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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'No wonder, no wonder,'John Steward he said,
' My lady loved thee well, For the fairest part of my body
Is blacker than thy heel.'
John Steward had a little brown sword That hung low down by his knee;
He has cut the head off Childe Maurice And the body put on a tree.
And he prick'd the head on his sword's point,
Went singing there beside, And he rode till he came to the castle
Whereas his lady ly'ed.
And when he came to his lady—
Look'd o'er the castle-wall— He threw the head into her lap,
Saying ' Lady, tak' the ball! '
Says, ' Dost thou know Childe Maurice' head,
If that thou dost it see ? And lap it soft, and kiss it oft,
For thou loved'st him better than me.'
But when she look'd on Childe Maurice' head She ne'er spake words but three :
' I never bare no child but one, And you have slain him, trulye.'
ly'ed] lived.
tak'] take, catch.
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