The Blind Beggar

'Tis of a blind beggar who a long time was blind,
He had a fair daughter most comely and kind.
She was comely and handsome in ev'ry degree,
And the name she was known by was Bonny Betsy.

It was early one morning young Betsy arose,
She went to her father and asked for some clothes.
She went to her father with tears in her eyes,
Saying, “I am a-going my fortune to try.”

The first to court Betsy was a sailor so bold,
He came to court Betsy her favor to gain.
Saying, “My ships that sail over I will give unto thee,
If you’ll grant me your favor, my bonny Betsy.”

The next to court Betsy was a squire so bold,
He came to court Betsy her favor to gain,
Saying, “My lands and rich livings I will give unto thee,
If you’ll grant me your favor, my bonny Betsy.”

The next to court Betsy was a nobleman so grand,
He came to court Betsy her favor to gain,
Saying, “My lands and my castles I will give unto thee,
If you’ll tell me your father, my bonny Betsy.”

“My father’s a blind beggar, the truth for to tell,
He is led by a dog with a cup and a bell,
And daily he sits and he asks charity,
Yet he is the father of bonny Betsy.”

“Oh, then,” says the sailor, “it’s you I don’t crave.”
“Oh, then,” says the squire, “it’s you I won’t have.”
“Oh, then,” says the nobleman, “let beggars agree;
You are welcome to my arms, my bonny Betsy.”

(cont'd...)

Her father, being standing right there in the door,
“Oh, don’t slight my daughter because she is poor.
She’s not dressed in her silk or her gay apparel,
But I will drop guineas with you for my girl.”

He dropped a bright guinea right down on the floor,
He dropped till he had dropped full five thousand score.
Oh, then says the nobleman, “That’s the last of my store.”
And then the blind beggar dropped five thousand more.

 

Note: In “English and Scottish Ballads,” edited by Francis James Childs, I found what must have been the original of this song. It is called “The Blind Beggar of Bednal Green” and is known to be a very old song. Pepys speaks of it in his diary under date of June 25, 1663. He writes that he went with Sir William and Lady Batten and Sir J. Minns to Sir W. Rider’s at Bednal Green to dinner, and adds, “A fine place. This house was built by the blind beggar of Bednal Green, so much talked of and sung in
ballads.”

Father sang a verse or two which neither my sister nor I can remember. Father is the only person that we ever heard sing it.

Blind Beggar, The-1
Blind Beggar, The-2