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B V T H () MAS PERCY. D. D , 





VOL. I. 

L O N D O iN : 






gniTOR'S Preface .... 


The Minstrels 

Ballads and Ballad Writers 

Imitators and Forgers 

Authenticity of Certain Ballads 

Preservers of the Ballads . 

Life of Percy . 

Folio MS. and the Rcliques 

Ballad Literature since Percy 

Dedications .... 
Advertisement to the fourth edition 
Preface ..... 









1. The ancient Ballad of Chevy-chase 

2. The Battle of Otterbourne 

Illustration of the Names in the foregoing ballads 
The Jew's Daughter. A Scottish Ballad 
Sir Cauline ........ 

Copy from the Folio MS. .... 

Edward, Edward. A Scottish Ballad . 
6. King Estmere ....... 

On the word Termagant .... 

Sir Patrick Spence. A Scottish Ballad 
Robin Hood and Guy of Cisborne 
9. An Elegy on Henry Fourth, Earl of Northumberland 
by Skelton ....... 

10. The Tower of Doctrine, by Stephen Hawes . 










11. The Child of Elle . . . . 

Fragment from the FoHo MS. 

12. Edom o' Gordon. A Scottish Ballad . 

Captain Carre, from the Folio MS. 




( Containing Ballads that illustrate Shakespeare) 

1. Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough, and William of 

Cloudesley ....... 

2. The aged Lover renounceth Love, by Lord Vaux 
—3. Jephthah judge of Israel .... 

4. A Robyn Jolly Robyn .... 

5. A Song to the lute in musicke, by R. Edwards 

6. King Cophetua and the Beggar-maid . 

7. Take thy old cloak about thee 

8. Willow, Willow, Willow 

9. Sir Lancelot du Lake . 

10. Corydon's Farewell to Phillis 
The Ballad of constant Susanna 

11. Gernutus the Jew of Venice 

12. The passionate Shepherd to his Love, by Marlowe 
The Nymph's Reply, by Sir W. Raleigh 

iT^. Titus Andronicus's Complaint 

14. Take those lips away .... 

15. King Leir and his three daughters 

16. Youth and Age, by Shakespeare . 

17. The Frolicksome Duke, or the Tinker's good Fortune 

18. The Friar of Orders Gray, by Percy . 



















The more modern Ballad of Chevy-chace . . . 249 

Illustration of the Northern Names . . . 263 

Death's final Conquest, by James Shirley . . . 264 

The Rising in the North . . . . . .266 

Copy from the Folio MS 274 

Northumberland betrayed by Douglas . . -279 

Copy from the Folio MS. ..... 289 

My Mind to me a Kingdom is, by Sir Edward Dyer . 294 
The Patient Countess, by W. Warner . . . .298 

Dowsabell, by M. Drayton ..... 304 



8. The Farewell to Love, from Beaumont and Fletcher . 310 

9. Ulysses and the Syren, by S. Daniel . . . -311 

10. Cupid's Pastime, by Davison . . . . -314 

11. The character of a happy life, by Sir H, Wotton . -317 

12. Gilderoy. A Scottish Lallad . . . . .318 

13. Winifreda . . . . . . . . -323 

14. The Witch of Wokey 325 

15. Bryan and Pereene. A West Indian Ballad, by Dr. 

Grainger ........ 328 

16. Gentle River, Gentle River. Translated from the Spanish 33 1 

17. ^Vlcanzor and Zayda, a Moorish Tale .... 338 


An Essay on the Ancient Minstrels in England . . . 343 
Notes and Illustrations ....... 382 


On the Origin of the English Stage, &c 43 1 

Index to Vol. 1 459 


Page 27, Note f, after Fit read " see vol. 2, p. 182." 
Page 76, add *.;^* at end oi Sir Cauline. 


kJ-?^J^^^^ undertakin<T^ the supervision of a new 
^S^ ^^^) ^^itic)n of the Reliqiics of Ancie?it Eng- 
7^}^^ lish Poetry, I felt that no safer or better 
guidance could be followed than that 
of Bishop Percy himself; and as he always strove, 
in the several editions published by himself, to em- 
body therein the sum of the knowledge of his times, 
so I, following at a distance, have endeavoured, by 
gathering from many quarters particulars published 
since his death, to make his book still more worthy 
of the great reputation it has acquired. 

Each edition published during the lifetime of the 
author contained large additions and corrections; but 
since the publication of the fourth edition, in 1794, 
no changes worth mentioning have been made, with 
the exception of such as occur in a revision brought 
out by the Rev. R. A. Willmott in 1857. His object, 
however, was to form a handy volume, and he there- 


fore cleared away all Percy's Essays and Prefaces, 
and added short notices of his own, founded on 
Percy's facts, and, in some instances, on recent 

The desire for a new edition of the Reliques has 
more particularly grown since the publication of the 
original folio MS. in 1867, and I trust that the 
readers of the present edition may feel disposed to 
accept it as in some degree satisfying this desire. 
I In the preparation of the present edition, the whole 
of Percy's work has been reprinted from his fourth 
edition, which contains his last touches ; and in 
order that no confusion should be occasioned to 
the reader, all my notes and additions have been 
placed between brackets. The chief of these are 
the additional prefaces to the various pieces, the 
glossarial notes at the foot of the page, and the 
collation of such pieces as are taken from the folio 
MS. The complete glossary, which will be appended 
to the third volume, might seem to render the glos- 
sarial notes unnecessary ; but there may be some 
readers who will find them useful. With regard to 
the pieces taken from the folio MS., the originals 
have been printed after Percy's copies in those 
cases which had undergone considerable alterations. 
Readers have now, therefore, before them complete 
materials for forming an opinion as to the use the 
Bishop made of his manuscript. 

After commencing my work, I found that to treat 


the Essays interspersed throughout the book as the 
Prefaces had been treated, would necessitate so many 
notes and corrections as to cause confusion ; and as 
the Essays on the EngHsh Stage, and the Metrical 
Romances, are necessarily out of date, the trouble 
expended would not have been repaid by the utility 
of the result. I have, therefore, thrown them to 
the end of their respective volumes, where they can 
be read exactly as Percy left them. 

In concluding these explanations, I have much 
pleasure in expressing my thanks to those friends 
who have assisted me, and to those writers with- 
out whose previous labours mine could not have 
been performed, more particularly to Messrs. Fur- 
nivall and Hales, who most kindly gave me per- 
mission to use any part of their edition of the folio 
MS. To Mr. Hales I am also indebted for many 
valuable hints, of which I have gladly availed 

Henry B. Wiieatley. 


EVERAL questions of general interest 
have arisen for discussion by the editor 
durinor the work of revision. Notes 
upon these have been brought together, 
so as to form an introduction, which it 
is hoped may be of some use to the readers of the 
Reliqiies, in the absence of an exhaustive compilation, 
which has yet to be made. Here there is no attempt 
at completeness of treatment, and the notes are 
roughly arranged under the following headings : — 

The Minstrels. 

Ballads and Ballad Writers. 

Imitators and Forgers. 

Authenticity of certain Ballads. 

Preservers of the Ballads. 

Life of Percy. 

P^olio MS. and the Reliqiies. 

Ballad Literature since Percy. 


When Percy wrote the opening sentence in his 
first sketch of that " Essay on the Ancient ICnglish 


Minstrels" (1765), which was the foundation of 
the Hterature of the subject, he Httle expected the 
severe handhng he was to receive from the furious 
Ritson for his hasty utterance. His words were, 
. ^ " The minstrels seem to have been the genuine 
successors of the ancient bards, who united the 
arts of poetry and music, and sung verses to the 
harp of their own composing." The bishop was 
afterwards convinced, from Ritson's remarks, that 
the rule he had enunciated was too rigid, and in the 
later form of the Essay he somewhat modified his 
language. The last portion of the sentence then 
stood, " composed by themselves or others," and a 
note was added to the effect that he was " wedded 
to no hypothesis." 

Sir Walter Scott criticised the controversy in his 
interesting article on Romance in the supplement 
to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, where he wrote : 
" When so popular a department of poetry has at- 
tained this decided character, it becomes time to 
inquire who were the composers of these numerous, 
lengthened, and once-admired narratives which are 
called metrical romances, and from whence they 
drew their authority. Both these subjects of dis- 
cussion have been the source of great controversy 
among antiquarians ; a class of men who, be it said 
with their forgiveness, are apt to be both positive 
and polemical upon the very points which are least 
susceptible of proof, and which are least valuable if 
the truth could be ascertained ; and which, therefore, 
we would gladly have seen handled with more dif- 
fidence and better temper in proportion to their un- 
certainty." After some remarks upon the essays of 
Percy and Ritson, he added, " Yet there is so little 
room for this extreme loss of temper, that upon a 
recent perusal of both these ingenious essays, we 
were surprised to find that the reverend editor of the 


Rcligucs and the accurate antiquary have differed 
so very Httle as in essential facts they appear to 
have done. Quotations are indeed made by both 
with no sparing hand ; and hot arguments, and on 
one side, at least, hard words are unsparingly em- 
ployed ; while, as is said to happen in theological 
polemics, the contest grows warmer in proportion as 
the cfround concerninir which it is carried on 
is narrower and more insignificant. In reality 
their systems do not essentially differ." Ritson's 
great object was to set forth more clearly than 
Perc)- had done that the term minstrel was a com- 
prehensive one, including the poet, the singer, and 
the musician, not to mention the fahlicr, contcicr, 
jiiglnir, haladin, &c. 

Ritsondelii-dited in collectinir instances of the deera- 
dation into which the minstrel gradually sank, and, 
with little of Percy's taste, he actually preferred the 
ballad-writer's songs to those of the minstrel. Percy, 
on the other hand, gathered together all the mate- 
rial he could to set the minstrel in a eood lieht. 
There is abundant evidence that the latter was rieht 
in his view of the minstrel's position in feudal times, 
but there were grades in this profession as in others, 
and law-givers doubtless found it necessary to con- \ 
trol such Bohem^ns as wandered about the country ' 
without lic'enceT The minstrel of a noble house wa^ 
distinguished by bearing the badge of his lord at- 
tached to a silver chain, and just as in later times 
the players who did not bear the name of some 
courtier were the subjects of parliamentary enact- 
ments, so the unattached minstrels were treated as 
vagrants. Besides the minstrels of great lords, there 
were others attached to important cities. On May 26, 
I 298, as appears by the Wardrobe accounts of lul- 
ward I., that king gave 6^. '^d. to Walter Lovel, the 
harper of Chichester, whom he found jjlaxing the 


harp before the tomb of St. Richard in the Cathedral 
of Chichester. 

Waits were formerly attached to most corpo- 
rate towns, and were, in fact, the corporation min- 
strels. They wore a livery and a badge, and were 
formed into a sort of guild. No one, even were he 
an inhabitant of the town, was suffered to play in 
public who was not free of the guild. Besides sing- 
ing out the hours of the night, and warning the 
town against dangers, they accompanied themselves 
with the harp, the pipe, the hautboy, and other in- 
struments. They played in the town for the gratifi- 
cation of the inhabitants, and attended the mayor on 
all state occasions. At the mayor's feast they occu- 
pied the minstrels' gallery. From the merchants' 
guild book at Leicester, it appears that as early as 
1 3 14 " Hugh the Trumpeter" was made free of the 
guild, and in 1481 " Henry Howman, a harper," was 
also made free, while in 1499 "Thomas Wylkyns, 
Wayte," and in 161 2 "Thomas Pollard, musician," 
were likewise admitted.* 

Percy collected so many facts concerning the 
old minstrels, that it is not necessary to add much 
to his stock of information, especially as, though 
a very interesting subject in itself, it has really 
very little to do with the contents of the Rcliques. 

The knightly Troubadours and Trouveres, and 
such men as Taillefer, the Norman minstrel, who 
at the battle of Hastings advanced on horseback 
before the invading host, and gave the signal for 
attack by singing the Song of Roland, who died at 
Roncesvalles, had little in common with the authors 
of the ballads in this book. 

* See article on " Waits' Badges," by Llewellyn Jewitt, in Reli- 
qua7y, vol. xii. p. 145. 


The wise son of Sirach enumerates amonor those 
famous men who are worthy to be praised " such as 
found out musical tunes, and recited verses in writ- 
ing ;" but, according to Hector Boece, the early 
Scottish kings thought otherwise. In the Laws of 
Kenneth II., ''bardis" are mentioned with vaga- 
bonds, fools, and idle persons, to be scourged andi'' 
burnt on the cheek, unless they found some work by 
which to live ; and the same laws against them were, 
according to Boece, still in force in the reign of Mac- 
beth, nearly two centuries later. Better times, how- 
ever, came, and Scotch bards and minstrels were 
highly favoured in the reign of James III. ; but the 
sunshine did not last long. In 1574, "pipers, fiddlers,N 
and minstrels " are again branded with the opprobri- j 
ous term of vagabonds, and threatened with severe 
penalties; and the Regent Morton induced the Privy 
Council to issue an edict that " nane tak upon hand 
to emprent or sell whatsoever book, ballet, or other 
werk," without its being examined and licensed, under 
pain of death and confiscation of goods. In August, 
1579, two poets of Edinburgh (William Turnbull, 
schoolmaster, and William Scot, notar, "baith weel 
belovit of the common people for their common 
offices "), were hanged for writing a satirical ballad 
against the Earl of Morton ; and in October of the 
same year, the Estates passed an Act against beg- 
gars and "sic as make themselves fules and are 
bards . . . minstrels, sangsters, and tale tellers, not 
avowed in special service by some of the lords of par- 
liament or great burghs." 

The minstrels had their several rounds, and, as a 
general rule, did not interfere with each other ; but it 
is probable that they occasionally made a foray into 
other districts, in order to replenish their worn-out 
stock of songs. 

One of the last of the true minstrels was Richard 



Sheale, who enjoys the credit of having preserved 
the old version of Chevy Chase. He was for a 
time in the service of Edward, Earl of Derby, 
and wrote an elegy on the Countess, who died 
in January, 1558. He afterwards, followed the pro- 
fession of a minstrel at Tamworth, and his wife 
was a " sylke woman," who sold shirts, head clothes, 
and laces, &c,, at the fairs of Lichfield and other 
neighbouring towns. On one occasion, when he left 
Tamworth on horseback, with his harp in his hand, 
he had the misfortune to be robbed by four highway- 
men, who lay in wait for him near Dunsmore Heath. 
He wrote a long account of his misfortune in verse,* 
in which he describes the grief of himself and his 
wife at their great loss, and laments over the coldness 
of worldly friends. He was robbed of threescore 
pounds — a large amount in those days — not obtained, 
however, from the exercise of his own skill, but by 
the sale of his wife's wares. This money was to be 
devoted to the payment of their debts, and in order 
that the carriage of it should not be a burden to him 
he changed it all for gold. He thought he might 
carry it safely, as no one would suspect a minstrel of 
possessing so much property, but he found to his 
cost that he had been foolishly bold. To add to his 
affliction, some of his acquaintances grieved him by 
saying that he was a lying knave, and had not been 
robbed, as it was not possible for a minstrel to have 
so much money. There was a little sweetness, how- 
ever, in the poor minstrel's cup, for patrons were 
kind, and his loving neighbours at Tamworth exerted 
themselves to help him. They induced him to brew 
a bushel of malt, and sell the ale. 

All this is related in a poem, which gives a vivid 

* Chant of Richard Sheale, Brydges' British Bibliographer, vol. 
iv. p. 100. 


picture of the life of the time, although the verse 
does not do much credit to the poet's skill. 

When the minstrel class had fallen to utter decay- 
in Eng-land, it flourished with vigour in Wales ; and 
we learn that the harpers and fiddlers were promi- 
nent figures in the Cymmortha, or gatherings of the 
people for mutual aid. These assemblies were of a 
similar character to the "Bees," which are common 
among our brethren in the United States. They 
were often abused for political purposes, and they 
gave some trouble to Burghley as they had previously 
done to Henry IV. In the reign of that king a 
statute was passed forbidding rhymers, minstrels, 
&c. from making the Cymmortha. The following 
extract from a MS. in the Lansdowne Collection in 
the British Museum, on the state of Wales in Eliza- 
beth's reign, shows the estimation in which the min- 
strels were then held : — _ 

" Upon the Sundays and holidays the multitudes 
of all sorts of men, women, and children of every 
parish do use to meet in sundry places, either on 
some hill or on the side of some mountain, where 
their harpers and crowthers sing them songs of the 
doincjs of their ancestors." * 

Ben Jonson introduces " Old Father Rosin," the 
chief minstrel of Highgate, as one of the principal 
characters in his Tale of a Tub ; and the blind 
harpers continued for many years to keep up the re- 
membrance of the fallen glories of the minstrel's pro- 
fession. Tom D'Urfey relates how merrily blind 
Tom harped, and mention is made of "honest Jack 
Nichols, the harper," in Tom Brown's Letters from 
the Dead to the Living (Works, ii. 191). Sir Walter 
Scott, in the article on Romance referred to above, 

* Ellis's Original Letters, Second Series, vol. iii. p. 49. 


tells us that "about fifty or sixty years since" (which 
would be about the year 1770) "a person acquired 
the nickname of ' Roswal and Lillian,' from singing 
that romance about the streets of Edinburgh, which is 
probably the very last instance of the proper minstrel 
craft." Scott himself, however, gives later instances in 
the introduction \.q\\\^ Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. 
He there writes : " It is certain that till a very late 
period the pipers, of whom there was one attached to 
each border town of note, and whose office was often 
hereditary, were the great depositaries of oral, and 
particularly of poetical tradition. About spring-time, 
and after harvest, it was the custom of these musicians 
to make a progress through a particular district of 
the country. The music and the tale repaid their 
lodging, and they were usually gratified with a dona- 
tion of seed corn. This order of minstrels is alluded 
to in the comic song of Maggy Lauder, who thus ad- 
dresses a piper : 

' Live ye upo' the border ? ' " * 

To this is added the following note : — " These town 
pipers, an institution of great antiquity upon the 
borders, were certainly the last remains of the min- 
strel race. Robin Hastie, town piper of Jedburgh, 
perhaps the last of the order, died nine or ten years 
ago ; his family was supposed to have held the office 
for about three centuries. Old aee had rendered 
Robin a wretched performer, but he knew several 
old songs and tunes, which have probably died 
along with him. The town-pipers received a livery 
and salary from the community to which they be- 
longed ; and in some burghs they had a small allot- 
ment of land, called the Pipers' Croft." Scott further 
adds : — " Other itinerants, not professed musicians, 

* See Percy's remarks on this Hne at p. 379 (note). 


found their welcome to their night's quarters readily 
ensured by their knowledge in legendary lore. John 
Grceme, of Sowport, in Cumberland, commonly 
called the Long Quaker, a person of this latter 
description, was very lately alive, and several of the 
songs now published have been taken down from 
his recitation." A note contains some further par- 
ticulars of this worthy : — " This person, perhaps the 
last of our professed ballad reciters, died since the 
publication of the first edition of this work. He 
was by profession an itinerant cleaner of clocks and 
watches, but a stentorian voice and tenacious 
memory qualified him eminently for remembering 
accurately and reciting with energy the border 
gathering songs and tales of war. His memory was 
latterly much impaired, yet the number of verses 
which he could pour forth, and the animation of his 
tone and gestures, formed a most extraordinary con- 
trast to his extreme feebleness of person and dotage 
of mind." Ritson, in mentioning some relics of 
the minstrel class, writes : — " It is not lonof since 
that the public papers announced the death of a 
person of this description somewhere in Derbyshire ; 
and another from the county of Gloucester was 
within these few years to be seen in the streets of 
London ; he played on an instrument of the rudest 
construction, which he properly enough called a 
luimstrum, and chanted (amongst others) the old 
ballad of Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor, which, by 
the way, has every appearance of being originally a * 
minstrel song." He adds further in a note :— " He 
appeared again in January, 1790, and called upon 
the present writer in the April following. He was 
between sixty and seventy years of age, but had not 
been brouglit u[; to the profession of a minstrel, nor 
possessed any great store of songs, of which that 
mentioned in the text seemed the principal. Havinj 


it would seem, survived his minstrel talents, and 
forgot his epic, nay Pindaric art, he has been of late 
frequently observed begging in the streets."* 

These quotations relate to the end of the last 
or to the very early part of the present century, but 
we can add a notice of minstrels who lived well on 
towards the middle of this century. Mr. J. H. 
Dixon, in the preface to his Scottish Traditio7ial 
Versions of Ancient Ballads, printed for the Percy 
Society in 1845, writes as follows : — " Although the 
harp has long been silent in the dales of the north 
of England and Scotland, it has been succeeded by 
the violin, and a class of men are still in existence 
and pursuing their calling, who are the regular de- 
scendants and representatives of the minstrels of 
old. In his rambles amongst the hills of the North, 
and especially in the wild and romantic dales of 
Yorkshire, the editor has met with several of these 
characters. They are not idle vagabonds who have 
no other calling, but in general are honest and in- 
dustrious, though poor men, having a local habita- 
tion as well as a name, and engaged in some calling, 
pastoral or manual. It is only at certain periods, 
such as Christmas, or some other of the great festal 
seasons of the ancient church, that they take up the 
minstrel life, and levy contributions in the hall of the 
peer or squire, and in the cottage of the farmer or 
peasant. They are in general well-behaved, and 
.often very witty fellows, and therefore their visits 
llare always welcome. These minstrels do not sing 
modern songs, but, like their brethren of a bygone 
age, they keep to the ballads. The editor has in 
his possession some old poems, which he obtained 
from one of these minstrels, who is still living and 
fiddling in Yorkshire." 

* Ritson's Ancient Songs and Ballads, ed. 1829, vol. i. p. xxvi. 


In his A^iciejit Poems, Ballads, and So7igs of tJic 
Peasafitry of England, 1846, Mr. Dixon notices one 
of these relics of the past, viz. Francis King, who 
was well known in the western dales of Yorkshire 
as " the Skipton INIinstrel : " — " This poor minstrel, 
from whose recitation two of our ballads were ob- 
tained, met his death by drowning in December, 
1844. He had been at a merry meeting at Gar- 
grave in Craven, and it is supposed that owing to 
the darkness of the nieht he had mistaken his 
homeward road, and walked into the water. He 
was one in whose character were combined the 
mimic and the minstrel, and his old jokes and older 
ballads and songs ever insured him a hearty wel- 
come. His appearance was peculiar, and owing to 
one leg being shorter than its companion, he walked 
in such a manner as once drew from a wag the 
remark, ' that few kmgs had had more ups and 
downs in the w^orld!' As a musician his talents 
were creditable, and some of the dance tunes that 
he was in the habit of composing showed that he 
was not deficient in the organ of melody. In the 
quiet churchyard of Gargrave may be seen the 
minstrel's crrave." 


Percy wrote an interesting note upon the division 
of some of the long ballads into fits (see vol. ii. p. 182). 
The minstrel's payment for each of these fits was a 
groat ; and so common was this remuneration, that 
a groat came to be generally spoken of as " fiddler's 

Puttenham describes the blind harpers and tavern 
minstrels as giving a fit of mirth for a groat ; and in 
Ben Jonson's masque of the Metamorplioscd Gipsies, 
162 1, Townshcad, the clown, cries out, "I cannot 
hold now ; there's my groat, let's have a fit for mirth 

The payment seems to have remained the same, 


though the money became in time reduced in value, 
so that, as the minstrel fell in repute, his reward be- 
came less. In 1533, however, a Scotch eighteen- 
penny groat possessed a considerable buying power, 
as appears from the following extract : — 

" Sir Walter Coupar, chaplaine in Edinburghe, gate 
a pynte of vyne, a laiffe of 36 vnce vaight, a peck of 
aite meill, a pynte of aill, a scheipe head, ane penny 
candell and a faire woman for ane xviii. penny 

After the Restoration, the sixpence took the place 
of the groat ; and it is even now a current phrase to 
say, when several sixpences are given in change, 
" What a lot of fiddlers' money !" 

Ballads and Ballad Writers. 

'\) /^ One of the most important duties of the old min- 
strel was the chanting of the long romances of chiv- 
± airy, and the question whether the ballads were 

detached portions of the romances, or the romances 
built up from ballads, has greatly agitated the minds 
of antiquaries. There seems reason to believe that 
in a large number of instances the .most telling por- 
tions of the romance were turned into ballads, and 
this is certainly the case in regard to several of those 
belonging to the Arthurian cycle. On the other side, 
such poems as Barbour's Bruce and Blind Harry's 
Wallace have, according to Motherwell, swept out of 
existence the memory of the ballads from which they 
were formed. When Barbour wrote, ballads relative 
to Bruce and his times were common, " for the poet, 

* Marjoreybank's Annals of Scotland, Edinb. 1814, p. 5, quoted 
in Motherwell's Minstrelsy, p. xxx. (note). 


in speaking of certain ' thre worthi poyntis of wer,' 
omits the particulars of the ' thrid which fell into 
Esdaill,' being a victory gained by ' Schyr Johne 
the Soullis,' over ' Schyr Andrew Hardclay/ for 
this reason : — 

* I will nocht rehers the maner, 
For wha sa likes thai may her, 
Young wemen quhen thai will play, 
Syng it amang thaim ilk. day.' " * 

Another instance of the agglutinative process may 
be cited in the gradual growth of the Robin Hood 
ballads into a sort of epic, the first draught of which 
we may see in the Mcrrye Geste. The directness 
and dramatic cast of the minstrel ballad, however, 
form a strong argument in favour of the theory that 
they were largely taken from the older romances and 
chronicles, and the fragmentary appearance of some 
of them gives force to this view. Without preface^ 
they go at once straight to the incident to be de- 
scribed. Frequently the ballad opens with a con- 
versation, and some explanation of the position of the 
interlocutors was probably given by the minstrel as 
a prose introduction. Motherwell, in illustration of 
the opinion that the abrupt transitions of the ballads 
were filled up by the explanations of the minstrels, 
gives the following modern instance : — 

" Traces of such a custom still remain in the low- 
lands of Scotland among those who have stores of 
these songs upon their memory. Reciters frequently, 
when any part of the narrative appears incomplete, 
supply the defect in prose. ... I have heard the 
ancient ballad of Yoting Bcichan ajid Susan Pyc 
dilated by a story-teller into a tale of very remark- 
able dimensions — a paragraph of prose, and then a 

* Motherwell's Minstrelsy, 1827, p. xlvii. 


screed of rhyme, alternately given. From this ballad 
I may give a short specimen, after the fashion of the 
venerable authority from whom I quote : ' Well ye 
must know that in the Moor's castle there was a 
massymore, which is a dark, deep dungeon for keep- 
ing prisoners. It was twenty feet below the ground, 
and into this hole they closed poor Beichan. There 
he stood, night and day, up to his waist in puddle 
water ; but night or day, it was all one to him, for no 
ae styme of light ever got in. So he lay there a long 
and weary while, and thinking on his heavy weird, 
he made a mournfu' sang to pass the time, and this 
was the sang that he made, and grat when he sang 
it, for he never thought of ever escaping from the 
massymore, or of seeing his ain country again : 

' My hounds they all run masterless, 
My hawks they flee from tree to tree ; 
My youngest brother will heir my lands, 
And fair England again I'll never see. 

Oh were I free as I hae been. 

And my ship swimming once more on sea \ 

I'd turn my face to fair England, 

And sail no more to a strange countrie.' 

* Now the cruel Moor had a beautiful daughter, called 
Susan Pye, who was accustomed to take a walk every 
morning in her garden, and as she was walking ae 
day she heard the sough o' Beichan's sang, coming, as 
it were, from below the ground,' " &c.* 

The contrast between the construction of minstrel 
Y ballads and those of the ballad-mongers who arose as 
a class in the reign of Elizabeth is very marked. The 
ballad-singers who succeeded the minstrels were suf- 
ficiently wise not to reject the treasures of their pre- 
decessors, and many of the old songs were rewritten 

* Motherwell's Minstrelsy, p. xv. 


and lengthened to suit their purpose. Sir Patrick 
Spencc would perhaps be the best of the minstrel 
ballads to oppose to one of the best of the later bal- 
lads, such as the Beggar s Daughter of Bediiall Green ; 
but as its authenticity has been disputed, it will be 
well to choose another, and Captainc Carre, which 
Ritson allows to have been one of the few minstrel 
ballads he acknowledges, will do well for the purpose. 
As both these poems are before our readers, it will 
only be necessary' to quote the first stanzas of each. 
The version in the folio MS. of Captain Carre com- 
mences abruptly thus : — 

"ffaith maister, whither you will, 

whereas you like the best, 
unto the castle of Bitton's borrow, 

and there to take your rest."* 

This is a remarkable contrast to the opening of 
the Beggar's Daiighter : — 

" Itt was a blind beggar, had long lost his sight, 
He had a faire daughter of bewty most bright ; 
And many a gallant brave suiter had shee, 
For none was soe comelye as pretty Bessee. " t 

Some may think, however, that this ballad is an 
adaptation by the ballad-monger from an older 
original, so that perhaps a still better instance of 
the great change in form that the ballads under- 
went will be found in the CJiilciren in the Wooci.X 
This favourite ballad is one of the best specimens 
of that didactic style which is so natural in the 
hands of the master, but degenerates into such tedious 
twaddle when copied by the pupil. The first stanza 

is : — 

" Now ponder well, you parents dcare, 
These wordes, which 1 shall write ; 

See below, p. 148. t "^'ol- ii- P- ^72- + Vol. iii. bk. ii. art. 18. 


A doleful story you shall heare, 
In time brought forth to light. 

A gentleman of good account 
In Norfolke dwelt of late, 

Who did in honour far surmount 
Most men of his estate." 

VTo put the matter simply, we may say that the 
writer of the old minstrel ballad expected an un- 
hesitating belief for all his statements. "If fifteen 
stalwart foresters are slain by one stout knight, 
single-handed, he never steps out of his way to 
prove the truth of such an achievement by appeal- 
ing to the exploits of some other notable man- 
slayer."* On the other hand the professional 
ballad-writer gives a reason for everything he 
states, and in consequence fills his work with_re-^ 
dundancies, Percy understood the characteristics 
of the older ballads, and explained the difference 
between the two classes of ballads in his Essay on 
the Ancient Minstrels,'^ but unfortunately he did not 
bear the distinction in mind when he altered some of 
the ballads in the folio MS. So that we find it to 
Tiave been his invariable practice to graft the pretti- 
nesses and redundancies of the later writers upon 
the simplicity of the earlier. For instance, in his 
version of Sir Cauline he inserts such well-worn 
saws as the following : — 

" Everye white will have its blacke, 

And everye sweete its sowre : 
This founde the ladye Cristabelle 

In an untimely howre." \ 

'^ Ritson also remarks upon the distinctive styles of 
the ancient and modern writers, but, as observed 
above, he had the bad taste to prefer the work of 

* Motherwell's Minstrelsy, p. xiii. 

t See below, p. 380. j See below, p. 70. 


the later ballad-writer. His opinion is given in the 
following passage: — "These songs [of the minstrels] 
from their wild and licentious metre were incapable 
of any certain melody or air ; they were chanted in 
a monotonous stile to the harp or other instrument, 
and both themselves and the performers banished 
by the introduction of ballad-singers without instru- 
ments, who sung printed pieces to fine and simple 
melodies, possibly of their own invention, most of 
which are known and admired at this day. The 
latter, owing to the smoothness of their language, 
and accuracy of their measure and rime, were 
thought to be more poetical than the old harp or 
instrument songs ; and though critics may judge 
otherwise, the people at large were to decide, and 
did decide : and in some respects, at least, not with- 
out justice, as will be evident from a comparison of 
the following specimens. 

" The first is from the old Chevy Chase, a very 
popular minstrel ballad in the time of Queen Eliza- 
beth : — 

' The Perse owt of Northombarlande, 
And a vowe to God mayd he,' &c.* 

How was it possible that this barbarous language, 

miserably chanted ' by some blind crowder with no 

rougher voice than rude stile,' should maintain its 

ground against such lines as the following, sung 

to a beautiful melody, which we know belongs to 

them ? — 

' When as king Henry rul'd the land, 

The second of that name. 
Besides the cjueen he dearly lov'd, 

A fair and comely dame,' &c.t 

The minstrels would seem to have gained little by 
such a contest. I n short, they gave up the old Chevy 

 See below, p. 23. t See vol. ii. p. 158. 


Chase to the ballad-singers, who, desirous, no doubt, 
to avail themselves of so popular a subject, had it 
new vTitten, and sung it to the favourite melody just 
mentioned. The original, of course, became utterly- 
neglected, and but for its accidental discovery by 
Hearne, would never have been known to exist."* 

Percy held the view, which was afterwards advo- 
cated by Scott, that the Borders were the true home 
of the romantic ballad, and that the chief minstrels 
originally belonged either to the north of England or 
the south of Scotland ;f but later writers have found 
the relics of a ballad literature in the north of Scot- 
land. The characteristics of the ballad doubtless 
varied to some extent in different parts of the 
country, but there is no reason to believe that the 
glory of being its home can be confined to any one 
place. Unfortunately this popular literature was 
earlier lost in the plains than among the hills, while 
the recollection of the fatal fields of Otterburn, Hum- 
bledon, Flodden, Halidon, Hedgeley^, Hexham, &c., 
would naturally keep it alive longer among the 
families of the Border than elsewhere. 

Before proceeding further, it may be as well to say 
a few words upon the word ballad. The strong line 
of demarcation that is now drawn between an ordinary 
song and a ballad is a late distinction, and even Dr. 
Johnson's only explanation of the word " ballad " in 
his Dictionary is " a song." One of his quotations is 
taken from Watts, to the effect that " ballad once 
signified a solemn and sacred song, as well as trivial, 
when Solomon's Song was called the ballad of ballads; 
but now it is applied to nothing but trifling verse." 
The " balade " as used by Chaucer and others was a 
song written in a particular rhythm, but later writers 

* Ritson's Ancient Songs and Ballads, ed. 1829, vol. i, p. xxxiii. 
t See below, p. 378. 

^ ^ 


usually meant by a ballad a song that was on the lips 
of the people. 

It is not necessary to enlarge here upon the change 
of meaning that the word has undergone, nor to do "^ "^ *. 
more than mention the relation that it bears to the 
word ballet. As a ballad is now a story told in verse, 
so a ballet is now a story told in a dance. Originally i 
the two were one, and the ballad was a song sung / 
while the singers were dancing. 

When Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun wrote, " I 
knew a very wise man, so much of Sir Christopher's 
sentiment that he believed if a man were permitted 
to make all the ballads, he need not care who should 
make the laws of a nation," he referred to the popular 
songs of the people, but, in point of fact, a nation 
makes its own ballads, which do not become current 
coin until stamped with public approval. No song 
will change a people's purpose, but the national heart 
will be found written in a country's songs as a re- 
flection of what has happened. 

The successful ballad-writer requires a quick eye . 
and ear to discern what is smouldering in the public 
mind, and then if his words fall in with the humour 
of the people his productions will have a powerful 
influence, and may set the country in a blaze. Ca 
ira and the Carmagnole had much influence on 
the progress of the great French Revolution, as 
Motirir pour la Patrie had upon that of 1848. 
Lillibiirlcro gave the finishing stroke to the 
English Revolution of 1688, and its author (Lord 
Wharton) boasted that he had rhymed King James 
out of his dominions. '^ 

The old ballad filled the place of the modern ^ / 
newspaper, and history can be read in ballads by 
those who try to understand them ; but the type is 
often blurred, and in attempting to make out their 
meaning, we must be careful not to see too much. 


for the mere fact of the existence of a ballad does 
not prove its popularity or its truth. 

Literature is often presumed to assert a larger 
influence over a nation than it really does, and there 
is little doubt that literature is more a creation of 
the people than the people are a creation of litera- 
ture. Where a healthy public opinion exists, people 
are less affected to action by what is written than is 
sometimes supposed, but still there is an important 
reflex action, and — 

" Words are things, and a small drop of ink 
Falling like dew upon a thought, produces 
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think." 

There are recorded instances of the powerful 
influence of ballads, and we know how much Dib- 
din's sea songs did for the British navy, when they 
placed before the sailor an ideal of his own feelings, 
and painted men he wished to be like. 

The songs of a country are the truly natural part 
of its poetry, and really the only poetry of the great 
body of the people. Percy, in the dedication to his 
Reliqties, calls ballads the " barbarous productions 
of unpolished ages." Nevertheless they are instinct 
with life, and live still, while much of the polished 
poetry of his age, which expelled nature from litera- 
ture, is completely dead. Nature is the salt that 
keeps the ballad alive, and many have maintained a 
continuance of popularity for several centuries. 

A good ballad is not an easy thing to write, and 
many poets who have tried their hand at composition 
in this branch of their art have signally failed, as may 
be seen by referring to some of the modern pieces 
in this book, which Percy hoped would " atone for 
the rudeness of the more obsolete poems." 
, The true ballad is essentially dramatic, and one 

y \ I that is to make itself felt should be all action, with- 


out any moralizing padding, for it is a narrative in 
v^erse meant for the common people. James Hogg, 
himself a successful ballad-writer, has something to 
say about a good song : " A man may be sair mis- 
ta'en about many things, sic as yepics, an' tragedies, 
an' tales, an' even lang set elegies about the death 
o' great public characters, an' hymns, an' odes, an' 
the like, but he canna be mista'en about a sang. As 
sune as it's down on the sclate I ken whether it's 
gude, bad, or middlin'. If any of the two last I dight 
it out wi' my elbow ; if the first, I copy it o'er into 
writ and then get it aff by heart, when it's as sure 
o' no' being lost as if it war engraven on a brass 
plate. For though I hae a treacherous memory 
about things in ordinar', a' my happy sangs will 
cleave to my heart to my dying day, an' I should na 
wonder gin I war to croon a verse or twa frae some 
o' them on my deathbed." 

Allballads are songs, but all songs are not ballads, y 
and the difference between a ballad and a soncf is l^ 
something the same as that between a proverb and 
an apophthegm, for the ballad like the proverb should 
be upon many lips, A poet may write a poem and 
call it a ballad : but it requires the public approval 
before it becomes one in fact. 

The objects of the minstrel and the ballad-singer 
were essentially different : thus the minstrel's stock | 
of ballads usually lasted him his lifetime, and as his 
living depended upon them they were jealously 
guarded by him from others. Nothing he objected \J 

to more than to see them in print. The chief aim 
of the ballad-singer, on the other hand, was to sell 
his collection of printed broadsides, and to obtain 
continually a new stock, so as to excite the renewed 
attention of his customers. 

Henry Chettle mentions in his Kind H art's Dream, 
1592, the sons of one Barnes, who boasted that they 



could earn twenty shillings a day by singing ballads 
at Bishop's Stortford and places in the neighbour- 
hood. The one had a squeaking treble, the other 
" an ale-blown bass." 

One of the most popular singers of the early time 
was a boy named Cheeke, and nicknamed " Out- 
roaring Dick." He was originally a mechanic, but 
renounced that life for ballad-singing, by which 
occupation he earned ten shillings a day. He was 
well known in Essex, and was not missed for many 
years from the great fair at Braintree. He had a 
rival in Will Wimbars, who sung chiefly doleful 
traofedies. Mat Nash, a man from the " North 
Countrie," made the Border ballads his own by his 
manner of singing them, in which he accompanied 
his voice by dramatic action. Chevy Chase was 
his tour de Jorce. Lord Burghley was so pleased 
with his singing that he enabled him to retire 
from his occupation. The gipsies have furnished 
many female singers, and one of them, named 
Alice Boyce, who came to London in Elizabeth's 
reign, paid the expenses of her journey up to Lon- 
don by singing the whole way. She had the 
honour of singing, " O, the broom " and " Lady 
Green Sleeves" before the queen. Gravelot, the 
portrait painter in the Strand, had several sittings 
from ballad-singers; and Hogarth drew the famous 
"Philip in the Tub" in his Wedding of the Indus- 
trious Apprentice. 

Street singing still continues, and one of the songs 
of thirty years ago tells of "the luck of a cove wot 
sings," and how many friends he has. One of the 
verses is as follows : — 

" "While strolling t'other night, 
I dropped in a house, d'ye see ; 
The landlord so polite, 
Insisted on treating me ; 


I called for a glass of port, 

When half-a-bottle he brings ; 

' How much ? ' — ' Nothing of the sort,' 

Says he, ' you're a cove wot sings.' " 

Mr. Chappell gives a large number of early quota- 
tions relating to ballad-singing, in his interesting His- 
tory of Ballad Literature, and observes that " some 
idea of the number of ballads that were printed in 
the early part of the reign of Elizabeth may be 
formed from the fact that seven hundred and ninety- 
six ballads left for entry at Stationers' Hall remained 
in the cupboard of the Council Chamber of the Com- 
pany at the end of the year 1560, to be transferred to 
the new Wardens, and only forty-four books."* Some 
of the old writers, like Shakspere's Mopsa, loved "a 
ballad in print ;" but more of them disliked the new 
literature that was rising up like a mushroom, and 
took every opportunity of having a fling at it. 

Webbe, in his Discourse 0/ English Poetrie (1586), 
refers to " the un-countable rabble of ryming ballet- 
makers and compylers of senseless sonnets ;" and 
Chettle complains in Kind Hart's Dream (1592), 
that " now ballads are abusively chanted in every 
street ; and from London, this evil has overspread 
Essex and the adjoining counties. There is many a 
tradesman of a worshipful trade, yet no stationer, 
who after a little bringing up apprentices to singing 
brokery, takes into his shop some fresh men, and 
trusts his servants of two months' standing with a 
dozen groats' worth of ballads, in which, if they prove 
thrifty, he makes them pretty chapmen, able to 
spread more pamphlets by the State forbidden than 
all the booksellers in London." Bishop Hall (1597) 
does not forget to satirize ballad-writing among other 
things more worthy of censure. 

* Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. i. p. 106. 


" Some drunken rhymer thinks his time well spent, 
If he can live to see his name in print ; 
Who, when he is once fleshed to the presse, 
And sees his handsell have such faire successe 
Sung to the wheele and sung unto the payle, 
He sends forth thraves of ballads to the sale." 

That is, by the spinsters and milkmaids. Shakspere 
also refers to the love which women at work have for 
a ballad in Twelfth Night (act i. sc. 4 ) : 

" The spinsters and knitters in the sun. 

And the free maids that weave their thread with bones 

Do use to chant it." 

The larger number of ballads are anonymous, but 
we are told that in the reign of Henry VIII., "the 
most pregnant wits " were employed in writing 
them, and that the king himself set the example. 
The ballad, however, here referred to probably 
only meant an ordinary song. In course of time 
rhymesters succeeded poets, because, as the world 
becomes more educated, the poet confines himself 
to the refined, and the people have to content 
themselves with poor poetasters. Stirring times 
will, however, always give birth to some real poetry 
among the masses, because whatever is true and 
earnest must find an echo in many hearts. In Eliza- 
beth's reign, as we have already seen, the ballad- 
writer had sunk very low in public esteem. In fur- 
ther illustration of this we find in Martin Mar-sixtus 
(1592) the following diatribe: "I lothe to speak it, 
every red-nosed rhymester is an auther, every 
drunken man's dream is a book ; and he whose 
talent of little wit is hardly worth a farthing, yet 
layeth about him so outrageously as if all Helicon 
had run through his pen. In a word, scarce a cat 
can look out of a gutter, but out starts a halfpenny 
chronicler, and presently a proper new ballet of a 
strange sight is indited." The producer and the pro- 


duct had not greatly changed in forty years, for we 
find the following character in the curious little book, 
entitled Whimzics, or a New Cast of Characters 


" A ballad-monorer is the io^nominious nickname of 

a penurious poet, of whom he partakes in nothing 
but in povertie. He has a singular gift of imagina- 
tion, for he can descant on a man's execution long 
before his confession. Nor comes his invention far 
short of his imagination. For want of truer relations, 
for a neede, he can finde you out a Sussex dragon, 
some sea or inland monster, drawne out by some 
Shoe-lane man in a Gorgon-like feature, to enforce 
more horror in the beholder." 

The chief of the ballad-writers were William Elder-Pi 
ton, Thomas Deloney, Richard Johnson, and Anthony 
Munday. Elderton was known as the prince of ballad- 
mongers ; but, unfortunately, he was as notorious for 
his love of the bottle, and he is said to have drunk 
himself to death before the year 1592. Camden tells 
us that " he did arm himself with ale (as old Father 
Ennius did with wine) when he ballated," and two 
epitaphs made upon him are registered in the Re- 
maines, the Latin one of which is also printed at 
p. 221 of vol. ii., with Oldys's translation, and the 
following : — 

" Here is Elderton lying in dust. 

Or lying Elderton ; chuse which you lust. 

Here he lies dead, I do him no wrong, 

For who knew him standing, all his life long?" 

Nash asserts that " Elderton consumed his ale- 
crammed nose to nothing in bear-bayting " an enemy 
"with whole bundells of ballets;"* and Gabriel Har- 
vey attacks " Father Elderton and his son Greene, 
as the ringleaders of the riming and scribbling crew." 

Pierce J'cniiessc, his Supplication to the Baill, 1592. 

xxxviii BALLADS AND 

According to Stow, Elderton was an attorney in the 
Sheriffs' Courts of the City of London, and wrote 
some verses on the new porch and stone statues at 
Guildhall. Ritson does not think that his poetical 
powers are to be compared with those of Deloney and 
Johnson. Drayton also appears to have had a low 
opinion of him, for he writes : — 

" I scorn'd your ballad then, though it were done 
And had for finis, William Elderton," 

but Benedick, in Mtich Ado about NotJiing (act v. 

sc. 2) does him the honour of singing one of his 

songs : — 

" The god of love 

That sits above, 

And knows me, and knows me 

How pitiful I deserve." 

Thomas Deloney, the shoemaker's historiographer, 
was a voluminous writer of ballads, which he himself 
collected into Garlands, with different taking titles. 
Several of his pieces are printed in these volumes. 
Nash calls him " the balleting silk-weaver of Nor- 
wich ;" and in his Have with you to Saffron Walden, 
he remarks on the ballad-maker's change of style : 
"He hath rhyme enough for all miracles, and wit to 
make a Garla7id of Good Will, &c., but whereas his 
muse, from the first peeping forth, hath stood at livery 
at an ale-house wisp, never exceeding a penny a quart, 
day or night — and this dear year, together with the 
silencing of his looms, scarce that — he is constrained 
to betake himself to carded ale, whence it proceedeth 
that, since Candlemas, or his jigg of Jo Jin for the 
King, not one merry ditty will come from him ; nothing 
but The Thu7iderbolt agai^ist Swearers ; Repent, Eng- 
land, Repent, and the Strange ftidgments of God" 
Kemp, the comic actor and morris-dancer, was par- 
ticularly angry with the ballad-makers in general, and 


Deloney in particular, and addresses them in the fol- 
lowins: terms -. — 

" Kemp's humble request to the impudent genera- 
tion of Ballad-makers and their coherents, that it 
would please their rascalities to pitty his paines in 
the great journey he pretends, and not fill the country 
with lyes of his never done actes as they did in his 
late Morrice to Norwich. I knowe the best of ye, by 
the lyes ye writ of me, got not the price of a good hat 
to cover your brainless heds. If any of ye had come 
to me, my bounty should have exceeded the best of 
your good masters the ballad-buiers. I wold have 
apparrelled your dry pates in party-coloured bonnets, 
and bestowed a leash of my cast belles to have crown'd 
ye with cox-combs. 

" I was told it was the great ballet-maker, T. D., 
alias Tho. Deloney, chronicler of the memorable lives 
of the 6 yeamen of the West, Jack of Newbery, the 
Gentle-Craft, and such like honest men, omitted by 
Stow, Hollinshead, Grafton, Hal, Froysart, and the 
rest of those wel deservino- writers."* 

Richard Johnson, the author of the Seven Cham- 
pions of Christendoni,\[\^c: Deloney, collected his own 
ballads into a book, and his Crowji Gai'land of Golde^i 
Roses was once highly popular. 

Anthony Munday, a draper in Cripplegate, and a 
member of the Drapers' Company, has the fame 
of being a voluminous writer of ballads, but none of 
his productions are known to exist. Kemp calls him 
" Elderton's immediate heir," but he does not seem to 
have walked in his predecessor's disreputable steps, but 
to have lived respected to the good age of eighty. He 
died Aug. lo, 1633, and was buried in St. Stephen's, 
Coleman-street, where a monument with an inscrip- 
tion in praise of his knowledge as an antiquary was 

* Kemp's Nine Daks' Wonder, 1600, sign, d 3. 


erected. He wrote many of the annual city pageants, 
besides plays, which caused Meres to call him " the 
best plotter " of his age. 

Chettle disguised Munday as Anthony Now-Now, 
and Ben Jonson ridiculed him in The Case is 
Altered, as Antonio Balladino, the pageant poet. 
To the question, " You are not the pageant poet to 
the city of Milan, are you ? " he is made to answer, 
" I supply the place, sir, when a worse cannot be 
had, sir." He had several enemies who ran him 
down, but he also had friends who stood up for him. 
William Webbe, in his Discourse of English Poetrie, 
describes Munday as "an earnest traveller in this 
art," and says that he wrote " very excellent works, 
especially upon nymphs and shepherds, well worthy 
to be viewed and to be esteemed as rare poetry." 

Thomas Middleton, the dramatic poet, who pro- 
duced the Lord Mayor's pageant for the mayoralty 
of his namesake. Sir Thomas Middleton {The 
Triumphs of TrutJi), in 1613, attacks poor Munday 
most viciously. On the title-page he declares his 
pageant to have been " directed, written, and re- 
deem'd into forme, from the ignorance of some 
former times and their common writer," and in 
his book he adds : — " The miserable want of both 
[art and knowledge] which in the impudent com- 
mon writer hath often forced from me much pity 
and sorrow, and it would heartily grieve any 
understanding spirit to behold many times so 
glorious a fire in bounty and goodness offering 
to match itselfe with freezing art, sitting in dark- 
nesse with the candle out, looking like the picture 
of Blacke Monday." 

When the civil war broke out, the majority of the 
poets were ready to range themselves on the side of 
the King. Alexander Brome was the most volumi- 
nous writer of royalist songs, but Martin Parker, the 


writer of The King shall enjoy Jiis oivn again, 
must take rank as the leading ballad-writer of his 
time. This was one of those songs that cheer the 
supporters of a losing cause, and help them to win 
success in the end. It is supposed to have formed 
a by no means unimportant item in the causes that 
brought about the Restoration. Parker is said to 
have been the leading spirit in a society of ballad- 
writers ; he certainly was not the " Grub Street 
scribbler" that Ritson has called him. The Puritans 
hated this " ballad-maker laureat of London," and 
lost no opportunity of denouncing him and his 
works. Mr. Chappell has written an interesting 
notice of him in his Popular Jllusic of the Olden 
Time, where he mentions some other royalist ballad- 
writers, as John Wade, the author of The Royal 
Oak, Thomas Weaver, the author of a Collection of 
So?igs, in which he ridiculed the Puritans so effec- 
tually that the book was denounced as a seditious 
libel against the Government, and John Cleveland, 
who, according to Anthony Wood, was the first to 
come forth as a champion of the royal cause. The 
last of these was one of the very few ballad writers 
whose names are enrolled in the list of British poets. 
In December, 1648, Captain Betham was ap- 
pointed Provost Marshal, with power to seize upon 
all ballad-singers, and five years from that date 
there were no more entries of ballads at Stationers' 
Hall, but when Cromwell became Protector he re- 
moved the ban against ballads and ballad-singers. 
After the Restoration, the courtier poets wrote for 
the streets, and therefore most of the ballads were 
ranged on the side of the Court. After a time, 
however, the Court fell into popular disfavour, and 
it was then discovered that ballad-singers and 
pamphleteers had too much liberty. Killigrcw, the 
Master of the Revels to Charles II., licensed all 


singers and sellers of ballads, and John Clarke, a 
London bookseller, rented of Killigrew this privi- 
lege for a period, which expired in 1682. Besides 
licensers of the singers and sellers, there were 
licensers of the ballads themselves. These were 
Sir Roger L'Estrange, from 1663 to 1685, Richard 
Pocock, from 1685 to 1688, J. Fraser, from 1689 to 
1 69 1, and Edmund Bohun, who died in 1694, the 
year that the licensing system also expired. 

When James, Duke of York, went to Scotland to 
seek for that popularity which he had lost in Eng- 
land, he is supposed to have taken with him an 
English ballad-maker to sing his praises, and this 
man is believed to have produced The Banishment 
of Poverty by H.R.H. James, Duke of Alba7iy. 
Ballad-singing was very much out of favour among 
the authorities in the eighteenth century, and in 
1 716 the Middlesex grand jury denounced the sing- 
ing of "scandalous" ballads about the streets as a 
common nuisance, tending to alienate the minds of 
the people. In July, 1763, we are told that "yes- 
terday evening two women were sent to Bridewell 
by Lord Bute's order for singing political ballads 
before his lordship's door in South Audley Street." 

Ballads were then pretty much the same kind of 
rubbish that they are now, and there was little to 
show that they once were excellent. The glorious 
days when — 

" Thespis, the first professor of our art, 
At country wakes sung ballads from a cart," * 

had long ago departed. There are but few instances 

of true poets writing for the streets in later times, but 

• we have one in Oliver Goldsmith. In his early life in 

Dublin, when he often felt the want of a meal, he wrote 

* Dryden's Prologue to Lee's SopJionisba. 


ballads, which found a ready customer at five shillings 
each at a little bookseller's shop in a by-street of 
the city. We are informed that he was as sensitive 
as to the reception of these children of his muse as 
in after years he was of his more ambitious efforts ; 
and he used to stroll into the street to hear his 
ballads sung, and to mark the degrees of applause 
with which they were received. Most of the modern 
ballad-writers have been local in their fame, as 
Thomas Hoggart, the uncle of Hogarth the painter, 
whose satiric lash made him a power in his native 
district of Cumberland, dreaded alike by fools and 

The chief heroes of the older ballads were King / 
Arthur and his knights, Robin Hood, and Guy off ^-^^ 
Warwick. The ballads relating to the first of these 
appear to have been chiefly chipped off from the ^ 

great cycle of Arthurian romances. The popularity i 
of Robin Hood was at one time so great that Dray- 
ton prophesied in his Polyolbion : — 

" In this our spacious isle I think there is not one 
But he hath heard some talk of him, and little John, 
And to the end of time the tales shall ne'er be done 
Of Scarlock, George a Green, and Much the Miller's son. 
Of Tuck the merry Friar, which many a sermon made 
In praise of Robin Hood, his outlaws, and their trade." 

From a local hero he grew into national fame, and 
superseded Arthur in popular regard. He then sunk 
into a mere highwayman, to be again raised into 
fame by literary men, Ritson being the chief of 
these. Wakefield is still proud of its Finder, who 
was one of Robin Hood's company — 

" In Wakefield there lives a jolly Finder ; 
In Wakefield all on a green," 

and one of the thoroughfares of that place is now 
called Finder Field Road. Robin Hood was a purely 


English hero, but Guy of Warwick was almost as 
popular in foreign countries as in his own land. The 
earliest of English political ballads was an outcome 
of the Barons' wars in the reign of Henry 1 11.,''^ and 
each period of political excitement since then has 
been represented in ballads. The controversies 
between Protestant and Papist were carried on in 
verse, and Laud and his clergy were attacked by the 
ballad-writers of the Puritan party. 

Imitators and Forgers. 

No attempt was made to produce false antique 
ballads until the true antiques had again risen in 
public esteem, and one of the first to deceive the con- 
noisseurs was Lady Wardlaw, who was highly success- 
ful in her object when she gave Hardykmtte to the 
world (see vol. ii. p. 105). She seems to have been 
quite contented with the success which attended the 
mystification, and does not appear to have taken any 
particular pains to keep her secret close. Suspicions 
were rife long before the publication of the Reliques, 
but when they appeared the whole truth came out. 
With regard to the other ballads, to which she had 
added verses, there does not appear to have been 
any attempt at concealment. The recent endeavour 
to attribute a large number of the romantic ballads 
of Scotland to her pen will be considered further on. 

A large number of poets have imitated the old 
ballad, but very few have been successful in the 
attempt to give their efforts the genuine ring of the 
original. Tickell and Goldsmith entered into the 
spirit of their models, but Scott succeeded best in 

* Richard of Almaigne, see vol. ii. p. 3. 


old Elspeth's fragment of a chant (the Battle of 
Harlaw) in the Antiquary. \V. J. Mickle, the trans- 
lator of the Liisiad, contributed several imitations 
to Evans's Collection of Old Ballads, but although 
these are beautiful poems in themselves, their claim to 
antiquity was made to rest chiefly upon a distorted 
spelling. One of the most remarkably successful 
imitations of modern times is the ballad of Trclawjiy, 
which the late Rev. R. S. Hawker, of Morwenstow, 
wrote to suit the old burden of "And shall Trelawny 
die." This spirited ballad deceived Scott, Macaulay, 
and Dickens, who all believed it to be genuine, and j 
quoted it as such. In 1846 it was actually printed 
by J. H. Dixon in his " Ancient Poems, Ballads, and 
Songs of the Peasantry of England, taken down from 
oral tradition, and transcribed from private manu- 
scripts, rare broadsides, and scarce publications," 
published by the Percy Society. Mr. Dixon was 
probably deceived by Davies Gilbert, who sent the 
ballad to the Gentleman s Magazine m. 1827, and said 
that it formerly " resounded in every house, in every 
highway, and in every street." In 1832 Hawker had, 
however, himself acknowledged the authorship. He 
wrote in his Records of the Western Shore (p. 56), 
" With the exception of the chorus contained in the 
last two lines, this song was written by me in the 
year 1825. It was soon after inserted in a Plymouth 
paper. It happened to fall into the hands of Davies 
Gilbert, Esq., who did me the honour to reprint it at 
his private press at East Bourne, under the impres- 
sion, I believe, that it is an early composition of my 
own. The two lines above-mentioned formed, I 
believe, the burthen of the old song, and are all that 
I can recover." * Hawker was fond of these mysti- 
fications, and although he did not care to lose the 

* Notes and Queries, 5th series, vol. v. p. 524. 


credit of his productions, he was amused to see 
another of his ballads, Sir Beville, find its way into 
a collection of old ballads. 

A far more beautiful ballad than Hardykmite is 
Auld Robin Gray, in which a lady of rank caught 
the spirit of the tender songs of peasant life with ex- 
cellent effect. Lady Anne Barnard kept her secret 
for fifty years, and did not acknowledge herself the 
author of it until 1823, when she disclosed the fact in 
a letter to Sir Walter Scott. 

These were harmless attempts to deceive, such as 
will always be common among those who take a 
pleasure in reducing the pride of the experts ; and 
when they were discovered no one was found to have 
been injured by the deceit. It is far different, how- 
ever, when a forgery is foisted in among genuine 
works, because when a discovery is made of its un- 
trustworthiness, the reputation of the true work is 
injured by this association with the false. Pinkerton 
inserted a large number of his own poems in his 
edition of Select Scottish Ballads (t 783), which poems 
he alleged to be ancient. He was taken severely to 
task by Ritson on account of these fabrications, and 
he afterwards acknowledged his deceit.'"" 

One of the most barefaced of literary deceptions 
was the work published in 1810 by R. H. Cromek, 
under the title of Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway 
Song. Although the ballads contained in these 
volumes are very varied in their subject, they were 
almost entirely composed by Allan Cunningham, 
who produced whatever was required of him by his 
''" Poets are often the worst of editors, as they find 
the temptation to "improve" their originals too 
strong to resist. Allan Cunningham published in 

* See Ancie?it Scottish Poems, 1786, vol. i. p. cxxxi. 


1826 a collection of the So7igs of Scotland, in which 
he availed himself so largely of this license that 
Motherwell felt called upon to reprobate the work in 
the strongest terms. He observes: "While thus 
violating ancient soncr, he seems to have been well 
aware of the heinousness of his offending. He might 
shudder and sicken at his revolting task indeed ! To 
soothe his own alarmed conscience; and, if possible, 
to reconcile the mind of his readers to his wholesale 
mode of hacking and hewing and breaking the joints 
of ancient and traditionary song ; and to induce them 
to receive with favour the conjectural emendations 
it likes him to make, he, in the course of his progress, 
not unfrequently chooses to sneer at those, and to 
underrate their labours, who have used their best 
endeavours to preserve ancient song in its primitive 
and uncontaminated form."* These are by no means 
the hardest words used by Motherwell in respect to 
the Songs of Scotla^id. 

The worst among the forgers, however, was a man 
who ought to have been above such dishonourable 
work, viz., Robert Surtees, the author of the His- 
tory of the County Palatine of Durham, in whose 
honour the Surtees Society was founded. In Scott's 
Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border will be found three 
ballads — The Death of Featherstonhaugh, Lord Ewrie, 
and Bartranis Dirge, which are treated by Sir 
Walter as true antiques, and of the genuine character 
of which he never had a doubt. They are all three, 
however, mere figments of Surtces's imagination. 
Each of the ballads was accompanied by hctitious 
historical incidents, to give it an extra appearance of 
authenticity. Feathersto}ihaugh\N:xs,^:nd\.o be "taken 
down from the recitation of a woman eighty years of 
age, mother of one of the miners in Alston Moor;" 

• Minstrelsy, Ancient and Modern, 1827, p. xcvii. 


Lord Ewrie was obtained from " Rose Smith, of 
Bishop Middleham, a woman aged upwards of ninety- 
one ;" and Bartrams Dirge ixom. "Anne Douglas, an 
old woman who weeded in his (Surtees's) garden." 
On other occasions Sir Walter Scott was deluded by 
his friend with false information. Mr. George Tay- 
lor makes the following excuse in his Lifeof Surtees 
(p. 25): " Mr. Surtees no doubt had wished to have 
the success of his attempt tested by the unbiassed 
opinion of the very first authority on the subject, and 
the result must have been gratifying to him. But at 
a later period of their intimacy, when personal regard 
was added to high admiration for his correspondent, 
he probably would not have subjected him to the 
mortification of finding that he could be imposed on 
in a matter where he had a right to consider himself 
as almost infallible. And it was most likely from 
this feeling that Mr. Surtees never acknowledged the 
imposition: for so late as the year 1830, in which 
Scott dates his introduction to the edition of the 
Minstrelsy, published in 183 1, the ballad of the Death 
of Feather stonhaugh retains its place (vol. i. p. 240) 
with the same expressions of obligation to Mr. Sur- 
tees for the communication of it, and the same com- 
mendation of his learned proofs of its authenticity." 
In spite of this attempted justification, we cannot fail 
to stigmatize Surtees's forgery as a crime against 
letters which fouls the very wells of truth. 

Authenticity of Certain Ballads. 

As was to be expected, the existence of the forge- 
ries just referred to caused several persons to doubt 
the genuineness of many of the true ballads. Finlay 
wrote, in 1808, "the mention of hats and cork-heeled 
shoon (in the ballad of Sir Patrick Spence) would lead 


us to infer that some stanzas are interpolated, or that 
its composition is of a comparatively modern date;"* 
and, in 1839, the veteran ballad-collector, Mr. David 
Lainor, wrote as follows : " Notwithstandine the o-reat 
antiquit)'that has been claimed for Sir Patrick Spence, 
one of the finest ballads in our language, very little 
evidence would be required to persuade me but that 
we were also indebted for it to Lady Wardlaw {Sien- 
houscs I/lustrations of the Lyric Poetry and Music 
of Scotland, with additional notes to Johnson's Scots 
Musical Musetwt, p. 320*). At p. 457* of the same 
book, Mr. Laing, after quoting from Finlay, made the 
following further observations : " Bishop Percy also 
remarks that ' an ingenious friend thinks the author 
of Hardyknute has borrowed several expressions and 
sentiments from the foreoroinof and other old Scottish 
sonofs in this collection.' It was this resemblance 
with the localities Dunfermline and Aberdour, in the 
neighbourhood of Sir Henry Wardlaw's seat, that led 
me to throw out the conjecture, whether this much- 
admired ballad might not also have been written by 
Lady Wardlaw herself, to whom the ballad oi Hardy - 
knute is now universally attributed." f 

Mr. J. H. Dixon, in 1845, considered that the sus- 
picion had become a certainty, and wrote of Lady 
Wardlaw as one " who certainly appears to have been 

* Scottish Ballads, vol. i. p. 46. 

t Mr. Laing, with his usual kindness, has been so good as to 
answer my inquiry whether he still held the opinion he published 
in 1839. He writes (June 2, 1876) : " I still adhere ,to the general 
inference that this ballad is comparatively a modern imitation, and 
although we have no positive evidence as to the authorship, I can 
think of no one that was so likely to have written it as Elizabeth 
Halket, Lady Wardlaw of Pitreavie, who died in 1727, aged fifty. 
Had Bishop Percy's correspondence with Sir David Dalrymplc, 
Lord Hailes, been preserved, some interesting information would 
no doubt have been obtained regarding these ballads sent from 



a great adept at this species of literary imposture." 
" This celebrated lady is now known to be the author 
of Edward! Edward! and of Sir Patrick Spence, in 
addition to Hardy knute.""^ Mr. Dixon and the late 
Mr. Robert Chambers have also thrown out hints of 
their disbelief in the authenticity of the recitations of 
Mrs. Brown of Falkland. 

These, however, were mere skirmishing attacks, but 
in 1859 Robert Chambers marshalled his forces, and 
made a decisive charge in his publication entitled The 
Romantic Scottish Ballads, their Epoch and Author- 
ship. He there explains his belief as follows : — 

" Upon all these considerations I have arrived at 
the conclusion that the high-class romantic ballads of 
Scotland are not ancient compositions — are not older 
than the early part of the eighteenth century — and 
are mainly, if not wholly, the production of one mind. 
Whose was this mind is a different question, on which 
no such confident decision may, for the present, be 
arrived at ; but I have no hesitation in saying that, 
from the internal resemblance traced on from Hardy- 
knute through Sir Patrick Spence and Gil Morrice to 
the others, there seems to be a great likelihood that 
the whole were the composition of the authoress of 
that poem, namely, Elizabeth Lady Wardlaw of Pit- 

Scotsmen were not likely to sit down tamely 
under an accusation by which their principal ballad 
treasures were thus stigmatized as false gems, and 
we find that several writers immediately took up their 
pens to refute the calumny. It will be seen that the 
charge is divided into two distinct parts, and it will 
be well to avoid mixing them together, and to con- 
sider each part separately. 

* Scottish Traditional Versions of Ancient Ballads (Percy Society, 
vol. xvii. p. xi.). 


I. Certain ballads, generally supposed to be genu- 
ine, were really written by one person, in imitation of 
the antique. 

II. The author of this deceit was Lady Wardlaw, 
the writer of Hardykjiutc. 

I, The ballads in the Reliques, which are instanced 
by Chambers, are as follows : — 

1. Sir Patrick Spejice. 

2. Gil Morricc. 

3. Ediuard I Edward! 

4. yews Datightcr. 

5. Gilderoy. 

6. Yo7i7ig JVaters. 

7. Edom d Gordon. 

8. Bonny Earl of Mtirray. 

Two of these (2 and 7) are in the Folio MS., which 
was written before Lady Wardlaw was born ; Edom 
d Gordoji also exists in another old MS. copy ; Gilde- 
roy (5) is known to have been a street ballad, and the 
remainder are found in other copies. It is not neces- 
sary to discuss each of these cases separately, and we 
shall therefore reserve what we have to say for the 
special consideration of Sir Patj'ick Spcncc. 

Before proceeding, we must first consider how far 
Chambers's previous knowledge of ballad literature 
prepared him for this inquiry ; and we cannot rate 
that knowledge very highly, for in his Collcctioji of 
Scottish Songs, he actually attributes Wotton's Ye 
Aleaner Beatcties to Darnley, and supposes Mary 
Queen of Scots to have been the subject of the au- 
thor's praises. At this period also his scepticism had 
not been aroused, for all the ballads that he thought 
spurious in 1859 had been printed by him in 1829 as 
genuine productions. 

To return to the main point at issue. Chambers 
writes : — 


" It is now to be remarked of the ballads published 
by the successors of Percy, as of those which he pub- 
lished, that there is not a particle of positive evidence 
for their having existed before the eighteenth cen- 
tury. Overlooking the one given by Ramsay in his 
Tea-table Miscellany, we have neither print nor manu- 
script of them before the reign of George III. They 
are not in the style of old literature. They contain 
no references to old literature. As little does old 
literature contain any references to them. They 
wholly escaped the collecting diligence of Banna- 
tyne. James Watson, who published a collection of 
Scottish poetry in 1706-1 71 1, wholly overlooks them. 
Ramsay, as we see, caught up only one." 

Mr. Norval Clyne {Ballads from Scottish His- 
tory, 1863, p. 217) gives a satisfactory answer to the 
above. He writes : — 

" The want of any ancient manuscript can be no 
argument against the antiquity of a poem, versions 
of which have been obtained from oral recitation, 
otherwise the great mass of ballads of all kinds col- 
lected by Scott, and by others since his time, must 
lie under equal suspicion. Bannatyne, in the sixteenth 
"century, and Allan Ramsay, in the early part of the 
eighteenth, were not collectors of popular poetry in 
the same sense as those who have since been so 
active in that field. The former contented himself, 
for the most part, with transcribing the compositions 
of Dunbar, Henrysone, and other " makers," well 
known by name, and Ramsay took the bulk of his 
Evergreen from Bannatyne's MS. That a great 
many poems of the ballad class, afterwards collected 
and printed, must have been current among the people 
when the Everg7'-een was published, no one that knows 
anything of the subject will deny." The old ballads 
lived on the tongues of the people, and a small per- 
centage of them only were ever committed to writing, 


so that a fairer test of authenticity is the existence of 
various versions. Of known forgeries no varieties 
exist, but several versions of Sir Patrick Spence have 
been rescued from obHvion, 

It is not probable that any fresh ballads will be 
obtained from recitation, but it is in some degree pos- 
sible, as may be seen from an instance of a kindred 
nature in the field of language. We know that local 
dialects have almost passed away, and yet some of 
the glossaries of them lately issued contain words that 
explain otherwise dark passages in manuscripts of the 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries. 

Chambers further affirms that the sentiment of 
these ballads is not congenial to that of the peasantry 
— " it may be allowably said, there is a tone oi breeding 
throughout these ballads, such as is never found in 
the productions of rustic genius." This, however, is 
begging the question, for it does not follow that the 
songs of the peasantry were written by the peasantry. 
It is they who have remembered them, and held to 
them with greater tenacity than the educated classes. 

We now come to the text that bears specially upon 
Sir Patrick Spence, and we will give it in Chambers's 
own words : — " The Scottish ladies sit bewailing the 
loss of Sir Patrick Spence's companions ' wi' the 
gowd kaims in their hair.' Sir Patrick tells his friends 
before starting on his voyage, ' Our ship must sail the 
faem ;'* and in the description of the consequences of 
his shipwreck, we find ' Mony was the feather-bed 
that flattered on the faem.'* No old poet would use 
faem as an equivalent for the sea ; but it was just 
such a phrase as a poet of the era of Pope would 
love to use in that sense." In the first place, we 
should be justified in saying that this test is not a 

• Neither of these lines occur in Percy's versiun, but they are 
both in the one printed by Scott. 


fair one, because no one will contend that the ballads 
have not been altered in passing from hand to hand, 
and new words inserted ; but Mr. Norval Clyne has 
a complete answer for this particular objection ; he 
writes : "Bishop Gawin Douglas completed his trans- 
lation of Virgil's ^neid on 22nd July, 15 13, and in 
his Prologue to the twelfth book are these lines : — 

' Some sang ring-sangs, dancis, ledis, roundis, 
With vocis schil, quhil all the dale resounds, 
Quhareto they walk into their karoling, 
For amourous layis dois all the rochis ring : 
Ane sang ' The schip salis over the salt fame. 
Will bring thir merchandis and my lemane hame.' 

Here we have the expression, to which attention is 
called, occurring in a popular song in common use 
before the battle of Flodden. I have seen it re- 
marked, however, that it is the elliptical use of ' sail 
the faem ' for ' sail over the faem,' which indicates 
an authorship not older than the day of Queen Anne. 
My answer to this objection shall also be an ex- 
ample from an ' old poet' One of the Tales of the 
Three Priests of Feb lis assigned to the early part 
of the sixteenth century, describes in homely verse 
the career of a thrifty burgess, and contains these 
lines {Siddald's Chronicle 0/ Scottish Foetry, 1802): — 

' Then bocht he wool, and Avyselie couth it wey ; 
And efter that sone saylit he the sey.' " * 

These quotations completely set aside one portion 
of the charge, and the other, in which an attempt is 
made to show that a similar form of expression is 
constantly occurring in the several poems, is really of 
little weight, pressed as it is with some unfairness. 
We have already seen that the old minstrels used 
certain forms of expression as helps to memory, and 

* Ballads from Scottish History , 1863, pp. 223-4. 


these recur in ballads that have little or no connection 
with each other. Chambers, followintr David Laing, 
uses Percy's note at the end of Sir Patrick Spence * 
as an engine of attack against the authenticity of 
the ballad, but there is really no reason for the con- 
clusion he comes to, "that the parity he remarked in 
the expressions was simply owing to the two ballads 
being the production of one mind," for a copyist well 
acquainted with ballad literature would naturally adopt 
the expressions found in them in his own composition. 
II. The consideration of the opinion that Lady 
Wardlaw was the author of Sir Patrick Speiice and 
other ballads, need not detain us long, because the 
main point of interest is their authenticity, and the 
question of her authorship is quite a secondary 
matter : that falls to the ground if the grand charge 
is proved false, and need not stand even if that 
remains unrefuted. The only reason for fixing 
upon Lady Wardlaw appears to have been that 
as these ballads were transmitted to Percy by Lord 
Hailes, and one of them was an imitation of the 
antique by Lady Wardlaw, and another was added 
to by the same lady, therefore if a similarity between 
the ballads could be proved, it would follow that all 
were written by her. Now the very fact that the 
authorship of Hardykmite was soon discovered is 
strong evidence against any such supposition, because 
none of her associates had any suspicion that she had 
counterfeited other ballads, and could such a whole- 
sale manufacture have been concealed for a century 
it would be a greater mystery than the vexed ques- 
tion, who was Junius ? The other point, whether 
the author of the indistinct and redundant Ilardy- 

* "An ingenious friend thinks the author of Hardyknutc has 
borrowed several expressions and sentiments from the foregoing 
and other old Scottish songs in this collection." 


knute could have written the clear and incisive lines 
of Sir Patrick Spence may be left to be decided by 
readers who have the two poems before them in 
these volumes. 

A few particulars may, however, be mentioned. 
The openings of these ballads form excellent con- 
trasted examples of the two different styles of ballad 
writing. Sir Patrick Spence commences at once, like 
other minstrel ballads, with the description of the 
king and his council : — 

" The king sits in Dumferling toune, 

Drinking the blude-reid wine : 
O quhar will I get guid sailor 

To sail this schip of mine ? 

Up and spak an eldern knicht, 

Sat at the kings richt kne : 
Sir Patrick Spence is the best sailor, 

That sails upon the se." 

The king then sends a letter to Spence. There is 
no description of how this was sent, but we at once 

read : — 

"The first line that Sir Patrick red, 

A loud lauch lauched he ; 
The next line that Sir Patrick red, 

The teir bHnded his ee." 

Hardyknute, on the other hand, is full of reasons 
and illustrative instances in the true ballad-writer's 

style : — 

" 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." 

Having placed the openings of the two poems 
in opposition, we will do the same with the endings. 


How different is the grand finish of Sir Patrick 
Spence — 

" Have owre, have owre to Aberdour, 

It's fiftie fadom deip, 
And thair lies guid Sir Patrick Spence, 
\Vi' the Scots lords at his feit." 

from the feeble conckision of Hardyhmtc : — 

" ' As fast I've sped owre Scotlands faes,' — 

There ceas'd his brag of weir, 
Sair sham'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 
Sai shook his body, sair his limbs, 

And a' the warrior fled." 

Sir Pat7'ick Spence gives us a clear picture that a 
painter could easily reproduce, but Hardyknute is so 
vao'ue that it is sometimes difficult to follow it with 
understanding, and if the same author wrote them 
both she must have been so strangely versatile in 
her talents that there is no difficulty in believing 
that she wrote all the romantic ballads of Scotland. 

