The English And Scottish Popular Ballads

by FRANCIS JAMES CHILD.

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158A: High Spencer's Feats in France


158A.1	 THE court is kept att leeue London,
	 And euermore shall be itt;
	 The King sent for a bold embassador,
	 And Sir Hugh Spencer that he hight.
158A.2	 'Come hither, Spencer,' saith our kinge,
	 'And come thou hither vnto mee;
	 I must make thee an embassadour
	 Betweene the king of Ffrance and mee.
158A.3	 'Thou must comend me to the king of Ffrance,
	 And tell him thus and now from mee,
	 I wold know whether there shold be peace in his land,
	 Or open warr kept still must bee.
158A.4	 'Thou'st haue thy shipp at thy comande,
	 Thou'st neither want for gold nor fee;
	 Thou'st haue a hundred armed men,
	 All att thy bidding for to bee.'
158A.5	 The wind itt serued, and they sayled,
	 And towards Ffrance thus they be gone;
	 The wind did bring them safe to shore,
	 And safelye landed euerye one.
158A.6	 The Ffrenchmen lay on the castle-wall,
	 The English souldiers to behold:
	 'You are welcome, traitors, out of England;
	 The heads of you are bought and sold.'
158A.7	 With that spake proud Spencer:
	 My leege, soe itt may not bee;
	 I am sent an embassador
	 Ffrom our English king to yee.
158A.8	 The king of England greetes you well,
	 And hath sent this word by mee;
	 He wold know whether there shold be peace in your land,
	 Or open warres kept still must bee.
158A.9	 'Comend me to the English kinge,
	 And tell this now from mee;
	 There shall neuer peace be kept in my land
	 While open warres kept there may bee.'
158A.10	 With that came downe the queene of Ffrance,
	 And an angry woman then was shee;
	 Saies, Itt had beene as fitt now for a king
	 To be in his chamber with his ladye,
	 Then to be pleading with traitors out of England,
	 Kneeling low vppon their knee.
158A.11	 But then bespake him proud Spencer,
	 For noe man else durst speake but hee:
	 You haue not wiped your mouth, madam,
	 Since I heard you tell a lye.
158A.12	 'O hold thy tounge, Spencer!' shee said,
	 'I doe not come to plead with thee;
	 Darest thou ryde a course of warr
	 With a knight that I shall put to thee?'
158A.13	 'But euer alacke!' then Spencer sayd,
	 'I thinke I haue deserued Gods cursse;
	 Ffor I haue not any armour heere,
	 Nor yett I haue noe iusting-horsse.'
158A.14	 'Thy shankes,' quoth shee, 'Beneath the knee
	 Are verry small aboue the shinne
	 Ffor to doe any such honourablle deeds
	 As the Englishmen say thou has done.
158A.15	 'Thy shankes beene small aboue thy shoone,
	 And soe the beene aboue thy knee;
	 Thou art to slender euery way
	 Any good iuster for to bee.'
158A.16	 'But euer alacke,' said Spencer then,
	 'For one steed of the English countrye!'
	 With that bespake and one Ffrench knight,
	 This day thou'st haue the choyce of three.
158A.17	 The first steed he feiched out,
	 I-wis he was milke-white;
	 The first foot Spencer in stirropp sett,
	 His backe did from his belly tyte.
158A.18	 The second steed that he feitcht out,
	 I-wis that hee was verry browne;
	 The second foot Spencer in stirropp settt,
