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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With that his lute he twanged straightway, And thereon began most sweetly to play; And after that lessons were played two or three, He strain'd out this song most delicatelie.
' A poor beggar's daughter did dwell on a green, Who for her fairness might well be a queen: A blithe bonny lass, and a dainty was she, And many one called her pretty Bessee.
' Her father he had no goods, nor no land, But begg'd for a penny all day with his hand ; And yet to her marriage he gave thousands three, And still he hath somewhat for pretty Bessee.
' And if any one here her birth do disdain, Her father is ready, with might and with main, To prove she is come of noble degree: Therefore never flout at pretty Bessee.'
With that the lords and the company round With hearty laughter were ready to swound; At last said the lords, ' Full well we may see, The bride and the beggar's beholden to thee.'
On this the bride all blushing did rise, The pearly drops standing within her fair eyes, ' O pardon my father, grave nobles,' quoth she, 'That through blind affection thus doteth on me.'
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