The Priest's Heart

It was Sir John, the fair young Priest,
He strode up off the strand;
But seven fisher maidens he left behind
All dancing hand in hand

He came unto the wise wife's house:
" Now, Mother, to prove your art;
To charm May Carleton's merry blue eyes
Out of a young man's heart "

" My son, you went for a holy man,
Whose heart was set on high;
Go sing in your psalter, and read in your books;
Man's love fleets lightly by. "

" I had liever to talk with May Carleton,
Than with all the saints in Heaven;
I had liever to sit by May Carleton
Than climb the spheres seven.

" I have watched and fasted, early and late;
I have prayed to all above;
But I find no cure save churchyard mould,
For the pain which men call love. "

" Now Heaven forefend that ill grow worse:
Enough that ill be ill.
I know of a spell to draw May Carleton,
And bend her to your will. "

" If thou didst that which thou canst not do,
Wise woman though thou be,
I would run and run till I buried myself
In the surge of yonder sea.

" Scathless for me are maid and wife,
And scathless shall they bide.
Yet charm me May Carleton's eyes from the heart
That aches in my left side. "

She charmed him with the white witchcraft,
She charmed him with the black,
But he turned his fair young face to the wall,
Till she heard his heart-strings crack.
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