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And many a gallant brave suitor had

she, For none was so comely as pretty Bessie. And though she was of favour most fair, Yet seeing she was but a poor beggar's

heir, Of ancient housekeepers despised was

she, Whose sons came as suitors to pretty

Bessie. Wherefore in great sorrow fair Bessie

did say, “Good father and mother, let me go

away To seek out my fortune, whatever it be.” This suit then they granted to pretty

Bessie. Then Bessie, that was of beauty so

bright, All clad in grey russet, and late in the



From father and mother alone parted


Who sighèd and sobbed for pretty

She went till she came to Stratford-le-

Then knew she not whither nor which

way to go: With tears she lamented her hard

destiny, So sad and so heavy was pretty Bessie. She kept on her journey until it was day,

[highway ; And went unto Rumford along the Where at the Queen's Arms entertained

was she,
So fair and well-favoured was pretty

She had not been there a month to an

end, But master and mistress and all was

her friend:

And every brave gallant that once did
her see,

[Bessie. Was straightway enamoured of pretty Great gifts they did send her of silver

and gold,
And in their songs daily her love was

Her beauty was blazèd in every degree,
So fair and so comely was pretty Bessie.
The young men of Rumford in her had

their joy;
She showed herself courteous and

modestly coy ;
And at her commandment still would

they be,
So fair and so comely was pretty Bessie.
Four suitors at once unto her did go;
They craved her favour, but still she
said “No;

[with me:” I would not wish gentles to marry $ Yet ever they honourèd pretty Bessie. $ The first of them was a gallant young

And he came unto her disguised in the

The second a gentleman of good degree,
Who wooèd and suèd for pretty Bessie.
A merchant of London, whose wealth

was not small,
He was the third suitor, and proper

withal; Her master's own son the fourth man

must be, Who swore he would die for pretty

Bessie. " And if thou wilt marry with me,”

quoth the knight, " I'll make thee a lady with joy and

delight; My heart's so enthralled by thy

beauty, That soon I shall die for pretty Bessie.”

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The gentleman said, “ Come, marry

with me, As fine as a lady my Bessie shall be; My life is distressèd: oh, hear me,”

quoth he; “ And grant me thy love, my pretty

Bessie." “Let me be thy husband,” the mer

chant did say; Thou shalt live in London both gallant

and gay: My ships shall bring home rich jewels

for thee, And I will for ever love pretty Bessie.” Then Bessie she sighed, and thus she

did say: “My father and mother I mean to

obey; First get their goodwill, and be faith

ful to me, $ And you shall enjoy your pretty Bessie.”

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