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Eut small pleasaunce took Little John

In all he heard and saw ;
Till he reached the cave of a hermit old

Who wonned within the shaw.



^1



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.

" Or a pro nobis/'' quoth Little John-
His Latin was somewhat rude —

" !N'oW; holy Father, hast thou seen
A frere within the wood ?



" By his scarlet hose, and his ruddy nose,
I guess you may know him well ;

And he wears on his head a hat so red,
And a monstrous scallop shell."

" I have served Saint Pancras," the hermit said,

" In this cell for thirty year,
Yet never saw I, in the forest bounds.

The face of such a frere !



tf



" An if ye find him, master mine.
E'en take an old man's advice.

And raddle him well, till he roar again,
Lest ye fail to meet him twice !"



" Trust me for that !" quoth Little John —

^' Trust me for that !" quoth he with a laugh,

'' There never was man of woman born,

That ask'd twice for the taste of my quarter-
staff!"




169



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



w



Then Little John, he strutted on,
'Till he came to an open bound,

And he was aware of a Eed Friar
Was sitting upon the ground.



His shoulders they were broad and strong,

And large was he of limb :
Few yeomen in the north countrie

Would care to mell with him.



He heard the rustling of the boughs.
As Little John drew near ;

But never a single word he spoke.
Of welcome or of cheer.



I like not his looks ! thought Little John,
[N'or his staff of the oaken tree.

IN'ow may our Lady be my help.
Else beaten I well may be !



'' What dost thou here, thou strong Friar,
In Sherwood's merry round.

Without the leave of Little John,
To range with hawk and hound ? "



^



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



^^ Small thought have I," quoth the E,ed Friar,

^' Of any leave, I trow.
That Little John is an outlawed thief.

And so, I ween, art thou !



V



'' Know, I am Prior of Copmanshurst,

And Eishop of London town,
And I bring a rope from our father the Pope,

To put the outlaws down."

Then out spoke Little John in wrath,

'^ I tell thee, burly frere,
The Pope may do as he likes at home,

Eut he sends no Eishops here !

'' IJp, and away, Eed Friar !" he said,
'^ Up, and away, right speedilie ;

'' An it were not for that cowl of thine,
Avenged on thy body I would be !"



4,



'' JN'ay, heed not that," said the Eed Friar,
*' And let my cowl no hindrance be ;

I warrant that I can give as good

As ever I think to take from thee !"



171



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.

Little John he raised his quarter- staiF,

And so did the burly priest,
And they fought beneath the greenwood tree,

A stricken hour at least.

Eut Little John was weak of fence,

And his strength began to fail.
Whilst the Friar's blows came thundering down,

Like the strokes of a threshing flail.



i



'' jSTow, hold thy hand, thou stalwart friar,

JN'ow rest beneath the thorn,
Until I gather breath enow,

Tor a blast at my bugle horn !"



" I '11 hold my hand," the Priar said,
'^ Since that is your propine,

Eut, an you sound your bugle horn,
I '11 even blow on mine !"



little John he wound a blast so shrill
That it rung o'er rock and linn.

And Charlie Wood and his merry men all
Came lightly bounding in.



==^^



\Ti



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.

The Friar he wound a blast so strong
That it shook both bush and tree,

And to his side came Witless Will
And Jem of I^etherbee ;

With all the worst of Eobin's band,
And many a Rapparee !

Little John he wist not what to do,

When he saw the others come ;
So he twisted his quarter-staff between

His fingers and his thumb.

** There 's some mistake, good Friar !" he said,
** There's some mistake 'twixt thee and me ;

I know thou art Prior of Copmanshurst,
But not beneath the greenwood tree.

*^ And if you will take some other name,
You shaU have ample leave to bide ;

With pasture also for your Bulls,

And power to range the forest wide."

'' There's no mistake !" the Friar said,
^' 1 11 call myself just what I please.

My doctrine is that chalk is chalk.

And cheese is nothing else than cheese."



w




THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



r



*' So be it tlieii !" qnotli Little John ;

^^ But surely you will not object,
If I and all my merry men

Should treat you with reserved respect ?






