THE BITTER WITHY(learned from Ellen Faust and other sources)
As it fell out on a bright holiday, small rain from the sky did fall,
Our saviour asked of Mary mild if he might go and play at ball.
At ball, at ball, my own dear son, it's time that you were gone,
And don't let me hear of any mischief tonight when you come home.
So up Lincull and down Lincull our sweetest Saviour ran,
And there he met with three rich young lords, Good morning to you all.
Good morn, good morn, good morn, said they, Good morn, again said he;
Which of you three rich young lords will play at ball with me?
We are all lord's and lady's sons, born in our bower and hall,
While you are nothing but a poor maid's child born in an ox's stall.
If you're all lord's and lady's sons, said he, while his tears did fall,
I'll make you believe in the final end I'm an angel above you all.
So he builded him a bridge of the beams of the sun, and over the water crossed he
And those three rich young lords followed him, and they were drowned all three.
Then up Lincull and down Lincull those young lords' mothers ran,
O Mary mild, fetch home your child, for ours he has drowned all.
So Mary mild fetched home her child and laid him across her knee;
With a handful of green withy twigs she gave him lashes three.
O withy, o withy, o bitter withy, thou has caused me to smart;
And the withy shall be the very first tree that shall perish at the heart.
(from miriam berg's folksong collection)