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Proud Lady Margaret

No: 47; variant: 47B

  1. THERE was a knight, in a summer’s night, Appeard in a lady’s hall, As she was walking up and down, Looking oer her castle wall.
  2. ‘God make you safe and free, fair maid, God make you safe and free!’ ‘O sae fa you, ye courteous knight, What are your wills wi me?’
  3. ‘My wills wi you are not sma, lady, My wills wi you nae sma, And since there’s nane your bower within, Ye’se hae my secrets a’.
  4. ‘For here am I a courtier, A courtier come to thee, And if ye winna grant your love, All for your sake I’ll dee.’
  5. ‘If that ye dee for me, sir knight, Few for you will make meen; For mony gude lord’s done the same, Their graves are growing green.’
  6. ‘O winna ye pity me, fair maid, O winna ye pity me? O winna ye pity a courteous knight, Whose love is laid on thee?’
  7. ‘Ye say ye are a courteous knight, But I think ye are nane; I think ye’re but a millar bred, By the colour o your claithing.
  8. ‘You seem to be some false young man, You wear your hat sae wide; You seem to be some false young man, You wear your boots sae side.’
  9. ‘Indeed I am a courteous knight, And of great pedigree; Nae knight did mair for a lady bright Than I will do for thee.
  10. ‘O I’ll put smiths in your smithy, To shoe for you a steed, And I’ll put tailors in your bower, To make for you a weed.
  11. ‘I will put cooks in your kitchen, And butlers in your ha, And on the tap o yourn father’s castle I’ll big gude corn and saw.’
  12. ‘If ye be a courteous knight, As I trust not ye be, Ye’ll answer some o the sma questions That I will ask at thee.
  13. ‘What is the fairest flower, tell me, That grows in mire or dale? Likewise, which is the sweetest bird Sings next the nightingale? Or what’s the finest thing,’ she says, ‘That king or queen can wile?’
  14. ‘The primrose is the fairest flower That grows in mire or dale; The mavis is the sweetest bird Next to the nightingale; And yellow gowd’s the finest thing That king or queen can wale.
  15. ‘Ye hae asked many questions, lady, I’ve you as many told;’ ‘But how many pennies round Make a hundred pounds in gold?
  16. ‘How many of the small fishes Do swim the salt seas round? Or what’s the seemliest sight you’ll see Into a May morning?’
  17. ‘Berry-brown ale and a birken speal, And wine in a horn green; A milk-white lace in a fair maid’s dress Looks gay in a May morning.’
  18. ‘Mony’s the questions I’ve askd at thee, And ye’ve answerd them a’; Ye are mine, and I am thine, Amo the sheets sae sma.
  19. ‘You may be my match, kind sir, You may be my match and more; There neer was ane came sic a length Wi my father’s heir before.
  20. ‘My father’s lord o nine castles, My mother she’s lady ower three, And there is nane to heir them all, No never a ane but me; Unless it be Willie, my ae brother, But he’s far ayont the sea.’
  21. ‘If your father’s laird o nine castles, Your mother lady ower three, I am Willie your ae brother, Was far beyond the sea.’
  22. ‘If ye be Willie, my ae brother, As I doubt sair ye be, But if it’s true ye tell me now, This night I’ll gang wi thee.’
  23. ‘Ye’ve ower ill washen feet, Janet, And ower ill washen hands, And ower coarse robes on your body, Alang wi me to gang.
  24. ‘The worms they are my bed-fellows, And the cauld clay my sheet, And the higher that the wind does blaw, The sounder I do sleep.
  25. ‘My body’s buried in Dumfermline, And far beyond the sea, But day nor night nae rest coud get, All for the pride o thee.
  26. ‘Leave aff your pride, jelly Janet,’ he says, ‘Use it not ony mair; Or when ye come where I hae been You will repent it sair.
  27. ‘Cast aff, cast aff, sister,’ he says, ‘The gowd lace frae your crown; For if ye gang where I hae been, Ye’ll wear it laigher down.
  28. ‘When ye’re in the gude church set, The gowd pins in your hair, Ye take mair delight in your feckless dress Than ye do in your morning prayer.
  29. ‘And when ye walk in the church-yard, And in your dress are seen, There is nae lady that sees your face But wishes your grave were green.
  30. ‘You’re straight and tall, handsome withall, But your pride owergoes your wit, But if ye do not your ways refrain, In Pirie’s chair ye’ll sit.
  31. ‘In Pirie’s chair you’ll sit, I say, The lowest seat o hell; If ye do not amend your ways, It’s there that ye must dwell.’
  32. Wi that he vanishd frae her sight, Wi the twinkling o an eye; Naething mair the lady saw But the gloomy clouds and sky.