Poor Willie and the Men of Gray
(A lost Child ballad)

Poor Willie riding on his horse
Poor Willie rode out all of a night
His fair lady for to see
All o'er the moon and stars shone bright
As he rode so merrily

Above the stars like diamonds were
The moon, a silver pear
And as he went he spun a song
To better woo his lady fair

Then did another moon appear
Ere falling from the sky
It passed him by without a sound
And came to ground somewhere nearby

All full of torment was Poor Willie
To find himself at Judgment Day
Upon his steed he sat fair still
Nor could he find the words to pray

And yet the heavens did not split
No angels sang upon the hill
The moonlight glisten'd on the lake
And all around the night lay still

Then from the forest came three men
All gray of skin, and black of eye
They cast upon him such a spell
He could not move, nor utter cry

They took him to their house of light
And laid him on a table bare
Did prod and poke most hideously
Then left him seated on his mare

Poor Willie knew not what had passed
It seemed he'd dreamed upon his ride
Yet from that day he bore a scar
As though a dart had pierced his side

E'er and anon the dream returned
To anguish Willie where he lay
For all his days he rued the night
He chanced upon those men of gray

(c) Michael Lowe Wright 2018