How little Chambers can be trusted may be seen 
in the following passage, where he writes : " The first 
hint at the real author came out through Percy, who 
in his second edition of the Reliques (i 767) gives the 
following statement, ' There is more than reason,' 
&c.,* to which he adds the note: ' It is rather remark- 
able that Percy was not informed of these particulars 
in 1765 ; but in 1767, Sir JoJin Hope Bruce having 
died in the interval (June, 1766), they were communi- 
cated to him. It looks as if the secret had hung on 
the life of this venerable gentleman." Who would 
suspect, what is the real fact of the case, that Percy's 
quoted preface was actually printed in his first cdi- 

See vol. ii. p. 105, of the present edition. 


tion (1765), and that Chambers's remarks fall to the 
ground because they are founded on a gross blun- 

Preservers of the Ballads. 

Printed broadsides are peculiarly liable to accidents 
which shorten their existence, and we therefore owe 
much to the collectors who have saved some few of 
them from destruction. Ballads were usually pasted 
on their walls by the cottagers, but they were some- 
times collected together in bundles. Motherwell had 
" heard it as a by-word in some parts of Stirling- 
shire that a collier's library consists but of four 
books, the Confession of Faith, the Bible, a bundle 
of Ballads, and Sir William Wallace. The first for 
the gudewife, the second for the gudeman, the third 
for their daughter, and the last for the son, a selec- 
tion indicative of no mean taste in these grim mold- 
warps of humanity." f 

The love of a good ballad has, however, never 
been confined to the uneducated. Queen Mary II., 
after listening to the compositions of Purcell, played 
by the composer himself, asked Mrs. Arabella Hunt 
to sing Tom D'Urfey's ballad of "Cold and Raw," 
which was set to a good old tune, and thereby 
offended Purcell's vanity, who was left unemployed 
at the harpsichord. Nevertheless, the composer had 
the sense afterwards to introduce the tune as the bass 
of a sonof he wrote himself. When ballads were in- 

* It has been necessary in the foregoing remarks to give reasons 
why the opinions of the late Dr. Robert Chambers on this subject 
are not to be taken on trust, but it is hoped that these criticisms 
will not be understood as written with any wish to detract from 
the literary character of one who did so much good work during a 
laborious and ever active life. 

t Minstrelsy, p. xlvi. 


tended for the exclusive use of the ordinary ballad- 
buyers they were printed in black letter, a type that 
was retained for this purpose for more than a century 
after it had gone out of use for other purposes. 
According to Pepys the use of black letter ceased 
about the year 1700, and on the title-page of his 
collection he has written " the whole continued 
down to the year 1700, when the form till then 
peculiar thereto, viz. of the black letter with pictures, 
seems (for cheapness sake) wholly laid aside for that 
of the white letter without pictures." White-letter 
printing of non-political street ballads really com- 
menced about 1685, and of political ballads about 
half a century earlier. The saving referred to by 
Pepys as being made by the omission of woodcuts 
could not have been great, for they seldom illustrated 
the letterpress, and were used over and over again, 
so that cuts which were executed in the reign of 
James I. were used on ballads in Queen Anne's 

Until about the year 171 2 ballads were universally 
printed on broadsides, and those intended to be sold 
in the streets are still so printed, but after that date 
such as were intended to be vended about the country 
were printed so as to fold into book form. 

The great ballad factory has been for many years 
situated in Seven Dials, where Pitts employed Cor- 
coran and was the patron of " slender Ben," " over 
head and ears Nic," and other equally respectably 
named poets. The renowned Catnach lived in 
Seven Dials, and left a considerable business at his 
death. He was the first to print yards of songs for 
a penny, and his fame was so extended, that his 
name has come to be used for a s[)ecial class of 

Although, thanks to the labours of far-sighted 
men, our stock of old ballads and songs is large, we 


know that those which are irrevocably lost far 
exceed them in number. It is therefore something 
to recover even the titles of some of these, and we 
can do this to a considerable extent by seeking 
them in some of the old specimens of literature. In 
Cockelbies Sow, a piece written about 1450, which 
was printed in Laing's Select Remains of the Ancient 
Popular Poetry of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1822), there 
is a list of the songs sung at a meeting. In Henry- 
son's curious old pastoral, Robin and Makyne (vol. 
2, p. 85), reference is made to the popular tales and 
songs, which were even then old : — 

" Robin, thou hast heard sung and say, 

In gests and storys auld, 
' The man that will not when he may 

Sail hav nocht when he wald.' " 

To the prologues of Gawin Douglas's transla- 
tion of Virgil's yEneid, we are indebted for a know- 
ledge of four old songs, a fact that outweighs in the 
opinion of some the merits of the work itself, which 
was the first translation of a classic that ever ap- 
peared in England. 

In the Catalogue of Captain Cox's Library, printed 
in Laneham's letter on the Kenilworth entertain- 
ments, there is a short list of some of the popular 
ballads of his time, but it is sorely tantalizing to read 
of "a bunch of ballets and songs all auncient," "and 
a hundred more he hath fair wrapt in parchment, 
and bound with a whipcord." We learn the names 
of ballads which were popular in old Scotland from 
the Complaynt of Scotland, a most interesting list, 
which Mr. Furnivall has fully illustrated and ex- 
plained in his edition of Laneham. Another source 
of information for learning the names of songs no 
longer known to exist are the medleys, which are 
made up of the first lines of many songs. The 


extreme popularity of ballads in the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries is reflected in the literature of 
the time, which is full of allusions to them. Burton, 
the anatomist of melancholy, who put a little of 
almost everything into his book, could not be ex- 
pected to overlook ballads. He says : " The very 
rusticks and hog-rubbers .... have their wakes, 
whitson ales, shepherds' feasts, meetings on holy 
dayes, countrey dances, roundelayes . . . instead of 
odes, epigrams and elegies, &c., they have their 
ballads, countrey tunes, O the Broom, the bonny, 
bo7iny Broom, ditties and songs, Bess a Bell she doth 
excel!' The favourite songs of Father Rosin, the 
minstrel in Ben Jonson's Tale of a Tub (act i. 
sc. 2), are Tom Tiler, the Jolly Joiner, and the 
yovial Tinker. The old drama is full of these 
references, and one of the most frequent modes of 
revenge against an enemy was to threaten that he 
should be balladed. Thus Massinger writes : — 

" I will have thee 
Pictur'd as thou art now, and thy whole story 
Sung to some villainous tune in a lewd ballad, 
And make thee so notorious in the world, 
That boys in the street shall hoot at thee." * 

Fletcher sets side by side as equal evils the having 
one's eyes dug out, and the having one's name 

" In ballad verse, at every drinking house." \ 

The ballad-writers are called base rogues, and said 
to " maintaine a St. Anthonie's fire in their noses 
by nothing but two-penny ale."J 

Shakspere was not behind his contemporaries in 
his contemptuous treatment of " odious ballads," or 
of " these same metre ballad-mongers," but he has 

* Parliament of Loi'e. f Queen of Corinth. 

\ Dckkcr's Honest IF., 1 604, act i. sc. i . 


shown by the references in King Lear and Hamlet 
his high appreciation of the genuine old work, and 
there is no doubt that the creator of Autolycus loved 
" a ballad but even too well." 

There have been two kinds of collectors, viz. 
those who copied such fugitive poetry as came in 
their way, and those who bought up all the printed 
ballads they could obtain. 

Of the manuscript collections of old poetry, the 
three most celebrated are the Maitland MS. in the 
Pepysian Library, Cambridge, the Bannatyne MS. 
presented by the Earl of Hyndford to the Advo- 
vocates' Library, Edinburgh, and the famous folio 
MS. which formerly belonged to Percy, and is now 
in the British Museum. The Maitland MS., which 
contains an excellent collection of Scotch poetry, 
was formed by Sir Richard Maitland, of Lethington, 
Lord Privy Seal and Judge in the Court of Session 
(b. 1496, d. 1586). Selections from this MS. were 
printed by Pinkerton in 1786. 

In the year 1568, when Scotland was visited by 
the Plague, a certain George Bannatyne, of whom 
nothing is known, retired to his house to escape in- 
fection, and employed his leisure in compiling his 
most valuable collection of Scottish poetry. This 
MS, was lent out of the Advocates' Library to 
Percy, and he was allowed to keep it for a con- 
siderable time. Sir David Dalrymple published 
"Some ancient Scottish Poems" in 1770, which were 
taken from this MS. 

The great Lord Burghley was one of the first 
to recognize the value of ballads as an evidence of 
the popular feeling, and he ordered all broadsides 
to be brought to him as they were published. The 
learned Selden was also a collector of them, but the 
Chinese nation was before these wise men, and had 
realized an idea that has often been suggested in 



Europe. One of their sacred books is the Book of 
Songs, in which the manners of the country are 
illustrated by songs and odes, the most popular of 
which were brought to the sovereign for the pur- 

The largest collections of printed ballads are now 
in Magdalene College, Cambridge, in the Bodleian 
at Oxford, and in the British Museum. Some smaller 
collections are in private hands. In taking stock of 
these collections, we are greatly helped by Mr. 
Chappell's interesting preface to the Roxbtirghe 
Ballads. The Pepysian collection deposited in 
the library of Magdalene College, Cambridge, con- 
sisting of 1, 800 ballads in five vols., is one of the 
oldest and most valuable of the collections. It was 
commenced by Selden, who died in 1654, and con- 
tinued by Samuel Pepys till near the time of his 
own death in 1703. Tradition reports that Pepys 
borrowed Selden's collection, and then " forgot" to 
return it to the proper owner. Besides these five 
volumes, there are three vols, of what Pepys calls 
penny merriments. There are 112 of these, and 
some are garlands that contain many ballads in each. 

Cambridge's rival, Oxlord, possesses three collec- 
tions, viz. Anthony Wood's 279 ballads and collec- 
tion of garlands, Francis Douce's 877 in four vols., 
and Richard Rawlinson's 218. 

Previously to the year 1845, when the Roxburghe 
collection was purchased, there were in the British 
Museum Library about 1,000 ballads, but Mr. Chap- 
pell, without counting the Roxburghe Ballads, gives 
the number as i 292 in 1 864. They are as follows : — 

Kaf^ford Collection 355 

Volume of Miscellaneous Ballads and Poems, 17th century 31 

Volume, mostly poliliral, from 1641 . . . . . 250 
Volume in King's Library, principally relating to London, 

from 1659 to 1711 ....... 60 


The Thomason Collection of Tracts ..... 304 
Satirical Ballads on the Popish Plot, from Strawberry Hill 

ocL-L^ • • • • •  • • • • ^ i 

Luttrell Collection, vol. ii. . . . . . -255 

Miscellaneous . . . . . . . . . 10 


The celebrated Roxburorhe collection was boug-ht 
by Rodd at Benjamin Hey wood Bright's sale in 
1845 fo'' t^^ British Museum, the price being ^535. 
It was originally formed by Robert Harley, first 
Earl of Oxford, and as John Bagford was one of the 
buyers employed by the Earl, he is the reputed col- 
lector of the ballads. At the sale of the Harleian 
Library, this collection became the property of 
James West, P.R.S., and when his books were sold 
in 1773, Major Thomas Pearson bought it for, it is 
said, ^20. This gentleman, with the assistance of 
Isaac Reed, added to the collection, and bound it in 
two volumes with printed title pages, indexes, &c. 
In 1788, John, Duke of Roxburghe, bought it at 
Major Pearson's sale for ^36 145-. 6d., and afterwards 
added largely to it, making a third volume. At the 
Duke's sale in 1813, the three volumes were bought 
for ^477 15^., by Harding, who sold them to Mr. 
Bright for, it is supposed, £700. The collection 
consists of 1335 broadsides, printed between 1567 
and the end of the eighteenth century, two-thirds of 
them being in black letter. Bright added a fourth 
volume of eighty-five pages, which was bought for 
the British Museum for ^25 55. 

Some early ballads are included in the collection 
of broadsides in the library of the Society of Anti- 
quaries, and a collection of proclamations and ballads 
was made by Mr. Halliwell Phillipps, and presented 
by him to the Chetham Library at Manchester. 

The late George Daniel picked up a valuable 
collection of ballads at an old shop in Ipswich, which 


is supposed to have come from Helmingham Hall, 
Suffolk, where it had lain unnoticed or fo rs^otten for 
two centuries or more. It originally numbered 175 
to 200 ballads, but was divided by Daniel, who sold 
one portion (consisting of eighty-eight ballads) to 
Thorpe, who disposed of it to Heber. At Heber's 
sale it was bought by Mr. W. H. Miller, of Britwell, 
and from him it descended to Mr. S. Christie Miller. 
Twenty-five ballads known to have belonged to the 
same collection were edited by Mr. Payne Collier for 
the Percy Society in 1840. The portion that Daniel 
retained was bought at the sale of his library by Mr. 
Henry Huth, who has reprinted seventy-nine of the 
best ballads. Other known private collections are 
five volumes belonging to Mr. Frederic Ouvry, Pre- 
sident of the Society of Antiquaries, which contain 
Mr. Payne Collier's collection of Black-letter Ballads, 
the Earl of Jersey's at Osterley Park, and one which 
was formed by Mr. Halliwell Phillipps, who printed 
a full catalogue of the ballads contained in it, and 
then disposed of it to the late Mr. William Euing of 

We owe our gratitude to all these collectors, but 
must also do honour to those writers who in advance 
of their age tried to lead their contemporaries to fresher 
springs than those to which they were accustomed.,^ 
The first of these was Addison, who commented on 
the beauties of Chevy Chase and the Children in the 
Wood in the Spectator. He wrote : " it is impossible 
that anything should be universally tasted and ap- , 
proved by a multitude, though they are only the 1 
rabble of a nation, which hath not in it some peculiar 
aptness to please and gratify the mind oi man." 

Rowc was another appreciator of this poi)ular 
literature, and his example and teaching may have 
had its influence in the publication of the first Col- 
lection of Old Ballads, for the motto to the first 



volume is taken from the prologue to Rowe's Jane 
Shore (first acted in 1 7 1 3) : — 

" Let no nice sir despise the hapless dame 

Because recording ballads chaunt her name ; 

Those venerable ancient song enditers 

Soar'd many a pitch above our modern writers. 

They caterwauled in no romantic ditty, 

Sighing for Philis's or Cloe's pity ; 

Justly they drew the Fair and spoke her plain, 

And sung her by her Christian name — 'twas Jane. 

Our numbers may be more refined than those, 

But what we've gain'd in verse, we've lost in prose ; 

Their words no shuffling double meaning knew, 

Their speech was homely, but their hearts were true." 

Parnell, Tickell, and Prior belonged to the small 
band who had the taste to appreciate the unfashion- 
able old ballad. Prior says of himself in a MS. 
essay quoted by Disraeli in the Calaviities of Authors: 
" I remember nothingf further in life than that I made 
verses : I chose Guy Earl of Warwick for my first 
hero, and killed Colborne the giant before I was big 
enough for Westminster school." The few were, 
however, unable to convert the many, and Dr. Wag- 
staffe, one of the wits of the day, ridiculed Addison 
for his good taste, and in a parody of the famous 
essay on Chevy Chase he commented upon the 
History of Tom Thumb, and pretended to point 
out the congenial spirit of this poet with Virgil. 

There is still another class of preservers of ballads 
to be mentioned, viz. those whose tenacious memories 
allow them to retain the legends and songs they heard 
in their youth, but as Prof. Aytoun writes: " No Els- 
pats of the Craigburnfoot remain to repeat to grand- 
children that legendary lore which they had acquired 
in years long gone by from the last of the itinerant 
minstrels." The most celebrated of these retailers 
of the old ballads was Mrs. Brown of Falkland, wife 
of the Rev. Dr. Brown, for from her both Scott and 


XVI 1 

Jamieson obtained some of their best pieces. Her 
taste for the songs and tales of chivalry was derived 
from an aunt, Mrs. Farquhar, " who was married to 
the proprietor of a small estate near the sources of 
the Dee in Braemar, a good old woman, who spent 
the best part of her life among flocks and herds, [but] 
resided in her latter years in the town of Aberdeen. 
She was possest of a most tenacious memory, which 
retained all the songs she had heard from nurses 
and countrywomen in that sequestered part of the 
country." * Doubts have been expressed as to the 
good faith of Mrs. Brown, but they do not appear to 
be well grounded. Another of these ladies from 
whose mouths we have learnt so much of the ever- 
fading relics of the people's literature was Mrs. Arrot. 

The earliest printed collection of Scottish popular 
poetry known to exist is a volume printed at Edin- 
burgh, " by Walter Chepman and Androw Myllar, in 
the year 1508," which was reprinted in facsimile 
by David Laing in 1827. The next work of in- 
terest in the bibliography of ballads is " Ane Com- 
pendious Booke of Godly and Spirituall Songs, col- 
lected out of sundrie partes of the Scripture, with 
sundrie of other ballates, chainged out of prophaine 
songs for avoiding of Sinne and Harlotrie," printed 
in 1 590 and 162 1, and reprinted by J. G. Dalzell in 
1 80 1, and by David Laing in 1868. It contains 
parodies of some of the songs mentioned in the Com- 
plaint of Scotland, and is supposed to be the work of 
three brothers — James, John, and Robert Wedder- 
burn, of Dundee. To the last of the three Mr. 
Laing attributed the Complaint, but Mr. Murray, the 
latest editor of that book, is unable to agree with him. 

The first book of " prophane" songs published in 
Scotland was a musical collection entitled " Cantus 

* Scott's Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. 


Songs and Fancies to several musicall parts, both apt 
for voices and viols : with a brief introduction to 
musick, as it is taught by Thomas Davidson in the 
Musick School of Aberdeen. Aberdeen, printed by 
John Forbes." 1662, 1666, and 1682. 

The next work in order of time is " A Choise Col- 
lection of Comic and Serious Scots Poems, both 
ancient and modern, by several hands. Edinburgh, 
printed by James Watson." In three parts, 1706, 
1709, 1 710. Supposed to have been compiled by 
John Spottiswood, author of Hope s Minor Practicks. 

All these works emanated from Scotchmen, and 
the only works of the same character that were pub- 
lished in England were small collections of songs and 
ballads, called Garlands and Drolleries. These are 
too numerous to be noticed here ; but that they were 
highly popular may be judged from the fact that a 
thirteenth edition of The Golden Garland of Princely 
Delight is registered. The Garlands are chiefly small 
collections of songs on similar subjects. Thus, there 
were Love's Garlands, Loyal Garlands, Protestant 
Garlands, &c. Considerable pains seem to have been 
taken in order to obtain attractive titles for these little 
brochures. Thus, on one we read : — 

" The sweet and the sower, * 
The nettle and the flower, 
The thorne and the rose, 
This garland compose." 

Drolleries were collections of "jovial poems" and 
" merry songs," and some of them were confined to 
the songs sung at the theatres. 

One of the first English collections of any preten- 
sions was Dryden's Miscellany Poems, published in 
1 684- 1 708, which was shortly after followed by Tom 
D'Urfey's Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melan- 
choly, 1719-20. But the first attempt to bring to- 
gether a large number of popular ballads, as distin- 





guished from songs, was made in " A Collection of 
Old Ballads, corrected from the best and most ancient 
copies extant, with Introductions historical, critical, 
or humorous." London, Vols I. and II. 1723. Vol. 
III. 1725. 

The object of most of the works referred to above 
was the publication of songs to be sung ; the object of 
this one was the presentment of ballads to be read. 
It had a large sale, and the editor (who is said to have 
been Ambrose Phillips) expresses his satisfaction in 
the Preface to Vol. II.: " Though we printed a large 
edition for such a trifle, and in less than two months 
put it to the press again, yet could we not get our 
second edition out before it was really wanted." In 
spite, however, of its satisfactory reception, it does 
not appear to have taken any permanent position in 
literature, although it must have prepared the public 
mind to receiv^e the Rcliqiics. This collection con- 
tains one hundred and fifty-nine ballads, out of which 
number twenty- three are also in the Rcliqiics.'^ Many 
of the others are of considerable interest, but some 
had better have been left unprinted, and all are of little 
critical value. 

In the year after the first two volumes of the Eng- 
lish collection were published, Allan Ramsay issued 

* The following is a list of these ballads : — 

Vol. I. " Fair Rosamond and King Henry II.," " Queen 
Eleanor's Confession,'' " St. George and the Dragon," " The Dragon 
of Wantley,' " Chevy Chace," " The Lamentation of Jane Shore," 
" Sir Andrew Barton's Death," " Prince of England's Courtship to 
the King of France's Daughter," " The Lady turn'd Serving-Man," 
" The Children in the Wood," " The Bride's Burial," " The Lady's 
Fall," " Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor, " " Gilderoy." 

Vol. II. " King Leir and his Three Daughters," " King Arthur 
and the Knights of the Round Table," " King John and the 
Alibot of Canterbury," " The Wanton Wife of Bath," " The 
Spanish Lady's Love," " The Blind Beggar of Bednal (}reen." 

Vol. III. " The ]3affled Knight," " William and Margaret," " The 
Gaberlunzie NLan." 


' in Edinburgh " The Evergreen, being a collection of 
( Scots poems wrote by the ingenious before 1600," 
the principal materials of which were derived from 
the Bannatyne MS. This was followed in the same 
year (1724) by "The Tea-Table Miscellany : a Col- 
lection of choice Songs, Scots and English," a work 
which is frequently referred to by Percy in the follow- 
ing pages. In neither of these works was Ramsay 
very particular as to the liberties he allowed himself 
in altering his originals. I n order to make the volumes 
fit reading for his audience, which he hoped would 
consist of 

" Ilka lovely British lass, 

Frae ladies Charlotte, Ann, and Jean, 

Down to ilk bonnie singing lass 

Wha dances barefoot on the green," 

Ramsay pruned the songs of their indelicacies, and 
filled up the gaps thus made in his own way. The 
Tea-table Miscellany contains upwards of twenty pre- 
sumably old songs, upwards of twelve old songs much 
altered, and about one hundred songs written by the 
editor himself, Crawford, Hamilton, and others. 

In 1725, WiUiam Thomson, a teacher of music in 
London, brought out a collection of Scottish songs, 
which he had chiefly taken from the Tea-table Mis- 
cellany without acknowledgment. He called his book 
Orpheus Caledonius. 

For some years before Percy's collection appeared, 
the Foulises, Glasgow's celebrated printers, issued 
from their press, under the superintendence of Lord 
Hailes, various Scottish ballads, luxuriously printed 
with large type, in a small quarto size. 

These were the sio-ns that miMit have shown the 
far-sighted man that a revival was at hand. At last 
the time came when, tired out with the dreary and 
leaden regularity of the verse-writers of the day, the 
people were ready to receive poetry fresh from na- 



ture. The man who arose to supply the want (which 
was none the less a want that it was an unrecoi^nized 
one) was Thomas Percy, a clergyman living in a re- 
tired part of the country, but occasionally seen among 
the literati of the capital. 

Life of Percy. 

Thomas Percy was born on April 13th, 1729, at 
Bridgnorth in Shropshire, in a street called the 
Cartway. His father and grandfather were grocers, 
spelt their name Piercy, and knew nothing of any 
connection with the noble house of Northumber- 
land.* His early education was received at the 
grammar school of Bridgnorth, and in r 746, being then 
in his eighteenth year, and having obtained an ex- 
hibition, he matriculated as a commoner at Christ 
Church, Oxford. 

He took the degree of B.A. on May 2nd, 1750, 
that of M.A. on July 5th, 1753, and shortly after 
was presented by his college to the living of Easton 
Maudit, in the county of Northampton. In this 
poor cure he remained for twenty-five years, and in 

* Percy communicated to Dr. Nash, for the History of Worces- 
tershire (vol. ii. p. 318), a pedigree in which he attempted to 
identify his family with that of the descendants of Ralph, third 
Karl of Northumberland. Nash subjoined a note to the eftect 
that he had examined the proofs of all the particulars above 
mentioned, and Boswell, in his Life of Johnson, expressed the 
opinion that, " both as a lawyer accustomed to the consideration 
of evidence, and as a genealogist versed in the study of pedigrees,' 
he was fully satisfied. Mr. Furnivall is rather unjust to Percy 
when he suggests that the pedigree was treated like the Ijallads, 
and the gaps filled \x\), for the cases are not cjuite analogous. Tlie 
Ijcdigree may not Ijc of greater autlienti( ily than many other 
doubtful ones, but at all events his patrons the Duke and Duchess 
of Northumberland acknowledged the connection between them 
when he was in some way distinguished. 


the little vicarage his six children (Anne, Barbara, 
Henry, Elizabeth, Charlotte, and Hester), were all 
born. Percy's income was increased in 1756 by the 
gift of the rectory of Wilby, an adjacent parish, in 
the patronage of the Earl of Sussex, and on April 
24th, 1759, he married Anne, daughter of Barton 
Gutteridge,* who was his beloved companion for 
forty-seven years. It was to this lady, before his 
marriage to her, that Percy wrote his famous song, 
" O Nancy, wilt thou go with me ?" Miss Matilda 
Lastitia Hawkins stated in her Memoirs, that these 
charming verses were intended by Percy as a wel- 
come to his wife on her release from a twelve- 
month's confinement in the royal nursery, and Mr. 
Pickford follows her authority in his Life of Percy, 
but this is an entire mistake, for the song was printed 
as early as the year 1 758 in the sixth volume of Dods- 
ley's Collection of Poems. Anyone who reads the 
following verses will see, that though appropriate as 
a lover's proposal, they are very inappropriate as a 
husband's welcome home to his wife. 

" O Nancy, wilt thou go with me, 

Nor sigh to leave the flaunting town ? 
Can silent glens have charms for thee, 

The lowly cot and russet gown ? 
No longer drest in silken sheen, 

No longer deck'd with jewels rare, 
Say, canst thou quit each courtly scene, 

Where thou wert fairest of the fair ? 

" O Nancy, when thou'rt far away, 

Wilt thou not cast a wish behind ? 
Say, canst thou face the parching ray, 

Nor shrink before the wintry wind ? 
O, can that soft and gentle mien 

Extremes of hardship learn to bear, 
Nor, sad, regret each courtly scene, 

Where thou wert fairest of the fair ? 

* On Percy's tomb his wife's name is spelt Goodriche. 


" O Nancy, canst thou love so true, 

Through perils keen with me to go? 
Or, when thy swain mishap shall rue. 

To share with him the pang of woe ? 
Say, should disease or pain befall, 

Wilt thou assume the nurse's care ? 
Nor wistful, those gay scenes recall. 

Where thou wert fairest of the fair ? 

" And when at last thy love shall die, 

Wilt thou receive his parting breath ? 
Wilt thou repress each struggling sigh. 

And cheer with smiles the bed of death ? 
And wilt thou o'er his breathless clay 

Strew flowers, and drop the tender tear? 
Nor then regret those scenes so gay, 

Where thou wert fairest of the fair?" 

By the alteration of a few words, such as gang for 
go, toiin for tozun, &c., "Oh Nanny, wilt thou gang- 
with me ?" was transposed into a Scotch song, and 
printed as such in Johnson's Musical Mtisctc7)i. 
Burns remarked on this insertion : " It is too bare- 
faced to take Dr. Percy's charming song, and by 
the means of transposing a few English words into 
Scots, to offer it to pass for a Scots song. I was 
not acquainted with the editor until the first volume 
was nearly finished, else had I known in time I 
would have prevented such an impudent absurdity." 
Stenhouse, suggested* that Percy may have had 
in view the song called The yoimg Laird and Edin- 
bu7'gh Kate, printed in Ramsay's Tea-Tablc Mis- 
cdiajiy, the second stanza of which is somewhat 
similar — 

" O Katy, mltu gang wi' me, 
And leave the dinsome town awhile? 
The blossom's sprouting from the tree, 
And a' the simmer's gawn to smile." 

* lllustratiotu of the Lyric Poetry and Music of Scot hind, 1853, 
p. 29. 


Mr. Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, however, hinted * 
that " perhaps both the author of The Young Laird 
and Edinburgh Katy, and the Bishop, took the idea 
of their ballads from a song in Lee's beautiful 
tragedy of Theodosius, or the Foixe of Love'' 

Dr. Rimbault communicated this poem to the 
editors of the folio MS. from a MS. dated 1682, or 
fifteen years earlier than Lee's version. It is called 
The Royal Nun, and the first stanza is as fol- 
lows : — 

" Canst thou, Marina, leave the world, 

The world that is devotion's bane, 
Where crowns are toss'd and sceptres hurl'd, 

Where lust and proud ambition reign ? 
Canst thou thy costly robes forbear, 

To live with us in poor attire ; 
Canst thou from courts to cells repair 
To sing at midnight in the quire ? " f 

The likeness in this stanza to Percy's song is not 
very apparent, and the subject is very different. 
The other three stanzas have nothing in common 
with O Nancy. Even could it be proved that 
Percy had borrowed the opening idea from these 
two poems, it does not derogate from his originality, 
for the charm of the song is all his own. 

A portrait of Mrs, Percy holding in her hand a 
scroll inscribed Oh Nancy, is preserved at Ecton 
House, near Northampton, the seat of Mr. Samuel 
Isted, husband of Percy's daughter Barbara. 

The song was set to music by Thomas Carter, 
and sung by Vernon at Vauxhall in 1773. 

In 1 76 1 Percy commenced his literary career by 
the publication of a Chinese novel, Hau Kiau Chooan, 
in four volumes, which he translated from the Portu- 
guese, and in the same year he undertook to edit 

* Stenhouse's Illustrations, p. 112. 

t Bishop Percy's Folio MS. vol. i. p. xli. (note). 



the works of the Duke of Buckingham. In 1762 
he pubHshed " Miscellaneous Pieces relating to the 
Chinese," and in 1763 commenced a new edition of 
Surrey's Poems, with a selection of early specimens 
of blank verse. The " Buckingham" and " Surrey" 
were printed, but never published, and the stock of 
the latter was destroyed by fire in 1808. In 1763 
were published " Five Pieces of Runic Poetry — 
translated from the Icelandic Lancruaee," and in 
the following year appeared "A New Translation 
of the Song of Solomon from the Hebrew, with 
Commentary and Notes," and also " A Key to the 
New Testament." Dr. Johnson paid a long-pro- 
mised visit to the Vicarage of Easton Maudit in the 
summer of i 764, where he stayed for some months, 
and the little terrace in the fjarden is still called after 
him. " Dr. Johnson's Walk." At this time Percy 
must have been full of anxiety about his Rcliques, 
which were shortly to be published, and in the pre- 
paration of which he had so long been engaged. 
The poet Shenstone was the first to suggest the 
subject of this book, as he himself states in a letter 
to a friend, dated March i, 1761. " You have heard 
me speak of Mr. Percy ; he was in treaty with 
Mr. James Dodsley for the publication of our best 
old ballads in three volumes. He has a larofe folio 
MS. of ballads, which he showed me, and which, 
with his own natural and acquired talents, would 
qualify him for the purpose as well as any man 
in England. I proposed the scheme to him my- 
self, wishing to see an elegant edition and good 
collection of this kind. I was also to have assisted 
him in selecting and rejecting, and fixing upon the 
best readings ; but my illness broke off tlu; corre- 
spondence in the beginning of winter." 

In I'ebruary, 1765, aj^jjeared the first edition of 
the Rcliqiics, which gave Percy a name, and oJjlained 


for him the patronage of the great. He became 
Chaplain and Secretary to the Duke of Northumber- 
land, with whose family he kept up intimate relations 
throughout his life. The Northumberland House- 
hold Book, which he compiled in accordance with the 
wishes of his patron, was privately printed in the 
year 1768.* In 1769 he was appointed Chaplain to 
George III., and in the following year appeared his 
translation of Mallet's Northern Antiquities. Each 
of these three works was the first of its class, and 
created a taste which produced a literature of the 
same character. The Hotisehold Book gave rise to 
a large number of publications which have put us in 
possession of numerous facts relating to the domestic 
expenses and habits of the royal and noble families 
of old England. The mythology of the Eddas was 
first made known to English readers by Percy, and 
in his Preface to Mallet's work he clearly pointed 
out the essential difference between the Celtic and 
Teutonic races, which had previously been greatly 

The remuneration which Percy received for his 
labours was not large. Fifty pounds was the pay 
for the Chinese novel, and one hundred guineas for 
the first edition of the Reliques. The agreements 
he made with the Tonsons were fifty guineas for 
Buckingham's Works and twenty guineas for Surrey's 
Poems. He also agreed to edit the Spectator and 
Guardian, with notes, for one hundred guineas, but 
was obliged to abandon his intention on account of 
the engrossing character of his appointments in the 
Northumberland family. 

About this time Mrs. Percy was appointed nurse 

* The book was reprinted entire in the fourth volume of the 
Antiquarian Repertory, 1809 3 and a second edition was published 
by Pickering in 1827. 


to Prince Edward, the infant son of George III., 
afterwards Duke of Kent, and father of her present 
Majesty, who was born in 1767. 

In 1770 Percy took his degree of D.D. at Cam- 
bridge, having incorporated himself at Emmanuel 
College, the master of which was his friend. Dr. Far- 
mer, to be remembered as the Shakspere commen- 
tator. Later on in the year he lost his eldest daughter, 
and in January, 1771, yet another child was buried 
in the village church. In 1771 he printed the Her- 
7nit of ll\irkzi'or//i, which exhibited his continued 
interest in the subject of the Rc/iqucs, and we find 
him for many years after this date continually writing 
to his literary correspondents for information relating 
to old ballads. 

In 1778 Percy obtained the Deanery of Carlisle, 
which four years afterwards he resigned on being 
appointed to the bishopric of Dromore, worth ^2,000 
a year. He did not resign his vicarage and rectory 
until the same time, and he was succeeded in the first 
by Robert Nares, the compiler of the well-known glos- 
sary. It was in 1778 that the memorable quarrel be- 
tween Percy and Johnson occurred which is graphi- 
cally described by Boswell. The cause of the heat 
was the different views held by the two disputants as to 
the merits of the traveller Pennant. When the recon- 
ciliation was brought about Johnson's contribution 
to the peace was, " My dear sir, I am willing you 
shall hanor Pennant." 

In this same year Percy was writing about his 
son Henry, then a tall youth of fifteen, who he 
hoped in a few years would be able to edit the 
Rcliqiics for him, but in April, 1783, soon after he 
had settled at Dromore, a great sorrow fell uj)on 
him, and this only and much-loved son died at the 
early age of twenty. In 1780 a large portion ol 
Northumberland 1 louse, Strand, was consumed by 


fire, when Percy's apartments were burnt. The chief 
part of his library, was, however, saved. Four very 
interesting letters of the bishop's, written to George 
Steevens in 1796 and 1797, are printed in the 
AthencBuni for [848 (pp. 437 and 604). The first 
relates to his edition of Goldsmith's works, which 
was published in 1801 in four volumes octavo. His 
object in undertaking the labour was to benefit two 
surviving relations of Goldsmith, and he complains 
to Steevens that the publishers had thwarted him in 
his purpose. The second letter is on the same 
subject, and the third and fourth relate to his work 
on blank verse before Milton, attached to Surrey's 
Poems. In 1798 the Irish Rebellion broke out, and 
Percy sent a large quantity of correspondence and 
valuable books to his daughter, Mrs. Isted, for safe 
preservation at Ecton House. In 1806 his long 
and happy union with Mrs. Percy was abruptly 
brought to a close, and to add to his afflictions he 
became totally blind. He bore his trials with resig- 
nation, and ere five more years had passed by, he 
himself was borne to the tomb. On the 30th of 
September, 181 1, he died in the eighty-third year of 
his age, having outlived nearlyall his contemporaries.* 
That his attachment to " Nancy" was fervent as 
well as permanent, is shown by many circumstances. 
One of these is a little poem printed for the first 
time in the edition of the folio MS.f 

" On leaving on a Tempestuous Night, 

March 22, 1788, by Dr. Percy. 

" Deep howls the storm with chilling blast, 

Fast falls the snow and rain, 
Down rush the floods with headlong haste, 

And deluge all the plain. 

* In 1 8 1 o he was the only survivor of the original members of 
the Literary Club, founded by Johnson and Reynolds in 1764. 
t Percy Folio MS., vol. i. p. Iv. 


" Yet all in vain the tempest roars, 

And whirls tlie drifted snow ; 
In vain the torrents scorn the shore, 

To Delia I must go. 

" In vain the shades of evening fall, 

And horrid dangers threat, 
What can the lover's heart appal, 

Or check his eager feet ? 

" The darksome vale he fearless tries, 

And winds its trackless wood ; 
High o'er the cliff's dread summit flies, 

And rushes through the flood. 

" Love bids atchieve the hardy task. 

And act the wondrous part ; 
He 'wings the feet with eagle's speed, 

And lends the lion-heart. 

" Then led by thee, all-powerful boy, 

I'll dare the hideous night ; 
Thy dart shall guard me from annoy. 

Thy torch my footsteps light. 

" The cheerful blaze — the social hour — 

The friend — all plead in vain ; 
Love calls — I brave each adverse power 

Of peril and of pain." 

Percy had naturally a hot temper, but this cooled 
down with time, and the trials of his later life were 
accepted with Christian meekness. One of his re- 
lations, who as a boy could just recollect him, told 
Mr. Pickford " that it was quite a pleasure to see 
even then his gentleness, amiability, and fondness 
for children. Every day used to witness his strolling 
down to a pond in the palace garden, in order to 
feed his swans, who were accustomed to come at the 
well-known sound of the old man's voice." He was 
a pleasing companion and a steady friend. His 
duties, both in the retired country village and in the 
more elevated positions of dean and bishop, were all 
performed with a wisdom and ardour that gained 


him the confidence of all those with whom he was 
brought in contact. The praise given to him in the 
inscription on the tablet to his memory in Dromore 
Cathedral does not appear to have gone beyond the 
truth. It is there stated that he resided constantly 
in his diocese, and discharged "the duties of his 
sacred office with vigilance and zeal, instructing the 
ignorant, relieving the necessitous, and comforting 
the distressed with pastoral affection." He was "re- 
vered for his piety and learning, and beloved for his 
universal benevolence, by all ranks and religious 

There are three portraits of Percy. The first and 
best known was painted by Reynolds in May, 1773. 
It represents him habited in a black gown and bands, 
with a loose black cap on his head, and the folio MS. 
in his hand. It is not known whether the original is 
still in existence, but engravings from it are common. 
The next was painted by Abbot in 1797, and hangs 
at Ecton Hall. Percy is there represented as a 
fuller-faced man, in his episcopal dress, and wearing 
a wig. We have Steevens^s authority for believing 
this to be an excellent likeness. An engraving from 
it is prefixed to the " Percy Correspondence," in 
Nichols's Ilhistrations of Literature, and one also 
ornaments the present volume. In the third volume 
of Dibdin's Bibliographical Decameron is a beautiful 
engraving from a water-colour drawing, which repre- 
sents the bishop in his garden at Dromore, when 
totally blind, feeding his swans.* 

* The chief particulars of the above sketch of Percy's life are 
taken from the interesting life by the Rev. J. Pickford in Hales 
and Furnivall's edition of the Folio MS., vol. i. p. xxvii. 


The Folio MS. and the " Reliques." 

What were the sources from which Percy obtained 
the chief contents of his celebrated work ? They 
were : — i. The foHo MS. ; 2. Certain other MS. col- 
lections, the use of which he obtained ; 3. The 
Scotch ballads sent to him by Sir David Dalrymple 
{better known by his title of Lord Hailes, which he 
assumed on being appointed one of the Judges of the 
Court of Session in Edinburgh) ; 4. The ordinary 
printed broadsides ; 5. The poejns he extracted from 
the old printed collections of fugitive poetry — The 
Paradise of Dainty Devices, Enghnid's Helicon, &c. 

In considering the above sources, it will be neces- 
sary to give some little space to the discussion of the 
connection between the folio MS. and the Reliques, 
as it is not generally understood by the ordinary 
readers of the latter. 

The folio MS. came into Percy's hands early in his 
life, and the interest of its contents first caused him 
to think of forming his own collection. One of the 
notes on the covers of the MS. is as follows : — 

" When I first got possession of this MS. I was 
very young, and being no degree an antiquary, I had 
not then learnt to reverence it ; which must be my 
excuse for the scribble which I then spread over some 
parts of its margin, and, in one or two instances, for 
even taking out the leaves to save the trouble of 
transcribing. I have since been more careful. T. P." 

He showed it to his friends, and immediately after 
the publication of the Reliques he deposited it at the 
house of his publishers, the Dodsleys, of Pall Mall. 
In spite of all this publicity, Ritson actually denied 
the very existence of the MS. Another memorandum 
on the cover of the folio was written on Nov. 7, 1 769. 
It is as follows : — 



" This very curious old manuscript, in its present 
mutilated state, but unbound and sadly torn, &c., I 
rescued from destruction, and begged at the hands of 
my worthy friend Humphrey Pitt, Esq., then living 
at Shiffnal, in Shropshire, afterwards of Priorslee, near 
that town ; who died very lately at Bath (viz., in sum- 
^mer 1 769). I saw it lying dirty on the floor, under a 
Bureau in y^ Parlour : being used by the maids to 
light the fire. It was afterwards sent, most unfortu- 
nately, to an ignorant Bookbinder, who pared the 
margin, when I put it into Boards in order to lend it 
to Dr. Johnson. Mr. Pitt has since told me that he 
believes the transcripts into this volume, &c., were 
made by that Blount who was author of Jocular 
Temtres, &c., who he thought was of Lancashire or 
Cheshire, and had a remarkable fondness for these 
old things. He believed him to be the same person 
with that Mr. Thomas Blount who published the 
curious account of King Charles the 2^^ escape in- 
titled Boscodel,8ic., Lond. 1660, 1 2mo, which has been 
so often reprinted. As also the Law Dictionary, 
1 67 1, folio, and many other books which maybe seen 
in Wood's A thence, ii. ']'^, &c. A Descendant or 
Relation of that Mr. Blount was an apothecary at 
Shiffnal, whom I remember myself (named also 
Blount). He (if I mistake not) sold the Library of 
the said predecessor Thos. Blount to the above- 
mentioned Mr. Humph^ Pitt : who bought it for the 
use of his nephew, my ever-valued friend Rob* Binnel. 
Mr. Binnel accordingly had all the printed books, but 
this MS. which was amone them was nesflected and 
left behind at Mr. Pitt's house, where it lay for many 
years. T. Percy." 

Mr. Furnivall believes that the copier of the MS. 
must have been a man greatly inferior to Thomas 
Blount, who was a barrister of the Middle Temple, 
of considerable learning. 

THE ^'RELIQUESr Ixxxiii 

Percy afterwards kept the volume very much to 
himself, and Ritson affirmed that " the late Mr. 
Tyrwhitt, an excellent judge and diligent peruser of 
old compositions, and an intimate friend of the 
owner, never saw it.""" Although Jamieson was 
obliged by receiving a copy of three of the pieces in 
the MS., he was not allowed a sight of the volume, 
and no one else was permitted to make any use of 
it. This spirit of secrecy was kept up by the bishop's 
descendants, who refused all who applied to see 
it. Sir Frederic Madden alone was allowed to 
print some pieces in his Syr Gazuaync for the Banna- 
tyne Club, 1839. The public obtained a glimpse of 
its contents through Dr. Dibdin, who copied from 
Percy's list the first seventy-two entries, and would 
have finished the whole, had he not been stopped 
by his entertainers (Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Isted, of 
Ecton Hall), when they found out what he was 
about. He gave in his Bibliographical Decameron 
a description of the MS. which he thus handled in 
the winter of 18 15. Mr. Furnivall writes as follows 
of his several attempts to get the MS. printed, and 
of his success at last : " The cause of the printing 
of Percy's MS., of the publication of the book, was 
the insistence time after time by Professor Child, 
that it was the duty of English antiquarian men of 
letters to print this foundation document of English 
balladry, the basis of that structure which Percy 
raised, so fair to the eyes of all English-speaking 
men throughout the world. Above a hundred years 
had gone since first the Reliques met men's view, 
a Percy Society had been born and died, but still the 
Percy manuscript lay hid in Ecton Hall, and no one 
was allowed to know how the owner who had made 
his fame by it had dealt with it, whether his treatment 

* Anciejit So figs, 1 790, p. xix. 


was foul or fair. No list even of its contents could 
be obtained. Dibdin and Madden, and many a 
man less known had tried their hands, but still the 
MS. was kept back, and this generation had made 
up its mind that it was not to see the desired original 
in type. ... I tried to get access to the MS. some 
half-a-dozen years ago. Repulsed, I tried again 
when starting the Early English Text Society. 
Repulsed again, I tried again at a later date, but 
with the like result. Not rebuffed by this, Professor 
Child added his offer of ^50 to mine of ^100, 
through Mr. Thurstan Holland, a friend of his own 
and of the owners of the MS., and this last attempt 
succeeded." The less said the better about the conduct 
of these owners who were only to be tempted to confer 
a public benefit by the increased offers of two private 
gentlemen, but there cannot be two opinions about 
the spirited conduct of Mr. Furnivall and Professor 
Child. The three volumes* that the printed edition 
of the MS. occupy, form a handsome monument of 
well-directed labour. The text is printed with the 
most careful accuracy under the superintendence of 
Mr. Furnivall, and the elaborate prefaces which 
exhibit that union of judgment and taste for which 
Mr. Hales is so well known, leave nothing to be 

" The manuscript itself is a 'scrubby, shabby paper' 
book, about fifteen and a half inches long by five and 
a half wide, and about two inches thick, which has 
lost some of its pages both at the beginning and 
end. . . . The handwriting was put by Sir F. Mad- 
den at after 1650 a.d. ; by two authorities at the 
Record Office whom I consulted, in the reign of 

* Bishop Percy Folio Manuscript : Ballads and Romances. Edited 
by John W. Hales, M.A., and Frederick J. Furnivall, M.A., Lon- 
don (Triibner and Co.), 1867-68, 3 vols. 


James I. rather than that of Charles I., but as the 
volume contains, among other late pieces, one on the 
siege of Newark in Charles I.'s time (ii. 33), another 
on the taking of Banbury in 1642 (ii. 39), and a 
third. The King inioycs his rights againe, which con- 
tains a passage* that (as Mr. Chappell observes in 
Pop. Mus. ii. 438, note 2) fixes the date of the song 
to the year 1643, we must make the date about 
1650, though rather before than after, so far as I 
can judge. I should keep it in Charles I.'s reign, 
and he died Jan. 30, 1649, but within a quarter of a 
century one can hardly determine. . . . The dialect 
of the copier of the MS. seems to have been Lan- 
cashire, as is shown by the frequent use of the final 
st, thoust for tJioii shall, 1st for / ivill, yousl for yotc 
will, unbctho2ight for umbcthought, and the occur- 
rence of the northern terms, like sirang, gauge, &c. 
&c. Moreover, the strong local feeling shown by 
the copier in favour of Lancashire and Cheshire, 
and the Stanleys, in his choice of Flodden Fcilde, 
Bosworth Feilde, Earlcs of Chester, Ladye Bessiye, 
confirms the probability that he was from one of the 
counties named. That much, if not all, of the MS. 
was written from dictation and hurriedly is almost 
certain, from the continual miswriting of they for 
the, rougJU for ivrought, knight for night (once), me 
fancy for my {^ncy, Jtistine {or justing." '\ 

A very erroneous impression has grown up as to 
the proportion of pieces in the Reliques which were 
taken from the MS. This is owing to a misleading 
statement made by Percy in his preface, to the effect 
that " the greater part of them are extracted from 

* "ffull 40 yeeres his royall crowne 
hath bcene his fathers and his owne." 

Fercy Folio MS. (ii. 25/17-18.) 

t Furnivall's Forewords, p. xiii. 


an ancient MS. in the editor's possession, which 
contains near two hundred poems, songs, and metri- 
cal romances." The fact is that only one-fourth 
were so taken. The Reliques contain i8o pieces, 
and of these only forty-five* are taken from the 
manuscript. We thus see that a very small part of 
the manuscript was printed by Percy. He mentions 
some of the other pieces in various parts of his 

* The following is a list of these, taken from Mr. Furnivall's 
Fo7'ewords : — 

Sir Cauline. The Winning of Cales. 

King Estmere. The Spanish Lady's Love. 

Robin Hood and Guy of Gis- The Complaint of Conscience. 

borne. K. John and the Abbot of Can- 

The Child of EUe. terbury. 

Edom O'Gordon (or Captaine The Heir of Lynne. 

Carre). To Althea from Prison (When 

Adam Bell, Clym o' the Clough, Love with unconfined wings). 

and William of Cloudesly. Old Tom of Bedlam. 

Take thy old Cloak about thee The Boy and the Mantle. 

(or Bell my wife). The Marriage of Sir Gawaine. 

Sir Lancelot du Lake. King Arthur's Death. 

The more modern Ballad of The Legend of King Arthur. 

Chevy Chase. Glasgerion. 

The Rising in the North. Old Robin of Portingale. 

Northumberland betrayed by Child Waters. 

Douglas. Litde Musgrave and Lady Bar- 

The Not-browne Mayd. nard. 

Sir Aldingar. Gil Morrice. 

Gentle Heardsman, tell to me. Legend of Sir Guy. 

The Beggar's Daughter of Bed- Guy and Amarant. 

nal Green. The Shepherd's Resolution. 

Sir Andrew Barton. The Lady's Fall. 

Lady Bothwell's Lament. The King of France's Daughter. 

The Murder of the King of A Lover of Late. 

Scots. The King and Miller of Mans- 

The King of Scots and Andrew field. 

Browne, though in the Folio, Dulcina. 

was printed by Percy from The Wandering Prince of Troy. 

the Antiquaries' copy. The Aspiring Shepherd. 
Mary Ambree. 

THE '^ RELIQUESr Ixxxvii 

book, and he proposed to publish a fourth volume 
of the Rcliqucs at some future period that never 

Mr. Furnivall has the following- remarks on the 
gains to literature by the publication of the manu- 
script : " It is more that we have now for the first 
time Egcr and Gi'inie in its earlier state, Sir Lam- 
bcwell, besides the Cavilcrcs praise of his hawking, 
the complete versions of Scottish Fcildc and Kinge 
Arthur s Death, the fullest of Floddcn Fcilde and 
the verse Jllerliiic, the Earle of Wcstmo7'landc, Bos- 
li'orth Fcildc, the curious poem of John de Rccvc, 
and the fine alliterative one of Death and Liffc, with 
its gracious picture of Lady dame Life, awakening 
life and love in grass and tree, in bird and man, as 
she speeds to her conquest over death." 

In 1774 Percy wrote : " In three or four years I 
intend to publish a volume or two more of old Eng- 
lish and Scottish poems in the manner of my 
Reliqncsr And again in 1778: "With regard to 
the Reliques, I have a large fund of materials, which 
when my son has compleated his studies at the 
University, he may, if he likes it, distribute into one 
or more additional volumes." The death of this 
son put an end to his hopes, but before the fourth 
edition was required, the bishop had obtained the 
assistance of his nephew, the Rev. Thomas Percy. 
In 1 801 he wrote as follows to Jamicson, who had 
asked for some extracts from the folio : " Till my 
nephew has completed his collection for the intended 
fourth volume it cannot be decided whether he may 
not wish to insert himself the fragments you desire ; 
but I have copied for you here that one which you 
particularly pointed out, as I was unwilling to dis- 
appoint your wishes and expectations altogether. 
By it you will sec the defective and incorrect state 
of the old text in the ancient folio MS., and the 


irresistible demand on the editor of the Reliques to 
attempt some of those conjectural emendations, 
which have been blamed by one or two rigid critics, 
but without which the collection would not have 
deserved a moment's attention." 

Percy has been very severely judged for the altera- 
tions he made in his manuscript authorities; and Rit- 
son has attempted to consider his conduct as a ques- 
tion of morality rather than one of taste. As each 
point is noticed in the prefaces to the various pieces, 
it is not necessary to discuss the question here. It 
may, however, be remarked that, in spite of all Rit- 
son's attacks (and right was sometimes on his side), 
the Reliques remain to the present day unsuper- 

Mr. Thoms communicated to the Notes and 
Queries (5th series, v. 431) the following note, which 
he made upwards of forty years ago, after a conver- 
sation with Francis Douce : — 

" Mr, Douce told me that the Bishop (Percy) 
originally intended to have left the manuscript to 
Ritson ; but the reiterated abuse with which that 
irritable and not always faultless antiquary visited 
him obliged him to alter his determination. With 
regard to the alterations (? amendments) made by 
Percy in the text, Mr. Douce told me that he (Percy) 
read to him one day from the MS., while he held the 
work in his hand to compare the two ; and * certainly 
the variations were ereater than I could have ex- 
pected,' said my old friend, with a shrug of the 

Of the other sources from which Percy drew his 
materials litde need be said. 2. Some of the ballads 
were taken from MSS. in public libraries, and others 
from MSS. that were lent to him. 3. The Scotch 
ballads supplied by Sir David Dalrymple have 
already been referred to. 4. The printed ballads 


are chiefly taken from the Pepys Collection at Cam- 
bridge. 5. When the Rcliqtics were first published, 
the elegant poems in X\\e. Paradysc of Dayiity Droises, 
England's Helico7i, were little known, and it was a 
happy thought on the part of Percy to intersperse 
these smaller pieces among the longer ballads, so as 
to please the reader with a constant variety. 

The weak point in the book is the insertion of 
some of the modern pieces. The old minstrel be- 
lieved the wonders he related ; but a poet educated 
in modern ideas cannot transfer himself back to the 
times of chivalry, so that his attempts at imitating 
" the true Gothic manner " are apt to fill his readers 
with a sense of unreality. 

After the first edition of the Rcliques was printed, 
and before it was published, Percy made a great 
alteration in its arrancrement. The first volume was 
turned into the third, and the third into the first, as 
may be seen by a reference to the foot of the pages 
where the old numbering remains. By this means 
the Arthu7'- Ballads were turned off to the end, and 
Chevy Chase and Robin Hood obtained the place of 
honour. Several ballads were also omitted at the 
last moment, and the numbers left vacant. These 
occur in a copy of two volumes at Oxford which 
formerly belonged to Douce. In Vol. III. (the old 
Vol. I.), Book I, there is no No. 19; in the Douce 
copy this is filled by The Song-birds. In Vol. II., 
Book 3, there are no Nos. 10 and 1 1 ; but in the Douce 
copy, Nos. 9, 10, and 11 are Cock LorrelTs Treat, 
The Moral Uses of Tobacco, and Old Simon the 
Kinge. Besides these omissions it will be seen that 
in Book 3 of Vol. III. there are two Nos. 2 ; and that 
George Barnwell must have been inserted at the last 
moment, as it occupies a duplicate series of pages 
225-240, which are printed between brackets. In 
1765 the volumes were published in London. In 


the following year a surreptitious edition was pub- 
lished in Dublin, and in 1767 appeared a second 
edition in London. In 1775 was published the third 
edition, which was reprinted at Frankfort in 1790. 
The fourth edition, ostensibly edited by the Rev. 
Thomas Percy, but really the work of the bishop 
himself, was published in 1794. Many improvements 
were made in this edition, and it contains Percy's 
final corrections ; the fifth edition, published in 18 12, 
being merely a reprint of the fourth. 

The year 1765 was then a memorable one in the 
history of literature. The current ballads which were 
bawled in the street, or sung in the alehouse, were so 
mean and vulgar that the very name of ballad had 
sunk into disrepute. It was therefore a revelation to 
many to find that a literature of nature still existed 
which had descended from mother to child in remote 
districts, or was buried in old manuscripts, covered 
with the dust of centuries. It is necessary to realize 
this state of things in order to understand Percy's 
apologetic attitude. He collected his materials from 
various sources with great labour, and spared no 
pains in illustrating the poetry by instructive prose. 
Yet after welding with the force of genius the various 
parts into an harmonious whole, he was doubtful of 
the reception it was likely to obtain, and he called 
the contents of his volumes " the barbarous produc- 
tions of unpolished ages." He backed his own 
opinion of their interest by bringing forward the 
names of the chiefs of the republic of letters, and ill 
did they requite him. Johnson parodied his verses, 
and Warburton sneered at him as the man "who 
wrote about the Chinese." Percy looked for his 
reward where he received nothing but laughter ; 
but the people accepted his book with gladness, and 
the young who fed upon the food he presented to 
them grew up to found new schools of poetry. 


Few books have exerted such extended influence 
over EngHsh literature as Y^xzysRcliqucs. Beattie's 
Mi?istrel was inspired by a perusal of the Essay on 
the A7icinit Minstrels ; and man)' authors have ex- 
pressed with gratitude their obligations to the bishop 
and his book. 

How profoundly the poetry of nature, which lived 
on in the ballads of the country, stirred the souls of 
men is seen in the instance of two poets of strikingly 
different characteristics. Scott made his first ac- 
quaintance with the Rcliqncs at the age of thirteen, 
and the place where he read them was ever after 
imprinted upon his memory. The bodily appetite 
of youth was unnoticed while he mentally devoured 
the volumes under the huge leaves of the plantain 
tree. Wordsworth was not behind Scott in admira- 
tion of the book. He wrote : "I have already stated 
how much Germany is indebted to this work, and 
for our own country, its poetry has been absolutely 
redeemed by it. I do not think there is an able 
writer in verse of the present day who would not 
be proud to acknowledge his obligation to the 
Reliipies. I know that it is so with my friends ; 
and for myself, I am happy in this occasion to 
make a public avowal of my own." After such 
men as these have spoken, who can despise our old 
ballads ? 

Ballad Literature since Percy. 

The impetus given to the collection of old ballads 
by the publication of thttRcliqucs showed itself in the 
rapid succession of volumes of the same class which 
issued from the press. Most of these were devoted 
to the publication of Scottish ballads exclusively. In 
1769, David Herd, a native of St. Cyrus, in Kincar- 



dineshire, who had spent most of his Hfe as clerk in 
an accountant's office in Edinburgh, pubHshed his 
Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, 
&c., a work which was enlarged into two volumes in 
1776.* He was a most successful and faithful col- 
lector, and not being a poet, he was preserved from 
the temptation of tampering with his stores. Mother- 
well mentions twenty ballads which had not appeared 
in a collected form before the publication of this work. 
Herd was assisted in his editorial labours by George 

In 1777 appeared the first edition of Evans's Old 

Ballads, Historical and Narrative, in two volumes. 

\ The best edition of this work, edited by the son of 

the original compiler, was published in 4 vols., 18 10. 

In 1 78 1 Pinkerton published his Scottish T^^agic 
Ballads, which was followed in 1 783 by Select Scottish 
Ballads. These volumes contained several fabrica- 
tions by the editor, as already stated on a previous 

In 1783 Ritson commenced the publication of that 
long series of volumes which is of such inestimable 
value to the literary antiquary, with A Select Collec- 
tion of English Songs. The Bishopric Garland, or 
Durham Minstrel, followed, in 1 784 ; The Yorkshire 
Garland, in 1788; the Pieces of Ancient Popular 
Poetry, in 1 79 1 ; Ancient Songs and Ballads from 
the reign of Henry II. to the Revo hit ion, in 1787; 
The NortJmmberland Garland, in 1 793 ; Scottish 
Songs, in 1794 ; and Robin Hood, in 1795. 

In 1787 was commenced The Scots Musical Mu- 
seum, by James Johnson. Johnson was a music-seller 
and engraver in Edinburgh, and the work was really 

* This work was reprinted twice during the year 1869 : i. at 
Edinburgh under the editorial care of Mr. Sidney Gilpin ; 2. at 


projected by William Tytler of Woodhouselee, Dr. 
Blacklock, and Samuel Clark. The first volume was 
partly printed, when Burns became acquainted with 
the object of the work. He then entered into the 
scheme with enthusiasm, and besides " beofOfinof and 
borrowing" old songs, wrote many new songs him- 

In I So I was published at Edinburgh, Scottish 
Poems of the XV Ith Century, edited by J. G. Dalzell, 
which contains a reprint of Ane Compeitdiotis Booke 
of Godly and Spiritnall Songs, already referred to 

In 1802 appeared the first two volumes of the only 
work which is worthy to stand side by side with the 
Rcliqiics. Sir Walter Scott's Minstrelsy of the Scot- 
tish Border is a book that can be read through, and 
it and the Reliques are the only works of the class in 
which the materials are welded into a whole, so as no 
longer to appear a collection of units. 

In 1806, Robert Jamieson published at Edinburgh 
his Popular Ballads and Songs, from Traditioji, 
Manuscripts, aiid scarce editions. H e was working upon 
this book at the same time that Scott was en^acred 
upon his Minstrelsy, and he obtained much of his ma- 
terial from the same source as Scott, viz, Mrs. Brown, 
of Falkland ; but he, nevertheless, was able to print 
seventeen ballads that had not before appeared in 
any published collection. Jamieson has the follow- 
ing remarks on himself in the Introduction to the first 
volume : — 

" Being obliged to go, at a few weeks' warning, to 
a distant part of the world, and to seek, on the shores 
of the frozen Baltic, for (which his own country seems 
to deny him) the means of employing his talents and 
industry in some such manner as may enable him to 
preserve (for a time, at least) his respectability and 
a partial independence in the world, the following 


sheets have been prepared for the press, amidst all 
the anxiety and bustle of getting ready and packing 
up for a voyage." (Vol. i. p. xvii.) 

John Finlay of Glasgow published in 1808 his 
Scottish Historical and Romantic Ballads. These 
volumes only contain twenty-six ballads in all. 

John Gilchrist's Collection of Ancient and Modern 
Scottish Ballads, Tales, and Songs, (Edinburgh 181 5) 
is a carefully edited work, compiled from former 

In 1822 David Laing published his valuable 
Select Remains of the Ancient Poptdar Poetry of Scot- 
land, and in 1824 C. K.Sharpe printed privately a little 
volume which he entitled A Ballad Book. James 
Maidment printed also privately A North Conntrie 
Garland m the same year (1824). 

In 1825 E. V. Utterson printed "Select Pieces of 
Early English Poetry, republished principally from 
early printed copies in Black Letter." 

Peter Buchan commenced his ballad career by 
publishing at Peterhead, in 1825, a little volume 
entitled " Gleanings of Scotch, English, and Irish 
scarce old ballads, chiefly tragical and historical, 
many of them connected with the localities of Aber- 
deenshire." In 1828 he published his "Ancient 
Ballads and Songs of the North of Scotland, hitherto 
unpublished." He affirmed that his materials were 
faithfully and honestly transcribed, and " they have 
suffered no change since they fortunately were con- 
signed to me by their foster parents." A portrait is 
given in this book, which represents the compiler as 
a wild-looking, unkempt, man. Besides these two 
books Buchan made a large collection of ballads, 
songs, and poems, which he took down from the 
oral recitation of the peasantry. These were pro- 
nounced by Scott to be " decidedly and indubitably 
original." The two folio MS. volumes in which they 


were contained came into the possession of the Percy- 
Society, and a selection was made from them by 
J. H. Dixon, in 1845, who entitled his work Scottish 
Traditional Versions of Ancient Ballads (Percy 
Society Publications, vol. xvii,). 

In 1826 Allan Cunningham published The Songs 
of Scotland^ to which reference has already been 

George R. Kinloch published in 1827, "Ancient 
Scottish Ballads, recovered from tradition, and never 
before published." He states in his introduction 
that " the present collection is almost entirely com- 
posed of ballads obtained in the ' North Countrie,' 
a district hitherto but little explored, though by no 
means destitute of traditional poetry." 

In this same year appeared William Motherwell's 
Minstrelsy, A ncient and Hlodern, a work of the most 
sterling character, which contains the best account 
of ballad literature extant. 

In 1829 Robert Chambers published his collection 
of Scottish Ballads, which contains eighty pieces, of 
which number twelve are modern, or imitations. At 
this period the editor had not elaborated his theory 
that Sir Patrick Spence and certain other ballads 
were modern imitations. 

Peter Cunningham published The Songs of Eng- 
la7id and Scotland, in 1835, and Thomas Wright 
printed The Political Songs of England from the reign 
of John to that of Edward II. in 1839, for the Camden 

In 1840 was founded, in honour of Bishop Percy, 
the Percy Society, which continued to print some of 
the old Garlands and various collections of old Bal- 
lads until 1852. 

William Chappell published in 1840 his valuable 
Collection of National English Airs, consisting of 
Anciefit Song, Ballad, and Dance Tunes, which 


work was re-arranged and enlarged, and issued in 
1855 as Popular Music of the Olden Time. This 
work is a mine of wealth concerning both the airs 
and the words of our ballad treasures. It was a 
truly national undertaking, and has been completed 
with great skill. No ballad lover can get on without 


In 1844 Alexander Whitelaw published The 
Book of Scottish Ballads, and The Book of Scottish 
Song. An edition of the former was printed in 
1875, and one of the latter in 1866, which contains 
about twelve hundred and seventy songs. 

In 1847 John Matthew Gutch published ''A Lytell 
Geste of Robin Hode, with other Ancient and Modern 
Ballads and Songs relating to this celebrated yeo- 


In the same year appeared Frederick Sheldon's 
Minstrelsy of the English Border, but it is a work of 
very little value. 

Dr. Rimbault printed in 1850 those valuable 
Musical Illust7'ations of Bishop Percy s Reliques, 
which are so frequently quoted in the following 

Professor Francis James Child, of Harvard Col- 
lege, one of our greatest authorities on Ballad lore, 
published at Boston, U.S., a very complete collection 
of English and Scottish Ballads, in eight volumes. 
The first volume contains a full list of the principal 
collections of Ballads and Songs. 

In 1858 William Edmondstoune Aytoun published 
his Ballads of Scotland, which contain collated ver- 
sions of one hundred and thirty-nine ballads, with 
short introductions. 

The year 1867 was memorable as seeing the pub- 
lication of the first instalment of the Folio Manuscript 
under the editorship of J. W. Hales and F. J. Fur- 


In 1868 appeared "Scottish Ballads and Songs, 
historical and traditionar)', edited by James Maid- 
ment, Edinburgh, 1868," 2 vols. The number of 
pieces is small but select, and the introductions are 
full and elaborate. 

In 1 87 1 Messrs. Ogle of Glasgow published a 
well edited collection of Scottish Ballads, with an 
interesting introduction and notes, entitled " The 
Ballad Minstrelsy of Scotland. Romantic and His- 
torical. Collated and Annotated." 

Upon the completion of the Percy Folio, Mr. Fur- 
nivall started the Ballad Society, for the publication 
of the various collections of ballads that exist. Mr. 
Chappell has edited half of the Roxburghe liJallads 
in several parts, and Mr. Furnivall himself has 
printed some interesting ballads from manuscripts. 
All these have been presented to readers with a 
wealth of illustrative notes. 

The books referred to above form but a portion of 
the literature of the subject. So mighty has been the 
growth of the small seed set by Percy, that the des- 
pised outcasts which the literary leaders attempted 
to laugh out of existence have made good their right 
to a high position among the poetry of the nation, 
and proved that they possessed the germs of a long 
and vigorous life. 

H. B. W. 




countess of northumberland ; 

in her own right, 

baroness percy, lucy, toynings, fitz-payne, 

bryan, and latimer. 

Madam, — 

S S^,^3^ HOSE writers, who solicit the protec- 


tion of the noble and the ereat, are 
often exposed to censure by the impro- 
priety of their addresses : a remark 
that will, perhaps, be too readily ap- 
plied to him, who, having nothing better to offer 
than the rude songs of ancient minstrels, aspires to 
the patronage of the Countess of Northumljerland, 
and hopes that the barbarous productions of un- 
polished ages can obtain the approbation or notice 
of her, who adorns courts by her presence, and 
diffuses elegance by her example. 

But this impropriety, it is presumed, will dis- 
appear, when it is declared that these poems are 
presented to your Ladyship, not as labours of art, but 
as effusions of nature, showing the first efforts of 
ancient genius, and 

exhibiting the customs and 




opinions of remote ages : of ages that had been 
almost lost to memory, had not the gallant deeds 
of your illustrious ancestors preserved them from 

No active or comprehensive mind can forbear 
some attention to the reliques of antiquity. It is 
prompted by natural curiosity to survey the progress 
of life and manners, and to inquire by what grada- 
tions barbarity was civilized, grossness refined, and 
ignorance instructed ; but this curiosity, Madam, 
must be stronger in those who, like your Ladyship, 
can remark in every period the influence of some 
great progenitor, and who still feel in their effects 
the transactions and events of distant centuries. 

By such bonds, Madam, as I am now introducing 
to your presence, was the infancy of genius nurtured 
and advanced, by such were the minds of unlettered 
warriors softened and enlarged, by "Such was the 
memory of illustrious actions preserved and propa- 
gated, by such were the heroic deeds of the Earls 
of Northumberland sung at festivals in the hall of 
Alnwick ; and those songs, which the bounty of 
your ancestors rewarded, now return to your Lady- 
ship by a kind of hereditary right ; and, I flatter 
myself, will find such reception as is usually shown 
to poets and historians, by those whose conscious- 
ness of merit makes it their interest to be long 

I am, 


Your Ladyship's 

Most humble. 
And most devoted Servant, 
Thomas Percy.* 

* [This dedication is prefixed to the first edition of the Reliques^ 
(1765), the second edition (1767), and the third edition (1775).] 























• [The Duchess of Northumberland died in the year 1776, and 
the above inscription appears in the fourth echtion (1794) and the 
fifth edition (1812), besides many sul)se(]uent editions.] 




IWENTY years have near 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 un- 
published, 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 -men- 
tioned in the following pages, where any variation 

* [Published in three volumes small octavo in 1794. 
by John Nichols for F. and C. Rivington."] 

" Printed 


occurs from the former impression, it will be un- 
derstood to have been given on the authority of 
that MS. 

The appeal publicly made to Dr. Johnson in the 
first page of the following Preface, so long since as 
in 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 MS. in question. But such, it seems, having 
been suggested, it may now be mentioned, that, 
while this edition passed through his press, the MS. 
itself was left for near a year with Mr. Nichols, in 
whose house, or in that of its possessor, it was 
examined with more or less attention by many gen- 
tlemen of eminence in literature. At the first publi- 
cation of these volumes it had been in the hands of 
all, or most of, his friends ; but, as it could hardly be 
expected that he should continue to think of nothing 
else but these amusements of his youth, it was after- 
wards laid aside at his residence in the country. Of 
the many gentlemen above-mentioned, who offered 
to give their testimony to the public, it will be suf- 
ficient to name the Honourable Daines Barrington, 
the Reverend Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode, and 
those eminent Critics on Shakespeare, the Reverend 
Dr. Farmer, George Steevens, Esq., Edmund 
Malone, Esq., and Isaac Reed, Esq., to whom I beg 
leave to appeal for the truth of the following repre- 

The MS. is a long narrow folio volume, containing 
195 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 near the beginning half of every leaf hath 
been torn away, and several others are injured 
towards the end ; besides that through a great [kuI 


of the volume the top or bottom line, and sometimes 
both have been cut off in the binding. 

In this state is the MS. 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 fingers ; so 
that a considerable portion of the song or narrative 
is sometimes omitted ; and miserable trash or non- 
sense 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 zuale for zvan 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. 

Thomas Percy, 
Fellow of St. John's College, Oxford. 

* [Fol. MS.] Page 130, ver. 117. (This must have been copied 
from a reciter.) 

t [Fol. MS.] Page 139, ver. 164, viz. 

" his visage waxed pan and wale." 


HE reader is here presented widi 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 MS. was written about the middle 
of the last century ; but contains compositions of all 
times and dates, from the ages prior to Chaucer, to 
the conclusion of the reign of Charles I.* 

This manuscript was shewn 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 simpli- 
city, and seem to have been merely written for the 
people, he was long in doubt, whether, in the present 
state of im[)roved literature, they could be deemed 

* Chaucer quotes the old Romance of Libius Disconius, and 
some others, which arc found in this MS. (Sec the Essay, vol. iii. 
Appendix I.) It also contains several songs relating to the civil 
war in the last century, l)Ul not one tliat alUulcs XX) the Resto- 


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 shew the gradation of our 
language; exhibit the progress of popular opinions, 
display the peculiar manners and customs of former 
ao-es, or throw light on our earlier classical poets. 

They are here distributed into volumes, each of 
which contains an independent series of poems, ar- 
rano-ed chiefly according to the order of time, and 
shewing the gradual improvements of the English 
language and poetry from the earliest ages down to 
the present. Each volume, or series, is divided into 
three books, to afford so many pauses, or resting- 
places to the reader, and to assist him in distinguish- 
ing between the productions of the earlier, the middle, 
and the latter times. 

In a polished age, like the present, I am sensible 
that many of these reliques of antiquity will require 
great allowances 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 

To atone for the rudeness of the more obsolete 
poems, each volume concludes with a few modern 
attempts in the same kind of writing : and, to take 
off from the tediousness of the longer narratives. 

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


they are everywhere intermincrled with Httle 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 contfemporary 
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 applause, and present subsistence. 

The reader will find this class of men occasionally 
described in the following volumes, and some parti- 
culars relating to their history in an Essay subjoined. 
(iVppendix I.) 

It will be proper here to give a short account of 
the other collections that were consulted, and to 
make my acknowledgements to those gentlemen who 
were so kind as to impart extracts from them ; for, 
while this selection was making, a great number of 
ingenious friends took a share in the work, and ex- 
plored 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 

* A life of our curious collector Mr. Pepys may be seen in the 
continuation of Mr. Collier's Supi)lement to his Great Diction. 
17 15, at the end of vol. iii. folio. Art. Pep-t 

t Ww Percy's time Pepys was not known as the author of that 
Diary which will keep his name in remembrance so long as 
English literature continues to exist.] 


ballads, near 2,000 in number, which he has left 
pasted in five volumes in folio ; besides Garlands 
and other smaller rniscellanies. This 'collection he 
tells us was " begun ' by Mr. Selden ; improved by 
the addition of many pieces elder thereto in time ; 
and the whole continued down to the year 1 700 ; 
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 

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 Bodleyan 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 Hen. VIIL, Edw. VL, Mary, Elizabeth, 
James L, &c.* 

In the British Museum is preserved a large trea- 
sure of ancient English poems in MS. 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 ac- 
curate hks perhaps seduced him into too minute and 
trifling an exactness ; and in pursuit of information 
he may have been drawn into many a petty and 
frivolous research. It was, however, necessary to 

* [The Society of Antiquaries have pubUshed a catalogue of this 
collection by Robert Lemon, 8vo. 1866.] 


give some account of the old copies ; thouoh often, 
for the sake of brevity, one or two of these only are 
mentioned, where yet assistance w^as received from 
several. Where any thing was altered that deserved 
particular notice, the passage is generally distin- 
guished 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 ex- 
pected, been handed down to us with less care than 
any other writings in the world. And the old 
copies, whether ]\IS. or printed, were often so defec- 
tive or corrupted, that a scrupulous adherence to 
their wretched readings would only have exhibited 
unintelligible nonsense, 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 interestinof sense hath started 
forth, and this so naturally and easily, that the editor 
could seldom prevail on himself to indulge the vanity 
of making a formal claim to the improvement ; but 
must plead guilty to the charge of concealing his own 
share in the amendments under some such general 
title, as a JModcrn Copy, or the like. Yet it has 
been his desi({n to orive 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 anticjuary, 
and the reader of taste ; and he hath endeavoured to \ 
gratify both without offending either. / 

* Such liberties have been taken with all those pieces which 
liave three asterisks subjoined, thus *<,>*. 


