v. 98, Whan.
v. 152, Shul.
200, bed, Wright.
v. 230, That, womanhod.
v. 253, yet is.
v. 310, Of them I wolde be one. Percy MS.
THE BAILIFF'S DAUGHTER OF ISLINGTON.
From _Reliques of Ancient English Poetry_, iii. 177. Another copy is in Ritson's _Ancient Songs_, ii. 134.
"From an ancient black-letter copy in the Pepys collection, with some improvements communicated by a lady as she had heard the same recited in her youth. The full title is, _True love requited: Or, the Bailiff's daughter of Islington_."--PERCY.
There was a youthe, and a well-beloved youthe, And he was a squires son: He loved the bayliffes daughter deare, That lived in Islington.
Yet she was coye, and would not believe 5 That he did love her soe, Noe nor at any time would she Any countenance to him showe.
But when his friendes did understand His fond and foolish minde, 10 They sent him up to faire London, An apprentice for to binde.
And when he had been seven long yeares, And never his love could see,-- "Many a teare have I shed for her sake, 15 When she little thought of mee."
Then all the maids of Islington Went forth to sport and playe, All but the bayliffes daughter deare; She secretly stole awaye. 20
She pulled off her gowne of greene, And put on ragged attire, And to faire London she would go, Her true love to enquire.
And as she went along the high road, 25 The weather being hot and drye, She sat her downe upon a green bank, And her true love came riding bye.
She started up, with a colour soe redd, Catching hold of his bridle-reine; 30 "One penny, one penny, kind sir," she sayd, "Will ease me of much paine."
"Before I give you one penny, sweet-heart, Praye tell me where you were borne."
"At Islington, kind sir," sayd shee, 35 "Where I have had many a scorne."
"I prythee, sweet-heart, then tell to mee, O tell me, whether you knowe The bayliffes daughter of Islington."
"She is dead, sir, long agoe." 40
"If she be dead, then take my horse, My saddle and bridle also; For I will into some farr countrye, Where noe man shall me knowe."
"O staye, O staye, thou goodlye youthe, 45 She standeth by thy side; She is here alive, she is not dead, And readye to be thy bride."
"O farewell griefe, and welcome joye, Ten thousand times therefore; 50 For nowe I have founde mine owne true love, Whom I thought I should never see more."
THE BLIND BEGGAR'S DAUGHTER OF BEDNALL GREEN.
The copy here given of this favorite popular ballad is derived from _Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of England_, Percy Society, xvii. 60. It is there printed from a modern broadside, "carefully collated" with a copy in the Bagford collection. In Percy's edition, (_Reliques_, ii. 171,) besides many trivial emendations, eight modern stanzas (said to be the work of Robert Dodsley) are substituted for the first five of the Beggar's second song, "to remove absurdities and inconsistencies," and to reconcile the story to probability and true history! The copy in _A Collection of Old Ballads_, ii. 202, is not very different from the present, and the few changes that have been made in the text selected, unless otherwise accounted for, are adopted from that.
"Pepys, in his diary, 25th June, 1663, speaks of going with Sir William and Lady Batten, and Sir J. Minnes, to Sir W. Rider's at Bednall Green, to dinner, 'a fine place;' and adds, 'This very house was built by the Blind Beggar of Bednall Green, so much talked of and sung in ballads; but they say it was only some outhouses of it.'"
CHAPPELL, _Popular Musk of the Olden Time_, p. 159.
This song's of a beggar who long lost his sight, And had a fair daughter, most pleasant and bright; And many a gallant brave suitor had she, And none was so comely as pretty Bessee.
And though she was of complexion most fair, 5 Yet seeing she was but a beggar his heir,[L6]
Of ancient housekeepers despised was she, Whose sons came as suitors to pretty Bessee.
Wherefore in great sorrow fair Bessee did say, "Good father and mother, let me now go away, 10 To seek out my fortune, whatever it be;"
This suit then was granted to pretty Bessee.
This Bessee, that was of a beauty most bright, They clad in gray russet, and late in the night From father and mother alone parted she, 15 Who sighed and sobbed for pretty Bessee.
She went till she came to Stratford-at-Bow, Then she knew not whither or which way to go; With tears she lamented her sad destiny, So sad and so heavy was pretty Bessee. 20
She kept on her journey until it was day, And went unto Rumford along the highway; And at the King's Arms entertained was she, So fair and well-favoured was pretty Bessee.
She had not been there one month at an end, 25 But master and mistress and all was her friend; And every brave gallant that once did her see Was straightway in love with pretty Bessee.
Great gifts they did send her of silver and gold, And in their songs daily her love they extoll'd; 30 Her beauty was blazed in every degree, So fair and so comely was pretty Bessee.
The young men of Rumford in her had their joy; She shewed herself courteous, but never too coy, And at their commandment still she would be, 35 So fair and so comely was pretty Bessee.
Four suitors at once unto her did go, They craved her favour, but still she said no; "I would not have gentlemen marry with me,"-- Yet ever they honoured pretty Bessee. 40
Now one of them was a gallant young knight, And he came unto her disguised in the night; The second, a gentleman of high degree, Who wooed and sued for pretty Bessee.
A merchant of London, whose wealth was not small, 45 Was then the third suitor, and proper withal; Her master's own son the fourth man must be, Who swore he would die for pretty Bessee.