Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
 
5. Cospatrick
 
 
I

COSPATRICK has sent o’er the faem:
  Cospatrick brought his ladye hame.
 
II

Full seven score ships have come her wi’,
The ladye by the grene-wood tree.
 
III

There was twal’ and twal’ wi’ baken bread,
        5
And twal’ and twal’ wi’ the goud sae red:
 
IV

And twal’ and twal’ wi’ beer and wine,
And twal’ and twal’ wi’ muskadine:
 
V

And twal’ and twal’ wi’ bouted flour,
And twal’ and twal’ wi’ paramour.        10
 
VI

Sweet Willy was a Widow’s son,
And at her stirrup he did run.
 
VII

And she was clad in the finest pall,
But aye she let the tears down fall.
 
VIII

‘O lady, sits your saddle awry?
        15
Or is your steed for you owre high?
 
IX

‘Or are you mourning in your tide
That you suld be Cospatrick’s bride?
 
X

‘I am not mourning at this tide
That I suld be Cospatrick’s bride:        20
 
XI

‘But I am mourning in my mood
That ever I left my mother good.
 
XII

‘But, bonny boy, come tell to me
What is the custom o’ your countrie?’
 
XIII

‘The custom thereof, my dame,’ he says,
        25
‘Will ill a gentle ladye please.
 
XIV

‘Seven King’s daughters has our lord wedded,
And seven King’s daughters has our lord bedded:
 
XV

‘But he’s cutted their breasts frae their breast-bane,
And sent them mourning hame again.        30
 
XVI

‘But when you come to the palace yett,
His mother a gowden chair will set:
 
XVII

‘And be you maid or be you nane,
O sit you there till the day be dane.
 
XVIII

‘And gin you’re sure that you’re a maid,
        35
Ye may gae safely him to wed:
 
XIX

‘But gif o’ that ye be na sure,
Then hire some damsel o’ your bour.’—
 
XX

O when she came to the palace yett,
His mother a gowden chair did set:        40
 
XXI

The bonnie may was tired wi’ ridin’,
Gae’d sit her down ere she was bidden.
 
XXII

And was she maid or was she nane,
She sat in it till the day was dune.
 
XXIII

And she’s call’d on her bour-woman,
        45
That waiting was into her train:
 
XXIV

‘Five thousand marks I’ll gie to thee,
To sleep this night with my lord for me.’—
 
XXV

[‘But will it for my ladye plead,
I’se be the bride in my ladye’s stead.’]—        50
 
XXVI

When bells were rung and mass was sayne,
And a’ men unto bed were gane,
 
XXVII

Cospatrick and the bonny maid
Into ae chamber they were laid.
 
XXVIII

‘Now speak to me, blankets, and speak to me, bed,
        55
And speak, thou sheet, inchanted web,
 
XXIX

‘And speak, my brown sword, that winna lee,
Is this a leal maiden that lies by me?’
 
XXX

‘It is not a maid that you hae wedded,
But it is a maid that you hae bedded:        60
 
XXXI

‘It is a leal maiden that lies by thee,
But not the maiden that it should be.’
 
XXXII

Then out he sprang o’ his bridal bed,
And wrathfully his claiths on did:
 
XXXIII

And he has ta’en him through the ha’,
        65
And on his mother he did ca’.
 
XXXIV

‘I am the most unhappy man
That ever was in Christen land:
 
XXXV

‘I courted a maiden meik and mild,
And I’ve gat but a woman great wi’ child.’—        70
 
XXXVI

‘O stay, my son, into this ha’,
And sport ye wi’ your merry men a’.
 
XXXVII

‘And I’ll gang to your painted bour,
To see how it fares wi’ your paramour.’
 
XXXVIII

The carline queen was stark and strang
        75
She gar’d the door flee aff the ban.
 
XXXIX

‘O is your bairn to laird or loun,
Or is it to your father’s groom?’—
 
XL

‘O hear me, mother, on my knee,
Till my sad story I tell to thee.        80
 
XLI

‘O we were sisters, sisters seven;
We were the fairest under heaven.
 
XLII

‘We had nae mair for our seven years’ wark
But to shape and sew the King’s son a sark.
 
XLIII

‘It fell on a summer’s afternoon,
        85
When a’ our langsome task was done,
 
XLIV

‘We cast the kevils us amang
To see which suld to the grene-wood gang.
 
XLV

‘Ohone, alas! for I was the youngest,
And aye my weird it was the hardest.        90
 
XLVI

‘The kevil it did on me fa’,
Which was the cause of a’ my wae.
 
XLVII

‘For to the grene-wood I must gae,
To pu’ the red rose and the slae;
 
XLVIII

‘To pu’ the red rose and the thyme
        95
To deck my mother’s bour and mine.
 
XLIX

‘I hadna pu’d a flower but ane,
When by there came a gallant hende,
 
L

‘Wi’ high-coll’d hose and laigh-coll’d shoon,
And he seem’d to be some Kingis son.        100
 
LI

‘And be I a maid, or be I nae,
He kept me there till the close o’ day:
 
LII

‘And be I a maid or be I nane,
He kept me there till the day was done.
 
LIII

‘He gae me a lock o’ his yellow hair,
        105
And bade me keep it for ever mair:
 
LIV

‘He gae me a carknet o’ bonny beads,
And bade me keep it against my needs.
 
LV

‘He gae to me a gay gold ring,
And bade me keep it abune a’ thing.        110
 
LVI

‘He gae to me a little pen-knife,
And bade me keep it as my life.’—
 
LVII

‘What did you wi’ the tokens rare
That ye got frae that gallant there?’—
 
LVIII

‘O bring that coffer here to me,
        115
And a’ the tokens ye sall see.’
 
LIX

And aye she sought, and aye she flang
Until these four things cam’ to her hand.
 
LX

‘Now stay here, daughter, your bour within,
Till I gae parley with my son.’        120
 
LXI

O she has ta’en her thro’ the ha’,
And on her son began to ca’.
 
LXII

‘What did you wi’ that gay gold ring
I bade you keep abune a’ thing?
 
LXIII

‘What did you wi’ that little pen-knife
        125
I bade you keep while you had life?
 
LXIV

‘What did you wi’ the bonny beads
I bade you keep against your needs?’—
 
LXV

‘I gae them to a ladye gay
I met i’ the grene-wood on a day.        130
 
LXVI

‘But I wad gie a’ my ha’s and tours,
I had that bright burd in my bours:
 
LXVII

‘But I wad gie my very life
I had that ladye to my wife!’
 
LXVIII

‘Now keep, my son, your ha’s and tours;
        135
Ye have that bright burd in your bours.
 
LXIX

‘And keep, my son, your very life,
Ye have that ladye to your wife.’
 
LXX

Now, or a month was come and gane,
The ladye bore him a bonny son.        140
 
LXXI

And it was well written on his breast-bane,
‘Cospatrick is my father’s name.’
 
LXXII

O rowe my ladye in satin and silk,
And wash my son in the morning milk!
 
GLOSS:  bouted] bolted, sifted.  paramour] meaning here uncertain.  pall] fine cloth.  yett] gate.  into] in.  lee] lie.  carline] old woman.  ban] band, hinge.  laird or loun] squire or common fellow.  kevils] lots.  hende] courteous youth.  high-coll’d, laigh-coll’d] high-cut, low-cut.  carknet] necklace.  flang] flung about, rummaged violently.
 

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