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She was mare 1 than other three,
were few that thither goed 2, That came on live 3 away.
Her walk was endlong 4 Greta side; There was no bren sihat durst her bide,
That was froe I heaven to hell ; Nor never man that had that might, That ever durst come in her sight,
Her force it was so fell.
Ralph of Rokeby, with good will,
Full well to garre " them fare ;
That rued him sine full sare,
With him tooke he wicht men two,
That ever was brim as bearelo;
What time as mister ware 11,
These three men went at God's will,
Liggan 12 under a tree;
To fight against the three.
assumed circumstances of chivalry; or, as in the Hunting of the Hare (see Weber's Metrical Romances, vol. iii), persons of the same description following the chase, with all the grievous mistakes and blunders incident to such unpractised sportsmen. The idea, therefore, of Don Quixote's frenzy, although' inimitably embodied and brought out, was not, perhaps, in the abstract, altogether original. One of the very best of these mock romances, and which has no small portion of comic humour, is the Hunting of the Felon Sow of Rokeby by the Friars of Richmond. Ralph Rokeby, who (for the jest's sake apparently) bestowed this intractable animal on the convent of Richmond, seems to have flourished in the time of Henry VII, which, since we know not the date of Friar Theobald's wardenship, to which the poem refers us, may indicate that of the composition itself. Morton, the Mortham of the text, is mentioned as being this facetious baron's place of residence ; accordingly, Leland notices, that "Mr. Rokeby hath a place called Mortham, a little beneath Grentey-bridge, almost on the mouth of Grentey.' That no information may be lacking which is in my power to supply, I have to notice, that the Mistress Rokehy of the romance, who so charitably refreshed the sow after she had discomfited Friar Middleton and his auxiliaries, was, as appears from the pedigree of the Rokeby family, daughter and heir of Danby of Yaffort.
This curious poem was first published in Mr. Whitaker's History of Craven, but, from an inaccurate manuscript, not corrected very happily. It was transferred by Mr. Evans to the new edition of his Ballads, with some well-judged conjectural improvements. I have been induced to give a more authentic and full, though still an imperfect, edition of this humorsome composition, from being furnished with a copy from a manuscript in the possession of Mr. Rokeby, to whom I have acknowledged my obligations in the last note. It has three or four stanzas more than that of Mr. Whitaker, and the language seems, where they differ, to have the more ancient and genuine readings. THE FELOS SOW OF ROKEBY AND THE
FRIARS OF RICHMOND.
Of one I will you tell ;
She was so grisely for to meete,
And bark 'came fro the tree;
Full earnestly look't hee.
These men of aunters that was so wight 1;, They bound them bauldly 16 for to fight,
And strike at her full sare : Until a kiln they garred her flee, Wold God send them the victory,
The wold ask him noa mare.
The sew was in the kiln hole down,
For 18 hurting of their feet;
The kiln began to reeke,
Durst noe man neigh her with his hand, But put a rape 21 down with his wand,
And haltered her full meete; They hurled her forth against her will, Whiles they came into a hill
A little fro the street 21,
1 More, greater.
2 Went. 3 Alive,
4 Along the side of Greta. 5 Barn, child, man in general,
6 From. 8 Make.
9 Since. 10 Fierce as a hear. Mr. Whitaker's copy reads, perhaps in consequence of mistaking the MS., Tother was Bryan of Bear.'
al Need were. Mr. Whitaker reads musters. 12 Lying
13 A fierce countenance or manner. 11 Saw.
16 Wight, brave. The Rokeby MS. reads incounters, and Mr. Whitaker auncestors. 13 Boklly.
17 On the bearn above. 1: To prevent 19 Assaulted.
20 Rope, 21 Watling Street. See the sequel.
1 Both the MS. and Mr. Whitaker's copy read ancestors, evidently a corruption of aunters, ad. ventures, as corrected by Mr. Evans. 2 Sow, according to provincial pronunciation. 3 So; Yorkshire dialect. 1 l'ele, many; Sax, 3 A corruption of quell, to kill
IIe look't so griesly all that night,
If you say ought but good;
le luuks as he were woode.'
1 Dare. 2 Rushed. 3 Leave it. 4 Pulls.
6 This line is wanting in Mr. Whitaker's copy, whence it has been conjectured that something is wanting after this stanza, which now there is no occasion to suppose.
