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Child Waters

No: 63; variant: 63C

Source: Kinloch's annotated copy of his Ancient Scottish Ballads, Kinloch MSS, IV, 180.

  1. ‘The corn is turning ripe, Lord John, The nuts are growing fu, And ye are bound for your ain countrie, Fain wad I go wi you.’
  2. ‘Wi me, Margret, wi me, Margret, What wad ye do wi me? I’ve mair need o a pretty little boy, To wait upon my steed.’
  3. ‘It’s I will be your pretty little boy, To wait upon your steed; And ilka town that we come to, A pack of hounds I’ll lead.’
  4. ‘My hounds will eat o the bread o wheat, And ye of the bread of bran; And then you will sit and sigh, That eer ye loed a man.’
  5. The first water that they cam to, I think they call it Clyde, He saftly unto her did say, Lady Margret, will ye ride?
  6. The first step that she steppit in, She steppit to the knee; Says, Wae be to ye, waefu water, For through ye I maun be.
  7. The second step that she steppit in, She steppit to the middle, And sighd, and said, Lady Margret, ‘I’ve staind my gowden girdle.’
  8. The third step that she steppit in, She steppit to the neck; The pretty babe within her sides, The cauld it garrd it squake.
  9. ‘Lie still my babe, lie still my babe, Lie still as lang’s ye may, For your father rides on horseback high, Cares little for us twae.’
  10. It’s whan she cam to the other side, She sat doun on a stane; Says, Them that made me, help me now, For I am far frae hame.
  11. ‘How far is it frae your mither’s bouer, Gude Lord John tell to me?’ ‘It’s therty miles, Lady Margaret, It’s therty miles and three: And yese be wed to ane o her serving men, For yese get na mair o me.’
  12. Then up bespak the wylie parrot, As it sat on the tree, ‘Ye lee, ye lee, Lord John,’ it said, ‘Sae loud as I hear ye lee.
  13. ‘Ye say it’s therty miles frae your mither’s bouer, Whan it’s but barely three; And she’ll neer be wed to a serving man, For she’ll be your ain ladie.’
  14. [‘O dinna ye see yon bonnie castle, Lies on yon sunny lea? And yese get ane o my mither’s men, For yese get na mair o me.’]
  15. [‘We’ll see I yon bonnie castle, Lies on yon sunny lea, But Ise neer hae nane o your mither’s men, Tho I never gat mair o thee.’]
  16. [Whan he cam to the porter’s yett He tirled at the pin, And wha sae ready as the bauld porter To open and lat him in.]
  17. Monie a lord and fair ladie Met Lord John in the closs, But the bonniest face amang them a’ Was hauding Lord John’s horse.
  18. [Monie a lord and lady bricht Met Lord John on the green, But the bonniest boy amang them a’ Was standing by, him leen.]
  19. Monie a lord and gay ladie Sat dining in the ha, But the bonniest face that was there Was waiting on them a’.
  20. O up bespak Lord John’s sister, A sweet young maid was she: ‘My brither has brought a bonnie young page, His like I neer did see; But the red flits fast frae his cheek, And the tear stands in his ee.’
  21. But up bespak Lord John’s mither, She spak wi meikle scorn: ‘He’s liker a woman gret wi bairn, Than onie waiting-man.’
  22. ‘It’s ye’ll rise up, my bonnie boy, And gie my steed the hay:’ ‘O that I will, my dear master, As fast as I can gae.’
  23. She took the hay aneath her arm, The corn intil her hand, But atween the stable-door and the staw, Lady Margret made a stand.
  24. [Whan bells were rung, and mass was sung, And a’ men boun for bed, Lord John, mither, and sister gay In ae bour they were laid.]
  25. [Lord John had na weel gat aff his claise, Nor was he weel laid doun, Till his mither heard a bairn greet, And a woman’s heavy moan.]
  26. [‘Win up, win up, Lord John,’ she said, ‘Seek neither hose nor shoon; For I’ve heard a bairn loud greet, And a woman’s heavy moan.’]
  27. [Lord John raise, put on his claise, Sought neither hose nor shoon, Atween the ha and the stable-door He made na a step but ane.]
  28. ‘O open the door, Lady Margaret, O open and let me in; I want to see if my steed be fed, Or my grey-hounds fit to rin.’
  29. ‘I’ll na open the door, Lord John,’ she said, ‘I’ll na open it to thee, Till ye grant to me my ae request, And a puir ane it’s to me.
  30. ‘Ye’ll gie to me a bed in an outhouse, For my young son and me, And the meanest servant in a’ the place, To wait on him and me.’
  31. [He’s tane the door wi his fit, And he keppd it wi his knee, He made the door o double deals In splinders soon to flee.]
  32. [‘An askin, an askin, grant me, Lord John, An askin ye’ll grant me; The meanest maid about the place To bring a glass o water to me.’]
  33. ‘I grant, I grant, Lady Margret,’ he said, ‘A’ that, and mair frae me, The very best bed in a’ the place To your young son and thee, And my mither, and my sister dear, To wait on him and thee.
  34. ‘And a’ thae lands, and a’ thae rents, They shall be his and thine; Our wedding and our kirking day, They sall be all in ane.’
  35. And he has tane Lady Margaret, And rowd her in the silk, And he has tane his ain young son, And washd him in the milk.