The Journey into France

I came from England into France
Neither to learn to cringe, nor dance,
Nor yet to ride, nor fence;
Nor for to do such things as those
Who have returned without a nose,
They carried out from hence.

But I to Paris rode along,
Much like John Dory in the song,
Upon a holy tide:
I on an ambling nag did get,
I hope it is not paid for yet,
I spurred him on each side.

And to St Denis first we came
To see the sights at Notre-Dame,
The man that shows them snuffles:
Where who is apt for to believe,
May see our Lady's right-hand sleeve,
And her old pantofles.

Her hair, her milk, her very gown,
Which she did wear in Bethleem town,
When in the inn she lay:
Yet all the world knows that's a fable,
For so good clothes ne'er lay in stable
Upon a lock of hay.

No carpenter could by his trade,
Gain so much wealth as to have made
A gown of so rich stuff:
Yet they (poor fools) think for her credit,
They must believe old Joseph did it,
'Cause she deserved enough.

There is the lanthorn, which the Jews
(When Judas led them forth) did use,
It weighs my weight down right:
But to believe it you must think,
The Jews did put a candle in't,
And then 'twas wondrous light.

There is one of the Cross's nails,
Which who so sees his bonnet veils,
And if he list may kneel:
Some say it's false, 'twas never so,
Yet feeling it thus much I know,
It is as true as steel.

There's one saint there hath lost his toes,
Another his head, but not his nose,
A finger and a thumb:
Now when we had seen these holy rags,
We went to th' inn and took our nags,
And so away did come.

We came to Paris on the Seine,
It's wondrous fair, but nothing clean,
'Tis Europe's greatest town:
How strong it is I need not tell it,
For all the world may easily smell it,
That walk it up and down.

There's many strange things for to see,
The Hospital, the Gallery,
The Place Royal doth excel:
The New Bridge and the statues there,
At Notre-Dame St Christopher,
The steeple bears the bell.

For learning the University,
And for old clothes the Frippery,
The house the queen did build:
St Innocent's, whose earth devours,
Dead corpse in four and twenty hours,
And there the king was killed.

The Bastille, and St Denis' street,
The Shateele much like London Fleet,
The Arsenal, no toy:
But if you'll see the prettiest thing,
Go to the court and see the King,
It is a hopeful boy.

He is by all his dukes and peers,
Reverenced as much for wit as years,
Nor must you think it much:
For he with little switch doth play,
And can make fine dirt pies of clay,
Oh never king made such.

A bird that can but catch a fly,
Or prate, doth please His Majesty,
'Tis known to every one:
The Duke de Guise gave him a parrot,
And he had twenty cannons for it,
For his new galleon.

Oh that I e'er might have the hap,
To get the bird which in the map
We call the Indian Ruck:
I'd give it him, and look to be
As great and wise as Luinee,
Or else I had ill luck.

Birds round about his chamber stand,
And he them feeds with his own hand,
'Tis his humility:
And if they do lack anything,
They may but whistle for the King,
And he comes presently.

Now for these virtuous parts he must
Entitled be Lewis the Just,
Great Henry's rightful heir:
When to his style to add more words,
You may better call him King of Birds,
Instead of lost Navarre.

He hath beside a pretty firk,
Taught him by nature for to work
In iron with great ease:
Sometimes unto his forge he goes,
And there he puffs and there he blows,
And makes both locks and keys.

Which puts a doubt in every one,
Whether he were Mars' or Vulcan's son,
Some few suspect his mother:
Yet let them all say what they will,
I am resolved and will think still,
As much the t'one as t'other.

His queen's a pretty little wench,
But born in Spain, speaks little French,
She's ne'er like to be mother:
For her incestuous house could not
Have any children but begot
By uncle or by brother.

Now why should Lewis being so Just
Content himself to take his lust,
On his Luina's mate:
And suffer his pretty little queen,
From all her race that yet hath been,
So to degenerate.

'Twere charity for to be known,
To love other's children as his own,
And keep them: 'Tis no shame;
Unless that he would greater be,
Then was his father King Henry,
Who (men thought) did the same.
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