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English and Scottish Ballads.

Volume II.

by Various.



The two following ballads have the same subject, and perhaps had a common original. The "Briton GLASKYRION" is honourably mentioned as a harper by Chaucer, in company with Chiron, Orion, and Orpheus, (_House of Fame_, B. iii. v. 118,) and with the last he is also associated, as Mr. Finlay has pointed out, by Bishop Douglas, in the _Palice of Honour_. "The Scottish writers," says Jamieson, "adapting the name to their own meridian, call him GLENKINDY, GLENSKEENIE, &c."

_Glasgerion_ is reprinted from Percy's _Reliques_, iii. 83.

Glasgerion was a kings owne sonne, And a harper he was goode; He harped in the kings chambere, Where cuppe and caudle stoode, And soe did hee in the queens chambere, 5 Till ladies waxed wood,

And then bespake the kinges daughter, And these wordes thus shee sayd:--

"Strike on, strike on, Glasgerion, Of thy striking doe not blinne; 10 Theres never a stroke comes oer thy harpe, But it glads my hart withinne."

"Faire might him fall,[L13] ladye," quoth hee, "Who taught you nowe to speake!

I have loved you, ladye, seven longe yeere, 15 My harte I neere durst breake."

"But come to my bower, my Glasgerion, When all men are att rest: As I am a ladie true of my promise, Thou shalt bee a welcome guest." 20

Home then came Glasgerion, A glad man, lord! was hee: "And, come thou hither, Jacke my boy, Come hither unto mee.

"For the kinges daughter of Normandye 25 Hath granted mee my boone; And att her chambere must I bee Beffore the cocke have crowen."

"O master, master," then quoth hee, "Lay your head downe on this stone; 30 For I will waken you, master deere, Afore it be time to gone."

But up then rose that lither ladd, And hose and shoone did on; A coller he cast upon his necke, 35 Hee seemed a gentleman.

And when he came to the ladyes chamber, He thrild upon a pinn: The lady was true of her promise, And rose and lett him inn. 40

He did not take the lady gaye To boulster nor to bed: [Nor thoughe hee had his wicked wille, A single word he sed.]

He did not kisse that ladyes mouthe, 45 Nor when he came, nor yode: And sore that ladye did mistrust, He was of some churls bloud.

But home then came that lither ladd, And did off his hose and shoone; 50 And cast the coller from off his necke: He was but a churles sonne.

"Awake, awake, my deere master, The cock hath well-nigh crowen; Awake, awake, my master deere, 55 I hold it time to be gone.

"For I have saddled your horsse, master, Well bridled I have your steede, And I have served you a good breakfast, For thereof ye have need." 60

Up then rose good Glasgerion, And did on hose and shoone, And cast a coller about his necke: For he was a kinge his sonne.

And when he came to the ladyes chambere, 65 He thrilled upon the pinne; The ladye was more than true of promise, And rose and let him inn.

"O whether have you left with me Your bracelet or your glove? 70 Or are you returned back againe To know more of my love?"

Glasgerion swore a full great othe, By oake, and ashe, and thorne; "Ladye, I was never in your chambere, 75 Sith the time that I was borne."

"O then it was your lither[L77] foot-page, He hath beguiled mee:"

Then shee pulled forth a little pen-knffe, That hanged by her knee. 80

Sayes, "there shall never noe churles blood Within my bodye spring: No churles blood shall e'er defile The daughter of a kinge."

Home then went Glasgerion, 85 And woe, good lord! was hee: Sayes, "come thou hither, Jacke my boy, Come hither unto mee.

"If I had killed a man to-night, Jack, I would tell it thee: 90 But if I have not killed a man to-night, Jacke, thou hast killed three."

And he puld out his bright browne sword, And dryed it on his sleeve, And he smote off that lither ladds head, 95 Who did his ladye grieve.

He sett the swords poynt till his brest, The pummil untill a stone: Throw the falsenesse of that lither ladd, These three lives werne all gone. 100

13, him fall.

77, MS. litle.


From Jamieson's _Popular Ballads and Songs_, i. 91. The copy in the _Thistle of Scotland_, p. 31, is the same.

Glenkindie was ance a harper gude, He harped to the king; And Glenkindie was ance the best harper That ever harp'd on a string.

He'd harpit a fish out o' saut water,[L5] 5 Or water out o' a stane; Or milk out o' a maiden's breast, That bairn had never nane.

He's taen his harp intil his hand, He harpit and he sang; 10 And ay as he harpit to the king, To haud him unthought lang.

"I'll gie you a robe, Glenkindie, A robe o' the royal pa', Gin ye will harp i' the winter's night 15 Afore my nobles a'."

And the king but and his nobles a'[L17]

Sat birling at the wine; And he wad hae but his ae dochter, To wait on them at dine. 20

He's taen his harp intill his hand, He's harpit them a' asleep, Except it was the young countess, That love did waukin keep.

And first he has harpit a grave tune,[L25] 25 And syne he has harpit a gay; And mony a sich atween hands I wat the lady gae.

Says, "Whan day is dawen, and cocks hae crawen, And wappit their wings sae wide, 30 It's ye may come to my bower door, And streek you by my side.

"But look that ye tell na Gib your man, For naething that ye dee; For, an ye tell him, Gib your man, 35 He'll beguile baith you and me."

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