English Folk-Songs For Schools - online book

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1 Lord Thomas he was a forester bold, And a chaser of the king's deer; Fair Eleanor was a fine woman,
And Lord Thomas he loved her dear.
2   " Come riddle my riddle, dear mother,"
he said, " And riddle us both in one : Shall I up and marry the fair Eleanor, And let the brown girl alone? "
3   "The brown girl she has house and
lands, Fair Eleanor she has none, And therefore f charge thee on my blessing, To bring the brown girl home."
4   And as it befel on a holiday,
As many there be beside, Lord Thomas he went to the fair Eleanor, That should have been his bride.
5   " What news, what news, Lord
. Thomas ? " she said, "What news dost thou bring me?' " I am come to bid thee to my wedding, And that is bad news for thee."
6   " O heaven forbid. Lord Thomas ! " she
said, " That thing should ne'er be done. I ought to have been thy bride myself, And thou shouldst have been bride­groom."
7   " Come riddle my riddle, dear mother,"
she said, " And riddle it all in one : Shall I go myself to Lord Thomas's
wedding, Or whether I tarry at home ? "
8   "O here be many your friends,
daughter, And there be many your foe. Therefore I charge thee on my blessing, To Lord Thomas's weddin g don't go."
9 " There be many that are my friends, mother, But were every one my foe, Betide me life, or betide me death, To Lord Thomas's wedding I'll go."
10 But when she came to Lord Thomas's gate, She knock-ed there at the ring, And who was :>o readv as Lord Thomas To let fair Eleanor in ?
ii "Is this your bride?" fair Eleanor said ; " Methinks she is but brown ; Thou mightest have had as lair a woman As ever trod on the ground."
12   The brown bride had a little penknife,
That was both long and sharp, And betwixt the short ribs and the
long, She stabbed fair Eleanor's heart.
13   "O Eleanor fair," Lord Thomas he
said, " Methinks you look wondrous wan ; You once had a colour as fresh as a
rose As ever the sun shone on."
14   "O art thou blind, Lord Thomas ?r
she said, " Or canst thou not well see. That here, here is falling my own heart's blood, A-trickling down my knee? "
15   Lord Thomas he had a sword at his
side As he walk-ed in the hall, He smote the brown bride's head from
her neck, And threw it against the wall.
16   He set the hilt against the ground,
And the point against his heart. There never three lovers together did meet, That sooner again did part.
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