Thomas Percy.

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 (Volume 1) online

. (page 24 of 40)
Online LibraryThomas PercyReliques of ancient English poetry : consisting of old heroic ballads, songs, and other pieces of our earlier poets ; together with some few of later date (Volume 1) → online text (page 24 of 40)
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the castle of Lough-leven, then belonging to William Douglas. All
the writers of that time assure us that Hector, who was rich before, fell
shortly afterwards into poverty, and became so infamous, that to take
Sector'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 Lough-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 Northumber-
land's friendship, the abandoning this unhappy nobleman to inevitable
destruction was deemed an ungrateful and mercenary act" Robertson's

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 Lough-leven, had suffered death for the pretended
crime of witchcraft ; who, it is presumed, is the witch lady ulluded to
in f. 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 aro
nearly the same with what in that MS. are made to begin another
ballad on the escape of the Earl of Westmoreland, who got safe into
Flanders, and is feigned in the ballad to have undergone a great variety
rf 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 ?

" To fall from my bliss, alas the while 1 5

It was my sore and lieavye lott :
And 1 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 dwell eth on the Border side,

To him I'll goe right privilie."

Thus did the noble Percy 'plaine,

With a heavy heart and wel-away,
When he with all his gallant men 15

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 erle,

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 earle,

Here thou shalt safelye bide with mee."


When he had in Lough-leven been

Many a month and many a day, 30

To the regent l the lord warden 2 sent,

That banisht erle for to betray.

He offered him great store of gold,

And wrote a letter fair to see,
Saying, " Good my Lord, grant me my boon, 35

And yield that banisht man to mee."

Erie 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 ?
To-morrow a shootinge will bee held

Among the lords of the North countrye.

" The butts are sett, the shooting's made, 45

And there will be great royaltye ;
And I am sworne into my bille,

Thither to bring my Lord Percye."

" I'll give thee my hand, thou gentle Douglas,

And here by my true faith," quoth hee, 50

" If thou wilt ride to the worldes end
I will ryde in thy companye."

And then bespake a lady faire,

Mary a Douglas was her name ;
" You shall bide 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 3

Into England nowe to liver thee." 60

1 James Douglas, Earl of Morton, elected regent of Scotland Nov. 24,

2 Of one of the English Marches. Lord Hunsden.
* Of the Earl of Morton, the regent.


a 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.

" Between England and Scotland it wold breake truce,
And friends againe they wold never bee, 70

If they shold 'liver a banisht erle,
Was driven out of his own countrie."

"Alas! alas! my Lord," she sayes,

" Nowe mickle is their traitorie ;
Then lett my brother ryde his wayes, 75

And tell those English lords from,

" How that you cannot with him ryde,

Because you are in an ile of the sea,*
Then ere my brother come againe,

To Edenborrow castle 5 J le carry thee. 80

" To the Lord Hume I will thee bring ;

He is well knowne a true Scots lord,
And he will lose both land and life,

Ere he with thee will break his word."

" Much is my woe," Lord Percy sayd, 85

" When 1 thinke on my own countrie,
Wlien I thinks on the heavye happe

My friends have suffered there for nice.

" Much is my woe," Lord Percy sayd,

" And sore those wars my minde distresse ; 90

Where many a wid w lost her mate,

And many a child was fatherlesse.

4 . e. Lake of Leven, which hath communication with the sea.
* At that time in the hands of the opposite faction.


" 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'll give me no trust, my Lord,

Nor unto mee no credence yield,
Yet step one moment here aside,

lie showe you all your foes in field."

" Lady, I never loved witchcraft, 105

Never dealt in privy wyle ;
Eut evermore held the high-waye

Of truth and honours, free from guile."

" If you'll not come yourselfe, my Lorde,

Yet send your chamberlaine with mee, 110

Let me but speak three words with him,
And he shall come again to thee."

James Swynard with that lady went,

She showed him through the weme of her ring

How many English lords there were 115

Waiting for his master and him.

" And who walkes yonder, my good lady,

So royallye on yonder greene ? "
" O yonder is the Lord Hunsden : 6

Alas ! he'll doe you drie and teene." 120

" And who beth yonder, thou gay ladye,
That walkes so proudly him beside ? "

" That is Sir William Drury," 7 shee sayd,
" A keene captaine hee is and tryde."

