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Clerk Sanders

No: 69; variant: 69E

  1. AN ensign and a lady gay, As they were walking on a green, The ensign said to the lady gay, Will you tak me to your bower at een?
  2. ‘I have seven bluidy brithers, Och and to you they have nae good will; And if they catch you in my bower, They’ll value not your bluid to spill.’
  3. ‘O you may take me on your back, And carry me to your chamber-bed, That I may swear, and avow richt clear, That your flowery bower I did never tread.
  4. ‘O take a napkin from your pocket, And with it blindfold my een, That I may swear, and avow richt clear, That your flowery bower I have never seen.’
  5. O she’s taen him upon her back, And carried him to her chamber-bed, That he might swear, and avow it clear, That her flowery [bower] he did never tread.
  6. O she’s taen a napkin from her pocket, And with it blinded baith his een, That he might swear, and avow it clear, That her flowery bower he had never seen.
  7. They were not well into their bed, Nor were they scarsely fallen asleep, Till in there came her seven bluidy brithers, And placed themselves at the ensign’s feet.
  8. Said the first one to the second, ‘Och it is long since this love began;’ Said the second unto the third, ‘It’s a sin to kill a sleeping man.’
  9. Said the third one to the fourth, ‘I will go to yon tavern hie;’ Said [the] fourth one to the fifth, ‘O if you will go, so will I.’
  10. Said the fifth to the sixth, ‘Och it’s long since this love began;’ Said the sixth to the seventh, ‘It’s a sin to kill a sleeping man.’
  11. Out then spoke the seventh bluidy brither, Aye and an angry man was he: ‘Altho there was no more men alive, The ensign’s butcher I will be.’
  12. He’s taen out his rusty broad-sword, And ran it three times along his throat, And thro and thro the ensign’s body The tempered steel it went thro and thro.
  13. ‘O I have dreamed a dream,’ she said, ‘And such an dreams cannot be good; I dreamed my bower was full of swine, And the ensign’s clothes all dipped in blood.
  14. ‘I have dreamed another dream, And such an dreams are never good; That I was combing down my yellow hair, And dipping it in the ensign’s blood.’
  15. ‘O hold your tongue, my sister dear, And of your weeping let a be; For I will get you a better match Than eer the ensign, what was he?’
  16. ‘So woe be to you, my seven bluidy brithers, Aye and an ill death may you die! For you durst not fight him in battle-field, But you killed him sleeping in bed wi me.
  17. ‘I’ll do more for my love’s sake That other lovers would not incline; Seven years shall come and go Before I wash this face of mine.
  18. ‘I will do for my love’s sake What other lovers would not repair; Seven years shall come and go Before I comb down my yellow hair.
  19. ‘I’ll do more for my love’s sake, What other lovers will not do; Seven years shall come and go Before I cast off stocking and shoe.
  20. ‘I will do for my love’s sake What other lovers they will be slack; Seven years shall come and go Before I cast off my robes of black.
  21. ‘Go make to me a high, high tower, Be sure you make it stout and strong, And on the top put an honour’s gate, That my love’s ghost may go out and in.’