Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

MARK MORE, FOOL.
То
pass

the time thereas I went,
A history there I chanced to read.—
Whereas Salomon reigned king,

He did many a worthy deed,
And many statutes he caused to be made :

And this was one amongst the rest plain-
It was felony to any one that found aught was lost,

And would not restore it to the owner again.
So then there was a rich merchant :

As he rode to a market-town,
It was his chance to lose his purse :

He said there was in it a hundred pound.
A proclamation he caused to be made,

Whosoever could find the same again
Should give it him again without all doubt,

And he should have for twenty pound his pain.
So then there was a silly poor man

Had two sheep's pells upon his back to sell,
And, going to the market-town,

He found the purse, and liked it well.
He took it up into his hand,

And needs see what was in it he wold :
But the same he could not understand-

For why, there was nothing in it but gold.
The rich man he pursued him soon.

Thou whoreson villain !” quoth he then,
“I think it is thou that has found my purse,

And wilt thou not give it me again ?”
“Good sir,” said he, “ I found such a purse-

The truth full soon it shall be known.
You shall have it again, it's never the worse,

But pay me my safety that is mine own.”
“Let me see what's in the purse," said the merchant.

“ Found thou a hundred pound and no more?
Thou whoreson villain ! thou hast paid thyself!

For in my purse was full six score.

It's best my purse to me thou restore,
Or before the king thou shalt be brought.”.

I warrant,” quoth he, “ when I come the king before,
He'll not reward me again with nought.”
Then they led him towards the king :

And, as they led him on the way, 1 Mr. Furnivall, who edited this piece from the Percy MS., supposes "More" to represent Morio, or uwpós, a blockhead.

[ocr errors]

And there met him a gallant knight,

And with him was his lady gay.
With tugging and lugging this poor man,

His leather skins began to crack :
The gelding was waton the lady rode on,

And threw her down beside his back.

Then to the earth she got a thwack

(No hurt in the world the poor man did mean), To the ground he cast the lady there ; On a stub she dang out one of her een.

The knight would needs upon him have been.
“Nay,” said the merchant, “I pray you, sir, stay :

I have a action against him already:
He shall be brought to the king, and hanged this day."

Then they led him towards the king ;

But the poor man liked not their leading well, And, coming near to the seaside,

He thought to be drowned or save himself.
And, as he lope into the sea,

No harm to no man he did wot;
But there he light upon two fishermen :

With the leap he broke one of their necks in a boat.

The other would needs upon him have been.

“Nay,” said the merchant, “I pray thee now stay: We have two actions against him already :

He shall be carried to the king, and hanged this day.” Then they led him bound before the king,

Where he sate in a gallery gay. “My liege,” said the merchant, we have brought such a

villain
As came not before you this many a day.
“For it was my chance to lose my purse,

And in it there was full six score :
And now the villain will not give it me again,

Except that he had twenty pound more. “I cut? I have a worse match than that,” said the knight,

For I know not what the villain did mean : He caused my gelding to cast my lady ;

On a stub she hath dang out one of her een.”

“But I have the worst match of all,” said the fisher,

For I may sigh and say God wot!
He lope at me and my brother upon the seas :

With the leap he hath broken my brother's neck in a boat." The king he turned him round-about,

i Say

Being well advised of everything
Quoth he: “Never since I can remember,

Came three such matters since I was king.”
Then Mark More, fool, being by,

“How now, brother Salomon ?” then quoth he. Gif you will not give judgment of these three matters,

I pray you, return them o'er to me. “With all my heart," quoth Salomon to him ;

“Take you the judgment of them as yet ; For never came matters me before

That fainer of I would be quit.” "Well,” quoth Mark, “we have these three men here,

And every one hath put up a bill. But, poor man, come nither to me:

Let's hear what tale thou canst tell for thyself.” "Why, my lord,” quoth he, “as touching this merchant,

As he rode to a market-town,
It was his chance to lose his purse :

He said there was in it a hundred pound. “A proclamation he caused to be made,

Whosoever could find the same again plain Should give it him again without all doubt,

And he should have twenty pound for his pain. And it was my chance to find that purse,

And gladly to him I would it restore : But now he would reward me with nothing,

But challengeth in his purse twenty pound more.” “Hast thou any witness of that?" said my lord Mark:

