Child's Ballads/1

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
Child's Collected Ballads by Francis James Child
Riddles Wisely Expounded, no. 1
Listen to this text (help | file info or download)

Contents

A[edit]

THERE was a lady of the North Country,
      Refrain: Lay the bent to the bonny broom
And she had lovely daughters three.
      Refrain: Fa la la la, fa la la la ra re
There was knight of noble worth
Which also lived in the North.
The knight, of courage stout and brave,
A wife he did desire to have.
He knocked at the ladie's gate
One evening when it was late.
The eldest sister let him in,
And pin'd the door with a silver pin.
The second sister she made his bed,
And laid soft pillows under his head.
The youngest daughter that same night,
She went to bed to this young knight.
And in the morning, when it was day,
These words unto him she did say:
"Now you have had your will," quoth she,
"I pray, sir knight, will you marry me?"
The young brave knight to her replyed,
"Thy suit, fair maid, shall not be deny'd.
"If thou canst answer me questions three,
This very day will I marry thee."
"Kind sir, in love, O then," quoth she,
"Tell me what your [three] questions be."
"O what is longer than the way,
Or what is deeper than the sea?
"Or what is louder than the horn,
Or what is sharper than a thorn?
"Or what is greener than the grass,
Or what is worse then a woman was?"
"O love is longer than the way,
And hell is deeper than the sea.
"And thunder is louder than the horn,
And hunger is sharper than a thorn.
"And poyson is greener than the grass,
And the Devil is worse than woman was."
When she these questions answered had,
The knight became exceeding glad.
And having [truly] try'd her wit,
He much commended her for it.
And after, as it is verifi'd,
He made of her his lovely bride.
So now, fair maidens all, adieu,
This song I dedicate to you.
I wish that you may constant prove
Vnto the man that you do love.

B[edit]

THERE were three sisters fair and bright,
      Refrain: Jennifer gentle and rosemaree
And they three loved one valiant knight.
      Refrain: As the dew flies over the mulberry tree
The eldest sister let him in,
And barred the door with a silver pin.
The second sister made his bed,
And placed soft pillows under his head.
The youngest sister, fair and bright,
Was resolved for to wed with this valiant knight.
"And if you can answer questions three,
O then, fair maid, I will marry with thee.
"What is louder than an horn,
And what is sharper than a thorn?
"Thunder is louder than an horn,
And hunger is sharper than a thorn."
"What is broader than the way,
And what is deeper than the sea?"
"Love is broader than the way,
And hell is deeper than the sea."
* * * * *
. . . . .
"And now, fair maid, I will marry with thee."

C[edit]

THERE was a knicht riding frae the east,
      Refrain: Sing the Cather banks, the bonnie brume
Wha had been wooing at monie a place.
      Refrain: And ye may beguile a young thing sune
He came unto a widow's door,
And speird whare her three dochters were.
The auldest ane's to a washing gane,
The second's to a baking gane.
The youngest ane's to a wedding gane,
And it will be nicht or she be hame.
He sat him doun upon a stane,
Till thir three lasses came tripping hame.
The auldest ane's to the bed making,
And the second ane's to the sheet spreading.
The youngest ane was bauld and bricht,
And she was to lye with this unco knicht.
"Gin ye will answer me questions ten,
The morn ye sall be made my ain.
"O what is heigher nor the tree?
And what is deeper nor the sea?
"Or what is heavier nor the lead?
And what is better nor the breid?
"O what is whiter nor the milk?
Or what is safter nor the silk?
"Or what is sharper nor a thorn?
Or what is louder nor a horn?
"Or what is greener nor the grass?
Or what is waur nor a woman was?"
"O heaven is higher nor the tree,
And hell is deeper nor the sea.
"O sin is heavier nor the lead,
The blessing's better nor the bread.
"The snaw is whiter nor the milk,
And the down is safter nor the silk.
"Hunger is sharper nor a thorn,
And shame is louder nor a horn.
"The pies are greener nor the grass,
And Clootie's waur nor a woman was."
As sune as she the fiend did name,
He flew awa in a blazing flame.

D[edit]

"O WHAT is higher than the trees?
      Refrain: Gar lay the bent to the bonny broom
And what is deeper than the seas?
      Refrain: And you may beguile a fair maid soon
"O what is whiter than the milk?
Or what is softer than the silk?
"O what is sharper than the thorn?
O what is louder than the horn?
"O what is longer than the way?
And what is colder than the clay?
"O what is greener than the grass?
And what is worse than woman was?"
"O heaven's higher than the trees,
And hell is deeper than the seas.
"And snow is whiter than the milk,
And love is softer than the silk.
"O hunger's sharper than the thorn,
And thunder's louder than the horn.
"O wind is longer than the way,
And death is colder than the clay.
"O poison's greener than the grass,
And the Devil's worse than eer woman was."

E[edit]

There was a lady in the West,
        Refrain:Lay the bank with the bonny broom
She had three daughters of the best.
        Refrain:Fa lang the dillo
Fa lang the dillo dillo dee
There came a stranger to the gate,
And he three days and nights did wait.
The eldest daughter did ope the door,
The second set him on the floor.
The third daughter she brought a chair,
And placed it that he might sit there.
"Now answer me these questions three,
Or you shall surely go with me.
"Now answer me these questions six,
Or you shall surely be Old Nick's.
"Now answer me these questions nine,
Or youe shall surely all be mine.
"What is greener than the grass?
What is smoother than crystal glass?
"What is louder than a horn?
What is sharper than a thorn?
"What is brighter than the light?
What is darker than the night?
"What is keener than an axe?
What is softer than melting wax?
"What is rounder than a ring?"
"To you we thus our answers bring.
"Envy is greener than the grass,
Flattery smoother than crystal glass.
"Rumour is louder than a horn,
Hunger is sharper than a thorn.
"Truth is brighter than the light,
Falsehood is darker than the night.
"Revenge is keener than an axe,
Love is softer than melting wax.
"The world is rounder than a ring,
To you we thus our answers bring.
"Thus you have our answers nine,
And we never shall be thine."