Child's Ballads/33

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Child's Collected Ballads by Francis James Child
Kempy Kay, no. 33

Kempy Kay[edit]

KEMPY KAYE’s a wooing gane,
Far, far ayont the sea,
And he has met with an auld, auld man,
His gudefaythir to be.
‘It’s I’m coming to court your daughter dear,
And some part of your gear:’
‘And by my sooth,’ quoth Bengoleer,
‘She’ll sare a man a wear.
‘My dochter she’s a thrifty lass,
She span seven year to me,
And if it were weel counted up,
Full three heire it would be.
‘What’s the matter wi you, my fair creature,
You look so pale and wan?
I’m sure you was once the fairest creature
That ever the sun shined on.
‘Gae scrape yoursel, and gae scart yoursel,
And mak your brucket face clean,
For the wooers are to be here to nighte,
And your body’s to be seen.’
Sae they scrapit her, and they scartit her,
Like the face of an aussy pan;
Syne in cam Kempy Kay himself,
A clever and tall young man.
His teeth they were like tether-sticks,
His nose was three fit lang,
Between his shouthers was ells three,
And tween his eyne a span.
He led his dochter by the hand,
His dochter ben brought he:
‘O is she not the fairest lass
That’s in great Christendye?’
Ilka hair intil her head
Was like a heather-cowe,
And ilka louse anunder it
Was like a bruckit ewe.
She had tauchy teeth and kaily lips,
And wide lugs, fou o hair;
Her pouches fou o peasemeal-daighe
A’ hinging down her spare.
Ilka eye intil her head
Was like a rotten plumbe,
And down browed was the queyne,
And sairly did she gloom.
Ilka nail upon her hand
Was like an iron rake,
And ilka tooth intil her head
Was like a tether-stake.
* * * * *
She gied to him a gravat,
O the auld horse’s sheet,
And he gied her a gay gold ring,
O the auld couple-root.






KEMPY KAYE is a wooing gane,
Far ayont the sea,
And there he met wi auld Goling,
His gudefather to be, be,
His gudefather to be.
‘Whar are ye gaun, O Kempy Kaye,
Whar are ye gaun sae sune?’
‘O I am gaun to court a wife,
And think na ye that’s a weel dune?’
‘An ye be gaun to court a wife,
As ye do tell to me,
’Tis ye sall hae my Fusome Fug,
Your ae wife for to be.’
Whan auld Goling cam to the house,
He lookit thro a hole,
And there he saw the dirty drab
Just whisking oure the coal.
‘Rise up, rise up my Fusome Fug,
And mak your foul face clean,
For the brawest wooer that ere ye saw
Is come develling doun the green.’
Up then rose the Fusome Fug,
To mak her foul face clean;
And aye she cursed her mither
She had na water in.
She rampit out, and she rampit in,
She rampit but and ben;
The tittles and tattles that hang frae her tail
Wad muck an acre o land.
She had a neis upon her face
Was like an auld pat-fit;
Atween her neis bot an her mou
Was inch thick deep wi dirt.
She had twa een intil her head
War like twa-rotten plums;
The heavy brows hung doun her face,
And O I vow she glooms!
He gied to her a braw silk napkin,
Was made o’ an auld horse-brat:
‘I ne’er wore a silk napkin a’ my life,
But weel I wat Ise wear that.’
He gied to her a braw gowd ring,
Was made frae an auld brass pan:
‘I neer wore a gowd ring in a’ my life,
But now I wat Ise wear ane.’
Whan thir twa lovers had met thegither,
O kissing to get their fill,
The slaver that hang atween their twa gabs
Wad hae tetherd a ten year auld bill.






KEMPY KAYE’s a wooing gane,
And far beyond the sea, a wee
And there he met wi Drearylane,
His gay gudefather to be. a wee
‘Gude een, gude een,’ quo Drearylane,
‘Gude een, gude een,’ quo he, a wee
‘I’ve come your dochter’s love to win,
I kenna how it will do.’ a wee
‘My dochter she’s a thrifty lass,
She’s spun this gay seven year,
And if it come to gude guiding,
It will be half a heer.’
‘Rise up, rise up, ye dirty slut,
And wash your foul face clean;
The wooers will be here the night
That suld been here yestreen.’
They took him ben to the fire en,
And set him on a chair;
He looked on the lass that he loved best,
And thought she was wondrous fair.
The een that was in our bride’s head
Was like twa rotten plooms;
She was a chaunler-chaftit quean,
And O but she did gloom!
The skin that was on our bride’s breast
Was like a saffron bag,
And aye her hand was at her neek,
And riving up the scabs.
The hair that was on our bride’s head
Was like a heather-cow,
And every louse that lookit out
Was like a brockit ewe.
Betwixd Kempy’s shouthers was three ells,
His nose was nine feet lang,
His teeth they were like tether sticks,
Between his eyne a span.
So aye they kissed, and aye they clapped,
I wat they kissed weel;
The slaver that hang between their mouths
Wad hae tethered a twa year auld bill.






