one of his houses ; and, after salutation on each side, 
Eustace rode up to him, and said, " Sire, for the mercy of 
God, we pray you to lay aside your anger against Eustace 
the Monk." 

" Say no more," replied the count : "let me but get hold 
of him, and I'll skin him alive. The scoundrel, in the dis- 
guise of a pilgrim, came and burnt two of my mills ; and 
now he makes open war upon me. I'll watch him well ; 
and, if I catch him, he shall die a foul death : he shall be 
hanged, burnt, or drowned." 

Eustace answered: "By my robe! there would then be 
peace. But Eustace is a monk, and you are count of 
Boulogne : it is, therefore, fit that you should show mercy 
to him. I pray you, sire, that you lay aside your anger, 
and he shall be your liege. Sire, be reconciled to him — 
mercy on the sinner." 

" Hold thy tongue," said the count, "and let me hear 
no more. Get thee gone ; I care not for thy preaching. 
For the love of Eustace the Monk, I will put no trust in 
any of thine order. By the bowels of St. Marie ! I believe 
that this monk is watching me now : there is not such a 
villanous scoundrel in the world. I fear greatly that he 
will enchant me. Dan Monk, what name bearest thou?" 

" They call me brother Simon : I am cellarer of Clair- 
marais. Eustace, with twenty-nine others, all armed in 


iron, came to the abbey yesterday, and prayed the father 
abbot to seek a reconciliation with yon." 

" Let not your abbot be so bold," answered the count, 
" as to give harbour to this fellow, or I will come and 
cut him to pieces. I'll shave him, both head and neck. 
Where wast thou born, dan Monk ?" 

" Sire, at Lens, where I lived twenty years." 

" By my faith," said the count of Boulogne, " thou 
resemblest much Eustace himself, in figure, in body, in 
look, and in stature : thou hast his eyes, his mouth, and 
his nose. But thou hast a broad crown, red shoes, a white 
gown, and a discoloured face, I would keep you all three 
as pledges, were it not purely for the love of God. Turn 
away, and get thee gone !" 

The two monks had witnessed the interview with fear 
and trepidation. While Eustace was still present, the 
count made all the peers of the Boulonois swear three 
times, that they would not on any consideration fail to 
deliver up to him his enemy. A sergeant suddenly came 
forward, and said, " Sire, why do you delay ? Eustace sits 
by your side : seize him, and make him discover himself. 
I tell you truly it is he." 

" I understand the scoundrel," said William of Mont- 
quarrel : " Dan Simon, the cellarer, is the man. I knew 
him as well as I know a penny." 

"No," said Hugh of Gaune, "Eustace is not half so green." 

" Moreover," said Hugh of Belin, "this fellow was born 
at Lens, near Henuin." 

" By my faith," said Aufrans of Caen, " Eustace is nei- 
ther green nor blue." 

" No," said Gualo de la Capide ; "he is all red in the 



The two monks trembled ; but Eustace coolly replied to 
all these remarks, "People resemble each other." He then 
took his leave of the count, and joined his two companions. 
When the count and his party had entered the house, 
Eustace went to the stable, ordered a sergeant who was 
there to saddle the count's best horse, whose name was 
Moriel, mounted it, and rode off at full speed, telling the 
sergeant that he was Eustace the Monk. " Hallo, hallo ! 
Saint Mary!" cried the sergeant; and the count and his 
retainers rushed out to see what was the matter. " A 
scoundrel of a monk has ridden away mounted upon 
Moriel," said the sergeant. 

" See !" said the count ; " by the neck ! by the bowels ! 
by but hasten to the rescue !" 

" No," said the sergeant who had before advised the 
count to seize him ; " he will never be taken while he is 
seated upon Moriel ; for Moriel flies like the wind, and he 
is now spurred on by the devil himself. I know it well." 

"Fool that I was!" said the count, "why did I not 
secure him while he was sitting beside me?" 

The count, however, ordered his company to mount; 
and the whole party, knights and sergeants, galloped off 
to the forest in search of the depredator. But Eustace 
had gone to a small hamlet, where he put Moriel in a place 
of safety and secrecy ; and then changed his habit, putting 
a linen cap on his head, and carrying a club on his shoulder. 
In this disguise he took charge of a flock of sheep that 
were feeding on a heath over which he expected that the 
count would pass. Presently the count appeared. 

"Varlet," said he, "which way went a white monk on 
a black horse?" 

" Sire, he went all along yon vale, on a horse as black 
as a berrv." 


The count speedily followed the route pointed out by the 
shepherd, and soon overtook, not Eustace, but the two 
monks who had been his companions. After the count 
and his attendants had passed by, Eustace left his sheep, 
and returned into the forest. 

While Eustace was thus wandering in the forest, he 
espied the baggage of the count, conducted by a boy on 
horseback. Eustace seized the lad, cut off his tongue, and 
then sent him after his master ; who, when he saw this 
example of Eustace's cruelty, and learned that he had 
plundered his baggage, returned hastily by the way he 
had come, and hunted the outlaw vigorously through the 
forest of Hardelot. 

Here Eustace narrowly escaped falling a prey to the 
treachery of one of his own retainers. He had two lads, 
whom he had brought up from their youth, and who now 
served him as spies, keeping watch in different parts of the 
wood, both by day and by night. One of these spies came 
to the count, and offered to discover to him the hiding- 
place of his master. The count promised to make the 
betrayer a page of his court, if by his means he should 
succeed in apprehending the outlaw. " Sire," said the 
lad, " he is sitting at his dinner : follow me quickly, and 
you shall have him." 

" Proceed," replied the count, " and I will follow at a 
little distance." 

But the other spy had discovered the treachery of his 
companion, and had apprized Eustace of the plot which 
was formed against him. Eustace hung his faithless ser- 
vant on a tree, before the count arrived to rescue him, and 
then, mounting Moriel, soon left his enemies far behind 
him. But, though Eustace himself escaped, the count 

132 El stace tiii; monk. 

overtook two of his sergeants, and, by way of retaliation, 
put out their eyes. Eustace swore by the Holy Virgin 
that he would have the feet of four of the count's men, in 
revenge for the four eyes which the count had taken. 
And, in fact, while Eustace was watching the high road, 
he discovered five of the count's sergeants, who were lead- 
ing prisoners the two monks of Clairmarais. He liberated 
the monks, cut off the feet of four of the sergeants, and 
sent the fifth to carry the tidings to the count, who, in his 
rage, swore by the belly and bowels, and sent immediately 
twenty knights to scour the woods in search of him. 

While the twenty knights were one day searching for him 
in the forest, Eustace dressed himself in the garb of a 
peasant, with a coarse smock thrown over him, and came 
to them with a mournful visage. " God save you, my 
masters!" said he ; and they returned the salutation civilly, 
asking, " Whence comest thou, and whither art thou 
going?" "My lords," said he, " I seek the count of Bou- 
logne, to complain of a rascally monk who has robbed me 
in his territory. He said that he was at war with the 
count, and he has taken from me what was worth a hun- 
dred marks. Tell me, my lords, without delay, where shall 
I find the count?" One of them replied, "At Hardelot : 
go thither, by all means." Eustace went to Hardelot, 
entered the hall where the count was at dinner, and said, 
" May God be here, that he may revenge me on the devil ! 
My lords, which is the count of Boulogne?" "There he 
is," said a sergeant. Eustace approached him. " Sire," 
said he, "mercy ! I am a -citizen of Andeli : I come from 
Bruges, in Flanders ; and I brought with me shoes of say, 
and thirty pounds in money. A mad, hairbrained fellow, 
cropped on the crown like a priest, who appeared to be a 


monk, said he was one of your enemies, and he has taken 
from me everything I had, even my horse and my robe. 
I come to lay my case before you, and to ask for justice. 
He is not far from this place. The scoundrel of a monk 
dressed me in this smock, and then sent me to you. I 
know that he is near, for I saw him _flitfr ™™» thick 
bushes." — " What kind of a man is he V s said the count ; 
" black or white, great or small?" " He is about my own 
size," said Eustace. The count arose from the table, armed 
six of his retainers, and rode with Eustace into the forest ; 
who led him to a place where twenty-nine of his own men 
lay in ambush, and there demanded of him peace and par- 
don. The count refused his request ; and was allowed to 
depart, since, as Eustace said, he had come thither under 
his protection. 

Many a trick did Eustace play upon his enemies. One 
day, as the count, with nine attendants, was riding to 
Hardelot, Eustace, with ten companions, followed him in 
the garb of pilgrims. "When the count descended from 
his horse, Eustace came to him, and said, " Sire, we are 
penitents from the apostle of Rome: many injuries we have 
done to men, of which, by God's grace, we have repented. 
We are now in great need." The count gave him three- 
pence, and entered the castle with his followers, leaving 
the ten horses without. Eustace took them all, set fire to 
the town, and fled, leaving a sergeant to tell the count that 
this had been all done by the penitent on whom he had 
bestowed his threepence. " By my faith !" said the couDt, 
" I was a fool not to seize these rascals ! these vagabonds ! 
these false pilgrims! If I desired to leave the castle, I 
have not a horse to mount. This monk is truly a devil. 
If I had him, he should rue it, I warrant me." Eustace 


met with a merchant, sent him with one of the horses to 
the count, telling him that it was the tithe of his gains. 

Another time, a spy informed the count that Eustace 
was in the forest. The count assembled his men, fol- 
lowed the spy on foot, and lay in ambush in a ditch. 
One of Eustace's spies, however, had seen them, and 
carried immediate information of their movements to his 
master. Eustace went to a collier, who was carrying 
charcoal on an ass, blackened his face and neck and hands 
with the charcoal, and put on the collier's frock and cap, 
for which he gave him his own robe. Thus equipped, 
he set out for Boulogne with his ass and burden. When 
he came to the spot where the count lay in wait, Eustace 
cried out to him, " My lord, what are you doing there ?" 
"What concern is it of yours, sir villan?" was the reply. 
" By St. Omer !" said Eustace, " I will go and tell the 
count how the men of Eustace the Monk are always injur- 
ing and insulting us. I dare not bring out my beast to 
carry my charcoal to sell, but Eustace must rob me of it. 
Meanwhile he is sitting at his ease by a good fire, devour- 
ing meat and venison ; for he has burnt all my charcoal, 
which has cost me so much labour in its preparation." 
" Is he near this place?" asked the count. "Close by. 
Go straight along this path, and you will find him." 
Eustace goaded his beast onwards, and the count entered 
the forest, where he found the collier dressed in the gar- 
ments of the monk. The count's men beat and insulted 
the collier much; for they thought, sure enough, it was 
Eustace they had caught at last, till he cried out, " Mercy, 
my lords, mercy ! why do you beat me ? You may take 
my coat, if you will, for it is all the property I have. It 
is the robe of Eustace the Monk, who has gone with my 


ass and charcoal towards Boulogne, his hands, face, and 
neck blackened, and my cap on his head. He took my 
frock, and left me his robe of silk." The count, in a 
rage, hurried back in pursuit of Eustace, who, in the 
meanwhile, had washed his face, and, meeting with a potter, 
had exchanged his ass and charcoal for pots and jugs, 
and his collier's garments for those of the potter. Eus- 
tace was marching along, and crying lustily, "Pots, pots!" 
when the count and his men suddenly issued from a thicket, 
and asked him if he had seen a collier riding along that 
way. "Sire," said Eustace, "he is gone straight to Bou- 
logne, with an ass laden with charcoal." The count and 
his party put spurs to their horses, and overtook the col- 
lier, whom they immediately began to beat and insult; 
and, tying his feet and hands, they put him upon a horse 
with his face towards the tail. The man began to roar 
and shout. "My lords," he said, "I pray you, for God's 
sake, have mercy upon me ! Why have you taken me ? 
If I have done wrong, I am willing to make amends." 
"Aha, aha! you vagabond !" said the count: "you think 
to escape again. In due time I'll have you hanged, safely 
enough." A knight, however, who had often seen the 
potter, and chanced now to look at him, said, " What devil 
has made thee a collier 1 Thou wast formerly a potter. 
No man can ever thrive who has so many trades." The 
potter then told how he had exchanged Ins ware with a 
collier, bad luck to him ! and how the latter went towards 
the wood, crying, " Pots, pots !" " Hallo ! " cried the 
count ; " quick to the wood : hunt it well, and bring me 
every one you find there." And so they liberated the 
collier, and again entered the forest. 

Eustace, in the meantime, had thrown his pots into a 


marsh, and had concealed himself in the nest of a kite, 
where he mimicked the voice of a nightingale.* As soon 
as he first saw the count passing, he cried, " Ochi ! ochi ! 
ochi! ochi!" (t. e. kill! kill! kiU! kill!) "I will kill 
him," said the count, "by St. Richier, if I lay hands upon 
him." "Fier! fier!" (strike! strike!) cried Eustace the 
Monk. "By my faith, I will," said the count: " I'll strike 
him so that he shall never molest me again." Eustace 
waited a few moments, and then cried, "Non l'ot ! si ot! 
non l'ot! si ot!" (he has it not! he has! he has it not! 
he has !) " Yea, by my faith, he has," said the count of 
Boulogne : "he has taken all my good horses." " Hui! 
hui!" (to-day! to-day!) cried Eustace again. "You say 
right," said the count; "to-day it shall be; I will kill 
him with my own hands if I meet with him. He is no 
fool, I see, who listens to the counsel of a nightingale ; for 
this nightingale has taught me how to take vengeance 
upon mine enemy. He says well that I must strike him 
and kiU him." 

Then the count hunted sedulously after Eustace. First 
were caught four monks, who were immediately thrown into 
prison. After them were sent to prison four pedlars and 
a pig ; next three men who carried fowls to sell, and two 
men who drove asses ; then six fishermen and their fishes ; 
and after them four clerks and an archpriest : so that by 
the end of the day there had been taken more than forty 
persons, who were all brought for examination before the 
count. Meanwhile Eustace entered the town in the dis- 
guise of a woman, stole two of the count's horses, and 
threw the sergeant, who had the care of them into a bog. 

* It will be observed tbat the French words used by Eustace re- 
semble very closely the notes of a nightingale. 


On another occasion, when the count of Boulogne, with 
Philip king of France, and the prince royal, and all his 
host, were passing towards Gerros, the king with a fair 
company rested during the night at La Capiele, and near 
him was assembled his host at Sainte- Marie -au-Bois. 
Eustace, who haunted the neighbourhood with his men, 
first plundered and stripped a burgess of Corbye, and 
afterwards slew one of the king's knights. The king com- 
plained bitterly to the count, who recounted to him how 
he had been constantly foiled in his attempts to take this 
offender. The king went from La Capiele to Sangatte ; 
and on his return the rearguard of his host was formed by 
the count and his men. While the count was at his post, 
information was brought to him that Eustace lay in a small 
town near the road on which they were journeying. The 
count hastened to the place ; but Eustace, having been in- 
formed of his danger, went out of the town, and changed 
clothes with a countryman who was making a hedge. 
Shortly after this, the count issued from an adjoining 
valley, and came to Eustace, who was working at the 
hedge. " Villan," said he, " is Eustace the monk in 
this town?" "No," he replied; "he has just fled in 
the direction between you and the king's army. Follow 
quickly, and you will overtake him." The count pursued 
in the direction pointed out to him ; and Eustace, whose 
men were concealed in the neighbourhood, carried off five 
knights, six palfreys, and five war-horses, from the rear of 
his troop. The knights he took to dine with him in the 
forest ; and, to his surprise, he discovered that one of 
them was Hainfrois, his mortal enemy. Hainfrois, of 
course, expected no mercy ; but after dinner Eustace sent 


him back to the count, to tell him who was the labourer 
that he had seen making the hedge. 

The count immediately returned, and Eustace had re- 
course to another stratagem. He equipped himself as a 
leper, with cup, crutch, and clapper ; and, when the count 
passed, he began to rattle his clapper, by which he gained 
in charity from the count and his knights twenty-eight 
pence. At a short distance in the rear, a boy was leading 
one of the count's finest horses. Eustace knocked him 
down, mounted the saddle, and galloped away, leaving the 
lad to tell it to the count, who, almost mad with rage, 
turned again to pursue him. 

Eustace adopted a new disguise. He presented himself 
as a cripple, having tied up his leg, and bound about his 
thigh a piece of cow's liver, with a band all stained with 
blood ; and in this plight he hobbled along, supported by 
a stake. The count, with all his retinue, knights and 
sergeants, were in a minster, and the prior was chanting 
the mass when Eustace entered, told the count his disease, 
and prayed his charity. The count gave him twelvepence. 
Then he went to the prior where he was receiving the 
offering, and showing him his leg, " See, sir," said he, 
" in what a lamentable condition I am : my thigh is all 
rotten. Now, for the sake of God and St. Mary, pray 
these knights to give me some of their pence that I may 
get it healed." " Willingly," said the prior ; " but wait 
till the offering is ended." The prior was as good as his 
word ; and Eustace gained eight shillings by the stratagem. 
Then he left the minster, mounted the horse of the count, 
and dashed away, with his stake hanging by the side of 
his leg. The boys shouted lustily, " Halloo ! the cripple 


has stolen a horse ! see how he spurs along the valley !" 
And every knight and sergeant rushed from the minster ; 
but the thief had gained too much the start to allow of 
any hope that he might be overtaken. 

Once, when he had been tracked over the snow by the 
count, and escaped by the stratagem of having his horse 
shoed backwards, the count discovered the trick from the 
smith who had shoed his horse, and pursued towards a 
monastery, where Eustace had taken shelter, and where he 
was then dining. It happened that three carpenters were 
at work on some new buildings. As the count passed by, 
one of his sergeants rode up to the monastery, and Eustace, 
who had taken the disguise of a carpenter, came out to 
meet him. " Bless you, sir ! " said Eustace : " what men 
are these who are passing by ?" " They are outlaws," said 
the squire, "who have been exiled from their country. 
They come into this land to seek a man who is famous for 
his warlike skill. They have heard of the monk who was 
born near Boulogne, that he is a worthy man, courageous 
and hardy." "Pish, friend!" said Eustace the Monk, 
" you go on a business that is not worth a button. He is 
a lazy blackguard and a glutton. The scoundrel is at his 
dinner in the monastery. Bad luck to him ! he has nearly 
famished us all. Go in, and you will find him." The 
sergeant dismounted : " Hold my steed," said he to 
Eustace ; there is not his equal between here and Monchi. 
Take care of yourself, for he is a very devil at kicking." 
" I'll hold him safe," replied Eustace, "he shall not kick me, 
if I can help it." The sergeant entered the monastery, and 
it is hardly necessary to say that he found there no monk. 
Eustace, in the meantime, was not idle. He mounted the 
horse, shouted out, " Carpenters, take your axe — I'm off. 


Heaven preserve you!" and galloped away. "By cock's 
teeth ! thou hadst better dismount," cried the sergeant, as 
he emerged from the monastery ; " bring back the horse, 
I say." "It is too good to be given up so easily," was 
the reply of the monk, as he scampered off; "you may go 
back on foot, master vassal. Give my respects to the 
count, and tell him that, had he dismounted here, he 
would have met with a good entertainment." Eustace 
disappeared in the forest ; and the sergeant was obliged to 
make his way to the count on foot, before whom he came 
half dead with hunger and thirst, his garments torn by 
theb rambles, and covered with mud and dirt, which they had 
gathered out of the ditches and holes into which he had fallen . 

The count enraged more than ever, began a brisk hunt 
in the forest, and came upon him suddenly ; so that 
Eustace, having scarcely time to mount his horse Moriel, 
in his hurry to escape, was thrown from the saddle, and 
thus, after a desperate struggle, fell into the hands of his 
enemies. The count would have hanged him immediately ; 
but his peers were unanimously of opinion that he should 
be sent to receive judgment of the king of France. The 
count consented; and he was escorted in a cart bound 
hand and foot ; but, near Beaurains, thirty of his men fell 
upon the escort, and succeeded in rescuing their master. 
Eustace, after this narrow escape, passed the river of Cance, 
and robbed the abbot of Jumiaus of thirty marks in money. 

When the count was one day at Boulogne, soon after 
Eustace's escape, the latter came there in the disguise of a 
mackerel-vender. The sergeants of the count bought his 
mackerel, and his dinner was given him at the court ; but 
when he demanded payment, he was told to wait till 
another day. Eustace watched an opportunity when the 


count had ordered his horses to be saddled for riding, went 
with three lads to take four of the handsomest to water, 
led them to a place where his own men were in ambush, 
and carried them off; sending word by one of the count's 
retainers, whom he met, that Eustace had taken the pay- 
ment of his mackerel. The count again pursued the de- 
predator, but in vain. 

About this time Eustace seems to have formed the 
design of leaving the forests of the Boulonois, and of re- 
pairing to England, to offer his services to king John. 
One of his last tricks upon the count was performed while 
the latter was at Calais. Eustace conveyed to him a pre- 
sent of tarts and other pastry, in which, in place of fruit, 
he had put a mixture of tow, pitch, and wax, by which, 
when they were all at dinner, the count's party were 
miserably entrapped. Eustace, on his arrival before king 
John, offered to deliver up his daughter or his wife, as 
hostages for his loyalty : the king received him gladly, 
and gave him thirty galleys, with which he conquered and 
plundered the isles of Jersey and Guernsey. Thence he 
sailed to the coast of France, where he played a new trick 
upon Cadoc, the seneschal of Normandy, who sought to 
take him, and deliver him to the French king. On his 
return he took and plundered several ships ; and, at his 
own request, king John granted to him land in England 
and also gave him permission, and lent him money, to 
build a palace in London, which he finished in a most 
splendid manner. His land, as we learn from the Close 
Rolls, was at S waff ham in Norfolk.* 

* The document contained in the Close Rolls, referring to this land, 
runs thus, — : Mandatum est vicecomiti Norfolciae quod faciat habere,. 
Willelmo de Cuntes terram quse fuit Eustachio Monacho in Swaf ham, 


After Eustace had been a while in England, he seems to 
have lost the confidence of the king ; and at the same time 
friendship was established between the count of Boulogne, 
his old enemy, and John, in consequence of which the 
former paid a visit in person to the English court. Eustace 
saw immediately the necessity of leaving England, and he 
was obliged to use a stratagem to effect his escape, — for the 
king had issued orders for his arrest, and had directed the 
seas to be strictly watched. The monk took a bow and a 
fiddle, and dressed himself as a minstrel. In this garb he 
arrived at the coast, where he found a merchant ready to 
sail, and entered the ship with him. The steersman looked 
upon him as an intruder. " Thou shalt go out," said he, 
"with God's help." "That I will," replied Eustace, 
" when we are on the other side. But I think you are not 
over wise. Look! I will give you for my passage five ster- 
lings and my fiddle. I am a jongler and a minstrel, and 
you will not easily find my equal. I know all kinds of 
songs. For St. Mary's sake ! good sir, carry me over ! I 
come now from Northumberland, and have been five years 
in Ireland. I have drunk so much 'good ale,' that my 

quae est de honore Britanniae, quam dominus rex ei concessit. Teste me 
ipso, apud Lincolniam, xxiii. die Februarii." (a. d. 1216.) Another of 
the Close Rolls, four years earlier, mentions money which Eustace owed 
to the king : — " Rex vicecomiti Norfolciae, etc. Scias quod dedimus 
respectum Eustachio Monacho de xx u marcas quas nobis debet usque 
ad festum sancti Andreas, et ideo tibi mandamus quod demandam quam 
ei hide facis ponas in respectum usque ad praedictum festum ; duas 
autem marcatas terrae unde idem Eustachius saisitus fuit in balliva tua 
et quam cepisti in manum nostram ipsum in pace habere permittas 
quamdiu fuerit ad praesens in servitio nostro, et quamdiu nobis placu- 
erit. T. G. filio Petri, apud Westmonasterium xiii. die Octobris, per 
eundem coram baronibus de scaccario" (a. d. 1212.) 


face is all discoloured, and pale ; and I now hasten to drink 
again the wines of Argenteuil and Prouvins." "Tell us 
thy name." " Sir, my name is Mauferas, and I am an 
Englishman I wot!" "Thou an Englishman ?" replied 
the steersman, " I thought thou hadst been a Frenchman. 
At all events, if thou knowest any song, friend, let us have 
it." " Know I one ? Yea ! of Agoullant and Aimon, or of 
Blanchandin, or of Florence of Rome : there is not a song 
in the whole world but I know it. I should be delighted, 
without doubt, to afford you amusement ; but, in truth, 
the sea frightens me so much at present, that I could not 
sing a song worth hearing." The steersman was satisfied, 
and questioned no further the skill of his passenger, who 
arrived in the evening at Boulogne. 

It appears that king John had put to death the daughter 
of Eustace, who had been delivered up as a hostage for the 
good conduct of her father. Eustace vowed vengeance 
against John, and came to the resolution of offering his 
services to the king of France; but being somewhat doubt- 
ful of the reception which he might meet at the French 
court, he took the disguise of a courier, and carried to the 
king a letter, purporting to come from the monk, an- 
nouncing his arrival in the French territory, and offering to 
him his services. The king promised that if Eustace would 
consent to a personal interview with him he should have a 
safe conduct; upon winch, encouraged by the king's reply, 
Eustace answered, — "I am he:" and, after extorting oaths 
of loyalty, the king received him into favour. Eustace was 
again put in command of a fleet, with which he infested 
the seas, committing terrible depredations upon the party 
whom he had before served. Hence our chronicles have 
designated him by the name of traitor. In one of his naval 
engagements, when he was bringing over a French fleet to 


assist the barons who were warring against John, and their 
French auxiliaries, after a desperate engagement, he was 
defeated and slain. 

The most curious account of the last end of Eustace the 
Monk is found in an unpublished chronicle, preserved 
among the manuscripts of the British Museum. It is 
another testimony of the character which he possessed at 
that time for his supposed skill in magic, and for his use of 
supernatural agents. It required the presence of a saint 
to work his overthrow. 

On the day of St. Bartholomew the apostle, this docu- 
ment tells us, there came with a great fleet towards Sand- 
wich, Eustace the Monk, accompanied by several great 
lords of France, who expected to make an entire conquest 
of the kingdom, trusting more in the malice of this apostate 
monk than in their own strength, because he was deeply 
skilled in magic. And they had such confidence in his 
promises, on account of the prodigies which he had per- 
formed in their country, that they had brought with them 
their wives and children, and even infants in the cradle, to 
inhabit England immediately. Now, when these ships 
approached the harbour of Sandwich, they were all per- 
fectly visible, except that of Eustace, who had made a 
conjuration, so that himself and his ship could be seen by 
none ; and where his ship floated there appeared nothing 
but the waves of the sea. The people of the town were 
terribly frightened at the unexpected arrival of so great an 
army. Having no power sufficient to make any resistance 
against their enemies, they put all their hope in God ; and, 
throwing themselves on their knees, and weeping bitterly, 
they prayed, for the love of St. Bartholomew, whose fes- 
tival it was, that he would have pity on them, and deliver 
their land from the hands of the invader. They made a 


vow, also, that if God would give them victory, they would 
raise a chapel in honour of St. Bartholomew himself, and 
that they would found in it a chantry for ever. There was 
at that time in the town a man called Stephen Crabhe, 
who had formerly been very intimate with the monk 
Eustace, and whom Eustace had loved so well, that he had 
taught him many of his practices in magic. This Crabbe 
happening to be present when those of the town who 
bore arms were consulting what was best to be done, and 
moved by the lamentations of the unarmed people, he 
addressed the chief men of the town : — M Unless," said 
he, " Heaven have mercy upon us, the port of Sandwich, 
hitherto so renowned, will be invaded, and the land lost. 
But, in order that our posterity may not have reason to 
reproach us, that such a dishonour has arrived to the 
kingdom through our town, I will willingly give my life 
to save the honour of my country. For this Eustace, who 
is the leader of our enemies, cannot be seen by one who 
is ignorant of magic, and I have learnt from himself this 
enchantment. I will give to day, then, my life for the 
sake of this land, — for I know well that, in entering his 
ship, I cannot escape death from the numerous soldiers 
who are with him." After having thus spoken, Stephen 
Crabbe entered one of the only three vessels which were 
there to defend the place against this powerful armament, 
and when they approached Eustace's ship he leaped from 
his own into it. The English, to whom the ship was 
invisible, when they saw him standing and fighting, as 
they thought, on the water, shouted, and thought that he 
had been mad, or that some evil spirit had taken his form. 
Then Stephen cut off the head of Eustace, and in an 
instant his ship was visible to everybody. But Stephen 

VOL. II. 7 


himself was immediately slain, horribly mutilated, and 
thrown, piecemeal, into the sea. Suddenly there arose a 
hurricane, which in many places overthrew houses, and 
tore large trees up by the roots. It entered the haven, 
and in that instant overset all the enemy's ships, without 
injuring one of those which were stationed to defend the 
town, except that it cast a terrible fear into those who 
were embarked in them. The English said, that in the air 
there appeared a man in red garments ; that they instantly 
fell upon their knees, and cried, — " Saint Bartholomew, 
have pity on us, and succour us against our foes ;" and 
that they heard a voice which pronounced these words, — 
" I am Bartholomew, and I am sent to assist you : fear 
nothing." At these words he disappeared, and was nei- 
ther seen nor heard more. 

Thus ended the career of one of the most extraordinary 
outlaws who ever lived. " He who puts his trust in evil 
practices," observes the chronicle we have just quoted, "if 
he would know what they are worth, let him think upon 
the example of this great magician." 

After the battle, the chronicle adds, the people of Sand- 
wich bought, at the common expense, a place not far from 
the town, where they built a chapel, and dedicated it to 
St. Bartholomew. They erected houses contiguous for 
the support of aged people, of both sexes, who should be 
in poverty ; and they bought lands and rents to support 
the poor in the hospital, and to keep a chantry in the 
chapel, for ever. It was also established as a custom, that 
every year, on St. Bartholomew's day, the commons should 
assemble in the town of Sandwich, and that they should 
march in solemn procession to the hospital, each with a 
wax taper in his hand. 



T the same time that Eustace the monk was 
astonishing the good people of the Bou- 
lonnais by his exploits, the forests of merry 
England were also haunted by numerous 
outlaws, who were driven from their homes 
by the tyranny of king John. Among these, one of the 
most remarkable, and the only one the history of whose 
exploits has come down to us, was Fulke fitz Warine, the 
heir of a noble family on the borders of Wales, lord of 
Whitington and of many other broad domains. Fulke' s 
father had enjoyed the especial favour of Henry II, and 
the son had been educated in the society of the royal 
children, Richard and John. Richard, when king, made 
young Fulke guardian of the marches ; but king John, in 
revenge (it was said), for an old quarrel which had occurred 
in their boyish games, not only deprived him of his office, 
but wrested also from him his estate of Whitington, on 
the border, which he gave to Fulke' s enemy, Morys fitz 
Roger of Powis. When Fulk heard of the alliance be- 
tween the king and Morys fitz Roger, he repaired with his 
four brothers to the court, which was then at Winchester, 
and, obtaining no redress, they publicly threw up their 
allegiance to the king, and, with their cousin and staunch 

148 HISTORY or 

friend, Baldwin de Hodnet, left the city. They had scarcely 
gone a mile, when they were overtaken by fifteen knights, 
who had been sent by the king to secure their persons, 
but these, after a desperate combat, were defeated, and 
many of them slain. King John immediately proclaimed 
Fulke an outlaw, and seized all his estates. 

Fulke went straight to his manor of Alderbury, told his 
mother what had happened, and, taking with him as much 
of his riches as could be carried away, he repaired to 
Britany, accompanied with his brothers, and remained 
there some time. At length he became anxious to revisit his 
native country, and the five brethren, with their cousins 
Audulf de Bracy and Baldwin de Hodnet, secretly landed 
in England, and, concealing themselves by day "in the 
woods and moors," and travelling by night, they reached 
Alderbury, where Fulke learnt that his mother was dead. 
He then collected as many of his friends and retainers as 
would join their fortunes with his, and repaired to the forest 
called " Babbyng," beside Whitington, to espy the move- 
ments of his chief enemy, Morys fitz Roger. The latter 
received intelligence of his arrival by one of his valets, 
who had seen him in the forest, and he went forth to seek 
him, clad in superb armour, and accompanied by thirty 
knights and some five hundred men on foot. But Fulke 
fell suddenly upon them, and drove them back into the 
castle, an arrow from which wounded him in the leg. 
Morys, who was himself wounded in the shoulder, sent 
word immediately to the king that Fulke fitz Warine was 
returned to England; and John appointed a hundred 
knights to hunt after Fulke throughout the island. Many 
of these, however, appear to have borne good-will to him 
(for he was related by blood to some of the best families 


in the kingdom), and others were afraid of him, so that, 
as the writer of his history insinuates, when Fulke was in 
one part of the kingdom, the knights generally con- 
trived to be in another. 

Mortified that his enemy Morys had escaped him, Fulke 
repaired to the forest of ■ Bradene,' where he lay some 
time concealed. One day there came by the forest ten mer- 
chants, with a rich cargo of cloths, furs, spices, &c, guarded 
by fourteen sergeants-at-arms. When Fulke saw them he 
sent his brother John to inquire what people they were, 
and whence they came. One of them answered him rudely; 
but John fitz Warine still spoke courteously, and requested 
they would come and speak with his lord in the wood. 
The only answer he received was a blow from one of the 
sergeants ; on which Fulke and his men rushed forth, 
and, after a courageous resistance, captured the whole 
convoy, and carried them into the depths of the forest. 
There Fulke asked again who they were, and learnt that 
the merchandise belonged to the king. When he heard 
this, he had the rich cloths and furs measured out with 
his lance, and gave all his companions, little and great, 
a share of them, each according to his rank ; " but every 
one had large measure enough." The rest of the mer- 
chandise and wealth was also fairly divided ; and towards 
evening, after having been feasted, the merchants and 
sergeants, all wounded and lame, were "sent to carry 
Fulke's salutations to the king, and thank him for his 
good robes." He was nearly mad with rage ; and imme- 
diately ordered it to be proclaimed, that whoever would 
bring him Fulke fitz Warine, alive or dead, should be re- 
warded with a thousand pounds of silver, and all Fulke' s 
lands in England. The writer who has preserved these 


details, here takes the opportunity to state, that during the 
whole period of his exile and outlawry, Fulke never robbed 
or injured anybody but the king or his agents. 

Fulke now changed his hiding-place, and went into the 
forest of Kent, and left his knights in the thick of the 
forest, and went riding all alone on the high road. There 
he met a gay messenger, singing as he rode along, with 
a chaplet of red roses on his head. Fulke asked him to 
give him the chaplet for a token of love, and told him that 
if he had need of him he would repay it double. " Sir," 
said the messenger, " he is very sparing of his goods who 
will not give a chaplet of roses at the request of a knight." 
And he gave him the chaplet, for which courtesy Fulke 
paid him twenty sols. But the messenger knew well who 
he was, and he hastened to Canterbury, and there met the 
hundred knights who were employed to hunt after the out- 
laws, and, in consideration of a good reward, told them 
where Fulke and his companions were concealed in a little 
wood. The knights raised the country, and caused the 
wood to be surrounded as though they were hunting game, 
and placed old people and others in the fields with horns, 
to give notice if they saw Fulke and his companions issue 
from the forest. Fulke knew nothing of these formidable 
transactions ; and his suspicions were first roused by 
hearing a knight sound a great bugle. The outlaws imme- 
diately armed and issued forth. Meeting first with the 
body of knights, they attacked them, killed several at the 
first charge, and fought their way right through them. 
Then, wheeling suddenly about, they again attacked the 
knights, but others coming up to their assistance, fearing 
to be overpowered by numbers, and John fitz Warine being 
seriously wounded, they soon took to flight, leaving many 


of their enemies dead on the place. When they had dis- 
tanced their pursuers, the outlaws quitted their jaded 
horses, and fled on foot to an abbey that was near at hand. 
The porter, seeing them approach, ran to shut the gates 
upon them, but Fulke's brother Alayne, who was tall, 
jumped over the wall, wrested the keys from the porter, 
and let his companions enter. Fulke put on the dress of 
an old monk, and took a great staff in his hand, and 
closing the gate behind him, went along the road limping 
with one foot, and supporting his whole body on the great 
staff. Soon there came knights and sergeants, and a mul- 
titude of people. A knight said, " Old monk, have you 
seen any armed knights pass this way? " " Yes, sir, and 
may God repay them the hurt they have done me ! " "And 
what have they done?" said the knight. "Sir," said 
Fulke, "I am old, as you see, and unable to help 
myself, I am so weak ! And lo ! seven came on horse, 
and about fifteen on foot, and, because I could not get 
readily out of their way, they made no stay, but run over me, 
and it is a chance I was not killed." "Say no more," 
said the knight, "you shall have your revenge before 
evening." The knights and their companions passed on, 
and were soon a league or more beyond the abbey. 

Fulke remained a while to see what would happen. He 
had not been there long, when sir Gyrard de Malfee and 
ten knights well mounted, who had come from beyond 
sea, passed along the same road, leading some choice horses. 
Then says Gyrard in derision, " Here is a great fat monk ; 
I'll warrant his belly would hold two gallons!" Fulke, 
without uttering a word, raised his staff, and struck the 
knight to the ground ; and his companions, who were 
watching from the abbey gate, hurried to his assistance, 


took and bound sir Gyrard and his knights, and locked 
them up in the porter's lodge, and, seizing their horses, 
set off at full gallop, and never stopped till they arrived at 
Huggeford, where Fulke' s kinsman, sir Walter de Hugge- 
ford, gave them shelter. Here John fitz Warine was 
cured of his wound. 

After Fulke had remained a few days at Huggeford, a 
messenger from Hubert, archbishop of Canterbury, arrived, 
who had been long seeking him in different parts, and who 
informed him that the archbishop wished for an interview 
with him. The outlaws again went into Kent, and leaving 
his men in the same wood where they had formerly lodged, 
Fulke and his brother William, disguised as merchants, 
entered the city of Canterbury, and were received into the 
archbishop's palace. The archbishop told Fulke that his 
brother Theobald, who had married dame Maude de Caus, 
"a very rich lady, and the most beautiful in all England," 
was dead ; that king John had attempted to get possession 
of the lady to satisfy his lust ; that she had taken shelter 
with him, and that he had hid her in his palace. He con- 
cluded by urging Fulke to marry the lady. Fulke con- 
sented, the marriage was privately celebrated, and, after 
remaining there two days, he returned to his companions 
in the wood, and told them what he had done. The out- 
laws were merry together, and laughed and joked, and 
called him " hosebaunde," and asked him whither he 
should carry his fair lady, into his castle or into his 
forest ? 

