Auld Matrons

No: 249; variant: 249A

  1. MY love she is a gentlewoman, Has her living by the seam; I kenna how she is provided This night for me and my foot-groom.
  2. He is gane to Annie’s bower-door, And gently tirled at the pin: ‘Ye sleep, ye wake, my love Annie, Ye’ll rise and lat your true-love in.’
  3. Wi her white fingers lang and sma She gently lifted up the pin; Wi her arms lang and bent She kindly caught sweet Willie in.
  4. ‘O will ye go to cards or dice? Or will ye go to play? Or will ye go to a well made bed, And sleep a while till day?’
  5. ‘I winna gang to cards nor dice, Nor yet will I to play; But I will gang to a well made bed, And sleep a while till day.
  6. ‘My love Annie, my dear Annie, I would be at your desire; But wae mat fa the auld Matrons, As she sits by the kitchen fire!’
  7. ‘Keep up your heart, Willie,’ she said, ‘Keep up your heart, dinna fear; It’s seven years, and some guid mair, Sin her foot did file the flear.’
  8. They hadna kissd nor love clapped, As lovers when they meet, Till up it raise the auld Matrons, Sae well’s she spread her feet.
  9. O wae mat fa the auld Matrons, Sae clever’s she took the gate! And she’s gaen ower yon lang, lang hill, Knockd at the sheriff’s yate.
  10. ‘Ye sleep, ye wake, my lord?’ she said; ‘Are ye not your bower within? There’s knight in bed wi your daughter, I fear she’s gotten wrang.’
  11. ‘Ye’ll do ye down thro Kelso town, Waken my wall-wight men; And gin ye hae your wark well dune I’ll be there at command.’
  12. She’s done her down thro Kelso town, Wakend his wall-wight men; But gin she had her wark well done He was there at command.
  13. He had his horse wi corn fodderd, His men armd in mail; He gae the Matrons half a merk To show them ower the hill.
  14. Willie sleepd, but Annie waked Till she heard their bridles ring; Then tapped on her love’s shoulder, And said, Ye’ve sleepit lang.
  15. ‘O save me, save me, my blessd lady, Till I’ve on my shooting-gear; I dinna fear the king himsell, Tho he an’s men were here.’
  16. Then they shot in, and Willie out, The arrows graz’d his brow; The maid she wept and tore her hair, Says, This can never do.
  17. Then they shot in, and he shot out, The bow brunt Willie’s hand; But aye he kissd her ruby lips, Said, My dear, thinkna lang.
  18. He set his horn to his mouth, And has blawn loud and shrill, And he’s calld on his brother John, In Ringlewood he lay still.
  19. The first an shot that Lord John shot, He wound fifty and fifteen; The next an shot that Lord John shot, He ca’d out the sheriff’s een.
  20. ‘O some o you lend me an arm, Some o you lend me twa; And they that came for strife this day, Take horse, ride fast awa.
  21. ‘But wae mat fa yon, auld Matrons, An ill death mat ye die! I’ll burn you on yon high hill-head, Blaw your ashes in the sea.’