STORIES FRO OPA
The Baldwin Library
THE F. M. LUPTON
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859,
BY LEADER K. LIPPINCOTT,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871,
BY JAMES R. OSGOOD & CO.,
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
PATIENT GRISELDA 1
THE KING OF FRANCE'S DAUGHTER 21
CHEVY CHACE 33
THE KING AND THE MILLER OF MANSFIELD 42
THE ENGLISH MERCHANT AND THE SARACEN LADY 60
THE BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER, OR BEDNALL-GREEN 72
THE HEIR OF LINE. 95
SIR PATRICK SPENS 109
AUTLD ROBIN GRAY 118
FRIDOLIN; OR, THE MESSAGE TO THE FORGE. 125
THE EMPEROR, THE ABBOT, AND THE SHEPHERD 141
THE RICHEST PRINCE . 159
THE WIVES OF WEINSBURG 163
THE CUSTOM OF DUNMOW 171
ix)RIES n~o FAMOUS BALLADS.
THE Marquis of Salusa, a great noble-
man of Italy, one day set forth on a hunt,
with a large party of gentlemen,- gallant
young knights and courtiers. As the mar-
quis was riding by himself, a little in ad-
vance of his company, along the borders of
a great forest, he heard a sweet, womanly
voice singing a gay ballad of love. Curi-
ous to see from whence came that voice,
the marquis rode cautiously along till he
came upon a simple little cottage, hidden,
like a bird's nest, amid the thick, green
foliage. Beside the door sat a beautiful
young maiden, spinning and pouring out
the gladness of an innocent heart in song.
Her voice was so delicious that the lin-
nets and thrushes in the trees around were
2 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
hushed in listening wonder. Only a know-
ing old sparrow, sitting on the low thatch
of the cottage, eying the singer, with his
head on one side, filled the pauses of her
song with chirps of gracious applause; and
an enthusiastic young robin, balancing him-
self on a slender spray, burst, every now
and then, into a low gurgle of delight. It
was a voice which seemed to belong to the
young girl by right, it so expressed her
beauty and sweetness. It was to her what
perfume is to the rose.
This maiden was clad in a simple russet
gown, the dress of a peasant. She wore
no ornaments, and she needed none. Fairer
than pearls were her lovely arms and neck,
and more beautiful than a coronet of gold
and jewels were the rich masses of sunny
curls flowing to her waist, and softly shad-
ing her sweet face, as she sat and sang.
. The marquis thought he had never be-
held so lovely a creature. Though he
knew many fair court ladies-proud dames
of high degree-his heart had never been
PATIENT QGBI A.
touched by their haughty beauty and stud-
ied graces as by the simple loveliness of
this poor peasant girl, this wild rose of
the forest. He sat very still in his sad-
dle, gazing at her, while she, all uncon-
scious of his presence, sang on and whirled
the swift wheel, thinking of anything else
in the world but noble marquises, -till his
company joined him. Then he advanced
to the cottage door, and, taking off his
plumed and jeweled hat, said, courteously,
" Good day, fair mistress of this homely
bower,- this abode of virtue, love, and
The maiden was very much surprised,
but not overcome. She had seen fine court
gentlemen before, as they rode through the
forest, chasing the deer. She rose, and,
modestly greeting the marquis, welcomed
him and his company to her father's poor
cottage, where she and her mother set
before them some simple refreshments.
In those days short courtships were the
fashion, especially where the suitor was a
4 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
noble lord, and his love a poor peasant
girl. So it was hardly a matter of sur-
prise to any present, except the cottagers,
when the marquis turned from the brown
bread and milk, which he had been making
a brave effort to eat, and, taking the little
white hand of the golden-haired maiden,
said, What is thy name, fair damsel ? "
Griselda," she replied, with a blush.
"Ah, well, Griselda, thou pleasest me;
and I mean to make thee my wife."
But the maid, blushing yet more deeply,
and trying to withdraw her hand, replied,
" Nay, my lord marquis, that must not be;
for I am a poor, ignorant peasant girl, too
far below thy high estate to wed with thee.
Surely thou dost jest."
Then the marquis swore a great oath -
which I cannot think of repeating here -
that he would marry her, and no other;
and as he was very powerful indeed, and
very self-willed and obstinate, as lords are
likely to be, and as the maiden's father
and mother were only too pioud and happy
to give their consent, and as Griselda
herself had, on beholding the handsome
young huntsman, been seized with an in-
stantaneous and overpowering affection for
him, she consented, as we knew she would
Then the gay young knights came for-
ward and congratulated their lord, and
begged leave to kiss the fair hand of his
lady-love. They bowed low before Gri-
selda, and pretended to be quite over-
whelmed by her beauty and grace; but
they laughed behind her back at her rustic
air and russet gown the rogues !
In a day or two there arrived for Gri-
selda, from the marquis' palace, a great
many parcels and band-boxes, containing
splendid dresses and ornaments, accompa-
nied by a smart waiting-wom-an, who put
on such airs when she found herself in a
-cttage that Griselda thought her some
great lady, and a.dlre'sl her with pro-
found respect, which did not tend-to lesson
'her airs. She condescended, however, to
6 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
dress the bride in the silk, and velvet, and
jewels her lord had sent to her; to comb
out her sunny locks, and confine them with
a band of gold, set thick with diamonds.
The marquis came, with a company of
noble lords and ladies, to conduct the bride
to church. Griselda came forth from her
chamber, looking more beautiful than words
can tell, and greeted her lord with joyful
smiles. Yet, as he led her forth, and set
her on her snow-white palfrey, who tossed
his mane and pawed the earth, as though
proud of his trappings of crimson and gold,
she did not glance back upon the humble
cottage of her parents with haughty scorn,
but with tears in her soft blue eyes.
She was married in a great church, with
any amount of pomp and ceremony, two
envious court ladies holding her train. And
so the lowly born Griselda became Mar-
chioness of Salusa.-
When the marquis took his bride away
to court, her father and mother returned
proud and sad to their cottage, which had
PATIENT GMRISBELDA. 7
become a very lonely and silent place.
Everything seemed to miss Griselda ; the
birds she had fed and sung to ; the flowers
she had tended; even the wild vine that
clambered up the wall, and peeped in at
the little window of her vacant chamber.
"How grand our Grisel looked, in silk
and velvet! She seemed made for such royal
attire," said the peasant mother to her good
man, more than once, after that great wed-
ding. Yet 'the first thing she had done, on
their return from the church, was to take
up the russet gown which the tiring-
woman had contemptuously flung by, fold
it carefully, and lay it away in a chest, with
all the other articles of her daughter's sim-
ple wardrobe. Then she knelt down and
looked at them all,- russet gown, scarlet
petticoat, snowy apron and hose, and little
wooden shoes,- not with smiles of scorn,
but with tears of tenderest love. You would
have almost thought it was Griselda's coffin
she was looking into so mournfully.
At court, Griselda's beauty so far out-
8 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
shone that of the dames of high degree
that they were all filled with envy and ill
will. Soon they endeavored to make strife
and unhappiness between her and her lord,
- dispraising her for her lowly birth and
simple, innocent ways, even while praising
her beauty, and pretending to admire her
healthy, country bloom. They said very
bitter, disagreeable things, with the sweet-
est voices and softest smiles; affected to
pity the marquis for his infatuation, and
to believe that he already repented his un-
lucky choice of a wife.
The Salusas were a very proud and aris-
tocratic family, wonderfully ancient and
exclusive. They could trace back their
splendid line for ever so many centuries,
- some said, playfully, to the creation;
and that they laid claim to a separate
Eden, and an Adam and Eve of their
own. So it was little wonder that the
marquis' kinswomen were all especially
indignant and scornful; and being such
mighty personages, they did not scruple to
speak out plain and strong.
Thou hast wronged us, cousin," they
said. Thou, a noble marquis, a Salusa,
to wed with one so basely born. Thou
shouldst have taken a princess for thy
wife. Put away this mean peasant girl,
who brings upon thee and thy race only
scorn and reproach, and take another
bride, a lady of rank equal to thine
All these things were reported to Gri-
selda; but she bore them with sweet pa-
tience and unfailing humility, saying that
her dear lord must do as seemed to him
best hold to her, or put her away ; that
she grieved to have offended the noble lords
and ladies by her lowly birth; but that that
was a thing she could not undo, else would
she gladly right it. And yet it seemed to
her, she said, that her lord's high estate
should make her humbleness to be forgot-
ten; as when the lark soars singing in
10 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
mid-heaven, none think of his mate, low.
nested in the meadow-grass.
Well, those gay lords and proud ladies
grew more and more interested in their
game of hunting down poor Griselda, and
worrying her noble husband; till at last,
the marquis secretly laid a plan for morti-
fying them, and proving his wife's patience
and constant love. This plan has been
greatly admired and commended, espe-
cially by poets; but I cannot say that I
approve of it at all. From beginning to
end I think it was most unkind and un-
generous. I must confess, too, that I can-
not altogether admire Griselda's wonderful
" patience." In my opinion she had alto-
gether too much of a good thing. But to
Griselda was now the mother of two
pretty twin babies. At the christening of
these there was great rejoicing among the
retainers of the marquis.' A great com-
pany of knights and ladies were enter-
tained at his palace with feasts and tour-
neys, and all sorts of pleasant games, for
full six weeks.
Griselda mingled as little as possible in
these sports. She loved better to stay in
the nursery, beside the cradle of her babies,
where she was happier than she had ever
been since she became a great lady. One
day, after all the guests were gone, she
was sitting by the children, watching them
in their sleep, and wishing, perhaps, that
her own dear mother were there to look
with her on their pretty little rosy faces
and chubby, dimpled hands, when a rude
servitor entered, and told her that his lord
had sent him to remove the babies forever
out of the way; as, on their mother's side,
they were too base-born to inherit the riches
and titles of the noble house of Salusa.