" How many miles is itt, madame, 125

Betwixt yond English lords and mee ? "

" Marry it is thrice fifty miles,
To saile to them upon the sea.

The Lord Warden of the East Marches. 7 Governor of Berwick.


* I never was on English ground,

Ne never sawe it with mine eye, 130

But as my book it sheweth mee,

And through my ring I may descrye.

" My mother shee was a witch ladye,

And of her skille she learned mee ;
She wold let me see out of Lough-leven 135

What they did in London citie."

" But who is yond, thou lady faire,

That looketh with sic an austerne face 9"

" Yonder is Sir John Foster," 8 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 woo ;
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'll 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 ladie :
Sayes, " It was all that I cold save,

In Harley woods where I cold bee." 9 160

" And wilt thou goe, thou noble Lord ?

Then farewell truth and honestie,
And farewell heart, and farewell hand,

For never more I shall thee see."

Warden of the middle March. i. e. Where I was : ac ancient idiom.


The wind was faire, the boatmen call'd, 165

And all the saylors were on horde ;
Then William Douglas took to his boat,

And with him went that noble lord.

Then he cast up a silver wand,

Says, Gentle lady, fare thee well ! " 170

The lady fett a sigh soe deep,

And in a dead swoone down shee fell.

" Now let us goe back, Douglas," he sayd,
" A sickness hath taken yond faire ladle ;

If ought befall yond lady but good, 175

Then blamed for over 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 ladie." 180

" If you'll not turne yourself, my Lord,

Let me goe with my chamberlaine ;
We will but comfort that faire lady,

And wee will return to you againe."

" Come on, come on, my Lord," he sayes, 185

" Come on, come on, and It t her bee ;

My sister is craftye, and wold beguile
A thousand such as you and mee."

When they had sayled 1 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 foolcs faine,
And that by thee and thy lord is seen ;

You may hap to think itt soon enough, 195

Ere you that shooting reach, I ween."

1 There is no navigable otream between Lough-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 fayle ;

He did it but to prove thy heart,
To see if he cold make it quail."

When they had other fifty sayld, 205

Other fifty mile upon the sea,
Lord Percy called to Douglas himselfe,

Sayd, " What wilt thou nowe doe with mee ? "

" 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 fharpe,
That you may pricke her while she'll a.vay."

" What needeth this, Douglas ? " he sayth ;

" What needest thou to flyte with mee V
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 he hath my spurres,

And all the geere belongs to mee." 220

When they had sayled other fifty mile,

Other fifty mile upon the sea,
They landed low by Berwicke side,

A deputed ' laird ' landed Lord Percye.

Then he at Yorke was doomde to dye, 225

It was, alas ! a sorrowful sight ;
Thus they betrayed that noble earle,

Who ever was a gallant wight.

. 224. fol. MS. reads land, and has not the following stanza


fflfo fHt'ntt to me a Bmgttom te.

This excellent philosophical song appears to have been famous in the
sixteenth century. It is quoted by Ben Jonson in his play of Ever$
Man out of His humour, first acted in 1599, act i. sc. 1, where an im-
patient person says,

" I am no such pil'd cynique to believe
That beggery is tb<* 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, entitled
u Psalmes, Sonets, and Songs of Sadness and Pietie made into Musicke
of five parts, &c. By William Byrd, one of the Gent, of the Queenes
Majesties Honorable Chappell. Printed by Thomas East," &c., 4to, no
date : but Ames, in his Typog., has mentioned another edition 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 letier, in the
Pepys Collection, thus inscribed, " A sweet and pleasant Sonet, intitled
My Mind 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

MY ininde 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 liave 6

Yet still my mind forbids to crave.

Content I live, this is my stay ;

I seek no more than may suffice ;
I presse to beare no haughtie sway :

Look, what I lack my mind supplies. 10

Loe ! thus I triumph like a king,
Content with that my mind doth bring.

