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Full text of "Reliques of ancient English poetry: consisting of old heroic ballads, songs, and other pieces of our earlier poets; together with some few of later date. Reprinted entire from the author's last ed. With memoir and critical dissertation by George Gilfillan"

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itf) ^emoir anti Critical Dissertation, 



VOL. I. * 







THOMAS PERCY, the indefatigable and ingenious author of the 
" Reliques of Ancient Poetry," was born on the 13th of 
April 1728, at Bridgenorth, in Shropshire. His father was a 
grocer. He was educated at the free school in that town, and 
entered Christ Church, Oxford, in July 1746, as an exhibi 
tioner. Ten years after, he was presented to the vicarage of 
Easton-Mauduit, Northamptonshire, and the Earl of Sussex, 
about the same time ? gifted him with the rectory of Wilby. 
Here, besides being diligent in pastoral work, he found time 
to cultivate literature. In 1759 he married Anne, daughter 
of Barton Goodriche, Esq., of Northamptonshire. This lady 
had acted as nurse to one of royal family. She is described 
as a " good creature," but ordinary both in appearance and 
manners, and indebted for her charms to her husband's imagi 
nation. In 1761 Percy published a Chinese novel, entitled 
" Hau Kiou Choaan," in four volumes. This was a transla 
tion of a real Chinese story, which a merchant named Wilkin 
son had brought from Canton. Percy sold it for 50. He 
published also " Chinese Proverbs," and a new version of 
" Solomon's Song." In the notes to the novel he discovered 
that painstaking research which became characteristic, and 
qualified him to annotate the "Ancient Minstrelsy." In 1761 


he undertook, at the instance of the Tonsons, to edit an edition 
of the works of the Duke of Buckingham; and two years 
after, he superintended an edition of Surrey's poems. Neither 
of these works was ever published, although both were printed. 
He proposed, besides, to have republished all the undramatic 
blank verse preceding the " Paradise Lost," including Tuber- 
ville, Gascoigne, Chapman, Christopher Marlowe, &c. 

In 1763 he published five pieces of Kunic poetry, with 
translations into Latin prose, which met with only moderate 
success. In 1764 appeared a " Key to the New Testament" 
a work which proved that he was not neglecting his profes 
sional studies, and which became popular. This year Johnson 
visited him at his vicarage, and remained most part of three 
months in the highest enjoyment now poring over the old 
Spanish romance of " Felixmarte of Hyrcania," now helping 
Mrs Percy to " feed her ducks," and now talking learnedly to 
her learned lord. Percy had before this commenced the work 
which was destined to make him immortal the collection of 
old ballads. He had himself a large folio MS. of ballads, 
and he set to work to procure others from every part of the 
British empire from Derbyshire, Wales, Ireland, and even 
the West Indies. In these researches he was either aided or 
encouraged by the most eminent men of his day by Gold 
smith, Garrick, Thomas Warton, Shenstone, and Gray, as 
well as by such professed antiquarians as Birch, Farmer, and 
Stevens. Percy seems to have been personally popular with 
all of these; and most of them, besides, admired old poetry. 
Grainger, too, author of the forgotten " Sugar Cane," and of 
the beautiful ode to " Solitude," was a warm friend and an 
efficient ally to Percy. 

In February 1765 the " Reliques " appeared. Percy 
received 100 guineas for the first edition. Their reception at 
first was not specially flattering. Johnson, Warburton, and 
Hurd coalesced for once in treating contemptuously a style of 
poetry which, not from weakness, but from strong prejudice 
and want of imagination, they were unable to appreciate. 
Warburton, with his usual fertility of coarse figure, spoke of 
antiquarian ballads, as "specious funguses, compared to the 


oak." No expression could be more unlike the reality. These 
ballads, in their hirsute strength and rich native tang, may 
be compared rather to oak or beech mast, containing in them 
the germ of a thousand forests. Think of the " grand old 
ballad of Sir Patrick Spence " as a " specious fungus ? " It 
is rather strange how scholars like Warburton, Hurd, and 
Johnson did not descry in some of these old strains the genuine 
spirit of Homer and the ancient rhapsodists. It is probable 
that Johnson never took the trouble of reading them, partly 
from indolence, and partly from the foregone conclusion to 
which he had come against their class. When, six years later, 
the " Hermit of Warkworth " which was a feeble imitation, 
by Percy, of the old ballad appeared, Johnson did read it, and, 
by a ludicrous parody on one of its verses, turned the laugh of 
the literary world against the author. Our readers will 
remember the incidents connected with the quarrel between 
Percy and Johnson about Pennant, recorded in Boswell, and 
how it was soldered up by the sage exclaiming, " I am willing 
you shall hang Pennant ! " Johnson had a sincere regard for 
Percy, although very little sympathy with his special literary 

In a letter dated March 1765, Grainger wrote Percy, "I 
hope you will sing yourself at least into a stall, if not into a 
throne." Promotion was not very long in following this pre 
diction. In 1769 Percy, who had previously been appointed 
chaplain to the Duke of Northumberland, was made chaplain 
in ordinary to the King. In 1778 he became Dean of Carlisle; 
and in 1782 Bishop of Dromore, in Ireland a bishopric 
which, a century before, had been administered by Jeremy 
Taylor, who held the neighbouring see of Down and Connor. 

This was the triumph the slave in the chariot was now to 
succeed. An adversary to the ingenious bishop appeared in 
the shape of the notorious Joseph Bitson. He was one of 
those Ishmaelites who stand up ever and anon in the world of 
letters, and are distinguished still more by their fierce passions 
and ungovernable temper than by their powers. Such an one 
in criticism was Dennis in England ; such in Scotland were 
Gilbert Stuart and "Whitaker, in history j such, more lately, 


and with a higher range of talent, was Cobbett, in politics, 
and such, in antiquarianism, was Ritson. This furious author 
fell foul of Percy, for what he chose to call " forgery," by which 
he meant the emendations he, as editor, judged it proper to 
make upon some of the ancient ballads. These Ritson 
regarded as so many acts of fraud, which he thought he had a 
right to treat more severely, because perpetrated by a clergy 
man and bishop. He charged him, besides, with misrepre 
senting the character of the " Ancient Minstrel." Percy 
bowed to this accusation, and afterwards modified his state 
ment; but indignantly repelled the charge of fraud, asserting 
that his " emendations of old and mutilated ballads were open 
and avowed." Ritson practised a peculiar style of spelling, and 
had a violent horror at the use of flesh, fish, or fowl. Our 
readers will find, in one of the first volumes of the Edinburgh 
Review, a severe and pungent attack on his vegetarianism. 
He ultimately crossed the slender line which existed in his 
brain between talent and derangement, and died insane in 
1803. Leyden who delighted in tormenting him, and once 
in his presence ate a beefsteak raw, to deepen his disgust at 
the use of animal food thus ludicrously describes him in an 

imitation ballad : 


" That dwarfe, he ben beardless and bare, 
And weasel flowen ben al his hair 
Like an ympe or elfe. 
And in this world beth al and hale, 
Ben nothing that he loveth and dele 
Safe his owen selfe." 

Scott looked on Ritson with a more generous eye, and did 
justice to his indomitable perseverance, his courage, and the 
vast stores of recondite lore discovered in his "Life of Arthur" 
and his " Essay on Romance and Minstrelsy." 

In his Irish retreat, Percy, although under considerable dis 
advantages, prosecuted his literary studies. Sometimes his 
letters, or those of his friends, were lost in their passage; 
sometimes he was, through the miscarriage of the Gentleman' 's 
Magazine, visited for months with a famine of literary news, 


and sometimes new books had become old, ere they reached 
his Dromore hermitage. Still his tastes continued as fresh as 
ever; and, as "absence makes the heart grow fonder," and 
distance lends enchantment to the view, perhaps his residence, 
so far removed from the great centre, served even to increase 
his enthusiasm for literature. His letters published by John 
Bowyer Nichols, under the title of "The Percy Correspondence," 
prove that he pursued his studies with unabated energy till 
the close. Nor was he, meanwhile, neglectful of his clerical 
duties. If not so eloquent in the pulpit as Jeremy Taylor had 
been, he was quite as distinguished, we are told, by liberality 
to the poor, attention to both the sacred and civil interests of 
his diocese, piety, hospitality, and benevolence. The penalty 
incident to many scholars, he did not escape. Poring on old 
print and MS. cost him his eyesight, a calamity which, along 
with the growing infirmites of age, he bore with exemplary 
patience, and at last, on the 30th of Sept. 1811, he expired in 
Christian hope. He was in his eighty-third year. He boasted, 
it may be mentioned, of being the last male descendant of the 
ancient house of Percy, and it was fitting that he should have 
edited " Otterbourne " and " Chevy Chase." 

Percy was not, perhaps, a man of much originality of 
genius, or great strength, or richness of mind. Johnson was 
probably right when he said, " He runs about with little weight 
upon his mind." Yet he was unquestionably endowed with 
certain rare qualities. He had ardent enthusiasm, an enthusiasm 
which, like that of Scott, was the same in kind, although 
different in direction, from that of his warlike ancestors ; he had 
a vivid sympathy with the old writers, and could think their 
thoughts, feel their passions, and talk their language ; he had 
invincible diligence, an enormous memory, and has written 
some ballads of his own, such as " Sir Cauline," which entitle 
him to an independent and considerable poetical reputation. 
It has been objected to him, that his ballads are, in style and 
spelling, more ancient than the ancients. This is an error into 
which a poet of much greater power namely Chatterton 
also fell. In private, Percy was distinguished, like Scott, 
chiefly by the profusion of his anecdotes, and his easy good 


humour. The great praise of Percy, and of the Percy Reliques, 
however, lies in the stimulus that his work gave to the flagging 
interests of poetry, as well as to the minds of many youthful 
men of genius. The " Minstrel " of Beattie, the finest if not 
the most forcible poem Scotland has yet produced, was inspired 
by a perusal of Percy's Essay on the Ancient Minstrels; 
indeed, Beattie and Percy seem to bear a striking resem 
blance in enthusiasm of spirit, and in pathetic tenderness. 
Wordsworth, Southey, and Coleridge, vie with each other in 
commending the "Reliques," and in acknowledging poetical 
obligations to their collector. Scott describes with fondest 
gusto the spot under the shadow of a plane-tree where he first 
read the fascinating volumes, forgetting his dinner and all 
sublunary things till the perusal was over ; and need we say 
that the influence of Percy has told on all the works of the 
"Last Minstrel," from his "Eve of St John" and " Glen- 
finlas," down to his "Talisman " and his " Fair Maid of Perth." 
Miss Mitford, when drawing near the close of her career, 
records having read sixty years before, when she was a child 
of five, with infinite delight the Percy Ballads. And to crown 
all, Burns himself next to these ancient minstrels, the finest 
of song writers thought " Nanny ! " the most beautiful 
ballad in the English language, although in our judgment it is 
not to be compared to "Highland Mary" or "Mary Morrison" 
in the Scotch. 

Apart from an inspiring effect on individuals, the Percy 
Reliques exerted on poetry in general a most healthful influ 
ence. The book seemed a fresh well, a " Diamond of the 
Desert," newly opened amidst the dry sandy wastes and 
brackish streams of a wilderness of literature. Percy, not by 
the force of his genius, but chiefly by the truth of his sym 
pathies, struck out an entirely new vein of poetry. Imagina 
tive literature was at a very low ebb in Britain. Johnson 
and Goldsmith had both abandoned poetry for prose. Gray 
Avas nursing his fine genius amidst the shades of Cambridge. 
No new poet of much power or originality was rising. It 
was not surprising that, in such a dreary dearth, a small 
bunch of wild flowers, culled, as it were, from the walls of 


a ruined castle, but, with the scent of free winds, and the 
freshness of the dew, and the tints of the sun upon the leaves, 
shot suddenly into the hands of the public, should attract 
notice and awaken delight ; that, while rejected by some of the 
fastidious and the idolaters of Dryden and Pope, they should 
refresh the dispirited lovers of poetry ; and that, while the 
vain and the worldly passed them by, if they did not tear and 
trample them under foot, with fierce shouts of laughter, the 
simple-hearted took them up and folded them to their bosoms. 
Such a bunch was the Percy Ballads, and such their reception. 
Lord Jeffrey, in some of his articles in the Edinburgh Re~ 
view, as in that very able one on " Ford's Dramas," attributes 
the commencement of our emancipation from an artificial style 
of poetry to Cowper; but the Percy Ballads had preceded 
his works, and began a reaction in favour of truth and sim 
plicity, which Cowper's influence strengthened, and which, 
through the aid of Bowles and the Lake Poets in the end of 
the eighteenth century, terminated in a complete and final 
triumph. Had the Percy Ballads appeared as an original work, 
we doubt if they would have met with such success. But, 
issued under the prestige of antiquity, criticism was disarmed 
the prejudice men feel in favour of the old was enlisted in 
behalf of the new, and the book assumed the interest at once 
of a birth and a resurrection. 

As an original work in the eighteenth century they cer 
tainly never could have appeared, since one of their main 
merits lies in their relation to the period when they were 
sung, and in their thorough reflection of the manners, feelings, 
superstitions, and passions of a rude age. This, joined to the 
poetic qualities possessed by most of its specimens, renders the 
old ballad by far the most interesting species of poetry. The 
interest springs from the primitive form of society described in 
it a society composed of a few simple elements of the 'baron's 
ha' and the peasant's cot ' the feudal castle the little depend 
ent village beside it the sudden raids made by one hostile chief 
upon another the wild games, gatherings, and huntings which 
relieved, ever and anon, the monotony of life the few travellers, 
mostly pilgrims or soldiers, moving through the solitudes of the 


landscape the Monastery, with its cowled tenants, and the 
Minster with its commanding tower -from the glimpses given 
of an early and uncultivated nature of dreary moors with 
jackmen spurring their horses across them to seize a prey of 
little patches of culture shining like spots of arrested sunshine 
on the desolate hills of evening glens, down which are de 
scending to their repose, long and lowing trains of cattle from 
the upland pastures and of ancient forests of birch, or oak, or 
pine, blackening along the ridges, half choking the cry of the 
cataracts, and furnishing a shelter for the marauders of the 
time, if not also for the disembodied dead or evil spirits from the 
pit from the allusions to the superstitions of that dark age, to 
ghosts standing sheeted in blood by the bedside of their mur 
derers of fairies footing it to the light of the midnight moon, 
and the music of the midnight wind of witches (like her of 
Wokey) hiding 

a In the dreary dismall cell 
Which seem'd and was ycleped hell : 
Whare screeching owls oft made their nestj 
While wolves its craggy sides possest 
Night howling through the rock " 

and to the portents of the sky, such as that so picturesquely 
introduced in " Sir Patrick Spence " 

" Late, late yestreen I saw the new moone 

Wi' the auld ane in hir arme, 
And I feir, I feir, my deir master, 
That we will com to harme " 

and from the view supplied of fierce and stormy passions boil 
ing in hot aboriginal hearts, ever prompting to deeds of vio 
lence, yet mingled with thrills of generous emotion and touches 
of chivalric grace, as in the noble exclamation of Percy over 
the dead Douglas 

" To have savyde thy lyffe I wold have pertyd with 

My lands for years thre, 
For a better man of hart, nare of hande 
Was not in all the north countre\" 

Then there was the build of the ballad so simple, yet striking, 
full even in its fragmentariness, bringing out all main events and 


master-strokes with complete success, often breaking off with 
an unconscious art at the very point where it was certain to pro 
duce the greatest effect, and its " very splinters, like those of 
aromatic wood, smelling sweetest at the fracture" its lyrical 
spirit, so changeful, gushing, bird-like and its language, so 
native, simple, graphic, yet in its simplicity so powerful, and 
capable of the grandest occasional effects, reminding you of 
an oak-sapling, which, in the hands of a strong man, has often 
turned aside the keen point of the rapier, dashed the claymore 
to the dust, and deadened the blow of the mighty descending 
mace. Not inferior, besides, to any of these elements of inte 
rest, is the figure projected on our vision of the minstrel himself 
wandering through the land like a breeze or a river, at his 
own sweet will, with a harp, which is his passion, pride, 
and passport in the land now pausing on the rustic bridge, 
and watching the progress of the haunted stream, which had 
once ran red with gore in some ancient skirmish now seated 
on the mountain summit, and seeing in the castles, abbeys, 
and towers, which dot the landscape on every side, as well as 
in the cottages, the villages, the braes, and the woods, a theme 
for his muse and now beheld in a tower or castle, which even 
then had been for centuries a ruin, silent in its age (as that 
solemn Kilchurn Castle, standing at the base of Cruachan, 
like a penitent before a God, but soothed amidst remorse and 
anguish by the sympathetic murmur of the dark Orchay, and 
farther off by the silver ripple of the blue Loch Awe), medi 
tating over other times, and passing his hand across his lyre 
at intervals with a touch as casual and careless, yet musical as 
that of the breeze upon the nettles and the ivy which in part 
adorn and in part insult the surrounding desolation; or, to view 
in another aspect the manifolded minstrel, his figure seen now 
entering a cottage at even-tide, and, drawing the simple circle, 
like a net, in around him, as he sings 

" Of old unhappy far-off things, 
And battles long ago " 

or as he touches the trembling chords of their superstition by 
some weird tale of diablerie now admitted, like Scott's 


famous hero, into the lordly hall, and there surrounded by 
bright-eyed maidens, and, stimulated by the twofold flattery 
of sugared lips and generous wines, pouring out his high- 
wrought, enthusiastic, yet measured and well-modulated 
strains now meeting some brother-bard, and exchanging, by 
the lonely mountain wayside, or in some rude hostelry, their 
experience and their songs now firing warriors, on the eve 
before, or on the morn of battle, by a Tyrtsean ode now 
soothing the soul of the departing soldier, as did Allan Bane- 
Roderick Dhu, by some martial strain, which seems to the 
dying ear like the last echo of the last of a hundred fights 
now singing his dirge after death, as did also the grey-haired 
seer and songster when he cried 

" Oh woe for Alpine's honoured Pine ! 
Sad was thy lot on mortal stage ! 
The captive thrush may brook the cage, 
The prison'd eagle dies for rage. 
What groans shall yonder valleys fill ! 
What shrieks of grief shall rend yon hill ! 
What tears of burning rage shall thrill. 
When mourns thy tribe thy battles done, 
Thy fall before the race was won, 
Thy sword ungirt ere set of sun ! " 

and now, in fine, himself expiring, with the whole fire of the 
minstrel spirit mounting up to his eye, and with the harp and 
the cross meeting over his dying pillow, as emblems of his 
joy on earth and of his hope in heaven, and typical also of that 
happier era in the history of the world, when genius and reli 
gion shall embrace each other, and when, as some astronomers 
tell us, the constellation of the Lyre and the Cross of the 
South, shining both together in our hemisphere, shall attest 
and signalise the blessed union. All these, and far more than 
all these ideas, images, and associations, must be remembered 
and appreciated ere we understand the full meaning and magic 
of the words " Ballad-poetry." Add to this the fact that 
these ballads have, as Fletcher said long ago, been the real 
laws of a country that they have pervaded every rank of 
society mingled, like currents of air, with men's loves, 
hatreds, enthusiasms, patriot-passions passed from the mouth 


of the minstrel himself to that of the ploughman in the field 
the maid by the well (singing, perchance, as in that exqui 
site scene in " Guy Mannering " 

" Are these the links of Forth, she said, 

Or are they the crooks of Dee ; 
Or the bonnie woods of Warroch-head, 
That I sae fain wad see ? ") 

the reaper among the yellow sheaves the herdsman in the 
noontide solitude of the hill, or in the snow-buried shieling 
the child in the nursery, or in her solitude, how strange and 
holy, with God for her only companion! while wandering to 
school, through woods or wildernesses and the soldier, rest 
ing after the fatigues of a day of blood, or returning to his 
mountain home when the wars are over, to the music of one 
of its own unforgotten songs ! Who remembers not the hus 
bandman in "Don Quixote," who, as he goes forth to his 
morning labour, is singing the " ancient ballad of Ronces 
Valles ?" And add still farther, as an illustration of the power 
and charm of ballad-poetry, not only that Homer, the earliest, 
and all but the greatest of poets, was a ballad-maker ; and 
not only that Shakspeare condescended to borrow songs, and 
plots, and hints, from old English ballads but that many of 
the noblest of modern poetic productions, such as the most of 
Scott's verses, Coleridge's " Christabel " and " Rime of the 
Anciente Marinere," Wordsworth's " Lyrical Ballads," 
Southey's " Old Woman of Berkeley," Allan Cunningham's 
best lyrics, Macaulay's " Lays of Ancient Rome," and innu 
merable more, are imitations, in style, or in spirit, or in man 
ner or in all three of those wild, early, immortal strains. 

So much for the general merit, power, and popularity of 
such ballads as are found in Percy's collection. We come 
now, instead of considering the merits of the ballads individu 
ally, to say a few words about the origin and history of ballad- 
minstrelsy and minstrels remarks intended simply as sup 
plementary to, or explanatory of, the very interesting essay of 
Percy. The minstrels of the middle ages may be regarded as 
a cross between the bards or scalds of the ancient Scandinavian 
world, and the actors and public singers of modern times. To 


something of the high, and, as it was then thought, Divine 
inspiration of the scald, they added something of the mimetic 
power of the actor, and of the musical skill of the singer. The 
ancient bards, indeed, seem to have been singers and actors, 
too ; but their artistic power was subordinate to their genius, 
and was regarded rather as a fit expression of their inspired 
utterance, than as possessing much distinct or distinguishable 
merit of its own. In the minstrels, genius and art were more 
thoroughly equalised, and served to support each other. The 
scalds in keeping with the earnest character of the iron 
North, with its gloomy forests, gloomier snows, arid its mid 
night winter sky, heavy-laden with stars were stern in their 
subjects and in their mode of song : they interwove such phi 
losophy, morality, and theology as they had, with poetry; 
whereas the minstrels, though often tragical and pathetic, 
were, on the whole, more secular in their topics, more brilliant 
in their ideas, and gayer in their spirit. These differences 
sprang from differences in age, in climate, and in national cha 
racter. The scald stood alone, as reflecting the intellect, the 
culture, the conscience, as well as the poetic gift, of his coun 
try; his spirit was partly soured and partly sublimed by the 
savage scenery, weather, manners, and religion of Scandinavia; 
whereas, ere the minstrel appeared, civilisation had produced 
division of labour monks and doctors had become the spiritual 
teachers Paganism had yielded to a certain form of Chris 
tianity over his head there expanded a bluer and sunnier 
heaven ; and his progress, as he walked, was surrounded, now 
by the lilies of France, now by the orange-groves of Spain, 
now by the purpling vineyards of Italy, and now by the glad 
green sward of England. Yet, different as the two classes 
ultimately became, there can be little doubt that the one 
was intimately related to the other; and it does not really 
matter much whether you say that the minstrel arose out of 
the scald, or that the scald sunk into the minstrel, since each 
term of the alternative only expresses a different taste on the 
part of the inquirer one preferring the grace and gaiety of 
the southern, and the other the energy, the terrible sincerity, 
and the solemn grandeur of the northern genius. 


The derivation of the term minstrel has been a matter of 
dispute. Some derive it from the word ministerialis, which, 
in the Latin of the middle ages, signified a workman in 
Languedoc still the word ministral means a workman and 
thus the word minstrel is just a translation of the ancient 
Greek term TTO^T?;?, and answers to the Scotch "maker or 
makker." Others derive it from the French menestreux or 
menstrierSj a word which describes the inferior ministers or 
servants in a noble family. Others, with Percy, think that, 
because the minstrels assisted at Divine service, the word 
minister was used to express the minstrel " ministellus jocu- 
lator," and not the officiating clergyman. Junius supposes the 
word to be of English origin, and derived from the old Saxon 
word for a cathedral min jrejie or minister. To this it has been 
objected, first, the word minstrel was not known in England 
before the conquest, but had long been used in France ; and 
that, secondly, the old Saxon word first given is manifestly 
a corruption of monasterium } and properly not an old Saxon 
word at alL A recent writer (F. Burghley, author of two 
very promising books of poetry, namely " Sonnets " and " Sir 
Edwin Gilderoy," a ballad), ingeniously tries to shew that 
the three first of these derivations are resolvable into one. He 
says, " The Latin word from which they all derive is minister, 
which is formed from minus, as magister is from magis, correla 
tives standing for greater man and lesser man master and 
helper. The workman is an helper, called ministral in Lan 
guedoc. The inferior servants are helpers in the hall, and 
perhaps they did as servants in a country-house do here, form 
a part of the Church choir, although this is doubtful. But 
it is immaterial; the choristers who became permanently 
attached to the Church were ministri or servants of the 
Church, and so semi-clerical. Now, the dress of the common 
minstrels was clerical, and points almost without a chance of 
error to the true origin of the " minstrel." Supposing this 
theory to be entertained, there are, however, certain difficul 
ties to be explained, as, first, how did these " helpers," in 
hall or choir, come to leave their calling, and to wander 
'through the country, sometimes, it must be confessed, singing 



profane songs ; secondly, how did they supplant or swallow 
up the gleemen or harpers, who, from the time of the Druids, 
had always followed this profession ; and, thirdly, how were 
they, being half clerical, nevertheless, as Godwin and some 
others maintain, hated and proscribed by the clergy, who got 
up, it is said, " miracle plays or mysteries to rival them, and 
refused them the sacred communion and Christian burial." 

In answer to these questions, it seems probable that poverty 
first drove some of the " ministrals," who felt themselves pos 
sessed of fine genius and of musical powers, to leave the con 
vents and churches, and seek for a wider sphere to the exer 
cise of their gifts. Some of them would keep true to their 
original profession, and avoid all profanity and licentiousness 
in their strains, while others would be tempted, by love of 
popularity and gain, to accommodate themselves to the taste 
of the mob. Wearing a clerical dress, and surrounded by a 
portion of the clerical prestige, as well as, perhaps, better edu 
cated and conducted, they would soon eclipse the gleemen, or 
even draw them into their ranks, an amalgamation which 
might increase the deterioration of their order. The clergy 
would feel a certain natural jealousy toward them, even as we 
know that the stationary monks felt jealousy toward the beg 
ging friars ; and this would be deepened by the profligacy and 
profanity of a portion of their number, but would not extend 
to the more respectable members of the society. And hence, 
although Godwin adduces evidence to prove the aversion of 
the clergy to many of the minstrels, we know, on the other 
hand, that they were sometimes received gladly into convents 
to amuse the inmates, pensioned by abbeys, and invited by 
bishops on the promise of distinguished rewards, to leave 
France for England. In fact, there seem to have been two 
distinct classes of the minstrel first, the man of genius who 
wrote as well as sung his ballads ; and, secondly, the mere 
hawker of them, who was original only in the profane scur 
rility and the mountebank tricks by which he made them ac 
ceptable to the vulgar. 

In proof that the character of the minstrel was on the whole 
an honourable one. we have the fact that it was assumed both 


before and after the Norman conquest by the most distinguished 
men, by kings and nobles. Regner Lodbrog, king of Denmark, 
lived before what are properly called the minstrel days, but 
he was as eminent a scald as he was a conqueror. Every one 
remembers the story of Alfred finding his way into the Danish 
camp in the disguise of an harper. Richard, the first Duke of 
Normandy, was a minstrel, and the first writer of French verse. 
William, ninth Count of Poitou, was the earliest troubadour. 
Henry I. of England, surnamed Beauclerk, was a poet, 
although the romance poem, entitled "Urbanus" is falsely 
attributed to his pen. And Richard Coeur-de-Lion, besides 
being a munificent patron of minstrels, such as the famous 
Blondel de Nesle, was himself one of the royal poets of 
Provence, and Sir Walter Scott, in " Ivanhoe," appropriately 
introduces him in this character in the cell of the immortal 
Friar Tuck, and makes him at once the composer and the 
singer of a spirited crusading ballad. 

It seems probable from the mixture of Latin words in the 
minstrel dialect, that it sprang up in Provence, the district 
nearest in France to Rome, and possibly it was in Rome itself 
that a trained choir of musicians were first employed to lead 
the service of God. In Normandy, too, there was minstrelsy, 
but although it excelled the Provencal in power of imagina 
tion, it was inferior in tenderness, in grace, and in adaptation 
to music. " The case," remarks Burghley, " stands thus : the 
noblest strains of poetry were of northern growth ! the Gothic 
temperament appears at all times to have been more fitted for 
the reception and development of sublime and elevated thought; 
but music is the child of the south, and was applied (first in 
an improved and scientific style about 366), by the Church to 
the sacred compositions that were ready to hand, so that there 
was no necessity for recourse to original composition at all. The 
rude Scandinavian, and the soft-voiced southern, the one a con 
queror with the sword, the other a spiritual conqueror with the 
cross, commenced an invasion, one upon the other, and the mid 
way point appears to have fallen in France." There the genius 
of the North and the splendid melody of Italy met and married, 
and produced between them the perfect form of mediaeval 


minstrelsy. Wherever the Church extended, a class of musicians 
arose, who by and by became dissatisfied with the stated 
services of the choir, and devoted themselves to the roving life 
of the scalds, adding to their fire and force the sweetness 
of southern harmony, and straightway all Europe resounded 
with song. For ages, indeed, the distinction between the 
"Provencal Troubadour" and the "Norman Eymour" con 
tinued, but by the time of Richard Cosur-de-Lion, and probably 
through the amalgamating influence of the Crusades, it was to 
all intents forgotten. 

The language used by the minstrels was the romance 
tongue, a mixture of Latin and Norse, with the Latin element 
more abundantly infused in its southern, and the Norse in its 
northern dialect. This tongue, although the parent of the 
French, Italian, and Spanish, and although existing still in a 
corrupted form in Provence, can hardly be now called a living 
language. The southern dialect was termed in course of time 
the Proven9al, although the best specimens of Provencal poetry 
are of Spanish origin, and are supposed to owe not a little to 
the Moors and Arabs (see Lockhart's Spanish Ballads). The first 
troubadour, however, was a Frenchman, and the Spanish influ 
ence did not create, it only finely and deeply coloured, the early 
French poetry. The fountain of the Norland minstrelsy was 
unquestionably Normandy, although some of the earliest pieces 
of poetry seem to have been written in England. By and by 
came a perfect chaos and seething of languages in Europe, of 
Latin, Saxon, Gothic, and Celtic, out of which gradually was 
formed the language of the earliest British ballads, which have 
come down to us. And time would fail us, to explain the dif 
ferences from, or the resemblances to each other, of the varied 
species of singers, who flourished partly at the same, and partly 
at different periods, such as the bards, the scalds, the gleemen, 
the harpers, the rymours, the trouveres (or minstrels of the 
crusade), the conteurs, the jongleurs, the chanteurs, and 
finally the menestrals, coming to a climax in the English 
minstrel, whose ideal we described above, and who gave us 
the first rude versions of such strains as "Chevy Chase," 
which afterwards were by his followers re-touched, re-written, 


and adapted in successive editions to the tastes and manners of 
successive generations. We content ourselves with these 
remarks in the meantime the subject will necessarily require 
a fuller treatment in the history of British poetry. 

On one topic connected with it we must make an observation, 
namely on the influence of the Crusades on minstrelsy. We 
need not dwell on the general effects of these extraordinary 
movements how, on a bridge of bloody corpses they spanned 
the gulf between the eastern and western worlds how, on 
the one hand, they shot a fresh tide of enthusiasm into the 
collapsed frame and curdled veins of Catholicism, and, on the 
other, tainted the soldiers of the cross with every vice and 
vanity of the Orient how they wasted life and treasure, 
devastated countries and rendered nations unutterably miser 
able, and yet, on the other hand, 

a How that red rain did make the harvest grow " 

the harvest of literature, arts, and commercial enterprise, and 
paved the way for the regeneration of Europe. But the effect 
of the Crusades on the minstrel and on minstrelsy was good, and 
only and greatly good. It gave him new themes to handle 
and nobler heroes to sing. It opened up to him lands of 
deeper romance and more hallowed grandeur than the vine- 
waving slopes of Provence, or the cork-covered mountains of 
Andalusia. It furnished him with a wider intelligence, and 
enabled him to add a body of culture to a soul of poetry. And 
hence the minstrels who returned from the Crusades, strode 
with a more majestic step, and sang with a deeper and more 
enthusiastic voice, and communicated to the general body of 
lyrical singers, subjects more elevated and more varied, and 
an inspiration more tropical and sublime. 

In this edition, which is reprinted from the last edition 
published during the author's life, we have advisedly retained 
all Percy's notes and his essays, judging that thus only can 
we do justice to the great research he displayed, and recognise 
the claim he had to the character of an able commentator as 
well as to that of a compiler and a poet. To omit that part of 
the work which cost him so much care, and which contains so 


much curious information, were as wise as to print Gibbon's 
" Home " without his notes, so unrivalled for their compression 
of learning, or Scott's poems without his own recondite and 
racy annotations. 

We have much pleasure in presenting the public with this 
new and unmutilated edition of these " Keliques," and are 
tempted to confirm our opinion of the merits of the ballad in 
general by the following glowing words of Professor Wilson's 
" All men are antiquaries at the recital of a good old histo 
rical or romantic ballad ; and a homely word that breathes of 
the olden time, carries back into the past even those who live 
almost entirely for the present, and who, in their ordinary 
thoughts, forget wholly their wild forefathers of the hills and 
vales, and all that vanished life of peace or tumult, of war or 
love, and of all the passions that then, as now, were rife be 
neath the shepherd's coat of grey as beneath the mail of his 
feudal lord. O gentle reader! if ever thou shouldst be wearied 
to death with Mr Wordsworth's l Excursion,' take up a 
volume of the l Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border' [or, we say, 
of Percy's ' Eeliques '], and you will feel your youth renewed. 
The great Laker speaks for his shepherds, nobly, eloquently, 
and well ; but in the ancient strains we feel that shepherds 
and herdsmen are themselves speaking. They tell the truth of 
t huts where poor men lie,' and narrow and circumscribed as 
their range of thought and feeling may be, everything is vivid, 
real, intense, alive, as fixed and stirless as death, or ghastly and 
sullen as something dying, or eager and wild as that which is 
recovering to life. l Chevy Chase,' as Sir Philip Sidney 
said, stirs the blood as the sound of a trumpet. Not one of 
our great living poets would so speak of a Percy or a Douglas 
as has been done by some of the lowly-born and obscure dead. 
Even Sir Walter, the best of all our civic battle bards, must 
give ill to the old minstrels." 





&C. &C. &C. 















TWENTY 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 unpublished, had he not yielded to the importunity 
of his friends, and accepted the humble offer of an editor in a 
nephew, to whom, it is feared, he will be found too partial. 

These volumes are now restored to the public with such correc 
tions and improvements as have occurred since the former impres 
sion; 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 espe 
cially in such pieces as were extracted from the folio manuscript 
BO often mentioned in the following pages, where any variation 
occurs from the former impression, it will be understood to have 
been given on the authority of that 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 gentlemen of eminence in litera 
ture. At the first publication 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 afterwards laid aside at his 


residence in the country. Of the many gentlemen above men 
tioned, who offered to give their testimony to the public, it will 
be sufficient to name the Honourable Daines Barrington, the 
Reverend Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode, and those eminent critics 
on 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 representation. 

The MS. is a long narrow folio volume, containing 191 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 54 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 part 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 hi such 
instances probably made from defective copies, or the imperfect 
recitation of illiterate singers ; so that a considerable portion of the 
song or narrative is sometimes omitted; and miserable trash or 
nonsense not unfrequently introduced into pieces of considerable 
merit. And often the copyist grew so weary of his labour as to 
write on without the least attention to the sense or meaning; so 
that the word which should form the rhyme is found misplaced in 
the middle of the line ; and we have such blunders as these 
"want and will " for " wanton will;" 1 even " pan and wale " for 
"wan and pale," 2 &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 


1794. Fellow of St John's College, Oxford. 

1 Page 130. Ver. 117 (This must have been copied from a reciter). 2 Page 
139. Ver. 164, viz. 

" His visage waxed pan and wale." 


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

The greater part of them are extracted from an ancient folio 
manuscript, in the editor's possession, which contains near 200 
Poems, Songs, and Metrical Romances. This MS. was written 
about the middle of the last [17th] century; but contains compo 
sitions of all times and dates, from the ages prior to Chaucer, to 
the conclusion of the reign of Charles I. l 

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 simplicity, 
and seem to have been merely written for the people, he was long 
in doubt, whether, in the present state of improved literature, they 
could be deemed worthy the attention of the public. At length 
the importunity of his friends prevailed, and he could refuse nothing 
to such judges as the author of the " Rambler " and the late Mr 

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 ages, or throw light on our earlier classical poets. 

They are here distributed into volumes, each of which contains 
an independent series of poems, arranged chiefly according to the 

1 Chaucer quotes the old Romance of " Libius Disconius," and some others, 
which are found in this MS. (See the " Essay " prefixed to vol. III.) It also 
contains several songs relating to the Civil War in the last century, but not 
one that alludes to the Restoration. 


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 distinguishing 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 1 
have been thought to compensate for the want of higher beauties, 
and, if they do not dazzle the imagination, are frequently found to 
interest the heart. 

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

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

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

The first of these that deserved notice was the Pepysian library 

i 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. The learned 
Seiucn appears also to have been fond of collecting these old things. See below. 


at Magdalen College, Cambridge. Its founder, Sam, Pepys, l Esq. 
Secretary of the Admiralty in the reigns of Charles II, and James 
II. had made a large collection of ancient English ballads, near 
2000 in number, which he has left pasted in five volumes in folio; 
besides Garlands and other smaller miscellanies. 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 1700 ; when the form peculiar till then thereto, 
viz. of the black letter with pictures, seems (for cheapness sake) 
wholly laid aside for that of the white letter without pictures." 

In the Ashmole Library at Oxford is a small collection of ballads 
made by Anthony Wood in the year 1676, containing somewhat 
more than 200. Many ancient popular poems are also preserved 
in the 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. VIII. Edw. VI. Mary, Elizabeth, 
James I. &c. 

In the British Museum is preserved a large treasure 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 accurate has 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 give some account of the old copies; 
though often, for the sake of brevity, one or two of these only are 
mentioned, where yet assistance was received from several. Where 
any thing was altered that deserved particular notice, the passage 
is generally distinguished by brackets [ ). And the editor has 
endeavoured to be as faithful as the imperfect state of his materials 
would admit. For, these old popular rhymes being many of them 
copied only from illiterate transcripts, or the imperfect recitation 
of itinerant ballad-singers, have, as might be expected, been handed 
down to us with less care than any other writings in the world. 


i A life of our curious collector Mr. Pepys, maybe seen in " The Continuation 
of Mr. Collier's Supplement to his Great Diction. 1715, at the end of vol. Ill 
folio. Art. PEP." 


And the old copies, whether MS. or printed, were often so defective 
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 interesting 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 im 
provement; but must plead guilty to the charge of concealing his 
own share in the amendments under some such general title, as a 
' Modern Copy,' or the like. Yet it has been his design to give 
sufficient intimation where any considerable liberties 1 were taken 
with the old copies, and to have retained either in the text or 
margin any word or phrase which was antique, obsolete, unusual, 
or peculiar, so that these might be safely quoted as of genuine and 
undoubted antiquity. His object was to please both the judicious 
antiquary, and the reader of taste; and he hath endeavoured to 
gratify both without offending either. 

The plan of the work was settled in concert with the late elegant 
Mr. Shenstone, who was to have borne a joint share in it had not 
death unhappily prevented him. 2 Most of the modern pieces were 
of his selection and arrangement, and the editor hopes to be par 
doned if he has retained some things out of partiality to the judg 
ment of his friend. The old folio MS. above-mentioned was a 
present from Humphrey Pitt, Esq. of Prior's-Lee, in Shropshire, 3 
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 

i Such liberties have been taken with all those pieces which have 3 asterisks 
subjoined, thus * # * 2 That the editor hath not here underrated the assistance 
he received from his friend, will appear from Mr. Shenstone's own letter to the 
Rev. Mr. Groves, dated March 1, 1 761. See his Works, Vol. III., Letter CIII. It 
is doubtless a great loss to this work, that Mr. Shenstone never saw more than 
about a third of one of these volumes, as prepared for the press. * 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 Athenae, II. 
73 ; the earliest of which is ' The Art of making Devises, 1646,' 4to, wherein 
he is described to be ' of the Inner Temple.' If the collection was made by this 
lawyer (who also published the ' Law Dictionary, 1671,' folio) ; it 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. 


for many curious and elegant remarks with which they are illus 
trated. Some obliging communications of the same kind were 
received from John Macgowan, Esq. of Edinburgh; and many 
curious explanations of Scottish words in the glossaries from John 
Davidson, Esq. of Edinburgh, and from the Rev. Mr. Hutchinson, 
of Kimbolton. Mr. Warton, who has twice done so much honour 
to the Poetry Professor's chair at Oxford, and Mr. Hest of Worces 
ter College, contributed some curious pieces from the Oxford 
libraries. Two ingenious 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 know 
ledge of ancient English literature for which he is so distinguished. 1 
Many extracts from ancient MSS. in the British Museum, and 
other repositories, were owing to the kind services of Thomas Astle, 
Esq. to whom the public is indebted for the curious preface and 
index annexed to the Harleyan Catalogue. 2 The worthy librarian 
of the Society of Antiquaries, Mr. Norris, deserved acknowledge- 

1 To the same learned and ingenious friend, since Master of Emanuel College, the 
editor is obliged for many corrections and improvements in his second and subse 
quent editions ; as also to the Rev. Mr. Bowie, of Idmistone, near Salisbury, editor 
of the curious edition of Don Quixote, with Annotations, in Spanish, in 6 vols. 4to; 
to the Rev. Mr. Cole, formerly of Blecheley, near Fenny-Stratford, Bucks; to the 
Rev. Mr. Lambe, of Noreham, in Northumberland (author of a learned ' History 
ofChess,' 1764, 8vo. and editor of a curious 'Poem on the Battle of Flodden Field,' 
with learned Notes, 1774, 8vo) ; and to G. Paton, Esq. of Edinburgh. He is par 
ticularly indebted to two friends, to whom the public, as well as himself, are under 
the greatest obligations ; to the Honourable Daines Barrington, for his very 
learned and curious ' Observations on the Statutes,' 4to ; and to Thomas 
Tyrwhitt, Esq. whose most correct and elegant edition of Chaucer's ' Canter 
bury Tales,' 5 vols. 8vo, is a standard book, and shews how an ancient English 
classic should be published. The editor was also favoured with many valuable 
remarks and corrections from the Rev. Geo. Ashby, 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 Middle 
sex ; whose extensive knowledge of ancient writings, records, 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 Gentleman's Maga 
zine for August, 1793, April, June, July, and October, 1794, and which, it is 
hoped, will be continued. 2 Since Keeper of the Records in the Tower. 


ment for the obliging manner in which he gave the editor access 
to the volumes under his care. In Mr. Garrick's curious collection 
of old plays are many scarce pieces of ancient poetry, with the free 
use of which he indulged the editor in the politest manner. To 
the Rev. Dr. Birch he is indebted for the use of several ancient 
and valuable tracts. To the friendship of Dr. Samuel Johnson he 
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 Junius's Etymologicum, and 
of the Gothic Gospels. 

The names of so many men of learning and character the editor 
hopes will serve as an amulet to guard him from every unfavour 
able 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 amuse 
ment of now and then a vacant hour amid the leisure and retire 
ment of rural life, and hath only served as a relaxation from graver 
studies. It has been taken up at different times, and often thrown 
aside for many months, during an interval of four or five years. 
This has occasioned some inconsistencies and repetitions, which the 
candid reader will pardon. As great care has been taken to admit 
nothing immoral or indecent, the editor hopes he need not be 
ashamed of having bestowed some of his idle hours on the ancient 
literature of our own country, or in rescuing from oblivion some 
pieces (though but the amusements of our ancestors) which tend 
to place in a striking light their taste, genius, sentiments, or 

Except in one paragraph, and in the Notes subjoined, this 
Preface is given with little variation from the first edition in 




I. The Minstrels (A) were an order of men in the middle ages, 
who subsisted by the arts of poetry and music, and sang to the 
harp verses composed by themselves, or others. 2 They also appear 
to have accompanied their songs with mimicry and action; and to 
have practised such various means of diverting as were much 
admired in those rude times, and supplied the want of more refined 
entertainment (B). These arts rendered them extremely popular 
and acceptable in this and all the neighbouring countries; where 
no high scene of festivity was esteemed complete, that was not set 
off with the exercise of their talents; and where, so long as the 
spirit of chivalry subsisted, they were protected and caressed, 
because their songs tended to do honour to the ruling passion of 
the times, and to encourage and foment a martial spirit. 

The Minstrels seem to have been the genuine successors of the 
ancient bards (C), who under different names were admired and 
revered, from the earliest ages, among the people of Gaul, Britain, 
Ireland, and the North; and indeed by almost all the first inha- 

i The professors of minstrelsy were, properly speaking, of two classes the 
Trouveurs or Rymours, who were original composers ; and the Menestrels or 
Minstrels, who sang to a musical instrument, sometimes their own, and some 
times the compositions of others. See our Introduction. ED. (A) The larger 
Notes and Illustrations referred to by the capital letters (A) (B) &c. are 
thrown together to the end of this Essay. 2 Wedded to no hypothesis, the 
author hath readily corrected any mistakes which have been proved to be in this 
Essay ; and considering the novelty of the subject, and the time, and place, 
when and where he first took it up, many such had been excusable. That the 
term Minstrel was not confined, as some contend, to a mere musician, in this 
country, any more than on the continent, will be considered more fully in the 
last Note (G g) at the end of this Essay. 


bitants of Europe, whether of Celtic or Gothic race ; l but by none 
more than by our own Teutonic ancestors, 2 particularly by all the 
Danish tribes. 3 Among these they were distinguished by the 
name of Scalds, a word which denotes ' Smoothers and Polishers of 
language.' 4 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 atten 
dance was solicited by kings ; and they were every where loaded 
with honours and rewards. In short, poets and their art were 
held among them in that rude admiration, which is ever shewn by 
an ignorant people to such as excel them in intellectual accom 

As these honours were paid to Poetry and Song, from the earliest 
times, in those countries which our Anglo-Saxon ancestors inha 
bited before their removal into Britain, we may reasonably con 
clude, 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 manners and opinions, they 
would still hold them in high estimation. But as the Saxons, soon 
after their establishment in this island, were converted to 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 became two persons (D). Poetry was cultivated by 
men of letters indiscriminately; and many of the most popular 
rhymes were composed amidst the leisure and retirement of monas 
teries. 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 respectfully received, 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 

1 Vid. Pellontier Hist, des Celtes. torn. 1. 1. 2. c. 6. 10. 2 Tacit, de Mor. 
Germ. cap. 2. 3 Vid. Bartholin. de Causis contempta? a Danis mortis, lib. 1. 
cap. 10. Wormij Literatura Runic, ad finem. See also ' Northern Anti 
quities, or, A Description of the Manners, Customs, &c. of the ancient Danes 
and other northern nations : from the French of M. Mallet.' London, printed 
for T. Carnan, 1770. 2 vol. 8vo. 4 Torfjei Prefat. ad Oread. Hist.-Pref. to 
'Five pieces of Runic Poetry,' &c. 



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 narra 
tives were probably composed by the Minstrels, who sang them. 
From the amazing variations which occur in different copies of the 
old pieces, it is evident they made no scruple to alter each other's 
productions; and the reciter added or omitted whole stanzas 
according to his own fancy or convenience. 

In the early ages, as was hinted above, the profession of oral 
itinerant Poet was held in the utmost reverence among all the 
Danish tribes ; and therefore we might have concluded, that it was 
not unknown or unrespected among their Saxon brethren in Bri 
tain, even if history had been altogether silent on this subject. The 
original country of our Anglo-Saxon Ancestors is weU known to 
have lien chiefly in the Cimbric Chersonese, in the tracts of land 
since distinguished by the name of Jutland, Angelen, and Hoi- 
stein. 1 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 ; 2 so that 
when the Danes again infested England, three or four hundred 
years after, they made war on the descendants of their own ances 
tors. 8 From this near affinity we might expect to discover a strong 
resemblance between both nations in their customs, manners, and 
even language ; and, in fact, we find them to differ no more, than 
would naturally happen between a parent country and its own 
colonies, that had been severed in a rude uncivilised state, and had 
dropt all intercourse for three or four centuries : especially if we 
reflect, that the colony here settled had adopted a new Religion, 
extremely opposite in all respects to the ancient Paganism of the 
mother-country; and that even at first, along with the original 
Angli, had been incorporated a large mixture of Saxons from the 
neighbouring parts of Germany ; and afterwards, among the 
Danish invaders, had come vast multitudes of adventurers from 
the more northern parts of Scandinavia. But all these were only 

1 Vid. Chronic. Saxon, k Gibson, p. 12, 13, 4to. Bed. Hist. Eccles. a 

Smith, lib. 1. c. 15. " EALDSEXE [Regio antiq. Saxonum] in cervice Cim- 

bricae Chersonesi, Holsatiam proprie dictam, Dithmarsiam, Stormariam, et 
Wagriam, complectens. Annot. in Bed. a Smith, p. 52. Et vid. Camdeni 
Britan. 2 Anglia Vetus, bodie etiam Anglen, sita est inter Saxones et Giotes 
[Jutos], habens oppidum capitale .... Sleswick. Ethel werd. lib. 1. 3 See 
Northern Antiquities, &c. Vol. I. pag. 7, 8. 185. 259, 260, 261. 


different tribes of the same common Teutonic stock, and spoke only 
different dialects of the same Gothic language. 1 

From this sameness of original and similarity of manners we 
might justly have wondered, if a character, so dignified and dis 
tinguished among the ancient Danes as the Scald or Bard, had been 
totally unknown or unregarded in this sister nation. And indeed 
this argument is so strong, and, at the same time, the early annals 
of the Anglo-Saxons are so scanty and defective (G), that no objec 
tions 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 re 
moval into Britain, and if they were afterwards common and 
numerous among the other descendants of the same Teutonic ances 
tors, can we do otherwise than conclude, that men of this order 
accompanied such tribes as migrated hither, that they afterwards 
subsisted here, though perhaps with less splendor than in the 
North ; and that there never was wanting a succession of them to 
hand down the art, though some particular conjunctures may have 
rendered it more respectable at one time than another 1 And this 
was evidently the case. For though much greater honours seem 
to have been heaped upon the northern Scalds, in whom the cha 
racters 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 enter 
tain 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 publi c favour ; and the arts they professed were 
so extremely acceptable to our ancestors, that the word 'glee,' 
which peculiarly denoted their art, continues still in our own lan 
guage to be of all others the most expressive of that popular mirth 
and jollity, that strong sensation of delight, which is felt by un 
polished and simple minds (I). 

II. Having premised these general considerations, I shall now 
proceed to collect from history such particular incidents as occur 
on this subject ; and, whether the facts themselves are true or not, 
they are related by authors who lived too near the Saxon times, 
and had before them too many recent monuments of the Anglo- 
Saxon nation, not to know what was conformable to the genius 
and manners of that people ; and therefore we may presume, that 
1 See Northern Antiquities, &c. Vol. I. Preface, p. xxvi. 


their relations prove at least the existence of the customs and 
habits they attribute to our forefathers before the Conquest, what 
ever becomes of the particular incidents and events themselves. 
If this be admitted, we shall not want sufficient proofs to shew, 
that Minstrelsy 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 

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 king or 
leader of the Saxons in the room of Hengist, 1 was shut up in York, 
and closely besieged by Arthur and his Britons. Baldulph, brother 
of Colgrin, wanted to gain access to him, and to apprize him of a 
reinforcement which was coming from Germany. He had no 
other way to accomplish his 'design, but to assume the character of 
a Minstrel. He therefore shaved his head and beard, and dressing 
himself in the habit of that profession, took his harp in his hand. 
In this disguise, he walked up and down the trenches without 
suspicion, playing all the while upon his instrument as an Harper. 
By little and little he advanced near to the walls of the city, 
and, making himself known to the sentinels, was in the night 
drawn up by a rope. 

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

"We do not, however, want instances of a less fabulous sera, and 
more indubitable authority : for later history affords us two re 
markable facts (L), which I think clearly shew, that the same arts 
of poetry and song, which were so much admired among the Danes, 
were by no means unknown or neglected in this sister nation ; and 
that the privileges and honours, which were so lavishly bestowed 

1 See Rapin's Hist, (by Tinda), fol. 1732. Vol. I. p. 36.) who places the inci 
dent here related under the year 495. 


upon the northern Scalds, were not wholly withheld from the 
Anglo-Saxon Minstrels. 

Our great King Alfred, who is expressly said to have excelled 
in music, 1 being desirous to learn the true situation of the Danish 
army, which had invaded his realm, assumed the dress and charac 
ter of a Minstrel (M) ; when, taking his harp, and one of the most 
trusty of his friends disguised as a servant 2 (for in the early times 
it was not unusual for a Minstrel to have a servant to carry his 
harp), he went with the utmost security into the .Danish camp; 
and, though he could not but be known to be a Saxon by his 
dialect, the character he had assumed 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 sixty years after, 3 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, 4 king of 
the Danes, went among the Saxon tents ; and, taking his stand 
near the king's pavilion, began to play, and was immediately 
admitted. There he entertained Athelstan and his lords with his 
singing and his music, and was at length dismissed with an honour 
able reward, though his songs must have discovered him to have 
been a Dane (0). 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 character with each. 

1 By Bale and Spelman. See Note (M). * Ibid. 3 Anno 938. V'uL Rapin, &c. 
4 So 1 think the name should be printed, rather than 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 ' Horn-Childe ' (see vol. iii. Essay on the Ancient Metrical Romances, 
&c., sect, iv.), the name of the king his father is Allof, which is evidently Ollaf, 
with the vowels only transposed. 


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

III. We have now brought the inquiry down to the Norman 
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 Hollo'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 Bastai'd, invaded this 
kingdom in the following century, 1 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 distinguished 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 loiid 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 

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. 2 

We see, then, that the Norman conquest was rather likely to 

1 Hollo was invested in his new duchy of Normandy, A.D. 912. William 
invaded England, A.D. 1066. 2 Vid. ' Hist, des Troubadours, 3 Tom.' passim. 
& vid. ' Tableaux ou Contes du XII. & du XIII. Siecle, traduits, &c. avec des 
Notes historiques & critiques, &c. Par M. Le Grand. Paris, 1781.' 5 Tom. 


favour the establishment of the minstrel profession in this kingdom, 
than to suppress it : and although the favour of the Norman Con 
queror would be probably confined to such of their own country 
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 great mass of the original inhabitants were not extirpated, 
these could only understand their own native Gleemen or Min 
strels; 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 distinctions 
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 inferior members at least of the same College ; 
and therefore, in gleaning the scanty materials for this slight his 
tory, I shall collect whatever incidents I can find relating to 
Minstrels and their Art, and arrange them, as they occur in our 
own annals, without distinction ; as it will not always be easy to 
ascertain, from the slight mention of them by our regular historians, 
whether the artists were Norman or English. For, it need not be 
remarked, 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 acci 
dentally connected with such events as became recorded in history, 
they would pass unnoticed through the lapse of ages, and be as 
xinknown 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 Bard 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 compositions, were peculiarly deprived of all poetical genius 
themselves, and had been under a physical incapacity 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 ela 
borate production of the sedentary composer 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 soli 
tary 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. 1 I must therefore be allowed the 
same application of the term here without being expected to 
prove that every singer composed, or every composer chanted, his 
own song; much less that every one excelled in all the arts, 
which were occasionally exercised by some or other of this fra 

IY. After the Norman conquest, the first occurrence which I 
have met with relating to this order of men, is the founding of a 
priory and hospital by one of them : scil. the Priory and Hospital 
of St. Bartholomew, in Smithfield, London, by Eoyer or Eaherus 
the King's Minstrel, in the third year of King Henry I. A.D. 1102. 
He was the first Prior of his own establishment, and presided over 
it to the time of his death. (T. 2.) 

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

Under his romantic son, K. Eichard I., the Minstrel profession 

seems to have acquired additional splendor. Eichard, who was 

the great hero of chivalry, was also the distinguished patron 

of Poets and Minstrels. He was himself of their number, and 

i See Note (B.) and (A a.) 


some of his poems are still extant. * They were no less pa 
tronized by his favourites and chief officers. His Chancellor, 
William, bishop of Ely, is expressly mentioned to have invited 
Singers and Minstrels from France, whom he loaded with rewards ; 
and they in return celebrated him as the most accomplished 
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 
Provengal Troubadour, or Norman Eymour, 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 aera, or soon after, 
we are to date that remarkable intercommunity and exchange of 
each other's compositions, which we discover to have taken place 
at some early period between the French and English Minstrels: 
the same set of phrases, the same species of characters, incidents, 
and adventures, and often the same identical stories being found in 
the old metrical Romances of both nations (Y.) 

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 fol 
lowing words of an ancient writer. 2 

' The Englishmen were more then a whole yeare, without hear 
ing any tydings of their king, or in what place he was kept 

i See apathetic 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, literaire des Troubadours, 1774, 3 Tom. 12mo. See Vol. I. (p. 58,) 
whare some more of Richard's Poetry is translated. In Dr. Burney's Hist, of 
Music, Vol. II. p. 238, is a poetical version of it in English. * Mons. 
Favine's ' Theatre of Honour and Knighthood,' translated from the French. 

