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Woodstock; or, the Cavalier   By: (1771-1832)

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WOODSTOCK; OR, THE CAVALIER

BY

SIR WALTER SCOTT

1855.

APPENDIX TO INTRODUCTION.

APPENDIX NO. I.

THE WOODSTOCK SCUFFLE; or, Most dreadfull apparitions that were lately seene in the Mannor house of Woodstock, neere Oxford, to the great terror and the wonderful amazement of all there that did behold them.

It were a wonder if one unites, And not of wonders and strange sights; For ev'ry where such things affrights Poore people,

That men are ev'n at their wits' end; God judgments ev'ry where doth send, And yet we don't our lives amend, But tipple,

And sweare, and lie, and cheat, and , Because the world shall drown no more, As if no judgments were in store But water;

But by the stories which I tell, You'll heare of terrors come from hell, And fires, and shapes most terrible For matter.

It is not long since that a child Spake from the ground in a large field, And made the people almost wild That heard it,

Of which there is a printed book, Wherein each man the truth may look, If children speak, the matter's took For verdict.

But this is stranger than that voice, The wonder's greater, and the noyse; And things appeare to men, not boyes, At Woodstock ;

Where Rosamond had once a bower, To keep her from Queen Elinour , And had escap'd her poys'nous power By good luck,

But fate had otherwise decreed, And Woodstock Manner saw a deed, Which is in Hollinshed or Speed Chro nicled;

But neither Hollinshed nor Stow , Nor no historians such things show, Though in them wonders we well know Are pickled;

For nothing else is history But pickle of antiquity, Where things are kept in memory From stinking;

Which otherwise would have lain dead, As in oblivion buried, Which now you may call into head With thinking.

The dreadfull story, which is true, And now committed unto view, By better pen, had it its due, Should see light.

But I, contented, do indite, Not things of wit, but things of right; You can't expect that things that fright Should delight.

O hearken, therefore, hark and shake! My very pen and hand doth quake! While I the true relation make O' th' wonder,

Which hath long time, and still appeares Unto the State's Commissioners, And puts them in their beds to feares From under.

They come, good men, imploi'd by th' State To sell the lands of Charles the late. And there they lay, and long did waite For chapmen.

You may have easy pen'worths, woods, Lands, ven'son, householdstuf, and goods, They little thought of dogs that wou'd There snap men.

But when they'd sup'd, and fully fed, They set up remnants and to bed. Where scarce they had laid down a head To slumber,

But that their beds were heav'd on high; They thought some dog under did lie, And meant i' th' chamber (fie, fie, fie) To scumber.

Some thought the cunning cur did mean To eat their mutton (which was lean) Reserv'd for breakfast, for the men Were thrifty.

And up one rises in his shirt, Intending the slie cur to hurt, And forty thrusts made at him for't, Or fifty.

But empty came his sword again. He found he thrust but all in vain; An the mutton safe, hee went amain To's fellow.

And now (assured all was well) The bed again began to swell, The men were frighted, and did smell O' th' yellow.

From heaving, now the cloaths it pluckt The men, for feare, together stuck, And in their sweat each other duck't. They wished

A thousand times that it were day; 'Tis sure the divell! Let us pray. They pray'd amain; and, as they say,

Approach of day did cleere the doubt, For all devotions were run out, They now waxt strong and something stout, One peaked

Under the bed, but nought was there; He view'd the chamber ev'ry where, Nothing apear'd but what, for feare. They leaked.

Their stomachs then return'd apace, They found the mutton in the place, And fell unto it with a grace. They laughed

Each at the other's pannick feare, And each his bed fellow did jeere, And having sent for ale and beere, They quaffed... Continue reading book >>




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