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A March wisher, is never a good fisher.
When the sloe tree is white as a sheet,
ORTH Sunderland, so called to distinguish it from Sunderland near the sea, is situate three miles south by east from Bambrough
It is a port chiefly frequented by fishing n
vessels, and small schooners, which convey corn from the depôts in the neighbourhood to London. Yet though this be the case, the pier is built at a great expence, with
freestone, and the harbeur, which is capacious enough to receive vessels of considerable burden, is securely guarded against the attacks of the ocean. Those who paid for the erecting of the pier may not be amply remunerated, but the work must excite the praise of the beholder, and be looked upon with gratitude by every seaman upon this exposed coast, who can here, in time of danger, find a secure refuge. The pier was built about forty years ago, by an architect of the name of Crawmond; and with a species of grateful remembrance too seldom met with, the inhabitants still distinguish one of the buildings connected with it by his name. Crawmond was possessed of great masculine power, and once having to cross a field in which a furious bull was kept, he armed himself with a pick belonging to one of the workmen. The animal saw, and ran outrageously at him: he waited his approach, and meeting its eye with a glance of his own, overawed it. So soon as he observed his mastery, he raised his weapon, struck the brute between the horns, and brought it to the ground, from whence it soon rose, and scampered off without offering him any further molestation.—Border Tour.
The King and a poor Northern Man:
ATTRIBUTED TO MARTIN PARKER.
OR our copy of this very
humorous production we are indebted to the edition printed for the Percy Society, in 1811, The editor of which, makes the following remarks.
“Although somewhat modernized in the following copy, there is little doubt that the humorous story of “The King and the
poor Northern Man" is much older than 1640. It reads in particular places like a narrative of considerable antiquity; but when it was “printed by Tho. Cotes,” whose name appears at the bottom of the title-page of the black-letter edition which we have employed, it was intended that the reader should suppose the tale a new one, and that it was the authorship of Martin Parker, the celebrated and popular ballad-maker: his well known initials are placed quite at the end, after the word “Finis," but possibly he was not concerned in the imposition, which might be concocted by Francis Grove, the bookseller. No older edition is extant than that we have reprinted, and as far as yet appears it is the only remaining copy of it. We find it mentioned in no bibliographical work, nor have we been able to trace it in any catalogue.
“Besides the internal evidence, there is external proof of the antiquity of the story, and even of the title of the piece. In Henslowe's Diary, under the date of 1601, we meet with two entries, the first of which runs thus :
“Lent at the apoyntment of the company, and my sonne, unto Hary Chettell, in earnest of a playe called To good to be trewe or Northern Man, the some of 58: the 14 of novmbr. 1601."
" The second is as follows:
“Pd. at the apoyntment of Robart Shawe, and Thomas Towne, unto Mr. Hathwaye and Mr. Smythe, in part of payment of a boocke called To goode to be trewe, the 6 of Janewary 1601, the some of 18."
“Hence we see that as early as 1601 a play had been written by Henry Chettle, Richard Hathewaye and Wentworth Smith, called “Too good to be true, or the Northern Man,” though the second
title is omitted in Henslowe's latest entry. This play was, no doubt, founded upon the popularity of the subsequent story; the incidents of which are highly laughable, and would have afforded much scope to the rustic comicalities of such actors as Pope, Singer, or Kempe.
“That the story was known of old by the name of “Too good to be true" we are not without proof. The same incidents are employed in a broadside in verse under the title of “The King and Northern Man,” printed “ by W.O., and to be sold by the Booksellers in Pye Corner and London Bridge,” a copy of which is in the British Museum. The wording of the body of the ballad does not differ very materially from our version of 1640, but it varies at the beginning and end. The writer professes in the outset to have borrowed from a work already in print, for the broadside thus opens :
“ To drive away the weary day
A book I chanc'd to take in hand,
A story, as you shall understand.