Lond. 1623, fol. Tom. II. p. 49. An elegant relation of the same event 

(from the French of Presid. Fauchet's Recueil, &c.) may be seen in 'Mis 
cellanies in prose and verse: by Anna Williams, Lond. 1766,' 4to. p. 46. 
It will excite the reader's admiration to be informed, that most of the pieces 
of that Collection were composed under the disadvantage of a total deprivation 
of sight. 


prisoner. He had trained up in his court a Eimer or Minstrill, 1 
called Blondell de Nesle: who (so saith the Manuscript of old 
Poesies, 2 and an auncient manuscript French Chronicle) being so 
long without the sight of his lord, his life seemed wearisome to him, 
and he became confounded with melancholly. Knowne it was, 
that he came backe from the Holy Land : but none could tell in 
what countrey he arrived. Whereupon this Blondel, resolving to 
make search for him in many countries, but he would heare some 
newes of him ; after expence of divers dayes in travaile, he came to 
a towne 3 (by good hap) neere to the castell where his maister king 
Richard was kept. Of his host he demanded to whom the 
castell appertained, and the host told him, that it belonged to the 
duke of Austria. Then he enquired whether there were any 
prisoners therein detained or no : for alwayes he made such secret 
questionings wheresoever he came. And the hoste gave answer, 
there was one onely prisoner, but he knew not what he was, and 
yet he had bin detained there more then the space of a yeare. 
When Blondel heard this, he wrought such meanes, that he became 
acquainted with them of the castell, as Minstrels doe easily win 
acquaintance any where : * but see the king he could not, neither 
understand that it was he. One day he sat directly before a 
window of the castell, where king Richard was kept prisoner, and 
began to sing a song in French, which king Richard and Blondel 
had sometime composed together. When king Richard heard the 
song, he knew it was Blondel that sung it: and when Blondel 
paused at halfe of the song, the king, "began the other half and 
completed it" 8 Thus Blondel won knowledge of the king his rnaister, 

1 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, 
1 Or ce roy ayant nourri un Menestrel appelle Blondel,' &c. liv. 2. p. 92. 
' Des anciens Poe'tes Francois.' He is however said to have been another 
Blondel, not Blondel (or Blondiaux) de Nesle : hut this no way affects the 
circumstances of the story. 2 This the author calls in another place, ' An 

ancient MS, of old Poesies, written about those very times.' From this MS. 

Favine gives a good account of the taking of Richard by the duke of Austria, who 
gold him to the emperor. As for the MS. chronicle, it is evidently the same 
that supplied Fauchet with this story. See his ' Recueil de 1'Origine de la 
Langue & Poesie FranQoise, Ryme, & Romans,' &c. Par. 1581. 3 Tribales. 

' Retrudi eum pracepit in Triballis : a quo carcere nullus ante dies istos 

exivit.' Lat chron. of Otho of Austria : apud Favin. 4 ' Comme Menestrels 
8'accointent legerement.' Favine. (Fauchet expresses it in the same manner.) 
5 1 give this passage corrected ; as the English translator of Favine's book 
appeared here to have mistaken the original : Scil. ' Et quant Blondel cut dit 


and returning home into England, made the barons of the countrie 
acquainted where the king was.' This happened about the year 

The following old ProvenQal lines, are given as the very original 
song : l which I shall accompany with an imitation offered by Dr. 
Burney. (II. 237.) 


Domna vostra beutas Your beauty, lady fair, 

Elas bellas faissos Some views without delight ; 

Els bels oils amoros But still so cold an air 

Els gens cors ben taillats No passion can excite : 

Don sieu empresenats Yet this I patient see 

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


Si bel trop affansia No nymph my heart can wound 

Ja de vos non portrai If favour she divide, 

Que major honorai And smiles on all around 

Sol en votre deman Unwilling to decide : 

Que sautra des beisan I 'd rather hatred hear 

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

The access, which Blondel so readily obtained in the privileged 
character of a Minstrel, is not the only instance upon record of the 
same nature. (V. 2.) In this very reign of K. Richard I. the 
young heiress of D'Evreux, Earl of Salisbury, had been carried 
abroad and secreted by her French relations in Normandy. To 
discover the place of her concealment, a knight of the Talbot family 
spent two years in exploring that province : at first under the dis 
guise 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 ; 2 ' so they called the romances and stories, 

la moitie de la Chanson, le Roy Richart se prist a dire I'autre moitie et Facheva.' 
Favine. p. 1106. Fauchet has also expressed it in nearly the same words. Recueil. 
p. 93. 

1 In a little romance or novel, entitled, ' La Tour Tenebreuse, et les Jours 
lumineux, Contes Angloises, accompagnez d'Historiettes, & tirez d'une ancienne 
Chronique composee par Richard, surnomme Coeur de Lion, Roy d'Angleterre,' 

&c. Paris, 1705. 12mo. In the Preface to this Romance the Editor lias given 

another song of Blondel de Nesle, as also a copy of the song written by K. 
Richard, and published by Mr. Walpole, mentioned above (in Note 1 page, xli.) 
yet the two last are not in Provencal like the sonnet printed here ; but in the 
old French, called Langage Roman. 2 The words of the original, viz. ' Citha- 
risator homo jocosus in Gestis antiquorum valde peritus,' I conceive to give the 
precise idea of the ancient Minstrel. See Not. V. 2. That Gesta was appro 
priated to romantic stories, See Note I. Part. iV. (1.) 


which were the delight of that age ; he was gladly received into 
the family. Whence he took an opportunity to carry off the 
young lady, whom he presented to the king ; and he bestowed her 
on his natural brother William Longespee, (son of fair E,osamond) 
who became in her right Earl of Salisbury. (V. 3.) 

The next memorable event, which I find in history, reflects 
credit on the English Minstrels ; and this was their contributing 
to the rescue of one of the great Earls of Chester when besieged 
by the Welsh. This happened in the reign of K. John, and is re 
lated 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 apprehended 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 at 
tendance, was constrained to retire to his castle of Rothelan (or 
Rhuydland) to which the Welsh forthwith laid siege. In this dis 
tress he sent for help to the Lord De Lacy Constable of Chester : 
" Who, making use of the Minstretts of all sorts, then met at Ches 
ter Fair ; by the allurement of their music, got together a vast 
number of such loose people, as, by reason of the before specified 
priviledge, were then in that city ; whom he forthwith sent under 
the conduct of Button (his steward) a gallant youth, who was also 
his son in law. The Welsh alarmed at the approach of this rab 
ble, supposing them to be a regular body of armed and disciplined 
veterans, instantly raised the siege and retired." ' 

For this good service Ranulph is said to have granted to De 
Lacy by Charter the patronage and authority over the Minstrels 
and the loose and inferior people : who retaining to himself that of 
the lower artificers, conferred on Button the Jurisdiction of the 
Minstrels and Harlots : 2 and under the descendants of this family 
the Minstrels enjoyed certain privileges, and protection for many 
ages. For even so late as the reign of Elizabeth, when this pro 
fession had fallen into such discredit, that it was considered in law 
as a nuisance, the Minstrels under the jurisdiction of the family of 

i See Dugdale (Bar. I. 42. 101.) who places it after 13 John, A.D. 1212. 
See also Plot's StaffordsL Camden's Britann. (Cheshire.) 2 See the ancient 
record in Blount's Law Dictionary. (Art. Minstrel.) 


Dutton, are expressly excepted out of all acts of parliament made 
for their suppression; and have continued to be so excepted ever 
since. (W.) 

The ceremonies attending the exercise of this jurisdiction, are 
thus described by Dugdale 1 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 lodg 
ing to St. John's church (he being then accompanied by many gen 
tlemen of the countrey) one of " the Minstrels " walking before 
him in a surcoat of his arms depicted on taffata; the rest of his 
fellows proceeding (two and two) and playing on their several sorts 
of musical instruments. And after divine service ended, give the 
like attendance on him back to his lodging; where a court being 
kept by his [Mr Button's] Steward, and all the Minstrels formally 
called, certain orders and laws are usually made for the better 
government of that Society, with penalties on those who trans 

In the same reign of K. John we have a remarkable 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,' 2 
and is as follows : 

Whitington Castle in Shropshire, which together with the co 
heiress of the original proprietor had been won in a solemn turna- 
ment by the ancestor of the Guarines, 8 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 4 ) not only confirmed the posses- 

1 Blount's Law Dictionary p. 101. 2 Leland's Collectanea, Vol. I. pag. 261, 
266, 267. 3 This old feudal custom of marrying an heiress to the knight, who 
should vanquish all his opponents in solemn contest, &c. appears to be burlesqued 
in the ' Turnament of Totenham ' (See No. 4. Vol. II.) as is well observed by 
the learned author of ' Remarks,' &c. in Gent. Mag. for July, 1704, p. 613. 
4 ' John, sun to K. Henry, and Fulco felle at variance at Chestes [r. Chesse] ; 
and John brake Fulco[s] lied with the Chest borde : and then Fulco gave him 
such a blow, that he had almost killid hym.' (Lei. Coll. 1. p. 264.) A curious 
picture of courtly manners in that age ! Notwithstanding this fray, we read in 
the next paragraph, that ' K. Henry dubbid Fulco & 3 of his bretherue knightes 
at Winchester.' ibid. 


sion, but also made him governor of the inarches, of which Fulco 
himself had the custody in the time of K. Richard. The 
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 Rauinpayne, a Sothsayer and Jocular and Minstrelle, and made 
hym his spy to Mo rice at Whitington.' The privileges of this 
character we have already seen, and John so well availed himself 
of them, that in consequence of the intelligence which he doubtless 
procured, ' Fulco, and his brethrene laide waite for Morice, as he 
went toward Salesbyri, and Fulco ther woundid hym: and Bracy' 
a knight, who was their friend and assistant, ' cut off Morice['s] 
hedde.' This Sir Bracy being in a subsequent rencounter sore 
wounded, was taken and brought to K. John : from whose ven 
geance 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 further mention occurs of 
the Minstrel, I might here conclude this narrative; but I shall 
just add, that Fulco was obliged to flee into France, where 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 style 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 
Ricard 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. 1 The title of Magister, or 
Master, given to this Minstrel deserves notice, and shows his 
respectable situation. 

V. The Harper, or Minstrel, was so necessary an attendant on 
a royal personage, that Prince Edward (afterwards K. Edward I.) 
in his Crusade to the Holy Land, in 1271, was not without his 
Harper : who must have been officially very near his person ; as 
we are told by a contemporary historian, 2 that, in the attempt to 

i Burney's Hist. II. p. 355. Rot. Pip. An. 36. H. 3. ' Et in uno dolio 

vini empto & dato Magistro Ricardo Citbaristae Regis, xl. fol. per br. Reg. Et 
in uno dolio empto & dato Beatrici uxori ejusdem Ricardi.' 2 Walter Hem- 
mingford, (vixit temp. EDW. 1.) in Chronic cap. 35. inter V. Hist. Ang. 
Scriptores, Vol. ii. Oxon. 1687. fol. pag. 591. 


assassinate that heroic prince, when he had wrested the poisoned 
knife out of the Saracen'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. 1 And 
though the Prince blamed him for striking the man after he was 
dead; yet his near access shows 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 execut 
ing 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; 2 yet in his own court the Minstrels appear to 
have been highly favoured : for when, in 1306, he conferred the 
order of knighthood on his son, and many others of the young 
nobility, a multitude of Minstrels were introduced to invite and 
induce the new knights to make some military vow. (X.) And 

Under the succeeding reign of K. Edward II, such extensive 
privileges were claimed by these men, and by dissolute persons 
assuming their character, that it became a matter of public 
grievance, and was obliged to be reformed by an express regulation 
in A.D. 1315. (Y.) Notwithstanding which, an incident is recorded 
in the ensuing year, which shows that Minstrels still retained the 
liberty of entering at will into the royal presence, and had some 
thing peculiarly splendid in their dress. It is thus related by Stow. 

' In the year 1316, Edward the second did solemnize his feast of 
Pentecost at Westminster, in the great hall : where sitting royally 
at the table with his peers about him, there entered a woman 

1 ' Accurrentes ad haec Minlstri ejus, qui a longe steterunt, invenerunt eum 
[scil. NuntiumJ in terra mortuum, et apprehendit unus corum tripodem scilicet 
Cithareda suus & percussit eum in capite, et effundit cerebrum ejus. Increpa- 
vitque eum Edwardus quod hominem mortuum percussisset.' Ibid. These 
1 Ministri ' must have been upon a very confidential footing, as it appears above 
in the same chapter, that they had been made acquainted with the contents of 
the letters, which the assassin had delivered to the Prince from his master. 
2 See Gray's Ode; and the Hist, of the Gwedir Family in 'Miscellanies by 
the Hon. Daines Barrington,' 1781, 4to. p. 386; who in the Laws, &c of this 
Monarch could find no instances of severity against the Welsh. See his Obser 
vations on the Statutes, 4to. 4th Edit. p. 358. 


adorned like a Minstrel, sitting on a great horse trapped, as Min 
strels then used ; who rode round about the tables, shewing pas 
time, and at length came up to the king's table, and laid before 
him a letter, and forthwith turning her horse saluted every one 

and departed.' The subject of this letter was a remonstrance 

to the king on the favours heaped by him on his minions, to the 
neglect of his knights and faithful servants. 

The privileged character of a Minstrel was employed on this 
occasion, as sure of gaining an easy admittance; and a female the 
rather deputed to assume it, that in case of detection, her sex might 
disarm the 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 accomplishment is so constantly attributed to females, by 
our ancient Bards, as their singing to, and playing on the harp. 
(A a. 2.) 

In the fourth year of K. Richard II. John of Gaunt erected at 
Tutbury in Staffordshire, a Court of Minstrels, similar to that 
annually kept at Chester (p. xlv.) and which, like a Court- 
Leet or Court-Baron, had a legal jurisdiction, with full power to 
receive suit and service from the men of this profession within five 
neighbouring counties, to enact laws, and determine their con 
troversies; and to apprehend and arrest such of them, as should 
refuse to appear at the said court, annually held on the 16th of 
August. For this they had a charter by which they were em 
powered 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 i 1 in whose time however they appear to 
have lost their singing talents, and to have confined all their skill 
to ' wind and string music.' 2 

The Minstrels seem to have been in many respects upon the same 
footing as the Heralds : And the King of the Minstrels, like the 
King at Arms, was both here and on the continent an usual officer 
in the courts of princes. Thus we have in the reign of K. Edward 

i 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. Burney'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 
Archaeologia. Vol. II. No. XIII. pag. 86. 2 See the charge given by the 
Steward, at the time of the Election in Plot's Hist, ubi supra ; and in Hawkins, 
p. 67. Burney, p. 363, 4. 


I. mention of a King Robert, and others. And in 16. Edw. II. is 
a Grant to William de Morlee ' the king's minstrel, styled Boy de 
North,' 1 of houses which belonged to another king, John le Boteler. 
(B b. 2.) Rymer hath also printed a licence granted by K. Richard 

II. in 1387, to John Caumz, the King of his Minstrels, to pass 
the seas, recommending him to the protection and kind treatment 
of all his subjects, and allies. 2 

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

When his heroic son K. Henry "V. was preparing his great 
voyage for France in 1415, an express order was given for his 
Minstrels, fifteen in number, to attend him : 3 and eighteen are 
afterwards mentioned, to each of whom he allowed xii. d. a day, 
when that sum must have been of more than ten times the value 
it is at present. 4 Yet when he entered London in triumph after 
the battle of Agincourt, he, from a principle of humility, slighted 
the pageants and verses, which were prepared to hail his return ; 
and, as we are told by Holingshed, 5 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 dis- 

1 So among the Heralds Norrey was anciently styled Roy d'Armes de North. 
(Anstis, II. 300.) And the Kings at Arnies in general were originally called 
Reges Heraldorum (Ibid. p. 302.) as these were Reges Minstrallorum. 
2 Rymer's Fcedera. Tom. VII. p. 555. 3 Rymer IX. 255. 4 Ibid. p. 260. 
s See his Chronicle, sub anno 1415, (p. 1170.) He also gives this other 
instance of the king's great modesty, ' that he would not suffer his helmet to be 
carried with him, and shewed to the people, that they might behold the dintes 
and cuttes, whiche appeared in the same, of such blowes and stripes, as hee 
received the daye of the battell.' Ibid. Vid. T. de Elmham, c. 29. p. 72. The 
prohibition against vain and secular songs would probably not include that 
inserted in our 2d Vol. No. V. (For the victory of Agincourt.) 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. 



regard for the Professors of Music or of Song ; for at the feast of 
Pentecost which he celebrated in 1416, having the Emperor and 
the Duke of Holland for his guests, he ordered rich gowns for six 
teen of his Minstrels, of which the particulars are preserved by 
Rymer. 1 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 pay 
ment ordered out of the Exchequer. 2 

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 3 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 limbs, as well 
as instructed in the Minstrel art, wherever they can be found, for 
the solace of his Majesty. 

In the following reign, K. Edward IV. (in his 9th year, 1469) 
upon a complaint that certain rude husbandmen, and 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 diverse parts of the kingdom and committed other disorders, 
the king grants to ' Walter Haliday, Marshal ' and to seven others 
his own Minstrels whom he names, a charter, 4 by which he creates, 
or rather restores a Fraternity or Perpetual Gild (such as, he 
understands, the Brothers and Sisters of the Fraternity of Minstrels 
had in times past) to be governed by a Marshal appointed for life 
and by two Wardens to be chosen annually ; who are impowered 
to admit Brothers and Sisters into the said Gild, and are autho 
rized to examine the pretensions of all such as affected to exercise 
the Minstrel profession ; and to regulate, govern, and punish them 

throughout the realm (those of Chester excepted.) This seems 

to have some resemblance to the Earl Marshal's Court among the 
Heralds, and is another proof of the great afiinity and resemblance, 
which the Minstrels bore to the members of the College at 

It is remarkable that Walter Haliday, whose name occurs as 
Marshal in the foregoing Charter, had been retained in the service 

i T. IX. 336. a Ibid. X. 287. They are mentioned by name being ten in 
number : one of them was named Thomas Chatterton. 3 Tom. XI. 375. 
4 See it in Rymer. T. XI. 642. and in Sir J. Hawkins, Vol. IV. p. 366 note. 
The above Charter is recited in letters patent of K. Charles I. 15 July. (11 Anno 
Regui) for a Corporation of Musicians, &c. in Westminster, which may be seen, 


of the two preceding Monarchs K. Henry V. 1 and VI. 2 nor is this 
the first time he is mentioned as Marshal of the King's Minstrels, 
for in the 3d year of this reign, 1464, he had a grant from K. 
Edward of 10 marks per annum during life, directed to him with 
that title. 3 

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 confi 
dential situation and ready access to the king at all hours is very 
apparent : for ' as he [K. Edward IV.] was in the north contray 
in the monneth of Septembre, as he lay in his bedde, one namid 
Alexander Carlile, that was Sariaunt of the Mynstrellis, cam to 
him in grete hast, and badde hym aryse for he hadde enemyes 
cummyng for to take him, the which were within vi. or vii. mylis, 
of the which tydinges the king gretely marveylid, &c.' 4 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 Gilman his then Marshal, and to seven others his Minstrels : 6 
and on the death of Gilman, he granted in 1529 this office of 
Marshal of his Minstrels to Hugh Wodehouse, 7 whom I take to 
have borne the office of his Sergeant over them. 8 

VI. In all the establishments of royal and noble households, we 
find an ample provision made for the Minstrels ; and their situa 
tion 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, (C. c.) And the rewards they 
received so frequently recur in ancient writers that it is unneces 
sary to crowd the page with them here. (C c. 2.) 

iRyraer. IX. 255. 2 Ibid. XI. 375. Ibid. XI. 512. 'Rymer. XL 642. 
5 Rymer. XIII. 70S. 6 Ibid XIV. 2. 93. 7 Here unfortunately ends a 
curious Fragment, (an. 9. E. IV.) ad calcem Sprotti Chron. Ed. Heame, 
Oxon. 1719. 8vo. Vid. T. Warton's Hist. II. p. 134. Note (c.) 8 So I 
am inclined to understand the term ' Serviens noster Hugo Wodehous,' 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 will 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 


The name of Minstrel seems however to have been gradually 
appropriated to the musician only, especially in the fifteenth and 
sixteenth centuries; yet we occasionally meet with applications of 
the term in its more enlarged meaning, as including the singer, if 
not the composer of heroic or popular rhymes. 1 

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

For even long after, in the reign of queen Elizabeth, it was 
usual ' in places of assembly ' for the company to be ' desirous to 
heare of old adventures and valiaunces of noble knights in times 
past, as those of king Arthur, and his knights of the round table, 
Sir Bevys of Southampton, Guy of Warwicke and others like ' in 
'short and long meetres, and by Breaches or Divisions, [sc. Fits 2 ] 
to be more commodiously sung to the harpe ' as the reader may be 
informed, by a courtly writer, in 1589, 3 who himself had 'writ 
ten for pleasure a litle brief Romance or historical Ditty... of the 
Isle of Great Britaine ' in order to contribute to such entertain 
ment. And he subjoins this caution : ' Such as have not premoni 
tion hereof,' (viz. that his poem was written in short metre, &c. to 
be sung to the harpe in. such places of assembly) ' and considera 
tion of the causes alledged, would peradventure reprove and dis 
grace every Romance, or short historicall ditty for that they be 
not written in long meeters or verses Alexandras,' which consti 
tuted the prevailing versification among the poets of that age, and 
which no one now can endure to read. 

And that the recital of such Romances sung to the harp was ai 
that time the delight of the common people, we are told by the 
same writer, 4 who mentions that ' common Rimers ' were fond of 
using rhymes at short distances, ' in small and popular Musickes 

1 See below, and Note G g. 2 See Note fjf at the end of No. 10. Book 2. 
Vol. 2 (The Beggar's Daughter of Bethnal Green). 3 Puttenham in his ' Arte 
of English Poesie,' 1589, 4to. pag. '63. See the quotation in its proper order 
in Note to Beggar's Daughter, &c. already referred to. 4 Puttenham, &c. p. 
69. (See Note tt to No. 10. Vol. II. (Beggar's Daughter of Bethnal Green). 


song by these Cantabanqui ' [the said common Rimers] 'upon ben 
ches 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 War- 
wicke, Adam Bell, and Clymme of the Clough, and such other 
old Romances, or historical! rimes,' &c. 'also they be used in 
Carols and Rounds, and such light or lascivious Poenies, 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 Laureat) being in deede 
but a rude railing rimer, and all his doings ridiculous.' * 

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

When Queen Elizabeth was entertained at Kenilworth Castle 
by the Earl of Leicester in 1575, among the many devices and 
pageants which were contrived for her entertainment, one of the 
personages introduced was to have been that of an ancient Min 
strel; whose appearance and dress are so minutely described by a 
writer there present, 2 and give us so distinct an idea of the charac 
ter, that I shall quote the passage at large. (E e.) 

' A person very meet seemed he for the purpose, of a xlv years 
old, apparelled partly as he would himself. His cap off; his head 
seemly Tonster-wise : 3 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 wing. His beard smugly shaven : and yet 
his shirt after the new trink, with ruffs fair starched, sleeked and 
glistering like a pair of new shoes, marshalled in good order with 
a setting stick, and strut, that every ruff stood up like a wafer. 
A side [i.e. long] gown of Kendal green, after the freshness of the 
year now, gathered at the neck with a narrow gorget, fastened 
afore with a white clasp and a keeper tip to the chin ; but easily, 

1 Puttenham &c. p. 69. 2 See a very curious ' Letter: whearin, part of the 
entertainment untoo the Queenz Maiesty, at Killingwoorth Castl, in Warwick 
Sheer, in this scomerz Progress 1575, iz signified,' &c. bl. 1. 4to vid. p. 46 
& seqq. (Printed in Nichols's Collection of Queen Elizabeth's Progresses, &c. 
in 2 Vol. 4to.) We have not followed above the peculiar and affected ortho 
graphy of this writer, who was named Ho. Laneham, or rather Langham ; see 
p. 84. 3 1 suppose ' tonsure-wise,' after the manner of the Monks. 


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 1 
edged with a blue lace, and marked with a true love, a heart, and 
a D for Damian, for he was but a batchelor yet. 

'His gown had side [i.e. long] sleeves down to midleg, slit from 
the shoulder to the hand, and lined with white cotton. His 
doublet-sleeves of black worsted : upon them a pair of poynets 2 of 
tawny chamlet laced along 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 3 tyed to a 
green lace and hanging by. Under the gorget of his gown a fair 
flaggon chain (pewter, 4 for) silver, as a squire Minstrel of Middle 
sex, that travelled the country this summer season, unto fairs and 
worshipful mens houses. From this chain hung a scutcheon, with 
metal and colour, resplendant upon his breast, of the ancient arms 
of Islington.' 

This Minstrel is described as belonging to that village. I 
suppose such as were retained by noble families, wore the arms of 
their patrons hanging down by a silver chain as a kind of badge. 5 
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 a little below, ' after three lowly 
curtsies, cleared his voice with a hem . . . and . . . wiped his lips 

i i. e. handkerchief. So in Shakspear's Othello, passim. 2 Perhaps, Points. 
s The key, or screw, with which he tuned his harp. * The reader will remem 
ber 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 Min 
strel. 5 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 distributed ; viz. one for the barony of Prudhoe, and 
two for the barony of Rothbury. These attend the court leets and fairs held for 
the Lord, and pay their annual suit and service at Alnwick castle; their instru 
ment being the ancient Northumberland bag-pipe (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 bellows). This, with many other venerable 
customs of the ancient Lord Percys, was revived by their illustrious represen 
tatives the late Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. 


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 (King Ryence's 
Challenge), the reader will find printed in this work, No. 3, Book 
I. Vol. III. 

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, 1 a statute was passed by which ' Min 
strels, 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.) 

VII. I cannot conclude this account of the ancient English 
Minstrels, without remarking that they are most of them repre 
sented 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 : ' 2 and indeed the prevalence of the 
Northern dialect in such compositions, shews that this representa 
tion is real. 3 On the other hand the scene of the finest Scottish 
Ballads is laid in the South of Scotland; which should seem to 

i Anno Dom. 1597. Vid. Pult. Stat. p. 1110,39 Eliz. a See this Vol. Song VI. 
v. 156, 180, &c. 3 Giraldus Cambrensis, writing in the reign of K. Henry II. 
mentions a very extraordinary habit or propensity, which then prevailed in the 
North of England, beyond the Humber, for 'symphouious harmony' or singing 'in 
two parts, the one murmuring in the base, and the other warbling in the acute or 
treble.' (I use Dr. Burney's Version, Vol. II. p. 108.) This he describes, as prac 
tised by their very children from the cradle ; and he derives it from the Danes [So 
Dad signifies in our old writers] and Norwegians, who long over-run and in effect 
new-peopled the Northern parts of England, where alone this manner of singing 
prevailed. ( Vide ' Cambria; Descriptio,' cap. 13. and in Burney ubi supra.) 

Giraldus is probably right as to the origin or derivation of this practice, for 

the Danish and Icelandic Scalds had carried the Arts of Poetry and Singing to 
great perfection at the time the Danish settlements were made in the North. 
And it will also help to account for the superior skill and fame of our Northern 
Minstrels and Harpers afterwards: who had preserved and transmitted the arts 
of their Scaldic Ancestors. See ' Northern Antiquities,' Vol. I. c. 13. p. 386. 

and five pieces of Kunic 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 
bigoted antiquaries, the reader will find defended in that learned and curious 
work, ' Antiquities of Ireland by Edward Ledwich, LL.D. &c. Dublin, 1790,' 
4to. p. 207. & seqq. 


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 the Border? 1 The martial spirit constantly kept 

up and exercised near the frontier of the two kingdoms, as it fur 
nished continual subjects for their Songs, so it inspired the inhabi 
tants of the adjacent counties on both sides with the powers of 
poetry. Besides, as our Southern Metropolis must have been ever 
the scene of novelty and refinement, the northern countries, as 
being most distant, would preserve their ancient manners longest, 
and of course the old poetry, in which those manners are pecu 
liarly described. 

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

Countrie harper battM morning 

Ladie singer damsel loving, 

instead of country, lady, harper, singer, &c. This liberty is but 

sparingly assumed by the classical poets of the same age; or even 
by the later composers of Heroical Ballads : I mean by such as 
professedly wrote for the press. For it is to be observed, that so 
long as the Minstrels subsisted, they seem never to have designed 

1 This line being quoted from memory, and given as old Scottish Poetry is 
now usually printed, would have been readily corrected by the copy published 
in ' Scottish Songs, 1794.' 2 Vol. 12mo. I. p. 267. thus, (though apparently 
corrupted from the Scottish Idiom,) 

1 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 who 
ever is acquainted with that part of England, knows that on the English Fron 
tier rude mountains and barren wastes reach almost across the island, scarcely 
inhabited by any but solitary shepherds; many of whom durst not venture into 
the opposite border on account of the ancient feuds and subsequent disputes con 
cerning the Debatable Lands, which separated the boundaries of the two 
kingdoms, as well as the estates of the two great families of Percy and Douglas; 
till these disputes were settled, not many years since, by arbitration between the 
present Lord Douglas, and the late Duke and Dutchess of Northumberland. 


their rhymes for literary publication, and probably never com 
mitted them to writing themselves: what copies are preserved of 
them were doubtless taken down from their mouths. But as the 
old Minstrels gradually wore out, a new race of Ballad- writers 
succeeded, an inferior sort of minor poets, who wrote narrative 
songs merely for the press. Instances of both may be found in the 
reign of Elizabeth. The two latest pieces in the genuine strain of 
the old Minstrelsy that I can discover, are Nos. III. and IV. of 
Book III. in this volume. Lower than these I cannot trace the 
old mode of writing. 

The old Minstrel-ballads are in the northern dialect, abound 
with antique words and phrases, are extremely incorrect, and run 
into the utmost licence of metre ; they have also a romantic wild- 
ness, and are in the true spirit of chivalry. The other sort are 
written in exacter measure, have a low or subordinate correctness, 
sometimes bordering on the insipid, yet often well adapted to the 
pathetic; these are generally in the southern dialect, exhibit a 
more modern phraseology, and are commonly descriptive of more 
modern manners. To be sensible of the difference between them, 
let the reader compare in this volume No. III. of Book III. with 
No. XL of Book II. 

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

P.S. By way of Postscript, should follow here the discussion of 
the Question, whether the Term, ' Minstrels' was applied in English 
to Singers, and Composers of Songs, <fec. or confined to Musicians 
only. But it is reserved for the concluding Note (G g.) 



(A) The Minstrels, &c. The 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 l Menestrel, so early as the VHIth century, was a title 
given to the Maestro di Capella of K. Pepin, the father of Charlemagne: and 
afterwards to the Coryphaeus, or Leader of any Band of Musicians. \_Vid. 
Burney's Hist, of Music, II. 268.] This term Menestrel, Menestrier, was thus 
expressed in Latin, Ministellus, Ministrellus, Ministrallus, Menesterellus, &c. 
[Vid. Gloss. Du Cange & Supplem.] 

Menage derives the French words above mentioned from Ministerialis 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 Menestriers appellamus, quod minoribus 
aulae Ministris accenserentur.' [Gloss. IV. p. 769.] Accordingly, we are told, 
the word ' Minister ' is sometimes used ' pro Ministellus,' [Ibid.] and an instance 
is produced which I shall insert at large in the next paragraph. 

Minstrels sometimes assisted at divine service, as appears from the record of 
the 9th of Edw. IV. quoted above in p. 1. by \vhich Halliday and others are 
erected into a perpetual Gild, &c. See the Original in Rymer. XI. 642. By 
part of this record it is recited to be their duty ' to sing in the king's chapei, 
and particularly for the departed souls of the king and queen when they shall 

die, &c.' The same also appears from the passage in the Supplem. to Du 

Cange, alluded to above. ' Minister . . . pro Ministellus Joculator. 2 Vetus 

ceremoniale MS. B. M. deauratai Tolos. Item, etiam congregabuntur Piscatores, 
qui debent interesse isto die in processione cum Ministris sen Joculatoribus: 
quia ipsi Piscatores tenentur habere isto die Joculatores, sen Mimos ob honorem 
Crucis et vadunt primi ante processionem cum Miuistris seu Joculatoribus 

1 The Anglo-Saxon and primary English name for this character was Gleeman [see below, 
Note (I.) sect. 1.] 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. [Seep. xl. 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. Ministerellus, 
Ministrellus. * 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 Hearne, vol. 6. p. 13. 


semper pulsantibus usque ad ecclesiam S. Stephani.' [Gloss. 773.] This may per 
haps 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 Geoffrey of Monmouth, speaking of one who acted the part 
of a Minstrel, says, Kasit capillos suos & 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. liii. 

It must however be observed, that notwithstanding such clerical appearance 
of the Minstrels, and though they might be sometimes countenanced by such of 
the clergy as were of more relaxed morals, their sportive talents rendered them 
generally obnoxious to the more rigid Ecclesiastics, and to such of the religious 
orders as were of more severe discipline ; whose writings commonly abound 
with heavy complaints of the great encouragement shewn to those men by the 
princes and nobles, and who can seldom afford them a better name than that of 
Scume, 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. 2 

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 Mimi 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 consequently disappointed of their mirth, beat them and 
turned them out of the monastery. (Ibid. p. 92.) This passage furnishes an 
additional proof that a Minstrel might by his dress or appearance be mistaken 
for an Ecclesiastic. 

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

But indeed all the old writers describe them as exercising various arts of this 

1 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 shewn by Salmasius in Notts ad Hist. August. Scriptores VI. Paris. 1620, fol. p. 
385. So that this peculiarity had a classical origin, though it afterwards might make the 
Minstrels sometimes pass for Ecclesiastics, as appears from the instance given below. Dr. 
Burney tells us that Histriones, and Mimi, abounded in France in the time of Charlemagne 
(II. 221.) so that their profession was handed down in regular succession from the time of the 
Romans, and therewith some leading distinctions of their habit or appearance; yet with a 
change in their arts of pleasing, which latterly were most confined to singing and music. 
2 Tet 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 5 men in short coats; 
one of whom holds an instrument resembling a Lute. See Sir J. Hawkins. Hist. II. 298. 


kind. Joinville, in his life of S. Lewis, speaks of some Armenian Minstrels, who 
were veiy 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. Ils fesoient trois 

merveilleus saws, car on leur metoit line touaille desous les piez, et tournoient 

tout debout Les deux tournoients les testes arieres,' &c. [See the 

Extract at large, in the Hon. D. Barrington's Observations on the Anc. Statutes, 
4to. 2d 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 providendis,' by which it is 
required, that the boys, to be provided in arte Ministrallatus instructos, should 
also be membris naturalibus elegantes. See above pag. 1. (Observ. on the 
Anc. Stat. 4th Edit. p. 337.) 

Although by Minstrel was properly understood, in English, one who sung to 
the harp, or some other instrument of music, verses composed by himself or 
others ; yet the term was also applied by our old writers to such as professed 
either music cr singing separately, and perhaps to such as practised any of the 
sportive arts connected with these. 1 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, Jonglerie, &c. [Med. Lat. Menestellorum Ars, 

Ars Joculatoria, &c.] ' On pent comprendre sous le nom de Jonglerie tout 

ce qui appartient ,aux anciens chansonniers Provencaux, 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 Improvisateurs, comme 
on en trouve en Italic ; des Chanteurs ou Chanteres qui executoient ou chantoient 
ces compositions ; des Conteurs qui faisoient en vers ou en prose les contes, les 
recits, les histoires ; des Jongleurs ou Menestrels qui accompagnoient de leurs 
instrumens, L'art de ces Chantres ou Chansonniers, etoit nomme la Science 

Gaie, Gay Saber.' (Pref. Anthologie Fraii9. 1765. 8vo. p. 17.) See also 

the curious Fauchet (De 1'Orig. de la Lang. Fr. p. 72, &c.) ' Bien tost apres 
la division de ce grand empire Francois en tant de petits royanmes, 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 a dire, Menestriers chantans avec la viole.' 

We see then that Jongleur, Jugleur, (Lat. Joculator, Juglator) was 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 botli to the British Bards and to the Danish Scalds, 
appears from this, that the old Monkish writers express them all without distinc 
tion by the same names in Latin. Thus Geoffrey of Monmouth, himself a 
Welshman, speaking of an old pagan British king, who excelled in singing and 
music, so far as to be esteemed by his countrymen the Patron Deity of the Bards, 
uses the phrase Deus Joculatorum ; which is the peculiar name given to the 

i Vid. infra, Not A a. 


English and French Minstrels. 1 In like manner, William of Malmesbmy, speaking 
of a Danish king's assuming the profession of a Scald, expresses it by, Professus 
Mimum : which was another name given to the Minstrels in Middle Latinity. 2 
Indeed Du Cange, in his Glossary, quotes a writer, who positively asserts that 
the Minstrels of the middle ages were the same with the ancient Bards. I shall 
give a large extract from this learned glossographer, as he relates many curious 
particulars concerning the profession and arts of the Minstrels ; whom, after the 
monks, he stigmatizes by the name of Scurrae ; though he acknowledges their 
songs often tended to inspire virtue. 

'Ministelli, dicti prasertim Scume, 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 instruments demulcere 

' Interdum etiam virornm insignium & heroum gesta, aut explicata & jo- 
cunda narratione commemorabant, aut suavi vocis inflexione, fidibusque decan- 
tabant quo sic dominorum, caeterorumque qui his intererant ludicris, nobilium 
animos ad virtutem capessendam, et summorum virorum imitationem accen- 
derent: quodfuit olim apud Gallos Bardorum ministerium, ntauctor est Tacitus. 
Neque enim alios a Ministellis, veterum Gallorum Bardos fuisse pluribus pro- 
bat Henricus Valesius ad 15 Ammiani Chronicon Bertrandi Guesclini. 

' " Qui veut avoir renom des bons & des vaillans 
II doit aler sonvent a la pluie & au champs 
Et estre en la bataille, ainsy que fu Italians, 
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, ait inter ipsius convivii ap- 
paratum, hi medium prodiisse Mimum, qui regis laudes ad cytharam decanta- 

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

' Dumque fovent genium geniali munere Bacchi, 
Nectare commixto curas removente Lyaeo 
Principis a facie, citharae celeberrimus arte 
Assurgit Mimus, ars musica quern decoravit. 
Hie ergo chorda resonante subintulit ista: 
Inclyte rex regum, probitatis stemmate vernans, 
Quern vigor & virtus extollit in sethera famae,' &c. 

The rest may be seen in Du Cange, who thus proceeds, ' Mitto reliqna similia, 
ex quibus omnino patet ejusmodi Mimorum & Ministellorum cantilenas ad vir 
tutem principes excitasse Id prassertim in ptignae praecinctu, dominis 

suis occinebant, ut martium ardorem in eorum animis concitarent : cujusmodi 

cantum Cantilenam Rollandi appellat Will. Malmesb. lib. 3. Aimoinus, h'b. 

4. de Mirac. S. Bened. c. 37. Tanta vero illis securitas . . . . ut Scurram se 
precedere facerent, qui musico instramento res fortiter gestas et priorum belli 

Vid. Not. B. K. Q Vid. Note N. 


praecineret, quatenus his acrius incitarentur, &c.' As the writer was a monk, 
we shall not wonder at his calling the Minstrel, Scurram. 

This word Scurra, or some one similar, is represented in the Glossaries as the 
proper meaning of Leccator (Fr. Leccours) the ancient term by which the Min 
strel appears to be expressed in the Grant to Button, quoted above in page 
xliv. 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 comi- 

tatum 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 demaine 
Provence, qui mult iert plentive 
De vins, de bois, d'aigue, de rive, 
As Leceours as Menestreus 
Qui sont auques luxurieus 
Le donna toute & departi." * 

(D) ' The Poet and the Minstrel early with us became two persons.' The 
word Scald comprehended both characters among the Danes, nor do I know 
that they had any peculiar name for either of them separate. But it was 
not so with the Anglo-Saxons. They called a Poet Sceop, and LeoSpyjita: 
the last of these comes from Leo?, a Song ; and the former answers to our old 
word Maker (Gr. IIOITJTTJS) 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 Clijman, and perhaps by the more simple 
title of Peajipejie, 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. No. VI. Book I. 

(E) ' Minstrels ... at the houses of the great, &c.'] Du Cange affirms, 
that in the middle ages the courts of princes swarmed so much with this kind 
of men, and such large sums were expended in maintaining and rewarding 
them, that they often drained the royal treasuries : especially, he adds, of such 
as were delighted with their flatteries (praesertim qui ejusmodi Ministellorum 
assentationibus delectabantur.) 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 shew what kind of rewards 
were bestowed on these old Songsters. 

' Rigordus de Gestis Philippi Aug. an. 1 185. ' Cum in curiis regum seu aliorum 
principum, frequens turba Histrionum convenire soleat, ut ab eis aurum, argen- 
tum, equos, seu vestes, 1 quos persaepe mutare consueverunt principes, ab eis extor- 
queant, verba Joculatoria variis adulationibus plena proferre nituntur. Et ut 
magis placeant, quicquid de ipsis principibus probabiliter fingi potest, videlicet 
omnes delitias et lepores, et visu dignas urbauitates et cameras ineptias, trutin- 

1 The Minstrels in France were received with great magnificence in the 14th century. 
Froissart describing a Christmas entertainment given by the Comte de Foix, tells us, that 
'there were many Mynstrels, as well of hys own as of straungers, and eache 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 tlie Duke of Tourayns Mynstreles Gownes of 
Clothe of Gold furred with Ermyne valued at two hundred Frankes.' B. III. c. 3 1 . Eng. Trans. 
Lond. 1525. (Mr. C.) 


antibus buccis in medium eructare non erabescunt. Vidimus quondam qtios- 
dam principes, qui vestes diu excogitatas, et variis florum picturationibus arti- 
ficiose elaboratas, pro quibus forsan 20 vel. 30 marcas argenti consumpserant, 
vix revolutis septem diebus, Histrionibus, ministris diaboli, ad primam vocem 
dedisse, &c.' 

The curious reader may find a similar, though at the same time a more can 
did account, in that most excellent writer, Presid. Fauchet : (Recueil de la lang. 
Fr. p. 73.) who says, that, like the ancient Greek AoiSot ' Nos Trouverres, 
ainsi que ceux la, prenans leur subject sur les faits des vaillans (qu'ils appelloy- 
ent Geste, venant de Gesta Latin) alloyent . . . par les cours rejouir les Princes 
. . . Remportans des grandes recompences des seigneurs, qui bien souvent leur 
donnoyent jusques aux robes qu'ils avoyent vestues : & lesquelles ces Jugleours 
ne failloyent de porter aux autres cours, a fin d'inviter les seigneurs a pareille 
liberalite. Ce qni a dura* si longuement, qu'il me souvient avoir veu Martin 
Baraton (ja viel Menestrier d'Orleans) lequel aux festes et nopces batoit un 
tabourin d argent, seme des plaques aussi d'argent, gravees des armoiries de 

ceux a qui il avoit appris a danser.' Here we see that a Minstrell sometimes 

performed the function of a Dancing-master. 

Fontenelle even gives us to understand, that these men were often rewarded 
with favours of a still higher kind. ' Les princesses & les plus grandes dames 
y joignoient souvent leurs faveurs. Elles etoient fort foibles centre les beaux 
esprits.' (Hist, du Theat.) We are not to wonder then that this profession 
should be followed by men of the first quality, particularly the youuger 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 seigneurial, alloit quelque temps 
courir le monde en rimant, et revenoit acquerir le reste de Chateau.' (Fonte 
nelle Hist, du Theat.) 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 II.) declaims no less. than the monks abroad, against the extravagant 
favour shewn to these men. Non enim more nugatorum ejus seculi in Histri- 
ones & Mimos, et hujusmodi monstra hominum, ob famas redemptionem &dila- 
tationem nominis eifunditis opes vestras, &c. [Epist. 274. 1 ] 

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 ap 
plauses upon the Emperor Henry, who, at his marriage with Agnes of Poictou, 
in 1044, disappointed the poor Minstrels, and sent them away empty. Infiuitam 
Histrionum, & Joculatorum multitudinem sine cibo & muneribus vacuam & 
mcerentem abire permisit. (Chronic. Virtziburg.) For which I doubt not but 
he was sufficiently stigmatized in the Songs and Ballads of those times. Vid. 
Du Cange, Gloss, torn. 4, p. 771, &c. 

(G) ' The annals of the Anglo-Saxons are scanty and defective.'] Of the 
few histories now remaining that were written before the Norman Conquest, 
almost all are such short and naked sketches and abridgements, giving only a 
concise and general relation of the more remarkable events, that scarce any of 

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


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 ceconomy of 
their countrymen. The Saxon Chronicle, for instance, which is the best of them, 
and upon some accounts extremely valuable, is almost such an epitome as 
Lucius Floras and Eutropius have left us of the Roman history. As for Ethel- 
ward, 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! Whover would carry his 
researches deep into that period of history, might safely plead the excuse of a 
learned writer, who had particularly studied the Ante-Norman historians. 
4 Conjecturis (licet nusquam sine verisimili fundamento) aliquoties indulgemus 
. . . utpote ab Historicis jejune nimis & indiligenter res nostras tractantibus 
coacti . . . Nostri . . . nuda factorum commemoratione plerumque contend, 
reliquaomnia, sive ob ipsarum rerum, sivemeliorum literarum, sive Historicorum 
officii ignorantiam, fere intacta prsetereunt.' Vide plura in Praefat. ad JElfr. 
Vitam a Spelman. Ox. 1678. fol. 

(H) ' Minstrels and Harpers.'] That the Harp (Cithara) was the common 
musical instrument of the Anglo-Saxons, might be inferred from the very word 
itself, which is riot 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. penji^e, Peanpa. Iceland. $arpa, ^aurpa. Dan. and Belg. $arpe. 
Germ. $avpffv, $?arpffa. Gal. Harpe. Span. Harpa. Ital. Arpa. \_Vid. Jun. 
Etym. Menage Etym. &c.] As also from this, that the word Penjipe is con 
stantly used, in the Anglo-Saxon versions, to express the Latin words Cithara, 
Lyra, and even Cymbalum : the word Psalmus itself being sometimes translated 
Peajip j*an5, Harp Song. [Gloss. Jun. R. apud 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 instrument to be handed 
round, and each of the company to sing to it in his turn. See his Hist. Eccles. 
Anglor. Lib. 4, c. 24, where speaking of their sacred poet Csedmon, who lived 
in the times of the Heptarchy (ob circ 680) he says : 

4 Nihil unquam frivoli & supervacui poematis facere potuit ; sed ea tantummodo, 
qua? ad religionem pertinent, religiosam ejus linguam decebant. Siquidem in 
habitu saeculari, usque ad tempora provectioris astatis constitutus, nil Carmirium 
aliquando didicerat. Unde nonnunquam in convivio, cum esset laititiae causa ut 
omnes per ordinem cantare deberent, ille ubi appropinquare sibi citharam cernebat, 
snrgebat a media csena, et egressus ad suam domum repedabat.' 

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

J9e . . nacpj-e nohr leaj-unga. ne roe'ep leo^ef pypeean re mihre. 
He . . never no leasings, nor idle songs compose ne might; 
ac epne fca an $a fce TO arpej-cnej'ye belumpon. ~j hip $a gej-epran 
but lo! only those things which to religion [piety] belong, and his then pious 
tmnsan 5et>r,Fenct>e pinjan : papf lie j*e man in peijiplr-ha'oe sej*eret> 
tongue became to sing: He was the [a] man in worldly [secular] state set 
o* <a trt>e t>e he p*y op jelypetine yltoe ~y he narjrjie amis leoj> 
to the time in which he was of an advanced age ; and he never any song 
i Fid. Nicolson's Eng. Hist Lib. <fcc. 


jelenjinotie. ] he pojipon Ofc in jebeoji^cipe Sonne ttaen pa 1 ]" bhj-j-e 
learned. And he therefore oft in an entertainment when there was for merri- 
mrinja jetie-met). *$ hi ealle jreoroan ftuph enioebyn'oner'Fe 

ment-sake adjudged [or decreed], that they all should through their turns 
be hearipan finjan. ftonne he ^eyeah fta heajipan him nealaecan. fconne 
by [to the] harp sing; when he saw the harp him approach, then 
anar 1 lie poj- j*ceome jrjiam ftam rymle. *j ham eotoe ro hij- huj*e. 

arose he for shame from the supper, and home yode [went] to his house. 

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

In this version of Alfred's it is observable, (1) that he has expressed the 
Latin word cantare, by the Anglo-Saxon words ' be heajipan pnjan,' 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 caena ; he assigns a motive, ' ajiap port 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 countrymen. 

(I) ' The word Glee, which peculiarly denoted their art, &c.'] This word 
Glee is derived from the Anglo-Saxon HI 155, [Gligg] Musica, Music, jBl&intftrefat)? 
(Somn.) This is the common radix, whence arises such a variety of terms and 
phrases relating to the Minstrel- Art, as affords the strongest internal proof, that 
this profession was extremely common and popular here before the Norman 
Conquest. Thus we have 


(1) Clip, [Gliw.] Mimus, a Minstrel. 

Dligman, slijmon, jliman, [Glee-man 1 ] Histrio, Mimus, Pantomimus, all 
common names in Middle Latinity for a Minstrel : and Somner accordingly 
renders the original by a JKkinjftrel ; a $faper on a timurel or tabec. He adds, 
a #itrtet ; but although the Fythel, or Fiddle, was an ancient instrument, by 
which the Jogelar or Minstrel sometimes accompanied his song, (see Warton, 
1. 17.) it is probable that Somner annexes here only a modern sense to the word, 
not having at all investigated the subject. 

Elnmen, jliijmen. [Glee-men.] Histriones, Minstrels. Hence, 

Irli5manna-yppe. Orchestra, vel Pulpitus. The place where the Minstrels 
exhibited their performances. 

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

In De Brunne's metrical version of Bishop Grosthead's Manuel de Peche, 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 pag. Ixix. note (K) renders Deus Joculatorum, by God of Gleemen. (War- 
ton's Hist. Eng. Poet. Diss. 1.) Fabyan died in 1592. 

Dunbar, who lived in the same century, describing, in one of his poems, intituled, ' The 
Daunce,' what passed in the infernal regions ' amangis the Feyndis,' says 
Na Menstralls playit to thame, but dowt, 
For Gle-men tbaire wer haldin out, 
Be day and eke by nycht. 

See Poems from Bannatyne's MS. Edinb. 1770, 12mo. pag. 30. Maitland's MS. at Cam- 
bridge reads here Glewe men. 



(2) But their most proper and expressive name was 
Dbphleopjiient). Musicus, a jBlftinstrel ; and 
Dliphleoprueniolica. Musicus, 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 Leutt, Carmen, a Song. 

(3) From the above word IfliJS, the profession itself was called 
niiscjiaepr. [Glig or Glee-craft.] Musica, Histrionia, Mimica Gesticulatio : 

Which Somner rightly gives in English, JlflmstreWj?, JfiEttmical iBesticuIation, 
JBUummerp. He also adds &ta0E--pTajJm0 ; but here again I think he substi 
tutes an idea too modern, induced by the word Histrionia, which in Middle 
Latinity only signifies the Minstrel-art. 

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

(4j As Musical Performance was the leading idea, so 

Ehopian, is Cantus musicos edere ; and 

Ehsbeam, jhpbeam. [Glig or Glee-beam] Tympanum; a (STimfcrel or 
tfZTaber. (So Somn.) Hence 

Elypan. Tympanum pulsare ; and 

Dlip-met>en ; jhypientje-matoen ; [Glee-maiden] Tympanistria : which 
Somner renders a &foe- Minstrel ; for it should seem, that they had Females of 
this profession ; One name for which was also Hrlypby^ener-rjia. 

(5) Of congenial derivation to the foregoing is 

Elypc. [Glywc.] Tibia, a Pipe or Flute. 

Both this and the common radix Dliss, are with great appearance of truth 
derived by Junius from the Icelandic 45li00ur, Flatus ; as supposing that the 
first attempts at Music among our Gothic ancestors were from Wind-instru 
ments. Vid. Jun. Etym. Aug. V. Glee. 


But the Minstrels, as is hinted above, did not confine themselves to the mere 
exercise of their primary arts of Music and Song, but occasionally used many 
other modes of diverting. Hence from the above Root was derived, in a 
secondary sense, 

(1) Eleo, and pinfum slip. Facetiae. 

Eleopian, jocari ; to je?t, or be merrp ; (Somn.) and 
Dleopient), jocans ; je?tin0, speafeinp merrrfp ; (Somn.) 
Ir Ionian, also signified Jocista, a Jester. 

Dlij-samen. [Glee-names.] joci. Which Somner renders, ^Kerrimentg, 
or merrp 3Iestjf, or <arricfc& or &poct# ; dBamnoIes". 

(2) Hence, again, by a common metonymy of the Cause for the Effect, 
Dhe, gaudium, alacritas, laetitia, facetia;; fop, jNiirth, <&faunefi& Cheerful 
ness, <!5lee. [Somner.] Which last application of the word still continues, 
though rather in a low debasing sense. 


But however agreeable and delightful the various arts of the Minstrels might 
be to the Anglo-Saxon laity, there is reason to believe, that before the Norman 
Conquest at least, they were not much favoured by the clergy ; particularly by 
those of monastic profession. For, not to mention that the sportive talents 
of these men would be considered by those austere ecclesiastics, as tending to 



levity and licentiousness, the Pagan origin of their art would excite in the 
monks an insuperable prejudice against it. The Anglo-Saxon Harpers and 
Gleemen were the immediate successors and imitators of the Scandinavian 
Scalds ; who were the great promoters of Pagan superstition, and fomented 
that spirit of cruelty and outrage in their countrymen the Danes, which fell 
with such peculiar severity on the religious and their convents. Hence arose a 
third application of words derived from C!i55, Minstrelsy, in a very unfavour 
able sense, and this chiefly prevails in books of religion and ecclesiastic dis 
cipline. Thus 

(1) libs, is Ludibrium, laughing to scorn. 1 So in S. Basil. Regul. 11. 
PI haep'oon him to s'lje halpentie mmesunse. Ludibrio habebant salutarem 
ejus admonitionem. (10.) This sense of the word was perhaps not ill- 
founded ; for as the sport of rude uncultivated 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, 

IHi5-man, was also used to signify Scurra, a s'aucp Jes'ter (Somn.) 
Dli5-5eojxn. Dicax, Scurriles jocos supra quarn par est ainans. Officium 

Episcopale, 3. 
Dlipian. Scurrilibus oblectamentis indulgere ; Scurram agere. Canon. 

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, 

Ehpeji. Parasitus, Assentator; a tfatoner, a (2Togoec, a Parasite, a flat 
terer. 2 (Somn.) 


To return to the An<do- Saxon word Eh;?: Notwithstanding the various 
secondary senses in which this word (as we have seen above) was so early ap 
plied ; yet 

The derivative Glee (though now chiefly used to express Merriment and Joy) 
long retained its first simple meaning, and is even applied by Chaucer to 
signify Music and Minstrelsy. (Vid. Jun. Etym.) E. g. 

' For though that the best harper upon live 
Would on the best sounid jolly harpe 
That evir was, with all his fingers five 
Touch aie o string, or aie o warble harpe, 
Were his nailes poincted nevir so sharpe 
It shoulde makin every wight to dull 
To heare his glee, and of his strokes full.' 

Troyl. L. II. 

1 To gleek, is used in Shakespeare, for "to make sport, to jest," &c. * The preceding list 
of Anglo-Saxon words, so full and copious beyond any thing that ever yet appeared in print 
on this subject, was extracted from Mr. Lye's curious Anglo-Saxon Lexicon, in MS. but the 
arrangement here is the Editor's own. It had however received the sanction of Mr. Lye's 
approbation, and would doubtless have been received into his printed copy, had he lived to 
publish it himself. It should also be observed, for the sake of future researches, that 
without the assistance of the old English Interpretations given by Somner, in his Anglo- 
Saxon Dictionary, the Editor of this book never could have discovered that Glee signified 

or Giigman a 


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

' . . . Stoden ... the castell all aboutin 
Of all maner of Mynstrales 
And Jestours that telleu 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 mentioning these, the great masters of the art, he proceeds : 
' And small Harpers with her Glees 
Sat under them in divers sees.' 

* * * * 

Again, a little below, the poet having enumerated the performers on all the dif 
ferent sorts of instruments, adds, 

' There sawe I syt in other sees 
Playing upon other sundry Glees, 
Which that I cannot neven 1 
More than starres ben in heven,' &c. 
Upon the above lines I shall only make a few observations : 

(1) That by Jestours, I suppose we are to understand Gestours; scil. the 
relaters of Gests, (Lat. Gesta) 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 Roma- 
norum, and this will account for it's seemingly improper title. These were evi 
dently 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 con 
sidered as specimens of their manner. 

