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THE NUT-BROWN MAYD.

To this ballad, printed about the year 1502 in “ Arnold's Chronicle,” may be fairly assigned a date at

least one hundred years earlier. A strong proof of its popularity in the sixteenth century, is the ex. istence of a book in black-letter, wherein the Passion of Christ is arranged to the air of this ballad, the words being parodied after a fashion much in vogue at that time. It was then believed, as it is still occasionally, that religious instruction might be conveyed under the prestige of a popular song: “ Thus endeth the boke of the newe not browne mayd vpon the passion of Cryste.”—The “ Muses' Mercury' introduced the Nut-Brown Mayd to comparatively modern readers in 1707. It therein given as three hundred years old; and there Prior met with it, and took it as the ground work of his poem,“ Henry and Emma.” If we find no novelty in an earl's son wooing and winning a lady of high degree, under the disguise of a squire or an outlaw, it should be borne in mind, that we are probably going back to the fountain head, whence many similar fancies have been drawn; and that, though familiar with imitations, the original is scarcely known to us.

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Be it right, or wrong, these men among

On women to complayne,
Affermyng this, how that it is

A labour spent in vayne,
To love them wele ; for never a dele

They love a man agayne :
For lete a man do what he can,

Theyr favour to attayne,
Yet, yf a newe do them persue,

Theyr first true lover than
Laboureth for nought: and from her thought

He is a banyshed man.
I say not nay, but that all day

It is bothe writ and sayde,
That womans faith is, as who sayth,

All utterly decayde;
But neverthelesse, ryght good wytnèsse

In this case might be layd,
That they love trewe, and contynew:

Recorde the Nut-brown Mayd :
Which, from her love, (when, her to prove,

He cam to make his mone),
Wolde not depart; for in her herte

She loved but hym alone.

And I your wyll for to fulfyll

In this wyll not refuse;
Trustyinge to shewe, in wordès few,

That men have an ille use
(To theyr own shame) women to blame,

And causelesse them accuse ;
Therfore to you I answere nowe,

All women to excuse,-
My owne hart dere, with you what chere?

I pray you, tell anone;
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde

I love but you alone.'

• It standeth so; a dede is do,

Whereof moche harme shall growe;
My destiny is for lo dy

A shamefull deth, I trowe;
Or ellés to flee: the one must bee,

None other way I knowe,
But to withdrawe as an outlawe,

And take me to my bowe.

Than, betweine us, lete us discusse

What was all the manere Betwene them two: we wyll also)

Tell all the payne, and fere,

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