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)N ancient story I'll tell you anon,Of a notable Prince that was called King John;And he ruled England with main and withmight,SFor he did great wrong and maintainedlittle right.And I'll tell you a story, a story so merrie,Concerning the Abbot of Canterbury;How for his housekeeping and high renown,They rode post for him to fair London town.Kl, 13The Baldwin LibraryS. University
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An hundred men, the King did-hear say,The Abbot kept in his house every day,And fifty gold chains without any, .odoubt,In velvet coats waited the Abbotabout.C -4"How now, Father Abbot, I hear it of thee,Thou-keepest a far better house than me;And for thy housekeeping and high renown,I fear thou work'st treason against my crown!"
" My liege," quo' the Abbot, " I would it were known,I never spend nothing but what is my own;And I trust your Grace will not put me in fear,For spending of my own true gotten gear."'Yes, yes, Father Abbot, thy fault it ishigh,And now for the same thou needestmust die,For except thou can'st answer mequestions three.Thy head shall be smitten from thybodie!
"And first,' quo' the King, "when I'm in this stead,With my crown of gold soS/fair on my head,S L / Among all my liegemen sonoble of birth,Thou must tell me to oneSpenny what I am worth." Secondly, tell me withoutany doubt,How soon I may ride thewhole world about;SAnd at the third questionthou must not shrink,But tell me here truly what."I do think."
"Oh! these are hard questionsfor my shallow wit., Now I cannot answer yourGrace as yet;But if thou wilt give me butthree weeks' space,S 1I'll do my endeavour to answeryour Grace."" Now three weeks' space tothee will I give,And that is the longest timethou hast to live;For if thou dost not answermy questions three,Thy lands and thy livings areforfeit to me."
So away rode the Abbot, all sad at that word,And he rode to Cambridge and Oxenforde;But never a doctor there was so wise,That could with his learning an answer devise., frI-~J
Then home rode the Abbot of comfort so cold.And he met his shepherd agoing to fold;" And now, my Lord Abbot, you are welcome home,What news do you bring us from good King John ?" ,"Sad news, sad news, shepherd, I must give,That I have but three days more to live;For if I do not answer him questions three,My head will be smitten from my bodie!%BMB ^^f^^'^^^^^l/^aaM TI.^ ., *~ibBi(^ *\!! ,t S 'es .a es ehrd ts ie,~ ~ ~~~Ta ': *~ ,u *he *~ .or .o ***:,:** '*:.'.* .eB.; ^
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"The first is to tell him there in that steadWith his crown of gold so fair on his head,Among all his liegemen so noble of birth,To within one penny of what he is worth." The second, to tell him without any doubt,How soon he may ride'this whole world about;And at the third question I must not shrink,But tell him there truly what he does think."4dI!V,,3 -,2 ,. ."~ ~;
"" Now, cheer up, Sir Abbot,did you never hear yetThat a fool he may learn awise man wit ?Lend me horse and servingmen and your apparel,And I'll ride to London toanswer your quarrel."Nay, frown not, for it hathbeen told unto me,I am like your Lordship asever may be;And if you will but lend meyour gown.""; There is none shall know usat fair London town."" Now horses and serving-men thou shalt have,With sumptuous array mostgallant and brave,With crozier and mitre androchet and cope,Fit to appear'fore our fatherthe Pope."I SSrwKSS'i'^~Bifs3Brl "ania"f~~1rir'a'ir
"Now welcome, Sir Abbot," the King he did say," 'Tis well thou'rt come back to keep thy day;For if thou can'st answer my questions three,Thy life and thy living both saved shall be." And first, when thou see'st me here in this stead,With my crown of gold so fair on my head,Among all my liegemen so noble of birth,Tell me to one penny what I am worth ?"9vDOI
" For twenty pence St. Josephwas soldSTo the Ishmaelites, as I havebeen told,And just nineteen is the worthof thee,For I think thou'rt one pennyworse than he."The King he laughed, and heswore by St. Bittel,"I did not think I had beenS. worth so little!Now, secondly, tell me, withoutany doubt,How soon I may ride this wholeworld about ?
" You must rise with the sun, and ride with the same,Until the next morning he rises again;And then your Grace need not make any doubt,But in twenty-four hours you'll ride it about."C jThe King he laughed, and swore by St. John,"I did not think it could be done so soon!Now from the third question you must not shrink,But tell me here truly what I do think."|. *.~~i-i;,-, " '.. *-*i
" Yea, that shall I do, and make your Grace merry,You think I'm the Abbot of Canterbury;But I'm his poor shepherd, as here you may see,That am come to beg pardon for him and for me."The King he laughed, and swore by the Mass," I'll make thee Lord Abbot to-day in his place.""Now nay, my liege, be not in such speed,For, alack! I can neither write nor read.",41_1z
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" Four nobles a week, then, I will give thee,For this merry jest thou hast shown unto me;And tell the Abbot when thou comest home,Thou hast brought him a pardon from goodKing John."I 'V77' /?< *^ ',J