Bonnie Black Bess (3) Over highway and byway, in rough or smooth weather Some thousands of miles we have journeyed together Our couch the same straw, our meals the same mess No couple more constant than I and black Bess. By moonlight, in darkness, by night or by day Her headlong career there is nothing can stay She cares not for distance, she knows not distress Can you show me a courser to match with black Bess? Once it happened in Cheshire near Dunham, I popped On a horseman alone, whom I suddenly stopped; Then I lightened his pockets you surely can guess Quick work makes Dick Turpin when mounted on Bess. Now it seems the man knew me. Dick Turpin, says he, You will swing for this job and I'll be there to see, I laughed at his threats and his vows of redress, I looked for my safety to bonny black Bess. The road was a hollow, a sunken ravine O'er shadowed completely with woods like a screen, I clambered the bank and I needs must confess That one touch of the spur grazed the side of black Bess. Brook, meadow and field black Bess fleetly bestrode As the crow wings his flight we selected our road. We arrived at Hough Green in five minutes or less My neck it was saved by the speed of Black Bess. Stepping carelessly forward I lounged on the green Taking care that by all I am sighted and seen, Some remarks on time's flight to the squires I address, But I say not a word of the flight of black Bess. I mention the hour, it is just about four Play a rubber of bowls, think the danger is o'er, When amid my next game like a checkmate at chess Comes the horseman in search of the rider of Bess. No matter the chase, off in triumph I came He swears to the hour and the squires swear the same I had robbed him at four, while at four they profess I was quietly bowling, and thaans to black Bess. Then a halloo, my boys, and a cheery halloo For the swiftest of coursers, the gallant, the true, Forever shall horsemen in memory bless Of the horse of the highwayman, bonny black Bess. From Ozark Folksongs, Randolph From Manuscript copy from Maggie Chadwick, AK, 1942 DT #569 Laws L8 RG oct96
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