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The Knight and the Shepherd’s Daughter

No: 110; variant: 110E

  1. EARL RICHARD, once upon a day, And all his valiant men so wight, He did him down to Barnisdale, Where all the land is fair and light.
  2. He was aware of a damosel– I wot fast on she did her bound– With towers of gold upon her head, As fair a woman as could be found.
  3. He said, Busk on you, fair ladye, The white flowers and the red; For I would give my bonnie ship To get your maidenhead.
  4. ‘I wish your bonnie ship rent and rive, And drown you in the sea; For all this would not mend the miss That ye would do to me.’ ‘The miss is not so great, ladye; Soon mended it might be.
  5. ‘I have four an twenty mills in Scotland, Stands on the water of Tay; You’ll have them, and as much flour As they’ll grind in a day.’
  6. ‘I wish your bonnie ship rent and rive, And drown you in the sea; For all that would not mend the miss That ye would do to me.’ ‘The miss is not so great, ladye; Soon mended it will be.
  7. ‘I have four an twenty milk-white cows, All calved in a day; You’ll have them ,and as much haind grass As they all on can gae.’
  8. ‘I wish your bonnie ship rent and rive, And drown you in the sea; For all that would not mend the miss That ye would do to me.’ ‘The miss is not so great, ladye; Soon mended it might be.
  9. ‘I have four an twenty milk-white steeds, All foaled in one year; You’ll have them, and as much red gold As all their backs can bear.’
  10. She turned her right and round about, And she swore by the mold; ‘I would not be your love,’ said she, ‘For that church full of gold.’
  11. He turned him right and round about, And he swore by the mess; Says, Ladye, ye my love shall be, And gold ye shall have less.
  12. She turned her right and round about, And she swore by the moon; ‘I would not be your love,’ says she, ‘For all the gold in Rome.’
  13. He turned him right and round about, And he swore by the moon; Says, Ladye, ye my love shall be, And gold ye shall have none.
  14. He caught her by the milk-white hand, And by the grass-green sleeve, And there has taken his will of her, Wholly without her leave.
  15. The ladye frownd, and sadly blushd, And oh, but she thought shame! Says, If you are a knight at all, You surely will tell me your name.
  16. ‘In some places they call me Jack, In other some they call me John; But when into the queen’s court, O then Lithcock it is my name!’
  17. ‘Lithcock! Lithcock!’ the ladye said, And oft she spelt it ower again; ‘Lithcock! it’s Latin,’ the ladye said, ‘Richard’s the English of that name.’
  18. The knight he rode, the ladye ran, A live-long summer’s day, Till they came to the wan water That all men do call Tay.
  19. He set his horse head to the water, Just thro it for to ride, And the ladye was as ready as him The waters for to wade.
  20. For he had never been as kind-hearted As to bid the ladye ride, And she had never been so low-hearted As for to bid him bide.
  21. But deep into the wan water There stands a great big stone; He turned his wight horse head about, Said Ladye fair, will ye loup on?
  22. She’s taken the wand was in her hand And struck it on the faem, And before he got the middle-stream The ladye was on dry land: ‘By help of God and our Lady, My help lyes not in your hand!
  23. ‘I learned it from my mother dear, Few are there that have learned better, When I come to deep water, I can swim thro like ony otter.
  24. ‘I learned it from my mother dear, I find I learnd it for my weel, When I come to a deep water, I can swim thro like ony eel.’
  25. ‘Turn back, turn back, you ladye fair, You know not what I see; There is a ladye in that castle That will burn you and me.’ ‘Betide me weel, betide me wae, That ladye I will see.’
  26. She took a ring from her finger, And gave it the porter for his fee; Says, Take you that, my good porter, And bid the queen speak to me.
  27. And when she came before the queen, There she fell low down on her knee; Says, There is a knight into your court This day has robbed me.
  28. ‘O has he robbed you of your gold, Or has he robbed you of your fee?’ ‘He has not robbed me of my gold, He has not robbed me of my fee; He has robbed me of my maidenhead, The fairest flower of my bodie.’
  29. ‘There is no knight in all my court, That thus has robbed thee, But you’ll have the truth of his right hand, Or else for your sake he’ll die:
  30. ‘Tho it were Earl Richard, my own brother, And, Oh, forbid that it be!’ Then sighing said the ladye fair, I wot the same man is he.
