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'No wife it shall become e'er,

That once hath been to blame ;" Then ev'ry knight in Arthur's court Glanced slyly at his dame.

And first came lady Gwenever,
The mantle she must trye;
This dame she was new-fangled,
And of a roving eye.

When she had tane the mantle,
And with it all was cladde,
From top to toe it shiver'd down,
As though with shears beshradde.*

One while it was too long far,

Another while too short,

And wrinkled on her shoulders too
In most unseemly sort.

Now green, now red it seemed,
Then all of sable hue:

"Beshrew me," quoth king Arthur," wife! I think thou be'est not true."

Then down she threw the mantle,
No longer would she stay;
But storming like a fury wild,

To her chamber flung away.
She curst the whoreson weaver
That had the mantle wrought;
And doubly curst the froward imp
That here the mantle brought.

"I'd rather live in desarts,
Beneath the greenwood tree,
Than here, base king! among thy grooms,
The sport of them and thee."

Cut into shreds,

Sir Kay call'd forth his lady,

And bade her to come near : "Yet dame, if thou be guilty, mark, I pray thee now forbear."

This lady, pertly giggling,

With forward step came on, And boldly to the little boy

With fearless face is gone.

When she had tane the mantle.

With purpose for to wear;
It shrunk up to her shoulder high,
And left her nearly bare.

Then king, and ev'ry gay knight
That was in Arthur's court
Gibed, and laugh'd, and flouted much,
To see that pleasant sport.

Soon down she threw the mantle,
No longer bold or gay,

But with a face all pale and wan,
To her chamber slunk away.

Then forth there came an old knight,
A pattering o'er his creed:
And proffered to the little boy
Five nobles to his meed:

"And all the time of christmass
Plumb-porridge shall be thine
If thou wilt let my lady fair
Within the mantle shine."

A saint this lady seemed,
With step demure and slow,
And gravely to the mantle she
With mincing step doth goe.

When she the same had taken
That was so fine and thin,
It shrivell'd all about her, sooth,
And shew'd her dainty skin.

Ah little did her mincing,

And his long prayers bestead, She had no more hung on her, then, Than a tassal and a thread.

Ah! down she threw the mantle,
With terror and dismay;
And with a face of scarlet deep,
To her chamber hied away.

Sir Caradoc call'd his lady,
And bade her to come neare:
"Come, lady, win this mantle, love,
And do me credit here.

"Come win this mantle, lady,

For now it shall be thine,
If thou hast never done amiss
Since first I made thee mine."

The lady, gently blushing,

With modest grace came on, And now to try the wondrous charm, Courageously is gone.

When she had tane the mantle,
And put it on her backe,
About the hem it seem'd full soon
To wrinkle and to cracke.

"Lye still," she cried, oh mantle ! And shame me not for nought, I'll freely own whate'er amiss,

Or blameful I have wrought.

"Once kiss'd I Sir Caradoc

Beneath the greenwood tree;
Yes, once I kiss'd Caradoc's mouth
Before he married mee."

When thus she had her shriven,
And her worst fault had told, -
The mantle strait became her then,
Right comely as it shold.

Most rich and fair of colour,

Like gold it glitt'ring shone: And much the knights of Arthur's court Admired her ev'ry one.

And they made acclamation,

With these words rent the air, "Hail Sir Caradoc's lady bright,

The lovely, chaste, and fair!"

Then towards king Arthur's table,
The boy he turn'd his eye,
Where stood a boar's head garnished,
With bayes and rosemarye.

When thrice he o'er the boar's head
His little wand had drawne,
Quoth he, "There's ne'er a cuckold's knife
Can carve this head of brawne."

Then some their whittles sharpen'd,
On whetstone, and on hone,

Some threw them under the table, quick,
And swore that they had none.

Caradoc had a small knife,
Of steel and iron made,

And in an instant through the skull
He thrust the shining blade.

He thrust the shining blade in,
Right easily and fast,
And ev'ry knight in Arthur's court
Full plenty had to taste.

The knights made acclamation, With these words rent the air, "Caradoc and his lady hail,

The doubly chaste and fair!"

The boy brought forth a horn, then,
All golden was the rim :
Saith he, "No cuckold ever can
Set mouth unto the brim.

"No cuckold can this little horn
Lift fairly to his head,
But he on this or that side will
Full quick his liquor shed."

Some shed it on their shoulder,
Some shed it on their thigh;
"And he that could not hit his mouth,
Was sure to hit his eye.

Thus he that was a cuckold
Was known to ev'ry man,
Sir Caradoc lifted easily,

And won the golden can.
Now loud the acclamation,

And these words rent the air, "Caradoc and his lady hail!

The trebly chaste and fair."

Thus boar's head, horn, and mantle,
Were this fair couple's meed:
And all such constant lovers hail !
God send them well to speed.

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