The Oxford Book of Ballads - online book

A Selection Of The Best English Lyric Ballads Chosen & Edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch

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' To seik het water beneith cauld ice,
Surely it is a greit folie— I have asked grace at a graceless face,
But there is nane for my men and me i
' But had I kenn'd ere I cam' frae hame, How thou unkind wadst been to me !
I wad have keepit the Border side, In spite of all thy force and thee.
' Wist England's King that I was ta'en,
O gin a blythe man he wad be ! For anes I slew his sister's son,
And on his breist bane brak a trie.'
John wore a girdle about his middle, Imbroider'd owre wi' burning gold,
Bespangled wi' the same metal, Maist beautiful was to behold.
xxvr There hung nine targats at Johnie's hat,
And ilk ane worth three hundred pound— ' What wants that knave that a King suld have,
But the sword of honour and the crown ?
k O where got thou these targats, Johnie, That blink sae brawlie abune thy brie ?'—
' I gat them in the field fechting,
Where, cruel King, thou durst not be.
targats] round ornaments.          blink sae brawlie] glance so
bravely. brie] brow. 402
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