The king is gone from Bambrough Castle, Long may the princess mourn; Long may she stand on the castle wall, Looking for his return.
She has knotted the keys upon a string, 5 And with her she has them ta'en, She has cast them o'er her left shoulder, And to the gate she is gane.
She tripped out, she tripped in, She tript into the yard; 10 But it was more for the king's sake, Than for the queen's regard.
It fell out on a day, the king Brought the queen with him home; And all the lords in our country 15 To welcome them did come.
"O welcome father!" the lady cries, "Unto your halls and bowers; And so are you, my step-mother, For all that's here is yours." 20
A lord said, wondering while she spake,[L21]
"This princess of the North Surpasses all of female kind In beauty, and in worth."
The envious queen replied, "At least, 25 You might have excepted me; In a few hours, I will her bring Down to a low degree.
"I will her liken to a laidley worm, That warps about the stone, 30 And not till Childy Wynd[L31] comes back, Shall she again be won."
The princess stood at the bower door Laughing, who could her blame?
But e'er the next day's sun went down, 35 A long worm she became.
For seven miles east, and seven miles west, And seven miles north, and south, No blade of grass or corn could grow, So venomous was her mouth. 40
The milk of seven stately cows (It was costly her to keep) Was brought her daily, which she drank Before she went to sleep.
At this day may be seen the cave 45 Which held her folded up, And the stone trough, the very same Out of which she did sup.
Word went east, and word went west, And word is gone over the sea, 50 That a laidley worm in Spindleston-Heughs Would ruin the North Country.
Word went east, and word went west, And over the sea did go; The Child of Wynd got wit of it, 55 Which filled his heart with woe.
He called straight his merry men all, They thirty were and three: "I wish I were at Spindleston, This desperate worm to see. 60
"We have no time now here to waste, Hence quickly let us sail: My only sister Margaret, Something, I fear, doth ail."
They built a ship without delay, 65 With masts of the rown tree, With flutring sails of silk so fine, And set her on the sea.
They went on board; the wind with speed, Blew them along the deep; 70 At length they spied an huge square tower On a rock high and steep.
The sea was smooth, the weather clear; When they approached nigher, King Ida's castle they well knew, 75 And the banks of Bambroughshire.
The queen look'd out at her bower window, To see what she could see; There she espied a gallant ship Sailing upon the sea. 80
When she beheld the silken sails, Full glancing in the sun, To sink the ship she sent[L83] away Her witch wives every one.
The spells were vain; the hags returned 85 To the queen in sorrowful mood, Crying that witches have no power Where there is rown-tree wood.
Her last effort, she sent a boat, Which in the haven lay, 90 With armed men to board the ship, But they were driven away.
The worm lept out, the worm lept down, She plaited round the stone; And ay as the ship came to the land 95 She banged it off again.
The Child then ran out of her reach The ship on Budley-sand, And jumping into the shallow sea, Securely got to land. 100
And now he drew his berry-brown[L101] sword, And laid it on her head; And swore, if she did harm to him, That he would strike her dead.
"O quit thy sword, and bend thy bow, 105 And give me kisses three; For though I am a poisonous worm, No hurt I'll do to thee.
"O quit thy sword, and bend thy bow, And give me kisses three; 110 If I'm not won e'er the sun go down, Won I shall never be."
He quitted his sword, and bent his bow, He gave her kisses three; She crept into a hole a worm, 115 But out stept a lady.
No clothing had this lady fine, To keep her from the cold; He took his mantle from him about, And round her did it fold. 120
He has taken his mantle from him about, And in it he wrapt her in, And they are up to Bambrough castle, As fast as they can win.
His absence, and her serpent shape, 125 The king had long deplored; He now rejoyced to see them both Again to him restored.
The queen they wanted, whom they found All pale, and sore afraid, 130 Because she knew her power must yield To Childy Wynd's, who said,
"Woe be to thee, thou wicked witch; An ill death mayest thou dee; As thou my sister hast lik'ned, 135 So lik'ned shalt thou be.
"I will turn you into a toad, That on the ground doth wend; And won, won shalt thou never be, Till this world hath an end." 140
Now on the sand near Ida's tower, She crawls a loathsome toad, And venom spits on every maid She meets upon her road.
The virgins all of Bambrough town 145 Will swear that they have seen This spiteful toad, of monstrous size, Whilst walking they have been.
All folks believe within the shire This story to be true, 150 And they all run to Spindleston, The cave and trough to view.
This fact now Duncan Frasier, Of Cheviot, sings in rhime, Lest Bambroughshire men should forget 155 Some part of it in time.
v. 21-28. Compare _Young Waters_, (iii. 90,) v. 21-28, and _Young Beichan and Susie Pye_, (iv. 7,) v. 118-124.
v. 31. Childy Wynd is obviously a corruption of Child Owain.
LORD DINGWALL. (See p. 152.)
From Buchan's _Ancient Ballads and Songs of the North of Scotland_.
We were sisters, sisters seven, _Bowing down, bowing down_; The fairest women under heaven.
_And aye the birks a-bowing._