Sidor som bilder
[ocr errors]

Sayes, Christ thee save, thou proud portèr; 175
Sayes, Christ thee save and see.
Nowe you be welcome, sayd the portèr,
Of what land soever ye bee.

Wee beene harpers, sayd Adler younge,
Come out of the northe countrye;
Wee beene come hither untill this place,
This proud weddinge for to see.

Sayd, And your color were white and redd,
As it is blacke and browne,

I wold saye king Estmere and his brother
Were comen untill this towne.

Then they pulled out a ryng of gold,
Layd itt on the porters arme :
And ever we will thee, proud portèr,
Thow wilt saye us no harme.

Sore he looked on kyng Estmère,
And sore he handled the ryng,
Then opened to them the fayre hall yates,
He lett' for no kind of thyng.

Kyng Estmere he stabled his steede
Soe fayre att the hall bord;

The froth, that came from his brydle bitte,
Light in kyng Bremors beard.

Saies, Stable thy steed, thou proud harpèr,
Saies, Stable him in the stalle;

It doth not beseeme a proud harpèr
To stable him' in a kyngs halle.


Ver. 202. to stable his steede, f. MS.

[' he left ? or he let be opened ?]






My ladde he is so lither,' he said,
He will doe nought that's mecte;
And is there any man in this hall

Were able him to beate.

Thou speakst proud words, sayes the king of Spaine,
Thou harper here to mee:
There is a man within this halle,

Will beate thy ladd and thee.

O let that man come downe, he said,
A sight of him wold I see;
And when hee hath beaten well my ladd,
Then he shall beate of mee.

Downe then came the kemperye man,*
And looked him in the eare;

For all the gold, that was under heaven,
He durst not neigh him neare.3

And how nowe, kempe, said the kyng of Spaine,
And how what aileth thee?

He saies, It is writt in his forhead

All and in gramaryè,

That for all the gold that is under heaven,
I dare not neigh him nye.

Then kyng Estmere pulld forth his harpe,
And plaid a pretty thinge:
The ladye upstart from the borde,
And wold have gone from the king.

Stay thy harpe, thou proud harpèr,
For Gods love I pray thee

For and thou playes as thou beginns,
Thou'lt till my bryde from mee.



* i.e. entice. ['lazy or wicked. 2 soldier or fighting man.






3 approach him near.]

[ocr errors]

He stroake upon his harpe againe,
And playd a pretty thinge;
The ladye lough' a loud laughter,
As shee sate by the king.

Saies, sell me thy harpe, thou proud harper,
And thy stringès all,

For as many gold nobles 'thou shalt have'
As heere bee ringes in the hall.

What wold ye doe with my harpe, 'he sayd,
If I did sell itt yee?

"To playe my wiffe and me a Fitt,*
When abed together wee bee."

More seemelye it is for her fayre bodye
To lye by mee then thee.

Now sell me, quoth hee, thy bryde soe gay, 245
As shee sitts by thy knee,

And as many gold nobles I will give,

As leaves been on a tree.

Hee played agayne both loud and shrille,
And Adler he did syng,

"O ladye, this is thy owne true love;
Noe harper, but a kyng.

And what wold ye doe with my bryde soe gay,
Iff I did sell her thee?


"O ladye, this is thy owne true love,
As playnlye thou mayest see;



[1 laughed.]



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,
Who partes thy love and thee.


The ladye looked, the ladye blushte,
And blushte and lookt agayne,
While Adler he hath drawne his brande,
And hath the Sowdan slayne.

Up then rose the kemperye men,
And loud they gan to crye:
Ah! traytors, yee have slayne our kyng,
And therefore yee shall dye.


Kyng Estmere threwe the harpe asyde,
And swith he drew his brand;2
And Estmere he, and Adler yonge
Right stiffe in stour3 can stand.

And aye their swordes soe sore can byte,
Throughe help of Gramaryè
That soone they have slayne the kempery men,
Or forst them forth to flee.

Kyng Estmere tooke that fayre ladyè,
And marryed her to his wiffe,

And brought her home to merry England
With her to leade his life.



2 sword.

3 fight.

or grammar, and hence used for any abstruse learning.]

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

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,
And Termagaunt my god so bright."

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,
No man dare him withsay.'


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

[ocr errors]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »