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Mary Hamilton

No: 173; variant: 173[X]

  1. There livd a lord in the West Country, And he had daughters three; The youngest o them’s to the queen’s court, To learn some courtesy.
  2. She hadna been at the queen’s court A year but and a day Till she has fa’n as big wi child, As big as she coud gae.
  3. She’s gane into the garden To pu the sycamore tree, And taen the bony bairn in her arms And thrown it in the sea.
  4. She rowd it in her apron And threw it in the sea: ‘Gae sink or soom, my bony sweet babe, Ye’ll never get mair o me.’
  5. Then in an came Queen Mary, Wi gowd rings on her hair: ‘O Mary mild, where is the child That I heard greet sae sair?’
  6. ‘It wasna a babe, my royal liege, Last night that troubled me, But it was a fit o sair sickness, And I was lyken to dee.’
  7. ‘O hold yere tongue, Mary Hamilton, Sae loud as I hear ye lee! For I’ll send you to Enbro town, The verity to see.’
  8. She wadna put on the ribbons o black, Nor yet wad she the brown, But she wad put on the ribbons o gowd, To gae glittring through Enbro town.
  9. As she rade up the Sands o Leith, Riding on a white horse, O little did she think that day To die at Enbro Corss!
  10. As she rade up the Cannongate, She leugh loud laughters three, And mony a lord and lady said, ‘Alas for that lady!’
  11. ‘Ye needna say Oh, ye needna cry Eh, Alas for that lady! Ye’ll neer see grace in a graceless face, As little ye’ll see in me.’
  12. When she came to the Netherbow Port, She leugh loud laughters three, But ere she came to the gallows-foot The tear blinded her eie; Saying, Tye a white napkin owr my face, For that gibbet I downa see.
  13. ‘O hold yere hand, Lord Justice! O hold it a little while! I think I see my ain true-love Come wandring mony a mile.
  14. ‘O have ye brought me ony o my gowd? Or ony o my weel-won fee? Or are ye come to see me hangd, Upon this gallows-tree?’
  15. ‘O I hae brought ye nane o yere gowd, Nor nane o yere weel-won fee, But I am come to see ye hangd, And hangit ye shall be.’
  16. ‘O all ye men and mariners, That sail for wealth or fame, Let never my father or mother get wit But what I’m coming hame.
  17. ‘O all ye men and mariners, That sail upon the sea, Let never my father or mother get wit The death that I maun dee.
  18. ‘Yestreen the queen had four Maries, The night she’ll hae but three; There was Mary Seaton, and Mary Beaton, And Mary Carmichael, and me.’