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London: J. M. DENT & SONS, Ltd. 
New York: E. P. DUTTON & CO. 











JUL 2 3 1990 



First Issue of this Edition . 1906 
Reprinted . • • • ^9^° 


First published in 1765, Percy's " Reliques " brought a fresh 
romantic impulse to the eighteenth century — an impulse which 
went on growing until, about 1782, it reached Sir Walter Scott, 
then a school-boy, and helped to determine his whole literary 
career. " The first time,'' he says in his Autobiography, " I could 
scrape a few shillings together, I bought unto myself a copy of 
these beloved volumes ; nor do I believe I ever read a book half 
so frequently or with half the enthusiasm." This alone would be 
a reason, were one to seek, for maintaining the book among our 
secondary British classics. Thomas Percy, who became event- 
ually Bishop of Dromore, was born, a grocer's son, at Bridgnorth, 
Shropshire, April 13, 1729. His name as originally spelt sug- 
gests a derivative from the Welsh and Border Pierce's ; but he 
was willing to remember that a grocer's son might be descended 
from an earl ; and he did his best to establish his connection 
with the great Northumberland Percys. He became, indeed, 
chaplain to the Duke of Northumberland, and then to the King ; 
before he was preferred to the deanery of Carlisle. His next 
step was to Dromore. It seems to have been Macpherson's 
Ossian, published in 1762-3, which gave Percy his idea of the 
" Reliques," as a consequence of the discovery of an old folio at 
Shifnall in Shropshire. (See edition of this folio Manuscript, 
edited by Prof. J. W. Hales and Dr. Furnivall in 1867 and 
1868 : which contains also a Life of Percy by the Rev. J. Pick- 
ford.) In producing his " Reliques," Percy found many willing 
contributors and helpers among his poetic contemporaries ; and 
he met with some hard knocks from his critics, especially from 
Dr. Johnson, who was unfair, and Ritson, who was rancorous. It 
may be said that his very faults as a scientific editor helped to 
give life to his book, and to enrich its romantic atmosphere- 
Percy is said to have been a good bishop, faithful, earnest and 


viii Editor's Note 

extremely kind-hearted. He died in 1811. A list of his 
published works follows : — 

Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, consisting of Old Heroic Ballads, 
Songs, and other Pieces of our Earlier Poets (chiefly of the Lyric kind), 
together with some few of the later date, 3 vols., Dodsley, 1765; Dublin, 
1766; second edition, 3 vols., Dodsley, 1767; third edition, 3 vols., 
1775 ; an edition appeared in London and Frankfort, omitting the dedi- 
cation and Bishop Percy's name, 1790-91 ; fourth edition, edited by 
Thomas Percy, 3 vols., 1794; Frankfort, 1803 ; fifth edition, 3 vols., 
1812, 1830, 1844, 1857; 1839; Ed. R. A. Willmot, illustrated by E. 
Corbould, Routledge, 1857, 1878 ; Ed. G. GilfiUan, with Memoir and 
Critical Dissertation, 3 vols., 1858, with edition of text by C. Cowden 
Clarke, Cassel, 1877; Tauchnitz Edition, 1866; Ed. H. B. Wheatley, 
3 vols., 1876, 1891 ; Ed. J. V. Prichard, 2 vols., Bohn, 1876 ; Ed. E. 
Walford with Glossary and Life (Lansdowne Poets), 1880; Ed. R. A. 
Willmot, 1893. 

There is also A Reprint of the original folio MS. Edited by J. W. 
Hales and F. J. Fumivall, assisted by Professor Child and others, with 
a Life by J. Pickford, 3 vols., 1867, 1868. 

There are editions of Selections, and in 1883 "The Soy's Percy" 
was edited by S. Lanier. 


























1. Essay on the ancient Minstrels of England 

2, Notes and Illustrations 




1. The ancient Ballad of Chevy Chace 

2. The Battle of Otterbourne .... 
Illustration of the Names in the foregoing Ballads 

3. The Jew's Daughter. A Scottish Ballad 

4. Sir Cauline ...... 

5. Edward, Edward. A Scottish Ballad 

6. King Estmere ...... 

On the word Termagant .... 

7. Sir Patrick Spence. A Scottish Ballad 

8. Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne 

9. An Elegy on Henry, fourth Earl of Northumbi 


ID. The Tower of Doctrine. By Stephen Hawes 

11. The Child of EUe 

12. Edom [Adam] o' Gordon. A Scottish Ballad 









[Containing Ballads that illustrate Shakspeare.] 

Essay on the Origin of the English Stage 

1. Adam Bel!, Clym o' the Clough, and William of Cloudesly 

2. The aged Lover renounceth Love 

3. Jephthah Judge of Israel 

4. A Robyn Jolly Robyn . 

5. A Song to the Lute in Musickc . 

6. King Cophetua and the Beggar- Maid 

7. Take thy auld Cloak about thee . 

8. Willow, Willow, Willow . 

9. Sir Lancelot du Lake . 
10. Corydon's Farewell to Phillis 

The Ballad of constant Susannah 


I So 




11. Gernutus, the Jew ofVenice .... 

12. The passionate Shepherd to his Love. By Marlow 
The Nymph's Reply. By Sir W. Raleigh 
Titus Andronicus's Complaint 
Take those Lips away .... 
King Leir and his Three Daughters 
Youth and Age. By Shakspeare 
The FroHcksome Duke, or the Tinker's good Fortune 
The Friar of Orders gray 







1. The more modern Ballad of Chevy-Chase .... 227 
Illustration of the Northern Names 237 

2. Death's final Conquest. By James Shirley .... 238 

3. The Rising in the North 239 

4. Northumberland betrayed by Douglas 245 

5. My Mind to me a Kingdom is 252 

6. The Patient Countess. By W. Warner .... 254 

7. Dowsabell. By Drayton 260 

8. The Farewell to Love, from Beaumont and Fletcher . . 264 

9. Ulysses and the Syren. By S. Daniel ..... 264 

10. Cupid's Pastime. By Davison ...... 266 

11. The Character of a happy Life. By Sir H. Wotton . . 268 

12. Gilderoy. A Scottish Ballad 269 

13. Winifreda 272 

14. The "Witch of Wokey 273 

15. Bryan and Pereene. A West-Indian Ballad. By Dr. 

Grainger 275 

16. Gentle River, Gentle River. Translated from the Spanish . 278 

17. Alcanzor and Zayda. A Moorish Tale ..... 284 



1. Richard of Almaigne . 

2. On the Death of King Edward I. 

3. An original Ballad by Chaucer 

4. The Turnament of Tottenham 

5. For the Victory of Agincourt 

6. The Not-browne Mayd 

7. A Balet by the Earl Rivers . 

8. Cupid's Assault. By Lord Vaux . 

9. Sir Aldingar 
10. The Gaberlunzie man, Scottish. By King James V. 






11. On Thomas Lord Cromwell .... 

12. Harpalus. An ancient English Pastoral 

13. Robin and Makyne. An ancient Scottish Pastoral 

14. Gentle Herdsman, tell to me .... 

15. King Edward IV. and the Tanner of Tamworth . 

16. As ye came from the Holy Land .... 

17. Hardyknute. A Scottish Fragment. By Sir J. Bruce 








Twenty years have nearly elapsed since the last edition of 
this work appeared. But, although it was sufficiently a favourite 
with the public, and had long been out of print, the original 
Editor had no desire to revive it. More important pursuits had, 
as might be expected, engaged his attention ; and the present 
edition would have remained unpublished, had he not yielded to 
the importunity of his friends, and accepted the humble offer of 
an Editor in a Nephew, to whom, it is feared, he will be found 
too partial. 

These volumes are now restored to the public with such 
corrections and improvements as have occurred since the former 
impression ; and the Text in particular hath been emended in 
many passages by recurring to the old copies. The instances 
being frequently trivial, are not always noted in the margin ; 
but the alteration hath never been made without good reason : 
and especially in such pieces as were extracted from the folio 
Manuscript so often mentioned in the following pages, where 
any variation occurs from the former impression, it will be 
understood to have been given on the authority of that 

The appeal publicly made to Dr. Johnson in the first page of 
the following Preface, so long since as the year 1765, and never 
once contradicted by him during so large a portion of his life, 
ought to have precluded every doubt concerning the existence 
of the Manuscript in question. But such, it seems, having been 
suggested, it may now be mentioned, that while this edition 
passed through his press, the Manuscript itself was left for 
nearly a year with Mr. NichoUs, in whose house, or in that of 
its possessor, it was examined with more or less attention by 
many gentlemen of eminence in literature. At the first publica- 
tion of these volumes, it had been in the hands of all, or most of 
his friends ; but, as it could hardly be expected thai he should 
continue to think of nothing else but these amusements of his 
youth, it was afterwards laid aside at his residence in the 
country. Of the many gentlemen above mentioned, who offered 
VOL. I. B 

2 Advertisement 

to give their testimony to the public, it will be sufficient to name 
the Honourable Daines Barrington, the Reverend Clayton 
Mordaunt Cracherode, and those eminent critics on Shakspeare, 
the Reverend Dr. Farmer, George Stevens, Esq. Edmund 
Malone, Esq. and Isaac Reed, Esq. to whom I beg leave to 
appeal for the truth of the following representation : 

The Manuscript is a long narrow folio volume, containing one 
hundred and ninety-five Sonnets, Ballads, Historical Songs, and 
Metrical Romances, either in the whole or in part, for many of 
them are extremely mutilated and imperfect. The first and last 
leaves are wanting ; and of fifty-four pages nearly the beginning 
half of every leaf hath been torn away, and several others are 
injured towards the end ; besides that through a great part of 
the volume the top or bottom line, and sometimes both, have 
been cut off in the binding. 

In this state is the Manuscript itself : and even where the 
leaves have suffered no injury, the transcripts, which seem to 
have been all made by one person (they are at least all in the 
same kind of hand), are sometimes extremely incorrect and 
faulty, being in such instances probably made from defective 
copies, or the imperfect recitation of illiterate singers ; so that 
a considerable portion of the song or narrative is sometimes 
omitted ; and miserable trash or nonsense not unfrequently 
introduced into pieces of considerable merit. And often the 
copyist grew so weary of his labour as to write on without the 
least attention to the sense or meaning ; so that the word which 
should form the rhyme is found misplaced in the middle of the 
line ; and we have such blunders as these, " want and will " for 
" wanton will " ; ^ even " pan and wale " for " wan and pale," ^ 
&c. &.C. 

Hence the Public may judge how much they are indebted to 
the composer of this collection ; who, at an early period of life, 
with such materials and such subjects, formed a work which 
hath been admitted into the most elegant libraries ; and with 
which the judicious antiquary hath just reason to be satisfied, 
while refined entertainment hath been provided for every reader 
of taste and genius. 


Fellow of St. John's College, Oxford. 

1 Page 130, ver. 117. This must have been copied from a reciter. 

2 Page 139, ver. 164. viz. 

" His visage waxed pan and wale." 


The reader is here presented with select remains of our ancient 
English bards and minstrels, an order of men who were once 
greatly respected by our ancestors, and contributed to soften the 
roughness of a martial and unlettered people by their songs and 
by their music. 

The greater part of them are extracted from an ancient folio 
manuscript, in the Editor's possession, which contains near 200 
poems, songs, and metrical romances. This manuscript was 
written about the middle of the last century ; but contains com- 
positions of all times and dates, from the ages prior to Chaucer, 
to the conclusion of the reign of Charles I.^ 

This manuscript was shown to several learned and ingenious 
friends, who thought the contents too curious to be consigned to 
oblivion, and importuned the possessor to select some of them, 
and give them to the press. As most of them are of great 
simplicity, and seem to have been merely written for the people, 
he was long in doubt, whether, in the present state of improved 
literature, they could be deemed worthy the attention of the 
public. At length the importunity of his friends prevailed, and 
he could refuse nothing to such judges as the author of the 
"Rambler" and the late Mr. Shenstone. 

Accordingly such specimens of ancient poetry have been 
selected, as either show the gradation of our language, exhibit 
the progress of popular opinions, display the peculiar manners 
and customs of former ages, or throw light on our earlier classi- 
cal poets. 

They are here distributed into three distinct Series, each of 
which contains an independent chain of poems, arranged chiefly 
according to the order of time, and showing the gradual im- 
provements of the English language and poetry from the earliest 
ages down to the present. Each Series is divided into Three 
Books, to afford so many pauses, or resting-places to the reader, 
and to assist him in distinguishing between the productions of 
the earlier, the middle, and the latter time. 

1 Chaucer quotes the old Romance of " Libius Disconius," and some others, which 
are found in this manuscript. (See the Essay in vol. ii. page 175 et seqq.) It also 
contains several Songs relating to the Civil War in the last century, but not one that 
.alludes to the Restoration. 

4 Preface 

In a polished age, like the present, I am sensible that many 
of these relics of antiquity will require great allowance to be 
made for them. Yet have they, for the most part, a pleasing 
simplicity, and many artless graces, which in the opinion of no 
mean critics ^ have been thought to compensate for the want of 
higher beauties, and, if they do not dazzle the imagination, are 
frequently found to interest the heart. 

To atone for the rudeness of the more obsolete poems, each 
Series concludes with a few modern attempts in the same kind 
of writing : and, to take ofif from the tediousness of the longer 
narratives, they are every where intermingled with little elegant 
pieces of the lyric kind. Select ballads in the old Scottish 
dialect, most of them of the first rate merit, are also interspersed 
among those of our ancient English minstrels ; and the artless 
productions of these old rhapsodists are occasionally confronted 
with specimens of the composition of contemporary poets of a 
higher class ; of those who had all the advantages of learning in 
the times in which they lived, and who wrote for fame and for 
posterity. Yet perhaps the palm will be frequently due to the 
old strolling minstrels, who composed their rhymes to be sung 
to their harps, and who looked no farther than for present ap- 
plause, and present subsistence. 

The reader will find this class of men occasionally described 
in the following volumes, and some particulars relating to their 
history in an Essay subjoined to this preface. 

It will be proper here to give a short account of the other 
collections that were consulted, and to make my acknowledg- 
ments to those gentlemen who were so kind as to impart extracts 
from them ; for, while this selection was making, a great num- 
ber of ingenious friends took a share in the work, and explored 
many large repositories in its favour. 

The first of these that deserved notice was the Pepysian 
Library at Magdalen College, Cambridge. Its founder, Sam. 
Pepys,^ Esq., Secretary of the Admiralty in the reigns of Charles 
II. and James II., had made a large collection of ancient English 
ballads, near 2000 in number, which he has left pasted in five 
volumes folio ; besides Garlands and other smaller miscellanies. 
This collection, he tells us, was "begun by Mr. Selden ; im- 

1 Mr. Addison, Mr. Dryden, the witty Lord Dorset, &c. See thie Spectator, No. 
70. To these might be added many eminent judges now alive. The learned Selden 
appears also to have been fond of collecting these old things. See below. 

■•^ A Life of our curious collector, Mr. Pepys, may be seen in " The Continuation of 
Mr. Collier's Supplement to his Great Dictionary, 1715, at the end of vol. iii. folio 
Art. PEP." 

Preface 5 

proved by the addition of many pieces elder thereto in time ; 
and the whole continued down to the year 1700 ; when the form 
peculiar till then thereto, viz. of the black-letter with pictures, 
seems (for cheapness sake) wholly laid aside for that of the 
white-letter without pictures." 

In the Ashmole Library at Oxford is a small Collection of 
Ballads made by Anthony Wood in the year 1676, containing 
somewhat more than 200. Many ancient popular poems are 
also preserved in the Bodleian Library. 

The archives of the Antiquarian Society at London contain a 
multitude of curious political poems in large folio volumes, 
digested under the several reigns of Henry VI I L Edward VI. 
Mary, Elizabeth, James I. &c. 

In the British Museum is preserved a large treasure of ancient 
English poems in manuscript, besides one folio volume of 
printed ballads. 

From all these, some of the best pieces were selected ; and 
from many private collections, as well printed as manuscript, 
particularly from one large folio volume which was lent by a lady. 

Amid such a fund of materials, the Editor is afraid he has 
been sometimes led to make too great a parade of his authorities. 
The desire of being accurate has perhaps seduced him into 
too minute and trifling an exactness ; and in pursuit of informa- 
tion he may have been drawn into many a petty and frivolous 
research. It was however necessary to give some account of the 
old copies ; though often, for the sake of brevity, one or two of 
these only are mentioned, where yet assistance was received 
from several. Where any thing was altered that deserved par- 
ticular notice, the passage is generally distinguished by two 
inverted ' commas.' And the Editor has endeavoured to be as 
faithful as the imperfect state of his materials would admit. For, 
these old popular rhymes being many of them copied only from 
illiterate transcripts, or the imperfect recitation of itinerant 
ballad-singers, have, as might be expected, been handed down 
to us with less care than any other writings in the world. And 
the old copies, whether manuscript or printed, were often so 
defective or corrupted, that a scrupulous adherence to their 
wretched readings would only have exhibited unintelligible non- 
sense, or such poor meagre stuff as neither came from the Bard 
nor was worthy the press : when, by a few slight corrections or 
additions, a most beautiful or interesting sense hath started forth, 
and this so naturally and easily, that the Editor could seldom 

6 Preface 

prevail on himself to indulge the vanity of making a formal claim 
to the improvement : but must plead guilty to the charge of con- 
cealing his own share in the amendments under some such 
general title as a " Modern Copy," or the like. Yet it has been 
his design to give sufficient intimation where any considerable 
liberties ^ were taken with the old copies, and to have retained 
either in the text or margin any word or phrase which was 
antique, obsolete, unusual, or peculiar, so that these might be 
safely quoted as of genuine and undoubted antiquity. His object 
was to please both the judicious antiquary and the reader of 
taste ; and he hath endeavoured to gratify both without offend- 
ing either. 

The plan of the work was settled in concert with the late 
elegant Mr. Shenstone, who was to have borne a joint share in 
it had not death unhappily prevented him.^ Most of the 
modern pieces were of his selection and arrangement, and the 
Editor hopes to be pardoned if he has retained some things out 
of partiality to the judgment of his friend. The old folio MS. 
above mentioned was a present from Humphrey Pitt, Esq. of 
Prior's Lee, in Shropshire,^ to whom this public acknowledg- 
ment is due for that, and many other obliging favours. To Sir 
David Dalrymple, Bart, of Hailes, near Edinburgh, the Editor 
is indebted for most of the beautiful Scottish poems with which 
this little miscellany is enriched, and for many curious and ele- 
gant remarks with which they are illustrated. Some obliging 
communications of the same kind were received from John Mac 
Gowan, Esq. of Edinburgh ; and many curious explanations of 
Scottish words in the glossaries from John Davidson, Esq. of 
Edinburgh, and from the Rev. Mr. Hutchinson, of Kimbolton. 
Mr. Warton, who has twice done so much honour to the Poetry 
Professor's chair at Oxford, and Mr. Rest of Worcester Col- 
lege, contributed some curious pieces from the Oxford libraries. 

1 Such liberties have been taken with all those pieces which have three asterisks 
subjoined, thus *»*. 

- That the Editor hath not here underrated the assistance he received from his 
friend, will appear from Mr. Shenstone's own letter to the Rev. Mr. Graves, dated 
March i, 1761. See his Works, vol. iii. letter ciii. It is doubtless a great loss to this 
work, that Mr. Shenstone never saw more than about a third of one of these volumes, 
as prepared for the press. 

S Who informed the Editor that this MS. had been purchased in a library of old 
books, which was thought to have belonged to Thomas Blount, author of the "Jocular 
Tenures," 3670, 4to. and of many other publications enumerated in Wood's Athens, 
ii. 73 ; the earliest of which is " The Art of making Devises," 1646, 4to. wherein he is 
described to be " of the Inner Temple." If the collection was made by this lawyer, 
(who also published the "' Law Dictionary," 1671, folio,) it would seem, from the 
errors and defects with which the MS. abounds, that he had employed his clerk in 
writing the transcripts, who was often weary of his task. 

Preface 7 

Two ingenious and learned friends at Cambridge deserve the 
Editor's warmest acknowledgments : to Mr. Blakeway, late 
fellow of Magdalen College, he owes all the assistance received 
from the Pepysian library ; and Mr. Farmer, fellow of Emanuel, 
often exerted, in favour of this little work, that extensive 
knowledge of ancient English literature for which he is so dis- 
tinguished.^ Many extracts from ancient MSS. in the British 
Museum, and other repositories, were owing to the kind services 
of Thomas Astle, Esq. to whom the public is indebted for the 
curious Preface and Index annexed to the Harleian Catalogue.^ 
The worthy Librarian of the Society of Antiquaries, Mr. Norris, 
deserves acknowledgment for the obliging manner in which he 
gave the Editor access to the volumes under his care. In Mr. 
Garrick's curious collection of old plays are many scarce pieces 
of ancient poetry, with the free use of which he indulged the 
Editor in the politest manner. To the Rev. Dr. Birch he is 
indebted for the use of several ancient and valuable tracts. To 
the friendship of Dr. Samuel Johnson he ov/es many valuable 
hints for the conduct of the work. And, if the Glossaries are 
more exact and curious than might be expected in so slight a 
publication, it is to be ascribed to the supervisal of a friend, 
who stands at this time the first in the world for Northern lite- 
rature, and whose learning is better known and respected in 
foreign nations than in his own country. It is perhaps needless 
to name the Rev. Mr. Lye, Editor of Junius's Etymologicum, 
and of the Gothic Gospels. 

1 To the same learned and ingenious friend, since Master of Emanuel College, the 
Editor is obliged for many corrections and improvements in his second and sub- 
sequent Editions ; as also to the Rev. Mr. Bowie, of Idmistone, near Salisbury, 
Editor of the curious edition of Don Quixote, with Annotations, in Spanish, in 6 
vols. 4to. ; to the Rev. Mr. Cole, formerly of Blecheley, near Fenny Stratford, Bucks ; 
to the Rev. Mr. Lambe, of Noreham, in Northumberland (author of a learned 
"History of Chess," 1764, 8vo. and Editor of a curious "Poem on the Battle of 
Flodden Field," with learned Notes, 1774, 8vo.) ; and to G. Paton, Esq. of Edin- 
burgh. He is particularly indebted to two friends, to whom the public, as well as 
himself, are under the greatest obligations ; to the Honourable Daines Barrington, 
for his very learned and curious "Observations on the Statutes," 410.; and to Thomas 
TjTwhitt, Esq. whose most correct and elegant edition of Chaucer's " Canterbury 
Tales," 5 vols. 8vo. is a standard book, and shows how an ancient English classic 
should be published. The Editor was also favoured with many valuable remarks and 
corrections from the Rev. George Ashby, late fellow of St. John's College, in Cam- 
bridge, which are not particularly pointed out because they occur so often. He was 
no less obliged to Thomas Butler, Esq. F.A.S. agent to the Duke of Northumberland, 
and Clerk of the Peace for the county of Middlesex ; whose extensive knowledge of 
ancient writings, records, and history, has been of great use to the Editor in his 
attempts to illustrate the literature or manners of our ancestors. Some valuable 
remarks were procured by Samuel Pegge, Esq. author of that curious work the 
"Curialia," 410. ; but this impression was too far advanced to profit by them all ; 
which hath also been the case with a series of learned and ingenious annotations 
inserted in the Gentleman's Magazine for August, 1793, April, June, July, and 
October, 1794, and which, it is hoped, will be continued. 

2 Since Keeper of the Records in the Tower. 

8 Preface 

The names of so many men of learning and character, the 
Editor hopes, will serve as an amulet, to guard him from every 
unfavourable censure for having bestowed any attention on a 
parcel of Old Ballads. It was at the request of many of these 
gentlemen, and of others eminent for their genius and taste, 
that this little work was undertaken. To prepare it for the 
press has been the amusement of now and then a vacant hour 
amid the leisure and retirement of rural life, and hath only 
served as a relaxation from graver studies. It has been taken 
up at different times, and often thrown aside for many months, 
during an inter\-al of four or five years. This has occasioned 
some inconsistencies and repetitions, which the candid reader 
will pardon. As great care has been taken to admit nothing 
immoral and indecent, the Editor hopes he need not be ashamed 
of having bestowed some of his idle hours on the ancient 
literature of our own country, or in rescuing from oblivion some 
pieces (though but the amusements of our ancestors) which 
tend to place in a striking light their taste, genius, sentiments, 
or manners. 

\* Except in one Paragraph, and in the Notes subjoined, 
lis Preface 

this Preface is given with little variation from the first edition 




I, The Minstrels (a) were an order of men in the middle ages, who 
subsisted by the arts of poetry and music, and sang to the harp verses 
composed by themselves, or others. i They also appear to have accom- 
panied their songs with mimicry and action ; and to have practised such 
various means of diverting as were much admired in those rude times, 
and supplied the want of more refined entertainment (b). These arts 
rendered them extremely popular and acceptable in this and all the 
neighbouring countries ; where no high scene of festivity was esteemed 
complete, that was not set off with the exercise of their talents ; and 
where, so long as the spirit of chivalry subsisted, they were protected 
and caressed, because their songs tended to do honour to the ruling 
passion of the times, and to encourage and foment a martial spirit. 

The Minstrels seem to have been the genuine successors of the ancient 
Bards (c), who under different names were admired and revered, from 
the earliest ages, among the people of Gaul, Britain, Ireland, and the 
North ; and indeed by almost all the first inhabitants of Europe, 
whether of Celtic or Gothic race ;^ but by none more than by our own 
Teutonic ancestors,^ particularly by all the Danish tribes.^ Among 
these they were distinguished by the name of Scalds, a word which 
denotes " Smoothers and Polishers of language."^ The origin of their 
art was attributed to Odin or Woden, the father of their Gods ; and the 
professors of it were held in the highest estimation. Their skill was 
considered as something divine ; their persons were deemed sacred ; 
their attendance was solicited by kings : and thej' were every where 
loaded with honours and rewards. In short, Poets and their art were 
held among them in that rude admiration, which is ever shown by an 
ignorant people to such as excel them in intellectual accomplishments. 
As these honours were paid to poetry and Song, from the earliest 
times, in those countries which our Anglo-Saxon ancestors inhabited 
before their removal into Britain, we may reasonably conclude, that 

(a) The larger Notes and Illustrations referred to by the letters (a) (b) &c. are 
thrown together to the end of this Essay. 

1 Wedded to no hypothesis, the Author hath readily corrected any mistakes which 
have been proved to be in this Essay ; and considering the novelty of the subject, and 
the time, and place, when and where he first took it up, many such had been 
excusable. That the term Minstrel was not confined, as some contend, to a mere 
Musician, in this country, any more than on the Continent, will be considered more 
fully in the last Note (g g) at the end of this Essay. 

2 Vid. Pelloutier Hist, des Celtes, torn. i. 1. 2. c. 6. 10. 

3 Tacit, de Mor. Germ. cap. 2. 

4 Vid. Bartholin, de Causis contemptaa a Danis Mortis, lib. i. cap. 10. Wormij 
Literatura Runic, ad finem. See also " Northern Antiquities, or, A Description of 
the Manners, Customs, &c. of the ancient Danes and other Northern Nations ; from 
the French of M. Mallet." London, printed for T. Carnan, 1770, z vol. 8vo. 

6 Torfaei Praefat. ad Oread. Hist. Pref. to " Five Pieces of Runic Poetry," Sec. 

lo The Percy Reliques 

they would not lay aside all their regard for men of this sort immediately 
on quitting their German forests. At least so long as they retained 
their ancient manners and opinions, they would still hold them in high 
estimation. But as the Saxons, soon after their establishment in this 
island, were converted to Christianity ; in proportion as literature 
prevailed among them this rude admiration would begin to abate ; and 
Poetry would be no longer a peculiar profession. Thus the Poet and 
the Minstrel early with us became two persons (d). Poetry was 
cultivated by men of letters indiscriminately ; and many of the most 
popular rhymes were composed amidst the leisure and retirement of 
monasteries. But the Minstrels continued a distinct order of men for 
many ages after the Norman Conquest ; and got their livelihood by sing- 
ing verses to the harp at the houses of the great (e). There they were 
still liospitably and respectfully received, and retained many of the 
honours shown to their predecessors the Bards and Scalds (f). And 
though, as their art declined, many of them only recited the compositions 
of others, some of them still composed songs themselves, and all of them 
could probably invent a few stanzas on occasion. I have no doubt but 
most of the old heroic Ballads in this collection were composed by this 
order of men. For although some of the larger metrical Romances 
might come from the pen of the Monks or others, yet the smaller 
narratives were probably composed by the Minstrels, who sang them. 
From the amazing variations which occur in different copies of the old 
pieces, it is evident they made no scruple to alter each other's produc- 
tions ; and the reciter added or omitted whole stanzas, according to his 
own fancy or convenience. 

In the early ages, as was hinted above, the profession of oral itinerant 
Poet was held in the utmost reverence among all the Danish tribes ; and 
therefore we might have concluded, that it was not unknown or 
unrespected among their Saxon brethren in Britain, even if History 
had been altogether silent on this subject. The original country of our 
Anglo-Saxon ancestors is well known to have lien chiefly in the Cimbric 
Chersonese, in the tracts of land since distinguished by the name of 
Jutland, Angelen, and Holstein.^ The Jutes and Angles in particular, 
who composed two thirds of the conquerors of Britain, were a Danish 
people, and their country at this day belongs to the crown of Denmark ;^ 
so that when the Danes again infested England, three or four hundred 
years after, they made war on the descendants of their own ancestors.' 
From this near affinity we might expect to discover a strong resemblance 
between both nations in their customs, manners, and even language ; 
and, in fact, we find them to differ no more than would naturally happen 
between a parent country and its own colonies, that had been severed in 
a rude uncivilized state, and had dropt all intercourse for three or four 
centuries : especially if we reflect that the colony here settled had 
adopted a new religion, extremely opposite in all respects to the ancient 
Paganism of the mother-country ; and that even at first, along with the 
original Angli, had been incorporated a large mixture of Saxons from 
the neighbouring parts of Germany ; and afterwards, among the Danish 

1 Vid. Chronic. Saxon, k Gibson, p. 12, 13, 4to. Bed. Hist. Eccles. h. Smith, lib. i. 
c. 15. " E^ldsexe [Regio antiq. Saxonum] in cervice Cimbricae Chersonesi, Holsa- 
tiam proprie dictam, Dithm.-irsiam, Stormariam, et Wagriam, complectens." Annot. 
in Bed. a Smith, p. 52. Et vid. Camdeni Britan. 

2 " Anglia Vetus, hodie etiam Anglen, sita est inter Saxones et Giotes [Jutos], 
habens oppidum capitale . . . Sleswick." Ethelwerd. Ub. i. 

3 See Northern Antiquities, &c. vol. i. pag. 7, 8, 185, 259, 160, 261 

Essay on Ancient Minstrels ii 

invaders, had come vast multitudes of adventurers from the more 
northern parts of Scandinavia. But ail these were only different tribes 
of the same common Teutonic stock, and spoke only different dialects 
of the same Gothic language.^ 

From this sameness of original and similarity of manners we might 
justly have wondered, if a character, so dignified and distinguished 
among the ancient Danes as the Scald or Bard, had been totally 
unknown or unregarded in this sister nation. And indeed this argument 
is so strong, and, at the same time, the early annals of the Anglo- 
Saxons are so scanty and defective (g), that no objections from their 
silence could be sufficient to overthrow it. For if these popular Bards 
were confessedly revered and admired in those very countries which the 
Anglo-Saxons inhabited before their removal into Britain, and if they 
were afterwards common and numerous among the other descendants of 
the same Teutonic ancestors, can we do otherwise than conclude, that 
men of this order accompanied such tribes as migrated hither ; that they 
afterwards subsisted here, though perhaps with less splendour than in 
the North ; and that there never was wanting a succession of them to 
hand down the art, though some particular conjunctures may have 
rendered it more respectable at one time than another ? And this was 
evidently the case. For though much greater honours seem to have 
been heaped upon the northern Scalds, in whom the characters of his- 
torian, genealogist, poet, and musician, were all united, than appear to 
have been paid to the Minstrels and Harpers (h) of the Anglo-Saxons, 
whose talents were chiefly calculated to entertain and divert ; while the 
Scalds professed to inform and instruct, and were at once the moralists 
and theologues of their Pagan countrymen ; yet the Anglo-Saxon 
Minstrels continued to possess no small portion of public favour ; and 
the arts they professed were so extremely acceptable to our ancestors, 
that the word glee, which peculiarly denoted their art, continues still in 
our own language to be of all others the most expressive of that popular 
mirth and jollity, that strong sensation of delight, which is felt by 
unpolished and simple minds (i). 

II. Having premised these general considerations, I shall now proceed 
to collect from history such particular incidents as occur on this subject ; 
and, whether the facts themselves are true or not, they are related by 
authors who lived too near the Saxon times, and had before them too 
many recent monuments of the Anglo-Saxon nation, not to know what 
was conformable to the genius and manners of that people ; and there- 
fore we may presume, that their relations prove at least the existence of 
the customs and habits they attribute to our forefathers before the 
Conquest, whatever becomes of the particular incidents and events 
themselves. If this be admitted, we shall not want sufficient proofs to 
show that Minstrelsy and Song were not extinct among the Anglo- 
Saxons ; and that the profe-sor of them here, if not quite so respectable 
a personage as the Danish Scald, was yet highly favoured and protected, 
and continued still to enjoy considerable privileges. 

Even so early as the first invasion of Britain by the Saxons, an 
incident is recorded to have happened, which, if true, shows that the 
Minstrel or Bard was not unknown among this people ; and that their 
princes themselves could, upon occasion, assume that character. Col- 
grin, son of that Ella who was elected king or leader of the Saxons in 

1 See Northern Antiquities, &c. Preface, p. xxvL 

12 The Percy Reliques 

the room of Hengist,^ was shut up in York, and closely besieged by 
Arthur and his Britons. Baldulph, brother of Colgrin, wanted to gain 
access to him, and to apprize him of a reinforcement which was coming 
from Germany. He had no other way to accomplish his design, but to 
assume the character of a Minstrel. He therefore shaved his head and 
beard, and dressing himself in the habit of that profession, took his harp 
in his hand. In this disguise, he walked up and down the trenches 
without suspicion, playing all the while upon his instrument as a Harper. 
By little and little he advanced near to the walls of the city, and, mak- 
ing himself known to the sentinels, was in the night drawn up by a 

Although the above fact comes only from the suspicious pen of 
Geoffry of Monmouth (k) : the judicious reader will not too hastily 
reject it ; because, if such a fact really happened, it could only be known 
to us through the medium of the British writers : for the first Saxons, a 
martial but unlettered people, had no historians of their own ; and 
Geoffry, with all his fables, is allowed to have recorded many true events 
that have escaped other annalists. 

We do not, however, want instances of a less fabulous sera, and more 
indubitable authority ; for later History affords two remarkable facts 
(l), which I think clearly show that the same arts of poetry and song, 
which were so much admired among the Danes, were by no means un- 
known or neglected in this sister nation ; and that the privileges and 
honours which were so lavishly bestowed upon the Northern Scalds, 
■were not wholly withheld from the Anglo-Saxon Minstrels. 

Our great King Alfred, who is expressly said to have excelled in 
music,^ being desirous to learn the true situation of the Danish army, 
which had invaded his realm, assumed the dress and character of a 
Minstrel (m) ; when, taking his harp, and one of the most trusty of his 
friends disguised as a servant ^ (for in the early times it was not unusual 
for a Minstrel to have a servant to carry his harp), he went with the 
utmost security into the Danish camp ; and, though he could not but be 
known to be a Saxon by his dialect, the character he had assumed pro- 
cured him a hospitable reception. He was admitted to entertain the 
king at table, and staid among them long enough to contrive that 
assault which afterwards destroyed them. This was in the year 878. 

About sixty years after,* a Danish king made use of the same dis- 
guise to explore the camp of our king Athelstan. With his harp in his 
hand, and dressed like a Minstrel (n), Aulaff,' king of the Danes, 
went among the Saxon tents ; and, taking his stand near the king's 
pavilion, began to play, and was immediately admitted. There he en- 
tertained Athelstan and his lords with his singing and his music, and 
was at length dismissed with an honourable reward, though his songs 
must have discovered him to have been a Dane (o). Athelstan was 
saved from the consequences of this stratagem by a soldier, who had 
observed Aulaff bury the money which had been given him, either 

1 See Rapin's Hist, [by Tindal, fol. 1732, vol. i. p. 36.] who places the incident here 
related under the year 495. 

2 By Bale and Spelman. See note (m). 
8 Ibid. 

4 Anno 93S. Vid. Rapin, &c. 

6 So I think the name should be printed, rather than Anlaff the more usual form, 
(the same traces of the letters express both names in MS.) AulafT being evidently the 
genuine northern name Olaff, or Olave, Lat. Glaus. In the Old Romance of " Horn- 
Childe," the name of the king his father is Allof, which is evidently Ollaf, with tho 
vowels only transposed. 

Essay on Ancient Minstrels 13 

from some scruple of honour, or motive of superstition. This occa- 
sioned a discovery. 

Now if the Saxons had not been accustomed to have Minstrels of 
their own, Alfred's assuming so new and unusual a character would 
have excited suspicions among the Danes. On the other hand, if it 
had not been customary with the Saxons to show favour and respect to 
the Danish Scalds, Aulaff would not have ventured himself among 
them, especially on the eve of a battle (p). From the uniform proce- 
dure then of both these kings, we may fairly conclude that the same 
mode of entertainment prevailed among both people, and that the 
Minstrel was a privileged character with each. 

But, if these facts had never existed, it can be proved frotn undoubted 
records, that the Minstrel was a regular and stated officer in the court 
of our Anglo-Saxon kings; for in Doomesday book, Joculator Regis, 
the King's Minstrel, is expressly mentioned in Gloucestershire ; in 
which county it should seem that he had lands assigned him for his 
maintenance (q). 

III. We have now brought the inquiry down to the Norman Con- 
quest ; and as the Normans had been a late colony from Norway and 
Denmark, where the Scalds had arrived to the highest pitch of credit 
before Rollo's expedition into France, we cannot doubt but this adveri- 
turer, like the other northern princes, had many of these men in his 
train, who settled with him in his new duchy of Normandy, and left be- 
hind them successors in their art : so that, when his descendant, 
William the Bastard, invaded this kingdom in the following century,^ 
that mode of entertainment could not but be still familiar with the 
Normans. And that this is not mere conjecture will appear from a 
remarkable fact, which shows that the arts of Poetry and Song were 
still as reputable among the Normans in France, as they had been 
among their ancestors in the north ; and that the profession of Minstrel, 
like that of Scald, was still aspired to by the most gallant soldiers. In 
William's army was a valiant warrior, named Taillefer, who was distin- 
guished no less for the Minstrel Arts (r) than for his courage and intre- 
pidity. This man asked leave of his commander to begin the onset, 
and obtained it. He accordingly advanced before the army, and with 
a load voice animated his countrymen with songs in praise of Charle- 
magne and Roland, and other heroes of France ; then rushing among 
the thickest of the English, and valiantly fighting, lost his life. 

Indeed the Normans were so early distinguished for their minstrel- 
talents, that an eminent French writer (s) makes no scruple to refer to 
them the origin of all modern Poetry, and shows that they were cele- 
brated for their Songs near a century before the Troubadours of Pro- 
vence, who are supposed to have led the way to the Poets of Italy, 
France, and Spain. ^ 

We see then that the Norman Conquest was rather likely to favour 
the establishment of the Minstrel profession in this kingdom, than to 
suppress it : and although the favour of the Norman conquerors would 
be probably confined to such of their own countrymen as excelled in 
the Minstrel Arts ; and in the first ages after the Conquest no other 

1 Rollo was invested in his new duchy of Normandy a.d. 912. William invaded 
England A. D. 1066. _ „ . , ,, ^ , , ^ 

2 Vid. " Hist, des Troubadours," 3 torn, passim ; & vid. " Fableaux ou Contes du 
XII. & du XIII. Siecle, traduits, &c. avec des Notes historiques & critiques, &c. 
par M. Le Grand." Paris, 1781, 5 torn. i2mo. 

14 The Percy Reliques 

songs would be listened to by the great nobility, but such as were com- 
posed in their own Norman French ; yet as the great mass of the original 
inhabitants were not extirpated, these could only understand their own 
native Gleemen or Minstrels ; who must still be allowed to exist, unless 
it can be proved that they were all proscribed and massacred, as, it 
is said, the Welsh Bards were afterwards by the severe policy of king 
Edward I. But this we know was not the case ; and even the cruel 
attempts of that monarch, as we shall see below, proved ineffectual (s 2). 

The honours shown to the Norman or French Minstrels, by our 
princes and great barons, would naturally have been imitated by their 
English vassals and tenants, even if no favour or distinction had ever 
been shown here to the same order of men in the Anglo-Saxon and 
Danish reigns. So that we cannot doubt but the English Harper and 
Songster would, at least in a subordinate degree, enjoy the same kind of 
honours, and be received with similar respect among the inferior Eng- 
lish gentry and populace. I must be allowed therefore to consider 
them as belonging to the same community, as subordinate members at 
least of the same college ; and therefore, in gleaning the scanty 
materials for this slight history, I shall collect whatever incidents I can 
find relating to Minstrels and their art, and arrange them, as they occur 
in our own annals, without distinction ; as it will not always be easy to 
ascertain, from the slight mention of them by our regular historians, 
whether the artists were Norman or English. For it need not be re- 
marked that subjects of this trival nature are but incidentally mentioned 
by our ancient annalists, and were fastidiously rejected by other grave 
and serious writers ; so that, unless they were accidentally connected 
with such events as became recorded in history, they would pass un- 
noticed through the lapse of ages, and be as unknown to posterity as 
other topics relating to the private life and amusements of the greatest 

On this account it can hardly be expected that we should be able to 
produce regular and unbroken annals of the Minstiel Art and its pro- 
fessors, or have sufficient information whether every Minstrel or Harper 
composed himself, or only repeated, the songs he chanted. Some prob- 
ably did the one, and some the other : and it would have been wonder- 
ful indeed, if men whose peculiar profession it was, and who devoted 
their time and talents to entertain their hearers with poetical composi- 
tions, were peculiarly deprived of all poetical genius themselves, and 
had been under a pliysical incapacity of composing those common 
popular rhymes which were the usual subjects of their recitation. Who- 
ever examines any considerable quantity of these, finds them in style 
and colouring as different from the elaborate production of the sedentary 
comp iser at his desk or in his cell, as the rambling Harper or Minstrel 
was remote in his modes of life and habits of thinking from the retired 
scholar or the solitary monk (r). 

It is well known that on the Continent, whence our Norman nobles 
came, the Bard who composed, the Harper who played and sang, and 
even the Dancer and the Mimic, were all considered as of one com- 
munity, and were even all included under the common name of Min- 
strels,^ I must therefore be allowed the same application of the term 
here, without being expected to prove that every singer composed, or 
every composer chanted, his own song ; much less that eveiy one ex- 
celled in all the arts which were occasionally exercised by some or othef 
of this fraternity. 

1 See Note (b) and (a a). 

Essay on Ancient Minstrels 15 

IV. After the Norman Conquest, the first occurrence which I have 
met with relating to this order of men is the founding of a priory and 
hospital by one of them : soil, the priory and hospital of St. Bartholo- 
mew, in Smithfield, London, by Royer or Raherus the ICing's Min- 
strel, in the third year of King Henry I. A.D. 1102. He was the first 
prior of his own establishment, and presided over it, to the time of his 
death (t 2). 

In the reign of K. Henry II. we have upon record the name of 
Galfrid or Jeffrey, a Harper, who in 1180 received a corrody or annuity 
from the abbey of Hide, near Winchester : and as in the early times 
every Harper was expected to sing, we cannot doubt but this reward 
was given to him for his Music and his Songs ; which, if they were for 
the solace of the monks there, we may conclude would be in the Eng- 
lish language (u). 

Under his romantic son, K. Richard I. the Minstrel profession seems 
to have acquired additional splendour. Richard, who was the great 
hero of chivalry, was also the distinguished patron of Poets and Min- 
strels. He was himself of their number, and some of his poems are still 
extant.^ They were no less patronized by his favourites and chief 
officers. His chancellor, William bishop of Ely, is expressly mentioned 
to have invited Singers and Minstrels from France, whom he loaded 
with rewards ; and they in return celebrated him as the most accom- 
plished person in the world (u 2). This high distinction and regard, 
although confined perhaps in the first instance to Poets and Songsters 
of the French nation, must have had a tendency to do honour to Poetry 
and Song among all his subjects, and to encourage the cultivation of 
these arts among the natives : as the indulgent favour shown by the 
monarch or his great courtiers to the Proven9al Troubadour, or Norman 
Rymour, would naturally be imitated by their inferior vassals to the 
English Gleeman or Minstrel. At more than a century after the Con- 
quest, the national distinctions must have begun to decline, and both 
the Norman and the English languages would be heard in the houses of 
the great (u 3): so that probably about this sera, or soon after, we are 
to date that remarkable intercommunity and exchange of each other's 
compositions, which we discover to have taken place at some early 
period between the French and English Minstrels ; the same set of 
phrases, the same species of characters, incidents, and adventures, and 
often the same identical stories, being found in the old metrical romances 
of both nations (v). 

The distinguished service which Richard received from one of his own 
Minstrels, in rescuing him from his cruel and tedious captivity, is a 
remarkable fact, which ought to be recorded for the honour of Poets and 
their art. This fact I shall relate in the following words of an ancient 
writer : * 

" The Englishmen were more then a whole yeare without hearing any 

1 See a pathetic song of his in Mr. Walpole's Catalogue of Royal Authors, vol. i. 
p. s- The reader will find a translation of it into modem French, in Hist. Lit^raire des 
Troubadours, 1774, 3 torn. lanio. See vol i. (p. 58.) where some more of Richard's 
poetry is translated. In Dr. Burney's Hist, of Music, vol. ii. p. 238, is a poetical ver- 
sion of it in English. 

2 Mons. Favine's Theatre of Honour and Knighthood, translated from the 
French. Lond. tol. 1623, torn. ii. p. 49. An elegant relation of the same event 
(from the French of Presid. Fauchet's Recueil, &c.) may be seen in " Miscellanies in 
Prose and Verse, by Anna Williams," Lond. 1766, 4to. p. 46. It will excite the 
reader's admiration to be informed, that most of the pieces of that collection werf 
composed under the disadvantage of a total deprivation of sight. 

1 6 The Percy Reliques 

tydings of their King, or in what place he was kept prisoner. He had 
trained up in his court a Rimer or Minstrill/ called Blondell de Nesle : 
who (so saith the Manuscript of old Poesies,^ and an auncient 
Manuscript French Chronicle) being so long without the sight of his 
lord, his life seemed wearisome to him, and he became confounded with 
melanchcUy. Knowne it was, that he came backe from the Holy 
Land : but none could tell in what countrey he arrived. Whereupon 
this Blondel, resolving to make search for him in many countries, but 
he would heare some newes of him ; after expense of divers dayes in 
travaile, he came to a towne ^ (by good hap) neere to the castell where 
his maister King Richard was kept. Of his host he demanded to 
whom the castell appertained, and the host told him, that it belonged to 
the Duke of Austria. Then he enquired whether there were any 
prisoners therein detained or no ; for alwayes he made such secret 
questionings wheresoever he came. And the hoste gave answer, there 
was one onely prisoner, but he knew not what he was, and yet he had 
bin detained there more then the space of a yeare. When Blondel 
heard this, he wrought such meanes, that he became acquainted with 
them of the castell, as Minstrels doe easily win acquaintance any 
where :* but see the King he could not, neither understand that it was 
he. One day he sat directly before a window of the castell, where 
King Richard was kept prisoner, and began to sing a song in French, 
which King Richard and Blondel had sometime composed together. 
When King Richard heard the song, he knew it was Blondel that sung 
it : and when Blondel paused at halfe of the song, the King ' began the 
other half and completed it.'° Thus Blondel won knowledge of the 
King his rsaister, and returning home into England, made the barons 
of the countrie acquainted where the King was." This happened about 
the year 1193. 

The following old Provencal lines are given as the very original 
song ; * which I shall accompany with an imitation offered by Dr. 
Burney, ii. 237. 

1 Fa vine's words are, " Jongleur appen6 Blondiaux de Nesle." (Paris, 1620, 410. 
p. 1106.) But Fauchet, who has given the same story, thus expresses it, " Or ce roy 
ayant nourri un iVlenestrel appelliS Blondel," &c. liv. 2. p. 92. " Des anciens 
Poetes Frangois." He is however said to liave been another Blondel, not Blondel 
(or Blondiaux) de Nesle ; but this no way affects the circumstances of the story. 

•^ This the Author calls, in another place, " An ancient MS. of old Poesies, written 
about those very times." From this MS. Favine gives a good account of the taking 
of Richard by the Duke of Austria, who sold him to the Emperor. As for the MS. 
chronicle, it is evidently the same that supplied Fauchet with this story. See his 
" Recueil de I'Origine de la Langue >Sc Poesie Frangoise, Ryme, et Romans," 
&c. Par. 1581. 

3 Tribales. " Retrudi eum prascepit in Triballis : a quo carcere nullus ante dies 
istos exivit." Lat. Chron. of Otho of Austria : apud Favin. 

4 "Comme Menestrels s'accointent legerement." Favine. (Fauchet expresses it 
in the same manner.) 

* I give this passage corrected ; as the English translator of Favine's book 
appeared here to have mistaken the original : — Scil. " Et quant Blondel eut dit la 
moitie de la Chanson, le Roy Richart se prist a dire I'autre moitie et I'acheva." 
Favine, p. 1106. Fauchet has also expressed it in nearly the same words. Recueil, 

P- 93- 

5 In a little romance or novel, entitled, " La Tour Tenebreuse, et les Jours 
Lumineux, Contes Angloises, accompagnez d'Historiettes, & tirez d'une ancienne 
Chronique composie par Richard, surnomme Coeur de Lion, Roy d'Angleterre," &c. 
Paris, 1705, i2mo. In the Preface to this Romance the Editor has given another 
song of Blondel de Nesle, as also a copy of the song written by K. Richard, and 
published by Mr. Walpole, mentioned above (in note i, page 15), yet the two last are 
not in Provengal like tlie sonnet printed here ; but in the old French, called Langag^ 

Essay on Ancient Minstrels 17 


Domna vostra beutas Your beauty, lady fair, 

Elas bellas faissos None views without delight ; 

Els bels oils amoros But still so cold an air 

Els gens cors ben taillats No passion can excite : 

Don sieu empresenats Yet this I patient see 

De vostra amor que mi lia. While all are shunn'd like me. 


Si bel trop affansia No nymph my heart can wound 

Ja de vos non portrai If favour she divide, 

Que major honorai And smiles on all around 

Sol en votre deman Unwilling to decide : 

Que sautra des beisan I'd rather hatred bear 

Tot can de vos volria. Than love with others share. 

The access which Blondel so 'readily obtained in the privileged 
character of a Minstrel, is not the only instance upon record of the 
same nature (v 2). In this very reign of K. Richard I. the young 
heiress of D'Evreux, Earl of Salisbury, had been carried abroad and 
secreted by her French relations in Normandy. To discover the place 
of her concealment, a knight of the Talbot family spent two years in 
exploring that province, at first under the disguise of a pilgrim ; till 
having found where she was confined, in order to gain admittance he 
assumed the dress and character of a Harper, and being a jocose person 
exceedingly skilled in " the Gests of the ancients ; " ^ so they called the 
romances and stories, which were the delight of that age ; he was gladly 
received into the family ; whence he took an opportunity to carry off 
the young lady, whom he presented to the King ; and he bestowed her 
on his natural brother William Longespee, (son of fair Rosamond) who 
became in her right Earl of Salisbury (v 3). 

The next memorable event which I find in history reflects credit on 
the English Minstrels ; and this was their contributing to the rescue of 
one of the great Earls of Chester, when besieged by the Welsh. This 
happened in the reign of K. John, and is related to this effect : ^ 

Hugh, the first Earl of Chester, in his charter of foundation of St. 
Werburg's Abbey in that city, had granted such a privilege to those 
who should come to Chester fair, that they should not be then appre- 
hended for theft or any other misdemeanor, except the crime were com- 
mitted during the fair. This special protection occasioning a multitude 
of loose people to resort to that fair, was afterwards of signal benefit to 
one of his successors ; for Ranulph, the last Earl of Chester, marching 
into Wales with a slender attendance, was constrained to retire to his 
castle of Rothelan (or Rhuydland), to which the Welsh forthwith laid 
siege. In this distress he sent tor help to the Lord De Lacy, Constable 
of Chester : " Who, making use of the Minstrells of all sorts, then met 
at Chester fair ; by the allurement of their musick, got together a vast 
number of such loose people, as, by reason of the before specified 
priviledge, were then in that city ; whom he forthwith sent under the 

1 The words of the original, viz. " Citharisator homo jocosus in Gestis antiquorum 
valde peritus," I conceive to give the precise idea of the ancient Minstrel. See Note 
(v 2.) That Gesta was appropriated to romantic stories, see Note (i) Part iv. (i.) 

" See Dugdale (Bar. i. 42. loi), who places it after 13 John, a.d. 1212. See also 
Plot's Staffordsh. Camden's Britann. (Cheshire.) 

VOL. I. C 

1 8 The Percy Reliques 

conduct of Button (his steward) " a gallant youth, who was also his son- 
in-law. The Welsh, alarmed at the approach of this rabble, supposing 
them to be a regular body of armed and disciplined veterans, instantly 
raised the siege and retired. 

For this good service, Ranulph is said to have granted to De 
Lacy, by charter, the patronage and authority over the Minstrels and 
the loose and inferior people : who retaining to himself that of the lower 
artificers, conferred on Button the jurisdiction of the Minstrels and 
Harlots ; ^ and under the descendants of this family the Minstrels 
enjoyed certain privileges, and protection for many ages. For even so 
late as the reign of Elizabeth, when this profession had fallen into such 
discredit that it was considered in law as a nuisance, the Minstrels 
under the jurisdiction of the family of Dutton are expressly excepted 
out of all acts of Parliament made for their suppression ; and have 
continued to be so excepted ever since (w). 

The ceremonies attending the exercise of this jurisdiction are thus 
described by Dugdale,^ as handed down to his time, viz. "That at 
Midsummer fair there, all the Minstrels of that countrey resorting to 
Chester do attend the heir of Dutton, from his lodging to St. John's 
church, (he being then accompanied by many gentlemen of the countrey) 
one of ' the Minstrels ' walking before him in a surcoat of his arms 
depicted on taffata ; the rest of his fellows proceeding (two and two) 
and playing on their several sorts of musical instruments. And after 
divine service ended, give the like attendance on him back to his 
lodging : where a court being kept by his [Mr. Button's] steward, and 
all the Minstrels formally called, certain orders and laws are usually 
made for the better government of that society, with penalties on those 
who trangress." 

In the same reign of K. John we have a remarkable instance of a 
Minstrel, who to his other talents super-added the character of sooth- 
sayer, and by his skill in drugs and medicated potions was able to 
rescue a knight from imprisonment. This occurs in Leland's Narrative 
of the Gestes of Guarine (or Warren) and his sons, which he " excerptid 
owte of an old Englisch boke yn ryme " ^ and is as follows : 

Whitington Castle in Shropshire, which together with the co-heiress 
of the original proprietor had been won in a solemn turnament by the 
ancestor of the Guarines,* had in the reign of K. John been seized by 
the Prince of Wales, and was afterwards possessed by Morice, a 
retainer of that prince, to whom the King, out of hatred to the true 
heir Fulco Guarine (with whom he had formerly a quarrel at chess),* 
not only confirmed the possession, but also made him Governor of 
the Marches, of which Fulco himself had the custody in the time of K. 
Richard. The Guarines demanded justice of the King, but obtaining 

1 See the ancient record in Blount's Law Dictionarj'- (Art. Minstrel.) 

2 Bar. i. p. loi. 

3 Leland's Collectanea, vol. i. pages 261, 266, 267. 

* This old feudal custom of marrying an heiress to the knight who should 
vanquish all his opponents in solemn contest, &c. appears to be burlesqued in the 
Turnament of Totenham (see Series in. Book i. Poem 4.), as is well observed by 
the learned author of Remarks, &c. in Gent. Mag. for July, 1794, p. 613. 

6 "John, sun to K. Henry, and Fulco felle at variance at Chestes [r. Chesse] ; 
and John brake Fulco ['s] hed with the Chest borde : and then Fulco gave him such 
a blow, that he had almost killid hym." (Lei. Coll. i. p. 264.) A curious picture of 
courtly manners in that age ! Notwithstanding this fray, we read in the next 
paragraph, that " K. Henry dubbid Fulco and three of his bretherne Knightes at 
Winchester." Ibid. 

Essay on Ancient Minstrels 19 

no gracious answer, renounced their allegiance and fled into Bretagne. 
Returning into England, after various conflicts, " Fulco resortid to one 
John of Raumpayne, a Sothsayer and Jocular and Minstrelie, and made 
hym his spy to Morice at Whitington." The privileges of this character 
we have already seen, and John so well availed himself of them, that in 
consequence of the intelligence which he doubtless procured, "Fulco 
and his brethrene laide waite for Morice, as he went toward Salesbyri, 
and Fulco ther woundid him : and Bracy," a knight, who was their 
friend and assistant, "cut of Maurice ['s] hedde." This Sir Bracy 
being in a subsequent rencounter sore wounded, was taken and brought 
to K. John ; from whose vengeance he was however rescued by this 
notable Minstrel ; for "John Rampayne found the meanes to cast them, 
that kepte Bracy, into a deadely slepe ; and so he and Bracy cam to 
Fulco to Whitington," which on the death of Morice had been restored 
to him by the Prince of Wales. As no further mention occurs of the 
Minstrel, I might here conclude this narrative : but I shall just add, 
that Fulco was obliged to flee into France, where assuming the name 
of Sir Amice, he distinguished himself in Justs and Turnaments ; and, 
after various romantic adventures by sea and land ; having in the true 
style of chivalry rescued " certayne ladies owt of prison ; " he finally 
obtained the King's pardon, and the quiet possession of Whitington 

In the reign of K. Henry III. we have mention of Master Ricard the 
King's Harper, to whom in his thirty-sixth year (1252) that monarch 
gave not only forty shillings and a pipe of wine, but also a pipe of wine 
to Beatrice his wife.^ The title of Magister, or Master, given to this 
Minstrel, deserves notice, and shows his respectable situation. 

V. The Harper, or Minstrel, was so necessary an attendant on a 
royal personage, that Prince Edward, (afterwards K. Edward I.) in his 
Crusade to the Holy Land, in 1271, was not without his Harper : who 
must have been officially very near his person ; as we are told by a 
contemporary historian,^ that in the attempt to assassinate that heroic 
prince, when he had wrested the poisoned knife out of the Sarazen's 
hand, and killed him with his own weapon ; the attendants, who had 
stood apart while he was whispering to their master, hearing the struggle, 
ran to his assistance, and one of them, to wit his Harper, seizing a 
tripod or trestle, struck the assassin on the head and beat out his brains.^ 
And though the Prince blamed him for striking the man after he was 
dead, yet his near access shows the respectable situation of this ofiScer ; 
and his affectionate zeal should have induced Edward to entreat his 
brethren the Welsh Bards afterwards with more lenity. 

Whatever was the extent of this great Monarch's severity towards 
the professors of Music and of Song in Wales ; whether the executing 
by martial law such of them as fell into his hands was only during the 

1 Burney's Hist. ii. p. 355. Rot. Pip. An. 36 H. III. " Et in uno dolio vini empto 
& dato Magistro Ricardo Citharista; Regis, xl. sol. per br. Reg. Et in uno dolio 
empto & dato Beatrici uxori ejusdem Ricardi." 

2 Walter Hemmingford (vixit temp. Edw. I.), in Chronic, cap. 35. inter V. Hist. 
Ang. Scriptores, vol. ii. Oxon. 1687. fol. pag. 591. 

3 " Accurrentes ad hsc Ministri ejus, qui a longe steterunt, invenerunt eum [scil. 
Nuntium] in terra mortuum, et apprehendit unus eorum tripodem, scilicet Cithareda 
suus, & percussit eum in capite, et efFundit cerebrum ejus. Increpavitque eum Ed- 
wardus quod hominem mortuum percussisset." Ibid. These Ministri must have 
been upon a very confidential footing, as it appears above in the same chapter, that 
they had been made acquainted with the contents of the letters which the assassin 
^ad delivered to the Prince from his master. 

20 The Percy Reliques 

heat of conflict, or was continued afterwards with more systematic 
rigour ;^ yet in his own court the Minstrels appear to have been highly 
favoured : for when, in 1306, he conferred the order of knighthood on 
his son and many others of the young nobility, a multitude of Minstrels 
were introduced to invite and induce the new knights to make some 
military vow (x). And 

Under the succeeding reign of K. Edward II. such extensive privileges 
were claimed by these men, and by dissolute persons assuming their 
character, that it became a matter of public grievance, and was obliged 
to be reformed by an express regulation in A. D. 13 15 (y). Notwith- 
standing which, an incident is recorded in the ensuing year, which shows 
that Minstrels still retained the liberty of entering at will into the royal 
presence, and had something peculiarly splendid in their dress. It is 
thus related by Stow (z) : 

"In the year 13 16, Edward the Second did solemnize his feast of 
Pentecost at Westminster, in the great hall : where sitting royally at the 
table with his peers about him, tliere entered a woman adorned like a 
Minstrel, sitting on a great horse trapped, as Minstrels then used ; who 
rode round about the tables shewing pastime ; and at length came up to 
the King's table, and laid before him a letter, and forthwith turning 
her horse saluted every one and departed." The subject of this letter 
was a remonstrance to the King on the favours heaped by him on his 
minions, to the neglect of his knights and faithful servants. 

The privileged character of a Minstrel was employed on this occasion, 
as sure of gaining an easy admittance ; and a female the rather deputed 
to assume it, that, in the case of detection, her sex might disarm the 
King's resentment. This is oifered on a supposition that she was not a 
real Minstrel ; for there should seem to have been women of this pro- 
fession (a a) as well as of the other sex ; and no accomplishment is so 
constantly attributed to females, by our ancient Bards, as their singing 
to, and playing on, the Harp (a a 2). 

In the fourth year of K. Richard II. John of Gaunt erected, at 
Tutbury, in Staffordshire, a Court of Minstrels, similar to that annually 
kept at Chester (see p. 17.) and which, like a Court-Leet or Court- 
Baron, had a legal jurisdiction, with full power to receive suit and 
service from the men of this profession within five neighbouring 
counties, to enact laws, and determine their controversies ; and to 
apprehend and arrest such of them as should refuse to appear at the 
said court annually held on the i6th of August. For this tliey had a 
charter, by which they were empowered to appoint a King of the 
Minstrels with four officers to preside over them (b b). These were 
every year elected with great ceremony ; the whole form of which, as 
observed in 1680, is described by Dr. Plot : " in whose time however 
they appear to have lost their singing talents, and to have confined all 
their skill to "wind and string music." ^ 

1 See Gray's Ode ; and the Hist, of the Gwedir Family in " Miscellanies," by the 
Hon. Daines Harrington, 1781, 4to. p. 386 ; who in the Laws, &c. of this Monaroh 
could find no instances of severity against the Welsh. See his observations on the 
Statutes, 4to. 4th edit. p. 358. 

2 Hist, of Staffordshire, ch. 10. § 6p — 76. p. 433 et seqq. of which see extracts in Sir 
J. Hawkins's Hist, of Music, vol. li. p. 64 ; and Dr. Burney's Hist. vol. ii. 360 et 
seqq. _ _ . 

N.B. The barbarous diversion of bull-running was no part of the original institution, 
&c. as is fully proved by the Rev. Dr. Pegge, in Archasologia, vol. ii. No. xiii. page 86. 

3 See the charge given by the steward, at the time of the election, in Plot's Hist., 
ubi supra ; and in Hawkins, p. 67. Burney, p. 363-4. 

Essay on Ancient Minstrels 21 

The Minstrels seem to have been in many respects upon the same 
footing as the Heralds ; and the King of the Minstrels, like the King at 
Arms, was both here and on the Continent an usual officer in the courts 
of princes. Thus we have in the reign of K. Edward I. mention of a 
King Robert, and others. And in i6 Edw. II. is a grant to William 
de Morlee "the King's Minstrel, styled Roy de iVbr^/?," ^ of houses 
which had belonged to another king, John le Boteler (b b 2). Rymer 
hath also printed a licence granted by K. Richard II. in 1387, to John 
Caurnz, the King of his Minstrels, to pass the seas, recommending him 
to the protection and kind treatment of all his subjects and allies.'' 

In the subsequent reign of K. Henry IV. we meet with no particulars 
relating to the Minstrels in England, but we find in the Statute Book a 
severe law passed against their brethren the Welsh Bards : whom our 
ancestors could not distinguish from their own Rimours Ministralx ; 
for by these names they describe them (b B 3). This act plainly shows, 
that far from being extirpated by the rigorous policy of K. Edward I., 
this order of men were still able to alarm the English government, 
which attributed to them "many diseases and mischiefs in Wales," and 
prohibited their meetings, and contributions. 

When his heroic son K. Henry V. was preparing his great voyage for 
France, in 141 5, an express order was given for his Minstrels, fifteen in 
number, to attend him ; ^ and eighteen are afterwards mentioned, to 
each of whom he allowed \2d. a day, when that sum must have been of 
more than ten times the value it is at present.* Yet when he entered 
London in triumph after the battle of Agincourt, he, from a principle of 
humility, slighted the pageants and verses which were prepared to hail 
his return ; and, as we are told by Holingshed,* would not suffer " any 
dities to be made and song by Minstrels, of his glorious victory ; for 
that he would whoUie have the praise and thankes altogether given to 
God." (b E 4.) But this did not proceed from any disregard for the 
professors of music or of song ; for at the feast of Pentecost, which he 
celebrated in 1416, having the Emperor, and the Duke of Holland for 
his guests, he ordered rich gowns for sixteen of his Minstrels, of which 
the particulars are preserved by Rymer. ^ And having before his death 
orally granted an annuity of 100 shillings to each of his Minstrels, the 
grant was confirmed in the first year of his son K. Henry VI. a.d. 1423, 
and payment ordered out of the Exchequer.'' 

The unfortunate reign ofK. Henry VI. affords no occurrences respect- 
ing our subject ; but in his 34th year, a.d. 1456, we have in Rymer' 

1 So among the Heralds Norrey was anciently styled Roy d" Amies de North. 
(Anstis, ii. 300.) And the Kings at Armes in general were originally called Reges 
Heraldorum (ibid. p. 302), as these were Reges Miiisirallortim. 

2 Rymer's Foedera, torn. vii. p. 555. 

3 Rymer, ix. 255. ■* Ibid. p. 260. 

B See his Chronicle, sub anno 1415, (p. 1170.) He also gives this other instance of 
the King's great modesty, "that he would not suffer his helmet to be carried with 
him, and shewed to the people, that they might behold the dintes and cuttes whiche 
appeared in the same, of such blowes and stripes, as hee received the daye of the 
battell." Ibid. Vid. T. de Elmham, c. 29. p. 72. 

The prohibition again?it vain and secular songs would probably not include that 
inserted in Series II. Book i. No. 5, which would be considered as a hymn. The 
original notes engraven on a plate at the end of the vol. may be seen reduced and set 
to score in Mr. Stafford Smith's " Collection of English Songs for three and four 
Voices," and in Dr. Barney's Hist, of Music, ii. 384. 

6 Tom. ix. 336. 

7 Rymer, torn. x. 287. They are mentioned by name, being ten in number : one 
of them was named Thomas Chatterton. 

8 Tom. xi. 375. 

22 The Percy Reliques 

a commission for impressing boys or youths, to supply vacancies by 
death among the King's Minstrels ; in which it is expressly directed 
that they shall be elegant in their limbs, as well as instructed in the 
Minstrel art, wherever they can be found, for the solace of his Majesty. 

In the following reign, K. Edward IV. (in his 9th year, 1469) upon 
a complaint that certain rude husbandmen and artilicers of various 
trades had assumed the title and livery of the King's Minstrels, and 
under that colour and pretence had collected money in divers parts of 
the kingdom, and committed other disorders, the King grants to Walter 
Haliday, Marshal, and to seven others his own Minstrels whom he 
names, a Charter,^ by which he creates, or rather restores, a Fraternity 
or Perpetual Guild (such as, he understands, the Brothers and Sisters of 
the Fraternity of Minstrels had in times past) to be governed by a 
Marshal appointed for life, and by two Wardens to be chosen annually ; 
who are empowered to admit Brothers and Sisters into the said Guild, 
and are authori^.ed to examine the pretensions of all such as affected to 
exercise the Minstrel profession ; and to regulate, govern, and punish 
them throughout the realm (those of Chester excepted). This seems to 
have some resemblance to the Earl Marshal's Court among the Heralds, 
and is another proof of the great affinity and resemblance which the 
Minstrels bore to the members of the College of Arms. 

It is remarkable that Walter Haliday, whose name occurs as Marshal 
in the foregoing Charter, had been retained in the service of the two 
preceding Monarchs, K. Henry V, - and VI. ^ Nor is this the first 
time he is mentioned as Marshal of the King's Minstrels, for in the 
third year of this reign, 1464, he had a grant from K. Edward of lO 
marks per annum during life, directed to him with that title.* 

But besides their Marshal we have also in this reign mention of a 
Sergeant of the Minstrels, who upon a particular occasion was able to 
do his royal master a singular service, wherein his confidential situation 
and ready access to the King at all hours is very apparent : for "as he 
[K. Edward IV.] was in the north contray in the monneth of Septembre, 
as he lay in his bedde, one namid Alexander Carlile, that was Sariaunt 
of the Mynstrellis, cam to him in grete hast, and badde hym aryse for 
he hadde enemyes cummying for to take him, the which were within 
vi. or vii. mylis, of the which tydinges the king gretely marveylid, &c." ^ 
This happened in the same year, 1469, wherein the King granted or 
confirmed the Charter for the Fraternity or Guild above mentioned ; 
yel this Alexander Carlile is not one of the eight Minstrels to whom 
that Charter is directed.® 

The same Charter was renewed fby K. Henry VIII. in 1520, to John 
Gilman, his then Marshal, and to seven others his Minstrels : ^ and on 
the death of Gilman, he granted, in 1529, this office of Marshal of his 
Minstrels to Hugh Wodehouse,® whom I take to have borne the office 
of his Sergeant over them.^ 

1 See it in Rymer, torn. xi. 642. and in Sir J. Hawkins, vol. iv. p. 366, note. The 
above Charter is recited in letters patent of K. Charles I. 15 July (11 Anno Regni), 
for a Corporation of Musicians, &c. in Westminster, which may be seen ibid. 

2 Rymer, ix. 255. 3 Ibid. .xi. 375. ■* Ibid. xi. 512. 

5 Here unfortunately ends a curious fragment (an. 9 E. IV.), ad calcem Sprotti 
Chron. Ed. Hearne, Oxon. 1719, 8vo. Vid. T. Warton's Hist. ii. p. 134. Note (c). 

6 Rymer, xi. 642. 7 Ibid, xiii, 705. 8 ibid. xiv. 2, 93. 

!• So I am inclined to understand the term serviens noster Hugo Wodehouse in the 
original Grant. (See Rymer ubi supra.) It is needless to observe that serviens 
expressed a sergeant as well as a servant. If this interpretation of scr-jiens be 
allowed, it will account for his placing Wodehouse at the head of his Guild, although 

Essay on Ancient Minstrels 23 

VI. In all the establishments of royal and noble households, we find 
an ample provision made for the Minstrels ; and their situation to have 
been both honourable and lucrative. In proof of this it is sufficient to 
refer to the household book of the Earl of Northumberland, a.d. 15 12 
(C c). And the rewards they received so frequently recur in ancient 
writers that it is unnecessary to crowd the page with them here (c c 2). 

The name of Minstrel seems however to have been gradually 
appropriated to the musician only, especially in the fifteenth and 
sixteenth centuries ; yet we occasionally meet with applications of the 
term in its more enlarged meaning, as including the singer, if not the 
composer, of heroic or popular rhymes.^ 

In the time of K. Henry VIII. we find it to have been a common 
entertainment to hear verses recited, or moral speeches, learned for that 
purpose, by a set of men who got their livelihood by repeating them, 
and who intruded without ceremony into all companies ; not only in 
taverns, but in the houses of the nobility themselves. This we learn 
from Erasmus, whose argument led him only to describe a species of 
these men who did not sing their compositions ; but the others that did, 
enjoyed, without doubt, the same privileges (D D). 

For even long after, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, it was usual 
"in places of assembly " for the company to be "desirous to heare of 
old adventures and valiaunces of noble knights in times past, as those of 
King Arthur, and his knights of the round table. Sir Bevys of South- 
ampton, Guy of Warwicke and others like," in "short and long 
meetres, and by breaches or divisions, [sc. fits^) to be more com- 
modiously sung to the harpe," as the reader may be informed, by a 
courtly writer, in 1589;^ who himself had "written for pleasure a 
little brief romance or historical! ditty, of the Isle of Great Britaine," in 
order to contribute to such entertainment. And he subjoins this 
caution: "Such as have not premonition hereof" (viz. that his poem 
was written in short metre, &c. to be sung to the harp in such places of 
assembly), " and consideration of the causes alleged, would peradven- 
turere prove and disgrace every romance, or short historical! ditty, for 
that they be not written in long meeters or verses Alexandrins," which 
constituted the prevailing versification among the poets of that age, 
and which no one now can endure to read. 

And that the recital of such romances sung to the harp was at that 
time the delight of the common people, we are told by the same 
writer,* who mentions that "common rimers" were fond of using 
rhymes at short distances, "in small and popular musickes song by 
these Cantabanqui " [the said common rhymers] "upon benches and 
barrels heads," &c. "or else by blind Harpers or such like taverne 
Minstrels that give a FIT of mirth for a groat ; and their matter being 
for the most part stories of old time, as the Tale of Sir Topas, the 
reportes of Bevis of Southampton, Guy of Warwicke, Adam Bell, and 
Clymme of the Clough, and such other old romances, or historicall 
rimes," &c. ; "also they be used in carols and rounds, and such light 
or lascivious poemes, which are commonly more commodiously uttered 

he had not been one of the eight Minstrels who had had the general direction. The 
Serjeant of his Minstrels, we may presume, was next in dignity to the Marshal, 
although he had no share in the government of the Guild. 

1 See below, and Note (g g). 

2 See an essay on the word fit at the end of No. x. Series II. Book ii. 

3 Puttenham, in his "Arte of English Poesie," 1589, 4to. p. 33. See the quotation, 
in its proper order, in the essay on the word fit, as above. 

* Puttenham, &c. p. 69. See the essay on the word fit ibid. 

24 The Percy Reliques 

by these buffons, or vices in playes, then by any other person. Such 
were the rimes of Skelton (usurping the name of a poet laureat) being 
in deede but a rude railing rimer, and all his doings ridiculous."^ 

But although we find here that the Minstrels had lost much of their 
dignity, and were sinking into contempt and neglect ; yet that they 
still sustained a character far superior to any thing we can conceive at 
present of the singers of old ballads, I think, may be inferred from the 
following representation : 

When Queen Elizabeth was entertained at Killingworth Castle by the 
Earl of Leicester in 1575, among the many devices and pageants which 
were contrived for her entertainment, one of the personages introduced 
was to have been that of an ancient Minstrel ; whose appearance and 
dress are so minutely described by a writer there present,^ and gives us 
so distinct an idea of the character, that I shall quote the passage at 
large (e e). 

" A person very meet seemed he for the purpose, of a xlv years old, 
apparelled partly as he would himself. His cap off; his head seemly 
rounded tonsterwise : ^ fair kembed, that with a sponge daintily dipt in 
a little capon's grease was finely smoothed, to make it shine like a 
mallard's wing. His beard smugly shaven : and yet his shirt after the 
new trink, with ruffs fair starched, sleeked and glistering like a pair 
of new shoes, marshalled in good order with a setting stick, and strut, 
that every ruff stood up like a wafer. A side [i. e. long] gown of 
Kendal green, after the freshness of the year now, gathered at the neck 
with a narrow gorget, fastened afore with a white clasp and a keeper 
close up to the chin ; but easily, for heat to undo when he list. Seemly 
begirt in a red caddis girdle : from that a pair of capped Sheffield 
knives hanging a' two sides. Out of his bosom drawn forth a lappet of 
his napkin "* edged with a blue lace, and marked with a true love, a 
heart, and a D for Damian, for he was but a batchelor yet. 

" His gown had side [i.e. long] sleeves down to mid-leg, slit from 
the shoulder to the hand, and lined with white cotton. His doublet- 
sleeves of black worsted : upon them a pair of poynets ^ of tawny 
chamlet laced along the wrist with blue threaden points, a wealt 
towards the hand of fiistian-a-napes. A pair of red neather stocks. A 
pair of pumps on his feet, with a cross cut at the toes for corns : not 
new indeed, yet cleanly blackt with soot, and shining as a shoing 

" About his neck a red ribband suitable to his girdle. His harp in 
good grace dependent before him. His wrest * tyed to a green lace 
and hanging by. Under the gorget of his gown a fair flaggon chain 
[pewter,'' for] silver, as a Squire Minstrel of Middlesex, that travelled 
the country this summer season, unto fairs and worshipful men's houses 

1 Puttenham, &c. p. 69. 

2 See a very curious "Letter: whearin, part of the entertainment untoo the 
Queenz Maiesty, at Killingwoorth Castl, in Warwick Sheer, in this soomerz Progress 
1575, iz signified," &c. bl. 1. 4to. vid. p. 46 & seqq. (Printed in Nichols's Collection 
of Queen Elizabeth's Progresses, &c. in 2 vols. 4to.) We have not followed above 
the peculiar and affected orthography of this writer, who was named Ro. Lanehara, 
or rather Langham ; see p. 84. 

3 I suppose " tonsure-wise," after the manner of the monks. 

* i. e. handkerchief. So in Shakspeare's Othello, passim. 

* Perhaps, points. 

6 The key, or screw, with which he tuned his harp. 

7 The reader will remember that this was not a real Minstrel, but only one persona- 
ting that character ; his ornaments therefore were only such as outwardly 
represented those of a real Minstrel. 

Essay on Ancient Minstrels 25 

From his chain hung a scutcheon, with metal and colour, resplendant 
upon his breast, of the ancient arms of Islington." 

This Minstrel is described as belonging to that village. I suppose 
such as were retained by noble families wore the arms of their patrons 
hanging down by a silver chain as a kind of badge. ^ From the ex- 
pression of Squire Minstrel above, we may conclude there were other 
inferior orders, as Yeoman Minstrels, or the like. 

This Minstrel, the author tells us a little below, after " three lowly 
courtsies, cleared his voice with a hem, and wiped his lips with the 
hollow of his hand, for 'filing his napkin, tempered a string or two with 
his wrest, and after a little warbling on his harp for a prelude, came 
forth with a solemn song, warranted for story out of King Arthur's 
acts, &c." This song the reader will find printed in Series III. Book i. 
No. 3. 

Towards the end of the sixteenth century this class of men had lost 
all credit, and were sunk so low in the public opinion, that in the 39th 
year of Elizabeth,^ a statute was passed by which " Minstrels, wander- 
ing abroad," were included among " rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy 
beggars," and were adjudged to be punished as such. This act seems 
to have put an end to the profession (e e 2). 

VII. I cannot conclude this account of the ancient English Minstrels, 
without remarking that they are most of them represented to have been 
of the nortn of England. There is scarce an old historical song or 
ballad (F f) wherein a Minstrel or Harper appears, but he is character- 
ized by way of eminence to have been " of the north countrye : "^_ and 
indeed the prevalence of the northern dialect in such compositions, 
shews that this representation is real.* On the other hand the scene of 

1 As the house of Northumberland had anciently three Minstrels attending on them 
in their castles in Yorkshire, so they still retain three in their service in Northumber- 
land, who wear the badge of the family (a silver crescent on the right arm), and are 
thus distributed, viz. One for the barony of Prudhoe, and two for the barony of 
Rothbury. These attend the court-leets and fairs held for the lord, and pay their 
annual suit and service at Alnwick Castle ; their instrument being the ancient 
Northumberland bagpipe (very different in form and execution froni that of the 
Scots ; being smaller, and blown, not with the breath, but with a small pair of bellows). 

This, with many other venerable customs of the ancient Lord Percys, was revived 
by their illustrious representatives the late Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. 

2 Anno Dom. 1597. Vid. Pult. Stat. p. iiio, 39 Eliz. 

3 See Series I. Book i. No. 6. 

4 Giraldus Cambrensis, writing in the reign of K. Henry II. mentions a very 
extraordinary habit or propensity, which then prevailed in the north of England, 
beyond the Humber, for "symphonious harmony," or singing "in two parts, the one 
murmuring in the base, and the other warbling in the acute or treble." (I use 
Dr. Burney's version, vol. ii. p. 108.) This he describes, as practised by their very 
children from the cradle ; and he derives it from the Danes (so Daci signifies in our 
old writers) and Norwegians, who long over-ran and in effect new-peopled the 
northern parts of England, where alone this manner of singing prevailed. (Vide 
Cambria Descriptio, cap. 13. and in Bumey ubi supra.) _ Giraldus is probably right 
as to the origin or derivation of this practice, for the Danish and Icelandic Scalds had 
carried the arts of poetry and singing to great perfection at the time the Danish 
settlements were made in the north. And it will also help to account for the superior 
skill and fame of our northern Minstrels and Harpers afterwards : who had preserved 
and transmitted the arts of their Scaldic ancestors. See Northern Antiquities, vol. i. 
c. 13. p. 386. and Five Pieces of Runic Poetry, T763, Svo. Compare the original 
passage in Giraldus, as given by Sir John Hawkins, i. 438, and by Dr. Burney, 
ii. 108. who are both at a loss to account for this peculiarity, and therefore doubt the 
fact. The credit of Giraldus, which hath been attacked by some partial and bigoted 
antiquaries, the reader will find defended in that learned and curious work, 
" Antiquities of Ireland," by Edward Ledwich, LL.D. &c. Dublin, 1790, 4to. p. 207 
et xeqq. 

26 The Percy Reliques 

the finest Scottish ballads is laid in the south of Scotland ; which 
should seem to have been peculiarly the nursery of Scottish Minstrels. 
In the old song of Maggy Lawder, a piper is asked, by way of 
distinction, Come ze frae the Border.?^ The martial spirit constantly 
kept up and exercised near the frontier of the two kingdoms, as it 
furnished continual subjects for their songs, so it inspired the inhabitants 
of the adjacent counties on both sides with the powers of poetr}'. 
Besides, as our southern metropolis must have been ever the scene of 
novelty and refinement, the northern countries, as being most distant, 
would preserve their ancient manners longest, and of course the old 
poetry, in which those manners are so peculiarly described. 

The reader will observe in the more ancient ballads of this Collection, 
a cast of style and measure very different from that of contemporary 
poets of a higher class ; many phrases and idioms, which the Minstrels 
seem to have appropriated to themselves, and a very remarkable license 
of varying the accents of words at pleasure, in order to humour the flow 
of the verse, particularly in the rhymes ; as 

Countrte harper battel morning 

Ladle singer damsil loving^ 

instead of country, Ihdy, hhrper, singer, &c. This liberty is but 
sparingly assumed by the classical poets of the same age ; or even by 
the latter composers of heroical ballads ; I mean, by such as pro- 
fessedly wrote for the press. For it is to be observed, that so long as 
the Minstrels subsisted, they seem never to have designed their rhymes 
for literary publication, and probably never committed them to writing 
themselves : what copies are preserved of them were doubtless taken 
down from their mouths. But as the old Minstrels gradually wore out, 
a new race of ballad-writers succeeded, an inferior sort of minor poets, 
who wrote narrative songs merely for the press. Instances of both may 
be found in the reign of Elizabeth. The two latest pieces in the 
genuine strain of the old Minstrelsy that I can discover, are No. 3 and 
4, of Series I. Book iii. Lower than these I cannot trace the old mode 
of writing. 

The old Minstrel Ballads are in the northern dialect, abound with 
antique words and phrases, are extremely incorrect, and run into the 
utmost license of metre ; they have also a romantic wildness, and are 
in the true spirit of chivalry. The other sort are written in exacter 

1 This line being quoted from memory, and given as old Scottish poetrj' is now 
usually printed (see the note at the end of the Glossary, vol. ii.), would have been 
readily corrected by the copy published in " Scottish Songs," 1794, 2 vols. lamo. 
vol. i. p. 267, thus (though apparently corrupted from the Scottish idiom), 

" Live you upo' the border ? " 

had not all confidence been destroyed by its being altered in the " Historical Essay" 
prefixed to that publication (p. ex.) to 

" Ye live upo' the border," 

the better to favour a position, that many of the pipers " might live upon the border, 
for the conveniency of attending fairs, &c. in both kingdoms." But whoever is 
acquainted with that part of England, knows that on the English frontier, rude 
mountains and barren wastes reach almost across the island, scarcely inhabited by 
any but solitary shepherds; many of whom durst not venture into the opposite 
border on account of the ancient feuds and subsequent disputes concerning the 
debatable lands which separated the boundaries of the two kingdoms, as well as the 
estates of the two great families of Percy and Douglas, till these disputes were 
settled, not many years since, by arbitration between the present Lord Douglas and 
the late Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. 

Notes 27 

measure, have a low or subordinate correctness, sometimes bordering on 
the insipid, yet often well adapted to the pathetic ; these are generally 
in the southern dialect, exhibit a more modern phraseology, and are 
commonly descriptive of more modern manners. To be sensible of the 
difference between them, let the reader compare No. 3, of Book iii. 
Series I. with No. 11, of Book ii. Series I. 

Towards the end of Queen Elizabeth's reign (as is mentioned above) 
the genuine old Minstrelsy seems to have been extinct, and thenceforth 
the ballads that were produced were wholly of the latter kind, and 
these came forth in such abundance, that in the reign of James I. they 
began to be collected into little miscellanies, under the name_ of 
Garlands, and at length to be written purposely for such collections 
(f f 2). 

P.S. By way of Postscript, should follow here the discussion of the 
question whether the term Minstrels ivas applied in English to singers, 
and composers of Songs, dr'c. or confined to musicians only. But it is 
reserved for the concluding Note (g g). 




(a) "The Minstrels," &c.] The word Minstrel Aoes not appear to 
have been in use here before the Norman Conquest ; whereas it had 
long before that time been adopted in France.^ Menestrel, so early as 
the eighth century, was a title given to the Maestro di Capella of 
K. Pepin, the father of Charlemagne : and afterwards to the Coryphaeus, 
or leader of any band of musicians. (Vid. Burney's Hist, of Music, ii. 
268.) This term Mefiestrel, Menestrier, was thus expressed in Latin, 
Ministellus, Ministrelliis, Ministrallus, Menesterellus, &c. Vid. Gloss. 
Du Cange & Supplem. 

Menage derives the French words above mentioned from Ministerialis 
or Minister iarius, barbarous Latin terms, used in the middle ages to 
express a workman or artificer (still called in Languedoc Ministral), as 
if these men were styled artificers or performers by way of excellence. 
(Vid. Diction. Etym.) But the origin of the name is given perhaps 
more truly by Du Cange : " Ministelli, . , . quos vulgo Menestreux 
vel Metiestriers appellamus, quod minoribus aulse Ministris accense- 
rentur." (Gloss, iv. p. 769.) Accordingly, we are told, the word 
^^ Minister" is sometimes used "pro Mitiistellus" (ibid.), and an 
instance is produced which I shall insert at large in the next 

1 The Anglo-Saxon and primary English name for this character was Gleeman 
(see below, Note (i) sect. I), so that, wherever the term Minstrel is in these pages 
applied to it before the Conquest, it must be understood to be only by anticipation. 
Another early name for this profession in English was Jogeler, or Jocular, Lat. 
Joculator. (See p. 13, as also Note (v 2) and jSTote (q). To prevent confusion, we 
have chiefly used the more general word Minstrel : which (as the author_ of the 
Observ. on the Statutes hath suggested to the Editor) might have been originally 
derived from a diminutive of the Lat. Minister, scil. Ministerellus, Ministrellus. 

28 The Percy Reliques 

Minstrels sometimes assisted at divine service, as appears from the 
record of the 9th of Edw. IV. quoted above in p. 22, by which Haliday 
and others are erected into a perpetual Gild, &c. (See the original in 
Rymer, xi. 642. ) By part of this record it is recited to be their duty 
" to pray {exorare : which it is presumed they did by assisting in the 
chant, and musical accompaniment, &c.) in the king's chapel, and 
particularly for the departed souls of the king and queen when they 
shall die, &c." The same also appears from the passage in the 
Supplem. to Du Cange, alluded to above. "Minister . . . pro 
Ministellus Joculator.^ Vetus Ceremoniale MS. B. M. deauratae Tolos. 
" Item, etiam congregabuntur Piscatores, qui debent interesse isto die 
in processione cum Mt7tistris seu Joculatoribus ; quia ipsi Piscatores 
tenentur habere isto die Joculatores, seu Mimos ob honorem Crucis — 
et vadunt primi ante processionem cum Ministris seu Joculatoribus 
semper pulsantibus usque ad Ecclesiam S. Stephani." (Gloss. 773-) 
This may perhaps account for the clerical appearance of the Minstrels, 
who seem to have been distinguished by the Tonsure, which was one of 
the inferior marks of the clerical character.^ Thus Jeffery of Mon- 
mouth, speaking of one who acted the part of a Minstrel, says, " Rasit 
capillos suos et barbam." (See Note (k). Again, a writer in the 
reign of Elizabeth, describing the habit of an ancient Minstrel, speaks 
of his head as "rounded tonster-wise" (which I venture to read 
tonsure-wise), "his beard smugly shaven." See above, p. 24. 

It must however be observed, that notwithstanding such clerical 
appearance of the Minstrels, and though they might be sometimes 
countenanced by such of the clergy as were of more relaxed morals, 
their sportive talents rendered them generally obnoxious to the more 
rigid ecclesiastics, and to such of the religious orders as were of more 
severe discipline ; whose writings commonly abound with heavy 
complaints of the great encouragement shown to those men by the 
princes and nobles, and who can seldom afford them a better name than 
that of ScurrcB, Famelici, Nebulones, &c. of which innumerable 
instances may be seen in Du Cange. It was even an established order 
in some of the monasteries, that no Minstrel should ever be suffered to 
enter the gates.* 

We have however innumerable particulars of the good cheer and 
great rewards given to the Minstrels in many of the convents, which are 
collected by T. Warton (i. 91, &c.) and others. But one instance, 
quoted from Wood's Hist. Antiq. Univ. Ox. i. 67 (sub an. 1224), 
deserves particular mention. Two itinerant priests, on a supposition of 

1 Ministers seems to be used for Minstrels in the Account of the enthronization of 
Apb. Neville (An. 6. Edw. IV.): "Then all the chaplyns must say grace, and the 
Ministers do sing." Vid. Lelandi Collectanea, by Hearne, vol. vi. p. 13. 

