Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard
No: 81; variant: 81A
- AS it fell one holy-day,
As many be in the yeare,
When young men and maids together did goe,
Their mattins and masse to heare,
- Little Musgrave came to the church-dore;
The preist was at private masse;
But he had more minde of the faire women
Then he had of our lady[’s] grace.
- The one of them was clad in green,
Another was clad in pall,
And then came in my lord Bernard’s wife,
The fairest amonst them all.
- She cast an eye on Little Musgrave,
As bright as the summer sun;
And then bethought this Little Musgrave,
This lady’s heart have I woonn.
- Quoth she, I have loved thee, Little Musgrave,
Full long and many a day;
‘So have I loved you, fair lady,
Yet never word durst I say.’
- ‘I have a bower at Buckelsfordbery,
Full daintyly it is deight;
If thou wilt wend thither, thou Little Musgrave,
Thou’s lig in mine armes all night.’
- Quoth he, I thank yee, faire lady,
This kindnes thou showest to me;
But whether it be to my weal or woe,
This night I will lig with thee.
- With that he heard, a little tyne: page,
By this ladye’s coach as he ran:
‘All though I am my ladye’s foot-page,
Yet I am Lord Barnard’s man.
- ‘My lord Barnard shall knowe of this,
Whether I sink or swim;’
And ever where the bridges were broake
He laid him downe to swimme.
- ‘A sleepe or wake, thou Lord Barnard,
As thou art a man of life,
For Little Musgrave is at Bucklesfordbery,
A bed with thy own wedded wife.’
- ‘If this be true, thou little tinny page,
This thing thou tellest to me,
Then all the land in Bucklesfordbery
I freely will give to thee.
- ‘But if it be a ly, thou little tinny page,
This thing thou tellest to me,
On the hyest tree in Bucklesfordbery
Then hanged shalt thou be.’
- He called up his merry men all:
‘Come saddle me my steed;
This night must I to Buckellsfordbery,
For I never had greater need.’
- And some of them whistld, and some of them sung,
And some these words did say,
And ever when my lord Barnard’s horn blew,
‘Away, Musgrave, away!’
- ‘Methinks I hear the thresel-cock,
Methinks I hear the jaye;
Methinks I hear my lord Barnard,
And I would I were away.’
- ‘Lye still, lye still, thou Little Musgrave,
And huggell me from the cold;
‘Tis nothing but a shephard’s boy,
A driving his sheep to the fold.
- ‘Is not thy hawke upon a perch?
Thy steed eats oats and hay;
And thou a fair lady in thine armes,
And wouldst thou bee away?’
- With that my lord Barnard came to the dore,
And lit a stone upon;
He plucked out three silver keys,
And he opend the dores each one.
- He lifted up the coverlett,
He lifted up the sheet:
‘How now, how now, thou Littell Musgrave,
Doest thou find my lady sweet?’
- ‘I find her sweet,’ quoth Little Musgrave,
‘The more ‘tis to my paine;
I would gladly give three hundred pounds
That I were on yonder plaine.’
- ‘Arise, arise, thou Littell Musgrave,
And put thy clothe:s on;
It shall nere be said in my country
I have killed a naked man.
- ‘I have two swords in one scabberd,
Full deere they cost my purse;
And thou shalt have the best of them,
And I will have the worse.’
- The first stroke that Little Musgrave stroke,
He hurt Lord Barnard sore;
The next stroke that Lord Barnard stroke,
Little Musgrave nere struck more.
- With that bespake this faire lady,
In bed whereas she lay:
‘Although thou’rt dead, thou Little Musgrave,
Yet I for thee will pray.
- ‘And wish well to thy soule will I,
So long as I have life;
So will I not for thee, Barnard,
Although I am thy wedded wife.’
- He cut her paps from off her brest;
Great pitty it was to see
That some drops of this ladie’s heart’s blood
Ran trickling downe her knee.
- ‘Woe worth you, woe worth, my mery men all
You were nere borne for my good;
Why did you not offer to stay my hand,
When you see me wax so wood?
- ‘For I have slaine the bravest sir knight
That ever rode on steed;
So have I done the fairest lady
That ever did woman’s deed.
- ‘A grave, a grave,’ Lord Barnard cryd,
‘To put these lovers in;
But lay my lady on the upper hand,
For she came of the better kin.’