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Title: The Oxford Book of Ballads

Author: Various

Editor: Arthur Quiller-Couch

Release Date: January 5, 2014 [EBook #44593]

Language: English

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[Pg i]

The Oxford Book of Ballads


[Pg ii]
[Pg iii]

The
Oxford Book of
Ballads

Chosen & Edited by
Arthur Quiller-Couch

Oxford
At the Clarendon Press


[Pg iv]

PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN


[Pg v]

TO
THE ONE SURVIVOR
OF THREE MEN
TO WHOM ALL LOVERS OF THE BALLAD
OWE MOST IN THESE TIMES
FRANCIS JAMES CHILD
FREDERICK JAMES FURNIVALL

AND
JOHN WESLEY HALES


[Pg vi]
[Pg vii]

PREFACE

As in The Oxford Book of English Verse I tried to range over the whole field of the English Lyric, and to choose the best, so in this volume I have sought to bring together the best Ballads out of the whole of our national stock. But the method, order, balance of the two books are different perforce, as the fates of the Lyric and the Ballad have been diverse. While the Lyric in general, still making for variety, is to-day more prolific than ever and (all cant apart) promises fruit to equal the best, that particular offshoot which we call the Ballad has been dead, or as good as dead, for two hundred years. It would seem to have discovered, almost at the start, a very precise Platonic pattern of what its best should be; and having exhausted itself in reproducing that, it declined (through a crab-apple stage of Broadsides) into sterility. Therefore this anthology cannot be brought down to the present day, and therefore the first half of it contains far finer poetry than the second.

But it may be objected that among Ballads no such thing as chronological order is possible; and that, if it were, I have not attempted it. ‘Why then did I not boldly mix up all my flowers in a heap and afterwards sit down to re-arrange them, disregarding history, studious only that one flower should set off another and the whole[Pg viii] wreath be a well-balanced circle?’ I will try to answer this, premising only that tact is nine-tenths of the anthologist’s business. It is very true that the Ballads have no chronology: that no one can say when Hynd Horn was composed, or assert with proof that Clerk Saunders is younger than Childe Maurice or Tam Lin older than Sir Patrick Spens, though that all five are older than The Children in the Wood no one with an ounce of literary sense would deny. Even of our few certainties we have to remember that, where almost everything depends on oral tradition, it may easily happen—in fact happens not seldom—that a really old ballad ‘of the best period’ has reached us late and in a corrupted form, its original gold overlaid with silver and bronze. It is true, moreover, that these pages, declining an impossible order, decline also the pretence to it. I have arranged the ballads in seven books: of which the first deals with Magic, the ‘Seely Court’, and the supernatural; the second (and on the whole the most beautiful) with stories of absolute romance such as Childe Waters, Lord Ingram, Young Andrew; the third with romance shading off into real history, as in Sir Patrick Spens, Hugh of Lincoln, The Queen’s Marie; the fourth with Early Carols and ballads of Holy Writ. This closes Part I. The fifth book is all of the Greenwood and Robin Hood; the sixth follows history down from Chevy Chase and the Homeric deeds of Douglas and Percy to less renowned if not less spirited Border feuds; while the seventh and last book presents the Ballad in[Pg ix] various aspects of false beginning and decline—The Old Cloak, which deserved a long line of children but in fact has had few; Barbara Allen, late but exquisite; Lord Lovel, which is silly sooth; and The Suffolk Tragedy, wherein a magnificent ballad-theme is ambled to market like so much butter. My hope is that this arrangement, while it avoids mixing up things that differ and keeps consorted those (the Robin Hood Ballads for example) which naturally go together, does ‘in round numbers’ give a view of the Ballad in its perfection and decline, and that so my book may be useful to the student as well as to the disinterested lover of poetry for whom it is chiefly intended.

This brings me to the matter of text. To make a ‘scientific’ anthology of the Ballads was out of the question. In so far as scientific treatment could be brought to them the work had been done, for many generations to come, if not finally, by the late Professor Child[1] in his monumental edition, to which at every turn I have been indebted for guidance back to the originals. Child’s method was to get hold of every ballad in every extant version, good, bad, or indifferent, and to print these versions side by side, with a foreword on the ballad’s history, packed with every illustration that could be contributed out of his immense knowledge of the folk-poetry of every race and country. His work, as I say, left no room for follower or imitator; but[Pg x] fortunately it lies almost as wide of my purpose as of my learning. My reader did not require Sir Patrick Spens or May Colvin in a dozen or twenty versions: he wanted one ballad, one Sir Patrick Spens, one May Colvin, and that the best. How could I give him the best in my power?

There is only one way. It was Scott’s way, and the way of William Allingham, who has been at pains to define it in the preface to his Ballad Book (Macmillan):—

The various oral versions of a popular ballad obtainable throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland, are perhaps, even at this late day,[2] practically innumerable—one as ‘authentic’ as another. What then to do?... The right course has appeared to be this, to make oneself acquainted with all attainable versions of a ballad. Then (granting a ‘turn’ for such things, to begin; without which all were labour in vain) the editor may be supposed to get as much insight as may be into the origin and character of the ballad in question; he sees or surmises more or less as to the earliest version or versions, as to blunders, corruptions, alterations of every sort (national, local, personal) on the part of the reciters; he then comes to investigate the doings of former editors, adopting thankfully what he finds good, correcting at points whereupon he has attained better information, rejecting (when for the worse) acknowledged or obvious interpolations or changes. He has to give it in one form—the best according to his judgement and feeling—in firm black and white, for critics, and for readers cultivated and simple.

This fairly describes Scott’s method as well as Allingham’s own. But while I must claim along with[Pg xi] them ‘a “turn” for such things’ (the claim is implicit in my attempt), these two men were poets, and could dare more boldly than I to rewrite a faulty stanza or to supply a missing one. Of this ticklish license I have been extremely chary, and have used it with the double precaution (1) of employing, so far as might be, words and phrases found elsewhere in the text of the ballad, and (2) of printing these experiments in square brackets,[3] that the reader may not be misled. Maybe I should have resisted the temptation altogether but for the necessity—in a work intended for all sorts of readers, young and old—of removing or reducing here and there in these eight hundred and sixty-five pages a coarse or a brutal phrase. To those who deny the necessity I will only answer that while no literature in the world exercises a stronger or on the whole a saner fascination upon imaginative youth than do these ballads, it seems to me wiser to omit a stanza from Glasgerion, for example, or to modify a line in Young Hunting, than to withhold these beautiful things altogether from boy or maid.

Before leaving this subject of texts and their handling, I must express my thanks for the permission given me to make free use of the text of the Percy Folio MS., edited by Professors Hales and Furnivall some forty years ago. This was of course indispensable. In the history of our[Pg xii] ballad-literature the Reliques themselves are, if something more of a landmark, much less of a trophy than the three famous volumes so romantically achieved by Professor Child and their two editors, whose labour has been scarcely more honourable than their liberality which has ever laid its results open to men’s benefit. Mr. Child died in 1896; Mr. Furnivall a few months ago. To Mr. Hales, survivor of the famous three, I owe the permission given with a courtesy which set a fresh value on what was already beyond value. I must also thank the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould for leave to include The Brown Girl and other ballads from his Songs of the West and A Garland of Country Song (Methuen). It were idle to quote all the scholars—Ritson, Herd, Scott, Jamieson and the rest—to whose labours every ballad-editor must be indebted: but among younger men I wish to thank Mr. F. Sidgwick, whose method in his two volumes of Ballads (Bullen) I can admire the more unreservedly because it differs from mine.

I hope, at any rate, that in presenting each ballad as one, and reconstructing it sometimes from many versions, I have kept pretty constantly to the idea, of which Professor Ker[4] says—‘The truth is that the Ballad is an Idea, a Poetical Form, which can take up any matter, and does not leave that matter as it was before.’ If the reader interrogate me concerning this Idea of the Ballad, as[Pg xiii] Mr. Pecksniff demanded of Mrs. Todgers her Notion of a Wooden Leg, Professor Ker has my answer prepared:—

In spite of Socrates and his logic we may venture to say, in answer to the question ‘What is a ballad?’—‘A Ballad is The Milldams of Binnorie and Sir Patrick Spens and The Douglas Tragedy and Lord Randal and Childe Maurice, and things of that sort.’

There the reader has it, without need of the definition or of the historical account which this Preface must not attempt. Its author, no doubt, is destined to consign, some day, and ‘come to dust’ with more learned editors: but meanwhile, if one ask ‘What is a Ballad?’—I answer, It is these things; and it is

About the dead hour o’ the night
She heard the bridles ring.

(Tam Lin)

and

But this ladye is gone to her chamber,
Her maydens following bright.

(Sir Cawline)

It is

‘O we were sisters, sisters seven;
We were the fairest under heaven.’

(Cospatrick)

and

‘I see no harm by you, Margaret,
Nor you see none by me.’

(Fair Margaret and Sweet William)

and

In somer, when the shawes be sheyne,
And leves be large and long.

(Robin Hood and the Monk)

[Pg xiv]

and

O there was horsing, horsing in haste,
And cracking of whips out owre the lee.

(Archie of Cawfield)

It is even

And there did he see brave Captain Ogilvie
A-training of his men on the green.

(The Duke of Gordon’s Daughter)

Like the Clown in Twelfth Night, it can sing both high and low: but the note is unmistakable whether it sing high:

O cocks are crowing on merry middle-earth;
I wot the wild fowls are boding day.

(Clerk Saunders)

Half-owre, half-owre to Aberdour,
’Tis fifty fathoms deep;
And there lies gude Sir Patrick Spens,
Wi’ the Scots lords at his feet!

(Sir Patrick Spens)

‘O Earl Bran’, I see your heart’s bloud!’—
Ay lally, o lilly lally
‘It’s na but the glent o’ my scarlet hood’
All i’ the night sae early.

(Earl Brand)

or low

Then up bespake the bride’s mother—
She never was heard to speak so free:
‘Ye’ll not forsake my only daughter,
Though Susie Pye has cross’d the sea.’

(Young Beichan)

‘An’ thu sall marry a proud gunner,
An’ a proud gunner I’m sure he’ll be.’

(The Great Silkie of Sule Skerrie)

[Pg xv]

Rise up, rise up, brother Dives,
And go with us to see
A dismal place, prepared in hell,
To sit on a serpent’s knee.

(Dives and Lazarus)

or, merely flat and pedestrian:

There was slayne upon the English part
For sooth as I you say,
Of ninè thousand English men
Five hundred came away.

(Otterburn)

But it is always unmistakable and like no other thing in poetry; in proof of which let me offer one simple, practical test. If any man ever steeped himself in balladry, that man was Scott, and once or twice, as in Proud Maisie and Brignall Banks, he came near to distil the essence. If any man, taking the Ballad for his model, has ever sublimated its feeling and language in a poem

seraphically free
From taint of personality,

that man was Coleridge and that poem his Ancient Mariner. If any poet now alive can be called a ballad-writer of genius, it is the author of Danny Deever and East and West. But let the reader suppose a fascicule of such poems bound up with the present collection, and he will perceive that I could have gone no straighter way to destroy the singularity of the book.

In claiming this singularity for the Ballad I do not seek to exalt it above any other lyrical form. Rather I am ready to admit, out of some experience in anthologizing,[Pg xvi] that when a ballad is set in a collection alongside the best of Herrick, Gray, Landor, Browning—to name four poets opposite as the poles and to say nothing of such masterwork as Spenser’s Epithalamion or Milton’s Lycidas—it is the ballad that not only suffers by the apposition but suffers to a surprising degree; so that I have sometimes been forced to reconsider my affection, and ask ‘Are these ballads really beautiful as they have always appeared to me?’ In truth (as I take it) the contrast is unfair to them, much as any contrast between children and grown folk would be unfair. They appealed to something young in the national mind, and the young still ramp through Percy’s Reliques—as I hope they will through this book—‘trailing clouds of glory,’ following the note in Elmond’s wood—

May Margaret sits in her bower door
Sewing her silken seam;
She heard a note in Elmond’s wood,
And wish’d she there had been.
She loot the seam fa’ frae her side,
The needle to her tae,
And she is on to Elmond’s wood
As fast as she could gae.

A. Q. C.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] A smaller edition of ‘Child’, excellently planned, by Helen Child Sargent and George Lyman Kittridge, is published in England by Mr. Nutt.

[2] 1864.

[3] This does not hold of small transpositions, elisions of superfluous words, or corrections of spelling. In these matters I have allowed myself a free hand.

[4] On the History of the Ballads, 1100-1500, by W. P. Ker, Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. iv.


[Pg xvii]

CONTENTS

 

PART I

 
 

BOOK I

 
NO.  PAGE
1.  Thomas the Rhymer 1
2.  Tam Lin 4
3.  Sir Cawline 14
4.  Sir Aldingar 20
5.  Cospatrick 29
6.  Willy’s Lady 36
7.  The Queen of Elfland’s Nourice 41
8.  Lady Isabel and the Elf-Knight 43
9.  The Riddling Knight 46
10.  May Colvin 47
11.  The Wee Wee Man 51
12.  Alison Gross 52
13.  Kemp Owyne 55
14.  The Laily Worm 59
15.  King Orfeo 62
16.  King Henry 64
17.  The Boy and the Mantle 68
18.  King Arthur and King Cornwall 75
19.  The Marriage of Sir Gawain 88
20.  Bonnie Annie 98
21.  Brown Robyn’s Confession 100[Pg xviii]
22.  The Cruel Mother 102
23.  Binnorie 104
24.  The Broomfield Hill 107
25.  Earl Mar’s Daughter 110
26.  Proud Lady Margaret 116
27.  Clerk Saunders 118
28.  The Daemon Lover 123
29.  Clerk Colven 126
30.  Young Hunting 129
31.  The Great Silkie of Sule Skerrie 135
32.  The Wife of Usher’s Well 136
33.  A Lyke-Wake Dirge 138
34.  The Unquiet Grave 140
 

BOOK II

 
35.  Hynd Horn 142
36.  Hynd Etin 145
37.  Erlinton 153
38.  Earl Brand 157
39.  The Douglas Tragedy 160
40.  Glasgerion 163
41.  King Estmere 167
42.  Fair Annie 179
43.  The Lass of Lochroyan 184
44.  Young Bekie 193
45.  Young Beichan 199
46.  Childe Waters 205
47.  Childe Maurice 214
48.  Brown Adam 221
49.  Jellon Grame 223
50.  Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard 227[Pg xix]
51.  Lord Ingram and Childe Vyet 232
52.  Fair Janet 237
53.  Old Robin of Portingale 242
54.  Lord Thomas and Fair Annet 247
55.  Rose the Red and White Lily 253
56.  Leesome Brand 262
57.  Babylon 265
58.  Prince Robert 267
59.  Young Andrew 270
60.  The Gay Goshawk 275
61.  Willie’s Lyke-Wake 280
62.  Fair Margaret and Sweet William 281
63.  The Twa Brothers 284
64.  The Cruel Brother 287
65.  Edward, Edward 290
66.  Lord Randal 292
67.  The Twa Corbies 293
68.  The Three Ravens 294
 

