Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Anonymous. 16th Cent.
  
28. Balow
  
BALOW, my babe, lie still and sleep! 
It grieves me sore to see thee weep. 
Wouldst thou be quiet I'se be glad, 
Thy mourning makes my sorrow sad: 
Balow my boy, thy mother's joy,         5
Thy father breeds me great annoy— 
          Balow, la-low! 
 
When he began to court my love, 
And with his sugred words me move, 
His faynings false and flattering cheer  10
To me that time did not appear: 
But now I see most cruellye 
He cares ne for my babe nor me— 
          Balow, la-low! 
 
Lie still, my darling, sleep awhile,  15
And when thou wak'st thoo'le sweetly smile: 
But smile not as thy father did, 
To cozen maids: nay, God forbid! 
But yet I fear thou wilt go near 
Thy father's heart and face to bear—  20
          Balow, la-low! 
 
I cannot choose but ever will 
Be loving to thy father still; 
Where'er he go, where'er he ride, 
My love with him doth still abide;  25
In weal or woe, where'er he go, 
My heart shall ne'er depart him fro— 
          Balow, la-low! 
 
But do not, do not, pretty mine, 
To faynings false thy heart incline!  30
Be loyal to thy lover true, 
And never change her for a new: 
If good or fair, of her have care 
For women's banning 's wondrous sare— 
          Balow, la-low!  35
 
Bairn, by thy face I will beware; 
Like Sirens' words, I'll come not near; 
My babe and I together will live; 
He'll comfort me when cares do grieve. 
My babe and I right soft will lie,  40
And ne'er respect man's crueltye— 
          Balow, la-low! 
 
Farewell, farewell, the falsest youth 
That ever kist a woman's mouth! 
I wish all maids be warn'd by me  45
Never to trust man's curtesye; 
For if we do but chance to bow, 
They'll use us then they care not how— 
          Balow, la-low! 
 
 
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