Herbert Collmann's "Ballads and Broadsides chiefly Of the Elizabethan Period"

(this subset of Collmann was transcribed from the 1912 edition by Greg Lindahl -- I'm only transcribing the ballads which I find interesting (e.g. bawdy, but not anti-papist sermons) and have music. All typoes are probably mine, but good luck finding them! This link will return you to the pre-1600 Ballads project.)


page 17

[ I haven't transcribed this one, but I scanned it; here's a screen-size reduction and the full-sized image as pdf or postscript. This ballad has the date 1570 printed on it. ]

pages 27-31


A worthy Mirrour, wherein you may Marke,
An excellent discourse of a breeding Larke.

To the tune of new Rogero

By reading whereof, preceiue well you may,
What trust is in friends, or in kinsefolke to stay.

A Larke sometimes did breed,
within a field of Corne:
And had increase when as the graine
was ready to be shorne.
She wary of the time,
and carefull for her nest:
Debated wisely with her selfe,
what thing to doo were best:
For to abide the rage,
of cruell Reapers hand:
She knew it was to perilous,
with safetie for to stand.
And to dislodge her broode,
vnable yet to flie:
(Not kowing whether to remooue)
great harmes might hap thereby.
Therefore she ment to stay,
till force constraind to fleet,
And in the while for to prouide,
some other place as meete:
The better to prouide,
the purpose of her minde:
She would forthwith go seeke abroad,
and leaue her young behinde:
But first she bad them all,
attend their mothers will:
Which carefull was for to eschew,
each likelihood of ill.
This Corne is ripe (quoth she)
wherein we nestled are:
The which (if heede preuents not harms)
might cause our mortall care.
Therefore to fence with skill,
the sequell of mishaps:
I will prouide some other place
for feare of after clappes.
Whilst I for this and foode,
am flowen hence away,
With heedfull eares attentiue be,
what commers by do say.
Thus said, she vaunst herselfe,
vpon her longest toe:
And mounted vp into the skies,
still singing as she flowe.
Anon she home returnde,
full fraught with choice of meat:
But lowe, (a suddaine change) her Byrdes
for feare could nothing eat.
Therewith agast she cried,
what howe what meaneth this?
I charge you on my blessing, tell
what thing hath chanst amisse?
Are these my welcomes home,
or thanks for food I haue?
Ye wonted were with chyrping cheere,
to gape before I gaue.
But now such quames oppresse
your former quiet kinde:
That (quit transformde) dumbe mute things
and sencelesse soule I finde.
The prime and eldest Byrde,
(thus checkt) began to say:
Alas deare Dame such newes we heard,
since you were flowen away:
That were it not the trust,
that we repose in you:
Our liues were lost remedilesse,
we know it well yneuw:
The owner of the plot,
came hither with his Sonne:
And said to him, this Wheat must down,
it is more than time it were done.
Go get thee to my Friends,
and bid them come to morne:
And tell them that I craue their helpes,
to reape a peece of Corne.
The Larke that was the Dam,
stood in a dumpe a while:
And after said, his friends (quoth he)
and then began to smile.
Tush, friends are hard to finde,
true friendship seeld appeares:
A man may misse to haue a friend,
that liues olde Nestors yeares.
True Damon and his friend,
long ere our time were dead:
It was in Greece, a great way hence,
where such true loue was bred.

Our Country is too colde,
to foster vp a friend:
Till proofe be made, each one will say,
still yours vnto the end.
But trie in time of need,
and all your friends are flowen.
Such fruitlesse seed, such fickle stay,
in faithlesse friends be sowen:
Therefore be of good cheere,
reuiue your dulled sprights:
Expell the care, that causelesse thus,
bereaues you of delights.
Let not surmized feare,
depriue your eies of sleepe:
My selfe will be amongst you still,
that safely shall you keepe.
And sweare eene be the Tuft,
that growes vpon my crowne:
If all his helpe be in his friends,
this Corne shall not go downe.
The young assured by her,
that such an oth did sweare:
Did passe the time in wonted sleepe,
and banisht former feare:
And when the drousie night,
was fled from gladsome day:
She bad them wake and looke about,
for she must go her way.
And said I warant you,
these friends will not come heere:
Yet notwithstanding listen wel,
and tell me what you heare.
Anone the Farmer came,
enraged well nigh mad:
And sware, whoso depends on friends,
his case is worse then bad:
I will go fetch my kinne,
to helpe me with this geare,
In things of greater waight then this,
their kindred shall appeare:
The Larkes, theyr Dam returnd,
informed her of all:
And how that he himselfe was gone,
his kindred for to call.
But when she heard of kin,
she laughing cried amaine:
A pin for kin, a figge for friends,
yet kinne the worst of twaine.
This man himselfe is poore,
though wealthie kin he haue:
And kindred now a daies doth quaile,
when neede compels to craue.

