Arbutus

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Melody -
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Traditional, collected by Child, #100

Our king, he has a daughter fair;
Arbutus is her name.
And he has gone a-soldiering
To the court of the king of Spain.

2. Where our harpers sang of her gentle grace,
Of her beauty and her face.
And the Spanish king's declared his love,
Begged she might share his name.

3. Our Irish king, he's hurried home
With all speed he could command.
And there he's told his daughter fair
He's promised away her hand.

4. Her lovely eyes were filled with tears
And her cheeks were scarlet red.
"Oh Father, dear, I can't marry him;
I'd rather you see me dead."

5. "Oh but you shall do as I command,
I swear it on my sword!
Go dress yourself in bright array;
I'll hear not another word."

6. "But Father dear, I love a man,
Will Winsboro is his name,
And I'd not leave my own true love
For the hand of the king of Spain."

7. "But I swore you were a maiden fair,
And my Chiefs did all agree!
I command you now, take off your gown
That I may examine thee."

8. "Oh, Father dear, don't shame me so;
I would rather you see me dead,
Before I'd let your noble lords
Search for my maidenhead."

9. "Take off, take off your very brown gown
And stand upon the stone,
For if you be a maiden or none,
The truth it must be known."

10. So she's taken off her very brown gown,
And she's let the gown fall free.
But before its hem could touch the ground,
She's turned into a tree.

11. And her lover's turned to the gentle breeze;
Through her branches he does play
And she has shed her soft brown bark
'till this very day.

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