BOOK III

 
69.  The Nut-Brown Maid 295
70.  Fause Foodrage 308
71.  The Fair Flower of Northumberland 314
72.  Young John 318
73.  Lady Maisry 320
74.  Bonny Bee Ho’m 326
75.  Sir Patrick Spens 328
76.  The Lord of Lorn 332
77.  Edom o’ Gordon 342
78.  Lamkin 348[Pg xx]
79.  Hugh of Lincoln 353
80.  The Heir of Linne 356
81.  Fair Mary of Wallington 361
82.  Young Waters 367
83.  The Queen’s Marie 369
84.  The Outlaw Murray 374
85.  Glenlogie 386
86.  Lady Elspat 388
87.  Jamie Douglas 390
88.  Katharine Johnstone 395
89.  Johnie Armstrong 398
90.  Clyde Water 404
91.  Young Benjie 409
92.  Annan Water 413
93.  Rare Willie Drowned in Yarrow 416
94.  The Duke of Gordon’s Daughter 417
95.  The Bonny Earl of Murray 422
96.  Bonny George Campbell 423
 

BOOK IV

 
97.  Judas 425
98.  St. Stephen and King Herod 426
99.  The Maid and the Palmer 428
100.  The Falcon 430
101.  The Cherry-Tree Carol 431
102.  The Carnal and the Crane 434
103.  Jolly Wat 439
104.  I Saw Three Ships 442
105.  The Twelve Good Joys 443
106.  The Angel Gabriel 446
107.  The Three Kings 448[Pg xxi]
108.  The Innocents 451
109.  Dives and Lazarus 455
110.  The Holy Well 458
111.  The Seven Virgins 460
 

PART II

 
 

BOOK V

 
112.  Robyn and Gandelyn 462
113.  The Birth of Robin Hood 465
114.  Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough, and William of Clondesley 468
115.  A Little Geste of Robin Hood and his Meiny 497
116.  Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne 575
117.  Robin Hood and the Monk 585
118.  Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar 600
119.  Robin Hood and the Butcher 607
120.  Robin Hood and the Bishop of Hereford 612
121.  Robin Hood and Alan a Dale 616
122.  Robin Hood and the Widow’s Three Sons 621
123.  Robin Hood’s Golden Prize 626
124.  The Noble Fisherman 630
125.  The Death of Robin Hood 635
 

BOOK VI

 
126.  Durham Field 640
127.  The Battle of Otterburn 651
128.  Chevy Chase 664
129.  Northumberland Betrayed by Douglas 675[Pg xxii]
130.  Sir Andrew Barton 684
131.  The ‘George Aloe’ 697
132.  The ‘Golden Vanity’ 701
133.  John Dory 703
134.  Willie Macintosh 704
135.  The Bonnie House o’ Airlie 705
136.  Johnnie of Cockerslee 707
137.  Kinmont Willie 712
138.  Jock o’ the Side 720
139.  Hobbie Noble 726
140.  Archie of Cawfield 732
141.  Jamie Telfer in the Fair Dodhead 738
142.  Dick o’ the Cow 746
143.  Hughie the Graeme 757
144.  The Lochmaben Harper 759
145.  The Fire of Frendraught 763
146.  The Death of Parcy Reed 767
147.  Baby Livingston 774
148.  The Gypsy Countess 781
149.  The Baron of Brackley 783
150.  The Dowie Houms of Yarrow 786
151.  Lord Maxwell’s Last Goodnight 789
152.  Helen of Kirconnell 792
153.  The Lament of the Border Widow 793
 

BOOK VII

 
154.  Lady Alice 795
155.  Lord Lovel 796
156.  The Trees so High 798
157.  The Brown Girl 800
158.  Barbara Allen’s Cruelty 802[Pg xxiii]
159.  The Gardener 804
160.  The Lowlands o’ Holland 806
161.  The Spanish Lady’s Love 807
162.  The Bailiff’s Daughter of Islington 811
163.  The Blind Beggar’s Daughter of Bednall-Green 813
164.  The Loving Ballad of Lord Bateman 825
165.  Mary Ambree 829
166.  The Lady turned Serving-Man 832
167.  The Simple Ploughboy 837
168.  Cawsand Bay 839
169.  The Greenland Fishery 841
170.  The Old Cloak 843
171.  Widdicombe Fair 845
172.  Get Up and Bar the Door 847
173.  King John and the Abbot of Canterbury 849
174.  The Children in the Wood 854
175.  The Suffolk Miracle 860
176.  Bessie Bell and Mary Gray 865
  Index of First Lines 867

[Pg xxiv]

Certainly, I must confesse my own barbarousnes, I neuer heard the olde song of Percy and Duglas that I found not my heart mooued more then with a Trumpet.

Sir Philip Sidney.


[Pg 1]

PART I

BOOK I

1. Thomas the Rhymer

I

True Thomas lay on Huntlie bank;
A ferlie[5] he spied wi’ his e’e;
And there he saw a ladye bright
Come riding down by the Eildon Tree.

II

Her skirt was o’ the grass-green silk,
Her mantle o’ the velvet fyne;
At ilka tett[6] o’ her horse’s mane
Hung fifty siller bells and nine.

III

True Thomas he pu’d aff his cap,
And louted low down on his knee:
‘Hail to thee, Mary, Queen of Heaven!
For thy peer on earth could never be.’

IV

‘O no, O no, Thomas,’ she said,
‘That name does not belang to me;
I’m but the Queen o’ fair Elfland,
That am hither come to visit thee.

V

‘Harp and carp[7], Thomas,’ she said;
‘Harp and carp along wi’ me;
And if ye dare to kiss my lips,
Sure of your bodie I will be.’
[Pg 2]

VI

‘Betide me weal, betide me woe,
That weird[8] shall never daunten me.’
Syne he has kiss’d her rosy lips,
All underneath the Eildon Tree.

VII

‘Now ye maun go wi’ me,’ she said,
‘True Thomas, ye maun go wi’ me;
And ye maun serve me seven years,
Thro’ weal or woe as may chance to be.’

VIII

She’s mounted on her milk-white steed,
She’s ta’en true Thomas up behind;
And aye, whene’er her bridle rang,
The steed gaed swifter than the wind.

IX

O they rade on, and farther on,
The steed gaed swifter than the wind;
Until they reach’d a desert wide,
And living land was left behind.

X

‘Light down, light down now, true Thomas,
And lean your head upon my knee;
Abide ye there a little space,
And I will show you ferlies three.

XI

‘O see ye not yon narrow road,
So thick beset wi’ thorns and briers?
That is the Path of Righteousness,
Though after it but few inquires.
[Pg 3]

XII

‘And see ye not yon braid, braid road,
That lies across the lily leven[9]?
That is the Path of Wickedness,
Though some call it the Road to Heaven.

XIII

‘And see ye not yon bonny road
That winds about the fernie brae?
That is the Road to fair Elfland,
Where thou and I this night maun gae.

XIV

‘But, Thomas, ye sall haud your tongue,
Whatever ye may hear or see;
For speak ye word in Elflyn-land,
Ye’ll ne’er win back to your ain countrie.’

XV

O they rade on, and farther on,
And they waded rivers abune the knee;
And they saw neither sun nor moon,
But they heard the roaring of the sea.

XVI

It was mirk, mirk night, there was nae starlight,
They waded thro’ red blude to the knee;
For a’ the blude that’s shed on the earth
Rins through the springs o’ that countrie.

XVII

Syne they came to a garden green,
And she pu’d an apple frae a tree:
‘Take this for thy wages, true Thomas;
It will give thee the tongue that can never lee.’
[Pg 4]

XVIII

‘My tongue is my ain,’ true Thomas he said;
‘A gudely gift ye wad gie to me!
I neither dought[10] to buy or sell
At fair or tryst where I might be.

XIX

‘I dought neither speak to prince or peer,
Nor ask of grace from fair ladye!’—
‘Now haud thy peace, Thomas,’ she said,
‘For as I say, so must it be.’

XX

He has gotten a coat of the even cloth[11],
And a pair o’ shoon of the velvet green;
And till seven years were gane and past,
True Thomas on earth was never seen.

FOOTNOTES:

[5] ferlie = marvel.

[6] tett = tuft.

[7] harp and carp = play and recite (as a minstrel).

[8] weird = doom.

[9] leven =? lawn.

[10] dought = could.

[11] even cloth = smooth cloth.


2. Tam Lin

I

‘O I forbid you, maidens a’,
That wear gowd on your hair,
To come or gae by Carterhaugh,
For young Tam Lin is there.

II

‘For even about that knight’s middle
O’ siller bells are nine;
And nae maid comes to Carterhaugh
And a maid returns again.’
[Pg 5]

III

Fair Janet sat in her bonny bower,
Sewing her silken seam,
And wish’d to be in Carterhaugh
Amang the leaves sae green.

IV

She’s lat her seam fa’ to her feet,
The needle to her tae[12],
And she’s awa’ to Carterhaugh
As fast as she could gae.

V

And she has kilted her green kirtle
A little abune her knee;
And she has braided her yellow hair
A little abune her bree[13];
And she has gaen for Carterhaugh
As fast as she can hie.

VI

She hadna pu’d a rose, a rose,
A rose but barely ane,
When up and started young Tam Lin;
Says, ‘Ladye, let alane.

VII

‘What gars ye pu’ the rose, Janet?
What gars ye break the tree?
What gars ye come to Carterhaugh
Without the leave o’ me?’
[Pg 6]

VIII

‘Weel may I pu’ the rose,’ she says,
‘And ask no leave at thee;
For Carterhaugh it is my ain,
My daddy gave it me.’

IX

He’s ta’en her by the milk-white hand,
And by the grass-green sleeve,
He’s led her to the fairy ground
At her he ask’d nae leave.

X

Janet has kilted her green kirtle
A little abune her knee,
And she has snooded her yellow hair
A little abune her bree,
And she is to her father’s ha’
As fast as she can hie.

XI

But when she came to her father’s ha’,
She look’d sae wan and pale,
They thought the lady had gotten a fright,
Or with sickness she did ail.

XII

Four and twenty ladies fair
Were playing at the ba’,
And out then came fair Janet
Ance the flower amang them a’.

XIII

Four and twenty ladies fair
Were playing at the chess,
And out then came fair Janet
As green as onie glass.
[Pg 7]

XIV

Out then spak’ an auld grey knight
’Lay owre the Castle wa’,
And says, ‘Alas, fair Janet!
For thee we’ll be blamèd a’.’

XV

‘Hauld your tongue, ye auld-faced knight,
Some ill death may ye die!
Father my bairn on whom I will,
I’ll father nane on thee.

XVI

‘O if my love were an earthly knight,
As he is an elfin gay,
I wadna gie my ain true-love
For nae laird that ye hae.

XVII

‘The steed that my true-love rides on
Is fleeter nor the wind;
Wi’ siller he is shod before,
Wi’ burning gold behind.’

XVIII

Out then spak’ her brither dear—
He meant to do her harm:
‘There grows an herb in Carterhaugh
Will twine[14] you an’ the bairn.’

XIX

Janet has kilted her green kirtle
A little abune her knee,
And she has snooded her yellow hair
A little abune her bree,
And she’s awa’ to Carterhaugh
As fast as she can hie.
[Pg 8]

XX

She hadna pu’d a leaf, a leaf,
A leaf but only twae,
When up and started young Tam Lin,
Says, ‘Ladye, thou’s pu’ nae mae.

XXI

‘How dar’ ye pu’ a leaf?’ he says,
‘How dar’ ye break the tree?
How dar’ ye scathe[15] my babe,’ he says,
‘That’s between you and me?’

XXII

‘O tell me, tell me, Tam,’ she says,
‘For His sake that died on tree,
If ye were ever in holy chapel
Or sain’d[16] in Christentie?’

XXIII

‘The truth I’ll tell to thee, Janet,
Ae word I winna lee;
A knight me got, and a lady me bore,
As well as they did thee.

XXIV

‘Roxburgh he was my grandfather,
Took me with him to bide;
And ance it fell upon a day,
As hunting I did ride,

XXV

‘There came a wind out o’ the north,
A sharp wind an’ a snell[17],
A dead sleep it came over me
And frae my horse I fell;
And the Queen o’ Fairies she took me
In yon green hill to dwell.
[Pg 9]

XXVI

‘And pleasant is the fairy land
For those that in it dwell,
But ay at end of seven years
They pay a teind[18] to hell;
I am sae fair and fu’ o’ flesh
I’m fear’d ’twill be mysell.

XXVII

‘But the night is Hallowe’en, Janet,
The morn is Hallowday;
Then win me, win me, an ye will,
For weel I wat ye may.

XXVIII

‘The night it is gude Hallowe’en,
The fairy folk do ride,
And they that wad their true-love win,
At Miles Cross they maun bide.’—

XXIX

‘But how should I you ken, Tam Lin,
How should I borrow[19] you,
Amang a pack of uncouth[20] knights
The like I never saw?’—

XXX

‘You’ll do you down to Miles Cross
Between twel’ hours and ane,
And fill your hands o’ the holy water
And cast your compass roun’.
[Pg 10]

XXXI

‘The first company that passes by,
Say na, and let them gae;
The neist company that passes by,
Say na, and do right sae;
The third company that passes by,
Then I’ll be ane o’ thae.

XXXII

‘O first let pass the black, ladye,
And syne let pass the brown;
But quickly run to the milk-white steed,
Pu’ ye his rider down.

XXXIII

‘For some ride on the black, ladye,
And some ride on the brown;
But I ride on a milk-white steed,
A gowd star on my crown:
Because I was an earthly knight
They gie me that renown.

XXXIV

‘My right hand will be gloved, ladye,
My left hand will be bare,
And thae’s the tokens I gie thee:
Nae doubt I will be there.

XXXV

‘Ye’ll tak’ my horse then by the head
And let the bridle fa’;
The Queen o’ Elfin she’ll cry out
“True Tam Lin he’s awa’!”
[Pg 11]

XXXVI

‘They’ll turn me in your arms, ladye,
An aske[21] but and a snake;
But hauld me fast, let me na gae,
To be your warldis make[22].

XXXVII

‘They’ll turn me in your arms, ladye,
But and a deer so wild;
But hauld me fast, let me na gae,
The father o’ your child.

XXXVIII

‘They’ll shape me in your arms, ladye,
A hot iron at the fire;
But hauld me fast, let me na go,
To be your heart’s desire.

XXXIX

‘They’ll shape me last in your arms, Janet,
A mother-naked man;
Cast your green mantle over me,
And sae will I be won.’

XL

Janet has kilted her green kirtle
A little abune the knee;
And she has snooded her yellow hair
A little abune her bree,
And she is on to Miles Cross
As fast as she can hie.

XLI

About the dead hour o’ the night
She heard the bridles ring;
And Janet was as glad at that
As any earthly thing.
[Pg 12]

XLII

And first gaed by the black, black steed,
And syne gaed by the brown;
But fast she gript the milk-white steed
And pu’d the rider down.

XLIII

She’s pu’d him frae the milk-white steed,
An’ loot[23] the bridle fa’,
And up there rase an eldritch[24] cry,
‘True Tam Lin he’s awa’!’

XLIV

They shaped him in her arms twa
An aske but and a snake;
But aye she grips and hau’ds him fast
To be her warldis make.

XLV

They shaped him in her arms twa
But and a deer sae wild;
But aye she grips and hau’ds him fast,
The father o’ her child.

XLVI

They shaped him in her arms twa
A hot iron at the fire;
But aye she grips and hau’ds him fast
To be her heart’s desire.

