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the lambs, his eye unconsciously lighted upon the usual dingy flotilla of keels as it dropped quietly down the river with the ebb tide. While gazing thus scarcely conscious of the object that was passing, a sound, as of the bleating of a lamb smote upon his ear. He gave at first but little heed to a sound which under the circumstances of their losses always rung or seemed to ring in the ears of every owner of a Tyne-side flock. The sound was repeated—he listened, doubted and listened again till he became at length convinced that this was no delusion of fancy—that it really was the bleating of a lamb. But it appeared to proceed from the mid channel of the river. This like every other feature of the mysterious lamb stealing seemed to baffle explanation. There remained no doubt of the sound, the difficulty lay in the direction from whence it proceeded. But this problem was not long unsolved; the key to the mystery at length presented itself. The dingy vessels upon which his eyes so long had gazed recalled the memory of the transaction with which the navigators of those vessels were so generally associated—the affair of the goose pyes.
His suspicions were at once awakened. There was no good reason why the same tastes which led to the appropriation of goose pye at Christmas might not also be anxious to indulge in the luxury of lamb in Spring. At all events our meditative farmer resolved to hazard a search. He took to his aid sufficient force (which the hope of throwing light on the mystery would soon bring round him) and boarded the keels. The event justified his suspicions, for from forth of the huddock of one of them he brought to light a lamb.
Thus was the rich expectation of a festival to conclude the labour of the day spoiled for the keelmen on that occasion, and the owners of the sheep, now knowing the quarter from whence their flocks were plundered kept too strict watch to admit of future indulgences of this kind. No doubt the individuals immediately concerned were punished in due course of law; but the keelmen as a body, the amateurs of roasted lamb in general, were themselves now roasted by the incessant banter of their fellow operatives on shore. They found as it were a second battery opened—a second fire turned upon them: on the one hand the gently whispered enquiry “Hou div ye like Alder's gyusse pye?” and on the other the loud broad question “Hev ye ony lamb iv yor huddock?”
Pestered and pelted with taunts and sarcasms such as these, the keelmen for many a year afterwards had cause to rue the iniquities of their forefathers. Sometimes they were driven amid the jeers and laughter of the idle bystanders to hide their diminished heads in the deep recesses of a huddock. But more frequently the
keelman if he had any number of his brethren at hand to back him was not slow in putting to silence the curiosity of enquirers by a sound threshing, and the impertinence of the dwellers on terrâ firmâ was taught the prudence of avoiding collision with men trained by the hardy management of their long and ponderous oars, and however convenient a place it might once have proved for secreting casual spoil, many a one was taught the lesson by experience of their manly spirit that something less gentle than lamb might occasionally be found within the huddock.—Compiled from communications of various residents of Weetslett.
THE KING AND THE TINKLER.
A Border Ballad.
HOUGH the following ballad is well known by name to the Antiquary, and has for years been an established favourite at the feasts and hoppings in the north, I have not been able to meet with a copy in print. My friend Mr. Rimbault, the Secretary to the Percy Society, informs me, that he has searched in the British Museum, and in other
places, for a printed copy, but without effect, and does not believe that such a thing exists. I have inquired of Pitts, Catnach, Batcheler, and other London ballad printers, and strange to say, they all know the song by name, but none of them ever saw it in print.
Last September, in Wharfdale, I met with Francis King, the Skipton Minstrel, mentioned in Hone's Table Book, and from that votary of the fiddle and the ale jug, I obtained a version of the ballad, which, however, was so glaringly incorrect in some parts, that, as the saying is, I could hardly make head or tail of it. On my road homewards, I called on an antiquarian friend, who had resided some years on the Border, and had often heard the ballad sung. Though he had no MS. or other copy, he remembered so much of the composition, as to be enabled to correct several of old King's variorum readings. My copy is therefore compiled from the above two sources, and I question, (unless a printed copy can be discovered) whether a more correct one will be obtained. I must state however, that my friend says, he thinks James the First of Scotland, and not England, is the
monarch intended. However this may be, the ballad is a Border ballad, and until, by finding an old PRINTED copy, we can settle the side of the border, we have a right to consider it as belonging to the ENGLISH BORDER, and more so as the style and language are English. The air too is English, and Mr. Chappell intends to give it as such, in a forthcoming Number of his admirably edited Old English Songs. Tollington Park, Middlesex,
J. H. DIXON.
The King and the Tinkler.
ET us pass over lordlings, and knights, and the rest,
As he was a hunting the swift fallow deer,
And there with a tinkler he happen'd to meet,
“By the mass," quoth the tinkler, “its nappy brown ale,
“ By my soul ! honest fellow, the truth thou hast spoke”
As they were a drinking, the king pleased to say
“And much do I wish, I so happy might be,
The king, with a hearty good laughter replied,
“ But he'll be surrounded with nobles so gay, And how shall we tell him from them sir, I pray.” “Thou'lt easily ken him by this I declare, The king will be covered, his nobles all bare.”
He got up behind him, and likewise his sack,
The tinkler then seeing so many appear,
The king did with hearty good laughter reply,
The king craved his name, “I am John of the dale, A mender of kettles, a lover of ale”
Sir John, great honour thou'st wear,
Sir John of the dale he has land, he has fee,
NESHAM.—“ DRUNKEN BARNABY."
HE village of Nesham, in the county of Durham, in connection with which we take occasion to introduce a notice of the celebrated Richard Braithwaite, is situated four miles south-east from Darlington, and where the Tees, after sweeping by Hurworth, shoots rapidly southward towards Sockburn. Richard Braithwaite was the
second son of Thomas Braithwaite, of Warcop, near Appleby, in Westmoreland. In the year 1604, he was matriculated at Oxford as a gentleman's son, and a native of Northumberland, and at the age of sixteen, became a commoner of Oriel college. “While he continued in that house” says Wood, “which was at least three years, he avoided as much as he could the rough paths of logic and philosophy, and traced those smooth ones of poetry and Roman history, in which at length he did excel." He afterwards removed to Cambridge, and on returning to the north he became “a captain of a foot company in the trained bands, a deputy lieutenant in the county of Westmoreland, a justice of peace, and a noted wit and poet.” His publications, both in prose and verse were numerous ; the titles are enumerated by Anthony à Wood. Braithwaite, however, is now proved, on incontrovertible evidence, to be author of “Drunken Barnaby ;” and that very original and unique production will alone rescue his memory from oblivion. It is a facetious poem, which in doggerel Latin and English rhymes, placed in opposite columns, contains the itinerary of an inveterate tippler through the north of England. His arrival at our little sphere is thus recorded :-
“ Thence to Nesham, now translated,
Graced by a lovely lady." This lovely lady was Miss Frances Lawson, a descendent of James Lawson, to whom Henry VIII. in the year 1540 had made a grant of the possessions of Nesham nunnery; she ultimately became his wife, though it is to be hoped that the account of his nuptial evening is only spoken in character.