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Sir Aldingar

No: 59; variant: 59A

Source: Percy MS., p. 68; Hales and Furnivall, I, 166.

  1. Our king he kept a ffalse steward, Men called him Sir Aldingar, . . . . . . . . .
  2. He wold haue layen by our comely queene, Her deere worshipp to haue betraide; Our queene shee was a good woman, And euer more said him nay.
  3. Aldingar was offended in his mind, With her hee was neuer content, But he sought what meanes he cold find out, In a fyer to haue her brent.
  4. There came a lame lazer to the kings gates, A lazar was blind and lame; He tooke the lazar vpon his backe, Vpon the queenes bed he did him lay.
  5. He said, Lye still, lazar, wheras thou lyest; Looke thou goe not away; Ile make thee a whole man and a sound In two howres of a day.
  6. And then went forth Sir Aldingar, Our queene for to betray, And then he mett with our comlye king, Saies, God you saue and see’
  7. ‘If I had space, as I haue grace, A message I wold say to thee:’ ‘Say on, say on, Sir Aldingar, Say thou on and vnto me.’
  8. ‘I can let you now see one of [the] greiuos[est] sights That euer Christen king did see; Our queene hath chosen a new, new loue, She will haue none of thee.
  9. ‘If shee had chosen a right good knight, The lesse had beene her shame; But she hath chosen a lazar man, Which is both blinde and lame.’
  10. ‘If this be true, thou Aldingar, That thou dost tell to me, Then will I make thee a rich knight Both of gold and fee.
  11. ‘But if it be false, Sir Aldingar, That thou doest tell to me, Then looke for noe other death But to be hangd on a tree. Goe with me,’ saide our comly king, ‘This lazar for to see.’
  12. When the king he came into the queenes chamber, Standing her bed befor, ‘There is a lodly lome,’ says Harry King, ‘For our dame Queene Elinor’
  13. ‘If thou were a man, as thou art none, Here thou sholdest be slaine; But a paire of new gallowes shall be built, Thoust hang on them soe hye.
  14. ‘And [a] fayre fyer there shalbe bett, And brent our queene shalbee:’ Fforth then walked our comlye king, And mett with our comly queene.
  15. Saies, God you saue, our queene, Madam, And Christ you saue and see’ Heere you [haue] chosen a new, new loue, And you will haue none of mee.
  16. ‘If you had chosen a right good knight, The lesse had beene your shame; But you haue chosen a lazar man, That is both blind and lame.’
  17. ‘Euer alacke’’ said our comly queene, ‘Sir Aldingar is false to mee; But euer alacke’’ said our comly queene, ‘Euer alas, and woe is mee’
  18. ‘I had thought sweuens had neuer been true; I haue prooued them true at the last; I dreamed in my sweauen on Thursday at eueninge, In my bed wheras I lay,
  19. ‘I dreamed a grype and a grimlie beast Had carryed my crowne away, My gorgett and my kirtle of golde, And all my faire heade-geere.
  20. How he wold haue worryed me with his tush, And borne me into his nest, Saving there came a little hawk, Flying out of the east.
  21. ‘Saving there came a little hawke, Which men call a merlion; Vntill the ground he stroke him downe, That dead he did fall downe.
  22. ‘Giffe I were a man, as I am none, A battell I would proue; I wold fight with that false traitor; Att him I cast my gloue’
  23. ‘Seing I am able noe battell to make, You must grant me, my leege, a knight, To fight with that traitor, Sir Aldingar, To maintaine me in my right.’
  24. ‘I’le giue thee forty dayes,’ said our king, ‘To seeke thee a man therin; If thou find not a man in forty dayes, In a hott fyer thou shall brenn.’
  25. Our queene sent forth a messenger; He rode fast into the south; He rode the countryes through and through, Soe ffar vnto Portsmouth.
  26. . . . . . . . . . . . He cold find never a man in the south country That wold fight with the knight soe keene.
