The English And Scottish Popular Ballads

by FRANCIS JAMES CHILD.

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72A: The Clerk's Twa Sons o Owensford


72A.1	O I will sing to you a sang,
	But oh my heart is sair!
	The clerk's twa sons in Owsenford
	Has to learn some unco lair.
72A.2	They hadna been in fair Parish
	A twelvemonth an a day,
	Till the clerk's twa sons o Owsenford
	Wi the mayor's twa dauthrers lay.
72A.3	O word's gaen to the mighty mayor,
	As he saild on the sea,
	That the clerk's twa sons o Owsenford
	Wi his twa daughters lay.
72A.4	'If they hae lain wi my twa daughters,
	Meg an Marjorie,
	The morn, or I taste meat or drink,
	They shall be hangit hie.'
72A.5	O word's gaen to the clerk himself,
	As he sat drinkin wine,
	That his twa sons in fair Parish
	Were bound in prison strong.
72A.6	Then up and spak the clerk's ladye,
	And she spak powrfully:
	'O tak with ye a purse of gold,
	Or take with ye three,
	And if ye canna get William,
	Bring Andrew hame to me.'
	* * * * *
72A.7	'O lye ye here for owsen, dear sons,
	Or lie ye here for kye?
	Or what is it that ye lie for,
	Sae sair bound as ye lie?'
72A.8	'We lie not here for owsen, dear father,
	Nor yet lie here for kye,
	But it's for a little o dear bought love
	Sae sair bound as we lie.'
72A.9	O he's gane to the mighty mayor,
	And he spoke powerfully:
	'Will ye grant me my twa sons' lives,
	Either for gold or fee?
	Or will ye be sae gude a man
	As grant them baith to me?'
72A.10	'I'll no grant ye yere twa sons' lives,
	Neither for gold or fee,
	Nor will I be sae gude a man
	As gie them back to thee;
	Before the morn at twelve o'clock
	Ye'll see them hangit hie.'
72A.11	Up an spak his twa daughters,
	An they spak powrfully:
	'Will ye grant us our twa loves' lives,
	Either for gold or fee?
	Or will ye be sae gude a man
	As grant them baith to me.'
72A.12	'I'll no grant ye yere twa loves' lives,
	Neither for gold or fee,
	Nor will I be sae gude a man
	As grant their lives to thee;
	Before the morn at twelve o'clock
	Ye'll see them hangit hie.'
72A.13	O he's taen out these proper youths,
	And hangd them on a tree,
	And he's bidden the clerk o Owsenford
	Gang hame to his ladie.
72A.14	His lady sits on yon castle-wa,
	Beholding dale an doun,
	An there she saw her ain gude lord
	Come walkin to the toun.
72A.15	'Ye're welcome, welcome, my ain gude lord,
	Ye're welcome hame to me;
	But where away are my twa sons?
	Ye should hae brought them wi ye.'
72A.16	'It's I've putten them to a deeper lair,
	An to a higher schule;
	Yere ain twa sons ill no be here
	Till the hallow days o Yule.'
72A.17	'O sorrow, sorrow come mak my bed,
	An dool come lay me doon!
	For I'll neither eat nor drink,
	Nor set a fit on ground.'

72B: The Clerk's Twa Sons o Owensford


72B.1	DE weel, de weel, my twa young sons,
	An learn weel at the squeel;
	Tak no up wi young women-kin,
	An learn to act the feel.'
72B.2	But they had na been in Blomsbury
	A twalmon and a day,
	Till the twa pretty clerks o Owsenfoord
	Wi the mayr's dauchters did lay.
72B.3	Word has gaen till the auld base mayr,
	As he sat at his wine,
	That the twa pretty clerks o Owsenford
	Wi his daughters had lien.
72B.4	Then out bespak the auld base mayr,
	An an angry man was he:
	'Tomorrow, before I eat meat or drink,
	I'll see them hanged hie.'
72B.5	But word has gaen to Owsenfoord
	. . . . .
	Before the letter was read,
	She let the tears doun fa.
	* * * * *
72B.6	'Your sons are weel, an verra weel,
	An learnin at the squeel;
	But I fear ye winna see your sons
	At the holy days o Yeel.'
72B.7	Their father he went to Bloomsbury,
	He turnit him roun about,
	An there he saw his twa braw sons,
	In the prison, leukin out.
72B.8	'O lie ye there for owsen, my sons,
	Or lie ye there for kye?
	Or lie ye there for dear fond love,
	Si closs as ye de lie?'
72B.9	'We lie na here for owsen, father,
	We lie na here for kye,
	But we lie here for dear fond love,
	An we're condemned to die.'
	* * * * *
72B.10	Then out bespak the clerks' fader,
	An a sorry man was he:
	'Gae till you bowers, ye lillie-flowers,
	For a' this winna dee.'
72B.11	Then out bespak the aul base mayr,
	An an angry man was he:
	'Gar to your bowers, ye vile base whores,
	Ye'll see them hanged hie.'
	* * * * *