" So let me have the children, without
delay," he said, stretching out his hands
towards the cradle.
Poor Griselda burst into tears and sobs,
and wrung her hands wildly, for a few mo-
ments. But she soon calmed herself, stayed
12 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
her sobs, dropped her bands upon her knees,
and said, meekly, My gracious lord must
have his will obeyed."
Then she took her little son and daughter
from their cradle, kissed them many times,
with tears and blessings and sorrowful fare-
wells, and gave them to her lord's messen-
ger, saying, Alas alas had I been of
royal race, I might have kept my dear ba-
bies; now they must die for my unworthi-
ness. Take them, messenger of death though
thou be, and commend me to my lord."
The servitor took the children to his
master, who secretly sent them to a noble
lady, to be brought up tenderly, as became
After he had done this, he went to seek
his wife. He found her sitting in the
nursery all alone, beside the empty cradle,
very white and still, with her hands tightly
clasped on hler bosom. She tried to smile
when her lord drew near, and though she
could not quite do it, she looked very sweet
and patient as usual.
*'"Well," he said, "thy children are
now disposed of, safe from the scorn of
the great world. What dost thou think
of this deed ? Answer me, my pretty
She replied, If thou, my lord, art well
pleased with it, poor Griselda can say
naught against it. Both I and mine are
at thy command."
A few days after this, the marquis came
to his wife's chamber, apparently very much
disturbed in his mind.
My fair Griselda," he said, rather
bluntly, matters have come to such a
pass here at court, my nobles and their
wives so murmur and rail at the great
honor I have done thee,- that I can have
no peace till thou art banished. I am
sorry, but I really cannot hold out any
longer. I have made up my mind to send
thee home, and let thee return to the lowly
fortune to which thou wert born. Thou
must take off thy stately garments, which
ill befit thee now, and put on again the
14 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
russet gown thou didst wear when I saw
thee first. I have had it brought hither,
with the rest of thy peasant garb. I would
be willing to grant thee a pension from my
purse, but for the exceeding bitter outcry
against thee. My kinsfolk will not allow
me to give thee a groat. It is a grievous
case, but so it must be."
Griselda heard these cruel words quietly,
and submitted without a murmur or com-
plaint. She rose up meekly, stripped off
her laces and her jewels, her robe of velvet
and her kirtle of silk, and put on her rus-
set gown. When she was dressed in the
old humble way,; though her insolent wait-
ing-woman laughed, she was not ashamed,
only sorely grieved. As she was ready to
depart from her splendid palace-home she
thought only of the beloved though cruel
husband she must be separated from for-
ever ; and looking up into his face with
tearful eyes she said, softly, God send
long life to thee, my dear lord."
The marquis' own eyes looked a little
watery at these words. He bent down aInj
kissed her, saying, Farewell, my dear."
And so the Marquis of Salusa put away
his wife ; and she, all clad in russet gray,
went back to the little cottage by the great
forest, and said, My father and mother,
I have come back to you and the lowly
estate to which I was born. My noble lord
has wearied of me."
Griselda continued to live with her par-
ents some years. She was still very beau-
tiful, though not so blooming and gay as
in her humble, happy girlhood. She never
sang now, and secretly she wept much for
her lost children and the husband who had
forsaken her. But she was gentle and
good, and as patient" as ever. No one
could speak evil of her. At court she was
soon forgotten; and at last there were
rumors that the Marquis of Salusa was
about to make a new marriage, c ne
worthy of his exalted rank and ancient
family. The first that Griselda knew of
it she was summoned by the marquis to
16 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
his palace, to attend the wedding and wait
on the fair bride.
Do not go, my Grisel," said her
mother. "Thou owest that wicked man
.n duty, now that he has put thee away.
Go not, I pray thee."
Nay, mother," she replied, "I owe
my dear lord duty while I live; and I will
go, if only to look on his face once more,
and for the last time ere I die."
So she went to the palace with her
brother,- she looking very meek and pa-
tient, as usual; he with a fiery glow in his
swarthy cheeks, and an angry flash in his
eyes; for he loved his fair sister, and fiercely
resented her wrongs.
The new bride of the marquis was very
-,aQke the old ; a proud and haughty dame
vwas she, and crafty withal. She had
wished and schemed to marry the mar-
juis before he had wedded Griselda, and
afterwards had been the poor wife's bit-
Ah! it was a sore trial of Griselda's
patience, when she was charged with the
task of attiring this proud dame for the
altar. Yet she did as she was commanded,
- meekly bore the lady's scoffs and gibes,
and tried hard to make her look beautiful
in her costly bridal array.
When all was done, and the marquis
had entered, with all his lords and gentle-
men, she was about to shrink away, feel-
ing that she really could endure no more,
and that she must get home to her mother,
or die at once, when the marquis stepped
up to her and said, Now, Mistress Gri-
selda, I would know if thou agreest to this
marriage. I have chosen, at last, a riaht
noble and stately bride, of ancient family,
and exceeding rich withal. What sayest
thou ? Methinks thy looks are wondrous
coy. Art well content ? "
With this, all around began to laugh at
the poor woman's distress. But she looked
up in her old, patient, loving way; and
though her lip quivered, and her eyelashes
glistened with tears, she said, firmly,
18 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
" God send my lord marquis many years
of joy !"
At that meek answer, all present, except
aniy the proud dame who was to be the
bride, were moved with pity and admira-
tion. More than one great lord, with an
immense pedigree, and a brilliant string
of titles streaming after his name, like the
tail of a comet, became conscious, for the
first time for many years, that he had such
a thing as a heart, by its suddenly soften-
ing and warming toward that marvelously
loving and long-suffering wife. More than
one haughty lady, amazed at such good-
ness and gentleness, forgot or forgave poor
Griselda's surpassing beauty, and cried,
" Gramercy! she is an angel, and no
But most of all was the marquis moved
by her humble words, her uncomplaining
sweetness; by all the mournful tenderness
and patient suffering which spoke in her
tones and looked out of her eyes. He took
her by the hand, and said, in a loud, clear
voice, Thou art my bride, -all the bride
I want, or mean to have." Then, pointing
to a noble boy and a beautiful young girl,
standing somewhat apart and gazing wist-
fully upon her, he added, There are thy
children and in another moment, Gri-
selda was warmly embraced by her long
lost son and daughter.
The marquis then asked pardon of the
disappointed bride,-who, after all, was no
bride,- and begged her still to retain, as
some slight consolation for the loss of his
rank and fortune, the costly jewels he had
that morning presented to her. She re-
fused to grant the pardon, but she kept
Then, again taking the hand of his wife,
the marquis made a little speech to the
lords and ladies present, which consider-
ably lowered their lofty crests.
You who once envied and despised
my dear and loving wife," he said, may
now blush for shame, and learn to honor
virtue and goodness. I tell you, that long
20 rOBIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
after the proudest of you is forgotten, fame
shall extol the patient constancy of Gri.
selda, whom I again take to my arms, -
my most noble and beloved wife."
Now, if I had been Griselda, I am almost
sure I should have drawn back at this, and
said, Pardon, my lord marquis, but this
must not be. Thou didst never truly love
me, if, having no reason to doubt my con-
stant affection, thou couldst, for a mere
whim, so cruelly rend my heart, and so
severely try my patience, through these
long years. I cannot be again thy wife.
Give me my children, and let us part in
But then I should have spoiled more
than one quaint old ballad and charming
romance, and robbed the husbands of many
generations of a valuable example to hold
ul before their wives. So, on the whole, I
suppose it is as well that I was not in
" Patient Griselda's place.
THE KING OF FRANCE'S DAUGHTER.
A LONG time ago, there ruled in France
a famous monarch, called Charles the
Bald," who had a fair daughter named
Judith, the only child of his dead queen.
She was a very sweet young princess;
graceful and beautiful, as only a princess
in a ballad or a fairy story can be. The
king doted on her with all his heart, was
proud of her beauty and accomplishments,
and resolved to wed her to some rich and
powerful prince. But, unfortunately for
his ambitious plans, there came to his
court a young prince of England, named
Ethelwulph, brave and renowned, but,
because of a revolution in his native land,
an exile, poor and powerless. He was
handsome and amiable, and, falling in love
with the princess of France, had little dif-
ficulty in winning her love in return. This
22 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
was not at all pleasing to the king, her
father; indeed was so displeasing that
he frowned on his young guest in awful
indignation and reproach. This made Eth
elwulph's residence at court very uncom-
fortable, as all the courtiers who copied
after their liege lord so servilely that to
the youngest they shaved their crowns, in
imitation of the royal baldness frowned
with double blackness on the unlucky
stranger; and all the fair ladies of the
court, except the princess, looked most
ungracious, or coolly turned their backs
The king reproved his daughter sternly,
and commanded her to think no more of
that penniless and proscribed young Eng-
lishman. A great king was Charles, but
his power did not reach quite so far as
that; Judith thought of her lover more
than ever, pitied him, and resolved to
cling to him all the more for his mis-
At length her father began to treat her
THE KING OF FRANCE'S DAUGHTER. 23
severely, and wished to marry her to a
gray-headed old royal suitor, whom she
detested ; and, getting very desperate, she
agreed to escape from court with her lover,
to some safe refuge, where they could wed
and live in peace. So she disguised her-
self in humble attire, and, taking only, of
all her royal goods, a casket of jewels and
gold, stole forth, one summer night, from
her father's stately palace, away to the
great hunting forest, on the borders of
which her English lover had promised to
The young prince reached the spot
agreed upon for the meeting before his
fair lady, and sat down under an oak tree,
to wait her coming. But most unluckily,
as he waited there, all fond impatience, he
was attacked by outlaws, robbed, and mor.
tally wounded by dagger-strokes.
The princess came to the wood, yet could
not for a long time find the spot where he
lay, but wandered about, listening for his
voice, and calling him softly, for fear of
'4 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
being overheard by robbers, oi some of the
king's foresters. At length she was star-
tled by hearing piteous sobs and groans,
and then a mournful voice, saying, Fare-
well, my beloved, whom I must never more
see My days are at an end, and for thy
love I die. While I lie here, bleeding all
my brave young life away, I think only
of my beautiful lady, and I am not sorry
that I loved her. Ah, little knows she
that my heart's blood is flowing on the
At these words, the princess, struck with
a sad foreboding, rushed forward to the
side of the dying man. The robbers had
dragged him out from under the oak tree's
shadow into an open glade, where the full
moon shone down on his ghastly face. It
was, indeed, her beloved prince. She
flung herself down by him, raised his head
on her knee, and called him by his name
very tenderly and sorrowfully. Alas! he
could not answer her. Once he looked at
THE KING OF FRANCE'S DAUGHTER. 25
hei ; then, with a low, sad sigh, his life
fled away forever.
For a long time the princess would not
believe Prince Ethelwulph dead, but con-
Lnaed to call on his name more and more
wildly, striving to rouse him from his deep
swoon, and to staunch his bleeding wounds.
At last she resigned all hope, and, lying
down by his side, with his cold hand
pressed close to her heart, she wept bit-
terly till morning. Then she rose up and
looked about her, wearily and desolately.
" Alas she murmured, what will be-
come of me ? I cannot bear to return to
the court of my father ; my father, who
scorned him, my gracious and right royal
love; the princeliest man under the sun,
-and drove him forth to die in this savage
wood Rather will I seek a servant's
lowly place, in some stranger's family, and,
all unknown, live out my few sad days, -
my woful, widowed days." Then she fell
to weeping again very drearily, and calling
on the name of her dead love.
26 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
It happened that a forester a very
brave and comely youth was that morn-
ing ranging the wood, and came suddenly
upon the maiden. Seeing that he looked
gentle and full of pity, she told him a part
of her sorrowful story, and shewed him her
dead lover, but did not reveal his rank or
her own. Her distress moved him to tears.
He comforted her all he could ; he took up
the body of the prince, and bore it tenderly
to his cottage, where he washed its wounds,
composed its limbs, and laid it to rest in
the flowery earth, under an old forest-tree.
Then, as the princess had spoken to him
of wishing to go to service, he placed her
with his mother, who was very kind to her,
and soon grew to love her very dearly.
And not alone did that good old dame love
the fair and sorrowful stranger, but all her
household; and most of all, the handsome
young forester. He had never beheld a
maiden of such refined beauty, such grace,
and such gentle manners; and he thought
THE KING OF FRANCE'S DAUGHTER. 27
it would be the happiest thing in the
world if he could win her for his wife.
It was a long time before the princess
would consent to marry him. Her love
and her joy seemed all buried with her
murdered prince. But the forester was so
kind and generous, and she was so grateful
to him, and honored him so sincerely, that
she finally granted him her hand, and he
proved so good a husband that at last she
grew very happy and contented, and almost
forgot the lofty rank to which she was born,
and the bitter sorrow of her girlhood.
It was not till after years had gone by,
and she was the mother of seven children,
that the Princess Judith revealed the secret
of her royal birth to her husband. He was
greatly astonished ; and, though he did not
love his beautiful wife any better than be-
fore, he wondered that she could have ever
loved him and married him, a man of
low degree. He besought her to allow him
to proclaim her rank to the world ; and
from that time he clothed his children in
28 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
a very curious manner. He had made for
them parti-colored garments, the right
side of cloth of gold, the left of gray frieze,
as emblematical of the rank of the mother
and of the father. When he next heard
that the king was coming to chase the deer
in the forest, he persuaded Judith to place
herself and her children near a path along
which his majesty must ride.
The princess was dressed in robes of
crimson velvet, and wore the royal jewels
she had secretly treasured through all these
years. Her husband stood beside her,
dressed all in sober gray, but a right
gallant figure to behold; and the seven
beautiful children, in their parti-colored
dress, -half cloth of gold, half gray frieze,
like sunshine and shadow,- were grouped
around their parents.
Judith started and turned pale when
she heard the horn of the hunters, and the
dull sound of their horses' hoofs on the
grassy forest paths. Her heart yearned
lovingly toward her father, as it had often
THE KING OF FRANCE'S DAUGHTER. 29
done since she had been a mother; but she
feared to meet him face to face, -feared
that he would reproach and disown her;
or, what would be far worse, treat with
lofty scorn her good and noble husband.
At length the monarch came in sight,
followed by a long cavalcade of knights and
gentlemen. Judith looked at him eagerly.
He did not seem greatly changed ; he had
grown a little stouter and ruddier, a lit-
tle more bald, and his face seemed some-
what softened, as by sorrow and regret.
Charles was a keen-eyed monarch, who
saw everything in his way; so that singular
group by the roadside did not escape his
notice. He checked his horse, and looked
at them curiously for a few moments; then,
calling the forester to him, asked how he
dared to dress his wife in such a royal
way, and to put cloth of gold on his
Because, sire," replied the forester,
"she hath, by birth, as well as by sover-
eign beauty, the right to be so arrayed;
80 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
and the children, through her, are entitled
to cloth of gold and pearls; she being a
princess- the highest in the land."
On hearing this reply, the king looked
more earnestly at Judith, and his stem
face lighted up with a great joy, as he
said to the forester, The more I look at
thy wife, the more it seems to me that she
is my long lost daughter, whom I have
mourned as dead."
At these words the princess sprang for-
ward, and, kneeling before him, cried, I
am thy daughter,-once thy little Judith.
Pardon me, my dear father and sovereign
The king at once dismounted and raised
her in his arms, kissed her, and wept over
her. Then he embraced her husband, and
kissed and blessed her children-all seven
of them right tenderly and joyfully.
After this glad meeting, the king gave
up hunting for the day; and, turning about
with all his train, went home with the for
ester and his family. There, in that rustic
THE KING OF FRANCE'S DAUGHTER. 31
cottage, which, though not very small,
quite overflowed with all that gay retinue,
Charles the Bald-no longer the proud and
ambitious monarch who frowned on poor
Ethelwulph, and so cruelly treated his only
daughter-dubbed the lowly-born forester
knight, and made him Earl of Flanders,
and chief of all the royal forces.
Soon after this time, the earl and the
princess went to live in a royal castle, and
had hosts of servitors; and, though they
saw less of each other than formerly, they
saw a great deal of good company, to make
up for it. Their seven children no longer
wore parti-colored clothes, but dressed in
velvet and cloth of gold every day, and
had tutors and governesses, and were
taught to behave like fine ladies and
But I doubt if they were, any of them,
happier than in the old days, before the
princess revealed that she was a princess,
and when the children ran free about the
forester's cottage, and grew strong and
82 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
beautiful in the breezy old wood ; when
they gathered wild flowers, waded in the
brook, and tumbled in the grass, without
fear of soiling their clothes,- their gray
peasant gowns, jerkins, and hose, and
without fear of tiresome reproofs for their
merry frolics and joyous laughter. But
people can't be great princes and prin-
cesses without paying for their grandeur,
in quiet ease, healthy sport, and careless
IT was in the reign of Henry the Sixth,
of England, and of James the First, of
Scotland, that the hot-headed Percy, Earl
of Northumberland, made a vow, and swore
a great oath, that he would hunt for three
good days among the Cheviot Hills, in
spite of his Scottish foe- the brave and
mighty Earl Douglas and all his clan.
He declared that he would kill the fattest
harts in all the forest, and carry them
away to feast upon in his grand castle.
When the bold Douglas heard this, he
laughed, in a grim, mocking way, and sent
the Percy word to look for him, also, at that
Lord Percy came out of Bamboro, with
a company of fifteen hundred archers, and
began the chase among the beautiful Che-
viot Hills, early on a Monday morning, in
34 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
the golden autumn time. Fast and fai
they rode through the forest, following
their eager hounds, which pressed close
upon the flying deer. Now they galloped
up hills; now the floundered through
marshy places; now they leaped fallen
trees; now they tore through thick brush-
wood; now they dashed through quiet
streams, breaking down flowering shrubs,
crushing small wild-wood flowers, startling
little song-birds from their nests, shaking
down showers of many-colored leaves, chas-
ing down the panting hart, and bathing
their swift arrows in his gushing blood;
so carrying noise, and tumult, and terror,
and death wherever they went.
By noon they had killed a hundred fat
deer. Then they blew a loud bugle-call,
and all came together to see the quarter-
ing of the game. Then the proud Lord
Percy said, The doughty Douglas prom-
ised to meet us here, to-day; but I knew full
well the braggart Scot would fail to keep
Just then, one of his squires called his
attention to a sight which quickly changed
his opinion of the Scottish chief.
Down below, in Tiviotdale, along the
borders of the Tweed, came a host of full
two thousand men, armed with bows and
spears, bills and brands. As soon as they
came near to the hunters, they cried oat,
" Leave off quartering the deer, and look
to your bows; for never, since you were
born, have you had greater need of them
The Douglas rode in front of his men,
his white plumes dancing in the wind, and
his brazen armor flashing in the mid-day
sun; and when he spoke his voice was
like a trumpet, so clear, and strong, and
Ho, there he cried; "what men,
or whose men are you ? And who gave
you leave to hunt in Cheviot, in spite of
Then Lord Percy, with a black frown,
and a voice like thunder, answered, "We
36 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLAD.
will not tell thee what men, nor whose
men we are; but we will hunt here, in
this chance, in spite of thee and all thy
clan. We have killed the fattest harts in
all these forests, and we intend to take
them home and make merry with them."
