Lady Dysie

Melody - Seq. by Pat Van Horn

O there was a king, and a very great king,
A king of unco' fame.
He had a lovely daughter fair,
Lady Dysie was her name.
Now word's gone up and word's gone down,
And word's gone to the King
That Lady Dysie she's grown right full around,
And no one knows by whom.

2. When the bells were rung and mass was sung,
And all were gone to their rest,
The King went to Lady Dysie's bower,
And he was not a welcome guest.
He's pulled the curtains round and round,
And then he sat him down.
"O, tell to me Lady Dysie," he said,
"Who's made you grow so round?"

3. "O was it a lord, or was it a laird,
Or a baron of high degree?
O tell me now, Lady Dysie," he said,
"And I pray you, do not lie."
"O it was not a lord, nor was it a laird,
Nor a baron of high degree,
But it was Roger, the kitchen boy.
What cause have I to lie?"

4. He's called his merry men out by one,
By one, by two, by three.
'Til at last came Roger the kitchen boy,
And they bound him to a tree.
Then the King cut out this bonny boy's heart,
And put it in a cup of gold,
And he's sent it round to Lady Dysie's bower
Because she'd been so bold.

5. "O it's farewell Father and farewell Mother.
Farewell to all pleasure and joy.
He died for me, and I'll die for him,
Though he was but a kitchen boy.
O it's farewell Father and farewell Mother,
Farewell, dear family.
For you thought you had ta'en the life of one,
But you've ta'en the lives of three."

I've heard "Lady Dysie" (Child #269) from a number of sources, including Jean Redpath and the Tannahill Weavers; the story is supposedly from the Decameron, and was translated in 1556. - Pat Van Horn

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