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The Duke of Athole’s Nurse

No: 212; variant: 212D

  1. AS I cam in by the Duke of Athole’s gate, I heard a fair maid singing, Wi a bonny baby on her knee, And the bells o the court were ringing.
  2. ‘O it’s I am the Duke of Athole’s nurse, And the place does well become me; But I would gie a’ my half-year’s fee Just for a sight o my Johnie.
  3. ‘If ye’ll gae down to yon ale-house, And stop till it be dawing, And ca for a pint o the very, very best, And I’ll come and clear up your lawing.’
  4. O he’s gane down to yon ale-house, And stopt till it was dawing; He ca’d for a pint o the very, very best, But she cam na to clear up his lawing.
  5. He looked out at the chamber-window, To see if she was coming; And there he spied ten armed men, Across the plain coming running.
  6. ‘O landlady, landlady, what shall I do? For my life is not worth a farthing; I paid you a guinea for my lodging last night, But I fear I’ll never see sun shining.’
  7. ‘If ye will be advised by me, I’ll be your undertaking; I’ll dress you up in my ain body-clothes And set you to the baking.’
  8. So loudly at the door they rapt, So loudly are they calling, ‘O had you a stranger here last night, Or is he within your dwelling?’
  9. ‘O I had a stranger here last night, But he wos gane or dawing; He ca’d for a pint, and he paid it or he went, And I hae nae mair to do wi his lawing.’
  10. They stabd the feather-beds round and round, The curtains they spared na to tear them; But they went as they came, and left a’ things undone, And the young man busy baking.