Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 4 of 8 from 1860 edition -online book

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The story of Griselda was first told in the Decame­ron. Boccaccio derived the incidents from Petrarch, and Petrarch seems to have communicated them also to Chaucer, who (in his Clerk of Oxenford's Tale) first made known the tale to English readers. The theme was subsequently treated in a great variety of ways.* Two plays upon the subject are known to have been written, one of which (by Dekker, Chettle and Haugh-ton) has been printed by the Shakespeare Society, while the other, an older production of the close of Henry VIII.'s reign, is lost. About the middle of the sixteenth century, (1565,) a Song of Patient Grissett is entered in the Stationers' Registers, and a prose his­tory the same year. The earliest edition of the pop­ular prose history as yet recovered, dated 1619, has been reprinted in the third volume of the Percy So­ciety's Publications.
The ballad here given is taken from Thomas Delo-ney's Garland of Good Will, a collection which was printed some time before 1596. It was circulated after that time, and probably even before the compilation of the Garland, as a broadside, in black-letter, and also, with the addition of a prose introduction and conclu-
* For the bibliography see Grasse's Sagenhreise, p. 282. The story is also found, says some one, in the Swedish saga of Hai on Borkertbart.