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We remember, many years ago, when the pig-faced lady caused a great sensation in London, and in our childish simplicity we imagined that such
rara avis,” or rather 66 sus,” had never before delighted the lovers of the monstrous. The ballad of " the long-nosed lass,” in this collection, printed about 1685, has removed this vain imagining.
“ Her portion was seventeen thousand good pound,
And yet a good husband was not to be found :
The collection contains several medleys and ridiculous songs printed in the time of Charles I., and subsequently. Some of the medleys possess much interest as giving the first lines of songs no longer known to exist; but the greater part are remarkable only for their absurdity or for characteristics which qualify them for Class 4-our Schedule A. We give two or three fragments printed between the years 1630 and 1640.
“ Choice of Inventions ; or,
Severall sorts of the figure of three,
There were three men of Gotam,
As I have heard men say,
Upon Saint David's day.
Yet no sport could they see,
As she sate in a tree.
The second man said nay,
But his bels were falne away.
And one of them was blacke ;
Jeffery, James, and Jacke.
Come fill us a cup of sacke.
There were three good old women
That would not be contrould,
To keepe them from the cold.
The other was a weaver,
That praid for dirty weather.
It was then their hearts' desire ;
The third fell in the fire.
Amongst the merry ballads of a local character, not the least curious is "London's ordinarie; or, every man in his humour," giving the names of all the principal taverns and public houses of the city of London.
8. TRAGICAL AND SUPERNATURAL.–Under this head we include murders, executions, extraordinary births—everything, in short, especially horrible or marvellous, and the lovers of such strong food will find here a dish of about ninety pieces. The titles of these ballads, for the most part, tell their own tale, and there is little in the composition to tempt extracts, e. g., " The complaint and lamentation of Mistress Arden of Feversham, in Kent, who, for the love of one Mosbie, hired certain ruffians and villaines, most cruelly, to murder her husband; with the fatal end of her and her associates ;" printed about 1633. 6 A cruell murder committed lately upon the body of A. Gearsy, who lived in the parish of Westnull, in the county of Harford, by Robert Reeve and Richard Reeve, for which Robert was prest to death,
&c. ;* printed about 1635. The woodcut prefixed to this ballad is struck from the same block as that used in the title-page of a work called “ The crying murther of Mr. Trat;" printed by Edward Allde in 1624. “ Luke Hutton's lamentation, which he wrote the day before his death, being condemned to be hanged at York [in 1598] for his robberies ;” printed about 1670. Luke Hutton has been rendered remarkable by the publication, about the year 1600, of a book bearing his name as author, and called “ the Blacke Dogge of Newgate," professing to give an account of the tricks of a certain set of thieftakers, called in the cant language of the day, coney-catchers. We notice this fact on account of a second edition of the book, published anonymously in 1638, under the title of “ The discovery of a London monster called the Blacke Dogg of Newgate, containing three pages and a half of additional matter, in which we find the trick of ring-dropping very fully described. “A warning for swearers, by the example of God's judgments, shewed upon a man [John Duncalf] born near the town of Wolverhampton, in Staffordshire, who had stolen a bible, and being examined before a justice, denyed the fact, and falsely forswore it, wishing he might rot if he were guilty of the theft, which immediately fell upon him, and is at this time a sad spectacle to hundreds;" printed about 1677. Several pamphlets and sermons were written
this event. Bürger's Leonore has become familiar to most English readers through the translations of Scott and Taylor. It would perhaps be too much to say that the idea of this most exciting poem was borrowed from an English ballad, but the honour of first describing a ride with the dead must, for the present, we believe, rest with the unknown author of " the Suffolk miracle.” The copy in the Roxburghe collection was printed about the year 1670, and is called “the Suffolk miracle; or, a relation of a young man who, a month after his death, appeared to his sweetheart, and carryed her behind him forty miles in two hours," &c. The maiden being separated from her lover, he dies, and
6 She that from him was sent away,
Knew nothing of his dying day.
After he had in grave been laid
* That is, he suffered the peine forte et dure for refusing to answer when arraigned. The lines in the ballad are
• Robert was prest to death, because that hee
Her friends were naturally astonished at the account she gave of the messenger and of her journey.
" A handkerchief, she said, she tyed
About his head, and that they tried,
The moral is very properly subjoined : part not true love,” &c.
9. There are about seventy ballads referring to manners and customs, occupations, sports, &c. Not the least interesting in th collection are those relating to country occupations in general, and especially to that of the husbandman—the favourite contrast appears to be between the serving-man and the ploughman. We give one extract from “ God speed the plow and bless the corn-mow—a dialogue between a husbandman and serving-man.”
When the hauk on his fist doth stand;
Which yield joy to a serving-man.'
To keep myself a husbandman.'
« The northern lasses lamentation" has the same object in view—the praises of a country life, mingled with a little love, and so forth.
66 Fain would I be
In the north countrey,
There should I see
What is pleasant to me:
O the oak, and the ash, and the bonny ivy tree
The yows and the lambs,
With the kidds and their damms,
The bells they do ring,
And the birds they do sing,
O the oak, and the ash, and the bonny ivy tree
The introduction of hackney coaches into London caused a great commotion among the watermen, who, until then, had enjoyed a very lucrative trade. Their great advocate, Taylor the water-poet, made strenuous efforts against these novelties, both in prose and verse. In one place he says
“ Carroaches, coaches, jades, and Flanders mares,
Doe rob us of our shares, our wares, our fares ;
In the year 1635, at which period there were nearly 6000 coaches in London and its neighbourhood, an ordinance was issued by Charles I. in order to check the rapid increase of carriages, particularly those for the transport of goods—on which occasion the watermen gave vent to their satisfaction in “ The coaches overthrow, or a joviall exaltation of divers tradesmen and others for the suppression of troublesome hackney coaches.”