Page images
PDF
EPUB

to which I made no reply; he rose, came on the other side of the bed and kissed me, and drew the curtains softly and went to Court. When he came home to dinner, he presently came to me as was usual, and when I had him by the hand, I said, “Thou dost not care to see me troubled ;' to which he, taking me in his arms, answered, “My dearest soul, nothing upon earth can afflict me like that, and when you asked me of my business, it was wholly out of my power to satisfy thee, for my life and fortune shall be thine, and every thought of my heart in which the trust I am in may not be revealed, but my honour is my own, which I cannot preserve if I communicate the prince's affairs; and pray thee with this answer rest satisfied.' So great was his reason and goodness, that upon consideration it made my folly appear to me so vile, that from that day until the day of his death I never thought fit to ask him any business but what he communicated freely to me in order to his estate or family.

We pursued our voyage with prosperous winds, but with a most tempestuous master, a Dutchman, which is enough to say, but truly, I think, the greatest beast I ever saw of his kind.

When we had passed the Straits, we saw coming towards us, with full sails, a Turkish galley well manned, and we believed we should be all carried away slaves, for this man had so laden his ship with goods for Spain, that his guns were useless, though the ship carried sixty guns. He called for brandy; and after he had well drunken, and all his men, which were near two hundred, he called for arms and cleared the deck as well as he could, resolving to fight rather than lose his ship, which was worth thirty thousand pounds. This was sad for us passengers; but my husband bade us be sure to keep in the cabin, and the women not to appear, which would make the Turks think that we were a man-of-war, but if they saw women, they would take us for a merchant, and board us. He went upon the deck, and took a gun and bandoliers, and sword, and with the rest of the ship's company stood upon deck expecting the arrival of the Turkish man-of-war. This beast, the captain, had locked me up in the cabin ; I knocked and called long to no purpose, until at length the cabin boy came and opened the door; I, all in tears, desired him to be so good as to give me his blue thrum cap he wore, and his tarred coat, which he did, and I gave him half-a-crown, and putting them on, and flinging away my night-clothes, I crept up softly and stood upon the deck by my husband's side, as free from sickness and fear as, I confess, from discretion; but it was the effect of that passion which I could never master.

By this time the two vessels were engaged in parley, and so well satisfied with speech and sight of each other's forces, that the Turk's man-of-war tacked about, and we continued our course. But when your father saw it convenient to retreat, looking upon me, he blessed himself, and snatched me up in his arms, saying, "Good God, that love can make this change!' and though he seemingly chid me, he would laugh at it as often as he remembered that voyage.

On the 2nd of September, 1651, was fought the battle of Worcester, when the king being missing, and I hearing nothing of your father being dead or alive for three days, it is inexpressible in what affliction I was. I neither ate nor slept, but trembled at every motion I heard, expecting the fatal news, which at last came, and mentioned that your father was a prisoner. Then, with some hope, I went to London, to find out my husband, wheresoever he was carried. On my coming to London, I met a messenger from him with a letter, which advised me of his condition, and told he was very civilly treated. I said little more than that I should be in some room at Charing Cross, where he had a promise from his keeper that he should rest in my company at dinner-time. This was meant as a very great favour to him. I expected him with impatience, and, on the day appointed, provided a dinner and a room, as I was ordered, in which I was with my father, and some more of my friends, where we saw hundreds of poor soldiers, both English and Scotch, march almost naked on foot, and many on horseback. At last came the captain and two soldiers with your father, who was very cheerful in appearance. After he had spoken to me, and saluted me and his friends, he said, “Pray let us not lose time, for I know not how little I have to spare. This is the chance of war; nothing venture nothing have; and so let us sit down, and be merry while we may.' Then, taking my hand and kissing me, he said, “Cease weeping; no other thing upon earth can move me: remember we are all at God's disposal.' Then he told us how kind the captain had been to him, and that the people as he passed offered him money, and brought him good things; and that particularly Lady Denham, at Boston House, would have given him all the money she had in the house, but he returned her thanks, and told her that he had so ill kept his own, that he would not tempt his governor with more; but that if she would give him a shirt or two, and some handkerchiefs, he would keep them as long as he could for her sake. She fetched him some shifts of her own, and some handkerchiefs, saying, that she was ashamed to give them to him, but having none of her son's shirts at home, she desired him to wear them. Thus passed the time till orders came to carry my husband to Whitehall, where, in a little room, (yet standing in the Bowling-green,) he was kept prisoner without the speech of any (so far as they knew) for ten weeks, and in expectation of death. They then examined him, and at last he grew so ill in health, by the cold and hard marches he had undergone, and being pent up in a room close and small, that the scurvy brought him down almost to death's door. During the time of his imprisonment I failed not, constantly, when the clock struck four in the morning, to go with a dark lanthorn in my hand, all alone and on foot, from my lodgings in Chancery Lane, at my cousin Young's, to Whitehall, by the entry that went out of King's Street into the Bowling-green. There I would go under his window, and call him softly. He, excepting the first time, never afterwards failed to put out his head at the first call. Thus we talked together, and sometimes I was so wet with rain that it went in at my neck, and out at my heels. My husband directed me how to make my addresses for his delivery to the General Cromwell, who had a great respect for your father, and would have bought him off to his service upon any terms.

