This ballad is the sole representative here of those which professor child considered breat enough to include in his collection. Our version escaped across the water to the Maritime Provinces of Canada, where it was collected by Helen Creighton as late as 1954. It lacks the "happy ending" often found in other variants, where the wronged maiden turns out to be a lady far richer than the knight who seduced her.
'Tis of a shepherd's daughter, kept sheep upon the hill
A noble lord come a-riding by and he swore he'd have his will:
With your roses all in bloom
Go no more a roving so late in the afternoon.
And when he'd had the will of her and everything was done
She tucked up her apron, at the horse's side she run:
And when she's come to the river wide she's laid on her breast and swam
And when she's come to the other side she took to her heels and run:
And when she's come to the King's castle, she's tingled on the ring
There was none so ready as the King himself to rise and let her in:
Oh, it's King, oh it's King, it's noble King, it's noble King, said she
You have a lord in your castle this day has robbed me:
Did he robe you of your purple robe, did he rob you of your pall
Did he rob you of the gay gold ring you had on your finger small?
He neither robbed my purple robe, nor robbed me of my pall
He robbed me of my virgin bloom, and that's the worst of all:
Well if he is a married man, all hanged he shall be
And if he is a single man, then his body belongs to thee:
If I call down my merry men, what would you know him by?
I'd know him by his curly locks and the rolling of his eye:
Then he's called down his merry men, by one, by two, by three
Knight William was the foremost man, the very same man was he:
Why should I drink the water, when I can get the wine?
If you was but a beggar's brat, why did ye be wanting mine?
If I was but a beggar's brat, as you make me out to be
When I was out a-roving, why didn't you leave me be?
Oh God forbid, oh God forbid, oh God forbid, cried he
Oh little did I think that the beggar's brat would have to make a wife for me: