Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Wife, quoth the miller, fetch me forth Lightfoot,

That we of his sweetness a little may tafte :
A fair venison pafty, then brought the forth presently ;

Eat, quoth the miller; but, fir, make no waste.
Here's dainty lightfoot, in faith, said our king ;
I never before eat so dainty a thing.

[ocr errors]

I wis, faid Richard, no dainty at all it is,

For we do eat of it every day.
In what place, said our king, may be bought like to this?

We never pay penny for it, by my fay :
From merry Sherwood we fetch it home here;
Now and then we make bold with our kings deer.

[ocr errors]

Then I think, said our king, that it is venison.

Each fool, quoth Richard, full well may see that :
Never are we without two or three under the roof,

Very well felhed, and excellent fat:
But, pray thee, say nothing where'er thou dost go ;
We would not, for two-pence, the king should it know.

Doubt not, then said our king, my promis’d secrecy ;

The king shall never know more on’t for me.
А cup

of lambswool they drank unto him then,
And to their beds they pass'd presently.
The nobles, next morning, went all up and down,
For to seek out the king, in every town.

At

At last, at the millers house, foon they espied him plain,

As he was mounting upon his fair steed;
To whom they came presently, falling down on their knees;

Which made the millers heart woefully bleed :
Shaking and quaking before him he stood,
Thinking he should have been hang'd by the rood.

The king perceiving him fearful and trembling,
· Drew forth his sword, but nothing he said:
The miller down did fall, crying before them all,

Doubting the king would have cut off his head :
But his kind courtesy there to requite,
Gave him a living and made him a knight.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

When as our royal king came home from Nottingham,

And with his nobles at Westminster lay ;
Recounting the sports and pastimes they had ta'en,

In this late progress along by the way;
Of them all, great and small, he did protest,
The miller of Mansfields sport liked him beft.

And now, my lords, quoth the king, I am determined

Against Saint Georges next sumptuous feast,
That this old miller, our last confirmed knight,

With his son Richard, shall both be my guest :
For, in this merriment, 'tis my desire,
To talk with the jolly knight, and the brave squire,

[blocks in formation]

When as the noblemen faw the kings pleasantness,

They were right joyful and glad in their hearts ; A pursuivant there was sent straight on the business,

The which had many times been in those parts. When he came to the place where he did dwell, His message orderly then he did tell,

God save your worship, then said the messenger,

And grant your lady her hearts defire,
And to your fon Richard good fortune and happiness,

That sweet young gentleman, and gallant young squire.
Our king greets you all, and thus doth say,
You must come to the court on Saint Georges day.

Therefor, in any case, fail not to be in place.

I wis, quoth the miller, this is an odd jeft:
What should we do there ? he said : faith, I am half afraid.

I doubt, quoth Richard, be hang'd at the least.
Nay, quoth the messenger, you do miftake;
Qur king he prepares a great feast for your fake.

Then said the miller, Now by my troth, messenger,

Thou haft contented my worship full well. Hold, here's three farthings, to quit thy great gentleness,

For these happy tidings which thou doft me tell. Let me see, hear'lt thou me ? tell to our king, We'll wait on his mastership in every thing.

The

The pursuivant smiled at their fimplicity,

And, making many legs, took their reward:
And, taking then his leave with great humility,

To the kings court again he repair'd;
Shewing unto his grace, in each degree,
The knights most liberal gift and bounty.

When as he was gone away, thus did the miller say:

Here comes expences and charges indeed ;
Now we must needs be brave, though we spend all we have ;

For of new garments we have great need :
Of horses and serving-men we must have store,
With bridles and faddles, and twenty things more.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Tush, fir John, quoth his wife, neither do fret nor frown;

You shall be at no more charges for me,
For I will turn and trim up my old russet gown,

With every thing as fine as may be ;
And on our mill-horses full swift we will ride,
With pillows and pannels as we shall provide.

In this most stately fort, rode they unto the court,

Their jolly fon Richard foremost of all;
Who fet up, by good hap, a cocks feather in his cap;

And so they jetted down towards the kings hall :
The merry old miller, with his hand on his fide;
His wife, like maid Marian, did mince at that tide.

[blocks in formation]

The king and his nobles, that heard of their coming,

Meeting this gallant knight, with his brave train ;
Welcome, fir knight, quoth he, with this your gay lady ;

Good fir John Cockle, once welcome again :
And so is the squire, of courage so free.
Quoth Dick, A bots on you ; do you know me ?

Quoth our king gently, How should I forget thee?

Thou wast mine own bed fellow, well that I wot. • But I do think on a trick.”—Tell me that, prithee Dick.

“ How we with farting did make the bed hot.” Thou whoreson, happy knave, then quoth the knight, Speak cleanly to our king, or else go shite.

The king and his counsellors heartily laugh'd at this,

While the king took them both by the hand;
With ladies and their maids, like to the Queen of Spades,

The millers wife did so orderly ftand:
A milk maids curtesy at every word ;
And down the folks were set at the side-board :

[ocr errors]

Where the king royally, in princely majesty,

Sate at his dinner with joy and delight :
When he had eaten well, to jesting then 'he' fell,

Taking a bowl of wine, drank to the knight :
Here's to you both, he said, in wine, ale and beer;
Thanking you all for your country cheer.

Quoth

« ПредишнаНапред »