Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
 
6. Willy’s Lady
 
 
I

SWEET Willy’s ta’en him o’er the faem,
  He’s woo’d a wife and brought her hame.
 
II

He’s woo’d her for her yellow hair,
But his mither wrought her mickle care;
 
III

And mickle dolour gar’d her drie,
        5
For lighter she can never be.
 
IV

But in her bower she sits wi’ pain,
And Willy mourns o’er her in vain.
 
V

And to his mither he has gane;
That vile rank witch of vilest kind.        10
 
VI

He says: ‘My ladie has a cup
Wi’ gowd and silver set about.
 
VII

‘This goodlie gift shall be your ain,
And let her be lighter o’ her young bairn.’—
 
VIII

‘Of her young bairn she’ll ne’er be lighter,
        15
Nor in her bower to shine the brighter:
 
IX

‘But she shall die and turn to clay,
And you shall wed another may.’—
 
X

‘Another may I’ll marry nane,
Another may I’ll ne’er bring hame.’        20
 
XI

But sighing says his bonnie wife,
‘I’ wish this was an end o’ my life!
 
XII

‘Yet gae ye unto your mither again,
That vile rank witch of vilest kind.
 
XIII

‘And say: My ladie has a steed,
        25
The like o’ him’s no in the lands of Leed.
 
XIV

‘For at ilka tett o’ that horse’s mane
There’s a golden chess and a bell ringíng.
 
XV

‘This goodlie gift shall be your ain,
And let her be lighter o’ her young bairn.’—        30
 
XVI

‘O’ her young bairn she’ll ne’er be lighter,
Nor in her bower to shine the brighter;
 
XVII

‘But she shall die and turn to clay,
And ye shall wed another may.’—
 
XVIII

‘Another may I’ll marry nane,
        35
Another may I’ll ne’er bring hame.’
 
XIX

But sighing says his bonnie wife,
‘I wish this was an end o’ my life!
 
XX

‘Yet gae ye unto your mither again,
That vile rank witch of vilest kind:        40
 
XXI

‘And say: My ladie has a girdle,
It’s a’ red gowd unto the middle.
 
XXII

‘And ay at every silver hem
Hangs fifty silver bells and ten.
 
XXIII

‘That goodlie gift shall be your ain,
        45
But let her be lighter o’ her young bairn.’—
 
XXIV

‘O’ her young bairn she’s ne’er be lighter,
Nor in her bower to shine the brighter:
 
XXV

‘But she shall die and turn to clay,
And you shall wed another may.’—        50
 
XXVI

‘Another may I’ll never wed nane,
Another may I’ll never bring hame.’
 
XXVII

But sighing says his bonnie wife,
‘I wish this was an end o’ my life!’
 
XXVIII

Then out and spake the Billy Blind—
        55
He spake aye in a good time;
 
XXIX

‘Ye doe ye to the market-place,
And there buy ye a loaf o’ wax;
 
XXX

‘Ye shape it bairn and bairnly like,
And in twa glasses e’en ye’ll pit.        60
 
XXXI

‘And do ye to your mither then,
And bid her come to your boy’s christ’nen,
 
XXXII

‘For dear’s the boy he’s been to you:
Then notice weel what she shall do:
 
XXXIII

‘And do you stand a little away,
        65
And listen weel what she shall say.’
 
XXXIV

He did him to the market-place,
And there he bought a loaf o’ wax.
 
XXXV

He shaped it bairn and bairnly-like,
And in ’t twa glasses e’en he pat.        70
 
XXXVI

He did him till his mither then,
And bade her to his boy’s christ’nen.
 
XXXVII

And he did stand a little forbye,
And noticed well what she did say.
 
XXXVIII

‘O wha has loosed the nine witch-knots
        75
That was among that ladie’s locks?
 
XXXIX

‘And wha has ta’en out the kaims o’ care
That hangs among that ladie’s hair?
 
XL

‘And wha’s ta’en down the bush o’ woodbine
That hangs atween her bower and mine?        80
 
XLI

‘And wha has kill’d the master kid
That ran aneath that ladie’s bed?
 
XLII

‘And wha has loosed her left-foot shee
And letten that ladie lighter be?’
 
XLIII

Syne Willy has loosed the nine witch-knots
        85
That was among his ladie’s locks:
 
XLIV

And Willy’s ta’en out the kaims o’ care
That hang among his ladie’s hair:
 
XLV

And Willy’s ta’en down the bush o’ woodbine
That hang atween her bower and thine:        90
 
XLVI

And Willy has kill’d the master kid
That ran aneath his ladie’s bed:
 
XLVII

And Willy has loosed her left-foot shee,
And letten his ladie lighter be.
 
XLVIII

And now he’s gotten a bonny young son,
        95
And mickle grace be him upon!
 
GLOSS:  rowe] roll, wrap.  gar’d her drie] caused her to suffer.  lighter] i.e. delivered of her child.  tett] tuft.  chess] ?jess, strap.  Billy Blind] a Brownie, or friendly House-spirit.  pit] put.  pat] did put.  forbye] aside.  kaims] combs.  shee] shoe.
 

CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors