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Edited by 


Horace E. Scudder 


Harriet Waters Preston 


W. E. Henley 


Paul E. More 


George R. Noyes 

ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH } HelexN Child Sargent 


) George L. Kittredge 


Horace E. Scudder 


Horace E. Scudder 


Horace E. Scudder 


Horace E. Scudder 


William Vaughn Moody 


Henry W. Boynton 


Horace E. Scudder 


W. A. Neilson 


George E. Woodberry 


R. E. Neil Dodge 


William J. Rolfe 


Horace E. Scudder 


A. J. George 

In Preparation 


F. N. Robinson 



New York Chicago 

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Cambriagc dEDition 

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The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, edited by the late Francis James 
Child, was published in ten parts, forming five large volumes, from 1882 to 1898. 
It contains three hundred and five distinct ballads, but the number of texts printed 
in full is much larger than this, for Professor Child's plan was to give every extant 
version of every ballad. Thus of No. 4, ' Lady Isabel and tlie Elf-Knight,' he 
published nine different versions ; of No. 58, ' Sir Patrick Spens,' eighteen ; of 
No. 173, ' Mary Hamilton,' twenty-eight, — and so on. Each ballad has an intro- 
duction dealing with the history and. bibliography of the piece, and containing a 
full account of parallels in foreign languages, and, in general, of the diffusion of 
the story, with other pertinent matter. There are also exhaustive collations, elabo- 
rate bibliographies, an index of published ballad airs, a collection of tunes, — and, 
in a word, all the apparatus necessary for the study of this kind of literature. 

The present volume offers a selection from the materials collected and edited 
by Mr Child, and is prepared in accordance with a plan which he had approved. 
Each of the three hundred and five ballads in his large collection (except Nos. 33, 
279, 281, 290, and 299) is represented by one or more versions, without the a2')pa- 
ratus criticus, and with very short introductions. The notes, which are necessarily 
brief, give specimens (and specimens only) of significant stanzas from versions not 
included In the volume. The numbers (1-305) and letters (A, B, etc.) correspond to 
the designations used in the large collection, and there is, in every case, an implied 
reference to that work for further information. For instance, 'The Twa Sisters' 
(No. 10) is here represented by two versions, A and B, selected from those pub- 
lished by Mr Child, which (as the note on p. 642 indicates) are twent3^-seven in 
number. To A is prefixed (both in this volume and in the large collection) a 
memorandum of the four sources (a, b, c, d) from which Mr Child derived this 
version. The text, as printed on pp. 18, 19, is identical with the text of a as 
edited by Mr Child, but the variant rearlings, fully registered in the large collec- 
tion, are omitted. The short introduction to No. 10 is extracted from Mr Child's 
eight-page introduction, to which the student who wishes to pursue the subject 
will naturally have recourse. Mr Child's own words are retained whenever that 
was possible. The present volume, it will be observed, is neither a new edition of 
the collection of Mr Child nor a substitute for it. It differs from that work in 
scope and purpose. Yet it is, in a manner, complete in itself. It affords a con- 
spectus of English and Scottish ballad literature which, it is hoped, may be useful 
to the general reader and may lead those who feel a more particular interest in the 


subject to acquaint themselves at first hand with the full collection of texts and 
otlier apparatus in Mr Child's admirable volumes. 

The Glossary is based on that in the larger work. It is not intended to furnish 
material for linguistic investigations, but merely to assist the reader. 

For obvious reasons, it has seemed best to reproduce the List of Sources entire. 
For other bibliographical lists the large collection may be consulted. 

The general Introduction has been written especially for this book. It attempts 
to sum up, as simply and judicially as may be, the present state of a very compli- 
cated discussion. 

Tlie portrait of Mr Child is from a photograph belonging to Miss Catharine 
Iniies Ireland. 

Professor Neilson has had the great kindness to relieve the editors of the diffi- 
cult task of preparing the glossary, and Miss Ireland has rendered invaluable 
assistance in proof-reading. Without the lielp of these generous and self-sacrifi- 
cing friends the appearance of the book would have been long delayed. 

Cambridge, Mass., March 16, 1904. 



INTRODUCTION . . . . xi 

1. Riddles Wisely Expounded . . 1 

2. The Elfin Knight .... 3 

3. The Fause Knight upon the Road 4 

4. Lady Isabel and the Elf-Knight 4 

5. Gil Brenton 7 

6. Willie's Lady 9 

7. Earl Brand 11 

8. Erlinton 14 

9. The Fair Flower of Northumber- 

land 16 

^=^10. The Twa Sisters .... 18 

11. The Cruel Brother . . .20 

12. Lord Randal 22 

,^13. Edward 24 

14. Babylon ; or, The Bonnie Banks 


15. Leesome Brand . . . .27 

16. Sheath and Knife . . . .30 
—17. Hind Horn 31 

18. Sir Lionel 33 

19. King Orfeo 37 

20. The Cruel Mother . . .37 

21. The Maid and the Palmer (The 

Samaritan Woman) . . .39 

22. St Stephen and Herod . . .40 

23. Judas 41 

iv24. Bonnie Annie 42 

25. Willie's Lyke-Wake . . .44 

26. The Three Ravens (The Twa 

Corbies) 45 

27. The Whummil Bore . . .46 

28. BuRD Ellen and Young Tamlane 46 

29. The Boy and the Mantle . . 46 

30. King Arthur and King Cornwall 49 

31. The Marriage of Sir G a wain . 54 
.^'^ King Henry 58 

34. Kemp Owyne 59 

35. Allison Gross 61 

36. The Laily Worm and the Mach- 

REL OF THE SeA . . . .62 

37. Thomas Rymer 63 

33. The Wee Wee Man . . .66 
30. Tam Lin 66 

40. The Queen of Elfan's Nourice . 69 

41. Hind Etin 70 

42. Clerk Colvill 74 

43. The Broomfield Hill . . .76 

44. The Twa Magicians . . .77 

45. King John and the Bishop . . 78 

46. Captain Wedderburn's Courtship 83 

47. Proud Lady Margaret . . .86 
43. Young Andrew . . . .88 
49. The Twa Brothers . . .91 


50. The Bonny Hind . . . .92 

51. LiziE Wan 93 

52. The King's Dochter Lady Jean . 94 

53. Young Beichan . . . .95 

54. The Cherry-Tree Carol . . 98 

55. The Carnal and the Crane . 100 

56. Dives and Lazarus . . . .101 — 

57. Brown Robyn's Confession . . 102 

58. Sir Patrick Spens . . . .103 

59. Sir Aldingar . . . . . 106 

60. King Estmere Ill 

61. Sir Cawline 114 

62. Fair Annie 117 

63. Child Waters 122 

64. Fair Janet 125 

65. Lady Maisry 128 

66. Lord Ingram and Chiel Wyet . 131 

67. Glasgerion . . . ■ . . 136 

68. Young Hunting .... 139 

69. Clerk Saunders . . . .142 

70. Willie and Lady Maisry . . 146 

71. The Bent sae Brov/n . . .148 

72. The Clerk's Twa Sons o Owsen- 

FORD 150 

73. Lord Thomas and Fair Annex . 152 '' 

74. Fair Margaret and Sweet Wil- 

liam 157 

75. Lord Lovel 159 

76. The Lass of Roch Royal . . 161 

77. Sweet William's Ghost . . 164 

78. The Unquiet Grave . . . 167 

79. The Wife of ITsher's Well . 168 

80. Old Robin of Fortingale . . 170 

81. Little Musgrave and Lady Bar- 

nard 172 

82. The Bonny Birdy . . . .174/ 

83. Child Maurice .... 175 
^84. Bonny Barbara Allen . . . 180 

85. Lady Alice 181 

86. Young Benjie 183 

87. Prince Robert .... 183 

88. Young Johnstone . . . .18(3 

89. Fause Foodrage . . . .188 

90. J ELLON Gkame 191 

91. Fair Mary of Wallington . . 193 

92. Bonny Bee Hom . . . .195 

93. Lamkin 1!'6 

94. Young Waters 199 

95. The Maid freed from the Gal- 

lows 200 

96. The Gay Goshawk . . . .202 

97. Brown Robin 205 

98. Brown Adam 207 

99. Johnie Scot 208 

100. Willie o Winsbury . . .210 







Willie o Douglas Dale 



Robin Hood and the Valiant 


Willie and Eakl Richakd's 


. 360 

Daughter .... 



A True Tale of Robin Hood 

. 362 


Rose the Red and White Lily . 



Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daugh 


Pkince Heathen 





The Bailiff's Daughter of Is- 


Queen Eleanor's Confession 

. 372 




GuDE Wallace .... 



The Famous Flower of Serving- 


Hugh Spencer's Feats in France 377 




Durham Field .... 



Will Stewart and John 



The Knight of Liddesdale . 



Christopher White 



The Battle of Otterburn . 



Tom Potts 



The Hunting of the Cheviot 



The Knight and Shepherd's 


The Battle of Harlaw 





King Henry Fifth's Conquest of 


Crow and Pie 





The Baffled Knight 



Sir John Butler 



The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry 



The Rose of England . 



JoHNiE Cock 



Sir Andre av Barton 






Flodden Field .... 



Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough, 


Johnie Armstrong . 


AND William of Cloudesly 



The Death of Queen Jane . 



A Gest of Robyn Hode 



Thomas Cromwell . 



Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne 278 


Musselburgh Field . 



Robin Hood and the Monk . 



Mary Hamilton 



Robin Hood's Death 



Earl Bothwell 



Robin Hood and the Potter 



The Rising in the North 



Robin Hood and the Butcher . 



Northumberland betrayed by 


Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar 





The Jolly Binder of Wakefield 



The Earl of Westmoreland 



Robin Hood and Little John 



Captain Car, or, Edom o Gordon 434 


Robin Hood and the Tanner 



Rookhope Ryde 



Robin Hood and the Tinker 



King James and Brown 



Robin Hood newly revived 



The Bonny Earl of Murray 



Robin Hood and the Prince of 


The Laird o Logie . 





Willie Macintosh . 



Robin Hood and the Scotchman. 



The Lads of Wamphray 



Robin Hood and the Ranger 



Dick o the Cow 



The Bold Pedlar and Robin Hood 



Kin:\iont Willie 



Robin Hood and the Beggar, I . 



Jock o the Side 



Robin Hood and the Beggar, II 319 


Archie o Cawfield . 



Robin Hood and the Shepherd . 



HoBiE Noble .... 



Robin Hood's Delight . 



Jamie Telfer in the Fair Dod- 


Robin Hood and the Pedlars 





Robin Hood and Allen a Dale . 






Robin Hood's Progress to Not- 


The Lochmaben Harper 





The Death of Parcy Reed . 



Robin Hood rescuing Three 


The Laird of Wariston 





Lord jNIaxwell's Last Goodnight 



Robin Hood RESCUING Will Stutly 334 j 


The Fire of Frendraught . 



Little John a begging . 



James Grant .... 



Robin Hood and the Bishop 



Bonny John Seton .... 



Robin Hood and the Bishop of 


The Bonnie House o Airlie 





The Gypsy Laddie .... 



Robin Hood and Queen Kathe- 


Bessy Bell and Mary Gray 


RINE . ... 



The Battle of Philiphaugh 



Robin Hood's Chase 



The Baron of Brackley 



Robin Hood's Golden Prize 



Jamie Douglas 



The Noble Fisherman, or Robin 


Loudon Hill, or, Drumclog 


Hood's Preferment 



Bothwell Bridge .... 



Robin Hood's Birth, Breeding, 


Lord Delamere .... 


Valor, and Marriage 



Lord Derwentwater 



Robin Hood and Maid Marian . 






The King's Disguise, and Friend- 


Bonnie James Campbell 


ship with Robin Hood 



Bewick and Graham 



Robin Hood and the Golden 


The Duke of Athole's Nurse 





Sir James the Rose 




214. The Braes o Yarrow . 

Rare Willie drowned in Yar- 
row, OR, The Water o Gamrie . 

The Mother's Malison, or, 
Clyde's Water .... 

The Broom of Cowdenknows 

The False Lover won back 

The Gardener 

The Bonny Lass of Anglesey . 

Katharine Jaffray 

Bonny Baby Livingston 

Eppie Morrie 

The Lady of Arngosk . 

Rob Roy 

LiziE Lindsay 

Bonny Lizie Baillie 

Glasgow Peggie .... 

Earl Crawford .... 

The Slaughter of the Laird of 

The Earl of Errol 

Richie Story 

Andrew Lammie .... 

Charlie MacPherson 

The Earl of Aboynb 

The Laird o Drum .... 

The Duke of Gordon's Daughter 

Glenlogie, or, Jean o Bethelnie 

Lord Saltoun and Auchanachib . 

The Rantin Laddie 

The Baron o Leys .... 

The Coble o Cargill 

James Harris (The D^mon Lover) 

244. James Hatley 

245. Young Allan 

Redesdale and Wise William . 

Lady Elspat 

The Grey Cock, or. Saw you my 


AuLD Matrons 

Henry Martyn .... 

Lang Johnny More 

The Kitchie-Boy .... 

Thomas o Yonderdale . 

Lord William, or. Lord Lundy . 

Willie's Fatal Visit 

Alison and Willie .... 

BuRD Isabel and Earl Patrick . 

Broughty Wa's .... 

Lord Thomas Stuart 

Lord Thomas and Lady Margaret 

Lady Isabel 

Lord Livingston .... 


































































































The New-Slain Knight 

The White Fisher . . . . 

The Knight's Ghost 

John Thomson and the Turk 

The Heir of Linne 

The Twa Knights . . . . 

Lady Diamond 

The Earl of Mar's Daughter . 

271. The Lord of Lorn and the False 


The Suffolk Miracle . 

King Edward the Fourth and a 
Tanner of Tamavorth 

Our Goodman 

Get up and bar the Door . 

The Friar in the Well 

The Wife wrapt in Wether's 

The Farmer's Curst Wife . 

The Beggar Laddie 

Jock the Leg and the Merry 

The Crafty Farmer 

John Dory 

The George Aloe and the Sweep- 

The Sweet Trinity (The Golden 

Captain Ward and the Rainbow 

The Young Earl of Essex's Vic- 
tory over the Emperor of Ger- 

The Mermaid 

Child Owlet 

The West -Country Damosel's 

John of Hazelgreen 

Dugall Quin 

The Brown Girl .... 

Walter Lesly 

Earl Rothes 

Young Peggy 

Blancheflour and Jellyflorice 

The Queen of Scotland 

Young Bearwell 

The Holy Nunnery 

Young Ronald . 

The Outlaw Murray 

Fragments . 

Notes .... 

Sources of the Texts 

Glossary . 

Index of Ballad Titles 












A BALLAD is a song that tells a story, or — to take the other point of view — a story 
told iu soiig. More formally, it 2iiay be defined as a short narrative poem, adapted for 
singing, simple in plot and metrical structure, divided into stanzas, and characterized by 
complete impersonality so far as the author or singer is concerned. This last trait is of 
the very first consequence in determining the quality or qualities which give the ballad 
its peculiar place in literature. A ballad has no author. At all events, it appears to have 
none. The teller of the story for the time being is as much the author as the unknown 
(and for our purposes unimportant) person who first put it into shape. In most forms of 
artistic literature the personality of the writer is a matter of deep concern to the reader. 
The style, we say, is the man. The individuality of one poet distinguishes his works, 
however they may vary among themselves, from the works of all other poets. Chaucer, 
for instance, has his way, or his ways, of telling a tale that are not the way, or the ways, 
of William Morris. If a would-be creative literary artist has no individuality that we 
can detect, we set him down as conventional, and that is an end of him and of his works. 
In the ballad it is not so. There the author is of no account. He is not even present. 
We do not feel sure that he ever existed. At most, we merely infer his existence, at 
some indefinite time in the past, from the fact of his product : a poem, we think, implies 
a poet ; therefore somebody must have composed this ballad. Until we begin to reason, 
we have no thought of the author of any ballad, because, so far as we can see, he had no 
thought of himself. 

We may go a step farther in this matter of impersonality. Not only is the author of a 
ballad invisible, and, so far as the effect which the poem produces on the hearer is con- 
cerned, practically non-existent, but the teller of the tale has no role in it. Unlike other 
songs, it does not purport to give utterance to the feelings or the mood of the singer.^ 
The first person does not occur at all, except in the speeches of the several characters. 
Finall}'-, there are no comments or reflections by the narrator. He does not dissect or psy- 
chologize. He does not take sides for or against any of the dramatis personae. He merely 
tells what happened and what people said, and he confines the dialogue to its simplest 
and most inevitable elements. The story exists for its own sake. If it were possible to 
conceive a tale as telling itself, without the instrumentality of a conscious speaker, the 
ballad would be such a tale.^ 

So far we have dealt in generalities and impressions. What has been said is obvious 
enough, and it is admitted by everybody. There is, as we shall see presently, no agree- 
ment among scholars as to the origin and history of what are called popular ballads, 
but as to the fact of their impersonal quality there is no dispute. Nor will it be denied 
that this quality puts them in a class by themselves. Whatever the cause or causes, 

^ This distinguishes the ballad, strictly so called, from the purely lyrical poem. Such a song- as 
' Waly, waly, gin love be bony ' (p. 667) is, then, not a ballad, though it tells a story. It should 
be noted that, in common parlance, the term ballad is very loosely applied. 

^ There are, of course, slight departures from the type in particular cases, but these are readily 
accounted for, and do not affect the integrity of the type. 


the bare fact is clear and undeniable. No one can read ' The Hunting of the Cheviot,' 
or ' Mary Hamilton,' or * Johnie Armstrong,' or ' Kobyn and Gandeleyn,' or ' The Wife 
of Usher's Well,' and fail to recognize that, different as they are from each other in 
theme and in effect, they belong together. Yet no two of them are the works of the same 
author. Their common element is not the personality of the writer but his impersonality; 
and this distinguishes the ballad, as a class, from the productions of the conscious literary 
artist. In studying ballads, then, we are studying the " poetry of the folk," and the 
*' poetry of the folk " is different from the " poetry of art." 

Poetry of the folk is, perhaps, a dangerous phrase ; but it is too convenient to be 
lightly rejected, and, if we proceed with caution, we may employ it without disaster. Let 
us hasten to acknowledge that in introducing the term at this stage of our discussion we 
have gone somewhat farther than the logic of the situation warrants. We have seen, to 
be sure, that all poetry is divisible into two great classes, — that which is manifestly the 
work of the conscious artist, and that which is not. We have recognized a characteristic 
difference between ' The Prioress's Tale ' and ' Julian and Maddalo ' on the one hand, 
and 'Johnie Armstrong' and 'The Wife of Usher's Well ' on the other. But we have 
not yet discovered anything that justifies us in calling the ballads folk-iwetry, and we 
have not defined the folk, though that is a term which assuredly requires explanation. 

The alphabet was no doubt a great invention, and everybody should be happy to know 
that he can write. But now and then it would be convenient if one's thoughts could dis- 
sociate literature for a moment from the written or printed page. In theory this is easy 
enough to do. Practically, however, it is difficult for even a professed student of lin- 
guistics to remember that a word is properly a sign made with the vocal organs, and that 
the written word is merely a conventional symbol standing for the word that is spoken. 
We are in the habit of thinking that a word should be pronounced as it is spelled, rather 
than that it should be spelled as it is pronounced. Author means to us a man with a 
pen in his hand, — a writer, as we call him. It requires a combined effort of the reason 
and the imagination to conceive a poet as a person who cannot write, singing or reciting 
his verses to an audience that cannot read. History, as we understand it, is the written 
record or even tlie printed volume ; it is no longer the accumulated fund of tribal memories, 
handed down from father to son by oral tradition. Yet everybody knows that, quite 
apart from what we usually call literature, there is a great mass of song and story and 
miscellaneous lore which circulates among those who have neither books nor newspapers. 
To this oral literature, as the French call it, education is no friend. Culture destroys 
it, sometimes with amazing rapidity. When a nation learns to read, it begins to disregard 
its traditional tales ; it feels a little ashamed of them ; and finally it loses both the will 
and the power to remember and transmit them. What was once the possession of the 
folk as a whole, becomes the heritage of the illiterate only, and soon, unless it is gathered 
up by the antiquary, vanishes altogether. 

To tliis oral literature belong the popular ballads, and we are justified, therefore, in 
calling them '* folk-poetry." They are not, like written literature, the exclusive posses- 
sion of the cultivated classes in any community. They belonged, in the first instance, to 
the whole people, at a time when there were no formal divisions of literate and illiterate; 
when the intellectual interests of all were substantially identical, from the king to the 
peasant. As civilization advanced, they were banished from polite society, but they lived 
on among the humble, among shepherds and ploughboys and " the spinsters and the 
knitters in the sun," until even these became too sophisticated to care for them and they 
were heard no more. 


The process just sketched is not imaginary or merely inferential. It is, to be sure, im- 
possible, from the nature of the case, to cite documentary evidence for every step in the 
history of the ballads of a given people. But we are not confined to the limits of a single 
nationality. Every country of Europe may be laid under contribution for evidence, and 
not a little testimony has come in from other continents. All stages of civilization are 
represented in the material that scholars have brought together, so that we are enabled 
to speak with entire confidence. Positive chronology may be out of the question, but rel- 
ative chronology is all that one can require in such matters. The hostility bet\(reen edu- 
cation and balladry is not conjectural ; its history is known in Great Britain for at least 
two hundred years. The homogeneous folk — that is, the community whose intellectual 
interests are the same from the top of the social structure to the bottom — is no fiction; 
examples in abundance have been observed and recorded. The ability of oral tradition to 
transmit great masses of verse for hundreds of years is proved and admitted. Ballads 
themselves exist in plenty, fortunately preserved in old manuscripts or broadsides or taken 
down from singing or recitation in recent years. It is possible to be ignorant of the 
evidence, no doubt, but it is not possible to doubt when once the evidence is known. The 
popular ballads are really popular, that is, they belong to the folk. So much is clear. 
There are problems enough remaining, — the relation of the ballads to written literature, 
their sources, their origin, the manner of composition, and so on. But these are sec- 
ondary questions. The main point is established, and, indeed, there has never been any 
reason to dispute it. 

The authorship of popular ballads is a question of great difficulty, which must be con- 
sidered in due season, but which may be deferred for the present. Before discussing the 
different theories that have been proposed it is well to refer to other matters that admit 
of a more satisfactory settlement. 

Professor Child's great collection. The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, in five 
volumes (Boston, 1882-98), comprises the whole extant mass of this material. It in- 
cludes three hundred and five pieces, most of them in a number of different versions, with 
full collations and other pertinent apparatus. A few variants of this or that ballad have 
come to light since the publication of this admirable work, but no additional ballads have 
been discovered. Ballad-making, so far as the English-speaking nations are concerned, 
is a lost art ; and the same may be said of ballad-singing. A few of the ballads in Mr 
Child's collection are still in oral circulation; but most of them are completely forgotten 
or are known only in versions derived from print. Among those which survive may be 
mentioned ' Lord Randal,' ' The Wife of Usher's Well,' ' The Maid Freed from the 
Gallows,' ' Sir Plugh,' and ' The Twa Sisters.' Much has been lost, and some of the most 
precious relics of tradition that we possess have been saved by mere accident and in a 
sadly mutilated condition. Yet what has. been preserved is considerable in amount and, 
on the whole, of excellent quality. No country has better ballads than those of England 
and Scotland. 

On pages 677-634 of the present volume will be found a chronological list of the man- 
uscripts, broadsides, and printed books from which Professor Child derived the texts 
which make up his collection. Only eleven ballads, it will be observed, are extant in 
manuscripts older than the seventeenth century. The unique copy of ' Judas ' (No. 29) 
dates from the thirteenth century; next, by a long interval, comes 'Riddles Wisely Ex- 
pounded ' (No. 1), which occurs in a manuscript of about 1445 ; slightly later, perhaps, are 
the manuscripts which contain 'Robin Hood and the Monk ' (No. 119), * St Stephen and 
Herod' (No. 22), and ' Robyn and Gandeleyn ' (No. 115); from about 1500 come our ^ 


copies of ' Robiu Hood and the Potter ' (Xo. 121) and ' Crow and Pie ' (No. Ill) ; from 
about 1550 those of ' The Battle of Otterburn ' (No. IGl) and the older version of ' The 
Hunting of the Cheviot ' (No. 162); ' Sir Andrew Barton' (No. 167) and ' Captain Car ' 
(No. 178) occur in manuscripts of the seventeenth century. The Percy Folio, which is 
the most important of all our ballad manuscripts, is in a hand of about 1650. A few 
ballads are found in printed copies of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Miscellanies 
of the seventeenth century preserve a number of texts, and broadsides of the same cen- 
tury are plentiful. Then we come to the collectors of the eighteenth and nineteenth 
centuries, to whose enthusiasm for popular poetry are due the majority of the texts which 
we possess. 

Evidently, then, the written and printed documents which we are studying are, in the 
main, modern documents. But we are not to infer that the ballads themselves are neces- 
sarily of recent origin. A sharp distinction must be made between the date of the book 
or manuscript in which a ballad occurs and the date of the ballad itself. 

There is ample evidence for the antiquity of popular ballads in England. Nobody 
doubts that the Angles and Saxons had them in abundance when they invaded Britain, 
and the mediaeval chroniclers testify to the continuance of the ballad-singing habit. 
Indeed, there is no difficulty in proving beyond a reasonable doubt that there were 
ballads in plenty from the dawn of English history (not to speak of what lies before this 
epoch) down to the seventeenth century, when written and printed documents begin to 
abound. From the nature of the case, however, such songs very seldom got written 
down. The substance of many Anglo-Saxon ballads may be preserved in Bdowulf, but 
this is an epic poem of considerable pretensions to artistic structure and finish, and we 
cannot hope to extract from it the separate songs which its author or authors utilized. 
Much ballad material is doubtless preserved in chronicles, but the ballads themselves are 
not there. Only a limited class of ballads (those of an heroic or historical character) 
were likely to afford material to chroniclers and epic poets. What the people sang would 
only be recorded by accident. Thus it is not surprising that we have but a single ballad 
written down in the thirteenth century. The existence of this one text, the ' Judas,' com- 
pletely popular in metre, in phraseology, and in what we call atmosphere, is a valuable 
piece of evidence. The lack of similar texts for the next two hundred years is no evi- 
dence at all, except, perhaps, of the fact that such pieces were in the possession of the 
folk and circulated from mouth to mouth, but that nobody cared to commit them to 
writing. * St Stephen and Herod' is just such another piece as 'Judas' and may be 
quite as old, yet it did not achieve the perpetuity of pen and ink until about 1450. ' The 
jSIaid and the Palmer ' (No. 21), which is a popular version of the story of the Samaritan 
woman in the gospel, belongs to the same class. So far as we know, however, it was not 
written down until about 1650, when it was included in that extraordinary miscellany 
known as Bishop Percy's Folio Manuscript. When Percy discovered this manuscript it 
was lying under a bureau in the parlor of a country gentleman's house, and the maids 
were using it to light fires. Suppose it had escaped Percy's notice. Another month, 
another week, would have sent it up Humphrey Pitts's chimney in smoke. We should 
then have no knowledge of the existence of ' The Maid and the Palmer ' in English, 
except for three stanzas and half of the burden, which Sir Walter Scott remembered and 
which were first printed in 1880 in the second edition of Sharpe's Ballad Book ; but we 
should make a great mistake if we inferred that ' The Maid and the Palmer ' was to 
be dated in accordance with the time when it was first printed or even the time when it 
was communicated to Sharpe by Scott. To avoid a possible misapprehension it may be 


added that Scott was not aware that this ballad occurs in the Percy Manuscript. His 
knowledge of it, in other words, came from pure oral tradition which was in no manner 
affected by the accident that some scribe in the seventeenth century wrote down a ver- 
sion that was then in circulation. The case of * The Maid and the Palmer ' is so instruc- 
tive that we must dwell on it a little longer. The ballad is not confined to England. 
There are versions in Danish, in Faroe, in Norwegian, in Swedish, and in Finnish. The 
Danish ballad was printed as a broadside about 1700, and was also taken down from reci- 
tation in 1848 and again in 1869. The Faroe version is known from about the end of the 
eighteenth century, and the same is true of one of the Swedish texts. A memorandum 
in the handwriting of Arne Magnusson proves that the ballad existed in Icelandic in 
the seventeenth or early eighteenth century. All these facts are quite independent 
of the scribe of the Percy Manuscript and of the recollection of Sir Walter Scott. 
Geographical distribution, then, may give valuable testimony to the antiquity of a ballad. 
A striking example is * Lady Isabel and the Elf-Knight ' (No. 4). This was first printed, 
so far as we know, in a broadside of about 1765,1 and next in 1776 by Herd, who took it 
down from singing or recitation. But these dates are of no value in determining the age 
of the ballad. What convinces us that *Lady Isabel and the Elf-Knight' came to the 
printer of the broadside and to Herd from an oral tradition of indeterminable antiquity 
is its existence among all the nations of Europe. " It is nearly as well known to the 
southern as to the northern nations. It has an extraordinary currency in Poland. The 
Germans, Low and High, and the Scandinavians, preserve it, in a full and evidently 
ancient form, even in the tradition of this generation." ^ No one can turn over the pages 
of Mr Child's introduction to ' Lady Isabel ' without perceiving that nothing has less 
significance for the date of any ballad than the precise moment at which it first excited 
the interest of some collector who reduced it to writing, or of some catchpenny publisher 
who had it struck off on poor paper in battered type for the gratification of those who, 
like Mopsa, love a ballad in print a-life. 

So long as a ballad continues to be handed down by oral tradition, it is, of course, con- 
tinuously subjected to the processes of change which every language undergoes. Hence, 
a version derived from recitation or singing in the nineteenth century will conform, in 
the main, to the habitual dialect of the singer or reciter, and thus will be, in a real sense, 
modern. But this has nothing to do with the age of the ballad itself.\ In printed ver- 
sions, the linguistic forms may be considerably older than the date of publication, and 
the same is true of copies preserved in manuscript. Thus, the language of the ' Gest of 
Ilobin Hood ' (No. 117) is much earlier than 1500, the approximate date of the first 
edition that we know of. There is nothing surprising in this, for Robin Hood ballads 
were in circulation a good while before 1377, as the casual mention of them in Piers 
Plowman proves. 

The considerations set forth In the preceding paragraphs have an important bearing on 
another question which has been much debated, — the relation between ballads and met- 
rical romances. Such romances are, on the whole, preserved in manuscripts much older 
than the sources from which we derive our ballad texts, and it has therefore seemed natu- 
ral to many scholars to assume without argument that when a romance and a ballad tell 
the same story, the ballad is merely a rifacimento of the romance. Such an inference is, 
however, by no means a matter of course. Most romances were literary productions, 
composed as modern novels are composed, pen in hand. Clearly, then, if a written 

1 Roxbnrghe Ballads, Ballad Society, vii, .")S3-4. 

2 Child, English and Scottish Popular Ballads, i, 22 (1882). 


romance was in a given case based upon a ballad which had never been committed to writ- 
ing, and which continued to circulate from mouth to mouth for a century or two before 
anybody took it down, the romance, though in fact later than the ballad, would appear, 
so far as documentary evidence is concerned, to be the older of the two. No doubt cer- 
tain ballads are based upon metrical romances. Such appears to be the case with ' The 
Lord of Lorn and the False Steward' (No. 271), which may probably be a retelling of 
'Roswall and Lillian,' but in general, there is no presumption in favor of the priority of 
the romance; and even when the extant ballad does demonstrably go back to a romance, 
it is sometinies^^robablg^that the romance itself goes back to a still older ballad which 
has perished. A priori considerations are of little or no value in solving these problems. 
Each case reqviires to be investigated by itself. The reader may find abundant materials 
for such investigation in Professor Child's introductions to ' Hind Horn ' (No. 17), ' Sir 
Lionel ' (No. 18), ' King Orfeo ' (No. 19), ' Sir Aldingar ' (No. 59), and ' Fair Annie ' 
(No. 62). What has been said of ballads and romances is equally true of ballads and 
literary material in general. ' Lady Diamond ' (No. 269) is unquestionably derived in 
some way from Boccaccio's Decameron, but nothing is more certain than that Boccaccio's 
own tale goes back in the long run to distinctly popular sources. Certain historical bal- 
lads may come from chronicles, but, on the other hand, it is well known that chroniclers 
have often drawn without scruple from legendary songs and other forms of oral tradition. 
Only by comparative study of extensive material and patient scrutiny of details can one 
hope to arrive at a satisfactory result in these matters, and it often happens that the truth 
lies too far back for us to discover. 

Some ballads are historical, or at least are founded on actual occurrences. In such 
cases, we have a manifest point of departure for our chronological investigation. The 
ballad is likely to have sprung up shortly after the event and to represent the common 
rumor of the time. Accuracy is not to be expected, and indeed too great historical 
fidelity in detail is rather a ground of suspicion than a certificate of the genuinely popular 
character of the piece. There can be no object in enumerating the obviously historical 
ballads in the present collection ; the reader will easily find most of them for liimself by 
running through the Table of Contents. But two cautionary observations are necessary. 
Since history repeats itself, the possibility and even the probability must be entertained 
that every now and then a ballad which had been in circulation for some time was adapted 
to the circumstances of a recent occurrence and has come down to us only in such an 
adaptation. It is also far from improbable that many ballads which appear to have no 
definite localization or historical antecedents may be founded on fact, since one of the 
marked tendencies of popular narrative poetry is to alter or eliminate specific names 
of persons and places in the course of oral tradition. A good example, though not in a 
case of historical derivation, may be seen in * Hind Horn ' (No. 17), and another in ' King 
Orfeo ' (No. 19). In ' Hind Horn,' but one name is kept, that of the hero himself, 
which happened to afford the opportunity for a kind of pun (" Drink to Horn from the 
horn "), and so was preserved. Were it not for this name, we could only say that the 
ballad belongs to a great class of stories of which the romance of ' King Horn ' is also 
a member ; we should have no right to postulate any special connection between the 
romance and the ballad. The pretty little Shetland ballad of 'King Orfeo' comes 
in some way from the classical tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, apparently by way of a 
Middle English lay or romance, but it has lost the name of the hero aiid has trans* 
formed that of the heroine into Isabel. 

A popular ballad, as we have seen, seldom or never has an ascertainable date. In fact 


the precise date of its composition is not significant in the sense in which the date of an 
ode or a sonnet is significant. An artistic poem receives its final form at the hands of 
the author at the time of compositioii. That form is fixed and authoritative. Nobody 
either has or supposes that he has the right to modify it. Any such alteration is an 
offence, a corruption, and the critic's duty is to restore the text to its integrity so that we 
may have before us what the poet wrote and nothing else.i Tlie composition of an ode or 
a sonnet, then, may be regarded as a single creative act. And with the acconiplishment 
of this creative act, the account is closed ; once finished, the poem is a definite entity, 
no longer subject to any process of development. Not so with the popular ballad. Here 
the mere act of composition (which is quite as likely to be oral as written) is not the con- 
clusion of the matter ; it is rather the beginning, ^he product as it comes from the 
author is handed over to the folk for oral transmission, and thus passes out of his control. 
If it is accepted by those for whom it is intended, it ceases to be the property of the 
author ; it becomes the possession of the folk, and a new process begins, that of oral tra- 
dition, which is hardly second in importance to the original creative act. As it passes 
from singer to singer it is changing unceasingly. Old stanzas are dropped and new ones 
are added j rhymes are altered ; the names of the characters are varied ; portions of other 
ballads work their way in ; the catastrophe may be transformed completely. Finally, 
if the tradition continues for two or three centuries, as it frequently does continue, the 
whole linguistic complexion of the piece may be so modified with the development of 
the language in which it is composed, that the original author would not recognize his 
work if he heard it recited. \ Taken collectively, these processes of oral tradition amount 
to a second act of composition, of an inextricably complicated character, in which many 
persons share (some consciously, others without knowing it), which extends over many 
generations and much geographical space, and which may be as efficient a cause of the 
ballad in question as the original creative act of the individual author. It would be a 
great mistake to regard the results of what we may call, for want of a better term, col- 
lective composition, as identical with the corruptions of scribes and editors in the case of 
a classical text.^ Individually they are sometimes indistinguishable from such corruptions, 
but in the aggregate they amount to a distinct kind of authorship which every student of 
popular literature is obliged to recognize, not only as actually operative in the production 
of ballads, but as legitimate. They may even result in the production of new ballads 
to which no individual author can lay claim, so completely is the initial act of creative 
authorship overshadowed by the secondary act of collective composition. We may com- 
pare the processes of language. A word is created by somebody. It then becomes the 
property of the whole body of those who-speak the language, and is subjected to con- 
tinuous modification from generation to generation. The primary act of the original 
creator of the word is not more important," and may be far less so, than the secondary 
acts of his countrymen who transmit his creation and make it their own as they pass it on. 
It follows that a genuinely popular ballad can have no fixed and final form, no sole 
authentic version. There are texts, but there is no text. Version A may be nearer the 

1 The author, of course, may revise his own work from time to time ; but that does not affect 
the principle involved. If such revisions are made, the author's latest revised text becomes the 
authoritative version, and, for our present purpose, simply supersedes the first draught, which, 
except for minute questions of literary history, is cancelled and practically ceases to exist. 

2 Of course there are also headlong, blundering corruptions which are comparable to those that 
take place in the transmission of a written or printed text ; but these may, if necessary, he distin- 
guished from the proper and lawful modifications which are of the very nature of oral tradition. 


original than versions B and C, but that does not affect the pretensions of B and C to 
exist and hold up their heads among their fellows. It would be interesting if we could 
have every one of Mr Child's three hundred and five ballads exactly as it came from the 
lips or hands of its first composer ; but such versions, if we could arrive at them, would 
not cancel the variants that have come down to us. Oral transmission and its concomi- 
tants are not the accidents of the ballad, they are essential to it ; they are constituent 
elements of its very nature. Without them the ballad would not be the ballad. 

Hitherto we have assumed that ballads are initially the work of individual authors likQ 
any other poem, and this may probably be the truth with respect to most and perhaps all 
of the English and Scottish ballads which have survived, although, as we have seen, the 
function of the individual author is far less significant in the production of a genuinely 
popular ballad than in the case of poems which are made by the well-defined process of 
artistic composition. A different theory of ballad origins was held by James Grimm ; 
and the mystery in which his indistinct utterances involved the subject has long been a 
matter of controversy. Grimm's general views on myth, popular poetry, and fairy tales 
are well known, and need not here be particularized. He held that they were, in the full- 
est sense, the expression of the spirit of the folk, and that they perpetuated themselves, 
ever changing and continually fitting themselves to new environments, but with little or 
no intentional alteration on the part of any given reciter. That these theories were some- 
what too far-reaching was pointed out by his own contemporaries. In the main, however, 
if understood with some reserves in particular cases and with ample allowance for excep- 
tions, little fault can be found with them. The " mystery" is reached when Grimm declares 
that the people, as a whole, composes poetry ; das Volh dichteO It is easy enough to 
understand that the material for ballads is in the possession of the folk. It is not more 
difficult to see that a ballad, when once it exists, becomes the possession of the folk, and 
is subjected to those vicissitudes of oral tradition whicli, as we have seen, are hardly less 
important than the initial act of composition. But the difficulty comes when we try to 
figure to ourselves the actual production of a ballad in the first instance without the 
agency of an individual author. For this difficulty Grimm has nowhere provided, nor is 
it certain that he was entirely clear in his own mind as to the scope or the bearings of his 
theory in this crucial point. 

Modern criticism has made merry with Grimm's theory of ballad authorship. Compo- 
sition, it is held, must be the act of an individual ; it is inconceivable otherwise ; ballads 
were composed like other poems ; the folk has no voice as a community; it cannot pour 
forth unpremeditated and original song in unison. Thus baldly stated, the objections to 
Grimm's theory are unanswerable, for they speak the words of truth and soberness. But 
Grimm, though he has not expressed himself with precision, — though perhaps he n^a}' 
even be charged with avoiding the direct issue, — cannot have meant anything so grossly 
unreasonable as the teuets which his opponents ascribe to him. He was not deficient in 
common sense, and he certainly had a profound and rarely sympathetic knowledge of 
popular literature and of the popular spirit in all its manifestations. No doubt he uttered 
dark oracles, but, though we cannot accept his doctrine in any literal sense, still that is 
no valid reason for flying off to the opposite pole, — for denying the existence of any 
problem and asserting that the only difference between ballads and other poems turns on 
the question of anonymity. Such an explanation is far too simple ; it ignores too many 

1 This famous phrase is to be regarded as a suramin^ up of Grimm's theory rather than as a 
direct quotation. Professor Gummere notes that A. W. Schleg-el anticipated Grimm, though he 
subsequently protested against Grimm's doctrine (Beginnings of Poetry, p. 134^. 


observed facts and leaves uncorrelated too many phenomena which seem to be connected 
and which bear at least the appearance of being significant. Before we allow ourselves to 
be quite so radical as this, we should at all events examine Pi-ofessor Gummere's theories 
as to the beginnings of poetry and as to the connection between communal composition 
and the ballad.^ 

" Folk " is a large word. It suggests a whole nation, or at all events a huge concourse 
of people. Let us abandon it, then, for the moment, and think rather of a small tribal 
gathering, assembled, in very early times, or — what for the anthropologist amounts to 
the same thing — under very simple conditions of life, for the purpose of celebrating some 
occasion of common interest, — a successful hunt, or the return from a prosperous foray, 
or the repulse of a band of marauding strangers. The object of the meeting is known to 
all ; the deeds which are to be sung, the dance which is to accompany and illustrate the 
singing, are likewise familiar to every one. JTliexe is no such diversity of intellectual 
interests as characterizes even the smallest company of civilized men. There is unity of 
feeling and a common stock, however slender, of ideas and traditions. The dancing and 
singing, in which all share, are so closely related as to be practically complementary parts 
of a single festal act. Here, now, we have the " folk " of our discussion, reduced, as it 
were, to its lowest terms, — a singing, dancing throng subjected as a unit to a mental and 
emotional stimulus which is not only favorable to the production of poetry, but is almost 
certain to result in such production. And this is no fancy picture. It is the soberest 
kind of science, — a mere brief chapter of descriptive anthropology, for which authorities 
might be cited without number. 

Let us next consider the manner in which poetry (the word is of course used under 
pardon) is produced in such an assembly. Here again we can proceed upon just grounds 
of anthropological evidence. Different members of the throng, one after another, may 
chant each his verse, composed on the spur of the moment, and the sura of these various 
contributions makes a song. This is communal composition, though each verse, taken by 
itself, is the work of an individual. A song made in this way is no man's property and 
has no individual author. The folk is ita author. 

Communal composition, as just described, is a very simple matter and its products are 
infinitely crude. That, however, was to be expected. Nobody will hold that ' Robin Hood 
and the Monk ' or ' King Estmere ' is the direct result of communal composition. It is 
unlikely that even the simplest of our extant ballads were made in this fashion. We ai'e 
not now concerned with the connection, if any there be, between the ballad and the compos- 
ing folk. That question will come up presently. What is of importance at this stage 
of the discussion is to get clearly in mind not merely the theoretical possibility of com- 
munal composition on a small scale, but the actual fact of its occurrence. The danger of 
misapprehension comes from attaching too dignified a sense to the phrase or from con- 
ceiving the process which it designates as something systematic or elaborate. All that is 
required is a starting-place. It is necessary to know whether men in a low stage of 
advancement are familiar with this method of composing, and that point is satisfactorily 
established. Further, the persistence of the habit among civilized peoples in modern 

1 These are based on a profound and extensive acquaintance with the material, and are devel- 
oped with great originality and acuteness. See Old English Ballads (Athenseum Press Series), Bos- 
ton, 1894 (Introduction) ; The Ballad and Communal Poetry, in the Child Memorial Volume of 
Studies and Notes in Philology and Literature, Boston, 1896 ; a series of three papers on Primitive 
Poetry and the Ballad, in Modern Philology, vol. I, Chicago, 1903-4 ; and especially, The Begin- 
nings of Poetry, New York and London, 1901. 


times is a matter of common knowledge. In the Fiiioe Islands, a few generations ago, it 
was common for a group to surround some fisherman who had been unlucky, or had 
otherwise laid himself open to ridicule, and to improvise a song about him, each con- 
tributing his verse or stanza. In the Russian cigarette factories, the girls who roll the 
cigarettes amuse themselves, while at work, by coniposing songs about each other in a 
similar way. One girl begins the song, another follows, and so on, till the result of this 
act of strictly communal composition is a piece of verse which, in some instances, is 
retained in the memory and achieves a more or less permanent local reputation. Every- 
body has heard children engaged in the communal composition of satirical rhymes. 

Communal composition, then, is nothing unusual or paradoxical. Not only do we find 
it among simple peoples in a low state of civilization, but everybody can remember in- 
stances of it which have come under his own observation among his contemporaries or 
in which he has taken part himself. With us it has sunk to the position of a mere 
amusement, a children's game perhaps, just as the elaborate dances of our forefathers 
have survived only in such childish dancing games as '* Here we go round the gooseberry 
bush." ^ The products of communal composition among us are trivial and ephemeral, 
and we fail to observe them, or, at all events, we seldom think of associating them with 
literature. We have come to associate '' authorsliip " with something quite different 
from the singing and dancing throng. To us, as has already been said, an author is a 
solitary individual sitting in his study, pen in hand. When, therefore, we read of " com- 
munal authorship," the very idea seems strange and even preposterous. Yet as soon as 
we begin to consider, we perceive that we have always been familiar with the phenomenon 
in some form or other ; only we have not associated it in our minds with " authorship " 
at all. 

The origin of poetry, like the origin of language, lies too far back for us to find. The 
singing, dancing throng, with its few rude staves, primitive as it seems in comparison 
with the multifariousness of artistic literature, must still be very far from primitive in 
the literal sense. For our purpose, however, we need follow the trail no farther back 
than this throng. What came before it is, like the probably arboreal, no concern of 
ours in the present discussion. Our business is with the later history of poetry. Our 
task is to discern the connection between the authorship of the extant English and Scot- 
tish ballads and the conditions of communal composition as described by the anthropo- 

As we examine the most characteristic of these extant ballads with a view to any 
peculiarities of technique that may distinguish them from other poetry, we immediately 
note certain features which point straight back to the singing, dancing throng and to 
communal composition. Tliese elements have been carefully studied by Mr Gummere, 
so that their significance is unmistakable. First comes the refrain, which, though its 
history is one of the obscurest chapters in literature and art, is manifestly a point of con- 
nection between the ballad and the throng. The refrain can never have been the inven- 
tion of the solitary, brooding author of our modern conditions. It presupposes a crowd 
of singers and dancers. Accordingly, as ballads get farther and farther away from the 
people or from singing, they tend to lose their refrains ; the recited ballad has no need 
of them. It is not meant that all the ballads in this collection were composed for sing- 
ing; still less that all of them once possessed the refrain. Mr Child's three hundred and 
five numbers include, as we shall see in a moment, ballads of many kinds and illustrate 

1 For proof that games of this kind are descended from dances that were once popular in society 
see W. W. Newell, The Games and Songs of American Children. 


every grade of popularity. What is meant is rather that there is abundant evidence for 
regarding the refrain in general as a characteristic feature of ballad poetry which gradu- 
ally ceased to be essential. Some ballads, therefore, retain this feature; others occur 
both with and without the refrain; still others took shape at a time when its use was no 
longer obligatory. Exact dates in a matter of this sort are quite out of the question, and 
indeed would be destitute of significance if we could arrive at them, for periods in 
the history of literary forms are not like dynasties; one does not come to an end when 
the next begins. The refrain, wherever it occurs, whether in * Robyn and Gandeleyn,' 
which was written down about 1450, or in ' The Bonny Birdy,' as sung by Mrs Brown 
about 1783, is a very ancient survival which brings the whole category of ballads into close 
relations with the singing, dancing throng. 

Other elements which point in the same direction are commonplaces, or recurrent 
passages, varying from a line to several stanzas in length. These are to the ballad very 
much what idiomatic phrases are to language. Each of them must, at some time, have 
been the creation of an individual, but all of them have become common property. The 
balladist who utilizes, for example, the stock stanzas — 

' Whare will I get a bonny boy, 

Wad fain wun hos and shoon, 
That wud rin on to my Wayets, 

And quickly cume again ? ' 

' Here am I, a bonny boy, 

Wad fain wun hoes and shoon, 
Wha wull run on to your Wayets, 

And quickly cume again,' i 

is not inventing. We may go farther. He is not even quoting from an individiial pre- 
decessor, any more than you and I are when, in the course of conversation, we say 
" That depends upon circumstances," or " without let or hindrance." ^ The testimony of 
commonplaces is, indeed, to some extent ambiguous. Their occurrence is consistent with 
several different theories of ballad authorship and ballad growth. Yet they warn us 
away from our modern prepossession for the solitary writer, and direct our thoughts 
toward less sophisticated and more communal conditions of authorship. 

Simple repetition is so familiar a feature of the ballad style that it may be dismissed 
with a word. A message, for instance, is regularly delivered at full length and in pre- 
cisely the terms in which it was entrusted to the messenger. A similar trait, to which 
Mr Gummere has given the apposite name of " incremental repetition," is even more note- 
worthy. It may be seen, for instance, in * The Twa Sisters ' (No. 10), ' The Cruel Bro- 
ther ' (No. 11), and many other ballads. Thus in stanzas 21-26 of ' The Cruel Brother ' 
we have : — 

' what will you leave to your father dear ? ' 
' The silver-shod steed that brought me here.' 

' What will you leave to your mother dear ? ' 
' My velvet pall and my silken gear.' 

1 No. 66 C (Child, 11, 131). 

2 Examples of commonplaces are No. 82, st. 4, lines 1, 2 ; No. 39, A 8 ; No. 42, A 6, lines 1, 2 ; No. 
47, A 2, lines 1, 2 ; No. 49, B 3 ; No. 63, A 2, lines 1, 2 ; No. 64, B 21, lines 1, 2. For a long list, 
see Child, v, 474, 475 (Index, s. v.). 


' What will j'ou leave to your sister Anne ? ' 
' My silken scarf and my gowden fan.' 

' What will you leave to your sister Grace ? ' 
'My bloody cloaths to wash and dress.' 

' What will you leave to your brother John ? ' 
' The gallows-tree to hang him on.' 

' What will you leave to your brother John's wife ? ' 
' The wilderness to end her life.' 

AVith these stanzas before us, incremental repetition defines itself : — each stanza repeats 
the substance of the preceding, but with some variation which advances the story. Here 
again, a composing throng is not necessary to explain the phenomenon, but, given the 
composing throng as an historical fact, we cannot fail to recognize this kind of repetition 
as a stylistic feature that suits the conditions admirably, and may probably have arisen 
in the communal period. Once established, such a feature would become what we find 
it — a bit of ballad technique. 

It appears, then, that there is no lack of characteristic traits — besides the general air 
of impersonality — which justify the conjecture that the history of balladry, if we could 
follow it back in a straight line without interruptions, would lead us to very simple con- 
ditions of society, to the singing and dancing throng, to a period of communal composi- 
tion. Demonstration, however, is not to be expected, since, from the very nature of the 
material, the evidence can never be even approximately complete in the case of any par- 
ticular people. Fortunately, we are not confined to the boundaries of a single nation or 
language. What has perished in one country has often survived in another, and for the 
earlier stages of the process we can adduce the plentiful materials which travellers and 
anthropologists have collected, — materials which have the greater value for our purposes 
because they were gathered by men who had no thought of any theory of ballad authorship 
and were not concerned with the origin of poetry. 

So far we have said nothing of the professional minstrel, to whom it was formerly the 
practice of scholars to ascribe the authorship of ballads. Undoubtedly the minstrel is a 
very ancient figure ; we can trace him, in various guises, to remote antiquity. In Eng- 
land, for example, we can follow him back to a time earlier by many centuries than the 
oldest ballad text that has come down to us.^ But, during the periods which we are able 
to study, we do not find that the minstrel stands in any such relation to the genuine and 
characteristic popular ballad as justifies us in imagining that he is to have the credit of 
originating or perpetuating that class of popular literature. Such ballads as have been 
recovered from oral tradition in recent times (and these, as we have seen, comprise the 
vast majority of our texts) have not, except now and then, been taken down from 
the recitation or the singing of minstrels, or of any order of men who can be regarded 
as the descendants or the representatives of minstrels. They have almost always been 
found in the possession of simple folk whose relation to them was in no sense professional. 
They were the propert}' of the people, not of a limited class or guild of entertainers. 
A great number of them (among all natioTis) have been derived from women, — the 
most stationary part of the community and the farthest removed, by every instinct and 
habit, from the roving and irresponsible professionalism which characterizes the minstrel. 

^ This, it will be remembered, is ' Judas ' (No. 23), which is preserved in a thirteenth-century 


Take an example. 'The Cruel Brother' (No. 11) was furnished to Professor Child by 
Miss Margaret Reburn in a version ^ current in Ireland about 1800. With this as a 
starting-point, let us see how far back we can trace the ballad as actually in oral cir- 
culation. In 1858 Aytoun remarks that "this is, perhaps, the most popular of all the 
Scottish ballads, being commonly sung and recited even at the present day." In 1846 
Dixon notes that it is still popular among the peasantry in the west of England. In 
1827 Kinloch recorded it in his manuscripts from the recitation of Mary Barr of Clydes- 
dale. In 1800 Alexander Fraser Tytler obtained a copy from Mrs Brown of Falkland, 
to whose well-stored memory we owe some of the best versions of the Scottish ballads. 
In the last years of the eighteenth century Mrs Harris learned the piece, as a child, 
and she recited it to her danghter long afterward. In 1869 it was printed in Notes and 
Queries as " sung in Cheshire amongst the people " in the preceding century. In 1776 
David Herd recorded it in his manuscript as he had heard it sung. Thus we have a 
succession of testimonia for * The Cruel Brother ' from 18G0 back to 1776. Nowhere is 
there any contact with professional minstrelsy. So much for very modern times. 

With 'Johnie Armstrong' (No. 169) the test maybe applied for a century earlier. 
Goldsmith, who was born in 1728, recalls, in a famous passage in his Essays (1765), the 
effect which this ballad had upon him when a child : " The music of the finest singer is 
dissonance to what I felt when our old dairymaid sung me into tears with Johnny Arm- 
strong's Last Good Night, or the Cruelty of Barbara Allen." In 1658 the ballad was in 
existence and was printed in Wit Restor'd under the title of 'A Northern Ballet,' and therfe 
is no more reason for supposing that it had been in the possession of the minstrel class 
between that date and Goldsmith's boyhood than for supposing that it was their property 
between Goldsmith's boyhood and the middle of the nineteenth century. It is super- 
fluous to multiply examples. The reader can collect as many as he likes from Mr Child's 
volumes. The following proposition will hardly be controverted by any scholar who is 
familiar with the subject : It is capable of practically formal proof, that for the last two 
or three centuries the English and Scottish ballads have not, as a general thing, been sung 
and transmitted by professional minstrels or their representatives. There is no reason 
whatever for believing that the state of things between 1300 and 1600 was different, in 
this regard, from that between 1600 and 1900, — and there are many reasons for believing 
that it was not different. 

One other piece of evidence, complementary to that which we have been discussing, 
makes the case against minstrel authorship almost superfluously convincing. We not 
only fail to find any special connection between the professional minstrel and the great 
mass of popular ballads, but we do find an intimate connection between the minstrels and 
works of an altogether different order. Ballads are one thing: the mediaeval Spielmanns- 
dichtung or minstrel poetry is another. Tlie two categories are recognized as distinct by 
all literary historians. In fact, they are much more than distinct, — tliey are incommen- 
surable. It is not conceivable that the same order of mind and the same habits of 
thought should have produced them both. The ballads, then, belong to the folk; they 
are not the work of a limited professional class, whether of high or of low degree. 

Let us not misunderstand the situation. It is not maintained that the minstrels never 
meddled with ballads at all. It was their business to know all kinds of poetry so as to 
make themselves acceptable to all sorts and conditions of men. No doubt they had a 
share in carrying ballads from place to place and in transmitting them to posterity. 
There is direct proof of this. We owe our early copy of the ' Hunting of the Cheviot ' 
1 Child's J, not printed in this volume. 


(No. 162) to Richard Sheale, a humble member of the guild; but we know that he did 
not compose the ballad, for we have not only strong external evidence to the contrary but 
also four pieces of Sheale's own (not ballads) which settle the question forever. Of 
course the minstrels did sometimes compose in the popular strain. We have a few 
minstrel ballads, like ♦ The Boy and the Mantle ' (No. 29) and 'Crow and Pie ' (No. Ill), 
which put this beyond a peradventure. Not all ballads are of the same origin, as we 
shall see presently. But the existence of such ballads is only additional proof that the 
bulk of our traditional material is not of minstrel authorship. The difference between 
' The Boy and the Mantle ' and the ballads that come straight from the folk is very 
striking. It is the difference between sophistication and artlessness. 

It is time to gather up the threads of our discussion. We have examined the popular 
ballad from various points of view, and have weighed and measured a good many opin- 
ions about it. Let us apply our conclusions to the material that survives, and, so far 
as possible, let us see what is to be thought of the origin of the three hundred and five 
ballads that lie before us in Professor Child's collection. 

The extant ballads of England and Scotland represent, in the main, the end of a pro- 
cess of which the beginning may not improbably be discovered in the period of communal 
composition. They were not themselves composed in this way, but were, in the first 
instance, the work of individual authors, at least in the great majority of cases. These 
authors, however, were not professional poets or minstrels, but members of the folk, and 
their function was in many respects different from that which we ascribe to an author 
to-day. Let us try to figure to ourselves a typical instance. In the first place, the ballad 
poet stands in a relation both to his material and to his audience that distinguishes his 
activity from that of the conscious literary artist. His subject is not his own, — it belongs 
to the folk. It is a popular tradition of immemorial antiquity, or a situation so simple 
and obvious as to be matter of general experience, or a recent occurrence which has been 
taken up by the mouth of common fame. He has no wish to treat the theme in a novel 
way, — no desire to utter his peculiar feelings about it or to impress it with his individuality. 
He is not, like the artistic poet among us, an exceptional figure with a message, either of 
substance or form. He takes no credit to himself, for he deserves none. What he does, 
many of his neighbors could do as well. Accordingly, he is impersonal and without self- 
consciousness. He utters what everybody feels, — he is a voice rather than a person. 
Further, his composition is not a solitary act. He improvises orally,^ with his audience 
before him, — or rather, with his audience about him. There is the closest emotional 
contact between him and his hearers, — a contact which must have a distinct effect on 
the composer, so that the audience, even if they kept silence (as they can hardly be sup- 
posed to do), would still have a kind of share in his poetic act. Here is the strongest 
contrast to the situation of the modern literary artist, who, in the solitude of his sound- 
proof study, writes down his own thoughts and feelings, uncertain who will read them, or 
even if anybody will read them, — addressing himself to an audience in posse, who know 
neither his face nor his voice, nor even his handwriting. And the difference, it will be 
observed, consists in the function which the throng (the "folk") performs — by its mere 
presence, if nothing more — in the production (the " authorship ") of ballad poetry. 

1 Improvisation in verse is a lost art among us, and we instinctively regard it as a very special 
mark of exceptional genius. But this is a serious misapprehension. It survives in full vigor among 
the folk in most countries, and is well known to be far less difficult, in itself, than the art of speak- 
ing extempore in well-turned prose sentences. The point needs no argument, for it is generally 


Commonly, however, the audience will have a far larger function than that of sym- 
pathetic and stimulative emotional contact with the author, as we must still call him 
for want of a hetter name. As he composes, the author draws freely on a large stock 
of commonplaces which are public property. Tliese are, of course, entirely familiar to 
every person in the company, as well as the points in any narrative (for these are also 
fixed by long-standing tradition) at which the conventional stanzas must come in. When 
the author arrives at such a point, the audience join their voices with his. So also in pas- 
sages which merely repeat, in identical terms, what has already been said or sung, as in 
the delivery of a message. Again, in a succession of stanzas constructed on the principle 
of incremental repetition, the author and the audience may become merged in the same 
way, even if the first stanza of the series is in some degree original. Thus we have 
arrived at a state of things which is in effect scarcely to be distinguished from the sup- 
posedly inconceivable phenomenon of a unanimous throng composing poetry with one 
voice. That dark oracle das Volk dichtet has interpreted itself in action, though not 
without the license which every Delphic utterance may claim. 

For the sake of concreteness, let us apply what has just been said to a specific exam- 
ple, — ' The Hangman's Tree,' ^ — taken down from singing in America a few years ago. 
Miss Backus, who obtained the ballad, remarks, on the basis of local information : " This 
is an old English song, . . . which was brought over to Virginia before the Revolution. 
It has not been written for generations, for none of the family have been able to read or 


1 ' Hangman, hangman, howd yo hand, 

howd it wide and far I 

For theer I see my feyther coomin, 
Riding through the air. 

2 ' Feyther, feyther, ha yo brot me goold ? 

Ha yo paid my fee ? 
Or ha yo coom to see me hung, 
Beneath tha hangman's tree ? ' 

3 ' I ha naw brot yo goold, 

1 ha naw paid yo fee. 

But I ha coom to see yo hung 
Beneath tha hangman's tree.' 

4 ' Hangman, hangman, howd yo hand, 

howd it wide and fat I 

For theer I see my meyther coomin, 
Riding through the air. 

5 ' Meyther, meyther, ha yo brot me goold ? 

Ha yo paid my fee ? 
Or ha yo coom to see me hung, 
Beneath tha hangman's tree ? ' 

6 * I ha naw brot yo goold, 

1 ha naw paid yo fee, 

But I ha coom to see yo hung 
Beneath tha hangman's tree.' 

^ ' The Hangman's Tree ' Is a version of ' The Maid Freed from the Gallows ' (No. 95), and was 
first printed in the Additions and Corrections in Mr Child's fifth volume (p. 296). 


7 ' Hangman, hangman, howd yo hand, 

liowd it wide and far ! 

For theer I see my sister coorain, 
Riding through the air. 

8 ' Sister, sister, ha yo brot me goold ? 

Ha yo paid my fee ? 
Or ha yo coom to see me hung. 
Beneath tha hangman's tree ? ' 

9 ' I ha naw brot yo goold, 

1 lia naw paid yo fee, 

But I ha coom to see yo hung 
Beneath tha hangman's tree.' 

10 ' Hangman, hangman, howd yo hand, 

O howd it wide and far ! 
For theer I see my sweetheart coomin, 
Riding through the air. 

11 ' Sweetheart, sweetheart, ha yo brot me goold ? 

Ha yo paid my fee ? 
Or ha yo coom to see me hung, 
Beneath tha hangman's tree ? ' 

12 ' I ha brot yo goold. 

And I ha paid yo fee. 
And 1 ha coom to take yo froom 
Beneath tha hangman's tree.' 

Suppose now that ' The Hangman's Tree ' is a new ballad, sung for the first time by 
the improvising author. The audience are silent for the first two stanzas and until the 
first line of the third has been finished. After that, they join in the song. So inevi- 
table is the course of the narrative, so conventionally fixed the turn of the phraseology, 
tliat they could almost finish the piece by themselves if the author remained silent. At 
most they would need his prompting for " meyther," "sister," and "sweetheart" in 
stanzas 4, 7, and 10, and for a few words in stanza 12. If, in accordance with an hypo- 
thesis which is justifiable in many cases, they were familiar with the outline of the plot, 
though they had never heard a ballad on the subject, they would not require even so 
much assistance as this. The song is ended, the creative act of composition is finished, 
— and what has become of the author ? He is lost in the throng. 

' The Hangman's Tree ' is, to be sure, an extreme instance of simplicity in plot and of 
inevitableness in both structure and diction; but that does not make it an unfair example. 
It is a survival ^ of an archaic type-specimen, in full vigor of traditional life, at a very 
late date, when most of our ballads belong to much more highly developed genera. As we 
study it, we are carried farther back in the direction of communal composition than we 
could reasonably hope to get at this age of the world, — so far, in truth, that a sanguine 
theorist might regard the broken line as repaired again. And ' The Hangman's Tree ' 
is by no means a solitary specimen of its kind. The ballad literature of Europe afi'ords 
examples enough of almost or quite as high a degree of structural and stylistic simplicity, 

1 Or, if one prefers, a reversion to the type. The distinctien is of no consequence, since we are 
here concerned not with ' The Hangman's Tree ' itself, but with what it stands for. 


and similar traits are visible in many English and Scottish pieces, though seldom to quite 
the same extent. 

We have described the characteristic method of ballad authorship as improvisation in 
the presence of a sympathetic company which may even, at times, participate in the pro- 
cess. Such a description is in general warranted by the evidence; and though it cannot 
be proved for any of the English and Scottish ballads, is not improbable for some of them. 
The actual facts with regard to any particular piece in this collection are beyond our know- 
ledge, and the matter need not be insisted on. Even if none of our ballads were com- 
posed in this way, still many of them conform to a type which was established under the 
conditions of authorship referred to. It makes no difference whether a given ballad was 
in fact composed in the manner described, or whether it was composed (or even written) 
in solitude, provided the author belonged to the folk, derived his material from popular 
sources, made his ballad under the inherited influence of the method described, and gave 
it to the folk as soon as he had made it, — and provided, moreover, the folk accepted the 
gift and sitbjected it to that course of oral tradition which, as we have seen, is essential to 
the production of a genuine ballad. That most of the three hundred and five numbers in 
Mr Child's collection satisfy these conditions is beyond question. In other words, most 
of these poems are genuine popular ballads within the limits of any reasonable definition 
of that term. It remains to speak of certain other pieces and to account for their inclu- 
sion in the book.^ 

The " minstrel ballad " has already been referred to. Three undoubted examples, all 
of first-rate quality, are 'The Boy and the Mantle ' (No. 29), 'King Arthur and King 
Cornwall ' (No. 30), and 'The Marriage of Sir Gawain ' (No. 31). Their characteristics 
are felicitously summed up by Professor Child in his introduction to ' The Boy and the 
Mantle.' They are, he says, " clearly not of the same rise, and not meant for the same 
ears, as those which go before. They would come down by professional rather than by 
domestic tradition, through minstrels rather than knitters and weavers. They suit the 
hall better than the bower, the tavern or public square better than the cottage, and would 
not go to the spinning-wheel at all." All three, it should be noticed, stand in close rela- 
tion to the materials of mediaeval romantic fiction, even if they are not directly derived 
from metrical romances. Yet they are indubitably ballads, composed in the popular style 
and perpetuated for a time by oral tradition. With them should be compared ' Sir Cawline ' 
(No. 61). This looks as if it were simplified from a romance in stanzas, which, however, 
would very probably itself have been constructed on the basis of ballads now lost. Min- 
strel ballads of a later and less popular type are such historical pieces as ' Durham Field 
(No. 159), ' The Rising in the North ' (No. 175), ' Northumberland Betrayed by Douglas ' 
(No. 176), and ' The Rose of England ' (No. 166). The last-mentioned is remarkable for 
its use of allegory, which makes it seem far more artificial than the others. ' The Earl 
of Westmoreland' (No. 177) is a curious combination of historical material with romantic 
fiction of a conventional order. The cynical ' Crow and Pie ' (No. Ill) is clearly the work 
of a minstrel, and stands in a class by itself; as a whole, it might be refused the designa- 
tion of popular ballad, but it contains one passage (stanzas 9-14) which justifies its inclu- 
sion in a collection of this kind, especially in view of the age of the manuscript. 

" Broadside ballads " are of two main classes, which are really quite distinct: those 

that are traditional and those that are not. In the seventeenth century there was a great 

demand for printed ballads, and there grew up a class of professional "purveyors to the 

press," as Mr Child calls them, who were kept busy in supplying materials for the single- 

1 In what follows no complete enumeration is made under the several categories. 


page issues which were hawked about by pedlars and with which every alehouse seems 
to have been papered. Many traditional ballads were printed in this form, usually in 
debased versions. Now and then a good old ballad was made over by some hack-writer, 
and when this was the case, the broadside text, though a pitiful specimen of Grub Street 
versification, may preserve the substance of a lost traditional ballad. A probable instance 
is * The Famous Flower of Serving-Men ' (No, 106). Still more remarkable is ' The 
Suffolk Miracle ' (No. 272), which is the only representative in English of the so-called 
Lenore cycle. The great majority of the broadside ballads, however, belong to the 
second, or non-traditional class, and have no claim to be admitted into a collection like 
that of Professor Child. It is to rubbish of this character that the scornful allusions 
to ballad-mongers in Shakspere and the other Elizabethan dramatists have reference. 
Hundreds of such pieces have been reprinted by the Ballad Society. They are generally 
composed in some form of the ballad stanza, and they use some of the commonplaces 
of the ballad style, but they are destitute of merit, and, though they are of value to the 
student of language and manners, they have nothing to do with the subject of this essay. 
Several broadside ballads of the poorer sort will be found among the thirty-eight num- 
bers (117-154) relating to Robin Hood. Some of these are inserted because they pre- 
sumably or conceivably are based on earlier and more traditional pieces; others because 
they embody a situation which occurs in genuine ballads; still others because, though of 
no value in themselves and destitute of any claim to traditional antecedents, they are a 
part of the evidence about the famous outlaw and illustrate the literary history of bal- 
ladry. Taken as a whole, the Robin Hood pieces afford materials of the highest interest 
for the study of ballad and epic. The older ballads are in the best traditional vein. The 
' Gest ' (No. 117) is, as Mr Child says, " a popular epic, composed from several ballads 
by a poet of a thoroughly congenial spirit. No one of the ballads from which it is made 
up is extant in a separate shape, and some portions of the story may have been of the 
compiler's own invention." It may be contrasted with Nos. 149 and 154. The former, 

* Robin Hood's Birth, Breeding, Valor, and Marriage,' is a jocular piece, the work of some 
seventeenth-century rhymester who cared nothing for tradition and to whom the simplicity 
of the ballad style suggested only a temptation to good-humored caricature. The latter, 
Martin Parker's * True Tale of Robin Hood,' is a prosaic omnium gatherum, professing 
to be authentic biography. It is the only text in Mr Child's whole collection which is the 
work of a known author. * Robin Hood and the Prince of Aragon ' (No. 129) is a kind 
of metrical romance in the ballad stanza. Garlands, or little pamphlets of verse, differ- 
ing from broadsides only in their form, are the authorities for several of our Robin Hood 
texts. ^ 

The mere fact that a ballad is derived from recitation is of course no positive proof 
that it is traditional. Imitations and counterfeits may be fabricated orally or may be 
written down and furnished to guileless collectors as from the mouths of the people. 
Some of the later pieces in this collection are very suspicious and others are almost cer- 
tainly spurious. What to include and what to reject is a difficult question, which no two 
scholars would answer in precisely the same way. It is fitting, however, that the stu- 
dent of literary history should have before him specimens of the decadent period. Occa- 
sionally, too, such imitations contain stanzas of value, or are otherwise significant. Thus 

* Willie's Fatal Visit ' (No. 255) is a hotch-potch of three ballads with one stanza from a 
fourth; yet it contains a very spirited passage (stanzas 15-17) which is unknown else- 
where and worthy of preservation for its own sake. Who put the piece together we 

1 See the bibliographical notes prefixed to the several ballads. 


cannot tell, — perhaps the blind beggar whom Buchan employed to collect for him. In any 
case, the conglomerate is instructive; for it shows how new ballads may come into exist- 
ence by a process of amalgamation, and this is a process which is quite as active among 
the folk as in the laboratory of the counterfeiter. David Herd is above suspicion, and 
he lived at a time when good ballads were abundant and tradition was still pure and 
vigorous; whatever occurs in his manuscripts may be unhesitatingly accepted as a faithful 
transcript from the lips of the people. Yet he records a copy of ' Clerk Saunders ' (No. 
69) consisting of forty-one stanzas, the last fifteen of which are merely ' Sweet William's 
Ghost ' (No. 77) slightly modified so as to fit what precedes. This is the simplest kind 
of traditional compounding. A similar example may be seen in the copy of ' The Clerk's 
Twa Sons o Owsenford ' (No. 72) preserved in the memory of the grandmother of Robert 
Chambers, which concludes with a beautiful fragment of 'The Wife of Usher's Well' 
(No. 79). Complications less easy to disentangle may be seen by studying the relations 
of < Willie o Douglas Dale' (No. 101), 'Willie and Earl Richard's Daughter' (No. 102), 
and ' Rose the Red and White Lily ' (No. 103) to each other and to ' Leesome Brand ' 
(No. 15). Here both tradition and manufacture have been operative. A good example 
of contamination which has not resulted in the genesis of a new ballad occurs in the " old 
lady's "version of ' The Mother's Malison' (No. 216 A), which has appropriated an inci- 
dent that belongs to ' The Lass of Roch Royal ' (No. 76). To appreciate the full effects 
of oral tradition in this and other directions, the investigator must have recourse to the 
full body of variants printed by Professor Child in his large collection. The present 
volume, however, contains examples enough to illustrate and enforce what has been 
said of the significance of oral tradition in the problem of ballad " authorship." ^ It 
was no doubt the feeling that the popular ballad is a fluid and unstable thing that has 
prompted so many editors — among them Sir Walter Scott, whom it is impossible to 
assail, however much the scholarly conscience may disapprove — to deal freely with the 
versions that came into their hands. " Doch Homeride zu seyn, auch nur als letzter, ist 
schon " ! 

Of literary " imitations of the ancient ballad " little need be said. Even when the 
polite authors of such pieces have palmed them off as genuine, one must rather wonder 
that the imposture succeeded than give way to anger at the attempt. Nobody who is at 
all well-read in genuine " oral literature " can be deceived. Lady Wardlaw's ' Hardy- 
cnute,' which puzzled many brains in its time, has not a single ballad touch ; its two good 
lines, — 

Stately stept he east the wa' 
And stately stept he west, 

have nothing popular about them. The Rev. Mr Lamb's 'Laidley Worm of Spindle- 
ston Heughs,' which he gave out as " made by the old Mountain Bard, Duncan Frasier, 
living on Cheviot, A. D. 1270," ^ was hardly meant to deceive, and would not be danger- 
ous if it had been so meant. In short, the traditional ballad appears to be inimitable by 
any person of literary cultivation, and we may well feel grateful to those poets and poet- 
asters who have tried their hands at it, for their invariable failure is one of the strongest 
proofs — amounting almost to demonstration — that there is a difference between the 
" poetry of the folk " and " the poetry of art." A solitary, though doubtful, exception is 
* Kinmont Willie" (No. 186), which is under vehement suspicion of being the work of Sir 

1 See p. xvii, above. 

2 See Child, English and Scottish Popular Ballads, i, 308. 


Walter Scott. Sir Walter's success, however, in a special kind of balladry for which he 
was better adapted by nature and habit of mind than for any other, would only empha- 
size the universal failure. And it must not be forgotten tliat * Kinniont Willie,' if it be 
Scott's work, is not made out of whole cloth; it is a working-over of one of the best 
traditional ballads known ('Jock o the Side'), with the intention of fitting it to an his- 
torical exploit of Buceieuch's. Further, the exploit itself was of such a nature that it 
.might well have been celebrated in a ballad, — indeed, one is tempted to say that it must 
have been so celebrated. And finally, Sir Walter Scott felt towards '* the Kinmont " 
and " the bold Buccleueh " precisely as the moss-trooping author of such a ballad would 
have felt. For once, then, the miraculous happened, — and, when we study the situa- 
tion, we perceive that, for this once, it was not so great a miracle after all. 

Peter Buchan's blind beggar has been casually mentioned, but he is too notorious a 
personage to dismiss without more formality. There is a good deal of his work in Mr 
Child's collection (most of it omitted in the present volume), and an attempt must be 
made to determine his position, and in particular his significance, in the history of oral 
tradition. It is hard to be patient with James Rankin (for that was his name), but per- 
haps we may see occasion for something better than patience before we have done with 
him. Liar though he was, his falsehoods may give evidence that a truthteller could not 
afford us. 

Buchan's Ancient Ballads and Songs of the North of Scotland, for which Rankin's in- 
dustry as collector, composer, and rhapsodist furnished much of the material, appeared 
in 1828. Some of the ballads which it contains are found nowhere else, and most of 
these are suspicious enough, though several of them are reproduced by Mr Child, and 
repeated in this volume, on the same principle which has led to the inclusion of certain 
dubious broadsides — because they may preserve more or less genuine material in a dis- 
guised shape. Most of Buchan's texts, however, are versions of ballads otherwise vouched 
for. In this case, they are almost always the longest versions known, padded with 
superfluous details (often silly beyond expression), tricked out with pinchbeck finery, and 
thoroughly vulgarized in style and spirit. Here we have the work of Rankin, who seems 
to have been paid by the yard, and who found his honest patron an easy man to cajole. 
Now the significance of James Rankin lies in the fact that he was in effect a professional 
minstrel of the humbler order, or at least the lineal descendant or representative of the 
minstrel class of former times. AVhen we compare his own productions, or the versions 
which he has recomposed, with those which other collectors were deriving at about the 
same time from non-professional sources, — shepherds, ploughmen, nurses, and other 
simple bodies who had no touch of literature and no ambition except to sing the old songs 
as they had heard them sung, — w^e see in a moment the absurdity of the notion that our 
popular ballads were composed or even largely transmitted by minstrels. And thus one 
chapter, and a troublesome one, of our investigation is brought to a satisfactory close. 

We have touched upon most of the problems that confront the investigator of the 
popular ballad. Certain others, like that of the transmission of ballads from country to 
country, which includes the special question of kinship between the English and Scottish 
ballads and those of Scandinavia, do not come within the scope of this introduction. The 
same is true of the history of ballad collections, which would take much space, and in 
lieu of which the reader is referred once more to the List of Sources on pp. 677-684, 

Of the merit of the English and Scottish ballads nothing need be said. It is un- 
hesitatingly admitted by all persons who care for ballads at all. Tliere is no occasion 
to make comparisons as to excellence between these pieces and the poetry of art. Such 


comparisons are misleading ; they tend only to confound the distinctions between two 
very different categories of literature. The ballads must stand or fall by themselves, 
not by reason of their likeness or unlikeness to Dante or Shakspere or Milton or Brown- 
ing. Above all things, they should not be judged indiscriminately or in the lump. There 
are good ballads and poor ballads, as there are good dramas and poor dramas, and this 
volume contains an abundance of both sorts. On the whole, however, the average of 
excellence is probably as high as in most volumes of verse of equal dimensions. Finally, 
the popular ballad, though it may be despised, cannot be ignored by the student of 
literature. Whatever may be tliought of the importance of such verse in its bearing on 
the origin of poetry in general, or of epic poetry in particular, the ballad, like other forms 
of popular material, has in the hist two centuries exercised a powerful influence on artis- 
tic literature, and it will always have to be reckoned with by the literary historian. 

G. L. K. 



In the oldest version (A*) the devil threatens 
to carry off a maiden if she cannot answer cer- 
tain riddles. She solves them all, and (at the 
end) calls the devil by his right name, thus no 
doubt putting- him to flight. The " good end- 
ing- " of A (sts. 19-23) is a modern perversion. 

Riddles play an important part in popular 
story, and that from very remote times. No 
one needs to be reminded of Samson, (Edipus, 
Apollonius of Tyre. Riddle tales, which, if 
not so old as the oldest of these, may be carried 
in all likelihood some centviries beyond our era, 
still live in Asiatic and European tradition, and 
have their representatives in popular ballads. 
The largest class of these tales is that in which 
one party has to guess another's riddles, or two 
rivals compete in giving- or guessing-, imder 
penalty in either instance of forfeiting life or 
some other heavy wager (see Noo 45). In a 
second class, a suitor can win a lady's hand 
only by guessing riddles (see No. 46) ; there is 
sometimes a penalty of loss of life for the un- 
successful. Thirdly, there is the tale of the 
Clever Lass, who wins a husband, and some- 
times a crown, by guessing riddles, solving 
difficult but practicable problems, or matching 
and evading impossibilities (see No. 2). 


Rawlinson MS. D. 828, fol, 174 b, Bodleian- 
Library, in a hand of about 1450. 

Inter diabolus et virgo. 

1 WoL ^e here a w^onder thynge 
Betw^'xt a iiiavd and ]?e fovle fende ? 

2 Thys spake J>e fend to }'e mayd: 
' Beleue on me, mayd^ to day. 

3 ' Mayd, mote y tlii leman be, 
Wjssedom y wolle tecbe the: 

4 'All |?e wyssedom off the world, 

Hyf ])0^x vvolt be true and forward holde 

5 ' What ys hyer ]7an ys [|?e] tre ? 
What ys dypper Jjan ys the see ? 

6 * What ys scharpper ]?an ys ]>e Jjorue ? 
What ys loder ^an ys ]?e home ? 

7 ' What [ys] longger J?aii ys ]?e way ? 
What is rader ]?an ys fe day ? 

8 ' What [ys] bether than is J?e bred ? 
What ys scharpper than ys J'e dede ? 

9 * What ys grenner ]?an ys ]?e wode ? 
What ys sweetter ^an ys J?e note ? 

10 ' What ys swifter J^an ys the wynd ? 
What ys recher ]7an ys )?e kynge ? 

11 ' What ys ^eluer fan ys ]7e wex ? 
What [ys] softer J?an ys )7e flex ? 

12 * But ]>on now answery me, 

Thu sehalt for so]?e my leman be/ 

13 *, for J^y myld my3th, 
As thu art kynge and kny^t, 

14 * Lene me wisdome to answere here ry^th^ 
And schylde me fram the fovle wyjth I 

15 ' Hewene ys heyer than ys the tre, 
Helle ys dypper ]?an ys the see. 

16 ' Hongyr ys scharpper than [ys] Jjs 

J?onder ys lodder than ys J^e home. 

17 * Loukynge ys longer than ys J^e way, 
Syn ys rader ]?an ys the day. 

18 * Godys flesse ys betur ]7an ys the brede, 
Payne ys strenger J^an ys }?e dedeo 



19 * Gras ys gveimer ]?an ys J^e wode. 
Loue ys swetter J»au ys the notte. 

20 ' ]?owt ys swifter J^an ys the wynde, 
Jhesus ys recher ^an ys the kynge. 

21 * Safer is ^elue?' than ys the wexs, 
Seike ys softer J)aii ys the flex. 

22 *Now, thu fende, styl thu be; 
Nelle ich speke uo more with the ! ' 


a, 'A Noble Riddle Wisely Expounded,' 
broadside in the Rawlinson collection, 4to, 506, 
fol. 198, Wood, E. 25, foL 15. b. Pepvs, iii, 
19, No. 17. c. Douce, ii, fol. 108 b. d. Pills 
to Purge Melancholy, iv, 130, ed. 1719. 

1 There was a lady of the North Country, 

Lay the bent to the bonny broom 
And she had lovely daughters three. 
Fa la la la, fa la la la ra re 

2 There was a knight of noble worth 
Which also lived in the North. 

3 The knight, of courage stout and brave, 
A wife he did desire to have. 

4 He knocked at the ladie's gate 
One evening when it w^as late. 

5 The eldest sister let him in, 

And pin'd the door with a silver pin. 

6 The second sister she made his bed, 
And laid soft pillows under his head. 

7 The youngest daughter that same night, 
She went to bed to this young knight. 

8 And in the morning, when it was clay, 
These words unto him she did say : 

9 ' Now you have had your will,' quoth she, 

* I pray, sir knight, will you marry 

me ? ' 

10 The young brave knight to her replyed, 

♦ Thy suit, fair maid, shall not be deny 'd. 

11 'If thou canst answer me questions 

This very day will I marry thee.' 

12 * Kind sir, in love, O then,' quoth she^ 

* Tell me what your [three] questions 

13 ' O what is longer than the way, 
Or what is deeper than the sea ? 

14 * Or what is louder than the horn, 
Or what is sharper than a thorn ? 

15 ' Or what is greener than the grass. 
Or what is worse then a woman was ? ' 

16 ' O love is longer than the way, 
And hell is deeper than the sea. 

17 'And thunder is louder than the horn, 
And hunger is sharper than a thorn. 

18 ' And poyson is greener than the grass- 
And the Devil is averse than woman 

19 When she these questions answered had, 
The knight became exceeding glad. 

20 And having [truly] try'd her wit, 
He much commended her for it. 

21 And after, as it is verifi'd. 

He made of her his lovely bride. 

22 So now, fair maidens all, adieu, 
This song I dedicate to youo 

23 I wish that you may constant prove 
Vnto the man that you do love. 

' The Unco Kniclit's Wowing,' MotherTvell's 
MS., p. 647. From the recitation of Mrs Storie. 

1 There was a knicht riding frae the east, 

Sing the Gather banks, the bonnie 

Wha had been wooing at monie a place. 
And ye may beguile a young thing 


2 He came unto a widow's door. 

And speird whare her three dochters 

3 The auldest ane 's to a washing gane, 
The second 's to a baking gane. 



4 The youngest ane 's to a wedding gane, 
And it will be nicht or she be hame. 

5 He sat him doun upon a stane, 

Till thir three lasses came tripping 

6 The auldest ane 's to the bed making, 
And the second ane's to the sh&et spread- 

7 The youngest ane was bauld and bricht, 
And she was to lye with this unco 


8 ' Gin ye will answer me questions ten, 
The morn ye sail be made my ain. 

9 ' O what is heigher nor the tree ? 
And what is deeper nor the sea ? 

10 * Or what is heavier nor tlie lead ? 
And what is better nor the breid ? 

11 * what is whiter nor the milk ? 
Or what is safter nor the silk ? 

12 ' Or what is sharper nor a thorn ? 
Or what is louder nor a horn ? 

13 ' Or what is greener nor the grass ? 
Or what is waur nor a woman was ? ' 

14 ' O heaven is higher nor the tree, 
And hell is deeper nor the sea. 

15 * O sin is heavier nor the lead, 

The blessing 's better nor the bread. 

IC ' The snaw is whiter nor the milk, 
And the down is safter nor the silk. 

17 * Hunger is sharper nor a thorn. 
And shame is louder nor a horn, 

18 ' The pies are greener nor the grass, 
And Clootie's waur nor a w^omau was.' 

19 As stme as she the fiend did name, 
He flew awa in a blazing flame. 


This ballad is related to a remarkable group 
of storiea, covering, by representatives v»hich 

are still extant or may be shown to have existed, 
a large part of Asia and Europe. In the par- 
ticular type to which our ballad belong-s, a 
clever girl wins a husband by her quickness of 
wit ; the man imposes tasks, of which the g^irl 
stands acquitted if she can match each of them 
with another of no less difficulty. The elf is an 
interloper from some other ballad (cf . No. 4) ; 
the suitor should be a mortal. 

* A proper new ballad entituled The Wind 
hath blown my Plaid away, or, A Discourse 
betwixt a young [Wojman and the Elphin 
Kuig-ht : ' a black letter broadside, of about 1070, 
in the Pepysian library, bound up at the end of 
a copy of Blind Harry's ' Wallace,' Edinburgh, 

My plaid awa, my plaid awa, 
And ore the hill and far awa, 
And far awa to Norrowa, 
My plaid shall not be blown awa. 

1 The elphin knight sits on yon hill, 

Ba, ba, ba, lilli ba 
He blaws his horn both lowd and shril. 
The wind hath blown my plaid awa 

2 He blowes it east, he blowes it west, 
He blowes it where he ly keth best. 

3 * I wish that horn were in my kist. 
Yea, and the knight in my armes two.' 

4 She had no sooner these words said, 
When that the knight came to her bed. 

5 'Thou art over young a maid,' quoth he, 
* Married with me thou il wouldst be.' 

6 *I have a sister younger than I, 
And she was married yesterday.' 

7 * Married with me if thou wouldst be, 
A courtesie thou must do to me. 

8 * For thou must shape a sark to me, 
Without any cut or heme,' quoth he. 

9 * Thou must shape it knife-and-sheer- 

And also sue it needle-threedlesse.' 

10 * If that piece of courtesie I do to thee, 
Another thou must do to me. 



11 * I liave an aiker of good ley-land, 
Which lyeth low by yon sea-strand. 

12 ' For thou must eare it with thy horn, 
So thou must sow it with thy corn. 

13 ' And bigg a cart of stone and lyme, 
Robin Redbreast he must trail it hame. 

14 * Thou must barn it in a mouse-holl, 
And thrash it into thy shoes soil. 

15 * And thou must winnow it in thy looff, 
And also seek it in thy glove. 

16 ' For thou must bring it over the sea, 
And thou nmst bring it dry home to me. 

17 * When thou hast gotten thy turns well 

Then come to me and get thy sark then.' 

18 * I '1 not quite my plaid for my life ; 
It haps my seven bairns and my wife.' 

The wind shall not blow my plaid awa 

19 * My maidenhead I '1 then keep still, 
Let the elphin knight do what he will.' 

The wind's not blown my plaid awa 



This singular ballad is known only through 
Motherwell. The idea at the bottom of the 
piece is that the devil will carry off the wee boy 
if he can nonplus him. There is a curious 
Swedish ballad of the same description, in 
which an old crone, possibly a witch, is substi- 
tuted for the false knight. 

Motherwell's Minstrelsy, Introduction, p. 
kxiv. From Galloway. 

1 ' O WHARE are ye gfiun ? 

Quo the fause knichtoponJJ 

* I 'm gaun to the scule,' 

Quo the wee boy, and still he stude. 

2 * What is that upon your back ? ' quo etc. 

* Atweel it is my bukes,' quo etc. 

3 ' What 's that ye 've got in your arm ? ' 

* Atweel it is my peit.' 

4 ' Wha 's aucht they sheep ? ' 

* They are mine and my niither's.' 

5 ' How monie o them are mine ? ' 

* A' they that hae blue tails.' 

6 * I wiss ye were on yon tree : ' 

* And a gude ladder under me.* 

7 ' And the ladder for to break : * 
' And you for to fa down.' 

8 * I wiss ye were In yon sie : ' 

' And a gude bottom under me.' 

9 * And the bottom for to break : ' 
' And ye to be drowned.' 


Of all ballads this has perhaps obtained the 
widest circulation. It is nearly as well known 
to the southern as to the northern nations of 
Europe. It has an extraordinary currency in 
Poland. The Germans, Low and High, and the 
Scandinavians, preserve it, in a full and evi- 
dently ancient form, even in the tradition of 
this generation. Among the Latin nations it 
has, indeed, shrunk to very meagre propor- 
tions, and though the English forms are not 
without ancient and distinctive marks, most of 
these have been eliminated, and the better bal- 
lads are very brief. In A nnd B the super- 
natural character of the Elf-Knight is retained 
(less clearly in B) ; in others it is lost com- 
pletely, and he has become merely " false Sir 
John " or the like. 

The Dutch ballad, ' Hale wijn.' is far better 
preserved than the English. Heer Halewijn 
sang such a song that those who heard it longed 
to be with him. A king's daughter asked her 
father if she might go to Halewijn. " No," 
he said ; " those who go that way never come 
bSx;k." So said mother and sister, but her 
brother's answer was, " I care not where you 
go, so long as you keep your honor." She 
dressed herself si^lendidly, took the best horse 
from her father's stable, and rode to the wood, 
where she found Halewijn waiting for her, 
Tliey then rode on further, till they came to a 
gallows, on which many women were hanging. 



Halewijn offers her the choice between hang'- 
ing- and the sword. IShe chooses the sword. 
*' Only take off your coat first ; for a maid's 
blood spirts a great way, and it would be a 
pity to spatter you." His head was off before 
his coat, but the tongue still spake. This dia- 
logue ensues : — 

* Go yonder into the corn, 
And blow upon my horn, 

That all my friends you may warn.' 

*Into the corn I will not go. 
And on your horn I will not blow : 
A murderer's bidding I will not do ! 

* Go yonder under the gallows-tree, 
And fetch a pot of salve for me, 
And rub my red neck lustily.' 

* Under the gallows I will not go, 
Nor will I rub your red neck, no, 

A murderer's bidding I will not do.' 

She takes the head by the hair and washes 
it in a spring, and rides back through the 
wood. Half-way through she meets Halewijn's 
mother, who asks after her son ; and she tells 
her that he is gone hunting, that he will never 
be seen again, that he is dead, and she has his 
head in her lap. When she came to her father's 
gate, she blew the horn like any man. 

And when the father heard the strain, 
He was glad she had come back again. 

Thereupon they held a feast, 
The head was on the table placed. 

a. ' The Gowans sae gay,' Buchan's Ballads 
of the North of Scotland, i, 22. b. Mother- 
well's MS., p. 563. 

1 Fair lady Isabel sits in her bower sew- 

Aye as the gowans grow gay 
There she heard an elf-knight blawing' 
his horn. 
The first morning in May 

2 * If I had yon horn that I hear blawing. 
And yon elf-knight to sleep in my bo- 

3 This maiden had scarcely these wordy 

Till in at her window the elf-knight has 

4 * It 's a very strange matter, fair maiden,* 

said he, 
' I canna blaw my horn but ye call o» 

5 "But will ye go to yon greenwood side ? 
If ye canna gang, I will cause you to 


6 He leapt on a horse, and she on another. 
And they rode on to the greenwood to- 

7 ' Light down, light down, lady Isabel,* 

said he, 
*We are come to the place where ye 
are to die.' 

8 ' Hae mercy, hae mercy, kind sir, on me, 
Till ance my dear father and mother I 


9 ' Seven king's-daughters here hae I slain, 
And ye shall be the eight o them.' 

10 ' O sit down a while, lay your head on 

my knee, 
That we may hae some rest before that 
I die.' 

11 She stroak'd him sae fast, the nearer 

he did creep, 
Wi a sma charm she luUd him fast 

12 Wi his ain sword-belt sae fast as she 

ban him, 
Wi his ain dag-durk sae sair as she 
dang him, 

13 ' If seven king's-daughters here ye hae 

Lye ye here, a husband to them a'.' 

a. ' The Water o Wearie's Well,' Buchan's 
MSS., II, fol. 80. b. Buchan's Ballads of the 
North of Scotland, ii, 201. c. Motherwell't; 
MS., p. 561. d. Harris MS., No. 19. 


1 There came a bird out o a bush, 

On water for to dine, 
An sighing sair,says the king's daughter, 
* wae's this heart o mine ! ' 

2 He 's taen a harp into his hand, 

He 's harped them all asleep, 
Except it was the king's daughter, 
Who one wink couldna get. 

3 He 's luppen on his berry-brown steed, 

Taen 'er on behind himsell, 
Then baith rede down to that water 
That they ca Wearie's Well. 

4 < Wide in, wide in, my lady fair. 

No harm shall thee befall ; 
Oft times I've watered my steed 
Wi the waters o Wearie's Well.' 

5 The first step that she stepped in, 

She stepped to the knee ; 
And sighend says this lady fair, 
* This water 's nae for me.' 

6 ''Wide in, wide in, my lady fair, 

No harm shall thee befall ; 
Oft times I 've watered my steed 
Wi the water o Wearie's Well.' 

7 The next step that she stepped in. 

She stepped to the middle ; 
*0,' sighend says this lady fair, 
' I've wat my gowden girdle.' 

8 * Wide in, wide in, my lady fair. 

No harm shall thee befall ; 
Oft times have I watered my steed 
Vii the water o W^earie's Well.' 

9 The next step that she stepped in, 

She stepped to the chin ; 
*0,' sighend says this lady fair, 
' They sud gar twa loves twin.' 

10 ' Seven king's-daughters I 've drownd 

In the water o Wearie's Well, 
And I'll make you the eiglit^o them. 
And ring the common bell.' 

11 ' Since I am standing here,' she says, 

' This dowie death to die, 
One kiss o your comely mouth 
I 'm sure wad comfort me.' 

12 He lonted him oer his saddle bow, 

To kiss her cheek and chin ; 
She's taen him in her arras twa. 
And thrown him headlong in. 

13 ' Since seven king's daughters ye 've 

drowned there, 
In the water o Wearie's Well, 
I '11 make you bridegroom to them a', 
An ring the bell mysell.' 

14 And aye she warsled, and aye she 

And she swam to dry Ian ; 
She thanked God most cheerfully 
The dano-ers she oercame. 

'May Collin,' MS. at Abbotsford. Scotch 
Ballads, Materials for Border Minstrelsy, 
No. 146. 

1 May Collin . . . o 

was her father's heir, 
And she fell in love with a falsh priest. 
And she rued it ever mair. 

2 He foUowd her butt, he foUowd her 

He followd her through the hall. 
Till she had neither tongue nor teeth 
Nor lips to say him naw. 

3 'W^e '11 take the steed out where he is, 

The gold where eer it be, 
And we '11 away to some unco land, 
And married we shall be.' 

4 They had not riden a mile, a mile, 

A mile but barely three, 

Till they came to a rank river. 

Was raging like the sea. 

5 ' Light off, light off now, INIay Collin, 

It 's here that you must die ; 
Here I have drownd seven king's 
The eight now you must be. 

6 ' Cast off, cast off now. May Collin, 

Your gown that 's of the green ; 
For it 's oer good and oer costly 
To rot in the sea-stream. 



7 ' Cast off, cast off now, May Collin, 

Your coat that 's of the black ; 
For it 's oer good and oer costly 
To rot in the sea-wreck. 

8 '^ Cast off, cast off now, May Collin, 

Your stays that are well laced ; 
For thei 'r oer good and costly 
In the sea's ground to waste. 

9 ^Cast [off, cast off now, May Collin,] 

Your sark that 's of the holland ; 
For [it 's oer good and oer costly] 
To rot in the sea-bottom.' 

10 ' Turn you about now, falsh Mess John, 

To the green leaf of the tree ; 
It does not fit a mansworn man 
A naked woman to see.' 

11 He turnd him quickly round about. 

To the green leaf of the tree ; 
She took him hastly in her arms 
And flung him in the sea. 

12 * Now lye you there, you falsh Mess 

My mallasin go with thee ! 
You thought todrownme naked andbare. 

But take your cloaths with thee, 
And if there be seven king's daughters 
Bear you them company.' 

13 She lap on her milk steed 

And fast she bent the way, 
And she was at her father's yate 
Three long hours or day. 

14 Up and speaks the wylie parrot, 

So wylily and slee : 
' Where is the man now, May Collin, 
That gaed away wie thee ? ' 

15 ' Hold your tongue, my wylie parrot, 

And tell no tales of me. 
And where I gave a pickle befor 
It 's now I '11 give you three.' 


' Gil Brenton ' was taken down from reci- 
tation in Scotland about 1783. It has many 

Scandinavian relatives. In some of these the 
father of the heroine had built her bower by 
tlie sea-strand, and it was broken open by a 
company of men, one of whom had robbed 
her of her honor. This knight proves to be 
the hero of the ballad. {iSo, for example, in 
Grundtvig, No. 274.) 

a. Jaraieson-Brown MS., No. 16, p. 34. b. 
William Tytler's Brown MS., No. 3. Both 
from the recitation of Mrs. Brown of Falkland, 
1783, Aberdeenshire. 

1 Gil Brenton has sent oer the fame, 
He 's woo'd a wife an brought her 


2 Full sevenscore o ships came her wi. 
The lady by the greenwood tree. 

3 There was twal an twal wi beer an wine. 
An twal an twal wi muskadine: 

4 An twall an twall wi bouted flowr, 
An twall an twall wi paramour : 

5 An twall an twall wi baken bread. 

An twall an twall wi the goud sae red. 

6 Sweet Willy was a widow's son, 
An at her stirrup-foot he did run, 

7 An she was dressd i the finest pa, 
But ay she loot the tears down fa. 

8 An she was deckd wi the fairest flowrs, 
But ay she loot the tears down pour. 

9 ' O is there water i your shee ? 
Or does the win blaw i your glee ? 

10 * Or are you mourning i your meed 
That eer you left your mither gueede ? 

11 * Or are ye mourning i your tide 

That ever ye was Gil Brenton's bride ? ' 

12 * The [re] is nae water i my shee. 
Nor does the win blaw in my glee: 

13 ' Nor am I mourning i my tide 
That eer I was Gil Brenton's bride : 

14 ' But I am mourning i my meed 
That ever I left my mither gueede. 



15 * But, bonny boy, tell to me 

What is the customs o your country.' 

16 * The customs o 't, my dame,' he says, 
* Will ill a gentle lady please. 

17 * Seven king's daughters has our king 

An seven king's daughters has our 
king bedded. 

18 * But he 's cutted the paps f rae their 

An sent them mourning hame again. 

19 * But whan you come to the palace yate, 
His mither a golden chair will set. 

20 ' An be you maid or be you nana, 

O sit you there till the day be dane. 

21 ' An gin you 're sure that you are a 

Ye may gang safely to his bed. 

22 • But gin o that you be na sure, 
ITien hire some woman o youre bowr.' 

23 O whan she came to the palace yate, 
His mither a golden chair did set. 

24 An was she maid or was she nane. 
She sat in it till the day was dane. 

25 An she 's calld on her bowr woman, 
That waiting was her bowr withvn. 

26 * Five hundred pound, maid, I '11 gi to 

An sleep this night wi the king for 

27 Whan bells was rung, an mass was sung. 
An a' man unto bed was gone, 

28 Gil Brenton an the bonny maid 
Intill ae chamber they were laid. 

29 * speak to me, blankets, an speak to 

me, sheets, 
An speak to me, cods, that under me 
sleeps ; 

30 * Is this a maid that I ha wedded ? 
Is this a maid that I ha bedded ? ' 

31 * It 's nae a maid that you ha wedded. 
But it 's a maid that you ha bedded. 

32 ' Your lady 'd in her bigly bowr, 

An for you she drees mony sharp showr.' 

33 O he has taen him thro the ha. 
And on his mither he did ca. 

34 ' L am the most unhappy man 
That ever was in christend Ian. 

35 ' I woo 'd a maiden meek an mild, 

An I 've marryed a woman great wi 

36 * O stay, my son, intill this ha, 

An sport you wi your merry men a'. 

37 * An I '11 gang to yon painted bowr, 
An see how 't fares wi yon base whore.' 

38 The auld queen she was stark and 

She gard the door flee aff the ban. 

39 The auld queen she was stark an steer; 
She gard the door lye i the fleer. 

40 ' O is your bairn to laird or loon ? 
Or is it to your father's groom ? ' 

41 ' My bairn 's na to laird or loon, 
Nor is it to my father's groom. 

42 * But hear me, mither, on my knee, 
An my hard wierd I '11 tell to thee. 

43 ' O we were sisters, sisters seven, 
We was the fairest under heaven. 

44 ' We had nae mair for our seven years 

But to shape and sue the king's son a 

45 * it fell on a Saturday's afternoon, 
Whan a' our langsome wark was dane, 

46 * We keist the cavils us amang. 

To see which shoud to the greenwood 

47 'Ohone, alas! for I was youngest. 
An ay my wierd it was the hardest. 



48 * The cavil it did on me fa, 
Which was the cause of a' my wae. 

49 * For to the greenwood I must gae, 
To pu the nut but an the slae ; 

50 * To pu the red rose an the thyme, 

To strew my mother's bowr and mme. 

51 * I had na pu'd a flowr but ane. 

Till by there came a jelly hind greeme, 

52 * Wi high-colld hose an laigh-colld 

An he 'peard to be some kingis son. 

53 * An be I maid or be I nane, 

He kept me there till the day was dane. 

54 * An be I maid or be I nae. 

He kept me there till the close of day. 

55 ' He gae me a lock of yallow hair, 
An bade me keep it for ever mair. 

56 ' He gae me a carket o gude black beads, 
An bade me keep them against my 


57 * He gae to me a gay gold ring, 

An bade me ke[e]p it aboon a' thing. 

58 ' He gae to me a little pen-kniffe. 
An bade me keep it as my life.' 

59 ' What did you wi these tokens rare 
That ye got f rae that young man there ? ' 

60 * bring that coffer hear to me, 
And a' the tokens ye sal see.' 

61 An ay she ranked, an ay she flang, 
Till a' the tokens came till her han. 

62 ♦ O stay here, daughter, your bowr within, 
Till I gae parley wi my son.' 

63 O she has taen her thro the ha, 
An on her son began to ca. 

64 * What did you wi that gay gold ring 
I bade you keep aboon a' thing ? 

65 • What did you wi that little pen-kniffe 
I bade you keep while you had life ? 

66 ' What did you wi that yallow hair 
I bade you keep for ever mair ? 

67 ' What did you wi that good black beeds 
1 bade you keep against your needs ? ' 

68 ' I gae them to a lady gay 

I met i the greenwood on a day. 

69 ' An I would gi a' my father's Ian, 
I had that lady my yates within. 

70 ' I would gi a' my ha's an towrs, 

1 had that bright burd i my bowrs.' 

71 ' O son, keep still your father's Ian; 
You hae that lady your yates within. 

72 * An keep you still your ha's an towrs; 
You hae that bright burd i your bowrs.' 

73 Now or a month was come and gone. 
This lady bare a bonny young son. 

74 An it was well written on his breast- 

* Gil Brenton is my father's name.' 


This ballad, like No. 5, was written down, 
from recitation, about 1783. It is extant in 
two copies, differing very slig-htly and both de- 
rived from Mps. Brown of Falkland. Danish 
versions are numerous (see Grundtvig, Nos. 84, 

a. A copy, by Miss Mary Fraser Tytler, of 
a transcript made by her grandfather from 
William Tytler's manuscript, b. Jamieson- 
Brown MS., No. 15, p. 33. 

1 Willie has taen him oer the fame. 

He 's woo'd a wife and brought her 

2 He 's woo'd her for her yellow hair, 
But his mother wrought her mickle 


3 And mickle dolour gard her dree, 
For lighter she can never be. 




4 But in her bower she sits wi pain, 
And Willie mourns oer her in vain. 

5 And to his mother he has gone, 
That vile rank witch of vilest kind. 

6 He says : ' IMy ladie has a cup, 
Wi gowd and silver set about. 

7 * This goodlie gift shall be your ain, 
And let her be lighter o her young 


8 ' Of her young bairn she '11 neer be 

Nor in her bower to shine the brighter. 

9 * But she shall die and turn to clay, 
And you shall wed another may.' 

10 ' Another may I '11 never wed, 
Another may I '11 neer bring home.' 

11 But sighing says that weary wight, 

* I wish my life were at an end.' 

12 * Ye doe [ye] unto your mother again, 
That vile rank witch of vilest kind. 

13 ' And say your ladie has a steed. 

The like o 'm 's no in the lands of Leed. 

14 * For he [i]s golden shod before, 
And he [i]s golden shod behind. 

15 ' And at ilka tet of that horse's main. 
There 's a golden chess and a bell ring- 

IG ' This goodlie gift shall be your ain. 
And let me be lighter of my young 

17*0 her young bairn she '11 neer be 
Nor in her bower to shine the brighter. 

18 ' But she shall die and turn to clay, 
And ye shall wed another may.' 

19 ' Another may I ['11] never wed, 
Another may I ['11] neer bring hame.' 

20 But sighing said that weary wight, 

• I wish my life were at an end.' 





* Ye doe [ye] unto your mother again, 
That vile rank witch of vilest kind. 

* And say your ladie has a girdle, 
It 's red gowd unto the middle. 

* And ay at every silver hem, 
Hangs fifty silver bells and ten. 

'That goodlie gift has be her ain, 
And let me be lighter of my young 

* O her young bairn she 's neer be 

Nor in her bower to shine the brighter. 

* But she shall die and turn to clay, 
And you shall wed another may.' 

* Another may I '11 never wed. 
Another may I '11 neer bring hame.' 

But sighing says that weary wight, 

* I wish my life were at an end.' 

Then out and spake the Belly Blind ; 
He spake aye in good time. 

* Ye doe ye to the market place, 
And there ye buy a loaf o wax. 

* Ye shape it bairn and bairnly like. 
And in twa glassen een ye pit ; 

* And bid her come to your boy's christ- 

ening ; 
Then notice weel what she shall do. 

* And do you stand a little fore bye. 
And listen weel what she shall say.' 

' Oh wha has loosed the nine witch 

That was amo that ladle's locks ? 

* And wha has taen out the kaims of care 
That hangs amo that ladle's hair ? 

* And wha 's taen down the bush o wood- 

That hang atween her bower and mine? 

' And wha has killd the master kid 
That ran beneath that ladle's bed ? 




38 ' And wha has loosed her left-foot shee, 
And lotteu that ladie lighter be ? ' 

39 O Willie has loosed the nine witch 

That was anio that ladie's locks. 

40 And Willie 's taen out the kairas o care 
That hang amo that ladie's hair. 

41 And Willie 's taen down the bush o 

That hang atween her bower and thine. 

42 And Willie has killed the master kid 
That ran beneath that ladie's bed. 

43 And Willie has loosed her left-foot 

And letten his ladie lighter be. 

44 And now he 's gotten a bonny young 

And mickle grace be him upon. 


' Earl Brand ' has preserved most of the in- 
cidents of a very ancient story with a faithful- 
ness unequalled by any ballad that has been 
recovered from Eng'lish oral tradition. It has, 
however, all but lost a circumstance that forms 
the turning-point in related Scandinavian bal- 
lads with which it must once have agreed in 
all important particulars. This is the so-called 
" dead-naming," which has an important place 
in popular superstition. The incident appears 
as follows in the Danish ' Ribold and Guldborg,' 
(Grundtvig-, No. 82) : Ribold is fleeing witli his 
love Guldborg. They are pursued by Guld- 
borg's father and her brothers. Ribold bids, 
Guldborg hold his horse, and, whatever may 
happen, not to call him by name. Ribold cuts 
down six or seven of her brothers and her 
father, besides others of her kin ; the youngest 
brother only is left, and Guldborg in an ag-ony 
calls iipon Ribold to spare him, to carry tiding-s 
to her mother. No sooner was his name pro- 
nounced than Ribold received a mortal wound. 
The English and Scottish ballads preserve only 
the faintest trace of the knight's injunction 
not to name him. Cf. A*, st. 27. with ' Erlin- 
ton.' A* St. 15. B, St. 14. 

' Earl Brand,' with the many Scandinavian 
ballads of the same group, would seem to be- 

long among the numerous ramifications of the 
Hildesaga. Of these, the second lay of Helgi 
Hunding'slayer, in the Poetic Edda. and ' Wal- 
tharius,' the beautiful poem of Ekkehard, are 
most like the ballads. See also ' Erlinton' 
(No. 8). Percy, in his Reliques, expanded the 
fragmentary version C to five times its actual 


' The Earl o Bran,' " Scotch Ballads, Mate- 
rials for Border Minstrelsy," No. 22 b, Abbots- 
ford ; in the handwriting of Richard Heber. 

1 Did ye ever hear o guid Earl o Bran 
An the queen's daughter o the south- 
Ian ? 

2 She was na fifteen years o age 

Till she came to the Earl's bed-side. 

3 * O guid Earl o Bran, I fain wad see 
My grey hounds run over the lea.* 

4 * O kind lady, I have no steeds but one, 
But ye shall ride, an I shall run.' 

5 ' O guid Earl o Bran, but I have tua, 
An ye shall hae yere wael o those.* 

6 The 're ovr moss an the 're over muir, 
An they saw neither rich nor poor. 

7 Till they came to aid Carl Hood, 

He 's ay for ill, but he 's never for good. 

8 ' O guid Earl o Bran, if ye loe me, 
Kill Carl Hood an gar him die.' 

9 ' O kind lady, we had better spare ; 

I never killd ane that wore grey hair. 

10 * We '11 gie him a penny-fie an let him 

An then he '11 carry nae tiddings away.' 

11 * Where hae been riding this lang sim- 

mer-day ? 
Or where hae stolen this lady away ? ' 

12 * O I hae not riden this lang simmer- 

Nor hae I stolen this lady away. 

13 * For she is my sick sister 
I got at the Wamshester.' 




14 ' If she were sick an like to die, 

She wad ua be wearing the gold sae 

15 Aid Carl Hood is over the know, 
Where they rode one mile, he ran 


16 Till he came to her mother's yetts, 
An 1 wat he rapped rudely at. 

17 ' Where is the lady o this ha ? ' 

* She 's out wie her maidens, playing at 

the ba.' 

18 * O na ! fy na ! 

For 1 met her fifteen miles awa. 

19 * She 's over moss, an she 's over muir, 
An a' to be the Earl o Bran's whore.' 

20 Some rode wie sticks, an some wie 

An a' to get the Earl o Bran slain. 

21 That lady lookd over her left slioudder- 

bane : 

* O guid Earl o Bran, we '11 a' be taen ! 
For yond 'r a' my father's men. 

22 * But if ye '11 take my claiths, I '11 take 

An I '11 fight a' my father's men.* 

23 * It 's no the custom in our land 

For ladies to fight an knights to stand. 

24 * If tliey come on me ane by ane, 

I '11 smash them a' doun bane by bane. 

25 * If they come on me ane and a', 
Ye soon will see my body fa.' 

26 He has luppen from his steed, 
An he has gein her that to had. 

27 An bad her never change her cheer 
Untill she saw his body bleed. 

28 They came on him ane by ane, 

An he smashed them doun a' bane by 

29 He sat him doun on the green grass, 
For I wat a wearit man he was. 

30 But aid Carl Hood came him behind. 
An I wat he gae him a deadly wound. 

31 He 's awa to his lady then, 

He kissed her, and set her on hei 
steed again. 

32 He rode whistlin out the way. 
An a' to hearten his lady gay. 

33 'Till he came to the water- flood: 

* O guid Earl o Bran, I see blood ! * 

34 * O it is but my scarlet hood. 
That shines upon the water-flood.' 

35 They came on 'till his mother's yett, 
An I wat he rappit poorly at. 

36 His mother she 's come to the door : 

* O son, ye 've gotten yere dead wie an 

'English whore ! ' 

37 * She was never a whore to me ; 
Sae let my brother her husband be.' 

38 Sae aid Carl Hood was not the dead o 

But he was the dead o hale seeventeen. 

' The Douglas Tragedy,' Scott's Minstrelsy, 
III, 246, ed. 1803 ; in, 6, ed. 1833 : the copy 
principally used supplied by C. K. Sharps, the 
last three stanzas from a penny pamphlet and 
from tradition. 

1 * Rise up, rise up, now, Lord Douglas,' 

she says, 
* And put on your armour so bright ; 
Let it never be said that a daughter of 

Was married to a lord under night. 

2 ' Rise up, rise up, my seven bold sons, 

And put on your armour so bright. 
And take better care of your youngest 
For your eldest 's awa the last night.' 

3 He 's mounted her on a milk-white steed. 

And himself on a dapple grey, 
With a bugelet horn hung down by his 
And lightly they rode away. 




4 Lord William lookit oer his left shoul- 
To see what he could see, 
And there he spy'd her seven brethren 
Come riding over the lee. 

6 * Light down, light down, I^ady Mar- 
gret,' he said, 

* And hold my steed in your hand, 
Until that against your seven brethren 

And your father, I mak a stand.' 

6 She held his steed in her milk-white 

And never shed one tear, 
Until that she saw her seven brethren 

And her father hard fighting, who 

lovd her so dear. 

7 ' hold your hand, Lord William ! ' she 


* For your strokes they are wondrous 
sair ; 

True lovers I can get many a ane. 
But a father I can never get mair.' 

8 O she 's taen out her handkerchief, 

It was o the holland sae fine, 
And aye she dighted her father's bloody 
That were redder than the wine. 

9 * O chuse, O chuse, Lady Margret,' he 


* O whether will ye gang or bide ? ' 
*I'll gang, I'll gang. Lord William,' 

she said, 
*For ye have left me no other guide.' 

10 He 's lifted her on a milk-white steed,. 

And himself on a dapple grey, 
W'ith a bugelet horn hung down by his 
And slowly they baith rade away. 

11 they rade on, and on they rade, 

And a' by the light of the moon. 
Until they came to yon wan water. 
And there they liglited down. 

12 They lighted down to tak a drink 

Of the spring that ran sae clear, 

And down the stream ran his gude 
heart's blood, 
And sair she gan to fear. 

13 * Hold up, hold up, Lord William,* she 


* For I fear that you are slain ; ' 

* 'T is naething but the shadow of my 
scarlet cloak, 
That shines in the water sae plain.' 

14 O they rade on, and on they rade. 

And a' by the light of the moon. 
Until they cam to his mother's ha door. 
And there they lighted down. 

15 'Get up, get up, lady mother,' he says, 

* Get up, and let me in ! 

Get up, get up, lady mother,' he says, 

* For this night my fair lady I 've win. 

16 ' O mak my bed, lady mother,' he says, 

* O mak it braid and deep. 

And lay Lady Margret close at my back, 
And the sounder I will sleep.' 

17 Lord William was dead lang ere mid- 

Lady Margret lang ere day. 
And all true lovers that go thegither. 
May they have mair luck than they ! 

18 Lord William was buried in St. Mary's 

Lady Margret in Mary's quire; 
Out o the lady's grave grew a bonny 

red rose. 
And out o the knight's a briar. 

19 And they twa met, and they twa plat, 

And fain they wad be near; 
And a' the warld might ken right weel 
They were twa lovers dear. 

20 But bye and rade the Black Douglas, 

And wow but he was rough ! 
For be pulld up the bonny brier. 
And flang 't in St. Mary's Loch. 

' The Child of Ell,' Percy MS., p. 57 ; ed. 
Hales and Furnivall, I, 133. 





Saves ' Christ tliee saue, good Child of 
' Ell ! 
Christ saue thee and thy steede! 

2 ' My father sayes he will [eat] noe 

Nor his drinke shall doe him uoe 

Till he haue slaine the Child of Ell, 
And haue seene his harts blood.' 

3 ' I wold I were in my sadle sett, 

And a mile out of the towne; 
I did not care for yowr father 
And all his merry men ! 

4 ' I wold I were in my sadle sett, 

And a little space him froe; 
I did not care for your father 
And all that long him to!' 

5 He leaned ore his saddle bow 

To kisse this lady good; 
The teares that went them two betweene 
Were blend water and blood. 

6 He sett himselfe on one good steed, 

This lady on a pal fray, 
And sett his litle home to his mouth, 
And roundlie he rode away. 

7 He had not ridden past a mile, 

A mile out of the towne. 

8 Her father was readye with her seuen 

He said, ' Sett thou my daughter 

downe ! 
For it ill beseemes thee, thou false 

churles sonne. 
To carry her forth of this towne! ' 

9 ' But lowd thou lyest. Sir John the 

Thou now doest lye of me ; 
A knight me gott, and a lady me bore ; 
Soe neuer did none by thee. 

10 * But light now downe, my lady gay, 
Light downe and hold my liorsse, 
A\ hllest I and your father and your 
Doe play vs at this crosse. 

11 ' But light now downe, my owne trew 
And meeklye hold my steede, 
Whilest your father [and your seuen 
brether] bold 


This ballad lias only with miich hesitation 
been separated from the foregoing-. Versions 
A and B have one correspondence with the 
JScaudinavian Ribold ballad not foimd in ' Earl 
Brand,' — the strict watch kept over the lady. 
But notwithstanding the resemblances to the 
RiboKl story, there is a difference in the larger 
part of the details, and all the ' Erlinton ' bal- 
lads have a fortunate ending. The copy in 
Scott's Minstrelsy, iii, 285, ed, 1803, was 
compjunded from A* and a closely related 


Abbotsford MS., Scotch Ballads, Materials 
for Border Minsa-elsy, No. 20, ol)tained from 
Nelly Laidlaw, and in the handwriting of Wil- 
liam Laidlaw. 

1 Lord Erlinton had ae daughter, 

I trow he 's weird her a grit sin ; 
For he has bugn a bigly bower, 
An a' to pit his ae daughter in. 
An he has buggin, etc, 

2 An he has warn her sisters six. 

Her sisters six an her brethren se'en, 
Thei 'r either to watch her a' the night. 
Or than to gang i the mornin soon. 

3 She had na been i that bigly bower 

Not ae night but only ane 
Untill that Willie, her true-love, 

Chappit at the bower-door, no at the 

4 * Whae 's this, whae 's this chaps at my 

At my bower-door, no at the gin ? * 
* O it is Willie, thy ain true-love ; 
O will ye rise an let me in ? * 

5 * In my bower, Willie, there is a wane, 

An in the wane there is a wake ; 
But I will come to the green woods 
The morn, for my ain true-love's sake.* 




6 This lady she 's lain down again, 

An she has lain till the cock crew 
thrice ; 
She said unto her sisters baith, 
Lasses, it 's time at we sond rise. 

7 She 's putten on her breast a silver tee, 

An on her back a silken gown ; 
She 's taen a sister in ilka hand, 

An away to the bouuie green wood 
she 's gaue. 

8 They hadna gane a mile in that bonnie 

green wood, 

They had na gane a mile but only 
Till they met wi Willie, her ain true- 

An thrae her sisters he has her taen. 

9 He 's taen her sisters ilk by the hand, 

He 's kissd them baith, an he 's sent 
them hanie ; 
He 's niuntit his ladie him high behind, 
An thro the bonnie green wood thei 'r 

10 They 'd ridden a mile i that bonnie 

green wood. 
They hadna ridden but only ane, 
When there cam fifteen o the baldest 

That ever boor flesh, bluid an bane. 

11 Than up bespak the foremost knight. 

He woor the gray hair on his chin ; 

* Yield me yer life or your lady fair, 

An ye sal walk the green woods 

12 * For to gie my wife to thee, 

I wad be very laith,' said he ; 

* For than the folk wad think I was gane, 

Or that the senses war taen frae me.' 

13 Up than bespak the niest foremost 

I trow he spak right boustronslie ; 
' Yield me yer life or your ladie fair, 
An ye sail walk the green woods wi 


14 *My wife, she is my warld's meed, 

My life, it lyes me very near ; 

But if ye be man o your manhood 
I serve will while my days are near.' 

15 He 's luppen off his milk-white steed, 

He 's gien his lady him by the head : 

* See that ye never change yer cheer 

Till ance ye see my body bleed.' 

16 An he 's killd a' the fifteen knights. 

He 's killed them a' but only ane ; 
A' but the auld grey-headed knight, 
He bade him carry the tiddins hame. 

17 He 's gane to his lady again, 

I trow he 's kissd her, baith cheek an 
chin ; 

* Now ye 'r my ain, I have ye win. 

An we will walk the green woods 

* True Tammas,' MS. of Robert White, Esq., 
of Newcastle, from James Telfer's collection. 

1 There was a knight, an he had a daugh- 

An he wad wed her, wi muckle sin; 
Sae he has biggit a bonnie bower, love. 
An a' to keep his fair daughter in. 

2 But she hadna been in the bonnie bower, 

And no twa hours but barely ane. 
Till up started Tammas, her ain true 
And O sae fain as he wald been in. 

3 * For a' sae weel as I like ye, Tammas, 

An for a' sae weel as I like the gin, 

I wadna for ten thousand pounds, love, 

Na no this night wad I let thee in. 

4 * But yonder is a bonnie greenwud, 

An in the greenwud there is a wank. 
An I '11 be there an sune the morn, love. 
It 's a' for my true love's sake. 

5 ' On my right hand I '11 have a glove, 

An on my left ane I '11 have nane ; 
I '11 have wi' me my sisters six, love. 
An we will wauk the wuds our lane.' 

6 They hadna waukd in the bonnie green- 

Na no an hour but barely ane. 




Till up start Tamnias, her ain true lover, 
He 's taeu her sisters her frae niang. 

7 An he has kissed her sisters six, love, 

An he has sent them hame again, 
But he has keepit his ain true lover, 
Saying, ' We will wauk the wuds our 

8 They hadna waukd in the bonnie green- 


Na no an hour but barely ane, 
Till up start fifteen o the bravest out- 

That ever bure either breath or bane. 

9 An up bespake the foremost man, love, 

An O but he spake angrily: 
'Either your life — or your lady fair, 
This night shall wauk the wuds wi 

10 * My lady fair, O I like her weel, sir. 

An O my life, but it lies me near! 
But before I lose my lady fair, sir, 
I '11 rather lose my life sae dear.' 

11 Then up bespak the second man, love, 

An aye he spake mair angrily. 
Saying, ' Baith your life, and your lady 

fair, sir, 
This night shall wauk the wuds wi 


12 ' My lady fair, O I like her weel, sir. 

An O my life, but it lies me near! 
But before I lose my lady fair, sir, 
I '11 rather lose my life sae dear. 

13 ' But if ye '11 be men to your manhood. 

As that I will be unto mine, 
I '11 fight ye every ane man by man. 
Till the last drop's blude I hae be 

14 * O sit ye down, my dearest dearie. 

