Nancy rejects the singer's offer of marriage. He expresses the wish that her marriage be troubled. His wish comes true; her husband ignores her. Years later, having grown rich, he rubs it in by giving the now-poor girl money. She regrets her error
Nancy (II) (The Rambling Beauty) [Laws P12] Complete text(s) *** A *** The Rambling Beauty From John Ord, Ord's Bothy Songs and Ballads (1995 John Donald edition), pp. 176-177. No source information given. All ye that follow the rambling beauty, I warn ye a' tak' special care, And not depend on false young women, They'll be sure to draw ye into a snare. A merchant's daughter called Nancy, Dressed in silks and satins fine, For her I had the greatest fancy I ever had for womankind. One day I went to pay her a visit, And offered her the wedding ring; How scornfully she did refuse it, And said she would have no such thing. She then went straight unto her father To let him this awful story know; His cruelty was worse than his daughter's, He bade me from his presence go. He swore that I had his daughter ruined, And into prison he did me throw; And there I loves upon bread and water Till my condition was very low. And now she's married to Prince Orai, A reckless youth in yonder town, Who neither loves nor yet regards her, But tries to trample her courage down. One day as I was out a-walking, My false lover I chanced to meet, She being in a poor condition And I myself in a thriving state. I put my hand into my pocket And took out guineas one, two, three, Says, "Take ye this, ye poor heartless woman, Dye mind how false ye were to me?" She wrung her hands and she fell a-weeping, Alas, her sorrows were fresh and green; Says, "Once I thought I had a heart a-keeping, But how unfortunate I hae been." Now all ye young women frae me take warning, And never throw your first love away; For oft a dark and a misty morning Turns out a bright and a bonnie day.
This is rather a difficult item, because the family is so fractured. Laws lists neither the Ord nor the Gardner/Chickering text with his piece, and indeed the various texts have few words in common. But the plot is the same, and Laws allows both the Ord and Gardner/Chickering titles. So here they are. - RBW