Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
 
98. St. Stephen and King Herod
 
 
I

SAINT STEPHEN was a clerk
  In King Herod’s hall,
And servéd him of bread and cloth
  As every king befall.
 
II

Stephen out of kitchen came
        5
  With boar’s head on hand,
He saw a star was fair and bright
  Over Bethlehem stand.
 
III

He cast adown the boar’s head
  And went into the hall:        10
‘I forsake thee, Herod,
  And thy workés all.
 
IV

‘I forsake thee, King Herod,
  And thy workés all,
There is a child in Bethlehem born        15
  Is better than we all.’—
 
V

‘What aileth thee, Stephen?
  What is thee befall?
Lacketh thee either meat or drink
  In King Herod’s hall?’—        20
 
VI

‘Lacketh me neither meat ne drink
  In King Herod’s hall;
There is a child in Bethlehem born
  Is better than we all.’—
 
VII

‘What aileth thee, Stephen?
        25
  Art wode or ’ginnest to brede?
Lacketh thee either gold or fee,
  Or any rich weed?’—
 
VIII

‘Lacketh me neither gold ne fee
  Ne none rich weed;        30
There is a child in Bethlehem born
  Shall helpen us at our need.’—
 
IX

‘That is all so sooth, Stephen,
  All so sooth, I-wys,
As this capon crowé shall        35
  That li’th here in my dish.’
 
X

That word was not so soon said,
  That word in that hall,
The capon crew Christus natus est
  Among the lordés all.        40
 
XI

‘Risit up, my tormentors,
  By two and all by one,
And leadit Stephen out of this town,
  And stonit him with stone.’
 
XII

Tooken they Stephen
        45
  And stoned him in the way;
And therefore is his even
  On Christe’s own day.
 
GLOSS:  leve] dear.  wreke] avenged.  wode] mad.  brede] become (mad).  weed] clothing.
 

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