Young Bearwell

No: 302; variant: 302A

  1. WHEN two lovers love each other well, Great sin it were them to twinn; And this I speak from Young Bearwell; He loved a lady young, The Mayor’s daughter of Birktoun-brae, That lovely, leesome thing.
  2. One day when she was looking out, When washing her milk-white hands, That she beheld him Young Bearwell, As he came in the sands.
  3. Says, Wae’s me for you, Young Bearwell, Such tales of you are tauld; They’ll cause you sail the salt sea so far As beyond Yorkisfauld.
  4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ‘O shall I bide in good greenwood, Or stay in bower with thee?’
  5. ‘The leaves are thick in good greenwood, Would hold you from the rain; And if you stay in bower with me You will be taken and slain.
  6. ‘But I caused build a ship for you Upon Saint Innocent’s day; I’ll bid Saint Innocent be your guide, And Our Lady, that meikle may. You are a lady’s first true-love, God carry you well away!’
  7. Then he sailed east, and he sailed west, By many a comely strand; At length a puff of northern wind Did blow him to the land.
  8. When he did see the king and court, Were playing at the ba; Gave him a harp into his hand, Says, Stay, Bearwell, and play.
  9. He had not been in the king’s court A twelvemonth and a day, Till there came lairds and lords anew To court that lady gay.
  10. They wooed her with brooch and ring, They nothing could keep back; The very charters of their lands Into her hands they pat.
  11. She’s done her down to Heyvalin, With the light of the moon; Says, Will ye do this deed for me, And will ye do it soon?
  12. ‘Will ye go seek him Young Bearwell, On seas wherever he be? And if I live and bruik my life Rewarded ye shall be.’
  13. ‘Alas, I am too young a skipper, So far to sail the faem; Bit if I live and bruik my life I’ll strive to bring him hame.’
  14. So he has saild east and then saild west, By many a comely strand, Till there came a blast of northern wind And blew him to the land.
  15. And there the king and all his court Were playing at the ba; Gave him a harp into his hand, Says, Stay, Heyvalin, and play.
  16. He has tane up the harp in hand, And unto play went he, And Young Bearwell was the first man In all that companie.