Child's Ballads/81

The Old ballad of Little Musgrave and the Lady BarnardEdit

Child took this version from Wit Restor'd (published 1658)

Asit fell one holy-day, hay downe,
As manybe in the yeare,
When young men and maids together did goe,
Their mattins and masse to heare,
Little Musgrave came to the church dore,
The preist was at private masse;
But he had more minde of the faire women
Then he had of our ladys grace.
The one of them was clad in green,
Another was clad in pall;
And then came in my lord Bernards wife,
The fairest amonst them all.
She cast an eye on Little Musgrave,
As bright as the summer sun,
And then bethought this Little Musgrave,
"This lady’s heart have I woonn."
Quoth she, "I have loved thee, Little Musgrave,
Full long and many a day:"
"So have I loved you, fair lady,
Yet never word durst I say."
"I have a bower at Buckelsfordbery,
Full daintyly it is deight;
If thou wilt wend thither, thou Little Musgrave,
Thou’s lig in mine armes all night."
Quoth he, "I thank yee, faire lady,
But whether it be to my weal or woe,
This night I will lig with thee."
All that heard, a little tinny page,
By his ladyes coach as he ran:
[Quoth he,] "Allthough I am my ladyes foot-page,
Yet I am Lord Barnards man.
"My lord Barnard shall knowe of this,
Whether I sink or swimm:"
And ever where the bridges were broake
He laid him downe to swimme.
"Asleepe, awake! thou Lord Barnard,
As thou art a man of life;
For Little Musgrave is at Bucklesfordbery,
Abed with thy own wedded wife."
"If this be true, thou little tinny page,
This thing thou tellest to mee,
Then all the land in Bucklesfordbery
I freely will give to thee.
"But if it be a ly, thou little tinny page,
This thing thou tellest to me,
On the hyest tree in Bucklesfordbery
There hanged shalt thou be."
He called up his merry men all:-
"Come saddle me my steed;
This night must I to Buckellsfordbery,
For I never had greater need."
And some of them whistl'd, and some of them sung,
And some these words did say,
Ever when my lord Barnards horn blew,
"Away, Musgrave, away!"
"Methinks I hear the thresel-cock,
Methinks I hear the jaye;
Methinks I hear my lord Barnard,-
And I would I were away."
"Lye still, lye still, thou Little Musgrave,
And huggell me from the cold;
Tis nothing but a shephards boy,
A driving his sheep to the fold.
"Is not thy hawke upon a perch?
Thy steed eats oats and hay,
And thou [a] fair lady in thine armes,-
And wouldst thou bee away?"
With that my lord Barnard came to the dore,
And lit a stone upon;
He plucked out three silver keys,
And he open'd the dores each one.
He lifted up the coverlett,
He lifted up the sheet;
"How now, how now, thou little Musgrave,
Doest thou find my lady sweet?"
"I find her sweet," quoth Little Musgrave,
"The more ’tis to my paine;
I would gladly give three hundred pounds
That I were on yonder plaine."
"Arise, arise, thou Littell Musgrave,
And put thy clothes on;
It shall ne'er be said in my country
I have killed a naked man.
"I have two swords in one scabberd,
Full deere they cost my purse;
And thou shalt have the better of them,
And I will have the worse."
The first stroke that Little Musgrave stroke,
He hurt Lord Barnard sore;
The next stroke that Lord Barnard stroke,
Little Musgrave ne're struck more.
With that bespake this faire lady,
In bed whereas she lay;
"Although thou’rt dead, thou Little Musgrave,
Yet I for thee will pray.
"And wish well to thy soule will I,
So long as I have life;
So will I not for thee, Barnard,
Although I am thy wedded wife."
He cut her paps from off her brest;
(Great pity it was to see,)
That some drops of this ladies heart’s blood
Ran trickling downe her knee.
"Woe worth you, woe worth [you], my mery men all
You were ne're borne for my good;
Why did you not offer to stay my hand,
When ye see me wax so wood!
"For I have slaine the bravest sir knight
That ever rode on steed;
So have I done the fairest lady
That ever did womans deed.
"A grave, a grave," Lord Barnard cryd,
To put these lovers in;
But lay my lady on [the] upper hand,
For she came of the better kin."