Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight

No: 4; variant: 4E

  1. AN outlandish knight came from the north lands, And he came a-wooing to me; He told me he’d take me unto the north lands, And there he would marry me.
  2. ‘Come, fetch me some of your father’s gold, And some of your mother’s fee, And two of the best nags out of the stable, Where they stand thirty and three.’
  3. She fetched him some of her father’s gold, And some of her mother’s fee, And two of the best nags out of the stable, Where they stood thirty and three.
  4. She mounted her on her milk-white steed, He on the dapple grey; They rode till they came unto the sea-side, Three hours before it was day.
  5. ‘Light off, light off thy milk-white steed, And deliver it unto me; Six pretty maids have I drowned here, And thou the seventh shalt be.
  6. ‘Pull off, pull off thy silken gown, And deliver it unto me; Methinks it looks too rich and too gay To rot in the salt sea.
  7. ‘Pull off, pull off thy silken stays, And deliver them unto me; Methinks they are too fine and gay To rot in the salt sea.
  8. ‘Pull off, pull off thy Holland smock, And deliver it unto me; Methinks it looks too rich and gay To rot in the salt sea.’
  9. ‘If I must pull off my Holland smock, Pray turn thy back unto me; For it is not fitting that such a ruffian A naked woman should see.’
  10. He turned his back towards her And viewed the leaves so green; She catched him round the middle so small, And tumbled him into the stream.
  11. He dropped high and he dropped low, Until he came to the side; ‘Catch hold of my hand, my pretty maiden, And I will make you my bride.’
  12. ‘Lie there, lie there, you false-hearted man, Lie there instead of me; Six pretty maids have you drowned here, And the seventh has drowned thee.’
  13. She mounted on her milk-white steed, And led the dapple grey; She rode till she came to her own father’s hall, Three hours before it was day.
  14. The parrot being in the window so high, Hearing the lady, did say, ‘I’m afraid that some ruffian has led you astray, That you have tarried so long away.’
  15. ‘Don’t prittle nor prattle, my pretty parrot, Nor tell no tales of me; Thy cage shall be made of the glittering gold, Although it is made of a tree.’
  16. The king being in the chamber so high, And hearing the parrot, did say, ‘What ails you, what ails you, my pretty parrot, That you prattle so long before day?’
  17. ‘It’s no laughing matter,’ the parrot did say, ‘That so loudly I call unto thee, For the cats have got into the window so high, And I’m afraid they will have me.’
  18. ‘Well turned, well turned, my pretty parrot, Well turned, well turned for me; Thy cage shall be made of the glittering gold, And the door of the best ivory.’