It happened at this time that Fulke was much scanda- 
lized by the conduct of a wicked knight of the north 
country, named Peter de Bruvyle, who had collected 
together a number of dissolute people, and went about 


murdering and robbing honest people, and he did this 
under the name of Fulke fitz Warine. One night he broke 
into the house of a knight named Robert fitz Sampson, 
who dwelt on the Scottish border, and who, with his lady, 
had often received Fulke fitz Warine in his wanderings, and 
treated him with hospitality. Fulke, who seldom ventured 
to remain long in one place, had repaired to the northern 
border, and was proceeding to the house of Robert fitz 
Sampson the very night it was visited by Peter de Bruvyle. 
As he approached, he saw a great light in the court, and 
heard boisterous shouts in the hall. Having placed his 
companions outside, he climbed over the fence and entered 
the court, and then he saw through the hall window the 
robbers seated at supper, with masks on, and Robert fitz 
Sampson and his good dame, and the members of their 
household, lay bound on one side of the hall. And the 
men at table addressed their leader by the name of sir 
Fulke, while the lady was piteously crying out to him, 
" Ha ! sir Fulke, why do you treat us thus ? I never 
injured you, but have always loved you to the best of my 
power." When Fulke heard the lady speak thus, he 
could restrain himself no longer, but drawing his sword 
and calling his companions, he burst suddenly into the 
hall. The robbers were struck dumb with terror at this 
unexpected visit ; and Fulke obliged Peter de Bruvyle to 
bind his own men and cut off their heads, after which he 
beheaded Peter himself with his own hands. Fulke and 
his companions then unbound Robert fitz Sampson and 
his fellow sufferers, and they all supped merrily together. 

Fulke had many narrow escapes from his enemies, but 
he was always ready with expedients. Sometimes the 
king traced the outlaws by the foot-marks of their horses ; 



and then Fulke had their shoes reversed, by which means 
the pursuers were thrown at once upon the wrong track. 
When Fulke took his leave of Robert fitz Sampson, he 
again visited his own paternal manor of Alderbury, and 
established himself in the forest on the banks of the river. 
He called to him one of his most faithful companions, 
John de Raunpaygne. — " John," said he, " you know 
much of minstrelsy and jonglerie ; dare you go to Whitington 
and play before Morys fitz Roger, and see what he is 
about?" "Yea," said John; and he crushed a certain 
herb and put it in his mouth, and suddenly his face began 
to swell and became discoloured, so that his own companions 
scarcely knew him. He then dressed himself like a poor 
man, and took his box with his instrument, and a great 
staff in his hand, and came to Whitington, and told the 
porter he was a minstrel. The porter led him in to sir 
Morys, who asked him where he was born. " Sir," said 
he, "in the marches of Scotland." "And what news are 
there?" said sir Morys. "Sir, I know none, except of 
sir Fulke fitz Warine, who was slain the other night while 
committing a robbery in the house of sir Robert fitz 
Sampson." "Is that true you tell me?" "Yea, truly," 
said John de Raunpaygne ; " all the people of the country 
say so." * Minstrel," said sir Morys, "for your good 
news I will give you this cup of fine silver." The minstrel 
took the cup, and thanked 'his good lord' heartily. He 
learnt that sir Morys was going with a small company to 
Shrewsbury the next day ; but before he left the castle he 
fell into a quarrel with the ' ribalds' and slew one of them. 
The next morning Fulke, according to the information 
he had thus obtained, placed himself with his men on the 
way between Whitington and Shrewsbury. Morys soon 


made his appearance, and recognized Fulke by his arms. 
" Now," said he, " I know that it is true that minstrels are 
liars." The outlaws slew Morys fitz Roger and all his 
knights, and, as the chronicler of these events pithily 
observes, "by so many the fewer enemies had Fulke." 

Fulke and his companions now went to the court of the 
prince of Wales, and remained with him for some time, 
and aided him in his wars against king John, and by his 
means he obtained forcible possession of his own castle of 
Whitington. From thence for some time he carried on 
constant warfare with his enemies. In a battle with sir 
John Lestrange, two of Fulke's brothers, Alayn and 
Philip, were severely wounded, and his cousin, Audulf de 
Bracy, was taken prisoner and carried to Shrewsbury, and 
delivered to the king, who threatened to hang him. The 
skill of John de Raunpaygne was again called into action. 
He dressed himself very richly, "like a great count or 
baron ," dyed his hair and his body as black as jet, so 
that nothing but his teeth was left white ; hung a very fair 
tabour about his neck ; mounted a handsome palfrey, and 
rode straight to the castle of Shrewsbury. When he came 
before the king he fell on his knees, and saluted him very 
courteously. King John returned the salutation, and 
asked him who he was. " Sire," said he, "I am an 
Ethiopian minstrel, born in Ethiopia." Said the king, 
"Are all the people of that country of your colour?" 
"Yea, my lord, both men and women." Then the king 
asked, "What say they in foreign countries of me?" 
"Sire," said he, "you are the most renowned king in all 
Christendom, and it is on account of your great renown 
that I am come to see you." "Fair sir," said the king, 
"you are welcome." "Sire, my lord, many thanks!" 


replied John de Raunpaygne. After the king was gone to 
his bed, sir Henry de Audeley (the constable of the castle) 
sent for the black minstrel, and he was conducted to his 
chamber; and there they "made great melody;" and 
when sir Henry had drunk pretty deeply, he called a valet 
and said, " Go fetch sir Audulf de Bracy, whom the king 
will put to death to-morrow ; he shall have one merry 
night before he dies." The valet soon brought sir Audulf 
into the chamber, and then they talked and joked toge- 
ther. John de Raunpaygne began a song which sir Audulf 
used to sing, on which sir Audulf lifted up his head, 
looked him in the face, and with some difficulty recognized 
him. When sir Henry asked to drink, John de Raunpaygne 
jumped on his feet and served the cup round, in doing 
which he cleverly threw into it a powder, which in a short 
time threw all who drank of it into a profound sleep. 
John de Raunpaygne then took one of the king's fools 
who was there, placed him between the two knights who 
had sir Audulf in guard, and making a rope of the table 
cloths and towels in the chamber, the two friends let 
themselves down from a window which looked over the 
river, and made the best of their way to Whitington, where 
they were joyfully received by Fulke and his companions. 
Meanwhile the adventures of his young wife were not 
less varied than those of Fulke himself. During the 
first year of her marriage she remained in sanctuary at 
Canterbury, where she gave birth to a daughter. Her hus- 
band then took her away by night, and she was privately 
conveyed to Huggeford, at which place and at Alberbury she 
was concealed for some time. But king John, furious at her 
marriage with Fulke, and more eager to indulge his wicked 
inclinations, employed agents to spy her out and carry her 


off, so that she could never stay long at one place. She was 
thus at length driven from Alderbury, and closely pursued 
to Shrewsbury, where, being in a condition unfit for tra- 
velling, she took shelter in St. Mary's church, and was 
there delivered of a second daughter. Her third child, a 
boy, which came into the world two months before its time, 
was born at the top of a Welsh mountain, and was baptized 
in a neighbouring stream. 

Through the king's intrigues, Fulke was at length 
obliged to quit Wales, and he repaired to France, where, 
under a feigned name, he met with a hospitable reception, 
and distinguished himself by his skill and prowess in justs 
and tournaments. The king of France at last found who 
he was, and offered him lands in France if he would re- 
linquish his own country ; but Fulke replied that he was 
unworthy to receive lands of another, who could not defend 
his own at home, and he took his leave and repaired to the 
sea coast. There he saw a mariner, whose ship was waiting 
at anchor. " Fair sir," said Fulke, " is that ship yours?" 
"Yea, sir," he replied. "What is your name?" said 
Fulke. "Mador," was the reply. "Friend Mador," 
said Fulke, "art thou well acquainted with the sea?" 
" Truly, sir, there is not a land of which the fame has 
reached Christendom, to which I cannot guide safely a 
ship." "Truly," said Fulke, "yours is a dangerous pro- 
fession. Tell me, Mador, fair friend, of what death did 
your father die?" Mador replied that he was drowned in 
the sea. "And your grandfather?" "The same." 
"And your great-grandfather?" "Truly, in the same 
manner; all my kin that I know to the fourth degree." 
" Truly," said Fulke, " you are fool-hardy to venture upon 
the sea again !" "Sir," said he, "why so? every crea- 


ture will have the death to which he is destined. If you 
please, sir, answer my question ; where died your father?" 
"In his bed," replied Fulke. "And your grandfather?" 
"In his bed, too; all my lineage, as far as I know, died 
in their beds." "Truly, sir, said Mador, "since all your 
lineage died in their beds, I wonder you ever dare ventuie 
into any bed." And Fulke saw, as the narrator tells us, 
that Mador said right, and that no one knows where he is 
destined to die, on land or on water. 

With the assistance of Mador, Fulke fitted out and 
manned a good ship, with which for a full year he infested 
the English coast, robbing the king's navy, until after 
having passed the north of Scotland, he was carried away 
by a storm to the coasts of Spain and Africa. His adven- 
tures among dragons and Saracens during this period of 
his history partake so much of romance, that we will pass 
them over in silence, and return at once with our hero to 
England, whence he had been so long gone that king John 
seemed almost to have forgotten him. One day Fulke and 
his companions suddenly arrived at Dover, and, learning 
that the king was at Windsor, they left the ship in a place 
of safety, under the care of Mador, and, travelling as usually 
from place to place by night, they established themselves 
safely in a part of Windsor forest which was well known 
to them, and, hearing horns blow at a distance, Fulke 
placed his party in ambush, and went out "to spy adven- 
tures." As he went along he fell in with an old charcoal 
burner, all black with coal-dust, and bearing in his hand 
a three-forked prong. Fulke took this man's clothes 
and his charcoal, and gave him ten besants to go 
away and be silent. He then put on the sooty clothes, 
seated himself down by the fire, and pretended to be busily 


occupied in stirring his coals this way and that way, when 
the king and three knights, all on foot, made their appear- 
ance. The intruders remained a few minutes laughing at 
the grotesque appearance of the supposed charcoal- 
burner ; but at last the king said, " Master villan, have you 
seen any stag or doe pass this way?" Fulke, who had 
thrown down his prong, and fallen in a clownish manner 
on his knees, replied, " Yea, my lord, just now ! " "What 
kind of one did you see ? " said the king. M Sir, my lord, 
a stag, and he had long horns." " Where is it? " " Sir, 
my lord, I could undertake to lead you where I saw it." 
" Onwards, quick, master villan, and we will follow ! ' 
The king and his knights were armed with bows, and in- 
tended shooting the stag as it passed. But Fulke led him 
to the spot where his men were in ambush, and there, pre- 
tending he would go and drive out the game, he brought 
out his men, and surrounded the monarch and his knights. 
John trembled with fear, for he had great dread of Fulke 
fitz Warine, and knew well that he had no claim upon his 
mercy. He therefore readily consented to pardon him 
and restore him to his heritage, on condition that he should 
be allowed to return to his court without hurt, and he con- 
firmed his promise by the oaths of himself and his three 
companions. But no sooner was the king out of danger, 
than he told his courtiers what had happened, broke his 
oathj and gave directions for pursuing the outlaws and 
bringing them before him, dead or alive. One of John's 
favorites, a foreign knight named sir James of Normandy, 
boastingly offered to lead the pursuit, telling the king that 
the English barons betrayed his interests for their consan- 
guinity to the fitz Warines. 

John de Raunpaygne had fortunately espied the approach 



of sir James and his party, and given warning to the other 
outlaws, who saw that it was impossible to escape without 
fighting their assailants. They therefore set upon them 
vigorously, and slew them all except sir James himself. 
Then they dismounted from their horses, and took those 
of their pursuers, which were better and swifter, and clad 
themselves also in their gay armour ; and Fulke fitz Warine 
changed armour with sir James of Normandy, whose mouth 
they gagged, and whose arms they bound as though he had 
been a prisoner. In this condition Fulke took him back 
to the king. The latter, supposing the bound knight was 
his enemy Fulke, could hardly contain his joy : and he gave 
Fulke, whom he took by his armour to be sir James of 
Normandy, his own good steed to pursue the rest of the 
outlaws. As soon as he was gone, the king ordered his 
prisoner to be hanged on a tree in the forest ; but his dis- 
may was great when on his helmet being taken off, he found 
it was his own knight. St. James then told the king 
what had happened, and a much larger body set off to 
pursue Fulke, and revenge the first disaster. These came 
suddenly upon the outlaws, who were occupied in a thicket 
with William fitz Warine, who had been severely wounded 
in the previous fray. The outlaws were now nearly over- 
powered, and with difficulty succeeded in carrying off 
Fulke, who was himself grievously wounded, to their ship, 
leaving his brother William in the hands of their enemies. 
Fulke and his companions again visited the countries of 
the infidels, and gained there great wealth and reputa- 
tion, and found some of their companions from whom 
they had formerly been separated. After various romantic 
adventures, they returned secretly to England laden with 
riches, and it was determined that John de Raunpaygne, so 


clever at disguises, should take upon him the character of 
a merchant, and go to London and spy king John. So 
John de Raunpaygne put on rich apparel, and spoke a sort 
of corrupt Latin, and, coming to London, he presented 
himself to the mayor, who understood his language tole- 
rably well. And the mayor, charmed with his munificent 
behaviour, formed a warm attachment for him, and took 
him and presented him to the king of Westminster, whom 
he saluted very courteously in his broken Latin. Then the 
king asked him who he was, and whence he came. " Sire," 
said John de Raunpaygne, " I am a merchant of Greece, 
and I have been in Babylonia, and Alexandria, and India 
Major, and I bring a ship laden with avoirdupoise, rich 
clothes, precious stones, horses, and other riches which 
might be of great profit to this kingdom. 5 ' Said the king, 
" It is my will that you and yours be welcome in my lands, 
and I will be your warrant." And the mayor and the 
merchant were made to stay and dine there in the presence 
of the king. At length there came two sergeants-at-mace, 
who led into the hall a large knight, very muscularly shaped, 
with a long and black beard, but meanly clad; and they 
seated him in the middle of the court, and gave him to 
eat. The merchant asked the mayor who he was, and he 
answered that it was a knight named William fitz Warine, 
and told him the whole affair of him and his brothers. 

John de Raunpaygne was rejoiced at this unexpected ad- 
venture, for he supposed that William had been dead, and he 
gave notice of it without delay to Fulke, who brought up his 
ship as near to the city as he could. The next day, the pre- 
tended merchant presented a beautiful palfrey to the king, 
and in a day or two he had gained so much respect that he 
was allowed to go about as he liked in the court, without sus- 


picion. One day he took his companions and armed them 
well, and dressed them outwardly in mariners' gowns, and 
came to court at Westminster. They were nobly received 
there, and saw William fitz Warine ; and when his keepers 
led him away to prison, the merchant and his mariners 
followed them, and, when they least expected it, fell upon 
them and wrested their prisoner from them, and in spite 
of all opposition carried him to the boat, and so got away 
in their ship and put out to sea. It is hardly necessary to 
say that Fulke was right joyous to recover his brother 

After staying a few months in Britany, the outlaws again 
repaired with their ship to the English coast, and landed 
in one of their favorite haunts, the New Forest. There, 
by accident, they met the king hunting a boar, and, ren- 
dered wise by experience, they seized him and six knights 
who were with him, carried them into their ship and put 
out to sea, King John now gave himself up for lost, and 
was willing to agree to any terms that might be proposed; 
and after some negotiation the king suddenly changed his 
sentiments, and not only pardoned Fulke but actually took 
him into favour. The sincerity of this reconciliation is 
proved by the letters of protection and pardon which are 
still preserved on the patent and close rolls in the Tower 
of London, although it appears by these that the king was 
in Normandy, and not in England, when it was ratified. 
In the fifth year of his reign, the month of September 1203, 
the king gives Fulke fitz Warine and his companions three 
safe-conducts to repair to his court. The pardon is dated 
in the month of November,* and it is followed by a list of his 

* The pardon is worded as follows ; — " Rex, etc. justiciariis, vice- 


chief companions who were pardoned at the same time, 
amounting in number to fifty-three, containing several of the 
nameswhich have occurred in the foregoinghistory. Thenext 
year the king restored to him his castle of Whitington, as 
well as the estates of his wife, the lady Maude or Matilda, 
whom he had married at the instigation of her brother-in- 
law, the archbishop of Canterbury. From this time Fulke 
appears to have been a faithful servant to his king, and 
finally died quietly in hisbed,as it appears that his forefathers 
had done before him. Dugdale has led many writers into 
error by confounding this Fulke fitz Warine with his son, 
who was drowned at the battle of Lewes, in 1264. 

The adventures of Fulke fitz Warine appear to have been 
long popular both in French and in English verse, the former 
written probably very soon after the date of the events to 
which they relate. They are now only preserved in a prose 
paraphrase of the French poem, which is itself found in 
a manuscript in the British Museum, written in the reign 
of Edward II. From this manuscript an edition was 
printed in Paris some five or six years ago.* 

comitibus, etc. Sciatis quod nos recepimus in gratiam et benevolentiam 
nostram Fulconem filium Guarini, ad petitionem venerabibs patris 
nostri J. Norwicensis episcopi et comitis W. Saresberiensis, fratris 
nostri, reraittentes ei excessus quos fecit, eique pardonantes fugam et 
utlagariam in eum promulgatam. Et ideo vobis mandamus et firmiter 
przecipimus, quod firmam pacem nostram habeat ubicumque venerit. 
Teste, etc." 

* Histoire de Foulques fitz-Warin, pubbee d'apres un manuscrit du 
Musee Britannique, par Francisque Michel. 8vo, Paris, 1840. 



HE period which we are accustomed to 
call the middle ages has left us, in its lite- 
rature, many interesting, but at the same 
time extremely dark andintricate problems. 
In the semi-heroic period of the history 
of most peoples, the national poetry appears in the form 
of cycles, each having for its subject some grand national 
story, some tradition of times a little more ancient, which 
had become a matter of national exultation or of national 
sorrow. Greece had several such cycles. Among our 
Anglo-Saxon forefathers there was a great cycle parallel 
apparently to that to which belongs the High German 
Nibelungen Lied, of which there has fortunately been pre- 
served the fine poem of the adventures of Beowulf the 
Geat, and of which fragments of other poems are found in 
the Exeter book, and in some stray leaves of other manu- 
scripts. This cycle was succeeded, after the Normans 
came in, by that of Arthur and his knights, by the many 
romances which are supposed to be of Armorican origin, 
and by the cycle of Charlemagne and his peers. Of the 
history of the Anglo-Saxon cycle we know nothing ; and 
that of those which followed it, is not much less obscure. 
When the Norman cycles became popular in England, 
the heroes of the Anglo-Saxon poetry were forgotten, 


except perhaps in some few instances where the shadow 
of the older literature became degraded into the form of 
ballads, which might be sung by the peasant at his ale or 
at his labour. We need not be surprised, therefore, if 
we find ballad cycles existing contemporary with and inde- 
pendent of the cycles of the romances. In fact, we do 
find such cycles ; and, as might have been supposed, the 
character of the persons in the older form, if there existed 
any older form, is entirely moulded down to suit that of 
the people amongst whom these ballads were popular. 
The most extraordinary ballad cycle — indeed, the only one 
which has preserved its popularity down to our own times, 
and of which we have large remains— is that of Robin 

The only attempt which has been made to investigate 
the history of the popular cycle of Robin Hood, and to 
trace its vicissitudes and transformations, is contained in a 
tract written, curiously enough, as a thesis preparatory to 
taking the degree of doctor in the university of Paris, its 
author being, we believe, a Scotchman.* In fact, it is 
one specimen of the new state of things in France, which 
has rejected the old fashion of writing probatory essays on 
the characters of Themis to cles and Cicero, and such folks, 
for the introduction of more modern subjects and more 
modern notions. Mr. Barry has treated his subject with 
cleverness and ingenuity; but unfortunately he wanted 
materials, and was thus deficient in a knowledge of that 
on which he wrote. He does not appear to have read any 
more of the older ballads than that of Robin Hood and the 

* These de Litterature sur les Vicissitudes et les Transformations 
du Cycle populaire de Robin Hood. Paris, 1832. 


Potter, not having seen that printed in the last edition of 
Ritson's Robin Hood, under the title of Robin Hood and the 
Monk, nor even that most important poem the 'Lytell Geste.' 
He was, moreover, unacquainted with the manuscripts, 
and knew but little of the history and philology of our 
language and our poetry. We need not give a stronger 
proof of this than his derivation of yeoman from yew-man, 
i. e. archer (p. 11). His theory is, that the hero of the 
cycle, Robin Hood, was one of the Saxons who became 
outlaws in opposing the intrusion and rapacity of the 
Normans — that the ballads were originally written in alli- 
terative verse at the beginning of the thirteenth century — 
and that in their transformed shape they still picture to 
us the feelings of the Saxon peasantry towards their Nor- 
man governors. Before, however, considering this hypo- 
thesis as to the hero, and as to the origin of the cycle, we 
will describe and arrange what appear to be the remains of 
the cycle in its earlier form. 

It was necessary to the character of the hero of a popular 
cycle in England, during some centuries after the Con- 
quest, that he should be signalized by his depredations 
upon the king's deer. The sheriff and his officers, who 
enforced the severe forest-laws of the Norman kings, were 
the oppressors against whom the heroes of the popular 
romance must make war, and in deceiving whom they 
must show their craftiness and activity. It is curious, 
however, that this hostile feeling is always directed against 
the persons, and not against the authority with which they 
were armed. In the ballads, the peasantry of England 
appears always loyal ; and one of their most popular cycles 
was that in which the monarch is represented as being 
benighted or misled in some one of his forests, and meet- 


ing there with some of the destroyers of his deer, who by 
their loyalty and joviality obtain his forgiveness and favour. 
One of the earliest poems on the subject to which we 
allude, is that of king Edward and the Shepherd, pre- 
served in the same manuscript of the Public Library of the 
university of Cambridge, which contains the oldest ballad 
of Robin Hood. Edward had ridden out into Windsor 
Forest, as it would seem, attended only by his groom, and 
in the course of his wanderings met with a shepherd, on 
whose want of courtesy the poet has been pleased to pass 
a joke. 

" With a shepherde con he mete, 
And gret hym with wordis swete, 

Without any delay ; 
The shepherde lovyd his hatte so well, 
He did hit of nevre a dele, 

But seld, 'Sir, gudday!' "* 

In reply to the king's inquiries, the shepherd stated that 
he was born in Windsor, but that he had been compelled 
to desert his home by the oppressive conduct of the king's 
purveyors, who not only robbed him of his cattle, leaving him 
only a notched stick as an acknowledgment, but had vio- 
lated his daughter, and driven his wife, who was old and 
hoary, out of doors. His name, he said, was Adam the 
shepherd. The king called himself Jolly Robin, and said 
that he was the son of a Welsh knight, that his mother's 
name was dame Isabel, and that he had a young son who 
was much loved by the queen, and he promised that by 
his influence he would procure justice to be done to the 

* Gret, greeted — gudday, good day. 


shepherd, whom he invited to visit him at the court the 
following day. After some conversation, the shepherd 
proposed that his new acquaintance, Jolly Robin, should 
go home and dine with him, an offer which was imme- 
diately accepted ; and on the way Adam boasted much of 
his skill in the use not of the bow but of the sling. 
Presently they saw some rabbits (conyngs), and the king 
proposed that the shepherd should make good his vaunt 
by killing one of them. The shepherd, however, dissembled. 

" Hit is alle the kynges waren, 
Ther is nouther kny3t ne sqwayre, 

That dar do sich a dede, 
An conyng here to sla 
And with the trespas away to ga, 

But his side shulde blede. 
The warner is hardy and fell, 
Sertanly, as I the tell, 

He will take no mede. 
Whoso dose here sich maistrye. 
Bethu wel sicer he shal abye, 

And unto preson lede."* 

The king continued to urge his proposal, and was further 
admonished by his companion. 

" The herd bade, ' let sech wordis be, 
Sum man my3t here the, 

The were better be still. 
Wode has erys, felde has sigt : 
Were the forster here now right, 

They wordis shuld like the ille. 

* Squayre, squire — sicer, sure — he shal able, suffer retribution. 


He has with hym jong men thre, 
Thei be archers of this contre, 

The kyng to serve at wille, 
To kepe the dere both day and nyjt ; 
And for theire luf a loge is di3t, 

Full hye upon an hill.' " * 

The two friends went to dinner, and, after having taught 
Jolly Kobin his drinking words passilodion and berafrynde, 
the ale made the shepherd's heart more open, and, enjoin- 
ing secrecy to his guest, he brought forth pasties of rabbit 
and venison, with abundance of excellent wine. 

" • Sir,' he seid, ' asay of this : 

Thei were jisterday qwyk, i-wysse, 

Certan, withouten lye, 
Hider thei come be mone-li3t. 
Eete therof well aplijt ; 

And schewe no curtasye.' " 

Afterwards, he explained to the king how he had two 
slings, with the larger of which he slew deer, and with 
the smaller rabbits; and how, under cover of night, he 
conveyed them home, and he showed him his secret cellar, 
which was well filled with venison and other dainties. On 
his return home, the king was accompanied through the 
forest by his new acquaintance, who killed a rabbit with 
his smaller sling, boasting much of the superiority of his 
weapon over the bow, — 

* Erys, ears — they, thy — like the ille, please thee ill — luf, living, 
leofan, A.— S. 

VOL. II. 8 


" ' Sir,' he seid, ' for soth I trowe 
This is behette any bowe, 

For alle the fedart schafte.' " 

and promised to visit Jolly Robin at the court. There, 
after his arrival next day, the joke was carried on for 
some time, until the shepherd, to his no small terror, 
discovered the quality of the confidant to whom he had 
shown his venison. Here the poem in the manuscript 
ends abruptly, but we can scarcely doubt that the king 
ordered reparation to be made to him for the oppressions 
he had suffered, and perhaps that he made him one of the 
keepers of his forests. 

Another early ballad on the same subject, but still more 
imperfect, was printed in the British Bibliographer (vol. 
iv), under the title of " The Kyng and the Hermit." 
The hermit seems to be the Friar Tuck, and perhaps the 
Curtal Friar of the Robin Hood ballads. The scene is 
here laid in the forest of Sherwood. 

" It befelle be god Edwards days, 
For soth so the romans seys, 

Harkyng, I will you telle, 
The kyng to Scherwod gan wend, 
On hys pleyng for to lend, 

* * * 

For to solas hym that stond, 
The grete herte for to hunte 
In frythys and in felle."* 

Allured by the hope of finding a large herd of deer, 
* Harkyng, hearken — stond, a while. 


which had been seen by an old forester, the king wandered 
from his company, lost his way in the forest, and at last 
took shelter in the hut of a hermit. The latter at first 
received his guest reluctantly; but the king gradually gained 
his confidence, and venison and wine were brought forth 
in abundance, the drinking words being fusty baudyas 
and stryke pantnere. The king, who in this adventure 
assumed the name of Jack Fletcher, and represented him- 
self as a poor courtier, invited the hermit to court, and 
the latter, before parting, showed him his bows and 
arrows, and his secret stores, of the first of which, by his 
name, he naturally supposed him to have some knowledge. 

" Into a chambyr he hym lede ; 
The kyng sauwe aboute the hermytes bed 

Brod arowys hynge. 
The frere gaff him a bow in hond : 
' Jake,' he seyd, ' draw up the bond ;' 

He myght oneth styre the streng, 
1 Sir,' he seyd, ' so have I blys, 
There is no archer that may schot in this, 

That is "with my lord the kyng.' 

" An arow of an elle long 
In hys bow he it throng, 

And to the hede he gan it hale. 
1 Ther is no dere in this foreste, 
And it wolde one hym teste, 

Bot it schuld spyll his skale. 
Jake, sith thou can of flecher crafte 
Thou may me ese with a schafte.' 

Than seyd Jake, ' I schall.' " * 

The fragment ends with the departure of the king, but 
* Oneth styre, hardly stir. 


there can be no doubt of the poem having ended prosper- 
ously for the hermit. 

The second line which we have quoted from this latter 
poem, would almost lead us to imagine that there had been 
a French original, did not the subject seem strongly to 
contradict such a supposition. And, indeed, at the time 
when this ballad was written, the expressions "as the 
romans says," seems to have become a mere hackneyed 
phrase, used without any meaning. The spirit of the 
Norman romances was not that of introducing the pea- 
sant and the deer-stealer in a favorable point of view, 
or of bringing them to prosperity or royal favour. This 
cycle was the groundwork of many ballads in the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries, of which one is the well-known 
ballad of The King and the Miller of Mansfield, in his in- 
troductory observations on which Percy has pointed out 
several others of the same class.* A similar and very 
curious anecdote is told of Henry II by Giraldus Cam- 
brensis, which is either the groundwork of the incident 
in the popular poetry of a later era, or perhaps a proof 
of the existence of such ballads at that time ; it is printed 
in the Reliquice Antiquce, (vol. i, p. 147.) The earliest 
story of the kind is perhaps the legend of king Alfred's 
residence with the neat-herd ; the latest, one which has 
been told, we think, as having occurred in the reign of 
queen Anne. Prince George of Denmark having landed 
unexpectedly at Bristol, and not having been recognized 
by the merchants who were at the time on the pier where 
he was walking, was accosted by a poor artisan, who asked 

* They have furnished our great romance writer with the hint of a 
beautiful scene in Ivanhoe. 


him if he were not the queen's husband, expressed his 
regret that so little respect had been shown to him, and 
invited him to partake of his own humble fare. The 
prince dined with the artisan, who was afterwards, with his 
wife, invited to court by the queen, and himself knighted, 
and his wife presented, if we remember right, with a 

We proceed to the kindred cycle which celebrated the 
deeds of the open outlaw, personified in the character of 
Robin Hood. That the Robin Hood ballads were popular 
before the middle of the fourteenth century, we have direct 
testimony. Fordun, who wrote towards 1350, or rather, 
perhaps, Bowyer, who interpolated Fordun' s history in 
the fifteenth century, observes, " Hoc in tempore (i. e. 
Hen. Ill) de exhseredatis surrexit et caput erexit ille famo- 
sissimus sicarius Robertus Hode et Littell Johanne, cum 
eorum complicibus, de quibus stolidum vulgus hianter in 
comcediis et tragcediis prurientur festum faciunt, et super 
caeteras romancias, mimos, et bardanos cantitare dilectan- 
tur. 3 ' (Ed. Hearne, p. 774.) And in that remarkable and 
valuable poem, The Visions of Piers Plowman, which was 
written in the reign of Edward III, Sloth is introduced as 
confessing, amongst other things, 

" But I kan rymes of Robyn Hood, 
And Randolf erl of Chestre ; 
Ac neither of oure Lord ne of oure Lady 
The leeste that evere was maked." 

(I. 3277) 

These passages, particularly that of Fordun, describe a 
cycle of poetry essentially popular, which originated with 
the people and rested with the people, but of which, as it 


then existed, it has been supposed that we have no remain- 
ing specimen. 

We are satisfied, however, that we have a Robin Hood 
ballad of the fourteenth century, one of those which 
were sung by the contemporaries of Fordun and the 
author of Piers Plowman's Visions. It is contained 
in a manuscript preserved in the public library of the 
University of Cambridge (Ff. 5. 48) ; has been incor- 
rectly printed in Jamieson's Ballads ; still more inaccu- 
rately in the Ancient Metrical Tales, edited by Mr. 
Hartshorne; and again, though not altogether accu- 
rately, in the last edition of Ritson's Robin Hood, as 
may be seen by comparing the few lines we shall presently 
quote from it. It is the same manuscript which was 
once in the possession of Withers the poet, who lent it 
to Bedwell, and the latter printed from it that singular 
ballad The Tournament of Tottenham. Internal evidence 
seems to prove that the greater part of the poems con- 
tained in this manuscript are as old as the reign of 
Edward II ; we have now but an indistinct recollection 
of the hand-writing, but it is on paper, and if this may 
be looked on as inconsistent with the supposition that 
it is itself of that age, it may be a verbatim copy from 
a manuscript of that date. Some of the reasons which 
seem to support this idea, are : — 

(I.) One article of this manuscript, near the middle of 
the volume, is a brief poetical chronicle of the kings of 
England. It is brought down to the time of Edward II, 
in whose reign it ends thus — 

" After him (i. e. Ed. I.) regned Edwarde his sone, 
And hase his londe alle and some, 


Make we us glaad and blithe, lordingus, 

For thus endyn these kingus. 

Jhesu Crist and saint Lenard 

Save this king Edward, 

And gif hym grace his londe to 5eme, 

That Jhesu Crist be to queme, 

Thrug his hestis ten : 

Syng we now alle, Amen." — Explicit. 

We can easily imagine that in many instances a poem 
like this, written at one period, may have been copied ver- 
batim at a later period without continuation ; but, from 
the general style of the present manuscript, and from the 
consideration that this poem as well as many others in the 
same volume were evidently intended for recitation, we 
can hardly suppose that from political feeling such a con- 
clusion as the foregoing would have been retained after 
the second Edward's death. It is worthy of remark, that 
a poem apparently the same as this, is found in the 
Auchinlec Manuscript, which seems, by the description of 
Sir Walter Scott, to have been continued up to the begin- 
ning of the next reign, when that manuscript was written. 
— " He appears to have concluded his history during the 
minority of Edward III The concluding para- 
graph begins — 

" Now Jesu Crist and seyn[t] Richard 
Save the yong king Edward, 
And jif him grace his land to jeme, 
That it be Jesu Crist to queme,' &c." 

Explicit liber Regum Anglice. 

(II.) The poem of King Edward and the Shepherd, 
which we have already described, and which is preserved 


in this manuscript, bears internal proofs of having been 
written during the reign of the second Edward. It must 
not be forgotten that the spirit and apparent aim of this 
cycle of poems was to stir up among the people loyalty 
towards their king and hatred towards the overbearing 
barons, and therefore it might naturally be expected, that 
the king introduced as the object of their esteem would be 
the reigning monarch.* The present poem may perhaps 
have been an alteration of the previously existing ballad of 
Edward the First and his Reeve, which is mentioned by 
Percy as having been preserved in his folio manuscript. 
In the poem we have mentioned, the king pretends that he 
is a knight of the court. — 

" My fader was a Walshe knyst, 
Dame Isabell my moder hy3t, 

For sothe as I tell the ; 
In the castell was hir dwellyng, 
Thorow commaundment of the kyng, 

When she thar shuld be. 
Now wayte thou wher that I was home ; 
Thet other Edward here beforne 

Full well he lovyd me." 

The Welsh knight is evidently intended to be king 
Edward the Second, whose queen was Isabelle, and we 
might hence be inclined to suppose our disguised king to 
be the third Edward, did not the expression " thet other 

* When the reigning king was unpopular, the name of the preceding 
king would probably be preserved in the popular poetry. The name of 
Edward II, however, would not, we think, be suffered to take the place 
of his successor. There seems, too, some reasons for thinking that the 
writer of our poems was favorable to the royal party, during the 
second Edward's reign. 


Edward," which is repeated thrice in the poem, seem 
to prove decisively that when it was written, two Edwards 
only had occupied the throne. Again, the passage imme- 
diately following this, — 

" I have a son is with the qwhene, 
She lovys hym well, as I wene, 

That dar I savely say ; 
And he pray hir of a bone* 
3if that hit be for to done, 
She will not onys say nay," 

seems evidently to describe the young prince who was 
afterwards Edward III. The third passage, moreover, 
where this expression occurs, 

" The stewarde seid to Joly Etobyn,t 
1 Goo wesshe, sir, for it is tyme, 

At the furst begynyng ; 
And, for that odur Edwart love, 
Thou shalt sitte here above, 

In stidde alle of the kyng,' " 

could hardly have been said, unless ' Joly Robyn ' were 
Edward II. The following passage seems to fix the time 
of its having been written to the period when the earls of 
Lancaster and Warren were courted by the king, and when 
there appeared to be some hopes of tranquillity in the 
kingdom : — the shepherd had arrived at court, — 

" ' Joly Robin,' he said, • I pray the, 
Speke with me a worde in private.' 

' For God,' said the kyng, ' gladly.' 
He freyned the kyng in his ere, 
What lordis that thei were 
That stondis here hym bye. 

* Pray hir of a bone, ask a boon of her. f i. e. the king Edward. 



1 The erle of Lancastur is thet on, 
And the erle of Waryn sir John, 

Bolde and as hardy : 
Thei mow do mycull with the kyng, 
I have tolde hem of thy thyng,' 

Then seid he ' gramercy.' " 

(III.) The only poem which seems to be of a more 
recent date than the reign of Edward II. is the last 
article but one of its contents, the prophecies of Thomas 
of Erceldoun, of which this is by far the oldest and 
best copy. The allusions, however, in this poem are 
vague and uncertain, and admit of no better explanation 
than can be given by mere conjectures. We have a 
proof of this in the circumstance that Sir Walter Scott, 
who had not seen the Cambridge MS. and was thus 
obliged to rely upon the erroneous descriptions which have 
been given of it, supposed it to contain allusions to the 
battles of Floddon and Pinkie. It is a poem which seems 
to have been republished at different times, with additional 
circumstances, and more explicit allusions to those which 
were supposed to have been accomplished. If the bastard, 
mentioned in the third fit of our Cambridge copy, who was 
to be the ruler of all Britain, be Edward the First — the 
circumstance which was to mark the conclusion of his 
reign — 

" The bastard shalle go in the Holy Land ; 
Trow this wel as I the say : 
Tak his soule to his hande, 

Jhesu Cyriste, that mycull may," 

proves it part of an edition published as early as 1306, 
when that king made a vow to end his life in an expedition 


against the Saracens. It is probable that in our Cambridge 
copy there is no allusion to events of a later period than 
the reign of Edward the Second. The curious mention of 
Black Agnes, the celebrated countess of Dunbar, who de- 
fended that castle against the English in 1337, seems to 
create a difficulty. But there is in the poem no allusion to 
that siege, we are not aware that the prophecy concerning 
her end was ever fulfilled, and the whole seems to show 
rather a feeling of resentment against her on the part of 
the English, arising from her already established character 
and her known opposition to the English interests. The 
singular connexion, too, which is described as existing be- 
tween her and Thomas, the supposititious author of the 
prophecies, compared with the allusion at the head of the 
brief prophecies in the Harleian MS. No. 2253,* of the 
reign of the second Edward, would lead us to suppose that 
the two pieces were contemporary. 