XLVII

They shaped him in her arms at last
A mother-naked man;
She cast her mantle over him,
And sae her love she wan.
[Pg 13]

XLVIII

Up then spak’ the Queen o’ Fairies,
Out o’ a bush o’ broom,
‘She that has borrow’d young Tam Lin
Has gotten a stately groom.’

XLIX

Out then spak’ the Queen o’ Fairies,
And an angry woman was she,
‘She’s ta’en awa’ the bonniest knight
In a’ my companie!

L

‘But what I ken this night, Tam Lin,
Gin I had kent yestreen,
I wad ta’en out thy heart o’ flesh,
And put in a heart o’ stane.

LI

‘And adieu, Tam Lin! But gin I had kent
A ladye wad borrow’d thee,
I wad ta’en out thy twa grey e’en
Put in twa e’en o’ tree[25].

LII

‘And had I the wit yestreen, yestreen,
That I have coft[26] this day,
I’d paid my teind seven times to hell
Ere you had been won away!’

FOOTNOTES:

[12] tae = toe.

[13] bree = eye-brow.

[14] twine = part, sunder.

[15] scathe = harm.

[16] sain’d = blessed, baptised.

[17] snell = keen, cold.

[18] teind = tithe.

[19] borrow = ransom.

[20] uncouth = unknown.

[21] aske = newt, lizard.

[22] make = mate, husband.

[23] loot = let.

[24] eldritch = unearthly.

[25] tree = wood.

[26] coft = bought.


[Pg 14]

3. Sir Cawline

I

Jesus, Lord mickle of might,
That dyed for us on roode,
So maintaine us in all our right
That loves true English blood!

II

Sir Cawline [was an English knight]
Curteous and full hardye;
[And our King has lent him] forth to fight,
Into Ireland over the sea.

III

And in that land there dwells a King,
Over all the bell does beare;
And he hath a ladye to his daughter,
Of fashion[27] she hath no peere;
Knights and lordes they woo’d her both,
Trusted to have been her feere[28].

IV

Sir Cawline loves her best of onie,
But nothing durst he say
To discreeve[29] his councell to no man,
But dearlye loved this may[30].

V

Till it befell upon a day,
Great dill[31] to him was dight[32];
The mayden’s love removed his mind,
To care-bed[33] went the knight.
[Pg 15]

VI

One while he spread his armes him fro,
And cryed so pittyouslye:
‘For the mayden’s love that I have most minde
This day shall comfort mee,
Or else ere noone I shall be dead!’
Thus can Sir Cawline say.

VII

When the parish mass that itt was done,
And the King was bowne[34] to dine,
Says, ‘Where is Sir Cawline, that was wont
To serve me with ale and wine?’

VIII

But then answer’d a curteous knight
Fast his hands wringìnge:
‘Sir Cawline’s sicke and like to be dead
Without and a good leechìnge[35].’

IX

‘Feitch ye downe my daughter deere,
She is a leeche full fine;
Ay, and take you doe and the baken bread,
And [drinke he of] the wine soe red,
And looke no daynty’s for him too deare,
For full loth I wo’ld him tine[36].’

X

This ladye is gone to his chamber,
Her maydens following nye;
‘O well,’ she saith, ‘how doth my lord?’
‘O sicke!’ againe saith hee.
[Pg 16]

XI

‘But rise up wightlye[37], man, for shame!
Ne’er lie here soe cowardlye!
Itt is told in my father’s hall
For my love you will dye.’—

XII

‘Itt is for your love, fayre ladye,
That all this dill I drie;
For if you wo’ld comfort me with a kisse,
Then were I brought from bale to bliss,
No longer here wo’ld I lye.’—

XIII

‘Alas! soe well you know, Sir Knight,
I cannot be your feere.’—
‘Yet some deeds of armes fain wo’ld I doe
To be your bacheleere.’—

XIV

‘On Eldritch Hill there grows a thorn,
Upon the mores[38] brodinge[39];
And wo’ld you, Sir Knight, wake there all night
To day of the other morninge?

XV

‘For the Eldritch King, that is mickle of might,
Will examine[40] you beforne[41]:
There was never a man bare his life away
Since the day that I was born.’—

XVI

‘But I will for your sake, ladye,
Walk on the bents[42] soe browne,
And I’ll either bring you a readye token,
Or I’ll ne’er come to you again.’
[Pg 17]

XVII

But this ladye is gone to her chamber,
Her maydens following bright;
And Sir Cawline’s gone to the mores soe broad,
For to wake there all night.

XVIII

Unto midnight that the moone did rise
He walkèd up and downe,
And a lightsome bugle then heard he blow
Over the bents so browne;
Sayes he, ‘And if cryance[43] come to my heart,
I am farr from any good towne.’

XIX

And he spyèd, e’en a little him by,
A furyous king and a fell,
And a ladye bright his brydle led
[More] seemlye [than onie can tell].

XX

Soe fast he call’d on Sir Cawline,
‘O man, I rede thee flye!
For if cryance come untill thy heart
I’m afeard lest thou maun dye!’—

XXI

He sayes, ‘No cryance comes to my heart,
Nor i’faith I fear not thee;
For because thou ming’d[44] not Christ before,
The lesse me dreadeth thee.’
[Pg 18]

XXII

But Sir Cawline then he shooke a speare;
The King was bold, and abode:
And the timber those two children bare
Soe soon in sunder slode[45]:
Forth they tooke and two good swords,
And they layden on good loade[46].

XXIII

The Eldritch King was mickle of might,
And stiffly to the ground did stand;
But Sir Cawline with an aukeward[47] stroke
He brought from him his hand—
Ay, and flying over his head so hye
It fell down of that lay land[48].

XXIV

His ladye stood a little thereby,
Fast her hands wringìnge:
‘For the mayden’s love that you have most minde,
Smyte you noe more [this King].

XXV

‘And he’s never[49] come upon Eldritch Hill
Him to sport, gammon or play,
And to meet no man of middle-earth[50]
That lives on Christ his lay[51].’

XXVI

But he then up, that Eldritch King,
Set him in his sadle againe,
And that Eldritch King and his ladye
To their castle are they gone.
[Pg 19]

XXVII

Sir Cawline took up that eldritch sword
As hard as any flynt,
Soe did he [the hand with] ringès five
Harder than fyer, and brent[52].

XXVIII

The watchmen cryed upon the walls
And sayd, ‘Sir Cawline’s slaine!’
Then the King’s daughter she fell downe,
‘For peerlesse is my payne!’—

XXIX

‘O peace, my ladye!’ sayes Sir Cawline,
‘I have bought thy love full deare;
O peace, my ladye!’ sayes Sir Cawline,
‘Peace, ladye, for I am heere!’

XXX

He’s presented to the King’s daughter
The hand, and then the sword
[And he has claimed the King’s daughter
According to her word].

XXXI

And the King has betaken[53] him his broad lands
And all his venison[54];
[Sayes] ‘Thou shalt have my daughter deare,
[And be my onelye son’].

FOOTNOTES:

[27] fashion = form, beauty.

[28] feere = mate, consort.

[29] discreeve = discover.

[30] may = maid.

[31] dill = dole, grief.

[32] dight = ordained.

[33] care-bed = sick-bed.

[34] bowne = made ready, gone.

[35] without and, &c. = unless he have a good leech, or physician.

[36] tine = lose.

[37] wightlye = briskly, stoutly.

[38] mores = moors.

[39] brodinge = growing, sprouting.

[40] examine = put to the test.

[41] beforne = before (morning).

[42] bents = rough grasses.

[43] cryance = yielding, cowardice.

[44] ming’d = mentioned, spoke the name of.

[45] slode = split.

[46] good loade = heavily.

[47] aukeward = back-handed.

[48] lay land = lea, land not under cultivation; here = ground.

[49] he’s never = he will never.

[50] middle-earth = this earth, as midway between heaven and hell.

[51] lay = law, faith.

[52] brent = smooth.

[53] betaken = given, made over.

[54] venison = i. e. deer-forests.


[Pg 20]

4. Sir Aldingar

I

Our King he kept a false steward,
Men call’d him Sir Aldingar;
[He would have woo’d our comely Queene
To be his paramour].

II

He would have woo’d our comely Queene,
Her deere worship to betray:
Our Queene she was a good woman
And evermore said him nay.

III

Sir Aldingar was offended in ’s mind,
With her he was ne’er content,
But he sought what meanès he could find
In a fyer to have her brent[55].

IV

There came a lame lazar to the King’s gate,
A lazar ’was blind and lame;
He took the lazar upon his backe,
Upon the Queene’s bed did him lay.

V

Said, ‘Lye still, lazar, whereas thou lyest,
Looke thou goe not away;
I’le make thee a whole man and a sound
In two howres of a day.’

VI

And then went forth Sir Aldingar
Our Queene for to betray,
And then he met with our comely King,
Says, ‘God you save and see!
[Pg 21]

VII

‘If I had space, as I have grace,
A message I’d say to thee.’—
‘Say on, say on, Sir Aldingar,
Say thou on and unto me.’

VIII

‘I can shew you one of the grievous’t sights
Ever Christian King did see;
Our Queene hath chosen a new, new love,
She will have none of thee.

IX

‘If she had chosen a right good knight,
The lesse had beene her shame;
But she hath chosen a lazar man
Which is both blind and lame.’—

X

‘If this be true, Sir Aldingar,
That thou dost tell to me,
Then will I make thee a rich knight
Both of gold and fee.

XI

‘But if it be false, Sir Aldingar,
That thou dost tell to me,
Then looke thou for no other death
But to be hang’d on tree.’

XII

When the King came into the Queene’s chamber,
Standing her bed before,
‘There’s a lodly[56] lome[57],’ says Harry the King
For our dame Queene Elinor!
[Pg 22]

XIII

‘If thou were a man, as thou art none,
It is here thou shouldest dye;
But a paire of new gallowes shall be built,
Thou’st hang on them soe hye.

XIV

‘And a fayre fyer there shall be bett[58],
And brent our Queene shall been.’
Forth then walk’d our comely King,
And met with our comely Queene.

XV

Saies, ‘God you save our Queene, Madam,
And Christ you save and see!
Here you have chosen a new, new love,
And you will have none of mee.

XVI

‘If you had chosen a right good knight,
The lesse had beene your shame;
But you have chosen a lazar man
That is both blind and lame.’

XVII

‘Ever alacke!’ said our comely Queene,
‘Sir Aldingar he is false;
But ever alacke!’ said our comely Queene,
‘And woe is me, and alas!

XVIII

‘I had thought swevens[59] had never been true
I have proved them true [today]:
I dream’d in my swevens on Thursday at even
In my bed wheras I lay,
[Pg 23]

XIX

‘I dreamèd a grype[60] and a grimlie beast
Had carried my crowne away,
My gorget and my kirtle of golde,
And all my heade-geare [gay].

XX

‘He wo’ld have worryed me with his tush[61],
And borne me into his nest,
Saving there came a little hawke
Flying out of the east.

XXI

‘—Saving there came a little hawke
Which men call a merlion[62];
He stroke him downe untill the ground,
That deade he did fall downe.

XXII

‘Gif I were a man, as I am none,
A battell I wo’ld prove;
I wo’ld fight with that false traitor;
At him I cast my glove!

XXIII

‘Seeing I am able noe battell to make,
You must grant me, my liege, a knight,
To fight with that traitor, Sir Aldingar,
To maintaine me in my right.’

XXIV

‘I’le give thee forty dayes,’ said our King,
‘To seeke thee a man therein;
If thou find not a man in forty dayes,
In a hott fyer thou shalt brenn.’
[Pg 24]

XXV

Our Queene sent forth a messenger;
He rode fast into the south;
He rode the countryes through and through
Soe far unto Portsmouth.

XXVI

[But for all his riding ne’er sped he
To fetch help to our Queene;]
He co’ld find noe man in the south countrỳ
‘Wo’ld fight with the knight soe keene.

XXVII

The second messenger shee sent forth,
Rode far into the east;
But—blessèd be God ’made sunn and moone!—
He sped then all of the best.

XXVIII

As he rode then by one river side,
There he mett with a little Child;
He seemèd noe more in a man’s likenesse
Than a child of four yeeres old.

XXIX

He ask’d the messenger how far he rode;
Loth he was him to tell;
The little one was offended att him,
Bade him adieu, farewell.

XXX

Said, ‘Turne thou againe, thou messenger,
Greete our Queen well from me;
When bale[63] is at hyest, boote[64] is at nyest—
Helpe enough there may bee.
[Pg 25]

XXXI

‘Bid our Queene remember what she did dreame
In her bedd wheras shee lay;
She dreamèd the grype and the grimlie beast
Had carryed her crowne away;

XXXII

‘Her gorgett and her kirtle of gold,
Her head-geare [all soe drest]
He wo’ld have worryed her with his tush,
And borne her into his nest.

XXXIII

‘Saving there came a little hawke,
Men call him a merlion;
‘Did strike him downe untill the ground
That dead he did fall downe.

XXXIV

‘Bidd the Queene be merry att her heart,
Evermore light and glad;
When bale is at hyest, boote is at nyest,
Helpe enough [shall be had’].

XXXV

Then the Queen’s messenger rode backe,
A gladded man then was hee;
When that he came before our Queene,
A gladd woman then was shee.

XXXVI

She gave the messenger twenty pound,
O Lord, in gold and fee;
Saies, ‘Spend, nor spare while this doth last,
Then fetch thou more of me.’
[Pg 26]

XXXVII

Our Queene was put in a tunne[65] to burn;
She thought noe thing but death:
When they were ware of the Little One
’Came ryding forth of the east.

XXXVIII

With a mu[le and a bridle all of bells]
A lovelye child was hee;
When that he came to that fyér
He lighted the Queene full nigh.

XXXIX

Sayd, ‘Draw away these brands of fyer
’Lie burning before our Queene,
And fetch me hither Sir Aldingar
That is a knight soe keene.’

XL

When Aldingar saw that Little One,
Full little of him hee thought;
If there had been halfe a hundred such
Of them he would not have wrought[66].

XLI

He sayd, ‘Come hither, Sir Aldingar,
Thou seemest as big as a fooder[67];
I trust God ere I have done with thee
God will send us an auger.’

XLII

Sayes, ‘The first stroke that’s given, Sir Aldingar,
I will give unto thee;
And if the second give thou may,
Looke then thou spare not mee.’
[Pg 27]

XLIII

This Little One pull’d forth a well good sword,
I wis it well all of gilte.
It cast a light there over that field,
It shone soe all of gilte.

XLIV

He stroke the first stroke at Aldingar;
[Noe second needed hee;
At the first stroke] he stroke away
His leggs [all] by the knee.

XLV

Sayes, ‘Stand up, stand up, thou false traitor,
And fight upon thy feete;
For, an thou thrive as thou begins,
Of a height we shall be meete[68].’

XLVI

‘A priest, a priest,’ sayes Aldingar,
‘Me for to housel and shrive!
A priest, a priest,’ sayes Aldingar,
‘While I am a man living alive!

XLVII

‘I would have courted our comely Queene;
To it shee wo’ld never consent;
I thought to betray her to our King
In a fyer to have her brent.

XLVIII

‘There came a lame lazar to the King’s gate,
A lazar both blind and lame;
I took the lazar upon my back,
Upon the Queene’s bedd had him layn.
[Pg 28]

XLIX

‘I bade him, Lye still, lazar, where he lay,
Looke he went not away;
I wo’ld make him a whole man and a sound
In two houres of a day.

