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wood-sorrel, wild hyacinths, and wild strawberries. On the side opposite the church, in a hollow fringed with alders and bulrushes, gleamed the bright clear lakelet, radiant witn swans and water-lilies, which the simple townsfolk were content to call the Great Pond.
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 60 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.
Hearken to me, gentlemen,
Come, and you shall heare ;
That ever born y-were.
The tother was King Estmere ;
As any were far and neare.
Within Kyng Estmere's halle ;
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;
Betweene us two to send ?”.
l'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.
Before the goodlye yate
Rearing himself thereatt. “Now Christe thee save, good Kyng Adland,
Nowe Christe thee save and see !”
Right heartily unto me.
“Men call her bright and sheene,
Of England to be queene.” “Yesterday was at my deare daughter,
Syr Bremor the Kyng of Spayne : And then she nickel him of naye,
I feare she'll do you the same.”
And 'lieveth on Mahound;
Shold marry a heathen hound.”
“For my love I you praye, That I may see your daughter deare,
Before I goe hence awaye.”
Syth my daughter was in halie,
To glad my guestés all.”
Down then came that mayden fayre,
With ladyes laced in pall,
To bring her from bowre to halle ;
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 as frequently in his prose as in his verse.]
The talents of golde were on her head sette,
Hung lowe down to her knee ;
Shone of the chrystall free.
Sayes, “ Christ you save and see !”.
Right welcome unto me.
So well and heartilée;
Soone sped now itt may bee."
“My daughter, I saye naye;
What he sayd yesterdaye.
And reeve me of my lyfe;
If I reeve him of his wyfe."
Are stronglye built aboute;
Wee neede not stande in doubte.
By Heaven and your righte hande,
you will marrye me to your wyfe,
By Heaven and his right hand.
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.
A myle forthe of the towne,
With kempés many a one.
With many a grimm baròne,
Tother day to carrye her home.
In all the spede might bee,
Or goe home and lose his ladye.
Another whyle he ranne;
I wis he never blanne.
“What tydinges nowe, my boye ?”. “Oh, tydinges I can tell to you,
That will you sore annoye.
A myle out of the towne,
With kempés many a one.
With many a bold barone, Tone day to marrye Kyng Adland's daughter,
Tother day to carry her home.
And evermore well, by me :
Or goe home and lose your ladye.”
My reade shall ryde at thee,
To save this fayre ladye ?"
And your reade must rise at me, I quicklye will devise a waye,
To sette thy ladye free.
And learnéd 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: And when they came to Kyng Adland's halle,
Untill the fayre hall yate, There they found a proud portér
Rearing himselfe thereatt. Sayés, “ Christ thee save, thou proud portér,"
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 com.e hither untill this place,
This proud wedding for to see.'
As it is blacke and browne,
Wera comen until this towne."
Layd it on the porter's arme, “And ever we will thee, proud portér,
Thou wilt say us no harme.”
And sore he handled the ryng,
Le lett for no kind of thyog.