A Collection of Ballads eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 146 pages of information about A Collection of Ballads.

Bye there cam a fiddler fair,
Hey Edinbruch, how Edinbruch. 
Bye there cam a fiddler fair,
Stirling for aye: 
And he’s ta’en three tails o’ her yellow hair,
Bonny Sanct Johnstonne that stands upon Tay.

Ballad:  Mary Ambree

(Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, vol. ii. p. 230.)

When captaines couragious, whom death cold not daunte,
Did march to the siege of the citty of Gaunt,
They mustred their souldiers by two and by three,
And the formost in battle was Mary Ambree.

When [the] brave sergeant-major was slaine in her sight,
Who was her true lover, her joy, and delight,
Because he was slaine most treacherouslie
Then vowd to revenge him Mary Ambree.

She clothed herselfe from the top to the toe
In buffe of the bravest, most seemelye to showe;
A faire shirt of male then slipped on shee: 
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?

A helmett of proofe shee strait did provide,
A stronge arminge-sword shee girt by her side,
On her hand a goodly faire gauntlett put shee: 
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?

Then tooke shee her sworde and her targett in hand,
Bidding all such, as wold, [to] bee of her band;
To wayte on her person came thousand and three: 
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?

“My soldiers,” she saith, “soe valliant and bold,
Nowe followe your captaine, whom you doe beholde;
Still formost in battell myselfe will I bee:” 
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?

Then cryed out her souldiers, and loude they did say,
“Soe well thou becomest this gallant array,
Thy harte and thy weapons so well do agree,
No mayden was ever like Mary Ambree.”

She cheared her souldiers, that foughten for life,
With ancyent and standard, with drum and with fife,
With brave clanging trumpetts, that sounded so free;
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?

“Before I will see the worst of you all
To come into danger of death or of thrall,
This hand and this life I will venture so free:” 
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?

Shee ledd upp her souldiers in battaile array,
Gainst three times theyr number by breake of the daye;
Seven howers in skirmish continued shee: 
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?

She filled the skyes with the smoke of her shott,
And her enemyes bodyes with bulletts so hott;
For one of her own men a score killed shee: 
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?

And when her false gunner, to spoyle her intent,
Away all her pellets and powder had sent,
Straight with her keen weapon she slasht him in three: 
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?

Being falselye betrayed for lucre of hyre,
At length she was forced to make a retyre;
Then her souldiers into a strong castle drew shee: 
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?

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A Collection of Ballads from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.