Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
 
9. The Riddling Knight
 
 
I

THERE were three sisters fair and bright,
  Jennifer, Gentle and Rosemary,
And they three loved one valiant knight—
  As the dow flies over the mulberry-tree.
 
II

The eldest sister let him in,
        5
And barr’d the door with a silver pin.
 
III

The second sister made his bed,
And placed soft pillows under his head.
 
IV

The youngest sister that same night
Was resolved for to wed wi’ this valiant knight.        10
 
V

‘And if you can answer questions three,
O then, fair maid, I’ll marry wi’ thee.
 
VI

‘O what is louder nor a horn,
Or what is sharper nor a thorn?
 
VII

‘Or what is heavier nor the lead,
        15
Or what is better nor the bread?
 
VIII

‘Or what is longer nor the way,
Or what is deeper nor the sea?’—
 
IX

‘O shame is louder nor a horn,
And hunger is sharper nor a thorn.        20
 
X

‘O sin is heavier nor the lead,
The blessing’s better nor the bread.
 
XI

‘O the wind is longer nor the way
And love is deeper nor the sea.’
 
XII

[‘You have answer’d aright my questions three,]
        25
  Jennifer, Gentle and Rosemary;
And now, fair maid, I’ll marry wi’ thee,
  As the dow flies over the mulberry-tree.
 
GLOSS:  dow] dove.
 

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