48  A pretty Ballad of the Lord of Lorn, and the false Steward [Pepys 1.494-95]

Author: Anonymous

Recording: A pretty Ballad of the Lord of Lorn

Bodies - clothing Bodies - looks/physique Crime - robbery/theft Death - execution Death - result of immorality Emotions - anger Emotions - love Emotions - sorrow Employment - agrarian Employment - apprenticeship/service Environment - animals Environment - landscape Family - children/parents Gender - courtship Gender - femininity Gender - marriage Gender - masculinity Morality - familial Places - European Places - Scottish Places - travel/transport Recreation - food Recreation - hospitality Recreation - hunting Recreation - music Recreation - weddings Religion - divine intervention Violence - animals Violence - punitive

Song History

This song about a young Scottish lord in trouble was popular for two centuries from the date of its first registration in 1580 (see Editions). It may well have been even older; in 1598, Edward Guilpin referred to ‘th’ olde Ballad of the Lord of Lorne’ and suggested that it dated back to the reign of Henry VIII. The Scottish-French connections that are central to the song might also hint at origins before c. 1560.

It was clearly well-known and was mentioned in passing by various literary commentators. In 1649, for example, two characters in a play by William Cavendish reminisce about the happy times that they enjoyed before the Civil Wars. One of them remarks, ‘In those dayes was the quintessence of ballads, you went to schoole with ’em and learned no other bookes, I shall never forget the Lord of Lornes sonne in Scotland and the false steward, to the tune of greene sleeves, those were the dayes indeed...’ This striking recollection suggests the value of ballads in training the young, whether in literacy or morality. The song’s early references to the boy’s educational prowess reinforce this possibility (like all child prodigies, he irritated his teacher). A quarter of a century later, Charles Cotton attempted to set a rural scene for his readers: ‘We in the Country do not scorn/ Our Walls with Ballads to adorn/ Of patient Grizell, and the Lord of Lorne’ (see also An Excellent Ballad of Patient Grissel).

The success of the song may seem difficult to understand today. Even lovers of historical melodies such as ‘Greensleeves’ sometimes struggle with it, and Bertrand Bronson noted, ‘It may be admitted that one might hang oneself for impatience long before singing the ballad through to that tune, even in the short (ie 66-stanza) version’.

Part of the difficulty is that the lyrics fit the tune much less smoothly than is the case with most successful ballads. The second lines of the song’s many verses vary between six and ten syllables, for example, creating inevitable difficulties for the singer. For some reason, this did not impede the ballad’s popularity. There is evidence in editions of the later seventeenth centuries that ballad-makers adjusted a few of the problematic lines to increase their singability: some editions, for example, replace ‘unto her maid anon’ with ‘And to her Maid she spake anon’ in order to improve matters. The feeling remains, however, that the words may not actually have been composed with ‘Greensleeves’ in mind. Given that the ballad was first registered in 1580, the choice of music may have been an attempt to harness the popularity of the melody of the moment (see Featured tune history).

There is little evidence of the ballad’s survival into the folksong repertoire, though it was included in Child’s famous collection (as Child 271). He found a place for it because an important version appears in the manuscript collection of Bishop Thomas Percy (1729-1811). Its presence here established the song’s considerable age but its wider history seems to be tied closely to the printed record. This presumably explains why Bronson, when gathering information on traditional tunes for the Child Ballads, had nothing to present in relation to the music for the ‘Lord of Learne’.

There were plenty of flesh-and-blood Lords of Lorne in the medieval and early-modern periods but it seems pointless to speculate about a link between the song and any particular individual. In any case, the narrative was of a commonly encountered type featuring an exiled son, abused by a trusted steward and forced to find a circuitous route back into high society.

Similar tales can be found in many European countries and several of them are summarised in Child’s notes on the song. An interesting variant is ‘Die Gänsemagd’ (‘The Goose girl’), a German fairy tale published by the Brothers Grimm in 1815. Here, the hero is female rather than male but the main lines of the plot are strikingly familiar. Presumably, A pretty Ballad of the Lord of Lorn was successful in early-modern England partly because it tapped into the uplifting power of such tales of youth, disaster, recovery, love and justice (see also Related texts). Its success also suggests the long-term popularity in England of stories with Scottish connections.

Christopher Marsh


Broadside ballads online from the Bodleian Libraries: http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/ [Wood 401(95) includes minor textual adjustments that may have been introduced to enhance the ballad’s singability].

Bertrand Harris Bronson, The traditional tunes of the Child Ballads, 4 vols. (Princeton, New Jersey, 1959-72), vol. 4 (1972), no 271.

William Cavendish, The country captaine, And the varietie; two comedies (1649), ‘The varietie’, p. 48.

Francis James Child (ed.), The English and Scottish popular ballads, 5 vols. (Boston, 1882-94), vol. 5 (1894), no. 271.

Charles Cotton, Burlesque upon burlesque, or, The scoffer scoft (1675), A2r.

Grimm, Brothers, Märchen der Brüder Grimm (1815; Berlin, 1937), pp. 356-61.

Edward Guilpin, Skialetheia. Or, A shadowe of truth, in certaine epigrams and satyres (1598), C4r-v.

John W. Hales and Frederick J. Furnivall (eds.), Bishop Percy’s folio manuscript, 4 vols. (1867-68), vol. 1, pp. 180-98 (the manuscript is British Library, Additional MS. 27879).

Hyder E. Rollins, An analytical index to the ballad-entries (1557-1709) in the registers of the Company of Stationers of London (Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1967), nos. 1545-47.

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Featured Tune History

To the tune of ‘Green-Sleeves’ (standard name: Greensleeves)

The purpose of this section is to provide brief notes on the melody followed by detailed evidence relating to  its career, paying particular attention to the ‘echoes’ (inter-song associations and connections) that may have been set up if it was nominated for the singing of more than one ballad. In the list presented in the ‘Songs and Summaries’ section below, we have endeavoured to include as many of the black-letter ballads that used the tune as possible, under any of its variant names. Titles from our chart of best-sellers are presented in bold type (these are also in colour when there is a link to the relevant ballad page on the website). It should be noted that it is extremely difficult to date many ballads precisely and the chronological order in which the songs are listed is therefore very approximate (we have drawn on previous attempts to date the ballads, making adjustments when additional evidence can be brought into play).  In most cases, we list the earliest surviving edition of a ballad, though in many instances there may have been earlier versions, now lost

Versions and variations

Perhaps no ballad tune was written down as frequently as this one. It was known variously as ‘Green sleeves’, ‘Which nobody can deny’, ‘The [bonny] blacksmith’, ‘Is not old England grown new’, ‘Lullaby-baby’ and ‘In Rome there is a most fearful rout’. Versions from the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries normally used the title ‘Green sleeves’ and presented the two-part melody of sixteen bars with which we are still familiar. In the later seventeenth century, the other titles were often preferred and shorter forms of the tune became common. These normally included only the first half of the original tune, though in some cases the reduction in length was achieved instead by dropping the normal repetitions (with alterations at the cadences) of the melody’s first and second parts. The version used on our recording is in the longer form and can be found in William Ballet’s lute manuscript (c. 1590).

There are many other examples of the tune, arranged variously for voice, lute, virginals, cittern and viol, and the following examples are merely a selection (there are fuller accounts in the works by Simpson and Ward, listed below): Robert Creighton, virginal book (probably compiled in the 1630s);  John Gamble’s commonplace book (1659); A Booke of New Lessons for the Cithern & Gittern (1652); Playford’s Dancing Master (editions from 1686 onwards); and The Second Book of the Pleasant Musical Companion (1686). Versions of the melody can also be found in numerous eighteenth-century political song-books and ballad-operas.

There is significant variation between different renditions of the tune, probably because ‘Green sleeves’ was, in Ward’s words, ‘not one tune but a type of tune that took a more or less different form each time it was written down’. Trained musicians improvised descants over an unchanging bass line and a short series of chords. Ballad-singers, however, often performed without harmonic accompaniment, and among them it is likely that ‘Greensleeves’ was perceived as a melody rather than a basis for improvisation to the accompaniment of instruments. This did not mean, however, that it took a single form. All early-modern melodies were variable, though some were more variable than others.

Echoes (an overview)

This famous tune appears to have begun life in association with ‘A new Courtly Sonet, of the Lady Green sleeves’, a romantic song of c. 1580 (no broadside copy has survived but the piece appears in A Handefull of Pleasant Delites, 1584). Other romantic ballads followed but none of them has survived.

The melody was also appropriated by godly song-writers, and a ballad entitled ‘Green Sleeves moralized to the Scripture’ was registered with the Stationers in 1580. Although puritan efforts to exploit balladry in the work of converting a nation may have waned soon after this date, it is clear that these efforts had been at least partially successful in turning Greensleeves into a melody that carried a certain moral and religious weight.

