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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To every one this answer she made,
Wherefore unto her they joyfully said,
' This thing to fulfil we all do agree ;
But where dwells thy father, my pretty Bessee ?'
' My father,' she said, ' is soon to be seen: The silly blind beggar of Bednall-green, That daily sits begging for charitie, He is the good father of pretty Bessee.
' His marks and his tokens are known very well; He always is led with a dog and a bell: A silly old man, God knoweth, is he, Yet he is the father of pretty Bessee.'
xx ' Nay then,' quoth the merchant, ' thou art not for me !' ' Nor,' quoth the innholder, 'my wife thou shalt be.' ' I lothe,' said the gentle, ' a beggar's degree, And therefore adieu, my pretty Bessee ! '
' Why then,' quoth the knight, ' hap better or worse, I weigh not true love by the weight of the purse, And beauty is beauty in every degree ; Then welcome unto me, my pretty Bessee.
'With thee to thy father forthwith I will go.'— ' Nay soft,' quoth his kinsmen, ' it must not be so ; A poor beggar's daughter no lady shall be, Then take thy adieu of pretty Bessee. 816
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