Child's Ballads/40

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Child's Collected Ballads by Francis James Child
Tam Lin, no. 39
For more information, see Wikipedia: The Queen of Elfan's Nourice.

The Queen of Elfan’s Nourice[edit]

I HEARD a cow low, a bonnie cow low,
An a cow low down in yon glen;
Lang, lang will my young son greet
Or his mither bid him come ben.
I heard a cow low, a bonnie cow low,
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.’
‘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
That ladies are wont to gie.
. . . . .
. . . . .
But I moan for my young son
I left in four nights auld.
‘I moan na for my meat,
Nor yet for my fee,
But I mourn for Christen land,
It’s there I fain would be.’
‘O nurse my bairn, nourice,’ she says,
‘Till he stan at your knee,
An ye’s win hame to Christen land,
Whar fain it’s ye wad be.
‘O keep my bairn, nourice,
Till he gang by the hauld,
An ye’s win hame to your young son
Ye left in four nights auld.’
* * * * *
‘O 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.’
* * * * *