(2) That the ' Briton Glaskeryon,' whoever he was, is apparently the same 
person with our famous Harper Glascerion, of whom the reader will find a 

tragical ballad, No. 7, Book I. Vol. III. In that song may be seen an instance 

of what was advanced above in note (E), of the dignity of the minstrel profes 
sion, or at least of the artifice with which the Minstrels endeavoured to set off 
its importance. 

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

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

(3) As for the word Glees, it is to this day used in a musical sense, and ap 
plied 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 ? 

1 Neven, i.e. name. 


(K) ' Comes from the pen of Geoffery of Monmouth.'] Geoffery's own 
words are, ' Cum ergo alterius modi aditum [Boldulphus] non haberet, rasit 
capillos suos & barbam, 1 cultumque Joculatoris cum Cythara fecit. Deinde 
intra castra deambulans, modulis quos in Lyra cornponebat, sese Cytharistam 

exhibebat. Galf. Monum. Hist. 4to. 1508. Lib. 7. c. 1. That Joculator 

signifies precisely a Minstrel, appears not only from this passage, where it is 
used as a word of like import to Citharista or Harper, (which was the old 
English word for Minstrel), but also from another passage of the same author, 
where it is applied as equivalent to Cantor. See Lib. i. cap. 22, where, speak 
ing of an ancient (perhaps fabulous) British king, he says, ' Hie omnes cantores 
quos praecedens aetas habuerat & in modulis & in omnibus musicis instrumentU 

excedebat ; ita ut Deus Joculatorum videretur.' Whatever credit is due to 

Geoffrey as a relator 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, 2 and consequently was as proper a judge of the Saxon 
manners, as if he had actually written his history before that event ; he is 
therefore to be considered as an Anti-Norman writer : so that whether the fact 
concerning Alfred be true or not, we are assured from his testimony, that the 
Joculator or Minstrel was a common character among the Anglo-Saxons. The 
same also may be inferred from the relation of William of Malmesbury, who 
outlived Ingulphus but 33 years. 3 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 therefore is too positive 
and full to be overturned by the mere silence of the two or three slight Anglo- 
Saxon epitomes, that are now remaining. (Vid. Note G). 

As for Asser Menevensis, who has given a somewhat more particular detail 
of Alfred's actions, and yet takes no notice of the following story; it will 
not be difficult to account for his silence, if we consider that he was a rigid 
monk, and that the Minstrels, however acceptable to the laity, were never much 
respected by men of the more strict monastic profession, especially before the 
Norman Conquest, when they would be considered as brethren of the Pagan 
Scalds. 4 Asser therefore might not regard Alfred's skill in Minstrelsy in a very 
favourable light ; and might be induced to drop the circumstance related, below, 
as reflecting in his opinion no great honour on his patron. 

1 Geoffrey of Monmouth is probably here describing the appearance of the Joculatores 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. 
lix. Note 1.) as they likewise did the Mimickry, and other arts of diverting, which they super- 
added to the Composing and Singing to the harp heroic song, &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 promised him success and victory. Contigit Joculato- 
rem ex Longobardorum gente ad Carolum venire, et Cantiunculam a se compositam rotando 
in conspectu suornm, cantare." Tom. II. p. 2. Chron. Monast. Noval. lib. iii. cap. x. p. 717. 
(T. Warton's Hist. Vol. II. Emend, of Vol. I. p. 113.) 2Natus,1030; scripsit, 1091; obit, 1109, 
Tanner. Obit, Anno 1142. Tanner * (See above, p. Ixvi., Ixvii.) 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 had. 


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

(M) ' Alfred . . . assumed the dress and character of a Minstrel.'] ' Fingens 
se Joculatorem, assumpta cithara,' &c. Ingulphi Hist. p. 869. ' Sub specie 
mimi . . . nt Joculatorise 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 tanttim fidelissimi fruebatur conscientiaV 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 Min 
strel had sometimes his servant or attendant to carry his harp, and even to sing 
to his music, we have many instances in the old Metrical Romances, and even 
some in this present collection : See Vol. I. Song VI. Vol. III. Song VII. &c. 
Among the French and Provencal bards, the Trouverre, or Inventor, was gene 
rally attended by his singer, who sometimes also played on the Harp, or other 
musical instrument. ' Quelque fois durant le repas d'un prince on voyoit arriver 
un Trouverre inconnu avec ses Menestrels ou Jongleours, et il leur faisoit chanter 
sur leurs Harpes ou Vielles les Vers qu'il avoit composes. Ceux qui faisoient 
les sons aussi bien qui les mots etoient les plus estime's.' Foutenelle Hist, du 

That Alfred excelled in Music is positively asserted by Bale, who doubtless 
had it from some ancient MS. many of which subsisted in his time, that are now 
lost: as also by Sir J. Spelman, who we may conclude had good authority for 
this anecdote, as he is known to have compiled his life of Alfred from authentic 
materials collected by his learned father : this writer informs us that Alfred 
' provided himself of musitians, not common, or such as knew but the practick 
part, but men skilful in the art itself, whose skill and service he yet further 
improved with his own instruction.' p. 199. This proves Alfred at least to have 
understood the Theory of Music ; and how could this have been acquired without 
practising on some instrument? Which, we have seen above, Note (H), was 
so extremely common with the Anglo-Saxons, even in much ruder times, that 
Alfred himself plainly tells us, it was shameful to be ignorant of it. And this 
commonness might be one reason, why Asser did not think it of consequence 
enough to be particularly mentioned in his short life of that great monarch. 
This rigid monk may also have esteemed it a slight and frivolous accomplish 
ment savouring only of worldly vanity. He has however particularly recorded 
Alfred's fondness for the oral Anglo-Saxon poems and songs [' Saxonica poemata 
die nocteque . . . audiens . . . memoriter retinebat.' p. 16. ' Carmina Saxonica 
memoriter discere,' &c. p. 43 & ib.] Now the Poems learnt by rote, among all 
ancient unpolished nations, are ever Songs chanted by the reciter, and accom 
panied with instrumental melody. 1 

(N) ' With his harp in his hand, and dressed like a Minstrel.' ' Assumpta 

1 Thus Leot), the Saxon word for a Poem, is properly a Song, and its derivative Lied signi 
fies a Ballad to this day in the German tongue : And Cantare we have seen abore is by Alfred 
himself rendered, Be PCftJlpatl 


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 Minius 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 instruments musicis canit. Leges Palatinae Jacobi 
II. Reg. Majoric. In domibus principum, ut tradit antiquitas, Mimi seu Jocu- 

latores licitfc possunt esse. Nam illorum officium tribuit laatitiam 

Quapropter volumus & ordinamus, quod in nostra curia Mimi debeant esse 
quinque, quorum duo sint tubicinatores, & tertius sit tabelerius : [i.e. a player 
on the tabor. 1 ] Lit. remiss, ann. 1374. Ad Mimos cornicitantes, seu bucinantes 

Mimia, Ludus Mimicus, Instramentum. [potius, Ars Joculatoria.] Ann. 1482. 
. . . . ' Mimia & cantu victum acquiro.' 

Du Cange, Glos. Tom. iv. 1762. Supp. c. 1225. 

(0) ' To have been a Dane.'] The northern historians produce 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. 

4 Extant Rhythmi hoc ipso [Islandico] idiomate Angliae, Hyberniaeque Regibus 
oblati & liberaliter compensati, &c. Itaqne hinc colligi potest linguam Danicam 
in aulis vicinorum regum, principumque familiarem fuisse, non secus ac hodie 
in aulis principum peregrina idiomata in deliciis haberi cernimus. Imprimis 
Vita Egilli Skallagrimii id invicto argumento adstrait. Quippe qui interrogate 
ab Adalsteino, Angliae rege, quomodo manus Eirici Blodoxii, Northumbrian regis, 
postquam in ejus potestatem venerat, evasisset, cujus filium propinquosque 
occiderat, . . rei statim ordinem metro, mine satis obscuro, exposuit nequaquam 
ita narraturus nou intelligenti.' [ Vid. plura apud TorfaBii Praefat. ad Oread. 
Hist. fol.J 

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 

1 The Tabour or Tabourin was a common instrument with the French Minstrels, as it had 
also been with the Anglo-Saxon (vid. p. Ixvi.) : thus in an ancient Fr. MS. in the Harl. col 
lection (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 Acour.' 

See also a passage in Menage's Diction. Etym. [v. Menestriers] where Tabours 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 Vielle, Vol. II. p. 263. who thinks it the same with the 
Kote, or wheel. See p. 270 in the note. 

'II ot un Jougleor a Sens, 
Qui nayoit pas sovent robe entiere; 
Sovent estoit sans sa Viele. 1 Fabliaux & Coat. II. 184, 5. 


with our king Athelstan, that he at one time presented him with ' duobus annulis 
& scriniis duobus bene magnis argento repletis. . . . Quinetiam hoc addidit, 
ut Egillus quidvis praeterea a se petens, obtineret ; bona mobilia, sive immobilia, 
prffibendam vel praafecturas. Egillus porro regiam munificentiam gratus excipiens, 
Carmen Encomiasticon, a se, lingua Norvegica, (qua? turn his regnis communis) 
compositum, regi dicat ; ac pro eo, duas Marcas auri puri (pondus Marcae . . 8 
uncias aequabat) honorarii loco retulit.' [Arngr. Jon. Rer. Islandic. Lib. 2. p. 

See more of Egill, in ' The Five Pieces of Runic Poetry,' p. 45, whose Poem, 
there translated, is the most ancient piece all in rhyme, that is, I conceive, now 
to be found in any European language, except Latin. See Egil's Islandic 
original, printed at the end of the English Version in the said ' Five Pieces, 1 &c. 

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

(Q) ' In Doomesday Book,' &c.] Extract, ex Libro Domesday ; Et vid. 
Anstis Ord, Gart. ii. 304. 

45lott) etester s'tire. 

Fol. 162. Col. I. heroic 3Coculator Jfte$i$ hafcet iii biflatf, et ibi v. car. 

nit vetitr. 

That Joculator is properly a Minstrel might be inferred from the two fore 
going 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, p. Ix. See also 
Du Cange's Gloss. Vol. III. c. 1543. ' Jogulator pro Joculator. Consilium 
Masil. an. 1381. Nullus Ministreys, seu Jogulator, audeat pinsare vel sonare 
instrumentum cujuscumque generis.' &c. &c. 

As the Minstrel was termed in French Jongleur and Jugleur ; so he was called 
in Spanish Jutglar and Juglar. ' Tenemos canciones y versos para recitar muy 
antiguos y memorias ciertas de los Juglares, que assistian en los banquetes, 
como los que pinta Homero.' Prolog, a las Corned, de Cervantes, 1749. 4to. 

' El anno 1328, en las siestas de la Coronacion del Rey, Don Alonso el IV. de 
Aragon, .... * el Juglar Ramaset cantb una Villanesca de la Composicion del 
. . infante [Don Pedro] : y otro Juglar, llamado Novellet, recitb y representb 
en voz y sin cantar mas de 600 versos, que hizo el Infante en el metro, que 
llamaban Rima Vulgar.' Ibid. 

' Los Trobadores inventaron la Gaya Ciencia . . . estos Trobadores, eran casi 

todos de la primera Nobleza. Es verdad, que yaentonces sehavian entrome- 

tido entre las diversiones Cortesanos, los Contadores, los Cantores, los Juglares, 
los Truanes, y los Bufones.' Ibid. 

In England the King's Juglar continued to have an establishment in the royal 
houshold down to the reign of Henry VIII. [vid. Note (C c)] But in what 

1 Romanset Jutglar canta alt veux . . . devant lo senyor Rey. Chron.d* Aragon. apudDu 
Cange. IV. 771. 


sense Me title was there applied does not appear. In Barklay's Egloges written 
circ. 1514, Jugglers and Pipers are mentioned together. Egl. iv. (yid. T. 
Warton's Hist. II. 254.) 

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

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

' Qni quidem Taillefer a Gulielmo obtinuit ut primus in hostes irrueret, inter 
quos fortiter dimicando occubuit.' Gloss. Tom. iv. 769, 770, 771. 

' Les anciennes chroniques nous apprennent, qu'en premier rang de 1'Armee 
Normande, un ecuyer nomme Taillefer, monte sur un cheval arme', chanta la 
Chanson De Roland, qui fat si long terns dans les bouches des Francois, sans 
qu'il soil reste le moindre fragment. Le Taillefer apres avoir entonne le chan 
son que les soldats repetoient, se jetta le premier parmi les Anglois, et fat tue.' 
[Voltaire. Add. Hist. Univ. p. 69.] 

The reader will see an attempt to restore the Chanson de Roland, with musical 
notes in Dr Burney's Hist. II. p. 276. See more concerning the Song of Roland, 
Note on Sect. II. Essay on Ancient Metrical Romances, vol. III. 

(S) 'An eminent French writer.' &c.] 'M. 1'Eveque de la Ravaliere, qni 
avoit fait beaucoup de recherches sur nos anciennes Chansons, pretend que c'est 
a la Normandie que nous devons nos premiers Chansonniers, non a la Provence, 
et qu'il y avoit parmi nous des Chansons en langue vulgaire avant celles des 
Provencaus, mais posterieurement au Regne de Philippe I, ou a 1'an 1100.' 
[v. Revolutions de la Langue Francoise, a la suite des Poesies du Roi de 
Navarre.] ' Ce seroit nne anteriority de plus d'un denii siecle a 1' epoque dea 
premiers Troubadours, que leur historien Jean de Nostredame fixe a 1'an 1162, 
&c. Pref. a 1'Anthologie FranQ. 8vo. 1765. 

This subject hath been since taken up and prosecuted at length in the Prefaces, 
&c. to M. Le Grand's ' Fabliaux ou Contes de xiie & du xme Siecle, Paris. 
1788.' 5 Tom. 12mo. who seems pretty clearly to have established the priority 
and superior excellence of the old Rimeurs of the North of France, over the 
Troubadours of Provence, &c. 

(S. 2.) ' Their own native Gleemen or Minstrels must be allowed to exist.'] 
Of this we have proof positive in the old metrical Romance of Home Childe, 
(No. 1. Sect. IV. Essay on Ancient Metrical Romances, Vol. III.) which, although 
from the mention of Saracens, &c. it must have been written at least after the 
first crusade in 1096, yet from its Anglo-Saxon language or idiom, can scarce 
be dated later than within a century alter the Conquest. This, as appears from 
its very exordium, was intended to be sung to a popular audience, whether it 
was composed by, or for, a Gleeman, or Minstrel. But it carries all the internal 
marks of being the production of such a composer. It appears of genuine 
English growth, for after a careful examination, 1 cannot discover any allusion 


to French or Norman customs, manners, composition, or phraseology : no quota 
tion ' 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. 
Childe Home is the son of Allof (i.e. Olaf or Olave) king of Sudenne (I suppose 
Sweden) by his queen Godylcle, 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 Horne- 
Childe is extremely incorrect. 

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

(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, Sect. IV. Essay on Ancient Metrical 
Romances, Vol. III.) of which I find in a MS. copy in the Cotton Library A. 2. 
folio. 3. the II Fitte thus concludes, 

. . . . ' thus ferr have I red.' 

Such is Ipomydon (No. 23, III.) of which one of the divisions (Sign E. ii. b. 
in pr. copy) ends thus 

' Let hym go, God him spede 
Tyll efte-soone we of him reed.' [i.e. read.] 

So in ' Amys and Amylion,' 1 (No. 31. Sect. IV. Essay on Ancient Metrical 
Romances, Vol. III.) 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 with more 
skill and ingenuity, and the style and colouring are of superior cast, to such as 
can with sufficient probability be attributed to the Minstrels themselves. 

Of this class I conceive the Romance of Home Childe mentioned in the last 
note (S. 2.) and in No. 1, Sect. IV. Essay on Ancient Metrical Romances, Vol. 
III., which, from the naked unadorned simplicity of the story, I would attribute 
to such an origin. 

But more evidently is such the ' Squyr of Lowe Degre,' (No. 24, Sect. IV. 

* It ought to have been observed in its proper place, in No. 31. Sect. IV. Essay on Ancient 
Metrical Romances, Vol. III. 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 accompanied with valu 
able illustrations, &c.: and that it was his opinion that both the fragment of the Lady Bellesent 
mentioned in the same No. 31. and also the mutilated Tale, No. 37, were only imperfect copies 
of the above Romance of Amys and Amylion, which contains the 2 lines quoted in No. 37. 


Essay on Ancient Metrical Romances, Vol. III.) in which is no reference to any 
French original, nothing like the phrase, which so frequently occurs in others, 
' As the Romance sayth,' l or the like. And it is just such a rambling perfor 
mance, as one would expect from an itinerant Bard. And 

Such also is ' A lytell Geste of Robyn Hode,' &c. in 8 Fyttes, of which are 
extant 2 editions, 4to, in black letter, described more fully in page 65 of this 
volume. This is not only of undoubted English growth, but, from the constant 
satire aimed at Abbots and their Convents, &c. could not possibly have been 
composed by any Monk in his cell. 

Other instances might be produced ; but especially of the former kind is ' Syr 
Launsal,' (No. 11. Sect. IV. Essay on Ancient Metrical Romances, Vol. III.) 
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 king's Minstrel.'] He is recorded by Leland 
under both these names, in his Coliectanea, scil. Vol. I. p. 61. 

' Hospitale S. Barthtolomsei in West-Smithfelde in London. 
' Royer Mimus Regis iundator.' 

' Hosp. Sti. Barthol. Londini. 

' Raherus Mimus Regis H. 1. primus fundator, an. 1102. 3. H. 1. qui fundavit 
etiam priorat. Sti. Barthol.' Ibid. pag. 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, citharisantibus, ludentibus, &c. iiii. s. (T. Warton. II. 106. 
Note q.) The same year the Prior gave to a doctor praedicans for a sermon 
preached to them only 6d. 

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 com 
position, as one of those, which were manufactured by Dr. Stone, the famous 
Legend-maker, in 1380 ; (see T. Warton's curious account of him, in Vol. II. 
p. 190. Note.) Who required no materials to assist him in composing his 
Narratives, &c. For in this Legend are no particulars given of the Founder, 
but a recital of miraculous visions exciting him to this pious work, of its having 
been before revealed to K. Edward the Confessor, and predicted by three 
Grecians, &c. Even his Minstrel profession is not mentioned, whether from 

i Wherever the word Romance occurs in these metrical narratives, it hath been thought to 
afford decisive proof of a translation from the Romance or French language. Accordingly it 
is so urged by T. Warton, (I. 146. Note.) from two passages in the pr. copy of Sir Egltunour, 
viz. Sign . i. 

' In Romannce as we rede.' 
Again in fol. nit. 

' In Romannce this cronycle is." 
But in the Cotton MS. of the original the first passage is 

' As I herd a Clerke rede.' 
And the other thus, 

' In Rome this Gest cronycled ys.' 

So that I believe references to the Romaunce,' or the like, were often meer explet-'ve 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. 


ignorance, or design, as the profession was perhaps falling into discredit when 
this Legend was written. There is only a general indistinct account that he fre 
quented royal and noble houses, where he ingratiated himself snavitate joculari. 
(This last is the only word that seems to have any appropriated meaning.) This 
will account for the indistinct incoherent account given by Stow. ' Rahere, a 
pleasant-witted gentleman, and therefore in his time called the King's Min 
strel.' Survey of Lond. Ed. 1598, p. 308. 

(U.) ' In the early times every harper was expected to sing.'] See on this 
subject K. Alfred's version of Caedman, above in note (H.) pag. Ixiv. 

So in Horne-Childe, K. Allof orders his steward Athelbrus to 
' teche him of harpe and of song.' 

In the ' Squyr of Lowe Degre ' the king offers to his daughter, 
' Ye shall have harpe, sautry, 1 and song.' 

And Chaucer in his description of the Limitour or Mendicant Friar speaks of 
harping as inseparable from singing (I. p. 11. ver. 268.) 

' in his harping, whan that he hadde songe. ' 

(U. 2.) ' As the most accomplished,' &c.] See Hoveden, p. 103, in the fol 
lowing passage, which had erroneously been applied to R. Richard himself, till 
Mr Tyrwhitt (Chaucer, IV. p. 62.) shewed it to belong to his Chancelor. 
1 Hie ad augmentum et famam sui nominis, emendicata carmina, et rhythmos 
adulatorios comparabat ; et de regno Francorum Cantores et Jaculatores mune- 
ribus allexerat, ut de illo canerent in plateis: et jam dicebatur ubique, quodnon 
erat talis in orbe.' For other particulars relating to this Chancelor, see T. 
Warton's Hist. Vol. II. Addit. to p. 113 of Vol. I. 

(U. 3.) ' Both the Norman and English languages would be heard at the 
houses of the great.'] A remarkable proof of this is, that the most diligent 
inquirers after ancient English rhymes find the earliest they can discover in the 
mouths of the Norman nobles. Such as that of Robert Earl of Leicester, and 
his Flemings in 1173. temp. Hen. 2. (little more than a century after the con 
quest) recorded by Lambarde in his Dictionary of England, p. 36. 
' Hoppe Wyliken, hoppe Wyliken 
Ingland is thine and myne,' &c. 

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

' Were I in my castle of Bungey 
Vpon the riuer of Waueney 
I would ne care for the king of Cockeney." 

Indeed many of our old metrical romances, whether originally English, or 
translated from the French to be sung to an English audience, are addressed to 
persons of high rank, as appears from their beginning thus ' Listen, Lord- 
lings,' and the like. These were prior to the time of Chaucer, as appeal's 

from Sect. II. Essay on Ancient Metrical Romances, Vol. III. And yet to his 

time our Norman nobles are supposed to have adhered to their French language. 

(V.) ' that intercommunity &c. between the French and English Minstrels,' 

* The Harp. (Lat. Cithara) differed from the Sautry, or Psaltry (Lat. Psalterium) in that 
the former was a stringed instrument, and the latter was mounted with wire : there was also 
some difference in the construction of the bellies, &c. See ' Bartholomseus de proprietatibus 
rerum,' as Englished by Trevisa & Batman. Ed. 1684, in Sir J. Hawkins's Hist. II. p. 285. 


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

(V. 2.) ' is not the only instance,' &c.] The constant admission granted to 
Minstrels was so established a privilege, that it became a ready expedient to 
writers of fiction. Thus in the old Romance of Horne-Childe, 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,' 1 
has them admitted, when 

' Home sette him abenche [i.e. on a bench.] 
Is [i.e. his] harpe he gan clenche 
He made Kymenild a lay.' 

This sets the princess a weeping and leads to the catastrophe, for he immedi 
ately advances to ' the Borde ' or table, kills the ravisher, and releases the 

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

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

' Pater itaque ejus defectus senio migravit ad Christum, A.D. 1196. Mater 
ejus ante biennium obiit .... Interea Domina charissima clam per coguatos 
adducta fuit in Normanniam, et ibidem sub tuta et arcta custodia nutrita. 
Eodem tempore in Anglia fuit quidam miles nomine Gulielmus Talbot, qui in- 
duit se habitum Peregrini [Anglice, a Pilgrim] in Nonnanniam transfretavit et 
moratus per duos annos, hue atque illuc vagans, ad explorandam dominam 
Elam Sarum. Et ilia inventa, exuit habitum Peregrini, et induit se quasi 
Cytharisator et curiam ubi morabatur intravit. Et ut erat homo Jocosus, in 
Gestis Antiquorum valde peritus, ibidem gratanter fuit acceptus quasi familiaris. 
Et quando tempus aptum invenit, in Angliam repatriavit, habens secum istam 

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

' Christofre him served longe 

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


venerabilem dominam Elam et haeredem Comitatus Sarum; et earn Regi 
Richardo praesentavit. Ac ille Isetissime earn sucepit, & Fratri suo Guillelmo 
Longespee maritavit .... 

A.D. 1226 Dominus Guill. Longespee primus nonas Martii obiit. Ela vero 
uxor ejus 7 anuis supervixit .... Una die Duo monasteria fundavit primo 
mane xvi. Kal. Maii. A.D. 1232. apud Lacock, in quo sanctse degunt Canonissae 
. . . . Et Henton post nonam, Anno vero setatis suaj, xlv. &c. 

(W.) For the preceding account Dugdale refers to Monast. Angl. I, [r. II. J 
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 Monas- 
ticon are ' Qui accersitis Sutoribus Cestriaa et Histrionibus, festinanter cum 
exercitu suo venit domino suo facere succursum. Walenses vero videntes mul- 
titudinem magnam venientem, relicta obsidione fugerunt . . . . Et propter hoc 
dedit comes antedictus .... Constabulario dominationem Sutorum et Histrio- 
num. Constabularius vero retinuit sibi et haeredibus suis dominationem Suto 
rum : et Histrionum dedit vero Seneschallo.' (So the passage should apparently 
be pointed ; but either et or rero seems redundant.) 

We shall see below in note (Z) the proper import of the word Histriones : 
but it is very remarkable that this is not the word used in the grant of the 
constable De Lacy to Dutton, but Magisterium omnium Leccatorum et Mere- 
tricium totius Cestreshire, sicut liberius ilium [sic] Magisterium teneo de 
comite. (vid. Blount's Ancient Tenures, p. 156.) Now, as under this grant 
the heirs of Dutton confessedly 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, Du Cange compiling his 
Glossary could only find, in the writers he consulted, this word used in the 
abusive sense, often applied to every synonyme of the sportive and dissolute 
Minstrel, viz. Scurra, vaniloquus, parasitus, epnlo, &c. (This, I conceive, to 
be the proper arrangement of these explanations, which only express the cha 
racter given to the Minstrel elsewhere : See Du Cange passim and notes, C. E. 
F. I. iii. 2. &c.) But he quotes an ancient MS. in French metre, wherein the 
Leccour (Lat. Leccator.) and the Minstrel are joined together, as receiving 
from Charlemagne a grant of the territory of Provence, and from whom the 
Provencal Troubadours were derived, &c. See the passage above in note C. 
pag. Ixii. 

The exception in favour of the family of Dutton, is thus expressed in the 
Statute, Anno 39. Eliz. Chap. IV. intitled, ' An Act for punishment of Rogues, 
Vagabonds, and Sturdy Beggars.' 

II. ... 'All Fencers, Bearwards, Common Players of Enterludes, and 
Minstrels, wandering abroad, (other than Players of Enterludes belonging to 
any Baron of this Realm, or any other honourable Personage of greater degree, 
to be authorised to play under the hand and seal of arms of such Baron or 
Personage:) all Juglers, Tinkers, Pedlers, &c. . . . shall be adjudged and 
deemed Rogues, Vagabonds, and Sturdy Beggars, &c. 

' X. Provided always that this Act, or any tiling therein contained, or any 
authority thereby given, shall not in any wise extend to disinherit, prejudice, 
or hinder John Dutton of Dutton in the County of Chester, Esquire, his heirs 
or assigns, for, touching or concerning any liberty, preheminence, authority, 


jurisdiction, or inheritance, which the said John Button now lawfully useth, or 
hath, or lawfully may or ought to use within the County-Palatine of Chester, 
and the County of the City of Chester, or either of them, by reason of any 
ancient Charters of any Kings of this Land, or by reason of any prescription, 
usage, or title whatsoever.' 

The same Clauses are renewed in the last Act on this Subject, passed in the 
present reign of Geo. III. 

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

' In festo Pentecostes Rex filium suum armis militaribus cinxit et cum eo 
Comites Warennise et Arundelise, aliosque, quorum numerus ducentos et quadra- 
ginta dicitur excessisse. Eodem die cum sedisset Rex in mensa, novis militibus 
circumdatus, ingressa Ministrellorum Multitude, portantium multiplier ornatu 
amictum, ut milites prsecipue novos invitarent, et inducerent, ad vovendum 
factum armorum aliquod coram signo.' 

(Y) ' By an express regulation, &c.'] See in Hearne's Append, ad Lelandi 
Collectan. Vol. VI. p. 36. ' A Dietarie, Writtes published after the Ordinance 
of Earles and Barons, Anno Dom. 1315.' 

4 Edward by the grace of God, &c. to Sheriffes, &c. greetyng. Forasmuch 
as ... many idle persons, under colour of Mynstrelsie, and going in messages, 
and other faigned busines, have beu and yet be receaved in other mens houses 
to meate and drynke, and be not therwith contented yf they be not largely con- 
sydered with gyftes of the Lordes of the houses : &c. . . . We wyllyng to 
restrayne suche outrageous enterprises and idlenes, &c. have ordeyned .... 
that to the houses of Prelates, Earles and Barons none resort to meate and 
drynke, unlesse he be a Mynstrel, and of these Minstrels that there come none 
except it be three or four Minstrels of honour at the most in one day, unlesse he 
be desired of the Lorde of the House. And to the houses of meaner men that none 
come unlesse he be desired, and that such as shall come so, holde themselves con 
tented with meate and drynke, and with sucli curtesie as the Maister of the House 
wyl shewe unto them of his owne good wyll, without their askyng of any thyng. 
And yf any one do agaynst this Ordinaunce, at the firste tyme he to lose his 
Minstrelsie, and at the second tyme to forsweare his craft, and never to be 

receaved for a Minstrell in any house Yeven at Langley the vi. day of 

August, in the ix yere of our reigne.' 

These abuses arose again to as great a height as ever in little more than a 
century after ; in consequence, I suppose, of the licentiousness that crept in 
during the civil wars of York and Lancaster. This appears from the Charter, 
9 E. 4. referred to in p. 1. ' Ex querulosa insinuatione . . . Ministrallorum 
nostrornm accepimus qualiter nonnulli rudes agricolaa et artifices diversarum 
misterarum regni nostri Angliae, finxerunt se fore Ministrallos, quorum aliqui 
Liberatam nostram eis minime datam portarent, seipsos etiam fingentes esse 
Minstrallos nostros proprios, cujus quidem Liberatae ac dictae artis sive occupa- 
tionis Ministrallorum colore, in diversis partibus regni nostri praadicti grandes 
pecuniarum exactiones de ligeis nostris deceptive colligunt, &c.' 

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


(Z) It is thus related by Stow.'J See his Survey of London, &c. fol. 1633. 
p. 521. [Ace. of Westm. Hall.] Stow had this passage from Walsingham's 

Hist. Ang ' Intravit quajdam mulier ornata Histrionali habitu, equum 

bonum insidens Histrionaliter phaleratum, quse mensas more Histrionum 
circuivit ; et tandem ad Regis mensam per gradus ascendit, et quandam literam 
coram rege posuit, et retracto fraeno (salutatis ubique discumbentibus) prout 
venerat ita recessit,' &c. Anglic. Norm. Script. &c. Franc. 1603. fol. p. 109. 

It may be observed here, that Minstrels and others often rode on horseback 
up to the royal table, when the Kings were feasting in their Great Halls. See 
in this Vol. ' King Estmere.' 

The Answer of the Porters (when they were afterwards blamed for admitting 
her) also deserves attention. " Non esse moris domus regiae Histriones ab 
ingressu quomodolibet prohibere, &c. Walsingh. 

That Stow rightly translated the Latin word Histrio here by Minstrel, mean 
ing a musician that sung, and whose subjects were stories of chivalry, admits of 
easy proof: for in the ' Gesta Romanorum,' chap. cxi. Mercury is represented 
as coming to Argus in the character of a Minstrel ; when he ' incepit, more 
Histrionico, fabulas dicere, et plerutnque cantare.' (T. Warton, III. p. li.) And 
Muratori cites a passage, in an old Italian chronicle, wherein mention is made 

of a stage erected at Milan. ' Super quo Histriones cantabant, sicut modo 

cantatur de Rolando et Oliverio.' Antich. Ital. II. p. 6. (Observ. on the Sta 
tutes, 4th Edit. p. 362.) 

See also (E.) pag. Ixii. (F.) p. Ixiii. &c. 

(A a) ' There should seem to have been women of this profession.'] This may 
be inferred from the variety of names appropriated to them in the middle ages, 
viz. Anglo-Sax. Ehp-me'oen [Glee-maiden], &c. j'ypientoematoen, jlypbytie- 
nejrtj*a. (vid. supra, p. Ixvi.) Fr. Jengleresse, Med. Lat. Joculatrix, Ministra- 
lissa, Faemina Ministerialis, &c. (yid. Du Cange Gloss. & Suppl.) 

See what is said in pag. 1. concerning the ' sisters of the fraternity of Min 
strels;' see also a passage quoted by Dr. Burney (II. 315.) from Muratori, of 
the Chorus of women singing thro' the streets accompanied with musical in 
struments in 1268. 

Had the female described by Walsingham been a Tombestere, or dancing- 
woman, (see Tyrwhitt's Chaucer IV. 307. and V. gloss.) that historian would 
probably have used the word Saltatrix. (see T. Warton I. 240. note m.) 

These saltatrices were prohibited from exhibiting in churches and church 
yards along with joculatores, histriones, with whom they were sometimes 
classed, especially by the rigid ecclesiastics, who censured, in the severest terms, 
all these sportive characters, (yid. T. "Warton in loco citato, et vide supra Not. 
E. F. &c.) 

And here I would observe, that although Fauchet, and other subsequent 
writers affect to arrange the several members of the minstrel profession under 
the different classes of troverres (or troubadours), chanterres, conteours, and 
jugleurs, &c. (yid. pag. Ix.) as if they were distinct and separate orders of 
men, clearly distinguished from each other by these appropriate terms, we find 
no sufficient grounds for this in the oldest writers; but the general names in 
Latin, histrio, mimus, joculator, ministrallus, &c. in French, menestrier, mene- 
strel, jongleur, jugleur, &c. and in English, Jogeleur, jugler, minstrel, and the 
like, seem to be given them indiscriminately. And one or other of these names 


seem to have been sometimes applied to every species of men, whose business it 
was to entertain or divert (joculari) whether with Poesy, Singing, Music, or 
Gesticulation, singly ; or with a mixture of all these. Yet as all men of this 
sort were considered as belonging to one Class, Order or Community, (many of 
the above arts being sometimes exercised by the same person) they had all of 
them doubtless the same privileges, and it equally throws light upon the general 
History of the Profession to shew what favour or encouragement was given, at 
any particular period of time, to any one branch of it. I have not therefore 
thought it needful to inquire, whether, in the various passages quoted in these 
pages, the word Minstrel, &c. is always to be understood in its exact and pro 
per meaning of a Singer to the Harp, &c. 

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

' Le Quens 1 manda les Menestrels j 

Et si a fet 2 crier entre els, 

Qui la meillor truffe 3 sauroit 

Dire, ne faire, qu'il auroit 

Sa robe d'escarlate nueve. 

L'uns Menestrels a 1' autre reuve 

Fere son mestier, tel qu'il sot, 

Li uns set 1'yvre, 1'autre sot ; 

Li uns chante, li autre note; 

Et li autres dit la riote ; 

Et li autres la jenglerie; 4 

Cil qui sevent de jonglerie 

Vielent par devant le Conte ; 

Aucuns ja qui fabliaus conte 

II i ot dit mainte rifee.' &c. 

Fabliaux et Contes, 12mo. Tom. 2. p. 161. 

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

C'il juggleurs in pies esturent 

S'ont vielles, et harpes prisees 

Chansons, sons, vers, et reprises 

Et gestes chante nos out.' 

Sir J. Hawkins, II. 44. from Andr. du Chene. See also Tyrwhitt's Chaucer, 
IV. p. 299. 
All the before-mentioned Sports went by the general name of Ministralcia, 

Ministellorum Ludicra, &c. Charta an. 1377. apud Rymer. VII. p. 160, 

' Peracto autem prandio, ascendabat D. Rex in cameram suam cum Prselatis, 
Magnatibus et Proceribus praedictis : et deinceps Magnates, Milites et Domini, 
aliique Generosi diem ilium, usque ad tempus coenae, in tripudiis, coreis et 
solempnibus Ministralciis, pra3 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. Ixiii.) thus in the old Romance of Tirante el Blanco ; Val. 

i Le Compte 2 fait. * Sornette [a gibe, a geat, or floating * Janglerie babillage, raillerie. 


1511. The 14th Cap. Lib. 2. begins thus, Despues que las Mesas fueron alcadas 
vinieron los Ministriles ; y delante del rey, y de la Reyna dan9aron 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 apparance ymade by som magike, 
As Jogelours 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. Sect. IV. Essay on Ancient Metrical Romances, 
Vol. III.) 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. Sect. IV Essay on Ancient Metrical 
Romances, Vol. III.) 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. Sect. IV. Essay on Ancient Metrical 
Romances, Vol. III.) 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 shee harped another whiles song, 
Both of paramours and louinge amonge." 

And in the Romance of ' Eger and Grime ' (No. 12. Sect. IV. Essay on Ancient 
Metrical Romances, Vol. III.) 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. But these instances are sufficient. 

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

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


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

' Rex Ministellorum ; supremus inter Ministellos : de cujns munere, potestate 
in cseteros Ministellos agit Charta Henrici IV. Regis Angliae in Monast. Anglicano, 

torn. I. pag. 355. Charta originalis an. 1338. Je Robert Caveron Roy des 

Menestreuls du Royaume de France. Alise 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. 1537. 

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 Mene 
strels, 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, 
ila . . . 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 1'Autheur du ' Roman d'Oger le Danois,' s'appelle 

' 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. A denes] ki il' est rimes.' 
' Et en celuy de Cleomades, 

' Ce Lirre 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'ailleurs on 
ne le rapportoit a un jeu du priz . Et de faict 51 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 tourae* en batelage nous avons veu en nostre jennesse les 
Jouingleurs se trouver a certain jour tons les ans en la ville de Chauny en 
Picardie, pour faire monstre de leur mestrier devant le monde, k qui mienx. 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 afterwards in England : but by his 
apology for comparing the Jouingleurs, who assembled to exercise their faculty, 
in his youth, to the ancient Rimeurs, it is plain they exerted their skill in rhyme. 
As for king Adenes, or Adenez, (whose name in the first passage above is 
corruptly printed Adams,) he is recorded in the ' Bibliotheque des Romans, 
Amst. 1734.' 12mo. Vol. I. p. 232. to have composed the two Romances in verse 
above-mentioned, and a third intitled ' Le Roman de Bertin ' 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.) ' king of the Minstrels,' &c.] See Anstis's Register of the Order of 
the Garter, II. p. 303, who tells us ' The President or Governour of the Minstrels 
had tlie like denomination of Roy in France, and Burgundy : and in England, 
John of Gaunt constituted such an Officer by a Patent ; and long before his time 
payments were made by the crown, to [a] King of the Minstrels by Edw. I. 
" Regi Roberto Ministrallo scutifero ad arma commoranti ad vadia Regis anno 
6to." [Bibl. Cotton. Vespas. c. 16, f. 3.] as likewise [Libro Garderob. 25. E. 1.] 
" Ministrallis in die nuptiarum comitissae Holland filiae Regis, Regi Pago, Johanni 
Vidulatori, etc. Morello Regi, etc. Druetto Monthaut, and Jacketto de Scot. 
Regibus, cuilibet eorum xls. Regi Pagio de Hollandia," etc. under Ed. II. We 
likewise find other entries, " Regi Roberto et aliis Ministrallis facientibus Meni- 
strallias [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. forisfact. 16. E. 3].' He adds below, (p. 304.) a 
similar instance of a Rex Juglatorum, 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 (Ee. 2.) 

(B b. 3.) The Statute 4. Hen. IV. (1402) c. 27. runs in these terms, ' Item, 
pur eschuir plusieurs diseases et mischiefs qont advenuz devaunt ces heures en 
la terre de Gales par plusieurs Westours Rymours, Minstralx et autres Vaca- 
bondes, ordeignez est et establiz qe nul Westour, Rymour Ministral ne Vacabond 
soit aucunement snstenuz 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 outrages 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 exu 
berance 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 produced les diseases & mischiefs en la Terre de Gales. 

It is also submitted to the reader, whether the same application of the terms 
does not still more clearly appear in the commission issued in 1567, and printed 
in Evan Evans's Specimens of Welsh Poetry, 1764, 4to. p. v. for bestowing the 
Silver Harp on ' the chief of that faculty.' For after setting forth ' that vagrant 
and idle persons, naming themselves Minstrels, Rythmers, and Bards,' had 
lately grown into such intolerable multitude within the Principality in North 
Wales, that not only gentlemen and others by their shameless disorders are 
oftentimes disquieted in their habitations, but also expert Minstrels and Musicians 
in tonge and cnnynge thereby much discouraged, &c.'and 'hindred [of] livings 
and preferment,' &c. it appoints a time and place, wherein all ' persons that 
intend to maintain their living by name or colour of Minstrels, Rythmers, or 
Bards ' within 5 shires of N. Wales, shall appear ' to show their learnings accord- 
' & c - AM the commissioners are required to admit such as shall be found 


worthy, into and under the degrees heretofore in use, so that they may ' use, 
exercise, and follow the sciences and faculties of their professions in such decent 
order as shall appertain to each of their degrees.' And the rest are to return to 
some honest labour, &c. upon pain to be taken as sturdy and idle vagabonds, &c. 

(B b. 4.) Holingshed translated this passage from Tho. de Elmham's 'Vita 
et Gesta Henrici V.' scil. ' Soli Omnipotent! Deo se velle victoriam imputari . . . 
in tantum, quod cantus de suo triumpho fieri, sen per Citharistas vel alios 
quoscunque cantari penitus prohibebat.' [Edit. Hearnii. 1727. p. 72.] As in 
his version Holingshed 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 Household Book,' &c.] See Section V. 
' Of the Noumbre of all my lords Servaunts.' 

' Item, Mynstrals in Houshold iii. viz. A Taberet, a Luyte, and a Eebecc.' 
[The Rebeck was a kind of Fiddle with 3 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 houshold, as his Tabret, Lute, 
ande Rebeke, upon New Yeresday in the mornynge when they do play at my 
lordis chamber dour for his Lordschip and my Lady, xx. a. Viz. xiii. s. iiii. d. 
for my Lord ; and vi. s. viii. d. 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 chamber doure, 
the lord Percy, ii. s. And for playinge at the chamber doures of my lords Yonger 

Sonnes, my yonge masters, after viii. d. the pece for every of them. xxiii. s. 

iiii. d.' 

Sect. XLIV. 2. 
' Rewards to be geven to strangers, as Players, 

' Mynstralls, or any other, &c. 

4 Fnrst, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gif to the Kings Jugler ; . . . . 
when they custome to come unto hym yerly, vi. s. viii. d. 

' Item, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gif yerely to the kings or queenes 
Bearwarde, if they have one, when they custom to come unto hym yerly, vi. 
s. viii. d. 

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

' Item, my lorde usith and accustomedeth to gife yerely to an Erls Mynstralls, 
if he be his speciall lorde, friende, or kynsman, if they come yerely to his lord- 

schip And, if they come to my ' lord ' seldome, ones in ii or iii 

yeres ' 


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

' Item, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gife yerly, when his lordschip is at 
home, to gyf to the Kyngs Shawmes, when they com to my lorde yerely, x. s.' 

I cannot conclude this note without observing that in this enumeration, the 


family Minstrels seem to have been Musicians only, and yet both the earl's 
4 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 Egloges, circ. 1514. (Warton II. 254.) 

(0 c. 2.) The honours and Rewards conferred on Minstrels, &c. in the middle 
ages, were excessive, as will be seen by many instances in these Volumes ; v. 
Note E. F. &c. But more particularly with regard to English Minstrels, &c. 
See T. Warton's Hist, of Eng. Poetry. I. p. 8992. 116. &c. II. 105, 106, 
254, &c. Dr. Burney's Hist, of Music. II. p. 316319. 397. 399. 427, 428. 

On this head, it may be sufficient to add the following passage from the 
4 Fleta.' Lib. 2. c. 23. ' Officium Elemosinarij est . . . Equos relictos, Robas, 
Pecuniam, et alia ad Elemosinam largiter recipere et fideliter distribuere ; debet 
etiam Regem super Elemosinae largitione crebris summonitionibus stimulare & 
praecipue diebus sanctorum, et rogare ne Robas suas quae magni sunt precij 
Histrionibus, Blanditoribus, Adulatoribus, Accusatoribus, vel Menestrallis, sed 
ad Elemosinse suas incrementum jubeat largiri.' Et in c. 72. ' Ministralli, vel 

(D d.) 4 A species of men who did not sing, &c.'] It appears from the pas 
sage 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 
of Conteours, or Reciters in prose : It is in his ' Ecclesiastes,' where he is 
speaking of such Preachers, as imitated the Tone of Beggars or Mountebanks : 
' Apud Anglos est simile genus hominum, quales apud Italos sunt Circulatores 
[Mountebanks] de quibus modo dictum est ; qui irrumpunt in couvivia Mag- 
natum, aut in Cauponas Vinarias ; et argumentum aliquod, quod edidicerunt, 
recitant ; puta mortem omnibus dominari, aut laudem matrimonii. Sed quo- 
niam ea lingua monosyllabis fere constat, quemadmodum Germanica ; atque 
illi [sc. this peculiar species of Reciters] studio vitant cantum, nobis (sc. Eras 
mus, who did not understand a word of English) latrare videntur verius quam 
loqui.' Opera, Tom. V. c. 958. (Jortin. Vol. 2. p. 193.) As Erasmus was 
correcting the vice of preachers, it was more to his point to bring an instance 
from the Moral Reciters of Prose, than from Chanters of Rhyme; though the 
latter would probably be more popular, and therefore more common. 

(E e.) This Character is supposed to have been suggested by descriptions of 
Minstrels in the romance of ' Morte Arthur ;' but none, it seems, have been found, 
which come nearer to it than the following, which I shall produce, not only 
that the reader may judge of the resemblance, but to 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 letter, which 
Mark king of Cornwal had sent to Queen Guenever, wherein he ' spake shame 
by her, and Sir Lancelot ' is comforted by a knight, named Sir Dinadan, who 
tells him, ' I will make a lay for him, and when it is made, I shall make an Harper 
to sing it before him. So anon he went and made it, and taught it an Harper, 
that hyght Elyot ; and when hee could it, Hee taught it to many Harpers. And 
so ... the Harpers went straight unto Wales and Cornwaile to sing the Lay 
.... which was the worst Lay that ever Harper sung with Harpe, or with 
any other instrument. And [at a] great feast that king Marke made for joy of 
[a] victorie which hee had, . . . came Eliot the Harper ; . . . and because he 


was a curious Harper, men heard him sing the same Lay that Sir Dinadan had 
made, the which spake the most vilanie by king Marke of his treason, that 
ever man heard. When the Harper had sung his song to the end, king Marke 
was wonderous wroth with him, and said, ' Thou Harper, how durst thou be so 
bold to sing this Song before me ?' * Sir,' said Eliot, ' wit you well I am a 
Minstrell, and I must doe, as I am commanded of these Lords that I bear the 
armes of. And Sir king, wit you well that Sir Dinadan a knight of the 
Round Table made this Song, and he made me to sing it before you.' ' Thou 
saiest well,' said king Marke, ' I charge thee that thou hie thee fast out of my 
sight.' So the Harper departed, &c. [Part II. c. 113. Ed. 1634. See also 
Part III. c. 5.] 

(E e. 2.) ' This act seems to have put an end to the profession,' &c.] Al 
though I conceive that the character ceased to exist, yet the appellation might 
be continued, and applied to Fidlers, and other common Musicians : which will 
account for the mistakes of Sir Peter Leicester, or other modern writers. (See 
his ' Historical Antiquities of Chestershire,' 1673. p. 141.) 

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 commonly called Fidlers or 
Minstrels shall at any time be taken playing, fidling, and making music in any 
Inn, Ale-house, or Tavern or shall be taken proffering themselves, or desiring, 
or intreating any ... to hear them play or make music in any of the places 
aforesaid ; ' they are to be ' adjudged and declared to be rogues, vagabonds, 
and sturdy beggars.' 

This will also account why John of Gaunt's ' King of the Minstrels,' at length 
come to be called, like 'Le Roy des Violons' in France (v. Note B b. 2.) 'King 
of the Fidlers.' See the common ballad intitled ' The Pedigree, Education, and 
Marriage of Robinhood with Clorinda, queen of Tutbury Feast : ' which though 
prefixed to the modern collection on that subject l 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 Leman ' Maid Marian : ' AVho 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 ia 
Mr. Steevens's and Mr. Malorie's Editions of Shakespeare : by whom she is men 
tioned, I. Hen. 4. Act 3. 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,' &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 
I. had no issue after his accession to the throne of England. It may even have 
been written since the restoration, and only express the wishes of the nation for 
issue on the marriage of their favourite K. Charles II, on his marriage with the 
Infanta of Portugal. I think it is not found in the Pepys collection. 

i 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 completed only in 1700. In the folio MS. (described in p 
xxvi.) are ancient fragments of the following, viz 'Robin Hood and the Beggar.' ' Robin 
Hood and the Batcher.' 'Robin Hood and Fryer Tucke.' 'Robin Hood and the Pindar." 
Robin Hood and Queen Catharine,' in 2 parts 'Little John and the four Beggars,' and 
'Robine Hoode his Death.' This last, which is very curious, has no resemblance to any that 
have been published; and the others are extremely different from the printed copies; but they 
unfortunately are in the beginning of the MS. where half of every leaf hath been torn away. 


(F f.) ' Historical Song, or Ballad.'] The English word Ballad is evidently 
from the French Balade, as the latter is from the Italian Ballata ; which the 
Crusca Dictionary defines, Canzone, che si canta Ballando, ' A Song, which is 
sung during a Dance.' So Dr. Burney, [II. 342.] who refers to a collection of 
Ballette published by Gastaldi, and printed at Antwerp in 1596. [III. 226.] 

But the word appears to have had an earlier origin : for in the decline of the 
Roman Empire, these trivial songs were called Ballistea and Saltatiunculaj. 
Ballisteum, Salmasius says, is properly Ballistium. Gr. BaAAtorreloj/. c dno TOV 
BaAAifw . . . BaAAioTia saltatio . . . Ballistium igitur est quod vulgo vocamns 
Ballet ; nam inde deducta vox nostra.' Salmas. Not. in Hist. Ang. Scriptores 
VI. p. 349. 

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

first is, 

' Mille, mille, mille decollavimus, 
Unus homo mille decollavimus, 
Mille vivat, qui mille occidit. 
Tantum vini habet nemo 
Quantum fudit sanguiuis.' 
The other was 

' Mille Sarmatas, mille Francos 
Semel & semel occidimus. 
Mille Persas quserimus.' 

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

(F f. 2.) ' Little Miscellanies named Garlands, &c.'] In the Pepysian and 
other libraries, are preserved a great number of these in black letter, 12mo, 
under the following quaint and affected titles, viz. 

1. A Crowne Garland of Goulden Roses gathered out of England's Royal 
Garden, &c. by Richard Johnson, 1612. [In the Bodleyan Library.] 2. The 
Golden Garland of Princely Delight. 3. The Garland of Good-will, by T. D. 
1631. 4. The Royal Garland of Love and delight, by T. D. 5. The Garland 
of Delight, &c. by Tho. Delone. 6. The Garland of Love and mirth, by Thomas 
Lanfier. 7. Cupid's Garland set round with Guilded Roses. 8. The Garland 
of Withered Roses, by Martin Parker, 1656. 9. The Shepherd's Garland of 
Love, Loyalty, &c. 10. The Country Garland. 11. The Golden Garland of 
Mirth and Merriment. 12. The Lover's Garland. 13. Neptune's fair Garland. 
14. England's fair Garland. 15. Robin Hood's Garland. 16. The Maiden's 
Garland. 17. A Loyal Garland of Mirth and Pastime. 18. A Royal Garland 
of New Songs. 19. The jovial Garland, 8th Edit. 1691. &c. &c. &c. 

This sort of petty publications had anciently the name of 'Penny-Merriments:' 
as little religious tracts of the same size were called ' Penny Godlinesses : ' In 
the Pepysian Library are multitudes of both kinds. 

(G g.) ' The term Minstrel was not confined to a mere Musician in this coun 
try any more than on the Continent.'] The discussion of the question, Whether 


the term Minstrel was applied in England to Singers and Composers of Songs, 
&c. or confined to the performers on musical instruments, was properly reserved 
for this place, because much light hath already been thrown upon the subject 
in the preceding Notes, to which it will be sufficient to refer the Reader. 

That on the Continent the Minstrel was understood not to be a mere Musician 
but a Singer of Verses, hath been shown in Notes B. C. R. A a. &C. 1 And that 
he was also a Maker of them is evident from the passage in (C p. Ixi.) where 
the most noted Romances are said to be of the composition of these men. And 
in (B b.) p. Ixxxii. we have the Titles of some of which a Minstrel was the 
author, who has himself left his name upon record. 

The old English names for one of this profession were Glee-man, 2 Jogeler, 3 
and latterly Minstrel ; not to mention Harper, &c. In French he was called 
Jongleur or Jugleur, Menestrel or Menestrier. 4 The writers of the middle ages 
expressed the character in Latin by the words Joculator, Mimus, Histrio, Minis- 
trellus, &c. These terms, however modern critics may endeavour to distinguish, 
and apply them to different classes, and although they may be sometimes men 
tioned as if they were distinct, I cannot find after a very strict research to have 
had any settled appropriate difference, but they appear to have been used 
indiscriminately by the oldest writers, especially in England ; where the most 
general and comprehensive name was latterly Minstrel, Lat. Ministrellus, &c. 

Thus Joculator (Eng. Jogeler, or Juglar) is used as synonymous to Citha- 
rista (Note K. p. Ixix.) and to Cantor (Ibid.) and to Minstrel (vid. infra p. 
xc.) We have also positive proof of that the subject of his songs were Gestes 
and Romantic Tales (V 2. Note.) 

So Mimus is used as synonymous to Joculator (M. p. Ixx.) He was re 
warded for his singing (N. p. Ixxi.) and he both sang, harped, and dealt in 
that sport (T. 2.) which is elsewhere called Ars Joculatoria (M. ubi supra.) 

Again Histrio is also proved to have been a singer (Z. p. Ixxix. and to 
have gained rewards by his Verba Joculatoria (E. p. Ixii.) And Histriones is 
the term by which the Fr. word Miuistraulx is most frequently rendered into 
Latin. (W. p. Ixxviii. B b. p. Ixxxii. &c.) 

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

But in proof of this we have only to turn to so common a book, as T. War- 
ton's History of Eng. Poetry : where we shall find extracted from Records the 
following instances. 

Ex. Registr. Priorat. S. Swithin Winton. (sub anno 1374.) 'In festo Alwyni 
Epi. . . . Et durante pietancia in Aula Conventus sex Ministralli, cum quatuor 
Citharisatoribus, faciebant Ministralcias suas. Et post cenam, in magna camera 
arcuata dom. prioris cantabant idem Gestum in qua Camera suspendebatur, ut 
moris est, magnum dorsale Prioris habens picturas trium Regum Colein. Venie- 

1 That the French Minstrel was a Singer and Composer, &c. appears from many passages 
translated by M. Le Grand, in ' Fabliaux ou Contes,' &c. see Tom. I. p. 37. 47. II. 306. 313. & 
seqq. III. 266. &c. Yet this writer, like other French Critics, endeavours to reduce to distinct 
and separate classes the men of this profession, under the precise names of Fablier, Contear, 
Menetrier, Menestrel, and Jongleur, (Tom. 1. Pref. p. xcviii.) whereas his own Tales confute 
all these nice distinctions, or prove at least that the title of Menetrier or Minstrel was applied 
to them all. * See pag. Ixv See page Ixivii. * See p. xlii. Note. 


bant autem dicti Joculatores a Castello domini Regis et ex familia Epi.' (vol. 
II. p. 174.) Here the Minstrels and Harpers are expressly called Joculatores, 
and as the Harpers had Musical Instruments, the Singing must have beea by 
the Minstrels, or by both conjointly. 

For that Minstrels sang we have undeniable proof in the following entry in 
the Accompt Roll of the Priory of Bicester, in Oxfordshire, (under the year 
1432.) 'Dat. Sex Ministrallis de Bokyngham cantantibus in refectorio Martyr- 
ium Septem Dormientium in festo Epiphanie, iv. s.' (Vol. II. p. 175.) 

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

In the old Romance of ' Emare ' (No. 15. Sect. IV. Essay on Ancient Metrical 
Romance, vol. iii.) 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. 1480J 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 makes 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 I. 
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 composition of many of these old popular rhymes, as to the 
men, who devoted all their time and talents to the recitation of them : especially 
as in the rhymes themselves Minstrels are often represented, as the Makers or 

Thus in the oldest of all, Horne-Childe having assumed the character of a 
Harper or Jogeler, is in consequence said (fo. 92.) to have 
' made Eymenild [his mistress] a lay.' 

In the old Romance of Emare', we have this exhortation to Minstrels, as com 
posers, otherwise they could not have been at liberty to chuse their subjects. 
(st. 2.) 

i The fondness of the English, (even the most illiterate) to read 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 jEneid, was to be 
'redde ... or else songe.' I. ult. (Warton. I. 388.) 


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

In inony a dyverse londe 
Sholde ut her begynnyng 
Speke of that ryghtwes kyng 

That made both see and sonde.' &c. 

And in the old Song or Geste of ' Guy and Colbronde ' (No. 4. Essay on An 
cient Metrical Romances, vol. iii.) the Minstrel thus speaks of himself in the 
first person. 

