The Cruel Mother

No: 20; variant: 20H

  1. THERE was a lady brisk and smart, All in a lone and a lonie O And she goes with child to her father’s clark. Down by the greenwood sidie O
  2. Big, big oh she went away, And then she set her foot to a tree.
  3. Big she set her foot to a stone, Till her three bonnie babes were borne.
  4. She took the ribbons off her head, She tied the little babes hand and feet.
  5. She howkit a hole before the sun, She’s laid these three bonnie babes in.
  6. She covered them over with marble stone, For dukes and lords to walk upon.
  7. She lookit over her father’s castle wa, She saw three bonnie boys playing at the ba.
  8. The first o them was clad in red, To shew the innocence of their blood.
  9. The neist o them was clad in green, To shew that death they had been in.
  10. The next was naked to the skin, To shew they were murderd when they were born,
  11. ‘O bonnie babes, an ye were mine, I wad dress you in the satins so fine.’
  12. ‘O mother dear, when we were thine, Thou did not use us half so kind.’
  13. ‘O bonnie babes, an ye be mine, Whare hae ye been a’ this time?’
  14. ‘We were at our father’s house, Preparing a place for thee and us.’
  15. ‘Whaten a place hae ye prepar’d for me?’ ‘Heaven’s for us, but hell’s for thee.
  16. ‘O mother dear, but heaven’s high; That is the place thou’ll ne’er come nigh.
  17. ‘O mother dear, but hell is deep; ‘Twill cause thee bitterlie to weep.’