Our conviction of the importance of establishing the age 
of the pieces in this manuscript has perhaps led us to 
make too long a digression from our more immediate 
subject. If it be all a work of the reign of the second 
Edward, or even supposing it to have been written at the 
end of the century, and copied from an older collection, 
there can be no doubt of the ballad it contains being 
one of those popular songs of Robin Hood, to which 
allusion is made in the history of Fordun, and by the 
poet who wrote the visions of Piers Plowman. It shows 
us, which indeed might be collected from the passage 
of this latter poem where they are called ' rhymes,' 

* La countesse de Donbar demanda a, Thomas de Escedoune, quant 
la guere d'Escoce prendreit fin, e yl la respowndy e dyt, &c. 


that these popular productions were not then written in 
alliterative verse, but that they were composed in the same 
metre which was the general characteristic of our black- 
letter ballads. The earliest of the Robin Hood ballads, 
which has been preserved, is written in a southern and 
correct dialect, and is much superior in poetical execution 
to any that follow. The opening is simple and beautiful. 

" In somer when the shawes be sheyn, 
And leves be large and long, 
Hit is full mery in feyre foreste 
To here the foulys song, 

To se the dere draw to the dale 

And leve the hilles hee, 
And shadow hem in the leves grene 

Under the grene-wode tre." * 

One May morning, in Whitsuntide, when the sun shone 
bright, and the birds sung, Robin Hood determined to go 
to Nottingham to hear mass. Little John, who was his 
only companion, proposed to ' shoot a penny ' as they 
passed through the wood, and he having gained live shillings 
from his master, a strife arose, which ended in their mu- 
tually parting from each other. Little John returned to 
the forest of Sherwood, and Robin Hood proceeded to 
Nottingham, where he entered St. Mary's church, and 
knelt down before the rood. A monk, whom he had robbed 
of a hundred pounds, recognised him, and carried infor- 
mation to the sheriff, who caused the gates of the town to 
be closed, surrounded the church with his company, and 
secured the outlaw, who broke his sword on the sheriff's 

* Shanes be sheyn, woods are bright — hee, high. 


head in defending himself. The monk was dispatched 
with tidings to the king at London, and Little John and 
Much, who had learned the disaster which had happened 
to their master, determined to way-lay him. 

" Forthe then went these 3emen too, 
Litul Johan and Moche in fere, 
And lokid on Moche emys hows , 
The hye-way lay full nere. 

Litul Johan stode at a wyndow in the niornyng, 

And lokid forth at a stage, 
He was war when the munke came ridyng, 

And wyth hym a litul page. 

1 Be my feith,' seid Litul Johan to Moch, 

1 1 can the tel tithyngus gode : 
I se wher the munke cumys rydyng, 

I know hym be his wyde hode.' "* 

Little John and Much went to the monk, learnt from his 
own mouth the tidings he carried, slew him and his page, 
and themselves carried the letters of the sheriff to the king, 
telling him that the monk who should have brought them 
was dead by the way. He was much rejoiced by the con- 
tents of the sheriff's letters, rewarded well the bearers, 
made them both yeomen of the crown, and gave them letters 
to the sheriff of Nottingham commanding that Robin 
Hood should be sent to the king. On their arrival at Not- 
tingham, they found the gates fastened, and they were not 
admitted until they had shown the king's seal. When the 
sheriff saw the letters, he inquired, naturally enough, after 

* In fere, in company — emys, uncle's. 


the monk, and was informed by little John that the king 
was so gratified by the intelligence of which he had been 
the bearer, that he had made him abbot of Westminster. 
At night Little John and Much went to the jail. 

" Litul Johan callid up the jayler, 
And bade hym rise anon, 
He seid Robyn Hode had brokyn preson 
And out of hit was gon. 

The porter rose anon, sertan, 

As sone as he herd Johan calle. 
Litul Johan was redy with a swerd, 

And bare hym to the walle. 

1 Now wil I be porter,' seid litul Johan, 

' And take the keyes in honde.' 
He toke the way to Robyn Hode, 
And sone he hyin unbonde. 

He gaf hym a gode swerde in his bond, 

His hed with for to kepe ; 
And ther as the walls were lowyst 

Anon down can thei lepe." 

When they reached the forest, Robin and Little John 
were immediately reconciled, and the escape of the outlaw 
was celebrated by festivity among his followers — 

" They filled in wyne, and made hem glad, 
Under the levys smale, 
And jete pastes of venysan 
That gode was with ale." 

The anger of the king loses itself in his admiration of 
the fidelity of Little John to his master — 


" ' He is trew to his maister,' seide owre kyng, 
1 1 sei, be swete seynt Johan, 
He lovys better Robyn Hode 
Then he dose us ychon.* 

Robyn Hode is ever bond to hym, 

Bothe in strete and stalle. 
Speke no more of this mater,' seid oure kyng, 

' But Johan has begyled us alle.' " 

In the foregoing ballad we recognize the same popular 
story, which again appears in the more northern ballad of 
■ Adam Bel, Clym of the Clough, and William of Cloudis- 
lee ; ' three outlaws who made free with the king's deer in 
the forest of Inglewood in Cumberland. William visited 
his wife at Carlisle, and was recognized by an old woman, 
who carried information to the sheriff ; the towns-people 
were raised, the house surrounded, and the outlaw taken, 
after a desperate resistance, in which his bow was broken. 
He was condemned to be hanged, but his companions 
entered the town by showing to the porter a letter which, 
as they pretended, bore the king's seal, and succeeded in 
liberating William, and carrying him to the green wood, 
where he found his wife and children. The king was much 
enraged when he heard of his escape, but in the end the 
yeomen were pardoned. 

While speaking of this ballad of Adam Bel, &c. of the 
age of which we are very uncertain, the earliest copy of it 
being a black-letter tract of the earlier part of the sixteenth 
century, we may observe, that it contains another popular 
story which became one of the Robin Hood cycle, that 

* Ychon. each one. 


wherein the outlaws go to the king for pardon, which they 
obtain by the intercession of the queen, who favours them. 

There existed, previous to the middle of the fifteenth 
century, another Robin Hood ballad, wherein the hero was 
brought into peril by his devout attendance upon mass, 
and which may be rightly placed in the class of contes 
devots, or saint's legends. We have already expressed a 
doubt of the authenticity of the passage of Fordun, where 
mention is made of our hero ; indeed, it has every appear- 
ance of being an interpolation, it only being found in one 
of the late manuscripts, and differing so much from that 
author's general manner. The name of Robin Hood is 
mentioned merely for the sake of introducing the story 
of this ballad, how, in his retreat in Barnsdale, he heard 
mass regularly every day, how in the midst of his 
devotions, he was one day warned of the approach of 
the sheriff and his officers ; how he disdained to retreat 
until the holy service was ended — and how, for his piety, 
an easy victory was given him over his too numerous 
enemies, in consequence of which he ever afterwards held 
the clergy in special esteem. 

The second ballad, apparently, in point of antiquity 
which has been preserved, occurs also in a manuscript of 
the Public Library of the University of Cambridge, marked 
Ee. 4, 35, written not, as Ritson imagined, in the reign of 
Henry the Seventh, but in that of Henry the Sixth, as ap- 
pears by a memorandum on one page, setting forth the 
expenses of the feast on the marriage of the king with 
Margaret : — " Thys ys exspences of fflesche at the manage 
of my ladey Marg'et, that sche had owt off Eynglonde," 
&c. The orthography is rude, and the dialect would seem 
to be that of some one of our midland counties. It would 


appear, too, by the blunders with which it abounds, to have 
been taken down from recitation. 

In this ballad, Robin Hood is represented as visiting the 
sheriff in the disguise of a potter, to whom he had given 
his own garments. Robin carried his ware to Nottingham, 
where he put up his horse, and cried " Pots ! Pots ! " in 
the midst of the town, right opposite the sheriff's gate. 
He sold his pots quickly, because he gave for threepence 
what was worth fivepence, and when he had but five left, 
he sent them as a present to the sheriff's wife. In return 
for this courtesy, the pretended potter was invited to dine 
with the sheriff, who received him kindly, and during the 
dinner mention was made of a great shooting match for 
forty shillings, which was soon to be tried. The potter 
went to the shooting, and, borrowing a bow of the sheriff, 
proved himself more skilful in its use than the sheriff's 
men. He then took a bow from his cart, which he said 
had been given him by Robin Hood, on which the sheriff 
demanded if he knew the outlaw, and if he would lead 
him to where he might be found. The potter immediately 
offered to be his guide, and on the morrow they travelled 
together towards the forest, where the birds were singing 
on the branches. 

" And when he cam yn to the fforeyst, 
Yender the leffes grene, 
Berdys there sange on howhes prest, 
Het was gret goy to se. 

' Here het ys merey to be/ sayde Roben, 
' For a man that had hawt to spende. 

Be may home he schall awet, 
Yef Roben Hode be here.' " * 

* Yender, under — <joy, joy — hawt, anything — he, ye — Yef, if. 


At the sound of Robin's horn, Little John and his com- 
panions hastened to the spot, welcomed the sheriff, and, 
before he left them, deprived him of his horse and his 
" other gere." " Hither you come on horse," said Robin, 
who had now thrown aside his assumed character, " and 
home you shall go on foot. Greet well the good woman 
your wife : I send her, as a present, a white palfrey, which 
ambles as the wind. For her sake you shall receive no 
further harm." The sheriff, glad to escape, carried home 
the message to his wife : — 

" With that she toke op a lowde lawhyng, 
And swhare, be hem that deyed on tre, 
' Now haffe yow payed ffor all the pottys 
That Robin gaffe to me.' " 

The histories of Hereward, Eustace the Monk, and Fulke 
fitz Warine, are extremely interesting to us, as proving 
how common in those ages were the kind of stories which 
formed the material of our Robin Hood ballads. The 
same stratagems, which outwitted the sheriff and his men, 
were used by Eustace to deceive the count of Boulogne. 
Eustace, as well as Hereward, adopted on one occasion the 
disguise of a potter, whom he had compelled to exchange 
garments with him. 

In a collection of songs and carols among the Sloane 
manuscripts, in the British Museum, which an incidental 
coincidence has proved to be written in the Warwickshire 
dialect, perhaps nearly contemporary with the ballad last 
mentioned, is a song that appears to belong to our cycle, 
at least by its subject, if not by the person whose death it 
celebrates. It recounts the fate of a yeoman named Robin, 


who had gone to the green wood with his companion 
Gandeleyn : — 

" I herde a carpyng of a clerk 
Al at jone wodes ende, 
Of gode Robyn and Gandeleyn 
Was ther non other gynge ; 

Stronge thevys wern tho chylderin non, 

But bowmen gode and hende ; 
He wentyn to wode to getyn hem fleych,* 

If God wold it hem sende." 

Towards evening they met with half a hundred fallow 
deer, of which the fattest fell by Robin's arrow. Scarcely 
( had the deer fallen, when Robin himself was felled by an 
arrow from an unknown hand — 

" Gandeleyn lokyd kym est and lokyd west, 
And sowt under the sunne, 
He saw a lytil boy he clepyn 
Wrennok of Doune ; 

A good bowe in kis kond, 

A brod arewe tkerine, 
And fowre and xx. goode arwis 

Trusyd in a tkrumme." 

1 Wrennok/ it would appear, was one of the keepers of 
the forest, and he immediately challenged Gandeleyn. 
They let fly their arrows at each other, and the former was 
slain. The exultation of Gandeleyn on having thus re- 
venged the death of his master Robin, finishes his song : — 

* Fleych, flesh. 


" Now xalt thu never 3elpe, Wrennok, 
At ale ne at wyn, 
That thu hast slawe goode Robyn 
And his knave Gandeleyn ; 

Now xalt thu never jelpe, Wrennok, 

At wyn ne at ale, 
That thu hast slawe goode Robyn 

And Gandeleyyn his knawe." * 

These are all the genuine remains of the early Robin 
Hood cycle, which we at present possess. We come now 
to that singular production, the " Lytell Geste of Robyn 
Hode," which was first printed by Wynkyn de Worde, at 
the latter end of the fifteenth century, and which would 
seem to be an attempt to string together some of the bal- 
lads that were then popular, into something like a consis- 
tent story. It is, in fact, an epic poem, and it is, as such, 
both perfect and beautiful. 

One, perhaps, of the ballads which contributed to the 
formation of this poem, may have been simply the adven- 
ture of Robin Hood and the Knight, which here occupies 
the first and second f fyttes,' and is made to run more or 
less through the whole. The knight was a character res- 
pected by the peasantry, and in the personage of the 
unfortunate and injured Sir Richard of the Lee, he proba- 
bly drew forth as much commiseration from those to whom 
the adventure was sung in the village alehouse, as in the 
courtly hall of the nobles when he appeared in misfortune 
in the romances of Sir Cleges or Sir Amadas. They were all 
the same story, under different forms, in the one instance 

* Xalt, shalt — $elpe, boast. 


reduced to a popular shape. Robin sends Little John, 
Much, and Scathelock, to seek for a guest to dinner, having 
first admonished them that they should not injure husband- 
men, good yeomen, or knights and squires who were good 
fellows, but that their hostilities should be more particu- 
larly directed against bishops and archbishops, and, above 
all, against the sheriff of Nottingham : — 

" But loke ye do no housbonde harme 
That tylleth with his plough ; 

No more ye shall no good yeman 
That walketh by grene-wode shawe, 

Ne no knyght, ne no squyer, 
That wolde be a good felawe. 

These byshoppes and thyse archebyshoppes, 

Ye shall them bete and bynde ; 
The hye sheryfe of Notynghame, 

Hym holde in your raynde." 

The party went up to the ' Sayles ' and Watling-street, 
and at length they espied a knight, all dreary and melan- 
choly, riding by a ' derne strete ' in Barnysdale. Little 
John addressed him courteously, and bade him to dinner 
with his master, who, he said, had been long waiting 
for him. Robin Hood received the stranger with a hearty 
welcome, treated him with great respect, and they sat down 
together to a handsome feast ; after which, according to 
custom, the outlaws were proceeding to make him ' pay for 
his dinner.' But the knight excused himself on the ground 
of having only ten shillings in his possession, which, on 
searching his coffer, was found to be true, and he told the 
history of his misfortunes. 


" ' Within two or three yere, Robyn,' he sayd, 
' My neyghbores well it kende, 
Foure hondreth pounde of good money 
Full wel than myght I spende. 

Now have I no good,' sayd the knyght, 

' But my chyldren and my wyfe ; 
God hath shapen such an ende, 

Tyll God may amende my lyfe.' 

' In what maner,' sayd Robyn, 

' Hast thou lows thy ryches ?' 
' For my grete foly,' he sayd, 

4 And for my kindenesse. 

I had a sone, for soth, Robin, 

That sholde have ben my eyre, 
When he was twenty wynter olde, 

In felde wolde juste full feyre : 

He slew a knight of Lancastshyre, 

And a squyre bolde : 
For to save hym in his ryght 

My goodes beth sette and solde ; 

My londes beth sette to wedde, Robyn,* 

Untyll a certayne daye, 
To a ryche abbot here besyde, 

Of Saynt Mary abbey.' " 

Robin generously lent the knight, for a year, four hun- 
dred pounds, the sum for which his estates had been 
pledged, and the outlaws clothed him in new habits be- 
coming his profession, Little John being equipped as his 

* Wedde, pledge. 


squire. By this means the knight regained his lands, but 
his friendship for the forester drew him into fresh misfor- 
tunes, till finally Robin and Sir Richard were both recon- 
ciled to the king. 

The next ballad which seems to have been used in the 
compilation of this f geste/ was the same story, a little 
varied in its details, with that of Robin and the potter, 
already noticed. Little John, in disguise, distinguished 
himself at an archery match held by the sheriff of Not- 
tingham. The sheriff, pleased with his skill, asked his 
name, was told that it was * Reynaud Grenelefe,' and finally 
hired him for twenty marks a year. One day he was left 
at home, without provisions, which he took from the larder 
and buttery, in spite of the steward and butler, but the 
cook fought with him desperately, and in the end they 
agreed to go together to Robin Hood, which they did, 
taking with them the sheriff's plate and money, and were 
joyously received by the outlaws. Thereupon, Little John, 
still in his disguise as the sheriff's man, sought his master 
in the forest, where he was hunting, told him that he had 
just seen seven score of deer in a herd ; and under pre- 
tence of leading him to the place, took him to Robin 
Hood, by whom he was feasted in his own plate, and was 
afterwards punished by being compelled to lie all night 
bare on the ground with the outlaws. Before he was 
allowed to depart, the sheriff swore solemnly that he would 
never injure Robin or his men. 

The third ballad used in the formation of this ' geste,' 
was one of Robin Hood and the monk. Little John, with 
Much and Scathelock, go up to the Sayles and Watling- 
street, and in Barnisdale meet with two black monks and 


their attendants. The latter were defeated, and one of 
the monks was brought to dine in the outlaw's ' lodge.' 

" Robyn dyde adowne his hode 
The monk whan that he se ;* 
The monk was not so curteyse, 
His hode then let he be. 

* He is a chorle, mayster, by dere worthy God,' 

Then said Lytell Johan. 
'Thereof no force,' sayd Robyn, 

' For curteysy can he none.' " 

Robin called together his men, and compelled the monk 
to join them at their meal. After dinner the outlaw, 
naturally enough, inquired after the monk's money : — 

" ' What is in your cofers ?' sayd Robyn, 

I Trewe than tell thou me.' 

' Syr,' he sayd, ' twenty marke, 
Al so mote I the.' 

1 Yf there be no more,' sayd Robyn, 

I I wyll not one peny ; 

Yf thou hast myster of ony more, 
Syr, more I shall lende to the ; 

And yf I fynde more,' sayd Robyn, 

1 1-wys thou shalte it for-gone 
For of thy spendynge sylver, monk, 

Therof wyll I ryght none. 

* i. e. When he saw the monk. 


Go nowe forthe, Lytell Johan, 

And the trouth tell thou me ; 
If there be no more but twenty marke, 

No peny that I se.' 

Lytell Johan spred his mantell downe, 

As he had done before, 
And he tolde out of the lnonkes male, 

Eyght hundreth pounde and more. " * 

The monk was robbed of his money, and dismissed. 

A similar story is told of Eustace the Monk, in the cu- 
rious Norman poem of the thirteenth century to which 
we have already alluded. Eustace was lurking with 
his men, as usual, in the territory of Boulogne — (I. 

" Li abbes de Jumiaus venoit ; 
Wistasce esgarde, si le voit : 
' Dans abbes,' dist-il, ' estes la ; 
Que portes-vous, ne 1' celes ja?' 
Dist li abbes : ( A vous c'afiert ?' 
A poi c'Uistasces ne le fiert : 
' C'afiert a moi, sire coillart ! 
Par ma teste ! g'i aurai part. 
Descended tost, n'en paries plus, 
Ou vous seres ja si batus 
Ne la vauriies pour .c. livres.' 
Li abbes [cuide] k'il soit ivres ; 
II l'a . . molt douchement. 
Dist a i'abes ; Ales-vous-ent ; 
N'est pas ichi que vous queres. 

* Al so mote I the, as I may thrive — myster, need— forgone, lose — 
male, box. 

VOL. II. 9 


Wistasces dist : ' Ne me cines ; 
Descended jus isnielement, 
Ou la vous ira malement.' 
L'abbes descent, grant paor a. 
Et Wistasces li demanda 
Combien il porte od lui d 'avoir. 
Dist li abbes : '.iiij. mars voir, 
J'ai od moi .iiij. mars d'argent.' 
Wistasces l'escouce erramment ; 
Bien trouva .xxx. mars ou puis, 
Les .iiij. mars li a rendus, 
Tant cum il dist que il avoit. 
Li abbes fu corechies a droit. 
Se li abbes eust dit voir, 
Tout r'eust eu son avoir. 
Li abbes son avoir perdi 
Pour tant seulement 'il menti." 

The abbot of Jumiaux came by : 
Eustace looks and sees him. 
1 Dan abbot,' said he, ' stand there : 
What do you carry ? Do not conceal it.' 
Said the abbot, ' What is that to you ?' 
Eustace was near striking him. 
' What is it to me, sir scoundrel 
By my head ! I will have a part of it. 
Come down quickly ; speak no more of that. 
Or you shall be so beaten, 
As you would not for a hundred pounds. ' 
The abbot thought that he was drunk ; 
He remonstrated very gently. 
The abbot said, ' Go along ! 
What you seek is not here.' 
Eustace said, ' Mock not at me ; 
Descend quickly, 
Or it will go ill with you there.' 


The abbot descends ; he has great fear ; 

And Eustace demanded of him, 

How much money he carries with him, 

Said the abbot, ' Four marks, truly ; 

I have with me four marks of silver.' 

Eustace immediately lifted up his gown ; 

He found full thirty marks or more. 

The four marks he has given him back, 

As much as he said he had. 

The abbot was of course cross. 

If the abbot had said the truth, 

He would have had again all his property. 

The abbot lost his property 

Only because he lied." 

Perhaps the only other ballad used by the compiler of 
the * geste' was that which furnished the last two fits, the 
meeting of Robin and the king ; and it would seem that he 
had used the ' explicit' of the ballad itself, or that he had 
it in his mind, when he wrote at the end — " Explycit 
kynge Edwarde and Robyn Hode and Lytell Johan." 
The mention of king Edward, the first instance of the 
name of a king which occurs in these ballads, is itself 
curious. Does it show that the ballad which the writer of 
the ' geste' used, was written in the reign of one of the 
Edwards, and that in the cycle sung at the Robin Hood 
festivals, when the king was introduced, they gave him 
the name of the king at the time reigning, as we have seen 
was the case in a collateral cycle.- 

The king and his knights came to Nottingham to take 
Robin Hood : — 

" There our kynge was wont to se 

Herdes many one, 
He coud unneth fynde one dere. 

That bare ony good home." 


The loss of his deer enraged the king, and he waited 
half a year at Nottingham in hope of hearing some news 
of the outlaw, but in vain. At length a forester offered to 
gratify the king with a sight of Robin Hood, if he would 
venture with five of his knights, all in the disguise of 
monks, where he would lead him. The king accepted 
the offer, took himself the disguise of an abbot, and rode, 
singing by the way, to the ' grene-wode.' There he was 
accosted by Robin Hood, who demanded of him his money, 
of which however he accepted only the half, giving him 
back the rest for his ' spendynge.' 

" Full curteysly Robyn gan say, 

' Syr, have this for your spendyng, 
We shall mete another day.' 

' Gramercy/ then sayd our kynge. 

1 But well the greteth Edwarde our kynge, 

And sent to the his seale, 
And byddeth the com to Notyngham, 

Both to mete and mele.' 

He toke out the hrode tarpe, 

And sone he lete hym se. 
Robyn coud his courteysy, 

And set hym on his kne. 

' I love no man in all the worlde 

So well as I do my kynge. 
Welcome is my lordes seale ; 

And, monke, for thy tydynge, 

Syr abbot, for thy tydynges, 

To day thou shalt dyne with me, 
For the love of my kynge, 

Under my trystell tre.' " 


Accordingly, he led the abbot to the table, and, at the 
sound of his horn, seven score of his men came * on a 

" All they kneeled on theyr kne, 
Full fayre before Robyn. 
The kynge sayd hymselfe untyll, 
And swore by saynt Austyn, 

' Here is a wonder semely syght, 

Me thynketh, by Goddes pyne :* 
His men are more at his byddynge 

Then my men be at myn.' " 

After dinner there was shooting, the marks being, as 
the abbot thought, too long by fifty paces, and it was 
agreed that every one who missed should lose his arrow 
and receive a buffet on the head, which buffet Robin 
administered without mercy to all who incurred the penalty. 
At length Robin missed the mark himself : 

" At the last shot that Robyn shot, 
For all his frendes fare, 
Yet he fayled of the garlonde 
Thre fyngers and mare. 

Then bespake good Gylberte, 

And thus he gan say : 
' Mayster,' he sayd, 'your takyll is lost, 

Stand forth and take your pay.' 

' If it be so,' sayd Robyn, 

' That may no better be ; 
Sir abbot, I delyver the myn arowe, 

I pray the, syr, serve thou me.' 

* Pyne, suffering. 


' It falleth not for myn order,' sayd our kyng, 

1 Robyn, by thy leve, 
For to smyte no good yeman, 

For doute I shoude hym greve.' 

1 Smyte on boldely,' sayd Robyn, 

' I give the large leve.' 
Annone our kynge, with that worde, 

He folde up his sieve, 

And sych a buffet he gave Robyn, 

To grounde he yede full nere.* 
' I make myn avowe to God,' sayd Robyn, 

' Thou arte a stalworthe frere. 

There is pith in thyn arme,' sayd Robyn, 
I trowe thou canst well shote.' " 

The strength of his arm excited suspicion, for it was 
one of the qualifications of royalty ; the king was recog- 
nized ; all the outlaws fell upon ther knees before him, 
and Robin asked pardon for their trespasses, which was 
granted, and he himself was taken to court. On their 
return to Nottingham, the king and his attendants having 
been clad in the outlaw's livery, 'Lincolne grene,' they 
went shooting along the way : — 

" Our kynge and Robyn rode togyder, 
For soth as I you say, 
And they shote plucke buffet, 
As they went by the way ; 

And many a buffet our kynge wan 

Of Robyn Hode that day ; 
And nothynge spared good Robyn 

Our kynge in his pay." 

* Yede, went. 


Robin, however, was soon tired of court, and returned 
to his former life and haunts, where he lived twenty-two 
years, till he was betrayed by the prioress of ' Kyrkesly,' 
for the love of Sir Roger of Doncaster ' that was her owne 

We have now given an abstract of all the remains of 
the cycle of Robin Hood, in its older form. We have 
seen that it consisted of the common popidar stories of 
outlaw warfare in the green wood, as they were sung at 
the festivals and rejoicings of the peasantry, with whom, 
at the time the songs were made, such tales must na- 
turally have been favourites. As far as we can judge, 
the different incidents of the cycle were not numerous, 
and it is probable that the compiler of the ( geste' intro- 
duced into it all that he knew. This poem, indeed, seems 
at the period of its publication to have been the grand 
representative of the cycle, and to have contained at least 
most of that which was commonly sung about the roads 
and streets. In a curious " lytell geste" printed also by 
Wynkyn de Worde, and of which, as far as we know, 
the only copy extant is preserved in the public library. 
Cambridge,* teaching " how the plowman lerned his pater 
noster," which was contrived by the priest, who sent to 
him in a time of scarcity, a number of poor men in proper 
order, each having for name one of the words of the 
prayer, on promise of paying the plowman if he remem- 
bered them in the order in which they came ; five of 
them seem to have sung this very geste. The passage, 
by the way, was unknown to Ritson when he compiled his 

* This " geste" is printed in the first volume of the Reliquice Antique 
p. 43. 


" Then came Panem, Nostrum, Cotidianum, Da nobis, Hodie, 
Amonge them fyve they had but one peny, 
That was gyven them for Goddes sake, 
They sayde therwith that they wolde mery make, 
Eche had two busshelles of whete that was gode, 
They songe goynge homewarde a gest of Robyn Hode." 

When ballads began to be printed, and were spread over 
the country in the shape of broadsides, the few which 
had existed when their chief repository was the memory 
of the peasantry, was found to be insufficient. The more 
easily it was gratified, the more greedy became the desire 
after novelty. But the ballad-writers of after-times were 
not endowed with very inventive minds ; and it was, there- 
fore, much more usual to change a little the circumstances 
and persons of the older stories, and to publish them to 
the world as new, than to write originals. It would not 
be difficult to point out examples of this among the modern 
ballads. That originals, however, were written, there can 
be no doubt. It was now, indeed, that outward causes 
began to affect the cycle, for the romances of the Normans 
had become degraded, and had taken popular forms, and 
even their stories have found a place among those of Robin 
Hood and Little John. 

The foregoing slight review of the material of the cycle, 
and of the nature of the stories which formed it, brings us 
at once to conclude that the character and popular history of 
Robin Hood was formed upon the ballads, and not the 
ballads upon the person. There arises, however, there- 
upon, an interesting question — who was the person that in 
these ballads bears the name or title of Robin Hood ? — a 
question at the same time which certainly does not admit 
of a very easy solution. 


The notion that he was a person living in the time of 
our first Richard or third Henry, seems to rest entirely 
on the passage in the history of Fordun, which passage, as 
we have already said, was written perhaps not earlier than 
the middle of the fifteenth century, and of which the only 
foundation was one of the ballads in which the name of a 
king Henry occurred, probably proving only that the ballad 
was written in the reign of a king of that name. Wyn- 
town, also, who places Robin Hood at the date 1283, by 
his mention of Inglewood and Barnesdale, had evidently 
the ballads in his mind. 

" Lytil Jhon and Robyn Hude 
Wayth-nien were commendyd gud : 
In Yngilwode and Barnysdale, 
Thai oysyd all this tyme thare trawale." 

The life, by Ritson, prefixed to his edition of the Robin 
Hood ballads, with the pedantic notes which illustrate it, 
is the barren production of a poor mind. The "accurate" 
mister Ritson, who condemned with such asperity the 
slightest wanderings of the imaginations of others, has 
therein exhibited some truly pleasant vagaries of his 
own. He gives us an essay upon the private character of 
the outlaw ! His mode of accounting for the silence with 
which the chroniclers and historians of those times have 
passed over the name of Robin Hood, is itself curious : — 
" The principal if not sole reason why our hero is never 
once mentioned by Matthew Paris, Benedictus Abbas, or 
any other ancient English historian, was most probably his 
avowed enmity to churchmen ; and history, in former times, 
was written by none but monks. They were unwilling to 



praise the actions which they durst neither misrepresent 
nor deny. Fordun and Major [who, by the way, only 
retailed Fordun in this matter] being foreigners, have not 
been deterred by this professional spirit from rendering 
homage to his virtues ! !" Where Ritson learnt that it 
was the habit of the early historians to omit mention of 
those who had an "avowed enmity to churchmen," or 
what influence the fact of their being foreigners could 
have on their professional spirit, does not appear to be a 
thing easy to be discovered. The circumstance that no 
one ever heard of such a place is not sufficient to justify 
even a suspicion in his mind that there ever existed such 
a town as Locksley, in Nottinghamshire, where the latter 
ballads place Robin's birth. Lastly, after all that Ritson 
might have thought proper to advance to the contrary, we 
are inclined to join with Mr. Parkin, whom he quotes with 
a sneer, in thinking the pedigree of Robin Hood, which 
was given by Dr. Stukeley, to be "quite jocose." 

Mr. Barry, in his " These de Litterature," has advanced 
an ingenious and much more plausible theory. He, as we 
have already observed, supposes that Robin Hood was one of 
the outlaws who had resisted the first intrusions of the Nor- 
mans, and compares him with Hereward, who returned 
from foreign lands to avenge the injury done to his family 
by William, by the death of the Norman who had had the 
temerity to intrude upon his heritage, and who gathered 
his friends and supporters and retired to the fastnesses of the 
isle of Ely, where he long bade defiance to the Conqueror. 

" Tous ces hommes qui restaient des outlaws, malgre 
leur physionomie et leur denomination nouvelle, avaient 
un caractere commun. Saxons, ils detestaient les Nor- 


mands, leurs officiers sans pitie, et leurs pretres avides. . . . 
Mais en revanche, ils etaient les amis des pauvres, des 
opprinies, du peuple reste Saxon, qui les aimait a son tour 
sans reserve et sans arriere-pensee. . . . Tel etait dans ses 
traits saillants le caractere des outlaws Anglo-Saxons du 
xii e siecle. Une vie inquiete dans les bois ou dans les 
marais, une haine bien tranche contre les oppresseurs 
etrangers, barons, sheriffs, ou eveques, une sympathie tres 
vive pour les desherites de toutes les classes ; et avec le 
temps, une sorte d' affection pour cette vie qu'ils n'ont 
point choisie, un amour naif pour ce bois vert ou ils etaient 
exiles. II y a toute raison de croire que Robin Hood etait, 
historiquement parlant, un homme comme ceux-la, parta- 
geant leurs habitudes, leurs inclinations, et leurs haines, 
maudit comme eux par les Normands de race dont Fordun 
s'est fait le dernier echo. Du reste, nous ne savons rien 
de plus precis sur sa vie ou son caractere." (pp. 6-8.) 

Mr. Barry supposes that songs, such as those which 
Ingulf mentions as having been sung in the public ways in 
honour of the popular hero Hereward, were the original 
form of the Robin Hood ballads. 

We think, however, that Mr. Barry has gone too far. 
There is no other ground but bare conjecture for suppos- 
ing the personage named Robin Hood to have been actually 
one of the Saxons outlawed by their opposition to the 
Normans, and there are many reasons for adopting a con- 
trary opinion. Yet it is very possible that, when the sud- 
den change from Saxon to Norman rule was no longer felt, 
and when the deeds of these Saxon heroes began to be for- 
gotten, the Robin Hood cycle, let it have originated where 
it may, gradually succeeded to, and took the place of, the 
ballads which celebrated Hereward and Waltheof. 


Still, however, supposing the Robin Hood cycle to have 
succeeded the ballads which celebrated the last Saxon 
heroes, we have made no progress towards a discovery of 
the original personage who had become its hero. Was he 
the representative of some northern chieftain whose actions 
had gained a place among the national myths, and who 
had become an object of popular superstition ? Many 
circumstances join in making this supposition at the least 
extremely probable. 

We know that the ballads of this cycle were intimately 
connected with the popular festival held at the beginning 
of May. Indeed, either express mention of it, or a vivid 
description of the season, in the older ballads, shows that 
the feats of the hero were generally performed during this 
month. Unfortunately, we cannot distinctly trace back 
further than the fifteenth century the history of these 
games, and their connexion with the name of Robin Hood. 
" Sir John Paston, in the time of king Edward IV. com- 
plaining of the ingratitude of his servants, mentions one 
who had promised never to desert him, ' and theruppon,' 
says he, * I have kepyd hym thys iii. yer to pleye seynt 
Jorge, and Robyn Hod and the shryf of Notyngham, 
and now when I wolde have good horse, he is goon into 
Bernysdale, and I without a keeper.' " The allusion is 
evidently to some story or ballad which then existed (similar 
to that of Reynaud Grenlefe) where Robin in disguise had 
hired himself as a groom to the sheriff, and had afterwards 
stolen his horses. This is a very favorite stratagem in 
the Roman of Eustace le Moine, who, more than once, in 
disguise, carries away the horses of the count of Boulogne. 

Ritson, from whom the above extract was taken, asserts 
that the May festival owed its origin to meetings for the 


purpose of practising with the bow. There can be little 
doubt, however, that Ritson was wrong, that the archery 
was an addition to the festival, and that the latter was, 
in its earlier form among our Pagan forefathers, a reli- 
gious celebration, though, like such festivals in general, 
it possessed a double character, that of a religious cere- 
mony and of an opportunity for the performance of warlike 
games. With the changes which this festival experienced 
at different periods we are not well acquainted ; but a 
circumstance has been preserved which seems to illus- 
trate the subject, so far as regards the nature of the 

Adjoining to Cambridge there is a village called Barn- 
well, which was once celebrated for its abbey, and for the 
well which was enclosed within the abbey walls. The old 
chronicler of the monastery, whom Leland, if we remember 
right, read in its library, derived the name of the place 
from the Saxon beorna wil, which he interpreted, accord- 
ing to the acceptation in which the word beom was taken 
in his days, the well of the lads, but which a fe^ ages 
earlier would have signified the well of the champions. 
The story he tells in illustration of the name is this. From 
time immemorial it had been a custom for the young men 
and lads of the vicinity to assemble here at a particular 
period of the year, to perform gymnastic exercises and 
warlike games, and hence the well received its name. The 
circumstance of the meeting having been held at a well, 
proves that it had something religious in its character. 
After the entrance of the Normans, in addition to the 
games and festivities, it had become customary to hold there 
a market, and the festival seems to have taken the charac- 
ter of what we now call a wake or fair. The monastery 


was founded in the reign of the first William, in a position 
nearer to the castle ; but the place where the festival was 
held having been judged more convenient, and the Nor- 
mans paying little respect to the popular prejudices of the 
Saxons, the second founder, in the following reign, built it 
in this new situation, and the fair was afterwards held in 
another spot. Perhaps it is still preserved in what is 
called the Pot Fair, which is held in the month of June. 
The name of the well was given to the monastery and to 
the village.* 

Here we have an allusion to a festival similar in object, 
if not in the period of its celebration, to the May games of 
after ages. At such festivals the songs would take the 
character of the amusements on the occasion, and would 
most likely celebrate warlike deeds — perhaps the myths of 
the patron whom superstition supposed to preside o\rer 
them. As the character of the exercises changed, the 
attributes of this patron would change also ; and he who 
was once celebrated as working wonders with his good 

* The original chartulary of Barnwell, where the origin of the 
name of the well is thus told, is preserved in the British Museum : — 
" Impetravit ille egregius Paganus Peverel a rege Henrico locum quen- 
dam extra burgum Cantebrigiae, a magna platea usque in riveriam Can- 
tebrigiae se extendentem, et amcenitate situs loci satis delectabilem. 
Porro de illius loci medio fonticuli satis puri et vividi emanahant, 
Anglice barnewelle, id est fontes jmerorum, eo tempore appellati, eo 
quod pueri et adolescentes semel per annum in vigiliis scilicet Nativi- 
tatis Sancti Johannis Baptistae, illic convenientes, more Anglorum luc- 
tamina et alia ludicria exercebant puerilia, et cantilenis et musicis 
instrumentis sibi invicem applaudebant. Unde propter turbam pue- 
rorum et puellarum illic concurrentium et ludentium, mos inolevit ut 
in eodem die illic conveniret negociandi gratia turba vendentium et 
ementium," &c. (MS. Harl. 3601. fol. 12. v°.) 


axe or his elf-made sword, might afterwards assume the 
character of a skilful bowman. The scene of his actions 
would likewise change — and the person whose weapons 
were the bane of dragons and giants, who sought them in 
the wildernesses they infested, might become the enemy 
only of the sheriff and his officers under the " grene-wode 
lefe." As the original character became unintelligible to 
the peasantry, amongst whom all these changes were taking 
place, the name also might run into one more popular, and 
the hero of Saxon story might be brought to assume the 
simple title, which every one would understand, of Robin 
with the Hood. That this was a part of his dress we are 
assured by a passage of one of the older ballads already 
quoted : — 

" Robyn dyde adowne his hode, 
The monk whan that he see." 

