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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Our Queene sent forth a messenger;
He rode fast into the south ; He rode the countryes through and through
Soe far unto Portsmouth.
[But for all his riding ne'er sped he
To fetch help to our Queene ;] He co'ld find noe man in the south country
' Wo'ld fight with the knight soe keene.
The second messenger shee sent forth,
Rode far into the east; But—blessed be God 'made sunn and moone ! —
He sped then all of the best.
As he rode then by one river side,
There he mett with a little Child; He seemed noe more in a man's likenesse
Than a child of four yeeres old.
He ask'd the messenger how far he rode;
Loth he was him to tell; The little one was offended att him,
Bade him adieu, farewell.
Said, ' Turne thou againe, thou messenger,
Greete our Queen well from me: When bale is at hyest, boote is at nyest—
Helpe enough there may bee.
bale] evil, trouble.          boote] help, remedy.
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