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

And sitt and solace lythe 
Then itt is time for mee to speake 
Of keene knights and kempes great 
Such carping for to kythe.' 

We have seen already that the Welsh Bards, who were undoubtedly composers 
of the songs they chanted to the Harp, could not be distinguished by our legis 
lators from our own Rimers, Minstrels : (vid. Note B b. 3. p. Ixxxiv.) 

And that the Prove^al Troubadour of our King Richard, who is called by M. 
Favine Jongleur, and by M. Fauchet Menestrel, is by the old English Translator 
termed a Rimer or Minstrel, when he is mentioning the fact of his composing 
some verses: (p. xlii.) 

And lastly that Holinshed, translating the prohibition of K. Henry V. forbid 
ding any songs to be composed on his Victory, or to be sung by Harpers or 
others, roundly gives it, he would not permit ' any ditties to be made and sung 
by Minstrels on his glorious Victory' &c. (vid. p. xlix. and Note B b. 4.) 

Now that this order of Men at first called Gleemen, then Juglers, and after 
wards more generally Minstrels, existed here from the Conquest, who entertained 
their hearers with chanting to the harp or other instruments Songs and Tales of 
Chivalry, or as they were called Gests l and Romances in verse in the English 
Language, is proved by the existence of the very compositions, they so chanted, 
which are still preserved in great abundance and exhibit a regular series from 
the time our language was almost Saxon, till after its improvements in the age 
of Chaucer, who enumerates many of them. And as the Norman French was 
in the time of this Bard still the Courtly language, it shows that the English was 
not thereby excluded from affording entertainment to our Nobility, who are so 
often addressed therein by the title of Lordings : and sometimes more positively 
' Lords and Ladies.' 

And tho' many of these were translated from the French, others are evidently 
of English origin 2 which appear in their turns to have afforded Versions into 
that language ; a sufficient proof of that intercommunity between the French 
and English Minstrels, which hath been mentioned in a preceding page. Even 

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 Lei and. Collect. IV. p. 265.] we are promised an account 
' of their Gestys and manners during the said Voyage.' * The Romance of ' Richard Coeur de 
Lion' (No. 25. Sect. IV. Essay on Ancient Metrical Romances, Vol. III.) I should judge to 
be of English origin from the names Wardrewe and Eldrede, &c. (Sect. II. Essay on Ancient 
Metrical Romances, Vol. III.) As is also Eger and Grime. (No. 12. Sect. IV. Essay on Ancient 
Metrical Romances, Vol. III.) wherein a knight is named Sir Gray Steel, and a lady, who 
excells in surgery is called Loospaine, or Lose-pain ; these surely are not derived from France. 


the abundance of such Translations into English, being all adapted for popular 
recitation, 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 languages. 

We have seen above that the Joculator, Mimus, Histrio, whether these charac 
ters were the same, or had any real difference, were all called Minstrels ; as was 
also the Harper, 1 when the term implied a Singer, if not a composer of Songs, 
&c. By degrees the name of Minstrel was extended to Vocal and Instrumental 
Musicians of every kind : and as in the establishment of Royal and Noble houses, 
the latter would necessarily be most numerous, so we are not to wonder that 
the Band of Music (entered under the general name of Minstrels) should consist 
of instrumental Performers chiefly, if not altogether : for as the Composer or 
Singer of heroic Tales to the harp would necessarily be a solitary performer, we 
must not expect to find him in the Band along with the Trumpeters, Fluters, &c. 

However, as we sometimes find mention of ' Minstrels of Music : ' 2 so at other 
times we hear of ' expert Minstrels and Musicians of Tongue and Cunning' (B b. 
3. p. Ixxxiv. 3 ) meaning doubtless by the former Singers, and probably by the 
latter phrase Composers of Songs. Even ' Minstrels Music ' seems to be applied 
to the species of Verse used by Minstrels in the passage quoted below. 4 

But although from the predominancy of instrumental Music, Minstrelsy 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 
following extract from Puttenham's ' Arte of Eng. Poesie.' p. 9. Who, speaking 
of the first composers of Latin Verses in rhyme, says, ' all that they wrote to the 
favor or prayse of princes, they did it in such manner of Minstralsie ; and thought 
themselves no small fooles, when they could make their verses go all in rhyme.' 

I shall conclude this subject with the following description of Minstrelsy given 
by John Lidgate at the beginning of the 15th century, as it shows what a variety 
of entertainments were then comprehended under this term, together with every 
kind of instrumental Music then in use. 

' Al nianer Mynsfcralcye. 
That any man kan specifye. 
Ffor there M-ere Rotys of Almayne, 
And eke of Arragon, and Spayne : 

1 See the Romance of Sir Isenbras (No. 14.) sign. a. 

' Harpers loved him in Hall 
With other Minstrels all.' 

T. Warton. II. 258. note (a) from Leland's Collect. (Vol. 4.) Append, edit. 1774. p. 267.) 
* The curious author of the ' Tour in Wales, 1773." 4to. p. 435, I find to have read these 
words 'in toune and contrey; ' which I can scarce imagine to have been applicable to Wales 
at that time. Nor can I agree with him in the representation he has given (p. 367.) concern 
ing the Cymmorth or meeting, wherein the Bards exerted their powers to excite their country 
men 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 crwth, and the pipe filled the measures of enthusiasm, which the others had begun to 
inspire.' Whereas it is well known, that the Bard chanted his enthusiastic 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 comprehends both the Bard, and the Musician. 4 ' Your ordinarie rimers use very 
much their measures in the odde, as nine and eleven, and the sharpe accent upon the last 
sillable, which therefore makes him go ill favouredly and like a Minstrels musicke.' (Putten 
ham's Arte of Eng. Poesie 1589. p. 59.) This must mean his Vocal Music, otherwise it 
appears not applicable to the subject. 


Songes, stampes, and eke Daunces ; 
Divers plente of plesaunces : 
And many unkouth notys new 
Of swiche folke as lovid treue. 1 
And instrumentys that did excelle, 
Many moo than I kan telle. 
Harpys, Fythales, and eke Rotys 
Well according to her [i.e. their] notys, 
Lutys, Ribibles, and Geternes, 
More for estatys, than tavernes : 
Orgay[n]s, Cytolis, Monacordys. 
There were Trumpes, and Trumpettes, 
Lowde Shall[m]ys, and Doucettes. 

T. Warton. II. 225. Note (*). 

1 By this phrase I understand, New Tales or Narrative Rhymes composed by the Minstrels on 
the subject of True and faithful Lovers, &c. 


igl 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 
Archajologia, 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 Archaaologia. 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 foreigners. 

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





I. The Ancient Ballad of Chevy-Chase .... 1 

II. The Battle of Otterbourne ..... 14 

Illustration of the Names in the foregoing Ballads . . 27 

III. The Jew's Daughter, a Scottish Ballad ... 29 

IV. SirCauline ....... 31 

V. Edward, Edward, a Scottish Ballad .... 46 

VI. KingEstmere ...... 48 

On the word Termagant ..... 60 

VTI. Sir Patrick Spence, a Scottish Ballad .... 61 

VIII. Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne .... 63 

IX. An Elegy on Henry Fourth Earl of Northumberland, by Skelton, 75 

X. The Tower of Doctrine, by Stephen Hawes ... 84 

XL The Child of Elle 87 

XII. Edom [Adam] o' Gordon, a Scottish Ballad ... 94 


(Containing Ballads that illustrate Shakespeare.') 

Essay on the Origin of the English Stage . . 102 

I. Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough, and William of Cloudesly . 116 

II. The Aged Lover Renounce th Love . . . .142 

III. Jephthah Judge of Israel . . . . .144 

IV. A Robyn Jolly Robyn 147 

V. A Song to the Lute in Musicke . . . .149 

VI. King Cophetua and the Beggar-Maid . . . 150 

VII. Take thy Old Cloak about thee . . . 155 



VIII. Willow, Willow, Willow ..... 158 

IX. Sir Lancelot Du Lake . . . . .162 

X. Corydon's Farewell to Phillis .... 167 

The Ballad of Constant Susannah . . . .167 

XI. Gernutus the Jew of Venice ..... 169 

XII. The Passionate Shepherd to his Love, by Marlow . . 177 

The Nymph's Reply, by Sir W. Raleigh . . .178 

XIII. Titus Andronicus's Complaint . . . .179 

XIV. Take those Lips away . ' . . . . 185 
XV. King Leir and his Three Daughters .... 186 

XVI. Youth and Age, by Shakespeare .... 192 

XVII. The Frolicksome Duke, or the Tinker's Good Fortune . 193 

XVIII. The Friar of Orders Gray 197 


I. The more Modern Ballad of Chevy-Chase . . . 202 

Illustration of the Northern Names . . . . 215 

II. Death's Final Conquest, by James Shirley . . . 216 

III. The Rising in the North ..... 217 

IV. Northumberland betrayed by Douglas . . . 225 
V. My Mind to me a Kingdom is .... 234 

VI. The Patient Countess, by W. Warner .... 237 

VII. Dowsabell, by Drayton ..... 244 

VIII. The Farewell to Love, from Beaumont and Fletcher . . 249 

IX. Ulysses and the Syren, by S. Daniel .... 249 

X. Cupid's Pastime, by Davison ..... 252 

XI. The Character of a Happy Wife, by Sir R. Wotton . . 255 

XII. Gilderoy, a Scottish Ballad ..... 256 

XIII. Winifreda 260 

XIV. The Witch of Wokey ...... 261 

XV. Bryan and Pereene, a West-India Ballad, by Dr Grainger . 264 

XVI. Gentle River, Gentle River, Translated from the Spanish . 267 

XVII. Alcanzor and Zayda, a Moorish Tale, imitated from the Spanish 272 

The Glossary . . . . . 277 





THE fine heroic song of ' Chevy-Chase ' 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. 

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

This curiosity is printed, from an old manuscript, at the end of Hearne's 
preface to Gul. Newbrigiensis Hist., 1719, 8vo, vol. i. To the MS. copy is 
subjoined the name of the author, Rychard Sheale; 2 whom Hearne had so 
little judgement as to suppose to be the same with a R. Sheale, who was 
living in 1588. But whoever examines the gradation of language and idiom 
in the following volumes, will be convinced that this is the production of an 
earlier poet. It is, indeed, expressly mentioned among some very ancient 
songs in an old book, intitled, The Complaint of Scotland 3 (fol. 42), under 
the title of the Huntis of Chevet, where the two following lines are also 
quoted : 

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

1 Spectator, No. 70, 74. a Subscribed, after the usual manner of our old poets, er,p{JCtt& 
[explicit] qUQtl) RpC&arO .>fteale. s 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 sup 
posed to have been printed in 1540. See Ames.* See Pt. 2. v. 25. 5 See Pt. 1. v. 104. 

VOL. I. A 


Which, tho' not quite the same as they stand in the ballad, yet differ not 
more than might be owing to the author's quoting from memory. Indeed, 
whoever considers the style and orthography of this old poem will not be 
inclined to place it lower than the time of Hen. VI. : as, on the other hand, 
the mention of 3!ame# tfce &eottisb ftinjj, 1 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, 2 did not wear the crown of Scotland 
till the second year of our Henry VI., 3 but before the end of that long reign 
a third James had mounted the thro:ie. 4 A successioi of two or three Jameses, 
and the long detention of one of them in England, would render the name 
familiar to the English, and dispose a poet in those rude times to give it to 
any Scottish king he happened to mention. 

So much for the date of this old ballad: with rej'ard to its subject, altho T 
it has no countenance from history, there is room t< think it had originally 
some foundation in fact. It was one of the Laws c f the Marches frequently 
renewed between the two nations, that neither party thould hunt in the other's 
borders, without leave from the proprietors or their deputies. 5 There had 
long been a rivalship between the two martial families of Percy and Douglas, 
which, heightened by the national quarrel, must have produced frequent 
challenges and struggles for superiority, petty invasions of their respective 
domains, and sharp contests for the point of honour; which would not always 
be recorded in history. Something of this kind, we may suppose, gave rise 
to the ancient ballad of the Hunting a' the Cheviat. 6 Percy earl of Nor 
thumberland 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 re 
corded in the ballad : for these are evidently borrowed from the Battle of 
Otterbourn, 7 a very different event, but which aftertimes would easily con 
found with it. That battle might be owing to some such previous affront as 
this of Chevy-Chase, though it has escaped the notice of historians. Our 
poet has evidently jumbled the two subjects together: if indeed the lines, 8 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 dis 
tinction 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, fols. 29, 34, 61, 70, et passim. 

1 Pt. 2. v. 36, 140. 2 Who died Aug. 5, U06, in the 7th year of onr Hen. IV James 

I. was crowned May 22, 1424; murdered Feb. 21,1436-7.* In 1460. Hen. VI. was deposed 
1461 : restored and slain, 1471. Item .... Concordatum est, quod, .... nullus unius 
partis vel alterius ingrediatur terras, boschas, forrestas, warrenas, loca, dominia quascunque 
alicujus partis alterius subditi, causa venandi, piscandi, aucupandi, disportum aut solatium 
in eisdem, aliave quacunque de causa, absque licentia ejus .... ad quern .... loca 
.... pertinent, aut de deputatis suis prius capt. et obtent. Vid. Bp. Nicolson's Leges 
Marchiarum, 1705, 8vo, pp. 27, 51. This was the original title. See the ballad, Pt. 1, v. 
KG; Pt. 2, v. 165. ' See the next ballad. Vide Pt. 2, v. Ib7. 



THE Perse owt of Northombarlande, 

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

Off Chyviat within dayes thre, 
In the mauger of doughte Dogles, 5 

And all that ever with him be. 

The fattiste hartes in all Cheviat 

He sayd he wold kill, and cary them away : 
Be my feth, sayd the dougheti Doglas agayn, 

I wyll let that hontyng, yf that I may. 10 

Then the Perse owt of Banborowe cam, 

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

The[y] wear chosen out of shyars thre. 2 

This begane on a monday at morn 15 

In Cheviat the hillys so he[e] ; 
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. 

Ver. 5, magger in Hearne's PC. [Printed Copy.] Ver. 11, The the Perse, PC. 
Ver. 13, archardes bolde off blood and bone, PC. Ver. 19, throrowe, PC. 

1 Fit. see Gloss. 2 By these ' shyars thre ' is probably meant three dis 
tricts 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 : Norehamshire, so called from the town and castle 
of Noreham (or Norham) : and Bamboroughshire, the ward or hundred be 
longing to Bamborough-castle and town. 


Then the wyld thorowe the woodes went 

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

For to kyll thear dear. 

Thefy] begane in Chyviat the hyls above 

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

A hondrith fat hartes ded ther lay. so 

The[y] blewe a mort uppone the bent, 

The[y] 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:' 

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 doughetie Doglas comynge : 
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[y] wear twenty hondrith spear-men good 

Withouten any f ayle ; 
The[y] wear borne a-long be the watter a Twyde, 

Yth bowndes of Tividale. so 

Ver. 31, blwe a mot, PC. Ver. 4.2, myghtte, PC. passim. Ver. 43, 
brylly, PC. Ver. 48, withowte . . . feale, PC. 


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

For never sithe ye wear on your mothars borne , 
Had ye never so mickle need/ 

The dougheti Dogglas on a stede 55 

He rode att his men bef orne ; 
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 : eo 

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

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, es 

' 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-f or the ton of us shall de this day/ 

Then sayd the doughte Doglas 
Unto the lord Perse: 

* To kyll all thes giltless men, 75 

A-las! it wear great pitte. 

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

Ver. 52, boys, PC. Ver. 54, ned, PC. Ver. 59, whos, PC. Ver. 65, 
whoys, PC. Ver. 71, agay, PC. 


Let all our men uppone a parti stande ; 

And do the battell off the and of me/ so 

'Nowe Cristes cors on his crowne/ sayd the lord 

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

' Thow shalt never se that day ; 

Nethar in Ynglonde, Skottlonde, nar France, 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, 
Bic. Wytharynton 1 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, 95 

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

I wyll not [fayl] both harte and hande/ 

That day, that day, that dredfull day : 

The first FIT here I fynde. 100 

And youe wyll here any mor athe hountyng athe 

Yet ys ther mor behynde. 

Ver. 81, sayd the the, PC. Ver. 88, on, i.e. one. 

i This is probably corrupted in the MS. for Rog. Widdrington, who was at 
the head of the family in the reign of K. Edw. III. There were several succes 
sively of the names of Roger and Ralph, but none of the name of Richard, as 
appears from the genealogies in the Heralds' office. 



THE Yngglishe men hade ther bowys yebent, 

Ther hartes were good yenoughe ; 
The first of arros that the[y] 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 horn both woo and wouche. 

The Dogglas pertyd his ost in thre, 

Lyk a cheffe chef ten off pryde, 10 

With suar speares off myghtte tre 

The[y] cum in on eveiy syde. 

Thrughe our Yngglishe archery 

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

Which ganyde them no pryde. 

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

It was a hevy syght to se 

Bryght swordes on basnites lyght. 20 

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

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

At last the Duglas and the Perse met, 25 

Lyk to captayns of myght and mayne ; 

Ver. 3, first, i.e. flight. Ver. 5, byddys, PC. Ver. 17, boys, PC. Ver. 
18, briggt, PC. Ver. 21, throrowe, PC. Ver. 22, done, PC. Ver. 26, to, 
i.e. two. Ibid, and of, PC. 


The swapte togethar tyll the[y] both swat 
With swordes, that wear of fyn myllan. 

Thes worthe freckys for to fyght 

Ther-to the wear full fayne, so 

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 shalte have a yerls wagis 35 

Of Jamy our Scottish kynge. 

Thoue shalte have thy ransom fre, 

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

That ever I conqueryd in filde fightyng/ 4o 

' Nay [then] ' sayd the lord Perse, 

' I tolde it the bef orne, 
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, 1 
Hit hathe strekene the yerle Duglas 

In at the brest bane. 


Thoroue lyvar and longs bathe 

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

He spayke mo wordes but ane, 

Ver. 32, ran, PC. Ver. 33, helde, PC. Ver. 49, throroue, PC. 
1 \Yane, i.e. ane, one, sc. man, an arrow came from a mighty one : from a 
mighty man. 


That was, 1 ' Fyghte ye, my merry men, whyllys ye 

For my lyff days ben gan/ . 

The Perse leanyde on his brande, 55 

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, eo 

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, 

Athe tothar syde, that a man myght se, 75 

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

Then that day slain wear ther. 

Ver. 74, ber, PC. 
1 This seems to have been a Gloss added. 


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[y] wear wete. 1 90 

Ther was never a freake wone foot wolde fle, 

But still in stour dyd stand, 
Heawyng on yche othar, whyll thefy] myght dre, 

With many a bal-ful brande. 

This battell begane in Chyviat 95 

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

The battell was nat half done. 

The[y] tooke [on] on ethar hand 

Be the lyght off the mone ; 100 

Many hade no strenght for to stande, 

In Chyviat the hyllys aboun. 

Of fifteen hondrith archars of Ynglonde 
Went away but fifti and thre ; 

Ver. 80, Say, i.e. Sawe. Ver. 84, haylde, PC. Ver. 87, far, PC. 
Ver 102, abou, PC. 

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


Of twenty hondrith spear-men of Skotlonde, 105 
But even five and fif ti : 

But all wear slayne Cheviat within : 

The[y] 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 Perse 

Sir John of Agerstone, 
Sir B-oger the hinde Hartly, 

Sir Wyllyam the bolde Hearone. 

Sir Jorg the worthe Lovele us 

A knyght of great renowen, 
Sir Raff the ryche Rugbe 

With dyntes were beaten dowene. 

For Wetharryngton my harte was wo, 

That ever he slayne shulde be; 120 

For when both his leggis were 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 fle ; 
Sir Hewe Maxwell, a lorde he was, 

With the Duglas dyd he dey. 130 

So on the[y] morrowe the mayde them byears 
Off byrch, and hasell so [gray] ; 

Ver. 108, strenge . . . hy, PC. Ver. 115, loule, PC. Ver. 121, in to, 
>. in two. Ver. 122, kny, PC. Ver. 132, gay, PC. 


Many wedous with wepyng tears, 1 
Cam to fach ther makys a-way. 

Tivydale may carpe off care, 135 

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, HO 

That dougheti Duglas, lyff-tenant of the Merches, 

He lay slean Chyviot with-in. 

His handdes dyd he weal and wryng, 

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

He sayd, ' y-f eth shuld never be/ 

Worde ys commyn to lovly Londone 

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

He lay slayne Chyviat within. iso 

' God have merci on his soil,' sayd king Hany, 

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

' As good as ever was hee : 

Ver. 136, mon, PC. Ver. 138, non, PC. Ver. 146, ye feth, PC. Ver. 
149, cheyff tennante, PC. 

For the Names in this and the foregoing page, see the Remarks at the end 
of the next Ballad. 

1 A common pleonasm, see the next poem, Fit. 2, Ver. 155, so Harding in his 
Chronicle, chap. 140, fol. 148, describing he death of Richard I. says, 
He shrove him then unto Abbots thre 
With great sobbyng .... and wepyng teares. 

So likewise Cavendish in his Life of Cardinal Wolsey, chap. 12, p. 31, 4to. 
' When the Duke heard this, he replied with weeping teares,' &c. 


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 battle of Hombyll-down : ieo 

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 monnynday: 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 

Jhesue Christ our balys bete, 

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

God send us all good ending ! iso 

* # * 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 

The battle of Hombyll-down, or Humbledon, was fought Sept. 14, 1402 
(anno 3 Hen. IV.), wherein the English, under the command of the Earl of 


Northumberland, and his son Hotspur, gained a complete victory over the 
Scots. The village of Humbledon is one mile north-west from Wooler, in 
Northumberland. The battle was fought in the field below the village, near 
the present Turnpike Road, in a spot called ever since Red Riggs. Humble- 
don is in Glendale Ward, a district so named in this county. 



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

In the twelfth year of Richard II. 1388, 'The Scots taking advantage of the 
confusions of this nation, and falling with a party into the West-marches, 
ravaged the country about Carlisle, and carried off 300 prisoners. It was with 
a much greater force, headed by some of the principal nobility, that, in the 
beginning of August, 1 they invaded Northumberland ; and, having wasted 
part of the county of Durham, 2 advanced to the gates of Newcastle ; where, in 
a skirmish, they took a ' penon ' or colours 3 belonging to Henry lord Percy, 
surnamed Hotspur, son to the earl of Northumberland. In their retreat home, 
they attacked a castle near Otterbourn : and, in the evening of Aug. 9 (as 
the English writers say, or rather, according to Froissart, Aug. 15) after an 
unsuccessful assault were suprized 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 shewing the utmost bravery : 4 
the earl Douglas himself being slain on the spot ; 5 the earl of Murrey mortally 
wounded; and Hotspur, 8 with his brother Ralph Percy, taken prisoners. 

1 Froissart speaks of both parties (consisting in all of more than 40,000 men) as entering 
England at the same time : but the greater part by way of Carlisle. 2 And, according to 
the ballad, that part of Northumberland called Bamboroughshire ; a large tract of land so 
named from the town and castle of Bamborough; formerly the residence of the Northum 
brian Kings * 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. 
* 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 Crawfurd's Peerage (and seems 
also to be alluded to in the foregoing ballad, p. 10), but taken prisoner and exchanged 
for Hotspur, ivccording to this ballad. 


These disasters on both sides have given occasion to the event of the engage 
ment's being disputed; Froissart (who derives his relation from a Scotch 
knight, two gentlemen of the same country, and as many of Foix) affirming 
that the Scots remained masters of the field ; and the English writers insinu 
ating the contrary. These last maintain that the English had the better of 
the day : but night coming on, some of the northern lords, coming with the 
bishop of Durham to their assistance, killed many of them by mistake, sup 
posing 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 imme 
diately after this battle the Scots engaged in it made the best of their way 
home . and the same party was taken by the other corps about Carlisle.' 

Such is the account collected by Carte, in which he seems not to be free 
from partiality : for prejudice must own that Froissart's 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 Englysshmen on the one partye, and Scottes on the other 
party, are good men of warre, for whan they mete, there is a hard fighte with 
out sparynge. There is no hoo betwene them as long as speares, swordes, 
axes, or dagers wyll endure ; but lay on eclie upon other : and whan they be 
well beaten, and that the one party hath obtayned the victoiy, they than 
glorifye so in their dedes of armes, and are so joy full, that suche as be taken, 
they shall be, ransomed or they go, out of the felde ; ' so that shortly eche of 
them is so contente with other, that at their departynge curtoysly they will 
saye, God thanke you. But in fyghtynge one with another there is no playe, 
nor sparynge.' Froissart's Cronycle (as translated by Sir Johan Bourchier 
Lord Berners), Cap. cxlij. 

The following Ballad is (in this present edition, i.e. of 1796) printed from 
an old MS. in the Cotton Library (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 ot 
the battele of Otterburne, -betweene Lord Henry Percye earle of Northomber- 

lande and the earle Douglas of Scotlande, Anno 1388.' But this title is 

erroneous, and added by some ignorant transcriber of after-times : for, 1. The 
battle was not fought by the earl of Northumberland, who was absent, but by 
his son Sir Hemy Percy, Knt. surnamed Hotspur, (in those times they did 
not usually give the title of Lord to an earl's eldest son.) 2. Although the 
battle was fought in Richard Ild.'s time, the song is evidently of later date, as 
appears from the poet's quoting the chronicles in Pt. II. ver. 26 ; and speaking 
of Percy in the last stanza as dead. It was however written in all likelihood 
as early as the foregoing song, if not earlier. This perhaps may be inferred 
from the minute circumstances with which the story is related, many of which 
are recorded in no chronicle, and were probably preserved in the memory of 
old people. It will be observed that the authors of these two poems have 
some lines in common ; but which of them was the original proprietor must 
depend upon their priority ; and this the sagacity of the reader must determine. 

1 i.e. They scorn to take the advantage, or to keep them lingering in long captivity. 


YT 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, 1 withowghten stryffe, 5 

He bowynd hym over Sulway : 2 
The grete wolde ever together ryde ; 

That race they may rue for aye. 

Over [Ottercap] hyll they 3 came in, 

And so dowyn by Rodelyffe cragge, 10 

Upon Grene [Leyton] they lyghted dowyn, 

Styrande many a stagge : 4 

And boldely brente Northomberlonde, 

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

To battell that were not bowyn. 

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

Ver. 2, winn their heaye. Harl. MS. This is the Northumberland phrase 
to this day : by which they always express ' getting in their hay.' 

1 Robert Stuart, second son of K. Robert II. 2 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 Bounde him ; i.e. hied him. Vid. 

Gloss. 3 They : sc. the earl of Douglas and his party. The several sta 
tions here mentioned are well-known places in Northumberland. Ottercap- 
hill is in the parish of Kirk-Whelpington, in Tynedale ward. Rodeliffe- (or 
as it is more usually pronounced Rodeley-) Cragge is a noted cliff near Rode- 
ley, a small village in the parish of Hartburn, in Morepethward : It lies south 
east of Ottercap, and has, within these few years, been distinguished by a 
small tower erected by Sir Walter Blacket, Bart, which, in Armstrong's map 
of Northumberland is pompously called Rodeley-castle. Green Leyton is 
another small village in the same parish of Hartburn, and is south-east of 

Rodeley. Both the orig. MSS. read here corruptly, Hoppertop and Lynton. 

* Ver. 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. 


And sayd, 'We have brent Northomberlond, 
We have all welth in holde. 20 

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 f ulle bryght ; 
To the Newe Castelle thefy] 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 l 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 

Sir Harry Percy cam to the walles, 

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 ; 

Ver. 39, syne seems here to mean since. 
1 March-man, i,e. a scowrer of the marches. 

VOL. I. B 


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

'Where schall I byde the/ sayd the Dowglas 1 ? 

Or where wylte thow come to mel 50 

'At Otterborne in the hygh way, 1 

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 Percye. eo 

'Ther schall I byde the/ sayd the Dowglas, 

'By the fayth of my bodye/ 
'Thether schall I com/ sayd Syr Harry Percy; 

'My trowth I plyght to the/ 

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

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

And all hys oste that daye. 

The Dowglas turnyd him homewarde agayne, ro 

For soth withowghten naye, 
He tooke his logeyng at Oterborne 

Uppon a Wedyns-day : 

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. Ver. 56, bye. MSS. 

1 Otterbourn is near the old Watling-street road, iu the parish of Elsdou. 
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. 


And ther lie pyght hys standerd dowyn, 

Hys gettyng more and lesse, 
And syne lie warned his men to goo 75 

To chose ther geldyngs gresse. 

A Skottyshe knyght hoved upon the bent, 

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

In the dawnynge of the daye. so 

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 : 

Yender 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. 

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 ; 
' Araye yow, lordyngs, one and all, 

For here bygynnes no peysse. 100 

Ver. 77, upon the best bent, MS. 


The yerle of Mentaye, 1 tliow arte my erne, 

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

He schall wyth the be. 

The lorde of Bowghan 2 in armure bryght 105 

On the other hand he schall be : 
Lorde Jhonstone,, with lorde Maxwell, 

They to schall be with me. 

Swynton fayre fylde upon your pryde 

To batell make yow bowen : 110 

Syr Davy Scotte, Syr Walter Stewarde, 

Syr Jhon of Agurstone/ 


THE Perssy came byfore hys oste, 

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

' I wyll holde that I have hyght : 

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, 3 

Byholde and thou maiste see/ 

Wyth that the Percye was grevyd sore, 
For sothe as I yow saye : 

Ver. 1, 13, Pearcy, al MS. Ver. 4, I will hold to what I have promised. 
Ver. 10, hje, MSS. Ver. 11, the one, MS. 

1 The earl of Menteith. z The lord Buchan. 3 He probably magnifies his 
strength to induce him to surrender. 


[ ! He lyghted dowyn upon his fote, 15 

And schoote his horsse clene away. 

Every man sawe that he dyd soo, 

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

And lyght hym rowynde abowght. 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; 25 

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, so 

[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 85 

That he may see thys fyght. 

The Baron of Grastoke ys com owt of the west, 

With hym a noble companye; 
All they loge at your fathers thys nyght, 

And the Battel fayne wold they see/ 40 

' For Jesu's love/ sayd Syr Harye Percy, 
' That dyed for yow and me, 

1 All that follows, included in Brackets, was not in first Edition. 


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, 50 

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. eo 

Every man thynke on hys trewe love, 

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

Thys day wyll I not fle.' 

The blodye Harte in the Dowglas armes, 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, 1 ] 

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

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

Sent George the bryght, owr ladyes knyght, 

To name they 2 were full fayne, 
Owr Ynglysshe men they cryde on hyght, 

And thrysse the schowtte agayne. so 

Wyth that scharpe arowes bygan to flee, 

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

Many a dpwghty man was ther slayne. 

The Percy and the Dowglas mette, 85 

That ether of other was fayne ; 
They schapped together, whyll that the[y] 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; 

1 The ancient Arms of Douglas are pretty accurately emblazoned in the former 
stanza, and if the readings were, The crowned harte, and Above stode starres 

thre, it would be minutely exact at this day. As for the Percy family, one 

of their ancient Badges or Cognizances, was a white Lyon Statant, and the 
Silver Crescent continues to be used by them to this day : They also give three 
Luces Argent for one of their quarters. 2 i.e. The English 


And so I do by thy burnysshed brande, 95 

Thow art an yerle, or ells a knyght.' l 

' 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 ; no 

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

The stonderds stode styll on eke syde, 

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

And many a dowghty man was [slone]. 

Ther was no freke that ther wolde flye, 

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

Wyth many a bayllefull bronde. 120 

Ver. 116, slayne, MSS. 

1 Being all in armour he could not know him. 


Ther was slayne upon the Skottes syde, 

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

That day 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. 1 

Syr Charlies Morrey in that place, 

That never a fote wold flye; 130 

Sir Hughe Maxwell, a lorde he was, 

With the Dowgias 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. 

Ther was slayne upon the Ynglysshe syde, 

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

Yt was the more petye. HO 

Syr James Harebotell ther was slayne, 

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

That the Percyes standerd bore. 

Ver. 124, i.e. He died that day. Ver. 143, Covelle, MS. For the names 
in this page, see the Remarks at the end of this Ballad. 

1 Our old Minstrel repeats these names, as Homer and Virgil do those of 
their Heroes : 

fortemque Gyam, fortemqne Cloanthmn, &c., &c. 

Both the MSS. read here, ' Sir James,' but see above, Pt. I., ver. 112. 


Tlier 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, . iso 

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. 1 160 

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

For soth as I yow saye, 

He borowed the Percy home agayne. 2 

Now let us all for the Percy praye us 

To Jesu most of myght, 
To bryng hys sowle to the blysse of heven, 

For he was a gentyll knyght. 

Ver. 153, one, i.e. on. Ver. 165, Percyes, Harl. MS. 

1 se. Captive. ? In the Cotton MS. is the following Note on ver. 164, in 
an ancient band. 

' Syr Hewe Montgomery takyn prizonar, was delyvered for the restorynge 
of Perssy.' 



%* 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 

Pag. 11. 

Ver. 112. Agerstone.] The family of Haggerston of Haggerston, near 
Berwick, has been seated there for many centuries, and still remains. Thomas 
Haggerston was among the commissioners returned for Northumberland in 12 
Hen. '6, 1433 (Fuller's Worthies, p. 310). The head of this family at present 
(1796) is Sir Thomas Haggerston, Bart., of Haggerston above mentioned. 

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

Ver. 113. Hartly.] Hartley is a village near the sea in the barony of Tine- 
mouth, about 7 m. from North Shields. It probably gave name to a family 
of note at that time. 

Ver. 1 14. Hearone.] This family, one of the most ancient, was long of 
great consideration, in Northumberland. Haddeston, the Caput Baroniae of 
Heron, was their ancient residence. It descended 25 Edw. I. to the Heir 
General Emiline Heron, afterwards Baroness Darcy. Ford, &c., and Bocken- 
field (in com. eodem) went at the same time to Roger Heron the Heir Male ; 
whose descendants were summoned to Parliament : Sir William Heron of Ford 
Castle being summoned 44 Edw. III. Ford Castle hath descended by Heirs 
General to the family of Delaval (mentioned in the next article). Robert 
Heron, Esq., who died at Newark in 1753 (Father of the Right Hon. Sir 
Richard Heron, Bart.), was Heir Male of the Herons of Bockenfield, a younger 
branch of this family. Sir Thomas Heron Middleton, Bart., is Heir Male of 
the Herons of Chip-Chase, another branch of the Herons of Ford Castle. P. 
See * Marmion.' ED. 

Ver. 115. Lovele.] Joh. de Lavale, miles, was Sheriff of Northumberland 
34 Hen. VII. Joh. de Lavele, mil. in the 1 Edw. VI. and afterwards (Fuller, 
313). In Nicholson this name is spelt Da Lovel, p. 304. This seems to be 
the ancient family of Delaval, of Seaton Delaval, in Northumberland, whose 
Ancestor was one of the 25 Barons appointed to be Guardians of Magna Charta. 

Ver. 117. Rughe.] The ancient family of Rokeby, in Yorkshire, seems to be 
here intended. In Thoresby's Ducat. Leod. 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 Rokebys. P. See ' Rokeby.' ED. 

Ver. 1 19. Wetharrington.] Rog. de Widrington was Sheriff of Northumber 
land in 36 of Edw. HI (Fuller, p. 311). Joh. de Widrington in 11 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. Mongonherry.] Sir Hugh Montgomery was son of John Lord 
Montgomery, the lineal ancestor of the present Earl of Eglinton. 

Ver. 125. Lwdale.J The ancient family of the Liddels were originally from 
Scotland, where they were Lords of Liddel Castle, and of the Barony of Buff 
(Vid. Collins's Peerage). The head of this family is the present Lord 
Ravensworth, of Ravensworth Castle, in the county of Durham. 



Pag. 20. ver. 101. Mentaye.] At the time of this battle the Earldom of 
Menteith was possessed by Robert Stewart, Earl of Fife, third Son 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 the ballad was written. See Douglas's Peerage 
of Scotland, 1764, fol. 

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

Ver. 105. Bowghan.] The Earl of Buchan at that time was Alexander 
Stewart, fourth son of K. Robert II. 

Ver. 107. Jhonstone Maxwell.] These two families of Johnstone Lord of 
Johnston, and Maxwell Lord of Maxwell, were always very powerful on the 
borders. Of the former family was Johnston Marquis of Annandale ; of the 
latter was Maxwell Earl of Nithsdale. I cannot find that any chief of this 
family was named Sir Hugh; but Sir Herbert Maxwell was about this time 
much distinguished (See Doug.) This might have been originally written Sir 

II. Maxwell, and by transcribers converted into Sir Hugh. So above, in No. 
I. v. 90, Richard is contracted into Ric. 

Ver. 109. Swintone.] i.e. The Laird of Swintone ; a small village within 
the Scottish border, 3 miles from Norham. This family still subsists, and is 
very ancient. 

Ver. 111. Scotte.] The illustrious family of Scot, ancestors of the Duke of 
Buccleugh, always made a great figure on the borders. Sir Walter Scot was 
at the head of this family when the battle was fought ; but his great-grand 
son, Sir David Scot, was the hero of that house, when the ballad was written. 

Ibid. Stewarde.] The person here designed was probably Sir Walter Stew 
art, Lord of Dalswinton and Gairlies, who was eminent at that time (See 
Doug.) From him is descended the present Earl of Galloway. 

Ver. 112. Agurstonne.] The seat of this family was sometimes subject to 
the Kings of Scotland. Thus Richarddus Haggerstoun, 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 Northumber 
land often to change their masters, according as the Scottish or English arms 

Pag. 25. ver. 129. Murrey.] 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.) 

Pag. 25. ver. 139. Fitz-hughe.] Dugdale (in his Baron, v. i. p. 403) in 
forms us, that John, son of Henry Lord Fitzhugh, was killed at the battle of 
Otterbourne. This was a Northumberland family. Vid. Dugd. p. 403. col. 
1., and Nicholson, pp. 33, 60. 

Ver. 141. Harbotle.] Harbottleis 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 Guischard Har 
bottle, Esq., married Sir Thomas Percy, Knt., son of Henry the fifth, and 
father of Thomas seventh, Earls of Northumberland. 





is founded upon the supposed practice of the Jews in crucifying or 

otherwise murdering Christian children, out of hatred to the religion of their 
parents : a practice which hath been always alledged in excuse for the cruelties 
exercised upon that wretched people, but which probably never happened in a 
single instance. For, if we consider, on the one hand, the ignorance and 
superstition of the times when such stories took their rise, the virulent preju 
dices 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 inade* 
quate 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 Prioress'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 III. The conclusion 
of this ballad appears to be wanting : what it probably contained may be seen 
in Chaucer. As for Mirryland Toun, it is probably a corruption of Milan 
(called by the Dutch Meylandt) Town : the Pa is evidently the river Po ; 
altho' the Adige, not the Po, runs thro' Milan. 

Printed from a MS. copy sent from Scotland. 

THE rain rins doun through Mirry-land toune, 

Sae dois it doune the Pa: 
Sae dois the lads of Mirry-land toune, 

Quhan they play at the ba'. 

Than out and cam the Jewis dochter, 5 

Said, 'Will ye cum in and dineT 
' 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 sclio 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 mair. 

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.' 

Scho rowd him in a cake of lead, 25 

Bade him lie 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 : so 

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, 35 

Quhan they wer all asleip. 

' My bonny sir Hew, my pretty sir Hew, 

I pray thee to me speik/ 
' 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, 
The well is wondrous deip, 

A keen pen-knife sticks in my hert, 
A word I dounae speik. 

Gae hame, gae hame, my mither deir, 
Fetch me my windling sheet, 

And at the back o' Mirry-land toun, 
Its thair we twa sail meet/ 





Tliis old romantic tale was preserved in the Editor's 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 minstrel), and the whole appeared so far short of the perfection 
it seemed to deserve, that the Editor was tempted to add several stanzas in 
the first part, and still more in the second, to connect and complete the story 
in the manner which appeared to him most interesting and affecting. 

There is something peculiar in the metre of this old ballad : it is not unusual 
to meet with redundant stanzas of six lines ; but the occasional insertion of a 
double third or fourth line, as ver. 31, &c., is an irregularity I do not remem 
ber to have seen elsewhere. 

It may be proper to inform the reader before he comes to Pt. 2, v. 110, 111, 
that the round table was not peculiar to the reign of K Arthur, but was 
common in all the ages of Chivalry. The proclaiming a great tournament 
(probably with some peculiar solemnities) was called ' holding a Round Table.' 
Dugdale tells us, that the great baron Roger de Mortimer ' having procured 
the honour of knighthood to be conferred " on his three sons " by K. 
Edw. I. he, at his own costs, caused a tourneament to be held at Kenil- 
worth; 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). 


Arid upon the fourth day, the golden lion, in sign of triumph, being yielded 
to him, he carried it, with all the company, to Warwick.' It may further be 
added, that Matthew Paris frequently calls justs and tournaments Hastiludia 
Mensce Rotunda. 

As to what will be observed in this ballad of the art of healing being prac 
tised by a young princess, it is no more than what is usual in all the old 
romances, and was conformable to real manners ; it being a practice derived 
from the earliest times among all the Gothic and Celtic nations, for women, 
even of the highest rank, to exercise the art of surgery. In the Northern 
Chronicles we always find the young damsels stanching the wounds of their 
lovers, and the wives those of their husbands. 1 And even so late as the time 
of Q. Elizabeth, it is mentioned among the accomplishments of the ladies 
of her court, that the ' eldest of them are skilful in surgery.' See Harrison's 
Description of England, prefixed to Hollingshed's Chronicle, &c. 


IN Ireland, ferr over the sea, 

There dwelleth a bonnye kinge ; 
And with him a yong and comlye knighte, 

Men call him syr Caullne. 

The kinge had a ladye to his daughter, 5 

In fashyon she hath no peere ; 
And princely wightes that ladye wooed 

To be theyr wedded feere. 

Syr Cauline loveth her .best of all, 

But nothing durst he saye; 10 

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 may dens love removde his mynd, is 

To care-bed went the knighte. 

One while he spred his armes him fro, 
One while he spred them nye : 

i See Northern Antiquities, &c., vol. I. 318, vol. II. p. 100. Memoircs de 
la Chevalerie. Tom. I. p. 44. 


'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 1 ' 

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

Fair Christabelle to his chaumber goes, 1 

Her maydens f ollowyng nye : 35 

*0 well, 1 she sayth, 'how doth my lord 1 ?' 
'0 sicke, thou fayr ladye/ 

'Nowe ryse up wightlye, man, for shame, 

Never lye soe cowardice ; 
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/ 

Christabelle :' a name now identified with Coleridge's beautiful poem. Ed. 
VOL. I. C 


'Sir knighte, my father is a kinge, 

I am his onlye heire ; 
Alas! and well you knowe, syr knighte, 

I never can be youre fere.' 50 

'0 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 ; eo 

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

For the Eldridge knighte, so mickle of mighte, 

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

But he did him scath and scorne. 

That knighte he is a foul paynlm, 

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

Thy life it is but gone/ 70 

* Nowe on the Eldridge hilles He walke, 1 

For thy sake, fair ladle ; 
And He either bring you a ready token, 
Or He never more you see.' 

1 Perhaps wake, as above, in ver. 61. 


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, 

For to wake there all night. 

Unto midnight, that the moone did rise, so 

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

Over the bents soe browne ; 
Quoth hee, * If cryance come till my heart, 

I am ffar from any good towne.' 85 

And soone he spyde on the mores so broad, 

A furyous wight and fell; 
A ladye bright his brydle led, 

Clad in a fayre kyrtell: 

And soe fast he called on syr Cauline, 90 

' man, I rede thee flye, 
For [but] if cryance comes till my heart, 

I w^eene 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 trusty e speare, 100 

And the timber these two children bare l 

Soe soone in sunder slode, 

l i.e. Knights. See the Preface to Child Waters, vol. III. 


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/ 

Then up and came that ladye brighte, 

Fast wringing of her hande: 
' For the may dens love, 'that most you love, 

Withold that deadlye 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 me, thou Eldridge knighte, 125 

And here on this lay-land, 
That thou wilt believe on Christ his laye, 

And thereto plight thy hand: 

And that thou never on Eldridge come 

To sporte, gamon, or playe: 130 

Ver. 109, aukeward, MS. 


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. HO 

Then he tooke up the bloudy hand, 

That was so large of bone, 
And on it he founde five ringes of gold 

Of knightes that had be slone. 

Then he tooke up the Eldridge sworde, H5 

As hard as any flint: 
And he took off those ringes five, 

As bright as fyre and brent. 

Home then pricked syr Cauline 

As light as leafe on tree: iso 

I-wys he neither stint ne blanne, 

Till he his ladye see. 

Then downe he knelt upon his knee 

Before that lady gay: 

' ladye, I have bin on the Eldridge hills: iss 
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/ ieo 

' 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, ies 

And fette a gentill sighe: 
' Alas ! syr knyght, how may this bee, 

For my degree's soe highe 1 

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 

His heart was brought from bale to blisse, 

The teares sterte from his ee. 

* But keep my counsayl, syr Cauline, 

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

I wot he wolde us sloe/ 

From that daye forthe that ladye fayre 

Lovde syr Caulline the knighte: 
From that daye forthe he only joyde 

Whan shee was in his sight. 185 

Yea and oftentimes they mette 
Within a fayre arbbure, 


Where they in love and sweet daliaunce 
Past manye a pleasaunt houre. 

tit I" this conclusion of the First Part, and at the beginning of the Second, 
the reader will observe a resemblance to the story of Sigismunda 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 white,' &c., viz. 

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


EVERTE white will have its blacke, 

And everye sweete its sowre: 
This founde the ladye Christabelle 

In an untimely howre. 

For so it befelle, as syr Caullne 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, 10 

He found his daughter and syr Caullne 

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, 15 

And rewe shall thy ladie/ 

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 f ome : 
But here I will make thee a band, 
If ever he come within this land, 

A foule deathe is his doome.' 

All woe-begone was that gentil knight so 

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/ 35 

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 kinge, 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 daughters mind: 


And there came lords, and there came knights, 

Fro manye a farre countrye, 
To break a spere for theyr ladyes 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 fayrest of them all. GO 

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 f oule 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, so 

All wan and pale of blee. 

'Sir/ quoth the dwarfte, '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 cousme, 
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 

But yette he will appease his wrath 

Thy daughters love to winner 
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 undergoeT 

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

Whoever will fight yon grimme soldan, 105 

Eight 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, 115 

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. 

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: 
No we 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; 14 o 

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 knighte on his knee : 

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

The knighte he leapt upon his fete, 155 

All recklesse of the pain: 
Quoth hee, ' But heaven be now my speede, 

Or else I shall be slaine/ 

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

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, ies 

That had reskewed her from thrall. 

And nowe the kinge with all his barons 

Eose uppe from offe his seate, 
And downe he stepped int6 the listes, 

That curteous knighte to greete. iro 

But he for payne and lacke of bloude 

Was fallen int6 a swounde, 
And there all walteringe in his gore, 

Lay lifelesse on the grounde. 

' Come downe, come downe, my daughter deare, 175 

Thou art a leeche of skille; 
Farre lever had I lose halfe my landes, 

Than this good knighte sholde spille.' 

Down 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, iss 

' ladye, I am thine owne true love ; 

For thee I wisht to dye/ 

Then giving her one partinge looke, 

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

' staye, my deare and onlye lorde, 

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

Who hast bought my love soe deare.' 

Then fayntinge in a deadly swoune, 200 

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

Fayre Christabelle did dye. \* 



From a MS. copy transmitted from Scotland. 

c QUHY dois your brand sae drop wi' bluid, 

Edward, Edward? 
Quhy dois your brand sae drop wi' bluid \ 

And quhy sae sad gang yee, OT 
' 0, I hae killed my hauke sae guid, 5 

Mither, mither: 
O, I hae killed my hauke sae guid: 

And I had nae mair bot hee, 0.' 

' Your haukis bluid was nevir sae reid, 

Edward, Edward. 10 

Your haukis bluid was nevir sae reid, 
My deir son I tell thee, O/ 


' 0, I hae killed my reid-roan steid, 

Mither, Mither: 

0, I hae killed my reid-roan steid, 15 

That erst was sae fair and free, 0. 

' 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, 0.' 20 

' 0, 1 hae killed my fadir deir, 

Mither, mither: 
O, I hae killed my fadir dear, 

Alas! and wae is mee, 0!' 

' And quhatten penance wul ye drie for that, 25 

Edward, Edward 1 ? 
And quhatten penance will ye drie for that? 

My deir son, now tell me, O/ 
' He set my feit in yonder boat, 

Mither, mither: so 

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' 

That were sae fair to see, 01' 36 

He let thame stand til they doun fa', 

Mither, Mither: 
He let thame stand till they doun fa', 

For here nevir mair maun I bee, O.' 40 

' 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, CM' 

' The warldis room, let thame beg throw life, 45 

Mither, mither: 

The warldis room, let thame beg throw lif j, 

For thame nevir mair wul I see, 0.' 

'And quhat wul ye leive to your ain mither deir, 

Edward, Edward 1 50 

And quhat wul ye leive to your ain mither deir ? 

My deir son, now tell me, 0.' 
' 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, 0.' 

This curious Song was transmitted to the Editor by Sir David Dalrymple, 
Bart, late Ld. Hailes, a Lord of Session. (See Boswell passim. ED.) 


This old Romantic Legend (which is given from two copies, one of them in 
the Editor's folio MS., containing very great variations), bears marks of con 
siderable antiquity, and perhaps ought to have taken place of any in this 
volume. It should 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 Mahometans are spoken of in v. 49, &c. just in 
the same terms as in all other old Romances. The author of the ancient 
Legend of Sir Bevis represents his hero, upon all occasions, breathing out 
defiance against 

1 Mahound and Termagaunte ;' 1 

And so full of zeal for his religion, as to return the following polite message to 
a Paynim king's fair daughter, who had fallen in love with him, and sent two 
Saracen knights to invite him to her bower, 

' I wyll not ones stirre off this grounds, 
To speake with an heathen hounde. 
Unchristen houndes, I rede you fle 
Or I your harte bloud shall se.' 2 

* See a short Memoir at the end of this ballad, Note tit- 2 Sign. C. ii. b. 


Indeed they return the compliment by calling him elsewhere ' A christen 
hounde." 1 

This was conformable to the real manners of the barbarous ages : perhaps 
the same excuse will hardly serve our bard for the situations, in which he 
places his royal personages, for that king 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 decorum to represent a king of the Taphians leaning at the gate of 
Ulysses to inquire for that monarch, when he touched at Ithaca as he was 
taking a voyage with a ship's cargo of iron to dispose in traffic. 2 So little 
ought we to judge of ancient manners by our own. 

Before I conclude this article, I cannot help observing, that the reader will 
see, in this ballad, the character of the old Minstrels (those successors of the 
Bards) placed in a very respectable light : 3 here he will see one of them repre 
sented 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 cany our inquiries back, ths 
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 4 ) made no 
scruple to enter the Danish camp, and was at once admitted to the king's 
head-quarters. 5 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 officers of his court : and we find 
another Norwegian king placing five of them by his side in a day of battle, 
that they might be eye-witnesses of the great exploits they were to celebrate.* 
As to Estmere's riding into the hall while the kings were at table, this was 
usual in the ages of chivalry ; and even to this day we see a relic of this eus- 
tom still kept up, in the champion's riding into Westminster-hall during the 
coronation dinner. 7 

Some liberties have been taken with this tale by the Editor, but none with 
out notice to the reader in that part which relates to the subject of the Harper 
and his attendant. 

HEARKEN to me, gentlemen, 

Come and you shall heare; 
He tell you of two of the boldest brethren 

That ever borne y-were. 

Ver. 3, brother, fol. MS. 

1 Sign G. i. b. 2 Odyss. a. 105. 3 See vol. II. Note subjoined to 1st Pt. 
of Beggar of Bednal, &c 4 See the Essay on the antient Minstrels prefixed 
to this \olume.* s 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. 8 Bartholini Antiq. Dan. p. 173. Northern Antiquities, 
&c. Vol. I. pp. 386, 389, &c.^ 7 See also the account of Edw. II. in the Essay 
on the Minstrels, and Not. (x). 

VOL. I. D 


The tone of them was Adler younge, 5 

The tother was kyng Estmere; 
The[y] were as bolde men in their deeds, 

As any were 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 1 ?' 

Then bespake him kyng Estmere, 

And answered him hastilee: 
'I know not that ladye in any land is 

That's able l 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/ 

Saies, 'You shal ryde yourself e, brotheif, 25 

He beare you companye; 
Many throughe fals messengers are deceived, 

And I feare lest soe shold wee/ 


Thus the[y] renisht them to ryde 

Of twoe good renisht steeds, . so 

Ver. 10, his brother's hall, fol. MS. Ver. 14, hartilye, fol. MS. Ver. 27, 
Many a man ... is, fol. MS. 
1 He means fit, suitable. 


And when the[y] came to king Adlands halle, 
Of redd gold shone their weeds. 

And when the[y] came to kyng Adlands hall 

Before the goodlye gate, 
There they found good kyng Adland 35 

Bearing 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 45 

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; so 

And pitye it were that fayre ladye 
Shold marrye a heathen hound. 

But grant to me/ sayes kyng Estmere, 

' For my love I you praye; 
That I may see your daughter deere 55 

Before I goe hence awaye/ 

' Although itt is seven yeers and more 
Since my daughter was in halle, 

Yer. 46, The king his sonne of Spayn, fol. MS. 


She shall come once downe for your sake 

To glad my guestes alle.' eo 

Downe then came that mayden fayre, 

With ladyes laced in pall, 
And halfe a hundred of bold kniglites, 

To bring her from bowre to hall; 
And as many gentle squiers, 65 

To tend upon them all. 

The talents of golde were on her head sette, 

Hanged low downe to her knee; 
And everye ring on her small finger, 

Shone of the chrystall free. 70 

Saies, ' God you save, my deere madam;' 

Saies, ' God you save and see.' 
Said, * You be welcome, kyng Estmere, 

Right welcome unto mee. 

And if you love me, as you saye, 75 

Soe well and heartilee, 
All that ever you are comen about 

Soone sped now itt shal bee.' 

Then bespake her father deare: 

* My daughter, I saye naye; so 

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.' 


* Your castles and your towres, father, 

Are strongly e built aboute; 
And therefore of the king of Spaine 

Wee neede not stande in doubt. 90 

Plight me your troth, nowe, kyng Estrnere, 

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 Ms 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 barbne, 
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. 

Ver. 89, of the King his sonne of Spaine, fol. MS. 


One whyle then the page he went, 115 

Another while he ranne; 
Till he had oretaken king Estmere, 

I wis, he never blanne. 

'Tydings, tydings, kyng Estmere!' 

' What tydinges no we, my boye 1 ?' 120 

' 0, 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 barbne, 
Tone daye to marrye king Adlands daughter, 

Tother daye to carry her home. iso 

My ladye 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/ 

Saies, * Keade me, reade me, deere brother, 135 

My reade shall ryde l at thee, 
Whether it is better to turne and fighte, 

Or goe home and loose my ladye/ 

* Now hearken to me/ sayes Adler yonge, 

' And your reade must rise 2 at me, HO 

I quicklye will devise a waye 
To sette thy ladye free. 

1 sic MS. It should probably be ryse, i.e. my counsel shall arise from thee. 
See ver. 140.* sic MS. 


My mother was a westerne woman, 

And learned in gramarye, 1 
And when I learned at the schole, .145 

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: iso 

His color, which is browne and blacke, 

Itt will make redd and whyte; 
The 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 sung in this lande. 

Itt shal be written in our forheads 

All and in grammarye, 
That we to we 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 

1 See at the end of this Ballad, Note ** 


And whan the[y] came to kyng Adlands hall, 

Untill the fayre hall yate, 
There they found a proud porter 

Hearing himselfe thereatt. 

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, 

4 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 iss 

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. 


Sales, ' Stable thy steed, thou proud harper/ 

Sales, ' Stable him in the stalle ; 200 

It doth not beseeme a proud harper 
To stable [him] in a kyngs halle/ 

4 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 

* Thou harper here to mee: 
There is a man within this halle, 

Will beate thy ladd and thee/ 210 

* 0, let that man come downe, he said, 

A sight of him wold I see; 
And when hee hath beaten well my ladd, 

Then hee 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. 

4 And how nowe, kempe/ said the kyng of Spaine, 

* And how what aileth thee \ f 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: 

Yer. 202, To stable bis steede, fol. MS. 


The ladye upstart from the borde, 
And wold have gone from the king. 

' Stay thy harpe, tbou proud harper, 

For Gods love I pray thee, 230 

For and thou playes as thou beginns, 

Thou It till 1 my bryde from mee.' 

He stroake upon his harpe againe, 

And playd a pretty thinge; 
The ladye lough a loud laughter, 235 

As shee sate by the king. 

Saies, ' Sell me thy harpe, thou proud harper, 

And thy stringes all, 
For as many gold nobles [thou shalt have] 

As heere bee ringes in the hall.' 240 

* What wold ye doe with my harpe,' [he sayd,] 

'If I did sell ittyeeT 
' To playe my wiffe and me a FITT, S 

When abed together wee bee.' 

