Earl Bothwell

No: 174; variant: 174A

  1. WOE worth thee, woe worth thee, false Scottlande! Ffor thou hast euer wrought by a sleight; For the worthyest prince that euer was borne, You hanged vnder a cloud by night.
  2. The Queene of France a letter wrote, And sealed itt with hart and ringe, And bade him come Scottland within, And shee wold marry him and crowne him king.
  3. To be a king, itt is a pleasant thing, To bee a prince vnto a peere; But you haue heard, and so haue I too, A man may well by gold to deere.
  4. There was an Italyan in that place, Was as wel beloued as euer was hee; Lord David was his name, Chamberlaine vnto the queene was hee.
  5. Ffor if the king had risen forth of his place, He wold haue sitt him downe in the cheare, And tho itt beseemed him not soe well, Altho the king had beene present there.
  6. Some lords in Scottland waxed wonderous wroth, And quarrelld with him for the nonce; I shall you tell how itt beffell, Twelue daggers were in him all att once.
  7. When this queene see the chamberlaine was slaine, For him her cheeks shee did weete, And made a vow for a twelue month and a day The king and shee wold not come in one sheete.
  8. Then some of the lords of Scottland waxed wrothe, And made their vow vehementlye, ‘For death of the queenes chamberlaine The king himselfe he shall dye.’
  9. They strowed his chamber ouer with gunpowder, And layd greene rushes in his way; Ffor the traitors thought that night The worthy king for to betray.
  10. To bedd the worthy king made him bowne, To take his rest, that was his desire; He was no sooner cast on sleepe, But his chamber was on a blasing fyer.
  11. Vp he lope, and a glasse window broke, He had thirty foote for to ffall; Lord Bodwell kept a priuy wach Vnderneath his castle-wall: ‘Who haue wee heere?’ sayd Lord Bodwell; ‘Answer me, now I doe call.’
  12. ‘King Henery the Eighth my vnckle was; Some pitty show for his sweet sake! Ah, Lord Bodwell, I know thee well; Some pitty on me I pray thee take!’
  13. ‘I’le pitty thee as much,’ he sayd, ‘And as much favor I’le show to thee As thou had on the queene’s chamberlaine That day thou deemedst him to dye.’
  14. Through halls and towers this king they ledd, Through castles and towers that were hye, Through an arbor into an orchard, And there hanged him in a peare tree.
  15. When the gouernor of Scottland he heard tell That the worthye king he was slaine, He hath banished the queene soe bitterlye That in Scottland shee dare not remaine.
  16. But shee is ffled into merry England, And Scottland to a side hath laine, And through the Queene of Englands good grace Now in England shee doth remaine.