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EBBA 31907

University of Glasgow Library - Euing
Ballad XSLT Template
The rarest Ballad that ever was seen,
Of the Blind beggers daughter of Bednall-green

IT was a blind begger that long lost his sight,
He had a fair daughter most pleasant and brght
And many agalant brave Suitor had she,
For none was so comely as pretty Bessee,
And though she was of favour most fair,
Yet seeind the was but a begger his heir,
Of ancient house keepers dispised was she,
Whose Sons came as Suitors to pretty Bessee,
Wherefore in great sorrow fair Bessee did say,
Good Father and mother let me go away,
To seek out my fortune whereever it be,
This suit then they granted to pretty Bessee.
Then Bessee that was of beauty most bright,
They clad in gray Russet, and late in the night,
From Father and mother alone parted shee,
Who sighed and sobbed for pretty Bessee.
She went till she came to Stratford at Bow,
Then knew she not whether nor which way to go,
With tears she lamented her hard Destiny.
So sad and so heavy was pretty Bessee;
She kept on her journey untill it was day,
and went unto Rumford along the highway,
And at the Queens arms entertained was she,
So fair and well favourd was pretty Bessee.
She had not been there one month to an end,
But Master and Mistris and all was her friend.
And every brave Gallant that once did her see,
Was straightway in love with pretty Bessee.
Great gifts they did send her of silver and gold,
And in their songs daily her Love they extold.
Her beauty was blazed in every degree,
So fair and so comely was pretty Bessee.
The youngmen of Rumford in her had their joy
She shewd herself courteous and never too coy.
And at their commandment still would she be,
So fair and so comely was prett Bessee.
Four Suitors at once unto her did go,
They craved her favour but still she said no.
I would not wish Gentlemen to marry with me,
Yet ever they honoured pretty Bessee
The one of them was a gallant young Knight,
And he came to her disguised in the night.
The second a Gentleman of good degree.
Who wood and sued for pretty Bessee.
A merchant of Lon. whose wealth was not small
Was then the third Suitor and proper withall
Her Masters own Son the fourth man must be,
Who swore he would dye for pretty Bessee
And if thou wilt marry with me quod the Knight.
Ile make thee a Lady with joy and delight
My heart is inthralled by thy beauty.
Then grant me thy favour my pretty Bessee.
The Gentleman said come marry with me,
In silk and in velvet my Bessee shall be
My heart lives distressed O hear me quoth he
And grant me thy love my pretty Bessee.
Let me be thy husband the Merchant did say
thou shalt live in London most galint and gay
My Ship shall bring home rich Jewels for thee
And I will for ever love pretty Bessee
then Bessee she sighed, and thus she did say
My Father and Mother I mean to obey
First get their good will and be faithfull to me
And you shall enjoy your pretty Bessee,
To everyone this answer she made
Wherefore unto her they joyfully said,
this thing to fulfill we all do agree,
and where dwells thy father my pretty Bessee,

My Father quoth she is soon to be seen,
The silly blind begger of Bednal-green.
That daily sits begging for charity,
He is the good Father of pretty Bessee.
His marks and his tokens are known full well.
He alwayes is led with a dog and a bel:
A silly o[l]d man God knoweth is he,
Yet he is the Father of pretty Bessee.
Nay then quoth the merchant thou art not for me
Nor quoth the Inholder my wife shalt thou be,
I loath quoth the Gentleman a beggers degree,
I herefore fare you well my pretty Bessee.
Why then quoth the Knight hap better or worse,
I weigh not true love by the weight of the purse.
and beauty is beauty in every degree,
Then welcome to me my pretty Bessee.
With thee to thy Father forthwith will I go,
Nay soft quoth his Kinsman it must not be so:
A beggers daughter no Lady shall be.
Then take thy adieu of pretty Bessee.
But soon after this by break of the day,
The knight had from Rumford stole Bessee away
The young men of Rumford so sick as maybe,
Rode after to fetch again pretty Bessee.
As swift as the wind to ride they were seen,
Untill they came neer unto Bednal-green.
And as the Knight lighted most courteously,
They fought against him for pretty Bessee.
But Rescue came presently over the plain,
Or else the Knight for his Love there had bin slain
The fray being ended then straight he did see,
His Kinsman came railing for pretty Bessee
Then speak the blind begger although I be poor,
Raile not against my child at mine own door.
Though she be not deckt with Velvet and Pearls
Yet will I drop angels with thee for my Girle
and then if my Gold wilt better her birth,
And equal the gold you lay on the earth,
Then neither raile nor grudge you to see,
The blind beggers daughter a Lady to be,
But first I will hear and have it well known,
The gold that you drop shall be all your own.
With that they replyed contented we be
Then here's quoth the begger for pretty Bessee
With that an angel he cast on the ground,
and dropped in angels full three thousand pound
and oftentimes it proved most plain,
For the Gentlemans one the begger dropt twain
So as the place whereas they did sit,
With gold was covered every whit,
the Gentleman having dropt all his store.
Said Begger hold for I have no more:
thou hast fulfilled thy promise arright,
then marry my Girle quoth he to this Knight:
and here quoth he Ile throw you down,
A hundred pound more to buy her a Gown:
the gentlemen all that this treasure had seen,
Admired the begger of Bednall green
And those that were her suitors before-
their flesh for very anger they tore:
thus was their bessee matcht to the Knight:
and made a Lady in others despight.
A fairer Lady was never seen
then the beggers daughter of Bednal green
But of her sumptuous marriage and feast
and what brave Lords & Knighds thither was prest
the Second part shall set forth to your sight
With marvellous pleasure and wished delight:

