Child's Ballads/47

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Child's Collected Ballads by Francis James Child
Proud Lady Margaret, no. 47
For more information, see Wikipedia: Proud Lady Margaret.

Proud Lady Margaret[edit]

A[edit]

’TWAS on a night, an evening bright,
When the dew began to fa,
Lady Margaret was walking up and down,
Looking oer her castle wa.
She looked east and she looked west,
To see what she could spy,
When a gallant knight came in her sight,
And to the gate drew nigh.
‘You seem to be no gentleman,
You wear your boots so wide;
But you seem to be some cunning hunter,
You wear the horn so syde.’
‘I am no cunning hunter,’ he said,
‘Nor neer intend to be;
But I am come to this castle
To seek the love of thee.
And if you do not grant me love,
This night for thee I’ll die.’
‘If you should die for me, sir knight,
There’s few for you will meane;
For mony a better has died for me,
Whose graves are growing green.
[‘But ye maun read my riddle,’ she said,
‘And answer my questions three;
And but ye read them right,’ she said,
‘Gae stretch ye out and die.]
‘Now what is the flower, the ae first flower,
Springs either on moor or dale?
And what is the bird, the bonnie bonnie bird,
Sings on the evening gale?’
‘The primrose is the ae first flower
Springs either on moor or dale,
And the thristlecock is the bonniest bird
Sings on the evening gale.’
[‘But what’s the little coin,’ she said,
‘Wald buy my castle bound?
And what’s the little boat,’ she said,
‘Can sail the world all round?’]
‘O hey, how mony small pennies
Make thrice three thousand pound?
Or hey, how mony salt fishes
Swim a’ the salt sea round?’
‘I think you maun be my match,’ she said,
‘My match and something mair;
You are the first eer got the grant
Of love frae my father’s heir.
‘My father was lord of nine castles,
My mother lady of three;
My father was lord of nine castles,
And there’s nane to heir but me.
‘And round about a’ thae castles
You may baith plow and saw,
And on the fifteenth day of May
The meadows they will maw.’
‘O hald your tongue, Lady Margaret,’ he said,
‘For loud I hear you lie;
Your father was lord of nine castles,
Your mother was lady of three;
Your father was lord of nine castles,
But ye fa heir to but three.
‘And round about a’ thae castles
You may baith plow and saw,
But on the fifteenth day of May
The meadows will not maw.
‘I am your brother Willie,’ he said,
‘I trow ye ken na me;
I came to humble your haughty heart,
Has gard sae mony die.’
‘If ye be my brother Willie,’ she said,
‘As I trow weel ye be,
This night I’ll neither eat nor drink,
But gae alang wi thee.’
‘O hold your tongue, Lady Margaret,’ he said,
‘Again I hear you lie;
For ye’ve unwashen hands and ye’ve unwashen feet,
To gae to clay wi me.
‘For the wee worms are my bedfellows,
And cauld clay is my sheets,
And when the stormy winds do blow,
My body lies and sleeps.’

B[edit]

