False Sir John a wooing came
To a maid of beauty fair;
May Colven was this lady's name,
Her father's only heir.
He went down to her father's bower,
Where all the steeds did stand,
And he's taken one of the best steeds
That was in her father's land.
He's got on and she's got on,
As fast as they could flee,
Until they came to a lonesome part,
A rock by the side of the sea.
"Loup off the steed," says false Sir John,
"Your bridal bed you see;
For I have drowned seven young ladies,
The eighth one you shall be.
"Cast off, cast off, my May Colven,
All and your silken gown,
For it's oer good and oer costly
To rot in the salt sea foam.”
"O turn you about, O false Sir John,
And look to the leaf of the tree,
For it never became a gentleman
A naked woman to see."
He turned himself straight round about,
To look to the leaf of the tree,
So swift as May Colven was
To throw him in the sea.
"O help, O help, my May Colven,
O help, or else I'll drown;
I'll take you home to your father's bower,
And set you down safe and sound."
"No help, no help, O false Sir John,
No help, nor pity thee;
Tho' seven kings' daughters you have drownd,
But the eighth shall not be me."