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 pre- 
vented 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 Hum- 
phrey Pitt, Esq., of Prior's-Lee, in Shropshire,t to 
whom this public acknowledgement 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 elegant 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 ex- 
planations 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. Hest, of Wor- 

* That the editor hath not here under-rated 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 
Wo7-ks, vol. iii. letter cii. 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. 

t 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, 1679, 4to. and of 
many other publications enumerated in Wood's Atheiice, 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 col- 
lection was made by this lawyer (who also published the Law 
Dictionary, 167 1, folio), it should 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. 


cester College, contributed some curious pieces from 
the Oxford libraries. Two inorenious and learned 
friends at Cambridge deserve the editor's warmest 
acknowledgements : 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 distinguished.* Many 
extracts from ancient MSS. in the British Museum, 
and other repositories, were owing to the kind ser- 

* To the same learned and ingenious friend, since Master of 
Emanuel College, the editor is obliged for many con-ections 
and improvements in his second and subsequent editions ; as also 
to the Rev. Mr. Eowle, of Idmistone, near Salisbury, editor of the 
curious edition of Don Quixote, \vith 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 Foetn on the Battle of Flodden Field, with 
learned Notes, 1774, 8vo.) ; and to G. Paton, Esq., of Edinburgh. 
He is particularly indebted to two friends, to whom the public as 
well as himself, are under the greatest obligations ; to the Hon- 
ourable Daines Barrington, for his very learned and curious Obser- 
vations on the Statutes, 4to. ; and to Thomas Tynvhitt, 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 witli 
many valuable remarks and corrections from the Rev. Geo. Ashl)y, 
late fellow of St. John's College, in Cambridge, 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, re- 
cords, and history, have 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, 4to. ; 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 Gefitlcman's Magazine for August, 1793, April, June, July, 
and October, 1794, and which, it is hoped, will be continued. 


vices of Thomas Astle, Esq., to whom the public is 
indebted for the curious Preface and Index annexed 
to the Harleyan Catalogue.* The worthy Librarian 
of the Society of Antiquaries, Mr. Norris, deserved 
acknowledgement 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 in- 
debted for the use of several ancient and valuable 
tracts. To the friendship of Dr. Samuel Johnson he 
owes 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 
literature, 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 Jwiiuss Etymologicwn, and of the Gothic 

The names of so many men of learning and char- 
acter 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 re- 
tirement of rural life, and hath only served as a re- 
laxation from graver studies. It has been taken up 
at different times, and often thrown aside for many 
months, during an interval of four or five years. This 

* Since Keeper of the Records in the Tower. 



has occasioned some inconsistencies and repetitions, 
which the candid reader will pardon. As great care 
has been taken to admit nothing immoral and in- 
decent, the editor hopes he need not be ashamed of 
havine bestowed some of his idle hours on the 
ancient literature of our own country, or in rescuing- 
from oblivion some pieces (though but the amuse- 
ments of our ancestors) which tend to place in a 
striking light their taste, genius, sentiments, or man- 

Except in one paragraph, this Preface is given with little varia- 
tion from the first edition in MDCCLXV. 





I never heard the olde song of Percy and Duglas, that I 
found not my heart mooved more then with a trumpet : 
and yet is it sung but by some bHnde crouder, with 
no rougher voyce, then rude stile ; which being so evill 
apparelled in the dust and cobwebbes of that uncivill age, 
what would it worke, trymmed in the gorgeous eloquence 
of Pindar I — Sir PJiilip Sidney's Apologie for Poetrie, 1595. 




HE fine heroic song of C/iay-C/iasc has ever been 
admired by competent 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. 

iSIr. 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 Ehzabeth, and was probably 
written after the elogium of Sir Philip Sidney : perhaps in conse- 
quence 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 nigged 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 Hearne had so little judgement as to supjiose to 
Le the same with a R. Sheale, who was living in 158S. But 
whoever examines the gradation of language and idiom in the 
following volumes, will be convinced that this is the production 

• Spectator, Nos. 70, 74. 

t [MS. Ashmole, 48, in the Bodleian Library. The Rev. W. W. 
Skeat has printed the ballad from the MS. in his Specimens 
of Eu^lisli Literature, 1394-1579. Clarendon Press Series, 187!.] 

\ Subscribed, after the usual manner of our old poets, expliceth 
(explicit) quoth Rychard Sheale. 


of an earlier poet. It is indeed expressly mentioned among some 
very ancient songs in an old book intituled, The Complaint of Scot- 
land* (fol. 42), under the tide of the Hiintis of Chevet, where 
the two following lines are also quoted: — 

" The Perssee and the Mongumrye mette, f 
That day, that day, that gentil day : " | 

which, tho' not quite the same as they stand in the ballad, yet 
difter 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 James the 
Scottish King, § 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. ,11 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 
Enghsh, 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 sub- 
ject, altho' 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 proprietors or their deputies. ft There had long been a 

* One of the earliest productions of the Scottish press, now to 
be found. The title-page was wanting in the copy here quoted ; 
but it is supposed to have been printed in 1540. See Ames. [It 
is now believed to have been printed in 1549. See the new 
edition by J. A. H. Murray, printed for the Early English Text 
Society (Extra Series), 1872.] 

t See Pt. ii. v. 25. J See Pt. i. v. 99. 

§ Pt. ii. V. 36, 140. 

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

H James I. was crowned May 22, 1424; murdered Feb. 21, 


** In 1460.— Hen. VI. was deposed 1461 : restored and slain 

tj- Item. . . . Concordatum est, quod, . . . nullus unius partis 
vel alterius ingrediatur terras, boschas, forrestas, warrenas, loca, 
dominia quacunque alicujus partis alterius subditi, causa venandi, 
piscandi, aucupandi, disportum aut solatium in eisdem, aliave 
quacunque d© causa, absque licentia ejus ... ad quem . . . loca 


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. Some- 
thing of this kind, we may suppose, gave rise to the ancient ballad 
of the Hunting a! the C/ia'iat* Percy earl of Northumberland 
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, 
tho'.not attended with the tragical circumstances recorded in the 
ballad : for th^se are CAidently borrowed from the Battle of Otter- 
l>ourn,-\ a very different event, but ^^■hich aftertimes would easily 
confound with it. That battle might be owing to some such pre- 
vious affront as this of Chevy Chase, though it has escaped the 
notice of historians. Our poet has evidently jumbled the two sub- 
jects together : if indeed the 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 stories. 

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 flagrant instances in the Harleian Catalogue, No. 
2253, s. 29, 34, 61, 70, et passim. 

[Bishop Percy did well to open his book with C/iay Chase 
and the Battle of Otterburn, as these two are by far the most 
remarkable of the old historical ballads still left to us, and all 
Englishmen must feel peculiar interest in CJievy Chase, as it is 
one of the few northern ballads that are the exclusive growth of 
the south side of the Border. The partizanship of the Englishman 
is very amusingly brought out in verses 145-154, where we learn 
that the Scotch king had no captain in his realm equal to the dead 
Douglas, but that the English king had a hundred captains as good 
as Percy. A ballad which stirred the soul of Sidney and caused 
Ben Jonson to wish that he had been the author of it rather than 

. . . pertinent, aut de deputatis suis prius capt. et obtent. Vid. 
Bp. Nicolson's Leges Marchianini, 1705, 8vo. pp. 27, 51. 

* This was the original title. See the ballad, Pt. i. v. 101 ; 
Pt. ii. V. 165. 

t Sec the next ballad. \ Vid. Pt. ii. v. 167. 


of all his own works cannot but be dear to all readers of taste and 
feeling. The old version is so far superior to the modern one 
(see Book iii. No. i) that it must ever be a source of regret that 
Addison, who elegantly analyzed the modern version, did not know 
of the original. 

It will be well to arrange under three heads the subjects on 
which a few words require to be added to Percy's preface, viz. 
I. the title, 2. the occasion, 3. the author, i. In the old version 
the title given in the ballad itself is the hunting of the Cheznat, and 
in the Complaynt of Scotlande it is referred to as The Huntis of 
Chevot. The title of the modern version is changed to Chevy 
Chase, which Dr. E. B. Nicholson has suggested to be derived 
from the old French word chevauchee, a foray or expedition (see 
Notes and Queries, 3rd series, vol. xii. p. 124) ; but this explanation 
is not needed, as the original of the modern title is found in ver. 62 
as Chyviat Chays, which naturally became contracted into Chevy 
Chase, a.^ ^Teviotdale vaXo Tevidale (ver. 50). 

2. The ballad is so completely unliistorical that it is difficult to 
give any opinion as to the occasion to which it refers, but appa- 
rently it was written, as Bishop Percy remarks, to commemorate a 
defiant expedition of one of the Lords of the Marches upon the 
domain of another, but that the names of Percy and Douglas led 
the writer into a confusion with the battle of Otterburn, which 
was fresh in the people's memory owing to the ballad of the Battle 
of Otterburn. In fact Professor Child throws out the hint that 
possibly Sidney referred to the Battle of Otterburn and not to the 
Hunting of the Cheviat, as he only mentions the old song of Percie 
and Douglas, but it has so long been believed that Sidney spoke 
of Chevy Chase that we should be sorry to think otherwise now. 
In the note immediately following the modern version (see Book 
iii. No. I.) Bishop Percy suggests the possibility that the ballad 
may refer to the battle of Pepperden fought in 1436, but this view 
is highly improbable for the following reason. In both the ancient 
and modern versions the battle of Humbledown is alluded to as a 
future event caused by the death of Percy at Chevy Chase. Now as 
Humbledown was fought in the year 1402, and as the battle of 
Otterburn was the only conflict of importance on the Borders 
which preceded it, and as, moreover, Otterburn is mentioned in the 
ballad, there cannot well be any reference to a battle fought so 
many years afterwards. 

3. Bishop Percy is unnecessarily severe in his remark upon 
Heame, as that learned antiquary was probably correct in identi- 
fying the Richard Sheale of the old ballad with Richard Sheale 
the minstrel. Whether, however, the latter was the author, as 
is argued by C. in Brydges' British Bibliographer (vol. 4, pp. 95- 
105), is another matter. The other examples of the minstrel's 


muse are so inferior to this ballad that it is impossible to believe 
him to be the author. Doubtless it was recited by him, and being 
associated with his name the transcriber may naturally have sup- 
posed him to be its maker. Sheale really flourished (or withered, 
as j\Ir. Hales has it) at a rather earher period than the date 1588 
mentioned by Percy would lead us to imagine, for he appears to 
have been writing before 1560, nevertheless the language is of a 
much earlier date than this, and, moreover, a ballad of the Borders 
is not likely to have been invented at Tamworth, where Sheale lived. 
Chexy Chase was long a highly popular song, and Bishop 
Corbet, in his Journey into Franee, speaks of having sung it in his 
youth. The antiquated beau in Davenant's play of the Wits 
also prides himself on being able to sing it, and in IVifs Inter- 
preter, 167 1, a man when enumerating the good qualities of his 
wife, cites after the beauties of her mind and her patience " her 
curious voice wherewith she useth to sing C/iay C/iace." Many 
other ballads were sung to the same tune, so that we are not 
always sure as to whether the original is referred to or some more 
modem song. The philosopher Locke, when Secretary to the 
Embassy sent by Charles II. to the Elector of Brandenburg, wrote 
home a description of the Brandenburg church singing, in which 
he says, " He that could not though he had a cold make better 
music with a chevy chace over a pot of smooth ale, deserved well 
to pay the reckoning and to go away athirst." * The wTiter here 
probably referred to any song sung to this tune.] 


^^^■^^^^HE Pers6 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. 

Ver. 5, niagger in Hearne's PC [Printed Copy.] 

 fChappell's Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. i. p. 198 ; 
vol. ii. p. 774. J 
t Fit. see ver. 100. 

[1 should bu " an avowe," a vow (see v. 157, Fit. 2). - in spite of.] 


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. lo 

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 15 

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 ; 20 

Bomen bickarte uppone the bent^ 
With ther browd aras^ cleare. 

Then the wyld^ thorowe the woodes went 

On every syde shear f 
Grea-hondes thorowe the greves glent" 25 

For to kyll thear dear. 

The begane in Chyviat the hyls abone^" 
Yerly^^ on a monnyn-day ;^^ 

Ver. II. The the Perse. PC. V. 13. archardes bolde off blood 
and bone. PC. V. 19. throrowe. PC. 

* 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 Island-shire, being 
the district so named from Holy-Island : JVorehamshire, so called 
from the town and castle of Noreham (or Norham) : and Pam- 
boroughshire, the ward or hundred belonging to Bamborough 
castle and town. 

[^ hinder. 2 company. ^ high. "* rouse. 

' bowmen skirmished in the long grass. ^ broad arrows. 

^ wild deer. ^ entirely. ^ the bushes glanced. 

'" above. ^^ early. 12 Monday.] 


Be' that it drewe to the oware off none'^ 

A hondrith fat hartes ded ther lay. 30 

The blewe a mort uppone the bent, ' 

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

To se the bryttlynge^ off the deare. 

He sayd, It was the Duglas promys 35 

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

A gret oth the Perse swear. 

At the laste a squyar of Northombelonde 

Lokyde at his hand full ny, 40 

He was war ath*^ the douQfhetie Doo^las comvnire : 
With him a myghte meany, 

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

Yt was a myghti sight to se. 
Hardyar men both off hart nar hande 45 

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. so 

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. 

Ver. 31. blwe a mot. PC. V. 42. niyglittc. PC. passim. 

V. 43. brylly. PC. V. 48. withowte feale. PC. V. 52. boys. 

PC. V. 54. ned. PC. 

[ ' by. 2 hour of noon. 

^ they blew a note over the dead stag on the grass. 
* on all sides. •'' slaughtered game. '' quartering. 
' truly. " aware of. '-^ battle axe and sword. 

'" in the. " since, j 


The dougheti Dogglas on a stede 55 

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

A bolder barne"'* was never born. 

Tell me ' what ' men ye ar, he says, 

Or whos men that ye be : 60 

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, 65 

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. 70 
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, 7S 

A-las ! it wear great pitte. 

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

Let all our men uppone a parti ^ stande ; 

And do the battell off the and of me. 80 

Nowe Cristes cors^ on his crowne,^sayd the lord Perse. 
Who-soever ther-to says nay. 

[Ver. 56. Percy and Hearne print, "att his men."J Ver. 59. 
whos. PC. V. 65. whoys. PC. V. 71. agay. PC. V. 81. sayd 
the the. PC. 

[^ glowing coal. ^ man. ^ niean, ^ the one of us shall die. 
* earl. ^ apart or aside. ' curse. ^ head.] 


Be my troth, doughtc Doglas, he says, 
Thow shalt never se that day ; 

Nethar in Ynglonde, Skottlonde, nar France, 85 

Nor for no man of a woman born, 
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 ; 90 

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 ; 
I wyll never se my captayne fyght on a fylde, 9s 

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 Fitf here I fynde. 100 

And youe° wyll here any mor athe hountyng a the 

Yet ys ther mor behynde. [Chyviat, 

Ver. 88. on i.e. one. 

* This is probably corrupted in the MS. for Ro:^. Widdruighm, 
who was at the head of the family in the reign of K. Edw. III. 
There were several successively of the names of Roi::,cr and Ralph, 
but none of the name of Richard^ as appears from the genealogies 
in the Heralds' office. 

t Fit. 

[1 l)ut if. 2 one man for one. ^ for wot, know. 

■• two. ^ if you.J 



I^HE 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, 5 

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, 10 

With suar^ speares off myghtte tre 

The cum^ in on every syde. 

Thrughe our YnggHshe archery 

Gave many a wounde full wyde ; 
Many a doughete the garde to dy,^ 15 

Which ganyde them no pryde. 

The Yngglishe men let thear bowys be, 
And pulde owt brandes that wer bright ; 

It was a hevy syght to se 

Bryght swordes on basnites^ tyght. 20 

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

Ver. 3. first, z>./zV/2/. V. 5. byddys. PC. V. 17. boys. PC. 
V. 18. briggt. PC. V. 21. throrowe. PC. V. 22. done. PC. 

[* slew. 2 abides. ^ mischief, wrong. * sure. 

5 they come. ^ many a doughty one they made to die. 

' helmets. 

^ Mr. Skeat suggests that this is a corruption for manople, a 
large gauntlet. 

'^ many fierce ones they struck down.] 



Many a fre^ke/ that was full free, 
Ther undar foot dyd lyght. 

At last the Duglas and the Perse met, 25 

Lyk to capta)'ns of myght and mayne ; 

The swapte""^ togethar tyll the both swat" 
With swordes, that w^ear 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 the, Perse, sayd the Doglas, 

And i' feth I shall the brynge 
Wher thowe shake have a yerls wagis 35 

Of J amy our Scottish kynge. 

Thoue shake have thy ransom fre, * 

I hight^ the hear this thinge, 
For the manfully ste man yet art thowe. 

That ever I conqueryd in filde fightyng. 40 

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 45 

Forthe off a mightie wane,* 
Hit hathc strekene the yerle Duglas 

In at the brcst bane. 

Ver. 26. to, i.e. two. Ibid, and of. PC. V. 32. ran. J^C. 
V. 33. helde. PC. 

* JVa;ie, i.e. a//e, one, &c. man, an arrow came from a mighty 
one : from a mighty man. [misreading for ma;ie (?) see v. 63, fit. i . | 

[' strongman. ^ exchanged blows. ^ did sweat. 

* Milan steel. ''' men. *^ spurted out. '' promise.) 


Thoroue lyvar and longs bathe 

The sharp arrowe ys gane, so 

That never after in all his lyffe days, 

He spayke 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, 5S 

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, 60 

For a better man of hart, nare of hande 
Was not in all the north countre. 

Off all that se a Skottishe knyght. 

Was callyd Sir Hewe the Mongon-byrry, 

He sawe the Duglas to the deth was dyght' ; 65 

He spendyd^ a spear a trusti tre : 

He rod uppon a corsiare^ 

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

Tyll he came to the good lord Perse. 70 

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, 

Ver. 49. throroue. PC. V. 74. ber. PC. 
* This seems to have been a Gloss added. 

[' put. 2 grasped. ^ course 

■' he never lingered nor stopped. ^ blow.] 


A the tothar syde, that a man myght se, 75 

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

Then that day slain wear then 

An archar off Northomberlonde 

Say slean was the lord Perse, So 

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, 85 

He sat on Sir Hewe the Mongon-byrry. 

The dynt yt was both sad and sar,^ 

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

With his hart blood the wear wete.* 90 

Ther was never a freake wone foot wolde flc, 

But still in stour'^ dyd stand, 
Heawyng on yche othar,^ whyll the myght dre,* 

With many a bal-fiil brande. 

This battell begane in Chyviat 9S 

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

The battell was nat half done. 

The tooke ' on' on ethar hand 

Be the lyght off the mone ; 100 

MQx.ZQ.^^y,i.e. Sawe. V. 84. haylde. /T. V. 87. far. PC. 

* This incident is taken from the l)attle of Ottcrbourn ; in 
which Sir Hugh Montgomery, Knt. (son of John l,ord Mont- 
gomery) was slain with an arrow. Vid. CnnvfonVs Pccnii^c. 

\ ' sore. - fight. ^ hewing at each other. '' suffer. J 



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, 105 

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. no 

Thear was slayne with the lord Pense 

Sir John of Agerstone, 
Sir Roger the hinde'^ Hartly, 

Sir Wyllyam the bolde Hearone. 

Sir J org the worthe Lovele^ 115 

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 ; 120 

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, 125 

His sistars son was he : 

Sir Charles a Murre, in that place. 
That never a foot wolde fie ; 

Ver. 102. abou. FC. V. 108. strenge .... hy. J^C. V. 115. 
loule. jPC V. 121. in to, i.e. in two. V. 122. kny. FC. 

[' hills above. ^ gentle. ^ ]yij-. Skeat reads Louwbe.] 



Sir Hewe Maxwell, a lorde he was, 

With the Duglas dyd he dey. 130 

So on the morrowe the mayde them byears 

Offbyrch, and hasell so ' gray ;' 
Many wedous^ with wepyng tears,* 

Cam to fach ther makys"^ a-way. 

Tivydale may carpe"^ off care, 13s 

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, 140 

That dougheti Duglas, lyff-tenant of the Merches, 

He lay slean Chyviot with-in. 

His handdes dyd he weaP and wryng, 

He sayd, Alas, and woe ys me ! 
Such another captayn Skotland within, 145 

He sayd, y-feth shuld never be. 

Worde ys commyn to lovly Londone 
Till^ the fourth Harry our kyng, 

Ver. 132. gay. PC V. 136. mon. PC. V. 138. non. PC 
V. 146. ye feth. PC 

For the names in this and the foregoing page, see the Remarks 
at the end of the next ballad. 

* A common pleonasm, see the next poem, Fit. 2d. V. 155 ; so 
Harding in his Chronicle, chap. 140, fol. 148, describing the 
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 repHed with weeping 
teares," (S:c. 

[1 widows. "^ mates. ' comi)lain. 

■• on the marches (see ver. 173). * wail. * to, unlo.J 



That lord Perse, leyff-tennante of the Merchis, 

He lay slayne Chyviat within. 150 

God have mercl on his soil, sayd kyng Harry, 

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

As good as ever was hee : 
But Perse, and I brook^ my lyffe, 155 

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 Perse, 

He dyd the battel of Hombyll-down: 160 

Wher syx and thritte Skottish knyghtes 

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

Over castill, towar, and town. 

This was the hontynge off the Cheviat ; 165 

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 :* 170 

Ther was the dougghte Doglas slean. 

The Perse never went away. 

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. 176 

Ver. 149. cheyff tennante. PC. 

[^ if I enjoy. 2 requited, 

that tearing or pulling began this kick. ■* Monday.] 



Jhesue Christ our balys bete/ 

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

God send us all orood endincj! 180 

o o 

*#* 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 Hum- 
bledon is one mile northwest 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 Rcd-Riggs. 
Humbledon is in Glendale Ward, a district so named in this 
county, and mentioned above in ver. 163. 



_ HE only battle wherein an Earl of Douglas was slain 
,^;y fighting with a Percy was that of Otterbourn, which is 
P'"^ '^^ ^^^^ subject of this ballad. It is here related with the 
v^kS^^^l allowable partiality of an English poet, and much in 

the same manner as it is recorded in the English Chronicles. 
The Scottish \vriters have, with a partiality at least as excusable, 
related it no less in their own favout. Luckily we have a very cir- 
cumstantial 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 

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 

[' better our bales, or remedy our evils.] 


carried off 300 prisoners. It was with a much greater force, 
headed by some of the principal nobility, 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 J belonging 
to Henry lord Percy, sumamed Hotspur, son to the Earl of 
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 un- 
successful 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 

* 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. 

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

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

§ 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 march. 

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

\ Hotspur (after^a very sharp conflict) was taken prisoner by 
John, Lord Montgomery, whose eldest son. Sir Hugh, was slain in 
the same action with an arrow, according to Crawford's Peerage 
(and seems also to be alluded to in the foregoing ballad, p. 31), 
but taken prisoner and exchanged for Hotspur, according to this 

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


remained masters of the field ; and the Enghsh Avriters insinuating 
the contrary. These last maintain that the Enghsh had the better 
of the day : but night coming on, some of the northern lords, 
coming with the Bishop of Durham to their assistance, 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 

Such is the account collected by Carte, in which he seems not 
to be free from partiality : for prejudice must own that Froissart's 
circumstantial 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 Englyshmen on the one partye, and Scottes on the other 
party, are good men of warre, 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 Avyll 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 joyfuU, that suche as be taken, they shall be 
ransomed or they go out of the felde ;t so that shortely cche of 
them is so contcntc with other, that at their departynge curtoysly they 
7i<ili saye, God thanke you. But in fyghtynge one with another 
there is no playe, nor sparynge." Froissart's Chronicle (as trans- 
lated by Sir Johan Bourchier Lord Bemers), cap. cxlii. 

The following Ballad is (in this present edition) printed from an 
old MS. in the Cotton Library J {Cleopatra, c. iv.), and contains 
many stanzas more than were in the former copy, which was 
transcribed from a MS. in the Harleian Collection [No. 293, 
fol. 52.] In the Cotton MS. this poem has no title, but in the 
Harleian copy it is thus inscribed, A songe made in R. 2. his 
tyme of the battele of Otterbiir?ie, betweene Lord Henry Percye earle 
of Northotnberlande and the carle Douglas of Scotlande, Anno 13SS. 

* So in Langham's Lctte?- concerning Queen Elizabeth's entertain- 
ment at Killini^worth Castle, 1575, 12°. p. 61. " Heer was no ho in 
devout drinkyng." 

t 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 the friendship of Thomas Tynuhitt, Escp, late 
Clerk of the House of Commons. 



But this title is erroneous, and added by some ignorant tran- 
scriber 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 Z^r^ to an Earl's eldest son). 2. Altho' 
the battle was fought in Richard II.'s time, the song is evidently 
of later date, as appears from the poet's quoting the chronicles in 
Ft. 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 earUer. 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. 

[We have here a ballad founded upon a true historical event, in 
which the writer attempts to be as truthful as his national bias will 
allow him. In Chevy Chase, Percy is the aggressor, but in the 
" Battle of Otterbum," Douglas commences the encounter by 
his action. At the period under notice the king of England 
(Richard II.) was occupied in dissension with his uncle, the Duke 
of Gloucester, and the Parliament, while Robert II., King of 
Scotland, was very old, and his eldest son lame and inactive, so 
that the Border chieftains were pretty much left to their own 
devices. The Earl of Fife, a younger son of King Robert, and 
certain of the great nobles, arranged among themselves that an 
inroad should be made into England as a reprisal for the injuries 
the Scotch had at various times sustained from the Enghsh, and 
the expedition was placed under the command of James, Earl of 

Besides the ballad we are now considering there are metrical 
accounts of the battle in John Hardyng's Chronicle, Joannes de 
Fordun's Scoti-Chronicon, and Wyntoun's Orygynal Crony kil of 
Scotland. In 1857, Robert White pubHshed an interesting 
History of the Battle of Otterbum, fought in 1388, with Memoirs 
of the Warriors who engaged in that fnemorable conflict. This book 
is written in an enthusiastic spirit by one who was born and bred 
on the Borders, and who kept alive in his soul the true old Border 
spirit. He listened on his mother's knee to the stanzas of the 
modern ballad of Chevy Chase, which she chanted to him, and he 
grew up with a feeling which he retained through life, that 
Percy and Douglas were far greater men than Napoleon and 

The exact date of the battle is an open question, for the 



authorities disagree as to this particular ; thus Buchanan fixes it on 
July 2ist, and other writers name, respectively, August 5th, 9th, 
loth, 15th, and 19th. White thinks that the battle was fought on 
the evening of Wednesday and morning of Thursday, 19th and 
20th of August, immediately before the full moon. In the year 
13S8 the new moon fell on the 6th of August, and Douglas is not 
likely to have chosen a period of dark evenings for his expedi- 
tion. Another disputed point is the number of men in the 
Scottish army, under Douglas. Froissart gives the numbers at 
three or four hundred men-at-arms, and two thousand infantry ; 
Wyntoun, at near seven thousand men ; Buchanan, at three 
hundred horse and two thousand foot, besides servants and attend- 
ants ; Godscroft, at four thousand horsemen ; Ridpath, at three 
thousand men ; and Scott, at three hundred men-at-arms, who, 
with their followers, made up from a thousand to fifteen hundred 
men, with two thousand chosen infantry. White makes the 
following statement as the result of his sifting of the conflicting 
accounts: — 

Men-at-arms ....... 400 

Attendants on ditto, footmen, lackeys, and 

grooms ....... 1,200 

Infantry mounted ...... 2,000 

Attendants on ditto, boys to take care of horses, 

sutlers, &:c. ....... 3,000 


It has been supposed that the first part of this ballad down to 
verse 112 was originally of Scottish manufacture, for two reasons : 
I St, because Hume, of Godscroft, refers to "a Scots song," 
which begins as this does ; and 2nd, because haymaking has been 
over at least a month in England at Lammas, when Scotch 
husbandmen are still busy " ^vinning their hay." This last reason, 
however, cannot be considered a very conclusive one, as the 
seasons must be much alike on the two sides of the Border. The 
second part is written from a thoroughly English stand-point. The 
two Scottish versions, viz. the one given by Scott in his Alinstrclsy 
of the Scottish Border, and the one in Herd's Collection, are very 
different from the English ballad.] 




T felle 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, 5 

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

That race they may rue for aye. 

Over * Ottercap' hyll they J came in, 

And so dowyn by Rodelyffe cragge, ic 

Upon Grene * Leyton' they lyghted dowyn, 

Styrande ^ many a stagge : 

Ver. 2. winn their heaye. Harl. MS. This is the Northumber- 
land phrase to this day : by which they always express " getting in 
their hay." 

V. 12. 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 Northumberland. 

* Robert Stuart, second son of K. Robert II. 

t i. e. " over Solway frith." This evidently refers to the other 
division of the Scottish army, which came in by way of Carlisle. 
Bowynd, or Boicnde him ; i. e. hied him. 

\ They: sc. 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 Rodcley) 
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 Rodcley-castle, Green Ieyto7i 
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. 

\} prepared. ^ e^rl. ^ stirring.] 


And boldely brente' Northombcrlonde, 

And har)'ed^ many a towyn ; 
They dyd owr Ynglyssh men grete wrange,' 15 

To battell that were not bowyn.* 

Than spake a berne^ upon the bent,* 

Of com forte that was not colde, 
And sayd, We have brent Northombcrlond, 

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, 25 

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 ; 30 

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, 35 

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. 40 

Ver. 39. Syne seems here to mean since. 

* Marche-7fian, i. e. a scourer of the marches. 

f burnt. 2 pillaged. ' wrong. ■• ready. '' man. 

♦• field. ' advise. ** stoutly. ^ aloud. ,'" art. I 


Sir Harry Percy cam to the walks, 

The Skottyssh oste for to se ; 
" And thow hast brente Northomberlond, 

Full sore it rewyth^ me. 

Yf thou hast haryed all Bambarowe shyre, 45 

Thow hast done me grete envye '^^ 
For the trespasse thow hast me done, 

The tone^ of us schall dye." 

Where schall I byde the, sayd the Dowglas ? 

Or where wylte thow come to me ? 50 

** At Otterborne in the hygh way,* 

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, 55 

Amonge 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 Percy e. 60 

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. 

Ver. 53. Roe-bucks were to be found upon the wastes not far 
from Hexham in the reign of Geo. I. — Whitfield, Esq., of Whitfield, 
is said to have destroyed the last of them. 

V. 56. hye, MSS. 

* Otterbourn 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. 

[^ regrets. ^ injury. ^ ^^ Q^e. ^ roe. 

5 falcon and pheasant. ^ woods on high. ' come unto thee.] 


A pype of wyne he gave them over the walles, 65 

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, 70 

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 75 

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. 80 

He prycked^ to his pavyleon dore, 

As faste as he myght ronne, 
Awaken, Dowglas, cryed the knyght, 

For hys love, that syttes yn trone.'-' 

Awaken, Dowglas, cryed the knyght, 85 

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 : 90 

He durste not loke on my bred" banner, 
For all Ynglonde so haylle/"^ 

Ver. 77. upon the best bent. MS. 

\} truth. 2 pitched. ^ booty. "* then. ^ hovered. 
" spy. ■^ aware. * spurred. '•• enthroned. ^" joy. 

^^ broad. '^'^ strong.] 



Was I not yesterdaye at the Newe Castell, 

That stonds so fayre on Tyne ? 
For all the men the Percy hade, 95 

He cowde not garre^ me ones to dyne. 

He stepped owt at hys pavelyon dore, 

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

For here bygynnes no peysse.* 100 

The yerle of Mentaye,* thow arte my eme,^ 

The forwarde^ I gyve to the : 
The yerlle of Huntlay cawte^ and kene, 

He schall wyth the be. 

The lorde of Bowghanf in armure bryght 105 

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 bowen :^ no 

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


HE 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 : ' 

Ver. I, 13. Fearcy, all MSS. V. 4. I will hold to what I have 

* The Earl of Menteith. f The Lord Buchan. 

[^ force. 2 peace. ^ uncle. '^ van. ^ cautious. 

* ready. ^ promised or engaged.] 


For thow haste brente Northumberlonde, 5 

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,' 10 

And sayd, I have twenty agaynst 'thy' one/'' 

Byholde and thow maiste see. 

Wyth that the Percye was grevyd sore, 

For sothe as I yow saye : 
[f He lyghted dowyn upon his fote, 15 

And schootc^ his horsse clenc away. 

Every man sawe that he dyd soo. 

That r^'air^ was ever in rowght ;^ 
Every man schoote hys horsse him froo, 

And l}'ght hym rowynde abowght. 20 

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 ; as 

The cronykle wyll not layne :"* 
Forty thowsande Skottes and fowre 

That day fowght them agayne. 

But when the batell byganne to joyne, 

In hast ther came a knyght, 30 

Ver. 10. hyc, MSS. V. ii. the one, MS. 

• He probably magnifies his strength to induce him to surrender, 
t All that follows, included in brackets, was not in the first 

\} let go. 2 royal. ^ rout. ■• deceive.] 



' 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. 4° 

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, 45 

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, 5° 

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 55 

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. 60 

[^ eye. ^ break my word. ^ rather. 

■* flayed? * great maid. * reward.] 


Every man thynke on hys trewe love, 

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

Thys day wyll I not fle. 

The blodye Harte in the Dowglas armes, 65 

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 ; ^ 70 

The Lucetts and the Cressawnts both : 
The Skotts faught them agayne.*] 

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

And syne marked them one owr Ynglysshe men, 75 
As I have tolde yow ryght. 

Sent George the bryght owr ladyes knyght. 

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

And thrysse the schowtte agayne. 80 

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 ancient arms of Douglas are pretty accurately emblazoned 
in the former stanza, and if the readings were. The crotvncd 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 whyte lyon statant, and the silver crescent con- 
tinues to be used by them to this day. They also give three 
luces ardent for one of their quarters. 

t i.e. the English. 

\} commit himself to God by a sign. '^ SAy to you.] 


The Percy and the Dowglas mette, 85 

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

With swords of fyne Collayne ; ^ 

Tyll the bloode from ther bassonetts' ranne, 
As the roke^ doth in the rayne.^ 90 

Yelde the to me, sayd the Dowglas, 
Or ells thow schalt be slayne : 

For I see, by thy bryght bassonet, 

Thow arte sum man of myght ; 
And so I do by thy burnysshed brande,^ 95 

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. 100 

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, 105 

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 ; "o 

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

* Being all in armour he could not know him. 

S} swapped ? /. e. smote. ^ Cologne steel. ^ helmets. 

■* steam. ^ sword. ^ guessed. ' time.] 


The stonderds stode styll on eke syde, 

With many a grevous grone ; 
Ther the fowght the day, and all the nyght, 115 

And many a dowghty man was ' slone.' 

Ther was ho freke,' that ther wolde flye, 

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

Wyth many a bayllefull bronde. izo 

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, 125 

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 ; 130 

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 135 

Went but eyghtene awaye. 

Ver. 116. slayne. MSS. V. 124, i.e. He died that day. 

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

" fortemque Gyam, fortcmque Cloanthuni," &c. &c. 

Both the MSS. read here, ^^ Sir James" but see above, Pt. I., 
ver. 1 12. 

[^ man. ^ fight. ^ each one. ' endure. 

^ dreadfully. " truth.] 



Ther was slayne upon the Ynglysshe syde, 

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

Yt was the more petye. 140 

Syr James Harebotell ther was slayne, 

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

That the Percyes standerd bore. 

Ther was slayne uppon the Ynglyssh perte, 145 

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

Fyve hondert cam awaye : 

The other were slayne In the fylde, 

Cryste kepe ther sowles from wo, 150 

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 155 

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.* 160 

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

Ver. 143. Covelle. MS. For the names in this page, see the 
remarks at the end of this ballad. V. 153. one, i.e. on. 

* sc. captive. 

[' mates. 2 fetch.] 


For soth as I yow saye, 

He borowed the Percy home agayne.* 

Now let us all for the Percy praye 165 

To Jesu most of myght. 
To bryng h)-s 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 


'ECOND Fit, ver. 112. As;crstoncr\ The family oi Haggcr- 
ston of Haggerston, near Berwick, has been seated there 
for many centuries, and still remains. Thomas Haggaston 
was among the commissioners returned for Northumberland in 
12 Hen. 6, 1433. (Fuller's IVort/iics, p. 310.) The head of this 
family at present is Sir Thomas Haggerston, Bart., of Haggerston 

N.B. The name is spelt Agcrstonc, as in the text, in Leland's 
Itinerary, vol. vii. p. 54.^ 

Ver. 113. Hartly.^ Hartley is a village near the sea in the 
barony of Tinemouth, about 7 m. from North-Shields. It pro- 
bably 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. Iladdesto/i, the 
Caput Baroniae of Heron, was their ancient residence. It descended 

Ver. 165. Percyes. — Ilarl. MS. 

* 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 Perssy." 

[' Sir Walter Scott suggests that the person here alluded to was 
one of the Rulherfords, barons of Fdgerstane or I'^dgcrston, who 
at this time were retainers of the house of Douglas, but in Chay 
Chase Sir John of Agerstone was on Percy's side.J 


25 Edw. I. to the heir general Emiline Heron, afterwards Baroness 
Darcy. — Ford, &=c., and Bockenficld (in com. eodem) went at the 
same time to Roger Heron, the heir male ; whose descendants 
were summoned to Parliament : Sir William Hejvn 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 Ric/iard 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 Heions of 
Chip-Chase, another branch of the Herons of Ford Castle. 

Ver. 115. Lovele.~\ Joh. de Lav ale, miles, was sheriff of North- 
umberland 34 Hen. VIII. Joh. de Lavele, ?7iil. 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 oi Delaval, 
of Seaton Delaval, in Northumberland, whose ancestor was one of 
the 25 Barons appointed to be guardians oi Magna Charta. * 

Ver. 117. Rugbe.'] The ancient family o{ Rokeby, in Yorkshire, 
seems to be here intended. In Thoresby's Ducat. Lcod., p. 253, 
fol., is a genealogy 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, Knt., Ralph being a common name of the 

Ver. 119. Wetharrington.'] Rog. de Widrington was sheriff of 
Northumberland in 36 of Edw. III. (Fuller, p. 311.) — Joh. de 
Widrington in 1 1 of Hen. IV. and many others of the same name 
afterwards. — See also Nicholson, p. 331. — Of this family was the 
late Lord Witherington. 

Ver. 124. Mo?igonberfy.'] Sir Hugh Monfgofnery was son oijohn 
Lord Montgomery, the lineal ancestor of the present Earl of 
Eglington. ' 

Ver. 125. Lwdale.'] The ancient family of the Liddels were origi- 
nally 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.^ 

[1 This is a misreading, as the person intended was a Lumley. 
'^ Sir W. Scott supposes " Sir Rafife the ryche Rugbe" to be Sir 
Ralph Neville of Raby Castle, son of the first Earl of Westmore- 
land, and cousin-german to Hotspur. He is called Sir Ralph 
Raby in the modern version of the ballad. 
^ More probably the Sir David Lambwell of the modern version.] 



Ver. loi. McntayeP\ At the time of this battle the Earldom of 
ATenteith was possessed by Robert Stewart, Earl of Fife, third sou 
of K. 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 tlie 
ballad was >\Titten. See Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, 1764, fol. 

Ver. 103. Hiintleye?^ This shews this ballad was not composed 
before 1449; for in that year Alexander Lord of Gordon and 
Huntley, was created Earl oi Huntley, by K. James II. 

Ver. 105. Boii'ghan?^ The Earl of Bitchan at that time was 
Alexander Stacart, fourth son of K. Robert II. 

Ver. lo"]. Jhonstonc — Ma-xwell.'] These two families oi John- 
stone Lord of Johnston, and Maxwell Lord of Maxwell, were 
always very powerful on the borders. Of the former family was 
Johnston Alarquis 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 Herbert Maxwell was about this time 
much distinguished. (See Doug.) This might have been ori- 
ginally written Sir H. Alaxwell, and by transcribers converted 
into Sir Hugh. So above, in No. I. v. 90. Ricluird is contracted 
into Ric. 

Ver. 109. SwtntoneS\ i.e. The Laird of Swintone; a small vil- 
lage Avithin the Scottish border, 3 miles from Norham. This 
family still subsists, and is very ancient. 

Ver. III. Scotte.'] The illustrious family oi Scot, ancestors of 
the Duke of Buccleugh, always made a great figure on the borders. 
Sir Walter Scot was at thg^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. Steiuarde.'\ The person here designed was probably Sir 
Walter Stc7vart, Lord of Dalswinton and Oairlies, who was 
eminent at that time. (See Doug.) From him is descended the 
Ijresent Earl of Galloway. 

Ver. 112. Agurstonne.] The seat of this family was sometimes 
subject to the kings of Scotland. Thus Richardus Haggerstoiin, 
miles, is one of the Scottish knights who signed a treaty with the 
English in 1249, temp. Hen. III. (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. Miirreyr\ 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. Peerage. 

Ver. 139. Fitz-hughe.'] Dugdale (in his Baron, v. i. p. 403) in- 
forms us \hzlJohn, son of Henry Lord Fitz/mgh, was killed at the 
battle of Otterbourne. This was a Northumberland family. Vid. 
Dugd. p. 403, col. I, and Nicholson, pp. 33, 60. 

Ver. 141. Harbotle.~\ Harbottle is a village upon the river 
Coquet, about 10 m. west of Rothbury. The family of Harbottle 
was once considerable in Northumberland. (See Fuller, pp. 312, 
313.) A daughter of Gidschard Harbottle, Esq., married Sir 
Thomas Percy, Knt., son of Henry the fifth, — and father of 
Thomas seventh, Earls of Northumberland. 


A Scottish Ballad, 

fS 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 prac- 

_ tice which has been always alledged 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 malicious. 

The following ballad is probably built upon some Italian legend, 
and bears a great 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 there murdered by the 
Jews in the reign of Henry HI. The conclusion of this ballad 
appears to be wanting : what it probably contained may be seen 


in Chaucer. As for AFirryland Toiin, it is probably a corruption 
of Milan (called by the Dutch Mcylandt) Town : the Pa is evi- 
dently the river Po; although the Adige, not the Po, runs through 

Printed from a MS. copy sent from Scotland. 

[This ballad, which is also known under the title of Sir Hugh of 
Lincoln, was at one time so widely popular that it is preserved in 
six different versions, besides fragments, and has originated a litera- 
ture of its own. INIons. Francisc^ue Michel discovered a Norman- 
French version in the Royal Library at Paris, which is supposed 
to date back to the period when the murder of Sir Hugh was 
to have been committed. This was first published in the year 
1834 under the title, " Hugues de Lincoln : Recueil de Ballades 
Anglo-Nomiande et Ecossoises relatives au meurtre de cet enfant 
commis par les Juifs en mcclv." The Rev. Dr. A. Hume commu- 
nicated a very full paper on the subject of the tradition to the 
Literary and Philosophical Society of Liverpool, on November 13, 
1848, which is published in the Proceedings (No. 5), and Mr. 
J. O. HaUiwell printed, in 1S49, a small volume containing 
" Ballads and Poems respecting Hugh of Lincoln." In the 
Athc7iieiim for Dec. 15, 1849, there is a condemnatory review of 
Dr. Hume's work, to which the reviewer has added some valuable 
infomiation of his own. Percy's remark that Alirryland town is a 
corruption of Milan town, and Pa of tlie river Po, seems far-fetched, 
as there is no reason for supposing that the ballad was in any way 
connected with Italy. Jamieson's version reads Merry Lincoln, 
and in Motherwell's the scene is changed to Maitkmd town. In 
some parts of England the ballad has degenerated into a sort of 
nursery rhyme, the Northamptonshire version reading " Merry 
Scotland," and the Shropshire one, " Merry-cock land." Mr. J. 
H. Dixon suggests jnerc-land town, from the mere or fen lakes, and 
reads wa' for Pa'. {Notes and Queries, 3rd Series, vol. ix. p. 30, 

Miss Agnes Strickland communicated the following lines ob- 
tained from oral tradition at Godalming, in Surrey, to Mr. HaUiwell, 
who printed them in his tract : — 

" He toss'd the ball so high, so high, 
He toss'd the ball so low ; 
He toss'd the ball in the Jew's garilen. 
And the Jews were all below. 

" Oh ! then out came the Jew's daughter, 
She was dressed all in green : 
* Come hither, come hither, my sweet pretty fellow, 
And fetch your ball again.'" 


The tradition upon which this ballad is founded— that the Jews 
use human blood in their preparation for the Passover, and are in 
the habit of kidnapping and butchering Christian children for the 
purpose — is very widely spread and of great antiquity. Eisen- 
menger* refers to a case which occurred at Inmestar, in Syria, so 
early as the year 419, but the earliest case recorded as having oc- 
curred in Europe is that of William of Norwich, in 1137. The 
following is a translation from a passage in the Peterborough 
Chronicle (which ends with the death of Stephen and the accession 
of Henry the Second), relating to this remarkable superstition : — 
" Now we mil say something of what happened in King Stephen's 
time. In his time the Jews of Norwich bought a Christian child 
before Easter, and tortured him with all the same torturing that 
our Lord was tortured. And on Good Friday (lang fridai) they 
hanged him on a cross, for our Lord's love ; and afterwards buried 
him. They thought (wenden) that it should be concealed, but 
our Lord showed that he was a holy martyr (mr), and the monks 
took him and buried him solemnly in the monastery (minst). 
And he maketh through our Lord wonderful and manifold miracles. 
And he was called Saint William." Mr. Earle, in his note to this 
passage,! says that " S. William seems to have retained his 
celebrity down to the time of the Reformation, at least in Norfolk. 
In Loddon church, which is advanced perpendicular of about 
1500, there is a painting of his crucifixion on a panel of the rood- 
screen, still in fair preservation." 

St. William's fame, however, was eclipsed in other parts of Eng- 
land by that of Sir Hugh of Lincoln, whose death was celebrated 
by historians and poets. Henry III. being often in want of 
money, was glad to take any opportunity of extorting it from the un- 
fortunate Jews, and in 1255 his exchequer particularly required 
replenishing on account of the expected arrival in England of his 
son Edward's newly married wife, Eleanor of Castile. In this year 
a young boy was murdered, and, opportunely for the king, the 
crime was charged to the Jews. It was asserted that the child 
had been stolen, fattened on bread and milk for ten days, and 
crucified with all the cruelties and insults of Christ's passion, in 
the presence of all the Jews in England, who had been summoned 
to Lincoln for the purpose. The supposed criminals were brought 
to justice, and the king's commission for the trial, and the warrant 
to sell the goods of the several Jews who were found guilty, are 
still preserved. The Jew into whose house the child had gone to 
play, tempted by the promise of his life, made a full confession, 
and threw the guilt upon his brethren. Ninety-one Jews of Lin- 

[* Entdecktcs Judetithum, vol. ii. p. 220. 

I Ttvo of the Saxon Chronicles Parallel, 1865, p. 371-] 


coin were sent to London as accomplices, and thrown into 
dungeons. Eighteen of the richest were hanged on a gallows, and 
twenty more imprisoned in the Tower of London. The king was 
enriched by the spoils, and the clergy of Lincoln did not lose their 
opportunity, for the minster was made famous by the possession of 
the martyr's tomb. Dean Milman, in relating these circumstances, 
says : " Great part of the story refutes itself, but I have already 
admitted the possibility that among the ignorant and fanatic Jews 
there might be some who, exasperated by the constant repetition 
of the charge, might brood over it so long, as at length to be 
tempted to its perpetration."* Any such explanation as this, how- 
ever, does not seem necessary, for the wide-spread existence of 
the superstition goes far to prove the entire falsehood at least of 
the later cases, and the story of Sir Hugh was but a revival of that 
of St. William. It is worth mentioning, in passing, that this 
calumny was in fact a recoil upon the Jews themselves of a 
weapon they had used against the Christians. As early as the 
third century they affirmed that Christians in celebrating their 
mysteries used to kill a child and eat its flesh. Pagans probably 
learnt the calumny from the Jews, and also charged the Christians 
with eating children. 

The whole proceedings in the case of Sir Hugh are chronicled 
by Matthew Paris, Avho was in high favour with Henry IH., and 
from his pages the account is transferred to the Chronicles of 
Grafton, Fabyan, and Holinshed. Chaucer most probably con- 
sulted the same source when he included the story in his Canter- 
bury Talcs, although he shifts the scene to Asia, and makes his 
Prioress say, when ending her tale with a reference to Sir Hugh : — 

" O younge Hughe of Lyncoln ; slayn also 
With cursed Jewes (as it is notable, 
For it nys but a litcl ivhile ago)." 

Tyrvvhitt, in his edition of Chaucer, notes that he found in the 
first four months of the Acta Sanctorum of Bollandus the names of 
five children canonized as having been murdered by the Jews, and 
he supposes that the remaining eight months would furnish at least 
as many more. Tynvhitt accepts Percy's interpretation of Mirry- 
land as a corruption of the name of Milan, and under this 
erroneous impression he suggests that the real occasion of the 
ballad may have been the murder of the boy Simon, at Trent, 
in 1475. t 

[* History of the Jews, ed. 1863, vol. iii. [). 249. 
t Mr. Hales points out to me the following reference to the 
superstition in Marlowe s y^rc' of Malta, acl iii. : — 


The superstition upon which all these stories are founded is said 
still to prevail among the ignorant members of the Greek Church, 
and it was revived at Damascus in 1840 in consequence of the 
disappearance of a priest named Thomaso. Two or three Jews 
were put to death before a proper judicial examination could be 
made, and the popular fury was so excited that severe persecution 
extended through a large part of the Turkish empire. Sir Moses 
Montefiore visited the various locaUties with the object of obtain- 
ing redress for his people, and he was successful. On November 
6, 1840, a firman for the protection of the Jews was given at Con- 
stantinople, which contained the following passage : — " An ancient 
prejudice prevailed against the Jews. The ignorant believed that 
the Jews were accustomed to sacrifice a human being, to make use 
of his blood at the Passover. In consequence of this opinion the 
Jews of Damascus and Rhodes, who are subjects of our empire, 
have been persecuted by other nations. . . . But a short time 
has elapsed since some Jews dwelling in the isle of Rhodes were 
brought from thence to Constantinople, where they had been tried 
and judged according to the new regulations, and their innocence 
of the accusations made against them fully proved." The calumny, 
however, was again raised in October, 1847, and the Jews were in 
imminent peril when the missing boy, who had been staying at 
Baalbec, reappeared in good health. 

Within the last few years the Greek Patriarch at Constantinople 
has issued a pastoral letter, in which he points out the wickedness 
of the Christian persecution of the Jews. He says : *' Superstition 
is a detestable thing. Almost all the Christian nations of the East 
have taken up the extravagant idea that the Israehtes enjoy shed- 
ding Christian blood, either to obtain thereby a blessing from 
heaven, or to gratify their national rancour against Christ. Hence 
conflicts and disturbances break out, by which the social harmony 
between the dwellers in the same land, yea, the same fatherland, 
is disturbed. Thus a report was lately spread of the abduction of 
little Christian children in order to give a pretext for suspicion. 
We on our side abhor such lying fancies ; we regard them as the 
superstitions of men of weak faith and narrow minds ; and we 
disavow them officially." 

" Friar Jaco7no. Why, what has he done ? 

Friar Barnardinc. A thing that makes me tremble to unfold. 

Jac. What, has he crucified a child ? 

Bar. No, but a worse thing ; 'twas told me in shrift ; 
Thou know'st 'tis death, an if it be reveal'd." 

Dyce in his note quotes from Reed a reference to Tovey's Anglia 
Judaica, where instances of such crucifixion are given.] 


The superstition, however, still lives on, and according to the 
Levant Herald {x^lAr), the Mahometans are beginning to fell into 
the delusion that the sacrificial knife is applied by the Jews to 
young Turks as well as to young Christians.] 

HE rain rins doun through Mirry-land 
Sae dois it doune the Pa : 
Sae dois the lads of Mirry-land toune, 
Ouhan they play at the ba'.' 

Than out and cam the Jewis dochter, 5 

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 yong thing in : 10 

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 yong thing and his life ; 15 

A word he nevir spak main 

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 life left in. 20 

Scho laid him on a dressing borde, 

And drest him like a swine, 
And laughing said, Gae nou and pley 

With your sweit play-feres nine. 

[1 ball. 2 play-fellows. ^ she. 

•♦ pulled. ^ dress. * parted in two.] 


Scho rowd^ him in a cake of lead, 25 

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 : 30 

Than ilka lady had her yong 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, 3S 

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^ ye your sonne wad seik." 40 

Lady Helen ran to the deip draw-well, 

And knelt upon her kne : 
My bonny sir Hew, an^ ye be here, 

I pray thee speik to me. 

*' The lead is wondrous heavy, mither, 45 

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, 50 

And at the back o' Mirry-land toun. 

Its thair we twa fall meet." 

* * * * 

\} she rolled. ^ if. ^ jf 4 cannot] 



'HIS old romantic tale was preserved in the Editor's 
^^^j. folio MS. but in so very defective and mutilated a 
^^^ condition (not from any chasm in the MS. but from 
great omission in the transcript, probably copied 
from the faulty recitation of some illiterate minstrell), and the 
whole appeared so far short of the perfection it seemed to de- 
serve, that the Editor was tempted to add several stanzas in the 
first part, and still more in the second, to connect and compleat 
the story in the manner wliich 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, as ver. 31, &c. 
is an irregularity I do not remember to have seen elsewhere. 

It may be proper to inform the reader before he comes to Pt. ii. 
v. no, III, that the Round Table was not peculiar to the reign of 
K. Arthur, but was common in all the ages of chivalry. The pro- 
claiming a great turnament (probably with some peculiar solem- 
nities) 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 
K. Edw. 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 turnaments Hastiludia Men sec Rotundcc. 

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 man- 
ners : 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 surgery. In the Northern C'hronirlos 
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 Q. Elizabeth, it is mentioned among the accom- 
plishments of the ladies of her court, that the " eldest of them are 
skilful in surgery." See Harrison's Description of England, pre- 
fixed to Hollinshed's Chronicle, ^^c. 

[This story of Sir Caidine furnishes one of the most flagrant 
instances of Percy's manipulation of his authorities. In the fol- 
lowing poem all the verses which are due to Percy's invention are 
placed between brackets, but the whole has been so much altered 
by him that it has been found necessary to reprint the original 
from the folio MS. at the end in order that readers may compare 
the two. Percy put into his version several new incidents and 
altered the ending, by which means he was able to dilute the 
201 lines of the MS. copy into 392 of his own. There was no 
necessity for this perversion of the original, because the story is 
there complete, and moreover Percy did not sufficiently indicate 
the great changes he had made, for although nearly every verse is 
altered he only noted one trivial difference of reading, viz. auke- 
ward for backward (v. 109). 

Motherwell reprinted this ballad in his Minstrelsy, and in his 
prefatory note he made the following shrewd guess, which we now 
know to be a correct one: — "We suspect too that the ancient 
ballad had a less melancholy catastrophe, and that the brave Syr 
Cauline, after his combat with the ' hend Soldan' derived as 
much benefit from the leechcraft of fair Cristabelle as he did after 
winning the Eldridge sword." Professor Child has expressed the 
same view in his note to the ballad. 

Buchan printed a ballad entitled King Malcolm and Sir Colvln, 
which is more Hke the original than Percy's version, but Mr. Hales 
is of opinion that this was one of that collector's fabrications.] 


Ireland, ferr over the sea, 
There dwelleth a bonnye kinge ; 
And with him a yong and comlye knighte, 
Men call him syr Cauline. 

* See Northern Antiquities, &'c. vol. i. p. 318; vol. ii. p. 100. 
Memoires de la Chevalcrie, torn. i. p. 44. 



S//^ CAULINE. 6 

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 CauHne 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, 15 

To care-bed went the kniijhte. 

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. 20 

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 aunswcrde him a courteous knighte, 25 

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 : 30 

Goe take him doughe,^° and the baken bread, 

\} mate. ^ describe. ^ maiden. "• grief. 

* wrought. ''' sorrow. '^ must. ^ made ready. 

^ medical care. 

^^^ This is an odd misreading of Percy's. The MS. has " I and 
take you doe and the baken bread," where doe is the auxihary verb 
and the a«^ redundant.] 



And serve him with the wyne soe red ; 
Lothe I were him to tine/ 

Fair Christabelle to his chaumber goes, 

Her may dens followyng nye : ss 

O well, she sayth, how doth my lord ? 

sicke, thou fayr ladye. 

Nowe ryse up wightlye,^ man, for shame, 

Never lye soe cowardlee ; 
For it is told in my fathers halle, 40 

You dye for love of mee. 

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, 45 

No lenger wold I lye. 

[Sir knighte, my father is a kinge, 

1 am his onlye heire ; 

Alas ! and well you knowe, syr knighte, 

I never can be youre fere. 5° 

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, 55 

My bacheleere to bee, 
( But ever and aye my heart wold rue, 

Giff^ harm shold happe to thee,)] 

Upon Eldridge^ hill there groweth a thorne. 
Upon the mores brodinge ;^ 60 

[1 lose. ^ swiftly. ^ pain I suffer. "^ knight. 

5 if. ^ spectral, lonesome. ^ wide moors.] 


And dare ye, syr knighte, wake there all nighte 
Until the fayre morninge ? 

For the Eldridge knighte, so mickle' of mighte, 

Will examine you beforne :"^ 
And never man bare life awaye, 65 

But he did him scath' and scorne. 

[That knighte he is a foul paynim/ 

And large of limb and bone ; 
And but if heaven may be thy speede, 

Thy life it is but gone. 70 

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 own chaumbere, 75 

Her maydens following bright : 
[Syr Cauline lope^ from care-bed soone, 
And to the Eldridge hills is gone,] 

F'or to wake there all nigrht. 

Unto midnicrht, that the moone did rise, 80 

He walked up and downe ; 
Then a lightsome bugle heard he blowe 

Over the bents ^' soe browne ; 
Quoth hee, If cryance come tilF my heart, 

I am ffar from any good towne. 85 

And soone he spyde on the mores so broad, 

A furyous wight and fell f 
A ladye bright his brydle led. 

Clad in a fayre kyrtell : 

* Pcrliaps loakr, as abo\'C in vcr. 61. 

[' great. '^ before. ^ harm. * pagan. '' leaped. 
" ficld.s. ' if fear rome to. ** fierce.] 


And soe fast he called on syr Cauline, 90 

man, I rede' thee flye, 

For ' but ' if cryance comes till thy heart, 

1 weene but thou mun dye. 

He sayth, ' No ' cryance comes till my heart, 
Nor, in faith, I wyll not flee ; 95 

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,] 100 

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, 105 

They all were well-nye brast.^] 

The Eldridge knight was mickle of might. 

And stiffe in stower^ did stande, 
But syr Cauline with a ' backward ' stroke, 

He smote off his right hand ; no 

That soone he with paine and lacke of bloud 

Fell downe on that lay-land.^ 

[Then up syr Cauline lift his brande 

All over his head so hye : 
And here I sweare by the holy roode, 115 

Nowe, caytiffe, thou shalt dye. 

Ver. 109, aukeward. MS. 

* /. e. Knights. See the Preface to Child Waters, vol. iii. 

[1 advise. ^ mentioned. ^ gpijj.^ 4 j^jj^ 

* burst. ^ battle. "^ green sward.] 


Then up and came that ladye brighte, 

Fast wrinoinor of her hande : 
For the maydens love, that most you love, 

Withold that dcadlye brande : 120 

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 kni'ohte, 125 

And here on this lay-land. 
That thou wilt believe on Christ his layc,^ 

And therto plight thy hand : 

And that thou never on Eldrido^e come 

To sporte, gamon,' or playe : n© 

And that thou here give up thy armes 
Until thy dying daye. 

The Eldridge knighte gave up his armes 

With many a sorrowfulle sighe ; 
And sware to obey syr Caulines hest, 135 

Till the tyme that he shold dye.] 

And he then up and the Eldridge knighte 

Sett him in his saddle anone. 
And the Eldridge knighte and his ladye 

To theyr castle are they gone. 140 

[Then he tooke up the bloudy hand, 
That was so larg-e of bone. 


And on it he founde five rincfes of cfold 


Of knic^htes that had be slone.^ 


Then he tooke up the Eldridge sworde, us 

As hard as any Hint : 

[» commands. "^ law. •' ri;,'hl. ' slain.] 


And he tooke off those ringes five, 

As bright as fyre and brent- 
Home then pricked^ syr CauHne 

As Hght as leafe on tree : 150 

I-wys he neither stint ne blanne,*'' 

Till he his ladye see. 

Then downe he knelt upon his knee 

Before that lady gay : 
O ladye, I have bin on the Eldridge hills : 155 

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. 160 

O ladye, I am thy own true knighte. 

Thy hests for to obaye : 
And mought I hope to winne thy love ! 

Ne more his tonge colde say. 

The ladye blushed scarlette redde, 165 

And fette'^ a gentill sighe : 
Alas ! syr knight, how may this bee. 

For my degree's soe highe ? 

But sith thou hast hight,* thou comely youth. 
To be my batchilere, 170 

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, 175 

[' spurred. ^ neither stopped nor lingered. ^ fetched. 

■* since thou hast engaged. ''' mate.] 


His heart was brought from bale to blisse, 
The teares sterte^ from his ee. 

But keep my counsayl, syr CauRne, 

Ne let no man it knowe ; 
For and ever my father sholde it ken, 180 

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 sieht. 



Yea and oftentimes they mette 

Within a fayre arboure, 
Where they in love and sweet daliaunce 

Past manye a pleasaunt 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 Sigismmtda and Guiscard, as told by Boccace and Dryden. 
See the latter's description of the lovers meeting in the cave ; and 
those beautiful lines, which contain a reflection so like this of our 
poet, " everye 7ohitc,'^ &c., viz. : 

" But as extremes are short of ill and good. 
And tides at highest mark regorge their flood ; 
So Fate, that could no more improve their joy, 
Took a malicious pleasure to destroy 
Tancred, who fondly loved," &c. 

[1 started. ^ I know he would sla^ us.] 



|VERYE white will have its blacke, 
And everye sweete its sowre : 
I^HI This founde the ladye Christabelk 
In an untimely howre. 

For so it befelle, as syr Cauline 5 

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, lo 

He found his daughter and syr Cauhne 

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, is 

And re we 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. 20 

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 25 

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. 

\} verily. 2 bond or covenant.] 


All woe-begone was that gentil knight 30 

To parte from his ladye ; 
And many a time he sighed sore, 

And cast a wistfulle eye : 
Faire Christabelle, from thee to parte, 

Farre lever^ had I dye. 3S 

Faire Christabelle, that ladye bright, 

Was had forthe of the towre ; 
But ever shee droopeth in her minde, 
As nipt by an ungentle winde 

Doth some faire lillye flowre. 40 

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 kynge, and manye a duke, 45 

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, so 

The kynge proclaimed a tourneament, 
To cheere his dauijhters mind : 

And there came lords, and there came knights, 

Fro manye a farre countrye. 
To break a spere for theyr ladycs love 55 

Before that faire ladye. 

And many a ladye there was sette 

In purple and in palle :^ 
But faire Christabelle soe woe-begone 

Was the fay rest of them all. 60 

\} ratlier. '^ lose. 

^ nigh. ^ fine cloth. | 


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, 65 

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. 

And now three days were prestlye^ past 70 

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 ;* 75 

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, 80 

All wan and pale of blee.^ 

Sir, quoth the dwarffe, and louted^ lowe, 

Behold that hend« Soldain ! 
Behold these heads I beare with me ! 

They are kings which he hath slain. 85 

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. 90 

[^ leather jacket. ^ (-gat of mail. ^ quickly. "* countenance. 
^ flashed. ^ complexion. '' bowed. ^ courteous. ^ injured.] 


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 ; 95 

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 : 100 

Is there never a knighte of my round table, 
This matter will underofoe ? 

[Is there never a knighte amongst yee all 
Will fight for my daughter and mee ? 

Whoever will fight yon grimme soldan, 105 

Right fair his meede shall bee. 

For hee shall have my broad lay-lands. 

And of my crowne be heyre ; 
And he shall winne fayre Christabelle 

To be his wedded fere. no 

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, us 

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 : 120 

He fight for thee with this grimme soldan, 

Thoughe he be unmacklye ' made. 

\} bum. 2 equal. ^ mis-shapen.] 


And if thou wilt lend me the Eldridge sworde, 

That lyeth within thy bowre, 
I truste in Christe for to slay this fiende 125 

Thoughe he be stiff in stowre. 

Goe fetch him downe the Eldridge sworde, 

The kinge he cryde, with speede : 
Nowe heaven assist thee, courteous knighte ; 

My daughter is thy meede/ 130 

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 135 

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 ; 140 

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, 145 

And thrice she deeply sighde. 

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. 150 

The soldan strucke a third fell stroke, 
Which brought the kniofhte on his knee : 

Sad sorrow pierced that ladyes heart, 
And she shriekt loud shriekings three. 

\} reward. ^ detainest. ^ give blows.] 


The knighte he leapt upon his feete, 155 

All recklesse of the pain : 
Quoth hee, But^ heaven be now my speedc, 

Or else'^ I shall be slaine. 

He grasped his sworde with mayne and mighte, 
And spying a secrette part, 160 

He drave it into the soldan's syde, 
And pierced him to the heart. 

Then all the people gave a shoute, 

Whan they sawe the soldan falle : 
The ladye wept, and thanked Christ, 165 

That had reskewed her from thrall.^ 

And nowe the kino-e with all his barons 

Rose uppe from offe his seate. 
And downe he stepped into the listes, 

That curteous knighte to greete. 170 

But he for payne and lacke of bloude 

Was fallen into a swounde, 
And there all walteringe in his gore, 

Lay lifelesse on the grounde. 

Come downe, come downe, my daughter deare, 175 

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 ; iSo 

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 

When he heard his ladye crye, 185 

[' unless. 

2 " or else," redundant from a misunderstanding of the word but. 
^ captivity. ' rather. '" come to harm.) 



O ladye, I am thine owne true love ; 

For thee I wisht to dye. I 

Then giving her one partinge looke, 

He closed his eyes in death, 
Ere Christabelle, that ladye milde, 190 

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. 195 

O staye, my deare and onlye lord, 

For mee thy faithfulle feere ; ^ 
'Tis meet that I shold followe thee. 

Who hast bought my love soe deare. 

Then fayntinge in a deadlye swoune, 200 

And with a deepe-fette ^ sighe, 
That burst her gentle hearte in twayne, 

Fayre Christabelle did dye.] 

[f^^^^HE following is the original ballad from which Percy con- 
Iv^lly^ cocted his own. It is reprinted from Bishop Percy i Folio 
^^i^^ MS.,ed. Hales and Fiirtiivall, vol. iii. p. i. 

lesus : lord mickle of might, 

that dyed fifor vs on the roode 
to maintaine vs in all our right, 

that loues true English blood. 

ffor by a ILnight I say my song, - 5 

was bold & ffull hardye ; 
S/r Robert Briuse wold fforth to fhght 

in-to Ireland ouer the sea ; 

[' mate. 2 deep-drawn.] 



& in t}ia\ land dwells a king 

w^/ch ouer all does beare the bell, 
& w/th him there dwelled a curteous K///>//t, 

men call him S/r Cawline. 

And he hath a Ladyc to his daughter, 

of ftashyon shee hath noe peere ; 
Y^nighh, & lordes they woed her both, 1 5 

trusted to haue beene her peere. 

S/r Cawline loues her best of one, 

but nothing durst hee say 
to discreeue his councell to noe man, 

but deerlye loued this mayd. 20 

till itt beftell vpon a day, 

great dill to him was dight ; 
the maydens loue remoued his mind, 

to care bed went the Knight ; 

& one while he spread his armes him ffroe, 25 

& cryed soe pittyouslye 
" ffor the maydens loue thaX. I haue most minde, 

this day may comfort mee, 
or else ere noone I shalbe dead ! " 

thus can S/r Cawline say. 30 

when our p^rrish masse thai itt was done, 

& our king was bowne to dine, 
he sayes, " where is S/r Cawline 

thaX. was wont to serue me w/th ale and wine ? 

but then answered a curteous Y^iiighX. 35 

ffast -wTinginge his hands, 
" S/r Cawlines sicke, & like to be dead 

w/thout and a good leedginge." 

" ffeitch yee downe my daughter deerc, 

shee is a Leeche fifull ffine ; 40 

I, and take you doe & the baken breads 
and eene on the wine soe red, 
& looke no day[ njtinesse ffor him to deare, 

for ffuU loth I wold him teene." 

this Ladye is gone to his chamber, 45 

her maydens ffollowing Nye, 
" () well," shee sayth, " how doth my T-ord?" 

" O sicke ! " againe saith hee. 


'* I, but rise vp wightlye, man, for shame ! 

neuer lye soe cowardlye here ! 50 

itt is told in my ffathers hall, 

ffor my loue you will dye." 

" itt is ffor yma Loue, ffayre Ladye, 

tha\. all this dill I drye. 
ffor if you wold comfort me w/th a Kisse, 55 

then were I brought ffrom bale to blisse ; 

noe longer here wold I lye." 

" alas ! soe well you know, S/r Y^nighi, 

I cannott bee joux peere." 
" ffor some deeds of armes ffaine wold I doe 60 

to be yo?/r Bacheeleere." 

" vpon Eldridge hill there growes a thorne 

vpon the mores brodinge ; 
& wold you, S/r Knight, wake there all night 

to day of the other Morninge ? 65 

" ffor the Eldrige Y^iitg thai is mickle of Might 

will examine you beforne ; 
& there was neuer man thai bare his liffe away 

since the day that I was borne." 

" but I will ffor your sake, ffaire Ladye, 70 

walke on the bents [soe] browne, 
& lie either bring you a readye token 

or He neuer come to you againe." 

but this Ladye is gone to her Chamber, 

her Maydens ffollowing bright ; 75 

& S/r Cawlins gone to the mores soe broad, 

ffor to Avake there all night. 

vnto midnight they Moone did rise, 

he walked vp and downe, 
& a lightsome bugle then heard he blow 80 

ouer the bents soe browne. 
saies hee, " and if cryance come vntill my hart, 
I am ffarr ffrom any good towne ; " 

& he spyed ene a litle him by, 

a ffuryous King and a ffell, 85 

& a ladye bright his brydle led, 

that seemlye itt was to see ; 


& soe fast hee called vpon S/r Cawline, 

*' Oh man, I redd thee fflye ! 
ffor if cryance come vntill thy hart, 90 

I am a-feard least thou mun dye." 

he sayes, " [no] cryance comes to my hart, 

nor ifaith I fteare not thee ; 
ffor because thou minged not christ before. 

Thee lesse me dreadeth thee." 95 

but S/r Cawline he shooke a speare, 

the '^ing was bold, and abode, 
& the timber these 2 Children bore 

soe soone in sunder slode, 
ffor they tooke & 2 good swords, 100 

& they Layden on good Loade. 

but the Elridge l^ing was mickle of might, 

& stiffly to the ground did stand ; 
but S/r Cawline w/th an aukeward stroke 

he brought him ftrora his hand, 105 

I, & fflying ouer his head soe hye, 

ffell downe of thai Lay land : 

& his lady stood a litle thereby, 

flast ringing her hands : 
" for they maydens loue that you haue most meed, no 

smyte you my Lord no more, 

& heest neu(?r come vpon Eldrige [hill] 

him to sport, gamon, or play, 
& to meete noe man of middle earth, 

& tluiX. Hues on christs his lay. 1 15 

but he then vp, and tha\. Eldryge Y^ing 

sett him in his sadle againe, 
& t}ia\. ?Lldryge Y^ing & his Ladye 

to their castle are they gone. 

& hee tooke then vp & thai Eldryge sword 120 

as hard as any fflynt, 
& soe he did those ringes 5, 

harder than ffyer, and brent. 

ffirst he i)rrsented to the K//;^^s daughter 

they hand, & then they sword. '25 

" Init a serrett buffett you haue him giuen, 

the Y^ing & the crowne ! " she sayd. 
*' I, but 34 stripes 

corncn beside the rood." 


& a Gyant that was both stifife [&] strong, 1 30 

he lope now them amonge, 
& vpon his squier 5 heads he bare, 

vnmackley made was hee. 

& he dranke then on the Kz/z^s wine, 

& hee put the cup in his sleeue; 135 

& all the trembled & were wan 

ftbr feare he shold them greeffe. 

" He tell thee mine Arrand, K//zf," he sayes, 

" mine errand what I doe heere ; | 

ffor I will bren thy temples hye, 140 | 

or He haue thy daughter deere ; 
in, or else vpon, yond more soe brood 

thou shalt ffind mee a ppeare." 

the Y^ing he turned him round about, 

(Lor^, in his heart he was woe !), 145 

says, " is there noe Y^night of the round table 

this matter will vndergoe ? 

" I, & hee shall haue my broad Lands, 

& keepe them well his line ; 
I, and soe hee shall my daughter deere, 150 

to be his weded wiffe." 

& then stood vp S/r CawHne 

his o\vne errand ffor to say : 
" ifaith, I wold to god, S/r," sayd S/r Cawline, 

" thaX. Soldan I will assay. 155 

" goe, ffeitch me downe my Eldrige sword, 

ffor I woone itt att [a] ffray." 
" but away, away !" sayd the hend Soldan, 

" thou tarryest mee here all day ! " 

but the hend Soldan and S/r Cawline 160 

the ffought a sum;/;ers day : 
now has hee slaine that hend Soldan, 

& brought his 5 heads away. 

& the Ydng has betaken him his broade lands 

& all his venison. 165 

" but take you too & youx Lands [soe] broad, 

& brooke them well yo?/r lifife, 
ffor you premised mee yoia daughter deere 

to be my weded wiffe." 


" now by my ffaith,' then sayes our K;«^, 170 

" ffor thaX. wee will not striffe ; 
ffor thou shalt haue my daughter dere 

to be thy weded witte." 

the other mominge S/'r Cawline rose 

by the dawning of the day, 175 

& vntill a garden did he goe 

his Mattins ffor to say ; 
& thaX. bespyed a ffalse steward — 

a shames death thai he might dye ! — 

& he lett a lyon out of a bande, 180 

S/r Cawline ffor to teare ; 
& he had noe wepon him vpon, 

nor noe wepon did weare. 

but hee tooke then his Mantle of greene, 

into the Lyons mouth itt thrust; 185 

he held the Lyon soe sore to the wall 

till the Lyons hart did burst. 

& the watchmen cryed vpon the walls 

& sayd, " S/r Cawlines slaine ! 
and w/th a beast is not ffuU litle, 19° 

a Lyon of Mickle mayne." 
then the K/;7^s daughter shee ffell downe, 

" for peerlesse is my payne ! " 

" O peace, my Lady ! " sayes S/r Cawline, 

" I haue bought thy loue ffuU deere. i95 

O peace, my Lady ! " sayes S/r Cawline, 

" peace, Lady, ffor I am heere ! " 

then he did marry this K///^s daughter 

w/'th gold & siluer bright, 
& 15 sonnes this Ladye beere 200 

to S/r Cawline the Knight. 





A Scottish Ballad. 

From a MS. copy tra7isinitted from Scotland. 

*HE afifectedly antique orthography of this ballad has 
caused some to suppose that it was a modern inven- 
tion, probably by Lady Wardlaw, the author of Hardy- 
knute, but Motherwell obtained another version from 
the recitation of an old woman, which he printed in his Minstrelsy 
under the title of " Son Davie, son Davie." He there says that 
there is reason to believe that Lord Hailes "made a few slight 
verbal improvements in the copy he transmitted, and altered the 
hero's name to Edward, a name which, by the bye, never occurs 
in a Scottish ballad except where allusion is made to an English 

There is a Swedish ballad of the same character entitled The 
Fratricide^ s Lament a7id Dialogue 7uith his Mother before he wanders 
away from home for ever. 

The form of a dialogue between a mother and her son is a 
favourite one in the old ballads, and " Lord Donald" in Kinloch's 
Scottish Ballads and " Lord Randal" in Scott's Minstrelsy he^iX some 
likeness to the ballad of " Edward." The hero is supposed to 
have been poisoned by eating toads prepared as a dish of fishes, 
and the last stanza of Kinloch's ballad is as follows : — 

" What will ye leave to your true love, Lord Donald, 

My son ? 
What will ye leave to your true love. 

My joUie young man? 
The tow and the halter for to hang on yon tree. 
And lat her hang there for the poysoning o' me."] 



UHY dois your brand sae drop wi' bluid,' 

Edward, Edward ? 
Ouhy dois your brand sae drop wi' bluid? 
And quhy sae sad gang yee. O ? "^ 
O, I hae killed my hauke sae guid, 5 

Midler, mither : 
O, I hae killed my hauke sae guid : 

And I had nae mair bot hee,"' O. 

