The Lord of Lorn and the False Steward
No: 271; variant: 271B
- IT was a worthy Lord of Lorn,
He was a lord of high degree,
He sent [his son] unto the schoole,
To learn some civility.
- He learned more learning in one day
Then other children did in three;
And then bespake the schoolmaster
Unto him tenderly,
- ‘In faith thou art the honestest boy
That ere I blinkt on with mine eye;
I hope thou art some easterling born,
The Holy Ghost is with thee.’
- He said he was no easterling born,
The child thus answered courteously;
My father is the Lord of Lorn,
And I his son, perdye.
- The schoolmaster turned round about,
His angry mood he could not swage;
He marvelled the child could speak so wise,
He being of so tender age.
- He girt the saddle to the steed,
The bridle of the best gold shone;
He took his leave of his fellows all,
And quickly he was gone.
- And when he came to his father dear
He kneeled down upon his knee;
‘I am come to you, fathe[r],’ he said,
‘God’s blessing give you me.’
- ‘Thou art welcome, son,’ he said,
‘God’s blessing I give thee;
What tidings hast thou brought, my son,
Being come so hastily?’
- ‘I have brought tidings, father,’ he said,
‘And so like:d it may be.
There’s never a book in all Scotland
But I can read it, truly.
- ‘There’s nere a doctor in all this realm,
For all he goes in rich array,
I can write him a lesson soon
To learn in seven years day.’
- ‘That is good tidings,’ said the lord,
‘All in the place where I do stand;
My son, thou shalt into France go,
To learn the speeches of each land.’
- ‘Who shall go with him?’ said the lady;
‘Husband, we have no more but he;’
‘Madam,’ he saith, ‘My head steward,
He hath bin true to me.’
- She cal’d the steward to an account,
A thousand pound she gave him anon;
Sayes, Good Sir Steward, be as good to my child,
When he is far from home.
- ‘If I be fals unto my young lord,
Then God be [the] like to me indeed!’
And now to France they both are gone,
And God be their good speed.
- They had not been in France land
Not three weeks unto an end,
But meat and drink the child got none,
Nor mony in purse to spend.
- The child ran to the river’s side;
He was fain to drink water then;
And after followed the fals steward,
To put the child therein.
- ‘But nay, marry!’ said the child,
He asked mercy pittifully,
‘Good steward, let me have my life,
What ere betide my body.’
- ‘Now put off thy fair cloathing
And give it me anon;
So put thee of thy s’lken shirt,
With many a golden seam.’
- But when the child was stript naked,
His body white as the lilly-flower,
He might have bin seen for his body
A prince’s paramour.
- He put him in an old kelter coat
And hose of the same above the knee,
He bid him go to the shepherd’s house,
To keep sheep on a lonely lee.
- The child did say, What shall be my name?
Good steward, tell to me;
‘Thy name shall be Poor Disawear,
That thy name shall be.’
- The child came to the shepheard’s house,
And asked mercy pittifully;
Sayes, Good sir shepheard, take me in,
To keep sheep on a lonely lee.
- But when the shepheard saw the child,
He was so pleasant in his eye,
‘I have no child, I’le make thee my heir,
Thou shalt have my goods, perdie.’
- And then bespake the shepheard’s wife,
Unto the child so tenderly;
‘Thou must take the sheep and go to the field,
And keep them on a lonely lee.’
- Now let us leave talk of the child,
That is keeping sheep on a lonely lee,
And we’l talk more of the fals steward,
And of his fals treachery.
- He bought himself three suits of apparrell,
That any lord might a seem[d] to worn,
He went a wooing to the Duke’s daughter,
And cal’d himself the Lord of Lorn.
- The duke he welcomed the yong lord
With three baked stags anon;
If he had wist him the fals steward,
To the devill he would have gone.
- But when they were at supper set,
With dainty delicates that was there,
The d[uke] said, If thou wilt wed my daughter,
I’le give thee a thousand pound a year.
- The lady would see the red buck run,
And also for to hunt the doe,
And with a hundred lusty men
The lady did a hunting go.
- The lady is a hunting gon,
Over le and fell that is so high;
There was she ware of a shepherd’s boy,
With sheep on a lonely lee.
- And ever he sighed and made moan,
And cried out pittifully,
‘My father is the Lord of Lorn,
And knows not wha[t]’s become of me.’
- And then bespake the lady gay,
And to her maid she spake anon,
‘Go fetch me hither the shepherd’s boy;
Why maketh he all this moan?’
- But when he came before the lady
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
He was not to learn his courtesie:
- ‘Where was thou born, thou bonny child?