* * * *
The father came unto the door,
And keeked thro the key-hole, a wee
And there he saw his dochter Jean,
Sitting on a coal. a wee
They scartit her, and scrapit her,
Wi the hand o a rusty pan, a wee
Her father he did all his best
For to get her a man. a wee
She is to the stoups gane,
There is nae water in;
She’s cursed the hands and ban’d the feet
That did na bring it in.
Out then spak her auld mither,
In her bed whare she lay:
‘If there is nae water in the house,
Gae harl her thro the lin.’
O she is to the taipy tapples gane,
That stood for seven year,
And there she washed her foul face clean,
And dried it wi a huggar.
He’s gien her a gay gold ring,
Just like a cable-rope,
And she’s gien him a gay gravat,
Made out o the tail o a sark.






‘GUD een, gud een,’ says Chickmakin,
‘Ye’re welcome here,’ says Drowsy Lane;
‘I’m comd to court your daughter Jean,
And marry her wi yer will, a wee.’
‘My daughter Jean’s a thrifty lass,
She’s spun these seven lang years to me,
And gin she spin another seven,
She’ll munt a half an heir, a wee.’
Drowsy Lane, it’s he’s gane hame,
And keekit through the hole, a wee
And there he saw his daughter Jean
A reeking oer the coal. a wee
‘Get up, get up, ye dirty bitch,
And wash yer foul face clean,
For they are to be here the night
That should hae been here yestreen.’
Up she rose, pat on her clothes,
She’s washen her foul face clean;
She cursed the hands, she ban’d the feet,
That wadna bring the water in.
She rubbit hersel, she scrubbit hersel,
Wi the side of a rustit pan, a wee,
And in a little came Chickmakin,
A braw young lad indeed was he.
His teeth they were like tether-steeks,
His nose was five feet lang;
Between his shoulders was nine yards broad,
And between his een a span.
Ilka hair into his head
Was like a heather-cowe,
And ilka louse that lookit out
Was like a brookit ewe.
Thae twa kissd and thae twa clapt,
And thae twa kissd their fill,
And aye the slaver between them hang
Wad tetherd a ten-pund bull.
They twa kissd and they twa clapt,
And they gaed to their bed, a wee,
And at their head a knocking stane
And at their feet a mell, a wee.
The auld wife she lay in her bed:
‘And gin ye’ll do my bidding a wee,
And gin ye’ll do my bidding,’ quoth she,
‘Yees whirl her oer the lea, a wee.’






AS I cam oer yon misty muir,
And oer yon grass-green hill,
There I saw a campy carle
Going to the mill.
      Refrain: And bar aye yer bower door weel weel,
And bar ay yer bower door weel.
I lookit in at her window,
And in at her hove hole,
And there I saw a fousome fag,
Cowering oer a coal.
‘Get up, get up, ye fousome fag,
And make yer face fou clean;
For the wooers will be here the night,
And your body will be seen.’
He gave her a gay cravat,
’Twas of an auld horse-sheet;
He gave her a gay goud ring,
’Twas of an auld tree root.
He laid his arms about her neck,
They were like kipple-roots;
And aye he kissd her wi his lips,
They were like meller’s hoops.
When they were laid in marriage bed,
And covered oer wi fail,
The knocking mell below their heads
Did serve them wondrous weel.
Ilka pap into her breasts
Was like a saffron bag,
And aye his hand at her a . . e
Was tearing up the scabs.
Ilka hair into her head
Was like a heather-cow,
And ilka louse that lookit out
Was like a brookit ewe.






KING KNAPPERTY he’s a hunting gane,
Oer hills and mountains high, high, high,
A gude pike-staff intill his hand,
And dulgets anew forbye,I, I, I,
And dulgets anew forbye.
Then he met in wi an auld woman,
Was feeding her flocks near by, I, I, I:
‘I’m come a wooing to your daughter,
And a very gude bargain am I, I, I.’
And she’s awa to her wee hole house,
Lookd in a wee chip hole,
And there she saw her filthy wee flag,
Was sitting athort the coal.
‘Get up, get up, ye filthy foul flag,
And make your foul face clean;
There are wooers coming to the town,
And your foul face mauna be seen.’
Then up she raise, an awa she gaes,
And in at the back o the door,
And there a pig o water she saw,
’Twas seven years auld an mair.
Aye she rubbed, an aye she scrubbed,
To make her foul face clean,
And aye she bannd the auld wife, her mither,
For nae bringing clean water in.
King Knapperty he came in at the door,
Stood even up in the floor;
Altho that she had neer seen him before,
She kent him to be her dear.
He has taen her in his arms twa,
And kissd her, cheek and chin:
‘I neer was kissd afore in my life,
But this night got mony ane.’
He has put his hand in his pocket,
And he’s taen out a ring:
Says, ‘Take ye that, my dearest dear,
It is made o the brazen pan.’
She thankd him ance, she thankd him twice,
She thankd him oer again:
‘I neer got a ring before in my life,
But this night hae gotten ane.’
These lovers bed it was well made,
And at their hearts’ desire;
These lovers bed it was well made,
At the side o the kitchen fire.
The bolster that these lovers had
Was the mattock an the mell,
And the covring that these lovers had
Was the clouted cloak an pale.
The draps that fell frae her twa een
Woud have gard a froth-mill gang,
An [the] clunkerts that hung at their heels
Woud hae muckd an acre o land.
An ilka hair that was in their head
Was like a heather-cow,
And ilka tenant that it containd
Was like a linsteed-bow.