Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Leddy Mary: A Ballad

O! mirk was the nicht, an' the hour it was late,
Whan a bonnie young leddy gaed up the gate;
Sae slow was her stap-sae sair was the mane
That fell frae her lips aye noo an' again.
She was row'd in a mantle baith rich an' wide,
But page nor maiden were there by her side.
She stude at a door, an' she tirl'd the sneck;
An aul' wife cam' but, wi' a boo an' a beck;
She thocht the rich mantle, an' white-jewel'd haun,
Belang'd to some leddy o' rank in the lan'.
'O! ha'e ye a room ye can put me intil?
Can ye gi'e me a bed, an' gi'e me yer skill?
For here I maun bide till my bairnie is born-
For I maun be deid, or hame on the morn,
An' ye s'all ha'e gowd, an' bountith, an' fee;
But whaur I ha'e come frae, or what I may be,
Ye never maun speer; for nae livin' on yirth
Maun ken what I'm here for, my name, or my birth.'
She gie'd her a room, an' she gied her a bed;
She gied her her skill. Whan twa hours were sped,
The lady was lichter-but she cou'dna bruck
On the face o' her wee greetin' laddie to leuk:
'My heart it wad saften, an' that maunna be
Till I ha'e revenge on his faither,' said she.
O! rich were the pearlin's, an' costly the lace,
That lay on the bosom, and roun' the sweet face
That was droukit wi' tears like a lily wi' dew,
An' her e'e it was stern, tho' her words were few.
She drew frae her bosom a lang purse o' gowd-
'Tak' that for propine, fu' weel it's bestow'd;
Ye did what ye cou'd for helpin' o' me;
Twa hours an nae mair I'll tarry wi' thee.'
An' true to the time she gat up on her feet,
An' said-'Noo, ye maunna leuk oot on the street;
My gate I maun gang, my weird I maun dree,
In my faither's at hame this day I maun be.'
An' sae she gaed oot as she cam' in the dark,
But to whaur she wad gang the wife had nae mark.
She tended the bairn, an' warm'd his wee feet,
Laid him intil the bed, an' sat doun to greet;
She fear'd the sweet leddy wad come by her deid,
An' naebody near her that kenn'd o' her need.
Neist day thro' the city word gaed like a bell,
That a nobleman's dochter had deet by hersel';
On the flure o' her room she was lying cauld deid,
Her mantle rowt roun' her, the hood on her heid.
Whan the wife heard the news it stoun'd her oot thro':
My sweet Lady Mary! my bonnie young doo!
It maun ha'e been thee that was wi' me yestreen;
In the pride o' thy beauty hoo aft I ha'e seen
Thee trippin' the street on thy gay gallant's arm!
My malison on him that wrocht thee sic harm!
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