Willie and Lady Maisry

No: 70; variant: 70B

  1. SWEET WILLIE was a widow’s son, And milk-white was his weed; It sets him weel to bridle a horse, And better to saddle a steed, my dear, And better to saddle a steed.
  2. But he is on to Maisry’s bower-door, And tirled at the pin: ‘Ye sleep ye, wake ye, Lady Maisry, Ye’ll open, let me come in.’
  3. ‘O who is this at my bower-door, Sae well that knows my name?’ ‘It is your ain true-love, Willie, If ye love me, lat me in.’
  4. Then huly, huly raise she up, For fear o making din, Then in her arms lang and bent, She caught sweet Willie in.
  5. She leand her low down to her toe, To loose her true-love’s sheen, But cauld, cauld were the draps o bleed Fell fae his trusty brand.
  6. ‘What frightfu sight is that, my love? A frightfu sight to see! What bluid is this on your sharp brand? O may ye not tell me?’
  7. ‘As I came thro the woods this night, The wolf maist worried me; O shoud I slain the wolf, Maisry? Or shoud the wolf slain me?’
  8. They hadna kissd, nor love clapped, As lovers when they meet, Till up it starts her auld father, Out o his drowsy sleep.
  9. ‘O what’s become o my house-cock, Sae crouse at ane did craw? I wonder as much at my bold watch, That’s nae shooting ower the wa.
  10. ‘My gude house-cock, my only son, Heir ower my land sae free, If ony ruffian hae him slain, High hanged shall he be.’
  11. Then he’s on to Maisry’s bower-door, And tirled at the pin: ‘Ye sleep ye, wake ye, daughter Maisry, Ye’ll open, lat me come in.’
  12. Between the curtains and the wa She rowd her true-love then, And huly went she to the door, And let her father in.
  13. ‘What’s become o your maries, Maisry, Your bower it looks sae teem? What’s become o your green claithing, Your beds they are sae thin?’
  14. ‘Gude forgie you, father,’ she said, ‘I wish ye be’t for sin; Sae aft as ye hae dreaded me, But never found me wrang.’
  15. He turnd him right and round about, As he’d been gaun awa; But sae nimbly as he slippet in Behind a screen sae sma.
  16. Maisry, thinking a’ dangers past, She to her love did say, ‘Come, love, and take your silent rest; My auld father’s away.’
  17. Then baith lockd in each other’s arms, They fell full fast asleep, When up it starts her auld father, And stood at their bed-feet.
  18. ‘I think I hae the villain now That my dear son did slay; But I shall be revengd on him Before I see the day.’
  19. Then he’s drawn out a trusty brand, And stroakd it oer a stray, And thro and thro Sweet Willie’s middle He’s gart cauld iron gae.
  20. Then up it wakend Lady Maisry, Out o her drowsy sleep, And when she saw her true-love slain, She straight began to weep.
  21. ‘O gude forgie you now, father,’ she said, ‘I wish ye be’t for sin; For I never lovd a love but ane, In my arms ye’ve him slain.’
  22. ‘This night he’s slain my gude bold watch, Thirty stout men and twa; Likewise he’s slain your ae brother, To me was worth them a’.
  23. ‘If he has slain my ae brither, Himsell had a’ the blame, For mony a day he plots contriv’d, To hae Sweet Willie slain.
  24. ‘And tho he’s slain your gude bold watch, He might hae been forgien; They came on him in armour bright, When he was but alane.’
  25. Nae meen was made for this young knight, In bower where he lay slain, But a’ was for sweet Maisry bright, In fields where she ran brain.