And then we marched to Paris gates, With drums and trumpets so merrilie; O then bespoke the king of France, "Lord have mercy on my poor men and me! 60
"Go! tell him I'll send home his tribute due, Ten ton of gold that is due from me; And the fairest flower that is in our French land To the Rose of England it shall go free."
The story and character of Jane Shore can best be read in a charmingly written passage of Sir Thomas More's _History of Edward Fifth_, quoted in Percy's _Reliques_, ii. 268. The ballad adheres to matter of fact with a fidelity very uncommon. In Drayton's _England's Heroical Epistles_ is one from Jane Shore to King Edward, and in the notes he thus gives her portrait: "Her stature was meane, her haire of a dark yellow, her face round and full, her eye gray, delicate harmony being betwixt each part's proportion, and each proportion's colour, her body fat, white, and smooth, her countenance cheerfull and like to her condition." (Cited by Percy.)
This ballad is taken from the Collection of 1723, vol. i. p. 145. The full title is: _The Woeful Lamentation of Jane Shore, a Goldsmith's Wife in London, sometime King Edward the Fourth's Concubine_. The same version, with trifling variations, is found in Percy's _Reliques_, ii.
274, and Ritson's _Ancient Songs_, ii. 128. In the _Garland of Good Will_ there is another piece on the same subject, (Percy Society, vol.
xxx. p. 9, _The Lamentation of Shore's Wife_,) and in the Collection of 1723, a burlesque song, called _King Edward and Jane Shore_ (vol.
i. p. 153).
If Rosamond, that was so fair, Had cause her sorrow to declare, Then let Jane Shore with sorrow sing, That was beloved of a king.
Then, wanton wives, in time amend, For love and beauty will have end.
In maiden years my beauty bright 5 Was loved dear by lord and knight; But yet the love that they requir'd, It was not as my friends desir'd.
My parents they, for thirst of gain, A husband for me did obtain; 10 And I, their pleasure to fulfil, Was forc'd to wed against my will.
To Matthew Shore I was a wife, Till lust brought ruin to my life; And then my life I lewdly spent, 15 Which makes my soul for to lament.
In Lombard-street I once did dwell, As London yet can witness well; Where many gallants did behold My beauty in a shop of gold. 20
I spread my plumes, as wantons do, Some sweet and secret friende to wooe, Because my love I did not find Agreeing to my wanton mind.
At last my name in court did ring 25 Into the ears of England's king, Who came and lik'd, and love requir'd, But I made coy what he desir'd.
Yet Mistress Blague, a neighbour near, Whose friendship I esteemed dear, 30 Did say, "It is a gallant thing To be beloved of a king."
By her perswasions I was led For to defile my marriage-bed, And wronge my wedded husband Shore, 35 Whom I had lov'd ten years before.
In heart and mind I did rejoyce, That I had made so sweet a choice; And therefore did my state resign, To be King Edward's concubine. 40
From city then to court I went, To reap the pleasures of content; There had the joys that love could bring, And knew the secrets of a king.
When I was thus advanc'd on high, 45 Commanding Edward with mine eye, For Mistress Blague I in short space Obtain'd a living from his Grace.
No friend I had, but in short time I made unto promotion climb; 50 But yet for all this costly pride, My husbande could not me abide.
His bed, tho' wronged by a king, His heart with deadly grief did sting; From England then he goes away 55 To end his life beyond the sea.[L56]
He could not live to see his name Impaired by my wanton shame; Altho' a prince of peerless might Did reap the pleasure of his right. 60
Long time I lived in the court, With lords and ladies of great sort; And when I smil'd, all men were glad, But when I mourn'd, my prince grew sad.
But yet an honest mind I bore 65 To helpless people, that were poor; I still redress'd the orphan's cry, And sav'd their lives condemn'd to dye.
I still had ruth on widows tears, I succour'd babes of tender years; 70 And never look'd for other gain But love and thanks, for all my pain.
At last my royal king did dye, And then my days of woe grew nigh; When crook-back'd Richard got the crown, 75 King Edward's friends were soon put down.
I then was punish'd for my sin, That I so long had lived in; Yea, every one that was his friend, This tyrant brought to shameful end. 80
Then for my lewd and wanton life,[L81]
That made a strumpet of a wife, I penance did in Lombard-street, In shameful manner in a sheet:
Where many thousands did me view, 85 Who late in court my credit knew; Which made the tears run down my face, To think upon my foul disgrace.
Not thus content, they took from mee My goods, my livings, and my fee, 90 And charg'd that none should me relieve, Nor any succour to me give.
Then unto Mistress Blague I went, To whom my jewels I had sent, In hope thereby to ease my want, 95 When riches fail'd, and love grew scant.
But she deny'd to me the same, When in my need for them I came; To recompence my former love, Out of her doors she did me shove. 100
So love did vanish with my state, Which now my soul repents too late; Therefore example take by me, For friendship parts in poverty.
But yet one friend among the rest, 105 Whom I before had seen distress'd, And sav'd his life, condemn'd to dye, Did give me food to succour me:
For which, by law it was decreed That he was hanged for that deed; 110 His death did grieve me so much more, Than had I dy'd myself therefore.
Then those to whom I had done good Durst not afford mee any food;[L114]
Whereby in vain I begg'd all day, 115 And still in streets by night I lay.
My gowns beset with pearl and gold, Were turn'd to simple garments old; My chains and jems and golden rings, To filthy rags and loathsome things. 120
Thus was I scorn'd of maid and wife, For leading such a wicked life; Both sucking babes and children small, Did make a pastime at my fall.
I could not get one bit of bread, 125 Whereby my hunger might be fed: Nor drink, but such as channels yield, Or stinking ditches in the field.
Thus, weary of my life, at length I yielded up my vital strength, 130 Within a ditch of loathsome scent, Where carrion dogs do much frequent:
The which now since my dying day, Is Shoreditch call'd, as writers say;[L134]
Which is a witness of my sin, 135 For being concubine to a king.
You wanton wives, that fall to lust, Be you assur'd that God is just; Whoredom shall not escape his hand, Nor pride unpunish'd in this land. 140
If God to me such shame did bring, That yielded only to a king, How shall they scape that daily run To practise sin with every man?
You husbands, match not but for love, 145 Lest some disliking after prove; Women, be warn'd when you are wives, What plagues are due to sinful lives: Then, maids and wives, in time amend, For love and beauty will have end.