The London Lackpenny
To London once my steps I bent, Where truth in no wise should be faint; To Westminster-ward I forthwith went, To a man of Law to make complaint. I said, 'For Mary's love, that holy saint, Pity the poor that would proceed!' But for lack of money, I could not speed. And, as I thrust the press among, By froward chance my hood was gone; Yet for all that I stayed not long Till to the King's Bench I was come. Before the Judge I kneeled anon And prayed him for God's sake take heed. But for lack of money, I might not speed. Beneath them sat clerks a great rout, Which fast did write by one assent; There stood up one and cried about 'Richard, Robert, and John of Kent!' I wist not well what this man meant, He cried so thickly there indeed. But he that lacked money might not speed. To the Common Pleas I yode tho, There sat one with a silken hood: I 'gan him reverence for to do, And told my case as well as I could; How my goods were defrauded me by falsehood; I got not a mum of his mouth for my meed, And for lack of money I might not speed. Unto the Rolls I gat me from thence, Before the clerks of the Chancery; Where many I found earning of pence; But none at all once regarded me. I gave them my plaint upon my knee; They liked it well when they had it read; But, lacking money, I could not be sped. In Westminster Hall I found out one, Which went in a long gown of ray; I crouched and knelt before him; anon, For Mary's love, for help I him pray. 'I wot not what thou mean'st', 'gan he say; To get me thence he did me bid, For lack of money I could not speed. Within this Hall, neither rich nor yet poor Would do for me aught although I should die; Which seing, I gat me out of the door; Where Flemings began on me for to cry,-- 'Master, what will you copen or buy? Fine felt hats, or spectacles to read? Lay down your silver, and here you may speed.' To Westminster Gate I presently went, When the sun was at high prime; Cooks to me they took good intent, And proffered me bread, with ale and wine, Ribs of beef, both fat and full fine; A faire cloth they 'gan for to spread, But, wanting money, I might not then speed. Then unto London I did me hie, Of all the land it beareth the prize; 'Hot peascodes!' one began to cry; 'Strawberries ripe!' and 'Cherries in the rise!' One bade me come near and buy some spice; Pepper and saffrone they 'gan me bede; But, for lack of money, I might not speed. Then to the Cheap I 'gan me drawn, Where much people I saw for to stand; One offered me velvet, silk, and lawn; Another he taketh me by the hand, 'Here is Paris thread, the finest in the land'; I never was used to such things indeed; And, wanting money, I might not speed. Then went I forth by London stone, Throughout all the Canwick Street; Drapers much cloth me offered anon; Then comes me one cried, 'Hot sheep's feet!' One cried, 'Mackarel!' 'Rushes green!' another 'gan greet; One bade me buy a hood to cover my head; But for want of money I might not be sped. Then I hied me into East Cheap: One cries 'Ribs of beef and many a pie!' Pewter pots they clattered on a heap; There was harpe, pipe, and minstrelsy: 'Yea, by cock!' 'Nay, by cock!' some began cry; Some sung of 'Jenkin and Julian' for their meed; But, for lack of money, I might not speed. Then into Cornhill anon I yode Where there was much stolen gear among; I saw where hung my owne hood, That I had lost among the throng: To buy my own hood I thought it wrong; I knew it as well as I did my creed; But, for lack of money, I could not speed. The Taverner took me by the sleeve; 'Sir,' saith he, 'will you our wine assay?' I answered, 'That cannot much me grieve; A penny can do no more than it may.' I drank a pint, and for it did pay; Yet, sore a-hungered from thence I yede; And, wanting money, I could not speed. Then hied I me to Billings-gate, And one cried, 'Ho! go we hence!' I prayed a bargeman, for God's sake, That he would spare me my expense. 'Thou 'scap'st not here,' quoth he, 'under twopence; I list not yet bestow any almsdeed.' Thus, lacking money, I could not speed. Then I conveyed me into Kent; For of the law would I meddle no more. Because no man to me took intent, I dight me to do as I did before. Now Jesus that in Bethlehem was bore, Save London and send true lawyers their meed! For whoso wants money with them shall not speed.
English Poetry - http://eng-poetry.ru/english/index.php. E-mail email@example.com