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! Or wilt thou be

my

chamberlain, * To make my bed both soft and fine ? « Or wilt thou be one of my guard ? * And I will give thee thy reward.'

Sweet William, with a smiling face, Said to the king, “If't please your grace, “To show such favour unto me, "Your chamberlain I fain would be.'

The king then did the nobles call,
To ask the counsel of them all ;
Who gave consent Sweet William he,
The king's own chamberlain should be.

Now mark what strange thing came to pass,
As the king one day a hunting was,
With all his lords and noble train,
Sweet William did at home remain.

Sweet William had no company then
With him at home but an old man;
And when he saw the house was clear,
He took a lute which he had there :

Upon the lute Sweet William play'd,
And to the same he sung and said,
With a sweet and noble voice,
Which made the old man to rejoice :

My father was as brave a lord

As ever Europe did afford, ‘My mother was a lady bright, My husband was a valiant knight :

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And I myself, a lady gay, * Bedeck'd with gorgeous rich array i * The bravest lady in the land * Had not more pleasure at command.

* I had my music every day,
• Harmonious lessons for to play;

I had my virgins fair and free, • Continually to wait on me,

* But now, alas ! my husband's dead, And all

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friends are from me fled ; My former joys are past and gone, For I am now a serving-man.'

At last the king from hunting came,
And presently upon the same,
He called for this good old man,
And thus to speak the king began :

" What news, what news, old man ? (quoth he ;) ( What news hast thou to tell to me?"

Brave news, the old man he did say, "Sweet William is a lady gay.'

" If this be true thou tell'st to me
« I'll make thee a lord of high degree ;
" But if thy words do prove a lie,
« Thou shall be hang'd up presently.'

But when the king the truth had found,
His joys did more and more abound :
According as the old man did say,
Sweet William was a lady gay.

Therefore the king, without delay,
Put on her glorious rich array ;
And
upon

her head a crown of gold,
Which was most famous to behold.

And then, for fear of further strife,
He took Sweet William for his wife :
The like before was never seen,
A serving-man to be a queen.

BALLAD XIII.

THE CHILDREN IN THE WOOD:

OR,

THE NORFOLK GENTLEMAN'S LAST WILL AND

TESTAMENT.

Now ponder well, you parents dear,

The words which I shall write ;
A doleful story you shall hear,

In time brought forth to light :
Å gentleman of good account

in Norfolk liv’d of late,
Whose wealth and riches did surmount

Most men of his estate.

Sore sick he was, and like to die,

No help that he could have ;
His wife by him as sick did lie,

And both possessid one grave.

No love between these two was lost,

Each was to other kind;
In love they liv’d, in love they died,

And left two babes behind :

The one a fine and pretty boy,

Not passing three years old ; The other a girl, more young than he,

And made in beauty's mould.
The father left his little son,

As plainly doth appear,
When he to perfect age should come,

Three hundred pounds a year ;

And to his little daughter Jane

Five hundred pounds in gold,
To be paid down on marriage-day,

Which might not be contrould :
But if the children chance to die

Ere they to age should come, Their uncle should possess their wealth ;

For so the will did run.

Now, brother, (said the dying man)
'Look to my children dear ;
Be good unto my boy and girl,

No friends else I have here : • To God and you I do commend

My children night and day; • But little while, be sure, we have

Within this world to stay.

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- You must be father and mother both,

" And uncle, all in one ;
God knows what will become of them,

" When I am dead and gone.'
With that bespake their mother dear,

• O brother kind, (quoth she) " You are the man must bring our babes

" To wealth or misery.

• And if you keep them carefully,

· Then God will you reward ; • If otherwise you seem to deal,

• God will your deeds regard.' With lips as cold as any stone,

She kiss'd her children small :
God bless you both, my children dear!
With that the tears did fall.

These speeches then their brother spoke

To this sick couple there : • The keeping of your children dear,

• Sweet sister, do not fear ; • God never prosper me nor mine,

' Nor aught else that I have, 'If I do wrong your children dear,

• When you are said in the grave !"

Their parents being dead and gone,

The children home he takes, And brings them home unto his house,

And much of them he makes.

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