Sit down and hold my noble steed, 
And see that ye never change your cheer 
Until ye see my body bleed.' 

15 He 's feughten a' the fifteen outlaws, 

The fifteen outlaws every ane. 
He 's left naething but tlie auldest man 
To go and carry the tidings hame. 

16 An he has gane to his dearest dear, 

An he has kissed her, cheek and chin. 
Saying, ' Thou art mine ain, I have 
bought thee dear. 
An we will wauk the wuds our lane.' 


The earliest copy of this ballad is introdnced 
as ' The Maiden's Song- ' in Deloney's Pleasant 
History of John Winchcomb, in his younger 
yeares called Jacke of Newberie, a book written 
as early as 1597. Halliwell reprinted the " 9th " 
edition, of the date 11538, in 1859. We do not 
find the story of this ballad repeated as a whole 
among- other European nations, but there are 
interesting agreements in parts with Scandi- 
navian, Polish, and German ballads. There 
is also some resemblance in the first half to a 
pretty ballad of the northern nations which 
treats in a brief way the theme of our exquisite 
romance of ' The Nutbrown Maid ' (see Grundt- 
vig, No. 249). The ballad of ' Young Andrew ' 
(No. 48) has points in common with ' The Fair 
Flower of Northumberland.' 

a. Deloney's Pleasant History of John 
Winchcomb, 9th ed., London, IGoo, reprinted 
by HaUiwell, p. 01. b. 'The Ungrateful 
I Knight and the Fair Flower of Northumber- 
land,' Ritson's Ancient Songs, 1790, p. 169. 

1 It was a knight in Scotland borne 

Follow, my love, come over the strand 
Was taken prisoner, and left forlorue. 
Even by the good Earle of Northum- 

2 Then was he cast in prison strong, 
Where he could not walke nor lie along. 

Even by the goode Earle of Northum- 

3 And as in sorrow thus he lay, 

The Earle's sweete daughter walkt that 
And she the faire flower of Northum- 

4 And passing by, like an angell bright, 
The prisoner had of her a sight, 




And she the faire flower of Northum- 

15 Two gallant steedes, both good and able, 


She likewise tooke out of the stable, 
To ride with this knight into faire 

5 And loud to her this knight did crie, 


The salt teares standing in his eye, 

And she the faire flower of Northum- 

16 And to the jaylor she sent this ring. 


The knight from prison forth to bring. 
To wend with her into faire Scot- 

6 * Faire lady,' he said, * take pity on me, 


And let me not in prison dye, 

And you the faire flower of Northum- 

17 This token set the prisoner free. 


Who straight went to this faire lady. 
To wend with her into faire Scot- 

7 ' Faire Sir, how should I fake pity on 



Thou being a foe to our countrey, 


A gallant steede he did bestride. 

And I the faire flower of Northum- 

And with the lady away did ride, 


And she the faire flower of Northum- 

8 ' Faire lady, I am no foe,' he said, 

* Through thy sweet love heere was I 


They rode till they came to a water 


cleare : 

For thee, the faire flower of Northum- 

* Good Sir, how should I follow you 


And I the faire flower of Northum- 

9 * Why shouldst thou come heere for love 
of me, 
Having wife and children in thy coun- 

berland ? 


The water is rough and wonderfull 



And I the faire flower of Northum- 

An[d] on my saddle I shall not keepe, 


And I the faire flower of Northum- 

10 ' I sweare by tht^ blessed Trinitie, 

I have no wife nor children, I, 


' Feare not the foord, faire lady,' quoth 

Nor dwelling at home in merrie Scot- 



' For long I cannot stay for thee. 

And thou the faire flower of North- 

11 ' If curteously you will set me free. 


I vow that I will marrie thee. 

So soone as I come in faire Scotland. 

22 The lady prickt her wanton steed. 

And over the river swom with speede, 

12 ' Thou shalt be a lady of castles and 

And she the faire flower of Northum- 



And sit like a queene in princely bowers. 

When I am at home in faire Scotland.' 

23 From top to toe all wet was shee: 

' This have I done for love of thee. 

13 Then parted hence this lady gay. 

And I the faire flower of Northum- 

And got her father's ring away. 


To helpe this sad knight into faire 


24 Thus rode she all one winter's night. 

Till Edenborow they saw in sight, 

14 Likewise much gold she got by sleight. 

The chiefest towne in all Scotland. 

And all to helpe this forlorne knight 

To wend from her father to faire 


' Now chuse,' quoth he, ' thou wanton 





Whe'r thou wilt be my paramour, 
Or get thee home to Northumber- 

26 ' For I have wife, and children five, 
In Edenborow they be alive; 

Then get thee home to faire England. 

27 * This favour shalt thou have to boote. 
He have thy horse, go thou on foote. 

Go, get thee home to Northumber- 

28 'O false and faithlesse knight,' quoth 

< And canst thou deale so bad with me. 
And I the faire flower of Northum- 
berland ? 

29 ' Dishonour not a ladie's name. 

But draw thy sword and end my shame, 
And I the faire flower of Northum- 

30 He tooke her from her stately steed. 
And left her there in extreme need. 

And she the faire flower of Northum- 

31 Then sate she downe full heavily; 

At length two knights came riding by, 
Two gallant knights of faire England. 

32 She fell downe humbly on her knee. 
Saying, * Courteous knights, take pittie 

on me, 
And I the faire flower of Northum- 

33 ' I have offended my father deere. 
And by a false knight that brought me 

From the good Earle of Northumber- 

34 They tooke her up behind them then. 
And brought her to her father's againe. 

And he the good Earle of Northum- 

35 All you faire maidens be warned by 

Scots were never true, nor never will 
To lord, nor lady, nor faire England. 


This is one of the very few old ballads which 
are not extinct as tradition in the British Isles. 
Even drawiug--room versions are spoken of as 
current, " generally traced to some old nurse, 
who sang them to the young ladies." It has 
been found in Eng-land, Scotland, Wales, and 
Ireland, and was very early in print. The bal- 
lad is as popular with the Scandinavians as with 
their ISaxon cousins : we have Danish, Ice- 
landic, Norwegian, Faroe, and Swedisli versions. 
There is a remarkable agreement between the 
Norse and English ballads till we approach 
the conclusion of the story, with a natural di- 
versity as to some of the minuter details. Ac- 
cording to all complete and uncorrupted forms 
of the ballad, either some part of the body of 
the drowned girl is taken to fvirnish a musical 
instrument, a harp or a viol, or the instrument 
is wholly made from the body. Perhaps the 
original conception was the simple and beauti- 
ful one which we find in English B and also in 
the Icelandic ballads, that the king's harper, 
or the girl's lover, takes three locks of her yel- 
low hair to string his harp with. Infelicitous 
additions were, perhaps, successively made ; 
as a harp-frame from the breast-bone, and fid- 
dle-pins formed of the finger joints, and so one 
thing and another added or substituted, till we 
end with the buffoonery of English A. All 
the Norse ballads (see Grundtvig, No. 95) make 
the harp or fiddle to be taken to a wedding, 
which chances to be that of the elder sister 
with the drowned girFs betrothed. Unfortu- 
nately, many of the English versions are so 
injured towards the close that the full story 
cannot be made out. There is no wedding 
feast preserved in any of them. 

Though the range of the ballad proper is 
somewhat limited, popular tales equivalent as 
to the characteristic circumstances are very 
widely diffused. 

a. ' The Miller and the King's Daughter,' 
broadside of IGof), Notes and Queries, 1st Se- 
ries, V, 591. b. Wit Restor'd, 1658, in the re- 
print of 1817, p. 15.S. C. ' The Miller and the 
King's Daughters,' Wit and Drollery, ed. 1682, 
p. 87. d. ' The Miller and the King's Daugh- 
ter,' Jamieson's Popular Ballads, i, 815. 

1 There were two sisters, they went 
With a hie downe downe a downe-a 




To see their father's ships come sayling 
With a hy downe downe a downe-a 

2 And when they came unto the sea-brym, 
The elder did push the younger in. 

3 ' O sister, O sister, take me by the 

And dravve me up upon the dry ground.' 

4 ' O sister, O sister, that may not bee, 
Till salt and oatmeale grow both of a 


5 Somtymes she sanke, somtymes she 

Until she came unto the mill-dam. 

6 The miller runne hastily downe the 

And up he betook her withouten her 

7 What did he doe with her brest-bone ? 
He made him a violl to play thereupon. 

8 What did he doe with her fingers so 

small ? 
He made him peggs to his violl with- 

9 What did he doe with her nose-ridge ? 
Unto his violl be made him a bridge. 

10 What did he doe with her veynes so 

blew ? 
He made him strings to his violl thereto. 

11 What did he doe with her eyes so 

bright ? 
Upon his violl he played at first sight. 

12 What did he doe with her tongue so 

rough ? 
Unto the violl it spake enough. 

13 What did he doe with her two shinnes ? 
Unto the violl they danc'd Moll Syms. 

14 Then bespake the treble string, 

* O yonder is my father the king.' 

15 Then bespake the second string, 

* O yonder sitts my mother the queen.' 

16 And then bespake the strings all three, 
'O yonder is my sister that drowned 


17 'Now pay the miller for his payne, 
And let him bee gone in the divel's 


a. ' The Twa Sisters,' Jamieson-Brown MS., 
p. 39. b. Wm. Tytler's Bro^vn MS., No. 15. 
c. Abbotsford MS., Scottish Songs, fol. 21. d, 
Jamieson's Popular Ballads, i, 48. 

1 There was twa sisters in a bowr, 

Edinburgh, Edinburgh 
There was twa sisters in a bowr, > 

Stirling for ay 
There was twa sisters in a bowr. 
There came a knight to be their wooer, h 

Bonny Saint Johnston stands upon 

2 He courted the eldest wi glove an 

But he lovd the youngest above a' thing. 

3 He courted the eldest wi brotch an 

But lovd the youngest as his life. 

4 The eldest she was vexed sair. 
An much envi'd her sister fair. 

5 Into her bowr she could not rest, 
Wi grief an spite she almos brast. 

6 Upon a morning fair an clear. 
She cried upon her sister dear : 

7 ' O sister, come to yon sea stran, 

An see our father's ships come to Ian,' 

8 She 's taen her by the milk-white han. 
An led her down to yon sea stran. 

9 The younges[t] stood upon a stane, 
The eldest came an threw her in. 

10 She tooke her by the middle sma, 
An dashd her bonny back to the jaw. 

11 'O sister, sister, tak my han. 

An Ise mack you heir to a' my Ian. 




12 ' O sister, sister, tak my middle, 

An yes get my goud and my gouden 

13 * O sister, sister, save my life, 

An I swear Ise never be nae man's 

14 * Foul fa the han that I should tacke, 
It twin'd me an my wardle.^ make. 

15 ' Your cherry cheeks an rallow hair 
Gars me gae maiden for evermair.' 

16 Sonetimes she sank, an sometimes she 

Till she came down yon bonny mill- 

17 O out it came the miller's son. 
An saw the fair maid swimmin in. 

18 ' O father, father, draw your dam, 
Here 's either a mermaid or a swan.' 

19 The miller quickly drew the dam. 
An there he found a drownd woman. 

20 You coudna see her yallow hair 

For gold and pearle that were so rare. 

21 You coudna see her middle sma • 
For gouden girdle that was sae braw. 

22 You coudna see her fingers white, 
For gouden rings that was sae gryte. 

23 An by there came a harper fine, 
That harped to the king at dine. 

24 When he did look that lady upon. 
He sighd and made a heavy moan. 

25 He 's taen three locks o her yallow hair. 
An wi them strung his harp sae fair. 

26 The first tune he did play and sing, 
Was, * Fasewell to my father the king.' 

27 The nextin tune that he playd syne. 
Was, * Farewell to my mother the 


28 The lastentune that he playd then. 
Was, ' Wae to my sister, fair Ellen.' 


This was formerly one of the most popular 
of Scottish ballads. There are many versions, 
most of which agree in all essentials. The 
point of the story is the mortal offense g-iven 
by the neg-lect to ask the brother's consent to 
the marriage. The same idea occurs in a num- 
ber of Scandinavian ballads. In a very common 
German ballad, ' Graf Friedrich ' (Uhland, No. 
122), the bride receives a fatal wound during 
the bring'ing' home, but accidentally, and from 
the bridegroom's hand. The peculiar testa- 
ment made by the bride in ' The Cruel 
Brother,' by which she bequeaths good things 
to her friends, but ill tliing-s to the author of 
her death, is hig-hly characteristic of ballad 
poetry. See ' Lord Randal ' (No. 12) and ' Ed- 
ward ' (No. 13). 

' [The] Cruel Brother, or the Bride's Testa- 
ment.' a. Alex. Eraser Ty tier's Brown MS. 
b. Jamieson's Popular Ballads, I, 60, purport- 
ing to be from the recitation of Mrs Arrot of 
Aberbrothick (probably by luistake for Mrs 

1 There was three ladies playd at theba. 

With a hey ho and a lillie gay 
There came a knight and played oer 
them a'. 
As the primrose spreads so sweetly 

2 The eldest was baith tall and fair, 
But the youngest was beyond compars. 

3 The midmost had a graceful mien. 
But the youngest lookd like beau tie's 


4 The knight bowd low to a' the three. 
But to the youngest he bent his knee. 

5 The ladie turned her head aside, 

The knight he woo'd h»r to be his bride. 

6 The ladie blushd a rosy red. 

And sayd, * Sir knight, I 'm too young 
to wed.' 

7 ' O ladie fair, give me your hand. 
And I '11 make you ladie of a' my land.' 

8 * Sir knight, ere ye my favor win. 
You maun get consent frae a' my kin.' 




9 He 's got consent frae her parents dear, 
And likewise frae her sisters fair. 

10 He 's got consent frae her kin each 

But forgot to spiek to her brother 

11 Now, when the wedding day was come. 
The knight would take his bonny bride 


12 And many a lord and many a knight 
Came to behold that ladie bright. 

13 And there was nae man that did her 

But wishd himself bridegroom to be. 

14 Her father dear led her down the stair. 
And her sisters twain they kissd her 


15 Her mother dear led her thro the closs, 
And her brother John set her on her 


16 She leand her oer the saddle-bow. 
To give him a kiss ere she did go. 

17 He has taen a knife, baith lang and 

And stabbd that bonny bride to the 

18 She hadno ridden half thro the town, 
Until her heart's blude staind her gown. 

19 'Ride softly on,' says the best young 


* For I think our bonny bride looks pale 

and wan.' 

20 ' O lead me gently up yon hill, 

And I '11 there sit down, and make my 

21 ' what will you leave to your father 

dear ? ' 

* The silver-shode steed that brought me 


22 'What will you leave to your mother 

dear ? ' 

* My velvet pall and my silken gear.* 

23 ' What will you leave to your sister 

Anne ? ' 
' My silken scarf and my gowden fan.' 

24 ' What will you leave to your sister 

Grace ? ' 

* My bloody cloaths to wash and dress.' 

25 * What will you leave to your brother 

John ? ' 

* The gallows-tree to hang him on.' 

26 ' What will you leave to your brother 

John's wife ? ' 

* The wilderness to end her life.' 

27 This ladie fair in her grave was laid, 
And many a mass was oer her said. 

28 But it would have made your heart 

right sair. 
To see the bridegroom rive his haire. 

Kinloch's MSS., I, 21, from Mary Barr, May, 
1827, Clydesdale. 

1 A GENTLEMAN Cam oure the sea, 

Fine flowers in the valley 
And he has courted ladies three. 

With the light green and the yellow 

2 One o them was clad in red : 

He asked if she wad be his bride. 

3 One o them was clad in green : 
He asked if &he wad be his queen. 

4 The last o them was clad in white : 

He asked if she wad be his heart's 

5 ' Ye may ga ask my father, the king : 
Sae maun ye ask my mither, the queem 

6 ' Sae maun ye ask my sister Anne : 
And dinna forget my brither John.' 

7 He has asked her father, the king : 
And sae did he her mither, the queen. 

8 And he has asked her sister Anne : 
But he has forgot her brother John. 




9 Her father led her through the ha, 
Her inither danced afore them a'. 

10 Her sister Anne led her through the closs, 
Her brither John set her on her horse. 

11 It 's then he drew a little penknife, 
And he reft the fair maid o her life. 

12 ' Ride up, ride up,' said the foremost 

man ; 

* I think our bride comes hooly on.' 

13 * Ride up, ride up,' said the second man ; 
*I think our bride looks pale and wan.' 

14 Up than cam the gay bridegroom. 
And straucht mito the bride he cam. 

15 * Does your side-saddle sit awry ? 
Or does your steed . . . 

16 ' Or does the rain run in your glove ? 
Or wad ye chuse anither love ? ' 

17 * The rain runs not in my glove, 
Nor will I e'er chuse anither love. 

18 ' But O an I war at Saint Evron's well, 
There I wad licht, and drink my fill ! 

19 * Oh an I war at Saint Evron's closs. 
There I wad licht, and bait my horse ! ' 

20 Whan she cam to Saint Evron's well, 
She dought na licht to drink her fill. 

21 Whan she cam to Saint Evron's closs, 
The bonny bride fell aif her horse. 

22 * What will ye leave to vour father, the 

king ? ' 
' The milk-white steed that I ride on.' 

23 * What will ye leave to your mother, the 

queen ? ' 
' The bluidy robes that I have on.' 

24 * What will ye leave to your sister 

Anne ? ' 

* My gude lord, to be wedded on.' 

•25 'What will ye leave to your brither 
John ? ' 
' The gallows pin to hang him on.' 

26 ' What will ye leave to your brither's 

wife ? ' 
' Grief and sorrow a' the days o her life.' 

27 ' What will ye leave to your brither's 

bairns ? ' 
* The meal-pock to hang oure the arms.' 

28 Now does she neither sigh nor groan l 
She lies aneath yon marble stone. 


This ballad may be traced back about a 
century in English. In Italy it has been popu- 
lar for more than 250 years. According- to the 
Italian tradition, a young- man and his true- 
love are the object and the agent of the crime. 
This is also the case in several of the English 
versions and in some of the German. It is not 
unlikely, as Scott suggests, that tlie young man 
was changed to a child poisoned by a stepmo- 
ther when the ballad v/as sung to children. 

From a small manuscript volume, lent to 
Professor Child by Mr. William Macmath, of 
Edinburgh, containing four pieces written in 
or about 1710, and this ballad in a later hand 
(probably of the beginning of the 19th century). 
Chai-les Mackie, August, 1808, is scratched upon 
the binding. 

1 * O WHERE ha you been. Lord Randal, 

my son ? 
And where ha you been, my handsome 

young man ? ' 
' I ha been at the greenwood ; mother, 

mak my bed soon, 
For I 'm wearied wi hunting, and fain 

wad lie down.' 

2 * An wha met ye there. Lord Randal, 

my son ? 
An wha met you there, my handsome 

young man ? ' 
* O I met wi my true-love ; mother, 

mak my bed soon. 
For I 'm wearied wi huutin, an fain wad 

lie down.' 

3 ' And what did she give you, Lord Ran- 

dal, my son ? 




And what did she give you, my hand- 
some young man ? ' 

* Eels fried in a pan ; mother, mak my 

bed soon. 
For I 'm wearied wi huntin, and fain 
wad lie down.' 

4 ' And wha gat your leavins, Lord Ran- 

dal, my son ? 
And wha gat your leavins, my hand- 

som young man ? ' 
' My hawks and my hounds ; mother, 

mak my bed soon, 
For I'm wearied wi hunting, and fain 

wad lie down.' 

5 * And what becam of them. Lord Ran- 

dal, my son ? 
And what becam of them, my handsome 
young man ? ' 

* They stretched their legs out an died ; 

mother, mak my bed soon. 
For I 'm wearied wi huntin, and fain wad 
lie down.' 

6 ' O I fear you are poisoned. Lord Ran- 

dal, my son ! 
I fear you are poisoned, my handsome 

young man ! ' 
' O yes, I am poisoned ; mother, mak 

my bed soon. 
For i 'm sick at the heart, and I fain 

wad lie down.' 

7 * What d' ye leave to your mother. Lord 

Randal, my son ? 
What d' ye leave to your mother, my 
handsome young man ? ' 

* Four and twenty milk kye ; mother, 

mak my bed soon. 
For I 'm sick at the heart, and I fain 
wad lie down.' 

8 ' What d' ye leave to your sister. Lord 

Randal, my son ? 
What d'ye leave to your sister, my 

handsome young man ? ' 
*My gold and my silver ; mother, mak 

my bed soon. 
For I 'm sick at the heart, an I fain wad 

lie down.' 

9 ' What d' ye leave to your brother, Lord 

Randal, my son ? 

What d'ye leave to your brother, my 

handsome young man ? ' 
' My houses and my lands ; mother, mak 

my bed soon, 
For I 'm sick at the heart, and I fain 

wad lie down.' 

10 * What d' ye leave to your true-love, 

Lord Randal, my son ? 
What d' ye leave to your true-love, my 

handsome young man ? ' 
*I leave her hell and fire ; mother, mak 

my bed soon. 
For I 'm sick at the heart, and I fain 

wad lie down.' 

' Lord Donald,' Kinloch MSS., Vli, 89. Kin- 
loch's Ancient Scottish Ballads, p. 110. From 
Mrs. Comie, Aberdeen. 

1 ' O WHARE hae ye been a' day, Lord 

Donald, my son ? 
O wliare hae ye been a' day, my jollie 

young man ? ' 
' I 've been awa courtin ; mither, mak my 

bed sune. 
For I 'm sick at the heart, and I fain 

wad lie doun.' 

2 ' What wad ye hae for your supper, 

Lord Donald, my son ? 
What wad ye hae for your supper, my 
jollie young man ? ' 

* I 've gotten my supper ; mither, mak 

my bed sune. 
For I 'm sick at the heart, and I fain 
wad lie doun.' 

3 ' What did ye get to your supper. Lord 

Donald, my sen ? 
What did ye get to yonr supper, my 
jollie young man ? ' 

* A dish of sma fishes ; mither, mak my 

bed sune, 
For I 'm sick at the heart, and I fain 
wad lie doun.' 

4 ' Whare gat ye the fishes, Lord Donald, 

my son ? 
Whare gat ye the fishes, my jollie 
young man ? ' 

* In my father's black ditches ; mithePf 

mak my bed sune. 




For I 'm sick at the heart, and I faiu 
wad lie doun.' 

5 * What like were your fishes, Lord 

Donald, my son ? 
What like were your fishes, my jollie 

young man ? ' 
' Black backs and spreckld bellies ; 

mither, mak my bed sune. 
For I 'm sick at the heart, and I fain 

wad lie doun.' 

6*01 fear ye are poisond, Lord Donald, 
my son ! 
O I fear ye are poisond, my jollie young 
man ! ' 

* O yes 1 I am poisond ; mither mak 

my bed sune, 
For I 'm sick at the heart, and I fain 
wad lie doun.' 

7 ' What will ye leave to your father, 

Lord Donald my son ? 
W^hat will ye leave to your father, my 
jollie young man ? ' 

* Baith ray houses and land ; mither, 

mak my bed sune. 
For I 'm sick at the heart, and I fain 
wad lie doun.' 

8 * What will ye leave to your brither, 

Lord Donald, my son ? 
What will ye leave to your brither, my 
jollie young man ? ' 

* My horse and the saddle ; mither, mak 

my bed sune, 
For I 'm sick at the heart, and I fain 
wad lie doun.' 

9 *What will ye leave to your sister, 

Lord Donald, my son ? 
What will ye leave to your sister, my 

jollie young man ? ' 
' Baith my gold box and rings ; mither, 

mak my bed sune, 
For I 'm sick at the heart, and I fain 

wad lie doun.' 

10 ' What will ye leave to your true-love, 

Lord Donald, my son ? 
What will ye leave to your true-love, 

my jollie young man ? ' 
i * The tow and the halter, for to hang on 

yon tree, 

And lat her hang there for the poyaon- 
ing c me.' 

' The Bonnie Wee Croodlin Dow,' Mother- 
well's MS., p. 288. From the recitation of Miss 
Maxwell, of Brediland. 

1 ' O WHARE hae ye been a' day, my bon- 

nie wee croodlin dow ? 

whare hae ye been a' day, my bonnie 

wee croodlin dow ? ' 

* I 've been at my step-mother's ; oh mak 

my bed, mammie, now ! 

1 've been at my step-mother's ; oh mak 

my bed, mammie, now I ' 

2 ' O what did ye get at your step- 

mother's, my bonnie wee croodlin 
dow ? ' [ Twice.Ji 
' I gat a wee wee fishie ; oh mak my 
bed, mammie, now ! ' \_Twice.'\ 

3 * O whare gat she the wee fishie, my 

bonnie wee croodlin dow ? ' 

* In a dub before the door ; oh mak my 

bed, mammie, now ! ' 

4 * What did ye wi the wee fishie, my bon- 

nie wee croodlin dow ? ' 

* I boild it in a wee pannie ; oh mak my 

bed, mammy, now ! ' 

5 * Wha gied ye the banes o the fishie till, 

my bonnie wee croodlin dow ? ' 

* I gied them till a wee doggie ; oh mak 

my bed, mammie, now ! ' 

6 * whare is the little wee doggie, my 

bonnie wee croodlin dow ? 
whare is the little wee doggie, my 

bonnie wee croodlin doo ? ' 
*It shot out its fit and died, and sae 

maun I do too ; 
Oh mak my bed, mammy, now, now, 

oh mak my bed, mammy, now 1 ' 


The affectedly antique spelling in Percy's 
copy (B) has given rise to vague suspicions 
concerning the authenticity of the ballad or of 
the language : but as spelling will not make 
an old ballad, so it will not unmake one. We 
have, but do not need, the later traditional 
copy (A) to prove the other genuine. ' Ed- 
ward ' is not only unimpeachable, but has ever 



been regarded as one of the noblest and most 
sterling' specimens of the popular ballad. It has 
an exact counterpart in Swedish and Danish ; 
also in Finnish, probably from the Swedish, 
but with traits of its own. The last stanza of 
' Edward ' is peculiar in implicating the mother 
in the guilt of the murder. 

a. Motherwell's MS., p. 189. From Mrs 
King, Kilbarchan. b. Motherwell's Minstrelsy, 
p. oo9. 

1 * What bkiid 's that on thy coat lap, 

Son Davie, son Davie ? 
What bluid 's that qn thy coat, lap ? 
And the truth. come tell to me.' 

2 ' It is the bluid of my great hawk, 

Mother lady, mother lady : 
It is the bluid of my great hawk, 
And the truth I have told to thee.* 

3 ' Hawk's bluid was neer sae red, 

Son Davie, son Davie : 
Hawk's bluid was neer sae red. 
And the truth come tell to me.' 

4 * It is the bluid of my greyhound, 

Mother lady, mother lady : 
It is the bluid of my greyhound, - 
And it wadna rin for me.' 

5 * Hound's bluid was neer sae red. 

Son Davie, son Davie : 
Hound's bluid was neer sae red. 
And the truth come tell to me.' 

6 • It is the bluid o my brither John, 

Mother lad}^, mother lady : 
It 19 the bluid o my brither John, 
And the truth I have told to thee.* 

7 ' What about did the plea begin, 

Son Davie, son Davie ? ' 
* It began about the cutting of a willow 
That would never been a tree.* 

8 ' What death dost thou desire to die. 

Son Davie, son Davie ? 
What death dost thou desire to die ? 
And the truth come tell to me.' 

9 ' I '11 set my foot in a bottomless ship, 

Mother lady, mother lady : 

I '11 set my foot in a bottomless ship, 
And ye '11 never see mair o me.' 

10 ' What wilt thou leave to thy poor wife, 

Son Davie, son Davie ? ' 

* Grief and sorrow all her life. 

And she 'II never see mair o me.* 

11 * What wilt thou leave to thy old son, 

Son Davie, son Davie ? ' 
' I '11 leave him the weary world to wan- 
der up and down, 
And he '11 never get mair o me.' 

12 * What wilt thou leave to thy mother 

Son Davie, son Davie ? ' 

* A fire o coals to burn her, wi hearty 

And she '11 never get mair o me.' 

Percy's Reliques, 1765, i, 53. CoramunU 
cated by Sir David Dalrymple (Lord Hailes). 

1 ' Why dois your brand sae drap wi bluid, 

Edward, Edward, 
Why dois your brand sae drap wi bluid, 
And why sae sad gang yee O ? ' 

* O I hae killed my hauke sae guid, 

Mither, mither, 
I hae killed my hauke sae guid, 
And I had nae mair bot hee O.' 

2 * Your haukis bluid was nevir sae reid, 

Edward, Edward, 
Your haukis bluid was nevir sae reid, 
My deir son I tell thee O.' 

* I hae killed my reid-roan steid, 

Mither, mitlier, 
O I hae killed my reid-roan steid, 
That erst was sae fair and frie 0.* 

3 * Your steid was auld, and yo hae gat 


Edward, Edward, 
Your steid was auld, and ye hae gat 
Sum other dule ye drie O.' 
' O I hae killed my fadir deir, 

Mither, mither, 
I hae killed my fadir deir, 
Alas, and wae is mee 1 ' 




4 * And whatteu penance wul ye drie for 


Edward, Edward ? 
And whatten penance will ye drie for 
that ? 
My deir son, now tell me 0.' 
*Ile set my feit in yonder boat, 

Mither, mither, 
lie set my feit in yonder boat, 
And He fare ovir the sea O.' 

5 * And what wul ye doe wi your towirs 

and your ha, 

Edward, Edward ? 
And what wul ye doe wi your towirs 
and your ha, 
Tliat were sae fair to see O ? ' 
' He let thame stand tul they doun fa, 

Mither, mither, 
He let thame stand tul they doun fa, 
For here nevir mair maun I bee 0/ 

G ' And what wul ye leive to your bairns 
and your wife, 

Edward, Edward ? 
And what wul ye leive to your bairns 
and your wife. 
Whan ye gang ovir the sea O ? ' 
* Tlie warldis room, late them beg thrae 

Mither, mither. 
The warldis room, late them beg thrae 
For thame nevir mair wul I see 0.' 

7 * And what wul ye leive to your ain 
mither deir, 

Edward, Edward ? 
And what wul ye leive to your ain 
mither deir ? 
My deir son, now tell me 0.' 
*The curse of hell frae me sail ye beir, 

Mither, mither. 
The curse of hell frae me sail ye beir. 
Sic couuseils ye gave to me O.' 



This ballad, with additional circumstances, 
is familiar to all branches of the Scandinavian 
race. 1'he Danish ' Herr Truela' Daughters ' 

(Grundtvig-Olrik, No. 3-^8) may serve as a 
specimen : — Herr Truels' three daughters 
oversleep their matins one morning, and are 
roused by their mother. If we have overslept 
our matins, they say, we will make up at high 
mass. They set out for church, and in a wood 
fall in with three robbers, who say : 

' Whether will ye be three robbers' wives, 
Or will ye rather lose your lives ? ' 

Much rather death, say they. The two elder 
sisters submitted to their fate without a word ; 
the third made a hard resistance. With her 
last breath she adjured the robbers to seek a 
lodging at Herr Truels' that night. This they 
did. They drank so long that they drank Herr 
Truels to bed. Then they asked his wife to 
promise herself to all three. First, she said, 
she must look into their bags. In their bags 
she saw her daughters' trinkets. She excused 
herself for a moment, barred the door strongly, 
roused her husband, and made it known to hira 
that these guests had killed his three daugh- 
ters. Herr Truels called on all his men to 
arm. He asked the robbers who was their 
father. They said that they had been stolen 
by robbers, on their way to school, one day ; 
had had a hard life for fourteen years ; and 
the first crime they had committed was killing 
three maids yesterday. Herr Truels revealed 
to them that they had murdered their sisters, 
and offered thjem new clothes, in which they 
migfht go away. " Nay," they said, " not so ; 
life for life is meet." They were taken out of 
the town, and their heads struck off. 

' Babylon ; or, The Bonnie Banks o Fordie.' 
a. IVlotherwell's Minstrelsy, p. 88. b. The 
same. C. Appendix, p. xxii. No. xxvi, ap- 
parently from South Perthshire. 

1 There were three ladies lived in a 

Eh vow bonnie 

And they went out to pull a flower. 
On the bonnie banks o Fordie 

2 They hadna pu'ed a flower but ane, 
When up started to them a banisht man. 

3 He 's taen the first sister by her hand. 
And he 's turned her round and mad« 

her stand. 

4 * It 's whether will ye be a rank robber'g 

Or will ye die by my wee pen-knife ? ' 




5 * It 's I '11 not be a rank robber's wife, 
But I '11 rather die by your wee pen- 

6 He 's killed this may, and he 's laid her 


For to bear the red rose company. 

7 He 's taken the second ane by the hand, 
And he 's turned her round and made 

her stand. 

8 ' It 's whether will ye be a rank robber's 

Or will ye die by my wee pen-knife ? ' 

9 ' I '11 not be a rank robber's wife. 

But I '11 rather die by your wee pen- 

10 He 's killed this may, and he *s laid 

her by, 
For to bear the red rose company, 

11 He 's taken the youngest ane by the 

And he 's turned her round and made 
her stand. 

12 Says, ' Will ye be a rank robber's wife, 
Or will ye die by my wee pen-knife ? ' 

13 * I '11 not be a rank robber's wife. 
Nor will I die by your wee pen-knife. 

14 ' For I hae a brother in this wood. 
And gin ye kill me, it 's he '11 kill thee.' 

15 ' What 's thy brother's name ? come 

tell to nie.' 
* My brother's name is Baby Lon.' 

16 * O sister, sister, what have I done ! 
O have I done this ill to thee ! 

17 *0 since I 've done this evil deed, 
Good sail never be seen o me.' 

18 He ^s taken out his wee pen-knife, 
And he 's twyned himsel o his ain sweet 



This is one of the cases in which a remark- 
ably fine ballad has been worse preserved in 
JScotland than anywhere else. Without light 
from abroad we cannot fully understand even 
so much as we have saved. Thougli injured 
by the commixture of foreign elements, A 
has still much of the original story. B has, 
on the contrary, so little that distinctively and 
conclusively belongs to this story that it might 
almost as well have been put with No. 16. 

The ballad which ' Leesome Brand ' repre- 
sents is preserved among- the Scandinavian races 
under four forms. One form of the story in 
Danish, ' Redselille og Medelvold ' (Gruiidtvig-, 
No. 271), runs thus: A daughter is forced to 
acknov/ledge to her mother that she has been 
beg-uiled by a knight. The mother threatens 
both with punishment, and the daughter, 
alarmed, goes to her lover's house at night, 
and informs him of the fate that awaits them. 
They ride off on his horse and come to a wood. 
Then her pangs seize her, but unwilling that a i 
man should help her, she sends the knight in 
search of water. When he comes to the spring, 
there sits a nightingale and sings, "Redselille 
lies dead in the wood, with two sons in her 
bosom." All that the nightingale has said is 
found to be true. In some versions the knight 
digs a grave, and lays mother and children 
in it ; in two versions he lays himself in the 
grave with them. It is not said whether the 
children are dead or living, and the point 
Avould hardly be raised, but for what follows. 
In certain Danish and Swedish versions, how- 
ever, it is expressly mentioned that the chil- 
dren are alive, and in some Danish and Nor- 
wegian versions the children are heard, or 
seem to be heard, shrieking from under the 
ground. Nearly all the versions make the 
knight run himself through with his sword, 
either immediately after the others are laid in 
the grave, or after he has ridden far and wide, 
because he cannot endure the cries of the chil- 
dren from under the earth. This would seem 
to be the original conclusion of the story ; the 
horrible circumstance of the children being 
buried alive is much more likely to be slurred 
over or omitted at a later day than to be 

'Leesome Brand.' a. Buchan's Ballads of 
the North of Scotland, I, 38. b. Motherwell's 
MS., p. 026. 




1 My boy was scarcely ten years auld, 

Whan he went to an unco land, 
Where wind never blew, nor cocks ever 
Ohon for my son, Leesome Brand ! 

2 Awa to that king's court he went, 

It was to serve for meat an fee ; 
Gude red gowd it was his hire, 

And lang in that king's court stayd 

3 He hadna been in that unco land 

But only twallmonths twa or three, 
Till by the glancing o his ee. 

He gaind the love o a gay ladye. 

4 This ladye was scarce eleven years auld, 

When on her love she was right 
bauld ; 
She was scarce up to my right knee, 
When oft in bed wi men I 'm tauld. 

5 But when nine months were come and 

This ladye's face turnd pale and wane. 

6 To Leesome Brand she then did say, 
* In this place I can nae mair stay. 

7 ' Ye do you to my father's stable, 
Where steeds do stand baith wight and 


8 ' Strike ane o them upo the back. 
The swiftest will gie his head a wap. 

9 * Ye take him out upo the green. 

And get him saddled and bridled seen. 

10 ' Get ane for you, anither for me, 
And lat us ride out ower the lee. 

11 * Ye do you to my mother's coffer, 
And out of it ye '11 take my tocher. 

12 ' Therein are sixty thousand pounds. 
Which all to me by right belongs.' 

13 He 's done him to her father's stable. 
Where steeds stood baith wicht and 


14 Then he strake ane upon the back, 
The swiftest gae his head a wap. 

15 He 's taen him out upo the green, 
And got him saddled and bridled 


16 Ane for him, and another for her. 

To carry them baith wi might and 

17 He 's done him to her mother's coffer, 
And there he 's taen his lover's tocher ; 

18 Wherein were sixty thousand pound. 
Which all to her by right belongd. 

19 When they had ridden about six mile, 
His true love than began to fail. 

20 * O wae 's me,' said that gay ladye, 

* I fear my back will gang in three ! 

21 * O gin I had but a gude midwife, 
Here this day to save my life, 

22 ' And ease me o my misery, 

dear, how happy I woud be ! ' 

23 ' My love, we 're far frae ony town, 
There is nae midwife to be foun. 

24 ' But if ye '11 be content wi me, 

1 '11 do for you what man can dee.' 

25 * For no, for no, this maunna be,' 
Wi a sigh, replied this gay ladye. 

26 ' When I endure my grief and pain, 
My companie ye maun refrain. 

27 'Ye '11 take your arrow and your bow, 
And ye will hunt the deer and roe. 

28 * Be sure ye touch not the white hynde, 
For she is o the woman kind.' 

29 He took sic pleasure in deer and roe. 
Till lie forgot his gay ladye. 

30 Till by it came that milk-white hynde, 
And then he mind on his ladye syne. 

31 He hasted him to yon greenwood tree, 
For to relieve his gay ladye ; 

32 But found his ladye lying dead, 
Likeways her young son at her head. 




33 His mother lay ower her castle vva, 

And she beheld baith dale and down ; 
And she beheld young Leesome Brand, 
As he came riding to the town. 

34 * Get minstrels for to play,' she said, 

' And dancers to dance in my room ; 
For here comes my son, Leesome Brand, 
And he comes merrilie to the town.' 

35 ' Seek nae minstrels to play, mother. 

Nor dancers to dance in your room ; 
But tho your son comes, Leesome Brand, 
Yet he comes sorry to the town. 

36 * O I hae lost my gowden knife ; 

I rather had lost my ain sweet life ! 

37 ' And I hae lost a better thing. 
The gilded sheath that it was in.' 

38 * Are there nae gowdsmiths here in Fife, 
Can make to you anither knife ? 

39 ' Are there nae sheath-makers in the 

Can make a sheath to Leesome Brand ? ' 

40 ' There are nae gowdsmiths here in Fife, 
Can make me sic a gowden knife ; 

41 ' Nor nae sheath-makers in the land, 
Can make to me a sheath again. 

42 ' There ne'er was man in Scotland born, 
Ordaind to be so much forlorn. 

43 ' I 've lost my ladye I lovd sae dear, 
Likeways the son she did me bear.' 

44 *Put in your hand at my bed head. 

There ye '11 find a gude grey horn ; 
In it three draps o' Saint Paul's ain 
That hae been there sin he was born. 

45 'Drap twa o them o your ladye, 

And ane upo your little young son ; 
Then as lively they will be 

As the first night ye brought them 

46 He put his hand at her bed head. 

And there he found a gude grey 

Wi three draps o' Saint Paul's ain blude. 
That had been there sin he was 

47 Then he drappd twa on his ladye, 

And ane o them on his young son, 
And now they do as lively be. 

As the first day he brought them 

'The Broom blooms bomiie,' etc., Mother- 
weirs MS., p. 365. From, the recitation of 
Agnes Lyle, Kilbarchaa. 

1 ' There is a feast in your father's house. 

The broom blooms bonnie and so is it 

It becomes you and me to be very 

And we '11 never gang up to the 

broom nae mair 

2 * You will go to yon hill so hie; 

Take your bow and your arrow wi thee.' 

3 He 's tane his lady on his back. 
And his auld son in his coat lap. 

4 * When ye hear me give a cry. 

Ye '11 shoot your bow and let me lye. 

5 ' When ye see me lying still. 

Throw away your bow and come run- 
ning me till.' 

6 When he heard her gie the cry, 
He shot his bow and he let her lye. 

7 When he saw she was lying still. 

He threw away his bow and came run- 
ning her till. 

8 It was nae wonder his heart was sad 
When he shot his auld son at her head. 

9 He houkit a grave, long, large and 

He buried his auld son doun by her 

10 It was nae wonder his heart was sair 
When he shooled the mools on her yeU 
low hair. 



11 < Oh,' said his father, ' son, but thou 'rt 


' And when that ye see I am lying dead, 

sad ! 

Then ye '11 put me in a grave, wi a 

At our braw meetino^ you micht be glad.' 

turf at my head.' 

12 < Oh,' said he, ' Father, I 've lost my 

5 Now when he heard her gie a loud 



I loved as dear almost as my own life. 

His silver arrow frae his bow he sud- 
denly let lly. 

13 ' But I have lost a far better thing. 

Now they '11 never, etc. 

I lost the sheath that the knife was in.' 

6 He has made a grave that was lang and 

14 ' Hold thy tongue, and mak nae din ; 

was deep, 

I'll buy thee a sheath and a knife 

And he has buried his sister, wi her babe 


at her feet. 
And they '11 never, etc. 

15 ' A* the ships eer sailed the sea 

Neer '11 bring such a sheath and a knife 


And when he came to his father's court 

to me. 

There was music and minstrels and dan- 

16 * A* the smiths that lives on land 

cing and all. 

Will neer bring such a sheath and knife 

But they '11 never, etc. 

to my hand.' 


' Willie, Willie, what makes thee 
in pain ? ' 


* I have lost a sheath and knife that I '11 
never see again.' 


For we '11 never, etc. 

Other ballads with a like theme are Nos. 50, 


' There is ships o your father's sailing 

61, 52. See also the introduction to ' Leesome 

on the sea 

Brand,' No. 15. 

That will bring as good a sheath and a 


knife unto thee.' 

a. Motherwell's MS., p. 286. From the reci- 
tation of Mrs. King, Kilbarehan Parish, Feb- 


* There is ships o my father's sailing on 

the sea, 
But sic a sheath and a knife they can 

ruary 9, 1825. b. ' The broom blooms bonnie 
and says it is fair,' Motherwell's Minstrelsy, 

p. 189. 

never bring to me.' 
Now we '11 never, etc. 

1 It is talked the warld all over. 

The brume blooms bonnie and says it 

is fair 


That the king's dochter gaes wi child to 

her brither. 

From a half-sheet of paper in Motherwell's 

And we '11 never gang doun to the 


brume ouie mair 


One king's daughter said to anither. 

2 He 's taen his sister doun to her fa- 

Brume blumes bonnie and grows sae 

ther's deer park, 


Wi his yew-tree bow and arrows fast 

* We '11 gae ride like sister and brither.* 

slung to his back. 

And we '11 neer gae down to the 
brume nae mair 

3 * Xow when that ye hear me gie a loud 



' We '11 ride doun into yonder valley, 

Shoot f rae thy bow an arrow and there 

W^hare the greene green trees are bud- 

let me lye. 

ding sae gaily. 




3 ' Wi hawke and hounde we will hunt sae 

And we '11 come back in the morning 

4 They rade on like sister and brither, 
And they hunted and hawket in the 

valley thegether. 

5 ' Now, lady, hauld my horse and my 

For I maun na ride, and I downa walk. 

6 ' But set me douu be the rute o this tree, 
For there hae I dreamt that my bed sail 


7 The ae king's dochter did lift doun the 

And she was licht in her armis like ony 

8 Bonnie Lady Ann sat doun be the tree. 
And a wide grave was houkit whare 

nane suld be. 

9 The hawk had nae lure, and the horse 

had nae master. 
And the faithless hounds thro the woods 
ran faster. 

10 The one king's dochter has ridden awa, 
But bonnie Lady Ann lay in the deed- 


The story of ' Horn,' of which this ballad 
g'ives little more tlian the catastrophe, is re- 
la( ed at full in (i) ' King- Horn.' a gest in about 
1550 short verses, preserved in three manu- 
scripts : the oldest reg-arded as of the second 
half of the loth century, or older ; the others 
put at 1800 and a little later, (ii) ' Horn et 
Rymenhild,' a romance in about 5250 heroic 
verses, preserved likewise in three manuscripts ; 
the best in the Public Library of the Univer- 
sity of Cambridge, and of the 14th century, 
(iii) ' Horn Childe and Maiden Rimnild,' from 
a manuscript of the 14th century, in not quite 
100 twelve-line stanzas. The relatiojis of these 
versions to each other and to the ballad are not 
entirely clear. For the whole matter, see Scho- 
field, Publications of the Modern Language 

Association cf America, xvin, 1 S., where full 
references will be found. 

Certain points in the story of Horn — the 
long absence, the sudden return, tlie appear- 
ance under disguise at the wedding feast, and 
the dropping of the ring into a cup of wine 
obtauied from the bride — repeat themselves 
in a great number of romantic tales. More com- 
monly it is a husband who leaves his Avife for 
seven years, is miraculously informed on the 
last day that she is to be remarried on the 
morrow, and is restored to his home in the nick 
of time, also by superhuman means. Examples 
of such stories are the sixteenth-century chap- 
book of Henry the Lion ; the Middle High Ger- 
man Reinf rid von Braunschweig ; Der edle 
Moringer; Torello, in Boccaccio's Decameron, 
X, 9. 


' Hindhorn,' Motherwell's MS., p. 106. From 
Mrs King, Kilbarchan. 

1 In Scotland there was a babie born, 

Lill lal, etc. 
And his name it was called young Hind 
With a fal lal, etc. 

2 He sent a letter to our king 

That he was in love with his daughter 

3 He 's gien to her a silver wand, 

With seven living lavrocks sitting 

4 She 's gien to him a diamond ring, 
With seven bright diamonds set therein. 

5 * When this ring grows pale and wan, 
You may know by it my love is gane.' 

6 One day as he looked his ring upon, 
He saw the diamonds pale and wan. 

7 He left the sea and came to land. 
And the first that he met was an old 

beggar man. 

8 * What news, what news ? ' said young 

Hind Horn ; 
'No news, no news,' said the old beggar 

9 *No news,' said the beggar, -no news 

at a'. 
But there is a wedding in the king's ha. 




10 * But there is a wedding in the king's ha, 
That has halden these forty days and 


11 ' Will ye lend me your begging coat ? 
And I '11 lend you my scarlet cloak. 

12 * Will yon lend me your beggar's rung ? 
And I '11 gie you my steed to ride upon. 

13 ' Will you lend me your wig o hair, 
To cover mine, because it is fair ? ' 

14 The auld beggar man was bound for the 

But young Hind Horn for the king's hall. 

15 The auld beggar man was bound for to 

But young Hind Horn was bound for 
the bride. 

16 When he came to the king's gate, 

He sought a drink for Hind Horn's sake. 

17 The bride came down with a glass of 

When he drank out the glass, and dropt 
in the ring. 

18 ' O got ye this by sea or land ? 

Or got ye it off a dead man's hand ? ' 

19 * I got not it by sea, I got it by land, 
And I got it, madam, out of your own 


20 * O I '11 cast off my gowns of brown, 
And beg wi you frae town to town. 

21 ' O I '11 cast off my gowns of red. 
And I '11 beg wi you to win my bread.' 

22 ' Ye needna cast off your gowns of 

For I '11 make you lady o many a town. 

23 * Ye needna cast off your gowns of red. 
It 's only a sham, the begging o my 


24 The bridegroom he had wedded the 

But young Hind Horn he took her to 

Kinloch's MSS., vn, 117; Kinloch's An- 
cient Scottish Ballads, p. 135. From the north 
of Scotland. 

1 ' Hynde Horn 's bound, love, and Hynde 

Horn 's free ; 
Whare was ye born ? or frae what cun- 
trie ? ' 

2 ' In gude greenwud whare I was born, 
And all my friends left me forlorn. 

3 ' I gave my love a gay gowd wand, 
That was to rule oure all Scotland. 

4 * My love gave me a silver ring. 
That was to rule abune aw thing. 

5 * Whan that ring keeps new in hue, 
Ye may ken that your love loves you. 

6 * Whan that ring turns pale and wan, 
Ye may ken that your love loves auither 


7 He hoisted up his sails, and away sailed 

Till he cam to a foreign cuntree. 

8 Whan he lookit to his ring, it was turnd 

pale and wan ; 
Says, I wish I war at hame again. 

9 He hoisted up his sails, and hame sailed 

Until he cam till his ain cuntree. 

10 The first ane that he met with. 

It was with a puir auld beggar-man. 

11 * What news ? what news, my puir auld 

man ? 
What news hae ye got to tell to me ? ' 

12 * Na news, na news,' the puir man did 

* But this is our queen's wedding-day.' 

13 * Ye 'II lend me your begging-weed, 
And I '11 lend you my riding-steed.' 

14 ' My begging-weed is na for thee, 
Your riding-steed is na for me.' 




15 He has changed wi the puir auld beg- 


16 ' What is the way that ye use to 

gae ? 
And what are the words that ye beg 

17 * Whan ye come to yon high hill, 

Ye '11 draw your bent bow nigh until. 

18 ' Whan ye come to yon town-end, 

Ye '11 lat your bent bow low fall doun. 

19 ' Ye '11 seek meat for St Peter, ask for 

St Paul, 
And seek for the sake of your Hynde 
Horn all. 

20 ' But tak ye frae nane o them aw 

Till ye get frae the bonnie bride her- 
sel O.' 

21 Whan he cam to yon high hill, 
He drew his bent bow nigh until. 

22 And when he cam to yon toun-end, 
He loot his bent bow low fall doun. 

23 He sought for St Peter, he askd for St 

And he sought for the sake of his Hynde 
Horn all. 

24 But he took na frae ane o them aw 
Till he got frae the bonnie bride her- 


25 The bride cam tripping doun the stair, 
Wi the scales o red gowd on her hair. 

26 Wi a glass o red wine in her hand, 
To gie to the puir beggar-man. 

27 Out he drank his glass o wine, 
Into it he dropt the ring. 

28 * Got ye 't by sea, or got ye 't by land. 
Or got ye 't aff a drownd man's hand ? ' 

29 ' I got na 't by sea, I got na 't by land, 
Nor gat I it aff a drownd man's hand ; 

30 ' But I got it at my wooing, 
And I '11 gie it to your wedding.' 

31 ' I '11 tak the scales o gowd frae my 

I '11 follow you, and beg my bread. 

32 * I'll tak the scales o gowd frae my hair, 
I '11 follow you for evermair.' 

33 She has tane the scales o gowd frae her 

She 's followed him, to beg her bread. 

34 She has tane the scales o gowd frae her 

And she has followd him evermair. 

35 Atween the kitchen and the ha. 
There he loot his cloutie cloak fa. 

36 The red gowd shined oure them aw, 
And the bride frae the bridegroom was 

stown awa. 



One half of A (the second and fourth quar- 
ters) is wanting- in the Percy MS. B can be 
traced in Banffshire for more than a hundred 
years, through the old woman that sang it, and 
her forbears. What we can gather of the story 
is this. A knight finds a lady sitting in (or 
under) a tree, who tells him that a wild boar 
has slain (or worried) her lord and killed (or 
wounded) thirty of his men. The knig-ht kills 
the boar, and seems to have received bad 
wounds in the process. The boar belonged to 
a giant, or to a wild w^oman. The knight is 
required to forfeit his hawks and leash and the 
little finger of his rig'ht hand (or his horse, his 
hound, and his lady). He refuses to submit to 
such disgrace, though in no condition to resist ; 
the giant allows him time to heal his wounds, 
and he is to leave his lady as security for his 
return. At the end of the time the knight 
comes back sound and well, and kills the giant 
as he had killed the boar. C and D say 
nothing of the knight having been wounded. 
The wild woman, to revenge her " pretty 
spotted pig," flies fiercely at him, and he cleaves 
her in two. The last quarter of the Percy copy 
would, no doubt, reveal what became of the 
lady who was sitting in the tree, as to which 
traditional copies give no light. 

The ballad has much in common with the 
romance of ' Sir Eglamour of Artois ' (Percy 
MS., Hales and Fumivall, ii, 338 ; Thornton 




Romances, ed. Halliwell, p. 121). It has also 
taken up something- from the romance of 
' Eyer and Grime ' (Percy MS., I, o-ki. ; Laing, 
Early Metrical Tales, p. 1). 

'Sir Lionell,' Percy MS., p. 32, Hales and 
Furnivall, i, 75. 

1 Sir Egrabell had sonnes three, 

Blow thy home, good hunter 
Sir Lyouell was one of these. 
As I am a gentle hunter 

2 Sir Lyonell wold on hunting ryde, 
Vntill the forrest him beside. 

3 And as he rode thorrow the wood, 
Where trees and harts and all were good, 

4 And as he rode over the plaine, 
There he saw a knight lay slaine. 

5 And as he rode still on the plaine. 
He saw a lady sitt in a graine. 

6 * Say thou, lad}', and tell thou me, 
What blood shedd heere has bee.' 

7 * Of this blood shedd we may all rew, 
Both wife and childe and man alsoe. 

8 ' For it is not past 3 days right 
Since Sir Broninge was mad a knight. 

9 * Nor it is not more than 3 dayes agoe 
Since the wild bore did him sloe.' 

10 ' Say thou, lady, and tell thou mee. 
How long thou wilt sitt in that tree.' 

11 She said, * I will sitt in this tree 
Till my friends doe feitch me.' 

12 ' Tell me, lad}', and doe not misse, 
Where that your friends dwellings is.' 

13 ' Downe,' shee said, ' in yonder towne, 
There dwells my freinds of great re- 


14 Says, ' Lady, He ryde into yonder towne 
And see wether your friends beene 


15 * I my self wilbe the formost man 
That shall come, lady, to feitch you 


16 But as he rode then by the way, 
He thought it shame to goe away ; 

17 And vmbethought him of a wile, 
How he might that wilde bore beguile. 

18 ' Sir Egrabell,' he said, ' my father was j 
He neuer left lady in such a case ; 

19 * Noe more will I ' . . . 


20 ' And a[fter] that thou shalt doe mee 
Thy hawkes and thy lease alsoe. 

21 ' Soe shalt thou doe at my command 
The litle fingar on thy right band.' 

22 ' Ere I wold leaue all this with thee, 
Vpoon this ground I rather dyee.' 

23 The gyant gaue Sir Lyouell such a blow, 
The fyer out of his eyen did throw. 

24 He said then, * If I were safPe and sound. 
As with-in this hower I was in this 


25 ' It shold be in the next towne told 
How deare thy buffett it was sold ; 

26 ' And it shold haue beene in the next 

towne said 
How well thy buffett it were paid.' 

27 ' Take 40 daies into spite, 

To heale thy wounds that Ijeene soe wide. 

28 ' When 40 dayes beene at an end, 
Heere meete thou me both safe and 


29 * And till thou come to me againe, 
Witli me thoust leaue thy lady alone^' 

30 When 40 dayes was at an end. 

Sir LyoneZl of his wounds was healed 

31 He tooke with him a litle page, 

He gaue to him good yeomans wage. 




32 And as he rode by one hawthorne, 
Even there did hang his hunting home. 

33 He sett his bugle to his mouth, 
And blew his bugle still full south. 

34 He blew his bugle lowde and shrill ; 
The lady heard, and came him till. 

35 Saves, ' The gyant lyes vnder yond low, 
And well he heares yowr bugle blow. 

36 ' And bidds me of good cheere be, 
This night heele supp with you and me.' 

37 Hee sett that lady vppon a steede, 
And a litle boy before her yeede. 

38 And said, ' Lady, if you see that I must 

As euer you loued me, from me flye. 

39 ' But, lady, if you see that I must Hue,' 

' Isaac-a-Bell and Hugh the Graeme,' Christie, 
Traditional Ballad Airs, I, 1 10. From the sing- 
ing of an old woman in Buckie, Enzie, Banff- 

1 A KNiCHT had two sons o sma fame, 

Hey nien nanny 
Isaac-a-Bell and Hugh the Graeme. 
And the norlan flowers spring bonny 

2 And to the youngest he did say, 

' What occupation will you hae ? 
When the, etc. 

3 * Will you gae fee to pick a mill ? 
Or will you keep hogs on yon hill ? 

While the, etc. 

4 ' I winna fee to pick a mill. 
Nor will I keep hogs on yon hill. 

While the, etc. 

6 ' But it is said, as I do hear, 
That war will last for seven year, 
And the, etc. 

6 * W^ith a giant and a boar 

That range into the wood o Tore. 
And the, etc. 

7 ' You '11 horse and armour to me pro- 

That tlirough Tore wood I may safely 
When the, etc. 

8 The knicht did horse and armour pro- 

That through Tore wood Graeme micht 
safely ride. 
When the, etc. 

9 Then he rode through the wood o Tore, 
And up it started the grisly boar. 

When the, etc. 

10 The firsten bout that he did ride. 
The boar he wounded in the left side. 

When the, etc. 

11 The nexten bout at the boar he gaed, 
He from the boar took aff his head. 

And the, etc. 

12 As he rode back through the wood o 

Up started the giant him before. 
And the, etc. 

13 * O cam you through the wood o Tore, 
Or did you see my good wild boar ? ' 

And the, etc. 

14 * I cam now through the wood o Tore, 
But woe be to your grisly boar. 

And the, etc. 

15 ' The firsten bout that I did ride, 

I wounded your wild boar in the side. 
And the, etc. 

16 'The nexten bout at him I gaed. 
From your wild boar I took aff his 

And the, etc. 

17 'Gin you have cut aff the head o my 

It 's your head shall be taen therfore. 
And the, etc. 

18 ' I '11 gie you thirty days and three, 

To heal your wounds, then come to 
While the, etc. 


19 ' It 's after thirty days and three, 

7 Then the wild boar, being so stout and 

When my wounds heal, I '11 come to 

so strong. 


He thrashd down the trees as he came 

When the, etc. 


To Sir Ryalas, etc. 

20 So GrfBme is back to the wood o 


8 * what dost thou want of me ? ' the 

And he 's killd the giant, as he killd the 

wild boar said he ; 


< I think in my heart I can do enough 

And the, etc. 

for thee.' 

For I am, etc. 


9 Then they fought four hours in a long 

summer's day. 
Till the wild boar fain would have got- 
ten away. 
From Sir Ryalas, etc. 

a. ' The Jovial Hunter of Bromsgrove,' 
Allies, The British, Roman, and Saxon An- 

tiquities and Folk-Lore of Worcestershire, 

2d ed., p. 116. From the recitation of Benja- 

min Brown, of Upper Wick, about 1845. b. 

Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songs of the 

10 Then Sir Ryalas drawd his broad sword 

Peasantry of England, edited by Robert Bell, 

with might, 

p. 124. 

And he fairly cut his head off quite. 

For he was, etc. 

1 Sir Robert Bolton had three sons. 

Wind well thy horn, good hunter 

11 Then out of the wood the wild woman 

And one of them was called Sir Ryalas. 

flew : 

For he was a jovial hunter 

' Oh thou hast killed ray pretty spotted 

2 He rang'd all round down by the wood- 
Till up in the top of a tree a sray lady he 

pig ! 
As thou beest, etc. 

12 ' There are three things I do demand of 

spy d. 


For he was, etc. 

It 's thy horn, and thy hound, and thy 

gay lady.' 

8 * what dost thou mean, fair lady ? ' 

As thou beest, etc. 

said he ; 

< the wild boar has killed my lord and 

13 * If these three things thou dost demand 

his men thirty.' 

of me, 

As thou beest, etc. 

It 's just as my sword and thy neck can 


4 ' what shall I do this wild boar to 
* thee blow a blast, and he '11 come 

For I am, etc. 

14 Then into his locks the wild woman flew, 

unto thee.' 

Till she thought in her heart she had 

As thou beest, etc. 

torn him through. 

As he wag, etc. 

5 [Then he put his horn unto his mouth], 
Then he blowd a blast full north, east, 

15 Then Sir Ryalas drawd his broad sword 

west and south. 


As he was, etc. 

And he fairly split her head in twain. 

For he was, etc. 

S And the wild boar heard him full into 

his den ; 

16 In Bromsgrove church they both do 

Then he made the best of his speed unto 



There the wild boar's head is picturd by 

To Sir Ryalas, etc. 

Sir Ryalas, etc. 

19, 2o] 




Mr Eclmonston, from whose memory this 
ballad was derived, notes that though stanzas 
are probably lost after the first, which would 
give some account of the king- in the east wooiug 
the lady in the west, no such verses were sung 
to him. He had forgotten some stanzas after 
the fourth, of which the substance was that the 
lady was carried off by fairies, that the king 
went in quest of her, and one day saw a com- 
pany passing along a hillside, among whom he 
recognized his lost wife. The troop went to 
what seemed a great "ha-house," or castle, on 
the hillside. Stanzas after the eighth were also 
forgotten, the purport being that a messenger 
from behind the grey stane appeared and in- 
vited the king in. 

We have here in traditional song the story 
of the mediaeval romance of Orpheus, in which 
fairy-land supplants Tartarus, faitliful love is 
rewarded, and Eurydice (Heurodis, Erodys, 
Eroudys) is retrieved. There are three ver- 
sions of this tale (edited respectively by Laing, 
Select Remains of the Ancient Popular Poetry 
of Scotland, No. 3 ; Halliwell, Illustrations of 
Fairy Mythology, p. 37 ; and Ritson, Metrical 
Romancees, II, 248). See the critical edition by 
O. Zielke, Breslau, 1880. 

The Leisure Hour, Februarv 14, 1880, No. 
14^8. p. 109 : Folk-Lore from Unst, Shetland, 
by Mrs Saxby. Obtained from the singing of 
Andrew Coutts, an old man in Unst, Shetland, 
by Mr Biot Edmondston. 

1 Der lived a king inta da aste, 

Scowan iirla griin 
Der lived a lady in da wast. 
Whar giorten ban griin oarlac 

2 Dis king he has a hiintin gaen, 
He 's left his Lady Isabel alane. 

3 * Oh I wis ye 'd never gaen away, 
For at your hame is dol an wae. 

4 ' For da king o Ferrie we his daert, 
Has pierced your lady to da hert.' 

W ^ V ^ ^ 

5 And aifter dem da king has gaen, 
But whan he cam it was a grey stane. 

6 Dan he took oot his pipes ta play, 
liit sair his hert wi dol an wae. 

7 And first he played da notes o noy, 
An dan he played da notes o joy. 

8 An dan he played da god gabber reel, 
Dat meicht ha made a sick hert hale. 

* » ♦ * ♦ 

9 ' Noo come ye in inta wir ha, 
An come ye in among wis a'.* 

10 Now he 's gaen in inta der ha. 
An he 's gaen in among dem a'. 

11 Dan he took ont his pipes to play, 
Bit sair his hert wi dol an wae. 

12 An first he played da notes o noy. 
An dan he played da notes o joy. 

13 An dan he played da god gabber reel, 
Dat meicht ha made a sick hert hale. 

14 * Noo tell to us what ye will hae : 
What sail we gie you for your play ? ' 

15 ♦ What I will hae I will you tell, 
An dat 's me Lady Isabel.' 

16 'Yees tak your lady, an yees gaeng 

An yees be king ower a' your ain.' 

17 He 's taen his lady, an he 's gaen hame, 
An noo he 's king ower a' his ain. 



The Cruel Mother ' is strikingly similar to 
a Danish ballad, recovered bv Kristensen in 
1870 (Jydske Folkeviser, l, 329). Versions A 
and B of the English ballad, which are frag- 
Jnentary, were printed in the last quarter of the 
eighteenth century. P is from a broadside of 
about 1G90. 

Herd's MSS, i, 132, ii, 191. Herd's Ancient 
and Modern Scottish Songs, 1776, ii, 237. 

7^ y^ ^ y^ ^ 

1 And there she 's leand her back to a 
Oh and alelladay, oh and alelladay 




And there she has her baby born. 

Ten thousand times good night and be 
wi thee 

2 She has houked a grave ayont the sun, 
And there she has buried the sweet 

babe in. 

3 And she 's gane back to her father's ha, 
She *s counted the leelest maid o them a'. 


4 ' O look not sae sweet, my bonie babe, 
Gin ye smyle sae, ye '11 smyle me dead.' 


a. 'Fine Flowers in the Valley,' Johnson's 
Museum, p. 381. b. Scott's Minstrelsy, 1803, 
HI, 259, preface. 

1 She sat down below a thorn, 

Fine flowers in the valley 
And there she has her sweet babe born. 
And the green leaves they grow rarely 

2 * Smile na sae sweet, my bonie babe, 
And ye smile sae sweet, ye '11 smile me 


3 She 's taen out her little pen-knife. 
And twinnd the sweet babe o its life. 

4 She 's howket a grave by the light o the 

And there she 's buried her sweet babe 

5 As she was going to the church, 
She saw a sweet babe in the porch. 

6 * sweet babe, and thou were mine, 
I wad deed thee in the silk so fine.* 

7 * mother dear, when I was thine. 
You did na prove to me sae kind.' 

' The Cruel Mother,' Motherwell's Minstrel- 
sy, p. 1(31. 

1 Shk leaner! her back nnto a thorn, 
Three, three, and three by three 

And there she has her two babes born. 
Three, three, and thirty-three 

2 She took frae 'bout her ribbon-belt, 
And there she bound them hand and 


3 She has taen out her wee pen-knife, 
And there she ended baith their life. 

4 She has howked a hole baith deep and 

She has put them in baith side by 

5 She has covered them oer wi a marble 

Thinking she would gang maiden hame. 

6 As she was walking by her father's 

castle wa, 
She saw twa pretty babes playing at the 

7 * O bonnie babes, gin ye were mine, 
I would dress you up in satin fine. 

8*01 would dress you in the silk. 
And wash you ay in morning milk.* 

9 ' O cruel mother, we were thine. 
And thou made us to wear the twine. 

10 * O cursed mother, heaven 's high. 
And that 's where thou will ueer win 


11 ' O cursed mother, hell is deep. 
And there thou '11 enter step by step.' 

' The Duke's Daughter's Cruelty,' broadside 
from the Osterley Park library, British Mu- 
seum, C. 39, k. 6 (60). About 1690. 

1 There was a duke's daughter lived in 

Come bend and bear away the bows 

of yew 
So secretly she loved her father's clark. 
Gentle hearts, be to me true. 

2 She lovd him long and many a day, 
Till big with child she went away. 




3 She went into the wide wilderness; 
Poor she was to be pitied for her heavi- 

4 She leant her back against a tree, 
And tliere she endurd mnjch misery. 

5 She leant her back against an oak, 
With bitter sighs these words she 


6 She set her foot against a thorne, 

And there she had two pritty babes 

7 She took her filliting off her head. 
And there she ty'd them hand and leg. 

8 She had a penknife long and sharp. 
And there she stuck them to the heart. 

9 She dug a grave, it was long and deep, 
And there she laid them in to sleep. 

to The coldest earth it was their bed, 
The green grass was their coverlid. 

11 As she was a going by her father's hall. 
She see three children a playing at 


12 One was drest in scarlet fine, 

And the other as naked as ere they was 

13 ' O mother, O mother, if these children 

was mine, 
I would dress them [in] scarlet fine.' 

14 ' O mother, O mother, when we was 

You did not dress us in scarlet fine. 

15 ' You set your back against a tree, 
And there you endured great misery. 

16 ' You set your foot against a thorne. 
And there you had us pritty babes 


17 'You took your filliting off your head. 
And there you bound us, hand to leg. 

18 'You had a penknife long and sharp, 
And there you stuck us to the heart. 

19 * You dug a grave, it was long and 

And there you laid us in to sleep. 

20 * The coldest earth it was our bed, 
The green grass was our coverlid. 

21 ' O mother, O mother, for your sin 
Heaven-gate you shall not enter in. 

22 * O mother, O mother, for your sin 
Hell-gates stands open to let you in.' 

23 The lady's cheeks lookd pale and wan, 

* Alass ! ' said she, ' what have I done! '■ 

24 She tore her silken locks of hair, 
And dy'd away in sad despair. 

25 Young ladies all, of beauty bright, 
Take warning by her last good-night. 



The only English copy of this ballad that 
approaches completeness is furnished by the 
Percy manuscript, A. Sir Walter Scott re- 
membered, and communicated to Kirkpatrick 
Sharpe, three stanzas, and half of the burden, of 
another version, B. The English ballad speaks 
only of a maid, who does not appear to be any 
particular person, and of a mysterious palmer, 
who seems authorized to impose on the sinner 
certain penances, but \vhose identity is not de- 
clared. In the Scandinavian versions, as well 
as in a Finnish version, their true characters 
are seen. In all of these the story of the wo- 
man of Samaria (John, iv) is blended with 
mediaeval traditions concerning Mary Magda- 
len, who is assumed to be the same with the 
woman '" which was a sinner," in Luke, vii, 37, 
alid also with Mary, sister of Lazarus. This 
is the view of the larger part of the Latin ec- 
clesiastical writers, v/hile most of the Greeks 
distinguish the three. It was reserved for bal- 
lads, says Grundtvig, to confound the Magdalen 
with the Samaritan Avoman. The names Ma- 
ria, or Magdalena, Jesus, or Christ, are found in 
most of the Scandinavian ballads. There are 
several Slavic ballads which blend the story 
of the Samaritan woman and that of ' The 
Cruel Mother,' without admixture of the Mag- 
dalen. The popular ballads of some of the 
southern nations give us the legend of the 
Mag-dalen uncombined. 




Percy MS, p. 461 ; Hales and FurnivaU, iv, 


1 The maid shee went to the well to 

Lillumwliam, lillumwham ! 
The niayd shee went to the well to 
Whatt then ? what then ? 
The maid shee went to the well to 

Dew ffell of her lilly white fleshe. 

Grandam hoy, grandam boy, heye ! 
Leg a derry, leg a merry, mett, mer, 
whoope, whir ! 
Driuance, larumben, grandam boy, 
heye ! 

2 While shee washte and while shee ronge, 
While shee hangd o the hazle wand. 

3 There came an old palmer by the way, 
Sais, ' God speed thee well, thou faire 

maid ! 

4 * Hast either cupp or can, 

To giue an old palmer drinke therin ? ' 

5 Sayes, * I have neither cupp nor cann, 
To giue an old palmer drinke therin.' 

6 * But an thy lemman came from Roome, 
Cupps and canns thou wold ffind soone.' 

7 Shee sware by God & good St John, 
Lemman had shee neuer nonCo 

8 Sales, * Peace, ffaire mayd, you are ffor- 

sworne ! 
Nine children you haue borne. 

9 * Three were buryed vnder thy bed's 

Other three vnder thy brewing leade. 

10 * Other three on yon play greene ; 
Countj maid, and there be 9.' 

11 ' But I hope you are the good old man 
That all the world beleeues vpon. 

12 * Old palmer, I pray thee, 
Pennaunce that thou wilt giue to me.' 

13 ' Penance I can giue thee none, 
But 7 yeere to be a stepping-stone, 

14 ' Other seaven a clapper in a bell, 
Other 7 to lead an ape in hell. 

15 ' When thou hast thy penance done, 
Ihen thoust come a mayden home.' 

A Ballad Book, by Charles Kirkpatrick 
Sharpe, edited by David Laing\ p. 157 f , vn ; 
from !Sir Walter Scott's recollection. 

1 * Seven years ye shall be a stone, 

For many a poor palmer to rest him 

And you the fair maiden of Gowden-gaue 

2 ' Seven years ye '11 be porter of hell. 
And then I '11 take you to mysell.' 

* * * * * 

3 ' Weel may I be a' the other three, 
But porter of hell I never will be.' 

And I, etc. 



The manuscript which preserves this de- 
lightful little legend has been judged by the 
handwriting- to be of the age of Henry VI. 
The manuscript was printed entire by Thomas 
Wright, in 1856, for the Warton Club, nnder 
the title. Songs and Carols, from a manuscript 
in the British Museum of the fifteenth century. 
The story, with the Wise Men replacing Ste- 
phen, is also found in the carol, still current, 
of ' The Carnal and the Crane ' (No. 55). The 
legend of Stephen and Herod, with the mira- 
cle of the roasted cock, occurs in a number 
of Scandinavian ballads. The same miracle is 
found in other ballads, which, for the most 
part, relate to the wide-spread legend of the 
Pilgrims of St James. The miracle occurs as 
an interpolation in two late Greek manuscripts 
of the so-called Gospel of Nicodemus (Tischen- 
dorf, Evangelia Apocrypha, p. 2G9, note 3), and 
seems to have originated in tho East. 

Sloane MS., 2593, fol. 22 b, British Museum. 

1 Sey.vt Steuene was a clerk in kyng 
Herowde.s halle, 
A7id seruyd him of bred ajid cloj?, as 
euery kyng befalle. 




2 Steuyn out of kechone cam, wytA boris 

lied on honde; 
He saw a sterre was fayr and bry^t oner 
Bedle??! stonde. 

3 He kyst adoun ]?e boris lied and went in 

to fe lialle: 
* i forsak \>e, kyng Herowdes, and J>i 
werke5 alle. 

4 ' I forsak Jjg, kyng Herowdes, and J?i 

werkes alle; 
J?er is a chyld in Bedlem born is beter 
]?an we alle.' 

5 ' Quat eylyt ]7e, Steuene ? qwa^ is ]?e be- 

falle ? 
Lakky t ]>e eyj'er mete or dryuk in kyng 
Herowdes halle f ' 

6 ' Lakit me nejper mete ne drynk in kyng 

Herowde.<? halle; 
]>er is a chyld in Bedlem born is beter 
IpRn we alle.' 

7 * Quat eylyt fe, Steuyn ? art Jju wod, or 

]>n gynnyst to brede ? 
Lakkyt J>e eyfer gold or fe, or ony ryche 
wede ? ' 

8 * Lakyt me neyj>er gold ne fe, ne non 

ryche wede; 
"per is a chyld in Bedlem born xal hel- 
pyn vs at our nede.' 

9 ' f>at is al so so}?, Steuyn, al so so]?, 

As ]?is capoun crowe xal pat lyj? here in 
myn dysh.' 

10 'jpat word was not so sone seyd, ]>at word 

in pat halle, 
)?e capoun crew Ciistus natus est ! among 
J?e lordes alle. 

11 * Rysyt vp, myn turmentowre,?, be to and 

al be on, 
And ledyt Steuyn out of ]?is town, and 
stony t hym wyt^ ston! ' 

12 Tokyn he Steuene, and stonyd hym in 

the way, 
And periore is his euyn on Crystes 
owyn day. 


This legend, which was first printed (in 1845) 
in Wright and Halliwell's Reliquife Antiquse, 
I, 144, is, so far as is known, unique in several 
particulars. The common tradition gives Ju- 
das an extraordinary domestic history, but does 
not endow him with a sister as perfidious as 
himself. Neither is his selling his Master for 
thirty pieces accounted for elsewhere as it is 
here, if it may be strictly said to be accounted 
for here. A popular explanation, founded upon 
John, xii, 3-6, and current for six centuries and 
more, is that Judas, bearing the bag, was ac- 
customed to take tithes of all moneys that 
came into his hands, and that he considered he 
had lost thirty pieces on tlie precious ointment 
which had not been sold for three hundred 
pence, and took this way of indemnifying him- 
self. There is a Wendish ballad (Haupt and 
Schmaler, i, 276) in which Judas receives from 
Jesus thirty pieces of silver to buy bread, and 
loses them while gambling with the Jews. At 
their suggestion he then sells his Master for 
thirty pieces. 

MS. B 14, 39, of the 13th century, library of 
Trinity College, Cambridge. 

1 Hit wes upon a Scerej^orsday pat vre 

louerd aros; 
Ful milde were J^e wordes he spec to 

2 * ludas, pou most to lurselem, oure 

mete for to bugge; 
\>ntti platen of selu6?' pou here up opi 

3 *]?ou comest fer ipe brode stret, fer ipe 

brode strete; 
Summe of pine tunesmen per pou meist 

4 Tmette wid is soster, pe swikele wimon: 
* ludas, pou were wrpe me stende pe 

wid ston; 

5 [* ludas, pou were wrpe me stende pe 

wid ston,] 
For pc false prophete pat ton bileuest 

6 ' Be stille, leue soster, pin herte ]>e to- 

Wiste min louerd C?nst, ful wel he wolde 
be wreke.' 




7 ' ludas, go J>ou on J>e roc, heie up-on Jje 

Lei J?in lieiied i my barm, slep Jjou ]>e 

8 Sone so Indas of slepe was awake, 
fritti platen of seluer from hym weren 


9 He dron liym selue bi J>e cop, ]?at al it 

lauede ablode; 
"pe lewes out of lurselem awenden he 
were wode. 

10 Foret hym com ]>e riche leu J?at heiste 

< Wolte sulle J>i louerd, pat hette le- 
sus ? ' 

11 * I nul sulle my louerd for nones cunnes 

Bote hit be for pe fritti platen ]?at he 
me bi-taiste.' 

12 ' Wolte sulle pi lord Crist for enes cunnes 

' Nay, bote hit be for pe platen J?at he 
habben wolde.' 

13 In him com ur lord gon, as is pestles 

seten at mete: 
* Wou sitte ye, postles, ant wi mile ye 

14 [' Wou sitte ye, postles, ant wi nule ye 

Ic am iboust ant isold to day for oure 

15 Vp stod him ludas: * Lord, am I ]7at . . . ? 
I nas neuer o}?e stude ]?er me pe euel 


16 Vp him stod Peter, ant spec wid al is 

"|?au Pilatus him come wid ten hundred 

17 [' "pan Pilatus him com wid ten hundred 

Yet ic wolde, louerd, for ]?i loue fiste.' 

18 ' Still J?ou be, Peter, wel I pe i-cnowe ; 
J>ou woit fur-sake me J?rien ar pe coc 

him crowe.' 



Had an old copy of this still pretty and 
touching, but much disordered, ballad been 
saved, we should perhaps have had a story 
like this : Bonnie Annie, having stolen her 
father's gold and her mother's fee, and fled 
with her paramour, the ship in which she is 
sailing encounters a storm and cannot get on. 
Annie is seized with the pangs of travail, and 
deplores the absence of women. The sailors 
say there is somebody on board who is marked 
for death, or flying from a just doom. They 
cast lots, and the lot falls on Annie. Conscious 
only of her own guilt, she asks to be thrown 
overboard. Her paramour offers great suma 
to the crew to save her, bilt their efforts prove 
useless, and Annie again begs, or they now in- 
sist, that she shall be cast into the sea with her 
babe. This done, the ship is able to sail on ; 
Annie floats to shore and is buried there. 

If the narrative in Jonah, i, is the ultimate 
source of this and similar stories, it must be 
owned that the tradition has maintained ils 
principal traits in this ballad remarkably well. 
Cf. also ' Brown Robyn's Confession ' (No. 

' Bonnie Annie,' Kinloch's Ancient Scottisli 
Ballads, p. 123. 

1 There was a rich lord, and he lived in 

He had a fair lady, and one only doch- 

2 O she was fair, O dear, she was bon- 

nie ! 
A ship's captain courted her to be his 

3 There cam a ship's captain out owre the 

sea sailing, 
He courted this young thing till he got 
her wi bairn. 

4 * Ye '11 steal your father's gowd, and 

your mother's money. 
And I '11 mak ye a lady in Ireland bon- 

5 She 's stown her father's gowd, and her 

mother's money, 




But she was never a lady iu Ireland 

6 ' There 's fey fowk in our ship, she win- 

na sail for me, 
There 's fey fowk in our ship, she v/inna 
sail for me.' 

7 They 've casten black bullets twice six 

and forty. 
And ae the black bullet fell on bonnie 

8 ' Ye '11 tak me in your arms twa, lo, lift 

Throw me out owre board, your ain dear 

9 He has tane her in his arms twa, lo, 

lifted her cannie, 
He has laid her on a bed of down, his 
ain dear Annie. 

10 ' What can a woman do, love, I '11 do 

for ye ; ' 
* Muckle can a woman do, ye canna do 
for me.' 

11 'Lay about, steer about, lay our ship 

Do all ye can to save my dear Annie.' 

12 * I 've laid about, steerd about, laid 

about cannie. 
But all I can do, she winna sail for me.' 

13 ' Ye '11 tak her in your arms twa, lo, lift 

her cannie. 
And throw her out owre board, your ain 
dear Annie.' 

14 He has tane her in his arms twa, lo, 

lifted her cannie. 
He has thrown her out owre board, his 
ain dear Annie. 

15 As the ship sailed, bonnie Annie she 

And she was at Ireland as soon as them. 

16 He made his love a coffin of the gowd 

sae yellow, 
And buried his bonnie love doun in a 
sea valley. 

' The High Banks o Yarrow,' Motherwell's 
MS., p. 652. From the singing- of a boy, Henry 
French, Ayr. 

1 Down in Dumbarton there wound a 

rich merchant, 
Down in Dumbarton there wond a rich 

And he had nae family but ae only 

Sing fal lal de deedle, fal lal de deedle 

lair, O a day 

2 There cam a rich squire, intending to 

woo her, 
He wooed her until he had got her wi 

3 * Oh what shall I do ! oh what shall 

come o me ! 
Baith father and mither will think nae- 
thing o me.' 

4 ' Gae up to your father, bring down 

gowd and money, 
And I '11 take ye ower to a braw Irish 

5 She gade to her father, brought down 

gowd and money, 
And she 's awa ower to a braw Irish 

6 She hadna sailed far till the young thing 

cried ' Women ! ' 
' What women can do, my dear, I '11 do 
for you.' 

7 ' hand your tongue, foolish man, dinna 

talk vainly. 
For ye never kent what a woman driet 
for you. < 

8 ' Gae wash your hands in the cauld 

spring water, 
And dry them on a towel a' giltit wi 

9 * And tak me by the middle, and lift me 

up saftlie. 
And throw me ower shipboard, baith 
me and my babie.' 




10 He took her by the middle, and lifted 

her saftlj, 
And threw her ower shipboard, baith 
her and her babie. 

11 Sometimes she did sink, sometimes she 

did float it, 
Until that she cam to the high banks o 

12 ' O captain tak govvd, O sailors tak 

And launch out your sma boat till I sail 
for my honey.' 

13 ' How can I tak gowd, how can I tak 

money ? 
My ship 's on a sand bank, she winna 
sail for me.' 

14 The captain took gowd, the sailors took 

And they launchd out their sma boat 
till he sailed for his honey. 

15 * Mak my love a coffin o the gowd sae 

Whar the wood it is dear, and the 

planks they are narrow. 
And bury my love on the high banks o 


16 They made her a coffin o the gowd sae 

And buried her deep on the high banks 
o Yarrow. 


Of tills piece there is a broadside version of 
1810 (not here printed). All other copies that 
have been recovered date from about 1825. 
The device of a lover's feigning- death as a 
means of winning a shy mistress enjoys consid- 
erable popularity in European ballads. Even 
more favorite is a ballad in which the Avoman 
adopts this expedient, in order to escape from 
tlie control of her relations. See the ' Gay 
Goshawk' (Xo. 06). A Danish ballad answer- 
ing to our Feigned Lyke-Wake is preserved in 
many manuscripts, some of them of the Ifith 
century, and is still living in tradition. The 
corresponding south-European ballad, which is 
very gay and protty, is well represented by the 

Italian ' II Genovese ' (Ferraro, Canti popolari 
monferriui, No. 40). 

• Willie, Willie,' Kinloch's MSS., I, 53, from 
the recitation of Mary Barr, Lesmahagow, 
aged upwards of seventy. May, 1827. 

1 * Willie, Willie, I '11 learn you a wile,' 

And the sun shines over the valleys 
and a' 
* How this pretty fair maid ye may be- 

Amang the blue flowrs and the yel- 
low and a* 

2 ' Ye maun lie doun just as ye were dead. 
And tak your winding-sheet around your 


3 * Ye maun gie the bellman his bell-groat. 
To ring your dead-bell at your lover's 


4 He lay doun just as he war dead. 

And took his winding-sheet round his 

5 He gied the bellman his bell-groat, 

To ring his dead-bell at his lover's yett. 

6 ' () wha is this that is dead, I hear ? ' 

' O wha but Willie that loed ye sae dear.' 

7 She is to her father's chamber gone. 
And on her knees she 's fallen down. 

8 ' O father, O father, ye maun grant me 

this ; 
I hope that ye will na tak it amiss. 

9 ' That I to Willie's burial should go; 
For he is dead, full well I do know.' 

10 ' Ye '11 tak your seven bauld brethren 

wi thee, 
And to Willie's burial straucht go ye.' 

11 It 's whan she cam to the outmost yett, 
She made the silver fly round for his 


12 It 's whan she cam to the inmost yett, 
She made the red gowd fly round for his 


2 6] 



13 As she walked frae the court to the 

parlour there, 
The pretty corpse syne began for to 

14 He took her by the waist sae neat and 

sae sma, 
And threw her atween him and the wa. 

15 ' O Willie, O Willie, let me alane this 

O let me alane till we 're wedded riclit.' 

16 ' Ye cam unto me baith sae meek and 

But I '11 mak ye gae hame a wedded 
wife wi child.' 


First printed in Melismata, 1611. Chappell 
remarked, about 1855 (Popidar Music of the 
Olden Time, i, 59), that the ballad was still so 
popular in some parts of the country that he 
had " been favored with a variety of copies of 
it, written down from memory, and all differ- 
ing- in some respects, both as to words and 
tune, but witli sufficient resemblance to prove 
a similar origin." 

' The Twa Corbies,' first printed in Scott's 
Minstrelsy, and known in several versions in 
Scotland, is, as Scott says, " rather a counter- 
part than a copy " of ' The Three Ravens.' 

Melismata. Musicall Phansies. Fitting the 
Court, Cittie, and Countrev Humours. Lon- 
don, 1611. [T. iiaveuscroft.] 

1 There were three rauens sat on a tree, 

Downe a downe, hay down, hay 
There were three rauens sat on a tree, 

With a downe 
There were three rauens sat on a tree, 
They were as blacke as they might be. 
With a downe derrie, derrie, derrie, 
downe, downe 

2 The one of them said to his mate, 

* Where shall v:e our breakefast take ? ' 

3 ' Downe in yonder greene field. 
There lies a knight slain vnder his 


4 * His hounds they lie downe at his feete, 
So well they can their master keepe. 

5 * His haukes they flie so eagerly, 
There 's no fowle dare hiui come uie.' 

6 Downe there comes a fallow doe. 

As great with yong as she might goe. 

7 She lift vp his bloudy hed. 

And kist his wounds that were so red. 

8 She got him vp vpon her backe, 
And carried him to earthen lake. 

9 She buried him before the prime. 

She was dead herselfe ere euen-song 

10 God send euery gentleman, 

Such haukes, such hounds, and such a 


Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, ill, 239, ed. 
1803, communicated by C. K. Sliarpe, as writ- 
ten down from tradition by a lady (cf . Sharpe's 
Letters, ed. AUardyce, i, 136). 

1 As I was walking all alane, 

I heard twa corbies making a mane ; 

The tane unto the t'other say, 

* Where sail we gang and dine to-day ? ' 

2 ' In behint yon auld fail dyke, 

I wot there lies a new slain knight ; 
And naebody kens that he lies there, 
But his hawk, his hound, and lady fair. 

3 * His hound is to the hunting gane. 
His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl hame. 
His lady 's ta'en another mate, 

So we may mak our dinner sweet. 

4 ' Ye '11 sit on his white hause-bane, 
And I '11 pike out his bonny blue een ; 
Wi ae lock o his gowden hair 

W^e '11 theek our nest when it grows 

5 * M ony a one for him makes mane, 
But nane sail ken where he is gane ; 
Oer his white banes, when they are bare, 
The wind sail blaw for evermair.' 




This ballad, if it ever were one, seems not 
to have been met with, or at least to have 
been thought worth notice, by anybody but 

a. Motherwell's MS., p. 191. b. Mother- 
well's Minstrelsy, Appendix, p. xvi, No. ill. 

1 Seven lano^ years I hae served the king, 

Fa fa fa fa lilly 
And I never got a sight of his daughter 

but ane. 
With my glimpy, glimpy, glimpy 

Lillum too tee a ta too a tee a ta a tally 

2 I saw her thro a whummil bore, 

And I neer got a sight of her no more. 

3 Twa was putting on her gown, 
And ten was putting pins therein. 

4 Twa was putting on lier shoon. 
And twa was buckling them again. 

5 Five was combing down her hair. 

And I never got a sight of her nae mair. 

6 Her neck and breast was like the snow, 
Then from the bore I was forced to go. 




This fragTfient seems to have no connection 
with wliat is elsewhere handed down concern- 
ing- Taralane (see No. 3'J), or with the story of 
any other ballad. 

Maidment's North Countrie Garland, 1824, 
p. 21. Communicated by K. Pitcairn, " f rom 
the recitation of a female relative, who had 
heard it frequently sung- in her childhood," 
about sixty years before the above date. Here 
from Pitcairn's MSS., iii, 49. 

1 BuRD Ellen sits in her bower windowe, 
With a double laddy double, and for 
the double dow 

Twisting the red silk and the blue. 
With the double rose and the Machey 

2 And whiles she twisted, and whiles she 

And whiles the tears fell down amang. 

3 Till once there by cam Young Tamlane; 
' Come light, O light, and rock your 

young son.' 

4 * If you winna rock him, you may let 

him rair. 
For I hae rocked my share and mair.' 

5 Young Tamlane to the seas he 's gane, 
And a' women's curse in his company 's 




This ballad and the two which follow it are 
clearly not of the same rise, and not meant for 
the same ears, as those which go before. They 
would come down by professional rather than 
by domestic tradition, through minstrels rather 
than knitters and weavers. They suit the hall 
better than the bower, the tavern or public 
square better than the cottage, and would not 
go to the spinning-wheel at all. ' The Boy and 
the Mantle ' is an exceedingly good piece of 
minstrelsy ; much livelier than most of the nu- 
merous variations on the somewhat overhandled 
theme. Its nearest relative is the fabliau or 
" romance " of Le Mantel Mautailli^, ' Cort 
Mantel ' (Montaiglon et Raynaud, Reciieil G^- 
n^ral des Fabliaux, iii, 1), of which there are 
manuscripts of the thirteenth century. The out- 
line of a similar tale is preserved in the Lanze- 
let of Ulrich von Zatzikhoven. 

The probation by the Horn runs parallel with 
that of the Mantle, with which it is combined 
in the English ballad. Wliether this or that is 
the anterior creation it is not possible to say, 
though the ' Lai du Corn ' is of a more original 
stamp, fresher and more in the popular vein 
than the fabliau of the Mantle, as we have it. 
The ' Lai du Corn.' by Robert Bikez, is as- 
cribed to the middle of the twelfth century. 
Like the ballad, it makes Caradoc (Garadue) 
the hero. Tliis is also the case in the ' Livre 
de Caradoc,' inserted in the verse romance of 
Percival li Gallois (ed. Totvin, vv. 15,640 ff.). 
There are several other versions. 

Besides the stories of probation by the Man- 
tle and by the Horn or cup there are a number 




of others in wliieli other objects have the same 
testing power ; — viz. : a crown ; a bridg-e ; a 
girdle ; an arch ; a glove ; a garland ; a cup of 
congealed tears ; bedclothes and bed (as in No. 
5) ; a stepping-stone by the bed-side ; a chair ; 
flowers ; a shirt, a sword, a picture ; a wax im- 
age ; a ring (as in the romance of Horn Child) ; 
a mirror ; a harp ; a crystal brook ; a stone ; a 
magnet ; a statue ; a shield ; a chess-board, 

Percy MS., p. 284; ^ales and Furnivall, ii, 

The ladye shee was new-f angle, 
but yett shee was affrayd. 

10 When shee had taken the mantle, 

shee stoode as she had beene madd ; 
It was from the top to the toe 
as sheeres had itt shread. 

11 One while was itt gaule, 

another while was itt greene ; 
Another while was itt wadded ; 
ill itt did her beseeme. 

1 In the third day of May 
to Carleile did come 
A kind curteous child, 

that cold much of wisdome. 

12 Another while was it blacke, 
and bore the worst hue ; 
*By my troth,' qi^oth King Arthur, 
' I thinke thou be not true.' 

2 A kirtle and a mantle 
this child had vppon, 
With brauches and ringes 
full richelye bedone. 

13 Shee threw downe the mantle, 
that bright was of blee, 
Fast with a rudd redd 

to her chamber can shee flee. 

3 He had a sute of silke, 

about his middle drawne ; 
Without he cold of curtesye, 
he thought itt much shame. 

14 Shee curst the weauer and the walker 
that clothe that had wrought, 
And bade a vengeance on his crowne 
that hither hath itt brought. 

4 ' God speed thee, King Arthur, 
sitting att thy meate ! 
And the goodly Queene Gueneuer ! 
I canott her fforgett. 

15 * I had rather be in a wood, 
vnder a greene tree, 
Then in King Arthurs court 
shamed for to bee.' 

5 ' I tell you lords in this hall, 
I hett you all heede, 
Except you be the more surer, 
is you for to dread.' 

16 Kay called forth his ladye, 
and bade her come neere ; 
Saies, ' Madam, and thou be guiltye, 
I pray thee hold thee there.' 

6 He plucked out of his potevver, 
and longer wold not dwell, 
He pulled forth a pretty mantle, 
betweene two nut-shells. 

17 Forth came his ladye 
shortly e and anon, 
Boldlye to the mantle 
then is shee gone. 

7 * Haue thou here. King Arthure, 

haue thou heere of mee ; 

Giue itt to thy comely queene, 

shapen as itt is alreadye. 

18 When she had tane the mantle, 
and cast it her about. 
Then was shee bare 

all aboue the buttocckes. 

8 * Itt shall neue?* become that wifiPe 
that hath once done amisse : ' 
Then euery knight in the km^s court 
began to care for his. 

19 Then euery knight 

that was in the kings court 
Talked, laughed, and showted, 
full oft att that sport. 

9 Forth came dame Gueneuer, 
to the mantle shee her bed ; 

20 Shee threw downe the mantle, 
that bright was of blee, 




Ffast with a red rudd 

The mantle stoode about her 

to her chamber can shee fiee. 

right as shee wold; 

21 Forth came an old knight, 


Seemelye of coulour. 

pattering ore a creede, 

glittering like gold ; 

And he preferred to this little boy 

Then enery knight in Arthurs court 

twenty markes to his meede, 

did her behold. 

22 And all tlie time of the Christmasse 

32 Then spake dame Gueneuer 

willing-lye to ft'eede; 

to Arthur our king: 

For why, this mantle might 

* She hath tane yonder mantle, 

doe his wiife some need. 

not with Wright but with wronge J 

23 When shee had tane the mantle, 


' See you not yonder woman 

of cloth that was made, 

that maketh her selfe soe clene ? 

Shee had no more left on her 

I haue scene tane out of her bedd 

bnt a tassell and a threed : 

of men fiueteeue; 

Then enery knight in the kings court 

bade euill might shee speed. 


* Preists, clarkes, and wedded men, 
from her by-deene; 

24 Shee threw downe the mantle, 

Yett shee taketh the mantle, 

that bright was of blee, 

and maketh her-selfe cleaue 1 ' 

And fast with a redd rudd 

to her chamber can shee flee. 


Then spake the litle boy 

that kept the mantle in hold; 

25 Craddocke called forth his ladye. 

Sayes ' King, chasten thy wiffe; 

and bade her come in ; 

of her words shee is to bold. 

Saith, ' Winne this mantle, ladye, 

with a litle dinne. 


' Shee is a bitch and a witch, 
and a whore bold; 

26 ' Winne this mantle, ladye. 

King, in thine owne hall 

and it shalbe thine 

thou art a cuchold.' 

If thou neuer did amisse 

since thou wast mine.' 


The litle boy stoode 
looking ouer a dore; 

27 Forth came Craddockes ladye 

He was ware of a wyld bore. 

shortlye and anon. 

wold haue werryed a man. 

But boldly e to the mantle 

then is shee gone. 

38 He pulld forth a wood kniffe. 

fast thither that he ran; 

28 W^hen shee had tane the mantle. 

He brouglit in tlie bores head, 

and cast itt her about, 

and quitted him like a man. 

Vpp att her great toe 

itt began to crinkle and crowt; 


He brought in the bores head. 

Shee said, * Bo we downe, mantle. 

and was wonderous bold; 

and shame me not for nought. 

He said there was neuer a cuchold s 

29 ' Once I did amisse. 

carue itt that cold. 

1 tell you certainlye, 

When I kist Craddockes mouth 

40 Some rubbed their kniues 

vnder a greene tree. 

vppou a whetstone; 

^Yhen I kist Craddockes mouth 

Some threw them vnder the table^ 

before he marryed mee.' 

and said they had none. 

30 When shee had her shreeuen. 


King Arthur and the child 

and her sines shee had tolde, 

stood looking them vpon; 




All their kniues edges 
turned backe agaiue. 

42 Craddoccke had a litle kniue 

of iron and of Steele; 
He birtled the bores head 

v/onderous weele, 
That euery knight in the km^s court 

had a morssell. 

43 The litle boy had a home, 

of red gold that ronge; 
He said, ' there was noe cuckolde 

shall drinke of my home, 
But he shold itt sheede, 

either behind o^* beforne.' 

44 Some shedd on their shoulder, 

and some on their knee ; 
He that cold not hitt his mouth 

put it in his eye; 
And he that was a cuckold, 

euery man might hini see. 

45 Craddoccke wan the home 

and the bores head; 
His ladye wan the mantle 

vnto her meede; 
Euerye such a lonely ladye, 

God send her well to speede! 



The mutilation of the early pag'es of the 
Percy manuscript leaves us in possession oi 
only one half of this ballad, and that half in 
eig-lit fragments, so that even the outline of the 
story cannot be fully made out. Apparently 
it should run as follows : King Arthur, while 
boasting to Gawain of his Round Table, is told 
by Guenever that she knows of one immeasur- 
ably finer, and the palace it stands in is worth 
all Little Britain besides, but not a word will 
she say as to where this table and this goodly 
building may be. Arthur makes a vow never 
to sleep two nights in one place till he sees 
that round table ; and, taking for companions 
Gawain, Tiistram, Sir Bredbeddle, and Sir Mar- 
ramiles, sets out on the quest. The five assume 
a palmer's weed simply for disguise, and travel 
east and west, only to arrive at Cornwall, so 
very little a way from home. The proud por- 
ter of Cornwall's gate, clad in a suit of gold, 
for his master is the richest king in Christen- 

dom, or yet in heathenesse, is evidently im- 
pressed with Arthur's bearing. Cornwall, find- 
ing that the pilgrims come from Little Britain, 
asks if they ever knew King Arthur, and 
boasts that he had lived seven years in Arthur's 
kingdom, and had had a daughter by Arthur's 
wife, now a lady of radiant beauty. He then 
sends for his wonderful steed and probably his 
horn and sword (which also have remarkable 
properties), and a Burlow-Beanie, or Billy- 
Blin, a seven-headed, fire-breathing fiend, 
whom he has in his service. Arthur is then 
conducted to bed, and the Billy-Blin, shut up, 
as far as we can make out, in some sort of bar- 
rel or other vessel (called a thrub ehadler, or 
trub chandler), is set by Artiiur's bedside to 
hear and report the talk of the pilgrims. Now 
it would seem that the knights make each 
their vow or brag. Arthur's is that he will 
be the death of Cornwall King before he sees 
Little Britain. Gawain will have Cornwall's 
daughter home with him. Here there is a gap. 
Tristram should undertake to blow the horn, 
Marramiles to ride the steed, and Arthur to 
kill Cornwall with the sword. But first it 
would be necessary to subdue the loathly fiend. 
Bredbeddle bursts open the " rub-chadler," and 
fights the monster in a style that is a joy to 
see ; but sword, knife, and axe all break, and 
he is left without a weapon. Yet he had some- 
thing better to fall back on, and that was a 
little book which he had found by the seaside. 
It was probably a book of Evangiles ; our Lord 
had written it with his hands and sealed it 
with his blood. With this little book Bred- 
beddle conjures the Burlow-Beanie, and shuts 
him up till wanted in a " wall of stone." He 
then reports to Arthur, who has a great desire 
to see the fiend in all his terrors, and makes 
the fiend start out again. The Billy-Blin is 
now entirely amenable to command. Bred- 
beddle has only to conjure him to do a thing, 
and it is done. First he fetches down the 
steed. Marramiles considers that he is the man 
to ride him, but finds he can do nothing with 
him, and has to call on Bredbeddle for help. 
The Billy-Blin is required to tell how the 
steed is to be ridden, and reveals that three 
strokes of a gold wand which stands in Corn- 
wall's study-window will make him spring like 
spark from brand. And so it comes out that 
Cornwall is a magician. Next the horn has to 
be fetched, but, when brought, it cannot be 
sounded. For this a certain powder is required. 
This the fiend procures. Tristram blows a 
blast which rends the horn up to the midst. 
Finally, the Billy-Blin is conjured to fetch the 
sword, and with this sword Arthur goes and 
strikes off Cornwall's head. So Arthur keeps 
his vow, and so far as we can see all the rest 
are in a condition to keep theirs. 




Tlie ballad bears a close relation to the 
eleventh-century chayison de geste of Charle- 
magne's Journey to Jerusalem and Constanti- 
nople. Perhaps the two are derived from a 
common source. 

Percy MS., p. 24. Hales and Furnivall, i, 
61 ; Madden's Syr Gawayne, p. 275. 

1 [Saies, 'Come here, cuzen Gawaine so 

My sisters sonne be yee; 
Ffor you shall see one of the fairest 
round tables 
That euer you see with your eye.' 

2 Then bespake Lady Queen Gueneuer, 

And these were the words saic\ sheer 

* I know where a ronnd table is, thou 

noble ^ing, 
Is worth thy round table and other 
such three. 

3 ' The trestle that stands vnder this 

round table,' she said, 

* Lowe downe to the mould, 

It is worth thy round table, thou worthy 
Thy halls, and all thy gold. 

4 ' The place where this round table 

stands in. 

It is worth thy castle, thy gold, thy 
And all good Litle Britaine.' 

5 ' Where may that table be, lady ? ' 

quoth bee, 

* Or where may all that goodly build- 
ing be ? ' 

* You shall it seeke,' shee says, * till you 

it find. 
For you shall neuer gett more of 

6 Then bespake him noble King Arthur 

Tliese were the words said bee : 

* He make mine avow to God, 

And alsoe to the Trinity, 

7 ' He never sleepe one night there as I 

doe another. 
Till that round table I see : 

Sir Marramiles and Sir Tristeram, 
Fellowes that ye shall bee. 

8 . 

' Weele be clad in palmers weede, 
Fine palmers we will bee; 

9 * There is noe outlandish man will vs 
Nor will vs come nye.' 
Then they riued east and the riued 
In many a strange country. 

10 Then they tranckled a litle further, 
They saw a battle new sett : 
♦ Now, by my faith,' saies noble King 

well . 

11 But when he cam to this . . c . . 

And to the palace gate, 
Soe ready was ther a proud porter, 
And met him soone therat. 

12 Shooes of gold the porter had on, 

And all his other rayment was vnto 

the same : 
* Now, by my faith,' saies noble King 

' Yonder is a minion swaine.' 

13 Then bespake noble King Arthur, 

These were the words says bee: 
' Come hither, thou proud porter, 
I pray thee come hither to me. 

14 ' I bane two poore rings of my finger, 

The better of them He giue to thee; 
Tell who may be lord of this castle,' he 
' Or who is lord in this cuntry ? ' 

15 ' Cornewall King,* the porter sayes, 

* There is none soe rich as hee ; 
Neither in christendome, nor yet in 
None hath soe much gold as he.' 

16 And then bespake him noble King Ar- 

These were the words sayes hee: 




* I haue two poore rings of my finger, 
The better of them He giue thee, 

If thou wilt greete him well, Cornewall 
And greete him well from me. 

17 ' Pray him for one nights lodging and 

two meales meate, 
For his love that dyed vppon a tree; 
Of one ghesting and two meales meate, 
For his loue that dyed vppon a tree. 

18 * Of one ghesting, of two meales meate, 

For his love that was of virgin borne. 
And in the morning (hat we may scape 
Either without scath or scorne.' 

19 Then forth is gone this proud porter, 

As fast as he cold.hye. 
And when he came befor Cornewall 
He kneeled downe on his knee. 

20 Sayes, * I haue beene porter-man, at thy 

This thirty winter and three . . 


Our Lady was borne ; then thought 
Cornewall King 
These palmers had beene in Brittame. 

22 Then bespake him Cornwall King, 

These were the words he said there: 
* Did you euer know a comely king, 
His name was King Arthur ? ' 

23 And then bespake him noble King Ar- 


These were the words said hee : 
' I doe not know that comly 'ki7ig, 

But once my selfe I did him see.' 
Then bespake Cornwall King againe, 

These were the words said he : 

24 Sayes, * Seuen yeere I was clad and fed, 

In Litle Brittaine, in a bower ; 
I had a daughter by King Arthurs wife, 
That now is called my flower ; 

For Km^ Arthur, that kindly cockward, 
Hath none such in his bower. 

25 * For I durst sweare, and sane my othe, 

T^at same lady soe bright, 
That a man that were laid on his death 

Wold open his eyes on her to haue 


* Now, by my faith,' sayes noble King 


* And that 's a full faire wight ! ' 

26 And then bespake Cornewall [King] 

And these were the words he said : 

* Come hither, fine or three of my 

And feitch me downe my steed ; 
King Arthur, that foule cockeward, 
Hath none such, if he had need. 

27 ' For I can ryde him as far on a day 

As King Arthur can doe any of his 
on three ; 
And is it not a pleasure for a king 
When he shall ryde forth on his iour- 

28 * For the eyes that beene in his head, 

Thd glister as doth the gleed.' 

* Now, by my faith,' says noble King 


* That is a well faire steed.' 


' Nobody say .... 
But one that 's learned to speake.* 

30 Then King Arthur to his bed was 

A greeiued man was hee ; 
And soe were all his fellowes with him, 
From him th^ thought neuer to flee. 

31 Then take they did that lodly groome. 

And under the rub-chadler closed was 
And he was set by King Arthurs bed- 

To heere theire talke and theire com- 
unye ; 




32 That he might come forth, and make 

Long before it was clay ; 
It was more for ^ing Cornwalls plea^^ 
Then it was for l\.ing Arthurs pay. 

33 And when l^ing Artluir in his bed was 


Tiiese were the words said hee : 
' lie make mine avow to God, 

And alsoe to the Trinity, 
That lie be the bane of Cornwall Kinge, 

Litle Brittaine or euer I see ! ' 

34 ' It is an vnaduised vow,' saies Gawaine 

the gay, 
' As ever 'king liard make I ; 
But wee that beene fine christian men, 

Of the christen faith are wee, 
AjkI we shall fight against anoynted 
And all his armorie.' 

35 And then bespake him noble Arthur, 

And these were the words said he : 
'Why, if thou be afraid, S<> Gawaine 

the gay, 
Goe home, and driuke wine in thine 

owne country.' 

36 And then bespake Sir Gawaine the 

And these were the words said hee : 
* Nay, seeing you have made such a 
hearty vow, 
Heere another vow make will I. 

37 * He make mine avow to God, 

And alsoe to the Trinity, 
That I \y\\\ haue yonder faire lady 
To Litle Brittaine with mee. 

38 * He hose her hourly to my heart, 

And with, her He worke my will ; ' 


These were the words sayd hee : 
Befor I wold wrestle with yonder 

It is better be drowned in the sea.' 

40 And then bespake S«r Bredbeddle, 

And these were the words said he : 

* Why, I will wrestle with yon lodly 

God, my gouernor thou wilt bee ! ' 

41 Then bespake him noble Arthur, 

And these were the words said he : 

* What weapons wilt thou haue, thou 

gentle knight ? 
1 pray thee tell to me.' 

42 He sayes, ' CoUen brand He haue in my 

And a Millaine knife fast by me kn©e, 
And a Danish axe fast in my hands, 
That a sure weapon I thinke wilbe.' 

43 Then w/th his Collen brand that he had 

in his hand 
The bunge of that rub-chandler he 
burst in three ; 
With that start out a lodly feend, 
With seuen heads, and one body. 

44 The fyer towards the element flew. 

Out of his mouth, where was great 

plentie ; 
The knight stoode in the middle and 

That it was great ioy to see. 

45 Till his Collaine brand brake in his 

And his Millaine knife burst on his 

And then the Danish axe burst in his 

hand first. 
That a sur weapon he thought shold 


46 But now is the knight left wzthout any 


And alacke ! it was the more pitty ; 
But a surer weapon then he had one, 

Had neuer \ord in Christentye ; 
And all was but one litle booke. 

He found it by the side of the sea. 

47 He found it at the sea-side, 

Wrucked upp in a floode ; 
Our luord had written it with his hands. 
And sealed it with his bloode. 




48 « That thou doe not s . . . . 

The fier towards the element flaugh. 

But ly still ill that wall of stone, 

Out of his mouth, where was great 

Till I haue beene with noble King Ar- 


And told him what I haue done.' 

57 The knight stood in the middle p . . . 

49 And when he came to the kings cham- 
He cold of his curtesie : 


Says, ' kSleepe you, wake you, noble 


Km^ Arthur ? 

And euer lesus waken yee ! ' 


50 ' Nay, I am not sleeping, I am waking-,' 

. . . they stood the spade of an 

These were the words said hee ; 


* Ffor thee I haue card; how hast thou 

I know not what they did. 

fared ? 

gentle knight, let me see.' 

59 And then bespake him the Greene 


51 The kniglit wrought the king his booke, 

And these were the w^ords said he: 

Bad him behold, reede and see ; 

Saith, < I coniure thee, thou fowle feend. 

And euer he found it on the backside of 

That thou feitch downe the steed that 

the leafe 

we see.' 

As noble Arthur wold wish it to be. 

GO And then forth is gone Burlow-beanie, 

52 A.nd then bespake him King Arthur, 

As fast as he cold hie, 

' Alas ! thow gentle knight, how may 

And feitch he did that faire steed. 

this be. 

And came againe by and by. 

That I might see him in the same lick- 


Gl Then bespake him Sir Marramiles, 

That he stood vnto thee ? ' 

And these were the words said hee: 

* Riding of this steed, brother Bredbed- 

53 And then bespake him the Greene 



The mastery belongs to me.' 

These were the words said hee : 

*If youle stand stifly in the battell 

62 Marramiles tooke the steed to his hand. 


To ryd him he was full bold ; 

For I haue won all the victory.' 

He cold noe more make him goe 

Then a child of three yeere old. 

54 Then bespake him the lung againe. 

And these were the words said hee : 

63 He laid vppon him with heele and hand, 

*If wee stand not stifly in this battell 

With yard that was soe fell; 


< Helpe ! brother Bredbeddle,' says Mar- 

Wee are worthy to be hanged all on 


a tree.' 

* For I thinke he be the devill of hell. 

55 Then bespake him the Greene Knight, 

64 ' Helpe! brother Bredbeddle,' says Mar- 

These were the words said he : 


Saies, * I doe coniure thee, thou fowle 

' Helpe ! for Christs pittye; 


Ffor without thy help, brother Bred- 

In the same licknesse thou stood vnto 



He will neuer be rydden for me.' 

56 With that start out a lodly feend. 

65 Then bespake him Sir BredbeddlCj 

With seuen heads, and one body ; 

These were the words said he: 




• I coniure thee, thou Burlow-beane, 
Thou tell me how this steed was rid- 
din iu his country.' 

He saith, ' there is a gold wand 

Stands in King Cornwalls study win- 
do we: 

07 ' Let him take that wand in tJiat win- 
And strike three strokes on that 
And then he will spring forth of his 
As sparke doth out of gleede/ 

68 And then bespake him the Greene 

69 . 

A lowd blast he may blow then. 

70 And then bespake Sir Bredebeddle, 

To the ffeend these words said hee : 
Says, ' I coniure thee, thou Burlow- 
The powder-box thou feitch me.' 

71 Then forth is gone Burlow-beanie, 

As fast as he cold hie, 
And feich he did the powder-box, 
And came againe by and by. 

'i2 Then S«r Tristeram tooke powder forth 
of that box, 
And blent it with warme sweet milke. 
And there put it vnto that home. 
And swilled it about in that ilke. 

73 Then he tooke the borne in his hand, 

And a lowd blast he blew; 
He rent the borne vp to the midst, 
All his ffellowes this th^ knew. 

74 Then bespake him the Greene Knight, 

These were the words said he: 

Saies, * I coniure thee, thou Burlow- 

That thou feitch me the sword that 
I see.' 

75 Then forth is gone Burlow-beanie, 

As fast as he cold hie, 
And feitch he did that faire sword, 
And came againe by and by. 

76 Then bespake him Sir Bredbeddle, 

To the king these words said he : 
'Take this sword in thy hand, thou 
noble King Arthur, 
For the vowes sake that thou made 
He giue it th[ee,] 
And goe strike oft" King Corne walls 
In bed were he doth lye.' 

77 Then forth is gone noble King Arthur, 

As fast as he cold hye, 
And strucken he hath off King Corn- 
walls head. 
And came againe by and by. 

78 He put the head vpon a swords point, 



We have here again half a ballad, in seven 
fragments, but the essentials of the story, 
which is well known from other versions, 
happen to be preserved, or may be inferred : 
Arthur, apparently some day after Christmas, 
had been encountered at Tarn Wadling-, in the 
forest of Ing-lewood, by a bold baron armed 
■with a club, who offered him the choice of 
fig-hting or ransoming himself by coming back 
on New Year's day and bringing word what 
women most desire. Arthur puts this question 
in all quarters, and having collected many an- 
swers, in which, possibly, he had little confi- 
dence, he rides to keep his day. On the way 
he meets a frightfully ugly woman ; she inti- 
mates that she can help him. Arthur promises 
her Gawain in marriage, if she will, and she 
imparts to him the right answer. Arthur finds 




the baron waiting for him at the tarn, and pre- 
sents first the answers which he liad collected 
and written down. These are contemptuously 
rejected. Arthur then says that he had met 
a lady on a moor, who had told him that a 
woman would have her will. The baron says 
that the misshapen lady on the moor was his 
sister, and he will burn her if he can get hold 
of her. Upon Arthur's return he tells his 
knights that he has a wife for one of them. 
When they see the bride they decline the 
match in vehement terras, all but Gawain, who 
is somehow led to waive " a little foul sight and 
misliking." He takes her in all her repulsive- 
ness, and she turns to a beautiful young woman. 
She asks Gawain whether he will have her in 
this likeness by night only or only b}^ day. 
Gawain leaves the choice to her, and this is all 
that is needed to keep her perpetually beau- 
tiful. For a stepmother had bewitched her 
to go on the wild moor in that fiendly shape 
until she should meet some knight who would 
let her have all her will. Her brother, under a 
like spell, was to challenge men either to fight 
with him at odds or to answer his hard ques- 

These incidents, with the variation that 
Arthur waits for Gawain's consent before he 
promises him in marriage, are found in a 
romance, probably of the fifteenth century, 
printed in Mad den's Syr Gawayne, and some- 
what hastily pronounced by the editor to be 
" unquestionably the original of the mutilated 
poem in the Percy folio." Gower (Confessio 
Amantis, Book i, vv. 1407 ff.) and Chaucer 
(Wife of Bath's Tale) both have this tale, 
though with a different setting, and with the 
variation, beyond doubt original in the story, 
that the man whose life is saved by rightly an- 
swering the question has himself to marry the 
monstrous woman in return for her prompting 
him. The ballad of ' The Knight and Shep- 
herd's Daughter' (No. 110) has much in com- 
mon with The Wife of Bath's Tale and should 
also be compared. The incident of a hag turned 
into a beautiful woman after a man has bedded 
with her occurs several times in ancient Irish 
story, one text being found in the Book of^ 
Leinster, a twelfth-century manuscript. For a 
full discussion of the whole cycle of tales see 
Maynadier, The Wife of Bath's Tale, its 
Sources and Analogues, 1901. 

Percy MS., p. 46. Hales and Fumivall, i, 
105 ; Madden's Syr Gawayne, p. 288 ; Percy's 
Reliques, ed. 1794, in, o50. 

1 KiNGE Arthur lines in merry Carleile, 
And seemely is to see, 

And there he hath with him Queene 
That bride soe bright of blee. 

2 And there he hath with [him] Queene 


That bride soe bright in bower, 
And all his barons about him stoode, 
That were both stiffe and stowre. 

3 The kmg kept a royall Christraasse, 

Of mirth and great honor. 
And when 

4 * And bring me word what thing it is 

That a woman [will] most desire ; 
This shalbe thy ransome, Arthur,' he 
' For He haue noe other hier.' 

5 Km^ Arthur then held vp his hand. 

According thene as was the law ;. 
He tooke his leaue of the baron there, 
And homward can he draw. 

6 And when he came to merry Carlile, 

To his chamber he is gone. 
And ther came to him his cozen StP 
Gawain e, 
As he did make his mone. 

7 And there came to him his cozen Str 


That was a curteous knight ; 
' Why sigh you soe sore, vnckle Arthur,* 
he said, 
' Or who hath done thee vnright ? ' 

8 ' O peace, O peace, thou gentle Gawaine, 

That faire may thee beffall ! 
For if thou knew my sighing soe deepe, 
Thou wold not meruaile att all. 

9 * Ffor when I came to Tearne Wadling, 

A bold barron there I fand, 
With a great club vpon his backe, 
Standing stiffe and strong. 

10 ' And he asked me wether I wold fight 
Or from him I shold begone, 
0[r] else I must him a ransome pay, 
And soe depart him from. 




11 ' To fig'bt With him I saw noe cause; 

Metli ought it was not meet; 
For he was stiflFe and strong wz'th-all, 
His strokes were nothing sweete. 

12 * Therefor this is my ransome, Gawaine, 

I onglit to him to pay; 
I must come againe, as I am sworne, 
Vpon the New Yeers day; 

13 * And I must bring him word what thing 

it is 

14 Then king Arthur drest him for to 

In one soe rich array, 
Toward the fore-said Tearne Wadling, 
That lie might keepe his day. 

15 And as he rode over a more, 

Hee see a hady where sliee sate 
Betwixt an oke and a greene hollen; 
She was cladd in red Scarlett. 

16 Then there as shold haue stood her 

Then there was sett her eye; 
The other was in her forhead fast, 
The way that slie might see. 

17 Her nose was crooked and turnd out- 

Her mouth stood fonle a-wry; 
A worse formed lady than shee was, 
Neuer man saw with his eye. 

18 To halch vpon him, Kinr/ Arthur, 

This lady was fidl faine. 
But Ki'n^r Arthur had forgott his lesson, 
What he shold say againe. 

19 ' What knight art thou,' the lady sayd, 

' That will not speak to me ? 
Of me be thou nothing dismayd, 
Tho I be vgly to see. 

20 ' For I hatie halched j'ou curteouslye, 

And you will not me againe; 
Yett I may happen Sir Knight,' shee 
* To ease thee of thy paine.' 

21 * Giue thou ease me, lady,' he said, 

* Or helpe me any thing, 
Thou shalt have gentle Gawaine^ my 
And marry him with a ring,' 

22 ' Why, if I help thee not, thou noble 

King Arthur, 
Of thy owne hearts desiringe, 
Of gentle Gawaine 

23 And when he came to the Tearne Wad- 

The baron there cold he finde, 
With a great weapon on his backe, 
Standing stiffe and stronge. 

24 And then he tooke Km^ Arthurs letters 

in his hands. 
And away he cold them fling, 
And then he puld out a good browne 

And cryd himselfe a king. 

25 And he sayd, ' I have thee and thy land, 

To doe as it pleaseth me, 
For this is not thy ransome sure, 
Therfore yeeld thee to me.' 

26 And then bespoke him noble Arthur, 

And bad him hold his hand: 
* And giue me leaue to speake my 
In defence of all my land.' 

27 He said, 'As I came over a more, 

I see a lady where shee sate 
Betweene an oke and a green hollen; 
Shee was clad in red Scarlett. 

28 * And she says a woman will haue her 

And this is all her cheef desire: 
Doe me right, as thou art a baron of 

This is thy ransome and all thy hyer.' 

29 He saves, * An early vengeance light on 

her ! 
She walkes on yonder more; 
It was my sister that told thee this. 
And she is a misshappen hore. 




30 ' But beer He make mine avow to God 
To doe her an euill tnrne, 
For an euer I may thate fowle theefe get, 
In a fyer I will her burue.' 

31 Sir Lancelott and Sir Steven bold, 

They rode with them that day. 

And the formost of the company 

There rode the steward Kay. 

32 Soe did Sir Banier and Sir Bore, 

Sir Garrett with them soe gay, 
Soe did Sir Tristeram that gentle 
To the forrest fresh and gay. 

33 And when he came to the greene for- 

Vnderneath a greene holly tree. 
Their sate that lady in red scarlet 
That vnseemly was to see. 

34 Sir Kay beheld this ladys face. 

And looked vppon her swire ; 

* Whosoeaer kisses this lady,' he sayes, 

' Of his kisse he stands in feare.' 

35 Sir Kay beheld the lady againe. 

And looked vpon her snout; 

* Whosoeuer kisses this lady,' he saies, 

* Of his kisse he stands in doubt.' 

36 ' Peace, cozen Kay,' then said Sir Ga- 


* Amend thee of thy life; 

For there is a knight amongst vs all 
That must marry her to his wife.' 

37 'What ! wedd her to wiffe I ' then said 

Sir Kay, 

* In the diuells name anon ! 
Gett me a wiffe where-ere I may, 

For I had rather be slaine ! ' 

S8 Then some tooke vp their hawkes in 
And some tooke vp their hounds. 
And some sware they wold not marry 
For citty nor for towne. 

39 And then be-spake him noble King Ar- 

And sware there by this day, 
For a litle foule sight and misliking 

40 Then shee said, ' Choose thee, gentle Ga- 

Truth as I doe say. 
Wether thou wilt haue me in this lik- 

In the night or else in the day.' 

41 And then bespake him gentle Gawaine, 

Was one soe mild of moode, 
Sayes, ' Well I know what I wold say, 
God grant it may be good ! 

42 * To haue thee fowle in the night 

When I with thee shold play — 
Yet 1 had rather, if I might, 
Haue thee fowle in the day.' 

43 * What ! when lords goe with ther 

feires,' shee said, 
• Both to the ale and wine, 
Alas ! then I must hyde my selfe, 
I must not goe withinne.' 

44 And then bespake him gentle Gawaine, 

Said, * Lady, that 's but skill; 
And because thou art my owne lady, 
Thou shalt haue all thy will.' 

46 Then she said, ' Blesed be thou, gentl3 
This day that I thee see, 
For as thou seest me att this time, 
From hencforth I wilbe. 

46 * My father was an old knight, 

And yett it chanced soe 
That he marryed a younge lady 
That brought me to this woe. 

47 ' Shee witched me, being a faire young 

To the greene forrest to dwell, 
And there I must walke in womans lik- 

Most like a feend of hell. 

48 ♦She witched ny brother to a carlish 

b . . . 





' That looked soe foule, and that was 
On the wild more to goe.' 

50 ' Come kisse her, brother Kay,' then 

said Sir Gawaine, 
' And amend thd of thy liffe ; 
I sweare this is the same lady 
That I marryed to my wiffe.' 

51 Sir Kay kissed that lady bright, 

Standing vpon his ffeete; 
He swore, as he was trew knight, 
The spice was neuer soe sweete. 