Your haukis bluid was nevir sae reid, 

Edward, Edward. 10 

Your 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, 15 

That erst was sae fair and free, O. 

Your steid was auld, and ye hae gat mair, 

Edward, Edward : 
Your steid was auld, and ye hae gat mair, 

Sum other dule ye drie,^ O. 20 

O, I hae killed my fadir deir, 

Mither, mither : 
O, I hae killed my fadir deir, 

Alas ! and wae is me, O ! 

And quhatten penance wul ye drie ^ for that, 25 

Edward, Edward ? 
And quhatten penance will ye drie for that ? 
My deir son, now tell me, O. 

[^ why does your sword so drop with blood. 
2 and why so sad go ye. ' no other but he. 

* some other grief you suffer. * undergo.] 


He set my feit in yonder boat, 

Mither, mither : 30 

He set my feit in yonder boat, 

And He fare ^ ovir the sea, O. 

And quhat wul ye doe wi' your towirs and your ha',* 

Edward, Edward ? 
And quhat wul ye doe wi' your towirs and your ha', 35 

That were sae fair to see, O ? 
He let thame stand til they doun fa^^ 

Mither, mither : 
He let thame stand til they doun fa,' 

For here nevir mair maun I bee, O. 4.0 

And quhat wul ye leive to your bairns and your wife, 

Edward, Edward ? 
And quhat wul ye leive to your bairns and your wife, 

Quhan ye gang ovir the sea, O ? 
The warldis room,^ let thame beg throw life, 4.5 

Mither, mither : 
The warldis room, let thame beg throw life, 

For thame nevir mair wul I see, O. 

And quhat wul ye leive to your ain mither deir, 

Edward, Edward ? 50 

And quhat wul ye leive to your ain mither deir ? 

My deir son, now tell me, O. 
The curse of hell frae me sail ye beir, 

Mither, mither : 
The curse of hell frae me sail ye beir, 55 

Sic counseils ye gave to me, O. 

This curious song was transmitted to the editor by Sir David 
Dalrymple, Bart., late Lord Hailes. 

[^ pass. ^ hall. ' fall. * the world's large.] 



'HIS old Romantic Legend (which is given from two 
copies, one of them in the editors folio MS., but 
^S^ which contained very great variations), bears marks 
of considerable antiquity, and, perhaps, ought to have 
taken place of any in this volume. It would seem to have 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 1491. The ]\Iahometans are spoken of in v. 49, &c., just in 
the same terms as in all other old romances. The author of the 
ancient Legend o{ Sir Brcis represents his hero, upon all occasions, 
breathing out defiance against 

" Mahoimd and Termagaunte ; '' * 

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 

" 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."t 

Indeed they return the compliment by calling him elsewhere 
" A christen hounde. 'J 

This was conformable to the real manners of the barbarous 
ages : perhaps the same excuse will hardly serve our bard, for that 
Adland should be found lolling or leaning at his gate (v. 35) may 
be thought, perchance, a little out of character. And yet the 
great painter of manners, Homer, did not think it inconsistent 
with deconim 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 1 conclude this article, I cannot help observing, that the 

• See a short Memoir at the end of this Ballad, Note fit- 
t Sign C. ii. b. \ Sign C. i. b. ^ Odyss. n. 105. 


reader will see, in this ballad, the character of the old Minstrels 
(those successors 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 farther 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)t made no scruple to enter 
the Danish camp, and was at once admitted to the king's head- 
quarters.J Our poet has suggested the same expedient to the 
heroes of this ballad. All the histories of the North are full of the 
great reverence paid to this order of men. Harold Harfagre, a 
celebrated King of Norway, was wont to seat them at his table 
above all the ofticers 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 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. 

[Percy refers to two copies of this ballad, but there is every 
reason to believe that one of these was the bishop's own compo- 
sition, as it was never seen by others and has not since been 
found. The copy from the folio MS. was torn out by Percy when 
he was preparing the fourth edition of the Reliques for the press, 
and is now unfortunately lost, so that we have no means of telling 
what alterations he made in addition to those which he mentions 
in the foot notes. The readings in the fourth edition are changed 
in several places from those printed in the first edition.] 

* See vol. ii., note subjoined to ist part of Beggar of Bednal, &c. 

t See the Essay on the Antient Minstrels (Appendix I.) 

J Even so late as the time of Froissart, we find minstrels and 
heralds mentioned together, as those who might securely go into 
an enemy's country. Cap. cxl. 

§ Bartholini Antiq. Dan. p. 173. Northerji Antiquities, &c., 
vol. i. pp. 386, 389, &c. 

II See also the account of Edw. II. in the Essay on the Minstrels, 
and note (x). 


/?^EARKEN to me, orentlemen. 
1^ 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, 5 

The tother was kyng Estmere ; 
The were as bolde men in their deeds, 

As any w^ere farr and neare. 

As they were drinking- ale and wine 

Within kyng Estmeres halle : 10 

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 15 

That's able '"' to marrye with mee. 

Kyng Adland hath a daughter, brother, 
Men call her bright and sheene ;"^ 

If I were kyng here in your stead, 

That ladye shold be my queene. 20 

Saies, Reade me,' reade me, deare brother. 

Throughout merry England, 
Where we might find a messenger 

Betwixt us towe to sende. 

Ver. 3. brother, f. MS. V. 10. his brother's hall, f. MS. 
V. 14. hartilye, f. MS. 

* He means fit, suitable. 

[■^ the one. ' shining. ' advise inc.] 


Saies, You shal ryde yourselfe, brother, 25 

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, 30 

And when the came to king 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 Adland 35 

Rearing ^ himselfe theratt. 

Now Christ thee save, good kyng Adland; 

Now Christ you save and see. 
Sayd, You be welcome, king Estmere, 

Right hartilye to mee. 40 

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 4.5 

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 ; 50 

, And pitye it were that fayre ladye 

Shold marrye a heathen hound. 


Ver. 27. many a man ... is, f. MS. V. 46. the king his 
Sonne of Spayn, f. MS. 

[^ they got ready ? ^ harnessed. ■' garments. ^ leaning. 
^ refused. ® she will. "^ pagan. ^ believeth.] 


But grant to me, sayes kyng Estmere, 

For my love I you praye ; 
That I may see your daughter deere 55 

Before I goe hence awaye. 

Although itt is seven yeers and more 

Since my daughter was in halle, 
She shall come once downe for your sake 

To glad my guestes alle. 60 

Downe then came that mayden fayre, 

With ladyes laced in pall/ 
And halfe a hundred of bold knightes, 

To bring her from bowre to hall ; 
And as many gentle squiers, 65 

To tend upon them all. 

The talents of Qfolde were on her head sette, 

Hanged low downe to her knee ; 
And everye ring on her small finger, 

Shone of the chrystall free. ' 70 

Saies, God you save, my deere madam ; 

Sales, God you save and see. 
Said, You be welcome, kyng Estmere, 

Ricrht welcome unto mee. 

And if you love me, as you saye, 75. 

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 ; £0 

Remember well the kyng of Spayne, 

What he sayd yesterdaye. 

He wold pull downe my halles and castles, 

And reave '^ me of my lyfe 
I cannot blame him if he doe, 85 

If I reave him of his wyfe. 

[' robe of state. ' bereave.] 


Your castles and your towres, father, 

Are stronglye built aboute ; 
And therefore of the king of Spaine 

Wee neede not stande in doubt. 9° 

Plight me your troth, nowe, kyng Estmere, 
By heaven and your righte hand, 

That you will marrye me to your wyfe. 
And make me queene of your land. 

Then kyng Estmere he plight his troth 95 

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, 100 

To fetche 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, 105 

With kempes^ 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. no 

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, 115 

Another while he ranne ; 

Ver. 89. of the King his sonne of Spaine, f. MS. 
\} soldiers or knights.] 


Till he had oretaken king Estmere, 
I wis, he never blanne.' 

Tyding-s, tydings, kyng Estmere ! 

What tydinges nowe, my boye ? no 

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 125 

With kempes many a one : 

But in did come the kyng of Spayne 

With manye a bold barone. 
Tone daye to marrye king Adlands daughter. 

Tother daye to carry her home. 130 

My lad)e fayre she greetes you well, 

And ever-more well by mee : 
You must either turne againe and fighte. 

Or goe home and loose your ladye. 

Sales, Reade me, reade me, deere brother, 135 

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, sa}'es Adler yonge, 

And your reade must rise f at me, i+o 

1 quicklye will devise a waye 

To sette thy ladye free. 

My mother was a westerne woman, 
And learned in gramarye,:}: 


j/V MS. It should probably be ryse, i.e. my counsel shall 
arise from thee. See ver. 140. 

t sic MS. } See at the end of this ballad, note * ^* . 

[^ stopped.] 


And when I learned at the schole, i+s 

Something shee 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 : 150 

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 shal be a harper, brother, 155 

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 ; 160 

And I wil be the best singer. 

That ever sunof in this lande. 

Itt shal be written in our forheads 

All and in grammarye. 
That we towe are the boldest men, 165 

That are in all Christentye. 

And thus they renisht them to ryde. 

On tow good renish steedes : 
And when they came to king Adlands hall, 

Of redd gold shone their weedes. 170 

And whan the came to kyng Adlands hall, 

Untill the fayre hall yate,"'* 
There they found a proud porter 

Rearing himselfe thereatt. 

[^ fond of fighting. ^ gate.] 


Sayes, Christ thee save, thou proud porter; 175 

Sayes, Christ thee save and see. 
Nowe you be welcome, sayd the porter, 

Of what land soever ye bee. 

Wee beene harpers, sayd Adler younge, 

Come out of the northe countrye ; iSo 

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 185 

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. 190 

Sore he looked on kyng Estmere, 

And sore he handled the ryng, 
Then opened to them the fayre hall yates. 

He lett^ for no kind of thyng, 

Kyng Estmere he stabled his steede 195 

Soe fayre att the hall bord ; 
The froth, that came from his brydle bitte. 

Light in kyng Bremors beard. 

Saies, Stable thy steed, thou proud harper, 
Saies, Stable him in the stalle ; 200 

It doth not beseeme a proud harper 
To stable ' him' in a kyngs halle. 

Ver. 202. to stable his steede, f. MS. 
\ ' he left ? or he let be opened ?J 


My ladde he is so lither/ he said, 

He will doe nought that's meete ; 
And is there any man in this hall 205 

Were able him to beate. 

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. 210 

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,^ 215 

And looked 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 ? 220 

He saies, It is writt in his forhead 
All and in gramarye, 

That for all the gold that is under heaven, 
I dare not neigh him nye. 

Then kyng Estmere pulld forth his harpe, 225 

And plaid a pretty thinge : 
The ladye upstart from the borde, 

And wold have gone from the king. 

Stay thy harpe, thou proud harper, 

For Gods love I pray thee 230 

For and thou playes as thou beginns, 

Thou'lt till * my bryde from mee. 

* i.e. entice. 
[' lazy or wicked. ^ soldier or fighting man. ^ approach him near.] 


He stroake upon his harpe agalne, 

And playd a pretty thinge ; 
The ladye lough ^ a loud laughter, 235 

As shee sate by the king. 

Sales, 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. 240 

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." 

Now sell me, quoth hee, thy bryde soe gay, ^45 

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 ? 250 

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 ; 255 

Noe harper, but a kyng. 

" O ladye, this is thy owne true love. 
As play nl ye thou mayest see ; 

Ver. 253. 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. 

• /. e. a tune, or strain of music. 
[' laughed. J 


And He rid thee of that foule paynim, 

Who partes thy love and thee." a6o 

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, 265 

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 f z7o 

And Estmere he, and Adler yonge 
Right stiffe in stour^ can stand. 

And aye their swordes soe sore can byte, 

Throughe help of Gramarye 
That soone they have slayne the kempery men, 275 

Or forst them forth to flee. 

Kyng Estmere tooke that fay re ladye, 

And marryed her to his wifife, 
And brought her home to merry England 

With her to leade his life. a8o 

*^* The word Gratnarye,^ which occurs several times in the 
foregoing 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. 

-t4-t Termagaunt (mentioned above, p. 85) is the name given in 
the old romances to the god of the Saracens, in which he is con- 

\} quickly. ^ sword. ' fight. 

* or grammar, and hence used for any abstruse learning.] 


stantly linked with Alahound or Mahomet. Thus, in the legend 
of Syr Guy, the Soudan (Sultan), swears 

" So helpe me Mahouine of might, 
And Tennagautit my god so bright." 

Sign. p. iii. b. 

This word is derived by the very learned editor of Junius from 
the Anglo-Saxon Tyfi very, and ClOajan mighty. As this word had 
so sublime a derivation, and was so applicable to the true Clod, 
how shall we account for its being so degraded? Perhaps Typ- 
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 rejectetl it as profane and 
improper to be applied to the tnie God. After^vards, when the 
irruptions of the Saracens into Europe, and the Crusades into the 
East, had brought them acquainted with a new species of unbe- 
lievers, our ignorant ancestors, who thought 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 scniple 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 Alcrlinc (in the editor's folio ISIS.) 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 Cru- 
sades, both Maliound and 'Tcrmagaunt made their frequent appear- 
ance 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 Wol- 
sey : — 

" 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 a playe." {Ades of Engl. Votary es, pt. ii. fo. 83, 
Kd. 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 Eorde Maiors 
officer[sl 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 
Jcnyns Smith, Fellow of Dulw. Coll.) Hence we may conceive 



the force of Hamlet's expression in Shakspeare, where, con- 
demning a ranting player, he says, " I could have such a fellow 
whipt for ore-doing Termagant: it out-herods 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 soldati, 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 tormenters 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 stdtan), as the 
soldan of Egypt, the soudan of Persia, the sowdan of Babylon, &c., 
who were generally represented as accompanied with grim Sarazens, 
whose business it was to punish and torment Christians. 

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- 
gaiinte ; 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 other's 



A Scottish Ballad, 

S given from two MS. copies transmitted from Scotland. 
In what age the hero of this ballad lived, or when 
this fatal expedition happened that proved so destruc- 
tive to the Scots nobles, I have not been able to dis- 
cover ; 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 very liable to ship\\Teck 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 
Candelmess."' Jam. III. Parlt. 2, ch. 15. 

In some modem copies, instead of Patrick Sjience hath been 
substituted the name of Sir Andrew Wood, a famous Scottish 
admiral who flourished in the time of our Edward IV., but whose 
story has 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. 

[The fact that this glorious ballad was never heard of before 
Perc y printed it in 176:^, c aused some to throw doubts upon its 
auTHenticity, and their scepticism was strengthened by the note at 
p. 102, which refers to the author of Zf'i?n/i'/Cv////t'. It was thought 
that the likeness in expression and sentiment there mentioned 
might easily be explained if the two poems were both by Lady 
AVardlaw. This view, advocated by Robert Chambers in his general 
attack on the authenticity of all The Romantic Scottish Balhids 
(1859), has not met with much favour, and Professor Child thinks 
that the arguments against the genuineness of .5'/> Patrick Spcncc 
are so trivial as hardly to admit of statement. He writes, " If not 
ancient it has been always accepted as such by the most skilful 
judges, and is a solitary instance of a successful imitation in manner 
and spirit of the best specimens of authentic minstrelsy."' Cole- 
ridge, no mean judge of a ballad, wrote — 

'• The bard be sure was weather-wise who framed 
The grand old ballad of Sir Patrick Spens." 

Antiquaries have objected that Spence is not an early Scottish 
name, but in this they are wTong, for Professor Aytoun found it 
in a charter of Robert III. and also in Wyntoun's Chronic/c. 

There has been considerable discussion as to the historical event 
referred to in the ballad, and the present version does not contain 
any mention of one of the points that may help towards a settle- 
ment of the question. The version in Scott's Minstrelsy contains 
the following stanza: — 

" To Noroway, to Noroway 

To Noroway o'er the faem 
The king's daughter of Noroway 
'Tis thou maun bring her hamc." 

[' Eni^/ish and Scottish BaUads, vol. iii. p. 149. 


Professor Aytoun would change the third line to 

" The king's daughter to Noroway/' 

as he agrees with Motherwell in the view that the ballad refers to 
the fate of the Scottish nobles who in 1281 conveyed Margaret, 
daughter of Alexander III., to Norway, on the occasion of her 
nuptials with King Eric. 

Fordun relates this incident as follows: — "In the year 1281 
Margaret, daughter of Alexander III., was married to the King of 
Norway, who, leaving Scotland in the last day of July, was con- 
veyed thither in noble style in company with many knights and 
nobles. In returning home after the celebration of her nuptials, 
the Abbot of Balmerinoch, Bernard of Monte-alto, and many other 
persons, were drowned." As to the scene of the disaster, Aytoun 
brings forward an interesting illustration of the expression " half 
over to Aberdour," in line 41. He says that in the little island of 
Papa Stronsay one of the Orcadian group lying over against Nor- 
way, there is a large grave or tumulus which has been known to 
the inhabitants from time immemorial as " the grave of Sir Patrick 
Spens," and he adds, that as the Scottish ballads were not early 
current in Orkney, it is unlikely that the poem originated the 

The other suggestions as to an historical basis for the ballad are 
not borne out by history. It is well, however, to note in illustra- 
tion of line I, that the Scottish kings chiefly resided in their palace 
of Dunfermline from the time of Malcolm Canmore to that of 
Alexander III. 

The present copy of the ballad is the shortest of the various 
versions, but this is not a disadvantage, as it gains much in force 
by the directness of its language. 

Buchan prints a ballad called Young Allan, which is somewhat 
like Sir Patrick Spence.~\ 

HE king sits in Dumferling toune, 
Drinkine the blude-reid wine : 

O quhar will I get guid sailor, 
To sail this schip of mine ? 

Up and spak an eldern knicht, 

Sat at the kings richt kne : 
Sir Patrick Spence is the best sailor, 

That sails upon the se. 


The king has written a braid letter,* 

And signd it wi' his hand ; lo 

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, 15 

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 yeir, 

To sail upon the se ? 20 

Mak hast, mak haste, my mirry men all, 

Our guid schip sails the morne/ 
O say na sac, my master deir. 

For I feir a deadlie storme. 

Late late yestreen I saw the new moone -^ 25 

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 ; ' 30 

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 3s 

Cum sailinof to the land. 


• A braid letter, i.e. open, or patent ; in opposition to close rolls. 

[' to-morrow morning. '^ lotii. 

3 to wet their cork-heeled shoes. ' loiij; ere. 

* above the water.] 


O lang, lang, may the ladies stand 
Wi' thair gold kerns ^ in their hair, 

Waiting for thair ain deir lords, 

For they'll se thame na main 40 

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.f 



,E have here a ballad of Robin Hood (from the editor's 
folio MS.) which was never before printed, and carries 
marks of much greater antiquity than any of the com- 
mon popular songs on this subject. 
The severity of those tyrannical forest laws that were intro- 
duced 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 kingdom were everywhere trained up to 
the long-bow, and excelled all other nations in the art of shoot- 
ing, must constantly have occasioned great numbers of outlaws, 

* A village lying upon the river Forth, the entrance to which is 
sometimes denominated De niortiio mari. 

[Finlay observes that Percy's note is incorrect. The truth is 
that De Mortuo Mari is the designation of a family (Mortimer) 
who were lords of Aberdour. They are believed to have received 
their name from the Dead Sea, in Palestine, during the times of 
the Crusades.] 

t An ingenious friend thinks the author of Hardyknute has bor- 
rowed several expressions and sentiments from the foregoing and 
other old Scottish songs in this collection. 

[• combs. "^ half over.] 


and especially of such as were the best marksmen. These na- 
turally fled to the woods for shelter, and, forming into troops, en- 
deavoured by their numbers to protect themselves from the dread- 
ful penalties of their delinquency. The ancient punishment for 
killing the king's deer was loss of eyes and castration, a punish- 
ment far worse than death. This will easily account for the troops 
of banditti which formerly lurked in the royal forests, and, from 
their superior skill in archery and knowledge of all the recesses of 
those unfrequented solitudes, found it no difficult matter to resist 
or elude the civil power. 

Amoncj all those, none was ever more famous than the hero of 
this ballad, whose chief residence was m Shirewood forest, m Not- 
tinghamshire, and the heads of whose story, as collected by Stow, 
are briefly these. 

" In this time [about the year 11 90, in the reign of Richard I.] 
were many robbers, and outlawes, among the which Robin Hood, 
and Little John, reno^\•ned 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 tail men and good 
archers with such 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 abbeys and the houses of rich carles : 
whom Maior (the historian) blameth for his rapine and theft, but 
of all theeves he afiirmeth 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 ren- 
dered him the favourite of the common people, who, not content 
to celebrate his memory by innumerable songs and stories, have 
erected him into the dignity of an earl. Indeed, it is not impos- 
sible 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 ])hlebotomy : — 

" Hear undernead dis laitl stean 
laij robert earl of huntingtun 
nea arcir ver aj hie sac geud 
an pipl kauld im Robin Heud 


sick utlaw^ as hi an is men 
vil England nivir si agen. 

obiit 24 kal. dekembris. 1247."* 

This epitaph appears to me suspicious ; however, a late an- 
tiquary has given a pedigree of Robin Hood, which, if genuine, 
shows that he had real pretensions to the Earldom of Huntingdon, 
and that his true name was Robcft Fitz-ooth.\ Yet the most 
ancient poems on Robin Hood make no mention of this earldom. 
He is expressly asserted to have been a yeoman j in a very old 
legend in verse, preserved in the archives of the public library at 
Cambridge, § in €\^\.fyttes, or parts, printed in black letter, quarto, 
thus inscribed : " <[ 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 yenian, 
His name was Robyn hode. 

" Robyn was a proude out-lawe. 
Whiles he walked on grounde ; 
So curteyse an outlawe as he was one, 
Was never none yfounde," &c. 

The printer's colophon is, "<[ Explicit Kinge Edwarde and 
Robin hode and Lyttel Johan. Enprented at London in Flete- 
strete at the sygne of the sone by Wynkin de Worde." In Mr. 
Gan'ick's Collection |1 is a different edition of the same poem, 
" |[ Imprinted at London upon the thre Crane wharfe by Wyllyam 
Copland," containing at the end a little dramatic piece on the sub- 
ject 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. |[ (.•.) ]|." 

I shall conclude these preliminary remarks with observing, that 
the hero of this ballad was the favourite subject of popular songs 
so early as the time of King Edward III. In the Visions of Pierce 
Floiuman, written in that reign, a monk says : — 

" I can rimes of Roben Hod, and Randal of Chester, 
But of our Lorde and our Lady, I lerne nothyng at all." 

Fol. 26, ed. 1550. 

* See Thoresby's Ducat. Leod. p. 576. Biog. Brit. vi. 3933. 

t Stukeley, in his Palaographia Britannica, No. II. 1746. 

X See also the following ballad, v. 147. § Num. D. 5. 2. 

II Old Plays, 4to. K. vol, x. 


See also in Bishop Latimer's Sermons* a very curious and charac- 
teristic 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 Little John, who, it seems, was executed 
for a robber}' on Arbor-hill, Dublin (with some curious particulars 
relating to his skill in archery), see ]\Ir. 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, 4to. 

Some liberties were, by the editor, taken with this ballad ; which, 
in this edition, hath been brought nearer to the foUo MS. 

[Robin Hood is first mentioned in literature in Piers FlotviJian, 
the earliest of the three fomis of which poem was %\Tittcn probably 
about the year 1362. The ballad of Robin Hood and the Monk, 
printed in Child's English and Scottish Ballads, as the oldest of 
its class, and possibly as old as the reign of Edward IL, com- 
mences: — 

" In somer when the shawes be sheyne 
And leves be large and longe 
Hit is full mery in feyre foreste 
To here the foulys song." 

Verses which bear a strong likeness to the opening lines of the 
present ballad. 

Gisborne is a market town in the West Riding of the county of 
York on the borders of Lancashire, and Guy of that i)lace is men- 
tioned by William Dunbar in a satirical piece on " Schir Thomas 
Nory," where he is named in company with Adam Bell and other 
well-kno\vn worthies. 

It is not needful to extend this note with any further particulars 
of Robin Hood, as he possesses, in virtue of his position as a 
popular hero, a literature of his own. Those who wish to know 
more of his exploits should consult Ritson's (1795) and Gutch's 
( 1 847) Collections oi Robin Hood Ballads, Child's Ballads, vol. v. and 
Chappell's Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. i. pp. 3S7-400. 

There are several Robin Hood Ballads in the folio MS., but 
Percy only chose the one containing an account of the encounter 
with Guy for printing. Ritson copied this ballad from Percy's 
book, but indulged at the same time in a tirade against the bishop's 
treatment of his original.] 

• Ser. 6th before K. Ed. Apr. 12. fol. 75. Gilpin's Life of Lat.y 
p. 122. 


HEN 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, 5 

[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 ; 10 

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 I be Robin alive in this lande, 15 

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. 20 

[Ver. I. shales, f. MS. V. 4. birds singe, f. MS. V. 5. wood- 
weete, f. MS. In place of ver. 6-12 between brackets the f. MS. 
has — 

" Amongst the leaves a lyne 
r* * * *"| 

And it is by two wight yeomen 
By deare God that I meane." 

^ when woods are bright. ^ twigs. ^ woodpecker or thrush. I) 

^ faith. * dream. *• strong. ' from me. ( 

^ revenged.] 


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. 

The cast on their gownes of grene, 25 

[And tooke theyr bowes each one ; 
And they away to the greene forrest] 

A shooting forth are gone ; 

Untill they came to the merry greenwood. 

Where they had gladdest bee, 30 

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 man the bane ; 
And he was clad in his capull hyde'^ 35 

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. 40 

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, 45 

And a man but heare him speake ; 

[Vcr. 28. a shooting gone are they, f. MS. V. 34. had bccnc 
many a mans bane, f. MS. V. 40. to know his meaning trulyc, 
f. MS. V. 42. and thats a ffluley tliinge, f. MS. 

' dress ye, get ye ready. "^ were they aware. 

' horse-liide. ^ strange.J 


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 ; 50 

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 fellowes 

Were slaine both in a slade."^ 


And Scarlette he was flyinge a-foote 

Fast over stocke and stone. 
For the sheriffe with seven score men 

Fast after him is gone. 60 

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, 65 

And fetteled^ him to shoote : 
The bow was made of a tender boughe. 

And fell downe to his foote. 

Woe worth, woe worth thee, wicked wood, 

That ere thou grew on a tree ; 70 

[Ver. 61. yet one shoote Tie shoote, says Little John, f. MS. 
V. 64. to be both glad & ffaine, f. MS. V. 65. John bent up a 
good veiwe bowe, f. MS. V. 69. woe worth thee, wicked wood, 
says litle John, f. MS.] 

* /. e. ways, passes, paths, ridings. Gate is a common word in 
the north for way. 

[^ breed mischief. 2 greensward between two woods. 




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 sherriffes men, 75 

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. 80 

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, 85 

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 Litle John, 

And thinke of Robin Hood, 90 

How he is gone to the wight yeoman, 

Where under the leaves he stood. 

[Ver. 74. the arrowe flew in vaine, f. MS. V. 78. to hange 
upon a gallowe, f. MS. V. 79. then for to lye in the green-woode, 
f. MS. V. 80. there slaine with an arrowe, f. MS. V. 82. 6 can 
doe more then 3, f. MS. V. 83. and they have tane litle John, f. 
MS. V. 87. But thou may ffayle, quoth litle John, f. MS. V. 88. 
If itt be Christ's own will, f. MS. V. 90-92. in place of these three 
verses the f. MS. has : — 

" for hee is bound fast to a tree, 
and talkc of (]uy and Robin Hood 
In they green woode where they bee 

' help.] 


Good morrowe, good fellowe, sayd Robin so fayre, 
" Good morrowe, good fellow, quoth he :" 

Methinkes by this bowe thou beares in thy hande 95 
A eood archere thou sholdst bee. 

I am wilfull ^ 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. 100 

I seeke an outlawe, the straunger sayd, 

Men call him Robin Hood ; 
Rather Hd meet with that proud outlawe 

Than fortye pound soe good. 

[Now come with me, thou wighty yeman, 105 

And Robin thou soone shalt see : 
But first let us some pastime find 

Under the oreenwood tree.1 

First let us some masterye^ make 

Among the woods so even, no 

[how these two yeomen together they mett 

under the leaves of Lyne, 
to see what marchandise they made 

even at that same time." 

Ver. 93. good morrow, good fellow! quoth Sir Guy, f. MS.- 
V. 96. a good archer thou seems to bee, f. MS. V. 97. quoth Sir, 
Guye, i. MS. V. 10 1. I seeke an outlaw, quoth Sir Guye, f. MS. 

V. 103-4.— 

" I had rather meet with him upon a day 
Then 4oli. of golde." 

V. 105-8. in place of these four verses the f. MS. has — 

" Iff you tow mett itt wold be scene whether were better 

afore yee did part awaye ; 
Let us some other pastime find, 

good ffellow, I thee pray." 

V. 109-10. " Let us some other masteryes make, 

and wee will walke in the woods even," f. MS. 

^ ignorant. ^ trial of skill.] 


Wee may chance to meet with Robin Hood 
Here att some unsett Steven/ 

They ciitt them downe two summer shroggs,'^ 

That orew both under a breere/ 
And sett them threescore rood in twaine 115 

To shoote the prickes^ y-fere. 

Leade on, good fellowe, quoth Robin Hood, 

Leade on, I doe bidd thee. 
Nay by my faith, good fellowe, hee sayd. 

My leader thou shalt bee. 120 

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, 125 

He shote within the garlande :^ 
But Robin he shott far better than hee, 

For he clave the good pricke w^ande.^' 

A blessing upon thy heart, he sayd ; 

Good fellowe, thy shooting is goode ; 130 

For an thy hart be as good as thy hand. 

Thou wert better then Robin Hoode. 

[Ver. 116. prickes full near, f. MS. V. 117. sayd Sir CTiiye, f. 

MS. V. 119. nay by my faith, quoth Robin Hood, f. MS. V. 120. 

the leader, f. MS. V. 121-23 • — 

" the first good shoot that Robin ledd 
did not shoote an inch the pricke ffroe. 
Guy was an archer good enoughe." 

V. 125. the 2nd shoote Sir Guy shott. V. 129. gods blessing on 
thy heart ! sayes Guye. 

^ at a time not previously appointed. '^ slirubs. 

^ briar. ' mark in the centre of the target. 

*" the ring within whicli the ])rick was set. •* pole.] 


Now tell me thy name, good fellowe, sayd he, 

Under the leaves of lyne/ 
Nay by my faith, quoth bolde Robin, 135 

Till thou have told me thine. 

I dwell by dale and downe, quoth hee. 

And Robin to take I me sworne ; 
And when I am called by my right name 

I am Guye of good Gisborne. 140 

My dwelling is in this wood, sayes Robin, 

By thee I set right nought : 
I am Robin Hood of Barnesdale, 

Whom thou so lono- hast souo;'ht. 

He that had neither beene kithe nor kin, 145 

Might have seene a full fayre sight, 

To see how together these yeomen went 
With blades both browne* and brieht. 

[Ver. 133. tell me thy name, good fellow, quoth Guy. V. 135. 
good robin. V. 136-140: — 

" I dwell by dale and downe, quoth Guye, 
and I have done many a curst turne ; 
and he that calles me by my right name, 
calles me Guy of good Gysborne." 

V. 144. a ffellow thou hast long sought.] 

* The common epithet for a sword or other offensive weapon, 
in the old metrical romances is Brown, as "brown brand," or 
" brown sword," " brown bill," &c., and sometimes even " bright 
brown sword." Chaucer applies the word rusiiem the same sense ; 
thus he describes the reve : — 

" And by his side he bare a rusty blade." 

Frol. ver. 620. 
And even thus the God Mars : — 

" And in his hand he had a rousty sword." 

Test, of Cressid. 188. 
Spenser has sometimes used the same epithet. See Warton's 

[1 lime.] 


To see how these yeomen together they fought 
Two howres of a summers day : 150 

Yett neither Robin Hood nor sir Guy 
Them fettled to flye away. 

Robin was reachles^ on a roote, 

And stumbled at that tyde ; 
And Guy was quicke and nimble with-all, 155 

And hitt him ore the left side. 

Ah deere Lady, sayd Robin Hood, tho 

That art both mother and may',"^ 
I think it was never mans destinye 

To dye before his day. 160 

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, 165 

And sticked itt on his bowes end : 
Thou hast beene a traytor all thy liffe, 

Which thinfj must have an ende. 


Obscrv. vol. ii. p. 62. It should seem, from this particularity, that 
our ancestors did not pique themselves upon keeping their weapons 
bright : perhaps they deemed it more honourable to carry them 
stained with the blood of their enemies. [As the swords are here 
said to be bright as well as brown, they could not have been 
rusty. The expression nut-brown sword was used to designate a 
Damascus blade. 

Ver. 1 49. " to have seen how these yeomen together fought." 
V. 151-2:— 

" itt was neither Guy nor Robin Hood 
that ffctlled ihcm to llye away."J 

V. 163. awkwarde, MS. [V. 164. " good sir Guy hee has slayne," 
f. MS. 

' careless. ^ maid. J 




Robin pulled forth an Irish kniffe, 

And nicked sir Guy in the face, 170 

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 worse strokes at my hand, 175 

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 capull hyde, 

That cladd him topp to toe. 

The bowe, the arrowes, and little 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 nowe tydings good, 190 

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, 195 

Cladd in his capull hyde. 

[Ver. 172. cold tell who Sir Guye was. V. 173. good Sir Guye. 
V. 182 :— 

" and with me now He beare 

ffor now I will goe to Barnesdale," f. MS. 

1 small hill] 



Come hyther, come hyther, thou good sir Guy, 

Aske what thou wilt of mee. 
O I will none of thy gold, sayd Robin, 

Nor I will none of thy fee : 200 

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, 205 

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 •} 210 

Now shall I be looset, quoth Litle John, 
With Christ his mieht in heaven. 


Fast Robin hee hyed him to Little John, 

He thought to loose him belive ;^ 
The sheriffe and all his companye 215 

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. 220 

But Robin pulled forth an Irysh kniffe, 

And losed John hand and foote. 
And gave him sir Guycs bow into his hand, 

And bade it be his boote.' 

[Vcr. 199: — 

" He none of thy gold, sayes Robin Hood 
nor lie none of itt have," f MS. 

' voice. 2 quickly. ■* help.] 


Then John he took Guyes bow in his hand, 225 

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 ; 230 

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, 235 

He shott him into the * backe'-syde. 

*,* 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 stiled, Domini, 
"Sirs," to distinguish them from Undergraduates, who have 
no prefix, and from Masters of Arts, who are stiled Magistri, 
" Masters." 

[Ver. 225-8 : — 

" But John tooke Guyes bow in his hand, 
his arrowes were rawstye by the roote ; 

the sherriffe saw little John draw a bow 
and ffettle him to shoote." 

V. 229. Towards his house in Nottingham. V. 233-6 : — 

" But he cold neither soe fast goe, 

nor away soe fast runn, 
but litle John with an arrow broade 

did cleave his head in twinn," f. MS.] 




*HE subject of this poem, which was written by Skelton, 
^^P is ^^^^ death of Henry Percy, fourth earl of Northumber- 
/• 9^ land, who fell a victim to the avarice of Henry VII. In 
14S9 the parliament had granted the king a subsidy for 
carrying on the war in Bretagne. This tax was found so heavy in 
the North, that the whole country was in a flame. The E. of Nor- 
thumberland, then lord lieutenant for Yorkshire, %vrote to inform the 
king of the discontent, and praying an abatement. But nothing is 
so unrelenting as avarice : the king wTote 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 Avith 
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 liere as having, among 
his menial serva.nts, htig/ih', s//uires, and even barons: see v. 32. 
183. &:c. which, however different from modern manners, was for- 
merly not unusual with our greater barons, whose castles had all the 
splendour and offices of a royal court before the laws against re- 
tainers abridged and limited the number of their attendants. 

John Sliclton, who commonly styled himself Poet Layreat, died 
June 21, 1529. The following poem, which ajjpears to have been 
\\Titten soon after the event, is printed from an ancient MS. copy 
preserved in the British Museum, being much more correct than 
that printed among Skelton's Poems \x\ 1)1. let. i2mo. 1568.— It is 
addressed to Henry Percy, fifth earl of Northumberland, and is pre- 
faced, &c. in the following manner : 


PoETA Skelton Laureatus libellum suum metrice 


Ad dominum properato meum mea pagina Percy, 

Qui Northumbrorum jura paterna gerit, 
Ad nutum Celebris tu prona repone leonis, 

Qujeque suo patri tristia justa cano. 
Ast ubi perlegit, dubiam sub mente volutet 

Fortunam, cuncta quae male fida rotat. 
Qui leo sit felix, & Nestoris occupet annos ; 

Ad libitum cujus ipse paratus ero. 

[Percy does not do justice to Skelton's poetical powers in the 
above note, as this Elegy is written in a style not at all characteristic 
of him and is also far from being one of his best poems. Skelton 
was one of the earliest personal satirists in our language, and he flew 
at high game when he attacked the powerful Wolsey ^vith fierce 
invective, in his "Why come ye nat to courte?" His Boke of 
Phyllyp Span-owe is described by Coleridge as " an exquisite and 
original poem," and its subject entitles him to the designation of the 
modern Catullus. It was very popular in his day, and the nursery 
rhyme of Who killed Cock robin? was probably paraphrased 
from the portion of the poem in which the funeral of the sparrow 
is related. Skelton was a distinguished scholar and his earlier 
poems are written in the serious strain of the Elegy, but curiously 
enough about the time that he took orders (1498) and became rector 
of Diss in Norfolk, he began to write in a more natural, frolicsome 
and satirical vein, and adopted the metre now known as Skeltonian. 
He was not very particular as to the words he used, but he does 
not deserve the opprobrious epithet that Pope applies to him in the 
couplet — 

" Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learned by rote, 
And beastly Skelton heads of houses quote." 

Skelton graduated as poet laureate at the two Universities of 
Oxford and Cambridge, and the King allowed him to wear an 
appropriate decoration at court. There is a full length portrait of 
the poet in Brjdges' British Bibliographer (vol. iv. p. 389), taken 
from one on the back of the title of A ryght delectable tratyse upon 
a goodly Garlatide or Chaplet of Latcrell by Mayster Skelton, Foete 

The Rev. Alexander Dyce published the first complete collected 
edition of Skelton's Poetical Works in 1843 (2 vols. 8vo.)] 







7^(^ 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 5 

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 Elyconys^ welle. 


Of noble actes auncyently enrolde. 

Of famous princis and lordes of astate,^ 
By thy report ar wonte to be extold, 


* The mother of Henry, first Earl of Northumberland, was Mary- 
daughter to Henry E. of Lancaster, whose father Edmond was 
second son of K. Henry HL — The mother and wife of the second 
Earl of Northumberland were both lineal descendants of K. Edward 
HL — The Percys also were lineally descended from the Emperour 
Charlemagne and the ancient Kings of France, by his ancestor 
Josceline de Lovain (son of Godfrey Duke of Brabant), who took 
tlie name of Percy on marrying the heiress of that house in the reign 
of Hen. H. Vid. Camden ISritan., Edmondson, &c. 

\} against 

2 Helicons. 

"* estate.] 


Regestringe trewly every formare date ; 

Of thy bountie after the usiiall rate, 
Kyndle in me suche plenty of thy nobles/ ^o 

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 fro ward entente, 25 

Confeterd^ togeder of commoun concente 

Falsly to slo^ ther moste singular goode lorde ? 

It may be registerde of shamefull recorde. 

So noble a man, so valiaunt lorde and knight, 

Fulfilled with honor, as all the worlde dothe ken ; 30 

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 slotheirownelorde? God was not in their minde. 35 

And were not they to blame, I say also, 

That were aboute hym, his owne servants of trust, 

To suffre hym slayn of his mortall fo ? 

Fled away from hym, let hym ly in the dust : 
They bode^ not till the rekening were discust. 40 

What shuld I flatter ? what shulde I glose^ or paynt ? 

Fy, fy for shame, their harts wer to faint. 

In Englande and Fraunce, which gretlywas redouted;^ 
Of whom both Flaunders and Scotland stode in 
drede ; 

To whome grete astates obeyde and lowttede i^" 45 
A mayny^^ of rude villayns made him for to blede : 
Unkindly they slew hym, that holp them oft at nede : 

[^ nobleness. ^ rough fellows. ^ wrath. "* confederated. 
^ slay. ^ churls by nature. '^ abode. ^ gloss over. 

° dreaded. *" , crouched. ^^ a number.] 


He was their bulwark, their paves/ and their wall, 
Yet shamfully they slew hym; that shame mot'^ them 

I sa}-, ye commoners, why wer ye so stark mad ? 50 
What frantyk frensy fyll'' in youre 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; 55 

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 : 60 

Your hap was unhappy, to ill was your spede : 

What movyd you agayn h)m to war or to fight ? 

What aylde you to sle your lord agyn all right ? 

The grounde of his quarel was for his sovereyn lord, 
The welle concernyng of all the hole lande, 65 

Demaundyng soche dutyes as nedis most acord 
To the right of his prince which shold not be with- 
stand ; 
For whos cause ye slew hym with your awne hande: 

But had his nobill men done wel that day, 

Ye had not been hable to have saide him nay. 70 

But thcr 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,75 

And held with the commouns under a cloke, 

Whiche kindeled the wyld fyre that made all this 

[^ large shield. ^ may. ^ fell. ■* against. 
' honour. * false dealing. '* used.] 


The commouns renyed^ ther taxes to pay 

Of them demaunded and asked by the kinge ; 

With one voice importune, they playnly said nay : 80 
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, 85 

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 : 90 

Bot all they fled from hym for falshode or fere. 

Barons, knights, squyers, one and alle, 
Togeder with servaunts of his famuly, 

Turnid their backis, and let ther master fall, 

Of whos [life] they counted not a fiye; 95 

Take up whos wolde for them, they let hym ly. 

Alas ! his golde, 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 
wojde \^ 100 

Yet whils he stode he gave them woundes wyde : 
Alas . for routhe ! ^ what thouche his mynde were 

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. 105 

S} refused. 2 thgy prepared themselves for an ambush. 
^ trouble. ^ contend. ^ pride. ^ heeded. ' set. 
** wild. '-^ pity-] 


Alas for pite ! that Percy thus was spylt/ 
The famous erle of Northumberlande : 

Of knightly prowes the sworde pomel and hylt, 
The myghty lyoun*" doutted'^ by se and lande ! 
O dolorous chaunce of fortuns fruward hande ! no 

What man remembring how shamfully he was slayne, 

From bitter weepinge hymself kan 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! 115 

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, 120 

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, 125 

Thou kit^ asonder his perhght^ vitall 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. 130 

Which whils helyvyd had fuyson^" of every thing. 

Of knights, of squyers, chef lord of toure and toune, 

Tyl fykkilP^ fortune began on hym to frowne. 

* Alluding to his crest and supporters. Doutted is contracted 
for redoubted. 

\} destroyed. "^ dreaded. 

^ misused, applied to a bad purpose. ' slayest. 

^ hooked or edged. " cut. ^ perfect. * golden. 

^ embellishing. ^"^ abundance. '' fickle.] 


ParegalP to dukis, with kings he myght compare, 
Surmountinge in honor all erls he did excede, 135 

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, 139 

Tyll the chaunce ran agyne him of fortunes duble 

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,^ 145 

Truly reportinge his right noble astate. 

Immortally whiche is immaculate. 

His noble blode never disteynyd was, 

Trew to his prince for to defende his right, 

Doublenes hatinge, fals maters to compas, 150 

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 155 

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, 160 

All were to litill for his magnyficence. 

O yonge lyon, bot tender yet of age,^ 

Grow and encrese, remembre thyn astate, 
God the assyst unto thyn herytage, 

[^ equal. ^ refer. ^ overpowered with hearty desire. 
"* treachery. * whole choir. 

* the earl's son was only eleven years old at the time of his 
father's death.] 


And geve the grace to be more fortunate, 165 

Agayne rebellyouns arme to make debate. 
And, as the lyoune, whiche is of bestis kinge. 
Unto thy subjectis be kurteis and benyngne. 

I pray God sende the prosperous lyf and long, 
Stabille thy mynde constant to be and fast, 170 

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. 175 

Wythe hevy chere, with dolorous hart and mynd, 
Eche man may sorrow in his inward thought, 

Th)'s lords death, whose pere is hard to fynd 

Allgyf^ Englond and Fraunce were thorow saught. 
Al kings, all princes, all dukes, well they ought iSo 

Bothe temporal! 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, 185 

Whom he as lord worsheply manteynd : 
To sorowfull weping they ought to be constreynd, 

As oft as thei call to ther remembraunce. 

Of ther good lord the fate and dedely chaunce. 

O perlese prince of hevyn emperyalle, 190 

That with one worde formed al thinsf of nou^hte; 

Hevyn, hell, and erth obey unto thi kail ; 

Which to thy resemblance wondcrsly hast wrought 
All mankynd, whom thou full dere hast boght. 

With thy blode precious our finaunce'' thou dyd pay,i95 

And us redemed, from the fendys pray ; ' 

[^ deceivers. ^ although. ^ fine or forfeiture. 
^ prey of the fiends.] 


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, 200 
In endles blis with the to byde and dwell 

In thy palace above the orient, 

Where thou art lorde, and God omnipotent. 

O queue of mercy, O lady full of grace. 

Maiden moste pure, and goddis moder dere, 205 

To sorowfull harts chef comfort and solace, 
Of all women O fioure withouten pere. 
Pray to thy son above the starris clere, 

He to vouchesaf by thy mediatioun 

To pardon thy servant, and bringe to salvacion. 210 

In joy triumphaunt the hevenly yerarchy,'^ 

With all the hole sorte ^ of that glorious place, 

His soule mof* receyve into ther company 

Thorowe bounte of hym that formed all solace : 
Well of pite, of mercy, and of grace, 215 

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 fol- 
lowing extract from Halves, 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 h^{o\t Halves' s 
Graunde Amour. 

\} interminable. 2 hierarchy. 

2 whole company. ^ may.] 




' ^^HE reader has here a specimen of the descriptive powers 
.,^y of StcpJun Hawcs, a celebrated poet in the reign of 
Hen. VII. tho' now little known. It is extracted from 
an allegorical poem of his (^mtten in 1505.) intitled, 
History of Graunde Amour e and La Bel Pucell, called the 
Pastime of Pleasure, o^c. 4to. 1555. See more of Hawes in Ath. 
Ox. V. I. p. 6. and Warton's Ohserv. v. 2. p. 105. He was also 
author of a book, intitled, The Temple of Glass. IVrote by Stephen 
Hazces, gentle /nan of the bedchamber to K. 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 
Amoure and left him \nth Governaunce and Grace, and how he 
went to the Tower of Doctrine, &c." — As we are able to give no 
small l}Tic piece of Hawes's, the reader will excuse the insertion of 
this extract. 

[Most readers unll probably be satisfied Avith the seventy-four lines 
that Percy has extracted from Hawes's long didactic poem, but 
those who \vish to read the whole will find it reprinted by Mr. Thomas 
"Wright in the fifteenth volume of the Percy Society's publications. 
The account of Rhetorick and the other allegorical nullities is weary 
reading, but the chapter in commendation of Gower, Chaucer and 
the author's master Lydgate, " the chefe orygynal of my lernyng," 
is interesting from a literary point of view. The poem was very 
popular in its own day and passed through several editions, and it 
has found admirers among critics of a later age. The Rev. Dr. 
Hodgson in a letter to Percy, dated Sept. 22, 1800,* speaks of it 
in very extravagant terms, and regrets that it had not then found 
an editor, as he regarded it " as one of tlie finest poems in our own 
or any other language." Warton describes Hawes as the only writer 
deser\'ing the name of a poet in the reign of Henry VII. and says 
that " this poem contains no common touches of romantic and 
allegoric fiction." Mr. Wright however looks at it as " one of those 
allegorical writings which were popular with our foreflitliers, but 
which can now only be looked upon as monuments of the bad taste 

[' Nichols' Illustrations of Literature, vol. viii. p. 344-] 



of a bad age." Hawes was a native of Suffolk, but the dates of his 
birth and death are not kno\vn. He studied in the University of 
Oxford and afterwards travelled much, becoming "a complete 
master of the French and Italian poetry,"] 

Cap. III. 



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, 5 

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, 15 

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 manylyons,2o 

Made of fyne golde ; with divers sundry dragons.* 


* Greyhounds, Lions, Dragons, were at that time the royal sup- 

\} dwell. 


from gargoyle the spout of a gutter.] 


The little turrets with ymages of golde 

About was set, whiche with the wynde aye moved. 

Wyth propre vices/ that I did well iDeholde 

About the towers, in sundry wyse they hoved'^ 25 
With goodly pypes, in their mouthes i-tuned. 

That with the wynde they pyped a daunce, 

I -clipped^ Amour de la hault plcsauncc. 

Cap. IV. 

The toure was great and of marvelous wydnes, 

To whyche ther was no way to passe but one, 30 

Into the toure for to have an intres :^ 

A grece^ there was y-chesyled 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 :* 35 

Tyll that I came unto a ryall gate, 

\\ here I sawe stondynge the goodly Portres, 

Whiche axed me, from whence I came a-late '^. 
To whome I gan in every thynge expresse 
All myne adventure, chaunce, and busynesse, 40 

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 besy*" courte she dyd me then lede, 

Where was a fountayne depured^ of pleasance, 45 
A noble sprynge, a ryall conduyte hede. 
Made of fyne golde enameled with reed ; 

And on the toppe four dragons blewe and stoute 

Th)s dulcet water in foure partyes dyd spout. 

 This alludes to a former part of the Poem. 

r' devices. 2 heaved. ■' called. ^ entrance. 
''_ a flight of steps. ^ busy. Percy reads base or lower court. 
" purified.] 



Of whyche there flowed foure ryvers ryght clere, 50 
Sweter than Nylus* or Ganges was theyr odoure; 

Tygrys or Eufrates unto them no pere : 
I dyd than taste the aromatyke lycoure, 
Fragraunt of fume, swete as any floure ; 

And in my mouthe it had a marveylous cent^ 55 

Of divers spyces, I knewe not what it ment. 

And after thys farther forth me brought 
Dame Countenaunce into a goodly Hall, 

Of jasper stones it was wonderly wrought : 

The wyndowes cleare depured all of crystall, 60 
And in the roufe on hye over all 

Of golde was made a ryght crafty vyne ; 

In stede of grapes the rubies there did shyne. 

The flore was paved with berall clarified, 

With pillers made of stones precious, 65 

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. 70 

That treated well of a ful noble story, 

Of the doubty waye to the Tower Perillous ;t 

Howe a noble knyght should wynne the victory 
Of many a serpente fowle and odious. 


• Nysus. PC. t The story of the poem. 

\} scent. 2 affording solace.] 



^7^-^ S given from a fragment in tlie Editor's folio MS. which, 
tho' extremely defective and mutilated, ay)peared to have 
"^ so much merit, that it excited a strong desire to attempt 
a completion of the story. The Reader will easily dis- 
cover 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 aftecting simplicity and artless beauties of 
the original. 

Child was a title sometimes given to a knight. 

[The Child of EH, as it appears in the folio j\IS., is a fragment 
\\-ithout beginning or ending, so that Percy was forced to add some 
verses in order to fit it for his book, but the above note does not 
give any adequate notion of his contributions to the ballad. The 
verses that arc entirely due to the bishop's pen are placed between 
brackets, and it will be seen from the copy of the original printed 
at the end that the remaining thirty lines are much altered from it. 
It is unfortunate that Percy's taste was not sufficient to save him 
from adding sentimental verses so out of character with the direct- 
ness of the original as — 

" Fair Emmeline sighed, fair Emmeline wept, 

And aye her heart was woe : 
At length he seized her lilly-white hand. 

And downe the ladder he drewe." 

On the other hand, the poem as it stands is certainly elegant, and 
Sir Walter Scott was justified in his high praise when he pointed 
out the beauty of verses 181 — 184. 

" The baron he stroked his dark brown cheek, 

And turned his head aside 
To wipe away the starting tear, 

He proudly strave to hide." 

Scott published a ballad called " ErHnton " for the first time in 
his Border Minstrelsy, which he says " seems to be the rude original, 
or ])crhaps a corrujjt and imperfect copy of The Child of Elle." 

The original fragment from the M.S. is worth reading for its own 
sake as a genuine antique, which must outweigh in interest all 
manufactured imitations.] 


N yonder hill a castle standes 

With walks and towres bedight/ 
And yonder lives the Child of Elle, 
A younge and comely knighte. 

The Child of Elle to his garden wente, s 

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, lo 

And soone he mette faire Emmelines page 
Come climbing up the hille. 

Nowe Christe thee save, thou little foot-page, 

Now Christe thee save and see ! 
Oh telle me how does thy ladye gaye, 15 

' And what may thy tydinges bee ? 

My lady 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. 20 

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 25 

The last boone thou mayst have, 
And biddes thee weare it for her sake, 

Whan she is layde in grave. 

\} bedecked.] 


For, ah ! her gentle heart is broke, 

And in grave soone must shee bee. 30 

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 countraye, 
And within three dayes shee must him wedde, 35 

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. 40 

Nowe hye thee backe, thou little foot-page, 

And let thy fair ladye know 
This niofht will I bee at her bowre-windowe, 

Betide me weale or woe. 

The boye he tripped, the boye he ranne, 4S 

He neither stint ne stayd 
Untill he came to fair Emmelines bowre, 

Whan kneeling downe he sayd, 

O ladye, I've been with thy own true lot^e, 
And he greets thee well by mee ; 5° 

This night will he bee at thy bowre-windowe, 
And dye or sette thee free. 

Nowe daye was gone, and night was come, 

And all were fast asleepe, 
All save the ladye Emmeline, 55 

Who sate in her bowre to weepe : 

And soone shee heard her true loves voice 
Lowe whispering at the walle, 

1^ churlish.] 


Awake, awake, my deare ladye, 

Tis I thy true love call. 60 

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, 65 

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, 70 

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 75 

Awaye with a knight should fly ? 

Ah ! well I wot, he never would rest,] 
Nor his meate should doe him no goode, 

Until he had slayne thee, Child of EUe, 

And seene thy deare hearts bloode." 80 

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, 85 
And once without this walle, 

1 would not care for thy cruel father, 

Nor the worst that might befalle. 

[Faire Emmeline sighed, fair Emmeline wept, 
And aye her heart was woe : 90 


At length he seized her lilly-white hand, 
And downe the ladder he drewe : 

And thrice he clasped her to his breste, 

And kist her tenderlie : 
The teares that fell from her fair eyes, 95 

Ranne like tlie fountayne free,] 

Hee mounted himselfe on his steede so talle, 

And her on a fair palfraye, 
And slunor his buole about his necke, 

And roundlye they rode awaye. 100 

[All this beheard her owne damselle, 

In her bed whereas shee ley, 
Quoth shee. My lord shall knowe of this, 

See I shall have golde and fee. 

Awake, awake, thou baron bolde ! 105 

Awake, my noble dame ! 
Your daughter is fledde with the Child of Elle, 

To doe the deede of shame. 

The baron he woke, the baron he rose, 

And called his merrye men all : no 

" 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 115 

Come galloping over the downe : 

[And foremost came the carlish knight. 

Sir John of the north countraye : 
" Nowe stop, no we stop, thou false traitoure, 

Nor carry that ladye awaye. 120 

f^ into captivity.] 


For she is come of hye lineage, 

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, 125 

Nowe thou doest lye of mee ; 
A knight mee gott, and a ladye me bore, 

Soe never did none by thee. 

But light nowe downe, my ladye faire, 

Light downe, and hold my steed, 130 

While I and this discourteous knighte 
Doe trye this arduous deede. 

But light now downe, my deare ladye, 
Light downe, and hold my horse ; 

While I and this discourteous knight 135 

[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. 140 

The Child of File hee fought soe well, 
As his weapon he waived amaine. 

That soone he had slaine the carlish knight, 
And layd him upon the plaine. 

And nowe the baron, and all his men 145 

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, 150 

And soone he saw his owne merry men 
Come ryding over the hill. 

["' no advantage.] 


" Nowe hold thy hand, thou bold baron, 

I pray thee hold thy hand, 
Nor ruthless rend two gentle hearts, 15s 

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. i6o 

O give consent, shee may be mine, 

And blesse a faithfull paire : 
My lands and livings are not small, 

My house and lineage faire : 

My mother she was an earl's daughter, 165 

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 : 170 

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, 175 

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. 180 

The baron he stroakt his dark-brown cheeke, 

And turned his heade asyde 
To whipe awaye the starting teare, 

I Ic ])r()udly stravc to hydc. 


In deepe revolving thought he stoode, 185 

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 ; 190 

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 195 

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.] 200 

* * 

\\\ From the word kirke 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 churchy as well as beyond the Tweed. 

[The following thirty-nine lines are the whole of the fragment 
which Percy used as the groundwork of his poem. They are taken 
from Bishop Percy's Folio Manuscript^ vol. i. p. 133. 

Sayes, Christ thee save, good child of Ell ! 
Christ saue thee and thy steede ! 

My father sayes he will noe meate. 

Nor his drinke shall doe him noe good, 

till he have slaine the Child of Ell 
And have seene his harts blood. 

I wold I were in my sadle sett, 

And a mile out of the towne, 
I did not care for your father 

And all his merry men ! 


I wold I were in my sadle sett, 

And a little space him froe, 
I did not care for your father 

And all that long him to ! 

He leaned ore his saddle bow 

To kisse this Lady good ; 
The teares that went them two betweene 

Were blend water and blood. 

He sett himselfe on one good steed 

This lady of one palfray 
And sett his litle home to his mouth 

And roundlie he rode away. 

He had not ridden past a mile 

A mile out of the to^\Tle, 
Her father was readye with her seven brether 

He said, sett thou my daughter downe ! 
For itt ill iDeseemes thee, thou false churles sonne, 

To carry her forth of this towne ! 

But lowd thou lyest, Sir John the Knight ! 

That now doest lye of me ; 
A knight me gott and a lady me bore ; 

Soe never did none by thee. 

But light now downe, my lady gay, 

Light downe and hold my horsse 
Whitest I and your father and your brether 

Doe play us at this crosse \ 

But light now downe, my owne trew loue, 

And meeklye hold my steede, 
Whilest your father [and your brether] bold.] 

\_IIa/f a page missing.'] 




A Scottish Ballad, 

JAS 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 foHo MS. It is remarkable that the latter is entitled 
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 Rodcs 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,! 

* This ballad is well known in that neighbourhood, where it is 
intitled Adam O' Gordon. It may be observed, that the famous 
free-booter whom Edward I. fought with, hand to hand, near 
Farnham, was named Adam Gordon. 

t Since this ballad was first printed, the subject of it has been 
found recorded in Abp. Spotswood's History of the Church of Scot- 
land, p. 259, who informs us that, 

"Anno 157 1. In the north parts of Scodand, Adam Gordon 
(who was deputy for his brother the earl of Huntley) did keep a 


yet it is but too faithful a specimen of the violences practised in 
tlie feudal times in every part of this Island, and indeed all over 

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 per- 
sonages they introduced, to humour their hearers. For instance, 
if a Gordon's conduct was blameworthy in the opinion of that age, 
the obsequious minstrel would, when among Gordons, change the 
name to Car, whose clan or sept lay furtlier west, and vur TcrsA. 
The foregoing observation, which I owed to Sir David Dalrymple, 
will appear the more perfectly well founded, if, as I have since 
been infonned (from Crawford's Memoirs), the principal Com- 
mander of the expedition was a Gordon, and the immediate agent 
a Car, or Ker ; for then the reciter might, upon good grounds, im- 
pute the barbarity here deplored, either to a Gordon or a Car, as 
best suited his purpose. In the third volume the reader will find 
a similar instance. See the song of Gil Morris, wherein the prin- 
cipal character introduced had difterent names given him, perhaps 
from the same cause. 

It may be proper to mention that, in the folio MS., instead 
of the " Castle of the Rodes," it is the " Castle of Bittons- 
borrow," and also " Dractons-borrow," and " Capt. Adam Carre " 
is called the " Lord of Westerton-town." Uniformity 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. 

[Percy's note, which goes to prove that the historical event re- 
ferred to in tliis ballad occurred in the north of Scotland, negatives 
the view which is expressed just before, that the borders are the 

great stir ; and under colour of the queen's authority, committed 

divers oppressions, 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 Alex- 
ander 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." 

'J'his fact, which had escaped tlie 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 Gcnilcmatis 
Afa,i;azi//e (or 'Ma.y, 1775. 

142 EDOM (9' GORDON. 

exclusive country of the ballad singers, at all events in this par- 
ticular instance. Sir David Dalrymple appears to have altered the 
place of action from Towie to Rodes under a misconception. An 
extract from Crawford's Memoirs (an. 15 71, p. 240, ed. 1706), is 
a proper companion to the passage from Spotswood, and explains 
the title in the folio MS. The person sent was " one Captain Ker 
with a party of foot. . . . Nor was he ever so much as cashiered 
for this inhuman action, which made Gordon share in the scandal 
and the guilt." Gordon, in his History of the Family of Gordon, 
informs us that, in the true old spirit of Scottish family feuds, the 
Forbes's afterwards attempted to assassinate Gordon in the streets 
of Paris. 

Percy showed good taste in rejecting the termination given in 
Dalrymple's version, which certainly does not improve the ballad, 
and has moreover a very modern flavour. The husband is there 
made to end his days as follows : — 

" And round and round the wa's he went 

Their ashes for to view. 

At last into the flames he flew 

And bad the world adieu." 

This ballad is found in various versions, which proves how wide- 
spread was the popularity of the striking story which it relates. In 
the version given from the Cotton MS. by Ritson in his Ancient 
Songs (vol. ii. p. 38, ed. 1829) the husband takes no vengeance on 
Captain Car. Another version, entitled Lotidoun Castle, is reprinted 
in Child'' s E?tglish and Scottish Ballads (vol. vi. p. 254), from the 
Ballads afid Songs of Ayrshire, where the scene is changed to 
Loudoun Castle, which is supposed to have been burnt about three 
hundred and sixty years ago by the clan Kennedy. In Ritson's 
version the castle is called Crechcrynbroghe, and in the Genealogy 
of the Forbes, by Matthew Lumsden, of Tullikerne, written in 1580 
(Inverness, 1819, p. 44), the name is changed to Cargaffe. From 
this latter source we learn that the lady of Towie was Margaret 
Campbell, daughter of Sir John Campbell, of Calder, and that 
the husband, far from flying into the flames, married a second wife, a 
daughter of Forbes of Reires, who bare him a son named Arthur.] 

EDOM (9' GORDON. 14- 

T fell about the Martinmas, / 

Ouhen 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, 5 

My mirry men and me ? 
We wul gae to the house o' the Rodes, 

To see that fair ladle. 

The lady stude on hir castle wa', 

Beheld baith dale and down : 10 

There she was ware of a host of men 
Cum r)^ding towards the toun.'^ 

O see ye nat, my mirry men a' ? 

see ye nat quhat I see ? 

Methinks I see a host of men : 15 

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, 

Ouha reckt nae sin nor shame. 20 

She had nae sooner buskif* hirsel. 

And putten on hir goun, 
But Edom o' Gordon and his men 

Were round about the toun. 

They had nae sooner supper sett. 25 

Nae sooner said the grace, 
But Edom o' Gordon and his men. 

Were light about the place. 

[' to a hold. 2 dwelling-house. ' thought. '' dressed.] 

144 EDOM (9' GORDON. 

The lady ran up to hir towir head, 

Sa fast as she could hie, 30 

To see if by hir fair speeches 
She could wi' him agree. 

Buj; quhan he see this lady saif. 

And hir yates^ all locked fast, 
He fell intb a rage of wrath, 35 

And his look was all aghast. 

Cum doun to me, ye lady gay, 

Cum doun, cum doun to me : 
This night sail ye lig'^ within mine armes, 

To-morrow my bride sail be. 40 

I winnae^ cum doun, ye fals Gordon, 

I winnae cum doun to thee ; 
I winnae forsake my ain dear lord, 

That is sae far frae me. 

Give owre your house, ye lady fair, 45 

Give owre your house to me. 
Or I sail brenn^ yoursel therein, 
Bot and^ your babies three. 

I winnae give owre, ye false Gordon, 

To nae sik traitor as yee ; 50 

And if ye brenn my ain dear babes. 
My lord sail make ye drie.*^ 

But reach my pistoll, Glaud, my man,* 
And charge ye weil my gun :* 

For, but an' I pierce that bluidy butcher, 55 
My babes we been undone. 

She stude upon hir castle wa'. 
And let twa bullets flee : * 

* These three hnes are restored from Foulis's edition, and the 
fol. MS., which last reads the bullets^ in ver. 58. 

[1 gates. 2 iig_ 3 ^^-^ j^Qj-_ 4 \y^x\\. 

^ and also. " suffer. '^ unless.] 

EDOM 0' GORDON. 145 

She mist that bkiidy butchers hart, 

And only raz'd his knee. 60 

Set fire to the house, quo' fals Gordon, 

All wood \\'\ dule^ and ire : 
Fals lady, ye sail rue this deid, 

As ye bren in the fire. 

Wae worth,"^ wae worth ye, Jock my man, 65 

I paid ye weil your fee ; 
Quhy pu' ye out the ground-wa' stane.'' 

Lets in the reek^ to me ? 

And ein^ wae worth ye, Jock my man, . 

I paid ye weil your hire ; 70 

Quhy pu' ye out the ground-wa stane. 

To me lets in the fire ? 

Ye paid me weil my hire, lady ; 

Ye paid me weil my fee : 
But now I'm Edom o' Gordons man, 75 

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. 80 

1 wad gie a' my gowd,^ my childe, 

Sae wald I a' my fee, 
For ane blast o' the western wind. 
To blaw the reek frae thee. 

O then bespaik hir dochter dear, 85 

She was baith jimp'^ and sma : 
O row" me in a pair o' sheits, 

And tow me" owre the wa. 

I ' mad with sorrow. ^ woe betide. ^ ground-wall stone. 

* smoke. ^ even. " goU- 

' slender. " roll. " let me down.J 


146 EDOM (9' GORDON. 

They rowd hir in a pair o' sheits, 

And towd hir owre the wa : 90 

But on the point of Gordons spear, 
She gat a deadly fa. 

bonnie bonnie was hir mouth,. 
And cherry were hir cheiks, 

And clear clear was hir yellow hair, 95 

Whereon the reid bluid dreips. 

Then wi' his spear he turnd hir owre, 

gin hir face was wan ! 

He sayd, ye are the first that eir 

1 wisht alive again. 100 

He turnd hir owre and owre againe, 
O gin hir skin was whyte ! 

1 might ha spared that bonnie face 
To hae been sum mans delyte. 

Busk and boun,^ my merry men a', 105 

For ill dooms I doe guess ; 
I cannae luik in that bonnie face, 

As it lyes on the grass. 

Thame, luiks to freits, my master deir, 

Then freits wil follow thame : no 

Let it 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 twain, 115 

Sayd, Bairns, we been but dead. 

Ver. 98, 102. O ^in, g^c. a Scottish idiom to express great 
admiration. V. 109, no. Thame, 6^r. i.e. Them that look after 
omens of ill luck, ill luck will follow. 

\} make ready to go.] 

EDOM 6>' GORDON. 147 

The Gordon then his bougill ^ blew, 

And said, Awa*, awa' ; 
This house o' the Rodes is a' in flame, 

I hauld it time to ea'. 


O 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, 125 

And all his hart was wae ; 
Put on, put on, my wighty men, 

So fast as ye can gae. 

Put on, put on, my wighty^ men, 

Sa fast as ye can drie ;^ 130 

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, 135 

Baith lady and babes were brent. 

He wrang his hands, he rent his hair. 

And wept in teenefu' muid : ^ 
O traitors, for this cruel deid 

Ye sail weep teirs o'bluid. 14.0 

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. 

[' bugle. "^ saw. ^ nimble. '' endure. 

*'• full fast over the meadows. " in wrathful mood. 

' bear. ^ revenged.] 


[The following is the version of the ballad in the Percy Folio, 
which is entitled Captainc Carre. Bishop Percy's Folio MS., ed. J. 
W. Hales and F. J. Furnivall, 1867, vol. i., pp. 79-83- 

ffaith. Master, whither you will, 

whereas you like the best, 
Unto the castle of Bittons borrow, 

and there to take your rest. 

But yonder stands a Castle faire, 

is made of lyme and stone, 
Yonder is in it a fayre lady, 

her lord is ridden and gone. 

The lady stood on her castle wall, 

she looked upp and downe. 
She was ware of an hoast of men 

came rydinge towards the towne. 

See you not my merry men all, 

and see you not what I doe see ? 
Methinks I see a hoast of men 

I muse who they shold be. 

She thought it had beene her lovly Lord, 

he had come ryding home : 
it was the traitor, Captaine Carre 

the Lord of Westerton towne 

They had noe sooner super sett, 

and after said the grace 
but the traitor Captaine Carre ' 

was light about the place. 

Give over thy house, thou lady gay 
I will make thee a band [/. e. bond] 

all night within mine armes thoust lye, 
to-morrow be the heyre of my land. 

He not give over my house, shee said 

neither for ladds nor man, 
nor yet for traitor Captaine Carre, 

Untill my lord come home 

But reach me my pistoll pee [/. e. piece] 

and charge you well my gunne. 
He shoote at the bloody bucher 

the lord of westerton. 


She stood uppon her castle wall 

and let the bulletts tlee, 
and where shee mist .... 

\Half a page missing.'] 

But then bespake the little child 

that sate on the nurses knee, 
saies, mother deere, give ore this house 

for the smoake it smoothers me. 

I wold give all my gold, my childe, 

soe wold I doe all my fee, 
for one blast of the westerne -vvind 

to blow the smoke from thee 

But when shee saw the fier 

came flaming ore her head, 
She tooke them upp her children two 

Sayes, babes we all beene dead ! 

But Adam then he fired the house, 

a sorrowfuU sight to see : 
now hath he burned this lady faire 

and eke her children three 

Then Captain Carre he rode away, 

he staid noe longer at that tide, 
he thought that place it was to warme 

soe neere for to abide 

He calld unto his merry men all 

bidd them make hast away 
for we have slaine his children three 

all, and his lady gay. 

Word came to lovly loudon ^ 

to loudon ^ wheras her lord lay, 
his castle and his hall was burned 

all and his lady gay. 

Soe hath he done his Children three. 
More dearer unto liini \ 

then either the silver or the gold 
that men soe faine wold win. 

But when he looket this writing on. 

Lord in is hart he was woe ! 
saies, I will find thee. Captain Carre, 

wether thou ryde or goc ! 

\} printed London in the edition of the MS.] 


Buff yee, bowne yee, my merry men all 
with tempered swords of Steele, 

for till I have found out Captaine Carre, 
My hart it is nothing weele. 

But when he came to dractons Borrow, 

soe long ere it was day, 
and ther he found him, Captaine Carre ; 

that night he ment to stay.] 

{Half a page missing.'] 




BOOK 11. 



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 re- 
covered, 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 Shakespeare, or contribute in 
any degree to illustrate his writings : this being the prin- 
cipal point in view, the candid reader will pardon the 
admission of some pieces that have no other kind of 



-ERE 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 coun- 
ties. Their place of residence was in the forest of Engle- 
wood, not far from Carlisle (called corruptly in the ballad English- 
wood, whereas Engle, or Ingle-wood, signifies wood for firing). At 
what time they Hved 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 Forester was, 

and he shot in a lusty long-bow, 
Two north-country miles and an inch at a shot, 

as the Finder of Wakefield does know : 

For he brought Adam Bell, and Clim of the Clugh, 

and William a Clowdeslee, 
To shoot with our Forester for forty mark ; 

and the P'orester beat them all three." 

Collect, of Old Ballads, vol. i. (1723), 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 unkno\vn to their southern 
countrymen : their excellence at the longbow is often alluded to 
by our ancient poets. Shakespeare, in liis comedy of Much adoc 
about nothing, act i., makes licncdick 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 our archer. 
Ben Jonson has mentioned Clym d the Cloiigh 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 if 
^ Where 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 Q. Elizabeth. See in Rymer's Fcedera, a letter from lord 
William Howard to some of the officers of state, wherein he men- 
tions them. 

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 4to. Ijnprinted at London in Lothburye 
by Wyllyam Copland (no date). That old quarto edition seems to 
be exactly followed in Pieces of Anciejii Popular Poetry, 6^r. Lond. 
1791,1 8vo., the variations from which that occur in the following 
copy, are selected from many others in the foho MS. above-men- 
tioned, and when distinguished by the usual inverted * comma,' 
have been assisted by conjecture. 

In the same MS. this Ballad is followed by another, intitled 
Younge Cloudeslee, being a continuation of the present story, and re- 
citing the adventures of William of Cloudesly's son : but greatly 
inferior to this both in merit and antiquity. 

* 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. 

t /. ^. Each with a canvas bow-case tied round his loins. 

it Ritson's book.] , 


[The version here printed differs but slightly from the one in the 
Folio MS. (ed. Hales and Furnivall, 1868, vol. iii. p. 76), and as 
the latter is of no critical value it has been thought unnecessary to 
point out the various readings. A fragment of an older edition 
than Copland's mentioned above has been recovered by Mr. Payne 
Collier, which is attributed to the press of Wynkyn de Worde by 
Mr. W. C. HazHtt. 

This spirited ballad is mentioned by Laneham in his Catalogue 
of Captain Cox's ballads, and the various editions it has passed 
through, and the frequent references to it in literature, prove its 
great and deserved popularity. 

The circumstances of the second Fit resemble closely the rescue 
of Robin Hood by Little John, as related in ''Robin Hood and 
the Monk," and the incident of the shot at the apple in the third 
Fit bears a curious likeness to the very ancient myth which is 
associated with William Tell. "Allane Bell" is mentioned by 
Dunbar in company with Robin Hood, Guy of Gisborne, and 
others, which proves that in his time these names had become 
mere abstractions.] 


ERY it was in the grene forest 
Amonge the levcs grene, 
Wheras men hunt east and west 
Wyth bowes and arrowes kene ; 

To raise the dere out of theyr denne ; s 

Suche fiofhtes 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,* 10 

The thyrd was WilHam of Cloudesly, 

An archer good ynough. 

 Clym pf the Clough, means Clem. [Clement] of the Cliff: for 
so Clough signifies in the North. 


They were outlawed for venyson, 

These yemen everych-one ; 
They swore them brethren upon a day, 15 

To Englyshe wood for to gone. 

Now Hth^ and lysten, gentylmen, 

That of myrthes loveth to here : 
Two of them were single men, 

The third had a wedded fere.^ 20 

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, 25 

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,^ 30 

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,' 35 

Or else that I am slayne. 

He toke hys leave of hys brethren two, 

And to Carlile he is gon : 
There he knocked at his owne windowe 

Shortlye and anone. 40 

Ver. 24. Caerlel, in PC. passim. V. 35. take, PC. tanc, MS. 

[' attend. ^ companion or wife. ^ from this wild wood depart. 
"* six o'clock in the morning.] - 


Wher be you, fayre Alyce, he sayd, 

INIy wife and chyldren three ? 
Lyghtly let in thyne owne husbande, 

Wyllyam of Cloudeslee. 

Alas ! then sayde fayre Alyce, 45 

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. 50 

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, 55 

Whome she loved as her lyfe. 

There lay an old wyfe in that place, 

A lytle besyde the fyre, 
W'hych Wyllyam had found of charytye 

More than seven yere. 60 

Up she rose, and forth shee goes, 
Evill mote^ shee speede therfore ; 

For shee had sett no foote on ground 
In seven yere before. 

She went unto the justice hall, 65 

As fast as she could hye : 
Thys night, shee sayd, is come to town 

\\'}llyam of Cloudeslye, 

Thereof the justice was full fayne,* 

And so was the shirife also : 70 

[' might. '^ glad.] 


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 ' : 
She toke the gyft, and home she wente, 7.5 

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. 80 

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 wyndowe, 85 

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 ! 90 

Goe into my chamber, my husband, she sayd, 

Swete Wyllyam of Cloudeslee. 

He toke hys sword and hys bucler, 
Hys bow and hys chyldren thre. 

