Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

ballad as this of the Beggar of Bednall-green, in two parts, was rewarded with half-a-crown of our money. And that they made a very respectable appearance, we may learn from the dress of the old beggar, in the preceding ballad, p. 366. where he comes into company in the habit and character of one of these minstrels, being not known to be the bride's father till after her speech, ver. 68. The exordium of his song, and his claiming a groat for his reward, ver. 80, are peculiarly characteristic of that profession. Most of the old ballads begin in a pompous manner, in order to captivate the attention of the audience, and induce them to purchase a recital of the song: and they seldom conclude the first part without large promises of still greater entertainment in the second. This was a necessary piece of art to incline the hearers to be at the expense of a second groat's-worth. Many of the old romances extend to eight or nine FITS, which would afford a considerable profit to the reciter.

To return to the word FIT; it seems at one time to have peculiarly signified the pause, or breathing-time, between the several parts (answering to PASSUS in the Visions of Pierce Plowman): thus in the ancient ballad of Chevy-Chase, vol. i. p. 1, the first part ends with this line,

"The first FIT here I fynde:'

2. e. here I come to the first pause or intermission. (See also vol. i. p. 18.) By degrees it came to signify the whole part or division preceding the pause. (See the concluding verses of the First and Second Parts of "Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough, and William of Cloudesly," in vol. i. pp. 113 & 118.) This sense it had obtained so early as the time of Chaucer; who thus concludes the first part of his rhyme of Sir Thopas (writ in ridicule of the old ballad romances):

"Lo! lordis mine, here is a FITT;

If ye woll any more of it,

To tell it woll I fonde."

The word FIT indeed appears originally to have signified a poetic strain, verse, or poem; for in these senses it is used by the AngloSaxon writers. Thus king Ælfred in his Boetius, having given a version of lib. 3, metr. 5, adds, pare piroom thar thar fitte arungen hærde, page 65, i. e. " when wisdom had sung these [FITTS] verses." And in the Proem to the same book fon on fitte," put into [FITT] verse.' So in Cedmon, p. 45, feond on fitte, seems to mean composed a song," or "poem." The reader will trace this old Saxon phrase in the application of the word fond, in the foregoing passage of Chaucer.-See Glossary.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Spenser has used the word fit to denote "a strain of music.” his poem entitled, "Collin Clout's come home again,” where he says, "The Shepherd of the ocean [Sir Walt. Raleigh] Provoked me to play some pleasant FIT.

And when he heard the music which I made

He found himself full greatlye pleas'd at it," &c.

See

It is also used in the old ballad of King Estmere, vol. i. p. 51, v. 243.

From being applied to music, this word was easily transferred to dancing; thus in the old play of Lusty Juventus, (described in vol. i. p. 95, and p. 327,) Juventus says,

"By the masse I would fayne go daunce a FITTE.”

And from being used as a part or division in a ballad, poem, &c., it is applied by Bale to a section or chapter in a book, though I believe in a sense of ridicule or sarcasm; for thus he entitles two chapters of his English Boraryes, part ii. viz. fol. 49, "The fyrst FYTT of Anselme with Kynge Wyllyam_Rufus."-fol. 50, "An other FYTT of Anselme with kynge Wyllyam Rufus."

XI.

Fancy and Desire.

BY THE EARL OF OXFORD.

Edward Vere, Earl of Oxford, was in high fame for his poetical talents in the reign of Elizabeth: perhaps it is no injury to his reputation, that few of his compositions are preserved for the inspection of impartial posterity. To gratify curiosity, we have inserted a sonnet of his, which is quoted with great encomiums for its "excellencie and wit," in Puttenham's Arte of Eng. Poesie,' and found entire in the Garland of Good-will. A few more of his sonnets (distinguished by the initial letters E. O.) may be seen in the Paradise of daintie Devises. One of these is entitled "The complaint of a Lover, wearing blacke and tawnie." The only lines in it worth notice are these:

"A crowne of baies shall that man 'beare'

Who triumphs over me;

For black and tawnie will I weare,

Which mourning colours be."

[ocr errors]

We find in Hall's Chronicle, that when Queen Catharine of Arragon died, Jan. 8, 1536, Queen Anne [Bullen] ware YELLOWE for the mourning." And when this unfortunate princess lost her head, May 19, the same year, on the ascension day following, the kyng for mourning ware WHYTE," fol. 227, 228.

66

Edward, who was the 17th Earl of Oxford, of the family of Vere, succeeded his father in his title and honours in 1562, and died an aged man in 1604. See Mr. Walpole's Noble Authors. Athen. Ooxn, &c.

1 Lond. 1589, p. 172.

COME hither shepherd's swayne:
"Sir, what do you require?"

I praye thee, shewe to me thy name.
My name is FOND DESIRE.”

66

When wert thou borne, Desire ?
"In pompe and pryme of May."

By whom, sweet boy, wert thou begot?
"By fond Conceit, men say."

5

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

What lulld thee then asleepe?