No, no, he shall returne,
with ill contented minde:
His paines shall yeeld his losse of time,
no succour he shall finde.
They all are so addict,
vnto theyr priuate gaine:
That if ye lacke power to requite,
your suits are all in vaine.
My selfe am ouer chargde,
with haruest ye may see:
And nearer is my skin then shirt,
this shall theyr answere be.
Therefore as earst of friends,
so say I now of kinne:
We shall receiue no hurt by them,
nor he no profite winne:
Yet listen once againe,
what now his refuge is.
For kindred shal be like to friends,
be well assured of this:
I must go furnish vp,
a nest I haue begun.
And will returne and bring you meat,
assoone as it is done.
Then vp she clam the Clowds,
with such a lustie Lay:
That is reioyst her yonglings hearts,
as in theyr nest they lay:
And much they did commend,
theyr Mothers loftie gate.
And thought it long till time had brought
themselues to such estate:
Thus whilst theyr twinckling eies,
were rouing too and fro:
The saw whereas the Farmer came,
who was their mortall foe.
Who after due complaints,
thus stayed in the end.
I will from henceforth trust my selfe,
and not to kin nor friend:
Who giues me glozing wordes,
and faile me at my need:
May in my Pater noster be,
but neuer in my Creede.
My selfe will haue it downe,
since needs it must be so:
For proofe hath taught me too much wit,
to trust to any mo.
The birds that listening lay,
attentiue to the same:
Informde their mother of the whole,
as soone as ere shee came:
Ye mary then (quoth she)
the case now altered is.
We will no longer here abide,
I always feared this:
But out she got them all
and trudged away apace:
And through the corne she brought the[m] safe
into another place.
God send her lucke to shun,
both Hauke and Fowles gin,
And me the happe to haue the neede,
of friens, yet not of kinne.

Imprinted at London, by Richard Ihones, dwelling neere vnto Holborne Bridge. 1589.

The story of the lark is taken from Aesop. A prose version is given in Painter's `Palace of Pleasure', 1566 (vol. i, p. 43), while another in metre appears in H. C's `Forrest of Fancy', 1579.

pages 36-37


Against filthy writing, and such like

What meane the rimes that run thus large in euery shop to sell?
With wanton found, and filthie sense, me thinke it grees not well
We are not Ethnickes, we forsoth, at least professe not so
Why range we then to Ethnickes trade? come bak, where wil ye goe?
Tel me is Christ, or Cupide Lord? doth God or Venus reigne?
And whose are wee? whom ought wee serue? I aske it, answere plaine
If wanton Venus, then go forth, if Cupide, keep your trade
If God, or Christ, come bak the best, or sure you will be made
Doth God? is he the Lord in deed? and should we him obey?
Then his commaundement ought to guide, all that wee doo or say
But shew me his commaundement then, thou filthy writer thou
Let seet, I cease, if not, geue place, or shameles shew thee now.

