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They are no thieves, the king replied

I swear, so mote I thee :
But they are the lords of the north country,

Here come to hunt with me.

And soon before our king they came,

And knelt down on the ground :
Then might the tanner have been away,

He had lever* than twenty pound.

A collar, a collar, here: said the king,

A collar he loud 'gan cry:
Then would he lever than twenty pound,

He had not been so nigh.

A collar, a collar, the tanner he said,

I trow it will breed sorrow : After a collar cometh a halter,

I trow I shall be hang'd to-morrow.

Be not afraid, tanner, said our king ;

I tell thee, so mote I thee,
Lo here I make thee the best esquire

That is in the north country.

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* Rather.

For Plumpton-park I will give thee,

With tenements fair beside : 'Tis worth three hundred marks by the year,

To maintain thy good cow-hide.

Gramercy, my liege, the tanner replied,

For the favour thou hast me shown :
If ever thou comest to merry Tamworth,

Neat's * leather shall clout thy shoen.

* Cow's.

+ Mend thy shoes.

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I THE* and listen, gentlemen,

To sing a song I will begin :
It is of a lord of fair Scotland,

Which was the unthrifty heir of Linne.

His father was a right good lord,

His mother a lady of high degree;
But they, alas ! were dead, him fro',

And he lov'd keeping company.

To spend the day with merry cheer,

To drink and revel every night,
To card and dice from eve to morn,

It was, I ween, his heart's delight.


To ride, to run, to rant, to roar,

To alway spend and never spare,
I know, an' it were the king himself,

Of gold and fee he might be bare.

So fares the unthrifty lord of Linne

Till all his gold is gone and spent ; And he maun sell his lands so broad,

His house, and lands, and all his rent.

His father had a keen steward,

And John o' the Scales was called he : But John is become a gentleman,

And John has got both gold and fee.

Says, Welcome, welcome, lord of Linne,

Let nought disturb thy merry cheer; If thou wilt sell thy lands so broad,

Good store of gold I'll give thee here.

My gold is gone, my money is spent;

My land now take it unto thee : Give me the gold, good John o' the Scales,

And thine for aye my land shall be.

Then John he did him to record draw,

And John he cast him a gods-pennie ; * But for every pound that John agreed,

The land, I wis, was well worth three.

He told him the gold upon the board,

He was right glad his land to win ; The gold is thine, the land is mine,

And now I'll be the lord of Linne.

Thus he hath sold his land so broad,

Both hill and holt,t and moor and fen, All but a poor and lonesome lodge,

That stood far off in a lonely glen.

For so he to his father hight,

My son, when I am gone, said he,
Then thou wilt spend thy land so broad,

And thou wilt spend thy gold so free:

But swear me now upon the cross,

That lonesome lodge thou'lt never spend ; For when all the world doth frown on thee,

Thou there shalt find a faithful friend.

* Earnest-money.

+ Wood.


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