An instance of a similar name having been derived from an 
apparently similar circumstance, has been often pointed 
out in the German familiar spirit Hudekin. 

We are, however, not opposed to the conjecture which 
has been made, that the name Robin Hood is but a cor- 
ruption of Robin of the Wood, because we find analogies 
in other languages. The name of Witikind, the famous 
opponent of Charlemagne, who always fled before his 
sight, concealed himself in the forests, and returned again 
in his absence, is no more than witu chint, in old High 
Dutch, and signifies the son of the wood, an appellation 
which he could never have received at his birth, since it 
denotes an exile or outlaw. Indeed, the name Witikind, 
though such a person seems to have existed, appears to 
be the representative of all the defenders of his country 


against the invaders. The old Norse expressions skogyanyr 
and skogarmadr, which denote an outlaw, are literally one 
who goes in the woods, a man of the woods, as is icrdar- 
madr, one who hides himself among the rocks. They cor- 
respond to the Anglo-Saxon weald-genga. The Servians 
have a remarkable expression, schuma ti mati, the wood 
be thy mother, that is, save thyself by flight, hide thyself 
in the wood. (See Dr. Grimm's Deutsche Rechts Alter- 
thiimer, p. 733.) Jamieson has printed a modern ballad 
which, evidently to account for the name of our hero, sup- 
posing it to be Robin of the Wood, makes him the off- 
spring of a baron's daughter, who had been gotten with 
child by her father's butler, and who had been compelled 
to make the wild wood the scene of Robin's birth. The 
name, however, is easily explained, when we know that 
at least as early as the fourteenth century Robin Hood had 
become the representative of the English outlaws. In the 
tale of Gamelin, one of the oldest of the supposititious 
works of Chaucer, — which has evidently some connexion 
with the Robin Hood cycle, and the name too bears a great 
resemblance to that of Gandeleyn which has already oc- 
curred — the outlaw seeks the woods as a shelter from the 
oppressions of his own kindred. 

It is rather a remarkable confirmation of the northern 
origin of Robin Hood, that one circumstance of an early 
ballad of the cycle, (Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough, and 
William of Cloudeslee), when the latter yeoman shoots the 
apple off his son's head, is known to be a northern story, 
and is related by the historian Saxo. 

One of the strongest proofs, perhaps, of the mythic cha- 
racter of Robin Hood, is the connexion of his name with 
mounds and stones, such as our peasantry always attri- 


buted to the fairies of their popular superstition. A tumu- 
lus was generally the habitation of the underground people, 
a well or a ruin was the ehosen place of their gambols, 
and a spot which exhibits marks of some violent natural 
convulsion was a testimony of their vengeance. These 
were the dwarfs of the northern mythology; but the giants 
of the same creed left also marks of their presence in the 
loose masess of stone which, in their anger or in their 
playfulness, they had thrown to immense distances, and in 
others, more regularly placed, which had once served to 
mark the length of their steps. 

Sometimes our hero is identified with the dwarfs of the 
popular creed. The barrows in the neighbourhood of 
Whitby and Guisbrough bear his name, and the peasantry 
have created a story that they were the buts where he 
placed his marks. A large tumulus we know well in our 
own county, near Ludlow in Shropshire, which is also 
called Robin Hood's But, and which affords us a curious 
instance how new stories were often invented to account 
for a name whose original import was forgotten. The cir- 
cumstances, too, in this case prove that the story was of 
late invention. The barrow, as regarded superstitiously, 
had borne the name of Robin Hood. On the roof of one 
of the chancels of the church of Ludlow, which is called 
Fletchers' chancel, as having been, when " the strength of 
England stood upon archery," the place where the fletchers 
held their meetings, and which is distant from the aforesaid 
barrow two miles or two miles and a half, there stands an 
iron arrow as the sign of their craft. The imagination of the 
people of the place, after archery and fletchers had been 
forgotten, and when Robin Hood was known only as an 
outlaw and a bowman, made a connexion between the 


barrow (from its name) and the chancel (from the arrow 
on its roof), and a tale was invented how the outlaw once 
stood upon the former and took aim at the weathercock on 
the church steeple, but the distance being a little too great, 
the arrow fell short of its mark and remained up to the 
present day on the roof of the chancel. Near Gloucester 
also, and near Castleton in Derbyshire, are Robin Hood's 
hills. In Lancashire, in Yorkshire, and in Nottingham- 
shire, there are wells which bear his name, and that in 
Lancashire is surrounded by places which have been long 
occupied by the fairies. It may also be noted as a curious 
circumstance, proving the antiquity of this connexion of 
the outlaw with these objects of popular superstition, as 
having been carried by the English settlers into Ireland, 
that Little John has his hill near Dublin. 

At other times Robin Hood figures as one of the giants. 
Blackstone Edge in Lancashire, as we learn from Roby's 
Lancashire Legends, is called Robin Hood's bed or Robin 
Hood's chair. On a black moor called Monstone Edge, is 
a huge moor-stone or outlier, which, though part of it has 
been broken off and removed, still retains the name of 
Monstone ; it is said to have been quoited thither by 
Robin Hood from his bed on the top of Blackstone Edge, 
about six miles off. After striking the mark aimed at, the 
stone bounded off a few hundred yards, and settled where 
it now stands. A heap of old ruins at Kenchester, the 
site of the Roman Ariconium, was in Leland's time called 
the King of Fairies' chair, and King Arthur has many 
a chair and bed in Wales and Cornwall. Near Halifax in 
Yorkshire is an immense stone, supposed to be a druidical 
monument, which is called Robin Hood's pennystone, and 
which is said to be the stone with which he amused him- 


self, by throwing it at a distant mark. Another stone in 
the same parish, weighing several tons, is said by the pea- 
santry to have been thrown by him from an adjoining hill 
with his spade as he was digging; "everything of the 
marvellous kind/' as saith Watson, the historian of Halifax, 
" being here attributed to Robin Hood, as it is in Cornwall 
to king Arthur." Gunton, in his history of Peterborough, 
mentions two long stones in a field in Suffolk, which were 
said by tradition to be the draught of arrows from Alwalton 
churchyard, shot thither by Robin Hood and Little John. 

The legends of the peasantry are the shadows of a very 
remote antiquity, and in them we may place our trust with 
much confidence on a subject like the present. They en- 
able us to place our Robin Hood with tolerable certainty 
among the personages of the early mythology of the 
Teutonic peoples. 



T has long been known that there existed, 
among the manuscripts of the archiepis- 
copal palace at Lambeth, a most valuable 
document, though unfortunately imperfect, 
on the English conquest of Ireland, 
written apparently at the end of the twelfth or beginning 
of the thirteenth century, and therefore not long after the 
important event which it commemorates, in Norman-French 
verse, by a poet or historian — we may call him which we 
will — who had received the history from the mouth of one 
who had himself been intimately engaged in the expedition ; 
and who was no less a person than Maurice Regan, inter- 
preter to Dermod mac Murrough, the king of Leinster. 

Bound up in the same volume with the manuscript of 
which we speak, is a prose abstract of this poem by Sir 
George Carew, who was lord president of Munster in the 
reign of Elizabeth, and who was himself a descendant of 
the Robert fitz Stephen who acts so prominent a part in 
the history. Of the original manuscript, which is appa- 
rently a somewhat later transcript of the poem, no use has 
hitherto been made by our historians ; probably, because 


it was difficult of access and of translation. But Walter 
Harris, in 1747, published in his Hibernica the abstract 
which had been made by Carew ; and this has been ever 
since quoted in place of the original, and all its errors and 
misrepresentations repeated : and no wonder if it be full 
of them, for we are sure that its author could seldom trans- 
late the words of the poem. 

The story which our poet gives us confirms, most re- 
markably, the relation of Giraldus, which had been written 
previously; although, as independent histories, each con- 
tains many circumstances not mentioned by the other. 
We are inclined to suppose that Maurice Regan was not 
the bard's sole authority, and it is probable that from him 
the recital was obtained in his old age ; for, in confirma- 
tion of what he says, he commonly appeals to the authority 
of the old people who witnessed it. Thus, after speaking 
of the death of Robert de Quency, he says : 

" Une fille pur vers aveit 
Robert, qui tant gentils esteit, 
De sa espuse verairnent, 
Solum le anciene gent." 

And again, speaking of the Irish barons who, in their 
way through England to Normandy, had joined in putting 
down the rebellion of the earl of Leicester with the Scots : 

" Et de Leycestre lors li quens, 
Solum li dist des anciens, 
Sur sun seignur esteit turne 
Et Flemenges aveit mene." 

We should, probably, have known more of the poet and 
of his authorities, had we the whole of his proeme, the 


earlier part of which is, unfortunately, lost, with a leaf of 
the manuscript ; yet what remains is far from authorising 
the assertion of all those who have quoted it through Sir 
George Carew's abstract, that the history was originally 
written by Maurice Regan himself. For the sake of showing 
how ill Sir George read and interpreted his text, we will 
give the first eleven lines as he has quoted and translated 
them from the manuscript, and again as they actually 
stand in the manuscript itself, and as they ought to be 
translated. We quote from the octavo edition of Harris's 
Hibernica, published in 1770. Perhaps some of the errors 
in this instance must be laid to the charge of the editor.* 

Sir George Careu-'s text and The text from the MS., with 

version. our version. 

* * * 

" Parsoen demande Latinner " Parsoen deraeine latinier, 

L'moi conta de sira historie Que raoi conta de lui l'estorie, 

* We will add one instance of the utter incompetency of Sir George 
Carew to give the sense even of his original. We are told hy the 
former that "The expedition of Ossery heing determined, O'Brien re- 
turned to Limerick, and the erle to Femes, where he remained eight 
days ; in which time Murrough O'Byrne (who evermore had been a 
traitor unto king Dermod) was brought prisoner unto hym, immediately 
beheaded, and his body cast to the dogs ; and with him a son of Daniel 
Kevanagh teas executed ; " on which Harris naturally enough observes 
in a note, " It does not appear anywhere what the offence of Daniel 
Kavenagh's son was, that the loyalty and good services of the father 
could not atone for him." In fact the poem says as distinctly as pos- 
sible that it was a son of Morrough who was taken by Donald Kevanagh 
and executed with his father : 

" E Dovenald Kevenath un sun fiz 
Aveit al cunte mene e pris." 



Dunt far ici Ja memorie. 

Morice Regan iret celui, 

Buche a buche par la alui 

Ri cest gest endita 

Lestorie de lui me mostra. 

Jeil Morice iret Latinner 

Al rei re Murcher. 

Ici lirrai del bacheller 

Del rei Dermod, vous voil conter.'' 

At his own desire, the Interpreter 
To me related his history, 

Which I here commit to memory. 
Maurice Regan was the man, 
Who face to face indited to me 
These actions of the king, 
And of himself showed me this 

This Maurice was interpreter 
To the king, king Murcher. 

These things this hatchellor 

Of king Dermod read to me : 
This is his story." 

Dunt faz ici la memorie. 
Morice Regan iert celui, 
Buche a buche parla a lui 
Ki cest jest endita, 
L'estorie de lui me mostra. 
Icil Morice iert latinier 
Al rei Dermot, ke mult Tout cher. 
Ifi lirrai del bacheler, 
Del rei Dermod vus voil conter." 
* * * 

— By his own interpreter, 

Who related to me the history of 

Of which I here make memorial. 
Maurice Regan was he, 
Mouth to mouth he spoke to him 
Who endited this history, 
He showed me the history of 


This Maurice was interpreter 

To king Dermod,. who loved him 

Here I will read of the bachelor 

[i. e. the king'] ; 

Of king Dermod I will tell you." 

We see at once in this translation how arose the error 
that Regan had written the history. An edition of the text 
of this poem, so valuable for the light it throws on an 
interesting period of history, has since been given to the 
public* Few events have had the good fortune to be re- 

* Norman-French Metrical History of the Conquest of Ireland in 
the Twelfth Century, edited from a manuscript in the Archiepiscopal 
Library at Lambeth. By Francisque Michel. London, Pickering. 


corded by two contemporaries so well fitted for the task as 
Giraldus and Maurice Regan — one closely related to the 
heroes (for heroes we may truly call them) who performed 
the enterprise ; the other, an immediate agent of the native 
chieftain in whose aid it was performed. For our own part, 
we feel an entire conviction of the candour of the Welshman, 
in the use of the materials he had collected for his history. 
The testimony of the Irishman is delivered with too much 
simplicity to allow us to suspect him of intentional misre- 

It happens, unfortunately, that the rolls of the reign 
of the second Henry are nearly all lost. In the reign of 
John they first begin to be numerous, and they then throw 
great light upon Irish history. The charter-rolls of this 
reign contain the confirmations of most of the grants of 
land made to the first conquerors. 

In spite of all that has been advanced to the contrary, 
we still continue to look upon the ancient Irish as a 
wild and barbarous people. Such were they found when 
the Romans entered Britain ; such were they in the time 
of the Saxons ; and their character was not changed for 
the better when the Anglo-Normans succeeded in establish- 
ing themselves in the isle. For ages they had infested, by 
their piratical depredations, the coasts of England and 
Wales. When, during the days of Saxon rule, a rebellious 
noble had been defeated in his projects, he fled immedi- 
ately to Ireland to recruit his strength; and at its conquest 
at the end of the twelfth century, the country was full of 
English slaves, who had been purloined from their homes. 
Such being the case, we need not wonder if our kings 
sometimes contemplated the conquest of Ireland as a 
matter of policy ; and it appears from the Saxon Chronicle, 


that William the Conqueror had himself formed the design 
of reducing it to a dependence upon the English crown. 
The passage, from its brevity, and from the late and 
bad Saxon in which it is written, is rather obscure ; the 
sense seems to be, that if the king had lived two years 
longer he would have subdued Ireland, and that, by the 
renown of his valour, without even striking a blow (and 
gif he moste >a gyt twa gear libban, he hsefde Yrlande mid 
his werscipe ge-wunnon, and wi$-utan eelcon wsepnon.) 

A historian of the twelfth century characterizes the Irish 
of his time as a people so little accustomed to peace and 
quiet, that they only slackened in their depredations upon 
others to pursue more inveterately their internal dissen- 
sions. In the latter half of this century, the petty king of 
Leinster was Dermod mac Murrough, who is described by 
historians as a bold and valiant prince, but proud and 
restless ; as little liked by his neighbours for his encroach- 
ments upon their rights, as he was agreeable to his own 
subjects by his overbearing tyranny. He had reduced to 
the condition of tributaries several of the petty kingdoms 
which bordered on his own, among which was that of 
Meath ; and in one of his wars he had carried with him to 
Leinster, O'Karrel, the son of the king of " Yriel." A district 
nearly adjoining to the kingdom of Dermod, which our 
Anglo-Norman poem calls Leschoin, and which Harris, in 
his Hibernica, explains by Leitrim, and Giraldus by Meath, 
was governed during this same period by king O'Rourk, 
whose residence appears to have been at " Tirbrun," in a 
wild and woody district. The wife of O'Rourk was the 
daughter of Melaghlin mac Coleman, king of Meath, 
who was herself amorous of the king of Leinster. The 
love between the lady and Dermod seems to have been 

VOL. II. 10 


mutual, though our poem insinuates that the object of the 
latter in seducing O'Rourk's wife was to revenge the dis- 
grace which his people had suffered at " Lechunthe ;" 
where it would appear that the people of O'Rourk had 
made a hostile incursion into Leinster. In this uncivilised 
age, when an Irishman left his home for a short period, 
it seems to have been a common and necessary precaution 
to hide his wife in some corner during his absence. King 
O'Rourk selected for this purpose a secret place, appa- 
rently not far from Tirbrun, which Giraldus calls " insula 
quaedam Medise" — a certain island in Meath ; but his 
queen had already yielded to the importunities of Dermod. 
She invited him to enter "Lethcoin," with a sufficient 
force, during the absence of her husband, and at Tirbrun 
he was encountered by her messenger, with information of 
the place of her concealment; whence — " rapta," as 
Giraldus has it, "quia et rapi voluit" — she was carried 
away by Dermod to Ferns. 

The first thought of O'Rourk, when he received intelli- 
gence of the violence which had been done to him by 
Dermod, was of revenge. He carried his complaint to the 
king of Connaught, who was then looked upon as the 
superior monarch over all Ireland, and who immediately 
espoused his cause ; and, at his instigation, all the chiefs 
who were tributary to Dermod deserted their superior lord. 
Among these were the king of Ossory, to whom was pro- 
mised Dermod's kingdom of Leinster, after the expulsion 
of its present sovereign ; Melaghlin (Malathlin,) the king 
of Meath ; Hasculf mac Turkil, the Danish king of Dublin ; 
and Murrough O'Brien (by Carew translated O'Byrne,) 
whom the author of our poem stigmatises as "un mal 
felun," or, as we might say in simple English, a singu- 


larly great scoundrel. It would appear, indeed, that the 
king of Leinster had put more than ordinary confidence in 
O'Brien. Wlien all his other friends had deserted him, he 
seems still to have clung to the hope that he would return 
to his allegiance, and therefore he felt the more sensibly 
his ingratitude and perfidy. Dermod had taken refuge in 
the city of Ferns, where was his paramour, and where he 
was harboured, we are told, in an abbey of St. Mary's. 
Here he resolved to make a last attempt to obtain an 
interview with O'Brien, and for that purpose had recourse 
to a stratagem. Disguised in the long robe of a monk, 
which he had borrowed of the abbot of St. Mary's, and 
which concealed his head and body, and even his feet, he 
made his way in safety to O'Brien's residence; but here 
again the king was unsuccessful. O'Brien refused to hold 
any parley with him, loaded him with reproaches and 
tin-eats, and retreated into the woods. 

Deserted by those in whom he put his trust, his party 
at home too weak to make head against his enemies, the 
king of Leinster was driven to seek aid amongst strangers. 
He left the harbour of " Corkeran," attended by Awelif 
O'Kinad, and, according to the recital of Maurice Regan 
(who, we suspect, must have been guilty of exaggeration, 
or the writer of the manuscript of error,) with more than 
sixty ships. With a favorable wind he soon reached 
Bristol, where, with his followers, and, according to the 
common report, with the wife of king O'Rourk, he was 
lodged in the house of Robert Harding, at St. Austin's. 
Thence, after a short stay, he passed through Normandy, 
into Aquitaine, where he found the king of England, 
Henry II, who listened with attention to his complaint, 
and promised him assistance as soon as possible. Dermod 


returned to Bristol with the royal letters to Robert 
Harding, his former host, ordering him to furnish the 
refugees with every necessary during their residence there ; 
and, according to Giraldus, with the king's letters patent, 
authorising his subjects to assist him in recovering his 
kingdom. At Bristol he made a stay of nearly a month; 
but at length, despairing of any immediate aid from the 
king, and with the hope of alluring private adventurers to 
join his standard, he proclaimed rewards of extensive 
possessions in Ireland to all those who would be instru- 
mental in the recovery of his lost territory. The liberality 
of his promises quickly attracted the attention of Richard 
fitz Gilbert, surnamed Strongbow, earl of Strigul. 

Earl Richard was descended from a great and noble 
family, being the son and heir of Gilbert earl of Pem- 
broke, the grandson of that Richard de Clare who had 
distinguished himself so highly in the memorable battle 
of Hastings. He is described as a man liberal and 
courteous, ever ready to listen to the counsel of his 
friends, cautious in the cabinet, yet bold and resolute in 
the field. In time of peace he was distinguished by his 
gentle bearing, having more of the freedom of the soldier 
than the haughtiness of a chieftain ; but in war he showed 
more of the commander than the soldier, less of the indis- 
criminate daring of the latter than of the firm and cool 
valour of the former. Such was Strongbow, if we believe 
his contemporaries. By some means or other he had lost, 
we are told, most of his paternal possessions. To support 
his character and rank, it appears that he had been 
obliged to borrow, probably of the Jews, who in those 
days were the grand usurers ; and at the time when Dermod 
was seeking private adventurers for the invasion of Leinster, 


Strongbow was driven, as much by bis own limited for- 
tune as by the clamorous importunities of his creditors, to 
listen to his proposals. The Irish king offered him his 
daughter in marriage, and, with her, the kingdom after 
his death ; and the earl promised to come to his assistance 
at the first approach of spring. 

From Bristol, Dermod passed over into Wales, and was 
honorably received by the Welsh king, Rhys ap Gruffydh, 
and by the bishop of the see, at St. David's, where he 
remained two or three days, until ships were procured to 
carry him over to Ireland. At St. David's he became 
accidentally acquainted with one who was to play an 
active and prominent part in the events which followed. 
This was Robert fitz Stephen, who had been treacherously 
arrested and imprisoned by his kinsman, the Welsh king, 
because he would not join the latter in rebellion against 
his sovereign, the king of England. At the intercession of 
Dermod and his half-brothers, the bishop of St. David's 
and Maurice fitz Gerald, it was agreed that he should be 
liberated, on condition of joining in the Irish expedition 
in company with Maurice ; and it was stipulated that, in 
return for their services, Dermod should give in fee to the 
two brothers the city of Wexford, with the two adjacent 
cantreds, or hundreds. They also promised to sail for Ire- 
land at the opening of spring. The Irish king seems to 
have had still a few faithful adherents in his own country, 
and he was naturally anxious to return thither as soon as 
he had secured assistance from England. He accordingly 
left St. David's in August 1168, with a small number of 
attendants, and arrived safely at Ferns ; where he was 
privately, but honorably, received by the clergy of the 
place, and where he remained during the winter. 

222 conquest or Ireland 

According to the Norman rhymer, Dermod was attended 
in his voyage by a small party of English, led by a 
Pembrokeshire knight, Richard fitz Godobert ; but finding, 
perhaps, on his arrival, his own party in Ireland much 
weaker than he had expected, and thinking that so small 
a body of foreigners would be rather an impediment than 
an aid, he seems to have dismissed them ; and he sent to 
Wales his secretary, Maurice Regan, to hasten the prepa- 
rations of Fitz Stephen, and to allure others to his standard 
by offers of land and money. 

We may well admire the circumstance of one family, by 
the mother's side, having produced so many great and 
brave men as were associated together in the first invasion 
of Ireland. Nesta, or Nest, the daughter of Gruffydh ap 
Rhys, king of South Wales (the father of the Rhys who 
was king when Dermod visited St. David's,) became the 
concubine of Henry I of England, and by him bore a son 
named Henry, whose sons were Meiler fitz Henry and 
Robert fitz Henry. She afterwards married Gerald of 
Windsor, who was constable of Pembroke, and by him she 
had three sons : William, who was the father of Raymund 
le Gros ; Maurice fitz Gerald ; and David, who was bishop 
of St. David's. Her second husband was Stephen, the 
constable of Aberteivi, or Cardigan, by whom she had 
Robert fitz Stephen. A daughter of this same Nesta 
married William de Barri of Pembrokeshire, by whom she 
had four sons, Robert, Philip, Walter, and Giraldus the 
historian of the enterprise. 

As the spring approached, Robert fitz Stephen made 
himself ready for the voyage. In the month of May, 
1169, his little armament of three ships arrived at the 
Banne ; his army consisting of a hundred and thirty 


knights, his own kinsmen and retainers, with sixty other 
men of arms, and about three hundred chosen Welsh 
archers on foot. Among the more eminent of his com- 
panions in arms — the "chevalers de grant pris" of the 
poem — were Meiler fitz Henry, Miles fitz David, who was 
the son of the bishop of St. David's, and Hervy de Mont- 
maurice, a soldier of fortune, who had come on the part of 
earl Strongbow. The day following, at the same place, 
arrived Maurice de Prendergast, who had set sail from 
Milford Haven with two ships, attended by ten knights 
and a considerable number of archers. 

In that part of Ireland which was first occupied by 
the English, the older Irish names seem in many in- 
stances to have been changed and forgotten; and we 
have now a difficulty in identifying the places which are 
mentioned in the recitals of Giraldus and of Maurice 
Regan. The place where Fitz Stephen's armament landed, 
then called simply the Banne, is by tradition identified 
with the small peninsula on the coast of Wexford, forming 
the promontory now called Baganbun. The headland 
called Baganbun, consisting altogether of about thirty 
acres, forms a bold projection towards the Welsh coast. 
On one side of the greater promontory is a lesser one, 
stretching out to the east, about two hundred yards long 
and seventy broad, accessible only at its extreme point ; 
beyond which rises a large, high, insulated rock, which 
forms a breakwater to the surf on the point, and which is 
imperfectly joined to the main-land by several smaller 
rocks that just appear above water, and are described as 
forming a kind of causeway to the point of the pro- 
montory itself. Here tradition says that Fitz Stephen 
ran in his ships, mooring them under protection of 


the larger rock, and landing his men by means of the 
low ridge. The cut between the last of these rocks, across 
which he is said to have sprung, is now popularly called 
Fitz Stephen's Stride. The adventurers are supposed to 
have first occupied the esplanade of the smaller peninsula, 
and there still remain distinct traces of the hasty fortifica- 
tions which are said to have been thrown up. On the 
isthmus which connects the lesser peninsula with the 
greater, a deep fosse, about seventy yards long, extends 
from side to side ; which was bounded on each edge by 
high mounds of earth, and in the centre covered by a half- 
moon bastion, twenty yards in circumference. On each 
side of this bastion may be traced passages through the 
fosse, and the bastion itself is connected with the espla- 
nade by a mound of earth. This bastion commanded the 
approaches, and overlooked " all the ground in the vici- 
nity." Some few years ago, on turning up the soil 
around the edge of the esplanade, were discovered the 
remains of fires, at regular intervals, on the edge of the 
precipices ; which are supposed to have been the watch- 
fires of the videttes who were stationed around the en- 
campment. In the middle is an oblong hollow space, like 
the foundations of a house, which is popularly called Fitz 
Stephen's Tent. The neck, which joins the greater pro- 
montory with the main-land, is also defended by a double 
fosse, deep and broad, stretching across the whole breadth, 
a space of two hundred and fifty yards. 

Such is the place pointed out by tradition as the first 
Irish ground occupied by Fitz Stephen. Tradition, how- 
ever, as we have ourselves had too many reasons for 
knowing, is but an erring monitor; and in the present 
instance we are not inclined to put much faith in it. The 


position and form of the promontory of Baganbun seems 
to answer better to the description of the place of landing 
of the gallant Raymund, and to the fortifications which he 
raised there ; and we think it more probable that Fitz 
Stephen landed at Bannow, a point, certainly, more con- 
venient for the intended expedition against Wexford. 
Giraldus calls the place Insula Bannensis (or, as the 
printed text has it, Banuensis,) and, as the sea has made 
such changes on this spot as to have buried a whole town, 
it may in his time have been a peninsular promontory. 

There is, indeed, no reason for supposing that Fitz 
Stephen took much trouble to fortify the place of his 
landing ; the Norman poem tells us that he encamped on 
the sea-shore, and Giraldus gives us clearly to understand 
that his position was by no means strong, though the 
insular form of the place gave it a certain degree of secu- 
rity. Dermod was at Ferns, in expectation of their arrival, 
the first intelligence of which raised the hopes of his 
friends, and caused them openly to join his standard; 
and, having previously despatched his natural son, Donald 
Kavenagh, to announce his approach, he hastened to join 
and welcome the English adventurers, bringing with him 
about five hundred men. The king rested that night with 
Fitz Stephen, in his encampment on the beach, and the 
next morning they marched with their little army towards 

The people of Wexford, who prided themselves much 
upon their valour and former exploits, boldly salhed forth 
to meet the enemy. Their number was about two thou- 
sand ; but they were unaccustomed to the sight of knights 
mounted and clad in armour, such as were the men who 
now presented themselves to their view ; and, having first 


226 conquest or Ireland 

burnt the suburbs, they hastily retreated within their walls. 
The English advanced directly to attack the town, which 
was obstinately defended. Among the first who mounted 
the wall was Robert de Barri, the elder brother of the his- 
torian Giraldus ; a large stone from the besieged struck 
him on the helmet ; he fell headlong into the fosse, and 
was with difficulty dragged out by his companions : many 
others of the assailants were severely hurt, and Fitz Stephen 
was compelled to withdraw his men with the loss of eighteen, 
whilst of the besieged only three were killed. The English 
hastened from the town to the harbour, where they burnt 
the shipping ; and they then prepared for a renewal of the 
attack the next morning. But the people of Wexford, 
although they had repelled the first assault with little loss 
to themselves, were fearful of the final result ; they antici- 
pated a second by offers of capitulation ; and the morning 
when this assault should have been made, they gave their 
hostages, and renewed their allegiance to Dermod. The 
English immediately entered the town, which, according 
to previous agreement, was delivered, with its territory, to 
Fitz Stephen ; and the Irish king granted, at the same 
time, to Hervy de Montmaurice the two cantreds bordering 
on the sea between Wexford and Waterford. 

After a stay of three weeks at Ferns, Dermod, with his 
new allies, set out for the invasion of Ossory ; whose king, 
Donald, or, as he is called by the rimer, Mac Donthid 
(perhaps, Mac Donald) was obnoxious to him, no less for 
former injuries than for his late pretensions to the kingdom 
of Leinster. The invasion of a district defended, like 
Ossory, by its bogs, woods, and hills, was a bold un- 
dertaking; but the fall of Wexford had strengthened 
the party of Dermod ; some turned to what appeared sud- 


denly to be a thriving cause ; the hope of plunder attracted 
many ; and, in addition to his English associates, he was 
now at the head of an army of three thousand Irish. 
The king of Ossory, with five thousand Irish, had occupied 
a difficult pass, by which it was necessary that Dermod 
should enter his territory ; there he had stationed his men 
behind strong entrenchments, consisting of three large 
and deep fosses, with a hedge behind them. When the 
army of Dermod approached the defile, the English rushed 
forwards to attack the entrenchments of the Ossorians ; 
the struggle was prolonged from morning till evening, 
when, after much loss on both sides, the English knights 
burst through the hedge and put their opponents to flight, 
and Dermod' s Irish spread themselves over the country to 
rob and destroy. 

The king of Ossory and his army, after their defeat, had 
taken shelter in the woods, whence, on the return of the 
invaders, they again assembled, to harass them in their 
retreat. The Irish who were with Dermod, and who ap- 
pear to have been chiefly the men of Hy-Kinsellagh, were 
placed under the command of his natural son, Donald 
Kavenagh ; and the king himself marched with the Eng- 
lish, who, as in entering the hostile country they were 
in the advance, now in leaving it held the rear. Donald 
Kavenagh soon approached a dangerous defile — it was a 
place where, in his wars with the people of Ossory, Dermod 
had been three times defeated; and his Irish, expecting 
now a similar disaster, fled precipitately to the woods leav- 
x ng their leader with only forty-three men to await the 
enemy. The king of Ossory, taking advantage of this 
sudden flight, hastened with seventeen hundred Irish to 
attack the English, who were not much more than three 


hundred men. The latter were just passing the bottom of 
a little vale, and they feared an attack from the Irish in so 
critical a position ; the more so, as they knew them to be 
"a people as swift as the wind." Maurice de Prendergast 
urged his companions to keep close together, and pass 
firmly and deliberately the vale, until, having reached better 
ground, they might turn upon their pursuers ; and, at his 
suggestion, a party of archers were placed in ambush 
among the brushwood. The Irish passed the ambush, but 
the archers, terrified by their numbers, dared not show 
themselves. Soon, however, the English reached better 
ground; they shouted their cry of " St. David!" and 
turned round upon the Ossoiians, who, not defended by 
armour like their opponents, were quickly cut down or 
put to flight, The prowess of Meiler fitz Henry was every- 
where conspicuous : Giraldus joins with his name that of 
Robert de Barri. The historian often dwells upon the 
ambitious valour of his cousin Meiler, and the modest 
bravery of his brother Robert. 

When the Irish of Dermod's party, who had sought 
shelter in the woods on the first approach of the enemy, 
saw the result of the battle, they rushed from their places 
of concealment, and fell upon the rear of the fugitives. 
With their axes, the peculiar weapon of these wild war- 
riors, they cut off the heads of those who had been slain 
by the English or by themselves ; and more than two hun- 
dred heads were thus laid at the feet of Dermod. Giraldus 
has preserved an anecdote, strikingly characteristic of the 
savage manners of the Irish of this period. Among the 
heads which were thrown on the ground before him, 
Dermod recognized one as that of a person who had 
been peculiarly obnoxious to him : as he danced exult- 


ingly among the heads of his foes, he suddenly seized upon 
this one, raised it by the ears to his mouth, and with a 
barbarous joy, bit off the nose and part of the lips. 

The Tictors proceeded the same night to the town of 
Fethelin, to which there was a good and direct road, car- 
rying with them their wounded; and the day following 
they returned to Ferns, where the Irish from most of the 
districts which had been subject to the king of Leinster, 
terrified by the reports which were already spread abroad 
of the valour of the English, came in and gave hostages 
for their allegiance. The king of Ossory, however, as well 
as Mac Kelan, the king of Offelan, or the district about 
Nass, and Hasculf mac Turkil, the king of Dublin, were 
not among the number. The next expedition of Dermod 
and his English was against Mac Kelan. Offelan was soon 
plundered and laid waste, and the booty carried to Ferns : 
and a similar enterprise carried them through Hy-Kin- 
sellagh to Glendalough and the territory of O'Tool. After 
again resting some eight days at Ferns, Dermod, resolving 
if possible to reduce king Donald to subjection, prepared 
for a second invasion of Ossory. Donald Kavenagh marched 
first, at the head of five thousand Irish ; he was followed 
by the men of "Wexford, who were objects of suspicion to 
the king and the English, and who were therefore placed 
in a separate division and closely watched ; and in another 
division came Dermod himself, with the English. 

Thus Dermod and his army wandered across the country, 
making, as it would appear, a somewhat circuitous route 
into Ossory ; till one night they came to Fothard or Fethard, 
where the king encamped with the English on the "water 
of Mac Burtin," according to Giraldus, in and about an 
old ruined fort. Here it was that, during the night, they 


were visited by that singular " phantasm" which is related 
by both historians ; and which, Giraldus informs us, 
was of no uncommon occurrence during the Irish wars. 
Suddenly, in the middle of the night, they saw rushing 
upon them, from every side, a vast army. The greater 
part of the Irish who were encamped in the immediate 
neighbourhood, struck with terror at this sudden attack, 
fled precipitately to the woods and bogs, leaving Meiler 
fitz Henry and Robert de Barri, who, it seems, were with 
them, and who immediately hastened to the encampment 
of Fitz Stephen. They found the English in great alarm ; 
for they, led by their suspicions, supposed it to be the 
Wexford men who had betrayed them, and who had come 
upon them unawares. Randolf fitz Ralf was on the watch, 
and first saw the imaginary assailants. In an instant he 
shouted the war-cry, " St. David!" drew his sword, and 
rushed towards the enemy. A soldier in armour advanced 
towards him, but a blow of Randolf s sword brought him 
on his knees : it was one of his fellow-watchmen. The 
English had now time to discover their mistake ; the phan- 
tasm by degrees disappeared, and passed by the camp of 
the Wexford men, who, equally suspicious of the others, 
thought they saw in it a treacherous attack by the English. 
The following morning the army was again put in order, 
and marched forwards in search of the king of Ossory. 
The latter had seized upon the pass of Athethur, or Hathe- 
dur, which he had defended by a broad and deep fosse, 
and a hedge of hurdles. At length king Dermod approached 
the pass ; it was near nightfall ; and between his army and 
Athethur flowed a large river, on whose banks he encamped. 
The next morning, his whole army passed the river without 
opposition, and the Wexford men were appointed to attack 


the entrenchments, Three successive days they advanced 
valiantly to the assault, and were as often driven back by 
the Ossorians ; till, on the third day, the English, marching 
up as the Irish retreated, soon burst through the hedge 
sword in hand, and as quickly drove the men of king 
Donald from their position, and again laid open the king- 
dom of Ossory to the ravages of Derniod and his Irish, 
who returned to Ferns laden with the spoils. The king of 
Ossory fled into Tipperary, through the district of Wene- 
nath (Hy-Nenath?), and thence to "Bertun." 

The successes of Dermod and the foreigners whom he 
had brought into the island became now a subject of serious 
apprehension to the other chieftains throughout Ireland; 
and Rory O'Connor, the king of Connaught, and "mon- 
arch" of the whole isle, summoned together the inferior 
kings, who entered Leinster with a numerous army, re- 
solved to expel the intruders at once from the land. 
Dermod had received early intelligence of the storm which 
threatened him. Many of his Irish followers deserted him 
in his time of need, and not feeling himself strong enough 
to face such an enemy in the field, he retreated with the 
English to a strong position near Ferns, surrounded by 
bogs and water, thick woods, and precipitous mountains. 
This place, almost inaccessible by its natural character, 
Fitz Stephen rendered impregnable, by digging deep pits 
and ditches over the ground by which the entrance must 
be approached, and by narrowing the entrance and plash- 
ing the wood with trees that his men had cut down. 
O'Connor first sent a messenger to Dermod, offering to 
confirm to him the peaceful possession of all his ancient 
kingdom of Leinster, on condition of the immediate dis- 
mission of the English allies. On Dermod's refusal to 


accede to these terms, the king of Connaught made some 
slight demonstrations of hostility ; but negotiations were 
soon again renewed. O'Connor was well aware of the 
strength of Dermod's position, and the latter was willing, 
on any reasonable terms, to avert for the present the 
wrath of the king of Connaught. A treaty was therefore 
made, by which the possession of Leinster was secured to 
Derniod, on condition of his doing homage to O'Connor as 
his superior lord ; and he delivered, as an hostage for his 
performance of the terms of the treaty, one of his younger 
sons, named "Cnuth." Giraldus assures us, that there 
was also a secret treaty between the two kings, whereby 
Dermod bound himself to receive no more English into his 
service, and to dismiss those who were with him as soon 
as he had entirely reduced his rebellious dependents. 

