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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When the Kynge this letter had red, In hys herte he syghed sore :
' Take up the tables,' anone he bad, ' For I may eat no more.'
The Kynge called hys best archars To the buttes wyth hym to go:
i I wyll se these felowes shote,' he sayd, ' In the north have wrought this wo.'
The Kynge's bowmen buske them blyve, And the Quene's archers also;
So dyd these thre wyght yemen; With them they thought to go.
There twyse or thryse they shote about
For to assay theyr hande ; There was no shote these yemen shot,
That any prycke myght stand.
Then spake Wyllyam of Cloudesley:
i By God that for me dyed, I hold hym never no good archar,
That shoteth at buttes so wyde.'—
' At what a butte now wold ye shote,
I pray thee tell to me ?'— ' Nay, syr,' he sayd, ' at such a butte
As men use in my countre.'
buttes] targets.            buske them] busked, made them ready.
blyve] = belyfe supra, straightway. prycke] mark.
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