52 ' Well, cozen Gawaine,' saves S/r Kay, 

' Thy chance is fallen arright, 
For thou hast gotten one of the fairest 
I euer saw with my sight.' 

53 * It is my fortune,' said Su* Gawaine ; 

* For my vnckle Arthurs sake 
I am glad as grasse wold be of raine. 
Great ioy that I may take.' 

54 Sir Gawaine tooke the lady by the one 

Sir Kay tooke her by the tother. 
They led her straight to Y^ing Arthur, 
As they were brother and brother. 

55 King Arthur welcomed them there all, 

And soe did Lady Geneuer his queeno. 
With all the knights of the Hound 
Most seemly to be scene. 

5G King Arthur beheld that lady faire 
That was soe faire and bright, 
He thanked Christ in Trinity 

For Sir Gawaine that gentle knight. 

57 Soe did the knights, both more and 
Reioyced all that day 
For the good chance that hapened was 
To Sir Gawaine and his lady gay. 


Scott describes his copy of ' King Henry ' as 
" edited from the MIS. of Mrs. Brown, corrected 
by a recited fragment." This manuscript was 
William Tytler's, now lost. The story is a 
variety of that which is found in ' The Mar- 
riage of iSir Gawain ' (No. ol), and has its par- 
allel, as JScott observes, in an episode in the 
saga of Hrolfr Kraki. Every point of the 
Norse saga, except the stepmother's weird, is 
foimd in the Gaelic tale * The Daughter of 
King Under-waves ' (Campbell's Popular Tales* 
of the West Highlands, No. SO, in, 403 f.). 
Campbell had a fragment of a Gaelic ballad 
ui5on this story (vol. xvii, p. 212, of his manu- 
script collection), ' Collun gun Cheann,' or 
' The Headless Trunk,' twenty-two lines. In 
this case, as the title imports, a body without 
a head replaces the hideous, dirty, and un- 
kempt draggle-tail who begs shelter of the 
Finn successively and obtains her boon only 
from Diarmaid (see Campbell's Gaelic Ballads, 
p. ix). On the whole matter see Dr. Mayna- 
dier's monograph on The Wife of Bath's Tale 
(p. 55, above). 

' King Henry.' a. Jamieson-Brown MS., p. 
31. b. Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, 
1802, II, 132. 

1 Lat never a man a wooing wend 

That lacketh thingis three; 
A routh o gold, an open heart. 
Ay fu o charity. 

2 As this I speak of King Henry, 

For he lay burd-alone ; 
An he 's doen him to a jelly hunt's ha, 
Was seven miles frae a town. 

3 He chas'd the deer now him before. 

An the roe down by the den, 
Till the fattest buck in a' the flock 
King Henry he has slain. 

4 he has doen him to his ha, 

To make him beerly cheer ; 
An in it came a griesly ghost. 
Steed stappin i the fleer. 

5 Her head hat the reef-tree o the bouse, 

Her middle ye mot wel span ; 

He 's thrown to her liis gay mantle, 

Says, * Lady, liap your lingcan.' 




6 Her teeth was a' like teather stakes, 

Her nose like club or mell ; 
An I ken naetliing she 'peard to be, 
But the fiend that wons in hell. 

7 ' Some meat, some meat, ye King Henry, 

Some meat ye gie to me ! ' 
' An what meat 's in this house, lady. 

An what ha I to gie ? ' 
* O ye do kill your berry-brown steed, 

An you bring him here to me.' 

8 O whan he slew his berry-brown steed. 

Wow but his heart was sair ! 
Shee eat him [a'] up, skin an bane, 
Left naetliing but hide an hair. 

9 * Mair meat, mair meat, ye King Henry, 

Mair meat ye gi to me ! ' 
' An what meat 's in this house, lady. 

An what ha I to 


* O ye do kill your good gray-hounds. 

An ye bring them a' to me.' 

10 O whan he slew his good gray-hounds, 

Wow but his heart was sair ! 
She eat them a' up, skin an bane, 
Left naething but hide an hair. 

11 * Mair meat, mair meat, ye King Henry, 

Mair meat ye gi to me ! ' 
' An what meat 's i this house, lady, 

An what ha I to gi ? ' 
' ye do kill your gay gos-hawks. 

An ye bring them here to me.' 

12 O whan he slew his gay gos-hawks. 

Wow but his heart was sair ! 
She eat them a' up, skin an bane, 
Left naething but feathers bare. 

13 ' Some drink, some drink, now. King 

Some drink ye bring to me ! ' 

* O what drink *s i this house, lady, 

That you 're nae welcome ti ? ' 

* O ye sew up your horse's hide, 

An bring in a drink to me.' 

14 And he 's sewd up the bloody hide, 

A puncheon o wine put in ; 
She drank it a' up at a wauglit, 
Left na ae drap ahin. 

15 ' A bed, a bed, now. King Henry, 

A bed you mak to me ! 

For ye maun pu the heather green. 
An mak a bed to me.' 

16 O pu'd has he the heather green. 

An made to her a bed. 
An up has he taen his gay mantle, 
An oer it has he spread. 

17 ' Tak aff your claiths, now, King Henry, 

An lye down by my side ! ' 
* O God forbid,' says King Henry, 

' That ever the like betide ; 
That ever the fiend that wons in hell 

Shoud streak down by my side.' 

18 Whan night was gane, and day was 

An the sun shone throw the ha. 
The fairest lady that ever was seen 
Lay at ween him an the wa. 

19 * O well is me ! ' says King Henry, 

' How lang '11 this last wi me ? ' 
Then out it spake that fair lady, 
* Even till the day you dee. 

20 ' For I 've met wi mony a gentle knight 

That 's gien me sic a fill. 
But never before wi a courteous knight 
That ga me a' my will.' 


Tlie Icelandic saga of ' Hjdlniter and Qlver ' 
conies near enough to the story of the ballad 
to show where its connections lie (Rafn, Forn- 
aldar Sogur. iii, 473 ff., 514 ff.). In many 
tales of the sort a single kiss suffices to undo 
the spell and reverse the transformation ; in 
others, as in the ballad, three are required. 
The incidents have been carefully studied by 
Schofield in his investigation of the romance 
of Li Beaus Desconeiis (Studies and Notes in 
Philology and Literature, iv, 199 £f.). 

' Kemp Ovvyne,' Buchan, Ballads of the 
North of Scotland, ii. 78, from Mr Nicol of 
Strichen, as learned in his youth from old peo- 
ple ; Motherwell's Minstrelsy, p. 874 ; ' Kemp 
Owayne,' Motherwell's MS. , p. 448. 




1 Her mother died when she was young, 

Which gave her cause to make great 
moan ; 
Her father married the warst woman 
That ever lived in Christendom. 

2 She served her with foot and hand, 

In every thing that she could dee, 
Till once, in an unlucky time, 

She threw her in ower Craigy's sea. 

3 Says, ' Lie you there, dove Isabel, 

And all my sorrows lie with thee; 
Till Kemp Owyne come ower the sea, 

And borrow you with kisses three, 
Let all the warld do what they will. 

Oil borrowed shall you never be ! ' 

4 Her breath ptcw Strang, her hair grew 

And twisted thrice about the tree, 
And all the people, far and near, 

Thought that a savage beast was she. 

5 These news did come to Kemp Owyne, 

Where he lived, far beyond the sea; 
He hasted him to Craigy's sea. 
And on the savage beast lookd he. 

6 Her breath was Strang, her hair was 

And twisted was about the tree. 
And with a swing she came about: 
* Come to Craigy's sea, and kiss with 

7 * Here is a royal belt,' she cried, 

' That 1 have found in the green 
sea ; 
And while your body it is on, 

Drawn shall your blood never be; 
But if you touch me, tail or fin, 

I vow my belt your death shall be.' 

8 He stepped in, gave her a kiss, 

The royal belt he brought him wi; 
Her bi'eath was Strang, her hair was 
And twisted twice about the tree. 
And with a swing she came about: 
* Come to Craigy's sea, and kiss with 

9 * Here is a ro\'al ring,' she said, 

' That I have found in the green sea; 

And while your finger it is on, 

Drawn shall your blood never be; 

But if you touch me, tail or fin, 

I swear my ring your death shall be.* 

10 He stepped in, gave her a kiss, 

The royal ring he brought him wi; 
Her breath was Strang, her hair was 
And twisted ance about the tree, 
And with a swing she cajue about: 
* Come to Craigy's sea, and kiss with 

11 ' Here is a roj^il brand,' she said, 

'That I have found in the green sea; 
And while your body it is on. 

Drawn shall your blood never be; 
But if you touch me, tail or fin, 

I swear my brand your death shall 

12 He stepped in, gave her a kiss. 

The royal brand he bi'ought him wi; 
Her breath was sweet, her hair grew 

And twisted nane about the tree, 
And smilingly she came about, 

As fair a woman as fair could be. 

' Kempion.' a. Jamieson-Brown MS., p. 29. 
b. Scott's Minstrelsy, 11, 93, 1802, from Wil- 
liam Tytler's Brown MS., No. 9, " with correc- 
tions from a recited fragment." 

1 ' Come here, come here, you freely 

An lay your head low on my knee; 
The hardest weird I will you read 
That eer was read to a lady. 

2 * O meikle dollour sail you dree, 

An ay the sat seas oer ye ['s] swim; 
An far mair dollour sail ye dree 

On Eastmuir craigs, or ye them dim. 

3 ' I wot ye's be a weary wight, 

An releived sail ye never be 
Till Kempion, the kingis son, 

Come to the craig and thrice kiss 

4 O meickle dollour did she dree. 

An ay the sat seas oer she swam; 




An far iiiair dollour did she dree 

On Eastmuir craigs, or them she 
clam ; 

An ay she cried for Kempion, 
Gin be would come till her han. 

5 Now word has gane to Kempion 

That sich a beast was in his Ian, 
An ay be sure she would gae mad 
Gin she gat nae help frae his han. 

6 ' Now by my sooth,' says Kempion, 

'This fiery beast I ['11] gang to see;' 
' An by my sooth,' says Segramour, 
' My ae brother, I '11 gang you wi.' 

7 O biggit ha they a bonny boat. 

An they hae set her to the sea, 
An Kempion an Segramour 

The fiery beast ha gane to see: 
A mile afore they reachd the shore, 

1 wot she gard the red fire flee. 

8 * O Segramour, keep my boat afloat, 

An lat her no the Ian so near; 
For the wicked beast she '11 sure gae 
An set fire to the land an mair.' 

9 ' O out o my stye I winna rise — 

An it is na for the fear o thee — 
Till Kempion, the kingis son. 

Come to the craig an thrice kiss me.' 

10 He 's louted him oer the Eastmuir 

An he has gien her kisses ane; 
Awa she gid, an again she came. 

The fieryest beast that ever was 


11 ' O out o my stye I winna rise — 

An it is na for fear o thee — 
Till Kempion, the kingis son. 

Come to the craig an thrice kiss me.' 

12 He louted him oer the Eastmuir craig, 

An he has gien her kisses twa; 
Awa she gid, an again she came. 

The fieryest beast that ever you saw. 

13 ' O out o my stye I winna rise — 

An it is na for fear o ye — 
Till Kempion, the kingis son, 

Come to the craig an thrice kiss me.' 

14 He 's louted him oer the Eastmuir 

An he has gien her kisses three; 
Awa she gid, an again she came, 
The fairest lady that' ever coud be. 

15 * An by my sooth,' say[s] Kempion, 

* My ain true love — for this is she — 
O was it wolf into the wood, 

Or was it fish intill the sea. 
Or was it man, or wile woman. 

My true love, that misshapit thee ? ' 

16 ' It was na wolf into the wood, 

Nor was it fish into the sea, 
But it was my stepmother, 
An wae an weary mot she be. 

17 ' O a heavier weird light her upon 
Than ever fell on wile woman; 

Her hair 's grow rough, an her teeth 'a 

grow hing. 
An on her four feet sal she gang. 


18 ' Nane sail tack pitty her upon. 
But in Wormie's Wood she sail 

An relieved sail she never be. 
Till St Mungo come oer the sea.' 


The queen of the fairies undoing' the spell 
of the witch is a remarkable feature, not par- 
alleled in English or northern tradition. The 
Greek nereids, however, who do pretty much 
everything-, good or bad, that is ascribed to 
northern elves or fairies, and even bear an ap- 
pellation resembling that by which fairies are 
spoken of in Scotland and Iceland, "the g-ood 
damsels," " the good ladies," have a queen 
who is described as taking no part in the un- 
friendly acts of her subjects, but as being 
kindly disposed towards mankind, and even as 
repairing the mischief which subordinate spirits 
have done against 'her will. If now the fairy 
queen might interpose in behalf of men against 
her own kith and kin, much more likely would 
she be to exert herself to thwart the malignity 
of a witch. 

'Allison Gross,' Jamieson-Brown MS., p. 40 j 
Jamieson's Popular Ballads, ii, 187. 




1 Allison Gross, that lives iu yon 


The \igliest witch i the north country, 

Has trysted me ae day up till her 


An monny fair speech she made to 

2 She stroaked my head, an she kembed 

my hair, 
An she set me down saftly on her 

Says, Gin ye will be my lemman so 

Sae monny braw things as I woud 

you gi. 

3 She showd me a mantle o red scarlet, 

Wi gouden flowrs an fringes fine; 
Says, Gin ye will be my lemman so 
This goodly gift it sal be thine. 

4 ' Awa, awa, ye ugly witch, 

Haud far awa, an lat me be; 
I never will be your lemman sae true. 
An I wish I were out o your com- 

5 She neist brought a sark o the saftest 

Well wrought wi pearles about the 

Says, Gin you will be my ain true love, 
Tliis goodly gift you sal comman. 

6 She showd me a cup of the good red 

Well set wi jewls sae fair to see; 
Says, Gin you will be my lemman sae 

This goodly gift I will you gi. 

7 ' Awa, awa, ye ugly witch. 

Had far awa, and lat me be ; 
For I woudna ance kiss your ugly mouth 
For a' the gifts that ye coud gi.' 

8 She 's turnd her right and roun about. 

An thrice she blaw on a grass-green 

An she sware by the meen and the stars 

That she 'd gar me rue the day I was 


9 Then out has she taen a silver wand. 
An she 's turnd her tliree times roun 
an roun ; 
She 's mntterd sich words till my 
strength it faild. 
An I fell down senceless upon the 

10 She 's turnd me into an ugly worm, 

And gard me toddle about the tree ; 
An ay, on ilka Saturdays night. 
My sister Maisry came to me, 

11 Wi silver bason an silver kemb, 

To kemb my heady upon her knee ; 
But or 1 had kissd her ugly mouth, 
I 'd rather a toddled about the tree. 

12 But as it fell out on last Hallow-even, 

When the seely court was ridin by. 
The queen lighted down on a gowany 
Nae far frae the tree where I wont to 


13 She took me up in her milk-white ban, 

An she's stroakd me three times oer 

her knee ; 
She chang'd me again to my ain proper 

An 1 nae mair maun toddle about the 




Thongh this ballad is somewhat mutilated 
and defaced, it is pure tradition, and lias never 
been retouched by a pen. It has the first 
stanza in common with 'Kemp Owyne' (No. 
34), and shares more than that with 'Allison 
Gross' (No. 35). But it is independent of 
' Allison Gross,' and has a far more origiujil 

The Old Lady's MS., No. 2. 

1 ' I WAS bat seven year alld 

Fan my mider she did dee, 
My father marred the ae warst woman 
The vvardle did ever see. 

2 *For she has made me the laillv worm 

That lays att the fitt of the tree, 




An o my sister Meassry 
The machrel of the sea. 

3 * An every Saterday att noon 

The niachrl comes to me, 
An she takes my layle head, 

An lays it on her knee, 
An keames it we a silver kemm, 

An washes it in the sea. 

4 * Seven knights ha I slain 

Sane I lay att the fitt of the tree ; 
An ye war na my ain father, 
The eight an ye sud be.' 

5 ' Sing on your song, ye l[a]ily worm, 

That ye sung to me ; ' 
'I never sung that song 
But fatt I wad sing to ye. 

6 ' I was but seven year aull 

Fan my mider she [did] dee. 
My father marred the a warst woman 
The wardle did ever see. 

7 * She changed me to the layel[y] worm 

That layes att the fitt of the tree. 
An my sister Messry 

[To] the makrell of the sea. 

8 * And every Saterday att noon 

The machrell comes to me. 
An she takes my layly head. 

An layes it on her knee, 
An kames it weth a siller kame. 

An washes it in the sea. 

9 * Seven knights ha I slain 

San I lay att the fitt of the tree ; 
An ye war na my ain father, 
The eight ye sud be.' 

10 He sent for his lady 

As fast as sen cod he : 
' Far is my son, 

That ye sent fra me, 
And my daughter. 
Lady Messry ? ' 

11 ' Yer son is att our king's court, 

Sarving for meatt an fee. 
And yer daugh[t]er is att our quin's 
A mary suit an free.' 

12 ' Ye lee, ye ill woman, 

Sa loud as I hear ye lea. 
For my son is the layelly worm 

That lays at the fitt of the tree. 
An my daughter Messry 

The machrell of the sea.' 

13 She has tain a silver wan 

An gine him stroks three. 
An he started up the bravest knight 
Your eyes did ever see. 

14 She has tane a small horn 

An loud an shill blue she, 
An a' the fish came her tell but the proud 
An she stood by the sea : 
Ye shaped me ance an unshemly shape, 
An ye 's never mare shape me.' 

15 He has sent to the wood 

For hathorn an fun. 
An he has tane that gay lady, 
An ther he did her burne. 


Thomas of Erceldoune, otherwise Thomas 
the Rhymer, has had a fame as a seer, which, 
though progressively narrowed, is, after the 
lapse of nearly or quite six centuries, far from 
being extinguished. The common people 
throughout the whole of Scotland, according 
to Mr Robert Chambers (1870), continue to 
regard him with veneration, and to preserve a 
great number of his prophetic sayings, which 
they habitually seek to connect with " dear 
years " and other notable public events. A 
prediction of Thomas of Ercekloune's is re- 
corded in a manuscript which is put at a date 
before 1320, and he is referred to with other 
soothsayers in the Scalacronica, a French 
chronicle of English history begun in 1355. 
Erceldoune is spoken of as a poet in Robert 
Manny ng's translation of Langtoft's Chronicle, 
finished in 1338, and in the Auchinleck copy 
of ' Sir Tristrem,' thought to have been made 
about 1350, a Thomas is said to have been con- 
sulted at Er]7eldoun touching the history of 
Tristrem. So that we seem safe in holding that 
Thomas of Erceldoune had a reputation both 
as prophet and poet in the earlier part of the 
fourteenth century. The vaticinations of 




Thomas are cited by various late chroniclers, 
and had as much credit in England as in Scot- 
land. All this might have been if Thomas of 
Erceldoune liad not been more historical than 
Merlin. But the name is known to have be- 
longed to a real person. Just when he lived 
is not certain, but it was somewhere between 
1210 and 121)6 or 1297. 

Thomas of Erceldoune's prophetic power 
was a gift of the queen of the elves ; the mod- 
ern elves, equally those of northern Europe 
and of Greece, resembling' in respect to this 
attribute the nymphs of the ancient Hellenic 
mythology. How Thomas attained this grace 
is set forth in the first three fits of a poem 
which bears his name. This poem has come 
down in four somewhat defective copies : the 
earliest written a little before the middle of 
the fifteenth century, two others about 1450, 
the fourth later. There is a still later manu- 
script copy of the second and third fits. All 
the manuscripts are English, but it is manifest 
from the nature of the topics that the original 
poem was the work of a Scotsman. All four 
of the complete versions speak of an older 
story. This was undoubtedly a romance which 
narrated the adventure of Thomas with the 
elf-queen simply, without specification of his 
prophecies. In all probability it concluded 
with Thomas's return to fairy-land after a cer- 
tain time passed in this world. The story of 
Thomas and the Elf-queen is but another ver- 
sion of what is related of Ogier le Danois and 
Morgan the Fay. The fairy adventures of 
Thomas and of Ogier have the essential points 
in common, and even the particular trait that 
the fairy is taken to be the Virgin. The oc- 
currence of this trait again in the ballad, 
viewed in connection with the general simi- 
larity of the two, will leave no doubt that the 
ballad had its source in the romance. Yet it 
is an entirely popular ballad as to style, and 
must be of considerable age, though the earliest 
version (A) can be traced at furthest only into 
the first half of the eighteenth century. 

' Thomas Rymer and Queen of Elfland,' 
Alexander Eraser Tytler's Brown MS., No. 1 ; 
Jamieson's Popular Ballads, ii, 7. 

1 True Thomas lay oer yond grassy 

And he beheld a ladle gay, 
A ladle that was brisk and bold, 
Come riding oer the fernie brae. 

2 Her skirt was of the grass-green silk, 

Her mantel of the velvet fine, 

At ilka tett of her horse's mane 
Hung fifty silver bells and nine. 

3 True Thomas he took off his hat, 

And bowed him low down till his 
* All hail, thou mighty Queen of Heav- 
en ! 

For your peer on earth I never did 

4 * O no, O no. True Thomas,' she says, 

' That name does not belong to me; 
I am but the queen of fair ElHand, 
And I 'm come here for to visit thee. 

5 ' But ye maun go wi me now, Thomas, 

True Thomas, ye maun go wi me, 
For ye maun serve me seven years, 
Thro weel or wae as may chance to 

6 She turned about her milk-white steed, 

And took True Thomas up behind, 
And aye wheneer her bridle rang, 
The steed flew swifter than the wind. 

7 For forty days and forty nights 

He wade thro red blude to the knee, 
And he saw neither sun nor moon, 
But heard the roaring of the sea. 

8 O they rade on, and further on, 

Until they came to a garden green: 
* Light down, light down, ye ladie free. 
Some of that fruit let me pull to thee.' 

9 * O no, O no. True Thomas,' she says, 

' That fruit maun not be touched by 
For a' the plagues that are in hell 
Light on the fruit of this countrie. 

10 * But I have a loaf here in my lap, 

Likewise a bottle of claret wine. 
And now ere we go farther on. 

We '11 rest a while, and ye may 

11 When he had eaten and drunk his fill, 

* Lay down your head upon my knee,' 
The lady sayd, * ere we climb yon hill, 
And i will show you fairlies three. 




12 * O see not ye yon narrow road, 

So thick beset vvi thorns and briers ? 
That is tlie path of righteousness, 
Tho after it but few enquires. 

13 ' And see not ye tl)at braid braid road, 

That lies across yon lillie leven ? 
That is the path of wickedness, 

Tho some call it the road to heaven. 

14 ' And see not ye that bonny road, 

Which winds about the fernie brae ? 
That is the road to fair Eltland, 

Whe[re] you and I this night maun 

15 ' But Thomas, ye maun hold your 

Whatever you may hear or see. 
For gin ae word you should chance to 

You will neer get back to your ain 


16 He has gotten a coat of the even cloth, 

And a pair of shoes of velvet green, 
And till seven years were past and gone 
True Thomas on earth was never 


' Thomas the Rhymer,' Scotch Ballads, 
Materials for Border Minstrelsy, No. 97, Ab- 
botsford ; communicated to Sir Walter Scott 
by Mrs Christiana Greenwood, London, May 
27, 1S06 (Letters, i, 189), from the recitation 
of her mother and of her aimt, both then above 
sixty, who learned it in their childhood from 
Kirstan Scot, a very old woman, at Longnew- 
ton, near Jedburgh. 

1 Thomas lay on the Huntlie bank, 

A spying ferlies wi iiis eee, 
And he did spy a lady gay. 

Come riding down by the lang lee. 

2 Her steed was o the dapple grey, 

And at its mane there hung bells nine; 
He thought he heard that lady say, 
' They gowden bells sail a' be thine.' 

3 Her mantle was o velvet green. 

And a' set round wi jewels fine; 
Her hawk and hounds were at her side. 
And her bugle-horn wi gowd did 

4 Thomas took aff baith cloak and cap, 

For to salute this gay lady : 
*0 save ye, save ye, fair Queen o 
And ay weel met ye save and see ! ' 

5 'I'm no the Queen o Heavn, Thomas; 

I never carried my head sae bee; 
For I am but a lady gay, 

Come out to hunt in my foUee. 

6 * Now gin ye kiss my mouth, Thomas, 

Ye mauna miss my fair bodee; 
Then ye may een gang hame and tell 
That ye 've lain wi a gay ladee.' 

7 ' O gin I loe a lady fair, 

Nae ill tales o her wad I tell, 
And it 's wi thee I fain wad gae, 
Tho it were een to heavn or hell.' 

8 * Then harp and carp, Thomas,' she 


* Then harp and carp alang wi me; 
But it will be seven years and a day 

Till ye win back to yere ain eoun- 

9 The lady rade. True Thomas ran, 

Untill they cam to a water wan; 
O it was night, and nae delight. 
And Thomas wade aboon the knee. 

10 It was dark night, and nae starn -light, 

And on they waded lang days three, 
And they heard the roaring o a flood. 
And Thomas a waefou man was he. 

11 Then they rade on, and farther on, 

Untill they came to a garden green; 
To pu an apple he put up his hand. 
For the lack o food he was like to 

12 *0 hand yere hand, Thomas,' she cried, 

'And let that green flourishing be; 
For it 's the very fruit o hell, 

Beguiles baith man and woman o yere 

13 * But look afore ye. True Thomas, 

And I shall show ye ferlies three; 
Yon is the gate leads to our land. 

Where thou and I sae soon shall 



14 ' And diniia ye see yon road, Thomas, 

That lies out-owr yon lilly lee ? 
Weel is the man yon gate may gang. 
For it leads him straight to the heav- 
ens hie. 

15 ' Bnt do you see yon road, Thomas, 

That lies out-owr yon frosty fell ? 
Ill is the man yon gate may gang. 
For it leads him straight to the pit o 

16 * Now when ye come to our court, 

See tiiat a weel-learnd man ye be; 
For they will ask ye, one and all, 
But ye maun answer nane but me. 

17 * And when nae answer they obtain, 

Then will they come and question 

And I will answer them again 

That I gat yere aith at the Eildon 


18 * Ilka seven years, Thomas, 

We pay our teindings unto hell. 
And ye 're sae leesome and sae Strang 
That I fear, Thomas, it will be yere- 


There is a poem in eight-line stanzas, in a 
fourteenth-century manuscript (Cotton, Julius, 
A, v), edited by Wright (Pierre de Lang-toft, 
II, 452), which stands in somewhat the same 
relation to this ballad as the poem of Thomas 
of Erceldoune does to the ballad of ' Thomas 
Kymer ' (No. 37), but with the important differ- 
ence that there is no reason for deriving the 
ballad from the poem in this instance. There 
seems to have been an intention to make it, 
like Thomas of Erceldoune, an introduction 
to a string of prophecies which follows, but no 
junction has been effected. 

' The Wee Wee Man,' Herd's ISISS., i, 153; 
Herd's Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, 
1776, I, 95. 

1 As I was wa'king all alone. 

Between a water and a wa, 
And there I spy'd a wee wee man. 
And he was the least that ere I saw. 

2 His legs were scarce a shathmont'a 

And thick and thimber was his thigh ; 
Between his brows there was a span. 
And between his shoulders there was 


3 He took up a meikle stane, 

And he liang 't as far as I could see ; 
Though I had been a Wallace wight, 
I couldna liften 't to my knee. 

4 ' O wee wee man, but thou be Strang ! 

O tell me where thy dwelling be ?' 
' My dwelling 's down at yon bonny 
bower ; 
O will you go with me and see ? ' 

5 On we lap, and awa we rade. 

Till we came to yon bonny green ; 
We lighted down for to bait our horse, 
And out there came a lady fine. 

6 Four and twenty at her back, 

And they were a' clad out in green ; 
Though the King of Scotland had been 

The warst o them might hae been his 


7 On we lap, and awa we rade, 

Till we came to yon bonny ha, 
Whare the roof was o the beaten gould, 
And the floor was o the cristal a'. 

8 When we came to the stair-foot. 

Ladies were dancing, jimp and sma, 
But in the twinkling of an eye. 
My wee wee man was clean awa. 


' The Tajd of the ^ong Tamlene ' is spoken 
of as told among a company of shepherds, in 
Vedderburn's Complaint of Scotland, 1549. 
' Thom of Lyn ' is mentioned as a dance of the 
same party, a little further on, and ' Young 
Thomlin ' is the name of an air in a medley 




in Wood's MS., inserted, as David Laing 
thought, between 1600 and 1(520, and printed 
in Forbes's Cantus, ]()6(J (Stenhouse's ed. of 
The Scots Musical Museum, 1858, iv, 440). 
' A ballett of Thomalyn ' ic licensed to Master 
John Wallye and Mistress Toye in 1558 (Arber, 
Registers of the Company of Stationers, 1, 22). 

This fine ballad stands by itself, and is not, 
as might have been expected, found in posses- 
sion of any people but the Scottish. Yet it has 
connections, through the principal feature in 
the story, the retransformation of Tarn Lin, 
with Greek popular tradition older than Homer. 
There is a Cretan fairy tale cited by Bernhard 
Schmidt (Volksleben der Neugriechen, pp. 
115-117) Avhich comes surprisingly near to 
the principal event of the Scottish ballad. A 
young peasant, who was a good player on the 
rote, used to be taken by the nereids into their 
grotto, for the sake of his music. He fell in 
love with one of them, and, not knowing how 
to help himself, had recourse to an old woman 
of his village. She gave him this advice : that 
just before cock-crow he should seize his be- 
loved by the hair, and hold on, unterrified, till 
the cock crew, whatever forms she should as- 
sume. The peasant gave good heed, and the 
next time he was taken into the cave fell to 
playing, as usual, and the nereids to dancing. 
But as cock-crow drew nigh, he put down his 
instrument, spi-ang upon the object of his pas- 
sion, and grasped her by her locks. She in- 
stantly changed shape ; became a dog', a snake, 
a camel, fire. But he kept his courage and 
held on, and presently the cock crew, and the 
nereids vanished, all but one. His love re- 
turned to her proper beauty, and went with 
him to his home. After the lapse of a year 
she bore a son, but in all this time never uttered 
a word. The good husband was fain to ask 
counsel of the old woman again, who told him 
to heat the oven hot, and say to his wife that 
if she would not speak he would throw the boy 
into the oven. He acted upon this prescrip- 
tion ; the nereid cried out, ' Let go my child, 
dog ! ' tore the infant from his arms, and van- 

This Cretan tale, recovered from tradition 
even later than our ballad, repeats all the im- 
portant circumstances of the forced marriage 
of Thetis with Peleus (Apollodorus, Biblio- 
theca. III, 13, 5, 6). The Cretan tale does not dif- 
fer from the one repeated by Apollodorus from 
earlier writers a couple of thousand years ago 
more than two versions of a story gathered 
from oral tradition in these days are apt to do. 
Whether it has come down to our time from 
mouth to mouth through twenty-four centuries 
or more, or whether, having died out of the 
popular memory, it was reintroduced through 
literature, is a question that cannot be decided 

with certainty ; but there will be nothing un- 
likely in the former supposition to those who 
bear in mind the tenacity of tradition among 
people who have never known books. 

*Tam Lin,' Johnson's Museum, 1792, p. 423, 
No. 411. Communicated by Robert Burns. 

10 1 FORBID you, maidens a', 

That wear gowd on your hair, 
To come or gae by Carterhaugh, 
For young Tarn Lin is there. 

2 There 's nane that gaes by Carter* 

ha ugh 
But they leave him a wad, 
Either their rings, or green mantles, 
Or else their maidenhead. 

3 Janet has kilted her green kirtle 

A little aboon her knee, 
And she has broded her yellow hair 

A little aboon her bree, 
And she 's awa to Carterhaugh, 

As fast as she can hie. 

4 When she came to Carterhaugh 

Tam Lin was at the well, 
And there she fand his steed standing, 
But away was himsel. 

5 She had na pu'd a double rose, 

A rose but only twa. 
Till up then started young Tam Lin, 
Says, Lady, thou 's pu nae mae. 

6 Why pu's thou the rose, Janet, 

Ard why breaks thou the wand ? 
Or why comes thou to Carterhaugh 
Withoutten my command ? 

7 * Carterhaugh, it is my ain, 

My daddie gave it me ; 
I '11 come and gang by Carterhaugh, 
And ask nae leave at thee.' 

8 Janet has kilted her green kirtle 

A little aboon her knee, 
And she has snooded her yellow hair 

A little aboon her bree. 
And she is to her father's ha, 

As fast as she can hie. 




9 Four and twenty ladies fair 
Were playing at tlie ba, 
And out then cam the fair Janet, 
Ance the flower amang them a'. 

10 Four and twenty ladies fair 

Were playing at the chess, 
And out then cam the fair Janet, 
As green as ouie glass. 

11 Out then spak an auld grey knight, 

Lay oer the castle wa, 
And says, Alas, fair Janet, for thee 
But we '11 be blamed a'. 

12 * Hand your tongue, ye auld fac'd 

Some ill death may ye die ! 
Father my bairn on whom I will, 
I '11 father nane on thee.' 

13 Out then spak her father dear. 

And he spak meek and mild; 
♦ And ever alas, sweet Janet,' he says, 
* I think thou gaes wi child.* 

14 ' If that I gae wi child, father, 

Mysel maun bear the blame; 
There 's neer a laird about your ha 
Shall get the bairn's name. 

15 * If my love were an earthly knight, 

As he 's an elfin grey, 
I wad na gie my ain true-love 
For nae lord that ye hae. 

16 * The steed that my true-love rides on 

Is lighter than the wind; 
Wi siller he is shod before, 
Wi burning gowd behind.' 

17 Janet has kilted her green kirtle 

A little aboon her knee, 
And she has snooded her yellow hair 

A little aboon her bree, 
And she 's awa to Carterhaugh, 

As fast as she can hie. 

18 When she cam to Carterhaugh, 

Tarn Lin was at the well, 
And there she fand his steed standing, 
But away was himsel. 

19 She had na pu'd a double rose, 

A rose but only twa, 

Till up then started young Tam Lin, 
Says, Lady, thou pu's nae mae. 

20 Why pu's thou the rose, Janet, 

Amang the groves sae green, 
And a' to kill the bonie babe 
That we gat us between ? 

21 'O tell me, tell me, Tam Lin,' she 

* For 's sake that died on tree, 
If eer ye was in holy chapel. 
Or Christendom did see ? ' 

22 * Roxbrugh he was my grandfather. 

Took me v/ith him to bide. 
And ance it fell upon a day 
That wae did me betide. 

23 * And ance it fell upon a day, 

A cauld day and a snell, 
When we were frae the hunting come, 

That frae my horse I fell; 
The Queen o Fairies she caught me, 

In yon green hill to dwell. 

24 * And pleasant is the fairy land, 

But, an eerie tale to tell, 
Ay at the end of seven years 

We pay a tiend to hell; 
I am sae fair and fu o flesh, 

I 'm feard it be mysel. 

25 'But the night is Halloween, lady, 

The morn is Hallowday; 
Then win me, win me, an ye will, 
For weel I wat ye may. 

26 'Just at the mirk and midnight hour 

The fairy folk will ride. 
And they that wad their true-love win, 
At Miles Cross they maun bide.' 

27 ' But how shall I thee ken, Tam Lin, 

Or how my true-love know, 
Amang sae mony unco knights 
The like I never saw ? ' 

28 ' O first let pass the black, lady. 

And syne let pass the brown, 
But quickly run to the milk-white steed, 
Fu ye his rider down. 

29 * For I '11 ride on the milk-white steed. 

And ay nearest the town; 




Because I was an earthly knight 
They gie me that renown. 

30 * My right hand will he glovd, lady, 

My left hand will be bare, 
Cockt up shall my bonnet be. 

And kaimd down shall my hair, 
And thae 's the takens I gie thee, 

Nae doubt I will be there. 

31 ' They '11 turn me in your arms, lady, 

Into an esk and adder; 
But hold me fast, and fear me not, 
I am your bairn's father. 

32 * Tliey '11 turn me to a bear sae grim. 

And then a lion bold; 
But hold me fast, and fear me not. 
As ye shall love your child. 

33 * Again they '11 turn me in your arms 

To a red het gaud of airn; 
But hold me fast, and fear me not 
I '11 do to you nae harm. 

34 * And last they '11 turn me in your arms 

Into the burning gleed; 
Then throw me into well water, 

throw me in wi speed. 

35 * And then I '11 be your ain true-love, 

1 '11 turn a naked knight; 

Then cover me wi your green mantle, 
And cover me out o sight/ 

36 Gloomy, gloomy was the night, 

And eerie was the wa}^ 
As fair Jenny in her green mantle 
To Miles Cross she did gae. 

37 About the middle o the night 

She heard the bridles ring; 
This lady was as glad at that 
As any earthly thing. 

38 First she let the black pass by, 

And syne she let the brown; 
But quickly she ran to the milk-white 
And pu'd the rider down. 

39 Sae weel she minded what he did say, 

And young Tam Lin did win; 
Syne coverd him wi her green mantle, 
As blythe 's a bird in spring. 

40 Out then spak the Queen o Fairies, 

Out of a bush o broom: 
* Them that has gotten young Tam Lin 
Has gotten a stately groom.' 

41 Out then spak the Queen o Fairies, 

And an angry woman was she: 
' Shame betide her ill-far'd face. 

And an ill death may she die. 
For she 's taen awa the boniest knight 

In a' my companie. 

42 * But had I kend, Tam Lin,' she says, 

' Wliat now this night I see, 
I wad hae taen out thy twa grey een, 
And put in twa een o tree.' 



We learn from this pretty frag-ment, which, 
after the nature of the best popular ballad, 
forces you to chant it and ^vill not be read, 
that a wonian had been carried off, four days 
after bearing a son, to serve as nurse in the 
Elf-queen's family. Stanzas 10-12 are out of 
place here, and properly belong- to No. 37. It 
is well known that elves and water spirits have 
frequently solicited the help of mortal women 
at lying-in time. 

Skene MS., No. 8, p. 25 ; Sharpe's Ballad 
Book, ed. Laing, p. 16*J. 

1 I HEARD a cow low, a bonnie cow low, 

Ana cow low down in yon glen; 

Lang, lang will my young son greet 

Or his mither bid him come ben. 

2 I heard a cow low, a bciinie cow lo\r, 

An a cow low down in yon fauld; 
Lang, lang will my young son greet 
Or his mither take him frae cauld. 


Waken, Queen of Elfan, 

An hear your nourice moan.' 

4 * O moan ye for your meat, 
Or moan ye for your fee, 




Or moan ye for the ither bounties 
That ladies are wont to gie ? * 

* I moan na for my meat, 
Nor moan I for my fee, 

Nor moan I for the ither bounties 
Tiiat ladies are wont to gie. 

But I moan for my young son 
I left in four nights auld. 

7 ' I moan na for my meat, 

Nor yet for my fee, 
But I mourn for Christen land, 
It 's there I fain would be.' 

8 * O nurse my bairn, nourice,' she says, 

' Till he Stan at your knee, 
An ye 's win hame to Cliristen land, 
Whar fain it 's ye wad be. 

9 * keep my bairn, nourice. 

Till he gang by the hauld. 
An ye 's win hame to your young son 
Ye left in four nisfhts a«ld.' 




' nourice lay your head 

Upo my knee : 
See ye na that narrow road 

Up by yon tree ? 

That 's the road the righteous goes. 
And that 's the road to heaven. 

* An see na ye that braid road, 
Down by yon sunny fell ? 

Yon 's the road the wicked gae, 
An that 's the road to hell.' 


This ballad has suffered severely by the ac- 
cidents of tradition. A has been not simply 
damaged by passing throug-h low mouths, but 

has been worked over by low hands. Some- 
thing' considerable has been lost from the story, 
and fine romantic features, preserved in Norse 
and German ballads, have been quite effaced. 
The etin of the fSeottish story is in Norse and 
German a dwarf-king, elf-king, hill-king, or 
even a merman. The ballad is still sung in 
Scandinavia and Germany, but only the Danes 
have versions taken down before the nineteenth 
century (see Grundtvig, No. 87). One of the 
three Danish sixteenth-century versions tells 
how a knight, expressing a strong desire to 
obtain a king's daughter, is overheard by a 
dwarf, who says this shall never be. The 
dwarf pretends to bargain with the knight for 
his services in forwarding the knight's object, 
but consults meanwhile with his mother how 
he may get the lady for himself. The mother 
tells him that the princess will go to even- 
song, and the dwarf writes runes on the way 
she nuist go by, which compel her to come to 
the hill. The dwarf holds out his hand and 
asks, " How came ye to this strange land ? " to 
which the lady answers mournfully, '' I wot 
never how." The dwarf says, " You have 
pledged yourself to a knight, and he has be- 
trayed you with runes : this eve you shall be 
the dwarf's guest." She stayed there the 
night, and was taken back to her mother in 
the morning. Eight years went by ; her hand 
was sought by five kings, nine counts, but no 
one of them could get a good answer. One day 
her mother asked, " Why are thy cheeks so 
faded ? Why can no one get thee ? " She 
then revealed that she had been beguiled by 
the dwarf, and had seven sons and a daughter 
in the hill, none of whom she ever saw. She 
thought she was alone, but the dwarf -king was 
listening. He strikes her witli an elf-rod, and 
bids her hie to the hill after him. Late in the 
evening the poor thing dons her cloak, knocks 
at her father's door, and says good night to 
the friends that never will see her again, then 
sadly turns to the hill. Her seven sons ad- 
vance to meet her, and ask why she told of 
their father. Her tears run sore ; she gives no 
answer ; she is dead ere midnight. 

In another series of Scandinavian versions, 
which offers the type of the much-corrupted 
Scottish ballad, the woman has been living 
eight or nine years in the hill, and has there 
borne her children. She longs to go home or 
to church, and permission is granted on con- 
dition that she keep silence about the hill-man 
and observe certain other restrictions. These 
terms she violates, with the consequence that 
the hill-man appears and orders her back to 
his abode. The German versions, from which 
the Norse are derived, arc somewhat nearer to 
the Scottish. 




'Young- Akin,' Buchan's Ballads of the 
North of Scotland, I, 6; Motherwell's MS., p. 

1 Lady Margaret sits in her bovver 

Sewing at her silken seam; 
She heard a note in Elmond's wood, 
And wishd she there had been. 

2 She loot the seam fa frae her side, 

And the needle to her tae, 
And she is on to Elmond's wood 
As fast as she coud gae. 

3 She hadna pu'd a nut, a nut, 

Nor broken a branch but ane, 
Till by it came a young hind chiel, 
Says, Lady, lat alane. 

4 O why pu ye the nut, the nut, 

Or why brake ye the tree ? 

For I am forester o this wood: 

Ye shoud spier leave at me. 

5 ' I Ml ask leave at no living man. 

Nor yet will I at thee; 
My father is king oer a' this realm, 
This wood belongs to me.' 

6 She hadna pu'd a nut, a nut. 

Nor broken a branch but three, 
Till by it came him Young Akin, 
And gard her lat them be. 

7 The highest tree in Elmond's wood. 

He 's pu'd it by the reet. 
And he has built for her a bower, 
Near by a hallow seat. 

8 He 's built a bower, made it secure 

Wi carbuncle and stane; 
Tho travellers were never sae nigh. 
Appearance it had nane. 

9 He 's kept her there in Elmond's wood, 

For six lang years and one, 
Till six pretty sons to him she bear, 
And the seventh she 's brought home. 

10 It fell ance upon a day, 

This guid lord went from home, 
And he is to the hunting gane, 
Took wi him his eldest sou. 

11 And when they were on a guid v/ay, 

Wi slowly pace did walk, 
The boy's heart being something waSj 
He thus began to talk: 

12 ' A question I woud ask, father, 

Gin ye woudna angry be:' 
* Say on, say on, my bonny boy, 
Ye 'se nae be quarrelld by me.' 

13 * I see my mither's cheeks aye weet, 

I never can see them dry; 
And I wonder what aileth my mither, 
To mourn continually.' 

14 * Your mither was a king's daughter, 

Sprung frae a high degree. 
And she might hae wed some worthy 
Had she nae been stown by me. 

15 * I was her father's cup-bearer. 

Just at that fatal time; 
I catchd her on a misty night, 
Whan summer was in prime. 

16 ' My luve to her was most sincere, 

Her luve was great for me, 
But when she hardships doth endure, 
Her folly she does see.' 

17 * I '11 shoot the buntin o the bush, 

Tiie linnet o the tree. 
And bring them to ray dear mither. 
See if she '11 merrier be.' 

18 It fell upo another day. 

This guid lord he thought lang. 
And he is to the hunting gane. 
Took wi him his dog and gun. 

19 Wi bow and arrow by his side. 

He 's aff, single, alane, 
And left his seven children to stay 
Wi their mither at hame. 

20 ' O I will tell to you, mither. 

Gin ye wadna angry be : ' 
* Speak on, speak on, my little wee boy. 
Ye 'se nae be quarrelld by me.' 

21 * As we came frae the hynd-hunting, 

We h3ard fine music ring: ' 
' My blessings on you, my bonny boy^ 
I wish I 'd been there my lane.* 




22 He 's taeu his mither by the hand, 
His six brithers also, 
And they are on thro Elniond's wood, 
As fast as they coud go. 

*^3 They wistna weel where they were gaen, 
Wi the stratlins o their feet; 
They wistna weel where they were 
Till at her father's yate. 

24 ' I hae nae money in my pocket, 

But royal rings hae three; 
I '11 gie them you, my little young son, 
And ye '11 walk there for me. 

25 * Ye '11 gie the first to the proud porter. 

And he will lat you in; 
Ye '11 gie the next to the butler-boy. 
And he will show you ben; 

26 ' Ye '11 gie the third to the minstrel 

That plays before the king; 
. He '11 play success to the bonny boy 
Came thro the wood him lane.' 

27 He gae the first to the j)rond porter. 

And he opend an let him in; 
He gae the next to the butler-boy, 
And he has shown him ben; 

28 He gae the third to the minstrel 

That playd before the king; 
And he playd success to the bonny boy 
Came thro the wood him lane. 

Fell low down on his knee; 
The king he turned round about, 
And the saut tear blinded his ee. 

30 ' Win up, win up, my bonny boy, 

Gang frae n)y companie; 
Ye look sae like my dear daughter. 
My heart will birst in three.' 

31 * If I look like your dear daughter, 

A wonder it is none; 
If I look like your dear daughter, 
I am her eldest son.' 

32 < Will ye tell me, ye little wee boy, 

Where may my Margaret be ? ' 
* She 's just now standing at your yates, 
And my six brithers her wi.' 

33 ' O where are all my porter-boys 

That I pay meat and fee, 
To open my yates baith wide and braid ? 
Let her come in to me.' 

34 When she came in before the king, 

Fell low down on her knee; 
' Win up, win up, my daughter dear, 
This day ye '11 dine wi me.' 

35 * Ae bit I canno eat, father, 

Nor ae drop can I drink, 
Till I see my mither and sister dear. 
For lang for them I think.' 

36 When she came before the queen. 

Fell low down on her knee; 
* Win up, win up, my daughter dear, 
This day ye 'se dine wi me.' 

37 ' Ae bit I canno eat, mither. 

Nor ae drop can I drink. 
Until I see my dear sister. 
For lang for her I think.' 

38 When that these two sisters met, 

She haild her courteouslie; 
' Come ben, come ben, my sister dear. 
This day ye 'se dine wi me.' 

39 * Ae bit I canno eat, sister, 

Nor ae drop can I drink, 

Until I see my dear husband, 

For lang for him I think.' 

40 ' O where are all my rangers bold 

That I pay meat and fee, 
To search the forest far an wide, 
And bring Akin to me ? ' 

41 Out it speaks the little wee boy: 

Na, na, this maunna be; 
Without ye grant a free pardon, 
I hope ye '11 nae him see. 

42 ' O here I grant a free pardon. 

Well seald by my own ban; 
Ye may make search for Young Akin, 
As soon as ever you can.' 

43 They searchd the country wide and 

The forests far and near. 
And found him into Elmond's wood. 
Tearing his yellow hair. 




44 ' Win up, win up now, Young Akin, 

Win up, and boun wi me ; 
We 're messengers come from the 
The king wants you to see.* 

45 ' lat him take frae me my head, 

Or hang me on a tree ; 
For since I 've lost my dear lady. 
Life 's no pleasure to me.' 

46 * Your head will nae be touchd, Akin, 

Nor hangd upon a tree; 
Your lady 's in lier father's court. 
And all he wants is thee.' 

Fell low down on his knee; 

* Win up, win up now. Young Akin, 

This day ye 'se dine wi me.' 

48 But as they were at dinner set. 

The boy asked a boun: 

* I wish we were in the good church. 

For to get christendoun. 

49 ' We hae lived in guid green wood 

This seven years and ane; 
B'lt a' this time, since eer I mind, 
Was never a church within.' 

50 ' Your asking 's nae sae great, my boy. 

But granted it shall be; 
This day to guid church ye shall gang, 
And your mither shall gang you wi.' 

51 When unto the guid church she came. 

She at the door did stan; 
She was sae sair sunk down wi shame. 
She coudna come farer ben. 

52 Then out it speaks the parish priest. 

And a sweet smile gae he : 

* Come ben, come ben, my lily flower, 

Present your babes to me.' 

63 Charles, Vincent, Sam and Dick, 
And likewise James and John; 
They calld the eldest Young Akin, 
Which was his father's name. 

54 Then they staid in the royal court. 
And livd wi mirth and glee. 
And when her father was deceasd. 
Heir of the crown was she. 

' Hynde Etin,' Kinloch's Ancient Scottish 
Ballads, p. 228. 

1 May Margret stood in her bouer door, 

Kaiming doun her yellow hair; 
She spied some nuts growin in the wud, 
And wishd that she was there. 

2 She has plaited her yellow locks 

A little abune her bree, 
And she has kilted her pettticoats 

A little below her knee, 
And she 's aff to Mulberry wud. 

As fast as she could gae. 

3 She had na pu'd a nut, a nut, 

A nut but barely ane, 
Till up started the Hynde Etin, 
Says, Lady, let thae alane ! 

4 * Mulberry wuds are a' my ain ; 

My father gied them me, 
To sport and play when I thought lang; 
And they sail na be tane by thee.' 

5 And ae she pu'd the tither berrie, 

Na thinking o the skaith. 
And said, To wrang ye, Hynde Etin, 
1 wad be unco laith. 

6 But he has tane her by the yellow locks, 

And tied her till a tree. 
And said, For slicliting my commands. 
An ill death sail ye dree. 

7 He pu'd a tree out o the wud. 

The biggest that was there, 
And he howkit a cave monie fathoms 
And put May Margret there. 

8 ' Now rest ye there, ye saucie may; 

My wuds are free for thee; 
And gif I tak ye to mysell, 
The better ye '11 like me.' 

9 Na rest, na rest May Margret took, 

Sleep she got never nane; 
Her back lay on the cauld, cauld floor, 
Her head upon a stane. 

10 ' O tak me out,' May Margret cried, 
' O tak me hame to thee. 




And I sail be your bounden page 
Until the day I dee.' 

11 He took her out o the dungeon deep, 
And awa wi him she 's gane; 
But sad was the day an earl's dochter 
Gaed hame wi Hynde Etin. 

12 It fell out ance upon a day 

Hynde Etin 's to the hunting gane, 
And he has tane wi him his eldest son, 
For to carry his game. 

13 * O I wad ask ye something, father. 

An ye wadna angry be;' 
* Ask on, ask on, my eldest son. 
Ask onie thing at me.' 

14 ' My mother's cheeks are aft times 

Alas ! they are seldom dry;' 
*Na wonder, na wonder, my eldest son, 
Tho she skould brast and die. 

15 'For your mother was an earl's dochter, 

Of noble birth and fame, 
And now she 's wife o Hynde Etin, 
Wha neer got christendame. 

16 * But we '11 shoot the laverock in the 

The buntlin on the tree, 
And ye '11 tak them hame to your 

And see if she '11 comforted be.' 

17 * I wad ask ye something, mother, 

An ye wadna angry be ; " 

* Ask on, ask on, my eldest son, 

Ask onie thing at me.' 

18 * Your cheeks they are aft times weet, 

Alas ! they 're seldom dry;' 

* Na wonder, na wonder, my eldest 3on, 

Tho I should brast and die. 

19 * For I was ance an earl's dochter. 

Of noble birth and fame, 
And now I am the wife of Hynde Etin, 
Wha neer got christendame.' 


All the English versions are deplorably im- 
perfect. Clerk Colvill is not, as his represen- 
tative is or may be in other ballads, the guilt- 
less and guileless object of the love or envy of a 
water-sprite or elf. It is clear that before his 
marriage with his gay lady he had been in the 
habit of resorting to this mermaid, and equally 
clear, from the impatient answer which he ren- 
ders his dame, that he means to visit her again. 
His death is the natiiral penalty of his de- 
sertion of the water-nymph; for no point is 
better established than the fatal consequences 
of inconstancy in such connections. His history, 
were it fidly told, woiild closely resemble that 
of the Knight of Staufenberg, as narrated in a 
German poem of about the year 1310. Clerk 
Colvill and the mermaid are represented by Sir 
Oluf and an elf in Scandinavian ballads to the 
number of about seventy. The oldest of these 
is derived from a Danish manuscript of 1550, 
two centuries and a half later tlian the Staufen- 
berg poem, but two eai'Her than Clerk Colvill, 
the oldest ballad outside of the Scandinavian 
series (see Grundtvig, No. 47). The Breton 
' Seigneur Nann ' is closely akin to the Scan- 
dinavian versions, and the ballad has spread, 
apparently from Brittany, over all France 
(• Jean Renaud '). 

' Clark Colven,' from a transcript of No. 13 
of William Tytler's Brown MS. 

1 Clark Colven and bis gay ladie. 

As they walked to yon garden green, 
A belt about her middle gimp. 

Which cost Clark Colven crowns fif- 

2 * O hearken weel now, my good lord, 

O hearken weel to what I say; 
When ye gang to the wall o Stream, 

gang nae neer the well-fared may.' 

3 * O baud your tongue, my gay ladie, 

Tak nae sic care o me; 
For I nae saw a fair woman 

1 like so well as thee.' 

4 He mounted on his berry-brown steed, 

And merry, merry rade he on, 
Till he came to the wall o Stream, 
And there he saw the mermaiden. 




5 ' Ye wash, ye wach, ye bonny may, 

And ay 's ye wash your sark o silk: ' 
* It 's a' for yoii, ye gentle knight, 
My skin is whiter than the milk.' 

6 He 's taen her by the milk-white hand, 

He 's taen her by the sleeve sae green, 
And he 's forgotten his gay ladie. 
And away with the fair maiden. 

7 * Ohon, alas! ' says Clark Colven, 

* And aye sae sair 's I mean my head! ' 
And merrily leugh the mermaideu, 

' O win on till you be dead. 

8 ' But out ye tak your little pen-knife, 

And frae my sark ye shear a gare; 
Row that about your lovely head. 
And the pain ye '11 never feel nae 

9 Out he has taen his little pen-knife, 

And frae her sark he 's shorn a 

Rowed that about his lovely head, 
But the pain increased mair and 


10 * Ohon, alas! ' says Clark Colven, 

' An aye sae sair 's I mean my head! ' 
And merrily laughd the mermaiden, 

* It will ay be war till ye be dead.' 

11 Then out he drew his trusty blade. 

And thought wi it to be her dead, 
But she 's become a fish again. 
And merrily sprang into the fleed. 

12 He 's mounted on his berry-brown steed. 

And dowy, dowy rade he home. 
And heavily, heavily lighted down 
When to his ladle's bower-door he 

13 ' Oh, mither, mither, mak my bed, 

And, gentle ladie, lay me down ; 
Oh, brither, brither, unbend my bow, 
'T will never be bent by me again.' 

14 His mither she has made his bed, 

His gentle ladie laid him down, 
His brither he has unbent his bow, 
'T was never bent by him again. 

'Clerk Colvill, or, The Mermaid,' Herd's 
Ancient and Modern Scots Song-s, 1769, p. 302 ; 
ed. 1776, 1, 161. 

1 Clerk Colvill and his lusty dame 

Were walking in the garden green ; 
The belt around her stately waist 
Cost Clerk Colvill of pounds fifteen. 

2 ' O promise me now. Clerk Colvill, 

Or it will cost ye muckle strife, 
Ride never by the wells of Slane, 
If ye wad live and brook your life.* 

3 ' Now speak nae mair, my lusty dame, 

Now speak nae mair of that to me; 
Did I neer see a fair woman, 
But I wad sin with her body ? ' 

4 He 's taen leave o his gay lady, 

Nought minding what his lady said, 
And he 's rode by the wells of Slane, 
Where washing was a bonny maid. 

5 'Wash on, wash on, my bonny maid. 

That wash sae clean your sark of silk ; ' 
* And weel fa you, fair gentleman, 
Your body whiter than the milk.' 

6 Then loud, loud cry'd the Clerk Colvill, 

'O my head it pains me sair;' 
' Then take, then take,' the maiden said, 
* And frae my sark you '11 cut a gare.' 

7 Then she 's gied him a little bane-knife, 

And frae her sark he cut a share; 
She 's ty'd it round his whey-white face, 
But ay his head it aked mair. 

8 Then louder cry'd the Clerk Colvill, 

*0 sairer, sairer akes my head;' 
'And sairer, sairer ever will,' 

The maiden crys, ' till you be dead.' 

9 Out then he drew his shining blade, 

Thinking to stick her where she stood, 
But she was vanishd to a fish. 

And swam far off, a fair mermaid. 

10 ' O mother, mother, braid my hair; 
My lust}'^ Ifidy, make my bed; 
brother, take my sword and spear, 
For I have seen the false mermaid.* 





A song- of ' Brume, bnirae on hil ' is named 
in The Complaint of Scotland, 1549 (ed. Mur- 
ray, p. 04). The foot of the song- is sung- in 
Wager's comedy " The Longer thou Livest, 
the More Fool thou art " (about 1508), as fol- 
lows : — 

Brome, brome on hill, 
The gentle brome on hill, hill, 
Brome, brome on Hive hill, 
The gentle brome on Hive hill, 
The brome stands on Hive hill a. 

If " Hive Hill " in A, st. 8, is a genuine tradi- 
tional reading, the song and the ballad are 
doubtless identical ; but we cannot be quite 
sure of this stanza. 

The main features of the story are widely 
known, in ballads, romances, and tales. The 
magic may be vulgarized into a sleeping draught 
(as in the Pecorone of Ser Giovanni Fiorentino, 
iv, 1), and the tables are sometimes turned on 
the maideuo 

'The Broomfield Hill.' a. Scott's Min- 
strelsy, in, 271, ed. 1803. b. Sts. 8-14; the 
same, n, 229, ed. 1802. 

1 There was a knight and a lady bright, 

Had a true tryste at the broom; 
The ane gaed early in the morning, 
The other in the afternoon. 

2 And ay she sat in her mother's bower 


And ay she mada her mane: 
* O whether should I gang to the Broom- 
field Hill, 

Or should I stay at liame ? 

3 ' For if I gang to the Broomfield Hill, 

My maidenhead is gone; 
And if I chance to stay at hame. 
My love will ca me mansworn.' 

4 Up then spake a witch- woman, 

Ay from the room aboon: 
*0 ye may gang to the Broomfield Hill, 
And yet come maiden hame. 

5 * For when ye gang to the Broomfield 

Ye '11 fiiid your love asleep. 

With a silver belt about his head. 
And a broom-cow at his feet. 

6 ' Take ye the blossom of the broom, 

The blossom it smells sweet. 
And strew it at your true-love's head, 
And likewise at his feet. 

7 ' Take ye the rings off your fingers. 

Put them on his right hand, 
To let him know, when he doth awake, 
His love was at his command.' 

8 She pn'd the broom flower on Hive 

And strewd on 's white hals-bane, 
And that was to be wittering true 
That maiden she had gane. 

9 ' where were ye, my milk-white steed, 

That I hae coft sae dear, 
That wadna watch and waken me 
When there was maiden here ? ' 

10 ' I stamped wi my foot, master, 

And gard my bridle ring. 
But na kin thing wald waken ye, 
Till she was past and gane.' 

11 ' And wae betide ye, my gay goss-hawk, 

That I did love sae dear, 
That wadna watch and waken me 
When there was maiden here.' 

12 ' I clapped wi my wings, master. 

And aye my bells I rang. 
And aye cry'd, Waken, waken, master, 
Before the ladye gang.' 

13 ' But haste and haste, my gude white 

To come the maiden till. 
Or a' the birds of gude green wood 
Of your flesh shall have their fill.' 

14 ' Ye need na burst your gude white 

Wi racing' oer the howm; 
Nae bird fli<is faster through the wood. 
Than she fled through the broom.' 

' T '11 wager, I '11 wager,' etc., Herd, Ancient 
and Modern Scots Songs, 1709, p. 310. 




1 ' I 'll wager, I '11 wager, I '11 wager with 

Five hundred merks and ten, 
That a maid shanae go to yon bonny 

green wood. 
And a maiden return agen/ 

2 ' I '11 wager, I '11 wager, I '11 wager with 

Five hundred merks and ten, 
That a maid shall go to yon bonny green 

And a maiden return agen.' 

3 She 's pu'd the blooms aff the broom- 

And strevvd them on 's white hass-bane: 
' This is a sign whereby you may know 
That a maiden was here, but she 's 


4 'O where was you, ray good gray steed. 

That I hae loed sae dear ? 
O why did you not awaken me 
When my true love was here ? ' 

5 ' I stamped with my foot, master. 

And gard my bridle ring, 
But you wadnae waken from your sleep 
Till your love was past and gane.' 

6 'Now I may sing as dreary a sang 

As the bird sung on the brier. 
For my true love is far removd, 
And I '11 neer see her mair.' 



This is a base-born cousin of a pretty ballad 
known over all Southern Europe, and else- 
where (as among- tho Slavs), but in especially 
graceful forms in France. The French ballad 
generally begins with a young- man's announ- 
cing- that he has won a mistress, and intends 
to pay her a visit on Sunday, or to give her an 
aubade. She declines his visit or his inusic. 
To avoid him she will turn, for example, into a 
rose ; then he will turn bee, and kiss her. She 
will turn quail ; he sportsman, and bag her. 
She will turn carp ; he angler, and catch her. 
She will turn hare ; and he hound. She will 
turn nun ; he priest, and confess her day and 
night. • She will fall sick ; he will watch with 

her, or be her doctor. She will become a star ; 
he a cloud, and muffle her. She will die ; he 
will turn earth, into which they will put her, 
or St Peter, and receive her into Paradise. In 
the end she says, " Since you are inevitable, 
you may as well have me as another; " or 
more complaisantly, " Je me donnerai k toi, 
puisque tu m'aimes tant." 

There can be little doubt that the ballads 
are derived, or take their hint, from popular 
tales, in which (1) a youth and maid, pursued 
by a sorcerer, fiend, giant, ogre, are trans- 
formed by the magical powers of one or the 
other into such shapes as enable them to elude, 
and finally to escape, apprehension ; or (2) a 
young fellow, who has been apprenticed to a 
sorcerer, fiend, etc., and has acquired the black 
art by surreptitious reading in his master's 
books, being pursued, as before, assumes a 
variety of forms, and his master others, adapted 
to the destruction of his intended victim, until 
the tables are turned by the fugitive's taking 
on the stronger figure and despatching his ad- 

Buchan's Ballads of the North of Scotland; 
I, 24 ; Motherwell's MS., p. 570. 

1 The lady stands in her bower door, 

As straight as willow wand; 
The blacksmith stood a little forebye, 
Wi hammer in his hand. 

2 * Weel may ye dress ye, lady fair, 

Into your robes o red; 
Before the morn at this same time, 
I '11 gain your maidenhead.' 

3 ' Awa, awa, ye coal-black smith, 

Woud ye do me the wrang 
To think to gain my maidenhead, 
That I hae kept sae lang ! ' 

4 Then she has hadden up her hand, 

And she sware by the mold, 

' I wudna be a blacksmith's wife 

For the full o a chest o gold. 

5 ' I 'd rather I were dead and gone, 

And my body laid in grave. 
Ere a rusty stock o coal-black smitli 
My maidenhead shoud have.' 

6 But he has hadden up his hand, 

And he sware by the mass, 
' I '11 cause ye be my light leman 
For the hauf o that and less.' 




O bide, lady, bide, 

And aye he bade her bide; 
The rusty smith your leman shall 

For a' your muckle pride. 

7 Then she became a turtle dow, 

To fly up in the air, 
And he became another dow, 
And they flew pair and pair. 
O bide, lady, bide, &c. 

8 She turnd hersell into an eel. 

To swim into yon burn. 
And he became a speckled trout, 
To gie the eel a turn. 

O bide, lady, bide, &c. 

9 Then she became a duck, a duck. 

To puddle in a peel. 
And he became a rose-kaimd drake, 
To gie the duck a dreel. 
O bide, lady, bide, &c. 

10 She turnd hersell into a hare, 

To rin upon yon hill. 
And he became a gude grey-hound, 
And boldly he did fill. 

O bide, lady, bide, &c. 

11 Then she became a gay grey mare. 

And stood in yonder slack, 
And he became a gilt saddle. 
And sat upon her back. 

Was she wae, he held her sae. 
And still he bade her bide; 
The rusty smith her leman was. 
For a' her muckle pride. 

12 Then she became a het girdle, 

And he became a cake. 
And a' the ways she turnd hersell. 
The blacksmith was her make. 
Was she wae, &c. 

13 She turnd hersell into a ship, 

To sail out ower the flood ; 
He ca'ed a nail intill her tail, 
And syne the ship she stood. 
Was she wae, &c. 

14 Then she became a silken plaid. 

And stretchd upon a bed, 
And he became a green covering, 
And gaind her maidenhead. 
Was she wae, &c. 



Version B was printed for P. Brooksby, who 
published from 1072 to 1095. It was " al- 
lowed " by Rog'er L'Estrange, who was licenser 
from 1003 to 1085. The title of B is ' A New 
Ballad of King- John and the Abbot of Can- 
terbury, To the Tune of The King and the 
Lord Abbot.' The older ballad seems not to 
have come down. 

The story is apparently of Oriental origin. 
The oldest known version was discovered by 
Professor C. C. Torrey in the Conquest of 
Egypt, an Arabic historical work of about 850 
A. D.. and is thought by him to be " a genuine 
bit of Coptic folk-lore," current in Egypt long 
before the Arab invasion in the seventh cen- 
turj'. In tliis tale a wicked king' gives his 
vezirs certain questions : if they answer them, 
he promises to increase their pay ; if they fail, 
he will cut off their heads. They are assisted 
by a potter, who disguises himself as a vezir 
and tricks the king (Journal of the American 
Oriental Society, xx, 209). There are a multi- 
tude of other versions, Oriental and Occidental. 
Among- those which resemble the ballad closely 
may be mentioned the Middle High German 
tale of Amis and the Bishop, in the Strieker's 
Pfaffe Amis (about 1230), and the fourth novella 
of Sacchetti. In the latter we have the prizing 
of the questioner at twenty-nine deniers, as in 
the English. Riddle stories in which a forfeit 
is to be paid by the vanquished party are a very 
extensive class. The oldest example is that of 
Samson's riddle in Judges xiv, 12 ff. Death is 
often the penalty, as in the Poetic Edda (Vaf- 

' Kinge John and the Bishoppe,' Percy MS., 
p. 184 ; Hales and Furnivall, i, 508. 

1 Off an ancient story He tell you anon. 
Of a notable prince that was called Kmg 

In England was borne, with maine and 

with might; 
Hee did much wrong and mainteined 

litle right. 

2 This noble prince was vexed in veretye, 
For he was angry with the Bishopp of 

Ffor his house-keeping and his good 

Thd rode post for him, as you shall 



3 They rode post for him verty hastilye; 

Twenty dayes pardon thoust haue 

Tlie king sayd the bishopp kept a better 


house then hee: 

And come againe and answere mee.' 

A hundred men euen, as I [have heard] 


9 The bishopp bade the ki7ig god night att 

The bishopp kept in his house euerye 

a word; 


He rode betwixt Cambridge and Oxen- 

And fifty gold chaines, without any 



But newer a doctor there was soe wise 

In vehiett coates waited the bishopp 

Cold shew him these questions or enter- 



4 The bishopp, he came to the court anon, 

10 Wherewith the bishopp was nothing 

Before his prince that was called Kino 



But in his hart was heauy and sadd. 

As soone as the bishopp the Mng did 

And hyed him home to a house in the 



' 0,' quoth the king, ' bishopp, thow art 

To ease some part of his melanchoUye. 

welcome to mee. 

There is noe man soe welcome to towne 

11 His halfe-brother dwelt there, was feirce 

As thou that workes treason against my 

and fell. 


Noe better but a shepard to the bish- 

oppe himsell; 

5 ' My leege,' qwoth the bishopp, ' I wold 

The shepard came to the bishopp anon. 

it were knowne 

Saying, My Lord, you are welcome 

I spend, yowr grace, nothing but that 

home 1 

that 's my owne; 

I trust yowr grace will doe me noe 

12 ' What ayles you,' qwoth the shepard, 


' that you are soe sadd, 

For spending my owne trew gotten 

And had wonte to haue beene soe merry 


and gladd ? ' 

' Nothing,* qwoth the bishopp, * I ayle 

6 'Yes,' qwoth the king, 'bishopp, thou 

att this time; 

must needs dye. 

Will not thee availe to know, brother 

Eccept thou can answere nieej^ue^tions 


three ; 

Thy~TTead shalbe smitten quite from 

13 'Brother,' q«oth the shepeard, 'you 

thy bodye. 

haue heard itt. 

And all thy lining remayne vnto mee. 

That a ffoole may teach a wisemane 

Say me therfore whatsoeu^r you will. 

7 ' First,' qwoth the king, ' tell me in this 

r steade, 

C ( With this crowne of gold heere vpon 

And if I doe you noe good, He doe you 

noe ill.' 

my head. 

Amongst my nobilitye, with ioy and 

14 Quoth the bishop: I haue beeue att the 

much mirth, 

court anon. 

Lett me know within one penuye what 

Before my prince is called King lobn, 

I am worth. 

And tliere he hath charged mee 


Against liis crowne with traitorye. 

1 8 * Secondlye, tell me without any dowbt 

^ ? How soone I may goe the whole world 

15 If I cannott answer his misterye. 


Three questions hee hath propounded to 

And thirdly, tell mee or euer I stinte, 


What is the thing, bishopp, that I doe 

He will haue my land soe faire and free, 


And alsoe the head from my bodye. 



16 Tlie first question was, to tell him in 

Said the shepeard, If it please your 

that stead, 


With the crowne of gold vpon his head, 

Show mee what the first quest [i]ou 

Amongst his uobilitye, with ioy and 


much mirth. 

To lett him know within one penye 


' First,' qwoth the kin^, ' tell mee in this 

what hee is worth. 

With the crowne of gold vpon my head, 

17 And secondlye, to tell him with-out any 

Amongst my nobilitye, with ioy and 


much mirth. 

How soone he may goe the whole world 

Within one pennye what I am worth.' 


And thirdlye, to tell him, or ere I stint. 


Quoth the shepard, To make your grace 

What is the thinge that he does tliinke. 

noe offence, 
I thinke you are worth nine and twenty 

18 ' Brother,' quoth the shepard, ' you are 


a man of learninge ; 

For our Lord lesus, that bought vs all. 

What neede you stand in doubt of soe 

For tliirty pence was sold into thrall 

small a thinge ? 

Amongst the cursed lewes, as I to you 

Lend me,' qwoth the shepard, 'your 

doe showe; 

ministers apparrell, 

But I know Christ was one penye bet- 

He ryde to the court and answere yowr 

ter then you. 



Then the kin^ laught, and swore by St 

19 ' Lend me your serving men, say me 


not nay, 

He was not thought to bee of such a 

With all your best horsses that ryd on 

small value. 

the way; 

* Secondlye, tell mee with-out any doubt 

He to the court, tliis matter to stay; 

How soone I may goe the world round 

He speake with King lohn and heare 


what heele say.' 


Saies the shepard, It is noe time with 

20 The bishopp with speed prepared then 

yowr grace to scorne, 

To sett forth the shepard with horsse 

But rise betime with the sun in the 

and man ; 


The shepard was liuely without any 

And follow his course till his vprising, 


And then you may know without any 

I wott a royall companye came to the 



27 And this [to] your grace shall prouethe 

21 The shepard hee came to the court anon 


Before [his] prince that was called 

You are come to the same place from 

King lohn. 

whence you came; 

As soone as the kin^r the shepard did see. 

[In] twenty-four houres, with-out any 

' 0,' quoth the king, ' bishopp, thou art 


welcome to me.' 

Your grace may the world goe round 

The shepard was soe like the bishopp 


his brother, 

The world round about, euen as I doe 

The kin^ cold not know the one from 


the other. 

If with the sun you can goe the next 

22 Quoth the kin^, Bishopp, thou art wel- 

come to me 


' And thirdlye tell me or ener I stint. 

If thou can answer me my questious 

What is the thing, bishoppe, that I doe 






' That shall I doe,' qwoth the shepeard; 

* for veretye, 

You thiiike I am the bishopp of Caiiter- 

29 * Why, art not thou ? the truth tell to 

For I doe thiuke soe,' qwoth the 'king, 

* by St Marye.' 

*Not soe,' qwoth the shepeard; 'the 

truth shalbe knowne, 
I am his poore shepeard; my brother is 

att home.' 

30 ' Why,' q?ioth the "king, ' if itt soe bee, 
He make thee bishopp here to mee.' 

' Noe, Sir,' quoth the shepard, ' I pray 

you be still. 
For He not bee bishop but against my 

For I am not fitt for any such deede, 
For I can neither write nor reede.' 

31 ' Why then,' qwoth the king, ' He giue 

thee cleere 
A pattent of three hundred pound a 

yeere ; 
That I will giue thee franke and free; 
Take thee that, shepard, for coming to 


32 ' Free pardon He giue,' the kings grace 

*To saue the bishopp, his land and his 

With him nor thee He be nothing 

wrath ; 
Here is the pardon for him and thee 


33 Then the shepard he had noe more to 

But tooke the pardon and rode his 

When he came to the bishopps place. 
The bishopp asket anon how all things 


34 ' Brother,' qwoth the shepard, * I haue 

well sped, 
For I haue saued both yowr land and 

yowr head; 
The king with you is nothing wrath. 
For heere is the pardon for you and mee 


35 Then the bishopes hart was of a merry 

'Brother, thy paines He quitt them 

For I will giue thee a patent to thee 

and to thine 
Of fifty pound a yeere, land good and 



' I will to thee noe longer croche nor 

Nor He serue thee noe more to keepe 

thy sheepe.' 

37 Whereeuer wist you shepard before, 
l^hat had in his head witt such store 
To pleasure a bishopp in such a like case, 
To answer three questions to the kw^s 

grace ? 
Whereeuer wist you shepard gett cleare 
Three hundred and fifty pound a yeere ? 

38 I neuer hard of his fellow before. 

Nor I neuer shall : now I need to say 

noe more. 
I neuer knew shepeard that gott such a 

But David, the shepeard, that was a 


' King John and the Abbot of Canterbury,' 
broadside, printed for P. Brooksby, at the 
Golden Ball in Pye-corner (1672-95). 

1 I 'll tell you a story, a story anon. 

Of a noble prince, and his name was 

King John; 
For he was a prince, and a prince of 

great might, 
He held up great wrongs, he put down 

great right. 
Derry down, down hey, derry down. 

2 I '11 tell you a story, a story so merry, 
Concerning the Abbot of Canterbury, 
And of his house-keeping and high re- 

Which made him resort to fair London 

3 'How now, father abbot? 'T is told 

unto me 




That thou keepest a far better house 

than I; 
And for [thy] house-keeping and high 

I fear thou has treason against my 


4 ' I hope, my liege, that you owe me no 

For spending of my true-gotten goods. ' 
' If thou dost not answer me questions 

Thy head shall be taken from thy 


5 * When I am set so high on my steed. 
With my crown of gold upon my head, 
Amongst all my nobility, with joy and 

much mirth. 
Thou must tell me to one penny what I 
am worth. 

6 * And the next question you must not 

How long I shall be riding the world 

And the third question thou must not 

But tell to me truly what I do think.' 

7 * O these are hard questions for my shal- 

low wit, 
For I cannot answer your grace as 

But if you will give me but three days 

I '11 do my endeavor to answer your 


8 * O three days space I will thee give. 
For that is the longest day thou hast to 


And if thou dost not answer these ques- 
tions riglit, 

Thy head shall be taken from thy body 

9 And as the shepherd was going to his 


He spy'd the old abbot come riding 

* How now, master abbot ? You 'r wel- 
come home; 

What news have you brought from good 
King John ? ' 

10 * Sad news, sad news I have thee to give, 
For I have but three days space for to 

If I do not answer him questions three, 
My head will be taken from my body. 

11 'When he is set so high on his steed, 
With his crown of gold upon his head. 
Amongst all his nobility, with joy and 

much mirth, 
I must tell him to one penny what he is 

12 ' And the next question I must not flout, 
How long he shall be riding the world 

And the third question I must not shrink, 
But tell him truly what he does think.* 

13 ' O master, did you never hear it yet. 
That a fool may learn a wiseman wit ? 
Lend me but your horse and your ap- 

I '11 ride to fair London and answer the 

14 * Now I am set so high on my steed, 
With my crown of gold upon my head, 
Amongst all my nobility, with joy and 

much mirth, 
Now tell me to one penny what I am 

15 ' For thirty pence our Saviour was sold. 
Amongst the false Jews, as you have 

been told. 
And nine and twenty 's the worth of thee. 
For I think thou are one penny worser 

than he.' 

16 * And the next question thou mayst not 

How long I shall be riding the world 

* You must rise with the sun, and ride 

with the same. 
Until the next morning he rises again. 
And then I am sure you will make no 

But in twenty-four hours you '1 ride it 


17 * And the third question you must not 

But tell me truly what I do think.' 




* All that I can do, and 't will make you 

merry ; 

For you think I 'm the Abbot of Can- 

But I 'm his poor shepherd, as you may 

And am come to beg pardon for he and 
for me.' 

18 The king he turned him about and did 

Saying, Thou shalt be the abbot the 
other while: 

* O no, my grace, there is no such need. 
For I can neither write nor read.' 

19 * Then four pounds a week will I give 

unto thee 
For this merry jest thou hast told unto 

And tell the old abbot, when thou comest 

Them hast brought him a pardon from 

good King John.' 



' Captain Wedderburn's Courtship ' is a coun- 
terpart of the ballad in which a maid wins a 
husband by guessing- riddles (cf. Nos. 1 and 2). 
The ingenious suitor, though not so favorite a 
subject as the clever maid, is of an old and 
celebrated family. We find hira in the Gesta 
Romanorum (cap. 70, Oesterley, p. 383), in 
Apollonius of Tyre (which has been carried 
back to the third or fourth century), in a Per- 
sian poem by Nisami (died 1180), and in the 
Persian story of Prince Calaf in Pdtis de La 
Croix's Thousand and One Days. On Prhice 
Calaf is founded Carlo Gozzi's play of La 
Turandot, now best known through Schiller's 
translation. There are also parallels in Euro- 
pean popular tales. The Elder Edda presents 
us with a similar story in the lay of Alvfss. 

a. ' I'll no ly neist the wa,' Herd's MS., i, 
161. b. The same, 11, 100. 

1 The laird of Bristoll's daughter was in 
the woods walking, 
And by came Captain Wetherbourn, a 
servant to the king; 

And he said to his livery man, Wer 't 

not against the law, 
I would tak her to mine ain bed, and 

lay her neist the wa. 

2 * I 'm into my father's woods, amongst 

my father's trees, 

bind sir, let mee walk alane, O kind 

sir, if you please; 
The butler's bell it will be rung, and 
I '11 be mist awa; 

1 '11 lye into mine ain bed, neither at 

stock nor wa.' 

3 * O my bonny lady, the bed it 's not be 

For I '11 command my servants for to 

call it thine; 
The hangings are silk satin, the sheets 

are holland sma, 
And we 's baith lye in ae bed, but you 's 

lye neist the wa. 

4 * And so, my bonny lady, — I do not 

know your name, — 
But my name 's Captain Wetherburn, 

and I 'm a man of fame; 
Tho your father and a' his men were 

here, I would na stand in awe 
To tak you to mine ain bed, and lay you 

neist the wa. 

5 * Oh my bonny, bonny lady, if you '11 gie 

me your hand. 
You shall hae drums and trumpets to 

sound at your command ; 
Wi fifty men to guard yon, sae weel 

their swords can dra, 
And wee 's baith lye in ae bed, but you 's 

lye neist the wa.' 

6 He 's mounted her upon a steid, behind 

his gentleman. 
And he himself did walk afoot, to had 

his lady on. 
With his hand about her midle sae jimp, 

for fear that she should fa; 
She man lye in his bed, but she '11 not 

lye neist the wa. 

7 He 's taen her into Edinburgh, his land- 

lady cam ben: 
' And monny bonny ladys in Edinburgh 
hae I seen, 




But the like of this fine creature my 

eyes the}' never sa;' 
* O dame bring ben a down-bed, for she 's 

lye neist the wa.' 

8 'Hold your tongue, young man,' she 

said, ' and dinna trouble nie, 
Unless you get to my supper, and that 

is dishes three; 
Dishes three to my supper, tho I eat 

nane at a', 
Before I lye in your bed, but I winna 

lye neist the wa. 

9 * You maun get to my supper a cherry 

but a stane, 
And you man get to my supper a capon 

but a bane. 
And you man get a gentle bird that flies 

wanting the ga, 
Before I lye in your bed, but I '11 not 

lye neist the wa.' 

10 * A cherry whan in blossom is a cherry 

but a stane; 
A capon when he 's in the egg canna 

hae a bane; 
The dow it is a gentle bird that flies 

wanting the ga; 
And ye man lye in my bed, between me 

and the wa.' 

11 'Hold your tongue, young man,' she 

said, 'and dinna me perplex. 
Unless you tell me questions, and that 

is questions six; 
Tell me them as I shall ask them, and 

that is twa by twa. 
Before I lye in your bed, but I '11 not 

lye neist the wa. 

12 ' "What is greener than the grass, what 's 

higher than the tree ? 
What 's war than a woman's wiss,what 's 

deeper than the sea ? 
What bird sings first, and whereupon 

the dew dov/n first does fa ? 
Before I lye in your bed, but I '11 not 

lye neist the wa.' 

13 'YirgHS is greener than the grass, 

heaven's higher than the tree; 
The deil 's war than a woman's wish, 
hell 's deeper than the sea; 

The cock sings first, on the Sugar Loaf 
the dew down first does fa; 

And ye man lye in my bed, betweest me 
and the wa.' 

14 ' Hold your tongue, young man,' she 

said, ' I pray you give it oer. 
Unless you tell me questions, and that 

is questions four; 
Tell me them as I shall ask them, and 

that is twa by twa. 
Before I lye in your bed, but I winna 

lye neist the wa. 

13 ' You man get to me a plumb that does 

in winter grow; 
And likewise a silk mantle that never 

waft gaed thro; 
A sparrow's horn, a priest unborn, this 

night to join us twa, 
Before I lye in your bed, but I winna 

lye neist the wa.' 

16 ' There is a plumb in my father's yeard 

that does in winter grow; 

Likewise he has a silk mantle that never 
waft gaed thro; 

A sparrow's horn, it may be found, 
there 's ane in ever}' tae, 

There 's ane npo the mouth of him, per- 
haps there may be twa. 

17 ' The priest is standing at the door, just 

ready to come in; 
Nae man could sae that he was born, to 

lie it is a sin; 
For a wild boar bored his mother's side, 

he out of it did fa; 
And you man lye in my bed, between 

me and the wa.' 

18 Little kent Grizey Sinclair, that morn- 

ing when she raise, 
'T was to be the hindermost of a' her 

single days; 
For now she 's Captain Wetherburn's 

wife, a man she never saw, 
And slie man lye in his bed, but she '11 

not lye neist the wa. 

a. 'The Earl of Rosslyn's Daughter,' Kin- 
loch MSS., I. 8:-3, from Mary Barr's recitation, 
b. • Lord Koslin's Daughter's Garland.' C. Bu- 




ehan's MSS., ir, 34. d. ' Captain Wedderburn's 
Courtship,' Jamieson's Popular Ballads, ll, 159. 
e. Harris MS., fol. 19 b, No. 14, from Mrs Har- 
ris's recitation, f. Notes and Queries, 2d S., 
IV, 170, '"as sung among the peasantry of the 
Mearns," 1857. 

1 The Lord of Rosslyn's daughter gaed 

through the wud her lane, 
And there she met Captain Wedder- 

burn, a servant to the king. 
He said unto his livery-man, Were 't na 

agen the law, 
1 wad tak her to mj ain bed, and lay 

her at the wa. 

2 ' I 'm walking here my lane,' she says, 

* amang my father's trees; 
And ye may lat me walk my lane, kind 

sir, now gin ye please. 
The supper-bell it will be rung, and I '11 

be missd awa; 
Sae I '11 na lie in your bed, at neither 

stock nor wa.' 

3 He said, My pretty lady, I pray lend 

me your hand. 

And ye '11 hae drums and trumpets al- 
ways at your command; 

And fifty men to guard ye wi, that weel 
their swords can draw; 

Sae we '11 baith lie in ae bed, and ye '11 
lie at the wa. 

4 ' Haud awa frae me, kind sir, I pray let 

go my hand; 
The supper-bell it will be rung, nae 

langer maun I stand. 
My father he '11 na supper tak, gif I be 

missd awa; 
Sae I '11 na lie in your bed, at neither 

stock nor wa.' 

5 ' O my name is Captain Wedderburn, 

my name I '11 neer deny. 
And I command ten thousand men, upo 

yon mountains high. 
Tho your father and his men were here, 

of them I 'd stand na awe, 
But should tak j^e to my ain bed, and 

lay ye neist the wa.' 

6 Then he lap aff his milk-white steed, and 

set the lady on. 
And a' the way he walkd on foot, he 
held her by the hand; 

He held her by the middle jimp, for fear 

that she should fa; 
Saying, I '11 tak ye to my ain bed, and 

lay thee at the wa. 

7 He took her to his quartering-house, his 

landlady looked ben, 
Saying, Monie a pretty ladie in Edin- 

bruch I 've seen; 
But sic 'na pretty ladie is not into 

it a': 
Gae, mak for her a fine down-bed, and 

lay her at the wa. 

8 ' haud awa frae me, kind sir, I pray 

ye lat me be. 
For I '11 na lie in your bed till I get 

dishes three; 
Dishes three maun be dressd for me, 

gif I should eat them a', 
Before I lie in your bed, at either stock 

or wa. 

9 ' 'T is I maun hae to my supper a chicken 

without a bane; 
And I maun hae to my supper a cherry 

without a stane; 
And I maun hae to my supper a bird 

without a gaw. 
Before I lie in your bed, at either stock 

or wa.' 

10 ' Whan the chicken 's in the shell, I am 

sure it has na bane ; 
And whan the cherry 's in the bloom, I 

wat it has na stane ; 
The dove she is a genty bird, she flees 

without a gaw; 
Sae we '11 baith lie in ae bed, and ye '11 

be at the wa.' 

11 * O haud awa frae me, kind sir, I pray 

ye give me owre. 
For I '11 na lie in your bed, till I get 

presents four; 
Presents four ye maun gie me, and that 

is twa and twa, 
Before I lie in your bed, at either stock 

or wa. 

12 * 'T is I maun hae some winter fruit that 

in December grew; 
And I maun hae a silk mantil that waft 
gaed never through; 




A sparrow's horn, a priest unborn, this 

nicht to join us twa, 
Before I lie in your bed, at either stock 

or wa.' 

13 * My father has some winter fruit that 

in December grew; 
My mither has a silk mantil the waft 

gaed never through; 
A sparrow's horn ye soon may find, 

there 's ane on evry claw, 
And twa upo the gab o it, and ye shall 

get them a'. 

14 ' The priest he stands without the yett, 

just ready to come in; 
Nae man can say he eer was born, nae 

man without he sin; 
He was hrvill cut frae his mither's side, 

and frae the same let fa; 
Sae we '11 baith lie in ae bed, and ye 'se 

lie at the wa.' 

13 * hand awa frae me, kind sir, I pray 

don't me perplex. 
For I '11 na lie in your bed till ye answer 

questions six: 
Questions six ye maun answer me, and 

that is four and twa, 
Before I lie in your bed, at either stock 

16 * O what is greener than the gress, 

what 's higher than thae trees ? 
O what is w^orse than women's wish, 

what 's deeper than the seas ? 
What bird craws first, what tree buds 

first, what first does on them fa ? 
Before I lie in your bed, at either stock 

or wa.' 

17 ' Death is greener than the gress, 

heaven higher than thae trees; 
The devil 's waur than women's wish, 

hell 's deeper than the seas; 
The cock craws first, the cedar buds first, 

dew first on them does fa; 
Sae we '11 baith lie in ae bed, and ye 'se 

lie at the wa.' 

18 Little did this lady think, that morning 

whan she raise, 
That this was for to be the last o a' her 
maiden days. 

But there 's na into the king's realm to 

be found a blither twa, 
And now she 's Mrs. Wedderburn, and 

she lies at the wa. 


A was communicated to Scott " by Mr. Ham- 
ilton, nuisie -seller, Edinburgh, with Avhose 
mother it had been a favorite." Two stanzas 
(sts. 6 and 11 of the present text) and one line 
were wanting-, and were supplied by Scott 
"from a different ballad, having- a plot some- 
what similar." Later Hamilton sent Scott cer- 
tain verses " to come in at the first break." 
There were still four lines, which should come 
before these, which he could not recollect. 
The present text is Scott's, with the insertion 
of the verses sent by Hamilton (sts. 7-8). A is 
plainly compounded of two ballads, the conclu- 
sion being- derived from E. The lady's "look- 
ing oer her castle wa," her putting riddles, and 
her having- " gard so mony die," make the sup- 
position far from incredible that the Proud 
Lady Margaret of the first part of the ballad 
may have originally been one of the Perilous 
Princesses well-known in popular story (cf. No. 

'Proud Lady Margaret,' Scott's Minstrelsy, 
m, 275, ed. 1808. Communicated " by Mr. 
Hamilton, music-seller, Edinburgh." Sts. 7, 8, 
Abbotsford MS., Scotch Ballads, Materials for 
Border Minstrelsy, No. 117 (also from Hamil- 

1 'T WAS on a night, an evening bright. 

When the dew began to fa. 
Lady Margaret was walking up and 
Looking oer her castle wa. 

2 She looked east and she looked west, 

To see what she could spy. 
When a gallant knight came in her 
And to the gate drew nigh. 

3 ' You seem to be no gentleman. 

You wear your boots so wide; 
But you seem to be some cunning 
You wear the horn so syde.' 




4 ' I am no cunning hunter,' he said, 


*I think you maun be my match,' she 

* Nor neer intend to be ; 


But I am come to this castle 

'My match and something mair; 

To seek the love of thee. 

You are the first eer got the grant 

And if you do not grant me love, 

Of love frae my father's heir. 

This night for thee I '11 die.' 


'My father was lord of nine castles, 

6 * If you should die for me, sir knight, 

My mother lady of three; 

There 's few for you will meaue; 

My father was lord of nine castles. 

For mony a better has died for me, 

And there 's nane to heir but me. 

Wliose graves are growing green. 


* And round about a* thae castles 

6 [*But ye maun read my riddle,' she 

You may baith plow and saw. 


And on the fifteenth day of May 

* And answer my questions three; 

The meadows they will maw.' 

And but ye read them right,' she 



' hald your tongue, Lady Margaret,' 

* Gae stretch ye out and die.] 

he said, 
' For loud I hear you lie; 

7 ' wherein leems the beer ? ' she said, 

Your father was lord of nine castles, 

' Or wherein leems the wine ? 

Your mother was lady of three; 

wherein leems the gold ? ' she said, 

Your father was lord of nine castles, 

* Or wherein leems the twine ? ' 

But ye fa heir to but three. 

8 *The beer is put in a drinking-horn, 


* And round about a' thae castles 

The wine in glasses fine. 

You may baith plow and saw, 

There 's gold in store between two 

But on the fifteenth day of May 


The meadows will not maw. 

When they are fighting keen, 

And the twine is between a lady's two 


* I am your brother Willie,' he said, 


' I trow ye ken na me ; 

When they are washen clean.' 

I came, to humble your haughty heart. 
Has gard sae mony die.' 

9 * Now what is the flower, the ae first 



* If ye be my brother Willie,' she said, 

Springs either on moor or dale ? 

' As I trow weel ye be. 

And what is the bird, the bounie bon- 

This night I '11 neitlier eat nor drink, 

nie bird. 

But gae alang wi thee.' 

Sings on the evening gale ? * 


' hold your tongue, Lady Margaret,' 

10 ' The primrose is the ae first flower 

he said, 

Springs either on moor or dale, 

'Again I hear you lie; 

And the thristlecock is the bonniest 

For ye 've unwashen hands and ye 've 


unwashen feet, 

Sings on the evening gale.' 

To gae to clay wi me. 

11 [* But what 's the little coin,' she said. 


' For the wee worms are my bedfellows, 

' Wald buy my castle bound ? 

And cauld clay is my sheets. 

And what 's the little boat,' she said, 

And when the stormy winds do blow, 

♦ Can sail the world all round ? '] 

My body lies and sleeps.' 

12 * hey, how mony small pennies 


Make thrice three thousand pound ? 


Fair Margret,' Alex. Laincr, Ancient Bal- 

Or hey, how mony salt fishes 

lads and Songs, etc., etc., from the recitation of 

Swims a' the salt sea round ? ' 

old people. Never published. MS., 1829, p. 6. 




1 Fair JNIargret was a young ladje, 

An come of high degree; 
Fair Margret was a young ladye, 
An proud as proud coud be. 

2 Fair Margret was a rich ladye, 

The king's cousin was she; 
Fair Margaret was a rich ladye, 
An vain as vain coud be. 

3 She war'd her wealth on the gay cleedin 

That comes frae yont the sea, 
She spent her time frae morning till 
Adorning her fair bodye. 

4 Ae night she sate in her stately ha, 

Kaimin her yellow hair, 
When in there cum like a gentle knight, 
An a white scarf he did wear. 

5 ' O what 's your will wi me, sir knight, 

what 's your will wi me ? 
You 're the likest to my ae brother 
That ever I did see. 

6 * You 're the likest to my ae brother 

That ever I hae seen. 
But he 's I'uried in Dunfermline kirk, 
A month an mair bygane.' 

7 ' I *m the likest to your ae brother 

That ever ye did see, 
But I canna get rest into my grave, 
A' for the pride of thee. 

8 * Leave pride, Margret, leave pride, 

Leave pride an vanity; 
Ere ye see the sights that I hae seen, 
Sair altered ye maun be. 

9 ' ye come in at the kirk door 

Wi the gowd plaits in your hair; 
But wud ye see what I hae seen, 
Ye maun them a' forbear. 



' O ye come in at the kirk-door 
Wi the gowd prins i your sleeve; 

But wad ye see what I hae seen, 
Ye maun gie them a' their leave. 

Leave pride, Margret, 
Leave pride an vanity; 

leave pride, 

Ere ye see the sights that I hae seen, 
Sair altered ye maun be.' 

12 He got her in her stately ha, 
Kaimin her yellow hair, 
He left her on her sick sick bed, 


' Young Andrew ' is known only from the 
Percy manuscript. The story recalls both 
' Lady Isabel and the Elf-Knight ' (No. 4) and 
' The Fair Flower of Northumberland ' (No. 9). 
The conclusion is mutilated and hard to make 
out. Young Andrew seems to have been pur- 
sued and caught. Why he was not promptly 
disposed of, and how the wolf comes into »he 
story, will probably never be known. 

Percy MS., p. 


292 ; Hales and Furnivall, 11, 

1 As I was cast in my ffirst sleepe, 

A dreadtfuU draught in my mind I 
Ffor I was dreamed of a yong man, 
Some men called him yonge Andrew. 

2 The moone shone bright, and itt cast a 

ffayre light, 
Sayes shee, Welcome, my honey, ray 

hart, and my sweete ! 
For I haue loued thee this seuen long 

And our chance itt was wee cold 

neuer meete. 

3 Then he tooke her in his armes two, 

And kissed her both cheeke and chin, 
And twise orthrise he pleased this may 
Before they tow did part in tvvinn. 

4 Sales, Now, good sir, you haue had your 

You can demand no more of mee; 
Good sir, remember what you said be- 
And goe to the church and marry 

5 Ffaire maid, I cannott doe as I wold ; 



Goe home and fett thy fathers redd gold, 
And I 'le goe to the clmrch and marry 

6 This ladye is gone to her ffathers hall, 

And well she knew where his red gold 


And counted fforth five hundred pound, 
Besides all other iuells and chaines : 

7 And brought itt all to younge Andrew, 

Itt was well counted vpon his knee; 
Then he tooke her by the lillye white 
And led her vp to an hill soe hye. 

8 Shee had vpon a gowne of blacke vel- 

(A pittyffuU sight after yee shall 

* Put of thy clothes, bonny wenche,' he 

' For noe ffoote further thoust gang 

with mee.' 

9 But then shee put of her gowne of vel- 

With many a salt teare from her eye, 
And in a kirtle of ffine breaden silke 
Shee stood bejffore young Andrews 


10 Sais, O put off thy kirtle of silke, 

Ffor some and all shall goe with mee; 
And to my owne lady I must itt beare, 
Who I must needs loue better then 

11 Then shee put of her kirtle of silke. 

With many a salt teare still ffrom her 
In a peticoate of Scarlett redd 

Shee stood before young Andrewes 

12 Sales, put of thy peticoate, 

For some and all of itt shall goe with 

mee ; 
And to my owne lady I will itt beare, 
Which, dwells soe ffarr in a strange 


13 But then shee put of her peticoate, 

With many a salt teare still from her 

And in a smocke of braue white silke 
Shee stood before young Andrews 

14 Sales, O put of thy smocke of silke, 

For some and all shall goe with mee; 
Vnto my owne ladye I will itt beare, 
That dwells soe ffarr in a strange 

15 Sayes, O remember, young Andrew, 

Once of a woman you were borne; 
And ffor that birth that Marye bore, 
I pray you let my smocke be vpon ! 

16 * Yes, ffayre ladye, I know itt well. 

Once of a woman I was borne; 
Yett ffor noe birth that Mary bore. 
Thy smocke shall not be left here 

17 But then shee put of her head-geere 


Shee hadd billaments worth a hun- 
dred pound; 
The hayre that was vpon this bony 
wench head 

Couered her bodye downe to the 

18 Then he pulled forth a Scottish brand. 

And held itt there in his owne right 

hand ; 
Sales, Whether wilt thou dye vpon my 

swords point, ladye, 
Or thow wilt goe naked home againe ? 

19 ' Liffe is sweet,' then, * sir,' said shee, 

'Therfore I pray you leaue mee with 
mine ; 
Before I wold dye on yowr swords point, 
I had rather goe naked home againe. 

20 ' My ffather,' shee sayes, ♦ is a right good 

As any remaines in his countrye ; 
If euer he doe your body take, 

Yow 'r sure to ffiower a gallow tree. 

21 ' And I haue seuen brethren,' shee sayes, 

' And they are all hardy men and 

Giff euer thd doe yowr body take. 
You must neuer gang quicke ouer the 





22 * If yowr fPather be a right good erle 

As any remaines in his owne coun- 
Tush ! he shall neuer my body take, 
I 'le gang soe ffast oner the sea. 

23 * If you haue seuen brethren,' he sayes, 

' If they be neugr soe hardy or bold, 
Tush ! they shall neuer my body take, 
I 'le gang soe ffast into the Scottish 

24 Now this ladye is gone to her fathers 

When euery body their rest did take ; 
But the Erie which was her tfather 
Lay waken for his deere daughters 

25 * But who is that,* her ffather can say, 
' That soe priuilye knowes the piini ? ' 

* It 's Hellen, your owne deere daugh- 

ter, ffather, 
I pray you rise and lett me in.* 


' Noe, by my hood ! ' quoth her ffa- 
ther then, 

* My [house] thoust neuer come within, 

Without I had my red gold againe.' 

27 ' Nay, your gold is gone, ffather ! ' said 


* Then naked thou came into this world. 

And naked thou shalt returne againe.' 

28 * Nay ! God fforgaue his death, father,' 

shee sayes, 
' And soe I hope you will doe mee ; ' 
"Away, away, thou cursed woman, 
I pray God an ill death thou may 

dye ! ' 

29 Shee stood soe long quacking on the 

Till her hart itt burst in three ; 
And then shee ffell dead downe in a 

And this was the end of this bonny 


30 Ithe morning, when her ffather gott 

A pittyffuU siglit there he might see; 



His owne deere daughter was dead, 
without clothes. 
The teares they trickeled fast ffrora 
his eye. 

Sais, Fye of gold, and ffye of ffee ! 
For I sett soe much by my red gold 
That now itt hath lost both my 
daughter and mee ! ' 

But after this time he neere dought 
good day, 
But as flowers doth fade in the frost, 
Soe he did wast and weare away. 

33 But let vs leaue talking of this ladye. 

And talke some more of young An- 
drew ; 
Ffor ffalse he was to this bonny ladye. 

More pitty that he had not beene 

34 He was not gone a mile into the wild 

Or halfe a mile into the hart of 
But there they cought him by such a 
braue wjde 

That hee must come to tell noe more 

35 . . . . . . 

Ffnll soone a wolfe did of him 
And shee came roaring like a ben re, 
And gaping like a ffeend of hell. 

3G Soe they ffought together like two 
And fire betweene them two glashet 
out ; 
Thd raught eche other such a great 

That there young Andrew was slaine,. 
well I wott. 

37 But now young Andrew he is dead, 

But he was neuer buryed vnder 
For ther as the wolfe devoured him. 
There lyes all this great erles gold. 





All the Scottish rerslons (six in number) 
were obtained within the first third of the 
nineteenth century, and since then no others 
have been heard of, but the ballad has been 
obtained within recent years from the singing 
of poor children in American cities. B is con- 
siderably corrupted. It need hardly be men- 
tioned that the age of the boys in the first two 
stanzas does not suit the story. The conclusion 
of B belongs to ' Sweet William's Ghost ' (No. 

a. C. K. Sharpe's papers (watermark of 1817) 
from Elizabeth Kerrv ; Sharpe's Ballad Book, 
p. 56, No. 19. b. ' The Two Brothers,' Walks 
near Edinburgh, by Margaret Warrender, 
1890, p. 60. Given to Lady John Scott many 
years ago by Campbell Riddell, brother of Sir 
John Riddell, of Ardnamurchan. 

1 There were twa brethren in the north, 

They went to school thegithar; 
The one unto the other said, 
Will you try a warsle afore ? 

2 They wrestled up, they wrestled down, 

Till Sir John fell to the ground, 
And there was a knife in Sir Willie's 
Gied him a deadlie wr.und. 

3 ' Oh brither dear, take me on your back, 

Carry me to yon burn clear, 
And wash the blood from off my wound, 
And it will bleed nae mair.' 

4 He took him up upon his back, 

Carried him to yon burn clear, 
And washd the blood from off his 
And aye it bled the mair. 

5 ' Oh brother dear, take me on your 

Carry me to yon kirk-yard, 
And dig a grave baith wide and deep, 
And lay my body there.' 

6 He 's taen him up upon his back, 

Carried him to yon kirk-yard. 
And dug a grave both deep and wide, 
And laid his body there. 

7 * But what will I say to my father dear, 

Should he chance to say, Willie, 
whar 's John ?' 

* Oh say that he 's to England gone. 

To buy him a cask of wine.' 

8 * And wliat shall I say to my mother 

Should she chance to say, Willie, 

whar 's John ? ' 
' Oh say that he 's to England gone, 
To buy her a new silk gown.' 

9 * And what will I say to my sister dear. 

Should she chance to say, Willie, 
w'nar 's John ? ' 

* Oh say that he 's to England gone, 

To buy her a wedding ring.' 

10 * What will I say to her you loe dear, 
Should she cry, Why tarries my 
John ? ' 

* Oh tell her I lie in fair Kirk-laud, 

And home will never come.' 

• The Cruel Brother,' Motherwell's MS., p. 
259. From the recitation of Widow McCor- 
mick, January 19, 1825. 

1 There was two little boys going to the 

And twa little boys they be. 
They met three brothers playing at the 

And ladies dansing hey. 

2 * It 's whether will ye play at the ba, 

Or else throw at the stone ? ' 
* I am too little, I am too young, 
O brother let me alone.' 

3 He pulled out a little penknife. 

That was baith sharp and sma, 
He gave his brother a deadly wound 
That was deep, long and sair. 

4 He took the hoUand sark off his back. 

He tore it frae breast to gare, 
He laid it to the bloody wound, 
That still bled mair and mair. 

5 * It 's take me on your back, brother,* 

he says, 




^ And carry me to yon kirk-yard, 
And make me there a very fine grave, 
That will be long and large. 

6 * Lay my bible at my head,' he says, 

' My chaunter at my feet, 
My bow and arrows by my side, 
And soundly I will sleep. 

7 * When you go home, brother,' he says, 

' My father will ask for me ; 
You may tell him I am in Saussif town. 
Learning my lesson free. 

8 * When you go home, brother,' he says, 

'My mother will ask for me; 
You may tell her I am in Sausaf town, 
And 1 '11 come home merrily. 

9 ' When you go home, brother,' he says, 

*Lady Margaret will ask for me; 
You may tell her I 'm dead and in 
grave laid. 
And buried in Sausaff toun.' 

10 She put the small pipes to her mouth. 

And she harped both far and near. 
Till she harped the small birds off the 
And her true love out of the grave. 

11 * What 's this ? what 's this, lady Mar- 

garet ? ' he says, 
' What's this you want of me ? ' 
' One sweet kiss of your ruby lips. 
That 's all I want of thee.' 

12 * My lips they are so bitter,' he says, 

' My breath it is so strong. 
If you get one kiss of my ruby lips. 
Your days will not be long.' 


This piece is transcribed three times in 
Herd's manuscripts, with a note prefixed in 
each instance that it was copied from the 
mouth of a milkmaid in 1771. In the first 
half of the story ' The Bonny Hind ' comes 
very near to the fine Scandinavian ballad of 
' Margaret ' (Grundtvig- and SigurSsson, No. 
14). The conclusions differ altog-ether. The 
story of Kullervo, incorporated in what is 

called the national epic of the Finns, the Ka- 
levala, has striking" resemblances with the bal- 
lads of the ' Bonny Hind ' class (Schiefner, runes 
35, 3G). 

' The Bonny Hyn,' Herd's MSS., ii, fol. 65. 
" Copied from the mouth of a milkmaid, by 
W. L., in 1771." 

1 O MAY she comes, and may she goes, 
Down by yon gardens green. 
And there she spied a gallant squire 
As squire had ever been. 


2 And may she comes, and may she 

Down by yon hollin tree. 
And there she spied a brisk young 
And a brisk young squire was he. 

3 ' Give me your green manteel, fair maid, 

Give me your maidenhead; 
Gif ye winna gie me your green manteel, 
Gie me your maidenhead.' 

4 He has taen her by the milk-white 

And softly laid her down. 
And when he 's lifted her up again 
Given her a silver kaim. 

5 ' Perhaps there may be bairns, kind 

Perhaps there may be nane; 
But if you be a courtier, 

You '11 tell to me your name.' 

6 ' I am nae courtier, fair maid. 

But new come frae the sea; 
I am nae courtier, fair maid. 
But when I court 'ith thee. 

7 ' Tliey call me Jack when I 'm abroad, 

Sometimes they call me Jolm; 
But when I 'm in ni}' father's bower 
Jock Bandal is my name.' 

8 ' Ye lee, ye lee, ye bonny lad, 

Sae loud 's I hear ye lee I 
Ffor 1 'm Lord Randal's yae daughter, 
He has nae mair nor me.' 

9 ' Ye lee, ye lee, ye bonny may, 

Sae loud 's I hear ye lee ! 
For I 'm Lord Randal's yae yae son, 
Just now come oer tlie sea.' 




10 She 's putteu her hand down by her 

And out she 's taen a knife, 
And she has putn't in her heart's 
And taen away her life. 

11 And he 's taen up his bonny sister, 

With the big tear in his een, 
And he has buried his bonny sister 
Amang the hollins green. 

12 And syne he 's hyed him oer the dale, 

His father dear to see: 
' Sing O and for my bonny hind, 
Beneath yon hoUin tree ! ' 

13 * What needs you care for your bonny 

For it you needna care; 
There 's aught score hyns in yonder 
And five score hyns to spare. 

14 ' Four score of them are siller-shod. 

Of thae ye may get three ; ' 
* But O and O for my bonny hyn. 
Beneath yon hollin tree ! ' 

15 ' What needs you care for your bonny 

For it you need na care; 
Take you the best, gi me the warst, 
Since plenty is to spare.' 

16 * I care na for your hyns, my lord, 

I care na for your fee; 
But O and O for my bonny hyn. 
Beneath the hollin tree ! ' 

17 ' O were ye at your sister's bower. 

Your sister fair to see, 
Ye '11 think na mair o your bonny 
Beneath the hollin tree.' 



First printed in Herd's Scottish Songs, 1776, 
and here given from his manuscript. 

' Lizie Wan,' Herd's MSS., I, 151 ; stanzas 1- 
3, II, p. 78. Herd's Scottish Songs, 1776, i, 91. 

1 Lizie Wan sits at her father's bower- 

Weeping and making a mane, 
And by there came her father dear: 
< What ails thee, Lizie Wan ? ' 

2 * I ail, and I ail, dear father,' she said, 

' And I '11 tell you a reason for why; 
There is a child between my twa sides, 
Between my dear billy and L' 

3 Now Lizie Wan sits at her father's 

Sighing and making a mane, 
And by there came her brother dear: 
' What ails thee, Lizie Wan ? ' 

4 * I ail, I ail, dear brither,' she said, 

* And I '11 tell you a reason for why; 
There is a child between my twa sides, 
Between you, dear billy, and I.' 

5 ' And hast thou tald father and mother 

o that ? 
And hast thou tald sae o me ? ' 
And he has drawn his gude braid sword, 
That hang down by his knee. 

6 And he has cutted aff Lizie Wan'shead, 

And her fair body in three. 
And he 's awa to his mothers bower, 
And sair aghast was he. 

7 ' What ails thee, what ails thee, Geordy 

Wan ? 
What ails thee sae fast to rin ? 
For I see by thy ill colour 

Some fallow's deed thou hast done.' 

8 ' Some fallow's deed I have done, moth- 

And I pray you pardon me; 
For I 've cutted aff my greyhound's head; 
He wadna rin for me.' 

9 ' Thy greyhound's bluid was never sae 

O my son Geordy Wan ! 
For I see by thy ill colour 

Some fallow's deed thou hast done.' 




10 * Some fallow's deed I hae done, moth- 

And I pray you pardon me; 
For I hae cutted aff Lizie Wan's 

And her fair body in three.' 

11 ' what wilt thou do when thy father 

comes hame, 
O my son Geordy Wan ? ' 

* I 'II set my foot in a bottomless boat. 

And swim to the sea-ground.' 

12 * And when will thou come hame again, 

O my son Geordy ^Yan ? ' 

* The sun and the moon shall dance on 

the green 
That niffht when I come hame.' 



At the beg-inning- of this ballad there is re- 
semblance to ' Tarn Lin ' (No. 3'.)) and to ' Hind 
Etiu' (No. 41). 

a. ' The King's Dochter Lady Jean,' Moth- 
erwell's MS., p. 057. From the recitation of 
Mrs Storie, Lochwinnieh. b. 'Lady Jean,' 
Motherwell's Minstrelsy, Appendix, p. xxi, 
No. xxui, one stanza (st. 1). 

1 The king's young dochter was sitting in 

her window, 
Sewing at her silken seam; 
She lookt out o the bow-window, 

And she saw the leaves growing 

green, my luve. 
And she saw the leaves growing 


2 She stuck her needle into her sleeve. 

Her seam down by her tae. 
And she is awa to the merrie green- 
To pu the nit and slae. 

3 She hadna pu't a nit at a', 

A nit but scarcely three, 
Till out and spak a braw young man, 
Saying, How daur ye bow the tree ? 

4 ' It 's I will pu the nit,' she said, 

* And I will bow the tree. 

And I will come to the merrie green wud. 
And na ax leive o thee.' 

5 He took her by the middle sae sma. 

And laid her on the gerss sae green, 
And he has taen his will o her, 
And he loot her up agen. 

6 ' Now syn ye hae got your will o me, 

Pray tell to me your name; 
For I am the king's young dochter,' she 
' And this nicht I daurna gang hame.' 

7 ' Gif ye be the king's young dochter,' 

he said, 

* I am his auldest son; 

I wish I had died on some frem isle, 
And never had come hame ! 

8 * The first time I came hame; Jeanie, 

Thou was na here nor bornj 
I wMsh my pretty ship had sunk, 
And 1 had been forlorn . 

9 * The neist time I came hame, Jeanie. 

Thou was sittin on the nourice knee; 
And I wish my pretty ship had sunk, 
And I had never seen thee ! 

10 * And the neist time I came hame, JeaniS; 

I met thee here alane; 
I wish my })retty ship had sunk. 
And I had neer come hame ! ' 

11 She pnt her hand down by her side. 

And doun into her spare, 
And she pou't out a wee pen-knife. 
And she wounded hersell fu sair. 

12 Hooly, hooly rase she up, 

And hooly she gade hame, 
Until she came to her father's parlour, 
And there she did sick and mane. 

13 * O sister, sister, raak my bed, 

O the clean sheets and strae, 
O sister, sister, mak my bed, 
Down in the parlour below.* 

14 Her father he came tripping down the 

His steps they were fu slow; 




* I think, I think, Lady Jean,' he said, 

• Ye 're lying far ower low.' 

15 ' O late yestreen, as I came hame, 

Down by yon castil wa, 
O heavy, heavy was the stane 
That on my briest did fa ! ' 

16 Her mother she came tripping doun the 

Her steps they were fu slow; 

• I think, I think, Lady Jean,' she 

' Ye 're lying far ower low.' 

17 ' O late yestreen, as I cam hame, 

Down by yon castil wa, 
O heavy, heavy was the stane 
That on my breast did fa ! ' 

18 Her sister came tripping doun the 

Her steps they were fu slow; 
*I think, I think. Lady Jean,' she said, 
' Ye 're lying far ower low.' 

19 * O late yestreen, as I cam hame, 

Doun by yon castil wa, 
O heavy, heavy was the stane 
That on my breast did fa ! ' 

20 Her brither he cam trippin doun the 

His steps they were fu slow; 
He sank hito liis sister's arms, 
And they died as white as snaw. 


Professor Child prints fifteen versions of this 
ballnd, all but one from Scotland. The story 
of Beichan agrees in the general outline and 
also in some details, with a well-known legend 
about Gilbert Beket, father of St Thomas. 
The earlier and more authentic biographies lack 
this particular bit of romance, but the legend 
nevertheless goes back to a date not much later 
than a century after the death of the saint, be- 
ing found in a poetical narrative preserved in 
a manuscript of about 1.300. That our ballad 
has been affected by the legend of Gilbert 
Beket is altogether likely. But the ballad is 
not derived from the legend. Stories and bal- 
lads of the general cast of ' Y(fcng Beichan ' 

are extremely frequent. The legend lacks 
some of the main points of these stories, and 
the ballad (in one version or another) has them. 
A number of heroes, — among them Henry of 
Brunswick, Alexander von Metz, and the Noble 
Moringer, go to the East and have adventures 
similar to Young Beichan's. Just as Susie 
Pye is warned that Beichan is to be married 
next day, and is conveyed to Beichan's hall with 
miraculous dispatch, so are Henry and others 
warned, and transported to their homes by 
devil, angel, or necromancer. Norse, Spanish, 
and Italian ballads likewise preserve a story 
essentially the same as that of 'Young Beichan.' 
It should also be compared with ' Hind Horn ' 
(No. 17). 

' Younjf Bicham,' Jamieson-Brown MS., p. 
13, c. 1783. 

1 In London city was Bicham born, 

He longd strange countries for to see, 
But he was taen by a savage Moor, 
Who handld him right cruely. 

2 For thro his shoulder he put a bore, 

An thro the bore has pitten a tree. 
An he 's gard him draw the carts o wine, 
Where horse and oxen had wont to be. 

3 He 's casten [liim] in a dungeon deep, 

Where he coud neither hear nor see; 
He 's shut him up in a prison strong. 
An he 's handld him right cruely. 

4 O this Moor he had but ae daughter, 

I wot her name was Shusy Pye; 
She 's doen her to the prison-house. 
And she 's calld Young Bicham one 
word by. 

5 ' O hae ye ony lands or rents. 

Or citys in your ain country, 
Coud free you out of prison strong, 
An coud mantain a lady free ? ' 

6 * O London city is my own. 

An other citys twa or three, 
Coud loose me out o prison strong. 
An coud mantain a lady free. 

7 O she has bribed her father's men 

Wi meikle goud and white money. 

She 's gotten the key o the prison doors, 

An she has set Youns: Bicham free. 




8 She 's gi'ii him a loaf o good white bread, 

But an a flask o Spanish wine, 
An she bad him mind on the ladie's love 
That sae kindly freed him out o pine. 

9 ' Go set 3'our foot on good ship-board. 

An haste you back to your ain country. 
An before that seven years has an end. 
Come back again, love, and marry me.' 

10 It was long or seven years had an end 

She longd fu sair her love to see; 
She 's set her foot on good ship-board, 
An turnd her back on her ain country. 

11 She 's saild up, so has she doun. 

Till slie came to the other side; 
She 's landed at Young Bicham's gates. 
An I hop this day she sal be his 

12 ' Is this Young Bicham's gates ? ' says 

* Or is that noble prince within ? ' 
* He 's up the stairs wi his bonny bride. 
An monny a lord and lady wi him.' 

13 ' O has he taen a bonny bride. 

An has he clean forgotten me ! ' 
An sighing said that gay lady, 
I wish I were in my ain country ! 

14 But she 's pitten her han in her pocket. 

An gin the porter guineas three; 
Says, Take ye that, ye proud porter. 
An bid the bridegroom speak to me. 

15 O whan the porter came up the stair. 

He 's fa'n low down upon his knee: 
' Won up, won up, ye proud porter, 
An what makes a' this courtesy ? ' 

16 ' O I 've been porter at your gates 

This mair nor seven years an three. 
But there is a lady at them now 
The like of whom I never did see. 

17 ' For on every finger she has a ring. 

An on the mid-tinger she has three, 
An there 's as meikle goud aboon her 
As woud buy an earldome o Ian to me.' 

18 Then up it started Young Bicham, 

An sware so loud by Our Lady, 

' It can be nane but Shusy Pye, 
That has come oer the sea to me.' 

19 O quickly ran he down the stair, 

fifteen steps he has made but three; 
He 's tane his bonny love in his arms. 
An a wot he kissd her tenderly. 

20 ' O hae you tane a bonny bride ? 

An hae you quite forsaken me ? 
An hae ye quite forgotten her 
That gae you life an liberty ? ' 

21 She 's lookit oer her left shoulder 

To hide the tears stood in her ee; 
*Now fare thee well, Young Bicham,' 
she says, 
' I '11 strive to think nae mair on thee.' 

22 ' Take back your daughter, madam,' he 


' An a double dowry I '11 gi her wi; 
For I maun marry my first true love. 
That 's done and suffered so much for 

23 He 's take his bonny love by the han. 

And led her to yon fountain stane; 
He 's changd her name frae Shusy Pye, 
An he 's cald her his bonny love, Ladj' 

' Young Bekie.' a. Jamieson-Brown MS., 
p. 11,0. 17S3. b. Jamieson's Popular Ballads, 
II, 127. 

1 Young Bekie was as brave a knight 

As ever saild the sea; 
An he 's doen him to the court of France, 
To serve for meat and fee. 

2 He had nae been i the court of France 

A twelvemonth nor sae long, 
Til he fell in love with the king's 
An was thrown in prison strong. 

3 The king he had but ae daughter, 

Burd Isbel was her name; 
An she has to the prison-house gane, 
To hear the prisoner's mane. 

4 * O gin a lady woud borrow me, 

At he^j^tirrup-foot I woud fin; 




Or gin a widow wad borrow me, 
1 woud swear to be her son. 

5 ' Or gin a virgin woud borrow me, 

I woud wed her wi a ring; 
I 'd gi her ha's, I 'd gie her bowers, 
The bonny towrs o Linne.' 

6 barefoot, barefoot gaed she but. 

An barefoot came she ben; 
It was no for want o hose an shoone. 
Nor time to put them on. 

7 But a' for fear that her father dear 

Had heard her making din: 
She 's stown the keys o the prison-house 
An latten the prisoner gang. 

8 O whan she saw him, Young Bekie, 

Her heart was wondrous sair ! 
For the mice but an the bold rottons 
Had eaten his yallow hair. 

9 She 's gien him a shaver for his beard, 

A comber till his hair, 
Five hunder pound in his pocket. 
To spen, an nae to spair. 

10 She 's gien him a steed was good in 

An a saddle o royal bone, 
A leash o hounds o ae litter, 
An Hector called one. 

11 Atween this twa a vow was made, 

'T was made full solemnly. 
That or three years was come an gane, 
Well married they shoud be. 

12 He had nae been in 's ain country 

A twelvemonth till an end. 
Till he 's f orcd to marry a duke's daugh- 
Or than lose a' his land. 

13 ' Ohon, alas ! ' says Young Beckie, 

' I know not what to dee ; 
For I canno win to Burd Isbel, 
And she kensnae to come to me.' 

14 O it fell once upon a day 

Burd Isbel fell asleep, 
An up it starts the Belly Blin, 
An stood at her bed-feet. 

15 -' O waken, waken, Burd Isbel, 

How [can] you sleep so soun. 
Whan this is Bekie's wedding day, 
An the marriage gain on ? 

16 ' Ye do ye to your mither's bowr, 

Think neither sin nor shame; 
An ye tak twa o your mither's marys, 
To keep ye frae thinking lang. 

17 ' Ye dress yoursel in the red scarlet, 

An your marys in dainty green. 
An ye pit girdles about your middles 
Woud buy an earldome. 

18 ' O ye gang down by yon sea-side, 

An down by yon sea-stran; 
Sae bonny will the Hollans boats 
Come rowin till your han. 

19 * Ye set your milk-white foot abord, 

Cry, Hail ye, Domine ! 

An I shal be the steerer o 't, 

To row you oer the sea.' 

20 She 's tane her till her mither's bowr, 

Thought neither sin nor shame, 
An she took twa o her mither's marys, 
To keep her frae thinking lang. 

21 She dressd hersel i the red scarlet. 

Her marys i dainty green, 
And they pat girdles about their mid- 
Woud buy an earldome. 

22 An they gid down by yon sea-side, 

An down by yon sea-stran; 
Sae bonny did the Hollan boats 
Come rowin to their han. 

23 She set her milk-white foot on board, 

Cried, Hail ye, Domine ! 
An the Belly Blin was the steerer o 't. 
To row her oer the sea. 

24 Whan she came to Young Bekie's gate, 

She heard the music play; 
Sae well she kent frae a' she heard. 
It was his wedding day. 

25 She 's pitten her han in her pocket. 

Gin the porter guineas three; 
* Hae, tak ye that, ye proud porter. 
Bid the bride-groom speake to me.* 




26 O whan that he cam up the stair, 
He fell low down on his knee: 
He haikl the king, an he haild 
An he haild him, Young Bekie. 


27 * O I 've been porter at your gates 

This thirty years an three; 
But there 's three ladies at them now, 
Their like I never did see. 

28 * There 's ane o them dressd in red scar- 


And twa in dainty green. 
An they hae girdles about their mid- 

Woud buy an earldome.' 

29 Then out it spake the bierly bride. 

Was a' goud. to the chin; 
*Giii she be braw without,' she says, 
' We 's be as braw within.' 

30 Then up it starts him. Young Bekie, 

An the tears was in his ee: 
« I '11 lay my life it 's Burd Isbel, 
Come oer the sea to me.' 

31 quickly ran he down the stair. 