“I pray thee, fellow, tell me round.' "Yes, my lord, here's his owne man

That carried the message from town to town.” The man was called before them all ;

And said it was a hundred pound plain, And that his master would give twenty pound

To any would give him his purse again. I had forgotten twenty pound,” said the merchant,

“Give me leave for myself to say.” Nay,” said Mark, thou challengeth more than thine own Therefore with the

poor
fellow the

purse And this shall be my judgment straight :

Thou shalt follow each day by the heeles plain Till thou have found such another purse with him,

And then keep it thyself, and ne'er give it him again.” “Marry ! our gods forbot,” said the merchant,

“ That ever so bad should be my share !

shall stay.

How should I find a hundred pound of him

That hath not a hundred pence to spare ? Rather I'll give him twenty pound more ;

And with that he hath let him stay.” “Marry! render us down the money,” said Mark, So may

thou chance go quietly away. — “Fellow, how hinderedst thou the knight?

Thou must make him amends here, I mean. It's against law and right :

His lady she hath lost one of her een.” “Why, my lord, as they led me towards the king,

For fear lest I should lost my trattle, These leather skins you see me bring,

With tugging and lugging, began to rattle. “ The gelding was wanton the lady rode upon :

No hurt in the world, my lord, I did mean : To the ground he cast that lady there,

And on a stub she dang out one of her een.” “Fellow," quoth Mark, “hath thy wife two eyes ?

I pray thee,” quoth he,“ tell me then.” “Yes, my lord-a good honest poor woman,

That for her living takes great pain." “Why, then, this shall be my judgment straight,

Though thou perhaps may think it strange : Thy wife with two eyes, his lady hath but one,

As thou hast dressed her, with him thou'st change." “Marry, our gods forbot,” then said the knight,

“That ever so bad should be my shame ! I had rather give him a hundred pound

Than to be troubled with his dunnish dame !" “Marry ! tender us down the money,” said Mark,

“So may thou be gone within a while.”. But the fisher, for fear he should have been called, He ran away a quarter of a mile.

pray you, call him again,” quoth Mark, * Gif he be within sight; For never came matter me before

But every man should have his right.” They called the fisher back again.

“How now, fellow ? why didst not stay?”.
“My lord,” quoth he, “I have a great way home,

And fain I would be gone my way."
But, fellow, how hinderedst thou this fisher ?
I

pray thee,” quoth Mark, “ to us tell.” “My lord, as I came near the easide,

I thought either to be drowned or save myself.

"I

[ocr errors]

And as I lope into the sea

No harm to no man I did wot-
There I light upon this fisher's brother :

With a leap I broke his neck in a boat." “Fisher,” quoth Mark, “knowest thou where the boat

stood ? Thou'st set her again in the selfsame stead, And thou'st leap at him as he did at thy brother, And so thou may quit thy brother's dead.” Marry, gods forbot,” then said the fisher,

“That ever so bad should be my luck ! If I leap at him as he did at my brother,

I'st either be drowned, or break my neck. Rather I'll give him twenty pound,

An I would, my lord, i had ne'er come híther." “Marry, tender us down the money,” said Mark,

“And you shall be packing all three together.” The poor man he was well content,

And very well pleased of everything : He said he would ne'er take great care

How oft he came before the king.-
These other three could never agree,

But every one fell out with other;
And said they would ne'er come more to the king

While he was in company with Mark his brother.

THE POOR MAN AND THE KING.1
It was a poor man, he dwelled in Kent;
He paid our King five pound of rent.

And there is a lawyer dwelt him by ;

A fault in his lease, God wot, he hath found : “And all was for falling of five ash-trees

To build me a house of my own good ground. “I bid him let me and my ground alone ;

To cease his self, if he was willing, And pick no vantages out of my lease : And he seemed a good fellow, I would give him forty

shilling

1 “This,” says Mr. Furnivall, “is a Kent version of the ballad which Martin Parker issued as a Northumberland one in 1640, with the title The King and a Poor Northern Man.In this latter much altered form, the poem has passed as Parker's own composition, but perhaps not correctly so: it is to be found in Mr. W. C. Hazlitt's Early Popular Poetry

« ElőzőTovább »