I see how plentie surfets oft,

And hastie clymbers soonest fall ;
I see that such as sit aloft 15

Mishap doth threaten most of all ;


These get with toile, and keep with feare ;
Such cares my mind could never beare.

No princely pompe, nor welthie store,

No force to winne the victorie, 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 dispiseth 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. 30

I laugh not at auothers losse,

I grudge not at anothers gaine ;
No worldly wave my mind can tosse,

I brooke that is anothers bane.
I feare no foe, nor fawne on friend ; 35

I loth not life, nor dread mine end.

I joy not in no earthly blisse ;

I weigh not Cresus' welth a straw ;
For care, I care not what it is ;

I feare not fortunes fatall law. 40

My mind is such as may not move
For beautie 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 ; 15

In greatest stormos I sitte on shore,
And laugh at them that toile in vaine
To get what must be lost againe.

I kisse not where 1 wish to kill ;

I faine not love where most I hate ; 50

I breake no sleep to winne my will ;

I wayte not at the might ies gate ;
1 scorne no poore, I feare no rich ;
1 feele no want, nor have too much.

VOL. 1. f


The court, ne cart, I like, ne loath ; 55

Extreames are counted worst of all ;

The golden meane betwixt them both
Doth surest sit, and fears no fall.

This is my choyce, for why I finde

No wealth is like a quiet minde. 60

My welth is health, and perfect ease ;

My conscience clere my chiefe defence;
I never seeke by brybcs to please,

Nor by desert to give offence.

Thus do I live, thus will I die ; 65

Would all did so as well as 1 1


Cf)c $attmt Counted.

The subject of this tale is taken from that entertaining colloquy of
Erasmus entitled, Uxor Me/uKTo/uos, sive Conjugium: which has been
agreeably modernised by the late Mr. Spence in his little miscellaneous
publication entitled " Moralities, &c., by Sir Harry Beaumont," 1753,
8vo, p. 42.

The following stanzas are extracted from an ancient poem entitled
Albion's England, written by W. Warner, a celebrated poet in the
reign of Queen Elizabeth, though his name and works are now equally
forgotten. The reader will find some account of him in book v.
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, entitled Warner'* Poetry, printed in 1580, 12mo, and re-
printed in 1602. There is also extant under the name of Warner,
" Syrix, or sevenfold 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 fourteen syllables ;
which the narrowness of OUT 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 j

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 15

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 raune : 30

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 50

May bargaine for her love ; at least

Doe give me leave to trye.
Who needs to know it ? nay who dares

Into my doings pry ?"

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, 60

As mayds 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 soe he doth :

Alas ! what may it be ?

" How may I winne him to myself?

He is a man, and men 80

Have imperfections ; it behooves

Me pardon nature then.

" To checke him were to make him checke, 1

Although hee now were chaste :
A man controuled 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 device did frame : 100

When long she had been wrong'd, and sought

The foresayd meanes in vaine,
She rideth to the simple graunge

With but a slender trame.

1 To check is a term in falconry, applied when a hawk stops ana turns
away from his proper pursuit. To check also signifies to reprove or chide.
It is in this verse used in both senses.


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. 110

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 led them both.

Scarce 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 th s declares

Her cause of coming thether :
" My Lord, oft hunting in these partes, 12

Through travel, night, or wether,

" Hath often lodged in your house ;

I thanke you for the same ;
For why ? it doth him jolly ease

To lie so neare his game. 130

" 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 discharg'd, 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 140

That nothing hap in their default,

That might his health impair.

" And, damsell," quoth shee, " for it seemes

This household is but three,
And for thy parents age, that this 145

Shall chiefely rest on thee ;

" Do me that good, else would to God

Ho 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,
Who, 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 formall change of things

His wondring eies did note.

But when he knew those goods to be

His proper goods ; though late, 160

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 : 170

** Your love to be a proper wench,

Your lodging not i. ing 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, 180

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), 185

" 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 Queen 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 edition
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 joye,

And thou shalt heare, with mirth and mickle glee,

Online LibraryThomas PercyReliques of ancient English poetry : consisting of old heroic ballads, songs, and other pieces of our earlier poets ; together with some few of later date (Volume 1) → online text (page 24 of 40)