Most of the earliest surviving black-letter ballads that named the tune were sombre and serious. A warning to all false Traitors described approvingly the executions of numerous Elizabethan Catholics, while A most excellent Godly new Ballad argued that sin was rife and urged immediate repentance. A pretty Ballad of the Lord of Lorn, though not explicitly religious, was very much a moral tale and may have been one of the first songs to establish the tune’s more sober credentials. On the other hand, its happy ending nodded towards the tune’s romantic vibe, perhaps helping to enhance the song’s commercial success.

The serious associations suggested by songs about executions, bad behaviour and wicked stewards persisted throughout the seventeenth century, and in the 1670s and 1680s the tune was still being chosen for songs that lamented immorality (A Description of Old England) or attacked Catholics (A View of the POPISH-PLOT).

Long before this time, however, it was also used for a range of songs that were lighter and brighter in tone (some may have been designed for the first half of the tune alone). Examples included: A merry new Ballad, both pleasant and sweete, In praise of the Black-smith (the refrain of which gave rise to two new titles for the tune); the bawdy New SONG, of a TAYLOR and his MAID; and THE Frightned People of Clarkenwel, Being an Account of how a COW Ran into the Church

There are also some direct intertextual connections between the songs, but for some reason these seem to be rather less extensive than is the case with many of our hit ballads. The most obvious example is the refrain ‘Which nobody can deny’ that appears first in A merry new Ballad, both pleasant and sweete, In praise of the Black-smith, and thereafter in numerous songs (see, for example, Much A-do about Nothing and A View of the POPISH-PLOT). 

THE Frightned People of Clarkenwel drops this refrain, but draws directly on the words of the A New Song of Lulla By. This slightly earlier song had opened, ‘In Rome there is a most fearful Rout,/ And what do you think it is about?/ Because the Birth of the Babe’s come out,/ Sing Lulla by Babee, By, by, by’. In THE Frightned People this became, ‘In Clerkenwell-Church there was a Rout,/ Last Sunday the People like Bedlams run out,/ And what shou’d this fearful stir be about,/ But Nannicock my poor Cow...’  Part of the humour must have resided in the comparison that was hereby drawn between two equally ridiculous occurrences: the alleged counterfeiting of a royal birth and the intrusion of a cow into a church service.

[See 'Postscript', below, for additional notes on the melody].

Songs and Summaries

A pretty Ballad of the Lord of Lorn, and the false Steward (registered 1580; J. Clarke, W. Thackeray and T. Passinger, 1684-86). Pepys 1.494-95; EBBA 20233. Family – children/parents; Crime – robbery/theft; Death – execution, result of immorality; Gender – marriage, masculinity, femininity, courtship; Morality – familial; Environment – landscape, animals; Places – Scottish, European, travel/transport; Emotions – sorrow, anger, love, joy; Employment – agrarian, apprenticeship/service; Recreation – hunting, hospitality, food, music, weddings; Bodies – looks/physique, clothing; Religion – divine intervention; Violence – punitive, animals. An aristocratic boy is sent to France with a guardian, but the guardian turns out to be thoroughly evil and the boy has to endure horrible suffering until a lovely lady intervenes to turn things around.

A warning to all false Traitors by example of 14... To the tune of Greensleeves (Edward Allde, 1584-1627). Crawford 1434; EBBA 34359. Crime - treason, punishment; Death – execution; Religion – Catholic/Protestant; Politics – domestic, plots, treason; News – political, domestic; Places – English; Royalty – praise; Violence – punitive. This presents a musical catalogue of all the ‘Romish’ traitors who have recently been executed because they ‘troubled the peace of England’.

A most excellent Godly new Ballad: [shew]ing the manifold abuses of this wicked world... To the tune of Greene-sleeves (R. B., 1595-1626). Manchester Central Library, Blackletter Ballads 1.4; EBBA 36012. Morality – social/economic, familial, general; Religion – church, Christ/God, moral rules, sin/repentance, charity; Bodies – clothing; Death –godly end; Emotions – anxiety; Family – children parents; Gender – marriage, sex; Society – rich/poor; Recreation – games/sports; Death – execution. The narrator urges everyone to repent their many sins (pride, wantonness, flattery, and so on) and pray to God for mercy.

A merry new Ballad, both pleasant and sweete, In praise of the Black-smith, which is very meete. To the tune of Greene sleeves, &c. (no imprint, 1620-50?). Roxburghe 1.250-51; EBBA 30173. Employment – crafts/trades, professions, soldiers/sailors; History – ancient/mythological, medieval; Gender – femininity, masculinity, sex; Recreation - Crime – punishment. This sings the praises of blacksmiths past and present, drawing attention to the many proverbs that refer positively to their work.

Much A-do about Nothing... To the Tune of, Which no body can deny (T. Vere, 1660). Bodleian Wood 401(169). History – recent; Politics – domestic, Royalist; History – ancient/mythological; Violence – civil war; Humour –verbal; Religion – puritanism, Protestant nonconformity, clergy; Bodies – clothing; Gender – courtship, sex. A meditation on nothing that includes a distinctly Royalist take on the turbulent decades just past, during which the radical plans of Cromwell and others came to nothing.

The Praise of Brewers: OR, The Brewers Bravery. To the Tune of, No body can deny (F. Coles, T. Vere, and J. Wright, 1665-74). Bodleian 4o Rawl. 566(187). Employment – crafts/trades, sailors/soldiers, professions; Recreation – alcohol; Gender – masculinity, courtship; History – recent; Politics – domestic, Royalist; Violence – civil war; Places – Scottish, nationalities; Religion – angels/devils. A response to the song about blacksmiths, arguing that brewers are more important and influential, particularly as a result of their role in stimulating armies to fight (evidence from the civil war period is given).

A Description of Old England, Or, A true Declaration of the times... To a pleasant new tune, Or, is not old England grown new (F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, and J. Clarke, 1675-80). Crawford 1244; EBBA 34108. Morality – social/economic, general; Economy – trade, money, hardship/prosperity; Society – criticism, rich/poor, urban live, rural life; Recreation – fashion, alcohol; Employment – sailors/soldiers; Bodies – clothing, adornment; Emotions – sorrow; Gender – masculinity. England, once ‘a stately brave place’ in which rich and poor all did well, is now a hotbed of immorality, vanity and corruption, much to the author’s regret.

The Citty Prophisier. Or, the country Fortuneteller.. Tune of, Oh is not Old England, grown New (F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, and J. Clarke, 1675-80). Bodleian 4o Rawl. 566(101). Morality – social/economic, general; Economy – hardship/prosperity, prices/wages, taxation, trade; Bodies – clothing, adornment; Society – criticism, neighbours, rich and poor, rural life, urban life; Recreation – alcohol, fashions; Religion – Protestant nonconformity. The singer predicts that good times will return when a number of (unlikely) changes come about: lower taxes, charitable rich men, the reform of misers, lawyers, drunkards, and so on.

A New SONG, of a TAYLOR and his MAID... To the Tune of The Black-Smiths Song, Or oh brave Popery (A. Milbourn, 1682-1708). Pepys 3.40; EBBA 21036. Employment – crafts/trades, female; Gender – adultery/cuckoldry, marriage, sex, masculinity, femininity; Humour – bawdry, domestic/familial; Morality –romantic/sexual; Emotions – anger; Bodies – clothing, health/sickness; News – general. The wife of a tailor finds him having sex with the maid; she dismisses the girl and rebukes her husband, but he refuses to terminate his affair with the ‘Impudent Jade’.

A New Song of Lulla By, OR, Father Peters’s Policy Discovered… To the Tune of Green Sleeves. Or, My Mistriss is to Bulling gone (no publisher named, 1688). Wood E25 (110). Politics – controversy, domestic, plots, court; Royalty – criticism; Family – pregnancy/childbirth; Religion – Catholic/Protestant, clergy; Humour – deceit/disguise, domestic/familial, extreme situations/surprises, verbal; Emotions – scorn, suspicion;  Employment – female/male, professions; Places – European. A mocking lullaby, imagining the responses of Catholics to the exposure of their alleged plot to pass off an infant impostor as the newly-born heir to the English throne.

THE French CRYER Newly arriv’d in ENGLAND. To the Tune of Lullaby-Baby (J. Millet, 1688-92).  Pepys 4.321; EBBA 21984. Humour – extreme situations, satire; Employment – urban; Society – criticism, urban life; News - general.  People with a variety of problems or news to tell are invited to inform the town crier.

THE Frightned People of Clarkenwel, Being an Account of how a COW Ran into the Church... To the Tune of, In Rome there is a most fearful Rout (J. Millet, 1689). Pepys 4.343; EBBA 22006. Environment – animals; Religion – church, angels/devils, clergy; News – sensational, domestic; Places – English; Emotion – fear, excitement; Humour – extreme situations, mockery; Politics – foreign affairs. A cow walks into the church at Clerkenwell, causing a level of alarm that seems to the beast’s owner unwarranted.

A View of the POPISH-PLOT; OR, A Touch of the Cunning Contrivance of the Romish Faction... To the Tune of, The bonny Blacksmith (no named publishers, 1689). Pepys 2.281; EBBA 20895. Politics – domestic, treason, court, plots; Religion – Catholic/Protestant; History – recent; Crime – treason, murder, punishment; Death – execution; Violence – punitive. This narrates the plotting and scheming of English Catholics from the ‘Popish Plot’ of 1678 to to the welcome arrival of King William (who has ‘quite spoyl’d the Jest’).


It is perhaps surprising that there are not more ballads on the list above, given that Simpson identified ‘Greensleeves’ as one of the most popular of all early-modern ballad tunes. In fact, it was used more prominently on white-letter ballads, which were more sophisticated, than it was on the black-letter songs with which we are primarily concerned.

Numerous white-letter ballads with political themes named the tune, and some of these connected strongly with one or more of the songs listed above. The JESUITS Character, a ballad of 1679, was one of many songs that adopted ‘Which no body can deny’ as its refrain (EBBA 35551).  A DISPLAY Of the Headpiece and Codpiece VALOUR Of the most renowned Colonel Robert Jermy (1660) inverted the praise-theme of the song about blacksmiths in order scorn and humiliate the named individual. Just in case we might miss the point, it is set ‘to the Tune of a Turd, or the Black-Smith’ (EBBA 34400).

And EPITHALAMIUM OR, A Wedding Song (EBBA 22396), published in 1689, described ‘The Supposed Marriage, of the Supposed Prince of Wales, to the Supposed Grand-Chil[d of] the French King’, thus continuing the tale of the baby discussed in A New Song of Lulla By (the connection was strengthened by naming the tune ‘Lulla by baby’).

The melody was also referred to regularly in other forms of literature. In Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, for example, Mistress Ford declares that Falstaff’s disposition and words ‘do no more adhere and keep place together than the hundred psalms to the tune of GreenSleeves’. It is difficult to sing most of the metrical psalms to the melody because their second lines typically require three stressed beats rather than four, but the remark might also reflect a feeling that a secular tune should not be used for the singing of sacred material. Others, too, referred to the singing of metrically inappropriate ballads to the tune of Greensleeves in order to indicate the incompetence or drunkenness of the performer (see, for example, John Taylor, Ale Ale-vated into the Ale-titude, 1651, p. 17). The melody was also adopted for the singing of Christmas carols. In Good and true, fresh and true (1642), Greensleeves is the melody for ‘A Caroll of New-yeares day’.

Greensleeves is, of course, one of very few early-modern ballad tunes that remains well-known today. It appears to have been in continuous use since c. 1580, and the modern attentions of composers such as Ralph Vaughan-Williams boosted, rather than resurrected, the melody. The melody, usually under its short-form titles, was also nominated very regularly in political song-books and in ballad-operas of the eighteenth century.

Christopher Marsh


William Ballet’s lute book (c. 1590), Trinity College Dublin, MS 408, p. 104.

Jeremy Barlow (ed.), The Complete Country Dance Tunes from Playford’s Dancing Master (1985), no. 244.

A Booke of New Lessons for the Cithern & Gittern (1652), p. 31.

Robert Creighton, virginal book (1630s), Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, MS Conservatoire Rés. 1186, fo. 101.

John Gamble, Commonplace book (1659), New York Public Library, Drexel 4257, no. 121.

Good and True, Fresh and New (1642), A8r-B1r.

The Second Book of the Pleasant Musical Companion (1686), pt. 3, no. 23.

William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor (Arden Shakespeare, 2000), p.167.

John Taylor, Ale Ale-vated into the Ale-titude (1651), p. 17

John M. Ward, ‘Apropos The British broadside ballad and its music’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 20.1 (Spring 1967), pp. 44-46.

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Featured Woodcut History

Standard woodcut name: How-de-do-man

The purpose of this section is to provide evidence relating to  the career of the image under discussion, paying particular attention to the ‘reflections’ (inter-song associations and connections) that may have been set up if it was chosen to illustrate more than one ballad. The list given below includes all ballads from the Pepys and Roxburghe collections that feature this woodcut or a close variant (these are the two largest collections, including approximately 3300 sheets, in total). References to ballads from other collections occur only when the featured edition of the song under consideration here (or the featured edition of another song from our list) comes from such a source. Ballads from our chart of best-sellers are presented in bold type, and they also appear in colour where there is a link to another song in the database. Please note, however, that the editions of hit songs listed below are not necessarily those for which digital images are presented on this website. Cross-references to other examples of our featured woodcuts are also presented in bold. It is extremely difficult to date many ballads precisely and the chronological order in which the songs are listed is therefore very approximate (we have drawn on previous attempts to date the ballads, making adjustments when additional evidence can be brought into play).

Reflections (an overview)

The How-de-do-man was one of the most familiar, and presumably popular, woodcuts in seventeenth-century England. He appears on seventy-four different sheets in the Pepys and Roxburghe collections, a far higher number than that achieved by any other of our featured woodcuts. Eleven of these ballads are from our list of best-selling songs. In other words, he can be seen on editions of almost one in ten of our hit songs, a fact that must have extended his visibility very significantly indeed. Ballad-printers needed to have a block in stock that bore his image, and there were at least thirteen minutely different versions of the How-de-do-man in circulation. More than once, he features twice on a single sheet, demonstrating that the printer had two different blocks ready for use.

The How-de-do-man’s particular appeal may have resided in in his mobility and his body language: the little walking everyman with the extended hand is perpetually on the verge of interacting with somebody or something else, leaving ballad-makers and ballad-consumers plentiful scope for using their imaginations.

Overall, he features in a remarkable range of apparent roles: the old and the young; the godly and the ungodly; the villainous and the virtuous. Sometimes, ballad-makers may even have played around with variable audience expectations. In The Discontented Lover, for example, the central character is a despairing male sweetheart in the first half of the story and a happy drinking good fellow in the second. He cheers himself up by going to the tavern, and the How-de-do-man duly appears on both sides of the sheet.

Despite his capacity for variety, he is much more often admirable than reprehensible. This may account for the fact that ballad-makers sometimes felt the need to take the unusual step of labelling him when he was chosen to represent disreputable men. On The Rich Mens Joyes, he is a ‘Rich Miser’, and on A Looking-Glass for a Christian Family he is made to say ‘My Gold is my God’. On A pretty Ballad of the Lord of Lorn, he is the only character to be depicted, and most viewers probably understood him to represent the young aristocrat, embarking on his travels. He was clearly a success on this sheet, and he features on almost all surviving copies and editions of the ballad from the seventeenth century.

Songs and summaries

The Famous Sea-Fight between Captain Ward and the Rain-bow (Fr. Coles, 1624-80).  Euing 108; EBBA 31815.  Crime – piracy; Gender – masculinity; Violence – at sea; Royalty – authority; Politics – domestic, foreign affairs. The king sends a ship to try and capture or kill a famous pirate, but the mission fails (picture placement: he walks towards the king, as if seeking the meeting referred to in the opening verses).

The Discontented Lover (F. Coles, 1624-80).  Pepys 3.38; EBBA 21034.  Gender – courtship, masculinity; Recreation – alcohol, good fellowship; Death – general; Politics – Royalist; Emotions – love, sorrow, patriotism. A man appears to be on the brink of suicide over a woman whom he loves but a trip to the tavern revives him (picture placement: two versions of the woodcut appear, one walking towards a Welcoming woman and one towards Respectful man with raised foot).

The Slighted Maid, OR, The Pining Lover (F. Coles, 1624-80).  Pepys 2.33v; EBBA 20656.  Gender – courtship, femininity; Emotions – longing.  A woman pleads with a man to reciprocate her love and, eventually, he does so (picture placement: he walks towards a Welcoming woman).

The Old Mans Complaint: OR, The Unequal Matcht Couple (Richard Burton, 1640-76).  Roxburghe 3.196-7; EBBA 30843.  Gender – marriage, adultery, femininity, masculinity, sex; Humour – bawdry, domestic/family; Emotions – sorrow; Disability – physical.  An aged man regrets marriage to a young wife whom he is unable to satisfy (picture placement: he walks towards a woman).

Loves fierce desire, and hopes of Recovery (‘Printed for T. V. and are to be sold by F. Coles’, 1645-80).  Roxburghe 3.130-1; EBBA 30440.  Gender – courtship; Emotions – love, longing, sorrow. Two sweethearts, forcibly separated, declare their mutual love and longing (picture placement: he walks towards a Welcoming woman).

A Caveat for Cut-purses (W. Gilbertson, 1647-65).  Roxburghe 2.46-7; EBBA 30274.  Crime – robbery; Death – execution; Recreation -  general; Morality – social.  A warning about the danger posed by cutpurses, particularly in London’s most crowded areas (picture placement: he walks towards a man with a bag, and his hand seems to appear in the second woodcut).

The merry Hoastess (John Andrews, 1654-63). Roxburghe 1.536-7; EBBA 30356.  Recreation – alcohol, good fellowship; Gender – sex; Humour – bawdry; Employment – trades and crafts; Society – general; Places - nationalities.  A city hostess boasts suggestively about the universal popularity of her ale (picture placement: he walks towards a Welcoming woman).

Englands pleasant May-Flower (W. Gilbertson, 1660).  Euing 100; EBBA 31781.  Royalty – praise; Politics – celebration, Royalist; Emotions – patriotism, joy. This is a patriotic celebration of Charles II’s return to England on 29th May (picture placement: he walks towards a giant, crowned number ‘2’).

Truths Integrity (F. Coles, J. W., T. Vere, and W. Gilbertson, 1661-63). Euing 358; EBBA 32055.  Emotions – love; Gender – general; Society – general.  A song in praise of the unstoppable force that is love (picture placement: he walks towards a well-dressed woman).

A most Excellent Ballad of an Old man and his Wife (F. Coles, T. Vere, and W. Gilbertson, 1661-63).  Euing 221; EBBA 31701.  Family – children and parents; Crime – murder; Death – unlawful killing, result of immorality; Disability – physical; Bodies – health/sickness; Emotions – anger, sorrow; Morality – familial; Violence – interpersonal. An aged couple are rejected by their rich son when they turn to him for aid, but grim justice is done in the end (picture placement: he walks towards a Welcoming woman on the right of the ballad).

A Noble Riddle wisele [sic] Expounded (F. Coles, T. Vere, and W. Gilbertson, 1661-63).  Euing 253; EBBA 31807. Gender – courtship, sex; Places – Scotland.  A young knight has sex with a young lady but only agrees to marry her if she can solve a set of riddles (picture placement: he walks towards a courtly woman).

The Repulsive MAID (F. Coles, T. Vere, and W. Gilbertson, 1661-63).  Roxburghe 3.214-15; EBBA 30864.  Gender – courtship; Family – children and parents; Morality – sexual.  A dialogue-ballad in which a young woman refuses to open the door to an amorous man because she is in love with another and he is a philanderer (picture placement: he walks towards a Welcoming woman).

A godly new Ballad, Intituled, A dozen of Points (F. Coles, T. Vere, and W. Gilbertson, 1661-63).  Euing 126; EBBA 31834. Religion – moral rules, general; Morality – sexual, social, general.  A set of pithy moral instructions for us all (picture placement: he walks towards a man who faces outwards).

The poor Peoples Complaint of the Unconscionable Brokers and Talley-Men (J. Conyers, 1661-92).  Pepys 4.353; EBBA 22017.  Economy – extortion, livings; Employment – trades and crafts; Society – criticism; Emotions – anger.  An appeal on behalf of the poor, complaining about the abusive and extortionate economic conduct of wealthier people (picture placement: he walks towards two other men, engaged in conversation).

Poor Anthony’s Complaint And Lamentation against his miseries of marriage (J. Conyers, 1661-92).  Pepys 4.121; EBBA 21785.  Gender – marriage, femininity, masculinity; Humour – mockery, domestic/familial; Emotions – sorrow; Violence - interpersonal. A man laments his marriage to a scolding wife (picture placement: he walks towards a woman with a fan held before her).

Strange News from WESTMORELAND (E. Andrews, 1662-74).  Euing 342; EBBA 32030.  News – sensational; Crime – murder; Death – unlawful killing, result of immorality; Religion – angels/Devil, divine intervention; Morality – familial; Gender – marriage; Emotions – fear, wonder; Society – neighbours; Violence - interpersonal.  A sinful man murders his wife and denies it, so justice is administered by a visiting angel and the Devil (picture placement: ominously, he walks towards a Devil with erection).

Englands Valour, and Hollands Terrour (F. Coles, T. Vere, W. Gilbertson, and I. Wright, 1663-65).  Euing 103; EBBA 31803.  Employment – sailors/soldiers; Politics – foreign affairs; Violence – between states; Gender – masculinity; Emotions – patriotism.  A call to brave Englishmen to join the forces preparing to do battle with the Dutch (picture placement: he walks towards a ship).

[The loyal and true hearted subjects good will to] King and Common-wealth (Thomas Passenger, 1664-88).  Roxburghe 2.564; EBBA 31159.  Employment – trades and crafts; Family – children and parents; Gender – coursthip, marriage; Politics – Royalist; Royalty – praise; Religion – Bible, heaven and hell; Economy – livings. A lead-miner and/or merchant in metals sets out his economic dreams and expresses his love for the king and for ‘true’ religion (picture placement: he approaches a woman with a fan).

The Woful Complaint, and Lamentable Death of a forsaken Lover (F. Coles, T. Vere, and J. Wright, 1665-74). Euing 391; EBBA 32015.  Death – suicide; Emotions – love, sorrow; Gender – courtship, masculinity; Recreation - music. The narrator observes the suicide of a gentleman, driven to despair by a woman who has rejected him (picture placement: he walks towards a skeleton that lies on the ground).

A pleasant new ballad, shewing how Sir John Armstrong and Nathaniel Musgrave fell in love with the Lady Dacres Daughter of the North (F. Coles, T. Vere, and J. Wright, 1665-74).  Euing 271; EBBA 31885.  Gender – courtship, masculinity; Emotions – love, anger; Death – unlawful killing, tragedy; Violence – interpersonal; Family – children and parents. Two lusty knights fall in love with the same woman and the consequences are tragic (picture placement: he appears alone on the right of the sheet).

An Excellent Sonnet of the Unfortunate LOVES, of Hero and Leander (F. Coles, T. Vere, and J. Wright, 1665-74). Euing 89; EBBA 31772. Death – tragedy, suicide; History – ancient/mythological, romance; Emotions – love, sorrow; Family – children and parents; Gender – courtship; Places – European.  A dialogue-ballad in which two lovers try to see a way past parental disapproval, with a tragic outcome (picture placement: he walks towards a Welcoming woman).

The Virgins Constancy; Or the Faithfull Marriner (W. Thackeray, T. Passe[nger] and W. Whitwood, 1666-79).  Pepys 4.55; EBBA 21721. Gender – courtship; Employment – sailors/soldiers; Emotions – anger, love, longing, joy.  A maiden pines for her sweetheart while he is away at sea and complains at those who have opposed their plans to marry (picture placement: he walks towards a woman with palm held upwards).

The Country Miss new come in Fashion (W. Thakeray [sic], T. Passenger, and W. Whitwood, 1666-79).  Pepys 3.262; EBBA 21276. Gender – courtship; Society – rural life, urban life; Emotions – joy, love. A man sings the praises of his sweetheart who, like other country maidens, is more wholesome and less diseased than women of the city (picture placement: he walks towards a woman with palm upturned).

The Poor Folks Complaint: OR, A Hint of the Hard Times (W. Thackeray, T. Passenger, and W. Whitwood, 1666-79).  Pepys 4.340; EBBA 22003.  Economy – livings, prices, hardship, household, extortion; Employment – general; Morality – social/economic; Society – criticism, rich and poor; Emotions – sorrow.  An appeal to rich people and misers on behalf of the honest poor (picture placement: he walks towards another woodcut in which several gesturing people stand outside a group of houses).

The Valiant Trooper and pritty Peggy (W. Thackeray, T. Passenger, and W. Whitwood, 1666-79).  Pepys 4.40; EBBA 21706. Gender – courtship, femininity, masculinity; Emotions – anger, love; Employment – sailors/soldiers. A man accuses his sweetheart of inconstancy but receives reassurance (picture placement: he walks towards a woman with upturned palm).

The York-shire Maids Fairing: OR, The forsaken Maids good Counsel (W. Thackeray, T. Passenger, and W. Whitwood, 1666-79).  Pepys 3.384; EBBA 21400.  Gender – courtship; Emotions – sorrow.  A maiden, dejected in love, warns others of the many dangers (picture placement: he walks towards a woman with upturned palm).

The Married-mans best Portion (W. Thackeray, T. Passenger, and W. Whitwood, 1666-79).  Pepys 4.84; EBBA 21748. Gender – marriage, courtship.  The qualities and benefits of a constant, loving wife are here laid out in detail (picture placement: he walks towards a woman who faces him with a fan in her hand).

The Noble Prodigal (no imprint, 1670-80?).  Roxburghe 2.372-3; EBBA 30809.  Recreation – alcohol, dance, music, good fellowship; Emotions – joy; Family – children and parents; Places – nationalities. Six short songs in which a man carouses to celebrate coming into his inheritance (picture placement: he walks towards a woman with a fan).

