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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With lips as cold as any stone, They kiss'd their children small:
' God bless you both, my children dear !' With that the tears did fall.
These speeches then their brother spake
To this sick couple there : ' The keeping of your little ones,
Sweet sister, do not fear; God never prosper me nor mine,
Nor aught else that I have, If I do wrong your children dear
When you are laid in grave ! '
The parents being dead and gone,
The children home he takes, And brings them straight unto his house,
Where much of them he makes. He had not kept these pretty babes
A twelvemonth and a day, But, for their wealth, he did devise
To make them both away.
He bargain'd with two ruffians strong,
Which were of furious mood, That they should take these children young,
And slay them in a wood. He told his wife an artful tale:
He would the children send To be brought up in London town
With one that was his friend. 856
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