  31. The queen called on her merry men, Even fifty men and three; Earl Richard used to be the first man, But now the hindmost man was he.
  32. He’s taken out one hundred pounds, And told it in his glove; Says, Take you that, my ladye fair, And seek another love.
  33. ‘Oh, no! oh, no!’ the ladye cried, ‘That’s what shall never be; I’ll have the truth of your right hand, The queen it gave to me.’
  34. [‘I wish I’d drunken your water, sister, When I did drink thus of your ale, That for a carl’s fair daughter It does me gar dree all this bale!]
  35. ‘I wish I had drunk of your water, sister, When I did drink your wine, That for a carle’s fair daughter It does gar me dree all this pine!’
  36. ‘May be I am a carle’s daughter, And may be never nane; When ye met me in the greenwood, Why did you not let me alane?’
  37. ‘Will you wear the short clothes, Or will you wear the side? Or will you walk to your wedding, Or will you till it ride?’
  38. ‘I will not wear the short clothes, But I will wear the side; I will not walk to my wedding, But I to it will ride.’
  39. When he was set upon the horse, The lady him behin, Then cauld and eerie were the words The twa had them between.
  40. She said, Good e’en, ye nettles tall, Just there where ye grow at the dyke; If the auld carline my mother were here, Sae weel’s she would your pates pyke!
  41. How she would stap you in her poke– I wot at that she wadna fail– And boil ye in her auld brass pan, And of ye make right good kail!
  42. And she would meal you with millering, That she gathers at the mill, And make you thick as ony daigh: And when the pan was brimful,
  43. Would mess you up in scuttle-dishes, Syne bid us sup till we were fou, Lay down her head upon a poke, Then sleep and snore like ony sow.
  44. ‘Away, away, you bad woman! For all your vile words grieveth me; When you hide so little for yourself, I’m sure ye’ll hide far less for me.
  45. ‘I wish I had drunk your water, sister, When that I did drink of your wine, Since for a carle’s fair daughter, It aye gars me dree all this pine.’
  46. ‘May be I am a carle’s daughter, And may be never nane; When ye met me in the good greenwood, Why did you not let me alane?
  47. ‘Gude een, gude een, ye heather-berries, As ye’re growing on yon hill; If the auld carline and her bags were here, I wot she would get meat her fill.
  48. ‘Late, late at night, I knit our pokes, With even four an twenty knots; And in the morn at breakfast time I’ll carry the keys of an earl’s locks.
  49. ‘Late, late at night, I knit our pokes, With even four an twenty strings; And if you look to my white fingers, They have as many gay gold rings.’
  50. ‘Away, away, ye ill woman! So sore your vile words grieveth me; When you hide so little for yourself, I’m sure ye’ll hide far less for me.
  51. ‘But if you are a carle’s daughter, As I take you to be, How did you get the gay cloathing In greenwood ye had on thee?
  52. ‘My mother, she’s a poor woman, She nursed earl’s chidren three, And I got them from a foster-sister, For to beguile such sparks as thee.’
  53. ‘But if you be a carle’s daughter, As I believe you be, How did you learn the good Latin In greenwood ye spoke to me?’
  54. ‘My mother, she’s a mean woman, She nursd earl’s children three; I learnt it from their chaplain, To beguile such sparks as ye.’
  55. When mass was sung, and bells were rung, And all men bound for bed, Then Earl Richard and this ladye In ae bed they were laid.
  56. He turned his face unto the stock, And she her’s to the stane, And cauld and dreary was the love That was these twa between.
  57. Great mirth was in the kitchen, Likewise intill the ha, But in his bed lay Earl Richard, Wiping the tears awa.
  58. He wept till he fell fast asleep, Then slept till light was come; Then he did hear the gentlemen That talked in the room:
  59. Said, Saw ye ever a fitter match, Betwixt the ane and ither, The king of Scotland’s fair dochter And the queen of England’s brither?
  60. ‘And is she the king o Scotland’s fair dochter? This day, O weel is me! For seven times has my steed been saddled, To come to court with thee; And with this witty lady fair, How happy must I be!’