Willy o' Winsbury

from by Emily Groff

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about

Traditional Scottish ballad

lyrics

A king has been a prisoner
And a prisoner long in Spain
And Willy o' the Winsbury
Has lain long with his daughter at home

What ails you, what ails you, my daughter Janet?
Why look you so pale and wan?
Oh, have you had any sore sickness
Or been lying with a man?

I have not had any sore sickness
Nor yet been lying with a man
But it is for you, my father dear,
In biding so long in Spain

Cast off, cast off your berry brown gown
Stand naked on the stone
That I may know you by your shape
If you be a maiden or no

And she's cast off her berry brown gown
Stood naked on the stone
Her apron hung low, her haunches were round
Her face was pale and wan

And was it a lord or a duke or a knight,
Or a man of birth and fame?
Or was it one of my servingmen
Who so lately come out of Spain?

It was not a lord or a duke or a knight
Nor a man of birth and fame
But it was for Willy o' Winsbury
I no longer could lie alone

And the king has called his merry men
By thirty and by three
Go bring me this Willy o' Winsbury
For hanged he shall be

But when he came before the king
He was clad all in the red silk
His hair was like the strands of gold
His skin was as white as the milk

And it is no wonder, said the king
That my daughter's love you did win
If I were a woman as I am a man
My bedfellow you would have been

And will you marry my daughter Janet
By the truth of your right hand?
Oh will you marry my daughter Janet?
I'll make you the lord of my land

Oh, yes, I will marry your daughter Janet
By the truth of my right hand
Oh, yes, I will marry your daughter Janet,
But I'll not be the lord of your land

And he's mounted her on a milk white steed
Himself on the dapple grey
And he's made her the lady of as much land
As she may ride in a long summer's day

credits

from Song and the Single Girl, released August 1, 2002

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Emily Groff Bainbridge Island, Washington

Harp and voice
Sweet as hell

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