We are not foes to musicke wee, a mis your man doth take vs
so frendes to thinges corrupt and vile, you all shall neuer make vs
If you denie them such to bee, I stand to proue it I,
If you confesse (defend them not) why then doo you reply?
But such they bee I will mainteine, which yet you bothe defend
And iudge them fooles, that them mislike, would God you might amend
But, substance onely I regarde, let Accidencis go
Both you and wee, bee that wee bee, I therfore leaue it so
And yet I wishe your tearmes in deed, vpon some reason stayd
If mine be not, reproue them right, Ile blot that I haue sayd
And that I wrote, or now doo wrighte, against you as may seeme
What cause I had, and haue, I yelde, to modest men to deeme
I wishe you well I doo protest, (as God will, I will so)
I cannot helpe, as frend ye wot, nor will not hurt as so
But for the vile corrupting rimes, which you confesse to wrighte
My soule and hart abhorres their sense, as far from my delight
And those that vse them for their glee, as you doo vaunte ye will
I tell you painly what I think, I iudge thee to be ill
This boasting late in part hath causd, mee now to say my minde
Though chalenges of yours also, in euery place I finde.

Thomas Brice.

Imprinted at London by Iohn
Alde for Edmond Halley and are to be solde in Lumbard strete at the
signe of the Egle.

[ This broadside is undated, but `an Epytaph of Master Bryce preaacher' is licensed in the Stationers' Register of 1570-1571. ]

page 61

[ I haven't transcribed this one, but I scanned it; here's a screen-size reduction and the full-sized image as pdf or postscript. This ballad is undated, but the text was published in `A pleasaunte Laborinth called Churchyardes Chance' dated 1580, and is described there as `Written in the beginnyng of King Edwardes raigne.' ]

page 103

[ I haven't transcribed this one, but I scanned it; here's a screen-size reduction and the full-sized image as pdf or postscript. This broadside concerns the death of Richard Price, and says he died on January 5, 1586. ]

page 113

[ I haven't transcribed this one, but I scanned it; here's a screen-size reduction and the full-sized image as pdf or postscript. This broadside is dated June 19, 1653. ]

pages 111-112


The panges of Loue and louers f[i]ttes.

Was not good Kyng Salamon
Rauished in sondry wyse
with euery liuelie Paragon
That glistered before his eyes
If this be true as trewe it was
Lady lady.
why should not I serue you alas
My deare lady.

When Paris was enamoured
with Helena dame bewties peare
Whom Venus first him promised
To venter on and not to feare
what sturdy stormes endured he
Lady lady.
To winne her loue er it would be
My deare ladye.

Knowe ye not howe Troylus
Languished and lost his ioye
with fittes and feuers meruailous
For Cresseda that dwelt in Troye
Tyll pytie planted in her brest
ladie ladie.
To slepe with him & graunt him rest
My deare ladie.

I read somtime howe venterous
Leander was his loue to please
Who swomme the waters perillous
Of Abidon those surginge sease
To come to her where as she lay
ladie ladie.
Tyll he was drowned by the waye
my deare ladie.

What say ye then to Priamus
That promised his loue to mete
And founde by fortune marueilous
A bloudie cloth before his feete
For Tysbies sake hymselfe he slewe
ladie ladie
To proue that he was a louer trewe
my deare ladie.

When Hercules for Eronie
murdered a monster fell
He put himselfe in ieoperdie
Perillous as the stories tell
Reskewinge her vpon the shore
ladie ladie.
Whiche els by lot had died therfore
my deare ladie.

Anaxaretis bewtifull
when Iphis did beholde and see
with sighes and sobbinges pitifull
That Paragon longe wooed he
And when he could not wynne her so
Ladye ladye
He went and honge him selfe for woe
My deare ladye.

Besides these matters marueilous
Good Lady yet I can tell the more
The Gods haue ben full amourous
As Iupiter by lerned lore
Who changed his shape as fame hath spred
lady ladye.
To come to Alcumenaes bed
My deare ladye.

And if bewtie breed such blisfulnesse
Euamouring [sic] both God and man
Good Lady let no wilfulnesse
Exuperate your bewtye then
To slaye the hertes that yeld & craue
ladye ladye
The graunt of your good wil to haue
My deare ladye.

Finis. p. W. E.