And wente into hys strongest chamber, 95 

Where he thought surest to be. 

Fayre Alyce, like a lover true. 

Took a pollaxe in her hande : 
Said, He shall dye that cometh in 

Thys dore, whyle I may stand. 100 

Ver. 85. sic MS. shop window, PC. 
\} company.] 


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 WilHam, 105 

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." no 

' A ' curse on hys hart, sayd fair Alyce, 
That my husband councclleth so. 

Set fyre on the house, saide the sherife, 

Syth it wyll no better be, 
And brenne'^ we therin William, he saide, 115 

Hys wyfe and chyldren thre. 

They fyred the house in many a place, 

The fyre flew up on hye : 
Alas ! then cryed fayre Ahce, 

I se we here shall dye. 120 

William openyd a backe wyndow, 

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, 125 

My wyfe and my chyldren thre : 
For Christes love do them no harme, 

But wreke you all on me. 

Wyll)am shot so wonderous well, 

Tyll hys arrowes were all agoe, 130 

[^ from thee. ^ burn.] 


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, 135 

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. 140 

He toke hys sword 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, 145 

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 : 150 

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 : 155 

No man shal come in therat. 

Then shall not helpe Clym of the Cloughe, 
Nor yet shall Adam Bell, 

Ver, 151. Sic MS. hye Justice, PC. V. 153, 4, are contracted 
from the folio MS. and PC. 

[^ burnt. 2 sooner. ^ in the crowd to run. "^ wild. 
^ in a crowd. " fiercely.] 


Though they came with a thousand mo, 

Nor all the devels in hell. 160 

Early in the mornynge the justice uprose, 

To the o-ates first can he irone, 
And commaunded to be shut full close 

Lightile^ evcrych-one. 

Then went he to the markett place, 165 

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 ? 170 

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 seene William in the wodde, 175 

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.^ 

Alas ! then sayd good Adam Bell, 185 

That ever we saw thys daye ! 
He had better have tarryed with us, 

So ofte as we dyd hym praye, 

Ver. 179. yonge men, PC. 

[} quickly. ^ lusty. '' condemned. ' Jibing-] 



He myght have dwelt in grene foreste, 

Under the shadowes greene, 190 

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, 19s 
And bryng me myne arrowe agayne. 

Now go we hence, sayed these wightye yeomen, 

Tarry we no longer here ; 
We shall hym borowe*^ by God his grace, 

Though we buy itt full dere. 200 


To Caerleil wente these bold yemen, 
All in a mornyng of maye. 

Here is a fyt of Cloudeslye, 
And another is for to saye. 


ND 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. 

Ver. 190. sic MS. shadowes sheene, PC. V. ig"]. Jolly yeomen, 
MS. zvight yong juen, PC. 

[' vexation. ^ redeem. ^ unto.] 


Then bespake him Clym of the Clough, 

Wyth a wyle we wyl us in bryng ; lo 

Let us saye we be messengers, 

Streyght come nowe from our king. 

Adam said, I have a letter written, 

Now let us wysely werke, 
We wyl saye we have the kynges seale ; i s 

I holde the porter no clerke. ) 

Then Adam Bell bete on the orates 

With strokes Q^reat and stronore : 
The porter marvelled, who was therat, 

And to the gates he thronge.^ 20 

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, 25 

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, 30 

Tyll a false thefe be hanged. 
Called Wyllyam of Cloudesle. 

Then spake the good yeman Clym of the Clough, 

And swore by Mary fre. 
And if that we stande long wythout, 35 

Lyke a thefe hanged shalt thou be. 

Lo ! here we have the kynges seale : 
What, Lurden,'^ art thou wode V 

Ver. 38. Lordeyne, PC. 
[' hastened. ^ sluggard or stupid fellow. •* mad.] 


The porter went* it had ben so, 

And lyghtly dyd off hys hode/ 40 

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, 45 

Wherof we are full faine f 
But Christ he knowes, that harowed^ hell. 

How we shall com out agayne. 

Had we the keys, said Clim of the Clough, 
Ryght wel then shoulde we spede, 50 

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, 55 

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. 60 

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. 

* i. e. weened, thought (which last is the reading of the folio 

MS.) 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. 

\} doffed his hood. ^ glad. ^ despoiled.] 


Then they bent theyr g-ood ewe bowes, 65 

And loked the}T stringes were round,"'^ 

The markett place in mery Carleile 
They beset thatstound/ 

And, as they loked them besyde, 

A paire of new galowes ' they' see, 70 

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, 75 

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. 80 

I have sene as great mervaile, said Cloudesle, 

As betweyne thys and pryme. 
He that maketh a grave for mee, 

Hymselfe may lye therin. 

Thou speakest proudlye, said the justice, 85 

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' 90 

At a corner of the market place, 
Redy the justice for to slaine. 

* So Ascham in his Toxophilus gives a precept ; " The Stringe 
must be rounde" (p. 149- Ed. 1761) : otherwise, we may conclude 
from mechanical principles, the Arrow will not fly true. 

[' hour. 2 imjuest.] 


I se comfort, sayd Cloudesle, 

Yet hope I well to fare, 
If I might have my handes at wyll 95 

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 : 100 

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, 105 

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, no 

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, 115 

Where he with ropes lay tyde. 

Wyllyam start to an officer of the towne, 
Hys axe ' from' hys hand he wronge, 

On eche syde he smote them downe, 

Hee thought he taryed to long. 120 

Wyllyam sayde to hys brethren two, 
Thys daye let us lyve and die, 

Ver. 105. loivsed thre, PC. V. 108. can bled, MS. 
[' went off.] 


If ever you have nede, as I have now, 
The same shall you finde by me. 

They shot so well in that tyde, 125 

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, 130 

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, 135 

And theyr bowes from them cast. 

They went lyghtlye on theyr way, 
Wyth swordes and buclers round ; 

By that it was mydd of the day, 

They made many a wound. 140 

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, 145 

Wyth hym a ful great route :^ 
These yemen dred hym full sore. 

Of theyr lyves they stode in great doute.^ 

* Outhorne, is an old term signifying the calling forth of subjects 
to arms by the sound of a horn. See Cole's Lat. Diet., Bailey, &c. 
[Perhaps " a nouthome," or neat's horn, from nowt, cattle.] 

Vcr. 148. For of, MS. 

[' pressed. '^ company. -^ fear.] 


The mayre came armed a full great pace, 

With a poUaxe in hys hande ; 150 

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, 155 

Alas ! Treason they cryed for wo. 
Kepe well the gates fast, they bad. 

That these traytours therout not go. 

But al for nought was that they wrought. 

For so fast they downe were layde, 160 

Tyll they all thre, that so manfulli fought, 
I Were gotten without, abraide."* 

Have here your keys, sayd Adam Bel, 

Myne office I here forsake. 
And yf you do by my counsel! 165 

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. 170 

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, 175 

Under the trusty tre, 

* "^his is spoken ironically. 

Ver. 175. merry green wood, MS. 

\} fight. ^ pike or halbert. ' burst. 

^ abroad. ^ lime tree.] 


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, 180 

I would 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 : 185 

Another I wyll you tell. 


S they sat in Englyshe wood, 
Under the grecn-wode tre. 
They thought they herd a woman wepe. 
But her they mought^ not se. 

Sore then syghed the fayre Alyce : 5 

' 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, 10 

To show them what him befell, 
]\Iy hart were out of payne. 

Cloudesle walked a lytle beside, 

He looked under the grene wood lynde. 

Vcr. 185. see Parti, ver. 197. 
\} company. ' might.] 


He was ware of his wife, and cliyldren three, 15 
Full wo in harte and mynde. 

/ Welcome, wyfe, then sayde Wyllyam, 
Under ' this' trusti tre : 
I had wende^ yesterday, by swete saynt John, 
Thou sholdest me never * have' se. 20 

" 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, as 

I -wis it is 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 ; 30 

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 35 

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. 40 

And when they had supped well, 
Certayne withouten lease,^ 
/ Cloudesle sayd, We wyll to our kyng, 
V To get us a charter of peace. 

Ver. 20. never had se, PC. and MS. 

[' thought. ^ clear space in a forest. 

■'' fat hart. ■* without lying.] 


Alyce shal be at our sojournyng 4.5 

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 hym have 'you' no care : 50 

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, 55 

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. 60 

They preced prestly^ into the hall, s 

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 ? 65 

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 

Ccrtayne withouten lease ; 70 

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, 

Ver. 50. have I no care, PC. * i.e. hie, hasten. 

[' pressed (juickly. ' blamed.] 


The kneled downe without lettyng, 75 

And eche held up his hand. 

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. 80 

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, 85 

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. 90 

He commanded his officers everlch-one. 

Fast on them to lay hande. 

There they toke these good yemen. 

And arested them al thre : 
So may I thryve, sayd Adam Bell, 95 

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, 100 

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 ; 105 

Ye shall be hanged all thre. 


That were great pitye, then sayd the quene, 
If any grace myght be. 

]\Iy lorde, whan I came fyrst into this lande 
To be your wedded wyfe, no 

The fyrst boone that I wold aske, 
Ye would graunt it me belyfe •} 

And I asked you never none tyll now ; 

Therefore good lorde, graunt it me, 
Now aske it, madam, sayd the kynge, 115 

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. 120 

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, 125 

Your askyng graunted shal be ; 
But I had lever have geven you 

Good market townes thre. 

The quene was a glad woman, 

And sayde. Lord, gramarcy :* 130 

I dare undertake for them, 

That true men shal they be. 

But good my lord, speke som mery word, 

That comfort they may se. 
I graunt you grace, then sayd our king; 135 

Washe, felos, and to meate go ye. 

Ver. Ill, 119. sic. MS. bowne, PC. V. 130. God a tnenye, MS. 
[' at once. ^ satisfaction. ^ dear. "* I thank you.] 


They had not setten but a whyle 

Certayne without lesynge/ 
There came messengers out of the north 

With letters to our kyng. 140 

And whan the came before the kynge, 

They knelt downe on theyr kne ; 
And sayd, Lord, your officers grete you well, 
\ Of Carleile in the north cuntre. 

How fareth my justice, sayd the kyng, 14.5 

And my sherife also ? 
Syr, they be siayne without leasynge, 

And many an officer mo. 

Who hath them siayne, sayd the kyng ; 

Anone that thou tell me ? 150 

" 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, 155 

I had knowne of thys before ; 

For I have graunted them grace, 

And that forthynketh^ me : 
But had I knowne all thys before, 

They had been hanged all thre. 160 

The kyng hee opened the letter anone, 

Himselfe he red it thro. 
And founde how these outlawes had slain 

Thre hundred men and mo : 

Fyrst the justice, and the sheryfe, 165 

And the mayre of Carleile towne ; 

[' lying. 2 pity. '' rather. * vexeth.] 


Of all the constables and catchlpolles 
Alyve were 'scant' left one : 

The baylyes, and the bedyls both, 

And the sergeauntes of the law, 170 

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, 175 

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. 180 

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 wrouo^ht this wo. 

The kynges bowmen buske them blyve,'' 185 

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 ; 190 

There was no shote these yemen shot, 
That any prycke* myght stand. 

Then spake Wyllyam of Cloudesle ; 
By him that for me dyed, 

Ver. 168. left but one, MS. not om\ PC V. 185. blythc, MS. 
* i.e. mark. 

[^ foresters of the king's demesnes. ^ slain. 
•' get them ready insUmtly.J 


I hold hym never no good archar, 195 

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. 200 

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, 205 

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 gro. 210 

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, 215 

I wyll do more maystery.^ 

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 ; 


And lay an apple upon hys head, 
And go syxe score paces hym fro, 

Ver. 202, 203, 212. to, PC. V. 204. i.e. 400 yards. V. 208. 
sic MS. none that can, PC. V. 222. i.e. 120 yards. 

\} hazel rods. "^ an arrow that carries well. ^ tj-ial of skill.] 


And I my selfe with a brode arow ' 
Shall cleve the apple in two. 

Now haste the, then sayd the kyng, 
By hym that dyed on a tre, 

But yf thou do not, as thou hest sayde, 
Handed shalt thou be. 



And thou touche his head or gowne, 

In fyght that men may se, 230 

By all the sayntes that be in heaven, 
I shall hange you all thre. 

That I have promised, said William, 

That I wyll never forsake. 
And there even before the kynge 235 

In the earth he drove a stake : 

And bound thereto his eldest sonne, 
And bad hym stand styll thereat ; 

And turned the childes face him fro, 

Because he should not start. 24.0 

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, 2+5 

Hys bowe 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, 250 

For he that shoteth for such a wager, 
Bchovcth a stedfast hand. 

Vcr. 243. sic, MS. out met, PC. V. 252. steedyc, MS. 



Muche people prayed for Cloudesle, 

That his lyfe saved myght be, 
And whan he made hym redy to shote, 255 

There was many weeping ee. 

' But ' Cloudesle clefte the apple in two, 

* His Sonne he did not nee.' ^ 
Over Gods forbode, sayde the kinge, 

That thou shold shote at me. a6o 

I geve thee eightene pence a day, 
^ And my bo we shalt thou bere, 
( And over all the north countre 
V I make the chyfe rydere.^ 

And I thyrtene pence a day, said the quene, 265 

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 : 270 

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 commeth to mans estate, 275 

Better avaunced shall he be. 

And, Wyllyam,bring me your wife, said the quene. 

Me longeth her sore to se : 
She shall be my chefe gentlewoman. 

To governe my nurserye. 280 

The yemen thanked them all curteously. 
To some byshop wyl we wend, 

Ver. 265. And I geve the xvij pence, PC. V. 282. And say d to 
some Bishopp wee will wend, MS. 

[^ nigh. 2 ranger. ^ faith.] 


Of all the synnes, that we have done, 
To be assoyld^ at his hand. 

So forth be gone these good yemen, 285 

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; 290 

And all, that with a hand-bowe shoteth : 

That of heven may never mysse. Amen. 




'he 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 Shakespeare's time ; or perhaps so de- 
signed by the poet himself, the better to suit the character of an illi- 
terate 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 upon his death-bed j" a popular 
error which he laughs at. (See his Epist. to Yong Gent, prefixed 
to his Posies, 1575, 4to.) It is also ascribed to Lord Vaux in a 
manuscript copy preserved in the British Museum.f This Lord 

* /le, i.e. hie, hasten. 

t Harl. .\LSS. num. 1703, § 25. [Called in that MS. ''The 
Image of Death:' There is another copy in the Ashmolean Library 
(MS. Ashm. No. 48.)] The readings gathered from that cojjy arc 
distinguished here by inverted commas. The text is printed from 
the " Songs, c^c. of the Earl of Surrey and others, 1557, 4to." 

\} absolved.] 


was remarkable for his skill in drawing feigned manners, &c. for 
so I understand an ancient writer. " The Lord Vaux his com- 
mendation lyeth chiefly in the facilitie of his meetre, and the apt- 
nesse of his descriptions such as he taketh upon him to make, 
namely in sundry of his Songs, wherein he showeth the coimterfait 
axtion very lively and pleasantly." Arte of Eng. Poesie, 1589, 
p. 51. See another Song by this Poet in vol. ii. No. viii. 

[Thomas second Lord Vaux, the author of this poem, was born 
in the year 15 10. He wrote several small pieces of the same 
character which evince taste and feeling, and his contributions to 
the Paradise of Dainty Devices exceed in number those of Richard 
Edwards himself, whose name appears upon the original title-page 
as the chief author. Lord Vaux was a courtier as well as a poet, 
and was one of the splendid retinue which attended Wolsey in his 
embassy, in the 19th Henry VIIL, 1527, to the Court of France 
to negotiate a peace. He took his seat in the House of Lords in 
the 22nd Henry VIH., and two years afterwards, 1532, waited on 
the king to Calais and thence to Boulogne. He was rewarded with 
the Order of the Bath at the Coronation of Anne Boleyn, and was 
also appointed Captain of the Island of Jersey, which office he 
surrendered in the 28th Henry VIIL] 

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, 5 

My fansies all are fled ; 
And tract of time begins to weave 

Gray heares upon my hed. 

For Age with steling steps, 

Hath clawde me with his crowch,^ 10 

Ver. 6. he, PC. (printed copy in 1557.) V. 10. Croivch perhaps 
should be clouch, clutch, grasp. 

[^ behoof 2 meet or fit. ^ crutch.] 


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, 15 

As they have bene of yore. 

For Reason me denies, 

* All ' youthly idle rime ; 
And day by day to me she cries, 

Leave off these toyes in tyme. 20 

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, 25 

To me I se him ride. 
The cough, the cold, the gasping breath, 

Doth bid me to provide 

A pikeax and a spade. 

And eke a shrowding shete, 30 

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, 35 

Ere nature me compell. 

My kepers * knit the knot, 

Tluit youth doth laugh to scorne. 

Ver. II. Life away she, PC, V. 18. This, PC. V. 23. So Ed. 
1583 'tis hed^e in Ed. 1557. hath cam^hi him, MS. V. 30. 7C'y/id- 
yn^e-sheek, MS. V. 34. bell, MS. V. 35. wofull, PC. V. 38. 
did, PC. 

* Alluding perhaps to Eccles. xii. 3. 


Of me that ' shall bee cleane ' forgot, 

As I had ' ne'er ' bene borne. 40 

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 ; 45 

 By whose balde signe I know, 
That stouping age away shall pull 
* What ' youthful yeres did sow. 

For Beautie with her band. 

These croked cares had wrought, 50 

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, • 55 

So shall ye ' turne ' to dust. 


^N Shakespeare's Hamlet, act ii. the hero of the play takes 
occasion to banter Polonius with some scraps of an old 
Ballad, which has never appeared yet 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 

Ver. 39. cle?ie shal be, PC. V. 40. not, PC. V. 45. bare-hedde, 
MS. and some PCC. V. 48. Which, PC. That, MS. What is 
conject. V. 56. wast, PC. 


utter oblivion by a lady, who A\TOte it down from memory as she 
had formerly heard it sung by her father. I am indebted for it to 
the friendship of jMr. Stcrans. 

It has been said, that the original Ballad, in black-letter, is 
among Anthony a 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 

The Banter of Hamlet is as follows : 

" Hamld. ' O Jeptha, Judge of Israel,' what a treasure hadst 

Polonius. "What a treasure had he, my Lord ? 

Ham. Why, ' 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. ^^^•lat follows then, my Lord ? 

Ham. Why, 'As by lot, God wot :' and then you know, 'It came 
to passe, As most like it was.' The first row of the pious chanson 
will shew you more." — Act ii. sc. 2. 

[A more perfect copy of this ballad was reprinted by Evans in 
his Collection of Old Ballads from a black-letter broadside, and 
is included by Child in his Collection of English and Scottish 
Balloiis (vol. viii. p. 198). 

The wording is rather different in the two versions, and Evans's 
has tAvo additional stanzas. It does not appear that anything is 
left out at line 18 of Percy's version, but in place of the stars at 
line 41 Evans's copy reads — 

" A sacrifice to God on high ; 
INIy promise must be finished."] 

AVE you not heard these many years ago 
Jeptha was judij^e of Israel ? 
Me had one only daui^hter and no mo. 
The which he loved passing well : 


And, as by lott, 5 

God wot, 
It so came to pass, 
As Gods will was, 
That ereat wars there should be. 
And none should be chosen chief but he. lo 

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 15 

To burn 
The first live thing, 
He * * * * 

That should meet with him then, 

Off his house, when he should return agen. 20 

It came to pass, the wars was oer, 
And he returned with victory ; 
His dear and only daughter first of all 
Came to meet her father foremostly : 

And all the way a; 

She did play 
On tabret and pipe. 
Full many a stripe. 
With note so high, 
For joy that her father is come so nigh. 30 

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, 35 

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: 40 


" What thou hast spoke 
Do not revoke : 
What thou hast said, 

Be not aftraid ; 4S 

Altho' it be I ; 
Keep promises to God on high. 

But, dear father, grant me one request, 

That I may go to the wilderness, 
Three months there with my friends to stay ; 50 
There to bewail my virginity; 
And let there be. 
Said she, 
Some two or three 

Young maids with me." 55 

So he sent her away, 
For to mourn, for to mourn, till her dying day. 


N his Twelfth Ni^ht, Shakespeare introduces the clown 
singing part of the two first stanzas of the following Song,^ 
which has been recovered from an antient MS. of Dr. 
Harrington's at Bath, preserved among the many literary 
treasures transmitted to the ingenious and worthy possessor by a 
long line of most respectable ancestors. Of these only a small part 
hath been printed in the Nugcc Antiqiice, 3 vols. i2mo; a work 
which the publick impatiently wishes to see continued. 
The song is thus given by Shakespeare, act iv. sc. 2 : — 

" 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 what ap- 
pears the most ancient of Dr. Harrington's poetical MSS.and which 
has, therefore, been marked No. I. (Soil. p. 68.) That volume 
seems to have been written in the reign of King Henry 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 rightly, 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. 

In the old MS. to the 3rd and 5th stanzas is prefixed this title, 
Responce, and to the 4th and 6th, Le Plaintif; but in the last in- 
stance 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 MS. is strictly followed, except where noted 
in the margin. — Yet the first stanza appears to be defective, and it 
should seem that a line is wanting, unless the four first words were 
lengthened in the tune. 


Joliy Robyn, 
Tell me how thy leman^ doeth, 
And thou shalt knowe of myn. 

' My lady is unkynde perde.'^ 
Alack ! why is she so ? 

Ver. 4. shall, MS. 

\} mistress. ^ verily.] 


' She loveth an other better than me ; 
And yet she will say no,' 

I fynde no such doublenes : 

I fynde women true. 10 

My lady loveth me dowtles, 

And will chano^e for no newe. 

'Thou art happy while that doeth last; 

But I say, as I fynde, 
That women's love is but a blast, 15 

And torneth with the wynde.' 

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.' 20 

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. 



HIS sonncft (which is ascribed to Richard Eihuards* in 
^■)P the Paradise of Daintie Dci'iscs, fo. 31, b.) is by Shake- 
'9^ speare made the subject of some pleasant ridicule in his 

<*^ Romeo andjiiiiet, act iv. sc. 5, where he introduces Peter 


puuing this question to the musicians. 

" Peter . . . why 'Silver Sound?' why ' Musicke with her silver 
sound ? ' what say you, Simon Catling ? 

I . Afus. Marry, sir, because silver hath a sweet sound. 

* Concerning him see \Vood's Athcn. Oxon. and Tanner's Pib- 
lioth. also Sir John Hawkins's Hist, of Music, &'C. 

[' turn.] 


Pet. Pretty ! what say you, Hugh Rebecke ? 

2. Mt(s. 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. 

Fef. ... I will say for you : It is ' Musicke with her silver 
sound,' because musicians have no gold for sounding." 

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 un- 
natural explanations often given by us painful editors and expositors 
of ancient authors. 

This copy is printed from an old quarto MS. 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. 

[Richard Edwards, one of the chief contributors to the Paradise 
of Dainty Devises, was a facile and elegant poet much appreciated 
by his contemporaries but unjustly neglected now. Meres in his 
Wits Treasmy, 1598, praises him, as "one of the best for comedy," 
and Puttenham gives him the same commendation. Thomas 
Twyne and George Turberville, wrote epitaphs upon him, and the 
latter says in the terms of unmeasured eulogy then fashionable — 

" From Plautus he the palme and learned Terence won." 

Edwards was born in Somersetshire about 1523, was educated 
at Oxford, and, in 1561, was constituted by Queen Elizabeth a 
Gentleman of the Royal Chapel and Master of the Singing Boys 
there. He attended the Queen on her visit to Oxford in 1566, and 
was employed to compose a play called Pala7non and Arcite, which 
was acted before her Majesty in Christ Church Hall.] 

-HERE gripinge grefes the hart would 
And dolefulle dumps ^ the mynde op- 
There musicke with her silver sound 

With spede is wont to send redresse : 
Of trobled mynds, in every sore, 5 | 

Swete musicke hathe a salve in store. 

[^ sorrowful gloom.] 


In joye yt maks our mirthe abounde, 

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

By musickes pleasaunt swete deHghtes : 10 

Our senses all, what shall I say more ? 
Are subjecte unto musicks lore. 

The Gods by muslcke have theire prayse ; 

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

In seas, whom pyrats would destroy, 
A dolphin saved from death most sharpe 
Arion playing on his harpe. 

O heavenly g}'ft, that rules the mynd. 

Even as the sterne dothe rule the shippe ! 20 
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 ? 



S a story often alluded to by our old Dramatic Writers. 
.Shakespeare, in his Romeo and Julid, act ii. sc. i, makes 
Mercutio say, 

" Her (Venus's) ])urblind son and heir, 

Young Adam* Cupid, he that shot so true. 
When King Cophetua loved the beggar-maid." 

• See above. Preface to Song I. IJook II. of this vol. 

[' distracted. '■* what beast is he, will thee.] 


As the 13th line of the following ballad seems here particularly 

alluded to, it is not improbable but Shakespeare 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 2d Part of Hen. IV. A. 5, Sc. 3, Falstaff is introduced 
affectedly saying to Pistoll, 

" O base Assyrian knight, what is thy news ? 
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 
extant, or even mentioned in any list. In the infancy of the stage, 
plays were often exhibited that were never printed. 

It is probably in allusion to the same play that Ben Jonson says, 
in his Comedy of Every Man in his Humour, A. 3, Sc. 4 : 

" I have not the heart to devour thee, an' I might be made as 
rich as King Cophetua." 

At least there is no mention of King Cophetua's riches in the pre- 
sent ballad, which is the oldest I have met with on the subject. 

It is printed from Rich. Johnson's Crown Garlatui of Goulden 
Roses, 1612,1 i2mo. (where it is intitled simply A Song of a Beggar 
and a King .-) corrected by another copy. 

[In the Collection of Old Ballads, 1723 (vol. i. p. 138) there is a 
ballad on the same subject as the following popular one. It is en- 
titled " Cupid's Revenge, or an account of a king who slighted all 
women, and at length was constrained to marry a beggar, who 
proved a fair and virtuous queen."] 

* Since this conjecture first occurred, it has been discovered that 
shot so trim was the genuine reading. 

t See Meres Wits Trcas. i. 283 ; Arte of Eng. Foes. 1589, p. 51, 
III, 143, 169. 

[J Reprinted by the Percy Society in the sixth volume of their 


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 decHne, 5 

For sure he was not of my mind, 
He cared not for women-kinde, 

But did them all disdaine. 
But, marke, what hapned on a day. 
As he out of his window lay, 10 

He saw a beggar all in gray, 
The which dkl cause his paine. 

The blinded boy, that shootes so trim,^ 

From heaven downe did hie ; 
He drew a dart and shot at him, 15 

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. 20 

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, 25 

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

Within his troubled head : 
For now he meanes to crave her love, 
And now he seekes which way to proove 30 
How he his fancie might remoove, 

[' man. ^ exact.] 


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, 35 

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. 40 

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, 45 

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 : 50 

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 55 

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 : 60 

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 scene : 
Our wedding shall appointed be, 65 

And every thing in its degree : 
Come on, quoth he, and follow me, 


Thou shalt ^o shift thee cleane. 
What is thy name, faire maid ? quoth he. 
Penelophon,* O king, quoth she : 70 

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 courteous comly talke 75 

This beof^er doth imbrace : 


The becrcrer bkisheth scarlet red, 
And straight againe as pale as lead, 
But not a word at all she said, 

She was in such amaze. 80 

At last she spake with trembling voyce, 
And said, O king, I doe rejoyce 
That you wil take me for your choyce, 

And my degree's so base. 

And when the wedding day was come, 85 

The kinor commanded strait 
The noblemen both all and some 

Upon the queene to wait. 
And she behaved herself that day, 
As if she had never walkt the way ; 90 

She had forgot her gowne of gray, 

Which she did weare of late. 
The proverbe old is come to passe, 
The priest, when he begins his masse, 
Forgets that ever clerke he was ; 95 

He knowth not his estate. 

* Shakespeare (who alludes to this ballad in his Love's Labour's 
lost, act iv. sc. I.) gives the beggar's name Zenelophon, according 
to all the old editions : but this seems to be a corruption ; for Pene- 
lophon, in the text, sounds more like the name of a woman. — The 
story of the King and the Beggar is also alluded to in K. Rich. H. 
act V. sc. 3. 

Ver. 90. i.e. tramped the streets. 



Here you may read, Cophetua, 

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

The begger for to wed : loo 

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, 105 

But pitty now thy servant heere, 
Least that it hap to thee this yeare. 

As to that king it did. 

And thus they led a quiet life 

During their princely raigne ; no 

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, 115 

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.* 120 

* An ingenious friend thinks the two last stanzas should change 

Ver. 105. Here the poet addresses himself to his mistress. V. 
112. Sheweth was anciently the plur. numb. 



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

[The Scottish version referred to above was printed in Ramsay's 
Tea Tabic Miscellany, and the king mentioned on line 49 is there 
named Robert instead of Stephen. He is King Harry in the 
folio MS. 

The '^ corruptions " to which Percy alludes are all noted at the 
foot of the page, and in one instance at least (line 15) the MS. 
gives an important new reading. Mr. Hales thinks that the MS. ver- 
sion is the oldest form of the ballad, because the definite mention 
of the court looks more original than the use of the general term 
of town, and he says, *' the poem naturally grew vaguer as it grew 
generally popular."* 

Besides the reference to this ballad in Othello mentioned by 
Percy above, Mr. Hales has pointed out to me another evident 
allusion in the Tempest, act iv. sc. i, where Trinculo says, 

" O King Stephano, O Peere : O worthy Stephano, 
Looke what a wardrobe here is for thee." 

(Folio 1623, Booth's ed. p. 15, col. 2.) 

The cloak that had been in wear for forty-four years was likely to 
be a sorry clout at the end of that time, but the clothes of all 
classes were then expected to last from year to year without renewal. 
Woollen cloths were of old the chief material of male and female 
attire. When new the nap was very long, and after being worn for 
some time, it was customary to have it shorn, a process which was 
repeated as often as the stuff would bear it. Thus we find the 
Countess of Leicester (Eleanor third daughter of King John, and 
wife of Simon de Montfort) in 1265, sending Hicque the tailor to 
London to get her robes re-shorn. fj 

f* Folio MS. ed. Hales and Furnivall, vol. ii. p. 320. 

t Botfield's Manners and Household Expenses of England, 1 84 1 .] 


^^^^^HIS winters weather itt waxeth cold, 
And frost doth freese on every hill, 

And Boreas blowes his blasts soe bold. 
That all our cattell are like to spill ;^ 
Bell my wiffe, who loves noe strife, 5 

She sayd unto me quietlye. 
Rise up, and save cow Crumbockes liffe, 
Man, put thine old cloake about thee. 


Bell, why dost thou flyte"^ ' and scorne ' ? 
Thou kenst my cloak is very thin : 10 

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,' 15 

For He have a new cloake about mee. 


Cow Crumbocke is a very good cowe, 
Shee ha beene alwayes true to the payle, 

Shee has helpt us to butter and cheese, I trow, 
And other things shee will not fayle ; 20 

1 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. 

[Ver. 9. O Bell my wiffe, why dost thou fiflyte. V. 10. itt is soe 
sore over worne. V. 14-15. in place of these two the MS. has 
" He goe fifind the court within." V. 22. Therefore good husband 
ffollow my councell now. V. 23. Forsake the court and follow 
the ploughe. 

' spoil or come to harm. ^ scold. ^ insect. 
^ run. ^ starve.] 



JNIy cloake it was a verry good cloake, 25 

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, 30 

It will neither hold out winde nor raine ; 

And He have a new cloake about mee. 


It is four and fortye yeeres agoe 

Since the one of us the other did ken, 
And we have had betwixt us towe 35 

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. 4-0 


O Bell my wiffe, why dost thou ' floute !' 

Now is no we, 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,' 4-s 

Soe far above their owne degree : 
Once in my life He 'doe as they,' 

For He have a new cloake about mee. 

[Vcr. 27. Itt hath cost mee many a groat.] V. ^x.JIytc, MS. 
[V. 45. yellow and blew. V. 47. once in my life He take a vew. 

' scarlet. '^ a cloth to strain milk through. ^ mistake.] 



King Stephen was a worthy peere, 

His breeches cost him but a crowne, 50 

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, 55 

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 I me good-man :' 60 
Itt's not for a man with a woman to threape,^ 

Unlesse he first give oer the plea : 
As wee began wee now will leave, 

And He take mine old cloake about mee. 

Ver. 49. King Harry . . a verry good king, MS. V. 50. I 
trow his hose cost but, MS. V. 51. He thought them i2d.^over 
to deere, MS. V. 52. clowne, MS. V. 53. He was king, and 
wore the crowne, MS. [V. 57-60: — 

" O Bell my wiffe ! why dost thou fiflyte 

now is now and then was then ; 
wee will live now obedyent lyffe 

thou the woman and I the man." 

V. 63. wee will live nowe as wee began. V. 64. He have. 
^ rascal. 2 ^^q^j ^rt. ^ argue.] 



tT is from the following stanzas that Shakespeare has 
taken his song of the IVillow, 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 afiecting 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. 
.\n old thing 'twas, but it express'd her fortune. 
And she died singing it." 

This is given from a black-letter copy in the Pepys collection, thus 
intitled, A Lover's Complaint, being forsaken of his Love. To a 
pleasant tune. 

['' Willow, willow" was a favourite burden for songs in the six- 
teenth and seventeenth centuries, and one of John Hey^vood's 
songs has the following— 

" All a grene wyllow ; ^vyllow, wyllow, ^vyllow, 
All a grene wyllow is my garland.'' 

In the Gorgeous Gallery of Gallant Itivcntions (1578) there is a 
slightly different burden — 

" Willow, willow, willow, sing all of green willow. 
Sing all of green willow, shall be my garland." 

There is another copy of the following song in the Roxburghe 
Collection (i. 54, 55) printed m -Roxburghe Ballads (ed. W. Chap- 
pell, 1869, Part I. p. 171). Both these are of the first half of the 
seventeenth century, and an earlier copy than either is printed by 
Mr. Chappell in his Popular Music of the Olden Time, i. 206. 

Dr. Rimbault' has drawn attention to the following parody, 
dated 1668— 

[• Rimbault's Musical Illustrations of Percy's Reliqucs, 1850, 
p. 9.] 


" A poore soule sat sighing near a ginger-bread stall, 

O ginger-bread O, ginger-bread O ! 
With his hands in his pockets, his head on the wall, 

O ginger-bread O, ginger-bread O ! 
You pye-wifes of Smithfield, what would ye be at ! 

Who talks of plum-pudding? here's better than that, 
For here's ginger-bread O, ginger-bread O ! "] 

POORE soule sat sighing under a sicamore 
tree ; 
O willow, willow, willow ! 
With his hand on his bosom, his head on 
his knee : 
O willow, willow, willow ! 

O willow, willow, willow ! 5 

Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garland. 

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. 10 

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. 15 

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. ao 

Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

The cold streams ran by him, his eyes wept apace ; 
O willow, &;c. 

WIL LOU: IV I L L O TV. 201 

The salt tears fell from him, which drowned his face : 
O willow, »S:c. 25 

Sing", O the greene willow, Sec. 

The mute birds sate by him, made tame by his mones : 

O willow, ttc. 
The salt tears fell from him, which softened the stones. 

O willow, &c. 30 

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. 35 

Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garland. 

that beauty should harbour a heart that's so hard ! "^ 
Sing willow, &c. 

]\Iy true love rejecting without all regard. 

O willow, See. 40 

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. 45 

Sing, O the greene willow, Sec. 

But what helps complaining ? In vaine I complaine : 
O willow, &c. 

1 must patiently suffer her scorne and disdaine. 

O willow, &c. 50 

Sing, O the greene willow, &;c. 

Come, all you forsaken, and sit down by me, 

O willow, &c. 
He that 'plaincs of his false love, mine's falser than she. 

O willow, Sic. 55 

Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

[' faithless. - change.] 


The willow wreath weare I, since my love did fleet ; 

O willow, &c. 
A Garland for lovers forsaken most meete. 

O willow, &c. 60 

Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garland ! 

Part the Second. 

\ OWE lay'd by my sorrow, begot by disdalne; 
O willow, willow, willow ! 
Against her too cruell, still still I complaine, 
O willow, willow, willow ! 
O willow, willow, willow! 5 

Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garland ! 

O love too injurious, to wound my poore heart ! 

O willow, &c. 
To suffer the triumph, and joy in my smart : 

O willow, &c. 10 

Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

O willow, willow, willow ! the willow garland, 

O willow, &c. 
A sign of her falsenesse before me doth stand : 

O willow, &c. 15 

Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

As here it doth bid to despair and to dye, 

O willow, &c. 
So haf g it, friends, ore me in grave where I lye : 

O wiilow, &c. 20 

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 doe knowe her, to blaze her untrue. 

O willow, &c. 25 

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. 30 

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, (jsic. 35 

Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

I cannot against her unkindly exclaim, 

O willow, &c. 
Cause once well I loved her, and honoured her name : 

O willow, &:c. 4c 

Sing, O the greene willow, &;c. 

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. 45 

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. 50 

Sing, O the greene willow, &c. 

Farewell, fairefalsehearted: plaintsendwithm^ oreath! 

O willow, willow, willow! 
Thou dost loath me, I love thee, though cause of my 

O willow, willow, willow! 55 

O willow, willow, willow ! 
Sing, O the greene willow shall be my garland. 






HIS ballad is quoted in Shakespeare's second Part ot 
Henry IV. act ii. The subject of it is taken from the 
ancient romance of K. Arthur (commonly called Morte 
Arthur) being a poetical translation of ehap. cviii. 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 

In the same play of 2 Hen. 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 Pindkr 
As he sate under a thorne." 

That ballad may be found on every stall, and therefore is not 
here reprinted. 

[This is a rhymed version of some chapters in Malory's Mort 
d'A7'tht(r (Book vi. of Caxton's edition), said to have been written 
by Thomas Deloney towards the end of EUzabeth's reign. It first 
occurs in the Garland of Good Will, reprinted by the Percy Society 

(vol. XXX.) 

The ballad appears to hav£ been highly popular, and it is quoted 
by Marston in the Alalcojitent and by Beaumont and' Fletcher in the 
Little Fj-ench Lawyer, as well as by Shakspere. 

The copy in the Percy MS. (ed. Hales and Furnivall, 1867, 
vol. i. p. 84) is imperfect in two places, and lines 30 to 60, 73 to 76, 
and 95 to 124 are not to be found there, but with these exceptions 
it is much the same as the ballad printed here.] 

DU LAKE. 205 

HEN 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 s 

With fifty good and able 
Knights, that resorted unto him, 

And were of his round table : 

And he had justs and turnaments, 

Whereto were many prest,^ 10 

Wherin some knights did farr excell 

And eke surmount the rest. 

But one Sir Lancelot du Lake, 

Wlio was approved well. 
He for his deeds and feats of armes, 15 

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. 20 

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 : 25 

For that cause came I hither. 
Thou seemst, quoth shee, a knight full good, 

And I will bring thee thither. 

Vcr. 18. to sportt, MS. 
\} ready.] 


Wheras a mighty knight doth dwell, 

That now is of great fame : 30 

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 35 

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. 4.0 

She brought him to a river side. 

And also to a tree, 
Whereon a copper bason hung, 

And many shields to see. 

He struck soe hard, the bason broke ; 45 

And Tarquin soon he spyed : 
Who drove a horse before him fast. 

Whereon a knight lay tyed. 

Sir knight, then sayd Sir Lancelott, 

Bring me that horse-load hither, 50 

And lay him downe, and let him rest ; 
Weel try our force together : 

For, as I understand, thou hast, 

Soe far as thou art able. 
Done great despite and shame unto 55 

The knights of the Round Table. 

If thou be of the Table Round, 
Quoth Tarquin speedilye, 

Ver. 29. Where\'=, often used by our old writers for whereas: here 
it is just the contrary. 

[1 then.] 

DU LAKE. 207 

Both thee and all thy fellowship 

I utterly defye. 60 

That's over much, quoth Lancelott tho/ 

Defend thee by and by. 
They sett their speares'"^ unto their steeds, 

And eache att other flie. 

They coucht theire speares, (their horses ran, 65 
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 :'' 70 

To avoyd their horsses they made haste 
And light upon the ground. 

They tooke them to their shields full fast, 

Their swords they drew out than, 
With mighty strokes most eagerlye 7s 

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, 80 

And tell to me what I shall aske. 

Say on, quoth Lancelot tho. 
Thou art, quoth Tarquine, the best knight 

That ever I did know ; 

And like a knight, that I did hate : 85 

Soe that thou be not hee, 
I will deliver all the rest, 

And eke accord with thee. 

[' then. ' spurs? ^ stunned.] 


That is well said, quoth Lancelott ; 

But sith it must be soe, 90 

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: 95 

I would I had him here. 

Thy wish thou hast, but yet unknowne, 

I am Lancelot du Lake, 
Now kniofht of Arthurs Table Round ; 


Kine Hauds son of Schuwake 



And I desire thee do thy worst. 

Ho, ho, quoth Tarquin tho. 
One of us two shall end our lives 

Before that we do go. 

If thou be Lancelot du Lake, 105 

Then welcome shalt thou bee : 
Wherfore see thou thyself defend, 

For now defye I thee. 

They buckled then together so. 

Like unto wild boares rashing ;* 


* Rashing seems to be the old hunting term to express the stroke 
made by the wild boar with his fangs. To ?-ase has apparently a 
meaning something similar. See Mr. Steevefis's Note on K. Lear, 
act iii. sc. 7, (ed. 1793, vol. xiv. p. 193) where the quartos read, 

" Nor thy fierce sister 
In his anointed flesh rash boarish fangs." 

So in K. Richard III. act iii. sc. 2, (vol. x. p. 567, 583.) 

" He dreamt 
To night the Boar had rased off his helm." 

[Ver. 100. " King Ban's son of Benwick." Malory.'] 

DU LAKE. 209 

And with their swords and shields they ran 
At one another slashing : 

The ground besprinkled was with blood : 

Tarquin began to yield ; 
For he gave backe for wearinesse, us 

And lowe did beare his shield. 

This soone Sir Lancelot espyde, 

He leapt upon him then, 
He pull'd him downe upon his knee, 

And rushine 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. 



S an attempt to paint a lover's irresolution, but so poorly 
executed, that it would not have been admitted into 
this collection, if it had not been quoted in Shake- 
speare's Twelfth- Night, act ii. sc. 3. — It is found in a 

little ancient miscellany, intituled, The Golden Garland of Princely 

Delights, i2mo. bl. let. 

In the same scene of the Tiuclfth- Night, Sir Toby sings a scrap 

of an old ballad, which is preserved in the Pepys Collection (vol. i. 

PP- ZZi 49*^)) but as it is not only a poor dull performance, but also 

very long, it will be sufficient here to give the first stanza : 

The Ballad of" Constant Susanna. 

There dwelt a man in Babylon 

Of reputation great by fome ; 
He took to wife a faire womiin, 

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. 

[Dr. Rimbault refers to an earlier copy of this song in a rare 
musical volume entitled The First Booke of Ayres, composed by Robert 
Jones, 1 60 1, where it is accompanied by the original music for 
four voices. This tune appears to have been a very popular one, 
and several Scottish songs are to be sung to the " toon of sal I let 
her go." The air is also to be found in a Dutch collection of 
Songs published at Haarlem in 1626. 

In Brome's comedy of The Jovial Crciv, acted in 1641 at the 
Cockpit in Drury Lane, there is an allusion perhaps to this song : 

" Let her go, let her go, 

I care not if I have her, I have her or no."] 

JAREWELL, dear love; since thou wilt 
needs be gone. 
Mine 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 : 5 

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 : 

But I will seek elsewhere, if I may find love there : 
Shall I bid her goe ? what and if I doe } 10 

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 : 14. 

TO P HILL IS. 211 

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 ! 

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. 20 

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, oh, but where I may come thither. 

What shall I doe ? my love is now departed. 25 

She is as fair, as she is cruel-hearted. 

She would not be intreated, with prayers oft re- 
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. 30 



;N the "Z//^ of Pope Sixtus V. translated from the Italian 
of Greg. Leti, by the Rev. Mr. Fameworth, 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 j)Ossibly 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 lye. 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 trans- 
action was 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, aftd 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 Maxhant of Venice is taken from this 
incident. But Mr. Warton, in his ingenious ObservatioJis on the 
Faerie Queen, vol. i. p. 128, has referred it to the following ballad. 
Mr. Warton thinks this ballad was written before Shakespeare's 
play, as being not so circumstantial, and having more of the naked- 
ness of an original. Besides, it differs from the play in many 
circumstances, which a meer 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 Connoissmr, 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," had 
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 year. 

As for Shakespeare's Moxhant 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 Meres's Wits Treasury, &c. 1598, i2mo. fol. 282. 

Since the first edition of this book was printed, the editor hath 
had reason to believe that both Shakespeai-e and the author of 
this ballad are indebted for their story of the Jew (however they 
came by it) to an Italian novel, which was first printed at Milan in 
the year 1558, in a book intitled, // Pecorone, nel quale si conten- 
gono Cinqua7ita Novelle antiche, &^c. republished at Florence about 

* Warton, ubi supra. 



the year 174S, or g.* The author was Ser. Gicn'anni Fioraitino, 
who wTote in 1378; thirty years after the time in which the scene 
of Boccace's Decameron is laid. (Vid. Manni, Istoria del Deca- 
merone di Gicn'. Boccac. 4to. Fior. 1744.) 

That Shakespeare 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 
pt. ii. ver. 25, &c. where, instead of that spirited description 
of the 7C'/ietfed 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 abridgement of the novel which 
Mr. Johnson has given us at the end of his Commentary on Shake- 
speare'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 \\ith this title, — " Tfie Novel, from 
which the Merchant of Venice \\Titten by Shakespeare is taken, 
translated from the Italian. To which is added a translation of a 
novel from the Dccamerone of Boccaccio. London, Printed for 
M. Cooper, 1755, 8vo." 

The followng is printed from an ancient black-letter copy in the 
Pepys collection,! intitled, "^ Neiu Song, shcAving the crueltie of 
Gernutus, dijeioe, whq, lending to a merchant an hundred cro\vns, 
would have a pound of his fleshe, because he could not pay him 
at the time appointed. To the tune of Black and Yellow." 

[This is the first of four ballads printed by Percy as probable 
sources for the plots of four of Shakspere's plays, but as we are 
unable to fix any satisfactory date for the first appearance of the 
ballads, it is well-nigh impossible to settle their claim to such dis- 

The stor}' of the Jew who bargained for a pound of a Christian's 
flesh in payment of his debt is so widely spread, that there is no 
necessity for us to believe that Shakspere used this rather poor 
ballad, more especially as it is probable from the extract from 
Gosson mentioned above that Shakspere found the two plots of 
the bond and the caskets already joined together. There is, how- 
ever, something in Percy's note about the whetting of the knife in 
verses 25-26, and it would be quite in accordance with the j^oet's 
constant practice for him to take this one point from the ballad of 
Gernutus. The ballad was probably versified from one of the 
many stories extant, because, even if it be later than Shakspere's 

[• This book has been frequently reprinted.] 
t Compared with the Ashmole Copy. 



play, it is impossible to believe that the ballad-uTiter could have 
■written so bald a narration had he had the Merchant of Venice 
before him. 

Some forms of the story are to be found in Persian, and there is 
no doubt that the original tale is of Eastern origin. The oldest 
European forms are in the English Cursor Micndi and Gesta 
Romanorum, and the French romance of Dolopathos. See Miss 
Toulmin Smith's paper " On the Bond-story in the Merchant of 
Venice" "Transactions of the New Shakspere Society," 1875-6 
p. 181. Professor Child prints a ballad entitled The Northern 
Lord and Criieijctv {English and Scottish Ballads, vol. viii. p. 270), 
which contains the same incident of the " bloody minded Jew." 

Leti's character as an historian stands so low that his story may 
safely be dismissed as a fabrication.] 

The First Part. 

N 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. 

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. 



\} a castrated hog. 

2 hoard or heap. ] 


For feare the thiefe will him pursue 

To plucke him from his nest. 20 

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, 25 

For every weeke a penny. 
Yet bring a pledge, that is double worth. 

If that you will have any. 

And see, likewise, you keepe your day. 

Or else you loose it all : 30 

This was the livinof of the wife, 
Her cow she did it call. 

Within that citie dwelt that time 

A marchant of great fame, 
Which being distressed in his need, 35 

Unto Gernutus came : 

Desiring him to stand his friend 

For twelve month and a day, 
To lend to him an hundred crownes : 

And he for it would pay 4.0 

Whatsoever he would demand, of him. 

And pledges he should have. 
No, (quoth the Jew with flcaring^ lookes) 

Sir, aske what you will have. 

Ver. 32. Her Cow, &c. seems to have suggested to Shakespeare 
Shylock's argument for usury taken from Jacob's management of 
Laban's sheep, act i. to which Antofiio rci)Hcs, 

"Was this inserted to make interest good? 
Or are your gold and silver E^ves and rams ? 
Shy. I cannot tell, I make it breed^as fast." 

[' sneering.] 



No penny for the loane of it 45 

For one year you shall pay ; 
You may doe me as good a turne, \ 

Before my dying day. 

But we will have a merry jeast, 

For to be talked long : 50 

You shall make me a bond, quoth he, 
That shall be large and strong : 

And this shall be the forfeyture ; 

Of your owne fleshe a pound. 
If you agree, make you the bond, 55 

And here is a hundred crownes. 

With right good will ! the marchant says: 

And so the bond was made. 
When twelve month and a day drew on 

That backe it should be payd, 60 

The marchants ships were all at sea. 

And money came not in ; 
Which way to take, or what to doe 

To thinke he doth beein : 


And to Gernutus strait he comes 65 

With cap and bended knee, 
And sayde to him, Of curtesie 

I pray you beare with mee. 

My day is come, and I have not 

The money for to pay : 70 

And little good the forfeyture 

Will doe you, I dare say. 

With all my heart, Gernutus sayd, 

Commaund it to your minde : 
In thinges of bigger waight then this 75 

You shall me ready finde. 


He goes his way ; the day once past 

Gernutus doth not slacke 
To get a sergiant presently ; 

And clapt him on the backe : 80 

And layd him into prison strong, 

And sued his bond withall ; 
And when the judgement day was come. 

For judgement he did call. 

The marchants friends came thither fast, 85 

With many a weeping eye. 
For other means they could not find, 

But he that day must dye. 

The Second Part. 

" Of the Jews crueltie ; setting foorth the mercifulnesse of the 
Judge towards the Marchant. To the tune of Blacke atid Yel- 

OME 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 s 

They offered, him to save, 
Gernutus sayd, I will no gold : 

My forfeite I will have. 

A pound of fleshe is my demand, 

And that shall be my hire. 10 

Then sayd the judge, Yet, good my friend, 

Let me of you desire 

[1 refuse.] 


To take the flesh from such a place, 

As yet you let him live : 
Do so, and lo ! an hundred crownes 15 

To thee here will I give. 

No : no : quoth he ; no : judgment here : 

For this it shall be tride, 
For I will have my pound of fleshe 

From under his right side. ao 

It grieved all the companie 

His cruel tie to see, 
For neither friend nor foe could helpe 

But he must spoyled bee. 

The bloudie Jew now ready is as 

With whetted blade in hand,* 
To spoyle the bloud of innocent, 

By forfeit of his bond. 

And as he was about to strike 

In him the deadly blow : 30 

Stay (quoth the judge) thy crueltie ; 

I charge thee to do so. 

Sith needs thou wilt thy forfeit have ; 
Which is of flesh a pound : 
/ See that thou shed no drop of bloud, 35 

( Nor yet the man confound.'^ 

For if thou doe, like murderer. 

Thou here shalt hanged be : 
Likewise of flesh see that thou cut 

No more than longes^ to thee : 40 

* The passage in Shakespeare 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 ? " &c. 
\} destroy. ^ belongs.] 


For if thou take either more or lesse 

To the vakie of a mite, 
Thou shak be hanged presently, 

As is both law and right. 

Gernutus now waxt franticke mad, 45 

And wotes^ not what to say ; 
Quoth he at last, Ten thousand crownes, 

I will that he shall pay ; 

And so I graunt to set him free. 

The judge doth answere make ; 50 

You shall not have a penny given ; 

Your forfeyture now take. 

At the last he doth demaund 

But for to have his owne. 
No, quoth the judge, doe as you list, 55 

Thy judgement shall be showne. 

Either take your pound of flesh, quoth he. 

Or cancell me your bond. 
O cruell judge, then quoth the Jew, 

That doth ao^ainst me stand ! 60 

And so with griping grieved mind 

He biddeth them fare-well. 
' Then ' all the people prays'd the Lord, 

That ever this heard tell. 

Good people, that doe heare this song, 65 

For trueth I dare well say. 
That many a wretch as ill as hee 

Doth live now at this day ; 

That seckcth nothing but the spoyle 

Of many a wealthey man, 70 

Ver. 6 1 . griped, Ashmol. copy. 
[^ knows.] 


And for to trap the innocent 
Deviseth what they can. 

From whome the Lord deliver me, 
And every Christian too, 

And send to them Hke sentence eke 
That meaneth so to do. 





HIS beautiful sonnet is quoted in the Merry Wives of 
^Windsor, act iii. sc. i, and hath been usually ascribed 
(together with the Reply) to Shakespeare 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 Fasstotmte Pi/grime, and Sonnets to stmdry fiotes of 
Musicke, by Mr. William Shakespeare, Lond. printed for W.Jaggard, 
1599." Thus was this sonnet, &c. published as Shakespeare's in 
his life-time. 

And yet there is good reason to believe that (not Shakespeare, 
but) Christopher Marloiv wrote the song, and Sir Walter Raleigh 
the Nytnph's Reply: For so we are positively assured by Isaac 
Walton, a writer of some credit, who has inserted them both in his 
Compleat 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 subscribed Ignoto, which is known to have been a signa- 
ture of Sir Walter Raleigh. With the same signature Ignoto, in that 
collection, is an imitation of Marlow's beginning thus : 

* First printed in the year 1653, but probably written some time 


" 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 Marloiv, and 
Raleigh ; notwithstanding the authority of Shakespeare's Book of 
Sonnets. For it is well known that as he took no care of his owni 
compositions, so was he utterly regardless what spurious things 
were fathered upon him. 'Sax John 0/dcast/e, 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 after- 
wards rejected by his first editors Heminge and Condell, who were 
his intimate friends (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 
groat favourite with our earlier poets : for, besides the imitation 
above-mentioned, another is to be found among Donne $ Poems, 
intitled The Bait, beginning thus : 

" Come live with me, and be my love, 
And we will some new pleasures prove 
Of golden sands, &c." 

As for Chr. Marhm.', who was in high repute for his dramatic 
\\Titings, he lost his life by a stab received in a brothel, before the 
year 1593. See A. Wood, i. 138. 

[These exquisite poems by Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter 
Raleigh at once became popular favourites, and were often re- 
printed. The earliest appearance of the first was in Marlowe's 
Je'cu of Malta. An imperfect copy was printed by W. Jaggard with 
the Passionate Pilgrim in 1599, and the first stanza of the Reply 
was then added to it. In the following year both poems were 
correctly printed in England's Helieon, the first being signed " Chr. 
Marlow" and the second " Ignoto." When Walton introduced the 
poems into his Angler he attributed the Reply to Raleigh, and 
printed an additional stanza to each as follows : — 

Passionate Shepherd (after verse 20). 

" Thy silver dishes for thy meat 
As precious as the gods do eat 
Shall on an ivory table be 
Prepared each day for thee and me." 

 Since the above was ^vritten, Mr. Malone, with his usual dis- 
cernment, hath rejected the stanzas in (jueslion from the other 
sonnets, iVc. of Shakespeare, in his correct edition of the Passionate 
Pilgrim, &c. See his Shakesp. vol. x. p. 340. 



NympHs Reply {after verse 20). 

" What should we talk of dainties then 
Of better meat than's fit for men ? 
These are but vain, that's only good 
Which God hath blest and sent for food." 

In the Roxburghe Collection of Ballads (i. 205) is a street ballad 
in which these two songs are united and entitled A most excelk^it ditty 
of the Lover's promises to his beloved, with the Lady' s prudent answer 
to her Love. The verses referred to above as added by Walton are 
here printed, but they take the place of verses 17 to 20 of each 
song respectively. 

Mr. Chappell and Dr. Rimbault have both drawn attention to 
the proofs of the popularity of Marlowe's song to be found in out 
V of the way places. In Choice^ Chance^ and Chafige, or Conceits in their 
Colours (1606), Tidero being invited to live with his friend, replies, 
"Why, how now? do you take me for a woman, that you come 
upon me with a ballad of Come live with me and be my love V In 
The World's Folly, 1609, there is the following passage : " But 
there sat he, hanging his head, lifting up the eyes, and with a 
deep sigh singing the ballad of Co7ne live with me and be my love, 
to the tune of Adew my deere." Nicholas Breton refers to it in 1637 
as " the old song," but Walton considered it fresh enough to insert 
in his Angler in 1653, although Marlowe had then been dead sixty 

OME 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 ; 



A eown made of the finest wool, 
Which from our pretty lambs we pull ; 
Slippers lin'd choicely for the cold ; 15 

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. 20 

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. 

^f^f^§j^F that the World and Love were young, 
^^ And truth in every shepherd's toung, 
^ These pretty pleasures might me move 
U To live with thee, and be thy love. 

But time drives flocks from field to fold, 5 

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 : 10 

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, 15 

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. zo 

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. 


*HE reader has here an ancient ballad on the same sub- 
ject as the play of Titus Androntcus, 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 for the priority of the ballad of the 
Jew of Ve?iice 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 in- 
ventive 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 after- 
wards 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 
Shakespeare 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 Jonsons BartJwlomew Fair, in 1614, as 
one that had then been exhibited " five and twenty or thirty 
years :" whicli, if we take the lowest number, throws it back to the 
year 1589, at which time Shakespeare 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, shews at least it was a first attempt.f 

The follo\\'ing 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, &>€. To the tune of, Fortune. 
Printed for E. Wright. Unluckily none of these have any dates. 

[No original from which the plot of the play of Titus Andronicus 
could be taken has yet been discovered, and it is just possible that 
this ballad may have given the hint, but the Registers of the 
Stationers' Company go some way towards proving a negative to 
this supposition, for on the 6th of February, 1593-4, John Danter 
registered A noble Roman Historye of Tytus A?idronicus, and also 
t/i€ ballad thereof.^ 

OU noble minds, and famous martiall wights, 
That in defence of native country fights, 
Give eare to me, that ten yeeres fought for 

Yet reapt disgrace at my returning home. 

* Mr. Malone thinks 1591 to be the oera when our author com- 
menced a \vTiter for the stage. See in his Shakcsp. the ingenious 
Attempt to ascertain the order in which the plays of Shakespeare were 

t Since the above was ^vritten, Shakespeare's memory has been 
fully vindicated from the charge of writing the above play by the 
best criticks. See what has been urged by Steevens and Malone in 
their excellent editions of Shakespeare, &c. [The question of 
Shakspere's authorship is not by any means so comi)Ietcly settled 
in the negative as this note would imply. The external evidence for 
its authenticity is as strong as for most of the other plays. See Ne7u 
Shakspere Society's Transactions, Part i. p. 126, for a list of pas- 
sages which seem to bear evidence of Shakspere's hand in their 



In Rome I lived in fame fulle threescore yeeres, 5 
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 ; 10 
Against the Goths full ten yeeres weary warre 
We spent, receiving many a bloudy scarre. 

Just two and twenty of my sonnes were slaine 
Before we did returne to Rome aeaine : 
Of five and twenty sonnes, I brought but three 15 
Alive, the stately towers of Rome to see. 

When wars were done, I conquest home did bring, 
And did present my prisoners to the king. 
The queene of Goths, her sons, and eke a moore, 
Which did such murders, like was nere before. 20 

The emperour did make this queene his wife. 
Which 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, 25 
That she consented to him secretlye 
For to abuse her husbands marriage bed, 
And soe in time a blackamore she bred. 

Then she, whose thoughts to murder were inclinde. 
Consented with the moore of bloody minde 30 

Against myselfe, my kin, and all my friendes, 
In cruell sort to bring them to their endes. 

Soe when in age I thought to live in peace, 
Both care and griefe began then to increase : 
Amongst my sonnes I had one daughter bright, 35 
Which joy'd, and pleased best my aged sight ; 


My deare Lavinia was betrothed than 

To Cesars sonne, a young and noble man : 

Who in a hunting by the emperours wife, 

And her two sonnes. bereaved was of Hfe. 40 

He being slaine, was cast in cruel wise, 
Into a darksome den from light of skies : 
The cruell moore did come that way as then 
With my three sonnes, who fell into the den. 

The moore then fetcht the emperour with speed, 45 
For to accuse them of that murderous deed ; 
And when my sonnes within the den were found, 
In wrongfuU prison they were cast and bound. 

But nowe, behold ! what wounded most my mind, 
The empresses two sonnes of savage kind 50 

My daughter ravished without remorse, 
And took away her honour, quite perforce. 

When they had tasted of soe sweete a flowre, 
Fearing this sweete should shortly turne to sowre, 
They cutt her tongue, whereby she could not tell 55 
How that dishonoure unto her befell. 

Then both her hands they basely cutt off quite. 
Whereby their wickednesse she could not write ; 
Nor with her needle on her sampler so we 
The bloudye workers of her direfull woe. 60 

My brother Marcus found her in the wood, 
Staining the grassie ground with purple bloud. 
That trickled from her stumpcs, and bloudlesse armes: 
Noe tongue at all she had to tell her harmes. 

But wlicn I sawe her in that woefull case, 65 

With teares of bloud I wet mine acred face : 

For my Lavinia I lamented more 

Then for my two and twenty sonnes before. 


When as I sawe she could not write nor speake, 
With grief mine aged heart began to breake ; 70 

We spred an heape of sand upon the ground, 
Whereby those bloudy tyrants out we found. 

For with a staffe, without the helpe of hand, 

She writt these wordes upon the plat of sand : 

" The lustfull sonnes of the proud emperesse 75 

Are doers of this hateful wickednesse." 

I tore the milk-white hairs from off mine head, 
I curst the houre, wherein I first was bred, 
I wisht this hand, that fought for countrie's fame, 
In cradle rockt, had first been stroken lame. 80 

The moore delighting still in villainy 

Did say, to sett my sonnes from prison free 

I should unto the king my right hand give. 

And then my three imprisoned sonnes should live. 

The moore I caus'd to strike it off with speede, 85 
Whereat I grieved not to see it bleed, 
But for my sonnes would willingly impart, 
And for their ransome send my bleeding heart. 

But as my life did linger thus in paine. 
They sent to me my bootlesse hand againe, 90 

And therewithal the heades of my three sonnes, 
Which 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, 95 

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, 

* 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. 64. 3. 


(She nam'd Revenge, and Rape and Murder they) 
To undermine and heare what I would say. 


I fed their fooHsh veines* a certaine space, 
Untill my friendes did find a secret place, 
Where both her sonnes unto a post were bound, 
And just revenge in cruell sort was found. 

I cut their throates, my daughter held the pan 105 
Betwixt her stumpes, wherein the bloud it ran : 
And then I ground their bones to powder small. 
And made a paste for pyes streight therewithall. 

Then with their fleshe I made two mighty pyes. 
And at a banquet servde in stately wise : no 

Before the empresse set this loathsome meat ; 
So of her sonnes own flesh she well did eat. 

Myselfe bereav'd my daughter then of life, 
The empresse then I slewe with bloudy knife. 
And stabb'd the emperour immediatelie, ns 

And then myself: even soe did Titus die. 

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. 120 

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



fHE first stanza of this little sonnet, which an eminent 
critic* justly admires for its extreme sweetness, is found 
in Shakespeare'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 Shakespeare'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 Shakespeare's Fassiotiate Pilgrim,\ &c. 

[The second stanza is an evident addition by another and inferior 
hand, so that Percy's expression above — " both the stanzas are 
preserved" — gives a false impression.] 

i ^g^^ AKE, 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. 


* Dr. Warburton in his Shakesp. 

f Mr. Malone, in his improved edition of Shakespeare's Sonnets, 
&c. hath substituted this instead of Marlow's Madrigal, printed 
above ; for which he hath assigned reasons, which the reader may 
see in his vol. x. p. 340. 




^^HE reader has here an ancient ballad on the subject of 
.^V King Lear, which (as a sensible female critic has well 
^^S^ obser\-ed*) bears so exact an analogy to the argument of 
Shakespeare'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 chro- 
niclesf do not mention, as also the extravagant cruelty exercised on 
him by his daughters. In the death of Lear they likewise very exactly 
coincide. The misfortune is, that there is nothing to assist us in 
ascertaining the date of the ballad but what little evidence arises 
from within ; this the reader must weigh and judge for himself. 

It may be proper to observe, that Shakespeare was not the first 
of our dramatic poets who fitted the story of Leir to the stage. His 
first 4to. edition is dated 1608: but three years before that had 
been printed a play intitled, T/te true CJu-onidc History of Leir and 
his three daughters Gonorill, Ragan, and Cordelia, as it hath been 
divers and sundry times lately acted, 1605, ^to. — This is a very poor 
and dull perfomiance, but happily excited Shakespeare to under- 
take 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 Shakespeare concurs with this ballad. 

But to form a true judgement of Shakespeare's merit, the curious 
reader should cast his eye over that previous sketch ; which he 
will find printed at the end of The Twenty Flays of Shakespeare, 
repubhshed from the quarto impressions by George Steevens, Esq. ; 
with such elegance and exactness as led us to expect that fine edi- 
tion 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 

 Mrs. I^nnox. Shakespeare illustrated, vol. iii. p. 302. 
t See Jeffcry of Monmouth, Holinshcd, (Sic. who relate Leir's 
history in many respects the same as the ballad. 


Garland, bl. let. intitled, A lamentable song of the Death of King 
Leir and his Three Daughters. To the tune of When flying Fame. 

[The old play referred to above, although printed as late as the 
year 1605, was probably only a re-impression of a piece entered in 
the Stationers' Register in 1594, as it was a frequent practice of the 
publishers to take advantage of the popularity of Shakspere's plays 
on the stage, by publishing dramas having somewhat the same titles 
as his. 

The Cordelia of the play is softened in the ballad to Cordelia, 
the form used by Shakspere and Spenser, but the name Ragan is 
retained in place of Shakspere's Regan.] 

ING 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, 5 

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, 10 

Which of his daughters to his grace 

Could shew the dearest love : 
For to my age you bring content, 

Ouoth he, then let me hear. 
Which of you three in plighted troth 15 

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 : ao 

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; 25 

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 ; 30 

That sweet content and quietness 

Discomforts may remove. 

In doing so, you glad my soul, 

The aged king reply'd ; 
But w^hat sayst thou, my youngest girl, 35 

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. 40 

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, 45 

Thou art no child of mine ; 
Nor any part of this my realm 

By favour shall be thine. 

Thy elder sisters loves are more 

Than well I can demand, 50 

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 55 

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 : 60 


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 65 

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, 70 

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, 75 

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 ; 85 

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 9© 

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, 95 

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 o;one : 100 

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, 105 

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 ; no 

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 115 

(She said) he would not stay. 
Then back again to Gonorell, 

The woeful king did hie, 
That in her kitchen he micjht have 

What scullion boys set by. 120 

But there of that he was deny'd, 

W^hich she had promis'd late : 
For once refusing, he should not 

Come after to her gate. 
Thus twixt his daughters, for relief 125 

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, *3o 

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 135 

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. 140 

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, 145 

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, 150 

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 155 

To Aganippus' court ; 
Whose royal king, with noble mind 

So freely gave consent. 
To muster up his knights at arms, 

To fame and courage bent. 160 

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, 165 

Was in the battel slain : 
Yet he good king, in his old days, 

Possest his crown again. 


1 1 *7 


But when he heard CordeHa'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, 175 

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 ; 
And being dead, their crowns they left 

Unto the next of kin : 
Thus have you seen the fall of pride, 

And disobedient sin. 



^S found in the little collection of Shakespeare's Sonnets, 
intitled the Passionate Fi/gri'ine* tlie 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 
Gar/ami of Good Will it is reprinted, with the addition of four 
more such stanzas, but evidently written by a meaner pen. 

* Mentioned above, Song XL B. II. 



'RABBED Age and Youth 
Cannot live together ; 
Youth is full of pleasance, 
Agfe 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. 






*HE following ballad is upon the same subject as the 
Induction to Shakespeare's Taming of the Shreiv : whe- 
ther it may be thought to have suggested the hint to 
the dramatic Doet, 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 

* By Ludov. Vives in Epist., and by Pont. Heuter. Rerum Bur- 
gund. 1. 4. 


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 Anth 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 old clothes, and 
att}Ting him after the court fashion, when he wakened, 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 robes, and so conveyed him 
to the place, where they first found him. 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 
othen\ise be persuaded, and so the jest ended." Burton's Anatomy 
of Melancholy, pt. ii. sect. 2. Memb. 4, 2nd ed. 1624, fol. 

This ballad is given from a black-letter copy in the Pepys Col- 
lection, which is intitled as above. " To the tune of Fo7id Boy:' 

[The story of this ballad is of Eastern origin, and is the same as 
the tale of the Sleeper aivakened in the Arabian Nights. The story 
crops up in many places, some of which are pointed out in Prof, 
Child's English and Scottish Ballads (vol. viii. p. 54). The question, 
however, of its origin is not of immediate interest in the discussion 
of Shakspere's plots, because the author of the old play, Taming 
of a Shrcii', had already used the subject and named the tinker 
Slie, so that we have not far to seek for Shakspere's original.] 

[OW as fame does report a young duke 
keeps a court, 
One that please his fancy with froHcksome 
sport : 

But amoncrst 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, s 
As secure in a sleep as if laid in a swound. 

The duke said to his men, William, Richard, and Ben, 
Take him horrie 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 : lo 

Then they stript off his cloaths, both his shirt, shoes 

and hose. 
And they put him to bed for to take his repose. 

Having pull'd off his shirt, which was all over durt, 
They did give him clean holland, this was no great 

hurt : 
On a bed of soft down, like a lord of renown, 15 

They did lay him to sleep the drink out of his crown. 
In the morning when day, then admiring he lay. 
For to see the rich chamber both gaudy and gay. 

'Now he lay something late, in his rich bed of state. 
Till at last knights and squires they on him did wait ; 20 
And the chamberling bare, then did Hkewise declare, 
He desir'd 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, 25 

Which he straitways put on without longer dispute ; 
With a star on his side, which the tinker offt ey'd, 
And it seem'd for to swell him ' no ' little with pride ; 
For he said to himself. Where is Joan my sweet wife ? 
Sure she never did see me so fine in her life. 3° 

From a convenient place, the right duke his good 

Did observe his behaviour in every case 
To a garden of state, on the tinker they wait, 
Trumpets sounding before him : thought he, this is 

great : 


Where an hour or two, pleasant walks he did view, 35 
With commanders and squires in scarlet and blew. 

A fine dinner was drest, both for him and his guests, 
He was plac'd at the table above all the rest, 
In a rich chair ' or bed,' lin'd witli fine crimson red, 
With a rich golden canopy over his head : 40 

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, 45 

Till at last he beo^an for to tumble and roul 

From his chair to the floor, where he sleeping did snore, 

Beinof seven times drunker than ever before. 


Then the duke did ordain, they should strip him 

And restore him his old leather garments again : 50 
'Twas a point next the worst, yet perform it they must. 
And they carry'd him strait, where they found him at 

first ; 
Then he slept all the night, as indeed well he might ; 
But when he did waken, his joys took their flight. 

For his glory ' to him ' so pleasant did seem, 55 

That he thought it to be but a meer golden dream ; 
Till at length he was brought to the duke, where he 

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. 60 

Thc-n his highness bespoke him a new suit and cloak, 
Which he gave for the sake of this frolicksome joak; 
Nay, and five-hundred pound, with ten acres of ground, 
Thou shalt never, said he, range the counteries round, 



Crying old brass to mend, for I'll be thy good friend, 65 
Nay, and Joan thy sweet wife shall my duchess attend. 

Then the tinker reply'd, What! must Joan my sweet 

Be a lady in chariots of pleasure to ride ? 

Must we have gold and land ev'ry day at command ? 

Then I shall be a squire I well understand : 70 

Well I thank your good grace, and your love I em- 

I was never before in so happy a case. 


ISPERSED . thro' Shakespeare's plays are innumerable 
Httle fragments of ancient ballads, the entire copies of 
which could not be recovered. Many of these 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. 

[Ritson exhibits a bit of grim humour in his Anciejit Songs, vol.' 
ii. ed. 1829, p. 64, where he prints a parody of Pe7-cy's Friar of 
Orders Gray, under the title of iht/ovial Tmker, and prefixes to it 
the exact words that Percy uses above. The parody commences — 

" It was a jovial tinker, 

All of the north countrie. 
As he walk'd forth, along the way 

He sung right merrily."] 

T 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, 5 

I pray thee tell to me, 
If ever at yon holy shrine 

]\Iy true love thou didst see. 

And how should I know your true love 

From many another one ? 10 

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, 15 

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 25 

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 ! 

And art thou dead and gone ! 30 

And didst thou dye for love of me ! 

Break, cruel heart of stone ! 

* 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. Shakesp. vol. viii., p. 224. 


O weep not, lady, weep not soe ; 

Some ghostly comfort seek : 
Let not vain sorrow rive thy heart, 35 

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. 4-0 

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. 

Weep no more, lady, weep no more, 45 

Thy sorrowe is in vaine : 
For violets pluckt the sweetest showers 

Will ne'er make grow againe. 

Our joys as winged dreams doe fiye, 

Why then should sorrow last ? 50 

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, 55 

'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. 60 

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, 65 

Men were deceivers ever : 
One foot on sea and one on land, v 

To one tiling constant never. 

Hadst thou been fond, he had been false, 

And left thee sad and heavy ; 70 

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 : 75 

O he was ever true ! 

And art thou dead, thou much-Iov'd youth, 

And didst thou dye for mee ? 
Then farewell home ; for ever-more 

A pilgrim I will bee. 80 

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. 

Yet stay, fair lady ; rest awhile 85 

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 ; 90 

No drizzly rain that falls on me, 

Can wash my fault away. 

Yet sta)', fair lady, turn again. 

And dry those pearly tears ; 
For see beneath tliis gown of gray 95 

Thy owne 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. ^ loo 

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 105 

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 his 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 Herds- 
man, &c. printed in the second volume of this Work, which the 
Doctor had much admired in manuscript, and has finely improved. 
See vol. ii. book i. song xiv. ver. 37. 

The year of probation, or noviciate. 









' T the beginning of this volume we gave the old original 
Song of Chrvy Chacc. The reader has here the more 
improved edition of that fine heroic ballad. It will 
aftbrd an agreeable entertainment to the curious to 
compare them together, and to see how far the latter bard has ex- 
celled his predecessor, and where he has fallen short of him. For 
tho' he has every where improved the versification, and generally 
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 might appear too familiar or vul- 
gar in them. Thus, for instance, the catastrophe of the gallant 
Witherington is in the modem copy exprest in terms which never 
fail c-tt present to excite ridicule : whereas in the original it is re- 
lated with a plain and pathetic simplicity, that is hable to no such 
unlucky effect : See the stanza in page 32, which, in modern ortho- 
graphy, &: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 
somewhat 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." V- Z^- 

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 
warriours chiefly depended on the use of the spear : this charac- 
teristic difference never escapes our ancient bard, whose description 
of the first onset is to the follomng 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, not- 
withstanding 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 the 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, the two great earls meet, 
and after a spirited rencounter agree to breathe; upon which a 
parley ensues, that would do honour to Homer himself. 

Nothing can be more pleasingly distinct and circumstantial than 
this : whereas, the modern copy, tho' 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 Beiit" evidently signifies, " Yet the earl 
Douglas abides in the Field:" whereas the more modern bard 
seems to have understood by Bent, the inclination of his mind, 
and accordingly runs quite off from the subject* : 

" To drive the deer with hound and horn 

Earl Douglas had the bent." v. 109. 