OF a blind beggers daughter most fair & bright
That late was betrothed unto a young knight
All the discourses thereof you may see.
But now comes the wedding of pretty Bessee.
Within a gallant Palace most brave,
Adorned with all the cost they could have,
This wedding was kept most sumptuously.
And all for the love of pretty Bessee.
All kind of dainties and delicates sweet,
Was brought to their banquet as was thought meet,
Partridge, Plover and Venison most free.
Against the brave wedding of pretty Bessee.
This weding through England was spread by report
So that a great number thereto did resort,
Of Nobles and Gentiles of every degree,
And all for the fame of pretty Bessee.
To Church then went this gallant young Knight,
His bride followed after like a Lady most bright,
With Troops of Ladies the like was nere seen,
As went with sweet Bessee of Bednal-green.
This wedding being solemnized then,
With musick perform[']d by skilfull men.
The Nobles and Gentiles sate down at that Tide,
Each one beholding the beautifull bride.
But after this sumptudus dinner was done.
To talk and to reason a number begun,
Of the blind beggers daughter most bright,
and what with his daughter he gave to the Knight.
Then speak the Nobles much marveil have we,
The jolly blind begger we cannot here see.
My Lords quoth the bride my fathers so base,
Hes loath with his presence these states to disgrace.
The praise of a woman in question to brin[g].
Before her own face here were a flattering thing.
We think thy fathers basenesse quoth they,
Might by thy beauty be clean put away.
They had no sooner those pleasant words spoke,
But in comes the begger in a silken Cloke.
A Velvet cap and a feather had he,
and now a musitian for sooth he would be.
and being led in from catching of harm,
He had a dainty Lute under his arm,
Said please you hear any musick of me,
a song I will sing you of pretty Bessee,
With that his Lute he twanged straightway,
and thereon began most sweetly to play.
and after a Lesson was plaid two or three,
he straind out this song most delicately.
A Beggers daughter did dwell on a green
Who for her beauty may well be a Queen
A blyth boony lass and dainty was she,
And many a one called her pretty Bessee,
Her Father had no goods nor no lands,
But begd for a penny all day with his hands
and yet for her marriage he gave thousand three
Yet still hath some what for pretty Bessee.

And if any one her birth do disdain
Her Father is ready with might and with main
To prove she is come of a noble degre
Therefore let none flout at my prety Bessee.
With that the Lords and company round
With hearty laughter was ready to soun,
At last said the Lords full well we may see
The bride and the beggers beholding to thee.
With that the bride all blushing did rise,
With the salt water within her fair eyes
Pardon my Father grave Nobles quoth she,
That through blind affection thus doteth on me,
If this be thy Father the Nobles did say,
Well may he be proud of this haypy day,
Yet by his countenance well we may see,
His birth with his fortune did never agree.
And therefore blind begger we pray thee bewray
And look that the truth to us thou do say,
Thy birth and thy parentage what it might be
Even for the love thou bearest to pretty Bessee.
Then give me leave yon Gentiles each one,
A Song more to sing and then Ile be gone,
And if that I do not win good report,
then do not give me a groat for my sport

WHen first our King his fame did advance,
& fought for his title in delicate France
In many places great perils past he,
But th[e]n was not born my pretty bessee
And in those wars went over to fight,
Many a brave Duke a Lord and a Knight.
& with them yong Monford of courage so free,
but then was not born my pretty bessee,
& there did yong Monford by a blow oth face
Loose both his eyes in a very short space,
His life had also been gone with his fight,
Had not a yong woman come forth in the night
Among the slain men her fancy did move,
To search and to seek for her own true love
Who seeing yong Montford there gasping to ly
she saved his life through her charity.
And then all our victuals in beggers attire,
At hands of good people we then did require,
At last into England as now it is seen,
We came and remained at bednal green.
And thus we have lived in fortunes despight
Though poor yet conented with humble delite
And in my old years a comfort to be
God sent me a daughter cal[]d pretty bessee,
And thus you nobles my song I do end,
Hoping the same no man doth offend,
Full forty long winters thus have I been
A silly blind begger of bednal green
Now when the company every one
Did hear the strange tale in song he had shown
They were all amazed as well they migh be,
Both at the blind begger and pretty Bessee.
With that the fair bride they then did imbrace
saying, you are come of an honourable Race,
Thy Father likewise of a high degree.
And thou as worthy a Lady to be,
Thus was the feast ended with joy and delight
A happy Bridegroom was made the young Knight
Who lived in joy and felicity.
With his fair Lady pretty Bessee.


Printed for F. Coles, T. Vere,
and W. Gilbertson.

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