Whereat his wife sore greeved, Desir'd to be releeved; 50 "Make much of me, dear husband," she did say: "I'll make much more of thee," quoth he, "Than any one shall, verily: I'll sell thy clothes, and so will go away."
Cruelly thus hearted, 55 Away from her he parted, And travelled into Italy with speed: There he flourisht many a day In his silkes and rich array, And did the pleasures of a lady feed. 60
It was the ladies pleasure To give him gold and treasure, And to maintaine him in great pomp and fame; At last came newes assuredly Of a battaile fought in Barbary, 65 And he would valiantly go see the same.
Many a noble gallant Sold both land and talent To follow Stukely in this famous fight; Whereas three kings in person would 70 Adventurously, with courage bould, Within the battaile shew themselves in sight.[L72]
Stukely and his followers all, Of the king of Portugall Had entertainement like to gentlemen: 75 The king affected Stukely so, That he his secrets all did know, And bore his royall standard now and then.
Upon this day of honour Each king did shew his banner; 80 Morocco, and the King of Barbery, Portugall, with all his train, Bravely glister'd in the plain, And gave the onset there most valiantly.
The cannons they resounded, 85 Thund'ring drums rebounded, "Kill, kill!" as then was all the soldiers cry; Mangled men lay on the ground, And with blood the earth was dround, The sun was likewise darken'd in the skye. 90
Heaven was sore displeased, And would not be appeased, But tokens of God's heavy wrath did show That he was angry at this war; He sent a fearfull blazing star, 95 Whereby these kings might their misfortunes know.
Bloody was this slaughter, Or rather wilfull murther, Where six score thousand fighting men were slain; Three kings within this battaile died, 100 With forty dukes and earles beside, The like will never more be fought again.
With woful armes enfoulding, Stukely stood beholding This bloody sacrifice of soules that day: 105 He, sighing, said, "I, wofull wight, Against my conscience heere did fight, And brought my followers all unto decay."
Being thus molested, And with greefes oppressed, 110 Those brave Italians that did sell their lands, With Stukely thus to travel forth, And venture life for little worth, Upon him all did lay their murthering hands.
Unto death thus wounded, 115 His heart with sorrow swounded, And to them all he made this heavy mone: "Thus have I left my country deere, To be so vilely murthered heere, Even in this place whereas I am not known. 120
"My life I have much wronged; Of what to her belonged I vainely spent in idle course of life.
What I have done is past, I see, And bringeth nought but greef to me, 125 Therefore grant now thy pardon, gentle wife!
"Life, I see, consumeth, And death, I feel, presumeth To change this life of mine into a new: Yet this me greatest comfort brings, 130 I liv'd and died in love of kings, And so brave Stukely bids the world adew."
Stukelys life thus ended, Was after death befrended, And like a soldier buried gallantly; 135 Where now there stands upon his grave A stately temple, builded brave, With golden turrets piercing in the skye.
38, 40 where.
No plausible foundation for this ballad has as yet been found in history. It has been suggested that Delaware is a corruption of De la Mare, a speaker of the House of Commons, and a great advocate of popular rights, in the reign of Edward the Third! But there is no accounting for the Dutch lord and the Welsh Duke of Devonshire on this or any other supposition.
The ballad is given from Lyle's _Ancient Ballads and Songs_, p. 135, as "noted down from the singing of a gentleman," and then "remodelled and smoothed down" by the editor. The same copy is printed in Dixon's _Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songs_ (Percy Society, vol. xvii.), p. 80, and in Bell's volume with the same title, p. 66.
In the Parliament House, A great rout has been there, Betwixt our good king And the Lord Delaware: Says Lord Delaware 5 To his Majesty full soon, "Will it please you, my Liege, To grant me a boon?"
"What's your boon?" says the King, "Now let me understand." 10 "It's, give me all the poor men We've starving in this land; And without delay, I'll hie me To Lincolnshire, To sow hemp-seed and flax-seed, 15 And hang them all there.
"For with hempen cord it's better To stop each poor man's breath, Than with famine you should see Your subjects starve to death." 20 Up starts a Dutch lord, Who to Delaware did say, "Thou deservest to be stabb'd!"
Then he turned himself away:
"Thou deservest to be stabb'd, 25 And the dogs have thine ears, For insulting our king In this parliament of peers."
Up sprang a Welsh lord, The brave Duke of Devonshire, 30 "In young Delaware's defence, I'll fight This Dutch lord, my Sire.
"For he is in the right, And I'll make it so appear: Him I dare to single combat, 35 For insulting Delaware."
A stage was soon erected, And to combat they went, For to kill, or to be kill'd, It was either's full intent. 40
But the very first flourish, When the heralds gave command, The sword of brave Devonshire Bent backward on his hand; In suspense he paused awhile, 45 Scann'd his foe before he strake, Then against the king's armour, His bent sword he brake.
Then he sprang from the stage, To a soldier in the ring, 50 Saying, "Lend your sword, that to an end This tragedy we bring: Though he's fighting me in armour, While I am fighting bare, Even more than this I'd venture 55 For young Lord Delaware."
Leaping back on the stage, Sword to buckler now resounds, Till he left the Dutch lord A bleeding in his wounds: 60 This seeing, cries the King To his guards without delay, "Call Devonshire down,-- Take the dead man away!"
"No," says brave Devonshire, 65 "I've fought him as a man; Since he's dead, I will keep The trophies I have won.
For he fought me in your armour, While I fought him bare, 70 And the same you must win back, my Liege, If ever you them wear."
God bless the Church of England, May it prosper on each hand, And also every poor man 75 Now starving in this land; And while I pray success may crown Our king upon his throne, I'll wish that every poor man May long enjoy his own. 80
THE BATTLE OF HARLAW. (See p. 180.)
Traditionary Version, from Aytoun's _Scottish Ballads_, i. 75.
"I am indebted to the kindness of Lady John Scott for the following extremely spirited ballad, which was taken down some years ago in Aberdeenshire, where it is still very popular. It is sung to a beautiful air, with the following refrain to each stanza:--
"_Wi' a drie, drie, dredidronilie drie._"
As I cam in by Garioch land, And doun by Netherha', There was fifty thousand Hielandmen, A' marching to Harlaw.
As I cam on, and further on, 5 And doun and by Balquhaim, O there I met Sir James the Ross, Wi' him Sir John the Graeme.
"O cam ye frae the Highlands, man?
O cam ye a' the way? 10 Saw ye Mac Donnell and his men, As they cam frae the Skye?"
"Yes, we cam frae the Highlands, man, And we cam a' the way, And we saw Mac Donnell and his men, 15 As they cam in frae Skye."
"O was ye near Mac Donnell's men?
Did ye their number see?
Come, tell to me, John Hielandman, What might their numbers be?" 20
"Yes, we was near, and near eneugh, And we their number saw; There was fifty thousand Hielandmen, A' marching to Harlaw."
"Gin that be true," said James the Ross, 25 "We'll no come meikle speed; We'll cry upon our merry men, And turn our horses' head."
"O na, O na!" says John the Graeme, "That thing maun never be; 30 The gallant Graemes were never beat, We'll try what we can dee."