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Black-letter Broadside Ballads Of The years 1595-1639

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20
The lamenting lady
Pepys, i, 44, B.L., two woodcuts (both of which are here reproduced), five columns.
F. J. Child {English and Scottish Popular Ballads, n, 68; cf. p. 511) thought that the probable source of this ballad was a sixteenth century ballad of Juan de Timoneda. I have not been able to see Timoneda's ballad, but in any case the source of "The Lamenting Lady" is undoubt­edly one of the two early English accounts of the story—preferably Thomas Coryate's—given below.
Probably the first occurrence of the story in English is that in Edward Grimeston's A Generall Historie of the Netherlands, 1608 (pp. 51-52), a work translated from Jean Francois Le Petit's Grande Chronique Ancienne et moderne, de Hollande, Ze"lande, West Frise, etc.jusques a la fin de Pan 1600 (2 vols., Dordrecht, 1601), where the "Lamenting Lady" story is printed in volume 1, pp. 229—30. As this French history was published at Dordrecht, or Dort, where the marvel happened, Grimeston, Coryate, and the ballad-writer—none of whom had visited that city—may readily be pardoned for believing the astonishing tale of Countess Marguerite of Henneberg.
Grimeston's version follows, and I have indicated in foot-notes every important instance in which his Latin differs from that of Jean Francois Le Petit:
Floris the fourth of that name... was the seuenteenth Earle of Holland and Zeeland.. .and.. .had to wife Mathilda, daughter to Henry duke of Lothier and Brabant, by whom he had... Marguerite wife to Herman earle of Henne­berg, who had that great number of children, whereof we shall speake by and
               ...
We haue formerly said, that this Cont Floris had among his other children,
one daughter called Mathilde (some say Marguerite) married to Cont Herman of Henneberg; William King of the Romanes and Earle of Holland was her brother, Otto bishop of Vtrecht her vncle by the father, & Henry duke of Brabant her vncle by the mothers side, Alix Contesse of Henault her aunt, Otto earle of Geldres, and Henry bishop of Liege, her cousins. To describe the monstrous child-birth or deliuerie of this Lady, you must vnderstand, that on a time this Contesse of Henneberg did see a poore widow woman begging her bread for Gods sake, hauing in eyther arme a child, both which she had had at one birth: This poore woman crauing her almes, the Contesse reiected her with reprochfull words: whereupon this poore woman, hauing her heart full of discontent, for her bitter speeches, lifted vp her eyes to heauen, and said: O great and mightie
121
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