L

‘A priest, a priest,’ sayes Aldingar,
‘To shrive me cleane of hell!
Ever alacke!’ sayes Sir Aldingar,
‘Falsing never doth well.

LI

‘Forgive, forgive me, Queene, Madam!
For Christ’s love forgive me!’—
‘God forgave his death, Aldingar,
And freely I forgive thee.’—

LII

‘Now take thy wife, thou King Harry,
And love her as thou sho’ld;
Thy wife shee is as true to thee
As stone lies in castle wall.’

LIII

The lazar under the gallow tree
[Grew] a pretty man and small:
The lazar under the gallow tree
Was made steward in King Harry’s hall.

FOOTNOTES:

[55] brent = burnt.

[56] lodly = loathly.

[57] lome = thing.

[58] bett = kindled.

[59] swevens = dreams.

[60] grype = gryphon.

[61] tush = tusk, beak.

[62] merlion = merlin, a small falcon.

[63] bale = evil, trouble.

[64] boote = help, remedy.

[65] tunne = barrel.

[66] wrought = recked.

[67] fooder = tun.

[68] meete = matched, equal.


[Pg 29]

5. Cospatrick

I

Cospatrick has sent o’er the faem:
Cospatrick brought his ladye hame.

II

Full seven score ships have come her wi’,
The ladye by the grene-wood tree.

III

There was twal’ and twal’ wi’ baken bread,
And twal’ and twal’ wi’ the goud sae red:

IV

And twal’ and twal’ wi’ beer and wine,
And twal’ and twal’ wi’ muskadine:

V

And twal’ and twal’ wi’ bouted[69] flour,
And twal’ and twal’ wi’ paramour[70].

VI

Sweet Willy was a Widow’s son,
And at her stirrup he did run.

VII

And she was clad in the finest pall[71],
But aye she let the tears down fall.

VIII

‘O lady, sits your saddle awry?
Or is your steed for you owre high?

IX

‘Or are you mourning in your tide
That you suld be Cospatrick’s bride?’

X

‘I am not mourning at this tide
That I suld be Cospatrick’s bride:
[Pg 30]

XI

‘But I am mourning in my mood
That ever I left my mother good.

XII

‘But, bonny boy, come tell to me
What is the custom o’ your countrie?’

XIII

‘The custom thereof, my dame,’ he says,
‘Will ill a gentle ladye please.

XIV

‘Seven King’s daughters has our lord wedded,
And seven King’s daughters has our lord bedded:

XV

‘But he’s cutted their breasts frae their breast-bane,
And sent them mourning hame again.

XVI

‘But when you come to the palace yett[72],
His mother a gowden chair will set:

XVII

‘And be you maid or be you nane,
O sit you there till the day be dane.

XVIII

‘And gin you’re sure that you’re a maid,
Ye may gae safely him to wed:

XIX

‘But gif o’ that ye be na sure,
Then hire some damsel o’ your bour.’—

XX

O when she came to the palace yett,
His mother a gowden chair did set:
[Pg 31]

XXI

The bonnie may was tired wi’ ridin’,
Gae’d sit her down ere she was bidden.

XXII

And was she maid or was she nane,
She sat in it till the day was dune.

XXIII

And she’s call’d on her bour-woman,
That waiting was into[73] her train:

XXIV

‘Five thousand marks I’ll gie to thee,
To sleep this night with my lord for me.’—

XXV

[‘But will it for my ladye plead,
I’se be the bride in my ladye’s stead.’]—

XXVI

When bells were rung and mass was sayne,
And a’ men unto bed were gane,

XXVII

Cospatrick and the bonny maid
Into ae chamber they were laid.

XXVIII

‘Now speak to me, blankets, and speak to me, bed,
And speak, thou sheet, inchanted web,

XXIX

‘And speak, my brown sword, that winna lee[74],
Is this a leal maiden that lies by me?’

XXX

‘It is not a maid that you hae wedded,
But it is a maid that you hae bedded:
[Pg 32]

XXXI

‘It is a leal maiden that lies by thee,
But not the maiden that it should be.’

XXXII

Then out he sprang o’ his bridal bed,
And wrathfully his claiths on did:

XXXIII

And he has ta’en him through the ha’,
And on his mother he did ca’.

XXXIV

‘I am the most unhappy man
That ever was in Christen land:

XXXV

‘I courted a maiden meik and mild,
And I’ve gat but a woman great wi’ child.’—

XXXVI

‘O stay, my son, into this ha’,
And sport ye wi’ your merry men a’.

XXXVII

‘And I’ll gang to your painted bour,
To see how it fares wi’ your paramour.’

XXXVIII

The carline[75] queen was stark and strang
She gar’d the door flee aff the ban[76].

XXXIX

‘O is your bairn to laird or loun[77],
Or is it to your father’s groom?’—

XL

‘O hear me, mother, on my knee,
Till my sad story I tell to thee.
[Pg 33]

XLI

‘O we were sisters, sisters seven;
We were the fairest under heaven.

XLII

‘We had nae mair for our seven years’ wark
But to shape and sew the King’s son a sark.

XLIII

‘It fell on a summer’s afternoon,
When a’ our langsome task was done,

XLIV

‘We cast the kevils[78] us amang
To see which suld to the grene-wood gang.

XLV

‘Ohone, alas! for I was the youngest,
And aye my weird it was the hardest.

XLVI

‘The kevil it did on me fa’,
Which was the cause of a’ my wae.

XLVII

‘For to the grene-wood I must gae,
To pu’ the red rose and the slae;

XLVIII

‘To pu’ the red rose and the thyme
To deck my mother’s bour and mine.

XLIX

‘I hadna pu’d a flower but ane,
When by there came a gallant hende[79],

L

‘Wi’ high-coll’d[80] hose and laigh-coll’d shoon,
And he seem’d to be some Kingis son.
[Pg 34]

LI

‘And be I a maid, or be I nae,
He kept me there till the close o’ day:

LII

‘And be I a maid or be I nane,
He kept me there till the day was done.

LIII

‘He gae me a lock o’ his yellow hair,
And bade me keep it for ever mair:

LIV

‘He gae me a carknet[81] o’ bonny beads,
And bade me keep it against my needs.

LV

‘He gae to me a gay gold ring,
And bade me keep it abune a’ thing.

LVI

‘He gae to me a little pen-knife,
And bade me keep it as my life.’—

LVII

‘What did you wi’ the tokens rare
That ye got frae that gallant there?’—

LVIII

‘O bring that coffer here to me,
And a’ the tokens ye sall see.’

LIX

And aye she sought, and aye she flang[82]
Until these four things cam’ to her hand.

LX

‘Now stay here, daughter, your bour within,
Till I gae parley with my son.’
[Pg 35]

LXI

O she has ta’en her thro’ the ha’,
And on her son began to ca’.

LXII

‘What did you wi’ that gay gold ring
I bade you keep abune a’ thing?

LXIII

‘What did you wi’ that little pen-knife
I bade you keep while you had life?

LXIV

‘What did you wi’ the bonny beads
I bade you keep against your needs?’—

LXV

‘I gae them to a ladye gay
I met i’ the grene-wood on a day.

LXVI

‘But I wad gie a’ my ha’s and tours,
I had that bright burd in my bours:

LXVII

‘But I wad gie my very life
I had that ladye to my wife!’

LXVIII

‘Now keep, my son, your ha’s and tours;
Ye have that bright burd in your bours.

LXIX

‘And keep, my son, your very life,
Ye have that ladye to your wife.’

LXX

Now, or a month was come and gane,
The ladye bore him a bonny son.
[Pg 36]

LXXI

And it was well written on his breast-bane,
‘Cospatrick is my father’s name.’

LXXII

O rowe[83] my ladye in satin and silk,
And wash my son in the morning milk!

FOOTNOTES:

[69] bouted = bolted, sifted.

[70] paramour = meaning here uncertain.

[71] pall = fine cloth.

[72] yett = gate.

[73] into = in.

[74] lee = lie.

[75] carline = old woman.

[76] ban = band, hinge.

[77] laird or loun = squire or common fellow.

[78] kevils = lots.

[79] hende = courteous youth.

[80] high-coll’d, laigh-coll’d = high-cut, low-cut.

[81] carknet = necklace.

[82] flang = flung about, rummaged violently.

[83] rowe = roll, wrap.


6. Willy’s Lady

I

Sweet Willy’s ta’en him o’er the faem,
He’s woo’d a wife and brought her hame.

II

He’s woo’d her for her yellow hair,
But his mither wrought her mickle care;

III

And mickle dolour gar’d her drie[84],
For lighter[85] she can never be.

IV

But in her bower she sits wi’ pain,
And Willy mourns o’er her in vain.

V

And to his mither he has gane;
That vile rank witch of vilest kind.

VI

He says: ‘My ladie has a cup
Wi’ gowd and silver set about.

VII

‘This goodlie gift shall be your ain,
And let her be lighter o’ her young bairn.’—
[Pg 37]

VIII

‘Of her young bairn she’ll ne’er be lighter,
Nor in her bower to shine the brighter:

IX

‘But she shall die and turn to clay,
And you shall wed another may.’—

X

‘Another may I’ll marry nane,
Another may I’ll ne’er bring hame.’

XI

But sighing says his bonnie wife,
‘I wish this was an end o’ my life!

XII

‘Yet gae ye unto your mither again,
That vile rank witch of vilest kind.

XIII

‘And say: My ladie has a steed,
The like o’ him ’s no in the lands of Leed.

XIV

‘For at ilka tett[86] o’ that horse’s mane
There’s a golden chess[87] and a bell ringíng.

XV

‘This goodlie gift shall be your ain,
And let her be lighter o’ her young bairn.’—

XVI

‘O’ her young bairn she’ll ne’er be lighter,
Nor in her bower to shine the brighter;

XVII

‘But she shall die and turn to clay,
And ye shall wed another may.’—
[Pg 38]

XVIII

‘Another may I’ll marry nane,
Another may I’ll ne’er bring hame.’

XIX

But sighing says his bonnie wife,
‘I wish this was an end o’ my life!

XX

‘Yet gae ye unto your mither again,
That vile rank witch of vilest kind:

XXI

‘And say: My ladie has a girdle,
It’s a’ red gowd unto the middle.

XXII

‘And ay at every silver hem
Hangs fifty silver bells and ten.

XXIII

‘That goodlie gift shall be your ain,
But let her be lighter o’ her young bairn.’—

XXIV

‘O’ her young bairn she’s ne’er be lighter,
Nor in her bower to shine the brighter:

XXV

‘But she shall die and turn to clay,
And you shall wed another may.’—

XXVI

‘Another may I’ll never wed nane,
Another may I’ll never bring hame.’

XXVII

But sighing says his bonnie wife,
‘I wish this was an end o’ my life!’

XXVIII

Then out and spake the Billy Blind[88]
He spake aye in a good time;
[Pg 39]

XXIX

‘Ye doe ye to the market-place,
And there buy ye a loaf o’ wax;

XXX

‘Ye shape it bairn and bairnly like,
And in twa glasses e’en ye’ll pit[89].

XXXI

‘And do ye to your mither then,
And bid her come to your boy’s christ’nen,

XXXII

‘For dear’s the boy he’s been to you:
Then notice weel what she shall do:

XXXIII

‘And do you stand a little away,
And listen weel what she shall say.’

XXXIV

He did him to the market-place,
And there he bought a loaf o’ wax.

XXXV

He shaped it bairn and bairnly-like,
And in ’t twa glasses e’en he pat[90].

XXXVI

He did him till his mither then,
And bade her to his boy’s christ’nen.

XXXVII

And he did stand a little forbye[91],
And noticed well what she did say.

XXXVIII

‘O wha has loosed the nine witch-knots
That was among that ladie’s locks?
[Pg 40]

XXXIX

‘And wha has ta’en out the kaims[92] o’ care
That hangs among that ladie’s hair?

XL

‘And wha’s ta’en down the bush o’ woodbine
That hangs atween her bower and mine?

XLI

‘And wha has kill’d the master kid
That ran aneath that ladie’s bed?

XLII

‘And wha has loosed her left-foot shee[93]
And letten that ladie lighter be?’

XLIII

Syne Willy has loosed the nine witch-knots
That was among his ladie’s locks:

XLIV

And Willy’s ta’en out the kaims o’ care
That hang among his ladie’s hair:

XLV

And Willy’s ta’en down the bush o’ woodbine
That hang atween her bower and thine:

XLVI

And Willy has kill’d the master kid
That ran aneath his ladie’s bed:

XLVII

And Willy has loosed her left-foot shee,
And letten his ladie lighter be.

XLVIII

And now he’s gotten a bonny young son,
And mickle grace be him upon!

FOOTNOTES:

[84] gar’d her drie = caused her to suffer.

[85] lighter = i. e. delivered of her child.

[86] tett = tuft.

[87] chess =? jess, strap.

[88] Billy Blind = a Brownie, or friendly House-spirit.

[89] pit = put.

[90] pat = did put.

[91] forbye = aside.

[92] kaims = combs.

[93] shee = shoe.


[Pg 41]

7. The Queen of Elfland’s Nourice

I

‘I heard a cow low, a bonnie cow low,
And a cow low down in yon glen:
Lang, lang will my young son greet[94]
Or his mither bid him come ben[95]!

II

‘I heard a cow low, a bonnie cow low,
And a cow low down in yon fauld:
Lang, lang will my young son greet
Or his mither take him frae cauld!’

III

[The Queen of Elfan’s nourice[96]
She sits and sings her lane]
‘Waken, Queen of Elfan
And hear your nourice moan.’—

IV

‘O moan ye for your meat,
Or moan ye for your fee,
Or moan ye for the ither bounties
That ladies are wont to gie?’—

V

‘I moan na for my meat,
Nor moan I for my fee,
Nor moan I for the ither bounties
That ladies are wont to gie.

VI

[‘But I heard a bonnie cow
Low down in yonder fauld]
And I moan for my young son
I left in four nights auld.
[Pg 42]

VII

‘I moan na for my meat,
Nor yet for my fee;
But I moan for Christen land;
It’s there I fain would be.’

VIII

‘O nurse my bairn, nourice,
Till he stan’ at your knee,
An ye’s win hame to Christen land
Whar fain it’s ye wad be.

IX

‘O keep my bairn, nourice,
Till he gang by the hauld[97],
An ye’s win hame to your young son
Ye left in four nights auld.

X

‘O nourice lay your head
[Here] upo’ my knee:
See ye not that narrow road
Up by yonder tree?

XI

[‘See ye not the narrow road
By yon lillie leven?]
That’s the road the righteous goes
And that’s the road to heaven.

XII

‘An’ see na ye that braid road
Down by yon sunny fell?
Yon’s the road the wicked gae,
An’ that’s the road to hell.
[Pg 43]

XIII

[‘An’ see na ye that bonny road
About the fernie brae?
That wins back frae Elfland
Where you must wait to gae.’]

FOOTNOTES:

[94] greet = cry.

[95] ben = to the inner room.

[96] nourice = nurse.

[97] gang by the hauld = walk by holding on to the hand.


8. Lady Isabel and the Elf-Knight

I

My plaid awa’, my plaid awa’,
And o’er the hill and far awa’;
And far awa’ to Norrowa’,
My plaid shall not be blown awa’!

