The Last News From France

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Melody - "When the King enjoys his own again"
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Cavalier Ballad; from vol. iii. of the Roxburgh Ballads, in the British Museum

All you that do desire to know
What is become of the King o' Scots,
I unto you will truly show
After the fight of Northern Rats.
'Twas I did convey
His Highness away,
And from all dangers set him free; -
In woman attire,
As reason did require,
And the King himself did wait on me.

2. He of me a service did crave,
And oftentimes to me stood bare;
In woman's apparel he was most brave,
And on his chin he had no hare;
Wherever I came
My speeches did frame
So well my waiting-man to free,
The like was never known
I think by any I one,
For the King himself did wait on me.

3. My waiting-man a jewel had,
Which I for want of money sold;
Because my fortune was so bad
We turn'd our jewel into gold.
A good shift indeed,
In time of our need,
Then glad was I and glad was he;
Our cause it did advance
Until we came to France,
And the King himself did wait on me.

4. We walked through Westminster Hall,
Where law and justice doth take place
Our grief was great, our comfort small,
We lookt grim death all in the face.
I lookt round about,
And made no other doubt
But I and my man should taken be;
The people little knew,
As I may tell to you,
The King himself did wait on me.

5. From thence we went to the fatal place
Where his father lost his life;
And then my man did weep apace,
And sorrow with him then was rife.
I bid him peace,
Let sorrow cease,
For fear that we should taken be.
The gallants in Whitehall
Did little know at all
That the King himself did wait on me.

6. The King he was my serving-man,
And thus the plot we did contrive:
I went by the name of Mistress Anne
When we took water at Queenhythe.
A boat there we took,
And London forsook,
And now in France arrived are we.
We got away by stealth,
And the King is in good health,
And he shall no longer wait on me.

7. The King of Denmark's dead, they say,
Then Charles is like to rule the land;
In France he will no longer stay,
As I do rightly understand.
That land is his due,
If they be but true,
And he with them do well agree:
I heard a bird sing
If he once be their king,
My man will then my master be.

8. Now Heaven grant them better success
With their young king than England had;
Free from war and from distress,
Their fortune may not be so bad;
Since the case thus stands,
Let neighbouring lands
Lay down their arms and at quiet be;
But as for my part,
I am glad with all my heart
That my King must now my master be.

9. And thus I have declared to you
By what means we escaped away;
Now we bid our cares adieu,
Though the King did lose the day.
To him I was true,
And that he well knew;
'Tis God that must his comfort be,
Else all our policy
Had been but foolery,
For the King no longer waits on me.


The last news from France, being a true relation of the escape of the King of Scots from Worcester to London and from London to France, - who was conveyed away by a young gentleman in woman's apparel; the King of Scots attending on this supposed gentlewoman in manner of a serving-man.

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