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Loud roared the winds, dark grew the night
And quickly fell the rain
When Bessie left her own dear home
Not to return again.
She left her widowed mother's side
Not fearing rain nor cold
For she was young and true to tell
That love had made her bold.

That very night at ten o'clock
Beneath the old oak tree
She promised James, her own true love,
That with him she would be.
Then heeding not the drenching rain
Nor the tempest loudly roar,
She wrapped her cloak around her
And walked quickly from the door

The night passed on, the morning came,
And Bessie came not home.
Her friends and foes all wondered where
Poor Bessie could have roamed.
Her aged mother started up,
All in an action wild,
Saying, "I will search the country round
To find my darling child."

Three long and dreary weeks she spent
To search the country round.
Her journey proved of no success,
For Bessie was not found.
So then to reach her own dear home
This poor old widow tried,
So crushed in grief she then lay down
And broken-hearted died.

Now in the scene of all her grief
The owner of the grounds,
Young Squire Cowans, came one day
To hunt with all his hounds.
Up hill and dale so quickly fled
That gallant company
Until at last they lost the fox
Beneath the old oak tree.

The hounds began to scratch and tear,
To tear and scratch the clay,
And all the horns or whips could do
Could not drive them away.
The gentlemen all gathered round
And called for pick and spade.
They dug the ground and there they found
The murdered, missing maid.

There was a knife stuck in her breast,
While to their grief and shame
The gentlemen read on the haft
Young Squire Cowans' name.
"I done the deed," young Cowans cried,
"My soul is doomed to hell
Take that cold corpse out of my sight
And I the truth will tell.

"Oh, yes, I loved young Bessie dear.
I played the village best,
And with my staff I knocked her down.
I need not tell the rest."
And he was buried where he fell,
No Christian grave got he,
For none was found to bless the ground
Beneath the old oak tree.

DT #514
Laws P37
From Doerflinger
filename[ OLDOAKTR

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