Page images
PDF
EPUB

From thence, by manly valour,

Their hearts he tore in sunder, And at the king he threw them,

To all the people's wonder. « This have I done, (quoth he,)

· For lovely England's sake; * And for my country's maiden-queen

• Much more will undertake.'

But when the king perceived

His wrathful lions' hearts, Afflicted with great terror,

His rigour soon reverts ; And turned all his hate

* Into remorse and love, And said, “It is some angel,

Sent down from heaven above.!

« No, no, I am no angel,

(The courteous young man said,) ! But born in famous England,

" Where God's word is obey'd ; • Assisted by the heavens,

• Who did me thus befriend; " Or else they had, most cruelly,

Brought here my life to end.'

[ocr errors]

The king, in heart amazed,

Lift up his eyes to heaven,
And for his foul offences
Did crave to be forgiven ;

Believing that no land

Like England may be seen, No people better governed

By virtue of a Queen.

So, taking up this young man,

He pardon'd him his life; And gave his daughter to him,

To be his wedded wife :
Where then they did reinain,

And live in quiet peace,
In spending of their happy days

In joy and love's increase.

BALLAD XXI.

THE DRAGON OF WANTLEY.

Old stories tell, how Hercules

A dragon slew at Lerna,
With seven heads, and fourteen eyes,

To see and well discern-a :
But he had a club, this dragon to drub,

Or he had ne'er done it, I warrant ye : But More of More-Hall, with nothing at all,

He slew the dragon of Wantley.

This dragon had two furious wings,

Each one upon each shoulder ;
With a sting in his tail, as long as a flail,

Which made him bolder and bolder.

[ocr errors]

He had long claws, and in his jaws

Four and forty teeth of iron ;
With a hide as tough as any buff,

Which did him round environ.

Have you not heard that the Trojan horse

Held seventy men in his belly?
This dragon was not quite so big,

But very near, I'll tell ye.
Devoured he poor children three,

That could not with him grapple ;
And, at one sup, he eat them up,

As one would eat an apple.

LET

All sorts of cattle this dragon did eat ;

Some say he'd eat up trees,
And that the forests sure he would

Devour up by degrees :
For houses and churches were to him geese and turkeys,

He ate all, and left none behind,
But some stones, dear Jack, which he could not crack,

Which on the hills you will find.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

In Yorkshire, near fair Rotheram,

The place I know it well;
Some two or three miles, or thereabouts,

I vow I cannot tell ;
But there is a hedge, just on the hill edge,

And Mathews' house hard by it ;
() there and then was this dragon's den,

You could not choose but spy it,

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Some say, this dragon was a witch,

Some say, he was a devil ;
For from his nose a smoke arose,

And with it burning snivel,
Which he cast off, when he did cough,

In a well that he did stand by ;
Which made it look just like a brook

Running with burning brandy.

Hard by a furious knight there dwelt,

Of whom all towns did ring; For he could wrestle, play at quarter-staff, kick, cuff,

box, buff,
Call son of a whore, do any kind of thing :
By the tail and the main, with his hands twain,

He swung a horse till he was dead;
And that which is stranger, he, for very anger,

Eat him all up but his head.

These children, as I told, being eat,

Men, women, girls, and boys,
Sighing and sobbing came to his lodging,

And made a hideous noise :
O save us all, More of More-Hall!

Thou peerless knight of these woods; • Do but slay this dragon, who won't leave us a rag on,

• We'll give thee all our goods.'

* Tut, tut, (quoth he,) no goods I want;

• But I want, I want, in sooth, A fair maid of sixteen, that's brisk,

" With smiles about the mouth ;

[ocr errors]

" Hair black as a sloe, both above and below,

• With a blush her cheeks adorning ;
To 'noint me o'er night, ere I go to fight,

And to dress me in the morning.'

This being done, he did engage

To hew this dragon down;
But first he went new armour to

Bespeak at Sheffield-town;
With spikes all about, not within but without,

Of steel so sharp and strong ;
Both behind and before, arms, legs, all o'er;

Some five or six inches long.

H

Had you but seen him in this dress,

How fierce he look'd and big;
You would have thought him for to be

An Egyptian porcupig:
He frighted all, cats, dogs, and all ;

Each cow, each horse, and each hog,
For fear did flee, for they took him to be

Some strange outlandish hedge-hog.

[ocr errors][merged small]

To see this fight all people there

Got up on trees and houses,
On churches some and chimneys too";

But they put on their trowses,
Not to spoil their hose. As soon as he rose,

To make him strong and mighty,
He drank, by the tale, six pots of alo,

And a quart of aqua-vitæ.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »