"Come sit we down under this hawthorn tree, The morrow's light shall lend us day enough-- And tell a tale of Gawain or Sir Guy, Of Robin Hood, or of good Clem of the Clough."
Ben Jonson, in his "Alchemist," acted in 1610, also indicates the current popularity of this tale, when Face, the housekeeper, brings Dapper, the lawyer's clerk, to Subtle, and recommends him with--
"'slight, I bring you No cheating Clim o' the Clough or Claribel."
"Binnorie," or "The Two Sisters," is a ballad on an old theme popular in Scandinavia as well as in this country. There have been many versions of it. Dr. Rimbault published it from a broadside dated 1656. The version here given is Sir Walter Scott's, from his "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border," with a few touches from other versions given in Professor Francis James Child's noble edition of "The English and Scottish Popular Ballads," which, when complete, will be the chief storehouse of our ballad lore.
"King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid" is referred to by Shakespeare in "Love's Labour's Lost," Act iv. sc I; in "Romeo and Juliet," Act ii. sc. I; and in "II. Henry IV.," Act iii. sc. 4. It was first printed in 1612 in Richard Johnson's "Crown Garland of Goulden Roses gathered out of England's Royall Garden. Being the Lives and Strange Fortunes of many Great Personages of this Land, set forth in many pleasant new Songs and Sonnets never before imprinted."
"Take thy Old Cloak about thee," was published in 1719 by Allan Ramsay in his "Tea-Table Miscellany," and was probably a sixteenth century piece retouched by him. Iago sings the last stanza but one--"King Stephen was a worthy peer," etc.--in "Othello," Act ii. sc. 3.
In "Othello," Act iv. sc. 3, there is also reference to the old ballad of "Willow, willow, willow."
"The Little Wee Man" is a wee ballad that is found in many forms with a little variation. It improves what was best in the opening of a longer piece which introduced popular prophecies, and is to be found in Cotton MS. Julius A. v. It was printed by Thomas Wright in his edition of Langtoft's Chronicle (ii. 452).