"By my troth answered the Doug-
las, for that boasting speech, one or the
other of us must die this day! But, my
Lord Percy, it were a great pity to kill all
these guiltless men, in our quarrel. We
are both nobles of high degree, and well
matched ; so let our men stand aside,
while we two fight it out."
The Percy agreed to this; but neither
his nor the Douglas' men would consent to
stand still while their lords were fighting.
So the English archers bent their bows,
and let fly a perfect shower of arrows, and
the Scottish spearmen charged upon them.
Then the English and Scots both drew their
swords, and fought face to face, and foot to
foot. And so began one of the most terri-
ble fights that the sun ever looked upon
Soon the Douglas and the Percy came to-
gether, and fought till the blood spurted
through their armor, and sprinkled all the
ground around them in a thick, red rain.
At last, the Douglas cried, Yield,
Percy, and I will take thee to our Scot-
tish king, and thou shalt be nobly treated,
and have thy ransom free ; for thou art the
bravest man that I ever conquered in all
my fighting "
No replied the proud earl; "I
have told thee before, and I tell thee
again, I will never yield to any man liv-
ing ; so lay on "
Just then an arrow, sent by a stout Eng-
lish archer, came singing sharply through
the air, and pierced deep into the breast
of the Douglas. He gave one cry, -
" Fight on, my merry men, while you
may; for all my days are over! and then
straightened himself out and died.
Lord Percy took the dead man's hand,
and said, Wo 's me to have saved thy
life I would have parted with my lands;
38 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
for in all the country there was not a
braver or better man "
As he stood there lamenting, a Scottish
knight, called Sir Hugh Montgomery, came
galloping up on a swift steed, and drove his
spear clean through Lord Percy, so that he
never spoke more. Then an archer of
Northumberland took aim at Sir Hugh,
with an arrow tipped with a white swan's
plume, and the next moment the knight
fell from his saddle; and the plume on the
arrow that stuck in his breast was no
longer white, but red.
And so they went on till evening, and
still the battle was not done. Then they
fought by the moonlight, until the night
winds sighed about them, and the skies
wept still tears of dew, and the fearful little
stars glinted down upon them through the
In the morning, it was found that of the
fifteen hundred archers of England, there
were living but fifty-three ; and of the two
thousand spearmen of Scotland but fifty-
five, and these were so weary and wounded
that they gave up the fight.
But there were seen many yet sadder
sights on Cheviot battle-field, when the
widows and orphans, the fathers and moth-
ers, and sisters and young brothers, came
to search for their dead. They looked
eagerly here and there; and when they
found the beloved forms, still and cold,
and ghastly with red death-wounds, there
was weeping and bitter mourning; and
many a cry of despairing agony rung out
on the dewy morning air.
At length, homeward turned the mourn-
ers, bearing their dead on rude biers, made
of birch and hazel branches. As they
passed slowly through the shadowy wood,
the wind blowing through the old oaks
and mournful pines above them made a
sad and solemn music; and the young
trees murmured and trembled at their
steps, and flung down pitying dew-drops
upon the dead. The birds ceased their
singing till the procession passed by ; and
40 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
now and then a wild doe looked out
through the thick branches, and seemed,
with her soft, melancholy eyes, to sorrowv
rather than rejoice over the brave hunters,
who would level the lance and direct the
arrow no more.
When it was told to the Scottish King
James, at Edinburgh, that the noble Doug-
las had been slain at Cheviot, he cried,
" Alas, woe is me for there is not and
never will be such another captain in all
But when word was carried to King
Henry, at London, that Lord Percy had
been killed at Cheviot, he said, May
God have mercy on his soul! I have a
hundred captains in England as good as
ever he was; nevertheless, I pledge my
life to avenge thy death, my gallant
To fulfil this angry vow, he went to bat-
tle against the Scottish king, and made the
lives of six-and-thirty of his bravest knights,
and many hundred gentlemen and soldiers,
pay for the life of the Percy.
Soon, the Scots avenged themselves,
then, the English; till it seemed that there
would be no end to the fighting, and blood-
shed, and sorrow that came from that hunt in
tne Cheviot Hills, most often called Chevy
Chace." For century after century, the
descendants of the men who fought there
were at deadly strife; and few, I fear,
were as noble foes as the great Douglas
and Lord Percy. At last, they forgot that
the first cause of the quarrel was a dispute
about the right to kill a few deer, between
two chieftains who were reconciled in death,
and they went on hating, and robbing, and
killing one another; fighting, all the while,
in the darkness of ignorance, and supersti-
tion, and fierce, wicked passions. But after
a while, God sent a better day to England
and Scotland,-a day of knowledge and
true religion ; and by its light these men
saw that they were brothers,- flung down
their swords, clasped han&d, and were at
THE KING AND THE MILLER OF
ONCE upon a time, the young King
Henry the Second, of England, was chas-
ing the deer in his forest of Sherwood,-
a sport of which he was exceedingly fond.
All day long he rode with his princes and
nobles; but being mounted on the swiftest
horse, and being the most gallant and de-
termined huntsman, he at length outrode
them all, and found himself, at twilight,
quite alone, and lost in the mazes of the
wood. In vain he wound his horn, shouted,
and halloed. There came to his ear no
answering sound of bugle, or voice, or gal-
loping horses, or baying hounds.
In this strait, the king felt no longer the
ardor of the chase ; but he did feel weari-
ness and hunger, and longed for a shelter,
supper, and a bed, however rude. He wan-
dered up and down for a while, all bewil
THE KING AND THE MILLER.
dered, and not a little troubled, lest he
should fall a prey to the outlaws who in-
fested those dense forest shades. But at
length, quite by accident, he struck upon
a path which led him out into the open
country, and on to a public road. Here
he happened to meet a man whom, by his
whitened dress, he knew to be a miller,
and whom he courteously accosted, asking
the nearest way to Nottingham, where, at
that time, he was holding his court. The
miller looked up at him very suspiciously,
and answered, Sir, I intend no saucy
jest; but I think what I think, and that
is, that thou dost not come so far out of
thy way for nothing."
Why, man," said the king, pleasantly,
" what dost thou take me for, that thou
passes such sudden judgment upon me?"
Good faith, sir!" replied the miller;
"' and to speak plain, I think thou art
some gentleman-thief of the forest. So
stand back there in the dark. Don't dis
44 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
mount, lest I crack thy knavish crown with
my cudgel "
"Nay, friend, thou dost do me great
wrong," answered the king. "I am an
honest gentleman. I have lost my way,
and I want supper and lodging for the
"I do not believe that thou hast one
groat in thy purse, for all thy gay clothes,"
said the miller. Thou dost carry all thy
silver on thy outside, like a pheasant."
Wrong, again. I have money enough
to pay for all I call for."
Well, if thou art truly an honest man,
and canst pay for it, I will gladly give thee
lodging and food."
"I have always been accounted such a
man," said the king. Here 's my hand
Not so fast," said the miller; "I must
know thee better, ere we shake hands.
Thou mayst be a hobgoblin for all I know."
With that, the good man led the way to
THE KING AND THE MILLBB.
his house, which he entered, his guest dis-
mounting and following him.
When they stood in the full firelight, -
"Now, sir, let me see what thou art like,"
said the miller.
Look thy fill. Do not spare my mod-
esty," replied the merry monarch.
"Well," said the miller, after a close
and curious inspection, on the whole, I
like thy face ; it is an honest one. Thou
mayst stay with us till the morning."
The miller's buxom wife, who was busy
cooking a supper, the savory steam of
which was filling all the cottage, here
paused from her work, to put in a word, -
"Ay, by my troth, husband, he is a comely
youth ; yet it is best to have a care. Art
thou no runaway servitor, my pretty lad ?
Show us thy passport, and it please thee,
so all shall be well."
The young king, taking off his hat, and
bowing low, replied, I have no passport,
my fair mistress; and I was never a serv-
itor. I am but a poor huntsman, belong-
46 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
ing to the court, who has been parted from
his fellows and lost his way. I am too
wearied to ride to Nottingham to-night, so
crave your kind hospitality."
The good woman was so well pleased
with these words that she whispered to
her husband,-" It seems this youth is of
respectable family. Both his dress and his
manners prove it; and it were a sin to turn
him out of doors."
Ay, good wife," said the miller, he
shows he has had some breeding, by the
respectful way he has of speaking to his
betters. A decent lad, I doubt not."
Well, young man," said the dame,
turning to her guest, thou art welcome ;
and, though I say it, thou shalt be well
lodged, in my house. I will give thee a
bed of fresh straw, and good brown hempen
sheets, span clean; and thou shalt sleep
like a prince."
"Ay, sir," put in the miller; "and
thou shalt have no worse a bed-follow than
our son Richard."
THE KING AND THE MILLER.
The king made a wry face, at the idea
of sharing his bed with a stranger; but
Master Richard-a boorish, bushy-headed,
but jolly-looking youth, who sat in the
chimney corner, watching the pot boil -
called out, bluntly, Nay, father, I have
a word to say to that. First, my good
fellow, tell me truly, art thou right cleanly
The king burst into a hearty laugh, as
he answered, "Ay, friend; I'll answer for
it, thou'lt have no cause to complain of
me on that score."
Soon after this, they all sat down to sup-
per, which consisted of hot bag-puddings,
apple-pies, and good, foamy ale, which last
was passed from one to another in a large
brown bowl. The miller drank first, to his
guest's good health; and the merry king
did not disdain to take the bowl in turn,
and drink to his host and hostess, with
thanks for their good cheer; And also,"
he added, with a courtly bow toward Rich.
48 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
ard, "permit me to drink to your gallant
Then do it quickly," said Dick, and
pass the bowl; for I am dry."