II

Lady Isabel sits in her bower sewing,
Aye as the gowans[98] grow gay
She heard an elf-knight his horn blawing,
The first morning in May.

III

The elfin-knight sits on yon hill,
He blaws his horn baith loud and shrill.

IV

He blaws it east, he blaws it west,
He blaws it where he lyketh best.

V

‘I wish that horn were in my kist[99],
Yea, and the knight in my arms niest[100].’

VI

She had no sooner these words said,
When that knight came to her bed.
[Pg 44]

VII

‘Thou art owre young a maid,’ quoth he,
‘Married with me thou ill wouldst be.’—

VIII

‘I have a sister younger than I,
And she was married yesterday.’—

IX

‘Married with me if thou wouldst be,
A courtesie thou must do to me.

X

‘For thou must shape a sark[101] to me
Without any cut or hem,’ quoth he.

XI

‘It’s ye maun shape it knife-and-shurlesse,
And also sew it needle-threedlesse.

XII

‘And ye maun wash it in yonder well,
Where the dew never wat[102] nor the rain never fell.

XIII

‘And ye maun dry it upon a thorn
That never budded sin Adam was born.’—

XIV

‘Now sin ye have asked some things o’ me,
It’s right I ask as mony o’ thee.

XV

‘My father he ask’d me an acre o’ land
Between the saut sea and the strand.

XVI

‘And ye maun are[103] it wi’ your blawin’ horn,
And ye maun sow it wi’ pepper corn.
[Pg 45]

XVII

‘And ye maun harrow it with ae tyne[104],
And ye maun shear it with ae horse bane.

XVIII

‘And ye maun stack it in yon mouse-hole,
And ye maun thresh it in yon shoe-sole.

XIX

‘And ye maun winnow it in your loof[105],
And ye maun sack it in your glove.

XX

‘And ye maun bring it owre the sea,
Fair and clean and dry to me.

XXI

‘And when ye’ve done an’ finish’d your wark,
Come to me, love, an’ get your sark.’

XXII

‘It’s I’ll not quit my plaid for my life;
It haps my seven bairns and my wife.’
The wind sall not blaw my plaid awa’:
‘And it’s I will keep me a maiden still,
Let the elfin knight do what he will’—
The wind has not blawn my plaid awa’!

FOOTNOTES:

[98] gowans = daisies.

[99] kist = chest.

[100] niest = next.

[101] sark = shirt.

[102] wat = wetted.

[103] are = plough.

[104] ae tyne = one harrow-point.

[105] loof = palm.


[Pg 46]

9. The Riddling Knight

I

There were three sisters fair and bright,
Jennifer, Gentle and Rosemary,
And they three loved one valiant knight—
As the dow[106] flies over the mulberry-tree.

II

The eldest sister let him in,
And barr’d the door with a silver pin.

III

The second sister made his bed,
And placed soft pillows under his head.

IV

The youngest sister that same night
Was resolved for to wed wi’ this valiant knight.

V

‘And if you can answer questions three,
O then, fair maid, I’ll marry wi’ thee.

VI

‘O what is louder nor a horn,
Or what is sharper nor a thorn?

VII

‘Or what is heavier nor the lead,
Or what is better nor the bread?

VIII

‘Or what is longer nor the way,
Or what is deeper nor the sea?’—

IX

‘O shame is louder nor a horn,
And hunger is sharper nor a thorn.
[Pg 47]

X

‘O sin is heavier nor the lead,
The blessing’s better nor the bread.

XI

‘O the wind is longer nor the way
And love is deeper nor the sea.’

XII

[‘You have answer’d aright my questions three,]
Jennifer, Gentle and Rosemary;
And now, fair maid, I’ll marry wi’ thee,
As the dow flies over the mulberry-tree.

FOOTNOTES:

[106] dow = dove.


10. May Colvin

I

False Sir John a-wooing came
To a maid of beauty fair;
May Colvin was this lady’s name,
Her father’s only heir.

II

He woo’d her but[107], he woo’d her ben,
He woo’d her in the ha’;
Until he got the lady’s consent
To mount and ride awa’.

III

‘Go fetch me some of your father’s gold,
And some of your mother’s fee,
And I’ll carry you into the north land,
And there I’ll marry thee.’
[Pg 48]

IV

She’s gane to her father’s coffers
Where all his money lay,
And she’s taken the red, and she’s left the white,
And so lightly she’s tripp’d away.

V

She’s gane to her father’s stable
Where all the steeds did stand,
And she’s taken the best, and she’s left the warst
That was in her father’s land.

VI

She’s mounted on a milk-white steed,
And he on a dapple-grey,
And on they rade to a lonesome part,
A rock beside the sea.

VII

‘Loup[108] off the steed,’ says false Sir John,
‘Your bridal bed you see;
Seven ladies I have drownèd here,
And the eight’ one you shall be.

VIII

‘Cast off, cast off your silks so fine
And lay them on a stone,
For they are too fine and costly
To rot in the salt sea foam.

IX

‘Cast off, cast off your silken stays,
For and your broider’d shoon,
For they are too fine and costly
To rot in the salt sea foam.
[Pg 49]

X

‘Cast off, cast off your Holland smock
That’s border’d with the lawn,
For it is too fine and costly
To rot in the salt sea foam.’—

XI

‘O turn about, thou false Sir John,
And look to the leaf o’ the tree;
For it never became a gentleman
A naked woman to see.’

XII

He turn’d himself straight round about
To look to the leaf o’ the tree;
She’s twined her arms about his waist
And thrown him into the sea.

XIII

‘O hold a grip o’ me, May Colvín,
For fear that I should drown;
I’ll take you home to your father’s bower
And safe I’ll set you down.’

XIV

‘No help, no help, thou false Sir John,
No help, no pity thee!
For you lie not in a caulder bed
Than you thought to lay me.’

XV

She mounted on her milk-white steed,
And led the dapple-grey,
And she rode till she reach’d her father’s gate,
At the breakin’ o’ the day.
[Pg 50]

XVI

Up then spake the pretty parrot,
‘May Colvin, where have you been?
What has become o’ false Sir John
That went with you yestreen?’—

XVII

‘O hold your tongue, my pretty parrot!
Nor tell no tales o’ me;
Your cage shall be made o’ the beaten gold
And the spokes o’ ivorie.’

XVIII

Up then spake her father dear,
In the bed-chamber where he lay;
‘What ails the pretty parrot,
That prattles so long ere day?’—

XIX

‘There came a cat to my cage, master,
I thought ’t would have worried me,
And I was calling to May Colvín
To take the cat from me.’

FOOTNOTES:

[107] but, ben = both in the outer and inner rooms.

[108] loup = leap.


[Pg 51]

11. The Wee Wee Man

I

As I was walking mine alane
Atween a water and a wa’,
There I spied a wee wee man,
And he was the least that ere I saw.

II

His legs were scant a shathmont’s[109] length,
And thick and thimber[110] was his thie[111];
Atween his brows there was a span,
And atween his shoulders there was three.

III

He’s ta’en and flung a meikle stane,
And he flang ’t as far as I could see;
Though I had been a Wallace wight
I couldna liften ’t to my knee.

IV

‘O wee wee man, but ye be strang!
O tell me where your dwelling be?’
‘My dwelling’s down by yon bonny bower;
Fair lady, come wi’ me and see.’

V

On we lap[112], and awa’ we rade,
Till we came to yon bonny green;
We lighted down to bait our steed,
And out there came a lady sheen[113];

VI

Wi’ four and twenty at her back
A’ comely clad in glisterin’ green;
Tho’ the King of Scotland had been there,
The warst o’ them might ha’ been his queen.
[Pg 52]

VII

On we lap, and awa’ we rade,
Till we came to a bonny ha’;
The roof was o’ the beaten gowd,
And the floor was o’ the cristal a’.

VIII

When we came to the stair-foot,
Ladies were dancing jimp[114] and sma’,
But in the twinkling of an eie
My wee wee man was clean awa’.

IX

Out gat the lights, on came the mist,
Ladies nor mannie mair cou’d I see:
I turn’d about, and gae a look
Just at the foot o’ Benachie.

FOOTNOTES:

[109] shathmont = measure from the point of the extended thumb to the extremity of the palm, six inches.

[110] thimber = stout.

[111] thie = thigh.

[112] lap = leapt.

[113] sheen = shining, beautiful.

[114] jimp = slim, slender.


12. Alison Gross

I

O Alison Gross, that lives in yon tow’r,
The ugliest witch i’ the north countrie,
Has trysted[115] me ae day up till her bow’r
And mony fair speeches she made to me.

II

She straik’d my head an’ she kaim’d my hair,
An’ she set me down saftly on her knee;
Says, ‘Gin ye will be my lemman sae true,
Sae mony braw things as I would you gie!’
[Pg 53]

III

She show’d me a mantle o’ red scarlét,
Wi’ gouden flowers an’ fringes fine;
Says, ‘Gin ye will be my lemman[116] sae true,
This gudely gift it sall be thine.’—

IV

‘Awa’, awa’, ye ugly witch,
Haud[117] far awa’, an’ lat me be!
I never will be your lemman sae true,
An’ I wish I were out o’ your company.’

V

She neist brought a sark o’ the saftest silk,
Well wrought wi’ pearls about the band;
Says, ‘Gin ye will be my lemman sae true,
This gudely gift ye sall command.’

VI

She show’d me a cup o’ the good red gowd,
Well set wi’ jewels sae fair to see;
Says, ‘Gin ye will be my lemman sae true,
This gudely gift I will you gie.’—

VII

‘Awa’, awa’, ye ugly witch,
Haud far awa’, an’ lat me be!
For I wouldna once kiss your ugly mouth
For a’ the gifts that ye could gie.’

VIII

She’s turn’d her right an’ roun’ about,
An’ thrice she blaw on a grass-green horn;
An’ she sware by the moon an’ the stars abune
That she’d gar me rue the day I was born.
[Pg 54]

IX

Then out has she ta’en a silver wand,
An’ she’s turn’d her three times roun’ and roun’;
She mutter’d sic words till my strength it fail’d,
An’ I fell down senseless upon the groun’.

X

She’s turn’d me into an ugly worm,
And gar’d me toddle about the tree;
An’ ay, on ilka Saturday’s night,
My sister Maisry came to me,

XI

Wi’ silver bason an’ silver kaim
To kaim my headie upon her knee;
But or I had kiss’d [wi’ Alison Gross]
I’d sooner ha’ toddled about the tree.

XII

But as it fell out, on last Hallowe’en,
When the Seely Court[118] was ridin’ by,
The Queen lighted down on a gowany[119] bank
Nae far frae the tree where I wont to lye.

XIII

She took me up in her milk-white han’,
An’ she’s straik’d me three times o’er her knee;
She changed me again to my ain proper shape,
An’ nae mair I toddle about the tree.

FOOTNOTES:

[115] trysted = invited.

[116] lemman = sweetheart.

[117] haud = hold, keep.

[118] Seely Court = the Happy Court (of the Fairies).

[119] gowany = daisied.


[Pg 55]

13. Kemp Owyne

I

Her mother died when she was young,
Which gave her cause to make great moan;
Her father married the warst woman
That ever lived in Christendom.

II

She servèd her wi’ foot and hand
In everything that she could dee[120],
Till once, in an unlucky time
She threw her owre a craig[121] o’ the sea.

III

Says, ‘Lie you there, dove Isabel,
And all my sorrows lie wi’ thee!
Till Kemp[122] Owyne come to the craig,
And borrow[123] you wi’ kisses three.’

IV

Her breath grew strang, her hair grew lang
And twisted thrice about the tree,
And all the people, far and near,
Thought that a savage beast was she.

V

And aye she cried for Kemp Owyne
Gin that he would but com’ to her hand:—
Now word has gane to Kemp Owyne
That siccan[124] a beast was in his land.

VI

‘Now by my sooth,’ says Kemp Owyne,
‘This fiery beast I’ll gang to see’;
‘And by my sooth,’ says Segramour,
‘My ae brother, I’ll gang you wi’.’
[Pg 56]

VII

O they have biggit[125] a bonny boat,
And they have set her to the sea;
But a mile before they reach’d the shore
I wot she gar’d[126] the red fire flee.

VIII

‘O brother, keep my boat afloat,
An’ lat her na the land so near!
For the wicked beast she’ll sure go mad,
An’ set fire to the land an’ mair.’

IX

Syne he has bent an arblast bow
And aim’d an arrow at her head,
And swore, if she didna quit the land,
Wi’ that same shaft to shoot her dead.

X

‘O out o’ my stythe[127] I winna rise—
And it is na for the fear o’ thee—
Till Kemp Owyne, the kingis son,
Come to the craig an’ thrice kiss me.’

XI

Her breath was strang, her hair was lang
And twisted thrice about the tree,
And with a swing she came about:
‘Come to the craig, an’ kiss with me!

XII

‘Here is a royal belt,’ she cried,
‘That I have found in the green sea;
And while your body it is on,
Drawn shall your blood never be;
But if you touch me, tail or fin,
I swear my belt your death shall be.’
[Pg 57]

XIII

He’s louted[128] him o’er the Eastmuir craig,
As out she swang and about the tree;
He steppèd in, gave her a kiss,
The royal belt he brought him wi’.

XIV

Her breath was strang, her hair was lang
And twisted twice about the tree,
As awa’ she gid[129], and again she swang—
‘Come to the craig, an’ kiss with me!

XV

‘Here is a royal ring,’ she said,
‘That I have found in the green sea;
And while your finger it is on,
Drawn shall your blood never be;
But if you touch me, tail or fin,
I swear my ring your death shall be.’

XVI

He’s louted him o’er the Eastmuir craig,
As out she swang and about the tree;
He steppèd in, gave her a kiss,
The royal ring he brought him wi’.

XVII

Her breath was strang, her hair was lang
And twisted ance about the tree,
As awa’ she gid and again she swang—
‘Come to the craig, an’ kiss with me!
[Pg 58]

XVIII

‘Here is a royal brand,’ she said,
‘That I have found in the green sea;
And while your body it is on,
Drawn shall your blood never be;
But if you touch me, tail or fin,
I swear my brand your death shall be.’

XIX

He’s louted him o’er the Eastmuir craig,
As out she swang and about the tree;
He steppèd in, gave her a kiss
That royal brand he brought him wi’.

XX

Her breath was sweet, her hair grew short,
And twisted nane about the tree,
As awa’ she gid and again she came
The fairest lady that ever could be.

XXI

‘O was it a wer-wolf into[130] the wood,
Or was it a mermaid into the sea,
Or was it a man or a vile woman,
My true love, that mis-shapit thee?’—

XXII

‘It was na wer-wolf into the wood,
Nor was it mermaid into the sea,
But and it was my vile stepmother,
And wae and weary mote she be!

XXIII

‘O a heavier weird shall light her on,
Her hair sall grow rough an’ her teeth grow lang,
And [aye] on her four feet sall she gang,
And aye in Wormeswood sall she won[131]!’

FOOTNOTES:

[120] dee = do.

[121] craig = rock.

[122] Kemp = champion, knight.

[123] borrow = ransom.

[124] siccan = such.

[125] biggit = built.

[126] gar’d = made.

[127] stythe = place, station.

[128] louted = bowed.

[129] gid = went.

