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Clerk Sanders

No: 69; variant: 69C

  1. IT was a sad and a rainy nicht As ever raind frae toun to toun; Clerk Saunders and his lady gay They were in the fields sae broun.
  2. ‘A bed, a bed,’ Clerk Saunders cried, ‘A bed, a bed, let me lie doun; For I am sae weet and sae wearie That I canna gae nor ride frae toun.’
  3. ‘A bed, a bed,’ his lady cried, ‘A bed, a bed, ye’ll neer get nane; . . . . . . . . . . .
  4. ‘For I hae seven bauld brethren, Bauld are they, and very rude; And if they find ye in bouer wi me, They winna care to spill your blude.’
  5. ‘Ye’ll tak a lang claith in your hand, Ye’ll haud it up afore your een, That ye may swear, and save your aith, That ye saw na Sandy sin yestreen.
  6. ‘And ye’ll tak me in your arms twa, Ye’ll carry me into your bed, That ye may swear, and save your aith, That in your bour-floor I never gaed.’
  7. She’s taen a lang claith in her hand, She’s hauden’t up afore her een, That she might swear, and save her aith, That she saw na Sandy sin yestreen.
  8. She has taen him in her arms twa, And carried him into her bed, That she might swear, and save her aith, That on her bour-floor he never gaed.
  9. Then in there cam her firsten brother, Bauldly he cam steppin in: ‘Come here, come here, see what I see! We hae only but ae sister alive, And a knave is in bour her wi.’
  10. Then in and cam her second brother, Says, Twa lovers are ill to twin; And in and cam her thirden brother, ‘O brother dear, I say the same.’
  11. Then in and cam her fourthen brother, ‘It’s a sin to kill a sleepin man;’ And in and cam her fifthen brother, ‘O brother dear, I say the same.’
  12. Then in and cam her sixthen brother, ‘I wat he’s neer be steerd by me;’ But in and cam her seventhen brother, ‘I bear the hand that sall gar him dee.’
  13. Then out he drew a nut-brown sword, I wat he stript it to the stroe, And thro and thro Clerk Saunder’s body I wat he garrd cauld iron go.
  14. Then they lay there in ither’s arms Until the day began to daw; Then kindly to him she did say, ‘It’s time, my dear, ye were awa.
  15. ‘Ye are the sleepiest young man,’ she said, ‘That ever my twa een did see; Ye’ve lain a’ nicht into my arms, I’m sure it is a shame to be.’
  16. She turnd the blankets to the foot, And turnd the sheets unto the wa, And there she saw his bluidy wound, . . . . .
  17. ‘O wae be to my seventhen brother, I wat an ill death mot he dee! He’s killd Clerk Saunders, an earl’s son, I wat he’s killd him unto me.’
  18. Then in and cam her father dear, Cannie cam he steppin in; Says, Haud your tongue, my dochter dear, What need you mak sic heavy meane?
  19. ‘We’ll carry Clerk Saunders to his grave, And syne come back and comfort thee:’ ‘O comfort weel your seven sons, father, For man sall never comfort me; Ye’ll marrie me wi the Queen o Heaven, For man sall never enjoy me.’