I cannot choose but ever will
Be loving to thy father still;
Where’er he go, where’er he ride,
My love with him doth still abide;
In weal or woe, where’er he go,
My heart shall ne’er depart him fro—
                            Balow, la-low!

But do not, do not, pretty mine,
To fainings false thy heart incline!
Be loyal to thy lover true,
And never change her for a new:
If good or fair, of her have care
For women’s banning’s wondrous sare—
                            Balow, la-low!

Bairn, by thy face I will beware;
Like Sirens’ words, I’ll come not near;
My babe and I together will live;
He’ll comfort me when cares do grieve.
My babe and I right soft will lie,
And ne’er respect man’s cruelty—
                            Balow, la-low!

Farewell, farewell, the falsest youth
That ever kist a woman’s mouth!
I wish all maids be warn’d by me
Never to trust man’s curtesy;
For if we do but chance to bow,
They’ll use us then they care not how—
                            Balow, la-low!

   36The Old Cloak

16th Cent. (?)

THIS winter’s weather it waxeth cold,
    And frost it freezeth on every hill,
And Boreas blows his blast so bold
    That all our cattle are like to spill.
Bell, my wife, she loves no strife;
    She said unto me quietly,
Rise up, and save cow Crumbock’s life!
    Man, put thine old cloak about thee!


O Bell my wife, why dost thou flyte?1
    Thou kens my cloak is very thin:
It is so bare and over worn,
    A cricket thereon cannot renn.
Then I’ll no longer borrow nor lend;
    For once I’ll new apparell’d be;
To- morrow I’ll to town and spend;
    For I’ll have a new cloak about me.


Cow Crumbock is a very good cow:
    She has been always true to the pail;
She has helped us to butter and cheese, I trow,
    And other things she will not fail.
I would be loth to see her pine.
    Good husband, counsel take of me:
It is not for us to go so fine—
    Man, take thine old cloak about thee!


My cloak it was a very good cloak,
    It hath been always true to the wear;
But now it is not worth a groat:
    I have had it four and forty year’.
Sometime it was of cloth in grain:2
    ’Tis now but a sigh clout3, as you may see:
It will neither hold out wind nor rain;
    And I’ll have a new cloak about me.


It is four and forty years ago
    Sine the one of us the other did ken;
And we have had, betwixt us two,
    Of children either nine or ten:
We have brought them up to women and men:
    In the fear of God I trow they be.
And why wilt thou thyself misken?
    Man, take thine old cloak about thee!


O Bell my wife, why dost thou flyte?
    Now is now, and then was then:
Seek now all the world throughout,
    Thou kens not clowns from gentlemen:
They are clad in black, green, yellow and blue,
    So far above their own degree.
Once in my life I’ll take a view;
    For I’ll have a new cloak about me.


  By PanEris using Melati.

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