2 It has however been suggested to the Editor by the learned and ingenious 
author of " Irish Antiquities," 4to. that the ancient Mimi among the Romans had 
their heads and beards shaven, as is shown by Salmasius in Notis ad Hist. August. 
Scriptores VI. Paris, 1620, fol. p. 385. So that this peculiarity had a classical origin, 
though it afterwards might make the Minstrels sometimes pass for ecclesiastics, as 
appears from the instance given below. Dr. Burney tells us that Histriones, and 
Mimi, abounded in France m the time of Charlemagne (ii. 221), so that their pro- 
fession was handed down in regular succession from the time of the Romans, and 
therewith some leading distinctions of their habit or appearance ; yet with a change 
in their arts of pleasing, which latterly were most confined to singing and music. 

8 Yet in St. Mary's church at Beverley, one of the columns hath this inscription : 
" Thys Pillar made the Mynstrylls ; " having its capital decorated with figures of 
five men in short coats; one of whom holds an instrument resembling a lute. See Sir 
J. Hawkins's, Hist. ii. 298. 

Notes 29 

their being Mimi or Minstrels, gained admittance. But the cellarer, 
sacrist, and others of the brethren, who had hoped to have been enter- 
tained with their diverting arts, &c. when they found them to be only 
two indigent ecclesiastics, who could only administer spiritual consola- 
tion, and were consequently disappointed of their mirth, beat them and 
turned them out of the monastery (ibid. p. 92). This passage furnishes 
an additional proof that a Minstrel might by his dress or appearance be 
mistaken for an ecclesiastic. 

(b) "The Minstrels use mimicry and action, and other means of 
diverting," &c.] It is observable, that|OUr old monkish historians do 
not use the words Cantator, Citkarcedus, Musicus, or the like, to 
express a Minstrel in Latin, so frequently as Mimus, Histrio, Joculator, 
or some other word that implies gesture. Hence it might be inferred, 
that the Minstrels set off their songs with all the arts of gesticulation, &c. 
or, according to the ingenious hypothesis of Dr. Brown, united the 
powers of melody, poem, and dance. See his History of the Rise of 
Poetry, &c. 

But indeed all the old writers describe them as exercising various 
arts of this kind. Joinville, in his life of St. Lewis, speaks of some 
Armenian Minstrels, who were very dextrous tumblers and posture- 
masters. " Avec le prince vinrent trois Menestriers de la Grande 
Hyermenie (Armenia) . . . . et avoient trois cors — Quand ils encom- 
menceoient a corner, vous dissiez que ce sont les voix de cygnes, .... 
et fesoient les plus douces melodies.— lis fesoient trois merveilleus saus, 
car on leur metoit une touaille desous les piez, et tournoient tout 
debout . . . Les deux tournoient les testes arieres," &c. See the 
extract at large, in the Hon. D. Barrington's Observations on the 
Anc. Statutes, 410. 2d edit. p. 273. omitted in the last impression. 

This may also account for that remarkable clause in the press warrant 
of Henry VL " De Ministrallis propter solatium Regis providendis," 
by which it is required, that the boys, to be provided "in arte 
Ministrallatiis instructos," should also be " membris naturalibus 
elegantes." See above p. 21. Observ. on the Anc. Stat. 4th edit. 

P- 337- 

Although by Minstrel was properly understood, in English, one who 

sung to the harp, or some other instrument of music, verses composed 

by himself or others ; yet the term was also applied by our old writers 

to such as professed either music or singing separately, and perhaps to 

such as practised any of the sportive arts connected with these. ^ 

Music however being the leading idea, was at length peculiariy 

called minstrelsy, and the name of Minstrel at last confined to the 

musician only. 

Id the French language all these arts were included under the general 

name of Menestraudie, Menestraudise, Jonglerie, &c. (Med. Lat. 

Me7iestellorti7n Ars, Ars J oculatoria, <Sr=<r.) — "On peut comprendre 

sousle nom de Jonglerie tout ce qui appartient aux anciens chansonniers 

Provencaux, Normands, Picards, &c. Le corps de la Jonglerie etoit 

forme des Trouveres, ou Trotibadojirs , qui composoient les chansons, et 

parmi lesquels il y avoit des Improvisateiirs, comme on en trouve en 

Italie ; des Oianteurs ou Chanteres qui executoient ou chantoient ces 

compositions ; des Conteurs qui faisoient en vers ou en prose les contes, 

les recits, les histoires ; Aq.% Jongleurs ou Menestrels qui accompagnoient 

1 Vid. infra, Not. (a a). 

30 The Percy Reliques 

de leurs instruments. L'art de ces Chantres ou Chansonniers, etoit 
nomme la Science Gaie, Gay Saber" (Pref. Anthologie Franc. 1765, 
Svo. p. 17). See also the curious Fauchet {De V Orig. de la Lang. Fr. 
p. 72, dfc.) "Bien tost apres la division de ce grand empire Francois 
en tant de petits royaumes, duchez, et comtez, au lieu des Poetes com- 
mencerent ase faire cognoistre les Trouverres, et Chanterres, Conteoiirs, 
eX /iigleours : qui sont Trouveurs, Chantres, Conism^, Jongleurs, ou 
Jugleurs, c'est a dire, A'lenestriers chantans avec la viole." 

We see then ttizt Jongleur, Jugkur CLaX. Joatlator, Jttglator), was a 
peculiar name appropriated to the Minstrels. ' ' Les Jongleurs ne faisoient 
que chanter les poesies sur leurs instnimens. On les appelloit aussi 
Menestrels ; " says Fontenelle, in his Hist, du Theat. Franc, prefixed 
to his Life of Corneille. 

(c) " Successors of the ancient Bards."] That the Minstrels in many 
respects bore a strong resemblance both to the British PJards and to the 
Danish Scalds, appears from this, that the old monkish writers express 
them all without distinction by the same names in Latin. Thus 
Geoffery of Monmouth, himself a Welshman, speaking of an old Pagan 
British king, who excelled in singing and music so far as to be esteemed 
by his countrymen the patron Deity of the Bards, uses the phrase Deies 
Joctdatorum ; which is the peculiar name given to the English and 
French Minstrels.* In like manner, William Malmesbury, speaking of 
a Danish king's assuming the profession of a Scald, expresses it by 
Professus Mimum ; which was another name given to the Minstrels in 
middle Latinity.^ Indeed Du Cange, in his Glossary, quotes a writer, 
who positively asserts that the Minstrels of the middle ages were the 
same with the ancient Bards. I shall give a large extract from this 
learned glossographer, as he relates many curious particulars concerning 
the profession and arts of the Minstrels ; whom, after the monks, he 
stigmatizes by the name oi Scurrtr ; though he acknowledges their songs 
often tended to inspire virtue. 

'■'■ Ministelli, dicti prassertim Scurra, Mimi, Joculatores." .... 
" Ejusmodi Scurrarum munus erat principes non suis duntaxat ludicris 
oblectare, sed et eorum aures variis avorum, adeoque ipsorum principum 
laudibus, non sine assentatione, cum cantilenis et musicis instrumentis 
demulcere. . . . 

' ' Interdum etiam virorum insignium et heroum gesta, aut explicata 
et jocunda narratione commemorabant, aut suavi vocis inflexione, fidi- 
busque decantabant, quo sic dominorum, cseterorumque qui his intererant 
ludicris, nobilium animos ad virtuieni capessendam, et summorum 
virorum imitationem accenderent : quod fuit olim apud Gallos Bardorum 
ministerium, ut auctor est Tacitus. Neque enim alios a Ministellis, 
veterum Gallorum Bardos fuisse pluribus probat Henricus Valesius ad 
J 5 Ammiani Chronicon Bertrandi Guesclini. 

Qui veut avoir renom des bons et des vaillans 

II doit aler souvent a la pluie et au champs 

Et estre en la bataille, ainsy que fu Rollans, 

Les Quatre Fils Haimon, et Chorion li plus grans, 

Li dus Lions de Bourges, et Guions de Connans, 

Perceval li Galois, Lancelot, et Tristans, 

Alixandres, Artus, Godfroi li Sachans, 

De quoy oils Menestriers font les nobles Romans." 

*' Nicolaus de Braia describens solenne convivium, quo post inaugura- 

1 Vid. Note (B) (k) (q). 2 Vid. Note (n). 

Notes 31 

tionem suam proceres excepitLud. VIII. rex Francorum, ait inter ipsius 
convivii apparatum, in medium prodiisse Minium, qui regis laudes ad 
cytharam decantavit. " 

Our author then gives the lines at length, which begin thus — 

" Duraque fovent genium geniali munere Bacchi, 
Nectare commtxto curas removente Lyaeo 
Principis a facie, citharae celeberrimus arte 
Assurgit Minnis, ars musica quern decoravit. 
Hie ergo chorda resonante subintulit ista ; 
Inclyte rex regum, probitatis stemmate vernans, 
Quem vigor et virtus extoUit in sethera famae," &:c. 

The rest may be seen in Du Cange, who thus proceeds, " ATitto reliqua 
similia, ex quibus omnino patet ejusmodi Mimorum et Ministellorum 

cantilenas ad virtutem principes excitasse Id prasertim in 

pugnse prsecinctu, dominis suis occinebant, ut martium ardorem in 
eorum animis concitarent : cujusmodi cantum Cantilenam Rollandi 
appellat Will. Malmesb. lib. 3. Aimoinus, lib. 4. de Mirac. S. Bened. 
c. 37. * Tanto vero illis securitas . . . . ut Scurram se precedere 
facerent, qui musico instrumento res fortiter gestas et priorum bella 
prsecineret, quatenus his acrius incitarentur, &c.' " As the writer was 
a monk, we shall not wonder at his calling the Minstrel, Scurram. 

This word Scurra, or some one similar, is represented in the glossaries 
as the prope; meaning of Leccator (Fr. Leccour) the ancient term by 
which the Minstrel appears to be expressed in the Grant to Button, 
quoted above in page 18. On this head I shall produce a very curious 
passage, which is twice quoted in Du Cange's Glossary (sc. ad verb. 
Menestellus et ad verb. Lecator). " Philippus Mouskes in Philip. Aug, 
fingit Carolum M. Provincie comitatum Scurris et Mimis suis olim 
donasse, indeque postea tantum in hac regione poetarum numerum 

Quar quant li buens RoisKarlemaigne 
Ot toute mise a son demaine 
Provence, qui mult iert plentive 
De vins, de bois, d'aigue, de rive, 
As Leccours as Menestreiis 
Qui sont auques luxurieus 
Le donna toute et departi." 

(d) " The Poet and the Minstrel early with us became two persons."] 
The word Scald comprehended both characters among the Danes, nor 
do I know that they had any peculiar name for either of them separate. 
But it was not so with the Anglo-Saxons. They called a poet Sceop, 
and Leo'Sfjyhra : the last of these comes from Leo's, a song ; and the 
former answers to our old word Maker (Gr. nojijr^s) being derived 
from Scippan or Sceopati, formare, facere, fingere, creare (Ang. to 
shape). As for the Minstrel, they distinguished him by the peculiar 
appellation of Elisman, and perhaps by the more simple title of 
Heappefie, Harper. (See below. Notes (h) (i). This last title, at 
least, is often given to a Minstrel by our most ancient English rhymists. 
See in this work vol. i. p. 37, &c. and Series III. Book i. No. 7. 

(e) "Minstrels ... at the houses of the great, &c."] Du Cange 
affirms, that in the middle ages the courts of princes swarmed so much 
with this kind of men, and such large sums were expended in main- 
taining and rewarding them, that they often drained the royal 
treasuries ; especially, he adds, of such as were delighted with their 

32 The Percy Reliques 

flatteries ("prKsertim qui ejusmodi Ministellorum assentationibus 
delectabantur "). He then confirms his assertion by several passages 
out of monastic writers, who sharply inveigh against this extravagance. 
Of these I shall here select only one or two, which show what kind of 
rewards were bestowed on these old songsters. 

" Rigordus de Gestis Philippi Aug. an 1185. Cum in curiis regum 
seu aliorum principum, frequens turba Histriomim convenire soleat, ut 
ab eis aurum, argentuin, eqtios, seu vestes,^ quos perssepe mutare 
consueverunt principes, ab eis extorqueant, verba joculatoria variis 
adulationibus plena proferre nituntur. Et ut magis placeant, quicquid 
de ipsis principibus probabiliter fingi potest, videlicet omnes delitias et 
lepores, et visu dignas urbanitates et casteras ineptias, trutinantibus 
buccis in medium eructare non erubescunt. Vidimus quondam quos- 
dam principes, qui vestes diu excogitatas, et variis florum picturationibus 
artificios6 elaboratas, pro quibus forsan 20 vel. 30 marcas argenti 
consumpserant, vix revolutis septem diebus, Histrionibus, ministris 
diaboli, ad primam vocem dedisse, &c." 

The curious reader may find a similar, though at the same time a 
more candid account, in that most excellent writer, Presid. Fauchet 
(Recueil de la Lang. Fr. p. 73), who says that, like the ancient Greek 
AoiSoi, " Nos Trouverres, ainsi que ceux la, prenans leur subject sur les 
faits des vaillans (qu'ils appelloyent Geste, venant de Gesta Latin) 
alloyent . . . par les cours rejouir les Princes . . . Remportans des 
grandes recompences des seigneurs, qui bien souvent leur donnoyent 
jusques aux robes qu'ils avoyent vestues : et lesquelles ces Jugleours ne 
failloyent de porter aux autres cours, k fin d'inviter les seigneurs a 
pareille liberalite. Ce qui a dure si longuement, qu'il Me souvient 
avoir veu Martin Baraton (ja viel Menestrier d'Orleans) lequel aux 
festes et nopces batoit un tabourin d'argent, seme des plaques aussi 
d'argent, gravees des armoiries de ceux a qui il avoit appris a dancer.'" 
Here we see that a Minstrel sometimes performed the function of a 

Fontenelle even gives us to understand, that these men were often 
rewarded with favours of a still higher kind, " Les princesses & les plus 
grandes dames y joignoient souvent leurs faveurs. Elles etoient fort 
foibles contre les beaux esprits." (Hist, du Theat.) We are not to 
wonder then that this profession should be followed by men of the first 
quality, particularly the younger sons and brothers of great houses. 
"Tel qui par les partages de fa famille n'avoit que la moitie ou le 
quart d'une vieux chateaux bien seigneurial, alloit quelque temps courir 
le monde en rimant, et revenoit acquerir le reste de Chateau." 
(Fontenelle Hist, du Theat.) We see then, that there was no impro- 
bable fiction in those ancient songs and romances, which are founded 
on the story of Minstrels being beloved by kings' daughters, &c. and 
discovering themselves to be the sons of some foreign prince, &c. 

(f) The honours and rewards lavished upon the Minstrels were not 
confined to the continent. Our own countryman Johannes Sarisburi- 

1 The Minstrels in France were received with great magnificence in the 14th cen- 
tury. Froissart describing a Christmas entertainment given by the Comte de Foix, 
tells us, that "there were many Mynstrels, as well of hys own as of straungers, and 
cache of them dyd their devojTe in their faculties. The same day the Erie of Foix 
gave to Haraulds and Minstrelles the som of Fyve Hundred Frankes : and gave to 
the Duke of Tourayns Mynstreles Gownes of Clothe of Gold furred with Ermyne 
valued at Two Hundred Frankes." B. iii. c. 31. Eng. Trans. Lond. 1525. (Mr. C) 

Notes 33 

ensis (in the time of Henry II.) declaims no less than the monks 
abroad, against the extravagant favour shewn to these men. " Non 
enim more nugatorum ejus seculi in Histriones et Mimos, et hujusmodi 
monstra hominum, ob famse redemptionem et dilatationem nominis 
effunditis opes vestras," &c. Epist. 247. ^ 

The monks seem to grudge every act of munificence tliat was not 
applied to the benefit of themselves and their convents. They there- 
fore bestow great applauses upon the Emperor Henry, who, at his 
marriage with Agnes of Poictou, in 1044, disappointed the poor Min- 
strels, and sent them away empty. " Infinitam Histrionum et Jocula- 
torum multitudinem sine cibo et muneribus vacuam et mcerentem abire 
permisit." (Chronic. Virtziburg.) For which I doubt not but he vi^as 
sufficiently stigmatized in the songs and ballads of those times. Vid. 
Du Cange, Gloss, torn. iv. p. 771, &c. 

(g) "The annals of the Anglo-Saxons are scanty and defective."] 
Of the few histories now remaining that were written before the Norman 
Conquest, almost all are such short and naked sketches and abridge- 
ments, giving only a concise and general relation of the more remarkable 
events, that scarce any of the minute circumstantial particulars are to 
be found in them : nor do they hardly ever descend to a description of 
the customs, manners, or domestic oeconomy of their countrymen. 
The Saxon Chronicle, for instance, which is the best of them, and 
upon some accounts extremely valuable, is almost such an epitome as 
Lucius Florus and Eutropius have left us of the Roman history. As 
for Ethelward, his book is judged to be an imperfect translation of the 
Saxon Chronicle ; ^ and the Pscudo-Asser, or Chronicle of St. Neot, is 
a poor defective performance. How absurd would it be then to argue 
against the existence of customs or facts, from the silence of such 
scanty records as these ! Whoever would carry his researches deep 
into that period of history, might safely plead the excuse of a learned 
writer, who had particularly studied the Ante-Norman historians. 
*' Conjecturis (licet nusquam verisimili fundamento) aliquoties indulge- 
mus . . . utpote ab Historicis jejune nimis et indiligenter res nostras 
tractantibus coacti . . . Noslri . . . nuda factorum commemoratione 
plerumque contenti, reliqua omnia, sive ob ipsarum rerum, sive 
meliorum literarum, sive Historicorum officii ignorantiam, fere intacta 
pr^tereunt." Vide plura in Prsefat. ad ^Ifr. Vitam a Spelman. Ox. 
1678. fol. 

(h) " Minstrels and Harpers."] That the Harp (DV/za^a) was the 
common musical instrument of the Anglo-Saxons, might be inferred 
from the very word itself, which is not derived from the British, or any 
other Celtic language, but of genuine Gothic original, and current 
among every branch of that people : viz. Ang. Sax. Heajipe, Heafipa. 
Iceland, ^arpa, t^aurpa. Dan. and Belg. ^arpf. Germ, fjarpffi, 
parpffa. Gal. Harpe. Span. Harpa. Ital. Arpa. (Vid. Jun. 
Etym. — Menage Etym. &c.) As also from this, that the word Heappe- 
is constantly used, in the Anglo-Saxon versions, to express the Latin 
words Cithara, Lyra, and even Cymbalum: the word Psalmns itself 
being sometimes translated Heafip f^ns. Harp Song. Gloss. Jun. R. 
apud Lye Anglo-Sax. Lexic. 

1 Et vid. Policraticon, cap. 8, &c. 

2 Vid. Nicolson's Eng. Hist. Lib. &c. 

VOL. I. D 

34 The Percy Reliques 

But the fact itself is positively proved by the express testimony of 
Bede, who tells us that it was usual at festival meetings for this instru- 
ment to be handed round, and each of the company to sing to it in 
his turn. See his Hist. Eccles. Anglor. Lib. 4. c. 24. where speaking 
of their sacred poet Casdmon, who lived in the times of the Heptarchy 
(ob. circ. 680), he says : — 

"Nihil unquam frivoli et supervacui poematis facere potuit ; sed ea 
tantummodo, qusead religionem pertinent, religiosam ejus linguam dece- 
bant. Siquidem in habilu sseculari, usque ad tempora provectioris 
setatis constitutus, nil Carminum aliquando didicerat. Unde nonnun- 
quam in convivio, ciim esset Isetitiae causa decretum ut omnes per ordi- 
nem cantare deberent, ille ubi appropinquare sibi citharatn cernebat 
surgebat k media csena, et egressus, ad suam domum repedabat." 

I shall now subjoin king Alfred's own Anglo-Saxon translation of this 
passage, with a literal interlineary English version. 

"He . najpfie iiohr learunja, ne i&elej- leo<5ef- pypcean ne 
He . . . never no kasings, nor idle so?tgs compose ne 
mihre, ac epne ^a an 'Sa fJe to aepej-rnerre be- 
might ; but lo ! only those thiiigs which to religion \_piety'] be- 
lunipon. "7 hip ^a aepefran tunjan je'isapenobe pnjan : CDaer he 
long, and his then pious tongue became to sing : He was 
re man in peofiolo-hatie ^efereb o^ ^Sa rise 15e he 
the [a] man in worldly [secular] state set to the time in which he 
paer op jelypecpe yl&o. -j he nagpjie senig leo)' seleofinobe. -j 
7uas op an advanced age ; and he never any song learned. And 
he pojij^on opr m sebeofipcpe Sonne feji psej- blirre- 
he therefore oft in an entertainment, when there was for mer- 
inicinj5a je'»enie"& ^ hi ealle pceol'oan Sufih 

riment-sake adjitdged [or decreed] that they all should through 
en'^ebyfi'tsnepre be heajipan pinjan. iSonne he jepeah ^a 
their turns by [to the] harp sing; icheii he sa7v the 
heajipan him nealaecean. 'Sonne apap he pofi pceonie pfiam 
harp him approach, then arose he for shame from 
Sam pymle. -j ham eo'oe to hip hupe." 

the supper, and home yode [went] to his house. 

Bed. Hist. Eccl. a Smith. Cantab. 1722. fol. p. 597. 

In this version of Alfred's it is observable (l) that he has expressed the 
Latin word cantare, by the Anglo-Saxon words " be heappan pinjan," 
sing to the harp ; as if they were synonym<jus, or as if his country- 
men had no idea of singing unaccompanied with the harp : (2) That 
when Bede simply says, surgebat a medid carnd ; he assigns a motive, 
"apap pop pceome," arose for shame : that is, either from an austerity 
of manners, or from his being deficient in an accomplishment, which so 
generally prevailed among his countrymen. 

(i) "The word Glee, which peculiarly denoted their art, &c."] This 
word G^/<?is is derived from the Anglo-Saxon nii33[Gligg], Musica,M\xsic, 
^iuutrtlsg (Somn). This is the common radix, whence arises such 
a variety of terms and phrases relating to the Minstrel art, as affords the 
strongest internal proof, that this profession was extremely common and 
popular here before the Norman Conquest. Thus we have 

Notes 35 


(t) niip [Gliw], Mimus, a Minstrel. 

nii3nian, jhsmon, jhman, [Gleemani] Histrio, Mimus, Panto- 
mi mus ; all common names in middle Latinity for a Minstrel: and 
Somner accordingly renders the original by a Utinstrcl ; a finger 
on a KimbrtI or Saber. He adds, a JiOier ; but although the 
Fythel or Fiddle was an ancient instrument, by which the Jogelar or 
Minstrel sometimes accompanied his song (see Warton, i. 17), it is 
probable that Somner annexes here only a modern sense to the word, 
not having at all investigated the subject. 

ninmen, jliijmen, [Gleemen]. Histriones, Minstrels. Hence 

nii^manna-yppe. Orchestra vel Pulpitus. The place where the 
Minstrels exhibited their performances. 

(2) But their most proper and expressive name was 
niiphleol'fiien'o. Musicus, a ^instrtl ; and 
ljliphleof)pien*oIica. Musicus, musical. 

These two words include the full idea of the Minstrel character, 
expressing at once their music and singing, being compounded of EJlip, 
Mtisicus, Mimus, a Musician, Minstrel, and LeoS, Carmen, a Song. 

(3) From the above word IjIijj, the profession itself was called 
Dlijcjisepr, [Glig- or Glee-craft]. Musica, Histrionia, Mimica, 

Gesticulatio : which Somner rightly gives in English, pinstrtlsg, 
S^imical (gesticulation, iHumnurg. He also adds, ^tage-plaging ; 
but here again I think he substitutes an idea too modern, 
induced by the word Histrionia, which in middle Latinity only signifies 
the Minstrel art. 

However, it should seem that both mimical gesticulation and a kind 
of rude exhibition of characters were sometimes attempted by the old 
Minstrels : But 

(4) As musical performance was the leading idea, so 
niiopian, Catitus musicos edere ; and 

nUjbeam, ^lipbeam, [Glig- or Glee-beam]. Tympanum; a Simbre! 
or Saber. (So Somn.) Hence 

niypan. Tympanum pulsare ; and 

niip-me'ten, EJliypiende-ma'cen [Glee-maiden] ; Tympanistria : 
which Somner renders a s^e p:instrcl; for it should seem that they 
had females of this profession ; one name for which was also 

1 Gleeman continued to be the name given to a Minstrel both in England and Scot- 
land almost as long as this order of men continued. 

In De Brunne's metrical version of Bishop Grosthead's Manuel de Pccke, a.d. 
1303, (see Warton, i. 61), we have this, 

Code men, ye shall lere 

When ye any Gleman here. 

Fabyan, (in his Chronicle, 1533, f. 32), translating the passage from Geoffrey of 
Monmouth, quoted below in p. 38. Note (k), renders Deus Joculatorum, by God 
of Gleemen. Warton's Hist. Eng. Poet, Diss I. Fabyan died in 1592. 

Dunbar, who lived in the same century, describing, in one of his poems, intituled, 
" The Dauncer," what passed in the infernal regions " amangis the Feyndis," says 

Na Menstralls playit to thame, but dowt 
For Gle-men thaire wer haldin out. 
Be day and eke by nycht. 

See poems from Bannatyne's MS. Edinb. 1770. izmo. page 30. 
Maitland's MS. at Cambridge reads here, Glewe men. 

36 The Percy Reliques 

(5) Of congenial derivation to the foregoing, is 

Iflypc [Glywc]. Tibia, a. Pipe or Flute. 
Both this and the common radix nii35, are with great appearance of truth 
derived by Junius from the Icelandic (Sliggnr, Flatus : as supposing 
the first attempts at music among our Gothic ancestors were from wind- 
instruments. Vid. Jun. Etym. Ang. v. Glee. 


But the Minstrels, as is hinted above, did not confine themselves to 
the mere exercise of their primary arts of music and song, but occasion- 
ally used many other modes of diverting. Hence, from the above root 
was derived, in a secondary sense, 

(1) nieo, and pmj-um ^hp. FaceticB. 

tj\eoy\a.n, jocari ; to jest or be mrrrg (Somn.) ; and 
Ijleofien^'o, jocans ; itsting, speaking mcrrilg (Somn.) ; 
niijman, also signified yi^m/a, a Jester. 

Dlij-^amen (Glee-games), joci. Which Somner renders, Merri- 
ments, or mcrrg jests, or Sricks or Sports ; (Samboles. 

(2) Hence, again, by a common metonymy of the cause for the effect, 
Jjhe, gattdium, alaa-itas, Icttitia, facetia: %m, ^irtlj, (Slabitess, Cljerr- 

fuliuss, ©Ite. [Somner]. Which last application of the word still 
continues, though rather in a low debasing sense. 


But however agreeable and delightful the various arts of the Minstrels 
might be to the Anglo-Saxon laity, there is reason to believe that before 
the Norman Conquest at least, they were not much favoured by the 
clergy ; particularly by those of monastic profession. For, not to 
mention that the sportive talents of these men would be considered by 
those austere ecclesiastics as tending to levity and licentiousness, the 
Pagan origin of their art would excite in the monks an insuperable 
prejudice against it. The Anglo-Saxon Harpers and Gleemen were the 
immediate successors and imitators of the Scandinavian Scalds ; who 
were the great promoters of Pagan superstition, and fomented that 
spirit of cruelty and outrage in their countrymen the Danes, which fell 
with such peculiar severity on the religious and their convents. Hence 
arose a third application of words derived from lilijj, minstrelsy, in a 
very unfavourable sense, and this chiefly prevails in books of religion 
and ecclesiastic discipline. Thus 

(l) niij is Liidih7-ium, laughing to scorn. ^ So in S. Basil. Regul. 
II. Hi hiep'^on him ro jlije halpentie minejunse. Ludibrio 
habebant salutarem ejus adtnonitione/n. (lO. ) This sense of the 
word was perhaps not ill-founded ; for as the sport of rude uncul- 
tivated minds often arises from ridicule, it is not improbable but the old 
Minstrels often indulged in a vein of this sort, and that of no very 
delicate kind. So again, 

Dli3-man was also used to signify Scurra, a shucji fester. (Somn.) 

niij-seofin. Dicax, Scurriles jocos supra quhm par est amans. 
Officium Episcopale, 3. 

Dli))ian. Scurrilibus oblectamentis indulgere ; Scurram agere. 
Canon. Edgar, 58. 

1 To gletk, is used in Shakspeare, for " to make sport, to jest," &c. 

Notes 37 

(2) Again, as the various attempts to please, practised by an order of 
men who owed their support to the public favour, might be considered 
by those grave censors as mean and debasing : Hence came from the 
same root, 

niipeji, Parasitus, Assentator ; a J^afoner, a SToggtr, a ^arasitt, 
a (l^latterer.^ (Somn.) 


To retr.rn to the Anglo-Saxon word IJI155 ; notwithstanding the 
various secondary senses in which this word (as we have seen above) 
was so early applied : yet 

The derivative Glee (though now chiefly used to express merriment 
and joy) long retained its first simple meaning, and is even applied by 
Chaucer to signify music and Minstrelsy. — (vid. Jun. Etym.) e. g. 

For though that the best harper upon live 
Would on the beste sounid jolly harpe 
That evir was, with all his fingers five 
Touch aie o string, or aie o warble harpe. 
Were his nailes poincted nevir so sharpe 

It shoulde malcin every wight to dull 

To heare is Glee, and of his strokes ful. 

Troyl. lib. ii. 1030. 

Junius interprets Glees by Miisica Instrumenta, in the following 
passages of Chaucer's Third Boke of Fame. 

. . Stoden . . the castell all aboutin 
Of all maner of Mynstrales 
And Jestours that tellen tales 
Both of wepyng and of game, 
And of all that longeth unto fame ; 
There herde I play on a harpe 
That sowned both well and sharpe 
Hym Orpheus full craftily ; 
And on this syde fast by 
Sat the harper Orion ; 
And Eacides Chirion ; 
And other harpers many one. 
And the Briton Glaskyrion. 

After mentioning these, the great masters of the art, he proceeds ; 

And small harpers with her Glees 
Sat under them in divers .sees. 

* * » * 
Again, a little below, the poet having enumerated the performers on 
all the different sorts of instraments, adds, 

There sawe I syt in other sees 
Playing upon other sundry Glees, 
Which that I cannot neven^ 
More than starres ben in heven, &c. 

Upon the above lines I shall only make a few observations : 

(i) That by Jestours, I suppose we are to understand Gestours ; scil. 

1 The preceding list of Anglo-Saxon words, so full and copious beyond any thing 
that ever yet appeared in print on this subject, was extracted from Mr. Lye's curious 
Anglo-Saxon Lexicon, in MS. but the arrangement here is the Editor's own. It had 
however received the sanction of Mr. Lye's approbation, and would doubtless have 
been received into his printed copy, had he lived to publish it himself 

It should also be observed, for the sake of future researches, that without the 
assistance of the old English interpretations given by Somner, in his Anglo-Saxon 
Dictionary, the Editor of this book never could have discovered that Glee signified 
flBinstrelfls, or GUgman a /Kinstrel. 

2 Neven, /. e. name. 

38 The Percy Reliques 

the relaters of Gests (Lat. Gesia) or stories of adventures both comic 
and tragical ; whether true or feigned ; I am inclined to add, whether 
in prose or verse (compare the record below, in marginal note subjoined 
to (v 2). Of the stories in prose, I conceive we have specimens in that 
singular book the Gesta Romaiiorum, and this will account for its seem- 
ingly improper title. These were evidently what the French called 
Conteours, or Story-tellers, and to them we are probably indebted for 
the first prose romances of chivalry : which may be considered as 
specimens of their manner. 

(2) That the "Briton Glaskeryon," whoever he was, is apparently 
the same person with our famous harper Glasgerion, of whom the 
reader will find a tragical ballad, in Series III. Book i. No. 7. In 
that song may be seen an instance of what was advanced above in Note 
(e), of the dignity of the Minstrel Profession, or at least of the artifice 
with which the minstrels endeavoured to set off its importance. 

Thus " a king's son is represented as appearing in the character of a 
Harper or Minstrel in the court of another king. He wears a collar 
(or gold chain) as a person of illustrious rank ; rides on horseback, and 
is admitted to the embraces of a king's daughter." 

The Minstrels lost no opportunity of doing honour to their heart. 

(3) As for the word Glees, it is to this day used in a musical sense, 
and applied to a peculiar piece of composition. Who has not seen the 
advertisements proposing a reward to him who should produce the best 
Catch, Canon, or Glee? 

(k) "Comes from the pen of Geoffrey of Monmouth."] Geoffrey's 
own words are, "Cum ergo alterius modi aditum [Boldulphus] non 
haberet, rasit capillos suos et barbam,^ cultumque Jociilatoris cum 
Cythara fecit. Deinde intra castra deambulans, modulis quos in Lyra 
componebat, sese Cytharistam exhibebat." Galf. Monum. Hist. 4to. 
150S, lib. vii. c. I. That Joculator signifies precisely a Minstrel 
appears not only from this passage, where it is used as a word of like 
import to Citharista or Harper (which was the old English word for 
Minstrel), but also from another passage of the same author, where it 
is applied as equivalent to Cantor. See lib. i. cap. 22, where speaking 
of an ancient (perhaps fabulous) British king, he says, "Hie omnes 
cantores quos prxcedens astas habuerat et in modulis et in omnibus 
musicis instrumentis excedebat ; ita ut Deus Joatlatontm videretur." 
Whatever credit is due to Geoffrey as a relater of facts, he is certainly 
as good authority as any for the signification oi words. 

(l) "Two remarkable facts."] Both of these facts are recorded by 
William of Malmesbury ; and the first of them, relating to Alfred, by 

1 Geoffrey of Monmouth is probably here describing the appearance of the Jocula- 
tores or Minstrels, as it was in his own time. For they apparently derived this part 
of their dress, &c. from the Mitni of the ancient Romans, who had their heads and 
beards shaven (see above, p. 2S. note 2), as they likewise did the mimicry, and other 
arts of diverting, which they superadded to the composing and singing to the harp 
heroic songs, &c._ which they inherited from their own progenitors the bards and 
scalds of the ancient Celtic and Gothic nations. The Longobardi had, like other 
northern people, brought these with them into Italy. For m the year 774, when 
Charlemagne entered Italy and found his passage impeded, he was met by a Minstrel 
of Lombardy, whose song promised him success and victory. " Contig\t Joculatorein 
ex Longobardorum gente ad Carolum venire, et Cantiunculam a se comfiositam, 
lotando in consp-jctu suorum cantare." Tom. ii. p. 2. Chron. Monast. Noval. lib. iiu 
cap. X. p. 717. T. Warton's Hist. vol. ii. Emend, of vol. i. p. 113. 

Notes 39 

Ingulphus also. Now Ingulphus (afterwards abbot of Croyland) was 
near forty years of age at the time of the Conquest,^ and consequently 
was as proper a judge of the Saxon manners, as if he had actually 
written his history before that event ; he is therefore to be considered 
as an Ante-Norman writer : so that whether the fact concerning Alfred 
be true or not, we are assured from his testimony, that the Joculator or 
Minstrel was a common character among the Anglo-Saxons. The 
same also may be inferred from the relation of William of Malmesbury, 
who outlived Ingulphus but thirty-three years. ^ Both these writers had 
doubtless recourse to innumerable records and authentic memorials of 
the Anglo-Saxon times which never descended down to us ; their testi- 
mony therefore is too positive and full to be overturned by the mere 
silence of the two or three slight Anglo-Saxon epitomes that are now 
remaining. Vid. Note (g). 

As for Asser Menevensis, who has given a somewhat more particular 
detail of Alfred's actions, and yet takes no notice of the following story, 
it will not be difficult to account for his silence, if we consider that he 
was a rigid monk, and that the Minstrels, however acceptable to the 
laity, were never much respected by men of the more strict monastic 
profession, especially before the Norman Conquest, when they would 
be considered as brethren of the Pagan scalds.^ Asser therefore might 
not regard Alfred's skill in minstrelsy in a very favourable light ; and 
might be induced to drop the circumstance related below, as reflecting 
in his opinion no great honour on his patron. 

The learned Editor of Alfred's Life, in Latin, after having examined 
the scene of action in person, and weighed all the circumstances of the 
event, determines from the whole collective evidence, that Alfred 
could never have gained the victory he did, if he had not with his own 
eyes previously seen t'ne disposition of the enemy by such a stratagem 
as is here described. Vid. Annot. in yElfr. Mag. Vitam, p. 33. Oxon. 
1678, fol. 

(m) "Alfred . . . assumed the dress and character of a Minstrel."] 
"Fingens %q. Joculatorem assumpta cithara," &c. Ingulphi Hist. p. 
869. — "Sub specie Mhni . . , ut _/(5C«/ia!^r?> professor artis." Gul. 
Malmesb. 1. ii. c. 4. p. 43. That both Joculator and Mimus signify 
literally, a Minstrel, see proved in Notes (b) (k) (n) (q), &c. See also 
Note (G g). 

Malmesbury adds, " Unius tantum fidelissimi fruebatur conscientii." 
As this confidant does not appear to have assumed the disguise of a 
Minstrel himself, I conclude that he only appeared as the Minstrel's 
attendant. Now that the Minstrel had sometimes his servant or atten- 
dant to carry his harp, and even to sing to his music, we have many 
instances in the old metrical romances, and even some in this present 
collection. (See Series L No. 6; Series III. No. 7, &c.) Among the 
French and Proven9al Bards, the Trouverre, or Inventor, was gener- 
ally attended with his singer, who sometimes also played on the harp, 
or other musical instrument. " Quelque fois durant le repas d'un 
prince on voyoit arriver un Trouverre inconnu avec ses Menestrels ou 
Jongleours, et il leur faisoit chanter sur leurs harpes ou vielles les vers 

1 Natus 1030, scripsit 1091, obiit 1109. Tanner. 

* Obiit anno 1142. Tanner. 

3 (See above, p. 36). Both Ingulph. and Will, of Malmesb. had been very con- 
versant among the Normans, who appear not to have had such prejudices against the 
Minstrels as the Anglo-Saxons had. 

40 The Percy Reliques 

qu'il avoit composes. Ceux qui faisoient les soits aussi bien que les 
mots etoient les plus estimes." Fontenelle Hist, du Theatr. 

That Alfred excelled in music is positively asserted by Bale, who 
doubtless had it from some ancient MS. many of which subsisted in his 
time that are now lost : as also by Sir J. Spelman, who, we may 
conclude, had good authority for this anecdote, as he is known to have 
compiled his life of Alfred from authentic materials collected by his 
learned father : this writer informs us that Alfred " provided himself of 
musitians, not common, or such as knew but the practick part, but 
men skilful in the art itself, whose skill and service he yet further 
improved with his own instruction." p. 199. This proves Alfred at 
least to have understood the theory of music ; and how could this have 
been acquired without practising on some instrument ? which we have 
seen above, Note (h), was so extremely common with the Anglo- 
Saxons, even in much ruder times, that Alfred himself plainly tells us, 
it was shameful to be ignorant of it. And this commonness might be 
one reason, why Asser did not think it of consequence enough to be 
particularly mentioned in his short life of that great monarch. This 
rigid monk may also have esteemed it a slight and frivolous accomplish- 
ment savouring only of worldly vanity. He has however particularly 
recorded Alfred's fondness for the oral Anglo-Saxon poems and songs 
(" Saxonica poemata die nocteque . . . audiens . . . memoriter 
retinebat." p. 16. " Carmina Saxonica memoriter discere," &c. p. 43, 
et ib). Now the poems learnt by rote, among all ancient unpolished 
nations, are ever songs chanted by the reciter, and accompanied with 
instrumental melody.^ 

(n) " With his harp in his hand, and dressed like a Minstrel."] 
" Assumpta manu cithara . . . professus Mi mum, qui hujusmodi arte 
stipem quotidianam mercaretur . . . Jussus abire pretium Cantus 
accepit." Malmesb. 1. ii. c. 6. We see here that which was rewarded 
was {not any mimicry or tricks, but) his singittg {Cantus) ; this proves, 
beyond dispute, what was the nature of the entertainment Aulaff 
afforded them. Perhaps it is needless by this time to prove to the 
reader, that Miinus in middle Latinity, signifies a Minstrel, and Mimia, 
Minstrelsy or the Minstrel Art. Should he doubt it, let him cast his 
eye over the two following extracts from Du Cange 

^"■Mimus: Musicus, qui instrumentis musicis canit. Leges Palatinae 
Jacobi II. Reg. Majoric. In domibus principum, ut tradit antiquitas, 
Mimi seu Joculatores licite possunt esse. Nam illorum officium tribuit 
Isetitiam . . . Quapropter volumus et ordinamus, quod in nostra curia 
Mimi debeant esse quinque, quorum duo sint tubicinatores, et tertius 
sit tabelerius {i.e. a player on the tabor ^). Lit. remiss, ann. 1374. 

Jl Thus Leo"©, the Sa.\on word for a poem, is properly a song, and its derivative 
lied signifies a ballad to this day in the German tongue : And cantare, we have seen 
above, is by Alfred himself rendered Be heafipan ymjau. 

2 The labour or tabourin was a common instrument with the French Minstrels, 
as it had also been with the Anglo-Saxon (vid. p. 37). Thus in an ancient Fr. MS. 
in the Harl. collection (2253, 75), a Minstrel is described as riding on horseback and 
bearing his tabour. 

Entour son col porta son tabour, 
Depeynt de Or, e riche Agour. 

See also a passage in Menage's Diction. Etym. (v. Menestriers), where iabours is 

used as synonymous to Menestriers. 

.\nother frequent instrument with them was the viele. This, I am told, 'is the name 
of an instrument at this day, which differs from a guitar, in that the player turns 

Notes 41 

Ad Mitnos comicitantes, seu bucinantes accesserunt." 

Miviia, Ludus Mimicus, Instrumentum (potius, Ars Joculatoria), 

Ann. 1482 '■'■ Mimia et cantu victum acquire." 

Du Cange, Gloss, torn. iv. 1762. Supp. c. 1225. 

(o) "To have been a Dane."] The northern historians produce 
such instances of the great respect shown to the Danish scalds in the 
courts of our Anglo-Saxon kings, on account of their musical and poetic 
talents (notwithstanding they were of so hateful a nation), that if a 
similar order of men had not existed here before, we cannot doubt but 
the profession would have been taken up by such of the natives as had 
a genius for poetry and music. 

"Extant Rhythmi hoc ipso (Islandico) idomate Anglicz, Hyberniseque 
Regibus oblati et liberaliter compensati, &c. Itaque hinc colligi potest 
linguam Danicam in aulis vicinorum regum, principumque familiarem 
fuisse, non secus ac hodie in aulis principum peregrina idiomata in 
deliciis haberi cernimus. Imprimis Vita Egilli Skallagrimii id invicto 
argumento adstruit. Quippe qui interrogatus ab Adahteino, Anglic 
rege, quomodo manus Eirici Blodoxii, Northumbrise regis, postquam 
in ejus potestatem venerat, evasisset, cujus filium propinquosque occid- 
erat, . . rei statim ordinem metro, nunc satis obscuro, exposuit nequa- 
quam ita narraturus non intelligenti." Vid. plura apud Torfseii Pr^fat. 
ad Oread. Hist. fol. 

The same Egill was no less distinguished for his valour and skill as a 
soldier, than for his poetic and singing talents as a scald ; and he was 
such a favourite with our king Athelstan that he at one time presented 
him with " duobus annulis et scriniis, duobus bene magnis argento 
repletis .... Quinetiam hoc addidit, ut Egillus quidvis prseterea a 
se petens, obtineret ; bona mobilia, sive immobilia, prsebendam vel 
prasfecturas. Egillus porro regiam munificentiam gratus excipiens. 
Carmen Encomiasticon, a se lingua Norvegica (quae turn his regnis 
communis) compositum, regi dicat ; ac pro eo, duas marcas auri puri 
(pondus marcEe . . 8 uncias sequabat) honorarii loco retulit." Arngr. 
Jon. Rer. Islandic, lib. ii. 129. 

See more of Egill, in the "Five Pieces of Runic Poetry," p. 45, 
whose poem, there translated, is the most ancient piece all in rhyme, 
that is, I conceive, now to be found in any European language, except 
Latin. See Egil's I?landic original, printed at the end of the English 
Version in the said Five Pieces, &c. 

(p) " If the Saxons had not been accustomed to have Minstrels 
of their own .... and to show favour and respect to the Danish 
Scalds,"] If this had not been the case, we may be assured, at least, 
that the stories given in the text could never have been recorded by 
writers who lived so near the Anglo-Saxon times as Malmesbury and 
Ingulphus, who, though they might be deceived as to particular facts, 
could not be so as to the general manners and customs which prevailed 
so near their own times among their ancestors. 

round a handle at the top of the instrument, and with his other hand plays on some 
keys that touch the chords and produce the sound. 

See Dr. Burney's account of the vielle, vol. ii. p. 263, who thinks it the same with 
the rote, or wheel. See p. 270 in the note. 

" II ot un Jougleor a Sens, 
Qui navoit pas sovent robe entiere ; 
So vent estoit sans sa viele." Fabliaux et Cent. ii. 184, 5. 

42 The Percy Reliques 

(q) "In Doomesday Book," &c.] Extract, ex Libro Domesday: 
Et vid. Anstis Ord. Gart. ii. 304. 


Fol. 162. Col. I. '§cxVu locnlator ^tgis Isabel iii ttllas, it tbi v. tar. 

nil xthb. 

ThB.tJoculator is properly a Minstrel, might be inferred from the two 
foregoing passages of Geoffrey of Monmouth (v. Note (k), where the 
word is used as equivalent to Citharista in one place, and to Cmitor in 
the other : this union forms the precise idea of the character. 

But more positive proofs have already offered, vid. supra, p. 29, 33, 
41, note. See also Du Cange's Gloss, vol. iii. c. 1543. '''■ Jogulator 
pro /<?<rz</a/^r.— Consilium Masil. an. 1381. Nullus Ministreys, Jogu- 
lator, audeat pinsare vel sonare instrumentum cujuscumque generis," 
&c. &c. 

As the Minstrel was termed in Yxenc\\ Jongleitr 2.ViA Jugleur, so he 
■was called in Spanish yif</'^/a;r znd Jitgla?: "Tenemos canciones y 
versos para recitar muy antiguos y memorias ciertas de los Juglares, 
que assistian en los banquetes, como los que pinta Homero." Prolog, 
a las Corned, de Cervantes, 1749, 4^0- 

" El anno 1328, en las siestas de la Coronacion del Rey, Don Alonso 
el IV. de Aragon, . . .^ t\ Juglar Ramaset canto una Villanesca de la 
Composicion del . . infante [Don Pedro] : y otro Juglar, llamado 
Novellet, recito y represento en voz y sin cantar mas de 600 versos, que 
hizo el Infante en el metro, que llamaban Rirna Vulgar." Ibid. 

" ZtJj 7>(3(^a^<5i>-£j inventaron la Caya Ciencia . . . estos Trobadores, 
eran casi todos de la primera Nobleza. — Es verdad, que ya entonces se 
havian entrometido entre las diversiones Cortesanos, los Contadores, los 
Cantores, \os Juglares, los Triianes, y los Bufones." Ibid. 

In England the King's Juglar continued to have an establishment in 
the royal household down to the reign of Henry VIII. (vide Note (c c). 
But in what sense the title was there applied, does not appear. In 
Barklay's Egloges, written circ. 15 14, Juglers and Pipers are menlioned 
together. Egl. iv. vide T. Warton's Hist. ii. 254. 

(r) "A valiant warrior, named Taillefer," &c.] See Du Cange, 
who produces this as an instance, " Quod Ministellorum munus interdum 
praestabant milites probatissimi." Le Roman De Vacce, MS. 

" Quant il virent Normanz venir 
Mout veissiez Engleiz fremir ... 
Taillefer qui mout bien chantoit, 
Sur un cheval, qui tost alloit, 
Devant euls aloit chantant 
De Kallemaigne et de Roullant, 
Et d'Olivier de Vassaux, 
Qui moururent en Rainschevaux. 

Qui quidem Taillefer a Gulielmo obtinuit ut primus in hostes irrueret, 
inter quos fortiter dimicando occubuit. " G!os.s. tom. iv. 769, 770, 771. 
"Les anciennes chroniques nous apprennent, qu'en premier rang de 
I'Armee Normande, un ecuyer nomme Taillefer, monte sur un cheval 
arme, chanta la Chanson de Roland, qui fut si long tems dans les 
bouches des Francois, sans qu'il soil reste le moindre fragment. Le 

1 " Rot>iansei Jut^lar canta alt veux . . . devant lo senyor Rey." Chron. 
d'.\ragon, apud Du Cange, iv. 771, 

Notes 43 

Taillejer apres avoir ent07ini la chanson que les soldats r^petoient, se 
jetta le premier parmi les Anglois, et fut tue." Voltaire Add. Hist. 
Univ. p. 69. 

The reader will see an attempt to restore the Chanson de Roland, 
with musical notes, in Dr. Burney's Hist. ii. p. 276. See more 
concerning the Song of Roland, vol. ii. p. 174. Note §. 

(s) "An eminent French writer," &c.] " M. I'Eveque de la 
Ravaliere, qu avoit fait beaucoup de recherches sur nos anciennes 
Chansons, pretend que c'est a la Normandie que nous devons nos 
premiers Chansonniers, non k la Provence, et qu'il y avoit parmi nous 
des Chansons en langue vulgaire avant celles de Provencaus, mais 
posterieurement au Regne de Philippe I, ou a I'an iioo." (Vid. 
Revolutions de la Langue Fran9oise, a la suite des Poesies du Roi de 
Navarre.) " Ce seroit une anteriorite de plus d'une demi siecle k 
Tepoque des premiers Troubadours, que leur historien Jean de 
Nostredame fixe k I'an ii62,"&c. Pref. a I'Anthologie Franc. 8vo. 


Tliis subject hath since been taken up and prosecuted at length in the 
Prefaces, &c. to Mr. Le Grand's " Fabliaux ou Contes du Xlie et du 
xiiie Siecle, Paris, 1788," 5 tom. i2mo. who seems pretty clearly to 
have established the priority and superior excellence of the old 
Rimeurs of the north of France over the Iroubadotiis of Provence, &c. 

(s 2) " Their own native Gleemen or Minstrels must be allowed to 
exist. "] Of this we have proof positive in the old metrical romance of 
Horn-Child (vol. ii. No. i. p. 180), which, although from the mention of 
Sarazens, <S:c. it must have been written at least after the first crusade in 
1096, yet, from its Anglo-Saxon language or idiom, can scarce be dated 
later than within a century after the Conquest. This, as appears from 
its very exordium, was intended to be sung to a popular audience, 
whether it was composed by, or for, a Gleeman, or Minstrel. But it 
carries all the internal marks of being the production of such a com- 
poser. It appears of genuine English growth ; for, after a careful 
examination, I cannot discover any allusion to French or Norman 
customs, manners, composition, or phraseology: no quotation, "As the 
romance sayth : " not a name or local reference, which was likely to 
occur to a French Rimeur. The proper names are all of northern 
extraction. Child Horn is the son of Allof (i. e. Olaf or Olave) King 
of Sudenne (I suppose Sweden), by his queen Godylde, or Godylt. 
Athulf2Si& Fykenyld zxe the names of subjects. Eylmer or Aylniere 
is king of Westnesse (a part of Ireland), Rymenyldis, his daughter ; as 
Erminyld is of another king Thurstan ; whose sons are Athyld and 
Beryld. Athelbrus is steward of K. Aylmer, cS:c. &c. All these savour 
only of a northern origin, and the whole piece is exactly such a perform- 
ance as one would expect from a Gleeman or Minstrel of the north of 
England, who had derived his art and his ideas from his scaldic prede- 
cessors there. So that this probably is the original from which was 
translated the old French fragment of Dan Horn, in the Harleyan MS. 
527, mentioned by Tyrwhitt (Chaucer, iv. 68), and by T. Warton 
(Hist. i. 38), whose extract from Horn-Child is extremely incorrect. 

Compare the style of Child-Horn with the Anglo-Saxon specimens in 
short verses and rhyme, which are assigned to the century succeeding 
the Conquest, in Hickes's Thesaurus, tom. i. cap. 24, p. 224 and 231. 

44 The Percy Reliques 

(t) " The different production of the sedentary composer and the 
rambling Minstrel."] Among the old metrical romances, a very few are 
addressed to readers, or mention reading : these appear to have been 
composed by vkriters at their desk, and exhibit marks of more elaborate 
structure and invention. Such is Eglamo7ir of Artas (vol. ii. No. xx.. 
p. 185), of which I find in a MS. copy in the Cotton Library, A 2, 
folio 3, the second fitte thus concludes, 

.... thus fer have I red. 

Such is Ipomydon (vol. ii. No. xxiii. p. 185), of which one of the 
divisions (Sign. E. ii. b. in pr. copy) ends thus, 

Let hym go, God him spede 

Tyll efte-soone we of him reed \i. e. read]. 

So in Atnys and Aviylion^ (vol. ii. No. xxxi. p. 186), in sta. 3d, we 

In Geste as we rede, 

and similar phrases occur in stanzas 34, 125, 140, 196, &c. 

These are all studied compositions, in which the story is invented 
with more skill and ingenuity, and the style and colouring are of 
superior cast to such as can with sufficient probability be attributed to 
the Minstrels themselves. 

Of this class I conceive the Romance of Horn Child (mentioned in 
the last note (s 2), and in vol. ii. No, i. p. 180), which, from the naked 
unadorned simplicity of the story, I would attribute to such an origin. 

But more evidently is such the Squire of Lozve Degree (vol. ii. No. 
xxiv. p. 186) in which is no reference to any French original, nothing 
like the phrase, which so frequently occurs in others, " As the romance 
sayth," ^ or the like. And it is just such a rambling performance as one 
would expect from an itinerant bard. And 

Such also is A lytell Geste of Roby7t Node, &c. in eight fyttes, of which 
are extant two editions, 4to., in black-letter, described more fully in the 

1 It ought to have been observed in its proper place in vol. ii. No. xx,xi, p. 186, 
thsX Atttys and Amylion v!er& no otherwise " brothers " than as being fast friends: 
as was suggested by the learned Dr. Samuel Pegge, who was so obliging as to favour 
the Essayist formerly with a curious transcript of this poem accompanied with valu- 
able illustrations, &c. ; and that it was his opinion that both the fragment of the 
Lady Bellesent mentioned in the same No. xxxi, and also the mutilated tale, (No. 
xxxvii. p. 187), were only imperfect copies of the above romance of v4;«j)'j a?«^/4wy- 
lian. which contains the two lines quoted in N6. xxxvii. 

2 Wherever the word romance occurs in these metrical narratives, it hath been 
thought to afford decisive proof of a translation from the romance or French lan- 
guage. Accordingly it is so urged by T. Warton (i. 146, note), from two passages in 
the printed copy of Sir Eglamour, viz. Sign. E. i. 

In romaunce as we rede. 
Again in fol. ult. 

In romaunce this cronycle is. 

But in the Cotton MS. of the original the first passage is 

As I herd a clerke rede. 

And the other thus, 

In Rome this gest cronycled ys. 

So that I believe references to " the romaunce," or the like, were often mere expletive 
phrases inserted by the oral reciters ; one of whom I conceive had altered or 
corrupted the old Syr Eglamour in the manner that the copy was printed. 

Notes 45 

preface to No. 8, Book i. Series I. This is not only of undoubted 
English growth, but, from the constant satire aimed at abbots and their 
convents, &c. could not possibly have been composed by any monk in 
his cell. 

Other instances might be produced ; but especially of the former kind 
is Syr Launfal (vol. ii. No. xi. p. 183), the 121st stanza of which has 

In romances as we rede. 

This is one of the best invented stories of that kind, and I believe the 
only one in which is inserted the name of the author. 

(t2) " Royer or Raherus the king's Minstrel."] He is recorded by 
Leland under both these names, in his Collectanea, scil. vol. i. p. 61. 

" Ho spit ale S. Bartholomai in West Smithfelde in London. 
"Royer Mimus Regis fundator." 

" Hasp. Sti. Battkol. Londini. 
"Raherus Mimus Regis H. I. primus fundator, an. 1102, 3 H. I. 
qui fundavit etiam Priorat. Sti. Barthol." Ibid. p. 99. 

The Mimus is properly a Minstrel in the sense affixed to the word in 
this Essay, one extract from the accounts (Lat. Compiitis) of the priory 
of Maxtock, near Coventry, in 1441, will sufficiently show. — Scil, 
" Dat. Sex. Mimis Dni. Clynton cantantibus, citharisantibus, ludenti- 
bus, &c. iiiij." (T. Warton, ii. 106, note q). The same year the prior 
gave to a doctc. pradicans, for a sermon preached to them, only dd. 

In the Monasticon, torn. ii. p. 166, 167, is a curious history of the 
founder of this priory, and the cause of its erection ; which seems exactly 
such a composition as one of those which were manufactured by Dr. 
Stone, the famous legend-maker, in 1380 (see T. Warton's curious 
account of him, in vol. ii. p. 190, note), who required no materials to 
assist him in composing his narratives, &c. for in this legend are no 
particulars given of the founder, but a recital of miraculous visions 
exciting him to this pious work, of its having been before revealed to 
King Edward the Confessor, and predicted by three Grecians, &c. Even 
his Minstrel profession is not mentioned, whether from ignorance or 
design, as the profession was perhaps falling into discredit when this 
legend was written. There is only a general indistinct account that he 
frequented royal and noble houses, where he ingratiated himself suavi- 
tate joculari (this last is the only word that seems to have any appro- 
priated meaning). This will account for the indistinct incoherent 
account given by Stow : " Rahere, a pleasant-witted gentleman, and 
therefore in his time called the king's Minstrel." Survey of Lond. Ed. 
1598, p. 308. 

(u) "In the early times, every harper was expected to sing."] See 
on this subject K. Alfred's Version of Casdmon, above in Note (^h) 
page 34- 

So in Horn-Child, K. Allof orders his steward Athelbrus to 

— teche him of harpe and of song. 

In the Squire of Lowe Degree the king offers to his daughter. 

Ye shall have harpe, sautry,! and song. 

1 The Harp (Lat. Cithara) differed from the Sautry, or Psaltry (Lat. Psalteriiun) 
in that the former was a stringed instrument, and the latter was mounted with wire : 
there was also some difference in the construction of the hellies, &c. See " Bartho- 
iomaeus de proprietatibus rerum," as Englished by Trevisa and Batman, ed. 1584, in 
Sir J. Hawkins's Hist. ii. p. 285. 

46 The Percy Reliques 

And Chaucer, in his description of the Limitour or Mendicant Friar, 
speaks of harping as inseparable from singing, i. p. Ii, ver. 268. 

— in his harping, whan that he hadde songe. 

(U2) "As the most accomplished," &c.] See Hoveden (p. 103), in 
the following passage, which had erroneously been applied to K. 
Richard himself, till Mr. Tyrwhitt (Chaucer, iv. p. 62) showed it to 
belong to his Chancelor. " Jrlic ad augmentum et famam sui nominis, 
emendicata carmina, et rhythmos adulatorios comparabat ; et de regno 
Francorum Catttores et Joculatores muneribus allexerat, ut de illo 
canerent in plateis : et jam dicebatur ubique, quod noa erat talis iu 
orbe." For other particulars relating to this Chancelor, see T. Warton's 
Hist. vol. ii. Addit. to p. 113 of vol. i. 

(U 3) " Both the Norman and English languages would be heard at 
the houses of the great."] A remarkable proof of this is, that the most 
diligent inquirers after a icient English rhymes find the earliest they can 
discover in the mouths of the Norman nobles. Such as that of Robert 
Earl of Leicester, and his Flemings in 11 73, temp. Hen. II. (little more 
than a century after the Conquest) recorded by Lambarde in his 
Dictionary of England, p. 36. 

Hoppe Wyliken, hoppe Wyliken 
Ingland is thine and myne, &c. 

And that noted boast of Hugh Bigot, Earl of Norfolk, in the same 
reign of K. Henry II. vid. Camdeni Britannia (art. Suffolk), 1607, folio. 

Were I in my castle of Bungey 

Vpon the riuer of Waueney 

I would ne care for the king of Cockeney. 

Indeed many of our old metrical romances, whether originally 
English, or translated from the French to be sung to an English 
audience, are addressed to persons of high rank, as appears from their 
beginning thus — "Listen, Lordings," and the like. These were prior 
to the time of Chaucer, as appears from vol. ii. p. 175 et seqq. And 
yet to his time our Norman nobles are supposed to have adhered to 
their French language. 

(v) "That intercommunity, &c. between the French and English 
Minstrels," &c.] This might perhaps, in a great measure, be referred 
even to the Norman Conquest, when the victors brought with them all 
their original opinions and fables ; which could not fail to be adopted 
by the English Minstrels and others, who solicited their favour. This 
interchange, &c. between the Minstrels of the two nations would be 
afterwards promoted by the great intercourse produced among all the 
nations of Christendom in the general crusades, and by that spirit of 
chivalry which led knights and their attendants the heralds, and 
Minstrels, &c. to ramble about continually from one court to another, 
in order to be present at solemn tournaments, and other feats of arms. 

(v 2) "Is not the only instance," &c.] The constant admission 
granted to Minstrels was so established a privilege, that it became a 
ready expedient to writers of fiction. Thus, in the old Romance of 
Horn-Child, the Princess Rymenyld being confined in an inaccessible 
castle, the prince her lover and some assistant knights with concealed 

Notes 47 

arms assume the Minstrel character, and approaching the castle with 
their "gleyinge " or minstrelsy, are heard by the lord of it, who being 
informed they were " harpeirs, jogelers, and fythelers,"^ has them, 
admitted, when 

Horn sette him abenche [z. e. on a bench.] 
Is [/. e. his] harpe he gan clenche 
He made Rymenild a lay. 

This sets the princess a-weeping, and leads to the catastrophe ; for he 
immediately advances to " the Borde " or table, kills the ravisher, and 
releases the lady. 

(v 3) . . " assumed the dress and character of a Harper, &c. "] We 
have this curious Historiette in the records of Lacock Nunnery, in 
Wiltshire, which had been founded by this Countess of Salisbury. See 
Vincent's Discovery of Errors in Brooke's Catalogue of Nobility, &c. 
folio, pag. 445, 6, &c. Take the following extract, and see Dugdale's 
Baron, i. p. 175. 

" Ela uxor Gullielmi Longespee primi, nata fuit apud Ambresbiriam, 
patre et matre Normannis. 

" Pater itaque ejus defectus senio migravit ad Christum A.D. 1196. 
Mater ejus ante biennium obiit. . . . Interea Domina charissima 
clam per cognatos adducta fuit in Normanniam, et ibidem sub tuta 
et arcta custodla nutrita. Eodem tempore in Anglia fuit quidam miles 
nomine Gulielmus Talbot, qui induit se habitum Peregrini, [Anglice, 
a Pilgri/n] in Normanniam transfretavit et moratus per duos annos, hue 
atque illuc vagans, ad explorandam dominam Elam Sarum. Et ilia, 
invent^, exuit habitum Peregrini, et induit se quasi Cytharisator et 
curiam ubi morabatur intravit. Et ut erat homo Jocosus, in Gestis 
Antiqiiorum valde peritus, ibidem gratanter fuit acceptus quasi fami- 
liaris. Et quando tempus aptum invenit, in Angliam repatriavit, habens 
secum istam venerabilem dominam Elam et hasredem comitatus Sarum ; 
et eam Regi Richardo prsesentavit. Ac ille Isetissime earn suscepit, et 
.^rai'ri suo Guillelmo Longespee raaritavit. . . . 

"A.D. 1226, Dominus Guill. Longespee primus nonas Martii obiit. 

Ela vero uxor ejus 7 annis supervixit Una die Duo monasteria 

fundavit primo rnane xvi Kal. Mail, A.D. 1232, apud Lacock, in quo 
sanctse degunt Canonissse . . . Et Henton post nonam, Anno vero 
Ktatis su£e xlv. &c." 

(w) For the preceding account, Dugdale refers to Monast. Angl. i. 
(r. ii.) p. 185, but gives it as enlarged by D. Powel in his Hist, of 
Cambria (p. 196,) who is known to have followed ancient Welsh MSS. 
The words in the Monasticon are — "Qui accersitis Sutoribus Q.&^Xxi'x. 
et Histrionibus, festinanter cum exercitu suo venit domino suo facere 

1 Jogeler (Lat. J oculator) was a very ancient name for a Minstrel. Of what 
nature the performance of the Joculator was we may learn from the Register of St. 
Swithin's Priory at Winchester. (T. Warton, i, 69.) " Et cantabat Joculator 
quidam nomine Herebertus Canticum Colbrondi, necnon Gestum Emnte regine a 
judicio ignis liberate, in aula Prioris." His instrument was sometimes the Fythele, 
or Fiddle, Lat. Fidicula : which occurs in the Anglo-Saxon Lexicon. On this sub- 
ject we have a curious passage from a MS. of the Lives of the Saints in metre, 
supposed to be earlier than the year 1200. (T. Warton's Hist. i. p. 17,) viz. 

Christofre him served longe 
The kynge loved melodye much of fithele and of songe : 
So that his Jogeler on a day beforen him gon to pleye faste, 
And in a tyme he nemped in his song the devil at laste. 

48 The Percy Reliques 

succursum. Walenses vero videntes multitudinem magnam venientem, 

relicta obsidione fugerunt Et propter hoc dedit Comes ante- 

dictus, .... Constabulario dominationem Sutorum et Histrionum. 
Constabularius vero retinuit sibi et hasredibus suis dominationem 
Sutorum: et Histrionum dedit vero Seneschallo. " (So the passage 
should apparently be pointed; but either et or vero seems redundant.) 

We shall see below in note (z) the proper import of the word 
Histriones: but it is very remarkable that this is not the word used in 
the grant of the constable De Lacy to Button, but " Magisterium 
omnium Leccatorum et Meretricium totius Cestreshire, sicut liberius 
ilium [sic] Magisterium teneo de Comite." (Vid. Blount's Ancient 
Tenures, p. 156.) Now, as under this Grant the heirs of Button con- 
fessedly held for many ages a magisterial jurisdiction over all the 
Minstrels and Musicians of that county, and as it could not be con- 
veyed by the word Meretrices, the natural inference is that the Minstrels 
were expressed by the term Leccatores. It is true, Bu Cange, compiling 
his Glossary, could only find in the writers he consulted, this word used 
in the abusive sense, often applied to every synonyme of the sportive 
and dissolute minstrel, viz. Scurra, vaftiloquus, parasitus, eptilo, &c. 
(This I conceive to be the proper arrangement of these explanations, 
which only express the character given to the Minstrel elsewhere : see 
Bu Cange passim, and Notes (c) (e) (f) (i), and vol. iii. 2, &c.) But 
he quotes an ancient MS. in French metre, wherein the Leccour (Lat. 
Leccator) and the Minstrel are joined together, as receiving from 
Charlemagne a grant of the territory of Provence, and from whom the 
Proven9al Troubadours were derived, &c. See the passage above in 
Note (c) pag. 31. 

The exception in favour of the family of Button is thus expressed in 
the statute. Anno 39 Eliz. chap. iv. entitled, " An Act for punishment 
of rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy beggars." 

"§II, . . . All fencers, bearwards, common players of enterludes, 
and minstrels, wandering abroad, (other than players of enterludes 
belonging to any baron of this Realm, or any other honourable personage 
of greater degree, to be authorized to play under the hand and seal of 
arms of such baron or personage :) all juglers, tinkers, pedlers, &c. . . . 
shall be adjudged and deemed rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy beggars, &c. 

"§X. Provided always that this Act, or any thing therein contained, 
or any authority thereby given, shall not in any wise extend to dis- 
inherit, prejudice, or hinder John Button of Button, in the county of 
Chester, Esquire, his heirs or assigns, for, touching or concerning any 
liberty, preheminence, authority, jurisdiction, or inheritance, which the 
said John Button now lawfully useth, or hath, or lawfully may or 
ought to use within the county-palatine of Chester, and the county of 
the city of Chester, or either of them, by reason of any ancient charters 
of any kings of this land, or by reason of any prescription, usage, or 
title whatsoever." 

The same clauses are renewed in the last Act on this subject, passed 
in the present Reign of Geo. III. 

(x) " Edward I. . . . at the knighting of his son," &c.] See Nic. 
Triveti Annales, Oxon. 1719, 8vo. p. 342. 

" In festo Pentecostes Rex filium suum armis militaribus cinxit, et cum 
€o Comites Warennias et Arundeliae, aliosque, quorum numerus ducentos 
et quadraginta dicitur excessisse. Eodem die cum sedisset Rex in 
jnensa, novis militibus circumdatus, ingressa Ministrellorum Afultitudo, 

Notes 49 

portantium multiplici omatu amictum, ut milites prsecipue novos 
invitarent, et inducerent, ad vovendum factum armorum aliquod coram 

(y) "By an express regulation," &c.] See in Hearne's Append, ad 
Lelandi Collectan. vol. vi. p. 36. "A Dietarie, Writtes published after 
the Ordinance of Earls and Barons, Anno Dom. 1315." 

' Edward by the grace of God, &c. to sheriffes, &c. greetyng, Foras- 
much as . . . many idle persons, under colour of Mynstrelsie, and 
going in messages, and other faigned busines, have ben and yet be 
receaved in other mens houses to meate and drynke, and be not ther- 
with contented yf they be not largely consydered with gyftes of the 
lordes of the houses : &c. . . . We wyllyng to restrayne suche out- 
rageous enterprises and idleness, &c. have ordeyned .... that to the 
houses of prelates, earles, and barons, none resort to meate and drynke, 
unlesse he be a Mynstrel, and of these Minstrels that there come none 
except it be three or four Minstrels of honour at the most in one day, 
unlesse he be desired of the lorde of the house. And to the houses of 
meaner men that none come unlesse he be desired, and that such as 
shall come so, holde themselves contented with meate and drynke, and 
with such curtesie as the maister of the house wyl shewe unto them of 
his owne good wyll, without their askyng of any thyng. And yf any 
one do agaynst this Ordinaunce, at the firste tyme he to lose his Min- 
strelsie, and at the second tyme to forsweare his craft, and never to be 
receaved for a Minstrel in any house .... Yeven at Langley the vi. 
day of August, in the ix yere of our reigne.' 

These abuses arose again to as great a height as ever in little more 
than a century after, in consequence, I suppose, of the licentiousness 
that crept in during the civil wars of York and Lancaster. This 
appears from the Charter 9 E. IV. referred to in this vol. p. 22. " Ex 
querulosa insinuatione. . . Mitiistrallorum nostrorum accepimus 
qualiter nonnulli rudes agricolae et artifices diversarum mistemrum regni 
nostri Angliae, finxerunt se fore Ministrallos, quorum aliqui Liberatam 
nostram eis minime datam portarent, seipsos etiam fingentes esse 
Mmstrallos nostras proprios, cujus quidem Liberatse ac dictse artis sive 
occupationis Minish-allorum colore, in diversis partibus regni nostri 
pra;dicti grandes pecuniarum exactiones de ligeis nostris deceptive 
coUigunt, &c." 

Abuses of this kind prevailed much later in Wales, as appears from 
the famous commission issued out in 9 Eliz. (1567), for bestowing the 
Silver Harp on the best Minstrel, Rythmer, or Bard, in the princi- 
pality of North Wales ; of which a fuller account will be given below 
in Note (b b 3). 

(z) "It is thus related by Stow."] See his Survey of London, &c. 
fol. 1633, p. 521. (Ace. of Westm. Hall.) Stow had this passage from 
Walsingham's Hist. Ang. ..." Intravit quaedam mulier ornata 
Histrionali habitu, equum bonum insidens Histrionaliter phaleratum, 
quae mensas more Histrionum circuivit : et tandem ad Regis mensam 
per gradus ascendit, et quandam literam coram rege posuit, et retracto 
frieno (salutatis ubique discumbentibus) prout venerat ita recessit," &c. 
Anglic. Norm. Script. &c. Franc. 1603, fol. p. 109. 

It may be observed here that Minstrels and others often rode on 
horseback up to the royal table, when the kings were feasting in their 
great halls. See Series I. Book i. No. 6. 

VOL. I. E 

50 The Percy Reliques 

The answer of the porters (when they were afterwards blamed for 
admitting her) also deserves attention. " Non esse moris domus regise 
Histriones ab ingressu quomodolibet prohibere," <S:c. Walsingh. 

That Stow rightly translated the Latin word Histrio here by Minstrel^ 
meaning a musician that sung, and whose subjects were stories of 
chivalry, admits of easy proof: for in the Gesta Ro7nanoruvi, chap, 
cxi. Mercury is represented as coming to Argus in the character of a 
Minstrel ; when he " incepit niore Histrionico, fabulas dicere, et pler- 
umque cantare." (T. Warton, iii. p. 51.) And Muratori cites a 
passage in an old Italian chronicle, wherein mention is made of a stage 

erected at Milan " Super quo Histriones cantabant, sicut modo 

cantatur de Rolando et Oliverio." Antich. Ital. ii. p. 6, Observ. on 
the Statutes, 4th edit. p. 362. 

See also (e) pag. 32. &c. (f) p. 33. &c. 

(a a) " There should seem to have been women of this profession."] 
This may be inferred from the variety of names appropriated to them 
in the middle ages, viz. : Anglo-Saxon Dlipme^oen [Glee-maiden], 
&c. 5lypien't>ema"i>en, jlypby'tjenertfia (vid. supra, p. 35). Fr. 
Jenglcresse, Med. Lat. Joculatrix, Llinistralissa, Fcemina Minis- 
terialis, &c. Vid. Du Cange Gloss, and Suppl. 

See what is said in page 22, concerning the "sisters of the fraternity 
of Minstrels : " see also a passage quoted by Dr. Burney (ii. 315), 
from Muratori, of the chorus of women singing through the streets 
accompanied with musical instruments in 1268. 

Had the female described by Walsingham been a Tombesfere, or 
Dancing-woman, (see Tyrwhitt's Chaucer, iv. 307, and v. Gloss.) that 
Historian would probably have used the word Saltatrix. (See T. 
Warton, i. 240, Note (m). 

These Saltatrices were prohibited from exhibiting in churches and 
church-yards along with. Joa{lato7-es , Histriones, with whom they were 
sometimes classed, especially by the rigid ecclesiastics, who censured, 
in the severest terms, all these sportive characters. Vid. T. Warton, 
in loco citato, et vide supra Note (e) (f), &c. 

And here I would observe, that although Fauchet and other subse- 
quent writers affect to arrange the several members of the Minstrel 
Profession under the different classes of Troiiverres (or Troubadottrs) 
Chafiterres, Coiiteours, a.nd Jugkurs, dr'ir. (vid. p. 30.) as if they were 
distinct and separate orders of men, clearly distinguished from each 
other by these appropriate terms, we find no sufficient grounds for this 
in the oldest writers ; but the general names in Latin, Histrio, Mimits, 
Joculaior, MinistraHits, Ss^c. in French, Menestrier, Menestrel, 
Jongleur, Jugleur, Ss'c. and in English, Jogeleur, Jitgler, Minstrel, and 
the like, seem to be given them indiscriminately. And one or other of 
these names seems to have been sometimes applied to every species of 
men whose business it was to entertain or divert {joctdari) whether with 
poesy, singing, music, or gesticulation, singly, or with a mixture of all 
these. Yet as all men of this sort were considered as belonging to one 
class, order, or community (many of the above arts being sometimes 
exercised by the same person), they had all of them doubtless the same 
privileges, and it equally throws light upon the general histoiy of the 
profession, to show what favour or encouragement was given, at any 
particular period of time, to any one branch of it. 1 have not there- 
fore thought it needful to inquire, whether in the various passages 

Notes 51 

quoted in these pages, the word Minstrel, &c. is always to be under- 
stood in its exact and proper meaning of a singer to the harp, &c. 

That men of very different arts and talents were included under the 
common name of Minstrels, &c. appears ffom a variety of authorities. 
Thus we have Menestrels de Tro77ipes and Menstreh de Bonche in the 
Suppl. to Du Cange, c. 1227, and it appears still more evident from an 
old French Rhymer, whom I shall quote at large. 

Le Quens ^ manda les Menestrels ; 
Et si a fet 2 crier entre els, 
Qui la meillor trufFe '^ sauroit 
Dire, ne faire, qu'il auroit 
Sa robe d' escarlate nueve. 
L'uns Menestrels a 1' autre reuve 
Fere son mestier, tel qu'il sot, 
Li uns fet I'j'vre, I'autre sot ; 
Li uns chante, li autre note ; 
Et li autres dit la riote ; 
Et li autres la jenglerie ; 
Cil qui sevent de jonglerie ; * 
Vielent par devant le Conte ; 
Aucuns ja qui fabliaus conte 
II i ot dit mainte ris^e, &c. 

Fabliaux et Contes, i2mo, torn. ii. p. 161. 

And what species of entertainment was afforded by the ancient 
Juggleurs, we learn from the following citation from an old romance, 
written in 1230. 

Quand les tables ostees furent 

CW juggleurs in pies esturent 

S'ont vielles, et harpes prisees 

Chansons, sons, vers, et reprises 

Et gestes chants nos ont. 

Sir J. Hawkins, ii. 44. from Andr. Du Chene. See also Tyrwhitt's 
Chaucer, iv. p. 299. 

All the before-mentioned sports went by the general name of 
Ministralcia, Alinistelloriim Ludicra (sfc. — " Charta an. 1377, apud 
Rymer, vii. p. 160. ' Peracto autem prandio, ascendebat D. Rex in 
cameram suam cum Prselatis, Magnatibus, et Proceribus praedictis : et 
deinceps Magnates, Milites, et Domini, aliique Generosi diem ilium, 
usque ad tempus cosnse, in iripudiis, coreis,&t soleviptiibus Ministrakiis, 
prce gaudio solempnitatis illius continuarunt. ' " (Du Cange, Gloss. 773.) 
This was at the coronation of King Richard II. 

It was common for the Minstrels to dance, as well as to harp and 
sing. (See above, Note (e) p. 32.) Thus in the old Romance of 
Tirante el Blanco; Val. 151 1, the 14th cap. lib. ii, begins thus, 
"Despues que las Mesas fueron algadas vinieron los Ministriles ; y 
delante del Rey, y de la Reyna dan9aron un rato : y despues truxeron 

They also probably, among their other feats, played tricks of slight 
of hand ; hence the word Jugler came to signify a performer of 
legerdemain ; and it was sometimes used in this sense (to which it is 
now appropriated) even so early as the time of Chaucer, who in his 
Squire's Tale (ii. 108) speaks of the horse of brass, as 


An apparence ymade by som magike. 
As Jogelours plaien at thise Testes grete. 

See also the Frere's Tale, 1. p. 279. v. 7049. 

1 Le Compte. 2 fait. 3 Sortiette, a gibe, a jest, or flouting, 

* Janglerie, babillage, raillerie. 

52 The Percy Reliques 

(a a 2) Females playing on the Harp.'\ Thus in the old Romance of 
Syr Degore (or Degree, vol. ii. No. xxii. p. 185.) we have (Sign. D. i.) 

The lady, that was so faire and bright, 
Upon her bed she sate down ryght ; 
She harped notes swete and fine. 
[Her mayds filled a piece of wine.] 
And Syr Degore sate him downe, 
For to hear the harpes sowne. 

The 4th line being omitted in the pr, copy is supplied from the 
folio MS. 

In the Squyr of lowe Degi-ee (vol. ii. No. xxiv. p. 186.) the king says 
to his daughter (Sign D. i.) 

Ye were wont to harpe and syng, 

And be the meryest in chamber comyng. 

In the Carle of Carlisle (vol. ii. No. x. p. 183.) we have the follow- 
ing passage. Folio MS. p. 451, v. 217. 

Downe came a lady faire and free, 

And sett her on the Carles knee : 

One whiles shee harped another whiles song, 

Both of paramours and louinge amonge. 

And in the Romance of Eger and Grime (vol. ii. No. xii. p. 184.) 
we have (ibid. p. 127. col. 2.) in Part I. v. 263. 

The ladye fayre of hew and hyde 

Shee sate down by the bed side 

Shee laid a souter (psaltry) vpon her knee 

Thereon shee plaid full lovesomelye. 

. . . And her 2 maydens sweetlye sange. 

A similar passage occurs in Part IV. v. 129. (pag. 136.) But these 

instances are sufficient. 

(bb) "A charter ... to appoint a King of the Minstrels."] Intitled 
Carta Le Roy de Ministraulx (in Latin Histriones, vid. Plott, p. 437.) 
A copy of this charter is printed in Monast. Anglic, i. 355, and in 
Blount's Law Diction. 1717. (art. King.) 

That this was a most respectable officer, both here and on the Continent, 
will appear from the passages quoted below, and therefore it could only 
have been in modern times, when the proper meaning of the original 
terms Alinistraulz, and Histriones, was forgot, that he was called King 
of the Fidlers ; on which subject see below. Note (e e 2). 

Concerning the King of the Minstrels we have the following curious 
passages collected by l3u Cange, Gloss, iv. 773. 

" Rex Ministellorum ; supremus inter Alinistellos : de cujus munere, 
potestate in caeteros Alinistellos agit Charta Henrici IV. Regis Angliae 

in Monast. Anglicano, tom. i. pag. 355. Charta originalis an. 

1338- Je Robert Caveron Roy des Menestreulsdu Royaume de France. 
Alise ann. 1357 et 1362. Copin de Brequin Roy des Menestres du 
Royaume de France. Computum de auxiliis pro rederaptione Regis 
Johannis, an, 1367. Pour une Conronne d' argent qu'il donna le jour de 
"la Tiphaine au Roy des Menestrels. 

" Regestum Magnorum Dierum Trecensium an. 1296. Super quod 
Joannes dictus Charmillons Juglator, cui Dominus Rex per suas literas 
tanquam Regem Juglatoriim in civitate Trecensi Magisterium Jugla- 
torum, quemadmodum suae placeret voluntati, coticesserat." Gloss, 
c. 1587, 

Notes 53 

There is a very curious passage in Pasquier's ' ' Recherches de la 
France," Paris, 1633, folio, liv. 7. ch. 5. p. 611, wherein he appears to 
be at a loss how to account for the title of Le Roy assumed by the old 
composers of metrical Romances ; in one of which the author expressly 
declares himself to have been a Minstrel. The solution of the difficulty, 
that he had been Le Roy des Menestreh, will be esteemed more probable 
than what Pasquier here advances ; for I have never seen the title of 
Prince given to a Minstrel, &c. scil. — " A nos vieux Poetes . . . comme 
. . . fust qu'ils eussent certain jeux de prix en leurs Poesies, ils . . . 
honoroient du nome, tantot As. Roy, tantotde Prince, celuy qui avoit le 
mieux faict comme nous voyons entre les Archers, Arbalestiers, et Har- 
quebusiers estre fait le semblable. Ainsi I'Autheur du Roman d'Oger 
le Danois s'appelle Roy. 

Icy endroict est cil Livre finez 
Qui des enfans Oger est appellez 
Or vueille Diex qu'il soit parachevez 
En tel maniere kestre n'en puist blamez 
Le Roy Adams [r.Adenes] ki il' estrimez. 

" Et en celuy de Cleomades, 

Ce Livre de Cleomades 
Rim4-je le Roy Adenes 
Menestre au bon Due Henry. 

"Mot de Roy, qui seroit tr^s-mal appropri^ a un Mefiestrier, si d'ailleurs 
on ne le rapportoit a un jeu du priz : Et de faict il semble que de nostra 
temps, il y en eust encores quelque remarques, en ce que le mot de 
Joningliur s'estant par succession de temps tourne en batelage, nous 
avons veu en nostre jeunesse les Jouingleurs se trouver a certain jour tous 
les ans en la ville de Chauny en Picardie, pour faire monstre de leur 
mestrier devant le monde, k qui mieux. Et ce que j'en dis icy n'estpas 
pour vilipender ces anciens Rimeurs, ansi pour monstrer qu'iln'ya chose 
si belle qui ne s'aneantisse avec le temps." 

We see here that in the time of Pasquier the poor Minstrel was sunk 
into as low estimation in France, as he was then or afterwards in Eng- 
land : but by his apology for comparing the Jouingleurs, who assembled 
to exercise their faculty, in his youth, to the ancient Rimeurs, it is plain 
they exerted their skill in rhyme. 

As for king Adenes or Adenez (whose name in the first passage above 
is corruptly printed Adams), he is recorded in the " Bibliotheque des 
Romans, Amst. 1734," i2mo. vol. i. p. 232, to have composed the two 
romances in verse above mentioned, and a third entitled Le Roman ds 
Bertin: all three being preserved in a MS. written about 1270. His 
Bon Due Henry I conceive to have been Henry Duke of Brabant. 

(bb2) " King of the Minstrels," &c.] See Anstis's Register of the 
Order of the Garter, ii. p. 303, who tells us " The President or Govern- 
our of the Minstrels had the like denomination of Roy in France and 
Burgundy : and in England, John of Gaunt constituted such an officer 
by a patent ; and long before his time payments were made by the 
crown to [a] King of the Minstrels by Edw. I. Regi Roberto Ministrallo 
scutifero ad arma commoranti ad vadia Regis anno ^\.o (Bibl. Cotton. 
Vespas. c. 16, f. 3) as likewise (Libro Garderob, 25 E. i.) Ministrallis 
in die nuptiarum Comitissas Holland filise Regis, Regi Pago, Johanni 
Vidulatori, &c. Morello Regi, &c. Dretto Monthaut, et Jacketto de 
Scot. Regibus, cuilibet eorum xl. s. Regi Pagio de Hollandia, &c. 

54 The Percy Reliques 

Under Ed. II. we likewise find other entries, Regi Roberto et aliis 
Ministrallis facientibus Menistrallias [Ministralcias qu.] suas coram 
Rege. (Bibl. Cotton. Nero. c. 8. p. 84. b. Comp. Garderob.) That 
king granted Willielmo de Morlee dicto Roy de North, Ministrallo 
Regis, domos quse fuerunt Johannis le Boteler dicti Roy Brunhaud. 
(Pat. de terr. forisfact. 16. E. III.)" He adds below (p, 304) a similar 
instance of a Rex Juglatoriim, and that the "King of the Minstrels " at 
length was styled in France Roy des Violons, (Furetiere Diction. Uni- 
vers. ) as with us " King of the Fidlers ; " on which subject see below, 
Note (e e 2), 

(b b 3) The Statute 4 Hen. IV. (1402) c. 27. runs in these terms, 
" Item, pur eschuir plusieurs diseases et mischiefs qont advenuz devaunt 
ces heures en la terre de Gales par plusieurs Westours Rymours, Min- 
stralx et autres Vacabondes, ordeignez est et establiz qe nul Westour, 
Ryniour Ministral ne Vacabond soit aucunement sustenuz en la terre de 
Gales pur faire kymorthas ou coillage sur la commune poepleilloeques," 
This is among the severe laws against the Welsh, passed during the 
resentment occasioned by the outrages committed under Owen Glen- 
dour ; and as the Welsh Bards had excited their countrymen to rebellion 
against the English Government, it is not to be wondered, that the Act 
is conceived in terms of the utmost indignation and contempt against this 
class of men, who are described as Rymou7-s, Ministralx, which are 
apparently here used as only synonymous terms to express the Welsh 
Bards with the usual exuberance of our Acts of Parliament : for if their 
Ministralx had been mere musicians, they would not have required 
the vigilance of the English legislature to suggest them. It was their 
songs exciting their countrymen to insurrection which produced " les 
diseases et mischiefs en la Terre de Gales." 

It is also submitted to the reader, whether the same application of the 
terms does not still more clearly appear in the commission issued in 
1567, and printed in Evan Evans's Specimens of Welsh Poetry, 1764, 
4to. p. v. for bestowing the Silver Harp on "the chief of that faculty." 
For after setting forth "that vagrant and idle persons, naming them- 
selves Minstrels, Rythfners, and Bards, had lately grown into such in- 
tolerable multitude within the principality in North Wales, that not only 
gentlemen and others by their shameless disorders are oftentimes dis- 
quieted in their habitations, but also expert Allnstrels and Musicians in 
tonge and cwiynge thereby much discouraged, &c." and " hindred [of] 
livings and preferment," &c.'it appoints a time and place, wherein all 
"persons that intend to maintain their living by name or colour of 
Minstrels, Rythtners, or Bards," within five shires of North Wales, 
" shall appear to show their learnings accordingly, &c." And the com- 
missioners are required to admit such as shall be found worthy, into and 
under the degrees heretofore in use, so that they may " use, exercise, 
and follow the sciences and faculties of their professions in such decent 
order as shall appertain to each of their degrees." And the rest are to 
return to some honest labour, &c. upon pain to be taken as sturdy and 
idle vagabonds, &c. 

(b B 4) Holingshed translated this passage from Tho. de Elmham's 
" Vita et Gesta Henrici V." scil. " Soli Omnipotenti Deo se velle vic- 
toriam imputari ... in tantum, quod cantus de suo triumpho fieri, seu 
per Citharistas vel alios quoscunque cantari penitus prohibebat." (Edit. 
Hearnii, 1727, p. 72.) As in his version Holingshed attributes the 

Notes 55 

making as well as singing dities to Minstrels, it is plain he knew that 
men of this profession had been accustomed to do both. 

(c c) " The Houshold Book," &c.] See Section V. 
" Of the noumbre of all my lordes servaunts." 

" Item, Mynstrals in Houshold iii. viz. A taberet, a luyte, and a 
rebecc." (The rebeck was a kind of fiddle with three strings.) 

SECT. XLiv. 3. 
" Rewardes to his lordship's servaunts, &c." 

" Item, My lord usith ande accustomith to gyf yerly, when his lord- 
schipp is at home, to his Minstrallis that be daily in his houshold, as his 
tabret, lute, ande rebeke, upon New Yeres-day in the mornynge when 
they do play at my lordis chamber dour for his lordschip and my lady, 
XX. s. viz. xiii. s. iiii. d. for my lord ; and vi. s. viii. d. for my lady, if 
sche be at my lordis fyndynge, and not at hir owen ; and for playing at 
my lordis sone and heire's chamber doure, the lord Percy,ai. s. And for 
playinge at the chamber doures of my lords yonger sonnes, my yonge 
masters, after viii. d. the pece for every of them. xxiii. s. iiii. d." 


"Rewards to be geven to strangers, as players, 
Mynstralls, or any other, &c. 

"Furst, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gif to the King's Jugler ; 
. . . when they custome to come unto hym yerly, vi. s. viii. d. 

" Item, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gif yerely to the Kings or 
Queenes Bearv/arde, if they have one, when they custome to come unto 
hym yerly, — vi. s. viii. d. 

" Item, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gyfe yerly to every Erles 
Mynstrellis, when they custome to come to hym yerely, iii. s. iiii. d. 
And if they come to my lorde seldome, ones in ii or iii yeres, than vi. s. 
viii. d. 

"Item, my lorde usith and accustomedeth to gife yerely to an Erls 
Mynstralls, if he be his speciall lorde, friende, or kynsman, if they come 
yerely to his lordschip . . . And, if they come to my ' lord ' seldome, 
ones in ii or iii years ..." 


"Item, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gyf yerely a Dookes or 
Erlis Trumpetts, if they come vi together to his lordschipp, viz. if they 
come yerly, vi. s. viii. d. And, if they come but in ii or iii yeres, than 
X. s, 

"Item, my lorde usith and accustometh to gife yerly, when his lord- 
schip is at home, to gyf to the Kyngs Shawmes, when they com to my 

lorde yerely, x. s." 


