Will Steward and John

No: 107; variant: 107A

  1. ADLATTS parke is wyde and broad, And grass growes greene in our countrye; ADLATTS parke is wyde and broad, And grass growes greene in our countrye; Eche man can gett the loue of his ladye, But alas, I can gett none of mine!
  2. Itt’s by two men I sing my song, Their names is William Stewart and Iohn; William he is the elder brother, But Iohn hee is the wiser man.
  3. But William he is in care-bed layd, And for the loue of a ffaire ladye; If he haue not the loue of the Erle of Mar’s daughter, In ffaith ffor loue that he must dye.
  4. Then Iohn was sorry ffor his brother, To see him lye and languish soe: ‘What do you mourne for, brother?’ he saies, ‘I pray you tell to me your woe.
  5. ‘Doe [you] mourne for gold, brother?’ he saies, ‘Or doe you mourne ffor ffee? Or doe you mourne for a likesome ladye, ‘Or doe you mourne ffor ffee? Or doe you mourne for a likesome ladye, You neuer saw her with your eye?’ Or doe you mourne for a likesome ladye, You neuer saw her with your eye?’ Or doe you mourne for a likesome ladye, You neuer saw her with your eye?’ Or doe you mourne for a likesome ladye, You neuer saw her with your eye?’
  6. ‘I doe not mourne for gold,’ he saies, ‘Nor I doe not mourne for any ffee; But I doe mourne for a likesome ladye, I neere blinke on her with mine eye.’
  7. ‘But when haruest is gotten, my deere brother– All this is true that I tell thee– Gentlemen, they loue hunting well, And giue wight-men their cloth and ffee.
  8. ‘Then I’le goe a wooing ffor thy sake, In all the speed that I can gone, And for to see this likesome ladye, And hope to send thee good tydings home.’
  9. Iohn Stewart is gone a wooing for his brother, Soe ffarr into ffaire Scottland, And left his brother in mikle ffeare, Vntill he heard the good tydand.
  10. And when he came to the Erle of Mar’s his house, Soe well he could his curtesye, And when he came before the erle, He kneeled low downe vpon his knee.
  11. ‘O rise vp, rise vp, Iohn Steward, Rise vp, now, I doe bidd thee; ‘O rise vp, rise vp, Iohn Steward, Rise vp, now, I doe bidd thee; How doth thy ffather, Iohn Stewart, And all the lords in his countrye?’
  12. ‘And itt please you, my lord, my ffather is dead; My brother and I cannott agree; My brother and I am ffallen att discord, And I am come to craue a service of thee.’
  13. ‘O welcome, welcome, Iohn Stewart, A welcome man thou art to me; I’le make thee chamberlaine to my daughter, And ffor to tend of that ladye soe ffree.
  14. ‘And if thou wilt haue a better office, Aske, and thou shall haue itt of mee; And where I giue other men a penny of wage, Inffaith, Iohn, thou shalt haue three.’
  15. And then bespake him Iohn Stewart, And these were the words said hee: There is no office in your court This day that better pleaseth mee.
  16. The Ffryday is gone, the Sunday is come– All this is true that I doe say– And to the church that they be gone, Iohn Stewart and the lady gay.
  17. And as they did come home againe– I-wis itt was a meeten mile– Iohn Stewart and the lady gay. They thought itt but a [little] while.
  18. ‘I am a messenger, ladye,’ he saies, ‘I am a messenger to thee:’ ‘O speake ffor thy selfe, Iohn Stewart,’ shee saies, ‘A welcome man that thou shalt bee.’
  19. ‘Nay, by my ffaith,’ saies Iohn Stewart, ‘Which euer, alas that may not bee! He hath a higher degree in honour, Allas, ladye, then euer I!
  20. ‘He is a lord now borne by birth, And an erle affter his ffather doth dye; His haire is yellow, his eyes beene gray; All this is true that I tell yee.
  21. ‘He is ffine in the middle, and small in the wast, And pleasant in a woman’s eye; And more nor this, he dyes for your loue, Therefore, lady, show some pittye.’
  22. ‘If this be soe,’ then saies the lady, ‘If this be true that thou tells mee, By my ffaith then, Iohn Stewart, I can loue him hartilye.
  23. ‘Bidd him meete me att St Patr[i]cke’s Church On Sunday after St Andrew’s day; The fflower of Scottland will be there, And then begins our summer’s play.
  24. ‘And bidd him bring with him a hundred gunners, And rawnke ryders lett them bee, And lett them bee of the rankest ryders That be to be ffound in that countrye.
  25. ‘They best and worst, and all in like, Bidd him cloth them in one liuerye; And ffor his men, greene is the best, And greene now lett their liueryes bee.
  26. ‘And clothe himselfe in scarlett redd, That is soe seemlye ffor to see; Ffor scarlett is a ffaire coulour, And pleasant allwayes in a woman’s eye.
  27. ‘He must play sixteene games att ball, Against the men of this countrye, And if he winn the greater part, Then I shall love him more tenderlye.’
  28. What the lady said, Iohn Stewart writt, And to Argyle Castle sent it hee; And [when] Willie Steward saw the letter, Fforth of care-bed then lope hee.
