Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray
   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
29. Mary Hamilton
Traditional Ballads
WORD’S gane to the kitchen,
  And word’s gane to the ha,
That Marie Hamilton has born a bairn
  To the hichest Stewart of a’.
She’s tyed it in her apron        5
  And she’s thrown it in the sea;
Says, ‘Sink ye, swim ye, bonny wee babe,
  You’ll ne’er get mair o me.’
Down then cam the auld Queen,
  Goud 1 tassels tying her hair:        10
‘O Marie, where’s the bonny wee babe
  That I heard greet 2 sae sair?’ 3
‘There was never a babe intill 4 my room,
  As little designs to be;
It was but a touch o my sair side,        15
  Came o’er my fair bodie.’
‘O Marie, put on your robes o black,
  Or else your robes o brown,
For ye maun gang 5 wi me the night,
  To see fair Edinbro town.’        20
‘I winna put on my robes o black,
  Nor yet my robes o brown;
But I’ll put on my robes o white,
  To shine through Edinbro town.’
When she gaed up the Cannogate,        25
  She laughd loud laughters three;
But when she cam down the Cannogate
  The tear blinded her ee.
When she gaed up the Parliament stair,
  The heel cam aff her shee; 6        30
And lang or she cam down again
  She was condemnd to dee.
When she came down the Cannogate,
  The Cannogate sae free,
Many a ladie lookd o’er her window,        35
  Weeping for this ladie.
‘Make never meen 7 for me,’ she says,
  ‘Make never meen for me;
Seek never grace frae a graceless face,
  For that ye’ll never see.        40
‘Bring me a bottle of wine,’ she says,
  ‘The best that eer ye hae,’ 8
That I may drink to my weil-wishers,
  And they may drink to me.
‘And here’s to the jolly sailor lad        45
  That sails upon the faem;
And let not my father nor mother get wit
  But that I shall come again.
‘And here’s to the jolly sailor lad
  That sails upon the sea;        50
But let not my father nor mother get wit 9
  O the death that I maun dee.
‘O little did my mother think,
  The day she cradled me,
What lands I was to travel through,        55
  What death I was to dee.
‘O little did my father think,
  The day he held up me,
What lands I was to travel through,
  What death I was to dee.        60
‘Last nicht I washd the Queen’s feet,
  And gently laid her down;
And a’ the thanks I’ve gotten the nicht
  To be hangd in Edinbro town!
‘Last nicht there was four Maries,        65
  The nicht there’ll be but three;
There was Marie Seton, and Marie Beton,
  And Marie Carmichael, and me.’
Note 1. Last night. [back]
Note 2. Knew. [back]
Note 3. Oxen. [back]
Note 4. Cows. [back]
Note 5. Gold. [back]
Note 6. Weep. [back]
Note 7. Sore. [back]
Note 8. Into, in. [back]
Note 9. Must go. [back]


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