I cannot conclude this note without observing, that in this enumera- 
tion the family Minstrels seem to have been musicians only, and yet both 
the Earl's Trumpets and the King's Shawmes are evidently distinguished 
from the Earl's Minstrels, and the King's Jugler : Now we ^nd Jugglers 
still coupled with Pipers in Barklay's Egloges, circ. 15 14. (Warton, 
ii. 254.) 

56 The Percy Reliques 

(c c 2) The honours and rewards conferred on Minstrels, &c. in the 
middle ages, were excessive as will be seen by many instances in these 
volumes. Vid. Notes (e) (f), &c ; but more particularly with regard to 
English Minstrels, &c., see T. VVarton's Hist, of Eng. Poetry, i. p. 
89—92, 116, &c. ii, 105, 106, 254, &c. Dr. Burney's Hist, of Music, 
11. p. 316-319, 397—399, 427, 428. 

On this head, it may be sufficient to add the following passage from 
the Fleta, lib.ii. c. 23. " Officiitm Ekniosinarij &st . . Equos relictos, 
Robas, Pecuniam, et alia ad Elemosinam largiter recipre et fideliter dis- 
tribuere ; debet etiam Regem super Elemosinae largitione crebris sum- 
monitionibus stimulare et praecipue diebus Sanctorum, et rogare ne 
Robas suas quae magni sunt precij Histrionibus, Blanditoribus,'^Adula- 
toribus, Accusatoribus, vel Menestrallis, sed ad Elemosinse suae incre- 
mentum jubeat largiri." Et in c. 72. " Ministralli, vel Adulatoris." 

(DD) "A species of men who did not sing, &c."] It appears from 
the passage of Erasmus here referred to, that there still existed in Eng- 
land of that species oi Jongleurs or Minstrels, whom the French called 
by the peculiar name of Conteoiirs, or Reciters in prose : It is in his 
Ecclesiasies, where he is speaking of such preachers as imitated the tone 
of Beggars or Mountebanks :—" Apud Anglos est simile genus homi- 
num, quales apud Italos sunt Circulatores [Mountebanks] de quibus 
mode dictum est ; qui irrumpunt in convivia Magftatiim, aut in Cau- 
ponas Fmartas ; et argumentum aliquod, quod edidicerunt, recitant ; 
puta mortem omnibus dominari, aut laudem matrimonii. Sed quoniam 
ea lingua monosyllabis fer-e constat, quemadmodum Germanica ; atque 
illi [sc. this peculiar species of Reciters] studio vitant cantum, nobis 
(sc. Erasmus, who did not understand a word of English) latrare videntur 
verius quam loqui." Opera, tom. v. c. 958. (Jortin, vol. ii. p. 193.} 
As Erasmus was correcting the vice of preachers, it was more to his 
point to bring an instance from the Moral Reciters of prose than from 
Chanters of rhyme ; though the latter would probably be more popular, 
and therefore more common. 

(e e) This character is supposed to have been suggested by descrip- 
tions of Minstrels in the Romance oi Alorte Arthur ; but none, it seems, 
have been found, which come nearer to it than the following, which I 
shall produce, not only that the reader may judge of the resemblance, 
but to show how nearly the idea of the Minstrel character given in this 
Essay corresponds with that of our old writers. 

Sir Lancelot, having been affronted by a threatening abusive letter, 
which Mark King of Cornwal had sent to Queen Guenever, wherein he 
"spake shame by her, and Sir Lancelot," is comforted by a Knight 
named Sir Dinadan, who tells him "I will make a Zay for him, and when 
it is made, I shall make an Harper to sing it before him. So anon he 
went and made it, and taught it an Harper, that hyght Elyot ; and 
when hee could it, bee taught it to many Harpers. And so .... the 
Harpers went straight unto Wales and Cornwaile to sing the Lay .... 
which was the worst Lay that ever Harper sung with Harpe, or with 
any other instrument. And [at a] great feast that King Marke made 
for joy of [a] victorie which hee had .... came Eliot the Harper ; 
.... and because he was a curious Harper, men heard him sing the 
same Lay that Sir Dinadan had made, the which spake the most vilanie 
by King Marke of his treason, that ever man heard. When the Harper 
had sung his song to the end, King Marke was wonderous wroth with 

Notes 57 

him, and said, Thou Harper, how durst thou be so bold to sing this 
song before me? Sir, said Eliot, wit you well I am a Minstrell, and I 
must doe as I am commanded of these Lords that / bear the amies of. 
And, Sir King, wit you well that Sir Dinadan a knight of the Round 
Table made this song, and he made me to sing it before you. Thou saiest 
well, said King Marke, I charge thee that thou hie thee fast out of my 
sight. So the Harper departed, &c." Part H. c. 113, ed. 1634. See 
also Part HI. c. 5. 

(k E 2) " This act seems to have put an end to the profession," &c. ] 
Although I conceive that the character ceased to exist, yet the appella- 
tion might be continued, and applied to Fidlers, or other common 
musicians : which will account for the mistakes of Sir Peter Leicester, 
or other modern writers. See his Historical Antiquities of Cheshire, 
1673, ?•. 141- 

Li this sense it is used in an ordinance in the times of Cromwell 
(1656), wherein it is enacted, that if any of the "persons commonly 
called Fiddlers or Minstrels shall at any time be taken playing, fidling, 
and making music in any inn, ale-house, or tavern, or shall be taken 
proffering themselves, or desiring, or intreating any .... to hear them 
play or make music in any of the places aforesaid ; " they are to be 
"adjudged and declared to be rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy beggars." 

This will also account why John of Gaunt's King of the Minstrels 
at length came to be called, like Le Roy des Violons in France, v. Note 
(b b 2), King of the Fidlers. See the common ballad entitled " The 
Pedigree, Education, and Marriage of Robin Hood with Clorinda, 
Queen of Tutbury feast : " which, though prefixed to the modern col- 
lection on that subject,^ seems of much later date than most of the others j 
for the writer appears to be totally ignorant of all the old traditions 
concerning this celebrated outlaw, and has given him a very elegant 
bride instead of his old noted lemman "Maid Marian ;" who together 
with his chaplain " Frier Tuck " were his favourite companions, and 
probably on that account figured in the old Morice Dance, as may be 
seen by the engraving in Mr. Steevens's and Mr. Malone's editions of 
Shakespeare ; by whom she is mentioned, i Hen. IV. act iii. sc. 3. 
(See also Warton, i. 245. ii. 237.) Whereas, from this ballad's con- 
cluding with an exhortation to "pray for the king," and " that he may 
get children," &c. it is evidently posterior to the reign of queen Eliza- 
beth, and can scarce be older than the reign of K. Charles I. ; for K. 
James L had no issue after his accession to the throne of England. It 
may even have been written since the restoration, and only express the 
wishes of the nation for issue on the marriage of their favourite K. 
Charles II. on his marriage with the Infanta of Portugal. I think it is 
not found in the Pepys collection. 

(FF) "Historical Song, or Ballad." The English word Ballad is 

1 Of the twenty-four songs in what is now called " Robin Hood's Garland," many 
are so modern as not to be found in Pepys's collection completed only in 1700. In 
the folio MS. (described in the Preface to this work) are ancient fragments of the 
following, viz.— Robin Hood and the Beggar.— Robin Hood and the Butcher.— Robin 
Hood and Fryer Tucke. — Robin Hood and the Pindar. — Robin Hood and Queen 
Catharine, in two parts. — Little John and the four Beggars, and " Robine Hoode his 
Death." This last, which is very curious, has no resemblance to any that have been 
published ; and the others are extremely different from the printed copies ; but they 
unfortunately are in the beginning of the MS. where half of every leaf hath been torn 

58 The Percy Reliques 

evidently from the French Balade, as the latter is from the Italian 
Ballata ; which the Crusca Dictionary defines, Canzone, che si canta 
Ballando, "A song, which is sung during a dance." So Dr. Burney 
(ii. 342), who refers to a collection of Ballette published by Gastaldi, 
and printed at Antwerp in 1596, iii. 226. 

But the word appears to have had an earlier origin : for in the decline 
of the Roman Empire these trivial songs were called Ballistea and 
SaltatiunculcE. Ballisteum, Salmasius says, is properly Ballistiutn. 
Gr, '^aWiantov . " a.Trh tov BaWi^ca . . . BaWttrTia saltatio . . . Ballis- 
tium igitur est quod vulgo vocamus Ballet ; nam inde deducta vox 
nostra." Salmas. Not. in Hist. Ang. Scriptores VI. p. 349. 

In the life of the Emperor Aurelian by Fl. Vopiscus may be seen two 
of these Ballistea, as sung by the boys skipping and dancing, on account 
of the great slaughter made by the Emperor with his own hand in the 
Sarmatic war. The first is, 

Mille, mille, mille decollavimus, 
Unus homo mille decollavimus, 
Mille vivat, qui mille occidit. 
Tantum vini habet nemo 
Quantum fudit sanguinis. 

The other was 

Mille Sarmatas, mille Francos 
Semel et seme! occidimus. 
Mille Persas quasrimus. 

Salmasius (in loc.) shows that the trivial Poets of that time were wont 
to form their metre of Trochaic Tetrametre Catalectics, divided into 
Distichs, (ibid. p. 350.) This becoming the metre of the hymns in 
the church service, to which the monks at length superadded rhyming 
terminations, was the origin of the common Trochaic Metre in the 
modern languages. This observation I owe to the learned author of 
Irish Antiquities, 4to. 

(f f 2) " Little Miscellanies named Garlands," &c.] In the Pepysian 
and other libraries are preserved a great number of these in black-letter, 
l2mo. under the following quaint and affected titles, viz. 

I. A Crowne Garland of Goulden Roses gathered out of England's 
Royal Garden, &c. by Richard Johnson, 1612. (In the Bodleyan 
Library.) — 2. The Golden Garland of Princely Delight. — 3. The Gar- 
land of Good-will, by T. D. 1631. — 4. The Royal Garland of Love and 
Delight, by T. D. — 5. The Garland of Delight, &c. by Tho. Delone. — 
6. The Garland of Love and Mirth, by Thomas Lanfier. — 7. Cupid's 
Garland set round with Guilded Roses. — 8. The Garland of Withered 
Roses, by Martin Parker, 1656. — 9. The Shepherd's Garland of Love, 
Loyalty, &c. — 10. The Country Garland. — II. The Golden Garland of 
Mirth and Merriment. — 12. The Lover's Garland. — 13. Neptune's Fair 
Gai-land. — 14. England's Fair Garland. — 15. Robin Hood's Garland. — 
16. The Maiden's Garland — 17. A Loyal Garland of Mirth and Pastime. 
— 18. A Royal Garland of new Songs. — 19. The Jovial Garland, 8th 
edit. 1691. — &c. &c. &c. 

This sort of petty publications had anciently the name of penny- 
merriments : as little religious tracts of the same size were called penny- 
godlinesses. In the Pepysian Library are multitudes of both kinds. 

(g g) " The term Minstrel w&s not confined to a mere musician in 
this country any more than on the Continent."] The discussion of the 

Notes 59 

question, whether the term Minstrel was applied in England to singers 
and composers of songs, &c. or confined to the performers on musical 
instruments, was properly reserved for this place, because much light 
hath already been thrown upon the subject in the preceding notes, 
to which it will be sufficient to refer the reader. 

That on the Continent the Minstrel was understood not to be a mere 
musician, but a singer of verses, hath been shown in Notes (b) (c) (r) 
(a a), &C.1 And that he was also a maker of them is evident from 
the passage in (c) p. 30. where the most noted romances are said to 
be of the composition of these men. And in (B b) p. 53. we have the 
titles of some of which a Minstrel was the author, who has himself left 
his name upon record. 

The old English names for one of this profession were Gleeman,'' 
Jogeler,^ and latterly Minstrel ; not to mention Harper, &c. In 
French he was called Jotigleur or Jugler, Mettestrel or Menestrier.* 
The writers of the middle ages expressed the character in Latin by 
the v^ords/oadator, Munus, Histrio, Ministrellus, &c. These terms, 
however modern critics may endeavour to distinguish, and apply them 
to different classes, and although they may be sometimes mentioned 
as if they were distinct, I cannot find after a very strict research to have 
had any settled appropriate difference, but they appear to have been 
used indiscriminately by the oldest writers, especially in England ; 
where the most general and comprehensive name was latterly Minstrel, 
Lat. Mimstrclhis, &c. 

Thus Joculator (Eng. Jogeler or Juglar) is used as synonymous to 
Citharista (Note (k) p. 38), and to Cantor (p. 38), and to Minstrel 
(vid. infra p. 60). We have also positive proof that the subjects 
of his songs were Gestes and Romantic Tales, (v 2) note. 

So Mimtts is used as synonymous to Joculator, (m) p. 39. He was 
rewarded for his singing, (n) p. 40. and he both sang, harped, and 
dealt in that sport (t 2) which is elsewhere called Ars Joculatoria, (m) 
ubi supra. 

Again, Histrio is also proved to have been a singer, (z) p. 50, and to 
have gained rewards by his Verba Joculatoria, (e) p. 31. And His- 
riones is the term by which the Fr. word Ministraulx is most frequently 
rendered into Latin, (w) p. 47, (B b) 52, &c. 

The fact therefore is sufficiently established that this order of men 
were in England, as well as on the Continent, Singers ; so that it only 
becomes a dispute about words, whether here, under the more general 
name of Minstrels, they are described as having sung. 

But in proof of this we have only to turn to so common a book 
as T. Warton's History of English Poetry ; where we shall find extracted 
from records the following instances. 

Ex. Registr. Priorat. S. S within Winton. (sub anno 1374) " In festo 

Alwyni Epi Et durante pietancia in Aula Conventus sex Afini- 

stralli, cum quatuor Citharisatoribus, faciebant Ministralcias suas. Et 
post cenam, in magna camera arcuata Dom. Prioris cantabant idem 

1 That the French Minstrel was a singer and composer, &c. appears from many 
passages translated by M. Le Grand, in " Fabliaux ou Contes," &c. see torn. i. 
p. 37, 47. ii. 306, 313 et seqq. iii, 266, &c. Yet this writer, like other French critics, 
endeavours to reduce to distinct and separate classes the men of this profession, under 
the precise names oi Fablier, Conteur, Menetrier, Menestrel, ^nA Jongleur, (torn. i. 
pref. p. xcviii.) whereas his own Tales confute all these nice distinctions, or prove at 
least that the title oi Menetrier or Minstrel was applied to them all. 

2 See pag. 35. * See pag. 47. 
* See pag. 16, Note. 

6o The Percy Reliques 

Gestum in qua Camera suspendebatur, ut nioris est, magrium dorsale 
Prioris habens picturas tiium Regum Colein. Veniebant autem dicti 
Joculatores a Castello Domini Regis et ex familia Epi." (vol. ii. p. 174.) 
Here the Minstrels and Harpers are expressly called Joculatores ; and 
as the Harpers had musical instruments, the singing must have been 
by the Minstrels, or by both conjointly. 

For that Minstrels sang we have undeniable proof in the following 
entry in the accompt roll of the priory of Bicester, in Oxfordshire (under 
the year 1432). " Dat. Sex Ministrallis de Bokyngham cantantibus in 
refectorio Martyrium Septem Dormientium in Festo Epiphanie, iv. s." 
Vol. ii. p. 175. 

In like manner our old English writers abound with passages wherein 
the Minstrel is represented as singing. To mention only a few : 

In the old Romance of Emar£ (vol. ii. No. xv. p. 184) which from 
the obsoleteness of the style, the nakedness of the story, the barrenness 
of incidents, and some other particulars, I should judge to be next 
in point of time to Hornchild, we have 

— I have herd Menstrelles syng yn sawe : 

Stanza 27. 

In a poem of Adam Davie (who flourished about 13 12) we have this 

Merry it is in halle to here the harpe. 

The Minstrelles synge, the Jogelours carpe. 

T. Warton, i. p. 225. 

So William of Nassyngton (circ. 1480) as quoted by Mr. Tyrwhitt, 
(Chaucer, iv. 319). 

— I will make no vain carpinge 
Of dedes of armys ne of amours 
As dus Mynstrelles and Jestours [Gestours] 
That makys carpinge in many a place 
Of Octaviane and Isembraie, 
And of many other Jestes [Gestes] 
And namely whan they come to festes.l 

See also the description of the Minstrel in Note (e e) from Morte 
Arthur, which appears to have been compiled about the time of this 
last writer. See T. Warton, ii. 235. 

By proving that Minstrels were singers of the old romantic songs and 
gestes, &c. we have in effect proved them to have been tlie makers at 
least of some of them. For the names of their authors being not 
preserved, to whom can we so probably ascribe the composition of many 
of these old popular rhymes, as to the men who devoted all their time 
and talents to tlie recitation of them ? especially as in the rhymes them- 
selves Minstrels are often represented as the makers or composers. 

Thus in the oldest of all, Horn-Child, having assumed the character 
of a Harper or Jogeler, is in consequence said (fo. 92) to have 

made Rymenild (his mistress) a lay. 

In the old Romance of Emari, we have this exhortation to Minstrels, 
as composers, otherwise they could not have been at liberty to choose 
their subjects, (st. 2). 

1 The fondness of the English (even the most illiterate) to hear tales and rhymes, is 
much dwelt on by Rob. de Brunne, in 1330. (Warton, i. p. 59, 65, 75.) All rhymes 
were then sung to the harp : even Troilus and Cresseide, though almost as long as the 
iEneid, was to be "redde or else songe." 1. alt. Warton, i. 388. 

Notes 6 1 

Menstrelles that walken fer and wyde 
Her and ther in every a syde 

In mony a dyverse londe 
Sholde ut her bygynnyng 
Speke of that rightwes kyng 

That made both see and londe, &c. 

And in the old Song or Geste of Guy and Colbronde (vol. ii. No. iv. 
p. i8i) the Minstrel thus speaks of himself in the first person : 

When meate and drinke is great plentye 
Then lords and ladyes still wil be 

And sitt and solace lythe 
Then itt is time for mee to speake 
Of keene knights and kempes great 

Such carping for to kythe. 

We have seen already that the Welsh Bards, who were undoubtedly 
composers of the songs they chanted to the Harp, could not be dis- 
tinguished by our legislators from our own Rimers, Minstrels. Vid. 
(b b 3) p. 54. 

And that the Provenfal Trobadour of our King Richard, who is called 
by M. Favine Jongleur, and by M. Fauchet Menesirel, is by the old 
English translator termed a Rimer or Minstrel when he is mentioning 
the fact of his composing some verses, p. 16. 

And lastly, that Holinshed, translating the prohibition of King Henry 
v., forbidding any songs to be composed on his victory, or to be sung 
by Harpers or others, roundly gives it, he would not permit "any ditties 
to be made and sung by Minstrels on his glorious victory," &c. Vid. 
p. 21, and Note (B B 4). 

Now that this order of men, at first called Gleemen, then Juglers, 
and afterwards more generally Minstrels, existed here from the Con- 
quest, who entertained their hearers with chanting to the harp or other 
instrument songs and tales of chivalry, or as they were called Gesis'^ 
and romances in verse in the English language, is proved by the existence 
of the very compositions they so chanted, which are still preserved in 
great abundance ; and exhibit a regular series from the time our language 
was almost Saxon, till after its improvements in the age of Chaucer, who 
enumerates many of them. And as the Norman French was in the time 
of this bard still the courtly language, it shows that the English was not 
thereby excluded from affording entertainment to our nobility, who are 
so often addressed therein by the title oi Lordings : and sometimes more 
positively "Lords and ladies," p. 109. 

And though many of these were translated from the French, others 
are evidently of English origin,^ which appear in their turns to have 
afforded versions into that language ; a sufficient proof of that inter- 
community between the French and English Minstrels, which hath been 
mentioned in a preceding page. Even the abundance of such trans- 
lations into English, being all adapted for popular recitation, sufficiently 
establishes the fact, that the English Minstrels had a great demand for 

1 Gests at length came to signify adventures or incidents in general. So in a 
narrative of the Journey into Scotland, of Queen Margaret and her attendants, on her 
marriage with King James IV. in 1503 (in Appendix to Leland. Collect, iv. p. 265.) 
we are promised an account " of their Gestys and manners during the said voyage." 

2 The Romance of Richard Ccetir de Lion (No. x.xv.) I should judge to be of 
English origin from the names IVardreive and Eldrede^ &c. vol. ii. p. 176. As 
is also Eger and Grime, (No. xii,) wherein a knight is named Sir Gray Steel, and a 
lady who excels in surgery is called Loospaine, or Lose-j>ain: these surely are not 
derived from France. 

62 The Percy Reliques 

such compositions, which they were glad to supply whether from their 
own native stores, or from other languages. 

"We have seen above that the Joculator, Mimits, Histrio, whether 
these characters were the same, or had any real difference, were all 
called Minstrels ; as was also the Harper,^ when the term implied a 
singer, if not a composer, of songs, &c. By degrees the name of 
Minstrel was extended to vocal and instrumental musicians of every 
kind : and as in the establishment of royal and noble houses, the latter 
would necessarily be most numerous, so we are not to wonder that the 
band of music (entered under the general name of Minstrels) should 
consist of instrumental performers chiefly, if not altogether : for, as the 
composer or singer of heroic tales to the harp would necessarily be a 
solitary performer, we must not expect to find him in the band along 
with the trumpeters, fluters, &c. ^^ ^ 

However, as we sometimes find mention of " Minstrels of Music : " - 
so at other times we hear of " expert Minstrels and musicians of tongue 
and cunning " (b B 3) p. 54 ;' meaning doubtless by the former singers, 
and probably by the latter phrase composers of songs. Even " Minstrels 
Music " seems to be applied to the species of verse used by Minstrels in 
the passage quoted below.'* 

But although, from the predominancy of instrumental music, min- 
strelsy was at length chiefly to be understood in this sense, yet it was 
still applied to the poetry of Minstrels so late as the time of Queen 
Ehzabeth, as appears in the following extract from Puttenham's " Arte 
of Eng. Poesie," p. 9. Who, speaking of the first composers of Latin 
verses in rhyme, says, "all that they wrote to the favor or prayse of 
Princes they did it in such manner of Minstralsie ; and thought them- 
selves no small fooles, when they could make their verses go all in 


I shall conclude this subject with the following description of Mm- 
strelcy given by John Lidgate at the beginning of the fifteenth century, 
as it shows what a variety of entertainments were then comprehended 
under this term, together with every kind of instrumental music then in 


— Al maner Mynstralcye, 
That any man kan specifye. 
Ffor there were Rotys of Almayne, 
And eke of Arragon, and Spayne : 

1 See the Romance of Sir Isenbras (vol. ii. No. xiv. p. 184), sign. a. 

Harpers loved him in Hall 
With other Minstrels all. 

2 T. Warton, ii. 258. Note (a) from Leland's Collect, (vol. iv. Append, edit. 1774, 

^ 3 The curious author of the " Tour in Wales, 1773." 4to. p. 435, I find to have read 
these words " in toune and contrey ; " which I can scarce imagine to have been appli- 
cable to Wales at that time. Nor can I agree with him in the representation he has 
Kiven (p. 367) concerning the Cymmorth or meeting, wherein the Bards exerted theu: 
powers to excite their countrymen to war ; as if it were by a deduction of the particu- 
lars he enumerates, and as it should seem in the way of harangue, &c. After which, 
" the band of Minstrels . . . struck up ; the h.-irp, the crwth, and the pipe hlled the 
measures of enthusiasm, which the others begun to inspire.' Whereas it is well 
known that the Bard chanted his enthusiastic eflusions to the harp ; and as for the term 
Minstrel, it was not, I conceive, at all used by the Welsh ; and in English it compre- 
hended both the B.ird and the Musician. _ . , ,, • J 
4 " Your ordinarie rimers use very much tbeir measures in the odde, as nine and 
eleven and the sharpe accent upon the last sillable, which therefore makes him go ill 
favouredly and like a Minstrels tmisicke." (Puttenham's Arte of Eng. Poesie, 1589, 
p. 59.) This must mean his vocal music, otherwise it appears not applicable to the 

Notes 63 

Sang^es, Stampes, and eke Daunces ; 
Divers plente of plesaunces : 
And many unkouth notys new 
Of swiche folke as lovid treue.l 
And instrumentys that did excelle, 
Many moo than I kan telle, 
Harpys, Fythales, and eke Rotys 
Well according to her (/. e. their) notys, 
Lutys, Ribibles, and Geternes, 
More for estatys, than tavernes : 
Orgay[n]s, Cytolis, Monacordys.— 
There were Trumpes, and Trumpettas, 
Lowde Shall[m]ys, and Doucettes. 

T. Warton, ii. 225, note (*). 

1 By this phrase I understand, new tales or narrative rhymes composed by th« 
Minstrels on the subject of true and faithful lovers, &c 

The foregoing Essay on the Ancient Minstrels has been very much 
enlarged atid improved since the first Edition, with respect to the Anglo- 
Saxon Minstrels, in consequence of soiue objections proposed by the reverend 
and learned Mr. Pegge, which the reader 7n ay find in the second volume 
of the Archseologia, printed by the Antiquarian Society ; btit which that 
gentleman has since retracted in the most liberal attd candid manner in 
the third volume of the Archseologia, No. xxxiv. p. 310. 

And in consequeiice of similar objections respecting the English Min- 
strels after the Conquest, the subsequent part hath been much enlarged, 
and additional light thrown upon the subject ; which, to prevent cavil, 
hath been extended to Minstrelsy in all its branches, as it was established 
in England, whether by natives or foreigners. 






I never heard the old song of Percie and Douglas, that I found not 
my heart moved more than with a trumpet : and yet ' it' is sung but by 
some blinde crowder, with no rougher voice, than rude style ; which 
beeing so evill apparelled in the dust and cobweb of that uncivill age, 
what would it work, trimmed in the gorgeous eloquence of Pindare ! 
Sir Philip Sydney's Defence of Poetry. 


The fine heroic song of Chevy-Chase has ever been admired by com- 
petent judges. Those genuine strokes of nature and artless passion 
which have endeared it to the most simple readers, have recommended 
it to the most refined ; and it has equally been the amusement of our 
childhood, and the favourite of our riper years. 

Mr. Addison has given an excellent critique^ on this very popular 
ballad, but is mistaken with regard to the antiquity of the common- 
received copy ; for this, if one may judge from the style, cannot be 
older than the time of Elizabeth, and was probably written after the 
elogium of Sir Philip Sydney : perhaps in consequence of it. I flatter 
myself I have here recovered the genuine antique poem ; the true 
original song, which appeared rude even in the time of Sir Philip, and 
caused him to lament that it was so evil-apparelled in the rugged garb 
of antiquity. 

This curiosity is printed, from an old manuscript, at the end of 
Heame's preface to Gul. Newbrigiensis Hist. 1719, 8vo. vol i. To 
the MS. copy is subjoined the name of the author, Rychard Sheale ;-^ 
whom Heame had so little judgment as to suppose to be the same with 
a R. Sheale, who was living in 1588. But whoever exarnines the grada- 
tion of language and idiom in the following volumes, will be convinced 
that this is the production of an earlier poet. It is indeed expressly 
mentioned among some very ancient songs in an old book entituled, 

1 Spectator, No. 70, 74. ,, ^, , ,. . ^ .... 

2 Subscribed after the u.sual manner of our old poets, ClpUcCtb (explicit) QUOtb 

IRvcbart SbeaU 

VOL. I. F 

66 The Percy Reliques 

The Complaint of Scotland ^ (fol. 42), under the title of the Huntis 
of Chevet, where the two following lines are also quoted : 

The Perssee and the Mongumrye mette,2 
That day, that day, that gentil day : ^ 

which though not quite the same as they stand in the ballad, yet differ 
not more than might be owing to the author's quoting from memory. 
Indeed, whoever considers the style and orthography of this old poem 
will not be inclined to place it lower than the time of Henry VI. : as on 
the other hand the mention of ^Hincs t^e SrotttB^ ^ing,* with one or two 
anachronisms, forbids us to assign it an earlier date. King James I. 
who was prisoner in this kingdom at the death of his father,* did not 
wear the crown of Scotland till the second year of our Henry VI., ^ but 
before the end of that long reign a third James had mounted the throne.'' 
A succession of two or three Jameses, and the long detention of one 
of them in England, would render the name familiar to the English, and 
dispose a poet in those rude times to give it to any Scottish king he 
happened to mention. 

So much for the date of this old ballad : with regard to its subject, 
although it has no countenance from history, there is room to think 
it had originally some foundation in fact. It was one of the Laws of the 
Marches frequently renewed between the two nations, that neither 
party should hunt in the other's borders, without leave from the pro- 
prietors or their deputies.^ There had long been a rivalship between 
the two martial families of Percy and Douglas, which, heightened by the 
national quarrel, must have produced frequent challenges and struggles 
for superiority, petty invasions of their respective domains and sharp 
contests for the point of honour ; which would not always be recorded 
in history. Something of this kind, we may suppose, gave rise to the 
ancient ballad of the Hunting a' the Cheviot.^ Percy earl of Northum- 
berland had vowed to hunt for three days in the Scottish border without 
condescending to ask leave from earl Douglas, who was either lord 
of the soil, or lord warden of the marches. Douglas would not fail to 
resent the insult, and endeavour to repel the intruders by force : this 
would naturally produce a sharp conflict between the two parties ; 
something of which, it is probable, did really happen, though not 
attended with the tragical circumstances recorded in the ballad : for 
these are evidently borrowed from the Battle of Otterbourn^^ a very 
different event, but which aftertimes would easily confound with it. 
That battle might be owing to some such previous affront as this 
oi Chevy- Chase, though it has escaped the notice of historians. Our 
poet has evidently jumbled the two subjects together : if indeed the 

1 One of the earliest productions of the Scottish press, now to be found. The title 
page was a anting in the copy here quoted ; but it is supposed to have been printed in 
1540. See Ames. 
'^ See Pt. 2. V. 25. 3 See Pt. i. v. 104. * Pt. 2. v. 36. 140. 

5 Who died Aug. s, 1406, in the 7th year of our Hen. IV'. 

6 James I. was crowned May 22, 1424 ; murdered Feb. 21, 1436-7. 

7 In 1460. — Hen. VI. was deposed 1461 ; restored and slain, 1471. 

8 Item .... Concordatum est, quod, .... NULLUs unius partis vel ilteriui 
ingrediatur terras, boschas,forrestas, warrenas, loca, dominia qucscunque aticujus 
pa rtis alterius subditi, causa venandi, piscandi, aiccupandi, disportutn aut sotatiutn 
in eisdem, aliave qucecunque de causa, absque licentia ejus .... ad quern 

.... loca pertinent, aut de deputatis suis prius capt. &• obtcnt. Vid. Bp. 

Nicholson's Leges Marchiarum, 1705, 8vo. pp. 27,51. 

*• This was the original title. See the ballad, Pt. i. v. 106. Pt. 2. v. 165. 
1» See the next ballad 

Chevy Chace 67 

lines ^ in which this mistake is made, are not rather spurious, and the 
after-insertion of some person who did not distinguish between the two 

Hearne has printed this ballad without any division of stanzas, in 
long lines, as he found it in the old written copy : but it is usual to find 
the distinction of stanzas neglected in ancient MSS. ; where, to save 
room, two or three verses are frequently given in one line undivided. 
See fiagrant instances in the Harleian Catalog. No. 2253, s. 29, 34, 61, 
70, & passim. 


The Perse owt of Northombarlande, 

And a vowe to God mayd he, 
That he wolde hunte in the mountayns 

Off Chyviat within dayes thre, 
In the mauger ^ of doughte Dogles, 

And all that ever with him be. 

The fattiste hartes in all Cheviat 

He sayd he wold kill, and cary them away : 

Be my feth, sayd the dougheti Doglas agayn, 
I wyll let that hontyng yf that I may. 

Then the Perse * owt of Banborowe cam, 

With him a myghtye meany ; 
With fifteen hondrith archares ^ bold : 

The wear chosen out of shyars thre.^ 

This begane on a monday at morn 

In Cheviat the hillys so he ; 
The chyld may rue that ys un-born, 

It was the mor pitte. 

The dryvars thorowe ^ the woodes went 

For to reas the dear ; 
Bomen bickarte uppone the bent 

With ther browd aras cleare. 

Then the wyld thorowe the woodes went 
On every syde shear ; 

1 Vid. Pt. 2. V. 167. 2 See ver. 100. 

3 " Magger" in Heame's PC. [Printed Copy.] 

4 " The the Perse." PC. 

6 " Archardes bolde off blood and bone." PC. 

5 By these "shyars thre" is probably meant three districts in Northumberland, 
which still go by the name of shires, and are all in the neighbourhood of Cheviot. 
These are Islandshire, being the district so named from Holy-Island ; Norehamshire, 
so called from the town and castle of Noreham, or Norham ; and Bamborougltshire, 
the ward or hundred belonging to Bamborough-castle and town. 

^ "Throrowe." PC. 

68 The Percy Reliques 

Grea-hondes thorowe the greves glent 
For to kyll thear dear. 

The begane in Chyviat the hyls above 

Yerly on a monnyn day ; 
Be that it drewe to the oware off none 

A hondrith fat hartes ded ther lay. 

The blewe a mort ^ uppone the bent, 

The semblyd on sydis shear ; 
To the quyrry then the Perse went 

To se the bryttlyng off the deare. 

He sayd, It was the Duglas promys 

This day to meet me hear ; 
But I wyste he wold faylle verament ; 

A gret oth the Perse swear. 

At the laste a squyar of Northombelonde 

Lokyde at his hand full ny, 
He was war ath the doughetie Doglas comynge : 

With him a mighte ^ meany, 

Both with spear, ' byll,'^ and brande : 

Yt was a myghti sight to se. 
Hardyar men both off hart nar hande 

Wear not in Christiante. 

The wear twenty hondrith spear-men good 

Withouten any fayle ; * 
The wear borne a-long be the watter a Twyde 

Yth bowndes of Tividale. 

Leave off the brytlyng of the dear, he sayde, 
And to your bowys ^ look ye tayk good heed 

For never sithe ye wear on your mothars borne 
Had ye never so mickle need.** 

The dougheti Dogglas on a stede 

He rode att his men beforne ; 
His armor glytteryde as dyd a glede ; 

A bolder bame was never born. 

Tell me ' what ' ^ men ye ar, he says, 
Or whos men that ye be : 

1 "Blweamot." PC. 2 " Myghtte." PC passim. 

S "Brvlly." PC. * "Withowte feale PC 

• "Boys.- PC. « "Ned." PC. 

7 " Whos." PC 

Chevy Chace 69 

Who gave youe leave to hunte in this 
Chyviat chays in the spyt of me ? 

The first mane that ever him an answear mayd, 

Yt was the good lord Perse : 
We wyll not tell the ' what ' ^ men we ar, he says, 

Nor whos men that we be ; 
But we wyll hount hear in this chays 

In the spyte of thyne, and of the. 

The fattiste hartes in all Chyviat 

We have kyld, and cast to carry them a-way. 

Be my troth, sayd the doughte Dogglas agayn,^ 
Ther-for the ton of us shall de this day. 

Then sayd the doughte Doglas 

Unto the lord Perse : 
To kyll all thes giltless men, 

A-las ! it wear great pitte. 

But, Perse, thowe art a lord of lande, 
I am a yerle callyd within my countre ; 

Let all our men uppone a parti stande ; 
And do the battell off the and of me. 

Nowe Cristes cors on his crowne, sayd the ^ lord Perse, 

Who-soever ther-to says nay. 
Be my troth, doughte Doglas, he says, 

Thow shalt never se that day ; 

Nethar in Ynglonde, Skottlonde, nar France, 

Nor for no man of a woman bom, 
But and fortune be my chance, 

I dar met him on man for on.* 

Then bespayke a squyar off Northombarlonde, 

Ric. Wytharynton ^ was his nam ; 
It shall never be told in Sothe- Ynglonde, he says, 

To kyng Herry the fourth for sham. 

I wat youe byn great lordes twaw, 
I am a poor squyar of lande ; 

1 "Whoys." PC. 2 "Agay." PC. 

3 "Sayd the the." PC. _ * " On," i. e. one. 

5 This is probably corrupted in the manuscript for Rog. Widdrington, who was at 
the head of the family in the reign of King Edward III. There were several 
successively of the names of Roger and Ralph, but none of the name of Richard, as 
appears from the genealogies in the Heralds' office. 

70 The Percy Reliques 

I wyll never se my captayne fyght on a fylde, 

And stande my-selffe, and looke on, 
But whyll I may my weppone welde, 

I wyll not ' fayl ' both harte and hande. 

That day, that day, that dredfull day : 

The first Fit ^ here I fynde. 
And youe wyll here any mor athe hountyng athe Chyviat, 

Yet ys ther mor behynde. 


The Yngglishe men hade ther bowys yebent, 

Ther hartes were good yenoughe ; 
The first ^ of arros that the shote off, 

Seven skore spear-men the sloughe. 

Yet bydys ^ the yerle Doglas uppon the bent, 

A captayne good yenoughe, 
And that was sene verament, 

For he wrought hom both woo and wouche. 

The Dogglas pertyd his ost in thre, 

Lyk a cheffe cheften off pryde, 
With suar speares off myghtte tre 

The cum in on every syde. 

Thrughe our Yngglishe archery 

Gave many a wounde full wyde ; 
Many a doughete the garde to dy. 

Which ganyde them no pryde. 

The Yngglyshe men let thear bowys ^ be, 
And pulde owt brandes that wer bright ; * 

It was a hevy syght to se 

Bryght swordes on basnites lyght. 

Thorowe^ ryche male, and myne-ye-ple 
Many steme the stroke downe " streght : 

Many a freyke, that was full free, 
Ther undar foot dyd lyght. 

At last the Duglas and the Perse met, 
Lyk to^ captayns of^ myght and maynej 

1 Vid. Glos. 2 ,-. e. flight. 

S"Byddys." PC. ^''Boys." PC 

O "Briggt." PC. 6 "Throrowe." PC 

^ "Done." PC. 8 i.e. two. 
» " And of." PC. 

Chevy Chace 7^ 

The swapte togethar tyll the both swat 
With swordes, that were of fyn myllan. 

Thes worthe freckys for to fyght 

Ther-to the wear full fayne, 
Tyll the bloode owte off thear basnetes sprente, 

As ever dyd heal or rayne.^ 

Holde 2 the, Perse, sayd the Doglas, 

And i' feth I shall the brynge 
Wher thowe shalte have a yerls wagis 

Of Jamy our Scottish kynge. 

Thoue shalte have thy ransom fre, 

I hight the hear this thinge. 
For the manfullyste man yet art thowe. 

That ever I conqueryd in filde fightyng. 

Nay * then ' sayd the lord Perse, 

I tolde it the beforne. 
That I wolde never yeldyde be 

To no man of a woman born. 

With that ther cam an arrowe hastely 

Forthe off a mightie wane, ^ 
Hit hathe strekene the yerle Duglas 

In at the brest bane. 

Thoroue ^ lyvar and longs bathe 

The sharp arrowe ys gane, 
That never after in all his lyffe days. 

He spake mo wordes but ane, 
That was,^ Fyghte ye, my merry men, whyllys ye may, 

For my lyff days ben gan. 

The Perse leanyde on his brande, 

And sawe the Duglas de ; 
He tooke the dede man be the hande, 

And sayd. Wo ys me for the ! 

To have savyde thy lyffe I wold have pertyd with 

My landes for years thre, 
For a better man of hart, nare of hande 

Was not in all the north countre. 

1 "Ran." PC. 2 "Helde." PC. 

3 i. e. ane, one, sc. man. an arrow came from a mighty one : from a mighty man. 

4 '' Throroue." PC. 

6 This seems to have been a gloss added. 

72 The Percy Reliques 

Off all that se a Skottishe knyght, 

Was callyd Sir Hewe the Mongon-byrry, 

He sawe the Duglas to the deth was dyght ; 
He spendyd a spear a trusti tre : 

He rod uppon a corsiare 

Throughe a hondrith archery ; 
He never styntyde, nar never blane, 

Tyll he cam to the good lord Perse. 

He set uppone the lord Perse 

A dynte, that was full soare ; 
With a suar spear of a myghte tre 

Clean thorow the body he the Perse bore,^ 

Athe tothar syde, that a man myght se, 

A large cloth yard and mare : 
Towe bettar captayns wear nat in Christiant^, 

Then that day slain wear ther. 

An archer off Northomberlonde 

Say 2 slean was the lord Perse, 
He bar a bende-bow in his hande, 

Was made off trusti tre : 

An arow, that a cloth yarde was lang, 

To th' hard stele halyde ^ he ; 
A dynt, that was both sad and soar. 

He sat on Sir Hewe the Mongon-byrry. 

The dynt yt was both sad and soar,* 

That he of Mongon-byrry sete ; 
The swane-fethars, that his arrowe bar, 

With his hart blood the wear wete.^ 

Ther was never a freake wone foot wold fle, 

But still in stour dyd stand, 
Heawing on yche othar, whyll the myght dre, 

^Vith many a bal-ful brande. 

This battell begane in Chyviat 

An owar befor the none, 
And when even-song bell was rang 

The battell was nat half done. 

1 " Ber." PC. 2 ;,g saw. 

S "Haylde." PC. * "Sar." PC. _ 

* This incident is taken from the battle of Otterboume ; in which Sir Hugh Mont- 
gomery, Knt. (son of John Lord Montgomery) was slain with an arrow. Vid. 
Crawford's Peerage. 

Chevy Chace 73 

The tooke ' on ' on ethar hand 

Be the lyght off the mone ; 
Many hade no strenght for to stande, 

In Chyviat the hyllys aboun.^ 

Of fifteen hondrith archars of Ynglonde 

Went away but fifti and thre ; 
Of twenty hondrith spear-men of Skotlonde, 

But even five and fifti : 

But all wear slayne Cheviat within : 

The hade no strengthe ^ to stand on hie ; 

The chylde may rue that ys un-borne, 
It was the mor pitte. 

Thear was slayne with the lord Perse 

Sir John of Agerstone, 
Sir Roge the hinde Hartly, 

Sir Wyllyam the bolde Hearone. 

Sir Jorg the worthe Lovele ^ 

A knyght of great renowen, 
Sir Raff the ryche Rugbe 

With dyntes wear beaten dowene. 

For Wetharryngton my harte was wo, 

That ever he slayne shulde be ; 
For when both his leggis wear hewyne in to,* 

Yet he knyled and fought on hys kne.^ 

Ther was slayne with the dougheti Douglas 

Sir Hewe the Mongon-byrry, 
Sir Davye Lwdale, that worthe was, 

His sistars son was he : 

Sir Charles a Murre, in that place, 

That never a foot wolde fle ; 
Sir Hewe Maxwell, a lorde he was, 

With the Duglas dyd he dey. 

So on the morrowe the mayde them byears 

Off byrch, and hasell so ' gray ; ' ^ 
Many wedous with wepyng tears ^ 

Cam to fach ther makys a-way. 

i "Abou." PC. 2 " Strenge . . . by." PC. 3 " Joule." PC. 

* i.e. in two. » "Kny."^ PC. « "Gay." PC. 

7 A common pleonasm. (See the next poem, Fit ii. ver. 155.) So Hardmg, in his 
Chronicle, chap. 140. fol. 148, describing tlie death of Richard I., says: 
He shrove him then unto abbots thre 
With great sobbyng . . . and wepyng teares. 
So likewise Cavendish, in his Life of Cardinal Wolsey, chap. 12. p. 31, 4to, 
"When the Duke heard this, he replied with weeping teares," &c. 

74 The Percy Reliques 

Tivydale may carpe off care, 

Northombarlond may mayk grat mone,^ 
For towe such captayns, as slayne wear thear, 

On the march perti shall never be none.^ 

Word ys commen to Edden-burrowe, 

To Jamy the Skottishe kyng, 
That dougheti Duglas, lyff-tenant of the Merches, 

He lay slean Chyviot with-in. 

His handdes dyd he weal and wryng, 

He sayd, Alas, and woe ys me ! 
Such another captayn Skotland within, 

He sayd, y-feth ^ shuld never be. 

Worde ys commyn to lovly Londone 

Till the fourth Harry our kyng, 
That lord Perse, leyff-tennante * of the Merchis, 

He lay slayne Chyviat within. 

God have merci on his soil, sayd kyng Harry, 

Good lord, yf thy will it be ! 
I have a hondrith captayns in Ynglonde, he sayd, 

As good as ever was hee : 
But Perse, and I brook my lyffe, 

Thy deth well quyte shall be. 

As our noble kyng made his a-vowe, 

Lyke a noble prince of renowen, 
For the deth of the lord Pers^, 

He dyd the battel of Hombyll-down : 

Wher syx and thritte Skottish knyghtes 

On a day wear beaten down : 
Glendale glytteryde on ther armor bryght. 

Over castill, to war, and town. 

This was the hontynge off the Cheviat ; 

That tear begane this spurn : 
Old men that knowen the grownde well yenoughe, 

Call it the Battell of Otterburn. 

At Otterburn began this spurne 

Uppon a monnyn day : 
Ther was the dougghte Doglas slean, 

The Perse never went away. 

1 "Mon." PC. 2 "Non." PC. 

3"Yeseth." PC. 4 "Cheyfftennante." PC, 

Chevy Chace 75 

Ther was never a tym on the march partes 

Sen the Doglas and the Perse met, 
But yt was marvele, and the redde blude ronne not, 

As the reane doys in the stret. 

Jhesue Christ our balys bete, 

And to the blys us brynge ! 
Thus was the hountynge of the Chevyat : 

God send us all good ending ! 

*^* The style of this and the following ballad is uncommonly rugged 
and uncouth, owing to their being writ in the very coarsest and broadest 
northern dialect. 

The battle of Hombyll-down, or Humbledon, was fought Sept. 14, 
1402 (anno 3 Hen. IV.), wherein the English, under the command of 
the Earl of Northumberland, and his son Hotspur, gained a complete 
victory over the Scots. The village of Humbledon is one mile north- 
west from Wooler, in Northumberland. The battle was fought in the 
field below the village, near the present turnpike road, in a spot called 
ever since Red-Riggs. Humbledon is in Glendale Ward, a district so 
named in this county, and mentioned above in ver. 163. 


The only battle, wherein an Earl of Douglas was slain fighting with 
a Percy, was that of Otterbourn, which is the subject of this ballad. It 
is here related with the allowable partiality of an English poet, and 
much in the same manner as it is recorded in the English Chronicles. 
The Scottish writer- have, with a partiality at least as excusable, re- 
lated it no less in their own favour. Luckily we have a very circum- 
stantial narrative of the whole affair from Froissart, a French historian, 
who appears to be unbiassed, Froissart's relation is prolix ; I shall 
therefore give it, with a few corrections, as abridged by Carte, who has 
however had recourse to other authorities, and differs from Froissart in 
some things, which I shall note in the margin. 

In the twelfth year of Richard II. 1388, " The Scots taking advantage 
of the confusions of this nation, and falling with a party into the West- 
Marches, ravaged the country about Carlisle, and carried off 300 prisoners. 
It was with a much greater force, headed by some of the principal nobil- 
ity, that, in the beginning of August,^ they invaded Northumberland ; and, 
having wasted part of the county of Durham,"^ advanced to the gates of 
Newcastle: where, in a skirmish, they took a 'penon' or colours* 
belonging to Henry Lord Percy, surnamed Hotspur, son of the Earl of 

1 Froissart speaks of both parties (consisting in all of more than 40,000 men) as 
entering England at the same time ; but the greater part by way of Carlisle. 

2 And, according to the ballad, that part of Northumberland called Bamborough- 
shire ; a large tract of land so named from the town and castle of Bamborough, 
formerly the residence of the Northumbrian kings. 

» This circumstance is omitted in the ballad. Hotspur and Douglas were two young 
warriors much of the same age. 

76 The Percy Reliques 

Northumberland. In their retreat home, they attacked a castle near 
Otterboum : and, in the evening of Aug. 9 (as the English writers say, 
or rather, according to Froissart, Aug. 15), after an unsuccessful assault, 
were surprised in their camp, which was very strong, by Henry, who at 
the first onset put them into a good deal of confusion. But James Earl 
of Douglas rallying his men, there ensued one of the best-fought actions 
that happened in that age ; both armies showing the utmost bravery ; ■* 
the Earl Douglas himself being slain on the spot ; ^ the Earl of Murrey 
mortally wounded ; and Hotspur,^ with his brother Ralph Percy, taken 
prisoners. These disasters on both sides have given occasion to the 
event of the engagement's being disputed; Froissart (who derives his 
relation from a Scotch knight, two gentlemen of the same country, and 
as many of Foix *) affirming that the Scots remained masters of the field ; 
and the English writers insinuating the contrary. These last maintain 
that the English had the better of the day : but night coming on, some 
of the northern lords, coming with the Bishop of Durham to their as- 
sistance, killed many of them by mistake, supposing them to be Scots ; 
and the Earl of Dunbar, at the same time falling on another side upon 
Hotspur, took him and his brother prisoners, and carried them off while 
both parties were fighting. It is at least certain, that immediately after 
this battle the Scots engaged in it made the best of their way home : 
and the same party was taken by the other corps about Carlisle." 

Such is the account collected by Carte, in which he seems not to be 
free from partiality : for prejudice must own that Froissart's circum- 
stantial account carries a great appearance of truth, and he gives the 
victory to the Scots. He however does justice to the courage of both 
parties ; and represents their mutual generosity in such a light, that 
the present age might edify by the example. "The Englysshmen on 
the one partye, and Scottes on the other party, are good men of waire, 
for whan they mete, there is a hard fighte without sparynge. There is 
no hoo ' betwene them as long as speares, swordes, axes, or dagers wyll 
endure ; but lay on eche upon other : and whan they be well beaten, 
and that the one party hath obtayned the victory, they than glorifye so 
in their dedes of armes, and are so joyfull, that suche as be taken, they 
shall be ransomed or they go out of the felde ; ^ so that shortely eche of 
them is so contente with other, that at their departynge curtoysly they 
will saye, God thanke you. But in fyghtynge one with another there is 
no playe, nor sparynge." Froissart's Cronycle (as translated by Sir 
Johan Bourchier Lord Berners), cap. cxlij. 

The following ballad is (in this present edition) printed from an old 
manuscript in the Cotton Library "^ (Cleopatra, c. iv. ) and contains many 

1 Froissart says the English exceeded the Scots in number three to one, but that 
these had the advantage of the ground and were also fresh from sleep, while the 
English were greatly fatigued with their previous inarch. 

2 By Henry Lord Percy, according to this ballad, and our old English historians, as 
Stow, Speed, &c. but borne, down by numbers, if we may believe Froissart. 

3 Hotspur (after a very sharp conflict) was taken prisoner by John Lord Mont- 
gomery-, whose eldest son, Sir Hugh, was slain in the same action with an arrow, ac- 
cording to Crawford's Peerage (and seems also to be alluded to in the foregoing ballad, 
p. 73), but taken prisoner and exchanged for Hotspur, according to this ballad. 

* Froissart (according to the English translation) says he had his account from two 
squires of England, and from a knight and squire of Scotland, soon after the battle. 

* So in Langham's letter concerning Queen Elizabeth's entertainment at Killing- 
I'orth Castle, 1575, i2mo. p. 61. " Heer was no ho in devout drinkyng." 
8 I. e. They scorn to take the advantage, or to keep them lingering in long captivity. 
' The notice of this MS. I must acknowledge with many other obligations, owing to 
th« friendship of Thomas Tyrwhitt, Esq. late Clerk of the House of Commons. 



Battle of Otterbourne 77 

stanzas more than were in the former copy, which was transcribed from 
a manuscript in the Harleian Collection [No. 293, fol. 52]. In the 
Cotton manuscript this poem has no title, but in the Harleian copy it is 
thus inscribed, " A sonc;e made in R. 2. his tyme of the battele of Otter- 
burne, betweene Lord Henry Percye Earle of Northomberlandeand the 
Earle Douglas of Scotlande, anno 1388." But this title is erroneous, 
and added by some ignorant transcriber of after- times : for, i. The battle 
was not fought by the Earl of Northumberland, who was absent, but 
by his son Sir Henry Percy, Knt. surnamed Hotspur. [In those times 
they did not usually give the title of Lord to an earl's eldest son.] 2. 
Although the battle was fought in Richard lid's time, the song is 
evidently of later date, as appears from the poet's quoting the chronicles 
in Pt. II. ver. 26 ; and speaking of Percy in the last stanza as dead. It was 
however written in all likelihood as early as the foregoing song, if not 
earlier. This perhaps may be inferred from the minute circumstances 
with which the story is related, many of which are recorded in no 
chronicle, and were probably preserved in the memory of old people. 
It will be observed that the authors of these two poems have some lines 
in common ; but which of them was the original proprietor must depend 
upon their priority ; and this the sagacity of the reader must determine. 

Yt Telle abowght the Lamasse tyde, 

Whan husbonds wynn ther haye,^ 
The dowghtye Dowglasse bowynd hym to ryde, 

In Ynglond to take a praye : 

The yerlle of Fyffe,^ withowghten stryffe, 

He bowynd hym over Sulway : ^ 
The grete wolde ever together ryde ; 

That race they may rue for aye. 

Over ' Ottercap ' hyll they ^ came in, 

And so dowyn by Rodelyffecragge, 
Upon Grene ' Leyton ' they lyghted dowyn, 

Styrande many a stagge ; ^ 

1 "Winn their heaye." Ha'rl. MS. This is the Northumberland phrase to this 
day : by which they always express " getting in their hay." 

2 Robert Stuart, second son of King Robert II. 

3 t.e. "'over Solway frith." This evidently refers to the other division of the 

Scottish army, which came in by way of Carlisle " Bowynd," or " Bounde 

him ; " z. e. hied him. Vid. Gloss. 

■* "They: " so. the Earl of Douglas and his party. The several stations here 
mentioned are well-known places in Northumberland. Ottercap-hill is in the 
parish of Kirk- Whelpington, in Tynedale-ward. Rodeliffe- (or as it is more usually 
pronounced Rodeley-) Cragge is a noted cliff near Rodeley, a small village in the 
parish of Hartburn, in Morpeth-ward : it lies south-east of Ottercap, and has. within 
these few years, been distinguished by a small tower erected by Sir Walter Blacket, 
Bart, which, in Armstrong's map of Northumberland, is pompously called Rodeley- 
castle. Green Leyton is another small village in the same parish of Hartburn, and is 
south-east of Rodeley. Both the original MSS. read here corruptly, Hoppertop 
and Lynton. 

5 This line is corrupt _ in both the MSS. viz. "Many a styrande stage." Stags 
have been killed within the present century on some of the large wastes in 

78 The Percy Reliques 

And boldely brente Northomberlonde, 

And haryed many a towyn ; 
They dyd owr Ynglyssh men grete wrange, 

To battel that were not bowyn. 

Than spake a berne upon the bent, 
Of comforte that was not colde, 

And sayd, We have brent Northomberlond, 
We have all welth in holde. 

Now we have haryed all Bamboroweshyre, 
All the welth in the worlde have wee ; 

I rede we ryde to Newe Castell, 
So styll and stalwurthlye. 

Uppon the morowe, when it was daye, 
The standards schone fulle bryght ; 

To the Newe Castelle the toke the waye, 
And thether they cam fulle ryght. 

Sir Henry Percy laye at the Newe Castelle, 
I telle yow withowtten drede ; 

He had byn a march-man ^ all hys dayes, 
And kepte Barwyke upon Twede. 

To the Newe Castell when they cam, 
The Skottes they cryde on hyght, 

Syr Harye Percy, and thow byste within, 
Com to the fylde, and fyght : 

For we have brente Northomberlonde, 
Thy eritage good and ryght ; 

And syne - my logeyng I have take, 

With my brande dubbyd many a knyght. 

Sir Harry Percy cam to the walles. 
The Skottyssh oste for to se ; 

" And thow hast brent Northomberlond, 
Full sore it rewyth me. 

Yf thou hast haryed all Bambarowe shyre, 
Thow hast done me grete envye ; 

For the trespasse thow hast me done, 
The tone of us schall dye." 

1 " Marche-man," i. e. a scourer of the Marches. 
a " Syne " seems here to mean since. 

Battle of Otterbourne 79 

Where schall I byde the ? sayd the Dowglas, 

Or where wylte thow come to me ? 
" At Otterborne in the hygh way,i 

Ther maist thow well logeed be. 

The roo ^ full rekeles ther sche rinnes, 

To make the game and glee : 
The fawkon and the fesaunt both, 

Amonge on the holtes on ' hee.' ^ 

Ther maist thow have thy welth at wyll, 

Well looged ther maist be. 
Yt schall not be long, or I com the tyll," 

Sayd Syr Harry Percye. 

Ther schall I byde the, sayd the Dowglas, 

By the fayth of my bodye. 
Thether schall I com, sayd Syr Harry Percy ; 

My trowth I plyght to the 

A pype of wyne he gave them over the walles, 

For soth, as I yow saye : 
Ther he mayd the Douglas drynke, 

And all hys oste that daye. 

The Dowglas turnyd him homewarde agayne. 

For soth withowghten naye, 
He tooke his logeyng at Oterborne 

Uppon a Wedyns-day : 

And ther he pyght hys standerd dowyn, 

Hys gettyng more and lesse, 
And syne he warned hys men to goo 

To chose ther geldyngs gresse. 

A Skottysshe knyght hoved upon the bent,* 

A wache I dare well saye : 
So was he ware on the noble Percy 

In the dawnynge of the daye. 

He prycked to his pavyleon dore, 
As faste as he myght ronne, 

1 Otterboum is near the old Watling-street road, in the parish of Elsdon. The 
Scots were encamped in a grassy plain near the river Read. The place where the 
Scots and English fought is still called Battle Riggs. 

2 Roe-bucliS were to be found upon the wastes not far from Hexham in the reign of 

Ceo. I. Whitfield, Esq. of Whitfield, is said to have destroyed the last of 


3 "Hye." MSB. 4 " Upon the best bent. MS. 

8o The Percy Reliques 

Awaken, Dowglas, cryed the knyght, 
For hys love, that syttes yn trone. 

Awaken, Dowglas, cryed the knyght. 
For thow maiste waken wyth wynne : 

Vender have I spyed the prowde Percy, 
And seven standardes wyth hym. 

Nay by my trowth, the Douglas sayed, 

It ys but a fayned taylle : 
He durste not loke on my bred banner, 

For all Ynglonde so haylle. 

Was I not yesterdaye at the Newe Castell, 
That stonds so fayre on Tyne ? 

For all the men the Percy hade, 

He cowde not garre me ones to dyne. 

He stepped owt at hys pavelyon dore, 

To loke and it were lesse ; 
Araye yow, lordyngs, one and all, 

For here bygynnes no peysse. 

The yerle of Mentaye,^ thow arte my emcj 
The forwarde I gyve to the : 

The yerlle of Huntlay cawte and kene, 
He schall wyth the be. 

The Lorde of Bowghan ^ in armure bryght 
On the other hand he schall be ; 

Lorde Jhonstone, and Lorde Maxwell, 
They to schall be with me. 

Swynton fayre fylde upon your pryde 
To batell make yow bow en : 

Syr Davy Scotte, Syr Walter Stewarde, 
Syr Jhon of Agurstone. 


The Perssy ^ came byfore hys oste, 

Wych was ever a gentyll knyght. 
Upon the Dowglas lowde can he crye, 

I wyll holde that I have hyght : * 

1 The Earl of Menteith. 2 The Lord Buchan. 

» " Pearcy." al. MS. * 1 will hold to what I have promised. 

Battle of Otterbourne 8i 

For thow haste brente Northumberlonde, 

And done me grete envye ; 
For thys trespasse thou hast me done, 

The tone of us schall dye. 

The Dowglas answerde hym agayne 

With grete wurds up on ' hee,' ^ 
And sayd, I have twenty agaynst ' thy ' one,^ 

Byholde and thow maiste see. 

Wyth that the Percye ^ was greved sore, 

For sothe as I yow saye : 
[■* He lyghted dowyn upon his fote, 

And schoote his horsse clene away. 

Every man sawe that he dyd soo, 

That ryall was ever in rowght -, 
Every man schoote hys horsse him froo, 

And lyght hym rowynde abowght. 

Thus Syr Hary Percye toke the fylde. 

For soth, as I yow saye : 
Jesu Cryste in hevyn on hyght 

Dyd helpe hym well that daye. 

But nyne thowzand, ther was no moo ; 

The cronykle wyll not layne : 
Forty thowsande Skottes and fowie 

That day fowght them agayne. 

But when the batell byganne to joyne, 

In hast ther came a knyght, 
* Then ' letters fayre furth hath he tayne, 

And thus he sayd full ryght : 

My Lorde, your father he gretes yow well, 

Wyth many a noble knyght ; 
He desyres yow to byde 

That he may see thys fyght. 

The Baron of Grastoke ys com owt of the west, 

Wyth hym a noble companye ; 
All they loge at your fathers thys nyght. 

And the Battel fayne wold they see. 

1 "Hye." MS. _ _ 2 '■ The one." MS. 

8 He probably magnifies his strength to induce him to surrender. 

•* All that follows, included in brackets, was not in the first edition. 

VOL. I. G 

82 The Percy Reliques 

For Jesu's love, sayd Syr Harye Percy, 

That dyed for yow and me, 
Wende to my lorde my Father agayne, 

And saye thow saw me not with yee : 

My trowth ys plyght to yonne Skottysh knyght. 

It nedes me not to layne. 
That I schulde byde hym upon thys bent, 

And I have hys trowth agayne : 

And if that I wende off thys grownde 

For soth unfoughten awaye, 
He wolde me call but a kowarde knyght 

In hys londe another daye. 

Yet had I lever to be rynde and rente. 

By Mary that mykel maye ; 
Then ever my manhod schulde be reprovyd 

Wyth a Skotte another daye. 

Wherfore schote, archars, for my sake, 

And let scharpe arowes flee : 
Mynstrells, playe up for your waryson, 

And well quyt it schall be. 

Every man thynke on hys trewe love, 

And marke hym to the Trenite : 
For to God I make myne avowe 

Thys day wyll I not fle. 

The blodye Harte in the Dowglas armes, 

Hys standerde stode on hye ; 
That every man myght full well knowe : 

By syde stode Starres thre : 

The whyte Lyon on the Ynglysh parte, 

Forsoth as I yow sayne ; 
The Lucetts and the Cressawnts both : 

The Skotts faught them agayne.^] 

Uppon sent Andrewe lowde cane they crye. 
And thrysse they schowte on hyght, 

1 The ancient arms of Douglas are pretty accurately emblazoned in the former stanza, 
and if the readings were, " The crowned harte," and " Above stode starres thre," it 
would be minutely exact at this day. As for the Percy family, one of their ancient 
badges or cognizances was "a white lion" statant,and the "silver crescent "continues 
to be u^ed by them to this day : they also give " three luces argent" for one of their 

Battle of Otterbourne 83 

And syne marked them one owr Ynglysshe men, 
As I have tolde yow ryght. 

Sent George the bryght owr ladyes knyght, 

To name they ^ were full fayne, 
Owr Ynglysshe men they cryde on hyght, 

And thrysse the schowtte agayne. 

Wyth that scharpe arowes bygan to flee, 

I tell yow in sertayne ; 
Men of armes byganne to joyne ; 

Many a dowghty man was ther slayne. 

The Percy and the Dowglas mette, 

That ether of other was fayne ; 
They schapped together, whyll that the swette, 

With swords of fyne Collayne ; 

Tyll the bloode from their bassonetts ranne, 

As the roke doth in the rayne. 
Yelde the to me, sayd the Dowglks, 

Or ells thow schait be slayne : 

For I see, by thy bryght bassonet, 

Thow arte sum man of myght ; 
And so I do by thy burnysshed brande, 

Thow art an yerle, or ells a knyght.^ 

By my good faythe, sayd the noble Percy, 

Now haste thou rede full ryght. 
Yet wyll I never yelde me to the, 

Whyll I may stonde and fyght. 

They swapped together, whyll that they swette, 

Wyth swordes scharpe and long ; 
Ych on other so faste they beette, 

Tyll ther helmes cam in peyses dowyn. 

The Percy was a man of strenghth, 

I tell yow in thys stounde, 
He smote the Dowglas at the swordes length, 

That he felle to the growynde. 

The sworde was scharpe and sore can byte, 
I tell yow in sertayne ; 

1 t. e. the English. 

2 Being all in armour be could not know hinii 

84 The Percy Reliques 

To the harte, he cowde hym smyte, 
Thus was the Dowglas slayne. 

The stonderds stode styll on eke syde, 

With many a grevous grone ; 
Ther the fowght the day, and all the nyght, 

And many a dowghty man was 'slone.'^ 

Ther was no freke, that ther wolde flye, 

But styffly in stowre can stond, 
Ychone hewyng on other whyll they myght drye, 

Wyth many a bayllefull bronde. 

Ther was slayne upon the Skottes syde, 

For soth and sertenly, 
Syr James a Dowglas ther was slayne, 

That daye that he cowde dye.^ 

The yerlle Mentaye of he was slayne, 
Grysely groned uppon the growynd ; 

Syr Davy Scotte, Syr Walter Steward, 
Syr ' John ' of Agurstonne.^ 

Syr Charlies Morrey in that place, 

That never a fote wold flye ; 
Sir Hughe Maxwell, a lorde he was, 

With the Dowglas dyd he dye. 

Ther was slayne upon the Skottes syde, 

For soth as I yow saye, 
Of fowre and forty thowsande Scotts 

Went but eyghtene awaye. 

Ther was slayne upon the Ynglysshe syde, 

For soth and sertenlye, 
A gentell knyght, Sir John Fitz-hughe, 

Yt was the more petye. 

Syr James Harbotell ther was slayne. 

For hym ther hartes were sore, 
The gentyll ' Lovelle ' * ther was slayne, 

That the Percyes standerd bore. 

1 "Slayne." MSS. 2 ,-. e. he died that day. 

* Our old Minstrel repeats these names, as Homer and Virgil do those of their 
heroes : — 

.... fortemque Gyam, fortemque Cloanthum, &c. &c 

Both the MSS. read here, " Sir James ;" but see above. Part I. ver. 112. 
4 " Coveile." MS. For the names in this page, see the Remarks at the end of this 

Battle of Otterbourne 85 

Ther was slayne uppon the Ynglyssh perte, 

For soth as I yow saye ; 
Of nyne thowsand Ynglyssh men 

Fyve hondert cam awaye : 

The other were slayne in the fylde, 

Cryste keye their sowles from wo, 
Seyng ther was so fewe fryndes 

Agaynst so many a foo. 

Then one ^ the morne they mayd them beeres 

Of byrch, and haysell graye ; 
Many a wydowe with wepyng teyres 

Ther makes they fette awaye. 

Thys fraye bygan at Otterborne, 

Bytwene the nyghte and the day : 
Ther the Dowglas lost hys lyfe, 

And the Percy was lede awaye .^ 

Then was ther a Scottyshe prisoner tayne, 
Syr Hughe Mongomery was hys name, 

For soth as I yow saye, 

He borowd the Percy home agayne.^ 

Now let us all for the Percy * praye 

To Jesu most of myght, 
To bryng hys sowle to the blysse of heven, 

For he was a gentyll knyght. 

*^* Most of the names in the two preceding ballads are found to 
have belonged to families of distinction in the north, as may be made 
appear from authentic records. Thus in 


Ver. 112. " Agerstone."] The family of Haggerston, of Haggerston 
near Berwick, has been seated there for many centuries, and still 
remains. Thomas Haggerston was among the commissioners returned 
for Northumberland in 12 Hen. VI, 1433. (Fuller's Worthies, p. 310.) 
The head of this family at present is Sir Thomas Haggerston, Bart, of 
Haggerston above mentioned. 

N.B. The name is spelt Agerstone, as in the text, in Leland's 
Itinerary, vol. vii. p. 54. 

1 i. e. on. 2 Sc captive. 

3 In the Cotton MS. is the following Note on ver. 164, in an ancient hand :— 
"Syr Hewe Mongomery takyn prizonar, was delyvered for the restorynge of 
* "Percyes." Harl. MS. 

86 The Percy Reliques 

Ver. 113. *• Hartly."] Hartley is a village near the sea in the barony 
of Tinemouth, about seven miles from North Shields. It probably 
gave name to a family of note at that time. 

Ver. 114. " Hearone."] This family, one of the most ancient, was 
long of great consideration, in Northumberland. Haddeston, the 
caput barcnia of Heron, was their ancient residence. It descended, 25 
Edw. I. to the heir general Emiline Heron, afterwards Baroness Darcy. 
Ford, &c. and Bockenfield {in com. eodem) went at the same time to 
Roger Heron, the heir male ; whose descendants were summoned to 
Parliament : Sir William Heron of Ford Castle being summoned 44 
Edw. III. Ford Castle hath descended by heirs general to the family 
of Delaval (mentioned in the next article). Robert Heron, Esq. who 
died at Newark in 1753, (father of the Right Hon. Sir Richard Heron, 
Bart.) was heir male of the Herons of Bockenfield, a younger branch of 
this family. Sir Thomas Heron Middleton, Bart, is heir male of the 
Herons of Chip-Chase, another branch of the Herons of Ford Castle. 

Ver. 115. " Lovele."] Joh. de Lavale, miles, was sheriff of North- 
umberland 34 Hen. VII. Joh. de Lavele, mil. in the i Edw. VI. and 
afterwards. (Fuller, 313.) In Nicholson this name is spelt Da Lovel, 
p. 304. This seems to be the ancient family of Delaval, of Seaton 
Delaval, in Northumberland, whose ancestor was one of the 25 barons 
appointed to be guardians of Magna Charta. 

Ver. 117. "Rugbe."] The ancient family of Rokeby, in Yorkshire, 
seems to be here intended. In Thoresby's Ducat. Leod. p. 253, fol. is 
a genealog}- of this house, by which it appears that the head of the 
family, about the time when this ballad was written, was Sir Ralph 
Rokeby, Ralph being a common name of the Rokebys. 

Ver. 119. " Wetharrington."] Rog. de Widrington was sheriff of 
Northumberland in 36 of Edw. III. (Fuller, p. 31 1) Joh. de Widring- 
ton in II of Hen. IV, and many others of the same name afterwards. 
(See also Nicholson, p. 331.) Of this family was the late Lord Wither- 

Ver. 124. " Mongon-byrry."] Sir Hugh jNIontgomery was son of 
John Lord Montgomery, the lineal ancestor of the present Earl of 

Ver. 125. " Lwdale."] The ancient family of the Liddels were 
originally from Scotland, where they were Lords of Liddel Castle, and 
of the Barony of Buff. (Vid. Collins's Peerage.) The head of this 
family is the present Lord Ravensworth, of Ravensworth Castle, in the 
county of Durham. 


Ver. 101. " Mentaye."] At the time of this battle the Earldom of 
Menteith was possessed by Robert Stewart, Earl of Fife, third son of 
King Robert II, who, according to Buchanan, commanded the Scots 
that entered by Carlisle. But our minstrel had probably an eye to the 
family of Graham, who had this earldom when the ballad was written. 
See Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, 1764, fol. 

Battle of Otterbourne 87 

Ver. 103. " Huntleye."] This shows this ballad was not composed 
before 1449 ; for in that year Alexander Lord of Gordon and Huntley 
was created Earl of Huntley by King James II. 

Ver. 105. " Bowghan."] The Earl of Buchan at that time was Alex- 
ander Stewart, fourth son of KLing Robert II. 

Ver. 107. "Jhonstone — Maxwell."] These two families of Johnstone 
Lord of Johnston, and Maxwell Lord of Maxwell, were always very 
powerful on the borders. Of the former family was Johnston Marquis 
of Annandale : of the latter was Maxwell Earl of Nithsdale. I cannot 
find that any chief of this family was named Sir Hugh ; but Sir Her- 
bert Maxwell was about this time much distinguished. (See Doug.) 
This might have been originally written Sir H. Maxwell, and by tran- 
scribers converted into Sir Hugh. So above, in No. I. ver. 90, Richard 
is contracted into Ric. 

Ver. 109. "Swynton."] i.e. The Laird of Swintone ; a small 
village within the Scottish border, three miles from Norham. The 
family still subsists, and is very ancient. 

Ver. III. " Scotte."] The illustrious family of Scot, ancestors of the 
Duke of Buccleugh, always made a great figure on the borders. Sir 
Walter Scot '.vas at the head of this family when the battle was fought ; 
but his great-grandson. Sir David Scot, was the hero of that house when 
the ballad was written. 

Ibid. "Stewarde."] The person here designed was probably Sir 
Walter Stewart, Lord of Dalswinton and Gairlies, who was eminent at 
that time. (See Doug.) From him is descended the present Earl of 

Ver. 112. " Agurstone."] The seat of this family was sometimes 
subject to the Kings of Scotland. Thus Richardus Hagerstoun, miles, 
is one of the Scottish knights who signed a treaty with the English in 
1249, temp. Hen. IIL (Nicholson, p. 2, note.) It was the fate of 
many parts of Northumberland often to change their masters, according 
as the Scottish or English arms prevailed. 

Ver. 129. " Morrey."] The person here meant was probably Sir 
Charles Murray of Cockpoole, who flourished at that time, and was 
ancestor of the Murrays sometime Earls of Annandale. See Doug. 

Ver. 139. " Fitz-hughe."] Dugdale (in his Baron, vol. i. p. 403) 
informs us that John, son of Henry Lord Fitzhugh, was killed at the 
battle of Otterbourne. This was a Northumberland family. Vid. 
Dugd. p. 493, col. I. and Nicholson, pp. 33, 60, 

Ver. 141. " Harebotell."] Harbottle is a village upon the river 
Coquet, about ten miles west of Rothbury. The family of Harbottle 
was once considerable in Northumberland. (See Fuller, pp. 312, 313.) 
A daughter of Guischard Harbottle, Esq. married Sir Thomas Percy, 
Knt. son of Henry, the fifth, and father of Thomas, the seventh, Earls 
of Northumberland. 

88 The Percy Reliques 



This fragment is founded upon the supposed practice of the Jews in 
crucifying or otherwise murdering Christian children, out of hatred to 
the religion of their parents : a practice which hath been always alleged 
in excuse for the cruelties exercised upon that wretched people, but 
which probably never happened in a single instance. For, if we con- 
sider, on the one hand, the ignorance and superstition of the times when 
such stories took their rise, the virulent prejudices of the monks who 
record them, and the eagerness with which they would be catched up 
by the barbarous populace as a pretence for plunder ; on the other 
hand, the great danger incurred by the perpetrators, and the inadequate 
motives they could have to excite them to a crime of so much horror ; 
we may reasonably conclude the whole charge to be groundless and 

The following ballad is probably built upon some Italian legend, and 
bears a greaX resemblance to the Prioresse's Tale in Chaucer. The 
poet seems also to have had an eye to the known story of Hugh of 
Lincoln, a child said to have been murdered by the Jews in the reign 
of Henry IH. The conclusion of this ballad appears to be wanting: 
what it probably contained may be seen in Chaucer. As for " Mirry- 
land Toun," it is probably a corruption of Milan (called by the Dutch 
Meylandt) Town. The "Pa" is evidently the river Po, although the 
Adige, not the Po, runs through Milan. 

Printed from a manuscript copy sent from Scotland, 

The rain rins doun through Mirry-land toune, 

Sae dois it doune the Pa : 
Sae dois the lads of Mirry-land toune, 

Quhan they play at the ba'. 

Than out and cam the Jewis dochtbr, 

Said, Will ye cum in and dine ? 
" I winnae cum in, I cannae cum in, 

Without my play-feres nine." 

Scho powd an apple reid and white 

To intice the zong thing in : 
Scho powd an apple white and reid, 

And that the sweit bairne did win. 

And scho has taine out a little pen-knife, 

And low down by her gair, 
Scho has twin'd the zong thing and his life ; 

A word he nevir spak mair. 

The Jew's Daughter 89 

And out and cam the thick thick bluid, 

And out and cam the thin ; 
And out and cam the bonny herts bluid : 

Thair was nae Ufe left in. 

Scho laid him on a dressing borde, 

And drest him like a swine, 
And laughing said, Gae nou and pley 

With zour sweit play-feres nine. 

Scho rowd him in a cake of lead. 

Bade him He stil and sleip. 
Scho cast him in a deip draw-well, 

Was fifty fadom deip. 

Quhan bells wer rung, and mass was sung, 

And every lady went hame : 
Than ilka lady had her zong sonne, 

Bot Lady Helen had nane. 

Scho rowd hir mantil hir about, 

And sair sair gan she weip : 
And she ran into the Jewis castel, 

Quhan they wer all asleip. 

My bonny Sir Hew, my pretty Sir Hew, 

I pray thee to me speik. 
" O lady, rinn to the deip draw-well, 

Gin ze zour sonne wad seik." 

Lady Helen ran to the deip draw-well, 

And knelt upon her knee : 
My bonny Sir Hew, an ze be here, 

I pray thee speik to me. 

" The lead is wondrous heavy, mither, 

The well is wondrous deip, 
A keen pen-knife sticks in my hert, 

A word I dounae speik. 

Gae hame, gae hame, my mither deir, 

Fetch me my windling sheet, 
And at the back o' Mirry-land toun 

Its thair we twa sail meet." 

90 The Percy Reliques 


This old romantic tale was preserved in the Editor's folio manuscript, 
but in so very defective and mutilated a condition (not from any chasm 
in the manuscript, but from great omission in the transcript, probably 
copied from the faulty recitation of some illiterate minstrel), and the 
whole appeared so far short of the perfection it seemed to deserve, that 
the Editor was tempted to add several stanzas in the first part, and still 
more in the second, to connect and complete the story in the manner 
which appeared to him most interesting and affecting. 

There is something peculiar in the metre of this old ballad ; it is not 
unusual to meet with redundant stanzas of six lines ; but the occasional 
insertion of a double third or fourth line, is an irregularity I do not 
remember to have seen elsewhere. 

It may be proper to inform the reader before he comes to Part 2, ver. 
no. III, that the "Round Table" was not peculiar to the reign of 
King Arthur, but was common in all the ages of Chivalry. The pro- 
claiming a great tournament (probably with some peculiar solemnities) 
was called " holding a Round Table." Dugdale tells us that the great 
baron Roger de Mortimer "having procured the honour of knighthood 
to be conferred ' on his three sons ' by King Edward I, he, at his 
own costs, caused a toumeament to be held at Kenilworth ; where he 
sumptuously entertained an hundred knights, and as many ladies, for 
three days ; the like whereof was never before in England ; and there 
began the ' Round Table,' (so called by reason that the place wherein 
they practised those feats was environed with a strong wall made in a 
round form:) And upon the fourth day, the golden lion, in sign of 
triumph, being yielded to him ; he carried it (with all the company) to 
Warwick." It may further be added, that Matthew Paris frequently 
calls justs and tournaments Hastiludia Mensa Rotund(B. 

As to what will be observed in this ballad of the art of healing being 
practised by a young princess ; it is no more than what is usual in all 
the old romances, and was conformable to real manners : it being a 
practice derived from the earliest times among all the Gothic and Celtic 
nations, for women, even of the highest rank, to exercise the art of sur- 
gery. In the Northern Chronicles we always find the young damsels 
stanching the wounds of their lovers, and the wives those of their 
husbands.^ And even so late as the time of Queen Elizabeth, it is 
mentioned among the accomplishments of the ladies of her court, that 
the " eldest of them are skilful in surgery." See Harrison's Description 
of England, prefixed to Hollingshed's Chronicle, &c. 


In Ireland, ferr over the sea, 

There dwelleth a bonnye kinge ; 
And with him a yong and comlye knighte. 

Men call him Syr Cauline. 

1 See Northern Antiquities, &c. vol. i. p. 318. vol. ii. p. 100. M^moires de La 
Chevalerie, torn. i. p. 44. 

Sir Cauline 91 

The kinge had a ladye to his daughter, 

In fashyon she hath no peere ; 
And princely wightes that ladye wooed 

To be theyr wedded feere. 

Syr Cauline loveth her best of all, 

But nothing durst he saye ; 
Ne descreeve his counsayl to no man, 

But deerlye he lovde this may. 

Till on a daye it so beffell, 

Great dill to him was dight ; 
The maydens love removde his mynd, 

To care-bed went the knighte. 

One while he spred his armes him fro, 

One while he spred them nye : 
And aye ! but I winne that ladyes love, 

For dole now I mun dye. 

And whan our parish-masse was done, 

Our kinge was bowne to dyne : 
He sayes, Where is Syr Cauline, 

That is wont to serve the wyne ? 

Then aunswerde him a courteous knighte, 

And fast his handes gan wringe : 
Sir Cauline is sicke, and like to dye 

Without a good leechinge. 

Fetche me downe my daughter deere, 

She is a leeche fulle fine : 
Goe take him doughe, and the baken bread. 
And serve him with the wyne soe red ; 

Lothe I were him to tine. 

Fair Christabelle to his chaumber goes, 

Her maydens foUowyng nye : 
O well, she sayth, how doth my lord ? 

O sicke, thou fayr ladye. 

Nowe ryse up wightlye, man, for shame, 

Never lye soe cowardice ; 
For it is told in my fathers halle, 

You dye for love of mee. 

92 The Percy Reliques 

Fayre ladye, it is for your love 

that all this dill I drye : 
For if you wold comfort me with a kisse, 
Then were I brought from bale to blisse, 

No lenger wold I lye. 

Sir knighte, my father is a kinge, 

I am his onlye heire ; 
Alas ! and well you knowe, Syr knighte, 

I never can be youre fere. 

O ladye, thou art a kinges daughter. 

And I am not thy peere, 
But let me doe some deedes of armes 

To be your bacheleere. 

Some deedes of armes if thou wilt doe, 

My bacheleere to bee, 
(But ever and aye my heart shall rue, 

Giif harm shold happe to thee,) 

Upon Eldridge hill there groweth a thorne. 

Upon the mores brodinge ; 
And dare ye, Syr knighte, wake there all nighte 

Untill the fayre morninge ? 

For the Eldridge knighte, so mickle of mighte, 

Will examine you beforne : 
And never man bare life awaye. 

But he did him scath and scorne. 

That knighte he is a foule paynim. 

And large of limb and bone ; 
And but if heaven may be thy speede, 

Thy life it is but gone. 

Nowe on the Eldridge hilles He walke,^ 

For thy sake, fair ladie ; 
And He either bring you a ready token, 

Or He never more you see. 

The lady is gone to her chaumbere. 

Her maydens following bright : 
Syr Cauline lope from care-bed soone. 
And to the Eldridge hills is gone. 

For to wake there all night. 

1 Perhaps "wake," as in ver. 6i. 

Sir Cauline 93 

Unto midnight, that the moone did rise, 

He walked up and downe ; 
Then a lightsome bugle heard he blowe 

Over the bents soe browne ; 
Quoth hee, If cryance come till my heart, 

I am ffar from any good towne. 

And soone he spyde on the mores so broad, 

A furyous wight and fell ; 
A ladye bright his brydle led. 

Clad in a fayre kyrtell : 

And soe fast he called on Syr CauUne, 

man, I rede thee flye ; 

For ' but ' if crysLUce comes till my heart, 

1 weene but thou mun dye. 

He sayth, ' No ' cryance comes till my heart, 

Nor, in faith, I wyll not flee ; 
For, cause thou minged not Christ before, 

The less me dreadeth thee. 

The Eldridge knighte, he pricked his steed ; 

Syr Cauline bold abode : 
Then either shooke his trustye speare, 
And the timber these two children ^ bare 

Soe soone in sunder slode. 

Then tooke they out theyr two good swordes, 

And layden on full faste, 
Till helme and hawberke, mail and sheelde, 

They all were well-nye brast. 

The Eldridge knighte was mickle of might, 

And stiffe in stower did stande, 
But Syr Cauline with a ' backward ' ^ stroke 

He smote off his right hand ; 
That soone he with paine and lacke of bloud 

Fell downe on that lay-land. 

Then up Syr Cauline Hft his brande 

All over his head so hye : 
And here I sweare by the holy roode, 

Nowe, caytiffe, thou shalt dye. 

1 i. e. Vnights. See the preface to Child Waters, Series III. 

2 "Aukeward." MS. 

94 The Percy Reliques 

Then up and came that ladye brighte, 
Fast wringing of her hande : 

For the maydens love, that most you love, 
Withold that deadlye brande : 

For the maydens love, that most you love, 
Now smyte no more I praye ; 

And aye whatever thou wilt, my lord, 
He shall thy hests obaye. 

Now sweare to mee, thou Eldridge knighte, 

And here on this lay-land, 
That thou wilt believe on Christe his laye, 

And therto plight thy hand : 

And that thou never on Eldridge come 
To sporte, gamon, or playe : 

And that thou here give up thy armes 
Until thy dying daye. 

The Eldridge knighte gave up his armes 
With many a sorrowfuUe sighe ; 

And sware to obey Syr Caulines best, 
Till the tyme that he shold dye. 

And he then up and the Eldridge knighte 
Sett him on his saddle anone. 

And the Eldridge knighte and his ladye 
To theyr castle are they gone. 

Then he tooke up the bloudy hand, 

That was so large of bone, 
And on it he founde five ringes of gold 

Of knightes that had be slone. 


Then he tooke up the Eldridge sworde. 

As hard as any flint : 
And he tooke off those ringes five, 

As bright as fyre and brent. 

Home then pricked Syr Cauline 

As light as leafe on tree : 
I-wvs he neither stint ne blanne. 

Till he his ladye see. 

Then downe he knelt upon his knee 
Before that lady gay : 

Sir Cauline 95 

O ladye, I have bin on the Eldridge hills : 
These tokens I bring away. 

Now welcome, welcome, Syr Cauline, 

Thrice welcome unto mee, 
For now I perceive thou art a true knighte, 

Of valour bolde and free. 

O ladye, I am thy own true knighte. 

Thy bests for to obaye : 
And mought I hope to winne thy love ! — 

Ne more his tonge colde say. 

The ladye blushed scarlette redde, 

And fette a gentill sighe : 
Alas ! Syr knight, how may this bee. 

For my degree's soe highe ? 

But sith thou hast bight, thou comely youth, 

To be my batchilere. 
He promise if thee I may not wedde 

I will have none other fere. 

Then shee held forthe her lilly-white hand 

Towards that knighte so free ; 
He gave to it one gentill kisse, 
His heart was brought from bale to blisse, 

The teares sterte from his ee. 

But keep my counsayl, Syr Cauline, 

Ne let no man it knowe ; 
For and ever my father sholde it ken, 

I wot he wolde us sloe. 

From that daye forthe that ladye fayre 

Lovde Syr Cauhne the knighte : 
From that daye forthe he only joyde 

Whan shee was in his sight. 

Yea and oftentimes they mette 

Within a fayre arb5ure, 
Where they in love and sweet daliaunce 

Past manye a pleasant houre. 

•,* In this conclusion of the First Part, and at the beginning of the 
Second, the reader will observe a resemblance to the story of "Sigis- 
munda and Guiscard," as told by Boccace and Dryden : See the latter's 
description of the lovers meeting in the cave ; and those beautiful lines 

96 The Percy Reliques 

which contain a reflection so like this of our poet, " Everye white,' 
&c., viz. 

But as extremes are short of ill and good, 
And tides at highest mark regorge their flood ; 
So Fate, that could no mooe improve their joy. 
Took a malicious pleasure to destroy 
Tancred, who fondly loved, &c. 


EvERYE white will have its blacke, 

And everye sweete its sowre : 
This founde the Ladye Christabelle 

In an untimely howre. 

For so it befelle, as Syr CauUne 

Was with that ladye faire, 
The kinge her father walked forthe 

To take the evenyng aire : 

And into the arboure as he went 

To rest his wearye feet, 
He found his daughter and Syr Cauline 

There sette in daliaunce sweet. 

The kinge hee sterted forthe, i-wys, 

And an angrye man was hee : 
Nowe, traytoure, thou shalt hange or drawe, 

And rewe shall thy ladle. 

Then forthe Syr Cauline he was ledde, 
And throwne in dungeon deepe : 

And the ladye into a towre so hye, 
There left to wayle and weepe. 

The queene she was Syr Caulines friend. 

And to the kinge sayd shee : 
I praye you save Syr Caulines life, 

And let him banisht bee. 

Now, dame, that traitor shall be sent 

Across the salt sea fome : 
But here I will make thee a band, 
If ever he come within this land, 

A foule deathe is his doome. 

All woe-begone was that gentil knight 
To parte from his ladye ; 

Sir Cauline 97 

And many a time he sighed sore, 

And cast a wistfuUe eye : 
Faire Christabelle, from thee to parte, 

Farre lever had I dye. 

Faire Christabelle, that ladye bright, 

Wa^ had forthe of the towre ; 
But ever shee droopeth in her minde, 
As nipt by an ungentle winde 

Doth some faire HUye flowre. 

And ever shee doth lament and weepe 

To tint her lover soe : 
Syr Cauline, thou little think'st on mee, 

But I will still be true. 

Manye a kinge, and manye a duke, 

And lorde of high degree. 
Did sue to that fayre ladye of love ; 

But never shee wolde them nee. 

When manye a daye was past and gone, 

Ne comforte she colde finde. 
The kynge proclaimed a tourneament, 

To cheere his daughters mind : 

And there came lords, and there came knights. 

Fro manye a farre countrye, 
To break a spere for theyr ladyes love 

Before that faire ladye. 

And many a ladye there was sette 

In purple and in palle : 
But faire Christabelle soe woe-begone 

Was the fayrest of them all. 

Then manye a knighte was mickle of might 

Before his ladye gaye ; 
But a stranger wight, whom no man knewe, 

He wan the prize eche daye. 

His acton it was all of blacke. 

His hewberke, and his sheelde, 
Ne noe man wist whence he did come, 
Ne noe man knewe where he did gone, 

When they came from the feelde. 

VOL. 1. H 

98 The Percy Reliques 

And now three days were prestlye past 

In feates of chivalrye, 
When lo upon the fourth morninge 

A sorrowfulle sight they see. 

A hugye giaunt stiffe and starke, 

All foule of limbe and lere ; 
Two goggling eyen like fire farden, 

A mouthe from eare to eare. 

Before him came a dwarffe full lowe, 

That waited on his knee, 
And at his backe five heads he bare, 

All wan and pale of blee. 

Sir, quoth the dwarffe, and louted lowe, 

Behold that hend Soldain ! 
Behold these heads I beare with me 1 

They are kings which he hath slain. 

The Eldridge knight is his own cousine, 

Whom a knight of thine hath shent : 
And hee is come to avenge his wrong, 
And to thee, all thy knightes among, 
Defiance here hath sent. 

But yette he will appease his wrath 
Thy daughters love to winne : 

And but thou yeelde him that fayre mayd, 
Thy halls and towers must brenne. 

Thy head, syr king, must goe with mee ; 

Or else thy daughter deere ; 
Or else within these lists soe broad 

Thou must finde him a peere. 

The king he turned him round aboute, 

And in his heart was woe : 
Is there never a knighte of my round table, 

This matter will undergoe ? 

Is there never a knighte amongst yee all 
Will fight for my daughter and mee ? 

Whoever will fight yon grimme soldan, 
Right fair his meede shall bee. 

For hee shall have my broad lay-lands, 
And of my crowne be heyre ; 

Sir Cauline 99 

And he shall winne fayre Christabelle 
To be his wedded fere. 

But every knighte of his round table 

Did stand both still and pale ; 
For whenever they lookt on the grim soldan, 

It made their hearts to quail. 

