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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' My seven sons in seven swans
Aboon their heads to flee; And I mysell a gay goshawk,
A bird o' high degree.'
Then siching said the Queen hersel', ' That thing 's too high for me !'
But she applied to an auld woman Wha had mair skill than she.
Instead o' dancers to dance a dance.
Or minstrels for to play, Four-and-twenty well-wight men
Turn'd birds o' feathers gray.
Her seven sons in seven swans,
Aboon their heads to flee; And he himsel' a gay goshawk,
A bird o' high degree.
This flock o' birds took flight and flew
Beyond the raging sea, And landed near the Earl Mar's cast.'e,
Took shelter in every tree.
They were a flock o' pretty birds
Right comely to be seen ; The people view'd them wi' surprise
As they danced on the green.
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