A;
mm




-^•ii^'^; Vi!,')l





THE BOOK OF BALLADS



(k



I



" We can't call you Prior of Copmanshurst,

^or Bishop of London town,
JN'or on the grass, as you chance to pass,

Can we very well kneel down.

'' But you '11 send the Pope my compHments,

And say, as a further hint.
That, within the Sherwood bounds, you saw
Little John, who is the son-in-law

Of his friend, old Mat- o'- the -Mint ! "

So ends this geste of Little John —

God save our noble Queen !
But, Lordlings, say — Is Sherwood now

What Sherwood once hath been ?




4



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^^^^^^^^^^^^^



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.







€tiE t\\\m nf lit jCuerdnt %^\h

i f Bgraii nf fksgnni.

By Mrs. E B B .

Theee 's a pleasant place of rest, near a City of the West,
Where its bravest and its best, find their grave.



I



\l



4



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.

Below the willows weep, and their hoary branches steep
In the waters still and deep,

^ot a wave !

And the old Cathedral Wall, so scathed and grey and
tall,
Like a priest surveying ^11, stands beyond.
And the ringing of its bell, when the ringers ring it well.
Makes a kind of tidal swell

On the pond !



And there it was I lay, on a beauteous summer's day,

"With the odour of the hay floating by ;
And I heard the blackbirds sing, and the bells demurely
ring.
Chime by chime, ting by ting,

Droppingly.

Then my thoughts went wandering back on a very beaten
track
To the confine deep and black of the tomb,
And I wondered who he was, that is laid beneath the



Where the dandelion has



Such a bloom.




Then I straightway did espy, with my slantly sloping eye,
A carved stone hard by, somewhat worn ;

And I read in letters cold — lleu.Ipts.Xauncelot.pe.lialtrt,
#ff . BC . race . oH. HSogik . oltr,

^lasgotD.tJornt.

1|e.fioaIs.ane»t)aIpaunt.iinpc]^te«maist.tnri{ikan.fpcf)tt. . .

Here the letters failed outright, but I knew
That a stout crusading lord, who had crossed the Jordan's
ford.
Lay there beneath the sward,

Wet with dew.

Time and tide they passed away, on that pleasant summer's
day.
And around me as I lay, all grew old :
Sank the chimneys from the town, and the clouds of vapour
brown
'No longer, like a crown.

O'er it rolled.



Sank the great Saint Eollox stalk, like a pile of dingy
chalk ;
Disappeared the cypress walk, and the flowers.
xVnd a donjon keep arose, that might baffle any foes,
"With its men-at-arms in rows.

On its towers.



^.



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



And the flag that flaunted there, showed the grim and
grizzly bear,
AYhich the Bogles always wear for their crest.
And I heard the warder call, as he stood upon the wall,
'' Wake ye up ! my comrades all,

From your rest !



I



^^Por by the blessed rood, there's a glimpse of armour
good
In the deep Cowcaddens wood, o'er the stream ;
And I hear the stifled hum, of a multitude that come,
Though they have not beat the drum

It would seem !

'^ Go teU it to my Lord, lest he wish to man the ford

With partizan and sword, just beneath ;
Ho, Gilkison and !N^ares ! Ho, Provan of Cowlairs !

We '11 back the bonny bears

To the death ! "



To the tower above the moat, like one who heedeth not,
Came the bold Sir Launcelot, half undressed ;

On the outer rim he stood, and peered into the wood,
With his arms across him glued

On his breast.




THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



h



And he muttered ^Toe accurst! hast thou dared to seek
me first ?
George of Gorbals, do thy worst — for I swear,
O'er thy gory corpse to ride^ ere thy sister and my bride,
From my undesevered side,

Thou shalt tear !



.J



'^ Ho ! herald mine, Erownlee ! ride forth, I pray, and see,
"Who, what, and whence is he, foe or friend !

Sir Eoderick Dalgleish, and my foster-brother ileish
"With his bloodhounds in the leash,

Shall attend."