All woe-begone was that fayre ladye, 

When she sawe no helpe was nye : 
She cast her thought on her owne true-love, 

And the teares gusht from her eye. 

Up then sterte the stranger knighte, 

Sayd, Ladye, be not affrayd : 
He fight for thee with this grimme soldan, 

Thoughe he be unmacklye made. 

And if thou wilt lend me the Eldridge sworde, 

That lyeth within thy bowre, 
I truste in Christe for to slay this fiende 

Thoughe he be stiff in stowre. 

Go fetche him downe the Eldridge sworde, 

The kinge he cryde, with speede : 
Nowe heaven assist thee, courteous knighte ; 

My daughter is thy meede. 

The gyaunt he stepped into the lists. 

And sayd, Awaye, awaye : 
I sweare, as I am the hend soldan, 

Thou lettest me here all daye. 

Then forthe the stranger knight he came 

In his blacke armoure dight : 
The ladye sighed a gentle sighe, 

" That this were my true knighte ! " 

And nowe the gyaunt and knighte be mett 

Within the lists soe broad ; 
And now with swordes soe sharpe of Steele, 

They gan to lay on load. 

The soldan strucke the knighte a stroke. 

That made him reele asyde ; 
Then woe-begone was that fayre ladye, 

And thrice she deeply sighde. 

lOO The Percy Reliques 

The soldan strucke a second stroke, 

And made the bloude to flowe : 
All pale and wan was that ladye fayre, 

And thrice she wept for woe. 

The soldan strucke a third fell stroke, 
Which brought the knighte on his knee : 

Sad sorrow pierced that ladyes heart, 
And she shriekt loud shriekings three. 

The knighte he leapt upon his feete. 

All recklesse of the pain : 
Quoth hee, But heaven be now my speede, 

Or else I shall be slaine. 

He grasped his sworde with mayne and mighte, 

And spying a secrette part, 
He drave it into the soldan's syde. 

And pierced him to the heart. 

Then all the people gave a shoute, 
When they sawe the soldan falle : 

The ladye wept, and thanked Christ, 
That had reskewed her from thrall. 

And nowe the kinge with all his barons 

Rose uppe from offe his seate, 
And downe he stepped intd the listes. 

That curteous knighte to greete. 

But he for payne and lacke of bloude 

Was fallen int6 a swounde, 
And there all walteringe in his gore. 

Lay lifelesse on the grounde. 

Come downe, come downe, my daughter deare, 

Thou art a leeche of skille ; 
Farre lever had I lose halfe my landes, 

Than this good knighte sholde spille. 

Downe then steppeth that fayre ladye, 

To helpe him if she maye ; 
But when she did his beavere raise. 
It is my life, my lord, she sayes. 

And shriekte and swound awaye. 

Sir Cauline juste lifte up his eyes 
AVhen he heard his ladye crye, 

Sir Cauline loi 

O ladye, I am thine owne true love ; 
For thee I wisht to dye. 

Then giving her one partinge looke, 

He closed his eyes in death, 
Ere Christabelle, that ladye milde, 

Begane to drawe her breathe. 

But when she found her comelye knighte 

Indeed was dead and gone, 
She layde her pale cold cheeke to his, 

And thus she made her moane : 

O staye, my deare and onlye lord, 

For mee thy faithfulle feere ; 
'Tis meet that I shold follow thee, 

Who hast bought my love soe deare. 

Then fayntinge in a deadlye swoune, 

And with a deepe-fette sighe. 
That burst her gentle hearte in twayne, 

Fayre Christabelle did dye. 



From a manuscript copy transmitted from Scotland 

QuHY dois zour brand sae drop wi' bluid, 

Edward, Edward ? 
Quhy dois zour brand sae drop wi' bluid ? 

And quhy sae sad gang zee, O ? 
O, I hae killed my hauke sae guid, 

Mither, mither : 
O, I hae killed my hauke sae guid : 

And I had nae mair bot hee, O. 

Zour haukis bluid was nevir sae reid, 

Edward, Edward. 
Zour haukis bluid was nevir sae reid, 

My deir son I tell thee, O. 
O, I hae killed my reid-roan steid, 

Mither, Mither: 
O, I hae killed my reid-roan steid. 

That erst was sae fair and free, O. 

I02 The Percy Reliques 

Zour steid was auld, and ze hae gat mair, 

Edward, Edward: 
Zour steid was auld, and ze hae gat mair. 
Sum other dule ze drie, O. 
O, I hae killed my fadir deir, 

Mither, mither : 
O, I hae killed my fadir deir, _ 

Alas ! and wae is mee, O ! 

And quhatten penance wul ze drie for that, 

Edward, Edward? 
And quhatten penance will ze drie for that ? 
My deir son, now tell mee, O. 
He set my feit in zonder boat, 

Mither, mither : 
He set my feit in zonder boat. 

And He fare ovir the sea, O. 

And quhat wul ze doe wi' zour towirs and zour ha', 

Edward, Edward? 
And quhat wul ze doe wi' zour towirs and zour ha', 

That were sae fair to see, O ? 
He let thame stand til they doun fa', 

Mither, mither: 
He let thame stand till they doun fa'. 

For here nevir mair maun I bee, O. 

And quhat wul ze leive to zour bairns and zour wife, 

Edward, Edward? 
And quhat wul ze leive to zour bairns and zour wife, 

Quhan ze gang ovir the sea, O ? 
The warldis room, let thame beg throw life, 

Mither, mither: 
The warldis room, let thame beg throw life. 

For thame nevir mair wul I see, O, 

And quhat wul ze leive to zour ain mither deir, 

Edward, Edward? 
And quhat wul ze leive to zour ain mither deir ? 

My deir son, now tell me, O. 
The curse of hell frae me sail ze beir, 

Mither, mither: 
The curse of hell frae me sail ze beir, 

Sic counseils ze gave to me, O. 

• * This curious song was transmitted to the Editor by Sir David 
Dalrymple, Bart., late Lx^rd Hailes. 

King Estmere 103 


This old romantic legend (which is given from two copies, one of 
them in the Editor's folio manuscript but which contained very great 
variations,) bears marks of considerable antiquity, and perhaps ought 
to have taken place of any in this volume. It should seem to liave been 
written while part of Spain was in the hands of the Saracens or Moors ; 
whose empire there was not fully extinguished before the year 149 1. 
The Mahometans are spoken of in ver. 49, &c. just in the same terms 
as in all other old romances. The author of the ancient legend of " Sir 
Bevis " represents his hero, upon all occasions, breaching out defiance 

Mahound and Termagaunte ; 1 

and so full of zeal for his religion, as to return the following polite 
message to a Paynim king's fair daughter, who had fallen in love with 
him, and sent two Saracen knights to invite him to her bower : 

I wyll not ones stirre off this grounde, 
To speake with an heathen hounde, 
Unchristen houndes, I rede you fle, 
Or I your harte bloud shall se.2 

Indeed they return the compliment by calling him elsewhere " A 
christen hounde," " 

This was conformable to the real manners of the barbarous ages : 
perhaps the same excuse will hardly serve our bard ; for that the 
Adland should be found lolling or leaning at his gate (ver. 35.) may be 
thought perchance a little out of character. And yet the great painter 
of manners. Homer, did not think it inconsistent with decorum to 
represent a King of the Taphians leaning at the gate of Ulysses to 
inquire for that monarch, when he touched at Ithaca as he was taking a 
voyage with a ship's cargo of iron to dispose in traffic* So little ought 
we to judge of ancient manners by our own. 

Before I conclude this article, I cannot help observing that the reader 
will see, in this ballad, the character of the old minstrels (those suc- 
cessors of the bards) placed in a very respectable light :* here he will 
see one of them represented mounted on a fine horse, accompanied with 
an attendant to bear his harp after him, and to sing the poems of his 
composing. Here he will see him mixing in the company of kings 
without ceremony : no mean proof of the great antiquity of this poem. 
The ftirther we carry our inquiries back, the greater respect we find 
paid to the professors of poetry and music among all the Celtic and 
Gothic nations. Their character was deemed so sacred, that under its 
sanction our famous King Alfred (as we have already seen *) made no 
scruple to enter the Danish camp, and was at once admitted to the 

1 See a short Memoir at the end of this balla^. ote ^\. 

2 Sign. C. ii. b. 3 . c. i. b. 
* Odyss. A. 105. 

B See Series II. Book iL No. 16, Note subjoined to the first Part of Beggar of 
Bednal, &c. 
« See the Essay on the ancient Minstrels prefixed to this volume. 

I04 The Percy Reliques 

king's head-quarters.^ Our poet has suggested the same expedient to 
the heroes of this ballad. All the histories of the North are fiiU of the 
great reverence paid to this order of men. Harold Harfagre, a cele- 
brated King of Norway, was wont to seat them at his table above all 
the officers of his court : and we find another Norwegian King placing 
five of them by his side in a day of battle, that they might be eye- 
witnesses of the great exploits they were to celebrate.* As to Estmere's 
riding into the hall while the kings were at table, this was usual in the 
ages of chivalry ; and even to this day we see a relic of this ancient 
custom still kept up, in the champion's riding into Westminster-hall 
during the coronation dinner.' 

Some liberties have been taken with this tale by the Editor, but none 
without notice to the reader in that part which relates to the subject of 
the Harper and his attendant. 

Hearken to me, gentlemem, 

Come and you shall heare ; 
He tell you of two of the boldest brethren * 

That ever borne y-were. 

The tone of them was Adler younge, 

The tother was kyng Estmere ; 
The were as bolde men in their deeds, 

As any were farr and neare. 

As they were drinking ale and wine 

Within kyng Estmeres halle : ^ 
When will ye marry a wyfe, brother, 

A wyfe to glad us all ? 

Then bespake him kyng Estmere, 

And answered him hastilee : ^ 
I know not that ladye in any land 

That's able ^ to marrye with mee. 

Kyng Adland hath a daughter, brother. 

Men call her bright and sheene ; 
If I were kyng here m your stead. 

That ladye shold be my queene. 

Saies, Reade me, reade me, deare brother, 
Throughout merry England, 

1 Even so late as the time of Froissart, we find minstrels and heralds mentionad 
together, as those who might securely go into an enemy's country. Cap. cxl. 

2 Bartholin! Antiq. Dan. p. 173. Northern Antiquities, &c vol. i. pp. 386, 
38q, &c. 

3 See also the account of Edw. II. in the Essay on the Minstrels, and Note (x). 
4"Brether." Fol. MS. B " His brother's hall." Folio MS. 

• "Hartilye." Folio MS. 7 He means fit, suitable. 

King Estmere 105 

Where we might find a messenger 
Betwixt us towe to sende. 

Saies, You shal ryde yourselfe, brother, 

He beare you companye ; 
Many ^ throughe fals messengers are deceived, 

And I feare lest soe shold wee. 

Thus the renisht them to ryde 

Of twoe good renisht steeds, 
And when the came to kyng Adlands halle, 

Of redd gold shone their weeds. 

And when the came to kyng Adlands hall 

Before the goodlye gate, 
There they found good kyng Adlknd 

Rearing himselfe theratt. 

Now Christ thee save, good kyng Adland ; 

Now Christ you save and see. 
Sayd, You be welcome, kyng Estmere, 

Right hartilye to mee. 

You have a daughter, said Adler younge, 

Men call her bright and sheene. 
My brother wold marrye her to his wiffe, 

Of Englande to be queene. 

Yesterday was att my deere daughter 

Syr Bremor the kyng of Spayne ; ^ 
And then she nicked him of naye, 

And I doubt sheele do you the same. 

The kyng of Spayne is a foule paynim, 

And 'leeveth on Mahound ; 
And pitye it were that fayre ladye 

Shold marrye a heathen hound. 

But grant to me, sayes kyng Estmere, 

For my love I you praye ; 
That I may see your daughter deere 

Before I goe hence awaye. 

Although itt is seven yeers and more 
Since my daughter was in halle, 

1 "Many a man . . . is." Folio MS. 

2 "The king his sonne of Spayn." Folio MS. 

io6 The Percy Reliques 

She shall come once downe for your sake 
To glad my guestes alle. 

Downe then came that mayden fayre, 

With ladyes laced in pall, 
And halfe a hundred of bold, 

To bring her from bowre to hall ; 
And as many gentle squiers. 

To tend upon ihem all. 

The talents of golde were on her head sette, 
Hanged low downe to her knee ; 

And everye ring on her small finger 
Shone of the chrystall free. 

Sales, God you save, my deere madkm ; 

Sales, God you save and see. 
Said, You be welcome, kyng Estmere, 

Right welcome unto mee. 

And if you love me, as you saye, 

Soe well and hartilee, 
All that ever you are comen about 

Soone sped now itt shal bee. 

Then bespake her father deare : 

My daughter, I saye naye ; 
Remember well the kyng of Spayne, 

What he sayd yesterdaye. 

He wold pull downe my halles and castles, 

And reave me of my life. 
I cannot blame him if he doe, 

If I reave him of his wyfe. 

Your castles and your towres, father. 

Are stronglye built aboute ; 
And therefore of the king of Spaine ^ 

Wee neede not stande in doubt. 

Plight me your troth, nowe, kyng Estmbre, 
By heaven and your righte hand, 

That you will marrye me to your wyfe. 
And make me queene of your land. 

1 " Of the king his sonne of Spaine." Folio MS. 

King Estmere 107 

Then kyng Estmere he plight his troth 

By heaven and his righte hand, 
That he wolde marrye her to his wyfe, 

And make her queene of his land. 

And he tooke leave of that ladye fayre, 

To goe to his owne countree, 
To fetch e him dukes and lordes and knightes, 

That marryed the might bee. 

They had not ridden scant a myle, 

A myle forthe of the towne, 
But in did come the kyng of Spayne, 

With kemp^s many one. 

But in did come the kyng of Spayne, 

With manye a bold barone, 
Tone day to marrye kyng Adlands daughter, 

Tother daye to carrye her home. 

Shee sent one after kyng Estmere 

In all the spede might bee. 
That he must either turne againe and fighte, 

Or goe home and loose his ladye. 

One whyle then the page he went, 

Another while he ranne ; 
Till he had oretaken king Estmere, 

I wis, he never blanne. 

Tydings, tydings, kyng Estmere ! 

What tydinges nowe, my boye ? 
O tydinges I can tell to you, 

That will you sore annoye. 

You had not ridden scant a mile, 

A mile out of the towne. 
But in did come the kyng of Spayne 

With kempfes many a one : 

But in did come the kyng of Spayne 

With manye a bold bar6ne. 
Tone daye to marrye king Adlands daughter. 

Tother daye to carry her home. 

My ladye fayre she greetes you well, 
And ever-more well by mee : 

io8 The Percy Reliques 

You must either turne againe and fighte, 
Or goe home and loose your ladyb. 

Saies, Reade me, reade me, deere brother, 

My reade shall ryde ^ at thee, 
Whether it is better to turne and fighte, 

Or goe home and loose my ladye. 

Now hearken to me, sayes Adler yonge. 

And your reade must rise ^ at me, 
I quicklye will devise a waye 

To sette thy ladye free. 

My mother was a westerne woman, 

And learned in gramarye,^ 
And when I learned at the schole. 

Something she taught itt mee. 

There growes an hearbe within this field, 

And iff it were but knowne, 
His color, which is whyte and redd, 

It will make blacke and browne : 

His color, which is browne and blacke, 

Itt will make redd and whyte ; 
That sworde is not in all Englande, 

Upon his coate will byte. 

And you shall be a harper, brother, 

Out of the north countrye ; 
And He be your boy, soe faine of fighte. 

And beare your harpe by your knee. 

And you shal be the best harper, 

That ever tooke harpe in hand ; 
And I wil be the best singer. 

That ever sung in this lande. 

Itt shal be written on our forheads 

All and in grammarye. 
That we towe are the boldest men. 

That are in all Christentyb. 

And thus they renisht them to ryde, 
On tow good renish steedes ; 

1 Sic MS. It should probably be "ryse," j. e. my counsel shall arise from thee. 
See ver. 140. 

2 Sic MS. * See at the end of this ballad, Note *,*. 

King Estmere 109 

And when they came to king Adlands hall, 
Of redd gold shone their weedes. 

And whan they came to kyng Adlands hall, 

Untill the fayre hall yate, 
There they found a proud porter 

Rearing himselfe thereatt. 

Sayes, Christ thee save, thou proud porter ; 

Sayes, Christ thee save and see. 
Nowe you be welcome, sayd the porter. 

Of whatsoever land ye bee. 

Wee beene harpers, sayd Adler younge. 

Come out of the northe countrye ; 
Wee beene come hither untill this place. 

This proud weddinge for to see. 

Sayd, And your color were white and redd. 

As it is blacke and browne, 
I wold saye king Estmere and his brother, 

Were comen untill this towne. 

Then they pulled out a ryng of gold, 

Layd itt on the porters arme : 
And ever we will thee, proud porter, 

Thow wilt saye us no harme. 

Sore he looked on king Estmere, 

And sore he handled the ryng, 
Then opened to them the fayre hall yates, 

He lett for no kind of thyng. 

King Estmere he stabled his steede 

Soe fayre att the hall bord ; 
The froth, that came from his brydle bitte, 

Light in kyng Bremors beard. 

Sales, Stable thy steed, thou proud harpfer, 

Sales, Stable him in the stalle ; 
It doth not beseeme a proud harper 

To stable ^ ' him ' in a kyngs halle. 

My ladde he is so lither, he said, 

He will doe nought that's meete ; 
And is there any man in this hall 

Were able him to beate? 

1 " To stable his steede." Folio MS. 

no The Percy Reliques 

Thou speakst proud words, sayes the king of Spaine, 

Thou harper, here to mee : 
There is a man within this halle 

Will beate thy ladd and thee. 

O let that man come downe, he said, 

A sight of him wold I see ; 
And when hee hath beaten well my ladd, 

Then he shall beate of mee. 

Downe then came the kemperye man. 

And looketh him in the eare ; 
For all the gold, that was under heaven, 

He durst not neigh him neare. 

And how nowe, kempe, said the Kyng of Spaine, 

And how what aileth thee ? 
He saies. It is writt in his forhead 

All and in gramaryb, 
That for all the gold that is under heaven 

I dare not neigh him nye. 

Then Kyng Estmere puUd forth his harpe, 

And plaid a pretty thinge : 
The ladye upstart from the borde, 

And wold have gone from the king. 

Stay thy harpe, thou proud harpfer, 

For Gods love I pray thee, 
For and thou playes as thou beginns, 

Thou'lt till ^ my bryde from mee. 

He stroake upon his harpe againe. 

And playd a pretty thinge ; 
The ladye lough a loud laughter, 

As shee sate by the king. 

Saies, Sell me thy harpe, thou proud harper, 

And thy stringes all. 
For as many gold nobles ' thou shalt have ' 

As heere bee ringes in the hall. 

What wold ye doe with my harpe, ' he sayd,' 

If I did sell itt yee ? 
" To playe my wiffe and me a fitt,^ 

When abed together wee bee." 

1 i.e. "entice." Vid. Gloss, _ 

2 i, e. a tune, or strain of music See Gloss. 

King Estmere iii 

Now sell me, quoth hee, thy bryde soe gay, 

As shee sitts by thy knee, 
And as many gold nobles I will give, 

As leaves been on a tree. 

And what wold ye doe with my bryde soe gay, 

Iff I did sell her thee ? 
More seemelye it is for her fayre bodye 

To lye by mee then thee. 

Hee played agayne both loud and shrille,^ 

And Adler he did syng, 
" O ladye, this is thy owne true love ; 

Noe harper, but a kyng. 

" O ladye, this is thy owne true love. 

As playnlye thou mayest see ; 
And He rid thee of that foule paynim, 

Who partes thy love and thee." 

The ladye looked, the ladye blushte, 

And blushte and lookt agayne. 
While Adler he hath drawne his brande, 

And hath the Sowdan slayne. 

Up then rose the kemperye men. 

And loud they gan to crye : 
Ah ; traytors, yee have slayne our kyng, 

And therefore yee shall dye. 

Kyng Estmere threwe the harpe asyde, 

And swith he drew his brand ; 
And Estmere he, and Adler yonge 

Right stiffe in slodr can stand. 

And aye their swordes soe sore can byte, 

Throughe help of Gramaryb, 
That soone they have slayne the kempery men, 

Or forst them forth to flee. 

Kyng Estmere took that fayre ladyb. 

And marryed her to his wiffe. 
And brought her home to merry England 

With her to leade his life. 

1 Some liberties have been taken in the following stanzas ; but wherever this 
edition differs from the preceding, it hath been brought nearer to the folio MS. 

112 The Percy Reliques 

*,* The word Gramarye, which occurs several times in the foregomg 
Poem, is probably a corruption of the French word Grimoire, which 
signifies a conjuring Book in the old French romances, if not the art of 
Necromancy itself. 

t-l-t "Termagaunt" (mentioned above in p. 103,) is the name given 
in the old romances to the God of the Saracens : in which he is con- 
stantly linked with Mahound or Mahomet. Thus in the legend of Syr 
Guy the Soudan (Sultan) swears, 

So heipe me Mahowne of might, 
And Termagaunt my God so bright. 

Sign. p. iij. b. 

This word is derived by the very learned editor of Junius from the 
Anglo-Saxon Tyji, very, and GDa^an, mighty. As this word has 
so sublime a derivation, and was so applicable to the true God, how 
shall we account for its being so degraded ? Perhaps Tyfi-majan, or 
" Termagant," had been a name originally given to some Saxon idol, 
before our ancestors were converted to Christianity ; or had been the 
peculiar attribute of one of their false deities ; and therefore the first 
Christian missionaries rejected it as profane and improper to be applied 
to the true God. Afterwards, when the irruptions of the Saracens into 
Europe, and the Crusades into the east, had brought them acquainted 
with a new species of unbelievers, our ignorant ancestors, who thought 
that all that did not receive the Christian law were necessarily Pagans 
and Idolaters, supposed the Mahometan creed was in all respects the 
same with that of their Pagan forefathers, and therefore made no scruple 
to give the ancient name of " Termagant " to the God of the Saracens : 
just in the same manner as they afterwards used the name of " Sarazen " 
to express any kind of Pagan or Idolater. In the ancient romance of 
" Merline " (in the editor's folio manuscript), the Saxons themselves 
that came over with Hengist, because they were not Christians, are 
constantly called Sarazens. 

However that be, it is certain that, after the times of the Crusades, 
both " Mahound" and "Termagaunt " made their frequent appearance 
in the pageants and religious interludes of the barbarous ages ; in which 
they were exhibited with gestures so furious and frantic, as to become 
proverbial. Thus Skelton speaks of Wolsey : 

Like " Mahound " in a play, 
No man dare him withsay. 

Ed. 1736, p. 158. 

In like manner Bale, describing the threats used by some Papist 
magistrates to his wife, speaks of them as " grennyng upon her lyke 
Termagauntes in aplaye." (Actes of Engl. Votaryes, Part 2. fol. 83. 
ed. 1550. i2mo.) Accordingly in a letter of Edward Alleyn, the 
founder of Dulwich College, to his wife or sister ^, who, it seems, with 
all her fellows (the players), had been "by my Lorde Maiors officer[s] 
mad to rid in a cart," he expresses his concern that she should "fall 
into the hands of suche Tarmagants." [So the orig. dated May 2, 
1593, preserved by the care of the Rev. Thomas Jenyns Smith, Fellow 
of Dulw. Coll. ] Hence we may conceive the force of Hamlet's expres- 
sion in Shakspeare, where, condemning a ranting player, he says, " I 

1 See Lysons's " Environs of London," 410. vol. i. 

King Estmere 113 

could have such a fellow whipt for ore-doing Termagant : it outherods 
Herod." Act iii. sc. 3. By degrees the word came to be applied to 
an outrageous turbulent person, and especially to a violent brawling 
woman ; to whom alone it is now confined, and this the rather as, I 
suppose, the character of " Termagant " was anciently represented on 
the stage after the eastern mode, with long robes or petticoats. 

Another frequent character in the old pageants or interludes of our 
ancestors was the " Sowdan " or " Soldan," representing a grim eastern 
tyrant. This appears from a curious passage in Stow's Annals, p. 458. 
In a stage-play " the people know right well that he that plaieth the 
Sowdain is percase a sowter [shoe-maker] ; yet if one should cal him by 
his owne name, while he standeth in his majestic, one of his tormentors 
might hap to break his head." The Sowdain, or Soldan, was a name 
given to the Sarazen king (being only a more rude pronunciation of the 
word ' ' Sultan "), as the Soldan of Egypt, the Soudan of Persia, the 
Sowdan of Babylon, &c. who were generally represented as accom- 
panied with grim Sarazens, whose business it was to punish and torment 

I cannot conclude this short memoir, without observing that the 
French romancers, who had borrowed the word Termagant from us, 
and applied it as we in their old romances, corrupted it into Terva- 
gaunte : and from them La Fontaine took it up, and has used it more 
than once in his tales. This may be added to the other proofs adduced 
in these volumes of the great intercourse that formerly subsisted between 
the old minstrels and legendary writers of both nations, and that they 
mutually borrowed each others romances. 



This piece is given from two manuscript copies transmitted from 
Scotland. In what age the hero of this ballad lived, or when this fatal 
expedition happened that proved so destructive to the Scots nobles, I 
have not been able to discover ; yet am of opinion, that their catastrophe 
is not altogether without foundation in history, though it has escaped 
my own researches. In the infancy of navigation, such as used the 
northern seas were liable to shipwreck in the wintry months : hence a 
law was enacted in the reign of James III. (a law which was frequently 
repeated afterwards) "That there be na schip frauched out of the 
realm with any staple gudes, fra the feast of Simons day and Jude, unto 
the feast of the purification of our Lady called Candlemess." Jam. 
III. Pari. 2. ch. 15. 

In some modern copies, instead of Patrick Spence hath been sub- 
stituted the name of Sir Andrew Wood, a famous Scottish admiral who 
flourished in the time of our Edward IV. but whose story hath nothing 
in common with this of the ballad. As Wood was the most noted 
warrior of Scotland, it is probable that, like the Theban Hercules, 
he hath engrossed the renown of other heroes. 

VOL. I. I 

114 The Percy Reliques 

The king sits in Dumferling toune, 
Drinking the blude-reid wine : 

O quhar will I get guid sail6r, 
To sail this schip of mine ? 

Up and spak an eldern knicht, 

Sat at the kings richt kne : 
Sir Patrick Spence is the best sail6r, 

That sails upon the se. 

The king has written a braid letter,^ 

And signd it wi' his hand ; 
And sent it to Sir Patrick Spence, 

Was walking on the sand. 

The first line that Sir Patrick red, 

A loud lauch lauched he : 
The next line that Sir Patrick red, 

The teir blinded his ee. 

O quha is this has don this deid, 

This ill deid don to me ; 
To send me out this time o' the zeir, 

To sail upon the se ? 

Mak hast, mak haste, my mirry men all, 
Our guid schip sails the morne, 

O say na sae, my master deir. 
For I feir a deadlie storme. 

Late late yestreen I saw the new moone 
Wi' the auld moone in hir arme ; 

And I feir, I feir, my deir master, 
That we will com to harme. 

O our Scots nobles wer richt laith 
To weet their cork-heild schoone ; 

Bot lang owre a' the play wer playd, 
Thair hats they swam aboone. 

O lang, lang, may thair ladies sit 
Wi' thair fans into their hand, 

Or eir they se Sir Patrick Spence 
Cum sailing to the land. 

1 "A braid letter," i. e. open, or patent ; in opposition to close roll*. 

Sir Patrick Spence 1 1 

O lang, lang, may the ladies stand 

Wi' thair gold kems in their hair, 
Waiting for thair ain deir lords, 

For they'll se thame na mair. 

Have owre, have owre to Aberdour,^ 

It's fiftie fadom deip : 
And thair lies guid Sir Patrick Spence, 

Wi' the Scots lords at his feit."-^ 



We have here a ballad of Robin Hood (from the Editor's folio manu- 
script) which was never before printed, and carries marks of much 
greater antiquity than any of the common popular songs on this sub- 

The severity of those tyrannical forest-laws, that were introduced by 
our Norman kings, and the great temptation of breaking them by such 
as lived near the royal forests, at a time when the yeomanry of this king- 
dom were every where tiained up to the long-bow, and excelled all 
other nations in the art of shooting, must constantly have occasioned 
great numbers of outlaws, and especially of such as were the best marks- 
men. These naturallj- fled to the woods for shelter ; and, forming into 
troops, endeavoured by their numbers to protect themselves from the 
dreadful penalties of their delinquency. The ancient punishment for 
killing the king's deer was loss of eyes and castration, a punishment far 
worse than death. This will easily account for the troops of banditti 
which lurked in the royal forests, and, from their superior skill in 
archery and knowledge of all the recesses of those unfrequented soli- 
tudes, found it no difficult matter to resist or elude the civil power. 

Among all those, none was ever more famous than the hero of this 
ballad, whose chief residence was in Shirewood forest, in Nottingham- 
shire ; and the heads of whose story, as collected by Stow, are briefly 
these : 

" In this time [about the year 1190, in the reign of Richard I.] were 
many robbers, and outlawes, among the which Robin Hood, and Little 
John, renowned theeves, continued in woods, despoyling and robbing 
the goods of the rich. They killed none but such as would invade 
them, or by resistance for their own defence. 

" The saide Robert entertained an hundred tall men and good archers 
with suche spoiles and thefts as he got, upon whom four hundred (were 
they ever so strong) durst not give the onset. He suffered no woman to 
be oppressed, violated, or otherwise molested : poore mens goods he 
spared, abundantlie relieving them with that which by theft he got from 

1 A village Ij'ing upon the river Forth, the entrance to which is sometimes 
denominated " De mortuo mari. " 

2 An ingenious friend thinks the author of " Hardyknute " has borrowed severai 
expressions and sentiments from the foregoing, and other old Scottish songs in this 

ii6 The Percy Reliques 

abbeys and the houses of rich old carles : whom Maior (the historian) 
blameth for his rapine and theft, but of all the theeves he affirmeth him 
to be the prince, and the most gentle theefe." Annals, p. 159. 

The personal courage of this celebrated outlaw, his skill in archery, 
his humanity, and especially his levelling principle of taking from the 
rich and giving to the poor, have in all ages rendered him the favourite 
of the common people, who, not content to celebrate his memory by in- 
numerable songs and stories, have erected him into the dignity of an 
earl. Indeed, it is not impossible, but our hero, to gain the more 
respect from his followers, or they to derive the more credit to their 
profession, may have given rise to such a report themselves : for we find 
it recorded in an epitaph, which, if genuine, must have been inscribed 
on his tombstone near the nunnery of Kirklees in Yorkshire ; where (as 
the story goes) he was bled to death by a treacherous nun to whom he 
applied for phlebotomy : 

1 Ibear un^emea^ Ms laitl gtean 
Iai3 robcrt earl of buntingtun 
nea arcir ver aj blc sae gcu6 
an pipl ftavl^ tm IRobin IbeuC 
sicft utlaw3 as bl an is men 
vil finqlanb nivir si agen. 

obiit 24 ItaL Sckembris, 1247. 

This epitaph appears to me suspicious : however, a late antiquary has 
given a pedigree of Robin Hood, which, if genuine, shows that he had 
real pretensions to the earldom of Huntington, and that his true name 
was Robert Fitz-ooth.'^ Yet the most ancient poems on Robin Hood 
make no mention of his earldom. He is expressly asserted to have been 
a yeoman* in a very old legend in verse preserved in the archives of the 
public library at Cambridge,* in eight Fyttes or Parts, printed in black 
letter, quarto, thus inscribed: "C Here begynneth a lytell geste of 
Robyn hode and his meyne, and of the proude sheryfe of Notyngham." 
The first lines are, 

Lithe and lysten, gentylmen, 
That be of fre-bore blode : 
I shall you tell of a good Yeman, 
His name was Robyn hode. 

Robyn was a proude out-Iawe, 
Whiles he walked on grounde ; 
So curteyse an out-lawe as he was one, 
Was ne%er none yfounde. &c. 

The printer's colophon is, "C Explicit Kinge Edwarde and Robin 
hode and Lyuel Johan. Enprented at London in Flete-strete at the 
sygne of the sone by Wynkin de Worde." In Mr. Garrick's collection * 
is a different edition of the same poem, " C Imprinted at London upon 
the thre Crane wharfe by Wyllyam Copland," containing at the end a 
little dramatic piece on the subject of Robin Hood and the Friar, not 
found in the former copy, called, " A newe playe for to be played in 
Maye games very plesaunte and full of pastyme. Q (.'.) J)." 

I shall conclude these preliminary remarks with observing, that the 
hero of this ballad was the favourite subject of popular songs so early as 

1 See Thoresby's Ducat. Leod. p. 579. Biog. Brit. vj. 3933. 

2 Stukeley, in his " Palseographia Britannica," No. II. 1746. 

3 See also the following ballad, ver. 147. 

* Num. D. 5. 2. f' Old Plays, 4to. K. vol. x. 

Robin Hood and Sir Guy 117 

the time of King Edward HI. In the Visions of Pierce Plowman, 
written in that reign, a monk says, 

3 can rimes of "IRoben IID06 anD 1Ran^al of Cbester, 
3But of our Xovlie an& our XaC^, 3 lerne nothing at alL 

Fol. 26. ed. 155c. 

See also in Bishop Latimer's Sermons ^ a very curious and character- 
istical story, which shows what respect was shown to the memory of our 
archer in the time of that prelate. 

The curious reader will find many other particulars relating to this 
celebrated outlaw, in Sir John Hawkins's Hist, of Music, vol. iii. 
p. 410, 4to. 

For the catastrophe of Liltle John, who, it seems, was executed for a 
robbeiy on Arbor-hill, Dublin (with some curious particulars relating to 
his skill in archery), see Mr. J. C. Walker's ingenious " Memoir on the 
Armour and Weapons of the Irish," p. 129, annexed to his " Historical 
Essay on the Dress of the Ancient and Modern Irish." Dublin, 1788, 

Some liberties were, by the Editor, taken with this ballad ; which, in 
this edition, hath been brought nearer to the folio manuscript. 

When shaws ^ beene sheene, and shradds full fayre, 

And leaves both large and longe, 
Itt is merrye walking in the fayre forrest 

To heare the small birdes songe. 

The woodweele sang, and wold not cease, 

Sitting upon the spraye, 
Soe lowde, he wakened Robin Hood, 

In the greenwood where he lay. 

Now by my faye, sayd jollye Robin, 

A sweaven I had this night ; 
I dreamt me of tow wighty yemen. 

That fast with me can fight. 

Methought they did mee beate and binde. 

And tooke my bow mee froe ; 
If 1 be Robin alive in this lande. 

He be wroken on them towe. 

Sweavens are swift, Master, quoth John, 

As the wind that blowes ore a hill ; 
For if itt be never so loude this night, 

To-morrow itt may be still. 

1 Ser. 6th before K. Ed. Apr. 12. fol. 75. Gilpin's Life of Lat. p. 122. 

2 For "shaws" the MS. has "shales:" and "shradds" should perhaps ba 
" swards : " z. e. the surface of the gpround ; viz. " when the fields are in their beauty; " 
or perhaps " shades." 

ii8 The Percy Reliques 

Buske yee, bowne yee, my merry men all, 

And John shall goe with mee, 
For He goe seeke yond wight yeomen, 

In greenwood where the bee. 

Then the cast on their gownes of grene, 

And tooke theyr bowes each one ; 
And they away to the greene forrest 

A shooting forth are gone ; 

Until they came to the merry greenwood, 

Where they had gladdest bee, 
There were the ware of a wight yeoman, 

His body leaned to a tree. 

A sword and a dagger he wore by his side, 

Of manye a rnan the bane ; 
And he was clad in his capuli hyde 

Topp and tayll and mayne. 

Stand you still, master, quoth Litle John, 

Under this tree so grene. 
And I will go to yond wight yeoman 

To know what he doth meane. 

Ah ! John, by me thou settest noe store, 

And that I farley finde : 
How offt send I my men beffore 

And tarry my selfe behinde ? 

It is no cunning a knave to ken, 

And a man but heare him speake ; 
And itt were not for bursting of my bowe, 

John, I thy head wold breake. 

As often wordes they breeden bale. 

So they parted Robin and John ; 
And John is gone to Barnesdale ; 

The gates ^ he knoweth eche one. 

But when he came to Barnesdale, 

Great heavinesse there hee hadd, 
For he found tow of his owne fell6wes 

Were slaine both in a slade. 

^ i. e. ways, passes, paths, ridings. " Gate " is a common word in the north fo 

Robin Hood and Sir Guy 119 

And Scarlette he was flyinge a-foote 

Fast over stocke and stone, 
For the sheriffe with seven score men 

Fast after him is gone. 

One shoote now I will shoote, quoth John, 

With Christ his might and mayne : 
He make yond fellow that flyes soe fast, 

To stopp he shall be fayne. 

Then John bent up his long bende-bowe, 

And fetteled him to shoote : 
The bow was made of a tender boughe, 

And fell down to his foote. 

Woe worth, woe worth thee, wicked wood, 

That ere thou grew on a tree ; 
For now this day thou art my bale. 

My boote when thou shold bee. 

His shoote it was but loosely shott, 

Yet flewe not the arrowe in vaine. 
For itt mett one of the sheriffes men, 

Good William a Trent was slaine. 

It had bene better of William a Trent 

To have bene abed with sorrowe, 
Than to be that day in the green wood slade 

To meet with Little Johns arrowe. 

But as it is said, when men be mett 

Fyve can doe more than three, 
The sheriffe hath taken little John, 

And bound him fast to a tree. 

Thou shalt be drawen by dale and downe. 

And hanged hye on a hill. 
But thou mayst fayle of thy purpose, quoth John, 

If itt be Christ his will. 

Let us leave talking of Little John, 

And thinke of Robin Hood, 
How he is gone to the wight yeoman. 

Where under the leaves he stood. 

Good morrowe, good fellowe, sayd Robin so fayre. 
Good morrowe, good fellow, quoth he : 

120 The Percy Reliques 

Methinkes by this bowe thou beares in thy hande 
A good archere thou sholdst bee. 

I am wilful! of my waye, quo' the yeman, 

And of my morning tyde. 
He lead thee through the wood, sayd Robin ; 

Good fellow, He be thy guide. 

I seeke an outlawe, the straunger sayd, 

Men call him Robin Hood ; 
Rather lid meet with that proud outlawe, 

Than fortye pound so good. 

Now come v.ith me, thou wighty yeman, 
And Robin thou soone shalt see : 

But first let us some pastime find 
Under the greenwood tree. 

First let us some masterye make 

Among the woods so even. 
Wee may chance to meet with Robin Hood 

Here att some unsett steven. 

They cut them downe two summer shroggs. 

That grew both under a breere, 
And sett them threescore rood in twaine 

To shoot the prickes y-fere : 

Lead on, good fellowe, quoth Robin Hood, 

Lead on, I doe bidd thee. 
Nay by my faith, good fellowe, hee sayd. 

My leader thou shalt bee. 

The first time Robin shot at the pricke, 

He mist but an inch it froe : 
The yeoman he was an archer good. 

But he cold never shoote soe. 

The second shoote had the wightye yeman, 

He shote within the garlande : 
But Robin he shott far better than hee, 

For he clave the good pricke wande. 

A blessing upon thy heart, he sayd ; 

Good fellowe, thy shooting is goode ; 
For an thy hart be as good as thy hand, 

Thou wert better then Robin Hoode. 

Robin Hood and Sir Guy 121 

Now tell me thy name, good fellowe, sayd he, 

Under the leaves of lyne. 
Nay by my faith, quoth bolde Robin, 

Till thou have told me thine. 

I dwell by dale and downe, quoth hee, 

And Robin to take Ime sworne ; 
And when I am called by my right name 

I am Guye of good Gisb6rne. 

My dwelling is in this wood, sayes Robin, 

By thee I set right nought : 
I am Robin Hood of Barnesdale, 

Whom thou so long hast sought. 

He that hath neither beene kithe nor kin. 
Might have seene a full fayre sight, 

To see how together these yeomen went 
With blades both browne ^ and bright. 

To see how these yeomen together they fought 

Two howres of a summers day : 
Yet neither Robin Hood nor Sir Guy 

Them fettled to fiye away. 

Robin was reachles on a roote, 

And stumbled at that tyde ; 
And Guy was quick and nimble with-all, 

And hitt him ore the left side. 

Ah deere Lady, sayd Robin Hood, ' thou 

That art both mother and may,' 
I think it was never mans destinye 

To dye before his day. 

1 The common epithet for a sword or other offensive weapon, in the old metncai 
romances is "brown:" as " brown brand," or " brown sword : brown bill," &c and 
sometimes even " bright brown sword." Chaucer applies the word " rustie " in tQ« 
same sense : thus he describes the " reve : " 

Hti5 bt bis siSc be bare a cust^ bIa^e. 

Prul. ver. 620. 

And even thus the god Mars : 

Hn^ in bis ban^ be ba& a roust^ sworS. 

Test, of Cressid. 188. 

Spenser has sometimes used the same epithet. (See Warton's Observ. vol. ii. p. 5i.) 
It should seem, from this particularity, that our ancestors did not pique themseivr* 
upon keeping their weapons bright : perhaps they deemed it more honourable to carry 
them stained with the blood of their enemies. 

122 The Percy Reliques 

Robin thought on our ladye deere, 

And soone leapt up againe, 
And strait he came with a ' backward ' ^ stroke, 

And he Sir Guy hath slayne. 

He took Sir Guys head by the hayre, 
And sticked itt on his bowes end : 

Thou hast beene a traytor all thy liffe, 
Which thing must have an ende. 

Robin pulled forth an Irish kniffe, 
And nicked Sir Guy in the face, 

That he was never on woman born, 
Cold tell whose head it was. 

Saies, Lye there, lye there, now Sir Guye, 

And with me be not wrothe, 
If thou have had the worst strokes at my hand, 

Thou shalt have the better clothe. 

Robin did off his gowne of greene, 

And on Sir Guy did it throwe. 
And hee put on that capuU hyde, 

That cladd him topp to toe. 

The bowe, the arrowes, and litle home, 

Now with me I will beare ; 
For I will away to Barnesdale, 

To see how my men doe fare. 

Robin Hood sett Guyes home to his mouth, 
And a loud blast in it did blow. 

That beheard the sheriffe of Nottingham, 
As he leaned under a lowe. 

Hearken, hearken, sayd the sheriffe, 

I heare now tydings good. 
For yonder I heare Sir Guyes home blowe, 

And he hath slaine Robin Hoode. 

Yonder I heare Sir Guyes home blowe, 

Itt blowes soe well in tyde, 
And yonder comes that wightye yeoman, 

Cladd in his capull hyde. 

Come hyther, come hyther, thou good Sir Guy, 
Aske what thou wilt of mee. 

1 "Awkwarde." MS. 

Robin Hood and Sir Guy 123 

O I will none of thy gold, sayd Robin, 
Nor I will none of thy fee : 

But now I have slaine the master, he sayes, 

Let me go strike the knave ; 
This is all the rewarde I aske ; 

Nor noe other will I have. 

Thou art a madman, said the sheriffe, 
Thou sholdest have had a knights fee : 

But seeing thy asking hath beene soe bad, 
Well granted it shale be. 

When Litle John heard his master speake, 

Well knewe he it was his steven : 
Now shall I be looset, quoth Litle John, 

With Christ his might in heaven. 

Fast Robin hee hyed him to Litle John, 

He thought to loose him belive ; 
The sheriffe and all his companye 

Fast after him did drive. 

Stand abacke, stand abacke, sayd Robin ; 

Why draw you mee soe neere ? 
Itt was never the use in our countrye, 

Ones shrift another shold heere. 

But Robin pulled forth an Irysh kniffe, 

And losed John hand and foote, 
And gave him Sir Guyes bow into his hand, 

And bade it be his boote. 

Then John he took Guyes bow in his hand. 

His boltes and arrowes eche one : 
When the sheriffe saw Little John bend his bow, 

He fettled him to be gone. 

Towards his house in Nottingham towne 

He fled full fast away ; 
And soe did all his companye : 

Not one behind wold stay. 

But he cold neither runne soe fast, 

Nor away soe fast cold ryde. 
But Litle John with an arrowe soe broad 

He shott him into the ' backe'-syde. 

124 The Percy Reliques 

*»* The title of Sir was not formerly peculiar to knights ; it was 
given to priests, and sometimes to very inferior personages. 

Dr. Johnson thinks this title was applied to such as had taken the 
degree of A. B. in the universities, who are still siyled Domhit, " Sirs," 
to distinguish them from Undergraduates, who have no prefix, and 
from Masters of Arts, who are styled Magistri, Masters. 


The subject of this poem, which was written by Skelton, is the death 
of Henry Percy, fourth Earl of Northumberland, who fell a victim to 
the avarice of Henry VH. In 1489 the parliament had granted the 
king a subsidy for carrying on the war in Bretague. This tax was 
found so heavy in the north, that the whole country was in a flame. 
The Earl of Northumberland, then lord lieutenant for Yorkshire, wrote 
to inform the king of the discontent, and praying an abatement. But 
nothing is so unrelenting as avarice : the king wrote back that not a 
penny should be abated. This message being delivered by the earl 
with too little caution, the populace rose, and, supposing him to be the 
promoter of their calamity, broke into his house, and murdered him, 
with several of his attendants, who yet are charged by Skelton with 
being backward in their duty on this occasion. This melancholy event 
happened at the earl's seat at Cocklodge, near Thirske, in Yorkshire, 
April 28, 1489. See Lord Bacon, &c. 

If the reader does not find much poetical merit in this old poem 
(which yet is one of Skelton's best), he will see a striking picture of the 
state and magnificence kept up by our ancient nobility during the feudal 
times. This great earl is described here as having among his menial 
servants, knights, squires, and even barons. See ver. 32. 183. &c. 
which, however different from modern manners, was formerly not 
unusual with our greater barons, whose castles had all the splendour 
and offices of a royal court, before the laws against retainers abridged 
and limited the number of their attendants. 

John Skelton, who commonly styled himself Poet Laureat, died June 
21, 1529. The following poem, which appears to have been written 
soon after the event, is printed from an ancient manuscript copy pre- 
served in the British Museum, being much more correct than that 
printed among Skelton's poems, in black-letter, i2mo. 156S. It is 
addressed to Henry Percy, fifth Earl of Northumberland, and is 
prefaced, &c. in the following manner : 

Po&ta Skelton Laureaius libellum mum vietrice alloquitur. 

Ad dominum properato meum mea pagina Percy, 

Qui Northumbrorum jura paterna gerit, 
Ad nutum Celebris tu prona repone leonis, 

Quapque suo patri tnstia justa cano. 
Ast ubi perlegit, dubiam sub mente volutet 

Fortunam, cuncta quae male tida rotat. 
Qui leo sit felix, & Nestoris occupet annos ; 

Ad libitum cujus ipse paratus ero. 

Henry, Earl of Northumberland 125 

Skelton Laureat upon the dolorus dethe and 


I WAYLE, I wepe, I sobbe, I sigh ful sore 
The dedely fate, the dolefulle destenny 

Of him that is gone, alas ! withoute restore, 
Of the blode ^ royall descendinge nobelly ; 
Whos lordshepe doutles was slayne lamentably 

Thorow treson ageyn hym compassyd and wrought ; 

Trew to his prince, in word, in dede, and thought. 

Of hevenly poems, O Clyo calde by name 
In the college of musis goddess hystoriall, 

Adres the to me, whiche am both halt and lame 
In elect uteraunce to make memoryall : 
To the for soccour, to the for helpe I call 

Myne homely rudnes and drighnes to expelle 

With the freshe waters of Ely cony s welle. 

Of noble actes auncyently enrolde, 

Of famous princis and lordes of astate. 

By thy report ar wonte to be extold, 
Regestringe trewly every formare date ; 
Of thy bountie after the usuall rate 

Kyndle in me suche plenty of thy nobles, 

Thes sorrowfulle dities that I may shew expres. 

In sesons past who hathe harde or sene 
Of formar writinge by any presidente 

That vilane hastarddis in ther furious tene, 
Fulfyld with malice of froward entente, 
Confeterd togeder of commoun concente 

Falsly to slo ther moste singular goode lorde ? 

It may be registerde of shamefull recorde. 

1 The mother of Henry, first Earl of Northumberland, was Mary, daughter to 
Henry, Earl of Lancaster, whose father Edmond was second son of King Henry IIL 
The mother and wife of the second Earl of Northumberland were both lineal 
descendants of King Edward IIL The Percys also were lineally descended from 
the Emperor Charlemagne and the ancient Kings of France, by his ancestor Josceline 
du Lovain (Son of Godfrey, Duke of Brabant), who took the name of Percy on marry- 
ing the heiress of that house in the reign of Henry II. Vid. Camden Britan. 
Edmondson, &c. 

126 The Percy Reliques 

So noble a man, so valiaunt lorde and knight, 
Fulfilled with honor, as all the worlde dothe ken ; 

At his commaundement, whiche had both day and night 
Knyghtis and squyers, at every season when 
He calde upon them, as menyall houshold men : 

Were no thes commones uncurteis karlis of kynde 

To slo their owne lorde ? God was not in their minde. 

And were not they to blame, I say also, 

That were aboute hym, his owne servants of trust, 

To sufire hym slayn of his mortall fo ? 

Fled away from hym, let hymn ly in the dust : 
They bode not till the rekening were discust. 

What shuld I flatter ? what shulde I glose or paynt ? 

Fy, fy for shame, their harts wer to faint. 

In Englande and Fraunce, which gretly was redouted ; 
Of whom both Flaunders and Scotland stode in drede; 

To whome great astates obeyde and lowttede ; 
A mayny of rude villyans made him for to blede : 
Unkindly they slew hym, that holp them oft at nede : 

He was their bulwark, their paves, and their wall, 

Yet shamfully they slew hym ; that shame mot them befal. 

I say, ye commoners, why wer ye so stark mad 
What frantyk frensy fyll in your brayne ? 

Where was your wit and reson, ye shuld have had ? 
What willfull foly made yow to ryse agayne 
Your naturall lord ? alas ! I can not fayne. 

Ye armed you with will, and left your wit behynd ; 

Well may you be called comones most unkynd. 

He was your chyfteyne, your shelde, your chef defence, 
Redy to assyst you in every tyme of nede : 

Your worship depended of his excellence : 
Alas ! ye mad men, to far ye did excede : 
Your hap was unhappy, to ill was your spede : 

What movyd you agayn hym to war or fight ? 

What aylde you to sle your lord agyn all right ? 

The grounde of his quarrel was for his sovereyn lord, 
The welle concernyng of all the hole lande, 

Demaundyng soche dutyes as nedis most acord 

To the right of his prince which shold not be withstand; 
For whos cause ye slew hym with your awne hande : 

Henry, Earl of Northumberland 127 

But had his nobill men done wel that day, 
Ye had not been hable to have saide him nay. 

But there was fals packinge, or els I am begylde : 
How-be-it the matter was evident and playne, 

For yf they had occupied ther spere and ther shelde. 
This noble man doutles had not be slayne. 
Bot men say they wer lynked with a double chayn, 

And held with the commouns under a cloke, 

Whiche kindeled the wyld fyre that made all this smoke. 

The commouns renyed ther taxes to pay 

Of them demaunded and asked by the kinge ; 

With one voice importune, they playnly said nay : 

They buskt them on a bushment themself in baile to 

bringe : 
Agayne the kings plesure to wrastle or to wringe, 

Bluntly as bestis withe boste and with cry 

They saide, they forsede not, nor carede not to dy. 

The noblenes of the northe this valiant lorde and knyght, 
As man that was innocent of trechery or trayne, 

Presed forthe boldly to witstand the myght, 

And, lyke marciall Hector, he fauht them agayne, 
Vigorously upon them with myght and with mayne, 

Trustinge in noble men that wer with hym there : 

Bot all they fled from hym for falshode or fere. 

Barons, knights, squyers, one and alle, 

Togeder with servaunts of his famuly, 
Turnd their backis, and let ther master fall, 

Of whos [life] they counted not a flye ; 

Take up whos wolde for them, they let hym ly. 
Alas ! his goide, his fee, his annuall rente 
Upon suche a sort was ille bestowde and spent. 

He was envyronde aboute on every syde 

Withe his enemys, that were stark mad and wode ; 

Yet whils he stode he gave them vvoundes wyde : 

Alas for routhe ! what thouche his mynde were goode, 
His corage manly, yet ther he shed his bloode ! 

All left alone, alas ! he fawte in vayne ; 

For cruelly amonge them ther he was slayne. 

Alas for pite ! that Percy thus was spylt. 
The famous Erie of Northumberlande : 

128 The Percy Reliques 

Of knightly prowes the sworde pomel and hylt, 
The myghty lyoun ^ doutted by se and lande ! 
O dolorous chaunce of fortuns fruward hande ! 
What man remembring how shamfuUy he was slayne, 
From bitter weepinge hymself lean restrayne ? 

O cruell Mars, thou dedly god of war ! 

O dolorous teusday, dedicate to thy name, 

When thou shoke thy sworde so noble a man to mar ! 
O grounde ungracious, unhappy be thy fame, 
Whiche wert endyed with rede blode of the same ! 

Moste noble erle ! O fowle mysuryd grounde 

Whereon he gat his fynal dedely wounde ! 

O Atropos, of the fatall systers thre, 

Goddes mooste cruell unto the lyf of man, 

All merciles, in the ys no pite ! 

O homycide, whiche sleest all that thou kan, 
So forcibly upon this erle thow ran, 

That with thy sworde enharpid of mortall drede, 

Thou kit asonder his perfight vital] threde ! 

My wordis unpullysht be nakide and playne, 
Of aureat poems they want ellumynynge ; 

Bot by them to knoulege ye may attayne 
Of this lordis dethe and of his murdrynge. 
Which whils he lyvyd had fuyson of every thing. 

Of knights, of squyers, chef lord of toure and toune, 

Tyl fykkill fortune began on hym to frowne. 

Paregall to dukis, with kings he myght compare, 
Surmountinge in honor all erls he did excede, 

To all cuntreis aboute hym reporte me I dare. 
Lyke to Eneas benygne in worde and dede, 
Valiaunt as Hector in every marciall nede, 

Provydent, discrete, circumspect, and wyse, 

Tyll the chaunce ran agyne him of fortunes duble dyse. 

What nedethe me for to extoU his fame 

With my rude pen enkankerd all with rust ? 

Whos noble actis shew worsheply his name, 

Transcendyng far myne homely muse, that must 
Yet sumwhat wright supprisid with hartly lust, 

Truly reportinge his right noble astate, 

Immortally whiche is immaculate. 

- Alluding to his crest and supporters. " Doutted " is contracted for " redoubted." 

Henry, Earl of Northumberland 129 

His noble blode never disteynyd was, 

Trew to his prince for to defende his right, 

Doublenes hatinge, fals maters to compas, 
Treytory and treson he bannesht out of syght. 
With trowth to medle was all his hole delyght, 

As all his kuntrey kan testefy the same : 

To slo suche a lord, alas, it was grete shame. 

If the hole quere of the musis nyne 

In me all onely wer sett and comprisyde, 

Enbrethed with the blast of influence dyvyne, 
As perfightly as could be thought or devysyd : 
To me also allthouche it were promysyde 

Of laureat Phebus holy the eloquence, 

All were to litill for his magnyficence. 

yonge lyon, bot tender yet of age. 
Grow and encrese, remembre thyn astate, 

God the assyst unto thyn herytage, 

And geve the grace to be more fortunate, 
Agayne rebellyouns arme to make debate. 
And, as the lyoune, whiche is of bestis kinge, 
Unto thy subjectis be kurteis and benyngne. 

1 pray God sende the prosperous lyf and long, 
Stabille thy mynde constant to be and fast. 

Right to mayntein, and to resist all wronge : 
All flattringe faytors abhor and from the cast. 
Of foule detraction God kepe the from the blast : 

Let double delinge in the have no place, 

And be not light of credence in no case. 

Wythe hevy chere, with dolorous hart and mynd, 
Eche man may sorow in his inward thought, 

Thys lords death, whose pere is hard to fynd 

Allgyf Englond and Fraunce were thorow saught. 
Al kings, all princes, all dukes, well they ought 

Botha temporall and spirituall for to complayne 

This noble man, that crewelly was slayne. 

More specially barons, and those knygtes bold. 
And all other gentilmen with hym enterteynd 

In fee, as menyall men of his housold, 
Whom he as lord worsheply manteynd : 
To sorowfull weping they ought to be constreynd, 

VOL. I. K 

130 The Percy Reliques 

As oft as thei call to ther remembraunce, 

Of ther good lord the fate and dedely chaunce 

O perlese prince of hevyn emperyalle, 

That with one worde formed al thing of noughte ; 

Hevyn, hell, and erth obey unto thi kail ; 

Which to thy resemblance wondersly hast wrought 
All mankynd, whom thou full dere hast boght, 

With thy blode precious our finaunce thou dyd pay, 

And us redemed, from the fendys pray : 

To the pray we, as prince incomperable, 
As thou art of mercy and pite the well, 

Thou bringe unto thy joye etermynable 

The sowle of this lorde from all daunger of hell. 
In endles blis with the to byde and dwell 

In thy palace above the orient, 

Where thou art lorde, and God omnipotent. 

O quene of mercy, O lady full of grace, 

Maiden moste pure, and goddis moder dere, 

To sorowfull harts chef comfort and solace, 
Of all women O floure withouten pere. 
Pray to thy son above the starris clere, 

He to vouchesaf by thy mediatioun 

To pardon thy servant, and bringe to salvacion. 

In joy triumphaunt the hevenly yerarchy, 
With all the hole sorte of that glorious place. 

His soule mot receyve into ther company 

Thorowe bounte of hym that formed all solace : 
Well of pite, of mercy, and of grace. 

The father, the son, and the holy goste 

In Trinitate one God of myghts moste. 

tit I have placed the foregoing poem of Skelton's before the follow- 
ing extract from Hawes, not only because it was written first, but 
because I think Skelton is in general to be considered as the earlier 
poet ; many of his poems being written long before Hawes's " Graunde 
Amour. " 

The Tower of Doctrine 131 


The reader has here a specimen of the descriptive powers of Stephen 
Hawes, a celebrated poet in the reign of Henry VII. though now little 
known. It is extracted from an allegorical poem of his (written in 
1505,) intitled " The Hist, of Graunde Amoure & La Belle Pucel, 
called the Palace of Pleasure, &c." 4to. 1555. See more of Hawes in 
Ath. Ox. V. I. p. 6. and Warton's Observ. v. 2. p. 105. He was also 
author of a book, intitled, " The Temple of Glass. Wrote by Stephen 
Hawes, gentleman of the bedchamber to King Henry VII." Pr. for 
Caxton, 4to. no date. 

The following stanzas are taken from Chap. III. and IV. of the 
Hist, above mentioned. "How Fame departed from Graunde Amour 
and left him with Governaunce and Grace, and howe he went to the 
Tower of Doctrine, &c." As we are able to give no small lyric piece 
of Hawes's, the reader will excuse the insertion of this extract. 

I LOKED about and saw a craggy roche, 
Farre in the west neare to the element, 

And as I dyd then unto it approche, 
Upon the toppe I sawe refulgent 
The royal tower of Morall Document, 

Made of fine copper with turrettes fayre and hye, 

Which against Phebus shone so marveylously, 

That for the very perfect bryghtnes 

What of the tower, and of the cleare sunne, 

I could nothyng behold the goodlines 

Of that palaice, whereas Doctrine did wonne : 
Tyll at the last, with mysty wyndes donne, 

The radiant brightnes of golden Phebus 

Auster gan cover with clowde tenebrus. 

Then to the tower I drewe, nere and nere, 
And often mused of the great hyghnes 

Of the craggy rocke, which quadrant did appeare : 
But the fayre tower, (so much of ryches 
Was all about,) sexangled doubtles ; 

Gargeyld with grayhoundes, and with many lyons, 

Made of fyne golde ; with divers sundry dragons.^ 

1 Greyhounds, Lions, Dragons, were at that time the royal supporters. 

132 The Percy Reliques 

The little turrets with ymages of golde 

About was set, whiche the wynde aye moved 

With propre vices, that I did well beholde 
About the tower,^ in sundry wyse they hoved 
With goodly pypes, in their mouthes ituned. 

That with the wynd they pyped a daunce 

Iclipped Amour de la hault plesaunce. 

The toure was great of marveylous wydnes. 
To whyche ther was no way to passe but one, 

Into the toure for to have an intres : 
A grece there was ychesyld all of stone 
Out of the rocke, on whyche men dyd gone 

Up to the toure, and in lykewyse dyd I 

Wyth bothe the Grayhoundes in my company : ^ 

Tyll that I came unto a ryall gate. 

Where I sawe stondynge the goodly Portres, 

Whyche axed me, from whence I came a-late ; 
To whome I gan in every thynge expresse 
All myne adventure, chaunce, and busynesse, 

And eke my name ; I tolde her every dell : 

Whan she herde this she lyked me right well. 

Her name, she sayd, was called Countenaunce ; 
Into the ' base ' ^ courte she dyd me then lede, 

Where was a fountayne depured of plesance, 
A noble sprynge, a ryall conduyte-hede, 
Made of fyne golde enameled with reed ; 

And on the toppe four dragons blewe and stoute 

Thys dulcet water in four partes ■* dyd spoute. 

Of whyche there flowed foure ryvers ryght clere, 
Sweter than Nylus ^ or Ganges was ther odoure ; 

Tygrys or Eufrates unto them no pere : 
I dyd than taste the aromatyke lycoure, 
Fragraunt of fume, and swete as any floure ; 

And in my mouthe it had a marveylous scent 

Of divers spyces, I knewe not what it ment. 

And after thys further forth me brought 
Dame Countenaunce into a goodly Hall, 

Of jasper stones it was wonderly wrought : 
The wyndowes cleare depured all of crystall, 
And in the roufe on hye over all 

1 "Towers." PC. 2 This alludes to a former part of the poem. 

8 " Besy courte." PC. ■4"Partyes." PC. 6"Nysus." PC 

The Tower of Doctrine 133 

Of golde was made a ryght crafty vyne ; 
Instede of grapes the rubies there dyd shyne. 

The flora was paved with berall clarified, 

With pillers made of stones precious, 
like a place of pleasure so gayely glorified. 

It myght be called a palaice glorious. 

So muche delectable and solacious ; 
The hall was hanged hye and circuler 
With cloth of arras in the rychest maner, 

That treated well of a ful noble story, 

Of the doubty waye to the Tower Perillous ; ^ 

Howe a noble knyght should wynne the victory 
Of many a serpente foule and odious. 


This is given from a fragment in the Editor's folio manuscript : which, 
though extremely defective and mutilated, appeared to have so much 
merit, that it excited a strong desire to attempt a completion of the 
story. The reader will easily discover the supplemental stanzas by 
their inferiority, and at the same time be inclined to pardon it, when he 
considers how difficult it must be to imitate the affecting simplicity and 
artless beauties of the original. 

" Child " was a title sometimes given to a knight. See Glos. 

On yonder hill a castle standes 
With walles and towres bedight, 

And yonder lives the Child of Elle, 
A younge and comely knighte. 

The Child of Elle to his garden went, 
And stood at his garden pale, 

Whan, lo ! he beheld fair Emmelines page 
Come trippinge downe the dale. 

The Child of Elle he hyed him thence, 

Y-wis he stoode not stille. 
And soone he mette faire Emmelines page 

Come climbinge up the hille. 

1 The story of the poem. 

134 The Percy Reliques 

Nowe Christe thee save, thou Uttle foot-page, 
Now Christe thee save and see ! 

Oh telle me how does thy ladye gaye, 
And what may thy tydinges bee ? 

My ladye shee is all woe-begone, 

And the teares they falle from her eyne ; 

And aye she laments the deadlye feude 
Betweene her house and thine. 

And here shee sends thee a silken scarfe 

Bedewde with many a teare, 
And biddes thee sometimes thinke on her, 

Who loved thee so deare. 

And here shee sends thee a ring of golde 
The last boone thou mayst have, 

And biddes thee weare it for her sake, 
Whan she is layde in grave. 

For, ah ! her gentle heart is broke. 
And in grave soone must shee bee, 

Sith her father hath chose her a new new love. 
And forbidde her to think of thee. 

Her father hath brought her a carlish knight. 
Sir John of the north countr^ye, 

And within three dayes she must him wedde, 
Or he vowes he will her slaye. 

Nowe hye thee backe, thou little foot-page, 

And greet thy ladye from mee, 
And telle her that I her owne true love 

Will dye, or sette her free. 

Nowe hye thee backe, thou little foot-page. 

And let thy fair ladye know 
This night will I bee at her bowre-wind6we. 

Betide me weale or woe. 

The boye he tripped, the boye he ranne, 

He neither stint ne stayd 
Untill he came to fair Emmelines bowre. 

Whan kneeling downe he sayd, 

O ladye, I've been with thine own true love. 
And he greets thee well by mee ; 

The Child of Elle i35 

This night will he bee at thy bowre-wind5we, 
And dye or sett thee free. 

Nowe daye was gone, and night was come, 

And all were fast asleepe, 
All save the Ladye Emmeline, 

Who sate in her bowre to weepe : 

And soone shee heard her true loves voice 

Lowe whispering at the walle, 
Awake, awake, my deare lady^, 

Tis I thy true love call. 

Awake, awake, my ladye deare, 

Come, mount this faire palfraye : 
This ladder of ropes will lette thee downe 

He carry e thee hence awaye. 

Nowe nay, nowe nay, thou gentle knight, 

Nowe nay, this may not bee ; 
For aye shold I tint my maiden fame, 

If alone I should wend with thee. 

O ladye, thou with a knighte so true 

Mayst safelye wend alone, 
To my ladye mother I will thee bringe, 

Where marriage shall make us one. 

" My father he is a baron bolde. 

Of lynage proude and hye ; 
And what would he saye if his daughter 

Awaye with a knight should fly ? 

" Ah ! well I wot, he never would rest, 
Nor his meate should doe him no goode, 

Until he hath slayne thee. Child of Elle, 
And seene thy deare hearts bloode." 

ladye, wert thou in thy saddle sette. 
And a little space him fro, 

1 would not care for thy cruel father, 

Nor the worst that he could doe. 

ladye, wert thou in thy saddle sette, 
And once without this walle, 

1 would not care for thy cruel father 

Nor the worst that might befalle. 

136 The Percy Reliques 

Faire Emmeline sighed, fair Emmeline wept, 

And aye her heart was woe : 
At length he seized her Ully-white hand, 

And downe the ladder he drewe : 

And thrice he clasped her to his breste, 

And kist her tenderhe : 
The teares that fell from her fair eyes 

Ranne like the fountayne free. 

Hee mounted himselfe on his steede so talle, 

And her on a fair palfrkye. 
And slung his bugle about his necke, 

And roundlye they rode awaye. 

All this beheard her owne damsblle, 

In her bed whereas shee ley, 
Quoth shee, My lord shall knowe of this, 

Soe I shall have golde and fee. 

Awake, awake, thou baron bolde ! 

Awake, my noble dame ! 
Your daughter is fledde with the Child of EUe 

To doe the deede of shame. 

The baron he woke, the baron he rose. 
And called his merrye men all : 

" And come thou forth. Sir John the knighte, 
Thy ladye is carried to thrall." 

Faire Emmeline scant had ridden a mile, 

A mile forth of the towne, 
When she was aware of her fathers men 

Come galloping over the downe : 

And foremost came the carlish knight, 
Sir John of the north countr^ye : 

" Nowe stop, nowe stop, thou false trait6ure, 
Nor carry that ladye awaye. 

" For she is come of hye linekge, 

And was of a ladye borne. 
And ill it beseems thee, a false churl's sonne, 

To carrye her hence to scorne." 

Nowe loud thou lyest, Sir John the knight, 
Nowe thou doest lye of mee ; 

The Child of Elle i37 

A knight mee gott, and a ladye me bore, 
Soe never did none by thee. 

But hght nowe downe, my ladye faire, 

Light downe, and hold my steed. 
While I and this discourteous knighte 

Doe trye this arduous deede. 

But hght now downe, my deare ladye, 

Light downe, and hold my horse ; 
While I and this discourteous knight 

Doe trye our valour's force. 

Fair Emmeline sighed, fair Emmeline wept, 

And aye her heart was woe. 
While twixt her love and the carlish knight 

Past many a baleful blowe. 

The Child of Elle hee fought so well, 

'^s his weapon he waved amaine. 
That soone he had slaine the carhsh knight, 

And layd him upon the plaine. 

And nowe the baron and all his men 

Full fast approached nye : 
Ah ! what may ladye Emmeline doe ? 

Twere nowe no boote to flye. 

Her lover he put his home to his mouth, 

And blew both loud and shrill, 
And soone he saw his owne merry men 

Come ryding over the hill. 

" Nowe hold thy hand, thou bold barbn, 

I pray thee hold thy hand. 
Nor ruthless rend two gentle hearts 

Fast knit in true love's band. 

Thy daughter I have dearly loved 

Full long and many a day ; 
But with such love as holy kirke 

Hath freelye sayd wee may. 

O give consent, shee may be mine, 

And blesse a faithfuU paire : 
My lands and livings are not small, 

My house and lineage faire : 

138 The Percy Reliques 

My mother she was an earl's daughter, 

And a noble knyght my sire — 
The baron he frowned, and turn'd away 

With mickle dole and ire. 

Fair Emmeline sighed, faire Emmeline wept, 

And did all tremblinge stand : 
At lengthe she sprang upon her knee, 

And held his lifted hand. 

Pardon, my lorde and father deare. 
This faire yong knyght and mee : 

Trust me, but for the carlish knyght, 
I never had fled from thee. 

Oft have you called your Emmeline 

Your darling and your joye ; 
O let not then your harsh resolves 

Your Emmeline destroye. 

The baron he stroakt his dark -brown cheeke, 

And turned his heade asyde 
To whipe awaye the starting teare 

He proudly strave to hyde. 

In deepe revolving thought he stoode. 

And mused a little space ; 
Then raised faire Emmeline from the grounde, 

With many a fond embrace. 

Here take her. Child of Elle, he sayd, 
And gave her lillye white hand ; 

Here take my deare and only child, 
And with her half my land : 

Thy father once mine honour wrongde 

In dayes of youthful pride ; 
Do thou the injurye repayre 

In fondnesse for thy bride. 

And as thou love her, and hold her deare. 
Heaven prosper thee and thine : 

And nowe my blessing wend wi' thee, 
My lovelye Emmeline. 

* * 

t4.t From the word ki7-ke in ver. 159, this hath been thought to be a 
Scottish ballad, but it must be acknowledged that the line referred to is 
among the additions supplied by the Editor : besides, in the northern 
counties of England, kirk is used in the common dialect for church, as 
well as beyond the Tweed. 

Edom o' Gordon 139 



This was printed at Glasgow, by Robert and Andrew Foulis, MDCCLV. 
8vo. 12 pages. We are indebted for its publication (with many other 
valuable things in these volumes) to Sir David Dalrymple, Bart, who 
gave it as it was preserved in the memory of a lady, that is now dead. 

The reader will here find it improved, and enlarged with several fine 
stanzas, recovered from a fragment of the same ballad, in the Editor's 
folio manuscript. It is remarkable that the latter is intitled "Captain 
Adam Carre," and is in the English idiom. But whether the author 
was English or Scotch, the difference originally was not great. The 
English ballads are generally of the north of England, the Scottish are 
of the south of Scotland, and of consequence the country of ballad- 
singers was sometimes subject to one crown, and sometimes to the 
other, and most frequently to neither. Most of the finest old Scotch 
songs have the scene laid within twenty miles of England, which is 
indeed all poetic ground, green hills, remains of woods, clear brooks. 
The pastoral scenes remain : of the rude chivalry of former ages happily 
nothing remains but the ruins of the castles, where the more daring and 
successful robbers resided. The house or castle of the Rodes stood 
about a measured mile south from Duns, in Berwickshire : some of the 
ruins of it may be seen to this day. The Gordons were anciently 
seated in the same county : the two villages of East and West Gordon 
lie about ten miles from the castle of the Rodes. ^ The fact, however, 
on which the ballad is founded, happened in the north of Scotland 
(see below, p. 144.), yet it is but too faithful a specimen of the 
violences practised in the feudal times in every part of this island, and 
indeed all over Europe. 

From the different titles of this ballad, it should seem that the 
old strolling bards or minstrels (who gained a livelihood by reciting 
these poems) made no scruple of changing the names of the personages 
they introduced, to humour their hearers. For instance, if a Gordon's 
conduct was blame-worthy in the opinion of that age, the obsequious 
minstrel would, when among Gordons, change the name to Car, whose 
clan or sept lay further west, and vice versa. The foregoing observa- 
tion, which I owed to Sir David Dalrymple, will appear the more 
perfectly well founded, if, as I have since been informed (from 
Crawford's Memoirs), the principal commander of the expedition was a 
Gordon, and the immediate agent a Car, or Ker ; for then the reciter 
might, upon good grounds, impute the barbarity here deplored, either 
to a Gordon, or a Car, as best suited his purpose. In the second volume 
the reader will find a similar instance. See the song of " Gil Morris," 
wherein the principal character introduced had different names given 
him, perhaps for the same cause. 

1 This ballad is well known in that neighbourhood, where it is intitled " Adam o" 
Gordon." It may be observed, that the famous freebooter, whom Edward I. fought 
with, hand to hand, near Farnham, was named Adam Gordon. 

140 The Percy Reliques 

It may be proper to mention, that in the folio manuscript, instead of 
the " Castle of the Rodes," it is the " Castle of Brittons-borrow," and 
also "Diactours" or " Draitours-borrow," (for it is very obscurely 
written,) and " Capt. Adam Carre " is called the " Lord of Westerton- 
town." Unitormity required that the additional stanzas supplied from 
that copy should be clothed in the Scottish orthography and idiom : 
this has therefore been attempted, though perhaps imperfectly. 

It fell about the Martinmas, 

Quhen the wind blew shril and cauld, 
Said Edom o' Gordon to his men, 

We maun draw till a hauld. 

And quhat a hauld sail we draw till, 

My mirry men and me ? 
We wul gae to the house o' the Rodes, 

To see that fair ladle. 

The lady stude on her castle wa', 
Beheld baith dale and down : 

There she was ware of a host of men 
Cum ryding towards the toun. 

O see ze nat, my mirry men a' ? 

see ze nat quhat I see ? 
Methinks I see a host of men : 

1 marveil quha they be. 

She weend it had been hir luvely lord, 

As he cam ryding hame ; 
It was the traitor Edom o' Gordon, 

Quha reckt nae sin nor shame. 

She had nae sooner buskit hirsel, 

And putten on hir goun. 
But Edom o' Gordon and his men 

Were round about the toun. 

They had nae sooner supper sett, 

Nae sooner said the grace. 
But Edom o' Gordon and his men 

Were light about the place. 

The lady ran up to hir towir head, 

Sa fast as she could hie, 
To see if by hir fair speeches 

She could wi' him agree. 

Edom o' Gordon 141 

But quhan he see this lady saif, 

And hir yates all locked fast, 
He fell into a rage of wrath, 

And his look was all aghast. 

Cum doun to me, ze lady gay, 

Cum doun, cum doun to me : 
This night sail ye lig within mine armes, 

To-morrow my bride sail be. 

I winnae cum doun ze fals Gord6n, 

I wirmae cum doun to thee ; 
I winna forsake my ain dear lord, 

That is sae far frae me. 

Give owre zour house, ze lady fair, 

Give owre zour house to me. 
Or I sail brenn yoursel therein, 

Bot and zour babies three. 

I winnae give owre, ze false Gord5n, 

To nae sik traitor as zee ; 
And if ze brenn my ain dear babes. 

My lord sail make ze drie. 

But reach my pistoll, Glaud my man,^ 

And charge ze weil my gun : ^ 
For, but an I pierce that bluidy butcher, 

My babes we been undone. 

She stude upon hir castle wa'. 

And let twa bullets flee : ^ 
She mist that bluidy butchers hart, 

And only raz'd his knee. 

Set fire to the house, quo' fals Gord5n, 

All wood wi' dule and ire : 
Fals lady, ze sail rue this deid. 

As ze bren in the fire. 

Wae worth, wae worth ze, Jock my man, 

I paid ze weil zour fee ; 
Quhy pu' ze out the ground-wa' stane. 

Lets in the reek to me ? 

1 These three lines are restored from Foulis's edition, and the folio manuscript 
which last reads " the bullets " in ver. 58. 

142 The Percy Reliques 

And ein wae worth ze, Jock my man, 

I paid ze weil zour hire ; 
Quhy pu' ze out the ground-wa' stane, 

To me lets in the fire ? 

Ze paid me weil my hire, lady ; 

Ze paid me weil my fee : 
But now I'm Edom o' Gordons man, 

Maun either doe or die. 

than bespaik hir little son, 
Sate on the nurses knee : 

Sayes, Mither deare, gi' owre this house, 
For the reek it smithers me. 

1 wad gie a' my gowd, my childe, 
Say wald I a' my fee, 

For ane blast o' the western wind, 
To blaw the reek frae thee. 

O then bespaik hir dochter dear, 
She was baith jimp and sma : 

O row me in a pair o' sheits, 
And tow me owre the wa. 

They rowd hir in a pair o' sheits. 
And towd hir owre the wa : 

But on the point of Gordons spear 
She gat a deadly fa. 

O bonnie bonnie was hir mouth. 
And cherry were her cheiks, 

And clear clear was hir zellow hair, 
Whereon the reid bluid dreips. 

Then wi' his spear he turnd hir owre, 

gin 1 hir face was wan ! 
He sayd, Ze are the first that eir 

1 wisht alive again. 

He turnd hir owre and owre againe, 
O gin ^ hir skin was whyte ! 

I might ha spared that bonnie face 
To hae been sum mans delyte. 

^ A Scottish idiom to express great admiration. 

Edom o' Gordon i43 

Busk and boun, my merry men a', 

For ill dooms I doe guess ; 
I cannae luik in that bonnie face, 

As it lyes on the grass. 

Thame.i luiks to freits, my master deir, 

Then freits wil follow thame : ^ 
Let neir be said brave Edom o' Gordon 

Was daunted by a dame. 

But quhen the ladye see the fire 

Cum flaming owre hir head, 
She wept and kist her children twam, 

Sayd, Bairns, we been but dead. 

The Gordon then his bougill blew. 

And said, Awa', awa' ; 
This house o' the Rodes is a' in flame, 

I hauld it time to ga'. 

then bespyed hir ain dear lord. 
As hee cam owr the lee ; 

He sied his castle all in blaze 
Sa far as he could see. 

Then sair, O sair his mind misgave, 

And all his hart was wae ; 
Put on, put on, my wighty men, 

So fast as ze can gae. 

Put on, put on, my wighty men, 

Sa fact as ze can drie ; 
For he that is hindmost of the thrang 

Sail neir get guid o' me. 

Than sum they rade, and sum they rin, 

Fou fast out-owr the bent ; 
But eir the foremost could get up, 

Baith lady and babes were brent. 

He wrang his hands, he reiit his hair, 

And wept in teenefu' muid : 
O traitors, for this cruel deid 

Ze sail weep teirs o' bluid. 

1 1. 1. them that look after omens of ill luck, ill luck will foUow. 

144 The Percy Reliques 

And after the Gordon he is gane, 

Sa fast as he might drie. 
And soon i' the Gordon's foul hartis bluid 

He's wroken his dear ladie. 

* * 


t-l-t Since the foregoing Ballad was first printed, the subject of it has 
been found recorded in Abp. Spotswood's History of the Church of 
Scotland, p. 259 : who informs us, that 

"Anno 1571. In the north parts of Scotland, Adam Gordon (who 
was deputy for his brother the earl of Huntley) did keep a great stir ; 
and under colour of the queen's authority, committed divers oppres- 
sions, especially upon the Forbes's. . . . Having killed Arthur Forbes, 
brother to the lord Forbes. . . . Not long after he sent to summon the 
house of Tavoy pertaining to Alexander Forbes. The Lady refusing 
to yield without direction from her husband, he put fire unto it, and 
burnt her therein, with children and servants, being twenty-seven 
persons in all. 

" This inhuman and barbarous cruelty made his name odious, and 
stained all his former doings ; otherwise he was held very active and 
fortunate in his enterprizes." 

This fact, which had escaped the Editor's notice, was in the most 
obliging manner pointed out to him, by an ingenious writer who signs 
his name H. H. (Newcastle, May 9.) in the Gentleman's Magazine for 
May, 1775. p. 219. 




Our great dramatic poet having occasionally quoted many ancient 
ballads, and even taken the plot of one, if not more, of his plays from 
among them, it was judged proper to preserve as many of these as 
could be recovered, and, that they might be the more easily found, to 
exhibit them in one collective view. This Second Book is therefore 
set apart for the reception of such ballads as are quoted by Shakspeare, 
or contribute in any degree to illustrate his writings : this being the 
principal point in view, the candid reader will pardon the admission of 
some pieces that have no other kind of merit. 

The design of this book being of a dramatic tendency, it may 
not be improperly introduced with a few observations on the origin 
of the English Stage, and on the conduct of our first dramatic 
poets : a subject which, though not unsuccessfully handled by 
several good writers already, ^ will yet perhaps admit of some further 

STAGE, &c. 

It is well known that dramatic poetry in this and most other nations 
of Europe owes its origin, or at least its revival, to those religious 
shows, which in the dark ages were usually exhibited on the more 
solemn festivals. At those times they were wont to represent in the 
churches the lives and miracles of the saints, or some of the more 
important stories of Scripture. And as the most mysterious subjects 
were frequently chosen, such as the Incarnation, Passion, and Resur- 
rection of Christ, &c. these exhibitions acquired the general name of 
Mysteries. At first they were probably a kind of dumb shows, inter- 
mingled, it may be, with a few short speeches ; at length they grew 
into a regular series of connected dialogues, formally divided into 
acts and scenes. Specimens of these in their most improved state 
(being at best but poor artless compositions) may be seen among 
Dodsley's Old Plays and in Osborne's Harleyan Miscel. How they 
were exhibited in their most simple form, we may learn from an 

1 Bp. Warburton's Shakesp. voL v. p. 338.— Pref. to Dodsley's Old Plays.— 
Riccoboni's Acct. of Theat. of Europe, &c. &c. These were all the Author had 
seen when he first drew up this Essay. 

VOL. I. 145 L 

146 The Percy Reliques 

ancient novel, often quoted by our old dramatic poets, ^ entitled .... 
a mtvgt ^tst nf n ntHti t^at feas talltb ^ofoUglas'^ &c. being a translation 
from the Dutch language, in which he is named Uknspiegle. Howie- 
glass, whose waggish tricks are the subject of this book, after many 
adventures comes to live with a priest, who makes him his parish- 
clerk. This priest is described as keeping a leman or concubine, who 
had but one eye, to whom Howleglas owed a grudge for revealing 
his rogueries to his master. The story thus proceeds, .... " And 
than in the meane season, while Howleglas was parysh clarke, at 
Easter they should play the Resurrection of our Lorde : and for 
because than the men wer not learned, nor could not read, the priest 
toke his leman, and put her in the grave for an Aungell ; and this 
seing Howleglas, toke to hym iij of the symplest persons that were in 
the towne, that played the iij Maries ; and the Person \i. e. Parson or 
Rector] played Christe, with a baner in his hand. Than saide Howle- 
glas to the symple persons, Whan the Aungel asketh you, whome you 
seke, you may saye, The parsons leman with one iye. Than it 
fortuned that the tyme was come that they must playe, and the 
Aungel asked them whom they sought, and than sayd they, as Howle- 
glas had shewed and lerned them afore, and than answered they. We 
seke the priests leman with one iye. And than the prieste might heare 
that he was mocked. And whan the priestes leman heard that, she 
arose out of the grave, and would have smyten with her fist Howleglas 
upon the cheke, but she missed him and smote one of the simple 
persons that played one of the thre Maries ; and he gave her another ; 
and than toke she him by the heare [hair] ; and that seing his wyfe, 
came running hastely to smite the priestes leaman ; and than the priest 
seeing this, caste down hys baner and went to helpe his woman, so 
that the one gave the other sore strokes, and made great noyse in the 
churche. And than Howleglas se)mg them lyinge together by the 
eares in the bodi of tRe churche, went his way out of the village, and 
came no more there."* 

As the old Mysteries frequently required the representation of some 
allegorical personage, such as Death, Sin, Charity, Faith, and the like, 
by degrees the rude poets of those unlettered ages began to form com- 
plete dramatic pieces consisting entirely of such personifications. These 
they entitled Moral Plays, or Moralities. The Mysteries were very 
inartificial, representing the Scripture stories simply according to the 
letter. But the Moralities are not devoid of invention; they exhibit 
outlines of the dramatic art: they contain something of a fable or plot, 
and even attempt to delineate characters and manners. I have now 
before me two that were printed early in the reign of Henry VHI. ; in 
which I think one may plainly discover the seeds of Tragedy and 
Comedy ; for which reason I shall give a short analysis of them 

One of them is entitled (f btrg l^^an.* The subject of this piece is 
the summoning of man out of the world by death ; and its moral, that 
nothing will then avail him but a well-spent life and the comforts of 

^ See Ben Jonson's Poetaster, act iii. sc. 4, and his Masque of The Fortunate 
Isles. Whalley's Edit. vol. ii. p. 49, vol. vi. p. 190. 

'-' Howleglass is said in the Preface to have died in m,cccc,l. At the end of the 
book, in m,ccc,l. 

3 t. 5mprSnteb. . .b^ TKIl^en^am Coplan^ : without date, in 4to. bl. let. among 
Mr. Garrick's Old Plays, K. vol. X. 

■» This play has been reprinted by Mr. Hawkins in his 3 vols, of Old Plays, 
entitled, The Origin of the English Drama, izmo. Oxford, 1773. See vol. i. p. 27. 

The English Stage 147 

religion. This subject and moral are opened in a monologue spoken 
by the Messenger (for that was the name generally given by our 
ancestors to the Prologue on their rude stage) ; then God ^ is repre- 
sented ; who, after some general complaints on the degeneracy of man- 
kind, calls for Deth, and orders him to bring before his tribunal Every- 
man, for so is called the personage who represents the human race. 
Every-man appears, and receives the summons with all the marks of 
confusion and terror. When Death is withdrawn, Every-man applies 
for relief in this distress to Fellowship, Kindred, Goods, or Riches, but 
they successively renounce and forsake him. In this disconsolate state 
he betakes himself to Good-dedes, who, after upbraiding him with his 
long neglect of her,^ introduces him to her sister Knowledge, and she 
leads him to the " holy man Confession," who appoints him penance : 
this he inflicts upon himself on the stage, and tlien withdraws to receive 
the sacraments of the priest. On his return he begins to wax faint, and 
after Strength, Beauty, Discretion, and Five Wits^ have all taken 
their final leave of him, gradually expires on the stage ; Good-dedes 
still accompanying to the last. Then an Aungell descends to sing his 
Requiem ; and the Epilogue is spoken by a person called Doctour, 
who recapitulates the whole, and delivers the moral : 

^. This memoriall men may have in mynde, 

Ye herers, take it of worth old and yonge, 

And forsake Pryde, for he disceyveth you in thende, 

And remembre Beaute, Five Witts, Strength and Discretion, 

They all at last do Every-man forsake ; 

Save his Good Dedes there dothe he take ; 

But beware, for and they be small, 

Before God he hath no helpe at all, &c. 

From this short analysis it may be observed, that (f btrj» ^an is a 
grave solemn piece, not without some rude attempts to excite terror 
and pity, and therefore may not improperly be referred to the class of 
Tragedy. It is remarkable that in this old simple drama the fable is 
conducted upon the strictest model of the Greek Tragedy. The action 
is simply one, the time of action is that of the performance, the scene is 
never changed, nor the stage ever empty. Every-man, the hero of the 
piece, after his first appearance never withdraws, except when he goes 
out to receive the sacraments, which could not well be exhibited in 
public ; and during his absence Knowledge descants on the excellence 
and power of the priesthood, somewhat after the manner of the Greek 
chorus. And indeed, except in the circumstance of Every-man's ex- 
piring on the stage, the Sampson Agonistes of Milton is hardly formed 
on a severer plan.* 

The other play is entitled Pitk-Srorticr,' and bears no distant resem- 
blance to Comedy : its chief aim seems to be to exhibit characters and 
manners, its plot being much less regular than the foregoing. The 
Prologue is spoken by Pity represented under the character of an aged 

1 The second person of the Trinity seems to be meant. 

2 The before-mentioned are male characters. 

3 /. e. The Five Senses. These are frequently exhibited as five distinct personages 
upon the Spanish stage ; (see Riccoboni, p. 98.) but our moralist has represented them 
all by one character. 

■* See more of Every-man, in Series II. Pref. to B. ii. Note. 

* ^mprtntc^ b^ mc TOlljnlj^n ^e TKHor5e, no date ; in 4to. bl. let. This play 
has also been reonnted by Mr. Hawkins in his "Origin of the English Drama" 
vol. i. p. 69. 

148 The Percy Reliques 

pilgrim ; he is joined by Contemplacyon and Perseverance, two holy 
men, who, after lamenting the degeneracy of the age, declare their 
resolution of stemming the torrent. Pity then is left upon the stage, 
and presently found by Frewyll, representing a lewd debauchee, who, 
with his dissolute companion Imaginacion, relate their manner of life, 
and not without humour describe the stews and other places of base 
resort. They are presently joined by Hick-Scorner, who is drawn as a 
libertine returned from travel, and, agreeably to his name, scoffs at 
religion. These three are described as extremely vicious, who glory in 
every act of wickedness : at length two of them quarrel, and Pity 
endeavours to part the fray ; on this they fall upon him, put him in the 
stocks, and there leave him. Pity, thus imprisoned, descants in a kind 
of lyric measure on the profligacy of the age, and in this situation is 
found by Perseverance and Contemplacion, who set him at liberty, and 
advise him to go in search of the delinquents. As soon as he is gone, 
Frewill appears again ; and, after relating in a very comic manner some 
of his rogueries and escapes from justice, is rebuked by the two holy 
men, who, after a long altercation, at length convert him and his libertine 
companion Imaginacioun from their vicious course of life : and then the 
play ends with a few verses from Perseverance by way of Epilogue, 
This and every Morality I have seen conclude with a solemn prayer. 
They are all of them in rhyme ; in a kind of loose stanza, intermixed 
with distichs. 

It would be needless to point out the absurdities in the plan and 
conduct of the foregoing play : they are evidently great. It is sufficient 
to observe, that, bating the moral and religious reflection of Pity, &c. 
the piece is of a comic cast, and contains a humorous display of some 
of the vices of the age. Indeed the author has generally been so little 
attentive to the allegory, that we need only substitute other names to 
his personages, and we have real characters and living manners. 

We see then that the writers of these Moralities were upon the very 
threshold of real Tragedy and Comedy ; and therefore we are not to 
wonder that Tragedies and Comedies in form soon after took place, 
especially as the revival of learning about this time brought them 
acquainted with the Roman and Grecian models. 

