Percy's Reliques - Plain Truth and Blind Ignorance.

Plain Truth and Blind Ignorance.

            This excellent old ballad is preserved in the little ancient miscellany, intitled The Garland of Goodwill. Ignorance is here made to speak in the broad Somersetshire dialect. The scene we may suppose to be Glastonbury Abbey.

TRUTH

"GOD speed you, ancient father,
And give you a good daye;
What is the cause, I praye you,
So sadly here you staye?
And that you keep such gazing
On this decayed place,
The which, for superstition,
Good princes down did raze?"

IGNORANCE

"Chill tell thee, by my vazen,[ 1]
That zometimes che have knowne
A vair and goodly abbey
Stand here of bricke and stone;
And many a holy vrier,
As ich may say to thee,
Within these goodly cloysters
Che did full often zee."

TRUTH

"Then I must tell thee, father,
In truthe and veritie,
A sorte of greater hypocrites
Thou couldst not likely see;
Deceiving of the simple
With false and feigned lies:
But such an order truly
Christ never did devise."

IGNORANCE

"Ah! ah I che zmell thee now, man;
Che know well what thou art;
A vellow of mean learning,
Thee was not worth a vart:
Vor when we had the old lawe,
A merry world was then;
And every thing was plenty
Among all sorts of men."

TRUTH

"Thou givest me an answer,
As did the Jewes sometimes
Unto the prophet Jeremye,
When he accus'd their crimes:
'Twas merry, sayd the people,
And joyfull in our realme,
When we did offer spice-cakes
Unto the queen of heav'n."

IGNORANCE

"Chill tell thee what, good vellowe,
Before the vriers went hence,
A bushell of the best wheate
Was zold vor vourteen pence;
And vorty egges a penny,
That were both good and newe;
And this the zay my zelf have zeene,
And yet ich am no Jewe."

TRUTH

"Within the sacred bible
We find it written plain,
The latter days should troublesome
And dangerous be, certaine;
That we should be self-lovers,
And charity wax colde;
Then 'tis not true religion
That makes thee grief to holde."

IGNORANCE

"Chill tell thee my opinion plaine,
And choul'd that well ye knew;
Ich care not for the bible booke;
'Tis too big to be true.
Our blessed ladyes psalter
Mall for my money goe;
Zuch pretty prayers, as there bee,[ 2]
The bible cannot zhowe."

TRUTH

"Nowe hast thou spoken trulye,
For in that booke indeede
No mention of our lady,
Or Romish saint we read:
For by the blessed Spirit
That book indited was,
And not by simple persons,
As was the foolish masse."

IGNORANCE

"Cham zure they were not voolishe
That made the masse, che trowe;
Why, man, 'tis all in Latine,
And vools no Latine knowe.
Were not our fathers wise men,
And they did like it well;
Who very much rejoyced
To heare the zacring bell?"

TRUTH

"But many kinges and prophets,
As I may say to thee,
Have wisht the light that you have,
And could it never see:
For what art thou the better
A Latin song to heare,
And understandest nothing,
That they sing in the quiere?"

IGNORANCE

"O hold thy peace, che pray thee,
The noise was passing trim
To heare the vriers zinging,
As we did enter in:
And then to zee the rood-loft
Zo bravely zet with saints;--
But now to zee them wandring
My heart with zorrow vaints."

TRUTH

"The Lord did give commandment,
No image thou shouldst make,
Nor that unto idolatry
You should your self betake:
The golden calf of Israel
Moses did therefore spoile;
And Baal's priests and temple
Were brought to utter foile."

IGNORANCE

"But our lady of Walsinghame
Was a pure and holy zaint,
And many men in pilgrimage
Did shew to her complaint.
Yea with zweet Thomas Becket,
And many other moe:
The holy maid of Kent[ 3] likewise
Did many wonders zhowe."

TRUTH

"Such saints are well agreeing
To your profession sure;
And to the men that made them
So precious and so pure,
The one for being a traytoure,
Met an untimely death;
The other eke for treason
Did end her hateful breath."

IGNORANCE

"Yea, yea, it is no matter,
Dispraise them how you wille:
But zure they did much goodnesse;
Would they were with us stille!
We had our holy water,
And holy bread likewise,
And many holy reliques
We zaw before our eyes."

TRUTH

"And all this while they fed you
With vain and empty showe,
Which never Christ commanded,
As learned doctors knowe;
Search then the holy scriptures,
And thou shalt plainly see
That headlong to damnation
They alway trained thee."

IGNORANCE

"If it be true, good vellowe,
As thou dost zay to mee,
Unto my heavenly fader
Alone then will I flee:
Believing in the Gospel,
And passion of his Zon,
And with the zubtil papistes
Ich have for ever done."

NOTES

1. i.e. faithen: as in the midland counties they say housen, closen, for houses, closes. A.

2. Probably alluding to the illuminated Psalters, Missals, &c.

3. By name Eliz. Barton, executed April 24, 1534.-- Stow, p. 570.

 

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