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Child Waters

No: 63; variant: 63H

  1. ‘TURN back, turn back, O Burd Alone, For the water’s both broad and long:’ First she went into the shoulders, And sine unto the chin.
  2. ‘How far is it to your hall, Lord John? How far is it? I pray of thee:’ ‘The nearest way unto my hall Is thirty miles and three.
  3. ‘Turn back, turn back, O Burd Alone, Ye’ll sink before ye win owre:’ ‘I am too big with bairn,’ she says, ‘To sink or I win owre.’
  4. ‘Turn back, turn back, O Burd Alone, Turn back, I pray of thee; For I’ve got a wife and seven bairns, I like far better than thee.’
  5. And then spak a wild parrot, Sat high upon the tree: ‘Gang on, gang on, O Burd Alone, [He likes nane better nor thee.]
  6. ‘For Lord John has neither wife nor bairns, He likes better than thee, And the nearest way to Lord John’s hall Is only short miles three.’
  7. When she was come to Lord John’s hall, Lords, knights and ladies braw Was there to welcome them hame; But the bravest in the ha, She waited at Lord John’s back, Serving the tables a’.
  8. When she was laid into her bed, Amang the servants a’ ilk ane, The mother heard a babie greet, And a lady make a heavy maen.
  9. ‘Rise up, rise up, Lord John,’ she said, ‘Bind on thy hose and shoon; Thow might hae got some other lady Then a lady big wi bairn.’
  10. Lord John awa to the hay-loft, Where his lady lay; ‘O rise, O rise, my love,’ he says, ‘O rise and let me in; It’s I have got no loves without, But I’ve got one within.’
  11. ‘I ask three favours of you, Lord John, I ask three favours of thee; I ask a bottle of your sma, sma beer, For your old son and me.’
  12. ‘O rise, O rise, my love,’ he says, ‘O rise and let me in; My wine and gin is at your command, And that of my old son.’
  13. ‘The next favour I ask of you, Lord John, The next favour I ask of thee, Is the meanest room in all your house, For your young son and me.
  14. ‘The next favour I ask of you, Lord John, The next favour I ask of thee, Is the meanest maid in a’ your house, To wait on your yong son and me.’
  15. ‘O rise, O rise, my love,’ he says, ‘O rise and let me in; For thy bridal and thy banquet day Shall both be held in ane.’