II. At what period of time the Moralities had their rise here, it is 
difficult to discover. But Plays of Miracles appear to have been ex- 
hibited in England soon after the Conquest. Matthew Paris tells us 
that Geoffrey, afterwards Abbot of St. Albans, a Norman, who had 
been sent for over by Abbot Richard to take upon him the direction of 
the school of that monastery, coming too late, went to Dunstable, and 
taught in the abbey there ; where he caused to be acted (probably by 
his scholars) a miracle play ol St. Catharine, composed by himself.' 
This was long before the year 11 19, and probably within the llth cen- 
tury. The above play of St. Catharine was, for aught that appears, the 
first spectacle of this sort that was exhibited in these kingdoms : and an 
eminent French writer thinks it was even the first attempt towards the 

1 Apud Dunestapliani quendam ludunt de sancta Kaferina {quem 

MIRACULA vulganter appellamus) fecit. Ad quce decoranda, petiit a sacrista 
sattcti Albani, ut sibi Capa Chorales accommodarentur, et obtinuit. Etct /nit 
ludus ille de sancia Katerina. Vitae Abbat. ad fin. Hist. Mat. Paris^ fol. 1639, 
p. 56. We see here that Plays of Miracles were become common enough in the time 
of Mat. Paris, who flourished about 1240. But that indeed appears from the more 
early writings of Fitz-Stephens : quoted below. 

The English Stage 149 

revival of dramatic entertainments in all Europe : being long before the 
representations of Mysteries in France ; for these did not begin till the 

year 1398.^ , ., • . 

But whether they derived their origin from the above exhibition or 
not, it is certain that Holy Plays, representing the miracles and 
suflferings of the Saints, were become common in the reign of Henry 
II. ; and a lighter sort of interludes appear not to have been then 
unknown.2 j^ thg subsequent age of Chaucer, " Plays of Miracles" in 
Lent were the common resort of idle gossips.* 

They do not appear to have been so prevalent on the continent, for 
the learned historian of the Council of Constance * ascribes to the 
English the introduction of Plays into Germany. He tells us that the 
Emperor, having been absent from the council for some time, was at his 
return received with great rejoicings, and that the English Fathers in 
particular did, upon that occasion, cause a sacred Comedy to be acted 
before him on Sunday Jan. 31, 1417 ; the subjects of which were : The 
Nativity of our Saviour ; the Arrival of the Eastern Magi ; and the 
Massacre by Herod. Thence it appears, says this writer, that the 
Germans are obliged to the English for the invention of this sort of 
spectacles, unknown to them before that period. 

The fondness of our ancestors for dramatic exhibitions of this kind, 
and some curious particulars relating to this subject, will appear from 
the Houshold Book of the fifth Earl of Northumberland, A.D. 1512 :» 
whence I shall select a few extracts, which show that the exhibiting 
Scripture dramas on the great festivals entered into the regular establish- 
ment, and formed part of the domestic regulations of our ancient 
nobility ; and, what is more remarkable, that it was as much the 
business of the Chaplain in those days to compose Plays for the family, 
as it is now for him to make Sermons. 

" My lordes Chapleyns in Households vj. viz. The Almonar, and if 
he be a maker of Interludys, than he to have a servaunt to the intent for 
writynge of the Parts ; and ells to have non. The maister of gramer," &c. 

Sect. V. p. 44. _ 

" Item, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gyf yerely if is lordship 
kepe a chapell and be at home, them of his lordschipes chapell, if they 
doo play the Play of the nativite uppon cristynmes day in the mornnynge 
in my lords chapell befor his lordship — xxs." Sect. XLIV. p. 343. 

'■'^ Item, .... to them of his lordship chappell and other his 

1 Vid. Abregi Chron. de I'Hist. de France, par M. Henault. i I'ann, 1179. 

2 See Fitz-Stephens's Description of London, preserved by Stow, (and reprinted 
with notes, &c. by the Rev. Mr. Pegge, in 1774, 4to.) Londonia pro spectaculis 
theairalibus, pro ludis scenicis, ludos habet satictiores, representationes miracu- 
lorum, &"€. He is thought to have written in the reign of Hen. II. and to have died 
in that of Rich. I. It is true, at the end of this book we find mentioned Henricum 
regent tertium ; but this is doubtless Henry the Second's son, who was crowned 
during the life of his father, in 1170, and is generally distinguished as Rex juvenis. 
Rex filius, and sometimes they were jointly named Reges Anglia. From a passage 
in his Chap. De Relipone, it should seem that the body of St. Thomas Beckct was 
just then a new acquisition to the Church of Canterbury. 

3 See Prologue to Wife of Bath's Tale, v. 6137. Tyrwhitt's Ed. 

* M. L'Enfant. Vid. Hist, du Cone, de Constance, vol. ii. p. 440. 

B " The Regulations and Establishments of the Houshold of Hen. Alg. Percy, 5th 
Earl of Northumb. Lond. 1770." 8vo. Whereof a small impression was printed by 
order of the late Duke and Duchess of Northumberland to bestow in presents to 
their friends. Although begun in 1512, some of the Regulations were composed so 
late as 1535- 

150 The Percy Reliques 

lordshipis servaunts that doith play the Play befor his lordship uppon 
Shrof-Tewsday at night yerely in reward — xs." Sect. XLIV. p. 345. 

^^ Item, . , , , to them . . , that playth the Play of resurrection 
upon estur day in the momnynge in my lordis ' chapell ' befor his 
lordshipe — xxs." Ibid. 

" Item, My lorde useth and accustomyth yerly to gyf hym which is 
ordynede to be the master of the rerjells yerly in my lordis hous in 
cristmas for the overseyinge and orderinge of his lordschips Playes, 
Interludes and Dresinge that is plaid befor his lordship in his hous in 
the xijth dayes of Cristenmas and they to have in rewarde for that 
caus yerly — xxs." Ibid. p. 346. 

"Item, My lorde useth and accustomyth to gyf every of the iiij Parsones 
that his lordschip admyted as his Players to com to his lordship yerly 
at Cristynmes ande at all other such tymes as his lordship shall 
comande them for playing of Playe and Interludes affor his lordship 

in his lordshipis hous for every of their fees for an hole yere " 

Ibid. p. 351. 

"Item, to be payd ... for rewards to Flayers for Playes playd at 
Christynmas by Stranegeres in my house after xxd.^ every play, by 
estimacion somme — xxxiijs. iiij."^ Sect. I. p. 22. 

" Itern, My lorde usith, and accustometh to gif yerely when his lord- 
shipp is at home, to every Erlis Players that comes to his Lordshipe 
betwixt Cristynmas ande Candelmas, if he be his special lorde & 
frende & kynsman— xxs. " Sect. XLIIII. p. 340. 

*^ Item, My lorde usith and accustomyth to gyf yerely, when his 
lordship is at home to every Lordis Players, that comyth to his lordshipe 
betwixt Crystynmas and Candilmas — xs." Ibid. 

The Reader will observe the great difference in the rewards here 
given to such Players as were retainers of noble personages, and such 
as are styled Strangers, or as we may suppose, only Strolers. 

The profession of a Common Player was about this time held by some 
in low estimation. In an old satire, entitled Cock ITorrtles %a\t^ the 
Author enumerating the most common trades or callings, as "carpenters, 
coopers, joyners, " &c. mentions 

*^ Players, purse-cutters, money-batterers, 
Golde-washers, tomblers, jogelers 
Pardoners, &c." Sign. B. \\. 

III. It hath been observed already, that Plays of Miracles, or 
Mysteries, as they were called, led to the introduction of Moral Plays, 
or Moralities, which prevailed so early, and became so common, that, 
towards the latter end of K. Henry Vllth's reign, John Rastel, brother- 
in-law to Sir Thomas More, conceived a design of making them the 
vehicle of science and natural philosophy. With this view he published 
'IT. % ntfo inttrlu&E unb a mcrg of Ibc nature of tbt tiit rltrntnts bedargnge 
mang ;3roptr points of pljUosopl^g naturaii, aniiof bgbcrs stranngtlaubgs.'^&c. 

1 This was not so small a sum then as it may now appear ; for in another part of 
this MS. the price ordered to be given for a fat ox is but 13^-. 40!;, and for a lean 
one Sj. 

2 At this rate the number of Plays acted must have been twenty. 

3 Pr. at the Sun in Fleet-street, by W. de Worde, no date, b. 1. 4to. 

4 Mr. Garrick has an imperfect copy, (Old Plays, i. vol. iii.) The Dramatis 
Personje are, "1[. The Messenger [or Prologue]. Nature naturate. Humanytfe. 
Studyous Desire. Sensuall Appetyte. The Taverner. Experyence. Ygnoraunce. 

The English Stage 151 

It is observable that the poet speaks of the discovery of America as then 
recent ; 

" Within this xx yere 

Westwarde be founde new landes 

That we never harde tell of before this," &c. 

The West Indies were discovered by Columbus in 1492, which fixes 
the writing of this play to about 1 5 10 (two years before the date of the 
above Houshold Book). The play of ^itk-,SrornEr was probably some- 
what more ancient, as he still more imperfectly alludes to the American 
discoveries, under the name of *' the Newe founde Ilonde." Sign, 
A. vij. 

It is observable that in the older Moralities, as in that last mentioned, 
Every-man, &c., is printed no kind of stage directions for the exit and 
entrances of the personages, no division of acts and scenes. But in the 
moral interlude of ^nstg |ubtntn3,^ written under Edward VI. the exits 
and entrances begin to be noted in the margin : ^ at length in Q. 
Elizabeth's reign Moralities appeared formally divided -into acts and 
scenes, with a regular prologue, &c. One of these is reprinted by 

Before we quit this subject of the very early printed plays, it may 
just be observed, that, although so few are now extant, it should seem 
many were printed before the reign of Q. Elizabeth, as at the beginning 
of her reign, her Injunctions in 1559 are particularly directed to the 
suppressing of " many Pamphlets, Playes, and Ballads ; that no manner 
of person shalU enterprize to print any such, &c." but under certain 
restrictions. Vid. Sect. V. 

In the time of Henry VIII. one or two dramatic pieces had been 
published under the classical names of Comedy and Tragedy,^ 
but they appear not to have been intended for popular use : 
it was not till the religious ferments had subsided that the public had 
leisure to attend to dramatic poetry. In the reign of Elizabeth, 
Tragedies and Comedies began to appear in form, and, could the poets 
have persevered, the first models were good. (SorbobTU, a regular 
Tragedy, was acted in 1561 ;* and Gascoigne, in 1566, exhibited 
locasta, a translation from Euripides, as also S^t Snpposis, a regular 

(Also yf ye lyste ye may brynge in a dysgysynge)." Afterwards follows a table 
of the matters handled in the interlude ; among which are, " T. Of certeyn con- 
clusions prouvynge the yerthe must nedes be rounde, and that yt is in circumference 
above xxi. M. myle." — " H- Of certeyne points of cosmographye — and of dyvers 
stratinge regyons, — and of the new founde landys and the maner of the people." 
This part is extremely curious, as it shows what notions were entertained of the new 
American discoveries by our own countrymen. 

1 Described in Series II. Preface to Book ii. The Dramatis Personae of this 
piece are, "If. Messenger, Lusty Juventus, Good Counsail, Knowledge, Sathan the 
devyll, Hypocrisie, Fellowship, Abominabie-lyving [an Harlot], God's-merciful- 

2 I have also discovered some few Exeats and Intrats in the very old Interlude of 
the ffour Elements. 

3 Bp. Bale had applied -the name of Tragedy to his Mystery of ffioSfl IPromiseS, 
in 1538. In 1540 John Palsgrave, B.D. had republished a Latin comedy, called 
HCOlaetUf, with an English version. Holingshed tells us (vol. iiL p. 850), that so 
early as 1520 the king had "a good comedie of Plautus plaied " before him at 
Greenwich ; but this was in Latin, as Mr. Farmer informs us in his curious " Essay 
on the Learning of Shakespeare," 8vo. p. 31. 

* See Ames, p. 316. This play appears to have been first printed under the 
name of ©orboJuC ; then under that of Jferrej ant) IPorrej, in 1569 ; and again, 
under (5orbo6UC, 1590. Ames calls the first edition Quarto ; Langbaine, Octavo ; 
and Tanner, i2mo. 

152 The Percy Reliques 

Comedy, from Ariosto : near thirty years before any of Shakspeare's 
were printed. 

The people however still retained a relish for their old Mysteries and 
Moralites/ and the popular dramatic poets seem to have made them 
their models. From the graver sort of Moralities our modem Tragedy 
appears to have derived its origin ; as our Comedy evidently took its 
rise from the lighter interludes of that kind. And as most of these 
pieces contain an absurd mixture of religion and buffoonery, an 
eminent critic'^ has well deduced from thence the origin of our 
unnatural Tragi-comedies. Even after the people had been accustomed 
to Tragedies and Comedies, Moralities still kept their ground : one of 
them entitled SIje ^tixt Custom^ was printed so late as 1573 : at length 
they assumed the name of Masques,* and, with some classical improve- 
ments, became in the two following reigns the favourite entertainments 
of the court. 

IV. The old Mysteries, which ceased to be acted after the reforma- 
tion, appear to have given birth to a Third Species of Stage exhibition, 
which, though now confounded with Tragedy and Comedy, were by our 
first dramatic writers considered as quite distinct from them both : these 
were Historical Plays, or Histories, a species of dramatic writing, which 
resembled the old Mysteries in representing a series of Historical events 
simply in the order of time in which they happened, without any regard 
to the three great unities. These pieces seem to differ from Tragedies, 
just as much as Historical poems do from Epic : as the Pharsalia does 
from the ^neid. 

What might contribute to make dramatic poetry take this form was, 
that soon after the Mysteries ceased to be exhibited, was published a 
large collection of poetical narratives, called Sljc glirrour for Pagistratts,* 
wherein a great number of the most eminent characters in English history 
are drawn relating their own misfortunes. This book was popular, and 
of a dramatic cast; and therefore, as an elegant writer « has well 
observed, might have its influence in producing Historical Plays. 
These narratives probably furnished the subjects, and the ancient 
Mysteries suggested the plan. 

There appears indeed to have been one instance of an attempt at an 
Historical Play itself, which was perhaps as early as any Mystery on a 
religious subject ; for such I think, we may pronounce the representa- 
tion of a memorable event in English History, that was expressed in 
Actions and Rhymes. This was the old Coventry Play of jl§«k ®:iusbag,'' 
founded on the story of the Massacre of the Danes, as it happened on 
St. Brice's night, November 13, 1002.* The play in question was 

1 The general reception the old Moralities had upon the stage, will account for the 
fondness of all our first poets for allegory. Subjects of this kind were familiar with 
every one. 

2 Bp. Warburt. Shakesp. vol. v. 

■i Reprinted among Dodsley s Old Plays, vol. i. 

4 In some of these appeared characters full as extraordinary as in any of the old 
Moralites. In Ben Jonson's Masque of Cbvistmas, 1616, one of the personages is 
Minced Pye. 

5 The first part of which was printed m 1553. 

6 Catal. of Royal and Noble Authors, vol. 1. p. 166-7. 

7 This must not be confounded with the Mysteries acted on Corpus Christi day by 
the Franciscans at Coventry, which were also called Coventry Plays, and of which an 
account is given from T. Warton's Hist, of Eng. Poetry, &c. in Malone's Shakesp. 
vol. ii. part ii. pag 13, 14-  . . , 

8 Not 1012, as printed in Laneham s Letter, mentioned below. 

The English Stage 153 

performed by certain men of Coventry, among the other shows and 
entertainments at Kenelworth Castle, in July 1575, prepared for 
Queen Elizabeth, and this the rather "because the matter mentioneth 
how valiantly our English Women, for the love of their country, 
behaved themselves." 

The writer, whose Words are here quoted, ^ hath given a short de- 
scription of the performance ; which seems on that occasion to have 
been without Recitation or Rhymes, and reduced to mere dumb-show ; 
consisting of violent skirmishes and encounters, first between Danish 
and English " lance-knights on horseback," armed with spear and 
shield ; and afterwards between " hosts " of footmen : which at length 
ended in the Danes being "beaten down, overcome, and many led 
captive by our English women.'"'' 

This play, it seems, which was wont to be exhibited in their city 
yearly, and which had been of great antiquity and long continuance 
there,* had of late been suppressed, at the instance of some well-mean- 
ing but precise preachers, of whose "sourness" herein the townsmen 
complain ; urging that their play was "without example of ill-manners, 
papistry, or any superstition ; " * which shows it to have been entirely 
distinct from a religious Mystery. But having been discontinued, and, 
as appears from the narrative, taken up of a sudden after the sports 
were begun, the Players apparently had not been able to recover the 
old Rhymes, or to procure new ones, to accompany the action ; 
which, if it originally represented " the outrage and importable 
insolency of the Danes, the grievous complaint of Huna, king Ethel- 
red's chieftain in wars ; " •* his counselling and contriving the plot to 
dispatch them ; concluding with the conflicts above mentioned, and 

their final suppression "expressed in Actions and Rhimes after 

their manner," ® one can hardly conceive a more regular model of a 
complete drama ; and, if taken up soon after the event, it must have 
been the earliest of the kind in Europe.'' 

Whatever this old play, or "storial show,"* was at the time it was 
exhibited to Q. Elizabeth, it had probably our young Shakspeare for a 
spectator, who was then in his twelfth year, and doubtless attended 
with all the inhabitants of the surrounding country at these ' ' Princely 
pleasures of Kenelworth," * whence Stratford is only a few miles distant. 
And as the Queen was much diverted with the Coventry Play, 
" whereat Her Majesty laught well," and rewarded the performers with 
2 bucks, and 5 marks in money : who, " what rejoicing upon their 

1 Ro. Laneham, whose Letter, containing a full description of the Shows, &c. is 
reprinted at large in Nichols's "Progresses of Q. Elizabeth," &c. vol. i. 410. 1788. 
That writer's orthography, being peculiar and affected, is not here followed. 

Laneham describes this play of IbOCl: 'Cue8^a^^, which was presented_ in an 
historical cue by certain good-hearted men of Coventry " (p. 32), and which was 
" wont to be play'd in their citie yearly" (p. 33), as if it were peculiar to them, term- 
ing it "their old storial show" (p. 32). And so it might be as represented and ex- 
pressed by them "after their manner" (p. 33): although we are also told by Bevil 
Higgons, that St. Brice's Eve was still celebrated by the Northern English in com- 
memoration of this massacre of the Danes, the women beating brass instruments, and 
singing old rhymes, in praise of their cruel ancestors. See his Short View of Eng. 
History, Bvo. p. 17. The Preface is dated 1734. 

2 Laneham, p. 37. * Ibid. p. 33. 
* Ibid. * Ibid. p. 32. 6 Ibid. p. 33. 

7 The Rhimes, &c. prove this play to have been in English : whereas Mr. The. 
Warton thinks the Mysteries composed before 1328 were in Latin. Malone's 
Shakesp. vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 9. 

8 Laneham, p. 32. 8 See Nichols's Progresses, vol. i. p. 57. 

154 The Percy Reliques 

ample reward, and what triumphing upon the good acceptance, 
vaunted their Play was never so dignified, nor ever any Players before 
so beatified : " but especially if our young bard afterwards gained 
admittance into the castle to see a Play, which the same evening, after 
supper, was there "presented of a very good theme, but so set-forth by 
the actors' well-handling, that pleasure and mirth made it seem very 
short, though it lasted two good hours and more," ^ we may imagine 
what an impression was made on his infant mind. Indeed the 
dramatic cast of many parts of that superb entertainment, which con- 
tinued nineteen days, and was the most splendid of the kind ever 
attempted in this kingdom ; the addresses to the Queen in the person- 
ated characters of a Sybille, a Savage Man, and Sylvanus, as she 
approached or departed from the castle ; and, on the water, by Arion, 
a Triton, or the Lady of the Lake, must have had a very great effect on 
a young imagination, whose dramatic powers were hereafter to astonish 
the world. 

But that the Historical Play was considered by our old writers, and 
by Shakspeare himself, as distinct from Tragedy and Comedy, will 
sufficiently appear from various passages in their works. " Of late 
days, " says Stow, ' ' in place of those Stage Playes "^ hath been used 
Comedies, Tragedies, Enterludes, and Histories both true and fayned."^ 
Beaumont and Fletcher, in the prologue to S^t Captain, say, 

This is nor Comedy, nor Tragedy, 
Nor History. 

Polonius in ^Hmitt commends the actors, as the best in the world, 
"either for Tragedie, Comedie, Historic, Pastorall," &c. And 
Shakspeare's friends, Heminge and Condell, in the first folio edit, of 
his plays, in 1623,^ have not only entitled their book " Mr. William 
Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies : " but in their table of 
contents have arranged them under those three several heads ; placing 
in the class of Histories, " K. John, Richard H., Henry IV., 2 pts. 
Henry V., Henry VL, 3 pts. Rich. III., and Henry VIH. ; " to which 
they might have added such of his other plays as have their subjects 
taken from the old Chronicles or Plutarch's Lives. 

Although Shakspeare is found not to have been the first who in- 
vented this species of drama,* yet he cultivated it with such superior 
success, and threw upon this simple inartificial tissue of scenes such a 
blaze of genius, that his Histories maintain their ground in defiance of 
Aristotle and all the critics of the Classic school, and will ever continue 
to interest and instruct an English audience. 

Before Shakspeare wrote, Historical Plays do not appear to have 
attained this distinction, being not mentioned in Queen Elizabeth's 
licence in 1574* to James Burbage and others, who are only impowered 
" to use, exercyse, and occupie the arte and facultye of playenge 
Comedies, Tragedies, Enterludes, Stage-Playes and such other like." 
But when Shakspeare's Histories had become the ornaments of the 

1 Laneham, pp. 38, 39. This was on Sunday evening, July 9. 

2 The Creation of the World, acted at Skinners-well m 1409. 

3 See Stow's Survey of London, 1603, 4to. p. 94, (said in the title-page to be 
"written in the year 1598.") See also Warton's Observations on Spenser, vol. ii. 
p. 109. 

■• The same distinction is continued in the 2d and 3d fohos, Sic. 

6 See Malone's Shakesp. vol. i. pt. ii. p. 31. * Ibid. p. 37. 

The English Stage 155 

sta;^e, they were considered by the public and by himself, as a formal 
and necessary species, and are thenceforth so distinguished in public 
instruments. They are particularly inserted in the licence granted by 
King James I. in 1603,' to W. Shakspeare himself, and the players 
his fellows; who are authorized "to use and exercise the arte and 
faculty of playing Comedies, Tragedies, Histories, Interludes, Morals, 
Pastorals, Stage-Plaies, and such like." 

The same merited distinction they continued to maintain after his 
death, till the Theatre itself was extinguished ; for they are expressly 
mentioned in a warrant in 1622, for licensing certain " late Comedians 
of Queen Anne deceased, to bring up children in the qualitie and 
exercise of playing Comedies, Histories, Interludes, Morals, Pastorals, 
Stage-Plaies, and such like.'"^ The same appears in an admonition 
issued in 1637^ by Philip Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, then 
Lord Chamberlain, to the master and wardens of the company of 
Printers and Stationers ; wherein is set forth the complaint of his 
Majesty's servants the Players, that diverse of their books of Comedyes 
and Tragedyes, Chronicle-Historyes, and the like," had been printed 
and published to their prejudice, &c. 

This distinction, we see, prevailed for near half a century ; but 
after the Restoration, when the Stage revived for the entertainment of a 
new race of auditors, many of whom had been exiled in France, and 
formed their taste from the French theatre, Shakspeare's Histories 
appear to have been no longer relished ; at least the distinction 
respecting them is dropt in the patents that were immediately granted 
after the ICing's return. 

This appears not only from the allowance to Mr. William Beeston in 
June 1660,* to use the house in Salisbury-court " for a Play-house, 
wherein Comedies, Tragedies, Tragi-comedies, Pastoralls, and Interludes 
may be acted," but also from the fuller Grant (dated .August 21, 
1760)5 to Thomas Killigrew, esq. and Sir William Davenant, knt. by 
which they have authority to erect two companies of players, and to fit 
up two theatres, " for the representation of Tragydies, Comedyes, 
Playes, Operas, and all other entertainments of that nature." 

But while Shakspeare was the favourite dramatic poet, his Histories 
had such superior merit, that he might well claim to be the chief, if not 
the only historic dramatist that kept possession of the English stage : 
which gives a strong support to the tradition mentioned by Gildon,' 
that, in a conversation with Ben Jonson, our bard vindicated his 
Historical Plays, by urging, that, as he had found "the nation in 
general very ignorant of history, he wrote them in order to instruct the 
people in this particular." This is assigning not only a good motive, 
but a very probable reason for his preference of this species of composi- 
tion ; since we cannot doubt but his illiterate countrymen would not only 

1 See Malone's Shakesp. vol. i. pt. ii. p. 40. 

2 Ibid. p. 49. Here Histories or Historical Plays, are found totally to have 
excluded the mention lof Tragedies ; a proof of their superior popularity. In an 
Order for the King's Comedians to attend K. Charles I. in his summer's progress, 
1636, (ibid. p. 144.) Histories are not particularly mentioned; but so neither are 
Tragedies: they being briefly directed to "act Playes, Comedyes, and Interludes, 
without any lett," &c. 

3 Ibid. p. 139. 

■* This is believed to be the date by Mr. Malone, vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 239. 

^ Ibid. p. 244. 

8 See Malone's Shakesp. vol. vi. p. 427. This ingenious writer will, with his 
known liberality, excuse the difference of opinion here entertained concerning the 
above tradition. 

156 The Percy Reliques 

want such instruction when he first began to write, notwithstanding the 
obscure dramatic chroniclers who preceded him ; but also that they 
would highly profit by his admirable Lectures on English History so 
long as he continued to deliver them to his audience. And, as it 
implies no claim to his being the^rst who introduced our chronicles on 
the stage, I see not why the tradition should be rejected. 

Upon the whole we have had abundant proof, that both Shakspeare 
and his contemporaries considered his Histories, or Historical Plays, as 
of a legitimate distinct species, sufficiently separate from Tragedy and 
Comedy ; a distinction which deserves the particular attention of his 
critics and commentators ; who, by not adverting to it, deprive him of 
his proper defence and best vindication for his neglect of the unities, 
and departure from the classical dramatic forms. For, if it be the 
first canon of sound criticism to examine any work by whatever rule the 
author prescribed for his own observance, then we ought not to try 
Shakspeare's Histories by the general laws of Tragedy or Comedy. 
Whether the rule itself be vicious or not, is another inquiry ; but 
certainly we ought to examine a work only by those principles accord- 
ing to which it was composed. This would save a deal of impertinent 

V. We have now brought the inquiry as low as was intended, but 
cannot quit it, without entering into a short description of what may be 
called the (Economy of the ancient English Stage. 

Such was the fondness of our forefathers for dramatic entertainments, 
that not fewer than Nineteen Playhouses had been opened before the 
year 1633, when Prynne published his Histriomastix.' From this 
writer it should seem that "tobacco, wine and beer," ^ were in those 
days the usual accommodations in the theatre, as within our memory at 
Sadler's Wells. 

With regard to the Players themselves, the several companies were 
(as hath been already shown) ^ retainers, or menial servants to particular 
noblemen,* who protected them in the exercise of their profession : and 

1 He speaks in p. 492, of the Playhouses in Bishopsgate-street, and on Ludgate- 
hill, which are not among the sevintten enumerated in the Preface to Dodsley's Old 
Plays. Nay, it appears from Rymer's MSS. that Tiuenty-three Playhouses had 
been at different periods open in London : and even Six of them at one time. See 
Malone's Shakesp. vol. i. pt. ii. p. 48. _ 

a So, I think, we may infer from the following passage, viz. How many are 
th«re, who, according to their several qualities, spend 2d. 3d. 4d. 6d. i2d. i8d. as. 
and sometimes 4s. or 5s. at a play-house day by day, if coach-hire, boat-hire, 
tobacco, wine, beere, and such like vaine expences, which playes do usually 
occasion, be cast into the reckoning?" Prynne's Histriom. p. 322. 

But that tobacco was smoked in the playhouses, appears from Taylor the Water- 
poet, in his Proclamation for Tobacco's Propagation. " Let Playhouses, drinking- 
schools, taverns, &c. be continually haunted with the contaminous vapours of it j 

, _p, „ — 

Dr. Farmer. . . , • ti n j u 

A gentleman has informed me, that once going into a church in Holland, he saw 
the male part of the audience sitting with their hats on, smoking tobacco, while the 
preacher was holding forth in his morning-gown, 
i* See the extracts above, in p. 149, from the E. of Northumb. Houshold Book. 
« See the Pref. to Dodsley's Old Plays. The author of an old Invective against 
the Stage, called, A third Blast of Retrait from Plaies, &c. 1580, i2mo. says, " Alas 1 
that private affection should so raigne in the nobilitie, that to pleasure their servants, 
and to upholde them in their vanitye, they should restraine the magistrates from 

The English Stage 157 

many of them were occasionally Strollers, that travelled from one 
gentleman's house to another. Yet so much were they encouraged, 
that, notwithstanding their multitude, some of them acquired large 
fortunes. Edward Allen, master of the playhouse called the Globe, 
who founded Dulwich College, is a known instance. And an old writer 
speaks of the very inferior actors, whom he calls the Hirelings, as living 
in a degree of splendour, which was thought enormous in that frugal age.^ 

At the same time the ancient prices of admission were often very low. 
Some houses had penny-benches.^ The " two-penny gallery " is men- 
tioned in the prologue to Beaumont and Fletcher's Woman-Hater.* 
And seats of three-pence, and a groat seem to be intended in the passage 
of Pyrnne above referred to. Yet different houses varied in their prices : 
that play-house called the Hope had seats of five several rates from 
six-pence to half a-crown.* But a shilling seems to have been the usual 
price ^ of what is now called the Pit, which probably had its name from 
one of the Playhouses having been a Cock-pit.* 

executing their ofEce ! . . . They (the nobility) are thought to be covetous by 
permitting their servants ... to live at the devotion or almes of other men, passing 
from countrie to countrie, from one gentleman's house to another, offering their ser- 
vice, which is a kind of beggeiie. Who indeede, to speake more trulie, are become 
beggers for their servants. For comonlie the good-wil, men beare to their lordes, 
makes them dr^w the stringes of their purses to extende their liberalitie," Vid. pag. 
75, 76, &c. 

1 Stephen Gosson, in his Schoole of Abuse, 1579, i2mo. fo. 23, says thus of what 
he terms in his margin Playersmen : " Over lashmg in apparel is so common a fault, 
that the very hyerlings of some of our Players, which stand at revirsion of vi s. 
by the week, jet under gentlemens noses in sutis of silke, exercising themselves to 
prating on the stage, and common scoffing when they come abrode, where they 
look askance over the shoulder at every man, of whom the Sunday before they 
begged an almes. I speake not this, as though everye one that professeth the qualitie 
so abused himselfe, for it is well knowen, that some of them are sober, discreete, 
properly learned, honest housholders and citizens, well-thought on among their 
neighbours at home," (he seems to mean Edw. Allen above-mentioned) "though the 
pryde of their shadowes (I meane those hangbyes, whom they succour with stipend) 
cause them to be somewhat ill-talked of abroad." 

In a subsequent period we have the following satirical fling at the showy exterior 
and supposed profits of the actors of that time. Vid. Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, 
162s, 4to. " W^A«if is your profession ?"—" Truly, Sir, ... I am a Player." "A 
Player ? . . . I took you rather for a Gentleman of great living ; for, if by outward 
habit men shall be censured, I tell you, you would be taken for a substantial man." 
" So I am where I dwell. . . . What, though the world once went hard with me, 
when I was fayne to carry my playing-fardle a foot-backe : Tempora muiantur 
.... for my very share in playmg apparrell will not be sold for two hundred 
pounds. . . . Nay more, I can serve to make a pretty speech, for I was a country 
author, passing at a Moral, &c." See Roberto's Tale, sign. D. 3. b. 

2 So a MS. of Oldys, from Tom Nash, an old pamphlet-writer. And this is con- 
firmed by Taylor the Water-poet, in his Praise of Beggerie, p. 99. 

Yet have I seen a begger with his many, (sc. vermin) 
Come at a Play-house, all in for one penny. 

8 So in the Belman's Night- Walks by Decker, i6i6, 410. " Pay thy two-pence to a 
Player, in this gallery thou mayest sit by a harlot." 

4 Induct, to Ben Jonson's Bartholomew-fair. An ancient satirical piece, called 
"The Black Book, Lond. 1604, 4to." talks of "The Six-penny Roomes in Play- 
houses ; " and leaves a legacy to one whom he calls " Arch-tobacco-taker of England, 
in ordinaries, upon Stages both common and private." 

s Shakesp. Prol. to Hen. viij.— Beaum. and Fletch. Prol. to the Captain, and to 
the Mad-lover. 

6 This etyniology_ hath been objected to by a very ingenious writer (see Malone's 
Shakesp. vol. i. pt. ii. p. 50), who thinks it questionable, because, in St. Mary's church 
at Cambridge, the area that is under the pulpit, and surrounded by the galleries, is 
(now) called the Pit ; which, he says, no one can suspect to have been a Cock-Pit, or 
that a playhouse phrase could be applied to a church. But whoever is acquainted 

158 The Percy Reliques 

The day originally set apart for theatrical exhibition appears to have 
been Sunday ; probably because the first dramatic pieces were of a 
religious cast. During a great part of Queen Elizabeth's reign, the 
playhouses were only licensed to be open on that day : ^ but before the 
end of her reign, or soon after, this abuse was probably removed. 

The usual time of acting was early in the afternoon,'^ plays being 
generally performed by day-light.^ All female parts were performed by 
men, no English actress being ever seen on the public stage * before the 
Civil Wars. 

Lastly, with regard to the playhouse furniture and ornaments, a 
writer of King Charles lid's time,* who well remembered the preceding 
age, assures us, that in general "they had no other scenes nor decora- 
tions of the stage, but only old tapestry, and the stage strewed with 
rushes, with habits accordingly."* 

Yet Coryate thought our theatrical exhibitions, &c. splendid, when 

with the licentiousness of boys, will not think it impossible that they should thus 
apply a name so peculiarly expressive of its situation : which from frequent use might 
at length prevail among the senior members of the University ; especially when those 
young men became seniors themselves. The name of /'?/, so applied at Cambridge, 
must be deemed to have been a cant phrase, until it can be shown that the area in 
other churches was usually so called. 

1 SoSte. Gosson, in his Schoole of Abuse, 1579, i2mo. speaking of the Players, says, 
" These, because they are allowed to play every Sunday make iiii or v. Sundayes at 
least everv week," fol. 24. So the author of A Second and Third Blast of Retrait 
from Plaies, 15S0, i2mo. " Let the magistrate but repel them from the libertie 

of plaeing on the Sabboth-daie To plaie on the Sabboth is but a priviledge 

of sufferance, and might with ease be repelled, were it thoroughly followed," page 61, 

62. So again, " Is not the Sabboth of al other dales the most abused ? . . . Wherefore 

abuse not so the Sabboth-daie, my brethren ; leave not the temple of the Lord." 

" Those unsaverie morsels of unseemelie sentences passing out of the mouth of a 
ruffenlie plaier, doth more content the hungric humors of the rude multitude, and 
carrieth better rellish in their mouthes, than the bread of the worde, &c." Vide page 

63, 65, 69, &c I do not recollect that exclamations of this kind occur in Prynne, 
whence I conclude that this enormity no longer subsisted in his time. 

It should also seem, from the author of the Third Blast above quoted, that the 
churches still continued to be used occasionally for theatres. Thus, in p. 77, he says, 
that the Players (who, as hath been observed, were servants of the nobility), " under 
the title of their maisters, or as reteiners, are priviledged to roave abroad, and permitted 
to publish their mametree in everie temple of God, and that throughout England, unto 
the horrible contempt of praier." 

2 "He entertaines us," says Overbury in his character of an actor " in the best 
leasure of our life, that is, betweene meales ; the most unfit time either for study, or 
bodily exercise." Even so late as in the reign of Charles II. plays generally began at 
three in the afternoon. 

S Sec Biogr. Brit. i. 117, n. D. 

* I say " no English Actress — on the Public Stage," because Prynne speaks of it as 
an unusual enormity, that " they had French-women actors in a play not long since 
personated in Blackfriars Playhouse." This was in 1629. And though female parts 
were performed by men or boys on the public stage, yet in masques at court, the 
queen and her ladies made no scruple to perform the principal parts, especially 
in the reigns of James I. and Charles I. 

Sir WilliaiH Davenant, after the Restoration, introduced women, scenery, and 
higher prices. See Gibber's Apology for his own Life. 

° See a short Discourse on the English Stage, subjoined to Flecknor's " Love's 
Kingdom," 1674, i2mo. 

'' It appears from an Epigram of Taylor the Water-poct, that one of the principal 
theatres in his time, viz. the Globe on the Bankside, Southwark (which Ben Jonson 
calls the Glory of the Bank, and Fort of the whole parish), had been covered with 
thatch till it was burnt down in 1613. See Taylor's Sculler, Epig. 22, p. 31. Jonson's 
Execration on Vulcan. 

Puttenham tells us they used vizards in his time, " partly to supply the want of 
players, when there were more parts than there were persons, or that it was not 
thought meet to trouble .... princes chambers with too many folkes." (Art. 
of Eng. Poes. 1589, p. 26.) From the last clause, it should seem that they were 
chiefly used in the Masques at Court. 

The English Stage 159 

compared with what he saw abroad. Speaking of the theatre for 
comedies at Venice, he says, " The house is very beggarly and base in 
comparison of our stately playhouses in England : neyther can their 
actors compare with ours for Apparrell, Shewes, and Musicke. Here I 
observed certaine things that I never saw before : for, T saw Women act, 
a thing that I never saw before, though I have heard that it hath been 
sometimes used in London : and they performed it with as good a grace, 
action, gesture, and whatsoever convenient for a Player, as ever I saw 
any masculine actor." ^ 

It ought however to be observed, that, amid such a multitude of play- 
houses as subsisted in the metropolis before the civil wars, there must 
have been a great difference between their several accommodations, 
ornaments, and prices ; and that some would be much more showy 
than others, though probably all were much inferior in splendour to the 
two great theatres after the Restoration. 

The preceding Essay, although some of the materials are new 
arranged, hath received no alteration deserving notice, from what it was 
in the 2d Edition, 1767, except in Section IV. which in the present 
impression haih been much enlarged. 

This is mentioned, because, since it was first published, the history of 
the English stage hath been copiously handled by Mr. Tho. Wart on in 
his " History of English Poetry, 1774, &c." 3 vols. 4to. (wherein is 
inserted whatever in these volumes fell in with his subject) ; and by 
Edmond Malone, esq. who, in his '* Historical Account of the English 
Stage," (Shakesp. vol. i. pt. ii. 1790), hath added greatly to our know- 
ledge of the ceconomy and usages of our ancient theatres. 


These were three noted outlaws, whose skill in archery rendered them 
formerly as famous in the North of England, as Robin Hood and his 
fellows were in the midland counties. Their place of residence was in 
the forest of Englewood, not far from Carlisle (called corruptly in 
the ballad Englishwood, whereas Engle- or Ingle- wood, signifies wood 
for firing). At what time they lived does not appear. The author 
of the common ballad on "The Pedigree, Education, and Marriage, 
of Robin Hood," makes them contemporary with Robin Hood's father, 
in order to give him the honour of beating them : viz. 

The father of Robin a Forrester was, 

And he shot in a lusty long-bow 
Two north-country miles and an inch at a shot, 

As the Pindar of Wakefield does know : 

^ Coryate's Crudities, 4to. 161 1, p. 247. 

i6o The Percy Reliques 

For he brought Adam Bell, and Clim of the Clough, 

And William a Clowdeslee 
To shoot with our Forester for forty mark ; 

And our Forester beat them all three. 

Collect, of Old Ballads, 1727, i vol. p. 67. 

This seems to prove that they were commonly thought to have lived 
before the popular Hero of Sherwood. 

Our northern archers were not unknown to their southern countrymen : 
their excellence at the long-bow is often alluded to by our ancient poets. 
Shakspeare, in his comedy of " Much adoe about nothing," act i. 
makes Benedicke confirm his resolves of not yielding to love, by this 
protestation, " If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat,^ and shoot at 
me, and he that hits me, let him be clapt on the shoulder, and called 
Adam :" meaning Adam Bell, as Theobald rightly observes, who refers 
to one or two other passages in our old poets wherein he is mentioned. 
The Oxford Editor has also well conjectured, that " Abraham Cupid " 
in Romeo and Juliet, act ii. sc. i. should be "Adam Cupid," in allusion 
to oiir archer. Ben Jonson has mentioned Clym o' the Clough in his 
Alchemist, act i. sc. 2. And Sir William Davenant, in a mock poem 
of his, called " The long vacation in London," describes the attorneys 
and proctors as making matches to meet in Finsbury fields. 

With loynes in canvas bow-case tyde : 3 
^Vhere arrowes stick with mickle pride ; . . . . 
Like ghosts of Adam Bell and Clymme. 
Sol sets for fear they'l shoot at him." 

Works, 1673, fol. p. 291. 

I have only to add further concerning the principal hero of this 
ballad, that the Bells were noted rogues in the north so late as the time 
of Queen Elizabeth. See in Rymer's Fcedera, a letter from Lord 
William Howard to some of the officers of state, wherein he mentions 

As for the following stanzas, which will be judged from the style, 
orthography, and numbers, to be of considerable antiquity, they were 
here given (corrected in some places by a MS. copy in the Editor's old 
folio) from a black-letter 410. |mprintj!) at ^oubon in i^ot^bnrgt bg 
ffiHgllgEtn Coplairii (no date). That old quarto edition seems to be 
exactly followed in "Pieces of Ancient Popular Poetry, &c. Lond. 
1 79 1," 8vo. the variations from which, that occur in the following copy, 
are selected from many others in the folio MS. above mentioned, and 
when distinguished by the usual inverted 'comma' have been assisted 
by conjecture. 

In the same MS. this ballad is followed by another, entitled Younge 
Cloudeslee, being a continuation of the present story, and reciting the 
adventures of William of Cloudesl/s son : but greatly inferior to this 
both in merit and antiquity. 

1 Bottles formerly were of leather ; though perhaps a wooden bottle might be here 
meant. It is still a diversion in Scotland to hang up a cat in a small cask, or firkin, 
half filled with soot : and then a parcel of clowns on horseback try to beat out the ends 
of it, in order to show their dexterity in escaping before the contents fall upon them. 

2 i.t. Each with a canvas bow-case tied round his loins. 

Adam Bell, Clym, and William i6i 


Mery it was in the grene forest 

Araonge the leves grene, 
Wheras men hunt east and west 

Wyth bowes and arrowes kene ; 

To raise the dere out of theyr denne ; 

Suche sightes hath ofte bene sene ; 
As by thre yemen of the north countrey, 

By them it is I meane. 

The one of them hight Adam Bel, 
The other Clym of the Clough,^ 

The thyrd was William of Cloudesly, 
And archer good ynough. 

They were outlawed for venyson, 

These yemen everychone ; 
They swore them brethren upon a day, 

To Englyshe wood for to gone. 

Now lith and lysten, gentylmen. 
That of myrthes loveth to here : 

Two of them were single men, 
The third had a wedded fere. 

Wyllyam was the wedded man, 
Muche more then was hys care : 

He sayde to hys brethren upon a day, 
To Carleile ^ he would fare, 

For to speke with fayre Alyce his wife, 

And with hys chyldren thre. 
By my trouth, sayde Adam Bel, 

Not by the counsell of me : 

For if ye go to Carlile, brother. 

And from thys wylde wode wende. 

If that the justice may you take, 
Your lyfe were at an ende. 

If that I come not to-morowe, brother, 

By pryme to you agayne, 
Truste you then that I am ' taken,' ^ 

Or else that I am slayne. 

1 Clym of the Clough means Clem. (Clement) of the Cliff : for so Clough signifies 
b the north. 
S " Caerlel " in PC. passim. « " Take " PC. " Tane " MS. 

VOL. I. M 

1 62 The Percy Reliques 

He toke hys leave of hys brethren two, 

And to Carlile he is gon : 
There he knocked at hys owne windbwe 

Shortlye and anone. 

Wher be you, fayre Alyce, he sayd, 

My wife and chyldren three ? 
Lyghtly let in thyne owne husbknde, 

Wyllyam of Cloudeslee. 

Alas ! then sayde fayre Alyce, 

And syghed wonderous sore, 
Thys place hath ben besette for you 

Thys halfe a yere and more. 

Now am I here, sayde Cloudeslee, 

I would that in I were. 
Now fetche us meate and drynke ynoughe, 

And let us make good chere. 

She fetched hym meate and drynke plentye, 

Lyke a true wedded wyfe ; 
And pleased hym with that she had, 

Whome she loved as her lyfe. 

There lay an old wyfe in that place, 

A lytle besyde the fyre, 
Whych Wyllyam had found of charytye 

More than seven yere. 

Up she rose, and forth shee goes, 

Evill mote shee speede therfore ; 
For she had sett no foote on ground 

In seven yere before. 

She went unto the justice hallj 

As fast as she could hye : 
Thys night, shee sayd, is come to town 

Wyllyam of Cloudeslye. 

Thereof the justice was full fayne, 

And so was the shirife also ; 
Thou shalt not trauaile hither, dame, for nought, 

Thy meed thou shalt have ere thou go. 

They gave to her a ryght good goune, 
Of scarlate, ' and of graine : ' 

Adam Bell, Clym, and William 163 

She toke the gyft, and home she wente, 
And couched her doune agayne. 

They raysed the towne of mery Carleile 

In all the haste they can ; 
And came thronging to Wyllyames house, 

As fast as they might gone. 

There they besette that good yeman 

Round about on every syde : 
Wyllyam hearde great noyse of folkes. 

That thither-ward fast hyed. 

Alyce opened a backe windbwe,^ 

And loked all aboute, 
She was ware of the justice and shirife bothe, 

Wyth a full great route. 

Alas ! treason, cryed Alyce, 

Ever wo may thou be ! 
Goe into my chamber, my husband, she sayd, 

Swete Wyllyam of Cloudeslee. 

He toke hys sweard and hys bucler, 

Hys bow and hys chyldren thre. 
And wente into hys strongest chamber. 

Where he thought surest to be. 

Fayre Alyce, like a lover true. 

Took a poUaxe in her hande : 
Said, He shall dye that cometh in 

Thys dore, whyle I may stande. 

Cloudeslee bente a right good bowe, 

That was of a trusty tre, 
He smot the justise on the brest, 

That hys arowe burst in three. 

'A' curse on his harte, saide William, 

Thys day thy cote dyd on ! 
If it had ben no better then myne. 

It had gone nere thy bone. 

Yelde the Cloudesle, sayd the justise. 
And thy bowe and thy arrowes the fro. 

' A' curse on hys hart, sayd fair Alyce, 
That my husband councelleth so. 

1 Sic MS. "Shop Window" PC. 

164 The Percy Reliques 

Set fyre on the house, saide the sherife, 

Syth it wyll no better be, 
And brenne we therin William, he saide, 

Hys wyfe and chyldren thre. 

They fyred the house in many a place, 

The fyre flew up on hye : 
Alas ! then cryed fayre Alice, 

I se we here shall dye. 

William openyd a backe wyind6w, 

That was in hys chamber hie, 
And there with sheetes he did let downe 

His wyfe and children three. 

Have you here my treasure, sayde William, 
My wyfe and my chyldren thre : 

For Christes love do them no harme, 
But wreke you all on me. 

Wyllyam shot so wonderous well, 

Tyll hys arrowes were all agoe. 
And the fyre so fast upon hym fell, 

That hys bowstryng brent in two. 

The sparkles brent and fell upon 

Good Wyllyam of Cloudesle : 
Than was he a wofull man, and sayde, 

Thys is a cowardes death to me. 

Leever had I, sayde Wyllyam, 

With my sworde in the route to renne, 

Then here among myne enemyes wode 
Thus cruelly to bren. 

He toke hys sweard and hys buckler. 

And among them all he ran, 
Where the people were most in prece. 

He smot downe many a man. 

There myght no man abyde hys stroakes, 

So fersly on them he ran : 
Then they threw wyndowes and dores on him. 

And so toke that good yeman. 

There they hym bounde both hand and fote, 
And in a deepe dungeon him cast : 

Adam Bell, Clym, and William 165 

Now, Cloudesle, sayd the justice,' 
Thou shalt be hanged in hast. 

' A payre of new gallowes, sayd the sherife, 

Now shal I for thee make ; ' ^ 
And the gates of Carleil shal be shutte : 

No man shal come in therat. 

Then shall not helpe Clym of the Cloughe, 

Nor yet shall Adam Bell, 
Though they came with a thousand mo, 

Nor all the devels in hell. 

Early in the mornynge the justice uprose, 

To the gates first can he gone, 
And commaunded to be shut full close 

Lightile everychone. 

Then went he to the markett place, 

As fast as he coulde hye ; 
There a payre of new gallowes he set up 

Besyde the pyllorye. 

A lytle boy ' among them asked,' 

What meaned that gallow-tre ? 
They sayde to hange a good yeman, 

Called Wyllyam of Cloudesle. 

That lytle boye was the towne swyne-heard, 

And kept fayre Alyces swyne ; 
Oft he had scene William in the wodde, 

And geuen hym there to dyne. 

He went out att a crevis of the wall, 
And lightly to the woode dyd gone ; 

There met he with these wightye yemen ' 
Shortly and anone. 

Alas ! then sayde the lytle boye, 

Ye tary here all too longe ; 
Cloudeslee is taken, and dampned to death, 

And readye for to honge. 

1 Sic MS. "Hye justice." PC. 

2 The first two lines of this stanza are contracted from the folio MS. and PC. 
S " Yonge men." PC. 

1 66 The Percy Reliques 

Alas 1 then sayd good Adam Bell, 

That ever we saw thys daye ! 
He had better have tarryed with us, 

So ofte as we dyd him praye. 

He myght have dwelt in grene foreste, 

Under the shadowes greene,^ 
And have kepte both hym and us att reste, 

Out of all trouble and teene. 

Adam bent a ryght good bow, 

A great hart sone hee had slayne : 

Take that, chylde, he sayde, to thy dynner. 
And bryng me myne arrowe agayne. 

Now go we hence, sayed these wightye yeonien,^ 

Tarry we no longer here ; 
We shall hym borowe by God his grace, 

Though we buy itt full dere. 

To Caerleil wente these bold yemen, 

All in a mornyng of maye. 
Here is a Fyt ^ of Cloudeslye, 

And another is for to saye. 


And when they came to mery Carleile, 

All in ' the ' mornyng tyde. 
They founde the gates shut them untyll 

About on every syde. 

Alas ! then sayd good Adam Bell, 
That ever we were made men ! 

These gates be shut so wonderous fast. 
We may not come therein. 

Then bespake him Clym of the Clough, 
Wyth a wyle we wyl us in bryng ; 

Let us saye we be messengers, 

Streyght come nowe from our king. 

1 Sic MS. " Shadowes sheene." PC. 

2 "Jolly yeomen." MS. " Wight yong men." PC 
• See Glossary. 

Adam Bell, Clym, and William 167 

Adam said, I have a letter written, 

Now let us wysely werke. 
We wyl saye we have the kynges seale ; 

I holde the porter no clerke. 

Then Adam Bell bete on the gates 

With strokes great and stronge : 
The porter marveiled, who was therat, 

And to the gates he thronge. 

Who is there now, sayde the porter, 

That maketh all thys knockinge ? 
We be tow messengers, quoth Clim of the Clough, 

Be come ryght from our kyng. 

We have a letter, sayd Adam Bel, 

To the justice we must itt bryng ; 
Let us in our message to do. 

That we were agayne to the kyng. 

Here commeth none in, sayd the porter. 

By hym that dyed on a tre, 
Tyll a false thefe be hanged. 

Called Wyllyam of Cloudesl^. 

Then spake the good yeman Clym of the Clough, 

And swore by Mary fre, 
And if that we stande long wythout, 

Lyke a thefe hanged shalt thou be. 

Lo ! here we have the kynges seale : 

What, Lurden,^ art thou wode? 
The porter went ^ it had been so. 

And lyghtly dyd off hys hode. 

Welcome is my lordes seale, he saide ; 

For that ye shall come in. 
He opened the gate full shortlye : 

An euyl openyng for him. 

Now are we in, sayde Adam Bell, 

Wherof we are full faine ; 
But Christ he knowes, that harowed hell, 

How we shall com out agayne. 

J "Lordeyne." PC. 

9 :. e. weened, thought, (which last is the reading of the folio manuscript.) Calais, 
or Rouen, was taken from the English by showing the governor, who could not 
read, a letter with the king's seal, which was all he looked at. 

1 68 The Percy Reliques 

Had we the keys, said Clim of the Clough, 
Ryght wel then shoulde we spede, 

Then might we come out wel ynough 
When we se tyme and nede. 

They called the porter to counsell, 

And wrang his necke in two, 
And caste hym in a depe dungeon, 

And toke hys keys hym fro. 

Now am I porter, sayd Adam Bel, 

Se brother the keys are here, 
The worst porter to merry Carleile 

That ' the ' had thys hundred yere. 

And now wyll we our bowes bend, 

Into the towne wyll we go. 
For to delyuer our dere brother. 

That lyeth in care and wo. 

Then they bent theyr good ewe bowes, 
And loked theyr stringes were round,^ 

The markett place in mery Carleile 
They beset that stound. 

And, as they loked them besyde, 
A paire of new galowes ' they ' see, 

And the justice with a quest of squyers, 
That judged William hanged to be. 

And Cloudesle lay redy there in a cart, 

Fast bound both fote and hand ; 
And a stronge rop about hys necke. 

All readye for to hange. 

The justice called to him a ladde, 
Cloudeslees clothes hee shold have, 

To take the measure of that yeman, 
Therafter to make hys grave. 

I have sene as great mervaile, said Cloudesle, 

As betweyne thys and pryme, 
He that maketh a grave for mee, 

Hymselfe may lye therin. 

1 So Ascham in his Toxophilus gives a precept : " The stringe must be roande : ' 
(p. 149, ed. 1761.) otherwise, we may conclude from mechanical principles, the nrron 
will not fly true. 

Adam Bell, Clym, and William 169 

Thou speakest proudlye, said the justice, 

I will thee hange with my hande. 
Full wel herd this his brethren two. 

There styll as they dyd stande. 

Then Cloudesle cast his eyen asyde 

And saw hys * brethren twaine ' 
At a corner of the market place, 

Redy the justice for to slaine. 

I se comfort, sayd Cloudesle, 

Yet hope I well to fare. 
If I might have my handes at wyll 

Ryght lytle wolde I care. 

Then spake good Adam Bell 

To Clym of the Clough so free, 
Brother, se you marke the justyce wel ; 

Lo ! yonder you may him se : 

And at the shyrife shote I wyll 

Strongly wyth an arrowe kene ; 
A better shote in mery Carleile 

Thys seven yere was not sene. 

They loosed their ^ arrowes both at once. 

Of no man had they dread ; 
The one hyt the justice, the other the sheryfe, 

That both theyr sides gan blede.^ 

All men voyded, that them stode nye, 
When the justice fell to the grounde, 

And the sherife nye hym by ; 
Eyther had his deathes wounde. 

All the citezens fast gan flye. 

They durst no longer abyde : 
There lyghtly they losed Cloudeslee, 

Where he with ropes lay tyde. 

Wyllyam start to an ofificer of the towne, 
Hys axe ' from ' hys hand he wronge, 

On eche syde he smote them downe, 
Hee thought he taryed to long. 

I " Lowsed thre." PC. 3 "Can bled." MS. 

lyo The Percy Reliques 

Wyllyam sayde to hys brethren two, 

Thys daye let us lyve and die, 
If ever you have nede, as I have now, 

The same shall you finde by me. 

They shot so well in that tyde, 

Theyr stringes were of silke ful sure, 

That they kept the stretes on every side ; 
That batayle did long endure. 

They fought together as brethren true, 

Lyke hardy men and bolde, 
Many a man to the ground they threw, 

And many a herte made colde. 

But when their arrowes were all gon, 

Men preced to them full fast, 
They drew theyr swordes then anone, 

AJad theyr bowes from them cast. 

They went lyghtlye on theyr way, 

Wyth swordes and buclers round ; 
By that it was the mydd of the day. 

They made many a wound. 

There was an out-horne ^ in Carleil blowen, 
And the belles backward dyd ryng, 

Many a woman sayde, Alas ! 

And many theyr handes dyd wryng. 

The mayre of Carleile forth com was, 

Wyth hym a ful great route : 
These yemen dred hym full sore, 

Of theyr ^ lyves they stode in great doute. 

The mayre came armed a full great pace. 

With a pollaxe in hys hande ; 
Many a strong man wyth him was. 

There in that stowre to stande. 

The mayre smot at Cloudeslee with his bil, 

Hys bucler he brast in two, 
Full many a yeman with great evyll 

Alas ! Treason they cryed for wo. 
Kepe well the gates fast, they bad. 

That these traytours therout not go. 

1 " Out-horne " is an old term signifying calling forth of subjects to arms by the 
sound of a horn. See Cole's Lat. Diet., Bailey, &c. a " For of." MS. 

Adam Bell, Clym, and William 171 

But al for nought was that they wrought, 

For so fast they downe were layde, 
Tyll they all thre, that so manfuUi fought, 

Were gotten without, abraide. 

Have here your keys, sayd Adam Bel, 

Myne office I here forsake. 
And yf you do by my counsell 

A new porter do ye make. 

He threw theyr keys at theyr heads, 

And bad them well to thryve,^ 
And all that letteth any good yeman 

To come and comfort his wyfe. 

Thus be these good yeman gon to the wod, 

As lyghtly as lefe on lynde ; 
The lough and be mery in theyr mode, 

Theyr enemyes were ferr behynd. 

When they came to Englyshe wode,^ 

Under the trusty tre, 
There they found bowes full good, 

And arrowes full great plentye. 

So God me help, sayd Adam Bell, 

And Clym of the Clough so fre, 
I wold we were in mery Carleile, 

Before that fayre meynye. 

They set them downe, and made good chere, 

And eate and dranke full well. 
A second Fyt of the wightye yeomen : ^ 

Another I wyll you tell. 


As they sat in Englyshe wood, 

Under the green-wode tre, 
They thought they heard a woman wepe. 

But her they mought not se. 

J This is spoken ironically. 2 " Merry green wood." MS. 

3 See part i, ver. 197. 

172 The Percy Reliques 

Sore then syghed the fayre Alyce : 

' That ever I sawe thys day ! ' 
For nowe is my dere husband slayne : 

Alas ! and wel-a-way ! 

Myght I have spoken wyth hys dere brethren, 
Or with eyther of them twayne, 

To show them what him befell, 
My hart were out of payne. 

Cloudesle walked a lytle beside, 

He looked under the grene wood lynde, 

He was ware of his wife, and chyldren three, 
Full wo in harte and mynde. 

Welcome, wyfe, then sayde Wyllyam, 

Under ' this ' trusti tre : 
I had wende yesterday, by sweete saynt John, 

Thou sholdest me never ' have ' se.^ 

" Now well is me that ye be here, 

My harte is out of wo." 
Dame, he sayde, be mery and glad, 

And thanke my brethren two. 

Herof to speake, said Adam Bell, 

I-wis i tis no bote : 
The meate, that we must supp withall, 

It runneth yet fast on fote. 

Then went they downe into a launde, 

These noble archares all thre ; 
Eche of them slew a hart of greece. 

The best that they cold se. 

Have here the best, Alyce, my wyfe, 

Sayde Wyllyam of Cloudeslye ; 
By cause ye so bouldly stode by me 

When I was slayne full nye. 

Then went they to suppere 

Wyth suche meate as they had ; 

And thanked God of ther fortune : 
They were both mery and glad. 

1 " Never had se." PC. and MS. 

Adam Bell, Clym, and William 173 

And when they had supped well, 

Certayne withouten lease, 
Cloudesle sayd, We wyll to our kyng, 

To get us a charter of peace. 

Alyce shal be at our sojournyng 

In a nunnery here besyde ; 
My tow sonnes shall wyth her go, 

And there they shall abyde. 

Myne eldest son shall go wyth me ; 

For him have ' you ' no care : ^ 
And he shall bring you worde agayn, 

How that we do fare. 

Thus be these yemen to London gone, 

As fast as they myght ' he,' ^ 
Tyll they came to the kynges pallace. 

Where they woulde nedes be. 

And whan they came to the kynges courte, 

Unto the pallace gate, 
Of no man wold they aske no leave, 

But boldly went in therat. 

They preced prestly into the hall, 

Of no man had they dreade : 
The porter came after, and dyd them call, 

And with them began to chyde. 

The usher sayde, Yemen, what wold ye have ? 

I pray you tell to me : 
You myght thus make offycers shent : 

Good syrs, of whence be ye ? 

Syr, we be out-lawes of the forest 

Certayne withouten lease ; 
And hether we be come to the kyng, 

To get us a charter of peace. 

And whan they came before the kyng, 

As it was the lawe of the lande. 
The kneled downe without lettyng. 

And eche held up his hand. 

1 " Have I no care." PC. 8 {, g, hie, hasten. 

174 The Percy Reliques 

The sayed, Lord, we beseche the here, 
That ye wyll graunt us grace ; 

For we have slayne your fat falow dere 
In many a sondry place. 

What be your nams, then said our king, 

Anone that you tell me ? 
They sayd, Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough, 

And Wyllyam of Cloudesle. 

Be ye those theves, then sayd our kyng, 
That men have tolde of to me ? 

Here to God I make an avowe, 
Ye shal be hanged al thre. 

Ye shal be dead without mercy, 

As I am kynge of this lande. 
He commanded his officers everichone, 

Fast on them to lay hande. 

There they toke these good yemen, 

And arested them al thre : 
So may I thryve, sayd Adam Bell, 

Thys game lyketh not me. 

But, good lorde, we beseche you now, 

That yee graunt us grace, 
Insomuche as * frely ' we be to you come, 

' As frely ' we may fro you passe. 

With such weapons, as we have here, 
Tyll we be out of your place ; 

And yf we lyve this hundreth yere. 
We wyll aske you no grace. 

Ye speake proudly, sayd the kynge ; 

Ye shall be hanged all thre. 
That were great pitye, then sayd the quene, 

If any grace myght be. 

My lorde, whan I came fyrst into this lande 

To be your wedded wyfe. 
The fyrst boone ' that I wold aske. 

Ye would graunt it me belyfe : 

1 Sic MS. " Bowne." PC. 

Adam Bell, Clym, and William 175 

And I asked you never none tyll now ; 

Therefore, good lorde, graunt it me. 
Now aske it, madam, sayd the kynge, 

And graunted it shal be. 

Then, good my lord, I you beseche, 

These yemen graunt ye me. 
Madame, ye myght have asked a boone,^ 

That shuld have been worth them all thre. 

Ye myght have asked towres, and townes, 

Parkes and forestes plente. 
None soe pleasant to my pay, shee sayd ; 

Nor none so lefe to me. 

Madame, sith it is your desyre, 

Your askyng graunted shal be ; 
But I had lever had given you 

Good market townes thre. 

The quene was a glad woman, 

And sayde, Lord, gramarcy ; ^ 
I dare undertake for them, 

That true men shal they be. 

But, good my lord, speke som mery word. 

That comfort they might se. 
I graunt you grace, then sayd our king ; 

Washe, felos, and to meate go ye. 

They had not setten but a whyle 

Certayne without lesynge. 
There came messengers out of the north 

With letters to our kyng. 

And whan the came before our kynge, 

They knelt downe on theyr kne ; 
And sayd. Lord, your ofificers grete you well, 

Of Carleile in the north cuntre. 

How fareth my justice, sayd the kyng, 

And my sherife also ? 
Syr, they be slayne without leasynge, 

And many an officer mo. 

1 Sic MSS. " Bowne." PC « " God a mercye." MS. 

176 The Percy Reliques 

Who hath them slayne ? sayd the kyng ; 

Anone that thou tell me. 
" Adam Bell, and Clime of the Clough, 

And Wyllyam of Cloudesle." 

Alas for rewth ! then sayd our kynge : 
My hart is wonderous sore ; 

I had lever than a thousande pounde, 
I had knowne of thys before : 

For I have graunted them grace, 

And that forthynketh me : 
But had I knowne of this before, 

They had been hanged all thre. 

The kyng he opened the letter anone, 

Himselfe he red it thro, 
And founde how these outlawes had slain 

Thre hundred men and mo : 

Fjrrst the justice, and the sheryfe, 
And the mayre of Carleile towne ; 

Of all the constables and catchipolles 
Alyve were ' scant ' left one : ^ 

The baylyes, and the bedyls both. 
And the sergeauntes of the law, 

And forty fosters of the fe, 
These outlawes had yslaw : 

And broke his parks, and slayne his dere ;: 

Of all they chose the best ; 
So perelous out-lawes, as they were, 

Walked not by easte nor west. 

When the kynge this letter had red, 
In hys harte he syghed sore : 

Take up the tables anone he bad, 
For I may eat no more. 

The kyng called hys best archars 
To the buttes wyth hym to go : 

I wyll se these felowes shote, he sayd, 
In the north have wrought this wo. 

1 "Left but one." MS. "Not one." PC. 

Adam Bell, Clym, and William 177 

The kynges bowmen buske them blyve,^ 

And the quenes archers also ; 
So dyd these thre wyghtye yemen ; 

With them they thought to go. 

There twyse, or thryse they shote about 

For to assay theyr hande ; 
There was no shote these yeraen shot, 

That any prycke ^ myght stand. 

Then spake Wyllyam of Cloudesle ; 

By him that for me dyed, 
I hold hym never a good archar. 

That shoteth at buttes so wyde. 

' At what a butte now wold ye shote ? ' 

I pray thee tell to me. 
At suche a but, Syr, he sayd. 

As men use in my countree. 

Wyllyam wente into a fyeld. 

And ' with him ' his two ^ brethren : 

There they set up two ^ hasell roddes 
Twenty score paces * betwene. 

I hold him an archar, said Cloudesle, 
That yonder wande cleveth in two. 

Here is none suche, sayd the kyng. 
Nor no man can ^ so do. 

I shall assaye, Syr, sayd Cloudesle, 

Or that I farther go. 
Cloudesly with a bearyng arowe 

Clave the wand in two.^ 

Thou art the best archer, then said the king, 

Forsothe that ever I se. 
And yet for your love, sayd Wyllyam, 

I will do more mayster}'. 

I have a sonne is seven yere olde. 

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

All shall se, that be here ; 

1 " Blythe ■' MS. * «• e- mark. 

g " To." PC. * '• '• 4°o yard*. 

6 Sic MS. "None that can." PC. 

VOL. I. ^ 

lyS The Percy Reliques 

And lay an apple upon his head, 
And go syxe score paces ^ hym fro, 

And I my selfe with a brode ar6w 
Shall cleve the apple in two. 

Now haste the, then sayd the kyng, 

By hym that dyed on a tre, 
But if thou do not, as thou hest sayde 

Hanged shalt thou be. 

And thou touche his head or gowne, 

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

I shall hange you all thre. 

That I have promised, said Wyllyam, 

That I wyll never forsake. 
And there even before the kynge 

In the earth he drove a stake : 

And bound therto his eldest sonne. 
And bad him stand styll thereat ; 

And turned the childes face him fro, 
Because he should not start. 

An apple upon his head he set. 
And then his bowe he bent : ^ 

Syxe score paces they were meaten, 
And thether Cloudesle went. 

There he drew out a fayr brode arrowe, 
Hys bow was great and longe. 

He set that arrowe in his bowe. 
That was both styffe and stronge. 

He prayed the people, that wer there, 
That they ' all still wold ' stand, 

For he that shoteth for suche a wager 
Behoveth a stedfast ^ hand. 

Muche people prayed for Cloudesle, 
That his lyfe saved myght be, 

And whan he made hym redy to shote. 
There was many weeping ee. 

1 i. t. I20 yards. 2 sic MS. " Out met." PC 

8"Steedye." MS. 


Adam Bell, Clym, and William 179 

' But ' Cloudesle he clefte the apple in two, 

' His Sonne he did not nee.' 
Over Gods forbode, sayde the kinge. 

That thou shold shote at me. 

I geve thee eightene pence a day, 

And my bowe shalt thou here. 
And over all the north countre 

I make the chyfe rydere. 

And I thyrtene pence ^ a day, said the quene, 

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

No man shall say the nay. 

Wyllyam, I make the a gentleman 

Of clothyng, and of fe : 
And thy two brethren, yemen of my chambre. 

For they are so semely to se. 

Your Sonne, for he is tendre of age, 

Of my wyne-seller he shall be ; 
And when he cometh to man's estate. 

Better avaunced shall he be. 

And, Wyllyam, bringe me your wife, said the quene, 

Me longeth her sore to se : 
She shall be my chefe gentlewoman, 

To governe my nurserye. 

The yemen thanked them all curteously. 

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

To be assoyld at his hand. 

So forth be gone these good yemen. 

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

And dyed good men all thre. 

Thus endeth the lives of these good yemen ; 

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

That of heven may never mysse. Amen. 

1 " And I geve the xvij pence." PC. 

2 " And sayd to some Bishopp wee will wend." MS. 

3 /. e. hie, hasten. See the Glossary. 

i8o The Percy Reliques 


The grave-digger's song in Hamlet, act v. is taken from three stanzas 
of the following poem, though greatly altered and disguised, as the 
same were corrupted by the ballad-singers of Shakspeare's time ; 
or perhaps so designed by the poet himself, the better to suit the 
character of an illiterate clown. The original is preserved among 
Surrey's Poems, and is attributed to Lord Vaux, by George Gascoigne, 
who tells us, it "was thought by some to be made on his death-bed ; " 
& popular error which he laughs at. (See his Epist. to Yong Gent, 
pretixed to his Posies, 1575, 4to.) It is also ascribed to Lord Vaux in 
a manuscript copy preserved in the British Museum.^ This lord was 
remarkable for his skill in drawing feigned manners, &c. for so I under- 
stand an ancient writer. "The Lord Vaux his commendation lyeth 
chiefly in the facilitie of his meetre, and the aptnesse of his descriptions 
such as he taketh upon him to make, namely in sundry of his songs, 
wherein he showeth the counterjait action very lively and pleasantly." 
Arte of Eng. Poesie, 1589, p. 51. See another song by this poet 
in Series II. Book i. No. 8. 

I LOTH that I did love, 

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

Me thinkes they are not mete. 

My lustes they do me leave, 

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

Gray heares upon my hed. 

For Age with staling steps 

Hath clawde me with his crowch,^ 

And lusty ' Youthe ' awaye he * leapes, 
As there had bene none such. 

My muse doth not delight 

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

As they have bene of yore. 

3 Harl. MSS. Num. 1703, § 25. The readings gathered from that copy are d«- 
tinsruLshed here by inverted commas. The text is printed from the Songs, &c. of the 
Eail of Surrey and others, 1557, 4to. 

' " Be." PC. [printed copy in 1557.] 

3 "Crowch" perhaps should be "clouch," clutch, grasp. 

< " Life away she." PC. 

The Aged Lover i8i 

For Reason me denies, 

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

Leave off these toyes in tyme. 

The wrinkles in my brow, 

The furrowes in my face, 
Say, Limping age will ' lodge ' - him now, 

Where youth must geve him place. 

The harbenger of death, 

To me I se him ride. 
The cough, the cc'd, the gasping breath, 

Doth bid me to provide 

A pikeax and a spade, 

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

For such a guest most mete. 

Me thinkes I heare the clarke. 

That knoles the carefull knell ; * 
And bids me leave my ' wearye ' ^ warke, 

Ere nature me compell. 

My kepers ^ knit the knot, 

That youth doth *" laugh to scorne. 

Of me that ' shall bee cleane ' ^ forgot, 
As I had * ne'er ' ^ bene borne. 

Thus must I youth geve up. 

Whose badge I long did weare : 
To them I yeld the wanton cup, 

That better may it beare. 

Lo here the bared skull ; ^° 

By whose balde signe I know. 
That stouping age away shall pull 

' What ' ^^ youthful yeres did sow. 

1 "This." PC. 

'^ So. ed. 1583 : it is " hedge " in ed. 1557. " Hath caught him." MS. 

8 " Wyndynge-sheete." MS. * " Bell." MS. 

6 " Wofull." PC 6 " Alluding perhaps to Eccles. xii. ^. 

7 "Did." PC. 8 "Cleneshalbe." PC. 

» '• Not." PC. 10 " Bare-hedde." MS. and some PCC 

W "Which." PC. "That." MS. "What " is conjectural. 

1 82 The Percy Reliques 

For Beautie with her band, 

These croked cares had wrought, 

And shipped me into the land, 
From whence I first was brought. 

And ye that bide behinde, 
Have ye none other trust : 

As ye of claye were cast by kinde. 
So shall ye ' turne ' ^ to dust. 


In Shakspeare's "Hamlet," act ii. the hero of the play takes 
occasion to banter Polonius with some scraps of an old ballad, which 
has never yet appeared in any collection : for which reason, as it is but 
short, it will not perhaps be unacceptable to the reader ; who will also 
be diverted with the pleasant absurdities of the composition. It was 
retrieved from utter oblivion by a lady, who wrote it down from 
memory as she had formerly heard it sung by her fatlier. I am indebted 
for it to the friendship of Mr. Steevens. 

It has been said, that the original ballad, in black-letter, is among 
Anthony k Wood's Collections in the Ashmolean Museum. But, upon 
application lately made, the volume which contained this song was 
missing, so that it can only now be given as in the former edition. 

The banter of Hamlet is as follows : 

Hamlet. O Jeptha, Judge of Israel, what a treasure hadst thou I 

Polonius. What a treasure had he, my Lord ? 

Ham. V^liy, One faire daughter and no more, 
The which he loved passing welL 

PoLON. Still on my daughter. 

Ham. Am not I i' th' right, old Jeptha? 

PoLON. If you call me Jeptha, my lord, I have a daughter, that I love passing well. 

Ham. Nay, that follows not. 

PoLON. What follows then, my lord ? 

Ham. Why, As by lot, God wot : and then you know. It came to passe. As most 
Uk« it was. The first row of the pious chanson will shew you more. 

Edit. 1793, vol. XV. p. 133. 

Have you not heard these many years ago, 

Jeptha was judge of Israel ? 
He had one only daughter and no mo, 
The which he loved passing well : 
And, as by lott, 
God wot, 
It so came to pass. 
As Gods will was, 
That great wars there should be, 
And none should be chosen chief but he. 

l"Wast.'- PC. 

Jephthah Judge of Israel 183 

And when he was appointed judge, 

And chieftain of the company, 
A solemn vow to God he made ; 
If he returned with victory. 
At his return 
To burn 
The first live thing, 

That should meet with him then, 

Off his house, when he should return agen. 

It came to pass, the wars was o'er, 

And he returned with victory ; 
His dear and only daughter first of all 
Came to meet her father foremostly : 
And all the way. 
She did play 
On tabret and pipe. 
Full many a stripe. 
With note so high, 
For joy that her father is come so nigh. 

But when he saw his daughter dear 

Coming on most foremostly. 
He wrung his hands, and tore his hair, 
And cryed out most piteously ; 
Oh ! it's thou, said he. 
That have brought me 
And troubled me so. 
That I know not what to do. 

For I have made a vow, he sed. 
The which must be replenished : 

" What thou hast spoke 
Do not revoke : 
What hast thou said, 
Be not affraid ; 
Altho' it be I ; 
Keep promises to God on high. 

184 The Percy Reliques 

But, dear father, grant me one request, 

That I may go to the wilderness, 
Three months there with my friends to stay ; 
There to bewail my virginity ; 
And let there be, 
Said she, 
Some two or three 
Young maids with me." 
So he sent her away, 
For to mourn, for to mourn, till her dying day. 


In his "Twelfth Night," Shakspeare introduces the Clown singing 
part of the two first stanzas of the following song ; which has been 
recovered from an ancient manuscript of Dr. Harrington's at Bath, 
preserved among the many literary treasures transmitted to the ingeni- 
ous and worthy possessor by a long line of most respectable ancestors. 
Of these only a small part hath been printed in the " Nugse Antiquae," 
3 vols. i2mo. ; a work which the public impatiently wishes to see 

The song is thus given by Shakspeare, act iv. sc. 2. (Malone's edit, 
iv. 93-) 

Clown. Hey Robin, jolly Robin, [singing.] 

Tell me how thy lady does. 
Malvolio. Fool. — 
Clown. My lady is unkind, perdy. 
Malvolio. Fool. — 
Clown. Alas, why is she so ? 
Malvolio. Fool, I say. — 
Clown. She loves another. — Who calls, ha? 

Dr. Farmer has conjectured that the song should begin thus : 

Hey, jolly Robin, tell to me 

How does thy lady do ? 
My lady is unkind perdy — 

Alas, why is she so ? 

But this ingenious emendation is now superseded by the proper readings 
of the old song itself, which is here printed from wliat appears the most 
ancient of Dr. Harrington's poetical manuscripts, and which has, 
therefore, been marked No. I. (scil.p. 68.) That volume seems to have 
been written in the reign of King Henr\' VIII. and, as it contains many 
of the poems of Sir Thomas Wyat, hath had almost all the contents 
attributed to him by marginal directions written with an old but later 
hand, and not always riglitly, as, I think, might be made appear by other 
good authorities. Among the rest, this song is there attributed to Sir 
"Thomas Wyat, also : but the discerning reader will probably judge it to 
belong to a more obsolete writer. 

A Robyn Jolly Robyn 185 

In the old manuscript, to the third and fifth stanzas is prefixed this 
title, " Responce," and to the fourth and sixth, " Le Plaintif ;" but in 
the last instance so evidently wrong, that it was thought better to omit 
these titles, and to mark the changes of the Dialogue by inverted 
commas. In other respects the manuscript is strictly followed, except 
where noted in the margin. Yet the first stanza appears to be de- 
fective, and it should seem that a line is wanting, unless the four first 
words were lengthened in the tune. 

A Robyn, 

Jolly Robyn, 
Tell me how thy leman doeth, 

And thou shalt ^ knowe of myn. 

•' My lady is unkynde perde." 

Alack ! why is she so ? 
" She loveth an other better than me ; 

" And yet she will say no." 

I fynde no such doublenes : 

I fynde women true. 
My lady loveth me dowtles, 

And will change for no newe. 

" Thou art happy while that doeth last , 

" But I say, as I fynde, 
" That women's love is but a blast, 

" And torneth with the virynde." 

Suche folkes can take no harme by love, 

That can abide their torn. 
" But I alas can no way prove 

" in love but lake and morn." 

But if thou wilt avoyde thy harme 

Lerne this lessen of me, 
At others fieres thy selfe to warme, 

And let them warme with the. 


This sonnet (which is ascribed to Richard Edwards,^ in the " Paradise 
of Daintie Devises," fo. 31, b.) is by Shakspeare made the subject of 
some pleasant ridicule in his *' Romeo and Juliet," act iv. so. 5, where 
he introduces Peter putting this question to the musicians. 

1 "Shall." MS. 

* Concerning him see Wood's Athen. Oxon. and Tanner's Biblioth. also Sir John 
Haw'-cins's Hist, of Music, &c. 

1 86 The. Percy Reliques 

Peter . . . -why silver sound 1 why " Musicke with her j/ftier sound ? " what say 
you, Simon Catling? 

1. Mus. Marry, sir, because silver hath a sweet sound. 
Pet. Pretty ! what say you, Hugh Rebecke ? 

2. Mv^. I say, silver sound, because musicians sound for silver. 
Pet. Pretty too ! what say you, James Sound-post ? 

3. Mus. Faith, I know not what to say. 

Pet. ... I will say it for you : It is " Musicke with her silver sound," because 
musicians have no gold for sounding. 

Edit. 1793, vol. xiv. p. sag. 

This ridicule is not so much levelled at the song itself (which for the 
time it was written is not inelegant) as at those forced and unnatural 
explanations often given by us painful editors and expositors of ancient 

This copy is printed from an old quarto manuscript in the Cotton 
Library (Vesp. A. 25), intitled, "Divers things of Hen. viij's time:" 
with some corrections from The Paradise of Dainty Devises, 1596. 

Where gripinge grefes the hart would wounde, 
And dolefulle dumps the mynde oppresse, 

There musicke with her silver sound 
With spede is wont to send redresse : 

Of trobled mynds, in every sore, 

Swete musicke hathe a salve in store. 

In joye yt maks our mirthe abounde, 

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

By musickes pleasaunt swete delightes : 
Our senses all, what shall I say more ? 

Are subjecte unto musicks lore. 

The Gods by musicke have theire prayse ; 

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

In seas, whom pyrats would destroy, 
A dolphin saved from death most sharpe 
Arion playing on his harpe. 

O heavenly gyft, that rules the mynd, 

Even as the sterne dothe rule the shippe ! 

O musicke, whom the Gods assinde 

To comforte manne, whom cares would nippe ! 

Since thow both man and beste doest move, 

What beste ys he, wyll the disprove ? 

King Cophetua 187 


This story is often alluded to by our old dramatic writers. Shaks- 
peare, in his " Romeo and Juliet," act. ii. sc. I, makes Mercutio say, 

.... Her (Venus's) purblind son and heir, 
Young Adam l Cupid, he that shot so true, 
When King Cophetua loved the beggar-maid. 

As the thirteenth line of the following ballad seems here particularly 
alluded to, it is not improbable that Shakspeare wrote it "shot so trim," 
which the players or printers, not perceiving the allusion, might alter to 
"true." The former, as being the more humorous expression, seems 
most likely to have come from the mouth of Mercutio.'' 

In the Second Part of Henry IV. act v. sc. 3, FalstafF is introduced 
affectedly saying to Pistoll, 

O base Assyrian knight, what is thy news f 
Let King Cophetua know the truth thereof. 

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

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

I have not the heart to devour thee, an' I might be made as rich as King 

At least there is no mention of King Cophetua's riches in the present 
balladj which is the oldest I have met with on the subject. 

It is printed from Rich. Johnson's "Crown Garland of Goulden 
Roses," 1612, l2mo. (where it is intitled simply " A Song of a Beggar 
and a King : ") corrected by another copy. 

I READ that once in Affrica 

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

As poets they did faine : 
From natures lawes he did decline^ 
For sure he was not of my mind. 
He cared not for women-kinde, 

But did them all disdaine. 

1 See above, Preface to No. i. Book ii. 

2 Since this conjecture first occurred, it has been discovered that "shot so trim" 
was the genuine reading. See Shaksp. ed. 1793, xiv. 393. 

3 See Meres' Wits Treas. f. 283. Arte of Eng. Poes. 1389, p- 51, m, i43i ifig- 

1 88 The Percy Reliques 

But, marke, what hapened on a day, 
As he out of his window lay, 
He saw a beggar all in gray, 
The which did cause his paine. 

The blinded boy, that shootes so trim, 

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

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

He looketh as he would dye. 
What sudden chance is this, quoth he, 
That I to love must subject be. 
Which never thereto would agree. 

But still did it defie ? 

Then from the window he did come, 

And laid hirn on his bed, 
A thousand heapes of care did runne 

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

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

Or els he would be dead. 

And, as he musing thus did lye. 

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

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

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

When she the king espies. 

The Gods preserve your majesty, 
The beggers all gan cry : 

King Cophetua 189 

Vouchsafe to give your charity 

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

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

Till such time as we dye : 

For thou, quoth he, shalt be my wife, 

And honoured for my queene ; 
With thee I meane to lead my life. 

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

Thou shalt go shift thee cleane. 
What is thy name, faire maid ? quoth he, 
Penelophon,^ O king, quoth she ; 
With that she made a lowe courtsey ; 

A trim one as I weene. 

Thus hand in hand along they walke 

Unto the king's pallace : 
The king with curteous comly talke 

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

She was in such amaze. 
At last she spake with trembling voyce, 
And said, O king, I doe rejoyce 
That you wil take me from your choyce, 

And my degree's so base. 

And when the wedding day was come. 

The king commanded strait 
The noblemen both all and some 

Upon the queene to wait, 

1 Shakspeare (who alludes to this ballad in his " Love's Labour lost," act iv. sc. i.) 
gives the Beggar's name " Zenelophon," according to all the old editions: but this 
teems to be a corruption ; for " Penelophon," in the text, sounds more like the name 
of a woman. The story of the King and the Beggar is also alluded to in King 
Richard II. act v. sc. 3. 

190 The Percy Reliques 

And she behaved herself that day, 
As if she had never walkt ^ the way ; 
She had forgot her gown of gray, 

Which she did weare of late. 
The proverbe old is come to passe, 
The priest, when he begins his masse, 
Forgets that ever clerke he was ; 

He knowth not his estate. 

Here you may read, Cophetua, 

Though long time fancie-fed. 
Compelled by the blinded boy 

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

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

As to that king it did. 

And thus they led a quiet life 

Duringe their princely raigne ; 
And in a tombe were buried both, 

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

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

To every princes realme.* 


This is supposed to have been originally a Scotch ballad. The reader 
here has an ancient copy in the English idiom, with an additional 
stanza (the second) never before printed. This curiosity is preserved in 
the Editor's folio manuscript, but not vi^ithout corruptions, which are 

1 i. t. tramped the streets. 

2 Here the poet addresses himself to his mistress. 

3 " Sheweth" was anciently the plural number. 

* An ingenious friend thinks the two last stanzas should change place. 

Take thy Auld Cloak 191 

here removed by the assistance of the Scottish edition. Shakspeare, in 
his "Othello," act ii. has quoted one stanza, with some variations, 
which are here adopted : the old manuscript readings of that stanza are 
however given in the margin. 

This winters weather it waxeth cold, 

And frost doth freese on every hill, 
And Boreas blowes his blasts sae bold, 

That all our cattell are like to spill ; 
Bell my wiffe, who loves noe strife, 

She sayd unto me quietlye, 
Rise up, and save cow Crumbockes liffe, 

Man, put thine old cloake about thee. 


O Bell, why dost thou flyte ' and scorne ? ' 

Thou kenst my cloak is very thin : 
Itt is soe bare and overworne 

A cricke he theron cannot renn : 
Then He noe longer borrowe nor lend, 

' For once He new appareld bee, 
To-morrow He to towne and spend,' 

For lie have a new cloake about mee. 


Cow Crumbocke is a very good cowe, 

Shee has beene alwayes true to the payle, 
Shee has helpt us to butter and cheese, I trow, 

And other things shee will not fayle ; 
I wold be loth to see her pine. 

Good husband, councell take of mee, 
It is not for us to go soe fine, 

Man, take thine old cloake about thee. 


My cloake it was a verry good cloake, 

Itt hath been alwayes true to the weare, 
But now it is not worth a groat ; 

I have had it four and forty yeere : 
Sometime itt was of cloth in graine, 

'Tis now but a sigh clout as you may see, 
It will neither hold out winde nor raine ; 

And He have a new cloake about mee. 

192 The Percy Reliques 


It is four and fcrtye yeeres agoe 

Since the one of us the other did ken, 
And we have had betwixt us towe 

Of children either nine or ten ; 
Wee have brought them up to women and men ; 

In the feare of God I trow they bee ; 
And why wilt thou thyselfe misken ? 

Man, take thine old cloake about thee. 


O Bell my wiffe, why dost thou ' floute ! ' ^ 

Now is nowe, and then was then : 
Seeke now all the world throughout, 

Thou kenst not clownes from gentlemen. 
They are cladd in blacke, greene, yellowe, or ' gray,' 

Soe far above their owne degree : 
Once in my life He ' doe as they,' 

For He have a new cloake about mee. 


King Stephen '^- was a worthy peere, 

His breeches cost him but ^ a crowne. 
He held them sixpence all too deere ; * 

Therefore he calld the taylor Lowne.^ 
He was a wight of high renowne,^ 

And thouse but of a low degree : 
Itt's pride that putts this countrye downe, 

Man, take thine old cloake about thee. 


* Bell my wife she loves not strife, 

Yet she will lead me if she can ; 
And oft, to live a quiet life, 

I am forced to yield, though Ime good-man;' 
Itt's not for a man with a woman to threape, 

Unlesse he first gave oer the plea : 
As wee began wee now will leave, 

And He take mine old cloake about mee. 

1 "Flyte." MS. 

2 " King Harry .... a verry good king." MS. 
" " I trow his hose cost but." MS. 

•* " He thought them lad to deere." MS. 

6 "Clowne." MS. 

6 " He was king and wore the crowne." MS. 

Willow, Willow, Willow 193 


It is from the following stanzas that Shakspeare has taken his song of 
the "Willow," in his "Othello," act iv. sc. 3, though somewhat varied 
and applied by him to a female character. He makes Desdemona 
introduce it in this pathetic and affecting manner : 

My mother had a maid call'd Barbara : 
She was in love ; and he she lov'd prov'd mad, 
And did forsake her. She had a song of — Willow. 
An old thing 'twas, but it express'd her fortune. 
And she died singing it. 

Ed. 1793, vol. XV. p. 613. 

This is given from a black-letter copy in the Pepys Collection, thus 
intitled, "A Lovers Complaint being forsaken of his Love." To a 
pleasant tune. 

A POORE soule sat sighing under a sicamore tree ; 

O willow, willow, willow ! 
With h's hand on his bosom, his head on his knee : 

O willow, willow, willow ! 

O willow, willow, willow ! 
Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garlknd. 

He sigh'd in his singing, and after each grone. 

Come willow, &c. 
I am dead to all pleasure, my true-love is gone ; 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garland. 

My love she is turned ; untrue she doth prove : 

O willow, &c. 
She renders me nothing but hate for my love. 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

O pitty me (cried he), ye lovers, each one ; 

O willow, &c. 
Her heart's hard as marble ; she rues not my mone. 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

The cold streams ran by him, his eyes wept apace ; 

O willow, &c. 
The salt tears fell from him, which drowned his face : 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

VOL. I. o 

194 The Percy Reliques 

The mute birds sate by him, made tame by his mones : 

O willow, &c. 
The salt tears fell from him, which softened the stones. 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garland ! 

Let nobody blame me, her scornes I do prove ; 

O willow, &c. 
She was borne to be faire ; I, to die for her love. 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garland. 

that beauty should harbour a heart that's so hard ! 
O willow, &c. 

My true love rejecting without all regard. 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

Let love no more boast him in palace, or bower ; 

O willow, &c. 
For women are trothles, and flote in an houre. 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

But what helps complaining ? In vaine I complaine : 
O willow, &c. 

1 must patiently suffer her scorne and disdaine. 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

Come, all you forsaken, and sit down by me, 

O willow, &c. 
He that 'plaines of his false love, mine's falser than she. 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

The willow wreath weare I, since my love did fleet ; 

O willow, &c. 
A Garland for lovers forsaken most meete. 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garland ! 


Lowe lay'd by my sorrow, begot by disdaine ; 
O willow, willow, willow ! 

Willow, Willow, Willow 195 

Against her to cruell, still still I complaine, 

O willow, willow, willow ! 

O willow, willow, willow ! 
Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garland ! 

O love too injurious, to wound my poore heart 1 

O willow, &:c. 
To suffer the triumph, and joy in my smart : 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

willow, willow, willow ! the willow garland, 
O willow, &c. 

A sign of her falsenesse before me doth stand : 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

As here it doth bid to despair and to dye, 

O willow, &c. 
So hang it, friends, ore me in grave where I lye : 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garland. 

In grave where I rest mee, hang this to the view, 

O willow, &c. 
Of all that do knowe her, to blaze her untrue. 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

With these words engraven, as epitaph meet, 

O willow, &c. 
" Here lyes one, drank poyson for potion most sweet." 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow, .&c. 