[130] into = in.

[131] won = dwell.


[Pg 59]

14. The Laily Worm
and the Machrel of the Sea

I

‘I was but seven year auld
When my mither she did dee;
My father married the ae warst woman
The warld did ever see.

II

‘For she has made me the laily[132] worm,
That lies at the fit o’ the tree,
An’ my sister Masery she’s made
The machrel of the sea.

III

‘An’ every Saturday at noon
The machrel comes to me,
An’ she takes my laily head
An’ lays it on her knee,
She kaims it wi’ a siller kaim,
An’ washes ’t in the sea.

IV

‘Seven knights hae I slain,
Sin I lay at the fit of the tree,
An’ ye war na my ain father,
The eighth ane ye should be.’—

V

‘Sing on your song, ye laily worm,
That ye did sing to me.’—
‘I never sung that song but what
I would sing it to thee.
[Pg 60]

VI

‘I was but seven year auld,
When my mither she did dee;
My father married the ae warst woman
The warld did ever see.

VII

‘For she changed me to the laily worm,
That lies at the fit o’ the tree,
And my sister Masery
To the machrel of the sea.

VIII

‘And every Saturday at noon
The machrel comes to me,
An’ she takes my laily head
An’ lays it on her knee,
An’ kames it wi’ a siller kame,
An’ washes it i’ the sea.

IX

‘Seven knights hae I slain
Sin I lay at the fit o’ the tree;
An’ ye war na my ain father,
The eighth ane ye should be.’

X

He sent for his lady,
As fast as send could he:
‘Whar is my son that ye sent frae me,
And my daughter, Lady Masery?’—

XI

‘Your son is at our king’s court,
Serving for meat an’ fee,
An’ your daughter’s at our queen’s court,
The queen’s maiden to be.’—
[Pg 61]

XII

‘Ye lee, ye lee, ye ill woman,
Sae loud as I hear ye lee;
My son’s the laily worm,
That lies at the fit o’ the tree,
And my daughter, Lady Masery,
Is the machrel of the sea!’

XIII

She has tane a siller wan’,
An’ gi’en him strokès three,
And he’s started up the bravest knight
That ever your eyes did see.

XIV

She has ta’en a small horn,
An’ loud an’ shrill blew she,
An’ a’ the fish came her untill
But the machrel of the sea:
‘Ye shapeit me ance an unseemly shape,
An’ ye’s never mare shape me.’

XV

He has sent to the wood
For whins and for hawthorn,
An’ he has ta’en that gay lady,
An’ there he did her burn.

FOOTNOTES:

[132] laily = loathly.


[Pg 62]

15. King Orfeo
A Shetland Ballad.

I

Der lived a king inta da aste[133],
Scowan ürla grün[134]
Der lived a lady in da wast.
Whar giorten han grün oarlac.[135]

II

Dis king he has a huntin gaen,
He’s left his Lady Isabel alane.

III

‘Oh I wis ye’d never gaen away,
For at your hame is döl an wae.

IV

‘For da king o Ferrie we his daert,
Has pierced your lady to da hert.’

V

And aifter dem da king has gaen,
But when he cam it was a grey stane.

VI

Dan he took oot his pipes ta play,
Bit sair his hert wi döl an wae.

VII

And first he played da notes o noy[136],
An dan he played da notes o joy.

VIII

An dan he played da göd gabber reel[137],
Dat meicht ha made a sick hert hale.
[Pg 63]

IX

‘Noo come ye in inta wir[138] ha’,
An come ye in among wis[139] a’.’

X

Now he’s gaen in inta der ha’,
An he’s gaen in among dem a’.

XI

Dan he took out his pipes to play,
Bit sair his hert wi döl an wae.

XII

An first he played da notes o noy,
An dan he played da notes o joy.

XIII

An dan he played da göd gabber reel,
Dat meicht ha made a sick hert hale.

XIV

‘Noo tell to us what ye will hae:
What sall we gie you for your play?’—

XV

‘What I will hae I will you tell,
An dat’s me Lady Isabel.’—

XVI

‘Yees tak your lady, an yees gaeng hame,
An yees be king ower a’ your ain.’

XVII

He’s taen his lady, an he’s gaen hame,
An noo he’s king ower a’ his ain.

FOOTNOTES:

[133] aste = east.

[134] Scowan &c. = Early green’s the wood.

[135] giorten &c. = Where the hart goes yearly.

[136] noy = grief.

[137] göd gabber reel = the rollicking dance-tune.

[138] wir = our.

[139] wis = us.


[Pg 64]

16. King Henry

I

Let never a man a wooing wend
That lacketh thingis three;
A routh[140] o’ gold, an open heart
And fu’ o’ courtesye.

II

As this I speak of King Henry,
For he lay burd-alone[141];
An’ he’s doen him to a jelly[142] hunt’s ha’
Was seven mile frae a town.

III

He’s chased the deer down him before,
An’ the roe down by the den,
Till the fattest buck in a’ the flock
King Henry he has slain.

IV

O he has doen him to his ha’
To make him bierly[143] cheer;
An’ in it came a griesly ghost
Steed stappin’ i’ the fleer[144].

V

Her head hat[145] the roof-tree o’ the house,
Her middle ye weel mot[146] span;
He’s thrown to her his gay mantle,
Says, ‘Lady, hap[147] your lingcan[148].’
[Pg 65]

VI

Her teeth were a’ like teather stakes[149],
Her nose like club or mell[150];
An’ I ken naething she ’pear’d to be
But the fiend that wons[151] in hell.

VII

‘Some meat, some meat, ye King Henry,
Some meat ye gie to me!’—
‘An’ what meat’s in this house, ladye,
That ye’re not welcome tae?’—
‘O ye’se gae[152] kill your berry-brown steed,
And serve him up to me.’

VIII

O whan he slew his berry-brown steed,
Wow but his heart was sair!
She ate him a’ up, skin an’ bane,
Left naething but hide an’ hair.

IX

‘Mair meat, mair meat, ye King Henry,
Mair meat ye gie to me!’—
‘An’ what meat’s in this house, ladye,
That ye’re not welcome tae?’—
‘O do ye slay your good grey-hounds
An’ bring them a’ to me.’

X

O whan he slew his good grey-hounds,
Wow but his heart was sair!
She ate them a’ up, skin an’ bane,
Left naething but hide an’ hair.
[Pg 66]

XI

‘Mair meat, mair meat, ye King Henry,
Mair meat ye gie to me!’—
‘An’ what meat’s in this house, ladye,
That ye’re not welcome tae?’—
‘O do ye kill your gay goss-hawks
An’ bring them a’ to me.’

XII

O whan he fell’d his gay goss-hawks,
Wow but his heart was sair!
She’s ate them a’ up, skin an’ bane,
Left naethin’ but feathers bare.

XIII

‘Some drink, some drink, now, King Henry,
Some drink ye bring to me!’—
‘O what drink’s in this house, ladye,
That ye’re not welcome tae?’—
‘O ye sew up your horse’s hide,
An’ bring in drink to me.’

XIV

O he’s sew’d up the bluidy hide,
A puncheon o’ wine put in;
She’s drunk it a’ up at a waught[153],
Left na ae drap ahin’[154].

XV

‘A bed, a bed, now King Henry,
A bed ye’se mak’ to me!’—
‘An’ what’s the bed in this house, ladye,
That ye’re not welcome tae?’—
[Pg 67] ‘O ye maun pu’ the heather green,
An’ mak’ a bed to me.’

XVI

Syne pu’d he has the heather green,
An’ made to her a bed,
An’ up has he ta’en his gay mantle,
An’ o’er it he has spread.

XVII

‘Tak’ off your claiths now, King Henry,
An’ lie down by my side!’—
‘O God forbid,’ says King Henry,
‘That ever the like betide;
That ever a fiend that wons in hell
Shou’d streak[155] down by my side!’

XVIII

But whan day was come, and night was gane,
An’ the sun shone thro’ the ha’,
The fairest ladye that ever was seen
[Cam’ to his armès twa].

XIX

‘O weel is me!’ says King Henry,
‘How lang’ll this last wi’ me?’
Then out an’ spake that fair ladye,
‘Even till the day you dee.

XX

‘For I’ve met wi’ many a gentle knight
That’s gien me sic a fill;
But never before wi’ a courteous knight
That ga’e me a’ my will.’

FOOTNOTES:

[140] routh = plenty.

[141] burd-alone = lone as a maid.

[142] jelly = jolly, jovial.

[143] bierly = stout, handsome.

[144] fleer = floor.

[145] hat = hit.

[146] mot = might.

[147] hap = cover.

[148] lingcan for lycam = body.

[149] teather stakes = tether pegs.

[150] mell = mallet.

[151] wons = dwells.

[152] ye’se gae = you shall go.

[153] waught = draught.

[154] ahin’ = behind.

[155] streak = stretch.


[Pg 68]

17. The Boy and the Mantle
A Ballad of King Arthur’s Court.

I

In the third day of May
To Carleile did come
A kind curteous child
That co’ld[156] much of wisdome.

II

A kirtle and a mantle
This child had uppon,
With brauches and ringes
Full richelye bedone[157].

III

He had a sute of silke
About his middle drawne;
Without he co’ld of curtesye
He thought it much shame.

IV

‘God speed thee, King Arthur,
Sitting at thy meate;
And the goodly Queene Guenever!
I cannot her forget.

V

‘I tell you, lords in this hall,
I hett[158] you all heed,
Except you be the more surer
Is for you to dread.’
[Pg 69]

VI

He pluck’d out of his potener[159],
And longer wo’ld not dwell,
He pull’d forth a pretty mantle
Betweene two nut-shells.

VII

‘Have thou here, King Arthur,
Have thou here of mee:
Give itt to thy comely queene
Shapen as itt is alreadye.

VIII

‘Itt shall never become that wiffe
That hath once done amisse.’
Then every knight in the king’s court
Began to care[160] for his.

IX

Forth came dame Guenever,
To the mantle she her bed[161];
The ladye shee was new fangle[162]
But yett she was affrayd.

X

When shee had taken the mantle,
She stoode as shee had beene madd;
It was from the top to the toe
As sheeres had it shread.

XI

One while was it gaule[163],
Another while was itt greene,
Another while was it wadded[164];
Ill itt did her beseeme.
[Pg 70]

XII

Another while it was blacke,
And bore the worst hue:
‘By my troth,’ quoth King Arthur,
‘I thinke thou be not true.’

XIII

Shee threw downe the mantle,
That bright was of blee[165];
Fast with a rudd red
To her chamber can[166] she flee.

XIV

She cursed the weaver and the walker[167]
That cloth that had wrought,
And bade a vengeance on his crowne
That hither hath itt brought.

XV

‘I had rather be in a wood,
Under a greenè tree,
Than in King Arthur’s court
Shamèd for to bee.’

XVI

Kay call’d forth his ladye
And bade her come neere;
Saies, ‘Madam, and thou be guiltye
I pray thee hold thee here.’

XVII

Forth came his ladye
Shortlye and anon;
Boldlye to the mantle
Then is she gone.
[Pg 71]

XVIII

When she had tane the mantle,
And her about it cast
Then was she bare
All unto the waist.

XIX

Then every knight
That was in the King’s court
Talk’d, laugh’d and showted
Full oft att that sport.

XX

She threw down the mantle
That bright was of blee,
Fast with a red rudd[168]
To her chamber can she flee.

XXI

Forth came an old Knight
Pattering ore a creede,
And he proferr’d to this little Boy
Twenty markes to his meede;

XXII

And all the time of Christmasse
Willingly to ffeede;
For why[169] this mantle might
Doe his wiffe some need.

XXIII

When shee had tane the mantle
Of cloth that was made,
Shee had no more left on her
But a tassell and a threed:
That every knight in the King’s court
Bade evill might shee speed.
[Pg 72]

XXIV

She threw downe the mantle,
That bright was of blee,
Fast with a red rudd
To her chamber can she flee.

XXV

Craddocke call’d forth his ladye
And bade her come in;
Saith, ‘Winne this mantle, ladye,
With a little dinne[170].

XXVI

‘Winne this mantle, ladye,
And it shal be thine
If thou never did amisse
Since thou wast mine.’

XXVII

Forth came Craddocke’s ladye
Shortlye and anon,
But boldlye to the mantle
Then is shee gone.

XXVIII

When she had tane the mantle
And cast it her about,
Up at her great toe
It began to crinkle and crowt[171]:
Shee said, ‘Bowe downe, mantle,
And shame me not for nought.

XXIX

‘Once I did amisse,
I tell you certainlye,
When Craddocke’s mouth I kist
Under a greenè tree;
[Pg 73] When I kist Craddocke’s mouth
Before he marryed mee.’

XXX

When shee had her shreeven[172]
And her sinnes shee had tolde,
The mantle stood about her
Right as she wo’ld;

XXXI

Seemelye of coulour,
Glittering like gold
Then every knight in Arthur’s court
Did her behold.

XXXII

The little Boy stoode
Looking over a dore;
[There as he look’d
He was ware of a wyld bore.]

XXXIII

He was ware of a wyld bore
Wo’ld have werryed[173] a man:
He pull’d forth a wood-kniffe
Fast thither that he ran:
He brought in the bore’s head
And quitted him like a man.

XXXIV

He brought in the bore’s head,
And was wonderous bold;
He said there was never a cuckold’s kniffe
Carve itt that co’ld.
[Pg 74]

XXXV

Some rubb’d their knives
Uppon a whetstone;
Some threw them under the table,
And said they had none.

XXXVI

King Arthur and the child
Stood looking them upon;
All their knives’ edges
Turnèd backe againe.

XXXVII

Craddocke had a litle kniffe
Of iron and of steele;
He birtled[174] the bore’s head
Wonderous weale,
That every knight in the King’s court
Had a morssell.

XXXVIII

The litle Boy had a horne,
Of red gold that ronge[175];
He said, ‘There was noe cuckolde
Shall drinke of my horne,
But he sho’ld itt sheede[176]
Either behind or beforne.’

XXXIX

Some shedd it on their shoulder
And some on their knee;
He that co’ld not hitt his mouth
Put it in his e’e;
And he that was a cuckold
Every man might him see.
[Pg 75]

XL

Craddocke wan the horne
And the bore’s head;
His ladye wan the mantle
Unto her meede;
Everye such a lovely ladye
God send her well to speede!

FOOTNOTES:

[156] co’ld = could, knew.

[157] bedone = adorned.

[158] hett = bid.

[159] potener = pouch, purse.

[160] care = bethink him.

[161] bed = bid, offered.

[162] new fangle = capricious.

[163] gaule = gules, red.

[164] wadded = of woad colour, blue.

[165] blee = hue.

[166] can = did.

[167] walker = fuller.

[168] rudd = complexion.

[169] For why = because.

[170] dinne = noise, i. e. ado.

[171] crowt = pucker.

[172] shreeven = shriven, confessed.

[173] werryed = worried.

[174] birtled = brittled, cut up.

[175] ronge = rung, resounded.

[176] sheede = shed, spill.


18. King Arthur and King Cornwall
A Fragment

King Arthur of Little Britain unwisely boasts the beauty of his famous Round Table.

I

Saies, ‘Come here, cuzen Gawaine so gay,
My sisters sonne be yee;
Ffor you shall see one of the fairest round tables
That ever you see with your eye.’