Be this as it may, king Dermod became so proud and 
overbearing by his successes, that he appears to have given 
umbrage even to his English allies, to whose exertions he 
owed them. Maurice de Prendergast, with his followers, 
to the number of two hundred, resolved to return home, 
and, taking their leave of the king, they marched towards 
Wexford ; where, however, Dermod had already dispatched 
orders to hinder their departure. Enraged at Dermod's 
ingratitude, and unable to leave the country, Maurice prof- 
fered his services to the king of Ossory, who joyfully 
accepted them, and agreed to meet him at Tech-Moylin. 
Maurice made his way in safety to this place, in spite of 
the opposition of Donald Kavenagh, who had thrown him- 
self in the way with five hundred men : on the third day 
after his arrival the king came to him, according to agree- 
ment; each took oath of fidelity to the other, and they 
entered Ossory in company. With the aid of his new 


ally, the king of Ossory was soon enabled to make reprisals 
upon Dermod, and he suddenly invaded the territory of 
O'More, king of Leis (Queen's County), where his ravages 
were only arrested by the submission of O'More, who pro- 
mised faithfully to deliver his hostages on an appointed 
day. But the wily king of Leis, while Donald and Maurice 
were quietly enjoying themselves, and waiting the day fixed 
for the delivery of the hostages, sent a messenger to king 
Dermod in Leinster, begging his aid against their common 

During this time, the loss which Dermod had sustained 
by the defection of Maurice de Prendergast was repaired 
by a new arrival of English. Maurice fitz Gerald had 
landed at Wexford, attended by ten knights, with thirty 
horse and a hundred archers on foot, who were joyfully 
received by the king of Leinster. Immediately after their 
arrival came the messager of O'More ; and, after a short 
consultation with the English barons, Dermod assembled 
his army, and made a hasty march towards Leis. This 
expedition had been concerted with such speed and secrecy, 
that it was only when Dermod was far advanced on the 
way that a spy brought to the king of Ossory the first 
intelligence of his approach. The latter felt himself un- 
able to cope with Dermod' s army, and, by the advice of 
Maurice de Prendergast, he hastened back into Ossory. 
The king of Leinster, after himself taking hostages of 
O'More, also returned to Ferns. 

Maurice soon found, that the service of the king of 
Ossory was no less ungrateful than that of the king of 
Leinster. The presence of the foreigners was naturally 
enough a subject of jealousy to the natives, particularly in 
time of truce, when the latter were not gaining by their 


exertions. As the English had, perhaps, been more provi- 
dent than their Irish allies, the riches they had collected 
provoked their cupidity ; and a plot was formed to surprise 
and murder Maurice and his men in their sleep, and to rob 
them of their share of the spoils. The conspirators even 
ventured to broach their project to the king, who, how- 
ever, was honest enough to refuse all concurrence in it. 
In the meanwhile Maurice demanded and obtained leave 
of the latter to depart for Wales ; and while the king 
moved on with his court (if the attendants of an Irish king 
at this time may be called a court) to Fertnegeragh, the 
former passed the night at Kilkenny, ready for departure 
the next morning on his march towards Waterford. He 
here learnt that the Ossorians, who had conspired against 
him, resolving to interrupt him in his march, had assembled 
to the number of two thousand men, and had seized upon 
a defile through which he would be obliged to pass, which 
they had fortified against him. In this unforeseen diffi- 
culty, a stratagem afforded the only hope of escape. The 
king of Ossory desired much to retain the English in his 
service, and Maurice now dispatched a message to his 
seneschal, announcing his willingness to comply with the 
king's desire. The king returned answer, that he would 
immediately repair to him at Kilkenny; the news was 
quickly spread over the country ; the Ossorians left their 
position in the pass, and the English leaving Kilkenny 
secretly and by night, made a hasty march to Waterford. 
Thence, after a short stay and a squabble with the citi- 
zens, arising from the death of an Irishman who had been 
wounded by one of the English soldiers, and which was 
adjusted by the prudence and moderation of Maurice, they 
passed across the channel to Wales. 


The hopes of Dermod were raised by the accession of 
Maurice fitz Gerald and his followers, who built themselves 
a stronghold upon a rock at Carrig, near Wexford : he had 
already conceived the idea of making himself master of 
Dublin, and of revenging severely upon its inhabitants the 
death of his father, whom they had murdered and buried 
along with a dog. The arrival of Fitz Gerald was itself 
a breach of the treaty which he is said to have made with 
the king of Connaught ; and the latter, incensed at some 
petty depredations of Donald Kavenagh, invaded Leinster 
with a small army ; but was defeated by the English, and 
returned to his own kingdom with disgrace. 

Events were all this time ripening, which were destined 
to change entirely the face of aifairs in Ireland. Earl 
Strongbow had not, as was expected, joined Dermod in 
the spring of 1169, but he had watched anxiously the pro- 
ceedings of the first invaders, and was making large prepa- 
rations for his Irish expedition. Dermod, eager for the 
attack upon Dublin, and in his insolence laying claim even 
to the kingdom of Connaught and the sovereignty of 
Ireland, dispatched messengers to England to hasten his 
departure. It was necessary, however, for Strongbow' s 
purposes, to gain a distinct permission of the undertaking 
from the king of England. Historians are not agreed how 
far this permission was granted. Giraldus says, that the 
answer of the king was such that it might be interpreted 
in favour of Strongbow' s projects ; William of Newbury 
asserts, that Henry forbade the earl to meddle in the Irish 
affairs ; but on this point, William's assertion ought pro- 
bably to bear with it less authority than that of Giraldus. 
Be this as it may, in the summer of 1170 Strongbow was 
coasting the Welsh side of the Bristol channel on his way 
towards Ireland. 


The precursor of Strongbow was Raymund, so celebrated 
in the after history by the surname, which his corpulency 
had procured him, of Raymund le Gros. With ten knights, 
and about seventy archers, he landed under shelter of a 
rock, which is called by Giraldus Dundunolf, and in the 
Norman poem, Domdonuil, situated on the southern coast 
of the county of Wexford, but nearer to Waterford than 
to that city, and answering exactly in its description and 
position to the little promontory of Baganbun. Here, 
among the rocks, he fortified his camp with earth and 
turfs, and was joined at his first arrival by Hervy de 
Montmaurice, whose lands must have been at no great 
distance from this place, and who brought with him three 
knights. With these Raymund' s company amounted, 
perhaps, to nearly a hundred men. When the intelligence 
of their arrival reached Waterford, which was then governed 
by two Danish chieftains, Reginald and Smorch,* the 
citizens assembled in haste to drive away these new 
intruders. They were joined by the people of Ossory, and 
by Donald (or, as Giraldus calls him, Melaghlin) O'Felan, 
king of the Decies, and O'Rian, king of Hy-Drone ; and a 
formidable army of about three thousand men, in three 
divisions, crossed the Suire, and hastened towards the 
camp at Dundunolf. Raymund and his English boldly 
sallied forth to meet their assailants, but, too few to hold 
the field against so numerous an army, they were quickly 
compelled to retire to their entrenchments, so closely pur- 

* " Regenald e Smorch erent clame 

Les plus poanz de la cite." {Norman Poem, v. 1506.) 
The latter of these names is not mentioned by Giraldus. But who 
were the two Sytaracs mentioned by him a little further on in the 
history ? — " Captis igitur in turri Reginaldi duobus Sytaracis, et gladio 


sued by the Irish, that both parties were on the point of 
entering the camp together; when Rayniund, turning 
round at the entrance, struck down with his sword several 
of the foremost of his pursuers, and the English, rallying 
at the nervous shout of their leader, rushed again upon 
the Irish, who, already fallen into disorder in the pursuit, 
and astonished by the suddenness of the attack, fled in 
every direction. According to the story told by Maurice 
Regan, Rayniund owed his victory partly to an accident. 
The English, on their first arrival, had swept the cattle 
from the surrounding country, and had placed them, pro- 
bably, in the larger inclosure of the camp : confined within 
a small circuit, and mad with terror at the terrible shouts 
of the Irish, and at the clashing of the English armour, 
eager to seek anywhere a place of safety, they rushed 
furiously through the entrance of the camp to force their 
way through the midst of the Irish. The latter hastily 
made way for . them, and were thrown into confusion ; 
and the English, seizing the moment, rushed upon their 
enemies, and made a terrible slaughter. The Norman 
bard tells us, that a thousand were left dead on the field ; 
Giraldus estimates the slain at about five hundred. Ray- 
niund lost one of his choicest men, Alice de Berveny. 
Seventy citizens of Waterford were taken prisoners, who, 
at the instigation of Hervy de Montmaurice, and con- 
trary to the wish of Rayniund, were all thrown into 
the sea. Maurice Regan told a different story : he said, 
that the prisoners were beheaded by the order of Ray- 
niund, who was enraged at the loss of his friend 
Alice. But Giraldus was more likely to know, the coun- 
sels and sentiments of the English barons, his own rela- 
tions, than the interpreter of an Irish king, who was 


not present at the action, and who, full of Irish feelings, 
when he heard of the slaughter would naturally enough 
attribute it to the spirit of revenge. 

Giraldus must be in error when he fixes the arrival of 
Raymund at Dundunolf to the calends of May (*. e. the 
latter end of April,) for we are assured that it was quickly 
followed by that of eaii Strongbow,* and yet Giraldus and 
the Norman poem agree in placing the arrival of Strong- 
bow at the latter end of August. In passing the "Welsh 
coast, Strongbow had been joined by Maurice de Prender- 
gast and his followers, who returned with him to Ireland ; 
and he landed in the neighbourhood of Waterford with an 
army of nearly fifteen hundred men. It was the eve of 
St. Bartholomew when the earl arrived, and the next day 
he laid siege to the city. Twice the assailants were 
repulsed from the walls, when Strongbow, observing a 
wooden house which was attached to the wall of the city, 
ordered some of his men, under cover of their armour, to 
cut down the post which supported it. The house fell, 
and dragged with it a large portion of the wall ; and the 
English rushed through the breach, put to death all who 
opposed them, and made themselves masters of the city. 

* So says the Norman bard, quoting, as usual, the authority of the 
old people. 

" Solum le dit as ansciens, 

Bien tost ajwts, Richard ti quens 

A Waterford ariva ; 

Bien quinz cent od sei mena. 

La vile seint Bartholomee 

Esteit li quens arive." (v. 1501.) 
It is hardly probable that Raymund would have remained three 
months shut up in his little fort at Dundunolf. 


In Reginald's Tower (so called from one of the Danish 
governors) were slain the two " Sytaracs," and were taken 
Reginald himself, and O'Felan, the king of the Decies, 
who had joined in the disastrous expedition against Dun- 
dunolf. At Waterford, immediately after its capture, 
Strongbow was joined by king Dermod, with Fitz Stephen 
and Maurice fitz Gerald, and by Raymund, who had 
remained with Hervy de Montmaurice and Walter Bluet 
at Dundunolf ; and at their intercession, we are told, he 
spared the lives of his two prisoners, Reginald and O'Felan. 
Immediately after the arrival of Dermod, were celebrated 
the nuptials of Strongbow with his daughter Eva: the 
kingdom of Leinster, after Dermod's death, was the 
dower ; and the united army, after leaving a garrison at 
"Waterford, marched to the conquest of Dublin. 

Meanwhile the other Irish chiefs, alarmed at this new 
arrival of foreigners, and informed of the intended attempt 
upon Dublin, had assembled under the banner of O'Connor, 
who fixed his head quarters at Clondalkin, and distributed 
his army, which is said to have amounted to thirty thou- 
sand men, in the woods and passes over the country 
through which he supposed that Dermod and his allies 
must have proceeded to Dublin, with orders to fortify all 
the passes on the road, and to plash the woods. The 
king of Leinster had, however, received timely intelligence 
of the movements of his enemies ; he consulted the English 
barons, and it was resolved to change their route, to avoid 
the woods, and to march over the mountains by Glenda- 
lough. The first division of the army, consisting of seven 
hundred English, was led by Miles de Cogan, with whom 
was Donald Kavenagh. Next came Raymund, with eight 
hundred English, who was followed by Strongbow and 


Dermod, with about three thousand English and a thou- 
sand Irish ;* and lastly, came the main body of Dermod's 
Irish auxiliaries. On St. Matthew's day they came in sight of 
Dublin, which was defended by its Danish chieftain, 
Hasculf mac Turkil. The main body of the army halted 
at a short distance from the city, but Miles de Cogan 
encamped just under the wall; as did also Raymund, 
though at another point. Maurice Regan was immediately 
sent to the governor of the city, to require its delivery to 
Dermod, with thirty hostages. Laurence O'Toole, the 
archbishop of Dublin, urged the citizens to accede to 
Dermod's demand ; and we are told, that the only subject 
of disagreement was the choice of the hostages, for the 
arrangement of which Hasculf demanded a truce till the 
following day. But in the midst of these negotiations, 
Miles de Cogan, impatient of delay, ordered his men to 
the walls, and forced his way into the city. Raymund, 
who seems to have acted partly in concert with him, made 
a simultaneous attack on the other side. Hasculf, with 
the greater part of the citizens, hurried their more valuable 
effects into their ships, and fled to the northern islands ; 
and, after a short but furious struggle, and great slaughter, 
Cogan was master of Dublin before Dermod or Strougbow 
knew of the attack. Dublin yielded to its conquerors a 
rich booty : it was given into the care of Miles de Cogan, 
with a small garrison, and the earl returned with Dermod 
to Ferns ; whence, from time to time, they made incur- 
sions into the territories of their neighbours, particularly 

* The Norman poem, which gives this arrangement of the army, 
must he in error as to the numbers of the English. It should, per- 
haps, be " one thousand English and three thousand Irish." 


into the kingdom of Dermod's old enemy, O'Rourk. 
O'Connor again expostulated with the king of Leinster, 
and begged that, if he would not dismiss his foreign allies, 
he would at least keep them within bounds. His expostu- 
lations were treated with scorn, and in revenge he put to 
death Dermod's son, who had been delivered to him as a 
hostage. During the winter (Giraldus says, in the calends 
of May) king Dermod, " full of years," died at Ferns, and 
Strongbow became, in right of his wife, earl of Leinster. 

On the death of Dermod, a new confederacy was formed 
against the English ; the only native chiefs who remained 
faithful to them being Donald Kavenagh, Mac Geley of 
Tirbrun, and Awelif O'Carvy. 0' Conner again summoned 
the Irish kings to his banner, and a host of wild warriors, 
estimated by Maurice Regan at sixty thousand men, was 
marched to wrest from the earl his late conquest of Dublin.* 
O'Connor, with the half of his army, encamped at Castel 
Knock ; Mac Dunleve of Ulster, fixed his banner at Clon- 
tarf : O'Brien of Minister established himself at Kilmainan ; 
while Moriertagh, the king of Hy-Kinsellagh, encamped 
towards Dalkie ; and, according to Giraldus, the port was 
besieged by a fleet of islanders, headed by Gottred king 
of Man. Two months the English had been confined 
within the walls of Dublin, when in a council, at which 
were present with Strongbow, Robert de Quency, Walter de 

* Giraldus erroneously reverses the order of the two events — the 
sieges of Dublin by O'Connor, and by the Danes under Hasculf and 
John the Furious. A comparison of the dates will at once shew the 
error of the Welsh historian. It must not be forgotten, that while 
Miles de Cogan was besieged by the Danes and Norwegians, Strong- 
bow was in England, and that he only returned to Ireland in company 
with king Henry. 

VOL. II. 11 


Riddlesford, Maurice de Prendergast, Miles de Cogan, 
Meiler fitz Henry, Miles fitz David, Richard de Marreis, 
Walter Blueit, and others, to the number of about twenty, 
it was declared that the city did not contain provisions to 
last with economy for a fortnight ; and it was proposed to 
treat with the besiegers. Giraldus mentions a report, that 
this confederacy of the Irish had been formed at the 
instigation of the archbishop of Dublin : according to 
Regan, it was the archbishop who was chosen in company 
with Maurice of Prendergast, to carry to O'Connor the 
propositions of the besieged ; which were, that Strongbow 
should hold Leinster in fee of the king of Connaught. 
The latter, confident in his own strength and in the weak- 
ness of his opponents, and thinking to reduce them to the 
same footing on which the Danes had previously stood in 
those towns, declared peremptorily that he would allow the 
English to hold nothing more than Dublin, Wexford, and 
Waterford. To add to the embarrassments of the latter, 
Donald Kavenagh arrived at Dublin, with some Irish 
of Hy-Kinsellagh, accompanied by O'Ragely and Aweli 
O'Carvy, bringing intelligence of the revolt of the people 
of Wexford, and of the desperate position of Robert 
fitz Stephen, who, with his companions, had been obliged 
to seek refuge in the little fort of Carrig. A council of 
war was immediately held, and it was resolved to make a 
sudden sally upon the besiegers ; the camp of O'Connor 
being selected as the first point of attack. A chosen band 
of six hundred English was secretly assembled, which was 
divided into three divisions : two hundred marched first, 
led by Miles de Cogan ; they were followed by as many 
more, commanded by Raymund ; and, lastly, came Strong- 
bow himself, with a third division of two hundred men, 


accompanied by Kavenagh, O'Carvy, and O'Ragely. The 
Irish were betrayed by their own security : the first notice 
they had of the approach of an enemy, was the redoubted 
cry of " St. David ! " shouted in the very midst of their 
tents ; and, totally unprepared for defence, their first im- 
pulse was to save themselves by flight. Between one and 
two thousand were slain, above a hundred of whom were 
killed while bathing ; and O'Connor himself, who was at 
the time of the attack in a bath, narrowly escaped. The 
English pursued the fugitives till towards evening, and then 
returned to the city laden with provisions. Disheartened 
by the misfortune of the king of Connaught, the other 
Irish chieftains who surrounded Dublin immediately broke 
up their camps and sought their homes ; and the day fol- 
lowing, Strongbow was on his way to Wexford. In their 
march through Hy-Drone, the English were opposed by 
O'Rian, the king of that district; the Irish were much su- 
perior in numbers to the army of Strongbow ; but after a 
fierce encounter, in which Meiler fitz Henry was thrown 
from his horse by a stone, they were entirely defeated, and 
O'Rian himself killed with an arrow by a monk called 
Nichol ; which monk gained great praise for his valour in 
the battle. 

Robert fitz Stephen and his companions had defended 
themselves bravely at Carrig, in daily expectation of relief 
from Dublin ; till at length their besiegers demanded a 
parley. They brought with them the bishops of Wexford 
and Kildare, with other religious persons ; and before them 
they swore solemnly, upon their relics, that Dublin was 
taken, that the English had all been put to the sword, and 
that the king of Connaught, with the whole Irish army, 
was on his way to Wexford. They declared that they had 

244 conquest or Ireland 

no intention of hurting Fitz Stephen or his companions ; 
that, on the contrary, they were desirous of saving them 
from the fate of their countrymen at Dublin ; and that, if 
they would yield themselves prisoners, they should be 
allowed to pass in safety to Wales. Fitz Stephen, believing 
that Dublin was lost, and thus cut off from all hopes of 
relief, surrendered : the Irish, regardless of their oath, 
rushed upon the English, slew several, and threw the rest, 
with their leader, into prison. On the approach of Strong- 
bow, the Wexfordians immediately burnt their town, and 
took refuge with their prisoners in the island of Begerin 
(Little Ireland), at the entrance of their harbour. The 
earl, when he was informed of the destruction of the city, 
and the impossibility of dislodging its inhabitants from 
their asylum for the present, turned towards Waterford. 

On his arrival at Waterford, Strongbow sent in haste a 
messenger to Limerick, with letters to O'Brien, the king of 
Minister, who had also married a daughter of king Dermod, 
desiring him to join in the invasion of Ossory. The king 
of Minister declared his willingness to make war against 
the enemy of his father-in-law — but the hope of plunder 
was perhaps a stronger incentive — and he joined the earl 
of Leinster at Ydough, where their joint army amounted 
to two thousand men. The king of Ossory, daunted by 
the uniform success of the foreigners, offered to make re- 
paration for all injuries he might have done to Dermod, 
and demanded a safe conduct and an interview with Strong- 
bow. Maurice de Prendergast, his old ally, offered to be 
his conductor, and obtained the oaths of the English barons 
that the king should be allowed to return in safety to the 
woods. Strongbow loaded the king of Ossory with re- 
proaches for his treason against Dermod ; and O'Brien of 


Minister, perceiving that the English were prejudiced 
against him, urgently begged them to arrest him ; and 
thinking he perceived some inclination to follow his coun- 
sel, immediately gave secret orders to his own men to sally 
forth and plunder the country. But Maurice of Prender- 
gast, having received intimation of what was going on, 
ordered his men to arms ; and hastening himself to where 
the earl and his barons were assembled, he reproached 
them with treachery, and, laying his hand upon his sword, 
swore, that the first who dare to lay hands upon the king of 
Ossory should pay dearly for his temerity. The earl de- 
clared that he had not harboured the thought of injuring 
king Donald, and delivered him to Maurice, who, with his 
men, accompanied him in his return to the woods. On 
their way they met the men of Munster, laden with spoils. 
Maurice ordered his men to charge them; several were 
killed, and the rest dispersed. He passed the night in the 
woods with the king of Ossory, and the next morning re- 
turned to the English Camp, where the high character 
which he bore saved him from the suspicions of disaffec- 
tion to their cause, which his bold conduct might have 
excited. The king of Munster returned to Limerick, and 
the earl to Ferns, where Morrough O'Brien (0' Byrne) and 
his son were brought prisoners, and immediately put to 
death. The king of Hy-Kinsellagh, Muriertagh, at the 
same time made his peace with the English, and was allowed 
to retain his kingdom. Dismayed at the disasters which 
day after day fell upon their countrymen, in their en- 
counters with the invaders, the Irish clergy held a council 
at Armagh, where they agreed unanimously in looking 
upon them as a visitation of the divine vengeance for 


their sins ; particularly for the unchristian traffic in English 
slaves, of whom so many had been stolen from their homes. 
The people of England had, probably, been used to pay 
very little attention to the affairs of the sister isle ; and it 
would seem, that hitherto the progress of the English 
adventurers had not attracted much notice. The king of 
England had himself long contemplated the conquest of 
Ireland, but it had been his policy to cloak his views 
of personal aggrandisement under the pretence of zeal for 
the cause of the church. So early as the year 1155, he 
had made a formal application to pope Adrian for the 
apostolical permission of his undertaking ; representing to 
him the barbarous and savage life which the Irish led, and 
the advantages which they must themselves derive in being 
placed under the influence and protection of the Romish 
see.* Adrian was an Englishman, and readily listened 
to these proposals ; and his bull, which is still preserved, 
requires the king, in prosecuting his conquest, to secure 
to him the regular payment of Peter's penny, and to attend, 
above all things, to the improvement of the morals of the 
uncivilised people whom he was going to place under his 
sceptre. His continual hostilities on the Continent had 
obliged him to delay the prosecution of the enterprise ; but 
in 1171, while Strongbow was in the midst of his con- 
quests, Henry, then in Normandy, called together his 

* Henry proposed, " Homines illos bestiales ad fidem Christi decen- 
tius revocare, ecclesiseque Romauae fidelius inclinare." — Matth. West. 
For particulars of the proceedings of the king in Normandy during 
this period, we may refer our readers to M. Depping's Histoire de la 
Normandie, sous le Regne de Guillaume le Conquerant et de ses 
Successeurs, 2 torn. Rouen, Frere, 1835. 


barons at Argentan, and opened to them his intention of 
marching immediately to the subjugation of Ireland. 

A crowd of circumstances combined in driving the king 
to this resolution. The murder of Becket, the same year, 
had caused a general ferment, not less among the laity 
than among the clergy ; it had raised the courage of the 
king's enemies, who joined in applying to the pope for 
vengeance against the murderers, and in aggravating the 
blackness of the deed and the culpability of Henry himself. 
The pope had appointed legates to make an inquisition 
into the conduct of the latter, and they were already on 
their way to Normandy. The invasion of Ireland would 
at least have the effect of delaying their proceedings : it 
would give the popular agitation time to subside, in turn- 
ing it to a different channel ; it might also probably restore 
him to the favour of the Roman see, and it would give him 
an increase of popularity among his own subjects, and 
would thus add to his means of defence. At the same time, 
Ireland, already half-subdued by an English army, must 
now be an easy acquisition ; if left longer, the barons who 
had established themselves there might be strong enough 
to set him at defiance. He accordingly left Normandy for 
England : he there assembled a powerful army, and on the 
fourteenth of September, the festival of the exaltation of 
the holy cross, he reached Pembroke, where he was detained 
some time by contrary winds. 

Henry's first step had been to proclaim his displeasure 
against Strongbow, for having made such extensive con- 
quests without the authority of his sovereign. He ordered 
him to appear in person at his court, confiscated his Eng- 
lish estates, and forbade any ship in future, without the 
royal orders, to transport men or arms from England to 


Ireland. The earl immediately sent Hervy de Montmaurice 
to remonstrate with the king. While Strongbow was pro- 
secuting his hostilities against the king of Ossory, Hervy 
arrived at Waterford, on his return from this mission, and 
by his counsel the former immediately sailed for England. 
According to Giraldus, he met the king at Newenham, in 
Gloucestershire ; and after promising to surrender Dublin, 
with its adjoining cantreds, and all the maritime towns, 
as well as the strong castles of Leinster, he obtained the 
royal grant, in fee to himself and heirs, of the whole of 
his conquests. 

Before leaving Ireland, Strongbow had given his two 
cities, Dublin and Waterford, the first to the care of the 
brave Miles de Cogan, who had captured it, and the other 
to the custody of Gilbert de Borard. No sooner had 
Strongbow left the Irish shores, than a new danger pre- 
sented itself before the former city. Hasculf, who had 
been driven with his Danes from Dublin, had collected a 
numerous army amongst the islands. He was joined by 
a famous Norwegian chieftain, called John the Furious (in 
Norman, Johan le Deve ; in English of that period, John 
the Woode ; in the Latin of Giraldus, Johannes Vehemens) ; 
and together they entered the LifFy, in from sixty to a 
hundred ships, about Pentecost, which in that year fell 
on the sixteenth of May. Cogan prepared for a vigorous 
defence. Gilmeholmock, an Irish king who had hitherto 
been faithful to the English, and whose hostages were in 
Dublin, came with his men to receive the orders of its 
English governor : the latter, perhaps, had no great con- 
fidence in his ally, and feared to be embarrassed by his 
treachery. With the chivalrous spirit of his age, he or- 
dered the Irish chieftain to stand aloof from the combat 


until he should see its conclusion : should the English give 
way, he was to join the enemy ; but in case they should 
obtain the victory, he bound himself to join with them in 
the destruction of the invaders. The place where Gilme- 
holmock stationed himself is named, by the Norman poet, 
" the Plogges of Sustein." 

Meanwhile, John the Furious, at the head of a large 
party of the Danes and Norwegians, approached the eastern 
gate of the city. Giraldus describes the assailants as men 
clad in iron — some in long coats of mail, others in armour 
formed of plates of the same metal, skilfully joined to- 
gether, with round red shields, the edges of which were 
also defended with iron. Miles de Cogan, with a part of 
the garrison, marched boldly out to meet them ; but the 
Danes, whose hearts, as Giraldus tells us, were made of 
the same metal as their arms, pressed fiercely upon the 
English. Their leader proved himself worthy of his name. 
With one blow of his axe he cut in two the thigh of an 
English knight, though cased in iron, so that one part of 
his leg fell to the ground ; and Miles and his company 
were obliged to seek shelter within the walls of the city. 
But his brother, Richard de Cogan, with about thirty 
knights and a large company of foot, had left the city 
secretly by another gate, and just as Miles was entering 
the town, hard pressed by his assailants, they fell sud- 
denly upon that part of the Danish army which was left in 
the rear. Those who had advanced to the assault of the 
city, in the moment, as they thought of victory, were 
obliged to hurry back to the assistance of their compa- 
nions, of whom Richard was making terrible havoc. Miles 
de Cogan fell upon them as they went ; John the Furious 
was himself slain by Walter de Riddlesford, one of Cogan' s 


knights ; Hasculf had been already captured by Richard 
de Cogan ; and, to complete the victory, Gilmeholmock, 
seeing from his camp the confusion into which they had 
thrown the invaders, and fearing to lose his chance of a 
share in the action, rushed down with his Irish to join in 
the slaughter. Two thousand Danes were slain in the 
engagement— the field was covered with their dead; and 
the victors pursued them so closely to the sea, that five 
hundred more were drowned in attempting to gain their 
ships. When Hasculf was brought before Miles, in Dublin, 
his insolence so provoked the anger of the English governor, 
that he immediately ordered him to be put to death. 

On the evening of the sixteenth of October, the king of 
England, in company with Strongbow, sailed from Mil- 
ford Haven, with a fleet of four hundred ships ; and the 
next day, which was Sunday, he landed, at Croch, only 
a few miles from Waterford, which city he entered on the 
Monday morning, the day of the festival of St. Luke.* 
With the king were William fitz Aldelm, Humfrey de 
Bohun, Hugh de Lacy, Robert fitz Bernard, and Bertram 
de Verdun. Immediately after their arrival, Strongbow 
did homage to Henry for the earldom of Leinster, and de- 
livered the city into his hands ; the custody of which the 
king gave to Robert fitz Bernard. Soon after, a deputa- 
tion arrived from the people of Wexford, who, when they 

* Our dates of Henry's progress in Ireland are chiefly taken from 
the history of Benedict of Peterburgh. All the authorities agree 
pretty exactly in the period of his arrival at Waterford, except the 
Norman poet, whom we might almost have suspected of having used 
the authority of Giraldus, and of having misunderstood his expression 
" Circa Calendas Nov." when he places the king's arrival on the day 
of all Saints, the first of November. 


had heard that Henry was on his way to Ireland, and that 
he had openly expressed his displeasure against the invaders 
of that country, thought to make a merit of delivering to 
him their prisoner, Robert fitz Stephen. The king at least 
pretended to give ear to their accusations, and, after severely 
reprimanding the delinquent, ordered him to be closely 
confined in Reginald's Tower. After having received the 
oaths of fidelity from the kings of Cork, Limerick, and 
Ossory, as well as from Melaghlin O'Felan and Reginald 
the ex-governor of "Waterford, the king proceeded to 
Dublin, having previously made an excursion to Cassel and 

Thus king Henry, after passing through Ossory, arrived at 
Dublin about Martinmas ; where, outside the city by St. Mar- 
tin's church, was raised for him a palace of wood and twigs, 
such as those in which the Irish kings were accustomed to 
hold their courts {scilicet ad morem patrice illius), though, 
probably, on a much larger scale. He there held, with 
great splendour, the festival of Christmas-day (which fell 
on a Saturday, and was, according to the manner of reckon- 
ing in those days, when the old custom of the pagan 
Anglo-Saxons was still in use, the first day of the year 
11/2), his court being attended by most of the native 

At Dublin the kiug received the homage of most of the 
Irish chieftains, except those of Connaught and Ulster. 
The inclemency of the season obliged him, as well as 
Strongbow, who held his court at Kildare, to pass the 
winter in inaction ; and the news of the arrival of the 
cardinals from Rome, and the rebellious projects of his son 
Henry, obliged him to leave Ireland, content with receiving 
the homage of O'Connor by proxy, as the haughty chieftain 


would not condescend to pass the Finn, the boundary of his 
kingdom, where he was met by Hugh de Lacy and William 
fitz Aldelm. The whole of Ireland had now acknowledged 
the supremacy of the king of England, except Ulster ; 
which, before his departure for England, the king granted 
to John de Courcy, " on the condition that he could con- 
quer it." He also granted Meath in fee to Hugh de Lacy. 

At the festival of the purification, the second of Feb- 
ruary, the king was still at Dublin. He gave the govern- 
ment of that city to Hugh de Lacy, leaving with him 
Robert fitz Stephen, whom he had liberated before quitting 
Waterford, Meiler fitz Henry, and Miles fitz David ; and 
on Ash-Wednesday, which that year fell on the first of 
March, he entered Wexford. The army proceeded thence, 
about the middle of Lent, to Waterford, to embark on 
board the ships which waited there ; and, having left the 
two last-mentioned towns in the custody of Robert 
fitz Bernard, the king left Ireland on Easter-day, the six- 
teenth of April, and the same day entered Milford Haven, 
whence he hastened to Normandy. 

From the period of Henry's visit to Ireland, we may 
date the dependence of that country upon the English 
crown ; although the struggle between the invaders and the 
natives was by no means ended. The succeeding history 
unfolds to us a long series of violent encounters, of sur- 
prises, stratagems, and murders. With the spring of 1 1 72, 
Strongbow had again commenced hostilities, which were 
chiefly directed against OfFally ; and in his return from one 
of these excursions, in a sudden and unexpected attack 
from the Irish, he lost his constable and standard bearer, 
Robert de Quency, to whom he had given in marriage his 
sister Basilea. Raymund sought the hand of the widow, 


and the constableship, until the only daughter of De 
Quency should be of age to marry. His demand was refused : 
he left Ireland in disgust, and returned to Wales ; and the 
constableship was given to the care of his envious rival, 
Hervy de Montmaurice. When the Irish were no longer 
held in check by the bravery and experience of Raymund, 
the loss of his services was soon felt by the English, and 
he was recalled by Strongbow ; who now, at last, consented 
to give him his sister in marriage, and with her the custody 
of the constableship and considerable grants of land, 
including Fothard, Hy-Drone, and Glascarrig. At the 
same time, he made a general distribution of lands to his 
followers ; he gave O'Barthie to Hervy ; he gave Fernege- 
nall to Maurice de Prendergast, who also possessed the 
district of Kinsellagh ; to Meiler fitz Henry he gave Car- 
berry : and to Maurice fitz Gerald, Wicklow and the terri- 
tory of Mac Kelan. 

Hugh de Lacy, who had been left governor of Dublin, 
nearly fell a victim to the treachery of O'Rourk, whom 
Giraldus calls "the one-eyed king of Meath." He was 
saved by the vigilance of Maurice fitz Gerald. O'Rourk 
himself was killed ; and soon afterwards, Lacy, having by 
the king's orders delivered Dublin to Strongbow, entered 
into Meath, which the king had granted to him, and dis- 
tributed large gifts of land among his followers. The 
whole strength of the Irish was now directed against the 
new settlements in Meath; and during Hugh de Lacy's 
absence his lands were invaded, and his castles, particularly 
that of Trim, destroyed. 

But if disunion was sometimes the bane of the English 
settlers, it was much more frequently the cause of defeat 
and disgrace to the natives. Immediately after the invasion 


of Meath, we find the king of Ossory, the old enemy of 
Dermod, leading the English army against the distant city 
of Limerick.* After prodigies of valour performed by the 
latter, who were led by their favorite commander Raymund, 
that city was taken ; and the aid of the conqueror was 
almost immediately solicited by Dermod mac Carthy the 
king of Desmond, against his rebellious son. This district 
also became tributary to the English. While Raymund 
was at Limerick, his brother-in-law, earl Strongbow, died 
at Dublin in the beginning of the June of 1 l/C, the sixth 
year after the first landing of the English adventurers in 
Ireland ; and Raymund immediately left Limerick, which 
it would have been dangerous to retain at this critical 
moment, to the care of an Irish chieftain. The latter 
rebelled, and Limerick was lost for the second time since 
its first occupation by the English. Maurice fitz Gerald 
died at Wexford at the end of the August following. After 
Strongbow's death, the king confided the government of 
Ireland to William fitz Aldelm. 

The government of Fitz Aldelm was weak and ungrate- 
ful to the English ; and John de Courcy was driven, by 
his disgust with the conduct of his superior, to undertake 
his long-projected expedition against Ulster. With a few 
brave companions he made a three days' march through a 
hostile country, and on the fourth reached the city of Down ; 
which, totally unprepared for so sudden an attack, was im- 
mediately occupied by the invaders. The king, Dunleve, 
saved himself by flight ; but, after some attempts at nego- 
tiation, he returned with an army of ten thousand men to 

* In the commencement of this siege the Norman poem ends 


recover his capital. The men of Ulster were the bravest 
of the Irish, yet John de Courcy, disdaining to fight within 
walls, advanced from the city to meet them ; and a long 
and obstinate battle ended in the success of the English, 
who made so terrible a slaughter of their enemies, that 
Giraldus applies to them literally an old Irish prophecy, 
which said that the invaders of Ulster should march up to 
their knees in blood. The fate of Ulster was disputed in 
many battles, but the desperate valour of John de Courcy 
overcame all obstacles, and the last independent province 
of Ireland was placed under English law and Romish 
church discipline. The chronicles of the time tell us how 
the barbarous manners of the natives were suddenly im- 
proved and polished by the more vigorous government 
under which they were placed. * 

* All the documents of this period agree in representing Ireland as 
not only a land of savages, hut as a den of thieves. William of New- 
bury, (lib. iii. c. 9,) speaking of the manners of the people of Ulster at 
the time of their conquest by De Courcy, says, " Hujus autem pro- 
vincial homines prse cunctis Hyberniee populis in celebratione paschaii 
eatenus superstitiosi fuisse traduntur. Nam sicut quodam venerabili 
episcopo gentis illius referente cognovi, arbitrabantur obsequium se 
praestare Deo, clum per anni circulum furto et rapina congererent, quod 
in paschaii solemnitate profusissimis tanquam ad honorem resurgentis 
Domini absumeretur conviviis, eratque inter eos urgens concertatio, ne 
forte qnis ab alio immoderatissimis ferculorum prseparationibus vince- 
retur. Verum hanc superstitiosissimam consuetudinem cum statu liber- 
tatis propria? debellati finierunt." 



class of literary antiquities has pro- 
gressed more rapidly with us during the 
last twenty years than the study of early 
English poetry. Until the time of War- 
ton, it was hardly supposed that the his- 
tory of English poetry could he traced back beyond the 
days of Chaucer ; and Warton's history is very incomplete, 
and abounds with inaccuracies. Percy, by the popular 
character of his Reliques, called a little more of public 
attention to the subject. Ritson was certainly the first 
who carried any true zeal to his researches among early 
English poetical manuscripts, and who edited the texts 
with conscientiousness ; but his vain pedantry and acri- 
mony of temper, and his entire want of judgment, detract 
much from the utility of his labours. After Ritson' s time, 
this class of literature dwindled again into little more than 
a plaything for bibliographers. In more recent times it 
has been taking its stand on a better footing ; and more 
accurate philological notions have been brought to the 
study of our language in its earlier and middle stages. 
That these notions, however, are but yet in their infancy, 
is proved by the fact that so worthless a text as that of 


Tyrwhitt's Chaucer has been suffered to be reprinted more 
than once within the last two or three years. 

