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Kyng Estmere he light off his steede,

Up at the fayre hall board ;
The frothe that came from his bridle bitte,

Light on Kyng Bremor’s beard.
Sayes, “ Stable thy steede, thou proud harper,

Go stable him in the stalle;
It doth not become a proud harper,

To stable him in a kyng's halle.”
“My ladde he is so lither,” he sayd,

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 within 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,
For all the golde that was under heaven,

He durst not neigh him neare.
And how nowe, kempe," sayd the Kyng of Spayn,

“And now what aileth thee?” He sayes,

“ It is writen in his forehead, All, and in gramaryé, That for alle the golde that is under heaven,

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 ;
For an thou playest as thou beginnest,

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 yee?”—
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,
And as many gold nobles I will give,

As there be ryngs in the hall.'
And what wolde ye doe with my bryde soe gay

Iff I did sell her yee?”-
“More seemly it is for that fair ladye

To wed with me than thee.”
He played agayne both loud and shrille,

And Adler he did syng;
“O ladye, this is thy owne true love,

No harper, but a kyng.
“O ladye, this is thy owne true love,

As playnlye thou mayst see;
And I'll rid thee of that foul paynim,

Who parts thy love and thee."
The ladye lookt and the lady blusht,

And blusht and lookt agayne,
While Adler he hath drawn his brande,

And hath Sir Bremor slayne.
Up then rose the kemperye men,
And loud they gan to crye:
Ah, traytors ! yee have slayne our kyng,

And therefore ye shall dye.”
Kyng Estmere threwe the harpe asyde,

And swith he drew his brand;
And Estmere he, and Adler yonge,

Right stiff in stour can stand.
And aye their swordes soe sore can byte,

Through help of gramaryé,
That soon they have slayne the kemperye men,

Or forst them forth to flee.
King Estmere took that fayre ladye,

And married her to his wyfe,
And brought her home to merry England,

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 hackneyed 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;
Fear not to touch the best,
The truth shall be thy warrant.

Go, since I needs must die,

And give the world the lie.
Go tell the Court it glows

And shines like rotten wood;
Go tell the Church it shows
Men's good, and doth no good :

If Church and Court reply,

Then give them both the lie.
Tell potentates they live

Acting by others' actions,
Not loved unless they give,
Not strong but by their factions :

If potentates reply,

Give potentates the lie.
Tell men of high condition

That rule affairs of state,
Their purpose is ambition,
Their practice only hate :

And if they once reply,

Then give them all the lie.
Tell them that brave it most,

They beg for more by spending,
Who in their greatest cost
Seek nothing but commending :

And if they make reply,

Spare not to give the lio,
Tell zeal it lacks devotion;

Tell love it is but lust;
Tell time it is but motion ;
Tell flesh it is but dust;

And wish them not reply,
For thou must give the lie.

Teil age it daily wasteth;

Tell honour how it alters;
Tell beauty how she blasteth:
Tell favour how she falters;

And as they shall reply,

Give each of them the lie.
Tell wit how much it wrangles

In fickle points of niceness;
Tell wisdom she entangles
Herself in over-wiseness :

And if they do reply.

Straight give them both the lie.
Tell physic of her boldness ;

Tell skill it is pretension ;
Tell charity of coldness ;
Tell law it is contention :

And as they yield reply,

So give them still the lie.
Tell fortune of her blindness ;

Tell nature of decay ;
Tell friendship of unkindness ;
Tell justice of delay :

And if they dare reply,

Then give them all the lie.
Tell arts they have no soundness,

But vary by estreming ;
Tell schools they want profoundness,
And stand too much on seeming ;

If arts and schools reply,

Give arts and schools the lie.
Tell faith it's fled the city ;

Tell how the country erreth ;
Tell, manhood shakes off pity;
Tell, virtue least preferreth :

And if they do reply,

Spare not to give the lie.
So when thou hast, as I

Commandeth thee, done blabbing,
Although to give the lie
Deserves no less than stabbing,

Yet stab at thee who will,
No stab the soul can kill.


About the authorship of this beautiful address to conjugal love, there is also much uncertainty. Bishop Percy calls it a Translation from the Antient British,” probably to veil the real writer. We find it included among Gilbert Cooper's poems, a diamond amongst pebbles; he never could have written it. It has been claimed for Steevens, who did the world good service as one of the earliest restorers of Shakespeare's text; but who is almost as famous for his bitter and cynical temper as for his acuteness as a verbal critic. Could this charming love-song, true in its tenderness as the gushing notes of a bird to his sitting mate, have been poured forth by a man whom the whole world agreed in hating? After all, we have no need to meddle with this vexed question. Let us be content to accept thankfully one of the very few purely English ballads which contradict the reproach of our Scottish and Irish neighbours, when they tell us that our love-songs are of the head not of the heart. This poem, at least, may vie with those of Gerald Griffin in the high and rare merit of conveying the noblest sentiments in the simplest language.

Away! let nought to love displeasing,

My Winifreda, move your care ;
Let pought delay the heavenly blessing,

Nor squeamish pride, nor gloomy fear.
What though no grant of royal donors

With pompous titles grace our blood ?
We'll shine in more substantial honours,

And to be noble we'll be good.
Our name, while virtue thus we tender,

Shall sweetly sound whero'er 'tis spoke;
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'll find within our pittance plenty,

And be content without excess.
Still shall each kind returning season

Sufficient for our wishes give;
For we will live a life of reason,

And that's the only life to live.
Through youth to age in love excelling,

We'll 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,

While round my knees they fondly clung;
To see them look their mother's features,

To hear them lisp their mother's tongue.

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