|Share page||Visit Us On FB|
GENTLE HERDSMAN, TELL TO ME.
From Iteliques of Ancient English Poetry, ii. 82.
" The scene of this beautiful old ballad is laid near Walsingham, in Norfolk, where was anciently an image of the Virgin Mary, famous over all Europe for the numerous pilgrimages made to it, and the great riches it possessed. Erasmus has given a very exact and humorous description of the superstitions practised there in his time. See his account of the Virgo Parathalassia, in his colloquy entitled, Pere-grinatio Religionis Ergo. He tells us, the rich offerings in silver, gold, and precious stones that were there shown him were incredible, there being scarce a person of any note in England, but what some time or other paid a visit or sent a present to Our Lady of Walsingham. At the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538, this splendid image, with another from Ipswich, was carried to Chelsea, and there burnt in the presence of commissioners; who, we trust, did not burn the jewels and the finery.
" This poem is printed from a copy in the Editor's folio MS. which had greatly suffered by the hand of time ; but vestiges of several of the lines remaining, some conjectural supplements have been attemPYEd, which, for greater exactness, are in this one ballad distinguished by italics." Percy.