Anonymous Olde English

Here you will find the Long Poem A Pleasant Ballad Of King Henry II. And The Miller Of Mansfield of poet Anonymous Olde English

A Pleasant Ballad Of King Henry II. And The Miller Of Mansfield

Part the First.

Henry, our royall kind, would ride a hunting
To the greene forest so pleasant and faire;
To see the harts skipping, and dainty does tripping,
Unto merry Sherwood his nobles repaire:
Hawke and hound were unbound, all things prepar'd
For the game, in the same, with good regard.

All a long summers day rode the king pleasantlye,
With all his princes and nobles eche one;
Chasing the hart and hind, and the bucke gallantlye,
Till the dark evening forc'd all to turne home.
Then at last, riding fast, he had lost quite
All his lords in the wood, late in the night.

Wandering thus wearilye, all alone, up and downe,
With a rude miller he mett at the last;
Asking the ready way unto faire Nottingham,
'Sir,' quoth the miller, 'I meane not to jest,
Yet I thinke, what I thinke, sooth for to say;
You doe not lightlye ride out of your way.'

'Why, what dost thou tihnk of me,' quoth our king merrily,
'Passing thy judgement upon me so briefe?'
'Good faith,' sayd the miller, 'I meane not to flatter thee,
I guess thee to bee but some gentleman thiefe;
Stand thee backe, in the darke; light not adowne,
Lest that I presently crack thy knaves crowne.'

'Thou dost abuse me much,' quoth the king, 'saying thus;
I am a gentleman; lodging I lacke.'
'Thou hast not,' quoth th' miller, 'one groat in thy purse;
All thy inheritance hanges on thy backe.'
'I have gold to discharge all that I call;
If it be forty pence, I will pay all.'

'If thou beest a true man,' then quoth the miller,
'I sweare by my toll-dish, I'll lodge thee all night.'
'Here's my hand,' quoth the king, 'that was I ever.'
'Nay, soft,' quoth the miller, 'thou may'st be a sprite.
Better I'll know thee, ere hands we will shake;
With none but honest men hands will I take.'

Thus they went all along unto the millers house,
Where they were seething of puddings and souse;
The miller first enter'd in, after him went the king;
Never came hee in soe smoakye a house.
'Now,' quoth hee, 'let me see here what you are.'
Quoth our king, 'Looke your fill, and do not spare.'

'I like well thy countenance, thou hast an honest face:
With my son Richard this night thou shalt lye.'
Quoth his wife, 'By my troth, it is a handsome youth,
Yet it's best, husband, to deal warilye.
Art thou no run-away, prythee, youth, tell?
Shew me thy passport, and all shal be well.'

Then our king presentlye, making lowe courtesye,
WIth his hatt in his hand, thus he did say;
'I have no passport, nor never was servitor,
But a poor courtyer rode out of my way:
And for your kindness here offered to mee,
I will requite you in everye degree.'

Then to the miller his wife whisper'd secretlye,
Saying, 'It seemeth, this youth's of good kin,
Both by his apparel, and eke by his manners;
To turne him out, certainlye were a great sin.'
'Yea,' quoth hee, 'you may see he hath some grace,
When he doth speake to his betters in place.'

'Well,' quo' the millers wife, 'young man, ye're welcome here;
And, though I say it, well lodged shall be:
Fresh straw will I have, laid on thy bed so brave
And good brown hempen sheets likewise,' quoth shee.
'Aye,' quoth the good man; 'and when that is done,
Thou shalt lye with no worse than our own sonne.'

'Nay, first,' quoth Richard, 'good-fellowe, tell me true,
Hast thou noe creepers within thy gay hose?
Or art thou not troubled with the scabbado?'
'I pray,' quoth the king, 'what creatures are those?'
'Art thou not lowsy, nor scabby?' quoth he:
'If you beest, surely thou lyest not with mee.'

This caus'd the king, suddenlye, to laugh most hartilye,
Till the teares trickled fast downe from his eyes.
Then to their supper were they set orderlye,
With hot bag-puddings, and good apple-pyes;
Nappy ale, good and stale, in a browne bowle,
Which did about the board merrilye trowle.

'Here,' quoth the miller, 'good fellowe, I drinke to thee,
And to all 'cuckholds, wherever they bee.''
'I pledge thee,' quoth our king, 'and thanke thee heartilye
For my good welcome in everye degree:
And here, in like manner, I drinke to thy sonne.'
'Do then,' quoth Richard, 'and quicke let it come.'

'Wife,' quoth the miller, 'fetch me forth lightfoote,
And of his sweetnesse a little we'll taste,'
A fair ven'son pastye brought she out presentlye,
'Eate,' quoth the miller, 'but, sir, make no waste.
Here's dainty lightfoote!' 'In faith,' sayd the king,
'I never before eat so daintye a thing.'

'I-wis,' quoth Richard, 'no daintye at all it is,
For we doe eate of it everye day.'
'In what place,' sayd our king, 'may be bought like to this?'
'We never pay pennye for itt, by my fay:
From merry Sherwood we fetch it home here;
Now and then we make bold with our kings deer.'