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The Wife of Usher’s Well

No: 79; variant: 79[C]

  1. There was a widow-woman lived in far Scotland, And in far Scotland she did live, And all her cry was upon sweet Jesus, Sweet Jesus so meek and mild.
  2. Then Jesus arose one morning quite soon, And arose one morning betime, And away he went to far Scotland, And to see what the good woman want.
  3. And when he came to far Scotland, . . . . . . . Crying, What, O what, does the good woman want, That is calling so much on me?
  4. ‘It’s you go rise up my three sons, Their names, Joe, Peter, and John, And put breath in their breast, And clothing on their backs, And immediately send them to far Scotland, That their mother may take some rest.’
  5. Then he went and rose up her three sons, Their names, Joe, Peter, and John, And did immediately send them to far Scotland, That their mother may take some rest.
  6. Then she made up a supper so neat, As small, as small, as a yew-tree leaf, But never one bit they could eat.
  7. Then she made up a bed so soft, The softest that ever was seen, And the widow-woman and her three sons They went to bed to sleep.
  8. There they lay; about the middle of the night, Bespeaks the youngest son: ‘The white cock he has crowed once, The second has, so has the red.’
  9. And then bespeaks the eldest son: ‘I think, I think it is high time For the wicked to part from their dead.’
  10. Then they laid [ led] her along a green road, The greenest that ever was seen, Until they came to some far chaperine, Which was builded of lime and sand; Until they came to some far chaperine, Which was builded with lime and stone.
  11. And then he opened the door so big, And the door so very wide; Said he to her three sons, Walk in! But told her to stay outside.
  12. ‘Go back, go back!’ sweet Jesus replied, ‘Go back, go back!’ says he; ‘For thou hast nine days to repent For the wickedness that thou hast done.’
  13. Nine days then was past and gone, And nine days then was spent, Sweet Jesus called her once again, And took her to heaven with him.