Last night there were four Marys
Oh, often have I dressed my Queen
Full often have I dressed my Queen
Oh, little did my mother know
Oh, happy, happy is the maid
They'll tie a kerchief around my eyes
The four Marys were Mary, Queen of Scots' ladies-in-waiting, but these were Mary Seton, Mary Beaton, Mary Fleming and Mary Livingston. There was no Mary Carmichael but this popular song was believed to be relating to Mary, Queen of Scots until it was traced back to the court of the Tsar. The ballad dates between 1719 and 1764 and narrates the story of Mary Hamilton, a Scottish maid of Peter the Great's wife Catherine, who was executed for the murder of her illegitimate child, product of an affair with the Tsar Peter.
The two stories of Mary Hamilton and Mary, Queen of Scots were grafted onto each other.