6 Evil device. 7 Blessed, Fr. 8 Lost his colour, 9 Sheltered himself.
10 Fierce. 11 The MS. reads, to labour weere. The text seems to mean, that all their labour to obtain their intended meat was of no use to them. Mr. Whitaker reads,
She was brim as any boar,
To them it was no bout.' Besides the want of connection between the last line and the two foriner, the second has a very modern sound, and the reading of the Rokeby MS, with the slight alteration in the text, is much better.
12 Mad. 13 Torn, pulled. 14 Knew. 15 Combat, perilous fight.
1 This stanza, with the two following, and the fra inent of a fourth, are not in Mr. Whitaker's edition. 2 The rope about the sow's neck,
3 Knew. 4 This line is almost illegible,
5 Each one. 6 Since then, after that.
* The above lines are wanting in Mr. Whitaker's copy: * Cease, stop.
9 Run. 10 Warlock, or wizard. 11 Harm. ,2 Xeed.
13 Beat. The copy in Mr. Whitaker's History of Craven reads, perhaps better
• The fiend would ding you down ilk one.' 14 'Yon guest,' may be yon grest, i.e. that all venture; or it may mean yon grhaist, or apparition, which in old poems is applied sometimes to what is supernaturally hideous. The printel copy reads, The Least hath,' &c.
These men of armes that weere so wight,
They went this sew to see;
And almost bound to flee.
She came roveing them egaine ;
She gat sword out of hand; And rave in sunder half his shielde, And bare him backward in the feille,
lle might not her gainstancl. She would have riven his privich geare, But Gilbert with his sword of werre,
le strake at her full strong, On her shouller till she the swerd; Then was good Gilljert sore aferd,
When the blade brake in throng
NOTE LIII. The Filea of O'Neale was he.-P. 356. The Filea, or Ollamh Re Dan, was the proper bard, or, as the name literally implies, poet. Each chieftain of distinction had one or more in his service, whose office was usually hereditary. The late ingenious Mr.
Cooper Walker has assembled a curious i collection of particulars concerning this
order of men, in his Historical Memoirs of the Irish Bards. There were itinerant bards of less elevated rank, but all were held in the highest veneration. The English, who considered them as chief supporters of the spirit of national independence, were much disposed to proscribe this race of poets, as Edward I is said to have done in Wales. Spenser, while he admits the merit of their wild poetry, as
savouring of sweet wit and good invention, and sprinkled with some pretty flowers of their natural device, yet rigorously condemns the whole application of their poetry, as abased to the gracing of wickedness and vice.' The household minstrel was admitted even to the feast of the prince whom he served, and sat at the sanie table. It was one of the customs of which Sir Richard Sewry, to whose charge Richard II committed the instruction of our Irish monarchs in the civilisation of the period, found it most difficult to break his royal disciples, though he had also much ado to subject them to other English rules, and particularly to re| concile them to wear breeches. "The kyng, my souerevigne lord's entent was, that in
Since in his hands he hath her tane,
And held her holil full fast;
The blood came at the last.
Then Gilbert grieved was sea sare, That he rave off both hide and haire,
The flesh came fro the bone; And with all force he felled her there, And wann her worthily in werre, And band her him alone.
And lift her on a horse sea hee,
And to Richmond they did hay":
The fryers on that day?".
1 Hired, a Yorkshire phrase.
2 Blow. 3 Broad, larye.
4 Such like a roar. 3 Drew out. 6 In the combat.
i Lune. & Meeting, battle,
9 lie, hasten. 10 The MS. reixes, mistakenly, cery day.