One may also observe a generous impartiality in the old ori- 
ginal 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 but fifty and three ; 
Of twenty hundred spearmen of Scotland, 

But even five and fifty." p. 32. 

* In the present Edition, instead of the unmeaning lines here 
censured, an insertion is made of four stanzas modernized from the 
ancient copy. 


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 ^vith our latter bard, who makes the Scots X.o flee^ some ' 
re\iser of North Britain has turned his own arms against him, and 
printed an edition at Glasgow, in which the lines are thus trans- 
posed : 

"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 
between ver. 240 and ver. 249. — From that Fldition I have here 
reformed the Scottish names, which in the modern English ballad 
appeared to be corrupted. 

When I call the present admired ballad modern, I only mean 
that it is comparatively so ; for that it could not be WTit much 
later than the time of Q. Elizabeth, I think may be made appear ; 
nor yet does it seem to be older than the beginning of the last 
centur}'.* Sir Philip Sidney, when he complains of the antiquated 
phrase of Chciy Chase, could never have seen this improved copy, 
the language of which is not more ancient than that 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 

* A late \\Titer has started a notion that the more modern copy 
" was \\Titten to be sung by a party of English, headed by a Doug- 
las 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 yet so lovely and so manifestly superior a character 
to the Scotch commander above the English." See Sa/s Essay on 
tlie 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 jjrinted 
even so early as Queen Elizabeth's reign, 1 think I should have 
met with some copy wherein the first line would have been, 

*' God prosper long our noble queen," 

as was the case with the Blind Beggar oi Bednal Green; see vol. 
ii. book ii. No. x. ver. 23. 


taken notice of, had it been in the least exceptionable : see above, 
book ii. song v. ver. 2. Yet, in about half a century after, it was 
become burlesque. Vide Hudibras, Part I. c. 3, v. 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.* With regard to its subject : 
it has already been considered in page 20. The conjectures there 
offered will receive confirmation from a passage in the Me??ioirs of 
Carey Earl of Monmouth, 8vo. 1759, p. 165 ; whence we learn 
that it was an ancient custom with the borderers of the two king- 
doms, when they were at peace, to send to the 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 \!ci.€ix grey-hotmds 
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 in- 
stance 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 
little blood as possible." They were in effect overpowered and taken 
prisoners, and only released on their promise to abstain from such 
licentious sporting for the future. 

Since the former impression of these volumes hath been pub- 
lished, a new edition of Collins'' s Peerage, 1779, &c., 9 Vols. 8vo. 
which contains, in volume ii. p. 334, an historical passage, which 
may be thought to throw considerable hght 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 (lid Earl, son of Hotspur,) 
and Earl William Douglas, of Angus, Avith 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 celebrated- old Ballad of 
Chevy-Chase; which, to render it more pathetic and interesting, 
has been heightened with tragical incidents wholly fictitious." See 
RidpatKs Border Hist. 4to, p. 401. - 

The following text is given from a copy in the Editor's folio MS. 

In the Spectator, Nos. 70, 74. 


compared \nth two or three others printed in black-letter. — In the 
second volume of Drydcti's Misailanics 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. Comjv 
ton, bishop of London ; wlio thought it no derogation to his epis- 
copal character, to avow a fondness for this excellent old ballad. 
See the preface to Bald's Latin Songs, 1685, 8vo. 

[The folloA\'ing version varies in certain particulars from the one 
in the MS. folio (ed. Hales and Furnivall, 1867, vol. ii. p. i), and 
the most important variations are noted at the foot of the page. 
Some of the alterations in the arrangement of the words are im- 
provements, but others are the reverse, for instance verses 129-132. 
Percy follows the copy printed in the Collection of Old Ballads, 
1723 (vol. i. p. 108), much more closely than the MS.] 

OD prosper long our noble king, 
Our lives and safetyes all ! 
A woefull hunting- once there did 
In Chevy-Chace befall ; 

To drive the deere with hound and home, s 

Erie Percy took his way ; 
The child may rue that is unborne, 

The hunting of that day. 

The stout Erie of Northumberland 

A vow to God did make, 10 

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, 15 

In Scottland where he lay : 

[Vcr. 3. there was, f. MS. V. 6. took the way, f. MS. ] 


Who sent Erie Percy present word, 

He wold prevent his sport. 
The English Erie, not fearing that, 

Did to the woods resort 20 

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, 25 

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 ; 30 

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, 35 

That day were guarded sure. 

The hounds ran swiftly through the woods. 
The nimble deere to take,* 

Ver. 36. That they were, f. MS. 

* 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-Chase. Leland, in the reign of Hen. 
VIH. thus describes this county: "In Northumberland, as I heare 
say, 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 Hilles stretchethe 
XX miles. There is greate Plente oi Redde-Dere, and Roo-Bukkes." 
Itin. vol. vii. page 56. — This passage, which did not occur when 
pages 40, 42 were printed off, confirms the accounts there given of 
the Stagge and the Roe. 


That with their cr^^es the hills and dales 
An eccho shrill did make. 


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, 45 

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 ; 50 

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, 55 
And take your bowes with speede ; 

And now with me, my countrymen. 

Your courage forth advance ; 
For there was never champion yett, 

In Scotland or in F" ranee, 60 

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 stecde, 65 

Most like a baron bold. 
Rode formost of his company, 

Whose armour shone like <^old. 

[Vcr. 42. the tender deere, f. MS. 
' slaughtered game. - fortune] 


Show me, sayd hee, whose men you bee, 

That hunt soe boldly heere, 70 

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, 75 

Nor shew whose men wee bee : 

Yet wee will spend our deerest blood, 

Thy cheefest harts to slay. 
Then Douglas swore a solempne oathe, 

And thus in rage did say, 80 

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, 85 

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. 90 

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 95 

To Henry our king for shame, 

That ere my captaine fought on foote. 

And I stood looking on. 
You bee two erles, sayd Witherington, 

And I a squier alone : 100 

[Ver. 92. it is, f. MS. V. 98. I stand, f. MS.] 


He doe the best that doe I may, 

While I have power to stand : 
While I have power to weeld my sword, 

He fieht with hart and hand. 



Our English archers bent their bowes, 
Their harts were orood and trew ; 

Att the first flio-ht of arrowes sent, 
Full four-score Scots they slew. 

*[Yet bides Earl Douglas on the bent/ 

As Chieftain stout and crood. 
As valiant Captain, all unmov'd 

The shock he firmly stood. 

His host he parted had in three, 

As Leader ware and try'd, 
As soon his spearmen on their foes 115 

Bare down on every side. 

Throughout the English archery 

They dealt full many a wound : 
But still our valiant Englishmen 

All firmly kept their ground : 120 

And throwing strait their bows away, 
They grasp'd their swords so bright : 

And now sharp blows, a heavy shower, 
On shields and helmets light.] 

* The 4 stanzas here inclosed in brackets, which are borrowed 
chiefly from the ancient copy, are offered to the reader instead of 
the following lines, which occur in the Editor's folio MS. 

To drive the deere with hound and home, 

Douglas bade on the bent ; 
Two captaines moved with mickle might 

Their speres to shivers went. 

[Vcr. 105. bend their bowes, f. MS. 

1 f^eld.] 


They closed full fast on everye side, 125 

Noe slacknes 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, * 130 

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, 135 

And made a cruell fieht : 


They fought untill they both did sweat, 

With swords of tempered Steele ; 
Until the blood, like drops of rain. 

They trickling downe did feele. 140 

Yeeld thee, O 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, 14.5 

And this report of thee, 
Thou art the most couragious knight, 

That ever I did see. 

[Ver. 129-132. This stanza in the MS. is far superior to the poor I 

one in the text. 

" O Christ ! it was great greeve to see 

how eche man chose his spere 
and how the blood out of their brests 

Did gush like water cleare." 

1 furious.] 



Noe, Douglas, quoth Erie Percy then, 

Thy proffer I doe scorne ; 150 

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, 155 

A deepe and deadlye blow : 

Who never spake more words than these, 

Fight on, my merr}^ men all ; 
For why, my life is at an end ; 

Lord Percy sees my fall. 160 

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 165 

With sorrow for thy sake ; 
For sure, a more redoubted knight 

Mischance cold never take. 

A knight amono^st the Scotts there was, 

Which saw Erie Douglas dye, 170 

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, 175 

Ran fiercely through the fight ; 

[Ver. 155. who scorkc Eric Douglas on the brcst, f. MS. 
V. 157. who never say d, f. MS. V. 163. who said, Erie Dowglas, 
for thy sake, f. MS. | 


And past the English archers all, 

Without all dread or feare ; 
And through Earl Percyes body then 

He thrust his hateful! spere ; iSo 

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, 185 

Whose courage none could staine : 

An English archer then perceiv'd 
The noble erle was slaine ; 

He had a bow bent in his hand, 

Made of a trusty tree ; 190 

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, 195 

In his harts bloode was wett. ' 

This fight did last from breake of day, 

Till setting of the sun ; 
For when they rung the evening-bell,* 

The battel scarce was done. 200 

With stout Erie Percy, there was slaine 
Sir John of Egerton,f 

* Sc. the Curfew bell, usually rung at 8 o'clock, to which the 
moderniser apparently alludes, instead of the "Evensong Bell," or 
Bell for vespers, of the original author before the Reformation. 
See p. 31, Ver. 97. 

f For the surnames, see the Notes at the end of the ballad. 

[Ver. 189. he had a good bow in his hand, f. MS. V. 192. to 
the hard head haled hee, f. MS.] 


Sir Robert RatcUff, and Sir John, 
Sir James that bold barren : 

And with Sir George and stout Sir James, 205 

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 ; * 210 

For when his leggs were smitten off, 
He fought upon his stumpes. 

And with Erie Douglas, there was slaine 

Sir Hugh Mountgomerye, 
Sir Charles Murray, that from the feeld 215 

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. 220 

And the Lord Maxwell in like case 

Did with Erie Douglas dye : 
Of twenty hundred Scottish speres. 

Scarce fifty-five did llye. 

Of fifteen hundred Englishmen, 225 

Went home but fifty-three ; 
The rest were slaine in Chevy-Chase, 

Under the grecne woode tree. 

[Ver. 203. Sir Robert Harcliffe and Sir William, f. MS. V. 215. Sir 
Charles Morrcll, f. MS. V. 217. Sir Roger Hcvcr, of Ilarclille, 
f. MS. V, 219. Sir David LambwcU well esteem'd. J 

* i.e. "I, as one in deep concern, must lament." The con- 
.slruction here has generally been misunderstood. The old MS. 
reads "toofull dumpes." 


Next day did many widdowes come, 

Their husbands to bewayle ; 230 

They washt their wounds in brinish teares, 
But all wold not prevayle. 

Theyr bodyes, bathed in purple gore, 

They bare with them away : 
They kist them dead a thousand times, 235 

Ere they were cladd in clay. 

The newes was brought to Eddenborrow, 
Where Scottlands king did raigne. 

That brave Erie Douglas suddenlye 

Was with an arrow slaine : 240 

heavy newes, King James did say, 
Scottland may witnesse bee, 

1 have not any captaine more 

Of such account as hee. 

Like tydings to King Henry came, 245 

Within as short a space. 
That Percy of Northumberland 

Was slaine in Chevy-Chese : 

-Isiow God be with him, said our king, 

Sith it will noe better bee ; 250 

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, 255 

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 : 260 

[Ver. 233. purple blood, f. MS.] 


And of the rest, of small account, 

Did many thousands dye : 
Thus endeth the hunting of Chevy-Chase, 

Made by the Erie Percy. 

God save our king, and bless this land 265 

With plentye, joy, and peace ; 
And grant henceforth, that foule debate 

'Twixt noblemen may cease. 


The surnames in the foregoing Ballad are altered, either by 
accident or design, from the old original copy, and in common 
editions extremely corrupted. They are here rectified, as much as 
they could be. Thus, 

Ver. 202, Egcftivi.'] This name is restored (instead of Ogerion, 
com. ed.) from the Editor's folio MS. The pieces. in that MS. 
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 countr)'- 
men, of the eminent family De or Of Egcrioti (so the name was 
first written) ancestors of the present Duke of Bridgwater : and this 
he could do with the more propriety, as the Percics had fomierly 
great interest in that county. At the fatal battle of Shrewsbur}' 
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. Raddiffc, mil. was sherift" of that count)' 
in the 17 of Hen. VII. and others of the same surname aftenvards. 
(See Fuller^ p. 313.) Sir Gcotge Ratdiff, Knt. was one of the 
commissioners of inclosure in 1552. (See Nidwlson, p. 330.) Of 
this family was the late Earl of Dcrwentwatcr, who was beheaded 
in 1 7 15. The Editor's folio MS. however, reads here, Sir Robert 
Hardiffe and Sir Williinn. 

'Vhcl/ardiys were an eminent family in Cumberland. (See Fuller, 
p. 224.) Whether this may be thought to be the same name, I do 
not determine. 

[Ver. 262. hundreds dye, f. MS.] 


Ver. 204. Baron^ This is apparently altered, (not to say cor- 
rupted) from Hearone, in p. 32, ver. 114. 

Ver. 207. Raby.~\ This might be intended to celebrate one of 
the ancient possessors of Raby Castle, in the county of Durham. 
Yet it is written Rebbye, in the fol. MS. and looks like a corruption 
oi Rugby or Rokeby, an eminent family in Yorkshire, see pp. 32, 52, 
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. MS. 

Ver. 217. Murray.'] So the Scot. edit. — The common copies 
read Murrel. The fol. MS. gives the hne in the following peculiar 

" Sir Roger Heuer of Harcliffe too." 

Ver. 219. Lamb.'] The folio MS. has 

" Sir David Lambwell, well esteemed." 

This seems evidently corrupted from Lwdale or Liddell, in the old 
copy, see ver. 125. (pp. 32, 52). 



' HESE fine moral stanzas were originally intended for a 
solemn funeral song, in a play of James Shirley's, in- 
titled, "The Contention of Ajax and Ulysses :"t 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. Mx. 72. 

[* See note controverting the above on p. 52. 

t Acted for the first time " at the Military Ground in Leicester 
Fields" in 1659.] 


This little poem was \\Titten long after many of these 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 K. Charles II. [to whom, 
according to Oldys, it was often sung by " old " Bo^v^llan.] 

"^^^^^HE orlories of our birth and state 

' '^ §^ "^^^ shadows, not substantial things ; 
n./'^' ^"vj There is no armour against fate : 
^^^^ Death lays his icy hands on kings : 

Scepter and crown 5 

Must tumble down, 
And in the dust be equal made ^ 

With the poor crooked scythe and s^Dade. 

Some men with swords may reap the field, 

And plant fresh laurels where they kill : 10 
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, 15 
When they pale captives creep to death. 

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 : »o 

All heads must come 
To the cold tomb. 
Only the actions of the just 
Smell sweet, and blossom in the dust. 



'HE subject of this ballad is the great Northern Insur- 
rection in the 12th year of Elizabeth, 1569; which 
proved so fatal to Thomas Percy, the seventh Earl of 
.«™^^, Northumberland. 

There had not long before been a secret negotiation entered into 
between some of the Scottish and English nobihty, to bring about 
a marriage between Mary Q. of Scots, at that time a prisoner in 
England, and the Duke of Norfolk, a nobleman of excellent cha- 
racter, and firmly attached to the Protestant religion. This match 
was proposed to all the most considerable of the English nobility, 
and among the rest to the Earls of Northumberland and West- 
moreland, 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 Q. EUzabeth. 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 summons were sent to the 
Northern Earls instantly to make their appearance at court. It is 
said that the Earl of Northumberland, who was a man of a mild 
and gentle nature, was dehberating with himself whether he should 
not obey the message, and rely upon 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, de- 
claring their intent was to restore the ancient religion, to get the 
succession of the crown firmly settled, and to prevent the destruc- 
tion of the ancient nobiUty, &c. Their common bannerf (on 

* This circumstance is overlooked in the ballad, 
t Besides this, the ballad mentions the separate banners of the 
two noblemen. 


which was displayed the cross, togedier with the five wounds of 
Christ) was borne by an ancient gentleman, Ricliard Norton, Esq., 
of Norton-cony ers ; who, with his sons (among whom, Christopher, 
Mamiaduke, and Thomas, are expressly named by Camden), dis- 
tinguished 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 \\'etherbye, where they mus- 
tered their men. Their intention was to have proceeded on 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 ex- 
tremely beloved on that account, were masters of little ready 
money ; the E. of Northumberland bringing with him only 8000 
crowns, and the E. of Westmoreland nothing at all for the sub- 
sistence of their forces, they were not able to march to London, as 
they had at tirst intended. In these circumstances, Westmoreland 
began so visibly to despond, that many of his men slunk away, 
tho' Northumberland still kept up his resolution, and was master 
of the field till December 13, when the Earl of Sussex, accompanied 
with Lord Hunsden 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 War- 
wick, the insurgents retreated northward towards the borders, and 
there dismissing their followers, made their escape into Scotland. 
Tho' 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 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 \Vetherby, 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, Guth- 
rie, 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 MS. copies, one of them in the Editor's folio 
collection. They contained considerable variations, out of which 
such readings were chosen as seemed most poetical and consonant 
to history. 

[The Northern Rebellion of 1569 has been nobly commemorated 
in verse. Besides the two following ballads there is the one entitled 
the Earlc of Westmorlande, in the folio MS. which was printed for 


the first time in 1867, and also Wordsworth's matchless poem of 
the White Doe of Rylstone. Those readers who wish for further 
particulars respecting^this ill-starred insurrection, should see Mr. 
Hales's interesting introduction to the Earl of Westmoreland (Folio 
MS., ed. Hales and Furnivall, vol. i. p. 292). 

Percy acknowledges above that he has not followed the folio MS. 
very closely, and his variations will be seen by comparing his ver- 
sion with the copy now printed at the end.] 

ISTEN, lively lordings all, 
Lithe and listen unto mee, 
And I will sing of a noble earle, 

The noblest earle in the north countrie. 

Earle Percy is into his garden gone, 5 

And after him walkes his faire ladle :* 

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 : 10 

But goe to London to the court, 
And faire fall truth and honestie. 

Now nay, now nay, my ladye gay, 

Alas ! thy counsell suits not mee ; 
Mine enemies prevail so fast, 15 

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. ^o 

* This lady was Anne, daughter of Henry Somerset, E. of 


Now nay, now nay, thou lady faire, 

The court is full of subtiltie ; 
And if I goe to the court, lady, 

Never more I may thee see. 

Yet goe to the court, my lord, she sayes, 25 

And I myselfe will ryde wi' thee : 
At court then for my dearest lord, 

His faithfull borrowe' I will bee 

Now nay, now nay, my lady deare : 

Far lever'^ had I lose my life, 30 

Than leave among my cruell toes 

JMy love in jeopardy and strife. 

But come thou hither, my little foot-page. 

Come thou hither unto mee, 
To maister Norton thou must goe , 35 

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. 40 

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, 45 

Down he kneeled on his knee ; 
And tooke the letter betwixt his hands, 

And lett the gentleman it see. 

And when the letter it was redd 

7\ftore that goodl)'e compan^-e, 50 

I wis, if you the truthe wold know, 

Tlierc was many a weeping eye. 

[' surety. - rather. ^ lingered.] 


He sayd, Come thither, Christopher Norton, 
A gallant youth thou seemst to bee ; 

What doest thou counsell me, my sonne, 55 

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. 60 

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,* 65 

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 hastllie, 70 

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, 75 

A fathers blessing you shal 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. 80 

* [" The Act of Attainder 13th Elizabeth, only mentions 
Richard Norton, the father and seven sons, and in ' a list of the 
rebels in the late northern rebellion, that are fled beyond the seas,' 
the same seven sons are named. Richard Norton, the father, 
was living long after the rebellion in Spanish Flanders. See 
Sharp's BisJwprick Garland, p. lo." — Child's Eng. and Scot. 
Ballads, Vol. 7, p. 87 (note).] 


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. 

Now fye upon thee, coward Francis, 85 

Thou never learnedst this of mee : 

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 ; 90 

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, 95 

And all the flower o' Northumberland. 

With them the noble Nevill came. 
The erle of Westmorland was hee : 

At Wetherbye they mustred their host, 

Thirteen thousand faire to see. loo 

Lord Westmorland his ancyent^ raisde, 

The Dun Bull he rays'd on hye. 
And three DoQfs with orolden collars 

Were there sett out most royallye.* 

* Ver. 102. Dun Bull, &'cl\ The supporters of the Na'ilks, 
Earls of Westmoreland, were Two Bulls Argent, ducally collar'd 
Gold, armed Or, ik.c. But I have not discovered the device men- 
tioned in the ballad, among the badges, <S:c. given by that house. 
This, however, is certain, that among those of the Aa'illfs, Lords 
Abergavenny (who were of the same family) is a Dun Ccnv with a 
golden Collar : and the NtTtllcs of Chyte in Yorkshire (of the 
Westmoreland branch) gave for their crest, in 15 13, a Doi^'s (CJrey- 

\} standard.] 


Erie Percy there his ancyent spred, 105 

The Halfe-Moone shining all soe faire : * 

The Nortons ancyent had the crosse, 

And the five wounds our Lord did beare. 

Then Sir George Bowes he straitwaye rose, 

After them some spoyle to make : no 

Those noble erles turn'd backe againe, 
And aye they vowed that knight to take. 

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 cor- 
ruption ; for, in another Ballad in the same folio MS. and appa- 
rently written by the same hand, containing the sequel of this 
Lord Westmoreland'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." 

* Ver. 106. Tlie Half-Moone, dN^.] The Silver Crescent is a 
well-known crest or badge of the Northumberland family. It was 
probably brought home from some of the Cruzades against the 
Sarazens. In an ancient Pedigree in verse, finely illuminated on 
a roll of vellum, and written in the reign of Henry VII. (in pos- 
session 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 born by the Percies ; who, he says, were 

" . . . . Gernons fyrst named of Brutys blonde of Troy : 
Which valHantly 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 veryfying 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 dis- 
tinguished by prodigies and miracles. 


The baron he to his castle fled, 

To Barnard castle then fled hee. 
The uttermost walles were eathe^ to win, 115 

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. 120 

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, 125 

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 berays'd, 
With horse and harneis ' faire to see ; 130 

She caused thirty thousand men be raised, 
To take the earles i'th' North countrie. 

\Vi' them the false Erie Warwick went, 
Th' erle Sussex and the lord Hunsden ; 

Untill they to Yorke castle came 13s 

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. 140 

* This is quite in character : her majesty would sometimes swear 
at her nobles, as well as box their ears. 

[1 easy. - dear. ^ armour. * lingered.] 


But the dun bulle is fled and gone, 
And the halfe moone vanished away : 

The Erles, though they were brave and bold, 
Against soe many could not stay. 

Thee, Norton, wi' thine eight good sonnes, 14.5 
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 : 150 

And many a childe made fatherlesse. 
And widowed many a tender wife. 

HE following version of this ballad is from the Folio MS. 
(ed. Hales and Furnivall, 1867, vol. ii. p. 210.) 

Listen liuely lordings all, 

and all that beene this place within ! 
if youle giue eare vnto my songe, 

I will tell you how this geere did begin. 4 

It was the good Erie of Westmorlande, 

a noble Erie was called hee ; 
and he wrought treason against the crowne ; 

alas, itt was the more pittye ! 8 

and soe itt was the Erie of Northumberland, 

another good Noble Erie was hee, 
they tooken both Vpon on part, 

against their crowne they wolden bee. . 12 

Earle Pearcy is into his garden gone, 

and after walks his awne ladye ; 
" I heare a bird sing in my eare 

that I must either flight or ffiee." 16 


" God ftbrbidd," shee sayd, " good my Lord, 

that euer see that it shalbee ! 
but goe to London to the court, 

and faire ffall truth and honestye ! " 20 

" but nay, now nay, my Ladye gay, 

that euer it shold soe bee ; 
my treason is knowen well enoughe ; 

att the court I must not bee." 24. 

" but goe to the Court ! yet, good my Lord, 

take men enowe with thee ; 
if any man will doe you wronge, 

your warrant they may bee." 28 

" but nay, now nay, my Lady gay, 

for soe itt must not bee ; 
If I goe to the court, Ladye, 

death will strike me, and I must dye." 32 

" but goe to the Court ! yett, [good] my Lord, 

I my-selfe will ryde Nvith thee ; 
if any man will doe you wronge, 

your borrow I shalbee." 36 

" but nay, now nay, my Lady gay, 

for soe it must not bee ; 
for if I goe to the Court, Ladye, 

thou must me neuer see. 40 

" but come hither, thou litle footpage, 

come thou hither vnto mee, 
for thou shalt goe a Message to Master Norton 

in all the hast that euer may bee : 44 

" comend me to that gentleman ; 

bring him here this letter from mee, 
and say, ' I pray him earnestlye 

that hee will ryde in my companye.' " 48 

but one while the foote page went, 

another while he rann ; 
vntill he came to Master Norton, 

the ffoot page neuer blanne ; 52 

and when he came to Master Nortton, 

he kneeled on his knee, 
and tooke ilie letter betwixt his hands, 

and lett the gentleman it see. 56 

2 76 THE RISING , 

and when the letter itt was reade 

afifore all his companye, 
I-wis, if you wold know the truth, 

there was many a weeping eye. 60 

he said, " come hither, Kester Nortton, 

a ffine ffellow thou seemes to bee ; 
some good councell, Kester Nortton, 

this day doe thou giue to mee." 64 

" Marry, lie giue you councell, ffather, 

if youle take councell att me, 
that if you haue spoken the word, father, 

that backe againe you doe not flee." 68 

" god amercy, Christopher Nortton, 

I say, god amercye ! 
if I doe Hue and scape with liffe, 

well advanced shalt thou bee ; 72 

"but come you hither, my nine good sonnes, 

in mens estate I thinke you bee ; 
how many of you, my children deare, 

on my part that wilbe ?" 76 

but eight of them did answer soone, 

and spake ffull hastilye, 
sayes "we willbe on your part, ffather, 

till the day that we doe dye." 80 

" but god amercy, my children deare, 

and euer I say god amercy ! 
and yett my blessing you shall have, 

whether-so euer I Hue or dye. 84 

-" but what sayst thou, thou fifrancis Nortton, 
mine eldest sonne and mine heyre trulye ? 

some good councell, ffrancis Nortton, 

this day thou giue to me." 88 

" but I will giue you councell, ffather, 

if you will take councell att mee ; 
for if you wold take my councell, father, 

against the crowne you shold not bee." 92 

" but ffye vpon thee, ffrancis Nortton ! 

I say ffye vpon thee ! 
when thou was younge and tender of age 

I made ffull much of thee." 96 


- 1 1 

" but your head is white, ftather," he sayes, 

" and your beard is wonderous gray ; 
itt were shame ftbr your countrye 

if you shold rise and fflee away." loo 

"but ffye vpon thee, thou coward fifrancis ! 

thou neuer tookest that of mee ! 
when thou was younge and tender of age 

I made too much of thee." 104 

"but I ^vill goe with you, father," Quoth hee ; 

" like a naked man will I bee ; 
he that strikes the first stroake against the crowne, 

an ill death may hee dye ! " ic3 

but then rose vpp Master Nortton that Esquier, 

with him a hull great companye ; 
and then the Erles they comen downe 

to ryde in his companye. "2 

att whethersbye the mustered their men 

vpon a ffuU fayre day ; 
13000 there were scene 

to stand in battel ray. i ' 6 

the Erie of Westmoreland, he had in his ancyeni 

the Dume bull in sight most hye, 
and 3 doggs with golden collers 

were sett out royallye. 120 

the Erie of Northumberland, he had in his ancyent 

the halfe moone in sight soe hye, 
as the Lord was crucifyed on the crosse, 

and sett forthe pleasantlye, «:4 

and after them did rise good Sir George Bowes, 

after them a spoyle to make ; 
the Erles returned backe againe, 

thought euer that Knight to take. n^ 

this Barron did take a Castle then, 

was made of lime and stone ; 
the vttcrmost walls were ese to be woon ; 

the Erles haue woon them anon ; '3^ 

but tho they woone the vttcrmost walls 

quickly and anon, 
the innermost walles th(^ cold not winn, 

the were made of a rocke of stone. '3<^ 


but newes itt came to leeue London 
in all they speede that euer might bee ; 

and word it came to our royall Queene 

of all the rebells in the north countrye. 14° 

shee turned her grace then once about, 
and like a royall Queene shee sware, 

sayes, " I will ordaine them such a breake-fast 

as was not in the North this 1000 yeere ! " 144 

shee caused 30000 men to be made 
with horsse and harneis all quicklye ; 

and shee caused 30000 men to be made 

to take the rebells in the North countrye. 148 

they took with them the false Erie of Warwicke, 

soe did they many another man ; 
vntill they came to yorke Castle, 

I-wis they neuer stinted nor blan. 1 5^ 

" spread thy ancyent, Erie of Westmoreland ! 

The halfe moone ffaine wold wee see ! " 
but the halfe moone is fled and gone, 

and the Dun bull vanished awaye ; 156 

and ffrancis Nortton and his 8 sonnes 

are filed away most cowardlye. 

Ladds with mony are counted men 

men without mony are counted none ; 160 

but hold your tounge ! why say you soe ? 

men wilbe men when mony is gone. 


2 79 




HIS ballad may be considered as the sequel of the pre- 
ceding. After the unfortunate Earl of Northumberland 
f^^^ had seen himself forsaken of his followers, he en- 
deavoured 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 engaged his honour to be true to him, and was under 
great obligations to this unhappy nobleman. But this faithless 
WTCtch betrayed his guest for a sum of money to Murray the Re- 
gent of Scotland, who sent him to the castle of Lough-leven, 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, Holinshed, &:c. 

Lord Northumberland continued in the castle of Lough-leven 
till the year 1572 ; when James Douglas, Earl of Morton, being 
elected Regent, he was given up to the Lord Hunsden at Benvick, 
and being carried to York suffered death. As Morton's party de- 
pended on 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 destniction 
was deemed an ungrateful and mercenary act." Robertson's Hist. 

So far history coincides with this ballad, which was a])parently 
written by some Northern bard soon after the event. The inter- 
posal of the witch-lady (v. 53) is probably his own invention : yet, 
even this hath some countenance from history ; for about 25 years 
before, the Lady Jane Douglas, Lady Glamis, sister of the earl of 
Angus, and nearly related to Douglas of Lough-leven, had suffered 


death for the pretended crime of witchcraft ; who, it is presumed, 
is the Witch-lady aUuded 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 
MS. In the other copy some of the stanzas at the beginning of 
this Ballad are nearly the same with what in that MS. are made to 
begin another Ballad on the escape of the E. of Westmoreland, 
who got safe into Flanders, and is feigned in the ballad to have 
undergone a great variety of adventures. 

[Percy wrote the following note on the version of this ballad in 
his foHo MS. "To correct this by my other copy which seems 
more modern. The other copy in many parts preferable to this." 
It will be seen by comparing the text with the foHo MS. copy, now 
printed at the end, that the alterations are numerous. The first 
three stanzas are taken with certain changes from the ballad of 
" The Erie of Westmoreland " (Folio MS. vol. i. p. 300). The 
alterations made in them are not improvements, as, for instance, 
the old reading of verse 2 is — 

" And keepe me heare in deadlye feare," . 

which is preferable to the Hne below — 

" And harrowe me with fear and dread."] 

OW long shall fortune faile me nowe, 

And harrowe ^ me with fear and dread ? 
How long shall I in bale^ abide, 
In misery my life to lead ? 

To fall from my bliss, alas the while ! s 

It was my sore and heavy e 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 : 10 

He dwelleth on the border side, 

To him I'll goe right privilie. 

" \} harass. ^ evil.] 



Thus did the noble Percy 'plaine, 
\\\\\\ a heavy heart and wel-awa)-, 

When he with all his orallant men 
On Bramham moor had lost the da}-. 

But when he to the Armstrongs came, 
They dealt with him all treacherouslye ; 

For they did strip that noble earle : 

And ever an ill death may they dye. 20 

False Hector to Earl Murray sent, 

To shew him where his cfuest did hide : 

Who sent him to the Louirh-leven, 
With William DouMas to abide. 

And when- he to the Douglas came, as 

He halched' him riofht curteouslie : 

Say'd, Welcome, welcome, noble earle. 
Here thou shalt safelye bide with mee. 

When he had in Lou^di-leven been 

Many a month and many a day ; 30 

To the regent* the lord warden f 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, 35 

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 fiyte"^ with him began : 40 

* James Douglas, Earl of Morton, elected regent of Scotland 
.N'ovember 24, 1572. 

t Of one of the English marches. Lord Hunsdcn. 

(/ saluted. "^ contend.] 



What makes you be so sad, my lord, 
And in your mind so sorrowfullye ? 

To-morrow a shootinge will bee held 
Among the lords of the North countrye. 

The butts are sett, the shooting's made, 45 

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, 50 

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, 55 

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 erle,* 

Into England nowe to 'liver thee. 60 

Now nay, now nay, thou goodly lady, 

The regent is a noble lord : 
Ne for the gold in all England, 

The Douglas wold not break his word. 

When the regent was a banisht man, 65 

With me he did faire welcome find ; 

And whether weal or woe betide, 
I still shall find him true and kind. 

* Of the Earl of Morton, the Regent. 
[' sworn in writing. ^ money for deUvering you up.] 



Betweene England and Scotland it wold breake truce, 
And friends againe they wold never bee, 70 

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, 75 

And tell those 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 Edenborow castle f Ile carry thee. 80 

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, 85 

When I thinki'e 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 ; 90 

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 95 

To be suspect of treacherie : 

• /. €. Lake of Leven, which hath communication with the sea. 
t At that time in the hands of the opposite faction. 

[' fortune.] 


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. loo 

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, 105 

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; no 

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 ns 

Waitine for his master and him. 


And who walkes yonder, my good lady, 

So royallye on yonder greene ? 
O yonder is the lord Hunsden :* 

Alas ! he'll doe you drie and teene.' 120 

And who beth yonder, thou gay ladye. 

That walkes so proudly him beside ? 
That is Sir William Drury,t shee sayd, 

A keene captaine hee is and tryde. 

* The Lord Warden of the East marches, 
t Governor of Berwick. 

\} rends. ^ hollow. ^ ill and injury.] 


How many miles is itt, madamc, 125 

Betwixt )-ond English lords and mee ? 

Marry it is thrice fifty miles, 
To saile to them upon the sea. 

I never was on English ground, 

Ne never sawe it with mine eye, 130 

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 135 

What they did in London citie. 

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. 140 

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 tidino-s him to show. 


Now nay, now nay, good James Swynard, £+5 ^ 
I may not believe that witch ladle : ^J 

The Douglasses were ever true, 

And they can ne'er prove false to mee. 

I have now in Lou^h-leven been 

The most part of these years three, 150 

Yett have I never had noe outrake,^ 

Ne no good games that I cold see. 

 Warden of the Middle-march. 
[• taught. - austere. ^ an outride or expedition.] 


Therefore I'll to yond shooting wend, 
As to the Douglas I have hight : ^ 

Betide me weale, betide me woe, 15s 

He ne'er shall find my promise light. 

He writhe^ a gold ring from his finger, 

And gave itt to that gay ladle : 
Sayes, It was all that I cold save. 

In Harley woods where I cold bee.* 160 

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, 165 

And all the saylors were on borde ; 

Then William Douglas took to his boat. 
And with him went that noble lord. 

Then he cast up a silver wand, 

Says, Gentle lady, fare thee well ! 170 

The lady fett^ a sigh soe deep, 

And in a dead swoone down shee fell. 

Now let us goe back, Douglas, he sayd, 
A sickness hath taken yond faire ladle ; 

If ought befall yond lady but good, 175 

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 ladle. 180 

* /. e. Where I was. An ancient idiom. 
[^ promised. ^ twisted. ^ fetched.] 


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, 185 

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 ; 190 

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, 195 

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. 200 

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, 205 

Other fifty mile upon the sea, 
Lord Percy called to Douglas himselfe, 

Sayd, What wilt thou nowe doe with mee ? 

* There is no navigable stream between Lough-Leven and the 
sea : but a ballad-maker is not obliged to understand geography. 

[' glad. 2 chance.] 


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 g-ood 

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. 220 

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, 225 

It was, alas ! a sorrowful sight : 
Thus they betrayed that noble earle. 

Who ever was a orallant wio^ht. 

Ver. 224. Fol. MS. reads land, and has not the following stanza. 
\} strong. 2 contend.] 


HE following version of the Betrayal of Northumberland 
is from the Folio MS. (ed. Hales and Fumivall, vol. ii. 
p. 218.) 

Now list and lithe you gentlemen, 

and 1st tell you the veret}e, 
how they haue delt with a Vanished man, 

driuen ou»: of his countrye. 4 

when as hee came on Scottish ground 

as woe and wonder be them amonge, 
ffuU much was there traitorye 

the wrought the Erie of Northumberland. 8 

when they were att the supper sett, 

beffore many goodly gentlemen 
the ftell a fflouting and mocking both, 

and said to the Erie of Northumberland, iz 

" What makes you be soe sad, my Lord, 

and in your mind soe sorrowfifuUye ? 
in the North of Scotland to-morrow theres a shooting, 

and thither thoust goe, my Lord Percye. i6 

" the buttes are sett, and the shooting is made, 

and there is like to be great royaltye, 
and I am sworne into my bill 

thither to bring ray Lord Pearcy." to 

"He giue thee my land, Douglas," he sayes, 

"and be the faith in my bodye, 
if that thou wilt ryde to the worlds end, 

He ryde in thy companye." 24 

and then bespake the good Ladye, — 

Marry a Douglas was her name, — 
" you shall byde here, good English Lord ; 

my brother is a traiterous man ; 28 

" he is a traitor stout and stronge, 

as 1st tell you the veretye, 
for he hath tanc liuerance of the Erie, 

and into England he will liuor thee." y- 

"Now hold thy toungc, thou goodlye Ladye, 

and let all this talking bee ; 
ffor all the gold thats in Loug Leucn, 

william wold not Liuor mee ! '-^ 



" it wold breake truce betweene England & Scottland, 

and friends againe they wold neuer bee 
if he shold liuor a bani[s]ht Erie 

was driuen out of his owne countrye." 40 

" hold your tounge, my Lord," shee sayes, 
" there is much fifalsehood them amonge; 

when you are dead, then they are done, 

soone they will part them friends againe. 44 

" if you will giue me any trust, my Lord, 

He tell you how you best may bee ; 
youst lett my brother ryde his wayes, 

and tell those English Lords trulye 48 

" how that you cannot with them ryde 

because you are in an lie of the sea, 
then, ere my Brother come againe, 

to Edenborrow castle He carry thee, 52- 

" lie liuor you vnto the Lord Hume, 

and you know a trew Scothe Lord is hee, 

for he hath lost both Land and goods 

in ayding of your good bodye." 56 

" Marry ! I am woe ! woman," he sayes, 

" that any freind fares worse for mee ; 
for where one saith ' it is a true tale,' 

then two will say it is a Lye. 60 

"when I was att home in my [reahne] 

amonge my tennants all trulye, 
in my time of losse, wherin my need stoode, 

they came to ayd me honestlye ; 64 

*' therfore I left many a child ffatherlese, 

and many a widdow to looke wanne ; 
and therfore blame nothing, Ladye, 

but the woefifull warres which I began." 68 

" If you will giue me noe trust, my Lord, 

nor noe credence you will give mee, 
and youle come hither to my right hand, 

indeed, my Lord, He lett you see." 7^ 

saies, *' I neuer loued noe witchcraft, 

nor neuer dealt with treacherye, 
but euermore held the hye way ; 

alas ! that may be scene by mee ! " 76 


" if you will not come your selfe, my Lord, 
youle lett your chamberlaine goe with mee, 

three words that I may to him speake, 

and soone he shall come againe to thee." 80 

when James SA\'}Tiard came that Lady before, 
shee let him see thorrow the weme of her ring 

how many there was of English lords 

to wayte there for his Master and him. 84 

" but who beene yonder, my good Ladye, 
that walkes soe royallye on yonder greene ? '' 

" yonder is Lord Hunsden, Jamye," she saye ; 

" alas ! heele doe you both tree and teene !" 88 

" and who beene yonder, thou gay Ladye, 

that walkes soe royallye him beside ? " 
" yond is Sir William Drurye, Jamy," shee sayd, 

*' and a keene Captain hee is, and tryde." 93 

" how many miles is itt, thou good Ladye, 

betvvixt yond English Lord and mee ? " 
"marry thrise fifty mile, Jamy," shee sayd, 

" and euen to seale and by the sea : 96 

" I neuer was on English ground, 

nor neuer see itt with mine eye, 
but as my witt and "vnsedome serues, 

and as [the] booke it telleth mee. ico 

" my mother, shee was a witch woman, 

and part of itt shee learned mee ; 
shee wold let me see out of Lough Leuen 

what they dyd in London cytye." 104 

" but who is yond, thou good Layde, 

that comes yonder with an Osterne fface?" 

" yonds Sir John fforster, Jamye," shee sayd ; 

" methinks thou sholdest better know him then I." loS 
" Euen soe I doe, my goodlye Ladye, 
and euer alas, soe woe am I ! " 

he pulled his hatt ouer his eyes, 

and, lord, he wept soe tenderlye ! 112 

he is gone to his ^Iaster againe, 

and euen to tell him the veretye. 


"Now hast thou beene with Marry, Jamy," he sayd, 

" Euen as thy tounge will tell to mee ; ii6 

but if thou trust in any womans words, 
thou must refraine good companye." 

" It is noe words, my Lord," he sayes, 

" yonder the men shee letts mee see, 120 

how many English Lords there is 

is wayting there for you and mee ; 

" yonder I see the Lord Hunsden, 

and hee and you is of the third degree ; 124 

a greater enemye, indeed, my Lord, 

in England none haue yee," 

" and I haue beene in Lough Leven 

the most part of these yeeres three : 128 

yett had I neuer noe out-rake, 

nor good games that I cold see ; 

" and I am thus bidden to yonder shooting 

by William Douglas all trulye ; 132 

therfore speake neuer a word out of thy mouth 
That thou thinkes will hinder mee." 

then he writhe the gold ring of his ffingar 

and gaue itt to that Ladye gay ; 136 

sayes, " that was a Legacye left vnto mee 

in Harley woods where I cold bee." 

" then ffarewell hart, and farewell hand, 

and fifarwell all good companye ! 140 

that woman shall neuer beare a sonne 

shall know soe much of your privitye." 

" now hold thy tounge, Ladye," hee sayde, 

" and make not all this dole for mee, 144 

for I may well drinke, but 1st neuer eate, 

till againe in Lough Leuen I bee." 

he tooke his boate att the Lough Leuen 

for to sayle now ouer the sea, 148 

and he hath cast vpp a siluer wand, 

saies " fare thou well, my good Ladye ! " 
the Ladye looked ouer her left sholder ; 

in a dead swoone there fell shee. 152 


" goe backe againe, Douglas ! " he sayd, 

" and I will goe in thy companye, 
for sudden sicknesse yonder Lady has tane, 

and euer, alas, shee will but dye! 156 

" if ought come to yonder Ladye but good, 

then blamed fore that I shall bee, 
because a banished man I am, 

and driuen out of my owne countrye." i6o 

" come on, come on, my Lord," he sayes, 

" and lett all such talking bee ; 
theres Ladyes enow in Lough Leuen, 

and for to cheere yonder gay Ladye." 164 

" and you will not goe your selfe, my Lord, 
you will lett my chamberlaine goe with me ; 

wee shall now take our boate againe, 

and soone wee shall ouertake thee." 168 

" come on, come on, my Lord," he sayes, 

" and lett now all this talking bee ! 
Ifor my sister is craftye enoughe 

for to beguile thousands such as you and mee." 172 

When they had sayled fifty myle, 

now fifty mile vpon the sea, 
hee had fforgotten a message that hee 

shold doe in lough Leuen trulye : 176 

hee asked ' how ftar it was to that shooting, 

that WiUiam Douglas promised me.' 

now faire words makes fooles faine ; 

and that may be scene by thy Master and thee ; i So 

ffor you may happen think itt soone enoughe 

when-euer you that shooting see." 

Jamye pulled his hatt now ouer his browe ; 

1 wott the teares fell in his eye ; ii>4 

and he is to his Master againe, 

and ffor to tell him the veretye : 

he sayes, " fayre words makes fooles faine, 

and that may be scene by you and mcc, J 88 

ffor wcc may happen thinke itt soone enoughe 

whcn-cuer wee that shooting see." 


"hold vpp thy head, Jamye," the Erie sayd, 

" and neuer lett thy hart fayle thee ; 192 

he did itt but to prove thee with, 

and see how thow wold take with death trulye." 

when they had sayled other fifty mile, 

other fifty mile vpon the sea, 196 

Lord Peercy called to him, himselfe, 

and sayd, " Douglas what wilt thou doe with mee ? " 

" looke that your brydle be wight, my Lord, 
that you may goe as a shipp att sea ; 200 

looke that your spurres be bright and sharpe, 
that you may pricke her while sheele awaye." 

" what needeth this, Douglas," he sayth. 

" that thou needest to fifloute mee ? 204 

for I was counted a horsseman good 

before that euer I mett with thee. 

" A ffalse Hector hath my horsse ; 

and euer an euill death may hee dye ! 208 

and Willye Armestronge hath my spurres 

and all the geere belongs to mee." 

when the had sayled other fifty mile, 

other fifty mile vpon the sea, 212 

the landed low by Bar\vicke side ; 

a deputed land Landed Lord Percy e. 

fiin[s] ] 


fHIS 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 Huvioiir, 
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 : v\:c. By William Eyrd, one of the Gent, of 
the Queenes Majesties honorable Chappell. — Printed by Thomas 
East, &c." 4to. no date : but Ames in his Typo^:;. has mentioned 
another edit, of the same book, dated 15SS, 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 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 

[The longest and apparently earliest version of this favourite 
poem is signed " E. Dier," in MS. Rawl. Poet. 85, fol. 17 in the 
Bodleian Library', and Dr. Hannah* attributes it to Sir Edward 
Dyer, the friend of Spenser and Sidney, whose little pieces were 
chiefly printed in Efigland's Helicon. Sir Edward Dyer, of Sharp- 
ham Park, Somersetshire, was born about the year 1540. He was 
educated at Oxford, and afterwards was employed in several em- 
bassies. On the death of Sir John WoUey he was made Chancellor 
of the Order of the Garter, and at the same time knighted. He 
was an alchemist and dupe of Dr. Dee and Edward Kelly. Sir 
Egerton Brydges quotes from Aubrey the statement that he had 
four thousand pounds a year, and had fourscore thousand pounds 
left to him, which he wasted almost all, but Sir Egerton considers 
the sums almost incredible for the time. 

In " Posthumi or Sylvesters Remains, revived out of the ashes of 
that silver-tongued translatour and divine Poet Laureat," at the 
end of the translation of the Divine Weekes of Du Bartas, 1641, 
there is the following parody of this favourite poem : 

" A Contented Minde. 

" I waigh not Fortunes frowne or smile, 

I joy not much in earthly joyes, 

I seeke not state, I reake not stile, 

I am not fond of fancies Toyes : 
I rest so pleased with what I have, 
I wish no more, no more I crave. 

* \The Courtly Poets, from Ralei\:;h to Montrose. Edited by J. 
Hannah, D.C.L., London, 1S70. (Aldine Poets.)] 


" I quake not at the Thunders crack, 
I tremble not at noise of warre, 
I swound not at the newes of wrack, 
I shrink not at a Blazing Starre ; 
I feare not losse, I hope not gaine, 
I envie none, I none disdaine. 

" I see ambition never pleas'd, 
I see some Tantals starv'd in store, 
I see golds dropsie seldome eas'd, 
I see even Midas gape for more : 
I neither want, nor yet abound. 
Enough's a feast, content is crown'd. 

" I faine not friendship where I hate, 
I fawne not on the great (in show) 
I prize, I praise a meane estate, 
Neither too lofty nor too low : 

This, this is all my choice, my cheere, 
A minde content, a conscience cleere."] 

[^^^5' Y 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, 5 
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. 10 

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 15 

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, -o 

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, 25 

I little have, yet seek no more : 
They are but poore, tho' much they have ; 

And I am rich with litde store : 
They poor, I rich ; they beg, I give ; 
They lacke, I lend ; they pine, 1 live. 30 

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 ; 35 

I lothe not life, nor dread mine end. 

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 : 40 

My mind is such as may not move 
For beautie briofht 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 ; 45 

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 ; 50 

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 ; 55 

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. 60 

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 ; Cs 

Would all did so as well as I ! 


'HE subject of this tale is taken from that entertaining 
Colloquy of Erasmus, intitled, " Uxor Ms^i^iyajuoe, sive 
Conjugium : " which has been agreeably modernized 
by the late Mr. Spence, in his little Miscellaneous Pub- 
lication, intitled, ^'' Moralities, &c. by Sir Harry Beaumont," 1753, 
8vo. pag. 42. 

The following stanzas are extracted from an ancient poem in- 
titled Albion's England, written by W. Warner, a celebrated poet 
in the reign of Q. Elizabeth, though his name and works are now 
equally forgotten. The reader will find some account of him in 
vol. ii. book ii. song 24. 



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 bl. let. 4to. The edition in 
1602 is in thirteen books; and so it is reprinted in 1612, 4to. ; 
yet, in 1606, was i)ublished "A Continuance of Albion's England, 
by the first author, W. W. Lond. 4to. : "' this contains Books xiv. 
x\". xvi. There is also extant, under the name of Warner, " Syrinx, 
or a seven-fold Historie, pleasant, and profitable, comical, and 
tragical," 4to. 

[The title of this poem challenges comparison with Patient 
Grisclda, but it is in flict a totally difterent story, and as ]\Ir. Hales 
says, "represents rather tact and management than patience in the 
\\ife of an unfaithful (not a tempting and essaying) husband." The 
first edition of Warner's poem was published in 1586, and the 
numerous impressions of it prove its popularity. The full title is 
as follows: "Albion's England, a continued History of the same 
Kingdome from the Originals of the first inhabitants thereof, unto 
the raigne of Queen Elizabeth."] 

I^MPATIENCE chaungeth smoke to flame, 
but jelousie is hell ; 
Some wives by patience have reduc'd ill 
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 lono; 
Full true to his fayre countesse ; yet at last he did her 
wrong. 5 

Once hunted he untill the chace, long fasting, and 

the heat 
Did house him in a peakish graunge^ within a forest 

Where knowne and welcom'd (as the place and per- 
sons might afforde) 
Browne bread, whig,'^ bacon, curds and milke were set 
him on the borde. 

\} rude and lone country house. '^ buttermilk or sour whey.] 


A cushion made of lists, a stoole halfe backed with a 

hoope lo 

Were brought him, and he sitteth down besides 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. 
Meane while (in russet neatly clad, with linen white 

as swanne, 
Herselfe more white, save rosie where the ruddy 

colour ranne : 15 

Whome naked nature, not the aydes of arte made to 

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 21 

Unto his host and hostesse,in the hearing of the mayd : 
Yee know, quoth he, that I am lord of this, and many 

townes ; 
I also know that you be poore, and I can spare you 

Soe will I, so yee will consent, that yonder lasse and I 25 
May bargaine for her love ; at least, doe give me leave 

to trye. 
Who needs to know it ? nay who dares into my doings 

First theymislike,yetatthelengthforlucrewere misled; 
And then the gamesome earle did wowe^ the damsell 
for his bed. 

[^ pen for poultry. ^ ni^e qj- neat. ^ pounds. ■* woo.] 


He took her in his armes, as yet so coyish to be kist, 30 

As mayds that know themselves belov'd, and yieldingly 

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, 35 

And lastly was informed of his amorous haunt else- 
where ; 

It greev'd her not a little, though she seem'd it well 
to beare. 

And thus she reasons with herselfe, some fault per- 
haps in me ; 

Somewhat is done, that so he doth : alas ! what ma)- 
it be ? 

How may I winne him to myself? he is a man, and 
men 40 

Have imperfections ; itbehooves me pardon nature then. 

To checke him were to make him checke,* althouy-h 
hee now were chaste : 

A man controuled of his wife, to her makes lesser haste, 

If dut)' then, or daliance may prevayle to alter him ; 

I will be dutifulfand make my selfe for daliance trim, ^s 

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 

Suspecting nothing less, than that his lady knew the 
same : 

Wherefore to make him know she knew, she this de- 
vise did frame : 50 

• To check is a term in falconry, applied when a hawk stops and 
turns away from his proper pursuit : to check also signifies to re- 
prove or chide. It is in this verse used in Ijoth senses. 

(^ mistress.] 


When long she had been wrong'd, and sought the 
foresayd meanes in vaine, 

She rideth to the simple graunge, but with a slender 

She lighteth, entreth, greets them well, and then did 
looke about her : 

The guiltie houshold knowing her, did wish them- 
selves without her ; 

Yet, for she looked merily, the lesse they did mis- 
doubt^ her. 5^ 

When she had seen the beauteous wench (then blush- 
ing fairnes fairer) 

Such beauty made the countesse hold them both ex- 
cus'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, 60 

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. ^ 65 

But, for you have not furniture beseeming such a guest, 

I bring his owne, and come myselfe to see his lodg- 
ing drest. 

With that two sumpters were discharg'd, in which 
were hangings brave, 

\} suspect] 


Silke coverings, ciirtens, carpets, plate, and al such 

turn should have. 
When all was handsomly dispos'd, she prayes them 

to have care 70 

That nothing hap in their default/ that might his 

health impair : 
And, Damsell, quoth shee, for it seemes this hous- 

hold is but three, 
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 ofould 

good store. 7S 

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 chancre of thincys his wondrinof 

eies did note. 
But when he knew those goods to be his proper 

goods ; though late, 80 

Scarce taking leave, he home returnes the matter to 

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 

Forsooth, quoth she, because I did )our love and 

lodging knowe ; 85 

Your love to be a proper wench, your lodging nothing 

lesse ; 

\} happen from their neglect. - earl. ^ cottage] 


I held it for your health, the house more decently to 

Well wot I, notwithstanding her, your lordship loveth 

me ; • 

And greater hope to hold you such by quiet, then 

brawles, ' you ' see. 
Then for my duty, your delight, and to retaine your 

favour, 90 

All done I did, and patiently expect your wonted 

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' 




HE following stanzas were written by Michael Drayton, 
a poet of some eminence in the reigns of Q. 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 

* He was born in 1563, and died in 1631. 

.Biog. Brit. 


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 shalt heare, with mirth and mickle glee, 

A pretie tale, which when 1 was a boy. 

My toothles grandame oft hath tolde 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. 

tt^ ^^ ^K ^ ^ 

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 then he was 

Lp'ed 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 Wyllyam 
Copland; no date.f In the Cotton Library (Calig. A 2) is a MS. 
copy of the same romance containing the greatest variations. 
They are probably two different translations of some French 

* As also Chaucer's Rhyme of Sir Topas, v. 6. 

t [Reprinted by Utterson. The Romance of Sir Isiimbras was 
printed from the MS. by Mr. Hallivvell in the T/iornton Romances 
(Camden Society, 1844).] 


^^^^^^ARRE in the countrey of Arden, 

There won'd^ a knight, hight Cassemen, 

As bolde as Isenbras : 
Feir^ was he, and eger bent. 
In battell and in tournament, 5 

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, 10 

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 : 15 

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, 20 

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, 25 

As is the grasse that growes by Dove ; 
And lyth^ as lasse of Kent. 

\} dwelt. ^ keen. ^ named. ^ she was taught the 

learning. ^ march-pane, a kind of biscuit. ^ dexterously. 

^ gentle or tender.] 


Her skin as soft as Lemster wooll/ 
As white as snow on Peakish Hull," 

Or swanne that swims in Trent. 30 

This mayden in a morne betime 

Went forth, when May was in her prime. 

To get sweete cctywall, ' 
The honey-suckle, the harlocke,^ 
The lilly and the lady-smocke, 35 

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, 4.0 

Like chanteclere he crowed crancke,^ 

And pip'd full merrilie. 

He lear'd° his sheepe as he him list, 
When he would whistle in his fist, 

To feede about him round ; 4S 

Whilst he full many a carroll sung, 
Untill the fields and medowes rung, 

And all the woods did sound. 

In favour this same shepheards swayne 
W^as like the bedlam Tamburlayne,* 50 

WHiich helde prowd kings in awe : 

• Alluding to Tamburlainc the ^reat, or the Scythian Shepheard, 
1590, 8vo. an old ranting play ascribed to Marlowe. 

\} Leominster, or Lemster, was long famous for its wool, and 
Skelton refers to " good Lemster wool " in his Elynour Rummin. 

- Peakish hill ; this may refer to the well-known Derbyshire 
mountain called the Peak. 

^ herb valerian, or mountain spikenard. 

^ perhaps charlock, or wild rape. 

^ exultingly. * pastured. 


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, 55 

Which was of the finest loke,^ 

That could be cut with sheere : 
His mittens were of bauzens^ skinne, 
His cockers^ were of cordiwin,^ 

His hood of meniveere.^ 60 

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 : 65 

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, 70 
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 ; 75 

But then the shepheard pyp'd a good, 
That all his sheepe forsooke their foode. 

To heare his melodye. 

* Sc. Abel. 

\} fleece of wool. - sheepskin gloves with the wool on the 
inside. ^ short boots. * leather. 

^ mixed fur. ^ rosined thread. " Coventry. 




Thy sheepe, quoth she, cannot be leane, 

That have a jolly shepheards swayne, 80 

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,' 85 

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. 90 

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, 95 

And on the ground him layd. 

Sayth she, I may not stay till night, 
And leave my summer-hall undight,'* 

And all for lono- of thee. 
My coate,^ sayth he, nor yet my fouldc 100 

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. 105 

Sayth he, Yet are you too unkind. 
If in your heart you cannot fmde 

To love us now and then. 

[' heed. '-' undecked. ^ cot.J 


And I to thee will be as kinde 

As Colin was to Rosalinde, no 

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, 115 
Downe 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. 120 


From Beaumont and Fletcher's play, intitled The Lovei^s Progress. 

act iii. sc. i. 

:DIEU, fond love, farewell you wanton 
powers ; 
I am free again. 
Thou dull disease of bloud and idle hours, 
Bewitching pain, 
Fly to fools, that sigh away their time : 5 

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 : 10 

There lies my love, thither my hopes aspire. 
Fond love declines, this heavenly love grows higher. 



(FFORDS a pretty poetical contest bet\veen Pleasure 
and Honour. It is found at the end of Hymai's 
Triumph : a pastoral tragicomcdic, 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 bom 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 Cum- 

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. i2mo. 1 7 18. 

[Samuel Daniel was born in Somersetshire, and educated at 
Magdalen Hall, O.xford. He left college without a degree, " his 
geny being," according to Ant. ^ Wood, "more prone to easier 
and smoother subjects than in pecking and hewing at logic. " He 
was tutor to Lady Anne Clifford, subsequently Countess of Pem- 
broke, and aftenvards groom of the privy chamber to Anne, queen 
of James I. Browne calls him in Britannia's Pastorals, " Wel- 
languaged Daniel," and the union of power of thought with sweet- 
ness and grace of expression exhibited by him is highly praised by 
Southey and Coleridge. He was free from indelicacy in his writ- 
ings, and Fuller says of him that " he carried in his Christian and 
surname two holy prophets, his monitors, so to qualify his raptures 
that he abhorred all profaneness."] 

• In this edition it is collated with a copy printed at the enH of 
his " Tragedic of Cleopatra. London, 1607, 12 mo." 



OME, 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, 5 

That travaile in the deepe. 
Enjoy the day in mirth the while, 
And spend the night in sleepe. 


Faire nymph, if fame or honour were 

To be attain'd with ease, 10 

Then would I 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 luxuriously 15 

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. ?o 

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 25 

Nor honor, nor report, 
Yet manHnesse would scorne to weare 

The time in idle sport : 
For toyle doth give a better touch 

To make us feele our joy ; 30 

And ease findes tediousnes, as much 

As labour yeelds annoy. 


Then pleasure likewise seemes the shore, 

Whereto tendes all your toyle ; 
Which you forego to make it more, 35 

And perish oft the while. 
Who may disport them diversly. 

Find never tedious day ; 
And ease may have variety. 

As well as action may. 40 


But natures of the noblest frame 

These toyles and dangers please ; 
And they take comfort in the same, 

As much as you in ease : 
And with the thought of actions past 45 

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 ; 50 

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 55 

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 turne them best : 60 

To purge the mischiefes, that increase 

And all orood order mar : 
For oft we see a wicked peace, 

To be well chang'd for war. 


Well, well, Ulysses, then I see 65 

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 : 70 

For beauty hath created bin 

T' undoo or be undone. 



HIS beautiful poem, which possesses a classical elegance 
hardly to be expected in the age of James I. is printed 
from the 4th edition of Davison's Poems,* &c. 162 1. 
It is also found in a later miscellany, intitled, " Le 
Prince d' Amour," 1660, 8vo. Francis Davison, editor of the poems 

* See the full title in Vol. ii. Book iii. No. iv. 


above referred to, was son of that unfortunate secretary' of state 
who suti'ered so much from the afi'air of Mary Q. of Scots. 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 Coun- 
tries, 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 Drydcn's Miscellanies, this poem is attri- 
buted to Sydney Godolphin, Esq. ; but erroneously, being pro- 
bably written before he was born. One edit, of Davisons book 
was published in 1608. Godolphin was born in 1610, and died 
in 1642-3. Ath. Ox. ii. 23. 


^^ T 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'erspred her face ; s 

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 ; 10 
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, is 

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. 20 


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, 25 

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 ; 30 

The more his wounds, the more his might. 

Love yielded strength amidst his pain. 

Her angry eyes were great with tears, 

She blames her hand, she blames her skill ; 

The bluntness of her shafts she fears, 35 

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 n5t Cupids craft ; 

Revenge is joy ; the end is smart. +0 

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 45 

Love found an entry to her heart ; ij 

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 : 50 

She seeks for what she shunn'd before. 

She thinks the shepherds 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. 




HIS little moral poem was writ by Sir Henry Wotton, 
"UK^'*' ^^^^^ ^^^^ Provost of Eton in 1639. J^t. 72. It is 
^ ^^^ printed from a little collection of his pieces, intitled, 
Jieliquuv Wotioniame, 1651, i2mo. ; compared with one 
or two other copies. [Ben Jonson is said to have greatly admired 
these verses, and to have known them by heart.] 

OW^ happy is he born or taught, 
That serveth not anothers will ; 
Whose armour is his honest thought, 
And simple truth his highest skill : 

W^hose 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 : 

Who hath his life 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 ; 

And entertaines the harmless day 
With a well-chosen book or friend. 

This man is freed from servile bands 
Of hope to rise, or feare to fall ; 

Lord of himselfe, though not of lands ; 
And having nothing, yet hath all. 



- ^^^'^ AS a famous robber, who lived about the middle of the 
last century, if we may credit the histories and story- 

books of highwaymen, which relate many improbable 
feats of him, as his robbing Cardinal Richelieu, Oliver 
Cromwell, &c. But these stories have probably 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, tho' corrupt and interpolated, contains 
some lines that appear to be of genuine antiquity : in these he is 
represented as contemporary with Mary Q. of Scots : ex. gr. 

"The Queen of Scots possessed nought. 

That my love let me want : 
For cow and ew he to me brought, 

And een whan they were scant. 
All these did honestly possess 

He never did annoy. 
Who never fail'd to pay their cess 
To my love Gilderoy." 

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-hook. 


[The subject of this ballad was a ruffian totally unworthy of the 
poetic honours given to him, and the poem itself can in no 
way be looked upon as historic. To mention but one instance 
of its departure from truth — the song is said to have been written 
by a young woman of a superior station in society who had been 
induced to live with the freebooter, but the fact was that one 
thousand marks having been offered for his apprehension, he was 
betrayed by his mistress Peg Cunningham, and captured after killing 
eight of the men sent against him, and stabbing the woman. 

He was one of the proscribed clan Gregor, and a notorious lifter 
of cattle in the Highlands of Perthshire for some time before 
1636. In February of that year seven of his accompHces were 
taken, tried, condemned, and executed at Edinburgh. These 
men were apprehended chiefly through the exertions of the Stewarts 
of Athol, and in revenge Gilderoy burned several of the houses 
belonging to the Stewarts. In a few months, however, he was 
captured, as before mentioned, and in July, 1636, was hanged 
with five accomplices at the Gallowlee, between Leith and Edin- 
burgh. As a mark of unenviable distinction, Gilderoy was hanged 
on a gallows higher than the rest. It is curious that this wretched 
miscreant, who robbed the poor and outraged all women who 
came in his way, should have become popular in the south of 
Britain. His adventures, with the various details noticed above 
by Percy, are related in Captain Alexander Smith's History of 
Hig/ncaymen, &c., 17 19, and in Johnson's Lives and Exploits of 
Higincaymcn, 1734. 

The earliest known version of this song was printed in London 
in 1650, and another is included in Westminster Drollery, 1671. 
The latter consists of five stanzas, the first being : 

" Was ever grief so great as mine 

Then speak dear beam, I prethee, 
That thus must leave my Gilderoy, 

O my benison gang with thee. 
Good speed be with you then Sir she said 

For gone is all my joy : 
And gone is he whom I love best, 

My handsome Gilderoy." 

The second stanza is Percy's fifth, with some of the ''luxuriances" 
he refers to. The third stanza is a variation of Percy's first. 

" Now Gilderoy was bonny boy 
Would needs to th' King be gone 

With his silken garters on his legs, 
And the roses on his shoone. 


But better he had staid at home 

With me his only joy, 
For on a gallow tree they hung 

My handsome Gilderoy." 

The fourth stanza is a variety of Percy's eleventh, and the fifth 
of his ninth. 

There is another version of this song in the Collection of Old 
Ballads, 1723 (vol. i.), entitled " The Scotch Lover's Lamentation, 
or Gilderoy's last farewell," which contains some few "luxuriances," 
but is on the whole superior to the " improved " one here printed. 
This was altered by Lady Wardlaw, who added the stanzas be- 
tween brackets, besides the one quoted above by Percy. 

Gilderoy is now, perhaps, better known by Campbell's song 
than by this ballad. The name is a corruption of the Gaelic gillc 
roy, red-haired boy.] 

ILDEROY was a bonnie boy, 
Had roses tuW his shoone, 
His stockings were of silken soy,^ 
Wi' garters hanging doune : 
It was, I weene, a comeHe sight, s 

To see sae trim a boy ; 
He was my jo^ and hearts deHght, 
My handsome Gilderoy. 

Oh ! sike twa charming een he had, 

A breath as sweet as rose, lo 

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 mourn the day 15 

For my dear Gilderoy. 

[^ for ////, to. - silk. 3 sweetheart. 




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 fill'd wi' mickle joy, 
To think upon the bridal day, 

Twixt me and Gikieroy. 

For Gilderoy that luve of mine, 25 

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, 30 

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, 35 

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. 40 

[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 : 
And he in many a venturous deed, 45 

His courage bauld wad try ; 
And now this gars^ mine heart to bleed, 

Vov my dear Gilderoy. 

r^ shift. 2 makes.] 


And when of me his leave he tuik, 

The tears they wat mine ee, 50 

I gave tull him a parting luik, 

" My benison gang \vi' thee ; 
God speed thee weil, mine ain dear heart, 

For gane is all my joy ; 
My heart is rent sith we maun part, 55 

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 : 60 

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, 65 

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, 70 

Wi' sorrow neir had wat my cheek. 

For my dear Gilderoy. 

Giff Gilderoy had done amisse. 

He mought hae banisht been ; 
Ah ! what fair cruelty is this, 75 

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. 80 

[1 property. - winning. ^ woe betide.] 

GILD E ROY. 32^ 


Of Gilderoy sae fraid they were, 

They bound him mickle strong, 
Tull Edenburrow they led him thair. 

And on a trallows hunsf: 
They hung him high aboon the rest, 85 

He was sae trim a boy ; 
Thair dyed the youth whom I kied best, 

My handsome Gilderoy. 

Thus having yielded up his breath, 

I bare his corpse away, 90 

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, 95 

]\Iy winsome Gilderoy. 



HIS beautiful address to conjugal love, a subject too 

much neglected by the libertine Muses, was, I believe, 

first printed in a volume of Miscellaneous Poems, by 

several hands, published by D. [David] Lewis, 1726, 


It is there said, how truly I know not, to be "a translation from 
the ancient British language." 

[^ secure.] 


|WAY ; 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 5 

With pompous titles grace our blood ; 

We'll shine in more substantial honors, 
And to be noble we'll be Qf-ood. 

Our name, while virtue thus we tender, 

Will sweetly sound where-e'er 'tis spoke : 10 

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, 15 

And be content without excess. 

Still shall each returning season 

Sufficient for our wishes give ; 
For we will live a life of reason, 

And that's the only life to live. 20 

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, 15 

While round my knees they fondly clung ; 

To see them look their mothers features, 
To hear them lisp their mothers tongue. 


And when with envy time transported, 
Shall think to rob us of our joys, 

You'll in your girls again be courted, 
And I'll go a wooing in my boys. 





:AS published in a small collection of poems, intitled 
Euthcmia,or the Pcnver of Hannony^ &c. 1756, written 
in 1 748, by the ingenious Dr. Harrmgton, 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. Shensto7ie, with some variations and 
corrections of his own, which he had taken the liberty to propose, 
and for which the author's indulgence was intreated. In this 
edition it was intended to reprint the author's ovrcv original copy ; 
but, as that may be seen correctly given in Fcarc/is 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 liberality. 

Wokey-hole is a noted cavern in Somersetshire, which has given 
birth to as many wild fanciful stories as the Sybils Cave, in Italy. 
Thro' 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 underground, is crossed 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. 



'N aunciente days tradition showes 
A base and wicked elfe arose, 

The Witch of Wokey hight : 
Oft have I heard the fearful! tale 
From Sue, and Roger of the vale, s 

On some long winter's night. 

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, lo 

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 : 15 

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 ; 20 

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, 25 

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. 30 


From Glaston came a lerned wiorht, 
F"ull bent to marr her fell despight, 

And well he did, I ween : 
Sich mischief never had been known, 
And, since his mickle lerninge shown, 35 

Sich mischief ne'er has been. 

He chaimtede out his godlie booke, 
He crost the water, blest the brooke, 

Then — pater noster done, — 
The ghastly hag he sprinkled o'er ; 40 

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. 

But tho' this lernede clerke did well ; 

W^ith grieved heart, alas ! I tell, 50 

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, 55 

The sex have found it to this day, 

That men are wondrous scant : 
Here's l^eauty, wit, and sense combin'd, 
With all that's good and virtuous join'd, 

Yet liardly one gallant. 60 

Shall then sich maids unpitied moane ? 
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, 65 

And, oh ! revoke the spelL 

Yet stay — nor thus despond, ye fair ; 
Virtue's the gods' pecuHar care ; 

I hear the gracious voice : 
Your sex shall soon be blest agen, 70 

We only wait to find sich men, 

As best deserve your choice. 


A West Indian -Ballad, 

' S founded on a real fact, that happened in the island of 
St. Christophers about the beginning of the present 
reign. The Editor owes the following stanzas to the 
friendship of X)x. James Grainger* who was an eminent 
physician in that island when this tragical incident happened, and 
died there much honoured and lamented in 1767. To this inge- 
nious gentleman the pubUc are indebted for the fine Ode on So- 
litude, printed in the fourth vol. 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 : 

" 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, 

* Author of a poem on the Culture of the Sugar- Cane, &c. 


Gr starting from your half-year's sleep 
From Hecla view the thawing deep, 
Or at the purple dawn of day 
Tadmor's marble wastes survey," &:c. 

alluding to the account of Palmyra published by some late inge- 
nious travellers, and the manner in which they were struck at the 
first sight of those magnificent ruins by break of day.* 

HE 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, 5 

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, 10 

Nor once in thought or deed would stray, 
Tho' ladies sought his hand. 

For Bryan he was tall and strong, 

Right blythsome roll'd his een. 
Sweet was his voice whene'er he sung, 15 

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. ao 

 So in p. 235, it should be, Tiirtid her magic ray. 


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, 25 

She cast her weeds away, 
And to the palmy shore she hied, 

All in her best array. 

In sea-green silk so neatly clad, 

She there impatient stood ; 30 

The crew with wonder saw the lad 

Repell the foaming flood. 

Her hands a handkerchief display'd. 

Which he at parting gave ; 
Well pleas'd the token he survey'd, 35 

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. 40 

Then through the white surf did she haste, 

To clasp her lovely swain ; 
When, ah ! a shark bit through his waste : 

His heart's blood dy'd the main ! 

He shriek'd! his half sprang from the wave, 45 

Streaming with purple gore. 
And soon it found a living grave. 

And ah ! was seen no more. 

Now haste, now haste, ye maids, I pray. 

Fetch water from the spring : 50 

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, 55 

Her hapless fate scape you. 



Translated from the Spanish. 

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 tlie highest merit. The}' call them in their lan- 
guage Romances^ and have collected them into volumes under the 
titles of El Roitiajicero, El Caiuionero* &c. Most of them relate 
to their conflicts ^\^th 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 Gratiada, describing the dissensions 
which raged in that last seat of Moorish empire before it was con- 
quered in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, in 149 1. 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 uj) for no 
other end, but to introduce and illustrate tliose beautiful pieces. 

The Spanish editor pretends (how truly 1 know not) that they 
are translations from the Arabic or Morisco language. Indeed, 
from the plain unadorned nature of the verse, and the native sim- 
plicity of the language and sentiment, which runs through these 
poems, one would judge them to have been composed soon after 
the conquest of Granadaf above mentioned; as the prose narrative 

i.e. The ballad-singer. f See vol. iii. Aj)pendix. 


in which they are inserted was published about a centuiy after. 
It should seem, at least, that they were written before the Cas- 
tillians had formed themselves so generally, as they have done 
since, on the model of the Tuscan poets, or had imported 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 English bards and minstrels, the reader is 
desired candidly to accept the two folloAving 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 trans- 
lation, 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 nms in short stanzas of four lines, of which the second and 
fourth alone correspond in their terminations; and in these it is 
only required that the vowels should be alike, the consonants may 
be altogether different, as 

pone casa meten arcos 

noble canas muere gamo 

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 
impleasing 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 ia. It is the former of these 
that is here reprinted. They both of them begin with the same 
line : 

" Rio verde, rio verde,"* 

which could not be translated faithfully : 

" Verdant river, verdant river," 

would have given an affected stiffness to the verse ; the great merit 

* Literally, Green river, green river. [Percy found out, after 
writing this, that Rio Verde is the name of a river in Spain, a fact, 
which he writes, " ought to have been attended to by the trans- 
lator, had he known it."] 


of which is easy simplicity ; and therefore a more simple epithet 
was adopted, though less poetical or expressive. 

[The two following Spanish ballads are peculiarly out of place in 
a collection of English ballads, and they are not very good speci- 
mens of the class from which they are taken. Those who wish for 
information on Spanish ballads must refer to Ticknor's History of 
Spanish Literature ; T. Rodd's Ancient Spanish Ballads, relating 
to the Tii'clve Peers of France mentioned in Don Quixote, 2 vols. 
London, 1821; and J. G. Lockhart's Ancient Spanish Ballads, 
historical and romantic, 1823.] 



lO verde, rio verde, 

Ouanto cuerpo en ti se bana 
De Christianos y de Moros 
Muertos por la dura espada ! 

Y tus ondas cristalinas 

De roxa sangre se esmaltan : 
Entre Moros y Christianos 
Muy gran batalla se trava. 

Murieron Duques y Condes, 
Grandes seiiores de salva: 

Murio gente de valia 

De la nobleza de Espafia. 

En ti murio don Alonso, 

Que de Aguilar se Ilamaba ; 

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 Pla9a de Sevilla 
Bien te vide jugar cafias. 






ENTLE 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, 5 

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 : 10 

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 15 

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. 20 

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, 25 

Long 1 liv'd beneath thy roof; 
Oft I've in the lists of glory 

Seen thee win the prize of proof. 


Conozco a tu padre y madre, 

Y a tu muger dona Clara ; 30 

Siete anos fui tu cautivo, 

Malamente me tratabas. 

