The Oxford Book of Ballads - online book

A Selection Of The Best English Lyric Ballads Chosen & Edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch

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' My ladde he is so lither,' he said,
' He will doe nought that's meete ; And is there any man in this hall
Were able him to beate ?'
'Thou speakst proud words, 'sayes the Kyng of Spaine,
' Thou harper, here to mee ; There is a man within this halle
Will beate thy ladd and thee.'
' O let that man come downe,' he said,
1A sight of him wold I see ; And when hee hath beaten well my ladd,
Then he shall beate of mee,'
Downe then came the kemperye man,
And looked him in the eare; For all the gold that was under heaven,
He durst not neigh him neare.
'And how nowe, kempe,' said the Kyng of Spaine,
' And how, what aileth thee ?' He saies,' It is writt in his forhead,
All and in gramarye, That for all the gold that is under heaven,
I dare not neigh him nye.'
Then Kyng Estmere pull'd forth his harpe,
And play'd a pretty thinge; The ladye upstart from the borde,
And wold have gone from the king.
lither] naughty.          neigh] come nigh, approach.
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