I've spent my time in rioting, Debauch'd my health and strength; I've pillag'd, plunder'd, murdered, But now, alas! at length, I'm brought to punishment direct, 5 Pale death draws near to me; This end I never did project, To hang upon a tree.
To hang upon a tree! a tree!
That curs'd unhappy death! 10 Like to a wolf to worried be, And choaked in the breath.
My very heart would surely break, When this I think upon, Did not my courage singular 15 Bid pensive thoughts begone.
No man on earth that draweth breath, More courage had than I; I dar'd my foes unto their face, And would not from them fly. 20 This grandeur stout, I did keep out, Like Hector, manfullie: Then wonder one like me, so stout, Should hang upon a tree!
Th' Egyptian band I did command, 25 With courage more by far, Than ever did a general His soldiers in the war.
Being fear'd by all, both great and small, I liv'd most joyfullie: 30 O! curse upon this fate of mine, To hang upon a tree!
As for my life, I do not care, If justice would take place, And bring my fellow plunderers 35 Unto this same disgrace.
For Peter Brown, that notour loon, Escap'd and was made free; O! curse upon this fate of mine, To hang upon a tree! 40
Both law and justice buried are, And fraud and guile succeed; The guilty pass unpunished, If money intercede.
The Laird of Grant, that Highland saint, 45 His mighty majestie, He pleads the cause of Peter Brown, And lets Macpherson die.
The destiny of my life, contriv'd By those whom I oblig'd, 50 Rewarded me much ill for good, And left me no refuge.
For Braco Duff, in rage enough, He first laid hands on me; And if that death would not prevent, 55 Avenged would I be.
As for my life, it is but short, When I shall be no more; To part with life I am content, As any heretofore. 60 Therefore, good people all, take heed, This warning take by me, According to the lives you lead, Rewarded you shall be.
THE FLEMISH INSURRECTION.
The Flemings, having abandoned their legitimate sovereign and attached themselves to Philip the Fair, found at last cause to repent. In 1301, two citizens of Bruges, Peter de Koning, a draper, and John Breydel, a butcher, stirred up their townsmen to revolt, and drove out the French garrison. The next year, the Count d'Artois, with a superb army, was defeated by the insurgents at the battle of Courtrai.
This ballad is found in MS. Harl. No. 2253, "of the reign of Edw. II."
and has been printed in Ritson's _Ancient Songs_ (i. 51), and in Wright's _Political Songs_, p. 187. We have adopted the text of the latter.
Lustneth, lordinges, bothe yonge ant olde, Of the Freynsshe men that were so proude ant bolde, Hou the Flemmysshe men bohten hem ant solde, Upon a Wednesday.
Betere hem were at home in huere londe, 5 Then for te seche Flemmysshe by the see stronde, Whare thourh moni Frenshe wyf wryngeth hire honde, Ant singeth weylaway.
The Kyng of Fraunce made statuz newe, In the lond of Flaundres among false ant trewe, 10 That the commun of Bruges ful sore con arewe, Ant seiden amonges hem, "Gedere we us togedere hardilyche at ene, Take we the bailifs bi tuenty ant by tene, Clappe we of the hevedes anonen o the grene,[L15] 15 Ant caste we y the fen."
The webbes ant the fullaris assembleden hem alle, Ant makeden huere consail in huere commune halle; Token Peter Conyng huere kyng to calle, Ant beo huere cheventeyn. 20 Hue nomen huere rouncyns out of the stalle, Ant closeden the toun withinne the walle; Sixti baylies ant ten hue maden adoun falle, Ant moni an other sweyn.
Tho wolde the baylies that were come from Fraunce, 25 Dryve the Flemisshe that made the destaunce; Hue turnden hem ayeynes with suerd ant with launce, Stronge men ant lyht.
Y telle ou for sothe, for al huere bobaunce, Ne for the avowerie of the Kyng of Fraunce, 30 Tuenti score ant fyve haden ther meschaunce, By day ant eke by nyht.
Sire Jakes de Seint Poul, yherde hou hit was; Sixtene hundred of horsemen asemblede o the gras; He wende toward Bruges _pas pur pas_, 35 With swithe gret mounde The Flemmysshe yherden telle the cas, Agynneth to clynken huere basyns of bras, Ant al hem to-dryven ase ston doth the glas, Ant fellen hem to grounde. 40
Sixtene hundred of horsmen hede ther here fyn; Hue leyyen y the stretes ystyked ase swyn, Ther hue loren huere stedes ant mony rouncyn, Thourh huere oune prude.
Sire Jakes ascapede, by a coynte gyn, 45 Out at one posterne ther me solde wyn, Out of the fyhte hom to ys yn, In wel muchele drede.
Tho the Kyng of Fraunce yherde this, anon, Assemblede he is dousse-pers everuchon, 50 The proude eorl of Artoys ant other mony on, To come to Paris.
The barouns of Fraunce thider conne gon, Into the paleis that paved is with ston, To jugge the Flemmisshe to bernen ant to slon, 55 Thourh the flour de lis.
