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Young Beichan

No: 53; variant: 53N

  1. IN London was Young Bichen born, He longd strange lands to see; He set his foot on good ship-board, And he sailed over the sea.
  2. He had not been in a foreign land A day but only three, Till he was taken by a savage Moor, And they used him most cruelly.
  3. In every shoulder they put a pin, To every pin they put a tree; They made him draw the plow and cart, Like horse and oxen in his country.
  4. He had not servd the savage Moor A week, nay scarcely but only three, Till he has casten him in prison strong, Till he with hunger was like to die.
  5. It fell out once upon a day That Young Bichen he made his moan, As he lay bound in irons strong, In a dark and deep dungeon.
  6. ‘An I were again in fair England, As many merry day I have been, Then I would curb my roving youth No more to see a strange land.
  7. ‘O an I were free again now, And my feet well set on the sea, I would live in peace in my own country, And a foreign land I no more would see.’
  8. The savage Moor had but one daughter, I wot her name was Susan Py; She heard Young Bichen make his moan, At the prison-door as she past by.
  9. ‘O have ye any lands,’ she said, ‘Or have you any money free, Or have you any revenues, To maintain a lady like me?’
  10. ‘O I have land in fair England, And I have estates two or three, And likewise I have revenues, To maintain a lady like thee.’
  11. ‘O will you promise, Young Bichen,’ she says, ‘And keep your vow faithful to me, That at the end of seven years In fair England you’ll marry me?
  12. ‘I’ll steal the keys from my father dear, Tho he keeps them most secretly; I’ll risk my life for to save thine, And set thee safe upon the sea.’
  13. She’s stolen the keys from her father, From under the bed where they lay; She opened the prison strong And set Young Bichen at liberty.
  14. She’s gone to her father’s coffer, Where the gold was red and fair to see; She filled his pockets with good red gold, And she set him far upon the sea.
  15. ‘O mind you well, Young Bichen,’ she says, ‘The vows and oaths you made to me; When you are come to your native land, O then remember Susan Py!’
  16. But when her father he came home He missd the keys there where they lay; He went into the prison strong, But he saw Young Bichen was away.
  17. ‘Go bring your daughter, madam,’ he says, ‘And bring her here unto me; Altho I have no more but her, Tomorrow I’ll gar hang her high.’
  18. The lady calld on the maiden fair To come to her most speedily; ‘Go up the country, my child,’ she says, ‘Stay with my brother two years or three.
  19. ‘I have a brother, he lives in the isles, He will keep thee most courteously And stay with him, my child,’ she says, ‘Till thy father’s wrath be turnd from thee.’
  20. Now will we leave young Susan Py A while in her own country, And will return to Young Bichen, Who is safe arrived in fair England.
  21. He had not been in fair England Above years scarcely three, Till he has courted another maid, And so forgot his Susan Py.
  22. The youth being young and in his prime, Of Susan Py thought not upon, But his love was laid on another maid, And the marriage-day it did draw on.
  23. But eer the seven years were run, Susan Py she thought full long; She set her foot on good ship-board, And she has saild for fair England.
  24. On every finger she put a ring, On her mid-finger she put three; She filld her pockets with good red gold, And she has sailed oer the sea.
  25. She had not been in fair England A day, a day, but only three, Till she heard Young Bichen was a bridegroom, And the morrow to be the wedding-day.
  26. ‘Since it is so,’ said young Susan, ‘That he has provd so false to me, I’ll hie me to Young Bichen’s gates, And see if he minds Susan Py.’
  27. She has gone up thro London town, Where many a lady she there did spy; There was not a lady in all London Young Susan that could outvie.
  28. She has calld upon a waiting-man, A waiting-man who stood near by: ‘Convey me to Young Bichen’s gates, And well rewarded shals thou be.’
  29. When she came to Young Bichen’s gate She chapped loudly at the pin, Till down there came the proud porter; ‘Who’s there,’ he says, ‘That would be in?’
  30. ‘Open the gates, porter,’ she says, ‘Open them to a lady gay, And tell your master, porter,’ she says, ‘To speak a word or two with me.’
  31. The porter he has opend the gates; His eyes were dazzled to see A lady dressd in gold and jewels; No page nor waiting-man had she.
  32. ‘O pardon me, madam,’ he cried, ‘This day it is his wedding-day; He’s up the stairs with his lovely bride, And a sight of him you cannot see.’
  33. She put her hand in her pocket, And therefrom took out guineas three, And gave to him, saying, Please, kind sir, Bring down your master straight to me.
  34. The porter up again has gone, And he fell low down on his knee, Saying, Master, you will please come down To a lady who wants you to see.
  35. A lady gay stands at your gates, The like of her I neer did see; She has more gold above her eye Nor would buy a baron’s land to me.
  36. Out then spake the bride’s mother, I’m sure an angry woman was she: ‘You’re impudent and insolent, For ye might excepted the bride and me.’
  37. ‘Ye lie, ye lie, ye proud woman, I’m sure sae loud as I hear you lie; She has more gold on her body Than would buy the lands, the bride, and thee!’
  38. ‘Go down, go down, porter,’ he says, ‘And tell the lady gay from me That I’m up-stairs wi my lovely bride, And a sight of her I cannot see.’
  39. The porter he goes down again, The lady waited patiently: ‘My master’s with his lovely bride, And he’ll not win down my dame to see.’
  40. From off her finger she’s taen a ring; ‘Give that your master,’ she says, ‘From me, And tell him now, young man,’ she says, ‘To send down a cup of wine to me.’
  41. ‘Here’s ring for you, master,’ he says, ‘On her mid-finger she has three, And you are desird, my lord,’ he says, ‘To send down a cup of wine with me.’
  42. He hit the table with his foot, He kepd it with his right knee: ‘I’ll wed my life and all my land That is Susan Py, come o’er the sea!’
  43. He has gone unto the stair-head, A step he took but barely three; He opend the gates most speedily, And Susan Py he there could see.
  44. ‘Is this the way, Young Bichen,’ she says, ‘Is this the way you’ve guided me? I relieved you from prison strong, And ill have you rewarded me.
  45. ‘O mind ye, Young Bichen,’ she says, ‘The vows and oaths that ye made to me, When ye lay bound in prison strong, In a deep dungeon of misery?’
  46. He took her by the milk-white hand, And led her into the palace fine; There was not a lady in all the palace But Susan Py did all outshine.
  47. The day concluded with joy and mirth, On every side there might you see; There was great joy in all England For the wedding-day of Susan Py.