An whan he saw 't was shee, 
He kindly took her in his arms, 
And kissd her tenderly. 

32 ' O hae ye forgotten. Young Bekie, 

The vow ye made to me. 
Whan I took you out o the prison 
Whan ye was condemnd to die ? 

33 * I gae you a steed was good in need, 

An a saddle o royal bone, 
A leash o hounds o ae litter, 
An Hector called one.' 

34 It was well kent what the lady said. 

That it wasnae a lee, 
For at ilka word the lady spake. 
The hound fell at her knee. 

3.5 ' Talc hame, tak hame your daughter 
A blessing gae her wi. 
For I maun marry my Burd Isbel, 
That 's come oer the sea to me.' 

36 * Is this the custom o your house 
Or the fashion o your lail, 
To marry a maid in a May mornin, 
An send her back at even ? ' 



The proper story of this highly popular 
carol is derived from the PstiuJo-Matthew's 
gospel, chapter xx. What, succieeds after A 9, 
B 8, is probably founded on the angel's words 
to the shepherds in Luke ii. and on Jesus's pre- 
dictions in the authentic gospels. 

a. ' Joseph was an old man,' Sandys, Christ* 
mas Carols, p. 123, West of England, b. 
Sandys, Christmastide, p. 241. 

1 Joseph was an old man, 

and an old man was he. 
When he wedded Mary, 
in the land of Galilee. 

2 Joseph and Mary walked 

through an orchard good. 
Where was cherries and berries, 
so red as any blood. 

3 Joseph and Mary walked 

through an orchard green. 
Where was berries and cherries, 
as thick as might be seen. 

4 O then bespoke Mary, 

so meek and so mild: 

* Pluck me one cherry, Joseph, 

for I am with child.' 

5 O then bespoke Joseph, 

with words most unkind: 

* Let him pluck thee a cherry 

that brought thee with child.* 

6 O then bespoke the babe, 

within his mother's womb: 

* Bow down then the tallest tree, 

for my mother to have some.' 

7 Then bowed down the highest tree 

unto his mother's hand; 




Then she cried, See, Joseph, 
I have cherries at comuiaud. 

8 then bespake Joseph: 

* I have done Mary wrong; 
But cheer up, my dearest, 
and be not cast down.' 

9 Then Mary plucked a cherry, 

as red as the blood. 
Then Mary went home 
with her heavy load. 

10 Then Mary took her babe, 

and sajt him on her knee, 

Saying-, My dear son, tell me 

what this world will be. 

11 * O I shall be as dead, mother, 

as the stones in the wall; 
the stones in the streets, mother, 
shall mourn for me all. 

12 ' Upon Easter-day, mother, 

my uprising shall be; 
O the sun and the moon, mother, 
shall both rise with me.' 

a. * The Cherry-Tree Carol,' Husk, Songs 
of the Nativity, p. 59, from a Worcester broad- 
side of the eigliteenth century, b. Hone's 
Ancient Mysteries, p. 90, from various copies. 
C. Sylvester, A Garland of Christmas Carols, 
p. 45. d. Birmingham chap-book, of about 
1843, in B. Harris Cowper's Apocryphal Gos- 
pels, p. xxxviii. 

1 Joseph was an old man, 

and an old man was he, 
And he married Mary, 
the Queen of Galilee. 

2 When Joseph was married, 

and Mary home had brought, 
Mary proved with child, 
and Joseph knew it not. 

3 Joseph and Mary walked 

through a garden gay, 
W^here the cherries they grew 
upon every tree. 

4 O then bespoke Mary, 

with words both meek and mild: 

* O gather me cherries, Joseph, 

they run so in my mind.' 

5 And then replied Joseph, 

with words so unkind: 
'Let him gather thee cherries 
that got thee with child.' 

6 O then bespoke our Saviour, 

all in his mother's womb: 

* Bow down, good cherry-tree, 

to my mother's hand.' 

7 The uppermost sprig 

bowed down to Mary's knees 

* Thus you may see, Joseph, 

these cherries are for me.' 

8 * O eat your cherries, Mary, 

O eat your cherries now; 
O eat your cherries, Mary, 
that grow upon the bough.' 

9 As Joseph was a walking, 

he heard an angel sing: 

* This night shall be born 

our heavenly king. 

10 * He neither shall be born 

in housen nor in hall. 
Nor in the place of Paradise, 
but in an ox's stall. 

11 * He neither shall be clothed 

in purple nor in pall, 
But all in fair linen, 
as were babies all. 

12 * He neither shall be rocked 

in silver nor in gold, 
But in a wooden cradle, 
that rocks on the mould. 

13 ' He neither shall be christened 

in white wine nor red, 
But with fair spring water, 

with which we were christened. 

14 Then Mary took her young son, 

and set him on her knee: 
*I pray thee now, dear child, 
tell how this world shall be.' 

15 * O I shall be as dead, mother, 

as the stones in the wall; 




O the stones in the street, mother, 
shall mourn for me all. 

16 * And upon a Wednesday 

my vow I will make, 

And upon Good Friday 

my death I will take. 

17 * Upon Easter-day, mother, 

my rising shall be; 
O the sun and the moon 
shall uprise with me. 

18 ' The people shall rejoice, 

and the birds they shall sing. 
To see the uprising 
of the heavenly king.' 


Mr Husk, who had access to a remarkably 
good collection of carols, had met with no 
copy of ' The Carnal and the Crane ' of earlier 
date than the middle of the eighteenth century. 
Internal evidence points us much further back. 
The carol had obviously been transmitted from 
mouth to mouth before it was fixed in its pre- 
sent incoherent and corrupted form by print. 
The well-informed Crane instructs his cate- 
chumen, the Crow, in several matters pertain- 
ing- to the birth and earliest days of Jesus : the 
Nativity, the conference of Herod with the 
Wise Men. including the miracle of the roasted 
cock ; the Flight into Egypt, with the Adora- 
tion of the Beasts and the Instantaneous Har- 
vest ; the Massacre of the Innocents. Of the 
apocryphal incidents, the miracle of the cock 
has been spoken of under ' Stephen and Herod ' 
(No. 22). The adoration of the beasts is de- 
rived from the Historia de Nativitate Mariae, 
etc. (Pseudo-Matthaei Evangelium), and is of 
course frequent in legendaries of the infancy 
of the Saviour, but is not remarkable enough 
to be popular in carols. The miraculous har- 
vest by which the Holy Family evaded Herod's 
pursuit, is, on the contrary, a favorite subject 
with popular poetry, as also, like the bowing 
of the palm-tree, with pictorial art. 

'The Carnal and the Crane.' a. Sandys, 
Christmas Carols, p. 152, Christmastide, p. 
246, from a broadside, b. Husk, Songs of 
the Nativity, p. 97, apparently from a Worces- 
ter broadside. C. Birmingham chap-book, of 
about 1843, in B. Harris Cowper's Apocry- 
phal Gospels, p. xli. 

1 As I passd by a river side, 

And there as I did reign, 
In argument I chanced to hear 
A Carnal and a Crane. 

2 The Carnal said unto the Crane, 

If all the world should turn, 
Before we had the Fatlier, 
But now we have the Son ! 

3 ' From whence does the Son come, 

From where and from what place ? ' 
He said. In a manger, 
Between an ox and ass. 

4 * I pray thee,' said the Carnal, 

' Tell me before thou go. 
Was not the mother of Jesus 
Conceivd by the Holy Ghost ? ' 

5 She was the purest virgin, 

And the cleanest from sin; 
She was the handmaid of our Lord 
And mother of our king. 

6 ' Where is the golden cradle 

That Christ was rocked in ? 
Where are the silken sheets 
That Jesus was wrapt in ? ' 

7 A manger was the cradle 

That Christ was rocked in: 
The provender the asses left 
So sweetly he slept on. 

8 There was a star in the east land. 

So bright it did appear, 
Into King Herod's cliamber, 
And where King Herod were. 

9 The W^ise Men soon espied it. 

And told the king on high 
A princely babe was born that night 
No king could eer destroy. 

10 ' If this be true,' King Herod said, 

' As thou tallest unto me, 
This roasted cock tl)at lies in the disb 
Shall crow full fences three.' 

11 The cock soon freshly featherd was. 

By the work of God's own hand. 
And then three fences crowed he, 
la the dish where he did stand. 




12 ' Rise up, rise up, you merry men all, 

See that you ready be ; 
All children under two years old 
Now slain they all shall be.' 

13 Then Jesus, ah, and Joseph, 

And Mary, that was so pure, 
They travelld into Egypt, 
As you shall find it sure. 

14 And when they came to Egypt's land, 

Amongst those fierce wild beasts, 
Mary, she being weary. 

Must needs sit down to rest. 

15 ' Come sit thee down,' says Jesus, 

* Come sit thee down by me. 
And thou shalt see how these wild 
Do come and worship me.' 

16 First came the lovely lion, 

Which Jesus's grace did bring. 
And of the wild beasts in the field 
The lion shall be king. 

17 We '11 choose our virtuous princes 

Of birth and high degree. 
In every sundry nation, 
Whereer we come and see. 

18 Then Jesus, ah, and Joseph, 

And Mary, that was unknown. 
They travelled by a husbandman, 
Just while his seed was sown. 

19 * God speed thee, man,' said Jesus, 

' Go fetch thy ox and wain, 
And carry home thy corn again 
Which thou this day hast sown.' 

20 The husbandman fell on his knees. 

Even upon bis face : 
* Long time hast thou been looked for. 
But now thou art come at last. 

21 * And I myself do now believe 

Thy name is Jesus called; 
Redeemer of mankind thou art, 
Though undeserving all.' 

22 ' The truth, man, thou hast spoken, 

Of it thou mayst be sure. 
For I must lose my precioiis blood 
Sgs thee and thousands more. 

23 * If any one should come this way, 

And enquire for me alone, 

Tell them that Jesus passed by 

As thou thy seed did sow.' 

24 After that there came King Herod, 

With his train so furiously. 
Enquiring of the husbandman 
Whether Jesus passed by. 

25 * Why, the truth it must be spoke. 

And the truth it must be known ^ 
For Jesus passed by this way 
When my seed was sown. 

26 ' But now I have it reapen, 

And some laid on my wain, 
Ready to fetch and carry 
Into my barn again.' 

27 * Turn back,' says the captain, 

* Your labor and mine 's in vain; 
It 's full three quarters of a year 
Since he his seed has sown.' 

28 So Herod was deceived. 

By the work of God's own hand, 
And further he proceeded 
Into the Holy Land. 

29 There 's thousands of children young 

Which for his sake did die; 
Do not forbid those little ones, 
And do not them deny. 

30 The truth now I have spoken. 

And the truth now I have shown j 
Even the Blessed Virgin 

She 's now brought forth a son. 


A ballet " of the Ryehe man and poor La- 
zarus " was licensed to Master John Wallye and 
Mistress Toye, 19 July, 1557-9 July ,1558. 
W. Pekerynge pays his license for printing 
" of a ballett, Dyves and Lazarus," 22 July, 
1570-22 July, 1571 (Arber, Registers of the 
Company of Stationers, I, 76, 436). A fiddler 
in Fletcher's Monsieur Thomas, printed 1639, 
says he can sing The merry ballad of Diverns 
and Lazarus (act iii, scene 3). 




' Dives and Lazarus.' a. Sylvester, A Gar- 
land of Christmas Carols, p. oO, from an old 
Birming-hara broadside, b. Husk, Sonj^s of the 
Nativity, p. 04, from a AVorcestershire broadside 
of the eighteenth century. 

1 As it fell out upon a day, 

Kich Dives lie niade a feast, 
And he invited all his friends, 
And gentry of the best. 

2 Then Lazarus laid him down and down. 

And down at Dives' door: 

* Some meat, some drink, brother Dives, 

Bestow upon the poor.' 

3 ' Thou art none of my brother, Lazarus, 

That lies begging at my door; 
No meat nor drink will I give thee. 
Nor bestow upon the poor.' 

4 Then Lazarus laid him down and down. 

And down at Dives's wall: 

* Some meat, some drink, brother Dives, 

Or with hunger starve I shall.' 

6 * Thou art none of my brother, Lazarus, 
That lies begging at my wall; 
No meat nor drink vtill I give thee, 
But with hunger starve you shall.' 

6 Then Lazarus laid him down and down. 

And down at Dives's gate: 

* Some meat, some drink, brother Dives, 

For Jesus Christ his sake.' 

7 ' Thou art none of my brother, Lazarus, 

That lies begging at my gate; 
No meat nor drink will 1 give thee, 
For Jesus Christ his sake.' 

8 Then Dives sent out his merry men, 

To whip poor Lazarus away; 
They had no power to strike a stroke, 
But flung their whips away. 

9 Then Dives sent out his hungry dogs, 

To bite him as he lay; 
They had no power to bite at all, 
B<it licked his sores away. 

10 As it fell out upon a day. 

Poor Lazarus sickened and died; 
Then came two angels out of heaven 
His soul therein to guide. 

11 * Rise up, rise up, brother Lazarus, 

And go along with me; 
For you 've a i)lace prepared in heaven, 
To sit on an angel's knee.' 

12 As it fell out upon a day. 

Rich Dives sickened and died; 
Then came two serpents out of hell, 
His soul therein to guide. 

13 * Rise up, rise up, brother Dives, 

And go with us to see 
A dismal place, prepared in hell. 
From which thou canst not flee.' 

14 Then Dives looked up with his eyes, 

And saw poor Lazarus blest: 
* Give me one drop of water, brother 
To quench my flannng thirst. 

15 ' Oh had I as many years to abide 

As there are blades of grass. 
Then there would be an end, but now 
Hell's pains will ne'er be past. 

16 ' Oh was I now but alive again, 

The space of one half hour ! 
Oh that I had my peace secure ! 

Then the devil should have no power.' 



The only version of * Brown Robyn's Con- 
fession ' is the one printed in Ballads of the 
North of Scotland, the copy in Motherwell's 
MS. having been derived from Buchan. The 
ballad celebrates a miracle of the Virgin, and 
is our only example of that extensive class of 
legends, unless we choose to include ' The 
Jew's Daughter ' (No. 155) and to take Robin 
Hood's view of the restoration of his loan, in 
the fourth Fit of the Little Gest (No. 117). A 
fine ballad very common in Sweden ('Sir Pe- 
der's Voyage '), and preserved by tradition also 
in Denmark and Norway, has the same story 
with a tragical termination for the hero, sav- 
ing a single instance, in which there is also a 
supernatural interference in his behalf. Com- 
pare also the throwing over of Bonnie Annie in 
No. 24. 

Buchan's Ballads of the North of Scotland, 
I, 110; Motherwell's MS., p. ObO. 




1 It fell upon a Wodensday 

Brown Robyn's men went to sea, 
But they saw neither moon nor sun, 
Nor starlight wi their ee. 

2 * We '11 cast kevels us amang, 

See wha the unhappy man may be; ' 
The kevel fell on Brown Ilobyn, 
The master-man was he. 

3 * It is nae wonder,' said Brown Robyn, 

* Altho I dinna thrive, 
For wi my mither I had twa bairns, 
And wi my sister five. 

4 * But tie me to a plank o wude, 

And throw me in the sea; 
And if I sink, ye may bid me sink, 
But if I swim, just lat me bee.' 

5 They 've tyed him to a plank o wude, 

And thrown him in the sea; 
He didna sink, tho they bade him sink; 
He swimd, and they bade lat him bee. 

6 He hadna been into the sea 

An hour but barely three, 
Till by it came Our Blessed Lady, 
Her dear young son her wi. 

7 * Will ye gang to your men again, 

Or v/ill ye gang wi me ? 
Will ye gang to the high heavens, 
Wi my dear son and me ? ' 

8 ' I winna gang to my men again, 

For they would be feared at mee; 
But I woud gang to the high heavens, 
Wi thy dear son and thee.' 

9 * It's for nae honour ye did to me. Brown 

It's for nae guid ye did to mee; 
But a' is for your fair confession 
You 've made upon the sea.' 


This ballad is one of many which were first 
made known to the world through Percy's 
Reliqaes. Percy's version remains, poetically, 
the best. It may be a fragment, but the imagi- 
nation easily supplies all that may be wanting. 

The versions fall into two classes. Of the 
copies here printed, A and B belong to the 
first group ; G belongs to the second, which 
is distinguished by additional circumstances. 
Thus in tlie second group the destination of 
the ship is Norway ; the object of the voyage 
(not told in G) is to bring home the king of 
Norway's daughter (or the ^Scottish king's 
daughter), or to take oiit the Scottish king's 
daughter to Norway, where she is to be queen. 
The ballad may or may not be historical. 
Motherwell has suggested a sufficiently plausi- 
ble foundation. Margaret, daughter of Alexan- 
der HI, was married, in 1281, to Eric, King of 
Norway. She was conducted to her husband, 
"brought home," in August of that year, by 
many knights and nobles. Many of these were 
drowned on the return voyage. Margaret died 
in 1283, leaving a newly-born daughter, to 
whom the crown of Scotland fell in 128(3. A 
match was proposed between the infant Mar- 
garet, called the Maid of Norway, and the eld- 
est son of Edward I of England. A deputation 
was sent to Norway in 1290 to bring the prin- 
cess over, but she died on the voyage. Ac- 
cording to one (untrustworthy) account she 
perished, apparently in a storm, on the coasts 
of Boghan (Buchan ?). No such name as Pat- 
rick Spens is historically connected with any 
of these occurrences ; but the ballad might 
be substantially historical though the com- 
mand of the ship were invariably given (as 
it is in one version) to Sir Andrew Wood, a 
distinguished admiral, who was born a couple 
of centuries after the supposed event, and it 
might be substantially historical though we 
could prove that Patrick Spens was only a ship- 
master, of purely local fame, who was lost off 
Aberdour a couple of hundred years ago. The 
question cannot be decided, and is of slight 

a. 'Sir Patrick Spence,' Percy's Reliques, 
1765, I, 71: "given from two MS. copies, trans- 
mitted from Scotland." b. 'Sir Andrew 
Wood,' Herd's Scots Songs, 1769, p. 243. 

1 The king sits in Dumferling tonne, 

Drinking the blude-reid wine: 

* O whar will I get guid sailor. 

To sail this schip of mine ? ' 

2 Up and spak an eldern knicht. 

Sat at the kings richt kne: 

* Sir Patrick Spence is the best sailor 

That sails upon the se.' 

3 The king has written a braid letter, 

And signd it wi his hand, 




And sent it to Sir Patrick Spence, 
Was walking on the sand. 

4 The first line that Sir Patrick red, 
A loud lauch lauched he; 
The next line that Sir Patrick red, 
The teir blinded his ee. 

6 * O wha is this has don this deid. 
This ill deid don to me, 
To send me out this time o' the yeir. 
To sail upon the se ! 

6 * Mak hast, raak haste, my mirry men all, 

Our guid schip sails the morne: ' 
* O say na sae, my master deir. 
For I feir a deadlie storme. 

7 * Late late yestreen I saw the new moone, 

Wi the auld moone in hir arme, 
And I feir, I feir, my deir master. 
That we will cum to harme.' 

8 O our Scots nobles wer richt laith 

To weet their cork-heild schoone; 
Bot lang owre a' the play wer playd, 
Thair hats they swam aboone. 

9 O lang, lang may their ladies sit, 

Wi thair fans into their hand. 
Or eir they se Sir Patrick Spence 
Cum sailing to the land. 

10 O lang, lang may the ladies stand, 

Wi thair gold kems in their hair. 
Waiting for thair ain deir lords. 
For they '11 se thame na mair. 

11 Haf owre, haf owre to Aberdour, 

It 's fif tie fadom deip, 
And thair lies guid Sir Patrick Spence, 
Wi the Scots lords at his feit. 

'Sir Patrick Spence,' Herd's MSS., ii, 27, 
I, 49. 

1 The king he sits in Dumferling, 

Drinking the blude reid wine: O 
* O where will I get a gude sailor, 
That '1 sail the ships o mine ? ' O 

2 Up then started a yallow-haird man, 

Just be the kings right knee: 

* Sir Patrick Spence is the best sailor 
That ever saild the see.' 

3 Then the king he wrote a lang letter, 

And sealld it with his hand, 
And sent it to Sir Patrick Spence, 
That was lyand at Leith Sands. 

4 When Patrick lookd the letter on, 

He gae loud laughters three; 
But afore he wan to the end of it 
The teir blindit his ee. 

5 * O wha is this has tald the king. 

Has tald the king o me ? 
Gif I but wist the man it war, 
Hanged should he be. 

6 ' Come eat and drink, my merry men all. 

For our ships maun sail the morn ; 
Bla 'd wind, bla 'd weet, bla 'd sna or sleet, 
Our ships maun sail tiie morn.' 

7 ' Alake and alas now, good master, 

For I fear a deidly storm; 
For I saw the new moon late yestreen, 
And the auld moon in her arms.' 

8 They had not saild upon the sea 

A league but merely three, 

When ugly, ugly were the jaws 

That rowd mito their knee. 

9 They had not saild upon the sea 

A league but merely nine, 
When wind and weit and snaw and sleit 
Came blawing them behind. 

10 * Then where will I get a pretty boy 

Will take my steer in hand, 
Till I go up to my tap-mast, 
And see gif I see dry land ?' 

11 ' Here am I, a pretty boy 

That '1 take your steir in hand, 
Till you go up to your tap-mast, 
And see an you see the land.' 

12 Laith, laith were our Scottish lords 

To weit their coal-black shoon; 
But yet ere a' the play was playd. 
They wat their hats aboon. 

13 Laith, laith war our Scottish lords 

To weit their coal-biack hair; 



But yet ere a' the play was playd, 

< Ye lie, ye lie, ye liars loud, 

They wat it every hair. 

Sae weel 's I hear you lie. 

14 The water at St Johnston's wall 


* For I brought as much white money 

Was fifty fathom deep, 

As will gain my men and me; 

And tiiere ly a' our Scottish lords, 

I brought half a fou o good red goud 

Sir Patrick at their feet. 

Out oer the sea with me. 

15 Lang, lang may our ladies wait 


* Be 't wind or weet, be 't snaw or 

Wi the tear blinding their ee. 


Afore they see Sir Patrick's ships 

Our ships maun sail the morn: ' 

Come sailing oer the sea. 

* ever alack ! my master dear, 
I fear a deadly storm. 

16 Lang, lang may our ladies wait, 

Wi their babies in their hands, 


' I saw the new moon late yestreen. 

Afore they see Sir Patrick Spence 

Wi the auld moon in her arm; 

Come sailing to Leith Sands. 

And if we gang to sea, master, 
I fear we '11 suffer harm.' 



They hadna sailed a league on sea, 

'Sir Patrick Spence,' Jamieson's Popular 

A league but barely ane, 

Ballads, i, 157, communicated by Scott. 

Till anchors brak, and tap-masts lap; 
There came a deadly storm. 

1 The king sits in Dunfermlin town, 

Sae merrily drinkin the wine: 


' Whare will I get a bonny boy 

* Whare will I get a mariner. 

Will tak thir sails in hand. 

Will sail this ship o mine ? ' 

That will gang up to the tap-mast, 
See an he ken dry land ? ' 

2 Then up bespak a bonny boy, 

Sat just at the king's knee: 


Laith, laith were our good Scots lords 

< Sir Patrick Spence is the best seaman, 

To weet their leathern shoon; 

That eer set foot on sea.' 

But or the morn at fair day-light. 
Their hats were wat aboon. 

3 The king has written a braid letter, 

Seald it wi his ain hand; 


Mony was the feather bed, 

He has sent word to Sir Patrick, 

That flotterd on the faem, 

To come at his command. 

And mony was the good Scots lord 
Gaed awa that neer cam hame, 

4 ' wha is this, or wha is that. 

And mony was the fatherless bairn 

Has tald the king o me ? 

That lay at hame greetin. 

For I was never a good seaman. 

Nor ever intend to be.' 


It 's forty miles to Aberdeen, 

And fifty fathoms deep; 

5 They mounted sail on Munenday morn. 

And there lyes a' our good Scots lords, 

Wi a' the haste they may. 

Wi Sir Patrick at their feet. 

And they hae landed in Norraway, 

Upon the Wednesday. 

16 The ladies crackt their fingers white, 

The maidens tore their hair, 

6 They hadna been a month, a month 

A' for the sake o their true loves. 

In Norraway but three. 

For them they neer saw mair. 

Till lads Norraway began to say, 

Ye spend a' our white monie. 


Lang, lang may our ladies stand, 
Wi their fans in their hand. 

7 ' Ye spend a' our good kingis goud, 

Ere they see Sir Patrick and his men 

But and our queenis fee: ' 

Come sailing to the land. 





This ballad, one of the most important of all 
that the Percy manuscript has saved from ob- 
livion, was first g-iven to the world in the Re- 
liques of Ancient English Poetry (ii, 48, ed. 
1705 ; II, 49, ed. 1767), with conjectural emen- 
dations by the editor, and the insertion of 
some stanzas to complete the story. A second 
version (B), very much humbled in diction, 
and otherwise corrupted, but of indubitable 
antiquity, as Scott remarks, was published in 
the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border in 1808. 
Tales of the same g-eneral description as this 
ballad are extremely often to be met with 
in ballad, romance, chronicle, or saga ; nor is 
the number small of those which have the 
special traits that the accusation is made by a 
trusted officer of the husband, who has at- 
tempted to seduce the lady, and has failed, 
ind that the wife is cleared by a judgment of 
God. Our ballad belong-s with a very distinct 
Scandinavian variety of these last, but has 
adopted one characteristic trait from another 
source. The Scandinavian ballad in question 
is ' Raveng-aard og Memering,' (Grundtvig, No. 
18), of which there are versions from Denmark, 
Iceland, and the Faroes, as well as a Norwegian 
prose redaction. 

A story essentially the same as that of the 
Eaglish and Scandinavian ballads is told by 
William of Malmesbury (De Gestis Regum 
Anglorum, ii, 12), of Gunhild, daughter of 
Cnut the Great and Emma, who was married 
in 1086 to King Henry, afterwards the Emperor 
Henry HI. William was apparently following 
ballad authority. Gunhild never had any 
trouble with her husband. The story was 
probably transferred to her from St Cunigund, 
the consort of the Emperor St Henry H, in 
whose legendary history there is a passage 
essentially similar. A still earlier instance is 
that of Gundeberg, wife of the Lombard king 
Arioald (about 630 A. D.). 

The incident of the leper, which does not 
occur in ' Ravengaard og Memering,' links the 
English ballad with the story of Oliva, or 
Sibilla, in the Charlemagne cycle (see the Karla- 
magnus Saga, linger, p. 51 ; the old French 
chanson de geste of Doon I'Alemanz, etc.). 
Compare also the Middle English romances 
Sir Triamour and The Erl of Tolous (the latter 
professedly a " lay of Britain"), and the old 
French romance of Joufrois. 

'Sir Aldingar,' Percy MS., p. 68; Hales 
and Fumivall, i, 166. 

1 Our king he kept a ffalse steward, 
Men called him Sir Aldingar. 

2 He wold haue layeu by our comely 

Herdeere worsliipp to haue betraide; 
Our queene shee was a good woman, 
And euer more said him nay. 

3 Aldingar was offended in his mind, 

With her hee was neuer content, 
But he sought what meanes he cold find 
In a fyer to haue her brent. 

4 There came a lame lazer to the kings 

A lazar was blind and lame; 
He tooke the lazar vpon his backe, 
Vpon the queenes bed he did him lay. 

5 He said. Lye still, lazar, wheras ihou 

Looke thou goe not away ; 
He make thee a whole man and a sound 
In two hovvres of a day. 

6 And then went forth Sir Aldingar, 

Our queene for to betray, 
And then he mett with our eomlye kinffy 
Sales, God you saue and see ! 

7 * If I had space, as I haue grace, 

A message I wold say to thee:* 
* Say on, say on. Sir Aldingar, 
Say thou on and vnto me.' 

8 ' I can let you now see one of [the] 

greiuos[est] sights 

That euer Christen king did see; 
Our queene hath chosen a new, new- 

She will haue none of thee. 

9 * If shee had chosen a right good knight, 

The lesse had beene her shame; 
But she hath chosen a lazar man, 
W^ich is both blinde and lame.' 

10 * If this be true, thou Aldingar, 
That thou dost tell to me. 
Then will I make thee a rich knight 
Both of gold and fee. 




11 ' But if it be false, Sir Aldiugar, 

That thou doest tell to me, 
Then looke for noe other death 

But to be hangd on a tree. 
Goe with me,' saide our comly ^ing, 

' This lazar for to see.' 

12 When the kin^ he came into the queenes 

Standing her bed befor, 
* There is a lodly lonie,' says Harry 

' For our dame Queene Elinor ! 

13 ' If thou were a man, as thou art none, 

Here thou sholdest be slaine; 
But a paire of new gallowes shall be built, 
Thoust hang on them soe hye. 

14 * And [a] fayre fyer there shalbe bett, 

And brent our queene shalbee : ' 
Fforth then walked our eomlye ki7ig, 
And mett with our comly queene. 

15 Saies, God you saue,our queene. Madam, 

And Christ you sane and see ! 
Heere you [haue] chosen a new, new 
And you will haue none of mee. 

16 ' If you had chosen a right good 'knight, 

The lesse had beene yoi^r shame; 
But you haue chosen a lazar man, 
That is both blind and lame.' 

17 ' Euer alacke ! ' said our comly queene, 

' Sir Aldingar is false to mee; 
But euer alacke ! ' said our comly queene, 
* Euer alas, and woe is mee ! 

18 * I had thought sweuens had neuer been 

I haue prooued them true at the last^ 
I dreamed in my sweauen on Thursday 

at eueninge, 
In my bed wheras I lay, 

19 ' I dreamed a grype and a grimlie beast 

Had carryed my crowne away, 

My gorgett and my kirtle of golde, 

And all my faire heade-geere. 

20 ' How he wold haue worryed me with his 

And borne me into his nest, 

Saving there came a little hawk, 
Flying out of the east. 

21 * Saving there came a little hawke, 

WAich men call a merlion; 
Vntill the ground he stroke him downe, 
That dead he did fall downe. 

22 ' Giffe I were a man, as I am none, 

A battell I would proue; 
I wold fight with that false traitor; 
Att him I cast my gloue ! 

23 * Seing I am able noe battell to make. 

You must grant me, my leege, a 
To fight with that traitor. Sir Aldingar, 
To maintaine me in my right.' 

24 *I'le giue thee forty dayes,' said our 

*To seeke thee a man therin; 
If thou find not a man in forty dayes, 
In a hott fyer thou shall brenn.* 

25 Our queene sent forth a messenger; 

He rode fast into the south; 
He rode the countryes through and 
Soe ffar vnto Portsmouth. 


He cold find never a man in the south 

That wold fight with the knight soe 

27 The second messenger the queen forth 

Rode far into the east; 
But, blessed be God made sunn and 

moone ! 
He sped then all of the best. 

28 As he rode then by one riuer side, 

There he mett with a little child; 
He seemed noe more in a mans likenesse 
Then a child of four yeeres old. 

29 He askt the queenes messenger how far 

he rode; 
Loth he was him to tell; 
The little one was offended att him, 
Bid him adew, farwell. 




30 Said, Turne thou agaiue, thou messenger, 

Greete our queeue well from me ; 
When bale is att hyest, boote is att next; 
Helpe enough there may bee. 

31 'Bid OUT queeue remember what she did 

In her bedd wheras shee lay; 
Shee dreamed the grype and the grimly 
Had carryed her crowne away; 

32 ' Her gorgett and her kirtle of gold, 

Alsoe her faire head-geere; 
He wold haue werryed her with his 
And borne her into his nest. 

33 ' Saving there came a little hawke, 

Men call him a merlyon; 
Yntill the ground he did strike him 
That dead he did ffall downe. 

34 ' Bidd the queene be merry att her hart, 

Euermore light and glad; 
When bale is att hyest, boote is at 
Helpe enoughe there shalbe.' 

35 Then the queenes messenger rode backe, 

A gladed man then was hee; 
When he came before our queene, 
A gladd woman then was shee. 

36 Shee gaue the messenger twenty pound, 

O lord, in gold and ffee; 
Saies, Spend and spare not while this 
doth last, 
Then feitch thou more of me. 

37 Our queene was put in a tunne to burne, 

She thought no thing but death; 
Tli^ were ware of the little one 
Came ryding forth of the east. 

38 With a mu 

A louelie child was hee; 
When he came to that fier. 
He light the queene full nigh. 

39 Said, Draw away these brands of fire 

Lie burning before our queene, 
And feitch me hither Sir Aldingar, 
That is a knight soe keene. 

40 When Aldingar see that little one, 

Ffull litle of him hee thought; 
If there had beene halfe a hundred such, 
Of them he wold not haue wrought. 

41 Hee sayd. Come hither. Sir Aldingar; 

Thou seemust as bigge as a ffooder; 
I trust to God, ere 1 haue done with 
God will send to vs [an] auger. 

42 Saies, The first stroke that 's giuen, Sir 

I will giue vnto thee. 
And if the second giue thou may, 
Looke than thou spare not mee. 

43 The litle one pulld forth a well good 

I-wis itt was all of guilt; 
It cast light there over that feild, 
It shone soe all of guilt. 

44 He stroke the first stroke att Aldingar, 

He stroke away his leggs by his knee; 

45 Sayes, Stand vp, stand vp, thou false 

And fight vpon thy feete; 
For and thou thriue ls thou begins, 
Of a height wee shalbe meete. 

46 * A preist, a preist,' sayes Aldingar, 

* Me for to houzle and shriue ! 
A preist, a preist,' sayes Aldingar, 

• While I am a man lining a-liue ! 

47 ' I wold haue laine by our comlie queene; 

To it shee wold neuer consent; 
I thought to haue betrayd her to our king, 
In a fyer to haue had her brent. 

48 ' There came a lame lazar to the kin^s 

A lazar both blind and lame; 
I tooke the lazar vpon my backe, 
In the Queenes bed I did him lay. 

49 * I bad him. Lie still, lazar, where he lay, 

Looke he went not away; 
I wold make him a whole man and a 
In two houres of a day. 





< Euer alacke ! ' sayes Sir Aldingar, 
'Falsing neuer doth well; 

51 ' Forgiue, forgiue me, quefene, Madam ! 

For Christs loue forgiue me ! ' 
'God forgaue his death, Aldingar, 
And freely I forgiue thee.' 

52 ' Now take thy wife, thou King Harry, 

And loue her as thou shold ; 
Thy wiffe shee is as true to thee 

As stone that lies on the castle 

53 The lazar vnder the gallow tree 

Was a pretty man and small; 
The lazar vnder the gallow tree 

Was made steward in King Henerys 

' Sir Hugh le Blond,' Minstrelsy of the Scot- 
tish Border, iil, 51, 1803. Communicated to 
Scott by K. Williamson Burnet, of Monboddo, 
as written down from the recitation of an old 
woman, long- in the service of the Arbuthnot 

1 The birds sang sweet as ony bell. 

The world had not their make; 
The queen she 's gone to her cham- 
With Rodingham to talk. 

2 ' I love you well, my queen, my dame, 

Bove land and rents so clear. 
And for the love of you, my queen, 
Would thole pain most severe.' 

3 * If well you love me, Rodingham, 

I 'm sure so do I thee; 
I love you well as any man, 
Save the king's fair bodye.' 

4 * I love you well, my queen, my dame, 

'Tis truth that I do tell; 
And for to lye a night with you, 
The salt seas I would sail.' 

5 * Away, away, O Rodingham ! 

You are both stark and stoor; 
Would you defile the king's own bed, 
And make his queen a whore ? 

6 * To-morrow you 'd be taken sure, 

And like a traitor slain. 
And I 'd be burned at a stake> 
Altho I be the queen.' 

7 He then steppd out at her room-door, 

All in an angry mood, 
Untill he met a leper-man. 
Just by the hard way-side. 

8 He intoxicate the leper-man. 

With liquors very sweet. 
And gave him more and more to drink. 
Until he fell asleep. 

9 He took him in his arms two, 

And carried him along, 
Till he came to the queen's own bed, 
And there he laid him down. 

10 He then steppd out of the queen's 

As swift as any roe. 
Till he came to the very place 
Where the king himself did go. 

11 The king said unto Rodingham, 

What news have you to me? 
He said, Your queen 's a false woman. 
As I did plainly see. 

1^2 He hastend to the queen's chamber. 
So costly and so fine. 
Until he came to the queen's own bed, 
Where the leper-man was lain. 

13 He looked on the leper-man. 

Who lay on his queen's bed; 
He lifted up the snaw-white sheets, 
And thus he to him said. 

14 ' Plooky, plooky are your cheeks, 

And plooky is your chin, 
And plooky are your armis twa. 
My bonny queen 's layne in. 

15 * Since she has lain into your arms, 

She shall not lye in mine; 
Since she has kissd your ugsome mouthy 
She never shall kiss mine.' 

16 In anger he went to the queen, 

Who fell upon her knee; 
He said, You false, unchaste woman, 
What 's this you 've done to me ? 



17 The queen then turnd herself about, 

The tear blinded her ee : 
* There 's not a knight in a' your court 
Dare give that name to me.' 

18 He said, 'T is true that I do say; 

For I a proof did make; 
You shall be taken from my bower, 
And burned at a stake. 

19 ' Perhaps I '11 take my word again. 

And may repent the same, 
If that you '11 get a Christian man 
To fight that Rodingham.' 

20 ' Alass ! alass ! ' then cried our queen, 

* Alas, and woe to me ! 
There 's not a man in all Scotland 
Will fight with him for me.' 

21 She breathed unto her messengers, 

Sent them south, east, and west; 
They could find none to fight with 
Nor enter the contest. 

22 She breathed on her messengers. 

She sent them to the north; 
And there they found Sir Hugh le 
To fight him he came forth. 

23 When unto him they did unfold 

The circumstance all right, 
He bade them go and tell the queen 
That for her he would fight. 

24 The day came on that was to do 

That dreadful tragedy; 
Sir Hugh le Blond was not come up. 
To fight for our lady. 

25 ' Put on the fire,' the monster said, 

' It is twelve on the bell; ' 
''Tis scarcely ten, now,' said the 
' I heard the clock mysell.' 

26 Before the hour the queen is brought. 

The burning to proceed; 
In a black velvet chair she 's set, 
A token for the dead. 

27 She saw the flames ascending high. 

The tears blinded her ee: 

' Where is the worthy knight,' she said, 
' Who is to fight for me ? ' 

28 Then up and spak the king himsell: 

* My dearest, have no doubt, 
For yonder comes the man himsel, 
As bold as eer set out.' 

29 They then advanced to fight the duel, 

With swords of temperd steel; 
Till down the blood of Rodingham 
Came running to his heel. 

30 Sir Hugh took out a lusty sword, 

'T was of the metal clear, 
And he has pierced Rodingham 
Till 's heart-blood did appear. 

31 ' Confess your treachery, now,' he said, 

' This day before you die ; ' 
' I do confess my treachery, 
I shall no longer lye. 

32 * I like to wicked Haman am. 

This day I shall be slain: ' 
The queen was brought to her chamber, 
A good woman again. 

33 The queen then said unto the king, 

Arbattle 's near the sea; 
Give it unto the northern knight, 
That this day fought for me. 

34 Then said the king. Come here, Sir 

And drink a glass of wine. 
And, if Arbattle 's not enough, 
To it we'll Fordoun join. 

' Sir Hug-h le Blond,' Dr. Joseph Robertson's 
Note-Book, January 1, 1830, p. 6. 

1 They 've putten her into prison Strang, 
A twalmon lang and mair, 
Until the mice and wild rottens 
Did tear her yallow hair. 

2 ' One shake o your han,' said Rodingham, 
' One shak o your han gie me: ' 
*I cam na here for shaking bans, 
But to fight maist desperatelie.' 




3 * It 's nae ten strucken on the clocks 
Nor eleven on the bell: ' 
* We '11 doe ill deeds anew ere night, 
Tho it were strucken twall.' 


' King" Estmere ' occurred at pag-e 249 of 
Percy's folio manuscript, but the three leaves 
on which it was written were '" unfortunately 
torn out " by Percy to send to the press, and 
the genuine form of the ballad was thereby put 
beyond recovery. 

We are told by Percy in a note to stanza 63, 
that though liberties have been taken with that 
portion of the ballad which follows, yet wher- 
ever the fourth edition differs from the pre- 
ceding ones it has been brought nearer to the 
folio. Some notes of readings of the folio 
are also furnished in the fourth edition (and are 
here restored) which were not given in the 
others. While we cannot but be vexed that 
so disting-uished a ballad, not injured much, so 
far as we can see, by time, should not come 
down to us as it came to Percy, our loss must 
not be exaggerated. The changes made by 
the editor, numerous enough, no doubt, cannot 
be very material until we approach the end. 
Stanzas 63-66 are entirely suspicious. 

' King Estmere ' resembles in a general way 
a series of German poems in which a young' 
king (or his guardians) is nice about a wife, 
and the princess proposed to him is won only 
with great difficulty : Ornit, Hugdietrich, Os- 
wald, Orendel, Dietwart (in Dietrichs Flucht). 
The names of Adler and Estmere appear again 
in a short romance in the Percy manuscript 
(Hales and Furnivall, n, 296), in which the 
story is that of Hugdietrich in the Helden- 

a. Percy's Reliques, ed. of 1794, i, 64. b. 
Edition of 1765, i, 58. 

1 Hearken to me, gentlemen, 

Come and you shall heare; 
He tell you of two of the boldest brether 
That ever borne were. 

2 The tone of them was Adler Younge, 

The totber was Kyng Estmere; 
The were as bolde men in their deeds 
As any were, farr and neare. 

3 As they were drinking ale and wine 

Within his brother's hall, 

* When will ye marry a wyfe, brother, 

A wyfe to glad us all ? ' 

4 Then bespake him Kyng Estmere, 

And answered him hartilye: 

* I know not that ladye in any land. 

That 's able to marrye with mee.* 

5 * Kyng Adland hath a daughter, bro- 

Men call her bright and sheene; 
If I were kyng here in your stead, 
That ladye shold be my queene.' 

6 Sales, Reade me, reade me, deare bro- 

Throughout merry England, 
Where we might find a messenger 
Betwixt us towe to sende. 

7 Sales, You shal ryde yourselfe, brother, 

He beare you companye; 
Many a man throughe fals messengers 
is deceived. 
And I feare lest soe shold wee. 

8 Thus the renisht them to ryde. 

Of twoe good renisht steeds. 
And when the came to King Adlands 
Of redd gold shone their weeds. 

9 And when the came to Kyng Adlands 


Before the goodlye gate. 
There they found good Kyng Adland 
Rearing hiraselfe theratt. 

10 * Now Christ thee save, good Kyng 

Now Christ you save and see: ' 
Sayd, You be welcome. King E&tmere, 
Right hartilye to mee. 

11 'You have a daughter,' said Adler 

* Men call her bright and sheene ; 
My brother wold marrye her to his 

Of Englande to be queene.' 

12 * Yesterday was att my deere daughtei. 

The king his sonue of Spayn, 
And then she nicked him of naye. 
And I doubt sheele do you the same. 




13 'The kyng of Spayne is afoule payuini, 

And 'leeveth on Mahound, 
And pitye it were that fayre ladye 
Shold marry a heathen hound.' 

14 ' But grant to me,' sayes Kyng Estmere, 

' For my love I you praye, 
That I may see your daughter deere 
Before I goe hence awaye.' 

15 * Although itt is seven yeers and more 

Since my daughter was in halle, 
She shall come once downe for your 
To glad my guestes alle.' 

16 Downe then came that mayden fayre, 

With ladyes laced in pall, 
And halfe a hundred of bold knightes, 

To bring her [from] bowre to hall, 
And as many gentle squiers, 

To tend upon them all, 

17 The talents of golde were on her head 

Hanged low downe to her knee, 
And everye ring on her small finger 
Shone of the chrystall free. 

18 Sales, God you save, my deere madam, 

Sales, God you save and see: 
Said, You be welcome, Kyng Estmere, 
Right welcome unto mee. 

19 * And, if you love me, as you saye, 

Soe well and hartilee. 
All that ever you are comen about 
Sooue sped now itt shal bee.' 

20 Then bespake her father deare: 

My daughter, I saye naye; 
Remember well the kyng of Spayne, 
What he sayd yesterdaye. 

21 ' He wold pull downe my halles and 

And reave me of my lyfe; 
I cannot blame him if he doe, 
If I reave him of his wyfe. 

22 * Your castles and your towres, father, 

Are stronglye built aboute. 
And therefore of the king his sonne of 
Wee neede not staude in doubt. 

23 * Plight me your troth, nowe, Kyng 

By heaven and your righte hand, 
That you will marrye me to your wyfe, 
And make me queene of your land.' 

24 Then Kyng Estmere he plight his 

By heaven and his righte hand. 
That he wolde marrye her to his wyfe, 
And make her queene of his land. 

25 And he tooke leave of that ladye fayre. 

To goe to his owne countree. 
To fetclie him dukes and lordes and 
That marryed the might bee. 

26 They had not ridden scant a myle, 

A myle forthe of the towne, 
But in did come the kyng of Spayne, 
With kempes many one. 

27 But in did come the kyng of Spayne, 

With manye a bold barone. 
Tone day to marrye Kyng Adlands 
Tother daye to carrye her home. 

28 Shee sent one after Kyng Estmere, 

In all the spede might bee. 
That he must either turne againe and 
Or goe home and loose his ladye. 

29 One whyle then the page he went, 

Another while he ranne; 
Till he had oretaken King Estmere, 
I-wis he never blanne. 

30 ' Tydings, ty dings, Kyng Estmere ! ' 

' What tydings nowe, my boye ? ' 
* O tydinges I can tell to you. 
That will you sore annoye. 

31 * You had not ridden scant a mile, 

A mile out of the towne, 
But in did come the kyng of Spayne, 
With kempes many a one. 

32 ' But in did come the kyng of Spayne, 

With manye a bold barone, 
Tone daye to marrye King Adlands 
Tother daye to carry her home. 




33 * My lad ye fay re she greetes you well, 

And ever-more well by raee; 
Yon must either turne agaiue and fighte, 
Or goe home and loose your ladye.' 

34 Sales, Reade nie,reade me,deere brother. 

My reade shall ryse at thee. 
Whether it is better to turne and fighte, 
Or goe home and loose my ladye. 

35 ' Now hearken to me,' sayes Adler 

' And your reade must rise at me; 
I quicklye will devise a waye 
To sette thy ladye free. 

36 * My mother was a westerne woman, 

And learned in gramarye. 
And when I learned at the schole. 
Something shee taught itt mee. 

37 'There growes an hearbe within this field, 

And iff it were but knowne, 
His color, which is whyte and redd. 
It will make blacke and browne. 

38 ' His color, which is browne and blacke, 

Itt will make redd and whyte ; 
That sworde is not in all Englande 
Upon his coate will byte. 

39 * And you shal be a harper, brother. 

Out of the north countrye. 
And He be your boy, soe faine of fighte. 
And beare your harpe by your knee. 

40 ' And you shal be the best harper 

That ever tooke harpe in hand. 
And I wil be the best singer 
That ever sung in this lande. 

41 ' Itt shal be written in our forheads^ 

All and in grammarye, 
That we towe are the boldest men 
That are in all Christentye.' 

42 And thus they renisht them to ryde, 

Of tow good renisht steedes. 
And when they came to King Adiands 
Of redd gold shone their weedes. 

43 And whan the came to Kyng Adiands 

Untill the fayre hall-yate, 

There they found a proud porter, 
Kearing himselfe thereatt. 

44 Sayes, Christ thee save, thou proud por- 

Sayes, Christ thee save and see: 

* Nowe you be welcome,' sayd the porter, 

' Of what land soever ye bee.' 

45 * Wee beene harpers,'sayd Adler Younge, 

' Come out of the northe countrye; 
Wee beene come hither untill this place 
This proud weddinge for to see.' 

46 Sayd, And your color were white and 

As it is blacke and browne, 
I wold sayeKing Estmere and his brother 
Were comen untill this towne. 

47 Then they pulled out a ryng of gold, 

Layd itt on the porters arme: 

* And ever we will thee, proud porter, 

Thow wilt saye us no harme.' 

48 Sore he looked on Kyng Estmere, 

And sore he handled the ryug, 
Then opened to them the fayre hall-yates, 
He lett for no kind of thyng. 

49 Kyng Estmere he stabled his steede 

Soe fayre att the hall-bord ; 
The froth that came from his brydle 
Light in Kyng Bremors beard. 

50 Sales, Stable thy steed, thou proud 

Sales, Stable him in the stalle; 
It doth not beseeme a proud harper 
To stable his steed in a kyngs halle. 

51 * My ladde he is so lither,' he said, 

' He will doe nought that 's meete; 
And is there any man in this hall 
Were able him to beate ? ' 

52 ' Thou speakst proud words,' sayes the 

king of Spaine, 
' Thou harper, here to mee ; 
There is a man within this halle 
Will beate thy ladd and thee. 

53 ' O let that man come downe,' he said, 

' A sight of him wold I see; 




And when hee hath beaten well my ladd, 
Then he shall beate of rnee.' 

54 Downe then came the kemperye man, 
And looked him in the eare; 
For all the gold that was under hea- 
He durst not neigh bim neare. 

65 * And how nowe, kempe,' said the kyng 
of Spaine, 

* And how, what aileth thee ? ' 
He sales, It is wntt in his forhead, 

All and in gramarye, 
That for all the gold that is under 
I dare not neigh him nye. 

56 Then Kyng Estmere pulld forth his 

And plaid a pretty thinge; 
The ladye upstart from the horde, 
And wold have gone from the king. 

57 * Stay thy harpe, thou proud harper, 

For Gods love I pray thee ; 
For and thou playes as thou beginns, 
Thou 'It till my bryde from mee.' 

58 He stroake upon his harpe againe, 

And playd a pretty thinge; 
The ladye lough a loud laughter, 
As shee sate by the king. 

59 Sales, Sell me thy harpe, thou proud 

And thy stringes all; 
For as many gold nobles thou shalt have, 
As heere bee ringes in the hall. 

60 ' What wold ye doe with my harpe,' he 


* If I did sell itt yee ? ' 

* To playe my wiffe and me a fitt. 
When abed together wee bee.' 

61 * Now sell me,' quoth hee, ' thy bryde 

soe gay, 
As shee sitts by thy knee; 
And as many gold nobles I will give 
As leaves been on a tree.' 

62 * And what wold ye doe with my bryde 

soe gav, 
Ife I did sell her thee ? 

More seemelye it is for her fayre bodye 
To lye by mee then thee.' 

63 Hee played agayne both loud and shrille, 

And Adler he did syng, 
* O ladye, this is thy owne true love, 
Noe harper, but a kyng. 

64 * O ladye, this is thy owne true love. 

As playnlye thou mayest see, 
And He rid thee of that foule paynim 
Who partes thy love and thee.' 

65 The ladye looked, the ladye blushte. 

And blushte and lookt agayne. 
While Adler he hath drawne his brande, 
And hath the sowdan slayne. 

66 Up then rose the kemperye men. 

And loud they gan to crye: 
''Ah ! tray tors, yee have slayne our 
And therefore yee shall dye.' 

67 Kyng Estmere threwe the harpe asyde, 

And switli he drew his brand, 

And Estmere he and Adler Yonge 

Right stiffe in stour can stand. 

68 And aye their swordes soe sore can byte, 

Throughe help of gramarye, 
That soone they have slayne the kem- 
pe ry men. 
Or forst them forth to flee. 

69 Kyng Estmere tooke that fayre ladye, 

And marryed her to his wiffe. 
And brought her home to merry Eng-' 
With her t^ lead his life. 


The copy of this ballad in the Percy manu- 
script, the only one known to exist, shows very 
great carelessness on the part of the tran- 
scriber, or of some predecessor. It begins 
with two stanzas, which manifestly belong to 
an historical ballad, and have only a verbal 
connection with what follows. There is a 
larfje omission after the 125th verse (the 28th 
stanza as here printed), though the writmg is 
c-jntinuous. There are also several difficult or 




unintelligible passages, even more than are 
usually met with in this manuscript. As 
published in the Keliqiies of Ancient Eng- 
lish Poetry, ' Sir Cawline ' is extended to nearly 
twice the amount of what is found in the 
manuscript, and a tragical turn is forced upon 
the story. 

' Sir Cawline ' may possibly be formed upon 
a romance in stanzas which itself was composed 
from earlier ballads. The first adventure re- 
sembles one in the romance of Eger, Grime and 
Gray-Steel. Gervase of Tilbury has a story of 
an ancient entrenchment in the bishopric of Ely, 
where anybody could have a passage at arms 
with an unearthly warrior, by moonlight only, 
by simply calling out, " Come, knight, and meet 
knight." Scott has introduced a spectral com- 
bat of this sort into his Marmion, Canto iii, 
sts. 23-25. Cf. also the Old French Lai de 
r Espine, wrongly ascribed to Marie de France. 
There is a close resemblance between ' Sir 
Cawline ' and the story of Sir Eglamour (Thorn- 
ton Romances, p. 121 ; Percy MS., Hales and 
Furnivall, 11, o41). 

Percy MS., p. 368 ; Hales and Furnivall, 

1 And in that land dwells a king 

Which does beare the bell oner all, 
And with him there dwelled a curteous 
Sir Cawline men him call. 

2 And he hath a ladye to his daughter, 

Of ffashyon shee hath noe peere; 
Knights and lordes they woed her both. 
Trusted to haue beene her feere. 

3 Sir Cawline lones her best of one. 

But nothing durst hee say 
To discreeue his conncell to noe man. 
But deerlye loued this may. 

4 Till itt beffell vpon a day. 

Great dill to him was dight; 
The maydens loue renioued his mind, 
To care-bed went the knight. 

5 And one while he spread his armes him 

And cryed soe pittyouslye: 
* Ffor the maydens loue that I haue 

most minde 
This day may comfort mee, 

Or else ere noone I shalbe dead ' 
Thus can Sir Cawline say. 

6 When our parish masse that itt was 

And our king was bowne to dine, 
He sayes, Where is Sir Cawline, 

That was wont to serue me with ale 

and wine ? 

7 But then answered a curteous knightj 

Ffast his hands wringinge: 
' Sir Cawline 's sicke, and like to be dead 
Without and a good leedginge.' 


8 * Ffeitch yee downe my daughter deere, 

Shee is a leeche ffull ffine; 
I, and take you doe and the baken 

And drinke he on the wine soe red, 
And looke no daynti is ffor him to deare, 

For ffuU loth I wold him tine.' 

9 This ladye is gone to his chamber, 

Her maydens ffollowing nye; 
* O well,' shee sayth, ' how doth my 
lord ? ' 
* O sicke ! ' againe saith hee. 

10 * I, but rise vp wightlye, man, for 

shame ! 
Neuer lye here soe cowardlye ! 
Itt is told in my ffathers hall, 
Ffor my loue you will dye.' 

11 *Itt is ffor jouT lone, ffayre ladye, 

That all this dill I dr^^e; 
Ffor if you wold comfort me with a kisse. 
Then were I brought ffrom bale to blisse, 

Noe longer here wold I lye.' 

12 * Alas ! soe well you know, Sir kni^^t,' 


I cannott hee yowr peere: 
* Ffor some deeds of armes tfaine wold 
I doe. 
To be your bacheeleere.* 

14 'Vpon Eldrige Hill there growes a 
Vpon the mores brodinge; 




And wold you, sir knight, wake there 
all night 
To day of the other morninge ? 

15 ' Ffor the eldrige king, that is mickle of 

Will examine you beforne; 
And there was ueuer man that bare his 

liffe away 
Since the day that I was borne.' 

16 * But T will ffor your sake, ffaire ladye, 

Walke on the bents [soe] browne, 
And He either bring you a readye token, 
* Or He neuer come to you againe.' 

17 But this ladye is gone to her chamber, 

Her maydens ffollowing bright. 
And Sir Cawlin 's gone to the mores soe 
Ffor to wake there all night. 

18 Vnto midnight [that] the moone did 

He walked vp and downe, 
And a lightsome bugle then heard he 
Ouer the bents soe browne; 
Saies hee, And if cryance come vntill my 
I am ffarr ffrom any good towne. 

19 And he spyed, ene a litle him by, 

A fPuryous king and a ffell. 
And a ladye bright his brydle led, 
That seemlye itt was to see. 

20 And soe fast hee called vpon Sir Caw- 

Oh man, I redd the fflye ! 
Ffor if cryance come vntill thy hart, 
I am a-feard least thou mun dye. 

21 He sayes, [No] cryance comes to my 


Nor ifaith I ffeare not thee; 
Ffor because thou minged not Christ be- 

Thee lesse me dreadeth thee. 

22 But Sir Cawline he shooke a speare; 

The k'mg was bold, and abode; 
And the timber these two children 
Soe soone in sunder slode; 

Ffor they tooke and two good swords, 
And they layden on good loade. 

23 But the elridge king was mickle of 

And stiffly to the ground did stand ; 
But Sir Cawline, with an aukeward 
He brought ffrom him his hand, 
I, and ffiying ouer his head soe bye, 
[It] ffell downe of that lay land. 

24 And his lady stood a litle thereby, 

Ffast ringing her hands: 
' For the maydens loue t^at you haue 
most minde, 
Smyte you my lord no more. 

25 'And hees neuer come vpon Eldrige 

Him to sport, gamon, or play. 
And to meete noe man of middle-earth 
And that lines on Christs his lay.' 

26 But he then vp and that eldryge king, 

Sett him in his sadle againe. 
And that eldryge king and his ladye 
To their castle are they gone. 

27 And hee tooke then vp and that eldryge 


As hard as any fflynt, 
And soe he did those ringes fine, 
Harder then ffyer, and brent. 

28 Ffirst he presented to the km^s daughter 

The hand, and then the sword. 

29 ' But a serre buffett you haue him giuen. 

The king and the crowne,' shee sayd: 
* I, but four and thirty stripes 
Comen beside the rood.' 

30 And a gyant that was both stiffe [and] 

He lope now them amonge, 
And vpon his squier fine heads he bare, 
Vnmackley made was hee. 

31 And he dranke then on the km^^s wine, 

And hee put the cup in his sleeue, 




And all thd trembled and were wan, 
Ffor feare he shold them greeffe. 

32 * He tell thee mine arrand, king,' he 


* Mine errand what I doe heere; 
Ffor I will bren thy temples hye, 

Or He haue thy daughter deere; 
I, or else vpon yond more soe brood 

Thou shalt ffind mee a ppeare.' 

33 The king he turned him round about, 

hord, in his heart he was woe ! 
Says, Is there noe knight of the Round 
This matter will vndergoe ? 

S4 ' I, and hee shall haue my broad lands. 
And keepe them well his Hue; 
I, and soe hee shall my daughter deere, 
To be his weded wiffe.' 

35 And then stood vp Sir Cawline, 

His owne errand fPor to say: 
' Ifaith, I wold to God, Sir,' sayd Sir 
' That soldan I will assay. 

36 * Goe ffeitch me downe my eldrige 


Ffor I woone itt att ffray : ' 
' But away, away ! ' sayd the hend sol- 

' Thou tarryest mee here all day ! ' 

37 But the hend soldan and Sir Cawline 

Thd ffonght a summers day; 
Now has hee slaine that hend soldan, 
And brought his fine heads away. 

38 And the kijig has betaken him his broade 

And all his venison; 

39 ' But take you doo and yowr lands [soe] 

And brooke them well yowr liffe; 
Ffor you promised mee yowr daughter 

To be my weded wiffe.' 

40 ' Now by my ffaith,' then sayes our king, 

^ Ffor that wee will not striffe, 

Ffor thou shalt haue my daughter dere, 
To be thy weded wiffe.' 

41 The other morninge S/r Cawline rose 

By the dawning of the day, 
And vntill a garden did he goe 

His mattins ffor to say; 
And that bespyed a ffalse steward, 

A shames death that he might dye ! 

42 And he lett a lyon out of a bande, 

Sir Cawline ffor to teare; 
And he had noe wepon him vpon, 
Nor noe wepon did weare. 

43 But hee tooke then his mantle of greene, 

Into the lyons mouth itt thrust; 
He held the lyon soe sore to the wall 
Till the lyons hart did burst. 

44 And the watchmen cryed vpon the walls 

And sayd, * Sir Cawline 's slaine ! 
And With a beast is not ffuU litle, 

A lyon of mickle mayne: ' 
Then the kings daughter shee ffell 

* For peerlesse is my payne 1 * 

45 * O peace, my lady ! ' sayes Sir CaW' 

*I haue bought thy lone ffull deere; 
O peace, my lady ! ' sayes Sir Cawline, 
' Peace, lady, ffor I am heere ! ' 

46 Then he did marry this km^s daughter, 

With gold and sihxer bright. 
And fiftene sonnes this ladye beere 
To Sir Cawline the knight. 



A and B were not printed till the beginning 
of the nineteenth century. A was obtained 
*' chiefly from the recitation of an old woman,'' 
but we are not informed who supplied the rest. 
A fragment (D) printed by Herd in 1769 (be- 
fore any of the nine other versions), furnished 
stanzas 2-6, 12, 17, 19. A doubt may be haz- 
arded whether stanzas 8-10 came from the old 

The Scandinavian ballad of * Fair Annie ' 
(Grundtvig, No. 258) is preserved in Danish 
and Swedish, and is in the main identical in 




plot with the English. It was perhaps trans- 
mitted from Low German. Various Dutch and 
German versions are also preserved. The story 
is also told in the Lai del Fresne of Marie de 
France (about 1180). Tliis tale, of Breton ori- 
gin, is some four hundred years older than any 
manuscript of the ballad. Comparison, how- 
ever, sliows that it is not the source either of the 
Eng'lish or of the Low German and Scandina- 
vian ballad. The tale and the ballad liave a 
common source, which lies too far back for us 
to find. 

' Lord Thomas and Fair Annie,' Minstrelsy 
of the Scottish Border, ir, 102, 1802, chiefly 
from the recitation of an old woman residing 
near Kirkhill, in West Lothian. 

1 * It 's narrow, narrow, make your bed, 

And learn to lie your lane; 
For I 'm ga'n oer the sea. Fair Annie, 

A braw bride to bring hame. 
Wi her I will get gowd and gear; 

Wi you I neer got nane. 

2 * But wha will bake my bridal bread, 

Or brew my bridal ale ? 
And wlia will welcome my brisk bride, 
That I bring oer the dale ? ' 

3 * It 's I will bake your bridal bread, 

And brew your bridal ale. 
And I will welcome your brisk bride, 
That you bring oer the dale.' 

4 'But she that welcomes my brisk 

Maun gang like maiden fair; 
She man a lace on her robe sae jimp. 
And braid her yellow hair.' 

5 'But how can I gang maiden-like, 

When maiden I am nane ? 
Have I not born seven sons to thee, 
And am with child again ? ' 

6 She 's taen her yonng son in her arms, 

Another in her hand, 
And she 's up to the highest tower, 
To see liim come to land. 

7 * Come up, come up, my eldest son, 

And look oer yon sea-strand. 
And see your father's new-come bride, 
Before she come to land.' 

8 ' Come down, come down, my mother 

Come frae the castle wa ! 
I fear, if langer je stand there. 
Ye '11 let yoursell down fa.' 

9 And she gaed down, and farther down, 

Her love's ship for to see. 
And the topmast and the mainmast 
Shone like the silver free. 

10 And she 's gane down, and farther down, 

The bride's ship to behold. 
And the topmast and the mainmast 
They shone just like the gold. 

11 She 's taen her seven sons in her band, 

I wot she didna fail; 
She met Lord Thomas and his bride, 
As they came oer the dale. 

12 'You're welcome to your house, Lord 

You 're welcome to your land; 
You 're welcome with your fair ladye, 
That you lead by the hand. 

13 * You 're welcome to your ha's, ladye, 

You 're welcome to your bowers; 
You 're welcome to your hame, ladye. 
For a' that 's here is yours.' 

14 'I thank thee, Annie; I thank thee, 

Sae dearly as I thank thee; 
You 're the likest to my sister Annie, 
That ever I did see. 

15 ' There came a knight out oer the sea, 

And steald my sister away; 
The shame scoup in his company, 
And land whereer he gae ! ' 

16 She hang ae napkin at the door. 

Another in the ha, 
And a' to wipe the trickling tears, 
Sae fast as they did fa. 

17 And aye she served the lang tables. 

With white bread and with wine, 
And aye she drank the wan water. 
To had her colour fine. 

18 And aye she served the lang tables, 

With white bread and with brown; 




And ay she turned her round about, 
Sae fast the tears fall down. 

19 And he 's taen down the silk napkin, 

Hung on a silver pin, 
And aye he wipes the tear trickling 
A' down her cheik and chin. 

20 And aye he turn'd him round about, 

And smil'd amang his men; 
Says, Like ye best the old ladye, 
Or her that 's new come hame ? 

21 When bells were rung, and mass was 

And a' men bound to bed, 
Lord Thomas and his new-come bride 
To their chamber they were gaed. 

22 Annie made her bed a little forbye, 

To hear what they might say; 
* And ever alas ! ' Fair Annie cried, 
' That I should see this day ! 

23 *Gin my seven sons were seven young 

Running on the castle wa. 
And I were a grey cat mysell, 
I soon would worry them a'. 

24 ' Gin my seven sons were seven young 

Running oer j'^on lilly lee, 
And I were a grew hound mysell, 
Soon worried they a' should be.' 

25 And wae and sad Fair Annie sat. 

And drearie was her sang. 
And ever, as she sobbd and grat, 

' Wae to the man that did the wrang ! ' 

26 * My gown is on,' said the new-come 

* My shoes are on my feet. 
And I will to Fair Annie's chamber, 
And see what gars her greet. 

27 ' What ails ye, what ails ye, Fair 

That ye make sic a moan ? 
Has your wine barrels cast the girds, 
Or is your white bread gone ? 

28 * wha was 't was your father, Annie, 

Or wha was 't was your mother ? 

And had ye ony sister, Annie, 
Or had ye ony brother ? ' 

29 * The Earl of Wemyss was my father. 

The Countess of Wemyss my mother; 
And a' the folk about the house 
To me were sister and brother.' 

30 * If the Earl of Wemyss was your father, 

I wot sae was he mine; 
And it shall not be for lack o gowd 
That ye your love sail tine. 

31 ' For I have seven ships o mine ain, 

A' loaded to the brim, 
And I will gie them a' to thee, 

Wi four to thine eldest son: 
But thanks to a' the powers in heaven 

That I gae maiden hame ! ' 

' Biird Helen,' Jamieson's Popular Ballads, 
II, 376, from the recitation of Mrs Arret, of 

1 There livd a lord on yon sea-side, 

And he thought on a wile, 
How he would go over the saut sea 
A lady to beguile. 

2 * O learn to mak your bed, Helen, 

And learn to ly your lane, 
For I 'm gaun over the saut seas 
A bright bride to bring hame.' 

3 ' How can I mak my bed,' she says, 

* Unless I mak it wide, 
Whan I have seven o your sons 
To lie down by my side ? 

4 * And the first o your seven sons, 

He rides a milk-white steed; 
The second o your seven sons 
He wears a milk-white weed. 

5 * The third ane o your seven sons, 

He draws baith ale and wine; 

The fourth ane o your seven sons, 

He serves you when you dine. 

6 * The fifth ane o your seven sons, 

He can baith read and write; 
And the sixth ane o your seven sons, 
He is a' your heart's delight. 




7 ' And the youngest o your seven sons, 

He sleeps on my breast-bane; 
Whan him and I ly down at night, 
For him rest get I nane.' 

8 ' O vvha will bake my bridal bread. 

And brew my bridal ale ? 
And wha will welcome my gae lady. 
That I bring oer the dale ? 

9 'And sin ye Ve taeu the turn in hand, 

See that ye do it right, 
And ilka chimly o the house. 
That they be dearly dight.' 

10 O a' the day she washd and wrang. 

And a* the night she bulk, 

And she 's awa to her chamber, 

To gie her young son suck. 

11 ' Come iiere, come here, my eldest son, 

And see what ye may see; 
For yonder comes your father dear. 
Your mother-in-law side be.' 

12 She 's taeu a cake o the best bread, 

A bottle o the best wine, 
And a' the keys upon her arm. 
And to the yates she 's gaen. 

13 ' Ye are welcome hame, gay lady,' she 


* And ay ye are welcome hame; 
And sae is a' the gentlewomen 

That 's wi you ridden and gane. 

14 * You are welcome hame, gay lord,' she 


* And ay ye are welcome hame; 
And sae is a' the gentlemen 

That 's wi you ridden and gane.' 

15 She saird them up, she sairdthem down, 

She saird them till and frae; 
But when she went behind their backs, 
The tear did blind her ee. 

16 Whan day was gane, and night was 

And a' man boun to bed. 
The bridegroom and the bonny bride 
In their chamber was laid. 

17 Burd Helen and her seven sons 

Lay in a bower near by; 

18 * If my seven sons were seven grey ratts, 

To rin frae wa to wa, 
And I mysel a good grey cat, 
I would bite their back a-twa. 

19 ' If my seven sons were seven grey hares. 

And them to rin a race, 
And I mysel a good greyhound, 
I would gie them a chace.' 

20 Up and spak the bonny bride. 

In chamber where she lay: 

' There is a lady in this bower, 

She will gae mad or day.' 

21 * Lye still, lye still, my bonny bride. 

Lie still and tak a sleep; 
It 's but ane o my wine puncheons; 
Nae langer wad it keep.' 

22 * King Henry was ray father dear, 

Queen Catherine was my mother, 
Lady Anne she was my sister dear. 
And Frederick was my brother. 

23 ' And whan I was six years of age. 

They ca'd me Mary Mild; 
I was stown frae my father's yate. 
Whan I was but a child.' 

24 Then up and spak the bonny bride, 

By her lord as she lay: 
*Lye down, lye down, my dear sister, 
There 's nae ill done for me. 

25 * O seven ships conveyd me here. 

And seven came oer the main; 
And four o them shall stay wi you. 
And three convey me hame. 

26 ' But when I gae hame to my father's 

They will laugh me to scorn. 
To come awa a wedded wife, 
Gae hame a maid the morn.' 

' Lady Jane,' Jamieson-Brown MS., p. 20 ; 
Jamieson's Popular Ballads, 11, 371. 

1 ' O WHA will bake my bridal bread, 
And brew my bridal ale ? 




Wlia will welcome my bright bride, 
That I bring oer the dale ? ' 

2 ' O I will bake your bridal bread, 

An brew your bridal ale; 
An I will welcome your bright bride, 
That you bring oer the dale.' 

3 ' O she that welcomes my bright bride 

Maun gang like maiden fair; 
She maun lace her in her green cloathin, 
And braid her yallow hair.' 

4 ' O how can I gang maiden like. 

Whan maiden 1 am nane ? 
Whan I ha born you seven sons. 
An am wi bairn again ? ' 

5 The lady stood in her bowr door 

An lookit oer the Ian, 
An there she saw her ain good lord. 
Leadin his bride by the han. 

6 She 's dressd her sons i the scarlet 

Hersel i the dainty green, 
An tho her cheek lookd pale and wan, 
She well might ha been a queen. 

7 She calld upon her eldest son: 

'Look yonder what you see; 
For yonder comes your father dear. 
Your step-mother him wi. 

8 * O you 'r welcome hame, my ain good 

To your ha's but an your bowrs; 
You 'r welcome hame, my ain good 
To your castles an your towrs: 
Sae is your bright bride you beside, 
She 's fairer nor the flowers.' 

9 ' O whatn a lady 's that ? ' she says, 

' That weleoms you an me ? 
If I 'm lang lady about this place. 

Some good I will her dee. 
She looks sae like my sister Jane, 

Was stoln i the bowr frae me.' 

10 she has servd the lang tables, 

Wi the white bread an the wine; 
But ay she drank the wan water. 
To keep her colour fine. 

11 An she gid by the first table. 

An leugh amo them a'; 
But ere she reachd the second table. 
She let the tears down fa. 

12 She 's taen a napkin lang an white. 

An hung 't upon a pin; 
It was to dry her watry eyes, 
As she went out and in. 

13 Whan bells were rung, an mass was 

An a' man boun to bed. 
The bride but an the bonny bridegroom 
In ae chamber was laid. 

14 She 's taen her harp intill her han, 

To harp this twa asleep; 
An ay as she harped an she sang, 
Full sorely did she weep. 

15 * O seven fu fair sons I have born 

To the good lord o this place, 
An I wish that they were seven hares, 

To run the castle race. 
An I mysel a good gray houn, 

An I woud gi them chase. 

16 * O seven fu fair sons I have born 

To the good lord o this ha; 
I wish that they were seven rottons, 

To rill the castle wa. 
An I mysell a good gray cat, 

I wot I woud worry them a'. 

17 * The earle o Richmond was my father, 

An the lady was my mother. 
An a' the bairns bisides mysel 
Was a sister an a brother.' 

18 * Sing on, sing on, ye gay lady, 

I wot ye hae sung in time; 
Gin the earle o Richmond was your 
I wot sae was he mine.' 

19 * Rise up, rise up, my bierly bride; 

I think my bed 's but caul ; 
I woudna hear my lady lament 
For your tocher ten times taul. 

20 * O seven ships did bring you here. 

An an sal tak you hame; 
The leve I '11 keep to your sister Jane, 
For tocher she gat nane.' 






The variations in the several versions of this 
charming- ballad, which has perhaps no superior 
in English, and if not in English perhaps no- 
where, are not material. An exceeding-ly pop- 
ular Scandinavian ballad (Grundtvig-, No. 267) 
is manifestly of the same source, though the 
story is told in a very different way, the cruel 
trials to which the woman's love is put being 
entirely lacking. Another Scandinavian ballad 
(Grundtvig, No. 249) has a limited resemblance 
to ' Child Waters,' and there is a Piedmontese 
ballad (Nigra, No. 35) which has a good many 
similar incidents. 

Childe Waters,' Percy MS., p. 274; Hales 

1 Childe Watters in his stable stoode, 

And stroaket his milke-white steede; 
To him came a ffaire young ladye 
As ere did weare womans wee[de]. 

2 Saies, Christ you saue, good Chyld "Wa- 

ters ! 
Sayes, Christ you saue and see ! 
My girdle of gold, wJiich was too longe, 
Is now to short ffor mee. 

3 * And all is with one chyld of yours, 

I ffeele sturre att my side; 
My gowne of greene, it is to stray ght; 
Before it was to wide.' 

4 ' If the child be mine, Faire Ellen,' he 


* Be mine, as you tell mee, 

Take you Cheshire and Lancashire both, 
Take them your owne to bee. 

5 ' If the child be mine, Ffaire Ellen,' he 


* Be mine, as you doe sweare. 

Take you Cheshire and Lancashire both, 
And make that child yowr heyre.' 

6 Shee saies, I had rather bane one kisse, 

Child Waters, of thy mouth, 
Then I wold haue Cheshire and Lanca- 
shire both. 
That lyes by north and south. 

7 * And I had rather haue a twinkling, 

Child Waters, of your eye, 
Then I wold haue Cheshire and Lanca- 
shire both, 
To take them mine oune to bee.' 

8 'To-morrow, Ellen, I must forth ryde 

Soe fParr into the north countrye; 
The ffairest lady that I can ffind, 

Ellen, must goe with mee.' 
* And eiier I pray you. Child Watters, 

Your ffootpage let me bee ! ' 

9 * If you will my ffootpage be, Ellen, 

As you doe tell itt mee, 
Then you must cutt your gownne of 
An inche aboue your knee. 

10 ' Soe must you doe yot^r yellow lockes, 

Another inch aboue youv eye; 
You must tell noe man what is my 
My ffootpage then you shall bee.' 

11 All this long day Child Waters rode, 

Shee ran bare ffoote by his side; 
Yett was he neuer soe curteous a knight 
To say, Ellen, will you ryde ? 

12 But all this day Child Waters rode, 

Shee ran barffoote thorow the broome; 
Yett he was neuer soe curteous a knight 
As to say, Put on your shoone. 

13 ' Ride softlye,' shee said, * Child Wat- 

Why doe you ryde soe ffast ? 
The child wAich is no mans but yours 
My bodye itt will burst.' 

14 He sayes. Sees thou yonder water, 


That fflowes from banke to brim ? 
*I trust to God, Child Waters,' shee 
' You will neuer see mee swime.' 

15 But when shee came to the waters side, 

Shee sayled to the chinne: 
' Except the lore? of heauen be my speed, 
Now must I learne to swime.' 

16 The salt waters bare vp Ellens clothes, 

Our Ladye bare vpp lie[r] chinne. 




And Child Waters was a woe man, good 
To ssee Faire Ellen swime. 

17 And when shee ouer the water was, 

Shee then came to his knee: 
He said, 'Come hither, Ffaire Ellen, 
Loe yonder what I see ! 

18 ' Seest thou not yonder hall, Ellen ? 

Of redd gold shine the yates; 
There 's four and twenty ffayre ladyes. 
The ffairest is my wordlye make. 

19 ' Seest thou not yonder hall, Ellen ? 

Of redd gold shineth the tower; 
There is four and twenty ffaire ladyes. 
The fairest is my paramoure.' 

20 ' I doe see the hall now, Child Waters, 

7''hat of redd guld shineth the yates; 
God giue good then of your selfe. 
And of your wordlye make ! 

21 * I doe see the hall now, Child Waters, 

That of redd gold shineth the tower; 
God giue good then of yowr selfe, 
And of yowr paramoure ! ' 

22 There were four and twenty ladyes. 

Were playing att the ball, 
And Ellen, was the ffairest ladye. 
Must bring his steed to the stall. 

23 There were four and twenty faire ladyes 

Was playing att the chesse; 
And Ellen, shee was the ffairest ladye. 
Must bring his horsse to grasse. 

24 And then bespake Child Waters sister, 

And these were the words said shee: 
You haue the prettyest ft'ootpage, bro- 
That euer I saw wzth mine eye; 

25 ' But that his belly it is soe bigg, 

His girdle goes wonderous hye; 
And euer I pray you, Child Waters, 
Let him goe into the chamber wj'th 

26 'It is more meete for a little ffootpage. 

That has run through mosse and mire. 
To take his supper vpon his knee 
And sitt dowue by the kitchin fyer, 

Then to goe into the chamber with any 
That weares soe [rich] attyre.* 

27 But when th^ had supped euery one. 

To bedd they took the way; 
He say d, Come hither, my little footpagCj 
Harken what I doe say. 

28 And goe thee downe into yonder towne. 

And low into the street; 
The ffairest ladye that thou can find, 

Hyer her in mine armes to sleepe. 
And take her vp in thine armes two, 

For tilinge of her ffeete. 

29 Ellen is gone into the towne, 

And low into the streete; 
The fairest ladye that shee cold find 

Shee hyred in his armes to sleepe, 
And tooke her in her armes two. 

For filing of her ffeete. 

30 *I pray you now, good Child Waters, 

That I may creepe in att your bedda 
For there is noe place about this house 
Where I may say a sleepe.' 

31 This [night] and itt droue on affterward 

Till itt was neere the day : 
He sayd, Rise vp, my litle ffoote-page. 

And giue my steed corne and hay; 
And soe doe thou the good blacke oates. 

That he may carry me the better away. 

32 And vp then rose Ffaire Ellen, 

And gaue his steed corne and hay. 
And soe shee did and the good blacke 

That he might carry him the better 


33 Shee layned her backe to the manger 

And greiuouslye did groane; 
And that beheard his mother deere, 
And heard her make her moane. 

34 Shee said, Rise vp, thou Child Waters, 

I thinke thou art a cursed man; 
For yonder is a ghost in thy stable. 

That greiuouslye doth groane, 
Or else some woman laboures of child, 

Shee is soe woe begone. 




35 But vp then rose Child Waters, 

And did on his shirt of silke; 
Then he put on his other clotl)es 
On his body as white as milke. 

36 And when he came to the stable-dore, 

Full still that hee did stand, 
That hee might heare now Faire Ellen, 
How shee made her monand. 

37 Shee said, Lullabye, my owue deere 

child ! 
Lullabye, deere child, deere ! 
I wold thy father were a king, 
Thy mother layd on a beere ! 

38 ' Peace now,' he said, ' good Faire Ellen, 

And be of good cheere, I thee pray, 
And the bridall and the churching both. 
They shall bee vpon one day.' 

a. ' Burd Ellen,' Jaraieson-Brown MS., p. 22, 
taken down from Mrs Brown's recitation be- 
fore 1783. b. A. Fraser Tytler's Brown MS., 
No. 9, as recited by Mrs Brown in 1800. 

1 * I WARN ye all, ye gay ladies, 

That wear scarlet an brown. 
That ye dinna leave your father's house. 
To follow young men frae town.' 

2 * O here am I, a lady gay. 

That wears scarlet an brown, 
Yet I will leave my father's house. 
An follow Lord John frae the town.' 

3 Lord John stood in his stable-door. 

Said he was bound to ride; 
Burd Ellen stood in her bowr-door. 
Said she 'd rin by his side. 

4 He 's pitten on his cork-heeld shoone, 

An fast awa rade he; 
She 's clade hersel in page array, 
An after him ran she. 

5 Till they came till a wan water, 

An folks do ca it Clyde; 
Then he 's lookit oer his left shoulder. 
Says, Lady, can ye wide ? 

6*01 learnt it i my father house, 
An I learnt it for my weal, 

Wenneer I came to a wan water. 
To swim like ony eel.' 

7 But the firstin stap the lady stappit, 

The water came til her knee; 

* Ohon, alas ! * said the lady, 

' This water 's oer deep for me.' 

8 The nextin stap the lady stappit. 

The water came till her middle; 
An sighin says that gay lady, 
I 've wat my gouden girdle. 

9 The nextin stap the lady stappit, 

The water came till her pap; 
An the bairn that was in her twa sides 
For caul begane to quake. 

10 ' Lye still, lye still, my ain dear babe, 

Ye work your mither wae; 
Your father rides on high horse-back. 
Cares little for us twae.' 

11 O about the midst o Clyden water 

There was a yeard-fast stane; 
He lightly turnd his horse about, 
An took her on him behin. 

12 * O tell me this now, good Lord John, 

An a word ye dinna lee. 
How far it is to your lodgin, 

Whare we this night maun be ? ' 

13 ' O see you nae yon castle, Ellen, 

That shines sae fair to see ? 
There is a lady in it, Ellen, 
Will sunder you an me. 

14 ' There is a lady in that castle 

Will sunder you and I: ' 

* Betide me well, betide me wae, 

I sal go there an try.' 

15 ' O my dogs sal eat the good white bread, 

An ye sal eat the bran; 
Then will ye sigh, an say, alas ! 
That ever I was a man ! ' 

16 ' O I sal eat the good white bread. 

An your dogs sal eat the bran; 
An I hope to live an bless the day, 
That ever ye was a man.' 

17 * O my horse sal eat the good white meal, 

An ye sal eat the corn; 




Then will ye curse the heavy hour 
That ever your love was born.' 

18 * O I sal eat the good white meal, 

An your horse sal eat the corn; 
An I ay sail bless the happy hour 
That ever my love was born.' 

19 O four an twenty gay ladies 

Welcomd Lord John to the ha, 
But a fairer lady then them a' 
Led his horse to the stable sta. 

20 An four an twenty gay ladies 

Welcomd Lord John to the green, 
But a fairer lady than them a' 
At the manger stood alane. 

21 "Whan bells were rung, an mass was sung, 

An a' men boun to meat, 
Burd Ellen at a bye-table 
Amo the foot-men was set. 

22 ' O eat an drink, my bonny boy. 

The white bread an the beer: ' 
' The never a bit can I eat or drink, 
My heart 's sae full of fear.' 

23 ' O eat an drink, my bonny boy, 

The white bread an the wine:' 
' O I canna eat nor drink, master, 
My heart 's sae full of pine.' 

24 But out it spake Lord John's mother, 

An a wise woman was she: 
' Whare met ye wi that bonny boy, 
That looks sae sad on thee ? 

25 * Sometimes his cheek is rosy red, 

An sometimes deadly wan; 
He 's liker a woman big wi bairn, 
Than a young lord's serving man.' 

26 'O it makes me laugh, my mother dear. 

Sic words to hear frae thee; 
He is a squire's ae dearest son. 
That for love has foUowd me. 

27 * Rise up, rise up, my bonny boy, 

Gi my horse corn an hay: ' 
* O that I will, my master dear, 
As quickly as I may.' 

28 She 's taen the hay under her arm. 

The corn iutill her han, 

An she 's gane to the great stable, 
As fast as eer she can. 

29 * O room ye roun, my bonny broun steeds, 

O room ye near the wa; 
For the pain that strikes me thro my sides 
Full soon will gar me fa.' 

30 She 's leand her back against the wa; 

Strong travail seizd her on ; 
An even amo the great horse feet 
Burd Ellen brought forth her son. 

31 Lord John'[s] mither iutill her bowr 

Was sitting all alone, 
Whan, i the silence o the night, 
She heard fair Ellen's moan. 

32 ' Won up, won up, my son,' she says, 

' Go se how a' does fare; 
For I think I hear a woman's groans, 
An a bairn greeting sair.' 

33 hastily he gat him up, 

Stayd neither for hose nor shoone, 
An he 's doen him to the stable-door, 
Wi the clear light o the moon. 

34 He strack the door hard wi his fpot, 

An sae has he wi his knee, 
An iron locks an iron bars 

Into ithe floor flung he: 
*Be not afraid, Burd Ellen,' he says, 

* Ther 's nane come in but me.' 

35 Up he has taen his bonny young son, 

An gard wash him wi the milk; 
An up has he taen his fair lady, 
Gard row her in the silk. 

36 * Cheer up your heart, Burd Ellen,' he 


' Look nae mair sad nor wae; 
For your marriage an your kirkin too 
Sal baith be in ae day.' 


There are points of resemblance between 
' Fair Janet ' and a ballad very popular in 
Scandinavia, 'King- Valdemar and his Sister' 
(Grundtvig, No. 126), and also in Germany 




(e. g., Mullenlioff, Sagen u. s. w. der Herzog- 
thiimer Schleswig-Holstein und Lauenburg, 
p. 492; Wuiiderhoru, ISOS, 11, 272). In both 
the Scandinavian and the German, however, 
the dancing is expressly devised as a test, and 
there are unspeakably ferocious features which 
are wanting in the Scottish ballad. A Breton 
ballad (Luzel, ir, 0-15) likewise has the pro- 
bation by dancing. 

* Fair Janet,' Sharpe's Ballad Book, p. 1, as 
sung by an old woman in Perthshire. 

1 ' Ye maun gang to your father, Janet, 

Ye maun gang to him soon; 
Ye maun gang to your father, Janet, 
In case that his days are dune.' 

2 Janet 's awa to her father, 

As fast as she could hie: 
* O what 's your will wi me, father ? 
O what 's your will wi me ? ' 

3 * My will wi you, Fair Janet,' he said, 

'It is both bed and board; 
Some say that ye loe Sweet Willie, 
But ye maun wed a French lord.' 

4 * A French lord maun I wed, father ? 

A French lord maun I wed ? 
Then, by my sooth,' quo Fair Janet, 
' He 's neer enter my bed.' 

5 Janet 's awa to her chamber, 

As fast as she could go; 
Wha 's the first ane that tapped there. 
But Sweet AVillie her jo ? 

6 * O we maun part this love, Willie, 

That has been lang between; 
There 's a French lord coming oer the 
To wed me wi a ring; 
There 's a French lord coming oer the 
To wed and tak me hame.' 

7 * If we maun part this love, Janet, 

It causeth mickle woe; 
If we maun part this love, Janet, 
It makes me into mourning go.' 

8 * But ye maun gang to your three sisters, 

Meg, Marion, and Jean; 

Tell them to come to Fair Janet, 
In case that her days are dune.' 

9 Willie 's awa to his three sisters, 
Meg, Marion, and Jean: 
* O haste, and gang to Fair Janet, 
I fear that her days are dune.' 

10 Some drew to them their silken hose, 
Some drew to them their shoon, 
Some drew to them their silk manteils, 

Their coverings to put on, 
And they 're awa to Fair Janet, 
By the hie light o the moon. 

11 ' O I have born this babe, Willie, 

Wi mickle toil and pain; 
Take hame, take hame, your babe, 
For nurse I dare be nane.' 

12 He 's tane his young son in his arms, 

And kisst him cheek and chin, 
And he 's awa to his mother's bower, 
By the hie light o the moon. 

13 ' O open, open, mother,' he says, 

' O open, and let me in ; 
The rain rains on my yellow hair, 

And the dew drops oer my chin, 
And I hae my young son in my arms, 

I fear that his days are dune.' 

14 With her fingers lang and sma 

She lifted up the pin. 
And with her arms lang and sma 
Received the baby in. 

15 ' Gae back, gae back now, Sweet Willie, 

And comfort your fair lady; 
For where ye had but ae nourice, 
Your young son shall hae three.' 

16 Willie he was scarce awa. 

And the lady put to bed, 
W^han in and came her father dear: 
* Make haste, and busk the bride.' 

17 * There 's a sair pain in my head, father, 

There 's a sair pain in my side; 
And ill, O ill, am I, father, 
This day for to be a bride.* 




18 * O ye maun busk this bonny bride, 

And put a gay mantle on; 
For she shall wed this auld French 
Gin she should die the morn.' 

19 Some pat on the gay green robes. 

And some pat on the brown; 
But Janet put on the scarlet robes, 
To shine foremost throw the town. 

20 And some they mounted the black steed, 

And some mounted the brown; 
But Janet mounted the milk-white steed, 
To ride foremost throw the town. 

21 • O wha will guide your horse, Janet ? 

O wha will guide him best ? ' 
' wha but Willie, my true-love ? 
He kens I loe him best.' 

22 And when they cam to Marie's kirk, 

To tye the haly ban. 
Fair Janet's cheek looked pale and wan. 
And her colour gaed an cam. 

23 When dinner it was past and done, 

And dancing to begin, 

* O we '11 go take the bride's maidens. 

And we '11 go fill the ring.' 

24 O ben than cam the auld French lord. 

Saying, Bride, will ye dance with me ? 

* Awa, awa, ye auld French lord. 

Your face I downa see.' 

25 ben than cam now Sweet Willie, 

He cam with ane advance: 

* O I '11 go tak the bride's maidens. 

And we '11 go tak a dance.' 

26 * I 've seen ither days wi you, Willie, 

And so has mony mae, 
Ye would hae danced wi me mysel, 
Let a' my maidens gae.' 

27 O ben than cam now Sweet Willie, 

Saying, Bride, will ye dance wi me ? 
*Aye, by my sooth, and that I will, 
Gin my back should break in three.' 

28 She had nae turned her throw the dance. 

Throw the dance but thrice, 
Whan she fell doun at Willie's feet, 
And up did never rise. 

29 Willie 's taen the key of his coffer, 

And gien it to his man: 
* Gae hame, and tell my mother dear 

My horse he has me slain; 
Bid her be kind to my young son, 

For father he has nane.' 

30 The tane was buried in Marie's kirk, 

And the tither in Marie's quire; 
Out of the tane there grew a birk, 
And the tither a bonny brier. 


' Fair Janet and Sweet William,' Mother- 
well's MS., p. 357, from the recitation of 
Agnes Lyle, Kilbarchan. 

1 * If you do love me weel, Willie, 

Ye '11 shew to me truelie; 
Ye '11 build to me a bonnie ship, 
And set her on the sea.' 

2 He did love her very weel. 

He shewed to her trulie; 
He builded her a bonnie ship. 
And set her on the sea. 

3 They had not sailed one league, one 

One league but only three. 
Till sharp, sharp showers fair Janet took. 
She grew sick and like to die. 

4 ' If you do love me weel, Willie, 

Ye '11 shew to me trulye; 
Ye '11 tak me to my mother's bower, 
Whare I was wont to be.' 

5 He did love her very weel, 

He shewed to her trulye; 
He took her to her mother's bower, 
Whare she was wont to be. 

6 * It 's ye '11 stand up at my richt side, 

You will on tiptaes stand, 
Until you hear your auld son weep. 
But an your Janet mourn. 

7 ' Come take your auld son in your arms, 

He is both large and lang; 
Come take your auld son in youi' arms, 
And for a nourice gang.' 

8 He is to his mother's bowers, 

An hour or it struck nine; 




' I have a babe into my arms, 
He '11 die for nourieing.' 

9 ' Goe home, go home, my son,' she 
* And mak thy Jenny bly the ; 
If ae nurse winna sere her son, 
It 's I '11 provide him five.' 

10 Fair Janet was nae weel lichter, 

Nor weel doun on her side, 
Till ben and cam her father dear. 
Saying, Wha will busk our bride ? 

11 Ben and cam her brethren dear, 

Saying, Wha will busk our bride ? 
And wha will saddle our bride's horse ? 
Whom ahint will she ride ? 

12 ' Hold your tongue, my brethren dear, 

And let your folly be. 
For I 'm sae fair and full of hair 
Sma busking will serve me. 

13 * Hold your tongue, my brethren dear, 

And let your folly be. 
For I will ride behiut William, 
He will best wait on me. 

14 * Willie, lay the saddle saft. 

And lead the bridle soun. 
And when we come to Mary's Kirk, 
Ye '11 set me hooly down.' 

15 Supper scarslie was owre, 

Nor musick weel fa'n to, 
Till ben and cam the bride's brethren, 

Saying, Bride, ye '11 dance wi me: 
*Awa, awa, my brethren dear, 

For dancing 's no for me.' 

16 Ben and came her ain bridegroom, 

Saying, Bride, ye '11 dance wi me; 
She says, Awa, awa, ye southland dog. 
Your face I downa see. 

17 Ben and cam then Sweet Willie, 

Saying, Bride, ye '11 dance wi me: 
* Oh I will dance the floor once owre, 
Tho my heart should break in three.' 

18 * Oh no, oh no,' said Sweet William, 

'Let no such things eer be; 
But I will cut my glove in two. 
And I '11 dance for thee and me.' 

19 She hadna danced the floor once owre, 

I 'm sure she hadna thrice, 
Till she fell in a deadly swouud. 
And from it neer did rise. 

20 Out and spak her ain bridegroom. 

And an angry man was he: 
'This day she has gien me the geeks. 

Yet she must bear the scorn; 
There 's not a bell in merry Linkum 

Shall ring for her the morn.' 

21 Out and spoke then Sweet William, 

And a sorry man was he: 
'Altho she has gien you the geeks, 

She will not bear the scorn ; 
There 's not a bell in merry Linkum 

But shall ring for her the morn.' 

22 There was not a bell in merry Linkum 

But they tinkled and they rang, 
And a' the birds that flew above. 
They changed their notes and sang. 


' Lady Maisry ' has a limited, and perhaps 
quite accidental resemblance to the Scandina- 
vian-German ballad spoken of in the preface 
to ' Fair Janet ' (No. 64). 

' Lady Maisry,' Jamieson-Brown MS., p. 24; 
Jamieson's Popular Ballads, i, 73. 

1 The young lords o the north country 

Have all a wooing gone. 
To win the love of Lady Maisry, 
But o them she woud hae none. 

2 O they hae courted Lady Maisry 

Wi a' kin kind of things; 
An they hae sought her Lady Maisry 
Wi brotches an wi rings. 

3 An they ha sought her Lady Maisry 

Frae father and frae mother; 
An they ha sought her Lady Maisry 
Frae sister an frae brother. 

4 An they ha followd her Lady Maisry 

Thro chamber an thro ha: 




But a' that they coud say to her, 


* But ye maun gi up the English lord, 

Her answer still was Na. 

Whan youre young babe is born; 
For, gin you keep by him an hour 


' had your tongues, young men,' she 



Your life sail be forlorn.' 

' An think nae raair me; 

For I 've gien my love to an English 


' I will gi up this English blood, 


Till my young babe be born; 

An think nae mair me.' 

But the never a day nor hour langer, 
Tho my life should be forlorn.' 

6 Her father's kitcliy-boy heard that, 

An ill death may he dee ! 


' whare is a' my merry young men, 

An he is on to her brother. 

Whom I gi meat and fee. 

As fast as gang coud he. 

To pu the thistle and the thorn, 
To burn this wile whore wi ? ' 


' is my father an my mother well. 

But an my brothers three ? 


' whare will I get a bonny boy. 

Gin my sister Lady Maisry be well, 

To help me in my need. 

There 's naething can ail me.' 

To rin wi hast to Lord William, 
And bid him come wi speed ? ' 


* Your father and your mother is well. 

But an your brothers three; 

19 out it spake a bonny boy. 

Your sister Lady Maisry 's well, 

Stood by her brother's side: 

So big wi bairn gangs she.' 

* I would rin your errand, lady, 
Oer a' the world wide. 


' Gin this be true you tell to me. 

My mailison light on thee ! 


* Aft have I run your errands, lady, 

But gin it be a lie you tell. 

Whan blawn baith win and weet; 

You sal be hangit hie.' 

But now I '11 rin your errand, lady, 

Wi sat tears on my cheek.' 

10 He 's done him to his sister's bowr, 

Wi meikle doole an care; 


whan he came to broken briggs, 

An there he saw her Lady Maisry, 

He bent his bow and swam, 

Kembing her yallow hair. 

An whan he came to the green grass 


* wha is aught that bairn,' he says, 
' That ye sae big are wi ? 

He slackd his shoone and ran. 

^nd gin ye winna own the truth, 


whan he came to Lord William's 

This moment ye sail dee.' 

He baed na to chap or ca. 


She turnd her right an roun about, 

But set his bent bow till his breast, 

An the kern fell frae her han; 

An lightly lap the wa; 

A trembling seizd her fair body. 

An, or the porter was at the gate. 

An her rosy cheek grew wan. 

The boy was i the ha. 


' pardon me, my brother dear. 


* is my biggins broken, boy ? 

An the truth I'll tell to thee; 

Or is my towers won ? 

My bairn it is to Lord William, 

Or is my lady lighter yet. 

An he is betrothd to me.' 

Of a dear daughter or son ? ' 


* coud na ye gotten dukes, or lords. 


< Your biggin is na broken, sir, 

Intill your ain country, 

Nor is your towers won; 

That ye draw up wi an English dog. 

But the fairest lady in a' the Ian 

To bring this shame on me ? 

For you this day maun burn.' 




25 * O saddle me the black, the black, 

Or saddle me the brown; 

saddle me the swiftest steed 
That ever rade frae a town.' 

26 Or he was near a mile awa, 

She heard his wild horse sneeze: 
* Mend up the fire, my false brother, 
It 's na come to my knees.' 

27 O whan he lighted at the gate, 

She heard his bridle ring: 
' Mend up the fire, my false brother, 
It 's far yet frae my chin. 

28 * Mend up the fire to me, brother. 

Mend up the fire to me; 
For I see him comin hard an fast 
Will soon men 't up to thee. 

29 ' O gin my hands had been loose, 

Sae hard as they are boun, 

1 would have turnd me frae the gleed, 

And castin out your young son.' 

30 * I '11 gar burn for you, Maisry, 

Your father an your mother; 

An I '11 gar burn for you, Maisry, 

Your sister an your brother. 

31 * An I '11 gar burn for you, Maisry, 

The chief of a' your kin; 
An the last bonfire tliat I come to, 
Mysel 1 will cast in.^ 

Motherwell's MS., p. 422, communicated by 
Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe. 

1 In came her sister. 

Stepping on tiie floor; 
Says, It 's telling me, my sister Janet, 
That you 're become a whore. 

2 * A whore, sister, a whore, sister ? 

That 's what I '11 never be; 
I 'm no so great a whore, sister. 
As liars does on me lee.' 

3 In came her brother, 

Stepping on the floor; 
Says, It 's telling me, my sister Janet, 
That you 're become a whore. 

4 * A whore, brother, a whore, brother ? 

A whore I '11 never be ; 
I 'm no so bad a woman, brother. 
As liars does on me lee.' 

5 In came her mother. 

Stepping on the floor: 
• They are telling me, my daughter. 
That you 're so soon become a whore.' 

6 * A whore, mother, a whore, mother ? 

A whore I '11 never be; 
I 'm only with child to an English lord. 
Who promised to marry me.' 

7 In came her father. 

Stepping on the floor; 
Says, They tell me, my daughter Janet, 
That you are become a whore. 

8 * A whore, father, a whore, father ? 

A whore I '11 never be; 
I 'm but with child to an English lord, 
Who promisd to marry me.' 

9 Then in it came an old woman. 

The lady's nurse was she, 
And ere she could get out a word 
The tear blinded her ee. 

10 ' Your father 's to the fire, Janet, 

Your brother 's to the whin; 
All for to kindle a bold bonfire. 
To burn your body in.' 

11 ' Where will I get a boy,' she said, 

' Will gain gold for his fee. 
That would run unto fair England 
For my good lord to me ? ' 

12 ' O I have here a boy,' she said, 

* Will gain gold to his fee. 

For he will run to fair England 

For thy good lord to thee.' 

13 Now when he found a bridge broken. 

He bent his bow and swam, 
And when he got where grass did 
He slacked it and ran. 

14 And when he came to that lord's gate, 

Stopt not to knock or call. 
But set his bent bow to his breast 
And lightly leapt the wall; 




And ere the porter could open the 
The boy was in the hall, 

15 In presence of that noble lord, 

And fell down on his knee: 
* What is it, my boy,' he cried, 
' Have you brought unto me ? 

16 * Is my building broke into ? 

Or is my towers won ? 
Or is my true-love delivered 
Of daughter or of son ? ' 

17 * Your building is not broke,' he cried, 

' Nor is your towers won. 
Nor is your true-love delivered 

Of daughter nor of son; 
But if you do not come in haste. 

Be sure she will be gone. 

18 * Her father is gone to the fire, 

Her brother to the whin. 
To kindle up a bold bonfire, 
To burn her body in/ 

19 ' Go saddle to me the black,' he cried, 

* And do it very soon; 
Get unto me the swiftest horse 
That ever rade from the town.' 

20 The first horse that he rade upon. 

For he was raven black, 
He bore him far, and very far. 
But failed in a slack. 

21 The next horse that he rode upon, 

He was a bonny brown; 
He bore him far, and very far, 
But did at last fall down. 

22 The next horse that he rode upon, 

He as the milk was white; 
Fair fall the mare that foaled that foal 
Took him to Janet's sight ! 

23 And boots and spurs, all as he was, 

Into the fire he lap. 
Got one kiss of her •omely mouth. 
While her body gave a crack. 

24 * who has been so bold,' he says, 

' This bonfire to set on ? 
Or who has been so bold,' he says, 
* Her body for to burn ? ' 

25 * O here are we,' her brother said, 

' This bonfire who set on ; 
And we have been so bold,' he said, 
* Her body for to burn.* 

26 * O I '11 cause burn for you, Janet, 

Your father and your mother; 

And I '11 cause die for you, Janet, 

Your sister and your brother. 

27 * And I '11 cause mony back be bare, 

And mony shed be thin. 
And mony wife be made a widow. 
And mony ane want their son.' 



There is a Danish ballad (Grundtvig'-Olrik, 
No. 354) which has certain resemblances to 
our English ballad. Ebbe Skammels«<n, being 
obliged to absent himself from his plighted 
maid for a considerable time, loses her throug-h 
the artifices of Lis brother, who pretends first 
that Ebbe is unfaithful, and then that he is 
dead. Ebbe is warned by a dream that his 
brother is about to wed his mistress, goes home 
in great haste, and arrives on the wedding day. 
He kills the bride, and then his brother, who, 
at the last moment, offers to cede the bride to 
him, as Lord Ingram, in B 17, says he meant 
to do. Ebbe after this begs his bread, or goes 
on a pilgrimage weighted with iron on his hands 
and loins ; wherein his part resembles Maisry's. 

a. ' Lord Ingram and Chiel Wyet,' C. K. 
Sharpe's MS., " second collection " ; Mother- 
well's Minstrelsy, p. 173, communicated by 
Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe. b. Maidment's 
North Countrie Garland, p. 24, from tradition 
in Aberdeenshire. 

1 Lord Ingram and Chiel Wyet 

Was baith born in one bower; 
Laid baith their hearts on one lady. 
The less was their honour. 

2 Chiel Wyet and Lord Ingram 

Was baith born in one hall; 
Laid baith their hearts on one lady, 
The worse did them befall. 




3 Lord Ingram wood her Lady Maisery 

From father and from mother; 
Lord Ingram wood her Lady Maisery 
From sister and from brother. 

4 Lord Ingram wood her Lady Maisery 

With leave of a' her kin; 
And every one gave full consent, 
But she said no to him. 

5 Lord Ingram wood her Lady Maisery 

Into her father's ha; 
Chiel Wyet wood her Lady Maisery 
Amang the sheets so sma. 

6 Now it fell out upon a day, 

She was dressing her head, 
That ben did come her father dear, 
Wearing the gold so red. 

7 He said, Get up now. Lady Maisery, 

Put on your wedding gown; 

For Lord Ingram he will be here. 

Your wedding must be done. 

8 ' I 'd rather be Chiel Wyet's wife, 

The white fish for to sell. 
Before I were Lord Ingram's wife. 
To wear the silk so well. 

9 ' I 'd rather be Chiel Wyet's wife. 

With him to beg my bread. 
Before I were Lord Ingram's wife. 
To wear the gold so red. 

10 * Where will I get a bonny boy, 

Will win gold to his fee, 
And will run unto Chiel Wyet's, 
With this letter from me ? * 

11 ' O here I am,' the boy says, 

' Will win gold to my fee. 
And carry away any letter 
To Chiel Wyet from thee.' 

12 And when he found the bridges broke. 

He bent his bow and swam ; 
And when he found the grass growing, 
He hastened and he ran. 

13 And when he came to Chiel Wyet's 

He did not knock nor call, 
But set his bent bow to his breast, 
And lightly leaped the wall; 

And ere the porter opend the gate, 
The boy was in the hall. 

14 The first line that he looked on, 

A grieved man was he; 
The next line that he looked on, 

A tear blinded his ee: 
Says, I wonder what ails my one brother 

He '11 not let my love be ! 

15 * But I '11 send to my brother's bridal — 

The bacon shall be mine — 
Full four and twenty buck and roe. 

And ten tun of the wine: 
And bid my love be blythe and glad, 

And I will follow syne.' 

16 There was not a groom about that castle 

But got a gown of green. 
And all was blythe, and all was glad. 
But Lady Maisery was neen. 

17 There was no cook about that kitchen 

But got a gown of gray, 
And all was blythe, and all was glad. 
But Lady Maisery was wae. 

18 Between Mary Kirk and that castle 

Was all spread ower with garl, 
To keep Lady Maisery and her maidens 
From tramping on the marl. 

19 From Mary Kirk to that castle 

Was spread a cloth of gold. 
To keep Lady Maisery and hermaidenii 
From treading on the mold. 

20 When mass was sung, and bells was 

And all men bound for bed, 
Then Lord Ingram and Lady Maisery 
In one bed they were laid. 

21 When they were laid into their bed — 

It was baith saft and warm — 
He laid his hand over her side. 
Says, I think you are with bairn. 

22 * I told you once, so did I twice. 

When ye came me to woo. 
That Chiel Wyet, your only brother, 
One night lay in my bower. 

23 ' I told you twice, so did T thrice, 

Ere ye came me to wed. 




That Cliiel Wyet, your one brother, 
One night lay in my bed.' 

24 ' O will you father your bairn on me, 

And on no other man ? 
And I '11 give him to his dowry 
Full fifty ploughs of land.' 

25 * I will not father my bairn on you. 

Nor on no wrongeous man, 
Though ye would give him to his dowry 
Five thousand ploughs of land.' 

26 Then up did start him Chiel Wyet, 

Shed by his yellow hair, 
And gave Lord Ingram to the heart 
A deep wound and a sair. 

27 Then up did start him Lord Ingram, 

Shed by his yellow hair, 
And gave Chiel Wyet to the heart 
A deep wound and a sair. 

28 There was no pity for that two lords, 

Where they were lying slain; 

But all was for her Lady Maisery, 

In that bower she gaed brain. 

29 There was no pity for that two lords. 

When they were lying dead; 

But all was for her Lady Maisery, 

In that bower she went mad. 

30 Said, Get to me a cloak of cloth, 

A staff of good hard tree ; 
If I have been an evil woman, 
I shall beg till I dee. 

31 • For a bit I '11 beg for Chiel Wyet, 

For Lord Ingram I '11 beg three; 
All for the good and honorable marriage 
At Mary Kirk [he] gave me.' 

' Lord Ingram and Gil Viett,' Skene MS., 
p. 16; taken down in the North of Scotland, 


1 Lord Ingram and Gil Viett 

Were baith born in ae ha; 
They laid their love on ae lady, 
An fate they coud na fa. 

2 Lord Ingram and Gil Viett 

Were baith laid in ae wame; 

They laid their love on ae lady. 
The greater was their shame. 

3 Lord Ingram wood her Lady Masery 

Frae father and frae mither; 

Gil Viett wood her Lady Masery 

Frae sister and frae brither. 

4 Lord Ingram courted her Lady Masery 

Among the company a'; 
Jill Viett he wood her Lady Masery 
Among the sheets so sma. 

5 ' Get up, my daughter dear, 

Put on your bridal gown; 
This day 's your bridal day 
Wi Lord Ingram.' 

6 ' How can I get up, 

An put on my bridal gown. 
Or how marry the ae brither. 

An the tither's babe in my womb ? ' 

7 ' O laugh you at mysell, brither. 

Or at my companie ? 
Or laugh ye at my bonnie bride. 
She wad na laugh at thee ? ' 

8 * I laugh na at yoursel, brither. 

Nor at your companie ; 
Nor laugh I at your buirlie bride. 
She wad na laugh at me. 

9 ' But there 's a brotch on a breast-bane, 

A garlan on ane's hair; 
Gin ye kend what Avar under that. 
Ye wad neer love woman mair. 

10 * There is a brotch on a breast-bane, 

An roses on ane's sheen; 
Gin ye kend what war under that. 
Your love wad soon be deen.' 

11 Whan bells were rung, and mass was 

And a' man boun to bed. 
Lord Ingram and Lady Masery 
In ae chamer were laid. 

12 He put his hand out cure his bonnie bride, 

The babe between her sides did quake: 




13 ' O father your babe on me, Lady 
O father your babe on me.' 

14 ' I may father my babe on a stock, 

Sae may I on a stane, 
But my babe sliall never hae 
A father but its ain.' 

15 He took out a brand. 

And laid it at ween them twa; 

16 Gill Viett took out a long brand, 

And stroakd it oer a stro. 
An thro and thro Lord Ingram's bodie 
He made it come and go. 

17 * Wae mat worth ye. Gill Viett, 

An ill died mat ye die ! 
For I han the cup in my hand 
To hae drunken her oer to thee.' 

18 * [For] ae mile [I wad gae] for Gil Viett, 

For Lord Ingram I wad hae gaen 
three ; 
An a' for that in good kirk-door 
Fair wedding he gave me.' 

19 Gil Viett took a long brand. 

An stroakd it on a stro, 
An through and thro his ain bodie 
He made it come and go. 

20 There was nae mean made for that godd 

In bowr whar they lay slain, 
But a' was for that lady, 

In bowr whar she gaed brain. 

21 There was nae mean made for that lady. 

In bowr whar she lay dead, 
But a' was for the bonnie babe 
That lay blabbering in her bleed. 

' Auld Ingram,' Herd's MSS., i, 169, ii, 84 ; 
* Lord Wa'yates and Auld Ingram,' Jamieson's 
Popular Ballads, n, 265. 

7. Lady Maisdry was a lady fair. 
She maid her mither's bedj 

Auld Ingram was an aged knight, 
And hee sought her to wed. 

2 * 'T is I forbid ye, Auld Ingram, 

For to seek me to spouse; 
For Lord Wayets, your sister's son, 
Has been into my bowrs. 

3 ' 'T is I forbid ye, Auld Ingram, 

For to seek me to wed ; 
For Lord Wayets, your sister's son. 
Has been into my bed.' 

4 'T is he has bought to this lady 

The robes of the brown; 

* And ever alas,' says this lady, 

* The robs will pit mee down ! ' 

5 And he has bought to this lady 

The robs of the red; 

* And ever alas,' says this lady, 

' The robs will be my dead ! ' 

6 And he has bought to this lady 

The chrystal and the lammer, 
Sae has hee bought to her mither 
The curehes of the cammer. 

7 Every ane o her se'n brethren 

They had a hawk in hand, 
And every lady i the place 
They got a goud garland. 

8 Every cuk in that kitchen 

They gat a noble claith; 
A' was blyth at Auld Ingram's cuming 
But Lady Maisdrey was wraith. 

9 * Whare will I get a bonny boy. 

Wad fain wun hos and shoon. 
That wud rin on to my Wayets, 
And quickly cume again ? * 

10 * Here am I, a bonny boy. 

Wad fain wun hoes and shoon, 
Wha wull rin on to your Wayets, 
And quickly cume again.' 

11 * Ye '1 bid him, and ye '1 pray him baith, 

Gif ony prayer can dee, 
To Mary Kirk to cume the morn, 
My weary wadding to see.' 

12 Lord Wayets lay our his castle wa, 

Beheld baith dale and down, 




And he beheld a bonny boy 

Till four and twunty men she gat her 

Cuiue rinnen to the town. 

An twunty on ilka side, 


' What news, what news, ye bonny boy ? 

An four and twunty milk-white dows 

What news ye hae to mee ? 

To flee aboon her head. 

* . 

23 A loud laughter gae Lord Wayets 

Mang the mids his men: 


' is my ladle's fauldis brunt ? 

* Marry the lady wham they weel, 

Or is her towrs wun ? 

A maiden she is nane.' 

Or is my Maisdrey lighter yet 

A dear dochter or sun ? ' 


' laugh ye at my men, Wayets ? 
Or di ye laugh at me ? 


' Your ladie's faulds they are not brunt, 

Or laugh ye at the beerly bride. 

Nor yet are her towrs wun, 

That 's gane to marry me ? ' 

Neither is Maisdrey lighter yet 

A dear dochter or sun. 


* I laugh na at your men, uncle. 
Nor yet dive I at thee. 


^But she bids ye and she prays ye 

Bit I laugh at my lands sae braid, 


Sae weel 's I do them see.' 

Gif ony prayer can dee. 

To Mary Kirk to cume the morn, 

26 Whan ene was cume, and ene-bells rung. 

Her weary wadding to see.' 

An a' man gane to bed, 
The bride bit and the silly bridegroom 


He dung the boord up wi his fit, 
Sae did he wi his tae; 

In chambers they were laid. 

The silver cup that sat upon 't 


Was na it a fell thing for to see, 

I the fire he gard it flee: 

Twa heads lye on a coad. 

* what na a lord in a' Scotland 

Lady Maisdrey like the moten goud. 

Dare marry ray Maisdrey ? ' 

Auld Ingram like a toad ? 


' 't is but a feeble thought 


He turnd his face unto the stock, 

To tell the tane and not the tither; 

And sound he fell asleep; 

't is but a feeble thought 

She turnd her fair face unto the wa, 

To tell 't is your mither's brither.' 

An sa't tears she did weep. 


' 'T is I wull send to that wadding, 

29 It fell about the mark midnight, 

And I wul follow syne. 

Auld Ingram began to turn him; 

The fitches the fallow deer 

He pat his hands on 's lady's sides, 

An the gammons the swine, 

An waly, sair was she murnin. 

An the nine hides the noble cow; 

'T was slain in season time. 


' What aileth thee, my lady dear ? 


Ever alas and wae 's me, 


* 'T is I wul send to that wadding 

There is a baube betwixt thy sides I 

Ten ton of the red wyne; 

sae sair 's it grieves me.' 

Much more 1 '11 send to that wadding, 

An I wul follow syne.' 


' Didn I tell ye that, Auld Ingram, 
Or ye saught me to wed, 

21 When he came in unto the ha, 

That Lord Wayets, your sister's son, 

Lady Maisdrey she did ween, 

Had been into my bed ? ' 

And twenty times he kist her mou 

Before Auld Ingram's een. 


* father that bairn on me, Maisdrey, 
father it on me. 

22 Nor to the kirk she wud ne gae, 

An ye sail hae a rigland shire 

Nor til 't she wudn ride, 

Your moruiu's gift to bee.' 




33 ' O sarbit,* says the Lady Maisdrey, 

* That ever the like me befa, 

To father iny bairn on Auld Ingram, 
Lord Wayets in my father's ha ! 

34 ' sarbit,' says the Lady Maisdrey, 

* That ever the like me betide, 

To father my bairn on Auld Ingram, 
An Lord Wayets beside ! ' 


' Glasg'erion ' was first printed in Percy's 
Rellques, in, 43, 1765, and was not thought by 
tlie editor to require much correction. Cer- 
tainly the English ballad is one which it would 
be hard to mend. Scottish B is mainly of 
good derivation (a poor old woman in Aber- 
deenshire), and has some good stanzas, but 
Jamieson unfortunately undertook to improve 
a copy in which the story was complete, but 
" the diction much humbled," by combining 
with it a fragment of another version. ' The 
Bret Glascurion ' is joined in Chaucer's House 
of Fame, iii, 111-118, with the harpers Or- 
pheus, Orion (Arion), and Chiron. 'Bret' is 
Briton, and Y Bardd Glas Keraint, in English 
Keraint the Blue Bard (Blue Bard being an 
appellation of a chief bard, who wore an offi- 
cial robe of blue), is recorded to have been an 
eminent poet of distinguished birth, son of 
Owain, Prince of Glamorgan. There is at 
least no absurdity in the suggestion that the 
Glascurion of Chaucer and the Glasgerion of 
the ballad may represent the Welsh Glas 

'Glasgerion,' Percy MS., p. 94; Hales and 
Furnivall, I, 248. 

1 Glasgerion was a kings owne sonne. 

And a harper he was good; 
He harped in the kings chamber, 

Where cnppe and candle stoode, 
And soe did hee in the queens chamber, 

Till ladies waxed wood. 

2 And then bespake the kings daughter, 

And these words thus sayd shee : 

3 Saide, Strike on, strike on, Glasgerrion, 
Of thy striking doe not blinne; 

There 's neuer a stroke comes oner thin 
But it glads my hart within. 

4 * Faire might you fall, lady ! ' quoth heej 

* Who taught you now to speake ? 
I haue loued you, lady, seuen yeere; 
My hart I durst neere breake.' 

5 ' But come to my bower, my GlasgerryoUy 

When all men are att rest; 
As I am a ladie true of my promise, 
Thou shalt bee a welcome guest.' 

6 But horn then came Glasgerryon, 

A glad man, Lord, was hee: 
* And come thou hither, lacke, my boy, 
Come hither vnto mee. 

7 ' For the "kings daughter of Normandye, 

Her loue is granted mee, 
And beffore the cocke haue crowen, 
Att her chamber must I bee.' 

8 ' But come you hither, master,* qwoth hee, 

' Lay your head dovvne on this stone; 
For I will waken you, master deere, 
Afore it be time to gone.' 

9 But vpp then rose that lither ladd. 

And did on hose and shoone; 
A coUer he cast vpon his necke, 
Hee seemed a gentleman. 

10 And when he came to that ladies cham- 

He thrild vpon a pinn; 
The lady was true of her promise, 
Rose vp and lett him in. 

11 He did not take the lady gay 

To boulster nor to bedd, 
But downe vpon her chamber-flore 
Full soone he hath her layd. 

12 He did not kisse that lady gay 

When he came nor when he youd; 
And sore mistrusted that lady gay 
He was of some churles blood. 

13 But home then came that lither ladd, 

And did of his hose and shoone, 
And cast that coUer from about his 
He was but a churles sonne: 




' Awaken,' quoth hee, * my master deere, 
I hold it time to be gone. 

14 ' For I bane sadled jour horsse, master, 

Well bridled I haue your steed; 

Haue not I serued a good breakfast, 

When time comes I haue need.' 

15 But vp then rose good Glasgerryon, 

And did on both hose and shoone, 
And cast a coller about his necke; 
He was a hinges sonne. 

16 And when he came to that ladies cham- 

He thrild vpon a pinn; 
The lady was more then true of promise, 
Rose vp and let him in. 

17 Sales, Whether haue you left with me 

Your braclett or your gloue ? 

Or are you returned backe againe 

To know more of my loue ? 

18 Glasgerryon swore a full great othe, 

By oake and ashe and thorne, 
* Lady, I was neuer in yowr chamber 
Sith the time that I was borne.' 

19 ' O then it was your litle foote-page 

Falsly hath beguiled me: ' 
And then shee pulld forth a litle pen- 

That hanged by her knee, 
Says, There shall neuer noe churles blood 

Spring Within my body. 

20 But home then went Glasgerryon, 

A woe man, good [Lord], was hee; 
Sayes, Come hither, thou lacke, my boy, 
Come thou hither to me. 

21 Ffor if I had killed a man to-night, 

lacke, I wold tell it thee; 
But if I haue not killed a man to-night, 
lacke, thou hast killed three ! 

22 And he puld out his bright browne 

And dryed it on his sleeue. 
And he smote off that lither ladds head, 
And asked noe man noe leaue. 

23 He sett the swords poynt till his brest, 

The pumill till a stone; 

Thorrow that falsenese of that lither ladd 
These three lines werne all gone. 

' Glenkindie,' Jamieson's Popular Ballads, I. 
93, taken from the recitation of an old woman 
by Professor Scott, of Aberdeen, and "some- 
what improved " by a fragment communicated 
by the Rev. William Gray, of Lincoln. 

1 Glenkindie was ance a harper gude. 

He harped to the king; 
And Glenkindie was ance the best harper 
That ever harpd on a string. 

2 He 'd harpit a fish out o saut water. 

Or water out o a stane. 
Or milk out o a maiden's breast, 
That bairn had never nane. 

3 He 's taen his harp intil his hand, 

He harpit and he sang, 
And ay as he harpit to the king. 
To hand him unthought lang. 

4 ' I '11 gie you a robe, Glenkindie, 

A robe o the royal pa, 
Gin ye will harp i the winter's night 
Afore my nobles a'.' 

5 He 's taen his harp intill his hand. 

He 's harpit them a' asleep, 
Except it was the young countess. 
That love did waukin keep. 

6 And first he has harpit a grave tune, 

And syne he has harpit a gay, 
And mony a sich atween hands 
I wat the lady gae. 

7 Says, Whan day is dawen, and cocks hae 

And wappit their wings sae wide. 
It 's ye may come to my bower-door, 
And streek you by my side. 

8 But look that ye tell na Gib, your man, 

For naething that ye dee; 
For, an ye tell him Gib, your man. 
He '11 beguile baith you and me. 

9 He 's taen his harp intill his hand, 

He harpit and he sang, 



And he is hame to Gib, his man. 

And reaveld is your yellow hair, 

As fast as he could gang. 

That I saw late yestreen.' 


' mith I tell you, Gib, my man. 


* The stockings they are Gib, my man's. 

Gin I a man had slain ? ' 

They came first to my hand. 

* that ye mieht, my gude master, 

And this is Gib, my man's shoon. 

Altho ye had slain ten.' 

At my bed-feet they stand; 
I 've reavelld a' my yellow hair 


'Then tak ye tent now, Gib, my 

Coming against the wind.' 

My bidden for to dee; 


He 's taen the harp intill his hand, 

And but an ye wauken me in time, 

He harpit and he sang, 

Ye sail be hangit hie. 

Until he cam to his master. 
As fast as he could gang. 


* Whan day has dawen, and cocks hae 



' Won up, won up, my good master, 

And wappit their wings sae wide, 

I fear ye sleep oer lang; 

I 'm bidden gang till yon lady's 

There 's nae a cock in a' the land 


But has wappit his wings and crawn.' 

And stieek me by her side.' 

23 Glenkindie 's tane his harp in hand. 


' Gae hame to your bed, my good mas- 

He harpit and he sang. 


And he has reachd the lady's bower 

Ye 've waukit, I fear, oer lang; 

Afore that eer he blan. 

For I '11 wauken you in as good time 

As ony cock i the land.' 

24 When he cam to the lady's bower. 

He chappit at the chin: 

] 4 He 's taen his harp intill his hand, 

* wha is that at my bower-door. 

He harpit and he sang. 

That opens na and comes in ? ' 

Until he harpit his master asleep, 

' It 's I, Glenkindie, your ain true-love. 

Syne fast awa did gang. 