Now, wife," said the miller, "let us
have a taste of lightfoot.' At this, the
good woman brought from her pantry a
venison pastry, and set it before her hus-
band. He helped his guest to a portion,
saying, "Eat, sir, but make no waste
It's a dainty dish."
Ay, by my faith! I find it the dainti-
est dish that ever I tasted," said the king,
who was hungry enough to relish much
"By my faith! it is no dainty at all,"
said Richard, seeing that we eat it every
In what place may the meat you call
' lightfoot' be bought?" asked the king.
Why, as for that," answered Dick,
" we don't buy it at all. We fetch it on
our backs from the forest yonder. To say
truth, we now and then make free with the
THE KING AND THE MILLER.
king's deer, seeing that he hath more of a
good thing than he needs, or deserves."
So, then, this is venison?" said the
Ay, -any fool may know that. We
are never without two or three, up there
under the roof,- excellent fat bucks. But
mind thou tell no tales, when thou leaves
us. We would not for two-pence that the
king should know of it ; he might be vil
lain enough to hang us."
Don't be uneasy, my friend," said
royal Henry. He shall never know any
more of it through me, I promise thee."
After this, they took a hearty draught of
ale all around, and went to bed.
The king slept soundly all night, on his
rude couch of straw, being too tired to be
kept awake even by the lusty snoring of
his bed-fellow, Richard.
In the morning, after a hearty break-
fast,-for which, as for his supper and
lodging, he paid handsomely in gold,- as
the king was about mounting his horse to
60 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
depart for Nottingham, a large party of
his nobles, who had been hunting for him,
in all directions, for many hours, galloped
up to the miller's cottage; and, seeing
their sovereign, dismounted instantly, and
knelt before him, craving his pardon for
having lost sight of him in the chase, the
When the miller perceived the lofty rank
of his guest, and remembered how familiar-
ly he had treated him, he stood speechless
with terror, trembling from head to foot,
expecting nothing less than that he should
be hanged before his own door. The king
saw his fright, and was secretly amused,
but said nothing. Presently, he drew his
sword slowly from its scabbard. At this,
the poor miller dropped on his knees, and
begged for his life, with big tears rolling
down his cheeks. Just behind him knelt
his wife, crying piteously. As for Master
Richard, he had valiantly turned and run
for Sherwood Forest, as soon as he found
who had been his bed-fellow
THE KING AND THE MILLER.
The king lifted his sword. Don't cut
off my head, your majesty! It wont do
anybody else as much good as it does
me cried the miller.
The king brought down his sword, -
not on the miller's neck, but lightly on
his shoulder, and said, "Rise, Sir John
When King Henry had returned from
Nottingham, to his palace, at Westminster,
he was one day talking over with his no-
bles the sports and pastimes of the sea-
son ; and he then declared that of all the
adventures he had ever had, his getting
lost in the forest of Sherwood, and his
entertainment by the Miller of Mansfield,
had afforded him the most amusement.
"A thought strikes me !" he exclaimed.
"The great feast of St. George is approach-
ing. We will invite our new knight, his
wife, and his son Richard, to be our guests
on that occasion. How say you, my lords;
does not the plan promise sport ? "
52 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
The proposal was received by merry ac-
clamations and laughter, by the nobles;
and an officer (called a pursuivant) was
dispatched on the business at once.
When the king's messenger entered the
miller's house, he addressed the simple old
countryman with the most profound respect,
saying, God save your worship, and your
worship's fair lady, and send to your wor-
ship's son Richard-that sweet, gentle, and
gallant young squire good fortune and
happiness Our king sends you courteous
greeting, and begs that you will all three
come to court, on St. George's day."
"I doubt," said the miller, "this is a
jest of his majesty. What should we do
at court? Faith, I 'm afraid of such
"As for me," said Richard, ruefully,
" I look to be hanged, at the very least."
Nay, upon my word," answered the
pursuivant, you mistake. The king is to
make a great feast, in your honor. So do
not fail to come."
THE KING AND THE MILL.T.
"If that is the case, sir messenger,"
said the miller, pompously, "thou hast
pleased my worship right well. So here
are three farthings for thy good tidings.
Let me see ; -ah, commend my worship
to the king, and say that we will wait
upon him, with right good will, on St.
George's day, with the other nobles of
The pursuivant, refraining with difficulty
from smiling at such simplicity, took the
reward, and bowed himself out of the cot-
tage, in the most humble and respectful
manner. He returned to Westminster, in
a merry mood, and showed his three far-
things to the young king, who laughed
heartily at the knight's liberal bounty.
When the messenger was gone, the mil-
ler said to his wife, Here 's a pretty
pass There '11 be no end of the expenses
we shall be put to for fine clothes, horses,
and serving men, saddles and bridles. A
plague on court feasts! This one will
54 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
Tush, Sir John !" said the dame (she
always addressed her husband by his new
title; and she used it a great deal, to get
the hang of it) : tush, Sir John!
Folk cannot consort with kings, and spend
naught, Sir John. But thou knowest I am
a thrifty dame, and thou shalt be at no ex-
pense for me, I promise thee, Sir John. I
will turn and trim up my old russet gown,
and make it as good as new. Then, Sir
John, we can ride on our good mill-horses,
I on a pillion behind thee, and Dick
by himself, as becomes a gallant young
The miller- who had always, even since
he was made a great man, done pretty
much as his good wife advised- consented
to this. And so they set forth ; -jolly Mas-
ter Richard, in a new leather jerkin, with
a brave cock's feather in his car, riding
proudly in front of his parents, who, on one
stout mill-horse, jogged leisurely along.
The king and his nobles, being apprised
of the approach to the palace of their rus
THE KING AND THE MILLER.
tic guests, went out to meet them, in great
Welcome, sir knight!" said the merry
monarch; welcome to court, with thy
gay lady, and that brave squire, thy son."
Out on thee !" said Dick, sheepishly.
" Thou dost not know me.
Surely, I do," replied the king, smil-
ing. Thou didst sleep in the same bed
with me, once upon a time."
Ay, sir, I mind it well," said Dick;
" and a most uncomfortable bed-fellow
thou wast,- taking a royal share of the
straw. Save me from such grand bed-
fellows, say I !"
Speak civil to my friend, the king,
thou unmannerly knave, or, by my knight-
hood, thou shalt rue it! cried Sir John,
But the king only laughed good-humor-
edly, and conducted his guests into the
great hall of his palace. Here, giving a
hand to the miller and his wife, he pre-
sented them to the stately court ladies,
56 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
princesses, and duchesses, who were all,
in their turn, extremely polite. Dame
Cockle, who would not be outdone in good
manners, dropped a funny little curtsey at
every word, and smiled graciously upon all
At length they all sat down to the feast,
- a sumptuous banquet of richly-cooked
viands and costly dainties, served with
great ceremony, in vessels of silver and
gold. When they had eaten heartily, the
king drank to the health of Sir John
Cockle, in a cup of malmsey wine, and
again thanked him for his hospitality.
Now I think of the thing," he added,
with a sly smile, "I would that we had
here some of thy 'lightfoot' pastry, Sir
Ho, there !" cried Richard; "I make
bold to say it is knavery, after having eaf
en of it, to betray us."
"Why, friend, art thou angry ? asked
the king. That is unkind ; I thought
thou wouldst take the joke, and pledge
THE KING AND THE MILLER.
thy bed-fellow heartily in wine, or good
Wait, then, till I have dined," said
IDick. Thou dost feed us with so many
little fiddling disfies, that a man is never
filled. One black pudding were worth
Ay, Master Richard, that were a rare
good thing, could a man but have one
here," replied the king.
At this, Dick rose and pulled an enor-
mous one out of his wallet,- a portion of
the refreshment provided for his journey.
The king, pretending great eagerness, at-
tempted to snatch it; but Dick drew it
back, saying, "Hold, my good sir Keep
t1j thy court dainties; this is meet for thy
Even this saucy speech, as the king
took it merrily, was followed by roars
of laughter; and the fun and frolic con-
tinued to the end of the banquet, and for
a long time after. For, as soon as they
rose from the table, king, courtiers, and
58 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
gay ladies, prepared to dance. Henry
selected partners for Sir John and Master
Richard, and himself danced with Dame
Cockle. Such sport as those rustics made
for them, with their awkward blunders,
and their wild rollicking ways,-those great
lords and ladies had never known before.
They laughed till the tears ran down their
cheeks, and their sides did ache ; and the
good-humored country folk laughed with
them, taking all the merriment in good
After the dance, King Henry thanked
his guests for joining in and adding to his
amusement; and then, looking round on
the young court ladies, he said to Richard,
" And now, my gallant young friend, of
all these noble damsels, which one dost
thou like best ? And which will it please
thee to wed ? "
At these words, all the smiling beauties
grew suddenly serious, thinking that his
majesty was carrying the joke a little too
far. But Master Richari, merely glanc-
THE KING AND THE MILLER.
ing at the fairest of them, coolly replied,
" Faith, I want none of them. I like bet-
ter my own red-headed sweetheart, Judy
At this, there was more laughter, and
all those pretty young ladies tossed their
heads in merry disdain.
Then the king, calling to him the jolly
miller, appointed him overseer of Sherwood
Forest, with a pension of three hundred
pounds, yearly. Adieu, good friend,"
he said ; let us see thee once a quarter.
And, Sir John, take heed that thou steal
no more of my deer."
And this is the end of the story of The
King and the Miller of Mansfield "
THE ENGLISH MERCHANT AND THE
IN the reign of Henry the First, of Eng-
land, called Beauclerc, or Fine Scholar
(for he was actually so learned that he
could write his own name, a great attain-
ment for a king, in those days), there
lived in London a rich young merchant,
named Gilbert a Becket.
