Percy's Reliques - Glasgerion.


            An ingenious friend thinks that the following old ditty, (which is printed from the Editor's folio MS.), may possibly have given birth to the tragedy of The Orphan, in which Polidore intercepts Monimia's intended favours to Castalio.

            See what is said concerning the hero of this song, who is celebrated by Chaucer under the name of Glaskyrion, in the Essay prefixed to vol. i. Note (H), Part iv. (2.)

GLASGERION was a kings owne sonne,
And a harper he was goode:
He harped in the kinges chambere,
Where cuppe and caudle stoode.

And soe did hee in the queens chamber,
Till ladies waxed glad.
And then bespake the kinges daughter;
And these wordes thus shee sayd.

"Strike on, strike on, Glasgerion,
Of thy striking doe not blinne:
Theres never a stroke comes oer thy harpe,
But it glads my hart withinne."

"Faire might he fall, ladye," quoth hee,
"Who taught you nowe to speake!
I have loved you, ladye, seven longe yeere
My minde I neere durst breake."

"But come to my bower, my Glasgerion,
When all men are att rest:
As I am a ladie true of my promise,
Thou shalt bee a welcome guest."

Home then came Glasgèrion,
A glad man, lord! was hee.
"And, come thou hither, Jacke my boy;
Come hither unto mee."

"For the kinges daughter of Normandye
Hath granted mee my boone:
And att her chambre must I bee
Beffore the cocke have crowen."

"O master, master," then quoth hee,
"Lay your head downe on this stone:
For I will waken you, master deere,
Afore it be time to gone."

But up then rose that lither ladd,
And hose and shoone did on:
A coller he cast upon his necke,
Hee seemed a gentleman.

And when he came to the ladies chamber,
He thrild upon a pinn.[ 1]
The lady was true of her promise,
Rose up and lett him in.

He did not take the lady gaye
To boulster nor to bed:
Nor thoughe hee had his wicked wille,
A single word he sed.

He did not kisse that ladyes mouthe,
Nor when he came, nor yode:
And sore mistrusted that ladye gay,
He was of some churls bloud.

But home then came that lither ladd,
And did off his hose and shoone;
And cast the coller from off his necke:
He was but a churles sonne.

"Awake, awake," my deere master,
"The cock hath well-nigh crowen.
Awake, awake, my master deere,
I hold it time to be gone.

"For I have saddled your horsse, mastèr,
Well bridled I have your steede:
And I have served you a good breakfast:
For thereof ye have need."

Up then rose good Glasgerion,
And did on hose and shoone;
And cast a coller about his necke:
For he was a kinge his sonne.

And when he came to the ladyes chamber,
He thrild upon the pinne:
The ladye was more than true of promise,
And rose and let him inn.

"O whether have you left with me
Your bracelett or your glove?
Or are you returned backe againe
To know more of my love?"

Glasgerion swore a full great othe,
"By oake, and ashe, and thorne;
Lady, I was never in your chamber,
Sith the time that I was borne."

"O then it was your lither foot-page,
He hath beguiled mee."
Then shee pulled forth a litle pen-knìffe,
That hanged by her knee:

Sayes, "there shall never noe churlès blood
Within my bodye spring:
No churles blood shall ever defile
The daughter of a kinge."

Home then went Glasgerion,
And woe, good lord, was hee.
Sayes, "come thou hither, Jacke my boy,
Come hither unto mee.

"If I had killed a man to-night,
Jacke, I would tell it thee:
But if I have not killed a man to night,
Jacke, thou hast killed three."

And he puld out his bright browne sword,
And dryed it on his sleeve,
And he smote off that lither ladds head,
Who did his ladye grieve.

He sett the swords poynt till his brest,
The pummil untill a stone:
Throw the falsenesse of that lither ladd,
These three lives werte all gone.


1. This is elsewhere expressed 'twirled the pin,' or 'tirled at the pin' and seems to refer to the turning round the button on the outside of a door, by which the latch rises, still used in cottages.


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