And in I canna win.' 


And he is till that lady's bower. 
As fast as he could rin; 


When he cam till that lady's bower. 


< Forbid it, forbid it,' says that lady, 

He chappit at the chin. 

' That ever sic shame betide, 
That I should first be a wild loon's lass, 


' wha is this,* says that lady, 
* That opens nae and comes in ? ' 

And than a young knight's bride.' 

*It 's I, Glenkindie, your ain true- 


He 's taen his harp intill his hand. 


He harpit and he sang, 

open and lat me in ! ' 

And he is hame to Gib, his man, 
As fast as he could gang. 


She kent he was nae gentle knicht 

That she had latten in, 


' Come forth, come forth, now, Gib, my 

For neither when he gaed nor cam. 


Kist he her cheek or chin. 

Till I pay you your fee; 
Come forth, come forth, now, Gib, my 


He neither kist her when he cam. 


Nor clappit her when he gaed. 

Weel payit sail ye be.' 

And in and at her bower window. 

The moon shone like the gleed. 

28 And he has taen him Gib, his man, 

And he has hangd him hie. 


' ragged is your hose, Glenkindie, 

And he 's hangit him oer his ain yate, 

And riven is your sheen. 

As high as high could be. 




29 There was nae pity for that lady, 

For she lay cald and dead, 

But a' was for him, Glenkindie, 

In bower he must go mad. 


Scott's ' Earl Richard ' is maiuly from Herd's 
copies A and G, here g-iven, but partly frojxi 
independent tradition (Minstrelsy, 1802, 11, 42 ; 
ed. 1803, II, 44). 

A Scandinavian ballad (Grundtvig-, No. 208), 
begins somewhat like ' Young' Hunting,' but 
ends like ' Elveskud,' or ' Clerk Colvill ' (No. 
42). A young man who has made up his mind 
to marry is warned by his mother against the 
wiles of a former mistress. He rides to his 
old love's house and is welcomed to beer and 
vv'ine. He tells her that he is on the way to liis 
bride. She wants a word with him, or a kiss, 
and as he leans over to her on the horse, stabs 
him to the heart. He rides home bleeding, 
pretends that he has hurt himself by running 
against a tree, asks that his bed may be made 
and a priest sent for, and dies. 

'Young Hunting.' a. Herd's MSS., i, 182. 
b. The same, 11, 67. 

1 O LADY, rock never your young son young 

One hour longer for me. 
For I have a sweetheart in Garlick's 
I love thrice better than thee. 

2 ' The very sols of my love's feet 

Is whiter then thy face : ' 
' But nevertheless na, Young Hunting, 
Ye '1 stay wi me all night.' 

3 She has birld in him Young Hunting 

The good ale and the beer, 
Till he was as fou drunken 
As any wild-wood steer. 

4 She has birld in him Young Hunting 

The good ale and the wine, 
Till he was as fou drunken 
As any wild-wood swine. 

5 Up she has tain him Young Himting, 

And she has had him to her bed. 

6 And she has minded her on a little pen- 

That hangs low down by her gare. 
And she has gin him l^'oung Hunting 
A deep wound and a sare. 

7 Out an spake the bonny bird, 

That flew abon her head: 
* Lady, keep well thy green olothing 
Fra that good lord's blood.' 

8 ' O better I '11 keep my green clothing 

Fra tlmt good lord's blood 
Nor thou can keep thy flattering toung, 
That flatters in thy head. 

9 ' Light down, light down, my bonny 

Light down upon my hand, 

10 * siller, O siller shall be thy hire, 

An goud shall be thy fee, 
An every month into the year 
Thy cage shall changed be.' 

11 * I winna light down, I shanna light 

I winna light on thy hand ; 
For soon, soon wad ye do to me 
As ye done to Young Hunting.' 

12 She has booted an spird him Young 

As he had been gan to ride, 
A hunting-horn about his neck. 
An the sharp sourd by his side. 

13 And she has had him to yon wan 

For a' man calls it Clyde, 

14 The deepest pot intill it all 

She has puten Young Hunting in; 
A green truff upon his breast, 
To hold that good lord down. 

15 It fell once upon a day 

The king was going to ride, 




And he sent for him Young Hunting, 
To ride on his right side. 

IG She has turnd her right and round about, 
She sware now by the corn, 

* I saw na thy son, Young Hunting, 

Sen yesterday at morn.' 

17 She has turnd her right and round about. 

She swear now by tlie moon, 
*I saw na tliy son, Young Hunting, 
Sen yesterday at noon. 

18 ' It fears me sair in Clyde Water 

That he is drownd therein : ' 
O thay ha sent for the king's duckers, 
To duck for Young Hunting. 

19 They ducked in at the tae water-bank, 

Thay ducked out at the tither: 

* We '11 duck no more for Young Hunt- 

All tho he wear our brother.' 

20 Out an spake the bonny bird. 

That flew abou their heads, 

21 ' O he 's na drownd in Clyde Water, 

He is slain and put therein; 
The lady that lives in yon castil 
Slew him and put him in. 

22 ' Leave aff your ducking on the day. 

And duck upon the night; 
Whear ever that sakeless knight lys 
The candels will shine bright.' 

23 Thay left off their ducking o the day. 

And ducked upon the night, 
And where that sakeless knight lay 
The candles shone full bright. 

24 The deepest pot intill it a' 

Thay got Young Hunting in; 
A green turff upon his brest, 
To hold that good lord down. 

25 thay ha sent aff men to the wood 

To hew down baith thorn an fern, 
That they might get a great bonefire 
To burn that lady in. 

* Put na the wyte on me,' she says, 
' It was her May Catheren.' 

26 Whan thay had tane her May Catheren, 

In the bonefire set her in; 
It wad na take upon her cheeks, 

Nor take upon her chin. 
Nor yet upon her yallow hair. 

To healle the deadly sin. 

27 Out they hae tain her May Catheren, 

And they hay put that lady in; 
it took upon her cheek, her cheek. 

An it took upon her chin, 
An it took on her fair body. 

She burnt like hoky-gren. 

' Young' Riedan,' Harris MS., f ol. 8, from Mrs 
Harris, Perthshire. 

1 The ladie stude in her bour-door. 

In her bour-door as she stude, 
She thocht she heard a bridle ring. 
That did her bodie gude. 

2 She thocht it had been her father dear, 

Come ridin owre the sand; 
But it was her true-love Riedan, 
Come hiean to her hand. 

3 ' You 're welcome, you 're welcome, 

Young Riedan,' she said, 
* To coal an cannel-licht ; 
You 're welcome, you 're welcome. Young 

To sleep in my hour this nicht.' 

4 * I thank you for your coal, madame, 

An for your cannel tae; 
There 's a fairer maid at Clyde's Water, 
I love better than you.' 

5 * A fairer maid than me, Riedan ? 

A fairer maid than me ? 
A fairer maid than ten o me 
You shurely neer did see.' 

G He leant him owre his saddle-bow. 
To gie her a kiss sae sweet; 
She keppit him on a little penknife, 
An gae him a wound sae deep. 

7 ' Oh hide ! oh hide ! my bourswoman. 
Oh hide this de^d on me ! 




An tlie silks that waiir sliappit for me 
at Yule 
At Pasch sail be sewed for thee.' 

8 They saidled Young Riedan, they bri- 

dled Young liiedan, 
The way he was wont to ride; 
Wi a huntin-horn aboot his neck, 
An a sharp sword by his side. 

9 An they are on to Clyde's Water, 

An they rade it up an doon, 
An the deepest linn in a' Clyde's Water 
They flang him Young Riedan [in]. 

10 ' Lie you there, you Young Riedan, 

Your bed it is fu wan; 
The [maid] you hae at Clyde's Water, 
For you she will think lang.' 

11 Up it spak the wily bird. 

As it sat on the tree: 
' Oh wae betide you, ill woman. 

An an ill death may you dee 1 
For he had neer anither love, 

Anither love but thee.' 

12 ' Come doon, come doon, my pretty 

An pickle wheat aff my glue; 
An your cage sail be o the beaten goud, 
Whan it 's of the willow tree.' 

13 * I winna come doon, I sanna come doon. 

To siccan a traitor as thee; 
For as you did to Young Riedan, 
Sae wald you do to mee.' 

14 'Come doon, come doon, my pretty 

An pickle wheat aff my hand ; 
An your cage sail be o the beaten goud. 
Whan it 's o the willow wand.' 

15 ' I winna come doon, I sanna come 

To siccan a traitor as thee; 
You wald thraw my head aff my hase- 

An fling it in the sea.' 

16 It fell upon a Lammas-tide 

The king's court cam ridin bye: 
'Oh wliare is it liini Young Ried.-in ? 
It 's fain I wald him see.' 

17 * Oh I hae no seen Young Riedan 

Sin three lang weeks the morn; 
It bodes me sair, and drieds me mair, 
Clyde's Water 's him forlorn.' 

18 Up it spak the wily bird. 

As it sat on the tree; 

19 ' Leave aff, leave aff your day-seekin, 

An ye maun seek by nicht; 
Aboon the place Young Riedan lies, 
The cannels burn bricht.' 

20 They gae up their day-seekin, 

An they did seek by nicht; 
An owre the place Young Riedan lay, 
The cannels burnt bricht. 

21 The firsten grip his mother got 

Was o his yellow hair; 
An was na that a dowie grip, 
To get her ae son there ! 

22 The nexten grip his mother got 

Was o his milk-white hand; 
An wasna that a dowie grip. 
To bring sae far to land ! 

23 White, white waur his wounds washen, 

As white as ony lawn; 
But sune 's the traitor stude afore, 
Then oot the red blude sprang. 

24 Fire wadna tak on her bourswomau, 

Niether on cheek nor chin ; 
But it took fast on thae twa hands 
That flang Young Riedan in. 

25 * Come oot, come oot, my bourswoman, 

Come oot, lat me win in; 

For as I did the deed mysell, 

Sae man I drie the pine.' 

Herd's MSS., i, 34 ; Herd's Scottish SongSj 
1776, I, 148. 

1 She has calld to her her bower-maidens. 
She has calld them one by one: 
* There is a dead man in my bower, 
I wish that he was gone.' 

1 4: 



2 Tliey have booted him, and spurroil him, 

As ho was wont to litlo, 
A huntiiig-liorn arouiul his waist, 
A sharp swonl by liis sitlo. 

3 Then up and spake a bonie bird, 

That sat upon the tree: 
' What hae ye done wi Earl Richard ? 
Ye was his gay hidy.' 

4 'Cum down, eum down, my bonie bird, 

Cum sit upon my hand; 
And ye sail hae a cage o the gowd, 
AViiere ye hae but the waud.' 

5 * Awa, awa, ye 111 woman, 

Nae ill woman for me; 
"What ye hae done to Earl Riehard, 
Sae wad ve do to mee.' 

' O there 's a bird intill your bowir 
Tliat sings sae sad and sweet; 

O there 's a bird intill your hour 
Kept me frae my nieht's sleep.' 

7 And she sware by the grass sae greene, 
Sae did she by the corn. 
That she had not seen Earl Riehard 
Sen yesterday at morn. 



* Clerk Saunders ' was first o-iven to the world 
in the Mnistrolsy of the Scottish Border, and 
was there said to be "taken from Herd's MS.. 
Avith corrections from a sliorter and 
more imperfect copy in the same volume, and 
i>ne or two conjectural emendations in the ar- 
raniiement of the stan/as." Sir AValter arranged 
liis ballad with much _L;ood taste, hut this ac- 
count of his dealing- with Herd's copies is far 
from precisely accurate. A. the hmsjer of these, 
does not end, in Herd's MS., with Margaret's 
refusal to be comforted, a rather unsuiHeing" 
conclusion it must bo owned. The story is C'Ui- 
tiuued bv annexing- the hallad of ' Sweet V>'il- 
liiiin's Ghost,' the lack of which in B makes 

Scott call that version imperfect. This sequel, 
found also in F, is omitted here, ami will be 
given under No. 77. F (Jamieson's liallads^ is, 
like Scott's, a made-up coi\v, "the stau/.as 
where the seven brothers are introdiiced " hav- 
ing- been " eidarged from two fragnieuts. which, 
though very defective . . . , furnished lines 
which, when incorporated in the text, seemed 
to imjirove it." But F is important, since it 

•ts ' Clerk S;i 




vian ballad (Grundtvig-Olrik, No. o04) which 
seems to be preserved, in abbreviated and st>uu^- 
times perverted forms, by other races as wvW. 
Ni>s. 70 and 71 have connections with ' CK ik 

' Clerk Sanders,' Herd's MSS., a, i, 177 ; b, 
II, Ui). 

1 Cl.vkk Sanders and May ^Targret 

Walkt ower yon graveld green. 
And sad and heavy was the love, 
I wat, it fell this twa between. 

2 * A bed, a bed,' Clark Sanders said, 

* A bed, a bed for you and I; ' 
♦ Fye no, fye no,' the lady said, 
' Until the day we married be. 

3 ' For in it will come my seven brothers, 

And a' their torches burning bright; 
They '11 say. We hae but ae sister, 
And hen 

4 * Ye '1 take the sourde fray my scabbord, 

And lowly, lowly lift the gin, 
And you may say, your oth to save. 
You never let Clark Sanders in. 

5 ' Yele take a napken in your hand, 

And ye '1 ty \ip baith your ecu, 
An ye may say, your oth to save, 

That ye saw na Sandy sen late yes- 

G ' Yele take me in your amies twa, 
Yele carrey me ben into your bed, 
And ye may say, your oth to save. 
In your bower-floor I never tread.' 

7 She has taen the sourde fray his scab- 

And lowly, lowly lifted the gin; 

She was to swear, hor ot\\ to save, 

She never let Clerk Sanders in. 




8 She has tain a napkin in her hand, 

And she ty'd np baitli her eeen; 
She was to swear, her oth to save, 
She saw na him sene Lite yestreen. 

9 She has taen him in her armes twa, 

And carried him ben into her bed; 
She was to swear, her oth to save. 
He never in her bower-floor tread. 

10 In and came her seven brothers, 

And all their torches burning- bright; 
Says thay. We hae but ae sister, 

And see there her lying wi a knight. 

11 Out and speaks the first of them, 

' A wat they hay been lovers dear; ' 
Out and speaks the next of them, 

* They hay been in love this many a 

12 Out an speaks the third of them, 

' It wear great sin this twa to twain; ' 
Out an speaks the fourth of them, 
' It wear a sin to kill a sleeping man.' 

13 Out an speaks the fifth of them, 

' A wat they '11 near be twained by 
me; ' 
Out an speaks the sixt of them, 

* We '1 tak our leave an gae our way.' 

14 Out an speaks the seventh of them, 

' Altho there wear no a man but me, 

I bear the brand, I 'le gar him die.' 

15 Out he has taen a bright long brand. 

And he has striped it throw the straw, 
And throw and throw Clarke Sanders' 
A wat he has gard cold iron gae. 

IG Sanders he started, an Margret she lapt, 
Intill his arms whare she lay. 
And well and wellsom was the night, 
A wat it was between these twa. 

17 iVnd they lay still, and sleeped sound, 

Untill the day began to daw; 
And kindly till him she did say 

* It 's time, trew-love, ye wear awa.' 

18 They lay still, and sleeped sound, 

Untill the sun began to shine; 

She lookt between her and the wa, 
And dull and heavy was his eeen. 

19 She thought it had been a loathsome 

A wat it had fallen this twa between; 
But it was the blood of his fair body, 
A wat his life days wair na lang." 

20 * O Sanders, I 'le do for your sake 

What other ladys would na thoule; 
When seven years is come and gone. 
There 's near a shoe go on my sole. 

21 * O Sanders, I 'le do for your sake 
What other ladies would think mare' 


len seven years is come an gone 

Ther 's nere a comb go in my hair. 

22 ' O Sanders, I 'le do for your sake 

What other ladies would think lack; 
When seven years is come an gone, 
I 'le wear nought but dowy black.' 

23 The bells gaed clinking throw the towne, 

To carry the dead corps to the clay, 
An sighing says her May Margret, 
' A wat I bide a doulfou day.' 

24 In an come her father dear, 

Stout steping on the floor; 

25 * Hold your toung, my doughter dear, 

Let all your mourning a bee; 
I 'le carry the dead corps to the clay. 
An I 'le come back an comfort thee.' 

26 * Comfort well your seven sons. 

For comforted will I never bee; 
For it was neither lord nor loune 

That was in bower last night wi mce.' 

' Clerk Saunders,' Herd's MSS., a, i, 1G3 ; b 
II, 46. 

1 Clerk Sauxders and a gay lady 

Was walking in yonder green, 
And heavy, heavy was the love 
That fell this twa lovers between. 

2 ' A bed, a bed,' Clerk Saunders said, 

' And ay a bed for you and me; ' 




* Never a ane,' said the gay lady, 
' Till ance we twa married be. 

3 * There would come a' my seven breth- 

And a' their torches burning bright, 
And say, We hae but ae sister, 

And behad, she 's lying wi you tlie 

4 ' You '11 take a napkain In your hand, 

And then you will tie up your een; 
Then you may swear, and safe your aith, 
You sawna Sandy sin yestreen. 

5 * You '11 take me up upo your back, 

And then you '11 carry me to your bed ; 

Then you may swear, and save your aith, 

Your board [-floor] Sandy never tred.' 

6 She 's taen him npo lier back, 

And she 's carried him unto her bed, 

That she might swear, and safe her aith, 

Her board-floor Sandy never tread. 

7 She 's taen a napkin in her hand, 

And lo she did tie up her een. 
That she might swear, and safe her aith. 
She sawna Sandy syne yestreen. 

8 They were na weel Into the room, 

Nor yet laid weel into the bed, 

9 When in came a' her seven brethern, 
And a' their torches burning bright; 
Says they. We hae but ae sister. 

And behold, she 's lying wi j^ou this 

10 ' I,' bespake the first o them, 

A wat an ill death mat he die ! 

* I bear a brand into my hand 

Shall quickly gar Clerk Saunders die.' 

11 'I,' bespake the second of them, 

A wat a good death mat he die ! 
' We will gae back, let him alane. 
His father has nae mair but he.' 

12 'I,' bespake the third o them, 

A wat an ill death mat he die ! 

* I bear the brand into my hand 

Shall quickly help to gar him die.' 

13 ' I,' bespake the fourth o them, 

A wat a good death mat he die ! 
< I bear the brand into my hand 
Shall never help to gar him die.' 

14 *I,' bespake the fifth o them, 

A wat an ill death mat he die ! 
' Altho his father hae nae mair, 
I '11 quickly help to gar him die.' 

15 ' I,' bespake the sixth o them, 

A wat a good death mat he die ! 

* He 's a worthy earl's son, 

I '11 never help to gar him die.' 

16 'I,' bespake the seventh of them, 

A wat an ill death mat he die ! 

* I bear the brand into my hand 

Shall quickly gar Clerk Saunders die.' 

17 They baith lay still, and sleeped sound, 

Untill the sun began to sheen; 
She drew the curtains a wee bit. 
And dull and drowsie was his een. 

18 ' This night,' said she, ' the sleepiest 

That ever my twa eyes did see 
Hay lyen by me, and sweat the sheets; 
A wite they 're a great shame to see.' 

19 She rowd the claiths a' to the foot. 

And then she spied his deadly wounds: 

* O wae be to my seven brethern, 

A wat an ill death mat they die ! 

20 ' I 'm sure it was neither rogue nor loun 

I had into my bed wi me; 
'T was Clerk Saunders, that good earl's 
That pledgd his faith to marry me.' 

' Clerk Saunders,' Jamieson's Popular Bal- 
lads, I, 8<o, communicated by Mrs Arret, of 
Aberbrothick, but enlarged from two frag- 

1 Clerk Saunders was an earl's son. 

He livd upon sea-sand; 
May Margaret was a king's daughter, 
She livd in upper land. 

2 Clerk Saunders was an earl's son, 

Weel learned at the scheel; 




May Margaret was a king's daughter, 
They baith loed ither weel. 

3 He 's throw the dark, and throw the 

And throw the leaves o green, 
Till he caine to May Margaret's door, 
And tii'led at the pin. 

4 * O sleep ye, wake ye, May Margaret, 

Or are ye the bower within ? ' 
* O wha is that at my bower-door, 

Sae weel my name does ken ? ' 
' It 's I, Clerk Saunders, your true-love, 

You '11 open and lat me in. 

5 ' O will ye to the cards, Margaret, 

Or to the table to dine ? 
Or to the bed, that 's weel down spread. 
And sleep when we get time ? ' 

6 ' I '11 no go to the cards,' she says, 

' Nor to the table to dine; 
But I '11 go to a bed, that 's weel down 
And sleep when we get time.' 

7 They were not weel lyen down, 

And no weel fa'en asleep, 
When up and stood May Margaret's 
Just up at their bed-feet. 

8 ' O tell us, tell us, May Margaret, 

And dinna to us len, 
O wha is aught yon noble steed, 
That stands your stable in ? ' 

9 ' The steed is mine, and it may be thine. 

To ride whan ye ride in hie; 

10 * But awa, awa, my bald brethren, 

Awa, and mak nae din; 
For I am as sick a lady the nicht 
As eer lay a bower within.' 

11 * O tell us, tell us, May Margaret, 

And dinna to us len, 
O wha is aught yon noble hawk, 
That stands your kitchen in ? ' 

12 ' The hawk is mine, and it may be thine. 

To hawk whan ye hawk in hie; 

13 ' But awa, awa, my bald brethren, 

Awa, and mak nae din; 
For I 'm ane o the sickest ladies this 
That eer lay a bower within.' 

14 ' O tell us, tell us. May Margaret, 

And dinna to us len, 
O wha is that, May Margaret, 
You and the wa between ? ' 

15 * it is my bower-maiden,' she says, 

' As sick as sick can be; 
O it is my bower-maiden,' she says, 
* And she 's thrice as sick as me.' 

16 ' We hae been east, and we 've been 

And low beneath the moon; 
But a' the bower-women eer we saw 
Hadua goud buckles in their shoouo' 

17 Then up and spak her eldest brither, 

Ay in ill time spak he: 
' It is Clerk Saunders, your true-love, 

And never mat I the 
But for this scorn that he has done 

This moment he sail die.' 

18 But up and spak her youngest brother, 

Ay in good time spak he: 
' O but they are a gudelie pair ! 

True lovers an ye be. 
The sword that hangs at my sword-belt 

Sail never sinder ye.' 

19 Syne up and spak her nexten brother. 

And the tear stood in his ee: 
'You 've loed her lang, and loed her 
And pity it wad be 
The sword that hangs 
Shoud ever sinder ye 

at my sword- 

20 But up and spak her fifthen brother: 

' Sleep on your sleep for me; 
But we baith sail never sleep again, 
For the tane o us sail die.' 

21 And up and spak her thirden brother, 

Ay in ill time spak he : 




* Curse on his love and comeliness ! 

Dishonouid as ye be, 
The sword that hangs at my sword-belt 

Sail quickly sinder ye.' 

22 The eldest brother has drawn his sword, 

The second has drawn anither, 
Between Clerk Saunders' hause and col- 
The cald iron met thegither. 

23 ' O wae be to you, my fause brethren. 

And an ill death mat ye die ! 
Ye mitb slain Clerk Saunders in open 
And no in bed wi me.' 



'Willie and Lady Maisry,' preserved in two 
versions, has much in coiunion with ' Clerk 
.Saunders.' The chief point of difference is 
that of Willie's killing Maisry's brother and 
the guard (in A, only the guard). Here the 
ballad has probably been affected by another 
now represented in English only by a very cor- 
rupt version, ' The Bent sae Brown ' (No. 71). 

' Willie, the Widow's Son,' Motherwell's 
MS., p. 498 ; ' Sweet Willie and Lady Margerie,' 
Motherwell's Minstrelsy, p. 370. From the 
recitation of Mrs Notraan, then far advanced 
in years, with whose grandmother it was a 
favorite : September 9, 1826. 

1 AViLLiE was a widow's son, 

And he wore a milk-white weed, O 
And weel could Willie read and write, 
Far better ride on steed. O 

2 Lady Margerie was the first lady 

That drank to him the wine. 
And aye as the healths gade round and 

* Laddy, your love is mine.' 

3 Lady Margerie was the first ladye 

That drank to him the beer. 
And aye as the healths gade round and 

* Laddy, you 're welcome here.' 

4 * You must come into my bower 

When the evening bells do ring. 
And you must come into my bower 
W^hen the evening mass doth sing.' 

5 He 's taen four and twenty braid arrows, 

And laced them in a whang. 
And he 's awa to Lady Margerie's bower, 
As fast as he can gang. 

6 He set ae foot on the wall. 

And the other on a stane. 
And he 's killed a' the king's life-guards, 
And he 's killed them every man. 

7 * Oh open, open. Lady Margerie, 

Open and let me in; 
The weet weets a' my yellow hair, 
And the dew draps on my chin.' 

8 With her feet as white as sleet 

She strode lier bower within. 
And with her fingers long and small 
She 's looten Sweet Willie in. 

9 She 's louten down unto her foot 

To loose Sweet Willie's shoon; 
The buckles were sa stiff they wudna 
The blood had frozen in. 

10 ' O Willie, Willie, I fear that thou 

Has bred me dule and sorrow; 
The deed that thou has dune this nicht 
Will kythe upon the morrow.' 

11 In then came her father dear. 

And a broad sword by his gare. 
And he s gien Willie, the widow's son, 
A deep wound and a sair. 

12 ' Lye yont, lye yont, Willie,' she says, 

* Your sweat weets a' my side; 
Lye yont, lye yont, W'^illie,' she says, 

* For your sweat I downa bide.' 

13 She turned her Iwick unto the \va, 

Her face unto the room. 
And there she saw her auld father. 
Walking up and down. 

14 * Woe be to you, father,' she said, 

'And an ill deed may you die ! 
For ye 've killd Willie, the widow's son, 
And he would have married me.' 




15 She turned her back unto the room, 
Her face unto the vva, 
And with a deep and heavy sich 
Her heart it brak in twa. 

' Willie and Lady Maisry.' Buchan's Ballads 
of the North of Scotland, i, 155. 

1 Sweet Willie was a widow's son, 

And milk-white was his weed; 
It sets him weel to bridle a horse, 
And better to saddle a steed, my dear, 
And better to saddle a steed. 

2 But he is on to Maisry's bower-door, 

And tirled at the pin: 
' Ye sleep ye, wake ye, Lady Maisry, 
Ye '11 open, let me come in.' 

3 ' O who is this at my bower-door, 

Sae well that knows my name ? ' 
* It is your ain true-love, Willie, 
If ye love me, kit me in.' 

4 Then huly, huly raise she up. 

For fear o making din, 
Then in her arms lang' and bent, 
She caught sweet Willie in. 

5 She leand her low down to her toe. 

To loose her true-love's sheen. 
But cauld, cauld were the draps o bleed 
Fell fae his trusty brand. 

6 ' What frightfu sight is that, my love ? 

A frightfu sight to see ! 
What bluid is this on your sharp brand ? 
O may ye not tell me ? ' 

7 ' As I came thro the woods this night. 

The wolf maist worried me; 

shoud I slain the wolf, Maisry? 
Or shoud the wolf slain me ? ' 

8 They hadna kissd, nor love clapped, 

As lovers when they meet. 
Till up it starts her auld father, 
Out o his drowsy sleep. 

9 ' O what 's become o my house-cock, 

Sae crouse at ane did craw ? 

1 wonder as much at my bold watch, 
That 's nae shooting ower the wa. 

10 * My gude house-cock, my only son. 

Heir ower my land sae free. 
If ou}"^ ruffian hae him slain, 
High hanged shall he be.' 

11 Then he 's on to Maisry's bower-door. 

And tirled at the pin: 

* Ye sleep ye, wake ye, daughter Maisry, 

Ye '11 open, lat me come in.' 

12 Between the curtains and the wa 

She rowd her true-love then. 
And huly went she to the door. 
And let her father in. 

13 * What 's become o your maries, Maisry. 

Your bower it looks sae teem ? 
What 's become o your green claithing. 
Your beds they are sae thin ? ' 

14 ' Gude forgie you, father,' she said, 

' I wish ye be 't for sin; 
Sae aft as ye hae dreaded me. 
But never found me wrang.' 

15 He turnd him right and round about, 

As he 'd been gaun awa; 

But sae nimbly as he slippet in 

Behind a screen sae sma. 

16 Maisry, thinking a' dangers past, 

She to her love did say, 

* Come, love, and take your silent rest; 

My auld father 's away.' 

17 Then baith lockd in each other's arms, 

They fell full fast asleep. 
When up it starts her auld father. 
And stood at their bed-feet. 

18 * I think I hae the villain now 

That my dear son did slay; 
But I shall be revengd on him 
Before I see the day.' 

19 Then he 's drawn out a trusty brand. 

And stroakd it oer a stray, 
And thro and thro Sweet Willie's 
He 's gart cauld iron gae. 

20 Then up it wakend Lady Maisry, 

Out o her drowsy sleep. 
And when she saw her true-love slain, 
She straight began to weep. 




21 ' glide forgie you now, father,' she 

' I wish ye be 't for sin; 
For I never lovd a love but ane, 
In my arms ye 've him slain.' 

22 ' This night he 's slain my gude bold 

Thirty stout men and twa; 
Likewise he 's slain your ae brother, 
To me was worth them a'.' 

23 * If he has slain my ae brither, 

Hiuisell had a' the blame, 
For mony a day he plots contriv'd, 
To hae Sweet Willie slain. 

24 ' And tho he 's slain your gude bold watch, 

He might hae been forgien; 
They came on him in armour bright, 
When he was but alane.' 

25 Nae meen was made for this young 

In bower where he lay slain, 
But a' was for sweet Maisry bright, 
In fields where she ran brain. 


' The Bent sae Brown ' combines the story 
of ' Clerk Saunders ' (No. 69) with that of 
another ballad, not found in an independent 
form in English, but sufficiently common in 
Danish and Swedish (Kristensen, No. 80, etc.) ; 
whence the non-tragical conclusion, for the 
killing of a certain number of brothers is not 
regarded as a very serious matter by the 
heroine, whether in English or Norse. The 
introduction and conclusion, and some inciden- 
tal decorations, of the Scottish ballad will 
not be found in tlie Norse, but are an outcome 
of the invention and the piecing and shaping of 
that humble but enterprising rhapsodist who 
has left his trail over so large a part of Buchan's 

Stanzas 21-.34 contain the substance of the 
Norse ballad referred to. A youth has passed 
the night with his love, either in her bower or 
in a wood. When they are about to part in 
the morning, she begs him to be on his guard 
against her seven brothers, on his way through 
the wood and over the heath. He makes 
light of the danger, and in the wood meets the 

seven brothers. They demand how he comes 
to be there, and he feigns to have been out 
with his hawk and hounds. No, they say, you 
were with our sister last niglit. He makes no 
denial. They ask whether he will fly or fight. 
He has no thought of flight, kills all seven, and 
goes back to his love. She will not forsake 
him for killing her brothers ; nor would she, in 
some versions, had he killed her father too. 

Buchan's Ballads of the North of Scotland, 
I, 30. 

1 ' There are sixteen lang miles, I 'm 

Between my love and me; 
There are eight o them in gude dry land, 
And other eight by sea. 

2 ' Betide me life, betide me death. 

My love I '11 gang and see ; 
Altho her friends they do me hate, 
Her love is great for me. 

3 ' Of my coat I '11 make a boat, 

And o my sark a sail. 
And o my cane a gude tapmast, 
Dry land till I come till.' 

4 Then o his coat he 's made a boat, 

And o his sark a sail ; 
And o his cane a gude tapmast. 
Dry land till he came till. 

5 He is on to Annie's bower-door. 

And tirled at the pin : 
' O sleep ye, wake ye, my love, Annie, 
Ye '11 rise, lat me come in.* 

6 ' O who is this at my bower-door, 

Sae well that kens my name ? ' 

' It is your true-love. Sweet Willie, 

For you I 've crossd the faem.' 

7 * I am deeply sworn, Willie, 

By father and by mother; 
At kirk or market where we meet. 
We darna own each other. 

8 ' And 1 am deeply sworn, Willie, 

By my bank! brothers three; 
At kirk or market where we meet, 
I darna speak to thee.' 

9 'Ye take your red fan in your hand, 

Your white fan ower your een, 




And ye may swear, and save your oath, 
Ye sawna me come in. 

10 * Ye take me in your arms twa, 

And carry me to your bed; 
And ye may swear, and save your oatb, 
Y^our bovver I never tread.' 

11 She 's taen her red fan in her hand, 

The white fan ower her een; 
It was to swear, and save her oath, 
She sawna him come in. 

12 She 's taen him in her arms twa, 

And carried him to her bed ; 
It was to swear, and save her oath. 
Her bower ho never tread. 

13 They hadna kissd, nor love clapped, 

As lovers do when they meet, 
Till up it waukens her mother. 
Out o her drowsy sleep. 

14 ' Win up, win up, my three bauld sons, 

Win up and make ye boun; 
Y'^our sister's lover 's in her bower, 
And he 's but new come in.' 

15 Then up it raise her three bauld sons. 

And girt to them their brand, 
And they are to their sister's bower. 
As fast as they coud gang. 

16 When they came to their sister's bower. 

They sought it up and down ; 
But there was neither man nor boy 
In her bower to be foun. 

17 Then out it speaks the first o them: 

* We '11 gang and lat her be; 
For there is neither man nor boy 
Intill her companie.' 

18 Then out it speaks the second son: 

' Our travel 's a' in vain; 
But mother dear, nor father dear, 
Shall break our rest again.' 

19 Then out it speaks the third o them, 

An ill death mat he die ! 
* We '11 lurk amang the bent sae brown, 
That Willie we may see.' 

20 He stood behind his love's curtains, 

His goud rings showd him light: 

And by this ye may a' weell guess 
He was a renowned knight. 

21 He 's done him to his love's stable, 
Took out his berry-brown steed; 
His love stood in her bower-door, 
Her heart was like to bleed. 

22 ' O mourn ye for my coming, love ? 

Or for my short staying ? 
Or mourn ye for our safe sindring, 
Case we never meet again ? ' 

23 * I mourn nae for your here coming. 

Nor for your staying lang; 
Nor mourn I for our safe sindring, 
I hope we '11 meet again. 

24 ' I wish ye may won safe away, 

And safely f rae the town ; 
For ken you not my brothers three 
Are mang the bent sae brown ? ' 

25 * If I were on my berry-brown steed. 

And three miles frae the town, 
I woudna fear your three bauld bro- 
Amang the bent sae brown.' 

26 He leint him ower his saddle-bow, 

And kissd her lips sae sweet; 
The tears that fell between these twa, 
They w^at his great steed's feet. 

27 But he wasna on his berry-brown steed, 

Nor twa miles frae the town. 
Till up it starts these three fierce men, 
Amang the bent sae brown. 

28 Then up they came like three fierce 

Wi mony shout and cry: 
* Bide still, bide still, ye cowardly youth, 
What makes your haste away ? 

29 * For I must know before you go. 

Tell me, and make nae lie; 
If ye 've been in my sister's Isower, 
My hands shall gar ye die.' 

30 * Tho I 've been in your sister's bower. 

I have nae fear o thee ; 
I'll stand my ground, and fiercely 
And shall gain victone.' 




31 * Now I entreat you for to stay, 

Unto us gie a wad ; 
If ye our words do not obey, 
I 'se gar your body bleed.' 

32 ' I have nae wad,' says Sweet Willie, 

' Unless it be my brand. 
And that shall guard my fair body, 
Till I win frae your hand.' 

33 Then two o them stept in behind, 

All in a furious meed; 
The third o them came him before. 
And seizd his berry-brown steed. 

34 O then he drew his trusty brand. 

That hang down by his gare. 
And he has slain these three fierce men. 
And left them sprawling there. 

35 Then word has gane to her mother, 

In bed where she slept soun, 
Tiiat Willie had killd her three bauld 
Amang the bent sae brown. 

36 Then she has cut the locks that hung 

Sae low down by her ee, 
Sae has she kiltit her green claithing 
A little aboon her knee. 

37 And she has on to the king's court. 

As fast as gang coud she; 
Wiien Fair Annie got word o that. 
Was there as soon as she. 

3S Her mother, when before the king. 
Fell low down on her knee; 

• Win up, win up, my dame,' he said, 

* What is your will wi me ? ' 

39 ' My wills they are not sma, my liege, 

the truth I'll tell to thee; 
There is ane o your courtly knights 
Last night hae robbed me.' 

40 * And has he broke your bigly bowers ? 

Or has he stole your fee ? 
There is nae knight into my court 
Last night has been frae me; 

41 ' Utiles?; 't was Willie o Lauderdale, 

Forbid that it be he ! ' 

♦ And l)y my sooth,' says the auld woman, 

' That very man is he. 

42 ' For he has broke my bigly bowers. 

And he has stole my fee. 
And made my daughter Ann a whore. 
And an ill woman is she. 

43 * That was not all he did to me, 

Ere he went frae the town; 
My sons sae true he fiercely slew, 
Amang the bent sae brown.' 

44 Then out it spake her daughter Ann, 

She stood by the king's knee: 
* Ye lie, ye lie, my mother dear, 
Sae loud 's I hear you lie. 


* He has not broke your bigly bowers. 

Nor has he stole your fee. 
Nor made your daughter Ann a whore 

A good woman I '11 be. 

46 ' Altho he slew your three bauld sons, 

He weel might be forgien; 
They were well clad in armour bright, 
Whan my love was him lane.' 

47 ' Well spoke, well spoke,' the king re- 

' This tauking pleases me; 
For ae kiss o your lovely mouth, 
I '11 set your true-love free.' 

48 She 's taen the kiug in her arms. 

And kissd him cheek and chin; 
He then set her behind her love. 
And they went singing hame. 




There are ballads both in Northern and 
Southern Europe which have a certain amount 
of likeness with ' The Clerk's Twa Sons,' but if 
the story of all derives from one original, time 
has introduced great and even unusnal varia- 
tions. A very well known German ballad (' Das 
Schloss in Oesterreich,' Bohme's Erk, No. 61), 
found also in the Low Countries and in Scandi- 
navia, has tlie following storv. A youth is 
lyino- in a dungeon, condemned to be hanged. 
His father comes to the town and they ex- 
change words about the severity of his prison. 
The father then goes to the lord of the place 
and offers three }'undred florins as a ransom. 




Kansora is refused : the boy has a gold chain 
on his neck which will be his death. The 
father says that the chain was not stolen, but 
the gift of a young- lady, who reared the boy as 
a p;ige, or what not. There is no dear-boug-ht 
love in the case. The father, standing by the 
gallows, threatens revenge, but his son depre- 
cates that : he cares not so much for his life 
as for his mother's grief. Within a half year, 
more than three hundred men pay with their 
lives for the death of the boy. A Catalan and 
Italian ballad (MiU, Romancerillo, No. 208 ; 
Nig-ra, No. 4) has resemblances with the Scot- 
tish and the German, and may possibly be a 
common link. Three students meet three girls, 
and attempt some little jests with them : ask 
them for a kiss, or throw some pebbles at 
them ; or meet one girl on a bridge and kiss 
her. For this the girls have thein arrested by 
an accommodating catchpoll, and they are 
hanged by a peremptory judge. This Southern 
ballad is originally French (see Journal des Sa- 
vants, Sept.-Nov., 1889, p. 614). 

' The Clerk's Twa Sons o Owsenford,' Kin- 
loch MSS., V, 403, in the handwriting of James 
Chambers, as sung to his maternal grandmother, 
Jiinet Grieve, seventy years before, by an old 
woman, a Miss Ann Gray, of Neidpath Castle, 
Peeblesshire ; January 1, 1829. 

10 1 WILL sing to you a sang, 
But oh ray heart is sair ! 
The clerk's twa sons in Owsenford 
Has to learn some unco lair. 

2 They hadna been in fair Parish 

A twelvemonth an a day, 
Till the clerk's twa sons o Owsenford 
Wi the mayor's twa daughters lay. 

3 word 's gaen to the mighty mayor. 

As he saild on the sea. 
That the clerk's twa sons o Owsen- 
Wi his twa daughters lay. 

4 * If they hae lain wi my twa daughters, 

Meg an Marjorie, 
The morn, or I taste meat or drink, 
They shall be hangit hie.' 

5 word 's gaen to the clerk himself, 

As he sat driakin wine, 
That his twa sons in fair Parish 
Were bound in prison strong. 

6 Then up and spak the clerk's ladye, 
And she spak powrfully : 

' O tak with ye a purse of gold. 
Or take with ye three. 

And if ye canna get W^illiam, 
Bring Andrew hame to me.' 

7 ' lye ye here for owsen, dear sons, 

Or lie ye here for kye ? 
Or what is it that ye lie for, 
Sae sair bound as ye lie ? ' 

8 ' We lie not here for owsen, dear father. 

Nor yet lie here for kye, 
But it 's for a little o dear bought love 
Sae sair bound as we lie.' 

9 O he 's gane to the mighty mayor, 

And he spoke powerfully: 
' Will ye grant me my twa sons' lives, 

Either for gold or fee ? 
Or will ye be sae gude a man 

As grant them baith to me ? ' 

10 ' I '11 no grant ye yere twa sons' lives, 

Neither for gold or fee, 
Nor v.ill I be sae gude a man 

As gie them back to thee; 
Before the morn at twelve o'clock 

Ye .'11 see them hangit hie.' 

11 Up an spak his twa daughters, 

An they spak powrfully: 
* Will ye grant us our twa loves' lives, 
Either for gold or fee ? 
Or will ye be sae gude a man 
As grant them baith to me ? * 

12 ' I '11 no grant ye yere twa loves' liveSj 

Neither for gold or fee. 
Nor will I be sae gude a man 

As grant their lives to thee; 
Before the morn at twelve o'clock 

Ye '11 see them hangit hie.' 

13 O he 's taen out these proper youths. 

And hangd them on a tree, 
And he 's bidden the clerk o Owsen- 
Gang hame to his ladie. 

14 His lady sits on yon castle-wa, 

Beholding dale an doun. 




An there she saw her ain gude lord 
Come walk in to the toun. 

15 * Ye 're welcome, welcome, my ain gude 

Ye 're welcome hame to me; 
But where away are my twa sons ? 
jTe should hae brought them wi ye.' 

16 ' It 's I 've putten them to a deeper lair, 

An to a higher sehule ; 
Yere ain twa sons ill no be here 
Till the hallow days o Yule.' 

17 ' O sorrow, sorrow come mak my bed, 

An dool come lay me doon ! 
For I '11 neither eat nor drink, 
Nor set a fit on ground.' 




The English version of this ballad, ' Lord 
Thomas and Fair Ellinor ' (D), g-iven, with al- 
terations, in Percy's Reliques, lii, 82, 1765, is 
a broadside of Charles the Second's time and 
licensed by L'Estrange, who was censor from 
1663 to 1685. This copy has become tradi- 
tional in Scotland and Ireland. The Scottish 
traditional copy, A, given by Percy in the 
Reliques (unfortunately with some corrections, 
but these cannot have been many), is far supe- 
rior, and one of the most beautifvil of all ballads. 
' Fair Margaret and Sweet William ' (No. 74) 
begins in the same way, but the conclusion is 
that the forsaken maid dies of grief, not by 
the hand of her incensed rival. It is most natu- 
ral that the two stories should be blended in 
tradition, as they are here in I (and in versions 
E-H). Sts. 31 ff. of I belong to ' Fair Margaret 
and Sweet William ' (No. 74). Norse ballads 
(see Grundtvig, IV, 219) have tlae story of ' Lord 
Thomas and Fair Annet,' coming very close in 
details. Those forms which are nearest to the 
English resemble more the mixed versions 
than the simple version A. A southern ballad 
has something of the outline of the English 
and Norse, and sounds like a thin echo of them. 

' Lord Thomas and Fair Annet,' Percy's Re- 
liques, 1765, Ti, 593, " given, with some correc- 
tions, from a MS. copy transmitted from Scot- 
land ; " III, 240, ed. 176T. 

1 Lord Thomas and Fair Annet 

Sate a' day on a hill ; 
Whan night was cum, and sun was 

They had not talkt their fill. 

2 Lord Thomas said a word in jest, 

Fair Annet took it ill: 
* A, I will nevir wed a wife 
Against my ain friends' will.' 

3 ' Gif ye wnll nevir wed a wife, 

A wife wull neir wed yee: ' 
Sae he is hame to tell his mither, 
And knelt upon his knee. 

4 * O rede, O rede, mither,' he says, 

* A gude rede gie to mee; 

sail I tak the nut-browne bride, 
And let Faire Annet bee ? ' 

5 'The nut-browne bride haes gowd and 

Fair Annet she has gat nane; 
And the little beauty Fair Annet haes 
O it wull soon be gane.' 

6 And he has till his brother gane: 

' Now, brother, rede ye mee ; 
A, sail I marrie the nut-browne bride. 
And let Fair Annet bee ? ' 

7 ' The nut-browne bride has oxen, brother. 

The nut-browne bride has kye; 

1 wad hae ye marrie the nut-browne 

And cast Fair Annet bye.' 

8 * Her oxen may dye i the house, billie, 

And her kye into the byre, 
And I sail hae nothing to mysell 
Bot a fat fadge by the fyre.' 

9 And he has till his sister gane: 

*Now, sister, rede ye mee; 
O sail I marrie the nut-browne bride, 
And set Fair Annet free ? ' 

10 * I 'se rede ye tak Fair Annet, Thomas, 

And let the browne bride alane; 
Lest ye sould sigh, and say, Alace, 
What is this we brought hame ! ' 

11 ' No, I will tak my mither's counsel, 

And marrie me cwt o hand; 




And I will tak the nut-browne bride, 
Fair Annet may leive the land.' 

12 Up then rose Fair Annet's father, 

Twa hours or it wer day, 

And he is gane into the bower 

Wherein Fair Annet lay. 

13 ' Rise up, rise up, Fair Annet,' he says, 

' Put on your silken sheene; 

Let us gae to St Marie's kirke. 

And see that rich weddeen.' 

14 ' My maides, gae to my dressing-roome, 

And dress to me my hair; 
Whaireir yee laid a plait before. 
See yee lay ten times mair. 

15 * My maids, gae to my dressing-room. 

And dress to me my smock; 
The one half is o the holland fine, 
The other o needle-work.' 

16 The horse Fair Annet rade upon, 

He amblit like the wind; 

Wi siller he was shod before, 

Wi burning gowd behind. 

17 Four and twanty siller bells 

Wer a' tyed till his mane. 
And yae tift o the norland wind, 
They tinkled ane by ane. 

18 Four and twanty gay gude knichts 

Rade by Fair Annet's side, 

And four and twanty fair ladies. 

As gin she had bin a bride. 

19 And whan she cam to Marie's kirk. 

She sat on Marie's stean: 
The cleading that Fair Annet had on 
It skinkled in their een. 

20 And whan she cam into the kirk. 

She shimmerd like the sun; 
The belt that was about her waist 
Was a' wi pearles bedone. 

21 She sat her by the nut-browne bride. 

And her een they wer sae clear, 
Lord Thomas he clean forgat the bride. 
Whan Fair Annet drew near. 

22 He had a rose into his hand, 

He gae it kisses three, 

And reaching by the nut-browne bride. 
Laid it on Fair Annet's knee. 

23 Up than spak the nut-browne bride. 

She spak wi meikle sj)ite: 
' And whair gat ye that rose-water. 
That does mak yee sae white ? ' 

24 ' O I did get the rose-water 

Whair ye wuU neir get nane, 
For I did get that very rose-water 
Into my mither's wame.' 

25 The bride she drew a long bodkin 

Frae out her gay head-gear, 
And strake Fair Annet unto the heart. 
That word spak nevir mair. 

26 Lord Thomas he saw Fair Annet wex 

And marvelit what mot% bee; 
But whan he saw her dear heart's blude, 
A' wood-wroth wexed hee. 

27 He drew his dagger, that was sae sharp. 

That was sae sharp and meet. 
And drave it into the nut-browne bride. 
That fell deid at his feit. 

28 ' Now stay for me, dear Annet,' he sed, 

' Now stay, my dear,' he cry'd ; 
Then strake the dagger untill his heart, 
And fell deid by lier side. 

29 Lord Thomas was buried without kirk- 

Fair Annet within the quiere. 
And o the tane thair grew a birk. 
The other a bonny briere. 

30 And ay they grew, and ay they threw, 

As they wad faine be neare; 
And by this ye may ken right well 
They were twa luvers deare. 

' Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor.' a. Pepys 
Ballads, iii, 316, No. 312. b. A Collection of 
Old Ballads, -i, 249, 1723. C. Ritson, Select 
Collection of English Song-s, ii, 187, 1783. d. 
Buchan's Gleanings, p. 86. e, f, g, h, i, re« 
cited copies. 

1 Lord Thomas he was a bold forrester. 
And a chaser pf the king's deerj 




Faire EUinor was a fair woman, 


' There 's many that are my friends, 

And Lord Thomas he loved her dear. 

If a thousand more were my foe, 


« Come riddle my riddle, dear mother,' 

Betide my life, betide my death. 

he said, 

To Lord Thomas's wedding I'le go.' 

' And riddle us both as one, 

Whether I shall marry Fair Elliuor, 


She cloathed herself in gallant attyre, 

And let the brown girl alone.' 

And her merry men all in green, 
And as they rid thorough everye towne, 


' The brown girl she has got houses and 

They took her to have been a queene. 

And Fair Ellinor she has got none; 


But when she came to Lord Thomas's 

Therefore I charge you on my blessing 


To bring me the brown girl home.' 

She knocked there at the ring; 
But who was so ready as Lord Thomas 

4 And as it befell on a high holidaye, 

To lett Fair Ellinor in. 

As many did more beside. 

Lord Thomas he went to Fair Ellinor, 


' Is this your bride ? ' Fair Ellin she 

That should have been his bride. 

' Methinks she looks wondrous browne ; 


But when he came to Fair Ellinor's 

Thou mightest have bad as fair a woman 


As ever trod on the ground.' 

He knocked there at the ring; 

But who was so ready as Fair Ellinor 


' Despise her not. Fair Ellin,' he sayd, 

For to let Lord Thomas in. 

' Despise her not now unto mee; 
For better I love thy little finger 


' What news, what news, Lord Thomas,' 
she said. 

Than all her whole body.' 

* What news hast thou brought unto 

15 This browne bride had a little penknife, 


That was both long and sharp, 

* I am come to bid thee to my wedding, 

And betwixt the short ribs and the long 

And that is bad news to thee.' 

Prickd Fair Ellinor to the heart. 


'Oh God forbid, Lord Thomas,' she 


* Oh Christ now save thee,' Lord Thomas 


he said, 

' That such a thing should be done; 

' Methinks thou lookst wondrous wan; 

I thought to have been thy bride my 

Thou wast usd for to look with as fresh 

own self, 

a colour 

And you to have been the brid's- 

As ever the sun shin'd on.' 



« Oh art thou blind. Lord Thomas ? ' she 


* Come riddle my riddle, dear mother,' 


she sayd. 

' Or canst thou not very well see ? 

* And riddle it all in one; 

Oh dost thou not see my own heart's 

Whether I shall go to Lord Thomas's 



Runs trickling down my knee ? ' 

Or whether I shall tarry at home.' 


Lord Thomas he had a sword by his side, 


' There 's many that are your friends, 

As he walked about the hall; 


He cut off his bride's head from her 

And many that are your fo; 


Therefore I charge you on my bless- 

And he threw it against the wall. 

To Lord Thomas's wedding don't 

19 He set the hilte against the ground, 


And the point against his heart; 




There was never three lovers that ever 
More sooner they did depart. 

Abbotsford MS., Scotch Ballads, Materials 
for Border Minstrelsy, No. 22 h ; iu the hand- 
writing- of William Laidlaw. From Jean Scott. 

1 Fair Annie an Sweet Willie 

Sat a' day on yon hill; 
Whan day was gane an night was 
They hadna said their fill. 

2 Willie spak but ae wrang word, 

An Annie took it ill: 
' I '11 never marry a fair woman 
Against my friends's will.' 

3 Annie spak but ae wrang word, 

An Willy lookit down: 
' If I binna gude eueugh for yer wife, 
I 'm our-gude for yer loun.' 

4 Willie 's turnd his horse's head about. 

He 's turnd it to the broom, 
An he 's away to his father's bower, 
I the ae light o the moon. 

5 Whan he cam to his father's bower, 

[He tirlt at the pin; 
Nane was sae ready as his father 
To rise an let him in.] 

6 * An askin, an askin, dear father, 

An~askin I '11 ask thee; ' 
' Say on, say on, my son Willie, 
Whatever your askin be.' 

7 ' O sail I marry the nit-brown bride, 

Has corn, caitle an kye, 
Or sail I marry Fair Annie, 
Has nought but fair beauty ? ' 

8 * Ye ma sit a gude sate, Willy, 

Wi corn, caitle an kye; 
But ye '11 but sit a silly sate 
Wi nought but fair beauty.' 

9 Up than spak his sister's son. 

Sat on the nurse's knee, 
Sun-brnist in his mother's wame. 
Sun-brunt on his nurse's knee: 

10 ' O yer hogs will die out i the field, 

Yer kye ill die i the byre ; 
An than, whan a' yer gear is gane, 

A fusom fag by yer fire ! 
But a' will thrive at is wi you 

An ye get yer heart's desire.' 

11 Willie 's turnd his horse's head about, 

He 's away to his mother's hour, 

12 ' O my hogs ill die out i the field, 

My kye die i the byre. 
An than, whan a' nvy gear is gane, 

A fusom fag bi my fire ! 
But a' will thrive at is wi me 

Gin I get my heart's desire.' 

13 Willie 's, etc.. 

He 's awae to his brother's bower, etc. 


sister's bower, etc. 

15 Than W^illie has set his wadln-day 

W^ithin thirty days an three, 
An he has sent to Fair Annie 
His waddin to come an see. 

16 The man that gade to Fair Annie 

Sae weel his errant coud tell: 

* The morn it 's Willie's wadin-day, 

Ye maun be there yer sell.' 

17 'T was up an spak her aged father. 

He spak wi muckle care; 

* An the morn be Willie's wadin-day, 

I wate she maun be there. 

18 ' Gar take a steed to the smiddie, 

Caw on o it four shoon; 
Gar take her to a merchant's shop, 
Cut off for her a gown.' 

19 She wadna ha 't o the red sae red 

Nor yet o the grey sae grey, 
But she wad ha't o the sky couler 
That she woor ilka day. 

four-a-twontie gray goss* 

20 There war 

A' flaffin their wings sae wide. 
To llaff tlie stour thra off the road 
That Fair Annie did ride. 




The[re] war four-an-twontie milk-wliite 

An Willie an his nit-brown bride 


I their chamber war laid, 

A' fleein aboon her head, 

An four-an-twontie milk-white swans 


They war na weel laid in their bed, 

Her out the gate to lead. 

Nor yet weel faen asleep. 
Till up an startit Fair Annie, 

22 Wliau she cam to St Marie's kirk, 

Just up at Willie's feet. 

She lightit on a stane; 

The beauty o that fair creature 


* How like ye yer bed, Willie ? 

Shone oer mony ane. 

An how like ye yer sheets ? 
An how like ye yer nut-brown bride. 


'T was than out cam the nit-brown 

Lies in yer arms an sleeps ? ' 

She spak wi muckle spite; 


' Weel eneugh I like my bed, Annie, 

* where gat ye the water, Annie, 

W^eel eneugh I like my sheets; 

That washes you sae white ? ' 

But wae be to the nit-brown bride 
Lies in my arms an sleeps ! ' 


' I gat my beauty 

Where ye was no to see; 


W^illie 's ca'd on his merry men a' 

I gat it i my father's garden, 

To rise an pit on their shoon; 

Aneath an apple tree. 

' An we 'U awae to Annie's bower, 
W^i the ae light the moon.' 


' Ye ma wash i dubs,' she said, 

' An ye ma wash i syke. 

36 An whan he cam to Annie's bower. 

But an ye wad wash till doomsday 

He tirlt at the pin; 

Ye neer will be as white. 

Nane was sae ready as her father 
To rise an let him in. 


' Ye ma wash i dubs,' she said. 

' An ye ma wash i the sea. 

37 There was her father a[n] her se'en 

But an ye soud wash till doomsday 


Ye '11 neer be as white as me. 

A' mak in to her a bier, 
WI ae stamp the melten goud, 


' For I gat a' tliis fair beauty 
Where ye gat never none. 

Another siller clear. 

For I gat a' this fair beauty 

38 W^hen he cam to the chamber-door 

Or ever I was born.' 

Where that the dead lay in. 
There was her mother an six sisters 


It was than out cam W^illie, 

A' makin to her a sheet. 

Wi hats o silks and flowers; 

Wi ae drap . . . . 

He said. Keep ye thae, my Fair Annie, 

Another silk sae white. 

An brook them weel for yours. 


' Stand by, stand by now, ladies a'. 


' Na, keep ye thae, Willie,' she said, 

Let me look on the dead; 

' Gie them to yer nit-brown bride; 

The last time that I kiss[t] her lips 

Bid her wear them wi mukle care, 

They war mair bonny red.' 

For woman has na born a son 

Sal mak my heart as sair.' 


' Stand by, stand by now, Willie,' thej 
' An let ye her alane; 


Annie 's luppen on her steed 

An she has ridden hame, 

Gin ye had done as ye soud done, 

Than Annie 's luppen of her steed 

She wad na there ha lien.' 

An her bed she has taen. 


' Gar deal, gar deal at Annie's burrial 


When mass was sung, an bells war 

The wheat bread an the wine. 


For or the morn at ten o clock 

An a' man bound to bed, 

Ye 's deal'd as fast at mine.' 





A, a, b, c, are broadside or stall copies, a of 
the end of the seventeenth century, b " mod- 
ern " in Percy's time. The ballad is twice 
quoted in Beaumont and Fletcher's Knight of 
the Burning- Pestle, 1611 (ii, 8; iii, 5). David 
Mallet published as his own, in 1724, ' Mar- 
garet's Ghost,' which turns out to be simply 
' William and Margaret, an Old Ballad,' printed 
in 1711, with a few changes. The 1711 text is 
simply ' Fair Margaret and Sweet William ' 
rewritten in what used to be called an elegant 

* Fair Margaret and Sweet William ' begins 
like No. 73, and from the fifth stanza on is 
blended with a form of that ballad. The 
catastrophe of ' Fair Margaret and Sweet Wil- 
liam ' is repeated in ' Lord Lovel ' (No. 75). 

a. ' Fair Margaret's Misfortune,' etc., Douce 
Ballads, i, fol. 72. b. ' Fair Margaret and 
Sweet William,' Ritson, A Select Collection 
of English Songs, 1783, ii, 190. C. ' Fair Mar- 
garet and Sweet William,' Percy's Reliques, 
1765, III, 121. d. Percy's Reliques, 1767, iii, 

1 As it fell out on a long- summer's day, 

Two lovers they sat on a hill; 

They sat together that long summer's 


And could not talk their fill. 

2 'I see no harm by yon, Margaret, 

Ncfr you see none by me; 
Before tomorrow eight aclock 
A rich wedding shall you see.' 

3 Fair Margaret sat in her bower-window, 

A combing of her hair, . 

And there she spy'd Sweet William and 
As they were riding near. 

4 Down she layd her ivory comb, 

And up she bound her hair; 
She went her way forth of her bower. 
But never more dicV'^me there. 

5 When day was gone, and night was 

And all men fust asleep, 

Then came the spirit of F^r Margaret, 
And stood at William's feet. 

6 * God give you joy, you two true lovers, 

In bride-bed fast asleep; 
Loe I anrg^ng to my green grass grave^ 
And am in my winding-sheet.' 

7 When day was come, and night was 

And all men wak'd from sleep. 
Sweet William to his lady said, 
' My dear, I have^trrvUse to weep. 

8 *I dreamd a dream, my dear lady; 

Such dreams are never good; 
I dreamd my bower was fuiJ— of red 
swine, / 

And my bride-bed full of blood.' 

9 ' Such dreams, such dreams, my hon- 

oured lord, 
They never do prove good, 
To dream thy bower was full of swine. 
And [thy] bride-bed full of blood.' 

10 He called up his merfy men all, 

By one, by two, and'Tjy three. 
Saying, I 'it aVay to Fair Margaret's 
By the leave of my lady. 

11 And when he came to Fair I\Iargaret's 

He knocked at the ring; 
So ready was her seven brethren 
To let Sweet William in. 

12 He turned up the covering-sheet: 

' Pray let me see the dead; 
Methinks she does look pale and wan, 
Sh^ l;as lost her cherry red. 

13 * I 'II do more for thee, Margaret, 

Than any of thy kin; 
For I will kiss thy pale wan lips, 
Tho a smile I cannot win.' 

14 With that bespeak her seven brethren, 

Making mo^Tpitious moan: 
* You may g^Jtiss your jolly. bi'own bride. 
And let our sister alone.' 

15 ' If I do kiss my jolfy brown bride, 

I do but what is right; 




For I made no vow to yo^ sister dear, 
By day or yet by uight. 

IG ' Pray tell me then how much yon'''ir(Ieal 
Of your white bread aud'your wine; 
So much as-iTLxlealt at he r f uneral today 
Tomorrow shall be dealtat mine.' 

17 Fair Marg-aret dy'd today, today. 

Sweet William he dy'd the morrow; 
Fair Margaret dy'd for pure true love. 
Sweet William he dy'd for sorrow. 

18 Margaret was buried in the lower chan- 

Sweet William in the higher; 
Out of hgr breast there sprung a rose, 
And out of his a brier. 

19 They grew as high as the church-top, 

Till they could grow no higher. 
And then they grew in a true lover's 
Which made alF^eople admire. 

20 There came the clerk of the parish, 

As you this truth shall hear. 
And by misfortune cut th^m down. 
Or they had now been there. 

Percy Papers ; communicated by the Dean 
of Derr}% as written down from memory by 
his mother, Mrs Bernard ; February, 177(3. 

1 Sweet William would a wooing ride. 

His steed was lovely brown; 
A fairer creature than Lady Margaret 
Sweet William could find none. 

2 Sweet William came to Lady Margaret's 

And knocked at the ring. 
And who so ready as Lady Margaret 
To rise and to let him in. 

3 Down then came her father dear, 

Clothed all in blue: 
* I pray. Sweet William, tell to me 
What love 's between my daughter 
and you ? ' 

4 ' I know none by her,' he said, 

*Aud she knows none by me; 

Before tomorrow at this time 
Another bride you shall see.' 

5 Lady Margaret at her bower-window, 

Combing of her hair. 
She saw Sweet William and his brown 
Unto the church repair. 

6 Down she cast her iv'ry comb, 

And up she tossd her hair, 
She went out from her bowr alive, 
But never so more came there. 

7 When day was gone, and night was cojne. 

All people were asleep. 
In glided Margaret's grimly ghost. 
And stood at William's feet. 

8 *How d' ye like your bed. Sweet Wil- 

liam ? 

How d' ye like your sheet ? 
And how d 'ye like that brown lady. 
That lies in your arms asleep ? ' 

9 *Well I like ray bed. Lady Margaret, 

And well I like my sheet; 
But better I like that fair lady 
That stands at my bed's feet.' 

10 When night was gone, and day was 

All people were awake. 
The lady waket out of her sleep. 
And thus to her lord she spake. 

11 *I dreamd a dream, my wedded lord. 

That seldom comes to good; 
I dreamd that our bowr was lin'd with 
white swine. 
And our br id-chamber full of blood.' 

12 He called up his merry men all, 

By one, by two, by three, 
* We will go to Lady Margaret's bower, 
With the leave of my wedded lady.' 

13 When he came to Lady Margaret's 

He knocked at the ring. 
And who were so ready as her brethren 
To rise and let him in. 


Oh is she in tlie parlor,' he said, 
* Or is she in the hall ? 




Or is she in the long chamber, 
Amongst her merry maids all ? ' 

15 ' She 's not in the parlor,' they said, 

*Nor is she in the hall; 
But she is in the long chamber, 
Laid out against the wall.' 

16 * Open the winding sheet,' he cry'd, 

' That I may kiss the dead; 
That I may kiss her pale and wan 
Whose lips used to look so red.' 

17 Lady Margaret [died] on the over night, 

Sweet William died on the morrow; 
Lady Margaret died for pure, pure 
Sweet William died for sorrow. 

IS On Margaret's grave there grew a rose, 
On Sweet William's grew a briar; 
They grew till they joind in a true 
lover's knot, 
And then they died both together. 



In ' Fair Margaret and Sweet William ' 
(No. 74). as also in 'Lord Thomas and Fair 
Annet ' (No. 73), a lover sacrifices his inclina- 
tion to make a marriag-e of interest. In ' Lord 
Level ' the woman dies, not of affections be- 
trayed, but of hopes too long deferred, and 
her laggard but not unfaithful lover sinks 
under his remorse and grief. There are seve- 
ral sets of ballads, very common in Germany 
and in Scandinavia, which, whether they are 
or are not variations of the same original, 
at least have a great in common with 
' Lord Lovel ' and ' Fair Margaret and Sweet 
William.' Of these, one which more closely 
i—sembles the English is ' Der Ritter und die 
Maid,' of German origin (see Uhland, No. 97 ; 
Erk, Liederhort, No. 26), but found also in 
Scandinavia. A Romaic ballad (Passow, No. 
415) has the characteristic features of the Eng- 
lish, German, and Scandinavian stories, with a 
beginning of its own, as these also have. 

* Lady Ouncebell,' Percy Papers, communi- 
cated by the Rev. P. Parsons, of Wye. from 
singing ; May 22, 1770, and April 19, 1770. 

1 ' And I fare you well, Lady Ouncebell, 

For I must needs be gone, 
And this time two year I '11 meet you 
To finish the loves we begun.' 

2 * That is a long time, Lord Lovill,' said 

* To live in fair Scotland; ' 
* And so it is, Lady Ouncebell, 
To leave a fair lady alone.' 

3 He had not been in fair Scotland 

Not half above half a year. 
But a longin mind came into his head, 
Lady Ouncebell he woud go see her. 

4 He called up his stable-groom. 

To sadle his milk-white stead; 
Dey down, dey down, dey down dery 
I wish Lord Lovill good speed. 

5 He had not been in fair London 

Not half above half a day, 
But he heard the bells of the high chapel 
They rang with a ceserera. 

6 He asked of a gentlemau, 

That set there all alone. 
What made the bells of the high chapel 
The ladys make all their moan. 

7 * One of the king's daughters are dead,' 

said he, 
'Lady Ouncebell was her name; 
She died for love of a courtous young 

Lord Lovill he was the same.' 

8 He caused her corps to be set down, 

And her winding sheet undone. 

And he made a vow before them all 

He 'd never kiss wowman again. 

9 Lady Ouncebell died on the yesterday. 

Lord Lovill on the morrow; 
Lady Ouncfcbell died for pure true love, 
Lord Lovill died for sorrow. 

10 Lady Ouncebell was buried in the high 
Lord Lovill in the choir; 




Lady Ouncebell's breast sprung out a 
sweet rose, 
Lord Lovill's a bunch of sweet 

11 They grew till they grew to the top of 

the church, 
And then they could grow no higher; 
They grew till they grew to a true-lover's 
And then they tyed both together. 

12 An old wowman coming by that way, 

And a blessing she did crave, 
To cut off a bunch of that true-lover's 
And buried them both in one grave. 

'Lord Lavel,' Kinloch MSS., 1,45, from the 
recitation of Mary Barr, of Lesmahago, " aged 
upwards of TO," May, 1827. 

1 Lord Lavel he stands at his stable- 

Kaiming his milk-white steed; 
And by and cam Fair Nancybelle, 
And wished Lord Lavel good speed. 

2 ' O whare are ye going, Lord Lavel ? ' 

she said, 

* I pray ye tell to me: ' 

* O I am going to merry England, 

To win your love aff me.' 

3 * And whan will ye return again ? ' she 


* Lord Lavel, pray tell to me: ' 

* Whan seven lang years are past and 

Fair Nancybelle, I '11 return to thee.' 

4 * 'T is too lang, Lord Lavel,' she said, 

' 'T is too lang for me ; 
'T is too lang, Lord Lavel,' she said, 

* A true lover for to see.' 

6 He had na been in merry England 
A month but barely three. 
Till languishing thoughts cam into his 
Ard Nancybelle fain wad he see. 

6 He rade, and he rade, alang the hieway, 

Till he cam to yonder toun; 
He heard the sound o a fine ciiapel-bell, 
And the ladies were mourning roun. 

7 He rade, and he rade, alang the hieway, 

Till he cam to yonder hall; 
He heard the sound o a fine chapel-bell, 
And the ladies were mourning all. 

8 He asked wha it was that was dead, 

The ladies did him tell: 
They said, It is the king's daughter. 

Her name is Fair Nancybelle; 
She died for the love of a courteous 
young knicht, 

His name is Lord Lavel. 

9 ' O hast thou died. Fair Nancybelle, 

O hast thou died for me ! 
hast thou died, Fair Nancybelle ! 
Then I will die for thee.' 

10 Fair Nancybelle died, as it might be, 

this day. 
Lord Lavel he died tomorrow; 
Fair Nancybelle died with pure, pure 

Lord Lavel he died with sorrow. 

11 Lord Lavel was buried in Mary's kirk, 

Nancybelle in Mary's quire; 
And out o the ane there grew a birk. 
Out the other a bonny brier. 

12 And ae they grew, and ae they threw, 

Until they twa did meet, 
That ilka ane might plainly see 
They war twa lovers sweet. 

* Lord Level,' Kinloch MSS., Vii, 83, from 
the recitation of a lady of Roxbiirg-hshire ; 
Kinloch's Ancient Scottish Ballads, p. 31. 

1 Lord Lovel stands at his stable-door, 

Mounted upon a grey steed, 
And bye cam Ladie Nanciebel, 

And wishd Lord Lovel much speed. 

2 * O whare are ye going, Lord Lovel ? 

My dearest, tell unto me:' 
' I am going a far journey. 
Some strange countrey to see. 




But I '11 return in seven long years, 

Lady Nanciebel to see: ' 
Oh seven, seven, seven long years, 

They are much too long for me.' 

4 He was gane about a year away, 

A year but barely ane, 
Whan a strange fancy cam intil his 
That fair Nanciebel was gane. 

5 It 's then he rade, and better rade, 

Untill he cam to the toun, 
And there he heard a dismal noise, 
For the church bells aw did soun. 

6 He asked what the bells rang for ; 

They said. It 's for Nanciebel; 

She died for a discourteous squire. 

And his name is Lord Lovel. 

7 The lid of the coffin he opened up. 

The linens he faulded doun, 
And ae he kissd her pale, pale lips. 
And the tears cam trinkliug doun. 

8 * Weill may I kiss these pale, pale lips, 

For they will never kiss me; 
I '11 mak a vow, and I '11 keep it true. 
That I '11 ueer kiss ane but thee.' 

9 Lady Nancie died on Tuesday's nicht, 

Lord Lovel upon the niest day; 
Lady Nancie died for pure, pure love. 
Lord Lovel for deep sorraye. 



A, the oldest copy, published for the first 
time in Child's English and Scottish Popular 
Ballads, is from a manuscript of the first half 
of the eighteenth century. A has a prelimi- 
nary history wanting in all others, but the story 
is somewhat obscure and two difPerent relations 
may have been confounded. The conclusion 
of A is that of ' Lord Lovel ' (No. 75) and 
' Fair Margaret and Sweet William ' (No. 74), 
and must perhaps be set aside as not the origi- 
nal one. 

' Fair Isabell of Rochroyall," Elizabeth Coch- 
rane's Song--Book, MS., p. 151, No. 114. 

1 Fair Isabell of Rochroyall, 

She dreamed where she lay, 
She dreamd a dream of her love Gregory, 
A litle before the day. 

2 O huly, huly rose she up. 

And huly she put on. 

And huly, huly she put on 

The silks of crimsiou. 

3 ' Gar sadle me the black,' she sayes, 

' Gar sadle me the broun; 
Gar sadle me the swiftest steed 
That ever rode the toun. 

4 ' Gar shoe him with the beat silver. 

And grind him with the gold; 
Gar put two bells on every side, 
Till I come to some hold.' 

5 She had not rode a mile, a mile, 

A mile but barely three. 
Till that she spyed a companie 
Come rakeing oere the lee. 

6 ' O whether is this the first young may, 

That lighted and gaed in; 
Or is this the second young may. 

That neer the sun shined on ? ■ 
Or is this Fair Isabell of Roch Royall, 

Banisht from kyth and kin ? ' 

7*01 am not the first young may, 
That lighted and gaed in; 
Nor neither am I the second young 
That neer the sun shone on; 

8 ' But I 'm Fair Isabell of Roch Royall 

Banisht from kyth and kin; 
I 'm seeking my true-love Gregory, 
And I woud I had him in.' 

9 ^ O go your way to yon castle. 

And ride it round about, 
And there you '11 find Love Gregory; 
He 's within, without any doubt.' 

10 O she 's away to yon castle, 

She 's tirled at the pin: 
* O open, open, Love Gregory, 
And let your true-love in.' 

11 *If you be the lass of the Rochroyall, 

As I trow not you be, 




You will tell me some of our love- 

But there is none to be thy bairn's fa- 



That was betwixt you and me.' 

Till Love Gregory he come home.' 


' Have you not mind, Love Gregory, 


' I '11 set my foot on the ship-board, 

Since we sat at the wine; 

God send me wind and more ! 

When we changed the rings o& our 

For there 's never a woman shall bear a 



And ay the worst fell mine ? 

Shall make my heart so sore.' 


'Mine was of the massy gold, 


' I dreamed a dream now since yestreen. 

And thine was of the tin; 

That I never dreamed before; 

Mine was true and trusty both, 

I dreamd that the lass of the Roch- 

And thine was false within.' 

Was knocking at the door.' 


' If you be [the] lass of the Roch Royall, 

As I trow not you be, 


' Ly still, ly still, my 4 dear son, 

You will tell me some other love-token 

Ly still, and take a sleep; 

That was betwixt you and me.' 

For it 's neither ane honr, nor yet a half, 
Since she went from the gate.' 


' Have you not muid. Love Gregory, 

Since we sat at the wine. 


' wo be to you, ill woman. 

We changed the smocks off our two 

And ane ill death mott you die ! 


For you might have come to my bedside, 

And ay the worst fell mine ? 

And then have wakened me. 


' Mine was of the holland fine, 


* Gar sadle me the black,' he sayes. 

And thine was course and thin; 

*Gar sadle me the bronn; 

So many blocks have we two made, 

Gar sadle me the swiftest steed 

And ay the worst was mine.' 

That ever rode the toun. 


* Love Gregory, he is not at home. 


' Gar shoe him with the beat silver. 

But he is to the sea; 

Gar grind him with the gold ; 

If you have any word to him, 

Cause put two bells on every side. 

I pray you leave 't with me.' 

Till I come to some hold.' 



They sadled him the black, the black, 
So did they him the broun; 


' who will shoe my bony foot ? 

So did they him the swiftest steed 

Or who will glove my hand ? 

That ever rode to toun. 

Or who will bind my midle jimp 

With the broad lilly band ? 


They shoed him with the beat silver, 
They grind him with the gold; 


' Or who will comb my bony head 

Tliey put two bells on every side. 

With the red river comb ? 

Till he came to some hold. 

Or who will be my bairn's father 

Ere Gregory he come home ? ' 

30 lie had not rode a mile, a mile. 

A mile but barely three. 


' I 's gar shoe thy bony foot. 

Till that he spyed her comely corps 

And I 's gar glove thy hand. 

Come raking oere the lee. 

And I 's gar bind thv midle jimp 

With the broad lilly band. 


' Set (loun, set doun these comely corps, 
Let me look on the dead: ' 


' And I 's gar comb thy bony head 

And out he 's ta'en his little pen-knife, 

With the red river comb; 

And slitted her winding sheet. 




32 And first he kist her cheek, her cheek, 

And then he kist her chin; 
And then he kist her rosy lips, 
But there was no breath within. 

33 ' Gar deall, gar deall for my love sake 

The spiced bread and the wine; 
For ere the morn at this time 
So shall you deall for mine. 

34 ' Gar deall, gar deall for my love sake 

The pennys that are so small; 
For ere the morn at this time 
So shall you deall for all.' 

35 The one was buried in Mary kirk, 

The other in Mary quire; 
Out of the one there sprung a birk, 

Out of the other a br3^ar; 
So thus you may well know by that 

They were two lovers dear. 

'Fair Anny,' Jamieson-Brown MS., p. 27; 
'Fair Annie of Lochroyan,' Jamieson's Pop- 
ular Ballads, i, 36. 

1 ' WHA will shoe my f u fair foot ? 

An wha will glove mj' ban ? 
An wha will lace my middle gimp 
Wi the new made London ban ? 

2 * Or wha will kemb my yallow hair, 

Wi the new made silver kemb ? 
Or wha '11 be father to my young bairn. 
Till Love Gregor come hame ? ' 

3 Her father shoed her fu fair foot, 

Her mother glovd her ban; 
Her sister lac'd her middle gimp 
Wi the new made London ban. 

4 Her brother kembd her yallow hair, 
Wi the new made silver kemb. 

But the king o heaven maun father her 
Till Love Gregor come hame. 

5 * gin I had a bony ship, 
An men to sail wi me. 

It 's I would gang to my true-love, 
Since he winna come to me.' 

6 Her father 's gien her a bonny ship. 
An sent her to the stran; 

She 's tane her young son in her arms, 
An turnd her back to the Ian. 

7 She had na been o the sea saillin 

About a month or more, 
Till landed has she her bonny ship 
Near her true-love's door. 

8 The night was dark, an the win blew 

An her love was fast asleep, 
An the bairn that was iu her twa 

Fu sair began to weep. 

9 Long stood she at her true-love's door, 

An lang tirld at the pin; 
At length up gat his fa'se mither, 
Says, Wha 's that woud be in ? 

10 ' O it is Anny of Roch-royal, 

Your love, come oer the sea. 
But an your young son in her arms; 
So open the door to me.' 

11 'Awa, awa, you ill woman, 

You 've na come here for gude; 
You 're but a witch, or wile warlock, 
Or mermaid o the fiude.' 

12 ' I 'm na a witch, or wile warlock, 

Nor mermaiden,' said she; 
* I 'm but Fair Anny o Roch-royal; 

open the door to me.' 

13 ' gin ye be Anny o Roch-royal, 

As [I] trust not ye be. 
What taiken can ye gie that ever 

1 kept your company ? ' 

14 * O dinna ye mind. Love Gregor,' she 

' Whan we sat at the wine. 
How we changed the napkins frae our 

It 's na sae lang sin syne ? 

15 ' An yours was good, an good enough. 

But nae sae good as mine; 
For yours was o the cumbruk clear, 
But mine was silk sae fine. 

16 ' An dinna ye mind. Love Gregor,' she 

* As we twa sat at dine, 




How we changed the rings frae our 
But ay the best was mine ? 

17 * For yours was good, an good enough, 

Yet nae sae good as mine; 
For yours was of the good red gold, 
But mine o the diamonds fine. 

18 * Sae open the door now, Love Gregor, 

An open it wi speed, 
Or your young son that is in my arms 
For cauld will soon be dead.' 

19 ' Awa, awa, you ill woman, 

Gae frae my door for shame; 
For I hae gotten another fair love, 
Sae ye may hye you hame.' 

20 * O hae you gotten another fair love. 

For a' the oaths you sware ? 
Then fair you well now, fa'se Gregor, 
For me you 's never see mair.' 

21 heely, heely gi'd she back. 

As the day began to peep; 
She set her foot on good ship-board, 
An sair, sair did she weep. 

22 Love Gregor started frae his sleep. 

An to his mither did say, 
I dreamd a dream this night, mither, 
That maks my heart right wae. 

23 * I dreamd that Anny of Roch-royal, 

The flowr o a' her kin. 
Was standin mournin at my door, 
But naue would lat her in.' 

24 * O there was a woman stood at the 

Wi a bairn intill her arras, 
But I woud na lat her within the 

For fear she had done you harm.' 

25 quickly, quickly raise he up. 

An fast ran to the stran, 
An there he saw her Fair Anny, 
Was sailin frae the Ian. 

26 An 'Heigh, Anny !' an *Hou, Anny I 

O Anny, speak to me I ' 
But ay the louder that he cried Anny, 
The louder roard the sea. 

27 An ' Heigh, Anny ! ' an * Hou, Anny I 

O Anny, winna you bide ? ' 
But ay tlie langer that he cried Anny, 
The higher roard the tide. 

28 The win grew loud, an the sea grew 

An the ship was rent in twain, 
An soon he saw her Fair Anny 
Come floating oer the main. 

29 He saw his young son in her arms, 

Baith tossd aboon the tide; 
He wrang his hands, than fast he ran, 
An phing'd i the sea sae wide. 

30 He catchd her by the yallow hair, 

An drew her to the strand, 
But cauld an stiff was every limb 
Before he reachd the land. 

31 O first he kissd her cherry cheek, 

An then he kissd her chin; 
An sair he kissd her ruby lips. 
But there was nae breath within. 

32 O he has mournd oer Fair Anny 

Till the sun was gaing down, 
Then wi a sigh his heart it brast, 
An his soul to heaven has flown. 



The story of this ballad seems to have become 
disordered in most of the versions. A alone, the 
first published, has perhaps retained the origi- 
nal form. The principal idea is, however, pre- 
served in all the full versions : the dead lover 
returns to ask back his unfulfilled troth-plight. 
His grave is wrongly said in A to be far beyond 
the sea. B constitutes, in Herd's MSS, and F, 
in Jamieson's Popular Ballads, the termination 
of a copy of ' Clerk Saunders ' (No. 69). 

' Sweet William's Ghost ' has much in com- 
mon with one of the most beautiful and cele- 
brated of the Scandinavian ballads, ' The Be- 
trothed in the Grave ' (Grundtvig, No. 90), and 
may well be a different development of the same 
story. A man dies as he is to be married. His 
love grieves for liim passionately. The dead 
hears her under the ground, comes to her bower 
with his coffin on his back, and knocks. She 
lets him in after he has proved himself to be 
" a spirit of health " by uttering the name of 




Jesus, combs his hair, and asks him how it is 
under the black earth. It is like the bliss of 
heaven. May she follow him into the grave ? 
It is like blackest hell. Every time she weeps 
for him his coffin is filled with lappered blood. 
But when she sings and is happy, his grave is 
all hung- with rose-leaves. The cock crows, the 
white, the red, the black ; he takes up his coffin 
and goes wearily back to the graveyard. His 
love follows through the mirk wood, to the 
churchyard and into the church. Then his 
yellow hair falls away, his rosy color wanes. 
He bids her go home and never weep for him 
more» " Look up at the sky, the night is go- 
ing- ! " and as she looks he slips into his grave. 
She goes sadly home, prays God that she may 
not live out a year and a day, falls sick, and 
dies within a month. The Scandinavian ballad 
agrees in many particulars with the conclusion 
of the second lay of Helgi Hundingsbani in the 
Elder Edda. 

' Sweet William's Ghost,' Ramsay's Tea 
Table Miscellany, "4th volume, 1740;" here 
from the London edition of 1750, p. 324. 

1 There came a ghost to Margret's 

With many a grievous groan, 
And ay he tirled at the pin. 
But answer made she none. 

2 * Is that my father Philip, 

Or is 't my brother John ? 
Or is 't my true-love, Willy, 

From Scotland new come home ? ' 

3 * 'T is not thy father Philip, 

Nor yet thy brother John; 
But 't is thy true-love, Willy, 
From Scotland new come home. 

4 ' O sweet Margret, O dear Margret, 

I pray thee speak to me; 
Give me my faith and troth, Margret, 
As I gave it to thee.' 

6 'Thy faith and troth thou 's never 
Nor yet will I thee lend, 
Till that thou come within my bower, 
And kiss my cheek and chin.' 

6 * If I shoud come within thy bower, 
I am no earthly man; 

And shoud I kiss thy rosy lips, 
Thy daj's will not be lang. 

7 ' O sweet Margret, dear Margret, 

I pray thee speak to me; 
Give me my faith and troth, Margret, 
As I gave it to thee.' 

8 * Thy faith and troth thou 's never get, 

Nor yet will I thee lend, 

Till you take me to yon kirk. 

And wed me with a ring.' 

9 ' My bones are buried in yon kirk-yardj 

Afar beyond the sea. 
And it is but my spirit, Margret, 
That 's now speaking to thee.' 

10 She stretchd out her lilly-white hand, 

And, for to do her best, 

* Hae, there 's your faith and troth, 

God send your soul good rest.* 

11 Now she has kilted her robes of green 

A piece below her knee. 
And a' the live-lang winter night 
The dead corp followed she. 

12 ' Is there any room at your head, Willy ? 

Or any room at your feet ? 
Or any room at your side, Willy, 
Wherein that I may creep ? ' 

13 * There 's no room at my head, Margret, 

There 's no room at my feet; 
There 's no room at my side, Margret, 
My coffin 's made so meet.' 

14 Then up and crew the red, red cock. 

And up then crew the gray: 

* Tis time, tis time, my dear Margret, 

That you were going away.' 

15 No more the ghost to Margret said. 

But, with a grievous groan, 
Evanishd in a cloud of mist. 
And left her all alone. 

16 * stay, my only true-love, stay,' 

The constant Margret cry'd; 
Wan grew her cheeks, she closd her 
Stretchd her soft limbs, and dy'd. 




Herd's I^ISS., i, 177, 11, 49, stanzas 27 S. 


A wat a' man to bed were gone, 
Clark Sanders came to Margret's win- 

With mony a sad sigh and groan. 

2 'Are ye sleeping, Margret,' he says, 

* Or are ye waking, presentlie ? 
Give me my faith and trouthe again, 
A wat, trew-love, I gied to thee.' 

3 ' Yonr faith and trouth ye 's never get, 

Nor our trew love shall never twain, 
Till ye come with me in my bovver, 
And kiss me both cheek and chin.' 

4 ' My mouth it is full cold, Margret, 

It has the smell now of the ground; 
And if I kiss thy comely mouth, 
Tliy life-days will not be long. 

6 ' Cocks are crowing a merry mid-larf, 
I wat the wild fule boded day; 
Gie me my faith and trouthe again, 
And let me fare me on my way.' 

6 * Thy faith and trouth thou shall na get, 

Nor our trew love shall never twin, 

Till ye tell me what comes of women 

Awat that dy's in strong traveling.' 

7 * Their beds are made in the heavens 

Down at the foot of our good Lord's 

Well set about wi gilly-flowers, 
A wat sweet company for to see. 

8 * cocks are crowing a merry midd- 

A wat the wilde foule boded day; 
The salms of Heaven will be sung. 
And ere now I 'le be misst away.' 

9 Up she has tain a bright long wand, 

And she has straked her trouth there- 
She has given [it] him out at the shot- 
Wi many a sad sigh and heavy groan. 

10 'I thank you, Margret, I thank you, 

And I thank you hartilie ; 
Gine ever the dead come for the qiuck, 
Be sure, Margret, I '11 come again fur 


11 It 's hose an shoon an gound alane 

She clame the wall and followed him, 
Untill she came to a green forest, 
On this she lost the sight of him. 

12 *Is their any room at your head, San- 

ders ? 
Is their any room at your feet ? 
Or any room at your twa sides ? 
Whare fain, fain woud I sleep.' 

13 * Their is na room at my head, Margret, 

Their is na room at my feet; 
There is room at my twa sides. 
For ladys for to sleep. 

14 ' Cold meal is my covering owre. 

But an my winding sheet; 
My bed it is full low, I say, 

Down among the hongerey worms I 

15 ' Cold meal is my covering owre, 

But an my winding sheet; 
The dew it falls na sooner down 
Then ay it is full weet.' 

Jamieson's Popular Ballads, i, 83, stanzas 26 So 

1 When seven years were come and gane, 

Lady Margaret she thought lang; 
And she is up to the hichest tower, 
By the lee licht o the moon. 

2 She was lookin oer her castle high, 

To see what she might fa, 
And there she saw a grieved ghost, 
Comin waukin oer the wa. 

3 ' O are ye a man of mean,' she says, 

* Seekin ony o my meat ? 
Or are you a rank robber, 

Come in my bovver to break ? ' 

4 • I 'm Clerk Saunders, your true-love, 

Behold, Margaret, and see, 




And mind, for a' your nieikle pride, 
Sae will become of thee.' 

5 'Gin ye be Clerk Saunders, my true- 

This meikle marvels me; 
O wherein is your bonny arms, 
That wont to embrace nie ? ' 

6 ' By worms they 're eaten, in mools 

they 're rotten, 
Behold, Margaret, and see, 
And mind, for a' your mickle pride, 
Sae will become o thee.' 

7 O, bonny, bonny sang the bird, 

Sat on the coil o hay; 
But dowie, dowie was the maid 
That followd the corpse o clay. 

8 ' Is there ony room at your head, Saun- 

ders ? 

Is there ony room at your feet ? 
Is there ony room at your twa sides, 
For a lady to lie and sleep ? ' 

9 * There is nae room at my head, Mar- 

As little at my feet; 
There is nae room at my twa sides, 
For a lady to lie and sleep. 

10 'But gae hame, gae hame now, May 
Gae hame and sew your seam ; 
For if ye were laid in your weel made 
Your days will nae be lang.' 

Abbotsford MS., Scotch Ballads, Materials 
for Border Minstrelsy, No. 141 ; in the hand- 
writing of James Hog-g-. Minstrelsy of the 
Scottish Border, m, 188, ed. 1833. 

1 ' But plett a wand o bonnie birk 

An lay it on my breast. 
An drap a tear upon my grave. 
An wiss my saul gude rest. 

2 * But fair Marget, an rare Marget, 

An Marget, o verity, 

If eer ye loe another man, 
Neer loe him as ye did me.' 

3 But up then crew the milk-white cock, 
An up then crew the grey; 
Her lover vanishd in the air. 
An she gaed weepin away. 


This fragmentary ballad exhibits the uni- 
versal popular belief that excessive grieving 
for the dead interferes with their repose. There 
are many tales and ballads that express tliis 
superstition. One of the most striking is con- 
tained in the second lay of Helgi Hundingsbani 
in the Elder Edda {see introduction to No. 77). 
Cf. ' The Twa Brothers,' No. 49, B, sts. 10-12. 

' The Unquiet Grave,' communicated to the 
Folk Lore Record, i, 60, 1868, by Miss Char- 
lotte Latham, as written down from the lips of 
a girl in Sussex. 

1 ' The wind doth blow today, my love. 

And a few small drops of rain; . 
I never had but one true-love. 
In cold grave she was lain. 

2 ' I '11 do as much for my true-love 

As any young man may; 
I '11 sit and mourn all at her grave 
For a twelvemonth and a day.' 

3 The twelvemonth and a day being up, 

The dead began to speak: 
* Oh who sits weeping on my grave, 
And will not let me sleep ? ' 

-4 * 'T is I, my love, sits on your grave, 
And will not let you sleep; 
For I crave one kiss of your clay-cold 
And that is all I seek.' 

5 * You crave one kiss of my clay-cold lips; 

But my breath smells earthy strong; 
If you have one kiss of my clay-cold lips, 
Your time will not be long. 

6 "T is down in yonder garden green, 

Love, where we used to walk, 




The finest flower that ere was seen 
Is withered to a stalk. 

7 'The stalk is withered dry, my love, 
So will our hearts decay; 
So make yourself content, my love, 
Till God calls you away.' 



A motive for the return of the Wife's three 
sons is not found in A and B. The mother 
had cursed the sea when she first heard they 
■were lost, and can only g-o mad when she finds 
that after all she has not recovered them ; nor 
will a little wee while make any difference. 
There is no indication that the sons come back 
to forbid obstinate grief, as the dead often do. 
C and T>, however, say that they return in 
answer to prayer. But supplying- a motive 
would add nothing- to the impressiveness of the 
verses. Nothing that we have is more pro- 
foundly affecting. 

* The Wife of Usher's Well,' Minstrelsy of 
tTie Scottish Border, ll. 111, 1802, from the re- 
citation of an old woman residing- near Kirkhill, 
in West Lothian. 

1 There lived a wife at Usher's Well, 

And a wealthy wife was she; 
She had three stout and stalwart sons, 
And sent them oer the sea. 

2 They hadna been a week from her, 

A week but barely ane, 
Wlian word came to the carline wife 
That her three sons were gane. 

3 They hadna been a week from her, 

A week but barely three, 
Whan word came to the carlin wife 
That her sons she 'd never see. 

4 * I wish the wind may never cease. 

Nor fashes in the flood. 
Till my three sons come hame to me. 
In earthly flesh and blood.' 

5 It fell about the Martinmass, 

When nig-hts are lang and mirk. 
The carlin wife's three sons came hame, 
And their hats were o the birk. 

6 It neither grew in syke nor ditch, 
Nor yet in ony sheugh ; 
But at the gates o Paradise, 
That birk grew fair eneugh. 

7 'Blow up the fire, my maidens, 

Bring water from the well; 
For a' my house shall feast this night, 
Since my three sons are well.' 

8 And she has made to them a bed, 

She 's made it large and wide, 
And she 's taen her mantle her about. 
Sat down at the bed-side. 

9 Up then crew the red, red cock, 
And up and crew the gray; 
The eldest to the youngest said, 
'T is time we were away. 

10 The cock he hadna crawd but once, 

A»d clappd his wings at a', 
When the youngest to the eldest said. 
Brother, we must awa. 

11 ' The cock doth craw, the day doth dawj 

The channerin worm doth chide; 
Gin we be mist out o our place, 
A sair pain we maun bide. 

12 ' Fare ye weel, my mother dear ! 

Fare we el to barn and byre ! 
And fare ye weel, the bonny lass 
That kindles my mother's fire ! 

Kinloch MSS., V, 403, stanzas 18-2.3 (as con- 
clusion to No. 72, A). In the handwriting- of 
James Chambers, as sung to his maternal 
grandmother, Janet Grieve, seventy years be- 
fore, by an old woman, a Miss Ann Gray, of 
the Neidpath Castle, Peeblesshire : January 1, 

1 The hallow days o Yule are come, 

The nights are lang an dark. 
An in an cam her ain twa sons, 
Wi their hats made o the bark. 

2 * O eat an drink, my merry men a,.* 

The better shall ye fare, 




For my twa sons the are come hame 
To me for evermair.' 

3 she has gaen an made their bed, 

An she 's made it saft an fine, 
An she 's happit tliem wi her gay mantel, 
Because they were her ain. 

4 O the young cock crew i the merry 

An the wild fowl chirpd for day; 
The aulder to the younger did say, 
Dear brother, we maun away. 

5 ' Lie still, lie still a little wee while. 

Lie still but if we may; 
For gin my mother miss us away 
She '11 gae mad or it be day.' 

6 O it 's they 'ye taen up their mother's 

An they 've hangd it on the pin : 
* O laug may ye hiug, my mother's 

Or ye hap us again ! ' 

' The Widow-Woman,' Shropshire Folk- 
Lore, edited by Charlotte Sophia Bnrne, 1883- 
8(), p. 541; " taken down by Mr Hubert Smith, 
24th March, 1883, from the recitation of an 
elderly fisherman at Bridg-worth, who could 
neither read nor write, and had learnt it some 
forty years before from his grandmother in 
Corve Dale." 

1 There was a widow-woman lived in far 

And in far Scotland she did live, 
And all her cry was upon sweet Jesus, 
Sweet Jesus so meek and mild. 

2 Then Jesus arose one morning quite 

And arose one morning betime, 
And away he went to far Scotland, 
And to see what the good woman 

3 And when he came to far Scotland, 

Crying, What, O what, does the good 
woman want, 
That is calling so much on me ? 

4 * It 's you go rise up my three sons, 

Their names, Joe, Peter, and John, 
And put breath in their breast, 
And clothing on their backs, 
And immediately send them to far Scot- 
That their mother may take some 

5 Then he went and rose up her three 

Their names, Joe, Peter, and John, 
And did immediately send them to far 

That their mother may take some 


6 Then she made up a supper so neat. 
As small, as small, as a yew-tree leaf, 
But never one bit they could eat. 

7 Then she made up a bed so soft, 

The softest that ever was seen, 
And the widow-woman and her three 
They went to bed to sleep. 

8 There they lay ; about the middle of 

the night. 
Bespeaks the youngest son: 
' The white cock he has crowed once. 
The second has, so has the red.' 

9 And then bespeaks the eldest son: 
' I think, I think it is high time 

For the wicked to part from their 

10 Then they laid [= led] her along a 

green road. 
The greenest that ever was seen. 
Until they came to some far chaperine, 
Which was builded of lime and sand; 
Until they came to some far chaperine. 
Which was builded with lime and 

11 And then he opened the door so big, 

And the door so very wide; 
Said he to her three sons. Walk in ! 
But told her to stay outside. 

12 ' Go back, go back ! ' sweet Jesus re- 

* Go back, go back ! ' says he; 




* For thou hast nine days to repent 
For tlie wickedness that thou hast 

13 Nine days then was past and gone, 
And nine days then was spent, 
Sweet Jesus called her once again, 
And took her to heaven with him. 

Communicated, 1896, by Miss Emma M. 
Backus, of North Carolina, who notes that it 
has long been sung- by the " poor whites " in 
the mountains of Polk County in that State. 

1 There was a lady fair and gay, 

And children she had three: 
She sent them away to some northern 
For to learn their grammeree. 

2 They had n't been gone but a very short 

About three months to a day, 
When sickness came to that land 
And swept those babes away. 

3 There is a king in the heavens above 

That wears a golden crown: 
She prayed that he would send her 
babies home 
To-night or in the morning soon. 

4 It was about one Christmas time, 

When the nights was long and cool. 
She dreamed of her three little lonely 
Come running in their mother's room. 

5 The table was fixed and the cloth was 

And on it put bread and wine: 
'Come sit you down, my three little 

And eat and drink of mine.' 

6 ' We will neither eat your bread, dear 

Nor we '11 neither drink your wine ; 
For to our Saviour we must return 
To-night or in the morning soon.' 

7 The bed was fixed in the back room; 

On it was some clean white sheet, 

And on the top was a golden cloth, 
To make those little babies sleep. 

8 * Wake up ! wake up ! ' says the oldest 

' Wake up ! it 's almost day. 
And to our Saviour we umst return 
To-night or in the morning soon.' 

9 'Green grass grows at our head, dear 

Green moss grows at our feet; 
The tears that you shed for us three 
Won't wet our winding sheet.' 



The information given by a page, the re- 
ward promised and the alternative punishment 
threatened him. the savage vengeance taken 
on the lady, and the immediate remorse are 
repeated in No. 81. 

Percy MS., p. 90 ; Hales and Fumivall, 


1 God let neuer soe old a man 

Marry soe yonge a wiffe 
As did Old Robin of Portingale; 

He may rue all the dayes of his lifife. 

2 Ffor the maiors daughter of Lin, God 

He chose her to his wife. 
And thought to have lined in quiettnesse 
With her all the dayes of his liffe. 

3 They had not in their wed-bed laid, 

Scarcly were both on sleepe. 
But vpp shee rose, and forth shee goes 
To Sir Gyles, and fast can weepe. 

4 Sales, Sleepe you, wake you, faire Sir 

Gyles ? 
Or be not you within ? 

5 * But I am waking, sweete,' he said, 
* Lady, what is your will ? ' 
* I haue vnbethonght me of a wile, 
How my wed lord we shall spill. 




6 ' Four and twenty knights,' she sayes, 

* That dwells about this towne, 
Eene four and twenty of my next cozens, 
Will helpe to dinge hiiu downe.' 

7 With thai beheard his litle foote-page. 

As he was watering his \\\astev& steed; 
Soe s . . . . . 

His verry heart did bleed. 

8 He mourned, sikt, and wept full sore; 

I sweare by the holy roode, 
The teares he for his master wept 
Were blend water and bloude. 

9 With that beheard his deare vaaster, 

As [he] in his gai'den sate; 
Says, Euer alacke, my litle page, 
What causes thee to weepe ? 

10 ' Hath any one done to thee wronge, 

Any of thy fellowes here ? 
Or is any of thy good friends dead, 
W/iich makes thee shed such teares ? 

11 * Or if it be my head-kookes-raan, 

Greiued againe he shalbe. 
Nor noe man within m}^ howse 
Shall doe wrong vnto thee.' 

12 ' But it is not yowr head-kookes-man. 

Nor none of his degree ; 
But [f]or to morrow, ere it be noone. 
You are deemed to die. 

13 * And of that thanke your head-stew- 

And after, yowr gay ladie: ' 
*If it be true, my litle foote-page, 
He make thee heyre of all my land.' 

14 ' If it be not true, my deare master, 

God let me neuer thye: ' 
*If it be not true, thou litle foot-page, 
A dead corse shalt thou be.' 

15 He called downe his head-kookes-man, 

Cooke in kitchen super to dresse: 
* All and anon, my deare master, 
Anon att your request.' 

16 . 

* Aufl call you downe my faire lady, 
This night to supp with mee.' 

17 And downe then came thai fayre lady, 

Was cladd all in purple and palle; 
The rings that were vpon her lingers 
Cast light thorrow the hall. 

18 ' What is your will, my owne wed lore?, 

What is your will with mee ? ' 
* I am sicke, fayre lady. 

Sore sicke, and like to dye.' 

19 ' But and you be sicke, my owne wed lord, 

Soe sore it greiueth mee; 
But my fine maydens and my selfe 
Will goe and make yowr bedd. 

20 ' And at the wakening of yowr first sleepe 

You shall haue a holt drinke made. 
And at the wakening of yowr next sleepe 
Yowr sorrowes will haue a slake.' 

21 He put a silke cote on his backe, 

Was thirteen inches folde, 
And put a Steele cap vpon his head, 
Was gilded with good red gold. 

22 And he layd a bright browne sword by 

his side. 
And another att his ffeete, 
And full well knew Old Robin then 
Whether he shold wake or sleepe. 

23 And about the middle time of the night 

Came twenty four good knights in; 
Sir Gyles he was the formost man, 
Soe well he knew that ginne. 

24 Old Bobin, with a bright browne sword, 

Sir Gyles head he did winne; 
Soe did he all those twenty four, 

Neuer a one went quicke out [agen]. 

25 None but one litle foot-page, 

Crept forth at a window of stone, 
And he had two armes when he came in, 
And [when he went out he had none]. 

26 Vpp then came thai ladie light, 

W^ith torches burning bright; 
Shee thought to haue brought Sir Gyles 
a drinke. 
But shee found her owne wedd 'knight. 

27 And the first thinge that this ladye stum- 

bled vpon 
Was of Sir Gyles his ffoote; 




Sayes, Euer alacke, and woe is me, 
Here lyes my sweete hart-roote ! 

28 And the second thing that this ladie 

stumbled on 
Was of S/r Gyles his head; 
Sayes, Euer alacke, and woe is me, 
Heere lyes my true-loue deade ! 

29 Hee entt the papps beside he[r] brest, 

And bad her wish her will; 
And he cutt the eares beside her heade, 
And bade her wish on still. 

30 ' Miekle is the mans blood I haue 

To doe thee and me some good;' 
Sayes, Euer alacke, my fayre lady, 
I thinke that I was woode ! 

31 He calld tlien vp his litle foote-page, 

And made him heyre of all his land. 

32 And he shope the crosse in his right 
Of the white flesh and the redd. 
And he went him into the holy land, 
Wheras Christ was quicke and dead. 



A broadside printed for Henry Gosson (C) 
appears to be the earliest impression known, but 
it has not so g-ood a text as A. The ballad is 
quoted in Beaumont and Fletcher's Knig-ht of 
the Burning- Pestle (about 1611), act v, scene 3, 
and in other old plays. ' Little Musgrave ' is 
entered to Francis Coules in the Stationers' 
Ptegisters, June 24, 1G30. 

' Little Musgrave and the Lady Barnard.' a. 
Wit Restord, 1058, in the reprint ' Facetiae,' 
London, 1817, I, 293. b. Wit and Drollery, 
1(382, p. 81. 

1 As it fell one holy-day, 
Hay downe 
As many be in the yeare, 

When young men and maids togethei 
did goe, 
Their mattins and masse to heare, 

2 Little Musgrave came to the church- 

dore ; 
The preist was at private masse; 
But he had more minde of the faire 
Then he had of our lady['s] grace. 

3 The one of them was clad in green, 

Another was clad in pall. 
And then came in my lord Bernard's 
The fairest amonst them all. 

4 She cast an eye on Little Musgrave, 

As bright as the summer sun; 
And then bethought this Little Mus- 
This lady's heart have I woonn. 

5 Quoth she, I have loved thee, Little 

Full long and many a day; 
' So have I loved you, fair lady, 
Yet never word durst I say.' 

6 'I have a bower at Buckelsfordbery, 

Full daintyly it is deight; 
If thou wilt wend thither, thou Little 
Thou 's lig in mine armes all night.' 

7 Quoth he, I thank yee, faire lady, 

Tbis kindnes thou showest to me; 
But whetlier it be to my weal or woe, 
This night I will lig with thee. 

8 With that he heard, a little tyne page, 

By his ladye's coach as he ran: 
* All though I am my ladye's foot-page, 
Yet I am Lord Barnard's man. 

9 * My lord Barnard shall knowe of this. 

Whether I sink or swim ; ' 
And ever where the bridges were broake 
He laid him downe to swimme. 

10 ' A sleepe or wake, thou Lord Barnard, 
As tbou art a man of life. 
For Little Musgrave is at Bucklesford- 
A bed with thy own wedded wife.' 




11 ' If this be true, thou little tinny page, 

This thing thou tellest to me. 
Then all the land in Bucklesfordbery 
I freely will give to thee. 

12 'But if it be a ly, thou little tinny 

This thing thou tellest to me, 
On the hyest tree in Bucklesfordbery 
Then hanged shalt thou be.' 

13 He called up his merry men all: 

'Come saddle me my steed; 
This night must I to Buckellsford- 
For I never had greater need.' 

14 And some of them whistld, and some of 

them sung, 
And some these words did say, 
And ever when my lord Barnard's horn 
' Away, Musgrave, away ! ' 

15 * Methinks I hear the thresel-cock, 

Methinks I hear the jaye; 
Methinks I hear my lord Barnard, 
And I would I were away.' 

16 'Lye still, lye still, thou Little Mus- 

And huggell me from the cold; 
'T is nothing but a shephard's boy, 
A driving his sheep to the fold. 

17 ' Is not thy hawke upon a perch ? 

Thy steed eats oats and hay; 
And thou a fair lady in thine armes, 
And wouldst thou bee away ? ' 

18 With that my lord Barnard came to the 

And lit a stone upon ; 
He plucked out three silver keys. 
And he opend the dores each one. 

19 He lifted up the coverlett. 

He lifted up the sheet: 
' How now, how now, thou Littell Mus- 
Doest thou find my lady sweet ? ' 

20 'I find her sweet,' quoth Little Mus- 

* The more 't is to my paine; 

I would gladly give three hundred 
That I were on yonder plaine.' 

21 * Arise, arise, thou Littell Musgrave, 

And put thy clothes on ; 
It sliall nere be said in my country 
I have killed a naked man. 

22 ' I have two swords in one scabberd, 

Full deere they cost my purse; 
And thou shalt have the best of them, 
And I will have the worse.' 

23 The first stroke that Little Musgrave 

He hurt Lord Barnard sore; 
The next stroke that Lord Barnard 

Little Musgrave nere struck more. 

24 With that bespake this faire lady, ■ 

In bed whereas she lay: 
* Although thou 'rt dead, thou Little 
Yet I for thee will pray, 

25 * And wish well to thy soule will I, 

So long as I have life; 
So will I not for thee, Barnard, 
Although I am thy wedded wife.' 

26 He cut her paps from off her brest; 

Great pitty it was to see 
That some drops of this ladle's heart's 
Ran trickling downe her knee. 

27 * Woe worth ^^ou, woe worth, my mery 

men all, 
You were nere borne for my good; 
Why did you not offer to stay my 

When you see me wax so wood ? 

28 ' For I have slaine the bravest sir knight 

That ever rode on steed; 
So have I done the fairest lady 
That ever did woman's deed. 

29 ' A grave, a grave,' Lord Barnard 


' To put these lovers in ; 
But lay my lady on the upper hand, 
For she came of the better kin.' 





Percy MS., p. 53; Hales and Furnivall, i, 

1 . 

' Ff or tills same night att [Bueklesfeild- 
Litle Musgreue is in bed with thy 

2 * If it be trew, thou litle foote-page, 

This tale thou hast told to niee, 
Then all my lands in Buckle[s]feildberry 
I 'le freely giue to thee. 

3 * But if this be a lye, thou little foot- 

This tale thou hast told to mee, 
Then on the highest tree in Buekles- 

All hanged that thou shalt bee.' 

4 Sales, Ypp and rise, my merrymen all, 

And saddle me my good steede, 
For I must ride to Bueklesfeildberry; 
God wott I had neuer more need ! 

5 But some they whistled, and some thd 

And some they thus cold say, 
"When euer as Lore? Barnetts borne 

* Away, Musgreue, away ! ' 

6 ' Mie tbinkes I heare the throstlecocke, 

Me thinkes I heare the lay. 
Me thinkes I heare hord Barnetts borne, 
Away, Musgreue, away ! ' 

7 * But lie still, lie still, Litle Musgreue, 

And huddle me from the cold. 
For it is but some sheaperds boy, 
Is whistling sheepe ore the mold. 

8 ' Is not thy hauke vpon a pearch. 

Thy horsse eating corne and hay ? 
And thou, a gay lady in thine amies. 
And yett thou wold goe away ! * 

9 By this time Lore? Barnett was come to 

the dore. 
And light vpon a stone, 

And he pulled out three silver kayes, 
And opened the dores euery one. 

10 And first he puld the couering downe, 

And then puld downe the sheete; 
Sales, How now ? How now, Litle Mus- 
greue ? 
Dost find my gay lady sweet ? 

11 ' I find her sweete,' sales Litle Musgreue, 

' The more is my greefe and paine; ' 


* Soe bane I done the fairest lady 
That euer wore womans weede. 

13 ' Soe bane I done a heathen child, 
W^ich ffuU sore greiuelh mee. 
For which He repent all the dayes of 
my life. 
And god be with them all three ! ' 


Jamieson, in printing- this ballad, gave the 
husband the name Lord Randal, made many 
changes, and introduced several stanzas, " to 
fill up chasms." But the chasms, such as they 
are, are easily leapt by the imagination, and 
Jamieson's interpolations are mere bridges of 
carpenter's work. The admirably effective 
burden is taken into the story at stanza 11. 

The main part of the action is the same as in 
' Little Musgrave' (No. 81), The superior lyri- 
cal quality of the Scottish ballad makes up for 
its inferiority as a story. 

Jamieson-Brown MS., p. 42 ; Jamieson's Pop- 
ular Ballads, I, 162. 

1 There was a knight, in a summer's 
Was riding oer the lee, diddle 
An there he saw a bonny blrdy. 

Was singing upon a tree. diddle 
O wow for day ! diddle 
An dear gin it were day! diddle 
Gin it were day, an gin I were away! 
For I ha na lang time to stay. 





2 * Make hast, make hast, ye gentle 

What keeps you here so late ? 
Gin ye kent what was doing at hame, 
I fear you woud look blate.' 

3 * O what needs I toil day an night, 

My fair body to kill, 
Whan I hae knights at my comman, 
An ladys at my will ? ' 

4 * Ye lee, ye lee, ye gentle knight, 

Sa loud 's I hear you lee; 
Your lady 's a knight in her arms twa 
That she lees far better nor the.' 

5 ' Ye lee, you lee, you bonny birdy, 

How you lee upo my sweet ! 
I will tak out my bonny bow, 
An in troth I will you sheet.' 

6 ' But afore ye hae your bow well bent, 

An a' your arrows yare, 
I will flee till another tree, 
Whare I can better fare.' 

7 * whare was you gotten, and whare 

was ye decked ? 

My bonny birdy, tell me: ' 
* O I was decked in good green wood, 

Intill a holly tree; 
A gentleman my nest herryed, 

An ga me to his lady. 

8 *Wi good white bread an farrow-cow 

He bade her feed me aft. 
An ga her a little wee simmer-dale 
To ding me sindle and saf t. 

9 ' Wi good white bread an farrow-cow 


I wot she fed me nought. 
But wi a little wee simmer-dale wanny 

She dang me sair an aft: 
Gin she had deen as ye her bade, 

I woudna tell how she has wrought.' 

10 The knight he rade, and the birdy flew, 
The live-lang simmer's night, 
Till he came till his lady's bowr-door. 

Then even down he did light: 
The birdy sat on the crap of a tree. 
An I wot it sang fu dight. 

11 ' O wow for day ! diddle 

An dear gin it were day ! diddle 
Gin it were day, and gin I were away ! 
For I ha na lang time to stay.' 


12 ' What needs ye lang for day, diddle. 

An wish that you were away ? diddle 
Is no your hounds i my cellar, 

Eating white meal an gray ? diddla 
O wow, etc. 

13 * Is nae your steed in my stable, 

Eating good corn an hay ? 
An is nae your hawk i iny perch-tree, 

Just perching for his prey ? 
An is nae yoursel i my arms twa ? 

Then how can ye lang for day ? ' 

14 * O wow for day ! diddle 

An dear gin it w^ere day ! diddle 
For he that 's in bed wi anither man's 
Has never lang time to stay.' diddle 

15 Then out the knight has drawn his 

An straiked it oer a strae. 
An thro and thro the fa'se knight's 
He gard cauld iron gae: 
An I hope ilk ane sal sae be servd 
That treats ane honest man sae. 


A is from the Percy MS. Of B Mother- 
well says (1827): "By testimony of a most 
unexceptionable description, but which it 
would be tedious here to detail, the editor can 
distinctly trace this ballad as existing- in its 
present shape at least a century ago." The 
ballad was printed at Glasgow by Foulis in 
1755 (and in an earlier edition, now lost), with 
considerable modern improvements. Hume's 
trag-edy of Douglas, produced in Edinburgh 
in 1756, was founded upon the story, and the 
popularity of the play seems to have given 
vogue to the ballad. The sophisticated copy 
passed into recitation, and may very likely 
have more or less infected those which were re- 
peated from earlier tradition. The poet Gray 
writes to Mason, June, 1757 (?) : " I have got 
the old Scottish ballad on which Doug-las was 




founded ; it is divine, and as long as from here 
[Cambridge] to Aston." He quotes the first 
fifteen lines, substantially as in Foulis. Percy's 
version in the Keliques, 1765 (ill, D3), is that 
of Foulis with further " improvements." 

' Chllde Maurice,' Percy MS., p. 346 ; Hales 
and Furnivall, u, 502. 

1 Childe Maurice hunted ithe siluer 
He hunted itt round about, 
And noebodye that lie ffound therin, 
Nor none there was with-out. 

2 . 

And he tooke his siluer combe in his 
To keuibe his yellow lockes. 

3 He sayes, Come hither, thou litle fPoot- 

That runneth lowlye by my knee, 
Ffor thou shalt goe to lohn Stewards 
And pray her speake with mee. 

4 . 

* I, and greete thou doe that ladye well, 
Euer soe well ifroe mee. 

5 ' And, as itt ffalls, as many times 

As knotts beeue knitt on a kell, 
Or marchant men gone to leeue London, 
Either to buy ware or sell. 

6 ' And, as itt ffalles, as many times 

As any hart can thinke, 
Or schoole-masters are in any schoole- 

Writting with pen and inke: 
Ffor if I might, as well as shee may. 

This night I wold with her speake. 

7 ' And heere I send her a mantle of 

As greene as any grasse. 
And bidd her come to the siluer wood. 
To hunt with Child Maurice. 

8 ' And there I send her a ring of gold, 

A ring of precyous stone, 

And bidd her come to the siluer wood, 
Let ffor no kind of man.' 

9 One while this litle boy he yode. 
Another while he ran, 
Vntill he came to lohn Stewards hall, 
I-wis he neuer blan. 

10 And of nurture the child had good, 

Hee ran vp hall and bower It'ree, 
And when he came to this lady ffaire, 
Sayes, God you saue and see ! 

11 'I am come ffrom Ch[i]ld Maurice, 

A message vnto thee; 
And Child Maurice, he greetes you well, 
And euer soe well ffrom mee. 

12 *And, as itt ffails, as oftentimes 

As knotts beene knitt on a kell, 
Or marchant-men gone to leeue London, 
Either ffor to buy ware or sell. 

13 * And as oftentimes he greetes you well 

As any hart can thinke. 
Or schoolemasff^rs [are] in any schoole, 
Wryting with pen and inke. 

14 ' And heere he sends a mantle of greene. 

As greene as any grasse. 
And he bidds you come to the siluer 
To hunt with Child Maurice. 

15 ' And heere he sends you a ring of gold, 

A ring of the precyous stone; 
He prayes you to come to the siluer 
Let ffor no kind of man.' 

16 ' Now peace, now peace, thou litle ffoot- 

Ffor Christes sake, I pray thee ! 
Ffor if my lord heare one of these 

Thou must be hanged hye ! ' 

17 lohn Steward stood vnder the castle- 

And he wrote the words euerye one. 

18 And he called vnto his hors-keeper, 
' Make ready e you my steede 1 ' 




I, and soe hee did to his cbamber- 
* Make readye thou my weede ! ' 

19 And he cast a lease vpon his backe, 

And he rode to the siluer wood, 
And there he sought all about, 
About the siluer wood. 

20 And there he ffound him Child Maurice 

Sitting vpon a blocke, 
With a siluer combe in his hand, 
Kembiug his yellow locke[s]. 

21 But then stood vp him Child Maurice, 

And sayd these words trulye: 
'I doe not know your ladye,' he said, 
' If that I doe her see.' 

22 He sayes, How now, how now. Child 

Maurice ? 
Alacke, how may this bee ? 
Ffor thou hast sent her loue-tokens. 
More now then two or three. 

23 * Ffor thou hast sent her a mantle of 

As greene as any grasse, 
And bade her come to the siluer woode, 
To hunt With Child Maurice. 

24 ' And thou [hast] sent her a ring of gold, 

A ring of p?*ecyous stone, 
And bade her come to the siluer wood, 
Let ffor noe kind of man. 

25 'And by my ffaith, now, Child Maurice, 

The tone of vs shall dye ! ' 
* Now be my troth,' sayd Child Maurice, 
' And that shall not be L' 

'26 But hee pulled forth a bright browne 
And dryed itt on the grasse, 
And soe ffast he smote att lohn Steward, 
I-wisse he neuer [did] rest. 

27 Then hee pulled fforth his bright browne 
And dryed itt on his sleeue. 
And the ffirst good stroke lohn Stewart 
Child Maurice head he did cleeue. 

28 And he pricked itt on his swords poynt, 

Went singing there beside, 
And he rode till he came to that ladye 
Wheras this ladye lyed. 

29 And sayes. Dost thou know Child 

Maurice head, 
If that thou dost itt see ? 
And lapp itt soft, and kisse itt offt, 
Ffor thou louedst him better than 

30 But when shee looked on Child Maurice 

Shee neuer spake words but three: 
* I neuer beare no child but one, 
And you haue slaine him trulye.' 

31 Sayes, Wicked be my merrymen all, 

I gaue meate, drinke, and clothe ! 
But cold they not haue holden me 
When I was in all that wrath ! 

32 ' Ffor I haue slaine one of the cur- 

teousest hnights 
That euer bestrode a steed, 
Soe haue I done one [of] the fairest 

That euer ware womans weede ! ' 

' Child Noryee,' Motherwell's MS., p. 255; 
Motherwell's Minstrelsy, p. 282. From the 
sing-ing- o£ Widow McCormick, Paisley, Jan- 
uary 19, 1825. Learned by her of an old 
woman in Dumbarton : Motherwell's Note 
Book, fol. 4. 

1 Child Noryce is a clever young man, 

He wavers wi the wind ; 
His liorse was silver-shod before, 
With the beaten gold behind. 

2 He called to his little man John, 

Saying, You don't see what I see; 
O yonder I see the very first woman 
That ever loved me. 

3 ' Here is a glove, a glove,' he said, 

' Lined with the silver grey; 
You may tell her to come to the merry 
To speak to Child Nory. 




4 ' Here is a ring, a ring,' he says, 
' It 's all gold but the stane; 
You may tell ber to come to tbe merry 
And ask tbe leave o naue.' 

6 *So well do I love your errand, my 
But far better do I love my life; 
O would you bave me go to Lord Bar- 
nard's castle. 
To betray away bis wife ? ' 

6 ' O do I not give you meat,' be says, 

' And do I not pay you fee ? 
How dare you stop my errand ? ' be 

* My orders you must obey.' 

7 O wben be came to Lord Bernard's 

He tinkled at tbe ring; 
Wbo was as ready as Lord Barnard 

To let tbis little boy in ? 

8 * Here is a glove, a glove,' be says, 

' Lined witb tbe silver grey; 
You are bidden to come to the merry 
To speak to Cbild Nory. 

9 *Here is a ring, a ring,' be says, 

* It 's all gold but tbe stane ; 

You are bidden to come to tbe merry 
And ask tbe leave o nane.' 

10 Lord Barnard be was standing by. 

And an angry man was be: 

* O little did I tbink tbere was a lord in 

tbe world 
My lady loved but me ! ' 

11 O be dressed bimself in tbe boUand 


And garments tbat was gay, 
And be is away to tbe merry green- 

To speak to Cbild Nory. 

12 Cbild Noryee sits on yonder tree. 

He wbistles and be sings: 

* O wae be to me,' says Cbild Noryee, 

* Yonder my motber comes ! ' 

13 Cbild Noryee be came off tbe tree, 

His motber to take off tbe borse: 

* Ocb alace, alace,' says Cbild Noryee, 

* My motber was neer so gross ! ' 

14 Lord Barnard be bad a little small 

Hung low down by bis knee; 
He cut tbe bead off Cbild Noryee, 
And put tbe body on a tree. 

15 And wben be came borne to bis castellf 

And to bis ladle's ball. 
He tbrew tbe bead into ber lap. 
Saying, Lady, tbere 's a ball ! 

16 Sbe turned up tbe bloody bead, 

Sbe kissed it frae cbeek to cbin: 

* Far better do I love tbis bloody bead 

Tban all my royal kin. 

17 * Wben I was in my father's castel, 

In my virginity, 
Tbere came a lord into tbe Nortb, 
Gat Cbild Noryee witb me.' 

18 * O wae be to tbee. Lady Margaret,* he 


* An ill death may you die; 

For if you bad told me he was your son, 
He should neer have been slain by me.' 

' Gill Morice,' Motherwell's MS., p., 480, from 
the recitation of Widow Michael, a very old 
woman, as learned by her in Banffshire seventy 
years before. August, 1826. 

1 Gill Morice stood in stable-door, 

Witb red gold shined his weed; 
A bonnie boy him behind, 
Dressing a milk-white steed. 

2 ' Woe 's me for you, maister. 

Your name it waxes wide; 
It is not for yonr rich, rich robes. 

Nor for your meikle pride. 
But all is for yon lord's ladie, 

Sbe lives on Itban side.' 

3 ' Here 's to thee, my bonnie wee boy, 

Tbat I pay meat and fee; 
You will run on to Itban side 
An errand unto me.' 





' If ye gar me that errand run, 


< Come, bring to me the gowns of silk. 

Sae sair against my will, 

Your petticoats so small. 

I '11 make a vow, and keep it true, 

And I '11 go on to gude green-wood. 

I '11 do your errand ill.' 

I '11 try with him a fall.' 


' I fear nae ill of thee, boy, 

16 Gill Morice stood in gude green-wood. 

I fear nae ill of thee; 

He whistled and he sang: 

I fearna ill of my bonnie boy, 

' I think I see the woman come 

My sister's son are ye. 

That I have loved lang.' 


' Ye '11 tak here this green manteel. 


' What now, what now, ye Gill Mor- 

It 's lined with the frieze; 


Ye '11 bid her come to gude green-wood. 

What now, and how do ye ? 

To talk with Gill Morice. 

How lang hae ye my lady luved ? 
This day come tell to me.' 


* Ye '11 tak here this sark o silk. 

Her ain hand sewed the sleeve; 


' First when I your lady loved. 

