Child's Ballads/264

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Child's Collected Ballads by Francis James Child
"The White Fisher", no. 264


A[edit]

'IT is a month, and isna mair,
Love, sin I was at thee,
But find a stirring in your side;
Who may the father be?
'Is it to a lord of might,
Or baron of high degree?
Or is it to the little wee page
That rode along wi me?'
'It is not to a man of might,
Nor baron of high degree,
But it is to a popish priest;
My lord, I winna lie.
'He got me in my bower alone,
As I sat pensively;
He vowed he would forgive my sins,
If I would him obey.'
Now it fell ance upon a day
This young lord went from home,
And great and heavy were the pains
That came this lady on.
Then word has gane to her gude lord,
As he sat at the wine,
And when the tidings he did hear
Then he came singing hame.
When he came to his own bower-door,
He tirled at the pin:
'Sleep ye, wake ye, my gay lady,
Ye'll let your gude lord in.'
Huly, huly raise she up,
And slowly put she on,
And slowly came she to the door;
She was a weary woman.
'Ye'll take up my son, Willie,
That ye see here wi me,
And hae him down to yon shore-side,
And throw him in the sea.
'Gin he sink, ye'll let him sink,
Gin he swim, ye'll let him swim;
And never let him return again
Till white fish he bring hame.'
Then he's taen up his little young son,
And rowd him in a band,
And he is on to his mother,
As fast as he could gang.
'Ye'll open the door, my mother dear,
Ye'll open, let me come in;
My young son is in my arms twa,
And shivering at the chin.'
'I tauld you true, my son Willie,
When ye was gaun to ride,
That lady was an ill woman
That ye chose for your bride.'
'O hold your tongue, my mother dear,
Let a' your folly be;
I wat she is a king's daughter
That's sent this son to thee.
'I wat she was a king's daughter
I loved beyond the sea,
And if my lady hear of this
Right angry will she be.'
'If that be true, my son Willie-+--+-
Your ain tongue winna lie-+--+-
Nae waur to your son will be done
Than what was done to thee.'
He's gane hame to his lady,
And sair mourning was she:
'What ails you now, my lady gay,
Ye weep sa bitterlie?'
'O bonny was the white fisher
That I sent to the sea;
But lang, lang will I look for fish
Ere white fish he bring me!
'O bonny was the white fisher
That ye kiest in the faem;
But lang, lang will I look for fish
Ere white fish he fetch hame!
'I fell a slumbering on my bed
That time ye went frae me,
And dreamd my young son filld my arms,
But when waked, he's in the sea.'
'O hold your tongue, my gay lady,
Let a' your mourning be,
And I'll gie you some fine cordial,
My love, to comfort thee.'
'I value not your fine cordial,
Nor aught that ye can gie;
Who could hae drownd my bonny young son
Could as well poisin me.'
'Cheer up your heart, my lily flower,
Think nae sic ill o me;
Your young son's in my mother's bower,
Set on the nourice knee.
'Now, if ye'll be a gude woman,
I'll neer mind this to thee;
Nae waur is done to your young son
Than what was done to me.'
'Well fell's me now, my ain gude lord;
These words do cherish me;
If it hadna come o yoursell, my lord,
'Twould neer hae come o me.'