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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' Cast off, cast off your Holland smock
That's border'd with the lawn, For it is too fine and costly To rot in the salt sea foam.'—
' O turn about, thou false Sir John, And look to the leaf o' the tree;
For it never became a gentleman A naked woman to see.'
He turn'd himself straight round about
To look to the leaf o' the tree; She's twined her arms about his waist
And thrown him into the sea.
' O hold a grip o' me, May Colvin,
For fear that I should drown ; I'll take you home to your father's bower
And safe I'll set you down.'
No help, no help, thou false Sir John,
No help, no pity thee ! For you lie not in a caulder bed Than you thought to lay me.'
She mounted on her milk-white steed,
And led the dapple-grey, And she rode till she reach'd her father's gate,
At the breakin' o' the day.
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