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The Cruel Brother

No: 11; variant: 11A

  1. THERE was three ladies playd at the ba, With a hey ho and a lillie gay There came a knight and played oer them a’. As the primrose spreads so sweetly
  2. The eldest was baith tall and fair, But the youngest was beyond compare.
  3. The midmost had a graceful mien, But the youngest lookd like beautie’s queen.
  4. The knight bowd low to a’ the three, But to the youngest he bent his knee.
  5. The ladie turned her head aside, The knight he woo’d her to be his bride.
  6. The ladie blushd a rosy red, And sayd, ‘Sir knight, I’m too young to wed.’
  7. ‘O ladie fair, give me your hand, And I’ll make you ladie of a’ my land.’
  8. ‘Sir knight, ere ye my favor win, You maun get consent frae a’ my kin.’
  9. He’s got consent frae her parents dear, And likewise frae her sisters fair.
  10. He’s got consent frae her kin each one, But forgot to spiek to her brother John.
  11. Now, when the wedding day was come, The knight would take his bonny bride home.
  12. And many a lord and many a knight Came to behold that ladie bright.
  13. And there was nae man that did her see, But wishd himself bridegroom to be.
  14. Her father dear led her down the stair, And her sisters twain they kissd her there.
  15. Her mother dear led her thro the closs, And her brother John set her on her horse.
  16. She leand her oer the saddle-bow, To give him a kiss ere she did go.
  17. He has taen a knife, baith lang and sharp, And stabbd that bonny bride to the heart.
  18. She hadno ridden half thro the town, Until her heart’s blude staind her gown.
  19. ‘Ride softly on,’ says the best young man, ‘For I think our bonny bride looks pale and wan.’
  20. ‘O lead me gently up yon hill, And I’ll there sit down, and make my will.’
  21. ‘O what will you leave to your father dear?’ ‘The silver-shod steed that brought me here.’
  22. ‘What will you leave to your mother dear?’ ‘My velvet pall and my silken gear.’
  23. ‘What will you leave your sister Anne?’ ‘My silken scarf and my gowden fan.’
  24. ‘What will you leave to your sister Grace?’ My bloody cloaths to wash and dress.’
  25. ‘What will you leave to your brother John?’ ‘The gallows-tree to hang him on.’
  26. ‘What will you leave to your brother John’s wife?’ ‘The wilderness to end her life.’
  27. This ladie fair in her grave was laid, And many a mass was oer her said.
  28. But it would have made your heart right sair, To see the bridegroom rive his haire.