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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But there came thieves late in the night, They robb'd my bower, and slew my knight, And after that my knight was slain I could no longer there remain.
My servants all from me did fly
In the midst of my extremity,
And left me by myself alone
With a heart more cold than any stone.
Yet, though my heart was full of care, Heaven would not suffer me to despair; Wherefore in haste I changed my name From fair Elise to Sweet William.
And therewithal I cut my hair, And dress'd myself in man's attire; And in my beaver, hose, and band, I travell'd far through many a land.
With a silver rapier by my side, So like a gallant I did ride; The thing that I delighted on, It was to be a serving-man.
Thus in my sumptuous man's array I bravely rode along the way ; And at the last it chanced so That I to the King's court did go. 1225                                      E e                                       833
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