Tell me, where is thy dwelling place?

"Sweete speech, which likes me best."

"In gentle hartes I rest.”

20

[blocks in formation]

"Yes, surelye, many one."

Where doth Desire delighte to live › "He loves to live alone."

Doth either tyme or age

'

Bring him unto decaye?

No, no, Desire both lives and dyes
Ten thousand times a daye."

Then, fond Desire, farewelle,
Thou are no mate for mee;

I sholde be lothe, methinkes, to dwelle
With such a one as thee.

330

35

XII.

Sir Andrew Barton.

I cannot give a better relation of the fact, which is the subject of the following ballad, than in an extract from the late Mr. Guthrie's Peerage; which was begun upon a very elegant plan, but never finished. Vol. i. 4to, p. 22.

1

"The transactions which did the greatest honour to the earl of Surrey and his family at this time [A.D. 1511], was their behaviour in the case of Barton, a Scotch sea-officer. This gentleman's father having suffered by sea from the Portuguese, he had obtained letters of marque for his two sons to make reprisals upon the subjects of Portugal. It is extremely probable, that the court of Scotland granted these letters with no very honest intention. The council-board of England, at which the earl of Surrey held the chief place, was daily pestered with complaints from the sailors and merchants, that Barton, who was called Sir Andrew Barton, under pretence of searching for Portuguese goods, interrupted the English navigation. Henry's situation at that time rendered him backward from breaking with Scotland, so that their complaints were but coldly received. The earl of Surrey, however, could not smother his indignation, but gallantly declared at the council-board, that while he had an estate that could furnish out a ship, or a son that was capable of commanding one, the narrow seas should not be infested.

"Sir Andrew Barton, who commanded the two Scotch ships, had the reputation of being one of the ablest sea-officers of his time. By his depredations, he had amassed great wealth, and his ships were very richly laden. Henry, notwithstanding his situation, could not refuse the generous offer made by the earl of Surrey. Two ships were immediately fitted out, and put to sea with letters of marque, under his two sons, Sir Thomas 2 and Sir Edward Howard. After encountering a great deal of foul weather, Sir Thomas came up with the Lion, which was commanded by Sir Andrew Barton in person; and Sir Edward came up with the Union, Barton's other ship [called by Hall the Bark of Scotland]. The engagement which ensued was extremely obstin..te on both sides; but at last the fortune of the Howards prevailed. Sir Andrew was killed fighting bravely, and encouraging his men with his whistle, to hold out to the last; and the two Scotch ships with their crews were carried into the river Thames. [Aug. 2, 1511.]

"This exploit had the more merit, as the two English commanders were in a manner volunteers in the service, by their father's order. But it seems to have laid the foundation of Sir Edward's fortune; for,

1 Thomas Howard, afterwards created Duke of Norfolk.

2 Called by old historians Lord Howard, afterwards created Earl of Surrey in his father's lifetime. He was father of the poetical Earl of Surrey.

on the 7th of April, 1512, the king constituted him (according to Dug dale) admiral of England, Wales, &c.

[ocr errors]

"King James 'insisted' upon satisfaction for the death of Barton, and capture of his ship: though' Henry had generously dismissed the crews, and even agreed that the parties accused might appear in his court of admiralty by their attornies, to vindicate themselves." This affair was in a great measure the cause of the battle of Flodden, in which James IV. lost his life.

In the following ballad will be found perhaps some few deviations from the truth of history: to atone for which, it has probably recorded I many lesser facts, which history hath not condescended to relate. take many of the little circumstances of the story to be real, because I find one of the most unlikely to be not very remote from the truth. In part ii. v. 156, it is said, that England had before "but two ships of war." Now the Great Harry had been built only seven years before, viz. in 1504 which was properly speaking the first ship in the English navy. Before this period, when a prince wanted a fleet, he had no other expedient but hiring ships from the merchants."-Hume. This ballad, which appears to have been written in the reign of Elizabeth, has received great improvements from the Editor's folio MS., wherein was an ancient copy, which, though very incorrect, seemed in many respects superior to the common ballad; the latter being evidently modernized and abridged from it. The following text is however in some places amended and improved by the latter, (chiefly from a black-letter copy in the Pepys Collection,) as also by conjecture. THE FIRST PART.

'WHEN Flora with her fragrant flowers
Bedeckt the earth so trim and gaye,
And Neptune with his daintye showers
Came to present the monthe of Maye ;'
King Henrye rode to take the ayre,

'3

5

Over the river of Thames past hee;
When eighty merchants of London came,
And downe they knelt upon their knee.

"O yee are welcome, rich merchants,

Good saylors, welcome unto mee."

10

They swore by the rood, they were saylors good,

But rich merchants they cold not bee.

"To France nor Flanders dare we pass,
Nor Bordeaux voyage dare we fare;

And all for a rover that lyes on the seas,
Who robbs us of our merchant ware."

Ver. 15, 83, robber. MS.
3 From the pr. copy.

[ocr errors]

15

« FöregåendeFortsätt »