Chevy Chase and Nutbrown Maid : Ballads poems

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      Chevy Chase : Chevy Chase and Nutbrown Maid are two ballads which can be identified as earlier than the Renaissance. Chevy Chase is the oldest and the finest of epical Ballads. It is at last half historical - its subject being the struggle between Percy of Northumberland and the Douglas of Scotland.

Chevy Chase is the oldest and the finest of epical ballads. Nutbrown Maid : A lady is represented as using the story of the Nutbrown Maid to free women of the reproach of inconstancy.
Ballad poems

      This ballad tells an incident characteristic of life on the border. Prercy wishes, to hunt in enemy country less for love of deer than to provoke his enemy rejoices greatly when, after the hunt, Douglas arrives and the Dattie Douglas proposes to Percy to meet him in single combat. The followers of Percy cannot leave their leader to danger and so that fight becomes general. When the Douglas is slain, Percy gives vent to artless grief and sincere admiration.

      The poem attracts the readers simply for the sincerity of feeling and restrained decoration and details. The details are not strictly historical; yet the readers follow the events of the conflict - the part played by the English bowmen, the tactics of Douglas and hour-to-hour struggle.

This ballad is a song recitation and has the metre pre-eminently of the ballads - the seven accented lines with two divisions. The verse is primitive in its rudeness and has the minimum of ornament.

      Addison praised this war-ballad in the Spectator for its Homeric qualities just style and natural feeling and preached that the beautiful is the simple. Bishop Percy included the oldest text of the ballad in his Reliques and thus Chevy Chase is one of the mediaeval poems which influenced romanticism in the nineteenth century.

       Nutbrown Maid : A lady is represented as using the story of the Nutbrown Maid to free women of the reproach of inconstancy. The dark maid who is a baron's daughter is visited by her lover whom she believes to be a squire of low degree. The lover came to her to bid her farewell because, he has killed a man and must hide in the woods as an absconder. But neither his picture of pains and perils, nor his declaration that he has another mistress can swerve her from the desire to follow her lover. The lady's sincerity of love, being thus tested, the lover reveals himself as an earl's son who will make her lady of his heritage in Westmorland.

      Nothing could be more artistic than these thirty-six - lined stanzas with their alternating refrains. Each stanza has lines of seven accents and a system of multiplied rhymes puts a very severe constraints upon the poet. Simplicity of style and sincerity of tone are unmistakable in the lines. While the lady who may be supposed to be the author plays the part of the Nutbrown maid, other speaker takes that of the absconder. There is a dialogue-each of them in turn speaking a stanza with its refrain.

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