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Sayes, Christ thee save, thou proud portèr; 175
Wee beene harpers, sayd Adler younge,
Sayd, And your color were white and redd,
I wold saye king Estmere and his brother
Then they pulled out a ryng of gold,
Sore he looked on kyng Estmère,
Kyng Estmere he stabled his steede
The froth, that came from his brydle bitte,
Saies, Stable thy steed, thou proud harpèr,
It doth not beseeme a proud harpèr
Ver. 202. to stable his steede, f. MS.
[' he left ? or he let be opened ?]
My ladde he is so lither,' he said,
Were able him to beate.
Thou speakst proud words, sayes the king of Spaine,
Will beate thy ladd and thee.
O let that man come downe, he said,
Downe then came the kemperye man,*
For all the gold, that was under heaven,
And how nowe, kempe, said the kyng of Spaine,
He saies, It is writt in his forhead
All and in gramaryè,
That for all the gold that is under heaven,
Then kyng Estmere pulld forth his harpe,
Stay thy harpe, thou proud harpèr,
For and thou playes as thou beginns,
* i.e. entice. ['lazy or wicked. 2 soldier or fighting man.
3 approach him near.]
He stroake upon his harpe againe,
Saies, sell me thy harpe, thou proud harper,
For as many gold nobles 'thou shalt have'
What wold ye doe with my harpe, 'he sayd,
"To playe my wiffe and me a Fitt,*
More seemelye it is for her fayre bodye
Now sell me, quoth hee, thy bryde soe gay, 245
And as many gold nobles I will give,
As leaves been on a tree.
Hee played agayne both loud and shrille,
"O ladye, this is thy owne true love;
And what wold ye doe with my bryde soe gay,
"O ladye, this is thy owne true love,
Ver. 253. Some liberties have been taken in the following stanzas ; but wherever this edition differs from the preceding, it hath been brought nearer to the folio MS.
* i.e. a tune, or strain of music.
And Ile rid thee of that foule paynim,
The ladye looked, the ladye blushte,
Up then rose the kemperye men,
Kyng Estmere threwe the harpe asyde,
And aye their swordes soe sore can byte,
Kyng Estmere tooke that fayre ladyè,
And brought her home to merry England
or grammar, and hence used for any abstruse learning.]
The word Gramarye, which occurs several times in the foregoing poem, is probably a corruption of the French word Grimoire, which signifies a conjuring book in the old French romances, if not the art of necromancy itself.
+++ Termagaunt (mentioned above, p. 85) is the name given in the old romances to the god of the Saracens, in which he is con
stantly linked with Mahound or Mahomet. Thus, in the legend of Syr Guy, the Soudan (Sultan), swears
"So helpe me Mahowne of might,
Sign. p. iii. b.
This word is derived by the very learned editor of Junius from the Anglo-Saxon Týn very, and Magan mighty. As this word had so sublime a derivation, and was so applicable to the true God, how shall we account for its being so degraded? Perhaps Typmagan or Termagant had been a name originally given to some Saxon idol, before our ancestors were converted to Christianity; or had been the peculiar attribute of one of their false deities; and therefore the first Christian missionaries rejected it as profane and improper to be applied to the true God. Afterwards, when the irruptions of the Saracens into Europe, and the Crusades into the East, had brought them acquainted with a new species of unbelievers, our ignorant ancestors, who thought all that did not receive the Christian law were necessarily pagans and idolaters, supposed the Mahometan creed was in all respects the same with that of their pagan forefathers, and therefore made no scruple to give the ancient name of Termagant to the god of the Saracens, just in the same manner as they afterwards used the name of Sarazen to express any kind of pagan or idolater. In the ancient romance of Merline (in the editor's folio MS.) the Saxons themselves that came over with Hengist, because they were not Christians, are constantly called Sarazens.
However that be, it is certain that, after the times of the Crusades, both Mahound and Termagaunt made their frequent appearance in the pageants and religious interludes of the barbarous ages; in which they were exhibited with gestures so furious and frantic, as to become proverbial. Thus Skelton speaks of Wolsey:
"Like Mahound in a play,
Ed. 1736, p. 158.
In like manner Bale, describing the threats used by some papist magistrates to his wife, speaks of them as "grennyng upon her lyke Termagauntes in a playe." (Actes of Engl. Votaryes, pt. ii. fo. 83, Ed. 1550, 12mo.) Accordingly in a letter of Edward Alleyn, the founder of Dulwich College, to his wife or sister, who, it seems, with all her fellows (the players), had been “by my Lorde Maiors officer[s] mad to rid in a cart," he expresses his concern that she should "fall into the hands of suche Tarmagants." (So the orig. dated May 2, 1593, preserved by the care of the Rev. Thomas Jenyns Smith, Fellow of Dulw. Coll.) Hence we may conceive