Though she thus unkindly hath scorned my love, 

O willow, &c. 
And carelesly smiles at the sorrowes I prove ; 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

1 cannot against her unkindly exclaim, 

O willow, &c. 
Cause once well I loved her, and honoured her name : 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

196 The Percy Reliques 

The name of her sounded so sweete in mine eare, 

O willow, &c. 
It rays'd my heart lightly, the name of my deare ; 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garland. 

As then 'twas my comfort, it now is my griefe ; 

O willow, &c. 
It now brings me anguish ; then brought me reliefe ; 

O willow, &c. 
Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

Farewell, faire false hearted : plaints end with my breath ! 

O willow, willow, willow ! 
Thou dost loath me, I love thee, though cause of my 

O willow, willow, willow ! [death. 

O willow, willow, willow ! 
Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garlknd. 


This ballad is quoted in Shakspeare's second part of Henry IV. act ii. 
The subject of it is taken from the ancient romance of King Arthur 
(commonly called " Morte Arthur"), being a poetical translation of 
Chap. cvii. cix. ex. in pt. ist, as they stand in ed. 1634, 4to. In the 
older editions the Chapters are differently numbered. This song is 
given from a printed copy, corrected in part by a fragment in the 
Editor's folio manuscript. 

In the same play of 2d Henry IV. Silence hums a scrap of one of the 
old ballads of Robin Hood. It is taken from the following stanza of 
"Robin Hood and the Pindar of Wakefield." 

All this beheard three wighty yeomen, 
'Twas Robin Hood, Scarlet, and John: 

With that they espy'd the jolly Pindar 
As he sate under a throne. 

That ballad may be found on every stall, and therefore is not here 

When Arthur first in court began, 

And was approved king. 
By force of armes great victorys wanne, 

And conquest home did bring. 

Then into England straight he came 

With fifty good and able 
Knights, that resorted unto him, 

And were of his round table : 

Sir Lancelot du Lake 197 

And he had justs and turnaments, 

Wherto were many prest, 
Wherin some knights did far excell 

And eke surmount the rest. 

But one Sir Lancelot du Lake, 

Who was approved well, 
He for his deeds and feats of armes 

All others did excell. 

When he had rested him a while. 
In play, and game, and sportt,^ 

He said he wold goe prove himselfe 
In some adventurous sort. 

He armed rode in a forrest wide, 

And met a damsell faire. 
Who told him of adventures great, 

Wherto he gave great eare. 

Such wold I find, quoth Lancelott : 

For that cause came I hither. 
Thou seemest, quoth shee, a knight full good, 

And I will bring thee thither. 

Wheras ^ a mighty knight doth dwell. 

That now is of great fame : 
Therfore tell me what wight thou art, 

And what may be thy name. 

" My name is Lancelot du Lake." 

Quoth she, it likes me than : 
Here dwelles a knight who never was 

Yet matcht with any man : 

Who has in prison threescore knights 

And four, that he did wound ; 
Knights of King Arthurs court they be, 

And of his table round. 

She brought him to a river side, 

And also to a tree, 
'^^'hereon a copper bason hung. 

And many shields to see. 

1 "Tosportt." MS. 

2 "Where" is often used by our old writers for "whereas :" here it ie just the 

198 The Percy Reliques 

He struck soe hard, the bason broke ; 

And Tarquin soon he spyed : 
Who drove a horse before him fast, 

Whereon a knight lay tyed. 

Sir knight, then sayd Sir Lancel6tt, 
Bring me that horse-load hither, 

And lay him downe, and let him rest ; 
Weel try our force together : 

For, as I understand, thou hast, 

So far as thou art able, 
Done great despite and shame unto 

The knights of the Round Table. 

If thou be of the Table Round, 

Quoth Tarquin speedilye. 
Both thee and all thy fellowship 

I utterly defye. 

That's over much, quoth Lancelott tho, 

Defend thee by and by. 
They sett their speares unto their steeds, 

And eache att other fiie. 

They coucht theire speares (their horses ran, 
As though there had beene thunder). 

And strucke them each immidst their shields, 
Wherewith they broke in sunder. 

Their horsses backes brake under them, 
The knights were both astound : 

To avoyd their horsses they made haste 
And light upon the ground. 

They tooke them to their shields full fast, 
Their swords they drewe out than, 

With mighty strokes most eagerlye 
Each at the other ran. 

They wounded were, and bled full sore, 
They both for breath did stand. 

And leaning on their swords awhile, 
Quoth Tarquine, Hold thy hand, 

And tell to me what I shall aske. 
Say on, quoth Lancelot tho. 

Sir Lancelot du Lake 199 

Thou art, quoth Tarquine, the best knight 
That ever I did know ; 

And like a knight, that I did hate : 

Soe that thou be not hee, 
I will deliver all the rest. 

And eke accord with thee. 

That is well said, quoth Lancelott ; 

But sith it must be soe, 
What knight is that thou hatest thus ? 

I pray thee to me show. 

His name is Lancelot du Lake, 

He slew my brother deere ; 
Him I suspect of all the rest : 

I would I had him here. 

Thy wish thou hast, but yet unknowne, 

I am Lancelot du Lake, 
Now knight of Arthurs Table Round ; 

King Hands son of Schuwake ; 

And I desire thee to do thy worst. 

Ho, ho, quoth Tarquin tho' 
One of us two shall ende our lives 

Before that we do go. 

If thou be Lancelot du Lake, 

Then welcome shalt thou bee : 
Wherfore see thou thyself defend. 

For now defye I thee. 

They buckled them together so, 

Like unto wild boares rashing ; ^ 
And with their swords and shields they ran 

At one another slashing : 

1 " Rashing " seems to be the old hunting term to express the stroke made by the 
wild-boar with his fangs. To Rase has apparently a meaning something similar. 
See Mr. Steevens's Note on King Lear, act iiu sc. 7. (ed. 1793, vol. xiv. p. 193.) 
where the quartos read, 

Nor thy fierce sister 
In his anointed flesh rash bearish fangs. 

So in King Richard III. act iii. sc. a. (vol. x. p. 567, 583.) 

He dreamt 
To night the Boar had rased oS his, helm. 

200 The Percy Reliques 

The ground besprinkled was with blood : 

Tarquin began to yield ; 
For he gave backe for wearinesse, 

And lowe did beare his shield. 

This soone Sir Lancelot espyde, 

He leapt upon him then, 
He puU'd him downe upon his knee, 

And rushing off his helm, 

Forthwith he strucke his necke in two. 
And, when he had soe done. 

From prison threescore knights and four 
Delivered everye one. 


This is an attempt to paint a lover's irresolution, but so poorly exe- 
cuted, that it would not have been admitted into this collection, if it 
had not been quoted in Shakspeare's "Twelfth-Night," act ii. sc. 3. 
It is found in a little ancient miscellany, intitled, " The Golden Garland 
of Princely Delights," i2mo. black-letter. 

In the same scene of the Twelfth-Night, Sir Toby sings a scrap of an 
old ballad, which is preserved in the Pepys Collection [vol. i. pp. 33, 
496.] ; but as it is not only a poor dull performance, but also very long, 
it will be sufficient here to give the first stanza : 

There dwelt a man in Babylon 

Of reputation great by fame ; 

He took to wife a faire woman, 

Susanna she was callde by name : 
A woman fair and vertuous ; 

Lady, lady : 
Why should we not of her learn thus 
To live godly ? 

If this song of "Corydon," &c. has not more merit, it is at least an 
evil of less magnitude. 

Farewell, dear love ; since thou wilt needs be gone, 
jVIine eyes do shew, my life is almost done. 
Nay I will never die, so long as I can spie 
There be many mo, though that she doe goe, 
There be many mo, I fear not : 
Why then let her goe, I care not. 

Farewell, farewell ; since this I find is true, 
I will not spend more time in wooing you : 

Corydon's Farewell 201 

But I will seek elsewhere, if I may find love there : 
Shall I bid her goe ? what and if I doe ? 

Shall I bid her goe and spare not ? 

O no, no, no, I dare not. 

Ten thousand times farewell ; — yet stay a while : — 
Sweet, kiss me once ; sweet kisses time beguile : 

I have no power to move. How now am I in love ? 
Wilt thou needs be gone ? Go then, all is one. 
Wilt thou needs be gone ? Oh, hie thee I 
Nay stay, and do no more deny me. 

Once more adieu, I see loath to depart 
Bids oft adieu to her, that holds my heart. 

But seeing I must lose thy love, which I did choose, 
Goe thy way for me, since that may not be. 
Goe thy ways for me. But whither? 
Goe, oil, but where I may come thither. 

What shall I doe ? my love is now departed. 
She is as fair, as she is cruel-hearted. 

She would not be intreated, with prayers oft repeated, 
If she come no more, shall I die therefore ? 
If she come no more, what care I ? 
Faith, let her goe, or come, or tarry. 


In the " Life of Pope Sixtus V, translated from the Italian of Greg. 
Leti by the Rev. Mr. Farneworth," folio, is a remarkable passage to the 
following effect : 

" It was reported in Rome, that Drake had taken and plundered St. 
Domingo in Hispaniola, and carried off an immense booty. This 
account came in a private letter to Paul Secchi, a very considerable 
merchant in the city, who had large concerns in those parts, which he 
had insured. Upon receiving this news, he sent for the insurer Sampson 
Ceneda, a Jew, and acquainted him with it. The Jew, whose interest 
it was to have such a report thought false, gave many reasons why it 
could not possibly be true, and at last worked himself into such a 
passion, that he said, I'll lay you a pound of flesh it is a lie. Secchi, 
who was of a fiery hot temper, replied, I'll lay you a thousand crowns 
against a pound of your flesh that it is true. The Jew accepted the 
wager, and articles were immediately executed betwixt them, That, if 
Secchi won, he should himself cut the flesh with a sharp knife from 
whatever part of the Jew's body he pleased. The truth of the account 
was soon confirmed ; and the Jew was almost distracted, when he was 
informed, that Secchi had solemnly swore he would compel him to an 
exact performance of his contract. A report of this transaction was 

202 The Percy Reliques 

brought to the Pope, who sent for the parties, and, being informed of 
the whole affair, said. When contracts are made, it is but just they 
should be fulfilled, as this shall : Take a knife, therefore, Secchi, and 
cut a pound of flesh from any part you please of the Jew's body. We 
advise you, however, to be very careful ; for, if you cut but a scruple 
more or less than your due, you shall certainly be hanged." 

The Editor of that book is of opinion, that the scene between Shylock 
and Antonio in "the Merchant of Venice" is taken from this incident. 
But Mr. Warton, in his ingenious " Observations on the Faerie Queen,'' 
vol. i. page 128, has referred it to the following ballad. Mr. Warton 
thinks this ballad was written before Shakspeare's play, as being not so 
circumstantial, and having more of the nakedness of an original. Be- 
sides, it differs from the play in many circumstances, which a mere 
copyist, such as we may suppose the ballad-maker to be, would hardly 
have given himself the trouble to alter. Indeed he expressly informs us, 
that he had his story from the Italian writers. See the " Connoisseur," 
vol. i. No. 16. 

After all, one would be glad to know what authority Leti had for the 
foregoing fact, or at least for connecting it with the taking of .St. 
Domingo by Drake ; for this expedition did not happen till 1585, and it 
is very certain that a play of the Jewe, " representing the greedinesse of 
worldly chusers, and bloody minds of usurers," hud been exhibited at 
the play-house called "the Bull " before the year 1579, being mentioned 
in Steph. Gosson's "Schoole of Abuse," ^ which was printed in that 

As for Shakspeare's " Merchant of Venice," the earliest edition known 
of it is in quarto, 1600 ; though it had been exhibited in the year 1598, 
being mentioned, together with eleven others of his plays, in Merse's 
"Wits Treasur}'," &c. 1598, i2mo. fol. 282. See Malone's Shaksp. 

The following is printed from an ancient black-letter copy in the 
Pepys Collection," intitled, "A new Song, shewing the crueltie of 
Gernutus, a Jewe, who, lending to a merchant an liundred crowns, 
would have a pound of his fleshe. because he could not pay him at the 
time appointed. To the tune of Black and Yellow." 


In Venice towne not long agoe 

A cruel Jew did dwell, 
Which lived all on usurie, 

As Italian writers tell. 

Gernutus called was the Jew, 
Which never thought to dye, 

Nor ever yet did any good 
To them in streets that lie. 

His life was like a barrow hogge, 

That liveth many a day, 
Yet never once doth any good, 

Until men will him slay. 

1 Warton, ubi supra. 2 Compared with the .\shmole oopy. 

The Jew of Venice 203 

Or like a filthy heap of dung, 

That lyeth in a whoard ; 
Which never can do any good, 

Till it be spread abroad. 

So fares it with the usurer, 

He cannot sleep in rest, 
For feare the thiefe will him pursue 

To plucke him from his nest. 

His heart doth thinke on many a wile, 

How to deceive the poore ; 
His mouth is almost ful of mucke, 

Yet still he gapes for more. 

His wife must lend a shilling. 

For every weeke a penny, 
Yet bring a pledge, that is double worth, 

If that you will have any. 

And see, likewise, you keepe your day, 

Or else you loose it all : 
This was the living of the wife. 

Her cow ^ she did it call. 

Within that citie dwelt that time 

A marchant of great fame, 
Which being distressed in his need, 

Unto Gernutus came : 

Desiring him to stand his friend 

For twelve month and a day, 
To lend to him an hundred crownes : 

And he for it would pay 

Whatsoever he would demand of him, 

And pledges he should have. 
No, (quoth the Jew with fiearing lookes) 

Sir, aske what you will have. 

No penny for the loane of it 

For one year you shall pay ; 
You may doe me as good a turne. 

Before my dying day. 

1 " Her cow," &c. seems to have suggested to Shakspeare Shylock's argument for 
usury taken from Jacob's management of Laban's sheep, act i. to which Antonio 
replies : 

Was this inserted to make interest good 1 
Or are your gold and silver ewes and rams ? 
Shy. I cannot tell, I make it breed as fast. 

204 The Percy Reliques 

But we will have a merry jeast, 

For to be talked long : 
You shall make me a bond, quoth he, 

That shall be large and strong : 

And this shall be the forfeyture ; 

Of your owne fleshe a pound. 
If you agree, make you the bond. 

And here is a hundred crownes. 

With right good will ! the marchant says 
And so the bond was made. 

When twelve month and a day drew on 
That backe it should be payd, 

The marchants ships were all at sea, 

And money came not in ; 
Which way to take, or what to doe 

To thinke he doth begin : 

And to Gernutus strait he comes 
With cap and bended knee. 

And sayde to him. Of curtesie 
I pray you beare with mee. 

My day is come, and I have not 

The money for to pay : 
And little good the forfeyture 

Will doe you, I dare say. 

With all my heart, Gernutus sayd, 
Commaund it to your minde : 

In thinges of bigger weight than this 
You shall me ready finde. 

He goes his way ; the day once past 

Gernutus doth not slacke 
To get a sergiant presently ; 

And clapt him on the backe : 

And layd him into prison strong. 
And sued his bond withall ; 

And when the judgement day was come, 
For judgement he did call. 

The marchants friends came thither fast, 
With many a weeping eye, 

For other means they could not find, 
But he that day must dye. 

The Jew of Venice 205 


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

Some offered for his hundred crownes 

Five hundred for to pay ; 
And some a thousand, two or three, 

Yet still he did denay. 

And at the last ten thousand crownes 

They offered him to save. 
Gernutus sayd, I will no gold : 

My forfeite I will have. 

A pound of fleshe is my demand, 

And that shall be my hire. 
Then sayd the judge. Yet, good my friend, 

Let me of you desire 

To take the flesh from such a place, 

As yet you let him live : 
Do so, and lo ! an hundred crownes 

To thee here will I give. 

No : no : quoth he ; no : judgement here : 

For this it shall be tride, 
For I will have my pound of fleshe 

From under his right side. 

It grieved all the companie 

His crueltie to see. 
For neither friend nor foe could helpe 

But he must spoyled bee. 

The bloudie Jew now ready is 

With whetted blade in hand,^ 
To spoyle the bloud of innocent. 

By forfeit of his bond. 

And as he was about to strike 

In him the deadly blow : 
Stay (quoth the judge) thy crueltie; 

I charge thee to do so. 

1 The passage in Shakspeare bears so strong a resemblance to this, as to render it 
probable that the one suggested the other. See act iv. sc. 2. 

Bass. Why doest thou whet thy knife so earnestly? && 

2o6 The Percy Reliques 

Sith needs thou wilt thy forfeit have, 
Which is of flesh a pound : 

See that thou shed no drop of bloud, 
Nor yet the man confound. 

For if thou doe, like murderer, 
Thou here shalt hanged be : 

Likewise of flesh see that thou cut 
No more than longes to thee : 

For if thou take either more or lesse 

To the value of a mite, 
Thou shalt be hanged presently, 

As is both law and right. 


Gernutus now waxt franticke mad, 

And wotes not what to say ; 
Quoth he at last. Ten thousand crownes, 

I will that he shall pay ; 

And so I graunt to set him free. 

The judge doth answere make ; 
You shall not have a penny given ; 

Your forfeyture now take. 

At the last he doth demaund 

But for to have his owne. 
No, quoth the judge, doe as you list. 

Thy judgement shall be showne. 

Either take your pound of flesh, quoth hcj 

Or cancel! me your bond. 
O cruell judge, then quoth the Jew, 

That doth against me stand ! 

And so with griping ^ grieved mind 

He biddeth them fare-well. 
' Then ' all the people prays'd the Lord, 

That ever this heard tell. 

Good people, that doe heare this song, 

For trueth I dare well say, 
That many a wretch as ill as hee 

Doth live now at this day ; 

That seeketh nothing but the spoyle 
Of many a wealthey man, 

1 "Griped." Ashmol. copy. 

The Jew of Venice 207 

And for to trap the innocent 
Deviseth what they can. 

From whome the Lord deliver me, 

And every Christian too, 
And send to them like sentence eke 

That meaneth so to do. 

*,* Since the first edition of this book was printed, the Editor hath 
had reason to believe that both Shakspeare and the author of this 
ballad are indebted for their stoiy of the Jew (however they came by it) 
to an Italian novel, which was first printed at Milan in the year 1554, 
in a book entitled, " II Pecorone, nel quale si contengono Cinquanta 
Novelle antiche," &c. republished at Florence about the year 1748, or 
9. The author was Ser. Giovanni Fiorentino, who wrote in 1378; 
thirty years after the time in which the scene of Boccace's Decameron 
is laid. (Vid. Manni Istoria del Decamerone di Giov. Boccac. 4to. 
Fior. 1744.) 

That Shakspeare had his plot from the novel itself, is evident from 
his having some incidents from it, which are not found in the ballad : 
and I think it will also be found that he borrowed from the ballad some 
hints that were not suggested by the novel. (See above, pt. 2. ver. 25, 
&c. where, instead of that spirited description of " the whetted blade," 
&c. the prose narrative coldly says, "The Jew had prepared a razor, 
&c." See also some other passages in the same piece.) This however 
is spoken with diffidence, as I have at present before me only the abridg- 
ment of the novel which Mr. Johnson has given us at the end of his 
Commentary on Shakspeare's play. The translation of the Italian 
story at large is not easy to be met with, having I believe never been 
published, though it was printed some years ago with this title, " The 
Novel, from which the Merchant of Venice written by Shakspeare is 
taken, translated from the Italian. To which is added a translation of 
a Novel from the Decamerone of Boccacio." London, printed for M. 
Cooper, 1755, 8vo. 


This beautiful sonnet is quoted in " The Merry Wives of Windsor," 
act iii. sc. i. and hath been usually ascribed (together with the Reply) 
to Shakspeare himself by the modern editors of his smaller poems. A 
copy of this madrigal, containing only four stanzas (the 4th and 6th 
being wanting), accompanied with the first stanza of the answer, being 
printed in "The passionate Pilgrime, and Sonnets to sundry Notes of 
Musicke, by Mr. William Shakspeare." Lond. printed for W. Jaggard, 
1599. Thus was this sonnet, &c. published as Shakspeare's in his life- 

And yet there is good reason to believe that (not Shakspeare, but) 
Christopher Marlow wrote the song, and Sir Walter Raleigh the 
"Nymph's Reply :" for so we are positively assured by Isaac Walton, 
a writer of some credit, who has inserted them both in his " Compleat 

2o8 The Percy Reliques 

Angler,"^ under the character of " that smooth song, which was made 
by Kit. Marlow, now at least fifty years ago ; and ... an answer to it, 
which was made by Sir Walter Raleigh in his younger days . . . old- 
fashioned poetry, but choicely good." It also passed for Marlow's in 
the opinion of his contemporaries ; for in the old Poetical Miscellany, 
intitled " England's Helicon," it is printed with the name of Chr. 
Marlow subjoined to it ; and the" Reply is signed Ignoto, which is 
known to have been a signature of Sir Walter Raleigh. With the 
same signature Ignoto, in that collection, is an imitation of Marlow's 
beginning thus : 

Come live with me, and be my dear, 
And we will revel all the year, 
In plains and groves, &c. 

Upon the whole I am inclined to attribute them to Marlow, and 
Raleigh ; notwithstanding the authority of Shakspeare's Book of 
Sonnets. For it is well known that as he took no care of his own 
compositions, so was he utterly regardless what spurious things were 
fathered upon him. " Sir John Oldcastle," "The London Prodigal," 
and "The Yorkshire Tragedy," were printed with his name at full 
length in the title-pages, while he was living, which yet were afterwards 
rejected by his first editors Heminge and Condell, who were his 
intimate firiends (as he mentions both in his will), and therefore no 
doubt had good authority for setting them aside.'' 

The following sonnet appears to have been (as it deserved) a great 
favourite with our earlier poets : for, besides the imitation above 
mentioned, another is to be found among Donne's Poems, intitled 
" The Bait," beginning thus : 

Come live with me and he my love. 
And we will some new pleasures prove 
Of golden sands, &c 

As for Chr. Marlow, who was in high repute for his dramatic writ- 
ings, he lost his life by a stab received in a brothel, before the year 
1593. See A. Wood, i. 138. 

Come live with me, and be my love, 
And we wil all the pleasures prove 
That hils and vallies, dale and field, 
And all the craggy mountains yield. 

There will we sit upon the rocks. 
And see the shepherds feed their flocks, 
By shallow rivers, to whose falls 
Melodious birds sing madrigals. 

There will I make thee beds of roses 
With a thousand fragrant posies, 
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle 
Imbrodered all with leaves of mirtle ; 

1 First printed in the year 1653, but probably written some time before. 

2 Since the above was written, Mr. Malone, with his usual discernment, hath 
rejected the stanzas in question from the other sonnets, &c. of Shakspeare, in his 
correct edition of the "Passionate Pilgrim," &c. See his Shaksp. vol. x. p. 340. 

The Shepherd to his Love 209 

A gown made of the finest wool, 
Which from our pretty lambs we pull ; 
Slippers lin'd choicely from the cold ; 
With buckles of the purest gold ; 

A belt of straw, and ivie buds, 
With coral clasps, and amber studs : 
And if these pleasures may thee move, 
Then live with me, and be my love. 

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing 
For thy delight each May morning : 
If these delights thy mind may move. 
Then live with me, and be my love. 

THE nymph's reply 

If that the World and Love were young, 
And truth in every shepherd's toung. 
These pretty pleasures might me move 
To live with thee, and be thy love. 

But time drives flocks from field to fold, 
When rivers rage, and rocks grow cold. 
And Philomel becometh dumb, 
And all complain of cares to come. 

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields 
To wayward winter reckoning yield : 
A honey tongue, a heart of gall. 
Is fancies spring, but sorrows fall. 

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses, 
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies, 
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten, 
In folly ripe, in reason rotten. 

Thy belt of straw, and ivie buds. 
Thy coral clasps, and amber studs ; 
All these in me no means can move 
To come to thee, and be thy love. 

But could youth last, and love still breed, 
Had joyes no date, nor age no need ; 
Then those delights my mind might move 
To live with thee, and be thy love. 
VOL. I. p 

210 The Percy Reliques 


The reader has here an ancient ballad on the same subject as the play 
of " Titus Andronicus," and it is probable that the one was borrowed 
from the other : but which of them was the original, it is not easy 
to decide. And yet, if the argument offered above in the preface to 
No. II, Series I. Book ii. for the priority of the ballad of the "Jew 
of Venice " may be admitted, somewhat of the same kind may be urged 
here ; for this ballad differs from the play in several particulars, which 
a simple ballad-writer would be less likely to alter than an inventive 
tragedian. Thus in the ballad is no mention of the contest for the empire 
between the two brothers, the composing of which makes the ungrateful 
treatment of Titus afterwards the more flagrant : neither is there any 
notice taken of his sacrificing one of Tamora's sons, which the tragic poet 
has assigned as the original cause of all her cruelties. In the play Titus 
loses twenty-one of his sons in war, and kills another for assisting 
Bassianus to carry off Lavinia : the reader will find it different in 
the ballad. In the latter she is betrothed to the emperor's son : in the 
play to his brother. In the tragedy only two of his sons fall into 
the pit, and the third being banished returns to Rome with a victorious 
army, to avenge the wrongs of his house : in the ballad all three 
are entrapped and suffer death. In the scene the emperor kills Titus, 
and is in return stabbed by Titus's surviving son. Here Titus kills the 
emperor, and afterwards himself. 

Let the reader weigh these circumstances and some others wherein he 
will find them unlike, and then pronounce for himself. After all, 
there is reason to conclude that this play was rather improved by 
Shakspeare with a few fine touches of his pen, than originally written 
by him ; for, not to mention that the style is less figurative than his 
others generally are, this tragedy is mentioned with discredit in the 
induction to Ben Jonson's "Bartholomew Fair," in 1614, as one that 
had then been exhibited " five-and-twenty or thirty years:" which, 
if we take the lowest number, throws it back to the year 1589, at which 
time Shakspeare was but 25 : an earlier date than can be found for 
any other of his pieces : ^ and if it does not clear him entirely of it, 
shows at least it was a first attempt.^ 

The following is given from a copy in "The Golden Garland "intitled 
as above ; compared with three others, two of them in black-letter in 
the Pepys Collection, intitled, " The Lamentable and Tragical History 
of Titus Andronicus, &c. To the tune of Fortune." Printed for 
E, Wright. Unluckily none of these have any dates. 

You noble minds, and famous martiall wights, 
That in defence of native country fights, 
Give eare to me, that ten yeeres fought for Rome, 
Yet reapt disgrace at my returning home. 

1 Mr. Malone thinks 1591 to be the a;ra when our author commenced a writer tor 
the stage. See in his Shaksp. the ingenious " Attempt to ascertain the order in 
which the plays of Shakspeare were written." 

2 Since the above was written, Shakspeare's memory has been fully vindicated from 
the charge of writing tlie above play by the best critics. See what has been urged 
by Steevens and Malone in their excellent editions of Shakspeare, &c. 

Titus Andronicus's Complaint 211 

In Rome I lived in fame fulle threescore yeeres, 
My name beloved was of all my peeres ; 
Full five and twenty valiant sonnes I had, 
Whose forwarde vertues made their father glad. 

For when Romes foes their warlike forces bent, 
Against them stille my sonnes and I were sent; 
Against the Goths full ten yeeres weary warre 
We spent, receiving many a bloudy scarre. 

Just two and twenty of my sonnes were slaine 
Before we did returne to Rome againe : 
Of five and twenty sonnes, I brought but three 
Alive, the stately towers of Rome to see. 

When wars were done, I conquest home did bring. 
And did present my prisoners to the king. 
The Queene of Goths, her sons, and eke a moore, 
Which did such murders, like was nere before. 

The emperour did make this queen his wife, 
\Vhich bred in Rome debate and deadlie strife ; 
The moore, with her two sonnes, did growe soe proud, 
That none like them in Rome might bee allowd. 

The moore soe pleas'd this new-made empress' eie, 
That she consented to him secretlye 
For to abuse her husbands marriage bed, 
And soe in time a blackamore she bred. 

Then she, whose thoughts to murder were inclinde, 
Consented ^vith the moore of bloody minde 
Against myselfe, my kin, and all my friendes, 
In cruell sort to bring them to their endes. 

Soe when in age I thought to live in peace, 
Both care and griefe began then to increase : 
Amongst my sonnes I had one daughter brighte, 
Which joy'd, and pleased best my aged sight ; 

My deare Lavinia was betrothed than 
To Cesars sonne, a young and noble man : 
Who in a hunting by the emperours wife, 
And her two sonnes, bereaved was of life. 

He being slaine, was cast in cruel wise. 
Into a darksome den from light of skies : 

212 The Percy Reliques 

The cruell moore did come that way as then 
With my three sonnes, who fell into the den. 

The moore then fetcht the emperour with speed, 
For to accuse them of that murderous deed ; 
And when my sonnes within the den were found, 
In wrongful! prison they were cast and bound. 

But nowe, behold ! what wounded most my mind, 
The empresses two sonnes of savage kind 
My daughter ravished without remorse. 
And took away her honour, quite perforce. 

When they had tasted of soe sweete a flowre. 
Fearing this sweete should shortly turne to sowre, 
They cutt her tongue, whereby she could not tell 
How that dishonoure unto her befell. 

Then both her hands they basely cutt off quite, 
Whereby their wickednesse she could not write ; 
Nor with her needle on her sampler sowe 
The bloudye workers of her direfuU woe. 

My brother Marcus found her in the wood, 
Staining the grassie ground with purple bloud, 
That trickled from her stumpes, and bloudlesse armes 
Noe tongue at all she had to tell her harmes. 

But when I sawe her in that woeful! case. 
With teares of bloud I wet mine aged face : 
For my Lavinia I lamented more 
Then for my two and twenty sonnes before. 

When as I sawe she could not write nor speake, 
With grief mine aged heart began to breake ; 
We spred an heape of sand upon the ground. 
Whereby those bloudy tyrants out we found. 

For with a staffe, without the helpe of hand. 
She writt these wordes upon the plat of sand : 
"The lustfull sonnes of the proud emjierbsse 
Are doers of this hateful wickednesse." 

I tore the milk-white hairs from off mine head, 
I curst the houre, wherein I first was bred, 
I wisht this hand, that fought for countrie's fame, 
In cradle rockt, had first been stroken lame. 

Titus Andronicus's Complaint 213 

The moore delighting still in villainy 

Did say, to sett my sonnes from prison free 

I should unto the king my right hand give, 

And then my three imprisoned sonnes should live. 

The moore I caus'd to strike it off with speede, 
Whereat I grieved not to see it bleed, 
But for my sonnes would willingly impart, 
And for their ransome send my bleeding heart. 

But as my life did linger thus in paine. 
They sent to me my bootlesse hand againe. 
And therewithal the heades of my three sonnes, 
Which filld my dying heart with fresher moanes. 

Then past reliefe I upp and downe did goe, 
And with my tears writ in the dust my woe : 
I shot my arrowes ^ towards heaven hie, 
And for revenge to hell did often crye. 

The empresse then, thinking that I was mad. 
Like Furies she and both her sonnes were clad, 
(She nam'd Revenge, and Rape and Murder they) 
To undermine and heare what I would say. 

I fed their foolish veines ^ a certaine space, 
Untill my friendes did find a secret place, 
Where both her sonnes unto a post were bound, 
And just revenge in cruell sort was found. 

I cut their throates, my daughter held the pan 
Betwixt her stumpes, wherein the bloud it ran ; 
And then I ground their bones to powder small, 
And made a paste for pyes streight therewithal!. 

Then with their fleshe I made two mighty pyes, 
And at a banquet served in stately wise : 
Before the empresse set this loathsome meat ; 
So of her sonnes own flesh she well did eat. 

Myselfe bereav'd my daughter then of life. 
The empresse then I slew with bloudy knife. 
And stabb'd the emperour immediatelie. 
And then myself: even soe did Titus die. 

1 If the ballad was written before the play, I should suppose this to be only a 
metaphorical expression, taken from that in the Psalms, " They shoot out their 
arrows, even bitter words." Ps. Ixiv. 3. 

2 i e. encouraged them in their foolish humours or fancies. 

214 The Percy Reliques 

Then this revenge against the moore was found, 
Alive they sett him halfe into the ground, 
Whereas he stood untill such time he starv'd. 
And soe God send all murderers may be serv'd. 


The first stanza of this little sonnet, which an eminent critic ^ justly 
admires for its extreme sweetness, is found in Shakspeare's " Measure 
for Measure." act iv. sc. i. Both the stanzas are preserved in Beaum. 
and Fletcher's " Bloody Brother," act v. sc. 2. Sewel and Gildon have 
printed it among Shakspeare's smaller poems ; but they have done the 
same by twenty other pieces that were never writ by him, their book 
being a wretched heap of inaccuracies and mistakes. It is not found in 
Jaggard's old edition of Shakspeare's " Passionate Pilgrim," ^ &c. 

Take, oh take those lips away, 
That so sweetlye were forsworne ; 

And those eyes, the breake of day, 
Lights, that do misleade the morne : 

But my kisses bring againe, 

Scales of love, but seal'd in vaine. 

Hide, oh hide those hills of snowe, 
Which thy frozen bosom beares, 

On whose tops the pinkes that growe 
Are of those that April wears : 

But first set my poor heart free, 

Bound in those icy chains by thee. 


The reader has here an ancient ballad on the subject of "King Lear," 
which, as a sensible female critic has well observed,^ bears so exact an 
analogy to the argument of Shakspeare's play, that his having copied it 
could not be doubted, if it were certain that it was written before the 
tragedy. Here is found the hint of Lear's madness, which the old 
chronicles * do not mention, as also the extravagant cruelty exercised on 
him by his daughters. In the death of Lear they likewise very exactly 

1 Dr. Warburton in his Shaksp. 

2 Mr. Malone, in his improved edition of Shakspeare's Sonnets, &c hath substituted 
this instead of Marlow's Madrigal, printed above ; for which he hath assigned reasons, 
wliicli the reader may see in his vol. x. p. 340. 

3 Mrs. Lennox. Shakspeare illustrated, vol. iii. p. 302. 

* See Jeffery of Monmouth, Holingshed, &c who relate Leir's History in many 
respects the same as the ballad. 

King Leir and his Daughters 215 

coincide. The misfortune is, that there is nothing to assist us in as- 
certaining the date of the ballad but what little evidence arises from 
v/ithin ; this the reader must weigh, and judge for himself. 

It may be proper to observe, that Shakspeare was not the first of our 
dramatic poets who fitted the story of Leir to the stage. His first 
4to. edition is dated i6oS ; but three years before that had been printed 
a play entitled "The true Chronicle History of Leir and his three 
daughters Gonorill, Ragan, and Cordelia, as it hath been divers and 
sundry times lately acted," 1605, 4to. This is a very poor and dull 
performance, but happily excited Shakspeare to undertake the subject, 
which he has given with very different incidents. It is remarkable, 
that neither the circumstances of Leir's madness, nor his retinue of 
a select number of knights, nor the affecting deaths of Cordelia and 
Leir, are found in that first dramatic piece : in all which Shakspeare 
concurs with this ballad. 

But to form a true judgment of Shakspeare's merit, the curious 
reader should cast his eye over that previous sketch ; which he will 
find printed at the end of the "Twenty Plays" of Shakspeare, re- 
published from the quarto impressions by George Steevens, Esq. with 
such elegance and exactness as led us to expect that fine edition of 
all the works of our great dramatic poet, which he hath since published. 

The following ballad is given from an ancient copy in the "Golden 
Garland," black-letter, intitled, "A lamentable Song of the Death of 
King Lear and his Three Daughters. To the tune of When flying 

King Leir once ruled in this land 

With princely power and peace ; 
And had all things with hearts content, 

That might his joys increase. 
Amongst those things that nature gave, 

Three daughters fair had he, 
So princely seeming beautiful, 

As fairer could not be. 

So on a time it pleas'd the king 

A question thus to move, 
Which of his daughters to his grace 

Could shew the dearest love : 
For to my age you bring content, 

Quoth he, then let me hear, 
Which of you three in plighted troth 

The kindest will appear. 

To whom the eldest thus began ; 

Dear father, mind, quoth she, 
Before your face, to do you good, 

My blood shall render'd be : 

2i6 The Percy Reliques 

And for your sake my bleeding heart 
Shall here be cut in twain, 

Ere that I see your reverend age 
The smallest grief sustain. 

And so will I, the second said ; 

Dear father, for your sake, 
The worst of all extremities 

I'll gently undertake : 
And serve your highness night and day 

With diligence and love ; 
That sweet content and quietness 

Discomforts may remove. 

In doing so, you glad my soul. 

The aged king reply'd ; 
But what sayst thou, my youngest girl. 

How is thy love ally'd ? 
My love (quoth young Cordelia then) 

Which to your grace I owe, 
Shall be the duty of a child, 

And that is all I'll show. 

And wilt thou shew no more, quoth he, 

Than doth thy duty bind ? 
I well perceive thy love is small, 

When as no more I find. 
Henceforth I banish thee my court, 

Thou art no child of mine ; 
Nor any part of this my realm 

By favour shall be thine. 

Thy elder sisters loves are more 

Then well I can demand, 
To whom I equally bestow 

My kingdome and my land, 
My pompal state and all my goods, 

That lovingly I may 
With those thy sisters be maintain'd 

Until my dying day. 

Thus flattering speeches won renown, 
By these two sisters here ; 

The third had causeless banishment, 
Yet was her love more dear ; 

King Leir and his Daughters 217 

For poor Cordelia patiently 

Went wandring up and down, 
Unhelp'd, unpity'd, gentle maid, 

Through many an English town : 

Untill at last in famous France 

She gentler fortunes found ; 
Though poor and bare, yet she was deem'd 

The fairest on the ground : 
Where when the king her virtues heard, 

And this fair lady seen, 
With full consent of all his court 

He made his wife and queen. 

Her father king Leir this while 

With his two daughters staid : 
Forgetful of their promis'd loves, 

Full soon the same decay'd ; 
And living in queen Ragan's court, 

The eldest of the twain. 
She took from him his chiefest means. 

And most of all his train. 

For whereas twenty men were wont 

To wait with bended knee : 
She gave allowance but to ten, 

And after scarce to three ; 
Nay, one she thought too much for him ; 

So took she all away. 
In hope that in her court, good king, 

He would no longer stay. 

Am I rewarded thus, quoth he, 

In giving all I have 
Unto my children, and to beg 

For what I lately gave ? 
I'll go unto my Gonorell : 

My second child, I know, 
Will be more kind and pitiful, 

And will relieve my woe. 

Full fast he hies then to her court ; 

Where when she heard his moan 
Return'd him answer. That she griev'd 

That all his means were gone : 

2i8 The Percy Reliques 

But no way could relieve his wants ; 

Yet if that he would stay 
Within her kitchen, he should have 

What scullions gave away. 

When he had heard, with bitter tears, 

He made his answer then ; 
In what I did let me be made 

Example to all men. 
I will return again, quoth he, 

Unto my Ragan's court ; 
She will not use me thus, I hope, 

But in a kinder sort. 

Where when he came, she gave command 

To drive him thence away : 
When he was well within her court 

(She said) he would not stay. 
Then back again to Gonorell 

The woeful king did hie, 
That in her kitchen he might have 

What scullion boy set by. 

But there of that he was deny'd, 

Which she had promis'd late : 
For once refusing, he should not 

Come after to her gate. 
Thus twixt his daughters, for relief 

He wandred up and down ; 
Being glad to feed on beggars food, 

That lately wore a crown. 

And calling to remembrance then 

His youngest daughters words. 
That said the duty of a child 

Was all that love affords : 
But doubting to repair to her, 

Whom he had banish'd so. 
Grew frantick mad ; for in his mind 

He bore the wounds of woe : 

Which made him rend his milk-white locks, 

And tresses from his head, 
And all with blood bestain his cheeks. 

With age and honour spread. 

King Leir and his Daughters 219 

To hills and woods and watry founts 

He made his hourly moan, 
Till hills and woods and sensless things, 

Did seem to sigh and groan. 

Even thus possest with discontents, 

He passed o're to France, 
In hopes from fair Cordelia there, 

To find some gentler chance ; 
Most virtuous dame ! which when she heard. 

Of this her father's grief. 
As duty bound, she quickly sent 

Him comfort and relief : 

And by a train of noble peers, 

In brave and gallant sort, 
She gave in charge he should be brought 

To Aganippus' court ; 
^Vhose royal king, with noble mind 

So freely gave consent. 
To muster up his knights at arms. 

To fame and courage bent. 

And so to England came with speed, 

To repossesse king Leir 
And drive his daughters from their thrones 

By his Cordelia dear. 
Where she, true-hearted noble queen, 

Was in the battel slain ; 
Yet he, good king, in his old days, 

Possest his crown again. 

But when he heard Cordelia's death, 

Who died indeed for love 
Of her dear father, in whose cause 

She did this battle move ; 
He swooning fell upon her breast, 

From whence he never parted : 
But on her bosom left his life, 

That was so truly hearted. 

The lords and nobles when they saw 

The end of these events. 
The other sisters unto death 

They doomed by consents ; 

220 The Percy Reliques 

And being dead, their crowns they left 

Unto the next of kin : 
Thus have you seen the fall of pride, 

And disobedient sin. 


This is found in the little collection of Shakspeare's Sonnets, 
intitled "The Passionate Pilgrime,"^ the greatest part of which seems 
to relate to the amours of Venus and Adonis, being little effusions of 
fancy, probably written while he was composing his larger poem on 
that subject. The following seems intended for the mouth of Venus, 
weighing the comparative merits of youthful Adonis and aged Vulcan. 
In the "Garland of Good Will" it is reprinted, with the addition of 
four more such stanzas, but evidently written by a meaner pen. 

Crabbed Age and Youth 

Cannot live together ; 
Youth is full of pleasance, 

Age is full of care : 
Youth like summer morn, 

Age like winter weather, 
Youth like summer brave, 

Age like winter bare : 
Youth is full of sport, 
Ages breath is short ; 

Youth is nimble, Age is lame : 
Youth is hot and bold, 
Age is weak and cold ; 

Youth is wild, and Age is tame. 
Age, I do abhor thee, 
Youth, I do adore thee ; 

O, my love, my love is young : 
Age, I do defie thee ; 
Oh sweet shepheard, hie thee, 

For methinks thou stayst too long. 

*,* See Malone's Shakesp. vol. x. p. 325. 

1 Mentioned above, No. xL Series I. Book ii. 

The Frolicksome Duke 221 


The following ballad is upon the same subject as the Induction to 
Shakspeare's " Taming of the Shrew : " whether it may be thought to 
have suggested the hint to the dramatic poet, or is not rather of later 
date, the reader must determine. 

The story is told ^ of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy ; and is 
thus related by an old English writer: "The said Duke, at the 
marriage of Eleonora, sister to the King of Portugall, at Bruges in 
Flanders, which was solemnised in the deepe of winter ; when as by 
reason of unseasonable weather he could neither hawke nor hunt, and 
was now tired with cards, dice, &c. and such other domestick sports, 
or to see ladies dance ; with some of his courtiers, he would in the 
evening walke disguised all about the towne. It so fortuned, as he was 
walking late one night, he found a countrey fellow dead drunke, 
snorting on a bulke ; he caused his followers to bring him to his 
palace, and there stripping him of his clothes, and attyring him after 
the court fashion, when he awakened, he and they were all ready to 
attend upon his excellency, and persuade him that he was some great 
Duke. The poor fellow admiring how he came there, was served in 
state all day long : after supper he saw them dance, heard musicke, 
and all the rest of those court-like pleasures : but late at night, when 
he was well tipled, and again fast asleepe, they put on his old rodes, 
and so conveyed him to the place where they first found hin. Now 
the fellow had not made them so good sport the day before as he did 
now, when he returned to himself: all the jest was to see how he 
looked upon it. In conclusion, after some little admiration, the poore 
man told his friends he had seen a vision ; constantly believed it ; 
would not otherwise be persuaded, and so the jest ended." Burton's 
Anatomy of Melancholy, pt. ii. sec. 2. memb. 4. 2d ed. 1624, fol. 

This ballad is given from a black-letter copy in the Pepys Collection, 
which is intitled as above. "To the tune of Fond Boy." 

Now as fame does report a young duke keeps a court, 

One that pleases his fancy with frolicksome sport : 

But amongst all the rest, here is one I protest, 

Which will make you to smile when you hear the true jest : 

A poor tinker he found, lying drunk on the ground, 

As secure in a sleep as if laid in a swound. 

The Duke said to his men, William, Richard, and Ben, 
Take him home to my palace, we'll sport with him then. 
O'er a horse he was laid, and with care soon convey'd 
To the palace, altho' he was poorly arrai'd : 
Then they stript off his cloaths, both his shirt, shoes and 

And they put him to bed for to take his repose. 

1 By Ludov. Vives in Epist. and by Pont. Heuter. Rerum Burgund. 1. iv. 

222 The Percy Reliques 

Having puU'd off his shirt, which was all over durt, 

They did give him clean hoUand, this was no great hurt : 

On a bed of soft down, Uke a lord of renown, 

They did lay him to sleep the drink out of his crown. 

In the morning when day, then admiring he lay. 

For to see the rich chamber both gaudy and gay. 

Now he lay something late, in his rich bed of state, 
Till at last knights and squires they on him did wait ; 
And the chamberling bare, then did likewise declare, 
He desired to know what apparel he'd ware : 
The poor tinker amaz'd, on the gentleman gaz'd, 
And admired how he to this honour was rais'd. 

Tho' he seem'd something mute, yet he chose a rich suit, 
\Vhich he straitways put on without longer dispute ; 
With a star on his side, which the tinker offt ey'd. 
And it seem'd for to swell him ' no ' little with pride ; 
For he said to himself, Where is Joan my sweet wife ? 
Sure she never did see me so fine in her life. 

From a convenient place, the right duke his good grace 
Did observe his behaviour in every case. 
To a garden of state, on the tinker they wait. 
Trumpets sounding before him : thought he, this is great : 
Where an hour or two, pleasant walks he did view, 
With commanders and squires in scarlet and blew. 

A fine dinner was drest, both for him and his guests, 

He was plac'd at the table above all the rest, 

In a rich chair * or bed,' lin'd with fine crimson red, 

With a rich golden canopy over his head : 

As he sat at his meat, the musick play'd sweet. 

With the choicest of singing his joys to compleat. 

While the tinker did dine, he had plenty of wine, ' 

Rich canary with sherry and tent superfine. 

Like a right honest soul, faith, he took off his bowl, 

Till at last he began for to tumble and roul 

From his chair to the floor, where he sleeping did snore, 

Being seven times drunker than ever before. 

Then the duke did ordain, they should strip him amain, 
And restore him his old leather garments again : 
'T was a point next the worst, yet perform it they must, 
And they carry'd him strait, where they found him at first ; 

The Frolicksome Duke 223 

Then he slept all the night, as indeed well he might ; 
But when he did waken, his joys took their flight. 

For his glory ' to him ' so pleasant did seem, 

That he thought it to be but a meer golden dream ; 

Till at length he was brought to the duke, where he sought 

For a pardon, as fearing he had set him at nought ; 

But his highness he said, Thou 'rt a jolly bold blade, 

Such a frolick before I think never was plaid. 

Then his highness bespoke him a new suit and cloak, 
Which he gave for the sake of this frolicksome joak ; 
Nay, and five-hundred pound, with ten acres of ground, 
Thou shalt never, said he, range the counteries round. 
Crying old brass to mend, for I'll be thy good friend. 
Nay, and Joan thy sweet wife shall my duchess attend. 

Then the tinker reply'd, What ! must Joan my sweet bride 

Be a lady in chariots of pleasure to ride ? 

Must we have gold and land ev'ry day at command ? 

Then I shall be a squire I well understand : 

Well I thank your good grace, and your love I embrace, 

I was never before in so happy a case. 


Dispersed through Shakspeare's plays are innumerable little frag- 
ments of ancient ballads, the enure copies of which could not be 
recovered. Many of tnese being of the most beautiful and pathetic 
simplicity, the Editor was tempted to select some of them, and with a 
few supplemental stanzas to connect them together, and form them into 
a little tale, which is here submitted to the reader's candour. 

One small fragment was taken from Beaumont and Fletcher. 

It was a friar of orders gray 

Walkt forth to tell his beades ; 
And he met with a lady faire. 

Clad in a pilgrime's weedes. 

Now Christ thee save, thou reverend friar, 

I pray thee tell to me, 
If ever at yon holy shrine 

My true love thou didst see. 

224 The Percy Reliques 

And how should I know your true love 

From many another one ? 
O by his cockle hat, and staff, 

And by his sandal shoone.^ 

But chiefly by his face and mien, 

That were so fair to view ; 
His flaxen locks that sweetly curl'd, 

And eyne of lovely blue. 

O lady, he is dead and gone ! 

Lady, he's dead and gone ! 
And at his head a green grass turfe, 

And at his heels a stone. 

Within these holy cloysters long 

He languisht, and he dyed, 
Lamenting of a ladyes love, 

And 'playning of her pride. 

Here bore him barefac'd on his bier 

Six proper youths and tall. 
And many a tear bedew'd his grave 

Within yon kirk-yard wall. 

And art thou dead, thou gentle youth 5 

And art thou dead and gone ! 
And didst thou die for love of me 1 

Break, cruel heart of stone ! 

O weep not, lady, weep not soe ; 

Some ghostly comfort seek : 
Let not vain sorrow rive thy heart, 

Ne teares bedew thy cheek. 

O do not, do not, holy friar, 

My sorrow now reprove ; 
For I have lost the sweetest youth, 

That e'er wan ladyes love. 

And nowe, alas ! for thy sad losse, 

I'll evermore weep and sigh ; 
For thee I only wisht to live, 

For thee I wish to dye. 

1 These are the distinguishing marks of a pilgrim. The chief places of devotion 
being beyond sea, the pilgrims were wont to put cockle-shells in their hats to denote 
the intention or performance of their devotion. Warb. Shaksp. vol. viii. p. 224. 

The Friar of Orders Gray 225 

Weep no more, lady, weep no more, 

Thy sorrowe is in vaine : 
For violets pluckt the sweetest showers 

Will ne'er make grow againe. 

Our joys as winged dreams doe flye, 

Why then should sorrow last ? 
Since grief but aggravates thy losse, 

Grieve not for what is past. 

O say not soe, thou holy friar ; 

I pray thee, say not soe : 
For since my true-love dyed for mee, 

'Tis meet my tears should flow. 

And will he ne'er come again ? 

Will he ne'er come again ? 
Ah ! no, he is dead and laid in his grave, 

For ever to remain. 

His cheek was redder than the rose ; 

The comliest youth was he ! 
But he is dead and laid in his grave : 

Alas, and woe is me ! 

Sigh no more, lady, sigh no more. 

Men were deceivers ever : 
One foot on sea and one on land, 

To one thing constant never. 

Hadst thou been fond, he had been false, 

And left thee sad and heavy ; 
For young men ever were fickle found. 

Since summer trees were leafy. 

Now say not so, thou holy friar, 

I pray thee say not soe ; 
My love he had the truest heart : 

O he was ever true ! 

And art thou dead, thou much-lov'd youth. 

And didst thou dye for mee ? 
Then farewell home ; for ever-more 

A pilgrim I will bee. 

But first upon my true-loves grave 

My weary limbs I'll lay, 
And thrice I'll kiss the green-grass turf, 

That wraps his breathless clay. 

VOL. 1. rt 

226 The Percy Reliques 

Yet stay, fair lady ; rest awhile 

Beneath this cloyster wall : 
See through the hawthorn blows the cold wind, 

And drizzly rain doth fall. 

O stay me not, thou holy friar ; 

O stay me not, I pray ; 
No drizzly rain that falls on me, 

Can wash my fault away. 

Yet stay, fair lady, turn again, 

And dry those pearly tears ; 
For see beneath this gown of gray 

Thy own true-love appears. 

Here forc'd by grief, and hopeless love. 

These holy weeds I sought ; 
And here amid these lonely walls 

To end my days I thought. 

But haply for my year of grace ^ 

Is not yet past away, 
Might I still hope to win thy love, 

No longer would I stay. 

Now farewell grief, and welcome joy 

Once more unto my heart ; 
For since I have found thee, lovely youth, 

We never more will part. 

*^* As the foregoing song has been thought to have suggested to 
our late excellent poet, Dr. Goldsmith, the plan of his beautiful ballad 
of "Edwin and Emma" (first printed in lus '* Vicar of Wakefield"), 
it is but justice to his memory to declare, that his poem was written 
first, and that if there is any imitation in the case, they will be found 
both to be indebted to the beautiful old ballad " Gentle Herdsman," 
(S:c. printed in Series II. Book i. No. 14, of this work, which the 
Doctor had much admired in manuscript, and has finely improved. 

1 The year of probation, or noviciate. 




At the beginning of Series I. Book i. we gave the old original song 
of "Chevy Chace." The reader has here the more improved edition 
of that fine heroic ballad. It will afford an agreeable entertainment to 
the curious to compare them together, and to see how far the latter 
bard has excelled his predecessor, and where he has fallen short of him. 
For though he has every where improved the versification, and gener- 
ally the sentiment and diction ; yet some few passages retain more 
dignity in the ancient copy ; at least the obsoleteness of the style serves 
as a veil to hide whatever may appear too familiar or vulgar in them. 
Thus, for instance, the catastrophe of the gallant Witherington is in the 
modern copy exprest in terms which never fail at present to excite 
ridicule : whereas in the original it is related with a plain and pathetic 
simplicity, th:;t is liable to no such unlucky effect : See the stanza, 
which, in modern orthography, &c. would run thus : 

For Witherington my heart is woe, 

That ever he slain should be : 
For when his legs were hewn in two, 

He knelt and fought on his knee. 

So again the stanza which describes the fall of Montgomery is some 
what more elevated in the ancient copy : 

The dint it was both sad and sore. 

He on Montgomery set : 
The swan-feathers his arrow bore 

With his hearts blood were wet. 

We might also add, that the circumstances of the battle are more 
clearly conceived, and the several incidents more distinctly marked in 
the old original, than in the improved copy. It is well known that the 
ancient English weapon was the long-bow, and that this nation excelled 
all others in archery ; while the Scottish warriors chiefly depended on 
the use of the spear: this characteristic difference never escapes our 
ancient bard, whose description of the first onset is to the following 
effect : — 

"The proposal of the two gallant earls to determine the dispute by 
single combat being over-ruled ; the English, says he, who stood with 
their bows ready bent, gave a general discharge of their arrows, which 
slew seven score spearmen of the enemy : but notwithstanding so 
severe a loss, Douglas like a brave captain kept his ground. He had 
divided his forces into three columns, who as soon as the English had 
discharged their first volley, bore down upon them with their spears, 
and breaking through their ranks reduced them to close fighting. The 
archers upon this dropt their bows and had recourse to their swords, 
and there followed so sharp a conflict, that multitudes on both sides 
lost their lives." In the midst of this general engagement, at length, 


228 The Percy Reliques 

the two great earls meet, and after a spirited rencounter agree to 
breathe ; upon which a parley ensues, that would do honour to Homer 

Nothing can be more pleasingly distinct and circumstantial than this : 
whereas, the modern copy, though in general it has great merit, is here 
unluckily both confused and obscure. Indeed the original words seem 
here to have been totally misunderstood. "Yet bydys the yerl 
Douglas upon the bent," evidently signifies, "Yet the earl Douglas 
abides in theyfi?/^;" whereas the more modern bard seems to have 
understood by bent, the inclination of his mind, and accordingly runs 
quite ofif from the subject : ^ 

To drive the deer with hound and horn 
Karl Douglas had the bent. 

One may also observe a generous impartiality in the old original 
bard, when in the conclusion of his tale he represents both nations as 
quitting the field, without any reproachful reflection on either : though 
he gives to his own countrymen the credit of being the smaller number. 

Of fifteen hundred archers of England 

Went away hut fifty and three ; 
Of twenty hundred spearmen of Scotland, 

But even five and fifty. 

He attributes flight to neither party, as hath been done in the modem 
copies of this ballad, as well Scotch as English. For, to be even with 
our latter bard, who makes the Scots to flee, some reviser of North 
Britain has turned his own arms against him, and printed an edition at 
Glasgow, in which the lines are thus transposed : 

Of fifteen hundred Scottish speirs 

Went hame but fifty-three : 
Of twenty hundred Englishmen 

Scarce fifty-five did flee. 

And to countenance this change he has suppressed the two stanzas be- 
tween ver. 240 and 249. From chat edition I have here reformed the 
Scottish names, which in the modern English ballad appeared to be 

When I call tlie present admired ballad modern, I only mean that it 
is comparatively so ; for that it could not be writ much later than the 
time of Queen Elizabeth, I think may be made appear ; nor yet does it 
seem to be older than the beginning of the last century." 

1 In the present edition, instead of the unmeaning lines here censured, an insertion 
is made of five stanzas modernized from the ancient copy. 

2 A late writer has started a notion that the modern copy "was written to be sung 
by a party of English, headed by a Douglas in the year 1524; which is the true 
reason why, at the same time that it gives the advantage to the English soldiers 
above the Scotch, it gives so lovely and so manifestly superior a character to the 
Scotch commander above the English." See Says Essay on the Numbers of Paradise 
Lost, 4to. 1745, p. 167. 

This appears to me a groundless conjecture : the language seems too modern for the 
date above mentioned ; and, had it been printed even so early as Queen Elizabeth's 
reign, I think I should have met with some copy wherein the first line would have 

God prosper long our noble queen, 

as was the case with " The Blind Beggar of Bednal Green." See Series II. Book ii. 
No. X. 

Chevy Chace 229 

Sir Philip Sidney, when he complains of the antiquated phrase of 
Chevy Chace, could never have seen this improved copy, the language 
of which is not more ancient than he himself used. It is probable that 
the encomiums of so admired a writer excited some bard to revise 
the ballad, and to free it from those faults he had objected to it. That 
it could not be much later than that time, appears from the phrase 
" doleful dumps ; " which in that age carried no ill sound with it, but to 
the next generation became ridiculous. We have seen it pass uncensured 
in a sonnet that was at that time in request, and where it could not fail 
to have been taken notice of, had it been in the least exceptionable (see 
above. Book ii. Song 5. ver. 2.) : yet, in about half a century after it 
was become burlesque. Vide Hudibras, Part I. c. iii. ver. 95. 

This much premised, the reader that would see the general beauties 
of this ballad set in a just and striking light, may consult the excellent 
criticism of Mr. Addison. 1 With regard to its subject : it has already 
been considered. The conjectures there offered will receive confirma- 
tion from a passage in the Memoirs of Carey Earl of Monmouth, 8vo. 
1759. P- 165 ; whence we learn that it was an ancient custom with the 
borderers of the two kingdoms, when they were at peace, to send to tiie 
Lord Wardens of the opposite Marches for leave to hunt within their 
districts. If leave was granted, then towards the end of summer they 
would come and hunt for several days together " with their grey-hounds 
for deer : " but if they took this liberty unpermitted, then the Lord 
Warden of the border so invaded, would not fail to interrupt their sport 
and chastise their boldness. He mentions a remarkable instance that 
happened while he was Warden, when some Scotch gentlemen coming 
to hunt in defiance of him, there must have ensued such an action as this 
of Chevy Chace, if the intruders had been proportionably numerous and 
well armed : for, upon their being attacked by his men at arms, he tells 
us, "some hurt was done, tho' he had given especiall order that they 
should shed as Httle blood as possible." They were in effect over- 
powered and taken prisoners, and only released on their promise to 
abstain from such licentious sporting for the future. 

The following text is given from the Editor's folio manuscript, compared 
with two or three others printed in black-letter. In the second volume 
of Dryden's Miscellanies may be found a translation of Chevy-Chace 
into Latin rhymes. The translator, Mr. Henry Bold, of New College, 
undertook it at the command of Dr. Compton, Bishop of London ; who 
thought it no derogation to his episcopal character, to avow a fondness 
for this excellent old ballad. See the preface to Bold's Latin songs, 
1685, 8vo. 

God prosper long our noble king, 

Our lives and safetyes all ; 
A woeful! hunting once there did 

In Chevy-Chace befall ; 

To drive the deere with hound and home, 

Erie Percy took his way, 
The child may rue that is unborne, 

The hunting of that day. 

1 In the Spectator, No. 70. 74. 

230 The Percy Reliques 

The stout Erie of Northumberland 

A vow to God did make, 
His pleasure in the Scottish woods 

Three summers days to take ; 

The cheefest harts in Chevy-chace 

To kill and beare away. 
These tydings to Erie Douglas came, 

In Scotland where he lay : 

Who sent Erie Percy present word. 

He wold prevent his sport. 
The English erle, not fearing that, 

Did to the woods resort 

With fifteen hundred bow-men bold ; 

All chosen men of might, 
Who knew full well in time of neede 

To ayme their shafts arright. 

The gallant greyhounds swiftly ran. 

To chase the fallow deere : 
On munday they began to hunt, 

Ere day-light did appeare ; 

And long before high noone they had 

An hundred fat buckes slaine ; 
Then having dined, the drovyers went 

To rouze the deare againe. 

The bow-men mustered on the hills, 

Well able to endure ; 
Theire backsides all, with speciall care. 

That day were ^ guarded sure. 

The hounds ran swiftly through the woods, 

The nimble deere to take,- 
That with their cryes the hills and dales 

An eccho shrill did make. 

1 " That they were." fol. MS. 

2 The Chiviot Hills and circumjacent wastes are at present void of deer, and 
almost stript of their woods : but formerly they had enough of both to justify the 
description attempted here and in the ancient ballad of " Chevy-Chace." Leyland, in 
the reign of Hen. VIII., thus describes this county: " In Northumberland, as I 
heare saj', be no forests, except Chivet Hills ; where is much brushe-wood, and some 
okke ; grownde ovargrowne with linge, and some with mosse. I have harde say that 
Chivet-Hills stretchethe xx miles. There is greate plenty of redde-dere, and roo 
bukkes." Itin. vol. vii. p. 56. This passage, which did not occur when the ballad 
was printed off, confirms the accounts there given of the " stagge " and the "roe." 

Chevy Chace 231 

Lord Percy to the quarry went, 

To view the slaughter'd deere ; 
Quoth he, Erie Douglas promised 

This day to meet me heere : 

But if I thought he wold not come, 

Noe longer wold I stay. 
With that, a brave younge gentleman 

Thus to the Erie did say : 

Loe, yonder doth Erie Douglas come, 

His men in armour bright ; 
Full twenty hundred Scottish speres 

All marching in our sight ; 

All men of pleasant Tivydale, 
Fast by the river Tweede : 

cease your sports, Erie Percy said. 
And take your bowes with speede : 

And now with me, my countrymen, 

Your courage forth advance ; 
For there was never champion yett, 

In Scotland nor in France, 

That ever did on horsebacke come, 
But if my hap it were, 

1 durst encounter man for man, 
With him to break a spere. 

Erie Douglas on his milke-white steede, 

Most like a baron bolde. 
Rode foremost of his company, 

Whose armour shone like gold. 

Show me, sayd hee, whose men you bee, 

That hunt soe boldly heere, 
That, without my consent, doe chase 

And kill my fallow-deere. 

The first man that did answer make 

Was noble Percy hee ; 
Who sayd, Wee list not to declare, 

Nor shew whose men wee bee : 

232 The Percy Reliques 

Yet wee will spend our deerest blood, 

Thy cheefest harts to slay. 
Then Douglas swore a solempne oathe, 

And thus in rage did say, 

Ere thus I will out-braved bee, 

One of us two shall dye : 
I know thee well, an erle thou art ; 

Lord Percy, soe am I. 

But trust me, Percy, pittye it were. 

And great offence to kill 
Any of these our guiltlesse men, 

For they have done no ill. 

Let thou and I the battell trye, 

And set our men aside. 
Accurst bee he, Erie Percy sayd. 

By whome this is denyed. 

Then stept a gallant squier forth, 

Witherington was his name. 
Who said, I wold not have it told 

To Henry our king for shame, 

That ere my captaine fought on foote. 

And I stood looking on. 
You be two erles, sayd Witherington, 

And I a squier alone : 

He doe the best that doe I may. 

While I have power to stand : 
While I have power to weeld my sword 

He fight with hart and hand. 

Our English archers bent their bowes. 

Their harts were good and trew ; 
Att the first flight of arrowes sent, 

Full four-score Scots they slew. 

^ [Yet bides Earl Douglas on the bent, 

As Chieftain stout and good. 
As valiant Captain, all unmov'd 

The shock he firmly stood. 

' The five stanzas here inclosed in brackets, which are borrowed chiefly from the 
ii'icient copy, are offered to the reader instead of the following lines, which occur ii 
the editor's folio manuscript. 

Chevy Chace 233 

His host he parted had in three, 

As Leader ware and try'd, 
And soon his spearmen on their foes 

Bare down on every side. 

To drive the deere with hound and home, 

Douglas bade on the bent 
Two captaines moved with mickle might 

Their speres to shivers went. 

Throughout the English archery 

They dealt full many a wound : 
But still our valiant Englishmen 

All firmly kept their ground : 

And throwing strait their bows away, 
They grasp'd their swords so briglit : 

And now sharp blows, a heavy shower, 
On shields and helmets light.] 

They closed full fast on every side, 

Noe slackness there was found ; 
And many a gallant gentleman 

Lay gasping on the ground. 

O Christ ! it was a griefe to see, 

And likewise for to heare, 
The cries of men lying in their gore, 

And scattered here and there. 

At last these two stout erles did meet. 

Like captaines of great might : 
Like lyons wood, they layd on lode, 

And made a cruell fight : 

They fought untill they both did sweat, 

With swords of tempered Steele ; 
Untill the blood, like drops of rain, 

They tricklin downe did feele. 

Yeeld thee. Lord Percy, Douglas sayd 

In faith I will thee bringe, 
Where thou shalt high advanced bee 

By James our Scottish king : 

Thy ransome I will freely give, 

And this report of thee. 
Thou art the most couragious knight, 

That ever I did see. 

234 The Percy Reliques 

Noe, Douglas, quoth Erie Percy then, 

Thy proffer I doe scorne ; 
I will not yeelde to any Scott, 

That ever yett was borne. 

With that, there came an arrow keene 

Out of an English bow. 
Which struck Erie Douglas to the heart, 

A deepe and deadlye blow : 

Who never spake more words than these, 
Fight on, my merry men all ; 

For why, my life is at an end ; 
Lord Percy sees my fall. 

Then leaving liffe, Erie Percy tooke 
The dead man by the hand ; 

And said, Erie Douglas, for thy life 
Wold I had lost my land. 

O Christ ! my verry hart doth bleed 

With sorrow for thy sake ; 
For sure, a more redoubted knight 

Mischance cold never take. 

A knight amongst the Scotts there was 
Which saw Erie Douglas dye. 

Who streight in wrath did vow revenge 
Upon the Lord Percye : 

Sir Hugh Mountgomery was he call'd, 
Who, with a spere most bright. 

Well-mounted on a gallant steed, 
Ran fiercely through the fight ; 

And past the English archers all. 
Without all dread or feare ; 

And through Earl Percyes body then 
He thrust his hatefull spere ; 

With such a vehement force and might 

He did his body gore. 
The staff ran through the other side 

A large cloth-yard, and more. 

So thus did both these nobles dye, 
Whose courage none could staine : 

An English archer then perceiv'd 
The noble erle was slaine ; 

Chevy Chace 235 

He had a bow bent in his hand, 

Made of a trusty tree ; 
An arrow of a cloth-yard long 

Up to the head drew hee : 

Against Sir Hugh Mountgomerye, 

So right the shaft he sett, 
The grey goose-winge that was thereon, 

In his harts bloode was wette. 

This fight did last from breake of day, 

Till setting of the sun • 
For when they rung the evening-bel^ 

The battel scarce was done. 

With stout Erie Percy there was slaine 

Sir John of Egerton,^ 
Sir Robert Ratcliff, and Sir John, 

Sir James that bold barr6n : 

And with Sir George and stout Sir James, 

Both knights of good account, 
Good Sir Ralph Raby there was slaine. 

Whose prowesse did surmount. 

For Witherington needs must I wayle. 

As one in doleful dumpes ; ^ 
For when his leggs were smitten oflf. 

He fought upon his stumpes. 

And with Erie Douglas, there was slaine 

Sir Hugh Montgomerye, 
Sir Charles Murray, that from the feeld 

One foote wold never flee. 

Sir Charles Murray, of Ratcliff, too, 

His sisters sonne was hee ; 
Sir David Lamb, so well esteem'd, 

Yet saved cold not bee. 

And the Lord Maxwell in like case 

Did with Erie Douglas dye : 
Of twenty hundred Scottish speres. 

Scarce fifty-five did flye. 

1 Sc. the Curfew bell, usually rung at 8 o'clock: to which the modernizer 
apparently alludes, instead of the "Evensong bell," or bell for vespers of the original 
author, before the Reformation. 

2 For the surnames, see the notes at the end of the ballad. 

8 i.e. "I, as one in deep concern, must lament." The construction here has 
generally been misunderstood. The old MS. reads " wofuU dumpes." 

236 The Percy Reliques 

Of fifteen hundred Englishmen, 
Went home but fifty-three ; 

The rest were slaine in Chevy-Chace, 
Under the greene woode tree. 

Next day did many widowes come, 
Their husbands to bewayle ; 

They washt their wounds in brinish teareSf 
But all wold not prevayle. 

Theyr bodyes, bathed in purple gore, 
They bare with them away : 

They kist them dead a thousand times, 
Ere they were cladd in clay. 

The news was brought to Eddenborrow, 
'\\'here Scottlands king did raigne, 

That brave Erie Douglas suddenlye 
Was with an arrow slaine : 

heavy newes. King James did say, 
Scotland may witnesse bee, 

1 have not any captaine more 
Of such account as hee. 

Like tydings to King Henry came. 

Within as short a space, 
That Percy of Northumberland 

^^^as slaine in Chevy-Chace : 

Now God be with him, said our king, 

Sith it will noe better bee ; 
I trust I have, within my realme, 

Five hundred as good as hee : 

Yett shall not Scotts nor Scotland say, 

But I will vengeance take : 
I'll be revenged on them all, 

For brave Erie Percyes sake. 

This vow full well the king perform'd 

After, at Humbledowne ; 
In one day, fifty knights were slayne, 

With lords of great renowne : 

And of the rest, of small acount, 

Did many thousands dye : 
Thus endeth the hunting of Chevy-Chase, 

Made by the Erie Percy. 

Chevy Chace 237 

God save our king, and bless this land 

With plenty, joy, and peace ; 
And grant henceforth, that foule debate 

'Twixt noblemen may cease. 

*,* Since the former impression of these volumes, hath been pub- 
lished a new edition of " Collins's Peerage," 1779, &c. nine vols. 8vo. 
which contains, in volume ii. p. 344, an historical passage, which may 
be thought to throw considerable light on the subject of the preceding 
ballad : viz. 

" In this .... year, 1436, according to Hector Boethius, was 
fought the Battle of Pepperden, not far from the Cheviot Hills, between 
the Earl of Northumberland [2d Earl, son of Hotspur] and Earl William 
Douglas, of Angus, with a small army of about four thousand men each, 
in which the latter had the advantage. As this seems to have been a 
private conflict between these two great chieftains of the borders, rather 
than a national war, it has been thought to have given rise to the cele- 
brated old ballad of Chevy-Cliace ; which to render it more pathetic 
and interesting, has been heightened with tragical incidents wholly 
fictitious." See Ridpath's Border Hist. 4to. p. 401. 

The surnames in the foregoing ballad are altered, either by accident 
or desig;n, from the old original copy, and in common editions ex- 
tremely corrupted. They are here rectified, as much as they could be. 

Ver. 202. " Egerton."] This name is restored (instead of Ogerton, 
com. ed.) from the Editor's folio manuscript. The pieces in thai 
manuscript appear to have been collected, and many of them composed 
(among which might be this ballad), by an inhabitant of Cheshire : 
who was willing to pay a compliment here to one of his countrj'men, of 
the eminent family de ox of Egerton (so the name was first written) 
ancestors of the present Duke of Bridgewater ; and this he could do 
with the more propriety, as the Percies had formerly great interest in 
that county : at the fatal battle of Shrewsbury all the flower of the 
Cheshire gentlemen lost their lives fighting in the cause of Hotspur. 

Ver. 203. " Ratcliff."] This was a family much distinguished in 
Northumberland. Edw. Radcliffe, mil. was sheriff of that county in 
17 of Plemry VH, and others of the same surname afterwards. (See 
Fuller, p. 313.) Sir George Ratcliff, Knt. was one of the commissioners 
of inclosure in 1552. (See Nicholson, p. 330.) Of this family was the 
late Earl of Derwentwater, who was beheaded in 1715. The Editor's 
folio manuscript, however, reads here, "Sir Robert Harclifie and Sir 

The Harcleys were an eminent family in Cumberland. (See Fuller, 
p. 224.) Whether this may be thought to be the same name, I do not 

Ver, 204. "Baron."] This is apparently altered (not to say corrupted) 
from Hearone. 

Ver. 207. " Raby."] This might be intended to celebrace one of the 
ancient possessors of Raby Castle, in the county of Durham. Yet it is 

238 The Percy Reliques 

written Rebbye, in the fol. manuscript, and looks like a corruption of 
Rugby or Rokeby, an eminent family in Yorkshire. It will not be 
wondered that the Percies should be thought to bring followers out of 
that county, where they themselves were originally seated, and had 
always such extensive property and influence. 

Ver. 215. " Murray."] So the Scottish copy. In the com. edit, it is 
Carrel or Currel ; and Morrell in the fol. manuscript. 

Ver. 217. "Murray."] So the Scot. edit. The common copies read 
Murrel. The folio manuscript gives the line in the following peculiar 

Sir Roger Heuer of Harcliffe too. 

Ver. 219. "Lamb."] The folio manuscript has 

Sir David Lambwell, well esteemed. 

This seems evidently corrupted from "Lwdale" or " Liddell," in the 
old copy of the ballad. 


These fine moral stanzas were originally intended for a solemn funeral 
song, in a play of James Shirley's, intitled, "The Contention of Ajax 
and Ulysses : " no date, 8vo. Shirley flourished as a dramatic writer 
early in the reign of Charles I. but he outlived the Restoration. His 
death happened October 29, 1666, aet. 72. 

This little poem was written long after many of those that follow, but 
is inserted here as a kind of Dirge to the foregoing piece. It is said to 
have been a favourite song with King Charles II. 

The glories of our birth and state 

Are shadows, not substantial things ; 
There is no armour against fate : 
Death lays his icy hands on kings : 
Scepter and crown 
Must tumble down, 
And in the dust be equal made 
With the poor crooked scythe and spade. 

Some men with swords may reap the field, 
And plant fresh laurels where they kill ; 
But their strong nerves at last must yield ; 
They tame but one another still. 
Early or late 
They stoop to fate, 
And must give up their murmuring breath, 
When they pale captives creep to death. 

Death's Final Conquest 239 

The garlands wither on your brow, 

Then boast no more your mighty deeds ; 
Upon death's purple altar now 

See where the victor victim bleeds : 
All heads must come 
To the cold tomb, 
Only the actions of the just 
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust. 


The subject of this ballad is the great northern insurrection in the 
1 2th year of Elizabeth, 1569 ; which proved so fatal to Thomas Percy, 
the seventh Earl of Northumberland. 

There had not long before been a secret negociation entered into 
between some of the Scottish and English nobility, to bring about a 
marriage between Mary Queen of Scots, at that time a prisoner in 
England, and the Duke of Norfolk, a nobleman of excellent character 
and firmly attached to the Protestant religion. This match was pro- 
posed to all the most considerable of the English nobility, and among 
the rest to the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, two 
noblemen very powerful in the north. As it seemed to promise a 
speedy and safe conclusion of the troubles in Scotland, with many 
advantages to the crown of England, they all consented to it, provided 
it should prove agreeable to Queen Elizabeth. The Earl of Leicester 
(Elizabeth's favourite) undertook to break the matter to her ; but before 
he could find an opportunity, the affair had come to her ears by other 
hands, and she was thrown into a violent flame. The Duke of Norfolk, 
with several of his friends, was committed to the Tower, and sum- 
monses were sent to the northern Earls instantly to make their appear- 
ance at court. It is said that the Earl of Northumberland, who was a 
man of a mild and gentle nature, was deliberating with himself whether 
he should not obey the message, and rely on the queen's candour and 
clemency, when he was forced into desperate measures by a sudden 
report at midnight, Nov. 14, that a party of his enemies were come to 
seize on his person.^ The earl was then at his house at Topcliffe in 
Yorkshire. When rising hastily out of bed, he withdrew to the Earl 
of Westmoreland, at Brancepeth, where the country came in to them, 
and pressed them to take arms in their own defence. They accordingly 
set up their standards, declaring their intent was to restore the ancient 
religion, to get the succession to the crown firmly settled, and to prevent 
the destruction of the ancient nobility, &c. Their common banner^ 
(on whicii was displayed the cross, together with the five wounds of 
Christ,) was borne by an ancient gentleman, Richard Norton, Esq. of 
Norton-Conyers : who with his sons (among whom Christopher, 
Marmaduke, and Thomas, are expressly named by Camden,) distin- 

1 This circumstance is overlooked in the ballad. 

2 Besides this, the ballad mentions the separate banners of the two noblemen. 

240 The Percy Reliques 

guished himself on this occasion. Having entered Durham, they tore 
the Bible, &c. and caused mass to be said there : they then marched on 
to Clifford moor near Wetherby, where they mustered their men. 
Their intention was to have proceeded to York ; but, altering their 
minds, they fell upon Barnard's castle, which Sir George Bowes held 
out against them for eleven days. The two earls, who spent their large 
estates in hospitality, and were extremely beloved on that account, 
were masters of little ready money ; the Earl of Northumberland 
bringing with him only 8000 crowns, and the Earl of Westmoreland 
nothing at all for the subsistence of their forces, they were not able to 
march to London, as they at first intended. In these circumstances, 
Westmoreland began so visibly to despond, that many of his men slunk 
away, though Northumberland still kept up his resolution, and was 
master of the field till December 13, when the Earl of Sussex, accom- 
panied with Lord Hunsdon and others, having marched out of York at 
the head of a large body of forces, and being followed by a still larger 
army under the command of Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, the 
insurgents retreated northward towards the borders, and there dismiss- 
ing their followers, made their escape into Scotland. Though this 
insurrection had been suppressed with so little bloodshed, the Earl of 
Sussex and Sir George Bowes, marshal of the army, put vast numbers 
to death by martial law, without any regular trial. The former of these 
caused at Durham sixty-three constables to be hanged at once. And 
the latter made his boast, that for sixty miles in length, and forty in 
breadth, betwixt Newcastle and Wetherby, there was hardly a town or 
village wherein he had not executed some of the inhabitants. This 
exceeds the cruelties practised in the West after Monmouth's rebellion : 
but that was not the age of tenderness and humanity. 

Such is the account collected from Stow, Speed, Camden, Guthrie, 
Carte, and Rapin ; it agrees in most particulars with the following 
ballad, which was apparently the production of some northern minstrel, 
who was well affected to the two noblemen. It is here printed from 
two manuscript copies, one of them in the Editor's folio collection. 
They contained considerable variations, out of which such reading* 
were chosen as seemed most poetical and consonant to history. 

Listen, lively lordings all, 

Lithe and listen unto mee, 
And I will sing of a noble carle, 

The noblest earle in the north countrie. 

Earle Percy is into his garden gone, 
And after him walkes his faire ladie ; ^ 

I heard a bird sing in mine eare, 
That I must either fight, or flee. 

Now heaven forefend, my dearest lord, 
That ever such harm should hap to thee : 

But goe to London to the court, 
And faire fall truth and honestie. 

1 This iady was Anne, daughter of Henry Somerset, Earl of Worcester. 

The Rising in the North 241 

Now nay, now nay, my ladye gay, 

Alas I thy counsell suits not mee ; 
Mine enemies prevail so fast, 

That at the court I may not bee. 

O goe to the court yet, good my lord. 
And take thy gallant men with thee : 

If any dare to doe you wrong, 
Then your warrant they may bee. 

Now nay, now nay, thou lady faire, 

The court is full of subtiltie ; 
And if I goe to the court, ladye, 

Never more I may thee see. 

Yet goe to the court, my lord, she sayes, 

And I myselfe will ryde wi' thee : 
At court then for my dearest lord, 

His faithfuU borrowe I will bee. 

Now nay, now nay, my lady deare; 

Far lever had I lose my life, 
Than leave among my cruell foes 

My love in jeopardy and strife. 

But come thou hither, my little foot-page, 

Come thou hither unto mee, 
To Maister Norton thou must goe 

In all the haste that ever may bee. 

Commend me to that gentleman, 
And beare this letter here fro mee ; 

And say that earnestly I praye, 
He will ryde in my companie. 

One while the little foot-page went. 

And another while he ran ; 
Untill he came to his journeys end, 

The little foot-page never blan. 

When to that gentleman he came, 

Down he kneeled on his knee ; 
And tooke the letter betwixt his hands. 

And lett the gentleman it see. 

VOL. I. R 

242 The Percy Reliques 

And when the letter it was redd 

Affore that goodlye companye, 
I wis, if you the truthe wold know, 

There was many a weeping eye. 

He sayd, Come thither, Christopher Norton, 
A gallant youth thou seemest to bee ; 

What doest thou counsel), me, my sonne, 
Now that good erle's in jeopardy ? 

Father, my counselle's fair and free ; 

That erle he is a noble lord. 
And whatsoever to him you hight, 

I wold not have you breake your word. 

Gramercy, Christopher, my sonne, 
Thy counsell well it liketh mee, 

And if we speed and scape with life, 
Well advanced shalt thou bee. 

Come you hither, my nine good sonnes, 

Gallant men I trowe you bee : 
How many of you, my children deare, 

Will stand by that good erle and mee ? 

Eight of them did answer make, 

Eight of them spake hastilie, 
O father, till the daye we dye 

We'll stand by that good erle and thee. 

Gramercy now, my children deare, 

You showe yourselves right bold and brave ; 

And whethersoe'er I live or dye, 
A fathers blessing you shall have. 

But what sayst thou, O Francis Norton, 
Thou art mine eldest sonn and heire : 

Somewhat lyes brooding in thy breast ; 
Whatever it bee, to mee declare. 

Father, you are an aged man, 

Your head is white, your bearde is gray ; 

It were a shame at these your yeares 
For you to ryse in such a fray. 

The Rising in the North 243 

Now fye upon thee, coward Francis, 
Thou never learnedst this of niee : 

When thou wert yong and tender of age, 
Why did I make soe much of thee ? 

But, father, I will wend with you, 

Unarm'd and naked will I bee ; 
And he that strikes against the crowne. 

Ever an ill death may he dee. 

Then rose that reverend gentleman, 
And with him came a goodlye band 

To join with the brave Erie Percy, 

And all the flower o' Northumberland. 

With them the noble Nevill came. 
The Erie of Westmorland was hee : 

At Wetherbye they mustred their host. 
Thirteen thousand faire to see. 

Lord Westmorland his ancyent raisde, 

The Dun Bull he rays'd on hye, 
And three Dogs with golden collars 

Were there sett out most royallye.^ 

Erie Percy there his ancyent spred, 

The Halfe-Moone shining all soe faire : ^ 

The Nortons ancyent had the crosse, 

And the five wounds our Lord did beare. 

i "Dun Bull," &c.] The supporters of the Nevilles, Earls of Westmoreland, 
were Two Bulls Argent, ducally collar'd Gold, armed Or, &c. But I have not dis- 
covered the device mentioned in the ballad, among the badges, &c. given by that 
house. This 'however is certain, that, among those of the Nevilles, Lords Aber- 
gavenny (who were of the same family), is a dun cow with a golden collar : and the 
Nevilles of Chyte in Yorkshire (of the Westmoreland branch) gave for their crest, in 
1513, a dog's (grey-hound's) head erased. So that it is not improbable but Charles 
Neville, the unhappy Earl of Westmoreland here mentioned, might on this occasion 
give the above device on his banner. After all, our old minstrel's verses here may 
have undergone some corruption ; for in another ballad in the same folio manuscript, 
and apparently written by the same hand, containing the sequel of this Lord West- 
moreland's history, his banner is thus described, more conformable to his known 
bearings : 

Sett me up my faire dun bull, 

With gilden homes, hee beares all soe hye. 

2 "The Halfe-Moone," &c.] The Silver Crescent is a well-known crest or badge 
of the Northumberland family. It was probably brought home from some of the 
Crusades against the Saracens. In an ancient pedigree in verse, finely illuminated 
on a roll of vellum, and written in the reign of Henry VII. (in possession of the 
family), we have this fabulous account given of its original. The author begins with 
accounting for the name of Gernon or Algernon, often borne by the Perezes ; who, he 
says, were 

244 The Percy Reliques 

Then Sir George Bowes he straitwaye rose, 
After them some spoyle to make : 

Those noble erles turn'd backe againe, 
And aye they vowed that knight to take. 

That baron he to his castle fled, 
To Barnard castle then fled hee. 

The uttermost walles were eathe to w^in, 
The earles have wonne them presentlie. 

The uttermost walles were lime and bricke ; 

But thoughe they won them soon anone, 
Long e'er they wan the innermost walles, 

For they were cut in rocke of stone. 

Then newes unto leeve London came 
In all the speede that ever might bee, 

And word is brought to our royall queene 
Of the rysing in the North countrie. 

Her grace she turned her round about, 
And like a royall queene shee swore, ^ 

I will ordayne them such a breakfast. 
As never was in the North before. 

Shee caus'd thirty thousand men be rays'd, 
With horse and harneis faire to see ; 

She caused thirty thousand men be raised, 
To take the earles i' th' North countrie. 

Wi' them the false Erie Warwick went, 
Th' Erie Sussex and the Lord Hunsden ; 

Untill they to Yorke castle came 
I wiss, they never stint ne blan. 

Now spred thy ancyent, Westmorland, 
Thy dun bull faine would we spye : 

And thou, the Erie o' Northumberland, 
Now rayse thy half moone up on hye. 

Gernons fyrst named Brutys bloude of Troy ; 

Which valliantly fyghtynge in the land of Perse [Persia] 

At pointe terrible ayance the miscreants on nyght, 

An hevynly mystery was schewyd hym, old bookys reherse ; 

In hys scheld did schyne a Mone veryfyin? her lyght, 

Which to all the ooste yave a perfytte fyght, 

To vaynquys his enemys, and to deth them persue ; 

And therefore the Perses [Percies] the Cressant doth renew. 
In the dark ages no family was deemed considerable that did not derive its descent 
from the Trojan Brutus ; or that was not distinguished by prodigies and miracles. 

1 This is quite in character ; her majesty would sometimes swear at her nobles, as 
wel. as box their ears. 

The Rising in the North 245 

But the dun bulle is fled and gone, 
And the halfe moone vanished away : 

The Eries, though they were brave and bold, 
Against soe many could not stay. 

Thee, Norton, wi' thine eight good sonnes, 

They doom'd to dye, alas ! for ruth ! 
Thy reverend lockes thee could not save. 

Nor them their faire and blooming youthe. 

Wi' them full many a gallant wight 

They cruellye bereav'd of life : 
And many a childe made fatherlesse, 
And widowed many a tender wife. 


This ballad may be considered as the sequel of the preceding. After 
the unfortunate Earl of Northumberland had seen himself forsaken of his 
followers, he endeavoured to withdraw into Scotland, but falling into the 
hands of the thievish borderers, was stript and otherwise ill-treated by 
them. At length he reached the house of Hector of Harlaw, an 
Armstrong, with whom he hoped to lie concealed : for Hector had en- 
gaged his honour to be true to him, and was under great obligations to 
this unhappy nobleman. But this faithless wretch betrayed his guest 
for a sum of money to Murray the Regent of Scotland, who sent him to 
the castle of Loughleven, then belonging to William Douglas. All the 
writers of that time assure us, that Hector, who was rich before, fell 
shortly after into poverty, and became so infamous, that " to take 
Hector's cloak," grew into a proverb to express a man who betrays his 
friend. See Camden, Carleton, Holingshed, &c. 

Lord Northumberland continued in the castle of Loughleven till the 
year 1572 ; when James Douglas Earl of Morton being elected Regent, 
he was given up to the Lord Hunsden at Berwick, and being carried to 
York suffered death. As Morton's party depended upon Elizabeth for 
protection, an elegant historian thinks " it was scarce possible for them 
to refuse putting into her hands a person who had taken up arms against 
her. But as a sum of money was paid on that account, and shared 
between Morton and his kinsman Douglas, the former of whom, during 
his exile in England, had been much indebted to Northumberland's 
friendship, the abandoning this unhappy nobleman to inevitable destruc- 
tion, was deemed an ungrateful and mercenary act." Robertson's 

So far history coincides with this ballad, which was apparently 
written by some Northern bard soon after the event. The interposal of 
the witch-lady (v. 53.) is probably his own invention: yet, even this 
hath some countenance firom history ; for, about 25 years before, the 
Lady Jane Douglas, Lady Glamis, sister of the Earl of Angus, and 

246 The Percy Reliques 

nearly related to Douglas of Loughleven, had suffered death for the 
pretended crime of witchcraft ; who, it is presumed, is the witch-lady 
alluded to in verse 133. 

The following is selected (like the former) from two copies, which 
contained great variations ; one of them in the Editor's folio manuscript. 
In the other copy some of the stanzas at the beginning of this ballad are 
nearly the same with what in that manuscript are made to begin another 
ballad on the escape of the Earl of Westmoreland, who got safe into 
Flanders, and is feigned in the ballad to have undergone a great variety 
of adventures. 

How long shall fortune faile me nowe, 
And harrowe me with feare and dread ? 

How long shall I in bale abide, 
In misery my life to lead ? 

To fall from my bliss, alas the while ! 

It was my sore and heavye lott : 
And I must leave my native land, 

And I must live a man forgot. 

One gentle Armstrong I doe ken, 

A Scot, he is much bound to mee : 
He dwelleth on the border side. 

To him I'll goe right priviUe. 

Thus did the noble Percy 'plaine. 

With a heavy heart and wel-away. 
When he with all his gallant men 

On Bramham moor had lost the day. 

But when he to the Armstrongs came, 
They delt with him all treacherouslye ; 

For they did strip that noble earle : 
And ever an ill death may they dye. 

False Hector to Earl Murray sent, 

To shew him where his guest did hide : 

Who sent him to the Lough-leven, 
With William Douglas to abide. 

And when he to the Douglas came, 

He halched him right curteouslie : 
Say'd, Welcome, welcome, noble earle. 

Here thou shalt safelye bide with mee. 

When he had in Lough-leven been 
Many a month and many a day ; 

Northumberland Betrayed 247 

To the regent ^ the lord warden ^ sent, 
That bannisht earle for to betray. 

He offered him great store of gold, 

And wrote a letter fair to see : 
Saying, Good my lord, grant me my boon, 

And yield that banisht man to mee. 

Earle Percy at the supper sate 

With many a goodly gentleman : 
The wylie Douglas then bespake. 

And thus to flyte with him began : 

What makes you be so sad, my lord. 

And in your mind so sorrowfullye ? 
To-morrow a shooting will be held 

Among the lords of the North countrye. 

The butts are sett, the shooting's made. 

And there will be great royaltye : 
And I am sworne into my bille. 

Thither to bring my Lord Percye. 

