Queen Eleanor’s Confession

No: 156; variant: 156C

  1. THE Queen’s faen sick, and very, very sick, Sick, and going to die, And she’s sent for twa friars of France, To speak with her speedilie.
  2. The King he said to the Earl Marischal, To the Earl Marischal said he, The Queen she wants twa friars frae France, To speak with her presentlie.
  3. Will ye put on a friar’s coat, And I’ll put on another, And we’ll go in before the Queen, Like friars both together.
  4. ‘But O forbid,’ said the Earl Marischal, ‘That I this deed should dee! For if I beguile Eleanor our queen, She will gar hang me hie.’
  5. The King he turned him round about, An angry man was he; He’s sworn by his sceptre and his sword Earl Marischal should not die.
  6. The King has put on a friar’s coat, Earl Marischal on another, And they went in before the Queen, Like friars both together.
  7. ‘O, if ye be twa friars of France, Ye’re dearly welcome to me; But if ye be twa London friars, I will gar hang you hie.’
  8. ‘Twa friars of France, twa friars of France, Twa friars of France are we, And we vow we never spoke to a man Till we spake to Your Majesty.’
  9. ‘The first great sin that eer I did, And I’ll tell you it presentlie, Earl Marischal got my maidenhead, When coming oer the sea.’
  10. ‘That was a sin, and a very great sin, But pardoned it may be;’ ‘All that with amendment,’ said Earl Marischal, But a quacking heart had he.
  11. ‘The next great sin that eer I did, I’ll tell you it presentlie; I carried a box seven years in my breast, To poison King Henrie.’
  12. ‘O that was a sin, and a very great sin, But pardoned it may be;’ ‘All that with amendment,’ said Earl Marischal, But a quacking heart had he.
  13. ‘The next great sin that eer I did, I’ll tell you it presentlie; I poisoned the Lady Rosamond, And a very good woman was she.
  14. ‘See ye not yon twa bonny boys, As they play at the ba? The eldest of them is Marischal’s son, And I love him best of a’; The youngest of them is Henrie’s son, And I love him none at a’
  15. ‘For he is headed like a bull, a bull, He is backed like a boar;’ ‘Then by my sooth,’ King Henrie said, ‘I love him the better therefor.’
  16. The King has cast off his friar’s coat, Put on a coat of gold; The Queen she’s turned her face about, She could not’s face behold.
  17. The King then said to Earl Marischal, To the Earl Marischal said he, Were it not for my sceptre and sword, Earl Marischall, ye should die.