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The Lochmaben Harper

No: 192; variant: 192B

  1. HARD ye tell of the silly blind harper? Long he lived in Lochmaben town; He’s away to fair Carlisle, To steal King Henry’s Wanton Brown. Sing, Fadle didle dodle didle Sing, Fadle didle fadle doo
  2. He has mounted his auld gray mare, And ridden oer both hills and mire, Till he came to fair Carlisle town, And askd for stabling to his mare.
  3. ‘Harp on, harp on, thou silly blind harper, ‘Some of thy harping let us hear;’ ‘By my sooth,’ says the silly blind harper, ‘I would rather hae stabling to my mare.’
  4. The king looked oer his left shoulder And called to his stable-groom: ‘Gae stable up the harper’s mare, And just beyond the Wanton Brown.’
  5. Ay he carped, and ay he harped, Till a’ the lords gaed thro the floor; But and the musick was sae sweet The groom forgot the key o the stable-door.
  6. Ay he harped, and ay he carped, Till a’ the lords fell fast asleep, And, like a fause deceiver as he was, He quickly down the stair did creep.
  7. He pulld a colt-halter out o his hoe, On purpose as I shall to you tell; He sliped it oer the Wanton’s nose, And tyed it to his gray mare’s tail.
  8. ‘My blessing light upon my wife! I think she be a daily flower; She told me to ken my ain gray mare When eer I felt her by the ewer.’
  9. ‘Harp on, harp on, thou silly blind harper, Some of thy harping let us hear:’ ‘Oh and alas!’ says the silly blind harper, ‘Oh and alas that eer I came here!
  10. ‘For in Scotland I lost a good brown foal, And in England a good gray mare, . . . . . . . . . .
  11. ‘Harp on, harp on, thou silly blind harper, Some of thy harping let us hear, And thy brown foal shall be well payed, And thou’s hae a far better gray mare.’
  12. Ay he harped, and ay he carped, And some of his harping he let them hear, And his brown foal it was well payed, And he got a better gray mare.
  13. His mare’s away to Lochmaben, Wi mony a nicker and mony a sneer; His wife cry’s, Rise up, you lazy lass, Let in your master and his mare.
  14. The lazy lass was loth to rise; She looked through a little hole; ‘By my troth,’ crys the lazy lass, ‘Our mare has brought a bonie foal.’
  15. ‘Rise up, rise up, thou lazy lass, And, een as the sun it shines sae clear, I’ll wager my life against a groat The foal was better than ever the mare.’