Ye '11 bid her come to gude green- 

In green-wood amang the thyme, 


I wot she was my first fair love 

And ask not Burnard's leave.' 

Or ever she was thine. 

8 When he gade to Ithan side 


* First when I your lady loved. 

They were hailing at the ba, 

In green-wood amang the flouirs, 

And four and twenty gay ladyes 

I wot she was my first fair love 

They lookd ower castle wa. 

Or ever she was yours.' 


• God mak you safe, you ladies all, 

20 He 's* taen out a lang, lang brand 

God mak you safe and sure; 

That he was used to wear, 

But Burnard's lady amang you all. 

And he 's taen aff Gill Morice head, 

My errand is to her. 

And put it on a spear: 
The soberest boy in a' the court 


* Ye '11 tak here this green manteel. 
It 's a' lined wi the frieze; 

Gill Morice head did bear. 

Ye 're bidden come to gude green-wood 

21 He 's put it in a braid basin. 

And speak to Gill Morice. 

And brocht it in the ha, 
And laid it in his lady's lap; 


' Ye '11 tak here this sark of silk, 
Your ain hand sewed the sleeve; 

Said, Lady, tak a ba ! 

Ye 're bidden come to gude green-wood. 


* Play ye, play ye, my lady,' he said, 

And ask not Burnard's leave.' 

* Play ye frae ha to bower; 
Play ye wi Gill Morice head. 


Up it stood the little nurice. 
She winked with her ee: 

He was your paramour.' 

* Welcome, welcome, bonnie boy. 


' He was not my paramour, 

With luve-tidings to me.' 

He was my son indeed; 
I got him in my mother's bower. 


* Ye lie, ye lie, ye false nurice, 
Sae loud 's I hear ye lie; 

And in my maiden-weed. 

It 's to the lady of the house. 


* I got him in my mother's bower. 

I 'm sure ye are not shee.' 

Wi meikle sin and shame; 
I brocht him up in good green-wood, 

14 Then out and spoke him bold Burnard, 

Got mony a shower o rain. 

Behind the door stood he : 

*I '11 go unto gude green-wood, 


' But I will kiss his bluidy head, 

And sae what he may be. 

And I will clap his chin; 




I '11 make a vow, and keep it true, 
1 '11 never kiss man again. 

26 * Oftimes I by his cradle sat, 

And fond to see him sleep; 

But I may walk about his grave, 

The saut tears for to weep.' 

27 ' Bring cods, bring cods to my ladye, 

Her heart is full of wae; ' 
* None of your cods, Burnet,' she says, 
* But lay me on the strae.' 

28 * Pox on you, my lady fair. 

That wudna telled it me; 
If I had known he was your son. 

He had not been slain by me; 
And for ae penny ye wud hae gien 

I wud hae gien him three.' 

29 ' Keep weel your land, Burnet,' she said, 

' Your land and white monie; 

There 's land eneuch in Norroway 

Lies heirless I wot the day.' 

39 The one was killed in the mornin air. 
His mother died at een. 
And or the mornin bells was rung 
The threesome were a' gane. 



Pepys makes this entry in his Diary, January 
2, 166(3 : " In perfect pleasure I was to hear 
her [Mrs Knipp,an actress] sing, and especially 
her little Scotch song of Barbary Allen." Gold- 
smith, in his third essay, llCh), p. 14, writes : 
'' The music of the finest singer is dissonance 
to what I felt when our old dairy-maid sung 
me into tears with ' Johnny Armstrong's 
Last Good-night,' or ' The Cruelty of Barbara 
Allen.' " 

a. ' Bonny Barbara Allan,' The Tea-Table 
Miscellany, iv, 46, ed. 1740; here from the 
London edition of 1750, p. 348. b. ' Sir John 
Grehme, and Barbara Allan,' Percy's Reliques, 
III, 131, ed. 1765, " with a few conjectural 
emendations from a written copy." 

1 It was in and about the Martinmas time, 
When the green leaves were a falling, 

That Sir John Graeme, in the West 
Fell in love with Barbara Allan. 

2 He sent his man dowm through the town, 

To the place where she was dwelling: 
'O haste and come to my master dear, 
Gin ye be Barbara Allan.' 

3 O hool}', hooly rose she up, 

To the place wdiere he was lying, 
A'ld when she drew the curtain by, 
' Toung man, I think you 're dying.' 

4 * O it 's I 'm sick, and very, very sick. 

And 't is a' for Barbara Allan: ' 
' O the better for me ye 's never be, 
Tho your heart's blood were a spill- 

5 ' O dinna ye mind, young man,' said 


' When ye was in the tavern a drink- 
That ye made the healths gae round and 

And slighted Barbara Allan ? ' 

6 He turnd his face unto the wall, 

And death was with him dealing: 
'Adieu, adieu, my dear friends all, 
And be kind to Barbara Allan.' 

7 And slowly, slowly raise she up, 

And slowly, slowly left him. 
And sighing said, slie coud not stay, 
Since death of life had reft him. 

8 She had not gane a mile but twa. 

When she heard the dead-bell ringing, 
And every jow that the dead-bell geid. 
It cry'd. Woe to Barbara Allan ! 

9 ' O mother, mother, make my bed ! 

make it saft and narrow ! 
Since my love died for me to-day, 

1 '11 die for him to-morrow.' 

a. ' Barbara Allen's Cruelty,' Roxburghe 
Ballads, II, 25 ; reprint of the BaJlad Society, 
III, 433. b. Roxburg'he Ballads, iii, 522. 
C. A broadside formerly belonging to Bishop 
Percy, d. Percy's Reliques, 1765, in, 125. 




1 In Scarlet Town, where I was bound, 

There was a fair maid dwelling, 
Whom I had chosen to be my own, 
And her name it was Barbara Allen. 

2 All in the merry month of May, 

AVhen green leaves they was spring- 

This young man on his death-bed lay, 
For the love of Barbara Allen. 

3 He sent his man unto her then, 

To the town where she was dwelling: 
'You must come to my master dear, 
If your name be Barbara Allen. 

4 * For death is printed in his face, 

And sorrow 's in him dwelling, 
And you must come to my master dear, 
If your name be Barbara Allen.' 

5 ' If death be printed in his face, 

And sorrow 's in him dwelling, 
Then little better shall he be 
For bonny Barbara Allen.' 

6 So slowly, slowly she got up. 

And so slowly she came to him, 
And all she said when she came there. 
Young man, I think you are a dying. 

7 He turnd his face unto her then: 

* If you be Barbara Allen, 

My dear,' said he, * come pitty me. 
As on my death-bed I am lying.' 

8 ' If on your death-bed you be lying. 

What is that to Barbara Allen ? 

I cannot keep you from [your] death ; 

So farewell,' said Barbara Allen. 

9 He turnd his face unto the wall, 

And death came creeping to him: 

* Then adieu, adieu, and adieu to all, 

And adieu to Barbara Allen ! ' 

10 And as she was walking on a day. 

She heard the bell a ringing. 
And it did seem to ring to her 

• Unworthy Barbara Allen.' 

11 She turnd herself round about, 

And she spy'd the corps a coming: 

* Lay down, lay down the corps of clay, 

That I may look upon bira.' 

12 And all the while she looked on, 

So loudly she lay laughing, 
While all her friends cry'd [out] amain, 
* Unworthy Barbara Allen ! ' 

13 When he was dead, and laid in grave, 

Then death came creeping to she: 
* O mother, mother, make my bed, 
For his death hath quite undone me. 

14 ' A hard-hearted creature that I was. 

To slight one that lovd me so dearly; 
I wish I had been more kinder to him, 
The time of his life when he was near 

15 So this maid she then did dye, 

And desired to be buried by him. 
And repented her self before she dy'd; 
That ever she did deny him. 


This little ballad, which is said to be still 
of the regular stock of the stalls, is a sort of 
counterpart to ' Lord Lovel ' (No. 75). 

' Lady Alice.' a. Bell's Ancient Poems, 
Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of Eng- 
land, p. 127, a stall copy. b. Edward Haw- 
kins, in Notes and Queries, Second Series, I, 
418. C. Notes and Queries, Second Series, I, 
354, as heard sung forty years before 1856, 
" Uneda," Philadelphia. 

1 Lady Alice was sitting in her bower- 

Mending her midnight quoif. 
And there she saw as fine a corpse 
As ever she saw in her life. 

2 'What bear ye, what bear ye, ye six 

men tall ? 
What bear ye on your shoulders ? ' 
* We bear the corpse of Giles Collins, 
An old and true lover of yours.' 

3 '0 lay him down gently, ye six men 

All on the grass so green, 




And tomorrow, when the sun goes 
Lady Alice a corpse shall be seen. 

4 'And bury me in Saint Mary's church, 

All for my love so true, 
And make me a garland of marjoram, 
And of lemon-thyme, and rue.' 

5 Giles Collins was buried all in the east, 

Lady Alice all in the west, 
And the roses that grew on Giles Col- 
lins's grave. 
They reached Lady Alice's breast. 

6 The priest of the parish he chanced to 

And he severed those roses in twain; 
Sure never were seen such true lovers 

Nor eer will there be again. 

* Giles Collins and Proud Lady Anna,' 
Gammer Garten's Garland, p. o8, ed. 1810. 

1 Giles Collins he said to his old mo- 

Mother, come bind up my head, 
And send to the parson of our parish, 
For tomorrow I shall be dead, dead. 
For tomorrow I shall be dead. 

2 His mother she made him some water- 

And stirrd it round with a spoon; 
Giles Collins he ate up his water-gruel. 
And died before 't was noon. 

3 Lady Anna was sitting at her window, 

Mending her night-robe and coif; 
She saw the very prettiest corpse 
She 'd seen in all her life. 

4 * What bear ye there, ye six strong 

Upon your shoulders so high ? ' 
* We bear the body of Giles Collins, 
Who for love of you did die.' 

5 * Set him down, set him down,' Lady 

Anna she cry'd, 
* On the grass that grows so green; 

Tomorrow, before the clock strikes 
My body shall lye by hisn.' 

6 Lady Anna was buried in the east, 

Giles Collins was buried in the west; 
There grew a lilly from Giles Collins 
That touchd Lady Anna's breast. 

7 There blew a cold north-easterly wind, 

And cut this lilly in twain, 
AVhich never there was seen before, 
And it never will again. 

' Giles Collin,' Miss M. H. Mason's Nursery 
Rhymes and Country ISongs, 1877, p. 46. 

1 Giles Collin he said to his mother 

one day, 
Oh, mother, come bind up my head ! 
For tomorrow morning before it is day 
I 'm sure I shall be dead. 

2 * Oh, mother, oh, mother, if I should die, 

And I am sure I shall, 
I will not be buried in our churchyard, 
But under Lady Alice's wall.' 

3 His mother she made him some water- 

And stirred it up with a spoon; 
Giles Collin he ate but one spoonful, 
And died before it was noon. 

4 Lady Alice was sitting in her window. 

All dressed in her night-coif; 
She saw as pretty a corpse go by 
As ever she 'd seen in her life. 

5 * What bear ye there, ye six tall men ? 

What bear ye on your shourn ? ' 

' We bear the body of Giles Collin, 

Who was a true lover of yourn.' 

6 * Down with him, down with him, upon 

the grass. 
The grass that grows so green; 
For tomorrow morning before it is day 
My body shall lie by him.' 

7 Her mother she made her some plum- 

With spices all of the best; 

i6, 87] 



Lady Alice she ate but one spoonful, 
And the doctor he ate up the rest. 

8 Giles Collin was laid in the lower 

Lady Alice all in the higher; 
There grew up arose from Lady Alice's 

And from Giles Collin's a briar. 

9 And they grew, and they grew, to the 

very church-top, 
Until they could grow no higher, 
And twisted and twined in a true-lover's 
Which made all the parish admire. 



Scott's version in the Border Minstrelsy, 
1803, in, 251, contains the whole of A^ except 
the first stanza. It has about twice as many 
verses as A*, and the other half might weil 
have been supplied by the editor. Scott's title 
' Young- Benjie ' is here retained, and some of 
the additional stanzas are given in the Notes. 


From Jean Scott. In the handwriting- of 
William Laidlaw. Scotch Ballads, Materials 
for Border Minstrelsy, No. 29, Abbotsf ord. 

1 Fair Marjorie sat i her bower-door, 

Sewin her silken seam. 
When by then cam her false true-love, 
Ga.rd a' his bridles ring. 

2 * Open, open, my true-love, 

Open an let me in ; ' 
• I dare na, I dare na, my true-love, 
My brethren are within.* 

3 * Ye lee, ye lee, my ain true-love, 

Sae loud I hear ye lee ! 
For or I cam thrae Lothian banks 
They took fare-weel o me.' 

4 The wind was loud, that maid was proud, 

An leath, leath to be dung. 
But or she wan the Lothian banks 
Her fair coulour was gane. 

5 He took her up in his armis, 

An threw her in the lynn. 

6 Up then spak her eldest brother, 

Said, What is yon I see ? 
Sure, youn is either a drowned ladie 
Or my sister Marjorie. 

7 Up then spak her second brother, 

Said, How will we her ken ? 
Up then spak her . . . brother. 
There a hinuie-mark on her chin. 

8 About the midle o the night 

The cock began to craw; 
About the middle o the night 
The corpse began to thraw. 

9 ' O whae has doon ye wrang, sister ? 

whae has doon ye wrang ? ' 

10 * Young Boonjie was the ae first man 

1 laid my love upon; 

He was sae proud an bardie 
He threw me oer the lynne.' 

11 ' O shall we Boonjie head, sister ? 

Or shall we Boonjie hang ? 
O shall we pyke out his twa grey 
An punish him or he gang ? ' 

12 ' ye sanna Boonjie head, brother, 

l^'e Sana Boonjie hang; 
But ye maun pyke out his twa grey 
An punish him or he gang.' 

13 * The ae best man about your house 

Maun wait yomig Boonjie on.' 


There is a White Russian and a Ruthenian 
ballad in which a mother prepares wholesome 
drink for her son, poison for his wife ; both son 
and wife are poisoned. They are buried sep- 
arately, one in the church, one in the grave- 
yard. Trees from the graves join their tops. 
There are other ballad-stories of a mother's 
poisoning- because of displeasure at a son"s 
match, but they do not demand comparison 
with ' Prince Robert.' 




'Prince Robert,' Scott's Minstrelsy, ii, 124, 
ed. 1802 ; iii, 26l», ed. 1833 : from the recita- 
tion of Miss Christian Rutherford. 

1 Prince Robert has wedded a gay ladye, 

He has wedded her wdth a ring'; 
Prince Robert has wedded a gay ladye, 
But he daur na bring her hame. 

2 ' Your blessing, your blessing, my mo- 

ther dear. 
Your blessing now grant to me ! ' 
* Instead of a blessing ye sail have my 
And you '11 get nae blessing frae 

3 She has called upon her waiting-maid, 

To fill a glass of wine; 
She has called upon her fause steward. 
To put rank poison in. 

4 She has put it to her roudes lip, 

And to her roudes chin; 
She has put it to her fause, fause mouth, 
But the never a drop gaed in. 

5 He has put it to his bonny mouth, 

And to his bonny chin. 
He 's put it to his cherry lip, 

And sae fast the rank poison ran 

6 * ye hae poisoned your ae son, mother, 

Your ae son and j'our heir; 
ye hae poisoned your ae son, mother, 
And sons you '11 never hae mair. 

7 * where will I get a little boy, 

That will win hose and shoon. 
To rin sae fast to Darlinton, 
And bid Fair Eleanor come ? ' 

8 Then up and spake a little boy. 

That wad win hose and shoon, 
' O I '11 away to Darlinton, 
And bid Fair Eleanor come.' 

9 O he has run to Darlinton, 

And tirled at the pin; 
And wha was sae ready as Eleanor's 
To let the bonny boy in ? 

10 * Your gude-mother has made ye a rare 

She 's made it baith gude and fine; 
Your gude-mother has made ye a gay 

And ye maun cum till her and dine.' 

11 It 's twenty lang miles to Sillertoun 

The langest that ever were gane; 
But the steed it was wight, and the 
ladye was light. 
And she cam linkin in. 

12 But when she came to Sillertoun town, 

And into Sillertoun ha. 
The torches were burning, the ladies 
were mourning. 
And they were weeping a'. 

13 * O where is now my wedded lord, 

And where now can he be ? 
O where is now my wedded lord ? 
For him I canna see.' 

14 ' Your wedded lord is dead,' she says, 

* And just gane to be laid in the clay; 
Your wedded lord is dead,' she says, 

* And just gane to be buried the 

15 ' Ye 'se get nane o his gowd, ye 'se get 

nane o his gear. 
Ye 'se get nae thing frae me; 
Ye 'se na get an inch o his gude broad 
Tho your heart suld burst in three.' 

16 ' I want nane o his gowd, I w\ant nane o 

his gear, 
I want nae land frae thee; 
But I '11 hae the ring that 's on his finger, 
For them he did promise to me.' 

17 ' Ye 'se na get the ring that 's on his 

Ye 's na get them frae me ; 
Ye 'se na get the ring that 's on his 

An your heart suld burst in three.' 

18 She 's turn'd her back unto the wa, 

And her face unto a rock, 
And there, before the mother's face, 
Her very heart it broke. 




19 The taue was buried in Marie's kirk, 

The tother in Marie's quair, 
And out o the tane there sprang a birk, 
And out o the tother a brier. 

20 And thae twa met, and thae twa plat, 

The birk but and the brier, 
And by that ye may very weel ken 
They were twa lovers dear. 

' Earl Robert.' Motherwell's MS., p. 149 ; 
MotherweH's Minstrelsy, p. 200 : from the reci- 
tation of Mrs Thomson, Kilbarehan, a native of 
Bonhill, Dumbartonshire, aged betwixt sixty 
and seventy. 

1 It 's fifty miles to Sittingen's Rocks, 

As eer was ridden or gane; 
And Earl Robert has wedded a wife. 

But he dare na bring her hame. 
And Earl Robert has wedded a wife. 

But he dare na bring her hame. 

2 His mother, she called to her waiting- 

To bring her a pint o wine: 
* For I dinna weel ken what hour of the 

That my son Earl Robert shall dine.' 

3 She 's put it to her fause, fatise cheek, 

But an her fause, fause chin; 
She 's put it to her fause, fause lips, 
But never a drap went in. 

4 But he 's put it to his bonny cheek, 

Aye and his bonny chin; 
He 's put it to his red rosy lips. 
And the poison went merrily doun. 

5 * where will I get a bonny boy. 

That will win hose and shoon. 
That will gang quickly to Sittingen's 
And bid my lady come ? ' 

6 It 's out then speaks a bonny boy. 

To Earl Robert was something akin: 
' Many a time have I ran thy errand, 
But this day wi the tears I 'U rin.' 

7 Bat when he came to Sittingin's Rocks, 

To the middle of a' the ha, 

There were bells a ringing, and music 
And ladies dancing a'. 

8 ' What news, what news, my bonny boy ? 

What news have ye to me ? 
Is Earl Robert in very good health, 
And the ladies of your countrie ? ' 

9 * O Earl Robert 's in very good health, 

And as weel as a man can be; 
But his mother this night has a drink to 
be druken. 
And at it you must be.' 

10 She called to her waiting-maid, 

To bring her a riding-weed. 
And she called to her stable-groom. 
To saddle her milk-white steed. 

11 But when she came to Earl Robert's 

To the middle of a' the ha. 
There were bells a ringing, and sheets 

doun hinging. 
And ladies mourning a'. 

12 * I 've come for none of his gold,' she 


' Nor none of his white monie. 
Excepting a ring of his smallest finger. 
If that you will grant me.' 

13 ' Thou '11 not get none of his gold,' she 

* Nor none of his white monie; 
Thou '11 not get a ring of his smallest 

Tho thy heart should break in three.' 

14 She set her foot unto a stane. 

Her back unto a tree; 
She set her foot unto a stane. 

And her heart did break in three. 

15 The one was buried in Mary's kirk. 

The other in Mary's quire; 
Out of the one there grew a birk. 
From the other a bonnie brier. 

16 And these twa grew, and these twa 

Till their twa craps drew near; 
So all the warld may plainly see 
That they loved each other dear. 






An explanation of Yonng Johnstone's motive 
for stabbing- his lady was afforded by Mother- 
weira reciter : " The barbarous act was com- 
mitted miwitting-ly, through Young Johnstone's 
suddenly -waking from sleep, and, in that mo- 
ment of confusion and alarm, unhappily mis- 
taking his mistress for one of his pursuers." 
The apology may go for what it is worth. 
Awake or waking, Young Johnstone's first in- 
stinct is as duly to stab as a bull-dog's is to 

' The Cruel Knight,' Herd's Ancient and 
Modern Scots Songs, 1769, p. 305 ; i, 165, ed. 

1 The knight stands in the stable-door, 

As he was for to ryde, 
When out then came his fair lady, 
Desiring him to byde, 

2 * How can I byde ? how dare I byde ? 

How can I byde with thee ? 

Have I not killd thy ae brother ? 

Thou hadst uae mair but he.' 

3 * If you have killd my ae brother, 

Alas, and woe is me ! 
But if I save your fair body, 
The better you 'II like me.' 

4 She 's tane him to her secret bower, 

Pinnd with a siller pin, 
And she 's up to her highest tower, 
To watch that none come in. 

5 She had na well gane up the stair. 

And entered in her tower, 
When four and twenty armed knights 
Came riding to the door. 

6 * Now God you save, my fair lady, 

I pray you tell to me, 
Saw you not a wounded knight 
Come riding by this way ? ' 

7 * Yes, bloody, bloody was his sword, 

And bloody were his hands; 
But if the steed he rides be good. 
He 's past fair Scotland's strands. 

8 ' Light down, light down then, gentle' 

And take some bread and wine ; 
The better you will him pursue 
When you shall lightly dine.' 

9 ' We thank you for your bread, lady, 

We thank you for your wine; 
I would gie thrice three thousand pounds 
Your fair body was mine.' 

10 Then she 's gane to her secret bower, 

Her husband dear to meet; 
But he drew out his bloody sword. 
And wounded her sae deep. 

11 ' What aileth thee now, good my lord ? 

What aileth thee at me ? 
Have you not got my father's gold, 
But and my mother's fee ? ' 

12 * Now live, now live, my fair lady, 

O live but half an hour, 
Tliere 's neer a leech in fair Scotland 
But shall be at thy bower.' 

13 * How can I live ? how shall I live ? 

How can I live for thee ? 
See you not where my red heart's blood 
Runs trickling down ray knee ? ' 

a. ' Young Johnstone.' Motherwell's Min- 
strelsy, p. 103, from the recitation of Mrs 
Gentles, Paisley, b. ' The Young Johnstone,' 
Finlay's Scottish Historical and Romantic 
Ballads, n, 71, from two recited copies. 

1 Young Johnstone and the young Colnel 

Sat drinking at the wine: 
* O gin ye wad marry my sister, 
It 's I wad marry thine.' 

2 * I wadna marry your sister 

For a' your houses and land; 

But I '11 keep her for my leman. 

When I come oer the strand. 

3 * I wadna marry your sister 

For a' your gowd so gay; 
But I '11 keep her for my leman, 
When I come by the way.' 




4 Young Johnstone had a little small 

Hung low down by his gair, 
And he stabbed it through the young 
That word he neer spak mair. 

5 But he 's awa to his sister's bower, 

He 's tirled at the pin: 

* Whare hae ye been, my dear brither, 

Sae late a coming in ? ' 

* I hae been at the school, sister. 

Learning young clerks to sing.' 

6 * I 've dreamed a dreary dream this 

I wish it may be for good; 
They were seeking you with hawks and 
And the young Colnel was dead.' 

7 ' Hawks and hounds they may seek me. 

As I trow well they be; 
For I have killed the young Colnel, 
And thy own true-love was he.' 

8 ' If ye hae killed the young Colnel, 

O dule and wae is me ! 
But I wish ye may be hanged on a hie 
And hae nae power to flee.' 

9 And he 's awa to his true-love's bower. 

He 's tirled at the pin: 

* Whar hae ye been, my dear Johnstone, 

Sae late a coming in ? ' 

* It 's I hae been at the school,' he says, 

' Learning young clerks to sing.' 

10 ' I have dreamed a dreary dream,' she 

* I wish it may be for good ; 
They were seeking you with hawks and 

And the young Colnel was dead.' 

11 ' Hawks and hounds they may seek me. 

As I trow well they be; 
For I hae killed the young Colnel, 
And thy ae brother was he.' 

12 * If ye hae killed the young Colnel, 

O dule and wae is me ! 
But I care the less for the young Colnel, 
If thy ain body be free. 

13 * Come in, come in, my dear Johnstone, 

Come in and take a sleep; 
And I will go to my casement. 
And carefully I will thee keep.' 

14 He had not weel been in her bower-door. 

No not for half an hour, 
When four and twenty belted knights 
Came riding to the bower. 

15 * Well may you sit and see, lady, 

Well may you sit and say; 

Did you not see a bloody squire 

Come riding by this way ? ' 

16 ' What colour were his hawks .-*' she saySj 

'What colour were his hounds ? 
What colour was the gallant steed. 
That bore him from the bounds ? ' 

17 ' Bloody, bloody were his hawks. 

And bloody were his hounds; 
But milk-white was the gallant steed, 
That bore him from the bounds.' 

18 ' Yes, bloody, bloody were his hawks, 

And bloody were his hounds; 
And milk-white was the gallant steed, 
That bore him from the bounds. 

19 'Light down, light down now, gentle- 

And take some bread and wine; 
And the steed be swift that he rides on. 
He 's past the brig o Lyne.' 

20 ' We thank you for your bread, fair lady, 

We thank you for your wine; 
But I wad gie thrice three thousand 
That bloody knight was taen.' 

21 ' Lie still, lie still, my dear Johnstone, 

Lie still and take a sleep; 
For thy enemies are past and gone. 
And carefully I will thee keep.' 

22 But Young Johnstone had a little wee 

Hung low down by his gair, 
And he stabbed it in fair Annet's breast, 
A deep wound and a sair. 

23 ' What aileth thee now, dear Johnstone ? 

What aileth thee at me ? 




Hast thou not got my father's gold 
Bot and my mither's fee ? ' 

24 ' Now live, now live, my dear ladye, 

Now live but half an hour, 
And there 's no a leech in a' Scotland 
But shall be in thy bower.' 

25 ' How can I live ? how shall I live ? 

Young Johnstone, do not you see 
The red, red drops o my bonny heart' 
Bin trinkling down my knee ? 

26 ' But take thy harp into thy hand, 

And harp out owre yon plain, 
And neer think mair on thy true-love 
Than if she had never been.' 

27 He hadna weel been out o the stable, 

And on his saddle set. 
Till four and twenty broad arrows 
Were thrillins: in his heart. 


This ballad, thoug-h substantially genuine, 
has come down to us in an enfeebled form. 
The rebellion of the nobles in A is evidently a 
corruption ; it is a prosaic touch, and not at 
all ballad-like. ' Fause Foodrage ' is closely 
related to the Scandinavian ballad of ' Svend 
of Voldesl0v ' (Grundtvig-Olrik, No. 298). 

' Fa'ase Footrage,' Alexander Fraser Tyt- 
ler's Brown MS., No. 3. 

1 King Easter has courted her for her 

King Wester for her fee, 
King Honor for her lands sae braid, 
And for her fair body. 

2 They had not been four months married. 

As I have heard them tell, 
Until the nobles of the land 
Against them did rebel. 

3 And they cast kaivles them amang, 

And kaivles them between, 

And they cast kaivles them amang 
Wha shoud gae kill the king. 

4 O some said yea, and some said nay, 
Their words did not agree; 
Till up it gat him Fa'se Footrage, 
And sware it shoud be he. 

sung, . 

And a' man boon to bed, 

King Honor and his gay ladie 

In a hie chamer were laid. 

6 Then up it raise him Fa'se Footrage, 

While a' were fast asleep, 
And slew the porter in his lodge, 
That watch and ward did keep. 

7 O four and twenty silver keys 

Hang hie upon a pin. 
And ay as a door he did unlock, 
He has fastend it him behind. 

8 Then up it raise him King Honor, 

Says, What means a' this din ! 
Now what 's the matter, Fa'se Foot- 
rage ? 
O wha was 't loot you in ? 

9 ' O ye my errand well shall learn 

Before that I depart ; ' 
Then drew a knife baith lang and 
And pierced him thro the heart. 

10 Then up it got the Queen hersell, 

And fell low down on her knee: 
' O spare my life now, Fa'se Footrage ! 
For I never injured thee. 

11 * O spare my life now, Fa'se Footrage I 

Until I lighter be, 
And see gin it be lad or lass 
King Honor has left me wi.' 

12 ' O gin it be a lass,' he says, 

' Well nursed she shall be; 
But gin it be a lad-bairn, 
He shall be hanged hie, 

13 ' I winna spare his tender age. 

Nor yet his hie, hie kin; 
But as soon as eer he born is. 
He shall mount the gallows-pin. 




14 four and twenty valiant knights 

Were set the Queen to guard, 
And four stood ay at her bower-door, 
To keep baith watch and ward. 

15 But when the time drew till an end 

That she should lighter be, 
She cast about to find a wile 
To set her body free. 

16 O she has birled these merry young men 

Wi strong beer and wi wine, 
Until she made them a' as drunk 
As any wall wood swine. 

17 ' O narrow, narrow is this window. 

And big, big am I grown ! ' 
Yet thro the might of Our Ladie 
Out at it she has won. 

18 She wanderd up, she wanderd down, 

She wanderd out and in. 
And at last, into the very swines' stye, 
The Queen brought forth a son. 

19 Then they cast kaivles them amang 

Wha should gae seek the Queen, 
And the kaivle fell upon Wise William, 
And he 's sent his wife for him. 

20 O when she saw Wise William's wife, 

The Queen fell on her knee ; 
' Win up, win up, madame,' she says, 
' What means this courtesie ? ' 

21 ' O out of this I winna rise 

Till a boon ye grant to me, 
To change your lass for this lad-bairn 
King Honor left me wi. 

22 ' And ye maun learn my gay gose-hawke 

Well how to breast a steed. 
And I shall learn your turtle-dow 
As well to write and read. 

23 'And ye maun learn my gay gose-hawke 

To wield baith bow and brand. 
And I shall learn your turtle-dow 
To lay gowd wi her hand. 

24 * At kirk or market where we meet, 

We dare nae raair avow 
But, Dnme, how does 
Madame, how does my dow ? ' 

my gay gose- 

25 When days were gane, and years came 

Wise William he thought long; 
Out has he taen King Honor's son, 
A hunting for to gang. 

26 It sae fell out at their hunting, 

Upon a summer's day. 
That they cam b}^ a fair castle, 
Stood on a sunny brae. 


' O dinna ye see that bonny castle, 
Wi wa's and towers sae fair ? 

Gin ilka man had back his ain, 
Of it you shoud be heir.' 

28 ' How I shoud be heir of that castle 

In sooth I canna see. 
When it belongs to Fa'se Footrage, 
And he 's nae kin to me.' 

29 ' O gin ye shoud kill him Fa'se Foot- 

You woud do what is right; 
For I wot he killd your father dear, 
Ere ever you saw the light. 

30 * Gin ye should kill him Fa'se Foot- 

rage, ^ 
There is nae man durst you blame; 
For he keeps your mother a prisoner, 
And she dares no take you hame.' 

31 The boy stared wild like a gray gose- 

Says, What may a' this mean ! 
' My boy, you are King Honor's son. 
And your mother 's our lawful queen.' 

32 ' O gin I be King Honor's son. 

By Our Ladie I swear, 
This day I will that traytour slay 
And relieve my mother dear.' 

33 He has set his bent bow till his breast, 

And laj) the castle-wa. 
And soon he 's siesed on Fa'se Footrage, 
Wha loud for help gan ca. 

34 ' O hold your tongue now, Fa'se Foot- 

Frae me you shanno flee; ' 
Syne pierced him through the foul fa'se 

And set his mother free. 




35 And he has rewarded Wise William 
Wi the best half of his land, 
And sae has he the turtle-dow 
Wi the truth of his rio^ht hand. 


' The Eastraure King- and the Westmure 
King-; Motherwell's MS., p. 341. 

1 The Eastmure king, and the Westmure 
And the king of Onorie, 
They have all courted a pretty maid, 
And o'uess wha she micht be. 

2 The Eastmure king courted her for gold, 

And the Westmure king for fee. 
The king of Onore for womanheid. 
And for her fair beautie. 

3 The Eastmure king swore a solemn 


He would keep it till May, 
That he would murder the king of 

Upon his wedding day. 

4 When bells was rung, and psalms was 

And all men boune for sleep. 
Up a)id started the Eastmure king 
At the king of Onore's head. 

5 He has drawn the curtains by — 

Their sheets was made of dorn — 
And he has murdered the king of Onore, 
As innocent as he was born. 

6 This maid she awak'd in the middle of 

the night, 
Was in a drowsy dream; 
She found her bride's-bed swim with 

Bot and her good lord slain. 

7 ' Wliat will the court and council say ? 

What will they say to me ? 
What will the court and council say 
But this night I 've murderd thee ? ' 

8 Out and speaks the Eastmure king: 

' Hold your tongue, my pretty may. 
And come along with me, my dear, 
And that court ye '11 never see.' 

9 He mounted her on a milk - white 
Himself upon a gray; 
She turnd her back against the court, 
And weeping rode away. 

10 ' Now if you be with child,' he says, 

' As I trew well you be, 
If it be of a lassie-bairn, 
I '11 give her nurses three. 

11 *If it be a lassie-bairn, 

If you please she '11 get five; 
But if it be a bonnie boy, 
I will not let him live.' 

12 Word is to the city gone. 

And word is to the town. 

And word is to the city gone. 

She 's delivered of a son. 

13 But a poor woman in the town 

In the same case does lye, 
Wha gived to her her woman-child, 
Took awa her bonnie boy. 

14 At kirk or market, whereer they met. 

They never durst avow. 
But ' Thou be kind to my boy,' she 

* I '11 be kind to your bonnie dow.' 

15 This boy was sixteen years of age. 

But he was nae seventeen. 
When he is to the garden gone. 
To slay that Eastmure king. 

16 ' Be aware, be aware, thou Eastmure 

Be aware this day of me; 
For I do swear and do declare 
Thy botcher I will be.' 

17 * What aileth thee, my bonnie boy ? 

What aileth thee at me ? 
I 'm sure I never did thee wrang; 
Thy face I neer did see.' 

18 ' Thou murdered my father dear. 

When scarse conceived was I; 
Thou murdered my father dear. 

When scarse conceived was me:' 
So then he slew that Eastmure king, 

Beneath that garden tree. 




'Eastinuir King-,' Harris MS., No. 18,fol. 22 : 
derived from Janiiie Seott, an old Perthshire 
nurse, about 1790. 

1 Eastmuir king, and Wastmuir king, 

And king o Lave, a' three, 
It 's they coost kevils them amang, 
Aboot a gay ladie. 

2 Eastmuir king he wan the gowd. 

An Wastmuir king the fee. 
But king o Luve, wi his lands sae broad, 
He 's won the fair ladie. 

3 Thae twa kings, they made an aith, 

That, be it as it may, 
They wad slay him king o Luve, 
Upon his waddin day. 

4 Eastmuir king he brak his aith, 

An sair penance did he; 
But Wastmuir king he made it oot, 
An au ill deid mat he dee ! 

90 . 

' Jellon Grame' may be regarded as a coun- 
terpart to ' Fause Foodrage ' (No. 89). It has 
certainly suffered very much in transmission. 
There is a material difference in plot between 
the story furnished by A and what we learn 
from the three other copies (of which B is 
here printed). 

a. ' Jellon Grame and Lillie Flower,' A. Fra- 
ser Tytler's Brown MS., No. 4. b. ' Jellon 
Grame,' Scott's Minstrelsy, ii, 20, 1802. 

1 O Jellon Grame sat in Silver Wood, 

He whistled and he sang. 
And he has calld his little foot-page, 
His errand for to gang. 

2 ' Win up, my bonny boy,' he says, 

' As quick as eer you may; 
For ye maun gang for Lillie Flower, 
Before the break of day.' 

3 The boy he 's buckled his belt about, 

And thro the green-wood ran, 

And he came to the ladie's bower-door, 
Before the day did dawn. 

4 * O sleep ye, or wake ye, Lillie Flower ? 

The red run 's i the rain : ' 
*I sleep not aft, I wake right aft; 
Wha 's that that kens my name ? ' 

5 ' Ye are bidden come to Silver Wood, 

But I fear you '11 never win hame; 
Ye are bidden come to Silver Wood, 
And speak wi Jellon Grame.' 

6*01 will gang to Silver Wood, 

Though I shoud never win hame; 
For the thing I most desire on earth 
Is to speak wi Jellon Grame.' 

7 She had no ridden a mile, a mile, 

A mile but barely three. 
Ere she came to a new made grave. 
Beneath a green oak tree. 

8 O then up started Jellon Grame, 

Out of a bush hard bye: 
* Light down, light down now, Lillie 
For it 's here that ye maun ly/ 

9 She lighted aff her milk-white steed. 

And knelt upon her knee : 
' O mercy, mercy, Jellon Grame ! 
For I 'm nae prepar'd to die. 

10 'Your bairn, that stirs between my 

Maun shortly see the light; 
But to see it weltring in my blude 
Woud be a piteous sight.' 

11 ' O shoud I spare your life,' he says, 

* Until that bairn be born, 
I ken fu well your stern father 
Woud hang me on the morn.* 

12 * spare my life now, Jellon Grame I 

My father ye neer need dread; 
I '11 keep my bairn i the good green 
Or wi it I '11 beg my bread.' 

13 He took nae pity on that ladie, 

The she for life did pray; 
But pierced her thro the fair body, 
As at his feet she lay. 




14 He felt nae pity for that ladie, 

Tlio she was lying dead; 
But he felt some for the bouny boy. 
Lay weltring in her blude. 

15 Up has he taen that bonny boy, 

Gien him to nurices nine, 
Three to wake, and three to sleep, 
And three to go between. 

16 And he 's brought up that bonny boy, 

Calld him his sister's son; 
He thought nae man would eer find 
The deed that he had done. 

17 But it sae fell out upon a time. 

As a hunting they did gay, 
That they rested them in Silver Wood, 
Upon a summer-day. 

18 Then out it spake that bonny boy, 

AVhile the tear stood in his eye, 
* O tell me this now, Jellon Grame, 
And I pray you dinua lie. 

19 * The reason that my mother dear 

Does never take me hame ? 
To keep me still in banishment 
Is baitli a sin and shame.' 

20 * Yoii wonder that your mother dear 

Does never send for thee; 
Lo, there 's the place I slew thy mother, 
Beneath that green oak tree.' 

21 Wi that the boy has bent his bow, 

It was baith stout and lang, 
And through and thro him Jellon Grame 
He 's gard an arrow gang. 

22 Says, Lye you thare now, Jellon Grame, 

My mellison you wi; 
The place my mother lies buried in 
Is far too good for thee. 

' Hind Henry,' :Motherweirs MS., p. 443. 

1 Word has come to May Margerie, 
In her bower where she sat: 
'You are bid come to good green-wood, 
To make your love a shirt.' 

2 * I wonder much,' said May Margerie, 

* At this message to me; 

There is not a month gone of this year 
But I have made him three.' 

3 Then out did speak her mother dear, 

A wise woman was she; 
Said, Stay at home, my daughter May, 
They seek to murder thee. 

4 * O I '11 cast off my gloves, mother, 

And hang them up, I say; 
If I come never back again. 
They will mind you on May. 

5 * Go saddle my horseback,' she said, 

* It 's quick as ever you may. 

And we will ride to good green-wood; 
It is a pleasant day.' 

6 And when she came to good green-wood, 

It's through it they did ride; 
Then up did start him Hind Henry, 
Just at the lady's side. 

7 Says, Stop, O stop, you May Margerie, 

Just stop I say to thee; 
The boy that leads your bridle reins 
Shall see you red and blue. 

8 It 's out he drew a long, long brand. 

And stroked it ower a strae, 
And through and through that lady's 
He made the cauld weapon gae. 

9 Says, Take you that now. May Margerie, 

Just take you that from me, 
Because you love Brown Robin, 
And never would love me. 

10 There was less pity for that lady. 

When she was lying dead, 
As was for her bony infant boy, 
Lay swathed amang her bleed. 

11 The boy fled home with all his might. 

The tear into his ee: 
* They have slain my lady in the wood. 
With fear I 'm like to die.' 

12 Her sister 's ran into the wood, 

With greater grief and care, 

Sighing and sobbing all the way. 

Tearing: her cloaths and hair. 




13 Says, I '11 take up that fair infant, 

And lull him on my sleeve; 
Altho his father should wish me woe, 
His mother to me was leeve. 

14 Now she has taken the infant up, 

And she has brought him hame, 
And she has called him Brown Robin, 
That was his father's name. 

15 And when he did grow up a bit. 

She put him to the lair, 
And of all the youths was at that school 
None could with him compare. 

16 And it fell once upon a day 

A playtime it was come, 
And when the rest went from the school. 
Each one to their own home, 

17 He hied him unto good green-wood, 

And leapt from tree to tree; 
It was to pull a hollin wand, 
To play his ownself wi. 

18 And when he thus had passed his time. 

To go home he was fain, 
He chanced to meet him Hind Henry, 
Where his mother was slain. 

19 * O how is this,' the youth cried out, 

' If it to you is known. 
How all this wood is growing grass, 
And on that small spot grows none ? ' 

20 ' Since you do wonder, bonnie boy, 

I shall tell you anon; 
That is indeed the very spot 
I killed your mother in.' 

21 He catched hold of Henry's brand, 

And stroked it ower a strae, 
And thro and thro Hind Henry's sides 
He made the cauld metal gae. 

22 Says, Take you that, O Hind Henry, 

O take you that from me, 

For killing of my mother dear, 

And her not hurtinor thee. 



' Fair Mary of Walling-ton ' (A) was com- 
municated to Bishop Percy, with other " old 

Scots Songs," in 1775, by Roger Halt, and pre- 
sumably in a copy of the garland from which 
it is here printed. The story is well preserved 
in this version. A Breton ballad, ' Pontplan- 
coat ' (Luzel, l, 882 ff.), exhibits such corre- 
spondences with tli3 English and Scottish that 
it may be assumed to have the same source. 
The localization of A in Northumberland is 
of no special significance. 

'Fair Mary of Wallington,' Lovely Jenny's 
Garland, three copies, as early as 1775, but 
without place or date. 

1 When we were silly sisters seven, 

sisters were so fair. 
Five of us were brave knights' wives, 
and died in childbed lair. 

2 Up then spake Fair Mary, 

marry woud she nane; 
If ever she came in man's bed, 
the same gate wad she gang. 

3 ' Make no vows, Fair Mary, 

for fear they broken be; 
Here 's been the Knight of Walling- 
asking good will of thee.' 

4 ' If here 's been the knight, mother, 

asking good will of me, 
Within three quarters of a year 
you may come bury me.' 

5 When she came to Wallington, 

and into Wallington hall, 
There she spy'd her mother dear, 
walking about the wall. 

6 * You 're welcome, daughter dear, 

to thy castle and thy bow^ers; ' 
* I thank you kindly, mother, 
I hope they '11 soon be yours.' 

7 She had not been in Wallington 

three quarters and a day, 
Till upon the ground she could not 
she was a weary prey. 

8 She had not been in Wallington 

three quarters and a night, 
Till on the ground she coud not walk, 
she was a weary wight. 




9 * Is there neer a boy in this town, 
who '11 win hose and shun, 
That will run to fair Pudlington, 
and bid my mother come ? ' 

10 Up then spake a little boy, 

near unto a-kin; 
* Full oft I have your errands gone, 
but now I will it run.' 

11 Then she calld her waiting-maid 

to bring up bread and wine: 
*Eat and drink, my bonny boy, 
thou '11 neer eat more of mine. 

12 * Give my respects to my mother, 

[as] she sits in her chair of stone. 
And ask her how she likes the news, 
of seven to have but one. 

13 [' Give my respects to my mother, 

as she sits in her chair of oak, 
And bid her come to my sickening, 
or my merry lake-wake.] 

14 ' Give my love to my brother 

William, Ralph, and John, 
And to my sister Betty fair, 
and to her white as bone. 

15 * And bid her keep her maidenhead, 

be sure make much on 't, 
For if eer she come in man's bed, 
the same gate will she gang.' 

16 Away this little boy is gone, 

as fast as he could run; 
When he came where brigs w( 
he lay down and swum. 

17 When he saw the lady, he said, 

Lord may your keeper be ! 
'What news, my pretty boy, 
hast thou to tell to me ? ' 

18 'Your daughter Mary orders me, 

as you sit in a chair of stone. 
To ask you how you like tlie news, 
of seven to have but one. 

19 ' Your daughter gives commands, 

as you sit in a chair of oak, 
And bids you come to her sickening, 
or her merry lake-wake. 

20 * She gives command to her brother 

William, Ralph, and John, 

[And] to her sister Betty fair, 

and to her white as bone. 

21 ' She bids her keep her maidenhead, 

be sure make much on 't, 
For if eer she came in man's bed, 
the same gate woud she gang.' 

22 She kickt the table with her foot, 

she kickt it with her knee. 
The silver plate into the fire, 
so far she made it flee. 

23 Then she calld her waiting-maid 

to bring her riding-hood, 
So did she on her stable- groom 
to bring her riding-steed. 

24 ' Go saddle to me the black [the 

go saddle to me the brown. 
Go saddle to me the swiftest steed 
that eer rid [to] Wallington.' 

25 When they came to Wallington, 

and into Wallington hall, 
There she spy'd her son Fenwick, 
walking about the wall. 

26 * God save you, dear son, 

Lord may your keeper be ! 
Where is my daughter fair, 
that used to walk with thee ? ' 

27 He turnd his head round about, 

the tears did fill his ee: 
* 'T is a month,' he said, ' since she 
took her chambers from m.e.' 

28 She went on . . . 

and there were in the hall 
Four and twenty ladies, 
letting the tears down fall. 

29 Her datighter had a scope 

into her cheek and into her chin, 
All to keep her life 

till her dear mother came. 

30 ' Come take the rings off my fingers, 

the skin it is so white, 
And give them to my mother dear, 
for she was all the wite. 




31 ' Come take the rings off my fingers, 

the veins they are so red, 
Give them to Sir William Fenwick, 
I 'm sure his heart will bleed.' 

32 She took out a razor 

that was both sharp and fine, 
And out of her left side has taken 
the heir of Wallington. 

33 There is a race in Wallington, 

and that I rue full sare; 
Tho the cradle it be full spread up, 
the bride-bed is left bare. 

' The Bonny Earl of Living-ston,' Alexander 
Fraser Tytler's Brown MS., No. 5. 

1 * O WE were sisters seven, Maisry, 

And five are dead wi child; 
There is nane but you and I, Maisry, 
And we '11 go maidens mild.' 

2 She hardly had the word spoken. 

And turnd her round about. 
When the bonny Earl of Livingston 
Was calling Maisry out. 

3 Upon a bonny milk-white steed, 

That drank out of the Tyne, 

And a' was for her Ladie Maisry, 

To take her hyne and hyne. 

4 Upon a bonny milk-white steed, 

That drank out o the Tay, 
And a' was for her Lady Maisry, 
To carry her away. 

5 She had not been at Livingston 

A twelve month and a day, 
Until she was as big wi bairn 
As any ladie coud gae. 

6 She calld upon her little foot-page, 

Says, Ye maun run wi speed, 
And bid my mother come to me, 
For of her I '11 soon have need. 

7 ' See, there is the brootch frae my hause- 


It is of gowd sae ried; 
Gin she winna come when I 'm alive, 
Bid her come when I am dead.* 

8 But ere she wan to Livingston, 

As fast as she coud ride. 
The gaggs they were in Maisry's mouth. 
And the sharp sheers in her side. 

9 Her good lord wrang his milk-white 

Till the gowd rings flaw in three: 
* Let ha's and bowers and a' gae waste, 
My bonny love 's taen frae me ! ' 

10 * O hold your tongue. Lord Livingston, 

Let a' your mourning be; 
For I bare the bird between my sides, 
Yet I maun thole her to die.' 

11 Then out it spake her sister dear. 

As she sat at her head: 
'That man is not in Christendoom 
Shall gar me die sicken dead.' 

12 ' hold your tongue, my ae daughter. 

Let a' your folly be. 
For ye shall be married ere this day 
Tho the same death you should die.* 


The talisman in this ballad reminds one of 
' Hind Horn ' (No. 17) ; the vows, of ' Clerk 
Saunders' (No. 69). Similar vows occur in a 
song called ' The Lowlands of Holland ' (see 
the Notes). 

* Bonny Bee Ho'm,' Alexander Fraser Ty tler'i 
Brown MS., No. 6. 

1 By Arthur's Dale as late I went 

I heard a heavy moan; 
I heard a ladie lammenting sair, 
And ay she cried Ohone I 

2 * Ohon, alas ! what shall I do, 

Tormented night and day ! 
I never loved a love but ane, 
And now he 's gone away. 

3 * But I will do for my true-love 

What ladies woud think sair; 

For seven year shall come and go 

Ere a kaim gang in my hair. 




4 * There shall neither a shoe gang on my 

Nor a kaira gang in my hair, 
Nor eer a coal nor candle-light 
Shine in my bower nae mair.' 

5 She thought her love had been on the 

Fast sailling to Bee Horn ; 
But he was in a quiet chamer, 
Hearing his ladle's moan. 

6 ' Be husht, be husht, my ladie dear, 

I pray thee mourn not so; 
For I am deep sworn on a book 
To Bee Horn for to go.' 

7 She has gien him a chain of the beaten 


And a ring with a ruby stone: 
'As lang as this chain your body 
Your blude can never be drawn. 

8 ' But gin this ring shoud fade or fail. 

Or the stone shoud change its hue, 
Be sure your love is dead and gone, 
Or she has proved untrue.' 

9 He had no been at Bonny Bee Horn 

A twelve month and a day. 
Til], looking on his gay gowd ring, 
The stone grew dark and gray. 

10 ' O ye take my riches to Bee Hom, 

And deal them presentlie. 
To the young that canna, the auld that 
And the blind that does not see.' 

11 Now death has come into his bower. 

And split his heart in twain; 
So their twa souls flew up to heaven. 
And there shall ever remain. 



The versions are very nuraerons, — Profes- 
sor Child prints twenty-six, including frag-- 
nients, — but the story does not vary essentially. 
Only three are given here. One of these (K) 
is defective, but it is the oldest version, except 

perhaps P, which is greatly inferior. The tale 
has been localized in various places in Scotland. 
The name Lanikin is probably an ironical des- 
ignation for the bloody mason, the terror of 
countless nurseries. 

' Lamkin,' Jamieson's Popular Ballads, 1, 176 5 
communicated by Mrs Brown. 

1 It 's Lamkin was a mason good 

as ever built wi stane; 
He built Lord Wearie's castle, 
but payment got he nane. 

2 * O pay me. Lord Wearie, 

come, pay me my fee : ' 
*I canna pay you, Lamkin, 
for I maun gang oer the sea.' 

3 ' O pay me now. Lord Wearie, 

come, pay me out o hand : ' 

* I canna pay you, Lamkin, 

unless I sell my land.' 

4 * O gin ye winna pay me, 

I here sail mak a vow, 
Before that ye come hame again, 
ye sail hae cause to rue.' 

5 Lord Wearie got a bonny ship, 

to sail the saut sea faem; 
Bade his lady weel the castle keep, 
ay till he should come hame. 

6 But the nourice was a fause limmer 

as eer hung on a tree; 
She laid a plot wi Lamkin, 

whan her lord was oer the sea. 

7 She laid a plot wi Lamkin, 

when the servants were awa. 
Loot him in at a little shot-window, 
and brought him to the ha. 

8 * O whare 's a' the men o this house, 

that ca me Lamkin ? ' 

* They 're at the barn-well thrashing; 

't will be lang ere they come in.' 

9 * And whare 's the women o this house, 

that ca me Lamkin ? ' 
'They 're at the far well washing; 
't will be lang ere they come in.' 





' And whare 's the bairns this house, 

21 * scour the bason, nourice, 

that ca me Lamkin ? ' 

and mak it fair and clean. 

*They 're at the school reading; 

For to keep this lady's heart's blood, 

't will be night or they come hame.' 

for she 's ccme noble kin.' 


' whare 's the lady this house, 

22 ' There need nae bason, Lamkin, 

that ca's me Lamkin ? ' 

lat it run through the floor; 

* She 's up in her bower sewing, 

What better is the heart's blood 

but we soon can bring her down.' 

the rich than the poor ? ' 

12 Then Lamkin 's tane a sharp knife, 

23 But ere three months were at an end, 

that hang down by his gaire, 

Lord Wearie came again; 

And he has gien the bonny babe 

But dowie, dowie was his heart 

a deep wound and a sair. 

when first he came hame. 

13 Then Lamkin he rocked, 

24 ' wha's blood is this,' he says, 

and the fause nourice sang, 

' that lies in the chamer ? ' 

Till frae ilkae bore the cradle 

'It is your lady's heart's blood; 

the red blood out sprang. 

't is as clear as the lamer.' 

14 Then out it spak the lady, 

25 ' And wha's blood is this,' he says, 

as she stood on the stair: 

' that lies in my ha ? ' 

'What ails my bairn, nourice, 

'It is your young son's heart's blood; 

that he 's greeting sae sair ? 

'tis the clearest ava.' 


* still my bairn, nourice, 

26 sweetly sang the black-bird 

still him wi the pap ! ' 

that sat upon the tree; 

' He winna still, lady. 

But sairer grat Lamkin, 

for this nor for that.' 

when he was condemnd to die. 


' still my bairn, nourice, 

27 And bonny sang the mavis, 

still him Avi the wand ! ' 

out the thorny brake; 

' He winna still, lady. 

But sairer grat the nourice, 

for a' his father's land.' 

when she was tied to the stake. 


* still my bairn, nourice. 


still him wi the bell ! ' 

* He winna still, lady. 

' Lambert Linkin,' Motherwell's MS., p. 15 ; 

till ye come down yoursel.' 

from the recitation of Mrs Thomson, Kil- 
barchan, February 25, 1825. 


the firsten step she steppit. 

she steppit on a stane; 

1 Balankin was as gude a mason 

But the neisten step she steppit. 

as eer picked a stane; 

she met him Lamkin. 

He built up Prime Castle, 
but payment gat nane. 


* mercy, mercy, Lamkin, 

hae mercy upon me ! 

2 The lord said to his lady. 

Though you 've taen my young son's 

when he was going abroad, 


beware of Balankin, 

ye may let mysel be.' 

for he lyes in the wood. 


' sail I kill her, nourice, 

3 The gates fehey were bolted, 

or sail I lat her be ? ' 

baith outside and in; 

' kill her, kill her, Lamkin, 

At the sma peep of a window 

for she neer was good to me.' 

Balankin crap in. 





'Good morrow, good morrow,' 


' It 's how can I come down, 

said Lambert Liiikin : 

this cauld winter nicht. 

'Good morrow to yoursell, sir,' 

Without eer a coal, 

said the false nurse to him. 

or a clear candle-licht ? ' 


* where is your good lord ? 


' There 's two smocks in your cofiPerp 

said Lambert Liiikin: 

as white as a swan; 

*He 's awa to New England, 

Put one of them about you. 

to meet with his king.' 

it will shew you licht down.' 


' where is his auld son ? ' 

17 She took ane them about her, 

said Lambert Linkin: 

and came tripping doun; 

* He 's awa to buy pearlings, 

But as soon as she viewed, 

gin our lady lye in.' 

Balankin was in. 


* Then she '11 never wear them,' 


' Good morrow, good morrow,' 

said Lambert Linkin: 

said Lambert Linkin: 

*And that is nae pity,' 

'Good morrow to yoursell, sir' 

said the false nurse to him. 

said the lady to him. 


' where is your lady ? ' 


' save my life, Balankin, 

said Lambert Linkin: 

till my husband come back. 

*She 's in her bower sleeping,' 

And I '11 gie you as much red gold 

said the false nurse to him. 

as you '11 hold in your hat.' 


' How can we get at her ? ' 


' I '11 not save your life, lady. 

said Lambert Linkin: 

till your husband come back. 

* Stab the babe to the heart, 

Tho you would give me as much red 

wi a silver bokin.' 

as I could hold in a sack 


* That would be a pity,' 

said Lambert Linkin: 


' Will I kill her ? ' quo Balankin, 

*No pity, no pity,' 

' will I kill her, or let her be ? ' 

said the false nurse to him. 

' You may kill her,' said the false nurse- 
' she was neer good to me; 

11 Balankin he rocked, 

And ye '11 be laird of the castle, 

and the false nurse she sang. 

and I '11 be ladie.' 

Till all the tores of the cradle 

wi the red blood down ran. 

22 Then he cut afp her head 

fram her lily breast-bane, 


' still my babe, nurice, 

And he hung 't up in the kitchen, 

still him wi the knife 1 ' 

it made a' the ha shine. 

'He '11 no be still, lady, 

tho I lay doun my life.' 

23 The lord sat in England, 

a drinking the wine: 


' still my babe, nurice, 

* I wish a' may be weel 

still him wi the kame ! ' 

with my lady at hame; 

'He'll no be still, lady, 

For the rings of my fingers 

till his daddy come hame.* 

the 're now burst in twain 1 * 


' still my babe, nurice, 

24 He saddled his horse, 

still him withe bell!' 

and he came riding doun, 

' He '11 no be still, lady, 

But as soon as he viewed. 

till ye come doun yoursell.' 

Balankin was in. 




25 He had na weel stepped 

twa steps up the stair, 
Till he saw his pretty young son 
lying dead on the floor. 

26 He had not weel stepped 

other twa up the stair, 

Till he saw his pretty lady 

lying dead in despair. 

27 He hanged Balankin 

out over the gate, 
And he burnt the fause nurice, 
being under the grate. 

' Long Longkin,' Percy Papers, communi- 
cated to Percy by Rev. P. Parsons, of Wye, 
near Ashford, Kent, April 19, 1775. 

1 My lord said to my lady, 

when he went from home, 
Take care of Long Longkin, 
he lies in the lone. 

2 My lady said to my lord, 

when he went abroad. 

3 ' I care not for Longkin, 

nor none of his kin, 
For my gate 's fast barrd, 
and my windows shut in.' 

4 My lord was not gone 

many miles from the place, 
Untill the false Longkin 
came straight to the place. 

* Pinch the bairn, nourry, 

pinch it very sore, 
Untill the mother 

shall come down below.' 

* Still the bairn, nury, 

still it with the pap: ' 

* It wont be stilld, madam, 

with neither this nor that.' 

* Still the bairn, nury, 

still it with a bell: ' 
*It wont be stilld, madam, 
till you cum down yoursell.' 

8 ' Come down. Lady Betty, 

the flower of all your kin, 
And see your mother's heart's blood, 
so freely running. 

9 Down came Lady Betty, 

her heart full of woe: 

* Oh take my life, Longkin, 

and let my mother go.' 

10 ' Come down. Lady Nelly, 

the flower of all 3'our kin. 
And see your sister's heart's blood, 
so freely running.' 

11 Down came Lady Nelly, 

her heart full of woe: 

* Oh take my life, Longkin, 

and let my sister go.' 

12 * Come down. Lady Jenny, etc. 



* Young Waters ' was first printed in 1755 ; 
Percy's text(Reliqnes, 1765, 11, 172) agrees with 
this edition except in half a dozen trivial points. 
Motherwell says he had never met with any 
traditionary version of this ballad. Buchan, 
who may generally be relied upon to produce a 
longer ballad than anybody else, has ' Young 
Waters ' in thirty-nine stanzas, " the only com- 
plete version which he had ever met." Every- 
thing in this copy which is not in the edition 
of 1755 (itself a little worse for editing) is a 
counterfeit of the lowest description. 

It is possible, and Aytoun thinks highly 
probable, that this ballad may have been 
founded on some real event in Scottish history ; 
but Aytoun shoAvs a commendable discretion in 
his conclusion that, "though various conjec- 
tures have been hazarded as to its origin, none 
appear sufficiently plausible to warrant their 
adoption." A Scandinavian ballad (Grundtvig, 
No. 178), historical to the extent that one ver- 
sion has historical names, exhibits the principal 
incidents of the short story of ' Young Waters.' 

Y'oung Waters, an Ancient Scottish Poem, 
never before printed. Glasgow, Printed and 
sold by Robert and Andrew Foulia, 1755. 
Small 4°, 8 pages. 




1 About Yule, when the wind blew cule, 

And the round tables began, 
A there is cum to our king's court 
Mony a well-favord man. 

2 The queen luikt owre the castle-wa, 

Beheld baith dale and down. 
And there she saw Young Waters 
Cum riding to the town. 

3 His footmen they did rin before, 

His horsemen rade behind; 

And mantel of the burning gowd 

Did keip him frae the wind. 

4 Gowden-graithd his horse before. 

And siller-shod behind; 
The horse Young Waters rade upon 
AVas fleeter than the wind. 

5 Out then spack a wylie lord, 

Unto the queen said he, 

* O tell me wha 's the fairest face 

Rides in the company ? ' 

6 * I 've sene lord, and I 've sene laird, 

And knights of high degree, 
Bot a fairer face than Young Waters 
Mine eyne did never see.' 

7 Out then spack the jealous king, 

And an angry man was he: 

* O if he had bin twice as fair, 

You micht have excepted me.' 

8 * You 're neither lair«i nor lord,' she 

* Bot the king that wears the crown ; 
Til ere is not a knight in fair Scotland 
But to thee maun bow down.' 

9 For a' that she coud do or say, 
Appeasd he wad nae bee, 
Bot for the words which she had said, 
Young Waters he maun die. 

10 They hae taen Young Waters, 

And put fetters to his feet; 
They hae taen Young Waters, 

And thrown him in dungeon deep. 

11 * Aft I have ridden thro Stirling town 

In the wind bot and the weit; 
Bot I neir rade thro Stirling town 
Wi fetters at my feet. 

12 ' Aft I have ridden thro Stirling town 

In the wind bot and the rain; 
Bot I neir rade thro Stirling town 
Neir to return again.' 

13 They hae taen to the heiding-hill 

His young son in his craddle, 
And they hae taen to the heiding-hill 
His horse bot and his saddle. 

14 They hae taen to the heiding-hill 

His lady fair to see. 
And for the words the queen had spoke 
Young Waters he did die. 



All the English versions are defective and 
distorted. In many others, both from north- 
ern and southern Europe, a yoimg woman has 
fallen into the hands of corsairs; father, mo- 
ther, brother, sister, refuse to pay ransom, but 
her lover, in one case husband, stickles at no 
price which may be necessary to retrieve her. 
The best ballad of the cycle is the Sicilian ' Sci- 
bilia Nobili' (Salomone-Marino, Leggende pop. 
siciliane in Poesia, No. 29). There are very 
numerous vei'sions in Finnish and Esthonian, 
and numerous variations on the theme occur in 
Russia and elsewhere. 

Percy Papers, communicated to Percy, April 
7, 1770, by the Rev. P. Parsons, of Wye, from 
oral tradition. 

1 ' GOOD Lord Judge, and sweet Lord 

Peace for a little while ! 
Methinks I see my own father, 
Come riding by the stile. 

2 ' Oh father, oh father, a little of your 

And likewise of your fee ! 
To keep my body from yonder grave. 
And my neck from the gallows-tree.' 

3 * None of my gold now you shall have, 

Nor likewise of ray fee; 




For I am come to see you hangd, 
And hauged you shall be.' 

4 ' Ob good Lord Judge, and sweet Lord 
Peace for a little while ! 
Methinks I see my own mother, 
Come riding by the stile. 

3 ' Oh mother, oh mother, a little of your 
And likewise of your fee, 
To keep my body from yonder grave, 
And my neck from the gallows-tree ! ' 

8 'None of my gold now shall you 
Nor likewise of my fee; 
For I am come to see you hangd, 
And hanged you shall be.' 

7 ' Oh good Lord Judge, and sweet Lord 

Peace for a little while ! 
Methinks I see my own brother, 
Come riding by the stile. 

8 ^ Oh brother, oh brother, a little of your 


And likewise of your fee. 
To keep my body from yonder grave. 

And my neck from the gallows- 
tree ! ' 

9 ' None of ray gold now shall you have. 

Nor likewise of my fee; 
For I am come to see you hangd, 
And hanged you shall be.' 

1^ ' Oh good Lord Judge, and sweet Lord 
Peace for a little while ! 
Methinks I see my own sister. 
Come riding by the stile. 

11 'Oh sister, oh sister, a little of your 

And likewise of your fee. 
To keep my body from yonder grave, 
And my neck from the gallows-tree ! ' 

12 ' None of my gold now shall you have, 

Nor likewise of my fee; 
For I am come to see you hangd. 
And hanged you sliall be.' 

13 ' Oh good Lord Judge, and sweet Lord 

Peace for a little while ! 
Methinks I see my own true-love, 
Come riding by the stile. 

14 ' Oh true-love, oh true-love, a little of 

your gold, 
And likewise of your fee. 
To save my body from yonder grave. 
And my neck from the gallows-tree.' 

15 ' Some of my gold now you shall have, 

And likewise of my fee. 
For I am come to see you saved. 
And saved you shall be.' 

Scotch Ballads, Materials for Border ^lin- 
strelsy. No, 127, Abbotsford. Sent to John 
Leyden, by whom and when does not appear^ 

1 ' Hold your hand. Lord Judge,' she 

'Yet hold it a little while; 
Methinks I see my ain dear father 
Coming wandering many a mile. 

2 'O have you brought me gold, father ? 

Or have you brought me fee ? 
Or are you come to save my life 
From off this gallows-tree ? ' 

3 ' 1 have not brought you gold, daughter, 

Nor have I brought you fee. 
But I am come to see you hangd. 
As you this day shall be.' 

[' ' The verses run thus untill she has seen 
her mother, her brother, and her sister like- 
wise arrive, and then 

Methinks I see my ain dear lover, etc."] 

4 * I have not brought you gold, true-love, 

Nor yet have I brought fee. 

But I am come to save thy life 

From off this gallows-tree.' 

5 ' Gae hame, gae hame, father,' she says, 

' Gae hame and saw yer seed; 
And I wish not a pickle of it may grow 
But the thistle and the weed. 




6 ' Gae hame, gae hame, gae hame, mother, 

Gae hame and brew yer yill ; 
And I wish the girds may a' loup off, 
And the Deil spill a' yer yill. 

7 ' Gae hame, gae hame, gae hame, brother, 

Gae hame and lie with yer wife; 
And I wish that the first news I may hear 
That she has tane your life. 

8 ' Gae hame, gae hame, sister,' she says, 

' Gae hame and sew yer seam ; 
I wish that the needle-point may break. 
And the craws pyke out yer eon.' 



' The Gay Goshawk ' first appeared in print 
in the second volume of Scott's Minstrelsy, in 
1802. Scott's copy was formed partly from 
Mrs Brown's version (A) and partly from E*. 

A ballad widely known in France lias the 
central idea of ' The Gay Goshawk,' but in the 
development of the story there is no likeness. 
In a version of this ballad, ' Belle Isambourg, 
printed as early as 1(307, the king wishes to 
e-ive Fair Isambourg a husband, but her heart 
is fixed on a handsome knig-ht, whom she loves 
more than all her kin tog-ether, though he is 
poor. The king shuts her up in a dark tower, 
thinking that this treatment will bring about a 
change, but it does not. Isambourg sees her 
lover" riding towards or by the tower at full 
speed. She calls to him to stop, and says : 

Mai ad e et morte m'y feray, 
Porter en terre m'y lairray, 
Pourtant morte je ne seray. 

Puis apres je vous prie amy, 
Qu'k ma cbapelle a Sainct-Denis 
Ne m'y laissez pas enfouir. 

Isambourg is now proclaimed to be dead, and 
is carried to burial by three princes and a 
knight. Her lover, hearing the knelling and 
chanting, puts himself in the way and bids the 
bearers stop. Since she has died for lovnig 
him too well, he wishes to say a De Profundis. 
He rips open a little of the shroud, and she 
darts a loving smile at him. Everybody is as- 
tonished. ^^^ ^^^ 

In 'Willie's Lyke-Wake ' (No. 2o) a man 
feigns death in order to capture a coy maid, or 
a maid refused him by her parents. 

' The Gay Goss Hawk,' Jamieson-Brown MS., 
No. 6, p. 15. 

1 < O WELL 's me o my gay goss-hawk, 

That he can speak and tlee ; 

He '11 carry a letter to my love, 

Bring back another to me.' 

2 * O how can I your true-love ken, 

Or how can I her know ? 
Whan frae her mouth I never heard 
Nor wi my eyes her saw.' 

3 * O well sal ye my true-love ken, 

As soon as you her see ; 
For, of a' the flowrs in fair Englau, 
The fairest flowr is she. 

4 « At even at my love's bowr-door 

There grows a bowing birk, 
An sit ye down and sing thereon. 
As she gangs to the kirk. 

5 ' An four-and-twenty ladies fair 

Will wash and go to kirk, 
But well shall ye my true-love ken. 
For she wears gond on her skirt. 

6 * An fonr and twenty gay ladies 

Will to the mass repair. 
But well sal ye my true-love ken, ^ 
For she wears goud on her hair.* 

7 even at that lady's bowr-door 

There grows a bowin birk, 
An he set down and sang thereon, 
As she ged to the kirk. 

8 ' O eet and drink, my marys a', 

The wine flows you among. 
Till I gang to my shot-window, 
An hear yon bonny bird's song. 

9 ' Sing on, sing on, my bonny bird. 

The song ye sang the streen, 
For I ken by your sweet singin 
You 're frae my true-love sen.' 

10 O first he sang a merry song, 
An then he sang a grave. 
An then he peckd his feathers gray. 
To her the letter gave. 




11 ' Ha, there 's a letter frae your love, 

He says he sent you three; 

He canna wait your love langer, 

But for your sake he '11 die. 

12 ' He bids you write a letter to him; 

He says he 's sent you five; 
He canno wait your love langer, 

Tho you 're the fairest woman alive.' 

13 ' Ye bid him bake his bridal-bread, 

And brew his bridal-ale. 
An I '11 meet him in fair Scotlan 
Lang, lang or it be stale.' 

14 She 's doen her to her father dear, 

Fa'n low down on her knee: 
* A boon, a boon, my fatlier dear, 
I pray you, grant it me.' 

15 * Ask on, ask on, my daughter, 

An granted it sal be; 
Except ae squire in fair Scotlan, 
An him you sail never see.' 

16 * The only boon, my father dear. 

That I do crave of the. 

Is, gin I die in southin lands. 

In Scotland to bury me. 

17 * An the firstin kirk that ye come till. 

Ye gar the bells be rung, 
An the nextin kirk that ye come till. 
Ye gar the mess be sung. 

18 ' An the thirdin kirk that ye come till, 

You deal gold for my sake. 
An the fourthin kirk that ye come till. 
You tarry there till night.' 

19 She is doen her to her bigly bowr, 

As fast as she coud fare, 
An she has tane a sleepy draught. 
That she had mixed wi care. 

20 She 's laid her down upon her bed. 

An soon she 's fa'n asleep. 
And soon oer every tender limb 
Cauld death began to creep. 

21 Whan night was flown, an day w^s 

Nae ane that did her see 
But thought she was as surely dead 
As ony lady coud be. 

22 Her father an her brothers dear 

Gard make to her a bier; 
The tae half was o guide red gold, 
The tither o silver clear. 

23 Her mither an her sisters fair 

Gard work for her a sark ; 
The tae half was o cambrick fine. 
The tither o needle wark. 

24 The firstin kirk that they came till. 

They gard the bells be rung. 
An the nextin kirk that they came till, 
They gard the mess be sung. 

25 The thirdin kirk that they came till, 

Tiiey dealt gold for her sake, 
An the fourthin kirk that they came till, 
Lo, there they met her make ! 

26 ' Lay down, lay down the bigly bier, 

Lat me the dead look on ; ' 

Wi cherry cheeks and ruby lips 

She lay an smil'd on him. 

27 ' O ae sheave o your bread, true-love, 

An ae glass o your wine, 

For I hae fasted for your sake 

These fully days is nine. 

28 * Gang hame, gang hame, my sever 

bold brothers, 
Gang hame and sound your horn; 
An ye may boast in southin lans 
Your sister 's playd you scorn.' 


Scotch Ballads, Materials for Border Min- 
strelsy, No. 146 a, Abbotsford. 

1 ' O WALY, waly, my gay goss-hawk. 

Gin your feathering be sheen ! ' 
' O waly, waly, my master dear. 
Gin ye look pale and lean ! 

2 * Whether is it for the gold sae rid. 

Or is it for the silver clear ? 
Or is it for the lass in southen land, 
That she cannot win here.' 

3 ' It is not for the gold sae rid. 

Nor is it for the silver clear, 
But it is for the lass in southen land^ 
That she cannot win her[e].' 




4 'Sit down, sit down, my master dear, 
Write a love-letter hastily. 
And put it in under my feathern gray 
And I '11 away to southeu land as fa 

as I can flee 


' But how shall I your true-love ken ? 

Or how shall I her know ? 
I bear the tongue never wi her spake, 

The eye that never her saw.' 

' The red that is in my love's cheek 
Is like blood spilt amang the snaw; 

The white that is on her breast-bone 
Is like the down on the white sea- 

7 * There 's one that stands at my love's 

And opens the silver pin. 
And there ye may safely set ye on 
And sing a lovely song. 

8 * First ye may sing it lond, loud, loud, 

And then ye may sing it clear, 
And ay the oerword of the tune 
Is, Your love cannot win here.' 

9 He has written a love-letter, 

Put it under his feathern gray, 
And he 's awa to southen land, 
As fast as ever he may. 

10 When he came to the lady's gate, 

There he lighted down, 
And there he sat him on the pin 
And sang a lovely song. 

11 First he sang it loud, loud, loud, 

And then he sang it clear. 
And ay the oerword of the tune 
Was, Your love cannot win here. 

12 ' Hold your tongues, my merry maids all, 

And hold them a little while ; 
I hear some word from my true-love. 
That lives in Scotland's isle.' 

13 Up she rose, to the door she goes. 

To hear what the bird Avoud say, 
And he 's let the love-letter fall 
From under his feathern gray. 

14 When she looked the letter on. 

The tear blinded her eye, 

And when she read it oer and oer 
A loud laughter took she. 

15 * Go hame, go hame, my bonny bird. 

And to your master tell. 
If I be nae wi him at Martinmasg, 
I shall be wi him at Yule.* 

16 The lady 's to her chamber gane, 

And a sick woman grew she; 
The lady 's taen a sudden brash, 
And nathing she '11 do but die. 

17 'An asking, an asking, my father dear, 

An asking grant to me ! 
If that I die in southen land. 
In Scotland bury me.' 

18 'Ask on, ask on, my daughter dear. 

That asking is granted thee; 
If that you die in southen land. 
In Scotland I '11 bury thee.' 

19 ' Gar call to me my seven bretheren, 

To hew to me my bier, 
The one half of the beaten gold. 
The other of the silver clear. 

20 ' Go call to me ray seven sisters. 

To sew to me my caul; 
Every needle-steik that they put in 
Put by a silver bell.' 

21 The first Scots kirk that they came to. 

They heard the mavis vlug; 
The next Scots kirk thac tliey came to, 
They heard the dead-bell ring. 

22 The next Scots kirk that they came to. 

They were playing at the foot-ball. 
And her true-love was them among, 
The chieftiar amangst them all. 

23 ' Set down, set down these corps,' said he, 

'Let me look them upon;' 
As soon as he lookd the lady on. 
The blood sprang in her chin. 

24 'One bite of your bread, my love. 

And one glass of your wine ! 
For I have fasted these five long days. 
All for your sake and mine. 

25 * Go hame, go hame, my seven brothers, 

Go hame and blaw your horn, 

97] BROWN 

ROBIN 205 

Aud ye may tell thro southen land 

She 's stown the keys her father's yates 

How 1 playd you the scoru.' 

An latten her true-love in. 

20 ' Woe to you, my sister dear, 

8 Whan night was gane, an day was come, 

And ane ill death may you die ! 

An the sun shone on their feet. 

For we left father and mother at hame 

Then out it spake him Brown Robin, 

Breaking their heart for thee.' 

I '11 be discoverd yet. 


9 Then out it spake that gay lady: 

My love, ye need na doubt; 

For wi ae wile I 've got you in, 
Wi anither I '11 bring you out. 


The story undoubtedly stops at the right 
point in A, with the escape of the two lovers 
to the wood. 



She 's taen her to her father's cellar. 

As fast as she can fare; 
She 's drawn a cup the gude red 

' Brown Robin.' a. Jamieson-Brown MS., 

Hung 't low down by her gare; 

p. 37. b. Abbotsford MS., Scottish Songs. 

An she met wi her father dear 
Just coming down the stair. 

1 The king but an his nobles a' ) , ^. 
Sat birliug at the wine; ^ '^ 


' I woud na gi that cup, daughter, 

He would ha nane but his ae daughter 

That ye hold i your ban 

To wait on them at dine. 

For a' the wines in my cellar, 
An gantrees whare the stan.' 

2 She 's servd them butt, she 's servd them 



* wae be to your wine, father. 

Intill a gown of green, 

That ever 't came oer the sea; 

But her ee was ay on Brown Robin, 

'T 'is pitten my head in sick a steer 

That stood low under the rain. 

I my bowr I canna be.' 

3 She 's doen her to her bigly bowr, 


' Gang out, gang out, my daughter dear^ 

As fast as she coud gang, 

Gang out an tack the air; 

An there she 's drawn her shot-window, 

Gang out an walk i the good green wood. 

An she 's harped an she sang. 

An a' your marys fair.' 

4 * There sits a bird i my father's garden, 


Then out it spake the proud porter — 

An bnt she sings sweet ! 

Our lady wishd him shame — 

I hope to live an see the day 

< We '11 send the marys to the w ood. 

Whan wi my love I '11 meet.' 

But we '11 keep our lady at hame.* 

5 * gin that ye like me as well 


' There 's thirty marys i my bowr, 

As your tongue tells to me, 


There 's thirty them an three; 

What hour o the night, my lady bright. 

But there 's nae ane amo them a' 

At your bowr sal I be ? ' 

Kens what flowr gains for me.' 

6 * Whan my father an gay Gilbert 

16 She 's doen her to her bigly bowr, 

Are baith set at the wine, 

As fast as she could gang, 

ready, ready I will be 

An she has dresst him Brown Robir 

To lat my true-love in.' 

Like ony bowr-woman. 

7 she has birld her father's porter 

17 The gown she pat upon her love 

AVi strong beer an wi wine. 

Was the dainty green. 

Untill he was as beastly drunk 

His hose was the saft, saft silk, 

As ony wild-wood swine: 

His shoon the cordwain fine. 




18 She 's pitten his bow in her bosom, 

Plis arrow in her sleeve, 
His sturdy bran her body next, 
Because he was her love. 

19 Then she is unto her bowr-door, 

As fast as she coud gang^; 
But out it spake the proud porter — 

Our lady wislid him shame — 
♦ We '11 count our marys to the wood, 

An we '11 count them back again.' 

20 The firsten mary she sent out 

Was Brown Robin by name; 
Then out it spake the king himsel, 
' This is a sturdy dame.' 

21 O she went out in a May morning. 

In a May morning so gay. 
But she came never back again, 
Her auld father to see. 

* Love Robbie,' Christie's Traditional Ballad 
Airs, I, l.'>(), from the recitation of an old wo- 
man in Buckie, Euzie, Banffshire. 

1 * A FEATHERD fowl 's in your orchard, 

O dear, but it sings sweet ! 
What would I give, my father dear. 
That bonnie bird to meet ! ' 
What would I give, etc. 

2 * O hold your tongue, my daughter 


Let a' your foil}' be; 
There 's six Scots lords tomorrow, child, 

That will a' dine wi me, 
And ye maun serve them a', Mary, 

As 't were for meat and fee.' 

3 She served them up, sae has she down, 

The footmen a' the same, 
But her mind was aye on Love Rob- 
Stood out below the rain. 

4 A hundred pun o pennies roun. 

Tied in a towel so sma. 
She has gien to him Love Robbie, 

Out oer the castle- wa; 
Says, Tak ye that, my love Robbie. 

And mysel ye may hae. 

5 A hundred pun o pennies roun. 

Tied in a napkin white, 
She has gien to him Love Robbie, 

Out oer the garden-dyke; 
Says, Tak ye that, my Love Robbie, 

And mysel gin ye like. 

6 * If this be true ye tell to me. 

As your tongue woudna lee, 
I shall be in your bigly bower 

Before the clock strike three; 
I shall be in your bigly bower, 

Dressd like a gay ladye.' 

7 When bells were rung, and mass was 

And all men bound for bed. 
Love Robbie came to Mary's bower, 
Dressd like a comely maid. 

8 They had not kissd nor love clapped. 

As lovers when they meet, 
Till sighing said he Love Robbie, 
My life, my life I doubt. 

9 ' Your life, your life, you Love Robbie, 

Your life you needna doubt; 
For it was wiles brought in Robbie, 
And wiles will lat him out.' 

10 Then in it came her father dear. 

And stood upon the floor. 
And she filld the cup of good red wine, 
Said, Father, will ye drink more ? 

11 * O better I love the cup, Mary, 

The cup that 's in your hand, 
Than all my barrels full of wine, 
On the gantrees where they stand.' 

12 * O woe be to your wine, father, 

It eer came oer the sea ! 
If I getna the air o good greenwood 
O I will surely dee.' 

13 ' There 's seven maries in your bower, 

There 's seven o them and three. 
And I '11 send them to good green- 
For flowers to shortsome thee.' 

14 ' There 's seven maries in my bower, 

There 's seven o them and three. 

But there 's nae a mary mang them a' 

Can pu flowers to shortsome me: ' 




* Then by my sooth,' said her father 


* Let yoursel gang them wi.' 

15 She dressd hersel in tlie royal red, 

Love Robbie was in dainty green; 
Love Robbie's brand was abont his mid- 
And he shone like ony queen. 

16 The firsten ane that took the floor, 

Love Robbie was that ane: 

* Now by my sooth,' said the proud por- 


* She is a sonsie dame ; 

I would not care now very much 
To turn her in again.' 

17 ' I 'd fain see any woman or man, 

Of high or low degree. 
Would turn a mary in again 
That once came out with me.' 

18 They had not been in good greenwood, 

Pu'd a flower but only three, 
Till the porter stood behind a bush, 
And shot him Love Robbie. 

19 Now word has come to her father 

In the chamber where he lay. 
Lady Mary 's sick in good greenwood. 
And cannot come away. 

20 He 's taen his mantle him about. 

His cane into his han. 
And he is on to good greenwood. 
As fast as he could gang. 

21 ' O want you fish out o the fleed. 

Or whale out o the sea ? 
Or is there any one alive 
This day has angerd thee ? ' 

22 ' I want not fish out o the fleed. 

Nor whale out o the sea; 
But woe be to your proud porter, 

Sae sair 's he 's angerd me ! 
He 's shot the fairest flower this day. 

That would hae comfort me.' 

23 * O hold your tongue, my daughter Mary, 

Let a' your folly be; 
Tomorrow ere I eat or drink 
High hanged shall he be.' 



' Brown Adam ' was No. 14 of the fifteen bal- 
lads furnished William Tytler by Mrs Brown 
in 1783. A Danish ballad (Grundtvig-, No. 11)9) 
has a remote likeness to ' Brown Adam.' 

Brown Adam,' Jamiesou-Brov/n MS., p. 


1 O WHA woud wish the win to blaw. 

Or the green leaves fa therewith ? 
Or wha wad wish a leeler love 
Than Brown Adam the Smith ? 

2 His hammer 's o the beaten gold, 

His study 's o the steel. 
His fingers white are my delite, 
He blows his bellows well. 

3 But they ha banishd him Brown Adam 

Frae father and frae mither. 
An they ha banishd him Brown Adam 
Frae sister and frae brither. 

4 And they ha banishd Brown Adam 

Frae the flowr o a' his kin; 
An he 's biggit a bowr i the good green 
Betwen his lady an him. 

5 it fell once upon a day 

Brown Adam he thought lang, 
An he woud to the green wood gang, 
To hunt some venison. 

6 He 's ta'en his bow his arm oer. 

His bran intill his han, 
And he is to the good green wood, 
As fast as he coud gang. 

7 O he 's shot up, an he 's shot down. 

The bird upo the briar, 
An he 's sent it hame to his lady. 
Bade her be of good cheer. 

8 O he 's shot up, an he 's shot down. 

The bird upo the thorn, 
And sent it hame to his lady. 
And hee 'd be hame the moril. 




9 Whan he came till his lady's bowr-door 
He stood a little foreby, 
And there he heard a fn fa'se knight 
Teniptiu his gay lady. 

10 he 's taen out a gay gold ring, 

Had cost him mony a poun; 
< O grant me love for love, lady, 
Au this sal be your own.' 

11 <I loo Brown Adam well,' she says, 

* I wot sae does he me; 
An I woud na gi Brown Adam's love 
For uae fa'se knight I see.' 

12 Out has he ta'en a purse of gold, 

Was a' fu to the string: 
' Grant me but love for love, lady. 
An a' this sal be thine.' 

13 ' I loo Brown Adam well,' she says, 

' An I ken sae does he me ; 
An I woudna be your light leman 
For mair nor ye coud gie.' 

14 Then out has he drawn his lang, lang 

And he 's flashd it in her een: 
* Now grant me love for love, lady, 
Or thro you this sal gang ! ' 

15 * O,' sighing said that gay lady, 

' Brown Adam tarrys lang ! ' 
Then up it starts Brown Adam, 
Says, I 'm just at your han. 

16 He 's gard him leave his bow, his bow. 

He 's gard him leave his bran; 
He 's gard him leave a better pledge, 
Four fingers o his right han. 


' Broun Edom,' Harris MS., f ol. 27 b, No. 

For wha ere had a lealer luve 
Than Broun Edom the smith ? 

2 His studie was o the beaten gowd, 
His hammer o the pith; 
His eords wanr o the gude green silk. 
That blew his bellows with. 

3 It fell out ance upon a time 

Broun Edom he thoucht lang. 
That he wald gae to see his luve, 
By the le licht o the mune. 



A was No. 2 of the fifteen ballads in William 
Tytler's lost Brown MS. The story of ' Willie 
o Winsbury ' (No. 100) has considerable re- 
semblance, to that of ' Johnie Scot.' There is 
also some resemblance to ' Child Maurice ' (No. 

' Jack, the Little Scot,' Jamieson-Brown MS., 
p. 5. 

1 O JOHNEY was as brave a knight 

As ever saild the sea, 
An he 's done him to the English court, 
To serve for meat and fee. 

2 He had nae been in fair England 

But yet a little while, 
Untill the kingis ae daughter 
To Johney proves wi chil. 

3 O word 's come to the king himsel, 

In his chair where he sat, 
That his ae daughter was wi bairn 
To Jack, the Little Scott. 

4 ' Gin this be true that I do hear, 

As I trust well it be, 
Ye pit her into prison strong. 
An starve her till she die.' 

5 O Johney 's on to fair Scotland, 

A wot he went wi speed. 
An he has left the kingis court, 
A wot good was his need. 

6 O it fell once upon a day 

That Johney he thought lang, 
An he 's gane to the good green wood. 
As fast as he coud gang. 

7 ' O whare will I get a bonny boy, 

To rin my errand soon, 
That will rin into fair England, 
An haste him back again ? ' 




8 np it starts a bonny boy, 
Gold yallow was his hair, 
I wish his mither meiekle joy. 
His bonny love mieckle mair. 

19 * I will gae back to fair Englan, 
Tho death shoud me betide. 
An I will relieve the damesel 
That lay last by my side.' 

9 ' here am I, a bonny boy. 
Will rin your errand soon;' 
I will gang into fair England, 

20 Then out it spake his father dear, 
My son, you are to blame; 
An gin you 'r catchd on English groun, 

An come right soon again.' 

I fear you '11 neer win hame. 

10 whan he came to broken briggs, 

He bent his bow and swam; 
An whan he came to the green grass 
He slaikid his shoone an ran. 

11 Whan he came to yon high castel, 

He ran it roun about, 
An there he saw the king's daughter, 
At the window looking out. 

21 Then out it spake a valiant knight, 

Johny's best friend was he; 
I can commaun five bunder men, 
An I '11 his surety be. 

22 The firstin town that they came till. 

They gard the bells be rung; 
An the nextin town that they came 
They gard the mess be sung. 

12 ' here 's a sark silk, lady, 

Your ain ban sewd the sleeve; 
You 'r bidden come to fair Scotlan, 
Speer nane your parents leave. 

23 The third in town that they came till. 
They gard the drums beat roun; 
The king but an his nobles a' 
Was startld at the soun. 

13 ' Ha, take this sark silk, lady. 
Your ain ban sewd the gare; 
You 're bidden come to good green wood, 
Love Johney waits you there.' 

24 Whan they came to the king's palace 
They rade it roun about, 
An there they saw the king himsel, 
At the window looking out. 

14 She 's turnd her right and roun about, 
The tear was in her ee: 
* How can I come to my true-love, 
Except I had wings to flee ? 

25 ' Is this the Duke Albany, 

Or James, the Scottish king ? 
Or are ye some great foreign lord. 
That 's come a visiting ? ' 

15 ' Here am I kept wi bars and bolts. 
Most grievous to behold; 
My breast-plate 's the sturdy steel. 
Instead of the beaten gold. 

26 ' I 'm nae the Duke of Albany, 
Nor James, the Scottish king; 
But I 'm a valiant Scottish knight, 
Pitnachton is my name.' 

16 ' But tak this purse, my bonny boy, 
Ye well deserve a fee. 
An bear this letter to my love, 
An tell him what you see.' 

27 ' if Pitnachton be your name, 
As I trust well it be. 
The morn, or I tast meat or drink, 
You shall be hanged hi.' 

17 Then quickly ran the bonny boy 
Again to Scotlan fair. 
An soon he reachd Pitnachton's towrs, 
An soon found Johney there. 

28 Then out it spake the valiant knight 
That came brave Johney wi; 
Behold five bunder bowmen bold, 
AVill die to set him free. 

18 He pat the letter in his ban 
An taul him what he sa, 
But eer he half the letter read. 
He loote the tears doun fa. 

29 Then out it spake the king again, 
An a scornfu laugh laugh he; 
I have an Italian i my house 
Will fight you three by three. 




30 * O grant me a boon,' brave Joliuey cried; 

* Bring your Italian here; 
Then if he fall beneath my sword, 

I 've won your daughter dear.' 

31 Then out it came that Italian, 

An a gurious ghost was he; 
Upo the point o Johney's sword 
This Italian did die. 

32 Out has he drawn his lang, lang bran, 

Struck it across the plain: 
' Is there any more o your English dogs 
That you want to be slain ? ' 

33 * A dark, a dark,' the king then cried, 

* To write her tocher free; ' 

* A priest, a priest,' says Love Johney, 

* To marry my love and me. 

34 ' I 'm seeking nane o your gold,' he says, 

* Nor of your silver clear; 

I only seek your daughter fair, 
Whose love has cost her dear.' 


The story of this ballad is similar to that of 
'Johnie Scot ' (No. 99), but Willie's extreme 
beauty moves the king to offer his daughter to 
him in marriage, without a combat. 

'Willie o Winsbury,' Campbell MSS., u, 38. 

1 The king he hath been a prisoner, 

A prisoner lang in Spain, O 
And Willie o the Winsbury 

Has lain lang wi his daughter at 
hame. O 

2 ' What aileth thee, my daughter Janet, 

Ye look so pale and wan ? 
Have ye had any sore sickness, 

Or have ye been lying wi a man ? 
Or is it for me, your father dear, 

And biding sae lang in Spain ? ' 

3 * I have not had any sore sickness, 

Nor yet been lying wi a man; 
But it is for you, my father dear, 
In biding sae lang in Spain.' 

4 * Cast ye off your berry -brown gown, 

Stand straight upon the stone, 
That I may ken ye by yere shape. 
Whether ye be a maiden or none.' 

5 She 's coosten off her berry -brown gown, 

Stooden straight upo yon stone; 
Her apron was short, and her haunches 
were round. 
Her face it was pale and wan. 

6 * Is it to a man o might, Janet ? 

Or is it to a man of fame ? 
Or is it to any of the rank robbers 
That 's lately come out o Spain ? ' 

7 'It is not to a man of might,' she 


* Nor is it to a man of fame; 
But it is to William of Winsburry: 

I could lye nae ianger my lane.' 

8 The king 's called on his merry men 

all, ^ 
By thirty and by three: 
* Go fetch me William of Winsburry, 
For hanged he shall be.' 

9 But when he cam the king before. 

He was clad o the red silk; 
His hair was like to threeds o gold, 
And his skin was as white as milk. 

10 ' It is nae wonder,' said the king, 

* That my daughter's love ye did 

Had I been a woman, as I am a man, 
My bedfellow ye should hae been. 

11 ' Will ye marry my daughter Janet, 

By the truth of thy right hand ? 
I'll gie ye gold, I '11 gie ye money, 
And I '11 gie ye an earldom o land.' 

12 ' Yes, I '11 marry yere daughter Janet, 

By the truth of my right hand; 
Bui I '11 hae nane o yer gold, I '11 hae 
nane o yer money. 
Nor I winna hae an earldom o land. 

13 * For I hae eighteen enrn-mills, 

Runs all in water clear, 
And there 's as much corn in eacb o 
As they can grind in a year.' 




Percy Papers, communicated to Percy by 
the Rev. P. Parsons, of Wye, apparently in 
1775. " This I had from the spianing-wheel." 

1 There was a lady fine and gay, 

She was so neat and trim ; 
She went unto her own garden-wall, 
To see her own ships come in. 

2 And there she spied her daughter 


Who lookd so pale and wan: 
* What, have you had some long sick- 

Or lain with some young man ? ' 

3 ' No, I have had no long sickness, 

Nor lain with no young man: ' 

Her petticoats they were so short, 

She was full nine months gone. 

4 * Oh is it by some nobleman ? 

Or by some man of fame ? 
Or is it by Johnny Barbary, 

That 's lately come from Spain ? * 

5 * No, it is by no nobleman. 

Nor by no man of fame; 
But it is by Johnny Barbary, 
That 's lately come from Spain.* 

6 Then she calld down her merry men, 

By one, by two, by three; 
Johnny Barbary used to be the first, 
But now the last came he. 

7 * Oh will you take my daughter Jane, 

And wed her out of hand ? 
And you shall dine and sup with me. 
And be heir of my land.' 

8 *Yes, I will take your daughter Jane, 

And wed her out of hand ; 
And I will dine and sup with you. 
But I do not want your land.' 

9 Then she calld down her merry men. 

With a shrill and a pleasant voice: 
'Come, let us all now mery be, 

Since she has made such a happy 


A was among' the fifteen ballads furnished 
by Mrs Brown to William Tytler in 1783. 
The first part of the story of this ballad, or 
down to the birth of the boy, is repeated in 
No. 102. This portion of the ballad also has 
resemblances to ' Leesorae Brand ' (No. 15). 

* Wilb 
MS., p. ■ 

o Douglass-dale,' Jamieson-Brown 

1 O Willy was as brave a lord 

As ever saild the sea, 
And he has gane to the English court, 
To serve for meat and fee. 

2 He had nae been at the kingis court 

A twelvemonth and a day, 
Till he longd for a sight o the king's 
But ane he coud never see. 

3 O it fell anee upon a day 

To the green wood she has gane, 
An W^illy he has followd her. 
With the clear light o the moon. 

4 He looted him low, by her did go, 

AYi his hat intill his hand: 
* O what 's your will wi me. Sir Knight ? 
I pray keep your hat on.' 

5*01 am not a knight, Madam, 
Nor never thinks to be; 
For I am Willy o Douglassdale, 
An I serve for meat and fee.' 

6 * O I '11 gang to my bowr,' she says, 

' An sigh baith even an morn 
That ever I saw your face, Willy, 
Or that ever ye was born. 

7 * O I '11 gang to my bowr,' she says, 

* An I '11 pray baith night an day. 
To keep me frae your tempting looks, 
An frae your great beauty.' 

8 O in a little after that 

He keepit Dame Oliphant's bowr, 




An the love that passd between this twa, 
It was like paramour. 

9 ' O narrow, narrow 's my gown, Willy, 

That wont to be sae wide; 
An short, short is my coats, Willy, 

That wont to be sae side; 
An gane is a' my fair colour, 

An low laid is my pride. 

10 ' But an my father get word of this, 

He '11 never drink again; 
An gin my mother get word of this, 

In her ain bowr she '11 go brain ; 
An gin my bold brothers get word o 

I fear, Willy, you'll be slain.' 

11 ' will you leave your father's court, 

An go along wi me ? 
I '11 carry you unto fair Scotland, 
And mak you a lady free.' 

12 She pat her han in her pocket 

An gae him five hunder poun: 
* An take you that now, Squire Willy, 
Till awa that we do won.' 

13 Whan day was gane, and night was come, 

She lap the castle-wa; 
But Willy kepit his gay lady, 
He was laith to let her fa. 

14 Whan night was gane, an day come in. 

An lions gaed to their dens, 
An ay the lady foUowd him. 

An the tears came hailing down. 

15 ' O want ye ribbons to your hair ? 

Or roses to your shoone ? 
Or want ye as meickle dear bought love 
As your ain heart can contain ? ' 

16 ' I want nae ribbons to my hair, 

Nor roses till my shoone ; 
An Ohone, alas, for dear bought love ! 
I have mair nor I can contain.' 

17 O he 's pu'd the oak in good green wood, 

An he 's made to her a fire; 
He coverd it oer wi withred leaves, 
An gard it burn thro ire. 

18 He made a bed i the good green wood, 

An he 's laid his lady down, 

An he 's coverd her oer wi fig-tree 
But an his ain night-gown. 

19 * O had I a bunch o yon red roddins. 

That grows in yonder wood, 
But an a drink o water clear, 
I think it woud do me good.' 

20 He 's pu'd her a bunch o yon red rod- 

That grew beside yon thorn. 
But an a drink o water clear, 
Intill his hunting-horn. 

21 He 's bent his bow, and shot the deer, 

An thro the green wood gane. 
An ere that he came back again 
His lady took travailing. 

22 * O up ye tak that horn,' she says, 

* An ye blaw a blast for me; 
Gin my father be in good green wood, 
Sae seen 's he '11 come me ti.' 

23 * O gin there be a man on earth 

That ye loo better nor me. 
Ye blaw the horn yoursel,' he says, 
' For it 's never be blawn by me.' 

24 he 's bent his bow, an shot the 

An thro the green wood has he gane. 
An lang or he came back again 
His lady bare him a son. 

25 O up has he tane his bonny young son. 

An washn him wi the milk. 
An up has he tane his gay lady, 
An rowd her i the silk. 

26 He 's bent his bow, and shot the deer, 

An thro the green wood has he gane, 
Till he met wi a well-fard may. 
Her father's flock feeding. 

'ifl * Ye leave your father's flock feeding, 
An go along wi me; 
I '11 carry you to a lady fair, 
Will gi you both meat and fee.* 

28 whan she came the lady before, 
She 's fa'n down on her knee: 
' O what 's your will wi me, my dame ? 
An a dame you seem to be.' 




29 ' O I 'm Dame Oliphant, the king's 


Nae doubt but ye've heard o me; 
Will you leave your father's flock feed- 

An go to Scotlan wi me ? 

30 * An ye sal get a nouriship 

Intill an earldome, 
An I will gar provide for the 

To marry some brave Scotsman.' 

31 The may she keepit the bonny boy, 

An Willy led his lady, 
Untill they took their fair shippin, 
Then quikly hame came they. 

32 The vv^in was fair, an the sea was clear. 

An they a' wan safe to Ian; 
He 's haild her lady of Douglassdale, 
Himsel the lord within. 



A was taken down from Mrs Brown's reci- 
tation by Jamieson in 1800, and published in 
his collection in 1806, " without the alteration 
of a sing-le word." The first half of the story 
in A, 1-9, is that of No. 101, A, 1-24. The 
first part of B, 4-18, is a variety of the wide- 
spread tragic ballad of ' Leesome Brand ' (No. 
15). So, also, is the larger part of ' Willie 
o Doug-las Dale,' with the tragic features 

This ballad certainly does not belong to the 
cycle of Robin Hood. The connection with 
that hero was in all probability mediated by 
the name Brown Robin (see No. 97). 

' The Birth of Robin Hood,' Jamieson 's Pop- 
ular Ballads, 11, 44, from Mrs Brown's reci- 

1 O Willie 's large o limb and lith. 

And come o high degree, 
And he is gane to Earl Richard, 
To serve for meat and fee. 

2 Earl Richard had but ae daughter, 

Fair as a lily-flower, 

And they made up their love-contract 
Like proper paramour. 

3 It fell upon a simmer's nicht, 

Whan the leaves were fair and green. 
That Willie met his gay ladie 
Intil the wood alane. 

4 ' narrow is my gown, Willie, 

That wont to be sae wide; 

And gane is a' my fair colour, 

That wont to be my pride. 

5 * But gin my father should get word 

What 's past between us twa, 
Before that he should eat or drink, 
He 'd hang you oer that wa. 

6 * But ye '11 come to my bower, W^illie, 

Just as the sun gaes down, 
And kep me in your arms twa. 
And latna me fa down.' 

7 O whan the sun was now gane down. 

He 's doen him till her bower. 
And there, by the lee licht o the 
Her window she lookit oer. 

8 Intill a robe o red scarlet 

She lap, fearless o harm ; 
And Willie was large o lith and limb. 
And keppit her in his arm. 

9 And they 've gane to the gude green 

And, ere tbs night was deen. 
She 's born to him a bonny young son, 
Amang the leaves sae green. 

10 Whan night was gane, and day was 

And the sun began to peep. 
Up and raise the Earl Richard 
Out o his drowsy sleep. 

11 He 's ca'd upon his merry young men. 

By ane, by twa, and by three: 
' O what 's come o my daughter dear. 
That she 's nae come to me ? 

12 * I dreamt a dreary dream last night, 

God grant it come to gude ! 

I dreamt I saw my daughter dear 

Drown in the saut sea flood. 



13 * But gill my daughter be dead or sick, 

Or yet be stowii awa, 
I inak a vow, and I '11 keep it true, 
I '11 hang ye ane and a' ! ' 

14 They sought her back, they sought her 

They sought her up and down; 
Tlioy got her in the gude green wood, 
Nursing her bonny young son. 

15 He took the bonny boy in his arms. 

And kist bira tenderlie; 
Says, Though I would your father 
Your mother 's dear to me. 

16 He kist him oer and oer again: 

' My grandson I thee claim, 
And Robin Hood in gude green wood. 
And that shall be your name.' 

17 And mony ane sings o grass, o grass, 

And mony ane sings o corn, 
And mony ane sings o Robin Hood 
Kens little wliare he was born. 

18 It wasna in the ha, the ha, 

Nor in the painted bower. 
But it was in the gude green wood, 
Amang the lily-flower. 

* The Birth of Robin Hood,' Buchan's Bal- 
lads of the North of Scotland, ii, 1. 

1 Mony ane talks o the grass, the grass, 

And mony ane o the corn. 
And mony ane talks o gude Robin Hood 
Kens little whar he was born. 

2 He was gotten in a earl's ha. 

And in a lady's bower. 
And born into gude greenwood, 
Thro mony cauld winter's shower. 

3 His father was the earl's own steward, 

Sprung frae sma pedigree; 
His mother, Earl Huntingdon's ae 
For he had nane else but she. 

4 When nine months were near an end. 

And eight months they were gone, 

The lady's cheeks wi tears were wet, 
And thus she made her moan: 

5 ' What shall I say, my love Archibald, 

This day for you and me ? 
I will be laid in cauld irons. 
And ye '11 be hanged on tree.' 

6 * What aileth my love Clementina ? 

What gars you mourn sae sair ? ' 
'You know,' said she, ' I'm with child 
to thee. 
These eight lang months and mair. 

7 * Will ye gae to my mother's bower. 

Stands on yon stately green ? 
Or will ye gae to the gude greenwood, 
Where ye will not be seen ? ' 

8 ' I winna gang to your mother's bower, 

Stands on yon stately green ; 
But I will on to gude greenwood, 
For I will not be seen.' 

9 He 's girt his sword down by his side. 

Took his lady by the hand. 
And they are on thro gude greenwood. 
As fast as they could gang. 

10 With slowly steps these couple walkd. 

About miles scarcely three. 
When this lady, being sair wearied out, 
Lay down beneath a tree. 

11 * O for a few of yon junipers. 

To cheer my heart again. 
And likewise for a gude midwife. 
To ease me of my pain ! ' 

12 * I '11 bring to you yon junipers, 

To cheer your heart again. 
And I '11 be to you a gude midwife. 
To ease you of your pain.' 

13 * Had far awa frae me, Archibald, 

For this will never dee; 
That 's nae the fashion o our land. 
And it 's nae be used by me. 

14 * Ye 'll take your small-sword by youi 

Your buckler and your bow, 
And ye '11 gae down" thro gude green- 
And hunt the deer and roe. 




15 ' You will stay in j^iide greenwood, 

And with the chase go on, 
Until yon white hind pass you by. 
Then straight to me ye '11 come.' 

16 He 's girt his sword then by his side, 

His buckler and his bow. 
And he is on thro gude greenwood, 
To hunt the deer and roe. 

17 And in the greenwood he did stay, 

And with the chase gaed on, 
Until the white hind passd him by, 
Then to his love he came. 

18 He girt his sword then by his side. 

Fast thro greenwood went he, 
And there he found his love lie dead, 
Beneath the green oak tree. 

19 The sweet young babe that she had 

Right lively seemed to be; 
* Ohon, alas ! ' said young Archibald, 
' A mournful scene to me ! 

20 ' Altho my sweet babe is alive. 

This does increase my woe; 
How to nourish a motherless babe 
Is mair than I do know.' 

21 He looked east, he looked west, 

To see what he could see, 
Then spied the Earl o Huntingdon, 
And mony a man him wi. 

22 Then Archibald fled from the earl's 

Among the leaves sae green. 
That he might hear what might be said. 
And see, and nae be seen. 

23 The earl straight thro the greenwood 
^ came. 

Unto the green oak tree. 
And there he saw his daughter dead. 
Her living child her wi. 

24 Then he 's taen up the little boy. 

Rowed him in his gown-sleeve; 
Said, Tho your father's to my loss. 
Your mother 's to me leave. 

25 And if ye live until I die. 

My bowers and lands ye'se heir; 

You are my only daughter's child; 
But her I never had mair. 

26 Ye 'se hae all kinds of nourishment. 

And likewise nurses three; 
If I knew where the fause knave were. 
High hanged should he be. 

27 His daughter he buried in gude church- 

All in a mournful mood. 
And brought the boy to church that day, 
And christend him Robin Hood. 

28 This boy was bred in the earl's ha 

Till he became a man. 
But loved to hunt in gude greenwood, 
To raise his noble fame. 

Kinloch MSS., V, 330 f ., the last two stanzas 
of ' Doug-lass Dale.' 

1 MoNY ane speaks o grass, o grass. 

And mony mare o corn, 
And mony ane sings o Robin Heed 
Kens little whare he was born. 

2 He was born in good green wood, 

At the fut o yon olive tree; 

His father was a kniglit's ae son, 

And his mother a lady free. 



A was one of the fifteen ballads written 
down by Mrs Brown for William Tytler in 
1783. The only part of the ballad which has 
the stamp of indubitably ancient tradition is 
the child-birth in the wood, and this scene is the 
rightful and perhaps exclusive property of 
'Leesome Brand' (No. 15). Several stanzas 
of A are found again in No. 101, and the first 
part of Nos. 101 and 102 is a variation of ' Lee- 
some Brand.' 

In B (Buchan's Ballads) the two maids, ill- 
treated by their step-mother, betake them- 
selves to the wood, where they meet, not Brown 
Robin, but Robin Hood, and take service with 
him. Rose and Lily change parts ; Rose con- 
sorting with Robin Hood and Lily with Little 




John. It is not, however, Robin Hood and 
Little John who turn out to be their lovers, 
but "a lad in the company," and "another 
youth among- the company." 

In the fragmentary C (Kinloch's Ballads) 
the maids are d.aug-hters of a king-. In conse- 
quence of the harshness of their stepmother, 
these king's daughters go to the wood as 
Nicholas and Kogee Roun, to seek Robin 
Hood, and they are discovered to be maids by 
a song which Rogee sings. Rogee is wedded 
to Robin Hood, and Nicholas to Little John. 

Robin Hood has no love-story in any ancient 
ballad, though his name has been foisted into 
modern love-ballads, as in ' Robin Hood and 
rhe Tanner's Daughter.' Maid Marian is a 
late accretion. 

* Rose the Red and White Lilly,' Jamieson- 
Brown MS., p. 1. 

1 O Rose the Red and White Lilly, 

Their mother dear was dead, 
And their fathei* married an ill woman, 
Wishd them twa little guede. 

2 Yet she had twa as fu fair sons 

As eer brake manis bread, 
And the tane of them loed her W^hite 
An the tither lood Rose the Red. 

3 O biggit ha they a bigly bowr, 

And strawn it oer wi san. 
And there was mair mirth i the ladies' 
Than in a' their father's Ian. 

4 But out it spake their step-mother, 

Wha stood a little foreby : 
I hope to live and play the prank 
Sal gar your loud sang ly. 

5 She 's calld upon her eldest son: 

Come here, my son, to me; 

It fears me sair, my eldest son, 

That ye maun sail the sea. 

6 * Gin it fear you sair, my mither dear. 

Your bidding I maun dee; 
But be never war to Rose the Red 
Than ye ha been to me.' 

7 * had your tongue, my eldest son, 

For sma sal be her part; 

You '11 nae get a kiss o her comely 
Gin your very fair heart should break.' 

8 She 's calld upon her youngest son: 

Come here, my son, to me; 
It fears me sair, my youngest son. 
That ye maun sail the sea. 

9 * Gin it fear you sair, my mither dear, 

Your bidding I maun dee; 
But be never war to White Lilly 
Than ye ha been to me.' 

10 ' O baud your tongue, my youngest son. 

For sma sail be her part; 
You '11 neer get a kiss o her comely 
Thoyour very fair heart should break.' 

11 When Rose the Red and W^hite Lilly 

Saw their twa loves were gane. 
Then stopped ha they their loud, loud 

And tane up the still mournin; 
And their step-mother stood listnin by. 

To hear the ladies' mean. 

12 Then out it spake her White Lilly: 

My sister, we '11 be gane ; 
Why should we stay in Barnsdale, 
To waste our youth in pain ? 

13 Then cutted ha they their green cloath- 


A little below their knee. 
An sae ha they there yallow hair, 

A little aboon there bree ; 
An they 've doen them to haely chapel. 

Was christened by Our Lady. 

14 There ha they chang'd their ain twa 

Sae far frae ony town, 
An the tane o them bight Sweet Willy, 
An the tither o them Roge the Roun. 

15 Between this twa a vow was made, 

An they sware it to fulfil; 
That at three blasts o a bugle-horn, 
She 'd come her sister till. 

16 Now Sweet Willy 's gane to the kingis 

Her true-love for to see, 



An Roge tlie Roun to good green wood, 
Browu Robin's man to be. 

17 As it fell out upon a day 

They a' did put the stane, 
Full seven foot ayont them a' 
She gard the puttiu-stane gang. 

18 She leand her back against an oak, 

And gae a loud Ohone ! 
Then out it spake him Brown Robin, 
But that 's a woman's moan ! 

19 * O ken ye by my red rose lip ? 

Or by my yallow hair ? 
Or ken ye by my milk-white breast ? 
For ye never saw it bare ? ' 

20 * I ken no by your red rose lip, 

Nor by your yallow hair; 
Nor ken I by your milk-white breast. 

For I never saw it bare; 
But come to your bowr whaever sae 

Will find a lady there.' 

21 ' O gin ye come to my bowr within, 

Thro fraud, deceit, or guile, 
Wi this same bran that 's in my han, 
I swear I will the kill.' 

22 ' But I will come thy bowr within, 

An spear nae leave,' quoth he; 
* An this same bran that 's i my han 
I sail ware back on the.' 

23 About the tenth hour of the night 

The ladle's bower-door was broken. 
An eer the first hour of the day 
The bonny knave-bairn was gotten. 

24 When days were gane, and months were 

The lady took travailing, 
And sair she cry'd for a bowr-woman, 
For to wait her upon. 

25 Then out it spake him Brown Robin: 

Now what needs a' this din ? 
For what coud any woman do 
But I coud do the same ? 

26 ' 'T was never my mither's fashion,' she 

* Nor sail it ever be mine, 

That belted knights shold eer remain 
Where ladies dreed their pine. 

27 * But ye take up that bugle-horn, 

An blaw a blast for me ; 
I ha a brother i the kingis court 
Will come me quickly ti.' 

28 * O gin ye ha a brither on earth 

That ye love better nor me. 
Ye blaw the horn yoursel,' he says, 
* For ae blast I winna gie.' 

29 She 's set the horn till her mouth. 

And she 's blawn three blasts sae 
Sweet Willy heard i the kingis court. 
And came her quickly till. 

30 Then up it started Brown Robin, 

An an angry man was he: 
' There comes nae man this bowr within 
But first must fight wi me.' 

31 O they hae fought that bowr within 

Till the sun was gaing down, 
Till drops o blude frae Rose the Red 
Came hailing to the groun. 

32 She leand her back against the wa, 

Says, Robin, let a' be; 
For it is a lady born and bred 
That 's foughten sae well wi thee. 

33 O seven foot he lap a back; 

Says, Alas, and wae is me ! 
I never wisht in a' my life, 

A woman's blude to see; 
An a' for the sake of ae fair maid 

Whose name was White Lilly. 

34 Then out it spake her White Lilly, 

An a hearty laugh laugh she: 
She 's lived wi you this year an mair, 
Tho ye kentna it was she. 

35 Now word has gane thro a' the Ian, 

Before a month was done. 
That Brown Robin's man, in good green 
Had born a bonny young son. 

36 The word has gane to the kingis 

An to the king himsel; 




* Now, by my fay,' the king could say, 

* The like was never heard tell ! ' 

37 Then out it spake him Bold Arthur, 

An a hearty laugh laugh he: 
I trow some may has playd the loun, 
And fled her ain country. 

38 * Bring me my steed,' then cry'd the 

*My bow and arrows keen; 
I '1 ride mysel to good green wood. 
An see what 's to be seen.' 

39 *An 't please your grace,' said Bold 


* My liege, I '11 gang you wi. 
An try to fin a little foot-page. 

That 's strayd awa frae me.' 

40 O they 've hunted i the good green 

The buck but an the rae. 
An they drew near Brown Robin's bowr. 
About the close of day. 

41 Then out it spake the king in hast, 

Says, Arthur, look an see 
Gin that be no your little foot-page 
That leans against yon tree. 

42 Then Arthur took his bugle-horn, 

An blew a blast sae shrill; 
Sweet Willy started at the sound, 
An ran him quickly till. 

43 * O wanted ye your meat, Willy ? 

Or wanted ye your fee ? 
Or gat ye ever an angry word, 
That ye ran awa frae me ? ' 

44 *I wanted nought, my master dear; 

To me ye ay was good ; 
I came but to see my ae brother, 
That wons in this green wood.' 

45 Then out it spake the king again, 

Says, Bonny boy, tell to me 
Wha lives into yon bigly bowr, 
Stands by yon green oak tree ? 

46 * O pardon me,' says Sweet Willy, 

* My liege, I dare no tell; 

An I pray you go no near that bowr. 
For fear they do you fell.' 

47 * O baud your tongue, my bonny boy, 

For I winna be said nay; 
But I will gang that bowr within. 
Betide me weel or wae.' 

48 They 've lighted ofP their milk-white 

An saftly enterd in. 
An there they saw her White Lilly, 
Nursing her bonny yong son. 

49 ' Now, by the rood,' the king coud say, 

' This is a comely sight; 
I trow, instead of a forrester's man. 
This is a lady bright ! ' 

50 Then out it spake her Rose the Red, 

An fell low down on her knee: 
O pardon us, my gracious liege, 
An our story I '11 tell thee. 

51 Our father was a wealthy lord. 

That wond in Barnsdale; 
But we had a wicked step-mother. 
That wrought us meickle bale. 

52 Yet she had twa as fu fair sons 

As ever the sun did see. 
An the tane o them lood my sister 
An the tither sayd he lood me. 

53 Then out it spake him Bold Arthur, 

As by the king he Ljtood : 
Now, by the faith o my body. 
This shoud be Rose the Red ! 

54 Then in it came him Brown Robin, 

Frae hunting o the deer. 
But whan he saw the king was there. 
He started back for fear. 

55 The king has taen him by the hand. 

An bade him naithing dread; 
Says, Ye maun leave the good green 
Come to the court wi speed. 

56 Then up he took White Lilly's son. 

An set him on his knee; 
Says, Gin ye live to wiald a bran, 
My bowman ye sail bee. 

57 The king he sent for robes of green. 

An girdles o shinning gold; 




He gart the ladies be arrayd 
Most comely to behold. 

58 They 've done them unto Mary Kirk, 

An there gat fair wedding, 
An fan the news spread oer the Ian, 
For joy the bells did ring. 

59 Then out it spake her Rose the Red, 

An a hearty laugh laugh she: 
I wonder what would our step-dame 
Gin she this sight did see ! 


The fragment A is partly explained by B, 
vhich is no doubt some stall copy, reshaped 
from tradition. Motherwell's copy was derived 
from Buchan. 

' The Disconsolate Lady,' The Jovial Rake's 
Garland, n. d., p. 6, No. 4, Bodleian Library, 
Douce PP, 164. 

1 Lady Margery May sits in her bower, 

Sewing at her seem; 
By there comes a heathen knight. 
From her her maidenhead has tane. 

2 He has put her in a tower strong, 

With double locks on fifty doors: 
* Lady Margery May, will you ga now ? ' 
* O ye heathen knight, not yet for 

3 ' I am asking, you heathen knight; 

What I am asking will you grant to 
Will ye let one of your waitmen 

A drink of your well bring to me ? ' 

4 ' Meat nor drink you shall never get. 

Nor out of that shall you never come, 
Meat nor drink shall you never get, 
Until you bear to me daughter or son.' 

5 Thus time drew on, and further on, 

For travail came this young lady to; 
She travailed up, so did she down. 
But lighter could she never be. 



6 ' An asking, 

An asking will you grant to me ? 
Will you give me a scread of silk. 
For to row your young son wi ? ' 

7 He took the horse-sheet in his hand. 

The tears came twinkling down: 
* Lady Margaret May, will ye ga now ? ' 
' O ye heathen knight, not yet for 

8 ' I '11 wash my young son with the milk, 
I will dry my young son with the silk ; 
For hearts will break, and bands will 

So dear will I love my lady now ! ' 

' Prince Heathen,' Buchan's MSS., I, 97 ; 
Motherwell's MS., p. 665. 

1 Lady Margaret sat in her bower-door, 

Sewing at her silken seem, 
When by it came Prince Heathen then, 
An gae to her a gay gold ring. 

2 He turnd about, an gied a bow; 
She said, Begone, I love na you; 
When he sware by his yellow hair 
That he woud gar her greet fu sair. 

3 But she sware by her milk-white skin 
Prince Heathen shoud gar her greet 

nane : 

* O bonny may, winna ye greet now ? ' 
' Ye heathenish dog, nae yet for you.' 

4 He 's taen her in his arms twa, 
Laid her between him an the wa. 
An ere he let her free again, 

Her maidenhead frae her he 's taen. 

* O bonny may, winna ye greet now ? ' 
' Ye heathenish dog, nae yet for you.' 

5 ' I killd your father in his bed. 
And your gay mother by his side. 
And your seven brothers, ane by ane, 
And they were seven pretty men. 

O honny may, winna ye greet now ? ' 
'Ye heathenish dog, nae yet for you.' 

6 ' I '11 put you in a vault o stone. 
Where five an thirty locks hing on; 




Naebody there then shall you see, 

For I will keep the keys vvi me. 

O bonny may, winiia ye greet now ? ' 

* Ye heathenish dog, nae yet for you.' 

7 He 's put lier in a vault o stone, 
Where five an thirty locks liiiig on; 
Naebody there coud eer her see, 
Prince Heathen kept the keys him wi. 
But ae she cried, What shall I do ! 
The heathenish dog has gart me rue. 

8 Prince Heathen from the mountains 

Attended by his armed men, 
And he 's gane to the bonny may, 
And to the prison where she lay: 

* O bonny may, what do you now ? ' 
' Ye heathenish dog, dying for you.' 

9 ' I '11 take you out upon the green. 
Where women ye shall neer see ane. 
But only me and my young men. 
Till ye bring daughter hame or son. 
O bonny may, what do you now ? ' 

* Ye heathenish dog, dying for you.' 

10 He 's taen her out upon the green. 
Where she saw women never ane, 
But only him and 's merry young men, 
Till she brought hame a bonny young 


* O bonny may, what do you now ? ' 

* Ye heathenish dog, dying for you. 

11 * A drink, a drink, f rae Prince Heathen's 

Though it were frae yon cauld well 
strong ! ' 

* O neer a drap. Prince Heathen,' said 


* Till ye row up your bonny young son.' 

* How can I row up my bonny young 

When I hae naething to row him in ? ' 

12 * I will lend you my horse's sheet. 
That will row him baith head and feet.' 
As soon 's she took it in her han, 
Tears oer her cheeks down rapping ran. 
' O bonny may, ye do greet now : ' 

* Ye heathenish dog, but nae for you. 

13 * But a' is for my bonny young son; 
Your sheets are rough to row him in; 

Ohon, alas, sair may I rue 

That eer I saw such rogues as you ! * 

14 * Ye '11 row my young son in the silk, 
An ye will wash him wi the milk, 
An lay my lady very saft. 
That I may see her very aft.' 
When hearts are broken, bands will bow; 
Sae well 's he loved his lady now ! 



This ballad is the counterpart of one found 
in other languages (and represented in English 
by Percy's cento ' The Friar of Orders Gray,' 
Reliques, I, 225, 17(55), in which a man tells a 
woman that the object of her affection, lover, 
or more commonly husband, is dead. It is 
found in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and 

' True Love Requited, or. The Bayliff's 
Daughter of Islington.' a. Printed for P. 
Brooksby, Roxbnrghe Ballads, ii, 457. b. 
Printed for J. Walter, Douce Ballads, 11, fob 
229. C. Printed for P. Brooksby, Pepys Bal- 
lads, III, 258, No. 256. d. Printed for P. 
Brooksby, Roxbnrghe Ballads, iv, 5(3. e. 
Printed for P. Brooksby, Douce Ballads, ll, 
fol. 230. f . An Aldermary Churchyard copy. 

1 There was a youth, and a well belovd 

And he was a esquire's son, 
He loved the bayliff's daughter dear, 
That lived in Islington. 

2 She was coy, and she would not believe 

That he did love her so. 
No, nor at any time she would 
Any countenance to him show. 

3 But when his friends did understand 

His fond and foolish mind, 
They sent him up to fair London, 
An apprentice for to bind. 

4 And when he had been seven long years, 

And his love he had not seen, 
* Many a tear have I shed for her 
When she little thonofht of rae.' 




5 All the maids of Islington 

Went forth to sport and play; 
All but the bayliff's daughter dear; 
She secretly stole away. 

6 She put off her gown of gray, 

And put on her puggish attire; 
She 's up to fair London gone, 
Her true-love to require. 

7 As she went along the road, 

The weather being hot and dry, 
There was she aware of her true-love. 
At length came riding by. 

8 She stept to him, as red as any rose. 

And took him by the bridle-ring: 

* I pray you, kind sir, give me one penny. 

To ease my weary limb.' 

9 * I prithee, sweetheart, canst thou tell me 

Where that thou wast born ? ' 

* At Islington, kind sir,' said she, 

' Where I have had many a scorn.' 

10 ' I prithee, sweetheart, canst thou tell me 

Whether thou dost know 
The bailiff's daughter of Islington ? ' 
' She 's dead, sir, long ago.' 

11 * Then will I sell my goodly steed, 

My saddle and my bow; 
I will into some far countrey. 
Where no man doth me know.' 

