329, _i. e._ he made use of a charm for that purpose.
THE MERCHANT'S DAUGHTER OF BRISTOW.
From Collier's _Book of Roxburghe Ballads_, p. 104.
"This narrative ballad, which is full of graceful but unadorned simplicity, is mentioned in Fletcher's _Monsieur Thomas_, (Act iii.
Sc. 3,) by the name of _Maudlin the Merchant's Daughter_. Two early editions of it are known: one without printer's name, (clearly much older than the other,) is that which we have used; we may conclude that it was written considerably before James I. came to the throne.
It was last reprinted in 1738, but in that impression it was much modernized and corrupted."
Behold the touchstone of true love, Maudlin the Merchant's Daughter of Bristow towne, Whose firme affection nothing could move; This favour beares the lovely browne.
A gallant youth was dwelling by, 5 Which many yeares had borne this lady great good will; Shee loved him so faithfully, But all her friends withstood it still.
The young man now, perceiving well He could not get nor win the favour of her friends, 10 The force of sorrow to expell To view strange countreys hee intends.
And now, to take his last farewell Of his true love, his faire and constant Maudlen, With musicke sweete that did excell 15 Hee plaies under her window then.
"Farewell," quoth he, "mine owne true love, Farewell, my deare, and chiefest treasure of my heart!
Through fortune's spight, that false did prove, I am inforc'd from thee to part, 20
"Into the land of Italy: There wil I waile, and weary out my dayes in wo; Seeing my true love is kept from mee, I hold my life a mortal fo.
"Faire Bristow towne, therefore, adieu, 25 For Padua shall bee my habitation now; Although my love doth lodge in thee, To whom alone my heart I vow."
With trickling teares this hee did sing, With sighs and sobs descending from his heart full sore: Hee said, when he his hands did wring, 31 "Farewell, sweet love, for evermore!"
Fair Maudlin, from a window high Beholding her true love with musicke where hee stood, But not a word she durst reply, 35 Fearing her parents angry mood.
In teares she spent this dolefull night, Wishing (though naked) with her faithfull friend: She blames her friends, and fortune's spight, That wrought their loves such lucklesse end. 40
And in her heart shee made a vow Cleane to forsake her country and her kinsfolkes all, And for to follow her true love, To bide all chance that might befall.
The night is gone, and the day is come, 45 And in the morning very early shee did rise: She gets her downe in a lower roome, Where sundrie seamen she espies.
A gallant master amongst them all, (The master of a faire and goodlie ship was he) 50 Who there stood waiting in the hall, To speake with her father, if it might be.
She kindly takes him by the hand: "Good sir," said shee, "would you speake with any heere?"
Quoth he, "Faire maid, therefore I stand:" 55 "Then, gentle sir, I pray you draw neere."
Into a pleasant parlour by, With hand in hand she brings the seaman all alone; Sighing to him most piteously, She thus to him did make her moane. 60
Shee falls upon her tender knee: "Good sir," she said, "now pittie you a woman's woe, And prove a faithfull friend to me, That I my griefe to you may shew."
"Sith you repose your trust," he said, 65 "To me that am unknowne, and eke a stranger heere, Be you assur'd, most proper maid, Most faithfull still I will appeare."
"I have a brother, then," quoth shee, "Whom as my life I love and favour tenderlie: 70 In Padua, alas! is he, Full sicke, God wot, and like to die.
"And faine I would my brother see, But that my father will not yeeld to let me goe; Wherefore, good sir, be good to mee, 75 And unto me this favour shew.
"Some ship-boye's garment bring to mee, That I disguis'd may goe away from hence unknowne; And unto sea Ile goe with thee, If thus much favour may be showne." 80
"Faire maid," quoth he, "take heere my hand: I will fulfill each thing that you desire, And set you safe in that same land, And in that place that you require."
She gave him then a tender kisse, 85 And saith, "Your servant, gallant master, will I be, And prove your faithfull friend for this: Sweet master, then, forget not me."
This done, as they had both decreed, Soone after (early) before the breake of day, 90 He brings her garments then with speed, Wherein she doth her selfe array:
And ere her father did arise, Shee meets her master as he walkes in the hall: Shee did attend on him likewise, 95 Even till her father did him call.
But ere the Merchant made an end Of all the matters to the master he could say, His wife came weeping in with speed, Saying, "Our daughter is gone away!" 100
The Merchant, thus amaz'd in mind, "Yonder vile wretch intic'd away my child," quoth he; "But, well I wot, I shall him find At Padua, in Italy."
With that bespake the master brave: 105 "Worshipfull master, thither goes this pretty youth, And any thing that you would have, He will performe it, and write the truth."
"Sweet youth," quoth hee, "if it be so, Beare me a letter to the English merchants there, 110 And gold on thee I will bestow: My daughter's welfare I do feare."
Her mother takes her by the hand; "Faire youth," qd she, "if there thou dost my daughter see, Let me thereof soone understand, 115 And there is twenty crownes for thee."
Thus, through the daughter's strange disguise, The mother knew not when shee spake unto her child; And after her master straightway shee hies, Taking her leave with countenance milde. 120
Thus to the sea faire Maudlin is gone With her gentle master; God send them a merry wind; Where wee a while must let them alone, Till you the second part doe find.
THE SECOND PART.
"Welcome, sweete Maudlin, from the sea, 125 Where bitter stormes and tempests doe arise: The plesant bankes of Italy Wee may behold with mortal eyes."
"Thankes, gentle master," then quoth shee; "A faithfull friend in sorrow hast thou beene; 130 If fortune once doth smile on mee, My thankfull heart shall well bee seene.
"Blest be the land that feedes my love!
Blest be the place where as his person doth abide!
No triall will I sticke to prove, 135 Whereby my true love may be tride.
"Nowe will I walke with joyful heart, To viewe the towne where as my darlinge doth remaine, And seeke him out in every part, Untill I doe his sight attaine." 140
"And I," quoth he, "will not forsake Sweete Maudlin in her sorrow up and downe: In wealth and woe thy part Ile take, And bring thee safe to Padua towne."
And after many wearie steps 145 In Padua they safely doe arrive at last: For very joy her heart it leapes; She thinkes not of her sorrowes past.
Condemned to dye hee was, alas!
Except he would from his religion turne; 150 But rather then hee would to masse, In fiery flames he vow'd to burne.
Now doth Maudlin weepe and waile: Her joy is chang'd to weeping, sorrow, griefe and care; But nothing could her plaints prevaile, 155 For death alone must be his share.