'Now sell me,' quoth hee, 'thy bryde soe gay, 245 

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 

Iff I did sell her thee ? 250 

More seemelye it is for her fayre bodye 
To lye by mee then thee.' 

1 i.e. Entice. Vid. Gloss. 2 i.e. a tune, or strain of music. See Gloss. 


Hee played agayne both loud and shrille, 

And Adler he did syng, 
* ladye, this is thy owne true love; 255 

Noe harper, but a kyng. 

ladye, this is thy owne true love, 

As playnlye thou mayest see; 
And lie rid thee of that foule paynim, 

Who partes thy love and thee/ 260 

The ladye lookt, 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; 270 

And Estmere he, and Adler yonge 
Eight stiffe in stour can stand. 

And aye their swordes soe sore can fyte, 

Throughe help of gramarye 
That soone they had slayne the kempery men, 275 

Or forst them forth to flee. 

Knyg Estmere tooke that fayre ladye, 

And marryed her to his wiffe, 
And brought her home to merry England 

With her to leade his life. 280 

Ver. 253, Some liberties have been taken in the following stanzas ; but 
wherever this Edition (i.e. 1796) differs from the preceding, it hath been brought 
nearer to the folio MS. 


%* The word Grainarye, which occurs several times in the foregoing Poem, 
is probably a corruption of the French word Grimoire, which signifies a Con 
juring Book in the old French Romances, if not the Art of Necromancy itself. 

tit Termagaunt (mentioned above in p. 48) is the name given in the old 
romances to the God of the Saracens : in which he is constantly linked with 
Mahound or Mahomet. Thus in the legend of Syr Guy, the Soudau (Sultan) 

So helpe me Mahowne of might, 
And Termagaunt my God so bright.' 

Sign. p. iij. b. 

This word is derived by the very learned Editor of Junius from the Anglo- 
Saxon Tyjx very, and COajan mighty. As this word had so sublime a 
derivation, and was so applicable to the true God, how shall we account for its 
being so degraded ? Perhaps Tyri-majan or Termagant had been a name 
originally given to some Saxon idol, before our ancestors were converted to 
Christianity ; or had been the peculiar attribute of one of their false deities ; 
and therefore the first Christian missionaries rejected it as profane and im 
proper to be implied to the true God. Afterwards, when the irruptions of 
the Saracens into Europe, and the Crusades into the East, had brought them 
acquainted with a new species of unbelievers, our ignorant ancestors, who 
thought all that did not receive the Christian law, were necessarily Pagans 
and Idolaters, supposed the Mahometan creed was in all respects the same 
with that of their Pagan forefathers, and therefore made no scruple to give the 
ancient name of Termagant to the God of the Saracens : just in the same 
manner as they afterwards used the name of Saracen to express any kind of 
Pagan or Idolater. In the ancient romance of Merline (in the editor's folio 
MS.) the Saxons themselves that came over with Hengist, because they were 
not Christians, are constantly called Saracens. 

However that be, it is certain that, after the times of the Crusades, both 
Mahound and Termagaunt made their frequent appearance in the Pageants 
and religious Enterludes of the barbarous ages ; in which they were exhibited 
with gestures so furious and frantic, as to become proverbial. Thus Skelton 
speaks of Wolsey : 

' Like Mahound in a play, 
No man dare him withsay.' 

Ed. 1736, p. 158. 

In like manner Bale, describing the threats used by some Papist magistrates 
to his wife, speaks of them as ' grennyng upon her lyke Termagauntes in a 
playe ' [Actes of Engl. Votaryes, pt. 2, to. 83, Ed. 1550. 12mo.] Accord 
ingly in a letter of Edward Alleyn, the founder of Dulwich College, to his 
wife, who, it seems, with all her fellows (the players), had been ' by my 
Lorde Maiors officer[s] mad to rid in a cart,' he expresses his concern that 
she should 'fall into the hands of such Termagants.' [So theorig. dated May 
2, 1593, preserved by the care of the Rev. Thomas Jenyns Smith, Fellow of 
Dullw. Coll.] Hence we may conceive the force of Hamlet's expression in 
Shakspeare, where, condemning a ranting player, he says, ' I could have such 
a fellow whipt for ore-doing Termagant : it out-herods Herod.' A. 3, 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 con- 


fined, 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 

Another frequent character in the old pageants or enterlndes of our ances 
tors, was the sowdari or soldan representing a grim eastern tyrant : This 
appears from a curious passage in Stow's Annals [p. 458.] In a stage-play 'the 
people know right well that he that plaieth the sowdain, is percase a sowter 
[shoe-maker]; yet if one should cal him by his owne name, while he standeth 
in his majestie, one of his tormentors might hap to break his head.' The sow- 
dain, or soldan, was a name given to the Saracen king (being only a more 
rude pronunciation of the word sultan), as the soldan of Egypt, the soudan of 
Persia, the sowdan of Babylon, &c. who were generally represented as accom 
panied with grim Saracens, whose business it was to punish and torment 

I cannot conclude this short Memoir, without observing that the French 
romancers, who had borrowed the word Termagant from us, and applied it aa 
we in their old romances, corrupted it into Tervagaunte : And from them La 

Fontaine took it up, and has used it more than once in his tales. This may 

be added to the other proofs adduced in these volumes of the great intercourse 
that formerly subsisted between the old minstrels and legendary writers of 
both nations, and that they mutually borrowed each others romances. 



is 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 destructive to the Scots nobles, I have not been able to discover ; 
yet am of opinion, that their catastrophe is not altogether without foundation 
in history, though it has escaped my own researches. In the infancy of navi 
gation, such as used the northern seas were very liable to shipwreck in the 
wintry months : hence a law was enacted in the reign of James the III. (a 
law which was frequently repeated afterwards) ' That there be na schip 
frauched out of the realm with any staple glides, 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. 

1 There is a fuller copy of this in Scott's Border Minstrelsy. Margaret, daugh 
ter of Alexander III., was married to Eric, son of the king of Norway. Her 
daughter Margaret, called the Maid of Norway, fell heir to the Scottish Crown 
at Alexander's death ; but died at Orkney on her way to Scotland. Sir P. 
Spence is supposed to have been sent to bring her back. ED. 


In some modem copies, instead of Patrick Spence hath been substituted the 
name of Sir Andrew Wood, a famous Scottish admiral who flourished in the 
time of our Edw. IV. but whose story hath nothing in common with this of 
the ballad. As Wood was the most noted warrior of Scotland, it is probable 
that, like the Theban Hercules, he hath engrossed the renown of other heroes. 

THE king sits in Dumferling tonne, 

Drinking the bluid-reid wine: 
' quhar will I get guid sailbr, 

To sail this schip of mine'?' 

Up and spak an eldern knicht, 5 

Sat at the king's richt kne: 
' Sir Patrick Spence is the best sailbr, 

That sails upon the se/ 

The king has written a braid letter, 1 

And signed it wi' his hand; 10 

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 ten* blinded his ee. 

' 0, quha is this has don this deid, 

This ill deid don to me; 
To send me out this tune o' the yeir, 

To sail upon the se? 20 

Mak hast, mak haste, my mirry men all, 
Our guid schip sails the morne/ 

* say na sae, my master deir, 
For I feir a deadlie storme. 

1 A braid Letter, i.e. open, or patent ; in opposition to close Rolls. 


Late, late yestreen I saw the new moone 25 
Wi' the auld moone in hir arme; 

And I feir, I feu*, my deir master, 
That we will com to harme.' 

our Scots nobles wer richt laith 

To weet their cork-heild schoone; so 

Bot lang owre a' the play wer playd, 

Thair hats they swam aboone. 

lang, lang, may thair ladies sit 

Wi' thair fans into their hand, 
Or eir they se Sir Patrick Spence 35 

Cum sailing to the land. 

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 mair. 40 

Have owre, have owre to Aberdour, 1 

It's fiftie f adorn deip: 
And thair lies guid Sir Patrick Spence, 

Wi' the Scots lords at his feit. 2 


WE 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 common popular songs on this subject. 

1 A village lying upon the river Forth, the entrance to which is sometimes 
denominated De mortuo mart. 2 An ingenious friend thinks the Author of 
Hardyknute has borrowed several expressions and sentiments from the fore 
going, and other old Scottish songs in this collection. 


The severity of those tyrannical forest-laws, that were introduced by our 
Norman kings, and the great temptation of breaking them by such as lived 
near the royal forests, at a time when the yeomanry of this kingdom were every 
where trained up to the long-bow, and excelled all otlier nations in the art of 
shooting, must constantly have occasioned great numbers of outlaws, and 
especially of such as were the best marksmen. These naturally fled to the 
woods for shelter ; and, forming into troops, endeavoured by their numbers to 
protect themselves from the dreadful penalties of their delinquency. The 
ancient punishment for killing the king's deer was loss of eyes and castration, 
a punishment far worse than death. This will easily account for the troops of 
banditti which formerly lurked in the royal forests, and, from their superior 
skill in archery and knowledge of all the recesses of those unfrequented soli 
tudes, found it no difficult matter to resist or elude the civil power. 

Among all those, none was ever more famous than the hero of this ballad, 
whose chief residence was in Shirewood forest, in Nottinghamshire ; and the 
heads of whose story, as collected by Stow, are briefly these. 

1 In this time [about the year 1190, in the reign of Richard I.] were many 
robbers, and outlawes, among the which Robin Hood, and Little John, 
renowned theeves, continued in woods, despoyling and robbing the goods of 
the rich. They killed none but such as would invade them ; or by resistance 
for their own defence. 

' The saide Robert entertained an hundred tall men and good archers with 
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 affirmeth him to be the prince, and the most gentle theefe.' 
Annals, p. 159. 

The personal courage of this celebrated outlaw, his skill in archery, his 
humanity, and especially his levelling principle of taking from the rich and 
giving to the poor, have in all ages rendered him the favourite of the common 
people, who, not content to celebrate his memory by 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 York 
shire ; where (as the story goes) he was bled to death by a treacherous nun 
to whom he applied for phlebotomy. 

1 $ear un&ernrab bis Kaitt stean 

Iai3 robert earl of fcuntingtun 

nea arcir tier 33 foie sae 0rub 

an ptpl ftaulb im fiobm iH-ub 

sich ut(att>3 as hi an is men 

oft *n0ianb niliir si arjni, 

ofciit 24 feat. befeimlris, 1247. 

This Epitaph appears to me suspicious; however, a late Antiquary has 
See Tliorefby's Ducat. Leod. p. 576. Biog. Brit. VI. 3933. 



given a pedigree of Robin Hood, which, if genuine, shews that he had real 
pretensions to the Earldom of Huntington, and that his true name was Robert 
Fitz-ooth. 1 Yet the most ancient poems on Robin Hood make no mention of 
this Earldom. He is expressly asserted to have been a yeoman 2 in a very old 
legend in verse, preserved in the archives of the public library at Cambridge, 3 
in eight Fyttes or Parts, printed in black letter, quarto, thus inscribed : 
' <T Here begynneth a lytell geste of Robyn hode and his meyne, and of the 
proude sheryfe of Notyngham.' The first lines are, 

' Lithe and lysten, gentylmen, 
That be of fre-bore blode : 
I shall you tell of a good yeman, 
His name was Robyn hode. 

Robyn was a proude out-lawe, 
Whiles he walked ou grounds ; 
So curteyse an outlawe as he was one, 
Was never none yfounde.' &c. 

The printer's colophon is, 'C Explicit Kinge Edwarde and Robin hode and 
Lyttel Johan. Enprented at London in Fletestrete at the sygne of the sone 

by Wynkin de Worde.' In Mr Garrick's Collection 4 is a different edition 

of the same poem ' C Imprinted at London upon the thre Crane wharfe by 
Wyllyam Copland,' containing at the end a little dramatic piece on the sub 
ject of Robin Hood and the Friar, not found in the former copy, called, ' A 
iiewe playe for to be played in Maye games very pleasaunte and full of pas- 
tyme. C (.'.) >' 

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 
K. Edward III. In the Visions of Pierce Plowman, written in that reign, a 
monk says, 

91 can rime$ of Kofcen $00, an& Ranbal of <3Tfte#ter, 
* 35ut of our Xor&e, anb our 2!aDp, 31 Icrne nothpng at an. 

Fol. 26, Ed. 1550. 

See also in Bp. Latimer's Sermons 5 a very curious and characteristical 
story, which shews what respect was shewn to the memory of our archer in 
the time of that prelate. 

The curious reader will find many other particulars relating to this cele 
brated 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 rob 
bery on Arbor-hill, Dublin (with some curious particulars relating to his skill 
in archery), see Mr J. C. Walker's ingenious ' Memoir on the Armour and 
Weapons of the Irish,' p. 129, annexed to his ' Historical Essay on the Dress 
of the Ancient and Modern Irish.' Dublin, 1788, 4to. 

Some liberties were, by the Editor, taken with this ballad ; which, in this 
Edition, (i.e. 1796), hath been brought nearer to the folio MS. 

i Stnkely, in his Palseographia Britannica, No. II 1746. 2 See also the following Ballads, 
v. U7. Num. D. 5. 2. * Old Plays, 4to, K. vol. X.- Ser. 6th before K. Ed. Apr. 12, fol. 
25, Gilpin's life of Lat. p. 122. 

VOL. I. E 


WHEN shaws beene sheene, and shradds full 

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 

' Buske yee, bowne yee, my merry men all, 

And John shall goe with mee, 
For He goe seeke yond wight yeomen, 

In greenwood where the bee.' 

Then the[y] cast on their gownes of grene, 25 

And tooke theyr bowes each one; 

Ver. 1, Shale's MS. It should perhaps be Swards: i.e. the surface of the 
ground: viz. ' when the fields are in their beauty: ' or perhaps shades. 


And they away to the greene forrest 
A shooting forth are gone; 

Untill they came to the merry greenwood, 

Where they had gladdest bee, so 

There were the[y] 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 1 ? 

It is no cunning a knave to ken, 45 

And a man but heare him speake; 
And itt were not for bursting of my bowe, 

John, I thy head wold breake/ 

As often wordes they breeden bale, 

So they parted Robin and John; so 

And John is gone to Barnesdale: 

The gates l he knoweth eche one. 

1 i.e., ways, passes, paths, ridings. Gate is a common word in the North 
for Way. 


But when he came to Barnesdale, 

Great heavinesse there hee hadd, 
For he found tow of his owne fellbwes 5 

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. eo 

' 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 

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. so 


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 

' 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. 

' Good morrowe, good fellowe,' say d Robin so 


' Good morrowe, good fellow/ quoth he; 
'Methinkes by this bowe thou beares in thy 

hande 95 

A good archere thou sholdst bee/ 

* I am wilfull of my waye/ quo' the yeman, 

' And of my morning tyde/ 
' lie 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 lid 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 greenwood tree. 

First let us some masterye make 

Among the woods so even, no 

Wee may chance to meet with .Robin Hood 

Here att some unsett steven/ 

They cutt them downe two summer shroggs, 

They grew both under a breere, 
And sett them threescore rood in twain us 

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 Rdbin he shott far better than hee, 

For he clave the good pricke wande. 

* A blessing upon thy heart/ he sayd; 

' Good fellowe, thy shooting is goode; 130 

For an thy hart be as good as thy hand, 
Thou wert better than Robin Hoode. 

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. 5 

' I dwell by dale and downe/ quoth hee, 

* And Robin to take Ime sworne; 
And when I am called by my right name 

I am Guye of good Gisbbrne/ HO 

' My dwelling is in this wood,' sayes Robin, 

' By thee I set right nought: 
I am Robin Hood of Barnesdale, 

Whom thou so long hast sought/ 

He that 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 1 and bright. 

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. 

1 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 rusty in the same sense ; thus he describes the reve : 

' 2tnb fcn I) is s ibe foe Bare a rustn olabe.' 

Prol. ver. 620. 

And even thus the God Mars : 

' 2lnb in fti? hanb fre fcab a roujftji stoorb.' 

Test. ofCressid. 188. 

Spenser has sometimes used the same epithet. See Warton's Observ. 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. 


Eobin 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 Eobin hood, '[thou 

That art both mother and may], 
I think it was never mans destinye 

To dye before his day. ico 

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, ics 

And sticked itt on his bowes end: 
' Thou hast beene a traytor all thy liffe, 

Which thing must have an ende/ 

Robin pulled forth an Irish kniffe, 

And nicked sir Guy in the face, iro 

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. iso 

Ver. 163, awkwarde, MS. 


'The bowe, the arrowes, and litle home, 

Now with me I will beare; 
For I will away to Barnesdale, 

To see how my men doe fare.' 

Robin Hood sett Guyes home to his mouth, is 5 

And a blast in it did blow. 
That beheard the sheriffe of Nottingham, 

As he leaned under a lowe. 

' Hearken, hearken/ sayd the sheriffe, 

' I heare now tydings good, 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 yoeman, 195 

Cladd in his capull hyde. 

Come hyther, come hyther, thou good sir Guy, 

Aske what thou wilt of mee/ 
' 0, 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 goe 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 might 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 Eobin pulled forth an Irysh kniffe, 

And losed John hand and foote, 
And gave him sir Guyes bow into his hand, 

And bade it be his boote. 

Then John he took Guyes bow in his hand, 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. ' 



The subject of this poem, which was written by Skelton, is the death of 
Henry Percy, fourth earl of Northumberland, who fell a victim to the avarice 
of Henry VII. In 1489 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 Northumberland, then lord 
lieutenant for Yorkshire, wrote to inform the king of the discontent, and pray 
ing an abatement. But nothing is so unrelenting as avarice : the king wrote 
back that not a penny should be abated. This message being delivered by 
the earl with too little caution, the populace rose, and, supposing him to be 
the promoter of their calamity, broke into his house, and murdered him, with 
several of his attendants, who yet are charged by Skelton with being back 
ward 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 magnifi 
cence kept up by our ancient nobility during the feudal times. This great earl 
is described here as having, among his menial servants, knights, squires, and 
even barons : see v. 32, 183, &c. which, however different from modern 
manners, was formerly not unusual with our greater Barons, whose castles 
had all the splendour and offices of a royal court, before the Laws against 
Retainers abridged and limited the number of their attendants. 

John Skelton, who commonly styled himself Poet Laureat, died June 21, 
1529. The following poem, which appears to have been written soon after the 
event, is printed from an ancient MS. copy preserved in the British Museum, 
being much more correct than that printed among Skelton's Poems in bl. let. 
12mo, 1508. It is addressed to Henry Percy, fifth earl of Northumberland, 
and is prefaced, &c. in the following manner : 

Poeta Skelton Laureatus libellum suum metrice alloquitur. 
Ad dominum properato meum mea pagina Percy, 

Qui Northumbrorum jura paterna gerit, 
Ad nutum Celebris tu prona repone leonis, 

Quaaque suo patri tristia justa cano. 
Ast ubi perlegit, dubiam sub mente volutet 

Fortnnam, cuncta male fida rotat. 
Qui leo sit felix, & Nestoris occupet annos; 
Ad libitum cujus ipse paratus ero. 



T WAYLE, I wepe, I sobbe, I sigh fill sore 
The dedely fate, the dolefulle destenny 

Of him that is gone, alas ! withoute restore, 
Of the blode l 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, Clyo calde by name, 
In the college of musis goddess hystoriall, 

Adres the to me, whiche am both halt and lame, 10 
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 wellc. 

Of noble actes auncyently enrolde, 15 

Of famous princis and lordes of astate, 

By thy report ar wonte to be extold, 
Regestringe trewly every formare date; 
Of thy bountie after the usuall rate, 

Kyndle in me suche plenty of thy nobles, 20 

Thes sorrowfulle dities that I may shew expres 

1 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 
III. The mother and wife of the second Earl of Northumberland were both 
lineal descendants of K. Edward III. The Percys also were lineally de 
scended from the Emperour Charlemagne and the ancient Kings of France, by 
his ancestor Josceline de Lovain (son of Godfrey Duke of Brabant), who took 
the name of Percy on marrying the heiress of that house in the reign of Hen. 
II. Vid. Camdeii Britan. Edmoiidson, &c. 

In sesons past who hathe harde or sene 
Of formar writinge by any presidente 

That vilane hastarddis in ther furious tene, . 

Fulfyld with malice of froward entente, 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; so 
At his commaundement, whiche had both day and 


Knyghtis and squyers, at every season when 
He calde upon them, as menyall houshold men : 
Were no thes eommones uncurteis karlis of kynde 
To slo then* owne lorde 1 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 f o 1 

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 paynf? 

Fy, fy for shame, their harts wer to faint. 

In Englande and Fraunce, which gretly was redouted; 
Of whom bothFlaunders and Scotland stodeindrede; 

To whome grete astates obeyde and lowttede; 45 
A mayny of rude villayns made him for to blede: 
Unkindly they slew hym, that holp them oft at nede: 

He was their bulwark, their paves, and their wall, 

Yet shamfully the[y] slew hym; that shame mot 
them befal. 


I say, ye commoners, why wer ye so stark mad? so 
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 1 ? 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 

Eedy 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 hym 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 accord 
To the right of his prince which shold not be with 
For whos cause ye slew hym with your awne hande: 

But had his nobill men done wel that day, 

Ye had not been liable to have saide him nay. 70 

But ther 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 


The commouns renyed ther taxes to pay 

Of them demaunded and asked by the kinge; 

With one voice importune, they playnly said nay: so 
They buskt them on a bushment themself in baile 

to bring: 
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, 

Turnd their backis, and let ther master fall, 

Of whos [life] they counted not a flye; 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 wode; 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 


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 1 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 \ 

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! 

grounde ungracious, unhappy be thy fame, us 
Whiche wert endyed with rede blode of the same! 

Moste noble erle ! f owle mysuryd grounde 
Whereon he gat his fynal dedely wounde ! 

Atropos, of the fatall systers thre, 120 

Goddes mooste cruell unto the lyf of man, 

All merciles, in the ys no pite! 

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 perfight 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 he lyvyd had fuyson 2 of every thing, 

Of knights, of squyers, chef lord of toure and toune, 

Tyl fykkill fortune began on hym to frowne. 

Paregall to dukis, with kings he might compare, 
Surmountinge in honor all erls he did excede, IBS 

1 Alluding to his crest and supporters. Doutted is contracted ibr redoubted. 
2 Fuyson for profusion. ED. 


To all cuntreis aboute hym reporte me I dare. 
Lyke to Eneas benygne in worde and dede, 
Valiaunt as Hector in every marciall nede, 
Provydent, discrete, circumspect, and wyse, 
Tyll the chaunce ran agyne him of fortunes duble 
dyse. 140 

What nedethe me for to extoll his fame 

With my rude pen enkankerd all with rust ? 

Whos noble actis shew worsheply his name, 
Transcendyng far myne homely muse, that 

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 devysed; 
To me also allthouche it were promysyde 

Of laureat Phebus holy the eloquence, ieo 

All were to litill for his magnyficence. 

yonge lyon, bot tender yet of age, 

Grow and encrese, remembre thyn astate, 



God the assyst unto thyn herytage, 

And geve the grace to be more fortunate, 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, 

Eight to mayntein, and to resist all wronge : 
All flattringe faytors abhor and from the cast, 
Of foule detraction God kepe the from the blast: 

Let double delinge in the have no place, 


And be not light of credence in no case. 


Wythe hevy chere, with dolorous hart and mynd, 
Eche man may sorow in his inward thought, 

Thys lords death, whose pere is hard to fynd 

Allgyf Englond and Fraunce were thorow saught. 
Al kings, all princes, all dukes, well they ought iso 

Bothe temporall and spirituall for to complayne 

This noble man, that crewelly was slayne. 

More specially barons, and those knygtes bold, 
And all other gentilmen with him enterteynd 

In fee, as menyall men of his housold, iss 

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. 

perlese prince of hevyn emperyalle, 190 

That with one worde formed al thing of noughte ; 

Hevyn, hell, and erth obey unto thi kail; 

Which to thy resemblance wondersly hast wrought 
All mankynd, whom thou full dere hast boght, 


With thy blode precious our finaunce thou dyd 

pay, 195 

And us redemed, from the fendys pray: 

To the pray we, as prince incomperable, 
As thou art of mercy and pite the well, 

Thou bringe unto thy joye etermynable 

The sowle of this lorde from all daunger of hell, 200 
In endles blis with the to byde and dwell 

In thy palace above the orient, 

Where thou art lorde, and God omnipotent. 

quene of mercy I lady full of grace ! 

Maiden moste pure, and goddis moder dere ! 205 
To sorrowful! harts chef comfort and solace, 

Of all women floure withouten pere ! 

Pray to thy son above the starris clere 
He to vouchesaf by thy mediatioun 
To pardon thy servant, and bringe to salvacion. 210 

In joy triumphaunt the hevenly yerarchy, 
With all the hole sorte of that glorious place, 

His soule mot receyve into ther company 

Thorowe bounte of hym that formed all solace : 
Well of pite, of mercy, and of grace, 215 

The father, the son, and the holy goste 

In Trinitate one God of myghts moste. 

fit I have placed the foregoing poem of Skelton's before the following ex 
tract from Hawes, not only because it was written first, but because I think 
Skelton is in general to be considered as the earlier poet ; many of his poems 
being written long before Hawes's Grauude Amour. 



The reader has here a specimen of the descriptive powers of Stephen 
Hawes, a celebrated poet in the reign of Hen. VII. though now little knowu. 
It is extracted from an allegorical poem of his (written in 1505) intitled, 
1 The Ilist. of Graunde Amoure and La Belle Pucel, called the Palace of Plea 
sure, &c.' 4to. 1555. See more of Hawes in Ath. Ox. v. 1, p. 6, and Warton's 
Observ. v. 2, p. 105. He was also author of a book, intitled, ' The Temple 
of Glass. Wrote by Stephen Hawes, gentleman of the bedchamber to 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 Amour and left him with 
Governaunce and Grace, and howe he went to the Tower of Doctrine, &c.' 
As we are able to give no small lyric piece of Hawes's, the reader will excuse 
the insertion of this extract. 

I LOOKED 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 soe marveylously, 

That for the very perfect bryghtnes 

What of the tower, and of the cleare sunne, 

I could nothyng behold the goodlines 10 

Of that palaice, whereas Doctrine did wonne : 
Tyll at the last, with myst} r 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 many lyons, 20 
Made of fyne golde ; with divers sundry dragons. 1 

The little turrets with ymages of golde 

About was set, whiche with the wynde aye moved 

With propre vices, that I did well beholde 

About the tower, in sundry wyse they hoved 25 
With goodly pypes, in their mouthes ituned, 

That with the wynd they pyped a daunce 

Iclipped Amour de la hault plesaunce. 

The toure was great of marveylous wydnes, 

To whyche ther was no way to passe but one, BO 

Into the toure for to have an intres: 
A grece there was ychesyld all of stone 
Out of the roeke, on whyche men dyd gone 

Up to the toure, and in Jykewyse dyd I 

Wyth bothe the Grayhoundes in my company: 2 35 

Tyll that I came unto a ryall gate, 

Where I sawe stondynge the goodly Portres, 

Whyche axed me, from whence I came a-late; 
To whome I gan in every thynge expresse 
All myne adventure, chaunce, and busynesse, 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 [base] courte she dyd me then lede, 

Where was a fountayne depured of plesance, 45 

A noble sprynge, a ryall conduyte-hede, 
Made of fyne golde enameled with reed; 

Ver. 25, towers, PC. Ver. 44, besy courte, PC. . 

1 Greyhounds, Lions, Dragons, were at that time the royal supporters. 
* This alludes to a former part of the Poem. 


And on the toppe four dragons blewe and stoute 
Thys dulcet water in four partes dyd spoute. 

Of whyche there flowed foure ryvers ryght clere, 50 
Sweeter than Nylus 1 or Ganges was ther odoure; 

Tygrys or Eufrates unto them no pere: 
I dyd than taste the aromatyke lycoure, 
Fragraunt of fume, and swete as any floure; 

And in my mouthe it had a marveylous, scent 55 

Of divers spyces, I knewe not what it ment. 

And after thys further forth me brought 
Dame Countenaunce into a goodly Hall; 

Of jasper stones it was wonderly wrought: 

The wyndowes cleare depured all of cry stall, 60 
And in the rouf e on hye over all 

Of golde was made a ryght crafty vyne; 

Instede 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; 2 

Howe a noble knyght should wynne the victory 
Of many a serpente foule and odious. 

Ver. 49, partyes, PC. 

1 Nysus, PC. 2 The story of the poem. 



is given from a fragment in the Editor's folio MS : which, tho' ex 
tremely defective and mutilated, appeared to have so much merit, that it ex 
cited a strong desire to attempt a completion of the story. The reader will 
easily discover the supplemental stanzas by their inferiority, and at the same 
time be inclined to pardon it, when he considers how difficult it must be to 
imitate the affecting simplicity and artless beauties of the original. 

Child was a title sometimes given to a knight. See Gloss. 

ON yonder hill a castle standes 

With walles and towres bedight, 
And yonder lives the Child of Elle, 

A yonnge and comely knighte. 

The Child of Elle to his garden wente, 5 

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, 10 

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, is 

And what may thy tydinges beeT 

' 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 

1 Percy has added to and greatly beautified this ballad. ED. 


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. 

For, ah! her gentle heart is broke, 

And in grave soone must shee bee, so 

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 night will I bee at her bowre-windbwe, 

Betide me weale or woe/ 

The boye he tripped, the boye he ranne, 45 

He neither stint ne stayd 
Untill he came to fair Emmelines bowre, 

Whan kneeling downe he sayd, 


' ladye, I Ve been with thy own true love, 
And he greets thee well by mee; 60 

This night will he bee at thy bowre-windbwe, 
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 love's voice 

Lowe whispering at the walle, 
' Awake, awake, my deare ladye, 

Tis I, thy true love, call. eo 

Awake, awake, my ladye deare, 

Come, mount this faire palfraye: 
This ladder of ropes will lette thee downe, 

He carrye 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/ 

' 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? 


All ! well I wot, lie never would rest, 
Nor his meate should doe him no goode, 

Until he had slayne thee, Child of Elle, 

And seene thy deare hearts bloode.' so 

' ladye, wert thou in thy saddle sette, 

And a little space him fro, 
I 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 tenderlle: 
The tears that fell from her fair eyes, 95 

Banne like the fountayne free. 

Hee mounted himselfe on his steede so talle, 

And her on a fair palfraye, 
And slung his bugle about his necke, 

And roundlye they rode awaye. 100 

All this beheard her own damselle, 

In her bed whereas shee ley, 
Quoth shee, * My lord shall knowe of this, 

Soe I shall have golde and fee. 


Awake, awake, thou baron bolde ! 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 merry e 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: 

* No we stop, nowe stop, thou false traitbure, 

Nor carry that ladye awaye. 120 

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 dear 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 bio we. 14 o 

The Child of EUe hee fought soe well, 

As his weapon he waved amaine, 
That soone he had slaine the carlish knight, 

And layd him upon the plaine. 

And no we 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, iso 

And soone he saw his owne merry men 
Come ryding over the hill. 

' Nowe hold thy hand, thou bold barbn, 

I pray thee hold thy hand, 
Nor ruthless rend two gentle hearts, 155 

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 freely e sayd wee may. ieo 


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: no 

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 destroyed iso 

The baron he stroakt his dark-brown cheeke, 

And turned his heade asyde 
To whipe awaye the starting teare, 

He proudly strave to hyde. 

In deepe revolving thought he stoode, iss 

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 

tjt From the word kirke in ver. 159, this hath been thought to be a Scot 
tish 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 Eng 
land, kirk is used in the common dialect for church, as well as beyond the 



was printed at Glasgow, by Robert and Andrew Foulis, MDCCLV. 8vo, 

12 pages. We are indebted for its publication (with many other valuable 
things in these volumes) to Sir David Dalrymple, Bart, who gave it as it was 
preserved in the memory of a lady, that is now dead. 

The reader will here find it improved, and enlarged with several fine stanzas, 
recovered from a fragment of the same ballad, in the Editor's folio MS. It is 
remarkable that the latter is intitled Captain Adam Carre, and is in the Eng 
lish 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 20 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 re 
sided. The House, or Castle of the Rodes, stood about a measured mile south 
from Dunse, 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 10 miles from the castle of the Eodes. 1 The 
fact, however, on which the Ballad is founded, happened in the North of 
Scotland, (See below, p. 101,) yet it is but too faithful a specimen of the 
violences practised in the feudal times in every part of this Island, and indeed 
all over Europe. 

From the different titles of this Ballad, it should seem that the old strolling 
bards or minstrels (who gained a livelihood by reciting these poems) made no 
scruple of changing the names of the personages they introduced, to humour 
their hearers. For instance, if a Gordon's conduct was blame-worthy in the 
opinion of that age, the obsequious minstrel would, when among Gordons, 
change the name to Car, whose clan or sept lay further West, and vice versa. 
The foregoing observation, which I owed to Sir David Dalrymple, will 
appear the more perfectly well founded, if, as I have since been informed (from 
Crawford's Memoirs,) the principal Commander of the expedition was a 
Gordon, and the immediate Agent a Car, or Ker ; for then the Reciter might, 
upon good grounds, impute the barbarity here deplored, either to a Gordon, or 
a Car, as best suited his purpose. In the third volume the Reader will find a 
similar instance. See the song of Gil Morris, wherein the principal character 
introduced had different names given him, perhaps 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 Brittons-borrow,' and also ' Diactours ' or 
' Draitours-borrow,' (for it is very obscurely written,) and ' Capt. Adam Carre' 
is called the ' Lord of Westerton-town.' Uniformity required that the addi 
tional stanzas supplied from that copy should be clothed in the Scottish ortho 
graphy and idiom : this has therefore been attempted, though perhaps 

IT fell about the Martinmas, 

Quhen the wind blew shril and cauld, 

Said Edom o' Gordon to his men, 
' We maun draw till a hauld. 

And quhat a hauld sail we draw till, 5 

My mirry men and me? 
We wul gae to the house o' the Rodes, 

To see that fair ladle.' 

1 This Ballad is well known in that neighbourhood, where it is intitled Adam 
o' Gordon. It may be observed, that the famous freebooter, whom Edward 
I. fought with, hand to hand, near Farnham, was named Adam Gordon. 


The lady stude on hir castle wa', 

Beheld baith dale and down: 10 

There she was ware of a host of men 

Cum ryding towards the toun. 

* see ye nat, my mirry men a'1 

see ye nat quhat I see 1 ? 

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, 

Quha reckt nae sin nor shame. 20 

She had nae sooner buskit hersel, 

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. 

The lady ran up to hir towir head, 

Sa fast as she could hie, so 

To see if by hir fair speeches 

She could wi' him agree. 

But quhan he see thii lady saif, 

And hir yates all locked fast, 
He fell into a rage of wrath, 35 

And his look was all aghast. 


' Cum doun to me, ye lady gay, 

Cum doun, cum doun to me: 
Tliis night sail ye lig within mine armes, 

To-morrow my bride sail be/ 40 

' I winnae cum doun, ye fals Gordbn, 

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 Gordbn, 

To nae sik traitor as yee; so 

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: * 
She mist that bluidy butchers hart, 

And only raz'd his knee. eo 

' Set fire to the house,' quo' fals Gordbn, 
All wood wi' dule and ire: 

* Fals lady, ye sail rue this deid, 

As ye bren in the fire.' 

* These three lines are restored from Foulis's edition, and the fol. MS. 
which last reads 4 the bullets,' in ver. 58. 

VOL. I. G 


' Wae worth, wae worth ye, Jock my man, 65 

I paid ye well your fee; 
Quhy pu' ye out the ground-wa' stane, 

Lets in the reek to me I 

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 fireT 

' 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/ so 

* I 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/ 


then bespaik hir dochter dear, 85 

She was baith jimp and sma: 
' row me in a pair o' sheits, 
And tow me owre the wa.' 

They rowd hir in a pah* o' sheits, 

And towd hir owre the wa: 90 

But on the point o' Gordons spear, 

She gat a deadly fa. 


bonnie bonnie was hir moutli, 
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, 

gin hir skin was whyte! 
' I 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; 

1 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/ 

The Gordon then his bougill blew, 
And said, * Awa', awa'; 

Ver. 98, 102, gin, &c. a Scottish idiom to express great admiration. 
Ver. 109, 110, Thame, &c. i.e. Them that look after omens of ill luck, ill luck 
will follow. 


This house o' the Eodes is a' in flame, 

I hauld it time to gaV 120 

0, 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, 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; iso 

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, iss 

Baith lady and babes were brent. 

He wrang his hands, he rent his hair, 

And wept in teenefu' muid: 
'0 traitors, for this cruel deid 

Ye sail weep teirs o' bluid.' 140 

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. 

tjt Since the foregoing Ballad was first printed, the subject has been found 
recorded in Abp. Spotswood's History of the Church of Scotland, p. 259 : who 
informs us, that 

EDOM 0' GORDON. 101 

' Anno 1571. In the north parts of Scotland, Adam Gordon (v;ho was 
deputy for his brother the earl of Huntley) did keep a 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 
Alexander Forbes. The Lady refusing to yield without direction from her 
husband, he put fire unto it, and burnt her therein, with children and servants, 
being twenty-seven persons in all. 

' This inhuman and barbarous cruelty made his name odious, and stained 
all his former doings ; otherwise he was held very active and fortunate in his 

This fact, which had escaped the Editor's notice, was in the most obliging 
manner pointed out to him, by an ingenious writer who signs his name H. H. 
(Newcastle, May 9) in the Gentleman's Magazine for May, 1775. 






Our great dramatic poet having occasionally quoted many ancient ballads, 
and even taken the plot of one, if not more, of his plays from among them, it 
was judged proper to preserve as many of these as could be recovered, and 
that they might be the more easily found, to exhibit them in one collective 
view. This Second Book is therefore set apart for the reception of such bal 
lads as are quoted by Shakspeare, or contribute in any degree to illustrate his 
writings : this being the principal point in view, the candid reader will pardon 
the admission of some pieces, that have no other kind of merit. 

The design of this book being of a Dramatic tendency, it may not be impro 
perly introduced with a few observations on the origin of the English Stage, 
and on the conduct of our first Dramatic poets : a subject, which though not 
unsuccessfully handled by several good writers already, 1 will yet perhaps admit 
of some further illustration. 


It is well known that dramatic poetry in this and most other nations of 
Europe, owes its origin, or at least its revival, to those religious shows, which 
in the dark ages were usually exhibited on the more solemn festivals. At 
those times they were wont to represent in the churches the lives and miracles 
of the saints, or some of the more important stories of scripture. And as the 
most mysterious subjects were frequently chosen, such as the Incarnation, 
Passion, and Resurrection of Christ, &c. these exhibitions acquired the general 
name of Mysteries. At first they were probably a kind of dumb shews, inter 
mingled, it may be, with a few short speeches ; at length they grew into a 
regular series of connected dialogues, formally divided into acts and scenes. 
Specimens of these in their most improved state (being at best but poor artless 
compositions) may be seen among Dodsley's Old Plays and in Osborne's Har- 

i Bp. Warburton's Shakesp. vol. V. p. 338 Pref. to Dodsley's Old Plays. Riccoboni's 

Acct. of Theat. of Europe, c. &c. These were all the Author had seen when he first 
drew up this Essay. 


leyan Miscel. How they were exhibited in their most simple form, we may 
learn from an ancient novel, often quoted by our old dramatic poets,* intitled 
.... a merjoe 3Be0t of a man that tnatf caHtfc ^otijftflfas 2 &c. being a 
translation from the Dutch language, in which he is named Ulenspiegle. 
Howleglass, 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 Howle- 
glas was parysh clarke, at Easter they should play the Resurrection of our 
Lorde : and for because than the men wer not learned, nor could not read, the 
priest toke his leman, and put her in the grave for an Aungell : and this seing 
Howleglas, toke to hym iij of the symplest persons that were in tlie 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 parson's 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 How 
leglas 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 seeing this, caste down hys baner and went to helpe his woman, 
so that the one gave the other sore strokes, and made great noyse in the churche. 
And than Howleglas seyng them lyinge together by the eares in the bodi of 
the churche, went his way out of the village, and came no more there.' 3 

As the old Mysteries frequently required the representation of some alle 
gorical personage, such as Death, Sin, Charity, Faith, and the like, by degrees 
the rude poets of those unlettered ages began to form complete dramatic pieces 
consisting entirely of such personifications. These they intitled Moral Plays, 
or Moralities. The Mysteries were very inartificial, representing the scrip 
ture stories simply according to the letter. But the Moralities are not devoid 
of invention ; they exhibit outlines of the dramatic art : they contain some 
thing 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 CtiErp .JKan. 4 The subject of this piece is the sum 
moning of Man out of the world by death; and its moral, that nothing will 
then avail him but a well-spent life and the comforts of religion. This subject 
and moral are opened in a monologue spoken by the Messenger (for that 

i See Ben Jonson's Poetaster, Act 3, sc. 4, and his Masque of the Fortunate Isles. Whal- 
ley's Edit. vol. II p. 49, vol. VI. p. 190. 2 Howleglass Is said in the Preface to have died In 

M,CCCC,L. At the end of the book, in M,CCC,L *4T. ^mprpntttl . . . BJ? UDpHpam 

JTopfanb : without date, in 4to. bl. let. among Mr Garrick's Old Plays, K. vol. X.* This 
Play has been reprinted by Mr Hawkins in his 3 vols. of Old Plays, intitled, The Origin 
of the Enelish Drama, 12ino. Oxford, 1773. See vol. I. p. 27. 


was the name generally given by our ancestors to the Prologue on their 
rude stage:) then God 1 is represented; who, after some general complaints 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 Deth is withdrawn, Every-man applies for relief 
in this distress to Fellowship, Kindred, Goods, or Riches, but they succes 
sively renounce and forsake him. In this disconsolate state he betakes him 
self to Good-dedes, who, after upbraiding him with his long neglect of her, 2 
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 3 have all taken their final leave of him, gradually expires 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, 
Te 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 Cedes there dothe he take ; 
But beware, for and they be small, 
Before God he hath no helpe at all/ &c. 

From this short analysis it may be observed, that <\Hn} .CKan is a grave 
solemn piece, not without some rude attempts to excite terror and pity, and 
therefore may not improperly be referred to the class of Tragedy. It is 
remarkable that in this old simple drama the fable is conducted upon the 
strictest model of the Greek tragedy. The action is simply one, the time of 
action is that of the performance, the scene is never changed, nor the stage 
ever empty. Every-man, the hero of the piece, after his first appearance 
never withdraws, except when he goes out to receive the sacraments, which 
could not well be exhibited in public; and during his absence Knowledge 
descants on the excellence and power of the priesthood, somewhat after the 
manner of the Greek chorus. And indeed, except in the circumstance of 
Every-man's expiring on the stage, the Sampson Agonistes of Milton is hardly 
formed on a severer plan. 4 

The other play is intitled $icfe .>corner, 5 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 Con- 
templacyon and Perseverance, two holy men, who, after lamenting the dege 
neracy of the age, declare their resolution of stemming the torrent. Pity then 

1 The second person of the Trinity seems to be meant * The before-mentioned are male 

characters. i. e. The Five Senses. These are frequently exhibited as five distinct per. 
onages upon the Spanish stage; (see Riccoboni, p. 98.) but our moralist has represented 
them all by one character.* See more of Every Man, in vol. II. Pref. to B. II. Note. 
s SlmprnnteD lJ me JDptlfenn tie UDor&e, r.o date; in 4to. bl. Let This play has 
also been reprinted by Mr Hawkins in his ' Origin of the English Drama.' Vol. I. p. 69. 


is left upon the stage, and presently found by Frewyll, representing a lewd 
debauchee, who, with his dissolute companion Imaginacion, relate their man 
ner of life, and not without humour describe the stews and other places of 
base resort. They are presently joined by Hick-scorner, who is drawn as a 
libertine returned from travel, and, agreeably to his name, scoffs at religion. 
These three are described as extremely vicious, who glory in every act of 
wickedness : at length two of them quarrel, and Pity endeavours to part the 
fray ; on this they fall upon him, put him in the stocks, and there leave him. 
Pity, thus imprisoned, descants in a kind of lyric measure on the profligacy of 
the age, and in this situation is found by Perseverance and Contemplacyon, 
who set him at liberty, and advise him to go in search of the delinquents. As 
soon as he is gone, Frewyll 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 liber 
tine companion Imaginacion from their vicious course of life : and then the 
play ends with a few verses from Perseverance by way of Epilogue. This and 
every Morality I have seen conclude with a solemn prayer. They are all of 
them in rhyme ; in a kind of loose stanza, intermixed with distichs. 

It would be needless to point out the absurdities in the plan and conduct of 
the foregoing play : they are evidently great. It is sufficient to observe, that, 
bating the moral and religious reflection of Pity, &c. the piece is of a comic 
cast, and contains a humorous display of some of the vices of the age. In 
deed 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 charac 
ters and living manners. 

We see then that the writers of these Moralities were upon the very thresh 
old 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 England soon 
after the Conquest. Matthew Paris tells us that Geoffrey, afterwards Abbot of St 
Albans, a Norman, who had been sent for over by Abbot Richard to take upon 
him the direction of the school of that monastery, coming too late, went to Dun- 
stable, and taught in the abbey there ; where he caused to be acted (probably 
by his scholars) a miracle play of St Catharine, composed by himself. 1 This 
was long before the year 1119, and probably within the llth 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 Myste 
ries in France ; for these did not begin till the year 1398. z 

i ' Apnd Dunestapliam .... qnendam ludum de sancta Katerina (quern Miracnla vulga- 
riter appellamns) fecit. Ad quse decoranda, petiit a sacrista sancti Albani, ut sibi Caps 
Chorales accommodarentur, et obtinnlt. Et fnit Indus Hie de sancta Katerina.' Vitaa 
Abbat. ad fin. Hist. Mat. Paris, fol. 1639, p. 56. We see here that Plays of Miracles were 
become common enough in the time of Mat. Paris, who flourished about 1240. But that 

Indeed appears from the more early writings of Fitz-Stephens : quoted below * rid. Abrege 

Cbron. de 1'Hist. de France, par M. Henault a 1'ann. 1179. 


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 
Saints, were become common in the reign of Henry II. and a lighter sort of 
Interludes appear not to have been unknown. 1 In the subsequent age of 
Chaucer, ' Plays of Miracles ' in Lent were the common resort of idle gossips. 2 

They do not appear to have been so prevalent on the continent, for the 
learned historian of the council of Constance 3 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, 1417 ; the 
subjects of which were : The Nativity of our Saviour ; the Arrival of the 
Eastern Magi ; and the Massacre by Herod. Thence it appears, says this 
writer, that the Germans are obliged to the English for the invention of this 
sort of spectacles, unknown to them before that period. 

The fondness of our ancestors for dramatic exhibitions of this kind, and 
some curious particulars relating to this subject will appear from the Hous- 
hold Book of the fifth Earl of Northumberland, A.D. 1512 : 4 whence I shall 
select a few extracts which show, that the exhibiting Scripture Dramas on the 
great festivals entered into the regular 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 is lordship kepe a 
chapell and be at home, them of his lordschipes chapell, if they doo play the 
Play of the nativite uppon cristynmes day in the mornnynge in my lords 
chapell, befor his lordship xxs.' Sect. XLIV. p. 343. 

' Item, .... to them of his lordship chappell and other his lordshipis ser- 
vaunts that doith play the Play befor his lordship uppon shrof-tewsday at 
night yerely in reward xs.' Ibid. p. 345. 

' Item, .... to them .... that playth the Play of resurrection upon 
estur day in the mornnvnge in my lordis ' chapell ' befor his lordshipe xxs.' 


i See Fitz-stephens's description of London, preserved by Stow, (and reprinted with notes, 
&c., by the Rev. Mr Pegge, in 1774, 4to.) Londonia pro spectaculis theatralibus, pro ludis 
scenicis, Indus habet sanctiores, representationes miraculorum, &c. He is thought to have 
written in the R. of Hen. II. and to have died in that of Kich. I It is true at the end of 
this book we find mentioned Henricum regem tertium ; but this is doubtless Heary the 
Second's son, who was crowned during the life of his father, in 1170, and is generally dis 
tinguished as Rex juvenis, Rex filius, and sometimes they were jointly named Reges Anglise. 
From a passage in his Chap. De Religions, it should seem that the body of St Thomas 
Becket was just then a new acquisition to the church of Canterbury. 2 gee Prologue to 
Wife of Bath's Tale, v. 6137. Tyrwhitt's Ed. 8 M. L'enfant. Vid. Hist, du Cone, de Con 
stance, Vol. II. p. 440 * 'The Regulations and Establishments of the Houshold of Hen. 
Alg. Percy, 5th Earl of Northumb. Lond. 1770." 8vo. Whereof a small impression was 
printed by order of the late Duke and Duchess of Northumberland to bestow in presents to 

their friends Although begun in 1512, some of the Regulations were composed so late as 



' Item, My lorde useth and accnstomyth yerly to gyf hym which is ordynede 
to be the master of the revells yerly in my lordis hous in cristmas for the over- 
seyinge and orderinge of his lordschips Playes, Interludes and Dresigne that is 
plaid befor his lordship in his hous in the xijth dayes of CrLstenmas and they 
to have in rewarde for that caus yerly xxs.' Ibid. p. 346. 

' Item, My lorde useth and aecustomyth to gyf every of the iiij Parsones 
that his lordschip admyted as his Players to com to his lordship yerly at Cris- 
tynmes ande at all other such tymes as his lordship shall comande them for 
playing of Playe and Interludes affor his lordship in his lordshipis hous for 
every of their fees for an hole yere ' . . . . Ibid. p. 351. 

' Item, to be payd ... for rewards to Players for Playes playd in Christyn- 
mas by Stranegeres in my house after xxd. l every play, by estimacion somme 
xxxiijs. iiij.' 2 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. XLIII. p. 340. 

' Item, My Lorde usith and aecustomyth to gyf yerely, when his Lordship 
is at home to every Lordis Players, that comyth to his Lordshipe betwixt 
Crystynmas and Candilmas xs.' Ibid. 

The Header will observe the great difference in the Rewards here given to 
such Players as were Retainers of noble Personages, and such as are stiled 
Strangers, or, as we may suppose, only Strollers. 

The profession of a Common Player was about this time held by some in 
low estimation. In an old satire, intitled, Tocfe llorreles 'iBote 3 the Author, 
enumerating the most common trades or callings, as ' carpenters, coopers, 
joyners,' &c. mentions 

1 Players, purse-cutters, money-batterers, 
Golde- washers, tomblers, jogelers, 
Pardoners, &c.' Sign. B. TJ. 

III. It hath been observed already, that Plays of Miracles, or Mysteries, as 
they were called, led to the introduction of Moral Plays, or Moralities, which 
prevailed so early, and became so common, that, towards the latter end of K. 
Henry Tilth's reign, John Rastel, brother-in-law to Sir Thomas More, con 
ceived a design of making them the vehicle of science and natural philosophy. 
"With this view he published ' <T. 2C new intertu&e ano a men? of tbe nature 
of tfre iiii elements? oeclarpnge man;? proper points? of pforfosopfip natural!, 
ano of oipuers straunjje TanogS', 4 &c. It is observable that the poet speaks of 
the discovery of America as then recent ; 

1 This was not so small a sum then as it may now appear ; for, in another part of this 
MS. the price ordered to be given for a fat ox is but 13s. 4d. and for a lean one 8s 3 At this 
rate the number of Plays acted must have been twenty * Pr. at the Sun in Fleet-str. by W. 
de Worde, no date, b. 1. 4to * Mr Garrick has an imperfect copy, (Old Plays, i. vol. III.) 
The Dramatis Personae are, '4T. The Messenger [or Prologue] Nature naturate. Hurnanyte. 
Studyous Desire. Sensuall Appetyte. The Taverner. 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 

nodes be rounde, and thatyt is in circumference above xxi. M. myle.' ' 4T. Of certeyne 

points of cosmographye and of dyvers strannge regyons, and of the new founde landys 
and the maner of the people.' This part is extremely curious, as it shews what notions 
were entertained of the new American discoveries by our own countrymen. 


' 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 1510 (two years before the date of the above 
Houshold Book). The play of $icfc- S>corner was probably somewhat more 
ancient, as he still more imperfectly alludes to the American discoveries, under 
the name of ' the Newe founde Ilonde.' [Sign. A. vij.] 

It is observable that in the older Moralities, as in that last mentioned, 
Every-man, &c. is printed no kind of stage direction for the exits and en* 
trances of the personages, no division of acts and scenes. But in the moral 
interlude of 1Lu8t$ ^utoentu^, 1 written under Edward VI. the exits and 
entrances begin to be noted in the margin : z at length in Q. Elizabeth's reign 
Moralities appeared formally divided into acts and scenes, With a regular pro 
logue, &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 
Pamphlets, Playes, and Ballads ; that no manner of person shall enterprize to 
print any such, &c.' but under certain restrictions. Vid. Sect. 5. 

In the time of Hen. VIII. one or two dramatic pieces had been published 
under the classical names of Comedy and Tragedy, 3 but they appear not to 
have been intended for popular use : it was not till the religious ferments had 
subsided that the public had leisure to attend to dramatic poetry. In the 
reign of Elizabeth Tragedies and Comedies began to appear in form, and, 
could the poets have persevered, the first models were good. iSoruo&uc, a 
regular tragedy, was acted in 1561 4 ; and Gascoigne, in 15G6, exhibited 
3ioca?ta,a translation from Euripides, as also (Cfie &upp06e, a regular comedy, 
from Ariosto : near thirty years before any of Shakespeare's were printed. 

The people however still retained a relish for their old Mysteries and Mor 
alities, 5 and the popular dramatic poets seem to have made them their models. 
From the graver sort of Moralities our modern Tragedy appears to have de 
rived its origin ; as our Comedy evidently took its rise from the lighter inter 
ludes of that kind. And as most of these pieces contain an absurd mixture of 
religion and buffoonery, an eminent critic 6 has well deduced from thence the 
origin of our unnatural Tragi-comedies. Even after the people had been ac- 

1 Described in vol. II. Preface to Book II. The Dramatis Personae of this piece are, '<. 
Messenger, Lusty Juventus, Good Counsail, Knowledge, Sathan the devyll, Hypocrisie, Fel 
lowship, Abominable-lyving [an Harlot], God's-merciful promises." 2 1 have also discovered 
some few Exeats and Intratiia the very old Interlude of the 4f(JUr <iU*tnntJi. s Bp. Bale 
had applied the name of Tragedy to his Mystery of 45oD'S $romie?, in 1538. in 1540 
John Palsgrave, B.D. hadrepublisheda Latin comedy, called 2lCOla0ttl$, with an English 
version. Holingshed tells us (vol. III. p. 850), that so early as 1520, the king had 'a good 
comedic of Plautus plaied ' before him at Greenwich ; but this was in Latin, as Mr Far 
mer informs us in his curious 'Essay on the Learning of Shakespeare,' 8vo. p. 31. 

* See Ames, p. 316. This play appears to have been first printed under the name of 

<5or.DO&UC ; then under that of j?rrtT atlD $0mr,in 1569; and again, under 4&OC- 

tobUC, 1590. Ames calls the first edition Quarto; Langbaine, Octavo; and Tanner, 

12mo 5 The general reception the old Moralities had upon the stage, will account for 
the fondness of all our first poets for allegory. Subjects of this kind were familiar with every 
one.* Bp. YVarburt. Shakesp. vol. V. 


customed to Tragedies and Comedies, Moralities still kept their ground : one 
of them entitled (3Tfoe .tfiett Custom ' was printed so late as 1573 : at length 
they assumed the name of Masques, 2 and with some classical improvements, 
became in the two following reigns the favourite entertainments of the court. 

IV. The old Mysteries, which ceased to be acted after the Reformation, ap 
pear to have given birth to a Third Species of stage exhibition, which, though 
now confounded with Tragedy and Comedy, were by our first dramatic writers 
considered as quite distinct from them both : these were Historical Plays, or 
Histories, a species of dramatic writing, which resembled the old Mysteries in 
representing a series of historical events simply in the order of time in which 
they happened, without any regard to the three great unities. These pieces 
seem to differ from Tragedies, just as much as Historical poems do from Epic : 
as the Pharsalia does from the jEneid. 

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 (STfoe .jUairrour for .UBagistrate?, 3 wherein a 
great number of the most eminent characters in English history are drawn re 
lating their own misfortunes. This book was popular, and of a dramatic 
cast; and therefore, as an elegant writer 4 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 His 
torical Play itself, which was perhaps as early as any Mystery on a reli 
gious subject; for such, I think, we may pronounce the representation of a 
memorable event in English History, that was expressed in Actions and 
Rhymes. This was the old Coventry play of Hock-Tuesday, * founded on 
the story of the Massacre of the Danes, as it happened on St. Brice's night, 
November 13, 1002.* The play in question was performed by certain men of 
Coventry, among the other shews and entertainments at Kenilworth Castle, 
in July 1575, prepared for Queen Elizabeth, and this the rather ' because the 
matter mentioneth how valiantly our English Women, for the love of their 
country, behaved themselves.' 

