The English And Scottish Popular Ballads

by FRANCIS JAMES CHILD.

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79A: The Wife of Usher's Well


79A.1	THERE lived a wife at Usher's Well,
	And a wealthy wife was she;
	She had three stout and stalwart sons,
	And sent them oer the sea.
79A.2	They hadna been a week from her,
	A week but barely ane,
	Whan word came to the carline wife
	That her three sons were gane.
79A.3	They hadna been a week from her,
	A week but barely three,
	Whan word came to the carlin wife
	That her sons she'd never see.
79A.4	'I wish the wind may never cease,
	Nor fashes in the flood,
	Till my three sons come hame to me,
	In earthly flesh and blood.'
79A.5	It fell about the Martinmass,
	When nights are lang and mirk,
	The carlin wife's three sons came hame,
	And their hats were o the birk.
79A.6	It neither grew in syke nor ditch,
	Nor yet in ony sheugh;
	But at the gates o Paradise,
	That birk grew fair eneugh.
	* * * * *
79A.7	'Blow up the fire, my maidens,
	Bring water from the well;
	For a' my house shall feast this night,
	Since my three sons are well.'
79A.8	And she has made to them a bed,
	She's made it large and wide,
	And she's taen her mantle her about,
	Sat down at the bed-side.
	* * * * *
79A.9	Up then crew the red, red cock,
	And up and crew the gray;
	The eldest to the youngest said,
	'Tis time we were away.
79A.10	The cock he hadna crawd but once,
	And clappd his wings at a',
	When the youngest to the eldest said,
	Brother, we must awa.
79A.11	'The cock doth craw, the day doth daw,
	The channerin worm doth chide;
	Gin we be mist out o our place,
	A sair pain we maun bide.
79A.12	'Fare ye weel, my mother dear!
	Fareweel to barn and byre!
	And fare ye weel, the bonny lass
	Fareweel to barn and byre!
	And fare ye weel, the bonny lass
	That kindles my mother's fire!'

79B: The Wife of Usher's Well


79B.1	THE hallow day o Yule are come,
	The nights are lang an dark,
	An in an cam her ain twa sons,
	Wi their hats made o the bark.
79B.2	'O eat an drink, my merry men a',
	The better shall ye fare,

	For my twa sons the are come hame
	To me for evermair.'
79B.3	She has gaen an made their bed,
	An she's made it saft an fine,
	An she's happit them wi her gay mantel,
	Because they were her ain.
79B.4	O the young cock crew i the merry Linkeum,
	An the wild fowl chirpd for day;
	The aulder to the younger did say,
	Dear brother, we maun away.
79B.5	'Lie still, lie still a little wee while,
	Lie still but if we may;
	For gin my mother miss us away
	She'll gae mad or it be day.'
79B.6	O it's they've taen up their mother's mantel,
	An they've hangd it on the pin:
	'O lang may ye hing, my mother's mantel,
	Or ye hap us again!'

79[C]: The Wife of Usher's Well


79[C].1	There was a widow-woman lived in far Scotland,
	And in far Scotland she did live,
	And all her cry was upon sweet Jesus,
	Sweet Jesus so meek and mild.
79[C.2]	Then Jesus arose one morning quite soon,
	And arose one morning betime,
	And away he went to far Scotland,
	And to see what the good woman want.
79[C.3]	And when he came to far Scotland,
	. . . . . . .
	Crying, What, O what, does the good woman want,
	That is calling so much on me?
79[C.4]	'It's you go rise up my three sons,
	Their names, Joe, Peter, and John,
	And put breath in their breast,
	And clothing on their backs,
	And immediately send them to far Scotland,
	That their mother may take some rest.'
79[C.5]	Then he went and rose up her three sons,
	Their names, Joe, Peter, and John,
	And did immediately send them to far Scotland,
	That their mother may take some rest.
79[C.6]	Then she made up a supper so neat,
	As small, as small, as a yew-tree leaf,
	But never one bit they could eat.
79[C.7]	Then she made up a bed so soft,
	The softest that ever was seen,
	And the widow-woman and her three sons
	They went to bed to sleep.
79[C.8]	There they lay; about the middle of the night,
	Bespeaks the youngest son:
	'The white cock he has crowed once,
	The second has, so has the red.'
79[C.9]	And then bespeaks the eldest son:
	'I think, I think it is high time
	For the wicked to part from their dead.'
79[C.10]	Then they laid [ led] her along a green road,
	The greenest that ever was seen,
	Until they came to some far chaperine,
	Which was builded of lime and sand;
	Until they came to some far chaperine,
	Which was builded with lime and stone.
79[C.11]	And then he opened the door so big,
	And the door so very wide;
	Said he to her three sons, Walk in!
	But told her to stay outside.
79[C.12]	'Go back, go back!' sweet Jesus replied,
	'Go back, go back!' says he;
	'For thou hast nine days to repent
	For the wickedness that thou hast done.'
79[C.13]	Nine days then was past and gone,
	And nine days then was spent,
	Sweet Jesus called her once again,
	And took her to heaven with him.

Next: 80. Old Robin of Portingale






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