“Lady Maisry”


The Scottish heroine loves an English lord above all Scots. Her family, learning of her love and (in most versions) her pregnancy, prepare to burn her. She sends tokens to her love, but she has been burnt before he can arrive. (He takes bitter vengeance)


Bronson, Roud, and Scarborough, and probably others, have filed "Mother, Mother, Make My Bed" with "Lady Maisry," but that ballad (composed largely of floating elements) lacks key plot elements, notably the reasons for, and fact of, the girl's condemnation and death. It appears to be a separate song, though perhaps composed on the fragments of this song.

Interestingly, it appears that every text Bronson has of "Mother, Mother" is part of his "C" tune group, and every text in the "C" group is either "Mother, Mother" or is too short to allow identification. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Child 65, "Lady Maisry" (11 texts)
  2. Bronson 65, "Lady Maisry" (13 versions, though some of these are really "Mother, Mother, Make My Bed")
  3. BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 448-449, "Lady Maisry" (notes only)
  4. Ford-Vagabond, pp. 117-119, "Bonnie Susie Cleland" (1 text)
  5. Davis-Ballads 16, "Lady Maisry" (2 fragments, the first probably this but the second is only the verse of the messenger boy swimming the river; I suspect it's actually from "Little Musgrave," or "Mother, Mother," or "Lord Lovell," or some other such source)
  6. SharpAp 17 "Lady Maisry" (2 texts, 2 tunes){Bronson's #13, #12}
  7. Sharp-100E 10, "Lady Maisry" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #8}
  8. Leach, pp. 208-213, "Lady Maisry" (2 texts)
  9. Friedman, p. 74, "Lady Maisry" (1 text)
  10. OBB 73, "Lady Maisry" (1 text)
  11. PBB 40, "Janet (Lady Maisry)" (1 text)
  12. Niles 26, "Lady Maisry" (2 texts, 2 tunes; the second is short, and appears to be a mixed text)
  13. Gummere, pp. 218-222+352, "Lady Maisry" (1 text)
  14. DBuchan 11, "Lady Maisry", 29, "Lady Maisry" (2 texts, 1 tune in appendix) {Bronson's #1}
  16. Roud #45
  17. BI, C065


Alternate titles: “Bonnie Susie Cleland”; “Sweet Maisry”; “Lord Dillard and Lady Flora”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1822
Found in: Britain(England(South,West),Scotland) US(Ap,SE)