The Crafty Lover
The Lawyer Outwitted

Melody - "I Love Thee More and More"

Traditional ballad, transcribed from a copy printed in Aldermary church-yard

Of a rich counsellor I write,
Who had one only daughter*,
Who was of youthful beauty bright;
Now mark what follows after.
Her uncle left her, I declare,
A sumptuous large possession;
Her father he was to take care
Of her at his discretion.

2. She had ten thousand pounds a-year,
And gold and silver ready,
And courted was by many a peer,
Yet none could gain this lady.
At length a squire's youngest son
In private came a-wooing,
And when he had her favour won,
He feared his utter ruin.

3. The youthful lady straightway cried,
'I must confess I love thee,
Though lords and knights I have denied,
Yet none I prize above thee:
Thou art a jewel in my eye,
But here,' said she, 'the care is, -
I fear you will be doomed to die
For stealing of an heiress.'

4. The young man he replied to her
Like a true politician;
'Thy father is a counsellor,
I'll tell him my condition.
Ten guineas they shall be his fee,
He'll think it is some stranger;
Thus for the gold he'll counsel me,
And keep me safe from danger.'

5. Unto her father he did go,
The very next day after;
But did not let the lawyer know
The lady was his daughter.
Now when the lawyer saw the gold
That he should be she gainer,
A pleasant trick to him he told
With safety to obtain her.

6. 'Let her provide a horse,' he cried,
'And take you up behind her;
Then with you to some parson ride
Before her parents find her:
That she steals you, you may complain,
And so avoid their fury.
Now this is law I will maintain
Before or judge or jury.

7. 'Now take my writing and my seal,
Which I cannot deny thee,
And if you any trouble feel,
In court I will stand by thee.'
'I give you thanks,' the young man cried,
'By you I am befriended,
And to your house I'll bring my bride
After the work is ended.'

8. Next morning, ere the day did break,
This news to her he carried;
She did her father's counsel take
And they were fairly married,
And now they felt but ill at case,
And, doubts and fears expressing,
They home returned, and on their knees
They asked their father's blessing,

9. But when he had beheld them both,
He seemed like one distracted,
And vowed to be revenged on oath
For what they now had acted.
With that bespoke his new-made son -
'There can be no deceiving,
That this is law which we have done
Here is your hand and sealing!'

10. The counsellor did then reply,
Was ever man so fitted;
'My hand and seal I can't deny,
By you I am outwitted.
'Ten thousand pounds a-year in store
'She was left by my brother,
And when I die there will be more,
For child I have no other.

11. 'She might have had a lord or knight,
From royal loins descended;
But, since thou art her heart's delight,
I will not be offended;
'If I the gordian knot should part,
'Twere cruel out of measure;
Enjoy thy love, with all my heart,
In plenty, peace, and pleasure.'

*In many parts of England, daughter was pronounced as "dafter". This helps to understand how daughter rhymes with after (two lines later).

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