“Yet gae ye to your mother again,
That vile rank witch, of rankest kind!
And say, your ladye has a girdle,
It’s all red gowd to the middle;
“And aye, at ilka siller hem,
Hang fifty siller bells and ten;
This gudely gift shall be her ain,
And let me be lighter of my bairn.”
“Of her young bairn she’s ne’er
Nor in your bow’r to shine the brighter;
For she shall die, and turn to clay,
And thou shall wed another may.”
“Another may I’ll never wed,
Another may I’ll never bring hame.”
But, sighing, said that weary wight—
“I wish my days were at an end!”
Then out and spak the Billy Blind,
He spak aye in good time [his mind]:-
“Yet gae ye to the market place,
And there do buy a loaf of wace;
Do shape it bairn and bairnly like,
And in it two glassen een you’ll put.
“Oh, wha has loosed the nine witch-knots
That were amang that ladye’s locks?
And wha’s ta’en out the kames of care,
That were amang that ladye’s hair?
“And wha has ta’en down that bush of woodbine
That hung between her bow’r and mine?
And wha has kill’d the master kid
That ran beneath that ladye’s bed?
And wha has loosed her left foot shee,
And let that ladye lighter be?”
Syne, Willie’s loosed the nine witch-knots
That were amang that ladye’s locks;
And Willie’s ta’en out the kames of care
That were into that ladye’s hair;
And he’s ta’en down the bush of woodbine,
Hung atween her bow’r and the witch carline.
And he has killed the master kid
That ran beneath that ladye’s bed;
And he has loosed her left foot shee,
And latten that ladye lighter be;
And now he has gotten a bonnie son,
And meikle grace be him upon.
In somer when the shawes be sheyne,
And leves be large and longe,
Hit is full mery in feyre foreste
To here the foulys song.
To se the dere draw to the dale,
And leve the hilles hee,
And shadow hem in the leves grene,
Vndur the grene-wode tre.
Hit befell on Whitsontide,
Erly in a may mornyng,
The son vp fayre can shyne,
And the briddis mery can syng.
“This is a mery mornyng,” seid Litulle
“Be hym that dyed on tre;
A more mery man than I am one
Lyves not in Cristiante.”
“Pluk vp thi hert, my dere mayster,”
Litulle Johne can sey,
“And thynk hit is a fulle fayre tyme
In a mornynge of may.”
“Ze on thynge greves me,” seid Robyne,
“And does my hert mych woo,
That I may not so solem day
To mas nor matyns goo.
“Hit is a fourtnet and more,” seyd hee,
“Syn I my Sauyour see;
To day will I to Notyngham,” seid Robyn,
“With the myght of mylde Mary.”
Then spake Moche the mylner sune,
Euer more wel hym betyde,
“Take xii thi wyght zemen
Well weppynd be thei side.
Such on wolde thi selfe slon
That xii dar not abyde.”