No: 247; variant: 247A
- ‘HOW brent’s your brow, my Lady Elspat!
How golden yallow is your hair!
Of all the maids of fair Scotland,
There’s nane like Lady Elspat fair.’
- ‘Perform your vows, Sweet William,’ she says,
‘The vows which ye ha made to me,
An at the back o my mother’s castle
This night I’ll surely meet wi thee.’
- But wae be to her brother’s page,
Who heard the words this twa did say!
He’s told them to her lady mother,
Who wrought Sweet William mieckle wae.
- For she has taen him Sweet William,
An she’s gard bind him wi his bow-string
Till the red bluide o his fair body
Frae ilka nail o his hand did spring.
- O it fell once upon a time
That the Lord Justice came to town;
Out has she taen him Sweet William,
Brought him before Lord Justice boun.
- ‘An what is the crime, now, madame,’ he says,
‘Has been committed by this young man?’
‘O he has broken my bonny castel,
That was well biggit with lime and stane.
- ‘An he has broken my bonny coffers,
That was well banded wi aiken ban,
An he has stoln my rich jewels;
I wot he has them every one.’
- Then out it spake her Lady Elspat,
As she sat by Lord Justice knee;
‘Now ye hae taul your tale, mother,
I pray, Lord Justice, you’l now hear me.
- ‘He has na broken her bonny castel,
That was well biggit wi lime and stane,
Nor has he stoln her rich jewels,
For I wot she has them every one.
- ‘But tho he was my first true love,
An tho I had sworn to be his bride,
Cause he had not a great estate,
She would this way our loves divide.’
- An out it spake the Lord Justice,
I wot the tear was in his ee;
‘I see nae fault in this young man,
Sae loose his bans, an set him free.
- ‘Take back your love, Lady Elspat,
An my best blessing you baith upon!
For gin he be your first true love,
He is my eldest sister’s son.
- ‘There is a steed in my stable
Cost me baith gold and white money;
Ye’s get as mieckle o my free lan
As he’ll ride about in a summer’s day.’