72C: The Clerk's Twa Sons o Owensford


72C.1	IRR'rrLL tell you a tale, or I'll sing you a song,
	Will grieve your heart full sair;
	How the twa bonny clerks o Oxenford
	Went aff to learn their lear.
72C.2	Their father lovd them very weel,
	Their mother muckle mair,
	And sent them on to Billsbury,
	To learn deeper lear.
72C.3	Then out it spake their mother dear:
	'Do weel, my sons, do weel,
	And haunt not wi the young women,
	Wi them to play the fiel.'
72C.4	Their father sware them on their souls,
	Their mother on their life,
	Never to lie wi the auld mayor's daughters,
	Nor kiss the young mayor's wife.
72C.5	But they hadna been in Billsbury
	A twallmonth and a day,
	Till the twa bonny clerks o Oxenford
	With the mayor's twa daughters lay.
72C.6	As these twa clerks they sat and wrote,
	The ladies sewed and sang;
	There was mair mirth in that chamber
	Than all fair Ferrol's land.
72C.7	But word's gane to the wicked mayor,
	As he sat at the wine,
	That the twa bonny clerks o Oxenford
	With his twa daughters had lyne.
72C.8	'O have they lain with my daughters dear,
	Heirs out ower a' my land,
	The morn, ere I eat or drink,
	I'll hang them with my hand.'
72C.9	Then he has taen the twa bonny clerks,
	Bound them frae tap to tae,
	Till the reddest blood in their body
	Out ower their nails did gae.
72C.10	'Whare will I get a little wee boy,
	Will win gowd to his fee,
	That will rin on to Oxenford,
	And that right speedilie?'
72C.11	Then up it starts a bonny boy,
	Gold yellow was his hair;
	I wish his father and mother joy,
	His true-love muckle mair.
72C.12	Says, Here am I, a little wee boy,
	Will win gowd to my fee,
	That will rin on to Oxenford,
	And that right speedilie.
72C.13	'Where ye find the grass green growing,
	Set down your heel and rin,
	And where ye find the brigs broken,
	Ye'll bend your bow and swim.
72C.14	'But when ye come to Oxenford,
	Bide neither to chap nor ca,
	But set your bent bow to your breast,
	And lightly loup the wa.'
72C.15	Where he found the grass green growing,
	He slackt his shoes and ran,
	And where he found the brigs broken,
	He bent his bow and swam.
72C.16	And when he came to Oxenford,
	Did neither chap nor ca,
	But set his bent bow to his breast,
	And lightly leapt the wa.
72C.17	'What news, what news, my little wee boy?
	What news hae ye to me?
	How are my sons in Billsbury,
	Since they went far frae me?'
72C.18	'Your sons are well, and learning well,
	But at a higher school,
	And ye'll never see your sons again.
	On the holy days o Yule.'
72C.19	'Wi sorrow now gae make my bed,
	Wi care and caution lay me down;
	That man on earth shall neer be born
	Shall see me mair gang on the groun.
72C.20	'Take twenty pounds in your pocket,
	And ten and ten to tell them wi,
	And gin ye getna hynde Henry,
	Bring ye gay Gilbert hame to me.'
72C.21	Out it speaks old Oxenford,
	A sorry, sorry man, was he:
	Out it speaks old Oxenford,
	A sorry, sorry man, was he:
	'Your strange wish does me surprise,
	They are baith there alike to me.
72C.22	'Wi sorrow now I'll saddle my horse,
	And I will gar my bridle ring,
	And I shall be at Billsbury
	Before the small birds sweetly sing.'
72C.23	Then sweetly sang the nightingale,
	As she sat on the wand,
	But sair, sair, mournd Oxenford,
	As he gaed in the strand.
72C.24	When he came to Billsbury,
	He rade it round about,
	And at a little shott-window
	His sons were looking out.
72C.25	'O lye ye there, my sons,' he said,
	'For oxen, or for kye?
	Or is it for a little o deep dear love,
	Sae sair bound as ye lye?'
72C.26	'We lye not here, father,' they said,
	'For oxen, nor for kye;
	It's all for a little o deep dear love,
	Sae sair bound as we lye.
72C.27	'O borrow's, borrow's, father,' they said,
	'For the love we bear to thee!'
	'O never fear, my pretty sons,
	Well borrowed ye shall be.'
72C.28	Then he's gane to the wicked mayor,
	And hailed him courteouslie:
	'Good day, good day, O Billsbury,
	God make you safe and free!'
	'Come sit you down, brave Oxenford,
	God make you safe and free!'
	'Come sit you down, brave Oxenford,
	What are your wills with me?'
72C.29	'Will ye gie me my sons again,
	For gold or yet for fee?
	Will ye gie me my sons again,
	For's sake that died on tree?'
72C.30	'I winna gie you your sons again,
	For gold nor yet for fee;
	But if ye'll stay a little while,
	Ye'se see them hanged hie.'
72C.31	Ben it came the mayor's daughters,
	Wi kirtle, coat alone;
	Their eyes did sparkle like the gold,
	As they tript on the stone.
72C.32	'Will ye gie us our loves, father,
	For gold or yet for fee?
	Or will ye take our own sweet life,
	And let our true-loves be?'
72C.33	He's taen a whip into his hand,
	And lashed them wondrous sair:
	Gae to your bowers, ye vile rank whores,
	Ye'se never see them mair.
72C.34	Then out it speaks old Oxenford,
	A sorry man was he:
	'Gang to your bowers, ye lily-flowers,
	For a' this maunna be.'
72C.35	Out it speaks him hynde Henry:
	'Come here, Janet, to me;
	Will ye gie me my faith and troth,
	And love, as I gae thee?'
72C.36	'Ye shall hae your faith and troth,
	Wi God's blessing and mine;'
	And twenty times she kissd his mouth,
	Her father looking on.
72C.37	Then out it speaks him gay Gilbert:
	'Come here, Margaret, to me;
	Will ye gie me my faith and troth,
	And love, as I gae thee?'
72C.38	'Yes, ye shall get your faith and troth,
	Wi God's blessing and mine;'
	And twenty times she kissd his mouth,
	Her father looking on.
72C.39	'Ye'll take aff your twa black hats,
	Lay them down on a stone,
	That nane may ken that ye are clerks
	Till ye are putten down.'
72C.40	The bonny clerks they died that morn,
	Their loves died lang ere noon;
	Their father and mother for sorrow died,
	They all died very soon.
72C.41	These six souls went up to heaven,
	I wish sae may we a'!
	The mighty mayor went down to hell,
	For wrong justice and law.

