Posts tagged ‘how coventry was made free by godina countesse of chester’

Friday, 4 August 2017

How Coventry was Made Free by Godina, Countesse of Chester by Thomas Deloney

To the Tune of Prince Arthur died at Ludlow.

Leofricus, that Noble Earle
Of Chester, as I reade,
Did for the City of Coventry,
Many a noble deed.
Great priviledges for the towne.
This Nobleman did get,
And of all things did make it so,
That they tole-free did sit:
Save onley that for horses still,
They did some custome pay,
Which was great charges to the towne,
Full long and many a day.
Wherefore his wife, Godina faire,
Did of the Earl request,
That therefore he would make it free,
As well as all the rest.
So when the Lady long had sued,
Her purpose to obtaine:
Her Noble Lord at length she tooke,
Within a pleasant vaine,
And unto him with smiling cheare,
She did forthwith proceed,
Entreating greatly that he would
Performe that goodly deed.
You move me much, faire Dame (quoth he)
Your suit I faine would shunne:
But what would you performe and do,
To have this matter done?
Why any thing, my Lord (quoth she)
You will with reason crave,
I will performe it with good will,
If I my wish may have.
If thou wilt grant one thing (said he)
Which I shall now require,
So soone as it is finished,
Thou shalt have thy desire.
Command what you thinke good, my Lord,
I will thereto agree:
On this condition that this Towne
For ever may be free.
If thou wilt thy cloaths strip off,
And here wilt lay them downe,
And at noone day on horsebacke ride
Starke naked thorow the Towne,
They shall be free for evermore:
If thou wilt not do so,
More liberty than now they have,
I never will bestow.
The lady at this strange demand,
Was much abasht in mind:
And yet for to fulfil this thing,
She never a whit repinde.
Wherefore to all the Officers
Of all the Towne she sent:
That they perceiving her good will,
Which for the weale was bent,
That on the day that she should ride,
All persons thorow the Towne,
Should keepe their houses and shut their doores,
And clap their windowes downe,
So that no creature, yong or old
Should in the street be scene:
Till she had ridden all about,
Throughout the City cleane.
And when the day of riding came,
No person did her see,
Saving her Lord: after which time,
The towne was ever free.

From: Deloney, Thomas and Mann, Francis Oscar (ed.), The Works of Thomas Deloney, 1912, Clarendon Press: Oxford, pp. 309-311.
(https://archive.org/details/worksofthomasdel04delouoft

Date: c1580

By: Thomas Deloney (c1543-1600)