Perth went the herald stout, o'er the drawbridge and with-
out,
Then a wild and savage shout rose amain.
Six arrows sped their force, and, a pale and bleeding corse.
He sank from off his horse

On the plain !



01



Eack drew the bold Dalgleish, back started stalwart JN'eish,

With his bloodhounds in the leash, from Erownlee.
^'Kow shame be to the sword that made thee knight and
lord.
Thou caitiff thrice-abhorred.

Shame on thee !




THE BOOK OE BALLADS.

" Ho, bowmen, bend your bows ! Discharge upon tbe
foes,
Forthwith no end of those heavy bolts.
Three angels to the brave who finds the foe a grave.
And a gallows for the slave

Who revolts !"

Ten days the combat lasted; but the bold defenders
fasted.
While the foemen, better pastied, fed their host ;
You might hear the savage cheers of the hungry Gorbaliers,
As at night they dressed the steers

For the roast.

And SirLauncelot grew thin, and Pro van's double chin
Showed sundry folds of skin down beneath ;

In silence and in grief found Gilkison relief,
JS'or did I^eish the spellword, beef,

Dare to breathe.



ml



To the ramparts Edith came, that fair and youthful dame.
With the rosy evening flame on her face.

She sighed, and looked around on the soldiers on the ground,
Who but little penance found,

Sajdng grace !



^^r<|^tg^ia*^-^



181



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.

And she said unto her lord, as he leaned upon his sword,
^* One short and little word may I speak ?

I cannot bear to view those eyes so ghastly blue,
Or mark the sallow hue

Of thy cheek !

*^ I know the rage and wrath that my furious brother hath

Is less against us both than at me.
Then, dearest, let me go to find among the foe

An arrow from the bow,

Like Erownlee ! "

'* I would soil my father's name, I would lose my
treasured fame,
Ladye mine, should such a shame on me light :
While I wear a belted brand, together still we stand,
Heart to heart, hand in hand !"

Said the knight.



" All our chances are not lost, as your brother and his
host
Shall discover to their cost rather hard !
Ho, Provan ! take this key — hoist up the Malvoisie,
And heap it, d' ye see,

In the yard.



THE BOOK OP BALLADS.



^^ Of usquebaugh and rum, you will iind I reckon some,

Besides the beer and mum, extra stout ;
Go straightway to your tasks, and roll me all the casks,

As also range the flasks.

Just without.

^^ If I know the Gorbaliers, they are sure to dip their ears

In the very inmost tiers of the drink.
Let them win the outer-court, and hold it for their sport,

Since their time is rather short,

I should think !"



s



With a loud triumphant yell, as the heavy drawbridge
fell,
Eushed the Gorbaliers peU-mell, wild as Druids ;
Mad with thirst for human gore, how they threatened and
they swore,
Till they stumbled on the floor,

O'er the fluids !



Down their weapons then they threw, and each savage
soldier drew
From his belt an iron screw, in his fist :
George of Gorbals found it vain their excitement to
restrain.
And indeed was rather fain

To assist.



si



1



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.

With a beaker in his hand, in the midst he took his stand,

And silence did command, all below —
^' Ho ! Launcelot the bold, ere thy lips are icy cold.

In the centre of thy hold,

Pledge me now !






^^ Art surly, brother mine ? In this cup of rosy wine,

I drink to the decline of thy race !
Thy proud career is done, thy sand is nearly run,

^NTever more shall setting sun

Gild thy face !

'^ The pilgrim in amaze, shall see a goodly blaze.

Ere the pallid morning rays flicker up.
And perchance he may espy certain corpses swinging
high!
What, brother ! art thou dry ?

Eill my cup !"

Dumb as death stood Launcelot, as though he heard him
not,
But his bosom Proyan smote, and he swore :
And Sir Roderick Dalgleish, remarked aside to JSTeish,
'' ]N"ever sure did thirsty fish

Swallow more ! "




184



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.

