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The Children's Book by  Horace E. Scudder
Table of Contents


 

 

THE HEIR OF LINNE

I

Lithe and listen, gentlemen,

To sing a song I will began;

It is of a lord of fair Scotland,

Which was the unthrifty heir of Linne.


His father was a right good lord,

His mother a lady of high degree;

But they, alas I were dead him frae,

And he loved keeping companie.


To spend the day with merry cheer,

To drink and revel every night,

To card and dice from eve to morn,

It was, I weep, his heart's delight.


To ride, to run, to rant, to roar,

To always spend and never spare;

I wot, an' it were the king himself

Of gold and fee he mote be bare.


So fares the unthrifty Lord of Linne

Till all his gold is gone and spent;

And he mann sell his lands so broad,

His house, and lands, and all his rent.


His father had a keen steward,

And John o' the Scales was called he;

But John is become a gentel-man,

And John has got both gold and fee.


Says, "Welcome, welcome, Lord of Linne,

Let nought disturb thy merry cheer;

If thou wilt sell thy lands so broad,

Good store of gold I'll give thee here."


"My gold is gone, my money is spent;

My land now take it unto thee:

Give me thy gold, good John o' the Scales,

And thine for aye my land shall be."


Then John he did him to record draw,

And John he cast him a gods-pennie;

But for every pound that John agreed,

The land, I wis, was well worth three.


He told him the gold upon the board,

He was right glad his land to win;

"The gold is thine, the land is mine,

And now I'll be the Lord of Linne."



[Illustration]


Thus he hath sold his land so broad,

Both hill and holt, and moor and fen,

All but a poor and lonesome lodge,

That stood far off in a lonely glen.


For so he to his father hight;

"My son, when I am gone," said he,

"Then thou wilt spend thy land so broad,

And thou wilt spend thy gold so free.


"But swear me now upon the rood,

That lonesome lodge thou 'It never spend;

For when all the world Both frown on thee,

Thou there shalt find a faithful friend."


The heir of Linne is full of gold:

"And come with me, my friends," said he,

"Let's drink, and rant, and merry make,

And he that spares, ne'er mote he thee."


They ranted, drank, and merry made,

Till all his gold it waxed thin;

And then his friends they slunk away;

They left the unthrifty heir of Linne,


[323]

He had never a penny left in his purse,

Never a penny left but three,

And one was brass, another was lead,

And another it was white money.


"Now well-a-day," said the heir of Linne,

"Now well-a-day, and woe is me,

For when I was the Lord of Linne.

I never wanted gold nor fee.


"But many a trusty friend have I,

And why should I feel dole or care?

I'll borrow of them all by turns,

So need I not be never bare."


But one, I wis, was not at home;

Another had paid his gold away;

Another called him thriftless loon,

And bade him sharply wend his way,


"Now well-a-day, said the heir of Linne,

"Now well-a-day and woe is me;

For when I had my lands so broad,

On me they lived right merrilee.


"To beg my bread from door to door,

I wis, it were a brenning shame;

To rob and steal it were a sin;

To work, my limbs I cannot frame.


"Now I'll away to the lonesome lodge,

For there my father bade me wend:

When all the world should frown on me,

I there should find a trusty friend."


II

Away then hied the heir of Linne,

O'er hill and holt, and moor and fen,

Until he came to the lonesome lodge

That stood so low in a lonely glen.


He looked up, he looked down,

In hope some comfort for to win;

But bare and lothly were the walls:

"Here's sorry cheer," quo' the heir of Linne.


The little window, dim and dark,

Was hung with ivy, brere, and yew;

No shimmering sun here ever shone,

No halesome breeze here ever blew.


No chair, ne table, he mote spy,

No cheerful hearth, ne welcome bed;

Nought save a rope with renning noose,

That dangling hung up o'er his head.


And over it in broad letters,

These words were written so plain to see:

"Ah! graceless wretch, halt spent

thine all, And brought thyself to penurie?