Imprinted at London in Smithfield
in the parish of Saynt Barthel
mewes Hospitall by
Richard Lant.
An. Dni. M.D.lix. xxij. Mar: [ first n overlined; the date given is 22 March 1559. ]

William Elderton, the author of five ballads in the Herber collection, is the best known and most notorious of all broadside poets. At one period Elderton led a company of comedians, and at another he is said to have filled the office of `atturney in the Sheriffes Courtes'. His contemporaries, Grabriel Harvey and Thomas Nash, testify as to his insobriety, and Elderton's `ale-crammed nose' was proverbial [...]

pages 118-120


The Lamentation of Follie:
To the tune of New Rogero

Alas what meaneth man,
with care and greedy paine:
To wrest to win a worldly fame
which is but vile and vaine.
As though he had no cause to doubt,
the drift of his desire,
Not pleased though he rule the route,
but still to couet higher.

And wander after will,
farre passing his degree:
Not so contentented still,
but a king himselfe to be.
Subuerting law and right,
detecting triall true:
Wringing euery wight,
that all the realme dooth rue.

Whose deed and ill desart,
compact and false consent:
I thinke no Christen heart,
can choose but needs lament.
Alas it seemed strange,
such thraldome in a realme:
Which wealthie was to wast away,
by will that was extreme.

Sith vertue was profest,
most famous franke and free:
Yet men transposed cleane,
more vile and worse to be.
And such as did pretend
to shew themselfe most holie:
Haue swarued in the end,
and fawned after follie.

Whose wordes so disagree,
as waters come and go:
Their liuings to be contrary,
that should examples showe.
And fawning after fame,
pursue their owne decay:
As though there was no God,
to call their life away.

What surety is in man,
what truth or trust at all:
Which frameth what he can
to work vnworthy thrall,
Oppression hath beene free,
the poore alas be spoyled:
Maides and wiues be rauished,
the simple are beguiled.

Lawe is made a libertie,
and right is ouerthrowne:
Faith is but a foolish thing,
falsehood is alone.
Pride is counted clenlinesse,
and theft is but a slight.
Whoredome is but wantonnesse,
and waste is but delight.

Spoiling is but pleasure,
riot is but youth:
Slaunder is a laughing game,
and lying counted trueth.
Marriage is but mockage,
the children counted base:
Thus right is wronged in euery way,
in our accursed case.

Flatterie is the Forte of Fame,
and trueth is troden downe:
The innocent do beare the blame,
the wicked winne renowne.
Thus Sathan hath preuailed long,
and we for want of grace:
Haue troden vertue vnder foote,
and vice hath taken place.

But God that is most righteous,
hath seene our fatall fall:
And spred his mercie ouer vs,
to shield vs from the thrall.
Whose mercy is so infinite
to such as were oppressed:
He hath restored them to right,
and hath their care redressed.

And though that our vnworthinesse,
hath not deferued so:
Now let vs cease our wickednesse,
and graft where grace may grow.
And let vs pray for our defence,
our worthy Queene elect:
That God may worke his will in her,
our thraldome to correct.

That God be chiefely serued so,
as dooth to him belong:
That right may haue his course againe,
and vanquish wicked wrong.
That we may liue in feare and awe,
and truly to intend:
And haue the iustice of the lawe,
our causes to defend.

That truth may take his wonted place,
and faith be fast againe:
And then repent and call for grace,
that wrought our care and paine.
That God send vs a short redresse,
with wealth and great increase:
And to our Queene, to reigne and rule,
in honour, health, and peace.


Imprinted at London by Edward Allde.

[ not in Stationer's register; roughly 1588, based on the fact that Allde was made free of the Stationer's Company in 1584 and didn't license anything until 1586. ]

page 191

[ I haven't transcribed this one, but I scanned it; here's a screen-size reduction and the full-sized image as pdf or postscript. This broadside has an entry in the Stationer's Register on May 4, 1604. ]

page 201

[ Transcription by Greg Lindahl from facsimile printed in Collmann. Here's a screen-size reduction and the full-sized image as pdf or postscript.

A warning to London by the fall of Antwerp
To the tune of Rovv vvel ye Mariners.