Y aora lo seras mio, 

Si Mahoma me ayudara ; 

Y tambien te tratare, 35 
Como a mi me tratabas. 

Sayavedra que lo oyera, 

Al Moro bolvio la cara ; 
Tirole el Moro una flecha, 

Pero nunca le acertaba. 40 

Hiriole Sayavedra 

De una herida muy mala : 
Muerto cayo el Renegado 

Sin poder hablar palabra. 

Sayavedra fue cercado 45 

De mucha Mora canalla, 

Y al cabo cayo alii muerto 
De una muy mala lan9ada. 

Don Alonso en este tiempo 

Bravamente peleava, 50 

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, 55 

Don Alonso se desmaya. 

Al fin, al fin cayo muerto 
Al pie de un pena alta. 

Muerto queda don Alonso, 

Eterna fama ganara. 60 

^n ^K ^S Jf* ^^ 


Well I know thy aged parents, 

Well thy blooming bride I know ; 30 

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, 35 

Which I drank when I was thine. 

Like a lion turns the warrior, 

Back he sends an angry glare : 
Whizzing came the Moorish javelin, 

Vainly whizzing thro' the air. 40 

Back the hero full of fury 

Sent a deep and mortal wound : 

Instant sunk the Renegado, 

Mute and lifeless on the orround. 

With a thousand Moors surrounded, 4.5 

Brave Saavedra stands at bay : 
Wearied out but never daunted, 

Cold at length the warrior lay. 

Near him fiorhtino; areat Alonzo 

Stout resists the Paynirn bands ; 50 

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 : 55 

Who can war with tliousands 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. 60 


*^* 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 ia, viz. 

" Sayavedra, que lo oyera, 
" Como un leon rebolbia." 



Imitated from the Spanish. 

I' HE foregoing version was rendered as literal as the"^' 
nature of the two languages would admit. In the fol- ') ^ 
lowing 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 : 

" For la calle de su dama 
" Passeando se anda," &c. 

OFTLY 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 : 


Loveliest she of Moorish ladies ; 
He a young and noble IMoor. 

Waiting for the appointed minute, 

Oft he paces to and fro ; 10 

Stopping now, now moving forwards, 

Sometimes quick, and sometimes slow. 

Hope and fear alternate teize him, 
Oft he sighs with heart-felt care. 

See, fond youth, to yonder window 15 

Softly steps the timorous fair. 

Lovely seems the moon's fair lustre 

To the lost beniorhted swain. 
When all silvery bright she rises. 

Gilding mountain, grove, and plain. 20 

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 25 

To her lon^-ino; lover's sio^ht 
Steals half-seen the beauteous maiden 

Thro' the glimmerings of the night. 

Tip-toe stands the anxious lover, 

Whispering forth a gentle sigh : 30 

Alia* keep thee, lovely lady ; 

Tell me, am I doom'd to die ? 

Is it true the dreadful story, 

Whicli thy damsel tells my page, 
That seduc'd by sordid riches 35 

Thou wilt sell thy bloom to age ? 

 Alia is the Mahometan name of God. 


An old lord from Antiquera 
Thy stern father brings along ; 

But canst thou, inconstant Zaida, 

Thus consent my love to wrong ? 4.0 

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, 4.5 

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 : 50 

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, 55 

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 ? 60 

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. 

Well thou know'st what cruel chidings 65 

Oft I've from my mother borne ; 


What I've suffered here to meet thee 
Still at eve and early morn. 

I no longer may resist them ; 

All, to force my hand combine ; 70 

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 75 

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. 80 

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, 85 

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 ? 90 

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 lly to me ! 
This fond heart shall bleed to save thee, 95 

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. loo 

Hark, I hear my father storming! 

Hark, I hear my mother chide! 
I must go : farewell for ever ! 

Gracious Alia be thy guide ! 











HE 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 them- 
selves, or others.* They also appear to have ac- 
companied their songs with mimicry and action ; 
and to have practised such various means of divert- 
ing as were much admired in those rude times, and 

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

* Wedded to no hypothesis, the author hath readily corrected 
any mistakes which have been proved to be in this essay ; and con- 
sidering 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 
meer musician in this country, any more than on the Continent, will 
be considered more fully in the last note (C> g) at the end of this 


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 com- 
plete, 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 

The Minstrels seem to have been the genuine 
successors of the ancient Bards, (c) who under dif- 
ferent 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 they 
were everywhere loaded with honours and rewards. 
In short, Poets and their art were held among them 

' * Vid. Pelloutier, Hist, des Celtes, torn. i. 1. 2. c. 6. lo. 

t Tacit, de Mor. Gentt. cap. 2. 

\ Vid. Bartholin, de Causis contemptce a Danis Jttorfis, lib. i. cap. 
10. — WormiJ Literatura Rtmic. ad finem. — See also Northern 
Antiquities, or, A Descriptioji of the Mariners, Custo?ns, 6^^. of the 
ancie?it Danes a?id other northern nations : from the French of M. 
Mallet. London, printed for T. Caman, 1770, 2 vols. 8vo. 

§ Torfcei Frafat. ad Oread. Hist. — Pref. to Five Pieces of Runic 
Poetry, &c. 


in that rude admiration, which is ever shewn by an 
ignorant people to such as excel them in intellectual 

As these honours were paid to Poetry and Song, 
from the earliest times, in those countries which our 
Anolo-Saxon ancestors inhabited before their removal 
into Britain, we may reasonably conclude that 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 man- 
ners and opinions, they would still hold them in high 
estimation. But as the Saxons, soon after their es- 
tablishment in this island, were converted to Chris- 
tianity ; 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 be- 
came 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 
singing verses to the harp at the houses of the 
great. (e) There they were still hospitably and re- 
spectfully receiv^ed, and retained many of the honours 
shewn 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. P>om the amazing varia- 


tions which occur in different copies of the old pieces, 
it is evident they made no scruple to alter each 
other's productions ; and the reciter added or omitted 
whole stanzas according to his own fancy or conve- 

In the early ages, as was hinted above, the profes- 
sion 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 dis- 
tinguished by the name of Jutland, Angelen, and Hol- 
stein.* 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 be- 
tween 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 

w * Vid. Chronic. Saxon, a Gibson, pp. 12, 13, 4to. — Bed. Hist. 
Ecdes. a Smith, lib. i, c. 15. — " Ealdsexe [Regio antiq. Saxonum] 
in cervice Cimbricae Chersonesi, Holsatiam proprie dictam, Dith- 
marsiam, Stormariam, et Wagriam, complectens." — Annot. in Bed. 
a Sfnith, p. 52. Et vid. Camdeni Britan. 

t " Anglia Vetus, hodie etiam Anglen, sita est inter Saxones et 
Giotes [Jutos], habens oppidum capitale . . . Sleswick." — Ethel- 
werd, lib. i. 

\ ^tt Northern Antiquities, S^c. vol. i. pp. 7, 8, 185, 259, 260, 261. 


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 invaders, had come vast multi- 
tudes of adventurers from the more northern parts of 
Scandinavia. But all 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 charac- 
ter so difrnified and distintruished amonc^^ the ancient 
Danes as the Scald or Bard, had been totally un- 
known 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 mi- 
grated hither, that they afterwards subsisted here, 
though perhaps with less splendor than in the 
North, and that there never was wanting a succes- 
sion of them to hand down the art, though some par- 
ticular conjunctures may have rendered it more re- 
spectable at one time than another ? And this was 
evidently the case ; for though much greater honours 

* See Northern Antiquities^ Preface, p. xxvi. 


seem to have been heaped upon the northern Scalds, 
in whom the characters of historian, 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 particularly 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 par- 
ticular 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 monu- 
ments of the Anglo-Saxon nation, not to know what 
was conformable to the genius and manners of that 
people ; and therefore 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 in- 
cidents and events themselves. If this be admitted, 
we shall not want sufficient proofs to show that min- 
strelsy and song were not extinct among the Anglo- 
Saxons, and that the professor 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, shews that the minstrel or bard was 
not unknown among this people, and that their 
princes themselves could, upon occasion, assume that 
character. Colgrin, son of that Ella who was elected 
kino- or leader of the Saxons in the room of Heneist,* 
was shut up in York, and closely besieged by Ar- 
thur 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 an harper. By little and little he ad- 
vanced near to the walls of the city, and, making 
himself known to the centinels, was in the niofht 
drawn up by a rope. 

Although the above fact comes only from the sus- 
picious 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 
throucrh 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 fabu- 
lous tera, and more indubitable authority : for later 
history affords us two remarkable facts,(L) which I 
think clearly shew that the same arts of poetry and 
song, which were so much admired among the Danes, 

* See Rafiin's Hist, (by 'J'indal, fol. 1732, vol. i. p. 36) who 
places the incident here related under the year 495. 


were by no means unknown 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 

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 min- 
strel, (m) when, taking his harp, and one of the most 
trusty of his friends disguised as a servant f (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 dia- 
lect, the character he had assumed procured 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 fifty years after,! a Danish king made use 
of the same disguise 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 imme- 
diately admitted. There he entertained Athelstan 
and his lords with his singing and his music, and was 

* By Bale and Spelman. See Note (M). 

t Ibid. 

% Anno 938. Vid. Rapin, &c. 

§ So I think the name should be printed, rather then Anlaff, 
the more usual form (the same traces of the letters express both 
names in MS.), Aulaff being evidently the genuine northern name 
Olaff, or Olave. Lat. Olaus. In the old Romance of Honi' 
Childe (see vol. iii. Appendix), the name of the king his father is 
AUof, which is evidently Ollaf, with the vowels only transposed. 


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 from some scruple of honour or 
motive of superstition. This occasioned 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 shew 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 procedure, 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 cha- 
racter with each. 

But if these facts had never existed, it can be 
proved from undoubted records that the minstrel was 
a reofular and stated officer in the court of our Ano^lo- 
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 Conquest; 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 adventurer, 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 behind them successors in their art ; so that 
when his descendant, William the Bastard, invaded 

A A 


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 shews 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 intrepidity. This man asked leave of 
his commander to begin the onset, and obtained it. 
He accordingly advanced before the army, and with 
a loud voice animated his countrymen with songs in 
praise of Charlemagne 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 shews that they 
were celebrated for their songs near a century before 
the troubadours of Provence, who are supposed to 
have led the way to the poets of Italy, France, and 
Spain, f 

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 country- 

* Rollo was invested in his new duchy of Normandy, a. d. 912. 
William invaded England, a.d. 1066. 

f Vid. Hist, des Troubadours, 3 torn, passim, & vid. Fableaux ou 
Contes du XII. 6^ du XIII. Siede, traduits, &^c. avec des Notes his- 
toriques &= critiques, ^'c. par M. le Grand. Paris, 1781, 5 tom. i2mo. 


men as excelled in the minstrel arts — and in the 
first ages after the Conquest, no other songs would 
be listened to by the great nobility but such as were 
composed in their own Norman French — yet as the 
cfreat mass of the orio-inal inhabitants were not ex- 
tirpated, 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 shewn 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 dis- 
tinction had ever been shewn 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 
English 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 colleofe ; and therefore, in ofleanino" 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 iMii/lish ; for it need not be re- 
marked that subjects of this trivial 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 con- 
nected with such events as became recorded in his- 
tory, they would pass unnoticed . through the lapse 
of ages, and be as unknown to posterity as other 
topics relating to the private life and amusements 
of the greatest nations. 

On this account it can hardly be expected that we 
should be able to produce regular and unbroken 
annals of the minstrel art and its professors, or 
have sufficient information whether every minstrel' 
or harper composed himself, or only repeated, the 
songs he chanted. Some probably did the one, 
( and some the other : and it would have been 
wonderful 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 physical inca- 
pacity of composing those common popular rhymes 
which were the usual subjects of their recitation. 
Whoever examines any considerable quantity of 
these, finds them in style and colouring as different 
from the elaborate production of the sedentary com- 
poser 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, (t) 

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 
community, and were even all included under the 
common name of Minstrels.* I must therefore be 
allowed the same application of the term here 
without being expected to prove that every singer 

* See Notes (B.) and (A a.) 


composed, or every composer chanted, his own song; 
much less that every one excelled in all the arts, 
which were occasionally exercised by some or other 
of this fraternity. 

IV. After the Norman Conquest, the first occur- 
rence which I have met with relatincr to this order 
of men is the founding of a priory and hospital by 
one of them : scil. the Priory and Hospital of St. 
Bartholomew, in Smithfield, London, by Royer or 
Raherus, the King's Minstrel, in the third year of 
King Henr)' 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 1 180 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 English language. (u) 

Under his romantic son, K. Richard I., the min- 
strel profession seems to have acquired additional 
splendor. Richard, who was the great hero of 
chivalry, was also the distinguished patron of poets 
and minstrels. 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 

* See a pathetic song of his in Mr. Walpole's Catalogue of Royal 
Authors, vol. i. p. 5. The reader will find a translation of it into 
modern French, in Hist, littcraire dcs I'roubadours, 1774, 3 torn. 
i2mo. .See vol. i. (p. 58) where some more of Richard's poetry is 
translated. In Dr. Burney's I/ist. of Music, vol. ii. p. 238, is a 
poetical version of it in English. 


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 shewn by the 
monarch or his great courtiers to the Froven9al 
TroubadotiT, or Norman Ry7noti7% would naturally 
be imitated by their inferior vassals to the English 
gleeman or minstrel. At more than a century after 
the Conquest, the national distinctions must have 
begun to decline, and both the Norman and 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 Eno-lish minstrels : the 
same set of phrases, the same species of characters, 
incidents, and adventures, and often the same iden- 
tical 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 follow- 
ing words of an ancient writer.* 

* Mons. Favine's Theatre of Honour and Knighthood, translated 
from the French. London, 1623, fol. torn. ii. p. 49. An elegant 
relation of the same event (from the French of Presid. Fauchet's 
Rccueil, &c. ) may be seen in Miscellanies i?i prose and verse : by 


"■ The Eno^lishmen were more then a whole yeare, 
without hearing any 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, f 
and an auncient manuscript French Chronicle) being 
so long- without the sicjht of his lord, his life seemed 
wearisome to him, and he became confounded with 
melancholly. Knowne it was, that he came backe 
from the Holy Land : but none could tell in what 
countrey he arrived. Whereupon this Blondel, re- 
solving to make search for him in many countries, 
but he would heare some newes of him ; after ex- 
pence of divers dayes in travaile, he came to a 
towne X (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 

Anna Williams, London, 1766, 4to. p. 46. It will excite the 
reader's admiration to be infonned that most of the pieces of that 
collection were composed under the disadvantage of a total depri- 
vation of sight. 

* Favine's words are, " Jongleur appelle Blondiaux de Nesle," 
Paris, 1620, 4to. p. 1106. But Fauchet, who has given the same 
story', thus expresses it, " Or ce roy ayant nourri un Menestrel 
aj^)pelle' Blondel, &c." llv. 2, p. 92. Dcs anciens Poctes Franpis. 
He is however said to have been another Blondel, not Blondel (or 
lilondiaux) de Nesle : but this no way aftects the circumstances of 
the stor)'. 

t This the author calls in another place, Aji ancient MS. of old 
Poesies, written about those 7'cry 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 evi- 
dently the same that sup])lied Fauchet with this story. See his 
Reciteil de rOrii^ine de la Langue (^ Pocsic Fran^oisc, Ryme, &> 
Romans, <^c. Par. 1581. 

X Tribales. " Retrudi cum prxcepit in Triballis : a quo carcere 
nullus ante dies istos cxivit." — Lat. Citron, of Otlio of Austria : apud 



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 acqtcaint- 
ance any where -."^ but see the king he could not, 
neither understand that it was he. One day he sat 
chrectly 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.'f 
Thus Blondel won knowledge of the king his 
maister, 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 : J which I shall accom- 

* Comme Menestrels s^ accointeiit legeremeni. — Favine. (Fauchet 
expresses it in the same manner.) 

t 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. i i 06. Fauchet 
has also expressed it in nearly the same words. Recucil, p. 93. 

I In a little romance or novel, intitled. La Tour Tejiebreuse, d 
les Jours lujuineux, Contes Angloises, accovipagnez d'' Historiettes , 6~ 
tirez ahine ancicnne Chronique coviposcc par Richard, s2irnovime 
Coetir de Lion, Roy d'Angleterre, dr^c. Paris, 1705, izmo. 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 pubhshed by Mr. Walpole, mentioned above (in Note *, p. 357), 
yet the two last are not in Provencal like the sonnet printed here ; 
but in the old French, called Langage Roman. 


pany with an imitation offered by Dr. Burney. 
(ii. 237.) 


Domna rostra beutas Your beauty, lady fair, 

Elas bellas faissos None views ^^'ithOut delight ; 

Els bcis oils amoros But still so cold an air 

Els gens corsybcn taillats No passion can excite : 

Don sieu empresenats Yet this I patient see 

£>e rostra amor que mi lia. "\^'hile all are shun'd like me. 


Si bel trop affansia No nymph my heart can wound 

Ja de ros non portrai If favour she divide, 

Qite tnajor honorai And smiles on all around 

Sol en rotre ilemafi Unwilling to decide : 

Que sautra des beisan I'd rather hatred bear 

Tot tan de ros rolria. Than love with others share. 

The access Avhich 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 ro- 
mances and stories which were the delight of that 
age — he was gladly received into the family, whence 

* The words of the original, viz. " Citharisator homo jocosus in 
Gestis anticjuorum valde peritus," I conceive to give the precise 
idea of the ancient minstrel. See Note V. 2. That desta was 
appropriated to romantic stories, see Note I, Part iv. (i.) 



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 his- 
tory, 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 committed 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 for 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 forth- 
with sent under the conduct of Dutton (his steward)," 
a gallant youth, who was also his son in law. The 
Welsh, alarmed at the approach of this rabble. 

* See Dugdale (Bar. i. 42, loi), who places it after 13 John, 
A.D. 1 2 12. See also Plot's Staffordsh. Camden's Britann. 



supposing them to be a regular body of armed and 
disciplined veterans, instantly raised the siege and 

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 Dutton 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 ~i 
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 juris- 
diction are thus described by Dugdalef 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. Dutton's) Steward, 
and all the minstrels formally called, certain orders 
and laws are usually made for the better govern- 
ment of that Societ)', with penalties on those who 


* See the ancient record in Blount's Laic Dictionary. (Art. 
Minstrel.) t J^'i^i- P- lo'- 


In the same reign of K. John we have a remark- 
able instance of a minstrel, who to his other talents 
superadded the character of Soothsayer, 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 coheiress of the original proprietor had been 
won in a solemn turnament by the ancestor of the 
Guarines,t 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 had a quarrel at Chess) J 
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 
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 Minstrelle, 

* Leland's Collectanea, vol. i. p. 261, 266, 267. 

I" 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 Totenhani (see 
vol. ii. book i. No. 4), as is well observed by the learned author of 
Ronarks, &c. in Gent. Mag. for July, 1794, p. 613. 

\ " 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 para- 
graph, that " K. Henry dubbid Fulco & 3 of his bretherne knightes 
at Winchester." — Il^ul. 


and made hym his spy to IMorice 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 wound id hym : and Bracy" (a knight, who was 
their friend and assistant), " cut of Morice['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 founde 
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 fur- 
ther 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 assum- 
ing 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 stile 
of chivalry rescued " certayne ladies owt of prison"), 
he finally obtained the king's pardon, and the quiet 
possession of Whitington Castle. 

In the reign of K. Henry III. we have mention of 
Master Richard the King's harper, to whom in his 
36th 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 inagistej% or mas- 
ter, given to this minstrel deserves notice, and shews 
liis respectable situation. 

* Bumey's Hist. ii. p. 355. Rot. Pip. An. 36, H. 3. " Kt in 
uno dolio vini empto & dato Magistro Ricardo CitharisUv Regis, xl 
sol. per ijr. Reg. Et in uno dolio enipto c\: dato Beatrici uxori 
ejusdem Ricardi." 


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 whis- 
pering 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. f And though the 
Prince blamed him for striking- the man after he was 
dead, yet his near access shews the respectable 
situation of this officer ; 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 
heat of conflict, or was continued afterwards with more 
systematic rigor ; J yet in his own court the minstrels 

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

t " Accurrentes ad hgec Ministri ejus, qui a longe stetenmt, in- 
venerunt eum (scil. Nuntium) in terra mortuum, et apprehendit 
unus eorum tripodem, scilicet Cithareda suus & percussit eum in 
capite, et effundit cerebrum ejus. Increpavitque eum Edwardus 
quod hominem mortuum percussisset." — Jbid. These mi /listn 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 had delivered to the 
prince from his master. 

I See Gray's Ode ; and the Hist, of the Gwedir Family in Mis- 
cellanies by the Hon. Daines Barrington, 1781, 4to. p. 386 ; who in 


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 nobihty, a 
multitude of minstrels were introduced to invite 
and induce the new knights to make some military 
vow.(x) And 

Under the succeedincr reiorn of K. Edward II. 
such extensive privileges were claimed by these 
men, and by dissolute persons assuming their charac- 
ter, that it became a matter of public grievance, and 
was obliged to be reformed by an express regulation 
in A.D. I3i5.(v) Notwithstanding which, an inci- 
dent is recorded in the ensuing year, which shews 
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 solem- 
nize his feast of Pentecost at Westminster, in the 
great hall : where sitting royally at the table with his 
peers about him, there entered a woman adorned like 
a 7nmstrcl, sitting on a great horse trapped, as viin- 
strels 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 turn- 
ing 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 knicrhts and faithful servants. 

The privileged character of a minstrel was em- 
ployed on this occasion, as sure of gaining an easy 
admittance ; and a female the rather deputed to assume 
it, that in case of detection, her sex might disarm the 

the laws, &c. of this monarch couhl find no instances of severity 
against the \Velsh. See his Observations on tlie Statutes, 4to. 4tli 
edit. p. 358. 


king's resentment. This is offered on a supposition, 
that she was not a real minstrel ; for there should 
seem to have been women of this profession, (a a) 
as well as of the other sex ; and no accomplish- 
ment 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 min- 
strels, similar to that annually kept at Chester (p. 363), 
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 countries, 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 they 
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 1 680, is described by Dr. Plott :* in 
whose time however they appear to have lost their 
singing talents, and to have confined all their skill to 
" wind and string music."t 

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 

* Hist, of Staffordshire, Ch. 10, § 69 — 76, p, 433, & seqq. of 
which see extracts in Sir J. Hawkins's Hist, of Music, vol. ii. p. 64, 
and Dr. Bumey's Hist. vol. ii. p. 360 & 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 Archceologia, vol. ii. No. xiii. p. 86. 

t See the charge given by the steward, at the time of the elec- 
tion, in Plot's Hist, ubi supra; and in Hawkins, p. 67, Burney, p. 


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 
16 Edw. II. is a (jrant to Wilhani de Morlee "the 
king's Minstrel, stiled Roy dc NortJi''* of houses 
which had belonged to another king, John le Boteler. 
(h b 2) Rymer hath also printed a licence granted 
by K. Richard II. in 13S7, to John Caumz, the king 
of his minstrels, to pass the seas, recommending him 
to the protection and kind treatment of all his sub- 
jects and allies.f 

In the subsequent reign of K. Henry IV. we meet 
with no particulars relating to the minstrels in Eng- 
land, but we find in the Statute Book a severe law 
passed against their brethren the Welsh bards ; whom 
our ancestors could not distino-uish from their own 
Rimoiu's, Alinistralx ; for by these names they de- 
scribe them.(B b 3) This act plainly shews that far 
from being extirpated by the rigorous policy of K. 
Edward I., this order of men were still able to 
alarm the Enorlish orovernment, which attributed to 
them " many diseases and mischiefs in Wales," arid 
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 y^nd. 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 prin- 

* .So among the heralds Norrey was anciently stiled Roy (VArmes 
ite North (Anstis, ii. 300). And the kings at amies in general 
were originally called Ref^es Jlerah/orum {Ibid. 302), as these were 
Reives Minstralloriim. 

t Rymer's Fauiera, torn. vii. p. 555. 

X Rynier, ix. 255. § Ibid. p. 260. 

}', li 


ciple of humility, slighted the pageants and verses 
which were prepared to hail his return ; and, as we 
are told by Holinshed,* would not suffer "any Dities 
to be made and song by minstrels, of his glorious 
victorie ; for that he would whollie have the praise 
and thankes altogether given to God."(B b 4) But 
this did not proceed from any disregard for the pro- 
fessors of music or of song ; for at the feast of 
Pentecost which he celebrated in 141 6, 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.f 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 paytnent ordered out of the Exche- 

The unfortunate reign of K. Henry VI. affords 
no occurrences respecting our subject ; but in his 34th 
year, a.d. 1456, we have in Rymer§ a commission 
for impressing boys or youths, to supply vacancies by 
death among the king's minstrels ; in which it is ex- 
pressly directed that they shall be elegant in their 

* See his Chronicle, sub anno 141 5 (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." — Ihid. Vid. T. de Elmham, c. 29, p. 72. 

The prohibition against vain and secular songs would probably 
not include that inserted in our 2nd vol. No. v. which would be 
considered as a hymn. The original notes may be seen reduced 
and set to score in Mr. Stafford Smith's Collection of English Songs 
for 3 and 4 voices, and in Dr. Burney's Hist, of Music, ii. p. 384. 

t T. ix. 336. 

% Ibid. X. 287. They are mentioned by name, being ten in num- 
ber : one of them was named Thomas Chatterton. 

§ Tom. xi. 375. 


limbs, as well as instructed in the minstrel art, wher- 
ever 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 hus- 
bandmen and artificers of various trades had assumed 
the title and livery of the king's minstrels, and under 
that colour and pretence had collected money in di- 
verse parts of the kingdom and committed other dis- 
orders, 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 Gild (such, as he understands, 
the brothers ancl sisters of the fraternity of minstrels 
had in times past) to be governed by -a Marshal ap- 
pointed for life and by two wardens to be chosen 
annually ; who are impowered to admit brothers and 
sisters into the said Gild, and are authorized to ex- 
amine 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 
Colleofe 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.f and VI. ; J 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 

* See it in Rymer, t. xi. 642, and in Sir J. Hawkins, vol. iv. 
p. 3C6, note. The above charter is recited in letters patent of K. 
Charles I. 15 July (11 Anno Rcgni) for a corporation of musi- 
cians, &c. in Westminster, which may be seen, thitl. 

t Rymer, ix. 255. t ^^i^^- xi- 375- 


from K. Edward of ten 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 Mynsti^ellis, cam to him in 
grete hast, and badde hym aryse for he hadde enemyes 
cummyng for to take him, the which were within vi. 
or vii. mylis, of the which tydinges the king gretely 
marveylid, &c."f This happened in the same year, 
1469, wherein the king granted or confirmed the 
charter for the fraternity or Gild above-mentioned ; 
yet this Alexander Carlisle is not one of the eight 
minstrels to whom that charter is directed.;]; 

The same charter was renewed by K. Henry VIII. 
in 1520, to John Oilman his then marshal, and to 
seven others his minstrels ; § and on the death of 
Oilman he granted in 1529 this office of Marshal of 
his minstrels to HuQ;h Wodehouse,|| whom I take to 
have borne the office of his serjeant over them.^ 

* Rymer, xi. 512. 

f Here unfortunately ends a curious fragment (an. 9, E. IV.), 
ad calcem Sprotti C/iron. Ed. Hearne, Oxon. 17 19, 8vo. Vid. T. 
Warton's Hist. ii. p. 134, note (c). 

X Rymer, xi. 642. § Ibid. xiii. 705. || Ibid. xiv. 2. 93. 

IT So I am inclined to understand the term Serviens noster Hugo 
Wodchous, in the original Grant (see Rymer, ubi supra). It is 
needless to observe that Serviens expressed a serjeant as well as a 
servant. If this interpretation of Serviens be allowed, it Avill account 
for his placing Wodehouse at the head of his Gild, although he 
had not been one of the eight minstrels who had had the general 
direction. The serjeant of his minstrells, we may presume, was 
next in dignity to the marshal, although he had no share in the 
government of the Gild. 


v5/ O 

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. 1512.(0 c) And the re- 
wards 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 oc- 
casionally 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 ar- 
gument led him only to describe a species of these 
men who did not smg their compositions ; but the 
others that did, enjoyed without doubt the same 
privileges, (d d) 

For even long after, in the reign of Queen Eliza- 
beth, 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 Artliur, and his knights of the round 
table, Sir Bevys of Southampton, Guy of Warwicke 
and others like" in " short and long meetres, and by 
breaches or divisions (sc. Fits)f to be more com- 

* See below, and Note o g. 
t See vol. ii. bcjok 2, No. 10. 


modiously sung to the harpe," as the reader may be 
informed by a courtly writer in 1589.* Who him- 
self had "written for pleasure a litle brief romance 
or historicall ditty . . . of the Isle of Great Britaine" 
in order to contribute to such entertainment. And 
he subjoins this caution : " Such as have not pre- 
monition hereof" (viz. that his poem was written in 
short metre, &c. to be sung to the harpe in such 
places of assembly), "and consideration of the 
causes alledged, would peradventure reprove and 
disgrace every romance, or short historicall ditty for 
that they be not written in long meeters or verses 
Alexandrins," which constituted the prevailing versi- 
fication 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 usinof rimes at 
short distances, " in small and popular musickes song 
by these Cantabanqui " (the said common rimers) 
" 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 by these buffons, or vices in 
playes, then by any other person. Such were the 
rimes of Skelton (usurping the name of a poet lau- 

* Puttenham in his Arte of English Poesie, 1589, 4to. p. 33. See 
the quotation in its proper order in vol. ii. book ii. No. 10. 
t Ibid. p. 69. See vol. ii. book 2, No. 10. 


reat) being in deede but a rude railing rimer, and all 
his doings ridiculous."* 

But althouLrh we find here that the minstrels had 
lost much of their dignity, and were sinking into con- 
tempt and neglect : yet that they still sustained a 
character far superior to anything we can conceive at 
present of the singers of old ballads, I think, may be 
inferred from the following representation. 

When Oueen Elizabeth was entertained at Killino^- 
worth Castle by the Earl of Leicester in 1575, among 
the many devices and pageants which were contrived 
for her entertainment, one of the personages intro- 
duced was to have been that of an ancient minstrel ; 
whose appearance and dress are so minutely described 
by a writer there present, f and give us so distinct 
an idea of the character, that I shall quote the pas- 
sage at large, (e e) 

" A person very meet seemed he for the purpose, 
of a xlv years old, apparelled partly as he would him- 
self His cap off; his head seemly rounded Tonsler 
wise : \ fair kembed, that with a sponge daintily dipt 
in a little capon's greace was finely smoothed, to 
make it shine like a mallard's winof. 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 (/. e. long) gown of Kendal green, 

* Puttenham, &c. p. 69. 

t See a very curious " Letter : whearin, i)art of the entertain- 
ment untoo the Queenz Maiesty, at Killingwoorth Castl, in War- 
wick Sheer, in this soomerz Progress 1575, iz signified," &c. bl. 1. 
4to. vid. p. 46, & secjq. (Printed in Nichols's Colhxtion of Qmxn 
Elizahetlis Progresses, &c. in 2 vols. 4to.) We have not followed 
above the peculiar and affected orthography of this writer, who was 
named Ro. Laneham, or rather Langhain. 

\ I sujjpose " Tonsure-wise," after the manner of the monks. 


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 bat- 
chelor 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 poynetsf of tawny 
chamlet laced alono; the wrist with blue threaden 
points, a wealt towards the hand of fustian-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 horn. 

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

Tiiis minstrel is described as belong-inof to that 

_: \ ,, _ 

* /. <?. 'handkerchief. So in Shakspear's Othello, passim. 

t Perhaps, points. 

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

§ The reader will remember that this was not a real minstrel, 
but only one personating that character ; his ornaments therefore 
were only such as outwardly represented those of a real minstrel. 


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 expression of squire minstrel above, we may 
conclude there were other inferior orders, as yeomen 
minstrels or the like. 

This minstrel, the author tells us a little below, 
" after three lowly courtsies, cleared his voice Avith 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 this 
work, vol. 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,t a statute was passed by which "minstrels, 
wandering 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) 

* 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 Northumberland, who wear the badge of 
the family (a silver crescent on the right arm), and are thus dis- 
tributed; 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 jjay their annual suit and service at Alnwick 
castle; their instrument being the ancient Northumberland bagpipe 
(very different in form and execution from that of the Scots, being 
smaller; and blown, not with the breath, but with a small pair of 

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

t Anno Dom. 1597. Vid. riilt. Stal. p. 1 1 lo, 39 Eli/.. 


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 North 
of England. There is scarce an old historical song 
or ballad (f f) wherein a minstrel or harper appears, 
but he is characterized by way of eminence to have 
been "of the North countreye :"* and, indeed, the 
prevalence of the Northern dialect in such composi- 
tions shews that this representation is real.f On 
the other hand, the scene of the finest Scottish bal- 
lads 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 ye frae 

* See this vol. Song 6, v. 156, 180, &c. 

t Giraldus Cambrensis, writing in the reign of K. Henry II. 
mentions a very extraordinary habit or propensity, which then pre- 
vailed in the north of England, beyond the Humber, for " sym- 
phonious harmony," or singing " in two parts, the one murmuring 
n 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 prac- 
tised by their very children from the cradle ; and he derives it 
from the Danes (so Daci signifies in our old writers) and Norwe- 
gians, who long over-run and in effect new-peopled the northern 
parts of England, where alone this manner of singing prevailed. 
(Vide Cambricz Description cap. 13, and in Burney, ubi supra?) 
Giraldus is probably right as to the origin or derivation of this 
practise, 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 , 1763, 8vo. Compare 
the original passage in Giraldus, as given by Sir John Hawkins, i. 
408, 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 bigotted 
antiquaries, the reader will find defended in that learned and curious 
work. Antiquities of Ireland, by Edward Ledwich, LL.D. &c. Dub- 
lin, 1790, 4to. p. 207, & seqq. 


the Border?"* The martial spirit constantly kept 
up and exercised near the frontier of the two king- 
doms, as it furnished continual subjects for their 
songs, so it inspired the inhabitants of the adjacent 
counties on both sides with the powers of jDoetry. 
Besides, as our southern metropolis must have been 
ever the scene of novelty and refinement, the north- 
ern countries, as being most distant, would preserve 
their ancient manners longest, and, of course, the 
old poetry, in which those manners are peculiarl)- 

The reader will observe in the more ancient bal- 
lads 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 apj^ropriated to themselves, 
and a ver)' remarkable licence of varying the accent 

* This line being quoted from memory, and given as old Scottish 
poetr}', would have been readily corrected by the copy published 
in Scottish Songs, 1794, 2 vols. i2mo. i. p. 267, thus (though appa- 
rently 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 inhaljited by any 
but solitary shepherds ; many of whom durst not venture into the 
opi^ositc 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 tvvo 
great families of Percy and Douglas ; till these disi)utes were settled, 
not many years since, by arbitration between the present Lord 
Doughs, and the late Duke and Dutchess of Northumberland. 


of words at pleasure, in order to humour the flow of 
the verse, particularly in the rhimes ; as 

Coiintrie harper battel viorntng 

Laitie singer damsel loving^ 

instead of country, lady, harper, singer, &c. This 
liberty is but sparingly assvimed by the classical 
poets of the same age ; or even by the latter com- 
posers of heroical ballads, I mean by such as pro- 
fessedly wrote for the press. For it is to be ob- 
served, that so long as the minstrels subsisted, they 
seem never to have designed their rhymes for liter- 
ary 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 dis- 
cover are No. 3 and 4 of book iii. in this volume. 
Lower than these I cannot trace the old mode of 

The old minstrel ballads are in the northern 
dialect, abound with antique words and phrases, are 
extremely incorrect, and run into the utmost licence 
of metre ; they have also a romantic wildness, and 
are in the true spirit of chivalry. The other sort 
are written in exacter measure, have a low or subor- 
dinate correctness, sometimes bordering on the in- 
sipid, 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 


in this volume No. 3 of book iii. with No. 1 1 of 
book ii. 

Towards the end of Oueen EHzabeth's reiofn (as 
is mentioned above), the genuine old minstrelsy 
seems to have been extinct, and henceforth the bal- 
lads 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 col- 
lections, (f f 2) 

P.S. By way of postscript should follow here the discussion of 
the question whether the term Minstrels was applied in English to 
singers and composers of songs, &c. or confined to musicians only. 
But it is reserved for the concluding note, (c g) 





(a) The Minstrels, &'c^ 

r~ H^^r^^ HE word minstrel does not appear to have been in use 
here before the Norman Conquest : whereas it had 
long before that time been adopted in France.* Mene- 
strel, so early as the eighth century, was a title given 
to the Maestro di Capclla of K. Pepin, the father of Charlemagne ; 
and afterwards to the Coryphaeus, or leader of any band of mu- 
sicians (v. Bume/s Hist, of Music, ii. 268). This term menestrel, 
menestrier was thus expressed in Latin, ministellus, ministrellus, 
viinistr alius, menesterellus, &c. (Vid. Gloss. Die Cange, and Supple- 

Menage derives the French words above mentioned from minis- 
terialis or ministeriarius, 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 mencstricrs appellamus, quod minoribus 
aulse ministris accenserentur." {Gloss, iv. p. 769.) Accordingly, 
we are told, the word '•'■minister" is sometimes used "pro minis- 
tellus'''' {Ibid.), and an instance is produced which I shall insert at 
lar^e in the next paragraph. 

// Minstrels sometimes assisted at divine service, as appears from 
^ the record of the ninth of Edw. IV. quoted above in p. 37 1 by which 

r"' * 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. 353, as also note v 2 and note 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. minister ellus, ministrellus. 


Haliday and others are erected into a perpetual Gild, &c. See the 
original in Rjmer, xi. 642. By part of this record it is recited to 
be their duty to pray {exorarc : which it is presumed they did by 
assisting in the chant, and musical accompaniment, &c.) The 
same also appears from the passage in the Supplem. to Du Cange, 
alluded to above. " Minister . . . pro Ministcllus Joculator* — 
Vetus ceremoniale MS. B. M. deauratae Tolos. Item, etiam congre- 
gabuntur Piscatores, qui debent interesse isto die in processione 
cum Ministris seu Joculatoribus : quia ipsi Piscatores tenentur 
habere isto die Joculaiores, seu Mimos ob honorem Criccis — et 
vadunt primi ante processionem cum Ministris seu Joculatoribus 
semper pulsantibus usque ad ecclesiam S. Stephani" {G/oss. TJs)- 
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 Jeft'ery of Monmouth, speaking of one who acted the part of 
a minstrel, says, Hasit capillos sues cv 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. 375. 

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 ob- 
noxious to the more rigid ecclesiastics, and to such of the religious 
orders as were of more severe discipline ; whose writings commonly 

* Ministers seems to be used for minstrels in the account of the 
Inthronization of Abp. Neville (An. 6, Edw. IV.). " Then all the 
Chaplyns must say grace, and the ministers do sing." Vid. Lelandi 
Collectanea, by Heame, vol. vi. p. 13. 

t 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. Scriptorcs VI. Paris,. 
1622, fol. p. 385. So that this peculiarity had a classical origin, 
though it aftenvards might make the minstrels sometimes pass for 
ecclesiastics, as appears from the instance given below. Dr. Bur- 
ney tells us that histriones and ;;////// abounded in France in the 
time of Charlemagne (ii. 221), so that their profession was handed 
down in reguhr 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, wliich latterly were 
most confined to singing and music. 


abound with heavy complaints of the great encouragement shewn 
to those men by the princes and nobles, and who can seldom 
afford them a better name than that of sciirra;, 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 their 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 their being minii or minstrels, gained 
admittance. But the cellarer, sacrist, and others of the brethren, 
who had hoped to have been entertained with their diverting arts, 
&:c. when they found them to be only two indigent ecclesiastics, 
who could only administer spiritual consolation, and were conse- 
quently disappointed of their mirth, beat them and turned them 
out of the monastery. {Ibid. p. 92.) This passage furnishes an ad- 
ditional proof that a minstrel might by his dress or appearance be 
mistaken for an ecclesiastic. 

(b) The minstrels tise mimicry and actioji, and other means 
of diverting, &^c.'\ It is observable that our old monkish historians 
do not use the words cantator, citharcedus, musicus, or the like, 
to express a minstrel in Latin, so frequently as mimus, hist?'io, 
Jociilator, 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 S. 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 encommenceoient 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 de- 
sous les piez, et tournoient tout debout. . . . Les deux tournoients 

* 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' 
Hist. ii. 298. 


les testes arieres," &c. (See the extract at large, in the Hon. D. 
Barrington's Obsert<ations onthe Anc. Statutes ^ 4to. 2nd edit. p. 273, 
omitted in the last impression.) 

This may also account for that remarkable clause in the press 
warrant of Henry VI. " De Ministrallis propter solatium regis pro- 
ru/em/i's," by which it is required, that the boys, to be provided ;>/ 
arte Ministrallatus instructos, should also be membris naturalibus 
elegantes. Seeabove,p. 370. ((9^jrrz'.w/M^^//r.6'/<7/. 4thedit. 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 \vTiters to such as professed either music or singing sepa- 
rately, and perhaps to such as practised any of the sportive arts 
connected with these.* Music, however, being the leading idea, 
was at length peculiarly called minstrelsy, and the name of minstrel . 
at last confined to the musician only. ^ 

In the French language all these arts were included under the 
general name of menestraudie, menestraudise, Jofiglerie, &c. (Med. 
Lat. menestellorum ars, ars joeulatoria, &c.) " On pent com- 
prendre sous le nom de jonglerie tout ce qui appartient aux anciens 
chansonniers Provengaux, Normands, Picards, &c. Le corps de 
la jonglerie etoit forme des trouveres, ou troubadours, qui com- 
posoient les chansons, et parmi lesquels il y avoit des improrisateurs, 
comme on en trouve en Itahe; des chanteurs ou ehanteres qui 
executoient ou chantoient ces compositions ; des conteurs qui i 
faisoient en vers ou en prose les contes, les recits, les histoires; 
des jongleurs ou i?ienestrels qui accompagnoient de leurs instru- 
mens, — L'art de ces chantres ou chansonniers, etoit nomme la 
Science Gaie, Gay Saber!' (Pref. Anthologie Fran{. 1765, 8vo. p. 
17.) See also the curious Fauchet {De i'Orig. de la Lang. Fr. 
p. 72, &c.) " Bien tost apres la division de ce grand empire 
Francois en tant de petits royaumes, duchez, & comtez, au lieu 
des Poetes commencerent a se faire cognoistre les trouverres, et 
chanterres, conteours, et jugleours : qui sont trouveurs, chantres, 
conteurs, jongleurs, ou jugleurs, c'est \ dire, menestriers chantans 
avec la viole." .-_^^ 

We see then Xh^X jongleur, Jugleur, {\.zX. joailator,juglator) was j 
a peculiar name appropriated to the minstrels. " Les jongleurs ' 
ne faisoient que chanter les poesies sur leurs instrumens. 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 bards 

* Vid. infra, not. A a. 
C C 


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 Geoffrey of Monmouth, himself a Welshman, speak- 
ing of an old pagan British King, who excelled in singing and 
music so far as to be esteemed by his countr}'men the patron deity 
of the bards, uses the phrase Deus Joculatorum; which is the pe- 
culiar name given to the English and French minstrels.* In like 
manner, William Malmesbury, speaking of a Danish king's assum- 
ing the profession of a scald, expresses it by professus mimum ; 
which was another name given to the minstrels in middle latinity.f 
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 glosso- 
grapher, as he relates many curious particulars concerning the pro- 
fession and arts of the minstrels ; whom, after the monks, he stig- 
matizes by the name of scurrce ; though he acknowledges their 
songs often tended to inspire virtue. 

" Ministelli, dicti prsesertim scurrce, 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 
& musicis instrumentis demulcere 

" Interdum etiam virorum insignium & heroum gesta, aut ex- 
plicata & jocunda narratione commemorabant, aut suavi vocis 
inflexione, fidibusque decantabant, quo sic dominorum, caetero- 
rumque qui his intererant ludicris, nobilium animos ad virtutem 
capessendam, et summorum virorum imitationem accenderent : 
quod fuit olim apud Gallos bardorum ministerium, ut auctor est 
Tacitus. Neque enim alios a mmistellis, veterum Gallorum bardos 

fuisse pluribus probat Henricus Valesius ad 15 Ammiani 

Chronicon Bertrandi Guesclini. 

" Qui veut avoir renom des bons & des vaillans 

II doit aler souvent a la pluie & au champs 

Et estre en la bataille, ainsy que fu Rollans, 

Les Quatre Fils Haimon, & Charlon li plus grans, 

Li dus Lions de Bourges, & Guions de Connans 

Perceval li Galois, Lancelot, & Tristans, 

Alixandres, Artus, Godfroi li Sachans, 

De quoy cils menestriers font les nobles Romans." 

" Nicolaus de Braia describens solenne convivium, quo post 
inaugurationem suam proceres excepit Lud. VIII. rex Francorum, 

* Vid. Not. B. K. Q. t Vid. Note N. 


ait inter ipsius convivii apparatum, in medium prodiisse mimum, 
qui regis laudes ad cytharam decantavit." 

Our author then gives the hnes at length, which begin thus, 

" Dumque fovent genium geniaH munere Bacchi, 
Nectare commixto curas removente Ly?eo 
Principis a facie, citharae celeberrimus arte 
Assurgit mimus, ars musica quem decoravit. 
Hie ergo chorda resonante subintuht ista : 
Inclyte rex regum, probitatis stemmate vernans, 
Quem vigor & virtus extolHt in Kthera famae," &c. 

The rest may be seen in Du Cange, who thus proceeds, " Mitto 
rehqua simiha, ex quibus omnino patet ejusmodi mimorum & 

ministellorum cantilenas ad virtutem principes excitasse 

Id prsesertim in pugnse praecinctu, dominis suis occinebant, ut 
martium ardorem in eomm animis concitarent : cujusmodi cantum 
Canti/cnam Rollandi appellat Will. Malmesb. lib. 3. Aimoinus, 
lib. 4. de Mirac. S. Bened. c 37. Tanta vero illis securitas .... 
ut scurram se precedere facerent, qui musico instrumento res 
fortiter gestas et priorum bella praecineret, quatenus his acrius 
incitarentur, &:c.' As the writer was a monk, we shall not wonder 
at his calling the minstrel, sairram. 

This word scurra, or some one similar, is represented in the 
Glossaries as the proper meaning of Icccator (Fr. leccoiir) the an- 
cient term by which the minstrel appears to be expressed in the 
Grant to Button, quoted above in page 363. On this head I shall 
produce a very curious passage, which is twice quoted in Du 
Cange's Glossary. (Sc. ad verb. Menestellus & ad verb. Lecator.) 
" Philippus Mouskes in Philip. Aug. fingit Carolum M. Provincie 
comitatum scurris & mimis suis olim donasse, indeque postea 
tantum in hac regione poetarum numerum excrevisse. 

" Quar quant li buens Rois Karlemaigne 

Ot toute mise a son dcmaine 

Provence, qui mult icrt plentive 

De vins, de bois, d'aigue, de rive, 

As leccoiirs as menestreus 

Qui sont auques luxuricus 

Lc donna toute et departi." 

(D) The poet and the minstrel early with us became tivo per- 
sons. 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 8ceop, and LeoSpypta : the last of these comes from 


Leo^, a song ; and the former answers to our old word maker 
(Gr. t\oLr}TriQ), being derived from Scippan or Sceopan, formare, 
facere, fingere, creare (Ang. to shape). As for the minstrel, they 
distinguished him by the peculiar appellation of Elijman, and per- 
haps by the more simple title of ^eajnpejie, 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. book i. 
No. 6, vol. iii. book i. No. 7. 

A (E) Minstrels . . . at the houses of the great, 6^^.] 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 ex- 
pended in maintaining and rewarding them, that they often drained 
the royal treasures : especially, he adds, of such as were delighted 
with their flatteries {prcesertim qui ejusmodi ministellorum assentation- 
ibus delcctabantur). He then confirms his assertion by several pas- 
sages 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 histrionuro. convenire 
soleat, ut ab eis aurum, argentum, equos, seu vestes,* quos perssepe 
mutare consueverunt principes, ab eis extorqueant, verba jocula- 
toria 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 
cseteras ineptias, trutinantibus buccis in medium eructare non 
erubescunt. Vidimus quondam quosdam principes, qui vestes diu 
excogitatas, et variis florum picturationibus artificiose elaboratas, 
pro quibus forsan 20 vel. 30 marcas argenti consumpserant, vix re- 
volutis 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 

* The minstrels in France were received with great magnificence 
in the fourteenth century. "Froissart describing a Christmas enter- 
tainment given by the Comte de Fpix, tells us, that " there were 
many mynstrels, as well of hys own, as of straungers, and cache of 
them dyd their devoyre 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.) 


ancient Greek Aot^ot, " Nos trouverres, ainsi que ceux la, prenans 
leur subject sur les faits des vaillans (qu'ils appelloyent geste, 
venant de gesta Latin) alloy ent . . . par les cours rejouir les 
princes . . . Remportans des grandes recompences des seigneurs, 
qui bien souvent leur donnoyent jusques aux robes qu'ils avoyent 
vestues : & lesquelles ces jugleours ne failloyent de porter aux 
autres cours, h. 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, semd des plaques aussi d'argent gravees 
des armoiries de ceux a qui il avoit appris a danser." Here we see 
that a minstrel sometimes performed the function of a dancing- 

Fontenelle even gives us to understand, that these men were 
often rewarded \vith favours of a still higher kind. " Les princesses 
& les plus grandes dames y joignoient souvent leurs faveurs. 
Elles etoient fort foibles contreles beaux esprits." [Hist.du T/icat.) 
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 sa famille 
n'avoit que la moitie ou le quart d'une vieux chateaux bien seig- 
neurial, alloit quelque temps courir le monde en rimant, et revenoit 
acquerir le reste de Chateau.' {Fontenelle, Hist, du T/ieat.) We 
see then, that there was no improbable 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 sovereign prince, &c. 

(F) The honours and rewards lavished upon the minstrels were 
not confined to the continent. Our own countryman Johannes 
Sarisburiensis (in the time of Henry H.) declaims no less than the 
monks abroad, against the extravagant favour shown to these men. 
Non enim more nugatorum ejus seculi in histriones & mimos, et 
hujusmodi monstra hominum, ob famae redemptionem & dilata- 
tionem nominis cffunditis opes vestras, &c. {Epist. 247.*) 

The monks seem to grudge every act of munificence that was 
not applied to the benefit of themselves and their convents. They 
therefore bestow great applauses upon the Emperor Henry, who, 
at his marriage with Agnes of Poictou, in 1044, disappointed the 
poor minstrels, and sent them away empty. " Infinitam histrionum, 
& joculatorum multitudinem sine cibo & muneribus vacuam 
& m(i;rentem abire permisit." {Chronic. Virtziburg.) For which 
I doubt not but he was sufficiently stigmatized in the sougs and 

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


ballads of those times. Vid. Du Cange, Gloss, torn, iv, p. 
771, &c. 

(G) The annals of the Afiglo-Saxons are scanty and defec- 
tive.'] Of the few histories now remaining that were written be- 
fore the Norman Conquest, almost all are such short and naked 
sketches and abridgements, giving only a concise and general rela- 
tion 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 economy of their countrymen. The Saxon Chronicle, for 
instance, which is the best of them, and upon some accounts ex- 
tremely 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 Pseudo 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 his- 
torians. "Conjecturis (licet nusquam sine verisimili fundamento) 
aliquoties indulgemus . . . utpote ab historicis jejune nimis & 
indiligenter res nostras tractantibus coacti . . . Nostri . . . 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 Frcefat. ad 
yElfr. Vitayn a Spelttian. Ox. 1678, fol. 

(H) Mi?istrels and harpers.'] That the harp (cithard) was 
the common musical instrument of the Anglo-Saxons, might be in- 
ferred 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. 
peajipe, ^eappa; Iceland, harpa, haurpa; Dan. and Belg. 
harpe ; Germ, harpffe, harpfifa ; Gal. harpe ; Span, harpa ; Ital. 
arpa. (yid./un. Etym., Menage Etym. &c.) As also from this, that 
the word J>ea;ipe is constantly used, in the Anglo-Saxon versions, 
to express the Latin words cithara, lyra, and even cymbalum : the 
vfoxd psalmus itself being sometimes translated peajip j'anj, harp 
song. {Gloss, Jim. R. apnd Lye Anglo-Sax. Lexic.) 
/ 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 

* Vid. Nicolson's E?ig. Hist. Lib. &c. 


instrument to be handed round, and each of the company to sing 
to it in his turn. See his Hist. Ecdcs. Anglor. Hb. iv. c. 24, where 
speaking of their sacred poet CKdmon, who lived in the times of 
the Heptarchy {ob. arc. 680) he says : 

" Nihil unquam frivoli & supervacui poematis facere potuit ; 
sed ea tantummodo, quK ad religionem pertinent, religiosam ejus 
linguam decebant. Siquidem in habitu sxculari, usque ad tempora 
provectioris aetatis constitutus, nil carminum aHquando didicerat. 
Unde nonnunquam in convivio, cum esset la^titiai causa ut omnes 
per ordinem cantare deberent, ille ubi appropinquare sibi citharam 
cemebat, surgebat a media coena, et egressus ad suam domum 

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

Pe . . nspjie noht leaj-unja. ne ibelej' leo'Sej' pypcean ne mihre. 
Ife . . never no /casings, nor idle songs compose ne might ; 
ac epne ^a an Sa "Se ro nepej-cnej'j-e belumpon. •] 

but lo ! only those things 7uhich to religion {^icty\ belong, and 
hij- ^a a^pej'tan runjan jebapenobe j-injan : jjajj* he j-e man 
his then pious tongue became to sing : He was the [a] man 
in peojnolr-habe jej-eteb o'S Sa ribe Se he paep op 

in worldly [secular'] state set to the time in which he was of an 
jelypeojie ylbe. -3 he naeppe aeni5 leof geleofinobe. -] he 
advanced age; and he never any song learmd. And he 
pojijjon opr m jebeoppcipe Sonne Soep psep bhppe mrmja 
therefore oft in an entertainment when there 7vas for merriment 
jebemeb. ■f hi ealle pceolban "Suph enbeby- 

sake adjudged [or decreed], that they all should through their 
fibneppe be heafipan pmjan. Sonne he jepeah Sa heafipan 

turns by [to the] harp sing ; K'hen he sara the harp 
him nealaecan. Sonne ajiap he pop pceome pfiam Sam pymle 
him approach, then arose he FOR shame frotn the supper 

-] ham eobe ro hip hupe. 

and home y ode {luent] to his house. 

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

In this version of Alfred's it is observable, (i) that he has ex- 
pressed the Latin word cantare, by the Anglo-Saxon words *' be 
heappan pinjan," sing to the harp ; as if they were synonymous, or 


as if his countrymen had no idea of singing unaccompanied with 
the harp : (2) That when Bede simply says, surgebat a media coena, 
he assigns a motive, " apaj' poji j-ceome," 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 

(I) The word glee which peculiarly denoted their art, &'c^ 
This word glee is derived from the Anglo-Saxon trligs, (Gligg) 
musica, music, minstrelsy (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 pro- 
fession was extremely common and popular here before the Nor- 
man Conquest. Thus we have 


(i) Elip (Gliw.), mimus, a minstrel. 

Iihjman, ^ligmon, jliman, (glee-man*) histrio, mimus, panto- 
mimus ; all common names in middle latinity for a minstrel ; and 
Somner accordingly renders the original by a minstrel — a player 
on a timbrel or taber. He adds, a fidler ; but although the fythel 
ox fiddle, was an ancient instrument, by which the Jogelar or min- 

* Gleeman continued to be the name given to a minstrel both 
in England and Scotland almost as long as this order of men con- 

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

Gode 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. 397 note (K) 
renders Deus Joailatomm, 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, intitled, The Daunce 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, i2mo. p. 30. 
Maitland's MS. at Cambridge reads here gleive-men. 


strel sometimes accompanied his song (see Warton, i. 17), it is 

probable that Somner annexes here only a modem sense to the 

word, not having at all investigated the subject. 

Irhimen, shismen, (Glee-men), histriones, minstrels. Hence, 
Ijlismanna-yppe. Orchestra, vel pidpitus. The place where 

the minstrels exhibited their performances. 

(2) But their most proper and expressive name was 
Chphleojjjiienb, musicus, a minstrel ; and 
lihphleojjjuenbhca, musiais, musical. 

These two words include the full idea of the minstrel character, 
expressing at once their music and singing, being compounded of 
Clip, musicus, mimus, a musician, minstrel; and LeoS, carmen, 
a song. 

(3) From the above word diss, the profession itself was 

Dhjcp^pr (glig or glee-craft), musica, histrionia, mitnica 
gesticulatio : which Somner rightly gives in English, ministrelsy, 
mimical gesticulation, mummery. He also adds stage-playing : 
but here again I think he substitutes an idea too modem, induced 
by the word histrionia, which in middle latinity only signifies the 

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 
Chopian, is Canius musicos edere; and 

Dlijbeam, jhpbeam (glig or glee-beam), tytnpanum ; a timbrel 
or taber. (So Somn.) Hence 

Clypan. Tympatium puisare ; and 

Dlip-meben ; jhypienbe-maben ; (glee-maiden), tyfnpanistria : 
which Somner renders a she-minstrel ; for it should seem that they 
had females of this profession ; one name for which was also 

(5) Of congenial derivation to the foregoing is 
Jjlypc. (CAywc), Tibia, a pipe or flute. 

Both this and the common radix Elij^ are with great appear- 
ance of truth derived by Junius from the Icelandic Gliggur,y/a/«j; 
as supposing that the first attemj>ts at music among our Gothic an- 
cestors were with wind-instruments. Vid. Jun. Etym. Ang. v. 


But the minstrels, as is hinted above, did not confine themselves 
to the mere exercise of their primary arts of music and song, but 




occasionally used many other modes of diverting. Hence, from the 
above root was derived, in a secondary sense : 

(i) Gleo, and pmj'um -^i^, facetia. 
ij\e:0])ia.n, j'ocari ; to jest, or, be merry (Somn.), and 
hlioyienb, j'ocans ; jesting, speaking merrily. (Somn.) 
lilijman, also signified /(^^j/a, a jester. 

Hhg-gamen, (glee-games), /(?;:/. Which Somner renders, merri- 
ments, or merry jests, or tricks, or sports, gamboles. 

(2) Hence, again, by a common metonymy of the cause for the 
effect : 

Irlie, gaudiiim, alacritas, Icetitia, faceticB ; joy, mirth, gladness, 
cheerfulness, glee. (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 be- 
lieve, 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 Irlijs, 
minstrelsy, in a very unfavourable sense, and this chiefly prevails 
in books of religion and ecclesiastic discipline. Thus : 

(i) dig is ludibrium, laughing to scorn.* So in S. Basil. 
Regul. II. ^1 haspbon him to jlije halpenbe mmegunje. 
ludibrio hahebant sahitarern ejus admonitiomn. (10.) This sense of 
the word was perhaps not ill-founded, for as the sport of rude un- 
cultivated minds often arises from ridicule, it is not improbable but 
the old minstrels often indulged a vein of this sort, and that of no 
very delicate kind. So again. 

* To gleek is used in Shakespeare for " to make sport, to 
jest," &c. 


Dlij-man was also used to signify scurra, a saucy jester (Somn.) 
Dlij-jeorin, dicax, scurrilcs jocos supra qiicim par est amans. 
Officium Episcopale, 3. 

Ijhpian. Sairrilibus oblectafnentis indulgere; satrram agere. Ca- 
non. Edgar. 58. 

(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, 

Dlipep. Parasitus, assefitator; a fawner, a togger, a parasite, a 
flatterer.* (Somn.) 


To return to the Anglo-Saxon word Ch^s : notwithstanding 
the various secondary senses in which this word (as we have seen 
above) was so early applied ; yet 

The derivative ^/(f^ (though now chiefly used to express merriment 
and joy) long retained its first simple meaning, and is even appUed 
by Chaucer to signify music and minstrelsy. (Vid. Jun. Etym.) 

" For though that the best harper upon live 
Would on the best sounid jolly harpe 
That evir was, with all his fingers five 
Touch aie o string, or aie o warble harpe 
Were his nailes pointed nevir so sharpe 
It shoulde makin every wight to dull 
To heare isg/ee, and of his strokes full." 

Troy/. L. ii. 

Junius interprets glees by musica instrumenia, in the following 
passages of Chaucer's third boke of Fame : — 

* The preceding hst 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 how- 
ever 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 interi)retations given 
by Somner, in his Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, the J^ditor of the book 
never could have discovered \.\\di\. glee signified minstrelsy, or glig 
man a minstrel. 


" . . Stoden . . the castell all aboutin 
Of all maner of tnynstrales 
Kn^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 
Sate the harper Orion ; 
And Eacides Chirion ; 
And other harpers many one, 
And the Briton Glaskyrion." 

After menti oning 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 instruments, 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. the relaters of gests (Lat. gestd) 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 Romanoriim, and 
this will account for its seemingly 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 

* Neven, i.e. name. 


reader will find a tragical ballad, ia vol. 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 im- 

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 art. 

(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.'] Geof- 
frey's own words are : " Cum ergo alterius modi aditum [Baldul- 
phus] non haberet, rasit capillos suos et barbam,* cultumque 
joculatoris cum cythara fecit. Deinde intra castra deambulans, 
modulis quos in lyra componebat, sese cytharistam exhibebat." 
Galf Monum.Hist. 4to. 1508, lib. vii. c. i. — That><r«/d!/«7r signifies 
precisely a minstrel, appears not only from this passage, where it 
is used as a word of like import to eitharista 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) 

* Geoffrey of Monmouth is probably here describing the appear- 
ance of the foculatores or minstrels, as it was in his own time. 
For they apparently derived this part of their dress, &c. from the 
mimi of the ancient Romans, who had their heads and beards 
shaven (see above p. 383 notef), as they likewise did the mimickry, 
and other arts of diverting, which they superadded to the compos- 
ing 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 " in the 
year 774, when Charlemagne entered Italy and found his passage 
impeded, he was met by a minstrel of Lombardy, whose song pro- 
mised him success and victory. Contigit joculatorem ^.v Longo- 
bardorum gente ad Carolum venire, et cantiunculam a se composi- 
tam, rotando in conspectu siiorum, cantare.'' Tom. ii. j). 2. Chron. 
Monast. Noval. lib. iii. cap. x. p. 717. (T. Warlon's Hist. vol. ii. 
Emend, of vol. i. p. 113) 


British king, he says : " Hie omnes cantores quos praecedens aetas 
habuerat & in moduHs & in omnibus musicisinstrumentis excedebat; 
ita ut Deus Joculatorum videretur." Whatever credit is due to 
Geofifrey as a relater of facts, he is certainly as good authority as any 
for the signification of words. 

(L) Two remarkable facts.'] Both these facts are recorded 
by William of Malmesbury ; and the first of them, relating to 
Alfred, by 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 there- 
fore to be considered as an Anti-Norman writer ; so that whether 
the fact concerning Alfred be true or not, we are assured from his 
testimony, that \hQ 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.f Both these writers had doubtless recourse to 
innumerable records and authentic memorials of the Anglo-Saxon 
times, which never descended down to us ; their testimony there- 
fore 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 parti- 
cular detail of Alfred's actions, and yet takes no notice of the fol- 
lowing story ; it will not be diflficult to account for his silence, if 
we consider that he was a rigid monk, and that the minstrels, how- 
ever 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. I Asser therefore might not regard Alfred's skill in min- 
strelsy 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 exa- 
mined the scene of action in person, and weighed all the circum- 
stances of the event, determines from the whole collective evidence, 
that Alfred could never have gained the victory he did, if he had 

* Natiis, 1030; scripsit, 1091 ; obit, 1109. Tanner. 

t Obit, Anno 1142. Tanner. 

\ See above, p. 394. Both Ingulph. and Will, of Malmesb. had 
been very conversant among the Normans ; who appear not to 
have had such prejudices against the minstrels as the Anglo-Saxons 


not with his ovii eyes previously seen the disposition of the enemy 
by such a stratagem as is here described. Vid. An not. in Ailfr. 
Mag. VHam, p. n, Oxon. 1678. fol. 

(M) Alfred assumed the dress and character of a 

minstrff]. Fingens se joculatorem, assumpta cithara, c^-c. In- 
gulphi Hist. p. 869. — Sub specie mimi . . . ut joculatoriae professor 
artis. Gul. Malmesb. 1. 2, 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 fidclissimi fruebatur consciaitia. 
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 
attendant to carr>' 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 vol. i. song vi., vol. iii. song vii., 
&c. Among the French and Provencal bards, the trouverre, or 
inventor, was generally 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 leurfaisoit chanter 
sur leurs harpes ou vielles les vers qu'il avoit composes. Ceux 
qui faisoient les sons aussi bien qui les 7nots etoient les plus 
estimds." Fontenel/e, Hist, du Theatr. 

That Alfred excelled in music is positively asserted by Bale, 
who doubtless had it from some ancient MS. many of which sub- 
sisted 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 practis- 
ing 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. I le has however particularly 
recorded Alfred's fondness for the oral Anglo-.Saxon poems and 
songs. {Saxonica puematu die noctcque . . . audiens . . . memoritcr 


retinebat, p. i6. Carmina Saxonica memoriter discere, &c. p. 43, and 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 mimum, qui hujusmodi arte 
stipem quotidianam mercaretur . . . Jussus abire pretium cantus 
accepit. Malmesb. 1. 2, c. 6. We see here that which was rewarded 
was (not any mimicry or tricks, but) his singing {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 mimus 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 Pa- 
latinae Jacobi II. Reg. Majoric. In domibus principum, ut tradit 
antiquitas mimi seu joculatores licite possunt esse. Nam illorum 
officiam tribuit lutitiam . . . 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.) f 

* Thus Leob, the Saxon 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 heajipan f msan. 

t The tabour or tabourin was a common instrument with the 
French minstrels, as it had also been with the Anglo-Saxon {vid. 
p. 393) : 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. inenestriers,') 
where labours is used as synonymous to menestriers. 

Another 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 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 veille, 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 ; 

Sovent estoit sans sa viekr — Fabliaux 6^ Cont. ii. 184, 5. 


Lit. remiss, ann. 1374. Ad mimos comicitantes, seu bucinantes 

Mimia, Ludus Mimicus, Instrumentum (potius, Ars Joculatoria). 
Ann. 1482. ..." Mimia <Sc cantu victum acquire." 

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

(O) To have been a Danc^ The northern historians pro- 
duce such instances of the great respect shewn 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) idiomate Anglire, Hyber- 
niaeque Regibus oblati »& HberaUter compensati, &c. Itaque hinc 
coUigi potest linguam Danicam in aulis vicinorum regum, princi- 
pumque 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 in- 
terrogatus ab Adalsteino, Anglic rege, quomodo manus Eirici 
Blodoxii, Northumbrioe regis, postquam in ejus potestatem venerat, 
evasisset, cujus filium propinquosque occiderat, . . . rei statim 
ordinem metro, nunc satis obscuro, exposuit, nequaquam ita nar- 
raturus non intelligenti." — Vid. phira apud Torfceii Prccfat. ad 
Oread. Hist. fol. 

This .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 & scriniis duobus bene mag- 
nis argento repletis. . . . Quinetiam hoc addidit, ut Egillus quidvis 
praeterea a se petens, obtineret; bona mobilia, sive immobilia, 
praebendam vel prnefecturas. Egillus porro regiam munificentiam 
gratus excipiens, Carmen Encomiasticon, \ se, lingua Norvcgica, 
(quae turn his regnis communis), compostum, regi dicat ; ac pro eo, 
duas Marcas auri puri (pondus Marcae ... 8 uncias aetjuabat) 
honorarii loco retulit.' — Arngr. Jon. Rcr. Islandic. lib. 2, p. 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 rhime, 
that is, I conceive, now to be found in any European language, 
except I^tin. See Egill's Islandic original, printed at the end of 
the English version in the said Five Pieces, &c. 

(!'; IJ the Saxons had not been accustomed to have minstrels of 
their own .... and to shew favour and respect to the J)anish 
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 

D D 


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. 

(Q) In Doomesday Book" &'c.'\ Extract, ex Libro Domesday: 
et vid. Anstis, Ord. Gart. ii. 304. 

" Glowecesterscire. 

Fol. 162. col. 1. Berdic Jocidator Regis habet iii. villas, et ibi v. car. 

nil r eddy 

IhzX joculator is properly a minstrel might be inferred from the 
two foregoing passages of Geoffery of Monmouth (v. Note K.), 
where the word is used as equivalent to citharista in one place, 
and to cantor in the other : this union forms the precise idea of 
the character. 

But more positive proofs have already offered, vid. supra, pp. 385, 
399. See also p. 409 note Du Cange's Gloss, vol. iii. c. 1543 : 
"Jogulator pro Joculator. — Consilium Masil. an, 1381. NuUus 
Ministreys, seu Jogulator, audeat pinsare vel sonare instrumen- 
tum cujuscumque generis," &c. &c. 

As the minstrel was termed in French jongleur and jugleur ; 
so he was called in Spanish jutglar and juglar. " Tenemos can- 
ciones 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, 4to. 

" El anno 1328, en las siestas de la Coronacion del Rey, Don 
Alonso el IV. de Aragon, ... * el Juglar Ramaset canto una 
Villanesca de la Composicion del . . infante (Don Pedro) : y otro 
Juglar, llamado Novellet, recito y representb en voz y sin cantar 
mas de 600 versos, que hizo el Infante en el metro, que Uamaban 
Rima vulgar." — Ibid. 

" Los Trobadores inventaron la Gaya Ciencia . . . estos Tro- 
badores, eran casi todos de la primera Nobleza. Es verdad, que 
ya entonces se havian entrometido entre las diversiones Cortesanos, 
los Contadores, los Can tores, los Juglares, los Truanes, y los 
Bufones."— /^/i/. 

In England the king's juglar continued to have an estabhsh- 
ment in the royal household down to the reign of Henry VIII. (vid. 
Note c c). But in what sense the title was there applied does not 

* " Romanset Jutglar canta alt veux . . . devant lo senyor Rey." 
-Chron. d' Aragon, apud Du Cange, iv. 771. 


appear. In Barklay's Egloges, written circ. 1 5 14, jugglers and pipers 
are mentioned together. Egl. iv. (vid. T. Warton's Hist. ii. 254). 

(R) A valliant warrior, named Taillcfcr, 6^f.] See Du Cange, 
who produces this as an instance, " Quod Ministellorum munus in- 
terduni praestabant miUtes 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 & de RouUant, 

Et d' OUvier de Vassaux, 

Qui mourruent en Rainschevaux.' 

" Qui quidem Taillefer a Gulielmo obtinuit ut primus in hostes ir- 
rueret, inter quos fortiter dimicando occubuit." — Gloss, torn. iv. 769, 
770, 771. 

" Les anciennes chroniques nous apprennent, qu'en premier rang 
de I'Armde Normande, un ecuyer nommd Taillefer, monte sur un 
cheval arme, chanta la Chanson De Roland, qui fut si long tems 
dans les bouches des Francois, sans qu'il soit rest^ le moindre 
fragment. Le Taillefer apres avoir entonne le chanson que les sol- 
dats repetoient, 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. MnxnQy's Hist. ii. p. 276. See more con- 
cerning the Song of Roland, vol. iii. appendix, sect. ii. note M. 

(S) An eminent French writer, &'c.'\ " M. I'Eveque de la 
Ravaliere, qui avoit fait beaucoup de recherches sur nos anciennes 
Chansons, pretend que c'est ^ la Normandie que nous devons nos 
premiers Chansonnicrs, non i la Provence, et qu'il y avoit parmi 
nous des Chansons en langue vulgaire avant cclles des Provengaus, 
mais posterieurement au Regne de Philippe I. ou h. I'an 11 00." — 
v. Revolutions de la Langue Fran(oise, a la suite des Poesies du Roi 
de Navarre. " Ce seroit une antcriorite de plus d'un demi siccle ii 
r<*poc}ue des premiers Troubadours, que leur historien Jean de 
Nostredame fixe k I'an 1162, &c." — Prcf. a rAntholoi:,ie Franf. 
8vo. 1765. 

This subject hath been since taken up and prosecuted at length 
in the Prefaces, &c. to M. Le (brand's Fabliaux ou Contcs du XII. 
&* du XIII. Siecle, Paris, 1788, 5 tom. 12 mo. who .seems pretty 
clearly to have established the priority and sujjcrior excellence of 


the old rimeurs of the north of France, over the troubadours of 
Provence, &c. 

(S 2) TTietr own native gleemen or ftiinstrels must be allowed 
to exist.'] Of this we have proof positive in the old metrical 
romance of Horn-Child, (vol. iii. appendix), which, although 
from the mention of Sarazens, &c. it must have been written at 
least after the first Crusade in 1096, yet from its Anglo-Saxon lan- 
guage 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 com- 
posed by, or for, a gleeman, or minstrel. But it carries all the in- 
ternal marks of being the production of such a composer. It appears 
of genuine English growth, for after a careful examination, I cannot 
discover any allusion to French or Norman customs, manners, com- 
position 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 (/. e. Olaf or Olave), king of Sudenne (I 
suppose Sweden), by his queen Godylde, or Godylt. Athulf and 
Fykenyld are the names of subjects. Eylmer or Aylmere is king 
of Westnesse (a part of Ireland), Rymenyld is his daughter ; as 
Erminyld is of another king Thurstan ; whose sons are Athyld and 
Beryld. Athelbrus is steward of K. Aylmer, &c. &c. All these 
savour only of a northern origin, and the whole piece is exactly 
such a performance 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 predecessors 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 \^ extremely incorrect. 

Compare the stile of Child-Horn with the Anglo-Saxon specimens 
in short verses and rhime, which are assigned to the century suc- 
ceeding the Conquest, in Hickes's Thesaurus, torn. i. cap. 24, pp. 
224 and 231. 

(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 writers at their desk, and exhibit marks of 
more elaborate structure and invention. Such is Eglamour of Artas 
(No. 20, vol. iii. appendix), of which I find in a MS. copy in the 
Cotton Library, A. 2, folio 3, the 11. Fitte thus concludes : 

" . . . . thus ferr have I red." 


Such is Ipoynydon (No. 23, iii. appendix), of which one of the 
divisions (Sign. E. ii. b. in pr. copy) ends thus : 

" Let h)iii go, God him spede 

Tyll efte-soone we of him reed {i.e. read)" 

So in Amys and Amylion* (No. 31. iii. appendix) in sta. 3d. 
we have 

" 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 
%\-ith 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 No. i, vol. iii. appendix), which, 
from the naked unadorned simplicity of the stor}^, I would attribute 
to such an origin. 

But more evidently is such the Squire of Lowe Degree (No. 24, 
iii. appendix), in which is no reference to any French original, 
nothing like the phrase which so frequently occurs in others, 
" As the Romance sayth," t or the like. And it is just such a ram- 

* It ought to have been observed in its proper place in No. 31, 
vol. iii. appendix, that Amys and Amylion were 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 accom- 
panied with valuable illustrations, &c. : and that it was his opinion 
tliat both the fragment of the Lady Bellcsent mentioned in the 
same No. 31, and also the mutilated tale No. 37, were only im- 
perfect copies of the above romance of Amys and Amylion, which 
contains the two lines quoted in No. 37. 

t Whenever the word Roma7ice occurs in these metrical narra- 
tives, it hath been thought to afford decisive proof of a translation 
from the Romance, or French language. Accordingly it is so urged 
by T. Warton (i. 146, note), from two passages in the pr. 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 Gierke rede." 


bling performance, as one would expect from an itinerant bard. 

Such also is A lytell Geste of Robyn Hode, &'c. in eight fyttes, of 
which are extant two editions, 4to. in black letter, described more 
fully in this volume, book i. No. 8. This is not only of undoubted 
EngUsh 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 (No. ii, iii. appendix), the 121st st. 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. 

(T 2) Royer or Raherus, the kin^s minstrel. He is re- 
corded by Leland under both these names, in his Collectanea, scil. 
vol. i. p. 61. 

"Hospitale S. Bartholomsei in West-Smithfelde in London." 
Royer Mimus Regis fundator." 