12 ' stay, O stay, thou goodly youth ! 

She 's alive, she is not dead; 
Here she standeth by thy side. 
And is ready to be thy bride.' 

13 ' O farewel grief, and welcome joy. 

Ten thousand times and more ! 
For now I have seen my own true-love, 
That I thought I should have seen no 



This ballad was given in Percy's Reliqnes, 
III, 87, 1765, " from a written copy, containing' 
some improvements (perhaps modern ones)." 
These improvements are execrable in style and 

matter, so far as there is new matter, but not 
in so glaring contrast with the groundwork 
as literary emendations of traditional ballads. 
The Roxburghe copy is in the Ballad Society's 
edition, vi, 567. 

a. Wood, E. 25, fol. 75, Bodleian Library. 
b. Pepys, III, 142, No. 140, Magdalene College 
Library, Cambridge. C, A Collection of Old 
Ballads, i, 216, 1723. 

1 You beautious ladies, great and small, 
I write unto you one and all. 
Whereby that you may understand 
What I have suffered in this land. 

2 I was by birth a lady fair. 

My father's chief and onely heir. 
But when my good old father dy'd. 
Then was I made a young knight's 

3 And then my love built me a bower, 
Bedeckt with many a fragrant flower; 
A braver bower you never did see 
Then my true-love did build for me. 

4 But there came thieves late in the night, 
They rob'd my bower, and slew my 

And after that my knight was slain, 
I could no longer there remain. 

5 My servants all from me did flye, 
In the midst of my extremity. 
And left me by my self alone, 

With a heart more cold then any 

6 Yet, though my heart was full of care, 
Heaven would not suffer me to despair; 
Wherefore in hast I chang'd my name 
From Fair Elise to Sweet William. 

7 And therewithal I cut my hair, 
And drest my self in man's attire. 
My doublet, hose, and bever-hat. 
And a golden band about my neck. 

8 With a silver rapier by my side. 
So like a gallant I did ride; 
The thing that I delighted on. 
Was for to be a serving-man. 

9 Thus in my sumptuous man's array 
I bravely rode along the way; 




And at the last it chanced so 

That I unto the king's court did go. 

10 Then to the king I bowed full low, 
My love and duty for to show, 
And so much favour I did crave 

That I a serving-man's place might 

11 ' Stand up, brave youth,' the king replyd, 
' Thy service shall not be denyd; 

But tell me first what thou canst do; 
Thou shalt be fitted thereunto. 

12 ' Wilt thou be usher of my hall, 
To wait upon my nobles all ? 

Or wilt thou be taster of my wine, 
To wait on me when I shall dine ? 

13 * Or wilt thou be my chamberlai 

To make 


bed both soft and fii 

Or wilt thou be one of my guard ? 
And I will give thee thy reward.' 

14 Sweet William, with a smiling face. 
Said to the king. If 't please your 

To show such favour unto me, 
Your chamberlain I fain would be. 

15 The king then did the nobles call. 
To ask tlie counsel of them all. 
Who gave consent Sweet William he 
The king's own chamberlain should be. 

16 Now mark what strange things came to 

As the king one day a hunting was. 
With all his lords and noble train. 
Sweet William did at home remain. 

17 Sweet William had no company then 
With him at home but an old man ; 
And when he saw the coast was clear, 
He took a lute which he had there. 

18 Upon the lute Sweet William plaid. 
And to the same he sung and said, 
With a pleasant and most noble voice, 
Which made the old man to rejoyce: 

19 'My father was as brave a lord 
As ever Europe did afford; 
My mother was a lady bright, 
My husband was a valiant knight. 

20 * And I my self a lady gay, 
Bedeckt with gorgeous rich array; 
The bravest lady in the lp.nd 

Had not more pleasures to command. 

21 * I had my musick every day, 
Harmonious lessons for to play; 
I had my virgins fair and free. 
Continually to wait on me. 

22 ' But now, alas ! my husband 's dead, 
And all my friends are from me fled; 
My former joys are past and gone. 
For now I am a serving-man.' 

23 At last the king from hunting came, 
And presently upon the same 

He called for the good old man. 
And thus to speak the king began. 

24 'What news, what news, old man?" 

quod he; 
* What news hast thou to tell to me ? ' 
'Brave news,' the old man he did say; 
' Sweet William is a lady gay.' 

25 'If this be true thou tellest me 

I 'le make thee a lord of high degree; 
But if thy words do prove a lye. 
Thou shalt be hanged up presently.' 

26 But when the king the truth had foundj 
His joys did more and more abound; 
According as the old man did say. 
Sweet William was a lady gay. 

27 Therefore the king without delay 
Put on her glorious rich array, 
And upon her head a crown of gold, 
Which was most famous to behold. 

28 And then, for fear of further strife, 
He took Sweet William for his wife; 
The like before was never seen, 

A serving-man to be a queen. 


The first stanza of A furnishes a sort of g^en- 
eral lyrical introduction, and does not belong- to 
the story. A f rag-ment in Campbell's MS8. (B) 
is simply a confused recollection of some parts 
of the ballad. 




' Will Stewart and lolin,' Percy MS., p. 428 ; 
Hales and Furnivall, iii, 21C. 

1 Adlatts parke is wyde and broad, 

And grasse growes greene iu our 
Eche man can gett the loue of his ladye, 
But alas, I can gett none of mine ! 

2 Itt 's by two men I sing my song, 

Their names is William Stewart and 
lohn ; 
William he is the elder brother, 
But lohn hee is the wiser man. 

3 But William he is in care-bed layd. 

And for the loue of a ffaire ladye; 
If he haue not the loue of the Erie of 
Mar's daughter. 
In ffaith ffor loue that he must dye. 

4 Then lohn was sorry ffor his brother, 

To see him lye and languish soe: 
' What doe you mourne for, brother ? ' 
he sales, 

* I pray you tell to me your woe. 

5 ' Doe [you] mourne for gold, brother ? ' 

he saies, 

* Or doe you mourne ffor ffee ? 

•• Or doe you mourne for a likesome 
You neuer saw her with yowr eye ? ' 

6 * I doe not mourne for gold,' he saies, 

' Nor I doe not mourne for any 

But I doe mourne for a likesome ladye, 
I neere blinke on her with mine 


7 ' But when haruest is gotten, my deere 

brother — 
All this is true that I tell thee — 
Gentlemen, they loue hunting well. 
And giue wight-men their cloth and 


8 ' Then I 'le goe a wooing ffor thy sake. 

In all the speed that I can gone. 
And for to see this likesome ladye, 
And hope to send thee good tydings 

9 lohn Stewart is gone a wooing for his 
Soe ffarr into ffaire Scottland, 
And left his brother in mikle ffeare, 
Vntill he heard the good tydand. 

10 And when he came to the Erie of Mar's 

his house, 
Soe well he could his curtesj'e, 
And when he came before the erle. 
He kneeled low downe vpon his knee. 

11 ' O rise vp, rise vp, lohn Steward, 

Rise vp, now, I doe bidd thee; 
How doth thy ffather, lohn Stewart, 
And all the lords iu his countrye ? ' 

12 ' And itt please you, my lore?, my ffather 

is dead; 
My brother and I cannott agree; 
My brother and I am ff alien att discord. 
And I am come to craue a service of 


13 ' welcome, welcome, lohn Stewart, 

A welcome man thou art to me; 
I 'le make thee chamberlaine to my 

And ffor to tend of that ladye soe 


14 * And if thou wilt haue a better office, 

Aske, and thou shall haue itt of mee; 
And where I giue other men a penny of 
Inffaith, lohn, thou shalt haue three.* 

15 And then bespake him lohn Stewart, 

And these were the words said hee: 
There is no office in your court 
This day that better pleaseth mee. 

16 The Ffryday is gone, the Sunday is 

come — 
All this is true that I doe say — 
And to the church that they be gone, 
lohn Stewart and the lady gay. 

17 And as they did come home againe — 

I-wis itt was a meeten mile — 
lohn Stewart and the lady gay, 

They thought itt but a [little] while. 

18 ' I am a messenger, ladye,' he saies, 

' I am a messenger to thee: ' 




' O speake ffor thy selfe, lolin Stewart,' 

shee sales, 
* A welcome man that thou shalt bee.' 

19 ' Nay, by my fPaitli,' sales lohn Stewart, 

' Which euer, alas, that may not bee ! 
He hath a higher degree in honour, 
Alias, ladye, then euer I ! 

20 * He is a lore? now borne by birth. 

And an erle affter his ffather doth dye ; 
His liaire Is yellow, his eyes beene gray; 
All this Is true that I tell yee. 

21 ' He is ffine in the middle, and small In 

the wast. 
And pleasant in a woman's eye; 
And more nor this, he dyes for your loue, 
Therefoi'e, lady, show some plttye.' 

22 * If this be soe,' then sales the lady, 

' If this be true that thou tells mee, 
By my ffalth then, lohn Stewart, 
I can loue him hartilye. 

23 ' Bidd him meete me att S' Patr[l]cke's 

On Sunday after S' Andrew's day; 
The fflower of Scottland will be there. 
And then begins our summer's play. 

24 * And bidd him bring with him a hundred 

And rawnke ryders lett them bee, 
And lett them bee of the rankest ryders 
That be to be ffound In that countrye. 

25 ' They best and worst, and all in like, 

Bidd him cloth them in one liuerye; 
And fPor his men, greene Is the best. 
And greene now lett their liueryes bee. 

26 ' And clothe himself e in scarlett redd, 

That Is soe seenilye ffor to see; 
Ffor Scarlett Is a ffaire coulour, 

And pleasant allwayes In a woman's 

27 * He must play sixteene games att ball. 

Against the men of this countrye, 
And if he wlnn the greater part. 

Then I shall love him more tenderlye.' 

28 What the lady said, lohn Stewart writt, 

And to Argyle Castle sent It bee; 

And [when] Willie Steward saw the 
Ffortli of care-bed then lope liee. 

29 Hee mustered together his merry men 

Hee mustered them soe louelllye ; 
Hee thought hee had had scarson halfe 

a hundred. 
Then had hee eleuen score and three. 

30 He chose fforth a hundred of the best 

That were to be ffound In that coun- 
He cladd them all in one coulour. 
And greene i-wls their liueryes bee. 

31 He cladd himselfe in scarlett redd, 

That Is soe seemelye ffor to see; 
Ffor scarlett is a ffaire coulor. 
And seemlye In a woman's eye. 

32 And then towards Patrlcke Church he 

With all his men In braue array, 
To gett a sight. If he might. 
And speake with his lady gay. 

33 When they came to Patricke's churche, 

Shee kneeled downe by her mothei 

* O mother, If Itt please you to glue me 

The Stewart's horsse ffalne wold I 

34 * I 'le glue you leaue, my deere daughter. 

And I and my malde will goe with 

The lady had rather haue gone her 

Then haue had her mother's com- 


35 When they came before Willie Steward, 

Soe well hee cold his curtesy e: 
' I wold klsse your daughter, ladye,' he 
•And if yowr will that soe Itt bee.' 

36 The ladye's mother was content 

To doe a straunger that curtesye; 
And when Willie had gotten a klsse. 
I-wis shee might haue teemed him 



37 Sixteen games were plaid that day 

< churle, if thou wouldest not haue 

there — 

macht with my brother. 

This is the truth as I doe say — 

Thou might haue auswerd him cur- 

Willie Stewart and his merry men, 


Thd carryed twelue of them away. 


* hold thy peace, lohn Stewart, 

38 And when they games tJiat they were 

And chamber thy words now, I bide 



And all they ffolkes away were gone 

If thou chamber not thy words soone. 

But the Erie of Marr and William 

Thou'st loose a good service; soe 


shalt thou doe me.' 

The erle wold needs haue Willmm 



* Marry ! hang them ^,^at cares,' saies 
lohn Stewart, 

39 And when they came vnto the erle's 

* Either ffor thy service or ffor thee; 


Services can I haue enoughe. 

They walked to a garden greene; 

But brethren wee must euer bee.' 

Ffor to coufferr of their bussines, 

Into the garden they be gone. 

47 William Stewart and his brother lohn, 

To Argyle Castle gon they bee; 

40 'I loue your daughter,' saies William 

And when Willye came to Argyle Castle, 


Into care-bedd then lope hee. 

* But I cannott tell whether she loueth 

mee: ' 

48 A parlaiment att Edenborrow was made, 

< Marry, God defend,' saies the Erie of 

The king and his nobles all mett 



* That euer soe that itt shold bee ! 

Th^ sent ffor William Stewart and lohn. 
To come amongst the other peeres. 

41 ' I had rather a gallowes there was 


49 Their clothing was of Scarlett redd, 

And hange thee ffor my daughter's 

That was soe seemelye ffor to see; 


Blacke hatts, white ffeathers plewed 

I had rather a ffyer were made att a 

with gold, 


And sett all on their heads trulye. 

And burne thee ffor my daughter's 

sake ! 

50 Their stockings were of twisted silke. 

With garters ff ringed about with 

42 ' To chamber, to chamber, gay ladye,' 


he saies, 

Their shoes were of the cordevine, 

* In the deuill's name now I bidd 

And all was comelye to behold. 


And thou gett thee not to the chamber 


And when they came to Edenborrowe, 



They called ffor lohn Steward and 

I 'le beate thee before the Stewart's 

Willie :_ 


* I answer in a lord's roome,' saies Will 

43 And then bespake William Stewart, 

* But an erle I hope to bee.' 

These were the words said hee: 

*If thou beate thy daughter for my 


' Come downe, come downe,' saies the 


Lore? of Marr, 

Thou'st beate a hundred men and 

* I knew not what was thy degree : ' 


* churle, if I might not haue macht 
with thy daughter. 

44 Then bespake lohn Stewart — 

Itt had not beene long of my de' 

Lord ! an angry man was hee — 





53 * My ffather, hee is the Mng his brother, 

And then the king is vnckle to me; 
O chiirle, if I might not haiie maeht 
With thy daughter, 
Itt had not beeue long of my degree.' 

54 * O hold your peace,' then sayd the king, 

' Cozen William, I doe bidd thee; 
Infaith, cozen Wilh'am, he loues you the 
Because you are a-kinn to mee. 

55 ' I 'le make thee an erle with a siluer 

And adde more honors still to thee; 
Thy brother Ihon shall be a lord, 

Of the best att home in his countrye. 

56 ' Thy brotiier Kester shalbe a kriight, 

Lands and linings I will him giue, 
And still hee shall liue in court with mee, 
And I 'le maintaine him whilest he 
doth Hue.' 

57 And when the parlaiment was done. 

And all the ffolkes away were gone, 
Willye Stewart and lohn his brother, 
To Argyle Castle they be gone. 

58 But when they came to Argyle Castle, 

That was soe ffarr in that countrye. 
He thought soe much then of his loue 
That into care-bedd then lope hee. 

59 lohn Stewart did see his brotiier soe ill, 

Lord, in his heart that hee was woe ! 
* I will goe wooing for thy sake 
Againe yonder gay ladye to. 

60 ' I 'le cloth my selfe in strange array, 

In a beggar's babbitt I will goe, 
That when I come before the Erie of 

My clothing strange he shall not 


61 lohn hee gott on a clouted cloake, 

Soe meete and low then by his knee. 
With four garters vpon one legg, 
Two aboue, and towe below trulye. 

52 * But if thou be a beggar, brother. 

Thou art a beggar that is vnknowne; 

Ff or thou art one of the stoutest beggars 

That euer I saw since I was borne. 

63 * Heere, geeue the lady this gay gold 

A token to her tJiat well is knowne; 
And if shee but aduise itt well, 

Shee 'le know some time itt was her 


64 * Stay, by my ffaith, I goe not yett,' 

John Steward he can replye; 
' I 'le haue my bottle ff nil of beere, 
The best that is in thy butterye. 

65 ' I 'le haue my sachell ffilld full of meate, 

I am sure, brother, [it] will doe noe 

harme ; 
Ffor, before I come to the Erie of Marr's 

his house, 
My lipps, I am sure, they wilbe 

war me.' 

G6 And when he came to the Erie of Marr's 
By chance itt was of the dole-day; 
But lohn cold ffind no place to stand, 
Vntill he came to the ladye gaye. 

67 But many a beggar he threw downe, 

And made them all with weeping 
He is the devill, hee is no beggar, 
That is come fforth of some strange 

68 And now the dole that itt is delte, 

And all the beggars be gon awa}', 
Sauing lohn Stewart, that seemed a 
And the ladye that was soe gay. 

69 ' Lady,' sais lohn, ' I am no beggar. 

As by my clothes you may thinke 
that I bee; 
I am yowr servant, John Stewart, 
And I am sent a messenger to thee.' 

70 « But if thou be lohn Stewart, 

As I doe thinke that thou bee, 
Avayle thy capp, avayle thy hoode, 
And I will stand and speake to thee. 

71 * How doth thy brother, lohn Stewart, 

And all the lorc?s in his countrye ? ' 
* O ffye vpon thee, wicked woman ! 
Mv brother he doth the worsse ffor 




72 With that the teares stood in her eyes; 

lord, shee wept soe tenderlye ! 
Sais, Ligg the blame vnto my ffather; 

1 pray you, lohii StewaW, lay itt not 
to mee. 

73 Comend me to my owne true-loue, 

That Hues soe farr in the North 

And bidd him meete me att Martings- 

Ffullye w[i]thin these dayes three. 

74 Hang them, sais the lady gay, 

That letts their ffather witting bee ! 
I 'le proue a ladye ffuU of loue. 

And be there by the sunn be a quar- 
ter highe. 

75 And bidd him bring wzth him a hundred 

And ranke riders lett them bee; 
Lett them be of the rankest ryders 
That be to be ffound in that countrye. 

76 The best and worse, and all in like, 

Bidd him clothe them in one liuerye; 
And for his men, greene is the best. 
And greene now lett their lyueryes 

77 And cloth himselfe in scarlett redd, 

That is soe seemelye for to see; 
For Scarlett is a ffaire coulor, 
And pleasant in a woman's eye. 

78 What they lady sayd, lohn Stewart 

To Argyle Castle sent itt hee; 
His bagg and his dish and showing 

Unto three beggars he gaue them all 


79 And when Willie Stewart saw the let- 

Fforth of care-bed then lope hee; 
He thought himselfe as lustye and sound 
As any man in that countrye. 

80 He mustered together his merrymen all, 

He mustered them soe louinglye; 
He thought he had had scarce halfe a 
Then had hee eleuen score and three. 

81 He chose fforth a hundred of the best 

7'Aat were to be found in that com- 
And presentlye they tooke their horsse, 
And to Martingsdale posted hee. 

82 And when he came to Martingsdale, 

He found his loue staying there trulye, 
For shee was a lady true of loue. 

And was there by [the] sunn was a 
qwarter highe. 

83 Shee kisst Willmm Stewart and his 

brother lohn, 
Soe did shee part of his merry men: 
* If the churle, thy ffather, hee were 

He shold not haue thee backe againe.' 

84 They sent ffor preist, they sent ffor 

And they were marryed there wztli 

speede ; 
William tooke the lady home w/th him, 
And they lined together long time 


85 And in twelue monthe soe they wrought. 

The lady shee was great with childe; 
Th^ sent lohn Stewart to the Erie off 

To come and christen the barne soe 


86 * And if this be soe,' sayes the Erie of 

' lohn Stewart, as thou tells mee, 
I hope in God you haue marryed my 

And put her bodye to honestye.' 

87 ' Nay, by my ffaith,' then sales lohn 


* Ffor euer alas that shall not bee ; 
Ffor now wee haue put her body to 

Thou 'st haue her againe hame to 

88 ' I had rather make thee Erie of Marre, 

And marry my daughter vnto thee; 
For by my ffaith,' sais the Erie of 

* Her marryage is marrd in our 




89 ' If this be soe,' then sais lohn Stewart, 

' A niarryage soone that thou shalt 

Ffor my brother William, my ffather's 

Shall marry thy daughter before thine 


90 They sent ffor preist, thd sent ffor 

And marryed there they were with 

And William Stewart is Erie of Marr, 
And his ffather-in-law dwells with 

him indeed. 



This ballad is found in the Percy MS. only. 

'Christopher White,' Percy MS., p. 513; 
Hales and Furnivall, in, 494. 

1 As I walked fforth one morninge, 

By one place that pleased mee, 
Wherin I heard a wandering wight, 
Sais, Christopher White is good com- 

2 I drew me neere, and very neere. 

Till I was as neere as neere cold bee; 
Loth I was her conncell to discreene, 
Because I wanted companye. 

3 * Say on, say on, thou well faire mayd, 

Why makest thou moane soe heaui- 

Sais, All is ffor one wandering wight, 
Is banished fforth of his owne coun- 

4 ' I am the burgesse of Edenburrow, 

Soe am I more of townes three; 
I haue money and gold great store. 
Come, sweet wench, and ligg thy loue 
on mee.' 

5 The merchant pulled forth a bagg of 

W^ich had hundreds two or three; 
Sais, Euery day throughout the weeke 
I 'le comt as much downe on thy knee. 

6 ' O merchant, take thy gold againe, 

A good liuing 't will purchase thee; 
If I be ffalse to Christopher White, 
Merchant, I cannott be true to thee.' 

7 Sais, I haue halls, soe haue I bowers, 

Sais, I haue shipps say ling on the sea; 
I ame the burgess of Edenburrowe; 
Come, sweete wench, ligge thy loue 
on mee. 

8 Come on, come, thou well faire mayde, 

Of our matters lett vs goe throughe, 
For to-morrowe I 'le marry thee, 

And thy dwelling shalbe in Edenbur- 

9 The lady shee tooke this gold in her 

The teares th^ ffell ffast ffrom her eye ; 
Sais, Siluer and gold makes my hart to 

And makes me leaue good companye. 

10 They had not beene marryed 

Not ouer monthes two or three, 
But tydings came to Edenburrowe 
That all the merchants must to the 

11 Then as this lady sate in a deske, 

Shee made a loue-letter ffull round; 
She mad a lettre to Christopher White, 
And in itt shee put a hundred pound. 

12 She lin'd the letter with gold soe red. 

And mony good store in itt was found; 
Shee sent itt to Christopher White, 
That was soe ffar in the Scotts ground. 

13 Shee bade him then ffrankely spend. 

And looke that hee shold merry bee. 
And bid him come to Edenburrowe, 
Now all the merchants be to the sea. 

14 But Christopher came to leeue London, 

And there he kneeled lowly downe. 
And there hee begd his pardon then. 
Of our noble kin^ that ware the 

15 But when he came to his true-loue's 


Which was made both of lime and 




Sbee tooke bim by tbe lily-wbite hand, 
Sais, True-Ioue, you are welcome 
home ! 

16 Welcome, my honey, welcome, my ioy, 

Welcome, my true-loue, home to mee I 
Ffor thou art bee that will lengthen my 
And I know thou art good companye. 

17 Christophery I am a merchant's wiffe; 

ChvistopheVf tbe more shall be your 

gaine ; 
Siluer and gold you shall haue enough, 
Of the merchant's gold that is in 


18 * But if you be a merchant's wiffe, 

Something td much you are to blame ; 
I will thee reade a loue-letter 

Shall sture thy stumpes, thou noble 

19 * Althoug I be a marchaiit's wiffe, 

shall . . mine 

and g 

Into England I 'le goe with the.' 

20 They packet vp both siluer and plate, 

Siluer and gold soe great plentye. 
And they be gon into Litle England, 
And the marchant must them neuer 

21 And when the merchants they came 

Their wiues to eche other can say, 
Heere hath beene good C hris^op^er White, 
And he hath tane thy wiffe away. 

22 They haue packett vp spoone and plate, 

Siluer and gold great plenty. 
And they be gon into Litle England, 
And them againe thow must neuer see. 

23 * I care nott ffor my siluer and gold. 

Nor for ray plate soe great plentye, 
But I mourne for that like-some ladye 
ThatChristopherWhite hath taneffrom 

24 * But one thing I must needs confesse, 
This lady shee did say to me. 
If shee were ffalse to Christopher White, 
Shee cold neuer be true to mee. 

25 ' All young men a warning take, 

A warning, looke, you take by mee; 

Looke that you loue yowr old loues best, 

For infaith they are best companye.' 


Besides the copy in the Percy MS. there are 
two broadside versions (B, C). All three are 
of the seventeenth century, and the ballad need 
not be put much beyond that date. Modern- 
ized editions, differing much, were issued in 
the century following, perhaps earlier, some of 
which have a Second Part, narrating the happy 
married life of Tom Potts, Lord Arundel, and 
Fair Rosamond. Unequal matches are com- 
mon enough in ballads and romances, and very 
naturally, since they are an easy expedient for 
exciting interest, at least with those who belong 
to the humbler party. We have other ballad- 
examples of disparagement on the female side 
in ' Richie Story ' (No. 232) and ' The Kitchie- 
Boy ' (No. 252). 

' Thomas of Potte,' Percy MS., p. 409 ; Hales 
and Furnivall, in, 135. 

1 All you lords of Scottland ffaire, 

And ladyes alsoe, bright of blee. 
There is a ladye amongst them all, 
Of her report you shall heare of me. 

2 Of her bewtye shee is soe bright, 

And of her colour soe bright of blee; 
Shee is daughter to the Lord Arrndell, 
His heyre apparrant ffor to bee. 

3 ' I 'le see that bryde,' Lore? Phenix sayes, 

* That is a ladye of hye degree, 

, And iff I like her countenance well. 
The heyre of all my land shee'st bee.' 

4 To that ladye ffayre Lord Phenix came, 

And to that like-some dame said bee, 
Now God thee sane, my ladye ffaire. 
The heyre of all my land tho'st bee. 

6 ' Leaue of yowr suite,* the ladye sayd; 

• You are a lord of honor ffree; 
You may gett ladyes enowe att home, 

And I haue a loue in mine owne 




G * I haue a louer true of mine owne, 
A serving'e-inan of a small degree; 
Thomas a Pott, itt is his name, 

He is the ffirst loue that euer I had, 
and the last that hee shalbee.' 

7 * Giue Thomas a Pott then be his name, 

I wott I ken him soe readih^e; 
I can spend forty pounds by vveeke, 
And hee cannott spend pounds three.' 

8 * God giue you good of your gold,' said 

the ladye, 
' And alsoe, sir, of your ffee ! 
Hee was the ffirst loue that euer I 

And the last, sir, shall hee bee.' 

9 With that Lord Phenix was sore amoued ; 

Vnto her ffather then went hee; 
Hee told her ffather how itt was proued, 
How that his daughter's mind was 

10 *Thou art my daughter,' the Erie of 

Arrndell said, 
* The hey re of all my land to bee; 
Thou 'st be bryde to the Lord Phenix, 
Daughter, giue thou 'le be heyre to 

11 For lacke of her loue this ladye must 

Her foolish wooing lay all aside; 
The day is appoynted, and ffreiuds are 

agreede ; 
Shee is fforcte to be the Lore? Phenix 


12 With that the lady began to muse — 

A greened woman, God wott, was 

shee — 
How shee might Lor</ Phenix beguile. 
And scape vnmarryed ffrom hxmthat 


13 Shee called to her her litle ffoote-page, 

To lacke her boy, soe tenderlye; 
Sayes, Come thou hither, thou litle ffoote- 
For indeed I dare trust none but thee. 

14 To Strawberry Castle, boy, thou must 


Thomas Pott there as hee can bee, 

And giue him here this letter ffaire, 
And on Guilford Greene bidd him 
meete me. 

15 Looke thou marke his contenance well, 

And his colour tell to mee; 
And hye thee ffast, and come againe, 
And forty shillings I will giue thee. 

16 For if he blush in his fface. 

Then in his hart hee 'se sorry bee; 
Then lett my ffather say what hee will, 
For false to Potts I 'le neuer bee. 

17 And giue hee smile then with his mouth, 

Then in his heart hee 'le merry be; 
Then may hee gett him a loue where- 

euer he can, 
For small of his companye my part 


18 Then one while that the boy hee went, 

Another whfie, God wott, rann hee, 
And when hee came to Strawberry Cas- 
There Thomas Potts hee see. 

19 Then he gaue him this letter ffaire. 

And when he began then for to reade, 
They boy had told him by word of mouth 
His loue must be the Lord Phenix 

20 With that, Thomas a Pott began to 

The teares trickeled in his eye: 
' Indeed this letter I cannot reede, 
Nor neuer a word to see or spye. 

21 * I pray thee, boy, to me thou 'le be trew, 

And heer 's fine marke I will giue thee ; 
And all these words thou must peruse. 
And tell thy lady this ffrom mee. 

22 'Tell her by ffaith and troth shee is 

mine owne, 
By some part of promise, and soe itt 's 

be found; 
Lore? Phenix shall neuer marry her, by 

night nor day, 
Without he can winn her with his 


23 * On Gilford Greene I will her meete, 

And bidd that ladye ffor mee pray; 




For there I 'le loose my liffe soe sweete, 
Or else the wedding I will stay.' 

24 Then backe againe the hoy he went, 

As ffast againe as he cold hye; 
The ladye mett him fine mile on the 

* Why hast thou stayd soe long ? ' 
sales shee. 

25 ' Boy,' said the ladye, ' thou art but 

To please my mind thou 'le mocke 

and scorne; 
I will not beleeue thee on word of mouth, 
Vnlesse on this booke thou wilt be 


26 * Marry, by this booke,' the boy can say, 

* As Christ himselfe be true to mee, 
Thomas Pott cold not his letter reade 

For teares trickling in his eye.' 

27 *If this be true,' the ladye sayd, 

' Thou bonny boy, thou tells to mee, 
Forty shillings I did thee promise. 
But heere 's ten pounds I 'le giue itt 

28 « All my maids,' the lady sayd, 

' That this day doe waite on mee, 
Wee will ffall downe vpon our knees. 
For Thomas Pott now pray will wee. 

29 * If his ffortnne be now ffor to winn — 

Wee will pray to Christ in Triny- 
tye — 
I 'le make him the fflower of all his 
Ffor they Lord of Arrundale he shal- 

30 Now lett vs leaue talking of this ladye 

In her prayer good where shee can 

And I 'le tell you hou Thomas Pott 
For ayd to his loj^d and master came 


31 And when hee came hord lockye before. 

He kneeled him low downe on his 
Sales, Thou art welcome, Thomas Pott, 
Thou art allwayes full of thy curtesye. 

32 Has thou slaine any of thy ffellowes. 

Or hast thou wrought me some vil- 
lanye ? 

* Sir, none of my ffellowes Ihaue slaine. 

Nor I haue wrought you noe villanye. 

33 * But I haue a loue in Scottland ffaire, 

I doubt I must lose her through pou- 

ertye ; 
If you will not beleeue me by word of 

Behold the letter shee writt vnto mee.' 

34 When hord lockye looked the letter 

The tender words in itt cold bee, 

* Thomas Pott, take thou no care. 

Thou 'st neuer loose her throughe 

35 * Thou shalt have forty pounds a weeke, 

In gold and siluer thou shalt rovve. 
And Harbye towne I will thee allowe 
As longe as thou dost meane to 

36 * Thou shalt haue fortye of thy ffellowes 

And forty horsse to goe with thee. 
And forty speares of the best I haue, 
And I my-selfe in thy companye.' 

37 *I thanke you, master,' sayd Thomas 

* Neither man nor boy shall goe with 
I wold not ffor a thousand pounds 
Take one man in my companye.' 

38 ' Why then, God be with thee, Thomas 

Thou art well knowen and proued for 
a man; 
Looke thou shedd no guiltlesse bloode, 
Nor neuer confound no gentlman. 

39 * But looke thou take with him some 

Apoint a place of lybertye ; 
Lett him provide as well as hee cann. 
And as well provided thou shalt bee.' 

40 And when Thomas Pott came to Gil- 

ford Greene, 
And walked there a litle beside, 




Then was hee ware of the Lore? Phenix, 
And with him Laclye Rozamuud his 

41 Away by the bryde rode Thomas of Pott, 

But noe word to her thai he did say; 

But when he came Lor^Z Phenix before, 

He gaue him the right time of the 


i-2 * O thou art welcome, Thomas a Potts, 
Thou serving-man, welcome to mee ! 
How ffares they lore? and va.aster att 
And all the ladyes in thy cuntrye ? ' 

43 * Sir, my \ord and my master is in verry 

good health, 
I wott I ken itt soe readylye; 
I pray yon, will you ryde to one outsyde, 
A word or towe to talke with mee. 

44 'You are a nobleman,' sayd Thomas a 

*Yee are a borne lore? in Scottland 

You may gett ladyes enowe att home ; 
You shall neuer take my loue ffrom 


45 * Away, away, thou Tho7/?as a Potts ! 

Thou seruing-man, stand thou a-side ! 
I wott there 's not a serving-man this 
I know, can hinder mee of my bryde.' 

46 * If I be but a seruing-man,' sayd 


* And you are a lord of honor ffree, 
A speare or two I 'le w/th you runn, 

Before I 'le loose her thus coward lye.' 

47 * On Gilford Greene,' Lore? Phenix sales, 

*I 'le thee meete; 
Neither man nor boy shall come hither 
with mee;' 
* And as I am a man,' said Thomas a 

* I 'le haue as ffew in my companye.' 

48 With tJiai the wedding-day was stayd. 

The bryde went vnmarryed home 
againe ; 
Then to her maydens ffast shee loughe. 
And in her hart shee was ffuU ffaine. 

49 * But all my mayds,' they ladye sayd, 

' That this day doe waite on mee, 
Wee will ffall downe againe vpon our 
For Thomas a Potts now pray will 

50 * If his ffortune be if or to winn ^- 

Wee 'le pray to Christ in Trynitye — • 

I 'le make him the fflower of all his kinn. 

For the Lore/ of Arrundale he shalbe.' 

51 Now let vs leaue talking of this lady 

In her prayers good where shee can 

I 'le tell you the troth how Thomas a Potts 
For aide to his lord againe came hee. 

52 And when he came to Strawberry Castle, 

To try ffor his ladye he had but one 

Alacke, ffor sorrow hee cannott ffor-= 

For four dayes then he ffell sicke. 

53 With ^^at his lore? and master to him 

Sayes, I pray thee, Thomas, tell mee 

without all doubt. 
Whether hast thou gotten the bonny 

Or thou man gauge the ladye wi'th- 


54 ' Marry, master, yett that matter is vn- 

Within two dayes tryed itt must bee; 
He is a lore?, and I am but a seruing- 
I doubt I must loose her through 
* Why, Thomas a Pott, take thou no care: 
Thou 'st neuer loose her through poiv 

55 'Thou shalt haue halfe my land a yeere, 

And that will raise thee many a pound :^ 
Before thou shalt loose thy bonny ladye. 
Thou shalt drop angells with him to 
the ground. 

56 * And thou shalt haue forty of thy ffel- 

lowes ffaire. 
And forty horsses to goe with thee, 




And forty speres of the best I haue, 

And a hundred men att thy backe. 

And I my-selfe in thy companye.* 

For to fight if neede shalbee.* 


*I thanke you, master,^ sayd Thomas a 
' But of one thinge, sir, I wold be 


* I thanke you, master,^ said Thomas a 
* Neither man nor boy shall goe with 

ff aine ; 


If I shold loose my bonny ladye, 

As you are a lord off honor borne. 

How shall I increase your goods 

Let none of my ffellowes know this of 

againe ? * 



' Why, if thou winn thy lady ffaire, 


* Ffor if they wott of my goinge. 

Thou maye well fforth for to pay mee; 

I wott behind me they will not bee ; 

If thou loose thy lady, thou hast losse 

Without you keepe them vnder a locke. 

enoughe ; 

Vppon ^^at greene I shall them see.' 

Not one penny I will aske thee.' 

67 And when Thomas came to Gilford 


' Master, you haue thirty horsses in one 



And walked there some houres three. 

You keepe them ranke and royallye ; 

Then was he ware of the Lord Phenix, 

There 's an old horsse — for him you 

And four men in his companye. 

doe not care — 

This day wold sett my lady ffree. 


'You haue broken yowr vow,' sayd 
Thomas a Pott, 


' Thai is a white, with a cutt tayle. 

* Yowr vowe thai you made vnto mee; 

Ff ull sixteen yeeres of age is hee ; 

You said you wold come yowr selfe alone, 

Giffe you wold lend me that old horsse, 

And you haue brought more then two 

Then I shold gett her easilye.' 

or three.' 


' Thou takes a fPoolish part,' the luord 


' These are my waiting-men,' Lord Phe- 

lockye sayd, 

nix sayd, 

* And' a ffoolish part thou takes on 

' That euery day doe waite on mee; 


Giffe any of these shold att vs stirr, 

Thou shalt haue a better then euer he 

My speare shold ruun throwe his 



That forty pounds cost more nor hee.' 


* I 'le runn noe race,' said Thomos Potts, 


* master, those horsses beene wild and 

* Till thai this othe heere made may 



And litle they can skill of the old 

If the one of vs be slaine, 


The other fforgiuen thai hee may bee.* 

Giffe I be out of my saddle cast. 

They beene soe wild they 'le neuer be 


' I 'le make a vow,' Lord Phenix sayes, 

tane againe. 

*My men shall beare wittnesse with 


* Lett me haue age, sober and wise; 

Giffe thou slay mee att this time. 

Itt is a part of wisdome, you know itt 

Neuer the worsse beloued in Scottland 

plaine ; 

thou shalt bee.' 

If I be out of my sadle cast. 

Hee 'le either stand still or turne 

72 Then they turned their horsses round 


To run the race more egarlye; 


'Thou shalt haue thai horsse with all 

Lord Phenix he was stiffe and stout, 

my hart, 

He has runn Thomas quite thorrow 

And my cote-plate of siluer ffree, 

the thye. 




73 And beere Thomas out of his saddle 

£faiie ; 
Vpon the ground there did hee lye; 
He saies, For my liffe I doe ncc care, 
But ft'or the loue of my ladye. 

74 But shall I lose my ladye ffaire ? 

I thought shee shold haue beene my 
1 pray tliee, Lor^ Phenix, ryde not away, 
For with thee I will loose my liffe. 

75 Tho Thomas a Potts was a seruing-raan. 

He was alsoe a phisityan good ; 
He clapt his hand vpon his wound. 
With some kind of words he stauncht 
the blood. 

76 Then into his sadle againe hee leepe; 

The blood in his body began to warme; 
He mist Lord Phenix bodye there, 
But he run him quite throw the brawne 
of the arme. 

77 And he bore him quite out of his saddle 

ffaire ; 
Vpon the ground there did he lye; 
He said, I pray thee, hord Phenix, rise 

and ffight, 
Or else yeeld this ladye sweete to mee. 

78 ' To ffight with thee,' quoth Phenix, ' I 

cannott stand. 

Nor ffor to ffight, I cannott, sure; 
Thou hast run me through the brawne of 
the arme; 

Noe longer of thy spere I cannott en- 

79 * Thou 'st haue ^^at ladye with all my 


Sith itt was like neuer better to proue. 
Nor neuer a noble-man this day. 

That will seeke to take a pore man's 

80 * Why then, be of good cheere,' saies 

Thomas Pott, 
* Indeed your bucher I 'le neuer bee. 
For I 'le come and stanche yowr bloode, 
Giff any thankes you 'le giue to mee.' 

81 As he was stanching the Plienix blood. 

These words Thomas a Pott cann to 
him proue: 

* I 'le neuer take a lad^'e of you thus, 

But here I 'le giue 3'ou another choice. 

82 ' Heere is a lane of two miles longe; 

Att either end sett wee will bee; 
The ladye shall sitt vs betweene, 

And soe will wee sett this ladye ffree.' 

83 * If thou 'le doe soe,' Lord Phenix sayes, 

' Thomas a Pott, as thou dost tell mee. 
Whether I gett her or goe without her, 
Heere 's forty pounds I 'le giue itt 

84 And when the ladye there can stand, 

A woman's mind that day to proue, 
' Now, by my ffaith,' said this ladye 

* This day Thomas a Pott shall haue his 
owne loue.' 

85 Toward Thomas a Pott the lady shee 

To leape behind him hastilye; 

* Nay, abyde a while,' sayd hord Phenix, 

'Fforbetteryettproued thou shalt bee. 

86 ' Thou shalt stay heere with all thy 

maids — 

In number with thee thou hast but 
three — 
Thomas a Pott and I 'le goe beyond yon- 
der wall. 

There the one of vs shall dye.' 

87 And when they came beyond the wall. 

The one wold not the other nye; 
hord Phenix he had giuen his word 
With Thomas a Pott neuer to ffight. 

88 ' Giue me a choice,' hord Phenix sayes, 

* Thomas a Pott, I doe pray thee ; 
Lett mee goe to yonder ladye ffaire, 

To see whether shee be true to thee.' 

89 And when hee came ^^at ladye too, 

Vnto that likesome dame sayd hee, 
Now God thee sane, thou ladye ffaire, 
The heyre of all my land thou 'st bee. 

90 Ffor this Thomas a Potts I haue slaine; 

He hath more then deadly e wounds 
two or three; 
Thou art mine owne ladye, he sayd, 
And marryed together wee will bee. 




91 The ladye said, If Thomas a Potts this 

day thou haue slaine, 
Thou hast slaine a better man than 

euer was thee; 
And I 'le sell all the state of my lande 
But thou 'st be hanged on a gallow- 


92 With that they lady shee ffell in a soone ; 

A greened woman, I wott, was shee; 
Lore? Pheuix hee was readye there, 
Tooke her in his amies most hastilye. 

93 * O hord, sweete, and stand on thy ffeete. 

This day Thomas a Pott aliue can bee ; 
I 'le send ffor thy father, the Lord of 
And marryed together I will you see : 
Giffe hee will not maintaine you well, 
Both gold and land you shall haue 
from me.' 

94 ' I 'le see that wedding,' my Lord of 

Arrundale said, 
* Of my daughter's lone that is soe 

ffaire ; 
And sith itt will no better be, 

Of all my land Thomas a Pott shall 

be my heyre.' 

95 * Now all my maids,' the ladye said, 

' And ladyes of England, faire and 

Looke you neuer change your old loue 

for no new, 
Nor neuer change for no pouertye. 

96 ' Ffor I had a loner true of mine owne, 

A seruing-man of a small degree; 
Ffrom Thomas a Pott I 'le turne his 
And the Lord of Arrundale hee shall 



The only English version of this ballad is a 
broadside in the Roxburg-he Collection. The 
fifteenth stanza is quoted in Fletcher's comedy 
of 'The Pilgrim,' 1021. Kinloch is fully jus- 
tified in claiming for the Scottish ballad a 
decided superiority. The humorous artifices 

which the lady practises to maintain the char- 
acter of a beggar's brat are, as he says, kept 
up with great spirit and fancy. 

Parts of this ballad inevitably suggest a 
parallel with the tales belonging to the class of 
the ' Marriage of Sir Gawain ' (No. 31), to which 
Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Tale belongs. The 
Danish ballad of ' Ebbe Gait ' (Grundtvig- 
Olrik, No. 814) has also several features in 
common with ' The Knight and Shepherd's 
Daughter.' For a discussion of the whole mat- 
ter, see G. H. Maynadier, The Wife of Bath's 
Tale, 11^01. 

' The BeautifuU Shepherdesse of Arcadia.' 
a. Roxburghe Ballads, in, 160, 161. b. The 
same, ii, 'SO, 81. 

1 There was a shepherd's daughter 

Came triping on the way. 
And there she met a courteous knight, 

Which caused her to stay. 
Sing trang dil do lee 

2 * Good morow to you, beautious maid,' 

These words pronounced he; 
* O I shall dye this day,' he said, 
' If I have not my will of thee.' 

3 ' The Lord forbid,' the maid re ply 'd, 

' That such a thing should be. 
That ever such a courteous yong knight 
Should dye for love of me.' 

4 He took her by the middle so small, 

And laid her down on the plain, 
And after he had had his will, 
He took her up again. 

5 * Now you have had your wil, good sir. 

And put my body thus to shame. 
Even as you are a courteous knight, 
Tel me what is your name.' 

6 * Some men do call me Jack, sweet <^ 

And some do call me John, 
But when I come to the king's [fair] 
They call me Sweet William.' 

7 He set his foot in the stirrop. 

And away then did he ride; 
She tnckt her kirtle about her middle, 
And run close by his side. 




8 But when she came to the broad water, 

She set her brest and sworn, 

And when she was got out again, 

She took her heels and run. 

9 He never was the courteous knight 

To say, Fair maid, will you ride ? 
Nor she never was so loving a maid 
To say. Sir Knight, abide. 

10 But when she came to the king's fair 

She knocked at the ring; 
So ready was the king himself 
To let this fair maid in. 

11 ' O Christ you save, my gracious leige. 

Your body Christ save and see ! 
You have got a knight within your court 
This day hath robbed me.' 

12 * What hath he robbed thee of, fair 

maid ? 
Of purple or of pall ? 
Or hath he took thy gay gold ring. 
From off thy finger small ? ' 

13 ' He hath not robbed me, my liege. 

Of purple nor of pall; 
But he hath got my maidenhead. 
Which grieves me worst of all.' 

14 * Now if he be a batchelor. 

His body I 'le give to thee; 
But if he be a married man. 
High hanged shall he be.' 

15 He called down his merry men all, 

By one, by two, and by three; 
Sweet William was us'd to be the first. 
But now the last comes hee. 

16 He brought her down full forty pound, 

Ty'd up with[in] a glove: 
* Fair maid, I give the same to the, 
And seek another love.' 

17 * O I 'le have none of your gold,' she 

* Nor I 'le have none of your fee; 
But I must have your fair body 
The king hath given me.' 

18 Sweet William ran and fetcht her then 

Five hundred pound in gold, 




Saying, Fair maid, take this unto thee; 
Thy fault will never be told. 

* 'T is not your gold that shall me tempt,' 
These words then answered she, 

' But I must have your own body; 
So the king hath granted me.' 

' Would I had drank the fair water 
When I did drink the wine. 

That ever any shepherd's daughter 
Should be a fair lady of mine ! 

' Would I had drunk the puddle-water 

AVhen I did drink the ale. 
That ever any shepherd's daughter 

Should have told me such a tale ! ' 

22 * A shepheard's daughter as I was, 

You might have let me be; 
I 'd never come to the king's fair court 
To have craved any love of thee.' 

23 He set her on a milk-white steed, 

And himself e upon a gray; 
He hung a bugle about his neck, 
And so they rode away. 

24 But when they came unto the place 

Where marriage rites were done. 
She provd her self a duke's daughter, 
And he but a squire's son. 

25 * Now you have married me, sir knight, 

Your pleasures may be free; 
If you make me lady of one good town, 
I 'le make you lord of three.' 

26 * Accursed be the gold,' he said, 

* If thou hadst not bin true. 
That should have parted thee from me, 
To have chang'd thee for a new.' 

27 Their hearts being then so linked fast, 

And joyning hand in hand, 
He had both purse and person too. 
And all at his command. 

' Shepherd's Dochter,' Kinloch MSS., V, 255, 
in the handwriting- of Mr Kinloch. 

1 There was a shepherd's dochter > 
Kept sheep upon yon hill, , 




And by cam a gay braw gentleman, 
And wad hae had his will. 

2 He took her by the milk-white hand, 

And laid her on the ground, ^-' 
And whan he got his will o her - 
He lift her up again. 

3 ' O syhe ye 've got your will o me, c^-- 

Your will o me ye 've taen, ' 
'T is all I ask o you, kind sir. 
Is to tell to me your name.' 

4 * Sometimes they call me Jack,' he said, 

* Sometimes they call me John, 
But whan I am in the king's court. 
My name is Wilfu Will.' 

5 Then he loup on his milk-white steed,^-- 

And straught away he rade, v- 
And she did kilt her petticoats, j;^^ 
And after him she gaed. i^ 

6 He never was sae kind as say, 

O lassie, will ye ride ? 
Nor ever had she the courage to say, 

laddie, will ye bide ! 

7 Until they cam to a wan water. 

Which was called Clyde, 
And then he turned about his horse, 
Said, Lassie, will 3'^e ride ? 

8 ' I learned it in my father's hall, 

1 learned it for my weel. 
That whan I come to deep water, 

I can swim as it were an eel. 

9 ' I learned it in my mother's bower, 

I learned it for my better, 
That whan I come to broad water, 
I can swim like ony otter.' 

10 He plunged his steed into the ford. 

And straught way thro he rade, 
And she set in her lilly feet, 
And thro the water wade. 

11 And whan she cam to the king's court. 

She tirled on the pin. 
And wha sae ready 's the king himsel 
To let the fair maid in ? 

12 * What is your will wi me, fair maid ? 

What is your will wi me ? * 

* There is a man into your court 

This day has robbed me.' 

13 * has he taen your gold,' he said, 

* Or has he taen your fee ? 
Or has he stown your maidenhead, 
The flower of your bodye ? ' 

14 * He has na taen my gold, kind sir. 

Nor as little has he taen my fee, 
But he has taen my maidenhead, 
The flower of my bodye.' 

15 * O gif he be a married man, 

High hangit shall he be, 
But gif he be a bachelor. 
His body I '11 grant thee.' 

16 * Sometimes they call him Jack,' she 

' Sometimes they call him John, 
But whan he 's in the king's court, 
His name is Sweet William.' 

17 ' There 's not a William in a' my court, 

Never a one but three, 
And one of them is the Queen's brother; 
I wad laugh gif it war he.' 

18 The king called on his merry men,' 

By thirty and by three; 
Sweet Willie, wha used to be foremost 
Was the hindmost a' but three. 

19 he cam cripple, and he cam blind. 

Cam twa-fald oer a tree: 
' O be he cripple, or be he blind, 
This very same man is he.' 

20 * O whether will ye marry the bonny may. 

Or hang on the gallows-tree ? ' 
' O I will rather marry the bonny may, 
Afore that I do die.' 

21 But he took out a purse of gold, 

Weel locked in a glove: 

* O tak ye that, my bonny may, 

And seek anither love.' 

22 ' O I will hae none o your gold,' she 

' Nor as little ony of your fee. 
But I will hae your ain body. 
The king has granted me.' 




23 O he took out a purse of gold, 

A purse of gold and store; 
' O tak ye that, fair may,' he said, 

* Frae me ye '11 ueer get mair.' 

24 ' O hand your tongue, young man,' she 


* And I pray you let me be ; 
For I will hae your ain body, 

The king has granted me.' 

25 He mounted her on a bonny bay horse, 

Himsel on the silver grey; 
He drew his bonnet out oer his een. 
He whipt and rade away. 

26 O whan they cam to yon nettle bush, 

Tiie nettles they war spread: 
* O an my mither war but here,' she says, 

* These nettles she wad sned.' 

27 ' O an I had drank the wan water 

Whan I did drink the wine. 
That eer a shepherd's dochter 
Should hae been a love o mine ! 

28 * O may be I 'm a shepherd's dochter, 

And may be I am nane; 
But you might hae ridden on your ways, 
And hae let me alane.' 

29 O whan they cam unto yon mill, 

She heard the mill clap : 

30 'Clap on, clap on, thou bonny mill, 

Weel n)ay thou, I say, 
For moiiy a time thou 's filled my pock 
Wi baith oat-meal and grey.' 

31 ' O an I had drank the wan water 

AVhan I did drink the wine. 
That eer a shepherd's dochter 
Should hae been a love o mine ! ' 

32 * O may be I 'm a shepherd's dochter. 

And may be I am nane; 
But^you might hae ridden on our waj^s, 
And hae let me alane. 

33 ' But yet I think a fitter match 

Could scarcely gang thegither 
Than the King of France's auld dochter 
And the Queen of Scotland's brither.' 


This is not a purely popular ballad, but 
rather of that kind which, for convenience, 
may be called the minstrel-ballad. It has, 
however, popular features, and markedly iu 
stanzas 18, 14, for which see No. 50, sts. 5-7 ; 
No. 52, St. 6 ; No. 110, A, sts. 5, 6, B, sts. o, 4, 

MS. Rawlinson, C. 813, fol. 5G b, beginning' 
of the sixteenth ceutui-y. Halliwell's Nugai 
Pooticae, p. 42. 

1 Throughe a forest as I can ryde, 

To take my sporte yn on mornyng, 
I cast my eye on euery syde, 

I was ware of a bryde syngynge. 

2 I sawe a faire mayde come rydyng; 

I speke to hur of lone, I trowe ; 
She answered me all yn scornyng, 
And sayd. The crowe shall byte yow. 

3 'I pray yow, damesell, scorne me nott; 

To wyn your loue ytt ys my wyll; 
For you?' loue I haue dere bought, 
And I wyll take good hede thertyll.' 

4 * Nay, for God, sir, that I nyll; 

I tell the, Jenken, as I trowe, 
Thow shalt nott f^aide me suche a gyllj 
Therfore the crowe shall byte yow.' 

5 He toke then owt a good golde ryng, 

A pi/rse of velweytt, that was soo 
fyne : 
' Haue ye thys, my dere swetyng, 
With that ye wylbe lemman myn.' 

6 * Be Cryst, I dare nott, for my dame, 

To dele with hym pat I do nott 
knowe ; 
For soo I myght dyspyse my name; 
Therfore the crow shall byte yow.' 

7 He toke hur abowte the mydell small. 

That was soo faire of hyde and hewe; 
He kyssed hur cheke as whyte as whall, 
And pmyed hur pat she wolde vpon 
hym re we. 

8 She scornyd hym, and callyd hym Hew: 

His loue was as a payuted blowe: 




' To-day me, to-niorowe a newe; 
Tiiei'fore the crow shall byte yow. ' 

9 He toke hiir abowte tlie mydell small, 
And layd hur downe vpou the grene; 
Tvvys or thrys he served hur soo wi'tli- 
He wolde iiott stynt yet, as I wene. 

10 * But sythe ye haue i-lyeu me bye, 

Ye wyll wedde me now, as I trowe: ' 
' I wyll be aduysed, Gyll,' sayd he, 
' For now the pye bathe peckyd yow.' 

11 ' But sythe ye haue i-leyn me by, 

And broug'ht my body vuto shame. 
Some of your good ye wyll part with 
Or elles, be Cryst, ye be to blame.' 

12 'I wylbe adu3^sed,' he sayde; 

* J>e wynde ys wast ]>at thow doyst 
bio we ; 
I haue a-noder 'pat most be payde; 
Therfore the pye bathe peeked yow.' 

13 ' Now sythe ye haue i-lej^n me bye, 

A lyttle thyng ye wyll tell; 
In case that I wzth chylde be, 

What ys your name ? Wher doo ye 
dwell ? ' 

14 'At Yorke, a[t] London, at Clerken- 

At Leyceste?', Cambryge, at myrye 

Some call me Ry chard, Robart, Jacke, 

and Wyll; 
For now the pye hathe peckyd yow. 

15 ' But, all medans, be ware be rewe. 

And lett no man downe yow throwe; 
For and yow doo, ye wyll ytt rewe, 
For then J^e pye wyll pecke yow.' 

16 ' Farewell, corteor, ouer the medoo, 

Phike vp yoT^r helys, I yow beshrew ! 
Yowr trace, wher so euer ye ryde or 
Crystes curse goo wythe yow ! 

17 ' Thoughe a knave hathe by me leyne, 

Yet am I noder dede nor slowe; 
I trust to reconer my harte agayne. 
And Crystes curse goo wythe yow ! ' 


Besides the version here printed there are 
broadside copies, and others that have been 
taken down from recitation. Percy inserted a 
version of C (a broadside copy) abridged to 
forty-five stanzas, in his Reliqnes, 1765, ill, 
2;^8. A similar story occurs in many European 

a. Ravenscrof t's Deuteromelia, or, The Second 
Part of Musick's Melodie, or Melodious Mu- 
sicke, etc.. E 4, London, 1G09. ' The Over Cour- 
teous Knight,' Ritson's Ancient Song-s, IT'./O, 
p. 159. b. Pills to Purge Melancholy, in, 37, 

1 Yonder comes a courteous knight, 

Lustely raking ouer the lay; 
He was wel ware of a bonny lasse. 

As she came wandring ouer the way. 
Then she sang downe a downe, hej 
downe derry (bis) 

2 'lone you speed, fayre lady,' he said, 

'Among the leaues that be sogreene; 
If I were a king, and wore a crowne, 
Full soone, fair lady, shouldst thou be 
a queen. 

3 'Also lone sane you, faire lady. 

Among the roses that be so red; 
If I haue not my will of you. 

Full soone, faire lady, shall I be dead.' 

4 Then he lookt east, then bee lookt west, 

Hee lookt north, so did he south; 
He could not finde a priuy place, 
For all lay in the diueFs mouth. 

^5 * If you will carry me, gentle sir, 
A mayde vnto my father's hall, 
Then you shall haue your will of me, 
Vnder purple and vnder paule.' 

6 He set her vp vpon a steed, 

And him selfe vpon another, 
And all the day he rode her by. 

As though they had beene sister and 

7 When she came to her father's hall, 

It was well walled round about; 


She yode in at the wicket-gate, 

And shut the f oure-eard f oole without. 

8 * You had me,' quoth she, ' abroad in the 

Among the come, amidst the hay, 
Where you might had your will of mee. 
For, in good faith, sir, I neuer said 

9 ' Ye had me also amid the field, 

Among the rushes that were so 

Where you might had your will of me, 
But you had not the face to lay me 


10 He pulled out his nut-browne sword. 

And wipt the rust off with his sleeue, 
And said, loue's curse come to his heart 
Tiiat any woman would beleeue ! 

11 When you haue your owne true-loue 

A mile or twaine out of the towne. 
Spare not for her gay clothing. 

But lay her body flat on the ground. 



" Finns," as they are for the most part called, 
denizens of a regnon below the depths of the 
ocean, are able to ascend to the land above by 
donning- a seal-skin, which then they are wont to 
lay off, and, having- divested themselves of it, 
they " act just like men and women." If this 
integ-ument be taken away from them, they 
cannot pass through the sea again and return 
to their proper abode, and they become subject 
to the power of man, like the swan-maidens 
and mer-wives of Scandinavian and German 
tradition : Grimm's Mythologie, I, 354 f . Fe- 
male Finns, under these circumstances, have 
been fain to accept of human partners. 

Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries 
of Scotland, i, 86, 18.52. Communicated by 
the late Captain F. W. L. Thomas, R. N. ; 
written down by him from the dictation of a 
venerable lady of Snarra Voe, Shetland. 

1 An eartly nonrris sits and sings, 

And aye she sings, Ba, lily wean ! 

Little ken I my bairnis father, 
Far less the land that he staps in. 

2 Then ane arose at her bed-fit, 

An a grumly guest I'm sure was he: 
' Here am 1, thy bairnis father, 
Although that I be not comelie. 

3 * I am a man, upo the Ian, 

An I am a silkie in the sea; 
And when I 'm far and far f rae Ian, 
My dwelling is in Sule Skerrie.' 

4 ' It was na weel,' quo the maiden fair, 

' It was na weel, indeed,' quo she, 
* That the Great Silkie of Sule Skerrie 
Suld hae come and aught a bairn to 

5 Now he has taen a purse of goud, 

And he has pat it upo her knee, 

Sayin, Gie to me my little young son, 

An tak thee up thy nourris-fee. 

6 An it sail come to pass on a simmer's 

When the sin shines het on evera 

That I will tak my little young son, 
An teach him for to swim the faera. 

7 An thu sail marry a proud gunner, 

An a proud gunner I 'm sure he '11 be. 
An the very first schot that ere he 

He '11 schoot baith my young son and 




The first notice in print of this precious 
specimen of the unspoiled traditional ballad is 
in Ritson's Scotish Song, 1794, i, xxxvi, note 25. 
Before this, 1780, a ladv of Carlisle had sent a 
copy to Percy (A). Sckt, 1802, was the first 
to publish the ballad, selecting- " the stanzas 
of greatest merit " from several copies which 
were in his hands. 

Percv Papers, communicated to Percy by 
Miss Fisher, of Carlisle, 1780, No. 5 of MS. 




1 JoHNY he has risen up i the morn, 

Calls for water to wash his hands; 
But little knew he that his bloody hounds 
Were bound in iron bands, bands 
Were bound in iron bands 

2 Johny's mother has gotten word o that, 

And care-bed she has taen: 
* O Johny, for ray benison, 

I beg you '1 stay at hame; 
For the wine so red, and the well baken 

My Johny shall want nane. 

3 ' There are seven forsters at Pickeram 

At Pickeram where they dwell, 
And for a drop of thy heart's bluid 
They wad ride the fords of hell.' 

4 Johny he 's gotten word of that, 

And he 's turnd wondrous keen; 
He 's put off the red scarlett. 

And he 's put on the Lincolm green. 

5 With a sheaf of arrows by his side, 

And a bent bow in his hand, 
He 's mounted on a prancing steed. 
And he has ridden fast oer the strand. 

6 He 's up i Braidhouplee, and down i 

And under a buss o broom. 
And there he found a good dun deer, 
Feeding in a buss of ling. 

7 Johny shot, and the dun deer lap. 

And she lap wondrous wide. 
Until thej came to the wan water, 
And he stemd her of her pride. 

8 He 'as taen out the little pen-knife, 

'T was full three quarters long, 
And he has taen out of that dun deer 
The liver hot and the tongue. 

9 They eat of the flesh, and they drank of 

the blood, 
And the blood it was so sweet, 
Which caused Johny and his bloody 

To fall in a deep sleep. 

10 By then came an old palmer, 

And an ill death may he die ! 

For he 's away to Pickram Side, 
As fast as he can drie 

11 ' What news, what news ? ' says the 

Seven Forsters, 
' What news have ye brought to me ? ' 
* I have noe news,' the palmer said, 

* But what I saw with my eye. 

12 ' High up i Bradyslee, low down i Bra- 

And under a buss of scroggs, 
O there I spied a well-wight man, 
Sleeping among his dogs. 

13 ' His coat it was of light Lincolm, 

And his breeches of the same, 

His shoes of the American leather, 

And gold buckles tying them.' 

14 Up bespake the Seven Forsters, 

Up bespake they ane and a'; 

O that is Johny o Cockleys Well, 

And near him we will draw. 

15 the first y stroke that they gae him. 

They struck him off by the knee; 
Then up bespake his sister's son: 

* O the next '11 gar him die ! ' 

16 ' O some they count ye well - wight 


But I do count ye nane; 
For you might well ha wakend me, 
And askd gin I wad be taen. 

17 * The wildest wolf in aw this wood 

Wad not ha done so by me; 
She 'd ha wet her foot ith wan water, 

And sprinkled it oer my brae. 
And if that wad not ha wakend me, 

She wad ha gone and let me be. 

18 ' O bows of yew, if ye be true. 

In London, where ye were bought, 
Fingers five, get up belive, 

Manhuid shall fail me nought.' 

19 He has killd the Seven Forsters, 

He has killd them all but ane. 
And that wan scarce to Pickeram Side, 
To carry the bode- words hame. 

20 * Is there never a boy in a' this wood 

That will tell what I can say; 




That will go to Cockleys Well, 

Tell my mither to fetch me away ? ' 

21 There was a boy mto that wood, 
That carried the tidings away. 
And many ae was the well-wight man 
At the fetching o Johny away. 

'Johnny Cock,' Pieces of Ancient Poetry 
from Unpublished Manuscripts and Scarce 
Books, Bristol, [John Fry,] 1814, p. 53. 

1 Fifteen foresters in the Braid alow, 

And they are wondrous fell; 
To get a drop of Johnny's heart-bluid, 
They would sink a' their souls to hell. 

2 Johnny Cock has gotten word of this, 

And he is wondrous keen; 
He['s] custan off the red scarlet, 
And on the Linkum green. 

3 And he is ridden oer muir and muss, 

And over mountains high, 
Till he came to yon wan water, 
And there Johnny Cock did lie. 

4 They have ridden oer muir and muss. 

And over mountains high, 
Till they met wi an old palmer, 
Was walking along the way. 

5 * What news, what news, old palmer ? 

What news have you to me ? ' 
* Yonder is one of the proudest wed sons 
That ever my eyes did see.' 

6 He 's taen out a horn from his side. 

And he blew both loud and shrill, 
Till a' the fifteen foresters 

Heard Johnny Cock blaw his horn. 

7 They have sworn a bluidy oath, 

And they swore all in one. 
That there was not a man among them a' 
Would blaw such a blast as yon. 

8 And they have ridden oer muir and 

And over mountains high. 
Till they came to yon wan water, 
Where Johnny Cock did lie. 

9 They have shotten little Johnny Cock, 
A little above the ee: 

* For doing the like to me. 

10 * There 's not a wolf in a' the wood 

Woud ha done the like to me; 
She 'd ha dipped her foot in coll water, 

And strinkled above my ee. 
And if I would [not] have waked fo\ 

She 'd ha gane and let me be. 

11 ' But fingers five,come here, [come here,] 

And faint heart fail me nought, 
And silver strings, value me sma things, 
Till I get all this vengeance rov/ght ! ' 

12 He ha[s] shot a' the fifteen foresters. 

Left never a one but one. 
And he broke the ribs a that ane's 
And let him take tiding home. 


* ... a bird in a' the wood 

Could sing as I could say. 
It would go in to my mother's bower, 

And bid her kiss me, and take me 

'Johnny Cock,' Pieces of Ancient Poetry 
from Unpublished Manuscripts and Scarce 
Books, Bristol, 1814, p. 51. 

1 Johnny Cock, in a May morning. 

Sought water to wash his hands, 
And he is awa to louse his dogs. 
That 's tied wi iron bans. 
That 's tied wi iron bans 

2 His coat it is of the light Lincum green, 

And his breiks are of the same ; 
His shoes are of the American leather. 
Silver buckles tying them. 

3 He hunted up, and so did he down, 

Till he came to yon bush of scrogs, 
And then to yon wan water, 

Where he slept among his dogs. 

4 Johnny Cock out-shot a' the foresters. 
And out-shot a the three; 




Out shot a' the foresters, 

Wounded Johnny aboun the bree. 

5 * Woe be to you, foresters, 

And an ill death may you die ! 
For there would not a wolf in a' the wood 
Have done the liketo me. 

6 * For 't would ha' put its foot in the coll 

And ha strinkled it on my bree, 
And gin that would not have done, 
Would have gane and lett me be. 

7 * I often took to my mother 

The dandoo and the roe, 
But now I '1 take to my mother 
Much sorrow and much woe. 

8 * I often took to my mother 

The dandoo and the hare. 
But now I '1 take to my mother 
Much sorrow and much care.' 

* Johnie of Cockerslee,' Kinloch's annotated 
copy of his Ancient Scottish Ballads, p. 88 bis : 
a West-Country version. 

1 Up Johnie raise in a May morning, 

Calld for water to wash his hands, 
And he has calld for his gude gray 
That lay bund in iron bands, bands 
That lay bund in iron bands 

2 * Ye '11 busk, ye '11 busk my noble dogs. 

Ye '11 busk and mak them boun. 
For I 'm going to the Braidscaur hill, 
To ding the dun deer doun.' 

3 Whan Johnie's mither gat word o that, 

On the very bed she lay. 
Says, Johnie, for my malison, 
I pray ye at hame to stay. 

4 Your meat sail be of the very, very best. 

Your drink sail be the same. 
And ye will win your mither's benison. 
Gin ye wad stay at hame. 

5 But Johnie has cast afE the black velvet, 

And put on the Lincolm twine. 
And he is on to gude greenwud, 
As fast as he could gang. 

6 His mither's counsel he wad na tak, 

He 's aff, and left the toun. 
He 's aff unto the Braidscaur hill, 
To ding the dun deer doun. 

7 Johnie lookit east, and Johnie lookit 

And he lookit aneath the sun. 
And there he spied the dun deer sleep- 

Aneath a buss o whnn. 

8 Johnie shot, and the dun deer lap, 

And he 's scaithed him in the side. 
And atween the water and the wud 
He laid the dun deer's pride. 

9 They ate sae meikle o the venison. 

And drank sae meikle o the blude, 
That Johnie and his twa gray hunds 
Fell asleep in yonder wud. 

10 By there cam a silly auld man. 

And a silly auld man was he, 
And he 's aff to the proud foresters, 
As fast as he could dree. 

11 ' What news, what news, my silly auld 

man ? 
What news ? come tell to me ' ' 
' I heard na news, I speird na news 
But what my een did see. 

12 * As I cam in by Braldisbauks, 

And doun amang the whuns. 

The bonniest youngster eer I saw 

Lay sleepin amang his hunds. 

13 * His cheeks war like the roses red, 

His neck was like the snaw; 
His sark was o the hoi land fine, 
And his jerkin lac'd fu braw.' 

14 Up bespak the first forester, 

The first forester of a': 
O this is Johnie o Cockerslee; 
Come draw, lads, we maun draw. 

15 Up bespak the niest forester, 

The niest forester of a': 
An this be Johnie o Cockerslee, 
To him we winna draw. 

16 The first shot that they did shoot. 

They woundit him on the bree; 




Up bespak the uncle's son, 
The iiiest will gar him die.' 

17 The second shot that eer they shot, 

It scaithd him near the heart; 
*I only wauken,' Johnie cried, 
' Whan first I find the smart. 

18 * Stand stout, stand stout, my noble dogs, 

Stand stout, and dinna flee; 
Stand fast, stand fast, my gude gray 
And we will gar them die.' 

19 He has killed six o the proud foresters. 

And wounded the seventh sair: 
He laid his leg out owre his steed, 
Says, I will kill na mair. 

20 * Oh wae befa thee, silly auld man. 

An ill death may thee dee ! 

Upon thy head be a' this blude, 

For mine, I ween, is free.' 

Finlay's Scottish Ballads, I, xxxi. 

* There 's no a bird in a' this forests 

Will do as meikle for me 
As dip its wing in the wan water 

An straik it on my ee-bree.' 


Printed by Ritson, Ancient Song-s, 1790, 
p. 48, and by Thomas Wrig-ht, Songs and Carols 
(selected from the Sloane MS.), No. X, London, 
1836, and again in his edition of the whole 
MS. for the Warton Club, 1856, p. 42. The 
manuscript is put at about 1450. 

Wright remarks on the similarity of the name 
Gandelyn to Garaelyn in the tale ascribed to 
the Cook in some manuscripts of the Canter- 
bury Tales, and on the resemblance of the tale 
of Gamelyn to Robin Hood story. But he 
could hardly have wished to give the impres- 
sion that Robin in this ballad is Robin Hood. 
This he no more is than John in the ballad of 
Johnie Cock is Little John ; though Gandelyn 
is as true to his master as Little John is. 

Sloane MS., 2593, fol. 14 b, British Museum. 

1 I HERDE a carpyng of a clerk, 

Al at ^one wodes ende. 
Of gode Robyn and Gandeleyn; 

Was per non o]>er pynge. 
Robynn lyth in grene wode bowndyn 

2 Stronge theuys wern po chylderin non, 

But bowmen gode and hende; 
He wentyn to wode to getyn hem fleych, 
If God wold it hem sonde. 

3 Al day wentyn po chylderin too, 

And fleych fowndyn he non. 
Til it were a-geyn euyn ; 
])e chylderin wold gon horn. 

4 Half an honderid of fat falyf der 

He comyn a-^on, 
And alle he wern fayr and fat i-now, 
But markyd was per non: 

* Be dere God,' seyde gode Robyn, 

' Here of we xul haue on.' 

5 Robyn bent his joly bowe, 

])er in he set a flo; 
]>e fattest der of alle 
J>e herte he clef a to. 

6 He hadde not J?e der i-flawe, 

Ne half out of ]?e hyde, 
There cam a schre wde ar we out of ]?e west, 
pat felde Robertes pryde. 

7 Gandeleyn lokyd hym est and west, 

Be eue?'y syde: 

* Hoo hat myn mayster slayin ? 

Ho hat don ]?is dede ? 
Xal I neuer out of grene wode go 
Til I se [his] sydis blede.' 

8 Gandeleyn lokyd hym est and lokyd 

And sowt vnd^r fe sunne; 
He saw a lytil boy 

He clepyn Wrennok of Donne. 

9 A good bowe in his bond, 

A brod arwe per ine, 
And fowre and twenti goode arwys, 
Trusyd in a )?rumme: 
' Be war pe, war J^e, Gandeleyn, 
Her-of pu xalt ban summe. 

10 * Be war pe, war pe, Gandeleyn, 
Her of J7U gyst plente: 




' Euer on for an o}?er,' seyde Gandeleyn; 
* Mysaunter haue he xal fle. 

11 * Qwer-at xal our marke be ? * 

Seyde Gandeleyn: 
' Euerycbe at oj^eris herte,' 
Seyde Wrennok ageyn. 

12 ' Ho xal 3eue pe ferste schote ? * 

Seyde Gandeleyn: 

* And I xul ^eue pe on be-forn,' 

Seyde Wrennok ageyn. 

13 Wrennok schette a ful good schote, 

And he schet not to bye; 
J>row Ipe sancho]7is of his bryk; 
It towchyd aey]>er thye. 

14 * Now hast ])\i jouyn me on be-forn,' 

Al ]?us to \\ rennok seyde he, 

* And ]?ro\v f'e my^t of our lady 

A bettere I xal ^eue pe.' 

15 Gandeleyn bent his goode bowe. 

And set per in a flo ; 
He schet prow his grene certyl, 
His herte he clef on too. 

16 * Now xalt }7u neuer ^elpe, Wrennok, 

At ale ne at wyn, 
]>at l)u hast slawe goode Robyn, 
And his knaue Gandeleyn. 

17 * Now xalt ]7u neuer ^elpe, Wrennok, 

At wyn ne at ale, 
"pat fiu hast slawe goode Robyn, 
And Gandeleyn his knaue.' 

Robyn ly^th in grene wode bowndyn 



* Adam Bell ' is licensed to John Kynge in 
the Stationers' Reg-isters, 19 July, 1557 - 9 July, 
1558. Again, among' copies which were Samp- 
son Awdeley's, to John Charlewood, 15 Jan- 
uary, 1.582 ; and, among copies which were 
John Charlwoode's, to James Robertes, 31 May, 
1594. Seven reprints of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, later than d, are noted in Mr. W. C. 
Hazlitt's Handbook, p. 35. 

The rescue of Robin Hood by Little John 
and Much in No. 119, sts. 61-82, has a general 
resemblance to the rescue of Cloudesly by 
Adam and Clim in this ballad, sts. 52 ff. The 
rescue of Will Stutly (No. 141) has also some 
slight similarity, sts. 26-33. 

The shooting of an apple from a boy's head 
(sts. 151-162) is, as is well known, a trait in sev- 
eral German and Norse traditions, and these 
particular feats, as well as everything resem- 
bling them, have been a subject of eager discus- 
sion in connection with the apocryphal history 
of William Tell. The story is not remarkably 
widespread. The seven versions agree in two 
points : the shot is compulsory ; the archer 
meditates revenge in case he harms the person 
on whose head the mark is placed. These 
features are wanting in the English ballad. 
William of Cloudesly offers of his own free 
motion to shoot an apple from his son's head, 
and this after the king had declared him the 
best archer he had ever seen, for splitting a 
hazel-rod at twenty score paces ; so that the 
act was done purely for glory. To be sure, the 
king threatens him with death if he does not 
achieve what he has undertaken, as death is 
also threatened in four of the seven German- 
Scandinavian stories for refusal to try the shot 
or for missing ; but the threats in sts. 154 f. of 
the English ballad are a revival of the vow in 
sts. 119 f. The shooting of the apple from the 
boy's head, isolated from any particular, con- 
nection, is perhaps all of the German-Scandi- 
navian story that was known to the English 
ballad-maker, and all minor resemblances may 
well be fortuitous. 

If the shooting of an apple by somebody 
from somebody's head is to be regarded as the 
kernel of the story, its area may then be con- 
siderably extended. For various remoter par- 
allels of this kind, see Child, ill, 19 ff., where 
a full discussion will be found. Professor 
Child is opposed to the mythical explanation 
and takes particularly strong- ground against 
making a sun-god out of William of Cloudesly. 
He sums up in the following sentence : " A 
s^^ory long current in Europe, a mythical story 
if you please, could certainly be taken up by 
an English ballad-maker without prejudice to 
the substantial and simply romantic character 
of his hero." 

a. Two fragments, stanzas 113^-1282, 1612- 
170, of an edition by John Byddell, London, 
1536 : Library of the University of Cambridge. 

b. A fragment, stanzas 5.3^-111^, by a printer 
not identified : formerly in the possession of 
J. Payne Collier. 

C. ' Adambel, Clym of the cloughe, and 
Wyllyam of cloudesle,' Williami Copeland, 
London [1548-68] : British Museum, C. 21, c. 64 




d. ' Adam Bell, Clim of the Cloxigli, and 
TVilliam of Cloudesle,' James Roberts, Lon- 
don, 1G05 : Bodleian Library, C 39, Art. Sel- 

e. Another edition with the same title-page : 
Bodleian Library, Malone, 29i). 

f. ' Adam Bell, Clime of the Cloug-[he], and 
William off Cloudeslee,' Percy MS., p. 390: 
British Museum. Hales and Furnivall, iii, 76. 

C. 1 Mery it was in grene forest, 
Amonge the leues grene, 
Where that men walke both east and 
Wyth bowes and arrowes kene, 

2 To r3'se the dere out of theyr denne; 

Suche sightes as hath ofte bene sene. 
As by th[r]e yemen of the north coun- 
By them it is as I meane. 

3 The one of them bight Adam Bel, 

The other Clym of the Cloiigh, 
The thyrd was William of Cloudesly, 
An archer good ynough. 

4 They were outlawed for venyson. 

These thre yemen euerechone; 
They swore them brethen vpon a day. 
To Englysshe-wood for to gone. 

5 Now lith and lysten, gentylmen, 

And that of myrthes loueth to here: 
Two of them were single men, 
The third had a wedded fere. 

6 Wyllyam was the wedded man, 

Muche more then was hys care: 
He sayde to hys brethen vpon a day. 
To Carelel he would fare, 

7 For to speke with fayre Alse hys wife, 

And with hys chyldren thre: 
* By my trouth,' sayde Adam Bel, 
' Not by the eounsell of me. 

8 * For if ye go to Caerlel, brother, 

And from thys wylde wode wende. 
If the justice mai you take. 
Your lyfe were at an ende.' 

9 ' If that I come not to morowe, brother, 

By pryme to j'ou agayne, 
Tniste not els but that I am take. 
Or else that I am slayne.' 

10 He toke hys leaue of hys brethen two, 

And to Carlel he is gone; 
There he knocked at hys owne wyndowe, 
Shortlye and anoue. 

11 * Wher be you, fayre Alyce, my wyfe, 

And my chyldren three ? 
Lyghtly let in thyne husbande, 
Wyllyam of Cloudesle.' 

12 * Alas ! ' then sayde fayre Alyce, 

And syghed wonderous sore, 
'Thys place hath ben besette for you 
Thys halfe yere and more.' 

13 * Now am I here,' sayde Cloudesle, 

* I woulde that I in were; 
Now feche vs meate and drynke 
And let vs make good chere.' 

14 She feched him meat and drynke plenty, 

Lyke a true wedded wyfe. 
And pleased hym with that she had, 
Whome she loued as her lyfe. 

15 There lay an old wyfe in that place, 

A lytle besyde the fyre, 
Whych Wyllyam had found, of chery- 


More then seuen yere. 

16 Up she rose, and walked full styll, 

Euel mote she spede therefoore ! 
For she had not set no fote on ground 
In seuen yere before. 

17 She went vnto the justice hall. 

As fast as she could hye: 
* Thys nyght is come vn to thys town 
Wyllyam of Cloudesle.' 

18 Thereof the iustice was full fayne. 

And so was the shirife also: 
' Thou shalt not trauaile hether, dame, 
for nought; 
Thy meed thou shalt haue or thou go.' 

19 They gaue to her a ryght good goune. 

Of scarlat it was, as I heard say[n]e; 
She toke the gyft, and home she wente, 
And couched her doune agayne. 

20 They rysed the towne of mery Carlel, 

In all the hast that they can, 




And came thronging to Wyllyames 
As fast [as] they might gone. 

21 Theyr they besette that good yeman, 

Round about on euery syde; 
Wyllyam hearde great noyse of folkes, 
That heytherward they hyed. 

22 Alyce opened a shot-wyndow, 

And loked all about; 
She was ware of the justice and the 
shrife bothe, 
Wyth a full great route. 

23 * Alas ! treason,' cryed Alyce, 

* Euer wo may thou be ! 
Go into my chambre, my husband,' she 
' Swete Wyllyam of Cloudesle.' 

24 He toke hys sweard and hys bucler, 

Hys bow and hy[s] chyldren thre, 
And wente into hys strongest chamber, 
Where he thought surest to be. 

25 Fayre Alice folowed him as a louer 

With a pollaxe in her hande: 
* He shalbe deade that here cometh in 
Thys dore, whyle I may stand.' 

26 Cloudesle bent a wel good bowe, 

That was of trusty tre. 
He smot the justise on the brest. 
That hys arrowe brest in thre. 

27 ' God's curse on his hartt,' saide William, 

' Thys day thy cote dyd on ; 
If it had ben no better then myne, 
It had gone nere thy bone.' 

28 * Yelde the, Cloudesle,' sayd the justise, 

* And thy bowe a7id thy arrowes the 

*Gods curse on hys hart,' sayde fair 

* That my husband councelleth so.* 

29 * Set fyre on the house,' saide the 


' Syth it wyll no better be, 
And brenne we therin William,' he 

* Hys wyfe and chyldren thre/ 

30 They fyred the house in many a place, 

The fyre flew vpon hye; 
* Alas ! ' than cryed fayr Alice, 
* I se we shall here dy.' 

31 William openyd hys backe wyndow, 

That was in hys chambre on hye, 
And wyth shetes let hys wyfe downe, 
And hys chyldren thre. 

32 * Haue here my treasure,' sayde Wil- 


' My wyfe and my chyldren thre; 
For Christes loue do them no harme, 
But wreke you all on me.' 

33 Wyllyam shot so wonderous well, 

Tyll hys arrowes were all go, 
And the fyre so fast vpon hym fell. 
That hys bo[w]stryng brent in two. 

34 The spercles brent and fell hym on, 

Good Wyllyam of Cloudesle; 
But than was he a wofull man, and 
Thys is a cowardes death to me. 

35 ' Leuer I had,' sayde Wyllyam, 

' With my sworde in the route to 
Then here among myne ennemyes wode 
Thus cruelly to bren.' 

36 He toke hys sweard and hys buckler, 

And among them all he ran; 
Where the people were most in prece, 
He smot downe many a man. 

37 There myght no man stand hys stroke, 

So fersly on them he ran; 
Then they threw wyndowes and dores on 
And so toke that good yeman. 

38 There they hym bounde both hand and 


And in depe dongeon hym cast; 
* Now, Cloudesle,' sayde the hye justice, 
« Thou shalt be hanged in hast.' 

39 'One vow shal I make,' sayde the 


* A payre of new galowes shall I for 
1 the make. 




And al the gates of Caerlel sbalbe 
There shall no man come in therat. 

40 ' Then shall not helpe Clim of the 
Nor yet Adam Bell, 
Though they came with a thousand 
Nor all the deuels in hell.' 

11 Early in the mornyng the justice vprose, 
To the gates fast gan he gon, 
And commaunded to be shut full cloce 
Lightile euerychone. 

42 Then went he to the market-place, 

As fast as he coulde bye; 
A payre of new gallons there dyd be vp 
Besyde the pyllory. 

43 A lytle boy stod them amonge, 

And asked what meaned that gallow- 
They sayde, To bange a good yeaman, 
Called Wyllyam of Cloudesle. 

44 That lytle boye was the towne swyne- 

And kept fayre Alyce swyne; 
Full oft be bad sene Cloudesle in the 
And geuen hym there to dyne. 

45 He went out of a creues in the wall, 

And lightly to the woode dyd gone ; 
There met be with these wyght yonge 
Shortly and anone. 

46 * Alas ! ' then sayde that lytle boye, 

' Ye tary here all to longe ; 
Cloudesle is taken and dampned to 
All readye for to honge.' 

47 * Alas ! ' then sayde good Adam Bell, 

* That euer we see thys daye I 
He mygbt her with vs baue dwelled, 
So ofte as we dyd him praye. 

48 *He mygbt baue taryed in grene for- 

Under the sbadowes sbeeue, 

And baue kepte both hym and vs ia 
Out of trouble and teene.* 

49 Adam bent a ryght good bow, 

A great hart soiie had be slayne; 
'Take that, cbylde,' be sayde, 'to thy 
And bryng me myne arrowe agayne.' 

50 * Now go we hence,' sayed these wight 

yong mew, 

* Tary we no lenger here ; 

We shall hym borowe, by Gods grace, 
Though we bye it full dere.' 

51 To Caerlel went these good yemen, 

In a mery mornyng of Maye: 
Her is a fyt of Cloudesli, 
And another is for to saye. 

52 And when they came to mery Caerlell, 

In a fayre mornyng-tyde. 
They founde the gates shut tbemvntyll, 
Round about on euery syde. 

53 ' Alas ! ' than sayd good Adam Bell, 

* That euer we were made men ! 

b. These gates be shyt so wonderly well, 
That we may not come here in.' 

54 Than spake Clymme of the Cloughe: 

With a wyle we wyll vs in brynge; 
Let vs say we be messengers, 

Streyght comen from oure kynge. 

55 Adam sayd, I baue a lettre wryten wele, 

Now let vs wysely werke; 
We wyll say we baue the kynges scale, 
I holde the porter no clerke. 

56 Than Adam Bell bete on the gate, 

With strokes greate and stronge; 

The porter herde suche a noyse therate, 

And to the gate faste be thronge. 

57 ' Who is there nowe,' sayd the porter, 

* That maketh all this knockynge ? ' 
* We be two messengers,' sayd Clymme 

of the Clo[ughe], 

* Be comen streyght frome oure 

58 ' We baue a lettre,' sayd Adam Bell, 

' To the justyce we must it brynge; 




Let vs in, oure message to do, 

That we were agayne to our kynge.' 

59 * Here cometh no man in,' sayd the 

' By hyra that dyed on a tre, 
Tyll a false thefe be hanged, 
Called Wyllyam of Clovvdysle.' 

60 Than spake that good [yeman Clym of 

the Cloiighe, 
And swore by Mary fre. 
If that we stande long wythout, 
Lyke a thefe hanged shalt thou be.] 

61 iJLo here] we haue got the kynges seale; 

[What ! l]ordane, arte thou wode ? 
[The p]orter had wende it had been so, 
[And l]yghtly dyd of his hode. 

62 * [Welco]rae be my lordes seale,* sayd he, 

* [For] that shall ye come in : ' 
[He] opened the gate ryght shortly, 

[An] euyll openynge for hym ! 

63 ' [N]owe we are in,' sayd Adam Bell, 

' [T]herof we are full fayne; 
[But] Cryst knoweth that herowed hell, 
[H]ow we shall come oute agayne.' 

64 * [Had] we the keys,' sayd Clym of the 


* Ryght well than sholde we spede; 
[Than] myght we come out well ynough, 

[Whan] we se tyme and nede.' 

65 [They] called the porter to a coimcell, 

[And] wronge hys necke in two, 
[And] kest hym in a depe dongeon, 
[And] toke the keys hym fro. 

66 * [N]ow am I porter,' sayd Adam Bell; 

* [Se], broder, the keys haue we herej 
[The] worste porter to mery Carlell 

[That ye] had this hondreth yere. 

67 ' [Now] wyll we oure bowes bende, 

[Into the t]owne wyll we go, 
[For to delyuer our dere] broder, 
[Where he lyeth in care and wo.' 

68 Then they bent theyr good yew bowes, 

And loked theyr stringes were round;] 
The market-place of mery Carlyll, 
They beset in that stounde. 

69 And as they loked them besyde, 

A payre of newe galowes there they 

And the iustyce, with a quest of swerers, 
That had iuged Clowdysle there 

hanged to be. 

70 And Clowdysle hymselfe lay redy in a 


Fast bounde bothe fote and hande, 
And a strong rope aboute his necke, 
All redy for to be hangde. 

71 The iustyce called to hym a ladde; 

Clowdysles clothes sholde he haue. 
To take the mesure of that good yoman, 
And theraf ter to make his graue. 

72 * I haue sene as greate a merueyll,' sayd 


* As bytwene this and pryme, 
He that maketh thys graue for me, 

Hymselfe may lye therin.' 

73 * Thou spekest proudely,' sayd the ius- 


* I shall hange the with my hande: * 
Full well that herde his bretheren two, 

There sty 11 as they dyd stande. 

74 Than Clowdysle cast hys eyen asyde, 

And sawe hys bretheren stande, 
At a corner of the market-place, 

With theyr good bowes bent in theyr 
Redy the iustyce for to chase. 

75 * I se good com forte,' sayd Clowdysle, 

* Yet hope I well to fare; 

If I myght haue my handes at wyll, 
[Ryght l]ytell wolde I care.' 

76 [Than b]espake good Adam Bell, 

[To Clym]me of the Clowgh so fre; 
[Broder], se ye marke the iustyce well; 
[Lo yon]der ye may him se. 

77 [And at] the sheryf shote I wyll, 

[Stron]gly with an arowe kene; 

[A better] shotte in mery Carlyll, 

[Thys se]uen yere was not sene. 

78 [They lo]used theyr arowes bothe at 

[Of no] man had they drede; 




[The one] hyt the iustyce, the other the 
[That b]othe theyr sydes gan blede. 

79 [All men] voyded, that them stode nye, 

[Whan] the iustyce fell to the 
[And the] sheryf fell nyghe hym by; 
[Eyther] had his dethes wounde. 

80 [All the c]ytezeyns fast gan lie, 

[They du]rste no lenger abyde; 
[There ly]ghtly they loused Clowdysle, 
[Where he] with ropes lay tyde. 

81 [Wyllyam] sterte to an offycer of the 


[Hys axe] out his hande he wronge; 
[On eche] syde he smote them downe, 
[Hym tho]ught he had taryed to 


82 [Wyllyam] sayd to his bretheren two, 

[Thys daye] let vs togyder lyue and 

[If euer you] haue nede as I haue 

[The same] shall ye fynde by me. 

83 [They] shyt so well in that tyde, 

For theyr strynges were of sylke full 

That they kepte the stretes on euery 

syde ; 
That batayll dyd longe endure. 

84 They fought togyder as bretheren true, 

Lyke hardy men and bolde; 
Many a man to the grounde they threwe, 
And made many an herte eolde. 

85 But whan theyr arowes were all gone, 

Men presyd on them full fast; 
They drewe theyr swerdes than anone, 
And theyr bowes from them caste. 

86 They wente lyghtly on theyr waye. 

With swerdes and buckelers rounde; 
By that it was the myddes of the daye. 
They had made many a wounde. 

87 There was many an oute-horne in Carlyll 

And the belles backwarde dyd they 

Many a woman sayd alas. 

And many theyr handes dyd wrynge. 

88 The mayre of Carlyll forth come was, 

And with hym a full grete route; 
These thre yomen dredde hym full sore, 
For theyr lyues stode in doubte. 

89 The mayre came armed, a full greate 

With a polaxe in his hande; 
Many a stronge man with hym was. 
There in that stoure to stande. 

90 The mayre smote at Clowdysle with his 

His buckeler he brast in two; 
Full many a yonian with grete yll, 
' [Al]as, treason ! ' they cryed for 
' [Ke]pe we the gates fast,' they bad, 
' [T]hat these traytours theroute not 

91 But all for nought was that they 

For so fast they downe were layde 
Tyll they all thre, that so manfully 

Were goten without at a brayde. 

92 ' Haue here your keys,' sayd Adam Bell, 

' Myne offyce I here forsake; 
Yf ye do by my councell, 
A newe porter ye make.' 

93 He threwe the keys there at theyr 

And bad them evyll to thryue, 
And all that letteth ony good yoman 
To come and comforte his wyue. 

94 Thus be these good yomen gone to the 

As lyght as'lefe on lynde; 
They laughe and be mery in theyr mode, 
Theyr enemyes were farre behynde. 

95 Whan they came to Inglyswode, 

Under theyr trysty-tre, 
There they founde bowes full gode. 
And arowes greate plente. 

96 ' So helpe me God,' sayd Adam Bell, 

And Clymme of the Clowgh so fre, 




' I wolde we were no we in mery Carlell, 
[Bejfore that fayre meyne.' 

97 They set them downe and made good 

And eate an[d drjanke full well: 
Here is a fytte [of j these wyght yonge- 

And another I shall you tell. 

98 As they sat in Inglyswode, 

Under theyr trysty-tre, 
Them thought they herde a woman 
But her they myght not se. 

99 Sore syghed there fayre Alyce, and 

Alas that euer I se this daye ! 
For now is my dere husboude slayne, 
Alas and welawaye ! 

100 Myght I haue spoken wyth hys dere 

With eyther of them twayne, 
[To shew to them what him befell,] 
My herte were out of payne. 

101 Clowdysle walked a lytell besyde, 

And loked vnder the grene wodde 

He was ware of his wyfe and his chyl- 

dre[n thre], 
Full wo in herte and mynde. 

102 ' Welcome, wyfe,' than sayd Wyllyam, 

'Unto this trysty-tre; 
I had wende yesterdaye, by swete 
Sai[nt John], 
Thou sholde me neuer haue se.' 

103 ' Now w^ele is me,' she sayd, ' that [ye 

be here], 
My herte is out of wo: * 
' Dame,' he sayd, ' be mery and glad, 
And thanke my bretheren two.' 

104 'Here of to speke,' sayd Ad [am] 


* I-wys it [is no bote] ; 
The me[at that we must supp withall. 
It runneth yet fast on fote.' 

105 Then went they down into a launde, 

These noble archares all thre, 

Eche of the]m slewe a harte of grece, 
[The best t]hey eoude there se. 

lOG ' [Haue here the] best, Alyce my wyfe.' 
[Sayde Wyllya]m of Clowdysle, 
' [By cause ye so] boldely stode me by, 
[Whan I w]as slayne full nye.' 

107 [Than they] wente to theyr souper, 

[Wyth sue] he mete as they had, 
[And than]ked God of theyr fortune; 
[They we]re bothe mery and glad. 

108 [And whan] they had souped well, 

[Certayne] withouten leace, 
[Clowdysle] sayde. We wyll to ome 
[To get v]s a chartre of peace. 

109 [Alyce shal] be at soiournynge, 

[In a nunry] here besyde ; 
[My tow sonnjes shall with her go, 
[And ther the]y shall abyde. 

110 [Myne eldest so]ne shall go with me, 

[For hym haue I] no care, 
[And he shall breng] you worde agayne 
[How that we do fare. 

111 Thus be these wig]ht men to London 

[As fast as they ma]ye hye, 
[Tyll they came to the kynges] palays, 
c. There they woulde nedes be. 

112 And whan they came to the kynges 

Unto the pallace gate. 
Of no man wold they aske leue, 
But boldly went in therat. 

113 They preced prestly into the hall, 

Of no man had they dreade; 
The porter came after and dyd them 
a. And with them began to [chyde.] 

114 The vssher sayd, Yemen, what wolde 

ye haue ? 
I praye you tell me ; 
Ye myght thus make offycers shent: 
Good syrs, of whens be ye ? 

115 ' Syr, we be outlawes of the forest, 

Certayne withouten leace. 




And hyther we be come to our kynge, 
To get vs a charter of peace.' 

110 And whan tLey came before our kynge, 
As it was the lawe of the lande, 
They kneled downe without lettynge, 
And eche helde vp his hande. 

117 They sayd, Lorde, we beseche you 
That ye wyll graunte vs grace, 
For we haue slayne your fatte falowe 
In many a sondry place. 

lis * What is your names ? ' than sayd our 

* Anone that you tell me : ' 

They sayd, Adam Bell, Clym of the 
And Wylliam of Clowdesle. 

119 'Be ye those theues,' than sayd our 

' That men haue tolde of to me ? 
Here to God I make a vowe. 
Ye shall be hanged all thre. 

120 * Ye shall be dead without mercy, 

As I am kynge of this lande : ' 
c. He commanded his officers euerichone 
Fast on them to lay hand. 

121 There they toke these good yemen, 

And arested them all thre : 

* So may I thryue,' sayd Adam Bell, 

' Thys game lyketh not me. 

a. 122 * But, good lorde, we beseche you 
That ye wyll graunte vs grace. 
In so moche as we be to you corn- 
Or elles that we may fro you passe, 

123 * With suche weapons as we haue 

Tyll we be out of your place; 
And yf we lyue this hondred yere, 
We wyll aske you no grace.' 

124 * Ye speke proudly,' sayd the kynge, 

' Ye shall be hanged all thre : ' 

* That were great pity,' sayd the quene, 

* If any grace myght be. 

125 'My lorde, whan I came fyrst in to 

this lande. 
To be your wedded wyfe. 
The fyrst bone that I wolde aske, 
Ye wolde graunte me belyfe. 

126 * And I asked you neuer none tyll nowe, 

Therfore, good lorde, graunte it me:' 
' Nowe aske it, madame,' sayd the 
' And graunted shall it be.' 

127 'Than, good lorde, I you beseche, 

The yemen graunte you me : ' 
* Madame, ye myght haue asked a bone 
That sholde haue ben worthe them 

128 ' Ye myght haue asked towres and 

Parkes and forestes plentie; ' 
c. 'None so pleasaunt to mi pay,' she 

' Nor none so lef e to me.' 

129 ' Madame, sith it is your desyre. 

Your askyng graunted slialbe; 
But I had leuer haue geuen you 
Good market-townes thre.' 

130 The quene was a glad woman. 

And sayd, Lord, gramarey; 
I dare vndertake for them 
That true men shall they be. 

131 But, good lord, speke som mery word, 

That comfort they may se: 
' I graunt you grace,' then said our king, 
' Wasshe, felos, and to meate go ye.' 

132 They had not setten but a whyle, 

Certayne without lesynge, 
There came messengers out of the 
With letters to our kyng. 

133 And whan the came before the kynge, 

The kneled downe vpon theyr kne. 
And sayd. Lord, your offycers grete 
you wel, 
Of Caerlel in the north cuntre. 

134 ' How fare[th] my justice,' sayd the 

' And my sherife also ? ' 




' Syr, they be slayue, without leasyuge, 
And many an officer mo.' 

135 * Who hath them slayiie ? ' sayd the 


* Aiione thou tell me : ' 

'Adam Bel, and Clime of the Clough, 
And VVyllyam of Cloudesle.* 

136 * Alas for rewth ! ' then sayd our kynge, 

* My hart is wonderous sore; 

I had leuer [thjan a thousand pounde 
I had knovvne of thys before. 

137 * For I haue y-graunted them grace, 

And that forthynketh me; 
But had I knowne all thys before, 
They had ben hanged all thre.' 

138 The kyng opened the letter anoue, 

Hym selfe he red it tho, 
And founde how these thre outlawes 
had slaine 
Thre hundred men and mo. 

139 Fyrst the justice and the sheryfe, 

And the mayre of Caerlel towne; 
Of all the constables anc^ catchipolles 
Alyue were left not one. 

140 The baylyes and the bedyls both, 

And the sergeauntes of the law, 
And forty fosters of the fe 
These outlawes had y-slaw; 

141 And broken his parks, and slaine his 

Ouer all they chose the best; 
So perelous outlawes as they were 
Walked not by easte nor west. 

142 When the kynge this letter had red, 

In hys harte he syghed sore; 
* Take vp the table,' anone he bad, 
*For I may eate no more.' 

143 The kyng called hys best archars, 

To the buttes with hym to go; 
*I wyll se these felowes shote,' he 

* Tiiat in the north haue wrought this 

144 The kynges bowmen buske them blyue. 
And the queues archers also, 

So dyd these thre wyght yemen, 
Wyth them they thought to go. 

145 There twyse or thryse they shote about, 

For to assay theyr hande; 
There was no shote these thre yemer 
That any pry eke might them stand. 

146 Then spake Wyllyam of Cloudesle; 

By God that for me dyed, 
I hold hym neuer no good archar 
That shuteth at buttes so wyde. 

147 ' Wherat ? ' then sayd our kyng, 

'I pray thee tell me: ' 
* At suche a but, syr,' he sayd, 

* As men vse in my countree.' 

148 Wyllyam wente into a fyeld. 

And his to brothren with him ; 

There they set vp to hasell roddes, 

Twenty score paces betwene. 

149 ' I hold him an archar,' said Cloudesle, 

* That yonder wande cleueth in two: ' 
' Here is none suche,' sayd the kyng, 

* Nor none that can so do.' 

150 ' I shall assaye, syr,' sayd Cloudesle, 

* Or that I farther go: ' 
Cloudesle, with a bearyng arow, 

Claue the wand in to. 

151 * Thou art the best archer,' then said 

the king, 

* Forsothe that euer I se: ' 

And yet for your loue,' sayd Wylliara, 
' I wyll do more maystry. 

152 *I haue a sonne is seuen yere olde; 

He is to me full deare; 
I wyll hym tye to a stake, 
All shall se that be here; 

153 * And lay an apple vpon hys head, 

And go syxe score paces hym fro. 
And I my selfe, with a brode arow. 
Shall cleue the apple in two.' 

154 'Now hast the,' then sayd the kyng; 

' By him that dyed on a tre, 
But yf thou do not as thou best 
Hanged shalt thou be . 




155 * And thou touche his head or gowne, 

In syght thcat men may se, 
By all the sayntes that be ia heaven, 
I shall hange you all thre.' 

156 ' That I haue promised,' said William, 

* I wyl it neuer forsake; ' 

And there euen before the kynge, 
In the earth he droue a stake; 

157 And bound therto his eldest sonne. 

And bad hym stande styll therat, 
And turned the childes face fro him, 
Because he shuld not sterte. 

158 An apple vpon his head he set. 

And then his bo we he bent; 
Syxe score paces they were outmet, 
And thether Cloudesle went. 

159 There he drew out a fayr brode arrowe; 

Hys bowe was great and longe; 
He set that arrowe in his bowe, 
That was both styffe and stronge. 

160 He prayed the people that was there 

That they would styll stande; 

* For he that shooteth for such a wnger, 

Behoueth a stedfast hand.' 

161 Muche people prayed for Cloudesle, 
a. That hys lyfe saued myght be, 

And whan he made hym redy to shote, 
There was many a wepynge eye. 

162 Thus Clowdesle clefte the apple in 

That many a man it se; 

* Ouer goddes f orbode,' sayd the kynge, 

* That thou sholdest shote at me ! 

133 'I gyue the .xviii. pens a daye, 

And my bowe shalte thou here, 
And ouer all the north countree 
I make the chefe rydere.' 

164 * And I gyue the .xii. pens a day,' sayd 
the qiie[ne], 
' By God and by my faye; 
Come fetche thy payment whan thou 
No man shall say the naye. 

105 ' Wyllyam, I make the gentylman 
Of clothjnge and of fee, 

And thy two brethren yemen of my 

For they are so semely to se. 

166 ' Your sone, for he is tendre of age, 

Of my wyne-seller shall he be. 
And whan he commeth to maunes state, 
Better auaunced shall he be. 

167 * And, Wylliam, brynge me your wyfe,' 

sayd th[e queue]; 
*Me longeth sore here to se; 
She shall be my chefe gentylwoman, 
And gouerne my nursery.' 

168 The yemen thanked them full cour- 

And sayd, To Rome streyght wyll 

we wende, 
[Of all the synnes that we haue done 
To be assoyled of his hand. 

169 So forth] e be gone these good yemen, 

[As fast a]s they myght hye, 
[And af t]er came and dwelled with the 
[And dye]d good men all thre. 

170 [Thus e]ndeth the lyues of these good 

[God sen]de them eternall blysse, 
[And all] that with hande-bowe shoteth, 
[That of] heuen they may neuer 

mysse ! 


The best qualified jiulg-es are not agreed as 
to the typographical origin of a. The date of 
b may be any where from 141)2 to 1534. Cop- 
land's edition was not earlier than 1548. The 
dates of the other texts are uncertain, a, b, 
f, g, are deficient at 7^ 339^, and misprinted at 
49, 50, repeating-, it may be, the faults of a 
prior impression, a appears, by internal evi- 
dence, to he an older text than b. Some ob- 
solete words of the earlier copies have been 
modernized in f, g, and deficient lines have 
been supplied. A considerable number of 
Middle-English forms remain after those suc- 
cessive renovations of reciters and printers 
which are presumable in such cases. Tiie Gesfc 
may have been compiled at a time when such 
forms had gone out of use, and these may be 




relics of the ballads from which this little epic 
•was made up ; or the whole poem may have 
been put together as early as 1400, or Ijefore. 
There are no firm grounds on which to base an 

No notice of Robin Hood has been recovered 
earlier than that which was long ago pointed 
out by Percy as occurring in Piers Plowman, 
and this, according to Professor Skeat, cannot 
be older than about lo77. Sloth, in that poem, 
says in his shrift that he knows " rymes of 
Robyn Hood and Randolf, erle of Chestre," 
though but imperfectly acquainted with his 
paternoster. Thomas Robinhood is one of six 
witnesses to a grant in 1380 or 13S1 (Historical 
MiSS. Commission, Fifth Report, Appendix, 
p. 511). References to Robin Hood are not 
infrequent in the following century. 

Thus it is evident that Robin Hood ballads 
were popular for a century or more before the 
time when the Gest was printed. Their pop- 
ularity was fully established at the beginning 
of this period, and unquestionably extended 
back to a much earlier day. Of these ballads, 
there have come down to us in a comparatively 
ancient form the following : those from which 
the Gest (printed, perhaps, before 15()0) was 
composed, being at least four, Robin Hood, the 
Knight and the Monk, Robin Hood, Little 
John and the Sheriff, Robin Hood and the 
King, and Robin Hood's death (a fragment) ; 
Kobin Hood and the Monk (No. 119), more 
properly Robin Hood rescued by Little John, 
MS. of about 1450, but not for that older than 
the ballads of the Gest ; Robin Hood and Guy 
of Gisborne (No. 118), Percv MS. ca. 1650 ; 
Robin Hood's Death (No. 120), Percy MS. and 
late garlands ; Robin Hood and the Potter 
\No. 121), MS. of about 1500, later perhaps than 
any of the group. Besides these there are thirty- 
two ballads (Nos. 122-153). About half a dozen 
of these thirty-two have in them something of 
the old popular quality ; as many more not 
the least trace of it. Fully a dozen are varia- 
tions, sometimes wearisome, sometimes sicken- 
ing, upon the theme ' Robin Hood met with 
his match.' A considerable part of the Robin 
Hood poetry looks like char-work done for the 
petty press, and should be judged as such. The 
earliest of these ballads, on the other hand, are 
among the best of all ballads, and perhaps none 
in English please so many and p^ease so long. 

Robin Hood is absolutely a eroation of the 
ballad-mixse. The earliest mention we have 
of liim is as the subject of ballads. The only 
two early historians who speak of him as a bal- 
lad hero (Bower, writing 1441-47, and Major, 
born ca. 1450) pretend to have no information 
about him except what they derive from bal- 
lads, and show that they have none other by the 

description they give of him ; this description 
being in entire conformity with ballads in our 
possession, one of which is found in a MS. as 
old as the older of these two writers. 

Robin Hood is a yeoman, outlawed for rea- 
sons not given, but easily surmised, " courteous 
and free," religious in sentiment, and above all 
reverent of the Virgin, for the love of whom 
he is respectful to all women. He lives by 
the king's deer (though he loves no man in the 
world so much as his king) and by levies on 
the superfluity of the higher orders, secular 
and spiritual, bishops and archbishops, abbots, 
bold barons, and knights, but harms no hus- 
bandman or yeoman, and is friendly to poor 
men generally, imparting to them of what he 
takes from the rich. Courtesy, good temper, 
liberality, and manliness are his chief marks ; 
for courtesy and good temper he is a popular 
Gawain. Yeoman as he is, he has a kind of 
royal dignity, a princely grace, and a gentle- 
man-like refinement of humor. This is the 
Robin Hood of the Gest especially ; the late 
ballads debase this primary conception in vari- 
ous ways and degrees. 

This is what Robin Hood is, and it is equally 
important to observe what he is not. He has 
no sort of political character, in the Gest or 
any other ballad. This takes the ground from 
under the feet of those who seek to assign him 
a place in history. Nor has even a shadow 
of a case been made out by those who would 
equate Robin Hood with Odin or account for 
him in accordance with the supposed principles 
of comj^arative mythology. 

The chief comrades of Robin Hood are in 
' Robin Hood and the Monk,' Little John, 
Scathlok (Scarlok, Scarlet), and Much ; to 
these the Gest adds Gilbert of the White Hand 
and Reynold (2'J2 f .). A friar is not a member 
of his company in the older ballads. Maid 
Marian is unknown to the genuine Robin Hood 

The Gest is a popular epic, composed from 
several ballads by a poet of a thoroughly con- 
genial spirit. No one of the ballads from which 
it was made up is extant in a separate shape, 
and some portions of the story may have bee« 
of the compiler's own invention. The decoy* 
ing of the sheriff into the wood, stanzas 181- 
204, is of the same derivation as the last part 
of Robin Hood and the Potter (No. 121), Little 
John and Robin Hood exchanging parts ; the 
conclusion, 451-456, is of the same source as 
Robin Hood's Death (No. 120). Though the 
tale, as to all important considerations, is emi- 
nently oiiginal, absolutely so as to the concep- 
tion of Robin Hood, some traits and incidents, 
as might be expected, are taken from what we 
may call the general stock of mediaeval fiction. 




The story is a three-ply web of the adven- 
tures of Kobin Hood Avith a knight, with the 
sheriff of Nottingham, and with tlie king (the 
concluding stanzas, 451-456, being a mere epi- 
logue), and may be decomposed accordingly. 
I. How Robin Hood relieved a knight, wlio 
had fallen into poverty, by lending him money 
on the security of Our Lady, the first fit, 1-Sl ; 
how the knight recovered his lands, which had 
been pledged to Saint Mary Abbey, and set forth 
to repay the loan, the second fit, 82-143 ; how 
Robin Hood, having taken twice the sum lent 
from a monk of this abbey, declared that Our 
Lady had discharged the debt, and would re- 
ceive nothing more from the knight, the fourth 
fit, 205-280. n. How Little John insidiously 
took service with Robin Hood's standing enemy, 
the sheriff of Nottingliam, and put the sher- 
iff into Robin Hood's hands, the third fit, 144- 
204 ; how tlie sheriff, who had sworn an oath 
to help and not to harm Robin Hood and his 
men, treacherously set upon the outlaws at a 
shooting-match, and they were fain to take 
refuge in the knight's castle ; how% missing of 
Robin Hood, the sheriff made prisoner of the 
knight ; and how Robin Hood slew the sheriff 
and rescued the knight, the fifth and sixth fit, 
281-353. ni. How the king, coming in per- 
son to apprehend Robin Hood and the knight, 
disguised himself as an abbot, was stopped by 
Robin Hood, feasted on his own deer, and en- 
tertained with an exhibition of archery, in the 
course of which he was recognized by Robin 
Hood, who asked his grace and received a 
promise thereof, on condition that he and his 
men should enter into the king's service ; and 
how the king, for a jest, disguised himself 
and his company in the green of the outlaws, 
and going back to Nottingham caused a gen- 
eral flight of the people, which he stopped by 
making himself known ; how he pardoned the 
knight; and how Robin Hood, after fifteen 
months in the king's court, heart-sick and de- 
serted by all his men but John and Scathlock, 
obtained a Aveek's leave of the king. to go on 
a pilgrimage to Saint Mary Magdalen of Barns- 
dale, and would never come back in two-and- 
twenty years, the seventh and eighth fit, 354- 

a. ' A Gest of Robyn Hode,' without printer's 
name, date, or place ; the eleventh and last 
piece in a volume in the Advocates' Library, 
Edinburgh. Reprinted by David Laing, 1827, 
with nine pieces from the press of Walter Chep- 
man and Androw Myllar, Edinburgh, 1508, 
and one other, by a printer unknown, under 
the title of The Knightly Tale of Golagrus 
and Gawane, and other Ancient Poems. 

b. 'A Lytell Geste of Robyn Hode,' etc., 

London, Wynken de Worde, n. d. : Library of 

the University of Cambridge. 

C. Douce Fragment, No. IG: Bodleian Li- 

d. Douce Fragment, No. 17 : Bodleian Li- 

e. Douce Fragment, No. 16 : Bodleian Li- 

f . ' A Mery Geste of Robyn Hoode,' etc., 
London, Wyllyam Copland, n. d. : British Mu- 
seum, C. 21, c. 

g. ' A Merry lest of Robin Hood,' etc., Lon- 
don, printed for Edward White, n. d. : Bod- 
leian Library, Z. 3, Art. Seld., and Mr Henry 
Huth's library. 

a. 1 Lythe and listin, gentilmen, 
That be of frebore blode; 
I shall you tel of a gode yeman, 
His name was Robyn Hode. 

2 Roby/i was a prude outlaw, 

[Whyles he walked on grounde; 
So curteyse an outlawe] as he was one 
Was never non founde. 

3 Robyn stode in Bernesdale, 

And lenyd hym to a tre; 
And bi hym stode Litell Johnn, 
A gode yeman was he. 

4 And alsoo dyd gode Scarlok, 

And Much, the miller's son; 
There was none ynch of his bodi 
But it was worth a grome. 

5 Than bespake Lytell Johnn 

All vntoo Robyn Hode: 
Maister, and ye wolde dyne betyme 
It wolde doo you moche gode. 

6 Than bespake hym gode Robyn: 

To dyne haue I noo Inst, 
Till that I haue som bolde baron, 
Or som vnkouth gest. 

That may pay for the best, 

Or som knyght or [som] squ3'er, 

That dwelleth here bi west. 

8 A gode maner than had Robyn; 
In londe where that he were, 
Euery day or he wold dyne 
Thre messis wolde he here. 




9 The one in the worship of the Fader, 
And another of the Holy Gost, 
The thirde of Our dere Lady, 
That he loued allther iiioste. 

10 Robyn loued Oure dere Lady; 

For dout of dydly synne, 
Wolde he neuer do compani harms 
That any woman was in. 

11 * Maistar,' than sayde Lytil Johnn, 

* And we our borde shal sprede, 
Tel vs wheder that we shal go, 

And what life that we shall lede. 

12 ' Where we shall take, where we shall 

Where we shall abide behynde; 
Where we shall robbe, where we shal 

Where we shal bete and bynde.' 

13 * Therof no force,' than sayde Robyn; 

'We shall do well inowe; 
But loke ye do no husbonde harrae, 
That tilleth with his ploughe. 

14 * No more ye shall no gode yeman 

That waiketh by grene-wode shawe; 
Ne no knyght ne no sqnyer 
That wol be a gode felawe. 

15 'Tliese bisshoppes and these arche- 

Ye shall them bete and bynde; 
The hye sherif of Notyingham, 
Hym holde ye in your mynde.' 

16 * This worde shalbe holde,' sayde Lytell 


* And this lesson we shall lere; 

It is fer dayes; God sende vs a gest. 
That we were at oure dynere ! ' 

17 ' Take thy gode bowe in thy honde,' 

sayde Rob[yn]; 
' Late Much wende with the ; 
And so shal Willyam Scarlo[k], 
And no man abyde with me. 

18 * And walke vp to the Saylis, 

And so to Watlinge Stret[e], 
And wayte after some vnkuth gest, 
Vp chaunce ye may them mete. 

19 * Be he erle, or ani baron. 

Abbot, or ani knyght, 
Bringhe hym to lodge to me; 
His dyner shall be dight.' 

20 They wente vp to the Saylis, 

These yeman all thre; 
They loked est, they loke[d] weest; 
They myght no man see. 

21 But as they loked in to Bernysdale, 

Bi a derne strete. 
Than came a knyght ridinghe; 
Full sone they gan hym mete. 

22 All dreri was his semblaunce, 

And lytell was his pryde; 
His one fote in the styrop stode, 
That othere wauyd beside. 

23 His hode hanged in his iyn two; 

He rode in symple aray; 

A soriar man than he was one 

Rode neuer in somer day. 

24 Litell Johnn was full curteyes. 

And sette hym on his kne: 

* Welcom be ye, gentyll knyght, 

Welcom ar ye to me. 

25 * Welcom be thou to grene wode, 

Hende knyght and fre; 
My maister hath abiden you fastinge, 
Syr, al these oures thre.' 

26 *Who is thy maister?' sayde the 

Johnn sayde, Robyn Hode; 

* He is [a] gode yoman,' sayde the 

* Of hym I haue herde moche gode. 

27 * I graunte,' he sayde, * with you to 

My bretherne, all in fere; 
My purpos was to haue dyned to day 
At Blith or Dancastere.' 

28 Furth than went this gentyl knight, 

With a carefull chere; 
The teris oute of his iyen ran, 
And fell downe by his lere. 

29 They brought hym to the lodge-dore; 

Whan Robyn hym gan see, 



Full curtesly dyd of his hode 

'I haue no more but ten shelynges,' 

And sette hyui on his knee. 

sayde the knyght, 
* So God haue parte of me.' 


' Welcome, sir knight,' than sayde 



' If thou hast no more,' sayde Robyn, 

* Welcome art thou to me ; 

' I woU nat one peny ; 

I haue abyden you fastinge, sir, 

And yf thou haue nede of any more, 

All these ouris thre.' 

More shall I lend the. 


Than answered the gentyll knight. 


' Go no we furth, Littell Johmi, 

With wordes fayre and fre; 

The truth tell thou me; 

God the saue, goode Robyn, 

If there be no more but ten shelinges, 

And all thy fayre meyne. 

No peny that I se.' 


They wasshed togeder and wyped bothe. 


Lyttell Johmi sprede downe hys mantel! 

And sette to theyr dynere; 

Fidl fayre vpon the grounde. 

Brede and wyne they had right ynoughe, 

And there he fonde in the knyghtes 

And noumbles of the dere. 

But euen halfe [a] pounde. 

33 Swannes and fessauntes they had .full 


43 Littell Johnn let it lye full styll, 

And foules of the ryuere; 

And went to hys maysteer [full] lowe; 

There fayled none so litell a birde 

' What tidynges, Johnn ? ' sayde Robyn; 

That euer was bred on bryre. 

' Sir, the knyght is true iuowe.' 


' Do gladly, sir knight,' sayde Robyn; 


' Fyll of the best wine,' sayde Robyn, 

' Gramarcy, sir,' sayde he ; 

' The knyght shall begynne; 

* Suche a dinere had I nat 

Moche wonder thinketh me 

Of all these wekys thre. 

Thy clot[h]ynge is so thin[n]e. 


* If I come ageyne, Robyn, 


' Tell me [one] worde,' sayde Robyn, 

Here by thys contre, 

♦ And counsel shal it be; 

As gode a dyner I shall the make 

I trowe thou warte made a knyght of 

As that thou haest made to me.' 

Or ellys of yemanry. 


'Gramarcy, knyght,' sayde Robyn; 

* My dyner whan that I it haue, 


' Or ellys thou hast bene a sori husbande, 

I was neuer so gredy, bi dere worthy 

And lyued in stroke and stryfe ; 


An okerer, or ellis a lechoure,' sayde 

My dyner for to craue. 

' Wyth wronge hast led thy lyfe.' 


*But pay or ye wende,' sayde Robyn; 

* Me thynketh it is gode ryght; 


' I am none of those,' sayde the knyght, 

It was neuer the maner, by dere worthi 

' By God that made me; 


An hundred wynter here before 

A yoman to pay for a knyhht.' 

Myn auncetres knyghtes haue be. 


' I haue nought in m}^ coffers,' saide the 


' But oft it hath befal, Robyn, 


A man hath be disgrate; 

• That I may profer for shame: ' 

But God that sitteth in heuen aboae 

'Litell Johnn, go loke,' sayde Robyn, 

May amende his state. 

' Ne let nat for no blame. 


* Withyn this two yere, Robyne,' he 


'Tel me trutli,' than saide Robyn, 


* So God haue parte of the: ' 

' My neghbours well it knowe, 




Foure hundred pounde of gode money 
Ful well than myght I spende. 

50 'No we haue I no gode,' saide the knyght, 

' God hath shaped such an ende, 
But my chyldren and my wyfe, 
Tyll God yt may amende.' 

51 ' In what maner,' than sayde Robyn, 

' Hast thou lorne thy ryehesse ? ' 

* For my greate f oly,' he sayde, 

'And for my kyud[e]nesse. 

52 ' I hade a sone, forsoth, Robyn, 

That shulde hau[e] ben myn ayre, 
Whanne he was twenty wynter olde. 
In felde wolde iust full fayre. 

53 ' He slewe a knyght of Lancaster, 

And a squyer bolde ; 
For to saue hym in his ryght 
My godes both sette and solde. 

54 ' My londes both sette to wedde, Robyn, 

Vntyll a certayn day, 
To a ryche abbot here besyde 
Of Seynt Mari Abbey.' 

55 ' What is the som ? ' sayde Robyn; 

* Trouth than tell thou me ; ' 

* Sir,' he sayde, 'foure hundred pounde; 

The abbot told it to me.' 

56 'Nowe and thou lese thy lond,' sayde 

'What woll fall of the?' 
*Hastely I wol me buske,' sayd the 

' Ouer the salte see, 

57 ' And se w[h]ere Criste was quyke and 

On the mount of Caluere; 
Fare wel, frende, and haue gode day; 
It may no better be.' 

58 Teris fell out of hys iyen two ; 

He wolde haue gone hys way: 
' Farewel, frende, and haue gode day; 
I ne haue no more to pay.' 

59 'Where be thy frendes ? ' sayde Robyn: 

' Syr, neuer one wol me knowe; 
While I was ryche ynowe at home 
Great boste than wolde they blowe. 

60 ' And nowe they renne away fro me. 

As bestis on a rowe; 
They take no more hede of me 
Thanne they had me neuer sawe.' 

61 For ruthe thanne wept Litell Johnn, 

Scarlok and Muche in fere; 
* Fyl of the best wyne,' sayde Robyn, 
' For here is a symple chere. 

62 ' Hast thou any frende,' sayde Robyn, 

' Thy borowe that wolde be ? ' 
' I haue none,* than sayde the knyght, 
' But God that dyed on tree.' 

63 ' Do away thy iapis,' than sayde Robyn, 

' Thereof wol I right none ; 
Wenest thou I wolde haue God to bor- 
Peter, Poule, or Johnn ? 

64 ' Nay, by hym that me made. 

And shope both sonne and mone, 
Fynde me a better borowe,' sayde Robyn, 
' Or money getest thou none.' 

65 * I haue none other,' sayde the knyght, 

' The sothe for to say, 
But yf yt be Our dere Lady; 

She f?yled me neuer or thys day.' 

66 ' By dere worthy God,' sayde Robyn, 

' To seche all Englonde thorowe, 
Yet fonde I neuer to my pay 
A moche better borowe. 

67 * Come nowe furth, Litell Johnn, 

And go to my tresoure, 
And bringe me foure hundered pound, 
And loke well tolde it be. ' 

68 Furth than went Litell Johnn, 

And Scarlok went before; 
He tolde oute foure hundred pounde 
By eight and twenty score. 

69 'Is thys well tolde?' sayde [litell] 

Much ; 
Johnn sayde, 'What gre[ue]th the ? 
It is almus to helpe a gentyll knyght, 
That is fal in pouerte. 

70 'Master,' than sayde Lityll John, 

' His clothinge is full thynue; 




Ye must gyne the knight a lyueray, 


'I shall the lende Litell John, my 

To lappe his body therin. 

For he shalbe thy knaue; 


* For ye haue scarlet and grene, mayster, 

In a yema[n]'s stede he may the stande, 

And man[y] a riche aray; 

If thou greate nede haue.' 

Ther is no raarchaunt in mery Eng- 



So ryche, I dare well say.' 

82 Now is the knight gone on his way; 


* Take hym thre yerdes of euery colour, 

This game hym thought full gode; 

And loke well mete that it be; ' 

Whanne he loked on Bernesdale 

Lytell Johnw toke none other mesure 

He blessyd Robyn Hode. 

But his bowe-tree. 

83 And whanne he thought on BernyS" 

^3 And at euery handfull that he met 


He leped footes three; 

On Searlok, Much, and Johnn, 

*What deuylles drapar,' sayid litell 

He blyssyd them for the best com'^ 



* Thynkest thou for to be ? ' 


That euer he in come. 

