THE BALLAD OF LITTLE MUSGRAVE AND LADY BARNARD - Lady Mary Wortley Montagu Poems

 
 

Poems » lady mary wortley montagu » the ballad of little musgrave and lady barnard

THE BALLAD OF LITTLE MUSGRAVE AND LADY BARNARD
As it fell out on a highe holye daye,
    As many bee in the yeare,
When yong men and maides together do goe
    Their masses and mattins to heare,

Little Musgrāve came to the church door,
    The priest was at the mass ;
But he had more mind of the fine women,
    Then he had of our Ladyes grace.

And some of them were clad in greene,
    And others were clad in pall ;
And then came in my lord Barnardes wife,
    The fairest among them all.

Shee cast an eye on little Musgrāve
    As bright as the summer sunne :
O then bethought him little Musgrāve,
    This ladyes heart I have wonne.

Quoth she, I have loved thee, little Musgrāve,
    Full long and manye a daye.
So have I loved you, ladye faire,
    Yet word I never durst saye.

I have a bower at Bucklesford-Bury,
    Full daintilye bedight,
If thoult wend thither, my little Musgrāve,
    Thoust lig in mine armes all night.


Quoth hee, I thank yee, ladye faire,
    This kindness yee shew to me ;
And whether it be to my weale or woe,
    This night will I lig with thee.

All this beheard a litle foot-page,
    By his ladyes coach as he ranne :
Quoth he, thoughe I am my ladyes page,
    Yet Ime my lord Barnardes manne.

My lord Barnārd shall knowe of this,
    Although I lose a limbe.
And ever whereas the bridges were broke,
    He layd him downe to swimme.

Asleep or awake, thou lord Barnārd,
    As thou art a man of life,
Lo! this same night at Bucklesford-Bury
    Litle Musgrave's in bed with thy wife.

If it be trew, thou litle foote-page,
    This tale thou hast told to mee,
Then all my lands in Bucklesford-Bury
    I freelye will give to thee.

But an it be a lye, thou litle foot-page,
    This tale thou hast told to mee,
On the highest tree in Bucklesford-Bury
    All hanged shalt thou bee.

Rise up, rise up, my merry men all,
    And saddle me my good steede ;
This night must I to Bucklesford-Bury ;
    God wott, I had never more neede.


Then some they whistled, and some they sang,
    And some did loudlye saye,
Whenever lord Barnardes horne it blewe,
    Awaye, Musgrāve, away.

Methinkes I heare the throstle cocke,
    Methinkes I heare the jay,
Methinkes I heare lord Barnards horne ;
    I would I were awaye.

Lye still, lye still, thou little Musgrāve,
    And huggle me from the cold ;
For it is but some shephardes boye
    A whistling his sheepe to the fold.

Is not thy hawke upon the pearche,
    Thy horse eating corne and haye ?
And thou a gay lady within thine armes :
    And wouldst thou be awaye ?

By this lord Barnard was come to the dore,
    And lighted upon a stone :
And he pulled out three silver keyes,
    And opened the dores eche one.

He lifted up the coverlett,
    He lifted up the sheete ;
How now, how now, thou little Musgrāve,
    Dost find my gaye ladye sweete ?

I find her sweete, quoth little Musgrāve,
    The more is my griefe and paine ;
Ide gladlye give three hundred poundes
    That I were on yonder plaine.

Arise, arise, thou little Musgrāve,
    And put thy cloathes nowe on,
It shall never be said in my countree,
    That I killed a naked man.

I have two swordes in one scabbārde,
    Full deare they cost my purse ;
And thou shalt have the best of them,
    And I will have the worse.

The first stroke that little Musgrave strucke,
    He hurt lord Barnard sore,
The next stroke that lord Barnard strucke,
    Little Musgrave never strucke more.

With that bespake the ladye faire,
    In bed whereas she laye,
Althoughe thou art dead, my little Musgrāve,
    Yet for thee I will praye :

And wishe well to thy soule will I,

    So long as I have life ;
So will I not do for thee, Barnārd,
    Thoughe I am thy wedded wife.

He cut her pappes from off her brest ;
    Great pitye it was to see
The drops of this fair ladyes bloode
    Run trickling downe her knee.

Wo worth, wo worth ye, my merrye men all,
    You never were borne for my goode :
Why did you not offer to stay my hande,
    When you sawe me wax so woode ?

For I have slaine the fairest sir knighte,
    That ever rode on a steede ;
So have I done the fairest lady,
    That ever ware womans weede.

A grave, a grave, Lord Barnard cryde,
    To putt these lovers in ;
But lay my ladye o' the upper hande,
    For she comes o' the better kin.

       -