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The Cruel Mother

No: 20; variant: 20[Q]

  1. There was a lady, a lady of York, Ri fol i diddle i gee wo She fell a-courting in her own father’s park. Down by the greenwood side, O
  2. She leaned her back against the stile, There she had two pretty babes born.
  3. And she had nothing to lap ‘em in, But she had a penknife sharp and keen.
  4. . . . . . . . . . There she stabbed them right through the heart.
  5. She wiped the penknife in the sludge; The more she wiped it, the more the blood showed.
  6. As she was walking in her own father’s park, She saw two pretty babes playing with a ball.
  7. ‘Pretty babes, pretty babes, if you were mine, I’d dress you up in silks so fine.’
  8. ‘Dear mother, dear mother, [when we were thine,] You dressed us not in silks so fine.
  9. ‘Here we go to the heavens so high, You’ll go to bad when you do die.’