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46 ENGLISH MINSTKELSY.
trumpet;"* and of which Ben Jonson declared he would rather have been the
author than of all he had ever written. This luckless Minstrel had been robbed
on Dunsmore Heath, and, shame to tell, he was unable to persuade the public
that a son of the Muses had ever been possessed of sixty pounds, which he
averred he had lost on the occasion. The account he gives of the effect upon his
spirits is melancholy, and yet ridiculous enough. [As the preservation of the
old spelling is no longer essential to the rhyme or metre, I venture to give it in
" After my robbery my memory was so decay'd
That I could neither sing, nor talk, my wits were so dismay'd.
My audacity was gone, and all my merry talk,
There are some here have seen me as merry as a hawk;
But now I am so troubled with fancies in my mind,
I cannot play the merry knave, according to my hind.
Yet to take thought, I perceive, is not the next way
To bring me out of debt,—my creditors to pay.
I may well say that I had but evil hap
For to lose about threescore pounds at a clap.
The loss of my money did not grieve me so sore,
But the talk of the people did grieve me much more.
Some said I was not robh'd, I was but a lying knave,
It was not possible for a Minstrel so much money to have.
Indeed, to say the truth, it is right well known
That I never had so much money of my own,
But I had friends in London, whose names I can declare,
That at all times would lend me two hundred pounds of ware,
And with some again such friendship I found,
That they would lend me in money nine or ten pound.
The occasion why I came in debt I shall make relation—
My wife, indeed, is a silk-woman, by her occupation;
In linen cloths, most chiefly, was her greatest trade,
And at fairs and markets she sold sale-ware that she made,
As shirts, smocks, and partlets, head-clothes, and other things,
As silk thread and edgings, skirts, bands, and strings.
At Lichfield market, and Atherston, good customers she found,
Also at Tamworth, where I dwell, she took many a pound.
When I had got my money together, my debts to have paid,
This sad mischance on me did fall, that cannot be denay'd; [denied]
I thought to have paid all my debts and to have set me clear,
And then what evil did ensue, ye shall hereafter hear :
Because my carriage should be light I put my money into gold,
And without company I rode alone—thns was I foolish bold;
I thought by reason of my harp no man would me suspect,
For llinstrels oft with money, they be not much infect."
From the " Chant of Richard Sheale,"—British Bibliographer, vol. iv., p. 100.
» " I never heard the old song of Percy and Douglas, that in the dust and cobweb of that uncivil age, what would it
I found notmy heart moved more than with a trumpet: and work, trimmed in the gorgeous eloquence of Pindare !"—
yet it is sung but by some blind crowder, with no rougher Sir Philip Sidney's Defence of Poetry. voice than rude style; which being so evil aparelled