In that simple old time, the wonders of
science and art, among which we walk and
live just as if they had always been, like
the trees, the flowers, the sky, and the
stars,-were never thought of, or dreamed
of, except by the great poets, who, maybe,
with their prophet-eyes, looked away into
the far future, and saw them looming up
above the coming ages, like mountain-
peaks in the distance of a landscape. Then
the great oceans could heave, and swell,
and roar, and rage, and toss their mad
THE MERCHANT AND THE LADY.
frothing waves up at the sky, as if to defy
the great God; and then, obedient to his
will, grow quiet and smooth again year
after year, without one single ship ventur-
ing over their vast expanse, to be made
afraid by their violence, or flattered by their
calm,- and all the commerce of the world
was scarcely equal to that of the smallest
and poorest kingdoms of our times. Then
going to sea was considered more perilous
than going into battle ; voyagers never
failed to make their wills, and set their
worldly affairs in order, before they weighed
anchor and set sail for foreign parts To
be sure, it has lately seemed very much as
though we were fast going back to those
old, doubtful, dangerous times,- those dark
ages of navigation ; and that, after all our
wonderful improvements and discoveryw,
we can count very little upon safe and
But to return to Gilbert h Becket. iHe
was thought a brave and adventurous man,
when he left his comfortable English home,
62 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
and sailed for the Holy Land, to trade with
the rich Syrians for satins, velvet, and
gems, which he meant to bring to England
and sell at a great profit. He probably
calculated by this speculation to double
his fortune, and perhaps be able to buy a
title, and so become one of the nobles of
the land, and live in a brave castle, where
he would receive the king and court, and
entertain them in princely style. But,
alas! titles and royal guests were not for
him ; and all the castle he was ever to lay
claim to, was such "a castle in the air"
as any one of us may build. He was taken
prisoner by the Turks, robbed of his ship,
sold as a slave, fettered, and set at work
in the palace gardens of Mahmoud, a ter-
rible, fierce-eyed, black-bearded, big-tur-
baned Saracen chief.
It was a very hard fortune, that of poor
Gilbert. He was obliged to toil from morn-
ing till night, digging and spading, plant-
ing and weeding ; and all the while, with
the disadvantage of not knowing much
THE MERCHANT AND THE LADY. 63
about the gardening business, and of hav-
ing a heavy chain dragging and clanking
at his ankles. You may depend that he
felt if he could get safe back to England
he would never more aspire to castles and
titles, nor trouble himself if the king and
the court never should eat a good dinner,
or shake their heels at a ball again
But often out of our greatest misfortune
come our best good and happiness; and
hope and joy often follow times of fear and
sorrow, as beautiful rainbows are made out
of storms that have just darkened the sky,
and beaten down the flowers. One even-
ing, just as the muezzin from the minarets
was calling all pious Mussulmen to prayers,
Gilbert a Becket stood leaning against a
palm tree, resting a little from his daily
toil, and thinking longingly of his country
and home. Just then, a noble young Sar-
acen lady, of marvelous beauty, called
Zarina, chanced that way, on her evening
walk, and was very much struck by the
appearance of the stranger. In truth, as
64 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
Gilbert stood there, leaning so gracefully
against the palm, with his pale face cast
down, and his soft, auburn hair, half veiling
his sad eyes, to say nothing of his long
golden eyelashes, and his curling, silken
moustache, -he was a very handsome and
interesting young man; and, in spite of
that coarse gardner's dress, and that slav-
ish chain, looked as proud and noble as a
Zarina thought so, and, though very mod-
est and timid, drew near to speak a few
kind words to him. He looked up, at the
sound of her light step, and, for the first
time in many' months, he smiled, glad-
dened by the sight of her beautiful, inno-
The ballad does not tell just how these
two became acquainted; but it is certain
that they soon grew to be excellent friends,
and managed to meet often, and have long
walks and talks in the shaded alleys and
bowers of Mahmoua's gardens. They first
talked of the birds and flowers; then. of
THE MERCHANT AND THE LADY.
the stars, and the moonlight; then of love,
and then of God. Gilbert told Zarina of
the Christian's blessed faith, and related
all the beautiful and marvelous stories of
our Lord Jesus; and Zarina wondered, nii
wept, and believed.
Gilbert had learned the Saracen lan-
guage, and spoke it very well; but Zarina
did not understand the English at all. The
first word of it that ever she spoke was
" yes," which Gilbert taught her to say
when he asked her if she would be his
wife, whenever he could gain his freedom.
But month after month a whole year -
went by, and Gilbert was still a captive.
One day, when Zarina met her lover in
a shady garden-walk, she said, in a low,
gentle voice, and with her tender eyes cast
down, "I am a Christian now, dear Gil-
bert; I pray to thy God morning and
night. Thou knowest I am an orphan.
I love no one in all the world but thee ;
then why should I stay here? Why
ahouldst thou linger longer in bondage ?
66 STORIES FROM FAMOUS -BALLADS.
Let us both fly to England. God will
guide us safely over the wide, dark waters;
for we are Christians, and need not fear
anythingn. I will meet thee to-night, on
Lh, sea-shore, and bring gold and jewels
enough to purchase a vessel and hire a
skillful crew. And when, 0, my Gilbert,
we are afloat on the broad, blue sea, sail-
ing toward thy home, thou wilt bless me,
and love me ; wilt thou not ? "
The merchant kissed the maiden's hand,
and promised to meet her on the strand, at
the appointed hour. And he did not fail;
but long he walked the lonely shore, and
no light-footed Zarina came flitting through
the deep night-shadows, and stealing to
his side. North, south, east, and west he
looked; but all in vain. The night was
clear, the winds whispered low, the little
wasves slid up the shining shore, and seemed
to invite him to sail away over them, to the
great sea beyond; but the stars overhead
twinkled so merrily, and winked so know-
ingly, that he almost fancied they had be-
TH MERCHANT AND THE LADY. 67
strayed the story of his and Zarina's love
and intended flight. At length he heard a
quick, light step, and sprang forward with
a joyful cry. Alas! it was not Zarina, but
her faithful nurse, Safib, who came to tell
him that Zarina's love had been discovered,
that her kinsmen had confined her in a
strong, guarded tower, and that he must
escape alone. She sent him a casket of
gold and gems, with a promise that as soon
as possible she would make her escape and
come to him in London.
There really was nothing for Gilbert A
Becket to do but to accept Zarina's casket
of jewels, and follow her advice. So, after
sending her many loving farewell messages
by Safib, he went.
He had a prosperous voyage, and reached
London in safety, where he gave his friends
a joyful surprise ; for they had given him
up for dead.
Year after year went by, and still he saw
nothing, heard nothing, of his noble Sara-
cen love, Zarina; and at last he grew to
68 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
think of her very sorrowfully and tenderly,
as of one dead. But Zarina lived, and
lived for him whom she loved, and who had
taught her to love God. For years she
wi s kept imprisoned in that lonely, guarded
tower, near the sea, where she could only
put her sorrow into mournful songs, and
sigh her love out on the winds that blew
toward England, and gaze up at the bright,
kindly stars, and pray for Gilbert. But
one night, while the guard slept, the brave
maiden stole out on to the parapet, and
leaped down many feet, to the ground below.
She soon sprang up, unharmed, and made
her way to the strand, when she took pas-
sage on a foreign vessel for Stamboul.
Now, all the English that this poor girl
remembered were the words "Gilbert" and
"London." These she repeated, in sad,
pleading, inquiring tones, to every one she
met; but nobody understood what she meant
From Stamboul she went on her weary,
wandering way, from port to port, and city
THE MERCHANT AND THE LADY.
to city, till she had journeyed through
many strange countries, repeating, every-
where, those two words of English; but all
in vain; for, though everybody had heard
of London, none knew Gilbert. Yet the
people were very kind, and gave her food
and shelter, out of pity for her sad face,
and in return for the sweet songs which she
At length, after many months of lonely
and toilsome wandering, she reached Eng-
land, and found herself amidst the busy,
hurrying throngs of London. She gazed
about her bewildered, and almost despairing,
at finding it so large a place ;-it would be
so much the harder to find him. Yet still,
patiently and steadily, up and down the
long streets, she went,-through market-
place and square,-past churches and pal-
aces, singing her mournful songs, -
speaking softly, and more and more sadly,
the one beloved word, "Gilbert! "
One evening, as Gilbert A Becket, the
rich merchant, sat at the banquet-table in
70 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
his splendid London house, entertaining a
gay company of rich and noble guests, a
servant brought him word that a beautiful
Saracen maiden, pale and sorrowful-l.ok-
ing, stood in the square without, singliug
sad songs, and repeating his name over and
over. In a moment Gilbert thought of his
beloved Zarina, and, springing up from the
table, he rushed out of his brilliant hall, into
the street, where poor Zarina stood, with
her long, dark hair glistening with the chill
night-dew, and her sweet face looking very
white and tearful in the moonlight.
He knew her at a glance, though she
was sadly changed from the fair young girl
he had left in the gardens of Mahmoud, as
gay-hearted as the birds, and as blooming
as the flowers. He called her name, he
caught her in his arms, and the next time
that she spoke the dear word, "Gilbert! "
she murmured it against his heart, while
his lips pressed her cheeks, and his eyes
dropped happy, loving tears upon her brow.
He took her into his princely house, and it
HE MECHANIC AND THE LADY. 71
became her home from that hour. She was
baptized, and took the Christian name of
Matilda; but Gilbert always called her
Zarina ; for he said he loved that best.
The faithful lovers were married, and
lived together for many years, happy,
honored, and beloved. Their eldest son,
Thomas a Becket, was a powerful and re-
nowned archbishop in the reign of Henry
And so ends the true story of the "Eng-
lish Merchant and the Saracen Lady."
