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AMERICAN BALLADS AND SONGS 155 69
MY BONNY BLACK BESS
Let the lover his mistress's beauty rehearse, And laud her attractions in languishing verse; Be it mine in rude strain but with truth to express The love that I bear to my Bonny Black Bess.
From the West was her dam, from the East was her
sire; • From the one came her swiftness, the other her fire; No peer of the realm better blood can possess Than flows in the blood of my Bonny Black Bess.
Look! Look! how that eyeball glows bright as a brand, That neck proudly arching, those nostrils expand; Mark that wide flowing mane, of which each silky tress Might adorn prouder beauties, though none like Black Bess.
Mark that skin sleek as velvet and dusky as night,
With its jet undisfigured by one lock of white,
That throat branched with veins, prompt to charge or
caress, Now is she not beautiful, bonny Black Bess?
Over highway and byway, in rough or smooth weather, Some thousands of miles have we journeyed together;