So black was the mourning, and white were the wands, 15 Yellow, yellow the torches they bore in their hands; The bells they were muffled, and mournful did play, While the royal Queen Jane she lay cold in the clay.
Six knights and six lords bore her corpse through the grounds, Six dukes followed after, in black mourning gownds, 20 The flower of Old England was laid in cold clay, Whilst the royal King Henrie came weeping away.
THE MURDER OF THE KING OF SCOTS.
_Reliques of Ancient English Poetry_, ii. 210.
"The catastrophe of Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, the unfortunate husband of Mary Queen of Scots, is the subject of this ballad. It is here related in that partial imperfect manner, in which such an event would naturally strike the subjects of another kingdom, of which he was a native. Henry appears to have been a vain, capricious, worthless young man, of weak understanding, and dissolute morals. But the beauty of his person, and the inexperience of his youth, would dispose mankind to treat him with an indulgence, which the cruelty of his murder would afterwards convert into the most tender pity and regret: and then imagination would not fail to adorn his memory with all those virtues he ought to have possessed.
"Darnley, who had been born and educated in England, was but in his 21st year when he was murdered, Feb. 9, 1567-8. This crime was perpetrated by the Earl of Bothwell, not out of respect to the memory of Riccio, but in order to pave the way for his own marriage with the queen.
"This ballad (printed, with a few corrections, from the Editor's folio MS.) seems to have been written soon after Mary's escape into England in 1568, see v. 65.--It will be remembered, at v. 5, that this princess was Queen Dowager of France, having been first married to Francis II., who died Dec. 4, 1560."--PERCY.
Woe worth, woe worth thee, false Scotlande!
For thou hast ever wrought by sleight; The worthyest prince that ever was borne, You hanged under a cloud by night.
The Queene of France a letter wrote, 5 And sealed itt with harte and ringe; And bade him come Scotland within, And shee wold marry and crowne him kinge.
To be a king is a pleasant thing, To bee a prince unto a peere: 10 But you have heard, and soe have I too, A man may well buy gold too deare.
There was an Italyan in that place, Was as well beloved as ever was hee, Lord David [Rizzio] was his name, 15 Chamberlaine to the queene was hee.
If the king had risen forth of his place, He wold have sate him downe in the cheare, And tho itt beseemed him not so well, Altho the kinge had beene present there. 20
Some lords in Scotlande waxed wrothe, And quarrelled with him for the nonce; I shall you tell how it befell, Twelve daggers were in him att once.
When the queene saw her chamberlaine was slaine, 25 For him her faire cheeks shee did weete, And made a vowe, for a yeare and a day The king and shee wold not come in one sheete.
Then some of the lords they waxed wrothe, And made their vow all vehementlye, 30 For the death of the queenes chamberlaine, The king himselfe, how he shall dye.
With gun-powder they strewed his roome, And layd greene rushes in his way; For the traitors thought that very night 35 This worthye king for to betray.
To bedd the king he made him bowne; To take his rest was his desire; He was noe sooner cast on sleepe, But his chamber was on a blasing fire. 40
Up he lope, and the window brake, And hee had thirtye foote to fall; Lord Bodwell kept a privy watch, Underneath his castle wall.
"Who have wee here?" Lord Bodwell sayd; 45 "Now answer me, that I may know."
"King Henry the eighth my uncle was; For his sweete sake some pitty show."
"Who have we here?" Lord Bodwell sayd; "Now answer me when I doe speake." 50 "Ah, Lord Bodwell, I know thee well; Some pitty on me I pray thee take."
"Ile pitty thee as much," he sayd, "And as much favor show to thee, As thou didst to the queenes chamberlaine, 55 That day thou deemedst him to die."
Through halls and towers the king they ledd, Through towers and castles that were nye, Through an arbor into an orchard, There on a peare-tree hanged him hye. 60
When the governor of Scotland heard How that the worthye king was slaine, He persued the queen so bitterlye, That in Scotland shee dare not remaine.
But shee is fledd into merry England, 65 And here her residence hath taine, And through the Queene of Englands grace, In England now shee doth remaine.
