When Tom Pots came home again, 225 To try for his love he had but a week; For sorrow, God wot, he need not care, For four days that he fel sick.
With that his master to him came, Says, "Pray thee, Tom Pots, tell me if thou doubt Whether thou hast gotten thy gay lady, 231 Or thou must go thy love without."
"O master, yet it is unknown; Within these two days well try'd it must be; He is a lord, I am but a serving-man, 235 I fear I shall lose her with poverty."
"I prethee, Tom Pots, get thee on thy feet, My former promises kept shall be; As I am a lord in Scotland fair, Thou'st never lose her with poverty. 240
"For thou'st have the half of my lands a year, And that will raise thee many a pound; Before thou shalt out-braved be, Thou shalt drop angels with him on the ground."
"I thank you, master," said Tommy Pots, 245 "Yet there is one thing of you I would fain; If that I lose my lady sweet, How I'st restore your goods again?"
"If that thou win the lady sweet, Thou mayst well forth thou shalt pay me: 250 If thou losest thy lady, thou losest enough; Thou shalt not pay me one penny."
"You have thirty horses in one close, You keep them all both frank and free; Amongst them all there's an old white horse 255 This day would set my lady free.
"That is an old horse with a cut tail, Full sixteen years of age is he; If thou wilt lend me that old horse, Then could I win her easily." 260
"That's a foolish opinion," his master said, "And a foolish opinion thou tak'st to thee; Thou'st have a better then ever he was, Though forty pounds more it should cost me."
"O your choice horses are wild and tough, 265 And little they can skill of their train; If I be out of my saddle cast, They are so wild they'l ne'r be tain."
"Thou'st have that horse," his master said, "If that one thing thou wilt tell me;[L270] 270 Why that horse is better than any other, I pray thee, Tom Pots, shew thou to me."
"That horse is old, of stomach bold, And well can he skill of his train; If I be out of my saddle cast, 275 He'l either stand still, or turn again."
"Thou'st have the horse with all my heart, And my plate coat of silver free; An hundred men to stand at thy back, To fight if he thy master be." 280
"I thank you master," said Tommy Pots, "That proffer is too good for me; I would not for ten thousand pounds, Have man or boy in my company.
"God be with you, master," said Tommy Pots, 285 "Now, as you are a man of law, One thing let me crave at your hand; Let never a one of my fellows know.
"For if that my fellows they did wot, Or ken of my extremity, 290 Except you keep them under a lock, Behind me I'm sure they would not be."
But when he came to Guildford-green, He waited hours two or three; There he was ware of Lord Phenix come, 295 And four men in his company.
"You have broken your vow," said Tommy Pots, "The vow which you did make to me; You said you would bring neither man nor boy, And now has brought more than two or three." 300
"These are my men," Lord Phenix said, "Which every day do wait on me; If any of them dare proffer to strike, I'le run my spear through his body."
"I'le run no race now," said Tommy Pots, 305 "Except now this may be; If either of us be slain this day, The other shall forgiven be."
"I'le make that vow with all my heart, My men shall bear witness with me; 310 And if thou slay me here this day, In Scotland worse belov'd thou never shalt be."
They turn'd their horses thrice about, To run the race so eagerly; Lord Phenix he was fierce and stout, 315 And ran Tom Pots through the thick o' th' thigh.
He bor'd him out of the saddle fair, Down to the ground so sorrowfully: "For the loss of my life I do not care, But for the loss of my fair lady. 320
"Now for the loss of my lady sweet, Which once I thought to have been my wife, I pray thee, Lord Phenix, ride not away, For with thee I would end my life."
Tom Pots was but a serving-man, 325 But yet he was a doctor good; He bound his handkerchief on his wound, And with some kind of words he stancht his blood.[L329]
He leapt into his saddle again, The blood in his body began to warm; 330 He mist Lord Phenix body fair, And ran him through the brawn of the arm.
He bor'd him out of his saddle fair, Down to the ground most sorrowfully; Says, "Prethee, Lord Phenix, rise up and fight, 335 Or yield my lady unto me."
"Now for to fight I cannot tell, And for to fight I am not sure; Thou hast run me throw the brawn o' the arm, That with a spear I may not endure. 340
"Thou'st have the lady with all my heart; It was never likely better to prove With me, or any nobleman else, That would hinder a poor man of his love."
"Seeing you say so much," said Tommy Pots, 345 I will not seem your butcher to be; But I will come and stanch your blood, If any thing you will give me."
As he did stanch Lord Phenix blood, Lord! in his heart he did rejoice; 350 "I'le not take the lady from you thus, But of her you'st have another choice.
"Here is a lane of two miles long; At either end we set will be; The lady shall stand us among, 355 Her own choice shall set her free."
"If thou'l do so," Lord Phenix said, "To lose her by her own choice it's honesty; Chuse whether I get her, or go her without, Forty pounds I will give thee." 360
But when they in that lane was set, The wit of a woman for to prove, "By the faith of my body," the lady said, "Then Tom Pots must needs have his love."
Towards Tom Pots the lady did hie, 365 To get behind him hastily; "Nay stay, nay stay," Lord Phenix said, "Better proved it shall be.
"Stay you with your maidens here, In number fair they are but three; 370 Tom Pots and I will go behind yonder wall, That one of us two be proved to dye."
But when they came behind the wall, The one came not the other nigh; For the Lord Phenix had made a vow, 375 That with Tom Pots he would never fight.
"O give me this choice," Lord Phenix said, "To prove whether true or false she be, And I will go to the lady fair, And tell her Tom Pots slain is he." 380
When he came from behind the wall, With his face all bloody as it might be, "O lady sweet, thou art my own, For Tom Pots slain is he.
"Now have I slain him, Tommy Pots, 385 And given him deaths wounds two or three; O lady sweet, thou art my own; Of all loves, wilt thou live with me?"
"If thou hast slain him, Tommy Pots, And given him deaths wounds two or three, 390 I'le sell the state of my fathers lands, But hanged shall Lord Phenix be."
With that the lady fell in a swound, For a grieved woman, God wot, was she; Lord Phenix he was ready then, 395 To take her up so hastily.
"O lady sweet, stand thou on thy feet, Tom Pots alive this day may be; I'le send for thy father, Lord Arundel, 400 And he and I the wedding will see.
"I'le send for thy father, Lord Arundel, And he and I the wedding will see; If he will not maintain you well, Both lands and livings you'st have of me."
"I'le see this wedding," Lord Arundel said, 405 "Of my daughters luck that is so fair; Seeing the matter will be no better, Of all my lands Tom Pots shall be the heir."
With that the lady began for to smile, For a glad woman, God wot, was she; 410 "Now all my maids," the lady said, "Example you may take by me.
"But all the ladies of Scotland fair, And lasses of England that well would prove, Neither marry for gold nor goods, 415 Nor marry for nothing but only love.
"For I had a lover true of my own, A serving-man of low degree; Now from Tom Pots I'le change his name, For the young Lord Arundel he shall be." 420
v. 270, me tell.