74 Searlok stode full stil and loughe, 

84 Then spake that gentyll knyght, 

And sayd, By God Almyght, 

To Lytel Johan gan he saye. 

Johnn may gyue hym gode mesure, 

To-morrowe I must to Yorke toune, 

For it costeth hym but lyght. 

To Saynt Mary abbay. 


'Mayster,' than said Litell Johnn 

85 And to the abbot of that place 

To gentill Robyn Hode, 

Foure hondred pounde I must pay; 

'Ye must giue the knig[h]t a hors, 

And but I be there vpon this nyght 

To lede home this gode.' 

My londe is lost for ay. 


* Take hym a gray coursar,' sayde Robyn, 

86 The abbot sayd to his couent, 

* And a saydle newe; 

There he stode on grounde, 

He is Oure Ladye's messangere; 

This day twelfe moneth came there q 

God graunt that he be true.' 

And borowed foure hondred pounde. 


' And a gode palfray,' sayde lytell Much, 

* To mayntene hym in his right; ' 


[He borowed foure hondred pounde,] 

* And a peyre of botes,' sayde Scarlock, 

Upon all his londe fre; 

'For he is a gentyll knight.' 

But he come this ylke day 
Dysheryte shall he be. 


'What shalt thou gyue hym, Litell 

John? ' said Robyn; 


' It is full erely,' sayd the pryoure, 

' Sir, a peyre of gilt sporis clene, 

' The day is not yet ferre gone; 

To pray for all this company; 

I had leuer to pay an hondred pounde, 

God bringe hym oute of tene.' 

And lay downe anone. 


' Whan shal mi day be,' said the knight, 


' The knyght is ferre beyonde the see, 

' Sir, and your wyll be ? ' 

In Englonde is his ryght. 

'This day twelue moneth,' saide Robyn, 

And suffreth honger and colde, 

' Vnder this grene-wode tre. 

And many a sory nyght. 


' It were greate shame,' sayde Robyn, 


' It were grete py te,' said the pryoure. 

'_ A knight alone to ryde. 

' So to haue his londe; 

Withoute squyre, yoman, or page, 

And ye be so lyght of your consyence, 

To walke by his syde. 

Ye do to hym moch wronge.' 




91 * Thou arte euer in my berde,' sayd the 


* By God and Saynt Rycharde ; ' 
With that cam in a fat-heded monke, 

The heygh selerer. 

92 ' He is dede or hanged,' sayd the monke, 

' By God that bought me dere, 
And we shall haue to spende in this place 
Foure hondred pounde by yere.' 

93 The abbot and the hy selerer 

Sterte fortlie full bolde, 
The [hye] iustyce of Englonde 
The abbot there dyde holde. 

94 The hye iustyce and many mo 

Had take in to they[r] honde 
Holy all the knyghtes det, 

To put that knyght to wronge. 

95 They demed the knyght wonder sore, 

The abbot and his meyne: 
'But he come this ylke day 
Dysheryte shall he be.' 

96 ' He wyll not come yet,' sayd the ius- 


' I dare well vndertake ; ' 
But in sorowe tyme for them all 
The knyght came to the gate. 

97 Than bespake that gentyll knyght 

Untyll his meyne: 
Now put on your symple wedes 
That ye brought fro the see. 

98 [They put on their symple wedes,] 

They came to the gates anone; 
The porter was redy hymselfe. 
And welcomed them euerychone. 

99 'Welcome, syr knyght,' sayd the por- 


* My lorde to mete is he. 
And so is many a gentyll man, 

For the loue of the.' 

100 The porter swore a full grete othe, 

' By God that made me. 

Here be the best coresed hors 

That euer yet sawe I me. 

101 ' Lede them in to the stable,' he sayd, 

* That eased myght they be ; ' 

' They shall not come therin,' sayd the 
* By God that dyed on a tre.' 

102 Lordes were to mete isette 

In that abbotes hall; 
The knyght went forth and kneled 
And salued them grete and small. 

103 ' Do gladly, syr abbot,' sayd the knyght, 

' I am come to holde my day: ' 

The fyrst word the abbot spake, 

' Hast thou brought my pay ? ' 

104 ' Not one peny,' sayd the knyght, 

' By God that maked me; ' 
' Thou art a shrewed dettour,' sayd the 
' Syr iustyce, drynke to me. 

105 ' What doost thou here,' sayd the abbot, 

'But thou haddest brought thy pay ? ' 
'For God,' than sayd the knyght, 
' To pray of a lenger daye.' 

106 ' Thy daye is broke,' sayd the iustyce, 

' Londe getest thou none : ' 
* Now, good syr iustyce, be my frende, 
And fende me of my fone ! ' 

107 ' I am holde with the abbot,' sayd the 

' Both with cloth and fee: ' 
' Now, good syr sheryf, be my frende ! * 
' Nay, for God,' sayd he. 

108 ' Now, good syr abbot, be my frende, 

For thy curteyse, 
And holde my londes in thy honde 
Tyll I haue made the gree ! 

109 ' And 1 wyll be thy true seruaunte, 

And trewely serue the, 
Tyl ye haue foure hondred pounde 
Of money good and free.' 

110 The abbot sware a full grete othe, 

' By God that dyed on a tree, 
Get the londe where thou may. 
For thou getest none of me.' 

111 'By dere worthy God,' then sayd the 

' That all this worlde wrought, 




But I haue my londe agayne, 
Full dere it shall be bought. 

112 * God, that was of a mayden borne, 

Leue vs well to spede ! 
For it is good to assay a frende 
Or that a man haue nede.' 

113 The abbot lotliely on hym gan loke, 

And vylaynesly hym gan call; 
< Out,' he sard, ' Ihou false knyght, 
Spede the out of my hall ! ' 

114 'Thou lyest,' then sayd the gentyll 

'Abbot, in thy hal; 
False knyght was I neuer, 
By God that made vs all.' 

115 Vp then stode that gentyll knyght, 

To the abbot sayd he, 
To suffre a knyght to knele so longe. 
Thou canst no curteysye. 

116 * In ioustes and in tournement 

Full ferre than haue I be. 
And put my selfe as ferre in prees 
As ony that euer I se.' 

117 * What wyll ye gyue more,' sayd the 


' And the knyght shall make a re- 
leyse ? 
And elles dare I safly swere 

Ye holde neuer your londe in pees.' 

118 * An hondred pounde,' sayd the abbot; 

The justice sayd, Gyue hym two; 
* Nay, be God,' sayd the knyght, 
a. * Yit gete ye it not so. 

119 'Though ye wolde gyue a thousand 

Yet were ye neuer the nere; 
Shall there neuer be myn heyre 
Abbot, iustice, ne frere.' 

120 He stert hym to a borde anone, 

Tyll a table roiinde. 
And there he shoke oute of a bagge 
Euen four hundred pound. 

121 ' Haue here thi golde, sir abbot,' saide 

the knight, 
* Which that thou lentest me; 

Had thou ben curtes at my comynge, 
Rewarded shuldest thou haue be.' 

122 The abbot sat sty 11, and ete no more. 

For all his ryall fare; 
He cast his hede on his sliulder, 
And fast began to stare. 

123 ' Take me my golde agayne,' saide the 

' Sir iustice, that I toke the: ' 
' Not a peni,' said the iustice, 
' Bi Go[d, that dy]ed on tree.' 

124 ' Sir [abbot, and ye me]n of la we, 
b. Now haue I holde my daye; 

Now shall I haue my londe agayne, 
For ought that you can saye.' 

125 The knyght stert out of the dore, 

Awaye was all his care. 
And on he put his good clothynge. 
The other he lefte there. 

126 He wente hym forth full mery syng 

As men haue tolde in tale; 
His lady met hym at the gate. 
At home in Yerysdale. 

127 ' Welcome, my lorde,' sayd his lady; 

* Syr, lost is all your good ? ' 
' Be mery, dame,' sayd the knyght, 
a. ' And pray for Robyn Hode, 

128 'That euer his soule be in blysse: 

He holpe me out of tene; 
Ne had be his kyndenesse, 
Beggers had we bene. 

129 ' The abbot and I accorded ben. 

He is senied of his pay; 
The god yoman lent it me, 
As I cam by the way.' 

130 This knight than dwelled fayre at 

The sothc for to saye, 
Tyll he had gete four hundred pound, 
Al redy for to pay. 

131 He purueyed him an hundred bowes, 

The strynges well ydyght. 
An hundred shefe of arowcs gode, 
The hedys burneshed full brygbt; 




132 And euery arowe an elle longe, 

With pecok wel idyght, 
Inocked all with whyte siluer; 
It was a semely sygbt. 

133 He purneyed hym an [hondreth men], 

Well harness[ed in that stede], 
b. And hym selfe in that same sete, 
And clothed in whyte and rede. 

134 He bare a launsgay in his honde, 

And a man ledde his male, 
And reden with a lyght songe 
Vnto Bernysdale. 

135 But as he we^it at a brydge ther was a 

And there taryed was he, 
And there was all the best yemen 
Of all the west countree. 

136 A full fayre game there was vp set, 

A whyte buUe vp i-pyght, 
A grete courser, with sadle and brydil, 
a. With golde burnyssht full bryght. 

137 A payre of gloues, a rede golde rynge, 

A pype of wyne, in fay; 
What man that bereth hym best i-wys 
The pryce shall here away. 

138 There was a yoman in that place, 

And best worthy was he, 
And for he was ferre and frembde 
Slayne he shulde bane be. 

139 The knight had ruthe of this yoman. 

In place where he stode; 
He sayde that yoman shulde haue no 
For loue of Robyn Hode. 

140 The knyght presed in to the place. 

An hundreth folowed hym [free], 
AVith bowes bent and arowes sliarpe, 
For to shende that companye. 

141 They shulderd all and made hym rome, 

To wete what he wolde say; 
He toke the yeman hi the hande, 
And gaue hym al the play. 

142 He gaue hym fyue marke for his wyne. 

There it lay on the molde, 

And bad it shulde be set a broche, 
Drynke who so wolde. 

143 Thus longe taried this gentyll knyght, 
Tyll that play was done; 
So longe abode Robyn fastinge, 
Thre houres after the none. 


144 Lyth and lystyn, gentilraen, 

All that nowe be here; 
Of Litell Johnn, that was the knightes 
Goode myrth ye shall here. 

145 It was vpon a mery day 

That yonge men wolde go shete; 
Lytell John 71 fet his bo we anone, 
And sayde he wolde them mete. 

146 Thre tymes Litell Johnn shet aboute, 

And alwey he slet the wande; 
The proude sherif of Notingham 
By the markes can stande. 

147 The sherif swore a full greate other 

* By hym that dyede on a tre, 
This man is the best arschere 

That euer yet sawe I [me.] 

148 * Say me nowe, wight yonge man, 

What is nowe thy name ? 
In what countre were thou borne, 
And where is thy wonynge wane ? ' 

149 * In Holdernes, sir, I was borne, 

I-wys al of my dame; 
Men cal me Reynolde Grenelef 
Whan I am at home.' 

150 ' Sey me, Reyno[l]de Grenelefe, 

Wolde thou dwell with me ? 
And euery yere I woll the gyue 
Twenty marke to thy fee.' 

151 * I haue a maister,' sayde Litell Johnn, 

* A curteys knight is he; 
May ye leue gete of hym, 

The better may it be.' 

152 The sherif gate Litell John 

Twelue monethes of the knight; 
Therfore he gaue him right anoue 
A gode hors and a wight. 




153 Nowe 13 Litell John the sherifes man, 

163 Litell John ete, and Litel John drank^ 

God lende vs well to spede ! 

The while that he wolde; 

Bat alwey thought Lytell John 

The sherife had in his kechyn a coke, * 

To quyte hym wele his mede. 

A stoute man and a bolde. 

154: ' Nowe so God me helpe,' sayde Litell 


* I make myn auowe to God,' saide 


the coke. 

* And by my true leutye. 

' Thou arte a shrewde hynde 

I shall be the worst seruaunt to hym 

In ani hous for to dwel, 

That euer yet had he.' 

For to aske thus to dyne.' 

155 It fell vpon a Wednesday 

165 And there he lent Litell John 

The sherif on huntynge was gone, 

God[e] strokis thre; 

And Litel lohn lay in his bed. 

' I make myn auowe to God,' sayde 

And was foriete at home. 

Lytell John, 
* These strokis lyked well me. 

156 Tlierfore he was fastinge 

Til it was past the none; 


* Thou arte a bolde man and hardy, 

' Gode sir stuarde, I pray to the, 

And so thiwketh me; 

Gyue me my dynere,' saide Litell 

And or I pas fro this place 


Assayed better shalt thou be.' * 

157 * It is longe for Grenelefe 


Lytell Johnn drew a ful gode sword e, 

Fastinge thus for to be; 

The coke toke another in hande; 

Therfor I pray the, sir stuarde, 

They thought no thynge for to fle, 

Mi dyner gif me.' 

But stifly for to stande. 

158 * Shalt thou neuer ete ne drynke,' saide 

168 There they faught sore togedere 

the stuarde. 

Two myle way and well more ; 

* Tyll my lorde be come to towne: ' 

Myght neyther other harme done, 

* I make myn auowe to God,' saide 

The mountnaunce of an owre. 

Litell John, 

' I had leuer to crake thy crowne.' 


* I make myn auowe to God,' sayde 
Litell Johnn, 

159 The boteler was full vncurteys, 

• And by my true lewte. 

There he stode on flore; 

Thou art one of the best sworde-men 

He start to the botery 

That euer yit sawe I [me.] 

And shet fast the dore. 


* Cowdest thou shote as well in a 

160 Lytell Johnn gaue the boteler suche a 



To grene wode thou shuldest with 

His backe went nere in two; 


Though he liued an hundred ier, 

And two times in the yere thy do- 

The wors shuld he go. 

Chaunged shulde be; 

161 He sporned the dore wit^ his fote; 

It went open wel and fyne; 


' And euery yere of Rohyn Hode 

And there he made large lyueray. 

Twenty merke to thy f e : ' 

Bothe of ale and of wyne. 

* Put vp thy swerde,' saide the coke, 
• And felowes well we be.' 

162 * Sith ye wol nat dyne,' sayde Litell 

T 1 J ' J 


172 Thanne he fet to Lytell Johnn 

• I shall gyue you to drinke ; 

The nowmbles of a do, 

And though ye lyue an hundred wynter. 

Gode brede, and full gode wyne; 

On Lytel Johnn ye shall thinke.' 

They ete and drank theretoo. 




173 And when they had dronkyn well, 

Theyre trouthes togeder they plight 
That they wo[l]de be with Robyn 
That ylke same nyght. 

174 They dyd them to the tresoure-hows, 

As fast as they myght gone; 
The lokkes, that were of full gode 
They brake them euerichone. 

175 They toke away the silner vessell, 

And all that thei mig[h]t get; 
Pecis, masars, ne sponis, 
Wolde thei not forget. 

176 Also [they] toke the gode pens, 

Thre hundred pounde and more. 
And did them st[r]eyte to Robyn Hode, 
Under the grene wode hore. 

177 * God the sane, my dere mayster. 

And Criste the saue and se ! ' 
And thanne sayde Robyn to Litell 
Welcome myght thou be. 

178 * Also be that fayre yeman 

Thou bryngest there with the; 
What tydynges fro Noty[n]gham ? 
Lytill Johnn, tell thou me.' 

179 * Well the gretith the proude sheryf, 

And sende[th] the here by me 
His coke and his siluer vessell, 

And thre hundred pounde and thre.' 

180 * I make myne avowe to God,' sayde 

* And to the Trenyte, 
It was neuer by his gode wyll 
This gode is come to me.' 

181 Lytyll Johnn there hym bethought 

On a shrewde wyle; 
Fyue myle in the forest he ran, 
Hym happed all his wyll. 

J.82 Than he met the proud e sheref, 

Huntynge with houndes and home; 
Lytell Johnn coude of curtesye, 
And knelyd hym beforne. 

183 * God the saue, ray dere mayster. 
And Criste the saue and se ! ' 

' Reynolde Grenelefe,' sayde the shryef, 

* Where hast thou nowe be ? ' 

184 ' I haue be in this forest; 

A fayre syght can I se; 
It was one of the fayrest syghtes 
That euer yet sawe I me. 

185 * Yonder I sawe a ryght fayre harte, 

His coloure is of grene; 
Seuen score of dere vpon a herde 
Be with hym all bydene. 

186 ' Their tyndes are so sharpe, maister. 

Of sexty, and well mo. 
That I durst not shote for drede, 
Lest they wolde me slo.' 

187 ' I make myn auowe to God,' sayde the 


* That syght wolde I fayne se: ' 

' Buske you thyderwarde, mi dere 
Anone, and wende with me.' 

188 The sherif rode, and Litell Johnn 

Of fote he was full smerte, 
And whane they came before Robyn, 
' Lo, sir, here is the mayster-herte.' 

189 Still stode the proude sherief, 

A sory man was he; 
' Wo the worthe, Raynolde Grenelefe, 
Thou hast betrayed nowe me.' 

190 ' I make myn auowe to God,' sayde 

Litell Johnn, 

* Mayster, ye be to blame ; 

I was mysserued of my dynere 
Whan I was with you at home.' 

191 Sone he was to souper sette. 

And serued well with siluer white, 
And whan the sherif sawe his vessell, 
For sorowe he myght nat ete. 

192 ' Make glad chere,' sayde Robyn Hode, 

' Sherif, for charite. 
And for the loue of Litill Johnn 
Thy lyfe I graunt to the.' 

193 Whan they had souped well, 

The day was al gone; 
Robyn commaunde[d] Litell Johnn 
To drawe of his hosen and his shone? 




194 His kirtell, and his cote of pie, 

Tliat was fured well and fine, 
And to[ke] hym a grene mantel, 
To lap his body theria. 

195 Robyn commaundyd his wight yonge 

Vnder the grene-wode tree. 
They slmlde lye in that same sute. 
That the sherif myght them see. 

196 All nyght lay the proude sherif 

In his breehe and in his [sjchert; 
No wonder it was, in grene wode, 
Though his sydes gan to smerte. 

197 ' Make glade chere, sayde Robyn Hode^ 

'Sheref, for eharite; 
For this is our ordre i-wys, 
Vnder the grene-wode tree/ 

198 'This is harder order,' sayde thesherief, 

' Than any ankir or frere; 
For all the golde in mery Englonde 
I wolde nat longe dwell her.' 

199 ' All this twelue monthes,' sayde Robin, 

* Thou shalt dwell with me ; 
I shall the teehe, proude sherif, 

An outlawe for to be.' 

200 ' Or I be here another nyght,' sayde 

the sherif, 

* Robyn, nowe pray I the, 

Smyte of mijn hede rather to-morowe, 
And I forgyue it the. 

201 * Lat me go,' than sayde the sherif, 

* For saynte eharite, 

And I woll be the best[e] frende 
That euer yet had ye.' 

202 * Thou shalt swere me an othe,' sayde 

' On my bright bronde ; 
Shalt thou neuer awayte me scathe, 
By water ne by lande. 

203 ' And if thou fynde any of my men, 

By nyght or [by] day, 
Vpon thyn othe thou shalt swere 
To helpe them tha[t] thou may.' 

204 Nowe hathe the sherif sworne his othe, 

And home he began to gone; 

He was as full of grene wode 
As euer was hepe of stone. 


205 The sherif dwelled in Notingham; 

He was fayne he was agone; 
And Robyn and his mery men 
Went to wode anone. 

206 * Go we to dyner,' sayde Littell Johnn* 

Robyn Hode sayde, Nay; 
For I drede Our Lady be wroth with 
For she sent me nat my pay. 

207 ' Haue no doute, maister,' sayde Litell 

* Yet is nat the sonne at rest; 
For I dare say, and sanely swere, 
The knight is true and truste.' 

208 * Take thy bowe in thy hande,' sayde 

' Late Much wende with the, 
And so shal Wyllyam Scarlok, 
b. And no man abyde with me. 

209 ' And walke vp vnder the Sayles, 

And to Watlynge-strete, 
And wayte after some vnketh gest; 
Vp-chaunce ye may them mete. 

210 ' Whether he be messengere. 

Or a man that myrthes can, 
Of my good he shall haue some, 
Yf he be a pore man.' 

211 Forth then stert Lytel Johan, 

Half in tray and tene, 
And gyrde hym with a full good 
Under a mantel of grene. 

212 They went vp to the Sayles, 

These yeraen all thre; 
They loked est, they loked west. 
They myght no man se. 

213 But as [t]he[y] loked in Bernys- 

By the hye waye. 
Than were they ware of two blacke 
Eche on a good palferay. 




214 Then bespake Ljtell Johan, 

To Much he gau say, 
I dare lay my lyfe to wedde, 

That [these] moukes haue brought 
our pay. 

215 * Make glad chere,' sayd L}'tell Johan, 

* And f rese your bowes of ewe. 
And loke your hertes be seker and sad, 

Your strynges trusty and trewe. 

216 ' The monke hath two and fifty [men,] 

And seuen somers full strouge; 
There rydeth no bysshop in this londe 
So ryally, I vnderstond. 

217 * Brethern,' sayd Lytell Johan, 

* Here are no more but we thre; 
But we brynge them to dyner, 

Our mayster dare we not se. 

218 * Bende your bowes,' sayd Lytell Johan, 

* Make all yon prese to stonde; 
The formost monke, his lyfe and his 

Is closed in my honde. 

219 * Abyde, chorle monke,' sayd Lytell 


* No f erther that thou gone ; 

Yf thou doost, by dere worthy God, 
Thy deth is in my honde. 

220 * And euyll thryfte on thy hede,' sayd 

Lytell Johan, 

* Byght vnder thy liattes bonde ; 
For thou hast made our mayster v/roth, 

He is fastynge so longe.' 

221 * Who is your mayster ? ' sayd the 

monke ; 
Lytell Johan sayd, Robyn Llode; 
* He is a stronge thefe,' sayd the 

* Of hym herd I neuer good.' 

222 * Thou lyest,' than sayd Lytell Johan, 

' And that shall re we the; 
He is a yeman of the forest. 
To dyne he hath bode the.' 

223 Much was redy with a bolte, 

Redly and anone. 
He set the monke to-fore the brest, 
To the grounde that he can gone. 

224 Of two and fyfty wyght yonge ye- 

There abode not one, 
Saf a lytell page and a grome, 

To lede the somers with Lytel Johan. 

225 They brought the monke to the lodge- 

Whether he were loth or lefe, 
For to speke with Robyn Hode, 
Maugre in theyr tethe. 

226 Robyn dyde adowne his hode, 

The monke whan that he se; 
The monke was not so curteyse, 
His hode then let he be. 

£27 * He is a chorle, mayster, by dere 
worthy God,* 
Than sayd Lytell Johan : 

* Thereof no force,' sayd Robyn, 

' For curteysy can he none. 

228 ' How many men,' sayd Robyn, 

* Had this monke, Johan ? ' 

* Fyfty and two whan that we met. 

But many of them be gone.' 

229 * Let blowe a home,* sayd Robyn, 

' That f elaushyp may vs knowe ; * 
Seuen score of wyght ye men 
Canie pryckynge on a rowe. 

239 And euerych of them a good maii- 
Of scarlet and of raye; 
All they came to good Robyn, 
To wyte what he wolde say. 

231 They made the monke to wasshe and 

And syt at his denere, 
Robyn Hode and Lytell Johan 
They serued. him both in-fere. 

232 * Do gladly, monke,' sayd Robyn. 

* Gramercy, syr,' sayd he. 

* Where is your abbay, whan ye are at 

And who is your avowe ? * 

233 ' Saynt Mary abbay,* sayd the monke, 

* Though I be symple here.* 

' In what ofifyce ? ' sayd Robyn: 
' Syr, the hye selerer.' 




234 ' Ye be the more welcome,' sayd 

' So euer mote I the; 
Fyll of the best wyne,' sayd Robyn, 
'< This monke shall dryuke to me. 

235 'But I haue grete meruayle,' sayd 

* Of all this longe day; 
I drede Our Lady be wroth with me, 
She sent me not my pay.' 

236 * Haue no doute, mayster,' sayd Lytell 

.Job an, 
' Ye haue no nede, I saye ; 
This monke it hath brought, I dare 

well swere. 
For he is of her abbay.' 

237 * And she was a borowe,' sayd Robyn, 

' Betwene a knyght and me, 
Of a lytell money that I hym lent, 
Under the grene-wode tree. 

238 * And yf thou hast that syluer ibrought, 

I pray the let me se; 
And I shall helpe the eftsones, 
Yf thou haue nede to me.' 

239 The monke swore a full grete othe, 

With a sory chere, 
'Of the borowehode thou spekest to 
Herde I neuer ere.' 

240 * I make myn avowe to God,' sayd 

' Monke, thou art to blame; 
For God is holde a ryghtvvys man. 
And so is his dame. 

241 * Thou toldest with thyn owne tonge, 

Thou may not say nay. 
How thou arte her seruaunt, 
And seruest her euery day. 

242 ' And thou art made her messengere, 

My money for to pay; 
Therfore I cun the more thanke 
Thou arte come at thy day. 

243 * What is in your cofers ? ' sayd Robyn, 

* Trewe than tell thou me : ' 
' Syr,' he sayd, 'twenty marke, 
Al so mote I the.' 

244 ' Yf there be no more,' sayd Robyn, 

' I wyll not one peny ; 
Yf thou hast myster of ony more, 
Syr, more I shall lende to the. 

245 'And yf I fiynde [more,' sayd] Robyii, 

' I-wys thou shalte it for gone; 
For of thy spendynge-syluer, monke, 
Thereof wyll 1 ryght none. 

246 ' Go nowe forthe, Lytell Johan, 

And the trouth tell thou me; 
If there be no more but twenty marke, 
No peny that I se.' 

247 Lytell Johan spred his mantell downe, 

As he had done before. 
And he tolde out of the monkes 
Eyght [hondred] pounde and more. 

248 Lytell Johan let it lye full styll, 

And went to his mayster in hast; 
' Syr,' he sayd, ' the monke is trewe 
Our Lady hath doubled your cast.' 

249 ' 1 make myn avowe to God,' sayd 

Robyn — 

' Monke, what tolde I the ? — 
Our Lady is the trewest woman 
That euer yet founde I me. 

250 ' By dere worthy God,' sayd Robyn, 

' To seche all Englond thorowe, 
Yet founde I neuer to my pay 
A moche better borowe. 

251 * Fyll of the best wyne, and do hyni 

drynke,' sayd Robyn, 
' And grete well thy lady hende, 
And yf she haue nede to Robyn Hode, 
A frende she shall hym fynde. 

252 ' And yf she nedeth ony more syluer, 

Come thou agayne to me, 
And, by this token she liath me sent, 
She shall haue such thre.' 

253 The monke was goynge to London 

There to holde grete mote. 
The knyght that rode so hye on 
To brynge hym vnder fote.. 




254 ' Whether be ye away ? ' sayd Robyii: 

' Syr, to mailers in this loude, 
Too reken with our reues, 

That haue done moch wronge*' 

255 ' Come now forth, Lytell Johan, 

And barken to my tale; 
A better yemen I knowe none, 
To seke a inonkes male.' 

256 ' How moch is in yonder other corser ? ' 

sayd llobyn, 
' The soth must we see: ' 
* By Our Lady,' than sayd the monke, 
' That were no curteysye, 

257 * To bydde a man to dyner. 

And syth hym bete and bynde.' 
'It is our olde maner,' sayd Robyn, 
' To leue but lytell behynde.' 

258 The monke toke the hors with spore, 

Ne lenger wolde he abyde: 
'Aske to drynke,' than sayd Robyn, 
* Or that ye forther ryde.' 

259 'Nay, for God,' than sayd the monke, 

' Me reweth I cam so nere; 
For better chepe I myght haue dyned 
In Blythe or in Dankestere.' 

260 'Grete well your abbot,' sayd Robyn, 

' And your pryour, I you pray, 
And byd hym send me such a monke 
To dyner euery day.' 

261 Now lete we that monke be styll. 

And speke we of that knyght: 
Yet he came to holde his day, 
Whyle that it was lyght. 

262 He dyde him streyt to Bernysdale, 

Under the grene-wode tre, 
And he founde there Robyn Hode, 
And all his mery meyne. 

263 The knyght lyght doune of his good 

palf ray ; 
Robyn whan he gan see. 
So curteysly he dyde adoune his 
And set hym on his knee. 

264 ' God the sane, Robyn Hode, 

And all this company: ' 

' Welcome be thou, gentyll knyght, 
And ryght welcome to me.' 

265 Than bespake hym Robyn Hode, 

To that knyght so fre: 
What nede dryueth the to grene 
wode ? 
I praye the, syr knyght, tell me. 

266 'And welcome be thou, ge[n]tyll 

Why hast thou be so longe ? ' 
' * For the abbot and the hye iustyce 
Wolde haue had my londe.' 

267 ' Hast thou thy londe [a]gayne ? ' sayd 

Rob} n ; 

* Treuth than tell thou me : ' 

* Ye, for God,' sayd the knyght, 
And that thanke I God and the. 

268 * But take not a grefe,' sayd the knyght, 

* that I haue be so longe ; 
I came by a wrastelynge, 
And there I holpe a pore yeman, 
With wronge was put behynde.' 

269 ' Nay, for God,' sayd Robyn, 

* Syr knyght, tliat thanke I the ; 
What man that helpeth a good yeman, 

His frende than wyll I be.' 

270 'Haue here foure hondred pounde,' 

than sayd the knyght, 
'The whiche ye lent to me; 
And here is also twenty marke 
For your curteysy.' 

271 * Nay, for God,' than sayd Robyn, 

' Thou broke it well for ay ; 
For Our Lady, by her [hye] selerer. 
Hath sent to me my pay. 

272 ' And yf I toke it i-twyse, 

A shame it were to me; 
But trewely, gentyll knjght, 
Welcom arte thou to me.' 

273 Wlian Robyn had tolde his tale, 

He leugh and had good chere: 
By my trouthe,' then sayd the knyght, 
' Your money is redy here.' 

274 ' Broke it well,' sayd Robyn, 

'Thou gentyll knyght so fre; 




And welcome be thou,ge[n]t} 11 kiiyght, 
Under my trystell-tre. 

275 * But what shall these bowes do ? ' sayd 

' And these arowes if edred f re ? ' 
* By God,' than sayd the knyght, 
* A pore present to the.' 

276 * Come now forth, Lytell Johan, 

And go to my treasure, 
And brynge me there foure hondred 
pounde ; 
Tlie monke ouer-tolde it me. 

277 ' Haiie here foure hondred pounde, 

Thou gentyll knyght and trewe, 
And bye hors and harnes good. 
And gylte thy spores all newe. 

273 * And yf thou fayle ony spendynge, 
Com to Robyn Hode, 
And by my trouth thou shalt none fayle, 
The vvhyles I haue any good. 

279 * And broke well thy foure hondred 

Whiche I lent to the, 
And make thy selfe no more so bare, 
By the couusell of me.' 

280 Thus than holpe hym good Robyn, 

The knyght all of his care: 
God, that syt in heuen hye, 
Graunte vs well to fare ! 


281 Now hath the knyght his leue i-take, 

And wente hym on his way; 
Robyn Hode and his mery men 
Dwelled sty 11 full many a day. 

282 Lyth and lysten, gentil men, 

And herken what I shall say. 
How the proud [e] sheryfe of Notyng- 
Dyde crye a full fayre play; 

283 That all the best archers of the north 

Sholde come vpon a day. 
And [he] that shoteth allther best 
The game shall here a way. 

234 He that shoteth allther best, 
Furthest fayre and lowe, 

At a payre of fynly buttes. 
Under the greue-wode shawe, 

285 A ryght good arowe he shall haue. 

The shaft of syluer whyte, 
The hede and the feders of ryche rede 
In Englond is none lyke. 

286 This than herde good Robyn, 

Under his trystell-tre : 
' Make youredy, ye wyght yonge men; 
That shotynge wyll I se. 

287 ' Buske you, my mery yonge men. 

Ye shall go with me; 
And I wyll wete the shryues fayth, 
Trewe and }f he be.' 

288 Whan they had theyr bowes i-bent, 

Theyr takles fedred fre, 
Seuen score of wyght yonge men 
Stode by Robyns kne. 

289 Whan they cam to Notyngham, 

The buttes were fayre and longe ; 
Many was the bolde archere 

Tiiat shoted with bowes stronge. 

290 * There shall but syx shote with me; 

The other shal kepe my he[ue]de, 
And stande with good bowes bent, 
That I be not desceyued.' 

291 The fourth outlawe his bowe gan bende, 

And that was Robyn Hode, 
And thatbehelde the proud [e] sheryfe, 
All by the but [as] he stode. 

292 Thryes Robyn shot about, 

And alway he slist the wand, 
And so dyde good Gylberte 
Wyth the whyte hande. 

293 Lytell Johan and good Scatheloke 

Were archers good and fre; 
Lytell Much and good Reynolde, 
The worste wolde they not be. 

294 Whan they had shot aboute, 

These archours fayre and good, 
Euermore was the best, 
For soth, Robyn Hode. 

295 Hym was delynered the good arowe. 

For best worthy was he ; 




He toke the yef t so curteysly, 
To greiie wocle wolde he. 

29G They cryed out on Robyii Ilode, 

And grete homes gan they blowe: 
* Wo worth the, treason ! 'sayd Robyn, 

* Full euyl thou art to knovve. 

297 ' And wo be thou ! thou proude sheryf, 

Thus gladdynge thy gest; 
Other wyse thou behote me 
In yonder wylde forest. 

298 ' But had I the in grene wode, 

Under my trystell-tre, 
Thou sholdest leue me a better wedde 
Than thy trewe lewte.' 

299 Full many a bowe there was bent, 

And arowes let they glyde; 
Many a kyrtell there was rent, 
And hurt many a syde. 

300 The outlawes shot was so stronge 

That no man myght them dryue, 
And the proud [e] sheryf es men, 
They fled away full blyue. 

301 Robyn sawe the busshement to-broke, 

In grene wode he wolde haue be; 
Many an arovve there was shot 
Amonge that company. 

302 Lytell Johan was hurts full sore, 

With an arowe in his kne, 
That he myght neythor go nor ryde; 
It was full grete pyte. 

303 * Mayster,' then sayd Lytell Johan, 

' If euer thou loue[d]st me, 
And for that ylke lordes loue 
That dyed vpon a tre, 

304 * And for the medes of my seruyce, 

That I haue serued the, 
Lete neuer the proude sheryf 
Alyue now fynde me. 

305 * But take out thy browne swerde. 

And smyte all of my hede, 
And gyue me woundes depe and wyde; 
No lyfe on me be lefte.' 

306 *I wolde not that,' sayd Robyn, 

* Johan, that thou were slawe, 

For all the golde in mery Englonde, 
Though it lay now on a rawe.' 

307 * God forbede,' sayd Lytell Much, 

* That dyed on a tre. 
That thou sholdest, Lytell Johan, 
Parte our company.' 

308 Up he toke hym on his backe, 

And bare hym well a myle; 
Many a tyme he layd hym downe. 
And shot another whyle. 

309 Then was there a fayre castell, 

A lytell within the wode; 

Double-dyched it was about. 

And walled, by the rode. 

310 And there dwelled that gentyll knyght, 

Syr Ryehard at the Lee, 
That Robyn had lent his good. 
Under the grene-wode tree. 

311 In he toke good Robyn, 

And all his company: 
* Welcome be thou, Robyn Hode, 
Welcome arte thou to me; 

312 And moche [I] thanke the of thy 

And of thy curteysye. 
And of thy grete kyndenesse. 
Under the grene-wode tre. 

313 * I loue no man in all this worlde 

So much as I do the; 
For all the proud[e] sheryf of Notyng- 
Ryght here shalt thou be. 

314 * Shyt the gates, and drawe the brydge, 
a. And let no man come in. 

And arme you well, and make you redy, 
And to the walles ye wynne. 

315 'For one thynge, Robyn, I the behote; 

I swere by Saynt Quyiityne, 
These forty dayes thou wonnest with 
To soupe, ete, and dyne.' 

316 Bordes were layde, and clothes were 

Redely and anone; 
Robyn Hode and his mery men 
To mete can they gone. 





317 Lythe and lysten, gentylmen, 

And herkyn to your songe; 
Howe the proude shyref of Notyng- 
And men of armys stronge, 

318 Full fast cam to the hye shyref, 

The contre vp to route, 
And they besette the knyghtes castell, 
The walles all aboute. 

319 The proude shyref loude gan crye. 

And sayde, Thou traytour knight. 
Thou kepest here the kynges enemys, 
Agayust the lawe and right. 

320 * Syr, I wyll auowe that I haue done, 

The dedys that here be dyght, 
Vpon all the landes that I haue, 
As I am a trewe knyght. 

321 * Wende furth, sirs, on your way. 

And do no more to me 
Tyll ye wyt oure kynges vville. 
What he wyll say to the.' 

322 The shyref thus had his answere. 

Without any lesynge; 
[Fu]rth he yede to London towne. 
All for to tel our kinge. 

323 Ther he telde him of that knight. 

And eke of Robyn Hode, 
And also of the bolde archars, 
That were soo noble and gode. 

324 ' He wyll auowe that he hath done, 

To mayntene the outlawes stronge; 
He wyll be lorde, and set you at 
In all the northe londe.' 

325 ' I wil be at Notyngham,' saide our 


* Within this four teeny ght, 
And take I wyll Robyn Hode, 

And so I wyll that knight. 

32G * Go nowe home, shyref/ sayde our 

* And do as I byd the ; 

And ordeyn gode archers ynowe. 
Of all the wyde centre.' 

327 The shyref had his leue i-take, 

And went iiym on his way, 
And Robyn Hode to grene wode, 
Vpon a certen day. 

328 And Lytel John was hole of the 

That shot was in his kne, 
And dyd hym streyght to Robyn Hode, 
Vnder the grene-wode tree. 

329 Robyn Hode walked in the forest, 

Vnder tlie leuys grene; 
The proude shyref of Notyngham 
Thereof he had grete tene. 

330 The shyref there fayled of Robyn 

He my ght not haue his pray; 
Than he awayted this gentyll knyght, 
Bothe by nyght and day. 

331 Euer he wayted the gentyll knyght, 

Syr Richarde at the Lee, 
As he went on haukynge by the ryuer- 
And lete [his] haukes flee. 

332 Toke he there this gentyll knight. 

With men of armys stronge, 
And led hym to Notyngham warde, 
Bounde bothe fote and hande. 

333 The sheref sware a full grete othe, 

Bi hym that dyed on rode. 
He had leuer than an hundred pound 
That he had Robyn Hode. 

334 This harde the knyghtes wyfe, 

A fayr lady and a free; 
She set hir on a gode palfrey. 
To grene wode anone rode she. 

335 Whanne she cam in the forest, 

Vnder the grene-wode tree, 
Fonde she there Robyn Hode, 
And al his fayre mene. 

336 * God the sane, gode Robyn, 

And all thy company; 
For Our dere Ladyes sake, 
A bone graunte thou me. 

337 ' Late neuer my wedded lorde 

Shamefully slayne be; 




He is fast bowne to Notingham warde, 
For the loue of the.' 

338 Anone than saicle goode Robyn 
To that lady so fre, 
What man hath your lorde [i-]take ? 


* For soth as I the say; 
He is iiat yet thre myles 
Passed on his way.' 

340 Vp than sterte gode Robyn, 

As man that had ben wode: 
' Buske you, my mery men. 
For hym that dyed on rode. 

341 ' And he that this sorowe forsaketh, 

By hym that dyed on tre. 

Shall he neuer in grene wode 

No lenger dwel with me.' 

342 Sone there were gode bowes bent, 

Mo than seuen score ; 
Hedge ne dyche spared they none 
That was them before. 

343 ' I make myn auowe to God,' sayde 


' The sherif wolde I fayne see; 
And if I may hym take, 
I-quyte shall it be.' 

344 And whan they came to Notingham, 

They walked in the strete; 
And wit A the proud e sherif i-wys 
Sone can they mete. 

345 'Abyde, thou proude sherif,' he sayde, 

' Abyde, and speke with me; 
Of some tidinges of oure kinge 
I wolde fayne here of the. 

346 'This seuen yere, by dere worthy 

Ne yede I this fast on fote; 
I make myn auowe to God, thou proude 
It is nat for thy gode.' 

347 Robyn bent a full goode bowe. 

An arrowe he drowe at wyll; 
He hit so the proude sherife 

Vpon the grounde he lay full still. 

348 And or he myght vp aryse, 

On his fete to stonde, 
He smote of the sherifs hede 
With his bright[ej bronde. 

349 ' Lye thou there, thou proude sherife, 

Euyll mote thou cheue ! 
There myght no man to the truste 
b. The whyles thou were a lyue,' 

350 His men drewe out theyr bryght 

That were so sharpe and kene. 
And layde on the sheryues men. 
And dryued them downe bydene. 

351 Robyn stert to that knyght, 

And cut a two his bonde. 
And toke hym in his hand a bowe, 
And bad hym by hym stonde. 

352 ' Leue thy hors the behynde, 

And lerne for to renne ; 
Thou shalt with me to grene wode, 
Through myre, mosse, and fenne. 

353 ' Thou shalt with me to grene wode, 

Without ony leasynge, 
Tyll that I haue gete vs grace 
Of Edwarde, our comly kynge.' 


354 The kynge came to Notynghame, 

With knyghtes in grete araye, 
For to take that gentyll knyght 
And Robyn Hode, and yf he may. 

355 He asked men of that countre 

After Robyn Hode, 
And after that gentyll knight, 
That was so bolde and stout. 

356 Whan they had tolde hym the case 

Our kynge vnderstode ther tale, 
And seased in his honde 
The knyghtes londes all. 

357 All the passe of Lancasshyre 

He went both ferre and nere, 

Tyll he came to Plomton Parke; 

He faylyd many of his dere. 

358 There our kynge was wont to se 

Herdes many one, 




He coud viineth fynde one dere, 
That bare ony good home. 

359 The kvnge was wonder wroth with- 


And swore by the Trynyte, 
*I wolde I had Robyu Hode, 
With eyeu I myght hyiu se. 

3G0 * And he that wolde smyte of the 
knyghtes hede, 
And brynge it to me, 
He shall haue the knyghtes londes, 
Syr Rycharde at the Le. 

361 * I gyne it hym with my charter, 

And sele it [with] my honde, 
To haue and holde for etier more, 
In all mery Englonde.' 

362 Than bespake a fayre olde knyght, 

That was treue in his fay: 

* A, my leege lorde the kynge, 

One worde I shall you say. 

363 * There is no man in this countre 

May haue the knyghtes londes, 
"VVhyle Robyn Hode may ryde or 
And here a bowe in his houdes, 

364 < That he ne shall lese his hede, 

That is the best ball in his hode: 
Gine it no man, my lorde the kynge, 
That ye wyll any good.' 

365 Half a yere dwelled our conily kynge 

In Notyngham, and well more; 

Coude he not here of Robyn Ilode, 

In what countre that he were. 

SQQ But alway went good Robyn 
By halke and eke by hyll, 
And alway slewe the kynges dere, 
And welt them at his wyll. 

367 Than bespake a proude fostere, 
That stode by our kynges kne: 

* Yf ye wyll se good Robyn, 

Ye must do after me. 

363 ' Take fyue of the best knyghtes 
That be in your lede, 
And walke downe by yon abbay, 
And gete i'ou monkes wede. 

369 ' And I wyll be your ledes-man, 

And lede you the way, 
And or ye come to Notyngham, 
Myn hede then dare I lay, 

370 ' That ye shall mete with good Robyn, 

On lyue yf that he be; 
Or ye come to Notyngham, 
With eyeu ye shall hym se.' 

371 Full hast[e]ly our kynge was dyght, 

So were his knyghtes fyue, 
Euerych of them in monkes wede. 
And hasted them thyder blyve. 

372 Our kynge was grete aboue his cole, 

A brode hat on his crowne, 
Ryght as he were abbot-lyke. 
They rode up in-to the towne. 

373 Styf botes our kynge had on, 

Forsoth as I you say; 
He rode syngynge to grene wode, 
The couent was clothed in graye. 

37-4 His male-hors and his grete somers 
Folowed our kynge behynde, 
Tyll they came to grene wode, 
A myle vnder the lynde. 

375 There they met with good Robyn, 
Stondynge on the wave, 
And so dyde many a bolde archere. 
For soth as I you say. 

373 Robyn toke the kynges hors, 
Hastely in that stede, 
And sayd, ' Syr abbot, by your leue, 
A whyle ye must abyde. 

377 * We be yemen of this foreste, 

Vnder the grene-wode tre; 
We lyue by our kynges dere, 
[Other shyft haue not wee.] 

378 * And ye haue chyrches and rentes 

And gold full grete plente; 
Gyne vs some of your spendynge, 
For saynt[e] chary te.' 

379 Than bespake our cumly kynge, 

Anone than sayd he; 
* I brought no more to grene wode 
But forty pouude with me. 




380 * I haue layne at Notyngham 

This fourtynyght with our kynge, 
And spent I haue full moche good, 
On many a grete lordynge. 

381 * And I haue but forty pounde, 

No more than haue I me; 
But yf I had an hondred pounde, 
1 wolde vouch it safe on the.' 

382 Robyn toke the forty pounde. 

And departed it in two partye; 
Halfendell he gaue his mery men, 
And bad them mery to be. 

383 Full curteysly Robyn gan say: 

' Syr, haue this for your spendyng; 
We shall mete another day; ' 

* Gramercy,' than sayd our kynge. 

3S-i * But well the greteth Edwarde, our 
And sent to the his scale. 
And byddeth the com to Notyngham, 
Both to mete and mele.' 

385 He toke out the brode targe, 

And sone he lete hym se; 
Robyn cond his courteysy, 
And set hym on his kne. 

386 ' I loue no man in all the worlde 

So well as I do my kynge; 
Welcome is my lordes scale; 
And, monke, for thy tj'dynge, 

387 * Syr abbot, for thy tydynges, 

To day thou shalt dyne with me. 
For the loue of my kynge. 
Under my trystell-tre.' 

388 Forth he lad our comly kynge. 

Full fayre by the honde; 

Many a dere there was slayne, 

And full fast dyghtande. 

389 Robyn toke a full grete borne. 

And loude he gan blowe; 
Seuen score of wyght yonge men 
Came redy on a rowe. 

S90 All they kneled on theyr kne. 
Full fayre before Robyn: 
The kynge sayd hym selfe vntyll. 
And swore by Saynt Austyn, 

391 ' Here is a wonder semely S3'ght; 

Me thynketh, by Goddes pyne. 
His men are more at his byddynge 
Then my men be at myn.' 

392 Full hast[e]ly was theyr dyner idyght. 

And therto gan they gone; 
They serued our kynge with al theyr 
Both Robyn and Lytell Johan. 

393 Anone before our kynge was set 

The fatte venyson. 
The good whyte brede, the good rede 
And therto the fyne ale and browne. 

394 ' Make good chere,' said Robyn, 

'Abbot, for charyte; 
And for this ylke tydynge, 
Blyssed mote thou be. 

395 ' Now shalte thou se what lyfe we lede, 

Or thou hens wende; 
Than thou may enfourme our kynge. 
Whan ye togyder lende.' 

398 Up they sterte all in hast, 

Theyr bowes were smartly bent; 
Our kynge was neuer so sore agast, 
Pie wende to haue be shente. 

397 Two yerdes there were vp set. 

Thereto gan they gauge; 
By fyfty pase, our kynge sayd. 
The merkes were to longe. 

398 On euery syde a rose-garlonde. 

They shot vnder the lyne: 
' Who so fayleth of the rose-garlonde/ 
sayd Robyn, 
* His takyll he shall tyne, 

399 ' And yelde it to his mayster, 

Be it neuer so fyne; 
For no man wyll I spare. 
So drynke I ale or wyne: 

400 ' And here a buffet on his hede, 

I-wys ryght all bare: ' 
And all that fell in Robyns lote, 
He smote them wonder sare. 

101 Twyse Robyn shot aboute, 

And euer he cleued the wande. 




And so dyde good Gvlberte 
With the Whyte Haude. 

402 Lytell Johan and good Scathelocke, 

For nothynge wolde they spare; 
When they fayled of the garloude, 
Robyn smote them full sore. 

403 At the last shot that Robyn shot, 

For all his frendes fare, 

Yet he fayled of the garlonde 

Thre fyngers and mare. 

404 Than bespake good Gylberte, 

And thus he gan say; 

* Mayster,' he sayd, ' your takyll is lost, 

Stande forth and take your pay.' 

405 * If it be so,' sayd Robyn, 

' That may no better be, 
Syr abbot, I delyuer the myn arowe, 
I pray the, syr, serue thou me.' 

406 * It falleth not for myn ordre,' sayd 

our kynge, 

* Robyn, by thy leue, 

For to smyte no good yeman, 
For doute I sholde hym greue.' 

407 ' Smyte on boldely,' sayd Robyn, 

* I giue the large leue : ' 
Anone our kynge, with that worde. 

He folde vp his sleue, 

408 And sych a buffet he gaue Robyn, 

To grounde he yede full nere: 

* I make myn avowe to God,' sayd 

' Thou arte a stalvvorthe f rere. 

409 * There is pith in thyn arme,' sayd 

' I trowe thou canst well shete: ' 
Thus our kynge and Robyn Hode 
Togeder gan they mete. 

410 Robyn behelde our comly kynge 

Wystly in the face. 
So dyde Syr Rycharde at the Le, 
And kneled downe in that place. 

411 And so dyde all the wylde outlawes, 

Whan they se them knele: 

* My lorde the kynge of Englonde, 

Now I knowe you well.' 

412 ' Mercy then, Robyn,' sayd our kynge, 

* Vnder your trystyll-tre. 
Of thy goodnesse and thy grace, 
For my men and me ! ' 

413 * Yes, for God,' sayd Robyn, 

' And also God me saue, 
I aske mercy, my lorde the kynge, 
And for my men I crane.' 

414 * Yes, for God,' than sayd our kynge, 

' And therto sent I me, 
With that thou leue the grene wode, 
And all thy company ; 

415 * And come home, syr, to my courte, 

And there dwell with me.' 
* I make myn avowe to God,' sayd 
' And ryght so shall it be. 

416 * I wyll come to your courte, 

Your seruyse for to se. 
And brynge with me of my men 
Seuen score and thre. 

417 'But me lyke well your seruyse, 

I [wyll] come agayne full soone. 
And shote at the donne dere. 
As I am wonte to done.' 


418 * Haste thou ony grene cloth,' sayd our 


* That thou wylte sell nowe to 

' Ye, for God,' sayd Robyn, 

* Thyrty yerdes and thre.' 

419 * Robyn,' sayd our kynge, 

* Now pray I the. 

Sell me some of that cloth, 
To me and my meyne.' 

420 * Yes, for God,' then sayd Robyn, 

' Or elles 1 were a fole; 
Another day ye wyll me clothe, 
I trowe, ayenst the Yole.' 

421 The kynge kest of his cole then, 

A grene garment he dyde on. 
And euery knyght also, i-wys. 
Another had full sone. 




422 Whan they were clothed in Lyucolne 

Tliey keste away theyr graye; 
' Now we shall to Notyngham,' 
All thus our kynge gan say. 

423 They bente theyr bowes, and forth 

they went, 
Shotynge all in-fere, 
Towarde the towne of Notyngham, 
Outlawes as they were. 

124 Our kynge and Robyn rode togyder, 
For soth as I you say, 
And they shote plueke-buffet, 
As they went by the way. 

425 And many a buffet our kynge wan 

Of Robyn Hode that day, 
And nothynge spared good Robyn 
Our kynge in his pay. 

426 * So God me helpe,' sayd our kynge, 

' Thy game is nought to lere; 

I sholde not get a shote of the, 

Though I shote all this yere.' 

427 All the people of Notyngham 

They stode and behelde; 
They sawe nothynge but mantels of 
That couered all the felde. 

428 Than euery man to other gan say, 

I drede our kynge be slone; 
Come Robyn Hode to the towne, i- 
On lyue he lefte neuer one.' 

429 Full hast[e]ly they began to fie. 

Both yemen and knaues, 
And olde wyues that myght euyll 
They hypped on theyr staues. 

430 The kynge l[o]nghe full fast. 

And commaunded theym agayne; 
When they se our comly kynge, 
I-wys they were full fayne. 

431 They ete and dranke, and made them 

And sange with notes hye; 
Than bespake our comly kynge 
To Syr Rycharde at the Lee. 

432 He gaue hym there his londe agayne^ 

A good man he bad hym be; 
Robyn thanked our comly kynge, 
And set hym on his kne. 

433 Had Robyn dwelled in the kynges 

But twelue monethes and thre. 
That [he had] spent an hondred pounde, 
And all his mennes fe. 

434 In euery place where Robyn came 

Euer more he layde downe. 
Both for knyghtes and for sqnyres, 
To gete hym grete renowne. 

435 By than the yere was all agone 

He had no man but twayne, 
Lytell Johan and good Scathelocke, 
With hym all for to gone. 

436 Robyn sawe yonge men shote 

Full fayre vpon a day; 
* Alas ! ' than sayd good Robyn, 
' My welthe is went away. 

437 ' Somtyme I was an archere good, 

A styffe and eke a stronge; 
I was compted the best archere 
That was in mery Englonde. 

438 ' Alas 1 ' then sayd good Robyn, 

* Alas and well a woo ! 
Yf I dwele lenger with the kynge, 
Sorowe wyll me sloo.' 

439 Forth than went Robyn Hode 

Tyll he came to our kynge: 
' My lorde the kynge of Englonde, 
Graunte me myn askynge. 

440 * I made a chapell in Bernysdale, 

That semely is to se, 
It is of Mary Magdaleyne, 
And thereto wolde I be. 

441 ' I myght neuer in this seuen nyght 

No tyme to slepe ne wynke, 
Nother all these seuen dayes 
Nother ete ne drynke. 

442 * Me longeth sore to Bernysdale, 

I may not be therfro; 
Barefote and wolwarde I haue hyght 
Thyder for to go.' 




4:43 ' Yf it be so,' than sayd our kynge, 
* It may no better be, 
Seuen nygbt I gyue the leue. 
No leiigre, to dwell fro iiie.' 

444 * Gramercy, lorde,' then sayd Robyn, 

And set hym on his kne; 
He toke his leue full courteysly, 
To grene wode then went he 

445 Whan he came to grene wode, 

In a mery mornynge, 
There he herde the notes small 
Of byrdes mery syngynge. 

446 * It is ferre gone,' sayd Robyn, 

' That I was last here; 
Me lyste a lytell for to shote 
At the donne dere.' 

447 Robyn slewe a full grete harte; 

His home than gan lie blow. 
That all the outlawes of that forest 
That home coud they knowe, 

448 And gadred them togyder, 

In a lytell throwe. 
Seuen score of wyght yonge men 
Came redy on a rowe, 

449 And fayre dyde of theyr hodes, 

And set them on theyr kne: 
* Welcome,' they sayd, ' our [dere] 
Under this grene-wode tre.' 

450 Robyn dwelled in grene wode 

Twenty yere and two; 
For all drede of Edwarde our kynge, 
Agayne wolde he not goo. 

451 Yet he was begyled, i-wys. 

Through a wycked woman, 
The pryoresse of Kyrkesl}', 
That nye was of hys kynne: 

452 For the lone of a knyght, 

Syr Roger of Donkesly, 
That was her owne speciall; 
Full euyll mote they the ! 

453 They toke togyder theyr counsel! 

Robyn Hode for to sle, 
And how they myght best do that dede, 
His banis for to be. 

454 Than bespake good Robyn, 

In place where as he stode, 
*To morow I muste to Kyrke[s]ly, 
Craftely to be leten blode.' 

455 Syr Roger of Donkestere, 

By the pryoresse he lay. 
And there they betrayed good Robyn 
Through theyr false playe. 

456 Cryst haue mercy on his soule, 

That dyed on the rode ! 
For he was a good outlawe. 
And dyde pore men moch god. 



The beginning and perhaps the develop- 
ment of the story might have been more luoid 
but for verses lost at the very start. Robin 
Hood dreams of two yeomen that beat and bind 
him, and g-oes to seek them, " in green-wood 
where they be." Sir Guy being one, the other 
person pointed at must of course be the sheriff 
of Nottingham, in league with Sir Guy (a York- 
shire man, who has done many a curst turn) 
for the capture or slaying of Robin. The dream 
pimply foreshadows danger from two quarters. 
But Robin Hood is nowhere informed, as we 
are, that the sheriff is out agninst him with 
seven score men, has attacked his camp, and 
taken John prisoner. He knows nothing of 
this so far on as stanza 45^, where, after kill- 
ing Guy, he says he will go to Barnsdale to see 
liow his men are faring. Why then does he 
make his arrangements in stanzas 42-45-, be- 
fore he returns to Barnsdale, to pass himself 
off for Sir Guy ? Plainly this device is adopted 
with the knowledge that Jolm is a prisoner, and 
as a means of delivering him ; which all that 
follows shows. Our embarrassment is the 
gi-eater because we cannot point out any place 
in the story at which the necessary information 
could have been conveyed. It will not be 
enough, therefore, to suppose that verses have 
been dropped out ; there must also have been 
a considerable derangement of tlie story. The 
abrupt transition from the introductory verses 
is found in ' Adam Bell ' (No. 116), and the like 
occurs in other ballads. A fragment of a dra- 
matic piece founded on the ballad of ' Guv of 
(risborne ' has been preserved in a manuscript 
of the date of 1475 or earlier. 




'Guye of Gisborne,' Percy MS., p. 262; 
Hales and Furnivall. u, 227. .j^^ 

^ </^ 

1 When shawes beene sheene, and shradds 

full fayre, 
And leeues both large and longe, 
Itt is merry, walking in the fayre ffor- 

To Leare the small birds songe. 

2 The woodvveele sang, and wold not cease, 

Amongst the leaue^aWne: 
And it is by two wiglityeomen, 
By deare God, tliat I meane. 

3 ' Me thought they did mee beate and 

And tooke my bow mee froe; 
If I bee Robin a-liue in this lande, 
I 'le be wrocken on both them towe.' 

4 'Sweauens are swift, master,' quoth lohn, 

' As the wind that blowes ore a hill; 
Ffor if itt be neue^ soe lowde this 
To-morrow it may be still.' 

5 * Bi^e yee, bowne yee, my merry men 

Ffor lohn shall goe wzth mee ; 
For I 'le goe seeke yond wight yeomen 
In greenwood where the bee.' 

6 Thd cast on their gowne of greene, 

A shooting gone are they, 
Vntill they came to the merry green- 
Where they had gladdest bee ; 
There were the ware of [a] wight yeo- 
His body leaned to a tree. 

7 A sword and a dagger he wore by his 


Had beene many a mans bane, 
And he was cladd in his capull-hyde, 
Topp, and tayle, and mayne. 

8 * Stand you still, vaaster^ qwoth Litle 

' Vnder this trusty tree, 
And I will goe to yond wight yeoman, 
To know his meaning trulye.' 

9 * A, lohn, by me thou setts noe store, 
And thai 's a fParley thinge ; 
How offt send I my men beffore. 
And tarry my-selfe behinde ? 

10 ' It is noe cunning a knaue to ken. 

And a man but heare him speake; 
And itt were not for bursting of my 
bo we, 
lohn, I wold thy head breake.' 

11 But often words they breeden bale, 

That parted Robin and lohn; 
lohn is gone to Barn[e]sdale, 
The gates he knowes eche one. 

12 And when hee came to Barnesdale, 

Great heauinesse there hee hadd; 
He ffound two of liis fellowes 
Were slaine both in a slade, 

13 And Scarlett a ffoote flyinge was, 

Ouer stockes and stone, 
For the sheriffe wz'tli seuen score men 
Fast after him is gone. 

14 ' Yett one shoote I 'le shoote,' sayes Litle 

* With Crist his might and mayne; 
I 'le make yond fellow thai flyes soe fast 
To be both glad and ffaine.' 

15 lohn bent vp a good veiwe bow, 

And ffetteled him to shoote; 
The bow was made of a tender boughe, 
And fell downe to his foote. 

16 * Woe worth thee, wicked wood,' sayd 

Litle lohn, 
' Thai ere thou grew on a tree ! 
Ffor this day thou art my bale. 
My boote when thou shold bee } ' 

17 This shoote it was but looselye shott, 

The arrowe flew in vaine. 
And it mett one of the sheriffes men; 
Good WtVZiam a Trent was slaine. 

18 It had beene better forWt7Ziam a Trent 

To hange vpon a gallowe 
Then for to lye in the greenwoode, 
There slaine with an arrowe. 

19 And it is sayd, when men be mett, 

Six can doe more then three : 




And they haue tane Litle lohn, 
And bound him ffast to a tree. 

20 'Thou shalt be drawen by dale and 

downe,' quoth the sheriffe, 
' And hanged hye on a hill: ' 

* But thou may ffayle,' quoth Litle lohn, 

' If itt be Christs owne will.' 

21 Let vs leaue talking of Litle lohn, 

For hee is bound fast to a tree, 
And talke of Guy and Robin Hood, 
In the green woode where they bee. 

t2 How these two yeomen together they 
Vnder the leaues of lyne. 
To see what marchandise they made 
Euen at that same time. 

23 * Good morrow, good fellow,' qwoth Sir 

*Good morrow, good ffellow,' qwoth 

* Methinkes by this bow thou beares in 

thy hand, 
A good archer thou seems to bee.' 

24 * I am wilf uU of my way,' qwoth Sir 

' And of my morning tyde: ' 

* I 'le lead thee through the wood,' qt^oth 

' Good ffellow, I 'le be thy guide.' 

25 * I seeke an outlaw,' quoth Sir Guye, 

* Men call him Robin Hood; 
I had rather meet with him vpon a day 
Then forty pound of golde.' 

26 * If you tow mett, itt wold be seene 

whether were better 
Afore yee did part awaye; 
Let vs some other pastime find, 
Good ffellow, I thee pray. 

27 ' Let vs some other masteryes make. 

And wee will walke in the woods euen; 
Wee may chance mee[t] wzth Robin 
Att some vnsett steven.' 

28 They cutt them downe the summer 

WAich grew both vnder a bryar, 

And sett them three score rood in twinn, 
To shoote the prickes full neare. 

29 * Leade on, good ffellow,' sayd Sir Guye, 

' Lead on, I doe bidd thee : ' 
' Nay, by my faith,' qwoth Robin Hood, 
' The leader thou shalt bee.' 

30 The first good shoot that Robin ledd 

Did not shoote an inch the pricke 
Guy was an archer good enoughe, 
But he cold ueere shoote soe. 

31 The second shoote Sir Guy shott, 

He shott within the garlande; 
But Robin Hoode shott it better then 
For he clone the good pricke-wande. 

32 ' Gods blessing on thy heart ! ' sayes 


* Goode ffellow, thy shooting is goode; 
For an thy hart be as good as thy 

Thou were better then Robin Hood. 

33 * Tell me thy name, good ffellow,' qwoth 


* Vnder the leaues of lyne: ' 

* Nay, by my faith,' qwoth good Robin, 
' Till thou haue told me thine.' 

34 ' I dwell by dale and downe,' qwoth Guye, 

* And I haue done many a curst turne; 
And he that calles me by my right name 

Calles me Guye of good Gysborne.' 

35 * My dwelling is in the wood,' sayes 

Robin ; 
' By thee I set right nought; 
My name is Robin Hood of Barnesdale, 
A ffellow thou has long sought.' 

36 He that had neither beene a kithe nor 

Might haue seene a full fayre sight, 
To see how together these yeomen went. 
With blades both browne and bright. 

37 To haue seene how these yeomen to« 

gether foug[ht]. 
Two bowers of a summers day; 
Itt was neither Guy nor Robin Hood 
That ffettled them to flye away. 




38 Robin was reaclieles on a roote, 

And stumbled at thai tyde, 
And Guy was quicke and nimble wftli- 
And hitt him ore the left side. 

39 * Ah, deere Lady ! ' sayd Robin Hoode, 

* Thou art both mother and may ! 
I thinke it was neuer mans destinye 
To dye before his day.* 

40 Robin thought on Our Lady deere, 

And soone leapt vp againe, 
And thus he came with an awkwarde 
stroke ; 
Good Sir Guy bee has slayne. 

41 He tooke S/r Guys head by the hayre, 

And sticked itt on his bowes end: 

* Thou hast beene traytor all thy liffe, 

WAi'ch thing must haue an ende.' 

42 Robin pulled forth an Irish kniffe, 

And nicked Sir Guy in the fface, 
Thai hee was neuer on a woman borne 
Cold tell who Sir Guye was. 

43 Saies, Lye there, lye there, good Szr 


And with me be not wrothe; 
If thou haue had the worse stroakes at 
my hand. 
Thou shalt haue the better cloathe. 

44 Robin did off his gowne of greene, 

Sir Guye hee did it throwe; 

And hee put on that capull-hyde. 

Thai cladd him topp to toe. 

45 ' The bowe, the arrowes, and litle home. 

And with me now I 'le beare; 
Ffor now I will goe to Barn[e]sdale, 
To see how my men doe ffare.' 

46 Robin sett Guyes home to his mouth, 

A lowd blast in it he did blow; 
Thai beheard the sheriffe of Notting- 
As he leaned vnder a lowe. 

47 * Hearken ! hearken ! ' sayd the sheriffe, 

'I heard noe tydings but good; 
For yonder I heare Sir Guyes home 
For he hath slaine Robin Hoode. 

48 * For yonder I heare Sir Guyes home 

Itt blowes soe well in tyde, 
For yonder comes thai wighty yeoman, 
Cladd in his capull-hyde. 

49 * Come hither, thou good Sir Guy, 

Aske of mee what thou wilt haue: ' 
' I 'le none of thy gold,' sayes Robin 
' Nor I 'le none of itt haue. 

50 * But now I haue slaine the master,' he 


* Let me goe strike the knaue; 
This is all the reward I aske, 

Nor noe other will I haue.' 

51 ' Thou art a madman,' said the shiriffe, 

* Thou sholdest haue had a knights 

Seeing thy asking [hath] beene soe badd, 
Well granted it shall be.' 

52 But Litle lohn heard his master speake, 

Well he knew thai was his steuen; 
* Now shall I be loset,' qwoth Litle lohn, 
' With Christs might in heauen.' 

53 But Robin hee hyed him towards Litle 

Hee thought hee wold loose him 
The sheriffe and all his companye 
Fast after him did driue. 

54 * Stand abacke ! stand abacke ! ' sayd 

Robin ; 

* Why draw you mee soe neere ? 
Itt was neuer the vse in our countrye 

One's shrift another shold heere.' 

55 But Robin pulled forth an Irysh kniffe, 

And losed lohn hand and ffoote. 
And gaue him Sir Guyes bow in his hand, 
Aiid bade it be his boote. 

56 But lohn tooke Guyes bow in his hand — 

His arrowes were rawstye by the 
roote — ; 
The sherriffe saw Litle lohn draw a bow 
And ffettle him to shoote. 

57 Towards his house in Nottingam 

He ffled full fast away, 




And soe did all his companye, 
Not one behind did stay. 

58 But he cold neither soe fast goe, 
Nor away soe fast runn, 
But Litle lohn, with an arrow broade, 
Did cleaue his heart in tvviun. 


The gap at st. 30, 1. 2, occurs between two 
paj;es. Doubtless some one of Robin's many 
friends carries the news of his capture to the 
band. With this there must have come in- 
formation that he was to await knowledge of 
the King's pleasure. There is a general resem- 
blance between the rescue of Kobin in sts. (51- 
81 and that of Cloudsly in ' Adam Bell ' (No. 
116), sts. 56-94. Robin Hood's devotion to the 
Virgin (st. 34) is a feature which reappears in 
Nos. 118, 121, 123, and above all in the Gest 
(No. 117). 

a. MS. of about 1450, Cambridge University 
Library, Ff. 5, 48, fol. 128 b. b. One leaf of 
a MS. of the same age, containing stanzas 69'^- 
72, 77--80-, Bagford Ballads, vol. i, art. 6, Brit- 
ish Museum. 

1 In somer, when J^e shawes be sheyne, 

And leves be large and long, 
Hit is full niery m feyre foreste 
To here ]>e foulys song: 

2 To se J?e dere draw to J>e dale, 

And leve ]>e hilles hee, 
And shadow he??i in J>e leves grene, 
Vuder the grene- wode tre. 

3 Hit befel on Whitsontide, 

Erly in a May mornyng, 
The son vp feyre can shyne, 
And the briddis mery can syng. 

4 ' This is a mery mornyng,' seid Litull 

* Be hym ]>at dyed on tre; 
A more mery man ]>en I am one 
Lyves not in Cristiante. 

6 * Pink vp ]>[ hert, my dere maystcr,' 
Litull John can sey, 
' And thynk hit is a fnll fayre tyme 
In a mornyng of May.' 

6 ' 361 on thyng greves me,' seid Robyn, 

'And does my hert mych woo; 
"pat I may not no solem day 
To mas nor matyns goo. 

7 ' Hit is a fourtnet and more,' seid he, 

* Syn I my sauyour see; 

To day wil I to Notyngham,' seid Robyn, 
' With J?e myght of mylde Marye.' 

8 Than spake Moche, J»e mylner sun, 

Euer more wel hym betyde ! 
* Take twelue of ]7i wyght ^emen, 

Well weppynd, be \>i side. 
Such on wolde j^i selfe slon, 

]?at twelue dar not abyde.* 

9 * Of all my mery men,' seid Robyn, 

' Be my feith I wil non haue, 
But Litull John shall beyre my bow. 
Til pat me list to drawe.' 

10 * pon shall beyre )?in own,' seid Litull 

' Maister, and I wyl beyre myne, 
And we well shete a peny,' seid Litull 

* Vuder Ipe grene-wode lyne.' 

11 ' I wil not shete a peny,* seyd Robyn 

' In feith, Litull John, with the, 
But euer for on as J^ou shetw,' seide 

* In feith I holde pe thre.' 

12 Thus sliet ]>e'i forth, fese ^emen too, 

Bothe at bnske and brome, 
Til Litull John wan of his maister 
Fiue shillings to hose and shone. 

13 A ferly strife fel ]>em betwene. 

As they went bi the wey; 
Litull John seid he had won fiue shil- 
And Robyn Hode seid schortly nay. 

14 With pat Robyn Hode lyed Litul Jon, 

And smote hym with his hande; 
Litul Jon waxed wroth pevwith, 
And pulled out his bright bronde. 

15 ' Were pou not my maister,' seid Litull 


* ]>ou shuldis by hit ful sore; 




Get ]>e a man wher J?ou w[ilt], 
For J?ou getis me uo more.' 

16 \>en Robyn goes to Notyngbam, 

Hym selfe mornyng allone, 
And Litull John to mery Scherwode, 
The pathes he ki;ew ilkone. 

17 Whan Robyn came to Notyngham, 

Se?'tenly w^t^outen layn, 
He prayed to God and myld Mary 
To bryng hym out saue agayn. 

18 He gos In to Seynt Mary chirch, 

And kneled down before the rode; 
Alle ]>at ener were 'pe church within 
Beheld wel Robyn Hode. 

19 Beside hym stod a gret-hedid munke, 

I pray to God woo he be ! 
Fful sone he knew gode Robyn, 
As sone as he hym se. 

20 Out at ]?e durre he ran, 

Fful sone and anon; 
Alle }?e ^atis of Notyngham 

He made to be sparred euerychon. 

21 * Rise vp,^ he seid, ' J^ou prowde schereff, 

Buske ]>e and make J^e bowiie; 
I haue spyed 'pe kyngg^s felon, 
Ffor sothe he is in pis town. 

22 * I haue spyed J^e false felon, 

As he stondis at his masse; 
Hit is long of ]7e,' seide pe munke, 
' And euer he fro vs passe. 

23 ' J>is traytwr name is Robyn Hode, 

Vnder J7e grene-wode lynde; 
He robbyt me onys of a hundred pound. 
Hit shalle neuer out of my mynde.' 

24 Vp J?en rose pis prowde shereff. 

And radly made hym jare; 
Many was pe moder son 

To l^e kyrk wzt^ hym can fare. 

25 In at J^e durres ]7ei throly thrast. 

With staves ful gode wone; 

* Alas, alas ! ' seid Robyn Hode, 

* Now mysse I Litull John.' 

26 But Robyn toke out a too-hond sworde, 

]7at hangit down be his kne; 

]>er as pe schereff and his men stode 
The]?urwarde wolde be. 

27 Thryes thorowout Jjem he ran ]7en, 

For so]7e as I yow sey, 
And woundyt mony a moder son, 
And twelue he slew pat day. 

28 His sworde vpon pe schireff bed 

Sertanly he brake in too; 
* ]>e smyth pat pe made,' seid Robyn, 
' I pray to God wyrke hym woo < 

29 'Ffor now am I weppynlesse,' seid 

' Alasse ! agayn my wylle; 
But if I may fie J>ese traytors fro, 
I wot ]7ei wil me kyll.' 

30 Robyn in to the churche ran, 

Throout hem euerilkon, 

31 Su?n fel in swonyng as l^ei were dede, 

And lay stil as any stone; 
Non of theym were in her mynde 
But only Litull Jon. 

32 * Let be yowr rule,' seid Litull Jon, 

' Ffor his luf pat dyed on tre, 
^e J?at shulde be du^ty men; 
Het is gret shame to se. 

33 ' Oure maister has bene hard bystode 

And ^et scapyd away; 
Pluk vp*yowr hertzs, and leve pis mone. 
And harkyn what I shal say. 

34 *He has seruyd Oure Lady many a 

And ^et wil, securly; 
]7erfor I trust in hir specialy 
No wyckud deth shal he dye. 

35 * perioT be glad,' seid Litul John, 

' And let pis mournyng be; 
And I shal be pe munkis gyde. 
With pe myght of mylde Mary. 


* We will go but we too; 
And I mete hym,' seid Litul John, 





* Loke ]>at ^e kepe wel owre tristil-tre, 

47 As pel went talking be pe way, 

Vnder pe levys sniale, 

The munke and Litull John, 

And spare non of this veiiyson, 

John toke pe munkfs horse be J^e bede, 

pat gose in thys vale.' 

Fful sone and anon. 


FforJ?e pen went these ^emen too, 

48 Johne toke pe munkts horse be pe bed, 

Litul John and Moche on fere, 

Ffor so]7e as I yow say; 

And lokid on Mocli emys hows. 

So did Much pe litull page. 

J>e hye way lay full nere. 

Ffor be shulde not scape away. 

39 Litul John stode at a wyndow in ]>e 

49 Be pe golett of pe hode 


John pulled pe munke down; 

And lokid for]? at a stage; 

John was nothyng of iiym agast. 

He was war wher ]>e munke came 

He lete hym falle on his crown. 


And Wit A hym a litul page. 

50 Litull John was so[re] agrevyd, 

And drew owt his swerde in bye; 


« Be my feith,' seid Litul John to Moch, 

This munke saw he shulde be ded, 

' I can ]?e tel tithyngus gode; 

Lowd mercy can he crye. 

I se wher ]?e munke eu7?2ys rydyng, 

I know hym be his wyde hode.' 


' He was my maister,' seid Litull John, 
* pat pou base brow^t in bale; 


They went in to the way, J?ese ^emen 

Shalle pou neuer cvim at our kyng. 


Ffor to telle hym tale.' 

As curtes men and,hende; 

]?ei spyrred tithyngus at pe munke, 

52 John smote of pe munkis bed, 

As they hade bene his frende. 

No longer wolde he dwell; 
So did Moch J^e litull page, 


* Ffro whens come ^e ? ' seid Litull 
* Tel vs tithyngus, I yow pray. 

Ffor ferd lest he wolde tell. 


per pei beryed hem bo]?e. 

Off a false owtlay, [callid Robyn Hode,] 

In nou]7er mosse nor lyng, 

Was takyu ^isterday. 

And Litull Jolm and Much infere 
Bare pe letturs to oure kyng. 


* He robbyt me and my felowes bofe 

Of twenti marke in serten; 



If pat false owtlay be takyn. 

He knelid down vpon his kne: 

l^'for soJ>e we wolde be fayn.' 

* God 30W saue, my lege lorde, 
Ihesu5 yow saue and se ! 


* So did he me,' seid J^e munke. 

* Of a hundred pound and more ; 


* God yow saue, my lege kyng ! ' 

I layde furst hande hym apon, 

To speke John was full Ijolde; 

3e may thonke me J^erfore.' 

He gaf hym J^e letturs in his bond. 
The kyng did hit vnfold. 


* I pray God thanke you,' seid Litull 



pe kyng red pe letturs anon, 

' And we wil when we may; 

And seid, So mot I the. 

We wil go with you, with your leve, 

per was neuer ^oman in mery Inglond 

And bryng yow on your way. 

I longut so sore to se. 


' Ffor Robyn Hode base many a wilde 


' Wher is J^e munke pat }?ese shuld haue 


brou^t ? ' 

I tell you in certen; 

Oure kyng can say: 

If }7ei wist 3e rode pis way. 

* Be nay trouth,' seid Litull John, 

In feith je shulde be slayn.' 

' He dyed after pe way.' 




58 ]?e kyng gaf Mocli and Litul Jon 

Twenti pound in sertan, 
And made ]?eim ^emen of pe crown, 
And bade pehn go agayn. 

59 He gaf John pe seel in hand, 

The sheref for to bere. 
To bryng Robyn hym to, 
And no man do liym dere. 

60 John toke his leve at oure kyng, 

pe sothe as I yow say; 
J)e next way to Notyngham 
To take, he ^ede ]>e way. 

61 Whan John came to Notyngham 

The ^atis were sparred ychon; 
John callid vp J^e porter, 
He answerid sone anon. 

62 ' What is J^e cause,' seid Litul Jon, 

' pou sparris J^e ^ates so fast ? ' 

* Because of Robyn Hode,' seid [fe] 

' In depe prison is cast. 

63 ' John and Moch and Wyll Scathlok, 

Ffor sothe as I yow say, 
pe'i slew oure men vpon our wallis, 
And sawten vs euery day.' 

64 Litull John spyrred after J^e schereff, 

And sone he hym fonde; 
He oppyned pe kyngus pn'ue seell. 
And gaf hym in his houde. 

65 Whan ]>e scheref saw j^e kyngus seell. 

He did of his hode anon: 

* VVher is pe mnnke pat bare pe letturs ? ' 

He seid to Litull John. 

66 ' He is so fayn of hym,' seid Litul John, 

' Ffor soj7e as I yow say, 
He has made hym abot of Westraynster," 
A lorde of J^at abbay.' 

67 The scheref made John gode chere, 

And gaf hym wyne of the best; 
At ny3t J^ei went to her bedde. 
And eugry man to his rest. 

68 When pe scheref was on siepe, 

Dronken of wyne and ale, 

Litul John and Moch for so}?e 

Toke pe way vnto pe jale. 

69 Litul John callid vp J^e jayler. 

And bade hym rise anon; 
He scyd Robyn Hode had brokyn prison, 
And out of hit was gen. 

70 The porter rose anon se?'tan. 

As sone as he herd John calle; 
Litul John was redy with a swerd, 
And bare hym to pe walle. 

71 'Now wil I be porter,' seid Litul John, 

' And take J^e keyes in honde : ' 
He toke pe way to Robyn Hode, 
And sone he hym vnbonde. 

72 He gaf hym a gode swerd hi his hond. 

His bed [therJw^ztA for to kepe, 
And ther as pe walle was lowyst 
Anon down can pei lepe. 

73 Be pat pe cok began to crow, 

The day began to spr3'ng; 
The scheref fond pe jaylier ded, 
The comyn bell made he ryng. 

74 He made a crye thoroout al J^e tow[n], 

Wheder he be joman or knave, 
"pat cow]7e bryng hym Robyn Hode, 
His warison he shuld haue. 

75 * Ffor I dar neuer,' said pe scheref, 

'Cum before oure kyng; 
Ffor if I do, I wot serten 
Ffor soJ>e he wil me heng.' 

76 The scheref made to seke Notyng-= 

Bothe be strete and stye. 
And Robyn was in mery Scherwode, 
As li^t as lef on lynde. 

77 Then bespake gode Litull John, 

To Robyn Hode can he say, 
I haue done J'e a gode turne for an 
Quyte pe whan pon may. 

78 'I haue done pe a gode turne,' seid 

Litull John. 
* Ffor sotlie as I yow say; 
I haue brou^t pe vnder grene-Nvode lyne ; 
Ffare wel, and haue gode day.' 

79 * Na}^ be my trouth,' seid Robyn Hode, 

' So shall hit neuer be : 




I make ]?e nmister,' seid Ilobyn Hode, 

* Off alle my men and me.' 

80 * Nay, be my trouth,' seid Litull John, 

' So shalle hit neuer be; 
Bnt lat me be a felow,' seid Litull John, 

* No noder kepe I be.' 

81 Thus John gate Robyn Hod out of 

Sertan wtt^outyn layn; 
Whan his men saw hym hoi and sounde, 
Ffor sothe they were full fayue. 

82 They filled in wyne, and made hem glad, 

Ynder ]>e levys smale, 

And ^ete pastes of venyson, 

J?at gode was with ale. 

83 Than worde came to oure kyng 

How Robyn Hode was gon, 
And how pe scheref of Notyngham 
Durst neuer loke hym vpon. 

84 Then bespake oure cuwly kyng, 

In an angur hye: 
Litull John base begyled J^e schereff, 
In faith so base he me. 

85 Litul John has begyled vs bothe, 

And J^at full wel I se; 
Or ellis ]>e schereff of Notyngham 
Hye hongut shulde he be. 

86 * I made hem ^emen of J?e crowne. 

And gaf hem fee with my bond; 
1 gaf hem grith,' seid oure kyng, 

* Thorowout all mery Inglond. 

87 * I gaf theym grith,' ]>en seid oure kyng; 

* I say, so mot I the, 

Ffor sothe soch a ^eman as he is on 
In all Inglond ar not thre. 

88 ' He is trew to his maister,' seid our 


' I sey, be swete Seynt John, 
He louys better Robyn Hode 
Then he dose vs ychon. 

89 ' Robyn Hode is euer bond to hym, 

Bothe in strete and stalle; 
Speke no more of this mater,' seid oure 

* But John has begyled vs alle.' 

90 Thus endys the talkyng of the munke 
And Robyn Hode i-wysse; 
God, J7at is euer a crowned kyng, 
Bryug vs all to his blisse ! 


A very interesting' passage of the story is los^ 
in A, owing to the tearing- away of nine stanzas 
of the manuscript at st. 8. Robin Hood and 
John are on their way to Kirklees. They keep 
up their shooting all the Avay, until they come 
to a black water, crossed by a plank. On the 
plank an old woman is kneeling, and banning 
Robin Hood. Robin asks why the old woman 
is banning him, but the answer is lost, and it is 
not probable that we shall ever know : out of 
her proper malignity, surely, or because she is 
a hired witch, for Robin is the friend of lowly 
folk. But if this old woman is banning, others 
(no doubt women) are weeping, for somehow 
they have learned that he is to be let blood 
that day at the priory, and foresee that ill will 
come of it. At the middle of st. 18 nine stanzas 
are again wanting, and again in a place where 
we are not helped by the other version. John 
must call from the outside of the building, 
judging by what follows. An altercation seems 
to pass between Robin and Red Roger. Robin 
slips out of a shot-window, and as he does so is 
thrust through the side by Red Roger. Red 
Roger must be below, and John is certainly 
below. He would have seen to Red Roger had 
they both been within. But John must be 
under a window on a different side of the build- 
ing from that whence Robin issues, for other- 
wise, again, he would have seen to Red Roger. 
We are driven to suppose that the words in st. 
19 pass between Robin above and Roger below. 
The account of Robin Hood's death in the Gest 
agrees in the main with what we find in A. 
B, though found only in late garlands, is in the 
fine old strain. 

' Robin Hoode his Death,' Percy MS., p. 21 ; 
Hales and Furnivall, i, 53. 

1 ' I WILL neuer eate nor drinke,' Robin 
Hood said, 
* Nor meate will doo me noe good. 
Till I bane beene att merry Church- 
My vaines for to let blood.' 





« That I reade not,' said Will Scarllett, 


Forth then shotten these children two, 

* Master, by the assente of me, 

And they did neuer lin. 

Without lialfe a hundred of your best 

Vntill they came to merry Churchlees, 


To merry Churchlee[s] with-in. 

You take to goe with yee. 


And when they came to merry Church- 


' For there a good yeoman doth abide 


Will be sure to quarrell with thee, 

They knoced vpon a pin ; 

And if thou haue need of vs, master, 

Vpp then rose dame prioresse, 

In faith we will not flee.' 

And lett good Robin i)i. 


* And thou be f eard, thou Willtam Scar- 

13 Then Robin gaue to dame prioresse 


Twenty pound in gold, 

Att home I read thee bee: ' 

And bad her spend while that wold 

* And you be wrothe, my deare master, 


You shall neuer heare more of mee.' 

And shee shold haue more when shee 


14 And downe then came dame prioresse. 


' For there shall noe man with me goe, 

Downe she came in that ilke, 

Nor man with mee ryde. 

With a pair off blood-irons in her hands, 

And Litle lohn shall be my man, 

Were wrapped all in silke. 

And beare my benbow by my side.' 


* Sett a chaffing-dish to the fyer,' said 


' You'st beare your bowe, master, your 

dame prioresse, 


'And stripp thou vp thy sleeue:' 

And shoote for a peny with mee: ' 

I hold him but an vnwise man 

'To that I doe assent,' Robin Hood 
* And soe, John, lett it bee.' 

2'Aat will noe warning leeve. 

16 Shee laid the blood-irons to 'Robin Hoods 


They two bolde children shotten to- 

Alacke, the more pitye ! 


And pearct the value, and let out the 

All day theire selfe in ranke, 


Vntill they came to blacke water, 

That full red was to see. 

And over it laid a planke. 

17 And first it bled, the thicke, thicke 


Vpon it there kneeled an old woman. 


Was banning Robin Hoode; 

And afterwards the thinne. 

* Why dost thou bann Robin Hoode ? ' 

And well then wast good Robin Hoode 

said Robin, 

Treason there was within. 



' What cheere my master ? ' said Litle 

* * * * « 

lohn ; 


* In faith, lohn, litle goode; ' 

* To giue to Robin Hoode; 

* . 

Wee weepen for his deare body. 

That this day must be lett bloode.' 



* The dame prior is my aunts daughter, 

And nie vnto my kinne; 


* I haue upon a gowne of greene. 

I know shee wold me noe harme this 

Is cut short by my knee. 


And in my hand a bright browne brand 

For all the world to winne.' 

lliat will well bite of thee.' 




20 But forth then of a shot-vvindowe 

Good Robin Hood he could glide; 
Red Roger, with a grounden glaue, 
Tiirust hiiu through the niilke-vvhite 

21 But Ro&m was light and nimble of foote, 

And thought to abate his pride, 
Ffor betwixt his head and his shoulders 
He made a wound full wide. 

22 Says, Ly there, ly there, Red Roger, 

The doggs they must thee eate; 
' For I may haue my houzle,' he said, 

* For I may both goe and speake. 

23 ' Now giue me mood,' Robin said to 

Litle lohn, 
' Giue me mood with thy hand; 
I trust to God in heauen soe hye 
My houzle will me bestand.' 

24 ' Now giue me leaue, giue me leaue, 

master,' he said, 

* For Christs loue giue leaue to me, 
To set a fier within this hall. 

And to burne vp all Churchlee.' 

25 'That I reade not,' said Robin Hoode 

' Litle lohn, for it may not be; 
If I shold doe any widow hurt, at my 
latter end, 
God,' he said, ' wold blame me; 

26 ' But take me vpon thy backe, Litle 

And beare me to yonder streete. 
And there make me a full fayre graue. 
Of grauell and of greete. 

27 ' And sett my bright sword at my head, 

Mine arrovves at my feete. 
And lay my vew-bow by my side. 
My met-yard wi . . . . 

'Robin Hood's Death and Burial.' a. The 
English Archer, Paisley, printed by John Neil- 
son for George Caldwell, Bookseller, iipai- the 
Cross, 1786. p. 81, No. 24. Bodleian Librarv, 
Douce, F. F. 71 (<)). b. The English Archer, 
York, printed by N. Nick.son, in Feasegate, 
n. d., p. 70. Bodleian Library, Douce, F. F. 
11 (^). 

1 When Robin Hood and Little John 

Down a down a down a down 
Went oer yon bank of broom, 

Said Robin Hood bold to Little 
We have shot for many a pound. 

Hey, etc. 

2 But I am not able to shoot one shot 

My broad arrows will not flee; 
But I have a cousin lives down below, 
Please God, she will bleed me. 

3 Now Robin he is to fair Kirkly gone. 

As fast as he can win; 
But before he came there, as we do 
He was taken very ill. 

4 And when he came to fair Kirkly-hall, 

He knockd all at the ring. 
But none was so ready as his cousin 
For to let bold Robin in. 

5 ' Will you please to sit down, cousin 

Robin,' she said, 
' And drink some beer with me ? 
* No, I will neither eat nor drink, 
Till I am blooded by thee.' 

6 * Well, I have a room, cousin Robin,' 

she said, 
' Which you did never see. 
And if you please to walk therein, 
You blooded by me shall be.' 

7 She took him by the lily-white hand. 

And led him to a private room, 
And there she blooded bold Robin Hood, 
While one drop of blood would run 

8 She blooded him in a vein of the arm, 

And locked him up in the room; 
Then did he bleed all the live-long 
Until the next day at noon. 

9 He then bethought him of a casement 

Thinking for to get down; 
But was so weak he could not leap. 
He could not get him down. 




10 He then bethought him of his bugle- 

Which hung low down to his knee; 
He set his horn unto his mouth, 
And blew out weak blasts three. 

11 Then Little John, when hearing him, 

As he sat under a tree, 

* I fear my master is now near dead, 

He blows so wearily.' 

12 Then Little John to fair Kirkly is gone, 

As fast as he can dree; 
But when he came to Kirkly-hall, 
He broke locks two or three: 

13 Lentil he came bold Robin to see, 

Tlien he fell on his knee; 

* A boon, a boon,' cries Little John, 

' Master, I beg of thee.' 

14 ' What is that boon,' said Robin Hood, 

* Little John, [thou] begs of me ? ' 

* It is to burn fair Kirkly-hall, 

And all their nunnery.' 

15 ' Now nay, now nay,' quoth Robin Hood, 

' That boon I '11 not grant thee ; 
I never hurt woman in all my life, 
Nor men in woman's company. 

16 * I never hurt fair maid in all my time. 

Nor at mine end shall it be; 
But give me my bent bow in my hand, 

And a broad arrow I '11 let flee 
And where this arrow is taken up, 

There shall my grave digged be. 

17 ' Lay me a green sod under my head. 

And another at my feet; 
And lay my bent bow by my side, 
. Which was my music sweet; 
And make my grave of gravel and green,^ 

Which is most right and meet. 

18 * Let me have length and breadth 

With a green sod under my head ; 
That they may say, when I am dead. 
Here lies bold Robin Hood.' 

19 These words they readily granted him, 

Which did bold Robin please: 
And there they buried bold Robin Hood, 
Within the fair Kirkleys. 



'Robin Hood and the Butcher' (No. 122) 
repeats many of the incidents of the present 
ballad. There are only too many variations of 
the adventure in which Robin Hood unexpect- 
edly meets his match in a hand-to-hand light, 
now with a pinder, then with a tanner, tinker, 
shepherd, beggar, etc. His adversaries, after 
proving their mettle, are sometimes invited 
and induced to join his company : not so here. 
In some broadside ballads of this description, 
with an extravagance common enough in imi- 
tations, Robin Hood is very badly mauled, and 
made all but contemptible. The Play of Robin 
Hood, an imperfect copy of which is printed 
at the end of Copland's and of White's edition 
of the Gest, is founded on the present ballad 
and on No. 123. 

Library of the University of Cambridge, MS. 
E e. 4. 35, f ol. 14 b, of about 1500. 

1 In schemer, when the leves spryng, 

The bloschoms on enery bowe, 
So merey doyt the berdys syng 
Yn wodys merey now. 

2 Herkens, god yemen, 

Comley, corteys, and god. 
On of the best Ipat yeuer bare bowe, 
Hes name was Roben Hode. 

3 Roben Hood was the yeman's name, 

That was boyt corteys and ffre; 
Ffor the loffe of owre ladey, 
All wemen werschepyd he. 

4 Bot as the god yeman stod on a day, 

Among hes mery maney. 
He was ware of a prowd potter, 
Cam dryfyng owyr the ley. 

5 * Yonder comet a prod potter,' seyde 

' That long hayt hantyd ]jis wey; 
He was neuer so corteys a man 
On peney of pawage to pay.' 

6 *Ymet hem bot at Went-breg,' seyde 

Lytyll John, 
' And therefore yejBPell mot he the ! 
Seche thre strokes he me gafe. 
Yet by my seydys cleffe J?ey. 




7 ' Y ley forty shillings,' seyde Lytyll 


* To pay het thes same day, 
Ther ys uat a man among hus all 

A wed schall make hem ley.' 

8 * Here ys forty shillings,' seyde Roben, 

* More, and thow dar say, 

\>at y schall make pat prowde potter, 
A wed to me schall he ley.' 

9 There thes money they leyde. 

They toke het a yeman to kepe; 
Roben beffore the potter he breyde, 
A[ud] bad hem stond stell. 

10 Handys apon hes hors he leyde, 

And bad the potter stonde foil stell; 
The potter schorteley to hem seyde, 
Ffelow, what ys they well ? 

11 ' All thes thre yer, and more, potter,' he 


' Thow hast hantyd thes wey, 
Yet were tow neuer so cortys a man 
On peney of pauage to pay.' 

12 ' What ys they name,' seyde l^e potter, 

* Ffor pauage thow aske of me ? ' 
* Roben Hod ys mey name, 

A wed schall thow leffe me.' 

13 ' Yied well y non leffe,' seyde \>e pot- 

' Nor pavag well y non pay; 
Awey they honde ffro mey hors ! 
Y well the tene eyls, be mey ffay.' 

11 The potter to hes cart he went, 
He was not to seke; 
A god to-hande staffe J^erowt he hent, 
Beffore Roben he leppyd. 

15 Roben howt wzt^ a swerd bent, 

A bokeler en hes honde; 
The potter to Roben he went. 

And seyde, Ffelow, let mey hors go. 

16 Togeder then went thes to yemen, 

Het was a god seyt to se; 
Thereof low Robyn hes men. 
There they stod onder a tre. 

17 Leytell John to hes ffelowhe[s] seyde, 

' Yend potter well steffeley stonde: ' 

The potter, with a acward stroke, 
Smot the bokeler owt of hes honde. 

18 A[nd] ar Roben meyt get het agen 

Hes bokeler at hes tfette. 
The potter yn the ueke hem toke, 
To the gronde sone he yede. 

19 That saw Roben hes men. 

As thay stod onder a bow; 

* Let vs helpe owre master,' seyde Lytell 


* Yonder potter,' seyde he, ' els well 
hem slo.' 

20 Thes yemen went with a breyde. 

To ther mast[er] they cam. 
Leytell John to hes mast[er] seyde, 
Ho haet the wager won ? 

21 ' Schall y haffe yowre forty shillings,' 

seyde Lytl John, 

* Or ye, master, schall haffe myne ? ' 

* Yeff they were a hundred,' seyde Roben, 

* Y ffeythe, they ben all theyue.' 

22 * Het ys fol leytell cortesey,' seyde pe 


* As y haffe harde weyse men saye, 
Yeffe a pore yeman com drywyng on 

the wey. 
To let hem of hes gorney.* 

23 * Be mey trowet, thow seys soyt,' seyde 


* Thow seys god yeme[n]rey; 
And thow dreyffe fforthe yeue?'y day, 

Thow schalt neuer be let ffor me. 

24 ' Y well prey the, god potter, 

A ffelischepe well thow haffe ? 
Geffe me they clothyng, and pow schalt 
hafe myne; 
Y well go to Notynggam.' 

25 ' Y gra[n]t thereto,' seyde the potter, 

' Thow schalt ffeynde me a ffelow 
Bot thow can sell mey pott?/s well, 
Com ayeu as thow yode.' 

26 * Nay, be mey trowt,' seyde Roben, 

' And then y bescro mey hede, 
Yeffe y bryng eny pott?/s ayen. 
And eney weyffe well hem chepe.' 




27 Than spake Leytell John, 

And all lies tielowhes lieynd, 
'Master, be well ware of the screffe of 
Ffor he ys leytell howr ffrende.' 

28 * Heyt war howte ! ' seyde Roben, 

* Ffelowhes, let me a lone; 
Tliorow the helpe of Howr Ladey, 

To Notynggam well y gon.' 

29 Robyn went to Notynggam, 

Thes pott2/5 ffor to sell; 
The potter abode with Robens men, 
There he ffered not eylle. 

30 Tho Roben droffe on hes wey, 

So nierey ower the londe: 
Her es more, and affter ys to saye, 
The best ys beheynde. 

31 When Roben cam to Notynggam, 

The soyt yef y seholde saye, 
He set op hes hors anon, 

And gaffe hem hotys and haye. 

32 Yn the medys of the towns. 

There he schowed hes ware; 
* Pottys ! pottz/s ! ' he gan crey foil 
' Haffe hansell ffor the mare ! ' 

33 Ffoll effen agenest the screffeys gate 

Schowed he hes chaffare; 
Weyffes and wedowes abowt hem 
And chepyd ffast of hes ware. 

34 Yet,* PottySjgret chepe !' creyed Robyn, 

' Y loffe yeffell thes to stonde; ' 
And all that say hem sell 

Seyde he had be no potter long. 

35 The pottys that were werthe pens ffeyffe, 

He solde tham ffor pens thre; 
Preveley seyde man and weyffe, 

* Ywnder potter schall neuer the.' 

36 Thos Roben solde ffoll ffast. 

Tell he had pottys bot ffeyffe; 
Op he hem toke of hes care, 

Andsende hem to the screffeys weyffe. 

37 Thereof sche was ffoll ffayne, 

* Gereamarsey, ser,' than seyde sche ; 

* When ye com to thes coutre ayen, 
Y schall bey of the[y] pottys, so mot 
y the.' 

38 'Ye schall haffe of the best,' seyde 
And SAvare be the Treneyte ; 
Ffoll corteysley [sc]he gan hem call, 
' Cora deyne with the screfe and 

39 * God amarsey,' seyde Roben, 

' Yowre bedyng schall be doyn; ' 
A mayden yn the pottys gan here, 
Roben and J?e screffe weyffe ffolowed 

40 Whan Roben yn to the hall cam, 

The screffe sone he met; 
The potter cowed of corteysey, 
And sone the screffe he gret. 

41 ' Lo, ser, what thes potter hayt geffe yow 

and me; 
Ffeyffe pottys smalle and grete ! ' 
'He ys ffoll wellcom,' seyd the screffe; 
' Let OS was, and go to mete.' 

42 As they sat at her methe, 

With a nobell chere. 
To of the screffes men gan speke 
Off a gret wager; 

43 Off a schotyng, was god and ffeyne, 

Was made tlie thother daye, 
Off forty shillings, the soyt to saye. 
Who seholde thes wager wen. 

44 Styll than sat thes prowde potter, 

Thos than thowt he; 
As y am a trow cerstyn man, 
Thes schotyng well y se. 

45 Whan they had ffared of the best. 

With bred and ale and weyne. 
To the bottys the made them prest. 
With bowes and boltys ffoll ffeyne. 

46 The screffes men schot ffoll ffast, 

As archares ]>at weren godde; 
There cam non ner ney the marke 
Bey halffe a god archares bowe. 

47 Stell then stod the prowde potter, 

Thos than seyde he; 




And y had a bow, be the rode, 
Oil schot scholde yow se. 

48 * Thow schall haffe a bow,' seyde the 

' The best pat thow well obeys of thre ; 
Thou semyst a stalward and a stronge, 
Asay schall tbow be.' 

49 The screffe comwandyd a yeman l^at 

stod bem bey 
Affter bowhes to weynde; 
The best bow ];at the yeman browthe 
Roben set on a stryng. 

50 * Now schall y wet and thow be god. 

And polle het op to they nere;' 
* So god me helpe,' seyde the prowde 
• J)ys ys bot ryg^t weke gere.' 

51 To a quequer Roben went, 

A god bolt owthe he toke; 
So ney on to the marke he went, 
He ffayled not a fothe. 

62 All they schot abowthe agen, 
The screffes men and he; 
Off the marke he welde not ffayle, 
He cleffed the preke on thre. 

53 The screffes men thowt gret schame 
The potter the mastry wan; 
The screffe lowe and made god game. 
And seyde, Potter, thow art a man. 


Thow art worthey to here a bo we 
Yn what plas that ]70W goe. 

55 * Yn mey cart y haffe a bowe, 

Ffor soyt,' he seyde, 'and that a godde ; 
Yn mey cart ys the bow 

That gaffe me Robyn Hode.' 

56 * Knowest thow Robyn Hode ? ' seyde the 


• Potter, y prey the tell thow me; ' 
' A hundred torne y haffe schot with 

Vnder hes tortyll-tre.' 

57 * Y had leuer nar a hundred ponde,' 

seyde ]?e screffe, 

' And sware be the Treuite, 

pat the ffals outelawe stod be me.' 

58 ' And ye well do afftyr mey red,' seyde 

J?e potter, 

' And boldeley go with me, 
And to morow, or we het bred, 
Roben Hode well we se.' 

59 * Y wel queyt the,' kod the screffe, 

* Y swere be God of meythe ; ' 
Schetyng thay left, and hom ]7ey went, 

Her soper was reddy deythe. 

60 Vpon the morow, when het was day, 

He boskyd hem fforthe to reyde; 
The potter hes cart fforthe gan ray, 
And wolde not leffe beheynde. 

61 He toke leffe of the screffys wyffe. 

And thankyd her of all thyng: 
* Dam, ffor mey loffe and ye well J>ys 
Y geffe yow here a golde ryng.' 

62 * Gramarsey,' seyde the weyffe, 

* Ser, god eylde het the; ' 

The screffes hart was neuer so leytbe, 
The ffeyre fforeyst to se. 

63 And when he cam yn to the fforeyst. 

Yonder the leffes grene, 
Berdys there sange on bowhes prest, 
Het was gret goy to se. 

64 * Here het ys merey to be,' seyde 


* Ffor a man that had hawt to spende; 
Be mey borne I schall awet 

Yeff Roben Hode be here.' 

65 Roben set hes borne to hes mowthe, 

And blow a blast ]>at was ffoll god; 
pat herde hes men ]>at pere stode, 
Ffer downe yn the wodde. 

GG ' I her mey master blow,' seyde Leytell 

They ran as thay were wode. 

67 Whan thay to thar master cam, 
Leytell John wold not spare; 

122 I 



* Master, how haffe yow ffare yn Notyng- 
gam ? 
How liaffe yow solde yowre ware ? ' 

68 'Ye, be mey trowthe, Leyty[ll] John, 

Loke tliow take no care; 
y haffe browt the screffe of Notynggam, 
Ffor all liowre cbaffare.' 

69 ' He ys if oil wellcom,' seyde Lytyll John, 

' Tlies tj^dy ng ys ffoU godde ; ' 
The screffe bad leuer nar a hundred 
He had [neuer sene Roben Hode.] 

70 ' [Had I] west J^at befPoren, 

At Notynggam when we were, 
Thow scholde not com yn fPeyre fforest 
Of all thes thowsaude eyre.' 

71 * Tlmt wot y well,' seyde Roben, 

' Y thanke God that ye be here; 
Thereffore scball ye leffe yowre hors 
with bos, 
And all yowre bother gere.' 

72 ' That fPend I Godys fforbod,' kod the 

* So to lese mey godde; 

73 * Hetber ye cam on hors ffoll hey, 

And bom scball ye go on ffote; 
And gret well they weyffe at home, 
The woman ys tfoll godde. 

74 ' Y scball her sende a wheyt palffrey, 

Het ambellet be mey ffey, 

75 * Y scball her sende a wheyt palffrey, 

Het hambellet as the weynde; 
Nere ffor the loffe of yowre weyffe, 
Off more sorow scholde yow seyng.' 

76 Thes parted Robyn Hode and the 

screffe ; 
To Notynggam he toke the waye; 
Hes weyffe ffeyre welcomed hem bom. 
And to hem gan sche saye: 

77 Seyr, how haffe yow ffared yn rrene 

fforeyst ? 
Haffe ye browt Roben bom ? 

'Dam, the deyell spede hem, bothe 
bodey and bon; 
Y haffe hade a ffoll gret skorne. 

78 ' Of all the god that y haffe lade to 

grene wod, 
He hayt take het ffro me; 
All hot thes ffeyre palffrey, 
That he hayt sende to the.' 

79 Wit^ 'pat sche toke op a lowde lawhyng, 

And swbare be hem pat deyed on tre, 
' Now haffe yow payed ffor all pe pottys 
That Roben gaffe to me. 

80 ' Now ye be com hom to Notynggam, 

Ye scball haffe god ynowe ; ' 
Now speke we of Roben Hode, 

And of the pottyr ondyr the grene 

81 ' Potter, what was they pottys worthe 

To Notynggam J^at y ledde vfith me ? ' 
' They wer worthe to nobellys,' seyde he, 

' So mot y treyffe or the; 
So cowde y [haffe] bad ffor tham. 

And y had there be.' 

82 ' Thow scbalt hafe ten ponde,' seyde 

' Of money ffeyre and ffre ; 
And yeuer whan thow comest to grene 
Wellcom, pptter, to me.' 

83 Thes partyd Robyn, the screffe, and the 

Ondernethe the grene-wod tre; 
God haffe mersey on Roben Hodys solle^ 
And saffe all god yemanrey ! 



This story is a variation of * Robin Hood 
and the Potter' (No. 121). There are three 
considerable gaps in the manuscript of A ; but 
B enables us to complete the story. The pas- 
sage in which the Sheriff is inveigled into 
Robin's haunts has close affinity with the Gest, 
sts. 181 ff. The first three stanzas of A appar- 
ently belong to some other ballad. B a is 




signed T. R., as is No. 133 in two editions. 
Those appear to be the initials of the person 
who wrote the story over with middle rhyme 
in the third line of the stanza, a peculiarity 
which distinguishes a group of ballads sung to 
the tune of ' Robin Hood and the JStranger ' (see 
Introduction to No. 125). 

' Robin Hood and the Butcher,' Percy MS., 
p. 7 ; Hales and Furnivall, i, 19. 

1 But Rohin he walkes in the g[reene] 

As merry as bird on boughe, 
But he that feitehes good Robins head, 
Hee 'le find him game enoughe. 

2 But Robine he walkes in the greene 

Vnder his trusty-tree; 
Sayes, Hearken, hearken, my merrymen 

What tydings is come to me. 

3 The sherlffe he hath made a cry, 

Hee 'le have my head i-wis ; 
But ere a tweluemonth come to an end 
I may chance to light on his. 

4 Robin he marcht in the greene forrest, 

Vnder the greenwood scray, 
And there he was ware of a proud 
Came driuing flesh by the way. 

5 The bucher he had a cut-taild dogg, 

And at Robins face he flew; 

But Robin he was a good sword. 

The bucher's dogg he slew. 

6 * Why slayes thou my dogg ? ' sayes the 

* For he did none ill to thee; 
By all the saints that are in heaven 
Thou shalt haue buffetts three.' 

7 He tooke his staffe then in his hand, 

And he turnd him round about: 
* Thou hast a litle wild blood in thy head. 
Good fellow, thou 'st haue it letten 

8 *He that does that deed,' sayes Robin, 

' I 'le count him for a man; 

But that while will I draw my sword, 
And feud it if I can.' 

9 But Robin he stroke att the bloudy 
In place were he did stand, 

10 ' I [am] a younge bucher,' sayes Robin, 

'You tine dames am I come amonge; 
But euer I beseech you, good Mrs Sher- 
You must see me take noe wronge.' 

11 ' Thou art verry welcome,' said Master 

Sherriff's wiffe, 
*Thy inne heere up [to] take; 
If any good ffellow come in thy com- 
Hee 'st be welcome for thy sake.' 

12 Robin called ffor ale, soe did he for 

And for it he did pay: 
* I must to my markett goe,' says Robin, 
* For I hold time itt of the day.' 

13 But Robin is to the markett gone, 

Soe quickly and beliue, 
He sold more flesh for one peny 
Then othe[r] buchers did for fine. 

14 The drew about the younge bucher. 

Like sheepe into a fold; 
Yea neuer a bucher had sold a bitt 
Till Robin he had all sold. 

15 When Robin Hood had his markett 

His flesh was sold and gone; 
Yea he had receiued but a litle mony, 
But thirty pence and one. 

16 Seaven buchers, the garded Robin Hood, 

Ffull many time and oft; 
Sayes, We must drinke with you, brother 
It 's custome of our crafte. 

17 * If that be the custome of your crafte. 

As heere you tell to me, 
Att four of the clocke in the afternoone 
At the sheriffs hall I wilbe.' 




18 . . . . 

* If thou doe like it well ; 

Yea lieere is more by three Imudrecl 
Then thou hast beasts to sell.' 

19 Robyn sayd naught, the more he thouglit: 

* Mony neere comes out of time; 

If once I catch thee in the greene fforest, 
That mony it shall be mine.' 

20 But on the next day seuen butchers 

Came to guard the sherifFe that day; 
But Robin he was the whigh[t]est man, 
He led them all the way. 

21 He led them into the greene fforest, 

Vnder the trusty tree; 
Yea, there were harts, and ther were 
And staggs with heads full high. 

22 Yea, there were harts and there were 

And many a goodly ffawne ; 

* Now praised be God,' says bold Robin, 

* All these they be my owne. 

23 * These are my horned beasts,' says Robin, 

' Ma.s/er Sherriffe, w^tch must make 
the stake; ' 

* But euer alacke, now,' said the sheriffe, 

' That tydings comes to late ! ' 

24 Robin sett a shrill home to his month. 

And a loud blast he did blow. 
And then halfe a hundred bold archers 
Came rakeing on a row. 

25 But when the came befor bold Robin, 

Even there the stood all bare: 

* You are welcome, n\aster, from Not- 

How haue you sold your ware ? ' 


It proues bold Robin Hood. 

27 *Yea, he hath robbed me of all my 
And siluer that euer I had; 

But that I had a verry good wife at home, 
I shold haue lost my head. 

28 * But I had a verry good wife at home, 

WAich made him gentle cheere, 
And therfor, for my wifes sake, 
I shold haue better favor heere. 

29 * But such favor as he shewed me 

I might bane of the devills dam, 
That will rob a man of all he hath, 
And send him naked home.' 

30 * That is very well done,' then says his 


* Itt is well done, I say; 
You might haue tarryed att Nottingham, 
Soe fayre as I did you pray.' 

31 *I haue learned wisdome,' sayes the 

'And, wife, I haue learned of thee; 
But if Robin walke easte, or he walke 
He shall neuer be sought for me.' 

' Robin Hood and the Butcher.' a. Wood, 
401, leaf 19 b. b. Garland of 1668, No. 6. 
c. Garland of 1670, No. 5. d. Pepys, n, 102, 
No. 89. 

1 Come, all you brave gallants, and listen 

a while. 
With hey down, down, an a down 
That are in the bowers within; 
For of Robin Hood, that archer good, 
A song I intend for to sing. 

2 Upon a time it chanced so 

Bold Robin in forrest did spy 
A jolly butcher, with a bonny line mare, 
With his flesh to the market did hye. 

3 ' Good morrow, good fellow,' said jolly 

'What food hast ? tell unto me; 
And thy trade to me tell, and where 
thou dost dwell. 
For I like well thy company.' 

4 The butcher he answered jolly Robin: 

No matter where I dwell; 
For a butcher I am, and to Notingham 
I am going, my flesh to sell. 



5 ' What is [the] price of thy flesh ? ' said 

jolly Robin, 
' Come, tell it soon unto me: 
And the price of thy mare, be she never 

so dear, 
For a butcher fain would I be.' 

6 * The price of my flesh,' the butcher 

*I soon will tell unto thee; 
With my bonny mare, and they are not 
Four mark thou must give unto me.' 

f *Four mark I will give thee,' saith jolly 

* Four mark it shall be thy fee; 

Thy mony come count, and let me mount. 
For a butcher I fain would be.' 

S Now Robin he is to Notingham gone. 
His butcher's trade for to begin ; 
With good intent, to the sheriff he went, 
And there he took up his inn. 

9 When other butchers they opened their 
Bold Robin he then begun; 
But how for to sell he knew not well, 
For a butcher he was but young. 

iO When other butchers no meat could 
Robin got both gold and fee; 
For he sold more meat for one peny 
Than others could do for three. 

11 But when he sold his meat so fast. 

No butcher by him could thrive; 
For he sold more meat for one peny 
Than others could do for five. 

12 Which made the butchers of Notingham 

To study as they did stand. 
Saying, surely he was some prodigal. 
That had sold his father's land. 

13 The butchers they stepped to jolly Robin, 

Acquainted with him for to be; 
'Come, brother,' one paid, * we be all of 
one trade, 
Come, will you go dine with me ? ' 

14 * Accurst of his heart,' said jolly Robin, 

* That a butcher doth deny; 

I will go with you, my brethren true, 
And as fast as I can hie.' 

15 But when to the sheriff's house they 

To dinner they hied apace. 
And Robin he the man must be 
Before them all to say grace. 

16 * Pray God bless us all,' said jolly Robin, 

' And our meat within this place; 
A cup of sack so good will nourish our 
And so I do end my grace. 

17 ' Come fill us more wine,' said jolly 


* Let us merry be while we do stay; 
For wine and good cheer, be it never sc 

I vow I the reckning will pay. 

18 ' Come, brother[s], be merry,' said jolly 

' Let us drink, and never give ore; 
For the shot I will pay, ere I go my 
If it cost me five pounds and more.' 

19 ' This is a mad blade,' the butchers then 

Saies the sheriff, He is some prodi- 

That some land has sold, for silver and 
And now he doth mean to spend all. 

20 ' Hast thou any horn-beasts,' the sheriff 


* Good fellow, to sell unto me ? ' 

* Yes, that I have, good Master Sheriff, 
I have hundreds two or three. 

21 ' And a hundred aker of good free 

If you please it to see; 
And I 'le make you as good assurance 

of it 
As ever my father made me.' 

22 The sheriff he saddled a good palfrey, 

With three hundred pound in gold, 
And away he went with bold RoMn 
His horned beasts to behold. 




23 Away then the sheriff and Robin did 

To the forrest of merry Sherwood ; 
Then the sheriff did say, God bless us 
this day 
From a man they call Robin Hood ! 

24 But when that a little further they 

Bold Robin he chanced to spy 
A hundred head of good red deer, 
Come trippiug the sheriff full nigh. 

2o ' How like you my hornd beasts, good 
Master Sheriff ? 
They be fat and fair for to see ; ' 

* I tell thee, good fellow, I would I were 

For I like not thy company.' 

26 Then Robin he set his horn to his 

And blew but blasts three ; 
Then quickly anon there came Little 
And all his company. 

27 * What is your will ? ' then said Little 

* Good master come tell it to me; ' 

* I have brought hither the sheriff of 

This day to dine with thee.' 

28 * He is welcome to me,' then said Little 

*I hope he will honestly pay; 
I know he has gold, if it be but well 

Will serve us to drink a whole 


29 Then Robin took his mantle from his 

And laid it upon the ground. 
And out of the sheriffe['s] portmantle 
He told three hundred pound. 

30 Then Robin he brought him thorow the 

And set him on his dapple gray: 

* O have me commended to your wife 

at home; ' 
So Robin went laughing away. 



' Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar,' in both 
versions, is in a genuinely popular strain, and 
was made to sino;-, not to print. Verbal agree- 
ments show that A and B have an earlier ballad 
as their common source. Nearly, or quite, one 
half of A has been torn from the manuscript, 
but there is no reason to suppose the story dif- 
fered much from that of B. The title of A in 
the manuscript is ' Robin Hood and Friar 
Tuck ; ' from whicli it follows that the copyist, 
or some predecessor, considered the stalwart 
friar of Fountains Abbey to be one with the 
jocular friar of the May-games and the morris- 
dance. But Friar Tuck, the wanton and the 
merry, like Maid Marian, owes his association 
with Robin Hood primarily to these popular 
sports, and not in the least to popular ballads. 
In the truly popular ballads Friar Tuck is 
never heard of, and in only two even of the 
broadside ballads (Nos. 145, 147) is he so much 
as named, and in both in conjunction with Maid 
Marian. The Play of Robin Hood (see p. 289, 
above), the first half of which is based on the 
present ballad, calls the friar Friar Tuck. So 
also the play founded on No. 118. 

* Robine Hood and Ff ryer Tucke,' Percy 
MS., p. 10 ; Hales and Furnivall, i, 26. 

1 But how many merry monthes be in 

the yeere ? 
There are thirteen, I say ; 
The midsummer moone is the merryest 
of all. 
Next to the merry month of May. 

2 In May, when mayds beene fast weep- 

Young men their hands done wringe, 

3 'I'le . . pe 

Over may noe man for villanie:* 
* I 'le never eate nor drinke,' 'Robin 
Hood sa[id], 
* Till I that cutted friar see.' 

4 He builded his men in a brake of fearne, 

A litle from that nunery; 
Sayes, If you heare my litle home blow. 
Then looke you come to me. 




5 When Robin came to Fontaines Abey, 

Wheras that fryer lay, 
He was ware of the fryer where he 
And to him thus can he say. 

6 A payre of blacke breeches the yeoman 

had on, 
His coppe all shone of Steele, 
A fayre sword and a broad buckeler 
Beseemed him very weell. 

7 ' I am a wet weary man,' said Robin 

* Good fellow, as thou may see; 
Wilt beare [me] over this wild water, 
Ffor sweete Samt Charity ? ' 

8 The fryer bethought him of a good deed ; 

He had done none of long before; 
He hent up Robin Hood on his backe, 
And over he did him beare. 

9 But when he came over that wild water, 

A longe sword there he drew: 
' Beare me backe againe, bold outlawe, 
Or of this thou shalt have enoughe.' 

10 Then Robin Hood hent the fryar on his 

And neither sayd good nor ill ; 
Till he came ore that wild water, 
The yeoman he walked still. 

11 Then Robin Hood wett his fayre greene 

A span aboue his knee; 
S[ay]s, Beare me ore againe, thou cut- 
ted f [ryer] 


. good bowmen 
[C]ame raking all on a rowe. 

13 ' I beshrew thy head,' said the cutted 

'Thou thinkes I shall be shente; 
I thought thou had but a man or two, 
And thou hast [a] whole conuent. 

14 * I lett thee haue a blast on thy home, 

Now giue me leaue to whistle an- 

I cold not bidd thee noe better play 
And thou wert my owne borne bro- 

15 * Now f ute on, f ute on, thou cutted fryar, 
I pray God thou neere be still; 
It is not the fating in a fryers tist 
That can doe me any ill.' 

IG The fryar sett his neave to his mouth, 
A loud blast he did blow; 
Then halfe a hundred good bandoggs 
Came raking all on a rowe. 


* Euery dogg to a man,' said the cutted 

* And I my selfe to Robin Hood.' 

18 ' Over God's forbott,' said Robin Hood, 

' That euer that soe shold bee; 
I had rather be mached with three of 
the tikes 
Ere I wold be matched on thee. 

19 ' But stay thy tikes, thou fryar,' he said, 

' And freindshipp I 'le haue w/th thee; 
But stay thy tikes, thou fryar,' he said, 

* And saue good yeomanry.' 

20 The fryar he sett his neave to his mouth, 

A lowd blast he did blow; 
The doggs the coucht downe euery one, 
They couched downe on a rowe. 

21 ' What is thy will, thou yeoman ? ' he 


* Haue done and tell it me;' 

' If that thou will goe to merry green- 

' Tlie Famous Battel between Robin Hood 
and the Curtal Fryer.' a. Garland of 1663, 
No. 11. b. Pepys, i. 78, No. 37. c. Garland 
of 1670, No. 10. d. Wood, 401, leaf 15 b. e. 
Pepys, II, 99, No. 80. f. Douce, 11, 184. 

1 In summer time, when leaves grow 
And flowers are fresh and gay, 
Robin Hood and his merry men 
Were disposed to play. 




2 Then some would leap, and some would 

And some would use artillery: 

* Which of you can a good bow draw, 

A good archer to be ? 

3 * Which of you can kill a buck ? 

Or who can kill a do ? 
Or who can kill a hart of greece, 
Five hundred foot him fro ? ' 

4 Will Scadlock he killd a buck, 

And Midge he killd a do. 
And Little John killd a hart of greece. 
Five hundred foot him fro. 

5 * God's blessing on thy heart,' said Robin 

' That hath [shot] such a shot for me; 
I would ride my horse an hundred miles. 
To finde one could match with thee.' 

6 That causd Will Scadlock to laugh, 

He laughed full heartily: 

* There lives a curtal frier in Fountains 

Will beat both him and thee. 

7 * That curtal frier in Fountains Abby 

Well can a strong bow draw; 
He will beat you and your yeomen, 
Set them all on a row.' 

8 Robin Hood took a solemn oath, 

It was by Mary free. 
That he would neither eat nor drink 
Till the frier he did see. 

9 Robin Hood put on his harness good. 

And on his head a cap of steel, 
Broad sword and buckler by his side, 
And they became him weel. 

10 He took his bow into his hand, 

It was made of a trusty tree. 
With a sheaf of arrows at his belt. 
To the Fountains Dale went he. 

11 And commingunto Fountain[s] Dale, 

No further would he ride; 
There was he aware of a curtal frier. 
Walking by the water-side. 

22 The fryer had on a harniss good. 
And on his head a cap of steel, 

Broad sword and buckler by his side, 
And they became him weel. 

13 Robin Hood lighted off his horse, 

And tied him to a thorn: 
' Carry me over the water, thou curtal 
Or else thy life 's forlorn.' 

14 The frier took Robin Hood on his back, 

Deep water he did bestride. 
And spake neither good word nor bad. 
Till he came at the other side. 

15 Lightly leapt Robin Hood off the friers 

The frier said to him again, 
Carry me over this water, fine fellow, 
Or it shall breed thy pain. 

16 Robin Hood took the frier on 's back. 

Deep water he did bestride. 
And spake neither good word nor bad, 
Till he came at the other side. 

17 Lightly leapt the fryer off Robin Hoods 

Robin Hood said to him again. 
Carry me over this water, thou curtal 

Or it shall breed thy pain. 

18 The frier took Robin Hood on 's back 

And stept up to the knee; 
Till he came at the middle stream. 
Neither good nor bad spake he. 

19 And coming to the middle stream. 

There he threw Robin in : 
* And chuse thee, chuse thee, fine fellow, 
Whether thou wilt sink or swim.' 

20 Robin Hood swam to a bush of broom, 

The frier to a wicker wand ; 
Bold Robin Hood is gone to shore. 
And took his bow in hand. 

21 One of his best arrows under his belt 

To the frier he let flye; 
The curtal frier, with his steel buckler, 
He put that arrow by. 

22 ' Shoot on, shoot on, thou fine fellow. 

Shoot on as thou hast begun; 




If thou shoot here a summers day, 
Thy mark I will not shun.* 

23 Robin Hood shot passing well, 

Till his arrows all were gone; 
They took their swords and steel buck- 
And fought with might and maine; 

24 From ten oth' clock that day. 

Till four ith' afternoon; 
Then Robin Hood came to his knees^ 
Of the frier to beg a boon. 

25 * A boon, a boon, thou curtal frier, 

I beg it on my knee; 
Give me leave to set my horn to my 
And to blow blasts three.' 

26 ' That will I do,' said the curtal frier, 

* Of thy blasts I have no doubt; 
I hope thou 'It blow so passing well 

Till both thy eyes fall out.' 

27 Robin Hood set his horn to his mouth, 

He blew but blasts three; 
Half a hundred yeomen, with bows 
Came raking over the lee. 

28 * Whose men are these,' said the frier, 

' That come so hastily ? ' 
' These men are mine,' said Robin Hood; 

* Frier, what is that to thee ? ' 

29 * A boon, a boon,' said the curtal frier, 

* The like I gave to thee ; 

Give me leave t