THE BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER, OF BEL
IN the old feudal times, some six hun-
dred years ago, when England was in a
troubled, unsettled state, often convulsed
and desolated by civil wars, there might
have been seen, through many summers, sit-
ting in the shade of an oak tree, on Bednall-
Green, -a part of London town, a cer-
tain beggar-man, blind, but of a very noble
and venerable appearance. He was led by
a dog, and sometimes he was accompanied
by his wife, a handsome and stately per-
son, though clad in gray russet, like any
poor peasant woman, and sometimes by
his daughter, a beautiful little girl, whom
he called Bessee.
When this child grew into womanhood
her beauty was so remarkable that in spite
of her humble parentage she had many ad -
mirers and suitors. But the fathers of her
THE BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER.
love i would never consent to a marriage
with a beggar's daughter, and their moth-
ers despised her, and would sometimes come
to reproach and scold her to her face, as
though the poor girl could help her beauty
or her birth.
At length she grew very discontented
and sorrowful, and told her father and
mother that she wished to leave Bednall-
Green, where she was creating so much
disquiet in respectable families, and that
she had resolved to go forth to seek her
It was long ere the beggar and his wife
would consent to part with their darling
Bessee. But at last, as they saw that
she was no longer cheerful or comfortable
at home, they gave her their blessing, with
kisses and many tears, and bade her go.
She set forth at night, to avoid being fol-
lowed by her troublesome lovers. She kept
up heart until after she was out of sight or
hearing of her parents; then she burst into
tears, and sobbed bitterly for many a weary
74 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
mile. She walked all night long; and
just at daybreak entered the town of Rum-
ford, where she found entertainment at the
The mistress of the inn was so pleased
with the stranger that she wished to keep
her for a housemaid. Yet she was so puz-
zled by Bessee's appearance for though
clad in gray russet, the maiden had the air
and delicate beauty of a born lady that
she did not venture to offer her the situa-
tion. But after a little while Bessee very
humbly asked to be employed at the inn as
a servant; and both master and mistress
were glad to engage her. So amiable and
prudent was she that all in the household
grew to loving her very dearly. And that
was not all; greatly to the pretty maid's
annoyance, she was soon surrounded by as
many admirers as at Bednall-Green. All
the gay young men of the town seemed
suddenly to have? discovered that the finest
ale and the best cakes in Rumford were to
be found at the little roadside inn, where
THE BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER.
served the fair blue-eyed girl, to whom
every body gave the name of "Pretty Bes-
see." Thither they flocked, in crowds,
greatly to the delight of the innkeeper and
his wife, whose business thrived the more,
the more the maid's beauty and grace were
noised about. But Bessee, though kind
and courteous to all, was modest and pru-
dent ; and though her lovers sang her
praises in sweet songs, very tender and
mournful, and though they sent her beauti-
ful gifts of silver and gold, when they
sewed for her hand, she always shook her
head firmly, and said with a sigh, Nay,
nay; none of gentle blood or high estate
should wed with me."
Four suitors, at one time, fair Bessee had,
who loved her so fondly that they would
not be put off by a shake of her pretty
head, nor by her "Nay, gentles though
many times repeated. The first was a no-
ble young knight, who came to her dis-
guised, so that she did not know his rank ;
yet she liked him best of all. The second
76 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
was a country gentleman, of a proud and
ancient family. The third was a rich mer-
chant of London; and the fourth was her
master's own son, a bold young gallant,
who swore big oaths of love, and declared
himself ready to die for Pretty Bessee,"
at the shortest notice.
If thou wilt marry me," said the
knight, I will make thee a lady, with the
greatest joy and pride; for I am not what
I seem, but a nobleman of high degree."
At these words, Bessee started and
turned very pale, feeling grieved, not glad,
to know that the man she liked best of all
the world was so far above her.
Then spoke the country gentleman. "If
thuu wilt wed me, thou shalt be a lady as
fine as any in the land, and never toil more
with those dainty hands. My life is drear
without thee, Pretty Bessee'; a wretched
man am I, for want of thy dear love."
Then spoke the rich merchant, saying,
with a proud smile, Choose me for thy
hu band, gentle maid, and thou shalt live
THE BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER.
in London, after a gay and gallant fashion.
My ships shall bring home silks and jew-
els for thee, and I will love thee better
than all the world."
When the merchant said this, Bessee
looked at him very demurely, but with a
quiet little smile hovering round her sweet,
rosy mouth, a smile that seemed to say,
" I know thee well, good sir, and just how
far this great love will go -just how much
thy brave vows are worth." She gave the
same look to the gentleman, and to the inn-
keeper's son; but when she glanced at the
noble face of the knight she sighed. Yet
to each one she returned the same answer:
" I mean always to obey my dear father
and mother. Thou must first gain their
consent before I can promise thee my
Each suitor willingly assented to this,
and eagerly asked, Where does thy good
father dwell, Pretty Bessee'?"
Truly and bravely then answered Bes-
see "My father, alas! is well known as
78 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
the old blind beggar of Bednall-Green.
Daily sits he there, asking charity of all
good Christians. You cannot miss him.
When he walks he is led by a dog with a
bell. A poor, blind old man, God know-
eth! Yet he is the father of Bessee, to
whom she oweth and giveth all love and
The rich merchant drew himself up,
grew very red in the face, and said,
bluntly, "Then, fair damsel, thou art not
for me ;" and went his ways in stately
haste, like one of his ships under full sail.
The inn-keeper's gallant son tossed his nose
high in the air, and said, insolently, If it
be so, look not to be my wife. I cannot
stoop so low from my degree, even for thy
pretty face, my winsome lass." As for the
gentleman, he took off his plumed hat, and,
bowing low, said, with a mocking smile,
" I pray thy pardon, my fair mistress, but
thy father's calling pleases me little. In
truth, I loathe a beggar's degree ; and so
am forced to say adieu to Pretty Bessee.'"
THE BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER.
The beggar's noble daughter heard each
lover's reply without grief and without
shame, and looked him out of her presence
with a smile of quiet scorn. But when it
came the young knight's turn to speak her
breath came fast, and she could not lift her
eyes to his face, for fear that he, too, might
disdain her. But there was little cause for
fear. With a frank laugh, and in a manly,
cheery voice, he said, "As for me, come
better or worse, I weigh not gold or rank
against true love; and beauty and good-
ness are the same in every degree. To me
thou wilt be welcome for thyself alone, my
'Pretty Bessee.' "
You may be sure that the beggar's
daughter did not look cold or scornful at
this brave reply. She blushed with sud,
den joyfulness, while tears of gratitude and
affection shone in her sweet blue eyes.
She soon consented to accompany her
lover to Bednall-Green, to ask the consent
of her parents to her marriage.
But meanwhile the knight's kinsmen
80 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
had heard of his strange choice of a wife,
and were greatly incensed against him;
declaring that their ancient and honorable
LSilly should not be disgraced by such an
,liiance. To prevent their interference
with his plans, the knight stole away from
Rumford at daybreak, carrying Bessee be-
fore him on a swift steed. Away sped they,
like the wind, toward Bednall-Green; but
like the wind came on behind them certain
gallant young men of Rumford, who had
heard of Pretty Bessee's" elopement, and,
like so many dogs of the manger, were de-
termined that if they could not marry her,
no one should. "Death," they cried, "to
the bold knave who would rob us of the
f, ir maid who pours our ale and serves our
aies with such a dainty grace "
Just as the lovers had reached the bhnma
beggar's door, the young men overtook
them, set upon the knight most furiously,
and would have slain him had not his kins-
men, also out in pursuit of him, come to
the rescue. When the noble gentlemen
THE BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER.
had sent the Rumford gallants about their
business they began to reproach the knight
for his folly, and to rail at Bessee for a
low-born, designing beggar-girl. Then
up spoke the maid's father, standing erect,
a tall, venerable figure, the great white
cloud of his silvery hair flung back from
his brow, and his pale cheek flushing with
anger, Though I be a beggar-man,"
he said, rail not in this unmannerly way
at my child, before mine own door!
Though she be decked not in velvet and
jewels, she is not so poor as she seems. I
will drop angels with you, for my dear
little girl ; and if the gold that I shall
bring forth shall seem to you to make up
for her lowly birth, and equal what you can
lay down, you must no longer rail at her,
or forbid your kinsman to make a lady of
the blind beggar's daughter. But first you
must promise me that all the gold you lay
down shall be your own."
* An "angell" was an ancient Engliua oos.
82 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
"So be it; we promise," cried the
chief nobleman of the knight's proud fam-
ily, with a merry, derisive laugh.
Well, then," says the blind beggar,
" here 's for my Bessee !" throwing down
an angell. The nobles then threw down
one, the beggar another, and so on; till
all their purses were exhausted, and the
blind man had dropped full three thousand
pounds, -often flinging down two or three
for the gentlemen's one. Then, when the
ground where they stood was completely
covered with gold, they cried out, "Hold,
thou wonderful beggar-man We have no
more. Thou hast fulfilled thy promise
Then," said the old man, authorita-
tively, like one used to command, marry
my daughter to your kinsman; and here
are a hundred pounds more, to buy her a
Agreed, venerable sir!" was the re-
sponse. "And now, we look at thy
daughter more closely, we see that she is
THE BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER.
of marvellous beauty and fairness." This
said, they each and all took Bessee by the
hand, and adopted her into their great
family, with a brotherly kiss, vowing that
her lips were as sweet and soft as those of
any grand lady in the realm ; whereat the
modest maid blushed scarlet, and the
knight at her side frowned with sudden
After this, Bessee's father and mother
embraced her, blessed her, and placed her
hand in that of her lover. And so was the
beggar's daughter betrothed to a great
noble, comely and passing rich, and, what
was better, a true and honorable man.
