Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard

No: 81; variant: 81G

  1. LORD BARNARD’S awa to the green wood, To hunt the fallow deer; His vassals a’ are gane wi him, His companies to bear.
  2. His lady wrate a braid letter, And seald it wi her hand, And sent if aff to Wee Messgrove, To come at her command.
  3. When Messgrove lookt the letter on, A waefu man was he; Sayin, Gin I’m gript wi Lord Barnard’s wife, Sure hanged I will be.
  4. When he came to Lord Barnard’s castel He tinklit at the ring, And nane was so ready as the lady hersell To let Wee Messgrove in.
  5. ‘Welcome, welcome, Messgrove,’ she said, ‘You’re welcome here to me; Lang hae I loed your bonnie face, And lang hae ye loed me.
  6. ‘Lord Barnard is a hunting gane, I hope he’ll neer return, And ye sall sleep into his bed, And keep his lady warm.’
  7. ‘It cannot be,’ Messgrove he said, ‘I ween it cannot be; Gin Lord Barnard suld come hame this nicht, What would he do to me?’
  8. ‘Ye naething hae to fear, Messgrove, Ye naething hae to fear; I’ll set my page without the gate, To watch till morning clear.’
  9. But wae be to the wee fut-page, And an ill death mat he die! For he’s awa to the green wood, As hard as he can flee.
  10. And whan he to the green wood cam, ‘Twas dark as dark could bee, And he fand his maister and his men Asleep aneth a tree.
  11. ‘Rise up, rise up, maister,’ he said, ‘Rise up, and speak to me; Your wife’s in bed wi Wee Messgrove, Rise up richt speedilie.’
  12. ‘Gin that be true ye tell to me, A lord I will mak thee; But gin it chance to be a lie, Sure hanged ye sall be.’
  13. ‘It is as true, my lord,’ he said, ‘As ever ye were born; Messgrove’s asleep in your lady’s bed, All for to keep her warm.’
  14. He mounted on his milk-white steed, He was ane angry man; And he reachd his stately castell gate Just as the day did dawn.
  15. He put his horn unto his mouth, And he blew strong blasts three; Sayin, He that’s in bed with anither man’s wife, He suld be gaun awa.
  16. Syne out and spak the Wee Messgrove, A frichtit man was he; ‘I hear Lord Barnard’s horn,’ he said, ‘It blaws baith loud and hie.’
  17. ‘Lye still, lye still, my Wee Messgrove, And keep me frae the cauld; ‘Tis but my father’s shepherd’s horn, A sounding in the fauld.’
  18. He put his horn unto his mouth, And he blew loud blasts three; Saying, He that’s in bed wi anither man’s wife, ‘Tis time he was awa.
  19. Syne out and spak the Wee Messgrove, A frichtit man was he: ‘Yon surely is Lord Barnard’s horn, And I maun een gae flee.’
  20. ‘Lye still, lye still, Messgrove,’ she said, ‘And keep me frae the cauld; ‘Tis but my father’s shepherd’s horn, A sounding in the fauld.’
  21. And ay Lord Barnard blew and blew, Till he was quite wearie; Syne he threw down his bugle horn, And up the stair ran he.
  22. ‘How do you like my blankets, Sir? How do you like my sheets? How do ye like my gay ladie, That lies in your arms asleep?’
  23. ‘Oh weel I like your blankets, Sir, And weel I like your sheet; But wae be to your gay ladie, That lyes in my arms asleep!’
  24. ‘I’ll gie you ae sword, Messgrove, And I will take anither; What fairer can I do, Messgrove, Altho ye war my brither?’
  25. The firsten wound that Messgrove gat, It woundit him richt sair; And the second wound that Messgrove gat, A word he neer spak mair.
  26. ‘Oh how do ye like his cheeks, ladie? Or how do ye like his chin? Or how do ye like his fair bodie, That there’s nae life within?’
  27. ‘Oh weel I like his cheeks,’ she said, ‘And weel I like his chin; And weel I like his fair bodie, That there’s nae life within.’
  28. ‘Repeat these words, my fair ladie, Repeat them ower agane, And into a basin of pure silver I’ll gar your heart’s bluid rin.’
  29. ‘Oh weel I like his cheeks,’ she said, ‘And weel I like his chin; And better I like his fair bodie Than a’ your kith and kin.’
  30. Syne he took up his gude braid sword, That was baith sharp and fine, And into a basin of pure silver Her heart’s bluid he gart rin.
  31. ‘O wae be to my merrie men, And wae be to my page, That they didna hald my cursed hands When I was in a rage!’
  32. He leand the halbert on the ground, The point o’t to his breast, Saying, Here are three sauls gaun to heaven, I hope they’ll a’ get rest.