For whose sake makst thou all this mone?’
‘My dearest friend, lady,’ he said,
‘Is dead many years agon.’
- ‘Tell thou to me, thou bonny child,
Tell me the truth and do not lye,
Knost thou not the yong lord of Lorn,
Is come a wooing unto me?’
- ‘Yes, forsooth,’ then said the child,
‘I know the lord then, veryly;
The young lord is a valliant lord
At home in his own country.’
- ‘Wilt leave thy sheep, thou bonny child,
And come in service unto me?’
‘Yes, forsooth,’ then said the child,
‘At your bidding will I be.’
- When the steward lookt upon the child,
He bewraild him villainously:
‘Where wast thou born, thou vagabone?
Or where is thy country?’
- ‘Ha don! ha don!’ said the lady gay,
She cal’d the steward then presently;
‘Without you bear him more good will,
You get no love of me.’
- Then bespake the false steward
Unto the lady hastily:
‘At Aberdine, beyond the seas,
His father robbe:d thousands three.’
- But then bespake the lady gay
Unto her father courteously,
Saying, I have found a bonny child
My chamberlain to be.
- ‘Not so, not so,’ then said the duke,
‘For so it may not be,
For that young L[ord] of Lorn that comes a wooing
Will think something of thee and me.’
- When the duke had lookt upon the child,
He seemd so pleasant to the eye,
‘Child, because thou lovst horses well,
My groom of stables thou shalt be.’
- The child plied the horses well
A twelve month to an end;
He was so courteous and so true
Every man became his fri[e]nd.
- He led a fair gelding to the water,
Where he might drink, verily;
The great gelding up with his head
And hit the child above the eye.
- ‘Wo worth thee, horse!’ then said the child,
‘That ere mare foale:d thee!
Thou little knowst what thou hast done;
Thou hast stricken a lord of high degree.’
- The d[uke’s] daughter was in her garden green,
She heard the child make great moan;
She ran to the child all weeping,
And left her maidens all alone.
- ‘Sing on thy song, thou bonny child,
I will release thee of thy pain;’
‘I have made an oath, lady,’ he said,
‘I dare not tell my tale again.’
- ‘Tell the horse thy tale, thou bonny child,
And so thy oath shall save:d be;’
But when he told the horse his tale
The lady wept full tenderly.
- ‘I’le do for thee, my bonny child,
In faith I will do more for thee;
For I will send thy father word,
And he shall come and speak with me.
- ‘I will do more, my bonny child,
In faith I will do more for thee,
And for thy sake, my bonny child,
I’le put my wedding off months three.’
- The lady she did write a letter,
Full pittifully with her own hand,
She sent it to the Lord of Lorn
Whereas he dwelt in fair Scotland.
- But when the lord had read the letter
His lady wept most tenderly:
‘I knew what would become of my child
In such a far country.’
- The old lord cal’d up his merry men,
And all that he gave cloth and fee,
With seven lords by his side,
And into France rides he.
- The wind servd, and they did saile
So far into France land;
They were ware of the Lord of Lorn,
With a porter’s staff in his hand.
- The lords they moved hat and hand,
The servingmen fell on their knee;
‘What folks be yonder,’ said the steward,
‘That makes the porter courtesie?’
- ‘Thou art a false thief,’ said the L[ord] of Lorn,
‘No longer might I bear with thee;
By the law of France thou shalt be ju[d]gd,
Whether it be to live or die.’
- A quest of lords there chosen was,
To bench they came hastily,
But when the quest was ended
The fals steward must dye.
- First they did him half hang,
And then they took him down anon,
And then put him in boyling lead,
And then was sodden, brest and bone.
- And then bespake the Lord of Lorn,
With many other lords mo;
‘Sir Duke, if you be as willing as we,
We’l have a marriage before we go.’
- These children both they did rejoyce
To hear the lord his tale so ended;
They had rather to day then to morrow,
So he would not be offended.
- But when the wedding ended was
There was delicious dainty cheer;
I’le tell you how long the wedding did last,
Full three quarters of a year.
- Such a banquet there was wrought,
The like was never seen;
The king of France brought with him then
A hundred tun of good red wine.
- Five set of musitians were to be seen,
That never rested night nor day,
Also Italians there did sing,
Full pleasantly with great joy.
- Thus have you heard what troubles great
Unto successive joyes did turn,
And happy news among the rest
Unto the worthy Lord of Lorn.
- Let rebels therefore warne:d be
How mischief once they do pretend;
For God may suffer for a time,
But will disclose it in the end.