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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' If this be thy father,' the nobles did say, ' Well may he be proud of this happy day; Yet by his countenance well may we see, His birth and his fortune did never agree:
And therefore, blind man, we pray thee bewray (And look that the truth thou to us do say) Thy birth and thy parentage, what it may be; For the love that thou bearest to pretty Bessee.'—
' Then give me leave, nobles and gentles, each one, One song more to sing, and then I have done; And if that it may not win good report, Then do not give me a groat for my sport.
' Sir Simon de Montfort my subject shall be; Once chief of all the great barons was he, Yet fortune so cruel this lord did abase, Now lost and forgotten are he and his race.
' When the barons in arms did King Henry oppose, Sir Simon de Montfort their leader they chose; A leader of courage undaunted was he, And ofttimes he made their enemies flee.
Lvir ' At length in the battle on Evesham plain, The barons were routed, and Montfort was slain ; Most fatal that battle did prove unto thee, Though thou wast not born then, my pretty Bessee ! 822
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