A New Song of King Edgar, King of England, how he was depriued of a Lady, which he loued, by a Knight of his Court
To be sung in the old ancient sort, or else to the Tune of
WHenas King Edgar did gouerne this land,
adowne, adowne, downe, down, down,
And in the strength of his yeeres did stand,
call him downe a:
Such praise was spread of a gallant Dame,
Which did through England carry great fame,
And she a Lady of noble degree,
The Earle of Deuonshires daughter was she.
The King which lately had buried his Queene,
And not long time had a Widdower beene,
Hearing this praise of this gallant Maid,
Vpon her beauty his loue he laide,
And in his sighes he wold often say,
I will go send for that Lady gay:
Yea, I will go send for that Lady bright,
Which is my treasure and delight:
Whose beauty, like to Phoebus beames,
Doth glister through all Christian Realmes.
Then to himselfe he would reply,
Saying, How fond a Prince am I,
To cast my loue so base and low,
Vpon a Gyrle I do not know:
King Edgar will his fancy frame,
To loue some peerelesse Princely Dame,
The daughter of a royall King,
That may a worthy dowry bring:
Whose matchlesse beauty brought in place,
May Estrilds colour cleane disgrace.
But senseless man, what do I meane,
Vpon a broken reede to lean:
Or what fond fury doth me moue
Thus to abase my dearest loue?
Whose visage, grac’t with heauenly hue
Doth Helens honour quite subdue:
The glory of her beauties pride,
Sweet Estrilds fauor doth deride.
Then pardon my vnseemely speech,
Deare loue and Lady, I beseech:
For I my thoughts will henceforth frame,
To spread the honour of thy name.
Then vnto him he cal’d a Knight,
Which was most trusty in his sight,
And vnto him thus did he say:
To earle Orgarus, go thy way,
Where ask for Estrild, comely Dame,
Whose beauty went so farre by Fame.
And if thou find her comely grace,
As Fame hath spred in euery place:
Then tell her Father she shall be
My crowned Queene, if she agree.
The Knight in message did proceed,
And into Deuonshire with speed:
But when he saw the Lady bright,
He was so rauisht at her sight,
That nothing could his passion moue,
Except he might obtaine her loue:
For day and night while there he staid,
He courted still this peerelesse Maid:
And in his suit he shewed such skill,
That at the length won her good-will,
Forgetting quite the duty tho
Which he vnto the King did owe.
Then comming home vnto his Grace,
He told him with dissembling face,
That those reporters were to blame,
That so aduanc’t the Maidens name.
For I assure your Grace (quoth he)
She is as other women bee:
Her beauty of such great report,
No better than the common sort,
And farre vnmeet in euery thing,
To match with such a Noble King.
But though her face be nothing faire,
Yet sith she is her Fathers heire,
Perhaps some Lord of high degree,
Would very faine her husband be:
Then if your Grace would giue consent,
I would my selfe be well content,
The Damsell for my wife to take,
For her great Lands and Liuings sake.
The King whom thus he did deceiue,
Incontinent did giue him leaue:
For on that point he did not stand,
For why, he had no need of Land.
Then being glad he went his way,
And wedded straight that Lady gay:
The fairest creature bearing life,
Had this false Knight vnto his wife:
And by that match of high degree,
An Earle soone after that was he.
Ere he long time had married beene,
That many had her beauty seene:
Her praise was spred both farre and neere;
The King againe thereof did heare:
Who then in heart did plainely proue,
He was betrayed of his loue.
Though thereat, he was vexed sore,
Yet seem’d he not to grieue therefore,
But kept his countenance good and kinde,
As though he bare no grudge in minde.
But on a day it came to passe,
When as the King full merry was,
To Ethelwood in sport he said,
I muse what cheere there would be made,
If to thy house I should resort
A night or two for Princely sport:
Hereat the earl shewd countenance glad,
Though in his heart he was sore sad:
Saying, Your Grace should welcome be,
If so your Grace would honour me.
When as the day appointed was,
Whefore the King did thither passe,
The Earle beforehand did prepare,
The Kings comming to declare:
And with a countenance passing grim,
He cal’d his Lady vnto him.
Saying with sad and heauy cheare,
I pray you when the King comes here,
Sweet Lady as you tender me,
Let your attire but homely be:
Nor wash not thou thy Angels face,
But doe thy beauty quite disgrace.
Thereto thy gesture so apply,
It may seeme lothsome to the eye.
For if the King should there behold
Thy glorious beauty so extold:
Then should my life soone shortned be,
For my deserts and trechery.
When to thy Father first I came,
Though I did not declare the same,
Yet was I put in trust to bring
The ioyfull tyding from the King,
Who for thy glorious beauty seene,
Did thinke of thee to make his Queene:
But when I had thy person found,
Thy beauty gaue me such a wound,
No rest nor comfort could I take,
Till you, sweet loue, my griefe did slake:
And thus, though duty charged me,
Most faithfull to my Lord to be:
Yet loue vpon the other side,
Bade for my self I should prouide:
Then for my suit and seruice showne,
At length I won you for my owne,
And for your loue and wedlocke spent,
Your choise you need no whit repent.
Then sith my griefe I haue exprest,
Sweet Lady, grant me my request.
Good words she gaue with smiling cheere,
Musing at that which she did heare;
And casting many things in mind,
Great fault herewith she seem’d to find:
But in her selfe she thought it shame,
To make that foule which God did frame:
Most costly robes and rich therefore,
In brauest sort that day she wore:
Doing all things that ere she might,
To set her beauty forth to sight.
And her best skill in euery thing
She shewed to entertaine the King.
Whereby the King so snared was,
That reason quite from him did passe:
His heart by her was set on fire,
He had to her a great desire,
And for the lookes he gaue her then,
For euery looke she lent him ten:
Wherefore the King perceiued plaine,
His loue and lookes were not in vaine.
Vpon a time it chanced so,
The King he would a hunting goe,
And as they through a wood did ride,
The Earle on horseback by his side:
For so the story telleth plaine,
That with a shaft the Earle was slaine.
So when that he had lost his life,
He tooke the Damsell vnto wife,
Who married her, all shame to shunne,
By whom he did beget a sonne.
Thus he that did the King deceiue,
Did by desert this death receiue.
Then to conclude and make an end,
Be true and faithful to thy friend.