Children in the Woods

Anonymous, 1595

2. A gentleman of good account
In Norfolk dwelt of late,
Whose wealth and riches did surmount
Most men of high estate.

3. So sick he was and like to die,
No help there could he have;
His wife as sick as him did die;
They both possessed one grave.

4. So love between these two was lost,
And to the other kind;
And as they lived, in love they died,
And left two babes behind.

5. The father left his little son,
Which plainly doth appear,
When he to proper age should come,
Three hundred pounds a year.

6. And to his little daughter dear
Two hundred pounds in gold,
To be paid on her marriage day,
Which should not be controlled.

7. And if these little children chanced to die,
And ne'er to age do come,
Their uncle should their wealth possess,
And so the will begun.

8. "Dear Brother," said the dying man,
"Look to my children dear;
Be good unto my boy and girl;
No friend else have they here."

9. The parents being dead and gone,
These children then he takes;
He carried both into his house,
And much of them he makes.

10. He bargained with two ruffians rude,
Which was of curious mode,
All for to take these young children,
And slay them in the woods.

11. Now two long miles he led them there
While they for bread complained;
"Stay here," said he, "I'll bring you bread
When I return again."

12. Thus wander these two little babes
Till death did end their grief;
In one another's arms they died,
As babes a-want relief.

13. Come all that are executors
Of orphans weak in sight;
Do what is right and just
And give to each that's right.

14. The very man that took in hand
These children for to kill
Fared robber's fate until he died,
Which was God's blessed will.

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