The supremacy of the Anglo-Norman language has 
created rather a wide gap between the disappearance of 
the pure Anglo-Saxon poetry and the commencement of 
the early English ; for, during the long period between 
the conquest and the middle of the thirteenth century, we 
find only two poems of any magnitude, the chronicle of 
Layamon and the Gospel Harmony of Orm, and one or 
two short pieces, such as the proverbs of Alfred, a Bestiary, 
a fragment on the popular subject of the body and the 
soul, and the poem of the Owl and the Nightingale. The 
language of most of these is in a state of rapid transition, 
which has commonly received the title of Semi-Saxon. 
A large portion of them partake of the older Saxon form 
of alliteration, mixed with rhyme. The English language 
appears to have regained its position of supremacy after 
the great baronial struggle under Simon de Montfort ; and 
from this period to the war of the Roses it has been some- 
times denominated, by those who follow the nomenclature 
of Dr. Grimm, Middle-English. During the latter part of 
the thirteenth century and the beginning of the fourteenth, 
the English poetry appears with the forms and much of 
the spirit of the French and Anglo-Norman poetry, of 
which it was taking the place. 

The longer poems — especially the religious poetry — of 
the first half of the fourteenth century, are dull and heavy. 
But, under Edward III, the old alliterative poetry, which 
had probably continued to exist orally, suddenly reappeared 
in the spirited and extremely popular political allegory of 
the "Visions of Piers Ploughman." Immediately after 
this work came the real father of modern English poetry, 


Geoffrey Chaucer. The production of those high cultiva- 
tions of poetry represented by Chaucer appears to have 
been the result of a long age of intellectual movement, 
which, after his death, gave place to an age of more than 
ordinary intellectual darkness, when English poetry be- 
comes, it is true, very abundant, but when it possesses 
very little merit. John Lydgate is the type of the poetical 
literature of this age. 

In general, during the whole of the period of which we 
are speaking, we find the greatest share of poetic spirit in 
the popular songs and ballads. The English lyric poetry 
of the reign of Edward I is, from the form of the lan- 
guage, somewhat obscure, but it is often very elegant. 
We have much good lyric poetry in the fourteenth century, 
and a few charming specimens even in the fifteenth. The 
political songs partake largely of this character, and they 
always present at least that vivacity which is the necessary 
consequence of popular excitement. 

The collection of " Political Songs" published by the 
Camden Society was an attempt to form a regular series of 
such monuments in illustration of English history. They 
are not only valuable in this point of view, but also as the 
most authentic proofs of the variations through which our 
language has passed. Unfortunately they are the class of 
which, naturally, the smallest portion has been preserved. 
Until the middle of the thirteenth century the political 
songs of this country appear to have been almost universally 
written in Latin or French, because it was only the grades of 
society which made use of those languages who took an 
active part in political transactions. The lower orders, till 
then in a state bordering on slavery, came into life in the 
baronial wars, after which their language — in principle 


the language of their Saxon forefathers — was heard loudest 
as the watchword of political strife. The oldest English 
political song preserved relates to the battle of Lewes in 

From notices however, which frequently occur in our 
old chronicles, it appears very clearly that, at all periods 
of English history, songs and ballads were the popular 
instruments equally of libel and of praise, of expressing 
dissatisfaction as well as of rejoicing. In Fabyan we are 
told, that on the death of king Henry I people were di- 
vided in their opinions, some praising his good qualities, 
whilst others were more inclined to censure his faults. 
" One other," he adds, " made these versys of hym as 
folowen : 

" Kynge Henrye is deade, bewtie of the worlde, for whom his greate 

Goddes nowe maken for theyr kinde brother. For he is sole 
Mercurius in speche, Marce in battayle, harte stronge Appollo, 
Jupyter in hest, egall with Saturne, and enemye to Cupydo. 
Kyng he was of ryght, and man of most might, and gloryous in 

And when he left his crowne, then fell honour downe, for mysse of 

suche a kynge. 
Normandye than gan lowre, for losse of theyr floure, and sange wel 

Englande made mone, and Scotlande dyd grone, for to se that daye." 

This is probably a mere translation from a Latin poem. 

Songs appear also, from an early period, to have been 
favorite instruments in raising and organising rebel- 
lions. The two lines given by Holinshed and Lambarde, 
as part of those sung by the earl of Leicester's rebels in 
the reign of Henry II, — 


" Hoppe Wylikin, hoppe Wyllykin, 
Ingland is thyne and myne." 

sound to us very much like the burden of a song. In Wat 
Tyler's rebellion, in the reign of Richard II, the letter of 
John Ball, given in Holinshed, from an older chronicle, a 
copy of which was said to have been found in the pocket 
of one of the rioters, contains some rude rhymes, such as 
we may suppose these rustics to have committed to memory 
as a sort of watchword : 

" John Scheepe, S. Marie preest of Yorke, and now of Colchester, 
greeteth well John Namelesse, aud John the Miller, and John Carter, 
and biddeth them that they beware of guile in bourrough, and stand 
togither in God's name ; and biddeth Piers ploughman to go to his 
worke, and chastise well Hob the robber, and take with you John 
Trewman and all his fellowes, and no mo. 

' John the Miller y-ground small, small, small ; 
the kings sonne of heaven shall paie for all. 
Beware or yee be wo, 
knowe your freend from your fo, 
have inough and saie ho, 
and doo well and better, flee sinne, 
and seeke peace, and hold you therein, 
And so biddeth John Trewman and all his fellowes.' " 

On the Scottish borders there would seem to have been 
kept up a constant warfare with songs and ballads. Fabyan, 
speaking of the second year of Ed. Ill (1327), says, 
" In this yere, whiche at this daye was the seconde yere of 
the kyng Davyd fore said, the soonne of Robert le 
Bruze, then kyng of Scottes, maryed vpon the daye of 
Marye Magdeleine, at the towne of Berwyke, the forenamed 
Jane, sister vnto the kyng of Englande. But it was not long 


or the Scottes, in dispite of the Englishe menne, called hir 
Jane Makepeace. And also to their more derision, thei 
made diuerse truffes, roundes, and songes, of the whiche 
one is specially remembred as foloweth : 

Long beerdis hartles 
Paynted hoodes cobles, 
Gay cottes gracelis, 
Maketh Englande thryfteles. 

Whiche ryme, as saieth Gvydo, was made by the S cottes, 
princypally for the deformyte of clothyng that at those 
dayes was vsed by Englysshe menne." 

A few years before this, in 1297, while Edward I was 
besieging Berwick, the Scots made this rhyme upon him, 
as saith Fabyan : 

" What wenys kyng Edward with his long shankes 
To have wonne Berwike, all our unthankes. 
Gaas pykes hym, 
And when he hath it 
Gaas dykes hym." 

However, the Scots were beaten in this instance, both 
with sword and song. Berwick was soon taken, and, shortly 
after, they suffered a signal discomfiture at Dunbar : " Wher- 
fore the Englishe menne, in reproche of the Scottes, made 
this rime following : 

" These scaterand Scottes 
Hold wee for sottes 

Of wrenches unware ; 
Erly in a mornyng 
In an eivill timyng 

Came thei to Dunbarre." 


We imagine, this, too, from the appearance of it, to have 
been a stanza of a song ; it is inserted, with several other 
similar fragments, in the French metrical chronicle of 
Peter Langtoft. 

With the reigns of Henry III and the Edwards such poems 
become much more plentiful than in previous times, and are 
(particularly under Edward I) for their intrinsic merit well 
deserving of our notice. Few political events seem to have 
happened at the time which were not thought worthy, at 
least, of a song. We may instance one. The battle of Lewes, 
gained by the barons in the reign of Henry, could not fail to 
raise the hopes of their partisans to the highest pitch ; and 
we have, in a MS. in the Harleian collection, a spirited song, 
which may be supposed to have been written in the mo- 
ment of victory. It is altogether a clever and witty per- 
formance, and the circumstance of the king of Almaigne 
having, after the battle was lost, taken refuge in a wind- 
mill, which he barricadoed and defended till evening, when 
he was compelled to surrender, is sarcastically related : 

" The kyng of Alemaigne wende do ful wel, 
He saisede the ruulne for a castel, 
With hare sharp e swerdes he grounde the stel, 
He wende that the sayles were mangonel 

To helpe Wyndesore. 

The kyng of Alemaigne gederede ys host, 
Makede him a castel of a mulne post, 
Wende with is prude and is muchele host, 
Brohte from Alemayne moni sori gost 

To store Wyndesore." 

The battle of Evesham, which followed, and in which 
Simon de Montfort, the head of the rebellious barons was 


slain, gave occasion for other poems; and there is one 
among the Harleian MSS. in Norman French, made, like 
the other, by one of De Montfort's partisans, lamenting 
over the fate of that nobleman, and holding him forth* in 
the light of a martyr. The song on Sir Piers de Birming- 
ham also belongs to the end of this reign, though written 
some years after : as also, perhaps, the severe satires on 
the Romish clergy, contained in the MS. from which that 
song was taken. Among them is a ballad setting forth 
(and with good reason, as we may gather from Fabyan) 
the violent and unjust proceedings of the people in power, 
and applying to them, with much naivete, a fable of the 
lion (as king) and the wolf, fox, and ass, where the fox by 
his cunning, and the wolf by his strength and power, are 
allowed to rob and oppress with impunity, while the simple 
ass is punished even for his harmlessness. 

Of the reign of Edward I we may mention the ballads 
against the French and against the Scots, which have been 
printed from the Harleian MSS. No. 2253 ; the former of 
which ends with this denunciation : 

" 5ef the prince of Walis his lyf habhe mote, 
Hit falleth the kyng of Fraunce bittrore theu the sote ; 
Bote he the rathere therof welle do bote, 

Wei sore hit shal hym rewe."* 

There is also a ballad, or " ditty," as it is called in the 
catalogue, in the same MS., complaining much of the great 
taxes and fees extorted by the king's officers ; and a song, 
partly in French and partly in Latin, accusing the king 
with leaving England to make war in foreign parts, against 

* Bote, unless — welle do bote, make full amendment. 


the will of his subjects, and of oppressing his people by 
levying a fifteenth, and taxing their wool, &c. ; half of the 
produce of which taxes did not come into his coffers, but 
was embezzled by the officers who collected it. Another 
Norman-French poem is directed against the commission 
of traile-baston, which was issued by Edward I about 
1306, and consequently near the end of his reign. The 
last stanza informs us how secretly it was written : 

" C'est rym fust fet al bois, desouz un lorer ; 
La chaunte merle, russinole, e eyre l'esperver. 
Escrit estoit en parchemyn par mout remembrer ; 
E gitte en haut chemyn, qe urn le dust trover." 

Percy printed, from the same volume, an elegy on the 
death of Edward I. ; in which his loss is bewailed as that 
of the first knight in Christendom. A Norman-French 
version of the same elegy is found in a manuscript in the 
public library at Cambridge.* Fabyan seems to look upon 
this king Edward with great satisfaction, and gives us two 
Latin elegies on his death, which he has translated into 
English, " to the entent that they shulde be had in mynde." 
One of them, because it is short, we give here : 

" While lyved this kynge, 
By his power all thynge 

Was in good plyghte. 
For gyle was hydde, 
Greate peace was kydde, 

And honeste had myghte." 

* All these are printed in my Political Songs, published by the 
Camden Society. 


During the reigns of the first three Edwards, indeed, 
poetry seems to have been much cultivated. The kings 
carried about with them, when on their military expedi- 
tions, chosen poets to celebrate their victories ; and we 
have an excellent specimen of their performances in the spi- 
rited poetry of Lawrence Minot, under Edward III, which has 
been printed from one of the Cottonian MSS. by Ritson. 

From this time forward we can collect a regular series 
of poetical attacks on the growing vices of the Romish 
clergy till the reformation ; and some few poetical pieces 
by the monks, in their own defence. Of the latter may 
be instanced the song against the Lollards, printed by 
Ritson. Of the former, among the earliest are those con- 
tained in the Harl. MSS. No. 913. Immediately follow- 
ing these, in respect to date, are those contained in No. 2253 
of the same collection ; of which one, in Norman-French, 
which sums up all the vices of the clergy in the quali- 
fications of an imaginary new order — " Vordre de bel eyse" 
— is extremely amusing. 

In the succeeding reign we have some few scattered pieces 
of a political character, and it is extremely probable that 
many more may easily be found. To the reign of Richard 
II we may refer the subjects of the two ancient ballads 
of Chevy Chase and Otterbourne, given by Percy, though 
the ballads themselves are of a later date. Among the 
MSS. of Corpus College, there are one or two copies of 
verses relating to the insurrections of the peasantry during 
this reign. One of these, in alternate lines of English 
and Latin, made by one who at least seems to have favoured 
the commonalty, is any thing but a rustic composition : it 
is printed from more than one manuscript, in the Reliquiae 
Antiquse, and begins thus, — 
VOL. II. 12 


" Tax has tenet us all, 

probat hoc mors tot validorum, 
The kyng therof hade smalle, 
fait in manibus cupidorum." * 

The old chronicles give us a most melancholy picture 
of the dissensions and "frays," as Fabyan calls them, 
which raged in most of our towns during these ages ; 
and we can scarcely doubt that each town had its own 
songs and ballads. We shall give an example of one of 
these, which has been printed from the Cole MSS. by 
Hartshorne, — a threatening notice which was posted over 
the door of the mayor of Cambridge (or, as the title has 
it, billa posita super hostium majoris), in the beginning of 
the fifteenth century ; it is worthy in every respect of a 
modern contested election. 

11 Looke out here, maire, with thie pilled pate, 

And see wich a scrowe is set on thie gate, 
Warning the of harde happes, 

For and it lukke thou shalt have swappes. 
Therefore I rede keepe the at home ; 

For thou shalt ahey for that is done : 
Or els kest on a coate of mayle ; 

Truste well thereto withouten fayle. 
And great Golias Joh Essex 
Shalt have a clowte with my harille axe, 

Wherever I may him have. 
And the hosteler Barnbo, with his goats beard, 
Once and it happe shall be made afeard, 

So God mote me save. 
And 3it with thie catche-poles hope I to mete, 
With a fellow or twayne in the playne streete, 

* Tenet, grieved. 


And her crownes brake. 
And that harlot Hierman, with his calves snowte, 
Of buffets full sekerly shall hern a rowte, 

For his werkes sake. 
And yet shall Hankyn Attibrigge, 
Full jerne for swappes his tayle wrigge, 

And it hap ariht. 
And other knaves all on heape 
Shall take knockes ful good cheape, 

Come once winter niht. 
But nowe I praye to God Almight, 

That whatsoever thou spare, 
That metche sorowe to him bediht, 

And evill mote he fare. 
Amen, quoth he that beshrewd the mairs very visage." * 

In the reign of Henry V we have a song of rejoicing 
on the victory at Azincourt, printed by Percy from one of 
the Pepysian MSS., which, as he observes, has no poetical 
merits to commend it. The reign of his successor affords 
us more. We have a sarcastic ballad, exulting over the 
death of the duke of Suffolk, William de la Pole ; and 
another song, which is curious, as relating to an important 
event. After the first battle of St. Albans, by the media- 
tion of the archbishop of Canterbury and others, a con- 
ference was held between the two adverse parties, the 
Yorkists and Lancastrians. " By reason whereof, " says 
Fabyan, <f a dissimuled unite and Concorde betwene theim 
was concluded. In token and for ioy wherof, the kyng, 
the quene, and all the said lordes, vpon our Lady daye 
annunciacion in Lent at Paules wente solemply in proces- 

* Wich a scroive, what a scroll — rede, counsel — best, cast — pt, yet 
— sekerly, surely — $erne, earnestly — metche, much. 


sion, and soone after euery lorde departed where his pleasure 
was." This procession is the subject of the song just 
mentioned. It describes the joy manifested on the occa- 
sion, recounts the principal persons who had laboured to 
bring about peace, and concludes with the praise of London. 

11 God preserve hem we pray hertly, 
And London, for thei ful diligently 
Kepten the peas in trowbel and adversite, 
To bryng in reste thei labured ful truly. 

Of thre thynges I praise the worshipful cite : 

The firste, the true faithe that thei have to the kynge ; 

The seconde, of love to the comynalte ; 

The thrid, goude rule for evermore kepynge. 

The which God maynteyn evermore durynge, 
And save the maier and all the worthi cite ; 
And that is amys God bryng to amendynge, 
That Anglond may rejoise to concorde and unite." 

It is worthy of remark, as regards the praise thus 
bestowed on " the worshipful cite," that, after mentioning 
this procession, Fabyan tells us, in his pleasant gossipping 

way, " and in the moneth of folowyng, was a greate 

fray in fletestrete, betwene the menne of courte and the 
inhabitauntes of the said strete in whiche fraye a gentil- 
manne beynge the queues attourney was slaine." A number 
of very curious political songs, relating to the events of 
the wars of the Roses have been contributed by Sir Fre- 
deric Madden and others to the later volumes of the 

During the reigns of which we have been speaking, we 
have also abundance of poetry of a lighter cast, much of 


which has already been printed. "We will give a song, 
though rude in its kind, from a small volume, contained 
in the Sloane MSS. in the British Museum, on paper, in 
the writing of about the age of Henry VI. These songs, 
which are in a dialect rather provincial, are very curious 
specimens of the popular poetry of that age. The following 
is of a satirical character, and is not entirely devoid of wit. 
It describes the mischances to which a man was liable, who 
carried what was then looked upon as an article of osten- 
tation, a baselard (dagger), but who had not courage to 
keep it. 

" Prenegard, prenegard, thus bere I myn baselard. 
Lesteneth, lordyngs, I jou beseke, 
Ther is non man \Y0r3t a leke, 
Be he sturdy, be he meke, 
But he bere a baselard. 

Myn baselard hajt a schede of red, 
And a clene loket of led ; 
Me thinketh I may bere up my hed, 
For I bere myn baselard. 

My baselard hajt a wrethin hafte ; 
Qwan I am ful of ale cawte, 
It is gret dred of man slawte, 

For then I bere myn baselard. 

My baselard hajt a silver shape ; 
Therfore I may both gaspe and gape. 
Me thinketh I go lyk non knape, 
For I bere a baselard. 

My baselard hajt a trencher kene, 
Fayr as rasour scharp and schene. 
Evere me thinketh I may be kene, 
For I bere a baselard. 


As I jede up in the strete, 
With a cartere I gan mete : 
Felawe, he seyde, so mot I the, 
Thou xalt forgo thi baselard. 

The cartere his qwyppe began to take, 
And al myn fleych began to qwake, 
And I was lef for to escape, 

And there I left myn baselard. 

Qwan I came fo^t on to myn damme, 
Myn hed was brokyn to the panne : 
Che seyde I was a praty manne, 

And wel cowde here myn baselard."* 

As we approach the time of the reformation, with 
the introduction and improvement of the art of printing, 
books of all kinds become more and more abundant ; and 
we are then at no loss for political songs. The bustling 
reign of Henry VIII, for instance, will furnish us with 
many. During this reign, it appears that broadside printed 
ballads became common, and the folio volumes of these 
ballads, and other political poems, which Percy mentions 
as existing in the archives of the Society of Antiquaries, 
and " digested under the several reigns of Henry VIII, 
Edward VI, Mary, Elizabeth, James I, &c," contain some 

Ritson was not right in saying that " very few ballads 
exist of an earlier date than the reign of James, or even 
Charles I." This would, nevertheless, be a thing not 
so much to be lamented, as far as regards ballads of a 

* Worst, worth — qwan, when—schene, bright — lede, went — the, 
thrive — qwyppe, whip— -font, forth — damme, dame. 


general nature, inasmuch as they were mostly reprinted in 
garlands by their authors, such as Deloney, and " that 
balad-poet, Thomas Elderton, who did arm himself with 
ale, as old father Ennius did with wine, when he balated." 
A great portion, too, of the broadside ballads published 
during the seventeenth century were reprints. Unfortu- 
nately, the political ballads were those least attractive to 
the buyers of succeeding times. 

When we speak of the political ballads as being seldom 
reprinted, we except many historical ballads, which we find 
were reprinted, and some of which may perhaps be traced 
back with sufficient certainty to the time, or very near the 
time, of the events to which they refer. There are some 
also which seem to be revivals of older ballads, much mo- 
dernised, like the modern copy of Chevy Chace. In making 
this observation, we had more particularly in our mind 
such a ballad as that in the Garland of Delight (one of 
Deloney' s garlands), which has for its title, "The Winning 
of the Isle of Man, by the noble Earl of Salisbury." We 
give the first three stanzas. 

" The noble earl of Salisbury, 

With many a hardy knight, 
Most valiantly prepard himself 

Against the Scots to fight. 
With his spear and his shield 

Making his proud foes to yield, 
Fiercely on them all he ran, 

To drive them from the Isle of Man, 
Drums striking on a row, 

Trumpets sounding as they go, 

Tan ta ra ra ra tan. 


Their silken ensigns in the field 

Most gloriously were spread, 
The horsemen on their prancing steeds 

Struck many Scotchmen dead ; 
The hrown bills on their corslets ring, 

The bowmen with their gray goose wing, 
The lusty lance, the piercing spear, 

The soft flesh of their foes do tear ; 
Drums beating on a row, 

Trumpets sounding as they go, 

Tan ta ra ra ra tan. 

The battle was so fierce and hot, 

The Scots for fear did fly, 
And many a famous knight and 'squire 

In gory blood did lie. 
Some, thinking for to scape away, 

Did drown themselves within the sea 
Some, with many a bloody wound, 

Lay gasping on the clayey ground ; 
Drums beating on a row, 

Trumpets sounding as they go, 

Tan ta ra ra ra tan." 

In the sequel, king Edward makes the earl knight of the 
garter and first king of Man. We find it noticed in 
Gough's Camden, that in the reign of Edward III, about 
the year 1340, William Montacute the younger, earl of 
Salisbury, " rescued Man by force of arms out of the hands 
of the Scots/' 

Of the political poems of the reign of Henry VIII, we 
may mention the ballads on the battle of Flodden, of which 
there are several, and the songs and ballads on the Refor- 
mation. We may add to these the so-much and so unjustly 


censured poems of the "lawreate" Skelton, of which an 
edition has been recently published by Mr. Dyce. A 
volume in the Harleian collection contains several libels 
of Henry's reign, (No. 2252.) Percy has printed a song 
on the fall of Cromwell. There is a ballad, preserved in 
one of the garlands, on the riots against the foreigners at 
this time j and there is in MS. a song, which has been 
printed by Sir John Hawkins, and is supposed to be a satire 
on the drunken Flemings who came into England with the 
princess Anne of Cleves. 

" Ruttekin is come unto our town, 
In a cloke without cote or gown, 
Save a raggid hoode to kyver his crown. 
Like a ruttekin, hoyday, hoyday, 
Jolly ruttekin, hoyday, hoyday. 

Ruttekin can speke no Englishe, 
His tong renyth all on buttyrd fishe, 
Besrnerde with greese about his dishe, 
Like a ruttekin, &c. 

Ruttekin shall bring you all good luck, 
A stoop of beer up at a pluk, 
Till his braine be as wise as a duk, 
Like a ruttekin, &c." 

Among the Lansdowne MSS. there is a volume of poems 
written on paper said in the catalogue to be of " about the 
time of Henry VIII," and some of its contents prove this 
to be correct. The poem, however, which we are going to 
quote is at least older than the time of the reformation. 
Its title in the MS. is "A processe or an exortation to 
tendre the chargis of the true husbondys," and it gives us 



a singularly curious account of the taxes and extortions to 
which landed property was then subjected. After repeating 
the burden — "I praye to God spede wele the plough" — 
the song goes on to say : 

" And so shulde of right the parson praye, 
That hath the tithe shefe of the londe ; 
For our sarvauntys we most nedis paye, 
Or ellys ful still the plough niaye stonde. 
Then cometh the clerk anon at hande 
To have a shef of come there it groweth ; 
And the sexten somwhate in his hande. 
I praye to God spede wele the plough. 

The kyngis purviours also they come 

To have whete and otys at the kyngis nede, 

And over that hefe and mutton, 

And hutter and pulleyn, so God me spede ; 

And to the kyngis courte we moste it lede, 

And our payment shal be a styk of a bough ; 

And yet we moste speke faire for drede. 

I praye to God spede wele the plough. 

To paye the ffiftene agenst our ease, 

Beside the lordys rente of our londe ; 

Thus be we shepeshorne, we maynst chese, 

And yet it is full lytell y understonde. 

Then bayllys and bedell woll put to there hande, 

In enquestis to doo us sorowe inough, 

But yf we quite right wele the londe. 

I praye to God spede wele the plough. 

* * * * 

Then come the gray ffreres and make their mone, 
And call for money our soulis to save. 
Then come the white tfreres and begyn to grone, 
Whete or barley they woll fayne have. 


Then cometh the freres augustynes and begynneth to crave 

Corne or chese, for they have not inough. 

Then cometh the black freres which wolde fayne have. 

I praye to God spede wele the plough. 

* * * * 

Then cometh prestis that goth to Rome, 

For to have silver to singe at Scala Celi. 

Than cometh clerkys of Oxford and mak their mone, 

To her scole hire they most have money. 

Then cometh the tipped staves for the marshalse, 

And saye they have prisoners mo than inough. 

Than cometh the mynstrells to make us gle. 

I praye to God spede wele the plough." 

In the same volume there is a song in praise of the 
" worthi cite," of which a verse may serve as a sample : 

" Stronge be the walls abowte the stondis ; 
Wise be the people that within the dwelles ; 
Freshe is thy river with his lusti strandes ; 
Blithe be thy chirches, well sownyng are thy belles ; 
Rich be thy marchauntis in substaunce that excells ; 
Faire be thy wives, right lovesom white and small ; 
Clere be thy virgyns, lusty under kellys. 
London, thou art the flowre of cities all." 

The inclosing of common lands, in the time of Edw. VI, 
seems to have created a very general feeling of discontent. 
In the library of Corpus College, Cambridge, we have two 
MS. copies of songs on this subject. 

The political poetry of the reigns of Mary* and Elizabeth 
is perhaps the least interesting of any period of our history. 

* There are, however, two or three libellous ballads of Mary's reign 
in existence ; one, in the Corpus College library before mentioned, was 
made on the report of her pregnancy. 


There are, however, many good historical ballads of this 
time preserved, and not a few have been printed by Evans 
and Percy. We will pass them over, to give room for a 
satirical ballad against the Scottish adventurers who mi- 
grated into England to seek their fortunes under the first 
of the Stuarts. 

" Well met, Jockie, whether away ? 
Shall we two have a worde or tway ? 
Thow was so lousie the other day, 
How the devill comes thow so gay ? 

Ha ha ha, by sweet St. An, 
Jockie is grown a gentleman ! * 

Thy shoes that thow wor'st when thow wenst to plow, 
Were made of the hyde of a Scottish cow. 
They are turnd into Spanish leather now, 
Bedeckt with roses, I know not how. 

Thy stockings that were of a northerne blew, 
That cost not past 12d. when they were new, 
Are turnd into a silken hew, 
Most gloriously to all mens vew. 

Thy belt that was made of a white leather thonge, 
Which thow and thy father ware so longe, 
Are turnd to hangers of velvet stronge, 
With golde and pearle embroydred amonge. 

Thy garters that were of the Spanish say, 
Which from the taylor thow stollst away, 
Are now quite turnd to silk, they say, 
With great broade laces fayre and gay. 

* The burden is repeated after every stanza, 


Thy doublet and breech that were so playne, 
On which a louse could scarse remayne, 
Are turnd to sattin, God a mercie brayne, 
That thow by begging couldst this obtayne. 

Thy cloake which was made of a home-spun thread, 

Which thow wast wonte to flinge on thy bed, 

Is turnd into a skarlet red, 

With golden laces about thee spread. 

Thy bonnet of blew which thow wor'st hether, 
To keep thy skonce from wind and wether, 
Is throwne away the devill knowes whether, 
And turnd to a bever hat and feather. 

Westminster Hall was covered with lead, 
And so was St. John many a day ; 
The Scotchmen have begd it to buy them bread; 
The devill take all such Jockies away ! " 

About this time the manners of society in England 
appear to have experienced a very perceptible change ; 
and the reign of James is perhaps the time at which we 
may date the decline of what is so expressively termed 
the "old English hospitality." The change is not unfre- 
quently alluded to in the popular poetry of the day. 
There is an old black-letter ballad expressly on this sub- 
ject, which is entitled, " Time's Alteration, or the old 
man's rehearsal, what brave days he knew a great while 
agone, when his old cap was new." We give a few verses 
of this ballad. 

* * * * 

" Good hospitality 

Was cherished then of many : 
Now poor men starve and die, 

And are not help'd by any ; 


For charity waxeth cold, 

And love is found in few : 
This was not in time of old, 

When this old cap was new. 

Wherever you travell'd then, 

You might meet on the way 
Brave knights and gentlemen, 

Clad in their country gray, 
That courteous would appear, 

And kindly welcome you : 
No puritans then were, 

When this old cap was new. 

* * * * 

A man might then behold, 

At Christmas, in each hall, 
Good fires to curb the cold, 

And meat for great and small : 
The neighbours were friendly bidden, 

And all had welcome true, 
The poor from the gates were not chidden, 

When this old cap was new. 

Black Jacks to every man 

Were fill'd with wine and beer 
No pewter pot nor can 

In those days did appear : 
Good cheer in a nobleman's house 

Was counted a seemly shew ; 
We wanted no brawn nor souse, 

When this old cap was new." 

So also, in the song of " The Old and Young Courtier," 
which is printed by Percy, and which was written about 
this time, the courtier of Queen Elizabeth's days is de- 
scribed as — 


" an old worshipful gentleman, who had a greate estate, 

That kept a brave old house at a bountiful rate, 

And an old porter to relieve the poor at his gate ; 

Like an old courtier of the queen's, 
And the queen's old courtier. 

With an old lady, whose anger one word asswages ; 
They every quarter paid their old servants their wages, 
And never knew what belongd to coachmen, footmen, nor pages, 
But kept twenty old fellows with blue coats and badges ; 
Like an old courtier, &c. 

With a good old fashion, when Christmasse was come, 
To call in all his old neighbours with bagpipe and drum, 
With good chear enough to furnish every old room, 
And old liquor able to make a cat speak, and man dumb. 
Like an old courtier, &c." 

The "young courtier" is, on the other hand, 

" Like a flourishing young gallant, newly come to his land, 
Who keeps a brace of painted madams at his command, 
And takes up a thousand pound upon his father's land, 
And gets drunk in a tavern, till he can neither go nor stand ; 
Like a young courtier of the king's, 
And the king's young courtier. 

With a new fashion, when Christmas is drawing on, 
On a new journey to London straight we all must be gone, 
And leave none to keep house, but our new porter John, 
Who relieves the poor with a thump on the back with a stone ; 
Like a young courtier, &c." 

The reign of the first Charles was one continuous scene 
of conflict with mouth, peD, and sword. Enthusiasm, 
which was equally conspicuous in every party, broke through 


all restraint ; and we find an entirely new spirit infused 
into the poetry of the day. In place of the stiff and con- 
strained style, with its quaint and stolen conceits, which 
distinguished most of the poets of the preceding reign, we 
have all at once a style whose characteristic is an extraor- 
dinary flow of wit, combined with ease and readiness of 
expression. The cavaliers were often men of talent and 
education — they were withal merry fellows ; and they at 
once indulged their hatred of the party which was upper- 
most, and drowned the vexation which arose from their 
own mishaps, in satirical and jovial songs. We have always 
thought, that from the numerous small volumes of poems, 
many of them anonymous, which were printed during this 
period, an interesting selection might be made. The third 
volume of Ellis's Specimens of the Early English Poets was, 
it is true, devoted to the reigns of James and the Charleses; 
but that book labours under the defect peculiar to all si- 
milar works — it is a collection of authors, and not of poetry. 
What care we for a long series of obscure names, many 
of them scarcely known even to their contemporaries, if 
there is nothing in their works to interest us ? We would 
have a book which should illustrate the poetry of the day 
— a book which should illustrate the times, and not the 
authors' names. But, as it is, Ellis's book is any thing but 
complete : we do not meet with the name even of the clever 
and witty Dr. Corbet, or of Cleveland, who was looked 
upon as the "wit of his age," and of whom it was ob- 
served, that "he might be said to have lisped wit." 

But we will proceed to give a few " ensamples " of the 
songs we are talking of. Here, then, is a song by a zealous 
cavalier, from Songs and Poems of Love and Drollery, by 
J. W> (1654). 


" The compounder's song. 

Come, drawers, some wine, 

Or we'l pull down your sign ; 
For we're all jovial compounders. 

We'l make the house ring 

With healths to the king, 
And confusion unto his confounders. 

Since Goldsmiths committee 

Affords us no pittie, 
Our sorrows in wine we will steep 'm ; 

They forc'd us to take 

Two oaths, and we make 
A third, that we ne're mean to keep 'm. 

And first, who e're sees, 

We'l drink on our knees, 
To th' king ; may they choak that repine : 

A fig for the traitors 

That look to his waters, 
Th' ave nothing to do with our wine. 

And next here's a cup 

To the queen ; fill it up, 
Wer't poison we would make an end on't : 

May Charles and she meet, 

And tread under feet 
Anabaptist and independent. 

To the prince and all others 

His sisters and brothers, 
As low in condition as high-born ; 

We drink this and pray, 

That shortly they may 
See all those that wrong them at Tyborn. 


And now here's three howles 

To all gallant souls, 
That for the king did, and will venture ; 

May they flourish, when those 

Who are his and their foes 
Are dam'd and ram'd down to the center. 

A last let a glasse 

To our undoers passe, 
Attended with two or three curses ; 

May plagues sent from hell 

Stuff their bodies as well 
As cavaliers coyn doth their purses." 

The object of the following spirited song is to turn to 
ridicule the abhorrence in which the fanatical part of their 
enemies professed to hold games and festivals. 

" A Carol. 
Preethy, Roundhead, now forbear, 

Come not near, 
Christmas here doth domineer. 
Here are sports, and songs, and musick, 

Which perhaps, 
Which perhaps, sir, may make you sick. 

'Twil perplex your holy eye 

To espy 
When we dance, though modestly. 
And you'l hence be more offended ; 

With the light, 
With the light all sport is ended. 

And to grieve your godly ear, 

Songs I fear 
Of our Saviour's birth you'l hear. 
Here his mother you'l find sainted, 

And yourselves, 
And yourselves called divels painted. 


If you love your nose, fie, 

Come not nigh, 
All the house doth smel of pye. 
Nor would you the scent eschew, sir, 

Half so fain. 
Half so fain as we would you, sir. 

For the taste, indeed, here's great 

Store of meat, 
But your saintship may not eat ; 
For the meat which we provide all 

Offered is, 
Offered is unto this idol. 

Venture then no farther on, 

Get thee gone : 
But least thou shouldst go alone, 
Take for company, I prethee, 

From this place, 
From this place all sorrow with thee." 

" Alexander Brome," says Winstanley, " addicted himself 
to a jovial strain in the ravishing delights of poetry ; being 
the ingenious author of most of those songs, which on the 
royalists' account came forth during the time of the rump, 
and Oliver's usurpation, and plaid to by the sprightly 
violin." Of this same person Izaak Walton has given a 
favorable character in " an humble eglog " prefixed to 
his collection of poems, which was first published in 1660. 
The following three stanzas are from a song of his made 

" Upon the Cavaliers departing out of London. 

Now fare thee well, London, 
Thou next must be undone, 

'Cause thou hast undone us before ; 


This cause and this tyrant 
Had ne'er plaid this high rant, 
Were 't not for thy argent and or. 

Now we must desert thee, 
With the lines that hegirt thee, 

And the red-coated saints domineer, 
Who with liberty fool thee, 
While a monster doth rule thee , 

And thou feel'st what before thou did'st fear. 

But this is our glory 
In this wretched story, 

Calamities fall on the best ; 
And those that destroy us 
Do better employ us, 

To sing till they are supprest." 

The last stanza exhibits to us what often appears in these 
songs, that spirit, unbroken under the pressure of hard- 
ships and misfortunes which characterized many of the un- 
fortunate cavaliers. Here is another example, by the same 
author, written in 1648. 

" Come let us be merry, 
Drink claret and sherry, 
And cast away care and sorrow ; 
He's a fool that takes thought for tomorrow. 
Why should we be droopers, 
To save it for troopers ? 
Let's spend our own, 
And when all is gone, 
That they can have none, 
Then the Roundheads and Cavies agree. 

Then fall to your drinking, 

And leave off this shrinking ; 
Let Square-heads and Round-heads go quarrel ; 
We have no other foe but the barrel ; 


These cares and disasters 
Shall ne'er be our masters ; 
English and Scot 
Do both love a pot, 
Though they say they do not, 
Here the Roundheads and Cavies agree. 

A man that is armed 

With liquor, is charmed, 
And proof against strength and cunning ; 
He scorns the base humour of running. 

Our brains are the quicker, 

When season'd with liquor ; 

Let's drink and sing, 

Here's a health to our king, 

And I wish in this thing, 
Both the Roundheads and Cavies agree." 

The opposite party were in general more given to 
praying than song-writing, and we have here, therefore, 
less room for collecting. An old song tells us — 
" And if they write in meeter, 

They think there's nothing sweeter, 
Unless it be old Tom Sternhold." 

