"The following ballad may possibly be as ancient as any thing we have on the subject. It is given from _The most pleasant and delectible history of John Winchcomb, otherwise called Jack of Newberry_, written by Thomas Deloney, who thus speaks of it: 'In disgrace of the Scots, and in remembrance of the famous atchieved victory, the commons of England made this song, which to this day is not forgotten of many.'"
This ballad is very evidently not the work of Deloney, but derived by him from tradition.
There is a piece called _Flodden Field_ in Herd's _Scottish Songs_, i.
86. It is made up of certain ridiculous anonymous verses, and of the stanzas written by Miss Jane Elliot and by Mrs. Cockburn to the old air _The Flowers of the Forest_,--"I've heard them lilting," and "I've seen the smiling." The first and last lines of the first stanza of Miss Elliot's verses are from an ancient and now forgotten song.
"I've heard them lilting at the ewes milking .........
The flowers of the forest are a' wede away."
A lady repeated to Sir Walter Scott another fragment of the original ballad.
"I ride single on my saddle, For the flowers of the forest are a' wede away."
_Minstrelsy_, iii. 333.
King Jamie hath made a vow, Keep it well if he may!
That he will be at lovely London Upon Saint James his day.
"Upon Saint James his day at noon, 5 At fair London will I be, And all the lords in merry Scotland, They shall dine there with me."
Then bespake good Queen Margaret, The tears fell from her eye: 10 "Leave off these wars, most noble king, Keep your fidelity.
"The water runs swift and wondrous deep From bottom unto the brim; My brother Henry hath men good enough, 15 England is hard to win."
"Away," quoth he, "with this silly fool!
In prison fast let her lye: For she is come of the English blood, And for these words she shall die." 20
With that bespake Lord Thomas Howard, The Queens chamberlain that day; "If that you put Queen Margaret to death, Scotland shall rue it alway."
Then in a rage King Jamie did say, 25 "Away with this foolish mome!
He shall be hang'd, and the other burn'd, So soon as I come home."
At Flodden-field the Scots came in, Which made our Englishmen fain; 30 At Bramstone-green this battel was seen, There was King Jamie slain.
Then presently the Scots did fly, Their cannons they left behind; Their ensigns gay were won all away, 35 Our souldiers did beat them blind.
To tell you plain, twelve thousand were slain That to the fight did stand, And many a prisoner took that day, The best in all Scotland. 40
That day made many a fatherless child,[L41]
And many a widow poor, And many a Scottish gay lady Sate weeping in her bower.[L44]
Jack with a fether was lapt all in lether, 45 His boastings were all in vain; He had such a chance with [a] new morrice-dance, He never went home again.
41-44. This stanza is the sixth in Deloney's copy, and is there clearly misplaced.
Jane Seymour, queen of Henry VIII., died shortly after giving birth to Prince Edward (Oct. 1537). There was a report that the Caesarian operation had been necessary to effect the delivery, and on this story the present ballad is founded.
There is a woful ditty on this subject in _The Crown Garland of Golden Roses_, Percy Society, vol. vi. p. 29 (or _Collection of Old Ballads_, ii. 115). The following piece is popular throughout Scotland. It is taken from Kinloch's _Ancient Scottish Ballads_, p. 116. A fragment had been previously published in Jamieson's _Popular Ballads_, i. 182.
We have added another, but imperfect, version from a recent publication.
Queen Jeanie, Queen Jeanie, travel'd six weeks and more, Till women and midwives had quite gi'en her o'er; "O if ye were women as women should be, Ye would send for a doctor, a doctor to me!"
The doctor was called for and set by her bedside, 5 "What aileth thee, my ladie, thine eyes seem so red?"
"O doctor, O doctor, will ye do this for me, To rip up my two sides, and save my babie?"
"Queen Jeanie, Queen Jeanie, that's the thing I'll ne'er do, To rip up your two sides to save your babie:" 10 Queen Jeanie, Queen Jeanie, travel'd six weeks and more, Till midwives and doctors had quite gi'en her o'er.
"O if ye were doctors as doctors should be, Ye would send for King Henry, King Henry to me:"
King Henry was called for, and sat by her bedside, 15 "What aileth thee, Jeanie, what aileth my bride?"
"King Henry, King Henry, will ye do this for me, To rip up my two sides, and save my babie?"
"Queen Jeanie, Queen Jeanie, that's what I'll never do, To rip up your two sides to save your babie." 20
But with sighing and sobbing she's fallen in a swoon, Her side it was ript up, and her babie was found; At this bonie babie's christ'ning there was meikle joy and mirth, But bonnie Queen Jeanie lies cold in the earth.
Six and six coaches, and six and six more, 25 And royal King Henry went mourning before; O two and two gentlemen carried her away, But royal King Henry went weeping away.
O black were their stockings, and black were their bands, And black were the weapons they held in their hands; 30 O black were their mufflers, and black were their shoes, And black were the cheverons they drew on their luves.
They mourned in the kitchen, and they mourn'd in the ha', But royal King Henry mourn'd langest of a'.
Farewell to fair England, farewell for evermore, 35 For the fair flower of England will never shine more!
THE DEATH OF QUEEN JANE.
From _Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of England_, edited by Robert Bell, p. 113. Taken down from the singing of a young gipsy girl.
Queen Jane was in travail for six weeks or more, Till the women grew tired and fain would give o'er, "O women, O women, good wives if ye be, Go send for King Henrie, and bring him to me!"
King Henrie was sent for, he came with all speed, 5 In a gownd of green velvet from heel to the head; "King Henrie, King Henrie, if kind Henrie you be, Send for a surgeon, and bring him to me!"
The surgeon was sent for, he came with all speed, In a gownd of black velvet from heel to the head; 10 He gave her rich caudle, but the death-sleep slept she, Then her right side was opened, and the babe was set free.
The babe it was christened, and put out and nursed, While the royal Queen Jane she lay cold in the dust.