Mistress Ailbe

'O why are you late, Mistress Ailbe my maid,

O why are you late, my hideous cow?'

'I was preparing dinner, my love; you should eat,

And I shall not, for I am a fat cow.'

'And what did you cook there, Mistress Ailbe my maid,

And what did you cook there, my hideous cow?'

'I managed to catch small fish, my love; you should eat,

And I shall not, for I am a fat cow."

'What type of small fish, Mistress Ailbe my maid

What type of small fish, my hideous cow?'

'Black backs and speckled bellies, my love; you should eat,

And I shall not, for I am a fat cow.'

'Blacker than the bruises on your arms, Mistress Ailbe my maid,

Blacker than the bruises on your arms, my hideous cow?'

'Not quite as dark as the bruises, my love; you should eat,

And I shall not, for I am a fat cow.'

'Why do these taste so bittersweet, Mistress Ailbe my maid,

Why do these taste so bittersweet, my hideous cow?'

'You tell me, my love; you should eat,

And I shall not, for I am a fat cow.'

A/N The poem above was one that I wrote in response to someone else's poem that was written called Lord Randal:

'0 where have you been, Lord Rendal my son,
'0 where have you been, my jolly young man?'
'In yonder wild woods, mother; make my bed soon,
For I'm wearied with hunting and fain would lie down.'

'And whom met you there, Lord Rendal my son,
And whom met you there, my jolly young man?'
'I met with my true love, mother; make my bed soon,
For I'm wearied with hunting and fain would lie down.'

'What got you for dinner, Lord Rendal my son,
What got you for dinner, my jolly young man?'
'A dish of small fishes, mother; make my bed soon,
For I'm wearied with hunting and fain would lie down.'

'What like were the fishes, Lord Rendal my son,
What ]ike were the fishes, my jolly young man?'
'Black backs and speckled bellies: make my bed soon,
For I'm wearied with hunting and fain would lie down,'

'Who got the leavings, Lord Rendal my son,
Who got the leavings, my jolly young man?'
'My hawks and my hounds, mother; make my bed soon,
For I'm wearied with hunting and fain would lie down.'

'And what became of them, Lord Rendai my son,
And what became of them, my jolly young man?'
'They swelled and died, mother; make my bed soon,
For I'm wearied with hunting and fain would lie down.'

'I fear you are poisoned, Lord Rendal my son,
I fear you are poisoned, my jolly young man'
'0 yes I am dying, mother; make my bed soon,
For I'm wearied with hunting and fain would lie down.'

'What will you leave to your mother, Lord Rendai my son,
What will you leave to your mother, my jolly young man?'
'Four and twenty milch kine, mother; make my bed soon,
For I'm wearied with hunting and fain would lie down.'

'What will you leave to your father, Lord Rendal my son,
What will you leave to your father, my jolly young man?'
'My horse and saddle, mother; make my bed soon,
For I'm wearied with hunting and fain would lie down.'

'What will you leave to your sister, Lord Rendal my son,
What wifi you leave to your sister, my jolly young man?'
'Both my gold box and rings, mother; make my bed soon,
For I'm wearied with hunting and fain would lie down.'

'What will you leave to your true love, Lord Rendal my son,
What will you leave to your true love,
my jolly young man?'
'The tow and the halter, mother; make my bed soon,
For I'm wearied with hunting and fain would lie down.'

(Graves 1957: 5)