William Morris Archive

"My Squire, in many lands I have been," f. 5r and 6r.

"My squire, in many lands I have been,
           Many strange things I have lived to see,
But scarce ever such a day as this
          When I am back in mine own countree.
Ho, you there, old man and grey,
          Yon dame upon the three-legged stool,
Why be there none in these fair streets?
          For here is neither wise nor fool,
Here is no fish in the fish-market,
Neither hear I any kine
           A-lowing by St. Luke's Kirk--
          Will not folks today dine?"
"Fair sire, withouten any doubt
           There will many pots be cold today,
There will be many a platter bide fair & white:
          Our folk have gotten all away.
They have gotten away to the broad meadows
           That lie under the walls fair;
They tell me that a notable battle
         Twixt certain Knights will be fought there."

[f. 6r]

"And in what quarrel fight they?
         Dame, say this quick to me."
"In at one ear, out at the other,
         I cannot say how these things be,
For I was born or ever the big ___ [sic MS}
         About the Kirk was well biggen,
When your lady mother first grew big;
         'Twas many a long year since then.
My name it is Joan Ecrevisse;
         Fair Knight, I am well fourscore."
"I see well," said that knight,
        "Of this carline I get small lore."
When they came to the fair meadow
         They saw lists well dight
And squire marshals armed all
         As there should be a gallant fight.


[1] The notebook is not listed in Rosenbaum and Pearson's Index of English Literary Manuscripts.

[2] Pearson equates these with the seven "foolscap volumes of drafts and fair copies" mentioned by May Morris in William Morris: Artist, Writer, Socialist 2.608, but those are MSS of portions of The Earthly Paradise. Morris Volumes 6, 4 and 5 were lots 998, 999 and 1000 in the 1929 Maggs sale, where all are said to be vound in levant morocco by De Coverley (unlike the University of Texas notebook, which is unbound).

[3] Pearson records the poem by its incipit only (MoW 358, p. 4.555), based on the Maggs catalogue