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Enquiring about everywhere for her love,
Before they were sensible he was so great; And when he came in and knocked at the gate, He soon saw her father, and mother likewise, Expressing their sorrow with tears in their eyes. To them, with obeisance, he modestly said, * Pray where is my jewel, that innocent maid, Whose sweet lovely beauty doth thousands excel? I fear, by your weeping, that all is not well!' No, no! she is gone, she is utterly lost; We have not heard of her a twelvemonth at most! Which makes us distracted with sorrow and care, And drowns us in tears at the point of despair.' • I'm grieved to hear these sad tidings,' he cried. * Alas! honest young man,' her father replied, I heartily wish she'd been wedded to you, For then we this sorrow had never gone through.' Sweet Henry he made them this answer again; 'I am newly come home from the kingdom of Spain, From whence I have brought me a beautiful bride, And am to be married to-morrow,' he cried; "And if you will go to my wedding,' said he, · Both
and your lady right welcome shall be.' They promised they would, and accordingly came, Not thinking to meet with such persons of fame. All decked with their jewels of rubies and pearls, As equal companions of lords and of earls, Fair Ruth, with her love, was as gay as the rest, So they in their marriage were happily blessed. Now, as they returned from the church to an inn, The father and mother of Ruth did begin Their daughter to know, by a mole they behold, Although she was clothed in a garment of gold. With transports of joy they flew to the bride, "O! where hast thou been, sweetest daughter?' they cried, “Thy tedious absence has grieved us sore, As fearing, alas! we should see thee no more.'
Dear parents,' said she,' many hazards I run,
He's brought home enough, as he's brought home my
many fair pounds were bestowed on the poor, The like of this wedding was never before !
THE BERKSHIRE LADY'S GARLAND.
IN FOUR PARTS.
To the tune of The Royal Forester. [WHEN we first met with this very pleasing English ballad, we deemed the story to be wholly fictitious, but "strange' as the
relation’may appear, the incidents narrated are true' or at least founded on fact. The scene of the ballad is Whitley Park, near Reading, in Berkshire, and not, as some suppose, Calcot House, which was not built till 1759. Whitley is reentioned by Leland as 'the Abbot's Park, being at the entrance of Redding town.' At the Dissolution the estate passed to the crown, and the man. sion seems, from time to time, to have been used as a royal
palace' till the reign of Elizabeth, by whom it was granted, along with the estate, to Sir Francis Knollys; it became afterwards, by purchase, the property of the Kendricks, an ancient race, descended from the Saxon kings. William Kendrick, of Whitley, armr. was created a baronet in 1679, and died in 1685, leaving issue one son, Sir William Kendrick, of Whitley, Bart., who married Miss Mary House, of Reading, and died in 1699, without issue male, leaving an only daughter. It was this rich heiress, who possessed store of wealth and beauty bright,' that is the heroine of the ballad. She married Benjamin Child, Esq., a young and handsome, but very poor attorney of Reading, and the marriage is traditionally reported to have been brought about exactly as related in the ballad. We have not been able to ascertain the exact date of the marriage, which was celebrated in St. Mary's
Church, Reading, the bride wearing a thick veil; but the ceremony must have taken place some time about 1705. In 1714, Mr. Child was high sheriff of Berkshire. As he was an humble and obscure personage previously to his espousing the heiress of Whitley, and, in fact, owed all his wealth and influence to his marriage, it cannot be supposed that immediately after his union he would be elevated to so important and dignified a post as the highshrievalty of the very aristocratical county of Berks. We may, therefore, consider nine or ten years to have elapsed betwixt his marriage and his holding the office of high sheriff, which he filled when he was about thirty-two years of age. The author of the ballad is unknown: supposing him to have composed it shortly after the events which he records, we cannot be for wrong in fixing its date about 1706. The earliest broadside we have seen contains a rudely executed, but by no means bad likeness of Queen Anne, the reigning monarch at that period.]
FIVE THOUSAND A YEAR.
Mark this strange and true relation,
Though she had vast store of riches,
SHOWING THE LADY'S LETTER OF A CHALLENGE TO FIGHT HIM
KNOWING WHO SHE WAS.
* This is the ancient way of spelling the name of Reading. In Percy's version of Barbara Allen, that ballad commences • In Scarlet town,' which, in the common stall copies, is rendered • In Redding town.' The former is apparently a pun upon the old orthography~ Redding.