The sturdy Dke at length
When forse doth fail // though nere so tall:
Resigneth vp his stregth, [e overlined]
By boistrous blasts vnto the fal.
The stately Stag in time dooth yeeld:
Him self a pray to Dogs in feeld.
The Pecock proud, y swelling Swan: [ y has small "c" over it ]
At last booth serue the vse of man.
Pride, pomp, plumes gay:
But haue a fall who ere say nay,
Hye mindes, state, power
Shall coe to end within an houre. [ coe's o has line over it ]

Let Antvverp warning be,
thou stately London to beware:
Lest resting in thy glee,
thou wrapst thy self in wretched care
Be vigilant, sleepe not in sin:
Lest that thy foe doo enter in.
Keep sure thy trench, prepare thy shot:
Watch wel, so shall no foil be got.
Stand fast, play thy parte:
Quail not but shew an english hart,
Dout, dread, stil fear:
for Antvverps plague approcheth neer.

Leaue tearing of thy God,
let vain excesse be laid aside:
Els shalt thou feel the rod,
prepared for to scouge thy pride.
forsake thy Deuilish drunken trade:
Which almost hath the entrance made.
Erect your walles giue out your charge
Keep wel your ray, run not at large.
faint not, fiercely fight:
Shrink not but keep your cotries right. [ o has overline]
Stand stout, on Jesus call:
And he no dout wil help you all.

Trust not a civil foe,
Which vnder coulour wisheth good:
for ere thy self doost knowe,
by craft he seeks to haue thy blood.
The Snake in grasse doth groueling lie:
Til for reuenge due time he spie.
The leering Dog doth bite more sore:
Then he that warning giues before.
fine flattery, fair face:
Much discorde breeds in euery place.
fire, shot, must be to hot:
for those which haue their God forgot.

Reioyce not if thou see,
thy neighbours house set on a flame:
for like thy luck may be,
vnlesse thou wel preuent the same.
The scourge which late on Antvverp fel:
Thy wrack and ruine dooth foretel.
Make not a gibing iest therat:
Lest stately Troy be beaten flat.
Pray God faithfully:
To saue vs from all trechery.
Dout not if we doo so:
We shall escape the forain fo.

Pray we with one accorde,
that God our Queene may ay defend:
from those which seek by swoord/
to bring her graces reign to end.
Cut of (O Lord) their devilish dayes:
And graunt her life thy name to praise.
Garde her with grace her Champion be
That she may gain the victory.
Hope wel, pray stil:
God is our guide we feare none il.
fear not, watch pray:
God sheeld this Citie from decay.

AMEN. p. Rafe Norris.

at the long Shop adioyning vnto S.
Piloreds Church in the Pultrie,
by Iohn Allde.

[ No date is printed on this ballad, but the first ballad to this tune is from 1565, and this battle took place on November 4th and 5th, 1576. Other ballads about this battle were registered in the Stationers' Registers as early as January 25, 1577. ]

pages 206-208


A proper new balade expressyng the fames,
Concerning a warning to al London dames.

To the tune of the blacke Almaine.

You London dames, whose passyng fames
Through out the world is spread,
In to the skye, ascendyng hye
To euery place is fled :
For thorow each land and place,
For beauties kyndely grace :
You are renowmed ouer all,
You haue the prayse and euer shall.
What wight on earth that can beholde
More dearer and fayrer dames than you?
Therefore to extoll you I may be bolde,
Your pace and graces so gay to vieu.

For Vertues lore, and other thingse more
Of truth you doe excell,
I may well gesse, for comelynesse
Of all, you beare the bell :
As trim in your arraye
As be the flowres in Maye
With roset hew so brauely dight
As twinklyng starres that shyneth by night.
For curtesye in euery parte
Not many nor any resemble you can,
In lady Natures camely [sic] arte
So grauely and brauely to euery man.

And oft when you goe, fayre dames on a rowe
In to the feeldes so greene,
You sit and vewe the beautifull hewe
Of flowres that there be seene :
Which lady Flora hath
So garnyshed in every path
With all the pleasures that may be
(Fayre dames) are there to pleasure ye
Tyl Frost doth come and nip the top,
And lop them and crop them, not one to be seene :
So when that Death doth hap to your lot,
Consider and gather what beauty hath beene.

For as the flowre, doth change in an houre
That was so fayre to see,
Consyder and gather (fayre dames) the wether
May change as well with yee :
And turne your ioyes as soone
As Frost the flowres hath doone
So sudden Death may change as well
Your beauties that now doth excell,
And turne your sweetes to bitter and sowre
When death wt his breath comes stealing neare :
Such haps may hap to come in an howre
Which euer or neuer you little dyd feare.

