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The Bab Ballads. The Troubadour
A Troubadour he played Without a castle wall, Within, a hapless maid Responded to his call. “Oh, willow, woe is me! Alack and well-a-day! If I were only free I’d hie me far away!” Unknown her face and name, But this he knew right well, The maiden’s wailing came From out a dungeon cell. A hapless woman lay Within that dungeon grim— That fact, I’ve heard him say, Was quite enough for him. “I will not sit or lie, Or eat or drink, I vow, Till thou art free as I, Or I as pent as thou.” Her tears then ceased to flow, Her wails no longer rang, And tuneful in her woe The prisoned maiden sang: “Oh, stranger, as you play, I recognize your touch; And all that I can say Is, thank you very much.” He seized his clarion straight, And blew thereat, until A warden oped the gate. “Oh, what might be your will?” “I’ve come, Sir Knave, to see The master of these halls: A maid unwillingly Lies prisoned in their walls.”’ With barely stifled sigh That porter drooped his head, With teardrops in his eye, “A many, sir,” he said. He stayed to hear no more, But pushed that porter by, And shortly stood before Sir Hugh de Peckham Rye. Sir Hugh he darkly frowned, “What would you, sir, with me?” The troubadour he downed Upon his bended knee. “I’ve come, de Peckham Rye, To do a Christian task; You ask me what would I? It is not much I ask. “Release these maidens, sir, Whom you dominion o’er— Particularly her Upon the second floor. “And if you don’t, my lord”— He here stood bolt upright, And tapped a tailor’s sword— “Come out, you cad, and fight!” Sir Hugh he called—and ran The warden from the gate: “Go, show this gentleman The maid in Forty-eight.” By many a cell they past, And stopped at length before A portal, bolted fast: The man unlocked the door. He called inside the gate With coarse and brutal shout, “Come, step it, Forty-eight!” And Forty-eight stepped out. “They gets it pretty hot, The maidens what we cotch— Two years this lady’s got For collaring a wotch.” “Oh, ah!—indeed—I see,” The troubadour exclaimed— “If I may make so free, How is this castle named?” The warden’s eyelids fill, And sighing, he replied, “Of gloomy Pentonville This is the female side!” The minstrel did not wait The Warden stout to thank, But recollected straight He’d business at the Bank.
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