"All this my boding mind misgave,

I therefore left this trusty friend;

Let it now shield thy foul disgrace,

And all thy shame and sorrows end."


Sorely shent wi' this rebuke,

Sorely shent was the heir of Linne;

His heart, I wis, was near to-brast

With guilt and sorrow, shame and sin.


Never a word spake the heir of Linne,

Never a word spake he but three;

"This is a trusty friend indeed,

And is right welcome unto me."


Then round his neck the cord he drew,

And sprang aloft with his bodle,

When lo! the ceiling burst in twain,

And to the ground came tumbling he.


Astonyed lay the heir of Linne,

Ne knew if he were live or dead;

At length he looked, and saw a bill,

And in it a key of gold so red.



[Illustration]


He took the bill, and lookt it on,

Strait good comfort found he there:

It told him of a hole in the wall,

In which there stood three chests in-fere.


Two were full of the beaten gold,

The third was full of white money;

And over them in broad letters

These words were written so plain to see:


"Once more, my son, I set thee clear;

Amend thy life and follies past;

For but thou amend thee of thy life,

That rope must be thy end at last."


[325]

"And let it be," said the heir of Linne,

"And let it be, but if I amend:

For here I will make mine avow,

This reade shall guide me to the end."


Away then went with a merry cheer,

Away then went the heir of Linne;

I wis, he neither ceased ne blanne,

Till John o' the Scales' house he did win.


And when he came to John o' the Scales,

Up at the speer then looked he;

There sat three lords upon a row,

Were drinking of the wine so free.


And John himself sat at the board-head,

Because now Lord of Linne was he;

"I pray thee," he said, "good John o' the Scales,

One forty pence for to lend me."


"Away, away, thou thriftless loon;

Away, away, this may not be;

For a curse on my head," he said,

"If ever I trust thee one pennie."


Then bespake the heir of Linne,

To John o' the Scales' wife then spake he:

"Madame, some alms on me bestow,

I pray for sweet Saint Charitie."


"Away, away, thou thriftless loon;

I swear thou gettest no alms of me;

For if we should hang any losel here,

The first we would begin with thee."


Then bespake a good fellow,

Which sat at John o' the Scales his board

Said, "Turn again, thou heir of Linne;

Some time thou roast a well good lord.


"Some time a good fellow thou hast been,

And sparedst not thy gold and fee;

Therefore I'll lend thee forty pence,

And other forty if need be.


"And ever I pray thee, John o' the Scales,

To let him sit in thy companie;

For well I wot thou hadst his land,

And a good bargain it was to thee."


[326]

lip then spake him John o' the Scales,

All wood he answered him again:

"Now a curse on my head," be said,

"But I did lose by that bargain.


"And here I proffer thee, heir of Linne,

Before these lords so fair and free,

Thou shalt have it back again better cheap

By a hundred marks than I had it of thee.


"I draw you to record, lords," he said;

With that he cast him a gods-pennie

"Now by my fay," said the heir of Linne,

"And here, good John, is thy money."


And he pulled forth three bags of gold,

And laid them down upon the board;

All woe begone was John o' the Scales,

So shout he could say never a word.



[Illustration]


He told him forth the good red gold,

He told it forth with mickle din;

"The gold is thine, the land is mine,

And now I 'm again the Lord of Linne,"


Says, "Have thou here, thou good fellow,

Forty pence thou didst lend me:

Now I am again the Lord of Linne,

And forty pounds I will give thee.


"I'll make thee keeper of my forest,

Both of the wild deer and the tame;

For but I reward thy bounteous heart,

I wis, good fellow, I were to blame."


"Now well-a-day!" saith Joan o' the Scales

"Now well-a-day, and woe is my

life I Yesterday I was Lady of Linne,

Now I'm but John o' the Scales his wife."


"Now fare thee well," said the heir of Linne,

"Farewell now, John o' the Scales," said he:

"A curse light on me, if ever again

I bring my lands in jeopardy."


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