The Friar in the Well

No: 276; variant: 276A

  1. As I lay musing all alone, fa, la, la, la, la A pretty jeast I thought upon; fa, la, la, la, la Then listen a while, and I will you tell Of a fryer that loved a bonny lass well. fa, la, la, la, la fa, la, la, lang-tre-down-dilly
  2. He came to the maid when she went to bed, Desiring to have her maidenhead, But she denye:d his desire, And told him that she feard hell-fire.
  3. ‘Tush,’ quoth the fryer, ‘Thou needst not doubt If thou wert in hell I could sing thee out:’ ‘Then,’ quoth the maid, ‘Thou shalt have thy request;’ The fryer was glad as a fox in his nest.
  4. ‘But one thing,’ quoth she, ‘I do desire, Before you have what you require; Before that you shall do the thing, An angel of mony thou shalt me bring.’
  5. ‘Tush,’ quoth the fryer, ‘we shall agree, No mony shall part my love and me; Before that I will see thee lack, I’le pawn the grey gown from my back.’
  6. The maid bethought her of a wile How she the fryer might bequile; While he was gone, the truth to tell, She hung a cloth before the well.
  7. The fryer came, as his covenant was, With money to his bonny lass; ‘Good morrow, fair maid!’ ‘Good morrow!’ quoth she. ‘Here is the mony I promised thee.’
  8. Shw thankt the man, and she took his mony: ‘Now let us go to ‘t,’ quoth he, ‘Sweet hony:’ ‘O stay,’ quoth she, ‘Some respite make, My father comes, he will me take.’
  9. ‘Alas!’ quoth the fryer, ‘where shall I run, To hide me till that he be gone?’ ‘Behinde the cloath run thou,’ quoth she, ‘And there my father cannot thee see.’
  10. Behind the cloath the fryer crept, And into the well on the sudden he leapt; ‘Alas,’ quoth he, ‘i am in the well!’ ‘No matter,’ quoth she, ‘if thou wert in hell.
  11. ‘Thou sayst thou couldst sing me out of hell, Now prithee sing thy self out of the well:’ The fryer sung with a pittiful sound, Oh help me out, or I shall be dround!
  12. ‘I trow,’ quoth she, ‘your courage is coold.’ Quoth the fryer, I was never so foold, I never was serve:d so before. ‘Then take heed,’ quoth she, ‘Thou comst there no more.’
  13. Quoth he, For sweet Saint Francis sake On his disciple some pitty take: Quoth she, Saint Francis never taught His scholars to tempt young maids to naught.
  14. The fryer did entreat her still That she should help him out of the well; She heard him make such pittious moan She helpd him out, and bid him be gone.
  15. Quoth he, Shall I have my mony again, Which thou from me hast beforehand tane? ‘Good sir,’ said she, ‘There’s no such matter; I’le make you pay for fouling my water.’
  16. The fryer went all along the street, Droping wet, like a new-washd sheep; Both old and young commended the maid That such a witty prank had plaid.