Shee walkes under the prison walls, Where her true love doth lye and languish in distresse; Most wofully for foode he calls, When hunger did his heart oppresse. 160
He sighs and sobs and makes great moane: "Farewell," hee said, "sweete England, now for evermore, And all my friends that have me knowne In Bristow towne with wealth and store.
"But most of all farewell," quoth hee, 165 "My owne true love, sweet Maudlin, whom I left behind; For never more shall I see thee.
Woe to thy father most unkind!
"How well were I, if thou wert here, With thy faire hands to close these wretched eyes: 170 My torments easie would appeare; My soule with joy shall scale the skies."
When Maudlin heard her lover's moane, Her eyes with teares, her heart with sorrow filled was: To speake with him no meanes is knowne, 175 Such grievous doome on him did passe.
Then she cast off her lad's attire; A maiden's weede upon her back she seemely set; To the judge's house shee did enquire, And there shee did a service get. 180
Shee did her duty there so well, And eke so prudently she did her selfe behave, With her in love her master fell; His servant's favour hee doth crave.
"Maudlin," quoth hee, "my heart's delight, 185 To whom my heart is in affection tied, Breed not my death through thy despight; A faithfull friend I will be tryed.
"Grant me thy love, faire maid," quoth hee, "And at my hands require what thou canst devise, 190 And I will grant it unto thee, Whereby thy credit may arise."
"I have a brother, sir," she said, "For his religion is now condemned to dye: In loathsome prison hee is layd, 195 Opprest with griefe and misery.
"Grant me my brother's life," shee said, "And to you my love and liking I will give."
"That may not be," quoth hee, "faire maid; Except he turne, he cannot live." 200
"An English Frier there is," shee said, "Of learning great and passing pure of life, Let him to my brother be sent, And he will finish soone the strife."
Her master hearing this request, 205 The marriner in frier's weed she did array, And to her love, that lay distrest, Shee did a letter straight convey.
When hee had read these gentle lines, His heart was ravished with sudden joy; 210 Where now shee was full well hee knew: The frier likewise was not coy;
But did declare to him at large The enterprise for him his love had taken in hand.
The young man did the frier charge, 215 His love should straight depart the land.
"Here is no place for her," hee said, "But woefull death and danger of her harmlesse life: Professing truth I was betraid, And fearfull flames must end my strife. 220
"For, ere I will my faith deny, And sweare my selfe to follow damned Antichrist, Ile yeeld my body for to die, To live in heaven with the highest."
"O sir!" the gentle frier said, 225 "For your sweet love recant, and save your wished life.
A wofull match," quoth hee, "is made Where Christ is lost to win a wife."
When she had wrought all meanes that might To save her friend, and that she saw it would not bee, Then of the judge shee claimed her right, 231 To die the death as well as hee.
When no perswasion could prevaile, Nor change her mind in any thing that shee had said, She was with him condemned to die, 235 And for them both one fire was made.
And arme in arme most joyfully These lovers twaine unto the fire they did goe: The marriner most faithfully Was likewise partner of their woe. 240
But when the judges understood The faithfull friendship did in them remaine, They saved their lives; and afterward To England sent them home againe.
Now was their sorrow turned to joy, 245 And faithfull lovers had now their heart's desire: Their paines so well they did imploy, God granted that they did require.
And when they were to England come, And in merry Bristow arrived at the last, 250 Great joy there was to all and some That heard the dangers they had past.
Her gentle master shee desired To be her father, and at the church to give her then: It was fulfilled as shee required, 255 Unto the joy of all good men.