Lady Anne Bothwel’s Lament, pp.130-132.

[Tea-Table Miscellany Contents]

BAlow, my boy, ly still and sleep, 

It grieves me sore to hear thee weep; 

If thou’lt be silent, I’ll be glad, 

Thy mourning makes my heart full sad. 

Balow, my boy, thy mother’s joy, 

Thy father bred me great annoy. 

Balow my boy, ly still and sleep

It grieves me sore to hear thee weep


Balow, my darling, sleep a while, 

And when thou wak’st then sweetly smile; 

But smile not as thy father did, 

To cozen maids, nay God forbid; 

For in thine eye, his look I see, 

The tempting look that ruin’d me. 

Balow, my boy, &c. 


When he began to court my love, 

And with his sugar’d words to move, 

His tempting face and flatt’ring chear, 

In time to me did not appear; 

But now I see that cruel he, 

Cares neither for his babe nor me. 

Balow, my boy, &c. 


Farewell, farewell, thou falsest youth, 

That ever kist a woman’s mouth, 

Let never any after me, 

Submit unto thy courtesy: 

For, if they do, O! cruel thou 

Wilt her abuse, and care not how. 

Balow, my boy, &c. 


I was too cred’lous at the first, 

To yield thee all a maiden durst, 

Thou swore for ever true to prove, 

Thy faith unchang’d, unchang’d thy love; 

But quick as thought the change is wrought, 

Thy love’s no more, thy promise nought. 

Balow, my boy, &c. 


I wish I were a maid again, 

From young men’s flattery I’d refrain, 

For now unto my grief I find 

They all are perjur’d and unkind: 

Bewitching charms bred all my harms, 

Witness my babe lies in my arms. 

Balow, my boy, &c. 


I take my fate from bad to worse, 

That I must needs be now a nurse, 

And lull my young son on my Lap, 

From me sweet orphan take the pap. 

Balow, my child, thy mother mild 

Shall wail as from all bliss exil’d. 

Balow, my boy, &c. 


Balow, my boy, weep not for me, 

Whose greatest grief’s for wronging thee, 

Nor pity her deserved smart, 

Who can blame none but her fond heart; 

For, too soon trusting latest finds, 

With fairest tongues are falsest minds. 

Balow, my boy, &c. 


Balow, my boy, thy father’s fled, 

When he the thriftless son has play’d, 

Of vows and oaths, forgetful he 

Prefer’d the wars to thee and me. 

But now perhaps thy curse and mine 

Make him eat acorns with the swine. 

Balow, my boy, &c. 


But curse not him, perhaps now he, 

Stung with remorse, is blessing thee: 

Perhaps at death; for who can tell 

Whether the Judge of heaven and hell, 

By some proud foe has struck the blow, 

And laid the dear deceiver low. 

Balow, my boy, &c. 


I wish I were into the bounds, 

Where he lies smother’d in his wounds, 

Repeating as he pants for air, 

My name, whom once he call’d his fair. 

No woman’s yet so fiercely set, 

But she’ll forgive, tho’ not forget. 

Balow, my boy, &c. 


If linen lacks, for my love’s sake, 

Then quickly to him would I make 

My smock once for his body meet, 

And wrap him in that winding-sheet. 

Ah me! how happy had I been, 

If he had ne’er been wrapt therein. 

Balow, my boy, &c. 


Balow, my boy, I’ll weep for thee; 

Too soon, alake, thou’lt weep for me: 

Thy griefs are growing to a sum, 

God grant thee patience when they come; 

Born to sustain thy mother’s shame, 

A hapless fate, a bastard’s name. 

Balow, my boy, ly still and sleep

It grieves me sore to hear thee weep


* I believe this to be Anna, wife of James Hepburn, who was hastily divorced in order for him to go off with Murray’s faction, to secure Mary, Queen of Scots, as his captive bride. 

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