Page images
PDF
EPUB

What tongue can paint lord Albret's woe,

The bitter tears he shed,
The bitter pangs that wrung his heart,

To find his lady dead ?

140

[ocr errors][merged small]

145

New sorrowe seiz'd the damsells all :

At length they faultering say; “ Alas! my lord, how shall we tell?

Thy son is stoln away.

[ocr errors]

« Fair as the sweetest flower of spring,

« Such was his infant mien : " And on his little body stampt

- Three wonderous marks were seen:

- A blood-red cross was on his arm ;

A dragon on his breast : “A little garter all of gold

" Was round his leg exprest.

155

* Three carefull nurses we provide

“ Our little lord to keep : “ One gave him sucke, one gave

him food, “ And one did lull to sleep.

160

" But lo! all in the dead of night,

“ We heard a fearful sound: “ Loud thunder clapt; the castle shook;

And lightning flasht around.

165

“ Dead with affright at first we lay ;

“ But rousing up anon, “ We ran to see our little lord:

o Our little lord was gone!

170

“ But how or where we could not tell ;

“For lying on the ground, In deep and magic slumbers laid,

“ The nurses there we found.”

O grief on grief! lord Albret said:

No more his tongue cou'd say, When falling in a deadly swoone,

Long time he lifeless lay.

175

At length restor'd to life and sense

He nourisht endless woe,
No future joy his heart could taste,

No future comfort know.

180

So withers on the mountain top

A fair and stately oake,
Whose vigorous armis are torne away

By some rude thunder-stroke,

At 185

At length his castle irksome grew,

He loathes his wonted home; His native country he forsakes,

In foreign lands to roaine.

190

There

up

and downe he wandered far, Clad in a palmer's gown: Till his brown locks grew white as wool,

His beard as thistle down.

At length, all wearied, down in death

He laid his reverend head. Meantinie amid the lonely wilds

His little son was bred.

195

There the weïrd lady of the woods

Had borne him far away,
And train’d him up in feates of armes,

And every martial play,

200

[blocks in formation]

II.

ST. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON.

The following ballad is given (with some corrections) from two ancient black-letter copies in the Pepys Collection : one of which is in 12mo, the other in folio.

O.
F Hector's deeds did Homer sing;

And of the sack of stately Troy,
What griefs fair Helena did bring,

Which was sir Paris' only joy :
And by my pen I will recite
St. George's deeds, an English knight.

5

Against the Sarazens so rude

Fought he full long and many a day;
Where many gyants he subdu'd,

In honour of the Christian way:
And after many adventures past
To Egypt land he came at last,

10

15

Now, as the story plain doth tell,

Within that countrey there did rest
A dreadful dragon fierce and fell,

Whereby they were full sore opprest:
Who by his poisonous breath each day,
Did many of the city slay.

The

20

The grief whereof did grow so great

Throughout the liinits of thie land, That they their wise-men did intreat

To shew their cunning out of hand; What way they might this fiend destroy, That did the countrey thus annoy.

The wise-mien all before the king

25 This answer fram'd incontinent; The dragon none to death might bring

By any means they could invent: His skin more hard than brass was found, That sword nor spear could pierce nor wound. 30

When this the people understood,

They cryed out most piteouslye, The dragon's breath infects their blood,

That every day in heaps they dye: Among them such a plague it bred, The living scarce could bury the dead.

35

No means there were, as they could hear,

For to appease the dragon's rage,
But to present some virgin clear,

Whose blood his fury might asswage ;
Each day he would a maiden eat,
For to allay his hunger great.

40

This

« PreviousContinue »