When the innkeeper's son heard of Bes
see's good fortune he roared with grief and
spite. Three thousand angels! Woe
'is me!" he cried. And the innkeeper's
wife said, Now thou hast gone and done
for thyself, thou simpleton!" When the
rich merchant heard of it, rich as he was,
he cursed his ill luck, as though his best
ship had foundered at sea. But when the
84 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLAD.
proud country gentleman heard of it, little
cared he; Natheless, she is a beg-
gar's daughter," he said.
It was soon announced that the wedding
of Pretty Bessee was to take place in
the great cathedral of Westminster, and
was to be followed by a banquet in the
palace of her noble lover. All was to be
conducted with the greatest possible pomp
and splendor. All sorts of rare dainties,
rich meats, and costly wines were provided
for the banquet. Beautiful dresses and
magnificent jewels were purchased for the
bride, with palfreys, hawks, and hounds,
and all kinds of elegant pets and play-
things. Ladies and pages were appointed
to wait on her, and her boudoir, or bower,
was hung anew with lovely blue silk, that
-.oimed to drip with pearls, and decorated
with paintings and gilding, till it was fit
for a fairy princess.
This strange and romantic marriage
made such a noise among the high circles
THE BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER.
of England that all the nobles and great
folk were eager to attend the wedding ; -
the gentlemen curious to see what manner
of damsel it was who had caused a great
nobleman to forget his pride of birth, and
all he owed to his high and mighty ances-
tors ; the ladies longing yet dreading to
behold the face whose beauty had made
him indifferent to all their high-born pre-
tensions to good looks.
Before the high altar of the great cathe-
dral, Bessee, followed by her ladies and
pages, and looking resplendantly lovely,
met her noble lord, in magnificent attire,
accompanied by a gay troop of gentlemen,
all jewelled and plumed most gallantly.
No less a dignitary than a bishop joined
the hands of the loving pair, and gave
them his august blessing. Then from the
vast cathedral organ broke forth a mighty
melody, so grand, so solemn, that it was
like the great thunder of heaven softened
and Christianized into music. This was
followed by a burst of singing, so sweet, so
86 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
triumphant, that it filled every heart, and
made every soul feel as though it was put-
ting on its angel-wings, to soar upward,
with those glad, delicious strains, to a
purer and brighter world than ours.
At the banquet, the guests gazed often
and long at the bride, who sat by her lord,
at the head of the table, looking so modest
and gracious that even the proud court
ladies forgot their envy, in admiration, and
the best eaters and drinkers slighted the
dainty dishes and rich wines before them,
to watch her, and talk of her beauty and
At length, one of the nobles exclaimed,
"I marvel that we do not see here the
jolly blind beggar. Methinks he should
have been bid to his daughter's wed-
The bride overheard this, and answered,
very gently, My lord, my father was
too humble, or too proud, to thrust himself
upon so stately a company. He thinks his
condition too lowly for such consorting "
THE BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER.
"If it were not too flattering a thing to
matter to a fair lady's face, we should say
we think thy father's lowliness would be
more than made up for by thine exceeding
beauty," replied the nobleman, with a
Just at this moment, there entered the
great hall the blind beggar himself, but
richly clad in a silk robe, with a plumed
velvet cap ; so that no one, save the bride
and bridegroom, recognized him. He car-
ried a lute under his arm, and, asking per-
mission of the company, began to play
upon it, with great skill and sweetness, to
the delight of all present, who declared
him to be "a marvellous cunning min-
strel." After a delicate prelude, he sung
this song :
"A poor beggar's daughter did dwell on a green,
Who, for her fairness, might well be a queen;
A blithe, bonny lass, and a dainty was she;
And many one called her Pretty Bessee.
Her father he had no goods, nor no land,
But begged for a penny, all day, with his hand;
88 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
And yet to her marriage he gave thousands there,
And still he hath somewhat for Pretty Bessee.
"And if any one here her birth do disdain,
Her father is ready, with might and with main,
To prove she is come of noble degree ;
Therefore never flout at Pretty Bessee."
On hearing the boast with which this
song concluded, the gay company began to
laugh heartily; and one merrily cried out,
"I'faith, sir minstrel, the bride and the
beggar are beholden to thee! Thou dost
make quick work at ennobling them,. in
Then up rose the bride, all blushing and
tearful, and said, 0, pardon my father,
I pray you, my lords and gentlemen He
dotes upon me with such blind affection
that he doth dream these things."
"If this be thy father, sweet lady,"
said one of the nobles, with grave courtesy,
"he may well be proud of this day, -
may well boast of thee ; and it is plain to
be seen, by his countenance and air, that
his birth and his fortunes do not agree.
THE BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER.
And therefore," he continued, turning to
the beggar, we pray thee to reveal the
truth, and, for the love thou bearest thy
fkir daughter, declare thy rank and thy
At these words, a smile, half proud,
half mournful, lit the melancholy face of
the blind man ; and, running his slender,
white fingers over the chords of his lute,
he sung to the listening company another
song, which contained the true story of his
rank and fortune. This story I will tell
you, in prose.
The minstrel began by celebrating the
heroic fame of Sir Simon de Montfort, the
great Earl of Leicester, who was the
chosen chief of the proud English barons,
in a rebellion against their king. He was
victorious in several contests ; but finally,
in the bloody battle of Evesham, the barons
were routed, and their brave leader slain.
Fighting side by side with Sir Simon
de Montfort, on that fatal day, was his
eldest son, Henry, who was often wounded,
90 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
and finally struck down by a blow across
the eyes, which deprived him forever of his
sight. All the night which followed the
great battle, the poor young nobleman lay
among the dead and dying, bleeding and
helpless, and only knew when it was day
by the warmth of the sunlight falling upon
his face, the beautiful sunlight he was
never more to behold! All day he lay
there, in darkness and pain, thirsting,
fainting, praying for death to give him re-
lease, and lead him to the light. He lay
there till he knew, by the dews falling
upon his parched lips, that another night
had come. Then God sent to his help an
angel, not of death, but of life. A baron's
fair daughter came forth, to seek among
the slain for her father's body, and seeing
young De Montfort, and hearing his pite-
ous moans, she was so moved by compas-
sion that she had her servitors bear him to
her castle. There she nursed him, secretly,
for many weeks, until he was cured of all
his wounds. He thought himself well
THE BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER.
enough to leave his hiding-place before
his kind friend would hear of such a thing;
but one day, when he spoke of going, and
the lady still urged him to stay longer, he
broke out passionately, saying he must
go ; that already he had grown to love
his benefactress, whose face he had never
seen, more than all the beauty his lost eyes
had ever beheld,- more than the glorious
green of his native fields, the bloom of
flowers, or the dear light of heaven ; and
that if he lingered any longer he should
lose all power to part with her.
My poor friend, where will you go,
and what will you do, without me, who am
your eyes, now, you know," said the lady,
very gently, taking the hand which was
groping about for hers to clasp in farewell.
" Listen to me, De Montfort.- My father
is dead; my kinsmen are slain or ban-
ished ; the king will seize upon my lands,
as he has seized upon thine ; and I shall
soon be as poor and friendless as thou art.
Take me with thee, to serve and comfort
92 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLAD.
thee. I have no refuge but thee; besides,"
she added, softly, almost in a whisper, I,
too, love thee, love thee all the better
for thy misfortunes, and cannot let thee go
forth into the dark, cruel world, alone."
0, very gladly the young soldier con-
sented! and soon the noble lovers were
married, by a good priest, who faithfully
kept their secret. The lady sold her jew-
els, for a large sum of money, which she
treasured up for future need. For the
present, the only safety of her husband
was in humbleness and apparent poverty.
He was believed to have been slain at the
battle of Evesham; but should his enemies
now discover him he would speedily suffer
So it was that the rightful Earl of Lei-
cester and his fair wife clothed themselves
in russet, and lived like the poorest peas-
ants; that he who had once taken his
place with the proudest nobles of the land
became the Blind Beggar of Bednall-
THE BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER.
It was not till after they had been mar-
ried many years that Heaven sent Pretty
Bessee" to bring brightness and sweet
comfort to the lowly cottage of the Mont
forts. She grew up a good and prudent
girl; but never, till the day when he saw
her the wife of a powerful noble, in high
favor with the king, had her father dared
to reveal, even to her, her honorable birth,
%nd his own true name.
This, my lords," said the minstrel,
" is the end of the story of one who once
belonged to your own rank. I should
never have revealed the secret but for my
Bessee's sake. For myself, I should be
content to die as unnoted and despised as
I have lived these forty years ; yet shall I
be well content to see my Bessee's mother
honored according to her great deserts, -
as a lady born, as well as the truest wife
that lives in all our England."
When he ceased, there softly stepped
forth, from the crowd around him, a tall,
fair woman, richly but simply clad, not
young, but still beautiful and stately, -
94 STORIES FROM FAMOUS BALLADS.
who walked majestically to the minstrel's
side, and laid her hand on his shoulder.
And the old man, standing up very proudly,
said to all the company, in the grand, un-
forgotten way of a great noble, "My
At this, all the lords and ladies came
forward, and reverently greeted her, and
gave their hands to her husband, address-
ing him by his ancient title. Then they
kissed and embraced the fair bride, who
was smiling and weeping, with surprise
and joy, and congratulated her that she
was one of them, of as good blood as
any in the realm.
So Pretty Bessee was proved to be
a lady born; but, to the generous young
lord who stood so proud and happy by her
side, she was no better, fairer, or dearer,
for all that; though that it was a good
thing he did not deny.
The old ballad says that the banquet
ended most joyfully, and that the noble
knight spent a long and happy life with
his gentle lady, the Pretty Bessee."