Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 5 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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Then both drew their swords, and so cut 'em, and slasht 'em, That five of them did fall.
The three that remain'd call'd to Robin for quarter, And pitiful John beggM their lives ;                          L'o
When John's boon was granted, he gave them good counsel, And sent them all home to their wives.
This battle was fought near to Titbury town, When the bagpipes baited the bull;
174. Tutbury, or Stutesbury, Staffordshire. This cele­brated place lies about four miles from Burton-upon-Trent, on the west bank of the river Don. Its castle, it is supposed, was built a considerable time before the Norman conquest. Being the principal seat of the Dukes of Lancaster, it was long distinguished as the scene of festivity and splendour. The number of minstrels which crowded it was so great, that it was found necessary to have recourse to some expedi­ent for preserving order among them, and determining their claims of precedence. Accordingly, one of their number, with the title of king of the minstrels, was appointed, and under him several inferior officers, to assist in the execution of the laws. To this chief a charter was granted by John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, 22nd August, 4th Richard II., 1381. This king of the minstrels and his officers having inflicted fines and punishments which exceeded the due bounds of justice, a court for hearing and determining com­plaints and controversies was instituted, which was yearly held with many forms and ceremonies. The business of the court being concluded, the officers withdraw to partake of a sumptuous repast, prepared for them by the steward of the lordship. In the afternoon the minstrels assembled at the gate of the priory, where, by way of amusement for the mul­titude, a bull, having his horns, ears, and tail cut off, his body besmeared with soap, and his nose blown full of pepper, was