Mary Hamilton

No: 173; variant: 173D

  1. THERE lives a knight into the north, And he had daughters three; The ane of them was a barber’s wife, The other a gay ladie.
  2. And the youngest of them is to Scotland gane, The queen’s Mary to be, And a’ that they could say or do, Forbidden she woudna be.
  3. The prince’s bed it was sae saft, The spices they were sae fine, That out of it she couldna lye While she was scarse fifteen.
  4. She’s gane to the garden gay To pu of the savin tree; But for a’ that she could say or do, The babie it would not die.
  5. She’s rowed it in her handkerchief, She threw it in the sea; Says, Sink ye, swim ye, my bonnie babe! For ye’ll get nae mair of me.
  6. Queen Mary came tripping down the stair, Wi the gold strings in her hair: ‘O whare’s the little babie,’ she says, ‘That I heard greet sae sair?’
  7. ‘O hold your tongue, Queen Mary, my dame, Let all those words go free! It was mysell wi a fit o the sair colic, I was sick just like to die.’
  8. ‘O hold your tongue, Mary Hamilton, Let all those words go free! O where is the little babie That I heard weep by thee?’
  9. ‘I rowed it in my handkerchief, And threw it in the sea; I bade it sink, I bade it swim, It would get nae mair o me.’
  10. ‘O wae be to thee, Marie Hamilton, And an ill deid may you die! For if ye had saved the babie’s life It might hae been an honour to thee.
  11. ‘Busk ye, busk ye, Marie Hamilton, O busk ye to be a bride! For I am going to Edinburgh toun, Your gay wedding to bide.
  12. ‘You must not put on your robes of black, Nor yet your robes of brown; But you must put on your yellow gold stuffs, To shine thro Edinburgh town.’
  13. ‘I will not put on my robes of black, Nor yet my robes of brown; But I will put on my yellow gold stuffs, To shine thro Edinburgh town,’
  14. As she went up the Parliament Close, A riding on her horse, There she saw many a cobler’s lady, Sat greeting at the cross.
  15. ‘O what means a’ this greeting? I’m sure its nae for me; For I’m come this day to Edinburgh town Weel wedded for to be.’
  16. When she gaed up the Parliament stair, She gied loud lauchters three; But ere that she came down again, She was condemned to die.
  17. ‘O little did my mother think, The day she prinned my gown, That I was to come sae far frae hame To be hangid in Edinburgh town.
  18. ‘O what’ll my poor father think, As he comes thro the town, To see the face of his Molly fair Hanging on the gallows-pin!
  19. ‘Here’s a health to the marineres, That plough the raging main! Let neither my mother nor father know But I’m coming hame again!
  20. ‘Here’s a health to the sailors, That sail upon the sea! Let neither my mother nor father ken That I came here to die!
  21. ‘Yestreen the queen had four Maries, This night she’ll hae but three; There was Mary Beaton, and Mary Seaton, And Mary Carmichael, and me.’
  22. ‘O hald your tongue, Mary Hamilton, Let all those words go free! This night eer ye be hanged Ye shall gang hame wi me.’
  23. ‘O hald your tongue, Queen Mary, my dame, Let all those words go free! For since I have come to Edinburgh toun, It’s hanged I shall be, And it shall neer be said that in your court I was condemned to die.’