" Hosp. Sti. Barthol. Londini. Raherus Mimus Regis H. r. pri- 
mus fundator, an. 1102, 3. H. I. qui fundavit etiam Priorat. Sti. 
Barthol." — Ibid. p. 99. 

That mimus is properly a minstrel in the sense affixed to the 
word in this essay, one extract from the accounts (Lat. computis) 
of the priory of Maxtock near Coventry, in 1441, will sufficiently 
show, scil. : " Dat. Sex. Mimis Dni. Clynton cantantibus, cithari- 
santibus, ludentibus, &c. iiii. s." (T. Warton, ii. 106, note q.) The 
same year the prior gave to a doctor prcedicans for a sermon preached 
to them only dd. 

In the Monasticon, tom. 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 narra- 

And the other thus : 

" In Rome this Gest cronycled ys." 

So that I believe references to " the Romaunce," or the like, were 
often meer 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. 


tives, &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 K. Edward the 
Confessor, and predicted by three Grecians, (Sec. Even his minstrel 
profession is not mentioned, whether from ignorance or design, as 
the profession was perhaps faUing 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 
siiavitate joculari. (This last is the only word that seems to have 
any appropriated meaning.) This will account for the indistinct, in- 
coherent account given by Stow : " Rahere, a pleasant-witted 
gentleman, and therefore in his time called the King's Minstrel." 
— Survey of Lond. ed. 159S, p. 308. 

(U) /// the tarly times rcery harper loas expected to sing.'] 
See on this subject K. Alfred's version of Cosdman, above in note 
(H) p. 391. 

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." 

And Chaucer, in his description of the limitour or mendicant 
friar, speaks of harping as inseparable from singing (i. p. 11, ver. 

" — in his harping, whan that he hadde songe." 

(U 2) At the most accomplished, e^^.J See Hoveden, p. 103, 
in the following passage, which had erroneously been applied 
to K. Richard him.self, till Mr. Tyrwhitt ("Chaucer," iv. p. 62) 
shewed it to belong to his Chancellor : " Hie ad augmentum et 
famam sui nominis, emendicata carmina, et rhythmos adulatorios 
comparabat ; ct de regno Francorum Cantores et Joculatores mu- 
neribus allexerat, ut de illo canerent in plateis : et jam dicebatur 
ubique, ([uod non erat talis in orbe." For other particulars relat- 
ing to this chancellor, see T. Warton's Hist. vol. ii. addit. to p. 1 13 
of vol. i. 

* The harp (Lat. cithara) differed from the sautry, or psaltry 
{L:i\.. psalierium) in that the former was a stringctl instrument, anil 
the latter was mounted with wire : there was also some ilillerencc 
in the construction of the bellies, ike. See Bartholomteus de pro- 
prietatibus rerum, as Englished by Trevisa and Batman, ed. 1584, 
in Sir J. Hawkins's Hist. ii. ]). 285. 


(U 3) Both the JVonnan and English languages would be 
heard at the houses of the great.'] A remarkable proof of this is 
that the most dihgent inquirers after ancient English rhimes 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), re- 
corded 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, 

" 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. iii. appen- 
dix (sect. ii.). And yet to his time our Norman nobles are supposed 
to have adhered to their French language. 

(V) That intercommunity, &=€. between the French and English 
Minstrels, ^c] This might, perhaps, in a great measure be re- 
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 soli- 
cited their favour. This interchange, &c. between the minstrels ot 
the two nations would be afterwards promoted by the great inter- 
course 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 tuniaments, and other feats of amis. 

(V 2) Is not the only instaitce, 6^^.] The constant admission 
granted to minstrels was so established a privilege, that it be- 
came 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 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 {i.e. on a bench). 
Is {i.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. 

(\^ 3) . • • Assumed t/ie dress and character of a harper, o^r.] 
We have this curious historietie in the records of Lacock Nunnery 
in Wiltshire, which had been founded by this Countess of Salisbury. 
See Vincent's Z>/!>YW<77 of Errors in Brooke s Catalogue of Nobility, 
&c. folio, pp. 445-6, (Sec. Take the following extract, and see Dug- 
dale's Baron, i. p. 175. 

" Ela uxor Gullielmi Longespee primi, nata fuit apud Ambresbi- 
riam, patre et matre Normannis. 

" Pater itaque ejus defectus senio migravit ad Christum, a.d. i 196. 

Mater ejus ante biennium obiit Interea Domina charissima 

clam per cognatos adducta fuit in Normanniani, & ibidem sub 
tuta et arcta custodia nutrita. Eodem tempore in Anglia fuit qui- 
dam miles nomine Gulielmus Talbot, qui induit se habitum Pere- 
grini {Anglice, a Pilgrim) in Normanniani transfretavit & moratus 
per duos annos, hue atque illuc vagans, ad explorandam dominam 
Elam Sarum. Et ilia inventa, exuit habitum Peregrini, & induit 
se quasi Cytharisator & curiam ubi morabatur intravit. Et ut 
erat homo Jocosus, in Gestis Antiquorum valde peritus, ibidem 

* Jogeler (Lat. Joculator) was a very ancient name for a min- 
strel. 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 Here- 
bertus Canticum Colbrondi, necnon Gestum Emme 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 subject we have a curious passage from a 
MS. of the LiTCS of the Saints in metre, sujjposed to be earlier than 
the year 1200 (T. Warton's Hist. i. \). 17), viz. : 

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


gratanter fuit acceptus quasi familiaris. Et quando tempus aptum 
invenit, in Angliam repatriavit, habens secum istam venerabilem 
dominam Elam & hseredem Comitatus Sarum; & earn Regi 
Richardo praesentavit. Ac ille laetissime earn suscepit, & Fratri 
suo Guillelmo Longespee maritavit .... 

A.D. 1226 Dominus Guill. Longespee primus nonas Martii obiit. 
Ela vero uxor ejus 7 annis supervixit .... Una die Duo 
monasteria fundavit primo mane xvi Kal. Maii. a.d. 1232. apud 
Lacock, in quo sanctse degunt Canonissas . . . Et Henton post 
nonam, anno vero aetatis suae, 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 
Cestrije et Histrionibus, festinanter cum exercitu suo venit domino 
suo facere succursum. Walenses vero videntes multitudinem mag- 

nam venientem, relicta obsidione fugerunt Et propter hoc 

dedit comes antedictus .... Constabulario dominationem Suto- 
rum et Histrionum. Constabularius vero retinuit sibi et haeredi- 
bus suis dominationem Sutorum : et Histrionum dedit vero Sene- 
schallo." 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 
htstrwnes ; 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 tX. meretricium totius Cestreshire, sicut liberius 
ilium {sic) magisterium teneo de comite" {vid. Blount's Ancient Ten- 
ures, 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 conveyed 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. Sciirra, 
vaniloquus, parasitus, epido, &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. L iii. 2, &c.) But he quotes an ancient MS. 
in French metre, wherein the leccour (Lat. ieccator) and the 
minstrel are joined together, as receiving from Charlemagne a 
grant of the territory of Provence, and from whom the Provencal 
troubadours were derived, &c. See the passage above in note C. 

P- 387- 

The exception in favour of the family of Button is thus ex- 


pressedin the statute, Anno 39, YX\z. chap. iv. entitled, " An Act 
for punshment of Rogues, Vagabonds, and Sturdy Beggars." 

" § I . . . . All fencers, bearwards, common players of enter- 
ludes, aid minstrels, wandering abroad (other than players of 
enterluces belonging to any baron of this realm, or any other 
honounole personage of greater degree, to be authorised to play 
under tie hand and seal of arms of such baron or personage) : all 
juglers, inkers, pedlers, &c. . . . shall be adjudged and deemed 
rogues, agabonds, and sturdy beggars, &c. 

" § X Provided always that this act, or any thing therein con- 
tained, a any authority thereby given, shall not in any wise extend 
to disinherit, prejudice, or hinder John Dutton of Dutton, in the 
county d" Chester, Esquire, his heirs or assigns, for, touching or 
concemhg any liberty, preheminence, authority, jurisdiction, or 
inheritarre, which the said John Dutton now lawfully useth, or 
hath, or lawfully may or ought to use within the county-palatine 
of Chestr, 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 rea:on of any prescription, usage, or title whatsoever." 

The sane clauses are renewed in the last act on this subject, 
passed in he present reign of George III. 

(X) Eiward I. .... at the knighting of his son, &'c.'] See 
Nic. Trirdi Anna/cs, Oxon. 1719, 8vo. p. 342. 

" In fesb Pentecostes Rex filium suum armis militaribus cinxit, 
(S: cum ec Comites Warenniae & Arundeliae, aliosque, quorum 
numerus cucentos & quadraginta dicitur excessisse. Eodem die 
cum sedissit Rex in mensa, novis militibus circumdatus, ingressa 
MinistreHo-um Multitudo, portantium multiphci omatu amictum, 
ut milites pra^cipue novos invitarent, & inducerent, ad vovcndum 
factum arniDrum aliquod coram signo." 

(Y) By in express regulation, 6-v.] See in Heame's Append/, 
ad Lelandi Zollcctari. vol. vi. p. 36. " A Dietarie, Writtes published 
after the OrJinance of Earles and Barons, Anno Dom. 13 15." 

*' Edwaro by the grace of God, (ic. to sheriffes, 6i:c., greetyng. 
Forasmuch is . . . many idle persons, under colour of mynstrelsie, 
and going w messages, and other faigned busines, have ben and 
yet be receai^ed in other mens houses to meate and drynke, and be 
not therwith contented yf they be not largely consydered with gyftes 
of the Lordei of the houses, &c. . . . We wyllyng to restrayne .such 
outrageous tnterpriscs and idlencs, &c. have ordeyned . . . that 
to the house; of prelates, earles, and barons, none resort to meate 
and drynke, unless he be a mynstrel, and of these minstrels that 
there come none except it be three or four minstrels ol 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 comeunlesse 
he be desired, and that such as shall come so, holde thenselves 
contented with meate and drynke, and with such curtesE as the 
maister of the house wyl shewe unto them of his owne gcod wyll, 
without their askyng of any thyng. And yf any one doagaynst 
this ordinaunce, at the firste tyme he to lose his minstresie, and 
at the second tyme to forsweare his craft, and neve to be 
receaved for a minstrell in any house . . . Yeven at Laigley the 
vi. day of August, in the ix yere of our reigne." 

These abuses arose again to as great a height as evei in little 
more than a century after ; in consequence, I suppost, of the 
licentiousness that crept in during the civil wars of York md Lan- 
caster. This appears from the charter, 9 E. IV. referred to in p. 
xlv. " Ex querulosa insinuatione . . . Ministrallorum rostrorum 
accepimus qualiter nonnuUi rudes agricolse & artifices dversarum 
misterarum regni nostri Angliae, finxerunt se fore ministrdlos, quo- 
rum aliqui liberatam nostram eis minime datam portarert, seipsos 
etiam fingentes esse minstrallos nostros proprios, cujiB quidem 
liberatas ac dictee artis sive occupationis ministrallorum ;olore, in 
diversis partibus regni nostri prsedicti grandes pecunia^um exac- 
tiones de ligeis nostris deceptive coUigunt, &c." 

Abuses of this kind prevailed much later in Wales, is appears 
from the famous commission issued out in 9 Eliz. (1567) for be- 
stowing the silver harp on the best minstrel, rythmer, ir bard, in 
the principality of North Wales : of which a fuller accomt will be 
given below in note (b b 3). 

(Z) // is thus related by Stow.] See his Survey )f London, 
&c. fol. 1633, p. 521 (Ace. of Westm. Hall). Stow had this pass- 
age from Walsingham's Hist. A/fg. ..." Intravit quaadam mulier 
ornata histrionali habitu, equum bonum insidens listrionaliter 
phaleratum, quae mensas more histrionum circuivit; & tandem 
ad Regis mensam per gradus ascendit, & quandam lit;ram coram 
rege posuit, & retracto fraeno (salutatis ubique discimbentibus) 
prout venerat ita recessit," &c. Anglic. Norm. Script &c. Franc. 
1603, fol. p. 109. 

It may be observed here, that minstrels and others cften rode on 
horseback up to the royal table, when the kings were feasting in 
their great halls. See in this vol. book i. No. 6. 

The answer of the porters (when they were afterwards blamed 
for admitting her) also deserves attention. " Non essemoris domus 
regiae histriones ab ingressu quomodolibet prohibeie, &c." Wal- 

That Stow rightly translated the Latin word Iwtrio here by 
minstrel., meaning a musician that sung, and whose subjects were 
stories of chivalry, admits of easy proof; for in the Gest& Romanorum, 



chap. Lxi. jMercur>- is represented as coming to Argus in the cha- 
racter 3f a minstrel; when he " incepit, more liistrionico {zkya\:x% 
dicere et plerumque cantare." (T. Warton, iii. p, li.) And 
Muratri cites a passage, in an old Italian chronicle, wherein men- 
tion iimade of a stage erected at Milan: "Super quo histriones 
cantibjit, sicut modo cantatur de Rolando et Oliverio." Antich. 
Ital. i p. 6. {Observ. on the Statutes, 4th edit. p. 362.) 
Seedso (E) p. 388. (F) p. 389. 

(A 3 T/icre should seem to have been womcfi of this professioti.'] 
This lay be inferred from the variety of names appropriated to 
them n the Middle Ages, viz. Anglo-Sax. Dlip-meben(Glee- 
maide), &c. slypienbemaben, glypbybenej'tjia. (vid. supra, p. 
393.) Yx. Jengleresse, • \j3X. joculatrix, mimstralissa, fcemina 
ministrialis, &c. (vid. Du Cange, Gloss. &= Suppl.) 

Seevhat is said in p. 371 concerning the "sisters of the fraternity 
of mintrels;" see also a passage quoted by Dr. Bumey (ii. 315) 
from luratori, of the chorus of women singing thro' the streets 
accomanied -with musical instruments in 1268. 

Ha( the female described by Walsingham been a tofnbestere, or 
dancii^-woman (see Tyrwhitt's Chaucer, iv. 307, and v. Gloss.) that 
historin would probably have used the word saltatrix (see T. 
Warto, i. 240, note ;«.) 

Thee saltatrices were prohibited from exhibiting in churches 
and chrch-yards along w\.\h joculatores, histriones, with whom they 
were smetimes classed, especially by the rigid ecclesiastics, who 
censurd, in the severest terms, all these sportive characters (vid. 
T. Wion in loco citato, and vide supra (not. E, F, &c.). 

Andhere I would observe, that although Fauchet and other 
subseqent writers affect to arrange the several members of the 
minstn profession under the different classes oitrovcrres {or trouba- 
(iours)yhanterres, conteours, and jugleurs, &c. (vid. p. 385) as if 
they w^e distinct and separate orders of men, clearly distinguished 
from edi other by these appropriate terms, we find no sufficient 
ground for this in the oldest writers ; but the general names in 
Latin, t'strio, mimus, joculator, ministrallus, &c. in French, niene- 
strier, tencstrel, jongleur, jugleur, &c. and in English, joQ;clciir, 
vigler, instrels, and the like, seem to be given them indiscrimi- 
nately, ind one or other of these names seem to have been some- 
times aplied to every species of men, whose business it was to 
entertai or divert {joculari) whether with poesy, singing, music, 
or gestiilation, singly, or with a mixture of all these. Yet as all 
men of is sort were considered as belonging to one class, orilcr 
or comrjnity (many of the above arts being sometimes exercised 
by the une person), they had all of them doublkss the same 
privilege and it ecjually throws light upon the general history of 


the profession to shew what favour or encouragement was gven, at 
any particular period of time, to any one branch of it. I h,ve not 
therefore thought it needful to inquire whether, in the various 
passages quoted in these pages, the word minstrel, &c. isilways 
to be understood in its exact and proper meaning of a singei to the 
harp, &c. 

That men of very different arts and talents were include( under 
the common name of minstrels, &c. appears from a vaiety of 
authorities. Thus we have metiestrels de trompes and fnaesfrels 
deboiiche in the suppl. to Du Cange, c. 1227, and it appars still 
more evident from an old French rhymer, whom I shall aote at 

large : 

" Le Quens* manda les Menestrels; 

Et si a fet f crier entre els. 

Qui la meillor trufife % sauroit 

Dire, ne faire, qu'il auroit 

Sa robe d'escarlate nueve. 

L'uns Menestrels a I'autre reuve 

Fere son mestier, tel qu'il sot, 

Li uns fet I'yvre, 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 risee," &c. 

Fabliaux et Conies, 12 mo. torn. iip. 161. 

And what species of entertainment was afforded by th(ancient 
juggleurs we learn from the following citation from an old jmance, 
written in 1230: 

" Quand les tables ostees furent 

C'W juggleurs in pies esturent 

S'ont vielles, et harpes prisees 

Chansons, sons, vers, et reprises 

Et gestes chante nos ont." 

Sir J. Hawkins, ii. 44, from Andr. du Chetie. See also 'yrwhitt's 
Chaucer, iv. p. 299. 
All the before mentioned sports went by the genen name of 

* Le Compte. t f^it- 

Sornette, a gibe, a jest, or flouting 
II y angler ie, babillage, raillerie. 


ministralcia ministellorum /utiicra, &c. — Charta an. 1377, apud 
Rymer, vii. p. 160. " Peracto autem prandio, ascendebat 1). Rex in 
cameram suam cum Praelatis Magnatibus & Proceribus praedictis : 
& deinceps Magnates, Milites & Domini, aliique Generosi diem 
ilium, usque ad tempus ccKUDe, in tripudiis, coreis & solempnibus 
Ministralciis, prce gaudio solempnitatis illius continuarunt." (Du 
Cange, Gloss. 773.) This was at the coronation of K. Richard II. 

It was common for the minstrels to dance, as well as to harp and 
sing (see above, note E, p. 389) ; thus in the old Romance of Tirantf 
f/ BIanio,Y3.\. 1 511, the 14th cap. lib. 2, begins thus : "Despuesqui 
las Mesas fueron algadas vinieron los Ministriles; y delante del rey, 
y de la Reyna dan^:aron un rato : y despues truxeron colacion." 

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 : 

" like 

An apparence ymade by som magike, 
As/ogelours plaien at thise festes grete." 

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

(a a 2.) Females playing on the harp.'] Thus in the old 
romance of "Syr Degore (or Degree," No. 22, iii. appendix) 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 Degree (No. 24, iii. appendix) 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, (No. 10. iii. appendix) we have 
the following passage (folio MS. p. 451, v. 217). 

" Downe came a lady faire and free. 

And sett her on the Carles knee : 

One whiles shec harjjcd another whiles song, 

IJoth of paramours anfl louinge amonge." 


And in the Romance of Eger and Grime (No. 1 2, iii. appendix), 
we have {ibid. p. 127, col. 2) in part i. v. 263 : 

" The ladye fayre of hew and hyde 

Shee sate downe by the bed side 

Shee laid a souter (psaltry) vpon her knee 

Theron shee plaid full lovesomelye. 

.... And her 2 maydens sweetlye sange." 

A similar passage occurs in part iv. v. 129 (p. 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 there- 
fore it could only have been in modern times, when the proper 
meaning of the original terms ministraulz, and histriones was for- 
got, 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 Du Cange, Gloss, iv. 773 : 

" Rex Ministellorum ; supremus inter ministellos: de cujus mu- 
nere, potestate in cseteros ministellos agit Charta Henrici IV. Regis 
Anghae in Monast. Anglicano, tom. i. p. 355. Charta originaHs an. 
^2>Z^- Jc Robert Caveron Roy des Menestreuls du Royaume de 
France. Aliae ann. 1357. & 1362. Copin de Brequin Roy des 
.Menestres du Royaume de France. Computum de auxiliis pro 
redemptione Regis Johannis, ann. 1367. Pour une couronne 
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 Juglatorum in civitate Trecensi 
Magisterium Juglatorum, quemadmodum suae placeret voluntati, 
concesserat." Gloss, c. 1587. 

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 Menestrels, 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 de 


roy, tantot de prince, celuy qui avoit le mieux faict comme nous 
voyons entre les archers, arbalestiers, & harquebusiers estre fait 
le semblable. Ainsi I'autheur du Roman d'Oger le Danois, s'ap- 
pelle 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' est rimez. 

" Et en celuy de Cleomades, 

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

" Mot de Roy, qui seroit tres-mal approprie' a un menestrier, si 
d'ailleurson ne le rapportoit a un jeu du priz : Et de faict il semble 
que de nostre temps, il y en eust encores quelque remarques, en ce 
que le mot de jouingleur s'estant par succession de temps tourn^ 
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, a qui mieux. 
Et ce que j'en dis icy n'est pas pour vilipender ces anciens 
Rimeurs, ainsi pour monstrer qu'il n'y a 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 after- 
wards in England : but by his apology for comparing the jouin- 
gleurs, 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 Adencz (whose name in the first passage 
above is corruptly printed Adams), he is recorded in the Bibliothhiue 
des Romans, Amst. 1734, i2mo. vol. i. p. 232, to have composed 
the two romances in verse above-mentioned, and a third intided 
Le Roman de Berlin: all three being preserved in a MS. written 
about 1270. His Bon Due Henry I conceive to have been Henry 
Duke of Brabant. 

(B b 2.) Khig of the minstrels, 6^^.] See Anstis's Rea^ster of 
the Order of the Garter, ii. p. 303, who tells us: " The President 
or Governour of the minstrels had tlie like denomination oi roy in 
France and Burgundy : and in England, John of Gaunt constituted 
such an officer by a patent ; and long before his time i)a\incnts 
were made by the crown, to [a] king of the minstrels by Kdw. L 
' Regi Roberto Ministrallo scutifero ad armacommoranti ad vadia 
Regis anno 5to.' {Bibl. Cotton. Vespas. c. 16, f 3), as likewise 



{Libra Garderob. 25, e. i): ' Ministrallis in die nuptiarum comitissae 
Holland filise Regis, Regi Pago, Johanni Vidulatori &c. Morello 
Regi, &c. Druetto Monthaut, and Jacketto de Scot. Regibus, cuilibet 
eorum xls.' Regi Pagio de Hollandia, &c. under Ed. II. We like- 
wise 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 quae 
fuerunt' Johannis le Boteler dicti Roy Brunhaud {Pat. de terr. 
forisfad. 16. E. 3)." 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, (Furitiere, Diction. Univers.) 
as with us " king of the fidlers," on which subject see below, note 
(EC 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 de- 
vaunt ces heures en la terre de Gales par plusieurs westours 
rymours, minstrabc et autres vacabondes, ordeignez est et establiz 
qe nul westour, rymour ministral ne vacabond soit aucunement 
sustenuz en la terre de Gales pur faire kymorthas ou coillage sur la 
commune poeple illoeques." This is among the severe laws against 
the Welsh, passed during the resentment occasioned by the out- 
rages committed under Owen Glendour; 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 rymours, 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 suppress them. It was 
their songs exciting their countrymen to insurrection which pro- 
duced " les diseases & mischiefs en la terre de Gales." 

It is also submitted to the reader, whether the same appHcation 
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 oij "the chief 
of that faculty." For after setting forth " that vagrant and idle 
persons, naming themselves minstr-els, rytJwiers, and bards, had 
lately grown into such intolerable multitude within the Principa- 
lity in North Wales, that not only gentlemen and others by their 
shameless disorders are oftentimes disquieted in their habitations, 
but also expert mi?istrels and musicians in tongue and cunynge there- 
by much discouraged, &c." and " hindred [of] livings and prefer- 
ment," &c. it appoints a time and place, wherein all " persons that 


intend to maintain their living by name or colour of viiustnis, 
rythmers, or bards within five shires of North ^^^'^les, shall appear 
to show their learnings accordingly," &c. And tlie commissioners 
are required to admit such as shall be found worthy, into and 
under the degrees heretofore in use, so that they may " use, exer- 
cise, 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.) Holinshed translated this passage from Tho. de Elm- 
ham's Vita ct Gesta Henrici V. scil. : " Soli Omnipotenti Deo se 
velle ^•ictoriam imputari ... in tantum, quod cantus de sue 
triumpho fieri, seu per Citharistas vel alios quoscuncjue cantari 
penitus prohibebat,"' (Edit. Heamii, 1727, p. 72). As in his version 
Holinshed attributes the making, as well as singing ditties to 
minstrels, it is plain he knew that men of this profession had been 
accustomed to do both. 

(C c.) The Houshold Book, (S^^.] See Section v. 

" Of the noumbre of all my lords servaunts." 

"Item, ■M\Tistrals 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 
lordschipp is at home, to his minstrallis that be daily in his hous- 
hold, as his tabret, lute, ande Rebeke, upon New Yeresday in the 
momynge when they do play at my lordis chamber dour for his 
lordschip and my lady, xxi". viz. xiii^r. \\d. for my lord ; and 
\\s. \\\\ii. for my lady, if sche be at my lords fyndynge, and not 
at hir owen ; And for playing at my lordis sone and heire's cham- 
ber doure, the lord Percy, \\s. And for playinge at the cliamber 
doures of my lords yonger sonnes, my yonge masters, after \\\\d. 
the pecc for every of them. — xxiiij-. \\\\d. 

" Sect. XLIV. 2. 

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

" Furst, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gif to the kings 
jugler; .... when they custome to come unto hym yerly, vij-. 

" Item, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gif ycrely to the 


kings or queenes Bearwarde, if they have one, when they custom 
to come imto hym yeriy, vi^'. viii^. 

" Item, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gyfe yerly to every 
erles mynstrelHs, when they custome to come to hym yerely, iiix. 
iiii^. And if they come to my lorde seldome, ones in ii or iii yeres, 
than \\s. Yiixd. 

" 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, vis. viiirt'. And, if they come but in ii or iii 
yeres, than xs." 

" Item, my lorde usith and accustometh to gife yerly, when his 
lordschip is at home, to gyf to the kyngs shawmes, when they com 
to my lorde yerely, xs." 


I cannot conclude this note without observing that in this enu- 
meration 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 find jugglers still coupled with pipers in Barklay's 
-Eg/oges, arc. 15 14. (Warton, ii. 254.) 

(C c 2.) The honours and rewards conferred on minstrels, &c. 
in the middle ages were excessive, as will be seen by many in- 
stances in these volumes; v. note E, F. &c. But more particu- 
larly with regard to English minstrels, &c. See T. Warton's Ht'sf. 
of Eng. Poetry, i. p. 89-92, 116, &c., ii. 105, 106, 254, &c. Dr. 
Bumey's Hist, of Music, ii. 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 : "Officium Elemosinarij est . . . 
Equos relictos, Robas, Pecuniam, et alia ad Elemosinam largiter 
recipere et fidelitur distribuere ; debet etiam Regem super Elemo- 
sinse largitione crebris summonitionibus stimulare & praecipue 
diebus sanctorum, et rogare ne Robas suas quae magni sunt 
precij histrionibus, blanditoribus, adulatoribus, accusatoribus, vel 
menestrallis, sed ad Elemosinae suae incrementum jubeat largiri." 
Et in c. 72 : " ministralli, vel adulatoris." 

(D d.) A species of mer^ who did not sing, &^c.'] It appears 
from the passage of Erasmus here referred to, that there still existed 
in England of that species of jongleurs or minstrels, whom the 


French called by the peculiar name oicontcours, or reciters in prose. 
It is in his Eccksiastes, where he is speaking of such preachers as 
imitated the tone of beggars or mountebanks : " Apud Anglos est 
simile genushominum, qualesapud Italossunt circulatores [mounte- 
banks] de quibus modo dictum est ; qui irrumpunt in convivia 
magnatum, aut in Cauponas Vinarias ; et argumentum alicjuod, quod 
edidicerunt, recitant ; puta mortem omnibus dominari, aut laudeni 
matrimonii. Sed quoniam ea lingua monosyllabis fere constat, 
quemadmodum Germanica ; atque illi (sc. this peculiar species of 
reciters) studio \-itant cantuni, 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 rhime ; though the latter would probably be more popular, and 
therefore more common. 

(Ee.) This character is supposed to have been suggested by de- 
scriptions of minstrels in the romance of Morte Art/iur ; but none, 
it seems, have been found which come nearer to it than the follow- 
ing, which I shall produce, not only that the reader may judge of 
the resemblance, but to shew how nearly the idea of the minstrel 
character given in this essay corresponds with that of our old 

Sir Lancelot, having been affronted by a threatening abusive let- 
ter which Mark, king of Comwal, 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 lay 
for him, and when it is made, I shall make an harper to sing it be- 
fore him. So anon he went and made it, and taught it an harper, 
that hyght Elyot ; and when hee could it, hee taught it to many 
harpers. And so . . . the harpers went straight unto Wales and 
Comwaile 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[aJ 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 him, 
and said. Thou harper, how durst thou be so bold to sing this 
song before me ? Sir, said Eliot, wit you wel I am a minstrel), and 
I must doe as I am commanded of these lords that I 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 liiat 


thou hie thee fast out of my sight. So the harper departed, &c." 
(Part ii. c. 113, ed. 1634. See also part iii. c. 5.) 

(E e 2.) This art seems to have put an end to the profession, 
&^c.'\ Although I conceive that the character ceased to exist, yet 
the appellation 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, P- i4i-) 

In this sense it is used in an ordinance in the times of Cromwell 
(1656), wherein it is enacted that if any of the "persons com- 
monly called fidlers or minstrels shall at any time be taken play- 
ing, 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 afore- 
said " 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 ivy des violons 
in France (v. note Bb 2.), king of the fidlers. See the common 
ballad intitled The Pedigree, Education, and Marriage of Robin- 
hood with Clorinda, queen of Tutbuiy Feast : which, though prefixed 
to the modem collection on that subject,* seems of much later date 
than most of the others ; 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 edition 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 concluding with an 
exhortation to " pray for the king," and " that he may get children," 

* Of the 24 songs in what is now called Robin Hood's Garland, 
many are so modern as not to be found in Pepys's collection com- 
pleted only in 1700. In the folio MS. are ancient fragments of 
the following, viz. : Robin Hood and the Beggar, Robin Hood 
and the Butcher, Robin Hood and Fryer lucke, Robin Hood and 
the Pindar, Robin Hood and Queen. Cathaiiiic, in two parts, Little 
John and the four Beggars, and Robinc 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 away. 


&c. it is evidently posterior to the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and 
can scarce be older than the reign of K. Charles I. for K. James 
1. had no issue after his accession to the throne of England. It 
may even have been \\Titten since the Restoration, and only express 
the wishes of the nation for issue on the marriage of their favourite 
K. Charles 11., on his marriage with the Infonta of Portugal. I 
think it is not found in the Pepys collection. 

(F f.) Historical song or ballad. '\ The English word ballad is 
evidently from the French baladc, 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. Bur- 
ney (ii. 343,) who refers to a collection of balletic, pubHshed 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 
ballistca and saltatiunculce. Ballisteiifn, Salmasius says, is pro- 
perly ballistiiim, Gr. 'QaWiaraiov. " otTro -« BaWi'^'w . . . BaWiortn 
saltatio . . . ^a/Z/j/zV/w igitur est quod vulgo vocamus /'<///:'/'; nam 
inde deducta vox nostra." Salmas. Not. in Hist. Ang. Scriptores, 

iv. p. 349- 

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

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

The other was : 

" Mille Samiatas, mille Francos 
Semel & semel occidimus. 
Mille Persas qua^rimus." 

Salmasius {in loc.) shows that the trivial poets of that time were 
wont to form their metre of trochaic tetramctre 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 
learnetl author of Irish Antiquities, 4to. 

(F f 2.) Little Miscellanies ?ianicd Garlands, 6-r.] In the 
Pepysian and other libraries are preserved a great number of these 


in black letter, J2mo. under the following quaint and affected 
titles, viz. : 

I. A Crowjie Garland of Goulden Roses gathered out of England^ s 
Royal Garden, &^e., by Richard Johnson, 1612. [In the Bodleyan 
Library.] 2. T/ie Golden Garland of Fri?icely Delight. 3. The 
Garland of Good-will, hy T. D., 1631. 4. The Royal Garland of 
Love and Delight, byT. D. 5. The Garland of Delight, 6^^., by 
Tho. Delone. 6. The Garla?id of Love and Mirth, by Thomas 
Lanfier. ']. Cupid's Gatiafid set roimdivith Guilded Roses. 8. The 
Garland of Withered Roses, by Martin Parker, 1656. 9. The 
Shepherd^ s Garland of Love, Loyalty, &=€. 10. The Country Gar- 
land. II. The Golde7i Garland of Mirth and Merriment. 12. The 
Lover's Garland. 13. Neptune's fair Garland. 14. England's 
fair Garland. 15. Robin LLood's Garland. 16. The Maiden! s 
Garland, i^. A Loyal Garland of Mirth and Pastime. 18. ^ 
Royal Garland of Neiu Songs. 19. The Jovial Garland, Z\}i\ 0.6x1. 
1 69 1, &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 was not confined to a 77ieer musician in 
this country any more than on the Cofiti?ie?it.'] The discussion 
of the question, whether the term minstrel was applied in England 
to singers and composers of songs, &c. or confined to the perfor- 
mers 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 
meer musician but a singer of verses, hath been shown in notes 
B, c, R, A a, &c.* And that he was also a maker of them is evident 
from the passage in (c.) p. 386, where the most noted romances 
are said to be of the composition of these men. And in (b b.) 
p. 417, we have the titles of some of which a minstrel was the 
author, who has himself left his name upon record. 

* That the French minstrel was a singer and composer, &c. 
appears from many passages translated by M. Le Grand, in Fa- 
bliaux ou Contes, 6^c. see tom. i. p. 37, 47, ii. 306, 313, 6^ se^^. 
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 of fablier, cofiteur, menetrier, menestrel, 
and jongleur (tom. i. pref p. xcviii.) whereas his own tales con- 
fute all these nice distinctions, or prove at least that the title of 
menetrier or minstrel was applied to them all. 


The old English names for one of this profession were glee- 
man,* jogelerj and latterly minstrel ; not to mention harper, &c. 
In French he was calledycv/^/tv/r ory/zi^/tv/r, tncmstrdox ))icncstricr.\ 
The writers of the middle ages expressed the character in Latin 
by the woxd^ Joculator, /m'inus, /listrio, ini/iistfei/us, &c. These 
tenns, however modem critics may endeavour to distinguish and 
apply them to different classes, and although they may be some- 
times 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 com- 
prehensive name was latterly minstrel, Lat. iiiinistni/ies, &c. 

Th.M'i.JoLuIator (Eng. jogeler, orjuglar) is used as synonymous to 
citharista (note k. p. 397), and to cantor (p. 397), and to minstrel 
(vid. infra, p. 425). We have also positive proof that the sub- 
ject of his songs were gestes and romantic tales (v. 2. note). 

So mimus is used as synonymous \o joadaior (m. p. 399). He 
was rewarded for his singing (n. p. 400) and he both sang, harped, 
and dealt in that sport (t. 2) which is elsewhere called arsjoai- 
latoria (m. ubi supra). 

Again histrio is also proved to have been a singer (z. p. 412) 
and to have gained rewards by his verbajociilatoria (e. p. 388). And 
histriones is the term by which the Fr. word viinistraulx is most 
frequently rendered into Latin (w. p. 410, ub. p. 416, &c.) 

The fact therefore is sufficiently estabhshed 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 w^e have only to turn to so common a book 
as T. Warton's History of Eng. Poetry : where we shall find ex- 
tracted from records the following instances: — 

"Ex Registr. Priorat. S. Swithin Winton(sub anno 1374)- In 
festo Alwyni Epi. . . . Et durante pietancia in Aula Convcntus 
sex ministralli, cum quatuor citharisatoribus, faciebant ministralcias 
suas. Et post cenam, in magna camera arcuata dom. prions can- 
tabant idem Gestum in qua Camera suspendebatur, ut moris est, 
magnum dorsale Prioris habens picturas trium Regum Colein. 
Veniebant autem dicti joculatores a Castello domini Regis & ex 
familia Epi." (vol. ii. p. 174). Here the minstrels and harpers are 
expressly c?i}Aiti\. joculatores. and as the harpers had musical instru- 
ments, the singing must have been by the minstrels, or by both 

For that minstrels sang we have undeniable proof in the following 

 See p. 392. t '"^t-*-- P- 409- \ See p. 359, note.* 


entry in the Accompt Roll of the Priory of Bicester, in Oxford- 
shire (under the year 1432). " Dat. 6'dr ministralUs dQ Bokyngham 
cantantibus in refedorio Martyrium Septem Doniientium infesto Epi- 
pJianie, ivi"." (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 oi Efuare (No. 15, vol. iii. appendix), 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 1312) we have 
this distich : — 

" 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 Isembrase, 

And of many other Jestes [Gestes] 

And namely whan they come to festes." * 

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 the 
makers at least of some of them. For the names of their authors 
being not preserved, to whom can we so probably ascribe the com- 
position of many of these old popular rhimes, as to the men who 

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


devoted all their time and talents to the recitation of them : espe' 
cially as in the rhimes themselves minstrels are often represented 
as the makers or composers. 

Thus in the oldest of all, Horn-child having assumed the charac- 
ter of a harper or jogeler, is in consequence said (fo. 92). to have 

'• made Rymenild [his mistress] a lay.'' 

In the old romance of Emare, we have this exhortation to 
minstrels, as composers, otherwise they could not have been at 
Hberty to chuse their subjects (st. 2) : — 

" Menstrelles that walken fer and \\yde 
Her and ther in every a syde 

In mony a dyverse londe 
Sholde ut her bygynnyng 
Speke of that rj^ghtwes kyng 

That made both see and sonde," &c. 

And in the old song or geste of Guy and Colbronde (No. 4, 
vol. iii. appendix), 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 ?nee to speake 
Of keene knights and kempes great 
Such carping for to kythe." 

We have seen already that the Welsh bards, who were undoubt- 
edly composers of the songs they chanted to the harp, could not 
be distinguished by our legislators from our own rimers, minstrels 
(vid. note b b. 3, p. 418). 

And that the Provengal troubadour of our King Richard, who is 
called by M. Favine jongleur, and by M. Fauchet mcncstrcl, is by 
the old English translator termed a rimer or minstrel, when he is 
mentioning the fact of his composing some verses (p. 359). 

And lastly, that Holinshed, translating the prohibition of K. 
Henry V., forbidding any songs to be comi)Osc(l 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 vic- 
tory',' (S:c. (vid. p. 370 and note B b. 4). 

Now that this order of men, at first called gleemcn, then juglers, 
and afterwards more generally minstrels, existed here from the 
Conquest, who entertained their liearers with chanting to the harp 
or other instruments, songs and tales of chivalry, or as they were 


called, gests* 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 there- 
by excluded from affording entertainment to our nobihty, who are 
so often addressed therein by the title of lordings : and sometimes 
more positively "lords and ladies " (p. 427). 

And tho' many of these were translated from the French, others 
are evidently of English origin f which appear in their turns to have 
afforded versions into that language ; a sufficient proof of that in- 
tercommunity between the French and English minstrels, which 
hath been mentioned in a preceding page. Even the abundance 
of such translations into English being all adapted for popular re- 
citation, sufficiently establishes the fact that the English minstrels 
had a great demand for such compositions, which they were glad 
to supply, whether from their own native stores or from other lan- 

We have seen above that the joculator, mimus, histrio, whether 
these characters were the same, or had any real difference, were all 
called minstrels ; as was also the harper, J 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 min- 
strels) should consist of instrumental performers chiefly, if not al- 

* 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 K. James IV. 
in 1503 (in appendix to Leland. Collect, iv. p. 265), we are pro- 
mised an account "of their gestys and manners during the said 

t The romance of Richard Coeur de Lion (No. 25) I should 
judge to be of English origin, from the names Wardrewe and 
Eldrede, &c. iii. appendix (sect. ii.). As is also Eger and Grime 
(No. 12), wherein a knight is named Sir Gray Steel, and a lady 
who excells in surgery is called Loosepaine or Losepain ; these 
surely are not derived from France. 

X See the romance of Sir Isenbras (No. 14) sign. a. 

" Harpers loved him in Hall 
With other Minstrels all." 


together ; 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 Mu- 
sic : "* so at other times we hear of "expert minstrels and musicians 
of tongue and cunning" CB b. iii. p. 4iS)t, meaning doubtless by 
the former singers, and probably by the latter phrase composers of 
songs. Even " minstrels music" seems to be ajjplied to the species 
of verse used by minstrels in the passage quoted below. J 

But although from the predominancy of instrumental music min- 
stralsy 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 Elizabeth, as appears in the follo\ving extract from Putten- 
ham's Arte of E/ig. Foesic, p. 9, who, speaking of the first com- 
posers of Latin verses in ryme, says, " all that they wrote to the 
favour or prayse of princes, they did it in such manner of min- 
stralsie ; and thought themselves no small fooles, when they could 
make their verses go all in ryme." 

I shall conclude this subject with the following description of 
minstrelcy given by John Lidgate at the beginning of the fifteenth 
century, as it shows what a variety of entertainments were then 

* T. Warton, ii. 258, note (a) from Leland's Coilect. vol. iv. ap- 
pend, edit. 1774, p. 267. 

t The curious author of the Toiir 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 applicable to ^Vales at that time. 
Nor can I agree with him in the representation he has given (p. 
367) concerning the Cymmorth or meeting, wherein the bards 
exerted their powers to excite their countrymen to war ; as if it 
were by a deduction of the particulars he enumerates, and, as it 
should seem, in the way of harangue, &c. After which, " the band 
of minstrels .... struck up ; the harp, the cnvth, and the \^\\)t 
filled the measures of enthusiasm, which the others had begun to 
inspire." \VTiereas it is well known that the bard chanted his en- 
thusiastic effusions to the harp ; and as for the term minstrel, it 
was not, I conceive, at all used by the Welsh ; and in English it 
comprehended both the bard and the musician. 

\ " Your ordinarie rimers use very much their measures in the 
odde, as nine and eleven, and the sharpe accent upon the last sil- 
lable, which therefore makes him go ill favouredly and like a min- 
strels musickc." (Puttenham's Ar/e of Ew^. JWsie, 1589, p. 59.) 
This must mean his vocal music, otherwise it appears not applicable 
to the subject. 

430 NOTES, &c. 

comprehended under this term, together with every kind of instru- 
mental music then in use. 

" Al maner Mynstralcye, 
That any man kan specifye. 
Ffor there were Rotys of Ahnayne, 
And eke of Arragon, and Spayne : 
Songes, Stampes, and eke Daunces ; 
Divers plente of plesaunces : 
And many unkouth notys new 
Of swiche folke as lovid treue.* 
And instrumentys that did excelle, 
Many moo than I kan telle. 
Harpys, Fythales, and eke Rotys 
Well according to her \t.e. their] notys, 
Lutys, Ribibles, and Getemes, 
More for estatys, than tavemes : 
Orgay[n]s, Cytolis, Monacordys. — 
There were Trumpes, and Trumpettes, 
Lowde Shall[m]ys, and Doucettes." 

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

1^ The foregoing essay on the ancient minstrels has been very 
much enlarged and improved since the first edition, with respect 
to the Anglo-Saxon minstrels, in consequence of some objections 
proposed by the reverend and learned Mr. Pegge, which the reader 
may find in the second volume of the Archccologia, printed by the 
Antiquarian Society : but which that gentleman has since retracted 
in the most liberal and candid manner in the third volume of the 
ArchcEologia, No. xxxiv. p. 310. 

And in consequence of similar objections respecting the English 
minstrels 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 for- 

[Ritson made a searching examination of this essay, and dis- 
sented from many of the propositions contained in it. His essay 
'' On the Ancient English Minstrels" will be found in his collection 
of Ancient Songs and Ballads^ 

* By this phrase I understand new tales or narrative rymes 
composed by the minstrels on the subject of true and faithful 
lovers, &c. 




STAGE, cSic. 


^^^^f^"^ is well known that dramatic poetry in 
^^ this and most other nations of Europe 
^1 f^J owes its origin, or at least its revival, to 
S^l;^ those religious shows which in the dark 
ages were usually exhibited on the more solemn 
festivals. At those times they were wont to repre- 
sent in the churches the lives and miracles of the 
saints, or some of the more important stones of 
scripture. And as the most mysterious subjects 
were frequendy chosen, such as the Incarnation, 
Passion, and Resurrection of Christ, &c., these exhi- 
bitions acquired the general name of mysteries. At 
first they were probably a kind of dumb shews, in- 
termingled, 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 0/d Plays and in Osborne's 
Ilarlcyan Misccl. How they were exhibited in their 
most simple form we may learn from an ancient novel, 
often quoted by our old dramatic poets {a) intitled 
. ..." a merye jest of a man that was callctl Howle- 

a See Ben Jonson's Poetaster, act iii. sc. 4, and his AfaS(/ue of 
the Fortunate Isles. Whalkys edit. vol. ii. p. 49, vol. vi. \). 190. 


glas" {6), &c., being a translation from the Dutch 
language, in which he is named Ulenspiegle. 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 Howleglass 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 Howle- 
glas, 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 Howleglas 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 
Howleglas 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 herd 
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 see- 

b Howleglass is said in the Preface to have died in mccccl. 
At the end of the book, in mcccl. 



ing 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)'ng them lyinge together by the eares 
in the bodi of the churche, went his way out of the 
village, and came no more there. "(r) 

As the old mysteries frequently required the repre- 
sentation 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 compleat dramatic pieces consisting entirely of 
such personifications. These they intitled moral 
plays, or moralities. The mysteries were very inarti- 
ficial, representing the scripture stories simply ac- 
cording 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 VIII., 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 both. 

One of them is intitled Every Man. {d) 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 com- 
forts of religion. This subject and moral are 
opened in a monologue spoken by the Messenger 
(for that was the name generally given by our ances- 
tors to the prologue on their rude stage) ; then God 

(0 Imprynted ... by VVyllyani Copland : without date, in 4to. 
bl. let. among Mr. Garrick's old plays, K. vol. x. 

{d) This play has been reprinted by Mr. Hawkins in his three 
vols, of old i)Iays, intitled. The On)^in of the English Drama, 
i2rao. Oxford, 1773. See vol. i. p. 27. 

F \ 


{e) is represented, who, after some general com- 
plaints on the degeneracy of mankind, 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 ap- 
plies for relief in this distress to Fellowship, Kindred, 
Goods, or Riches, but they successively renounce 
and forsake him. In this disconsolate state he be- 
takes himself to Good-dedes, who, after upbraiding 
him with his long neglect of her,(y) 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 then 
withdraws to receive the sacraments of the priest. 
On his return he begins to wax faint, and after 
Strength, Beauty, Discretion, and Five Wits {g) 
have all taken their final leave of him, gradually ex- 
pires on the stage, Good-dedes still accompanying 
him 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 : — 

" C. 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. 

(<?) The second person of the Trinity seems to be meant. 

(/) The before-mentioned are male characters. 

(^) /. 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. 


From this short analysis it may be observed that 
Every Man is a grave, solemn piece, not ^vithout 
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 chanored, nor the stacre 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 circum- 
stance of Every-man's expiring on the stage, the 
Sampson Agonistes of Milton is hardly formed on a 
severer plan.(//) 

The other play is intitled Hick Scorner,{i) and 
bears no distant resemblance 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 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 Prewyll, representing a lewd debauchee, who, 
with his dissolute companion Imaginacion, relate 
their manner of life, and not without humour de- 

(/t) See more of Every Man in vol. ii. pref. to IJ. ii., note. 

0) " Impryntcd by me Wynkyn dc \Vorde,"nodate ; in 4to. hi. 
let. This play has also been rcjirintcd by Mr. Hawkins in liis 
Origin of the English Dratna, vol. i. p. 69. 


scribe 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, agree- 
ably 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 Contem- 
placion, 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, etc., 
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 waiters 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 exhibited in Eng- 
land 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 Dun- 
stable and taught in the Abby there, where he 
caused to be acted (probably by his scholars) a mir- 
acle-play of St. Catharine, composed by himself, {a) 
This was long before the year 11 19, and probably 
within the eleventh century. 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 revival of 
dramatic entertainments in all Europe, being long 
before the representations of mysteries in France, 
for these did not begin till the year i398.(<^) 

But whether they derived their origin from the 
above exhibition or not, it is certain that holy plays, 
representing the miracles and sufferings of the 

{a) "Apud Dunestapliam .... quendam luduni de sancta 
Katcrina ((luem miracula vulgariter ap])el]amus) fecit. Ad quae de- 
coranda, |)otiit a sacrista sancti Albani, lit sibi Capa; Chorales ac- 
commodarentur, et obtinuit. Kt fuit Indus ille de sancta Katcrina.' 
VitcE 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 i 240. But that indeed ajjpears 
from the more early writings of Fitz-Stephens : (juoted below. 

{b) Vid. Abrcge Chron. de mist, de France, par M. Henault, .^ 
I'ann. 1 179. 


saints, were become common in the reign of Henry 
II., and a lighter sort of interludes appear not to 
have been then unknown. (^) In the 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 Coun- 
cil of Constance (^) ascribes to the English the in- 
troduction 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, 141 7, 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 exhi- 
bitions of this kind, and some curious particulars 

{c) 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 spectacuhs theatraUbus, pro ludis scenicis, 
ludos habet sanctiores, representationes miraculorum," &c. He 
is thought to have written in the reign of Henry H. and to have 
died in that of Richard I. It is true at the end of this book we 
find mentioned Henricum regent terthim ; but this is doubtless 
Henry II. 's son, who was crowned during the life of his father, in 
1 1 70, and is generally distinguished as Rexjuvenis, Rexjilius,a.nd 
sometimes they were jointly named Reges Afiglice. From a pas- 
sage in his chap. De Reltgiofie, it should seem that the body of St. 
Thomas Becket was just then a new acquisition to the church of 

{d) See prologue to Wife of Bath's Tale, v. 6137, Tyrwhitt's 

{e) M. L'enfant, vid. Hist, du Cone, de Constance, vol. ii. p. 


relating to this subject, will appear from the Hotis- 
hold Book of the fifth Earl of Northumberland, a.d. 
1 5 1 2,(y") whence I shall select a few extracts which 
show that the exhibiting Scripture dramas on the 
ereat festivals entered into the re^rular establishment, 
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 Household 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 his lordship kepe a chapell and be at home, 
them of his lordschipes chapell, if they doo play the 
Play of the Nativitc uppon cristynmes day in the 
mornnynge in my lords chapell befor his lordship — 
xxJ." Sect. xliv. p. 343. 

" Item, .... to them of his lordship chappell 
and other his lordshipis servaunts that doith play 
the Play befor his lordship uppon Shrof-Tewsday at 
night yerely in reward — xj." Ibid. p. 345. 

"Item, ... to them .... that playth the Play 
of Resurrection upon estur day in the mornnynge in 
my lordis 'chapell' befor his lordshipe — xxj." 


(/) The Re^Jilations and Establishments of the Hoiishold of 
Hen. Al^. Percy, ^th Earl of Northutnb. I.ond. 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 15 12, some of the regulations were 
composed so late as 1525. 


" Item, My lorde useth and accustomyth yerly to 
gyf hym which is ordynede. to be the Master of the 
Revells yerly in my lordis hous in cristmas for the 
overseyinge and orderinge of his lordschips Playes, 
Interludes and Dresinge that is plaid befor his lord- 
ship in his hous in the xijth dayes of Cristenmas and 
they to have in rewarde for that caus yerly — xxj." 

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 lord- 
ship 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 Players 
for Playes playd in Christynmas by Stranegeres in 
my house after xxd.(£-) every play, by estimacion 
somme — xxxiijV. iiij. (//)." Sect. i. p. 22. 

" Item, My Lorde usith, and accustometh to gif 
yerely when his Lordshipp is at home, to every erlis 
Players that comes to his Lordshipe betwixt Cristyn- 
mas 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 be- 
twixt Crystynmas and Candilmas — xs." Ibid. 

The reader will observe the great difference in the 

{g) 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 13J. \d. and for a lean one 8^-. 

(Ji) At this rate the number of plays acted must have been 


rewards here given to such players as were retainers 
of noble personages and such as are stiled 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 intitled Cock Lorrcles Bote{i) 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. vj. 

Ill, It hath been observed already th^t plays of 
miracles, or mysteries, as they were called, led to the 
introduction of moral plays, or moralities, which pre- 
vailed so early and became so common that towards 
the latter end of K. Henry VI I. '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. 
A new interlude and a mery of the nature of the 
iiii. elements declarynge many proper poiyits of phi- 
losophy naturall, and of dyvers straunge landys {a), 

(J) Pr. at the Sun in Fleet-str. by W. do Worde, no date, b. 1. 

((/) Mr. Garrick has an imperfect copy {Old Plays, i. vol. iii.). 
The Dramatis Personns are : " The Messenger [or Prologue]. 
Nature naturate. Humanyte. Studyous Desire. Sensuall Appe- 
tyte. The Tavemer. Experyence. Ygnoraunce. (Also yf ye 
lyste ye may brynge in a dysgysynge.)" Afterwards follows a table 
of the matters handled in the interlude ; among which are : "Of 
certeyn conclusions prouvynge the yerthe must nedes be rounde, 

and that yt is in circumference above xxi. M. myle." " Of 

certeyne points of rosmographye — and of dyvers straunge regyons, 
— and of the new founde landys and the maner of the people." 
This part is extremely curious, as it shews what notions were en- 
tertained of the new American discoveries by our own country- 



&c. 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 Hous- 
hold Book). The play of Hick-Scorner was pro- 
bably somewhat more ancient, as he still more im- 
perfecdy alludes to the American discoveries, under 
the name of "the Newe founde Ilonde." [Sign. A. 


It is observable that in the older moralities, as in 
that last mentioned. Every -man, &c., is printed no 
kind of stage direction for the exits and entrances of 
the personages, no division of acts and scenes. But 
in the moral interlude of Lusty Juventus,{b) written 
under Edward VI. the exits and entrances begin to 
be noted in the margin. (^) At length in O. Eliza- 
beth's reign moralities appeared formally divided 
into acts and scenes with a regular prologue, &c. 
One of these is reprinted by Dodsley. 

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 

(J}) Described in vol. ii. preface to book ii. The Dramatis 
Personse of this piece are : " Messenger, Lusty Juventus, Good 
Counsail, Knowledge, Sathan the devyll, Hypocrisie, Fellowship, 
Abominable-lyving [an Harlot], God's-merciful-promises." 

{c) I have also discovered some few exeats and intrats in the 
very old interlude of the Four Elements. 


Pamphlets, Playes, and Ballads ; that no manner of 

person shall enterprize to print any such, &c." but 

under certain restrictions. Vid. Sect. V. 

In the time of Hen. 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 

reien of Elizabeth tragedies and comedies began to 

appear in form, and could the poets have persevered 

the hrst models were good. Gorboduc, a regular 
traL,^edy, was acted in 1561 ;(^) and Gascoigne, in 
1566, exhibited Jocasta, a translation from Euri- 
pides, as also The Supposes, a regular comedy from 
Ariosto, near thirty years before any of Shake- 
speare's were printed. 

The people, however, still retained a relish for their 
old mysteries and moralities, (/) and the popular 
dramatic poets seem to have made them their 
models. From the graver sort of moralities our 
modern tragedy appears to have derived its origin, 
as our comedy evidently took its rise from the 

{(i) Bp. Bale had applied the name of tragedy to his mystery 
of Gods Promises, in 1538. In 1540 John Palsgrave, B.D., had 
republished a Latin comedy, called Acolastiis, with an English ver- 
sion. Holinshed tells us (vol. iii. p. 850), that so early as 1520, 
the king had "a good comedie of Plautus plaied" before hnn at 
Greenwich ; but this was in Latin, as Mr. Farmer informs us in his 
curious Essay on the Learning of Shakespeare, 8vo. p. 31- 

(e) See Ames, p. 316. This play appears to have been first 
printed under the name of Gorboduc, then under that of Ferrex 
and Porrex,m 1569; and again under Gorboduc, 1590. Ames 
calls the first edition quarto ; Langbaine, octavo : and Tanner, 
1 2mo. 

(/) The general recei)tion the old moralities had ujion the 
stage will account for the fondness of all our first poets for alle- 
gory. Subjects of this kind were familiar with every one. 


lighter interludes of that kind. And as most of 
these pieces contain an absurd mixture of religion 
and buffoonery, an eminent critic (^) has well de- 
duced from thence the origin of our unnatural tragi- 
comedies. Even after the people had been accus- 
tomed to tragedies and comedies moralities still 
kept their ground. One of them, intitled The New 
Custom,{k) was printed so late as 1573. At length 
they assumed the name of masques, (e) and with 
some classical improvements, became in the two 
following reigns the favourite entertainments of the 

IV. The old mysteries, which ceased to be acted 
after the Reformation, 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 dis- 
tinct from them both. These were historical plays 
or histories, a species of dramatic writing which re- 
sembled 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 ^Eneid. 

What might contribute to make dramatic poetry 
take this form was, that soon after the mysteries 
ceased to be exhibited, was published a large collec- 
tion of poetical narratives, called The Mirrour for 
Magistrates, (a) wherein a great number of the 

(g) Bp. Warburt. Shakesp. vol. v. 

ih) Reprinted among Dodsle/s Old Flays, vol. i. 

{i) In some of these appeared characters full as extraordinary 
as in any of the old moraHties. In Ben Jonson's masque of 
Christmas, 161 6, one of the personages is Minced Pye. 

{a) The first part of which was printed in 1559. 


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 {I?) 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 
representation of a memorable event in English 
history, that was expressed in actions and rhimes. 
This was the old Coventry play of Hock-Tues- 
day,(r) founded on the story of the massacre of the 
Danes, as it happened on St. Brice's night, Novem- 
ber 13, 1002. (rtf) The play in question was per- 
formed by certain men of Coventry, among the 
other shews and entertainments at Kenelworth 
Castle, in July, 1575, prepared for Queen Eliza- 
beth, 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, (r) hath 
given a short description of the performance, which 
seems on that occasion to have been without recita- 

{b) Catal. of Royal and Noble authors, vol. i. p. 166-7. 

{c) 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, Sec, in Malone's S/iakesp. vol. 
ii. part ii. p. 13-14. 

{d) Not 1012, as printed in Laneham's Letter, mentioned below. 

(e) Ro. Laneham, whose letter, containing a full description of 
the shows, &c., is reprinted at large in Nichols's Proi^resscs of Q. 
Elizabeth, &c., vol. i. 410. 1788. That writer's orthography being 
peculiar and affected, is not here followed. 


tion or rhimes, and reduced to meer dumb-show ; 
consisting of violent skirmishes and encounters, first 
between Danish and English " lance-knights on 
horseback," armed with spear and shield, and after- 
wards 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 ex- 
hibited 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- 
meaning but precise preachers, of whose " sour- 
ness " herein the townsmen complain, urging that 
their play was " without example of ill-manners, pa- 
pistry, or any superstition ;" (//) which shews it to 
have been entirely distinct from a religious mys- 
tery. ('") 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 rhimes, or to 
procure new ones to accompany the action : which, 
if it originally represented " the outrage and im- 
portable insolency of the Danes, the grievous com- 
plaint of Huna, king Ethelred's chieftain in wars,"(t) 

(/) Laneham, p. 37. {g) Ibid. p. t,^. 

(k) 3id. 

(*) Laneham describes this play of ITock Tuesday, 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, terming it 
"their old storial show" (p. 32). And so it might be as repre- 
sented and expressed by them " after their manner " (p. 2,2>) '• ^1" 
though we are also told by Bevil Higgons, that St. Brice's Eve was 
still celebrated by the northern English in commemoration of this 
massacre of the Danes, the women beating brass instruments, and 
singing old rhimes, in praise of their cruel ancestors. See his 
Short View of Eng. History, 8vo. p. 1 7. (The preface is dated 
1734.) (t) /<5/^. p. 32. 


his counselling and contriving the plot to dispatch 
them, concluding with the contiicts above mentioned, 
and their final suppression — " expressed in actions 
and rhimes after their manner,"(/) one can hardly 
conceive a more regular model of a compleat drama; 
and, if taken up soon after the event, it must have 
been the earliest of the kind in Europe. (f) 

Whatever this old play, or " storial show," (/•) was 
at the time it was exhibited to O. Elizabeth, it had 
probably our young Shakespeare 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 Majestic laught well," and rewarded the 
performers with two bucks, and five marks in money, 
who, " \vhat rejoicing upon their 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 xnorQ'Xm) we may 
imagine what an impression was made on his infant 
mind. Indeed the dramatic cast of many parts of 
that superb entertainment which continued nineteen 

(/) T..ineham, p. 33. 

(t) The Rhiiitcs, &c., prove this play to have been in English : 
whereas Mr. Tho. Warton thinks the mysteries composed before 
1328 were in Latin. Malone's Shakesp. vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 9. 

(k) Laneham, p. 32. 

(/) See Nichols's Progresses, vol. i. p. 57. 

\rn) Laneham, p. 38-39. This was on Sunday evening, July 9. 


days, and was the most splendid of the kind ever 
attempted in this kingdom ; the addresses to the 
Queen in the personated 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 

But that the historical play was considered by our 
old writers, and by Shakespeare 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 
{f^ hath been used comedies, tragedies, enterludes, 
and histories both true and fayned."(d?) Beaumont 
and Fletcher, in the prologue to The Captain, say : 

" This is nor Comedy, nor Tragedy, 
Nor History." 

Polonius in Hamlet commends the actors as the 
best in the world, " either for tragedie, comedie, his- 
toric, pastorall," &c. And Shakespeare's friends, 
Heminge and Condell, in the first folio edit, of 
his plays, in i62 3,(/') have not only intitled their 
book " Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, His- 
tories, and Tragedies," but in their table of con- 
tents have arranged them under those three several 
heads ; placing in the class of histories " K. John, 
Richard IL Henry IV. 2 pts. Henry V. Henry 

(m) The Creation of the World, acted at Skinner's-well in 1409. 

(0) 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 second and third 
folios, &c. 


VI. 3 pts. Rich. III. and Henry VIII.", 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 Shakespeare is found not to have been 
the first who invented 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 Shakespeare wrote, historical plays do not 
appear to have attained this distinction, being not 
mentioned in O. Elizabeth's licence in I574(;') to 
James Burbage and others, who are only impowered 
" to use, exercyse, and occupie the arte and facul- 
tye of playenge Commedies, Tragedies, Enterludes, 
Stage-Playes, and such other like." But when 
Shakespeare's histories had become the ornaments 
of the stage, they were considered by the publick, and 
by himself, as a formal and necessary species, and 
are thenceforth so distinguished in public instru- 
ments. They are particularly inserted in the licence 
granted by K. James I. in 1603,(5) to W. Shake- 
speare himself, and the players his fellows ; who are 
authorized " to use and exercise the arte and faculty 
of playing Comedies, Tragedies, Histories, Inter- 
ludes, Morals, Pastorals, Stage- Plaies, and such 

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 Come- 

{q) See Malone's Shakesp. vol. i. pari ii. p. 31 
(r) Ibid. p. 37. {.s) Ibid. p. 40. 

G G 


dians of Q. Anne deceased, to bring up children in 
the qualitie and exercise of playing Comedies, His- 
tories, Interludes, Morals, Pastorals, Stage-Plaies, and 
such like."(") The same appears in an admonition 
issued in 1637 if) by Philip, Earl of Pembroke and 
Montgomery, then Lord Chamberlain, to the master 
and wardens of the Company of Printers and Sta- 
tioners, 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 pub- 
lished 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, Shakespeare'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 king's return. 

This appears not only from the allowance to 
Mr. William Beeston in June, i66o,(?/;) to use 
the house in Salisbury-court " for a Play-house, 
wherein Comedies, Tragedies, Tragi-comedies, Pas- 
toralls, and Interludes, may be acted," but also from 
the fuller grant (dated August 21, i76o),(z/) to 

(*) See Malone's Shakesp. vol. i. part ii. p. 49. Here histories, 
or historical plays, are found totally to have excluded the mention 
of tragedies ; a proof of their superior popularity. In an order for 
the King's comedians to attend King Charles I. in his summer's 
progress, 1636 {ibid. p. 144), histories are not particularly men- 
tioned ; but so neither are tragedies : they being briefly directed 
to " act playes, comedyes, and interludes, without any lett," &c. 

if) Ibid. p. 139. 

{u) This is beheved to be the date by Mr. Malone, vol. ii. 
part ii. p. 239. 

{v) Ibid. p. 244. 


Thomas Kllligrew, 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 Shakespeare was the favourite dramatic 
poet, his histories had such superior merit that he 
might well claim to be the chief, if not the only his- 
toric dramatist that kept possession of the English 
stage ; which gives a strong support to the tradition 
mentioned by Gildon,(ec') that, in a conversation 
with Ben Jonson, our bard vindicated his his- 
torical 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 par- 
ticular." This is assigning not only a good motive, 
but a ver)^ probable reason for his preference of this 
species of composition ; since we cannot doubt but 
his illiterate countrymen would not only want such 
instruction when he first began to write, notwith- 
standing the obscure dramatic chroniclers who pre- 
ceded 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 \\\^ first 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 Shakespeare 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 |)ar- 
ticular attention of his critics and commentators ; 

(w) See Malone's Shakesp. vol. vi. \^. 427. This ingenious 
writer will, with his known lilicnility, cxnise the (iiffLTcncc of 
opinion here entertained concerning the above tradition. 


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 Shakespeare'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 according to which it was composed. 
This would save a deal of impertinent criticism. 

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 
ceconomy of the ancient English stage. 

Such was the fondness of our forefathers for 
dramatic entertainments, that not fewer than nine- 
teen playhouses had been opened before the year 
1633, when Prynne published his Histrioviastix.{a) 
From this writer it should seem that " tobacco, wine, 
and beer,"(<5) were in those days the usual accom- 

{d) He speaks in p. 492 of the playhouses in Bishopsgate-street 
and on Ludgate-hill, which are not among the seventeen enu- 
merated in the preface to Dodsley's Old Plays. Nay, it appears 
from Rymer's MSS. that twenty-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. 

(b) So, I think, we may infer from the following passage, viz. : 
"■ How many are there, who, according to their several qualities, 
spend 2d. 2,d. 4^- 6^. i2d. iSd. 2s. and sometimes 4^'. or 5^-. at a 
play-house, day by day, if coach-hire, boat-hire, tobacco, wine, 
beere, and such like vaine expences, which playes doe usually 
occasion, be cast into the reckoning ? " Prynne's Histriom. p. 

But that tobacco was smoaked in the play-houses appears fi-om 
Taylor the Water-poet, in his Proclamation for Tobacco's Propaga- 


modations 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 shewn), {c) re- 
tainers or menial servants to particular noblemen, (^f) 
who protected them in the exercise of their profes- 
sion : and many of them were occasionally strollers, 
that travelled from one gentleman's house to another. 
Yet so much were they encouraged, that, notwith- 
standing their multitude, some of them acquired 
large fortunes. Edward Allen, who founded Dul- 
wich 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 splen- 

iion : " Let play-houses, drinking-schools, taverns, &c. be con- 
tinually haunted with the contaminous vapours of it ; nay (if it be 
possible) bring it into the churches, and there choak up their 
preachers."' ( Works, p. 253.) And this was really the case at 
Cambridge: James I. sent a letter in 1607 against "taking To- 
bacco" in St. Mary's. So I learn from my friend Dr. Farmer. 

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. 

{c) See the extracts above, in p. 439, from the E. of Norlhumb. 
Hoiishold Book. 

(d) See the Preface to Dodsley's 0/d Plays. The author of an 
old invective against the stage, called A third Blast of Rdrait 
from Plates, &c., 1580, i2mo., says: " Alas ! that private affection 
should so raigne in the nobilitie, that to pleasure their servants, 
and to upholde them in their vanitye, they should restrainc the 
magistrates from executing their office I . . . They [the nobilityj 
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 
service, which is a kind of beggerie. Who indeede, to speakc 
more trulie, are become beggers for their servants. For comonlie 
the good-wil, men beare to their Lordes, makes them draw the 
strings of their purses to extend their liberalilie." Vid. p. 75, 76, 


dour which was thought enormous in that frugal 

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 ; {^j and seats of three-pence and 

(e) Stephen Gosson, in his Schoole of Abuse, 1579, i2mo., fol. 
23, says thus of what he terms in his margin Players-men : '"'Over 
lashing in apparel is so common a fault, that the very hyerlings of 
some of our Players, which stand at revirsion of \\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, dis- 
creete, 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 sha- 
dowes (I mean those hangbyes, whom they succour with stipend) 
cause them to be somewhat il-talked of abroad." 

In a subsequent period we have the following satirical fling at 
the shewy exterior and supposed profits of the actors of that time. 
Vid. Greene's Groatszvorth of Wit, 1625,410. : "What 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 should 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 : Tevipora ?nutantnr 
.... for my very share in playing 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. 

(_/) So a MS. of Oldys, from Tom Nash, an old pamphlet-writer. 
And this is confirmed by Taylor the Water-poet, in his Praise of 
Beggerie, p. 99 : 

" Yet have I seen a beggar with his many, [sc. vermin] 
Come at a play-house, all in for one penny." 

{g) So in the Belman's Night- Walks by Decker, 16 16, 4to. : 
" Pay thy two-pence to a player, in this gallery thou mayest sit by 
a harlot." 


a groat seem to be intended in the passage of 
Prynne above referred to. Yet different liouses 
varied in their prices : that playhouse 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 if) of what is now called 
the pit, which probably had its name from one of 
the playhouses having been a cock-pit.(/') 

The day originally set apart for theatrical exhibi- 
tion 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 
pla}houses were only licensed to be opened on that 
day :(/) but before the end of her reign, or soon 
after, this abuse was probably removed. 

(//) Induct, to Ben Jonson's Barthohnneii'-fair. An ancient sa- 
tirical piece called The Blacke Book, Lond, 1604, 4to., talks of 
" The six-penny roomcs 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." 

(/) Shakesp. Prol. to Hen. P7//.— Beaum. and Fletch. Prol. to 
the Captain, and to the Mad-lover. 

{k) This etymology hath been objected to by a very ingenious 
writer (see Malone's Shakesp. vol. i. part ii. p. 59), 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 
{no7c>) 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 with the licentiousness of 
boys, will not think it impossible that they should thus ai)ply a 
name so peculiarly expressive of its situation : which from frccjucnt 
use might at length prevail among the senior members of the 
University ; especially when those young men became seniors 
themselves. The name of Pit, so apjjlied at Cambridge, must be 
deemed to have been a cant phrase, until it can be shewn that the 
area in other churches was usually so called. 

(/) .So Ste. Gosson, in his Schoole of Abuse, 1579, i2mo., speak- 
ing of the players, says, " These, because they are allowed to i)lay 
every Sunday, make iiii. or v. Sundayes at least every week," fol. 
24. So the author of A Second and Third Blast of Retrait from 


The usual time of acting was early in the after- 
noon, (^i^^) plays being generally performed by day- 
light. (72) All female parts were performed by men, 
no English actress being ever seen on the public 
stage {0) before the civil wars. 

Plaies, 1580, 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.'"' P. 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 
unseemehe sentences passing out of the mouth of a ruffenhe plaier, 
doth more content the hungrie humors of the rude multitude, and 
carrieth better rellish in their mouthes, than the bread of the 
worde, &c." Vid. p. 63, 65, 69, &c. I do not recollect that ex- 
clamations of this kind occur in Prynne, whence I conclude that 
this enormity no longer subsisted in this 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." 

{in) " He entertaines us" (says Overbury in his Character of an 
Actor) " in the best leasure of our Hfe, 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. 

{ti) See Biogr. Brit. i. 1 1 7, n. D. 

{p) 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, vid. p. 215. And tho' female 
parts were performed by men or boys on the pubHc 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 1. 
and Charles I. 

Sir William Davenant, after the restoration, introduced women, 
scenery, and higher prices. See Cibber's Aplogy for his own Life. 


Lastly, with regard to the playhouse furniture and 
ornaments, a writer of King- Charles II.'s time,(y^) 
who well remembered the preceding age, assures us 
that in general " they had no other scenes nor de- 
corations of the stage, but only old tapestry, and 
the stage strewed with rushes, with habits accord- 
ingly." (^) 

Yet Coryate thought our theatrical exhibitions, 
&c,, splendid when 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 I saw women act, a thing that I never saw 
before, though I have heard that it hath been some- 
times 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 mascu- 
line actor."(r) 

It ouofht, however, to be observed, that amid such 
a multitude of playhouses as subsisted in the metro- 

(/) See A Short Discourse on the English Stage, subjoined to 
Flecknoe's Love's Kingdofn, 1674, i2mo. 

{q) It appears from an ei)igram of Taylor the Water-poet, 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 16 13. (See Taylor's Sculler, Epig. 
22, p. 31. ]onsovv% Execration on Vulcan.) 

Puttenham tells us they used vizards in his time, "partly to 
supply the want of players, when there were more parts tlian llicre 
were persons, or that it was not thought meet to trouble .... 
jjrinces chambers with too many folkes." \Art of Eng. Foes. 
1589, p. 26.1 Prom the last clause, it should seem that they were 
chielly used in the masfjues at Gourt. 

(r) Coryate's Crudities, 4to. 1611, p. 247. 


polis before the Civil Wars, there must have been a 
great difference between their several accommoda- 
tions, ornaments, and prices ; and that some would 
be much more shewy than others, though probably 
all were much inferior in splendor to the two great 
theatres after the Restoration. 

1^ The preceding Essay, although some of the materials are 
new arranged, hath received no alteration deserving notice, from 
what it was in the second edition, 1767, except in section IV, which 
in the present impression hath 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. Warton in his History of English Poetry, 1774, &c., 3 vols. 
4to. (wherein is inserted whatever in these volumes fell in Avith his 
subject) ; and by Edmond Malone, Esq., who, in his Historical 
Account of the English Stage {Shakesp. vol. i. part ii. 1790), hath 
added greatly to our knowledge of the oeconomy and usages of 
our ancient theatres. 

[This Essay is now entirely out of date, on account of the mass 
of new material for a complete history of the English stage, which 
has been printed since it was written. Information on the subject 
must be sought in the prefaces of the various editions of the 
dramatists and of the collections of mysteries and miracle plays, 
or in Collier's History of English Dramatic Poetry, and Halliwell's 
New Materials for the Life of Shakespeare.~] 


DAM BELL, Clym of the Clough, and William of 

Cloudesley, 153. 
Aged Lover renounceth Love, 179. 
Alcanzor and Zayda, 338. 

Bryan and Pereene, 328. 

Carre, Captain, 148. 

Cauline, Sir, 61. 

Character of a Happy Life, 317. 

Chevy Chase, Ancient Ballad of, ig. 

Chevy Chace, Modern Ballad of, 249. 

Child of Elle, 131. 

Cophetua, King, and the Beggar Maid, 189. 

Corj'don's Farewell to Phillis, 209. 

Cupid's Pastime, 314. 

Death's Final Conquest, 264. 
Dowsabell, 304. 

Edom o' Gordon, 140. 
Edward, Edward, 82. 
Estmere, King, 85. 

Farewell to Love, 310. 

Friar of (Jrders Gray, 242. 

PYolicksome Duke, or the Tinker's Good Fortune, 238. 

Gentle River, Gentle River, ^^t. 
Gernutus, the Jew of Venice, 211. 
Gilderoy, 318. 

46o INDEX. 

Jephthah, Judge of Israel, 182. 
Jew's Daughter, 54. 

Lancelot du Lake, Sir, 204. 

Leir, King, and his Three Daughters, 231. 

My Mind to me a Kingdom is, 294. 

Northumberland (Henry, 4th Earl of), Elegy on, 117. 
Northumberland betrayed by Douglas, 279. 

Otterbourne, Battle of, 35. 

Passionate Shepherd to his Love, 220. 
Patient Countess, 298. 

Rising in the North, 266. 

Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne, 102. 

Robyn, Jolly Robyn, 185. 

Song to the Lute in Musicke, 187. 
Spence, Sir Patrick, 98. 

Take those Lips away, 230. 
Take thy old Cloak about thee, 195. 
Titus Andronicus's Complaint, 224. 
Tower of Doctrine, 127. 

Ulysses and the Syren, 311. 

Willowj Willow, Willow, 199. 
Winifreda, 323. 
Witch of Wokey, 325. 
Youth and Age, 237. 





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