Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 6 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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QUEEN ELEANOR'S CONFESSION.
Eleanor of Aqultaine was divorced from her first husband, Louis VII. of France, on account of misbe­havior at Antioch, during the Second Crusade. Her conduct after her second marriage, with Henry II. of England, is agreed to have been irreproachable on the score of chastity. It is rather hard, therefore, that her reputation should be assailed as it is here; but if we complain of this injustice, what shall we say when we find, further on, the same story, with others even more ridiculous, told of the virtuous Eleanor of Castile, wife of Edward I. ? See Peele's Chronicle History of Edward I., Dyce's ed. i. 185, 188, seq., and the ballad in vol. vii., 291. Both of these ballads are indeed pretty specimens of the his­torical value of popular traditions. The idea of the unlucky shrift is borrowed from some old story-teller. It occurs in the fabliau Du Chevalier qui fist sa Fame confesse, Barbazan, ed. Meon, iii. 229, in Boccaccio G. vii. 5, Bandello, Malespini, &c.; also in La Fon-'taine's Le Mari Confesseur.
The following ballad is from the Collection of 1723, vol. i. p. 18. There are several other versions: Percy's Reliques, ii. 165 (with corrections) ; Buchan's Gleanings, p. 77; Motherwell's Minstrelsy, p. 1 (Earl Marshal, from recitation) ; Aytoun's Ballads of Scot­land, new ed. i. 196; Kinloch's Ancient Scottish Bal­lads, p. 247.
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