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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THE OLD CLOAK
IV
He. My cloak it was a very good cloak,
It hath been always true to the wear; But now it is not worth a groat:
I have had it four and forty year'. Sometime it was of cloth in grain :
'Tis now but a sigh clout, as you may see: It will neither hold out wind nor rain ;
And I'll have a new cloak about me.
v She. It is four and forty years ago
Sine the one of us the other did ken ; And we have had, betwixt us two,
Of children either nine or ten : We have brought them up to women and men;
In the fear of God I trow they be : And why wilt thou thyself misken ? Man, take thine old cloak about thee !
yi
He. O Bell my wife, why dost thou flyte ?
Now is now, and then was then: Seek now all the world throughout,
Thou kens not clowns from gentlemen : They are clad in black, green, yellow and blue,
So far above their own degree. Once in my life I'll take a view;
For I'll have a new cloak about me.
VII
She. King Stephen was a worthy peer ;
His breeches cost him but a crown; He held them sixpence all too dear, Therefore he called the tailor ' lown.'
cloth in grain] scarlet cloth.          sigh clout] a rag for straining.
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