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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Away this little boy is gone,
As fast as he could run; When he came where brigs were broke,
He laid him down and swum.
When he saw the lady, he said, ' Lord may your keeper be ! '—
' What news, my pretty boy, Hast thou to tell to me ? '—
' Your daughter Mary orders me, As you sit in a chair of stone,
To ask you how you like the news, Of seven to have but one ?
' Your daughter gives you her commands, As you sit in a chair of oak,
And bids you come to her sickening, Or her merry lake-wake.
' She gives command to her brothers
William, Ralph, and John, [And] to her sister Betty fair,
And to her white as bone.
' She bids her keep her maidenhead,
Be sure [to keep it lang :] For if e'er she come into man's bed, The same gate will she gang.' 364
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