maner, countenaunce, andapparelofclothyng, shirts of mail; and we are assured that the they sholde use according to the maner of chancellor, having set forth his oration with Englande, for the kynge thought to make such a lamentable action as his cheekes thein all four knyglites: they had a fayre were all beblubbered with teares, the horsehouse to lodge in, 'in Duvelyn, and I was men, namelie, such as understood not charged to abyde styll with them, and not English, began to diuine what the lordto departe ; and so two or three dayes chancellor incant with all this long cirI suffered them to do as they lyst, and sayde: cumstance; some of them reporting that he nothyng to them, but folowed their owne was preaching a sermon, others said that he appetytes: they wolde sitte at the table, and I stood making of some heroicall poetry in the make countenance nother good nor fayre. , praise of the Lord Thomas. And thus as Than I thought I shulde 'cause them to every idiot shot his foolish bolt at the wise chaunge that maner; they wolde cause their chancellor his discourse, who in effect had mynstrells, their seruantes, and varlettes, to nought else but drop pretious stones before sytte with them, and to cate in their owne hogs, one Bard de Nelan, an Irish rithmour, dyssche, and to drinke of their cuppes; and and a rotten sherpe to infect a whole flocke, they shewed me that the usage of their cuntre was chatting of Irish verses, as though his was good, for they sayd in all thyngs (except toong had run on pattens, in commendation their
beddes) they were and lyved as comen. of the Lord Thomas, investing him with the So the fourthe day I ordayned other tables' title of Silken Thomas, bicaus his horsemens to be couered in the hall, after the usage of : jacks were gorgeously, imbroidered with Englande, and I made these four knyghtes silke: and in the end he told him that he to sytte at the hyghe table, and there lingered there ouer long; whereat the Lord inynstrels at anothér borde, and their ser Thomas being , quickened,' as Holinsher uauntes and varlettes at another byneth them, expresses it, bid defiance to the chancellor, wherof by semynge they were displeased threw down contemptuously, the sword of and beheld cach other, and wolde not cate, office, which, in his father's absence, he held and sayde, how I wolde take fro them their as deputy, and rushed forth to engage in good usage, wherein they had been norished.
open insurrection. Then I answered them, smylyng, to apvace them, that it was not honourable for their estates to do as they dyde before, and that
NOTE LIV. they must leave it, and use the custom of Englande, and that it was the kynge's
Ah, Clandeboy! thy friendly floor pleasure they shulde so do, and how he was charged so to order them. When they harde
Slicve-Donard's oak shall light no more. that, they suffred it, bycause they had putte
-P. 350. themselfe under the obesyance of the Kynge Clandeboy is a district of l'Ister, formerly of England, and parceuered in the sanie äs possessed by the sept of the O'Neales, and long as I was with them; yet they had one Slieve-Donard, a romantic mountain in the use which I knew was well used in their same province. The clan was ruined after cuntre, and that was, they dyce were no Tyrone's great rebellion, and their places of breches; I caused breches of lynen clothe to abode laid desolate. The ancient Irish, wild be made for them. Whyle I was with them and uncultivated in other respects, did not I caused them to Icaue many rudle thynges, yield even to their descendants in practising as well in clothyng, as in other causes. the most free and extended hospitality; and Moche ado I had at the fyrst to cause them doubtless the bards mourned the decay of the to weare gownes of sylke, furred with myn mansion of their chiefs in strains similar to euere and gray; for before these, kynges the verses of the British Llywarch Ilen on thought themselfe well apparelled whan they a similar occasion, which are affecting, even had on a mantell. They rode alwayes witli- | through the discouraging medium of a literal out saddles and styropes, and with great
translation :payne I made them to ride after our usage:'-Lord) BERXERS' Froissart. Lond. 1812,
Silent-breathing gale, long wilt thou le heard: 40, vol. ii. p. 621.
There is scarcely another deserving praise, The influence of these bards upon their
Since L'rien is no more. patrons, and their admitted title to interfere Many a dog that scented well the prey, and iërial in matters of the weightiest concern, may
hawk, also proved from the behaviour of one of
Have been traineil on this floor them at an interview between Thomas Fitz
Before Erlleon became pollutel. gerald, son of the Earl of Kildare, then
This hearth, ah, will it not be covered with nettles! about to renounce the English allegiance, Whilst its clefender lived, and the Lord Chancellor Cromer, who made Mure congenial to it was the foot of the needly a long and goodly oration to dissuade him petitioner. from his purpose. The young lord had come to the council 'armed and weaponed,' and
This hearth, will it not be covered with green sol
In the lifetime of Owain and alphin, attended by seven score horsemen in their : Its ample cauklron boiled the prey taken from the foc.
This hearth, will it not be covered with toad-stools!
M Curtin's harp.-P. 358. This hearth, will it not be overgrown with spreading MacCurtin, hereditary Ollamh of North brambles !
