Anonymous Olde English


Gentle Herdsman, Tell To Me. Dialogue Between A Pilgrim And Herdsman - Poem by Anonymous Olde English

Gentle heardsman, tell to me,
Of curtesy I thee pray,
Unto the towne of Walsingham
Which is the right and ready way.

'Unto the towne of Walsingham
The way is hard for to be gon;
And verry crooked are those pathes
For you to find out all alone.'

Weere the miles doubled thrise,
And the way never soe ill,
Itt were not enough for mine offence,
Itt is soe grievous and soe ill.

'Thy yeeares are young, thy face is faire,
Thy witts are weake, thy thoughts are greene;
Time hath not given thee leave, as yett,
For to committ so great a sinne.'

Yes, heardsman, yes, soe woldest thou say,
If thou knewest soe much as I;
My witts, and thoughts, and all the rest,
Have well deserved for to dye.

I am not what I seeme to bee,
My clothes and sexe doe differ farr;
I am a woman, woe is me!

Born
to greeffe and irksome care.


For
my beloved, and well-beloved,

My wayward cruelty could kill:
And though my teares will nought avail,
Most dearely I bewail him
still.


He was the flower of noble
wights,

None ever more sinc
ere
colde
bee;

Of comely mien and shape
hee was,

And tenderlye hee
loved mee.


When thus I saw he lov
ed me well,

I grewe so proud his pa
ine to see,

That I, who did not
know myselfe,

Thought scorne of such a youth
as hee.

And grew soe coy and nice to please,
As women's lookes are often soe,
He might not kisse, nor hand forsooth,
Unlesse I willed him soe to doe.

Thus being wearyed with delayes
To see I pittyed not his greeffe,
He gott him to a secrett place,
And there he dyed without releeffe.

And for his sake these weeds I weare,
And sacriffice my tender age;
And every day Ile begg my bread,
To undergoe this pilgrimage.

Thus every day I fast and pray,
And ever will doe till I dye;
And gett me to some secrett place,
For soe did hee, and soe will I.

Now, gentle heardsman, aske no more,
But keepe my secrets I thee pray:
Unto the towne of Walsingam
Show me the right and readye way.

'Now goe thy wayes, and God before!
For he must ever guide thee still:
Turne downe that dale, the right hand path,
And soe, faire pilgrim, fare the well!'


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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