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What a playground was that orchard ! and what playfellows were mine ! Nancy, with her trim prettiness, my own dear father, handsomest and cheerfullest of men, and the great Newfoundland dog Coe, who used to lie down at my feet, as if to invite me to mount him, and then to prance off with his burthen, as if he enjoyed the fun as much as we did. Happy, happy days! It is good to have the memory of such a childhood ! to be able to call up past delights by the mere sight and sound of Chevy Chase or the Battle of Otterbourne.

And as time wore on the fine ballad of “King Estmere,” according to Bishop Percy, one of the most ancient in the collection, got to be amongst our prime favourites. Absorbed by the magic of the story, the old English never troubled us. I hope it will not trouble my readers. We, a little child, and a young country maiden, the daughter of a respectable Hampshire farmer, were no bad representatives in point of cultivation of the noble dames and their attendant damsels who had so often listened with delight to wandering minstrels in bower and hall. In one point, we had probably the advantage of them; we could read, and it is most likely that they could not. · For the rest every age has its own amusements; and these metrical romances, whether said or sung, may be regarded as equivalent in their day to the novels and operas of ours.

KYNG ESTMERE.

Hearken to me, gentlemen,

Come, and you shall heare ;
I'll tell you of two of the boldest brethren

That ever born y-were.

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The tone of them was Adler yonge,

The tother was King Estmere;
They were as bolde men in their deedes,
· As any were far and neare.
As they were drinking ale and wine,

Within Kyng Estmere's halle;
“When will ye marry a wyfe brothér ;

A wyfe to gladd us alle ?”
Then bespake him, Kyng Estmere,

And answered him hastilee:
“I knowe not that ladye in any lande,

That is able to marry with me." “King Adland hath a daughter, brother, ...

Men call her bright and sheene ;
If I were kyng here in your stead,

That ladye sholde be queen.”
Sayes, “Reade me, reade me, deare brother,

Throughout merry England ;
Where we might find a messenger,

Betweene us two to send ?”
Sayes, “ You shal ryde yourself, brother,

I'll bear you companée ;
Many through false messengers are deceived,

And I feare lest soe sholde we.”
Thus they renisht them to ryde,

Of twoe good renisht steedes,
And when they come to Kyng Adland's halle,
· Of red golde shone their weedes.
And when they come to Kynge Adland's halle,

Before the goodlye yate
There they found good Kyng Adland,

Rearing himself thereatt.
“ Now Christe thee save, good Kyng Adland,

Nowe Christe thee save and see !”
Said “ You be welcome, Kyng Estmere,

Right heartily unto me,”

“ You have a daughter,” said Adler yonge,

“Men call her bright and sheene,
My brother wold marry her to his wyfe,

Of England to be queene.”
“ Yesterday was at my deare daughter,

Syr Bremor the Kyng of Spayne :
And then she nicked him of naye,

I feare she'll do you the same.”
“ The Kyng of Spayn is a foule paynim, .

And 'lieveth on Mahound;
And pitye it were that fayre ladye,

Shold marry a heathen hound.”
“But grant to me,” says Kyng Estmere,

“For my love I you praye,
That I may see your daughter deare,

Before I goe hence awaye.”
Although itt is seven yeare and more

Syth my daughter was in halle,
She shall come downe once for your sake,

To glad my guestés all.”
Down then came that mayden fayre,

With ladyes laced in pall,
And half a hundred of bolde knightes,

To bring her from bowre to halle;
And eke as many gentle squieres,

To waite upon them all. [Scott has almost literally copied the four last lines of this stanza in the first canto of the “Lay of the Last Minstrel.” One of the many obligations that we owe to these old unknown poets, is the inspiration that Sir Walter drew from them, an inspiration to be traced almost aş frequently in his prose, as in his verse.]

The talents of golde were on her head sette

Hung lowe down to her knee ;
And every rynge on her smalle finger

Shone of the chrystall free.

Sayes, “ Christ you save, my deare madáme;"

Sayes, “Christ you save and see !”
Sayes, “You be welcome, Kyng Estmere,

Right welcome unto me.
“And iff you love me as you saye,

So well and heartilée;
All that ever you are comen about,

Soone sped now itt may bee."
Then bespake her father deare:

“My daughter, I saye naye;
Remember well the Kyng of Spayn,

What he sayd yesterdaye.
“He wolde pull down my balles and castles.

And reeve me of my lyfe;
And ever I feare that paynim kyng,

If I reeve hinı of his wyfe.”
“ Your castles and your towres, father,

Are stronglye built aboute;
And therefore of that foul paynim,

Wee neede not stande in doubte. “ Plyghte me your troth nowe, Kyng Estmere,

By Heaven and your righte hande, That you will marrye me to your wyfe,

And make me queen of your lande.”
Then Kyng Estmere, he plight his troth,

By Heaven and his right hand,
That he would marrye her to his wyfe,

And make her queen of his lande.
And he tooke leave of that ladye fayre,

To go to his own contree;
To fetch him dukes, and lordes, and knightes,

That marryed they might be.
'They had not ridden scant a myle,

A myle forthe of the towne,
But in did come the Kyng of Spayne,

With kem pés many a one.

But in did come the Kyng of Spayne,

With many a grimm baròné Tone day to marrye Kyng Adland's daughter,

Tother day to carrye her home.
Then she sent after Kyng Estmere,

In all the spede might bee,
That he must either returne and fighte,

Or goe home and lose his ladye.
One whyle then the page he went,

Another whyle he ranne ;
Till he had o'ertaken Kyng Estmere,

I wis he never blanne.
“ Tydinges! tydinges! King Estmere !"

“ What tydinges nowe, my boye ?” “Oh, tydinges I can tell to you,

That will you sore annoye.
“ You had not ridden scant a myle,

A myle out of the towne,
But in did come the Kyng of Spaynė,

With kempés many a one.
“ But in did come the Kyng of Spayne,

With many a bold baròne Tone day to marrye Kyng Adland's daughter,

Tother day to carry her home.
That ladye faire she greetes you well,

And evermore well, by me :
You must either turne again and fighte,

Or goe home and lose your ladye.”
Sayes, “ Reade me, reade me, deare brother,

My reade shall ryde at thee,
Which waye we best may turne and fighte,

To save this fayre ladye ?”
“ Now hearken to me,” sayes Adler yonge,

And your reade must rise at me, I quicklye will devise a waye,

To sette thy ladye free.

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