Young Beichan

No: 53; variant: 53E

  1. IN London was Young Beichan born, He longed strange countries for to see, But he was taen by a savage Moor, Who handled him right cruellie.
  2. For he viewed the fashions of that land, Their way of worship viewed he, But to Mahound or Termagant Would Beichan never bend a knee.
  3. So in every shoulder they’ve putten a bore, In every bore they’ve putten a tree, And they have made him trail the wine And spices on his fair bodie.
  4. They’ve casten him in a dungeon deep, Where he could neither hear nor see, For seven years they kept him there, Till he for hunger’s like to die.
  5. This Moor he had but ae daughter, Her name was called Susie Pye, And every day as she took the air, Near Beichan’s prison she passed by.
  6. O so it fell upon a day She heard Young Beichan sadly sing: ‘My hounds they all go masterless, My hawks they flee from tree to tree, My younger brother will heir my land, Fair England again I’ll never see!’
  7. All night long no rest she got, Young Beichan’s song for thinking on; She’s stown the keys from her father’s head, And to the prison strong is gone.
  8. And she has opend the prison doors, I wot she opend two or three, Ere she could come Young Beichan at, He was locked up so curiouslie.
  9. But when she came Young Beichan before, Sore wonderd he that may to see; He took her for some fair captive: ‘Fair Lady, I pray, of what countrie?’
  10. ‘O have ye any lands,’ she said, ‘Or castles in your own countrie, That ye could give to a lady fair, From prison strong to set you free?’
  11. ‘Near London town I have a hall, With other castles two or three; I’ll give them all to the lady fair That out of prison will set me free.’
  12. ‘Give me the truth of your right hand, The truth of it give unto me, That for seven years ye’ll no lady wed, Unless it be along with me.’
  13. ‘I’ll give thee the truth of my right hand, The truth of it I’ll freely gie, That for seven years I’ll stay unwed, For the kindness thou dost show to me.’
  14. And she has brib’d the proud warder Wi mickle gold and white monie, She’s gotten the keys of the prison strong, And she has set Young Beichan free.
  15. She’s gien him to eat the good spice-cake, She’s gien him to drink the blood-red wine, She’s bidden him sometimes think on her, That sae kindly freed him out of pine.
  16. She’s broken a ring from her finger, And to Beichan half of it gave she: ‘Keep it, to mind you of that love The lady bore that set you free.
  17. ‘And set your foot on good ship-board, And haste ye back to your own countrie, And before that seven years have an end, Come back again, love, and marry me.’
  18. But long ere seven years had an end, She longd full sore her love to see, For ever a voice within her breast Said, ‘Beichan has broke his vow to thee:’ So she’s set her foot on good ship-board, And turnd her back on her own countrie.
  19. She sailed east, she sailed west, Till to fair England’s shore she came, Where a bonny shepherd she espied, Feeding his sheep upon the plain.
  20. ‘What news, what news, thou bonny shepherd? What news hast thou to tell to me?’ ‘Such news I hear, ladie,’ he says, ‘The like was never in this countrie.
  21. ‘There is a wedding in yonder hall, Has lasted these thirty days and three; Young Beichan will not bed with his bride, For love of one that’s yond the sea.’
  22. She’s put her hand in her pocket, Gien him the gold and white monie: ‘Hae, take ye that, my bonny boy, For the good news thou tellst to me.’
  23. When she came to Young Beichan’s gate, She tirled softly at the pin; So ready was the proud porter To open and let this lady in.
  24. ‘Is this Young Beichan’s hall,’ she said, ‘O is that noble lord within?’ ‘Yea, he’s in the hall among them all, And this is the day o his weddin.’
  25. ‘And has he wed anither love? And has he clean forgotten me?’ And sighin said that gay ladie, I wish I were in my own countrie!
  26. And she has taen her gay gold ring, That with her love she brake so free; Says, Gie him that, ye proud porter, And bid the bridegroom speak to me.
  27. When the porter came his lord before, He kneeled down low on his knee: ‘What aileth thee, my proud porter, Thou art so full of courtesie?’
  28. ‘I’ve been porter at your gates, It’s thirty long years now and three; But there stands a lady at them now, The like o her did I never see.
  29. ‘For on every finger she has a ring, And on her mid-finger she has three, And as meickle gold aboon her brow As would buy an earldom to me.’
  30. It’s out then spak the bride’s mother, Aye and an angry woman was shee: ‘Ye might have excepted our bonny bride, And twa or three of our companie.’
  31. ‘O hold your tongue, thou bride’s mother, Of all your folly let me be; She’s ten times fairer nor the bride, And all that’s in your companie.
  32. ‘She begs one sheave of your white bread, But and a cup of your red wine, And to remember the lady’s love That last relievd you out of pine.’
  33. ‘O well-a-day!’ said Beichan then, ‘That I so soon have married thee! For it can be none but Susie Pye, That sailed the sea for love of me.’
  34. And quickly hied he down the stair; Of fifteen steps he made but three; He’s taen his bonny love in his arms, And kist and kist her tenderlie.
  35. ‘O hae ye taen anither bride? And hae ye quite forgotten me? And hae ye quite forgotten her That gave your life and libertie?’
  36. She looked oer her left shoulder, To hide the tears stood in her ee: ‘Now fare thee well, Young Beichan,’ she says, ‘I’ll try to think no more on thee.’
  37. ‘O never, never, Susie Pye, For surely this can never be, Nor ever shall I wed but her That’s done and dreed so much for me.’
  38. Then out and spak the forenoon bride: ‘My lord, your love it changeth soon; This morning I was made your bride, And another chose ere it be noon.’
  39. O hold thy tongue, thou forenoon bride, Ye’re neer a whit the worse for me, And whan ye return to your own countrie, A double dower I’ll send with thee.’
  40. He’s taen Susie Pye by the white hand, And gently led her up and down, And ay as he kist her red rosy lips, ‘Ye’re welcome, jewel, to your own.’
  41. He’s taen her by the milk-white hand, And led her to yon fountain stane; He’s changed her name from Susie Pye, And he’s call’d her his bonny love, Lady Jane.