Mary Hamilton

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The Four Maries: Child #173u (IV, 509)

Word is to the kitchen gone,
And word is to the hall
And word is up to madam the queen,
And that's the worst of all.
That Mary Hamilton has borne a babe
To the highest Stuart of all.

Oh rise, arise Mary Hamilton
Arise and tell to me
What thou hast done with thy wee babe
I saw and heard weep by thee

I put him in a tiny boat
And cast him out to sea
That he might sink or he might swim
But he'd never come back to me

Oh rise arise Mary Hamilton
Arise and come with me
There is a wedding in Glasgow town
This night we'll go and see

She put not on her robes of black
Nor her robes of brown
But she put on her robes of white
To ride into Glasgow town

And as she rode into Glasgow town
The city for to see
The bailiff's wife and the provost's wife
Cried alack, and alas for thee

Oh you need not weep for me, she cried
You need not weep for me
For had I not slain my own wee babe
This death I would not dee

Oh little did my mother think
When first she cradled me
The lands I was to travel in
And the death I was to dee

Last night I washed the queen's feet
Put the gold in her hair
And the only reward I find for this
The gallows to be my share

Cast off, cast off my gown, she cried
But let my petticoat be
And tie a napkin round my face
The gallows, I would not see

Then by and come the king himself
Looked up with a pitiful eye
Come down, come down Mary Hamilton
Tonight you will dine with me

Oh hold your tongue, my sovereign liege
And let your folly be
For if you'd a mind to save my life
You'd never have shamed me here

Last night there were four Marys
Tonight there'll be but three
It was Mary Beaton and Mary Seton
And Mary Carmichael, and me.

173[U].1 ‘My father was the Duke of York,
My mother a gay ladye,
And I myself a daintie dame;
The queen she sent for me.
173[U.2] ‘But the queen’s meat it was sae sweet,
And her clothing was sae rare,
It made me long for a young man’s bed,
And I rued it evermair.’
173[U.3] But worid is up, and word is down,
Amang the ladyes a’,
That Marie’s born a babe sin yestreen,
That babe it is awa.
173[U.4] But the queen she gat wit of this,
She calld for a berry-brown gown,
And she’s awa to Marie’s bower,
The bower that Marie lay in.
173[U.5] ‘Open your door, my Marie,’ she says,
‘My bonny and fair Marie;
They say you have born a babe sin yestreen,
That babe I fain wad see.’
173[U.6] ‘It is not sae wi me, madam,
It is not sae wi me;
It is but a fit of my sair sickness,
That oft times troubles me.’
173[U.7] ‘Get up, get up, my Marie,’ she says,
‘My bonny and fair Marie,
And we’ll away to Edinburgh town,
And try the verity.’
173[U.8] Slowly, slowly, gat she up,
And slowly pat she on,
And slowly went she to that milk-steed,
To ride to Edinburgh town.
173[U.9] But when they cam to Edinburgh,
And in by the Towbooth stair,
There was mony a virtuous ladye
Letting the tears fa there.
173[U.10] ‘Why weep ye sae for me, madams?
Why weep ye sae for me?
For sin ye brought me to this town
This death ye gar me die.’
173[U.11] When she cam to the Netherbow Port,
She gae loud laughters three;
But when she cam to the gallows-foot
The tear blinded her ee.
173[U.12] ‘Yestreen the queen had four Maries,
The night she’ll hae but three;
There was Marie Seton, and Marie Beatoun,
And Marie Carmichael, and me.
173[U.13] ‘My love he was a pottinger,
Mony drink he gae me,
And a’ to put back that bonnie babe,
But alas! it wad na do.
173[U.14] ‘I pat that bonny babe in a box,
And set it on the sea;
O sink ye, swim ye, bonny babe!
Ye’s neer get mair o me.
173[U.15] ‘O all ye jolly sailors,
That sail upon the sae,
Let neither my father nor mother ken
The death that I maun die.
173[U.16] ‘But if my father and mother kend
The death that I maun die,
O mony wad be the good red guineas
That wad be gien for me.’

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