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Lady Maisry

No: 65; variant: 65B

  1. IN came her sister, Stepping on the floor; Says, It’s telling me, my sister Janet, That you’re become a whore.
  2. ‘A whore, sister, a whore, sister? That’s what I’ll never be; I’m no so great a whore, sister, As liars does on me lee.
  3. In came her brother, Stepping on the floor; Says, It’s telling me, my sister Janet, That you’re become a whore.’
  4. ‘A whore, brother, a whore, brother? A whore I’ll never be; I’m no so bad a woman, brother, As liears does on me lee.’
  5. In came her mother, Stepping on the floor: ‘They are telling me, my daughter, That you’re so soon become a whore.’
  6. ‘A whore, mother, a whore, mother? A whore I’ll never be; I’m only with child to an English lord, Who promised to marry me.’
  7. In came her father, Stepping on the floor; Says, They tell me, my daughter Janet, That you are become a whore.’
  8. ‘A whore, father, a whore, father? A whore I’ll never be; I’m but with child to an English lord, Who promisd to marry me.’
  9. Then in it came an old woman, The lady’s nurse was she, And ere she could get out a word The tear blinded her ee.
  10. ‘Your father’s to the fire, Janet, Your brother’s to the whin; All for to kindle a bold bonfire, To burn your body in.’
  11. ‘Where will I get a boy,’ she said, ‘Will gain gold for his fee, That would run unto fair England For thy good lord to thee.’
  12. ‘O I have here a boy,’ she said, ‘Will gain gold to his fee, For he will run to fair England For thy good lord to thee.’
  13. Now when he found a bridge broken, He bent his bow and swam, And when he got where grass did grow, He slacked it and ran.
  14. And when he came to that lord’s gate, Stopt not to knock or call, But set his bent bow to his breast And lightly leapt the wall; And ere the porter could open the gate, The boy was in the hall,
  15. In presence of that noble lord, And fell down on his knee: ‘What is it, my boy,’ he cried, ‘Have you brought unto me?
  16. ‘Is my building broke into? Or is my towers won? Or is my true-love delivered Of daughter or of son?’
  17. ‘Your building is not broke,’ he cried, ‘Nor is your towers won, Nor is your true-love delivered Of daughter nor of son; But if you do not come in haste, Be sure she will be gone.
  18. ‘Her father is gone to the fire, Her brother to the whin, To kindle up a bold bonfire, To burn her body in.’
  19. ‘Go saddle to me the black,’ he cried, ‘And do it very soon; Get unto me the swiftest horse That ever rade from the town.’
  20. The first horse that he rade upon, For he was raven black, He bore him far, and very far, But failed in a slack.
  21. The next horse that he rode upon, He was a bonny brown; He bore him far, and very far, But did at last fall down.
  22. The next horse that he rode upon, He as the milk was white; Fair fall the mare that foaled that foal. Took him to Janet’s sight!
  23. And boots and spurs, all as he was, Into the fire he lap, Got one kiss of her comely mouth, While her body gave a crack.
  24. ‘O who has been so bold,’ he says, ‘This bonfire to set on? Or who has been so bold,’ he says, ‘Her body for to burn?’
  25. ‘O here are we,’ her brother said, ‘This bonfire who set on; And we have been so bold,’ he said, ‘Her body for to burn.’
  26. ‘O I’ll cause burn for you, Janet, Your father and your mother; And I’ll cause die for you, Janet, Your sister and your brother.
  27. ‘And I’ll cause mony back be bare, And mony shed be thin, And mony wife be made a widow, And mony ane want their son.’