Folk and Traditional Song Lyrics:
Holy Nunnery

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Holy Nunnery

Holy Nunnery

FAIR ANNIE had a costly bower,
Well built wi lime and stane,
And Willie came to visit her,
Wit the light o the meen.

When he came to Annie's bower-door,
He tirled at the pin:
`Ye sleep ye, wake ye, Fair Annie,
Ye'll open, lat me come in.'

`O never a fit,' says Fair Annie,
`Till I your errand ken;'
`My father's vowed a vow, Annie,
I'll tell you when I'm in.

`My father's vowed a rash vow,
I darena marry thee;
My mither's vowed anither vow,
My bride ye'se never be.'

`If ye had tauld me that, Willie,
When we began to woo,
There was naithing in this warld wide
Shoud drawn my love to you.

`A nun, a nun,' said Fair Annie,
`A nun will I be then;'
`A priest, a priest,' said Sweet Willie,
`A priest will I be syne.'

She is gane to her father,
For mither she had nane;
And she is on to her father,
To see if she'd be a nun.

`An asking, asking, father dear,
An asking ye'll grant me;
That's to get to the holy nunnery,
And there to live or die.'

`Your asking's nae sae great, daughter,
But granted it shall be;
For ye'se won to the holy nunnery,
There to live or die.'

Then they gaed on, and farther on,
Till they came to the yate;
And there they spied a maiden porter,
Wi gowd upon her hat.

`An asking, asking, maiden porter,
An asking ye'll grant me;
If I'll won to the holy nunnery,
There to live or die.'

`Your asking's nae sae great, lady,
But granted it shall be;
For ye'se won to the holy nunnery,
There to live or die.

`But ye maun vow a vow, lady,
Before that ye seek in;
Never to kiss a young man's mouth
That goes upon the grun.

`And ye must vow anither vow,
Severely ye must work;
The well-warst vow that ye're to vow,
Is never to gang to kirk.'

`I will vow a vow,' she said,
`Before that I seek in;
I neer shall kiss a young man's mouth
That goes upon the grun.

`And I will vow anither vow,
Severly I will work;
The well-warst vow that I'm to vow
Is never to gang to kirk.'

For seven years now Fair Annie,
In the holy nunnery lay she,
And seven years Sweet Willie lay,
In languish like to die.

`Is there nae duke no lord's daughter,
My son, can comfort thee,
And save thee frae the gates o death?
Is there nae remedie?'

`There is nae duke nor lord's daughter,
Mother, can cofort me,
Except it be my love, Annie,
In the holy nunnery lies she.'

They've dressd Sweet Willie up in silk,
Wi gowd his gown did shine,
And nane coud ken by his pale face
But he was a lady fine.

So they gaed on, and farther on,
Till they came to the yate,
And there they spied a maiden porter,
Wi gowd upon her hat.

`An asking, an asking, maiden porter,
An asking ye'll grant me;
For to win in to the holy nunnery,
Fair Annie for to see.'

`Your asking's nae sae great, lady,
But granted it shall be;
Ye'se won into the holy nunnery,
Fair Annie for to see.

`Be she duke's or lord's daughter,
It's lang sin she came here:'
Fair Annie kent her true love's face;
Says, Come up, my sister dear.

Sweet Willie went to kiss her lips,
As he had wont to do;
But she softly whispered him,
I darena this avow.

This is the version in Child, originally from Buchan.
Child #303
LMP
oct00
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