THERE was a knight, in a summer’s night,
Appeard in a lady’s hall,
As she was walking up and down,
Looking oer her castle wall.
‘God make you safe and free, fair maid,
God make you safe and free!’
‘O sae fa you, ye courteous knight,
What are your wills wi me?’
‘My wills wi you are not sma, lady,
My wills wi you nae sma,
And since there’s nane your bower within,
Ye’se hae my secrets a’.
‘For here am I a courtier,
A courtier come to thee,
And if ye winna grant your love,
All for your sake I’ll dee.’
‘If that ye dee for me, sir knight,
Few for you will make meen;
For mony gude lord’s done the same,
Their graves are growing green.’
‘O winna ye pity me, fair maid,
O winna ye pity me?
O winna ye pity a courteous knight,
Whose love is laid on thee?’
‘Ye say ye are a courteous knight,
But I think ye are nane;
I think ye’re but a millar bred,
By the colour o your claithing.
‘You seem to be some false young man,
You wear your hat sae wide;
You seem to be some false young man,
You wear your boots sae side.’
‘Indeed I am a courteous knight,
And of great pedigree;
Nae knight did mair for a lady bright
Than I will do for thee.
‘O I’ll put smiths in your smithy,
To shoe for you a steed,
And I’ll put tailors in your bower,
To make for you a weed.
‘I will put cooks in your kitchen,
And butlers in your ha,
And on the tap o yourn father’s castle
I’ll big gude corn and saw.’
‘If ye be a courteous knight,
As I trust not ye be,
Ye’ll answer some o the sma questions
That I will ask at thee.
‘What is the fairest flower, tell me,
That grows in mire or dale?
Likewise, which is the sweetest bird
Sings next the nightingale?
Or what’s the finest thing,’ she says,
‘That king or queen can wile?’
‘The primrose is the fairest flower
That grows in mire or dale;
The mavis is the sweetest bird
Next to the nightingale;
And yellow gowd’s the finest thing
That king or queen can wale.
‘Ye hae asked many questions, lady,
I’ve you as many told;’
‘But how many pennies round
Make a hundred pounds in gold?
‘How many of the small fishes
Do swim the salt seas round?
Or what’s the seemliest sight you’ll see
Into a May morning?’
* * * * *
‘Berry-brown ale and a birken speal,
And wine in a horn green;
A milk-white lace in a fair maid’s dress
Looks gay in a May morning.’
‘Mony’s the questions I’ve askd at thee,
And ye’ve answerd them a’;
Ye are mine, and I am thine,
Amo the sheets sae sma.
‘You may be my match, kind sir,
You may be my match and more;
There neer was ane came sic a length
Wi my father’s heir before.
‘My father’s lord o nine castles,
My mother she’s lady ower three,
And there is nane to heir them all,
No never a ane but me;
Unless it be Willie, my ae brother,
But he’s far ayont the sea.’
‘If your father’s laird o nine castles,
Your mother lady ower three,
I am Willie your ae brother,
Was far beyond the sea.’
‘If ye be Willie, my ae brother,
As I doubt sair ye be,
But if it’s true ye tell me now,
This night I’ll gang wi thee.’
‘Ye’ve ower ill washen feet, Janet,
And ower ill washen hands,
And ower coarse robes on your body,
Alang wi me to gang.
‘The worms they are my bed-fellows,
And the cauld clay my sheet,
And the higher that the wind does blaw,
The sounder I do sleep.
‘My body’s buried in Dumfermline,
And far beyond the sea,
But day nor night nae rest coud get,
All for the pride o thee.
‘Leave aff your pride, jelly Janet,’ he says,
‘Use it not ony mair;
Or when ye come where I hae been
You will repent it sair.
‘Cast aff, cast aff, sister,’ he says,
‘The gowd lace frae your crown;
For if ye gang where I hae been,
Ye’ll wear it laigher down.
‘When ye’re in the gude church set,
The gowd pins in your hair,
Ye take mair delight in your feckless dress
Than ye do in your morning prayer.
‘And when ye walk in the church-yard,
And in your dress are seen,
There is nae lady that sees your face
But wishes your grave were green.
‘You’re straight and tall, handsome withall,
But your pride owergoes your wit,
But if ye do not your ways refrain,
In Pirie’s chair ye’ll sit.
‘In Pirie’s chair you’ll sit, I say,
The lowest seat o hell;
If ye do not amend your ways,
It’s there that ye must dwell.’
Wi that he vanishd frae her sight,
Wi the twinkling o an eye;
Naething mair the lady saw
But the gloomy clouds and sky.


C[edit]

ONCE there was a jolly hind squire
Appeard in a lady’s ha,
And aye she walked up and down,
Looking oer her castle wa.
‘What is your wills wi me, kind sir?
What is your wills wi me?’
‘My wills are [not] sma wi thee, lady,
My wills are [not] sma wi thee.
‘For here I stand a courtier,
And a courtier come to thee,
And if ye will not grant me your love,
For your sake I will die.’
‘If you die for my sake,’ she says,
‘Few for you will make moan;
Many better’s died for my sake,
Their graves are growing green.
‘You appear to be some false young man,
You wear your hat so wide;
You appear to be some false young man,
You wear your boots so side.
‘An asking, asking, sir,’ she said,
‘An asking ye’ll grant me:’
‘Ask on, ask on, lady,’ he said,
‘What may your asking be?’
‘What’s the first thing in flower,’ she said,
‘That springs in mire or dale?
What’s the next bird that sings,’ she says,
‘Unto the nightingale?
Or what is the finest thing,’ she says,
‘That king or queen can wile?’
‘The primrose is the first in flower
That springs in mire or dale;
The thristle-throat is the next that sings
Unto the nightingale;
And yellow gold is the finest thing
That king or queen can wile.
‘You have asked many questions, lady,
I’ve you as many told;’
‘But how many pennies round
Make a hundred pounds in gold?
‘How many small fishes
Do swim the salt seas round?
Or what’s the seemliest sight you’ll see
Into a May morning?
* * * * *
‘There’s ale into the birken scale,
Wine in the horn green;
There’s gold in the king’s banner
When he is fighting keen.’
‘You may be my match, kind sir,’ she said,
‘You may be my match and more;
There neer was one came such a length
With my father’s heir before.
‘My father’s lord of nine castles,
No body heir but me.’
‘Your father’s lord of nine castles,
Your mother’s lady of three;
‘Your father’s heir of nine castles,
And you are heir to three;
For I am William, thy ae brother,
That died beyond the sea.’
‘If ye be William, my ae brother,
This night, O well is me!
If ye be William, my ae brother,
This night I’ll go with thee.’
‘For no, for no, jelly Janet,’ he says,
‘For no, that cannot be;
You’ve oer foul feet and ill washen hands
To be in my company.
‘For the wee wee worms are my bedfellows,
And the cold clay is my sheet,
And the higher that the winds do blow,
The sounder I do sleep.
‘Leave off your pride, jelly Janet,’ he says,
‘Use it not any more;
Or when you come where I have been
You will repent it sore.
‘When you go in at yon church door,
The red gold on your hair,
More will look at your yellow locks
Than look on the Lord’s prayer.
‘When you go in at yon church door,
The red gold on your crown;
When you come where I have been,
You’ll wear it laigher down.’
The jolly hind squire, he went away
In the twinkling of an eye,
Left the lady sorrowful behind,
With many bitter cry.


D[edit]

THERE cam a knicht to Archerdale,
His steed was winder sma,
An there he spied a lady bricht,
Luikin owre her castle wa.
‘Ye dinna seem a gentle knicht,
Though on horseback ye do ride;
Ye seem to be some sutor’s son,
Your butes they are sae wide.’
‘Ye dinna seem a lady gay,
Though ye be bound wi pride;
Else I’d gane bye your father’s gate
But either taunt or gibe.’
He turned aboot his hie horse head,
An awa he was boun to ride,
But neatly wi her mouth she spak:
Oh bide, fine squire, oh bide.
‘Bide, oh bide, ye hindy squire,
Tell me mair o your tale;
Tell me some o that wondrous lied
Ye’ve learnt in Archerdale.
‘What gaes in a speal?’ she said,
‘What in a horn green?
An what gaes on a lady’s head,
Whan it is washen clean?’
‘Ale gaes in a speal,’ he said,
‘Wine in a horn green;
An silk gaes on a lady’s head,
Whan it is washen clean.’
Aboot he turned his hie horse head,
An awa he was boun to ride,
When neatly wi her mouth she spak:
Oh bide, fine squire, oh bide.
‘Bide, oh bide, ye hindy squire,
Tell me mair o your tale;
Tell me some o that unco lied
You’ve learnt in Archerdale.
‘Ye are as like my ae brither
As ever I did see;
But he’s been buried in yon kirkyaird
It’s mair than years is three.’
‘I am as like your ae brither
As ever ye did see;
But I canna get peace into my grave,
A’ for the pride o thee.
‘Leave pride, Janet, leave pride, Janet,
Leave pride an vanitie;
If ye come the roads that I hae come,
Sair warned will ye be.
‘Ye come in by yonder kirk
Wi the goud preens in your sleeve;
When you’re bracht hame to yon kirkyaird,
You’ll gie them a’ thier leave.
‘Ye come in to yonder kirk
Wi the goud plaits in your hair;
When you’re bracht hame to yon kirkyaird,
You will them a’ forbear.’
He got her in her mither’s bour,
Puttin goud plaits in her hair;
He left her in her father’s gairden,
Mournin her sins sae sair.


E[edit]

FAIR MARGRET was a young ladye,
An come of high degree;
Fair Margret was a young ladye,
An proud as proud coud be.
Fair Margret was a rich ladye,
The king’s cousin was she;
Fair Margaret was a rich ladye,
An vain as vain coud be.
She war’d her wealth on the gay cleedin
That comes frae yont the sea,
She spent her time frae morning till night
Adorning her fair bodye.
Ae night she sate in her stately ha,
Kaimin her yellow hair,
When in there cum like a gentle knight,
An a white scarf he did wear.
‘O what’s your will wi me, sir knight,
O what’s your will wi me?
You’re the likest to my ae brother
That ever I did see.
‘You’re the likest to my ae brother
That ever I hae seen,
But he’s buried in Dunfermline kirk,
A month an mair bygane.’
‘I’m the likest to your ae brother
That ever ye did see,
But I canna get rest into my grave,
A’ for the pride of thee.
‘Leave pride, Margret, leave pride, Margret,
Leave pride an vanity;
Ere ye see the sights that I hae seen,
Sair altered ye maun be.
‘O ye come in at the kirk-door
Wi the gowd plaits in your hair;
But wud ye see what I hae seen,
Ye maun them a’ forbear.
‘O ye come in at the kirk-door
Wi the gowd prins i your sleeve;
But wad ye see what I hae seen,
Ye maun gie them a’ their leave.
‘Leave pride, Margret, leave pride, Margret,
Leave pride an vanity;
Ere ye see the sights that I hae seen,
Sair altered ye maun be.’
He got her in her stately ha,
Kaimin her yellow hair,
He left her on her sick sick bed,
Sheding the saut saut tear.