"You have a daughter," sayd Adler yonge, "Men call her bright and sheene; My brother wold marrye her to his wiffe, Of Englande to be queene."
"Yesterdaye was att my dere daughter 45 The king his sonne of Spayn; And then she nicked him of naye; I feare sheele do youe the same."
"The kyng of Spayne is a foule paynim, And 'leeveth on Mahound, 50 And pitye it were that fayre ladye Shold marrye a heathen hound."
"But grant to me," sayes kyng Estmere, "For my love I you praye, That I may see your daughter dere 55 Before I goe hence awaye."
"Althoughe itt is seven yeare and more Syth my daughter was in halle, She shall come downe once for your sake, To glad my guestes alle." 60
Downe then came that mayden fayre, With ladyes lacede in pall, And halfe a hondred of bolde knightes, To bring her from bowre to hall, And eke as manye gentle squieres, 65 To waite upon them all.
The talents of golde were on her head sette, Hunge lowe downe to her knee; And everye rynge on her small finger Shone of the chrystall free. 70
Sayes, "Christ you save, my deare madame,"
Sayes, "Christ you save and see:"
Sayes, "You be welcome, kyng Estmere, Right welcome unto mee.
"And iff you love me, as you saye, 75 So well and hartilee, All that ever you are comen about Soone sped now itt may bee."
Then bespake her father deare, "My daughter, I saye naye; 80 Remember well the kyng of Spayne, What he sayd yesterdaye.
"He wold pull downe my halles and castles, And reave me of my lyfe: And ever I feare that paynim kyng, 85 Iff I reave him of his wyfe."
"Your castles and your towres, father, Are stronglye built aboute; And therefore of that foule paynim Wee neede not stande in doubte. 90
"Plyght me your troth nowe, kyng Estmere, By heaven and your righte hande, That you will marrye me to your wyfe, And make me queene of your land."
Then kyng Estmere he plight his troth 95 By heaven and his righte hand, That he wolde marrye her to his wyfe, And make her queene of his land.
And he tooke leave of that ladye fayre, To goe to his owne countree, 100 To fetche him dukes and lordes and knightes, That marryed they might bee.
They had not ridden scant a myle, A myle forthe of the towne, But in did come the kynge of Spayne, 105 With kempes many a one:
But in did come the kyng of Spayne, With manye a grimme barone, Tone day to marrye kyng Adlands daughter, Tother daye to carrye her home. 110
Then shee sent after kyng Estmere, In all the spede might bee, That he must either returne and fighte, Or goe home and lose his ladye.
One whyle then the page he went, 115 Another whyle he ranne; Till he had oretaken king Estmere, Iwis he never blanne.
"Tydinges, tydinges, kyng Estmere!"
"What tydinges nowe, my boye?" 120 "O tydinges I can tell to you, That will you sore annoye.
"You had not ridden scant a myle, A myle out of the towne, But in did come the kyng of Spayne 125 With kempes many a one:
"But in did come the kyng of Spayne With manye a grimme barone, Tone day to marrye kyng Adlands daughter, Tother daye to carrye her home. 130
"That ladye fayre she greetes you well, And ever-more well by mee: You must either turne againe and fighte, Or goe home and lose your ladye."
Sayes, "Reade me, reade me, deare brother, 135 My reade shall ryse at thee,[L136]
Whiche way we best may turne and fighte, To save this fayre ladye."
"Now hearken to me," sayes Adler yonge, "And your reade must rise at me; 140 I quicklye will devise a waye To sette thy ladye free.
"My mother was a westerne woman, And learned in gramarye, And when I learned at the schole, 145 Something shee taught itt me.
"There groweth an hearbe within this fielde, And iff it were but knowne, His color which is whyte and redd, It will make blacke and browne. 150
"His color which is browne and blacke, Itt will make redd and whyte; That sword is not in all Englande, Upon his coate will byte.
"And you shal be a harper, brother, 155 Out of the north countree; And Ile be your boye, so faine of fighte, To beare your harpe by your knee.
"And you shall be the best harper That ever tooke harpe in hand; 160 And I will be the best singer That ever sung in this land.
"Itt shal be written in our forheads, All and in grammarye, That we towe are the boldest men 165 That are in all Christentye."
And thus they renisht them to ryde, On towe good renish steedes; And whan they came to king Adlands hall, Of redd gold shone their weedes. 170
And whan they came to kyng Adlands hall, Untill the fayre hall yate, There they found a proud porter, Rearing himselfe theratt.
Sayes, "Christ thee save, thou proud porter," 175 Sayes, "Christ thee save and see:"
"Nowe you be welcome," sayd the porter, "Of what land soever ye bee."
"We been harpers," sayd Adler yonge, "Come out of the northe countree; 180 We beene come hither untill this place, This proud weddinge for to see."
Sayd, "And your color were white and redd, As it is blacke and browne, Ild saye king Estmere and his brother 185 Were comen untill this towne."
Then they pulled out a ryng of gold,[L187]
Layd itt on the porters arme: "And ever we will thee, proud porter, Thow wilt saye us no harme." 190
Sore he looked on kyng Estmere, And sore he handled the ryng, Then opened to them the fayre hall yates, He lett for no kind of thyng.
Kyng Estmere he light off his steede, 195 Up att the fayre hall board; The frothe that came from his brydle bitte Light on kyng Bremors beard.
Sayes, "Stable thy steede, thou proud harper, Go stable him in the stalle; 200 Itt doth not beseeme a proud harper To stable him in a kyngs halle."
"My ladd he is so lither," he sayd, "He will do nought that's meete; And aye that I cold but find the man, 205 Were able him to beate."
"Thou speakst proud words," sayd the paynim king, "Thou harper, here to mee; There is a man within this halle, That will beate thy lad and thee." 210
"O lett that man come downe," he sayd, "A sight of him wold I see; And whan hee hath beaten well my ladd, Then he shall beate of mee."
Downe then came the kemperye man, 215 And looked him in the eare; For all the gold that was under heaven, He durst not neigh him neare.
"And how nowe, kempe," sayd the kyng of Spayne, "And how what aileth thee?" 220 He sayes, "Itt is written in his forhead, All and in gramarye, That for all the gold that is under heaven, I dare not neigh him nye."
Kyng Estmere then pulled forth his harpe, 225 And played thereon so sweete: Upstarte the ladye from the kynge, As hee sate at the meate.
"Now stay thy harpe, thou proud harper, Now stay thy harpe, I say; 230 For an thou playest as thou beginnest, Thou'lt till my bride awaye."