The was a lady lived in York
(all alone-y, alone-y)
She was courted by her father's clerk.
(Down by the greenwood side-y.)
She leaned her back against an oak
But first it bent and then it broke.
She leaned herself against a thorn
And there she had two pretty babes born.
She had a pen-knife long and sharp,
And she pressed it through their tender hearts.
She digged a grave both wide and long,
And she buried them under a marble stone.
And she was sat at her father's hall,
Oh there she saw two pretty babes playing at ball.
Oh babes - oh babes if you were mine,
I would dress you up in the scarlet fine.
Oh mother, oh mother we once were thine,
You did not dress us in the scarlet fine.
You digged a grave both wide and long,
And you buried under a marble stone.
Babes - oh babes come tell to me,
If you know what the future means to me.
Mother - oh mother you know right well,
'Tis we for Heaven and you for Hell.
Marrow Bones, Ed Frank Purslow, EFDS, 1965.
Hammond D.863. Collected from Mrs. Case, Sydling St. Nicholas, Dorset, Sept 1907.
(Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six