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XVIII.

MARYAMBRE E.

In the year 1584, the Spaniards, under the command of Alexander Farnese prince of Parma, began to gain great advantages in Flanders and Brabant, by recovering many Arong-holds and cities from the Hollanders, as Ghent, (called then by the English GAUNT,) Antwerp, Mechlin, &c. See Stow's Annals, p. 711. Some attempt made with the asistance of English volunteers 10 retrieve the former of thoje places probably gave occasion to this ballad. I can find no mention of our heroine in history, but the following rhymes rendered her famous among our poets. Ben Jonson often mentions ber, and calls any remarkable virago by her name. See bis Epicæne, first acted in 1609. Ac 4. jc. 2. His Tale of a Tub, Act 1. Jc. 4. And his masque intitled The Fortunate Ijies, 1626, where he quotes the very words of the ballad,

MARY AMBREE,
(Wbo marched so free
To the fiege of Gaunt,
And death could not daunt,
As the ballad doth vaunt)
Were a braver suight, &c.

She is also mentioned in Fletcher's Scornful Lady, Ad 5. fub finem.

My large gentlewoman, my MARY AMBREI, had I but seen into you, you should have had another bed. fellow."

Printed

Printed from an ancient black-letter copy in the Pepys Cola lection, compared with another in the Editor's folio MS. The full title is, The valorous acts performed at Gaunt by * the brave bonnie lass Mary Ambree, who in revenge

of her lovers death did play her part most gallantly. The tune is, The blind beggar, &c."

WHEN

CHEN captaines couragious, whom death colde

not daunte,
Did march to the fiege of the cittye of Gaunte,
They mustred their souldiers by two and by three,
And formoft in battele was Mary Ambree.

When brave Sir John Major * was slaine in her fight, 5
Who was her true lover, her joy, and delight,
Because he was slaine most treacherouslìe,
Then yowd to revenge him Mary Ambree,

10

She clo‘hed herselfe from the top to the toe
In buffe of the bravest, most seemelye to thowe;
A faire shirt of male then slipped on fee ;
Was not this a brave bonny lass, Mary Ambree?

A helmett of proofe shee ftrait did provide,
A strong arminge sword shee girt by her side,
On her hand a goodly faire gauntlett had thee ;
Was not this a brave bonny.lafs, Mary Ambree.

O 3

15

Then

• So MS. Serjeant Major in PC.

Then tooke shee her sworde and her targett in hand,
Bidding all such as wolde, bee of her band
To wayt on her person came thousand and three :
Was not this a brave bonny lafs, Mary Ambree?

20

My souldiers so valiant and faithfull, shee fayd,
Nowe followe your captaine, no longer a mayd ;
Still formoft in battel myselfe will I bee:
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree ?

Then cryed out her souldiers, and thus, they did say, 25
Soe well thou becomest this gallant array,
Thy harte and thy weapons soe well doe agree,
Noe mayden was ever like Mary Ambree,

Shee cheared her souldiers, that foughten for life,
With ancyent and standard, with drum and with fife, 30
With brave clanging trumpetts, that founded so free;
Was not this a brave bonny laffe, Mary Ambree

Before I will see the worst of

you

all
To come into danger of death, or of thrall,
This hand and this life I will venture so free;
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree ?

35

Shee led upp her souldiers in battel

arraye, Gainst three times theyr number by breake of the daye ; Seven howers in skirmish continued shee : Was not this a brave bonny laffe, Mary Ambree?

She

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She filled the skyes with the smoke of her shott,
And her enemyes bodyes with bulletts foe hott;
For one of her owne men a score killed shee :
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?

And when her false gunner, to spoyle her intent, 45
Away all her pelletts and powder had spent,
Straight with her keen weapon shee Dasht him in three :
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?

50

Being falselye betrayed for lucre of hyre,
At length she was forced to make a retyre;
Then her soldiers into a strong castle drew shee :
Was not this a brave bonny lase, Mary Ambree?

Her foes they besett her on every fide,
As thinking close fiege shee cold never abide ;
To beate down her walles they all did decree;
But stoutlye deffyd them brave Mary Ambree.

55

Then tooke shee her sword and her targett in hand,
And mounting the walls all undaunted did ftand,
There daring the captaines to match any three :
O what a brave captaine was Mary Ambree !

60

Now saye, English captaine, what woldest thou give
To ransome thy selfe, which else must not live ?
Come yield thyselfe quicklye, or flaine thou must bee.
Then smiled sweetlye, faire Mary Ambree.

Now

O4

63

before you

Now captaines couragious, of valour foe bold,
Whom thinke
you

that
you

doe behold? A knight, fir, of England, and captaine soe free, Who shortelye with us a prisoner muft bee.

No captaine of England; behold in your fight
Two brests in my bosome, and therfore noe knight: 72
Noe knight, firs, of England, nor captaine you fee,
But a poor simple mayden, calld Mary Ambree.

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But art thou a woman, as thou dost declare,
Whose valour hath provd soe undaunted in warre ?
If England doth yield such brave maydens as thee,
Full well may they conquer, faire Mary Ambree?

75

The prince of Great Parma heard of her renowne,
Who long had advanced for Englands faire crowne ;
Hee wooed her and sued her his mistress to bee,
And offerd rich presents to Mary Ambree.

But this virtuous mayden despised them all,
Ile nere fell my honour for purple nor pall :
A mayden of Englande, fir, never will bee
The whore of a monarcke, quoth Mary Ambree.

Then to her owne country shee backe did returne,
Still holding the foes of faire England in scorne :
Therfòre English captaines of every degree
Sing forth the brare valours of Mary Ambree.

XIX, BRAVE

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