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IN London was Lord Beichan born;

He longed strange countries for to see;

But he was ta’en by a savage Moor,

Who handled him right cruelly.


For he viewed the fashions of the land;

Their way of worship viewed he;

But to Mahound, or Termagant,

Would Beichan never bend a knee.

They’ve cast him in a dungeon deep,

Where he could neither hear nor see;

And fed him nought but bread and water

Till he hunger’s like to dee.

This Moor he had but one daughter,

Her name was calléd Susie Pye;

And every day as she took the air,

Near Beichan’s prison she passed by.

Now so it fell upon a day,

About the middle time of Spring,

As she was passing by that way,

She heard young Beichan sadly sing:

‘My hounds they all go masterless,

My hawks they fly from tree to tree,

My younger brother will heir my land;

Fair England again I’ll never see!’

All the night long no rest she got,

Young Beichan’s song for thinking on;

She’s stolen the keys from her father’s head,

And to the prison strong is gone.

And she has open’d the prison-doors:

I wot she open’d two or three

Ere she could come young Beichan at,

He was locked up so curiously.

But when she came young Beichan till,

Sore wondered he that May to see;

He took her for some fair captive:

‘Fair lady, I pray, of what country?’


‘O have you any lands,’ she said,

‘Or castles in your own country?

Or what could ye give to a lady fair,

From prison strong would set ye free?

‘Near London town I have a hall,

And other castles two or three;

I’ll give them all to the lady fair

That out of prison will set me free.’

‘Give me the truth of your right hand,

The truth of that now give to me,

For seven years ye’ll no lady wed,

Unless that ye be wed with me.’

‘I give thee the truth of my right hand,

The truth of that I give to thee,

That for seven years I’ll stay unwed,

For the kindness thou dost show to me.’

She’s given him to eat the good spice-cake,

She’s given him to drink the blood-red wine;

She’s bidden him sometimes think on her

That’s kindly freed him out of pine.

And she has broken her finger-ring;

To Beichan half of it gave she:

‘Keep it to mind you in foreign land

Of the lady’s love that set you free.

‘And set your foot on good ship-board,

And haste ye back to your own country;

And before that seven years have an end,

Come back again, love, and marry me.’

But long ere seven years had an end

She longed full sore her love to see;

So she’s set her foot on good ship-board,

And turned her back on her own country.


She sailed east, she sailed west,

Till to fair England‘s shore she came,

Where a bonnie shepherd she espied,

Feeding his sheep upon the plain.

‘What news, what news, thou bonnie shepherd?

What news hast thou to tell to me?

‘Such news I hear, lady,’ he says,

‘The like was never in this country.

‘There is a wedding in yonder hall,

And ever the bells ring merrily;

It is Lord Beichan’s wedding-day

With a fair lady of high degree.’

She’s put her hand into her pockét,

Given him the gold and white money;

‘Hey, take ye that, my bonnie boy,

All for the news thou tellest to me.’

When she came to young Beichan’s gate,

She tirled softly at the pin;

So ready was the proud porter

To open and let this lady in.

‘Is this young Beichan’s house?’ she said,

‘Or is that noble lord within?’

‘Yea, he sits in hall among them all,

And this is the day of his wedding.’

‘O has he wed another love?

O has he clean forgotten me?’

And sighing said that fair lady,

‘I wish I were in my own country!’

And she has taken her gay gold ring,

That with her love she brake so free;

Says, ‘Give him that, ye proud porter,

And bid the bridegroom speak with me.’


The porter came his lord before,

And kneeléd low down on his knee:

‘What aileth thee, my proud porter,

And wherefore is thy courtesie?’

‘I have been a porter at your gates,

It’s now for thirty years and three;

But there stands a lady now thereat,

And so fair a lady I never did see.’

Then out and spake the bride’s mother;

An angry woman, I wot, was she:

‘Ye might have excepted our bonnie bride,

And two or three of our company.’

‘My dame, your daughter’s fair enough,

And aye the fairer may she be,

But the fairest time that ever she was,

She’ll no compare with this lady.

‘On every finger she has a ring,

On her mid-finger she has three;

And as much red gold above her brow

As would buy an earldom unto me.

‘And this golden ring that’s broken in twain,

This half of a golden ring sends she:

“Ye’ll carry that to Lord Beichan,” she says,

“And bid to him come and speak with me.” ’

Then up and started Lord Beichan;

I wot he made the table flee:

‘I would give all my yearly rent

Were it Susie Pye come over the sea!’

And quickly hied he down the stair,

Of fifteen steps he made but three;

He’s ta’en his bonnie love in his arms,

And kiss’d, and kiss’d her tenderly.


‘O have ye taken another bride?

And have ye clean forgotten me?

And have ye clean forgotten her

That gave you life and liberty?’

She looked over her left shouldér,

To hide the tears stood in her e’e:

‘Now, fare thee well, young Beichan,’ she says:

‘I’ll try to think no more on thee.’

‘O never, never, Susie Pye!

For surely this can never be;

Nor shall I ever wed but her

That’s done and dared so much for me.’

Then out and spake the bride’s mother;

She never was heard to speak so free:

‘Ye cannot forsake by one daughter,

Though Susie Pye has crossed the sea!’

‘Take home, take home your daughter, madam,

For she is never the wife for me;

I’ll send her back in a coach and four,

And a double sum shall her dowry be.’

He has taken her by the milkwhite hand,

And gently led her up and down,

And aye as he kissed her red rosy lips,

‘Ye are welcome, jewel, to your own.’

He has taken her by the milkwhite hand,

And led her to yon fountain-stane;

He’s changed her name from Susie Pye,

And call’d her his bonnie wife, Lady Jane.

* From Ballads Old & New, Part I, Edited by H. B. Cotterill; Macmillan and Co., Limited, London, New York, Canada; 1915; pp. 167-168.

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