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“My mother was a western woman,
And learned in gramaryé,
Something she taught itt me. “ There groweth an hearbe within this fielde,
And iff it were but known,
It will make blacke and browne.
It will make redde and whyte; That sworde is not all Englánde,
Upon his coate will byte.
Out of the north countrée ;
To beare your harpe by your knee. “ And you shall be the best harper,
That ever took harp in hand, And I will be the best singer,
That ever songe in the land.
All and in gramaryé,
That are in all Christentye.”
On twoe good renisht steedes,
Of redd gold shone their weedes.
Untill the fayre hall yate,
Rearing himselfe thereatt.
Sayes, “ Christ thee save and see.” “ Now you be welcome,” sayd the portér,
“Of what land soever ye be.”
“ We been harpers," sayd Adler yonge,
“Come out of the north countrée ; We been come bither untill this place,
This proud wedding for to see.”
As it is blacke and browne,
Were comen until this towne."
Layd it on the porter's arme,
Thou wilt say us no harme.”
And sore he handled the ryng,
He lett for no kind of thyng.
Up at the fayre hall board;
Light on Kyng Bremor's beard.
Go stable him in the stalle ;
To stable him in a kyng's halle."
“He will do nought that's meete, And aye that I could but find the man,
Were able him to beate." “Thou speakest proud wordes,” sayd the paynim kyng,
“Thou harper, here to me; There is a man withiu this halle,
That will beate thy ladd and thee." “O lett that man come down," he sayd,
“A sight of him wolde I see, And when he hath beaten well my ladd,
Then he shall beate of mee.”
Down then came the kemperye man,
And looked him in the eare,
He durst not neigh him neare.
“ And how nowe, kempe," sayd the Kyng of Spayn,
“ And now what aileth thee?”
All, and in gramaryé,
I dare not neigh him nye.”
Kyng Estmere then pulled forth his harpe,
And played thereon so sweete, Upstarte the ladye from the kyng,
As he sate att the meate.
“ Now staye thy harpe, thou proud harper,
Now staye thy harpe I saye;
Thou'lt till my bride awaye.”
He struck upon his harpe agayne,
And playde both fair and free ; The ladye was so pleased thereatt,
She laughed loud laughters three.
“Now sell me thy harpe,” said the Kyng of Spayn,
“Thy harpe and stryngs eche one, And as many gold nobles thou shalt have,
As there be stryngs thereon."
“And what wolde ye doe with my harpe ?” he sayd,
“If I did sell it yeep“ To playe my wyfe and I a fitt,
When we together be."
“Nowe sell me, Sir Kyng, thy bryde soe gay,
As she sits laced in pall,
As there be ryngs in the hall."
“ And what wolde ye doe with my bryde soe gay
Iff I did sell her yee?”—
To wed with me than thee."
And Adler he did syng;
No harper, but a kyng.
As playnlye thou mayst see;
Who parts thy love and thee.”
And blusht and lookt agayne,
And hath Sir Bremor slayne.
And loud they gan to crye :
And therefore ye shall dye.”
And swith he drew his brand ;
Right stiff in stour can stand,
Through help of gramarye,
Or forst them forth to flee.
And married her to his wyfe,
With her to leade his lyfe.
I must not, however, attempt to quote more of those fine old ballads here: the feuds of the Percy and the Douglas would take up too much space ;
so would the Loves of King Arthur's Court, and the Adventures of Robin Hood. Even the story of the Heir of Lynne must remain untold ; and I must content myself with two of the shortest and least hacknied poems in a book that for great and varied interest can hardly be surpassed. “The Lie,” is said to have been written by Sir Walter Raleigh the night before his execution. That it was written at that exact time is pretty well disproved by the date of its publication in “ Davidson's Poems," before Sir Walter's death; it is even uncertain that Raleigh was the author; but that it is of that age is beyond all doubt; so is its extraordinary beauty-a beauty quite free from the conceits which deform too many of our finest old lyrics.
Go, Soul, the body's guest,
Upon a thankless errand ;
Go tell the Court it glows
And shines like rotten wood;
If Church and Court reply,
Tell potentates they live
Acting by others' actions,
If potentates reply,