#01720
Sir William (Kenneth Peacock)

A lady walkèd out on the plain,
The day it was so fine;
There was a knight came riding by,
Who had got drunk on wine.
Fall the diddle all, the diddle I day.

He took her by the middle so small,
And he gently laid her down;
And when he had his will of her,
He left her on the ground.
Fall the diddle all, the diddle I day.

"Now you have had your will of me,
Come tell to me your name;
For when my baby it is born,
I may call it the same."
Fall the diddle all, the diddle I day.

"My name, my name, my fair pretty maid,
I cannot tell to thee;
For some call me tinker and more call me Tom,
And when I am in the king's court,
They call me Sir William."
Fall the diddle all, the diddle I day.

He mounted on his milk-white steed,
So fast as he could ride;
She tied a handkerchief around her middle,
And she ran by the horse's side.
Fall the diddle all, the diddle I day.

She ran till she came to the riverside,
And then she jumpèd in;
She swam till she came to the other side,
And then jumped out again.
Fall the diddle all, the diddle I day.

She ran till she came to the king's fair court,
She dingled at the ring;
And who came out but the king himself,
To let this fair maid in.
Fall the diddle all, the diddle I day.

"Good morning to you my fair pretty maid."
"Good morning to your majesty;
There is a man within your gates,
This day has a-robbèd me."
Fall the diddle all, the diddle I day.

"What did he rob you of, my fair pretty maid,
Of any store at all?"
"No, he robbed me of my maidenhead,
And that's the worst of all."
Fall the diddle all, the diddle I day.

"Oh if he is a married man,
All hangèd he shall be;
And if he is a single man,
His body I will give to thee."
Fall the diddle all, the diddle I day.

The king he then called up his men,
By one, by two, by three;
Sir William who used to be the very first man,
The last of all came he.
Fall the diddle all, the diddle I day.

Sir William then took out his purse,
He offered her some gold:
"Take hold of this, my fair pretty maid,
And the tale will never be told."
Fall the diddle all, the diddle I day.

She said, "I won't accept your gold,
Nor any of your store;
But I will have your fair body,
That the king granted me before."
Fall the diddle all, the diddle I day.

He said, "Oh cursèd be the night,
That I got drunk on wine;
That any farmer's daughter dear,
Would be a true lover of mine."
Fall the diddle all, the diddle I day.

She said, "If a farmer's daughter I be,
I pray leave me alone;
If you make me the lady of one thousand,
I will make you the lord of ten."
Fall the diddle all, the diddle I day.

It was early the next morning,
To the church then they did run;
She provèd to be a duke's daughter,
And he but a tinker's son.
Fall the diddle all, the diddle I day.

####.... Variant of an 18th-century English traditional, The Knight And The Shepherd's Daughter [Child Ballad #110] The English And Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898) [Dover, 1965] edited by Francis James Child [1825-1896]. Also a variant of an 18th-century British broadside ballad, The Beautiful Shepherdess Of Arcadia, published by W Whitwood (London) without a date, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, Shelfmark: Douce Ballads 1(11b) ....####
This variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1959 from James Decker [1909-1993] of Parson's Pond, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, pp.230-232, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that this Newfoundland variant is most closely related to variant K in the Child collection which, in turn, comes from Motherwell's manuscript, page 220 - "from the recitation of Widow McCormick, Westbrae, Paisley, 1825; learned of an old woman in Dumbarton, thirty or forty years before."


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