The Cruel Mother
No: 20; variant: 20E
- THERE was a lady, she lived in Lurk,
Sing hey alone and alonie O
She fell in love with her father’s clerk.
Down by yon greenwood sidie O
- She loved him seven years and a day,
Till her big belly did her betray.
- She leaned her back unto a tree,
And there began her sad misery.
- She set her foot unto a thorn,
And there she got her two babes born.
- She took out her wee pen-knife,
She twind them both of their sweet life.
- She took the sattins was on her head,
She rolled them in both when they were dead.
- She howkit a grave forenent the sun,
And there she buried her twa babes in.
- As she was walking thro her father’s ha,
She spied twa boys playing at the ba.
- ‘O pretty boys, if ye were mine,
I would dress ye both in the silks so fine.’
- ‘O mother dear, when we were thine,
Thou neer dressed us in the silks so fine.
- ‘For thou was a lady, thou livd in Lurk,
And thou fell in love with thy father’s clerk.
- ‘Thou loved him seven years and a day,
Till thy big belly did thee betray.
- ‘Thou leaned thy back unto a tree,
And there began thy sad misery.
- ‘Thou set thy foot unto a thorn,
And there thou got thy two babes born.
- ‘Thou took out thy wee pen-knife,
And twind us both of our sweet life.
- ‘Thou took the sattins was on thy head,
Thou rolled us both in when we were dead.
- ‘Thou howkit a grave forenent the sun,
And there thou buried thy twa babes in.
- ‘But now we’re both in [the] heavens hie,
There is pardon for us, but none for thee.’
- ‘My pretty boys, beg pardon for me!’
‘There is pardon for us, but none for thee.’