The writer, whose Words are here quoted, 7 hath given a short description of 
the performance; which seems on that occasion to have been without'Recita- 
tion or Rhymes, and reduced to mere Dumb- Show; consisting of violent 
skirmishes and encounters, first between Danish and English ' lance-knights 
on horseback,' armed with spear and shield; and afterwards between 'hosts' 
of footmen ; which at length ended in the Danes being ' beaten down, over 
come, and many led captive by our English women.' 8 

1 Reprinted among Dodsley's Old Plays, vol. I.* In some of these appeared characters 
full as extraordinary as in any of the old Moralities. In Ben Jonson's Masque of CttlStttiajf, 
1616, one of the personages is Minced Pye. s The first part of which was printed in 1559 
* Catal. of Royal and Noble Authors, vol. I. p. 166-7 B This must not be confounded with 
the Mysteries acted on Corpus Christi day by the Franciscans at Coventry, which were also 
called Coventry Plays, and of which an account is given from T. Warton's Hist, of Eng. 
Poetry, &c. in Malone's Shakesp. vol. II Part II. pag. 13, H Not 1012, as printed in 
Laneham's Letter, mentioned below 1 Bo. Laneham, whose Letter, containing a full de 
scription of the Shows, &c. is reprinted at large in Nichols's Progresses of Q. Elizabeth,' &c. 
vol. I. 4to. 1788. That writer's orthography being peculiar and affected, is not here fol 
lowed * Laneliam describes this play of Hock Tuesday, which was 'presented in an his 
torical cue by certain good-hearted men of Coventry' (p. 3li), 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 


This play, it seems, which was wont to be exhibited in their city yearly, 
and which had been of great antiquity and long continuance there, 1 had of 
late been suppressed, at the instance of some well-meaning, but precise 
preachers, of whose 'sourness' herein the townsmen complain; urging that 
their play was ' without example of ill-manners, papistry, or any superstition ; ' 2 
which shews it to have been entirely distinct from a religious Mystery. But 
having been discontinued, and, as appears from the narrative, taken up of a 
sudden after the sports were begun, the Players apparently had not been able 
to recover the old Rhymes, or to procure new ones, to accompany the action: 
which, if it originally represented ' the outrage and importable insolency of 
the Danes, the grievous complaint of Huna, king Ethelred's chieftain in 
wars ; ' * his counselling, and contriving the plot to dispatch them ; concluding 

with the conflicts above mentioned, and their final suppression ' expressed 

in Actions and Rhimes after their manner, 4 ' one can hardly conceive a more 
regular model of a complete drama; and if taken up soon after the event, it 
must have been the earliest of the kind in Europe. 6 

Whatever the old play, or ' storial show ' * was at the time it was exhibited to 
Q. 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 Kenilwortb,' T 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 2 bucks, and 5 marks in money : who, ' what 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 
more,' 8 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 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 world. 

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 * hath been used Comedies, Tragedies, Euterludes, 

storial show ' (p. 32). And BO it might be as represented and expressed by them ' after their 
manner' (p. 33) : Although we are also told by Bevil Higgons, that St. Brice's Eve was still 
celebrated by the Northern English in commemoration of this massacre of the Danes, the 
women beating brass instruments, and singing old rhymes, in praise of their cruel ancestors. 
See his Short View of Eng. History, 8vo. p. 17. (The Preface is dated 1734.) 

i Laneham, p. 33 * Ibid Ibid. p. 32 * Ibid p. 33. The Rhymes, &c. prove this 
Play to have been in English : whereas Mr. Tho. Warton thinks the Mysteries composed be- 
fore 1328 were in Latin. Malone's Shakesp. Vol. II. Pt. II. p. 9. Laneham, p. 32. 
7 See Nichols's Progresses, Vol. I. p. 57. 8 Laneham, p. 38, 39. This was on Sunday 
evening, July 9 The Creation of the World, acted at Skinners-well in HOS. 


and Histories both true and fayned,' * Beaumont and Fletcher, in the prologue 
to (Sfie Captain, say, 

' This is nor Comedy, nor Tragedy, 
Nor History.' 

Polonius in Camlet commends the actors, as the best in the world, ' either 
for Tragedie, Comedie, Historic, Pastorall,' &c. And Shakespeare's friends, 
Heminge and Condell, in the first folio edit, of his plays, in 1623, 2 have not 
only intitled their book ' Mr William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and 
Tragedies : ' but in their Table of Contents have arranged them under those 
three several heads; placing in the class of Histories, ' K. John, Richard II., 
Henry IV., 2 pts., Henry V., Henry 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 Q. Elizabeth's Licence in 1574 4 to 
James Burbage and others, who are only impowered ' to use, exercyse, and 
occnpie the arte and facultye 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 public, and 
by himself, as a formal and necessary species, and are thenceforth so distin 
guished in public instruments. They are particularly inserted in the Licence 
granted by K. James I. in 1 603, 5 to W. Shakespeare himself, and the Players 
his fellows ; who are authorized ' to use and exercise the arte and faculty of 
playing Comedies, Tragedies, Histories, Interludes, Morals, Pastorals, Stage- 
plaies, and such like.' 

The same merited distinction they continued to maintain after his death, till 
the Theatre itself was extinguished : for they are expressly mentioned in a 
warrant in 1 622, for licensing certain ' late Comedians of Q. Anne deceased, 
to bring up children in the qu'alitie and exercise of playing Comedies, Histories, 
Interludes, Morals, Pastorals, Stage-Plaies, and such like.' a The same appears 
in an Admonition issued in 1637 T by Philip Earl of Pembroke and Mont 
gomery, then Lord Chamberlain, to the master and wardens of the company 
of Printers and Stationers ; wherein is set forth the complaint of his Majesty's 
servants the Players, that ' diverse of their books of Comedyes and Tragedyes, 
Chronicle-Historyes, and the like,' had been printed and published to their 
prejudice, &c. 

This distinction, we see, prevailed for near half a century ; but after the 

1 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. 2 The 
same distinction is continued in the 2d and 3d folios, &c. 3 See Malone's Shakesp. vol. 
I. part II. p 31. Ibid. vol. I. P. II. p. 37. Ibid, p. 40 Ibid. p. 49. Here His 
tories, or Historical Plays are found totally to have excluded the mention of Tragedies ; a 
proof of thtir superior popularity. In an Order for the King's Comedians to attend K. 
Charles I. in his summer's progress, 1636, (Ibid. p. 144.) Histories are not particularly 
mentioned; but so neither are Tragedies: They being briefly directed, to 'act Playes^ 
Comedyes, and Interludes, without any lett,' c. ' Ibid. p. 139. 


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 
1660, 1 to use the house in Salisbury- court ' for a Play-house, wherein Come 
dies, Tragedies, Tragi-comedies, Pastoralls, and Interludes, may be acted,' but 
also from the fuller Grant (dated August 21, 1760) 2 to Thomas Killigrew, esq. 
and Sir William Davenant, knt. by which they have authority to erect two com 
panies of players, and to fit up two theatres ' for the representation of Tragy- 
dies, 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, 3 that, in a conversation with 
Ben Jonson, our Bard vindicated his Historical Plays, by urging, that, as he 
had found ' the nation in general very ignorant of history, he wrote them in 
order to instruct the people in this particular.' This is assigning not only a good 
motive, but a very probable reason for his preference of this species of com 
position ; since we cannot doubt but his illiterate countrymen would not ouly 
want such instruction when he first began to write, notwithstanding the obscure 
dramatic chroniclers who preceded him ; but also that they would highly profit by 
his admirable Lectures on English History so long as he continued to deliver 
them to his audience. And, as it implies no claim to his being the first who intro 
duced 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 particular attention of his critics and commen 
tators; 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 Tra 
gedy 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 
(Economy of the ancient English stage. 

Such was the fondness of our forefathers for dramatic entertainments, that 
not fewer than Nineteen Playhouses had been opened before the year 1633, 
when Prynne published his Histriomastix.* From this writer it should seem 

i This is believed to be the date by Mr Malone. Vol. II. P. II. p. 239.* Ibid. p. 244. 
See Malone's Shakesp. vol. VI. p. 427. This ingenious writer will, with his known libe 
rality, excuse the difference of opinion here entertained concerning the above tradition. 
* He speaks in p. 492, of the Playhouses in Bishopsgate-street, and on Lndgate-hill, which 
are not among the seventeen enumerated in the Preface to Dodsley's Old flays. Nay, it 


that ' tobacco, wine, and beer,' 1 were in those days the usual accommodations 
in the theatre, as within our memory at Sadler's Wells. 

With regard to the Players themselves, the several companies were (as hath 
been already shewn) 2 retainers, or menial servants to particular noblemen,* 
who protected them in the exercise of their profession : and many of them 
were occasionally Strollers, that travelled from one gentleman's house to 
another. Yet so much were they encouraged, that, notwithstanding their 
multitude, some of them acquired large fortunes. Edward Allen, master of 
the playhouse called the Globe, who founded Dulwich college, is a known 
instance. And an old writer speaks of the very inferior actors, whom he calls 
the Hirelings, as living in a degree of splendor, which was thought enormous 
in that frugal age. 4 

At the same time the ancient Prices of admission were often very low. 

appears from RyTner*s MSS. that Twenty-Three Play houses had been at different periods open 
in London; and even Six of them at one time. See Malone's Shakesp. Vol. I. Ft. II. p. 48. 
1 So, I think, we may infer from the following passage, viz. ' How many are there, who, 
according to their several qualities, spend 2d. 3d. 4d. 6d. 12d. 18d. 2s. and sometimes 4s. or 
5s. at a play-house, day by day, if coach.hire, boat-hire, tobacco, wine, beere, and such like 
vaine expences, which playes doe usually occasion, be cast into the reckoning?' Prynne's 
Histriom. p. 322. But that Tobacco was smoked in the playhouses, appears from Taylor 
the Water-poet, in his Proclamation for Tobacco's Propagation. 'Let Play-houses, drink- 
ing-schools, taverns, &c. be continually haunted with the contaminous vapours of it ; nay 
(if it be possible) bring it into the Churches, and there cboak up their preachers.' (Works, 
p 253.) And this was really the case at Cambridge : James I. sent a letter in 1607, against 
' taking Tobacco" 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 morn 
ing-gown. 2 See the extracts above, in p. 106, from the . of Xorthumb. Houshold Book. 

s See the Pref. to Dodsley's Old Plays The author of an old Invective against the 

Stage, called, A third Blast of Eetrait from Plaies, &c. 1580, 12mo. 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 restraine the magistrates from executing their 
office ! . . . . They [the nobility] are thought to be covetous by permitting their servants 
.... to live at the devotion or almes of other men, passing from conntrie to countrie, from 
one gentleman's house to another, offering their service, which is a kind of beggerie. Who 
indeede, to speake more trulie, are become beggers for their servants. For comonlie the 
good-wil, men beare to their Lordes, makes them draw the stringes of their purses to extend 
their liberalitie.' Vid. pag. 75, 76, &c * Stephen Gosson, in his Schoole of Abuse, 1579, 
12mo. fo. 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 vi s. by the week, jet under gentlemens noses in sutis of silke, exercising 
themselves to prating on the stage, and common scoffing when they come abrode, where 
they look askance over the shoulder at every man, of whom the Sunday before they begged 
an almes. I speake not this, as though everye one that professeth the qnalitie so abused 
himselfe, for it is well knowen, that some of them are sober, discreete, properly learned, honest 
housholders and citizens, well-thought on among their neighbours at home.' [he seems 
to mean Edw. Allen above-mentioned] ' though the pryde of their shadowes (I meane those 
hangbyes, whom they succour with stipend) cause them to be somewhat 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 Groatsworth of Wit, 1625, 4to. 
* What is your profession ? ' ' Truly, Sir, .... I am a Player.' ' A Player ?....! 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 : Tempora mutantur ..... 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. 

VOL. I. H 


Some houses had penny-benches. 1 The ' two-penny gallery' is mentioned in 
the prologue to Beaumont and Fletcher's Woman-Hater. 2 And seats of three 
pence and a groat seem to be intended in the passage of Prynne above referred 
to. Yet different houses varied in their prices : That playhouse called the Hope 
had seats of five several rates from six-pence to half-a-crown. 3 But a shilling 
seems to have been the usual price 4 of what is now called the Pit, which 
probably had its name from one of the playhouses having been a Cock-pit. 4 

The day originally set apart for theatrical exhibition appears to have been 
Sunday ; probably because the first dramatic pieces were of a religious cast. 
During a great part of Queen Elizabeth's reign, the playhouses were only 
licensed to be opened on that day : 6 But before the end of her reign, or soon 
after, this abuse was probably removed. 

The usual time of acting was early in the afternoon, 7 plays being generally 
performed by day-light. 8 All female parts were performed by men, no Eng 
lish actress being ever seen on the public stage 9 before the civil wars. 

1 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 begger with his many, [sc. vermin] 
Come at a Play-house, all in for one penny.' 

2 So in the Belman's Night- Walks by Decker, 1616, 4to. ' Pay thy two-pence to a Player, 
in this gallery thou mayest sit by a harlot.'* Induct, to Ben. Jonson's Bartholomew-fair. 
An ancient satirical piece, called, ' The Blacke Book, Lond. 1604, 4to.' talks of ' The Six- 
Penny Roomes in Playhouses;' 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. viij. Beaum. and Fletch. Prol. to the Captain, and to the Mad-lover. 
This etymology hath been objected to by a very ingenious writer (see Malone's Shakesp. 
Vol. I. P. 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 (now) called the Pit ; 
which, he says, no one can suspect to have been a Cock-pit, or that a playhouse phrase could 
be applied to a church. But whoever is acquainted with the licentiousness of boys, will not 
think it impossible that they should thus apply a name so peculiarly expressive of its situa 
tion : which from frequent use might at length prevail among the senior members of the 
University; especially when those young men became seniors themselves. The name of 
Pit, BO applied 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. 6 So Ste. Gosson in his 
Schoole of Abuse, 1570, 12mo. speaking of the Players, says, ' These, because they are 
allowed to play 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 Plaies, 1580, 12mo. ' Let the 

magistrate but repel them from the libertie of placing 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.' pag. 61, 62. So again, ' Is not the Sabboth of al other dales the most 
abused ? . . . Wherefore abuse not so the Sabboth-daie, my brethren ; leave not the temple 
of the Lord.' . . . . ' Those unsaverie morsels of unseemelie sentences passing out of the 
mouth of a ruffenlie plaier, doth more content the hungrie humors of the rude multitude, 
and carrieth better rellish in their mouthes, than the bread of ths worde, &c.' Vid. pag. 
63, 65, 69, &c. I do not recollect that exclamations of this kind occur in Prynne, whence 
I conclude that this enormity no longer subsisted in his time. It should also seem, from 
the author of the Third Blast above-quoted, that the Churches still continued to be used 
Occasionally for theatres. Thus, in p. 77, he says, that the Players, (who, as hath been 
Observed, were servants of the nobility) ' under the title of their maisters, or as reteiners, 
$re 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.' 1 ' He 
entertaines us (says Overbury in his character of an Actor) ' in the best leasure of our life, 
that is, betweene meales; the 'most unfit time either for study, or bodily exercise." Even 
so late as the reign of Cha. II. Plays generally began at 3 in the afternoon. 8 See Biogr. 
Brit. I. 117, n. D. 1 say 'no English Actress on the Public Stage," because Prynne 
peaks of it as an unusual enormity, that ' they had French- women actors in a play not long 


Lastly, with regard to the playhouse Furniture and Ornaments, a writer 
of King Charles lid's time, 1 who well remembered the preceding age, assures 
us, that in general ' they had no other scenes nor decorations 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 sometimes used in London ; and they 
performed it with as good a grace, action, gesture, and whatsoever convenient 
for a Player, as ever I saw any masculine Actor.' 8 

It ought however to be observed, that, amid such a multitude of Playhouses 
as subsisted in the Metropolis before the Civil Wars, there must have been a 
great difference between their several accommodations, ornaments, and prices ; 
and that some would be much more shewy than others, though probably all 
were much inferior in splendor to the two great Theatres after the Restoration. 

^ The preceding Essay, although some of the materials are new arranged, 
hath received no alteration deserving notice, from what it was in the 2d Edi 
tion, 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, 1775, &c.' 3 vols. 4to. (wherein is inserted whatever in 
these Volumes fell in with his subject) : and by Edmond Malone, Esq. who, 
in his ' Historical Account of the English Stage,' (Shakesp. Vol. I. Part II. 
1790,) hath added greatly to our knowledge of the Oeconomy and Usages of 
our ancient Theatres. 

since personated in Blackfriars Playhouse.' This was In 1629, vid. p. 215. And tho' female 
parts were performed by men or boys on the public stage, yet in Masques at Court, the 
Queen and her ladies made no scruple to perform the principal parts, especially in the 
reigns of James I. and Charles I. Sir William Davenant, after the restoration, introduced 
Women, Scenery, and higher Prices. See Gibber's Apology for his own Life. 

1 See a short Discourse on the English Stage, subjoined to Flecknor"s ' Love's Kingdom," 
1674, 12mo. 2 It appears from an Epigram of Taylor the Water-poet, that one of the prin 
cipal Theatres in his time, viz. The Globe on the Bankside, Southwark, (which Ben Jonson 
calls the Glory of the Bank, and Fort of the whole parish,) had been covered with Thatch 
till it was burnt down In 1613. (See Taylor's Sculler, Epig. 22, p. 31. Jonson's Execration 
on Vulcan.) Puttenham tells us they used Vizards in his time, 'partly to supply the want 
of players, when there were more parts than there were persons, or that it was not thought 
meet to trouble . . . princes chambers with too many folkes.' [Art of Eng. Poes. 1589, 
p. 26.] From the last clause, it should seem that they were chiefly used in the Masques at 
Court. 8 Coryate's Crudities, 4to. 1611, p. 247 




were three noted outlaws, whose skill in archery rendered them formerly 
as famous in the North of England, as Robin Hood and his fellows were in 
the midland counties. Their place of residence was in the forest of 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 lived does not appear. The author of the common ballad on ' The 
pedigree, education, and marriage, of Robin Hood,' makes them contemporary 
with Robin Hood's father, in order to give him the honour of beating them : viz. 

The father of Robin a Forester was, 

And he shot in a lusty long-bow 
Two north-country miles and an inch at a shot, 

As the Pindar of Wakefield does know : 

For he brought Adam Bell, and Clim of the Clough, 

And William a Clowdeslee 
To shoot with our Forester for forty mark; 

And our Forester beat them all three. 

Collect, of Old Ballads, 1727, 1 vol. p. 67. 

This seems to prove that they were commonly thought to have lived before the 
popular Hero of Sherwood. 

Our northern archers were not unknown to their southern countrymen : their 
excellence at the long-bow is often alluded to by our ancient poets. Shake 
speare, in his comedy of 'Much ado about nothing,' Act I. makes Benedicke 
confirm his resolves of not yielding to love, by this protestation, ' If I do, hang 
me in a bottle like a cat, 1 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, A. 2. sc. 1. should be 'Adam Cupid,' 
in allusion to our archer. Ben Jonson has mentioned Clym o' the Clough in 
his Alchemist, Act 1. sc. 2. And Sir William Davenant, in a mock poem of 
his, called, ' The long vacation in London,' describes the Attorneys and Proc 
tors, as making matches to meet in Finsbury fields. 

'With loynes in canvas bow-case tyde : 2 
Where arrowes stick with mickle pride ; . . . 
Like ghosts of Adam Bell and Clymrae. 
Sol sets for fear they "1 shoot at him.' 

Works, 1673, fol. p. 291. 

I have only to add further concerning the principal Hero of this Ballad, that 

1 Bottles formerly were of leather ; though perhaps a wooden bottle might be here meant. 
It is still a diversion in Scotland to hang up a cat in a small cask or firkin, half filled with 
soot; and then a parcel of clowns on horseback try to beat out the ends of it, in order to 
shew their dexterity in escaping before the contents fall upon them. - i.e. Each with a 
canvas bow case tied round bis loins. 


the Bells were noted rogues in the North so late as the time of Q. Elizabeth. 
See in Rymer's Fradera, a letter from lord William Howard to some of the 
officers of state, wherein lie mentions 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. 
3toiprinKD at lionuon in 3!otfrbur>?e ftp U^npam opfcm& (no date). That 
old quarto edition seems to be exactly followed in ' Pieces of Ancient Popular 
Poetry, &c. Lond. 1791,' 8vo. the variations from which, that occur in the 
following copy, are selected from many others in the folio MS. above-mentioned, 
and when distinguished by the usual brackets [ ] have been assisted by con 

In the same MS. this Ballad is followed by another, intitled Younge Cloud- 
eslee, being a continuation of the present story, and reciting the adventures of 
William of Cloudesly's son : but greatly inferior to this both in merit and 


MERY it was in the grene forest 

Amonge the leves grene, 
Whereas men hunt east and west 

Wyth bowes and arrowes kene; 

To raise the dere out of theyr denne; 5 

Suche sightes hath ofte been 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, 1 10 

The thyrd was William of Cloudesly, 

An archer good ynough. 

They were outlawed for venyson, 

These yemen everychone; 
They swore them brethren upon a day, 15 

To Englyshe wood for to gone. 

1 Clym of the Clough, means Clem. [Clement] of the Cliffe: for so Clough 
signifies in the North. 


Now lith 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 wyth hys children 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, so 

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 windbwe 

Shortlye and anone. 40 

' Wher be you, fayre Alyce/ he sayd, 

'My wife and chyldren three? 
Lyghtly let in thyne owne husbande, 

Wyllyam of Cloudeslee.' 


Ver. 24, Caerlel, in PC. passim. Ver. 35, take, PC. tane, MS. 


'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. so 

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, 
Whych Wyllyam had found of charytye 

More than seven yere. eo 

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 

Wyllyam of Cloudeslye/ 

Thereof the justice was full fayne, 

And so was the shirife also: 70 

' 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, 75 

And couched her doune agayne. 

They raysed the towne of mery Carleile 

In all the haste they can; 
And came thronging to Wyllyame's house, 

As fast as they might gone. so 

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 wyndbwe, 85 

And loked all aboute, 
She was ware of the justice and shirife bothe, 

Wyth a full great route. 

4 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 sweard 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. 


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 Wilh'am, 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 councelleth so/ 

' Set fyre on the house/ saide the sherife, 

' Syth it wyll no better be, 
And brenne we therin Wilh'am/ he saide, 115 

' His wyfe and chyldren thre/ 

They fyred the house in many a place, 

The fyre flew up on hye: 
'Alas!' then cryed fayre Alice, 

' I se we here shall dye/ 120 

William openyd a backe wyndbw, 

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/ 


Wyllyam shot so wonderous well, 

Tyll hys arrowes were all agoe, 130 

And tlie 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/ HO 

He toke hys sweard and hys buckler, 

And among them all he ran, 
Where the people were most in prece, 

He smot downe many a man. 

There myght no man abyde hys stroakes, 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. 

Ver. 151, Sic MS. bye Justice, PC. Ver. 153, 4, are contracted from the 
fol. MS. and PC. 


Then shall not helpe Clym of the Cloughe, 

Nor yet shall Adam Bell, 
Though they came with a thousand mo, 

Nor all the devels in hell/ ieo 

Early in the mornynge the justice uprose, 

To the gates first can he gone, 
And commaunded to be shut full close 

Lightile everychone. 

Then went he to the markett place, 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-treT no 

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. iao 

'Alas!' then sayde the lytle boye, 

' Ye tary here all too longe; 
Cloudeslee is taken, and dampned to death, 

And readye for to honge.' 

Ver. 1 79, yonge men, PC. 


'Alas!' then sayd good Adam Bell, iss 

' That ever we saw thys daye ! 
He had better have tarryed with us, 

So ofte as we dyd hym praye. 

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, 195 

And bryng me myne arrowe agayne.' 

' Now go we hence,' sayd 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 1 of Cloudeslye, 

And another is for to saye. 


AND when they came to mery Carleile, 

All in [the] mornyng tyde, 
They founde the gates shut them untyll 

About on every syde. 

'Alas!' then sayd good Adam Bell, 5 

That ever we were made men! 

Ver. 190, sic MS. shadowes sheene, PC. Ver. 197, jolly yeomen, MS. 
wight yo:ig men, PC. 
1 See Gloss. 


These gates be shut so wonderous fast, 
We may not come therein/ 

Then bespake him Clym of the Clough, 

* With a wyle we wyl us in bryng; 10 
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; 15 

I holde the porter no clerke/ 

Then Adam Bell bete on the gates 

With strokes great and stronger 
The porter marveiled, who was therat, 

And to the gates he thronge. 20 

' Who is there now/ sayde the porter, 
'That maketh all thys knockingeT 
1 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 scale: 

What, lurden, art thou wodel' 
The porter went 1 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 

' Whereof we are full faine; 
But Christ he knowes, that harowed hell, 

How we shall com out agayne/ 

* Had we the keys/ said Clim of the Clough, 

* Byght wel then shoulde we spede, so 

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. eo 

Ver. 38, Lordeyne, PC. 

1 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. 


And now wyll we our bowes bend, 

Into the towne wyll we go, 
For to delyuer our dere brother, 

That lyeth in care and wo/ 

Then they bent theyr good ewe bowes, 65 

And loked theyr stringes were round, 1 

The markett place in mery Carleile 
They beset that stound. 

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, 

Thereafter to make hys grave. so 

* 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 proudly e/ said the justice, 85 

' I will thee hange with my hande/ 
Full wel herd this his brethren two, 
There styll as they dyd stande. 

i 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. 


Then Cloudesle cast his eyen asyde, 

And saw hys [brethren twaine] 90 

At a corner of the market place, 

Bedy the justice for to slaine. 

' I se comfort/ sayd Cloudesle, 

' Yet hope I well to fare, 
If I might have my handes at wyll 95 

Byght 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. 

Ver. 105, lowsed thre, PC. Ver. 108, can bled, MS. 


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, 
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, 

Like hardy men and bolde, iso 

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-home 1 in Carleil blowen, 

And the belles backward dyd ryng, 
Many a woman sayde, ' Alas !' 

And many theyr hands dyd wryng. 

1 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. 

VOL. I. I 


The mayre of Carleile forth com was, us 

Wyth hym a f ul great route : 
These yemen dred hym full sore, 

Of theyr lyves they stode in great doute. 

The mayre came armed a full great pace, 

With a pollaxe in hys hande; iso 

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 I' 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 down were layde, ieo 

Tyll they all thre, that so manfulli fought, 
Wer gotten without, abraide. 

'Have here your keys,' sayd Adam Bel, 

' Myne office I here forsake, 
And yf you do by my counsell us 

A new porter do ye make/ 

He threw theyr keys at their heads, 

And bad them well to thryve, 1 
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 lef e on lynde ; 

Ver. U8, For of, MS. 

1 Tliis is spoken ironically. 


The lough and be mery in theyr mode, 
Theyr enemyes were ferr behynd. 

When they came to Englyshe wode, 175 

Under the trusty tre, 
There they found bowes full good, 

And arrowes full great plentye. 

* So God me help,' sayd Adam Bell, 

And Clym of the Clough so fre, iso 

' 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 


As they sat in Englyshe wood, 

Under the green-wode tre, 
They thought they herd a woman wepe, 

But her they inought not se. 

Sore then syghed the fayre Alyce r 5 

' [That ever I sawe thys day!]' 
For no we 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, 
My hart were out of payne/ 

Ver. 175, merry green wood, MS. Ver. 185, see Part I. ver. 197. 


Cloudesle walked a lytle beside, 

He looked under the grene wood lynde, 

He was ware of his wife, and chyldren three, 15 
Full wo in harte and mynde. 

' Welcome, wyf e,' then sayde Wyllyam, 

4 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, 25 

* 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; so 

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 

Ver. 20, never had se. PC. and MS. 


And when they had supped well, 

Certayne withouten lease, 
Cloudesle sayd, ' We wyll to our kyng, 

To get us a charter of peace. 

Alyce shal be at our sojournyng 45 

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: so 

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], 1 
Tyll they came to the kynges pallace, 65 

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, 

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 1 65 

I pray you tell to me : 
You myght thus make offycers shent: 

Good syrs, of whence be ye 1 ?' 

Ver. 50, have I no care, PC. 
1 i.e., hie, hasten. 


' Syr, we be out-lawes of the forest 

Certayne 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 land, 
The[y] kneeled downe without lettyng, 75 

And eche held up his hand. 

The[y] 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.' so 

* What be your nams,' then said our king, 

* Anone that you tell me 1 ?' 
They sayd, * Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough, 
And Wyllyam of Cloudesle/ 

* Be ye those theves/ then sayd our king, ss 

' That men have tolde of to me 1 
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 everichone, 

Fast on them to lay hande. 

There they toke these good yemen, 

And arested them al thre: 
' So may I thryve/ sayd Adam Bell, 95 

6 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. 

My lorde, when 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 lorde, 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 lef e to me. 

Ver. Ill, 119, sic MS. bowne, PC. 


' Madame, sitli 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, 

Arid sayde, ' Lord, gramarcy: 180 

1 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/ 

They had not setten but a whyle 

Certayne without lesynge, 
There came messengers out of the north 

With letters to our kyng. HO 

And whan the[y] 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, H5 

4 And my sherif e also ? ' 
' Syr, they be slayne without leasynge, 
And many an officer mo.' 

* Who hath them slayne,' sayd the kyng ; 

' Anone that thou tell me 1 ?' iso 

' Adam Bell, and Clime of the Clough, 
And Wyllyam of Cloudesle/ 

Ver. 130, God a mercye, M.S. 


* 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 f orthynketh me : 
But had I knowne all thys before ; 

They had been hanged all thre/ ieo 

The kynge 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 ; 
Of all the constables and catchipolles 

Alyve were [scant] left one : 

The baylyes, and the bedyls both, 

And the sergeauntes of the law, no 

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, U5 

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. iso 

Ver. 168, left but one, MS. not one, PC. 



The kyng called hys best archars 

To the buttes wyth hym to go : 
' I wyll se these felowes shote,' he sayd, 

' In the north have wrought this wo.' 

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 1 myght stand. 

Then spake Wyllyam of Cloudesle ; 

' By him that for me dyed, 
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 1 ' 
' 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.' 

Ver. 185, blythe, MS. Ver. 202, 203, 212, to, PC. Ver. 204, i.e. 400 yards. 
1 i.e. mark. 


' Here is none suche/ sayd the kyng, 
' Nor no man can so do/ 

' I shall assaye, syr/ sayd Cloudesle, 

' Or that I farther go.' 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 ; 220 

And lay an apple upon hys head, 

And go syxe score paces hym fro, 
And I my selfe with a brode arbw 

Shall cleve the apple in two/ 

'Now haste the/ then sayd the kyng, 225 

'By hym that dyed on a tre, 
But yf thou do not, as thou hest sayde, 

Hanged shalt thou be. 

And thou touche his head or gowne, 

In syght 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/ 

Ver. 208, sic MS. none that can, PC. Ver. 222, i.e. 120 yards. 


And there even before the kynge 235 

In the earth he drove a stake: 

And bound therto his eldest sonne, 

And bad hym stand styll thereat; 
And turned the childes face him fro, 

Because he should not start. 240 

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, 245 

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, 
Behoveth a stedfasf hand. 

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. seo 

I geve thee eightene pence a day, 
And my bowe shalt thou bere, 

Ver. 243, sic MS. out met, PC, Ver. 252, steedye, MS. 


And over all the north countre 
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, 
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;] 1 
And after came and dwelled with the kynge, 

And dyed good men all thre. 

Ver. 265, And I geve the xvij pence, PC. Ver. 282, And sayd to some 
Bishopp wee will wend, MS. 
1 He, i.e. hie, hasten. See the Glossary. 


Thus endeth the lives of these good yemen: 

God send them eternall blysse; 290 

And all, that with a hand-bo we shoteth: 
That of heven may never mysse. Amen. 


The Grave-digger's song in Hamlet, A. 5, is taken from three stanzas of the 
following poem, though greatly altered and disguised, as the same were cor 
rupted by the ballad- singers of Shakespeare's time ; or perhaps so designed 
by the poet himself, the better to suit the character of an illiterate clown. The 
original is preserved among Surrey's Poems, and is attributed to Lord Vaux, 
by George Gascoigne, who tells us, it ' was thought by some to be made upon 
his death-bed ; ' 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. 1 This Lord was remark 
able for his skill in drawing feigned manners, &c. for so I understand an an 
cient writer. ' The Lord Vaux his commendation lyeth chiefly in the facilitie 
of his meetre, and the aptnesse of his descriptions such as he taketh upon him 
to make, namely in sundry of his Songs, wherein he showeth the counterfait 
action very lively and pleasantly.' Arte of Eng. Poesie, 1589, p. 51. See 
another Song by this Poet in vol. II. No. VIII. 

I LOTH that I did love, 

In youth that I thought swete, 
As time requires: for my behove 

Me thinkes they are not mete. 

My lustes they do me leave, 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, be, PC. [printed copy in 1557.] Ver. 10, Crowch perhaps should 
be Clouch, clutch, grasp. 

1 Harl. MSS. num. 1703, 25. The readings gathered from that copy are 
distinguished here by brackets. The text is printed from the ' Songs, &c. of 
the Earl of Surrey and others, 1557, 4to.' 


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, is 

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, so 

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. 

Ver. 11, Life away she, PC. Ver. 18, This, PC. Ver. 23, So Ed. 1583; 'tis 
hedge in Ed. 1557, hath caught him, MS. Ver. 30, wyndyuge-sheete, MS. 
Ver. 34, bell, MS. Ver. 35, wofull, PC. 


My kepers l knit the knot, 

That youth doth laugh to scorne, 
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 yield 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. 


In Shakespeare's Hamlet, A. 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 un 
acceptable to the Reader; who will also be diverted with the pleasant 

Ver. 38, did, PC. Ver. 39, clene shal be, PC. Ver. 40, not. PC. Ver. 
45, bare-hedde, MS. and some, PCC. Ver. 48, Which, PC. That, MS. What 
is conject. Ver. 56, wast, PC. 

1 Alluding perhaps to Eccles. xii. 3. 


absurdities of the composition. It was retrieved from utter oblivion by a 
lady, who wrote it down from memory as she had formerly heard it sung by 
her father. I am indebted for it to the friendship of Mr Steevens. 

It has been said, that the original Ballad, in black-letter, is among Anthony 
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 Edition. 

The banter of Hamlet is as follows : 

' Hamlet. " Jeptha Judge of Israel," what a treasure hadst thou? 

1 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. 

4 Polon. What 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.' 

Edit. 1793, Vol. XV. p. 133. 

HAVE you not heard these many years ago, 

Jeptha was judge of Israel? 
He had one only daughter and no mo, 
The which he loved passing well: 

And, as by lott, 5 

God wot, 

It so came to pass, 
As Gods will was, 
That great wars there should be, 
And none should be chosen chief but he. 10 

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 is 

To burn 
The first live thing, 

# -5C- % # -K X 

VOL. I. K 


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 25 

She did play 
On tabret and pipe, 
Full many a stripe, 
With note so high, 
For joy that her father is come so nigh. so 

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 

4r % % & ~/f ft 4r & '/f 

' What thou hast spoke 
Do not revoke: 
What thou hast said, 

Be not affraid; 45 

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. 


In his Twelfth Night, 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 Nugas Antiquae, 3 vols. 12mo; a work which the Public impatiently 
wishes to see continued. 

The Song is thus given by Shakespeare, Act IV. Sc. 2. (Malone's edit. IY. 

1 Ctowu. " Hey Robin, jolly Robin. [singing.} 

Tell me how thy lady does." 

' Malvolio. Fool. 

4 Cloion. " 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 t 

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 appears the most ancient 
of Dr Harrington's poetical MSS. and which has, therefore, been marked No. 
I. (Scil. 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 3d and 5th stanzas is prefixed this title Eesponce, 
and to the 4th and 6th, LePlaintif; but in the last instance so evidently 
wrong, that it was thought better to omit these titles, and to mark the changes 
of the Dialogue by inverted commas. In other respects the 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. 

* A, ROBYN, 

Jolly Robyn, 

Tell me how thy leman doeth, 
And thou shalt knowe of myn.' 

' My lady is unkynde perde/ 5 

* Alack! why is she sol' 
' 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 change for no newe/ 

' Thou art happy while that doeth last; 

But I say, as I fynde", 
That women's love is but a blast, 15 

And torneth with the 

' 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/ 

Ver. 4, shall, MS. 



This sonnet (which is ascribed to Richard Edwards, 1 in the ' Paradise of 
Daintie Devises, fo. 31, b.) is by Shakespeare made the subject of some plea 
sant ridicule in his Romeo and Juliet, A. IV. Sc. 5, where he introduces Peter 
putting this question to the Musicians. 

' Peter. . . . why " Silver Sound?" why " Musicke with her silver sound?" 
what say you, Simon Catling ? 

' 1. Mus. Marry, sir, because silver hath a sweet sound. 

' Pet. Pretty ! what say you, Hugh Rebecke ? 
2. Mus. I say, silver sound, because Musicians sound for silver. 

' Pet. Pretty too ! what say you, James Sound-post ? 

4 3. Mus. Faith, I know not what to say. 

' Pet . ... I will say for you : It is " Musicke with her silver sound," because 
Musicians have no gold for sounding. 

Edit. 1793. Vol. XIV. p. 529. 

This ridicule is not so much levelled at the song itself (which for the time it 
was written is not inelegant) as at those forced and unnatural explanations 
often given by us painful editors and expositors of ancient 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. 

WHERE gripinge grefes the hart would wounde, 
And dolefulle dumps the mynde oppresse, 

There musicke with her silver sound 
With spede is wont to send redresse: 

Of trobled mynds, in every sore 5 

Swete musicke hathe a salve in store. 

In joye yt maks our mirthe abounde, 

In woe yt cheres our hevy sprites; 
Be-strawghted heads relyef hath founde, 

By musickes pleasaunt swete delightes: 10 

Our senses all, what shall I say more? 
Are subjecte unto musicks lore. 

1 Concerning him see Wood's Athen. Oxon. and Taiiner's Biblioth. also Sir 
John Hawkins's Hist, of Music, &c. 


The Gods by musicke have theire prayse; 

The lyfe, the soul therein doth joye: 
For, as the Romayne poet sayes, 15 

In seas, whom pyrats would destroy, 
A dolphin saved from death most sharpe 
Arion playing on his harpe. 

heavenly gyft, that rules the mynd, 

Even as the sterne dothe rule the shippe ! 20 

musicke, whom the gods assinde 

To comf orte manne, whom cares would nippe ! 

Since thow both man and beste doest move, 

What beste ys he, wyll the disprove ? 



is a story often alluded to by our old Dramatic Writers . Shakespeare, 

in his Romeo and Juliet, A. II. Sc. 1, makes Mercutio say, 

' Her ( Venus's) purblind son and heir, 

Young Adam * Cnpid, he that shot so true, 
When King Cophetaa loved the beggar-maid.' 

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. 2 

In the 2d Part of Hen. IV. A. 5, Sc. 3, Falstaff is introduced affectedly 
saying to Pistoll, 

' base Assyrian knight, what is thy news ? 
Let king Coplictua 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, 3 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. 

1 See above, Preface to Song I. Book II. of this vol. p. 116. Since this conjecture first 
occurred, it has been discovered that ' shot so trim ' was the genuine reading. See Shakesp. 
Ed. 1793, XIV. 393. See Meres Wits Treas. f. 283. Arte of Eng. Poes. 1589, p. 51, 111, 
143, 169. 


It is probably in allusion to the same play that Ben Johnson 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 

At least there is no mention of King Cophetua's riches in the present ballad, 
which is the oldest I have met with on the subject. 

It is printed from Rich. Johnson's ' Crown Garland of Goulden Roses,' 1612, 
12mo. (where it is intitled simply A Song of a Beggar and a King:) cor 
rected by another copy. 

I READ that once in Aflfrica 

A princely wight did raine, 
Who had to name Cophetua, 

As poets they did faine ; 
From natures lawes he did decline, 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 did 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 defied 

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 so 
How he his fancie might remoove, 

And not this beggar wed. 
But Cupid had him so in snare, 
That this poor begger must prepare 
A salve to cure him of his care, 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 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 : so 

4 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 slial remaine 

Till such time as we dye : eo 

For thou/ quoth he, ' shalt be my wife, 

And honoured for my queene ; 
With thee I meane to lead my life, 

As shortly shall be seene : 
Our wedding shall appointed be, 65 

And every thing in its degree : 
Come on/ quoth he, ' and follow me, 

Thou shalt go shift thee cleane. 
What is thy name, faire maid 7 ?' quoth he. 
* Penelophon, 1 king/ quoth she : TO 

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 begger doth unbrace : 
The begger blusheth scarlet red, 
And straight againe as pale as lead, 
But not a word at all she said, 

She was in such amaze. so 

At last she spake with trembling voyce, 
And said, ' 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 king commanded strait 

1 Shakespeare (who alludes to this ballad in his ' Love's Labour lost,' Act 
IV. Sc. 1.) gives the Beggar's name Zenelophon, according to all the old edi 
tions : but this seems to be a corruption ; for Penelophon, in the text, sounds 
more like the name of a Woman. The story of the King and the Beggar is 
also alluded to in K. Rich. II. Act V. Sc. 3. 


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. 

Here you may read, Cophetua, 

Though long time fancie-fed, 
Compelled by the blinded boy 

The begger for to wed: 100 

He that did lovers lookes disdaine, 
To do the same was glad and faine, 
Or else he would himself e have slaine, 

In storie, as we read. 

Disdaine no whit, lady deere, ios 

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, 

Ver. 90, i.e. tramped the streets. Ver. 105, Here the poet addresses him 
self to his mistress. Ver. 112, Sheweth was anciently the plur. numb. 


Their fame did sound so passingly, 
That it did pierce the starry sky, 
And throughout all the world did flye 
To every princes realme. 1 120 


is supposed to have been originally a Scotch Ballad. The reader here 

has an ancient copy in the English idiom, with an additional stanza (the 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 Scot 
tish Edit. Shakespeare, in his Othello, A. 2, has quoted one stanza, with 
some variations, which are here adopted : the old MS. readings of that stanza 
are however given in the margin. 2 

THIS 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, 6 

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. 

1 An ingenious friend thinks the two last stanzas should change place. * The 
Scottish song first appeared in Ramsay's ' Tea Table Miscellany.' ED. 



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 

I wold be loth to see her pine, 

Good husband, councell take of mee, 
It is not for us to go soe fine, 

Man, take thine old cloake about thee. 


My cloake it was a verry good cloake, 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, so 
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 thyself e miskenl 

Man, take thine old cloake about thee. 40 


Bell my wiffe, why dost thou [floute] ! 
Now is no we, and then was then: 

Ver. 41, flytc, MS. 


Seeke now all the world throughout, 
Thou kenst not clownes from gentlemen. 

They are cladd in blacke, greene, yellowe, or [gray], 
Soe far above their owne degree: 46 

Once in my life He [doe as they,] 
For He have a new cloake about mee. 


King Stephen was a worthy peere, 

His breeches cost him but a crowne, so 

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 Ime good-man: eo 
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. Ver. 50, I trow his 
hose cost but, MS. Ver. 51, He thought them 12d. to deere, MS. Ver. 52, 
clowne, MS. Ver. 53, He was king and wore the crowne, MS. 



It is from the following stanzas that Shakespeare has taken his song of the 
Willow, in his Othello, A. 4, sc. 3, though somewhat varied and applied by 
him to a female caaracter. He makes Desdemona introduce it in this pathetic 
and affecting manner : 

' My mother had a maid call'd Barbara : 
She was in love; and he, she lov'd, prov'd mad, 
And did forsake her. She had a song of Willow. 
An old thing 'twas, bat it express" d her fortune, 
And she died singing it.' 

Ed. 1793, Vol. XV. p. 613. 

This is given from a black-letter copy in the Pepys collection, thus intitled, 
4 A Lover's Complaint, being forsaken of his Love.' To a pleasant tune. 1 

A POORE soule sat sighing under a sicamore tree ; 

' willow, willow, willow!' 
With his hand on his bosom, his head on his knee : 

* willow, willow, willow ! 

willow, willow, willow! 5 

Sing, 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 ; 

willow, &c. 10 

Sing, the greene willow shall be my garland. 

My love she is turned ; untrue she doth prove : 

willow, &c. 
She renders me nothing but hate for my love. 

O willow, &c. 15 

Sing, the greene willow, &c. 

1 Dr Rimbault supposes that this ballad, as a whole, was written in the 
reign of Charles II. ED. 


pitty me/ (cried he) ' ye lovers, each one ; 

willow, &c. 
Her heart's hard as marble ; she rues not my mone. 

willow, &c. 20 

Sing, the greene willow/ &c. 

The cold streams ran by him, his eyes wept apace; 

willow, &c. 
The salt tears fell from him, which drowned his face : 

willow, &c. 25 

Sing, the greene willow, &c. 

The mute birds sate by him, made tame by his mones : 

willow, &c. 
The salt tears fell from him, which softened the stones. 

willow, &c. so 

' Sing, the greene willow shall be my garland! 

Let nobody blame me, her scornes I do prove ; 

willow, &c. 
She was borne to be faire ; I, to die for her love, 

willow, &c. 35 

Sing, the greene willow shall be my garland. 

that beauty should harbour a heart that's so hard! 

Sing willow, &c. 
My true love rejecting without all regard. 

willow, &c. 40 

Sing, the greene willow, &c. 

Let love no more boast him in palace, or bower ; 

willow, &c. 
For women are trothles, and note in an houre. 

O willow, &c. 45 

Sing, the greene willow, &c. 


But what helps complaining? In vaine I complaine : 

O willow, &c. 
I must patiently suffer her scorne and disdaine. 

O willow, &c. so 

Sing, the greene willow, &c. 

Come, all you forsaken, and sit down by me, 

willow, &c. 
He that 'plaines of his false love, mine's falser than she. 

willow, &c. 55 

Sing, the greene willow, &c. 

The willow wreath weare I, since my love did fleet; 

O willow, &c. 
A garland for lovers forsaken most meete. 

willow, &c. 
Sing, the greene willow shall be my garland!' 


* Lowe lay'd by my sorrow, begot by disdaine; 

willow, willow, willow! 
Against her too cruell, still still I complaine, 

willow, willow, willow! 

willow, willow, willow! 5 

Sing, the greene willow shall be my garland! 

love too injurious, to wound my poore heart! 

willow, &c. 
To suffer the triumph, and joy in my smart: 

willow, &c. 10 

Sing, the greene willow, &c. 

willow, willow, willow! the willow garland, 

willow, &c. 
A sign of her falsenesse before me doth stand: 

willow, &c. 15 

Sing, the greene willow, &c. 


As here it doth bid to despair and to dye, 

willow, &c. 
So hang it, friends, ore me in grave where I lye: 

willow, &c. 20 

Sing, the greene willow shall be my garland. 

In grave where I rest mee, hang this to the view 

willow, &c. 
Of all that doe knowe her, to blaze her untrue, 

O willow, &c. 25 

Sing, the greene willow, &c. 

With these words engraven, as epitaph meet, 

willow, &c. 
" Here lyes one, drank poyson for potion most sweet." 

willow, &c. so 

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; 

willow, &c. 35 

Sing, the greene willow, &c. 

I cannot against her unkindly exclaim, 

O willow, &c. 
Cause once well I loved her, and honoured her name: 

willow, &c. 40 

Sing, the greene willow, &c. 

The name of her sounded so sweete in mine eare, 

willow, &c. 
It rays'd my heart lightly, the name of my deare; 

willow, &c. 45 

Sing, the greene willow shall be my garland. 
VOL. i. - L 



As then 'twas my comfort, it now is my grief e; 

willow, &c. 
It now brings me anguish, then brought me reliefe. 

willow, &c. so 

Sing, the greene willow, &c. 

Farewell, faire false hearted: plaints end with my 


willow, willow, willow! 
Thou dost loath me, I love thee, though cause of my 


willow, willow, willow! 55 

willow, willow, willow! 
Sing, the greene willow shall be my garland/ 


This ballad is quoted in Shakespeare's second Part of Henry IV. A. 2. The 
subject of it is taken from the ancient romance of K. Arthur (commonly called 
Morte Arthur) being a poetical translation of Chap, cviii, cix, ex, in Pt. 1st, 
as they stand in Ed. 1634, 4to. In the older Editions the Chapters are differ 
ently numbered. This soug is given from a printed copy, corrected in part by 
a fragment in the Editor's folio MS. 

In the same play of 2 Henry IV. Silence hums a scrap of one of the old 
ballads of Robin Hood. It is taken from the following stanza of Robin Hood 
and the Pindar of Wakefield. 

' All this beheard three wighty yeomen, 

Twas Kobln Hood, Scarlet, and John : 
With that they espy'd the jolly Pindar 
As he sate under a thorne.' 

That ballad may be found on every stall and therefore is not here reprinted. 

WHEN Arthur first in court began, 

And was approved king, 
By force of armes great victorys wanne, 

And conquest home did bring. 


Then into England straight he came 5 

With fifty good and able 
Knights, that resorted unto him, 

And were of his round table: 

And he had justs and turnaments, 

Wherto were many prest, 10 

Wherin some knights did farr excell 

And eke surmount the rest. 

But one Sir Lancelot du Lake, 

Who 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/ 
1 Thou seemst/ quoth shee, ' a knight full good, 

And I will bring thee thither. 

Wheras a mighty knight doth dwell, 

That now is of great fame: so 

Therefore tell me what wight thou art, 

And what may be thy name/ 

Ver. 18, to sportt, MS. Ver 29, Where is often used by our old writers for 
\vlicreas: here ifcis just the contrary. 


' My name is Lancelot du Lake/ 

Quoth she, ' it likes me than: 
Here dwelles a knight who never was 55 

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/ 40 

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 knyght lay tyed. 

' Sir knyght/ then sayd Sir Lancelbtt, 

' Bring me that horse-load hither, so 

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 Bound Table/ 

' If thou be of the Table Bound/ 

Quoth Tarquin speedilye, 
' Both thee and all thy fellowship 

I utterly defye/ eo 


' That 's over much,' quoth Lancelott tho, 

' Defend thee by and by.' 
They sett then: speares unto their steeds, 

And cache att other file. 

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 then* shields full fast, 

Then* swords they drew out than, 
With mighty strokes most eagerlye 75 

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, so 

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.' 



' 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 knight of Arthurs Table Bound; 

King Hauds son of Schuwake; 100 

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; l 110 

And with their swords and shields they ran 

At one another slashing: 

1 Rashing seems to be the old hunting term to express the stroke made by 
the wild-boar with his fangs. To rase has apparently a meaning something 
similar. See Mr Steeven's Note on K. Lear, A. III. Sc. 7. (Ed. 1793, Vol. 
XIV. p. 193.) where the quartos read, 

' Nor thy fierce sister 
In his anointed flesh rash bearish fangs.' 

So in K. Richard III. A. III. Sc. 2. (Vol. X. p. 567, 583.) 

' He dreamt 
To night the Boar had rased off his helm.' 


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 rushing off his helm, 120 

Forthwith he stmcke his necke in two, 

And, when he had soe done, 
From prison threescore knights and four 

Delivered everye one. 


is 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 Shakespeare's Twelfth-Night, A. 2. Sc. 3. It is found in a little ancient 
miscellany, intituled, * The Golden Garland of Princely Delights,' 12mo. bl. let. 
In the same scene of the Twelfth-Night, Sir Toby sings a scrap of an old 
ballad, which is preserved -in the Pepys Collection [Vol. I. pp. 33, 496.], but 
as it is not only a poor dull performance, but also very long, it will be sufficient 
here to give the first stanza : 


There dwelt a man in Babylon 
Of reputation great by fame ; 
He took to wife a faire woman, 

Susanna she was callde by name: 
A woman fair and vertuous ; 

Lady, lady : 

Why should we not of her learn thus 
To live godly? 

If this song of Corydon, &c. has not more merit, it is at least an evil of less 
magnitude. 1 

1 Rlmbauld found an earlier copy of the above song in a musical volume, dated 1601. ED. 


FAREWELL, 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 ? 
no, no, no, I dare not. 

Ten thousand times farewell; yet stay a while: 
Sweet, kiss me once; sweet kisses time beguile: 
I have no power to move. How now, am I in love? 15 
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 


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 



In the ' Life 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 possibly be true, and at last worked him 
self 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 transaction 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, and cut a 
pound of flesh from any part you please of the Jew's body. We advise you, 
however, to be very careful ; for, if you cut but a scruple more or less than 
your due, you shall certainly be hanged.' 

The Editor of that book is of opinion, that the scene between Shylock and 
Antonio in the Merchant of Venice is taken from this incident. But Mr. 
Warton, in his ingenious 'Observations on the Faerie Queen, Vol. I. page 
128,' has referred it to the, following ballad. Mr. Warton thinks this ballad 
was written before Shakespeare's play, as being not so circumstantial, and 
having more of the nakedness 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 Connoisseur, Vol. I. No. 16. 

After all, one would be glad to know what authority Leti had for the fore 
going 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, 1 
which was printed in that year. 

As for Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, the earliest edition known of it is 
in quarto 1600 ; though it had been exhibited in the year 1598, being men- 
1 Warton, vbi supra. 


tioned, together with eleven others of his plays, in. Meres's Wits Treasury, &c. 
1598, 12mo. fol. 282. See Malone's Shakesp. 

The following is printed from an ancient black-letter copy in the Pepys col 
lection, 1 intitled, ' A new Song, shewing the crueltie of Gernutus, a Jewe, 
who, lending to a merchant an hundred crowns, would have a pound of his 
fleshe, because he could not pay him at the time appointed. To the tune of 
Black and Yellow.' 


IN Venice towne not long agoe 

A cruel Jew did dwell, 
Which lived all on usurie, 

As Italian writers tell. 

Gernutus called was the Jew, 5 

Which never thought to dye, 
Nor ever yet did any good 

To them in streets that lie. 

His life was like a barrow hogge 

That liveth many a day, 10 

Yet never once doth any good. 

Until men will him slay. 

Or like a filthy heap of dung, 

That lyeth in a whoard; 
Which never can do any good, 15 

Till it be spread abroad. 

So fares it with the usurer, 

He cannot sleep in rest, 
For feare the thiefe will him pursue 

To plucke him from his nest. 20 

His heart doth thinke on many a wile, 
How to deceive the poore; 

1 Compared with the Ashmole Copy. 


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: so 

This was the living of the wife, 
Her cow she did it call. 

Within that citie dwelt that time 

A marchant of great fame, 
Which being distressed in his need, 35 

Unto Gernutus came: 

Desiring him to stand his friend 

For twelve month and a day, 
To lend to him an hundred crownes: 

And he for it would pay 40 

Whatsoever he would demand of him, 

And pledges he should have. 
* No,' (quoth the Jew, with Hearing lookes) 

' Sir, aske what you will have. 

No penny for the loane of it 45 

For one year you shall pay; 

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 Antonio replies, 

Was this inserted to make interest good ? 
Or are your gold and silver ewes and rams ? 
SHY. I cannot tell, I make it breed as fast.' 



You may doe me as good a tume, 
Before my dying day. 

But we will have a merry jeast, 

For to be talked long; so 

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 begin: 

And to Gernutus strait he comes 65 

With cap and bended knee, 
And sayde to him, ' Of curtesie 

I pray you beare with mee. 

My day is come, and I have not 

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 tliinges of bigger waight then this 75 

You will 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: so 

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. 


1 Of the Jews crueltie ; setting foorth the mercifulnesse of the Judge towards 
the Marchant. To the tune of, Blacke and Yellow.' 

SOME offered for his hundred crownes 

Five hundred for to pay; 
And some a thousand, two, or three, 

Yet still he did denay. 

And at the last ten thousand crownes 5 

They offered, him to save. 
Gernutus sayd, ' I will no gold: 

My forfeite I will have. 

A pound of fleshe is my demand, 

And that shall be my hire/ 10 

Then sayd the judge, ' Yet, good my friend, 

Let me of you desire 



To take the 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/ 20 

It grieved all the companie 

His crueltie to see, 
For neither friend nor foe could helpe 

But he must spoyled bee. 

The bloudie Jew now ready is as 

With whetted blade in hand, 1 
To spoyle the bloud of innocent, 

By forfeit of his bond. 

And as he was about to strike 

In him the deadly blow: so 

' 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. 

Far if thou doe, like murderer, 
Thou here shalt hanged be: 

1 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.' 


Likewise of flesh see that thou cut 

No more than lono-es to thee: 40 


For if thou take either more or lesse 

To the value of a mite, 
Thou shalt be hanged presently, 

As is both law and right/ 

Gernutus now waxt franticke mad, 45 

And wotes not what to say; 
Quoth he at last, ' Ten thousand crownes, 

I will that he shall pay; 

And so I graunt to set him free/ 

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/ 
1 cruell judge/ then quoth the Jew, 

' That doth against me stand !' 60 

And so with griping grieved mind 

He biddeth them fare-well. 
[Then] all the people prays'd the Lord, 

That ever this heard tell. 

Good people, that doe heare this song, 65 

For trueth I dare well say, 

Ver. 61, griped, Ashmol. copy. 


