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Burd Isabel and Earl Patrick

No: 257; variant: 257C

  1. ALL young maidens fair and gay, Whatever your station be, Never lay your love upon a man Above your own degree.
  2. I speak it all by Bird Isabel; She was her father’s dear, She laid her love on Earl Patrick, Which she rues ever mair.
  3. ‘Oh, we began a wark, Patrick, That we two cannot end; Go you unto the outer stair And call some women in.’
  4. He’s gone unto the outer stair, And up in it did stand, And did bring in eleven ladies, With one sign of his hand.
  5. He did him to the doctor’s shop, As fast as he could gang, But ere the doctor could get there Bird Isabel bore a son.
  6. But he has courted a duke’s daughter, Lived far beyont the sea; Burd Isabel’s parents were but mean, That had not gear to gie.
  7. He has courted a duke’s daughter, Lived far beyond the foam; Burd Isabel was a mean woman, And tocher she had none.
  8. Now it fell once upon a day His wedding day was come; He’s hied him to his great-grand-aunt, As fast as he could gang.
  9. Says, Will you go this errand, aunt? Go you this errand for me, And if I live and bruick my life I will go as far for thee.
  10. ‘Go and bring me Bird Isbel’s son, Dressed in silks so fine, And if he live to be a man He shall heir all my land.’
  11. Now she went hailing to the door, And hailing ben the floor, And Isabel styled her madame, And she, her Isabel dear.
  12. ‘I came to take Earl Patrick’s son, To dress in silks so fine; For if he live to be a man He is to heir his land.’
  13. ‘Oh is there ever a woman,’ she said, ‘Of high station or mean, Daur take this bairn from my knee? For he is called mine.
  14. ‘Oh is there ever a woman,’ she said, ‘Of mean station or hie, Daur tak this bairn frae my foot? For him I bowed my knee.’
  15. His aunt went hailing to his door, And hailing ben the floor, And she has styled him, Patrick, And [he] her, aunty dear.
  16. She says, I have been east and west, And far beyond the sea, But Isabel is the boldest woman That ever my eyes did see.
  17. ‘You surely dream, my aunty dear, For that can never be; Burd Isabel’s not a bold woman, She never was bold to me.’
  18. Now he went hailing to her door, And hailing ben the floor, And she has styled him, Patrick, And he her, Isabel dear.
  19. ‘O ye have angered my great-grand-aunt; You know she’s a lady free;’ ‘I said naught to your great-grand-aunt But what I’ll say to thee.
  20. ‘Oh is there ever a woman, I said, Of high station or mean, Daur tak this bairn from my knee? For he is called mine.
  21. ‘Oh is there ever a woman, I said, Of mean station or hie, Daur tak this bairn from my foot? For him I bowed my knee.
  22. ‘But I’ll cause you stand at good church-door, For all your noble train; For selling of your precious soul, You shall not get further ben.’