Bold Lamkin (MacEdward Leach)

The lord said to the lady,
"Now I'm going away,
Beware of bold Lamkin
for he's coming this way."
"What do I care for Lamkin
or any of his men,
For my doors they are bolted
and my windows brassed in."

They had not been sleeping
for but an hour or more,
When bold Lamkin he come
and he knocked on the door.
"Oh, where is your mistress,
your mistress?" he cried.
"She is up in her chamber,"
cried that hard-hearted maid.

"Oh, mistress, dear mistress,
how can you sleep fast,
When your son, young Jonathan,
is breathing his last?"
"How can I come downstairs," she cried,
"on this cold winter's night,
With no fire in to warm me
or no candle to light?"

"There are two woolen sheets,"
she cried, "as white as the snow,
And I pray you'll came down
by the light of those two."
As she was coming down the stairs
not thinking any harm,
Sir Lamkin he caught her
and he held her in his arms.

"Come spare me my life," she cried,
"until twelve o'clock,
I will give you my daughter, Betsy,
although she is my pride."
"Where is your daughter Betsy?
Go bring her to me.
She may hold the silver basin
till your heart's blood runs free."

There was blood in the kitchen,
there was blood in the hall,
But the blood in the cradle
was the worst blood of all;
Bold Lamkin was then taken up
and condemned to die,
And the false-hearted servant
was burned in the fire nearby.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of an 18th-century English traditional [Child ballad #93] The English And Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898) edited by Francis James Child (Dover, 1965). Also a variant of a British broadside ballad, The Lambkin, published by J Pitts (London) sometime between 1819 and 1844, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Harding B 25(1048) ....####
This variant collected in 1950 from Mrs Peter (Mary Lee) Mushrow [1912-2002] of Cape Ray, NL , and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was collected in 1958 by Kenneth Peacock from Jim Bennett of St Paul's NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 3, pp.806-807, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Another variant was collected in 1976 by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best from Moses (Uncle Mose) Harris [1911-?] of Lethbridge, NL, and published as #35, Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.61-62, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press © 1985/2003)

Genevieve Lehr noted that according to William Motherwell in Minstrelsy: Ancient and Modern, Limkin is actually Lambert Linkin, the revengeful builder of Prime Castle - for which work he was not paid by the lord. "Antiquaries", says Motherwell, "peradventure may find it as difficult to settle the precise locality of this fotalice, as they have found it to fix the topography of Troy."

See more songs by Lehr and Best

See more Child Ballad variants from NL.


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