Tom Potts

No: 109; variant: 109A

  1. all you lords of Scottland ffaire, And ladyes alsoe, bright of blee, There is a ladye amongst them all, Of her report you shall heare of me.
  2. Of her bewtye shee is soe bright, And of her colour soe bright of blee; Shee is daughter to the Lord Arrndell, His heyre apparrant ffor to bee.
  3. ‘I’le see that bryde,’ Lord Phenix sayes, ‘That is a ladye of hye degree, And iff I like her countenance well, The heyre of all my land shee’st bee
  4. To that ladye ffayre Lord Phenix came, And to that like-some dame said hee, Now God thee saue, my ladye ffaire, The heyre of all my land tho’st bee.
  5. ‘Leaue of your suite,’ the ladye sayd; ‘You are a lord of honor ffree; You may gett ladyes enowe att home, And I haue a lour in mine owne countrye.
  6. ‘I haue a louer true of mine owne, A servinge-man of a small degree; Thomas a Pott, itt is his name, He is the ffirst loue that euer I had, and the last that hee shalbee.’
  7. ‘Giue Thomas a Pott then be his name, I wott I ken him soe readilye; I can spend forty pounds by weeke, And hee cannott spend pounds three.’
  8. ‘God giue you good of your gold,’ said the ladye, Hee was the ffirst loue that euer I had, ‘And alsoe, sir, of your fee! Hee was the ffirst lour that euer I had, And the last, sir, shall hee bee.’
  9. With that Lord Phenix was sore amoued; Vnto her ffather then went hee; Hee told her ffather how itt was proued, How that his daughter’s mind was sett.
  10. ‘Thou art my daughter,’ the Erle of Arrndell said, ‘They heyre of all my land to bee; Thou’st be bryde to the Lord Phenix, Daughter, giue thou’le be heyre to mee.’
  11. For lacke of her loue this ladye must lose, Her foolish wooing lay all aside; The day is appoynted, and ffreinds are agreede; Shee is fforcte to be the Lord Phenix bryde.
  12. With that the lady began to muse– A greeued woman, God wott, was shee– How shee might Lord Phenix beguile, And scape vnmarryed ffrom him that day.
  13. Shee called to her her litle ffoote-page, To Iacke her boy, soe tenderlye; Sayes, Come thou hither, thou litle ffoote-page, For indeed I dare trust none but thee.
  14. To Strawberry Castle, boy, thou must goe, To Thomas Pott there as hee can bee, And giue him here this letter ffaire, And on Guilford Greene bidd him meete me.
  15. Looke thou marke his contenance well, And his colour tell to mee; And hye thee ffast, and come againe, And forty shillings I will giue thee.
  16. For if he blush in his fface, Then in his hart hee’se sorry bee; Then lett my ffather say what hee will, For false to Potts I’le neuer bee.
  17. And giue hee smile then with his mouth, Then in his heart hee’le merry be; Then may hee gett him a loue where-euer he can, For small of his companye my part shalbe.
  18. Then one while that the boy hee went, Another while, God wott, rann hee, And when hee came to Strawberry Castle, There Thomas Potts hee see.
  19. Then he gaue him this letter ffaire, And when he began then for to reade, They boy had told him by word of mouth His loue must be the Lord Phenix bryde.
  20. With that, Thomas a Pott began to blushe, The teares trickeled in his eye: ‘Indeed this letter I cannot reede, Nor neuer a word to see or spye.
  21. ‘I pray thee, boy, to me thou’le be trew, And heer’s fiue marke I will giue thee; And all these words thou must peruse, And tell thy lady this ffrom mee.
  22. ‘Tell her by ffaith and troth shee is mine owne, By some part of promise, and soe itt’s be found; Lord Phenix shall neuer marry her, by night nor day, And bidd that ladye ffor mee pray; Without he can winn her with his hand.
  23. ‘On Gilford Greene I will her meete, And bidd that ladye ffor mee pray; For there I’le loose my liffe soe sweete, Or else the wedding I will stay.’
  24. Then backe againe the boy he went, As ffast againe as he cold hye; The ladye mett him fiue mile on the way: ‘Why hast hou stayd soe long?’ saies shee.
  25. ‘Boy,’ said the ladye, ‘Thou art but younge; To please my mind thou’le mocke and scorne; I will not beleeue thee on word of mouth, Vnlesse on this booke thou wilt be sworne.’
  26. ‘Marry, by this booke,’ the boy can say, ‘As Christ himselfe be true to mee, Thomas Pott cold not his letter reade For teares trickling in his eye.’
  27. ‘If this be true,’ the ladye sayd, ‘Thou bonny boy, thou tells to mee, Forty shillings I did thee promise, But heere’s ten pounds I’le giue itt thee.
  28. ‘All my maids,’ the lady sayd, ‘That this day doe waite on mee, Wee will ffall downe vpon our knees, For Thomas Pott now pray will wee.
  29. ‘If his ffortune be now ffor to winn– Wee will pray to Christ in Trinytye– I’le make him the fflower of all his kinn, Ffor they Lord of Arrundale he shalbe.’
  30. Now lett vs leaue talking of this ladye faire, In her prayer good where shee can bee; And I’le tell you hou Thomas Pott For ayd to his lord and master came hee.
  31. And when hee came Lord Iockye before, He kneeled him low downe on his knee; Saies, Thou art welcome, Thomas Pott, Thou art allwayes full of thy curtesye.
  32. Has thou slaine any of thy ffellowes, Or hast thou wrought me some villanye? ‘Sir, none of my ffellowes I haue slaine, Nor I haue wrought you noe villanye.
  33. ‘But I haue a loue in Scottland ffaire, I doubt I must lose her through pouertye; If you will not beleeue me by word of mouth, Behold the letter shee writt vnto mee.’
  34. When Lord Iockye looked the letter vpon, The tender words in itt cold bee, ‘Thomas Pott, take thou no care, Thou’st neuer loose her throughe pouertye. ‘Thomas Pott, take thou no care, Thou’st neuer loose her throughe pouertye.
  35. ‘Thou shalt have forty pounds a weeke, In gold and siluer thou shalt rowe, And Harbye towne I will thee allowe As longe as thou dost meane to wooe.
  36. ‘Thou shalt haue fortye of thy fellowes ffaire, And forty horsse to goe with thee, And forty speares of the best I haue, And I my-selfe in thy companye.’
  37. ‘I thanke you, master,’ sayd Thomas Pott, ‘Neither man nor boy shall goe with mee; I wold not ffor a thousand pounds Take one man in my companye.’
  38. ‘Why then, God be with thee, Thomas Pott! Thou art well knowen and proued for a man; Looke thou shedd no guiltlesse bloode, Nor neuer confound no gentlman.
  39. ‘But looke thou take with him some truce, Apoint a place of lybertye; Lett him provide as well as hee cann, And as well provided thou shalt bee.’
  40. And when Thomas Pott came to Gilford Greene, And walked there a litle beside, Then was hee ware of the lord Phenix, And with him Ladye Rozamund his bryde.
  41. Away by the bryde rode Thomas of Pott, But noe word to her that he did say; Away by the bryde rode Thomas of Pott, But noe word to her that he did say; But when he came Lord Phenix before, He gaue him the right time of the day.
  42. ‘O thou art welcome, Thomas a Potts, How ffares they lord and master att home, Thou serving-man, welcome to mee! How ffares they lord and master att home, And all the ladyes in thy cuntrye?’
  43. ‘Sir, my lord and my master is in verry good health, I wott I ken itt soe readylye; I pray you, will you ryde to one outsyde, A word or towe to talke with mee.
  44. ‘You are a nobleman,’ sayd Thomas a Potts, ‘Yee are a borne lord in Scottland ffree; You may gett ladyes enowe att home; You shall neuer take my loue ffrom mee.’
  45. ‘Away, away, thou Thomas a Potts! Thou seruing-man, stand thou a-side! I wott there’s not a serving-man this day, I know, can hinder mee of my bryde.’
  46. ‘If I be but a seruing-man,’ sayd Thomas, ‘And you are a lord of honor ffree, A speare or two I’le with you runn, Before I’le loose her thus cowardlye.’
  47. ‘On Gilford Greene,’ Lord Phenix saies, ‘I’le thee meete; Neither man nor boy shall come hither with mee;’ ‘And as I am a man,’ said Thomas a Pott, ‘I’le haue as ffew in my companye.’
  48. With that the wedding-day was stayd, The bryde went vnmarryed home againe; Then to her maydens ffast shee loughe, And in her hart shee was ffull ffaine.
  49. ‘But all my mayds,’ they ladye sayd, ‘That this day doe waite on mee, Wee will ffall downe againe vpon our knees, For Thomas a Potts now pray will wee.
  50. ‘If his ffortune be ffor to winn– Wee’le pray to Christ in Trynitye– I’le make him the fflower of all his kinn, For the lord of Arrundale he shalbe.’
  51. Now let vs leaue talking of this lady fayre, In her prayers good where shee can bee; I’le tell you the troth how Thomas a Potts For aide to his lord againe came hee.
  52. And when he came to Strawberry Castle, To try ffor his ladye he had but one weeke; Alacke, ffor sorrow hee cannott fforbeare, For four dayes then he ffell sicke.
  53. With that his lord and master to him came, Sayes, I pray thee, Thomas, tell mee without all doubt, Whether hast thou gotten the bonny ladye, Or thou man gange the ladye withoute.
  54. ‘Marry, master, yett that matter is vntryde; Within two dayes tryed itt must bee; He is a lord, and I am but a seruing-man, I doubt I must loose her through pouertye.’ ‘Why, Thomas a Pott, take thou no care; Thou’st neuer loose her through pouertye.
  55. ‘Thou shalt haue halfe my land a yeere, And that will raise thee many a pound; Before thou shalt loose thy bonny ladye, Thou shalt drop angells with him to the ground.
  56. ‘And thou shalt haue forty of thy ffellowes ffaire, And forty horsses to goe with thee, And forty speres of the best I haue, And I my-selfe in thy companye.’
  57. ‘I thanke you, master,’ sayd Thomas a Potts, ‘But of one thinge, sir, I wold be ffaine; If I shold loose my bonny ladye, How shall I increase your goods againe?’
  58. ‘Why, if thou winn thy lady ffaire, Thou maye well fforth for to pay mee; If thou loose thy lady, thou hast losse enoughe; Not one penny I will aske thee.’
  59. ‘Master, you haue thirty horsses in one hold, You keepe them ranke and royallye; There’s an old horsse, –for him you doe not care– This day wold sett my lady ffree.
  60. ‘That is a white, with a cutt tayle, Ffull sixteen yeeres of age is hee; Giffe you wold lend me that old horsse, Then I shold gett her easilye.’
  61. ‘Thou takes a ffoolish part,’ the Lord Iockye sayd, ‘And a ffoolish part thou takes on thee; Thou shalt haue a better then euer he was, That forty pounds cost more nor hee.’
  62. ‘O master, those horsses beene wild and wicked, And litle they can skill of the old traine; Giffe I be out of my saddle cast, They beene soe wild they’le neuer be tane againe.
  63. ‘Lett me haue age, sober and wise; Itt is a part of wisdome, you know itt plaine; If I be out of my sadle cast, Hee’le either stand still or turne againe.’
  64. ‘Thou shalt haue that horsse with all my hart, And my cote-plate of siluer ffree, And a hundred men att thy backe, For to fight if neede shalbee.’
  65. ‘I thanke you, master,’ said Thomas a Potts, ‘Neither man nor boy shall goe with mee; As you are a lord off honor borne, Let none of my ffellowes know this of mee.
  66. ‘Ffor if they wott of my goinge, I wott behind me they will not bee; Without you keepe them vnder a locke, Vppon that greene I shall them see.’
  67. And when Thomas came to Gilford Greene, And walked there some houres three, Then was he ware of the Lord Phenix, And four men in his companye.
  68. ‘You haue broken your vow,’ sayd Thomas a Pott, ‘Your vowe that you made vnto mee; You said you wold come your selfe alone, And you haue brought more then two or three.’
  69. ‘These are my waiting-men,’ Lord Phenix sayd, ‘That euery day doe waite on mee; Giffe any of these shold att vs stirr, My speare shold runn throwe his bodye.’
  70. ‘I’le runn noe race,’ said Thomas Potts, ‘Till that this othe heere made may bee: If the one of vs be slaine, The other fforgiuen that hee may bee.’
  71. ‘I’le make a vow,’ Lord Phenix sayes, ‘My men shall beare wittnesse with thee, Giffe thou slay mee att this time, Neuer the worsse beloued in Scottland thou shalt bee.’
  72. Then they turned their horsses round about, To run the race fore egarlye; Lord Phenix he was stiffe and stout, He has runn Thomas quite thorrow the thye.
  73. And beere Thomas out of his saddle ffaire; Vpon the ground there did hee lye; He saies, For my liffe I doe not care, But ffor the loue of my ladye.
  74. But shall I lose my ladye ffaire? I thought shee shold haue beene my wiffe; I pray thee, Lord Phenix, ryde not away, For with thee I will loose my liffe.
  75. Tho Thomas a Potts was a seruing-man, He was alsoe a phisityan good; He clapt his hand vpon his wound, With some kind of words he stauncht the blood.
  76. Then into his sadle againe hee leepe; The blood in his body began to warme; He mist Lord Phenix bodye there, But he run him quite throw the brawne of the arme.
  77. And he bore him quite out of his saddle ffaire; Vpon the ground there did he lye; He said, I pray thee, Lord Phenix, rise and ffight, Or else yeeld this ladye sweete to mee.
  78. ‘To ffight with thee,’ quoth Phenix, ‘I cannott stand. Nor ffor to ffight, I cannott, sure; Thou hast run me through the brawne of the arme; Noe longer of thy spere I cannott endure.
  79. ‘Thou’st haue that ladye with all my hart, Sith itt was like neuer better to proue, Nor neuer a noble-man this day, That will seeke to take a pore man’s loue.’
  80. ‘Why then, be of good cheere,’ saies Thomas Pott, ‘Indeed your bucher I’le neuer bee, For I’le come and stanche your bloode, Giff any thankes you’le giue to mee.’
  81. As he was stanching the Phenix blood, These words Thomas a Pott cann to him proue: ‘I’le neuer take a ladye of you thus, But here I’le giue you another choice.
  82. ‘Heere is a lane of two miles longe; Att either end sett wee will bee; The ladye shall sitt vs betweene, And soe will wee sett this ladye ffree.’
  83. ‘If thou’le doe soe,’ Lord Phenix sayes, ‘Thomas a Pott, as thou dost tell mee, Whether I gett her or goe without her, Heere’s forty pounds I’le giue itt thee.’
  84. And when the ladye there can stand, A woman’s mind that day to proue, ‘Now, by my ffaith,’ said this ladye ffaire, ‘This day Thomas a Pott shall haue his owne loue.’
  85. Toward Thomas a Pott the lady shee went, To leape behind him hastilye; ‘Nay, abyde a while,’ sayd Lord Phenix, ‘Ffor better yett proued thou shalt bee.
  86. ‘Thou shalt stay heere with all thy maids– In number with thee thou hast but three– Thomas a Pott and I’le goe beyond yonder wall, There the one of vs shall dye.’
  87. And when they came beyond the wall, The one wold not the other nye; Lord Phenix he had giuen his word With Thomas a Pott neuer to ffight.
  88. ‘Giue me a choice,’ Lord Phenix sayes, ‘Thomas a Pott, I doe pray thee; Lett mee goe to yonder ladye ffaire, To see whether shee be true to thee.’
  89. And when hee came that ladye too, Vnto that likesome dame sayd hee, Now God thee saue, thou ladye ffaire, The heyre of all my land thou’st bee.
  90. Ffor this Thomas a Potts I haue slaine; He hath more than deadlye wounds two or three; Ffor this Thomas a Potts I haue slaine; He hath more than deadlye wounds two or three; Thou art mine owne ladye, he sayd, And marryed together wee will bee.
  91. The ladye said, If Thomas a Potts this day thou haue slaine, Thou hast slaine a better man than euer was thee; And I’le sell all the state of my lande But thou’st be hanged on a gallow-tree.
  92. With that they lady shee ffell in a soone; A greeued woman, I wott, was shee; Lord Phenix hee was readye there, Tooke her in his armes most hastilye.
  93. ‘O Lord, sweete, and stand on thy ffeete, This day Thomas a Pott aliue can bee; I’le send ffor thy father, the Lord of Arrundale, And marryed together I will you see: Giffe hee will not maintaine you well, Both gold and land you shall haue from me.’
  94. ‘I’le see that wedding,’ my Lord of Arrundale said, ‘Of my daughter’s loue that is soe ffaire; And sith itt will no better be, Of all my land Thomas a Pott shall be my heyre.’
  95. ‘Now all my maids,’ the ladye said, ‘And ladyes of England, faire and ffree, Looke you neuer change your old loue for no new, Nor neuer change for no pouertye.
  96. ‘Ffor I had a louer true of mine owne, A seruing-man of a small degree; Ffrom Thomas a Pott I’le turne his name, And the Lord of Arrundale hee shall bee.’