72D: The Clerk's Twa Sons o Owensford


72D.1	OH I will tell a tale of woe,
	Which makes my heart richt sair;
	The Clerk's two sons of Oxenfoord
	Are too soon gone to lair.
72D.2	They thought their father's service mean,
	Their mother's no great affair;
	But they would go to fair Berwick,
	To learn [some] unco lair.
72D.3	They had not been in fair Berwick
	A twelve month and a day,
	Till the clerk's two sons of Oxenfoord
	With the mayor's two daughters lay.
72D.4	This word came to the mighty mayor,
	As he hunted the rae,
	That the clerks two sons of Oxenfoord
	With his two daughters lay.
72D.5	'If they have lain with my daughters,
	The heirs of all my land,
	I make a vow, and will keep it true,
	To hang them with my hand.'
72D.6	When he was certain of the fact,
	An angry man was he,
	And he has taken these two brothers,
	And hanged them on the tree.
72D.7	Word it has come to Oxenfoord's clerk,
	Ere it was many day,
	That his two sons sometime ago
	With the mayor's two daughters lay.
72D.8	'O saddle a horse to me,' he cried,
	'O do it quick and soon,
	That I may ride to fair Berwick,
	And see what can be done.'
72D.9	But when he came to fair Berwick
	A grieved man was he,
	When that he saw his two bonnie sons
	Both hanging on the tree.
72D.10	'O woe is me,' the clerk cried out,
	'This dismal sight to see,
	All the whole comfort of my life
	Dead hanging on the tree!'
72D.11	He turned his horse's head about,
	Making a piteous moan,
	And all the way to Oxenfoord
	Did sad and grievously groan.
72D.12	His wife did hastily cry out,
	'You only do I see;
	What have you done with my two sons,
	You should have brought to me?'
72D.13	'I put them to some higher lair,
	And to a deeper scule;
	You will not see your bonnie sons
	Till the haly days of Yule.
72D.14	'And I will spend my days in grief,
	Will never laugh nor sing;
	There's never a man in Oxenfoord
	Shall hear my bridle ring.'

Next: 73. Lord Thomas and Annet






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