Lord Dernwentwater

No: 208; variant: 208A

  1. OUR king has wrote a lang letter, And sealed it owre with gold; He sent to my lord Dunwaters, To read it if he could.
  2. He has not sent it with a boy, with a boy, Nor with anie Scotch lord; But he’s sent it with the noblest knight Eer Scotland could afford.
  3. The very first line that my lord did read, He gave a smirkling smile; Before he had the half o’t read, The tears from his eyes did fall.
  4. ‘Come saddle to me my horse,’ he said, ‘Come saddle to me with speed; For I must away to fair London town, For me was neer more need.’
  5. Out and spoke his lady gay, In child-bed where she lay: ‘I would have you make your will, my lord Dunwaters, Before you go away.’
  6. ‘I leave to you, my eldest son, My houses and my land; I leave to you, my second son, Ten thousand pounds in hand.
  7. ‘I leave to you, my lady gay—- You are my wedded wife—- I leave to you, the third of my estate; That’ll keep you in a lady’s life.’
  8. They had not rode a mile but one, Till his horse fell owre a stane: ‘It’s warning gude eneuch,’ my lord Dunwaters said, ‘Alive I’ll neer come hame.’
  9. When they came into fair London town, Into the courtiers’ hall, The lords and knichts in fair London town Did him a traitor call.
  10. ‘A traitor! a traitor!’ says my lord, ‘A traitor! how can that be, An it was na for the keeping of five thousand men To fight for King Jamie?
  11. ‘O all you lords and knichts in fair London town, Come out and see me die; O all you lords and knichts into fair London town, Be kind to my ladie.
  12. ‘There’s fifty pounds in my richt pocket, Divide it to the poor; There’s other fifty pounds in my left pocket, Divide it from door to door.’