Wherefore I say, fayre dames so gay
That Death is busyest now,
To catch you hence, where no defence
May make him once to bow :
Experience well doth trye
You see it with your eye,
How quickely some are taken hence
Not youthfull yeares may make defence :
And strange diseases many are seene
Encreasyng and preasyng to vexe vs each day,
But sure the lyke hath euer beene
May houe you and moue you to God to pray.

And learne to know, as grasse doth grow
And withereth in to haye,
Remember therfore, kepe vertue in store
For so you shall decaye :
And pitie on the poore
With some parte of your store,
Loke that your lampes may ready bee
The dreadfull day approcheth nye :
When Christ shall come to iudge our deeds
No faireness nor clerenes can helpe you than,
The corne to seperate from the weeds
Fayre dames, when cometh the day of dome.

Now that I haue sayd, let it be wayed
It is no iestyng toye,
Not all your treasure, can you pleasure
It is but fadyng ioye :
Therfore remember mee
What I haue sayd to yee,
And thus the Lorde perserue the Queene
Long space with vs to lyue and raigne :
As we are all bound incessantlie
To desyre with prayer both night and day,
God to preserue her maiestie
Amen, let all her good subiects say.

FINIS. quoth Steuen Peell.

Imprinted at S. Katherins by Alexander Lacie
for Henrie Kyrkham, dwellyng at the middle North dore
of S. Paules church

[ An entry for this ballad exists in the 1570-1571 Stationers' Registers. ]

page 223

[ I haven't transcribed this one, but I scanned it; here's a screen-size reduction and the full-sized image as pdf or postscript. The date printed on this broadside is 1610. Note that it includes music. ]

page 265

[ I haven't transcribed this one, but I scanned it; here's a screen-size reduction and the full-sized image as pdf or postscript. No date is given on this broadside, but the publisher ceased publishing in 1567. ]

page 275

[ I haven't transcribed this one, but I scanned it; here's a screen-size reduction and the full-sized image as pdf or postscript. Collmann has the following text about this broadside: ]

The character of Nobody, popular both in England and on the Continent during the sixteenth century, appears to have been the creation of a barber-poet of Strassburg, named Joerg Schan, who towards the close of the fifteenth century produced a poetical broadside which was printed at Memmingen by Albrecht Kunne, but without date, and of which the only copy extant is preserved in the Royal Library at Munich. It bears the title `Niemants has ich: was ieder man tut, das zucht man mich' above a large woodcut representing poor Nobody, with a padlock on his mouth, the original idea of that on the Herber broadside here given in reduced facsimile. Another reproduction, the size of the original, is to be seen in Halliwell's folio edition of Shakespeare, 1853 (i. 449). Beneath the woodcut is a metrical explanation, of which the present verses are to some extent an adaptation. The German poem has been reprinted in the `Jarbush der Deutschen Shakespeare-Gesellschaft' for 1894, in an exhaustive introduction by Dr. Johannes Bolte to Ludwig Tieck's translation of the English drama `Nobody and Somebody'.

The Stationers' Registers for 1568--1569 mention that a license was granted to Hugh Singleton `for pryntinge of the Retourne of olde well spoken No Body' (Arber's Transcript, i. 387), and on August 1, 1586, Edward White received permission to print a ballad `Nobodies Complaint' (Arber, ii. 451).

The British Museum possesses a copy of the play `No-body and Some-body. With the true Chronicle Historie of Elydure... Printed for Iohn Trundle and are to be sold at his shop in Barbican, at the signe of No-body'. The book is without a date, but a license was obtained for it on March 12, 1606. Other copies of it are mentioned in the Huth Catalogue and in that of the Dyce Collection.

Holbein, about 1515, painted a large panel of Nobody, which still exists in the Stadtbibliothek at Zuerich, and is described in Woltmann's `Holbein und seine Zeit', 1874.

The original ballad measures 14 1/8 in. by 10 1/2 in.

Greg Lindahl