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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v She went till she came to Stratford-le-Bow ; Then knew she not whither, nor which way to go : With tears she lamented her hard destime, So sad and so heavy was pretty Bessee.
She kept on her journey until it was day, She went unto Rumford along the high way; Where at the Queen's Arms entertained was she: So fair and well favoured was pretty Bessee.
She had not been there a month to an end, But master and mistress and all was her friend: And every brave gallant, that once did her see, Was straightway enamour'd of pretty Bessee.
Great gifts they did send her of silver and gold, And in their songs daily her love was extoll'd : Her beauty was blazed in every degree ; So fair and so comely was pretty Bessee.
The young men of Rumford in her had their joy ; She showed herself courteous, and modestly coy ; And at her commandement still would they be; So fair and so comely was pretty Bessee.
Four suitors at once unto her did go; They craved her favour, but still she said ' no ; I would not wish gentles to marry with me.'-— Yet ever they honoured pretty Bessee. 814
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