^' Thirty casks are nearly done, yet the revel's scarce
begun,
It were knightly sport and fun to strike in !"
'^ l^aj, tarry till they come," quoth JN'eish, ^^unto the
rum —
They are working at the mum,

And the gin ! "

Then straight there did appear to each gallant Gorbalier

Twenty castles dancing near, all around,
The solid earth did shake, and the stones beneath them
quake.
And sinuous as a snake

Moved the ground.

Why and wherefore they had come, seemed intricate to
some,
But all agreed the rum was divine.
And they looked with bitter scorn on their leader highly
born.
Who preferred to fill his horn

Up with wine !



Then said Launcelot the tall, " Bring the chargers from
their stall ;
Lead them straight unto the hall, down below :



m




i



^



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



Draw your weapons from yoiir side, fling the gates asunder
wide,
And together we shall ride

On the foe!"



i



Then Provan knew full well as he leaped into his selle,
That few would 'scape to tell how they fared,

And Gilkison and ^ares, both mounted on their mares,
Looked terrible as bears,

All prepared.

"With his bloodhounds in the leash, stood the iron- sine wed
E'eish,
And the falchion of Dalgleish glittered bright —
*^ Kow, wake the trumpet's blast; and, comrades, follow
fast ;
Smite them down unto the last !"

Cried the knight.



In the cumbered yard without, there was shriek, and yell,
and shout.
As the warriors wheeled about, all in mail.
On the miserable kerne, fell the death- strokes stiff and
stern.
As the deer treads down the fern.

In the vale !



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



w



Saint Mungo be my guide ! It was goodly in that tide

To see the Bogle ride in his haste ;
He accompanied each blow, with a cry of ^'IIa!"or
^^Ho!"
And always cleft the foe

To the waist.



" George of Gorbals — craven lord! thou didst threat me
with the cord,
Gome forth and brave my sword, if you dare ! "
Eut he met with no reply, and never could descry
The glitter of his eye

Anywhere.

Ere the dawn of morning shone, all the Gorbaliers were
down,
Like a field of barley mown in the ear :
It had done a soldier good, to see how Provan stood,
"With JN'eish all bathed in blood.

Panting near.

" ISTow ply ye to your tasks — go carry down those casks.

And place the empty flasks on the floor.
George of Gorbals scarce will come, with trumpet and
with drum.
To taste our beer and rum

Any more !"




187



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



So they plied them to their tasks, and they carried down
'^^ the casks,

And replaced the empty flasks on the floor ;
But pallid for a week was the cellar-master's cheek,
For he swore he heard a shriek

Through the door.

When the merry Christmas came, and the Yule-log lent its
flame
To the face of squire and dame in the hall.
The cellarer went down to tap October brown,
Which was rather of renown

'Mongst them all.

He placed the spigot low, and gave the cask a blow.

But his liquor would not flow through the pin.
^^ Sure, 'tis sweet as honeysuckles ! " so he rapped it with
his knuckles.
But a sound, as if of buckles.

Clashed within.



^' Bring a hatchet, varlets, here ! " and they cleft the cask 3t

of beer :
rjl What a spectacle of fear met their sight !



188



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.

There George of Gorbals lay, scull and bones all blanched
and grey,
In the arms he bore the day

Of theii^ht!






I have sung this ancient tale, not, I trust, without avail,
Though the moral ye may fail to perceive,

Sir Launcelot is dust, and his gallant sword is rust,
And now, I thinly, I must

Take my leave !




Vll



it



IS'J



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.







I



€^ t^ nf tljB tnn'^ Mnk



[Air—" The days we went a gipsying."



I WOULD all womankind were dead,
Or banished o'er the sea ;

Por they have been a bitter plague
These last six Aveeks to me :



THE BOOK OE BALLADS.

It is not that I ' m touclied myself,

For that I do not fear ;
ISTo female face hath shown me grace
For many a bygone year.

But 't is the most infernal bore,

Of all the bores I know,
To have a friend who 's lost his heart
A short time a^^o.



m



«'



Whene'er we steam it to Black wall.

Or down to Greenwich run,
To quaff the pleasant cider cup,

And feed on fish and fun ;
Or climb the slopes of Eichmond Hill,

To catch a breath of air :
Then, for my sins, he straight begins
To rave about his fair.

