The Lamentation of Master Pages wife of Plimmouth,


The Lamentation of Master Pages wife of Plimmouth,


who being enforced by her Parents to wed him against her will, did most wickedly consent to his murther, for the loue of George Strangwidge: for which fact she suffered death at Barstable in Deuonshire. Written with her owne hand a little before her death.


Contains 3 ballads: one in the voice of Mistress Page, one in voice of George Stangwidge, and the third in Page's voice again

Digital Object

Image / Audio Credit

Magdalene College - Pepys Library, Pepys Ballads 1.126-127 (See also Roxburghe 1.162-163, EBBA 30122; Euing 1.192, EBBA 31948); EBBA 20054

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The Lamentation of Master Pages wife of Plimmouth, who being enforced by her Parents to wed him against
her will, did most wickedly consent to his murther, for the love of George Strangwidge: for which fact
she suffered death at Barstable in Devonshire. Written with her owne hand a little before
her death. To the tune of Fortune.

UNhappy she whom fortune hath forlorne,
Despis'd of grace, that proffered grace did scorne,
My lawlesse love that lucklesse wrought my woe,
My discontent content did overthrow.

My loathed life too late I doe lament,
My hatefull deed with heart I doe repent:
A wife I was that wilfull went awry,
And for that fault am here prepar'd to die.

In blooming yeares my fathers greedy minde,
Against my will a match for me did finde:
Great wealth there was, yea gold and money store,
But yet my heart had chosen long before.

My eye mislik't my Fathers liking quite:
My heart did loath my Parents fond delight:
My grieved minde and fancy told to me,
That with his age my youth could not agree.

On knees I crav'd they would me not constraine,
With teares I cryde their purpose to refraine:
With sighes and sobs I did them often move,
I might not wed whereas I could not love.

But all in vaine my speeches still I spent,
My Fathers will my wishes did prevent:
Though wealthy Page possest my outward part,
George Strangwidge still was lodged in my heart.

I wedded was but wrapped in all woe,
Great discontents within my heart did grow,
I loath'd to live, yet liv'd in deadly strife,
Because perforce I was made Pages wife.

My chosen eyes could not his sight abide,
My tender youth did scorne his aged side,
Scant could I taste the meat whereon he fed,
My legs did loathe to lodge within his bed.

Cause knew I none I should despise him so,
That such disdaine within my minde did grow,
Save onely this that fancy did me move,
And told me still George Strangwidge was my love.

But here began my downefall and decay,
In mind I mus'd to make him straight away,
I that became his discontented wife:
Contented was he should be rid of life.

Me thinkes that heaven cries vengeance for my fact,
Me thinkes the world condemnes my monstrous act,
Me thinkes within, my conscience tells me true,
That for that deede hell fire is my due.

My pensive life doth sorrow for my sinne,
For this offence my soule doth bleed within,
Yet mercy Lord, for mercy still I cry,
Save thou my soule and let my body dye.

Well could I wish that Page enjoyed his life,
So that he had some other to his wife:
But never would I wish of low or hie,
A longer life and see sweet Strangwidge dye.

Ah woe is me that had not better grace,
To stay till he had run out Natures race:
My deed I rue, but more I doe lament,
That to the same my Strangwidge gave consent.

You Parents fond that greedy minded be,
And seeke to graft upon a golden tree:
Consider well, and rightfull Judges be,
And give your doome twixt Parents love and me.

I was their child and borne for to obey,
Yet not to wed where I no love could lay.
I maried was to mucke and endlesse strife,
But faith before had made me Strangwidge wife.

Ah wretched world which cankred rust doth blind,
And cursed men that beare a greedy mind,
And haplesse I whom Parents did force so,
To end my dayes in sorrow, shame and woe.

you Devonshire dames, & courteous Cornwal knights
That here are come to visit woefull wights:
Regard my griefe and marke my woefull end,
And to your Children be a better friend.

And thou my deare which for my fault must die,
Be not afraid the force of death to trie,
Like as we liv'd and lov'd together true,
So both at once let's bid the world adue.

Ulalia thy friend doth take her last farewell,
Whose soule with thine, in heaven shall ever dwell,
Sweet Saviour Christ doe thou my soule receive,
The world I doe with all my heart forgive.

And Parents now, whose mournfull minds doe show
Your hearts disease and inward heavie woe,
Mourne you no more, for hope my heart doth tell,
Ere day be done, that I shall be full well.

And Plimmouth proud I bid thee eke farewell,
Take heed you wives let not your hands rebell:
And farewell life wherein such sorrow flowes,
And welcome grave which must my corpes inclose.

And now sweet Lord forgive me my misdeeds,
Repentance cries for soule that inward bleeds:
My soule and body I commend to thee,
That with thy blood from death redeem'd it free.

Lord blesse our King with long and happy life,
And send true love betwixt each Man and Wife:
And give all Parents wisedome to foresee,
The match is marr'd where minds doe not agree.

The Lamentation of George Strangwidge, who for
consenting to the death of Master Page of Plim-
mouth, suffered death at Barstable. 1609,

THe man that sighes and sorrowes for his sinne,
The corpes which care and woe hath wrapped in
In dolefull sort records his Swan-like Song,
That waits for death and loaths to live so long.

O Granfield cause of my committed crime,
Snared in wealth as birds in bush of lime:
What cause hadst thou to beare such wicked spight,
Against my good and eke my loves delight.

