The Suffolk Miracle
No: 272; variant: 272A
- A WONDER stranger ne’r was known
Then what I now shall treat upon.
In Suffolk there did lately dwell
A farmer rich and known full well.
- He had a daughter fair and bright,
On whom he plac’d his chief delight;
Her beauty was beyond compare,
She was both virtuous and fair.
- A young man there was living by,
Who was so charme:d with her eye
That he could never be at rest,
He was with love so much possest.
- He made address to her, and she
Did grant him love immediately;
Which when her father came to hear,
He parted her and her poor dear.
- Forty miles distant was she sent,
Unto his brother’s, with intent
That she should there so long remain
Till she had chang’d her mind again.
- Hereat this young man sadly grievd,
But knew not how to be relievd;
He sighd and sobd continually
That his true love he could not see.
- She by no means could to him send
Who was her heart’s espouse:d friend;
He sighd, she grievd, but all in vain,
For she confin’d must still remain.
- He mournd so much that doctor’s art
Could give no ease unto his heart;
Who was so strang[e]ly terrified,
That in short time for love he dyed.
- She that from him was sent away
Knew nothing of his dying-day,
But constant still she did remain;
To love the dead was then in vain.
- After he had in grave been laid
A month or more, unto this maid
He comes about middle of the night,
Who joyd to see her heart’s delight.
- Her father’s horse, which well she knew,
Her mother’s hood and safeguard too,
He brought with him to testifie
Her parents’ order he came by.
- Which when her unckle understood,
He hop’t it would be for her good,
And gave consent to her straightway
That with him she should come away.
- When she was got her love behind,
They passd as swift as any wind,
That in two hours, or little more,
He brought her to her father’s door.
- But as they did this great haste make,
He did complain his head did ake;
Her handkerchief she then took out,
And tyed the same his head about.
- And unto him she thus did say:
‘Thou art as cold as any clay;
When we come home, a fire wee’l have;’
But little dreamt he went to grave.
- Soon were they at her father’s door,
And after she ne’r see him more;
‘I’le set the horse up,’ then he said,
And there he left this harmless maid.
- She knockt, and strait a man he cryed,
‘Who’s there?’ ‘‘Tis I,’ she then replyed;
Who wondred much her voice to hear,
And was possest with dread and fear.
- Her father he did tell, and then
He stared like an affrighted man:
Down stairs he ran, and when he see her,
Cry’d out, My child, how cam’st thou here?
- ‘Pray, sir, did you not send for me,
By such a messenger?’ said she:
Which made his hair stare on his head,
As knowing well that he was dead.
- ‘Where is he?’ then to her he said;
‘He’s in the stable,’ quoth the maid.
‘Go in,’ said he, aend go to bed;
I’le see the horse well littered.’
- He stared about, and there could hee
No shape of any mankind see,
But found his horse all on a sweat;
Which made him in a deadly fret.
- His daughter he said nothing to,
Nor no one else, though well they knew
That he was dead a month before,
For fear of grieveing her full sore.
- Her father to his father went
Who was deceasd, with this intent,
To tell him what his daughter said;
So both came back unto this maid.
- They askd her, and she still did say
‘Twas he that then brought her away;
Which when they heard they were amaz’d,
And on each other strang[e]ly gaz’d.
- A handkerchief she said she tyed
About his head, and that they tryed;
The sexton they did speak unto,
That he the grave would then undo.
- Affrighted then they did behold
His body turning into mould,
And though he had a month been dead,
This kercheif was about his head.
- This thing unto her then they told,
And the whole truth they did unfold;
She was thereat so terrified
And grievd, she quickly after dyed.
- Part not true love, you rich men, then;
But, if they be right honest men
Your daughters love, give them their way,
For force oft breeds their lives’ decay.