Munster, and Filea to Donough, Earl of Till now, logs of burning wood lay on it, Accustom'd to prepare the gifts of Reged !
Thomond, and President of Munster. This
nobleman was amongst those who were This hearth, will it not be covered with thorns ! prevailed upon to join Elizabeth's forces. More congenial on it would have been the mixed
Soon as it was known that he had basely group Or Owain's social friends united in harmony,
abandoned the interests of his country, Mac
Curtin presented an adulatory poem to This hearth, will it not be covered with ants ! MacCarthy, chief of South Munster, and of the More adapted to it would have been the bright Eugenian line, who, with O'Neil, O'Donnel,
torches And harmless festivities!
Lacy, and others, were deeply engaged in
protecting their violated country. In this This hearth, will it not be covered with dock-leaves ! poem he dwells with rapture on the courage More congenial on its floor would have been and patriotism of MacCarthy; but the verse The mead, and the talking of wine-cheer'd warriors. that should (according to an established law This hearth, will it not be turned up hy the swine!
of the order of the bards) be introduced in More congenial to it would have been the clamour the praise of O'Brien, he turns into severe of men,
satire:-"How am I'afflicted (says he) that And the circling horns of the banquet.'
the descendant of the great Brion Boiromh Heroic Flexirs of I.Iyuarc Hen, hy OWEN. cannot furnish me with a theme worthy the Lond. 1792, 8vo, p. 41.
honour and glory of his exalted race!” Lord The hall of Cynddylan is gloomy this night,
Thomond, hearing this, vowed vengeance on Without fire, without beat"
the spirited bard, who fled for refuge to the I must weep a while, and then be silent !
county of Cork. One day, observing the The hall of Cynddylan is gloomy this night,
exasperated nobleman and his equipage at
a small distance, he thought it was in vain to Without fire, without candle1+x*ept God duth, who will endue ine with patience fly, and pretended to be suddenly seized with
the pangs of death; directing his wife to The hall of Cynddylan is gloomy this night, lament over him, and tell his lordship, that Without fire, without being lightel
the sight of him, by awakening the sense of Be thou encircled with spreading silence!
his ingratitude, had so much affected him The hall of Cynddylan, gloomy seems its roof that he could not support it; and desired her Since the sweet smile of humanity is no more at the same time to tell his lordship, that he Woe to him that saw it, if he neglects to do good! entreated, as a dying request, his forgiveness. The hall of Cynddylan, art thou not lereft of thy
Soon as Lord Thomond arrived, the feigned appearance?
tale was related to him. That nobleman Thy shield is in the grave;
was moved to compassion, and not only Whilst he lived there was no broken roof!
declared that he most heartily forgave him, The hall of Cyndelylan is without love this night,
but, opening, his purse, presented the fair Since he that own it is no more
mourner with some pieces to inter him. Ah, death : it will be but a short time he will leave This instance of his lordship's pity, and me :
generosity gave courage to the trembling The hall of Cynddiylan is not easy this night, hard; who, suddenly springing up, recited an On the top of the rock of Hydwyth,
extemporaneous ode in praise of Donough, Without its lord, without company, without the and, re-entering into his service, became once circling feasts!
more his favourite.'-WALKER'S Memoirs The hall of Cynddylan is gloomy this night, of the Irish Bards. Lond. 1786, 4to, p. 141. Without fire, without songsTears afflict the cheeks! The hall of Cynddylan is gloomy this night,
NOTE LVI. Without fire, without family.
The ancient English minstrel's dress. My overflowing tears gush out !
-P. 358. The hall of Cynllylan pierces me to see it, Without a covering, without fire-.
Among the entertainments presented to My general dead, and I alive myself!
Elizabeth at Kenilworth Castle, was the intro
duction of a person designed to represent The hall of Cynddylan is the seat of chill grief this a travelling minstrel, who entertained her
night, After the respect I experienced :
with a solemn story out of the Acts of King Without the men, without the women, who reside
Arthur. Of this person's dress and appearthere!
ance Mr. Laneham has given
us a very accuThe hall of Cynddylan silent this night,
rate account, transferred by Bishop Percy to After losing its inaster ..
the preliminary Dissertation on Minstrels, The great inerciful God, what shall I do?'
prefixed to his Reliques of Ancient Poetry, iol. i.
Ibid. p. 77