Sidor som bilder
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That love had been sae ill to win,

I had lockt my heart in a case of gowd,

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And pinnd it with a siller pin.

And, oh! if my young babe were born,
And set upon the nurses knee,

And I my sell were dead and gane!

For a maid again Ise never be.

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XII.

The Wanton Wife of Bath.1

From an ancient copy in black-print, in the Pepys Collection. Mr.
Addison has pronounced this an excellent ballad. See the Spectator,
No. 248.

IN Bath a wanton wife did dwelle,

As Chaucer he doth write,

Who did in pleasure spend her dayes,
And many a fond delight.

Upon a time sore sicke she was,
And at the length did dye;

And then her soul at Heaven's gate
Did knocke most mightilye.

First Adam came unto the gate:

“Who knocketh there?" quoth hee. "I am the Wife of Bath," she sayd,

"And faine would come to thee."

"Thou art a sinner," Adam sayd,

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"And here no place shalt have;
"And so art thou, I trowe," quoth shee,
'And eke a' doting knave."

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"And first broke God's commandiments,

"In pleasure of thy wife:"

When Adam heard her tell this tale,

He ranne away for life.

Ver. 16. Now gip you. P.

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This ballad was admitted by Percy into the earlier editions of the Reliques, though excluded from the revised edition of 1794.-Editor.

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Then downe came Jacob at the gate,

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And bids her packe to hell:

"Thou false deceiving knave," quoth she,

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"How now," quoth she, "thou drunken ass, Who bade thee here to prate?

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"With thy two daughters thou didst lye, On them two bastardes got:

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And thus most tauntingly she chaft
Against poor silly Lot.

"Who calleth there," quoth Judith then,
"With such shrill sounding notes ?"

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"This fine minkes surely came not here,"

Quoth she, "for cutting throats!"

Good Lord, how Judith blush'd for shame,
When she heard her say soe!

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King David hearing of the same,

He to the gate would goe.

Quoth David, "Who knockes there so loud,

And maketh all this strife?"

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"You were more kinde, good sir," she sayd,

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"Thou hadst seven hundred wives at once,
For whom thou didst provide,

And yet, God wot, three hundred whores
Thou must maintain beside.

"And they made thee forsake thy God,
And worship stockes and stones;
Besides the charge they put thee to
In breeding of young bones.

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"Hadst thou not bin beside thy wits,

Thou wouldst not thus have ventur'd;

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And therefore I do marvel much

How thou this place hast enter'd."

"I never heard," quoth Jonas then, “So vile a scold as this ;"

"Thou whore-son, run-away," quoth she,

"Thou diddest more amiss."

"They say,"" quoth Thomas, "womens tongues

Of aspen-leaves are made;"

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"Thou unbelieving wretch," quoth she,

"All is not true that's sayd."

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When Mary Magdalen heard her then,

She came unto the gate;

Quoth she, "Good woman, you must think

Upon your former state.

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"Fond fool," quoth he, "knock not so fast,

Thou weariest Christ with cries."

"Peter," said she, "content thyselfe,

For mercye may be won;

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