Mary Hamilton

No: 173; variant: 173B

  1. THERE were ladies, they lived in a bower, And oh but they were fair! The youngest o them is to the king’s court, To learn some unco lair.
  2. She hadna been in the king’s court A twelve month and a day, Till of her they could get na wark, For wantonness and play.
  3. Word is to the kitchen gane, And word is to the ha, And word is up to Madame the Queen, And that is warst of a’, That Mary Hamilton has born a bairn, To the hichest Stewart of a’.
  4. ‘O rise, O rise, Mary Hamilton, O rise, and tell to me What thou did with thy sweet babe We sair heard weep by thee.’
  5. ‘Hold your tongue, madame,’ she said, ‘And let your folly be; It was a shouir o sad sickness Made me weep sae bitterlie.’
  6. ‘O rise, O rise, Mary Hamilton, O rise, and tell to me What thou did with thy sweet babe We sair heard weep by thee.’
  7. ‘I put it in a piner-pig, And set it on the sea; I bade it sink, or it might swim, It should neer come hame to me.’
  8. ‘O rise,O rise, Mary Hamilton, Arise, and go with me; There is a wedding in Glasgow town This day we’ll go and see.’
  9. She put not on her black clothing, She put not on her brown, But she put on the glistering gold, To shine thro Edinburgh town.
  10. As they came into Edinburgh town, The city for to see, The bailie’s wife and the provost’s wife Said, Och an alace for thee!
  11. Gie never alace for me,’ she said, ‘Gie never alace for me; It’s all for the sake of my poor babe, This death that I maun die.’
  12. As they gaed up the Tolbuith stair, The stair it was sae hie, The bailie’s son and the provost’s son Said, Och an alace for thee!
  13. ‘Gie never alace for me,’ she said, ‘Gie never alace for me! It’s all for the sake of my puir babe, This death I maun die.
  14. ‘But bring to me a cup,’ she says, ‘A cup bot and a can, And I will drink to all my friends, And they’ll drink to me again.
  15. ‘Here’s to you all, travellers, Who travels by land or sea; Let na wit to my father nor mother The death that I must die.
  16. ‘Here’s to you all, travellers, That travels on dry land; Let na wit to my father nor mother But I am coming hame.
  17. ‘Little did my mother think, First time she cradled me, What land I was to travel on, Or what death I would die.
  18. ‘Little did my mother think, First time she tied my head, What land I was to tread upon, Or whare I would win my bread.
  19. ‘Yestreen Queen Mary had four Maries, This night she’ll hae but three; She had Mary Seaton, and Mary Beaton, And Mary Carmichael, and me.
  20. ‘Yestreen I wush Queen Mary’s feet, And bore her till her bed; This day she’s given me my reward, This gallows-tree to tread.
  21. ‘Cast off, cast off my goun,’ she said, ‘But let my petticoat be, And tye a napkin on my face, For that gallows I downa see.’
  22. By and cum the king himsell, Lookd up with a pitiful ee: ‘Come down, come down, Mary Hamilton, This day thou wilt dine with me.’
  23. ‘Hold your tongue, my sovereign leige, And let your folly be; An ye had a mind to save my life, Ye should na shamed me here.’