That	horsse and man and all fell downe.
158A.19	 The third steed that he feitched out,
	 I-wis that he was verry blacke;
	 The third foote Spencer into the stirropp sett,
	 He leaped on to the geldings backe.
158A.20	 'But euer alacke,' said Spencer then,
	 'For one good steed of the English countrye!
	 Goe feitch me hither my old hacneye,
That	I brought with me hither beyond the sea.'
158A.21	 But when his hackney there was brought,
	 Spencer a merry man there was hee;
	 Saies, With the grace of God and St George of England,
	 The feild this day shall goe with mee.
158A.22	 'I haue noe forgotten,' Spencer sayd,
	 'Since there was feild foughten att Walsingam,
	 When the horsse did heare the trumpetts sound,
	 He did beare ore both horsse and man.'
158A.23	 The day was sett, and togetther they mett,
	 With great mirth and melodye,
	 With minstrells playing, and trumpetts soundinge,
	 With drumes striking loud and hye.
158A.24	 The first race that Spencer run,
	 I-wis hee run itt wonderous sore;
	 He [hitt] the knight vpon his brest,
	 But his speare itt burst, and wold touch noe more.
158A.25	 'But euer alacke,' said Spencer then,
	 'For one staffe of the English countrye!
	 Without you'le bind me three together,'
	 Quoth hee, 'They'le be to weake for mee.'
158A.26	 With that  bespake him the Ffrench knight,
	 Sayes, Bind him together the whole thirtye,
	 For I haue more strenght in my to hands
	 Then is in all Spencers bodye.
158A.27	 'But proue att parting,' Spencer sayes,
	 'Ffrench knight, here I tell itt thee;
	 For I will lay thee five to four
	 The bigger man I proue to bee.'
158A.28	 But the day was sett, and together they mett,
	 With great mirth and melodye,
	 With minstrells playing, and trumpetts soundinge,
	 With drummes strikeing loud and hye.
158A.29	 The second race that Spencer run,
	 I-wis hee ridd itt in much pride,
	 And he hitt the knight vpon the brest,
	 And draue him ore his horsse beside.
158A.30	 But he run thorrow the Ffrench campe;
	 Such a race was neuer run beffore;
	 He killed of King Charles his men
	 Att hand of thirteen or fourteen score.
158A.31	 But he came backe againe to the K[ing],
	 And kneeled him downe vpon his knee;
	 Saies, A knight I haue slaine, and a steed I haue woone,
	 The best that is in this countrye.
158A.32	 'But nay, by my faith,' then said the King,
	 'Spencer, soe itt shall not bee;
	 I'le haue that traitors head of thine,
	 To enter plea at my iollye.'
158A.33	 But Spencer looket him once about,
	 He had true bretheren left but four;
	 He killed ther of the Kings gard
	 About twelve or thirteen score.
158A.34	 'But hold thy hands,' the King doth say,
	 'Spencer, now I doe pray thee;
	 And I will goe into litle England,
	 Vnto that cruell kinge with thee.'
158A.35	 'Nay, by my faith,' Spencer sayd,
	 'My leege, for soe itt shall not bee;
	 For an you sett foot on English ground,
	 You shall be hanged vpon a tree.'
158A.36	 'Why then, comend [me] to that Englishe kinge,
	 And tell him thus now from mee,
That	there shall neuer be open warres kept in my land
	 Whilest peace kept that there may bee.'