THE RISING IN THE NORTH.
Percy's _Reliques_, i. 285.
The subject of this ballad is the insurrection of the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, in the twelfth year of Queen Elizabeth, 1569.
These two noblemen were the leaders of the Catholic party in the North of England, and interested themselves warmly in various projects to restore Mary Stuart to her liberty. When a marriage was proposed between the Duke of Norfolk and the Scottish Queen, they, with many of the first persons in the kingdom, entered zealously into the scheme, having the ulterior view, according to Hume, of placing Mary on the throne of England. Norfolk endeavored to conceal his plans from Elizabeth, until he should form a combination powerful enough to extort her consent, but the Queen received information betimes, and committed the Duke to the Tower. Several of his abettors were also taken into custody, and the two Northern Earls were summoned to appear at court, to answer to the charge of an intended rebellion. They had proceeded too far to trust themselves willingly in the hands of their enraged sovereign, and the summons precipitated them into an insurrection for which they were not prepared. They hastily gathered their followers, and published a manifesto, in which they declared that they maintained an unshaken allegiance to the Queen, and sought only to reestablish the religion of their ancestors, and to restore the Duke of Norfolk to liberty and to the Queen's favor.
"Their common banner (on which was displayed the cross, together with the five wounds of Christ,) was borne by an ancient gentleman, Richard Norton, Esq., of Norton-Conyers: who with his sons (among whom, Christopher, Marmaduke, and Thomas, are expressly named by Camden) distinguished himself on this occasion. Having entered Durham, they tore the Bible, &c, and caused mass to be said there: they then marched on to Clifford Moor near Wetherbye, where they mustered their men. Their intention was to have proceeded on to York; but, altering their minds, they fell upon Barnard's castle, which Sir George Bowes held out against them for eleven days."--PERCY.
The insurgents' army amounted to about six thousand men. The Earl of Sussex, supported by Lord Hunsdon and others, marched against them with seven thousand, and the Earl of Warwick with still greater forces. Before these superior numbers the rebels dispersed without striking a blow. Northumberland fled to the Scots, by whom, as we shall see in the next ballad, he was betrayed to Elizabeth. The Earl of Westmoreland escaped to Flanders, and died there in penury.
Another outbreak following close upon the above was suppressed by Lord Hunsdon. Great cruelties were exercised by the victorious party, no less than eight hundred having, it is said, suffered by the hands of the executioner.
The ballad was printed by Percy from two MS. copies, one of them in the editor's folio collection. "They contained considerable variations, out of which such readings were chosen as seemed most poetical and consonant to history."
"The Fate of the Nortons," we need hardly say, forms the subject of Wordsworth's _White Doe of Rylstone_.
Listen, lively lordlings all, Lithe and listen unto mee, And I will sing of a noble earle, The noblest earle in the north countre.
Earle Percy is into his garden gone, 5 And after him walkes his faire lade: "I heard a bird sing in mine eare, That I must either fight or flee."
"Now heaven forefend, my dearest lord, That ever such harm should hap to thee; 10 But goe to London to the court, And faire fall truth and honeste."
"Now nay, now nay, my ladye gay, Alas! thy counsell suits not mee; Mine enemies prevail so fast, 15 That at the court I may not bee."
"O goe to the court yet, good my lord, And take thy gallant men with thee; If any dare to doe you wrong, Then your warrant they may bee." 20
"Now nay, now nay, thou lady faire, The court is full of subtiltie; And if I goe to the court, lady, Never more I may thee see."
"Yet goe to the court, my lord," she sayes, 25 "And I myselfe will ride wi' thee: At court then for my dearest lord, His faithfull borrowe I will bee."
Now nay, now nay, my lady deare; Far lever had I lose my life, 30 Than leave among my cruell foes My love in jeopardy and strife.
"But come thou hither, my little foot-page, Come thou hither unto mee; To maister Norton thou must goe 35 In all the haste that ever may bee.
"Commend me to that gentleman, And beare this letter here fro mee; And say that earnestly I praye, He will ryde in my companie." 40