Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
 
157. The Brown Girl
 
 
I

‘I AM as brown as brown can be,
  My eyes as black as a sloe;
I am as brisk as a nightingale,
  And as wild as any doe.
 
II

‘My love has sent me a love-letter,
        5
  Not far from yonder town,
That he could not fancy me,
  Because I was so brown.
 
III

‘I sent him his letter back again,
  For his love I valu’d not,        10
Whether that he could fancy me
Or whether he could not.
 
IV

‘He sent me his letter back again,
  That he lay sick to death,
That I might then go speedily        15
  To give him up his faith.’
 
V

Now you shall hear what love she had
  Then for this love-sick man;
She was a whole long summer’s day
  In a mile a going on.        20
 
VI

When she came to her love’s bed-side,
  Where he lay dangerous sick,
She could not for laughing stand
  Upright upon her feet.
 
VII

She had a white wand all in her hand,
        25
  And smooth’d it all on his breast;
‘In faith and troth come pardon me,
  I hope your soul’s at rest.’—
 
VIII

‘Prithee,’ said he, ‘forget, forget,
  Prithee forget, forgive;        30
O grant me yet a little space,
  That I may be well and live.’—
 
IX

‘O never will I forget, forgive,
  So long as I have breath;
I’ll dance above your green, green grave        35
  Where you do lie beneath.
 
X

‘I’ll do as much for my true-love
  As other maidens may;
I’ll dance and sing on my love’s grave
  A whole twelvemonth and a day.’        40
 

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