  29. Hee mustered together his merry men all, Hee mustered them soe louelilye; Hee thought hee had had scarson halfe a hundred, Then had hee eleuen score and three.
  30. He chose fforth a hundred of the best That were to be ffound in that countrye, He cladd them all in one coulour, And greene i-wis their liueryes bee.
  31. He cladd himselfe in scarlett redd, That is soe seemelye ffor to see; Ffor scarlett is a ffaire coulor, And seemlye in a woman’s eye.
  32. And then towards Patricke Church he went, With all his men in braue array, To gett a sight, if he might, And speake with his lady gay.
  33. When they came to Patricke’s churche, Shee kneeled downe by her mother trulye: ‘O mother, if itt please you to giue me leaue, The Stewart’s horsse ffaine wold I see.’
  34. ‘I’le giue you leaue, my deere daughter, And I and my maide will goe with yee:’ The lady had rather haue gone her selfe Then haue had her mother’s companye.
  35. When they came before Willie Steward, Soe well hee cold his curtesye: ‘I wold kisse your daughter, ladye,’ he said, ‘And if your will that soe itt bee.’
  36. The ladye’s mother was content To doe a straunger that curtesye; And when Willie had gotten a kisse, I-wis shee might haue teemed him three.
  37. Sixteen games were plaid that day there– This is the truth as I doe say– Willie Stewart and his merry men, The: carryed twelue of them away.
  38. And when they games that they were done, And all they ffolkes away were gone But the Erle of Marr and William Stewart, The erle wold needs haue William home.
  39. And when they came vnto the erle’s howse, They walked to a garden greene; Ffor to confferr of their bussines, Into the garden they be gone.
  40. ‘I loue your daughter,’ saies William Stewart, ‘But I cannott tell whether she loueth mee:’ ‘Marry, God defend,’ saies the Erle of Mar, ‘That euer soe that itt shold bee!
  41. ‘I had rather a gallowes there was made, And hange thee ffor my daughter’s sake; I had rather a ffyer were made att a stake, And burne thee ffor my daughter’s sake!
  42. ‘To chamber, to chamber, gay ladye,’ he saies, ‘In the deuill’s name now I bidd thee! And thou gett thee not to the chamber soone, I’le beate thee before the Stewart’s eye.’
  43. And then bespake William Stewart, These were the words said hee: ‘If thou beate thy daughter for my sake, Thou’st beate a hundred men and mee.’
  44. Then bespake Iohn Stewart– Lord! an angry man was hee– ‘O churle, if thou wouldest not haue macht with my brother, Thou might haue answerd him curteouslye.’
  45. ‘O hold thy peace, Iohn Stewart, And chamber thy words now, I bidd thee; If thou chamber not thy words soone, Thou’st loose a good service; soe shalt thou doe me.’
  46. ‘Marry! hang them that cares,’ saies Iohn Stewart, ‘Either ffor thy service or ffor thee; Services can I haue enoughe, But brethren wee must euer bee.’
  47. William Stewart and his brother Iohn, To Argyle Castle gon they bee; And when Willye came to Argyle Castle, Into care-bedd then lope hee.
  48. A parlaiment att Edenborrow was made, The king and his nobles all mett there; The: sent ffor William Stewart and Iohn, To come amongst the other peeres.
  49. Their clothing was of scarlett redd, That was soe seemelye ffor to see; Blacke hatts, white ffeathers plewed with gold, And sett all on their heads trulye.
  50. Their stockings were of twisted silke, With garters ffringed about with gold; Their shoes were of the cordevine, And all was comelye to behold.
  51. And when they came to Edenborrowe, They called ffor Iohn Stewart and Willie: ‘I answer in a lord’s roome,’ saies Will Stewart, ‘But an erle I hope to bee.’
  52. ‘Come downe, come downe,’ saies the Lord of Marr, ‘I knew not what was thy degree:’ ‘O churle, if I might not haue macht with thy daughter, Itt had not beene long of my degree.
  53. ‘My ffather, hee is the king his brother, And then the king is vnckle to me; O churle, if I might not haue macht with thy daughter, Itt had not beene long of my degree.’
  54. ‘O hold your peace,’ then sayd the king, ‘Cozen William, I doe bidd thee; Infaith, cozen William, he loues you the worsse Because you are a-kinn to mee.
  55. ‘I’le make thee an erle with a siluer wande, And adde more honors still to thee; Thy brother Iohn shall be a lord, Of the best att home in his countrye.
  56. ‘Thy brother Kester shalbe a knight, Lands and liuings I will him giue, And still hee shall liue in court with mee, And I’le maintaine him whilest he doth liue.’
  57. And when the parlaiment was done, And all the ffolkes away were gone, Willye Stewart and Iohn his brother, To Argyle Castle they be gone.
  58. But when they came to Argyle Castle, That was soe ffarr in that countrye, He thought soe much then of his loue That into care-bedd then lope hee.
  59. Iohn Stewart did see his brother soe ill, Lord in his heart that hee was woe! ‘I will goe wooing for thy sake Againe yonder gay ladye to.