I'll give thee my hand, thou gentle Douglas, 
And here by my true faith, quoth hee, 

If thou wilt ryde to the worldes end, 
I will ryde in thy companye. 

And then bespake a lady faire, 

Mary a Douglas was her name : 
You shall byde here, good English lord, 

My brother is a traiterous man. 

He is a traitor stout and stronge, 

As I tell you in privitie : 
For he hath tane liverance of the earle,' 

Into England nowe to 'liver thee. 

Now nay, now nay, thou goodly lady. 

The regent is a noble lord : 
Ne for the gold in all England 

The Douglas would not break his word. 

1 James Douglas Earl of Morton, elected Regent of Scotland, November 34, 


Of one of the English Marches. Lord Hunsden. 
» Of the Earl of Morton, the Regent. 

248 The Percy Reliques 

When the regent was a banisht man, 
With me he did faire welcome find ; 

And whether weal or woe betide, 
I still shall find him true and kind. 

Betweene England and Scotland it wold breake truce, 
And friends againe they wold never bee, 

If they shold 'liver a banisht erle 
Was driven out of his own countrie. 

Alas ! alas ! my lord, she sayes, 

Nowe mickle is their traitorie ; 
Then lett my brother ryde his wayes, 

And tell these English lords from thee. 

How that you cannot with him ryde. 
Because you are in an ile of the sea,^ 

Then ere my brother come againe 

To Edenborrow castle ^ He carry thee. 

To the Lord Hume I will thee bring. 
He is well knowne a true Scots lord, 

And he will lose both land and life. 
Ere he with thee will break his word. 

Much is my woe, Lord Percy sayd, 
When I thinke on my own countrie, 

When I thinke on the heavye happe 
My friends have suffered there for mee. 

Much is my woe. Lord Percy sayd. 

And sore those wars my minde distresse ; 

Where many a widow lost her mate. 
And many a child was fatherlesse. 

And now that I a banisht man 

Shold bring such evil happe with mee, 

To cause my faire and noble friends 
To be suspect of treacherie : 

This rives my heart with double woe ; 

And lever had I dye this day. 
Than thinke a Douglas can be false, 

Or ever he will his guest betray. 

1 /. e. Lake of Leven, which hath communication with the sc«. 

2 At that time in the hands of the opposite faction. 

Northumberland Betrayed 249 

If you'll give me no trust, my lord, 

Nor unto mee no credence yield ; 
Yet step one moment here aside. 

He showe you all your foes in field. 

Lady, I never loved witchcraft, 

Never dealt in privy wyle ; 
But evermore held the high-waye 

Of truth and honour, free from guile. 

If you'll not come yourselfe, my lorde, 
Yet send your chamberlaine with mee ; 

Let me but speak three words with him. 
And he shall come again to thee. 

James Swynard with that lady went, 

She showed him through the weme of her ring 

How many English lords there were 
V.'aiting for his master and him. 

And who walkes yonder, my good lady, 
So royallye on yonder greene ? 

yonder is the Lord Hunsden : ^ 
Alas ! he'll doe you drie and teene. 

And who beth yonder, thou gay ladye. 

That walkes so proudly him beside ? 
That is Sir William Drury,^ shee sayd, 

A keene captkine hee is and tryde. 

How many miles is itt, madam e. 

Betwixt yon English lords and mee ? 
Marry it is thrice fifty miles. 

To saile to them upon the sea. 

1 never was on English ground, 
Ne never sawe it with mine eye, 

But as my book it sheweth mee, 

And through my ring I may descrye. 

My mother shee was a witch ladye, 

And of her skille she learned mee : 
She wold let me see out of Lough-leven 

What they did in London citie. 

1 The Lord Warden of the East Marches. 

2 Governor of Berwick. 

250 The Percy Reliques 

But who is yond, thou lady faire, 

That looketh with sic an austerne face ? 

Yonder is Sir John Foster,^ quoth shee, 
Alas ! he'll do ye sore disgrace. 

He pulled his hatt down over his browe ; 

He wept ; in his heart he was full of woe ; 
And he is gone to his noble Lord, 

Those sorrowful tidings him to show. 

Now nay, now nay, good James Swynard, 
I may not believe that witch ladie : 

The Douglasses were ever true. 

And they can ne'er prove false to mee. 

I have now in Lough-leven been 
The most part of these years three, 

Yett have I never had noe outrake, 
Ne no good games that I cold see. 

Therefore I'll to yon shooting wend, 
As to the Douglas I have hight : 

Betide me weale, betide me woe. 

He ne'er shall find my promise light. 

He writhe a gold ring from his finger. 
And gave itt to that gay ladie : 

Sayes, It was all that I cold save, 
In Harley woods where I cold bee.^ 

And wilt thou goe, thou noble lord, 
Then farewell truth and honestie ; 

And farewell heart and farewell hand ; 
For never more I shall thee see. 

The wind was faire, the boatmen call'd, 
And all the saylors were on borde ; 

Then WilUam Douglas took to his boat. 
And with him went that noble lord. 

Then he cast up a silver wand. 
Says, Gentle lady, fare hhee well ! 

That lady fett a sigh soe deep, 

And in a dead swoone down shee fell. 

1 Warden of the Middle March. 

^ i. e. where I was. An ancient idiom. 

Northumberland Betrayed 251 

Now let us goe back, Douglas, he sayd, 
A sickness hath taken yond faire ladie ; 

If ought befall yond lady but good, 
Then blamed for ever I shall bee. 

Come on, come on, my lord, he sayes ; 

Come on, come on, and let her bee : 
There's ladyes enow in Lough-leven 

For to cheere that gay ladie. 

If you'll not turne yourself, my lord. 

Let me goe with my chamberlaine ; 
We will but comfort that faire lady, 

And wee will return to you againe. 

Come on, come on, my lord, he sayes, 
Come on, come on, and let her bee : 

My sister is craftye, and wold beguile 
A thousand such as you and mee. 

When they had sayled ' fifty myle, 

Now fifty mile upon the sea ; 
Hee sent his man to ask the Douglas, 

When they shold that shooting see. 

Faire words, quoth he, they make fooles faine, 
And that by thee and thy lord is seen : 

You may hap to thinke itt soone enough, 
Ere you that shooting reach, I ween. 

Jamye his hatt pulled over his browe. 
He thought his lord then was betray'd ; 

And he is to Erie Percy againe. 

To tell him what the Douglas sayd. 

Hold upp thy head, man, quoth his lord ; 

Nor therefore lett thy courage fayle, 
He did it but to prove thy heart, 

To see if he cold make it quail. 

When they had other fifty sayld, 

Other fifty mile upon the sea, 
Lord Percy called to Douglas himselfe, 

Sayd, What wilt thou nowe doe with mee ? 

1 There is no navigable stream between Lough-icven and the sea : but a ballad- 
maker is not obliged to understand geography. 

252 The Percy Reliques 

Looke that your brydle be wight, my lord, 
And your horse goe swift as shipp att sea : 

Looke that your spurres be bright and sharpe, 
That you may pricke her while she'll away. 

What needeth this, Douglas ? he sayth ; 

What needest thou to flyte with mee ? 
For I was counted a horseman good 

Before that ever I mett with thee. 

A false Hector hath my horse. 

Who dealt with mee so treacherouslie : 

A false Armstrong hath my spurres, 
And all the geere belongs to mee. 

When they had sayled other fifty mile. 

Other fifty mile upon the sea ; 
They landed low by Berwicke side, 

A deputed ' laird ' ^ landed Lord Percye. 

Then he at Yorke was doomde to dye. 
It was, alas ! a sorrowful! sight : 

Thus they betrayed that noble earle, 
^V^ho ever was a gallant wight. 


This excellent philosophical song appears to have been famous in the 
sixteenth century. It is quoted by Ben Jonson in his play of " Every 
Man out of his Humour," first acted in 1599, act i. sc. i. where an 
impatient person says, 

I am no such pil'd cynique to believe 
That beggery is the onely happinesse, 
Or, with a number of these patient fooles, 
To sing, ' My minde to me a kingdome is,' 
When the lanke hungrie belly barkes for foode. 

It is here chiefly printed from a thin quarto music book, intitled 
" Psalmes, Sonets, and Songs of sadnes and pietie, made into Musicke 
of five parts : &c. By William Byrd, one of the Gent, of the Queenes 
Majesties honorable Chappell. Printed by Thomas East, &c." 4to. 
no date : but Ames in his Typog. has mentioned another edit, of 
the same book, dated 1588, which I take to have been later than this. 

Some improvements and an additional stanza (sc. the 5th), were had, 
from two other ancient copies ; one of them in black-letter in the Pepys 
Collection, thus inscribed, " A sweet and pleasant sonet, intitled 'my 

1 The folio MS. reads " land," and has not the following stanza. 

My Mind to me a Kingdom is 253 

Minde to me a Kingdom is.' To the tune of In Crete, &c." Some of 
the stanzas in this poem were printed by Byrd separate from the rest : 
they are here given in what seemed the most natural order. 

My minde to me a kingdome is ; 

Such perfect joy therein I finde 
As farre exceeds all earthly blisse, 

That God or Nature hath assignde : 
Though much I want, that most would have, 
Yet still my mind forbids to crave. 

Content I live, this is my stay ; 

I seek no more than may suffice ; 
I presse to beare no haughtie sway ; 

Look what I lack my mind supplies. 
Loe ! thus I triumph like a king, 
Content with that my mind doth bring. 

I see how plentie surfets oft, 

And hastie clymbers soonest fall : 
I see that such as sit aloft 

Mishap doth threaten most of all : 
These get with toile, and keep with feare : 

Such cares my mind could never beare. 


No princely pompe, nor welthie store, 

No force to winne the victorie, 
No wylie wit to salve a sore, 

No shape to winne a lovers eye ; 
To none of these I yeeld as thrall, • *' 

For why my mind despiseth all. 

Some have too much, yet still they crave, 

I little have, yet seek no more : 
They are but poore, tho' much they have ; 

And I am rich with little store : 
They poor, I rich ; they beg, I give ; 
They lacke, I lend ; they pine, I live. 

I laugh not at anothers losse, 

I grudge not at anothers gaine ; 
No worldly wave my mind can tosse, 

I brooke that is anothers bane : 
I feare no foe, nor fawne on friend ; 
I lothe not life, nor dread mine end. 

254 The Percy Reliques 

I joy not in no earthly blisse ; 

I weigh not Cresus' welth a straw ; 
For care, I care not what it is ; 

I feare not fortunes fatall law : 
My mind is such as may not move 
For beautie bright or force of love. 

I wish but what I have at will ; 

I wander not to seeke for more ; 
I like the plaine, I clime no hill ; 

In greatest stormes I sitte on shore, 
And laugh at them that toile in vaine 
To get what must be lost againe. 

I kisse not where I wish to kill ; 

I feigne not love where most I hate ; 
I breake no sleep to winne my will ; 

I wayte not at the mighties gate ; 
I scorne no poore, I feare no rich ; 
I feele no want, nor have too much. 

The court, ne cart, I like, ne loath ; 

Extreames are counted worst of all : 
The golden meane betwixt them both 

Doth surest sit, and fears no fall : 
This is my choyce, for why I finde. 
No wealth is like a quiet minde. 

My welth is health, and perfect ease ; 

My conscience clere my chiefe defence 
" » I never seeke by brybes to please, 

Nor by desert to give offence : 
Thus do I live, thus will I die ; 
Would all did so as well as I ! 


The subject of this tale is taken from the entertaining Colloquy 
of Erasmus, intitled, " Uxor Mefixpiya/xos, sive Conjugium : " which has 
been agreeably modernized by the late Mr. Spence, in his little miscel- 
laneous publication, intitled, " Moralities, &c. by Sir Harry Beaumont," 
175"^. 8vo. pag. 42. 

The following stanzas are extracted from an ancient poem intitled 
"Albion's England," written by W. Warner, a celebrated poet in the 
reign of Queen Elizabeth, though his name and works are now equally 
forgotten. The reader will find some account of him in Series II. 
Book ii. No. 24. 

The Patient Countess 255 

The following stanzas are printed from the author's improved edition 
of his work, printed in 1602, 4to. ; the third impression of which 
appeared so early as 1592, in black-letter, 4to. The edition in 1602 is 
in thirteen Books ; and so it is reprinted in 1612, 4to.; yet in 1606 was 
published "A Continuance of Albion's England, by the first author, 
W. W. Lond. 4to. : " this contains Books xiv. xv. xvi. In Ames's 
Typography is preserved the memory of another publication of this 
writer's, intitled, "Warner's Poetry," printed in 1580, i2mo. and 
reprinted in 1602. There is also extant, under the name of Warner, 
" Syrinx, or seven fold Hist, pleasant, and profitable, comical, and 
tragical, " 410. 

It is proper to premise that the following lines were not written by 
the author in stanzas, but in long Alexandrines of fourteen syllables : 
which the narrowness of our page made it here necessary to subdivide. 

Impatience chaungeth smoke to flame, 

But jelousie is hell ; 
Some wives by patience have reduc'd 

111 husbands to live well : 
As did the ladie of an earle, 

Of whom I now shall tell. 

An earle ' there was ' had wedded, lov'd ; 

Was lov'd, and lived long 
Full true to his fayre countesse ; yet 

At last he did her wrong. 

Once hunted he untill the chace, 

Long fasting, and the heat 
Did house him in a peakish graunge 

Within a forest great. 

Where knowne and welcom'd (as the place 

And persons might afforde) 
Browne bread, whig, bacon, curds and milke 

Were set him on the borde. 

A cushion made of lists, a stoole 

Half backed with a hoope 
Were brought him, and he sitteth down 

Beside a sorry coupe. 

The poore old couple wisht their bread 
Were wheat, their whig were perry, 

Their bacon beefe, their milke and curds 
Were creame^ to make him merry. 

Mean while (in russet neatly clad, 

With linen white as swanne, 
Herselfe more white, save rosie where 

The ruddy colour ranne : 

256 The Percy Reliques 

Whome naked nature, not the aydes 

Of arte made to excell) 
The good man's daughter sturres to see 

That all were feat and well ; 
The earle did marke her, and admire 

Such beautie there to dwell. 

Yet fals he to their homely fare, 

And held him at a feast : 
But as his hunger slaked, so 

An amorous heat increast. 

When this repast was past, and thanks, 
And welcome too ; he sayd 

Unto his host and hostesse, in 
The hearing of the mayd : 

Ye know, quoth he, that I am lord 
Of this, and many townes ; 

I also know that you be poore, 
And I can spare you pownes. 

Soe will I, so yee will consent. 

That yonder lasse and I 
May bargaine for her love ; at least, 

Doe give me leave to trye. 
Who needs to know it ? nay who dares 

Into my doings pry? 

First they mislike, yet at the length 

For lucre were misled ; 
And then the gamesome earle did wowe 

The damsell for his bed. 

He took her in his armes, as yet 

So coyish to be kist. 
As mayds that know themselves belov'd. 

And yieldingly resist. 

In few, his offers were so large 

She lastly did consent ; 
With whom he lodged all that night, 

And early home he went. 

He tooke occasion oftentimes 

In such a sort to hunt. 
Whom when his lady often mist, 

Contrary to his wont. 

The Patient Countess 257 

And lastly was informed of 

His amorous haunt elsewhere ; 
It greev'd her not a little, though 

She seem'd it well to beare. 

And thus she reasons with herselfe, 

Some fault perhaps in me; 
Somewhat is done, that soe he doth : 

Alas ! what may it be ? 

How may I winne him to myself? 

He is a man, and men 
Have imperfections ; it behooves 

Me pardon nature then. 

To checke him were to make him checke,^ 

Although hee now were chaste : 
A man controuled of his wife, 

To her makes lesser haste. 

If duty then, or daliance may 

Prevayle to alter him ; 
I will be dutifull, and make 

My selfe for daliance trim. 

So was she, and so lovingly 

Did entertaine her lord, 
As fairer, or more faultles none 

Could be for bed or bord. 

Yet still he loves his leiman, and 

Did still pursue that game. 
Suspecting nothing less, than that 

His lady knew the same : 
Wherefore to make him know she knew, 

She this devise did frame : 

When long she had been wrong'd, and sought 

The foresayd meanes in vaine, 
She rideth to the simple graunge 

But with a slender traine. 

She lighteth, entreth, greets them well, 
And then did looke about her : 

_» To check is a term in falconry, applied when a hawk stops and turns away from 
his proper pursuit : To check also signifies to reprove or chide. It is in this verse 
used in both senses. 

VOL, I. f! 

258 The Percy Reliques 

The guiltie houshold knowing her, 
Did wish themselves without her ; 

Yet, for she looked merily, 

The lesse they did misdoubt her. 

When she had seen the beauteous wench 
(Then blushing fairnes fairer) 

Such beauty made the countesse hold 
Them both excus'd the rather. 

Who would not bite at such a bait ? 

Thought she : and who (though loth) 
So poore a wench, but gold might tempt ? 

Sweet errors lead them both. 

Scarse one in twenty that had bragg'd 

Of proffer'd gold denied, 
Or of such yeelding beautie baulkt. 

But, tenne to one, had lied. 

Thus thought she : and she thus declares 
Her cause of coming thether ; 

My lord, oft hunting in these partes, 
Through travel, night or wether, 

Hath often lodged in your house ; 

I thanke you for the same ; 
For why ? it doth him jolly ease 

To lie so neare his game. 

But, for you have no furniture 

Beseeming such a guest, 
I bring his owne, and come myselfe 

To see his lodging drest. 

With that two sumpters were discharg'd. 

In which were hangings brave, 
Silke coverings, curtens, carpets, plate, 

And al such turn should have. 

When all was handsomly dispos'd, 
She prayes them to have care 

That nothing hap in their default, 
That might his health impair : 

And, Damsell, quoth shee, for it seemes 
This houshold is but three, 

The Patient Countess 259 

And for thy parents age, that this 
Shall chiefely rest on thee ; 

Do me that good, else would to God 

He hither come no more. 
So tooke she horse, and ere she went 

Bestowed gould good store. 

Full little thought the countie that 

His countesse had done so ; 
Who now return'd from far affaires 

Did to his sweet-heart go. 

No sooner sat he foote within 

The late deformed cote, 
But that the formall change of things 

His wondring eies did note. 

But when he knew those goods to be 

His proper goods ; though late. 
Scarce taking leave, he home returnes 

The matter to debate. 

The countesse was a-bed, and he 

With her his lodging tooke ; 
Sir, welcome home (quoth shee) ; this night 

For you I did not looke. 

Then did he question her of such 

His stuffe bestowed soe. 
Forsooth, quoth she, because I did 

Your love and lodging knowe ; 

Your love to be a proper wench, 

Your lodging nothing lesse ; 
I held it for your health, the house 

More decently to dresse. 

Well wot I, notwithstanding her, 

Your lordship loveth me ; 
And greater hope to hold you such 

By quite, then brawles, ' you ' see. 

Then for my duty, your delight, 

And to retaine your favour, 
All done I did, and patiently 

Expect your wonted 'haviour. 

26o The Percy Reliques 

Her patience, witte and answer wrought 

His gentle teares to fall : 
When (kissing her a score of times) 

Amend, sweet wife, I shall : 
He said, and did it ; 'so each wife 

* Her husband may ' recall. 


The following stanzas were written by Michael Drayton, a poet 
of some eminence in the reigns of Queen Elizabeth, James I. and 
Charles I.^ They are inserted in one of his Pastorals, the first edition 
of which bears this whimsical title. " Idea. The Shepheards Garland 
fashioned in nine Eglogs. Rowlands sacrifice to the nine Muses." 
Lond. 1593, 4to. They are inscribed with the author's name at length 
" To the noble and valerous gentleman master Robert Dudley, &c." 
It is very remarkable that when Drayton reprinted them in the first folio 
edit, of his works, 16 19, he had given those eclogues so thorough a 
revisal, that there is hardly a line to be found the same as in the old 
edition. This poem had received the fewest corrections, and therefore 
is chiefly given from the ancient copy, where it is thus introduced by 
one of his shepherds : 

Listen to mee, my lovely shepheards joye, 
And thou shall heare, with mirth and mickle glee, 

A pretie tale, which when I was a boy, 
My toothles grandame oft hath told to me. 

The author has professedly imitated the style and metre of some of the 
old metrical romances, particularly that of" Sir Isenbras," ^ (alluded to 
in v. 3.) as the reader may judge from the following specimen : 

Lordynges, lysten, and you shal here, &c. 

Ye shall well heare of a knight. 
That was in warre full wyght, 

And doughtye of his dede ; 
His name was Syr Isenbras, 
Man nobler than he was 

Lyved none with breade. 
He was lyvely, large, and longe, 
With shoulders broade, and armes stronge, 

That myghtie was to se : 
He was a hardye man, and hye. 
All men hym loved that hym se, 

For a gentyll knight was he ; 
Harpers loved him in hall, 
With other minstrells all, 

For he gave them golde and fee, &c 

This ancient legend was printed in black-letter, 4to, by MpIlDam 
Coplanb ; no date. In the Cotton Library (Calig. A. 2.) is a manuscript 
copy of the same romance containing the greatest variations. They are 
probably two different translations of some French original. 

1 He was bom in 1563, and died, 1631. Biog. Brit. 

2 As also Chaucer's Rhyme of Six Topas, ver. 6. 

Dowsabel 261 

Farre in the countrey of Arden, 
There won'd a knight, hight Cassemen, 

As bolde as Isenbras : 
Fell was he, and eger bent, 
In battell and in tournament. 

As was the good Sir Topas. 

He had, as antique stories tell, 
A daughter cleaped Dowsabel, 

A mayden fayre and free : 
And for she was her fathers heire, 
Full well she was y-cond the leyre 

Of mickle curtesie. 

The silke well couth she twist and twine, 
And make the fine march pine. 

And with the needle werke : 
And she couth helpe the priest to say 
His mattins on a holy-day. 

And sing a psalme in kirke. 

She ware a frock of frolicke greene, 
Might well beseeme a mayden queene, 

Which seemly was to see ; 
A hood to that so neat and fine, 
In colour like the colombine, 

Y-wrought full featously. 

Her features all as fresh above, 

As is the grasse that growes by Dove ; 

And lyth as lasse of Kent. 
Her skin as soft as Lemster wooll. 
As white as snow on Peakish Hull, 

Or swanne that swims in Trent. 

This mayden in a morne betime 

Went forth, when May was in her prime, 

To get sweete cetywall. 
The honey-suckle, the harlocke. 
The lilly and the lady-smocke. 

To deck her summer hall. 

Thus, as she wandred here and there, 
Y-picking of the bloomed breere, 

She chanced to espie 
A shepheard sitting on a bancke. 
Like chanteclere he crowed crancke, 

And pip'd full merrilie. 

262 The Percy Reliques 

He lear'd his sheepe as he him list, 
When he would whistle in his fist, 

To feede about him round ; 
Whilst he full many a carroU sung, 
Untill the fields and medowes rung, 

And all the woods did sound. 

In favour this same shepheards swayne 
Was like the bedlam Tamburlayne,^ 

Which helde prowd kings in awe : 
But meeke he was as lamb mought be ; 
An innocent of ill as he ^ 

Whom his lewd brother slaw. 

The shepheard ware a sheepe-gray cloke. 
Which was of the finest loke. 

That could he cut with sheere : 
His mittens were of bauzens skinne, 
His cockers were of cordiwin, 

His hood of meniveere. 

His aule and lingell in a thong. 
His tar-boxe on his broad belt hong. 

His breech of coyntrie blewe : 
Full crispe and curled were his lockes, 
His browes as white as Albion rocks : 

So like a lover true. 

And pyping still he spent the day, 
So merry as the popingay ; 

Which liked Dowsabel : 
That would she ought, or would she nought. 
This lad would never from her thought ; 

She in love-longing fell. 

At length she tucked up her frocke, 
White as a lilly was her smocke. 

She drew the shepheard nye ; 
But then the shepheard pyp'd a good, 
That all his sheepe forsooke their foode, 

To heare his melodye. 

1 Alluding to " Tamburlaine the great, or the Scythian Shepheard," 1590, 3vo. , an 
old ranting play ascribed to Marlowe, 
a Sc Abel. 

Dowsabel 263 

Thy sheepe, quoth she, cannot be leane, 
That have a jolly shepherds swayne, 

The which can pipe so well : 
Yea but, sayth he, their shepheard may, 
If pyping thus he pine away 

In love of Dowsabel. 

Of love, fond boy, take thou no keepe, 
Quoth she ; looke thou unto thy sheepe, 

Lest they should hap to stray. 
Quoth he. So had I done full well, 
Had I not seen fayre Dowsabell 

Come forth to gather maye. 

With that she gan to vaile her head, 
Her cheeks were like the roses red, 

But not a word she sayd : 
With that the shepheard gan to frowne, 
He threw his pretie pypes adowne, 

And on the ground him layd. 

Sayth she, I may not stay till night. 
And leave my summer-hall undight, 

And all for long of thee. 
My coate, sayth he, nor yet my foulde 
Shall neither sheepe nor shepheard hould, 

Except thou favour mee. 

Sayth she. Yet lever were I dead, 
Then I should lose my mayden-head, 

And all for love of men. 
Sayth he, Yet are you too unkind. 
If in your heart you cannot finde 

To love us now and then. 

And I to thee will be as kinde, 
As Colin was to Rosahnde, 

Of curtesie the flower. 
Then will I be as true, quoth she, 
As ever mayden yet might be 

Unto her paramour. 

With that she bent her snow-white knee. 
Down by the shepheard kneeled shee. 

And him she sweetely kist : 
With that the shepheard whoop'd for joy, 
Quoth he, Ther's never shepheards boy 

That ever was so blist. 

264 The Percy Reliques 


From Beaumont and Fletcher's play, entitled " The Lover's Pro- 
gress," act iii. sc. i. 

Adieu, fond love, farewell you wanton powers ; 

I am free again. 
Thou dull disease of bloud and idle hours, 
Betwitching pain, 

Fly to fools, that sigh away their time : 

My nobler love to heaven doth climb, 
And there behold beauty still young, 

That time can ne'er corrupt, nor death destroy, 
Immortal sweetness by fair angels sung, 

And honoured by eternity and joy : 
There lies my love, thither my hopes aspire, 
Fond love declines, this heavenly love grows higher. 


This affords a pretty poetical contest between pleasure and honour. 
It is found at the end of " Hymen's triumph : a pastoral tragicomedie," 
written by Daniel, and printed among his works, 4to. 1623.^ Daniel, 
who was a contemporary of Drayton's, and is said to have been poet 
laureat to Queen Elizabeth, was born in 1562, and died in 1619. Anne 
Countess of Dorset, Pembroke, and Montgomery (to whom Daniel 
had been tutor), has inserted a small portrait of him in a full length 
picture of herself, preserved at Appleby Castle, in Cumberland. 

This little poem is the rather selected for a specimen of Daniel's 
poetic powers, as it is omitted in the later edition of his works, 2 vols. 
l2mo. 1718. 


Come, worthy Greeke, Ulysses come, 

Possesse these shores with me, 
The windes and seas are troublesome. 

And here we may be free. 
Here may we sit and view their toyle. 

That travaile in the deepe. 
Enjoy the day in mirth the while, 

And spende the night in sleepe. 

1 In this edition it is collated with a copy printed at the end of his " Tragedie of 
Cleopatra." London, 1607, izmo. 

Ulysses and the Syren 265 


Faire nymph, if fame or honour were 

To be attain'd with ease, 
Then I would come and rest with thee, 

And leave such toiles as these : 
But here it dwels, and here must I 

With danger seek it forth ; 
To spend the time luxuriousl 

Becomes not men of worth. 


Ulysses, O be not deceiv'd 

With that unreall name : 
This honour is a thing conceiv'd, 

And rests on others' fame. 
Begotten only to molest 

Our peace, and to beguile 
(The best thing of our life) our rest, 

And give us up to toyle ! 


Delicious nymph, suppose there were 

Nor honor, nor report, 
Yet manlinesse would scorne to weare 

The time in idle sport : 
For toyle doth give a better touch 

To make us feele our joy ; 
And ease findes tediousnes, as much 

As labour yeelds annoy. 


Then pleasure likewise seemes the shore, 

Whereto tendes all your toyle ; 
^^'hich you forego to make it more, 

And perish oft the while. 
WTio may disport them diversly, 

Find never tedious day ; 
And ease may have variety, 

As well as action may. 


But natures of the noblest frame 

These toyles and dangers please ; 
And they take comfort in the same, 

As much as you in ease : 

266 The Percy Reliques 

And with the thought of actions past 

Are recreated still : 
When pleasure leaves a touch at last 

To shew that it was ill. 


That doth opinion only cause, 

That's out of custom bred ; 
Which makes us many other laws 

Than ever nature did. 
No widdowes waile for our delights, 

Our sports are without blood ; 
The world we see by warlike wights 

Receives more hurt than good. 


But yet the state of things require 

These motions of unrest. 
And these great spirits of high desire 

Seem borne to tume them best : 
To purge the mischiefes, that increase 

And all good order mar : 
For oft we see a wicked peace 

To be well chang'd for war. 


Well, well, Ulysses, then I see 

I shall not have thee here ; 
And therefore I will come to thee, 

And take my fortune there. 
I must be wonne that cannot win, 

Yet lost were I not wonne ; 
For beauty hath created bin 

T' undoo or be undone. 


This beautiful poem, which possesses a classical elegance hardly to 
be expected in the age of James I. is printed from the fourth edition of 
Davison's Poems, ^ &c. 1621. It is also found in a later miscellany, 
intitled, " Le Prince d' Amour," 1660, 8vo. Francis Davison, editor 
of the poems above referred to, was son of that unfortunate secretary of 
state, who suffered so much from the affair of Mary Queen of Scots. 

1 See the full title in Series II. Book iii. No. 4. 

Cupid's Pastime 267 

These poems, he tells us in his preface, were written by himself, by his 
brother [Walter], who was a soldier in the wars of the Low Countries, 
and by some dear friends "anonymoi." Among them are found some 
pieces by Sir J. Davis, the Countess of Pembroke, Sir Philip Sidney, 
Spenser, and other wits of those times. 

In the fourth vol. of Dryden's Miscellanies, this poem is attributed 
to Sydney Godolphin, Esq. ; but erroneously, being probablj' written 
before he was born. One edit, of Davison's book was published in 
1608. Godolphin was born in l6io, and died in 1642-3. Ath. Ox. 


It chanc'd of late a shepherd swain, 
That went to seek his straying sheep, 

Within a thicket on a plain 

Espied a dainty nymph asleep. 

Her golden hair o'erspread her face ; 

Her careless arms abroad were cast ; 
Her quiver had her pillows place ; 

Her breast lay bare to every blast. 

The shepherd stood and gaz'd his fill ; 

Nought durst he do ; nought durst he say ; 
Whilst chance, or else perhaps his will. 

Did guide the god of love that way. 

The crafty boy that sees her sleep, 
Whom if she wak'd he durst not see ; 

Behind her closely seeks to creep, 
Before her nap should ended bee. 

There come, he steals her shafts away. 
And puts his own into their place ; 

Nor dares he any longer stay, 

But, ere she wakes, hies thence apace. 

Scarce was he gone, but she awakes. 
And spies the shepherd standing by : 

Her bended bow in haste she takes, 
And at the simple swain lets flye. 

Forth flew the shaft, and pierc'd his heart 
That to the ground he fell with pain : 

Yet up again forthwith he start, 
And to the nymph he ran amain. 

Amazed to see so strange a sight. 
She shot, and shot, but all in vain : 

The more his wounds, the more his might, 
Love yielded strength amidst his pain. 

268 The Percy Reliques 

Her angry eyes were great with tears, 

She blames her hand, she blames her skill ; 

The bluntness of her shafts she fears, 
And try them on herself she will. 

Take heed, sweet nymph, trye not thy shaft, 
Each little touch will pierce thy heart : 

Alas ! thou know'st not Cupids craft ; 
Revenge is joy ; the end is smart. 

Yet try she will, and pierce some bare 
Her hands were glov'd, but next to hand 

Was that fair breast, that breast so rare, 
That made the shepherd senseless stand. 

That breast she pierc'd ; and through that breast 
Love found an entry to her heart : 

At feeling of this new-come guest. 

Lord ! how this gentle nymph did start ! 

She runs not now; she shoots no more; 

Away she throws both shaft and bow : 
She seeks for what she shunn'd before. 

She thinks the shepherd's haste too slow. 

Though mountains meet not, lovers may : 

What other lovers do, did they : 
The god of love sate on a tree, 
And laught that pleasant sight to see. 


This little moral poem was writ by Sir Henry Wotton, who died 
Provost of Eton in 1639. ^t. 72. It is printed from a little collection 
of his pieces, intitled, " Reliquiae Wottonianse," 1651, i2mo.; compared 
with one or two other copies. 

How happy is he born or taught, 

That serveth not anothers will ; 
Whose armour is his honest thought, 

And simple truth his highest skill : 

Whose passions not his masters are ; 

Whose soul is still prepar'd for death ; 
Not ty'd unto the world with care 

Of princes ear, or vulgar breath : 

The Character of a Happy Life 269 

Who hath his Hfe from rumours freed ; 

Whose conscience is his strong retreat : 
Whose state can neither flatterers feed, 

Nor ruine make oppressors great : 

Who envies none, whom chance doth raise, 

Or vice : who never understood 
How deepest wounds are given with praise ; 

Nor rules of state, but rules of good : 

Who God doth late and early pray 
More of his grace than gifts to lend ; 

.-^nd entertaines the harmless day 
With a well-chosen book or friend. 

This man is freed from servile bands 

Of hope to rise, or fear to fall ; 
Lord of himselfe, though not of lands ; 

And having nothing, yet hath all. 


Gilderoy was a famous robber, who lived about the middle of the 
last century, if we may credit the histories and story-books of highway- 
men, which relate many improbable feats of him, as his robbing 
Cardinal Richlieu, Oliver Cromwell, &c. But these stories have pro- 
bably no other authority than the records of Grub-street : at least the 
Gilderoy, who is the hero of Scottish songsters, seems to have lived in 
an earlier age; for, in Thompson's Orpheus Caledonius, vol. ii. 1733, 
8vo., is a copy of this ballad, which, though corrupt and interpolated, 
contains some lines that appear to be of genuine antiquity : in these he 
is represented as contemporary with Mary Queen of Scots : ex. gr. 

The Queen of Scots possessed nought, 

That my love let me want : 
For cow and ew to me he brought, 

And ein whan they were scant. 

These lines perhaps might safely have been inserted among the 
following stanzas, which are given from a written copy, that appears to 
have received some modern corrections. Indeed the common popular 
ballad contained some indecent luxuriances that required the pruning- 

Gilderoy was a bonnie boy. 

Had roses tull his shoone. 
His stockings were of silken soy, 

Wi' garters hanging doune : 

270 The Percy Reliques 

It was, I weene, a comelie sight, 
To see sae trim a boy ; 

He was my jo and hearts delight, 
My handsome Gilderoy. 

Oh ! sike twa charming een he had, 

A breath as sweet as rose. 
He never ware a Highland plaid, 

But costly silken clothes ; 
He gain'd the luve of ladies gay, 

Nane eir tull him was coy : 
Ah ! wae is mee I I mourn the day 

For my dear Gilderoy. 

My Gilderoy and I were born, 

Baith in one toun together. 
We scant were seven years beforn, 

We gan to luve each other ; 
, Our dadies and our mammies thay 

Were fiU'd wi' mickle joy. 
To think upon the bridal day, 

Twixt me and Gilderoy. 

For Gilderoy that luve of mine, 

Gude faith, I freely bought 
A wedding sark of holland fine, 

Wi' silken flowers wrought : 
And he gied me a wedding ring. 

Which I receiv'd wi' joy, 
Nae lad nor lassie eir could sing. 

Like me and Gilderoy. 

Wi' mickle joy we spent our prime. 

Till we were baith sixteen, 
And aft we past the langsome time. 

Among the leaves sae green ; 
Aft on the banks we'd sit us thair, 

And sweetly kiss and toy, 
Wi' garlands gay wad deck my hair 

My handsome Gilderoy. 

Oh ! that he still had been content, 
Wi' me to lead his life ; 

But, ah ! his manfu' heart was bent, 
To stir in feates of strife : 

Gilderoy 271 

And he in many a venturous deed, 

His courage bauld wad try ; 
And now this gars mine heart to bleed, 

For my dear Gilderoy. 

And when of me his leave he tuik. 

The tears they wat mine ee, 
I gave tull him a parting luik, 

" My benison gang wi' thee ; 
God speed thee weil, mine ain dear heart, 

For gane is all my joy ; 
My heart is rent sith we maun part, 

My handsome Gilderoy." 

My Gilderoy, baith far and near, 

Was fear'd in every toun, 
And bauldly bare away the gear 

Of many a lawland loun : 
Nane eir durst meet him man to man, 

He was sae brave a boy ; 
At length wi' numbers he was tane, 

My winsome Gilderoy. 

Wae worth the loun that made the laws, 

To hang a man for gear. 
To 'reave of life for ox or ass. 

For sheep, or horse, or mare : 
Had not their laws been made sae strick, 

I neir had lost my joy, 
Wi' sorrow neir had wat my cheek, 

For my dear Gilderoy. 

Giff Gilderoy had done amisse, 

He mought hae banisht been ; 
Ah ! what sair cruelty is this, 

To hang sike handsome men : 
To hang the flower o' Scottish land, 

Sae sweet and fair a boy ; 
Nae lady had sae white a hand 

As thee, my Gilderoy. 

Of Gilderoy sae fraid they were, 

They bound him mickle strong, 
Tull Edenburrow they led him thair, 

And on a gallows hung : 

272 The Percy Reliques 

They hung him high aboon the rest, 

He was sae trim a boy ; 
Thair dyed the youth whom I lued best, 

My handsome Gilderoy. 

Thus having yielded up his breath, 

I bare his corpse away, 
Wi' tears, that trickled for his death, 

I washt his comelye clay ; 
And siker in a grave sae deep, 

I laid the dear-lued boy, 
And now for evir maun I weep, 

My winsome Gilderoy. 

* * 


This beautiful address to conjugal love, a subject too much neg- 
lected by the libertine Muses, was, I believe, first printed in a volume 
of " Miscellaneous Poems, by several hands, published by D. [David] 
Lewis," 1726, 8vo. 

It is there said, how truly I know not, to be a translation ' ' from the 
ancient British language." 

Away ! let nought to love displeasing, 

My Winifreda, move your care ; 
Let nought delay the heavenly blessing, 

Nor squeamish pride, nor gloomy fear. 

What tho' no grants of royal donors 
With pompous titles grace our blood ; 

We'll shine in more substantial honors, 
And to be noble we'll be good. 

Our name, while virtue thus we tender. 
Will sweetly sound where-e'er 'tis spoke : 

And all the great ones, they shall wonder 
How they respect such little folk. 

What though from fortune's lavish bounty 

No mighty treasures we possess ; 
We'll find within our pittance plenty, 

And be content without excess. 

Still shall each returning season 

Sufficient for our washes give ; 
For we will live a life of reason. 

And that's the only life to live. 

Winifreda 273 

Through youth and age in love excelling, 

We'll hand in hand together tread ; 
Sweet-smiling peace shall crown our dwelling 

And babes, sweet-smiling babes, our bed. 

How should I love the pretty creatures, 
While round my knees they fondly clung ; 

To see them look their mother's features, 
To hear them lisp their mother's tongue. 

And when with envy time transported, 

Shall think to rob us of our joys, 
Yoa'U in your girls again be courted, 

And I'll go a wooing in my boys. 


This ballad was published in a small collection of poems, intitled, 
" Euthemia, or the Power of Harmony," &c., 1756, written, in 1748, by 
the ingenious Dr. Harrington, of Bath, who never allowed them to be 
published, and withheld his name till it could no longer be concealed. 
The following copy was furnished by the late Mr. Shenstone, with 
some variations and corrections of his own, which he had taken the 
liberty to propose, and for which the Author's indulgence was entreated. 
In this edition it was intended to reprint the Author's own original 
copy ; but, as that may be seen correctly given in Pearch's Collection, 
vol. i., 1783, p. 161, it was thought the reader of taste would wish to 
have the variations preserved ; they are therefore still retained here, 
which it is hoped the worthy author will excuse with his wonted 

Wokey-hole is a noted cavern in Somersetshire, which has given 
birth to as many wild fanciful stories as the Sybil's Cave, in Italy. 
Through a very narrow entrance, it opens into a very large vault the 
roof whereof, either on account of its height, or the thickness of the 
gloom, cannot be discovered by the light of torches. It goes winding a 
great way under ground, is crost by a stream of very cold water, and is 
all horrid with broken pieces of rock : many of these are evident 
petrifactions ; which, on account of their singular forms, have given 
rise to the fables alluded to in this poem. 

In aunciente days tradition showes 
A base and wicked elfe arose, 

The Witch of Wokey hight : 
Oft have I heard the fearfull tale 
From Sue, and Roger of the vale, 

On some long winter's night. 

VOL. I. 1 

274 The Percy Reliques 

Deep in the dreary dismall cell, 
Which seem'd and was ycleped hell, 

This blear-eyed hag did hide : 
Nine wicked elves, as legends sayne, 
She chose to form her guardian trayne, 

And kennel near her side. 

Here screeching owls oft made their nest, 
While wolves its craggy sides possest. 

Night-howling thro' the rock : 
No wholesome herb could here be found ; 
She blasted every plant around, 

And blister'd every flock. 

Her haggard face was foull to see ; 
Her mouth unmeet a mouth to bee ; 

Her eyne of deadly leer, 
She nought devis'd, but neighbour's ill ; 
She wreak'd on all her wayward will, 

And marr'd all goodly chear. 

All in her prime, have poets sung, 
No gaudy youth, gallant and young. 

E'er blest her longing armes ; 
And hence arose her spight to vex, 
And blast the youth of either sex, 

By dint of hellish charms. 

From Glaston came a lerned wight, 
Full bent to marr her fell dispight, 

And well he did, I weene : 
Sich mischief never had been known, 
And, since his mickle lerninge shown, 

Sich mischief ne'er has been. 

He chauntede out his godlie booke. 
He crost the water, blest the brooke. 

Then — pater noster done, — 
The ghastly hag he sprinkled o'er ; 
When lo ! where stood a hag before, 

Now stood a ghastly stone. 

Full well 'tis known adown the dale : 
Tho' passing strange indeed the tale. 

And doubtfull may appear, 
I'm bold to say, there's never a one. 
That has not seen the witch in stone. 

With all her household gear. 

The Witch of Wokey 275 

But tho' this lernede clerke did well ; 
With grieved heart, alas ! I tell, 

She left this curse behind : 
That Wokey-nymphs forsaken quite, 
Tho' sense and beauty both unite, 

Should find no leman kind. 

For lo ! even as the fiend did say. 
The sex have found it to this day. 

That men are wonderous scant : 
Here's beauty, wit, and sense combin'd, 
With all that's good and virtuous join'd. 

Yet hardly one gallant. 

Shall then such maids unpitied tnoane ? 
They might as well, like her, be stone. 

As thus forsaken dwell. 
Since Glaston now can boast no clerks ; 
Come down from Oxenford, ye sparks, 

And, oh ! revoke the spell. 

Yet stay — nor thus despond, ye fair ; 
Virtue's the gods' peculiar care ; 

I hear the gracious voice : 
Your sex shall soon be blest agen, 
We only wait to find such men. 

As best deserve your choice. 



This piece is founded on a real fact, that happened in the island of St 
Christopher's about the middle of the last century. The Editor owes 
the following stanzas to the friendship of Dr. James Grainger, ^ who was 
an eminent physician in that island when this tragical accident happened, 
and died there much honoured and lamented in 1767. To this ingenious 
gentleman the public are indebted for the fine " Ode on Solitude," 
printed in the fourth volume of Dodsley's Miscel., p. 229, in which are 
assembled some of the sublimest images in nature. The reader will 
pardon the insertion of the first stanza here, for the sake of rectifying the 
two last lines, which were thus given by the author : 

1 Author of a poem on the Culture of the Sugar-Cane, &c., published by Messrs. 
Wood and Dawkins. 

276 The Percy Reliques 

O Solitude, romantic maid, 
Whether by nodding towers you tread. 
Or haunt the desart's trackless gloom, 
Or hover o'er the yawning tomb, 
Or climb the Andes' clifted side. 
Or by the Nile's coy source abide, 
Or starting from your half-year's sleep 
From Hecla view the thawmg deep. 
Or at the purple dawn of day 
Tadmor's marble wastes survey, &c 

alluding to the account of Palmyra published by some late ingenious 
travellers, and the manner in which they were struck at the first sight of 
those magnificent ruins by break of day. ^ 

The north-east wind did briskly blow, 

The ship was safely moor'd ; 
Young Bryan thought the boat's-crew slow, 

And SO leapt over-board. 

Pereene, the pride of Indian dames, 

His heart long held in thrall ; 
And whoso his impatience blames, 

I wot, ne'er lov'd at all. 

A long long year, one month and day 

He dwelt on English land, 
Nor once in thought or deed would stray, 

Tho' ladies sought his hand. 

Nor Bryan he was tall and strong, 

Right blythsome roU'd his een, 
Sweet was his voice whene'er he sung. 

He scant had twenty seen. 

But who the countless charms can draw, 

That grac'd his mistress true ? 
Such charms the old world seldom saw, 

Nor oft I ween the new. 

Her raven hair plays round her neck, 

Like tendrils of the vine ; 
Her cheeks red dewy rose buds deck. 

Her eyes like diamonds shine. 

Soon as his well-known ship she spied, 

She cast her weeds away. 
And to the palmy shore she hied, 

All in her best array. 

1 So in page 235. it should be, " Timi'd her magic ray." 

Bryan and Pereene 277 

In sea-green silk so neatly clad, 

She there impatient stood ; 
The crew with wonder saw the lad 

Repel the foaming flood. 

Her hands a handkerchief display' d, 

Which he at parting gave ; 
Well pleas'd the token he survey'd, 

And manlier beat the wave. 

Her fair companions, one and all. 

Rejoicing crowd the strand ; 
For now her lover swam in call, 

And almost touch'd the land. 

Then through the white surf did she haste, 

To clasp her lovely swain ; 
When, ah ! a shark bit through his waist : 

His heart's blood dy'd the main ! 

He shriek'd ! his half sprang from the wave. 

Streaming with purple gore, 
And soon he found a living grave, 

And ah ! was seen no more. 

Now haste, now haste, ye maids, I pray, 

Fetch water from the spring : 
She falls, she swoons, she dies away, 

And soon her knell they ring. 

Now each May morning round her tomb, 

Ye fair, fresh flowerets strew. 
So may your lovers scape his doom, 

Her hapless fate scape you. 

278 The Percy Reliques 



Although the English are remarkable for the number and variety of 
their ancient ballads, and retain perhaps a greater fondness for these old 
simple rhapsodies of their ancestors, than most other nations ; they are 
not the only people who have distinguished themselves by compositions 
of this kind. The Spaniards have great multitudes of them, many of 
which are of the highest merit. They call them in their language 
" Romances," and have collected them into volumes under the titles of 
"El Romancero, El Cancionero,"^ &c. Most of them relate to their con- 
flicts with the Moors, and display a spirit of gallantry peculiar to that 
romantic people. But, of all the Spanish ballads, none exceed in 
poetical merit those inserted in a little Spanish " History of the Civil 
Wars of Granada," describing the dissensions which raged in that last 
seat of Moorish empire before it was conquered in the reign of Ferdinand 
and Isabella, in 1491. In this history (or perhaps romance) a great 
number of heroic songs are inserted, and appealed to as authentic 
vouchers for the truth of facts. In reality, the prose narrative seems 
to be drawn up for no other end, but to introduce and illustrate those 
beautiful pieces. 

The Spanish editor pretends (how truly I know not) that they are 
translations from the Arabic or Morisco language. Indeed, from the 
plain unadorned nature of the verse, and the native simplicity of the 
language and sentiment, which runs through these poems, one would 
judge them to be composed soon after the conquest of Granada ^ above 
mentioned ; as the prose narrative in which they were inserted was 
published about a century after. It should seem, at least, that they 
were written before the Castilians had formed themselves so generally, 
as they have done since, on the model of the Tuscan poets, or had im- 
ported from Italy that fondness for conceit and refinement, which has for 
near two centuries past so much infected the Spanish poetry, and rendered 
it so frequently affected and obscure. 

As a specimen of the ancient Spanish manner, which very much 
resembles that of our old English bards and minstrels, the reader is 
desired candidly to accept the two following poems. They are given 
from a small collection of pieces of this kind, which the Editor some 
years ago translated for his amusement when he was studying the Spanish 
language. As the first is a pretty close translation, to gratify the curious 
it is accompanied with the original. The metre is the same in all these 
old Spanish ballads : it is of the most simple construction, and is still 
used by the common people in their extemporaneous songs, as we learn 
from Baretti's Travels. It runs in short stanzas of four lines, of which 
the second and fourth line alone correspond in their terminations ; and 
in these it is only required that the vowels should be alike, the con- 
sonants may be altogether diff"erent, as 

pone casa meten arcos 

noble cartas muere gamo. 

1 :. e. the ballad-singer. 
3 See vol. ii., p. 171, note. 

Gentle River, Gentle River 279 

Yet has this kind of verse a sort of simple harmonious flow, which atones 
for the imperfect nature of the rhyme, and renders it not unpleasing to 
the ear. The same flow of numbers has been studied in the following 
versions. The first of them is given from two different originals, both 
of which are printed in the Hist, de las civiles guerras de Granada, Mad. 
1694. One of them hath the rhymes ending in aa, the other in lA. It 
is the former of the?e that is here reprinted. They both of them begin 
with the same line : 

Rio verde, rio verde?- 

which could not be translated faithfially : 

Verdant river, verdant river, 

would have given an affected stiffness to the verse ; the great merit of 
which is easy simplicity ; and therefore a more simple epithet was 
adopted, though less poetical or expressive. 

1 Literally, " Green river, green river." " Rio Verde " is said to be the name of 
a river in Spain ; which ought to have been attended to by the translator had he 
known it. 

28o The Percy Reliques 

Rio verde, rio verde, 

Quanto cuerpo en ti se bana 

De Christianos y de Moros 
Muertos por la dura espada 1 

Y tus ondas cristalinas 

De roxa sangre se esmaltan : 
Entre Moros y Christianos 
Muy gran batalla se trava. 

Murieron Duques y Condes, 
Grandes senores de salva : 

Murio gente de valia 

De la nobleza de Espana. 

En ti murio don Alonso, 
Que de Aguilar se llamaba ; 

El valeroso Urdiales, 

Con don Alonso acababa. 

Por un ladera arriba 

El buen Sayavedra marcha ; 

Naturel es de Sevilla, 

De la gente mas granada. 

Tras el iba un Renegado, 
Desta manera le habla ; 

Date, date, Sayavedra, 
No huyas de la batalla. 

Yo te conozco muy bien. 

Gran tiempo estuve en tu casa •. 

Y en la Plaga de Sevilla 
Bien te vide jugar canas. 

Conozco a tu padre y madre, 
Y a tu muger dona Clara ; 

Siete anos fui tu cautivo, 
Malamente me tratabas. 

Y aora le seras mio, 

Si Mahoma me ayudara ; 

Y tambien te tratare, 
Como a mi me tratabas. 

Gentle River, Gentle River 281 

Gentle river, gentle river, 

Lo, thy streams are stain'd with gore, 
Many a brave and noble captain 

Floats along thy willow'd shore. 

All beside thy limpid waters. 

All beside thy sands so bright, 
Moorish Chiefs and Christian Warriors 

Join'd in fierce and mortal fight. 

Lords, and dukes, and noble princes 
On thy fatal banks were slain : 

Fatal banks that gave to slaughter- 
All the pride and flower of Spain. 

There the hero, brave Alonzo, 

Full of wounds and glory died : 
There the fearless Urdiales 

Fell a victim by his side. 

Lo ! where yonder Don Saavedra 
Thro' their squadrons slow retires ; 

Proud Seville, his native city, 
Proud Seville his worth admires. 

Close behind a renegado 

Loudly shouts with taunting cry ; 

Yield thee, yield thee, Don Saavedra, 
Dost thou from the battle fly ? 

Well I know thee, haughty Christian, 

Long I liv'd beneath thy roof ; 
Oft I've in the lists of glory 

Seven thee win the prize of proof. 

Well I know thy aged parents. 
Well thy blooming bride I know ; 

Seven years I was thy captive, 
Seven years of pain and woe. 

May our prophet grant my wishes, 
Haughty chief, thou shalt be mine : 

Thou shalt drink that cup of sorrow. 
Which I drank when I was thine. 

282 The Percy Reliques 

Sayavedra que lo oyera, 
Al Moro bolvio la cara ; 

Tirole el Moro una flecha, 
Pero nunca la acertaba. 

Hiriole Sayavedra 

De una herida muy mala : 
Muerto cayo el Renegado 

Sin poder hablar palabra. 

Sayavedra fue cercado 
De mucha Mora canalla, 

Y al cabo cayo alii muerto 
De una muy mala langada. 

Don Alonso en este tiempo 
Bravamente peleava, 

Y el cavallo le avian muerto, 

Y le tiene por muralla. 

Mas cargaron tantos Moros 
Que mal le hieren y tratan : 

De la sangre, que perdia, 
Don Alonso se desmaya. 

Al fin, al fin cayo muerto 
Al pie de un pena alta. — 

Muerto queda don Alonso, 
Eterna fama ganara.' 

Gentle River, Gentle River 283 

Like a lion turns the warrior, 

Back he sends an angry glare : 
Whizzing came the Moorish javelin, 

Vainly whizzing through the air. 

Back the hero full of fury 

Sent a deep and mortal wound ; 
Instant sunk the Renegado, 

Mute and lifeless on the ground. 

With a thousand Moors surrounded, 

Brave Saavedra stands at bay : 
Wearied out but never daunted, 

Cold at length the warrior lay. 

Near him fighting great Alonzo 

Stout resists the Paynim bands ; 
From his slaughter'd steed dismounted 

Firm intrench'd behind him stands. 

Furious press the hostile squadron. 

Furious he repels their rage : 
Loss of blood at length enfeebles : 

Who can war with thousands wage ! 

Where yon rock the plain o'ershadows, 

Close beneath its foot retir'd, 
Fainting sunk the bleeding hero. 

And without a groan expir'd. 

*,* In the Spanish original of the foregoing ballad, follow a few 
more stanzas, but being of inferior merit were not translated. 

" Renegado" properly signifies an Apostate ; but it is sometimes used 
to express an Infidel in general ; as it seems to do above in ver. 21, &c. 

The image of the " Lion," &c. in ver. 37, is taken from the other 
Spanish copy, the rhymes of which end in lA, viz. 

Sayavedra, que lo oyera, 
Corao un Icon rebolbia. 

284 The Percy Reliques 



The foregoing version was rendered as literal as the nature of the two 
languages would admit. In the following a wider compass hath been 
taken. The Spanish poem that was chiefly had in view, is preserved in 
the same history of the Civil Wars of Granada, f. 22, and begins with 
these lines : 

Por la calle de su dama, 
Passeando se anda, &c. 

Softly blow the evening breezes, 

Softly fall the dews of night ; 
Yonder walks the Moor Alcanzor, 

Shunning every glare of light. 

In yon palace lives fair Zaida, 

Whom he loves with flame so pure : 

Lovliest she of Moorish ladies ? 
He a young and noble Moor. 

Waiting for the appointed minute, 

Oft he paces to and fro ; 
Stopping now, now moving forwards, 

Sometimes quick, and sometimes slow. 

Hope and fear alternate tease him, 
Oft he sighs with heart-felt care — 

See, fond youth, to yonder window 
Softly steps the timorous fair. 

Lovely seems the moon's fair lustre 

To the lost benighted swain, 
When all silvery bright she rises, 

Gilding mountain, grove, and plain. 

Lovely seems the sun's full glory 

To the fainting seaman's eyes, 
When some horrid storm dispersing 

O'er the wave his radiance flies. 

But a thousand times more lovely 

To her longing lover's sight 
Steals half seen the beauteous maiden 

Thro' the glimmerings of the night. 

Alcanzor and Zayda 285 

Tip-toe stands the anxious lover, 

Whispering forth a gentle sigh : 
Alia 1 keep thee, lovely lady : 

Tell mc, am I doom'd to die ? 

Is it true the dreadful story, 

Which thy damsel tells my page, 
That seduc'd by sordid riches 

Thou wilt sell thy bloom to age ? 

An old lord from Antiquera 

Thy stern father brings along ; 
But canst thou, inconstant Zaida, 

Thus consent my love to wrong ? 

If 'tis true now plainly tell me, 

Nor thus trifle with my woes ; 
Hide not then from me the secret, 

Which the world so clearly knows. 

Deeply sigh'd the conscious maiden, 

While the pearly tears descend : 
Ah ! my lord, too true the story ; 

Here our tender loves must end. 

Our fond friendship is discover'd, 

Well are known our mutual vows ; 
All my friends are full of fury ; 

Storms of passion shake the house. 

Threats, reproaches, fears surround me ; 

My stern father breaks my heart : 
Alia knows how dear it costs me, 

Generous youth, from thee to part. 

Ancient wounds of hostile fury 

Long have rent our house and thine ; 

Why then did thy shining merit 
Win this tender heart of mine ? 

Well thou know'st how dear I lov'd thee 

Spite of all their hateful pride, 
Tho' I fear'd my haughty father 

Ne'er would let me be thy bride. 

1 " Alia" is the Mahometan name of God. 

286 The Percy Reliques 

Well thou know'st what cruel chidings 
Oft I've from my mother borne ; 

What I've suffer'd here to meet thee 
Still at eve and early morn. 

I no longer may resist them ; 

All to force my hand combine ; 
And to-morrow to thy rival 

This weak frame I must resign. 

Yet think not thy faithful Zaida 
Can survive so great a wrong ; 

Well my breaking heart assures me 
That my woes will not be long. 

Farewell then, my dear Alcanzor ! 

Farewell too my life with thee ! 
Take this scarf, a parting token ; 

When thou wear'st it think on me. 

Soon, lov'd youth, some worthier maiden 
Shall reward thy generous truth ; 

Sometimes tell her how thy Zaida 
Died for thee in prime of youth. 

— To him all amaz'd, confounded, 
Thus she did her woes impart : 

Deep he sigh'd, then cry'd, — O Zaida ! 
Do not, do not break my heart. 

Canst thou think I thus will lose thee ? 

Canst thou hold my love so small ? 
No ! a thousand times I'll perish ! — 

My curst rival too shall fall. 

Canst thou, wilt thou yield thus to them ? 

O break forth, and fly to me ! 
This fond heart shall bleed to save thee, 

These fond arms shall shelter thee. 

'Tis in vain, in vain, Alcanzor, 
Spies surround me, bars secure : 

Scarce I steal this last dear moment, 
While my damsel keeps the door. 

Hark, I hear my father storming ! 

Hark, I hear my mother chide ! 
I must go : farewell for ever ! 

Gracious Alia be thy guide ! 



Though some make slight of Libels, yet you may see by them how 
the wind sits : As, take a straw and throw it up into the air, you may 
see by that which way the wind is, which you shall not do by casting up 
a stone. More solid things do not shew the complexion of the times so 
well as Ballads and Libels. 

Selden's Table-talk. 


" A ballad made by one of the adherents to Simon de Montfort, earl of 
Leicester, soon after the battle of Lewes, which was fought May 14, 

This piece affords a curious specimen of ancient satire, and shews that 
the liberty, assumed by the good people of this realm, of abusing then- 
kings and princes at pleasure, is a privilege of very long standing. 

To render this antique libel intelligible, the reader is to understand 
that just before the battle of Lewes, which proved so fatal to the 
interests of Henry IIL the barons had offered his brother Richard King 
of the Romans thirty thousand pounds to procure a peace upon such 
terms as would have divested Henry of all his regal power, and there- 
fore the treaty proved abortive. The consequences of that battle are 
well known : the king, prince Edward his son, his brother Richard, and 
many of his friends, fell into the hands of their enemies : while two 
great barons of the king's party, John Earl of Warren, and Hugh Bigot 
the king's Justiciary, had been glad to escape into France. 

In the first stanza the aforesaid sum of thirty thousand pounds is 
alluded to ; but, with the usual misrepresentation of party malevolence, 
is asserted to have been the exorbitant demand of the king's brother. 

With regard to the second stanza, the reader is to note that Richard, 
along with the earldom of Cornwall, had the honours of Wallingford 
and Eyre confirmed to him on his marriage with Sanchia, daughter of 
the Count of Provence, in 1243. Windsor castle was the chief fortress 
belonging to the king, and had been garrisoned by foreigners : a cir- 
cumstance which furnishes out the burthen of each stanza. 

The third stanza alludes to a remarkable circumstance which hap- 
pened on the day of the battle of Lewes. After the battle was lost, 
Richard King of the Romans took refuge in a windmill, which he bar- 
ricadoed, and maintained for some time against the barons, but in the 
evening was obliged to surrender. See a very full account of this in the 
Chronicle of Mailros ; Oxon. 1684. p. 229. 

The fourth stanza is of obvious interpretation : Richard, who had 
been elected King of the Romans in 1256, and had afterwards gone 
over to take possession of his dignity, was in the year 1259 about to 
return into England, when the barons raised a popular clamour, that he 
was bringing with him foreigners to over-run the kingdom : upon which 
he was forced to dismiss almost all his followers, otherwise the barons 
would tiave opposed his landing. 


288 The Percy Reliques 

In the fifth stanza, the writer regrets the escape of the Earl of 
Warren ; and, in the sixth and seventh stanzas, insinuates, that, if he 
and Sir Hugh Bigot once fell into the hands of their adversaries, they 
should never more return home ; a circumstance which fixes the date of 
this ballad ; for in the year 1265, both these noblemen landed in South 
Wales, and the royal party soon after gained the ascendant. See 
Holinshed, Rapin, &c. 

The following is copied from a very ancient manuscript in the British 
Museum. [Harl. MSS. 2253. s. 23.] This manuscript is judged, from 
the peculiarities of the writing, to be not later than the time of 
Richard II. ; th being every where expressed by the character J) ; the y 
is pointed ajfter the Saxon manner, and the 1 hath an oblique stroke 
over it. 

SiTTETH alle stille, ant herkneth to me ; 
The Kyng ^ of Alemaigne, bi mi leaute, 
Thritti thousent pound askede he 
For te make the pees in the countre, 

Ant so he dude more. 
Richard, thah thou be ever trichard, 

Tricthen shalt thou never more. 

Richard of Alemaigne, whil that he wes kying. 
He spende al is tresour opon swyvyng, 
Haveth he nout of WaHngford oferlyng, 
Let him habbe, ase he brew, bale to dryng, 

Maugre Wyndesore. 
Richard, thah thou be ever, &c. 

The Kyng of Alemaigne wende do ful wel, 
He saisede the mulne for a castel, 
With hare sharpe swerdes he grounde the stel, 
He wende that the sayles were mangonel 

To helpe Wyndesore, 
Richard, thah thou be ever, &c. 

The Kyng of Alemaigne gederede ys host, 
Makede him a castel of a mulne post, 
Wende with is prude, ant is muchele bost, 
Brohte from Alemayne mony sori gost 

To store Wyndesore. 
Richard, thah thou be ever, &c. 

By God, that is aboven ous, he dude much synne, 
That lette passen over see the Erl of Warynne : 
He hath robbed Engelond, the mores, ant th fenne, 
The gold, ant the selver, and y-boren henne, 

For love of Wyndesore. 
Richard, thah thou be ever, &c. 

1 " Kyn." MS. 

Richard of Almaigne 289 

Sire Simond de Mountfort hath suore bi ys chyn, 
Hevede he nou here the Erl of Waryn, 
Shuld he never more come to is yn, 
Ne with sheld, ne with spere, ne with other gyn, 

To help of Wyndesore. 
Richard, thah thou be ever, &c. 

Sire Simon de Montfort hath suore bi ys cop, 
Hevede he nou here Sire Hue de Bigot : 
Al he shulde grante here ^ twelfmoneth scot 
Shulde he never more with his sot pot 

To helpe Wyndesore. 
Richard, thah thou be ever, &c. 

Be the luef, be the loht. Sire Edward,^ 
Thou shalt ride sporteles o thy lyard 
Al the ryhte way to Dovere-ward, 
Shalt thou never more breke foreward ; 

Ant that reweth sore 
Edward, thou dudest as a shreward, 

Forsoke thyn ernes lore 
Richard, &c. 

*^* This ballad will rise in its importance with the reader, when he 
finds, that it is even believed to have occasioned a law in our Statute 
Book, viz. ' ' Against slanderous reports or tales, to cause discord 
betwixt king and people." (Westm. Primer, c. 34. anno 3. Edw. I.) 
That it had this effect, is the opinion of an eminent writer. See 
"Observations upon the Statutes, &c." 4to. 2d, edit. 1766, p. 71. 

However, in the Harl. Collection may be found other satirical and 
defamatory rhymes of the same age, that might have their share in 
contributing to this first law against libels. 


We have here an early attempt at elegy. Edward I. died July 7, 
1307, in the 35th year of his reign, and 69th of his age. This poem 
appears to have been composed soon after his death. According to 
the modes of thinking peculiar to those times, the writer dwells more 
upon his devotion, than his skill in government ; and pays less atten- 
tion to the martial and political abilities of this great monarch, in which 
he had no equal, than to some little weaknesses of superstition, which 
he had in common with all his cotemporaries. The king had in the 
decline of life vowed an expedition to the Holy Land ; but finding his 

1 "G'te here," MS. I. «. grant their. Vid. Gloss. 

2 This stanza was omitted in the former editions. 

VOL. 1. U 

290 The Percy Reliques 

end approach, he dedicated the sum of 32,000/. to the maintenance of a 
large body of knights (140 say historians, 80 says our poet), who were 
to carry his heart with them into Palestine. This dying command of 
the king was never performed. Our poet, with the honest prejudices 
of an Englishman, attributes this failure to the advice of the King of 
France, whose daughter Isabel, the young monarch, who succeeded, 
immediately married. But the truth is, Edward and his destructive 
favourite Piers Gavestone spent the money upon their pleasures. To 
do the greater honour to the memory of his hero, our poet puts his eloge 
in the mouth of the Pope, with the same poetic licence, as a more 
modem bard would have introduced Britannia, or the Genius of 
Europe, pouring forth his praises. 

This antique elegy is extracted from the same manuscript volume as 
the preceding article ; is found with the same peculiarities of writing 
and orthography ; and, though written at near the distance of half a 
century, contains little or no variation of idiom : whereas the next 
following poem by Chaucer, which was probably written not more than 
50 or 60 years after this, exhibits almost a new language. This seems 
to countenance the opinion of some antiquaries that this great poet 
made considerable innovations in his mother tongue, and introduced 
many terms, and new modes of speech from other languages. 

Alle, that beoth of huerte trewe, 

A stounde herkneth to my song 
Of duel, that Deth hath diht us newe, 

That maketh me syke, ant sorewe among ; 
Of a knyht, that wes so strong, 

Of wham God hath don ys wille ; 
Me-thuncheth that deth hath don us wrong, 

That he so sone shall ligge stille. 

Al Englond ahte for te knowe 

Of wham that song is, that y synge ; 
Of Edward kyng, that lith so lowe, 

Zent al this world is nome con springe : 
Trewest mon of alle thinge, 

Ant in werre war ant wys, 
For him we ahte our honden wrynge, 

Of Christendome he bar the prys. 

Byfore that oure kyng was ded. 

He spek ase mon that w^es in care, 
" Clerkes, knyhtes, barons," he sayde, 

" Y charge ou by oure sware, 
That ye to Engelonde be trewe. 

Y deze, y ne may lyven na more ; 
Helpeth mi sone, ant crouneth him newe, 

For he is nest to buen y-core. 

Death of King Edward I. 291 

** Ich biqueth myn herte arhyt, 

That hit be write at my devys, 
Over the see that Hue ^ be diht, 

With fourscore knyhtes al of prys, 
In werre that buen war ant wys, 

Azein the hethene for te fyhte, 
To Wynne the croiz that lowe lys, 

Myself ycholde zef that y myhte." 

Kyng of Fraunce, thou hevedest 'sinne,'* 

That thou the counsail woldest fonde, 
To latte the wille of ' Edward kyng ' ^ 

To wende to the holy londe : 
That oure kyng hede take on honde 

All Engelond to zeme ant wysse, 
To wenden in to the holy londe 

To wynnen us heveriche blisse. 

The messager to the pope com, 

And seyde that our kynge was ded : 
Ys ^ oune bond the lettre he nom, 

Ywis his herte was full gret : 
The Pope him self the lettre redde, 

And spec a word of gret honour. 
" Alas ! " he said, " is Edward ded ? 

Of Christendome he ber the flour." 

The Pope to is chaumbre wende, 

For dol ne mihte he speke na more j 
Ant after cardinals he sende, 

That muche couthen of Cristes lore, 
Bothe the lasse, ant eke the more. 

Bed hem bothe rede ant synge : 
Gret deol me ^ myhte se thore, 

Mony mon is honde wrynge. 

The Pope of Peyters stod at is masse 

With full gret solempnete, 
Ther me ^ con the soule blesse : 

" Kyng Edward honoured thou be : 

1 The name of the person who was to preside over this business. 

2 "Sunne." MS. 3 " Kyng Edward." MS. 
4 " Ys " is probably a contraction of '' in hys " or " yn his." 
B " Me," J. t. Men ; so in Robert of Gloucester passim. 

292 The Percy Reliques 

God love thi sone come after the, 

Bringe to ende that thou hast bygonne, 

The holy crois y-mad of tre, 

So fain thou woldest hit hav y-wonne. 

" Jerusalem, thou hast i-lore 

The flour of al chivalrie 
Now Kyng Edward liveth na more : 

Alas ! that he zet shulde deye ! 
He wolde ha rered up ful heyze 

Oure banners, that bueth broht to grounde ; 
Wei ! longe we mowe clepe and crie 

Er we a such kyng han y-founde." 

Nou is Edward of Carnarvan 

King of Engelond al aplyht, 
God lete him ner be worse man 

Then his fader, ne lasse of myht, 
To holden is pore men to ryht. 

And understonde good counsail, 
Al Engelond for to wysse and dyht ; 

Of gode knyhtes darh him nout fail. 

Thah mi tonge were mad of stel, 

Ant min herte yzote of bras. 
The godness myht y never telle. 

That with Kyng Edward was : 
Kyng, as thou art cleped conquerour, 

In uch bataille thou hadest prys ; 
God bringe thi soule to the honour, 

That ever wes, ant ever ys. 

*^* Here follow in the original three lines more, which, as seem- 
ingly redundant, we choose to throw to the bottom of the page, viz. 

That lasteth ay withouten ende, 
Bidde we God, ant oure Ledy to thilke blisse 
Jesus us sende. Amen. 


This little sonnet, which hatli escaped all the editors of Chaucer's 
works, is now printed for the first time from an ancient manuscript in 
the Pepysian Library, that contains many other poems of its venerable 
author. The versification Ls of that species, which the French call 

Ballad by Chaucer 293 

Rondi'att, very naturally Englished by our honest countrymen Round O. 
Though so early adopted by them, our ancestors had not the honour of 
inveniing it : Chaucer picked it up, along with other better things, 
among the neighbouring nations. A fondness for laborious trifles hath 
always prevailed in the dark ages of literature. The Greek poets have 
had their zvz'n^s and axes : the great father of English poesy may there- 
fore be pardoned one poor solitary rondeau. Geoffrey Chaucer died 
Oct. 25, 1400, ac^ed 72. 

YouRE two eyn will sle me sodenly, 
I may the beaute of them not sustene, 
So wendeth it thorowout my herte kene. 

And but your words will helen hastely 
My hertis wound, while that it is grene, 
Youre two eyn will sle me sodenly. 


Upon my trouth I sey yow feithfully, 
That ye ben of my liffe and deth the quene ; 
For with my deth the trouth shal be sene. 
Youre two eyn, &c. 


So hath youre beauty fro your herte chased 
Pitee, that me n' availeth not to pleyn ; 
For daunger halt your mercy in his cheyne. 

Giltless my deth thus have ye purchased ; 
I sey yow soth, me nedeth not to fayn : 
So hath your beaute fro your herte chased. 

Alas, that nature hath in yow compassed 
So grete beaute, that no man may atteyn 
To mercy, though he sterve for the peyn. 
So hath youre beaute, &c. 

294 The Percy Reliques 


Syn I fro love escaped am so fat, 

I nere think to ben in his prison lene ; 

Syn I am fre, I counte hym not a bene. 

He may answere, and sey this and that, 
I do no fors, I speak ryght as I mene : 
Syn I fro love escaped am so fat. 


Love hath my name i- strike out of his sclat, 
And he is strike out of my bokes clene : 
For ever mo ' ther ' ^ is non other mene. 
Syn I fro love escaped, &c. 


"or, the wooeing, winning, and wedding of tibbe, 
the reev's davghter there" 

It does honour to the good sense of this nation, that while all Europe 
was captivated with the bewitching charms of chivalry and romance, 
two of our writers in the rudest times could see through the false glare 
that surrounded them, and discover whatever was absurd in them both. 
Chaucer wrote his rhyme of Sir Thopas in ridicule of the latter ; and in 
the following poem we have a humorous burlesque of the former. 
Without pretending to decide whether the institution of chivalry was 
upon the whole useful or pernicious in the rude ages, a question that 
has lately employed many good writers,^ it evidently encouraged a 
vindictive spirit, and gave such force to the custom of duelling, that 
there is little hope of its being abolished. This, together with the fatal 
consequences which often attended the diversion of the Tumament, was 
sufficient to render it obnoxious to the graver part of mankind. 
Accordingly the Church early denounced its censures against it, and 
the State was often prevailed on to attempt its suppression. But 
fashion and opinion are superior to authority : and the proclamations 
against tilting were as little regarded in those times, as the laws against 
duelling are in these. This did not escape the discernment of our poet, 
who easily perceived that inveterate opinions must be attacked by other 
weapons, besides proclamations and censures ; he accordingly made 

1 "This." MS. ,, • J , ^u , • 

2 See [Mr. Kurd's] Letters on Chivalrj', 8vo. 1762. Memoirs de la Chevalene, par 
M. de la Curne des Palais, 1759. 2 'o™- izmo. &c 

Turnament of Tottenham 295 

use of the keen one of ridicule. With this view he has here introduced 
with admirable humour a parcel of clowns, imitating all the solemnities 
of the Tourney. Here we have the regular challenge — the appointed 
day — the lady for the prize — the formal preparations — the display of 
armour — the scutcheons and devices — the oaths taken on entering the 
lists — the various accidents of the encounter — the victor leading off the 
prize — and the magnificent feasting — with all the other solemn fopperies 
that usually attended the pompous Turnament. And how acutely the 
sharpness of the author's humour must have been felt in those days, we 
may learn from what we can perceive of its keenness now, when time 
has so much blunted the edge of its ridicule. 

"The Turnament of Tottenham" was first printed from an ancient 
manuscript in 163 1, 4to. , by the Rev. Wilhelm Bedwell,^ rector of 
Tottenham, who was one of the translators of the Bible, and after- 
wards Bishoo of Kilmore in Ireland, where he lived and died with the 
highest reputation of sanctity, in 1641. He tells us, it was written by 
Gilbert Pilkington, thought to have been some time parson of the same 
parish, and author of another piece, intitled, " Passio Domini Jesu 
Christi." Bed well, who was eminently skilled in the oriental and other 
languages, appears to have been but little conversant with the ancient 
writers of his own ; and he so little entered into the spirit of the poem 
he was publishing, that he contends for its being a serious narrative of 
a real event, and thinks it must have been written before the time of 
Edward III. because Tumaments were prohibited in that reign. "I 
do verily believe, " says he, ' ' that this Turnament was acted before this 
proclamation of King Edward. For how durst any to attempt to do 
that, although in sport, which was so straightly forbidden, both by the 
civill and ecclesiastical! power? For although they fought not with 
lances, yet, as our author sayth, 'It was no childrens game.' And 
what would have become of him, thinke you, which should have slayne 
another in this manner of jesting? Would he not, trow you, have been 
hang'd for it in earnest ? yea, and have bene buried like a dogge ? " It 
is, however, well known that Tumaments were in use down to the 
reign of Elizabeth. 

In the first editions of this work, Bedwell's copy was reprinted here, 
with some few conjectural emendations ; but as Bedwell seemed to 
have reduced the orthography at least, if not the phraseology, to the 
standard of his own time, it was with the greatest pleasure that the 
Editor was informed of an ancient manuscript copy preserved in the 
Museum [Harl. MSS. 5396.] which appeared to have been transcribed 
in the reign of King Henry VI. about 1456. This obliging information 
the Editor owed to the friendship of Thomas Tyrwhit, Esq. and he has 
chiefly followed that more authentic transcript, improved however by 
some readings from Bedwell's book. 

Of all thes kene conquerours to carpe it were kynde ; 
Of fele feyztyng folk ferly we fynde, 
The Turnament of Totenham have we in mynde ; 
It were harme sych hardynes were holden byhynde, 

1 In the former editions, this Wilhelm Bedwell was supposed to be the same with 
William Bedwell, afterwards bishop of Kilmore in Ireland: but this has since been 
discovered to be a mistake. They were very different persons, as may be seen by 
examining Ware's History of the Irish Bishops, translated and revised by Harris, 
vol. i. p. 232 ; 1764, folio. 

296 The Percy Reliques 

In story as we rede 

Of Hawkyn, of Herry, 
Of Tomkyn, of Terry, 
Of them that were dughty 
And stalworth in dede. 

It befel in Totenham on a dere day, 
Ther was mad a shurtyng be the hy-way : 
Theder com al the men of the contray, 
Of Hyssylton, of Hy-gate, and of Hakenay. 
And all the swete swynkers. 
Ther hopped Hawkyn, 
Ther daunsed Dawkyn, 
Ther trumped Tomkyn, 

And all were trewe drynkers. 

Tyl the day was gon and evyn-song past. 
That thay schuld reckyn ther scot and ther conts ^ cast ; 
Perkyn the potter into the press past, 
And sayd, Randol the refe, a dozter thou hast, 
Tyb the dere : 

Therfor faine wyt wold I, 
Whych of all thys bachelery 
Were best worthye 

To wed hur to hys fere. 

Upstyrt thos gadelyngys wyth ther lang staves. 
And sayd, Randol the refe, lo ! thys lad raves ; 
Boldely amang us thy dozter he craves ; 
We er rycher men than he, and mor gode haves 
Of cattell and corn ; 

Then sayd Perkyn, To Tybbe I have hyzt 
That I schal be alway redy in my ryzt, 
If that it schuld be thys day sevenyzt, 
Or elles zet to morn. 

Then sayd Randolfe the refe. Ever be he waryd, 
That about thys carpyng lenger wold be taryd': 
I wold not my dozter, that scho were miscaryd. 
But at hur most worschip I wold scho were maryd ; 
Therfor a Turnament schal begynne 
Thys day sevenyzt, — 
Wyth a flayl for to fyzt : 
And ' he', that is most of myght 
Schal brouke hur wyth wynne. 

1 It is not very clear in the MS. whether it should be "conts" or "conters.' 

Turnament of Tottenham 297 

Whoso berys hym best in the turnament, 
Hym schal be granted the gre be the comon assent. 
For to Wynne my dozter ^ wyth ' dughtynesse ' of dent, 
And ' coppell ' ^ my brode-henne ' that ' was brozt out of 

Kent : 
And my dunnyd kowe 

For no spens wyl I spare, 

For no cattell wyl I care, 

He schal have my gray mare, 
And my spottyd sowe. 

There was many 'a ' bold lad ther bodyes to bede : 
Than thay toke thayr leva, and homward they zede ; 
And all the weke afterward graythed ^ ther wede, 
Tyll it come to the day, that thay suld do ther dede. 
They armed ham in matts ; 
Thay set on ther noUys, 
For to kepe ther pollys, 
Gode blake bollys, 

For batryng of bats. 

Thay sowed tham in schepeskynnes, for thay schuld not 

brest : 
Ilk-on toke a blak hat, insted of a crest : 
' A basket or a panyer before on ther brest,'* 
And a flayle in ther hande ; for to fyght prest, 
Furth gon thay fare : 

Ther was kyd mekyl fors, 

Who schuld best fend hys cors : 

He that had no gode hors, 
He gat hym ^ a mare. 

Sych another gadryng have I not sene oft. 
When all the gret company com rydand to the croft : 
Tyb on a gray mare was set upon loft 
On a sek ful of fedyrs^ for scho schuld syt soft. 
And led ' till the gap.' ^ 

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

1 "Dozty." MS. 

2 " Coppeld." We still use the phrase " a copple-crowned hen." 

3 "Gayed." PC. 

* This line is wanting in MS. and is supplied from PC. 

5 "He borrowed him." PC. 

6 The MS. had once "sedys," i. e. seeds, which appears to have been altered to 
" fedyrs," or feathers. Bedwell's copy has "senvy," i. e. mustard-seed. 

^ " And led hur to cap," MS. 

298 The Percy Reliques 

A gay gyrdyl Tyb had on, borowed for the nonys, 
And a garland on hur hed ful of rounde bonys,^ 
And a broche on hur brest ful of * sapphyre ' stonys,^ 
Wyth the holy-rode tokenyng, was wrotyn ^ for the nonys ; 
For no ' spendyngs ' thay had spared.* 
When joly Gyb saw hur thare, 
He gyrd so hys gray mare, 
* That scho lete a fowkyn ' ^ fare 
At the rereward. 

I wow to God, quoth Herry, I schal not lefe behynde, 
May I mete wyth Bernard on Bayard the blynde, 
Ich man kepe hym out of my wynde. 
For whatsoever that he be, before me I fynde, 
I wot I schall hym greve. 

Wele sayd, quoth Hawkyn. 
And I wow, quoth Dawkyn, 
May I mete wyth Tomkyn, 

Hys flayle I schal hym reve. 

I make a vow, quoth Hud, Tyb, son schal thou se, 
Whych of all thys bachelery ' granted ' ^ is the gre : 
I schal scomfet thaym all, for the love of the ; 
In what place so I come thay schal have dout of me, 
Myn armes ar so clere : 

I here a reddyl, and a rake, 
Poudred wyth a brenand drake, 
And three cantells of a cake 
In ycha cornere. 

I vow to God, quoth Hawkyn, yf ' I ' '^ have the gowt, 
Al that I fynde in the felde ' thrustand ' ^ here aboute. 
Have I twyse or thryes redyn thurgh the route. 
In ycha stede ther thay me se, of me thay schal have 

When I begyn to play. 

I make avowe that I ne schall, 

But yf Tybbe wyl me call, 

Or I be thryes don fall, 
Ryzt onys com away. 

1 Bedwell's PC. has " ruel-bones." 

2 " Safer stones." MS. 

5 "Wrotyn," i. e. wrousht. PC. reads "written." 

■* " No cattel [perhaps " chatel"] they had spared." MS. 

6 "Then .... faucon." MS. 

6 "Grant." MS. 7 "Yf he have." MS. 

8 The MS. literally has " th'. sand" here. 

Turnament of Tottenham 299 

Then sayd Terry, and swore be hys crede ; 
Saw thou never yong boy forther hys body bede, 
For when thay fyzt fastest and most ar in drede, 
I schall take Tyb by the hand, and hur away lede : 
I am armed at the full ; 

In myn armys I here wele 
A doz trogh, and a pele, 
A sadyll wythout a panell, 
Wyth a fles of woU. 

I make a vow, quoth Dudman, aud swor be the stra, 
Whyls me ys left my 'mare,'^ thou gets hurr not swa; 
For scho ys wele schapen, and lizt as the rae, 
Ther is no capul in thys myle befor hur schal ga ; 
Sche wul ne nozt begyle : 

Sche wyl me here, I dar say, 
On a lang somerys day, 
Fro Hyssylton to Hakenay, 
Nozt other half myle. 

I make a vow, quoth Perkyn, thow speks of cold rost, 
I schal wyrch ' wyselyer ' ^ withouten any host : 
Five of the best capulys, that ar in thys ost, 
I wot I schal thaym wynne, and bryng thaym to my cost, 
And here I grant thaym Tybbe. 
Wele boyes here ys he. 
That wyl fyzt, and not fie. 
For I am in my jolyte, 

Wyth so forth, Gybbe. 

When thay had ther vowes made, furth can thay hie, 
Wyth flayles, and hornes,^ and trumpes mad of tre : 
Ther were all the bachelerys of that contre ; 
Thay were dyzt in aray, as thaymselfes wold be : 
Thayr baners were ful bryzt 
Of an old rotten fell ; 
The cheveron ^ of a plow-mell ; 
And the schadow of a bell, 

Poudred wyth the mone lyzt. 

I wot yt ' was ' ^ no chylder game, whan thay togedyr met, 
When icha freke in the feld on hys feloy bet, 

l"Merth." MS. 2 " Swyselior." MS. 

3 " Flailes, and harnisse " PC. * " The chiefe." PC. 

6 "Ytys." MS. 

300 The Percy Reliques 

And layd on styfly, for nothyng wold thay let, 
And foght ferly fast, tyll ther horses swet, 
And few wordys spoken. 

Ther were flayles al to slatred, 
Ther were scheldys al to flatred, 
Bollys and dysches all to schatred, 
And many hedys brokyn. 

There was clynkyng of cart-sadelys, and clatteryng of 

Cannes ; 
Of fele frekys in the feld brokyn were their fannes ; 
Of sum were the hedys brokyn, of sum the braynpannes, 
And yll were thay besene, or thay went thanns 
Wyth swyppyng of swepyls : 

Thay were ^ so wery for-foght, 

Thay myzt not fyzt mare oloft, 

But creped about in the ' croft,' ^ 
As thay were croked crepyls. 

Perkyn was so wery, that he began to loute ; 
Help, Hud, I am ded in thys ylk rowte : 
An hors for forty pens, a gode and a stoute ! 
That I may lyztly come of my noye oute, 
For no cost wyl I spare. 

He styrt up as a snayle, 
And hent a capul be the tayle, 
And ' reft ' ^ Dawkin hys flayle, 
And wan there a rnare. 

Perkyn wan five, and Hud wan twa : 
Glad and blythe thay ware, that they had don sa ; 
Thay wold have tham to Tyb, and present hur with tha : 
The Capulls were so wery, that thay myzt not ga, 
But styl gon thay stond.'* 

Alas ! quoth Hudde, my joye I lese ; 
Mee had lever then a ston of chese. 
That dere Tyb had al these, 

And wyst it were my sond.^ 

Perkyn turnyd hym about in that ych thrang,^ 
Among thos wery boyes he wrest and he wrang ; 
He threw tham doun to the erth, and thrast tham amang, 
When he saw Tyrry away with Tyb fang, 

1 "The boyes were." MS. 2 " Creped then about in the croft." MS. 

3 "Razt." MS. < "Stand." MS. 

B " Sand." MS. « The PC. reads " ilk throng." 

Turnament of Tottenham 301 

And after hym ran ; 

Off his horse he hym drogh, 
And gaf hym of hys flayl inogh : 
We te he ! quoth Tyb, and lugh, 
Ye er a dughty man. 

" Thus ' ^ thay tugged, and rugged, tyl yt was nere nyzt : 
Ail the wyves of Tottenham came to se that syzt 
Wyth wyspes, and kexis, and ryschys there lyzt, 
To fetch horn ther husbandes, that were thara trouth 

plyzt ; 
And sum brozt gret harwos, 

Ther husbandes hom to fetch,^ 

Sum on dores, and sum on hech. 

Sum on hyrdyllys, and som on crech. 
And sum on whele-barows. 

They gaderyd Perkyn about, ' on ' ^ everych syde, 
And grant hym ther ' the gre,' * the more was hys pryde : 
Tyb and he wyth gret 'mu-th,'^ homvvard con thay ryde, 
And were al nyzt togedyr, tyl the morn tyde ; 
And thay ' to church went : ' ^ 

So wele hys nedys he has sped, 
That dere Tyb he ' hath ' '' wed ; 
The prayse-folk,^ that hur led. 
Were of the Turnament. 

To that ylk fest com many for the nones ; 

Some come hyphalte, and sum trippand ' thither ' ^ on the 

stonys : 
Sum a staf in hys hand, and sum two at onys ; 
Of sum where the hedes broken, of some the schulder bonys ; 
With sorrow came thay thedyr. 

Wo was Hawkyn, wo was Herry, 

Wo was Tomkyn, wo was Terry, 

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

^^ At that fest thay wer servyd with a ryche aray, 
Every fyve & fyve had a cokenay ; 

1 "Thys." MS. 2 "Horn for to fetch." MS. 

3 " About ever>xh side." MS. 4 " The gre," is wanting in MS. 

S "Mothe." MS. 6 "And thay ifere assent." MS. 

7 "Had wed." MS. 8 " The cheefemen. " PC. 

9 " Trippand on." MS. 
50 In the former impressions, this concluding stanza was only given from Bedwell's 
printed edition ; but it is here copied from the old Manuscript, wherein it has been 
since found separated from the rest of the poem, by several pages of a money- 
account and other heterogeneous matter. 

302 The Percy Reliques 

And so thay sat in jolyte al the lung day ; 
And at the last thay went to bed with ful gret deray ; 
Mekyl myrth was them among ; 
In every corner of the hous 
Was melody delycyous 
For to here precyus 

Of six menys song.^ 


That our plain and martial ancestors could wield their swords much 
better than their pens, will appear from the following homely Rhymes, 
which were drawn up by some poet laureat of those days to celebrate 
the immortal victory gained at Agincourt, Oct. 25, 1415. This song 
or hymn is given merely as a curiosity, and is printed from a manu- 
script copy in the Pepys Collection, vol. i. folio. It is there accompanied 
with the musical notes. 

Deo gratia s Anglia redde pro victoria I 

OwRE kynge went forth to Normandy, 
With grace and myzt of chivalry ; 
The God for hym wrouzt marvelously, 
Wherefore Englonde may calle, and cry 

JDeo gratias : 
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria. 

He sette a sege, the sothe for to say, 
To Harflue toune with ryal aray ; 
That toune he wan, and made a fray, 
That Fraunce shall rywe tyl domes day. 

Deo gratias y &'c. 

Then went owre kynge, with alle his oste, 
Thorowe Fraunce for all the Frenshe boste ; 
He spared ' for ' for drede of leste, ne most, 
Tyl he come to Agincourt coste. 

Deo gratias, fy'c. 

^ " Six-men's song," i.e. a song for six voices. So Shalcspeare uses "three-man 
song-men," in his " Winter's Tale," act iii. sc. 3, to denote men that could sing 
catches composed for three voices. Of this sort are Weelkes's Madrigals mentioned 
below, Boole ii. Song 9. So again Shakspeare has " three-men beetle ; " ;. e. a beetle 
or rammer worked by three men. 2 Hen. IV. a. i. sc. 3. 

The Victory at Agincourt 303 

Than for sothe that knyzt comely 
In Agincourt feld he fauzt manly, 
Thorow grace of God most myzty 
He had bothe the felde, and the victory : 

Deo gratias, &>€. 

Ther dukys, and erlys, lorde and barone, 
Were take, and slayne, and that wel sone. 
And some were ledde in to Lundone 
With joye, and merthe, and grete renone. 

Deo gratias, &^c. 

