Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
 
159. The Gardener
 
 
I

THE GARDENER stands in his bower-door,
  With a primrose in his hand,
And by there came a leal maiden
  As jimp as a willow wand.
 
II

‘O lady, can you fancy me,
        5
  For to be my bride?
Ye’se get a’ the flowers in my garden
  To be to you a weed.
 
III

‘The lily white sall be your smock
  Becomes your body best;        10
Your head sall be busk’d wi’ gillyflower
  And the primrose in your breast.
 
IV

‘Your gown sall be the sweet-william,
  Your coat the camovine,
Your apron a’ the salluds neat        15
  That taste baith sweet and fine.
 
V

‘Your stockings sall be o’ the braid kail-blade,
  That is baith braid and lang;
And narrow, narrow at the cute,
  And braid, braid at the brawn.        20
 
VI

‘Your gloves sall be the marigold,
  All glittering to your hand,
Well spread o’er wi’ the blue blaewort
  That grows amang corn-land.’—
 
VII

‘O fare ye well, young man,’ she says,
        25
  ‘Farewell, and I bid adieu;
If you can fancy me,’ she says,
  ‘O I cannot fancy you.
 
VIII

‘Sin ye’ve provided a weed for me
  Amang the summer flowers,        30
Then I’se provide anither for you
  Amang the winter showers.—
 
IX

‘The new-fa’n snaw to be your smock
  Becomes your body best;
An’ your head sall be wound wi’ the eastern wind,        35
  An’ the cauld rain on your breast.’
 
GLOSS:  leal] true.  jimp] slender.  weed] clothing.  camovine] camomile.  cute] ankle.  brawn] calf.  blaewort] corn bluebottle.
 

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