Percy's Reliques - As Ye came from the Holy Land.

As Ye came from the Holy Land.

DIALOGUE BETWEEN A PILGRIM AND TRAVELLER

            The scene of this song is the same as in No. 14. The pilgrimage to Walsingham suggested the plan of many popular pieces. In the Pepys Collection, vol. i. p. 226, is a kind of interlude in the old ballad style, of which the first stanza alone is worth reprinting.

As I went to Walsingham,
To the shrine with speede,
Met I with a jolly palmer
In a pilgrimes weede.
Now God you save, you jolly palmer
'Welcome, lady gay,
Oft have I sued to thee for love.'
-- Oft have I said you nay."

            The pilgrimages undertaken on pretence of religion, were often productive of affairs of gallantry, and led the votaries to no other shrine than that of Venus.[ 1]

            The following ballad was once very popular; it is quoted in Fletcher's Knight of the burning Pestle, act ii. sc. ult. and in another old play, called, Hans Beer-pot, his invisible Comedy, &c." 4to. 1618, act i. The copy below was communicated to the Editor by the late Mr. Shenstone, as corrected by him from an ancient copy, and supplied with a concluding stanza.

            We have placed this, and Gentle Herdsman, &c. thus early in the Series, upon a presumption that they must have been written, if not before the dissolution of the monasteries, yet while the remembrance of them was fresh in the minds of the people.

"As ye came from the holy land
Of blessed Walsingham,
O met you not my true love
As by the way ye came?"

"How should I know your true love,
That have met many a one,
As I came from the holy land,
That have both come, and gone?"

"My love is neither white,[ 2] nor browne,
But as the heavens faire;
There is none hath her form divine,
Either in earth, or ayre."

"Such an one did I meet, good Sir,
With an angelicke face;
Who like a nymphe, a queene appeard
Both in her gait, her grace."

"Yes: she hath cleane forsaken me,
And left me all alone;
Who some time loved me as her life,
And called me her owne."

"What is the cause she leaves thee thus,
And a new way doth take,
That some times loved thee as her life,
And thee her joy did make?"

"I that loved her all my youth,
Growe olde, now as you see;
Love liketh not the falling fruite,
Nor yet the withered tree.

"For love is like a carelesse childe,
Forgetting promise past
He is blind, or deaf, whenere he list;
His faith is never fast.

"His fond desire is fickle found,
And yieldes a trustlesse joye;
Wonne with a world of toil and care,
And lost ev'n with a toye.

"Such is the love of womankinde,
Of LOVES faire name abusde,
Beneathe which many vaine desires,
And follyes are excusde.

"But true love is a lasting fire,
Which viewless vestals[ 3] tend.
That burns for ever in the soule,
And knowes nor change, nor end."

NOTES

1. Even in the time of Langland, pilgrimages to Walsingham were not unfavourable to the rites of Venus. Thus in his Visions of Pierce Plowman, fo. 1.

Hermets on a heape, with hoked staves,
Wenten to Walsingham, and her [i.e. their] wenches after.

2. Sc. pale.

3. Sc. angels.

 

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