However, it does appear that there were some among them 
who could even wield the song as a weapon in political 
warfare. "We may mention Dr. Robert Wild — a name, by 
the way, which is not to be found in Ellis — " who was 
one," says Winstanley, "and not of the meanest of the 
poetical cassock, being in some sort a kind of an anti- 
Cleaveland, writing as high and standing up as stifly for 
the Presbyterians, as ever Cleaveland did against them." 
His poems were " for the most part of a lepid and face- 
tious nature, reflecting on others, who as sharply retorted 
upon him ; for," as Winstanley sagaciously observes, " he 
that throwes stones at another, 'tis ten to one but is hit 
with a stone himself." It is probable that most of Wild's 


earlier political poems are omitted in the printed collection 
which came out after the restoration, when he had himself 
written a panegyric on Monk. The quaint author we have 
just quoted, speaking of Richard Head, the author of the 
English Rogue, says that, " amongst others, he had a great 
fancy in bandying against Dr. Wild (although I must con- 
fess therein overmatcht), yet he fell upon him tooth and 
nail." It is very probable, however, that the cavalier 
poets thought their opponents were in want of assistance 
— at least they most compassionately volunteered it, as 
may be seen from the following stanzas, out of many 
others, written for them in 1 643, by that zealous royalist, 
Alexander Brome. 

" 77ie saints' encouragement. 
Fight on, brave soldiers, for the cause, 

Fear not the caveliers ; 
Their threatnings are as senseless as 

Our jealousies and fears. 
Tis you must perfect this great work, 

And all malignants slay, 
You must bring back the king again 

The clean contrary way. 

'Tis for religion that you fight, 

And for the kingdom's good, 
By robbing churches, plundering men, 

And shedding guiltless blood. 
Down with the orthodoxal train, 

All loyal subjects slay ; 
When these are gone, we shall be blest, 

The clean contrary way. 

'Tis to preserve his majesty, 

That we against him fight, 
Nor are we ever beaten back, 

Because our cause is right ; 


If any make a scruple on't, 

Our declarations say, 
Who fight for us fight for the king, 

The clean contrary way." 

The following are stanzas out of a song in the person 
of Anarchus, in a dramatic poem by the celebrated Francis 

" Know then, my brethren, heav'n is clear, 
And all the clouds are gone ; 
The righteous now shall flourish, and 

Good days are coming on : 
Come then, my brethren, and be glad, 

And eke rejoice with me ; 
Lawn sleeves and rochets shall go down, 
And hey ! then up go we ! 

We'll break the windows which the whore 

Of Babylon hath painted, 
And when the popish saints are down, 

Then Barrow shall be sainted : 
There's neither cross, nor crucifix, 

Shall stand for men to see ; 
Rome's trash and trumperies shall go down, 

And hey ! then up go we !" &c. 

Even during these stormy times, we may pick up a few 
songs which do not partake of their violence. We may 
instance the following, that exhibits a little of the same 
spirit of resignation, though under different circumstances, 
which is so conspicuous in the political songs of the 
cavaliers : 

" When first my free heart was surpriz'd by desire, 
So soft was the wound, and so gentle the fire, 
My sighes were so sweet, and so plesant the smart, 
I pitty'd the slave who had ne'er lost his heart ; 
He thinks himself happy, and free, but alass ! 
He is far from that heaven which lovers possess. 


In nature was nothing that I could compare 
With the beauty of Phillis, I thought her so faire ; 
A wit so divine all her sayings did fill, 
A goddess she seem'd ; and I worship'd her still 
With a zeal more inflam'd, and a passion more true, 
Than a martyr in flames for religion can shew. 

With awful respect while I lov'd and admir'd, 
But fear'd to attempt what so much I desir'd, 
How soon were my hopes and my heaven destroy'd, 
A shepherd more daring fell on and enjoy'd : 
Yet, in spite of ill fate, and the pains I endure, 
I will finde a new Phillis to give me my cure." 

The following has a little of the burlesque in it : 

" Maid. 
Charon, Charon, come away, 
Bring forth thy boat and oare ; 
That I poore maid may make no stay, 
But rowe me to some shore. 

Who calls on Charon in such hast, 
As if they suffer'd paine : 
I carry none but pure and chast, 
Such as true love hath slaine. 

Oh ! carry me within thy boat, 
I'le tell thee a true love's tale : 
With sighs so deep, when as we float, 
Shall serve us for a gale. 

I come, I come, sweet soul, I come, 
Thy beautie. does so charm me ; 
Come in my boat, take there a roome, 
Nor wind nor raine shall harm thee. 


And now I am within thy boat, 
I'le sing the a true love song : 
My eyes shall shed a sea of waves, 
To float our boat along." 

The first whisper of the restoration was to the cavaliers 
the signal for universal rejoicing. It was then that Charles 
Cotton, perhaps from his fishing-house on the banks of his 
favourite Dove, addressed to his friend Alexander Brome 
the congratulatory ode beginning with — 

" Now let us drink, and with our nimble feet 
The floor in graceful measures beat, 
Never so fit a time for harmless mirth 
Upon the sea-girt spot of earth." 

And Brome responded with an equally joyous catch : 
" Let's leave off our labour, and now let's go play ; 
For this is our time to be jolly ; 
Our plagues and our plaguers are both fled away ; 
To nourish our griefs is but folly. 
He that won't drink and sing 
Is a traitor to 's king ; 
And so he 's that does not look twenty years younger," &c. 

A short space of time, however, saw themselves disap- 
pointed and their rejoicings damped; and the same poet 
sings very soon after in this altered strain : 

" The poor cavaliers thought all was their own, 
And now was their time to sway ; 
But friends they have few, and money they've none, 

And so they mistook their way. 
When they seek for preferments, the rebels do rout 'urn, 
And having no money they must go without 'um, 
The courtiers do carry such stomachs about 'um, 
They speak no English but " Pay." 
VOL. II. 13 


And those very rebels that hated the king, 

And no such office allow 
By the help of their boldness, and one other thing, 

Are brought to the king to bow : 
And there both pardons and honours they have, 
With which they think they're secure and brave ; 
But the title of knight, on the back of a knave, 

Is like saddle upon a sow." 

Their spirits, however, bore up against all their crosses, 
and we soon hear them again singing — 

" Give us musick with wine, 

And we'll never repine 
At prosperous knaves, but defy 'em ; 

These politick sots 

Are still weaving of plots, 
So fine, that at last they fall by 'em. 

We laugh, and we drink, 

And on business ne'er think, 
Our voices and hautboys still sounding ; 

While we dance, play, and sing, 

We've the world in a string, 
And our pleasure is ever abounding. 

Your sober dull knave, 

For wise is but grave, 
Tis craft, and not wisdom, employs him. 

We nothing design, 

But good music and wine, 
And blessed is he that enjoys them." 



OETRY in England declined rapidly after 
the time of Chaucer ; but the muse seems 
to have taken refuge in Scotland, where 
during a period of more than a century 
appeared several writers of great merit, 
among whom were even kings and princes. The medieval 
literature of Scotland was a bare imitation of that of 
England, which travelled gradually to the North, and in 
earlier times was merely transferred to the corrupt dialect 
of that part of the island. One of the earliest of the Scot- 
tish poets whose writings were characterized by originality 
of genius, was king James I, who was a prisoner in Eng- 
land from 1405 to 1425, and whose style appears to have 
been founded on that of Chaucer. Dunbar followed in the 
same school, after whom came Kennedy, Gawin Douglas, 
Sir David Lindsay, king James V, Maitland, Scott, and a 
number of others of less merit, and many whose pro- 
ductions were not worthy to be remembered. Old Time, 
the purifier and cleanser-out of all things, has long 
swept from the garner of Fame much of the chaff of 
former harvests. But constant sweeping has too often 
carried away with the chaff part of the grain also, causing 


thereby irreparable diminution of those stores which should 
belong to our heritage. Of the losses which we have thus 
sustained, no one is more to be lamented than the works 
of the Scottish poet, William Dunbar : and we owe many 
thanks to David Laing, for the collection he has given us of 
what remains of a poet, whose tales may be safely put in 
the same class with those of Chaucer and Prior, whose 
odes and songs are not unworthy to stand beside those of 
Horace, and whose burlesque is as glorious as that of 
Aristophanes himself.* Dunbar was a first-rate poet ; but 
the circumstance of his having written in the broad Doric 
dialect of the North, has caused him, like others of his 
countrymen, to be neglected by us people of the South, 
whose tongue happens to be formed on the pure West 
Saxon in which Alfred wrote. We doubt, however, if this 
very broadness of dialect, though it is a hinderance to his 
popularity, be not itself a beauty in the kind of subjects 
in which, to judge by his remains, our Scottish poet has 
the greatest excellence. But how came such a poet to be 
neglected in his own country, many of our readers will 
naturally ask ? The history of that country will readily 
furnish us with an answer. The age during which poetry 
nourished in Scotland was followed by a long period of 
barbarism, when taste and genius were drowned, for a time 
at least, amid the furious waves of party discord and fana- 
tical violence. Before they were calmed, the works of her 
poets had been destroyed, or the few remnants lay con- 
cealed in scattered leaves of manuscript, which had found 

* The Poems of William Dunbar, now first collected. With Notes 
and a Memoir of his Life, by David Laing, 2 vols. 8vo. Edinburgh, 


their way into some private library. Two such manu- 
scripts, one at Edinburgh, the other at Cambridge, contain 
nearly all that remains of Dunbar. 

Dunbar, like Homer, wandered under many a clime, and 
visited many towns and nourishing cities, without leaving 
anywhere a testimonial of his presence ; his story is not 
much less obscure than that of the Bard of Chios. He 
resembles in some measure, both in the allusion he makes 
to his own fortunes, and in several points of his personal 
character, the French poet of the thirteenth century, 
Rutebeuf. He was born, as Mr. Laing tells us, about the 
middle of the fifteenth century ; he seems from an early 
period of his life to have been destined for the church, 
and, with that prospect, he was educated at the university 
of St. Andrew. Afterwards, he assumed the habit of the 
Franciscan friars, or mendicants, and in this garb travelled 
over most of the western countries of Europe. But the 
life of a friar was not congenial to Dunbar's disposition, 
for he seems to have loved the gaiety of a court rather than 
the wanderings of a mendicant, the name of a " makkar" 
(maker), a term synonymous in every respect with the 
Greek word poet (7rotrjr>)s), teaching " Venus lawis," as he 
has it, to that of an itinerant preacher, and accordingly he 
laid aside his friar's habit " probably at no very advanced 
period of his life." Nearly all the notices we have left of 
the events or circumstances of the poet's history, are the 
allusions to them contained in his poems : in one of them 
he tells how, in after times, a fiend in the likeness of 
St. Francis appeared to him in a dream, and desired him 
to reassume his friar's weeds, and to renounce the world. 
But Dunbar, — 


" By him, and by his habit both y-scared, 
Like to a man that with a ghost was marred," 

very civilly declined the proposal, alleging that — 

" If ever my fortune was to be a frere, 
The date thereof is past full many a year ; 
For within every lusty town and place 
Of all England, from Berwick to Calace, 
I oft have in thy habit made good cheer." 

At the same time he hints that he would with all willing- 
ness accept the robes of a bishop, and that in this garb he 
should travel to Heaven with great satisfaction : — 

" In haly legendis haif I hard allevin, 
Ma Sanctis of bischeppis, nor freiris, be sic sevin ; 

Off full few freiris that has bene Sanctis, I reid ; 

Quhairfoir ga bring to me ane bischoppis weid, 
Gife evir thow wald my saule yeid unto hevin." 

We give this passage in its original Doric, because we 
are going to quote a paraphrase of it in Latin, from the 
elegant pen of George Buchanan, whose somnium is an 
imitation of this poem of Dunbar. The terseness and 
point of the original is, perhaps, rather dissipated in the 

" Mentior, aut peragra saxo fundata vetusto 

Delubra, et titulos per simulacra lege, 
Multus honoratis fulgebit episcopus aris, 

Rara cucullato sternitur ara gregi. 
Atque inter monachos erit haec rarissima vestis : 

Induat hanc, si quis gaudeat esse miser. 


Quod si tanta mea? tangit te cura salutis, 
Vis mihi, vis animse consuluisse meae ? 

Quilibet hac alius mendicet veste superbus : 
At mihi da mitram, purpureamque togam." 

A bishopric, indeed, appears to have been the grand 
object of Dunbar's ambition in his younger days. But, 
though he had powerful and princely patrons at court, yet 
so much more acceptable were his services there as a poet 
than as a priest, that in his manhood no petitions or ex- 
postulations of Dunbar himself, no influence of his friends, 
could prevail on the king to dispense with his company in 
that character, or to accede to his earnest solicitations for 
a benefice. To stop his complaints for a time, the king 
granted him a pension, to be continued cc until he be pro- 
moted by our sovereign lord to a benefice," which pension 
was from time to time increased, as his petitions for prefer- 
ment were renewed, till we find it raised to the sum of 
eighty pounds annually, " until he be promoted to a bene- 
fice of ^6100 or above," a good living no doubt at that 
time. His hopes, however, were not realized, and his so- 
licitations did not cease ; and " it is somewhat amusing to 
consider with what ingenuity and address he varies his pe- 
titions. In general, he seems to found his chief claims for 
preferment upon former services which he had rendered, 
his youth having been spent in the king's employment, 
while he intimates that his wants would be easily satisfied. 
But, whether in the form of a satirical or of a pathetic ap- 
peal to the king, or simply as a congratulation on the new 
year, or whether under some humorous personation he 
brought forward his request, still the burden of Dunbar's 
song was a benefice !" It happens that many of his 


smaller pieces which remain to us, were written with this 
object. At a time when many benefices were vacant, and 
he saw them all bestowed away, and himself passed over, 
he urgently expostulated to the king, representing to him 
the injustice of filling some till they burst, whilst others 
equally deserving, are left empty. 

" Sire, at this feast of benefice, 
Think that small parts make great service, 

And equal distribution 

Makes them content who have reason, 
And who have none are pleased nowise. 

Sire, whether it is almes more 

To give him drink that thirsteth sore ; 

Or fill a full man till he burst ; 

And let his fellow die for thirst, 
Who wine to drink as worthy were ? 

It is no glad collatiion, 

Where one makes merry, another looks down ; 

One thirsty, another plays ' cup out :' 

Let once the cup go round about, 
And win the company's benison." 

At another time he touches the subject in a more playful 
mood, and as the queen was his especial friend, and seems 
to have earnestly wished that his petition might be granted, 
he prays that the king may be "John Thomson's man," a 
term then applied to a person whose wife, as the saying is 
now, " wore the breeches." 

" Sire, for your grace both night and day, 
Right heartily on my knees I pray, 
With all devotion that I can, 

God give, ye were John Thompson's man ! 


For were it so, then well were me, 
Un-beneficed I should not be ; 
My hard fortune were ended than ; 

God give, ye were John Thomson's man ! 

Then would some ruth within you rest, 
For sake of her, fairest and best 
In Britain, since her time began ; 

God give, ye were John Thomson's man ! 

For it might hurt in no degree, 
That one, so fair and good as shee, 
Through her virtue such worship wan, 
As you to make John Thomson's man ! 

I would give all that ever I have 
On that condition, so God me save, 
That ye had vowed to the swan, 

One year to be John Thomson's man. 

The mercy of that sweet meek Rose* 
Would soften you, Thistle, I suppose, 
Whose pricks through me so ruthless ran ; 
God give, ye were John Thomson's man ! 

My advocate, both fair and sweet, 
The whole rejoicing of my sp'rite, 
Would speed well in my errands than ; 
If ye were once John Thomson's man. 

Ever, when I think you hard or dure, 
Or merciless in my succour, 
Then pray I God and sweet Saint Ann, 
Give that ye were John Thomson's man." 

* The Rose and the Thistle are alluded to as the well-known 
emblems of England (the Queen being daughter of Henry VII,) and 
of Scotland, 


Still Dunbar remained at court, where he appears all 
along to have been a great favourite, and he seems to have 
entered into all its gaieties. In his account of the " dance 
in the queen's chamber," he himself makes not the least 
conspicuous figure in the picture : — 

" Then came in Dunbar the makkar, 
On all the floor there was none frakkar, 
And there he danced the Dirrye-danton ; 
He hopped liked a pillie wanton, 

For love of Musgrave, men tell me ; 
He tript, until he lost his panton, 

A merrier dance might no man see."* 

In 1513, the king and his nobility fell at Flodden ; and 
after this event nothing is known of Dunbar, though it 
seems probable that he soon after received from the queen, 
now regent of the kingdom, the object of his desires, pre- 
ferment in the church. The latest of his poems which is 
extant, is assigned to the year 1517, and he is supposed to 
have died about three years after. 

It is not possible to modernize the language of Dunbar's 
poems in the manner we have modernized most of our ex- 
tracts, without losing much of their spirit and beauty. We 
are obliged to retain obsolete phraseology, to substitute for 
obsolete words, new ones, which do not well supply their 
places, and we have sometimes to add a word to fill out the 
rhythm of the line. The rhymes, too, which in Dunbar are 
always perfect, sometimes suffer in the transformation. 

It is to be lamented that so few of Dunbar's larger 
poems have come down to us. The two tales of "The 

* Frakkar, more nimble — panton, slipper. 


Friars of Berwick," and " The Two Married Women and 
the Widow/' are perfect in their kind, and either of them 
will fully repay the labour — no great labour, indeed, for he 
is not much more obsolete than Spenser — of making our- 
selves familiar with his language. His two allegorical 
poems, the "Thistle and the Rose," written to celebrate 
the Scottish king's nuptials with the English princess, and 
the " Golden Targe," have often been the subjects of de- 
served admiration. We are not ourselves partial to this 
old allegorical school of poetry ; but from the comparative 
shortness of these poems, the allegory is less tiresome, and 
their rich luxuriance of description cannot fail to make 
them favourites. We have another short poem by Dunbar, 
somewhat in the style of the two last mentioned, " The 
Merle and the Nightingale." The poet feigns that he 
hears these two birds, in the month of May, disputing on 
the subject of love. 

" Iu May, as that Aurora did up-spring, 

With cristall ene chasing the cluddis sable, 
I hard a Merle, with mirry notis, sing 

A sang of love, with voce rycht comfortable, 

Agane the orient bemis amiable, 
Upone a blissful brenche of lawryr grene ; 

This wes hir sentens sueit and delectable, 
1 A lusty lyfe in Luvis service bene.' 

Under this brench ran doun a revir bricht, 

Of balmy liquor, cristallyne of hew, 
Agane the hevinly aisure skyis licht ; 

Quhair did, upone the tothir syd, persew 

A Nychtingaill, with suggurit notis new, 
Quhois angell fedderis as the pacok schone ; 

This wes hir song, and of a sentens trew, 
' All Luve is lost hot upone God allone. ' 


With notis glaid, and glorious armony, 

This joyfull Merle so salust scho the day, 
Quhill rong the woddis of hir melody, 

Saying, ' Awaik, ye luvaris of this May ; 

Lo ! fresche Flora hes flurest every spray, 
As Nature hes hir taucht, the noble quene, 

The feild bene clothit in a new array ; 
A lusty lyfe in Luvis service bene.' 

Nevir suetar noys wes hard with levand man 

Na maid this mirry gentill Nychtingaill, 
Hir sound went with the rever as it ran 

Out throw the fresche and flureist lusty vaill ; 

' Merle ! ' quoth scho, ' fule ! stynt of thy taill, 
For in thy song gud sentens is thair none, 

For both is tynt, the tyme and the travaill, 
Of even 7 Luve hot upone God allone.' " 

The Merle, for a time, opposes vigorously the doctrine 
of her rival songstress, alleging, among other reasons, the 
following, which is very gracefully expressed, — 

" Nichtingaill ! it wer a story nyce 

That luve suld nocht depend on cherite ; 
And, gife that vertew contrair be to vyce, 

Than luve mon be a vertew, as thinkis me ; 

For ay to luve envy mone contrair be : 
God bad eik luve thy nichtbour fro the splene, 

And quho than ladeis suetar nychtbouris be ? 
A lusty lyfe in Luvis service bene." 

She, in the end, however, acknowledges herself beaten, 
and joins with the nightingale in singing— 

" All Luve is lost bot upone God allone." 


Dunbar's smaller poems, with the exception of a few 
moral and religious pieces, are mostly such as were sug- 
gested by the times and people among whom he lived. 
But in elegance and wit, and epigrammatic point, they 
stand high above the common standard of such produc- 
tions. The commendation he bestows on the subject of his 
esteem, or the sarcasms and abuse which he heaps on the 
objects of his dislike, are equally original and pointed. 
Among the foremost of the objects of his aversion were 
the Highlanders. In one of the most magnificent of 
Dunbar's works, "The Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins," 
a poem which abounds in descriptions such as have been 
realised only by the pencil and graver of Callot, after 
noticing the want of musicians, for no " gle-men " were 
in Hell, " except a menstrall that slew a man," the devil 
signifies his desire for a Highland " padyane," as the most 
proper music for the occasion— 

" Then cried Mahoun for a Highland padyane : 
When ran a fiend to fetch Macfadyane. 

Far northward in a nook ; 
By he the correnoch had made shout, 
Erse men so gathered him about, 
In Hell great room they took. 

These termagants, with tag and tatter, 
Full lowd in Erse began to clatter, 

And croak like raven and rook. 
The devil so deafen'd was with their yell, 
That in the deepest pot of Hell 

He smothered them with smoke." 

In explanation of the last line but one of this passage, 
it is only needful to observe, that, according to the popular 


notion of that time, the souls below were generally pun- 
ished in pots or cauldrons. 

Tailors and souters (or shoemakers) had also provoked 
his displeasure, and he takes ample vengeance on them in 
his satirical account of "The justs between the Tailor and 
Souter," held, like the last-mentioned scene, in the infer- 
nal domains. The " Amends to the Tailors and Souters," 
possesses much elegant point. He tells them that he has 
dreamt, in a moment of inspiration, that an angel appeared 
to him, declaring aloud their praise, and proclaiming their 
merits before God. 

" The cause to you is not un-ken'd, 
That God's mis-makes ye do amend, 
By craft and great agility : 
Tailors and souters, blest are ye. 

Souters, with shoes well made and meet, 
Ye mend the faults of ill-made feet, 

"Wherefore to heaven your souls will flie : 

Tailors and souters blest are ye, 

* * * * 

And tailors, too, with well-made clothes, 
Can mend the worst-made man that goes, 

And make him seemly for to see : 

Tailors and souters, blest are ye. 

Though God make a mis-fashioned man, 
Ye can him all shape new again. 

And fashion him better by ' sic thre:' 

Tailors and souters, blest are ye. 

* * * * 

Of God great kindness may ye claim, 
Who help his people from crook and lame, 

Supporting faults with your supplie : 

Tailors and souters, blest are ye. 


On earth ye show such miracles here, 
In heaven ye shall be saints full clear, 

Though ye be knaves in this countrie : 

Tailors and souters, blest are ye." 

Another especial object of Dunbar's satire, was "Mr. 
Andro Kennedy," "an idle dissolute scholar," whose 
testament commences thus — 

" I maister Andro Kennedy, 
Curro quando sum vocatus, 
Begotten by some incubi, 

Or by some friar infatuatus ; 
In faith I cannot tell read'ly, 

Unde aut ubi fid natus, 
But in truth I know truly, 

Quod sum diabolus incarnatus. 

* * * * 

Nunc condo testamentummeum, 
I leave my soul for evermare, 
Per omnijjotentem Deum, 

Unto my lordes wine-cellar. 

* * * * 

Quia in cellario cum cervisia 

I'd rather lye both early and late, 
Nudus solus in camisia, 

Than in my lordes bed of state. 
A barrel bung aye at me bosom, 

Of worldes goods I had na mare ; 
Et corpus meum ebriosum 

I leave unto the town of Air ; 
In a grain mixen for ever and aye, 

Ut ibi sepeliri queam, 
Where drink and grain may every day 

Be casten super faciem meam." 


The ceremonies at his interment are to be equally cha- 
racteristic — 

" In die mece sepultures, 

I will none have but our own gang, 
Et duos rusticos de rure 

Bearing a barrel on a stang ; 
Drinking and playing ' cup out,' even 

Sicut egomet solebam ; 
Singing and shouting with high Steven, 

Potum meum cum fletu miscebam. 
I will no priests for me to sing 

' Dies ilia, dies irce ; ' 
Nor yet the bells for me to ring ; 

Sicut semper solet fieri ; 
But a bag-pipe to play a spring, 

Et unum ale-wosp ante me ; 
Instead of banners, for to bring 

l^uatuor lagenas cervisice ; 
Within the grave to set such thing 

In modum cruris juxta me, 
To drive the fiends, then boldly sing, 

De terra plasmas ti me." 

Mr. Laing observes on this last poem : — 
" The late Octavius Gilchrist, in his remarks on maca- 
ronic poetry (Brydges' Censura Literaria, vol. in. p. 359), 
in mentioning Theophilus Folengo of Mantua, known best 
under his assumed name of Merlinus Coccaius, as the sup- 
posed inventor of that kind of verse, in his ' Opus Maca- 
ronicum,' first published in 1517, says, 'he was preceded 
by the laureat Skelton, whose works were printed in 1512, 
who was himself anticipated by the great genius of Scot- 
land, Dunbar, in his ' Testament of Andro Kennedy,' and 
the last must be considered as the reviver or introducer of 


macaronic or burlesque poetry. The opinion, however, 
is not quite correct, as the mixture either of Latin and 
English words, or in alternate lines, as used by Skelton and 
Dunbar, does not constitute what is called macaronic verse, 
the peculiarity of which consists in the use of Latin words, 
and of vernacular words with Latin terminations, usually 
in hexameter verse. One of the earliest and most cele- 
brated pieces of the kind which is known in this country, 
is Drummond of Hawthornden's Polemo-Middinia." 

Mr. Laing is doubtlessly right in saying that Dunbar's 
poem is not macaronic verses. How Gilchrist could think 
that this kind of writing, alternate lines of Latin and 
English, was not older than Dunbar, we cannot conceive. 
We might make a collection of some twenty or thirty songs 
in the same style, from the twelfth century to Dunbar's 
time ; and such a song in Latin and old High Dutch, on an 
event of the tenth century, preserved in a MS. of the 
middle of the eleventh century, which begins 

" Nunc almus assis filius 
thero euuigero thiernum 
Benignus fautor mihi 
thaz ig iz cosan muozi," 

has been printed more than once. As, however, Mr. Laing 
did not seem to be aware that macaronic poetry is of old 
date in England, we will, in conclusion, print a short ma- 
caronic poem from a MS. of the reign of Henry VI, (at 
Cambridge), describing quaintly the characteristic com- 
modities of most of our English cities. The language is in 
parts obscure : — 

VOL. II. 14 


Haec sunt Lundonis, pira, pomaque, regia thronus, 
Chepp stupha, coklana, dolum, leo, verbaque vana, 
Lancea cum scutis : haec sunt staura cuntutis. 

Capituluiu, kekus, purcus, fimus Eboracus, 
Stal, nel, lamprones, kelc et melc, salt, salamones, 
Ratus cum petys : haec sunt staura cuntetis. 

Haec sunt Lincolnae, bow, bolt, et bellia bolnae, 
Ac monstrum scala, rosa bryghta, nobilis ala, 
Et bubulus flatus : haec sunt staura cuntatis. 

Haec sunt Norwicus, panis ordeus, halpenypykys, 
Clausus porticus, domus Habrahae, dyrt quoque vicus, 
Flynt valles, rede thek : cuntatis optima sunt haec. 

Contreye mirum sopanedula, tractaque wirum, 
Et carmen notum, nova stipula, pedula totum, 
Cardones mille : haec sunt insignia villae. 

Haec sunt Brystollys, bladelys, do3elys quoque bollys, 
Burges, negones, karinae, clocheriaque, chevones, 
Webbys cum rotis : haec sunt staura cuntotis. 

Haec sunt Cantorum, juga, dogmata, bal baculorum, 
Et princeps tumba, bel, brachia, fulsaque plumba, 
Et syserem potus : haec sunt staura cuntotis. 


Printed by C. and J. Adlard, Bartholomew Close. 




Latin, Anglo-Saxon, and Anglo-Norman Literature. 

ELIQULE ANTIQILE. Scraps from An- 

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the English Language, edited by WRIGHT and HALLIWELL, 2 
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Early Mysteries ; and other Latin Poems of the Xllth and 

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Latin Poems, commonly attributed to Walter de Mapes, Arch- 
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Popular Treatises on Science, written during the Middle 

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Fragment on Popular Science from the Early English Metrical Lives of the Saints, {the 
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Anecdota Llteraria : A Collection of Short Poems in English, 

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SSAYS on Subjects connected with the LITERA- 
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IV. On Proverbs and Popular Sayings. V. On the Anglo-Latin Poets 
of the Twelfth Century. VI. Abelard and the Scholastic Philo- 
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and the Frolicsome Elves. XI. On Dunlop's History of Fiction. XII. On the History 
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Scottish Poet Dunbar. 


Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, Obsolete 

Phrases, Proverbs, and Ancient Customs, from the XlVth Century. Forming a Key to 
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Times, A.D. 1604. Edited by J. O. HALLIWELL. Post 8vo, 1*. 6d. (Percy Soc.) 

Strange Histories, or Songes and Sonets of Kings, 

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Read or Songe," &c. By THOMAS DELONEY, 1607. Edited by J. P. COLLIER. 
Post 8vo, 4*. (Percy Soc.) 

A Knight's Conjuring, done in Earnest, discovered 

in Jest; written in answer to Nash's « Pierce Penniless,' and containing numerous allu- 
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a Life of the Author, by E. F. RIMBAULT. Post 8vo, 3s. 6d. {Percy Soc.) 

The Four Knaves. A Series of Satirical Tracts. By 

SAMUEL ROWLANDS, 1611-13. Edited, with Introduction and Notes, by E. F. 
RIMBAULT. Woodcuts, post 8vo, 4*. 6d. (Percy Soc,) 

A Search for Money ; or the Lamentable Complaint for the 

Losse of the Wandring Knight Mounsieur l'Argent ; or Come along with me, I know 
thou Lovest Money, &c. By WILLIAM ROWLEY, 1609. Reprinted from the only 
known copy by J. P. COLLIER. Post 8vo, 2s. 6d. (Percy Soc.) 

The Crowne-Garland of Goulden Roses, a Collection 

of Songs and Ballads, chiefly historical, by RICHARD JOHNSON, Author of "The 
Seven Champions of Christendom." Reprinted from the edition of 1612. Edited by 
W. CHAPPELL. Part I. 3s. ; Part II. from the edition of 1659, 3s 6d. post 8vo. 

(Percy Soc.) 

Honestie of this Age ; proving by Good Circumstance that 

the World was never Honest till now. By BARNABY RICH, 1614. Edited by P. 
CUNNINGHAM. Post 8vo, 3s. (Percy Soc.) 

Follie's Anatomie ; or Satyres and Satyricall Epigrams, by 

HENRY HUTTON, of Durham, 1619; containing curious Allusions to Paris Garden, 
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The King and the Poore Northerne Man. Shewing: how a 

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ances. Full of simple Mirth and merry plaine Jests. By MARTIN PARKER. 1640. 
Edited by J. P. COLLIER. Post 8vo, 2*. (Percy Soc.) 


A Rot among the Bishops ; or a Terrible Tempest in the Sea 

of Canterbury, set forth in lively emblems to please the judicious Reader, in Verse. By 
THOMAS STTRRY, 1641. 18mo, (a satire on Abp. Laud,) four very curious woodcut 
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A facsimile of the very rare original edition, which sold at Bindley's sale for 13/. 

Songs of the London Prentices and Trades, during the 

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Post8vo, 5s. (Percy Soc.) 

Lord Mayor's Pageants ; being Collections towards a History 

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Civic Garland; A Collection of Songs from London Pageants. 

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Commonwealth, chiefly from the King's Pamphlets in the British Museum. With an 
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Old Ballads ; illustrating the great Frost of 1683-4, and the 

Fair on the River Thames. Edited by E. F. RIMBAULT. Post 8vo, 3s. (Percy Soc.) 

Popular Stories and Superstitions. 


Essay on the Legends of Purgatory, Hell, and Paradise, current 
during the Middle Ages. By THOMAS WRIGHT, M.A., F.S.A., 
&c. Post 8vo, cloth, 6s. #. 

" It must be observed, that this is not a mere account of St. 
Patrick's Purgatory, but a complete history of the legends and 
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Moreover, it embraces a singular chapter of literary history, omitted by Warton and 
all former writers with whom we are acquainted ; and we think we may add, that it 
forms the best introduction to Dante that has yet been published." — Literary Gazette. 
" This appears to be a curious and even amusing book on the singular subject of Purgatory, 
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tales, and then applied as means of deducing the moral character of the age in which 
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The Merry Tales of the Wise Men of Gotham. Edited 

by JAMES ORCHARD HALLIWELL, Esq. F.S.A. Post 8vo, 1*. # 

These tales are supposed to have been composed in the early part of the sixteenth century, 

by Dr. Andrew Borde, the well-known progenitor of Merry Andrews. " In the time of 

Henry the Eighth, and after," says Ant.-a-Wood, " it was accounted a book full of wit 

and mirth by scholars and gentlemen." 

A Selection of Latin Stories, from MSS. of the Xlllth and 

XlVth Centuries. Edited by T. WRIGHT. Post 8vo, pp. 280, 6s. (Percy Soc.) 

The Seven Sages, in English Verse, from a MS. at Cambridge. 

Edited by T. WRIGHT. Post 8vo, 4*. (Percy Soc.) 

One of the most remarkable collections of Stories current during the Middle Ages. 


Jack of Dover, his Quest of Inquirie, or his Privy 

Search for the veriest Foole in England, a collection of Merry Tales, 1604. Edited 

by T. WRIGHT. Post 8vo, 2*. 6d. ( Perc V Soc ;> 

This tract is exceedingly curious, as forming one of the links between the wit of the middle 

ages and that of modern times. There is scarcely one of the " merry tales" contained 

in it which has not its counterpart among the numerous Latin stories of the monks, 

which were popular in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. 

Pleasant Conceites of Old Hobson, the Merry Londoner, 

full of humourous Discourses and witty Merriments, whereat the quickest wittes may 
laugh, and the wiser sort take pleasure. 1607- Edited by J. O. HALL1WELL. Post 
8vo, 2*. (Percy Soc.) 

Robin Goodfellow ; his Mad Pranks and Merry Jests, 

full of honest mirth. 1628. Edited by J. P. COLLIER. Post8vo,2*. {Percy Soc.) 

History of Reynard the Fox, from Caxton's edition in 1481, 

with Notes and Literary History of the Romance. Edited by W. J. THOMS. Post 

8vo, 9*. (. Perc y Soc -> 

FooJs and Jesters, with a Reprint of ROBERT ARMIN'S 

Nest of Ninnies, 1608. Edited by J. P. COLLIER. 8vo, cloth, As. 6d. (Shakespeare Soc.) 

Tarlton's Jests, and News out of Purgatory; with Notes, 

and some account of the Life of Tarlton. By J. O. HALLIWELL. 8vo, cloth, As.6d. 

(Shakespeare Soc.) 

Illustrations of the Fairy Mythology of Shakespeare. 

By J. O. HALLIWELL. Thick 8vo. cloth, Is. 6d. (Shakespeare Soc.) 

The Noble and Renowned History of Guy, Earl of 

Warwick, containing a full and true account of his many famous and valiant actions. 
12mo, new editioti, with woodcuts, cloth, 2s. 6d. %■ 

Anecdotes and Traditions, illustrative of Early English His- 
tory and Literature, derived from MS. sources. Edited by W. J. THOMS. Small 4to, 
cloth, 15s. (Camden Soe.) 

A Contemporary Narrative of the Proceedings against 

Dame Alice Kyteler, prosecuted for Sorcery in 1324. By RICHARD de LEDREDE, 
Bishop of Ossory. Edited by T. WRIGHT. Small 4to, cloth, 4*. 6d. (Camden Soc.) 
This volume affords a curious picture of the turbulent state of Ireland in the Reign of 
Edward II. and an interesting chapter in the history of English Superstition. 

Dialogue concerning Witches and Witchcrafts. By 

GEORGE GIFFORD, Vicar of Maldon, 1603. Edited by T. WRIGHT. Post 8vo, 

4«. 6rf. (Percy Soc.) 

This dialogue was thought to merit reprinting, both as being an excellent specimen of the 

colloquial language of the Reign of Elizabeth, and for the good sense with which the 

writer treats a subject on which so many people ran mad, and the curious allusions 

which it contains to the superstitions of that age. 

Trial of the Witches at Bury St. Edmunds, before Sir 

M. HALE, 1664, with an Appendix by CHARLES CLARK, Esq. of Totham, Essex. 

8VO, 1*. AA. 

«« The most perfect narrative of anything of this nature hitherto extant."— Preface. 

Wonderful Discovery of the Witchcrafts of Margaret 

and Philip Flower, daughters of Joan Flower, near Bever (Belvoir), executed at Lincoln 
for confessing themselves actors in the destruction of Lord Rosse, son of the Earl of 
Rutland. 1618. 8vo, Is #. 

One of the most extraordinary cases of Witchcraft on record. 


Account of the Trial, Confession, and Condemnation 

of Six Witches at Maidstone, 1652; also the Trial and Execution of Three others at 
Faversham, 1645. 8vo, 1*. ^ 

These transactions are unnoticed by all the Kentish historians. 

A Faithful Record of the Miraculous Case of Mary 

Jobson, by W. REID CLANNV, M.D. of Sunderland. 8vo, Is. 6d. # 

The second edition of a most extraordinary narrative, which caused great sensation in 
the North of England. 

Medieval History. 
MANUAL of the History of the Middle 

Ages, from the Invasion of the Barbarians to the Fall of Constanti- 
nople; with Genealogical Tables of the Imperial Houses of Ger- 
many, of the Three French Dynasties, and of the Norman-Angevin 
Kings of England, translated from the French Work of DES 
MICHELS, by T. G. JONES. 12mo, cloth, 2s. 6d. (published at 
6s. 6d.) # 

" The general scarcity of elementary works on History, and more 
especially of such as refer to the Middle Ages, might, in itself, be a sufficient apology 
for the appearance of the following translation ; but when it is further considered 
that the original text has passed through several editions, and that its reputation is 
established in a country confessedly eminent in historical literature, it is believed 
that the work, in its present form, cannot but prove a desideratum to the English 

Chronica Jocelina de Brakelonda, de Rebus Gestis 

Samsonis Abbatis Monasterii Sancti Edmundi : nunc primum typis mandata curante 
J. GAGE-ROKEWODE. Small 4to, cloth, 10s. 6d. (Camden Soc.) 

