The Cruel Mother
No: 20; variant: 20H
- 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
- Big, big oh she went away,
And then she set her foot to a tree.
- Big she set her foot to a stone,
Till her three bonnie babes were borne.
- She took the ribbons off her head,
She tied the little babes hand and feet.
- She howkit a hole before the sun,
She’s laid these three bonnie babes in.
- She covered them over with marble stone,
For dukes and lords to walk upon.
- She lookit over her father’s castle wa,
She saw three bonnie boys playing at the ba.
- The first o them was clad in red,
To shew the innocence of their blood.
- The neist o them was clad in green,
To shew that death they had been in.
- The next was naked to the skin,
To shew they were murderd when they were born,
- ‘O bonnie babes, an ye were mine,
I wad dress you in the satins so fine.’
- ‘O mother dear, when we were thine,
Thou did not use us half so kind.’
- ‘O bonnie babes, an ye be mine,
Whare hae ye been a’ this time?’
- ‘We were at our father’s house,
Preparing a place for thee and us.’
- ‘Whaten a place hae ye prepar’d for me?’
‘Heaven’s for us, but hell’s for thee.
- ‘O mother dear, but heaven’s high;
That is the place thou’ll ne’er come nigh.
- ‘O mother dear, but hell is deep;
‘Twill cause thee bitterlie to weep.’