The Jealous old Dotard: OR, The Discovery of Cuckoldry (P. Brooksby, 1670-98).  Roxburghe 3.84-5; EBBA 30417.   Gender – adultery, marriage, sex; Emotions – anger; Humour – bawdry; Disability – physical; Bodies – health/sickness. A conversation between a young wife and her aged husband in which his anger at her adultery becomes clear (picture placement: he walks away from a horned cuckold and his presumed wife).

The Fair and Loyal Maid of Bristow (P. Brooksby, 1670-98). Roxburghe, 4.46; EBBA 31278.  Gender – courtship; Death – tragedy, grief; Emotions – love, sorrow; Employment – soldiers/sailors; Places - English. A sailor meets his demise on a voyage and his sweetheart pines to death at home (picture placement: he walks towards a ship).

A New Ballad of King Edward and Jane Shore (no publishers’ names, 1671).  Roxburghe 3.258; EBBA 30969.  Gender – femininity, sex; History – general, romance; Humour – satire, bawdry; Morality – sexual. A survey of history’s most famous sexually-driven women, concluding that Jane Shore tops the list with her ‘all-conquering Thighs’ (picture placement: he appears twice, first in between a Gallant on rearing horse and a Welcoming woman, whom he approaches, and second walking away from the same woman).

London Miss well fitted, OR AN ANSWER To the Four-pence-Halfpenny Farthing (J. Deacon, 1671-99).  Pepys 3.238; EBBA 21252.  Crime – robbery; Emotions – anger; Gender – femininity, masculinity; Morality – general; Society – urban life, rural life. Several men, all of whom have been tricked by a young woman, travel to London to ensure that justice is done (picture placement: he walks towards Two men talking).

The Crafty Miss: Or, An Excise man well fitted (J. Deacon, 1671-99).  Pepys 3.274; EBBA 21288.  Crime – robbery; Gender – sex, femininity, masculinity; Humour – disguise/deceit; News – convicts/crimes; Places – English; Morality – social/economic, sexual; Employment – professions. A tax collector, travelling in Kent, is tricked out of his money and his horse by a deceitful young woman (picture placement: he walks towards a Welcoming woman).

A New Song of Moggies Jealousie: OR, Jockies Vindication (J. Deacon, 1671-99).  Pepys 4.32; EBBA 21698. Gender – courtship, femininity; Places – Scottish; Emotions – anger, love. A lover’s tiff over Jockey’s alleged inconstancy -  but the couple are on good terms by the end (picture placement: he walks towards a woman with upturned palm).

The Clothiers Delight: OR, The Rich Mens Joy, and the Poor Mens Sorrow (F. Cole, T. Vere, I. Wright, and I. Clarke, 1675-80).  Roxburghe 4.35; EBBA 31146.  Economy – livings, prices/wages, extortion; Employment – crafts/trades; History – nostalgia; Morality – social/economic; Society – rich and poor; Emotions – joy. Clothiers sing happily of their wealth, which is generated by the economic exploitation of their workers (picture placement: he walks towards Two men talking).

Constance of Cleveland (F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, and J. Clarke, 1675-80).  Pepys 1.476-7; EBBA 20223.  Gender – marriage, adultery; Morality – sexual; Crime – murder; Emotions – love, anger; Death – execution, unlawful killing, result of immorality; Violence – interpersonal. An incredibly loyal and long-suffering wife endures her husband’s affair with a harlot and offers to die in his place when he is convicted of murder (picture placement: he walks towards a Welcoming woman).

An Excellent Ditty, called the Shepherds wooing Dulcina (F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, and J. Clarke, 1675-80).  Pepys 4.6; EBBA 21673. Gender – courtship, femininity, masculinity, sex; Employment – sailors/soldiers; Emotions – longing, love; Religion – ancient gods. An amorous shepherd makes advances to Dulcina and, after showing some reluctance, she welcomes him (picture placement: the man walks towards a Welcoming woman over the second half of the text).

A Good Wife, or None (F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, and J. Clarke, 1675-80).  Pepys 4.49; EBBA 21715. Gender – courtship, femininity, masculinity, Cupid; Emotions – anger; Morality – sexual; Environment – animals, birds, flowers/trees. A man, let down by an inconstant sweetheart, resolves to make do without women in the future unless he can find a more reliable one (picture placement: two versions of the woodcut appear, with our man walking towards a woman holding a fan on the left of the sheet, and towards  a Welcoming woman on the right).

Jenny, Jenny; Or, The false-hearted Knight, and Kind-hearted Lass (no imprint, 1675-80?). Roxburghe 2.221; EBBA 30682.  Gender – courtship, masculinity, femininity, sex; Places – Scottish; Morality – sexual.  A woman surrenders her maidenhead to a deceiving knight who immediately refuses to support her (picture placement: he walks towards a woman with her palm raised towards him).

A Merry Dialogue between a Maid and her Master (F. Cole, T. Vere, J. Wright, and J. Clark, 1675-80).  Pepys 3.297; EBBA 21312.  Employment – service and apprenticeship, female; Gender – sex, masculinity, femininity; Humour – misunderstanding; Recreation – food; Family – pregnancy and childbirth.  A dialogue-ballad in which a master hires, impregnates and fires a maid-servant (picture placement: he walks towards a woman holding a fan before her).

A New-Fashioned Marigold (F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, and J. Clarke, 1675-80).  Pepys 4.98; EBBA 21762.  Gender – marriage, masculinity, femininity, sex; Humour – bawdry, domestic/family, disguise/deceit; Employment – trades and crafts; Morality - sexual. A naive just-married man unwisely seeks sexual advice from a tailor and is cuckolded for his pains (picture placement: he walks towards some flowers).

A Pleasant New Ballad to sing Evening and morn, Of the Bloody murder of Sir John Barley-corn (F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, and J. Clarke, 1675-80).  Euing 282; EBBA 31896.  Crime – murder; Death – unlawful killing; Employment – trades and crafts; Gender – masculinity; Humour – satire; Recreation – alcohol, good fellowship; Violence – interpersonal. A murder ballad that doubles up as an account of the ale-making process (picture placement: this is the only woodcut to appear).

The West-Countrey cheat upon cheat (F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wrig[ht and] I. Clarke, 1675-80).  Pepys 4.247; EBBA 21907.  Gender – courtship, masculinity; Humour – deceit/disguise; Places – English; Recreation – food, weddings. A tale of complicated deceits and disloyalties in a number of Somerset courtships (picture placement: he walks away from a woman who turns to face another man).

A wonderful Example of God’s Justice, shewed upon one Jasper Conningham (F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, and I. Clarke, 1675-80).  Euing 399, EBBA 32026. Religion – blasphemy, divine intervention, Christ/God, body/soul, heaven/hell; Family – siblings; Gender – sex, masculinity, femininity; Death – result of immorality; Emotions – fear, wonder; Environment – wonders, garden; Violence – divine; Bodies looks/physique, injury; Places – Scottish. An atheist attempts to seduce his godly sister and pays the ultimate price (picture placement: he walks towards a Welcoming woman on the left of the sheet).

The Unnatural Mother (F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, I. Clarke, W. Thackeray, and T Passinger, 1680). Pepys 2.191; EBBA 20806.  Gender – marriage, femininity, masculinity; Family – children and parents; Death – unlawful killing, suicide; Crime – infanticide; Violence – interpersonal; Morality – familial; Emotions – anger; News – convicts/crimes. A troubled wife kills herself and her two babies after an argument with her husband (picture placement: he walks towards a woman who holds two babies).

The Dying Lovers Reprieve (F. Coles, T. Vere, I. Wright, J. Clarke, W. Thackeray, and T. Passinger, 1680-81).  Pepys 3.99; EBBA 21102.  Gender – courtship, masculinity, femininity; Emotions – love, sorrow.  A man begs a previously disdainful woman to love him, and she agrees (picture placement: he walks towards a woman).

The Worlds Wonder (F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, J. Clarke, W. Thackeray, and T. Passinger, 1680-81).  Roxburghe 2.526-7; EBBA 31031.  News – international, sensational; Places – European; Religion – sin and repentance, prophecy, general; Morality – general; Society – criticism. A report on two ancient prophets who have appeared in Toulouse, urging repentance and prognosticating strange events (picture placement: on the left, he walks towards another man).

Tis Money that makes a Man: OR, The Good-Fellows Folly (F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, J. Clarke, W. Thackery, and T. Passinger, 1680-81).  Roxburghe 3.80-1; EBBA 30415.  Recreation – good fellowship, alcohol; Gender – marriage, sex, masculinity; Morality – social. A warning to men of the need to be careful with their money and not waste it on dissolute pastimes (picture placement: he walks towards a friendly woman).

A sweet and Pleasant Sonnet, Entituled, My Mind to me a Kingdom is (M. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, J. Clarke, W. Thackeray, and T Passenger, 1681-2).  Pepys 2.7; EBBA 21665. Morality – general; Society – criticism, general; Emotions – contentment. A song teaching listeners/readers the value of personal contentment and honest living, regardless of material circumstances (picture placement: he appears on the left, beneath the title).

A Pleasant New Song betwixt a Saylor and his Love (J. wright, J. Clarke, W. Thackeray, and T. Passinger,  1682-84). Pepys 4.156; EBBA 21818.  Gender – marriage, masculinity, femininity; Employment -  sailors/soldiers; Environment – animals, crops, birds, sea; Religion – ancient gods; History – ancient/mythological; Recreation – music; Places – travel/transport. A sailor returns home after a long time away and persuades his wife not to be resentful (picture placement: he appears twice in slightly different versions, first walking towards a Shield with lion and ship, and then towards a woman with up-turned palm).

A Strange Apparition: OR, The second Meeting of two self-murthering Lovers (Jo. Wright, J. Clarke, W. Thackeray, and T. Passinger, 1682-4).  Pepys 3.378; EBBA 21394.  Death – suicide; Emotions – sorrow, longing; Gender – courtship; Religion – ghosts. This describes a supernatural reunion of two lovers who both committed suicide as a result of romantic sorrow (picture placement: he gestures towards a woodcut of two lovers).

The Woman to the Plow AND The Man to the Hen-Roost (J. Wright, J. Clarke, W. Thackeray, and T. Passinger, 1682-84).  Euing 398; EBBA 32025.  Employment – agrarian, female; Gender – marriage; Humour – domestic/familial, extreme situations; Nature – animals; Family – children and parents; Economy – household, livings. A husband and wife, critical of one another’s work, swap tasks with disastrous consequences (picture placement: he walks towards woman who faces him with fan in hand).

The young-mans Resolution to the Maidens Request (Josiah Blare, 1682-1706).  Pepys 3.212; EBBA 21225. Gender – courtship, masculinity; Humour – deceit/disguise; Society – criticism. A young woman asks a young man when he intends to marry and receives an evasive, riddle-ridden response (picture placement: he walks towards a woman with a fan).

The Plow-mans Prophesie: OR, The Country-mans Calculation (I. Blare, 1682-1706). Pepys 4.297; EBBA 21959. Humour – satire, extreme situations; Society – criticism, general; Employment – general; Economy – extortion; Religion – prophecy; Morality – general. The singer predicts that covetousness will leave England when a variety of (impossible) happenings come to pass (picture placement: he walks towards a town and, beyond it, Two men talking and another with hand in pocket).

A lamentable ballad on the Earl of Essex’s Death (A. M., 1682-1708).  Roxburghe 1.101; EBBA 30067. Politics – controversy, treason, domestic; Crime – treason; Death – execution, godly end; Emotions – sorrow; Religion – Christ/God; Places – European. An account of the brave deeds and noble death of Robert Devereux, executed for treason in 1601 (picture placement: he appears over the first column of text and there are no other woodcuts).

A Looking-Glass for a Christian Family (no imprint, 1683?).  Roxburghe 2.283; EBBA 30740. Religion – moral rules, sin/repentance, heaven/hell, divine intervention; Morality – general; Family – children/parents; Society – criticism.  A call to repentance, emphasising the sinful state of the English nation (picture placement: the man has the caption ‘My Gold is my God’ and appears to be doing the bidding of a Devil with erection – though in another edition, Pepys 2.34, the caption is missing).

The poor Mans Councellor.  OR, The Marryed Mans Guide (J. Clarke, W. Thackeray, and T. Passinger, 1684-6).  Pepys 2.86; EBBA 20709. Gender – marriage; Religion – moral rules; Morality – general; Recreation – alcohol, games, good fellowship; Employment – general; Society - friendship. A friendly narrator instructs a poor man on how to live thriftily, honestly and contentedly (picture placement: he walks towards another man).

The Poor Mans Comfort (J. Clarke, W. Thackeray, and Passenger, 1684-86).  Pepys 4.92; EBBA 21756. Gender – marriage, femininity, masculinity; Economy – livings, hardship, household; Employment –general, female; Family – children and parents; Emotions – anxiety. A poor man in despair is counselled and comforted by his wise wife (picture placement: he walks towards a friendly woman).

A pretty Ballad of the Lord of Lorn, and the false Steward (J. Clarke, W. Thackeray and T. Passinger, 1684-86). Pepys 1.494-95; EBBA 20233. Family – children/parents; Crime – robbery/theft; Death – execution, result of immorality; Gender – marriage, masculinity, femininity, courtship; Morality – familial; Environment – landscape, animals; Places – Scottish, European, travel/transport; Emotions – sorrow, anger, love, joy; Employment – agrarian, apprenticeship/service; Recreation – hunting, hospitality, food, music, weddings; Bodies – looks/physique, clothing; Religion – divine intervention; Violence – punitive, animals. An aristocratic boy is sent to France with a guardian, but the guardian turns out to be thoroughly evil and the boy has to endure horrible suffering until a lovely lady intervenes to turn things around (picture placement: he appears beneath the title and over the opening lines of the text).

An Antidote of Rare Physick. No rarer thing that you can find, To Cure a Discontented mind (J. Deacon, 1685). Pepys 2.46; EBBA 20670.  Emotions – contentment; Religion – Christ/God, divinie intervention; moral rules; Society – criticism, rich/poor; Morality – general. People are advised to seek spiritual contentment through acceptance of misfortune as the will of God (picture placement: he walks towards a woman who holds her fan before her).

The wonderful Praise of a Good Husband (no imprint, 1685-88).  Roxburghe 2.532; EBBA 31035. Family – children/parents; Gender – courtship, masculinity; Recreation – good fellowship. A mother advises her daughter on choosing between the two main varieties of man (picture placement: he walks towards Akimbo man with raised hand).

The Londoners Answer to Down-right Dick of the West (J. Back, 1685-88).  Pepys 4.274; EBBA 21935. Economy – livings, rural/urban; Employment – general; Society – rural life, urban life. A Londoner argues that the country is just as dependent on the city as the city is upon the country (picture placement: he walks towards the head and shoulders of a fine citizen).

The Victorious Wife: OR, The Hen-peckt Husband (J. Blare, 1685-88).  Pepys 4.134; EBBA 21798. Gender – marriage, femininity, masculinity; Humour – mockery, domestic/familial. A cautionary tale about a husband who is dominated, beaten and abused by his wife (picture placement: he walks towards woman who holds a fan in front of her).

The Nine Maidens Fury TO THE Hartford-Shire Man (James Bissel, 1685-88). Pepys 3.275; EBBA 21289.  Gender – courtship, femininity, masculinity; Humour – extreme situations; Violence – interpersonal; Emotions – anger, love. A group of angry maidens decide to castrate a local philanderer but he is saved in the nick of time by his true sweetheart (picture placement: he walks towards a woman, as so often, but here a gang of armed women block his path).

The Young-Mans Complaint, Or, An ANSWER To The DAMOSELS Tragedy (no imprint, 1685-88).  Roxburghe 2.542; EBBA 31137. Gender – courthsip; Family – children/parents; Death – grief, suicide; Emotions – anger, sorrow, love; Morality – familial. A man pines for his deceased sweetheart and blames her parents for his tragic loss (picture placement: he walks towards a maiden and, beyond her, a funeral procession).

An ANSWR [sic] to the Wealthy GRASIER; OR An Account of the pleasant Passages on the WEDDING-DAY (J. Deacon, 1685-88). Pepys 3.172; EBBA 21184.  Gender – courtship; Emotions – love, joy; Family – children and parents, kin; Employment – agrarian; Recreation – weddings, music, food. A rich man marries a poorer woman for love alone but is handsomely rewarded by her generous uncle (picture placement: he walks or gestures towards a couple standing hand in hand).

A FAIRING For Young-Men and Maids (P. Brooksby, 1685-88).  Roxburghe 2.162-3; EBBA 30640. Gender – courtship, sex; Recreation – alcohol, fairs/festivals; Humour – bawdry; Emotions – joy, love, longing; Employment – agrarian. An account of the multiple courtships that take place among young people at a fair (picture placement: he walks towards a friendly woman).

Modesty Amazed; Or, The Dorset-shire Damosel Importunate with her Mother to know Rogers meaning in Wooing (J. Deacon, 1685-88).  Pepys 4.23; EBBA 21690. Family – children/parents; Gender – courtship, sex, femininity, masculinity; Emotions – confusion, longing; Humour – misunderstanding; Morality – romantic/sexual. An innocent maiden asks her mother to explain the nature of Roger’s insistent physical attentions, and in response she is wisely warned to prevent him from proceeding any further until they are married (picture placement: he walks towards a maiden with a fan but, unusually, there sits between them a second woman with her back to him).

