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The Lord of Lorn and the False Steward

No: 271; variant: 271B

  1. IT was a worthy Lord of Lorn, He was a lord of high degree, He sent [his son] unto the schoole, To learn some civility.
  2. He learned more learning in one day Then other children did in three; And then bespake the schoolmaster Unto him tenderly,
  3. 'In faith thou art the honestest boy That ere I blinkt on with mine eye; I hope thou art some easterling born, The Holy Ghost is with thee.'
  4. He said he was no easterling born, The child thus answered courteously; My father is the Lord of Lorn, And I his son, perdye.
  5. The schoolmaster turned round about, His angry mood he could not swage; He marvelled the child could speak so wise, He being of so tender age.
  6. He girt the saddle to the steed, The bridle of the best gold shone; He took his leave of his fellows all, And quickly he was gone.
  7. And when he came to his father dear He kneeled down upon his knee; 'I am come to you, fathe[r],' he said, 'God's blessing give you me.'
  8. 'Thou art welcome, son,' he said, 'God's blessing I give thee; What tidings hast thou brought, my son, Being come so hastily?'
  9. 'I have brought tidings, father,' he said, 'And so like:d it may be. There's never a book in all Scotland But I can read it, truly.
  10. 'There's nere a doctor in all this realm, For all he goes in rich array, I can write him a lesson soon To learn in seven years day.'
  11. 'That is good tidings,' said the lord, 'All in the place where I do stand; My son, thou shalt into France go, To learn the speeches of each land.'
  12. 'Who shall go with him?' said the lady; 'Husband, we have no more but he;' 'Madam,' he saith, 'My head steward, He hath bin true to me.'
  13. She cal'd the steward to an account, A thousand pound she gave him anon; Sayes, Good Sir Steward, be as good to my child, When he is far from home.
  14. 'If I be fals unto my young lord, Then God be [the] like to me indeed!' And now to France they both are gone, And God be their good speed.
  15. They had not been in France land Not three weeks unto an end, But meat and drink the child got none, Nor mony in purse to spend.
  16. The child ran to the river's side; He was fain to drink water then; And after followed the fals steward, To put the child therein.
  17. 'But nay, marry!' said the child, He asked mercy pittifully, 'Good steward, let me have my life, What ere betide my body.'
  18. 'Now put off thy fair cloathing And give it me anon; So put thee of thy s'lken shirt, With many a golden seam.'
  19. But when the child was stript naked, His body white as the lilly-flower, He might have bin seen for his body A prince's paramour.
  20. He put him in an old kelter coat And hose of the same above the knee, He bid him go to the shepherd's house, To keep sheep on a lonely lee.
  21. The child did say, What shall be my name? Good steward, tell to me; 'Thy name shall be Poor Disawear, That thy name shall be.'
  22. The child came to the shepheard's house, And asked mercy pittifully; Sayes, Good sir shepheard, take me in, To keep sheep on a lonely lee.
  23. But when the shepheard saw the child, He was so pleasant in his eye, 'I have no child, I'le make thee my heir, Thou shalt have my goods, perdie.'
  24. And then bespake the shepheard's wife, Unto the child so tenderly; 'Thou must take the sheep and go to the field, And keep them on a lonely lee.'
  25. Now let us leave talk of the child, That is keeping sheep on a lonely lee, And we'l talk more of the fals steward, And of his fals treachery.
  26. He bought himself three suits of apparrell, That any lord might a seem[d] to worn, He went a wooing to the Duke's daughter, And cal'd himself the Lord of Lorn.
  27. The duke he welcomed the yong lord With three baked stags anon; If he had wist him the fals steward, To the devill he would have gone.
  28. But when they were at supper set, With dainty delicates that was there, The d[uke] said, If thou wilt wed my daughter, I'le give thee a thousand pound a year.
  29. The lady would see the red buck run, And also for to hunt the doe, And with a hundred lusty men The lady did a hunting go.
  30. The lady is a hunting gon, Over le and fell that is so high; There was she ware of a shepherd's boy, With sheep on a lonely lee.
  31. And ever he sighed and made moan, And cried out pittifully, 'My father is the Lord of Lorn, And knows not wha[t]'s become of me.'
  32. And then bespake the lady gay, And to her maid she spake anon, 'Go fetch me hither the shepherd's boy; Why maketh he all this moan?'