Now gracious God he save owre kynge. 
His peple, and all his wel wyllynge, 
Gef him gode lyfe, and gode endynge, 
That we with merth mowe savely synge 

Deo gratias : 
Deo gratias Atiglia redde pro victoria. 


The sentimental beauties of this ancient ballad have always recom- 
mended it to readers of taste, notwithstanding the rust of antiquity 
which obscures the style and expression. Indeed, if it had no other 
merit tlian the having afforded the ground- work to Prior's *' Henry and 
Emma," this ought to preserve it from oblivion. That we are able to 
give it in so correct a manner, is owing to the great care and exactness 
of the accurate editor of the " Prolusions," 8vo. 1 760 ; who has formed 
the text from two copies found in two different editions of Arnolde's 
Chronicle, a book supposed to be first printed about 1 521. From the 
copy in the Prolusions the following is printed, with a few additional 
improvements gathered from another edition of Arnolde's book ^ pre- 
served in the Public Library at Cambridge. All the various readings 
of this copy will be found here, either received into the text, or noted 
in the margin. The references to the " Prolusions" will shew where 
they occur. In our ancient folio manuscript, described in the preface, 
is a very corrupt and defective copy of this ballad, which yet afforded 
a great improvement in one passage. See ver. 310. 

It has been a much easier task to settle the text of this poem than to 
ascertain its date. The ballad of "The Nutbrowne Mayd" was first 
revived in " The Muses' Mercury for June, 1707," 4to. being prefaced 
with a little " Essay on the old English Poets and Poetry ; " in which 
this poem is concluded to be " near 300 years old," upon reasons which, 
though they appear inconclusive to us now, were sufficient to determine 
Prior, who there first met with it. However, this opinion had the ap- 
probation of the learned Wanley, an excellent judge of ancient books. 
For that whatever related to the reprinting of this old piece was 

1 This (which my friend Mr. Farmer supposes to be the first edition) is in folio ; 
the folios are numbered at the bottom of the leaf : the song begins at folio 75. The 
poem has since been collated with a very fine copy that was in the collection of the 
late James West, Esq. ; the readings extracted thence are denoted thus, ' Mr. W.' 

304 The Percy Reiiques 

referred to Wanley, appears from two letters of Prior's preserved in the 
British Museum [Harl. MSS. No. 3777]. The editor of the Pro- 
lusions thinks it cannot be older than the year 1500, because, in Sir 
Thomas More's Tale of " The Serjeant," &c. which was written about 
that time, there appears a sameness of rhythmus and orthography, and a 
very near affinity of words and phrases, with those of this ballad. But 
this reasoning is not conclusive ; for if Sir Thomas More made this 
ballad his model, as is very likely, that will account for the sameness of 
measure, and in some respect for that of words and phrases, even though 
this had been written long before ; and, as for the orthography, 
it is well known that the old printers reduced that of most books to the 
standard of their own times. Indeed, it is hardly probable that an an- 
tiquary like Arnolde would have inserted it among his historical collec- 
tions, if it had been then a modern piece ; at least, he would have been 
apt to have named its author. But to shew how little can be inferred 
from a resemblance of rhythmus or style, the Editor of these volumes has 
in his ancient folio manuscript a poem on the victory of Flodden-field, 
written in the same numbers, with the same alliterations, and in ortho- 
graphy, phraseology, and style, nearly resembling the Visions of Pierce 
Plowman, which are yet known to have been composed above 160 years 
before that battle. As this poem is a great curiosity, we shall give a 
few of the introductory lines : 

Grant, gracious God, grant me this time, 

That I may 'say, or I cease, thy selven to please ; 

And Mary his mother, that maketh this world ; 

And all the seemlie saints, that sitten in heaven ; , 

I will carpe of kings, that conquered full wide, 

That dwelled in this land, that was alyes noble ; 

Henry the seventh, that soveraigne lord, &c. 

With regard to the date of the following ballad, we have taken a middle 
course, neither placed it so high as Wanley and Prior, nor quite so low 
as the editor of the Prolusions : we should have followed the latter in 
dividing every other line into two, but that the whole would then have 
taken up more room than could be allowed it in this volume. 

Be it ryght, or wrong, these men among 

On women ^ do complayne ; ^ 
Affyrmynge this, how that it is 

A labour spent in vayne, 
To love them wele ; for never a dele 

They love a man agayne : 
For late a man do what he can, 

Theyr favour to attayne, 
Yet, yf a newe do them persue, 

Theyr first true lover than 
Laboureth for nought ; for from her ^ thought 

He is a banyshed man. 

1 " Woman." Prolusions, and Mr. West's copy. 

2 My friend, Mr. Farmer, proposes to read the first lines thus as a Latinism : 

Be it right or wrong, 'tis men among, 
On women to complayne. 
8 i, e. their. 

The Not-Browne Mayd 305 

I say nat nay, but that all day 

It is bothe writ and sayd 
That womens faith is, as who sayth, 

All utterly decayd ; 
But, neverthelesse, ryght good wytnesse 

In this case might be layd, 
That they love true, and continiie 

Recorde the Not-browne Mayde : 
Which, when her love came, her to prove, 

To her to make his mone, 
Wolde nat depart ; for in her hart 

She loved but hym alone. 

Than betwaine us late us dyscus 

What was all the manere 
Betwayne them two : we wyll also 

Tell all the payne, and fere, 
That she was in. Nowe I begyn. 

So that ye me answere ; 
Wherfore, all ye, that present be, 

I pray you, gyve an ere. 
" I am the knyght : I come by nyght, 

As secret as I can ; 
Sayinge, Alas ! thus standeth the case, 

I am a banyshed man." 


And I your wyll for to fulfyll 

In this wyll nat refuse ; 
Trustying to shewe, in wordes fewe. 

That men have an yll use 
(To theyr ov/n shame) women to blame, 

And causelesse them accuse ; 
Therfore to you I answere nowe, 

All women to excuse, — 
Myne owne hart dere, with you what chore ? 

I pray you, tell anone ; 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 


It standeth so ; a dede is do 

Whereof grete harme shall growe : 

My destiny is for to dy 
A shamefuU deth, I trowe ; 

VOL. I. X 

3o6 The Percy Reliques 

Or elles to fle : the one must be. 

None other way I knowe, 
But to withdrawe as an outlawe, 

And take me to my bowe. 
Wherfore, adue, my owne hart true ! 

None other rede I can : 
For I must to the grene wode go, 
Alone, a banyshed man. 


Lord, what is thys worldys blysse, 
That changeth as the mone ! 

My somers ^ day in lusty May 
Is derked before the none. 

1 here you say, farewell : Nay, nay 

We depart nat so sone. 
Why say ye so ? wheder wyll ye go ? 

Alas ! what have ye done ? 
All my welfare to sorrowe and care 

Sholde chaunge, yf ye were gone ; 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 


I can beleve, it shall you greve, 

And somewhat you dystrayne : 
But, aftyrwarde, your paynes harde 

Within a day or twayne 
Shal sone aslake ; and ye shall take 

Comfort to you agayne. 
Why sholde ye ought ? for, to make thought, 

Your labour were in vayne. 
And thus I do ; and pray you to 

As hartely, as I can ; 
For I must to the grene wode go, 

Alone, a banyshed man. 


Now, syth that ye have shewed to me 

The secret of your mynde, 
I shall be playne to you agayne, 

Lyke as ye shall me fynde. 

1 "The somers." Prol. 


The Not-Browne Mayd 307 

Syth it is so, that ye wyll go, 

I wolle not leve behynde ; 
Shall never ^ be sayd, the Not-browne Mayd 

Was to her love unkynde : 
Make you redy, for so am I, 

Allthough ^ it were anone ; 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 


Yet I you rede to take good hede 

What men wyll thynke, and say : 
Of yonge and olde it shall be tolde, 

That ye be gone away. 
Your wanton wyll for to fulfill, 

In grene wode you to play ; 
And that ye myght from your delyght 

No lenger make delay. 
Rather than ye sholde thus for me 

Be called an yll woman, 
Yet wolde I to the grene wode go, 

Alone, a banyshed man. 


Though it be songe of old and yonge. 

That I sholde be to blame, 
Theyrs be the charge, that speke so large 

In hurtynge of my name ; 
For I wyll prove, that faythfulle love 

It is devoyd of shame ; 
In your dystresse, and hevynesse. 

To part with you, the same : 
And sure all ^ tho, that do not so. 

True lovers are they none ; 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 


I counceyle you, remember howe, 

It is no maydens lawe, 
Nothynge to dout, but to renne out 

To wode with an outlawe : 

1 " Shall it never." Prol. and Mr. W. 

2 "Althought." Mr. W. 

8 " To shewe all." Prol. and Mr. W. 

3o8 The Percy Reliques 

For ye must there in your hand here 

A bowe, redy to drawe ; 
And, as a thefe, thus must you lyve, 

Ever in drede and awe ; 
Wherby to you grete harme myght growe 

Yet had I lever than, 
That I had to the grene wode go, 

Alone, a banyshed man. 


I thinke nat ^ nay, but as ye say, 

It is no maydens lore : 
But love may make me for your sake, 

As I have sayd before, 
To come on fote, to hunt, and shote 

To gete us mete in store ; - 
For so that I your company 

May have, I aske no more : 
From which to part, it maketh my hart 

As colde as ony stone ; 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 


For an outlawe this is the la we, 

That men hym take and bynde j 
Without pyte, hanged to be, 

And waver with the wynde. 
If I had nede, (as God forbede !) 

What rescous ^ coude ye fynde ? 
Forsoth, I trowe, ye and your bowe 

For fere wold drawe behynde : 
And no mervayle ; for lytell avayle 

Were in your counceyle than : 
Wherfore I wyll to the grene wode go. 

Alone, a banyshed man. 


Ryght wele knowe ye, that women be 

But feble for to fyght ; 
No womanhede it is indede 

To be bolde as a knyght : 

1 " I say nat." Prol. and Mr. W. 

2 "And Store." Camb. Copy. 

8 " Socours." Prol. and Mr. W. 

The Not-Browne Mayd 309 

Yet, in such fere yf that ye were 

With enemyes day or nyght,^ 
I wolde withstande, with bowe in hande, 

To greve them as I myght,'^ 
And you to save ; as women have 

From deth ' men ' many one : 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 


Yet take good hede ; for ever I drede 

That ye coude nat sustayne 
The thornie wayes, the depe valeies, 

The snowe, the frost, the rayne,^ 
The colde, the hete : for dry, or wete. 

We must * lodge on the playne ; 
And, us above, none other rofe 

But a brake bush, or twayne : 
Which sone sholde greve you, I beleve ; 

And ye wolde gladly than 
That I had to the grene wode go, 

Alone, a banyshed man. 


Syth I have here bene partynere 

With you of joy and blysse, 
I must also parte of your wo 

Endure, as reson is : 
Yet am I sure of one plestire ; 

And, shortely, it is this : 
That, where ye be, me semeth, pard^, 

I coude nat fare amysse. 
Without more speche, I you beseche 

That we were sone agone ; ^ 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 


If ye go thyder, ye must consyder, 

Whan ye have lust to dyne, 
There shall no mete be for you gete, 

Nor drinke, bere,^ ale, ne wyne. 

1 " And night." Camb. Copy. 

2 " To helpe ye with my myght." Prol. and Mr. W. 

3 "Frostandrayne." Mr. W. ■*"Yeinust." Prol. 

6 " Shortley gone." Prol. and Mr. W. « " Neyther here." Prol. «nd Mr. W. 

310 The Percy Reliques 

No shells clene, to lye betwene, 

Made of threde and twyne ; 
None other house, but leves and bowes, 

To cover your hed and myne, 

myne ^ harte swete, this evyll dy^te 
Sholde make you pale and wan ; 

Wherfore I wyll to the grene wode go, 
Alone, a banyshed man. 


Amonge the wylde dere, such an archere, 

As men say that ye be, 
Ne may nat fayle^ of good vitayle, 

Where is so grete plente : 
And water clere of the ryv^re 

Shall be full swete to me ; 
With which in hele I shall ryght wele 

Endure, as ye shall see ; 
And, or we go, a bedde or two 

I can provyde anone ; 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 


Lo yet, before, ye must do more, 

Yf ye wyll go with me : 
As cut your here up by your ere,^ 

Your kyrtle by the kne ; * 
With bowe in hande, for to withstande 

Your enemyes, yf nede be : 
And this same ^ nyght before day-lyght, 

To wode-warde wyll I fle. 
Yf that ye \vyll all this fulfill. 

Do it shortely as ye can : 
Els wyll I to the grene wode go, 

Alone, a banyshed man. 


1 shall as nowe do more for you 
Than longeth to womanhede ; 

To shorte my here, a bowe to bere, 
To shote in tyme of nede. 

3 "Lomyn." Mr. W. .,.,», „r 

a " May ye nat fayle." Prol. " May nat fayle. Mr. W- ^ , ^ », ™ 
» " Above your ere." Prol. •* "Above the kne. Prol. and Mr. W. 

6 "The same." ProL and Mr. W. 

The Not-Browne Mayd 311 

O my swete mother, before all other 

For you I have most drede : 
But nowe, adue I must ensue, 

Where fortune doth me lede. 
All this make ye : Now let us fle ; 

The day cometh fast upon ; 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 


Nay, nay, nat so ; ye shall nat go, 

And I shall tell ye why, — 
Your appetyght is to be lyght 

Of love, I wele espy : 
For, lyke as ye have sayed to me, 

In lyke wyse hardely 
Ye wolde answ^re whosoever it were, 

In way of company. 
It is sayd of olde, Sone bote, sone colde ; 

And so is a woman. 
Wherfore I to the wode wyll go,^ 

Alone, a banyshed man. 


Yf ye take hede, it is ^ no nede 

Such wordes to say by me ; 
For oft ye prayed, and longe assayed, 

Or I you loved, parde : 
And though that I of auncestry 

A barons daughter be. 
Yet have you proved howe I you loved 

A squyer of lowe degre ; 
And ever shall, whatso befall ; 

To dy ^ therfore * anone ; 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 


A barons chylde to be begylde ! 

It were a cursed dede, 
To be felkwe with an outlkwe ! 

Almighty God forbede ! 

1 " For I must to the grene wode go." Prol. and Mr. W. 

2 "Yet is." Camb. Copy. Perhaps for "yt is." 

3 "Dy with him." Editor's MS. 

4 i, e. for this cause ; though 1 were to die for having loved you. 

312 The Percy Reliques 

Yet beter were, the pore squyere 

Alone to forest yede, 
Than ye sholde say another day, 

That, by my cursed dede, 
Ye were betray'd : Wherfore, good mayd, 

The best rede that I can, 
Is, that I to the grene wode go 

Alone, a banyshed man. 


Whatever befall, I never shall 

Of this thyng you upbraid ; ^ 
But yf ye go, and leve me so. 

Than have ye me betrayd. 
Remember you wele, howe that ye dele ; 

For, yf ye, as ^ ye sayd. 
Be so unkynde, to leve behynde,^ 

Your love, the Not-browne Mayd, 
Trust me truly, that I shall dy 

Sone after ye be gone ; 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 


Yf that ye went, ye sholde repent ; 

For in the forest nowe 
I have purvayed me of a mayd. 

Whom I love more than you ; 
Another fayrere, than ever ye were, 

I dare it wele avowe ; 
And of you bothe eche sholde be wrothe 

With other, as I trowe : 
It were myne ese, to live in pese ; 

So wyll I, yf I can ; 
Wherfore I to the wode wyll go 

Alone, a banyshed man. 


Though in the wode I undyrstode 

Ye had a paramour, 
All this may nought remove my thought, 

But that I wyll be your : 

1 "Outbrayd." Prol. and Mr. \V. 

2 " Ye be as." Prol. and Mr. W. 

8 "Ye were unkynde to leave me behynde." Prol. and Mr. W, 

The Not-Browne Mayd 313 

And she shall fynde me soft, and kynde 

And courteys every hour ; 
Glad to fulfyll all that she wyll 

Commaunde me to my power : 
For had ye, lo, an hundred mo, 

' Of them I wolde be one ; ' ^ 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 


Myne owne dere love, I se the prove 

That ye be kynde, and true ; 
Of mayde, and wyfe, in all ^ my lyfe. 

The best that ever I knewe. 
Be mery and glad, be no more sad, 

The case is chaunged newe ; 
For it were ruthe, that, for your truthe, 

Ye sholde have cause to rewe. 
Be nat dismayed ; whatsoever I sayd 

To you, whan I began ; 
I wyall nat to the grene wode go, 

I am no banyshed man. 


These tydings be more gladd ^ to me, 

Than to be made a quene, 
Yf I were sure they sholde endure : 

But it is often sene. 
Whan men wyll breke promyse, they speke 

The wordds on the splene. 
Ye shape some wyle me to begyle. 

And stele from me, I wene : 
Than were the case worse than it was, 

And I more wo-begone : 
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde 

I love but you alone. 


Ye shall nat nede further to drede ; 

I wyll nat dysparage 
You, (God defend !) syth ye descend 

Of so grete a lynage.^ 

1 So the Editor's MS. All the printed copies read, 

" Yet wold I be that one." 

2 "Of all." Prol. and Mr. W. 8 "Gladder." Prol. and Mr. W. 
4 " Grete lynyage." Prol. and Mr. W 

314 The Percy Reliques 

Nowe undyrstande ; to Westmarlande, 

Which is myne herytage, 
I wyll you brynge ; and with a rynge, 

By way of maryage 
I wyll you take, and lady make, 

As shortely as I can : 
Thus have ^ you won an erlys son, 

And not a banyshed ^ man. 


Here may ye se, that women be 

In love, meke, kynde, and stable : 
Late never man reprove them than, 

Or call them variable ; ^ 
But, rather, pray God, that we may 

To them be comfortable ; 
Which sometyme proveth * such, as he loveth,* 

 Yf they be charytable. 
For syth ^ men wolde that women sholde 

Be meke to them each one ; 
Moche more ought they to God obey, 

And serve but hym alone. 


The amiable light in which the character of Anthony Widville, the 
gallant Earl Rivers, has been placed by the elegant author of the 
Catalogue of Noble Writers, interests us in whatever fell from his pen. 
It is presumed therefore that the insertion of this little sonnet will be 
pardoned, though it should not be found to have much poetic merit. 
It is the only original poem known of that nobleman's : his more 
voluminous works being only translations. And if we consider that it 
was written during his cruel confinement in Pom fret castle a short time 
before his execution in 1483, it gives us a fine picture of the composure 
and steadiness with which this stout earl beheld his approaching fate. 

This ballad we owe to Rouse, a contemporary historian, who seems 
to have copied it from the Earl's own hand writing. " In tempore," 
says this writer, " incarcerationis apud Pontem-fractum edidit unum Balet 
in anglicis, ut mihi monstratum est, quod subsequitur sub his verbis : 55um 
fc^at musgng," &c. (Rossi Hist. 8vo. 2d edit. p. 213.) In Rouse the 
second stanza, &c. is imperfect, but the defects are here supplied firom 

1 "Then have." Prol. 

2 " And no banyshed." Prol. and Mr. W. 

3 This line is wanting in Prol. and Mr. W. 

4 " Proved— loved." Prol. and Mr. W. "As loveth." Carab. 
6 " Forsoth." Prol. and Mr. W. 

Ballet by the Earl Rivers 315 

a more perfect copy printed in " Ancient Songs, from the Time of King 
Henry III. to the Revolution," page 87. 

This little piece, which perhaps ought rather to have been printed in 
stanzas of eight short lines, is written in imitation of a poem of Chaucer's 
that will be found in Urry's Edit. 1721, p. 555, beginning thus : 

Alone walkjmg, In thought plainyng, 

And sore sighying, All desolate. 
My remembrying Of my livying 

My death wishyng Bothe erly and late. 

Infortunate Is so my fate 

That wrote ye what, Out of mesure 
My life I hate ; Thus desperate 

In such pore estate. Doe I endure, &c. 

SuMWHAT musyng, And more mornyng, 
In remembring The unstydfastnes ; 

This world being Of such whelyng, 
Me contrarieng, What may I gesse ? 

I fere dowtles, Remediles, 

Is now to sese My wofuU chaunce. 

[For unkyndness, Withouten less, 
And no redress, Me doth avaunce, 

With displeasaunce, To my grevaunce, 

And no suraunce Of remedy.] 
Lo in this traunce, Now in substaunce, 

Such is my dawnce, Wyllyng to dye. 

Me thynks truly, Bowndyn am I, 

And that gretly, To be content : 
Seyng playnly. Fortune doth wry 

All contrary From myn entent. 

My lyff was lent Me to on intent, 

Hytt is ny spent. Welcome fortune ! ^ 

But I ne went ^ Thus to be shent, 
But sho hit ment ; Such is hur won. 



The reader will think that infant poetry grew apace between the 
times of Rivers and Vaux, though nearly contemporaries ; if the follow- 
ing song is the composition of that Sir Nicholas (afterwards Lord) 
Vaux, who was the shining ornament of the court of Henry VII. and 
died in the year 1523. 

1 " That fortune." Rossi Hist 2 {, g. weened. 

3i6 The Percy Reliques 

And yet to this Lord it is attributed by Puttenham in his " Art of 
Eng. Poesie," 1589. 4to. a writer commonly well informed : take the 
passage at large. " In this figure [Counterfait Action] the Lord 
Nicholas Vaux, a noble gentleman and much delighted in vulgar 
making, and a man otherwise of no great learning, but having herein 
a marvelous facilitie, made a dittie representing the Battayle and 
Assault of Cupide, so excellently well, as for the gallant and propre 
application of his fiction in every part, I cannot choose but set downe 
the greatest part of his ditty, for in truth it cannot be amended. 
' When Cupid scaled,' &c." p. 200. For a farther account of 
Nicholas Lord Vaux, see Mr. Walpole's Noble Authors, Vol. i. 

The following copy is printed from the first edition of Surrey's 
Poems, 1557, 4to. See another song of Lord Vaux's, Series L Book ii. 
No. 2. 

When Cupide scaled first the fort, 
Wherein my hart lay wounded sore ; 

The batry was of such a sort, 

That I must yelde or die therfore. 

There sawe I Love upon the wall, 

How he his banner did display : 
Alarme, alarme, he gan to call : 

And bad his souldiours kepe aray. 

The armes, the which that Cupide bare. 
Were pearced hartes with teares besprent, 

In silver and sable to declare 

The stedfast love, he alwayes ment. 

There might you se his band all drest 
In colours like to white and blacke, 

With powder and with pelletes prest 
To bring the fort to spoile and sacke. 

Good-wyll, the maister of the shot, 

Stode in the rampire brave and proude, 

For spence of pouder he spared not 
Assault ! assault ! to crye aloude. 

There might you heare the cannons rore ; 

Eche pece discharged a lovers loke ; 
Which had the power to rent, and tore 

In any place whereas they toke. 

And even with the trompettes sowne 

The scaling ladders were up set, 
And Beautie walked up and downe, 

With bow in hand, and arrowes whet. 

Cupid's Assault 317 

Then first Desire began to scale, 

And shrouded him under 'his ' ^ targe ; 

As one the worthiest of them all, 
And aptest for to geve the charge. 

Then pushed souldiers with their pikes, 
And halberdes with handy strokes ; 

The argabushe in fleshe it lightes, 

And duns the ayre with misty smokes. 

And, as it is the souldiers use 

When shot and powder gins to want, 

I hanged up my flagge of truce, 
And pleaded up for my lives grant. 

When Fansy thus had made her breche, 
And Beauty entred with her band, 

With bag and baggage, sely wretch, 
T yelded into Beauties hand. 

Then Beautie bad to blow retrete. 

And every souldier to retire, 
And mercy wyll'd with spede to fet 

Me captive bound as prisoner. 

Madame, quoth I, sith that this day 

Hath served you at all assayes, 
I yeld to you without delay 

Here of the fortresse all the kayes. 

And sith that I have ben the marke. 
At whom you shot at with your eye ; 

Nedes must you %vith your handy warke. 
Or salve my sore, or let me die. 

*^^* Since the foregoing song was first printed off, reasons have 
occurred, which incline me to believe that Lord Vaux the poet was not 
the Lord Nicholas Vaux, who died in 1523, but rather a successor of 
his in the title. For in the first place it is remarkable that all the old 
writers mention Lord Vaux, the poet, as contemporary or rather 
posterior to Sir Thomas Wyat and the Earl of Surrey, neither of which 
made any figure till long after the death of the first Lord Nicholas 
Vaux. Thus Puttenham, in his "Art of English Poesie," 1589, in 
p. 48, having named Skelton, adds, " In the latter end of the same 
kings raigne [Henry VIII.] sprong up a new company of courtly makers 
[poets], of whom Sir Thomas Wyat th' elder, and Henry Earl of 
Surrey, were the two chieftaines, who having travailed into Italic, and 
there tasted the sweet and stately measures and stile of the Italian 
1 " Her." Ed. 1557. " So." Ed. 1585. 

3i8 The Percy Reliques 

poesie .... greatly polished our rude and homely manner of vulgar 

poesie In the same time, or not long after was the Lord Nicholas 

Vaux, a man of much facilitie in vulgar makings."^ Webbe in his 
Discourse of English Poetrie, 1586, ranges them in the following order, 
"The Earl of Surrey, the Lord Vaux, Norton, Bristow." And 
Gascoigne, in the place quoted in Series I. Book ii. No. 2. mentions 
Lord Vaux after Surrey. Again, the style and measure of Lord Vaux's 
pieces seem too refined and polished for the reign of Henry VII. and 
rather resemble the smoothness and harmony of Surrey and Wyat, than 
the rude metre of Skelton and Hawes ; but what puts the matter out 
of all doubt, in the British Museum is a copy of his poem, " I lothe 
that I did love," (vid. ubi supra) with this title, "A dyttye or 
sonet made by the Lord Vaus, in the time of the noble Quene Marye, 
representing the image of Death." Harl. MSS. No. 1703, § 25. 

It is evident then that Lord Vaux the poet was not he that flourished 
in the reign of Henry VII. but either his son, or grandson : and yet, 
according to Dugdale's Baronage, the former was named Thomas, and 
the latter William : but this difificulty is not great, for none of the old 
writers mention the Christian name of the poetic Lord Vaux,^ except 
Puttenham ; and it is more likely that he might be mistaken in that 
lord's name, than in the time in which he lived, who was so nearly his 

Thomas Lord Vaux, of Harrowden in Northamptonshire, was sum- 
moned to parliament in 1531. When he died does not appear ; but he 
probably lived till the latter end of Queen Mary's reign, since his son 
William was not summoned to parliament till the last year of that 
reign, in 1551. This lord died in 1595. (See Dugdale, vol. ii. p. 304.) 
Upon the whole I am inclined to believe that Lord Thomas was the 


This old fabulous legend is given from the Editor's folio manuscript 
with conjectural emendations, and the insertion of some additional 
stanzas to supply and complete the story. 

It has been suggested to the Editor that the author of this poem 
seems to have had in his eye the story of Gunhilda, who is sometimes 
called Eleanor, and was married to the Emperor (here called King) 

Our king he kept a false stewarde, 

Sir Aldingar they him call ; 
A falser steward than he was one, 

Servde not in bower nor hall. 

He wolde have layne by our comelye queene, 
Her deere worshippe to betraye : 

Our queene she was a good woman, 
And evermore said him naye. 

' /. *. Compositions in English. 

2 In the Paradise of Dainty Devises, 1596, he is called simply "Lord Vaux the 

Sir Aldingar 319 

Sir Aldingar was wrothe in his mind, 

With her hee was never content, 
Till traiterous meanes he colde devyse, 

In a fyer to have her brent. 

There came a lazar to the kings gate, 

A lazar both blinde and lame : 
He tooke the lazar upon his backe, 

Him on the queenes bed has layne. 

" Lye still, lazkr, wheras thou lyest, 
Looke thou goe not hence away ; 

Ik make thee a whole man and a sound 
In two howers of the day." ^ 

Then went him forth Sir Aldingar, 

And hyed him to our king : 
" If I might have grace, as I have space, 

Sad tydings I could bring." 

Say on, say on, Sir Aldingar, 

Saye on the soothe to mee. 
" Our queene hath chosen a new new love, 

And shee will have none of thee. 

" If shee had chosen a right good knight, 

The lesse had beene her shame ; 
But she hath chose her a lazar man, 

A lazar both blinde and lame." 

If this be true, thou Aldingar, 

The tyding thou tellest to me. 
Then will I make thee a rich rich knight. 

Rich both of golde and fee. 

But if it be false. Sir Aldingar, 

As God nowe grant it bee ! 
Thy body, I sweare by the holye rood, 

Shall hang on the gallows tree. 

He brought our king to the queenes chamber, 

And opend to him the dore. 
A lodlye love. King Harry says, 

For our queene dame Elinore ! 

1 He probably insinuates that the king should heal him by his power of touching 
for the King's Evil. 

320 The Percy Reliques 

If thou were a man, as thou art none, 

Here on my sword thoust dye ; 
But a payre of new gallowes shall be built, 

And there shalt thou hang on hye. 

Forth then hyed our king, I wysse, 

And an angry man was hee ; 
And soone he found Queene Elinore, 

That bride so bright of blee. 

Now God you save, our queene, madame, 

And Christ you save and see ; 
Heere you have chosen a newe newe love, 

And you will have none of mee. 

If you had chosen a right good knight, 
The lesse had been your shame : ' 

But you have chose you a lazar man, 
A lazar both blinde and lame. 

Therfore a fyer there shalt be built, 
And brent all shalt thou bee. — 

Now out alacke ! said our comly queene, 
Sir Aldingar's false to mee. 

Now out alacke ! sayd our comlye queene, 
My heart with griefe will brast. 

I had thought swevens had never been true i 
I have proved them true at last. 

I dreamt in my sweven on Thursday eve, 

In my bed wheras I laye, 
I dreamt a grype and a grimlie beast 

Had carryed my crowne awaye ; 

My gorgett and my kirtle of golde. 

And all my faire hcad-geere : 
And he wold worrye me with his tush 

And to his nest y-beare : 

Saving there came a little ' gray ' ^ hawke, 

A merlin him they call, 
WTiich untill the grounde did strike the grype, 

That dead he downe did fall. 

1 See below, ver. 137. 

Sir Aldingar ':i2i 

Giffe I were a man, as now I am none, 

A battell wold I prove, 
To fight with that traitor Aldingar, 

Att him I cast my glove. 

But seeing Ime able noe battell to make, 

My liege, grant me a knight 
To fight with that traitor Sir Aldingar, 

To maintaine me in my right. 

" Now forty dayes I will give thee 

To seeke thee a knight therin : 
If thou find not a knight in forty dayes 

Thy bodye it must brenn." 

Then shee sent east, and shee sent west, 

By north and south bedeene : 
But never a champion colde she find, 

Wolde fight with that knight soe keene. 

Now twenty dayes were spent and gone, 

Noe helpe there might be had ; 
Many a teare shed our comelye queene 

And aye her hart was sad. 

Then came one of the queenes damselles. 

And knelt upon her knee, 
" Cheare up, cheare up, my gracious dame. 

I trust yet helpe may be : 

And here I will make mine avowe. 

And with the same me binde ; 
That never will I return to thee, 

Till I some helpe may finde." 

Then forth she rode on a faire palfraye 

Oer hill and dale about : 
But never a champion colde she finde, 

Wolde fighte with that knight so stout. 

And nowe the daye drewe on a pace, 

When our good queene must dye ; 
All woe-begone was that faire damselle, 

When she found no helpe was nye. 

All woe-begone was that faire damselle. 
And the salt teares fell from her eye : 

When lo ! as she rode by a rivers side. 
She met with a tinye boye. 

VOL. I. Y 

322 The Percy Reliques 

A tinye boye she mette, God wot, 

All clad in mantle of golde ; 
He seemed noe more in mans likenesse, 

Then a childe of four yeere old. 

Why grieve you, damselle faire, he sayd, 
And what doth cause you moane ? 

The damsell scant wolde deigne a looke, 
But fast she pricked on. 

Yet turne againe, thou faire damselle 
And greete thy queene from mee : 

When bale is att hyest, boote is nyest, 
Nowe helpe enoughe may bee. 

Bid her remember what she dreamt 
In her bedd, wheras shee laye ; 

How when the grype and grimly beast 
Wolde have carried her crowne awaye, 

Even then there came the little gray hawke, 
And saved her from his clawes : 

Then bidd the queene be merry at hart, 
For heaven will fende her cause. 

Back then rode that faire damselle, 

And her hart it lept for glee : 
And when she told her gracious dame 

A gladd woman then was shee : 

But when the appointed day was come, 

No helpe appeared nye : 
Then woeful, woeful was her hart, 

And the teares stood in her eye. 

And nowe a fyer was built of wood ; 

And a stake was made of tree ; 
And now Queene Elinor forth was led, 

A sorrowful sight to see. 

Three times the herault he waved his hand. 
And three times spake on hye : 

Giff any good knight will fende this dame. 
Come forth, or shee must dye. 

No knight stood forth, no knight there came, 

No helpe appeared nye : 
And now the Iyer was lighted up, 

Queen Elinor she must dye. 

Sir Aldingar 323 

And now the fyer was lighted up, 

As hot as hot might bee ; 
When riding upon a Httle white steed, 

The tinye boy they see. 

" Away with that stake, away with those brands, 

And loose our comelye queene : 
I am come to fight with Sir Aldingar, 

And prove him a traitor keene." 

Forthe then stood Sir Aldingar, 

But when he saw the chylde, 
He laughed, and scoffed, and turned his backe, 

And weened he had been beguylde. 

" Now turne, now turne thee, Aldingar, 

And eyther fighte or flee ; 
I trust that I shall avenge the wronge, 

Thoughe I am so small to see." 

The boy pulld forth a well good sworde 

So gilt it dazzled the ee ; 
The first stroke stricken at Aldingar, 

Smote off his leggs by the knee. 

" Stand up, stand up, thou false trait6r. 

And fight upon thy feete, 
For and thou thrive, as thou begin'st, 

Of height wee shall be meete." 

A priest, a priest, sayes Aldingar, 

While I am a man alive. 
A priest, a priest, sayes Aldingar, 

Me for to houzle and shrive. 

I wolde have laine by our comlie queene, 

Bot shee wolde never consent ; 
Then I thought to betraye her unto our kinge 

In a fyer to have her brent. 

There came a lazar to the kings gates, 

A lazar both blind and lame : 
I tooke the lazar upon my backe, 

And on her bedd had him layne. 

Then ranne I to our comlye king. 

These tidings sore to tell. 
But ever alacke ! sayes Aldingar, 

Falsing never doth well. 

324 The Percy Reliques 

Forgive, forgive me, queene, madame, 
The short time I must live. 

•' Nowe Christ forgive thee, Aldingar, 
As freely I forgive." 

Here take thy queene, our king Harrye, 

And love her as thy life, 
For never had a king in Christentye, 

A truer and fairer wife. 

King Henrye ran to claspe his queene, 

And loosed her full sone : 
Then turnd to look for the tinye boye ; 

— The boye was vanisht and gone. 

But first he had touchd the lazar man, 
And stroakt him with his hand : 

The lazar under the gallowes tree 
All whole and sounde did stand. 

The lazar under the gallowes tree 
Was comelye, straight and tall ; 

King Henrye made him his head stewarde 
To wayte withinn his hall. 

* * 



Tradition informs us that the author of this song was King James V. 
of Scotland. This prince (whose character for wit and libertinism 
bears a great resemblance to that of his gay successor Charles II.) was 
noted for strolling about his dominions in disguise,^ and for his fre- 
quent gallantries with country girls. Two adventures of this kind he 
hath celebrated with his own pen, viz. in this ballad of " The Gaber- 
lunzie Man ;" and in another intitled " The Jolly Beggar," beginning 

Thair was a joUie beggar, and a begging he was boun, 
And he tuik up his quarters into a land 'art toun. 

Fa, la, la, &c. 

It seems to be the latter of these ballads (which was too licentious to 
be admitted into this collection) that is meant in the Catalogue of Royal 
and Noble Authors,'' where the ingenious writer remarks, That there 
is something very ludicrous in the young woman's distress when she 
thought her first favour had been thrown away upon a beggar. 

1 Sc. of a tinker, beggar, &c. Thus he used to visit a smith's daughter at Niddry, 
near Edinburgh. 

2 Vol. ii. p. 203. 

The Gaberlunzie Man 325 

Bishop Tanner has attributed to James V, the celebrated ballad of 
Christ's Kirk on the Green, which is ascribed to King James I. in 
Bannatyne's manuscript written in 1561 : and notwithstanding that 
authority, the Editor of this book is of opinion that Bishop Tanner 
was right. 

King James V. died Dec. 13th, 1542, aged 33. 

The pauky auld Carle come ovir the lee 
Wi' mony good-eens and days to mee, 
Saying, Goodwife, for zour courtesie, 

Will ze lodge a silly poor man ? 
The night was cauld, the carle was wat, 
And down azont the ingle he sat ; 
My dochtors shoulders he gan to clap, 

And cadgily ranted and sang. 

O wow ! quo he, were I as free. 
As first when I saw this countrie. 
How blyth and merry wad I bee ! 

And I wad nevir think lang. , 
He grew canty, and she grew fain ; 
But little did her auld minny ken 
What thir slee twa togither were say'n, 

When wooing they were sa thrang. 

And O ! quo he, ann ze were as black, 
As evir the crown of your dadyes hat, 
Tis I wad lay thee by my backe, 

And awa wi' me thou sould gang. 
And O ! quoth she, ann I were as white, 
As evir the snaw lay on the dike, 
lid dead me braw, and lady-like, 

And awa with thee lid gang. 

Between them twa was made a plot ; 
They raise a wee before the cock, 
And wyliely they shot the lock. 

And fast to the bent are they gane. 
Up the morn the auld wife ^ raise, 
And at her leisure put on her claiths, 
Syne to the servants bed she gaes 

To speir for the silly poor man. 

She gaed to the bed, whair the beggar lay, 
The strae was cauld, he was away. 
She clapt her hands, cryd, Dulefu' day ! 
For some of our geir will be gane, 

1 " The carline." Other copies. 

326 The Percy Reliques 

Some ran to coffer, and some to kist, 
But nought was stown that could be mist. 
She dancid her lane, cryd, Praise be blest, 
I have lodgd a leal poor man. 

Since naithings awa, as we can learn, 

The Idrns to kirn, and milk to earn, 

Gae butt the house, lass, and waken my bairn, 

And bid her come quickly ben. 
The servant gaed where the dochter lay, 
The sheets was cauld, she was away. 
And fast to her goodwife can say, 

Shes aff \^^th the gaberlunzie-man. 

O fy gar ride, and fy gar rin, 

And haste ze, find these traitors agen ; 

For shees be burnt, and hees be slein, 

The wearyfou gaberlunzie-man. 
Some rade upo horse, some ran a fit 
The wife was wood, and out o' her wit ; 
She could na gang, nor yet could sit, 

But ay did curse and did ban. 

Mean time far hind out owre the lee, 
For snug in a glen, where nane could see. 
The twa, with kindlie sport and glee 

Cut frae a new cheese a whang. 
The priving was gude, it pleas'd them baith, 
To lo'e her for ay, he gae her his aith. 
Quo she, to leave thee, I %vill be laith, 

My winsome gaberlunzie-man. 

O kend my minny I were wi' zou, 
Illfardly wad she crook her mou, 
Sic a poor man sheld nevir trow, 

Aftir the gaberlunzie-mon. 
My dear, quo he, zee're zet owre zonge ; 
And hae na learnt the beggars tonge. 
To follow me frae toun to toun. 

And carrie the gaberlunzie on. 

Wi' kauk and keel, 111 win zour bread, 
And spindles and whorles for them wha need, 
Whilk is a gentil trade indeed 
The gaberlunzie to carrie — o. 

The Gaberlunzie Man 327 

111 bow my leg and crook my knee, 
And draw a black clout owre my ee, 
A criple or blind they will cau me : 
While we sail sing and be merrie — o. 


It is ever the fate of a disgraced minister to be forsaken by his friends, 
and insulted by his enemies, always reckoning among the latter the 
giddy inconstant multitude. We have here a spurn at fallen greatness 
from some angry partisan of declining Popery, who could never forgive 
the downfall of their Diana, and loss of their craft. The ballad seems 
to have been composed between the time of Cromwell's commitment to 
the Tower, June ii, 1540, and that of his being beheaded, July 28 
following. A short interval ! but Henry's passion for Catharine 
Howard would admit of no delay. Notwithstanding our libeller, 
Cromwell had many excellent qualities : his great fault was too much 
obsequiousness to the arbitrary will of his master ; but let it be con- 
sidered that this master had raised him from obscurity, and that the 
high-born nobility had shewn him the way in eveiy kind of mean and 
servile compliance. The original copy printed at London in 1540, is 
in'iitled, "A newe ballade made of Thomas Crumwel, called ' Trolle 
To it is prefixed this distich by way of burthen, 

Trolle on away, trolle on awaye. 

Synge heave and howe rombelowe trolle on away. 

Both man and chylde is glad to here tell 
Of that false traytoure Thomas Crumwell, 
Now that he is set to learne to spell. 

Synge trolle on away. 

When fortune lokyd the in thy face, 
Thou haddyst fayre tyme, but thou lackydyst grace ; 
Thy cofers with golde thou fyllydst a pace, 

Synge, &c. 

Both plate and chalys came to thy fyst. 
Thou lockydst them vp where no man wyst, 
Tyll in the kynges treasoure such things were myst. 

Synge, &c. 

Both crust and crumme came thorowe thy handes, 
Thy marchaundyse sayled over the sandes, 
Therfore nowe thou art layde fast in bandes. 

Synge, &c. 

328 The Percy Reliques 

Fyrste when Kynge Henry, God saue his grace ! 
Perceyud myschefe kyndlyd in thy face, 
Then it was tyme to purchase the a place. 

Synge, &c. 

Hys grace was euer of gentyll nature, 
Mouyd with petye, and made the hys seruyture ; 
But thou, as a wretche, suche thinges dyd procure. 

Synge, &c. 

Thou dyd not remembre, false heretyke. 
One God, one fayth, and one kynge catholyke, 
For thou hast bene so long a scysmatyke. 

Synge, &c. 

Thou woldyst not learne to knowe these thre ; 
But euer was full of iniquite : 

Wherfore all this lande hathe ben troubled with the. 

Synge, &c. 

All they, that were of the new trycke, 
Agaynst the churche thou baddest them stycke ; 
Wherfore nowe thou haste touchyd the quycke. 

Synge, &c. 

Bothe sacramentes and sacramentalles 
Thou woldyst not suffre within thy walles ; 
Nor let vs praye for all chrysten soules. 

Synge, &c. 

Of what generacyon thou were no tonge can tell, 
Whyther of Chayme, or Syschemell,^ 
Or else sent vs frome the deuyll of hell. 

Synge, (Src. 

Thou woldest neuer to vertue applye, 
But couetyd euer to clymme to hye. 
And nowe haste thou trodden thy shoo awrye. 

Synge, &c. 

Who-so-euer dyd winne thou wolde not lose ; 
Wherfore all Englande doth hate the, as I suppose, 
Bycause thou wast false to the redolent rose. 

Synge, &c. 

1 I. e. Cain, or Ishmael. See below, the Note, Book II. No. 3, stanza 3d. 

On Thomas Lord Cromwell 329 

Thou myghtest have learned thy cloth to flocke 
Upon thy gresy fullers stocke ; ^ 
Wherfore lay downe thy heade vpon this blocke. 

Synge, &ic. 

Yet saue that soule, that God hath bought, 
And for thy carcas care thou nought, 
Let it suffre payne, as it hath wrought. 

Synge, &c. 

God saue King Henry with all his power, 
And Prynce Edwarde that goodly flowre. 
With al hys lordes of great honoure. 

Synge trolle on awaye, syng trolle on away. 

Hevye and how rombelowe trolle on awaye. 

tit The foregoing piece gave rise to a poetic controversy, which was 
carried on through a succession of seven or eicjht ballads written for and 
against Lord Cromwell. These are all preserved in the archives of the 
Antiquarian Society, in a large folio Collection of Proclamations, &c. 
made in the reigns of King Henry "VIII. King Edward VI. Queen 
IVIary, Queen Elizabeth, King James I. &c. 



This beautiful poem, which is perhaps the first attempt at pastoral 
writing in our language, is preserved among the "Songs and Sonnettes" 
of the Earl of Surrey, &c. 4to. in that part of the collection, which con- 
sists of pieces by " uncertain auctours." These poems were first pub- 
lished in 1557, ten years after that accomplished nobleman fell a victim 
to the tyranny of Henry VIII. : but it is presumed most of them were 
composed before the death of Sir Thomas Wyatt in 1541. See Surrey's 
Poems, 4to. fol. 19, 49. 

Though written perhaps near half a century before the "Shepherd's 
Calendar," ^ this will be found far superior to any of those eclogues, 
in natural unaffected simplicity of style, in easy flow of versification, 
and all other beauties of pastoral poetry. Spenser ought to have profited 
more by so excellent a model. 

Phylida was a faire mayde. 

As fresh as any flowre ; 
Whom Harpalus the herdeman prayde 

To be his paramour. 

1 Cromwell's father is generally said to have been a blacksmith at Putney : bat the 
author of this ballad would insinuate that either he himself or some of his ancestors 
were fullers by trade. 2 First published in 1579. 

330 The Percy Reliques 

Harpalus, and eke Corin, 
Were herdmen both yfere : 

And Phylida could twist and spinne, 
And thereto sing full clere. 

But Phylida was all to coye, 

For Harpalus to winne : 
For Corin was her onely joye, 

Who forst her not a pinne. 

How often would she flowers twine ? 

How often garlandes make 
Of couslips and of colombine ? 

And al for Corin's sake. 

But Corin, he had haukes to lure, 
And forced more the field : 

Of lovers lawe he toke no cure ; 
For once he was begilde. 

Harpalus prevailed nought, 

His labour all was lost ; 
For he was fardest from her thought, 

And yet he loved her most. 

Therefore waxt he both pale and leane, 

And dry as clot of clay : 
His fleshe it was consumed cleane, 

His colour gone away. 

His beard it had not long be shave ; 

His heare hong all unkempt : 
A man most fit even for the grave, 

Whom spiteful! love had spent. 

His eyes were red, and all ' forewacht ; ' ^ 
His face besprent with teares : 

It semde unhap had him long ' hatcht,' 
In mids of his dispaires. 

His clothes were blacke, and also bare ; 

As one forlorne was he ; 
Upon his head always he ware 

A wreath of wyllow tree. 

1 The corrections are from ed. 1574. 

Harpalus 331 

His beastes he kept upon the hyll, 

And he sate in the dale ; 
And thus with sighes and sorrowes shril, 

J le gan to tell his tale. 

Oh Harpalus 1 (thus would he say) 

IJnhappiest under sunne ! 
The cause of thine unhappy day, 

By love was first begunne. 

For thou wentest first by sute to seeke 

A tigre to make tame, 
That settes not by thy love a leeke ; 

But makes thy griefe her game. 

As easy it were for to convert 

The frost into ' a ' flame ; 
As for to turne a frowarde hert. 

Whom thou so faine wouldst frame. 

Corin he liveth carelesse : 

He leapes among the leaves : 
He eates the frutes of thy redresse : 

Thou ' reapst,' he takes the sheaves. 

My beastes, a whyle your foode refraine, 

And harke your herdmans sounde ; 
Whom spitefull love, alas ! hath slaine, 

Through-girt with many a wounde. 

happy be ye, beastes wild, 
That here your pasture takes : 

1 se that ye be not begilde 

Of these your faithfull makes. 

The hart he feedeth by the hinde : 

The bucke harde by the do : 
The turtle-dove is not unkinde 

To him that loves her so. 

The ewe she hath by her the ram me : 

The yong cow hath the bull : 
The calfe with many a lusty lambe 

Do fede their hunger full. 

But, wel-away ! that nature wrought 

The, Phylida, so faire : 
For I may say that I have bought 

Thy beauty all t6 deare. 

332 The Percy Reliques 

What reason is that crueltie 
With beautie should have part ? 

Or els that such great tyranny 
Should dwell in vvomans hart ? 

I see therefore to shape my death 

She cruelly is prest ; 
To th' ende that I may want my breath : 

My dayes been at the best. 

O Cupide, graunt this my request, 
And do not stoppe thine eares ; 

That she may feele within her brest 
The paines of my dispaires : 

Of Corin ' who ' is carelesse, 
That she may crave her fee : 

As I have done in great distresse, 
That loved her faithfully. 

But since that I shall die her slave ; 

Her slave, and eke her thrall : 
Write you, my frendes, upon my grave 

This chaunce that is befall. 

" Here lieth unhappy Harpalus 
By cruell love now slaine : 

Whom Phylida unjustly thus 
Hath murdred with disdaine." 



The palm of pastoral poesy is here contested by a cotemporar}' 
writer with the author of the foregoing. The critics will judge of 
their respective merits ; but must make some allowance for the preced- 
ing ballad, which is given simply as it stands in the old ediiions ; 
whereas this, which follows, has been revised and amended throughout 
by Allan Ramsay, from whose " Ever-Green," vol. i. it is here chiefly 
printed. The curious reader may however compare it with the more 
original copy, printed among " Ancient Scottish poems, from the 
manuscript of George Bannatjme, 1568," Edinb. 1770, i2mo. Mr. 
Robert Henryson (to whom we are indebted for this poem) appears to 
so much advantage among the writers of eclogue, that we are sorry we 
can give little other account of him besides what is contained in the 

Robin and Makyne 333 

following eloge, written by W. Dunbar, a Scottish poet, who lived 
about the middle of the i6th century: 

In Dumferling, he [Death] hath tane Broun, 
With gude Mr. Robert Henryson. 

Indeed some little further insight into the history of this Scottisli 
bard is gained from the title prefixed to some of his poems preserved 
in the British Museum; viz. "The morall Fabillis of Esop compylit 
be Maister Robert Henrisoun, Scolmaister of Dumfermling," 1571. 
Harleian MSS. 3865. § i. 

In Ramsay's "Ever-Green," vol. i. whence the above distich is 
extracted, are preserved two other little Doric pieces by Heni7Son ; the 
one intitled "The Lyon and the Mouse ; " the other, "The Garment 
of gude Ladyis." Some other of his poems may be seen in "Ancient 
Scottish Poems printed from Bannatyne's manuscript " above referred 

Robin sat on the gude grene hill, 

Keipand a flock of fie, 
Quhen mirry Makyne said him till, 

" O Robin rew on me : 
I half the luivt baith loud and still, 

Thir towmonds twa or thre ; 
j\Iy dule in dem bot giff thou dill, 

Doubtless but dreid 111 die." 

Robin replied, Now by the rude, 

Naithing of luve I knaw, 
But keip my sheip undir yon wod : 

Lo quhair they raik on raw, 
Quhat can have mart thee in thy mude, 

Thou Makyne to me schaw ; 
Or quhat is luve, or to be lude ? 

Fain wald I leir that law. 

" The law of luve gin thou wald leir, 

Tak thair an A, B, C; 
Be heynd,^ courtas, and fair of feir, 

Wyse, hardy, kind and frie, 
Sae that nae danger ^ do the deir, 

Quhat dule in dern thou drie; 
Press ay to pleis, and blyth appeir. 

Be patient and privie." 

Robin, he answert her againe, 

I wat not quhat is luve ; 
But I haif marvel in certaine 

Quhat makes thee thus wanrufe. 

2 Bannatyne's MS. reads as above, "heynd," not "keynd," as hi the Edinb. edit. 
377<i. 2 " So that no danger." Bannatyne's MS. 

334 The Percy Reliques 

The wedder is fair, and I am fain ; 

My sheep gais hail abuve ; 
And sould we pley us on the plain, 

They wald us baith repruve. 

" Robin, tak tent unto my tale, 

And wirk all as I reid ; 
And thou sail haif my heart all hale, 

Eik and my maiden-heid : 
Sen God, he sendis bute for bale, 

And for murning remeid, 
I'dern with thee bot gif I dale, 

Doubtless I am but deid." 

Makyne, to-morn be this ilk tyde, 

Gif ye will meit me heir, 
Maybe my sheip may gang besyde, 

Quhyle we have liggd full neir ; 
But maugre haif I, gif I byde, 

Frae they begin to steir, 
Quhat lyes on heart I will nocht hyd. 

Then Makyne mak gude cheir. 

"Robin, thou reivs me of my rest; 

I luve bot thee alane." 
Makyne, adieu ! the sun goes west. 

The day is neir-hand gane. 
" Robin, in dule I am so drest. 

That luve will be my bane." 
Makyn, gae luve quhair-eir ye list. 

For leman I luid nane. 

" Robin, I stand in sic a style, 

I sich and that full sair." 
Makyne, I have bene here this quyle ; 

At hame I wish I were. 
•' Robin, my hinny, talk and smyle, 

Gif thou will do nae mair." 
Makyne, som other man beguyle, 

For hameward I will fare. 

Syne Robin on his ways he went, 
As light as leif on tree ; 

But Makyne murnt and made lament, 
Scho trow'd him neir to see. 

Robin and Makyne 335 

Robin he brayd attowre the bent : 

Then Makyne cried on hie, 
" Now may thou sing, for I am shent ! 

Quhat ailis luve at me ? " 

Makyne went hame withouten fail, 

And weiryUe could weip ; 
Then Robin in a full fair dale 

Assemblit all his sheip. 
Be that some part of Makyne's ail, 

Out-throw his heart could creip ; 
Hir fast he followt to assail, 

And till her tuke gude keip. 

Abyd, abyd, thou fair Makyne, 

A word for ony thing ; 
For all my luve, it sail be thyne, 

Withouten departing. 
All hale thy heart for till have myne, 

Is all my coveting ; 
My sheip to morn quhyle hours nyne, 

Will need of nae keiping. 

"Robin, thou hast heard sung and say, 

In gests and storys auld. 
The man that will not when he may. 

Sail have nocht when he wald. 
I pray to heaven baith nicht and day, 

Be eiked their cares sae cauld, 
That presses first with thee to play 

Be forrest, firth, or fauld." 

Makyne, the nicht is soft and dry. 

The wether warm and fair. 
And the grene wod ^ richt neir-hand by, 

To walk attowre all where : 
There may nae janglers us espy, 

That is in luve contrair ; 
Therin, Makyne, baith you and I 

Unseen may mak repair. 

" Robin, that warld is now away, 

And quyt brocht till an end : 
And nevir again thereto, perfay. 

Sail it be as thou wend ; 

1 Bannatyne's MS. has " woid," not " woud," as in ed. 177a. 

33^ The Percy Reliques 

For of my pain thou made but play ; 

I words in vain did spend : 
As thou hast done, sae sail I say, 

Murn on, I think to mend." 

Makyne, the hope of all my heil, 

My heart on thee is set ; 
111 evermair to thee be leil, 

Quhyle I may live but lett, 
Never to fail as uthers feill,i 

Quhat grace so eir I get. 
" Robin, with thee I will not deill ; 

Adieu, for this we met." 

Makyne went hameward blyth enough, 

Outowre the holtis hair ; 
Pure Robin murnd, and Makyne leugh ; 

Scho sang, and he sicht sair : 
And so left him bayth wo and wreuch, 

In dolor and in care, 
Keipand his herd under a heuch, 

Amang the rushy gair. 



The scene of this beautiful old ballad is laid near Walsingham, in 
Norfolk, where was anciently an image of the Virgin Mary, famous 
all over Europe for the numerous pilgrimages made to it, and the great 
riches it possessed. Erasmus has given a verj' exact and humorous 
description of the superstitions practised there in his time. See his 
account of the "Virgo Parathalassia," in his colloquy, intitled " Pere- 
grinatio Religionis ergo." He tells us, the rich offerings in silver, 
gold, and precious stones, that were there shewn him, were incredible, 
there being scarce a person of any note in England, but what some 
time or other paid a visit, or sent a present, to Our Lady of Walsing- 
ham.^ At the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538, this splendid 
image, with another from Ipswich, was carried to Chelsea, and there 
burnt in the presence of commissioners ; who, we trust, did not burn 
the jewels and the finery. 

This poem is printed from a copy in the Editor's folio manuscript 
which had greatly suffered by the hand of time ; but vestiges of several 

1 Bannatyne's MS. reads as above " feill," not " faill," as in ed. 1770. 

2 See at the end of this ballad an account of the annual offerings of the Earls of 

Gentle Herdsman 337 

of the lines remaining, some conjectural supplements have been 
attempted, which, for greater exactness, are in this one ballad dis- 
tinguished by Italics. 

Gentle heardsman, tell to me, 

Of curtesy I thee pray, 
Unto the towne of Walsingham 

Which is the right and ready way. 

" Unto the towne of Walsingham 

The way is hard for to be gon ; 
And verry crooked are those pathes 

For you to find out all alone." 

Weere the miles doubled thrise, 

And the way never soe ill, 
Itt were not enough for mine offence ; 

Itt is soe grievous and soe ill. 

" Thy yeeares are young, thy face is faire, 

Thy witts are weake, thy thoughts are greene ; 

Time hath not given thee leave, as yett, 
For to committ so great a sinne." 

Yes, heardsman, yes, soe wouldst thou say, 

If thou knewest soe much as I ; 
My witts, and thoughts, and all the rest, 

Have well deserved for to dye. 

1 am not what I seeme to bee. 

My clothes and sexe doe differ farr : 

I am a woman, woe is me ! 

Born to greeffe and irksome care. 

For my beloved, and well-beloved. 

My wayward cruelty could kill : 
And though my teares will nought avail. 

Most dearely I bewail him still. 

He was the flower o/nohle wights, 

JVbne ever more sinc&xQ colde bee ; 
Of cofnely mien and shape hee was, 

And tenderlye hee loved mee. 

When thus I saw he lovtd me well, 
I grewe so proud his paino. to see, 
That /, 7vho did not know myselfe, 
Thought scorne of such a youth as hee. 
VOL. I. 2 

33^ The Percy Reliques 

' And grew soe coy and nice to please, 
As women's lookes are often soe, 
He might not kisse, nor hand forsooth, 
Unlesse I willed him soe to doe. 

Thus being wearyed with delayes 

To see I pittyed not his greeffe, 
He gott him to a secrett place, 

And there he dyed without releeffe. 

And for his sake these weeds I weare, 

And sacrifice my tender age ; 
And every day He begg my bread, 

To undergoe this pilgrimage. 

Thus every day I fast and pray. 

And ever will doe till I dye ; 
And gett me to some secrett place, 

For soe did hee, and soe will I. 

Now, gentle heardsman, aske no more 

But keepe my secretts I thee pray ; 
Unto the towne of Walsingham 

Shew me the right and readye way. 

" Now goe thy wayes, and God before ! 

For he must ever guide thee still : 
Turne downe that dale, the right hand path, 

And soe, faire pilgrim, fare thee well ! " 

•^* To shew what constant tribute was paid to Our Lady of Walsing- 
ham, I shall give a few extracts from the " Houshold-Book of Henry 
Algernon Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland." Printed 1770, 8vo. 

1 Three of the following stanzas have been finely paraphrased by Dr. Goldsmith, 
in his charming ballad of "Edwin and Emma;" the reader of taste will have a 
pleasure in comparing them with the original. 

' And ' still I try'd each fickle art, 

Importunate and vain ; 
And while his passion touch'd my heart, 

I triumph'd in his pain. 

Till, quite dejected with my scorn. 

He left me to my pride ; 
And sought a solitude forlorn, 

In secret, where he dy'd. 

But mine the sorrow, mine the fault, 

And well my life shall pay ; 
I'll seek the solitude he sought. 

And stretch me where he lay. 

And there forlorn despairing hid, 

I'll lay me down and die : 
'Twas so for me that Edwin did. 

And so for him will I. 

Gentle Herdsman 339 

Sect. XLIII. pag. 337, &c. 

Item, My Lorde usith yerly to send afor Michaelmas for his Lord- 
schip's Offerynge to Our Lady of Walsyngeham — iiij d. 

Item, My Lorde usith ande accustumyth to sende yerely for the 
upholdynge of the light of wax which his Lordschip fyndith birnynge 
yerly befor our Lady of Walsyngham, contenynge xj !b. of wax in it 
after vij d. ob. for the fyndinge of every lb. redy wrought by a 
covenaunt maid with the Channon by great, for the hole yere, for 
the fyndinge of the said lyght byrning — vi%. viiij A. 

Item, My Lord useth and accustomith to syende yerely to the 
Channon that kepith the light before our Lady of Walsyngham, for 
his reward for the hole yere, for kepynge of the said light, lightynge 
of it at all service tymes dayly thorowt the yere — xij d. 

Item, My Lord usith and accustomyth yerely to send to the Prest 
that kepith the light, lyghtynge of it at all service tymes daily 
thorowt the yere — iij s, iiij d. 


This was a stoiy of great fame among our ancestors. The author of 
the " Art of English Poesie," 1589, 4to. seems to speak of it as a real 
fact. Describing that vicious mode of speech, which the Greeks called 
acyron, i. e. " When we use a dark and obscure word, utterly 
repugnant to that we should express;" he adds, "Such manner of 
uncouth speech did the Tanner of Tamworth use to King Edward the 
fourth ; which Tanner, having a great while mistaken him, and used 
very broad talke with him, at length perceiving by his traine that it 
was the king, was afraide he should be punished for it, [and] said thus, 
with a certain rude repentance, 

I hope I shall be hanged to-morrow, 

for (I feare me) I shall be hanged ; whereat the king laughed a good,* 
not only to see the Tanner's vaine feare, but also to heare his illshapen 
terme : and gave him for recompence of his good sport, the inheritance 
of Plumpton-parke. I am afraid," concludes this sagacious writer, 
" the poets of our times that speake more finely and correctedly, will 
come too short of such a reward," p. 214. The phrase here referred 
to, is not found in this ballad at present,^ but occurs with some 
variation in another old poem, intitled "John the Reeve," described in 
the following volume (see the Preface to " The King and the Miller)," 

Nay, sayd John, by Gods grace, 
And Edward wer in this place, 

Hee shold not touch this tonne : 
He wold be wroth with John I hope, 
Thereffore I beshrew the soupe, 

That in his mouth shold come. 

Part ii. St. 24. 

1 Vid. Gloss. 2 Nor in that of the " Barker " mentioned below. 

340 The Percy Reliques 

The following text is selected (with such other corrections as occurred) 
from two copies in black-letter. The one in the Bodleian Library, 
mtitled, " A merrie, pleasant, and delectable historic betweene King 
Edward the Fourth, and a Tanner of Tamworth, &c. printed at 
London, by John Danter, 1596." This copy, ancient as it now is, 
appears to have been modernized and altered at the time it was pub- 
lished ; and many vestiges of the more ancient readings were recovered 
from another copy (though more recently printed), in one sheet folio, 
without date, in the Pepys Collection. 

But these are both very inferior in point of antiquity to the old 
ballad of " The King and the Barker," reprinted with other " Pieces 
of ancient popular Poetry from authentic Manuscripts, and old Printed 
Copies, &c." Lond. 1 791, 8vo. As that very antique poem had never 
occurred to the editor of the Reliques, till he saw it in the above 
collection, he now refers the curious reader to it, as an imperfect and 
incorrect copy of the old original ballad. 

In summer time, when leaves grow greene, 

And blossoms bedecke the tree, 
King Edward wolde a hunting ryde, 

Some pastime for to see. 

With hawke and hounde he made him bowne, 

With home, and eke with bowe ; 
To Drayton Basset he tooke his waye, 

With all his lordes a rowe. 

And he had ridden ore dale and downe 

By eight of clocke in the day, 
When he was ware of a bold tanner, 

Come ryding along the waye. 

A fayre russet coat the tanner had on 

Fast buttoned under his chin. 
And under him a good cow-hide, 

And a mare of four shilling.^ 

Nowe stand you still, my good lordes all. 

Under the grene wood spraye ; 
And I will wend to yonder fellowe, 

To weet what he will saye. 

God speede, God speede thee, said our king. 

Thou art welcome, Sir, sayd hee. 
" The readyest waye to Drayton Basset 

I praye thee to shew to mee." 

1 In the reign of Edward IV. Dame Cecill, Lady of Torboke, in her will dated 
March 7, A,D. 1466, among many other bequests, has this, "Also I will that my 
Sonne Thomas of Torboke have 13J. ^d. to buy him an horse." (Vid. Harleian 
Catalog. 2176. 27.) Now if 13J. ^d. would purchase a steed fit for a person of 
quality, a tanner's horse might reasonably be valued at four or five shillings. 

King Edward IV. 341 

" To Drayton Basset woldst thou goe, 
Fro the place where thou dost stand ? 

The next payre of gallowes thou comest unto, 
Turne in upon thy right hand." 

That is an unreadye waye, sayd our king, 

Thou doest but jest, I see ; 
Nowe shewe me out the nearest waye, 

i\.nd I pray thee wend with mee. 

Away with a vengeance ! quoth the tanner : 

I hold thee out of thy witt : 
All daye have I rydden on Brocke my mare. 

And I am fasting yett. 

" Go with me downe to Drayton Basset, 

No daynties we will spare ; 
All daye shalt thou eate and drinke of the best, 

And I will paye thy fare." 

Gramercye for nothing, the tanner replyde, 

Thou payest no fare of mine : 
I trowe I've more nobles in my purse, 

Than thou hast pence in thine. 

God give thee joy of them, sayd the king, 

And send them well to priefe. 
The tanner wolde faine have beene away, 

For he weende he had beene a thiefe. 

What art thou, hee sayde, thou fine felldwe, 

Of thee I am in great feare, 
For the clothes, thou wearest upon thy back, 

Might beseeme a lord to weare. 

I never stole them, quoth our king, 

I tell you. Sir, by the roode. 
"Then thou playest, as many an unthrift doth, 

And standest in midds of thy goode."^ 

What tydinges heare you, sayd the kynge. 

As you ryde farre and neare ? 
" I heare no tydinges, Sir, by the masse, 

But that cowe-hides are deare." 

1 /. e. hast no other wealth, but what thou carriest about thee. 

342 The Percy Reliques 

" Cow-hides ! cow-hides ! what things are those ? 

I marvell what they bee ? " 
What, art thou a foole ? the tanner reply'd ; 

I carry one under mee. 

What craftsman art thou, said the king, 

I praye thee tell me trowe. 
** I am a barker,^ Sir, by my trade ; 

Nowe tell me what art thou ? " 

I am a poor courtier, Sir, quoth he. 

That am forth of service worne ; 
And faine I wolde thy prentise bee, 

Thy cunninge for to learne. 

Marrye heaven forfend, the tanner reply de, 

That thou my prentise were : 
Thou woldst spend more good than I shold winne 

By fortye shilling a yere. 

Yet one thinge wolde I, sayd our king. 

If thou wilt not seeme strange : 
Thoughe my horse be better than thy mare, 

Yet with thee I fain wold change. 

*' Why if with me thou faine wilt change. 

As change full well maye wee. 
By the faith of my bodye, thou proude fellowe 

I will have some boot of thee." 

That were against reason, sayd the king, 

I sweare, so mote I thee : 
My horse is better than thy mare, 

And that thou well mayst see. 

" Yea, Sir, but Brocke is gentle and mild, 

And softly she will fare : 
Thy horse is unrulye and wild, I wiss ; 

Aye skipping here and theare." 

■\Vhat boote wilt thou have ? our king reply'd ; 

Now tell me in this stound. 
" Noe pence, nor half pence, by my faye, 

But a noble in gold so round. 

1 ;■. e. a dealer in bark. 

King Edward IV. 343 

" Here's twentye groates of white moneye, 

Sith thou will have it of mee." 
I would have sworne now, quoth the tanner, 

Thou hadst not had one pennife. 

But since we two have made a change, 

A change we must abide, 
Although thou hast gotten Brocke my mare, 

Thou gettest not my cowe-hide. 

I will not have it, sayd the kynge, 

I sweare, so mought I thee ; 
Thy foule cowe-hide I wolde not beare, 

If thou woldst give it to mee. 

The tanner hee tooke his good cowe-hide, 

That of the cow was hilt ; 
And threwe it upon the king's sadblle. 

That was soe fayrelye gilte. 

" Now help me up, thou fine fellowe, 

'Tis time that I were gone : 
When I come home to Gyllian my wife, 

Sheel say I am a gentilmon." 

The king he tooke him up by the legge ; 

The tanner a f - - - lett fall. 
Nowe marrye, good fellowe, sayd the king, 

Thy courtesye is but small. 

When the tanner he was in the kinges sadblle, 

And his foote in the stirrup was ; 
He marvelled greatlye in his minde. 

Whether it were golde or brass. 

But when his steede saw the cows taile wagge. 

And eke the blacke cowe-horne ; 
He stamped, and stared, and awaye he ranne, 

As the devill had him borne. 

The tanner he puUd, the tanner he sweat. 

And held by the pummil fast : 
At length the tanner came tumbling downe ; 

His necke he had well-nye brast. 

Take thy horse again with a vengeance, he sayd, 

With mee he shall not byde. 
" My horse wolde have borne thee well enoughe, 

But he knewe not of thy cowe-hide. 

344 The Percy Reliques 

Yet if againe thou faine woldst change, 

As change full well may wee, 
By the faith of my bodye, thou jolly tanner, 

I will have some boote of thee." 

What boote wilt thou have ? the tanner replyd, 

Nowe tell me in this stounde. 
" Noe pence nor halfpence, Sir, by my faye, 

But I will have twentye pound." 

" Here's twentye groates out of my purse ; 

And twentye I have of thine : 
And I have one more, which we will spend 

Together at the wine." 

The king set a bugle home to his mouthe, 
And blewe both loude and shrille : 

And soone came lords, and soone came knights, 
Fast ryding over the hille. 

Nowe, out alas ! the tanner he cryde. 

That ever I sawe this daye ! 
Thou art a strong thiefe, yon come thy fellowes 

Will beare my cowe-hide away. 

They are no thieves, the king replyde, 

I sweare, soe mote I thee : 
But they are the lords of the north countrey, 

Here come to hunt with mee. 

And soone before our king they came. 
And knelt downe on the grounde : 

Then might the tanner have beene awaye. 
He had lever than twentye pounde. 

A coller, a coller, here : sayd the king, 

A coller he loud gan crye : 
Then woulde he lever than twentye pound, 

He had not beene so nighe. 

A coller, a coller, the tanner he sayd, 

I trowe it will breed sorrowe : 
After a coller cometh a halter, 

I trow I shall be hang'd to-morrowe. 

King Edward IV. 345 

Be not afraid, tanner, said our king ; 

I tell thee, so mought I thee, 
Lo here I make thee the best esquire 

That is in the North countrie.^ 

For Plumpton-parke I will give thee, 

With tenements faire beside : 
'Tis worth three hundred markes by the yeare, 

To maintaine thy good cowe-hide. 

Gramercye, my liege, the tanner replyde, 
For the favour thou hast me showne ; 

If ever thou comest to merry Tamw5rth, 
Neates leather shall clout thy shoen. 




The scene of this song is the same as in No. 14. The pilgrimage to 
Walsingham suggested the plan of many popular pieces. In the Pepys 
Collection, vol. i. p. 226, is a kind of interlude in the old ballad style, 
of which the first stanza alone is worth reprinting. 

As I went to Walsingham, 

To the shrine with speede, 
Met I with a jolly palmer 

In a pilgrimes weede. 
Now God you save, you jolly palmer ! 

" Welcome, lady gay, 
Oft have I sued to thee for love." 

— Oft have I said you nay. 

The pilgrimages undertaken on pretence of religion, were often produc- 
tive of affairs of gallantry, and led the votaries to no other shrine than 
that of Venus. ^ 

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

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

- Even in the time of Langland, pilgrimages to Walsingham were not unfavourable 
to the rites of Venus. Thus in his Visions of Pierce Plowman, fo. i. 

fjcrmeta on a beapc, witb boftcB staves, 
"DClenten to "CClalslngbam, anb bet* wcncbes after. 

* i. e. their. 

346 The Percy Reliques 

The following ballad was once very popular ; it is quoted in Fletcher's 
" Knight of the burning Pestle," act ii. so. ult. and in another old play, 
called, "Hans Beer-pot, his invisible Comedy, &;c." 4to. 1618 : act i. 
The copy below was communicated to the Editor by the late Mr. Shen- 
stone, as corrected by him from an ancient copy, and supplied with a 
concluding stanza. 

We have placed this, and " Gentle Herdsman," &c. thus early in 
the Series, upon a presumption that they must have been written, if not 
before the dissolution of the monasteries, yet while the remembrance of 
them was fresh in the minds of the people. 

As ye came from the holy land 
Of blessed Walsingham, 

met you not my true love 
As by the way ye came ? 

" How should I know your true love, 

That have met many a one, 
As I came from the holy land, 

That have both come, and gone ? " 

My love is neither white,^ nor browne, 

But as the heavens faire ; 
There is none hath her form divine, 

Either in earth, or ayre. 

•• Such an one did I meet, good Sir, 

With an angelicke face ; 
Who like a nymphe, a queene appeard 

Both in her gait, her grace." 

Yes : she hath cleane forsaken me, 

And left me all alone ; 
Who some time loved me as her life, 

And called me her owne. 

" What is the cause she leaves thee thus. 

And a new way doth take, 
That some times loved thee as her Hfe, 

And thee her joy did make ? " 

1 that loved her all my youth, 

Growe olde, now as you see ; 
Love liketh not the falling fruite. 
Nor yet the withered tree. 

1 Sc. pale. 

The Holy Land 347 

For love is like a carelesse childe, 

Forgetting promise past : 
He is blind, or deaf, whenere he list ; 

His faith is never fast. 

His fond desire is fickle found. 

And yieldes a trustlesse joye ; 
Wonne with a world of toil and care, 

And lost ev'n with a toye. 

Such is the love of womankinde, 

Of Loves faire name abusde, 
Beneathe which many vaine desires, 

And follyes are excusde. 

' But true love is a lasting fire, 

^Vhich viewless vestals ^ tend. 
That burns for ever in the soule. 

And knowes nor change, nor end.' 



As this fine morsel of heroic poetry hath generally past for ancient, 
it is here thrown to the end of our earher pieces ; that such as doubt 
of its age, may the better compare it with other pieces of genuine 
antiquity. For after all, there is more than reason to suspect, that it 
owes most of its beauties (if not its whole existence) to the pen of a 
lady, within the present century. The following particulars may be 
depended on. Mrs. Wardlaw, whose maiden name was Halket (aunt 
to the late Sir Peter Halket, of Pitferran, in Scotland, who was killed 
in America, along with General Bradock, in 1755), pretended she had 
found this poem, written on shreds of paper, employed for what is 
called the bottoms of clues. A suspicion arose that it was her own 
composition. Some able judges asserted it to be modern. The lady 
did in a manner acknowledge it to be so. Being desired to shew an 
additional stanza, as a proof of this, she produced the two last, begin- 
ning with "There's nae light," &c. which were not in the copy that 
was first printed. The late Lord President Forbes, and Sir Gilbert 
Elliot, of Minto (late Lord Justice Clerk for Scotland) who had 
believed it ancient, contributed to the expence of publishing the first 
edition, in folio, 17 19. This account was transmitted from Scotland 
by Sir David Dalrymple, the late Lord Hailes, who yet was of opinion, 
that part of the ballad may be ancient ; but retouched and much en- 
larged by the lady above-mentioned. Indeed he had been informed, 

1 Sc. Angels. 

348 The Percy Reliques 

that the late William Thompson, the Scottish musician, who published 
the " Orpheus Caledonius," 1733, 2 vols. 8vo. declared he had heard 
fragments of it repeated in his infancy, before Mrs. Wardlaw's copy 
was heard of. 

The poem is here printed from the original edition, as it was pre- 
pared for the press with the additional improvements. See below, page 

Stately stept he east the wa', 

And stately stept he west, 
Full seventy years he now had seen, 

Wi' scarce seven years of rest. 
He liv'd when Britons breach of faith 

Wrought Scotland mickle wae : 
And ay his sword tauld to their cost, 
He was their deadlye fae. 


High on a hill his castle stood. 

With ha's and tow'rs a height, 
And goodly chambers fair to se. 

Where he lodged mony a knight. 
His dame sae peerless anes and fair, 

For chast and beauty deem'd, 
Nae marrow had in all the land, 

Save Elenor the queen. 

Full thirteen sons to him she bare, 

All men of valour stout : 
In bloody fight with sword in hand 

Nine lost their lives bot doubt : 
Four yet remain, lang may they live 

To stand by liege and land ; 
High was their fame, high was their might, 

And high was their command. 


Great love they bare to Fairly fair. 

Their sister saft and dear. 
Her girdle shaw'd her middle jimp, 

xA.nd gowden glist her hair. 
What waefu' wae her beauty bred .'' 

Waefu' to young and auld, 
Waefu' I trow to kyth and kin. 

As story ever tauld. 

Hardyknute 349 

The king of Norse in summer tyde, 

Puff'd up with pow'r and might, 
Landed in fair Scotland the isle 

With mony a hardy knight. 
The tydings to our good Scots king 

Came, as he sat at dine, 
With noble chiefs in brave aray. 

Drinking the blood-red wine. 


" To horse, to horse, my royal liege 

Your faes stand on the strand. 
Full twenty thousand glittering speares 

The king of Norse commands." 
Bring me my steed Mage dapple gray, 

Our good king rose and cry'd, 
A trustier beast in a' the land 

A Scots king nevir try'd. 


Go little page, tell Hardyknute, 

That Hves on hill sae hie. 
To draw his sword, the dread of faes. 

And haste and follow me. 
The little page flew swift as dart. 

Flung by his master's arm, 
" Come down, come down, lord Hardyknute, 

And rid your king frae harm." 


Then red red grew his dark-brown cheeks, 

Sae did his dark-brown brow ; 
His looks grew keen, as they were wont 

In dangers great to do ; 
He's ta'en a horn as green as grass. 

And gi'en five sounds sae shill. 
That trees in green wood shook thereat, 

Sae loud rang ilka hill. 


His sons in manly sport and glee. 

Had past that summer's morn. 
When lo down in the grassy dale. 

They heard their father's horn. 

350 The Percy Reliques 

That horn, quo' they, ne'er sounds in peace 

We've other sport to bide. 
And soon they hy'd them up the hill, 

And soon were at his side. 

" Late late the yestreen I ween'd in peace 

To end my lengthened life, 
My age might well excuse my arm 

Frae manly feats of strife, 
But now that Norse do's proudly boast 

Fair Scotland to inthrall, 
It's ne'er be said of Hardyknute, 

He fear'd to fight or fall. 


" Robin of Rothsay, bend thy bow, 

Thy arrows shoot sae leel. 
That mony a comely countenance 

They've turned to deadly pale. 
Brade Thomas take you but your lance, 

You need nae weapons mair, 
If you fight wi't as you did anes 

'Gainst Westmoreland's fierce heir. 


" And Malcolm, light of foot as stag 

That runs in forest wild, 
Get me my thousands three of men 

Well bred to sword and shield : 
Bring me my horse and harnisine, 

My blade of mettal clear. 
If faes but ken'd the hand it bare. 

They soon had fled for fear. 


" Farewell my dame sae peerless good, 

(And took her by the hand), 
Fairer to me in age you seem, 

Than maids for beauty fam'd. 
My youngest son shall here remain 

To guard these stately towers, 
And shut the silver bolt that keeps 

Sae fast your painted bowers." 

Hardyknute 351 


And first she wet her comely cheiks, 

And then her boddice green, 
Her silken cords of twirtle twist, 

Well plett with silver sheen ; 
And apron set with mony a dice 

Of needle-wark sae rare, 
Wove by nae hand, as ye may guess, 

Save that of Fairly fair. 


And he has ridden o'er muir and moss, 

O'er hills and mony a glen. 
When he came to a wounded knight 

Making a heavy mane ; 
" Here maun I lye, here maun I dye, 

By treacherie's false guiles ; 
Witless I was that e'er ga faith 

To wicked woman's smiles." 


" Sir knight, gin you were in my bower, 

To lean on silken seat, 
My lady's kindly care you'd prove, 

Who ne'er knew deadly hate : 
Herself wou'd watch you a' the day, 

Her maids a dead of night ; 
And Fairly fair your heart wou'd chear. 

As she stands in your sight. 


" Arise young knight, and mount your stead, 

Full lowns the shynand day : 
Choose frae my menzie whom ye please 

To lead you on the way." 
With smileless look, and visage wan 

The wounded knight reply'd, 
" Kind chieftain, your intent pursue, 

For here I maun abyde. 


To me nae after day nor night 

Can e're be sweet or fair, 
But soon beneath some draping tree, 

Cauld death shall end my care." 

352 The Percy Reliques 

With him nae pleading might prevail ; 

Brave Hardyknute to gain 
With fairest words, and reason strong, 

Strave courteously in vain. 


Syne he has gane far hynd out o'er 

Lord Chattan's land sae wide ; 
That lord a worthy wight was ay, 

When faes his courage sey'd : 
Of Pictish race by mother's side, 

When Picts rul d Caledon, 
Lord Chattan claim'd the princely maid. 

When he sav'd Pictish crown. 


Now with his fierce and stalwart train, 

He reach'd a rising hight, 
Quhair braid encampit on the dale, 

Norss menzie lay in sicht. 
"Yonder my valiant sons snd feirs 

Our raging revers wait 
On the unconquert Scottish sward 

To try with us their fate. 


Make orisons to him that sav'd 

Our sauls upon the rude ; 
Syne bravely shaw your veins are fiU'd 

With Caledonian blude." 
Then forth he drew his trusty glave. 

While thousands all around 
Drawn frae their sheaths glanc'd in the sun ; 

And loud the bougies sound. 


To joyn his king adoun the hill 

In hast his merch he made, 
While, playand pibrochs, minstralls meit 

Afore him stately strade. 
" Thrice welcome valiant stoup of weir, 

Thy nations shield and pride ; 
Thy king nae reason has to fear 

When thou art by his side." 

Hardyknute 353 


When bows were bent and darts were thrawn ; 

For thrang scarce cou'd they flee ; 
The darts clove arrows as they met, 

The arrows dart the tree. 
Lang did they rage and fight fu' fierce, 

With little skaith to mon, 
But bloody bloody was the field, 

Ere that lang day was done. 


The king of Scots, that sindle brook'd 

The war that look'd like play, 
Drew his braid sword, and brake his bow, 

Sin bows seem'd but delay. 
Quoth noble Rothsay, " Mine I'll keep, 

I wat it's bled a score." 
Haste up my merry men, cry'd the king, 

As he rode on before. 


The king of Norse he sought to find. 

With him to mense the faught, 
But on his forehead there did light 

A sharp unsonsie shaft ; 
As he his hand put up to feel 

The wound, and arrow keen, 
O waefu' chance ! there pinn'd his hand 

In midst between his een. 


" Revenge, revenge, cry'd Rothsay's heir, 

Your mail-coat sha' na bide 
The strength and sharpness of my dart : " 

Then sent it through his side. 
Another arrow well he mark'd 

It pierc'd his neck in twa, 
His hands then quat the silver reins, 

He low as earth did fa'. 


*' Sair bleids my liege, sair, sair he bleeds ! " 

Again wi' might he drew 
And gesture dread his sturdy bow, 

Fast the braid arrow flew : 

VOL. I. 2 A 

354 The Percy Reliques 

Wae to the knight he ettled at ; 

Lament now Queen Elgreed ; 
High dames too wail your darling's fall, 

His youth and comely meed. 


" Take aff, take aff his costly jube 

(Of gold well was it twin'd, 
Knit like the fowler's net, through quhilk, 

His steelly harness shin'd) 
Take, Norse, that gift frae me, and bid 

Him venge the blood it bears ; 
Say, if he face my bended bow, 

He sure nae weapon fears." 


Proud Norse with giant body tall, - 

Braid shoulders and arms strong, | 

Cry'd, " Where is Hardyknute sae fam'd, 

And fear'd at Britain's throne : 
Tho' Briton's tremble at his name, 

I soon shall make him wail, 
That e'er my sword was made sae sharp, 

Sae saft his coat of mail." 


That brag his stout heart cou'd na bide. 

It lent him youthfu' micht : 
" I'm Hardyknute ; this day," he cry'd, 

" To Scotland's king I heght 
To lay thee low, as horses hoof; 

My word I mean to keep." 
Syne with the first stroke e'er he strake. 

He garr'd his body bleed. 


Norss' een like gray gosehawk's stair'd wyld, 

' He sigh'd wi' shame and spite ; 
" Disgrac'd is now my far-fam'd arm 

That left thee power to strike : " 
Then ga' his head a blow sae fell, 

It made him doun to stoup, 
As laigh as he to ladies us'd 

In courtly guise to lout. 

Hardyknute 355 


Fu' soon he rais'd his bent body, 

His bow he marvell'd sair, 
Sin blows till then on him but darr'd 

As touch of Fairly fair : 
Norse marvell'd too as sair as he 

To see his stately look ; 
Sae soon as e'er he strake a fae, 

Sae soon his life he took. 


Where like a fire to heather set, 

Bauld Thomas did advance 
Ane sturdy fae with look enrag'd 

Up toward him did prance ; 
He spurr'd his steid through thickest ranks 

The hardy youth to quell, 
Wha stood unmov'd at his approach 

His fury to repell. 


" That short brown shaft sae meanly trimm'd, 

Looks like poor Scotlands gear, 
But dreadfull seems the rusty point ! " 

And loud he leugh in jear. 
" Oft Britons blood was dimm'd it's shine; 

This point cut short their vaunt : " 
Syne pierc'd the boasters bearded cheek ; 

Nae time he took to taunt. 


Short while he in his saddle swang 

His stirrup was nae stay, 
Sae feeble hang his unbent knee 

Sure taiken he was fey : 
Swith on the harden't clay he fell, 

Right far was beard the thud ; 
But Thomas look't nae as he lay 

All waltering in his blud : 


With careless gesture, mind unmov't, 

On rode he north the plain ; 
His seem in throng of fiercest strife, 

When winner ay the same : 


35^ The Percy Reliques 

Not yet his heart dames dimplet cheek 
Could mease soft love to bruik, 

Till vengefu' Ann return'd his scorn, 
Then languid grew his luik. 


In thraws of death, with walowit cheik 

All panting on the plain, 
The fainting corps of warriours lay 

Ne're to arise again ; 
Ne're to return to native land, 

Nae mair with blithsome sounds 
To boast the glories of the day, 

And shaw their shining wounds. 


On Norways coast the widowit dame 

May wash the rocks with tears, 
May lang luik ow'r the shipless seas 

Befor her mate appears. 
Cease, Emma, cease to hope in vain ; 

Thy lord lyes in the clay ; 
The valiant Scots nae revers thole 

To carry life away. 


Here on a lee, where stands a cross 

Set up for monument, 
Thousands fu' fierce that summer's day 

Fill'd keen war's black intent. 
Let Scots, while Scots, praise Hardyknute, 

Let Norse the name ay dread, 
Ay how he faught, aft how he spar'd, 

Shall latest ages read. 


Now loud and chill blew th' westlin winds, 

Sair beat the heavy shower, 
Mirk grew the night ere Hardyknute 

Wan near his stately tower. 
His tower that us'd wi' torches blaze 

To shine sae far at night, 
Seem'd now as black as mourning weed, 

Nae marvel sair he sigh'd. 

Hardyknute 357 


" There's oae light in my lady's bower, 

There's nae light in my ha' ; 
Nae blink shines round my Fairly fair, 

Nor ward stands on my wa'. 
" What bodes it ? Robert, Thomas, say ; " — 

Nae answer fitts their dread. 
" Stand back, my sons, I'le be 5'our guide ? " 

But by they past with speed. 


" As fast I've sped owre Scotlands faes " — 

There ceas'd his brag of weir, 
Sair shani'd to mind ought but his dame, 

And maiden Fairly fair. 
Black fear he felt, but what to fear 

He wist nae yet ; wi' dread 
Sair shook his body, sair his limbs, 

And a' the warrior fled. 

%* In an elegant publication, intitled "Scottish Tragic Ballads, 
printed by and for J. Nichols, 1781, 8vo." may be seen a continuation 
of the ballad of Hardyknute, by the addition of a Second Part, which 
hath since been acknowledged to be his own composition, by the 
ingenious editor, to whom the late Sir D. Dalrymple communicated 
(subsequent to the account drawn up above in p. 347.) extracts of a 
letter from Sir John Bruce, of Kinross, to Lord Binning, which plainly 
proves the pretended discoverer of the fragment of Hardyknute to have 
been Sir John Bruce himself. His words are, "To perform my pro- 
mise, I send you a true copy of the manuscript I found some weeks ago 
in a vault at Dumferline. It is written on vellum in a fair Gothic 
character, but so much defaced by time, as you'll find that the tenth 
part is not legible." He then gives the whole fragment as it was first 
published in 17 19, save one or two stanzas, marking several passages 
as having perished by being illegible in the old manuscript. Hence it 
appears that Sir John was the author of Hardyknute, but afterwards 
used Mrs. Wardlaw to be the midwife of his poetry, and suppressed 
the story of the vault ; as is well observed by the editor of the Tragic 
Ballads, and of Maitland's Scot. Poets, vol. i. p. cxxvii. 

To this gentleman we are indebted for the use of the copy, whence 
the second edition was afterwards printed, as the same was prepared for 
the press by John Clerk, M.D. of Edinburgh, an intimate companion of 
Lord President Forbes. 

The title of the first edition was, "Hardyknute, a Fragment." 
Edinburgh, printed for James Watson, &c. 1719. folio, 12 pages. 

358 The Percy Reliques 

Stanzas not in the first edition are, Nos. 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 34, 
35. 36, 37. 41. 42. 

In the present impression the orthography of Dr. Clerk's copy ha^ 
been preserved, and his readings carefully followed, except in a few 
instances, wherein the common edition appeared preferable : viz. He 
had in ver. 20. "but." — v. 56. " of harm." — v. 64. " every." — v. 67. 
"lo down."— V. 83. "That" omitted.— v. 89. "And" omitted.— 
V. 143. "With argument but vainly strave lang." — v. 148. "say'd." 
— v. 155. " incanipil on the plain." — v. 156. "Norse squadrons." — v. 
15S. "regand revers." — v. 170. "his strides he bent." — v. 171. 
" rninstrals play and pibrochs fine." — v. 172. "stately went." — v. 
182. "mon." — V. 196. "sharp and fatal." — v. 219. "which." — v. 
241. "stood wyld." — Stanza 39 preceded stanza 38. — v. 305. 
"There." — v. 313. "blew wrestling." — v. 336. hath originally been, 
" He fear'd a' cou'd be fear'd." 

The Editor was also informed, on the authority of Dr. David Clerk, 
M.D. of Edinburgh (son of the aforesaid Dr. John Clerk), that between 
the present stanzas 36 and 37, the two following had been intended, but 
were on maturer consideration omitted, and do not now appear among 
the manuscript additions : 

Now darts flew wavering through slaw speed, 

Scarce could they reach their aim ; 
Or reach'd, scarce blood the round point drew, 

'Twas all but shot in vain : 
Right strengthy arms forfeebled gr^w, 

Sair wreck d wi' that day's toils : 
E'en fierce-born minds now lang'd for peace, 

And curs'd war's cruel broils. 

Yet still wars horns sounded to charge, 

Swords clash'd and harness rang ; 
But safely sae ilk blaster blew 

The hills and dales frae mang. 
Nae echo heard in double dints, 

Nor the lang-winding horn, 
Nae m.air she blew out brade as she 

Did eir that summers morn. 



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