I would to God thy wisedome had beene more,
Or that I had not entred in thy doore:
Or that thou hadst a kinder Father beene
Unto thy child, whose yeares are yet but greene.

The match unmeet which thou for muck didst make:
When aged Page thy Daughter home did take:
Well maist thou rue with teares that cannot dry,
Which was the cause that foure of us must die.

Ulalia faire, more bright then summers Sunne,
Whose beauty had my heart for ever won:
My soule more sobs to thinke of thy disgrace,
Then to behold mine owne untimely race.

The deed late done in heart I doe lament
But that I lov'd I cannot it repent:
Thy seemely sight was ever sweet to me,
Would God my death might thy excuser be.

It was for me alas thou didst the same,
On me of right they ought to lay the blame:
My worthlesse love hath brought my life in scorne,
Now woe is me that ever I was borne.

Farewell my Love whose loyall heart was seene,
Would God thou hadst not halfe so constant beene:
Farewell my Love, the pride of Plimmouth Towne,
Farewell the Flower whose beauty is cut downe.

For twenty yeares, great was the cost, I know
Thy unkind Father did on thee bestow:
Yet afterward so sore did fortune [l]owre,
He lost his joy and child within an houre.

My wrong and woe to God I doe commit,
This was the fault by matching them unfit,
And yet my guilt I cannot so excuse,
I gave consent his life for to abuse.

Wretch that I am, that I consent did give,
Had I denied, Ulalia still should live:
Blind fancy said, her sute doe not deny,
Live thou in blisse, or else in sorrow die.

O Lord forgive this cruell deed of mine,
Upon my soule let beames of mercy shine:
In justice Lord doe thou no vengeance take,
Forgive us both for Jesus Christ his sake.

The sorrowfull complaint of Mistris Page, for causing her
Husband to be murthered, for the love of George
Strangwidge, who were executed together.

IF ever woe did touch a Womans heart,
Or griefe did gaule for sin the inward part
My conscience then and heavy heart within,
Can witnesse well my sorrow for my sin.

When yeares were young my Father forst me wed,
Against my will, where fancy was not led,
I was content his pleasure to obey,
Although my heart was linkt another way.

Great were the gifts they proffered to my sight,
With wealth they thought to win me to delight:
But gold nor gift my heart could not remove,
For I was linkt whereas I could not love.

Me thought his sight was loathsome in mine eye,
My heart did grudge against him inwardly
This discontent did cause my deadly strife,
And with his wealth I liv'd a loathsome life.

My constant love was on young Strangwidge set,
And woe to them that did our welfare let:
His love in me so deepe a roote did take,
I could have gone a begging for his sake.

Wronged he was even through my Parents plaine,
Wronged he was through fond desire of gaine,
If faith and troth a perfect pledge might be,
I had beene wife unto no man but he.

Eternall God forgive my Fathers deed,
And grant all maidens to take better heed,
If I had constant beene unto my friend.
I had not matcht to make so bad an end.

But wanting grace, I sought my owne decay,
And was the cause to cast my friend away:
And he in whom my earthly joyes did lie,
Through my amisse, a shamefull death must die.

Farewell sweet George, my loving faithfull friend,
Needs must I laude and love thee to the end
And albeit that Page possest thy due,
In sight of God thou wast my husband true.

My watry eyes unto the heavens I bend,
Craving of Christ his mercy to extend,
My bloody deed, O Lord doe me forgive,
And let my soule within thy Kingdome live.

Farewell false world and friends that fickle bee,
All wives farewell, example take by me:
Let not the Devill to murther you intice,
Seeke to escape each foule and filthy vice.

And now, O Christ, to thee I yeeld my breath,
Strengthen my faith in bitter pangs of death:
Forgive my faults and follies I thee pray,
And with thy blood wash thou my sinnes away.

Composer of Ballad

Thomas Deloney





Execution Location

Barnstaple, Devonshire

Printing Location

London Printed for H. Gosson


From Ben Jonson: Dramatist, by Anne Barton, 1984, p. 11:

[Ben Jonson's] Page of Plymouth clearly drew upon the sensational murder for which Ulalia Page and her lover George Strangwidge were executed at Barnstaple in March 1589/90. Three contemporary ballads, two of them probably the work of Thomas Deloney, survive to indicate the general nature of the plot. Like the anonymous Arden of Feversham (1591) or Wilkins's The Miseries of Enforced Marriage (1606), this was a domestic tragedy. Dekker, indeed, was still exploiting the genre in 1621 in the somewhat more volatile company of John Ford and William Rowley when he worked up The Witch of Edmonton. ... The ballads themselves, although the speakers (Strangwidge and Mistress Page) never question the justice of their own death sentences, nevertheless come down emotionally on the side of true love. They are unequivocal in their condemnation of the parents whose greed forced their young daughter into marriage with a rich old curmudgeon, when they knew her heart had already been bestowed elsewhere...

cf. 'The Murder of Page of Plymouth,' from Sundry Strange and Inhumaine Murthers, Lately Committed (1591), reprinted in Blood and Knavery: A Collection of English Renaissance Pamphlets and Ballads of Crime and Sin, ed. Joseph H. Marshburn and Alan R. Velie (Rutherford, N. J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1973), p. 62.





“The Lamentation of Master Pages wife of Plimmouth,,” Execution Ballads, accessed May 20, 2024,

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