II

Then bespake Lady Queen Guenever,
And these were the words said shee:
‘I know where a round table is, thou noble king,
Is worth thy round table and other such three.

III

‘The trestle that stands under this round table,’ she said,
‘Lowe downe to the mould,
It is worth thy round table, thou worthy king,
Thy halls, and all thy gold.

IV

‘The place where this round table stands in,
[Is fencèd round amaine]
It is worth thy castle, thy gold, thy fee,
And all good Litle Britaine.’
[Pg 76]

V

‘Where may that table be, lady?’ quoth hee,
‘Or where may all that goodly building be?’
‘You shall it seeke,’ shee says, ‘till you it find;
You shall never gett more of me.’

VI

Then bespake him noble King Arthur
These were the words said hee:
‘I’le make mine avow to God,
And alsoe to the Trinity,

VII

‘I’le never sleepe one night there as I doe another
’Till that round table I see:
Sir Marramiles and Sir Tristeram,
Fellowes that ye shall bee.

VIII

[‘Sir Gawaine and Sir Bredbettle
Be fellowes eke with me,]
Weele be clad in palmers’ weede,
Five palmers we will bee;

IX

‘There is noe outlandish man will us abide,
Nor will us come nye.’
Then they rived[177] east and they rived west,
In many a strange countrỳ.

X

Then they tranckled[178] a litle further,
They saw a battle new sett:
‘Now, by my faith,’ saies noble King Arthur,
[‘These armies be well met.’]

[Pg 77]

After travelling in many strange lands they arrive at the castle of King Cornwall, not a great way from home.

XI

But when he cam to this [Cornwall castle]
And to the palace gate,
Soe ready was ther a proud portèr,
And met him soone therat.

XII

Shooes of gold the porter had on,
And all his other rayment was unto the same:
‘Now, by my faith,’ saies noble King Arthur,
‘Yonder is a minion swaine.’

XIII

Then bespake noble King Arthur,
These were the words says hee:
‘Come thou hither, thou proud portèr,
I pray thee come hither to me.

XIV

‘I have two poore rings, of my finger,
The better of them I’le give to thee;
Tell who may be lord of this castle,
Or who is lord in this cuntry?’

XV

‘Cornewall King,’ the porter sayes,
‘There is none soe rich as hee;
Neither in christendome, nor yet in heathendom,
None hath soe much gold as he.’

XVI

And then bespake him noble King Arthur,
These were the words sayes hee:
‘I have two poore rings of my finger,
The better of them I’le give thee,
[Pg 78] If thou wilt greete him well, Cornewall King,
And greete him well from me.

XVII

‘Pray him for one night’s lodging and two meales’ meate,
For his love that dyed uppon a tree;
Of one ghesting[179] and two meales’ meate,
For his love that dyed uppon tree.

XVIII

‘Of one ghesting, of two meales’ meate,
For his love that was of virgin borne,
And in the morning that we may scape away,
Either without scath or scorne.’

XIX

Then forth is gone this proud portèr,
As fast as he co’ld hye,
And when he came befor Cornewall King,
He kneelèd downe on his knee.

XX

Sayes, ‘I have beene porter-man at thy gate
This thirty winter and three,
[But there is ffive knights before itt now,
The like I never did see.’]

King Cornwall questioning the strangers, they happen to speak of a certain shrine of Our Lady, from which he gathers that they have been in Little Britain. This leads him to question them concerning King Arthur.

XXI


Our Lady was borne; then thought Cornewall King
‘These palmers had beene in Brittaine.’
[Pg 79]

XXII

Then bespake him Cornewall King,
These were the words he said there:
‘Did you ever know a comely king,
His name was King Arthùr?’

XXIII

And then bespake him noble King Arthùr,
These were the words said hee:
‘I doe not know that comly king,
But once my selfe I did him see.’
Then bespake Cornewall King againe,
These were the words said he:

XXIV

Sayes, ‘Seven yeere I was clad and fed,
In Litle Brittaine, in a bower;
I had a daughter by King Arthur’s wife,
That now is called my flower;
For King Arthur, that kindly cockward,
Hath none such in his bower.

XXV

‘For I durst sweare, and save my othe,
That same lady soe bright,
That a man that were laid on his death bed
Wo’ld open his eyes on her to have sight.’—
‘Now, by my faith,’ sayes noble King Arthur,
‘And that’s a full faire wight!’

XXVI

And then bespake Cornewall [King] againe,
And these were the words he said:
‘Come hither, five or three of my knights,
And feitch me downe my steed;
King Arthur, that foule cockeward,
Hath none such, if he had need.
[Pg 80]

XXVII

‘For I can ryde him as far on a day
As King Arthur can any of his on three;
And is it not a pleasure for a king
When he shall ryde forth on his journèy?

XXVIII

‘For the eyes that beene in his head,
They glister as doth the gleed[180].’
‘Now, by my faith,’ says noble King Arthur,
‘That is a well faire steed.’

After showing them other of his possessions, King Cornwall has the strangers conducted to bed; but first takes the precaution to conceal the Burlow Beanie, or Billy Blind—friendly household spirit—in a rubbish-barrel by the bedside, to listen and overhear their conversation.

XXX

Then King Arthur to his bed was brought,
A greivèd man was hee;
And soe were all his fellowes with him.
From him they thought never to flee.

XXXI

Then take they did that lodly[181] groome,
And under the rub-chadler[182] closed was hee,
And he was set by King Arthur’s bed-side,
To heere theire talke and theire comunye;

XXXII

That he might come forth, and make proclamation,
Long before it was day;
It was more for King Cornewall’s pleasure,
Then it was for King Arthur’s pay[183].
[Pg 81]

XXXIII

And when King Arthur in his bed was laid,
These were the words said hee:
‘I’le make mine avow to God,
And alsoe to the Trinity,
That I’le be the bane of Cornewall Kinge
Litle Brittaine or ever I see!’

XXXIV

‘It is an unadvised vow,’ saies Gawaine the gay,
‘As ever king hard make I;
But wee that beene five christian men,
Of the christen faith are wee,
And we shall fight against anoynted king
And all his armorie.’

XXXV

And then bespake him noble Arthur,
And these were the words said he:
‘Why, if thou be afraid, Sir Gawaine the gay,
Goe home, and drinke wine in thine owne country.’

XXXVI

And then bespake Sir Gawaine the gay,
And these were the words said hee:
‘Nay, seeing you have made such a hearty vow,
Heere another vow make will I.

XXXVII

‘I’le make mine avow to God,
And alsoe to the Trinity,
That I will have yonder faire lady
To Litle Brittaine with mee.

While they lie talking, an unguarded movement of the sprite in the barrel leads to his discovery. Then follows a great combat.

[Pg 82]

XXXIX

[O then bespake Sir Tristram,]
These were the words sayd hee:
‘Befor I wold wrestle with yonder feend,
It is better to be drown’d in the sea.’

XL

And then bespake Sir Bredbeddle,
And these were the words said he
‘Why, I will wrestle with yon lodly feend,
God, my governor thou wilt bee!’

XLI

Then bespake him noble Arthur,
And these were the words said he:
‘What weapons wilt thou have, thou gentle knight?
I pray thee tell to me.’

XLII

He sayes, ‘Collen brand[184] I’le have in my hand,
And a Millaine[185] knife fast by my knee,
And a Danish axe fast in my hands,
That a sure weapon I thinke will be.’

XLIII

Then with his Collen brand that he had in his hand,
The bunge of that rub-chandler he burst in three;
With that start out a lodly feend,
With seven heads, and one body.

XLIV

The fyer towards the element[186] flew,
Out of his mouth, where was great plentie;
The knight stoode in the middle and fought,
That it was great joy to see.
[Pg 83]

XLV

Till his Collaine brand brake in his hand,
And his Millaine knife burst on his knee,
And then the Danish axe burst in his hand first,
That a sure weapon he thought sho’ld be.

XLVI

But now is the knight left without any weapons,
And alacke! it was the more pittye;
But a surer weapon then he had one,
Had neuer lord in Christentye;
And all was but one litle booke,
He found it by the side of the sea.

XLVII

He found it at the sea-side,
Wruckèd upp in a floode;
Our Lord had written it with his hands,
And sealed it with his bloode.

With this book of Evangiles Sir Bredbittle, otherwise the Green Knight, overcomes the sprite, and having conjured him into a wall of stone, returns with report to King Arthur.

XLVIII

[Saies] ‘That thou doe not [stir a foot]
But ly still in that wall of stone,
Till I have beene with noble King Arthur,
And told him what I have done.’

XLIX

And when he came to the king’s chamber,
He co’ld of his curtesie:
Says, ‘Sleepe you, wake you, noble King Arthur?
And ever Jesus waken yee!’
[Pg 84]

L

‘Nay, I am not sleeping, I am waking,’
These were the words said hee;
‘Ffor thee I have car’d; how hast thou fared?
O gentle knight, let me see.’

LI

The knight wrought the king his booke,
Bad him behold, reede and see;
And ever he found it on the back of the leafe
As noble Arthur wo’ld wish it to be.

LII

And then bespake him King Arthur,
‘Alas! thow gentle knight, how may this be,
That I might see him in the same licknesse
That he stood unto thee?’

LIII

And then bespake him the Greene Knight,
These were the words said hee:
‘If you’le stand stifly in the battell stronge,
For I have won all the victory.’

LIV

Then bespake him the king againe,
And these were the words said hee:
‘If wee stand not stifly in this battell strong,
Wee are worthy to be hang’d on a tree.’

LV

Then bespake him the Greene Knight,
These were the words said he:
Saies, ‘I doe conjure thee, thou fowle feend,
In the same licknesse thou stood unto me.’
[Pg 85]

LVI

With that start out a lodly feend,
With seven heads, and one bodỳ;
The fier towards the element flew
Out of his mouth, where was great plentie.

But now with the aid of the book Sir Bredbittle has the fiend wholly at command. He is sent first to fetch the steed.

LIX

And then bespake him the Greene Knight,
And these were the words said he:
Saith, ‘I conjure thee, thou fowle feend,
That thou feitch downe the steed, that we see.’

LX

And then forth is gone Burlow-beanie,
As fast as he co’ld hie,
And feitch he did that fairè steed,
And came againe by and by.

LXI

Then bespake him Sir Marramiles,
And these were the words said hee:
‘Ryding of this steed, brother Bredbeddle,
The mastery belongs to me.’

LXII

Marramiles tooke the steed to his hand,
To ryd him he was full bold;
He co’ld noe more make him goe
Then a child of three yeere old.

LXIII

He laid uppon him with heele and hand,
With yard that was soe fell;
‘Helpe! brother Bredbeddle,’ says Marramile,
‘For I thinke he be the devill of hell.
[Pg 86]

LXIV

‘Helpe! brother Bredbeddle,’ says Marramile,
‘Helpe! for Christ’s pittye;
Ffor without thy help, brother Bredbeddle,
He will never be rydden for me.’

LXV

Then bespake him Sir Bredbeddle,
These were the words said he:
‘I conjure thee tell, thou Burlow-beanie,
How this steed was riddin in his country.’

LXVI

‘In Cornewall’s window is a gold wand;
Let him strike three strokes on that steed,
And then he will spring forth of his hand
As sparke doth out of gleede[187].’

Then Sir Tristram requires a horn. At Sir Bredbittle’s command the sprite fetches it; but the horn will not sound until anointed with a certain powder. This also the sprite is sent to fetch.

LXX

And then bespake Sir Bredebeddle,
To the ffeend these words said hee:
Says, ‘I conjure thee, thou Burlow-beanie,
The powder-box thou feitch me.’

LXXI

Then forth is gone Burlow-beanie,
As fast as he co’ld hie,
And feich he did the powder-box,
And came againe by and by.
[Pg 87]

LXXII

Then Sir Tristeram tooke powder forth of that box,
And blent it with warme sweet milke,
And there put it unto that horne,
And swill’d it about in that ilke.

LXXIII

Then he tooke the horne into his hand,
And a lowd blast he blew;
He rent the horne up to the midst,
All his ffellowes this they knew.

LXXIV

Then bespake him the Greene Knight,
These were the words said he:
Saies, ‘I conjure thee, thou Burlow-beanie,
That thou feitch me the sword, that I see.’

LXXV

Then forth is gone Burlow-beanie,
As fast as he co’ld hie,
And feitch he did that fairè sword,
And came againe by and by.

LXXVI

Then bespake him Sir Bredbeddle,
To the king these words said he:
‘Take this sword in thy hand, thou noble King Arthur,
For thy vowes sake I’le give it thee,
And goe strike off King Cornewall’s head,
In bed where he doth lye.’
[Pg 88]

LXXVII

Then forth is gone noble King Arthur,
As fast as he co’ld hye,
And strucken he hath off King Cornewall’s head,
And came againe by and by.

So King Arthur fulfils his vow; and, if the rest of the Ballad had been preserved, no doubt it would have told us how his companions fulfilled theirs.

FOOTNOTES:

[177] rived = arrived, travelled.

[178] tranckled = travelled.

[179] ghesting = guesting, lodging.

[180] gleed = live coal.

[181] lodly = loathly.

[182] rub-chadler = rubbish-tub.

[183] pay = satisfaction.

[184] Collen brand = sword of Cologne steel.

[185] Millaine = Milanese.

[186] element = sky.

[187] gleede = live coal.


19. The Marriage of Sir Gawain
[A Fragment]

I

Kinge Arthur lives in merry Carleile,
And seemely is to see,
And there he hath with him Queene Genever,
That bride soe bright of blee[188].

II

And there he hath with him Queene Genever,
That bride soe bright in bower,
And all his barons about him stoode,
That were both stiffe and stowre[189].

III

The king kept a royall Christmasse,
Of mirth and great honor.

[Pg 89]

Soon after Christmas the King chanced to ride by Tarn Wadling[190], in the forest of Inglewood, when he was met by a fierce baron armed with a club, who offered him choice between fighting and ransom. For ransom, the King must return on New Year’s Day—

IV

‘And bring me word what thing it is
That a woman will most desire;
This shalbe thy ransome, Arthur,’ he sayes,
‘For I’le have noe other hier.’

V

King Arthur then held up his hand,
According thene as was the law;
He tooke his leave of the baron there,
And homward can he draw.

VI

And when he came to merry Carleile,
To his chamber he is gone,
And ther came to him his cozen Sir Gawaine,
As he did make his mone.

VII

And there came to him his cozen Sir Gawaine,
That was a curteous knight;
‘Why sigh you soe sore, unckle Arthur,’ he said,
‘Or who hath done thee unright?’—

VIII

‘O peace, O peace, thou gentle Gawaine,
That faire may thee beffall!
For if thou knew my sighing soe deepe,
Thou wo’ld not mervaile att all.
[Pg 90]

IX

‘Ffor when I came to Tearne Wadling,
A bold barron there I fand,
With a great club upon his backe,
Standing stiffe and strong.

X

‘And he asked me wether I wo’ld fight
Or from him I shold begone,
Or else I must him a ransome pay,
And soe depart him from.

XI

‘To fight with him I saw noe cause;
Methought it was not meet;
For he was stiffe and strong with-all,
His strokes were nothing sweete.

XII

‘Therefor this is my ransome, Gawaine,
I ought to him to pay;
I must come againe, as I am sworne,
Upon the New Yeer’s day;

XIII

‘And I must bring him word what thing it is
[That a woman will most desire].

