“Riddles Wisely Expounded”: Child Ballad 1

RiddlesWiselyExpounded

Riddles Wisely Expounded

There were three sisters in the north
Lay the bend to the bonny broom,
And they lived in their mother’s house
And you’ll beguile a lady soon

There came a man one evening late
Lay the bend to the bonny broom,
And he came knocking at the gate
And you’ll beguile a lady soon.

The eldest sister let him in
And locked the door with a silver pin

The second sister made his bed
And laid soft pillows ‘neath his head

The youngest sister, fair and bright
She lay beside him all through the night

And in the morning, come the day
She said, “Young man, will you marry me?”

And he said, “Yes, I’ll marry thee
If you can answer this to me”

“What is greener than the grass?
And what is smoother than the glass?”

“What is louder than a horn?
And what is sharper than a thorn?”

“What is deeper than the sea?
And what is longer than the way?”

“Envy’s greener than the grass
Flattery’s smoother than the glass”

“Rumor’s louder than a horn
Slander’s sharper than a thorn”

“Regret is deeper than the sea
But love is longer than the way”

The eldest sister rang the bell
She rang it from the highest hill

The second sister made the gown
She sewed it of the silk so fine

The youngest sister, true and wise
They’ve made of her a lovely bride

And now fair maids, I bid adieu
These parting words I’ll leave with you

May you always constant prove
Lay the bend to the bonny broom,
Unto the one that you do love
And you’ll beguile a lady soon

“Riddles Wisely Expounded”: Child Ballad 1