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.
 
7. The Queen of Elfland’s Nourice
 
 
I

‘I HEARD a cow low, a bonnie cow low,
  And a cow low down in yon glen:
Lang, lang will my young son greet
  Or his mither bid him come ben!
 
II

‘I heard a cow low, a bonnie cow low,
        5
  And a cow low down in yon fauld:
Lang, lang will my young son greet
  Or his mither take him frae cauld!’
 
III

[The Queen of Elfan’s nourice
  She sits and sings her lane]        10
‘Waken, Queen of Elfan
  And hear your nourice moan.’—
 
IV

‘O moan ye for your meat,
  Or moan ye for your fee,
Or moan ye for the ither bounties        15
  That ladies are wont to gie?’—
 
V

‘I moan na for my meat,
  Nor moan I for my fee,
Nor moan I for the ither bounties
  That ladies are wont to gie.        20
 
VI

[‘But I heard a bonnie cow
  Low down in yonder fauld]
And I moan for my young son
  I left in four nights auld.
 
VII

‘I moan na for my meat,
        25
  Nor yet for my fee;
But I moan for Christen land;
  It’s there I fain would be.’
 
VIII

‘O nurse my bairn, nourice,
  Till he stan’ at your knee,        30
An ye’s win hame to Christen land
  Whar fain it’s ye wad be.
 
IX

‘O keep my bairn, nourice,
  Till he gang by the hauld,
An ye’s win hame to your young son        35
  Ye left in four nights auld.
 
X

‘O nourice lay your head
  [Here] upo’ my knee:
See ye not that narrow road
  Up by yonder tree?        40
 
XI

[‘See ye not the narrow road
  By yon lillie leven?]
That’s the road the righteous goes
  And that’s the road to heaven.
 
XII

‘An’ see na ye that braid road
        45
  Down by yon sunny fell?
Yon’s the road the wicked gae,
  An’ that’s the road to hell.
 
XIII

[An’ see na ye that bonny road
  About the fernie brae?        50
That wins back frae Elfland
  Where you must wait to gae.]
 
GLOSS:  greet] cry.  ben] to the inner room.  nourice] nurse.  gang by the hauld] walk by holding on to the hand.
 

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