Clerk Sanders

No: 69; variant: 69B

  1. CLERK SAUNDERS and a gay lady Was walking in yonder green, And heavy, heavy was the love That fell this twa lovers between.
  2. ‘A bed, a bed,’ Clerk Saunders said, ‘And ay a bed for you and me;’ ‘Never a ane,’ said the gay lady, ‘Till ance we twa married be.
  3. ‘There would come a’ my seven brethern, And a’ their torches burning bright, And say, We hae but ae sister, And behad, she’s lying wi you the night.’
  4. ‘You’ll take a napkain in your hand, And then you will tie up your een; Then you may swear, and safe your aith, You sawna Sandy sin yestreen.
  5. ‘You’ll take me up upo your back, And then you’ll carry me to your bed; Then you may swear, and save your aith, Your board [-floor] Sandy never tred.’
  6. She’s taen him upo her back, And she’s carried him unto her bed, That she might swear, and safe her aith, Her board-floor Sandy never tread.
  7. She’s taen a napkin in her hand, And lo she did tie up her een, That she might swear, and safe her aith, She sawna Sandy syne yestreen.
  8. They were na weel into the room, Nor yet laid weel into the bed, . . . . . . . . . .
  9. When in came a’ her seven brethern, And a’ their torches burning bright; Says they, We hae but ae sister, And behold, she’s lying wi you this night.
  10. ‘I,’ bespake the first o them, A wat an ill death mat he die! ‘I bear a brand into my hand Shall quickly gar Clerk Saunders die.’
  11. ‘I,’ bespake the second of them, A wat a good death mat he die! ‘We will gae back, let him alane, His father has nae mair but he.’
  12. ‘I,’ bespake the third o them, A wat an ill death mat he die! ‘I bear the brand into my hand Shall quickly help to gar him die.’
  13. ‘I,’ bespake the fourth o them, A wat an ill death mat he die! ‘I bear the brand into my hand Shall never help to gar him die.’
  14. ‘I,’ bespake the fifth o them, A wat a good death mat he die! ‘Altho his father hae nae mair, I’ll quickly help to gar him die.’
  15. ‘I,’ bespake the sixth o them, A wat a good death mat he die! ‘He’s a worthy earl’s son, I’ll never help to gar him die.’
  16. ‘I,’ bespake the seventh of them, A wat an ill death mat he die! ‘I bear the brand into my hand Shall quickly gar Clerk Saunders die.’
  17. They baith lay still, and sleeped sound, Untill the sun began to sheen; She drew the curtains a wee bit, And dull and drowsie was his een.
  18. ‘This night,’ said she, ‘The sleepiest man That ever my twa eyes did see Hay lyen by me, and sweat the sheets; A wite they’re a great shame to see.’
  19. She rowd the claiths a’ to the foot, And then she spied his deadly wounds: ‘O wae be to my seven brethern, A wat an ill death mat they die!
  20. ‘I’m sure it was neither rogue nor loun I had into my bed wi me; ‘Twas Clerk Saunders, that good earl’s son, That pledgd his faith to marry me.’