Oh, 'tis the most tremendous bore.

Of all the bores I know,
To have a Mend who 's lost his heart
A short time ago.






J



In vain you pour into his ear
Your own confiding grief ;

In vain you claim his sympathy,
In vain you ask relief ;




r



'11



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.

In vain you try to rouse him by

Joke, repartee, or quiz ;
His sole reply 's a burning sigh,
And ^' What a mind it is ! "

Lord ! it is the greatest bore,

Of all the bores I know.
To have a friend who 's lost his heart
A short time ago.

I 've heard her thoroughly described

A hundred times, I 'm sure ;
And all the while I 've tried to smile.

And patiently endure ;
He waxes strong upon his pangs,

And potters o'er his grog ;
And still I say, in a playful way —
*' Why you 're a lucky dog ! "
But oh ! it is the heaviest bore,

Of all the bores I know,
To have a friend who's lost his heart
A short time ago.

I really wish he 'd do like me

When I was young and strong ;

I formed a passion every week.
But never kept it long.



m
w



I



^-^^^^



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



But he has not the sportive mood

That always rescued me,

And so I would all women could

Be banished o'er the sea.

For 't is the most egregious bore,

Of all the bores I know,
To have a friend who 's lost his heart
A short time ago.



!





TO BON GAULTIER.

Arol'mext.— An impassioned pupil of Leigh Hunt, having met Bon Gaultier at
a Fancy Ball, declares the destructive consequences thus.]



Didst thou not praise me, Gaultier, at the ball,
Ripe lips, trim boddice, and a waist so small,
With clipsome lightness, dwindling ever less,
Eeneath the robe of pea-y greeniness r
Dost thou remember, when with stately prance.
Our heads went crosswise in the country dance ;



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.

How soft, warm fingers, tipp'd like buds of balm,
Trembled within the squeezing of thy palm ;
And how a cheek grew flush'd and peachy-wise
At the frank lifting of thy cordial eyes ?
Ah, me! that night there was one gentle thing,
Who, like a dove, with its scarce -feather d wing,
riutter'd at the approach of thy quaint swaggering !



There 's wont to be, at conscious times like these,
An aifectation of a bright-eyed ease,—
A crispy-cheekiness, if so I dare
Describe the swaling of a jaunty air ;
And thus, when swirling from the waltz's wheel.
You craved my hand to grace the next quadrille,
That smiling voice, although it made me start,
Boil'd in the meek o'erlifting of my heart ;
And, picking at my flowers, I said with free
And usual tone, '' Oh yes, sir, certainly ! "



f



Like one that swoons, 'twixt sweet amaze and fear,

I heard the music burning in my ear.

And felt I cared not, so thou wert with me,

If Gurth or Wamba were our vis-a-vis.

So, when a taU Knight Templar ringing came.

And took his place against us with his dame.




'h



*:)



W



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.

I neither turned away, nor bashful shrunk
Prom the stern survey of the soldier-monk,
Though rather more than full three-quarters drunk ;
Eut threading through the figure, first in rule,
I paused to see thee plunge into La Poule.

Ah, what a sight was that ? Not prurient Mars,

Pointing his toe through ten celestial bars —

Not young Apollo, beamily array 'd

In tripsome guise for Juno's masquerade —

Not smartest Hermes, with his pinion girth.

Jerking with freaks and snatches down to earth,

Look'd half so bold, so beautiful, and strong.

As thou, when pranking thro' the glittering throng !

How the calm'd ladies look'd with eyes of love

On thy trim velvet doublet laced above ;

The hem of gold, that, like a wavy river,

Plowed down into thy back with glancing shiver !

So bare was thy fine throat, and curls of black

So lightsomely dropp'd on thy lordly back,

So crisply swaled the feather in thy bonnet,

So glanced thy thigh, and spanning palm upon it.

That my weak soul took instant flight to thee,

Lost in the fondest gush of that sweet witchery !

But when the dance was o'er, and arm in arm,
(The full heart beating 'gainst the elbow warm,)



f



196



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.