Amongst the leaves I chanc'd to view
The Second Lesson, too good to be true.” “Thus we have both the titles of the play mentioned by Henslowe in his first memorandum. The book which the writer of the broadside employed, must have been a now lost collection of popular histories, divided into what were called “Lessons," the “second lesson” being the tale of “The King and a poor Northern Man," or "Too good to be true." This was probably the same as the story used by Chettle, Hathwaye, and Smith for the foundation of their play, which story was furbished up in 1640, and printed in a separate duodecimo pamphlet. It is this pamphlet that we have now accurately reprinted, with the omission only of some coarse and uncouth woodcuts, at the time intended to be attractive.
“Many of our readers will be aware that the same circumstance of a visit to the King by one of his country tenants, though much abridged, forms the subject of a comic song, which has kept its place in various modern collections."
The comic song alluded to, is the one known by the title of “The King and the Countryman,” and which commences,
“ There was an old chap in the west country.” Before the reprint of the Percy Society, the comic song had been generally considered to be a modern composition, written by the late Mr. Knight, whose name is affixed to it as the author, in various
publications, though we have no authority for supposing, that Mr. Knight had anything to do with such prefix. If however, any one will take the trouble of examining the song with the old story, he will at once perceive that the former is a mere abridgement of, and wholly taken from, the latter. We have been given to understand, that the King and the Countryman was, some years ago, sold to a London Music Publisher, as a modern composition, and have no doubt it was so, for another Music Publisher has informed us, that he was once deterred from bringing out an edition of it, by the threat of an injunction being moved for by the original publisher, to restrain him if he attempted to do so.
Who the individual was who palmed off the abridgement as his own original, we are unable to say, but whoever he was, he was guilty of an offence far more common than is generally supposed. In Mackay's “Songs and ballads of the London Prentices,” published by the Percy Society, page 59, is an old ditty which is almost verbatim the same, as one we have met with in many modern collections as a new song.
Besides the above two instances of literary larceny, we have no doubt there are several others not yet discovered, but which the future publications of the Percy Society will bring to light.
THE KING AND A POORE NORTHERNE MAN.
SHEWING HOW A POORE NORTHUMBERLAND MAN, A TENANT TO TYE KING, BEING WRONGED BY A LAWYER (HIS NEIGHBOUR), WENT TO THE KING HIMSELF TO MAKE KNOWNE HIS GRIEVANCES. FULL OF SIMPLE MIRTH AND MERRY
OME hearken to me all around,
and I will tell you a merry tale Of a Northumberland man that held some ground,
which was the Kings land in a dale.
He was borne and bred thereupon,
and his father had dwelt there long before, Who kept a good house in that country,
and stay'd the wolfe from off his doore.
• Printed at London by Tho. Cotes, and are to be sold by Francis Grove, dwelling upon Snow hill. 1640.
Now, for this farme the good old man
just twenty shillings a yeare did pay: At length came cruell death with his dart,
and this old farmer he soone did slay:
Who left behinde him an aude wife then,
that troubled was with mickle paine, And with her cruches she walkt about,
for she was likewise blinde and lame.
When that his corpes were laid in the grave
his eldest sonne possesse did the farine, At the same rent as the father before:
he took great paines and thought no harme.
By him there dwelt a Lawyer false,
that with his farme was not content, But over the poore man still hang’d his nose,
because he did gather the King's rent.
This farme layd by the Lawyer's land,
which this vild kerne had a mind unto : The deele a good conscience had he in his bulke,
that sought this poore man for to undoe.
He told him he his lease had forfite,
and that he must there no longer abide: The King by such lownes hath mickłe wrong done,
and for you the world is broad and wide.
The poore man pray'd him for to cease,
and content himselfe, if he would be willing ; And picke no vantage in my lease,
and I will give thee forty shilling.
It's neither forty shillings, no forty pound,
Ise warrant thee, so can agree thee and me, Unlesse thou yeeld me thy farme so round,
and stand unto my curtesie.
The poore man said he might not do sa:
his wife and his bearnes will make him ill warke. If thou wilt with my farme let me ga,
thou seemes a good fellow, Ise give thee five marke.