52.—THE NUT-BROWN MAID. In a singular book, first printed about 1502, called · Arnold's Chronicle,' the strangest medley of the most prosaic things- appears, for the first time, as far as we know, the ballad of · The Nut-Brown Maid.' Upon this ballad Prior founded his poem of · Henry and Emma.' Thomas Warton, in his · History of English Poetry,' truly says that Prior “ paraphrased the poem without improving its native beauties ;” and he adds, “ there is hardly an obsolete word, or that requires explanation, in the whole piece.” Prior spoilt the story, enfeebled the characters, and utterly obliterated the simplicity of his original. The reader will bear in mind that the poem, after the first sixteen lines, is conducted in dialogue. We distinguish the beginning and end of each speech by inverted commas.]

Be it right or wrong, these men among, on women do complain,
Affirming this, how that it is a labour spent in vain
To love them well, for never a deal they love a man again ;
For let a man do what he can their favour to attain,
Yet if a new do them pursue, their first true lover than *
Laboureth for nought, for from her thought he is a banished man.

I say not nay, but that all day it is both writ and said,
That woman's faith is, as who saith, all utterly decayed;
But, nevertheless, right good witness in this case might be laid,
That they love true, and continue; record the Nut-Brown Maid;
Which from her love, when her to prove, he came to make his moan,
Would not depart, for in her heart she loved but him alone.

Then between us let us discuss, what was all the manere +
Between them two; we will also tell all the pain and fear
That she was in. Now I begin, so that ye me answere.
Wherefore all ye that present be, I pray you give an ear :
“I am the knight, I come by night, as secret as I can,
Saying—Alas, thus standeth the case, I am a banished man!"
"And I your will for to fulfil, in this will not refuse ;
Trusting to shew, in wordes few, that men have an ill use,
To their own shame, women to blame, and causeless them accuse ;
Therefore to you I answer now, all women to excuse;
Mine own heart dear, with you what cheer? I pray you tell anon,
For, in my mind, of all mankind, I love but you alone.”

" It standeth so; a deed is do wherefore much harm shall grow,
My destiny is for to die a shameful death I trow,
Or else to flee; the one must be; none other way I know
But to withdraw, as an outlaw, and take me to my bow;
Wherefore adieu, my own heart true, none other rede I can,
For I must to the green wood go, alone, a banished man."
then.
7 manner.

# counsel. VOL. I.

A A

“ O Lord, what is the worldē’s bliss, that changeth as the moon,
My summer's day, in lusty May, is darked before the noon:
I hear you say farewell; nay, nay, we depart* not so soon;
Why say ye so? whither will ye go ? alas, what have ye done?
All my welfare to sorrow and care should change if ye were gone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind, I love but you alone.”

“ I can believe it shall you grieve, and somewhat you distrain;
But afterward, your painēs hard within a day or twain
Shall soon aslake, and ye shall take comfort to you again.
Why should ye nought? for to make thought your labour were in vain,
And thus I do, and pray you lot, as heartily as I can,
For I must to the green wood go, alone, a banished man."

“ Now sith that ye have shewed to me the secret of your mind,
I shall be plain to you again, like as ye shall me find;
Sith it is so, that ye will go, I will not leave behind,
Shall never be said, the Nut-Brown Maid was to her love unkind;
Make you ready, for so am I, although it were anon,
For, in my mind, of all mankind, I love but you alone.”

" Yet I you rede to take good heed what men will think and say,
Of young and old, it shall be told, that ye be gone away,
Your wanton will for to fulfil, in green wood yon to play,
And that ye might, from your delight, no longer make delay.
Rather than ye should thus for me be called an ill woman,
Yet would I to the green wood go, alone, a banished man."

“ Though it be sung of old and young that I should be to blame,
Theirs be the charge that speak so large in hurting of my name;
For I will prove that faithful love, it is devoid of shame;
In your distress and heaviness, to part with you the same ;
And sure all tho' I that do not so, true lovers are they none;
But, in my mind, of all mankind, I love but you alone.”

“ I counsel you, remember how it is no maiden's law, Nothing to doubt, but to run out to wood with an outlaw :

* part.

† mark.

those.

« PreviousContinue »