The Baffled Knight, or Lady's Policy.
Given, with some corrections, from a manuscript copy, and collated with two printed ones in the Roman character in the Pepys Collection.
THERE was a knight was drunk with wine,
A riding along the way, sir;
And there he met with a lady fine,
Among the cocks of hay, sir.
"Shall you and I, O lady faire,
Among the grass lye down-a:
And I will have a special care
Of rumpling of your gowne-a."
"Upon the grass there is a dewe,
Will spoil my damask gowne, sir:
My gowne and kirtle they are newe,
And cost me many a crowne, sir."
"I have a cloak of scarlet red,
Upon the ground I'll throwe it;
Then, lady faire, come lay thy head;
We'll play, and none shall knowe it."
"O yonder stands my steed so free
Among the cocks of hay, sir;
And if the pinner should chance to see,
He'll take my steed away, sir."
"Upon my finger I have a ring,
Its made of finest gold-a,
And, lady, it thy steed shall bring
Out of the pinner's fold-a."
"O go with me to my father's hall;
Fair chambers there are three, sir:
And you shall have the best of all,
And I'll your chamberlaine bee, sir."
He mounted himself on his steed so tall,
And her on her dapple gray, sir:
And there they rode to her father's hall,
Fast pricking along the way, sir.
To her father's hall they arrived strait;
'Twas moated round about-a;
She slipped herself within the gate,
And lockt the knight without-a.
"Here is a silver penny to spend,
And take it for your pain, sir;
And two of my father's men I'll send
To wait on you back again, sir."
He from his scabbard drew his brand,
And wip'd it upon his sleeve-a:
"And curs'd," he said, "be every man,
That will a maid believe-a!"
She drew a bodkin from her haire,
And whip'd it upon her gown-a;
"And curs'd be every maiden faire,
That will with men lye down-a!
"A herb there is, that lowly grows,
And some do call it rue, sir;
The smallest dunghill cock that crows,
Would make a capon of you, sir.
"A flower there is, that shineth bright,
Some call it mary-gold-a:
He that wold not when he might,
He shall not when he wold-a."
The knight was riding another day,
With cloak and hat and feather:
He met again with that lady gay,
Who was angling in the river.
"Now, lady faire, I've met with you,
You shall no more escape me;
Remember, how not long agoe
You falsely did intrap me."
The lady blushed scarlet red,
And trembled at the stranger:
"How shall I guard my maidenhead
From this approaching danger?"
He from his saddle down did light,
In all his rich attyer;
And cryed, "As I am a noble knight,
I do thy charms admyer."
He took the lady by the hand,
Who seemingly consented;
And would no more disputing stand:
She had a plot invented.
"Looke yonder, good sir knight, I pray,
Methinks I now discover
A riding upon his dapple gray,
My former constant lover."
On tip-toe peering stood the knight,
Fast by the rivers brink-a;
The lady pusht with all her might:
"Sir knight, now swim or sink-a."
O'er head and ears he plunged in,
The bottom faire he sounded;
Then rising up he cried amain,
"Help, helpe, or else I'm drownded"
"Now, fare-you-well, sir knight, adieu!
You see what comes of fooling:
That is the fittest place for you;
Your courage wanted cooling."
Ere many days, in her father's park,
Just at the close of eve-a,
Again she met with her angry sparke;
Which made this lady grieve-a.
"False lady, here thou'rt in my powre,
And no one now can hear thee:
And thou shalt sorely rue the hour,
That e'er thou dar'dst to jeer me."
"I pray, sir knight, be not so warm
With a young silly maid-a:
I vow and swear I thought no harm,
'Twas a gentle jest I playd-a."
"A gentle jest, in soothe," he cry 'd,
"To tumble me in and leave me!
What if I had in the river dy'd?
That fetch will not deceive me.
"Once more I'll pardon thee this day,
Tho' injur'd out of measure;
But then prepare without delay
To yield thee to my pleasure."
"Well then, if I must grant your suit,
Yet think of your boots and spurs, sir:
Let me pull off both spur and boot,
Or else you cannot stir, sir."
He set him down upon the grass,
And begg'd her kind assistance;
Now, smiling thought this lovely lass,
I'll make you keep your distance.
Then pulling off his boots half-way;
"Sir knight, now I'm your betters:
You shall not make of me your prey;
Sit there like a knave in fetters."
The knight when she had served soe,
He fretted, fum'd, and grumbled:
For he could neither stand nor go;
But like a cripple tumbled.
"Farewell, sir knight, the clock strikes ten,
Yet do not move nor stir, sir:
I'll send you my father's serving men,
To pull off your boots and spurs, sirs
"This merry jest you must excuse,
You are but a stingless nettle:
You'd never have stood for boots or shoes,
Had you been a man of mettle."
All night in grievous rage he lay,
Rolling upon the plain-a;
Next morning a shepherd past that way,
Who set him right again-a.
Then mounting upon his steed so tall,
By hill and dale he swore-a:
"I'll ride at once to her father's hall;
She shall escape no more-a.
"I'll take her father by the beard,
I'll challenge all her kindred;
Each dastard soul shall stand affeard;
My wrath shall no more be hindred."
He rode unto her father's house,
Which every side was moated
The lady heard his furious vows,
And all his vengeance noted.
Thought shee, "Sir Knight, to quench your rage,
Once more I will endeavour:
This water shall your fury 'swage,
Or else it shall burn for ever."
Then faining penitence and feare,
She did invite a parley:
"Sir knight, if you'll forgive me heare,
Henceforth I'll love you dearly.
"My father he is now from home,
And I am all alone, sir:
Therefore a-cross the water come;
And I am all your own, sir."
"False maid, thou canst no more deceive;
I scorn the treacherous bait-a:
If thou would'st have me thee believe,
Now open me the gate a."
"The bridge is drawn, the gate is bared,
My father he has the keys, sir;
But I have for my love prepar'd
A shorter way and easier.
"Over the moate I've laid a plank
Full seventeen feet in measure:
Then step a-cross to the other bank,
And there we'll take our pleasure."
These words she had no sooner spoke,
But strait he came tripping over:
The plank was saw'd, it snapping broke;
And sous'd the unhappy lover.