Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
70. Fause Foodrage

KING EASTER has courted her for her lands,
  King Wester for her fee,
King Honour for her comely face,
  And for her fair bodie.

They had not been four months married,
  As I have heard them tell,
Until the nobles of the land
  Against them did rebel.

And they cast kevils them amang,
  And kevils them between;        10
And they cast kevils them amang,
  Wha suld gae kill the king.

O, some said yea, and some said nay,
  Their words did not agree;
Till up and got him, Fause Foodrage,        15
  And swore it suld be he.

When bells were rung, and mass was sung,
  And a’ men bound to bed,
King Honour and his gay ladye
  In a high chamber were laid.        20

Then up and raise him, Fause Foodrage,
  When a’ were fast asleep,
And slew the porter in his lodge,
  That watch and ward did keep.

O four-and-twenty silver keys
  Hang hie upon a pin;
And aye, as ae door he did unlock,
  He has fasten’d it him behin’.

Then up and raise him, King Honour,
  Says—‘What means a’ this din?        30
Or what ’s the matter, Fause Foodrage,
  Or wha has loot you in?’—

‘O ye my errand weel sall learn,
  Before that I depart.’—
Then drew a knife, baith lang and sharp,        35
  And pierced him to the heart.

Then up and got the Queen hersell,
  And fell low down on her knee,
‘O spare my life, now, Fause Foodrage!
  For I never injured thee.        40

‘O spare my life, now, Fause Foodrage!
  Until I lighter be!
And see gin it be lad or lass,
  King Honour has left me wi’.’—

‘O gin it be a lass,’ he says,
  ‘Weel nurséd it sall be;
But gin it be a lad bairn,
  He sall be hangéd hie.

‘I winna spare for his tender age,
  Nor yet for his hie hie kin;        50
But soon as e’er he born is,
  He sall mount the gallows pin.’—

O four-and-twenty valiant knights
  Were set the Queen to guard;
And four stood aye at her bour door,        55
  To keep both watch and ward.

But when the time drew near an end,
  That she suld lighter be,
She cast about to find a wile,
  To set her body free.        60

O she has birled these merry young men
  With the ale but and the wine,
Until they were a’ deadly drunk
  As any wild-wood swine.

‘O narrow, narrow is this window,
  And big, big am I grown!’—
Yet through the might of Our Ladye,
  Out at it she is gone.

She wander’d up, she wander’d down,
  She wander’d out and in;        70
And, at last, into the very swine’s stythe
  The Queen brought forth a son.

Then they cast kevils them amang,
  Which suld gae seek the Queen;
And the kevil fell upon Wise William,        75
  And he sent his wife for him.

O when she saw Wise William’s wife,
  The Queen fell on her knee:
‘Win up, win up, madam!’ she says:
  ‘What needs this courtesie?’—        80

‘O out o’ this I winna rise,
  Till a boon ye grant to me;
To change your lass for this lad bairn,
  King Honour left me wi’.

‘And ye maun learn my gay goss-hawk
  Right weel to breast a steed;
And I sall learn your turtle dow
  As weel to write and read.

‘And ye maun learn my gay goss-hawk
  To wield both bow and brand;        90
And I sall learn your turtle dow
  To lay gowd wi’ her hand.

‘At kirk and market when we meet,
  We’ll dare make nae avowe,
But—“Dame, how does my gay goss-hawk?”        95
  “Madame, how does my dow?”’

When days were gane, and years came on,
  Wise William he thought lang;
And he has ta’en King Honour’s son
  A-hunting for to gang.        100

It sae fell out, at this huntíng,
  Upon a simmer’s day,
That they came by a fair castell,
  Stood on a sunny brae.

‘O dinna ye see that bonny castell,
  Wi’ halls and towers sae fair?
Gin ilka man had back his ain,
  Of it you suld be heir.’—

‘How I suld be heir of that castell,
  In sooth, I canna see;        110
For it belangs to Fause Foodrage,
  And he is na kin to me.’—

‘O gin ye suld kill him, Fause Foodrage,
  You would do but what was right;
For I wot he kill’d your father dear,        115
  Or ever ye saw the light.

‘And gin ye suld kill him, Fause Foodrage,
  There is no man durst you blame;
For he keeps your mother a prisoner,
  And she darna take ye hame.’—        120

The boy stared wild like a gray goss-hawk;
  Says—‘What may a’ this mean?’—
‘My boy, ye are King Honour’s son,
  And your mother’s our lawful Queen.’—

‘O gin I be King Honour’s son,
  By Our Ladye I swear,
This night I will that traitor slay,
  And relieve my mother dear!’—

He has set his bent bow to his breast,
  And leaped the castell wa’;        130
And soon he has seized on Fause Foodrage,
  Wha loud for help ’gan ca’.

‘O haud your tongue, now, Fause Foodrage,
  Frae me ye shanna flee!’—
Syne pierced him through the fause, fause heart,        135
  And set his mother free.

And he has rewarded Wise William
  Wi’ the best half of his land;
And sae has he the turtle dow,
  Wi’ the truth o’ his right hand.        140
GLOSS:  kevils] lots.  do] dove.  lay gowd] embroider in gold.


Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.