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Child Maurice

No: 83; variant: 83F

  1. GIL MORRICE was an erles son, His name it waxed wide; It was nae for his great riches, Nor yet his mickle pride, Bot it was for a lady gay, That livd on Carron side.
  2. ‘Whair sall I get a bonny boy, That will win hose and shoen, That will gae to Lord Barnard’s ha, And bid his lady cum?
  3. ‘And ye maun rin errand, Willie, And ye may rin wi pride; When other boys gae on their foot, On horseback ye sall ride.’
  4. ‘O no! Oh no! my master dear, I dare nae for my life; ‘O no! Oh no! my master dear, I dare nae for my life; ‘O no! Oh no! my master dear, I dare nae for my life; I’ll no gae to the bauld baron’s, For to triest furth his wife.’
  5. ‘My bird Willie, my boy Willie, My dear Willie,’ he sayd, ‘How can ye strive against the stream? For I sall be obeyd.’
  6. ‘Bot, O my master dear,’ he cry’d, ‘In grene-wod ye’re your lain; Gi owre sic thochts, I walde ye rede, For fear ye should be tain.’ Gi owre sic thochts, I walde ye rede, For fear ye should be tain.’
  7. ‘Haste, haste, I say, gae to the ha, Bid hir cum here wi speid; If ye refuse my heigh command, I’ll gar your body bleid.
  8. ‘Gae bid hir take this gay mantel, ‘Tis a’ gowd but the hem; Bid hir cum to the gude grene-wode, And bring nane bot hir lain.
  9. ‘And there it is, a silken sarke, Hir ain hand sewd the sleive; And bid her cum to Gill Morice, Speir nae bauld baron’s leave.’
  10. ‘Yes, I will gae your black errand, Though it be to your cost; Sen ye by me will nae be warnd, In it ye sall find frost.
  11. ‘The baron he’s a man of might, He neir could bide to taunt; As ye will see, before it’s nicht, How sma ye hae to vaunt.
  12. ‘And sen I maun your errand rin, Sae sair against my will, I’se mak a vow, and keip it trow, It sall be done for ill.’
  13. And when he came to broken brigue, He bent his bow and swam; And when [he] came to grass growing, Set down his feet and ran.
  14. And when he came to Barnard’s ha, Would neither chap nor ca, Bot set his bent bow to his breist, And lichtly lap the wa.
  15. He wauld nae tell the man his errand, Though he stude at the gait; Bot straiht into the ha he cam, Whair they were set at meit.
  16. ‘Hail! hail! my gentle sire and dame, My message winna waite; Dame, ye maun to the gude grene-wod, Before that it be late.
  17. ‘Ye’re bidden tak this gay mantel, ‘Tis a’ gowd bot the hem; You maun gae to the gude grene-wode, Evn by your sel alane.
  18. ‘And there it is, a silken sarke, Your ain hand sewd the sleive; Ye maun gae speik to Gill Morice, Speir nae bauld baron’s leave.’
  19. The lady stamped wi hir foot, And winked wi hir ee; But a’ that she coud say or do, Forbidden he wad nae bee.
  20. ‘It’s surely to my bowr-woman; It neir could be to me:’ ‘I brocht it to Lord Barnard’s lady; I trow that ye be she.’
  21. Then up and spack the wylie nurse, The bairn upon hir knee: ‘If it be cum frae Gill Morice, It’s deir welcum to mee.’
  22. ‘Ye leid, ye leid, ye filthy nurse, Sae loud’s I heire ye lee; I brocht it to Lord Barnard’s lady; I trow ye be nae shee.’
  23. Then up and spack the bauld baron, An angry man was hee; He’s tain the table wi his foot, Sae has he wi his knee, Till siller cup and ezar dish In flinders he gard flee.
  24. ‘Gae bring a robe of your cliding, That hings upon the pin, And I’ll gae to the gude grene-wode, And speik wi your lemman.’
  25. ‘O bide at hame, now, Lord Barnard, I warde ye bide at hame; Neir wyte a man for violence That neir wate ye wi nane.’
  26. Gil Morice sate in gude grene-wode, He whistled and he sang: ‘O what mean a’ the folk coming? My mother tarries lang.’
  27. The baron came to the grene-wode, Wi mickle dule and care, And there he first spied Gill Morice, Kameing his yellow hair.
  28. ‘Nae wonder, nae wonder, Gill Morice, My lady loed thee weel; The fairest part of my body Is blacker than thy heel.
  29. ‘Yet neir the less now, Gill Morice, For a’ thy great bewty, Ye’s rew the day ye eir was born; That head sall gae wi me.’
  30. Now he has drawn his trusty brand, And slaited on the strae, And thro Gill Morice fair body He’s gard cauld iron gae.
  31. And he has tain Gill Morice head, And set it on a speir; The meanest man in a’ his train Has gotten that head to bear.
  32. And he has tain Gill Morice up, Laid him across his steid, And brocht him to his painted bowr, And laid him on a bed.
  33. The lady sat on castil-wa, Beheld baith dale and doun, And there she saw Gill Morice head Cum trailing to the toun.
  34. ‘Far better I loe that bluidy head, Bot and that yellow hair, Than Lord Barnard, and a’ his lands, As they lig here and thair.’
  35. And she has tain hir Gill Morice, And kissd baith mouth and chin: ‘I was once as fow of Gill Morice As the hip is o the stean.
  36. ‘I got ye in my father’s house, Wi mickle sin and shame; I brocht thee up in gude green-wode, Under the heavy rain.
  37. ‘Oft have I by thy cradle sitten, And fondly seen thee sleip; Bot now I gae about thy grave, The saut tears for to weip.’
  38. And syne she kissd his bluidy cheik, And syne his bluidy chin: ‘O better I loe my Gill Morice Than a’ my kith and kin!’
  39. ‘Away, away, ye ill woman, And an il deith mait ye dee! Gin I had kend he’d bin your son, He’d neir bin slain for mee.’