Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard
No: 81; variant: 81[O]
- There was four-and-twenty ladies
Assembled at a ball,
And who being there but the king’s wife,
The fairest of them all.
- She put her eye on the Moss Groves,
Moss Groves put his eye upon she:
‘How would you like, my little Moss Groves,
One night to tarry with me?’
- ‘To sleep one night with you, fair lady,
It would cause a wonderful sight;
For I know by the ring upon your hand
You are the king’s wife.’
- ‘If I am the king’s wife,
I mean him to beguile;
For he has gone on a long distance,
And won’t be back for a while.’
- Up spoke his brother,
An angry man was he;
‘Another night I’ll not stop in the castle
Till my brother I’ll go see.’
- When he come to his brother,
He was in a hell of a fright:
‘Get up, get up, brother dear!
There’s a man in bed with your wife.’
- ‘If it’s true you tell unto me,
A man I’ll make of thee;
If it’s a lie you tell unto me,
It’s slain thou shalt be.’
- When he came to his hall,
The bells begun to ring,
And all the birds upon the bush
They begun to sing.
- ‘How do you like my covering-cloths?
And how do you like my sheets?
How do you like my lady fair,
All night in her arms to sleep?’
- ‘Your covering-cloths I like right well,
Far better than your sheets;
Far better than all your lady fair,
All night in her arms to sleep.’
- ‘Get up, get up now, little Moss Groves,
Your clothing do put on;
It shall never be said in all England
That I drew on a naked man.
- ‘There is two swords all in the castle
That cost me very dear;
You take the best, and I the worst,
And let’s decide it here.’
- The very first blow Moss Groves he gave,
He wounded the king most sore;
The very first blow the king gave him,
Moss Groves he struck no more.
- She lifted up his dying head
And kissed his cheek and chin:
‘I’d sooner have you now, little Moss Groves,
Than all their castles or kings.’