Balow, my babe, weep not for me, Whose greatest grief's for wronging thee, But pity her deserved smart, Who can but blame her own kind heart, For trusting to a flattering friend, The fairest tongue, the falsest mind. Balow, my babe, &c. Balow, my babe, ly still and sleep, It grieves me sore to hear thee weep: If thou be still I will be glad, Thy weeping makes thy mother sad: Balow, my boy, thy mother's joy, Thy father wrought me great annoy. First when he came to court my love, With sugar'd words he did me move; His flattering and fained cheer To me that time did not appear, But now I see that cruel he, Cares neither for my babe nor me. I cannot choose but love him still, Although that he bath done we ill, For he hath stolen away my heart, And from him it cannot depart; In well or wo, where ere he go, I'll love him though he be my foe. But peace, my comfort, curse not him, Who now in seas of grief doth swim, Perhaps of death: for who can tell Whether the judge of heaven or hell, By some predestinated death Revenging me hath stopt his breath. If I were near those fatal bounds, Where he lies groaning in his wounds: Repeating, as he pants for breath, Her name that wounds more deep than death, O then what woman's heart so strong Would not forget the greatest wrong? If linen lack for my loves sake Whom once I loved, then would I take My smock even from my body meet, And wrap him in that winding sheet, Ay me, how happy had I been, If he had ne'er been wrapt therein. Balow, my babe, spare thou thy tears, Untill thou come to wit and years, Thy griefs are gathering to a sum, Heaven grant thee patience till they come, A mother's fault, a father's shame, A hapless state, a bastard's name. Be still, my babe, and sleep a while, And when thou wake then sweetly smile, But smile not as thy father did, To cozen maids: O heaven forbid, And yet into thy face I see Thy father dear which tempted me. Balow, my babe, O follow not His faithless steps who thee begot, Nor glory in a maid's disgrace, For thou art his too much, alas! And in thy looking eyes I read Who overthrew my maidenhead. O if I were a maid again, All young men's flatteries I'd refrain: Because unto my grief I find That they are faithless and unkind, Their tempting terms have bred my harm, Bear witness babe lies in my arm. Balow, my babe, spare yet thy tears, Untill thou come to wit and years; Perhaps yet thou may come to be A courtier by disdaining me: Poor me., poor me, alas poor me, My own two eyes have blinded me! On love and fortune I complain, On them and on myself also: But most of all mine own two eyes, The chiefest workers of my woe, For they have caused so my smart, That I must die without a heart. Balow, my babe, thy father dead To me the prodigal hath play'd, Of heaven and earth regardless he Preferr'd the wars to me and thee. I doubt that now his cursing mind Makes him eat acorns with the swine. Farewell, farewell, most faithless youth, That ever kist a woman's mouth, Let never a woman after me, Submit unto the courtesy; For if she do, O cruel thou Would wrong them: O! who can tell how?
About the headline (FAQ)Tune: Balow.
- by Anonymous / Unidentified Author, "The new balow, or A Wenches Lamentation for the loss of her SweetÂheart: he having left her a babe to play with, being the fruits of her folly." [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by John Linton Gardner (1917 - 2011), "The new balow", op. 118 no. 4 (1973), from Five Encounters for Six Voices, no. 4 [sung text not yet checked]
Set in a modified version by Bernard van Dieren, Johann Friedrich Reichardt.
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2011-01-07
Line count: 91
Word count: 601