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ANCIENT PO E MS.
GRINATIO RELIGIONIS ERGO.
GENTLE HERDSMAN, TELL TO ME. DIALOGUE BETWEEN A PILGRIM AND Herdsman.
The scene of this beautiful old ballad is laid near Walfingham in Norfolk, where was anciently an image of the Virgin Mary, famous over all Europe for the numerous pilgrimages made to it, and the great riches it podeled. Erafmus has given a very exact and humorous description of the Juperstitions practised there in his time. See his account of the VIRGO PARATHALASSIA, in his colloquy, intitled, Pere
He tells us, the rich offerings in filver, gold, and precious stones, that were there shewn him, were incredible, there being scarce a person of any note in England, but what some time or other paid a visit, or Sent a present to our LADY OF WALSINGHAM*. At the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538, this splendid image, with another from Ipswich, was carried to Chelsea, and there burnt in the presence of commissioners ; who, we trust, * did not burn the jewels and the finery.
This poem is printed from a copy in the Editor's folio MS. which had greatly suffered by the hand of time; but vestiges of several of the lines remaining, some conje&tural supplements have been attempted, which, for greater exactness, are in this one ballad distinguished by Italicks.
Entle herdsman, tell to me,
Of curtesy I thee pray,
" Unto * See at the End of this
an account of the annual offerings of the Earls of Nortbumberlando