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The Suffolk Miracle

No: 272; variant: 272A

  1. A WONDER stranger ne’r was known Then what I now shall treat upon. In Suffolk there did lately dwell A farmer rich and known full well.
  2. He had a daughter fair and bright, On whom he plac’d his chief delight; Her beauty was beyond compare, She was both virtuous and fair.
  3. A young man there was living by, Who was so charme:d with her eye That he could never be at rest, He was with love so much possest.
  4. He made address to her, and she Did grant him love immediately; Which when her father came to hear, He parted her and her poor dear.
  5. Forty miles distant was she sent, Unto his brother’s, with intent That she should there so long remain Till she had chang’d her mind again.
  6. Hereat this young man sadly grievd, But knew not how to be relievd; He sighd and sobd continually That his true love he could not see.
  7. She by no means could to him send Who was her heart’s espouse:d friend; He sighd, she grievd, but all in vain, For she confin’d must still remain.
  8. He mournd so much that doctor’s art Could give no ease unto his heart; Who was so strang[e]ly terrified, That in short time for love he dyed.
  9. She that from him was sent away Knew nothing of his dying-day, But constant still she did remain; To love the dead was then in vain.
  10. After he had in grave been laid A month or more, unto this maid He comes about middle of the night, Who joyd to see her heart’s delight.
  11. Her father’s horse, which well she knew, Her mother’s hood and safeguard too, He brought with him to testifie Her parents’ order he came by.
  12. Which when her unckle understood, He hop’t it would be for her good, And gave consent to her straightway That with him she should come away.
  13. When she was got her love behind, They passd as swift as any wind, That in two hours, or little more, He brought her to her father’s door.
  14. But as they did this great haste make, He did complain his head did ake; Her handkerchief she then took out, And tyed the same his head about.
  15. And unto him she thus did say: ‘Thou art as cold as any clay; When we come home, a fire wee’l have;’ But little dreamt he went to grave.
  16. Soon were they at her father’s door, And after she ne’r see him more; ‘I’le set the horse up,’ then he said, And there he left this harmless maid.
  17. She knockt, and strait a man he cryed, ‘Who’s there?’ ‘‘Tis I,’ she then replyed; Who wondred much her voice to hear, And was possest with dread and fear.
  18. Her father he did tell, and then He stared like an affrighted man: Down stairs he ran, and when he see her, Cry’d out, My child, how cam’st thou here?
  19. ‘Pray, sir, did you not send for me, By such a messenger?’ said she: Which made his hair stare on his head, As knowing well that he was dead.
  20. ‘Where is he?’ then to her he said; ‘He’s in the stable,’ quoth the maid. ‘Go in,’ said he, aend go to bed; I’le see the horse well littered.’
  21. He stared about, and there could hee No shape of any mankind see, But found his horse all on a sweat; Which made him in a deadly fret.
  22. His daughter he said nothing to, Nor no one else, though well they knew That he was dead a month before, For fear of grieveing her full sore.
  23. Her father to his father went Who was deceasd, with this intent, To tell him what his daughter said; So both came back unto this maid.
  24. They askd her, and she still did say ‘Twas he that then brought her away; Which when they heard they were amaz’d, And on each other strang[e]ly gaz’d.
  25. A handkerchief she said she tyed About his head, and that they tryed; The sexton they did speak unto, That he the grave would then undo.
  26. Affrighted then they did behold His body turning into mould, And though he had a month been dead, This kercheif was about his head.
  27. This thing unto her then they told, And the whole truth they did unfold; She was thereat so terrified And grievd, she quickly after dyed.
  28. Part not true love, you rich men, then; But, if they be right honest men Your daughters love, give them their way, For force oft breeds their lives’ decay.