The Clerk’s Twa Sons o Owensford

No: 72; variant: 72A

  1. O I will sing to you a sang, But oh my heart is sair! The clerk’s twa sons in Owsenford Has to learn some unco lair.
  2. They hadna been in fair Parish A twelvemonth an a day, Till the clerk’s twa sons o Owsenford Wi the mayor’s twa dauthrers lay.
  3. O word’s gaen to the mighty mayor, As he saild on the sea, That the clerk’s twa sons o Owsenford Wi his twa daughters lay.
  4. ‘If they hae lain wi my twa daughters, Meg an Marjorie, The morn, or I taste meat or drink, They shall be hangit hie.’
  5. O word’s gaen to the clerk himself, As he sat drinkin wine, That his twa sons in fair Parish Were bound in prison strong.
  6. Then up and spak the clerk’s ladye, And she spak powrfully: ‘O tak with ye a purse of gold, Or take with ye three, And if ye canna get William, Bring Andrew hame to me.’
  7. ‘O lye ye here for owsen, dear sons, Or lie ye here for kye? Or what is it that ye lie for, Sae sair bound as ye lie?’
  8. ‘We lie not here for owsen, dear father, Nor yet lie here for kye, But it’s for a little o dear bought love Sae sair bound as we lie.’
  9. O he’s gane to the mighty mayor, And he spoke powerfully: ‘Will ye grant me my twa sons’ lives, Either for gold or fee? Or will ye be sae gude a man As grant them baith to me?’
  10. ‘I’ll no grant ye yere twa sons’ lives, Neither for gold or fee, Nor will I be sae gude a man As gie them back to thee; Before the morn at twelve o’clock Ye’ll see them hangit hie.’
  11. Up an spak his twa daughters, An they spak powrfully: ‘Will ye grant us our twa loves’ lives, Either for gold or fee? Or will ye be sae gude a man As grant them baith to me.’
  12. ‘I’ll no grant ye yere twa loves’ lives, Neither for gold or fee, Nor will I be sae gude a man As grant their lives to thee; Before the morn at twelve o’clock Ye’ll see them hangit hie.’
  13. O he’s taen out these proper youths, And hangd them on a tree, And he’s bidden the clerk o Owsenford Gang hame to his ladie.
  14. His lady sits on yon castle-wa, Beholding dale an doun, An there she saw her ain gude lord Come walkin to the toun.
  15. ‘Ye’re welcome, welcome, my ain gude lord, Ye’re welcome hame to me; But where away are my twa sons? Ye should hae brought them wi ye.’
  16. ‘It’s I’ve putten them to a deeper lair, An to a higher schule; Yere ain twa sons ill no be here Till the hallow days o Yule.’
  17. ‘O sorrow, sorrow come mak my bed, An dool come lay me doon! For I’ll neither eat nor drink, Nor set a fit on ground.’