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To them sir Ursine did succeed,
And long the sceptre bear. Sir Valentine he stay'd in France,
And was his uncle's heir.
ENRY, our royal king, would ride a hunting
To the green forest so pleasant and fair;
All a long summer's day rode the king pleasantly,
With all his princes and nobles each one ; Chasing the hart and hind, and the buck gallantly,
Till the dark evening forc'd all to turn home.
Then at last, riding fast, he had lost quite
With a rude miller he met at the last:
Sir, quoth the miller, I mean not to jest, Yet I think, what I think, sooth for to say, You do not lightly ride out of your way.
Why, what dost thou think of me, quoth our king merrily,
Passing thy judgment upon me so brief ? Good faith, said the miller, I mean not to flatter thee ;
I guess thee to be but some gentleman thief; Stand thee back, in the dark ; light not adown, Lest that I presently crack thy knave's crown.
Thou dost abuse me much, quoth the king, saying thus ;
I am a gentleman ; lodging I lack.
All thy inheritance hangs on thy back.
* The king says this.
If thou beest a true man, then quoth the miller,
I swear by my toll-dish, I'll lodge thee all night. Here's my hand, quoth the king; that was I ever.
Nay, soft, quoth the miller, thou may'st be a sprite. Better I'll know thee, ere hands we will shake; With none but honest men hands will I take.
Thus they went all along unto the miller's house :
Where they were seething of puddings and souse :: The miller first enter'd in ; after him went the king;
Never came he in so smoky a house.
I like well thy countenance; thou hast an honest face;
With my son Richard this night thou shalt lie. Quoth his wife, by my troth, it is a handsome youth ;
Yet it's best, husband, to deal warily.
Then our king presently, making low courtesy,
With his hat in his hand, thus he did say ;
I have no passport, nor never was servitor,
But a poor courtier, rode out of my way :
Then to the miller his wife whispered secretly,
Saying, It seemeth this youth's of good kin, Both by his apparel, and eke by his manners ;
To turn him out, certainly, were a great sin. Yea, quoth he, you may see he hath some grace When he doth speak to his betters in place.
Well, quo' the miller's wife, young man, ye're welcome here;
And, though I say it, well lodgèd shall be:
And good brown hempen sheets likewise, quoth she.
This caus’d the king, suddenly, to laugh most heartily,
Till the tears trickled fast down from his eyes. Then to their supper were they set orderly,