Sidor som bilder

Thou shalt go shift thee cleane.
What is thy name, faire maid? quoth he.
Penelophon, O king, quoth she:
With that she made a lowe courtsèy;


A trim one as I weene.

Thus hand in hand along they walke
Unto the king's pallàce:

The king with courteous comly talke
This begger doth imbrace :

The begger blusheth scarlet red,
And straight againe as pale as lead,
But not a word at all she said,

She was in such amaze.

At last she spake with trembling voyce,

And said, O king, I doe rejoyce

That you wil take me for your choyce,
And my degree's so base.

And when the wedding day was come.
The king commanded strait

The noblemen both all and some
Upon the queene to wait.
And she behaved herself that day,
As if she had never walkt the way;
She had forgot her gowne of gray,
Which she did weare of late.
The proverbe old is come to passe,
The priest, when he begins his masse,
Forgets that ever clerke he was;

He knowth not his estate.

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Shakespeare (who alludes to this ballad in his Love's Labour's lost, act iv. sc. 1.) gives the beggar's name Zenelophon, according to all the old editions: but this seems to be a corruption; for Penelophon, in the text, sounds more like the name of a woman.-The story of the King and the Beggar is also alluded to in K. Rich. II act v. sc. 3.

Ver. 90. i.e. tramped the streets.

Here you may read, Cophetua,
Though long time fancie-fed,
Compelled by the blinded boy
The begger for to wed:

He that did lovers lookes disdaine,
To do the same was glad and faine,
Or else he would himselfe have slaine,
In storie, as we read.
Disdaine no whit, O lady deere,
But pitty now thy servant heere,
Least that it hap to thee this yeare,
As to that king it did.

And thus they led a quiet life

During their princely raigne;
And in a tombe were buried both,
As writers sheweth plaine.
The lords they tooke it grievously,
The ladies tooke it heavily,
The commons cryed pitiously,

Their death to them was paine,

Their fame did sound so passingly,
That it did pierce the starry sky,
And throughout all the world did flye
To every princes realme.*

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An ingenious friend thinks the two last stanzas should change place.

Ver. 105. Here the poet addresses himself to his mistress. V. 112. Sheweth was anciently the plur. numb.




S supposed to have been originally a Scotch ballad. The reader here has an ancient copy in the English idiom, with an additional stanza (the 2d.) never before printed. This curiosity is preserved in the Editor's folio MS. but not without corruptions, which are here removed by the assistance of the Scottish Edit. Shakespeare, in his Othello, act ii. has quoted one stanza, with some variations, which are here adopted: the old MS. readings of that stanza are however given in the margin.

[The Scottish version referred to above was printed in Ramsay's Tea Table Miscellany, and the king mentioned on line 49 is there named Robert instead of Stephen. He is King Harry in the folio MS.

The "corruptions" to which Percy alludes are all noted at the foot of the page, and in one instance at least (line 15) the MS. gives an important new reading. Mr. Hales thinks that the MS. version is the oldest form of the ballad, because the definite mention of the court looks more original than the use of the general term of town, and he says, "the poem naturally grew vaguer as it grew generally popular.”*

Besides the reference to this ballad in Othello mentioned by Percy above, Mr. Hales has pointed out to me another evident allusion in the Tempest, act iv. sc. 1, where Trinculo says,

"O King Stephano, O Peere: O worthy Stephano,
Looke what a wardrobe here is for thee."

(Folio 1623, Booth's ed. p. 15, col. 2.) The cloak that had been in wear for forty-four years was likely to be a sorry clout at the end of that time, but the clothes of all classes were then expected to last from year to year without renewal. Woollen cloths were of old the chief material of male and female attire. When new the nap was very long, and after being worn for some time, it was customary to have it shorn, a process which was repeated as often as the stuff would bear it. Thus we find the Countess of Leicester (Eleanor third daughter of King John, and wife of Simon de Montfort) in 1265, sending Hicque the tailor to London to get her robes re-shorn.t]

[* Folio MS. ed. Hales and Furnivall, vol. ii. p. 320.

Botfield's Manners and Household Expenses of England, 1841.]

HIS winters weather itt waxeth cold,
And frost doth freese on every hill,
And Boreas blowes his blasts soe bold,
That all our cattell are like to spill;'
Bell my wiffe, who loves noe strife,
She sayd unto me quietlye,

Rise up, and save cow Crumbockes liffe,
Man, put thine old cloake about thee.


O Bell, why dost thou flyte2 'and scorne'?
Thou kenst my cloak is very thin:

Itt is soe bare and overworne

A cricke3 he theron cannot renn :*
Then Ile noe longer borrowe nor lend,
For once Ile new appareld bee,
To-morrow Ile to towne and spend,'

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For Ile have a new cloake about mee.


Cow Crumbocke is a very good cowe,
Shee ha beene alwayes true to the payle,
Shee has helpt us to butter and cheese, I trow,
And other things shee will not fayle;

I wold be loth to see her pine,"

Good husband, councell take of mee,

It is not for us to go soe fine,

Man, take thine old cloake about thee.

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[Ver. 9. O Bell my wiffe, why dost thou fflyte. V. 10. itt is soe sore over worne. V. 14-15. in place of these two the MS. has "Ile goe ffind the court within." V. 22. Therefore good husband ffollow my councell now. V. 23. Forsake the court and follow the ploughe.

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My cloake it was a verry good cloake,
Itt hath been alwayes true to the weare,
But now it is not worth a groat;

I have had it four and forty yeere :
Sometime itt was of cloth in graine,1
'Tis now but a sigh clout as you may see,
It will neither hold out winde nor raine;
And Ile have a new cloake about mee.


It is four and fortye yeeres agoe

Since the one of us the other did ken, And we have had betwixt us towe

Of children either nine or ten;

Wee have brought them up to women and men;
In the feare of God I trow they bee;
And why wilt thou thyselfe misken?3
Man, take thine old cloake about thee.


O Bell my wiffe, why dost thou 'floute!'
Now is nowe, and then was then :
Seeke now all the world throughout,

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Thou kenst not clownes from gentlemen. They are cladd in blacke, greene, yellowe, or 'gray,' 45 Soe far above their owne degree:

Once in my life Ile 'doe as they,'

For Ile have a new cloake about mee.

[Ver. 27. Itt hath cost mee many a groat.] V. 41. flyte, MS. [V. 45. yellow and blew. V. 47. once in my life Ile take a vew.

1 scarlet.


a cloth to strain milk through.

8 mistake.]

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