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​Willy O' Winsbury

This song is by Richard Thompson and appears on the compilation RT - The Life And Music Of Richard Thompson (2006).

A king has been a prisoner
A prisoner long in Spain
And Willy of the Winsbury
Has lain long with his daughter at home

What ails you what ails you, my daughter Janet?
Why look you so pale and wan?
Oh have you had any sore sickness
Or been lying with a man?

I have not had any sore sickness
Nor yet been lyin' with a man
But it is for you, my father dear
In bidin' so long in Spain

Cast off cast off your berry brown gown
Stand naked on the stone
That I may know you by your shape
If you be a maiden or no

And she cast off her berry brown gown
Stood naked on the stone
Her apron hung low, her haunches were round
Her face was pale and wan

Oh, was it a Lord or a Duke or a Knight?
Or a man of birth and fame?
Or was it one of my serving men
That so lately come out of Spain?

It was not a Lord or a Duke or a Knight
Nor a man of birth and fame,
But it was for Willy o' Winsbury
I no longer could lie alone

The king he called his merry men
By thirty and by three
Go bring me this Willy of Winsbury
For hang'd he shall be

But when he came before the King
He was clad all in the red silk
His hair was like the strands of gold
And his skin was as white as the milk

It is no wonder, said the King
That my daughter's love you did win
If I were a woman as I am a man
My bedfellow you would have been

And will you marry my daughter Janet
By the truth of your right hand?
Oh will you marry my daughter Janet
I'll make you the Lord of my land

Oh, yes, I will marry your daughter Janet
By the truth of my right hand
Oh, yes, I will marry your daughter Janet
But I'll not be the Lord of your land

And he's mounted her on a milk-white steed
Himself on the dapple grey
And he's made her the lady of as much land
As she may ride in a long summer's day

Written by:

Traditional