158B: High Spencer's Feats in France


158B.1	 OUR king lay at Westminster,
	 as oft times he had done,
	 And he sent for Hugh Spencer,
	 to come to him anon.
158B.2	 Then in came Hugh Spencer,
	 low kneeling on his knee:
	 'What's the matter, my liege,
	 you sent so speedily for me?'
158B.3	 'Why you must go ambassadour
	 to France now, to see
	 Whether peace shall be taken,
	 aye, or open wars must be.'
158B.4	 'Who shall go with me?'
	 says Hugh Spencer, he:
	 'That shall Hugh Willoughby
	 and John of Atherly.'
	 'O then,' says Hugh Spencer,
	 'we'll  be a merry company.'
158B.5	 When they came before the French king,
	 they kneeled low on the knee:
	 'O rise up, and stand up,
	 whose men soer you be.'
158B.6	 The first that made answer
	 was Hugh Spencer, he:
	 'We are English ambassadours,
	 come hither to see
	 Whether peace shall be taken,
	 aye, or open wars must be.'
158B.7	 Then spoke the French king,
	 and he spoke courteously:
	 The last time peace was broken,
	 it was neer along of me.
158B.8	 For you sunk my ships, slew my men,
	 and thus did ye;
	 And the last time peace was broken,
	 it was neer along of me.
158B.9	 Then in came Queen Maude,
	 and full as ill was she:
	 'A chamber of presence
	 is better for thee,
	 Then amongst English shepherds,
	 low bending on the knee.'
158B.10	 The first that made answer
	 was Hugh Spencer, he:
	 'We are no English shepherds,
	 Queen Maude, I tell thee,
	 But we're knights, and knights fellows,
	 the worst man in our company.'
158B.11	 O then spoke Queen Maude,
	 and full as ill was she:
	 Thou shouldst be Hugh Spencer,
	 thou talkst so boldly.
158B.12	 And if thou beest Hugh Spencer,
	 as well  thou seemst to be,
	 I've oft heard of thy justling,
	 and some of it would fain see.
158B.13	 I have a steed in my stable
	 that thou canst not ride;
	 I have a spear in my keeping
	 that thou canst not guide;
	 And I have a knight in my realm
	 that thou darest not abide.
158B.14	 Then Spencer askd Willoughby
	 and John of Atherly
	 Whether he should take this justling in hand,
	 aye, or let be.
158B.15	 O then spoke Hugh Willoughby
	 and John of Atherly:
	 If you won't take it [in] hand,
	 why turn it unto we.
158B.16	 'It shall neer be said in England,'
	 says Hugh Spencer, he,
	 'That I refused a good justling
	 and turned it to ye.
158B.17	 'Alas,' says Hugh Spencer,
	 'Full sore may I moan,
	 I have nought here but an ambler,
	 my good steed's at home.'
158B.18	 Then spoke a French knight,
	 and he spoke courteously:
	 I have thirty steeds in my stables,
	 the best of them take to thee.
158B.19	 'Gramercy,' says Spencer,
	 'aye, and gramercy;
	 If eer thou comest to England,
	 well rewarded shalt thou be.'
158B.20	 The first steed they brought him,
	 he was a milk-white:
	 'Take that away,' says Spencer,
	 'For I do not him like.'
158B.21	 The next steed they brought him,
	 he was a good dun:
	 'Take that away,' says Spencer,
	 'For he's not for my turn.'
158B.22	 The next steed they brought him,
	 he was a dapple-grey:
	 'Take that away,' says Spencer,
	 'For he is not used to the way.'
158B.23	 The next steed they brought him,
	 he was a coal-black;
	 His eyes burnt in his head,
	 as if fire were in flax;
	 'Come saddle me that horse,' says Spencer,
	 'For I'll have none but that.'
158B.24	 When that horse was saddled,
	 and Spencer got on,
	 With his spear at his foot,
	 O he was portly man!
158B.25	 'Now I am on that steede-back
	 that I could not ride,
	 That spear in my keeping
	 that I could not guide,
	 Come shew me that French knight
	 that I dare not abide.'
158B.26	 'It is a sign by thy sharp shin,
	 ay, and thy cropped knee,
	 That are no fit match
	 to justle with me:'
	 'Why it makes no matter,' says Spencer,
	 'you hear no brags of me.'
158B.27	 The first time they rode together,
	 now Sir Hugh and he,
	 He turnd him in his saddle
	 like an apple on a tree.
158B.28	 The next time they rode together,
	 now Sir Hugh and he,
	 He lit upon his breast-plate,
	 and he broke his spear in three.
158B.29	 'A spear now,' says Spencer,
	 a+e spear now get me:'
	 ' thou shalt have one,' says Willoughby,
	 'if in France one there be.'
158B.30	 'O tye two together,
	 and the stronger they'l be,
	 For the French is the better,
	 and the better shall be:'
	 'Why it makes no matter,' says Spencer,
	 'you hear no brags of me.'
158B.31	 The next time they rode together,
	 now Sir Hugh and he,
	 He threw him fifteen foot from his saddle,
	 and he broke his back in three:
	 'Now I have slain thy justler,
	 Queen Maude, I tell thee.'
158B.32	 O then spoke Queen Maude,
	 and full as ill was she:
	 If thou'st slain my justler,
	 by the Kings laws thou'st dye.
158B.33	 'It shall neer be said in England,'
	 says Hugh Spencer, he;
	 'It shall neer be said in England,'
	 says Hugh Willoughby;
158B.34	 'It shall neer be said in England,'
	 says John of Atherly,
	 'That a queen of another nation
	 eer had her will of we.'
158B.35	 They laid their heads together,
	 and their backs to the wall;
	 There were four score of the Queen's guards,
	 and they slew them all.
158B.36	 Then spoke the French king,
	 and he spoke courteously:
	 O hold thy hand, Spencer,
	 I dearly pray thee.
158B.37	 Thou art sharp as thy spear,
	 and as fierce as thy steed,
	 And the stour of thy lilly-white hand
	 makes my heart bleed.
158B.38	 Thou hadst twenty ships hither,
	 thou'st have twenty away;
	 Then hold thy hand, Spencer,
	 I dearly thee pray.