  33. But when he came before the lady . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . He was not to learn his courtesie:
  34. 'Where was thou born, thou bonny child? For whose sake makst thou all this mone?' 'My dearest friend, lady,' he said, 'Is dead many years agon.'
  35. 'Tell thou to me, thou bonny child, Tell me the truth and do not lye, Knost thou not the yong lord of Lorn, Is come a wooing unto me?'
  36. 'Yes, forsooth,' then said the child, 'I know the lord then, veryly; The young lord is a valliant lord At home in his own country.'
  37. 'Wilt leave thy sheep, thou bonny child, And come in service unto me?' 'Yes, forsooth,' then said the child, 'At your bidding will I be.'
  38. When the steward lookt upon the child, He bewraild him villainously: 'Where wast thou born, thou vagabone? Or where is thy country?'
  39. 'Ha don! ha don!' said the lady gay, She cal'd the steward then presently; 'Without you bear him more good will, You get no love of me.'
  40. Then bespake the false steward Unto the lady hastily: 'At Aberdine, beyond the seas, His father robbe:d thousands three.'
  41. But then bespake the lady gay Unto her father courteously, Saying, I have found a bonny child My chamberlain to be.
  42. 'Not so, not so,' then said the duke, 'For so it may not be, For that young L[ord] of Lorn that comes a wooing Will think something of thee and me.'
  43. When the duke had lookt upon the child, He seemd so pleasant to the eye, 'Child, because thou lovst horses well, My groom of stables thou shalt be.'
  44. The child plied the horses well A twelve month to an end; He was so courteous and so true Every man became his fri[e]nd.
  45. He led a fair gelding to the water, Where he might drink, verily; The great gelding up with his head And hit the child above the eye.
  46. 'Wo worth thee, horse!' then said the child, 'That ere mare foale:d thee! Thou little knowst what thou hast done; Thou hast stricken a lord of high degree.'
  47. The d[uke's] daughter was in her garden green, She heard the child make great moan; She ran to the child all weeping, And left her maidens all alone.
  48. 'Sing on thy song, thou bonny child, I will release thee of thy pain;' 'I have made an oath, lady,' he said, 'I dare not tell my tale again.'
  49. 'Tell the horse thy tale, thou bonny child, And so thy oath shall save:d be;' But when he told the horse his tale The lady wept full tenderly.
  50. 'I'le do for thee, my bonny child, In faith I will do more for thee; For I will send thy father word, And he shall come and speak with me.
  51. 'I will do more, my bonny child, In faith I will do more for thee, And for thy sake, my bonny child, I'le put my wedding off months three.'
  52. The lady she did write a letter, Full pittifully with her own hand, She sent it to the Lord of Lorn Whereas he dwelt in fair Scotland.
  53. But when the lord had read the letter His lady wept most tenderly: 'I knew what would become of my child In such a far country.'
  54. The old lord cal'd up his merry men, And all that he gave cloth and fee, With seven lords by his side, And into France rides he.
  55. The wind servd, and they did saile So far into France land; They were ware of the Lord of Lorn, With a porter's staff in his hand.
  56. The lords they moved hat and hand, The servingmen fell on their knee; 'What folks be yonder,' said the steward, 'That makes the porter courtesie?'
  57. 'Thou art a false thief,' said the L[ord] of Lorn, 'No longer might I bear with thee; By the law of France thou shalt be ju[d]gd, Whether it be to live or die.'
  58. A quest of lords there chosen was, To bench they came hastily, But when the quest was ended The fals steward must dye.
  59. First they did him half hang, And then they took him down anon, And then put him in boyling lead, And then was sodden, brest and bone.
  60. And then bespake the Lord of Lorn, With many other lords mo; 'Sir Duke, if you be as willing as we, We'l have a marriage before we go.'
  61. These children both they did rejoyce To hear the lord his tale so ended; They had rather to day then to morrow, So he would not be offended.
  62. But when the wedding ended was There was delicious dainty cheer; I'le tell you how long the wedding did last, Full three quarters of a year.
  63. Such a banquet there was wrought, The like was never seen; The king of France brought with him then A hundred tun of good red wine.
  64. Five set of musitians were to be seen, That never rested night nor day, Also Italians there did sing, Full pleasantly with great joy.
  65. Thus have you heard what troubles great Unto successive joyes did turn, And happy news among the rest Unto the worthy Lord of Lorn.
  66. Let rebels therefore warne:d be How mischief once they do pretend; For God may suffer for a time, But will disclose it in the end.