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Wyllyam wente into a fyeld,

And with him’ his two brethren:
There they set up two hasell roddes

Full twenty score betwene.

205

I hold him an archar, said Cloudeslè,

That yonder wande cleveth in two.
Here is none suche, sayd the kyng,

Nor none that can so do.

210

I shall assaye, syr, sayd Cloudeslè,

Or that I farther go.
Cloudesly with a bearyng arowe

Clave the wand in two.

Thou art the best archer, then said the king,

For sothe that ever I se.
And yet for your love, sayd Wyllyam,

I wyll do more maystery.

215

I have a sonne is seven yere olde,

He is to me full deare;
I wyll hym tye to a stake;

All shall se, that be here;

220

And lay an apple upon hys head,

And go syxe score hym fro,

V. 202, 203, 212, to, PC, V. 204, twenty score paces. PC. i. e. 400 yards.

V. 208, sic MS., none that can. Pc. V. 222, six-score paces. Pc., i. e. 120 yards.

And I my selfe with a brode arów

Shall cleve the apple in two.

225

Now haste the, then sayd the kyng,

By hym that dyed on a tre,
But yf thou do not, as thou hest sayde,

Hanged shalt thou be.

230

And thou touche his head or gowne,

In syght that men may se,
By all the sayntes that be in heaven,

I shall hange you all thre.

That I have promised, said William,

That I wyll never forsake.
And there even before the kynge

In the earth he drove a stake:

235

And bound therto his eldest sonne,

And bad hym stand styll thereat; And turned the childes face him fro,

Because he should not start.

240

An apple upon his head he set,

And then his bowe he bent : Syxe score paces they were meaten,

And thether Cloudeslè went,

V. 243, sic MS., out met, PC.

245

There he drew out a fayr brode arrowe,

Hys bowe was great and longe,
He set that arrowe in his bowe,

That was both styffe and stronge.

250

He prayed the people, that wer there,

That they all still wold' stand,
For he that shoteth for such a wager,

Behoveth a stedfast hand.

Muche people prayed for Cloudeslè,

That his lyfe saved myght be,
And whan he made hym redy to shote,

There was many,weeping ee.

255

· But’ Cloudeslè cleft the apple in two,

His sonne he did not nee.'
Over Gods forbode, sayde the kinge,

That thou shold shote at me.

260

I geve thee eightene pence a day,
And
my

bowe shalt thou bere,
And over all the north countrè

I make the chyfe rydère.

And I thyrtene pence a day, said the quene, 265

By God, and by my fay;

V. 265, and I geve the xvii

V. 252, steedye. MS. pence. PC.

Come feche thy payment when thou wylt,
No man shall

say
the

nay.

Wyllyam, I make the a gentleman
Of clothyng, and of fe :

270 And thy two brethren, yemen of my chambre,

For they are so semely to se.

Your sonne, for he is tendre of age,

Of my wyne-seller he shall be;
And when he commeth to mans estate,

Better avaunced shall he be.

275

And, Wyllyam, bring to me your wife, said the Me longeth her sore to se:

[quene, She shall be my chefe gentlewoman, To governe my nurserye.

280

The yemen thanketh them curteously.

To some byshop wyl we wend,
Of all the synnes, that we have done,

To be assoyld at his hand.

So forth be gone these good yemen,

285 As fast as they might ‘he;'* And after came and dwelled with the kynge,

And dyed good men all thre.

V. 282, And sayd to some Bishopp wee will wend. MS.

* he, i. e. hie, hasten. See the Glossary.,

Thus endeth the lives of these good yemen;

God send them eternall blysse.
And all, that with a hand-bowe shoteth,
That of heven they never mysse.

Amen.

II.

The Aged Lover renounceth Lobe. The Grave-digger's song in Hamlet, act v. is taken from three stanzas of the following poem, though greatly altered and disguised, as the same were corrupted by the balladsingers of Shakspeare's time; or perhaps so designed by the poet himself, the better to paint the character of an illiterate clown. The original is preserved among Surrey's Poems, and is attributed to Lord Vaux, by George Gascoigne, who tells us, it “ was thought by some to be made upon his death-bed;" a popular error which he laughs at. (See his Epist. to Yong Gent. prefixed to his Posies, 1575, 4to.) It is also ascribed to Lord Vaux in a manuscript copy preserved in the British Museum.* This lord was remarkable for his skill in drawing feigned manners, &c. for so I understand an ancient writer. " The Lord Vaux his commendation lyeth chiefly in the facilitie of his meetre, and the aptnesse of his descriptions such as he taketh upon him to make, namely in sundry of his Songs, wherein he showeth the counterfait action very lively and pleasantly." Arte of Eng. Poesie, 1589, p. 51. See another song by this poet in vol. ii. no. viii.

* Harl. MSS. num. 1703, $ 25. The readings gathered from that copy are distinguished here by inverted commas.

The text is printed from the “Songs, &c. of the Earl of Surrey and others, 1557, 4to."

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