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Then to his grace I did replye,
Stand up, faire youth, the king reply'd,
Wilt thou be usher of my hall,
Or wilt thou be my chamberlaine,
Chuse, gentle youth, said he, thy place.
The king then smiling gave consent,
Now marke what fortune did provide ;
Thus being left alone behind,
And meeting with a ladyes vest,
And taking up a lute straitwaye,
My father was as brave a lord, “As ever Europe might afford; “ My mother was a lady bright;
My husband was a valiant knight:
“ And I myself a ladye gay,
or I had
“I had my musicke every day
Continually to wait on mee.
" But now,
husband's dead, “ And all my friends are from me fled,
My former days are past and gone, “ And I am now a serving-man."
And fetching many a tender sigh,
The king, who had a huntinge gone,
of his sport anone, And leaving all his gallant traine, Turn’d on the sudden home againe :
And when he reach'd his statelye tower,
there so melodiouslle.
Thus heard he everye word I sed,
Then stepping in, Faire ladye, rise,
A crimson dye my face orespred,
But to be briefe, his royall grace
Ah! no, my liege, I firmlye sayd,
Faire ladye, pardon me, sayd hee,
Then strait to end his amorous strife,
A SCOTTISH BALLAD.
The following piece hath run through two editions in Scotland : the second was printed at Glasgow in 1755, 8vo. Prefixed to them both is an advertisement, setting forth that the preservation of this poem was owing “ to a lady, who favoured the printers with a copy, as * it was carefully collected from the mouths of old wo“ men and nurses ;” and “ any reader that can render " it more correct or complete,” is desired to oblige the public with such improvements. In consequence of this advertisement, sixteen additional verses have been produced and handed about in manuscript, which are here inserted in their proper places : (these are from ver. 109 to ver. 121, and from ver. 124 to ver. 129, but are perhaps, after all, only an ingenious interpolation.)
As this poem lays claim to a pretty high antiquity, we have assigned it a place among our early pieces : though, after all, there is reason to believe it has received very considerable modern improvements : for in the Editor's ancient MS collection is a very old imperfect copy of the same ballad: wherein though the leading features of the story are the same, yet the colouring here is so much improved and heightened, and so many additional strokes are thrown in, that it is evident the whole has undergone a revisal.
N. B. The Editor's MS. instead of " lord Barnard,” has “ John Stewart;” and instead of “ Gil Morrice,” Child MAURICE, which last is probably the original title. See above, p. 95.