This is an anglicised collation of a number of Scottish versions the brunt of which comes from the collection of F. I wonder whether “worse than a woman’s voice” may be a mondegreen (woman’s scorn maybe? This one is learnt from Tim and Maddy’s lovely version.
The Laird o' Roslin's dochter walked through the woods her leen When by cam' Captain Wedderburn, a servant tae the King.
] collected nine versions in Aberdeen, though it may presently be extinct there. An old Scottish house consisted of one large room with the beds set in alcoves, the wife sleeping between her husband and the wall for protection; although conversely she could not escape. Their verses are quite similar to Tim Hart and Maddy Prior's but they skip the three verses with the first riddles too.
American texts of this ballad are rare, though the riddle portion of the ballad has been collected widely as a separate song entitled Riddles have for a long time played a noteworthy part in ballad courtship even occurring as far away as Siberia, the woman promising her hand to the first suitor to solve her riddles. Jon Boden sang it unaccompanied as the February 27, 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day where he commented: I’m really proud of the Bellowhead version of this strange little riddle song.
And in the parish whaur they live they was not a blither twa And they baith lay in ae bed and she lay neist the wa'.