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I'll ay lament for Gill Morice,
As gin he were mine ain;
On which the zouth was slain.
*** This little pathetic tale suggested the plot of the tragedy of Douglas.
Since it was first printed, the Edit has been assured that the foregoing ballad is still current in many parts of Scotland, where the hero is universally known by the name of Child Maurice, pronounced by the common people Cheild or Cheeld, which occasioned the mistake.
It may be proper to mention, that other copies read ver. 110, thus:
“Shot frae the golden sun." And ver. 116, as follows:
"His een like azure sheene."
END OF THE FIRST BOOK.
SERIES THE THIRD.
The Legend of Sir Guy, Contains a short summary of the exploits of this famous champion, as recorded in the old story-books, and is commonly entitled, “A pleasant song of the valiant deeds of chivalry atchieved by that noble knight sir Guy of Warwick, who, for the love of fair Phelis, became a hermit, and dyed in a cave of craggy rocke, a mile distant from Warwick.”
The history of Sir Guy, though now very properly resigned to children, was once admired by all readers of wit and taste:: for taste and wit had once their childhood. Although of English growth, it was early a favourite with other nations: it appeared in French in 1525, and is alluded to in the old Spanish romance of Tirante el Blanco, which, it is believed, was written not long after the year 1430. See advertisement to the French translation, 2 vols. 12mo.
The original whence all these stories are extracted, is a very ancient romance in old English verse, which is quoted by Chaucer as a celebrated piece even in his time, (viz.
“Men speken of romances of price,
Of Bevis, and sir Guy," &c. R. of Thop.) and was usually sung to the harp at Christmas dinners and brideales, as we learn from Puttenham's Art of Poetry, 4to, 1589.
This ancient romance is not wholly lost. An imperfect copy in black letter, "Imprynted at London – for Wylliam Copland,” in 34 sheets, 4to, without date, is still preserved among Mr. Garrick's collection of old plays. As a specimen of the poetry of this antique rhymer, take his description of the dragon mentioned in verse 105 of the following ballad:
"A messenger came to the king.
Y wis of none never heard ye." Sir William Dugdale is of opinion that the story of Guy is not wholly apocryphal, though he acknowledges the monks have sounded out his praises too hyperbolically. In particular, he gives the duel fought with the Danish champion as a real historical truth, and fixes the date of it in the year 926, ætat. Guy 67. See his Warwickshire. Percy. III.
The following is written upon the same plan as ballad v. book i., but which is the original, and which the copy, cannot be decided. This song is ancient, as may be inferred from the idiom preserved in the margin, ver. 94. 102: and was once popular, as appears from Fletcher's Knight of the Burning Pestle, act ii., sc. ult.
It is here published from an ancient MS. copy in the Editor's old folio volume collated with two printed ones, one of which is in black letter in the Pepys collection.
Was ever knight for ladyes sake
Soe tost in love, as I sir Guy
As ever man beheld with eye?
She gave me leave myself to try,
The valiant knight with sheeld and speare,
Which made me venture far and neare.
Then proved I a baron bold,
In deeds of armes the doughtyest knight
With sworde and speare in feild to fight.
An English man I was by birthe:
In faith of Christ a christyan true:
I sought by prowesse to subdue.
“Nine' hundred twenty yeere and odde
After our Saviour Christ his birth,
I lived heere upon the earth.
Ver. 9, The proud sir Guy, P.C.
V. 17, Two hundred. MS. and P.C.
Sometime I was of Warwicke erle,
And, as I sayd, of very truth A ladyes love did me constraine
To seeke strange ventures in my youth.
In strange and sundry heathen lands;
For first I sayled to Normandye,
And there I stoutlye wan in fight The emperours daughter of Almaine,
From manye a vallyant worthye knight. Then passed I the seas to Greece
To helpe the emperour in his right; Against the mightye souldans hoaste
Of puissant Persians for to fight. Where I did slay of Sarazens,
And heathen pagans, manye a man; And slew the souldans cozen deere,
Who had to name doughtye Coldràn. Eskeldered a famous knight
To death likewise I did pursue: And Elmayne king of Tyre alsoe,
Most terrible in fight to viewe. I went into the souldans hoast,
Being thither on embassage sent, And brought his head awaye
mee; I having slaine him in his tent. There was a dragon in that land
Most fiercelye mett me by the waye As hee a lyon did pursue,
Which I myself did alsoe slay,