  27. The second messenger the queen forth sent Rode far into the east; But, blessed be God made sunn and moone’ He sped then all of the best.
  28. As he rode then by one riuer side, There he mett with a little child; He seemed noe more in a mans likenesse Then a child of four yeeres old.
  29. He askt the queenes messenger how far he rode; Loth he was him to tell; The little one was offended att him, Bid him adew, farwell.
  30. Said, Turne thou againe, thou messenger, Greete our queene well from me; When bale is att hyest, boote is att next; Helpe enough there may bee.
  31. ‘Bid our queene remember what she did dreame In her bedd wheras shee lay; Shee dreamed the grype and the grimly beast Had carryed her crowne away;
  32. ‘Her gorgett and her kirtle of gold, Alsoe her faire head-geere; He wold haue werryed her with his tushe, And borne her into his nest.
  33. ‘Saving there came a little hawke, Men call him a merlyon; Vntill the ground he did strike him downe, That dead he did ffall downe.
  34. ‘Bidd the queene be merry att her hart, Euermore light and glad; When bale is att hyest, boote is at next, Helpe enoughe there shalbe.’
  35. Then the queenes messenger rode backe, A gladed man then was hee; When he came before our queene, A gladd woman then was shee.
  36. Shee gaue the messenger twenty pound, O lord, in gold and ffee; Saies, Spend and spare not while this doth last, Then feitch thou more of me.
  37. Our queene was put in a tunne to burne, She thought no thing but death; Th’e were ware of the little one Came ryding forth of the east.
  38. With a mu . . . . . A louelie child was hee; When he came to that fier, He light the queene full nigh.
  39. Said, Draw away these brands of fire Lie burning before our queene, And feitch me hither Sir Aldingar, That is a knight soe keene.
  40. When Aldingar see that little one, Ffull litle of him hee thought; If there had beene halfe a hundred such, Of them he wold not haue wrought.
  41. Hee sayd, Come hither, Sir Aldingar; Thou seemust as bigge as a ffooder; I trust to God, ere I haue done with thee, God will send to vs [an] auger.
  42. Saies, The first stroke that’s giuen, Sir Aldingar, I will giue vnto thee, And if the second giue thou may, Looke then thou spare not mee.
  43. The litle one pulld forth a well good sword, I-wis itt was all of guilt; It cast light there over that feild, It shone soe all of guilt.
  44. He stroke the first stroke att Aldingar, He stroke away his leggs by his knee; . . . . . . . . . . .
  45. Sayes, Stand vp, stand vp, thou false traitor, And fight vpon thy feete; For and thou thriue as thou begins, Of a height wee shalbe meete.
  46. ‘A preist, a preist,’ sayes Aldingar, ‘Me for to houzle and shriue’ A preist, a preist,’ sayes Aldingar, ‘While I am a man liuing a-liue’ He then steppd out at her room-door,
  47. ‘I wold haue laine by our comlie queene; To it shee wold neuer consent; I thought to haue betrayd her to our king, In a fyer to haue had her brent.
  48. ‘There came a lame lazar to the kings gates, A lazar both blind and lame; I tooke the lazar vpon my backe, In the Queenes bed I did him lay.
  49. ‘I bad him, Lie still, lazar, where he lay, Looke he went not away; I wold make him a whole man and a sound In two houres of a day.
  50. . . . . . . . . . . ‘Euer alacke’’ sayes Sir Aldingar, ‘Falsing neuer doth well;
  51. ‘Forgiue, forgiue me, queene, Madam’ For Christs loue forgiue me’’ ‘God forgaue his death, Aldingar, And freely I forgiue thee.’
  52. ‘Now take thy wife, thou King Harry, And loue her as thou shold; Thy wiffe shee is as true to thee As stone that lies on the castle wall.’
  53. The lazar vnder the gallow tree Was a pretty man and small; The lazar vnder the gallow tree Was made steward in King Henerys hall.