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KING JOHN AND THE ABBOT.
AN ancient story I'll tell you anon1
Of a notable prince, that was called King John;
And I'll tell you a story, a story so merry,
An hundred men, the king did hear say,a
"My liege, 10" quoth the
abbot, "I would it were known,
"Yes, yes, father abbot, thy fault it is high,13
"And first," quoth the king, "when I'm in this stead,14
Thou must tell me to one penny what I am worth.
Secondly tell me, without any doubt,
How soon I may ride the whole world about ;
"O these are hard questions for my shallow wit,16
"Now three weeks space to
thee will I give, thou hast to live; my questions three, are forfeit to me."
Away rode the abbot all sad at that word,
Then home rode the abbot of comfort so cold,22 And he met his shepherd a-going to fold. 23 "How now, my lord abbot, you are welcome home; What news do you bring us from good King John?" shepherd, I must give, more to live; questions three, from my bodie.
"The second, to tell him without any doubt,
"Now cheer up, Sir Abbot, did you never hear yet
"Nay, frown not, if it hath been told unto me,
"Now horses and serving men thou shalt have,
"Now welcome, Sir Abbot," the king he did say,
"And first, when thou seest me here in this stead,
KING JOHN AND THE ABBOT.
"For thirty pence our Saviour was sold
By His enemiés, as I have been told:
For I think thou art one penny worser than He.”
The king he laughed, and swore by St. Bittel,34
"You must rise with the sun, and ride with the same,
The king he laughed, and swore by St. Jone,
"Yea, that I shall do and make your grace merry;
The king he laughed, and swore by the mass,
Nay, nay, my liege, be not in such speed,3
"Four nobles36 a week, then, I will give thee,
CAUTIONS: a. Many of the lines in this old ballad have not the proper number of syllables; and this defect must be hid by the style of reading. It will, on this account, be often necessary to make longer pauses at the points than usual, and also to read out each word and each syllable with the greatest distinctness. The tone throughout is that of dry level narrative. b. This is a very difficult line. It should be read in an easy conversational way:
my own true-gotten-geere. c. The accent must be put on the last syllable of bodie-in the old fashion. d. The danger is here of putting an accent upon thou, which would spoil the sense. The emphasis or sense-accent is on dost. e. The emphasis is on so. f. This line has not the sufficient number of syllables; but this can be made up for by the length of the pause after back.
MEANINGS: 1. Anon, at once. 2. Notable, well known. 3. Main, force. 4. Maintained, kept un. 5. Housekeeping, way of living. 6. Renown, fame. 7. Post, in haste. 8. And fifty gold chains, without any doubt, in velvet coats,
waited the abbot about, fifty men wearing velvet coats and gold chains waited upon the abbot. 9. Work'st treason, makest plots; treason is any attempt to overthrow the government of a country. 10. Liege, sovereign. 11. Deere, harm. 12. True gotten geere, wealth fairly come-by. 13. High, great. 14. Stead, place. 15. Liegemen, subjects. 16. Shallow wit, poor powers of mind. 17. Your grace, title of respect. 18. Do my endeavour, do my best. 19. Livings, church offices. 20. Oxenford, Oxford. 21. Devise, find out. 22. Of comfort so cold, without finding any comfort. 23. A-going to fold, going to put the sheep in the fold. 24. Learn, teach. 25. Wit, wisdom. 26. Apparel, clothes. 27. Answer your quarrel, make your peace with the king. 28. With sumptuous array, most gallant and brave, with a splendid retinue of attendants. 29. Crozier, the staff of a bishop or abbot. 30. Mitre, cap worn by a bishop or abbot. 31. Rochet, a surplice with narrow sleeves worn by bishops. 32. Cope, a short cloak. 33. 'Fore, before. 34. St. Bittel, old form of St. Botolph. 35. Speed, a hurry. 36. Nobles, an old coin worth 6s. 8d.
WRECK OF THE GOLDEN BEE.
The Golden Bee, a ship in the China trade, sets sail with every prospect of a pleasant voyage; but fire breaks but, and her crew and passengers have to take to the boats.
LADEN with precious merchandise, the growth of Chinese soil,
Blithe was the captain's gallant heart,
for things had prospered
Soon should he reach his home on shore tell;
with much good news to
Good news for his Parsee merchants, and for the fair young wife, Whose sweet affection made the joy and beauty of his life.
Soon should he kiss his bonny boy, and hold him on his knee,
Soon should he kiss his latest-born; and then the captain smiled,
(A long pause.)
of horror and affright,
Hark! what terrific cry was that
Rousing the crew from rest and sleep to tremble and dismay,
Oh, captain, wake! 'Tis but a dream-the harbour is not won,
THE SAILOR'S MOTHER.
on solitary seas,
"FIRE!"-'twas an awful sound to hear
into the darksome night.
the captain gave command,
Foremost and calm amid his crew
"Get out the boats!" with firm quick voice the short command was said,
And no man spoke, but straight and swift the order was obeyed; Then one by one the crew stepped forth—but all looked back with
Upon the bonny Golden Bee, their home of many years.
But first the captain snatched from flame, and pressed within his breast,
A relic1 of departed days, of all
his heart loved best:
Then out upon a lonely sea, six hundred miles from land,
CAUTIONS: a. Beware of allowing the accent to touch the into. The only way to avoid this is to lengthen the pause after dropped. b. "Get out the boats!' This must be spoken with the short, earnest, and clear articulation of a military command.
MEANINGS: 1. Relic, something left. 2. Tide, poetic word for sea.
THE SAILOR'S MOTHER.
This is a short poem, by WORDSWORTH, recording a perfectly simple incident. Wordsworth meets one morning, on a country road, a woman who carries a cage in her hand. He feels sympathy with her and with a certain noble look which he observes in her, and stops to converse.
ONE morning (raw it was and wet-"
A woman on the road I met,
though something past her prime:
was her mien and gait."