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Mary Hamilton

No: 173; variant: 173H

  1. ‘WHAN I was a babe, and a very little babe, And stood at my mither’s knee, Nae witch nor warlock did unfauld The death I was to dree.
  2. ‘But my mither was a proud woman, A proud woman and a bauld; And she hired me to Queen Mary’s bouer, When scarce eleven years auld.
  3. ‘O happy, happy is the maid, That’s born of beauty free! It was my dimpling rosy cheeks That’s been the dule o me; And wae be to that weirdless wicht, And a’ his witcherie!’
  4. Word’s gane up and word’s gane doun, An word’s gane to the ha, That Mary Hamilton was wi bairn, An na body kend to wha.
  5. But in and cam the queen hersel, Wi gowd plait on her hair: Says, Mary Hamilton, whare is the babe That I heard greet sae sair?
  6. ‘There is na babe within my bouer, And I hope there neer will be; But it’s me wi a sair and sick colic, And I’m just like to dee.’
  7. But they looked up, they looked down, Atween the bowsters and the wa, It’s there they got a bonnie lad-bairn, But its life it was awa.
  8. ‘Rise up, rise up, Mary Hamilton, Rise up, and dress ye fine, For you maun gang to Edinbruch, And stand afore the nine.
  9. ‘Ye’ll no put on the dowie black, Nor yet the dowie brown; But ye’ll put on the robes o red, To sheen thro Edinbruch town.’
  10. ‘I’ll no put on the dowie black, Nor yet the dowie brown; But I’ll put on the robes o red, To sheen thro Edinbruch town.’
  11. As they gaed thro Edinbruch town, And down by the Nether-bow, There war monie a lady fair Siching and crying, Och how!
  12. ‘O weep nae mair for me, ladies, Weep nae mair for me! Yestreen I killed my ain bairn, The day I deserve to dee.
  13. ‘What need ye hech and how, ladies? What need ye how for me? Ye never saw grace at a graceless face, Queen Mary has nane to gie.’
  14. ‘Gae forward, gae forward,’ the queen she said, ‘Gae forward, that ye may see; For the very same words that ye hae said Sall hang ye on the gallows-tree.’
  15. As she gaed up the Tolbooth stairs, She gied loud lauchters three; But or ever she cam down again, She was condemnd to dee.
  16. ‘O tak example frae me, Maries, O tak example frae me, Nor gie your luve to courtly lords, Nor heed their witchin’ ee.
  17. ‘But wae be to the Queen hersel, She micht hae pardond me; But sair she’s striven for me to hang Upon the gallows-tree.
  18. ‘Yestreen the Queen had four Maries, The nicht she’ll hae but three; There was Mary Beatoun, Mary Seaton, And Mary Carmichael, and me.
  19. ‘Aft hae I set pearls in her hair, Aft hae I lac’d her gown, And this is the reward I now get, To be hangd in Edinbruch town!
  20. ‘O a’ ye mariners, far and near, That sail ayont the faem, O dinna let my father and mither ken But what I am coming hame!
  21. ‘O a’ ye mariners, far and near, That sail ayont the sea, Let na my father and mither ken The death I am to dee!
  22. ‘Sae, weep na mair for me. ladies, Weep na mair for me; The mither that kills her ain bairn Deserves weel for to dee.’