The Cruel Brother
No: 11; variant: 11J
- THERE were three sisters playing ball,
With the high and the lily O
And there came three knights to court them all.
With the rosey sweet, heigh ho
- The eldest of them was drest in green:
‘I wish I had you to be my queen.’
- The second of them was drest in red:
‘I wish I had you to grace my bed.’
- The youngest of them was drest in white:
‘I wish I had you to be my wife.’
- ‘Did ye ask my father brave?
Or did ye ask my mother fair?
- ‘Or did ye ask my brother John?
For without his will I dare not move on.’
- ‘I did ask your parents dear,
But I did not see your brother John.’
- ‘Ride on, ride on,’ said the first man,
‘For I fear the bride comes slowly on.’
- ‘Ride on, ride on,’ said the next man,
‘For lo! the bride she comes bleeding on.’
- ‘What will you leave your mother dear?’
‘My heart’s best love for ever and aye.’
- ‘What will ye leave your sister Anne?’
‘This wedding garment that I have on.’
- ‘What will ye leave your brother John’s wife?’
‘Grief and sorrow all the days of her life.’
- ‘What will ye leave your brother John?’
‘The highest gallows to hang him on.’
- ‘What will ye leave your brother John’s son?’
‘The grace of God to make him a man.’