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A storie of Edward the third his ordinance for Britayne.

HERE bring I in a storie to mee lent,
That a good Squire in time of Parliament
Tooke unto mee well written in a scrowe:
That I have commond both with high and lowe,
Of which all men accorden into one,
That it was done not many yeeres agone.
But when noble King Edward the thrid
Reigned in grace, right thus it betyd.
For hee had a maner gelosie
To his Marchants and loved them hartily.
He feld the weyes to rule well the see,
Whereby Marchants might have prosperitee.
That for Harflew Houndflew did he maken;
And great werre that time were undertaken,
betwixt the King and the Duke of Britayne:
At last to fall to peace both were they fayne:
Upon the wich made with convencion
Our Marchants made hem readie bowne
Toward Britayne to loade their Marchandie,
Wening hem friends they went foorth boldly:
But soone anon our Marchants were ytake,
And wee spedde never the better for truce sake.
They lost her good, her navy and spending:
But their complaint came unto the king.
Then wext he wroth, and to the Duke he sent,
And complained that such harme was hent;
By convention and peace made so refused:
Wich Duke sent againe, and him excused,
Rehearsing that the mount of Saincte Michael,
And Sainct Malo would never a dell
Be subject unto his governance,
Nor be under his obeysance:
And so they did withouten him that deede.
But when the king anon had taken heede:
Hee in his herte set a judgement,
Without calling of any Parliament,
Or greate tarry to take long advise
To fortifie anon he did devise
Of English Townes three, that is to say,
Dertmouth, Plymouth , the third it is Fowey :
And gave hem helpe and notable puisance
With insistence set them in governance
Upon pety Bretayne for to werre.
Those good sea men would no more differre,
But bete hem home and made they might not rowte,
Tooke prisoners, and made them for to lowte.
And efte the Duke, an ensample wise,
Wrote to the king as he first did devise,
Him excusing: But our men wood
With great power passed over the floode
And werred foorth into the Dukes londe,
And had ny destroyed free and bond.
But than the Duke knewe that the townes three
Should have lost all his native Countrie,
He undertooke by suretie true not false,
For mount Michael and Saincte Malo als,
And other parties of the litle Brytaine,
Which to obey, as sayd was, were not fayne.
The Duke hymselfe for all did undertake:
With all his herte a full peace did hee make:
So that in all the life time of the king,
Marchants had peace withouten werring:
He made a statute for Lombards in this land,
That they should in noe wise take on hande
Here to inhabite, here to chardge and dischardge
But fortie dayes, no more time had they large.
This good king by witte of such appreiffe
Kept his Marchants and the sea from mischiefe.

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