Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray
   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
18. Hugh of Lincoln
Traditional Ballads
FOUR and twenty bonny boys
  Were playing at the ba, 1
And by it came him sweet Sir Hugh,
  And he playd oer them a’.
He kicked the ba with his right foot,        5
  And catchd it wi his knee,
And throuch-and-thro the Jew’s window
  He gard the bonny ba flee.
He’s doen him to the Jew’s castell,
  And walkd it round about;        10
And there he saw the Jew’s daughter,
  At the window looking out.
“Throw down the ba, ye Jew’s daughter,
  Throw down the ba to me!”
“Never a bit,” says the Jew’s daughter,        15
  “Till up to me come ye.”
“How will I come up? How can I come up?
  How can I come to thee?
For as ye did to my auld father,
  The same ye’ll do me.”        20
She’s gane till her father’s garden,
  And pu’d an apple red and green;
’Twas a’ to wyle 2 him sweet Sir Hugh,
  And to entice him in.
She’s led him in through ae dark door,        25
  And sae has she thro nine;
She’s laid him on a dressing-table,
  And stickit him like a swine.
And first came out the thick, thick blood,
  And syne came out the thin,        30
And syne came out the bonny heart’s blood;
  There was nae mair within.
She’s rowd 3 him in a cake o lead,
  Bade him lie still and sleep;
She’s thrown him in Our Lady’s draw-well,        35
  Was fifty fathom deep.
When bells were rung, and mass was sung,
  And a’ the bairns came hame,
When every lady gat hame her son,
  The Lady Maisry gat nane.        40
She’s taen her mantle her about,
  Her coffer by the hand,
And she’s gane out to seek her son,
  And wanderd oer the land.
She’s doen her to the Jew’s castell,        45
  Where a’ were fast asleep:
“Gin ye be there, my sweet Sir Hugh,
  I pray you to me speak.”
She’s doen 4 her to the Jew’s garden,
  Thought he had been gathering fruit:        50
“Gin 5 ye be there, my sweet Sir Hugh,
  I pray you to me speak.”
She heard Our Lady’s deep draw-well,
  Was fifty fathom deep:
“Whareer ye be, my sweet Sir Hugh,        55
  I pray you to me speak.”
“Gae hame, gae hame, my mither dear,
  Prepare my winding sheet,
And at the back o merry Lincoln
  The morn I will you meet.”        60
Now Lady Maisry is gane hame,
  Made him a winding sheet,
And at the back o merry Lincoln
  The dead corpse did her meet.
And a’ the bells o merry Lincoln        65
  Without men’s hands were rung,
And a’ the books o merry Lincoln
  Were read without man’s tongue,
And neer was such a burial
  Sin Adam’s days begun.        70
Note 1. Entice. [back]
Note 2. Rolled. [back]
Note 3. Gone. [back]
Note 4. If. [back]
Note 5. Hole. [back]


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