That many a wretch as ill as hee 
Doth live now at this day; 

That seeketh nothing but the spoyle 

Of many a wealthey man, 70 

And for to trap the innocent 

Deviseth what they can. 

From whome the Lord deliver me, 

And every Christian too, 
And send to them like sentence eke 75 

That meaneth so to do. 

* # * Since the first Edition of this book was printed, the Editor hath had 
reason to believe that both Shakespeare and the Author of this Ballad are in 
debted for their Story of the Jew (however they came by it) to an Italian 
Novel, which was first printed at Milan in the year 1554, in a book intitled, 
II Pecorone, nel quale si contengono Cinquanta Novelle antiche, &c. repub- 
lished at Florence about the year 1748, or 9. The Author was Ser. Giovanni 
Fiorentino, who wrote in 1378 ; thirty years after the time in which the scene 
of Boccace's Decameron is laid. ( Vid. Manni Istoria del Decamerone di Giov. 
Boccac. 4to Fior. 1744.) 

That 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 above, Pt. 2, ver. 25, &c. where, in 
stead of that spirited description of the whetted blade, &c. the Prose Narrative 
coldly says, ' The Jew had prepared a razor, &c.' See also some other pas 
sages 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 Shakespeare's Play. The 
Translation of the Italian Story at large is not easy to be met with, having 
I believe never been published, though it was printed some years ago with 
this title, ' The Novel, from which the Merchant of Venice written by Shake 
speare is taken, translated from the Italian. To which is added a Translation 
of a Novel from the Decamerone of Boccaccio. London, Printed for M. Cooper, 
1755, 8vo.' 



This beautiful sonnet is quoted in the Merry Wives of Windsor, A. 3, Sc. 1, 
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 l The passionate pilgrime, 
and Sonnets to sundry notes of Musicke, by Mr. William Shakespeare, Lond. 
printed for W. Jaggard, 1599.' Thus was this sonnet, &c. published aa 
Shakespeare's in his life-time. 

And yet there is good reason to believe that (not Shakespeare, but) Chris 
topher Marlow wrote the song, and Sir Walter Raleigh the ' Nymph's Reply :' 
For so we are positively assured by Isaac Walton, a writer of some credit, who 
has inserted them both in his Complete Angler, 1 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 la 
known to have been a signature of Sir Walter Raleigh. With the same sig 
nature Ignoto, in that collection, is ah imitation of Marlow's beginning thus: 
' Come live with me, and be my dea^ 
And we will revel all the year, 
In plains and groves, &c.' 

Upon the whole I am inclined to attribute them to Marlow, and Raleigh ; not 
withstanding the authority of Shakespeare's Book of Sonnets. For it is well 
known that as he took no care of his own compositions, so was he utterly re 
gardless what spurious things were fathered upon him. Sir John Oldcastle, 
The London Prodigal, and The Yorkshire Tragedy, were printed with his name 
at full length in the title-pages, while he was living, which yet were after 
wards rejected by his first editors Herminge and Condell, who were his inti 
mate friends (as he mentions both in his will), and therefore no doubt had 
good authority for setting them aside. 2 

The following sonnet appears to have been (as it deserved) a great favourite 
with our earlier poets: for, besides the imitation above-mentioned, another is 
to be found among Donne's Poems, intitled ' The Bait,' beginning thus: 
' Come live with me, and be my love, 

And we will some new pleasures prove 

Of golden sands, <fec.' 

As for Chr. Marlow, who was in high repute for his Dramatic writings, 
he lost his life by a stab received in a brothel, before the year 1593. See A. 
Wood, I. 138. 

1 First printed in the year 1653, but probably written some time before. 2 Since the above 
was written, Mr. Malone, with his usual discernment, hath rejected the stanzas in question 
from the other sonnets, &c. of Shakespeare, in his correct edition of the Passionate Pilgrim, 
&c. See his Shakesp. Vol. X. p. 340. 

VOL. I. M 


COME live with me, and be my love, 
And we wil all the pleasures prove 
That hils and vallies, dale and field, 
And all the craggy mountains yield. 

There will we sit upon the rocks 6 

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, 10 

A cap of flowers, and a kirtle 
Imbrodered all with leaves of mirtle ; 

A gown made of the finest wool, 
Which from our pretty lambs we pull ; 
Suppers 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. 


If that the World and Love were young, 
And truth in every shepherd's toung, 
These pretty pleasures might me move 
To live with thee, and be thy love. 


But time drives flocks from field to fold, 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 yields : 10 

A honey tongue, a heart of gall, 

In 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. 20 

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. 


The reader has here an ancient ballad on the same subject as the play of 
Titus Adronicus, 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 otfered above in page 169, for the priority of the ballad of the Jew 
of Venice may be admitted, somewhat of the same kind may be urged here ; 
for this ballad differs from the play in several particulars, which a simple 
Ballad-writer would be less likely to alter than an inventive Tragedian. Thus 


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

Let the Reader weigh these circumstances and some others wherein he will 
find them unlike, and then pronounce for himself. After all, there is reason 
to conclude that this play was rather improved by 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 ia 
mentioned with discredit in the Induction to Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, 
in 1614, as one that had then been exhibited ' five and twenty, or thirty 
years : ' which, if we take the lowest number, throws it back to the year 
1589, at which time Shakespeare was but 25 : an earlier date than can be 
found for any other of his pieces : l and if it does not clear him entirely of it, 
shews at least it was a first attempt.* 

The following is given from a copy in ' The Golden Garland ' intitled as 
above ; compared with three others, two of them in black letter in the Pepys 
collection, intitled, ' The Lamentable and Tragical History of Titus Andro- 
nicus, &c. To the tune of, Fortune. Printed for E. Wright.' Unluckily 
none of these have any dates. 

You noble minds, and famous martiall wights, 
That in defence of native country fights, 
Give eare to me, that ten yeeres fought for Rome, 
Yet reapt disgrace at my returning home. 

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. 

1 Mr. Malone thinks 1591 to be the era when our author commenced a 
writer for the stage. See in his Shakesp. the ingenious ' Attempt to ascertain 
the order in which the plays of Shakespeare were written.' 2 Since the above 
was written, Shakespeare's memory has been fully vindicated from the charge 
of writing the above play by the best critics. See what has been urged by 
Steevens and Malone in their excellent editions of Shakespeare, &c. 


For when Homes 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 Borne againe: 
Of five and twenty sonnes, I brought but three 15 
Alive, the stately towers of Borne 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 Borne debate and deadlie strife; 
The Moore, with her two sonnes did growe soe proud, 
That none like them in Borne 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 so 

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 grief e began then to increase: 
Amongst my sonnes I had one daughter bright, 35 
Which joy'd, and pleased best my aged sight; 


My deare Lavinia was betrothed than 

To Cesars sonne, a young and noble man: 

Who in a hunting by the emperours wife, 

And her two sonnes, bereaved was of life. 40 

He being slaine, was cast in cruel wise, 
Into a darksome den from light of skies: 
The cruell Moore did come that way as then 
With my three sonnes, who fell into the den. 

The Moore then fetcht the emperour with speed, 45 
For to accuse them of that murderous deed; 
And when my sonnes within the den were found, 
In wrongfull prison they were cast and bound. 

But no we, behold! what wounded most my mind, 
The empresses two sonnes of savage kind so 

My daughter ravished without remorse, 
And took away her honour, quite perforce. 

When they had tasted of soe sweete a flowre, 
Fearing this sweete should shortly turne to sowre, 
They cutt her tongue, whereby she could not tell 55 
How that dishonoure unto her befell. 

Then both her hands they basely cutt off quite, 
Whereby their wickednesse she could not write; 
Nor with her needle on her sampler sowe 
The bloudye workers of her direfull woe. eo 

My brother Marcus found her in the wood, 
Staining the grassie ground with purple bloud, 
That trickled from her stumpes, and bloudlesse armes, 
Noe tongue at all she had to tell her harmes. 


But when I sawe her in that woefull case, 65 

With teares of bloud I wet mine aged face : 

For my Lavinia I lamented more 

Than 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. so 

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 l towards heaven hie, 
And for revenge to hell did often crye. 


The empresse then, thinking that I was mad, 
Like furies she and both her sonnes were clad, 
(She nam'd Revenge, and Rape and Murder they) 
To undermine and heare what I would say. 100 

I fed their foolish veines 2 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, 115 

And then myself: even soe did Titus die. 

Then this revenge against the Moore was found, 
Alive they sett him halfe into the ground, 

1 If the ballad was written before the play, I should suppose this to be only 
a metaphorical expression, taken from that in the Psalms, ' They shoot out 
their arrows, even bitter words.' Ps. 64, 3 * i.e. encouraged them in their 
foolish humours, or fancies. 


Whereas he stood untill such time he starv'd. 

And soe God send all murderers may be serv'd. 120 


The first stanza of this little sonnet, which an eminent critic * justly admires 
for its extreme sweetness, is found in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, A. 
4, Sc. 1. Both the stanzas are preserved in Beaum. and Fletcher's Bloody 
Brother, A. 5, 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 mis 
takes. It is not found in Jaggard's old edition of Shakespeare's Passionate 
Pilgrim, 2 &c. 

TAKE, oh take those lips away, 

That so sweetlye were forsworne; 
And those eyes, the breake of day, 

Lights, that do misleade the morne: 
But my kisses bring againe, 5 

Seales of love, but seal'd in vaine. 3 

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: 10 

But first set my poor heart free, 
Bound in those icy chains by thee. 

1 Dr. Warbnrton in his Shakesp. * 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. 3 Emerson in his ' Nature,' quotes the first stanza 
as peculiarly Shaksperean! So it is, although not Shakspere's. ED. 



The Reader has here an ancient ballad on the subject of King Lear, which 
(as a sensible female critic has well observed ') bears so exact an analogy to 
the argument of 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 chronicles 2 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 

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, 
' The true Chronicle History of Leir and his three daughters Gonorill, Ragan, 
and Cordelia, as it hath been divers and sundry times lately acted, 1605, 4to.' 
This is a very poor and dull performance, but happily excited Shakespeare 
to undertake the subject, which he has given with very different incidents. It 
is remarkable, that neither the circumstances of Leir's madness, nor his retinue 
of a select number of knights, nor the affecting deaths of Cordelia and Leir, 
are found in that first dramatic piece : in all which 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 Plays of Shakespeare, republished from the quarto im 
pressions by George Steevens, Esq ; with such elegance and exactness as led 
us to expect that fine edition of all the works of our great Dramatic Poet, 
which he hath since published. 

The following ballad is given from an ancient copy in the ' Golden Garland,' 
bl. let. intitled, ' A lamentable song of the Death of King Lear and his Three 
Daughters. To the tune of AVhen flying Fame.' 

KING Leir once ruled in this land 

With princely power and peace; 
And had all things with heart's 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. 

1 Mrs Lennox. Shakespeare illustrated, Vol. III. p. 302. 2 See Jeffery of 
Moumouth, Holingshed, &c. who relate Leir's history in many respects the 
same as the ballad. 


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/ 

Quoth 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: 20 

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 '11 gently undertake: 
And serve your highness night and day 

With diligence and love; so 

That sweet content and quietness 

Discomforts may remove/ 

' In doing so, you glad my soul/ 
The aged king reply'd; 

* But what sayst thou, my youngest girl, 85 

How is thy love ally'df 
' My love' (quoth young Cordelia then) 

' Which to your grace I owe, 
Shall be the duty of a child, 

And that is all I '11 show/ 40 


' And wilt tliou 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, so 

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: eo 

For poor Cordelia patiently 

Went wand'ring 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 Bagan's court, 

The eldest of the twain, 
She took from him his chiefest means, 

And most of all his train. so 

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 
Unto my children, and to beg 90 

For what I lately gave 1 
1 11 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, 
Beturn'd him answer, That ' she griev'd, 

That all his means were gone : 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 lie 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 us 

(She said) he would not stay. 
Then back again to Gonorell, 

The woeful king did hie, 
That in her kitchen he might have 

What scullion boys set by. 120 

But there of that he was deny'd, 

Which she had promis'd late : 
For once refusing, he should not 

Come after to her gate. 
Thus twixt his daughters, for relief 125 

He wandered up and down ; 
Being glad to feed on beggars' food, 

That lately wore a crown. 

And calling to remembrance then 

His youngest daughter's words, 130 

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. HO 

To hills and woods and watry founts, 

He made his hourly moan, 
Till hills and woods, and senseless things, 

Did seem to sigh and groan. 

Even thus possest with discontents, 145 

He passed ore 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. ico 

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, ics 

Was in the battel slain : 
Yet he, good king, in his old days, 

Possest his crown again. 


But when he heard Cordelia's death, 

Who died indeed for love iro 

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 ; iso 

And being dead, their crowns they left 

Unto the next of kin. 
Thus have you seen the fall of pride, 

And disobedient sin. 


is found in the little collection of Shakespeare's Sonnets, intitled ' The 

Passionate Pilgrime,' * the greatest part of which seems to relate to the amours 
of Venus and Adonis, being little effusions of fancy, probably written while he 
was composing his larger Poem on that subject. The following seems inten 
ded for the mouth of Venus, weighing the comparative merits of youthful Adonis 
and aged Vulcan. In the ' Garland of Good Will ' it is reprinted, with the 
addition of four more such stanzas, but evidently written by a meaner pen. 

CRABBED Age and Youth 

Cannot live together; 
Youth is full of pleasance, 

Age is full of care: 
Youth like summer morn, 5 

Age like winter weather, 

1 Mentioned above, Song XI. B. n. 


Youth like summer brave, 
Asre like winter bare: 


Youth is full of sport, 

Age's breath is short; 10 

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, is 

Youth, I do adore thee; 

0, my love, my love is young: 
Age, I do defie thee; 
Oh, sweet shepheard, hie thee, 

For methinks thou stayst too long, 20 

*** See Malone's Shakesp. Vol. X. p. 325. 



The following ballad is upon the same subject, as the ' Induction ' to 
Shakespeare's ' Taming of the Shrew : ' whether it may be thought to have 
suggested the hint to the Dramatic poet, or is not rather of later date, the 
reader must determine. 

The story is told ' of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy ; and is thus 
related by an old English writer : ' The said Duke, at the marriage of Eleonora, 
sister to the king of Portugall, at Bruges in Flanders, which was solemnised 
in the deepe of winter ; when as by reason of unseasonable weather he could 
neither hawke nor hunt, and was now tired with cards, dice, &c. and such 
other domestick sports, or to see ladies dance; with some of his courtiers, he 
would in the evening walke disguised all about the towne. It so fortuned, 
as he was walking late one night, he found a countrey fellow dead drunke, 
snorting on a bulke ; he caused his followers to bring him to his palace, and 
there stripping him of his old clothes, and attyring him after the court fashion, 
when he wakened, he and they were all ready to attend upon his excellency, 
and peisuade 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 

1 By Ludov. Vlves in Epist. &c. by Pont. Heuter, Rerum Burgund. 1. 4. 
VOL. I. N 


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 otherwise be persuaded, 
and so the jest ended.' Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, Pt. II. sect. 2. 
Memb. 4. 2d. Ed. 1624, fol. 

This ballad is given from a black-letter copy in the Pepys collection, which 
is intitled as above. ' To the tune of Fond boy.' 1 

Now as fame does report a young duke keeps a court, 
One that pleases his fancy with frolicksome sport; 
But amongst all the rest, here is one, I protest, 
Which will make you to smile when you hear the true 


A poor tinker he found, lying drunk on the ground, 5 
As secure in a sleep as if laid in a swound. 

The duke said to his men, ' William, Richard, and Ben, 
Take him home to my palace, we '11 sport with him 


O'er a horse he was laid, and with care soon convey 'd 
To the palace, altho' he was poorly arrai'd: 10 

Then they stript off his cloaths, both his shirt, shoes, 

and hose, 
And they put him to bed for to take his repose. 

Having pulTd off his shirt, which was all over durt, 
They did give him clean holland, this was no great 


On a bed of soft down, like a lord of renown, is 

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 ricri bed of state, 
Till at last knights and squires they on him did wait; 20 

1 Some trace Shakspeare's Induction to a collection of comic prose stories 
by one Edwards, printed 1570. ED. 


And the chamberling bare, then did likewise 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 offit ey'd, 
And it seem'd for to swell him [no] little with pride; 
For he said to himself, ' Where is Joan my sweet wife ? 
Sure she never did see me so fine in her life/ 30 

From a convenient place, the right duke his good grace 
Did observe his behaviour in every case. 
To a garden of state, on the tinker they wait, 
Trumpets sounding before him: thought he, this is 

great ! 

Where an hour or two, pleasant walks he did view, 35 
With commanders and squires in scarlet and blew. 

A fine dinner was drest, both for him and his guests, 
He was plac'd at the table above all the rest, 
In a rich chair [or bed,] lin'd with fine crimson red, 
With a rich golden canopy over his head : 40 

As he sat at his meat, the music 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 began for to tumble and roul 

From his chair to the floor, where he sleeping did snore, 

Being seven times drunker than ever before. 


Then the duke did ordain, they should strip him amain, 
And restore him his old leather garments again : 50 
'Twas a point next the worst, yet perform it they must, 
And they carry'd him strait, where they found him at 


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/ eo 

Then his highness bespoke him a new suit and cloak, 
Which he gave for the sake of this frolicksome joak; 
Nay, and five-hundred pound, with ten acres of ground, 
* Thou shalt never/ said he, ' range the counteries round, 
Crying old brass to mend, for 1 11 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 1 
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/ 



Dispersed thro' Shakespeare's plays are innumerable little 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 to 
gether, and form them into a little tale, which is here submitted to the Reader's 

One small fragment was taken from Beaumont and Fletcher. 

IT was a friar of orders gray 

Walkt forth to tell his beades; 
And he met with a lady faire 

Clad in a pilgrime's weedes. 

' Now Christ thee save, thou reverend friar, 5 

I pray thee tell to me, 
If ever at yon holy shrine 

My true love thou didst see.' 

* And how should I know your true love 

From many another one 1 ?' 10 

' 0, by his cockle hat, and staff, 
And by his sandal shoone. 1 

But chiefly by his face and mien, 

That were so fair to view; 
His flaxen locks that sweetly curl'd, is 

And eyne of lovely blue/ 

* 0, lady, he is dead and gone ! 

Lady, he 'a dead and gone ! 
And at his head a green grass turfe, 

And at his heels a stone. 20 

1 These are the distinguishing marks of a Pilgrim. The chief places of de 
votion 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. 


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!' 

'0, weep not, lady, weep not soe ; 

Some ghostly comfort seek: 
Let not vain sorrow rive thy heart, 85 

Ne teares bedew thy cheek/ 

*0, do not, do not, holy friar, 

My sorrow now reprove ; 
For I have lost the sweetest youth, 

That e'er wan ladyes love. 40 

And no we, alas! for thy sad losse, 

1 11 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 flye, 

Why then should sorrow last? 50 

Since grief but aggravates thy losse, 
Grieve not for what is past.' 

'0, 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 1 ? 

Will he ne'er come again'? 
Ah ! no, he is dead and laid in his grave, 

For ever to remain. eo 

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, 

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 

0, he was ever true ! 


And art thou dead, thou much-lov'd youth, 

And didst thou dye for mee \ 
Then farewell home; for ever-more 

A pilgrim I will bee. so 

But first upon my true-love's grave 

My weary limbs 1 11 lay, 
And thrice 1 11 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/ 

' 0, stay me not, thou holy friar; 

stay me not, I pray; 90 

No drizzly rain that falls on me, 

Can wash my fault away/ 

* Yet stay, fair lady, turn again, 

And dry those pearly tears; 
For see, beneath this gown of gray 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. 100 

But haply, for my year of grace l 

Is not yet past away, 
Might I still hope to win thy love, 

No longer would I stay/ 

1 The year of probation, or noviciate. 




'Now farewell grief, and welcome joy 

Once more unto my heart; 
For since I have found thee, lovely youth, 

We never more will part/ 

*,* As the foregoing song has been thought to have suggested to our late 
excellent Poet Dr. Goldsmith, the Plan of his beautiful ballad of Edwin and 
Emma (first printed in 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 Herdsman, &c. printed in the second volume of this Work, which the 
Doctor had much admired in manuscript, aud has finely improved. See Vol. 
II. Book I. song xiv. ver. 37, &c. 






At the beginning of this volume we gave the old original song of Chevy 
Chace. The reader has here the more improved edition of that fine Heroic 
ballad. It will afford an agreeable entertainment to the curious to compare 
them together, and to see how far the latter bard has excelled his predecessor, 
and where he has fallen short of him. For tho' he has every where improved 
the versification, and generally the sentiment and diction; yet some few pas 
sages 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 vulgar 
in them. Thus, for instance, the catastrophe of the gallant Witherington is 
in the modern copy exprest in terms which never fail at present to excite 
ridicule : whereas in the original it is related with a plain and pathetic sim 
plicity, that is liable to no such unlucky effect: See the stanza in page 11, 
which, in modern orthography, &c. would run thus: 

' For Witherington my heart is woe, 

That ever he slain should be : 
For when his legs were hewn in two, 
He knelt and fought on his knee.' 

So again the stanza which describes the fall of Montgomery is 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.' 

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 (p. 7.) is to the following effect: 


' The proposal of the two gallant earls to determine the dispute by single 
combat being over- ruled ; the English, says he, who stood with their bows 
ready bent, gave a general discharge of their arrows, which slew seven score 
spearmen of the enemy : but, notwithstanding so severe a loss, Douglas like 
a brave captain kept his ground. He had divided his forces into three columns, 
who, as soon as the English had discharged 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 bent,' 
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 : l 

' 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 original bard, when 
in the conclusion of his tale he represents both nations as quitting the field 
without any reproachful reflection on either : though he gives to his own 
countrymen the credit of being the smaller number. 

' Of fifteen hundred archers of England 

Went away but fifty and three ; 
Of twenty hundred spearmen of Scotland, 
But even five and fifty." p. 10. 

He attributes flight to neither party, as hath been done in the modern copies 
of this ballad, as well Scotch as English. For, to be even with our latter bard, 
who makes the Scots to flee, some reviser of North Britain has turned his own 
arms against him, and printed an edition at Glasgow, in which the lines are 
thus transposed : 

' Of fifteen hundred Scottish speirs 

Went hame but fifty-three : 
Of twenty hundred Englishmen 
Scarce fifty-five did flee.' 

And to countenance this change he has suppressed the two stanzas between 
ver. 240 and ver. 249. From that Edition 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 com 
paratively so ; for that it could not be writ much later than the time of Q. 
Elizabeth, I think may be made appear ; nor yet does' it seem to be older than 

1 In the present Edition (i.e., 179fi), Instead of the unmeaning lines here censured, an 
insertion is made of four stanzas modernized from the ancient copy. 


the beginning of the last century. 1 Sir Philip Sidney, when he complains of 
the antiquated phrase of Chevy 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 gene 
ration became ridiculous. We have seen it pass uncensured in a sonnet that 
was at that time in request, and where it could not fail to have been taken 
notice of, had it been in the least exceptionable : see above, B. II. Song V. 
ver. 2 : Yet, in about half a century after, it was become burlesque. Vide 
Hudibras, Pt. 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. 2 With regard to its subject : it has already been considered in 
page 2d. The conjectures there offered will receive confirmation from a pas 
sage in the Memoirs of Carey Earl of Monmouth, 8vo. 1759, p. 165; whence 
we learn that it was an ancient custom with the borderers of the two kingdoms, 
when they were at peace, to send to 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 
their grey-hounds for deer : ' but if they took this liberty unpermitted, then 
the Lord Warden of the border so invaded, would not fail to interrupt their 
sport and chastise their boldness. He mentions a remarkable instance that 
happened while he was Warden, when some Scotch Gentlemen coming to hunt 
in defiance of him, there must have ensued such an action as this of Chevy 
Chace, if the intruders had been proportionably numerous and well-armed ; 
for, upon their being attacked by his men at arms, he tell 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. 

The following text is given from a copy in the Editor's folio MS. compared 
with two or three others printed in black-letter. In the second volume of 
Dryden's Miscellanies may be found a translation of Chevy-Chace into Latin 
Rhymes. The translator, Mr. Henry Bold, of New College, undertook it at 
the command of Dr. Compton, bishop of London ; who thought it no derogation 
to his episcopal character, to avow a fondness for this excellent old ballad. 
See the preface to Bold's Latin Songs, 1685, 8vo. 

1 A late writer lias started a notion that the more modern copy ' was written to be sung 
by a party of English, headed by a Douglas in the year 1524; which is the true reason why, 
at the same time that It gives the advantage to the English Soldiers above the Scotch, it 
gives yet so lovely and so manifestly superior a character to the Scotch commander above 
the English.' See Say's Essay on the Numbers of Paradise Lost, 4to. 1745, p. 167. This 
appears to me a groundless conjecture : the language seems too modern for the date 
above-mentioned; and, had it been printed even so early as Queen Elizabeth's reign, I 
think I should have met with some copy wherein the first line would have been, 
God prosper long our noble queen, 

as was the case with the Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green ; see Vol. II. Book II. No. X. ver. 
23. a In the Spectator, No. 70, 74. 


GOD prosper long our noble king, 

Our lives and safety es all; 
A woefull hunting once there did 

In Chevy-Chace befall; 

To drive the deere with hound and home, 6 

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 ty dings to Erie Douglas came, is 

In Scottland where he lay: 

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; so 

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, 3.3 

That day were guarded sure. 

The hounds ran swiftly through the woods, 

The nimble deere to take, 1 
That with their cryes the hills and dales 

An eccho shrill did make. 40 

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; 

Ver. 36, That they were, fol. MS. 

1 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. Leyland, in the reign of Hen. VIII. 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 of Redde-Dere, and Roo Bukkes.' Itin. Vol. VII. pag. 

56. This passage, which did not occur when pages 16, 18, were printed off, 

confirm the accounts there given of the Stagge and the Roe. 


Full twenty hundred Scottish speres 
All marching in our sight; 

All men of pleasant Tivydale, 

Fast by the river Tweede : ' 
' 0, 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 France, eo 

That ever did on horsebacke come, 

But if my hap it were, 
I durst encounter man for man, 

With him to break a spere/ 

Erie Douglas on his milke -white steede, 65 

Most like a baron bold, 
Bode formost of his company, 

Whose armour shone like gold. 

* 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 Bercy 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, so 

' 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, . 90 

And set our men aside.' 
* Accurst bee he/ Erie Percy sayd, 

' By whome this is denyed.' 

Then stept a gallant squier forth, 

Witherington was his name, 
Who said, ' I wold not have it told 95 

To Henry our king for shame, 

That ere my captaine fought on foote, 

And I stood looking on. 
You be two erles/ sayd Witherington, 

' And I a squier alone : 100 

He doe the best that doe I may, 

While I have power to stand: 
While I have power to weeld my sword, 

He fight with hart and hand.' 

Our English archers bent their bowes, 105 

Their harts were good and trew; 


Att the first flight of arrowes sent, 
Full four-score Scots they slew. 

* [Yet bides Earl Douglas on the bent, 

As Chieftain stout and good. no 

As valiant Captain, all unmov'd 
The shock he firmly stood. 

His host he parted had in three, 

As leader ware and try'd, 
And soon his spearmen on their foes us 

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.] 

They closed full fast on every e side, 125 

Noe slackness there was found; 
And many a gallant gentleman 

Lay gasping on the ground. 

* 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. 

VOL. I. 


Christ ! it was a grief e 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 fight: 

They fought untill they both did sweat, 

With swords of tempered steele; 
Until the blood, like drops of rain, 

They trickling downe did feele. HO 

' Yeeld thee, Lord Percy,' Douglas sayd; 

* In faith I will thee bringe, 
Where thou shalt high advanced bee 

By James our Scottish king: 

Thy ransome I will freely give, 145 

And this report of thee, 
Thou art the most couragious knight, 

That ever I did see/ 

' Noe, Douglas,' quoth Erie Percy then, 

' Thy proffer I doe scorne ; 150 

1 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 merry 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 amongst 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 ; 

And past the English archers all, 

Without all dread or f eare ; 
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, 1 

The battel scarce was done. 200 

With stout Erie Percy, there was slaine 

Sir John of Egerton, 2 
Sir Eobert Batcliff, and Sir John, 

Sir James that bold Barrbn: 


And with Sir George and stout Sir James, 205 

Both knights of good account, 
Good Sir Balph Baby there was slaine, 

Whose prowesse did surmount. 

For Witherington needs must I wayle, 

As one in doleful dumpes; 3 210 

i Sc. the Curfew bell, usually rung at 8 o'clock. * For the surnames, see 
the Notes at the End of the Ballad. 3 i. e. ' I, as one in deep concern, must 
lament.' The construction here has generally been misunderstood. The old 
MS. reads wofull dumpea. 


For when his leggs were smitten off, 
He fought upon his stumpes. 1 

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 Batcliff, 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 flye. 

Of fifteen hundred Englishmen, 225 

Went home but fifty-three; 
The rest were slaine in Chevy-Chase, 

Under the greene woode tree. 

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. 

Parodied (it, indeed, parodies itself) by Butler in 'Hudibras,' Part I., 
v. 3. ED. 


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, 
I 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: 

* Now 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: 
1 11 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: 26 o 

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 plenty e, joy, and peace; 
And grant henceforth, that foule debate 

'Twixt noblemen may cease. 

*** Since the former impression of these volumes, hath been published a 
new edition of Collins's Peerage, 1779, &c. IX. Vols. 8vo. which contains, in 
Volume II. p. 334, an historical passage, which may be thought to throw 
considerable light on the subject of the preceding Ballad : viz. 

4 In this . . . year, 1436, according to Hector Boethius, was fought the 
Battle of Pepperden, not far from the Cheviot Hills, between the Earl of North 
umberland [lid Earl, son of Hotspur,] and Earl William Douglas, of Angus, 
with a small army of about four thousand men each, in which the latter had 
the advantage. As this seems to have been a private conflict between these 
two great Chieftains of the Borders, rather than a national war, it has been 
thought to have given rise to the celebrated old Ballad of Chevy-Chase; 
which, to render it more pathetic and interesting, has been heightened with 
tragical incidents wholly fictitious.' [See Ridpath's Border Hist. 4to. p. 401.] 

The surnames in the foregoing Ballad are altered, either by accident or 
design, from the old original copy, and in common editions extremely cor 
rupted. They are here rectified, as much as they could be. Thus, 

Pag. 212. ver. 202. Egerton.] This name is restored (instead of Ogerton, 
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 countrymen, of the eminent Family De or Of Egerton (so 
the name was first written) ancestors of the present Duke of Bridgwater : and 
this he could do with the more propriety, as the Percies had formerly great 
interest in that county : At the fatal battle of Shrewsbury all the flower of 
the Cheshire gentlemen lost their lives fighting in the cause of Hotspur. 

Ver. 203. RatclifF.] This was a family much distinguished in Northumber 
land. Edw. Radcliffe, mil. was sheriff of that county in 17 of Hen. VII. and 
others of the same surname afterwards. (See Fuller, p. 313.) Sir George 
RatclifF, Knt. was one of the commissioners of inclosure in 1552. (See Nichol 
son, p. 330.) Of this family was the late Earl of Derwentwater, who was 
beheaded in 1715. The Editor's folio MS. however, reads here, Sir Robert 
Harcliffe and Sir William. 

The Harcleys were an eminent family in Cumberland. See Fuller, p. 224. 
Whether this may be thought to be the same name, I do not determine. 

Ver. 204. Baron.] This is apparently altered, (not to say corrupted) from 
Hearone, in p. 11, 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 Reb- 
bye, in the fol. MS. and looks like a corruption of Rugby or Rokeby, an 
eminent family in Yorkshire, see p. 11, p. 27. 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. 


Pag. 213. 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 line in the following peculiar manner, 

' 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 
pages 11, 27. 



These fine moral stanzas were originally intended for a solemn funeral song, 
in a play of James Shirley's, intitled, ' The Contention of Ajax and Ulysses : ' 
no date, 8vo. Shirley flourished as a Dramatic writer early in the reign of 
Charles I : but he outlived the Restoration. His death happened October 29, 
1666. t. 72. 

This little poem was written 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. 1 

THE glories of our birth and state 

Are shadows, not substantial things; 
There is no armour against fate: 
Death lays his icy hands on kings: 

Scepter and crown 5 

Must tumble down, 
And in the dust be equal made 
With the poor crooked scythe and spade. 

Some men with swords may reap the field, 

And plant fresh laurels where they kill: 10 
But their strong nerves at last must yield; 
They tame but one another still. 
Early or late 
They stoop to fate, 

1 It was often sung to him by ' Old Bowman,' one of his favourite singers. E0. 


And must give up their murmuring breath, is 
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; 20 

All heads must come 
To the cold tomb, 
Only the actions of the just 
Smell sweet, and blossom in the dust. 


The subject of this ballad is the great Northern Insurrection in the 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 nobility, to bring about a marriage between 
Mary Q. of Scots, at that time a prisoner in England, and the Duke of Nor 
folk, a nobleman of excellent character, 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 Westmore 
land, 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. Elizabeth. The Earl of Leicester (Elizabeth's favourite) 
undertook to break the matter to her, but before he could find an opportunity, 
the affair had come to her ears by other hands, and she was thrown into a 
violent flame. The Duke of Norfolk, with several of his friends, was com 
mitted 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 Northumber 
land, who was a man of a mild and gentle nature, was deliberating with him 
self 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 re 
port at midnight, Nov. 14, that a party of his enemies were come to seize 
on his person. 1 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 

1 This circumstance is overlooked in the ballad. 


aims in their own defence. They accordingly set up their standards, declaring 
their intent was to restore the ancient religion, to get the succession of the 
crown firmly settled, and to prevent the destruction of the ancient nobility, 
&c. Their common banner 1 (on which was displayed the cross, together with 
the five wounds of Christ) was borne by an ancient gentleman, Richard 
Norton, Esq; of Norton -conyers : who, with his sons (among whom, Christo 
pher, Marmaduke, and Thomas, are expressly named by Camden), distinguished 
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 Wetherbye, where they mustered 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 extremely 
beloved on that account, were masters of little ready money; the E. of 
Northumberland bringing with him only 8000 crowns, and the E. of West 
moreland nothing at all for the subsistence of their forces, they were not able 
to march to London, as they had at first 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 offerees, 
and being followed by a still larger army under the command of Ambrose 
Dudley, Earl of Warwick, the insurgents retreated northward towards the 
borders, and there 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 
at Durham sixty three constables to be hanged at once. And the latter made 
his boast, that, for sixty miles in length, and forty in breadth, betwixt 
Newcastle and Wetherby, there was hardly a town- or village wherein he had 
not executed some of the inhabitants. This exceeds the cruelties practised 
in the West after Monmouth's rebellion : but that was not the age of tender 
ness and humanity. 

Such is the account collected from Stow, Speed, Camden, Guthrie, Carte, 
and Rapin ; it agrees in most particulars with the following ballad, which was 
apparently the production of some northern minstrel, who was well affected 
to the two noblemen. It is here printed from two 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. 

LISTEN, lively lordings all, 

Lithe and listen unto mee, 
And I will sing of a noble earle, 

The noblest earle in the north countrie. 

i Besides this, the ballad mentions the separate banners of the two Noble 


Earle Percy is into his garden gone, 5 

And after him walkes his faire ladie: 1 

' 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/ 20 

' Now nay, now nay, thou lady faire, 

The court is full of subtiltle; 
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 my self e will ryde wi' thee: 
At court then for my dearest lord, 

His faithful! borrowe I will bee/ 

' Now nay, now nay, my lady deare; 

Far lever had I lose my life, so 

Than leave among my cruell foes 

My love in jeopardy and strife. 

1 This lady was Anne, daughter of Henry Somerset, E. of Worcester. 


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 companle.' 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 

Affore that goodlye companye, so 

I wis, if you the truthe wold know, 

There was many a weeping eye. 

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 1 ?' 

' 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.' eo 


' 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 meeT 

Eight of them did answer make, 

Eight of them spake hastilie, 70 

'0 father, till the daye we dye 

We 11 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, Francis Norton, 
Thou art mine eldest sonn and heire: 

Somewhat lyes brooding in thy breast; 

Whatever it bee, to mee declare/ so 

'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.' 

'Nowfye 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 theeT 


' 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. 100 

Lord Westmorland his ancyent raisde, 

The Dun Bull he rays'd on hye, 
And three Dogs with golden collars 

Were there sett out most royallye. 1 

Erie Percy there his ancyent spred, 105 

The Halfe-Moone shining all soe faire : 2 

1 Ver. 102. Dun Bull, &c.] The supporters of the Nevilles Earls of West 
moreland were Two Bulls Argent, ducally collar'd Gold, armed Or, &c. But 
I have not discovered the Device mentioned in the Ballad, among the Badges, 
&c. given by that House. This however is certain, that, among those of the 
Nevilles, Lords Abergavenny (who were of the same family) is a Dun Cow 
with a golden Collar : and the Nevilles of Chyte in Yorkshire (of the West 
moreland Branch) gave for their Crest, in 1513, a Dog's (Grey-hound's) 
Head erased. So that it is not improbable but Charles Neville, the unhappy 
Earl of Westmoreland here mentioned, might on this occasion give the above 
Device on his Banner. After all our old Minstrel's verses here may have 
undergone some corruption ; for, in another Ballad in the same folio MS. and 
apparently 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.' 

2 Ver. 106. The Half-Moone, &c.] The Silver Crescent is a well-known 
Crest or Badge of the Northumberland family. It was probably brought 


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. 

That 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, 1 

home from some of the Crusades against the Saracens. In an ancient Pedigree 
in verse, finely illuminated on a Roll of Vellum, and written in the reign of 
Henry VII. (in possession of the family) we have this fabulous account given 
of its original. The author begins with accounting for the name of Gernon or 
Algernon, often born by the Percies ; who, he says, were 
.... Gernons fyrst named of Brntys blonde of Troy : 

Which valliantly fyghtynge in the land of Perse [Persia] 

At pointe terrible ayance the miscreants on nyght, 

An hevynly mystery was schewyd hym, old bookys reherse; 

In hys scheld did schyne a Mone veryfying her lyght, 

Which to all the ooste yave a perfytte syght, 

To vaynqnys his enemys, and to deth them persue; 

And therefore the Per&s [Percies] the Cressant doth renew. 

In the dark ages no Family was deemed considerable that did not derive its 
descent from the Trojan Brutus ; or that was not distinguished by prodigies 
and miracles. 1 This is quite in character: her majesty would sometimes 
swear at her nobles, as well as box their ears. 


' I will ordayne them such a breakfast, 
As never was in the North before/ 

Shee caus'd thirty thousand men be rays'd, 

With horse and harneis faire to see ; iso 

She caused thirty thousand men be raised, 
To take the earles i' th' North countrie. 

Wi' them the false Erie Warwick went, 
Th' erle Sussex and the lord Hunsden; 

Untill they to Yorke castle came 135 

I wiss, they never stint ne blan. 

' Now spred thy ancyent, Westmorland, 

Thy dun bull f aine would we spye : 
And thou, the Erie o' Northumberland, 

Now rayse thy half moone up on hye.' 140 

But the dun bulle is fled and gone, 
And the half e moone vanished away : 

The Erles, though they were brave and bold, 
Against soe many could not stay. 

Thee, Norton, wi' thine eight good sonnes, us 

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. 




This ballad may be considered as the sequel of the preceding. After the 
unfortunate Earl of Northumberland had seen himself forsaken of his followers, 
he endeavoured to withdraw into Scotland, but falling into the hands of the 
thievish borderers, was stript and otherwise ill-treated by them. At length 
he reached the house of Hector, of Harlaw, an Armstrong, with whom he 
hoped to lie concealed : for Hector had engaged his honour to be true to him, 
and was under great obligations to this unhappy nobleman. But this faithless 
wretch betrayed his guest for a sum of money to Murray the Regent of 
Scotland, who sent him to the castle of Loch-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, Holingshed, &c. 

Lord Northumberland continued in the castle of Loch-leven, till the year 
1572 ; when James Douglas Earl of Morton being elected Regent, he was 
given up to the Lord Hunsden at Berwick, and being carried to York suffered 
death. As Morton's party depended 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 noble 
man to inevitable destruction, was deemed an ungrateful and mercenary act.' 
Robertson's Hist. 

So far History coincides with this ballad, which was apparently written by 
some Northern Bard soon after the event. The interposal of the Witch-lady 
(v. 53.) is probably his own invention: yet, even this hath some countenance 
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 Loch- 
leven, had suffered death for the pretended crime of witchcraft ; who, it is 
presumed, is the Witch- lady alluded to in verse 133. 

The following is selected (like the former) from two copies, which contained 
great variations ; one of them in the Editor's folio 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. 

'How 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"? 

VOL. i. p 


To fall from my bliss, alas the while ! 5 

It was my sore and heavye lott: 
And I must leave my native land, 

And I must live a man forgot. 

One gentle Armstrong I doe ken, 

A Scot he is much bound to mee: 10 

He dwelleth on the border side, 

To him I '11 goe right priville/ 

Thus did the noble Percy 'plaine, 

With a heavy heart and wel-away, 
When he with all his gallant men if- 

On Bramham moor had lost the day. 

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 guest did hide: 

Who sent him to the Lough-leven, 
With William Douglas to abide. 

And when he to the Douglas came, 25 

He halched him right curteouslie: 
Say'd, 'Welcome, welcome, noble earlc, 

Here thou shalt safelye bide with mee/ 

When he had in Lough-leven been 

Many a month and many a day; so 

To the regent l the lord warden 2 sent, 

That bannisht earle for to betray. 

i James Douglas Earl of Morton, elected regent of Scotland November 24, 
1572. * Of one of the English marches. Lord Hunsden. 


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 flyte with him began: 40 

' What makes you be so sad, my lord, 

And in your mind so sorrowfullye 1 
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 lorde Percye.' 

* 1 11 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, 1 

Into England nowe to liver thee.' GO 

1 Of the earl of Morton, the Regent. 


' 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. 

Betweene England and Scotland it wold breake truce, 
And friends againe they wold never bee, ro 

If they shold 'liver a banisht erle 
Was driven out of his own countrie/ 

'Alas! alas! my lord/ she sayes, 

' No we mickle is their traitorle; 
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, 1 

Then ere my brother come againe 

To Edenborow castle 2 Ile carry thee. so 

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 thinke on my own countrie, 

1 i.e. Lake of Leven, which hath communication with the sea. 2 At that 
time in the hands of the opposite faction. 


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: 

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/ 100 

* If you '11 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 '11 not come yourself e my lorde, 

Yet send your chamberlaine with mee; no 

Let me but speak three words with him, 
And he shall come again to 

James Swynard with that lady went, 

She showed him through the weme of her ring 


How many English lords there were 115 

Waiting for his master and him. 

' And who walkes yonder, my good lady, 

So royally e on yonder greened 
'0, yonder is the lord Hunsden: 1 

Alas! hell doe you drie and teene/ 120 

'And who beth yonder, thou gay ladye, 
That walkes so proudly him beside V 

'That is Sir William Drury/ 2 shee sayd, 
' A keene captaine hee is and tryde/ 

'How many miles is itt, madame, 125 

Betwixt yond English lords and meeV 

' 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, iso 

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 1 ?' 

'Yonder is Sir John Foster/ 3 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: 

i The Lord Warden of the East inarches. 2 Governor of Berwick. * Warden 
of the Middle-march. 


And he is gone to his noble Lord, 

Those sorrowful tidings him to show. 

'Now nay, now nay, good James Swynard, 145 

I may not believe that witch ladie: 
The Douglasses were ever true, 

And they can ne'er prove false to mee. 

I have now in Lough-leven been 

The most part of these years three, 150 

Yett have I never had noe outrake, 

Ne no good games that I cold see. 

Therefore I '11 to yond shooting wend, 

As to the Douglas I have hight: 
Betide me weale, betide me woe, 155 

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.' 1 IGO 

'And wilt thou goe, thou noble lord 1 ? 

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, ics 

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 

1 i.e. Where I was. An ancient Idiom. 


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.' iso 

* If you '11 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 l 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/ 

1 There is no navigable stream between Loch-leven and the sea : but a 
Ballad-maker is not obliged to understand Geography. 


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 f ayle, 
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 no we doe with meeT 

* Looke that your brydle be wight, my lord, 

And your horse goe swift as shipp att sea: 210 
Looke that your spurres be bright and sharpe, 
That you may pricke her while she 11 away.' 

* What needeth this, Douglas,' he sayth; 

' What needest thou to flyte with mee ? 
For I was counted a horseman good 215 

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. 

Ver. 224, Fol. MS. reads land, aiid has not the following stanza. 


Then lie at Yorke was doomde to dye, 225 

It was, alas! a sorrowful sight: 
Thus they betrayed that noble earle, 

Who ever was a gallant wight. 


This excellent philosophical song appears to have been famous in the six 
teenth century. It is quoted by Ben Jonson in his play of ' Every Man out 
of his Humour,' first acted in 1599, A. 1. Sc. 1. where an impatient person 

'I am no such pil'd cynique to believe 
That beggery is the onely happinesse, 
Or, with a number of these patient fooles, 
To sing, " My minde to me a kingdome is," 
When the lanke hungrie belly barkes for foode.' 

It is here chiefly printed from a thin quarto Music book, intitled ' Psalmes, 
Sonets, and Songs of sadnes and pietie, made into Musicke of five parts : &c. 
By William Byrd, one of the Gent, of the Queenes Majesties honorable Chap- 
pell. Printed by Thomas East, &c.' 4to. no date : but Ames in his Typog. has 
mentioned another edit, of the same book, dated 1588, which I take to have 
been later than this. 

Some improvements, and an additional stanza (sc. the 5th), were had from 
two other ancient copies ; one of them in black letter in the Pepys Collection, 
thus inscribed, 'A sweet and pleasant sonet, intitled, "My Minde to me a 
Kingdom is." To the tune of, In Crete, &c.' 

Some of the stanzas in this poem were printed by Byrd separate from the rest ; 
they are here given in what seemed the most natural order. 1 

MY minde to me a kingdome is; 

Such perfect joy therein I finde 
As farre exceeds all earthly blisse, 

That God or Nature hath assignde: 
Though much I want, that most would have, 5 
Yet still my mind forbids to crave. 

i Some have recently maintained that this fine song was written by Sir 
Edward Dyer, a friend of Sir Philip Sidney, and who was praised by Bacon 
and Spenser. ED. 


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, 20 

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 little store: 
They poor, I rich; they beg, I give; 
They lacke, I lend; they pine, I live. so 

I laugh not at anothers losse, 

I grudge not at anothers gaine; 
No worldly wave my mind can tosse, 

I brooke that is another's 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 3 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 bright or force of love. 

I wish but what I have at will; 

I wander not to seeke for more; 
I like the plaine, I clime no hill; 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; so 

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. GO 

My welth is health, and perfect ease; 

My conscience clere my chief e defence: 
I never seeke by brybes to please, 

Nor by desert to give offence: 
Thus do I live, thus will I die; 65 

Would all did so as well as I ! 



The subject of this tale is taken from that entertaining Colloquy of Erasmus, 
intitled, ' Uxor Me/^i-ya^oj, sive Conjugium : ' which has been agreeably 
modernized by the late Mr. Spence, in his little Miscellaneous Publication, 
intitled, ' Moralities, &c. by Sir Harry Beaumont,' 1753, 8vo. pag. 42. 

The following stanzas are extracted from an ancient poem intitled Albion's 
England, written by W. Warner, a celebrated Poet in the reign of 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 published 'A Continuance of 
Albion's England, by the first author, W. W. Lond. 4to.:' this contains Books 
xiv. xv. xvi. In Ames's Typography, is preserved the memory of another 
publication of this writer's, intitled, 'Warner's Poetry,' printed in 1586, 12mo, 
and reprinted in 1602. There is also extant, under the name of Warner, 
' Syrinx, or seven fold Hist, pleasant, and profitable, comical and tragical.' 4to. 

It is proper to premise, that the following lines were not written by the 
Author in stanzas, but in- long Alexandrines of 14 syllables ; which the narrow 
ness of our page made it here necessary to subdivide. 

IMPATIENCE chaungeth smoke to flame, 

But jelousie is hell; 
Some wives by patience have reduc'd 

111 husbands to live well: 
As did the ladie of an earle, 5 

Of whom I now shall tell. 

An earle [there was] had wedded, lov'd; 

Was lov'd, and lived long 
Full true to his fayre countesse; yet 

At last he did her wrong. 10 

Once hunted he untill the chace, 

Long fasting, and the heat 
Did house him in a peakish graunge 

Within a forest great. 


Where knowne and welcom'd (as the place is 

And persons might afforde) 
Browne bread, whig, bacon, curds and milke 

Were set him on the borde. 

A cushion made of lists, a stoole 

Halfe backed with a hoope 20 

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 25 

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: so 

Whome naked nature, not the aydes 

Of arte made to excell) 
The good man's daughter sturres to see 

That all were feat and well; 
The earle did marke her, and admire 35 

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. 40 

When this repast was past, and thanks, 

And welcome too; he sayd 
Unto his host and hostesse, in 

The hearing of the mayd: 


' Yee know/ quoth he, ' that I am lord 45 

Of this, and many townes; 
I also know that you be poore, 

And I can spare you pownes. 

Soe will I, so yee will consent, 

That yonder lasse and I so 

May bargaine for her love; at least, 

Doe give me leave to trye. 
Who needs to know ill nay who dares 

Into my doings pry 1 ?' 

First they mislike, yet at the length 55 

For lucre were misled ; 
And then the gamesome earle did wowe 

The damsell for his bed. 

He took her in his armes, as yet 

So coyish to be kist, eo 

As may ds that know themselves belov'd, 

And yieldingly resist. 

In few, his offers were so large 

She lastly did consent; 
With whom he lodged all that night, 65 

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, 70 

And lastly was informed of 

His amorous haunt elsewhere; 
It greev'd her not a little, though 

She seem'd it well to beare. 


And thus she reasons with herselfe, 75 

* Some fault perhaps in me; 
Somewhat is done, that so he doth: 

Alas! what may it be 1 ? 

How may I winne him to myself? 

He is a man, and men so 

Have imperfections; it behooves 

Me pardon nature then. 

To checke him were to make him checke, 1 

Although hee now were chaste: 
A man coritrouled of his wife, 85 

To her makes lesser haste. 

If duty then, or daliance may 

Prevayle to alter him; 
I will be dutifull, and make 

My selfe for daliance trim/ 90 

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 95 

Did still pursue that game, 
Suspecting nothing less, than that 

His lady knew the same: 
Wherefore to make him know she knew, 

She this devise did frame: 100 

1 To check is a term in falconry, applied when a hawk stops and turns 
away from his proper pursuit : To check also signifies to reprove or chide. It 
is in this verse used in both senses. 


When long she had been wrong'd, and sought 

The foresayd meanes in vaine, 
She rideth to the simple graunge 

But with a slender traine. 

She lighteth, entreth, greets them well, 105 

And then did looke about her: 
The guiltie houshold knowing her, 

Did wish themselves without her; 
Yet, for she looked merily, 

The lesse they did misdoubt her. no 

When she had seen the beauteous wench 

(Then blushing fairnes fairer) 
Such beauty made the countesse hold 

Them both excus'd the rather. 

'Who would not bite at such a bait?' 115 

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, 120 

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, 125 

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 He so neare his game. 130 

VOL. I. Q 


But, for you have not furniture 

Beseeming such a guest, 
I bring his owne, and come myselfe 

To see his lodging drest.' 

With that two sumpters were discharged, 135 

In which were hangings brave, 
Silke coverings, curtens, carpets, plate, 

And al such turn should have. 

When all was handsomly dispos'd, 

She prayes them to have care 1*0 

That nothing hap in their default, 

That might his health impair: 

* And, Damsell,' quoth shee, ' for it seemes 

This houshold is but three, 
And for thy parents age, that this 145 

Shall chief ely rest on thee; 

Do me that good, else would to God 

He hither come no more/ 
So tooke she horse, and ere she went 

Bestowed gould good store. 150 

Full little thought the countie that 

His countesse had done so; 
WTio now, return'd from far affaires, 

Did to his sweet-heart go. 

No sooner sat he foote within 155 

The late deformed cote, 
But that the formal! change of things 

His wondring eies did note. 


But when he knew those goods to be 

His proper goods; though late, IGO 

Scarce taking leave, he home returnes 
The matter to debate. 

The countesse was a-bed, and he 

With her his lodging tooke; 
* Sir, welcome home' (quoth shee); 'this night 165 

For you I did not looke/ 

Then did he question her of such 

His stuffe bestowed soe. 
' Forsooth/ quoth she, ' because I did 

Your love and lodging knowe: no 

Your love to be a proper wench, 

Your lodging nothing lesse; 
I held it for your health, the house 

More decently to dresse. 

Well wot I, notwithstanding her, 175 

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, i so 

All done I did, and patiently 

Expect your wonted 'haviour.' 

Her patience, witte and answer wrought 

His gentle teares to fall: 
When (kissing her a score of times) us 

* Amend, sweet wife, I shall:' 
He said, and did it; [so each wife 

Her husband may] recall. 



The following stanzas were written by Michael Drayton, a poet of some 
eminence in the reigns of Q. Elizabeth, James I. and Charles I. 1 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, 1619, he had given those Eclogues so thorough 
a revisal, that there is hardly a line to be found the same as in the old edition. 
This poem had received the fewest corrections, and therefore is chiefly given 
from the ancient copy, where it is thus introduced by one of his Shepherds : 

Listen to mee, my lovely shepheards joy e, 
And thou shalt heare, with mirth and mickle glee, 

A pretie tale, which when I 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, 2 (alluded to in v. 3.) 
as the Reader may judge from the following specimen: 

Lordynges, lysten, and you shal here, &c. 
* * * * 

Ye shall well heare of a knight, 
That was in warre full wyght, 

And doughty e of his dede: 
His name was Syr Isenbras, 
Man nobler then he was 

Lyved none with breade. 
He was lyvely, large, and longe, 
With shoulders broade, and armes stronge, 

That myghtie was to se : 
He was a hardye man, and hye, 
All men hym loved that hym se, 

For a gentyll knight was he : 
Harpers loved him in hall, 
With other minstrells all, 

For he gave them golde and fee, &c. 

This ancient Legend was printed in black-letter, 4to, by Wj}\\yam 
<*Topfcmb; no date. 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 Original. 

FARRE in the countrey of Arden, 
There won'd a knight, hight Cassemen, 

i He was born in 15C3, and died in 1631. Biog. Brit. 2 As also Chaucer's 
Rhyme of Sir Topas, v. 6. 


As bolde as Isenbras: 
Fell 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 f ayre 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. 
Her skin as soft as Lemster wooll, 
As white as snow on Peakish Hull, 

Or swanne that swims in Trent. so 

This mayden in a morue betime 

Went forth, when May was in her prime, 


To get sweete cetywall, 
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, 40 

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; 45 

Whilst he full many a carroll sung, 
Untill the fields and meadowes rung, 

And all the woods did sound. 

In favour this same shepheards swayne 

Was like the bedlam Tamburlayne, 1 50 

Which helde prowd kings in awe: 
But meeke he was as lamb mought be; 
An innocent of ill as he 2 

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. eo 

1 Alluding to ' Tamburlaine the great, or the Scythian Shepheard,' 1530, 
8vo, an old ranting play ascribed to Marlowe. a Sc. Abel. 


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, TO 
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 f orsooke their f oode, 

To heare his melodye. 

' Thy sheepe/ quoth she, ' cannot be leane, 
That have a jolly shepheards swayne, so 

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 long of thee/ 

' My coate,' sayth he, ' nor yet my foulde 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 finde 

To love us now and then. 

And I to thee will be as kinde 

As Colin was to Bosalinde, no 

Of curtesie the flower.' 
* Then will I he 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 Lover's Progress. A. 3. Sc. 1. 

ADIEU, 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. 



affords a pretty poetical contest between Pleasure and Honour. It is found 
at the end of 'Hymen's Triumph: a pastoral tragicomedie,' written by Daniel, 
and printed among his works, 4to, 1623. 1 Daniel, who was a contemporary 
of Drayton's, and is said to have been poet laureat to Queen Elizabeth, was 
born in 1562, and died in 1619. Anne Countess of Dorset, Pembroke, and 
Montgomery (to whom Daniel had been Tutor), has inserted a small Portrait 
of him in a full-length Picture of herself, preserved at Appleby Castle, in 

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. 12mo. 171 8. 2 


COME, worthy Greeke, Ulysses come, 
Possesse these shores with me, 

i In this edition (i.e., 1796) it is collated with a copy printed at the end of 
his ' Tragedie of Cleopatra. London, 1607, 12mo.' s Samuel Daniel is remark 
able for his elegance and modem style. ED. 


The windes and seas are troublesome, 

And here we may be free. 
Here may we sit and view their toyle, s 

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 is 

Becomes not men of worth. 


Ulysses, 0, be not deceiv'd 

With that unreall name: 
This honour is a thing conceiv'd, 

And rests on others' fame. 20 

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 manlinesse would scorne to weare 

The time in idle sport: 
For toyle doth give a better touch 

To make us feele our joy; so 


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; so 

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: eo 

To purge the mischiefes, that increase 

And all good order mar: 
For oft we see a wicked peace, 

To be well chang'd for war. 

Well, well, Ulysses, then I see 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. 


This 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. 1621. It is also found in a later miscellany, intitled, ' Le Prince d' Amour,' 
1660, 8vo. Francis Davison, editor of the poems above referred to, was son of 
that unfortunate secretary of state, who suffered so much from the affair of Mary 
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 Countries, 
and by some dear friends ' anonymoi.' Among them are found some pieces 
by Sir J. Davis, the Countess of Pembroke, Sir Philip Sidney, Spenser, and 
other wits of those times. 

In the fourth vol. of Dryden's Miscellanies, this poem is attributed to Sydney 
Godolphin, Esq; but erroneously, being probably written before he was born. 
One edit, of Davison's book was published in 1608. Godolphin was bora in 
1610, and died in 1642-3. Ath. Ox. II. 23. 2 

1 See the full title in Vol. II. Book IIL No. IV. Davison was born in 1575, and died 
about 1619. ED. 


IT chanc'd of late a shepherd swain, 
That went to seek his straying sheep, 

Within a thicket on a plain 
Espied a dainty nymph asleep. 

Her golden hair o'erspred her face; 5 

Her careless arms abroad were cast; 

Her quiver had her pillow's 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, 15 

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; so 

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 not Cupid's craft ; 

Revenge is joy; the end is smart. 40 

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; 
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 : so 

She seeks for what she shunn'd before, 

She thinks the shepherd's haste too slow. 

Though mountains meet not, lovers may : 

What other lovers do, did they: 

The god of love sate on a tree, 55 

And laught that pleasant sight to see. 



This little moral poem was writ by Sir Henry Wotton, who died Provost of 
Eaton, in 1639. Mt. 72. It is printed from a little collection of his pieces, 
intitled, Keliquiae Wottonianae, 1651, 12mo ; compared with one or two other 
copies. 1 

How happy is he born or taught, 

That serveth not another's will; 
Whose armour is his honest thought, 

And simple truth his highest skill: 

Whose passions not his masters are; 5 

Whose soul is still prepar'd for death; 

Not ty'd unto the world with care 
Of prince's ear, or vulgar breath: 

Who hath his life from rumours freed; 

Whose conscience is his strong retreat: 10 

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; 15 

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, 20 

1 Ben Jonson, when he visited Drummond, at Hawtliornden, had these 
verses ' by heart.' ED. 


This man is freed from servile bands 
Of hope to rise, or feare to fall; 

Lord of himself e, though not of lands; 
And having nothing, yet hath all. 


was a famous robber, who lived about the middle of the last century, 
(i.e. 17th) if we may credit the histories and story-books of highwaymen, 
which relate many improbable feats of him, as his robbing Cardinal Richlieu, 
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. 

1 The Queen of Scots possessed nought, 

That my love let me want : 
For cow and ew to me he brought, 
And ein whan they were scant." 

Those 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. 1 

GILDEROY was a bonnie boy, 

Had roses tull his shoone, 
His stockings were of silken soy, 

Wi' garters hanging doune: 
It was, I weene, a comelie sight, 5 

To see sae trim a boy; 
He was my jo and hearts delight, 

My handsome Gilderoy. 

1 Gilderoy and some of his gang were hanged at Gallowlee, between Leith 
and Edinburgh, July 1638. They had been notorious robbers in the Highlands 
of Perthshire. Campbell has a short poem on the subject. ED. 


Oil! sike twa charming een he had, 

A breath as sweet as rose, 10 

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. 

My Gilderoy and I were born, 

Baith in one toun together, 
We scant were seven years beforn 

We gan to luve each other; 20 

Our dadies and our mammies thay 

Were fill'd wi' mickle joy, 
To think upon the bridal day, 

Twixt me and Gilderoy. 

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 

VOL. I. R 


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, 

For my dear Gilderoy. 

And when of me his leave he tuik, 

The tears they wat mine ee, so 

I gave tull him a parting luik, 

' My benison gang wi' thee; 
God speed thee weil, mine ain dear heart, 

For gane is all my joy; 
My heart is rent sith we maun part, 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: eo 

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 sair 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. so 

Of Gilderoy sae fraid they were, 

They bound him mickle strong, 
Tull Edenburrow they led him thair, 

And on a gallows hung; 
They hung him high aboon the rest, 85 

He was sae trim a boy; 
Thair dyed the youth whom I lued best, 

My handsome Gilderoy, 

Thus having yielded up his breath, 

I bare his corpse away; so 

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, as 

My winsome Gilderoy. 





This 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, 8vo.' 

It is there said, how truly I know not, to be a translation ' from the ancient 
British language. 1 

AWAY; let nought to love displeasing, 

My Winifreda, move your care; 
Let nought delay the heavenly blessing, 

Nor squeamish pride, nor gloomy fear. 

What tho' no grants of royal donors B 

With pompous titles grace our blood; 

We 11 shine in more substantial honors, 
And to be noble we 11 be good. 

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 11 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 

1 There are one or two claimants for the authorship of this exquisite song, 
such as one J. G. Cooper, and George Alexander Stevens; but the song appeared 
while the former of these was a child, and the other a youth. ED. 


Through youth and age in love excelling, 

We 11 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, 25 

While round my knees they fondly clung; 

To see them look their mother's features, 
To hear them lisp their mother's tongue. 

And when with envy time transported, 

Shall think to rob us of our joys, so 

You '11 in your girls again be courted, 
And I '11 go a wooing in my boys. 


was published in a small collection of poems, intitled, Euthemia, or The 
Power of Harmony, &e. 1756, written, in 1748, by the ingenious Dr. Harring 
ton, of Bath, who never allowed them to be published, and withheld his name 
till it could no longer be concealed. The following copy was furnished by the 
late Mr. Shenstone, with some variations and corrections of his own, which he 
had taken the liberty to propose, and for which the Author's indulgence was 
intreated. In this Edition it was intended to reprint the Author's own 
original copy ; but, as that may be seen correctly given in Pearch's Collection, 
Vol. I. 1783, p. 161, it was thought the Reader of Taste would wish to have 
the variations preserved; they are therefore still retained here, which it is 
hoped the worthy Author will excuse with his wonted 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 under ground, is crost by a stream 
of very cold water, and is all horrid with broken pieces of rock: many of these 
are evident petrifactions; which, on account of their singular forms, have 
given rise to the fables alluded to in this poem. 

IN aunciente days tradition showes 
A base and wicked elfe arose, 
The Witch of Wokey hight: 


Oft have I heard the fearfull tale 
From Sue, and Eoger of the vale, 5 

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, 10 

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: is 

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. so 

From Glaston came a lerned wight, 
Full bent to marr her fell despight, 

And well he did, I ween: 
Sich mischief never had been known, 


And, since his mickle leminge shown, 35 

Sich mischief ne'er has been. 

He chauntede out his godlie booke, 
He crost the water, blest the brooke, 

Then pater noster done, 
The ghastly hag he sprinkled o'er; 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, 45 

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; 

With grieved heart, alas ! I tell, so 

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 beauty, wit, and sense combin'd, 
With all that 's good and virtuous join'd, 

Yet hardly one gallant. eo 

Shall then sich maids unpitied moanel 
They might as well, like her, be stone, 

And 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' peculiar care; 

I hear the gracious voice : 

Your sex shall soon be blest agen, 7u 

We only wait to find sich men, 

As best deserve your choice. 



is founded on a real fact, that happened in the island of St Christophers 
about the beginning of the present reign, (i.e. Geo. III.) The Editor owes 
the following stanzas to the friendship of Dr. James Grainger,! who was an 
eminent physician in that island when this tragical incident happened, and 
died there much honoured and lamented in 1667. To this ingenious gentle 
man the public are indebted for the fine Ode on Solitude, printed in the IVth 
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, 

Or 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 ingenious travellers, 
and the manner in which they were struck at the first sight of those magnificent 
ruins by break of day. 2 

THE north-east wind did briskly blow, 

The ship was safely moor'd; 
Young Bryan thought the boat's-crew slow, 

And so leapt over-board. 

i Author of a poem on the Culture of the Sugar-Cane, &c. 2 So in pag. 
235. it should be, Turn'd her magic ray. 


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, 

Eight 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. 20 

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; so 

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 died 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: so 

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, 65 

Her hapless fate scape you. 




Although the English are remarkable for the number and variety of their 
ancient Ballads, and retain perhaps a greater fondness for these old simple 
rhapsodies of their ancestors, than most other nations ; they are not the only 
people who have distinguished themselves by compositions of this kind. The 
Spaniards have great multitudes of them, many of which are of the highest 
merit. They call them in their language Romances, and have collected them 
into volumes under the titles of El Romancero, El Cancionero, 1 &c. Most of 
them relate to their conflicts with the Moors, and display a spirit of gallantry 
peculiar to that romantic people. But, of all the Spanish ballads, none exceed 
in poetical merit those inserted in a little Spanish ' History of the civil wars of 
Granada,' describing the dissensions which raged in that last seat of Moorish 
empire before it was conquered in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, in 1491. 
In this History (or perhaps Romance) a great number of heroic songs are in 
serted and appealed to as authentic vouchers for the truth of facts. In reality, 
the prose narrative seems to be drawn up for no other end, but to introduce 
and illustrate those beautiful pieces. 

The Spanish editor pretends (how truly I know not) that they are transla 
tions from the Arabic or Morisco language. Indeed, from the plain unadorned 
nature of the verse, and the native simplicity of the language and sentiment, 
which runs through these poems, one would judge them to have been composed 
soon after the conquest of Granada 2 above mentioned ; as the prose narrative 
in which they are inserted was published about a century after. It should seem, 
at least, that they were written before the Castillians 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 old English Bards and Minstrels, the Reader is desired candidly to 
accept the two following poems. They are given from a small collection of 
pieces of this kind, which the Editor some years ago translated for his amuse 
ment when he was studying the Spanish language. As the first is a pretty 
close translation, to gratify the curious it is accompanied with the original. 
The Metre is the same in all these old Spanish ballads : it is of the most 
simple construction, and is still used by the common people in their extempo 
raneous songs, as we learn from Baretti's Travels. It runs in short stanzas of 
four lines, of which the second and fourth alone correspond in their termina 
tions; and in these it is only required that the vowels t'-ould be alike, the 
consonants may be altogether different, as 

pone casa meten arcoa 

noble cauas muere gamo 

Yet has this kind of verse a sort of simple harmonious flow, which atones for 
* 1.. The ballad-singer. 2 See Vol. III. Note. 


the imperfect nature of the rhyme, and renders it not unpleasing to the ear. 
The same flow of numbers has been studied in the following versions. The 
first of them is given from two different originals, both of which are .printed 
in the Hist, de las civiles guerras de Granada. Mad. 1694. One of them 
hath the rhymes ending in AA, the other in IA. It is the former of these that 
is here reprinted. They both of them begin with the same line : 

Rio verde, rio verde, 1 
which could not be translated faithfully ; 

Verdant river, verdant river, 

would have given an affected stiffness to the verse ; the great merit of which 
is easy simplicity; and therefore a more simple epithet was adopted, though 
less poetical or expressive. 2 

Bio verde, rio verde, 

Quanto cuerpo en ti se bana 
De Christianos y de Moros 

Muertos por la dura espada! 

Y tus ondas cristalinas 6 

De roxa sangre se esmaltan. 
Entre Moros y Christianos 

Muy gran batalla se trava. 

Murieron Duques y Condes, 

Grandes senores de salva: 10 

Murio gente de valia 

De la nobleza de Espana. 

En ti murio don Alonso, 

Que de Aguilar se Ilamaba; 
El valeroso Urdiales, is 

Con don Alonso acababa. 

Por un ladera arriba 

El buen Sayavedra marcha; 
Naturel es de Sevilla, 

De la gente mas granada. 20 

i Literally, Green river, green river, 2 We need hardly refer our readers to 
Lockhart's admirable Spanish Ballads. ED. 


Tras el iba un Renegado, 

Desta manera le habla; 
' Date, date, Sayavedra, 

No huyas de la Batalla. 

Yo te conozco muy Men, 25 

Gran tiempo estuve en tu casa; 
Y en la Plaa de Sevilla 

Bien te vide jugar cafias. 

Conozco a tu padre y madre, 

Y a tu muger dona Clara; so 

Siete anos fui tu cautivo, 

Malamente me tratabas. 

Y aora lo seras mio, 

Si Mahoma me ayudara; 
Y tambien te tratare, ?.5 

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 Ian9ada. 


Don Alonso en este tiempo 

Bravamente peleava, eo 

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. o 

GENTLE river, gentle river, 

Lo, thy streams are stain'd with gore ! 
Many a brave and noble captain 

Floats along thy willow'd shore. 

All beside thy limpid waters, 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 I liv'd beneath thy roof: 
Oft I Ve in the lists of glory 

Seen thee win the prize of proof. 

Well I know thy aged parents, 

Well thy blooming bride I know; so 

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 ground. 


With a thousand Moors surrounded, 45 

Brave Saavedra stands at bay: 
Wearied out but never daunted, 

Cold at length the warrior lay. 

Near him fighting great Alonzo 

Stout resists the Paynim bands; so 

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 thousands wage 1 

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. 



The foregoing version was rendered as literal as the nature of the two 
languages would admit. In the following a wider compass hath been taken. 



The Spanish poem that was chiefly had in view, is preserved in the same 
history of the Civil wars of Granada, f. 22, and begins with these lines : 

' For la calle de su dama 

I'iisseuiulo se auiki,' &c. 

SOFTLY blow the evening breezes, 

Softly fall the dews of night ; 
Yonder walks the Moor Alcanzor, 

Shunning every glare of light. 

In yon palace lives fair Zaida, 5 

Whom he loves with flame so pure : 
Loveliest she of Moorish ladies ; 

He a young and noble Moor. 

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 tease 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 benighted 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 longing lover's sight 
VOL. i. s 


Steals half -seen the beauteous maiden 
Thro' the glimmerings of the night. 

Tip-toe stands the anxious lover, 

Whispering forth a gentle sigh: so 

* Alia l keep thee, lovely lady; 

Tell me, am I doom'd to die 1 ? 

Is it true, the dreadful story, 

Which thy damsel tells my page, 
That, seduc'd by sordid riches, 35 

Thou wilt sell thy bloom to age 1 

An old lord from Antiquera 

Thy stern father brings along; 
But canst thou, inconstant Zaida, 

Thus consent my love to wrong? 40 

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, 45 

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: 

1 Alia is the Mahometan name of God. 


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? eo 

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. so 

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, ' Zaida ! 

Do not, do not break my heart. 

Canst thou think I thus will lose thee ? 

Canst thou hold my love so small 1 ? 90 

No! a thousand times 111 perish! 

My curst rival too shall fall. 

Canst thou, wilt thou yield thus to them? 

break forth, and fly 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. 100 

Hark, I hear my father storming! 

Hark, I hear my mother chide ! 
I must go : farewell for ever! 

Gracious Alia be thy guide !' 





The Scottish words are denoted by s. French by /. Latin by I. Anglo- 
Saxon by A. S. Icelandic by Isl. &c. For the etymology of the 
words in this and the following Volumes, the Reader is referred 
to Junij Etimologicon Anglicanum. Edidit Edw. Lye, Oxon. 1743, 

For such words as may not be found here, the Reader is desired to 
consult the Glossaries to the other Volumes. 

A, au, s. all. 

A Twyde, of Tweed. 

Abacke, back. 

Able, fit or suitable. 

Abone, aboon, s. above. 

Abowght, about. 

Abraid, abroad. 

Acton, a kind of armour made of 

taffaty, or leather quilted, &c. 

worn under the habergeon, to 

save the body from bruises. /. 

Admired, wondered. 
Aft,s. oft. 
Agayne, against. 
A good, a good deal 
Affoe, gone. 
Ain, awin, s. own. 
Al gife, although. 
Alate, of late. 
An, and. 
Ane, s. one, an. 
Ancyent, standard. 
A parti, apart. 
Aras, arros, arrows. 

Arcir, archer. 
Assinde, assigned. 
AssoyVd, assoyled, absolved. 
Astate, estate ; also, a great person. 
Astound, astonyed, stunned, asto 
nished, confounded. 
Ath, atke, o' th', of the. 
Aureat, golden. 
Amterne, stern, austere. 
Avoyd, void, vacate. 
Avowe, vow. 
Axed, asked. 
Ayance, against. 


Ba, s. ball. 

Bacheleere, <&c. knight. 

Bairne, s. child. 

Baith, s. bathe, both. 

Baile, bale, evil, hurt, mischief, 

Balys bete, better our bales, i.e. 

remedy our evils. 
Band, bond, covenant. 
Bane, bone. 



Bar, bare. 

Bar hed, bare-head, or perhaps 

Barne, berne, man, person. 

Barrow hogge, a castrated boar. 

Base court, the lower court of a 

Basnete, basnite, basnyte, bassonet, 
bassonette, helmet. 

Bauzen's skinne, perhaps sheep's 
leather dressed and coloured 
red, /. bazane, sheep's leather. 
In Scotland, sheepskin mittens, 
with the wool on the inside, are 
called Bauzon-mittens. Bauson 
also signifies a badger, in old 
English ; it may therefore sig 
nify perhaps badger-skin. 

Be that, by that time. 

Bearing arow, an arrow that car 
ries well. Or, perhaps, bearing, 
or birring, i.e. whirring, or 
whizzing arrow : from 1st. Bir., 
Ventus, or A. S. Bejie, fremitus. 

Bedight, bedecked. 

Bedyls, beadles. 

Beheard, heard. 

Beete, did beat. 

Beforn, before. 

Begylde, beguiled, deceived. 

Behests, commands, injunctions. 

Behove, behoof. 

Belyfe, belive, immediately, by and 
by, shortly. 

Bende-bow, a bent bow, qu. 

Ben, bene, been. 

Bengan, begone. 

Benison, blessing. 

Bent, bents, (where bents, long 
coarse grass, &c. grow), the 
field, fields. 

Benynge, benigne, benign, kind. 

Berne, a man. 

Beste, beest, art. 

Bestis, beasts. 

Bestrawghted, distracted. 

Beth, be, are. 

Bickarte, bicker'd, skirmished. (It 
is also used sometimes in the 
sense of ' Swiftly coursed,' which 

seems to be the sense. Mr 

Lambe.) 1 
Bill or Bille, &c., I have delivered a 

promise in writing, confirmed by 

an oath. 
Blane, blanne, did blin, i.e. linger, 


Blaw, s. blow. 
Blaze, to emblazon, display, pro 


Blee, colour, complexion. 
Bleid, s. blede, bleed. 
Blist, blessed. 
Blive, belive, immediately. 
Bloomed, beset with bloom. 
Elude, blood, bluid reid, s. blood red. 
Bluid, bluidy, s. blood, bloody. 
Blyve, belive, instantly. 
Boare, bare. 
Bode, abode, stayed. 
Boltes, shafts, arrows. 
Bomen, bowmen. 
Bonny, bonnie, s. comely. 
Boone, a favour, request, petition. 
Boot, boote, advantage, help, assist 


Borrowe, borowe, pledge, surety. 
Borowe, to redeem by a pledge. 
Borrowed, warranted, pledged, was 

exchanged for. 
Bot and, s. (It should probably 

be both and) and also. 
Bot, but. 
Bote, boot, advantage. 

Bounde, bowynd, bowned, prepar 
ed, got ready. The word is also 
used in the North in the sense 
of ' went' or ' was going.' 

Bowndes, bounds. 

Bovme ye, prepare ye, get ready. 

Bowne, ready ; bowned, prepared. 

Bowne to dine, going to dine. 
Bowne is a common word in the 
North for ' going,' e.g. Where are 
ye bowne to 1 Where are you 
going ? 

Bowre, bower, habitation : cham 
ber parlour, perhaps from Isl. 
bouan, to dwell. 

Mr Lambe also interprets 'Bickering,' by rattling, e.g. 

< And on that slee Ulysses head 
Sad curses down does bicker.' 

Translat. of Ovid. 



Bowre-window, chamber window. 

Bowys, bows. 

Braid, s. broad, large, or open. 
See Sir Patrick Spens. 

Brandes, swords. 

Brast, nearly burst. 

Breere, brere, briar. 

Bred bannor, broad banner. 

Breech, breeches. 

Breeden bale, breed mischief. 

Breng, bryng, bring. 

Brenn, burn. 

Brent, burned. 

Brether, brethren. 

Broad arrow, a broad forked- 
headed arrow, s. 

Brodinge, pricking. 

Brooke, enjoy. 

Brooke, bear, endure. 

Browd, broad. 

Bryttlynge, brytlyng, cutting up, 
quartering, carving. 

Bugle, bugle-horn, hunting-horn. 

Bushment, ambushment, ambush, 
a snare to bring into trouble. 

Buske ye, dress ye. 

Busket, buskt, dressed. 

Buskt them, prepared themselves, 
made themselves ready. 

Busk and boun, i.e. make your 
selves ready and go. Boun, to 
go (North country.) 

But if, unless. 

Buttes, buts to shoot at. 

By thre, of three. 

Bye. buy, pay for ; also, abye, suffer 

Byears, beeres, biers. 

Bydys, bides, abides. 

Byll, bill, an ancient kind of hal- 
bert, or battle-ax. 

Byn, bine, bin, been, be, are. 

Byrche, birch-tree, birch-wood. 

Byste, beest, art. 


Calde, callyd, called. 
Camscho, s. stern, grim. 
Can, cane, 'gan, began to cry. 
Capull hyde, horse-hide. 
Care-bed, bed of care. 
Carlish, churlish. 

Carpe of care, complain thro' care. 

Cast, mean, intend. 

Cawte, vid. Kawte. 

Caytiffe, caitif, slave, despicable 

Cetiwall, setiwall, the herb Vale 
rian : also, Mountain Spikenard. 

Chamberling, bare ; Chamberlain, 
uncovered. See ' Frolicksome 

Chanteclere, the cock. 

Chays, chace. 

Chere, countenance or assent. 

Check, to rate at. 

Check, to stop. 

Child, knight. Children, knights. 

Christentyne, christiante, Christen 

Churl, one of low birth, a villain, 
or vassal. 

Chyf, chyfe, chief. 

Clawde, clawed, tore, scratched ; 
figuratively, beat. 

Cleaped, cleped, called, named. 

Clerke, scholar. 

dim, the contraction of Clement. 

Clough, a North country word for 
a broken cliff. 

Coate, cot, cottage. 

Cockers, a sort of buskins or short 
boots fastened with laces or but 
tons, and often worn by farmers 
or shepherds. In Scotland they 
are called Cutikins, from Cute, 
the ankle. ' Cokers : Fisher 
men's Boots.' (Littleton's Dic 

Collayne* Cologn-steel. 

Comen, commyn, come. 

Confetered, confederated, entered 
into a confederacy. 

Confound, destroy. 

Cordiwin, cordwayne, properly 
Spanish, or Cordovan leather. 

Cors, curse. 

Corsiare, courser, steed. 

Cote, cot, cottage. Item, coat. 

Coulde, cold. Item, could. 

Could be, was. Could dye, died (a 

Countie, count, earl. 

Coupe, a pen for poultry. 

Couth, could. 

Coyntrie, Coventry. 



Crancky or crancke, merry, spright 
ly, exulting. 

Credence, belief. 

Crevis, crevice, chink. 

Cricke, s. properly an ant : any 
small insect. 

Cristes cors, Christ's curse. 

Croivch, crutch. 

Clowch, clutch, grasp. 

Cryance, belief,/, creance. [Whence 
recreant.] But it seems (p. 35, ver. 
84) to signify ' fear,' /. crainte. 

Cum, s. come, came. 


Dampned, condemned. 

De, dey, dy, die. 

Deepe-fette, deep-fetched. 

Deid, s. dede, deed. Item, deed. 

Deip, s. depe, deep. 

Deir, s. deere, dere, dear. 

Dett, deal, part ; every dell, every 


Denay, deny (rhithmi gratia). 
Depured, purified, run clear. 
Descreeve, describe. 
Dig fit, decked, put on. 
Dill, dole, grief, pain. Dill Idrye, 

pain I suffer. Dill was dight, 

grief was upon him. 
Dint, stroke, blow. 
Dis, this. 

Discust, discussed. 
Dites, dities. 
Dochter, s. daughter. 
Dole, grief. 
Doleful dumps, sorrowful gloom ; 

or heaviness of heart. 
Dolours, dolorous, mournful. 
Doth, dothe, doeth, do. 
Doughte, doughete, doughetie, 

dowghtye, doughty, formidable. 
Doughetie, i.e. doughty man. 

Downae, s. am not able ; properly, 
cannot take the trouble. 

Doute, doubt. Item, fear. 

Doutted, doubted, feared. 

Dois, s. doys, does. 

Drap, s. drop. 

Dre, drie, suffer. 

Dreid, s. dreede, drede, dread. 

Dreips, s. drips, drops. 

Drovyers, drovers, such as drive 
herds of cattle, deer, &c. 

Dryvars, idem. 

Drye, suffer. 

Dryghnes, dryness. 

Duble Dyse, double (false) dice. 

Dughtie, doughty. 

Dule, s. dole, grief. 

Dyd, dyde, did. 

Dygkt, dight, dressed, put on, put. 

Dynte, dint, blow, stroke. 

Dysgysynge, disguising, masking. 


Eame, erne, nncle. 

Eathe, easy. 

Ee, s. eie, eye. Een, eyne, eyes. 

Ech, eche, eiche, elke, each. 

Ein, s. even. 

Eir, evir, s. e'er, ever. 

Eke, also. Eike, each. 

Eldern, s. elder. 

Eldridge, 1 Scotice 1 Elriche, Elritch, 
Elrische; wild, hideous, ghostly. 
Item, lonesome, uninhabited, 
except by spectres, &c. Gloss, to 
A. Ramsay. Elritcht-laugh, Gen. 
Shep. A. 5. See Burns' Death 
and Dr Hornbook. Ed. 

Elke, each. 

JSllumynynge, embellishing. To 
illumine a book was to ornament 
it with paintings in miniature. 

Ellyconys, Helicon's. 

1 In the Ballad of Sir Cawline, we have 'Eldridge Hills,' 'F.ldridge Knight,' 'Eldridpe 

Sword,' So Gawin Douglas calls the Cyclops, the ' Elriche Brethir,' i.e. brethren (b. ii. p. 

91, 1. 16.) and in his Prologue to b. vii. (p. 202, 1. 3.) he thus describes the Night-Owl. 
' Laithely of forme, with crukit camscho beik, 
Ugsome to here was his wyld elrische skreik.' 

Tn Bannatyne's MS. Poems, (fol. 135, in the Advocate's Library at Edinburgh) is a whimsical 
Rhapsody of a deceased old woman, travelling in the other world; in which 

' Scho wanderit, and zeid by, to an Elrich well.' 

Tn the Glossary to G. Douglas, Elriche, &c. is explained by 'Wild, hideous: Lat. Trux, 
immanis;' but it seems to imply somewhat more, as in Allan Ramsay's Glossaries. 



Endyed, dyed. 

Enharpid, &c. hooked, or edged 
with mortal dread. 

Enkankered, cankered. 

Envie, envye, malice, ill-will, in 

Erst, s. heretofore. 

Etermynable, interminable, unli 

JEverych-one, every-one. 


Fa, s. fall. 

Fach, feche, fetch. 

Fain, fayne, glad, fond. 

Faine offighte, fond of fighting. 

Faine, fayne, feign. 

Fals, false. Item, falleth. 

Fals, packinge, false dealing. 

Fare, pass. 

Farden, fared, flashed. 

Farley, wonder. 

Favlcone, faulcon. 

Fay, faith. 

Fayere, fair. 

Faytors, deceivers, dissemblers, 

Fe, fee, reward ; also, bribe. But 
properly Fee is applied to Lands 
and Tenements, which are held 
by perpetual right, and by ac 
knowledgment of superiority to 
a higher Lord. Thus, in fee, i#. 
feudal service. L. Feudum, &c. 

Feat, nice, neat. 

Featously, neatly, dextrously. 

Feere, fere, mate, companion. 

Feir, s.fere, fear. 

Fell, furious. 

Fendys pray, the prey of the 

Fersly, fiercely. 

Fesante, pheasant. 

Fette, fetched. 

Fetteled, prepared, addressed, made 
e, field. 

Finaunce, fine, forfeiture. 

Fit, fyt, fytte, part or division of a 
song. Hence (p. 58.) fttt is a 
strain of music. 

Flearing, laughing. 

Flyte, to contend with words, scold. 

Foo, foes. 

For, on account of. 

Forbode, commandment. Over 
God's forebode. [Prceter Dei 
prceceptum sit.] q.d. God forbid. 

Forefend, prevent, defend. 

Formare, former. 

Forthynketh, repenteth, vexeth, 

Forsede, regarded, heeded. 

Forst, forced, compelled. 

Fosters of the fe, foresters of the 
king's demesnes. 

Fou,fow, s. full ; also, fuddled. 

Fowarde or forwarde, vawarde, 
the van. 

Fre-bore, free-born. 

Freake, freke, freyke, man, person, 
human creature ; also, a whim 
or maggot. 

Freckys, persons. 

Frie, s. fre, free. 

Freits, s. ill omens, ill luck ; any 
old superstitious saw, or im 
pression. 1 

Fruward, forward. 

Fuyson, foyson, plenty ; also, sub 

Fykkill, fickle. 

Fyll, fell 

Fyr, fire. 


Gair, s. geer, dress. 

Gamon, to make game, to sport, 

also fight. A. S. Dameman, jocari. 

Hence Backgamon. 
Gane, gan, began. 
Garde, garred, made. 
Ganyde, gained. 
Gare, gar, s. make, cause; force, 

Gargeyld, from Gargouitte, f. the 

1 An ingenious correspondent in the north, thinks Freit is not ' an nnlucky omen,' but ' that 
thing which terrifies;' viz. Terrors will pursue them that look after frightful things. Fright 
is pronounced by the common people in the north, Freet, p. 99. 



spout of a gutter. The tower 

was adorned with spouts cut in 

the figures of greyhounds, lions, 

Garland, the ring, within which 

the prick or mark was set to be 

shot at. 

Gates, ways, passes. 
Gear, s. geer, goods. 
Getinge, what he had got, his plun 

der, booty. 

Geve, gevend, give, given. 
Gi, gie, s. give. 

> , - 
Gin, s. an, if. 
Give owre, s. surrender. 
Glede, a red-hot coal. 
Glent, glanced. 

Glose, set a false gloss, or colour. 
Gode, good. 
Goddes, goddess. 
Goggling eyen, goggle eyes. 
Gone, go. 

Gowd, s. gould, gold. 
Graine, scarlet. 
Gramarye, magic. 
Gramercye, i.e. I thank you. /. 

Graunge, granary; also, a lone 

Grea-hondes, grey-hounds. 
Grece, a step, a flight of steps. 
Greece, fat (a fat hart) from /, 


Grennyng, grinning. 
Gret, grat, great. 
Greves, groves, bushes. 
Grysely groned, dreadfully groaned. 
Groundwa, ground wall 
Growende, growynd, ground. 
Gude, guid, geud, s. good. 

Ha, hae, s. have. Item. hall. 
Habergeon, f. a lesser coat of mail. 
Hable, able. 
Hatched, halsed, saluted, embraced. 

fell on his neck ; from 
Halse, the neck; throat. 
Halesome, wholesome, healthy. 
Handbow,ihe long-bow, or common 

bow, as distinguished from the 

Hap or happe, chance. 

Haried, harried, haryed, harowed, 
robbed, pillaged, plundered. 'He 
harried a bird's nest.' Scot. 

Harlocke, perhaps Charlocke, or 
Wild Rape, which bears a yellow 
flower, and grows among corn, 

Harness, armour. 

Hartly lust, hearty desire. 

Hastarddis, perhaps 'Hasty rash 
fellows,' or, ' upstarts,' qu. 

Haviour, behaviour. 

Hauld, s. to hold. Item, hold, 

Hawberk or hawberke, a coat of 
mail, consisting of iron rings, 

Hayll, advantage, profit, (for the 
profit of all England), (p. 19, 
ver. 92). A.S. Heel, salus. 

He, hee, hye, high. 

He, hye, to hye, or hasten. 

Heal, hail. 

Hear, here. 

Heare, heares, hair, hairs. 

Hed, hede, head. 

Heere, hear. 

Hend, kind, gentle. 

Heir, s. here, hear. 

Hest, hast. 

Hest, command, injunction. 

Hether, hither. 

Heawyng, hewinge, hewing, hack 

Hewyne in to, hewn in two. 

Hi, hie, he. 

Hie, hye, he, hee, high. 

Hight, engage, engaged, promised, 
(also named, called). 

Hillys, hills. 

Hinde, hend, gentle. 

Hir, s. her. 

Hirsel, s. herself. 

Hit, it. 

Hoo, ho, an interjection of stop 
ping or desisting: hence stop 

Hode, hood, cap. 

Hole, whole ; holl, Idem. 

Holies, woods, groves. In Norfolk 
a plantation of cherry-trees is 



called a ' cherry-holt.' Also 
sometimes ' hills.' l 

Holy, wholly. Or perhaps hole, 

Horn, hem, them. 

Hondridth, hondred, hundred. 

Honge, hang, hung. 

Hontyng, hunting. 

Hoved, heaved ; or perhaps, hover 
ed, hung moving. (Gl. Chauc.) 
Hoved or hoven means in the 
north, 'swelled.' But Mr Lambe 
thinks it is the same as Houd, 
still used in the north, and ap 
plied to any light substance hea 
ving to and fro on an undulating 
surface. The vowel u is often 
used there for the conson. v. 

Hount, hunt. 

Hyghte, on high, aloud. 

/' feth, in faith. 

/ ween, (I think :) verily. 

/ wys, I wis, (I know :) verily. 

I wot, (I know:) verily. 

Iclipped, called. 

Iff, if- 

Jimp, s. slender. 

lid, I'd, I would. 

He, I'll, I will 

Ilka, s. every. 

Jm, him. 

In fere, I fere, together. 

Into, s. in. 

Intres, entrance, admittance. 

Jo, sweet-heart, friend. 

Jogelers, juglers. 

I-tuned, tuned. 

lye, eye. 

Is, is, his. 

Kail, call. 
Kan, can. 
Karls, carls, churls, karlis of kind, 

churls by nature. 
Kauld, called. 
Kawte and kenne, cautious and 

active, 1. cautus. 
Keepe, care, heed. 
Kempe, a soldier. 
Kemperye man, soldier, warrior, 

fighting-man. 2 
Kerns, s. combs. 
Ken, ken-st, know, knowest. 
Kepers, &c. (p. 144, ver. 37). Sc., 

those that watch by the corpse 

shall tye up my winding sheet. 
Kind, nature. 
Kit, cut. 
Kithe or kin, acquaintance, nor 

Knave, servant. 
Knicht, s. knight. 
Knights fee, such a portion of land 

as required the possessor to 

serve with man and horse. 
Knowles, knolls, little hills. 
Knyled, knelt. 
Kowarde, coward. 
Kuntrey, country. 
Kurteis, courteous. 
Kyrtill, kirtle, petticoat, gown. 

Laith, s. loth. 

Laithly, s. loathsome, hideous. 

Langsome, s. long, tedious. Lang, 

s. long. 

Lauch, lauched, s. laugh, laughed. 
Launde, lawn. 

1 Holtes seems evidently to signify Hills in the following passage from Turberville's 'Song 
and Sonnets,' 12mo. 1567, fol. 56. 

4 Te that frequent the hilles, 
And highest Holtes of all; 
Assist me with your skilfull quilles, 

And listen when I call.' 
As also in this other Verse of an ancient Poet. 

' Underneath the Holtes so hoar.' 

2 'Germanis Camp. Exercitum, aut Locum ubi Exercitus castrametatur, slgnificat: hide 
Ipsis Vir Castrensis et Militaris kemffer, et kempher, et kemper, et kimper, et kamper, pro 
varietate dialectorum, vocatur: Vocabulum hoc nostro sermone nondum penitus exolevit; 
Norfolcienses enim plebeio et proletario sermone dicunt ' He is a kemper old man, i.e. Senex 
Vegetusest:' Hinc Cimbris snum nomen: 'kimber enim Homo bellicosus, pugil, robustus 
miles, &c. significat.' Sheringham de Anglor. gentis orig. pag. 57. Rectius autem Lazius 
[apud eundem, p. 49.] ' Cimbros a hello quod kamff, et Saxonice kamp nuncupatos crediderim: 
unde bellatores viri Die Kempffer, Die Kemper." 



Lay-land, land that is not plowed: 


Lay- lands, lands in general. 
Layden, laid. 
Laye, law. 

Layne, lain, vid. leane. 
Ze<z??e,conceal,hide ; Item,lye,(qey). 
Leanyde, leaned. 
Lear'd, learned, taught. 
Lease, lying, falshood. Withouten 

lease, verily. 

Leasynge, lying, falshood. away, made captive. 
Lee, Lea, the field. 
Leeche, physician. 
Leechinge, doctoring, medicinal 


Leer or lere, look. 
Leeve London, dear London, an old 


Leeveth, believeth. 
Lefe, leeve, dear. 
Lefe, leave ; leves, leaves. 
Leive, s. leave. 

Leman, leaman, leiman, lover, mis 
tress. A.S. leifman. 
Lenger, longer. 
Lere, face, complexion, A.S, Weajie, 

facies, vultus. 
Lerned, learned, taught. 
Lesynge, leasing, lying, falshood. 
Let, hinder, hindred. 
Lettest, hinderest, detainest. 
Lettyng, hindrance, i.e. without 


Lever, rather. 
Leyre, lere, learning, lore. 
Lig, s. lie. 

Lightsome, chearful, sprightly. 
Lightile, quickly. 
Liked, pleased. 
Linde,tlae lime tree; or collectively, 

lime trees ; or trees in general. 
Lingell, a thread of hemp rubbed 

with rosin, &c. used by rustics 

for mending their shoes. 
List, as he pleased. 
Lists, selvages of woollen cloth. 
Lith, lithe, lythe, attend, hearken, 


Lither, idle, worthless, naughty, 

Liver, deliver. 

Liverance, (p. 227, ver. 59), deli 
verance, (money, or a pledge for 
delivering you up). 

Loke, lock of wool. 

Longes, belongs. 

Looset, losed, loosed. 

Lope, leaped. 

Loveth, love, plur. number. 

Lough, laugh. 

Louked, looked. 

Loun, s. lown, loon, rascal, from the 
Irish liun, slothful, sluggish. 

Louted, lowtede, bowed, did obey- 

Lowe, a little hill. 

Lurden, lurdeyne, sluggard, drone. 

Lynde, lyne. See Linde. 

Lyth, lyth e, lithsome, pliant, flexible, 
easy, gentle. 


Mahound, Mahowne, Mahomet. 

Majeste, maist, mayeste, may'st. 

Mair, s. mare, more. 

Makys, maks, mates. 1 

Male, coat of mail. 

Mane, man. Item, moan. 

March perti, in the Parts lying 

upon the Marches. 
March-pine, march-pane, a kind of 


Mast, maste, may'st. 
Masterye, mayestry, a tryal of skill, 

high proof of skill. 
Mauger, maugre, spite of. 
Maun, s, mun, must. 
May, maid, (rhythmi gratia). 
Mayd, mayde, maid. 
Mayne, force, strength, horse's 


Meany, retinue, train, company. 
Meed, meede, reward. 
Men of arms, gens d' armes. 
Meniveere, a species of fur. 

1 As the words Make and Mate were, in some rases, used promiscuously by ancient writers; 
so the words Cake and Cate seem to have been applied with the same indiffereney : this will 
illustrate that common English Proverb ' To turn Cat (i.e. Cate) in pan.' A Pan-Cake is in 
Northamptonshire still called a Pan-Cate. 



Merches, marches. 

Met, meit, s. mete, meet, fit, proper. 

Meyne, see Meany. 

Mickle, much. 

Minged, mentioned. 

Miscreants, unbehevers. 

Misdoubt, suspect, doubt 

Misken, mistake ; also in the Scot 
tish Idiom, "let a thing alone." 
(Mr Lambe). 

Mittens. See JBauzen's skinne. 

Mode, mood. 

Monynday, Monday. 

Mores brodinge, the wide moors. 

Mores, hills, wild downs. 

Morne, s. on the morrow. 

Mort, death of the deer. A Mori, 
the bugle blast on the occasion. 

Most, must. 

Mought, mot, mote, might. 

Mun, maun, s. must. 

Mure, mures, s. wild downs, heaths, 

Musis, muses. 

Mightte, mighty. 

Myllan, Milan steel. 

Myne-ye-ple, perhaps, many plies, 
or folds. Monyple is still used 
in this sense in the north (Mr 

Myrry, merry. 

Mysuryd, misused, applied to a 
bad purpose. 


Na, nae, s. no, none. 

Nams, names. 

Nar, nare, nor. Item, than, 

Nat, not. 

Nee, ne, nigh. 

Neigh him neare, approach him 


Neir, s. nere, ne'er, never. 
Neir, s. nere, near. 
Nicked him of naye, nicked him 

with a refusal 
Nipt, pinched. 
Nobles, nobless, nobleness. 
None, noon. 
Nourice, s. nurse. 
Nye, ny, nigh. 


Occupied, used. 

gin, s. if ! a phrase. 

On, one ; on man, one man ; one, 

Onfowghten,unfoughten, unfought. 

Or, ere, before. 

Or eir, before ever. 

Orisons, prayers. 

Ost, oste, oost, bost. 

Out ower, s. quite over, over. 

Out-horn, the summoning to arms, 
by the sound of a horn. 

Outrake, an out-ride, or expedition. 
To raik, s. is to go fast. Out- 
rake is a common term among 
shepherds ; when their sheep 
have a free passage from in 
closed pastures into open and 
airy grounds, they call it a good 
outrake (Mr Lambe). 

Oware of noon, hour of noon. 

Owre, owr, s. o'er. 

Owt, out. 

Pa, s. the river Po. 

Pagnim, Pagan. 

Palle, a robe of state. Purple and 
pall, i.e. a purple robe, or cloak, 
a phrase. 

Paramour, lover. Item, a mis 

Paregall, equal, 

Parti, party, a part. 

Paves, a pavice, a large shield that 
covered the whole body, /. pa- 

Pavilliane, pavillion, tent. 

Pay, liking, satisfaction : hence, 
well apaid, i.e. pleased, highly 

Peakish, rude. 

Peere, pere, peer, equal. 

Penon, a banner, or streamer born 
at. the top of a lance. 

Perde, verily. 

Perelous, parlous, perilous, dan 

Perfight, perfect. 

Perlese, peerless. 

Perte, part. 

Pertyd, parted* 



Play-feres, play-fellows. 

Plaining, complaining. 

Plea, pleading, controversy. 

Pleasance, pleasure. 

Pight, pyght, pitched. 

Pil'd, peeled, bald. 

Pine, famish, starve. 

Pious Chanson (p. 145), a godly 

song or ballad. 
Pite, pittye, pyte, pity. 
Pompal, pompous. 
Portres, porteress. 
Popingay, a parrot. 
Pow, pou, pow'd, s. pull, pulled. 
Pownes, pounds (rhythmi gratia). 
Prece, prese, press. 
Preced, presed, pressed. 
Prest, ready, or gathered. 
Prestly, prestlye, readily, quickly. 
Prickes, the mark to shoot at. 
Pricke-wand, a wand set up for a 


Pricked, spurred on, hasted. 
Prowes, prowess. 
Pry eke, the mark ; commonly a 

hazel wand. 
Pryme, day-break. 
Pulde, pulled. 

Quail, shrink. 

Quadrant, four-square. 

Quarry, in Hunting or Hawking, is 

the slaughtered game, &c. 
Quere, quire, choir. 
Quest, inquest. 
Quha, s. who. 
Quhan, s. when. 
Quhar, s. where. 
Quhat, s. what. 
Quhatten, s. what. 
Quhen, s. when. 
Quhy, s. why. 

Quyrry. See quarry above. 
Quyte, requited. 


Raine, reign. 

Rashing seems to be the old hunt 
ing term for the stroke made by 
a wild boar with his fangs. 

Rayne, reane, rain. 

Raysse, race. 

Reachles, careless. 

Rearing, leaning against. 

Reas, raise. 

Reave, bereave. 

Reckt, regarded. 

Reade, rede, advise, hit off. Read, 

Redouted, dreaded. 

Reek, s. smoke. 

Reid, s. rede, reed, red. 

Reid-roan, s. red-roan. 

Rekeles, recklesse, regardless, void 
of care, rash. 

Renish, renisht, perhaps a deriva 
tion from reniteo, to shine. 

Renn, run. 

Renyed, refused. 

Repoirte me, refer me. 

Rewth, ruth ; Rewe, pity. 

Riall, ryall, royal. 

Richt, s. right. 

Ride, make an inroad. 

Roche, rock. 

Roke, mist or stream. 

Ronne, ran ; Roone, run. 

Roode, cross, crucifix. 

Roufe, roof. 

Route, company. 

Routke, ruth, pity. 

Row, rowd, s. roll, rolled. 

Rowght, rout. 

Rowyned, round. 

Roivned, rowynd, whispered. 

Rues, ruethe, pitieth. 

Rushing, tearing off. 

Ryde (p. 220, ver. 40), i.e. made an 
inroad. Ryde, in p. 54, ver. 136, 
should probably be rise. 

Rydere, ranger. 

Rynde, rent. 

Sa, sae, s. so. 
Saif, s. safe. 

i Mr. Rowe's Edit, has 'The first Row of the Rubrick;' -which has been supposed by Dr 
Warburton to refer to the Red-lettered Titles of old Ballads. In the large Collection made by 
Mr Pepys, I do not remember to have seen one single Ballad with its title printed in Red 



Sail, s. shall. 

Sar, sair, s. sore. 

Sark, shirt, shift. 

Sat, sete, set. 

Savyde, saved. 

Saw, say, speech, discourse. 

Say, saw. 

Say us no harme, say no ill of us. 

Sayne, say. 

Scant, scarce. 

Scathe, hurt, injury. 

Schapped, perhaps swapped. Vid. 

Schip, s. ship. 

Scho, sche, she. 

Scheme, shone. 

Schoote, shot, let go. 

Schowte, schowtte, shout. 

Schrill, s. shrilL 

Se, s. see, sea, see. 

Seik, s. seke, seek. 

Sene, seen. 

Sertayne, sertenlye, certain, cer 

Setywall. See cetiwall. 

Shaws, little woods. 

Shear, entirely (penitus). 

Sheele, she'll, she will 

Sheene, shene, shining. 

Sheits, s. shetes, sheets. 

Shent, disgraced. 

Shimmering, shining by glances. 

Shoke, shookest. 

Shold, sholde, should. 

Shoen, s. shoone, shoes. 

Shote, shot. 

Shraddes, swards. 

Shrift, confession. 

Shroggs, shrubbs, thorns, briars. 
G. Doug, scroggis. 

Shulde, should. 

Shyars, shires. 

Sib, kin, akin, related. 

Side, long. 

Sic, sich, sick, s. such. 

Sik, sikti, such. 

Sied, s. saw. 

Siker, surely, certainly. 

Sigh-clout (sythe-clouf) a clout to 
strain milk through; a strain 
ing clout. 

Sith, since. 

Slade, a breadth of greensward be- 

. tween plough-lands, or woods, &c. 

Slaw, slew. 

Slean, slone, slane. 

Sle, slee, slay ; sleest, slayest. 

Sleip, s. slepe, sleep. 

Slo, sloe, slay. 

Slode, slit, split. 

Slone, slain. 

Sloughe, slew. 

Smithers, s. smothers. 

Salacious, affording recreation. 

Soldain, soldan, sowdan, Sultan. 

Soil, soulle, sowle, souL 

Sort, company. 

Soth-Ynglonde, South England. 

Soth, sothe, south, southe, sooth, 


Sould, s. should. 
Soudan, soudain, Sultan. 
Sowden, Sowdain, Sultan. 
Sowre, sour. 
Sowre, soare, sore. 
Sowter, a shoemaker. 
Soy, f. silk. 
Spak, spaik, s. spake. 
Sped, speeded. 
Speede, fortune or luck. 
Speik, s. speak. 
Spendyde, probably the same as 

spanned, grasped. 
Spere, speere, spear. 
Spill, spille, spoil, came to harm. 
Sprente, spurted, sprung out. 
Spurn, spume, a kick. See 


Spyde, spied. 
Spylt, spoiled, destroyed. 
Spyt, spyte, spite. 
Stabyle, perhaps stablish. 
Stalworthlye, stoutly. 
Stane, s. stean, stone. 
Stark, stiff, entirely. 
Steedye, steady. 
Steid, s. stede, steed. 
Stele, steel. 

Sterne, stern ; or, perhaps, stars. 
Sterris, stars. 
Sterte, start. 
Sterte, started, started. 
Stert, start, started. 
Steven, voice. 
Steven, time. 

Still, quiet, silent. 

Stint, stop, stopped. 
Stirande stage (p. 16, ver. 12). A 



friend interpreted this, 'many 
a stirring, travelling journey.' 

Stonderes, standers-by. 

Stondynge, standing. 

Siound, stownde, time, while. 

Stour, slower, fight, disturbance, 
&c. This word is applied in the 
north to signify dust agitated 
and put into motion : as by the 
sweeping of a room, &c. 

Streight, straight. 

Sirekene, stricken, struck. 

Stret, street. 

Strick, strict. 

Stroke, struck. 

Stude, s. stood. 

Styntyde, stinted, stayed, stopped. 

Suar, sure. 

Sum, s. some. 

Sumpters, horses that carry clothes, 
furniture, &c. 

Swapt, swapped, swopede, struck 
violently. Scot, sweap, to scourge 
(vid. gl. Gaw. Dougl.) Or per 
haps 'exchanged' sc. blows: so 
swap or swopp signifies. 

Swat, swatte, swotte, did sweat. 

Swear, sware. 

Sweard, sword. 

Sweaven, a dream. 

Sweit, s. swete, sweet. 

Swith, quickly, instantly. 

Swound, a swoon. 

Syd, side. 

Syde shear, sydis shear, on all sides. 

Syne, then, afterwards. 

Syth, since. 


Take, taken. 

Talents (p. 52, ver. 67), perhaps 
golden ornaments hung from her 
head, to the value of talents of 

Taine, s. tane, taken. 

Tear, (p. 13, ver. 166), this seems to 
be aproverb, ' That tearing or pull 
ing occasioned his spurn or kick. 

Teenefu\ s. full of indignation, 
wrathful, furious. 

Teir, s. tere, tear. 

Teene, tene, sorrow, indignation, 
wrath. Properly, injury, affront. 

Tenebrus, dark cloud. 

Tend, wait. 

Termagaunt, the god of the Sara 
cens. 1 

Thair, their. 

Thair, thare, there. 

Thame, s. them. Than, then. 

The, thee. Thend, the end. 

The, they. 

The wear, they were. 

Thear, ther, there. 

Thee, thrive; mote he thee, may he 

The fro, from thee. 

Ther, their. 

Therfor, therefore. 

Therto, thereto. Thes, these. 

Theyther- / u)ard, thither-ward, to 
wards that place. 

Thie, thy. Thowe, thou. 

Thouse, s. thou art. 

Throw, s. through. 

Thrall, captive, thraldom, capti 

Thrang, s. throng. 

Thre, thrie, s. three. 

Threape, to argue, to affirm, or as 
sert in a positive overbearing 

Thritte, thirty. 

Throng, hastened, 

Till, unto, entice. 

Tine, lose : tint, lost. 

To, too. Item, two. 

Ton, tone, the one. 

i The old French Romancers, who had corrupted termagant into tervagant, couple it with 
the name of Mahomet as constantly as ours; thus in the old Roman de Blanchardin, 
'Cy guerpison tuit Apolin, 
Et Mahomet et tervagant.' 

Hence Fontaine, with great humour, in his Tale, intituled; Le Fiancee du Roy de Gar be, says, 
'Et reniant Malr m, Jupin, et tervagant, 
Avec maint autre Dieu non moins extravagant.' 

Mem. del'Acad. des inscript. torn. 20, 4to. p. 352. 

As Termagant Is evidently of Anglo-Saxon derivation and can only be explained from the 
elements of that language, its being corrupted by the old French Romancers proves that they 
burrowed some things from ours. 



Torn, turn. 

Tow, s. to let down with a rope, 

Tow, towe, two. Twa, s. two. 

Towyn, town. 

Treytory, traitory, treachery. 

Tride, tryed. 

Trim, exact. 

Tron, a throne. 

Trothles. faithless. 

Trow, think, conceive, know. 

Trowthe, troth. 

Tru or trew, true. 

Tuik, s. took. 

Tul, s. till, to. 

Turn, such turn, such an occa 

Twinned, s. parted, separated, vid. 
G. Douglas. 

V U 

Ugsome, s. shocking, horrible. 

Verament, truly. 

Vices, (probably contracted for De 
vices), screws; or perhaps turn 
ing pins, swivels. An ingenious 
friend thinks a vice is rather ' a 
spindle of a press,' that goeth by 
a vice, that seemeth to move of 

Vilane, rascally. 

Undight, undecked, undressed. 

Unmacklye, mis-shapen. 

Unsett Steven, unappointed time, 

Untytt, unto, against. 

Voyded, quitted, left the place. 


Wacke, a spy. 

Wad, s. wold, wolde, would. 
Wae worth, s. woe betide. 
Wcdtering, weltering. 
Wande, pole. 

Wan, won. 

Wane, the same as ane, one: so 
wone, is one. 1 

War, aware. 

Ware, wary. 

Warldis, s. worlds. 

Waryson, reward. 

Wat, wot, know, am aware. 

Wat, s. wet. 

Wavde, waved. 

Wayward, froward, peevish. 

Weale, happiness, prosperity. 

Weal, wail. 

Wedous, widows. 

Weedes, clothes. 

Weel, we'll, we will. 

Weene, weerfd, think, thought. 

Weet, s. wet. 

Weil, s. wepe, weep. 

Wel-away, an interjection of grief. 

Wei of pile, source of pity. 

Weme, womb, belly, hollow. 

Wende, weened, thought. 

Wend, wends, go, goes. 

Werke, work. 

Westlings, western, or whistling. 

Whereas, where. 

Whig, sour milk. 

While, untill. 

Whoard, hoard. 

Whos, whoso. 

Whyttys, whilst. 

Wight, person, strong, lusty. 

Wighty, strong, lusty, active, 

Wightlye, vigorously. 

Witt, s. shall. 

Wilfulle, wandering, erring. 

Windling, s. winding. 

Winnae, s. will not. 

Winsome, s. agreeable, engaging. 

Wiss, know, wist, knew. 

Withouten, withoughten, without. 

Wo, woo, woe. 

Woe begone, lost in woe, over 
whelmed with grief. 

Won'd, wonrtd, dwelt. 

Wone, one. 

1 In fol. 355 of Bannatyne's MS. is a short fragment, in which 'wane' is used for ' ane ' or 
' one,' viz. 

' Amongst the Monsters that we find, 
There's wane belovved of woman-keind, 
Renowned for antiquity, 
From Adame drivs his pedigree.' 

VOL. I. T 



Wondersly, wonderly, wonder- 

Wode, wood, mad, wild. 

Wonne, dwell. 

Woodweele, or wodewale, (p. 66, ver. 
5,) the Golden Ouzle, a bird of the 
thrush-kind. Gloss. Chauc. The 
orig. MS. has here woodweete. 

Worsheply, honourably. 

Worths, worthy. 

Wot, know, wotes, knows. 

Wouch, mischief, evil, A.S. poh;, i.e. 
Wohg, malum. 

Wright, write. 

Wrang, s. wrung. 

Wreke, wreak, revenge. 

Wringe, contended with violence. 

Writhe, writhed, twisted. 

Wroken, revenged. 

Wronge, wrong. 

Wull, s. will. 

Wyght, strong, lusty. 

Wyghtye, the same. 

Wyld, wild deer. 

Wynde, wende, go. 

Wynne, joy. 

Wyste, knew. 

Y-cleped, named, called. 
Y-con'd, taught, instructed. 

Y-fere, together. 
Y-founde, found. . 
Y-picking, picking, culling, gather 

Y-slaw, slain. 
Y-were, were. 
Y-wis, verily. 
Y-wr ought, wrought. 
Yave, gave. 
Yate, gate. 
Ych, yche, each. 

Ychyseled, cut with the chizzel. 
Ychone, each one. 
Ydle, idle. 

Ye bent, y-bent, bent. 
Ye feth, y-feth, in faith. 
Tee, eye. 

Yenoughe, ynoughe, enough. 
Yeldyde, yielded. 
Yerarrchy, hierarchy. 
Yere, yeere, year, years. 
Yerle, yerlle, earl. 
Yerly, early. 
Yestreen, s. yester-evening. 

Yf, if- 

Ygnoraunce, ignorance. 

Yngglishe Ynglysshe, English. 

Ynglonde, England. 

Yode, went. 

Youe, you. 

Yt, it. 

Yth, in the. 








Percy, Thomas, Bp. of Dromore 

Reliques of ancient English