Child's Ballads/46

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Child's Collected Ballads by Francis James Child
Captain Wedderburn's Courtship, no. 46
For more information, see Wikipedia: Captain Wedderburn's Courtship.

Captain Wedderburn's Courtship[edit]

A[edit]

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.
‘I’m into my father’s woods, amongst my father’s trees,
O kind sir, let mee walk alane, O kind sir, if you please;
The butler’s bell it will be rung, and I’ll be mist awa;
I’ll lye into mine ain bed, neither at stock nor wa.’
‘O my bonny lady, the bed it’s not be mine,
For I’ll 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.
‘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.
‘Oh my bonny, bonny lady, if you’ll gie me your hand,
You shall hae drums and trumpets to sound at your command;
Wi fifty men to guard you, sae weel their swords can dra,
And wee’s baith lye in ae bed, but you’s lye neist the wa.’
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’ll not lye neist the wa.
He’s taen her into Edinburgh, his landlady cam ben:
‘And monny bonny ladys in Edinburgh hae I seen,
But the like of this fine creature my eyes they never sa;’
‘O dame bring ben a down-bed, for she’s lye neist the wa.’
‘Hold your tongue, young man,’ she said, a+end dinna trouble me,
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.
‘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’ll not lye neist the wa.’
‘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.’
‘Hold your tongue, young man,’ she said, a+end 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’ll not lye neist the wa.
‘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 down first does fa?
Before I lye in your bed, but I’ll lye neist the wa.’
‘Virgus 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.’
‘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.
‘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.’
‘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 every tae,
There’s ane upo the mouth of him, perhaps there may be twa.
‘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 him mother’s side, he out of it did fa;
And you man lye in my bed, between me and the wa.’
Little kent Grizey Sinclair, that morning when she raise,
’Twas to be the hindermost of a’ her single days;
For now she’s Captain Wetherburn’s wife, a man she never saw,
And she man lye in his bed, but she’ll not lye neist the wa.


B[edit]

THE Lord of Rosslyn’s daughter gaed through the wud her lane,
And there she met Captain Wedderburn, a servant to the king.
He said unto his livery-man, Were’t na agen the law,
I wad tak her to my ain bed, and lay her at the wa.
‘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’ll be missd awa;
Sae I’ll na lie in your bed, at neither stock nor wa.’
He said, My pretty lady, I pray lend me your hand,
And ye’ll hae drums and trumpets always at your command;
And fifty men to guard ye wi, that weel their swords can draw;
Sae we’ll baith lie in ae bed, and ye’ll lie at the wa.
‘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’ll na supper tak, gif I be missd awa;
Sae I’ll na lie in your bed, at neither stock nor wa.’
‘O my name is Captain Wedderburn, my name I’ll 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 ye to my ain bed, and lay ye neist the wa.’
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’ll tak ye to my ain bed, and lay thee at the wa.
He took her to his quartering-house, his landlady looked ben,
Saying, Monie a pretty ladie in Edinbruch 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.
‘O haud awa frae me, kind sir, I pray ye lat me be,
For I’ll 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.
‘’Tis 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.’
‘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’ll baith lie in ae bed, and ye’ll be at the wa.’
‘O haud awa frae me, kind sir, I pray ye give me owre,
For I’ll 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.
‘’Tis 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.’
‘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.
‘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 haill cut frae his mither’s side, and frae the same let fa;
Sae we’ll baith lie in ae bed, and ye’se lie at the wa.’
‘O haud awa frae me, kind sir, I pray don’t me perplex,
For I’ll 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 or wa.
‘O what is greener than the gress, what’s higher than thae trees?
O what is worse 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.’
‘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’ll baith lie in ae bed, and ye’se lie at the wa.’
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.


C[edit]

THE laird of Roslin’s daughter walked thro the wood her lane,
And by came Captain Wedderburn, a servant to the Queen;
He said unto his serving man, Wer’t not agaynst the law,
I would tak her to my ain house as lady o my ha.
He said, My pretty ladye, I pray give me your hand;
You shall have drums and trumpets always at your command;
With fifty men to guard you, that well their swords can draw,
And I’ll tak ye to my ain bed, and lay you next the wa.
‘I’m walking in my feyther’s shaws:’ quo he, My charming maid,
I am much better than I look, so be you not afraid;
For I serve the queen of a’ Scotland, and a gentil dame is she;
So we’se be married ere the morn, gin ye can fancy me.
. . . . . .
. . . . .
‘The sparrow shall toot on his horn, gif naething us befa,
And I’ll mak you up a down-bed, and lay you next the wa.
‘Now hold away from me, kind sir, I pray you let me be;
I wont be lady of your ha till you answer questions three;
Questions three you must answer me, and that is one and twa,
Before I gae to Woodland’s house, and be lady o your ha.
‘You must get me to my supper a chicken without a bone;
You must get me to my supper a cherry without a stone;
You must get me to my supper a bird without a ga,
Before I go to Woodland’s house and be lady of your ha.’
‘When the cherry is in the bloom, I’m sure it has no stone;
When the chicken’s in the shell, I’m sure it has nae bone;
The dove she is a gentil bird, and flies without a ga;
So I’ve answered you your questions three, and you’re lady of my ha.’
* * * * *
‘Questions three you must answer me: What’s higher than the trees?
And what is worse than woman’s voice? What’s deeper than the seas?’
. . . . . .
. . . . .
He answered then so readily: Heaven’s higher than the trees;
The devil’s worse than woman’s voice; hell’s deeper than the seas;
. . . . . .
. . . . .
‘One question still you must answer me, or you I laugh to scorn;
Go seek me out an English priest, of woman never born;’
. . . . . .
. . . . .
‘Oh then,’ quo he, ’My young brother from mother’s side was torn,
And he’s a gentil English priest, of woman never born;’
. . . . . .
. . . . .
Little did his lady think, that morning when she raise,
It was to be the very last of all her mayden days;
. . . .
. . . . .