The Cruel Mother
No: 20; variant: 20I
- THE minister’s daughter of New York,
Hey wi the rose and the lindie, O
Has faen in love wi her father’s clerk.
Alone by the green burn sidie, O
- She courted him six years and a day,
At length her belly did her betray.
- She did her down to the greenwood gang,
To spend awa a while o her time.
- She lent her back unto a thorn,
And she’s got her twa bonny boys born.
- She’s taen the ribbons frae her hair,
Bound their bodyes fast and sair.
- She’s put them aneath a marble stane,
Thinking a maiden to gae hame.
- Looking oer her castle wa,
She spied her bonny boys at the ba.
- ‘O bonny babies, if ye were mine,
I woud feed you with the white bread and wine.
- ‘I woud feed you wi the ferra cow’s milk,
And dress you in the finest silk.’
- ‘O cruel mother, when we were thine,
We saw none of your bread and wine.
- ‘We saw none of your ferra cow’s milk,
Nor wore we of your finest silk.’
- ‘O bonny babies, can ye tell me,
What sort of death for you I must die?’
- ‘Yes, cruel mother, we’ll tell to thee,
What sort of death for us you must die.
- ‘Seven years a fowl in the woods,
Seven years a fish in the floods.
- ‘Seven years to be a church bell,
Seven years a porter in hell.’
- ‘Welcome, welcome, fowl in the wood[s],
Welcome, welcome, fish in the flood[s].
- ‘Welcome, welcome, to be a church bell,
But heavens keep me out of hell.’