158C: High Spencer's Feats in France


158C.1	 IT fell about the Martinmas time
	 The wind blew loud and cauld,
	 And all the knichts of fair Scotland
	 They drew them to sum hald.
158C.2	 Unless it was him young Sir Hugh,
	 And he beet to sail the sea,
	 Wi a letter between twa kings, to see an they
	 wald lat down the wars,
	 And live and lat them be.
158C.3	 On Friday shipped he, and lang
	 Ere Wodensday at noon
	 In fair France landed he,
	 . . .
158C.4	 He fell down before the King,
	 On his bare knees:
	 'Gude mak ye safe and soun;'
	 'Fat news o your contrie?' he says.
158C.5	 'The news o our countrie,' he says,
	 'Is but news brought over the sea,
	 To see an ye'll lat down the wars,
	 And live and lat them be.'
158C.6	 'Deed no,' he says;
	 'I'm but an auld man indeed,
	 But I'll no lat down the wars,
	 And live and lat them be.'
158C.7	 It's out it spak the Queen hersel: I have a shepherd's sin
	 Would fight an hour wi you;
	 'And by my seeth,' says young Sir Hugh,
	 'That sight fain would I see.'
158C.8	 The firsten steed that he drew out,
	 He was the penny-gray;
	 He wad hae ridden oer meel or mor
	 A Leve-lang summer's day.
158C.9	 O girths they brak, and great horse lap,
	 But still sat he on he:
	 'A girth, a girth,' says young Sir Hugh,
	 'A girth for charity!'
	 'O every girth that you shall have,
	 Its gude lord shall hae three.'
158C.10	 The nexten steed that he drew out,
	 He was the penny-brown;
	 He wad hae ridden oer meel or mor
	 As ever the dew drap down.
158C.11	 O bridles brak, and great horse lap,
	 But still sat he on he:
	 'A bridle, a bridle,' says young Sir Hugh,
	 'A bridle for charitie!'
	 'O every bridle that you shall have,
	 And its gude lord shall have three.'
158C.12	 The nexten steed that he drew out
	 He was the raven-black;
	 His een was glancin in his head
	 Like wild-fire in a slack;
	 'Get here a boy,' says young Sir Hugh,
	 'Cast on the saddle on that.'
158C.13	 O brands there brak, and great horse lap,
	 But still sat he on he:
	 'A brand, a brand,' says young Sir Hugh,
	 'A brand for charitie!'
	 'O every brand that you sall have,
	 And its gude lord sall have three.'
158C.14	 He gave him a dep unto the heart,
	 And over the steed fell he:
	 'I rather had gane you money,' she says,
	 'And free lands too,
	 That ye had foughten an hour wi him,
	 And than had latten him be.'
158C.15	 'If ye hae ony mair shepherd's sins,' he says,
	 'Or cooks i your kitchie,
	 Or ony mair dogs to fell,
	 Ye'll bring them here to me;
	 And gin they be a true-hearted Scotsman,
	 They'll no be scorned by thee.'

Next: 159. Durham Field






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