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Beggar's Daughter of Bednall Green

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A ballad written in the reign of Elizabeth I and included in Percy's Reliques.

Bessee is the fair daughter of a blind beggar, employed at the inn at Romford and courted by four suitors, a knight, a gentleman of good birth, a merchant of London, and the innkeeper's son. They all withdraw their suit on being referred by her to her father, except the knight. The old beggar gives her as dowry; 3,000, two pounds for every one the knight puts down. It now appears that the beggar is Henry, son of Simon de Montfort, who has assumed the disguise of a beggar for safety.

The story forms the basis of Chettle and Day's The Blind‐Beggar of Bednal‐Green (1600, printed 1659). J. S. Knowles also wrote a comedy called The Beggar's Daughter of Bethnal Green; and R. Dodsley wrote a musical play, The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green.

Subjects: Literature

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