No: 53; variant: 53N
- IN London was Young Bichen born,
He longd strange lands to see;
He set his foot on good ship-board,
And he sailed over the sea.
- He had not been in a foreign land
A day but only three,
Till he was taken by a savage Moor,
And they used him most cruelly.
- In every shoulder they put a pin,
To every pin they put a tree;
They made him draw the plow and cart,
Like horse and oxen in his country.
- He had not servd the savage Moor
A week, nay scarcely but only three,
Till he has casten him in prison strong,
Till he with hunger was like to die.
- It fell out once upon a day
That Young Bichen he made his moan,
As he lay bound in irons strong,
In a dark and deep dungeon.
- ‘An I were again in fair England,
As many merry day I have been,
Then I would curb my roving youth
No more to see a strange land.
- ‘O an I were free again now,
And my feet well set on the sea,
I would live in peace in my own country,
And a foreign land I no more would see.’
- The savage Moor had but one daughter,
I wot her name was Susan Py;
She heard Young Bichen make his moan,
At the prison-door as she past by.
- ‘O have ye any lands,’ she said,
‘Or have you any money free,
Or have you any revenues,
To maintain a lady like me?’
- ‘O I have land in fair England,
And I have estates two or three,
And likewise I have revenues,
To maintain a lady like thee.’
- ‘O will you promise, Young Bichen,’ she says,
‘And keep your vow faithful to me,
That at the end of seven years
In fair England you’ll marry me?
- ‘I’ll steal the keys from my father dear,
Tho he keeps them most secretly;
I’ll risk my life for to save thine,
And set thee safe upon the sea.’
- She’s stolen the keys from her father,
From under the bed where they lay;
She opened the prison strong
And set Young Bichen at liberty.
- She’s gone to her father’s coffer,
Where the gold was red and fair to see;
She filled his pockets with good red gold,
And she set him far upon the sea.
- ‘O mind you well, Young Bichen,’ she says,
‘The vows and oaths you made to me;
When you are come to your native land,
O then remember Susan Py!’
- But when her father he came home
He missd the keys there where they lay;
He went into the prison strong,
But he saw Young Bichen was away.
- ‘Go bring your daughter, madam,’ he says,
‘And bring her here unto me;
Altho I have no more but her,
Tomorrow I’ll gar hang her high.’
- The lady calld on the maiden fair
To come to her most speedily;
‘Go up the country, my child,’ she says,
‘Stay with my brother two years or three.
- ‘I have a brother, he lives in the isles,
He will keep thee most courteously
And stay with him, my child,’ she says,
‘Till thy father’s wrath be turnd from thee.’
- Now will we leave young Susan Py
A while in her own country,
And will return to Young Bichen,
Who is safe arrived in fair England.
- He had not been in fair England
Above years scarcely three,
Till he has courted another maid,
And so forgot his Susan Py.
- The youth being young and in his prime,
Of Susan Py thought not upon,
But his love was laid on another maid,
And the marriage-day it did draw on.
- But eer the seven years were run,
Susan Py she thought full long;
She set her foot on good ship-board,
And she has saild for fair England.
- On every finger she put a ring,
On her mid-finger she put three;
She filld her pockets with good red gold,
And she has sailed oer the sea.
- She had not been in fair England
A day, a day, but only three,
Till she heard Young Bichen was a bridegroom,
And the morrow to be the wedding-day.
- ‘Since it is so,’ said young Susan,
‘That he has provd so false to me,
I’ll hie me to Young Bichen’s gates,
And see if he minds Susan Py.’
- She has gone up thro London town,
Where many a lady she there did spy;
There was not a lady in all London
Young Susan that could outvie.
- She has calld upon a waiting-man,
A waiting-man who stood near by:
‘Convey me to Young Bichen’s gates,
And well rewarded shals thou be.’
- When she came to Young Bichen’s gate
She chapped loudly at the pin,
Till down there came the proud porter;
‘Who’s there,’ he says, ‘That would be in?’
- ‘Open the gates, porter,’ she says,
‘Open them to a lady gay,
And tell your master, porter,’ she says,
‘To speak a word or two with me.’
- The porter he has opend the gates;
His eyes were dazzled to see
A lady dressd in gold and jewels;
No page nor waiting-man had she.
- ‘O pardon me, madam,’ he cried,
‘This day it is his wedding-day;
He’s up the stairs with his lovely bride,
And a sight of him you cannot see.’
- She put her hand in her pocket,
And therefrom took out guineas three,
And gave to him, saying, Please, kind sir,
Bring down your master straight to me.
- The porter up again has gone,
And he fell low down on his knee,
Saying, Master, you will please come down
To a lady who wants you to see.
- A lady gay stands at your gates,
The like of her I neer did see;
She has more gold above her eye
Nor would buy a baron’s land to me.
- Out then spake the bride’s mother,
I’m sure an angry woman was she:
‘You’re impudent and insolent,
For ye might excepted the bride and me.’
- ‘Ye lie, ye lie, ye proud woman,
I’m sure sae loud as I hear you lie;
She has more gold on her body
Than would buy the lands, the bride, and thee!’
- ‘Go down, go down, porter,’ he says,
‘And tell the lady gay from me
That I’m up-stairs wi my lovely bride,
And a sight of her I cannot see.’
- The porter he goes down again,
The lady waited patiently:
‘My master’s with his lovely bride,
And he’ll not win down my dame to see.’
- From off her finger she’s taen a ring;
‘Give that your master,’ she says, ‘From me,
And tell him now, young man,’ she says,
‘To send down a cup of wine to me.’
- ‘Here’s ring for you, master,’ he says,
‘On her mid-finger she has three,
And you are desird, my lord,’ he says,
‘To send down a cup of wine with me.’
- He hit the table with his foot,
He kepd it with his right knee:
‘I’ll wed my life and all my land
That is Susan Py, come o’er the sea!’
- He has gone unto the stair-head,
A step he took but barely three;
He opend the gates most speedily,
And Susan Py he there could see.
- ‘Is this the way, Young Bichen,’ she says,
‘Is this the way you’ve guided me?
I relieved you from prison strong,
And ill have you rewarded me.
- ‘O mind ye, Young Bichen,’ she says,
‘The vows and oaths that ye made to me,
When ye lay bound in prison strong,
In a deep dungeon of misery?’
- He took her by the milk-white hand,
And led her into the palace fine;
There was not a lady in all the palace
But Susan Py did all outshine.
- The day concluded with joy and mirth,
On every side there might you see;
There was great joy in all England
For the wedding-day of Susan Py.