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And brings them straight unto his

house,
Where much of them he makes.
He had not kept these pretty babes

A twelvemonth and a day,
But for their wealth he did devise

To make them both away.
He bargained with two ruffians strong,

Which were of furious mood,
That they should take these children

And slay them in a wood. [young,
He told his wife an artful tale,

“He would the children send To be brought up in fair London,

With one that was his friend.”
Away then went those pretty babes,

Rejoicing at that ride,
Rejoicing with a merry mind,

They should on cockhorse ride.
They prate and prattle pleasantly,

As they rode on the way,
To those that should their butchers be,

And work their lives' decay.

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So that the pretty speech they had

Made murder's heart relent, And they that undertook the deed

Full sore did now repent. Yet one of them, more hard of heart,

Did vow to do his charge, Because the wretch that hired him

Had paid him very large. The other won't agree thereto,

So here they fall to strife;
With one another they did fight,

About the children's life.
And he that was of mildest mood

Did slay the other there,
Within an unfrequented wood, -

The babes did quake with fear. He took the children by the hand,

Tears standing in their eye, And bade them straightway follow him,

And look they did not cry. And two long miles he led them on,

While they for food complain ;

“Stay here," quoth he, “I'll bring you

When I come back again.” [bread These pretty babes, with hand in hand,

Went wandering up and down; But never more could see the man

Approaching from the town; Their pretty lips with blackberries

Were all besmeared and dyed, And when they saw the darksome night

They sat them down and cried. Thus wandered these poor innocents,

Till death did end their grief ; In one another's arms they died,

As wanting due relief.
No burial this pretty pair

Of any man receives,
Till Robin Redbreast piously

Did cover them with leaves.
And now, the heavy wrath of God

Upon their uncle fell; Yea, fearful fiends did haunt his house,

His conscience felt a hell.

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