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Clerk Sanders

No: 69; variant: 69F

  1. CLERK SAUNDERS was an earl’s son, He livd upon sea-sand; May Margaret was a king’s daughter, She livd in upper land.
  2. Clerk Saunders was an earl’s son, Weel learned at the scheel; May Margaret was a king’s daughter, They baith loed ither weel.
  3. He’s throw the dark, and throw the mark, And throw the leaves o green, Till he came to May Margaret’s door, And tirled at the pin.
  4. ‘O sleep ye, wake ye, May Margaret, Or are ye the bower within?’ O wha is that at my bower-door, Sae weel my name does ken?’ ‘It’s I, Clerk Saunders, your true-love, You’ll open and lat me in.
  5. ‘O will ye to the cards, Margaret, Or to the table to dine? Or to the bed, that’s weel down spread, And sleep when we get time?’
  6. ‘I’ll no go to the cards,’ she says, ‘Nor to the table to dine; But I’ll go to a bed, that’s weel down spread, And sleep when we get time.’
  7. They were not weel lyen down, And no weel fa’en asleep, When up and stood May Margaret’s brethren, Just up at their bed-feet.
  8. ‘O tell us, tell us, May Margaret, And dinna to us len, O wha is aught yon noble steed, That stands your stable in?’
  9. ‘The steed is mine, and it may be thine, To ride whan ye ride in hie; . . . . . . . . . .
  10. ‘But awa, awa, my bald brethren, Awa, and mak nae din; For I am as sick a lady the nicht As eer lay a bower within.’
  11. ‘O tell us, tell us, May Margaret, And dinna to us len, O wha is aught yon noble hawk, That stands your kitchen in?’
  12. ‘The hawk is mine, and it may be thine, To hawk whan ye hawk in hie; . . . . . . . . . .
  13. ‘But awa, awa, my bald brethren, Awa, and mak nae din; For I’m ane o the sickest ladies this nicht That eer lay a bower within.’
  14. ‘O tell us, tell us, May Margaret, And dinna to us len, O wha is that, May Margaret, You and the wa between?’
  15. ‘O it is my bower-maiden,’ she says, ‘As sick as sick can be; O it is my bower-maiden,’ she says, ‘And she’s thrice as sick as me.’
  16. ‘We hae been east, and we’ve been west, And low beneath the moon; But a’ the bower-women eer we saw Hadna goud buckles in their shoon.’
  17. Then up and spak her eldest brither, Ay in ill time spak he: ‘It is Clerk Saunders, your true-love, And never mat I the But for this scorn that he has done This moment he sall die.’
  18. But up and spak her youngest brother, Ay in good time spak he: ‘O but they are a gudelie pair! True lovers an ye be, The sword that hangs at my sword-belt Sall never sinder ye.’
  19. Syne up and spak her nexten brother, And the tear stood in his ee: ‘You’ve loed her lang, and loed her weel, And pity it wad be The sword that hangs at my sword-belt Shoud ever sinder ye.’
  20. But up and spak her fifthen brother: ‘Sleep on your sleep for me; But we baith sall never sleep again, For the tane o us sall die.’
  21. And up and spak her thirden brother, Ay in ill time spak he: ‘Curse on his love and comeliness! Dishonourd as ye be, The sword that hangs at my sword-belt Sall quickly sinder ye.’
  22. The eldest brother has drawn his sword, The second has drawn anither, Between Clerk Saunders’ hause and collarbane The cald iron met thegither.
  23. ‘O wae be to you, my fause brethren, And an ill death mat ye die! Ye mith slain Clerk Saunders in open field, And no in bed wi me.’