The Fair Flower of Northumberland

No: 9; variant: 9A

  1. IT was a knight in Scotland borne Follow, my love, come over the strand Was taken prisoner, and left forlorne, Even by the good Earle of Northumberland.
  2. Then was he cast in prison strong, Where he could not walke nor lie along, Even by the goode Earle of Northumberland.
  3. And as in sorrow thus he lay, The Earle’s sweete daughter walkt that way, And she the faire flower of Northumberland.
  4. And passing by, like an angell bright, The prisoner had of her a sight, And she the faire flower of Northumberland.
  5. And loud to her this knight did crie, The salt teares standing in his eye, And she the faire flower of Northumberland.
  6. ‘Faire lady,’ he said, ‘Take pity on me, And let me not in prison dye, And you the faire flower of Northumberland.’
  7. ‘Faire Sir, how should I take pity on thee, Thou being a foe to our countrey, And I the faire flower of Northumberland.’
  8. ‘Faire lady, I am no foe,’ he said, ‘Through thy sweet love heere was I stayd, For thee, the faire flower of Northumberland.’
  9. ‘Why shouldst thou come heere for love of me, Having wife and children in thy countrie? And I the faire flower of Northumberland.’
  10. ‘I sweare by the blessed Trinitie, I have no wife nor children, I, Nor dwelling at home in merrie Scotland.
  11. ‘If curteously you will set me free, I vow that I will marrie thee, So soone as I come in faire Scotland.
  12. ‘Thou shalt be a lady of castles and towers, And sit like a queene in princely bowers, When I am at home in faire Scotland.’
  13. Then parted hence this lady gay, And got her father’s ring away, To helpe this sad knight into faire Scotland.
  14. Likewise much gold she got by sleight, And all to help this forlorne knight To wend from her father to faire Scotland.
  15. Two gallant steedes, both good and able, She likewise tooke out of the stable, To ride with this knight into faire Scotland.
  16. And to the jaylor she sent this ring, The knight from prison forth to bring, To wend with her into faire Scotland.
  17. This token set the prisoner free, Who straight went to this faire lady, To wend with her into faire Scotland.
  18. A gallant steede he did bestride, And with the lady away did ride, And she the faire flower of Northumberland.
  19. They rode till they came to a water cleare: ‘Good Sir, how should I follow you heere, And I the faire flower of Northumberland?
  20. ‘The water is rough and wonderfull deepe, An[d] on my saddle I shall not keepe, And I the faire flower of Northumberland.’
  21. ‘Feare not the foord, faire lady,’ quoth he, ‘For long I cannot stay for thee, And thou the faire flower of Northumberland.’
  22. The lady prickt her wanton steed, And over the river swom with speede, And she the faire flower of Northumberland.
  23. From top to toe all wet was shee: ‘This have I done for love of thee, And I the faire flower of Northumberland.’
  24. Thus rode she all one winter’s night, Till Edenborow they saw in sight, The chiefest towne in all Scotland.
  25. ‘Now chuse,’ quoth he, ‘Thou wanton flower, Whe’r thou wilt be my paramour, Or get thee home to Northumberland.
  26. ‘For I have wife, and children five, In Edenborow they be alive; Then get thee home to faire England.
  27. ‘This favour shalt thou have to boote, Ile have thy horse, go thou on foote, Go, get thee home to Northumberland.’
  28. ‘O false and faithlesse knight,’ quoth shee, ‘And canst thou deale so bad with me, And I the faire flower of Northumberland?
  29. ‘Dishonour not a ladie’s name, But draw thy sword and end my shame, And I the faire flower of Northumberland.’
  30. He tooke her from her stately steed, And left her there in extreme need, And she the faire flower of Northumberland.
  31. Then sate she downe full heavily; At length two knights came riding by, Two gallant knights of faire England.
  32. She fell downe humbly on her knee, Saying, ‘Courteous knights, take pittie on me, And I the faire flower of Northumberland.
  33. ‘I have offended my father deere, And by a false knight that brought me heere, From the good Earle of Northumberland.’
  34. They tooke her up behind them then, And brought her to her father’s againe, And he the good Earle of Northumberland.
  35. All you faire maidens be warned by me, Scots were never true, nor never will be, To lord, nor lady, nor faire England.