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counterfaiting a vaine gesture and a foolish countenance, synging the foote of many songes, as fooles were wont.'
Robin, lende me thy bowe, thy bowe,
• There was a mayde cam out of Kent,
Daungerous be (she] :
* This is one of the ballads of Captain Cox, the Coventry mason, and it is mentioned by Laneham, in the list he supplies of them in his Letter from Kenilworth. What a bunch of ballets and songs, all ancient, as Broom, broom on hill,' &c. So that it was an old ballad in 1575.
+ Ritson found no trace of the song of the Maid of Kent' either before or subsequent to the date of this Moral. It is probably the same which Stephen Gosson in his Playes Confuted in Five Actions, says, was introduced in a play at the Theatre prior to the year 1582. • As for that glosing plaie at the Theater which proffers you so faire, there is interlaced in it a baudie song of A Maide of Kent, and a little beastlie speech of a new stawled roge, both which I am compelled to burie in silence, being more ashamed to utter them then they.' Sign. D6. The 'glosing plaie' was The Play of Plays.
. By a banke as I lay, I lay,
They went over a bridge all three together :
go with all, quoth Tom a lin.
• Martin Swart and his man, sodledum, sodledum,
• Come over the boorne, Besse,
My little pretie Besse,
* This is another of the ballads of Captain Cox. 'By a bank as I lay,' is one of those enumerated by Laneham. See Ritson’s Ancient Songs, i. lxxxij. edit. 1829.
+ This song is unquestionably as old as the reign of Henry VII, Martin Swart was sent over in 1486, ty Margaret Duchess of Burgundy, to assist in an insurrection headed by Lord Lovell. Skelton alludes to it (as Ritson has remarked) in his poem Against a comely Coystrowne, which must have been written before 1529–
• With hey troly loly lo, whip here Jak,
Of Martyn Swart and all hys mery men.'
| This ballad seems to have been very popular in the commencement of the reign of Elizabeth. A person of the name of William Birche wrote a dialogue between Elizabeth and England, on her coming to the crown, which thus commences ! England. Come over the born, bessy, come over the born, bessy,
Swete bessy come over to me,
Before all other that ever I see.'
" The white Dove sat on the castell wall,
* If you will any more, sing it your selfe.' Discipline enters, and reproves Moros for his lightness; to which the latter answers :
• I have twentie mo songs yet ;
As I war wont in her lappe to sit,
Also, I com to drink som of your Christmas ale.' Piety and Exercitation join their efforts to those of Discipline to reform Moros, and they find that he has at least as much knave as fool about him*. In reply to their exhortations, Moros observes
• In S Nicholas shambles ther is inough, • Or in Eastcheape, or at Saint Katherins : “There be good poddings at the signe of the Plough; • You never did eate better sauserlinges.
is preserved in the library of the Society of Antiquaries, London, and is not noticed by Ritson, who only mentions that Edgar in King Lear sings the three lines in the text.
* While characters were allegorical (with very few exceptions, and that of Moros one of them) the author found it necessary to guard against any personal application of his satire : he says, in the prologue
• But truly we meane no person perticularly,
• But only to specify of such generally.' Much the same is said by the Devil in the Ludus Coventriæ.
• Discipline. This folly is not his innocency, • Which can in this wise lewdly overwhart, • But it is a malicious insolentie,
Which procedeth from a wicked harte.' While Piety and Exercitation hold him, Discipline scourges him, which makes him pretend contrition ; but he soon relapses by the incitements of Idleness, Incontinence and Wrath, who however profess the greatest contempt for him, Wrath calling him as starke an Idiot as ever bore bable, but giving him a sword and dagger, (probably of wood, such as those with which the Vice was usually provided,) and all promising to bring him acquainted with Nell, Nan, Megge, and Besse. One of the stews in Southwark is thus minutely described by Incontinence, as it no doubt then existed
• You meane the thacked house by the water side, • Which is whitlymed above in the loofe.'
They leave Moros on the stage at the sight of Discipline, and Moros lets fall his sword and hides himself. Fortune then declares her purpose in exalting Moros, observing
Seing that the vulgares will me not prayse
That is by erecting fooles insipient. Moros, elevated to wealth, takes Impiety, Cruelty, and Ignorance as his servants, and disguises himself gaily in a foolish beard.' Impiety incites him against
• these new fellows,' the Protestants, and Moros declares that he will hang, burn, head, and kill’ them without mercy. Discipline again enters, and Moros escapes, after endeavouring to summon courage to strike him with his sword and dagger. When they have withdrawn, the stage direction is “Here entreth People, and the representative complains of the cruelty and oppression of the powerful Moros. To indicate his advance in age, Moros enters furiously with a grey beard,' and People runs away from his wrath. God's Judgment then appears with a terrible vizard,' and strikes down Moros : Confusion follows, and they strip Moros of his goodly geare,' and put him on 'a fooles coate to weare.' Confusion threatens him with eternal fire, and requires him to accompany him, but but Moros replies :
• Go with thee, ill-favoured knave ?
Confusion. I will carry thee to the Devill, in deede : “The world shalbe well ridde of a foole. • Moros, Adew; to the Devill God send us good
speede: • An other while with the Devill I must go to schole.'
We are left to conclude that Confusion carries him away on his back to the Devil. This is the catastrophe of the piece, which winds up with some sage and pious reflections by Discipline, Piety, and Exerci. tation. It ought to be remarked, that the proverbial phrase, the longer thou livest the more fool thou art,'