We pass'd into the great refreshment hall,

Where the heap'd cheese-cakes and the comfits small

Lay, like a hive of sunbeams, brought to burn

Around the margin of the negus urn ;

When my poor quivering hand you finger' d twice,

And, with enquiring accents, whisper' d ^'Ice,

Water, or cream ? " T could no more dissemble,

But dropp'd upon the couch all in a tremble.

A swimming faintness misted o'er my brain,

The corks seem'd starting from the brisk champagne,

The custards fell untouch' d upon the floor,

Thine eyes met mine. That night we danced no more !



I



t




-SI



M



197



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



-<Ur



%[




w



i f rgf nJr nf tIjB lns|iinrriis.

How beauteous is the star of night

Within the eastern skies,
Like the twinkling glance of the Toorkman's lance,

Or the antelope's azure eyes !
A lamp of love in the heaven above,

That star is fondly streaming ;
And the gay kiosk and the shadowy mosque

In the Golden Horn are gleaming.



M



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.

Young Leila sits in her jasmine bower,

And she hears the bulbul sing,
As it thrills its throat to the first full note,

That anthems the flowery spring.
She gazes still, as a maiden will,

On that beauteous eastern star:
You might see the throb of her bosom's sob

Beneath the w^hite cymar !

She thinks of him who is far away, —

Her own brave Galiongee, —
Where the billows foam and the breezes roam,

On the wild Carpathian sea.
She thinks of the oath that bound them both

Eeside the stormy water ;
And the words of love, that in Athens' grove

He spake to the Cadi's daughter.






m



W



i



-' My Selim I " thus the maiden said,

^' Though severed thus we be,
By the raging deep and the mountains' steep,

My soul still yearns to thee.
Thy form so dear is mirror' d here

In my heart's pellucid well.
As the rose looks up to Phingari's orb,

Or the moth to the gay gazelle



199



THE BOOK OF BAILADS.



^S?



i



'^ I think of the time, when the Kaftan's crime

Our love's young joys o'ertook,
And thy name still floats in the plaintive notes

Of my silver-toned chibouque.
Thy hand is red with the blood it has shed,

Th)^ soul it is heav}^ laden ;
Yet come, my Giaour, to thy Leila's bower ;

Oh, come to thy Turkish maiden ! "



A light step trode on the dewy sod,

And a voice was in her ear.
And an arm embraced young Leila's waist —

^^ Beloved ! I am here ! "
Like the phantom form that rules the storm,

Appeared the pirate lover,
And his fiery eye was like Zatanai,

As he fondly bent above her.

*' Speak, Leila, speak ! for my light caique
it; Eides proudly in yonder bay ;

I have come from my rest to her I love best,

To carry thee, love, away.
The breast of thy lover shall shield thee, and cover

My own jemscheed from harm ;
Think" st thou I fear the dark vizier,

Or the mufti's vengeful arm ?



300



iir^jo ■r~:^g^^



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.



'11



'^ Then droop not, love, nor turn away

From this rude hand of mine ! "
And Leila looked in her lover's eyes,

And murmured — ^' I am thine ! "
Eut a gloomy man with a yataghan

Stole through the acacia blossoms,
And the thrust he made with his gleaming blade

Hath pierced through both their bosoms.

" There ! there ! thou cursed caitiff Giaour !

There, there, thou false one, lie ! "
Remorseless Hassan stands above,

And he smiles to see them die.
They sleep beneath the fresh green turf,

The lover and the lady —
And the maidens wail to hear the tale

Of the daughter of the Cadi I




201



THE BOOK OF BALLADS.






I

i




The minarets wave on the plain of Stamboul,

And the breeze of the evening blows freshly and cool ;

The voice of the musnud is heard from the west,

And kaftan and kalpac have gone to their rest,

The notes of the kislar re-echo no more,

And the waves of Al Sirat fall light on the shore.



"Where art thou, my beauty ; where art thou, my bride ?

Oh, come and repose by thy dragoman's side ! (I


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Online LibraryTheodore MartinThe book of ballads → online text (page 6 of 9)