Thenne seide the Kyng Philip, "Lustneth nou to me; Myn eorles ant my barouns, gentil ant fre: Goth, faccheth me the traytours ybounde to my kne; Hastifliche ant blyve." 60 Tho suor the Eorl of Seint Poul, "_Par la goule de_, We shule facche the rybaus wher thi wille be, Ant drawen hem [with] wilde hors out of the countre, By thousendes fyve."
"Sire Rauf Devel," sayth the Eorl of Boloyne, 65 "_Nus ne lerrum en vie chanoun ne moyne_; Wende we forth anon ritht withoute eny assoygne, Ne no lyves man.
We shule flo the Conyng, ant make roste is loyne; The word shal springen of him into Coloyne, 70 So hit shal to Acres ant into Sesoyne, Ant maken him ful wan."
Sevene eorls ant fourti barouns y-tolde, Fiftene hundred knyhtes, proude ant swythe bolde, Sixti thousent swyers amonge yunge ant olde, 75 Flemmisshe to take.
The Flemmisshe hardeliche hem come to-yeynes; This proude Freinsshe eorles, huere knyhtes ant huere sweynes, Aquelleden ant slowen, by hulles ant by pleynes, Al for huere kynges sake. 80
This Frenshe come to Flaundres so liht so the hare; Er hit were mydnyht hit fel hem to care; Hue were laht by the net so bryd is in snare, With rouncin ant with stede.
The Flemmisshe hem dabbeth o the het bare; 85 Hue nolden take for huem raunsoun ne ware; Hue doddeth of huere hevedes, fare so hit fare, Ant thareto haveth hue nede.
Thenne seyth the Eorl of Artois, "Y yelde me to the, Peter Conyng, by thi nome, yef thou art hende ant fre, 90 That y ne have no shame ne no vylte, That y ne be noud ded."
Thenne swor a bocher, "By my leaute, Shalt thou ner more the kyng of Fraunce se, Ne in the toun of Bruges in prisone be; 95 Thou woldest spene bred."
Ther hy were knulled y the putfalle, This eorles ant barouns ant huere knyhtes alle; Huere ledies huem mowe abide in boure ant in halle Wel longe. 100 For hem mot huere kyng other knyhtes calle, Other stedes taken out of huere stalle: Ther hi habbeth dronke bittrere then the galle, Upon the drue londe.
When the Kyng of Fraunce yherde this tydynge, 105 He smot doun is heved, is honden gon he wrynge: Thourhout al Fraunce the word bygon to sprynge, Wo wes huem tho!
Muche wes the sorewe ant the wepinge That wes in al Fraunce among olde ant yynge; 110 The mest part of the lond bygon for te synge "Alas ant weylawo!"
Awey, thou yunge pope! whet shal the to rede?
Thou hast lore thin cardinals at thi meste nede; 114 Ne keverest thou hem nevere for nones kunnes mede, For sothe y the telle.
Do the forth to Rome, to amende thi misdede; Bide gode halewen, hue lete the betere spede; Bote thou worche wysloker, thou losest lont ant lede, The coroune wel the felle. 120
Alas, thou seli Fraunce! for the may thunche shome, That ane fewe fullaris maketh ou so tome; Sixti thousent on a day hue maden fot-lome, With eorl ant knyht.
Herof habbeth the Flemysshe suithe god game, 125 Ant suereth by Seint Omer ant eke bi Seint Jame, Yef hy ther more cometh, hit falleth huem to shame, With huem for te fyht.
I telle ou for sothe, the bataille thus bigon Bituene Fraunce ant Flaundres, hou hue weren fon; 130 Vor Vrenshe the Eorl of Flaundres in prison heden ydon, With tresoun untrewe.
Ye[f] the Prince of Walis his lyf habbe mote, Hit falleth the Kyng of Fraunce bittrore then the sote; Bote he the rathere therof welle do bote, 135 Wel sore hit shal hym rewe.
15. anonen. R. an oven. W.
THE EXECUTION OF SIR SIMON FRASER.
On the 27th of March, 1306, Robert Bruce was crowned king at Scone.
Immediately thereupon, King Edward the First sent the Earl of Pembroke, Aymer de Valence, to Scotland, to suppress what he called the rebellion in that kingdom. Pembroke attacked Bruce in his cantonments at Methven (or Kirkenclif) near Perth, and dispersed his small army, taking several prisoners of great consequence. Among them was Sir Simon Fraser, or Frisel, whose cruel fate is narrated in the following ballad.
This piece has been printed in Ritson's _Ancient Songs_ (i. 28), and in Wright's _Political Songs_, p. 212, and is extracted from the same MS.
as the preceding ballad.
Lystneth, lordynges, a newe song ichulle bigynne, Of the traytours of Scotlond, that take beth wyth gynne; Mon that loveth falsnesse, and nule never blynne, Sore may him drede the lyf that he is ynne, Ich understonde: 5 Selde wes he glad That never nes a-sad Of nythe ant of onde.
That y sugge by this Scottes that bueth nou to-drawe, The hevedes o Londone-brugge, whose con y-knawe; 10 He wenden han buen kynges, ant seiden so in sawe; Betere hem were han y-be barouns, ant libbe in Godes lawe Wyth love.
Whose hateth soth ant ryht, Lutel he douteth Godes myht, 15 The heye kyng above.