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Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard

No: 81; variant: 81L

  1. FOUR and twenty handsome youths Were a’ playing at the ba, When forth it came him Little Munsgrove, The flower out ower them a’.
  2. At times he lost, at times he wan, Till the noon-tide o the day, And four an twenty gay ladies Went out to view the play.
  3. Some came down in white velvet, And other some in green; Lord Burnett’s lady in red scarlet, And shin’d like ony queen.
  4. Some came down in white velvet, And other some in pale; Lord Burnett’s lady in red scarlet, Whose beauty did excell.
  5. She gae a glance out ower them a’, As beams dart frae the sun; She fixed her eyes on Little Munsgrove, For him her love lay on.
  6. ‘Gude day, gude day, ye handsome youth, God make ye safe and free; What woud ye gie this day, Munsgrove, For ae night in bower wi me?’
  7. ‘I darena for my lands, lady, I darena for my life; I ken by the rings on your fingers Ye are Lord Burnett’s wife.’
  8. ‘It woud na touch my heart, Munsgrove, Nae mair than ‘twoud my tae, To see as much o his heart’s blood As twa brands coud let gae.
  9. ‘I hae a bower in fair Strathdon, And pictures round it sett, And I hae ordered thee, Munsgrove, In fair Strathdon to sleep.’
  10. Her flattering words and fair speeches, They were for him too strong, And she’s prevailed on Little Munsgrove With her to gang along.
  11. When mass was sung, and bells were rung, And a’ man bound for bed, Little Munsgrove and that lady In ae chamber were laid.
  12. ‘O what hire will ye gie your page, If he the watch will keep, In case that your gude lord come hame When we’re fair fast asleep?’
  13. ‘Siller, siller’s be his wage, And gowd shall be his hire; But if he speak ae word o this, He’ll die in a burning fire.’
  14. ‘The promise that I make, Madam, I will stand to the same; I winna heal it an hour langer Than any master comes hame.’
  15. She’s taen a sharp brand in her hand, Being in the tidive hour; He ran between her and the door, She never saw him more.
  16. Where he found the grass grow green, He slacked his shoes an ran, And where he found the brigs broken, He bent his bow an swam.
  17. Lord Burnett ower a window lay, Beheld baith dale and down; And he beheld his ain foot-page Come hastening to the town.
  18. ‘What news, what news, my little wee boy, Ye bring sae hastilie?’ ‘Bad news, bad news, my master,’ he says, ‘As ye will plainly see.’
  19. ‘Are any of my biggins brunt, my boy? Or are my woods hewed down? Or is my dear lady lighter yet, O dear daughter or son?’
  20. ‘There are nane o your biggins brunt, master, Nor are your woods hewn down; Nor is your lady lighter yet, O dear daughter nor son.
  21. ‘But ye’ve a bower in fair Strathdon, And pictures round it sett, Where your lady and Little Munsgrove In fair Strathdon do sleep.’
  22. ‘O had your tongue! why talk you so About my gay ladye? She is a gude and chaste woman As in the North Countrie.’
  23. ‘A word I dinna lie, my lord, A word I dinna lie; And if ye winna believe my word, Your ain twa een shall see.’
  24. ‘Gin this be a true tale ye tell, That ye have tauld to me, I’ll wed you to my eldest daughter, And married you shall be.
  25. ‘But if it be a fause story That ye hae tauld to me, A high gallows I’ll gar be built, And hanged shall ye be.’
  26. He’s called upon his landlady, The reckoning for to pay, And pulled out twa hands fou o gowd; Says, We’ll reckon anither day.
  27. He called upon his stable-groom, To saddle for him his steed, And trampled ower yon rocky hills Till his horse hoofs did bleed.
  28. There was a man in Lord Burnett’s train Was ane o Munsgrove’s kin, And aye as fast as the horsemen rade, Sae nimbly’s he did rin.
  29. He set a horn to his mouth, And he blew loud and sma, And aye at every sounding’s end, ‘Awa, Munsgrove, awa!’
  30. Then up it raise him Little Munsgrove, And drew to him his sheen; ‘Lye still, lye still,’ the lady she cried, ‘Why get ye up sae seen?’
  31. ‘I think I hear a horn blaw, And it blaws loud and sma; And aye at every sounding’s end, Awa, Munsgrove, awa!’
  32. ‘Lye still, lye still, ye Little Munsgrove, Had my back frae the wind; It’s but my father’s proud shepherd, Caing his hogs to town.’
  33. ‘I think I hear a horn blaw, And it blaws loud and shrill, And aye at every sounding’s end Bids Munsgrove take the hill.’
  34. ‘Lye still, my boy, lye still, my sweet, Had my back frae the cauld; It’s but the sugh o the westlin wind, Blawing ower the birks sae bauld.’
  35. He turned him right and round about, And he fell fast asleep; When up it started Lord Burnett, And stood at their bed-feet.
  36. ‘Is’t for love o my blankets, Munsgrove? Or is’t for love o my sheets? Or is’t for love o my gay lady? Sae soun in your arms she sleeps!’
  37. ‘It’s nae for love o your blankets, my lord, Nor yet for love o your sheets; But wae be to your gay ladye, Sae soun in my arms she sleeps!’
  38. ‘Win up, win up, ye Little Munsgrove, Put all your armour an; It’s never be said anither day I killed a naked man.
  39. ‘I hae twa brands in ae scabbard, Cost me merks twenty-nine; Take ye the best, gie me the warst, For ye’re the weakest man.’
  40. The firs an stroke that Munsgrove drew Wounded Lord Burnett sair; The next an stroke Lord Burnett drew, Munsgrove he spake nae mair.
  41. He turned him to his ladye then, And thus to her said he: ‘All the time we’ve led our life I neer thought this o thee.
  42. ‘How like ye now this well-faird face, That stands straight by your side? Or will ye hate this ill-faird face, Lyes weltering in his blude?’
  43. ‘O better love I this well-faird face, Lyes weltering in his blude, Then eer I’ll do this ill-faird face, That stands straight by my side.’
  44. Then he’s taen out a sharp dagger, It was baith keen and smart, And he has wounded that gay ladye A deep wound to the heart.
  45. ‘A grave, a grave,’ cried Lord Burnett, ‘To bury these two in; And lay my ladye in the highest flat, She’s chiefest o the kin.
  46. ‘A grave, a grave,’ said Lord Burnett, ‘To bury these two in; Lay Munsgrove in the lowest flat, He’s deepest in the sin.
  47. ‘Ye’ll darken my windows up secure, Wi staunchions round about, And there is not a living man Shall eer see me walk out.
  48. ‘Nae mair fine clothes my body deck, Nor kame gang in my hair, Nor burning coal nor candle light Shine in my bower mair.’