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Queen Eleanor’s Confession

No: 156; variant: 156D

  1. THE queen of England she has fallen sick, Sore sick, and like to die; And she has sent for twa French priests, To bear her companie.
  2. The King he has got word o this, And an angry man was he; And he is on to the Earl-a-Marshall, As fast as he can gae.
  3. ‘Now you’ll put on a priest’s robe, And I’ll put on anither, And we will on unto the Queen, Like twa French priests thegither.’
  4. ‘No indeed!’ said the Earl-a-Marshall, ‘That winna I do for thee, Except ye swear by your sceptre and crown Ye’ll do me nae injurie.’
  5. The King has sworn by his sceptre and crown He’ll do him nae injurie, And they are on unto the Queen, As fast as they can gae.
  6. ‘O, if that ye be twa French priests, Ye’re welcome unto me; But if ye be twa Scottish lords, High hanged ye shall be.
  7. ‘The first sin that I did sin, And that to you I’ll tell, I sleeped wi the Earl-a-Marshall, Beneath a silken bell.
  8. ‘And wasna that a sin, and a very great sin? And I pray ye pardon me;’ ‘Amen, and amen!’ said the Earl-a-Marshall, And a wearied man was he.
  9. ‘The neist sin that I did sin, And that to you I’ll tell, I keeped the poison seven years in my bosom, To poison the King himsel.
  10. ‘And wasna that a sin, and a very great sin? And I pray ye pardon me;’ ‘Amen, and amen!’ said the Earl-a-Marshall, And a wearied man was he.
  11. ‘O see ye there my seven sons, A’ playing at the ba? There’s but ane o them the King’s himsel, And I like him warst of a’.
  12. ‘He’s high-backed, and low-breasted, And he is bald withal;’ ‘And by my deed,’ and says the King, ‘I like him best mysel!
  13. ‘O wae betide ye, Earl-a-Marshall, And an ill death may ye die! For if I hadna sworn by my sceptre and crown, High hanged ye should be.’