Sidor som bilder

And after came and dwelled with the kynge,
And dyed good men all thre.

Thus endeth the lives of these good yemen;
God send them eternall blysse.

And all, that with a hand-bowe shoteth,
That of heven they never mysse. Amen.


The Aged Lover renounceth Love.

THE Grave-digger's song in Hamlet, act v. is taken from three stanzas of the following poem, though greatly altered and disguised, as the same were corrupted by the balladsingers of Shakspeare's time; or perhaps so designed by the poet himself, the better to paint the character of an illiterate clown. The original is preserved among Surrey's Poems, and is attributed to Lord Vaux, by George Gascoigne, who tells us, it". was thought by some to be made upon his death-bed;" a popular error which he laughs at. (See his Epist. to Yong Gent. prefixed to his Posies, 1575, 4to.) It is also ascribed to Lord Vaux in a manuscript copy preserved in the British Museum1. This lord was remarkable for his skill in drawing feigned manners, &c. for so I understand an ancient writer. "The Lord Vaux his commendation lyeth chiefly in the facilitie of his meetre, and the aptnesse of his descriptions such as he taketh upon him to make, namely in sundry of his Songs, wherein he showeth the counterfait action very lively and pleasantly." Arte of Eng. Poesie, 1589, p. 51. See another song by this poet in vol. ii. no. viii.

1 Harl. MSS. num. 1703, § 25. The readings gathered from that copy are distinguished here by inverted commas. The text is printed from the "Songs, &c. of the Earl of Surrey and others, 1557, 4to."

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The furrowes in my face

Say, Limping age will 'lodge' him now,
Where youth must geve him place.

The harbenger of death,

To me I se him ride,

The cough, the cold, the gasping breath,
Doth bid me to provide

Ver. 6, be. P. c. [printed copy in 1557.]


V. 10, crowch perhaps should
V. 18, this. P. C.

be clouch, clutch, grasp. V. 11, life away she. P. C.
V. 23, sic ed. 1583; 'tis hedge in ed. 1557. hath caught him.


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Thus must I youth geve up,

Whose badge I long did weare:
To them I yelde the wanton cup,
That better may it beare.

Lo here the bared skull;

By whose bald signe I know,
That stouping age away shall pull
'What' youthful yeres did sow.
For Beautie with her band,

These croked cares had wrought,
And shipped me into the lande,
From whence I first was brought.

And ye that bide behinde,
Have ye none other trust:


ye of claye were cast by kinde,
So shall ye 'turne' to dust.


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V. 30, wyndynge-sheete. MS. V. 34, bell. MS. V. 35, wofull. P. C. V. 38, did. P. C. V. 39, clene shal be. P. C. V. 40, not. P. C. V. 45, bare-hedde. MS. and some P. CC. V. 48, Which. P. C., That. MS. What is conject. V. 56, wast. P. C.

2 Alluding perhaps to Eccles. xii. 3.


Jephthah Judge of Israel.

IN Shakspeare's Hamlet, act ii. sc. 7, the hero of the Play takes occasion to banter Polonius with some scraps of an old ballad, which has never appeared yet in any collection: for which reason, as it is but short, it will not perhaps be unacceptable to the reader: who will also be diverted with the pleasant absurdities of the composition. It was retrieved from utter oblivion by a lady, who wrote it down from memory as she had formerly heard it sung by her father. I am indebted for it to the friendship of Mr. Steevens.

It has been said that the original ballad, in black-letter, is among Anthony à Wood's Collection, in the Ashmolean Museum. But, upon application lately made, the volume which contained the song was missing, so that it can only now be given as in the former edition.

The banter of Hamlet is as follows:

"Hamlet. 'O Jephtha, Judge of Israel,' what a treasure hadst thou! Polonius. What a treasure had he, my lord?

Ham. Why, 'One faire daughter, and no more, The which he loved passing well.'

Pol. Still on my daughter.

Ham. Am not I i' th' right, old Jephtha?

Pol. If you call me Jephtha, my lord; I have a daughter, that I love passing well.

Ham. Nay, that follows not.

Pol. What follows then, my lord?

Ham. Why, 'As by lot, God wot;' and then, you know, 'It came to passe, As most like it was.' The first row of the pious chanson will shew you more." Edit. 1793, vol. xv. p. 133.

HAVE you not heard these many years ago,
Jeptha was judge of Israel?

He had one only daughter and no mo,

The which he loved passing well:

And, as by lott,

God wot,


It so came to pass,

As Gods will was,

That great wars there should be,

And none should be chosen chief but he.

And when he was appointed judge,
And chieftain of the company,
A solemn vow to God he made;
If he returned with victory,
At his return,

To burn

The first live thing,

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Off his house, when he shoud return agen.


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For joy that her father is come so nigh.


But when he saw his daughter dear
Coming on most foremostly,

He wrung his hands, and tore his hair,
And cryed out most piteously;

Oh! it's thou, said he,

That have brought me

And troubled me so,

That I know not what to do.


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