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The Duke of Athole’s Nurse

No: 212; variant: 212F

  1. AS I gaed in yon greenwood-side, I heard a fair maid singing; Her voice was sweet, she sang sae complete That all the woods were ringing.
  2. ‘O I’m the duke o Athole’s nurse, My post is well becoming; But I woud gie a’ my half-year’s fee For ae sight o my leman.’
  3. ‘Ye say, ye’re the Duke o Athole’s nurse, Your post is well becoming; Keep well, keep well your half-year’s fee, Ye’se hae twa sights o your leman.’
  4. He leand him ower his saddle-bow And cannilie kissd his dearie: ‘Ohon and alake! anither has my heart, And I darena mair come near thee.’
  5. ‘Ohon and alake! if anither hae your heart, These words hae fairly undone me; But let us set a time, tryst to meet again, Then in gude friends you will twine me.
  6. ‘Ye will do you down to yon tavern-house And drink till the day be dawing, And, as sure as I ance had a love for you, I’ll come there and clear your lawing.
  7. ‘Ye’ll spare not the wine, altho it be fine, Nae Malago, tho it be rarely, But ye’ll aye drink the bonnie lassie’s health That’s to clear your lawing fairly.’
  8. Then he’s done him down to yon tavern-house And drank till day was dawing, And aye he drank the bonnie lassie’s health That was coming to clear his lawing.
  9. And aye as he birled, and aye as he drank, The gude beer and the brandy, He spar’d not the wine, altho it was fine, The sack nor the sugar candy.
  10. ‘It’s a wonder to me,’ the knight he did say, ‘My bonnie lassie’s sae delaying; She promised, as sure as she loved me ance, She woud be here by the dawing.’
  11. He’s done him to a shott-window, A little before the dawing, And there he spied her nine brothers bauld, Were coming to betray him.
  12. ‘Where shall I rin? where shall I gang? Or where shall I gang hide me? She that was to meet me in friendship this day Has sent nine men to slay me!’
  13. He’s gane to the landlady o the house, Says, ‘O can you supply me? For she that was to meet me in friendship this day Has sent nine men to slay me.’
  14. She gae him a suit o her ain female claise And set him to the baking; The bird never sang mair sweet on the bush Nor the knight sung at the baking.
  15. As they came in at the ha-door, Sae loudly as they rappit! And when they came upon the floor, Sae loudly as they chappit!
  16. ‘O had ye a stranger here last night, Who drank till the day was dawing? Come show us the chamber where he lyes in, We’ll shortly clear his lawing.’
  17. ‘I had nae stranger here last night That drank till the day was dawing; But ane that took a pint, and paid it ere he went, And there’s naething to clear o his lawing.’
  18. A lad among the rest, being o a merry mood, To the young knight fell a-talking; The wife took her foot and gae him a kick, Says, Be busy, ye jilt, at your baking.
  19. They stabbed the house baith but and ben, The curtains they spared nae riving, And for a’ that they search and ca, For a kiss o the knight they were striving.