** There is one publication which the Society may well be gratified at having been the 
means of adding to the materials of the History of England, the Chronicle of Josceline 
de Brakelond, a work edited with singular care and judgment, and unique in its cha- 
racter, as affording an illustration of monastic life more vivid and complete than can 
be found in any work with which the Council are acquainted." 

Report of the C. S. 1841. 

Ecclesiastical Documents, viz. 1. A Brief History of the 

Bishoprick of Somerset to the year 1174. 2. Curious Collection of Charters from the 
Library of Dr. Cox Macro. Now first published. By the Rev. JOSEPH HUNTER. 
Small 4to, cloth, 3s. [Camden Soc.) 

Chronicle of William of Rishanger of the Barons' 

Wars— The Miracles of Simon de Montfort. Edited from MSS. by J. O. H ALLIWELL. 
Small 4to, cloth, 5s. (Camden Soc.) 

The Baron's War, including the Battles of Lewes and Evesham. 

By W. H. BLAAW, F.S.A. Thick small 4to, many plates, cloth, (an interesting 
volume,) 15s. « 

A French Chronicle of London, from the 44th of Henry 

III to the 17th of Edw. Ill, with copious English notes. By J. G. AUNGIER. Small 
4to, cloth, 6s. (Camden Soc.) 

Abbreviata Chronica, a b anno 1377, usque ad annum 1409. 

Edited by the Rev. J. SMITH. 4to, facsimile, 3s. (Ca m b. Antiq. Soc.)* 


Historie of the Arrival of Edward IV in England, 

and the finall recoverye of his Kingdomes from Henry VI. 1471. Edited by J. 
BRUCE. SmalUto, cloth, 9*. (Camden Soc.) 

Chronicle of the First Thirteen Years of the Reign of 

Edward IV. By JOHN WARKWORTH. Now first printed, and edited by J. O. 
HALLIWELL. Small 4to, cloth, 3s. t$ {Camden Soc.) 

Polydore Virgil's History of the Reigns of Henry VI, 

Edward IV, and Richard III, now first printed in English from a MS. in the British 
Museum. By Sir H. ELLIS. Small 4to, cloth, 6s. 6d. (Camden Soc.) 

ICTIONARY of Archaic and Provincial 

Words, Obsolate Phrases, &c. from the reign of Edward I ; forming 
a complete Key for the reader of the works of our Ancient Poets, 
Dramatists, and other Authors, whose works abound with allusions 
of which explanations are not to be found in ordinary dictionaries 
and books of reference. By J. O. HALLIWELL, F.R.S. &c. 8vo. 
Vol. I, containing 480 pages, closely printed in double columns, cloth, 
11. Is. (To be completed in 2 vols.) % 

" It forms a most comprehensive glossary to all our old English writers, from the be- 
ginning of the fourteenth century to the time of the Stuarts, including the earlier 
chroniclers, the writings of Wycliffe, and a long range of poets, from Piers Ploughman, 
Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate, &c. to Spenser and his contemporaries, with Shakespeare and 
the dramatists of that age. Most of the words of the Dictionary are illustrated by ex- 
amples, selected not only from printed authorities, but from the numerous early English 
MSS. scattered through public and private libraries, and these are extremely numerous 
and valuable. In addition to the obsolete portion of our language this work may be 
said to be a complete dictionary of the local dialects of the present day, and is one which 
will be an acceptable addition to every library." — Morning Herald. 

On the Origin and Formation of the Romance Lan- 
guages ; containing an examination of M. Raynouard's Theory on the Relation of the 
Italian, Spanish, Provenyal, and French, to the Latin. By GEO. CORNEWALL 
LEWIS. 8vo, cloth, 12s. reduced to 7s. 6d. 

Reliques of Irish Jacobite Poetry, with Interlinear Trans- 
lations, and Biographical Sketches of the Aut'aors, and Notes by J. DALY, also 
English Metrical Versions by E. WALSH. 8vo. Parts I and 2 (all yet published,) 2s. %■ 

Popular Errors in English Grammar, particularly in Pro- 
nunciation, familiarly pointed out. By GEORGE JACKSON. 12mo, Third Edition, 
with a coloured frontispieee of the " Sedes Busbeiana." 6d. ^f 

Promptorium Parvulorum sive Clericorum, Lexicon 

Anglo-Latinum princeps, autore Fratre Galfrido Grammatico Dicto e Predicationibus 
Lenne Episcopi, Northfolciensi, a.d. 1440, olim e prelis Pynsonianis editum, nunc ab 
integro, commentariolis subjectis, ad fidem codicum recensuit ALBERTUS WAY. 
Tomus prior, small 4to, cloth, 10s. 6d. (Camden Soc.) 

Histoire Litteraire, Philologique et Bibliographique 

des Patois. Par. PIERQUIN de GEMBLOUX. 8vo, Paris, 1841. 8s. 6d. 


Bibliographical List of all the Works which have been pub- 
lished towards illustrating the Provincial Dialects of England. By JOHN RUSSELL 
SMITH. Post8vo, Is. ^ 

" Very serviceable to such as prosecute the study of our provincial dialects, or are col- 
lecting works on that curious subject. We very cordially recommend it to notice." — 

Grose's (Francis, F.S.A.) Glossary of Provincial and 

Local Words used in England, with which is now first incorporated the Supplement 
by SAMUEL PEGGE, F.S.A. Post 8vo, elegantly printed, cloth, 4s.6d. ^ 

The utility of a Provincial Glossary to all persons desirous of understanding our ancient 
poets is so universally acknowledged, that to enter into a proof of it would be entirely a 
work of supererogation. Grose and Pegge are constantly referred to in Todd's 
" Johnson's Dictionary." 

Specimens of Cornish Provincial Dialect, collected and 

arranged by Uncle Jan Treenoodle, with some Introductory Remarks and a Glossary 

by an Antiquarian Friend, also a Selection of Songs and other Pieces connected with 

Cornwall. Post 8vo, ivith curious portrait of Dolly Pentreath, cloth, As. * 

" Vether it's worth while goin' through so much, to learn so little, as the Charity-boy 

said ven he got to the end of the alphabet, is a matter o' taste. I rayther think it 

isn't," Quoth Old Weller. 

Exmoor Scolding and Courtship in the Propriety and 

Decency of Exmoor (Devonshire) Language, with Notes and a Glossary. Post 8vo, 12th 
edition, Is. 6d. jjfr 

" A veTy rich bit of West of Englandism."— Metropolitan. 

Poems of Rural Life, in the Dorset Dialect, with a Dis- 
sertation and Glossary. By WILLIAM BARNES. Royal 12mo, cloth, 10s. * 
A fine poetic feeling is displayed through the various pieces in this volume ; according to 
some critics nothing has appeared equal to it since the time of Burns; the « Gent.'s 
Magazine' for Dec. 1844, gave a review of the volume some pages in length. 

A Glossary of Provincial Words and Phrases in use in 

Wiltshire, showing their Derivation in numerous instances from the Language of the 
Anglo-Saxons. By JOHN YONGE AKERMAN, Esq., F.S.A. 12mo, cloth, 3s. * 

A Collection of Fugitive Pieces in the Dialect of 

Zummerzet. Edited by J. O. HALLIWELL. Post 8vo, only 50 printed, 2s. •£ 

Dick and Sal, or Jack and Joan's Fair, a Doggerel Poem, 

in the Kentish Dialect. 3d edition, 12mo, 6d. % 

Tom Cladpole's Journey to Lunnun, told by himself, and 

written in pure Sussex Doggerel, by his Uncle Tim. 18mo, 5th thousand, 6d. ^ 

Jan Cladpoles Trip to 'Merricur in Search for Dollar 

Trees, and how he got rich enough to beg his way home ! written in Sussex Doggerel. 
12mo, 6i. $ 

John Noakes and Mary Styles, a Poem, exhibiting some of 

the most striking lingual localisms peculiar to Essex, with a Glossary. By CHARLES 
CLARK, Esq. of Great Totham Hall, Essex. Post 8vo, cloth, 2s. -*- 

** The poem possesses considerable [humour." Tait's Mag. — «'A very pleasant trifle." 
Lit. Gaz. — " A very clever production." Essex Lit. Journal. — «« Full of rich humour." 
Essex Mercury."—" Very droll." Metropolitan. — "Exhibits the dialect of Essex per- 
fectly." Eclectic Review. — " Full of quaint wit and humour." Gent's Mag. May 1841 . 
— " A very clever and amusing piece of local description." Archaeologist. 


The Vocabulary of East Anglia, an attempt to record the 

vulgar tongue of the twin sister Counties, Norfolk and Suffolk, as it existed in the last 
twenty years of the Eighteenth Century, and still exists ; with proof of its antiquity 
from Etymology and Authority. By the Rev. R. FORBY. 2 vols, post 8vo, cloth, 12s. 
(original price 1/. Is.) % 

Westmorland and Cumberland Dialects. Dialogues, 

Poems, Songs, and Ballads, by various Writers, in the Westmorland and Cumberland 
Dialects, now first collected, to which is added, a Copious Glossary of Words peculiar to 
those Counties. Post 8vo, pp. 408, cloth, 9s. $jj 

This collection comprises, in the Westmorland Dialect, Mrs. ANN WHEELER'S Four 
Familiar Dialogues, with Poems, &c* and in the Cumberland Dialect, I. Poems and 
Pastorals by the Rev. JOSIAH RELPH ; II. Pastorals, &c.,by EWAN CLARK; III. 
Letter from Dublin by a young Borrowdale Shepherd, by ISAAC RITSON ; IV. 
Poems by JOHN STAGG ; V. Poems by MARK LONSDALE ; VI. Ballads and 
Songs by ROBERT ANDERSON, the Cumbrian Bard (including some now first 
printed); VII. Songs by Miss BLAMIRE and Miss GILPIN; VIII. Songs by JOHN 
RAYSON; IX. An Extensive Glossary of Westmorland and Cumberland Words. 
••Among the specimens of Cumberland Verse will be found some true poetry, if not the 
best ever written in the language of rural life this side the Scotch Borders. The 
writers seem to have caught in their happiest hours inspiration from the rapt soul of 
Burns. Anderson's touching song of wedded love, • The Days that are geane,' is a 
worthy answer for a husband to Burn's ' John Anderson my Jo.' " —Gent's. Magazine. 
" No other two counties in England have so many pieces, both in prose and verse, illus- 
trative of the manners and customs of the inhabitants, and written in their own native 
dialect. The philologist will find numerous examples of words and phrases which are 
obsolete in the general language of England, or which have been peculiar to West- 
morland and Cumberland from time immemorial. Nor are the pieces uninteresting 
in other respects. Some of the patois verses are rich in the true spirit and vigour of 
poetry." — Metropolitan. 
"A charming volume : it contains some beautiful poetical effusions, as well as characteristic 
sketches in prose." — Archceologist. 

The Yorkshire Dialect, exemplified in various Dialogues, 

Tales, and Songs, applicable to the County, with a Glossary. Post8vo, 1*. Sfr 

"A shilling book worth its money; most of the pieces of composition are not oniy 
harmless, but good and pretty. The eclogue on the death of ' Awd Daisy,' an out- 
worn horse, is an outpouring of some of the best feelings of the rustic mind ; and the 
addresses to riches and poverty have much of the freedom and spirit of Burns." 

Genfs Magazine, May 1841. 

The Bairnsla Foak's Annual, an onnv body els as beside 

for't years 1842 and 1843. Be TOM TREDDLEHOYLE. To which is added the 
Barnsley and Village Record, or the Book of Facts and Fancies. By NED NUT. 12mo, 
pp. 100, Is. * 

This almanac is written in the Barnsley Dialect, and therefore fits itself with peculiar em- 
phasis to the understanding of all in that particular locality. Its influence, however, 
extends beyond this ; for even those unacquainted with the Barnsley peculiarities of 
speech, will find much amusement in perusing the witticisms of the author, through 
his curious mode of expression. 

Heraldry and Genealogy. 

with Illustrations from old English Writers. By MARK ANTONY 
LOWER, Author of "Essays on English Surnames;" with Illu- 
minated Title-page, and numerous Engravings from designs by the 
Author. 8vo, cloth, gules, appropriately ornamented, OR. 14s. * 

"The present volume is truly a worthy sequel (to the 'Sur- 
names ') in the same curious and antiquarian line, blending 
with remarkable facts and intelligence, such a fund of amusing 


anecdote and illustration, that the reader is almost surprised to find that he has learnt 
so much, whilst he appeared to be pursuing mere entertainment. The text is so 
pleasing that we scarcely dream of its sterling value ; and it seems as if, in unison 
with the woodcuts, which so cleverly explain its points and adorn its various topics, 
the whole design were intended for a relaxation from study, rather than an ample 
exposition of an extraordinary and universal custom, which produced the most im- 
portant effect upon the minds and habits of mankind."— Literary Gazette. 

English Surnames. A Series of Essays on Family Nomen- 

clature, Historical, Etymological, and Humorous; with Chapters on Canting Arms, 
Rebuses, the Roll of Battel Abbey, a List of Latinized surnames, &c. By MARK 
ANTONY LOWER. The second edition, enlarged, post 8vo, pp. 292, with 20 woodcuts, 
cloth, 6s. ijj 

To those who are curious about their patronymic, it will be found a very instructive and 
amusing volume— mingling wit and pleasantry, with antiquarian research and his- 
torical interest. 
«' An instructive and amusing volume, which ought to be popular. Perhaps no subject is 
more curious than the history of proper names. How few persons are there who 
have not on one occasion or other been struck with the singular names which have fallen 
under their own observation, and who have not sought for information as to their 
origin? Yet we know of no work of any value, much more a popular work, which 
treats on the subject. Mr. Lower has written a very good and well-arranged book, 
which we can with confidence recommend to our readers." — Archceologist. 

Application of Heraldry to the illustration of various 

University and Collegiate Antiquities. By H. A. WOODHAM, Esq. 4to, part I. 
coloured plate, and 30 cuts of arms, 6s. Part II, coloured plate, and 2 woodcuts, 3s. 6d. 

(Camb. Antiq. Soc.) % 

A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Extinct 

and Dormant Baronetcies of England, Ireland, and Scotland. By J. BURKE, Esq. and 
J. B. BURKE, Esq. Medium 8vo, Second Edition. 638 closely printed pages, in double 
columns, with about 1000 arms engraved on wood, fine portrait of James I, and illuminated 
title-page, extra cloth, 10s., published at 1Z. 8s. ^ 

This work, which has engaged the attention of the Authors for several years, comprises 
nearly a thousand families, many of them amongst the most ancient and eminent in 
the kingdom, each carried down to its representative or representatives still existing, 
with elaborate and minute details of the alliances, achievements, and fortunes, gene- 
ration after generation, from the earliest to the latest period. The work is printed 
to correspond precisely with the last edition of Mr. Burke's Dictionary of the Existing 
Peerage and Baronetage ; the armorial bearings are engraved in the best style, and are 
incorporated with the text as in that work. 

A General Armory of England, Scotland, and Ireland ; 

comprising a Registry of all Armorial Bearings, from the earliest to the present 
time. By J. BURKE, Esq. and J. B. BURKE, Esq. Royal 8vo, Third, 
Edition, with Supplement. 1200 pages, in double columns, illuminated title-page, cloth 
If. Is. published at 21. 2s. 
The most useful book on Heraldry extant ; it embodies all the arms of Guillim, Edmonson, 
Robson, Berry, and others, prefaced by a history of the art. 

Pedigrees of the Nobility and Gentry of Hertfordshire. 

By WILLIAM BERRY, late and for fifteeen years Registering Clerk in the 

College of Arms, Author of the " Encyclopaedia Heraldica," &c. &c. Folio (only 125 

printed), bds. 31. 10s. reduced to If. 5s. %. 

" These Collections of Pedigrees will be found of great utility, though not of sufficient 

proof in themselves to establish the claims of kindred set forth in them : but affording 

a ready clue to such necessary proof whenever it should be required, by pointing out 

the places of nativity, baptism, marriages, and burials, and such other legal documents, 

as localities will otherwise afford, and the modern entries in the Herald's College, are 

of no better authority, requiring the very same kind of proof for legal purposes. This 

observation will perhaps silence the ill-natured remarks which have emanated from 

that quarter : and it is self-evident that the printing of 250 copies is a much safer 

record than one manuscript entry there, which might easily be destroyed."— Preface. 


Topography, Archaeology, and Architecture. 

ISTORY of Banbury in Oxfordshire, in- 
cluding Copious Historical and Antiquarian Notices of the Neigh- 
bourhood. By ALFRED BEESLEY. Thick 8vo, 684 closely printed 
pages, with 66 woodcuts, engraved in the first style of art, by O. Jewitt, 
of Oxford, (pub. at 1/. 5s.) now reduced to 14*. ^ 

" The neighbourhood of Banbury is equally rich in British, Roman, 
Saxon, Norman, and English Antiquities, of all which Mr. 
Beesley has given regularly cleared accounts. Banbury holds an 
important place in the history of the Parliamentary War of the Seventeenth Century, 
and was the scene of the great Battle of Edghill, and of the important fight of 
Cropredy Bridge. Relating to the events of that period, the author has collected a 
great body of local information of the most interesting kind. By no means the least 
valuable part of Mr. Beesley's work, is his account of the numerous interesting early 
churches, which characterize the Banbury district." — The Archaeologist. 
J. R. SMITH having bought the whole stock of the above very interesting volume, invites 
the Subscribers to complete their copies in parts without delay, the price of which will 
be (for a short time) 1*. 6d., instead of 2s. 6d. 

A Hand-Book to Lewes in Sussex, Historical and De- 
scriptive, with Notices of the Recent Discoveries at the Priory. By MARK ANTONY 
LOWER. 12mo, many engravings, cloth, 2s. % 

The History of the Town of Gravesend in Kent, 

and of the Port of London. By R. P. CRUDEN, late Mayor of Gravesend. Royal 
8vo, 37 fine plates and woodcuts, a very handsome volume, cloth, 1843, reduced from 11. 8s. 
to 10s. 

History and Antiquities of Dartford, in Kent, with In- 
cidental Notices of Places in its Neighbourhood. By J. DUNKIN, Author of th e 
" History of the Hundreds of Bullington and Ploughley in Oxfordshire; " History of 
Bicester;" " History of Bromley," &c. 8vo, 17 plates, cloth. Only 250 printed. 21s. -^ 

The Visitor's Guide to Knole House, near Seven Oaks in 

«• Kent, with Catalogue of the Pictures contained in the Mansion, a Genealogical History 
of the Sackville Family, &c. &c. By J. H. BRADY, F.R.A.S. 12mo, 27 woodcuts by 
Bonner, Sly, %c. cloth, 4*. 6rf. Large Paper, Ids. %■ 

A very interesting guide to one of the most remarkable old Family Mansions, or we might 
even say, palaces, of England. The biographical notices of the portraits are very 
curious, and the description of old trees, and other particulars in the park and gar- 
dens will amuse the gardener ; while the architect will be instructed by the engravings 
of different parts of the house, and of the ancient furniture, more particularly of the 
fire-places, fire-dogs, chairs, tripods, masks, sconces, &c." — J. C. Loudon, 
Gardener's Magazine, Jan. 1840. 

Illustrations of Knole House, from Drawings by Knight, 

engraved on wood by Bonner, Sly, &c. 8vo, 16 plates with descriptions, 5s. %. 

Greenwich ; its History, Antiquities, and Public Buildings. 

By H. S. RICHARDSON. 12mo, fine woodcuts by Baxter. Is. 6d. % 

The Folkestone Fiery Serpent, together with the Humours 

of the Dovor Mayor ; being an Ancient Ballad full of Mystery and pleasant Conceit, 
now first collected and printed from the various MS. copies in possession of the inhabit- 
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A Brief Account of the Parish of Stowting, in Kent, 

and of the Antiquities lately discovered there. By the Rev. F. WRENCH, Rector. 
8vo, three folding plates, etched by the author. 2s. 6d. $fc 


Bibliotheca Cantiana, a Bibliographical Account of what has 

been published on the History, Topography, Antiquities, Customs, and Family 
Genealogy of the County of Kent, with Biographical Notes. By JOHN RUSSELL 
SMITH. In a handsome 8vo volume, pp. 370, with two plates of facsimiles of Auto- 
graphs of 33 eminent Kentish Writers. 14*. reduced to 5s. — large paper, 10*. 6rf. 
Contents — I. Historians of the County. II. Principal Maps of the County. III. Heraldic 
Visitations, with reference to the MSS. in the British Museum and other places. IV. Tracts 
printed during the Civil War and Commonwealth, 1640-16G0. V. A Chronological List of all 
the Local, Personal, and Private Acts of Parliament (upwards of 600), which havebeen 
passed on the County, from Edward I. to Queen Victoria. VI. Works relative to the County 
in general. VII. Particular Parishes, Seats, Customs, and Family Genealogy, in alphabetical 
order. The work also comprises a notice of every Paper which has been written on the 
County, and published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Gentleman'* 
Magazine, Archceologia, Vetusta Monumenta, Topographer, Antiquarian Repertory, and nume- 
rous other valuable publications, with a copious Index of every person and place mentioned 
throughout the volume. 

History and Antiquities of the Hundred of Compton, 

Berks, with Dissertations on the Roman Station of Calleva Attrebatum, and the Battle 
ofAshdown. By W. HEWITT, Jun, 8vo, 18 plates, cloth. Only 250 printed. 15s. •& 

The Local Historian's Table-Book of Remarkable Oc- 
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" This chronology of local occurrences, from the earliest times when a date is ascertainable 
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Some of these are very characteristic and curious; they invest with poetic associations 
almost every ruin or plot of ground ; and the earlier legends of moss-troopers and 
border-strifes afford an insight into the customs and state of society in remote periods. 
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Newcastle Tracts; Reprints of Rare and Curious Tracts, 

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Purchasers are expected to take the succeeding Tracts as published. 

Travels of Nicander Nucius of Corcyra in England, 

during the Reign of Henry VIII. Edited by Dr. CRAMER. Small 4to, cloth, As 

(Camden Soc.) 

A Journey to Beresford Hall, in Derbyshire, the Seat of 

CHARLES COTTON, Esq. the celebrated Author and Angler. By W. ALEXANDER, 
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on tinted paper, with a spirited frontispiece, representing Walton and his adopted Son 
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Dedicated to the Anglers of Great Britain and the various Walton and Cotton Clubs, 
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History of Portsmouth, Portsea, Landport, Southsea, 

and Gosport. By HENRY SLIGHT, Esq. 8vo, Third Edition, Ids. 4s. ^. 


Historical and Chore-graphical Description of the 

County of Essex. By JOHN NORDEN, 1594. Now first printed, and edited by Sir 
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Kemp's Nine Daies Wonder, performed in a Daunce from 

London to Norwich, with Introduction and Notes by the Rev. A. DYCE. Small 4to, 
cloth, As. 6d. {Camden Soc.) 

" A great curiosity, and, as a rude picture of national manners, extremely well worth re- 
printing." — Gifford's Notes to Ben Jonson. 

Historic Sites and other Remarkable and Interesting; Places in 

the County of Suffolk. By JOHN WODDERSPOON, with Prefatory Verses by BER- 
NARD BARTON, Esq., and a Poetical Epilogue by a "Suffolk Villager." Im- 
proved edition, fine woodcuts, post 8vo, pp. 232, closely printed, and containing as much 
matter as many 12*. volumes, cloth, 6s. 6d. *fc 

Principal Contents: — Framlingham Castle; Staningfield ; Rookwood ; Mrs. Inchbald ; 
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Bury St. Edmunds, the Abbey; David Hartley; Bp. Gardiner; George Bloomfield ; 
Wetheringset ; Haughley Castle ; Grimstone Hall ; Cavendish, the Voyager ; Framlingham 
Church, the burial place of Surrey, the Poet; Bungay Castle; Dunwich; Aldborough ; 
Wingfield, and the Old Halls of Suffolk. 

A New Guide to Ipswich, containing Notices of its Ancient 

and Modern History, Buildings, and Social and Commercial Condition. By JOHN 
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" It is handsomely got up, and reflects great credit on Ipswich typography."— Spectator. 

Specimens of College Plate in the University of Cambridge. 

By the Rev. J. J. SMITH. Ato, 13 fine plates, 15s. (Camb. Antiq. Soc.) -X- 

HistoriaCollegii JesuCantabrigiensis a J. SHERMANNO, 

olim praes. ejusdem Collegii. Edita J. O. HALLIWELL. 8vo, cloth, 2s. %■ 

The Archaeologist and Journal of Antiquarian Science. 

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with 19 engravings, cloth, reduced from 10s. 6d. to 5s. 6d. -X- 

Containing original articles on Architecture, Historical Literature, Round Towers of 

Ireland, Philology, Bibliography, Topography, Proceedings of the various Antiquarian 

Societies, Retrospective Reviews, and Reviews of Recent Antiquarian Works, &c. 

Roman and Roman-British Remains at and near Shefford, 

Co. Beds, described by Sir H. DRYDEN. Bt. ; with a Catalogue of Coins from the 
same place, by C. W. KING. 4to, 3 plates, coloured, 6s. 6d. (Camb. Antiq. Soc.) %. 

Notitia Britanniae, or an Inquiry concerning- the Localities, 

Habits, Condition, and Progressive Civilization of the Aborigines of Britain; to which 
is appended a brief Retrospect of the Result of their Intercourse with the Romans. By 
W. D. SAULL, F.S.A., F.G.S., &c. 8vo, engravings, 3s. 6d ■& 

Caledonia Romana ,* a Descriptive Account of the Roman 

Antiquities of Scotland ; preceded by an introductory view of the aspect of the Country, 
and state of its Inhabitants in the First Century of the Christian Era, and by a Summary 
of the Historical Transactions connected with the Roman Occupation of North Britain. 
By ROBERT STUART. 4to, many fine plates, cloth, 18s. 
"An able and highly readable (and cheap) volume on the transactions of the Romans in 

Scotland, and the remains they have left behind them in that part of the island 

The little that is known of the acts of the Romans in Scotland, and of the state of the 

people in that age, is stated by Mr. Stuart in a graceful and flowing narrative 

The view which he gives of the country, at the time when it was yet a sylvan wilder- 


ness, occupied by tribes not much different from those of Missouri and Araucania, is 
like a chapter in some beautiful romance. The roads and camps are all traced care- 
fully, even unto Ptoroton and Bona, (Burghead and Loch Ness.) and an ample chapter 
at the end is devoted to the Wall of Antoninus The scholar has here a satis- 
factory account of the Roman Antiquities of Scotland, illustrated by numerous 
draughts (in Lithography) ; while the general reader is presented with a work which 
he may peruse for the sake of its information, without ever feeling it in the least 
dull."— Chambers's Journal. 

British Archaeological Association. A Report of the 

Proceedings and Excursions of the Members of the British Archaeological Association, at 

the Canterbury Session, Sept. 1844. By A. J. DUNKIN. Thick 8vo, with many 

engravings, cloth, 11. Is. 

" The volume contains most of the papers entire that were read at the Meeting, and revised 

by the Authors. It will become a scarce book as only 120 were printed; and it forms 

the first yearly volume of the Archaeological Association, or the Archaeological 


A Verbatim Report of the Proceedings at a Special General 

Meeting of the British Archaeological Association, held at the Theatre of the Western 
Literary Institution, 5th March, 1845, T. J. Pettigrew in the Chair. With an Intro- 
duction, by THOMAS WRIGHT. 8vo, sewed, Is. 6d. %. 

History of the Origin and Establishment of Gothic 

Architecture, and an Inquiry into the mode of Painting upon and Staining Glass, as 
practised in the Ecclesiastical Structures of the Middle Ages. By JOHN SIDNEY 
HAWKINS, F.A.S. Royal 8vo, eleven plates, Ids. 3s. 6d. pub. at 12s. # 

Account of the Sextry Barn at Ely, lately Demolished. 

With Architectural Illustrations by PROFESSOR WILLIS. 4to, 4 plates, 3s. •* 

(Camb. Antiq. Soc.) 

Architectural Nomenclature of the Middle Ages. 

By PROFESSOR WILLIS. 4to, 3 plqtes, 7s. (Camb. Antiq. Soc.) •& 

Report of the First, Second, and Third General 

Meetings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society. 8vo, Is. each. (Camb. Antiq. Soc.) #■ 

OINS of the Romans relating to Britain, 

Described and Illustrated. By J. Y. AKERMAN, F.S.A., Secretary 

to the Numismatic Society, &c. Second edition, greatly enlarged, 

8vo, with plates and woodcuts, cloth, \0s. 6d. ■£ 

The ' Prix de Numismatique' has just been awarded by the French 

Institute to the author for this work. 
" Mr. Akerman's volume contains a notice of every known variety, 
with copious illustrations, and is published at a very moderate 
price : it should be consulted, not merely for these particular coins, but also for facts 
most valuable to all who are interested in the Romano-British history.'' — Archaeolo- 
gical Journal. 

Ancient Coins of Cities and Princes, Geographically 

arranged and described, HISPANIA, GALLIA, BRITANNIA. By J. Y. AKERMAN, 
F.S.A. 8vo> with engravings ofma?iy hundred coins from actual examples, cloth, 18s. -Jf 


Ariana Antiqua ; A. Descriptive Account of the Antiquities and 

Coins of Afghanistan, with a Memoir on the buildings called Topes. By C. 
MASSON. Edited by H. H. WILSON, Sanscrit Professor at Oxford. 4to, many 
plates of antiquities and many hundred coins, cloth, 21. 2s. 
A very handsome and cheap volume. Printed at the expense of the East India Company. 

Essay on the Numismatic History of the Ancient 

Kingdom of the East Angles. By D. H. HAIGH. Royal 8vo, 5 plates, containing 
numerous figures of coins, sewed, 6s. ■){■ 

Lectures on the Coinage of the Greeks and Romans, 

delivered in the University of Oxford. By EDWARD CARDWELL, D.D., Principal 
of St. Alban's Hall, and Professor of Ancient History. 8vo, cloth, reduced from 
&s. (id. to 4*. -X- 

A very interesting historical volume, and written in a pleasing and popular manner. 

A Hand-Book of English Coins from the Conquest to 

Victoria. By L. JEWITT. 12mo, 11 plates, cloth, Is. -X- 

Numismatic Chronicle and Proceedings of the Numis- 
matic society, 5 vols, and 3 Nos. to Oct. 1843; a subscriber's copy, many plates, cloth, 
21. 12s. 6d. (pub. at 31. 17*.) 

Literary History, Criticism, and Bibliography. 

ECTURES on Dramatic Art and Lite- 
from the German by JOHN BLACK, Esq., Editor of the 'Morning 
Chronicle.' 2 vols, foolscap 8vo. Skcond Edition, cloth, 12s. ■%■ 
" The present work contains a critical and historical account of 
the ancient and modern drama — the Greek, Latin, Italian, German, 
. Spanish, and English. The view which the author has taken of the 
standard productions, whether tragic or comic, is ingenious and just, 
and his reasonings on the principles of taste are as satisfactory as they are profound. 
The acute and sensible remarks— the high tone of morality— are very admirable and 
exemplary ; and we refer those who desire to elevate their understandings to a guide 
so learned and philosophical as the author of these volumes."— Edinb. Rev. 
•♦ In a few pages we reap the fruit of the labour of a whole life. Every opinion formed by 
the author, every epithet given to the writers of whom he speaks is beautiful and 
just, concise and animated."— Mad. de Stael's Germany. 
" A work of extraordinary merit."— Quarterly Review, Vol. XII. pp. 112-46. 

Who was Jack Wilson the Singer of Shakespeare's 

Stage? An attempt, to prove the identity of this person with John Wilson, Dr. of 
Music in the University of Oxford, a. d. 1644. By E. F. RIMBAULT, L.L.D., 
F.S.A. 8vo, sewed, Is. * 

On the Character of Falstaff, as originally exhibited by 

Shakespeare in the two parts of King Henry IV. By J. O. HALLIWELL. 12mo, 
cloth, (only 100 printed,) 2s. 

An Introduction to Shakespeare's Midsummer Nights' 

Dream. By J. O. HALLIWELL. 8 vo, cloth (only 250 printed), 3s. 

First Sketch of Shakespeare's Merrie Wives of 

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An Account of the only known Manuscript of Shake- 
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O. HALLIWELL. 8vo, sewed, Is. ^ 

Shakesperiana, a Catalogue of the Early Editions of Shake- 

speare'sPlays, and of the Commentaries and other Publications illustrative of his Works. 
By J. O. HALLIWELL. 8vo, cloth, 3s. ^ 

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" It ought to be placed by the side of every edition. It is the most concise, yet the most 
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Oberon's Vision in the Midsummer Nights' Dream, 

Illustrated by a comparison with LYLIE'S Endymion. By the Rev. J. HALPIN, 8vo, 
cloth, 4s. 6d. bds. (Shakespeare Soc.) 

The Shakespeare Society's Papers, being a Miscellany 

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Report Extraordinary of a late Meeting of the Society 

of Antiquaries, in a Letter to " PUNCH," occasioned by a remarkable Omission in that 
Gentleman's Account of the Metropolis. Post 8vo, 6d. y. 

English Monastic Libraries. 1. Catalogue of the Library 

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ligious Houses. By the Rev. JOSEPH HUNTER, F.S.A. 4to, very few printed, 5s. 

Catalogue of the Original Library of St. Catherine's 

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4tO. {Camb. Antiq. Soc.) % 

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By J. O. HALLIWELL. 8vo, boards, 6s. % 

A companion to Hartshorne's " Book Rarities" of the same University. 

Catalogue of the Contents of the Codex Holbrookianus. 

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Catalogue of the Miscellaneous Manuscripts preserved 

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A Few Hints to Novices in Manuscript Literature 

By J. O. HALLIWELL. 8vo, Is. # 

An Account of the European Manuscripts intheChetham 

Library, Manchester. By J. O. HALLIWELL. 12mo, Is. -£ 

Bibliotheca Scoto-Celtica ; or, an Account of all the 

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Biography, Diaries, Correspondence, and 
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E'NGLAND'S WORTHIES, under whom all the Civil 
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Poyntz, Sir Thos. Middleton, Gen. Brown, and Gen. Mitton. 

Autobiography of Joseph Lister, of Bradford, in Yorkshire, 

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Leeds by the Parliamentarians in 1642. Edited by THOMAS WRIGHT. 8vo, only 

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Love Letters of Mrs. PlOZZl, written when she was Eighty, 

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" written at three, four, and five o'clock (in the morning) by an Octogenary pen, a 

heart (as Mrs. Lee says) twenty-six years old, and as H. L. P. feels it to be, all your 
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« ' This is one of the most extraordinary collections of love epistles we have ever chanced 
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letters themselves it is not easy to characterize; nor shall we venture to decide whether 
they more bespeak the drivelling of dotage or the folly of love; in either case they 
present human nature to us under a new aspect, and furnish one of those riddles which 
nothing yet dreamt of in our philosophy can satisfactorily solve." — Polytechnic Rev. 

Collection of Letters on Scientific Subjects, illustrative 

of the Progress of Science in England temp. Elizabeth to Charles II. Edited by J. O. 

HALLIWELL. 8vo, cloth, 3s. [Historical Society of Science.) 

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a MS. in Lambeth Palace, Nat. Tarpoley's Corrector Analyticus, &c. &c. 

Letters of James, Earl of Perth, to his Sister, the 

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Plumpton Correspondence ; a Series of Letters written in 

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Memoir of John Aubrey the Antiquary, embracing his 

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Diary of Dr. Thomas Cartwright, Bishop of Chester, 

Aug. 1686 to Oct. 1687, now first printed. Edited by the Rev. JOSEPH HUNTER. 
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Cartwright was one of James the Second's creatures for the purpose of furthering Popery 
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Private Diary of Dr. John Dee, and the Catalogue of his 

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Autobiography of Sir John Bramston, k.b. of Screens, 

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Memoirs of Edward Alleyn, Founder of Dulwich College, 

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Alleyn Papers ; a Collection of Original Documents illustrative 

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The Diary and Account Book of Philip Henslowe the 

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Notes on Ben Jonson's Conversations with William 

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Original Letters of Eminent Literary Men of the 

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Account of the Life, Writings, and Inventions of Sir 

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Account of the Rites and Ceremonies which took place 

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Rutland Papers. Documents relating to the Coronation of 

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Extracts from the Accounts of the Revels at Court, 

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Correspondence of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, 

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A Collection of Original Letters relating to the Dis- 

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Verney Papers. Notes of Proceedings in the Long Parliament, 

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A Plain and Familiar Explication of Christ's Presence 

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SCIENCE of Archery, showing its Affinity to Heraldry, 
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Elements of Naval Architecture, being a Translation 

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Arrian's Voyage round the Euxine Sea, translated and 

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The Appendix contains — I. On the trade to the East Indies by means of the Euxine Sea, 

II. On the distance which the ships of antiquity usually sailed in twenty-four hours. III. 

On the measure of the Olympic Stadium. 

Historical and Descriptive Account of Genoa; with Re- 
marks on the Climate, and its Influence upon Invalids. By HENRY JONES BUN- 
NETT, M.D. 12mo, cloth, 4s. #- 

Colleccion de Orbas y Documentos relativos a la His- 

toria Antiqua y Moderna de las Provincias del Rio de la Plata, illustrados con notas y 
disertaciones. Por PEDRO DE ANGEL1S. 6 vols, folio, sewed. 61. 6s. 

Buenos Aires, 1836-37. 
The most valuable and important collection of documents that has yet appeared relative 
to this part of the New World; they were printed at the expense of the Argentine 
Republic, and not for sale. Through the kindness of the editor, J. R. Smith has 
been allowed to import a few copies for the purpose of being placed in some of the 
public libraries in England and on the Continent, or in those who take an interest 
in the early history and geography of the middle part of South America. 

J. R. S. begt to call the attention of Book-buyers to his " OLD BOOK CATALOGUE," wliich 
is published every few weeks, offering a constant variety of Valuable and Cheap Books. 

J. R. S. will be happy to publish on Commission, any Historical, Antiquarian, or Topographical 
work, and will give it all possible publicity through the medium of his Catalogues, S(C. 
without cost to the Proprietor. 



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