The Maid and the Palmer

No: 21; variant: 21A

  1. THE maid shee went to the well to washe, Lillumwham, lillumwham! The mayd shee went to the well to washe, Whatt then? what then? The maid shee went to the well to washe, Dew ffell of her lilly white fleshe. Grandam boy, grandam boy, heye! Leg a derry, leg a merry, mett, mer, whoope, whir! Driuance, larumben, grandam boy, heye!
  2. While shee washte and while shee ronge, While shee hangd o the hazle wand.
  3. There came an old palmer by the way, Sais, ‘God speed thee well, thou faire maid!’
  4. ‘Hast either cupp or can, To giue an old palmer drinke therin?’
  5. Sayes, ‘I have neither cupp nor cann, To giue an old palmer drinke therin.’
  6. ‘But an thy lemman came from Roome, Cupps and canns thou wold ffind soone.’
  7. She sware by God & good St. John, Lemman had shee neuer none.
  8. Sais, ‘Peace, ffaire mayd, you are fforsworne! Nine children you haue borne.
  9. ‘Three were buryed vnder thy bed’s head, Other three vnder thy brewing leade.
  10. ‘Other three on yon play greene; Count, maid, and there be 9.’
  11. ‘But I hope you are the good old man That all the world beleeues vpon.
  12. ‘Old palmer, I pray thee, Pennaunce that thou wilt giue to me.’
  13. ‘Penance I can giue thee none, But 7 yeere to be a stepping-stone.
  14. ‘Other seaven a clapper in a bell, Other 7 to lead an ape in hell.
  15. ‘When thou hast thy penance done, Then thoust come a mayden home.’