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'The lamentable complaint of France
Pepys, i, 112, B.L., two woodcuts, three columns.
William Barley registered this ballad on May 15, 1610 (Arber's Transcript, in, 433), as "The wofull complaynt of ffraunce for the deathe of the late kinge Henry the ffowrth." Francois Ravaillac (born in the town of Angouleme) killed Henry IV on May 14, 1610 (new style), and was executed with dreadful tortures on May 27. His crime and punishment aroused enormous interest in England: books on the subject were registered for publication on May 10, May 14, May 30 (three entries), 161 o, January 12, 1611, and October 10, 1611. (I give these dates, except for the year, in English, or old, style.) A number of the books are extant, and from one of them—which is reprinted in the Harleian Miscellany, 1810, vi, 607 ff.—the account in the ballad appears to have been summarized. The spirit of Ravaillac appears at the end of Dekker's If It Be Not Good, The Devil Is In It, 1612, to remark that "were my tongue tome out with burning nesh-hookes, Fames 1000. tonges shall thunder out Rauillacs name, extoll it, eternise it, Cronicle it, Canonise it!" In the third stanza there is a description of the coronation of Henry IV's second wife, Maria de' Medici. Their son, the Dauphin of the last three or four stanzas (Louis XIII), was born on September 27, 1601.
For a transcript of this ballad I am indebted to Alfred Rogers, Esq., of the Cambridge University Library.
To a new tune.
1 Text lamentabe. 2 n upside down in the text.