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The Lochmaben Harper

No: 192; variant: 192C

  1. IT’S hae ye heard tell o the auld harper That lang lived in Lochmaben town, How he maun awa to England fair, To steal King Henry’s Wanton Brown? Faw aiden diden an diden an diden Faw aiden diden faw aiden dee
  2. Out then bespak his gude auld wife, I wat she spak out very wiselie; ‘Ye’ll ride the mear to England fair, But the foal ye’ll leave at hame wi me.
  3. ‘Ye’ll hide your halter in o your hose, And o your purpose ye’ll no fail; Ye’ll cast a hook on the Wanton’s nose, And tie him to the gray mear’s tail.
  4. ‘Ye’ll lead them awa by a back yett, And hound them out at a wee hole; The mear she’ll neer [let] the Wanton bait Till hame at Lochmaben town wi her foal.’
  5. Awa then rade the auld harper, I wat he rade right merrilie, Until he cam to England fair, Where wonned the gude King Henerie.
  6. ‘Light down, light down, ye auld harper, And some o your harping let me hear; ‘O williwa!’ quo the auld harper, Will I get stabling for my mear?’
  7. And aye he harped and he carped, Till a’ the lordlings fell asleep; Syne bundled his fiddles upon his back, And down the stairs fu fast did creep.
  8. He’s taen the halter out o his hose, And o his purpose he didna fail; He’s cast a hook on the Wanton’s nose, And tied him to the gray mear’s tale.
  9. He’s led them awa by the back yett, And hounded them out at a wee hole; The mear she neer let the Wanton bait Till hame at Lochmaben town wi her foal.
  10. And when they cam to the house-end, Wi mony a nicker but an a neigh, They waukend the auld wife out o her sleep; She was a-dreaming she was fouie.
  11. ‘Rise up, rise up, my servant-lass, Let in your master and his mear;’ ‘It’s by my sooth,’ the wee lassie goud say, ‘I’m in a sleeping drowsy air.’
  12. Wi mony a graunt she turned her round, And keekit through at a wee hole; ‘It’s by my sooth!’ the wee lassie goud say, ‘Our mear has gotten a braw brown foal!’
  13. Lie still, lie still, ye lazy lass, It’s but the moon shines in your ee;’ ‘Na, by my sooth,’ the lassie goud say, ‘And he’s bigger than ony o his degree.’
  14. Then lightly rose the gude auld wife, I wat the first up in a’ the town; She took the grit oats intil her lap And fodderd King Henry’s Wanton Brown.
  15. King Henry’s groom rase in the morn, And he was of a sorry cheer: ‘King Henry’s Wanton Brown’s awa, And sae is the silly auld harper’s mear!’
  16. Up then rase the auld harper, And loudly he did curse and swear: ‘In Scotland they but steald my foal, In England ye hae steald my mear!’
  17. ‘It’s haud your tongue,’ King Henry did say, ‘Ye’ll hae nae cause to curse or swear; Here’s thirty guineas for your foal, And three times thirty for your mear.’