The Weavers Request (J. Blare, 1685-88). Pepys 4.355; EBBA 22019.  Employment – trades and crafts; Gender – femininity; Bodies – clothing; Economy – livings; Society – rich and poor. A complaint by weavers that popular hostility to the elite fashion for top-knots is damaging their business (picture placement: he walks towards a finely-dressed and friendly woman).

The Rich Mens Joyes, OR, THE Poor Mens Cares and Comforts (J. Back, 1685-88).  Pepys 5.174v; EBBA 22436.  Economy – livings, extortion; Employment – general; Morality – social/economic; Society – criticism, rich and poor; Emotions – anger. This contrasts the greed and wealth of the rich with the hardships suffered by the poor (picture placement: he walks towards a cottage in the countryside and, unusually, he is labelled ‘The Rich Miser’ – the verse placed directly beneath him describes a wealthy landlord calling for rent from a poor man).

A Lamentable Ballad of the Ladies Fall (W. Thackeray and T. Passinger, 1687-8).  Pepys 1.510-11; EBBA 20242. Gender – courtship; Morality – sexual; Death – tragedy; Emotions – love, anger, sorrow; Family – pregnancy and childbirth; Employment – apprenticeship/service. A young lady becomes pregnant before marriage and runs away to meet her lover, with terrible results (picture placement: he walks towards a Welcoming woman).

A Lamentable Ditty made on the Death of Robert Deverux Earl of Essex + A Lamentable Ballad on the Earl of Essex Dea[th] (W. Thackeray and T. Passinger, 1687-88).  Pepys 2.162; EBBA 20781. Politics – controversy, domestic, foreign affairs, plots, treason; Religion – Catholic/ Protestant, Christ/God; Death – exceution, grief; Emotions – sorrow; Crime – treason; Places – European; Violence – punitive. Two ballads describing the execution and lamenting the loss of the gallant Earl of Essex (picture placement: he appears over the opening verses of the second song and there are no other woodcuts).

Covetous-minded Parents, OR The Languishing young Gentlewoman (P. Brooksby, J. Deacon, J. Blare, Back, 1688-96).  Roxburghe 2.84; EBBA 30558. Emotions – love, anger; Gender – courtship, femininity; Family – children/parents; Economy – money; Society - friends. A young woman resolutely refuses to abandon her true love for the wealthy man whom her parents have picked for her (picture placement: he walks away from a woman).

The Cock-pit CUCKOLD: OR, A Wanton Match between his Wife and a ‘Squire (C. Bates, 1690-1716). Pepys 4.141; EBBA 21805. A servant tells his master that a local squire has cuckolded him, but the informant’s story is not believed (picture placement: he walks towards a man who strikes a very similar pose).

The Kentish Wonder OR, The Unmerciful Farmers Misfortune (E. Tracey, 1695-1719). Pepys 2.189; EBBA 20804.  Employment – agrarian; Economy – livings, prices, extortion; Nature – wonders; News – sensational; Places – English; Religion – divine intervention, moral rules; Morality – social/economic; Society – rich and poor; Family – children and parents. A rich farmer hoards grain while waiting for a higher price but a series of strange occurrences warn him, and others, of the need to deal fairly (picture placement: he walks towards a field of corn with three men standing beside it).

Christopher Marsh


Christopher Marsh, ‘A woodcut and its wanderings in seventeenth-century England’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 79.2 (Summer, 2016), pp. 245-62.

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Related Texts

The text entitled ‘Lord of Learne’ in the eighteenth-century Percy Collection is a long version of our ballad. Percy’s source is not known. It is often assumed that he copied his text from a seventeenth-century broadside that is now lost. It seems unlikely, however, that the 107 verses of Percy’s song could ever have been issued on a single sheet. None of the surviving editions of the broadside are longer than our featured edition, and they are all very clearly versions of the same, shorter text.

We can be fairly sure that our hit ballad was composed as a condensed version of the Percy text, whatever its source. The story is identical and much of the language is shared precisely between the two versions. As with other such reductions, there are occasional problems in the ballad with the coherence of the reduced narrative due to the loss of important material. When, for example, the Lady asks the disguised and dejected Lord of Lorn where he was born, he simply ignores the question. In Percy’s version, he explains that his origins are in the faraway land of Scotland. The ballad-maker has here squeezed the material a little too hard.

There are some differences between the two texts. Percy’s version includes fuller detail at numerous points in the narrative. Some of the vocabulary is different too. The broadside, for example, uses the unusual term ‘Easterling’ (somebody from the East) but the Percy song settles for ‘stranger’. In Percy’s version, there is chilling laughter when the false steward mocks the young lord and when the Lady rejoices at the false steward’s brutal execution. Nobody laughs in the broadside ballad. And the last few verses in the broadside (from ‘These Children...’ onwards) are not found in Percy’s song. The reference to ‘Rebels’ in the last verse of the broadside ballad is a little peculiar in the context of the narrative and may offer some clue as to the original date of the composition.

A couple of discrepancies between the two texts are puzzling. In Percy’s version, the name used by the young Lord of Lorn, when forced to live in disguise as a commoner, is ‘Poor Disaware’ but in the broadside this becomes ‘Poor dost thou wear’. And Percy’s depressed young aristocrat is employed to ‘tend sheepe on a lonelye lee’ while the hero of the broadside must ‘keep sheep on a love lovely’. The former expression makes good sense (a ‘lea’ was a tract of open grassland) but ‘a love lovely’ seems meaningless. In both versions, the line is clearly important and is repeated on several occasions. Was the ballad-maker perhaps relying partly on memory or, alternatively, trying to make senses of phrases that seemed obscure? Neither explanation is particularly convincing.

Both versions of the song also bear some relation to another text. In 1663, A pleasant history of Roswall and Lillian was published in Edinburgh. This short book, written in rhyming couplets, tells a story that is very similar in its main outlines to that of the Lord of Lorne. The two tales share the themes of travel, false servants, identity theft, marriage and execution, and there is no doubt that they were related in some way to one another. Most strikingly, they share the extraordinary and mysterious disguise-name, ‘Disaware’ (‘Dost thou wear’ in our broadside).

Scholars noted the similarity between the texts long ago and there has been considerable debate, particularly over the question of which deserves to be considered the original (see Purdie). It has often been argued that the story of Roswall and Lillian, despite the late date of its first known publication, is much earlier, perhaps originating in the late medieval period. Under this theory, the ballad was a re-writing of the existing story for a new age and new markets in the sixteenth century. Purdie, however, argues that both sources were probably composed in the 1500s and that the ballad is as likely to have been the original as the book.

I do not aspire to settle this matter here but one additional point seems worth making. A pretty Ballad of the Lord of Lorn cannot really be considered a mere revision of the story about Roswall and Lillian. The sharing of ‘Disaware/Dost thou wear’ is conspicuous but, beyond this, there are hardly any close textual parallels between the two stories.

There are also some significant differences between the two narratives: Roswall is exiled by his father at the outset while the Lord of Lorne is sent away for educational reasons; the Lord of Lorne moves from Scotland to France, while Roswall travels from Naples to a kingdom called ‘Bealm’; and the three knights who play a crucial role in Roswall’s story at its start and its finish are entirely absent from our ballad. In the end, it is currently impossible to be sure which text came first but the relationship between them was perhaps not quite as close as has often been assumed. Arguably, they were siblings rather than twins.

Christopher Marsh

Texts (in speculative chronological order)

Anon, ‘The Lord of Learne’ (perhaps composed pre-1560), in John W. Hales and Frederick J. Furnivall (eds.), Bishop Percy’s folio manuscript, 4 vols. (1867-68), vol. 1, pp. 180-98 (the manuscript is in the British Library: Additional MS. 27879).

Anon,  A pretty Ballad of the Lord of Lorn (perhaps composed pre-1560; registered, 1580).

Anon,  A pleasant history of Roswall and Lillian (perhaps composed pre-1600; Edinburgh, 1663).


Rhiannon Purdie, ‘Roswall and Lillian, the “Lord of Lorne” and the study of medieval romance and the early modern ballad’, Journal of the northern Renaissance 4 (2012).

Hyder E. Rollins, An analytical index to the ballad-entries (1557-1709) in the registers of the Company of Stationers of London (Hatboro, Pennsylvania, 1967), nos. 1545-47.

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A pretty Ballad of the Lord of Lorn, and the false Steward.

The Tune is, Green-Sleeves.

[Play each verse by clicking anywhere within its text]


IT was a worthy Lord of Lorn

he was a Lord of high degree,

He sent his Son unto the School,

to learn some civility.

He learned more in one day,

then other Children did in three,

And thus bespake the School=master,

to him tenderly.


