The Ballad - An Ancient Morality Tale in Two Parts

"In the present edition of this ballad several ancient readings are restored from the folio MS." ~ Percy

Part the First


Lithe and listen, gentlemen,
T
o sing a song I will beginne:
It is of a lord of faire Scotland,
Which was the unthrifty heire of Linne.

For soe he to his father hight [hied?]:
"My sonne, when I am gonne, sayd hee,
Then thou wilt spend thy lande so broad,
And thou wilt spend thy gold so free.

His father was a right good lord,
His mother a lady of high degree;
But they, alas! were dead, him froe,
And he lov’d keeping companie.

"But sweare me nowe upon the roode,
T
hat lonesome lodge thou’lt never spend;
For when all the world doth frown on thee,
Thou there shalt find a faithful friend."

To spend the daye with merry cheare,
To drinke and revell every night,
To card and dice from eve to morne,
It was, I ween, his hearts delighte.

The heire of Linne is full of golde:
"And come with me, my friends", sayd hee.
"Let’s drinke, and rant, and merry make,
And he that spares, ne’er mote he thee."

To ride, to runne, to rant, to roare,
To always spend and never spare,
I wott, an’ it were, the king himselfe,
Of gold and fee he mote be bare.

They ranted, drank, and merry made,
Till all his gold it waxed thinne;
And then his friendes they slunk away;
They left the unthrifty heire of Linne.

Soe fares the unthrifty lord of Linne
Till all his gold is gone and spent;
And he mau
n1 sell his lands so broad,
His house, and landes, and all his rent.

He had never a penny left in his purse,
Never a penny left but three,
And one was brass, another was lead,
And another it was white money.

His father had a keen stewarde,
And John o’ the Scales was called hee:
But John is become a gentel-man,
And John has gott both gold and fee.

"Nowe well-aday", sayd the heire of Linne,
"Nowe well-aday, and woe is mee,
For when I was the lord of Linne,
I never wanted gold nor fee.

Sayes, "Welcome, welcome, lord of Linne;
Let nought disturb thy merry cheere,
Iff thou wilt sell thy landes soe broad,
Good store of gold Ile give thee heere."

"But many a trustye friend have I,
And why should I feel dole or care?
Ile borrow of them all by turnes,
Soe need I not be never bare."

"My gold is gone, my money is spent;
My lande nowe take it unto thee,
Give me the golde, good John o’ the Scales,
And thine for aye my lande shall bee."

But one, I wis, was not at home,
Another had payd his gold away;
Another call’d him thriftless loone,
And bade him sharpely wend his way.

Then John he did him to record draw,
And John he gave him a gods-pennie;2

But for every pounde that John agreed,
The lande, I wis,3 was well worth three.
"Now well-aday", sayd the heire of Linne,
"Now well-aday, and woe is me!
For when I had my landes so broad,
On me they liv’d right merrilee.
He told him the gold upon the board,
He was right glad his land to winne:
"T
he gold is thine, the land is mine,
And now Ile be the lord of Linne."

"To beg my bread from door to door
I wis, it were a brenning
5
shame:
T
o rob and steal it were a sinne:
To worke my limbs I cannot frame.

Thus he hath sold his land soe broad,
Both hill and holt,4
and moore and fenne,
All but a poore and lonesome lodge,
That stood far off in a lonely glenne.
"Now Ile away to lonesome lodge,
For there my father bade me wend;
When all the world should frown on mee,
I there shold find a trusty friend."  [cont'd]

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1

2

3

maun : must
gods-pennie : earnest money, a deposit
wis : believe, avow

4

5

holt : woods, copse of trees
brenning : burning

**  Part the Second  **

Heir of Linne - Introduction

Tam Lin

      Wraith of Lord Lyne

Linn of Lynns

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