Riddles Wisely Expounded
No: 1; variant: 1A
- THERE was a lady of the North Country,
Lay the bent to the bonny broom
And she had lovely daughters three.
Fa la la la, fa la la la ra re
- There was knight of noble worth
Which also lived in the North.
- The knight, of courage stout and brave,
A wife he did desire to have.
- He knocked at the ladie’s gate
One evening when it was late.
- The eldest sister let him in,
And pin’d the door with a silver pin.
- The second sister she made his bed,
And laid soft pillows under his head.
- The youngest daughter that same night,
She went to bed to this young knight.
- And in the morning, when it was day,
These words unto him she did say:
- ‘Now you have had your will,’ quoth she,
‘I pray, sir knight, will you marry me?’
- The young brave knight to her replyed,
‘Thy suit, fair maid, shall not be deny’d.
- ‘If thou canst answer me questions three,
This very day will I marry thee.’
- ‘Kind sir, in love, O then,’ quoth she,
‘Tell me what your [three] questions be.’
- ‘O what is longer than the way,
Or what is deeper than the sea?
- ‘Or what is louder than the horn,
Or what is sharper than a thorn?
- ‘Or what is greener than the grass,
Or what is worse then a woman was?’
- ‘O love is longer than the way,
And hell is deeper than the sea.
- ‘And thunder is louder than the horn,
And hunger is sharper than a thorn.
- ‘And poyson is greener than the grass,
And the Devil is worse than woman was.’
- When she these questions answered had,
The knight became exceeding glad.
- And having [truly] try’d her wit,
He much commended her for it.
- And after, as it is verifi’d,
He made of her his lovely bride.
- So now, fair maidens all, adieu,
This song I dedicate to you.
- I wish that you may constant prove
Vnto the man that you do love.