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The Troubadour

Fun n.s. VI - 21st. Sept. 1867

A troubadour he played
Without a castle wall,
Within, a hapless maid
Responded to his call.

"Oh, willow, woe is me!
Alack and well-a-day!
If I were only free
I'd hie me far away!"

Unknown her face and name,
But this he knew right well,
The maiden's wailing came
From out a dungeon cell.
Illustration by Gilbert

A hapless woman lay
Within that prison grim--
That fact, I've heard him say,
Was quite enough for him.

"I will not sit or lie,
Or eat or drink, I vow,
Till thou art free as I,
Or I as pent as thou!"

Her tears then ceased to flow,
Her wails no longer rang,
And tuneful in her woe
The prisoned maiden sang:

"Oh, stranger, as you play
I recognise your touch;
And all that I can say,
Is thank you very much!

He seized his clarion straight,
And blew thereat, until
A warder oped the gate,
"Oh, what might be your will?"

"I've come, sir knave, to see
The master of these halls:
A maid unwillingly
Lies prisoned in their walls."

With barely stifled sigh
That porter drooped his head,
With teardrops in his eye,
"A many, sir," he said.

He stayed to hear no more,
But pushed that porter by,
And shortly stood before
SIR HUGH DE PECKHAM RYE.

Illustration by Gilbert SIR HUGH he darkly frowned,
"What would you, sir, with me?"
The troubadour he downed
Upon his bended knee.

"I've come, DE PECKHAM RYE,
To do a Christian task,
You ask me what would I?
It is not much I ask.

"Release these maidens, sir,
Whom you dominion o'er —
Particularly her
Upon the second floor!

"And if you don't, my lord "
He here stood bolt upright.
And tapped a tailor's sword —
"Come out at once and fight!"

SIR HUGH he called — and ran
The warden from the gate,
"Go, show this gentleman
The maid in forty-eight."
Illustration by Gilbert

By many a cell they passed
And stopped at length before
A portal, bolted fast:
The man unlocked the door.

Illustration by Gilbert

He called inside the gate
With coarse and brutal shout,
"Come, step it, forty-eight!"
And forty-eight stepped out.

"They gets it pretty hot,
The maidens wot we cotch —
Two years this lady's got
For collaring a wotch."

"Oh, ah! — indeed — I see,"
The troubadour exclaimed —
"If I may make so free,
How is this castle named?"

The warden's eyelids fill,
And, sighing, he replied,
"Of gloomy Pentonville
This is the Female Side!

The minstrel did not wait
The warden stout to thank,
But recollected straight
He'd business at the Bank.

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