Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
 
Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard
Anonymous
 
AS 1 it fell one holy-day,
          Hay downe
  As many be in the yeare,
When young men and maids together did goe,
  Their mattins and masse to heare;        5
 
Little Musgrave came to the church-dore:—
  The preist was at private masse;—
But he had more minde of the faire women
  Then he had of our lady’s grace.
 
The one of them was clad in green,        10
  Another was clad in pall,
And then came in my lord Barnard’s wife,
  The fairest amonst them all.
 
She cast an eye on Little Musgrave,
  As bright as the summer sun;        15
And then bethought this Little Musgrave,
  ‘This lady’s heart have I woonn.’
 
Quoth she, ‘I have loved thee, Little Musgrave,
  Full long and many a day;’
‘So have I loved you, fair lady,        20
  Yet never word durst I say.’
 
‘I have a bower at Bucklesfordbery,
  Full daintyly it is deight;
If thou wilt wend thither, thou Little Musgrave,
  Thou’s lig in mine armes all night.’        25
 
Quoth he, ‘I thank yee, fair lady,
  This kindness thou showest to me;
But whether it be to my weal or woe,
  This night I will lig with thee.’
 
With that he heard, a little tynë page,        30
  By his ladye’s coach as he ran:
‘All though I am my ladye’s foot-page,
  Yet I am Lord Barnard’s man.
 
‘My lord Barnard shall knowe of this,
  Whether I sink or swim;’        35
And ever where the bridges were broake
  He laid him downe to swimme.
 
‘A sleepe or wake, them Lord Barnard,
  As thou art a man of life,
For Little Musgrave is at Bucklesfordbery,        40
  A bed with thy own wedded wife.’
 
‘If this be true, thou littele tinny page,
  This thing thou tellest to me,
Then all the land in Bucklesfordbery
  I freely will give to thee.        45
 
‘But if it be a ly, thou little tinny page,
  This thing thou tellest to me,
On the hyest tree in Bucklesfordbery
  Then hanged shalt thou be.’
 
He called up his merry men all;        50
  ‘Come saddle me my steed;
This night must I to Bucklesfordbery,
  For I never had greater need.’
 
And some of them whistld, and some of them sung,
  And some these words did say,        55
And ever when my Lord Barnard’s horn blew,
  ‘Away, Musgrave, away!’
 
‘Methinks I hear the thresel-cock,
  Methinks I hear the jaye;
Methinks I hear my Lord Barnard,        60
  And I would I were away!’
 
‘Lye still, lye still, thou little Musgrave,
  And huggell me from the cold;
’Tis nothing but a shepherd’s boy
  A driving his sheep to the fold.        65
 
‘Is not thy hawke upon a perch,
  Thy steed eats oats and hay,
And thou a fair lady in thine armes,
  And wouldst thou bee away?’
 
With that my Lord Barnard came to the dore,        70
  And lit a stone upon;
He plucked out three silver keys
  And he open’d the dores each one.
 
He lifted up the coverlett,
  He lifted up the sheet:        75
‘How now, how now, thou Littell Musgrave,
  Doest thou find my lady sweet?’
 
‘I find her sweet,’ quoth Littell Musgrave,
  ‘The more ’tis to my paine;
I would gladly give three hundred pounds        80
  That I were on yonder plaine.’
 
‘Arise, arise, thou Littell Musgrave,
  And put thy clothës on;
It shall nere be said in my country
  I have killed a naked man.        85
 
‘I have two swords in one scabberd,
  Full deere they cost my purse;
And thou shalt have the best of them,
  And I will have the worse.’
 
The first stroke that Little Musgrave stroke,        90
  He hurt Lord Barnard sore;
The next stroke that Lord Barnard stroke,
  Little Musgrave nere struck more.
 
With that bespake this faire lady,
  In bed whereas she lay:        95
‘Although thou’rt dead, thou Little Musgrave,
  Yet I for thee will pray.
 
‘And wish well to thy soule will I,
  So long as I have life;
So will I not for thee, Barnard,        100
  Although I am thy wedded wife.’
 
He cut her paps from off her brest;
  Great pitty it was to see
That some drops of this ladies heart’s blood
  Ran trickling downe her knee.        105
 
‘Woe worth you, woe worth, my mery men all,
  You were nere borne for my good;
Why did you not offer to stay my hand,
  When you see me wax so wood?
 
‘For I have slaine the bravest sir knight        110
  That ever rode on steed;
So have I done the fairest lady
  That ever did woman’s deed.
 
‘A grave, a grave,’ Lord Barnard cry’d,
  To put these lovers in;        115
But lay my lady on the upper hand,
  For she came of better kin.’
 
Note 1. Appeared in Wit’s Restor’d, 1658. It was quoted in some old plays, notably, Beaumont and Fletcher’s Knight of the Burning Pestle, act. v, sc. 3, 1611, The Variete, 1649, and Sir William Davenant’s The Wits. It belongs to the circle of domestic tragedy mentioned in Note to No. 184. [back]
 
 
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