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.
 
99. The Maid and the Palmer
 
 
I

THE MAID she went to the well to washe,
  Dew fell off her lily-white fleshe.
 
II

White she washte, and white she rong,
White she hang’d on the hazel wand.
 
III

There came an old palmer by the way,
        5
Says, ‘God speed thee well, thou fair may.’
 
IV

‘Has tow either cup or can,
To give an old palmer drink therein?’
 
V

Says, ‘I have neither cup nor can,
To give an old palmer drink therein.’        10
 
VI

‘But an thy leman come from Rome,
Cups and cans thou wilt find soon.’
 
VII

She swore by God and good Saint John
Leman she had never none.
 
VIII

Says, ‘Peace, fair maid, you are forsworne,
        15
Niné children you have borne.
 
IX

‘Three were buryed under thy bed’s head,
Other three under thy brewing lead.
 
X

‘Other three play on yon greene;
Count, maid, and there be nine.’—        20
 
XI

‘But I hope you are the good old man
That all the world beleeves upon.
 
XII

‘Old palmer, I pray thee,
Penaunce that thou wilt give to me.’—
 
XIII

‘Penaunce I can give thee none
        25
But seven year to be a stepping-stone.
 
XIV

Other seven a clapper in a bell,
Other seven to lead an ape in hell.
 
XV

When thou hast thy penaunce done,
Then thou’st come a mayden home.’        30
 
GLOSS:  Risit, leadit, stonit] imperatives.  rong] wrung.  leman] lover.  lead] vat.
 

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