In faith thou art the honestest boy,

that e’re I blinkt on with my eye:

I hope thou art some Easterling born,

the Holy Ghost is with thee:

He said he was no Easterling born

the child thus answered courteously,

My Father is the Lord of Lorn

and I his Son Perdye.


The School=master turned round about,

his angry mood he could not swage

He marvelled the child could speak so wise

he being of so tender age.

He girt the Saddle to the steed,

the Bridle of the best Gold shown,

He tooke his leave of his fellows all,

and quickly he was gone.


And when he came to his father dear,

he kneeled down on his knee

I am come to you Father, he said,

Gods blessing give you me:

Thou art welcome my Son, he said,

Gods blessing I thee give:

What tidings hast thou brought my Son

being come so hastily?


I have brought tidings Father, he said,

and so liked it may be:

[Additional lines from an edition of 1710: There’s never a Book in all Scotland,/ but I can read it truly]

There’s ne’r a Doctor in all the Realm

for all he goes in rich array,

I can write him a Lesson soon

to learn in seven years day.


That is good tydings, said the Lord,

all in the place where I do stand.

My Son thou shalt into France go,

to learn the speeches of each Land.

Who shall go with him, said the Lady;

husband we have none but he:

Madam, he said my Head Steward,

he hath been true to me.


She called the Steward to an account

a thousand pounds she gave him anon:

Says good sir steward be good to my child

while he is far from home:

If I be false unto my young Lord,

then God be the like to me indeed,

And now to France they both are gone,

and God be their Good speed.


They had not been in France Land,

not three weeks to an end,

But meat and drink the child got none,

nor money in purse to spend.

The Child run to the Rivers side,

he was fain to drink water then,

And after followed the false steward

to put the Child therein:


But nay marry, said the Child,

he asked mercy pittifully,

Good steward let me have my life

what e’re betide my body:

Now put off thy fair cloathing,

and give it me anon,

So put thee off thy silken shirt,

with many a golden seam.


But when the child was stript naked

his body as white as the Lilly flower

He might have been seen for his body,

a Princes Paramour:

He put him on an old keltar Coat

and hose of the same above the knee,

He bid him go to the Shepherds house,

to keep Sheep on a love lovely:


The Child said, what shall be my name

good steward tell to me,

Thy name shall be poor dost thou wear

that thy name shall be.

The Child came to the Shepherds house,

and asked mercy pitttifully,

Says, good Shepherd take me in,

to keep Sheep on a love lovely:


But when the Shepherd saw the Child

he was so pleasent in the eye,

I have no child I’le make thee my heir,

thou shalt have my good perdye.

And then bespoke the shepherds wife,

unto the child so tenderly,

Thou must take the sheep & go to the field

and get them on a love lovely:


Now let us leave talking of the child

that is keeping sheep on a love lovely:

And we’l talk more of the false steward,

and of his false treachery.

He bought himselfe three suits of apparel

that any Lord might have seem’d to worn

he went a wooing to the Dukes daughter

and call’d himself the Lord of Lorn.


The Duke he welcomed the young Lord

with three baked Stags anon

If he had wist himself the false Steward

to the Devil he should have gone:

But when they were at supper set

with dainty delicates that were there,

The D. said if thou wilt wed my daughter

I’le give thee a thousand pound a year:


The Lady would see the red Buck run

and also for to hunt the Doe,

And with an hundred lusty men,

The Lady did a hunting go;

The Lady is a hunting gone,

over Feansel that is so high,

There was she aware of a shepherds boy

with sheep on a love lovely:


And ever he sighed and made moan,

and cry’d out pittifully,

My Father is the Lord of Lorn,

and knows not what’s become of me:

And then bespoke the Lady gay,

unto her maid anon,

Go fetch me hither the shepherds boy,

why maketh he all this moan?

[We have here omitted two lines in order to maintain the rhyme scheme and ensure that the song is the right length for the tune overall: But when he came before the Lady,/ he was not to learn his courtesie,]


Where wast thou born thou bonny child

for whose sake makest thou all this moan

My dearest friend, Lady he said,

is dead many years agon.

Tell thou to me thou bonny child,

tell me truth and do not lye,

Knowst thou not the young Lord of Lorn

he is come a wooing unto me:


Yes forsooth, saith the Child,

I know the Lord then verily:

The young Lord is a valiant Lord,

at home in his own Country.

Wilt leave thy sheep thou bonny Child,

and come in service unto me,

Yes forsooth, then said the child

at your bidding will I be,


When the Steward lookt upon the child,

he bewailed him villaniously,

Where wast thou [born?] thou vagabond,

or where is thy Country?

Ha down, ha down, said the Lady,

she call’d the steward then presently

Without you bear him more good will,

you get no love of me.


Then bespake the false steward,

unto the Lady hastily:

At Aberdine beyond the Seas,

his father robbed thousands three.

BUt then bespake the Lady gay,

unto her father courteously:

Saying, I have found a bonny Child,

my chamberlain to be:


Not so, not so, then said the Duke,

for so it may not be:

For the young L. of Lorn that come a wooing

will think no good of thee and me.

When the Duke had lookt upon the Child

he seem’d so pleasant to the eye;

Child because thou lovest horses well,

my groom of Stable thou shalt be.


The Child ply’d the Horses well,

a twelvemonth to an end,

He was so courteous and so true

every man became his friend:

He led a fair Gelding to the water,

where he might drink verily,

The Gelding up with his head,

and hit the Child above the eye:


Wo worth the horse, then said the Child

that ever mare foled thee,

Thou little knowst what thou hast done

thou has stricken a Lord of high degree

The D. daughter was in her Garden green

she heard the child make great moan,

She ran to the child all weeping;

and left her Maidens all alone:


Sing on thy Song thou bonny child,

I will release thee of thy pain

I have made an oath Lady he said

I dare not tell my tale again.

Tell the horse thy tale thou bonny child,

and so thy Oath shall saved be,

But when he told the Horse his tale

the Lady wept most tenderly.


I’le do for thee my bonny Child,

in faith I will do more for thee,

And for thy sake my bonny child,

I’le put my wedding off months three.

The Lady did write a letter then,

full pittifully with her own hand:

She sent it to the Lord of Lorn,

whereas he dwelt in fair Scotland:


But when the Lord had read the Letter,

his Lady wept most tenderly,

I knew what would become of my Child

in such a far country.

The old Lord call’d up his Merry men

and all that he gave Cloth and fee;

With Seven Lords by his side,

and into France rides he:


The wind serv’d and they did sail

so far into France Land,

They were ware of the Lord of Lorn,

with a Porters staff in his hand.

The Lords then moved hat and hand,

The Serving-men fell on their knee:

What folks be yonder, said the Steward

that maketh the Porter courtesie:


Thou art a false thief, qd. the L. of Lorn

no longer might I bear with thee:

By the law of France thou shalt be judg’d,

whether it be to live or dye.

A quest of Lords there chosen was,

to bench they come hastily:

But when the Quest was ended,

the false steward must dye.


First they did him half hang,

and then they took him down anon,

And then put him in boyling lead

and then was sodden breast and bone.

And then bespoke the Lord of Lorn

with many other Lords mo,

Sir Duke if you be as willing as we,

we’l have a marriage before we go:


These Children both they did rejoyce

to hear the Lord his tale so ended:

They had rather to day then to morrow

so he would not be offended.

But when the wedding ended was,

there was delicate dainty chear,

I’le tell you how long the wedding did last

full three quarters of a year.


Such a banquet there was wrought

the like was never seen,

The K. of France brought with him then

a hundred tun of good red Wine:

Five set of Musicians were to be seen,

that never rested night nor day,

Also Italians there did sing,

full pleasantly with great joy.


Thus have you heard how trouble great

unto successive joys did turn;

And happ news amongst the rest

unto the worthy Lord of Lorn.

Let Rebels therefore warned be,

how mischief once they do pretend,

For God may suffer for a time,

but will disclose it in the end.

Printed for J. Clarke, W. Thackeray and T. Passinger.

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This ballad is included according to the criteria for List A (see Methodology). The evidence presented here is accurate, to the best of our knowledge, as of 1st January 2024.

Shirburn ballads: not included.

Appearances on Ballad Partners' lists: Pavier and partners, 1624 (as 'Lord of Lorne'); Coles, Vere, Wright and Clarke, 1675; and Thackeray, 1689 ('Lord of Lorn').

Other registrations with Stationers' Company: 1580.

No. of known editions c.1560-1711: 10

No. of extant copies: 9

New tune-titles generated: none.

Specially-commissioned woodcuts: none known.

Vaughan Williams Memorial Library databases: 34 references, with no evidence of later collection as a folk-song (Roud no. 113).

POINTS: 0 + 30 + 5 + 20 + 9 + 0 + 0 + 3 = 67

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This box will be used to highlight any new information on this song that might come to light after the launch of the website.

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