  60. ‘I’le cloth my selfe in strange array, In a beggar’s habbitt I will goe, That when I come before the Erle of Marr My clothing strange he shall not knowe.’
  61. Iohn hee gott on a clouted cloake, Soe meete and low then by his knee, With four garters vpon one legg, Two aboue, and towe below trulye.
  62. ‘But if thou be a beggar, brother, Thou art a beggar that is vnknowne; Ffor thou art one of the stoutest beggars That euer I saw since I was borne.
  63. ‘Heere, geeue the lady this gay gold ringe, A token to her that well is knowne; And if shee but aduise itt well, Shee’le know some time itt was her owne.’
  64. ‘Stay, by my ffaith, I goe not yett,’ Iohn Stewart he can replye; ‘I’le haue my bottle ffull of beere, The best that is in thy butterye.
  65. ‘I’le haue my sachell ffilld full of meate, I am sure, brother, [it] will doe noe harme; Ffor, before I come to the Erle of Marr’s his house, My lipps, I am sure, they wilbe warme.’
  66. And when he came to the Erle of Marr’s house, By chance itt was of the dole-day; But Iohn cold ffind no place to stand, Vntill he came to the ladye gaye.
  67. But many a beggar he threw downe, And made them all with weeping say, He is the devill, hee is no beggar, That is come fforth of some strange countrye.
  68. And now the dole that itt is delte, And all the beggars he gon away, Sauing Iohn Stewart, that seemed a beggar, And the ladye that was soe gay.
  69. As by my clothes you may thinke that I bee; As by my clothes you may thinke that I bee; I am your servant, Iohn Stewart, And I am sent a messenger to thee.’
  70. ‘But if thou be Iohn Stewart, As I doe thinke that thou bee, Avayle thy capp, avayle thy hoode, And I will stand and speake to thee.
  71. ‘How doth thy brother, Iohn Stewart, And all the lords in his countrye?’ ‘O ffye vpon thee, wicked woman! My brother he doth the worsse ffor thee.’
  72. With that the teares stood in her eyes; O lord, shee wept soe tenderlye! Sais, Ligg the blame vnto my ffather; I pray you, Iohn Stewart, lay itt not to mee.
  73. Comend me to my owne true-loue, That liues soe farr in the North countrye, And bidd him meete me att Martingsdale, That liues soe farr in the North countrye, And bidd him meete me att Martingsdale, Ffullye w[i]thin these dayes three.
  74. Hang them, sais the lady gay, That letts their ffather witting bee! I’le proue a ladye ffull of loue, And be there by the sunn be a quarter highe.
  75. And bidd him bring with him a hundred gunners, And ranke riders lett them bee; Lett them be of the rankest ryders That be to be ffound in that countrye.
  76. The best and worse, and all in like, Bidd him clothe them in one liuerye; And for his men, greene is the best, And greene now lett their lyueryes bee.
  77. And cloth himselfe in scarlett redd, That is soe seemelye for to see; For scarlett is a ffaire coulor, And pleasant in a woman’s eye.
  78. What they lady sayd, Iohn Stewart writt, To Argyle Castle sent itt hee; His bagg and his dish and showing horne, Unto three beggars he gaue them all three.
  79. And when Willie Stewart saw the letter, Fforth of care-bed then lope hee; He thought himselfe as lustye and sound As any man in that countrye.
  80. He mustered together his merrymen all, He mustered them soe louinglye; He thought he had had scarce halfe a hundred, Then had hee eleuen score and three.
  81. He chose fforth a hundred of the best That were to be found in that companye, And presentlye they tooke their horsse, And to Martingsdale posted hee.
  82. And when he came to Martingsdale, He found his loue staying there trulye, For shee was a lady true of loue, And was there by [the] sunn was a qwarter highe.
  83. Shee kisst William Stewart and his brother Iohn, Soe did shee part of his merry men: ‘If the churle, thy ffather, hee were here, He shold not haue thee backe againe.’
  84. They sent ffor preist, they sent ffor clarke, And they were marryed there with speede; William tooke the lady home with him, And they liued together long time indeed.
  85. And in twelue monthe soe they wrought, The lady shee was great with childe; The sent Iohn Stewart to the Erle off Marre, To come and christen the barne soe milde.
  86. ‘And if this be soe,’ sayes the Erle of Marre, ‘Iohn Stewart, as thou tells mee, I hope in God you haue marryed my daughter, And put her bodye to honestye.’
  87. ‘Nay, by my ffaith,’ then saies Iohn Stewart, ‘Ffor euer alas that shall not bee; Ffor now wee haue put her body to shame, Thou’st haue her againe hame to thee.’
  88. ‘I had rather make thee Erle of Marre, And marry my daughter vnto thee; For by my ffaith,’ sais the Erle of Marr, ‘Her marryage is marrd in our countrye.’
  89. ‘If this be soe,’ then sais Iohn Stewart, ‘A marryage soone that thou shalt see; Ffor my brother William, my ffather’s heyre, Shall marry thy daughter before thine eye.’
  90. They sent ffor preist, the: sent ffor clarke, And marryed there they were with speed; And William Stewart is Erle of Marr, And his ffather-in-law dwells with him indeed.