|POEM TO THE TUNE OF: THE KING AND THE BEGGAR Essex Record Office Reference: D/DRc M12 [f.61]
Transcribed by Trevor Hearn 5th January 2021
There is a translation to Modern English further down the page
To the teune of the Kinge and the Begger
[margin note at foot of page: "in all Etruria from". Notes and ideas jotted down perhaps pertaining to the verse abandoned in lines 13 and 14 below]
1 From all the stock of flying Foull
2 the Eagall bares the bell [Note 1]
3 she mounts up to the glestring [Note 2] cloudes
4 she feres no lightninges fell
5 hur fathers fayer like glestringe goulde
6 hur talantes farfull to behoulde
7 above all birdes she is extolde
8 for flyinge to excell
9 the swan[n] is whitt and fayre of hue
10 when she perceayeth dethe ensue
11 with sugred wordes she singes adue
12 the stremes wher I did dwell
13 [Incleate In creat when deadullus furst began
14 when deadullas] [Note 3]
15 The nightingale for tuned voyce
16 all other birdes excede
17 mans carefull minde she doth rejoyce
18 with sugred songes indeede
19 she alwayes sleepeth in hur neste
20 w[i]th preckede thorne agaynste hur breste
21 because the safer she would reste
22 from hazarde of hur foe
23 the peacoke on his taile of price [Note 4]
24 he is so proude of argos [Note 5] eyes
25 he thinkes ther is not under the skyes
26 a fayrer birde to shoe
1 The Chaffinch singes when winter comes
2 to tell us winter is nye
3 she bides us playster up our roumes
4 for fare coulde make us crye
5 the chatteringe swallowe soft dothe singe
6 and sayes I gladsoume tidinges bringe
7 the winter is past behoulde the springe
8 see how the leaves be grene
9 the cokco[o]w chantes in sumer time
10 when every thinge is in the prime
11 she warnes our wives from venus cryme
12 sume know well whatt I meane
13 The birde that highths ficedulae [Note 6]
14 in autume swette doth synge
15 she bides us otes wheate Rye and haye
16 w[it]hin our barnes to bringe
17 thus lady every birde you se[e]
18 unto his kynde doth best agree
19 thay com thay goo when tyme shoulde be
20 as nature doth assyne
21 goode Lady then your nature showe
22 usee not your Lover as a foe
23 despise not him that loves yow soe
24 above all femalle kinde
25 And thus I
26 End etc
Translation to Modern English by Trevor Hearn 5th January 2021
To the tune of the King and the Beggar
From all the stock of flying fowl
the eagle comes out first;
she mounts up to the sparkling clouds,
she fears no lightning burst.
Her feathers fair like glistening gold,
her talons fearful to behold;
above all birds she is extolled
for flying to excel.
The swan is white and fair of hue,
when she perceives, death does ensue;
with sweetest words she sings "Adieu,
the streams where I did dwell".
The nightingale for tunéd voice
does other birds exceed;
man's troubled mind she does rejoice
with sweetest songs indeed.
She always sleepeth in her nest
with prickly thorn against her breast
because the safer she would rest
from danger of her foe.
The peacock does his tail much prize,
he is so proud of Argos's eyes;
he thinks there is not under skies
a fairer bird to show.
The chaffinch sings when winter comes
to tell us winter's nigh.
She begs us insulate our homes
lest cold should make us cry.
The chattering swallow soft does sing,
and says "I gladsome tidings bring,
winter has passed, behold the spring,
see how the leaves are green."
The cuckoo calls in summer time
when everything is in its prime,
she warns the wives of Venus's crime,
some know well what I mean.
The pied flycatcher rises high
in autumn sweet to sing.
Bids us our oats, wheat, hay and rye
inside our barns to bring.
Thus, lady, every bird you see
unto his kind does best agree,
they come, they go, when time should be
as nature does assign.
Good lady, then, your nature show,
use not your lover as your foe.
Despise not him that loves you so,
above all female kind.
Note 1 "Bear the bell": to take the first place or have foremost rank or position; derives from the practice of having the leading farm animal in a flock wear a bell. (Source: OED)
Note 2 Glistering: i.e. sparkling or glittering
Note 3 These lines are incomplete and the author probably abandoned his initial intentions
Note 4 Price: worthy, commendable, praisworthy, noble
Note 5 Argos: in Greek mythology, Argos was a hundred-eyed giant; he was also known as Argus Panoptes where "Panoptes" meant "all-seeing one"; a servant of Hera (Source: Argus Panoptes (greekmythology.com))
Note 6 ficedulae: the pied flycatcher