If ever there were an oracle that could answer this, it would have to be you lot.My question concerns Dives and Lazarus, a traditional ballad, which rhymes (or almost rhymes) the second and fourth line of every stanza—except when it doesn’t. Here are its last four stanzas, two of which don’t even pretend to rhyme:
Anyone know what’s going on there—alternate versions, regional pronunciations, famous typos?
Then Dives lifted up his eyes And saw poor Lazarus blest:
“A drop of water, brother Lazarus,
For to quench my flaming thirst.
“If I had as many years to live
As there is blades of grass
I would make it in my will secure
That the devil should have no power.
Oh, hell is dark, oh, hell is deep;And now my carol’s ended,
Oh hell is full of mice,
It is a pity that any poor sinful soul
Should depart from our saviour, Christ.
No longer can I stay.
God bless you all, both great and small,
And God send you a happy New Year.