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The Gay Goshawk

No: 96; variant: 96B

  1. OUT then spoke the king of Scotland, And he spak wondrous clear: Where will I get a boy, and a pretty little boy, That will my tidings bear?
  2. Out then spak a pretty little bird, As it sat on a brier: What will ye gie me, king of Scotland, he said, If I your tidings will bear?
  3. ‘One wing of the beaten gowd, And another of the silver clear; It’s all unto thee, my pretty little bird, If thou my tidings will bear.’
  4. The bird flew high, the bird flew low, This bird flew to and fro, Until that he came to the king of England’s dochter, Who was sitting in her bower-window.
  5. ‘Here is a gift, a very rare gift, And the king has sent you three; He says if your father and mother winna let, You may come privately.
  6. ‘Here is a gift, and a very rare gift, The king has sent you five; He says he will not wait any longer on you, If there be another woman alive.’
  7. She’s away to her mother dear, Made a low beck on her knee: ‘What is your asking of me, daughter? Queen of Scotland you never shall be.’
  8. ‘That’s not my asking of thee, mother, That’s not my asking of thee; But that if I die in merry England, In Scotland you will bury me.’
  9. She’s awa to her father dear, Made a low beck on her knee: ‘What is your asking of me, daughter? Queen of Scotland you never shall be.’
  10. ‘That’s not my asking of thee, father, That’s not my asking of thee; But that if I die in merry England, In Scotland you will bury me.’
  11. She walked to and fro, She walked up and down, But ye wud na spoken three words to an end Till she was in a deep swoon.
  12. Out then spoke an auld witch-wife, And she spoke random indeed: Honoured madam, I would have you to try Three drops of the burning lead.
  13. Her mother went weeping round and round, She dropped one on her chin; ‘Och and alace,’ her mother did say, ‘There is no breath within!’
  14. Her mother went weeping round and round, She dropt one on her briest; ‘Och and alace,’ her mother did cry, ‘For she’s died without a priest!’
  15. Her mother went weeping round and round, She dropped one on her toe; ‘Och and alace,’ her mother did cry, ‘To Scotland she must goe!
  16. ‘Call down, call down her sisters five, To make to her a smock; The one side of the bonny beaten gold, And the other of the needle-work.
  17. ‘Call down, call down her brothers seven, To make for her a bier; The one side of the bonny beaten gold, And the other of the silver clear.’
  18. Many a mile by land they went, And many a league by sea, Until that they came to the king of Scotland, Who was walking in his own valley.
  19. ‘Here is a gift, and a very rare gift, And you to have made her your own; But now she is dead, and she’s new come from her steed, And she’s ready to lay in the ground.’
  20. O he has opened the lid of the coffin, And likewise the winding sheet, And thrice he has kissed her cherry, cherry cheek, And she smiled on him full sweet.
  21. ‘One bit of your bread,’ she says, ‘And one glass of your wine; It’s all for you and your sake I’ve fasted long days nine.
  22. ‘One glass of your wine,’ she says, ‘And one bit of your bread; For it’s all for you and for your sake I suffered the burning lead.
  23. ‘Go home, go home, my brothers seven, You may go blow your horn; And you may tell it in merry England That your sister has given you the scorn.
  24. ‘Go home, go home, my brothers seven, Tell my sisters to sew their seam; And you may tell it in merry England That your sister she is queen.’