Arthur, having collected and written down many answers to the baron’s riddle, was true to his promise, thus—

XIV

Then king Arthur drest him for to ryde,
In one soe rich array,
Toward the fore-said Tearne Wadling,
That he might keepe his day.
[Pg 91]

XV

And as he rode over a more,
Hee see a lady where shee sate
Betwixt an oke and a greene hollen[191];
She was cladd in red scarlett.

XVI

Then thereas shold have stood her mouth,
Then there was sett her eye;
The other was in her forhead fast,
The way that she might see.

XVII

Her nose was crooked and turn’d outward,
Her mouth stood foule a-wry;
A worse form’d lady than shee was,
Never man saw with his eye.

XVIII

To halch upon[192] him, King Arthur,
This lady was full faine,
But King Arthur had forgott his lesson,
What he sho’ld say againe.

XIX

‘What knight art thou,’ the lady sayd,
‘That will not speak to me?
Of me be thou nothing dismay’d,
Tho I be ugly to see.

XX

‘For I have halched you curteouslye,
And you will not me againe;
Yett I may happen Sir Knight,’ shee said,
‘To ease thee of thy paine.’
[Pg 92]

XXI

‘Give thou ease me, lady,’ he said,
‘Or helpe me any thing,
Thou shalt have gentle Gawaine, my cozen,
And marry him with a ring.’

The hag thereupon gave him the right answer and he rode forward.

XXIII

And when he came to the Tearne Wadling,
The baron there co’ld he finde,
With a great weapon on his backe,
Standing stiffe and stronge.

XXIV

And then he tooke King Arthur’s letters in his hands,
And away he co’ld them fling,
And then he puld out a good browne sword,
And cryd himselfe a king.

XXV

And he sayd, ‘I have thee and thy land, Arthur,
To doe as it pleaseth me,
For this is not thy ransome sure,
Therfore yeeld thee to me.’

XXVI

And then bespoke him noble Arthur,
And bad him hold his hand:
‘And give me leave to speake my mind
In defence of all my land.’

XXVII

He said, ‘As I came over a more,
I see a lady where shee sate
Betweene an oke and a green hollen;
Shee was clad in red scarlett.
[Pg 93]

XXVIII

‘And she says a woman will have her will,
And this is all her cheef desire:
Doe me right, as thou art a baron of sckill[193],
This is thy ransome and all thy hyer.’

XXIX

He sayes, ‘An early vengeance light on her!
She walkes on yonder more;
It was my sister that told thee this,
[As shee heard it of me before.]

XXX

‘But heer I’le make mine avow to God
To doe her an evill turne;
For an’ ever I may thate fowle theefe get,
In a fyer I will her burne.’

The King, having returned home, told his knights that he had in the forest a bride for one of them, and a number rode out in his company to find her.

XXXI

Sir Lancelott and Sir Steven bold,
They rode with them that day,
And the formost of the company
There rode the steward Kay.

XXXII

Soe did Sir Banier and Sir Bore,
Sir Garrett with them soe gay,
Soe did Sir Tristeram that gentle knight,
To the forrest fresh and gay.
[Pg 94]

XXXIII

And when he came to the greene forrest,
Underneath a greene holly tree,
Their sate that lady in red scarlet
That unseemly was to see.

XXXIV

Sir Kay beheld this lady’s face,
And looked uppon her swire[194];
‘Whosoever kisses this lady,’ he sayes,
‘Of his kisse he stands in feare.’

XXXV

Sir Kay beheld the lady againe,
And looked upon her snout;
‘Whosoever kisses this lady,’ he saies,
‘Of his kisse he stands in doubt.’

XXXVI

‘Peace, cozen Kay,’ then said Sir Gawaine,
‘Amend thee of thy life;
For there is a knight amongst us all
That must marry her to his wife.’

XXXVII

‘What! wedd her to wiffe!’ then said Sir Kay,
‘In the divell’s name anon!
Gett me a wiffe where-ere I may,
For I had rather be slaine!’

XXXVIII

Then some tooke up their hawkes in hast.
And some tooke up their hounds,
And some sware they wo’ld not marry her
For citty nor for towne.
[Pg 95]

XXXIX

And then be-spake him noble King Arthur,
And sware there by this day,
For a litle foule sight and misliking
[They should not say her Nay].

At length Sir Gawain, for Arthur’s sake, consented. The ugly bride was taken home and bedded, when to Gawain’s delight in his arms she turned to a beautiful woman. She then offered him a choice.—

XL

Then shee said, ‘Choose thee, gentle Gawaine,
Truth as I doe say,
Wether thou wilt have me in this liknesse
In the night or else in the day.’

XLI

And then bespake him gentle Gawaine,
Was one soe mild of moode,
Sayes, ‘Well I know what I wo’ld say,
God grant it may be good!

XLII

‘To have thee fowle in the night
When I with thee sho’ld play—
Yet I had rather, if I might,
Have thee fowle in the day.’

XLIII

‘What! when lords goe with ther feires[195],’ shee said,
‘Both to the ale and wine,
Alas! then I must hyde my selfe,
I must not goe withinne.’
[Pg 96]

XLIV

And then bespake him gentle Gawaine,
Said, ‘Lady, that’s but skill;
And because thou art my owne lady,
Thou shall have all thy will.’

XLV

Then she said, ‘Blesed be thou, gentle Gawain,
This day that I thee see!
For as thou seest me att this time,
From hencforth I wilbe.

XLVI

‘My father was an old knight,
And yett it chancèd soe
That he marryed a younge lady
That brought me to this woe.

XLVII

‘Shee witched me, being a faire young lady,
To the greene forrest to dwell,
And there I must walke in woman’s liknesse,
Most like a feend of hell.

XLVIII

‘She witched my brother to a carlish [boore]

Being thus given what a woman most desires (that is, her will) she is released from the spell and becomes beautiful at all times: and Sir Gawain leads his lady in triumph among the knights, to present her to the King and Queen.

L

‘Come kisse her, brother Kay,’ then said Sir Gawaine,
‘And amend thé of thy liffe;
I sweare this is the same lady
That I marryed to my wiffe.’
[Pg 97]

LI

Sir Kay kissed that lady bright,
Standing upon his ffeete;
He swore, as he was trew knight,
The spice was never soe sweete.

LII

‘Well, cozen Gawaine,’ sayes Sir Kay,
‘Thy chance is fallen arright,
For thou hast gotten one of the fairest maids
I ever saw with my sight.’—

LIII

‘It is my fortune,’ said Sir Gawaine;
‘For my unckle Arthurs sake
I am glad as grasse wold be of raine,
Great joy that I may take.’

LIV

Sir Gawaine tooke the lady by the one arme,
Sir Kay tooke her by the tother,
They led her straight to King Arthur,
As they were brother and brother.

LV

King Arthur welcomed them there all,
And soe did Lady Genever his queene,
With all the knights of the Round Table,
Most seemly to be seene.

LVI

King Arthur beheld that lady faire
That was soe faire and bright,
He thanked Christ in Trinity
For Sir Gawaine that gentle knight.
[Pg 98]

LVII

Soe did the knights, both more and lesse,
Rejoyced all that day
For the good chance that hapened was
To Sir Gawaine and his lady gay.

FOOTNOTES:

[188] blee = hue, complexion.

[189] stowre = strong or perhaps we should read ‘stiff in stowre’ = sturdy in fight.

[190] Tarn Wadling = The place—near Hesketh in Cumberland, on the road from Carlisle to Penrith—keeps its name to this day. But the tarn has been drained and its site is now a pasture for sheep.

[191] hollen = holly-tree.

[192] halch upon = salute.

[193] sckill = wit, judgement.

[194] swire = neck.

[195] feires = mates.


20. Bonnie Annie

I

There was a rich lord, and he lived in Forfar,
He had a fair lady and one only dochter.

II

O she was fair! O dear, she was bonnie!
A ship’s captain courted her to be his honey.

III

‘Ye’ll steal your father’s gowd, and your mother’s money,
And I’ll make ye a lady in Ireland bonnie.’

IV

She’s stown her father’s gowd, and her mother’s money,
But she was never a lady in Ireland bonnie.

V

They hadna sail’d far till the young thing cried ‘Woman!’
‘What can a woman do, love, I will do for ye.

VI

‘Lay about, steer about, lay our ship cannie[196],
Do all ye can to save my dear Annie.’

VII

‘There’s fey[197] folk in our ship, she winna sail for me,
There’s fey folk in our ship, she winna sail [ony].’
[Pg 99]

VIII

They’ve castin’ black bullets twice six and forty,
And ae the black bullet fell on bonnie Annie.

IX

‘Ye’ll tak me in your arms twa, lo, lift me cannie,
Throw me out owre-board, your ain dear Annie.’

X

He has ta’en her in his arms twa, lo, lifted her cannie,
He has laid her on a bed of down, his ain dear Annie.

XI

‘What can a woman do, love, I’ll do for ye:’
‘Muckle can a woman do, ye canna do for me.’

XII

‘Lay about, steer about, lay our ship cannie,
Do all ye can to save my dear Annie.’

XIII

‘I’ve laid about, steer’d about, laid about cannie,
Our ship’s on a sand-bank, she winna sail [ony]—

XIV

‘Ye’ll take her in your arms twa, lo, lift her cannie,
And throw her out owre-board, your ain dear Annie.’

XV

He has ta’en her in his arms twa, lo, lifted her cannie,
He has thrown her out owre-board, his ain dear Annie.

XVI

[The corse it did float, the ship it did follow]
Until that they came to the high banks o’ Yarrow[198].
[Pg 100]

XVII

‘O I’d bury my love on the high banks o’ Yarrow,
But the wood it is dear, and the planks they are narrow.’

XVIII

He made his love a coffin o’ the gowd sae yellow,
And buried his bonnie love doun in a sea valley.

FOOTNOTES:

[196] cannie = gently.

[197] fey = destined to die.

[198] Yarrow =? Jarrow.


21. Brown Robyn’s Confession

I

It fell upon a Wadensday
Brown Robyn’s men went to sea;
But they saw neither moon nor sun
Nor starlight wi’ their e’e.

II

‘We’ll cast kevels[199] us amang;
See wha the man may be.’—
The kevel fell on Brown Robyn,
The master-man was he.

III

‘It is nae wonder,’ said Brown Robyn,
‘Altho’ I dinna thrive;
[For at hame I murder’d my ain father—
I would he were on live.]

IV

‘But tie me to a plank o’ wude,
And throw me in the sea;
And if I sink, ye may bid me sink,
But if I swim, let be.’
[Pg 101]

V

They’ve tied him to a plank o’ wude
And thrown him in the sea;
He didna sink, tho’ they bade him sink,
He swim’d, and they bade let be.

VI

He hadna been into the sea
An hour but barely three,
Till by it came Our Blessed Ladie
Her dear young son her wi’.

VII

‘Will ye gang to your men again,
Or will ye gang wi’ me?
Will ye gang to the high heavens
Wi’ my dear son and me?’—

VIII

‘I winna gang to my men again,
For they would be fear’d at me;
But I would gang to the high heavens,
Wi’ thy dear son and thee.’

IX

‘It’s for nae honour ye did, Brown Robyn,
It’s for nae gude ye did to me;
But a’ is for your fair confession
You’ve made upon the sea.’

FOOTNOTES:

[199] kevels = lots.


[Pg 102]

22. The Cruel Mother

I

She lean’d her back unto a thorn;
Fine flowers in the valley
And there she has her two babes born,
And the green leaves they grow rarely.

II

She’s ta’en the ribbon frae her hair,
And bound their bodies fast and sair.

III

‘Smile na sae sweet, my bonny babes,
An’ ye smile sae sweet, ye’ll smile me dead.

IV

‘And, O bonny babes, if ye suck sair,
Ye’ll never suck by my side mair.’

V

She’s ta’en out her little penknife
And twinn’d[200] the sweet babes o’ their life.

VI

She’s howket a grave baith deep and wide,
And there she’s buried them side by side.

VII

She’s buried them baith beneath the brier,
And washed her hands wi’ mony a tear.

VIII

‘O ay, my God, as I look to thee,
My babes be atween my God and me!

IX

‘And ay their smiles wad win me in,
But I am borne down by deadly sin.’
[Pg 103]

X

She’s cover’d them o’er wi’ a marble stane,
Thinking she wad gang maiden hame.

XI

She lookit out owre her castle wa’
And saw twa naked boys play at the ba’.

XII

‘O bonny boys, gin ye were mine
I wad cleed[201] you in silk and sabelline[202].

XIII

‘O I would dress you in the silk,
And wash you ay in morning milk.’—

XIV

‘O mother dear, when we were thine,
You didna prove to us sae kind.

XV

‘O cruel mother, we were thine
And thou made us to wear the twine[203].

XVI

‘But now we’re in the heavens hie,
Fine flowers in the valley
And ye have the pains o’ hell to drie’—
And the green leaves they grow rarely;
Ten thousand times good night and be wi’ thee!

FOOTNOTES:

[200] twinn’d = robbed, deprived.

[201] cleed = clothe.

[202] sabelline = sable.

[203] twine = twine-cloth, shroud.


[Pg 104]

23. Binnorie

I

There were twa sisters sat in a bour;
Binnorie, O Binnorie!
There cam a knight to be their wooer,
By the bonnie milldams o’ Binnorie.

II

He courted the eldest with glove and ring,
But he lo’ed the youngest abune a’ thing.

III

The eldest she was vexèd sair,
And sair envìed her sister fair.

IV

Upon a morning fair and clear,
She cried upon her sister dear:

V

‘O sister, sister, tak my hand,
And we’ll see our father’s ships to land.’

VI

She’s ta’en her by the lily hand,
And led her down to the river-strand.

VII

The youngest stood upon a stane,
The eldest cam and push’d her in.

VIII

‘O sister, sister, reach your hand!
And ye sall be heir o’ half my land:

IX

‘O sister, reach me but your glove!
And sweet William sall be your love.’—
[Pg 105]

X

‘Foul fa’ the hand that I should take;
It twin’d[204] me o’ my warldis make[205].

XI

‘Your cherry cheeks and your yellow hair
Gar’d me gang maiden evermair.’

XII

Sometimes she sank, sometimes she swam,
Until she cam to the miller’s dam.

XIII

Out then cam the miller’s son,
And saw the fair maid soummin’[206] in.

XIV

‘O father, father, draw your dam!
There’s either a mermaid or a milk-white swan.’

XV

The miller hasted and drew his dam,
And there he found a drown’d woman.

XVI

You couldna see her middle sma’,
Her gowden girdle was sae braw.

XVII

You couldna see her lily feet,
Her gowden fringes were sae deep.

XVIII

You couldna see her yellow hair
For the strings o’ pearls was twisted there.

XIX

You couldna see her fingers sma’,
Wi’ diamond rings they were cover’d a’.
[Pg 106]

XX

And by there cam a harper fine,
That harpit to the king at dine.

XXI

And when he look’d that lady on,
He sigh’d and made a heavy moan.

XXII

He’s made a harp of her breast-bane,
Whose sound wad melt a heart of stane.

XXIII

He’s ta’en three locks o’ her yellow hair,
And wi’ them strung his harp sae rare.

XXIV

He went into her father’s hall,
And there was the court assembled all.

XXV

He laid his harp upon a stane,
And straight it began to play by lane[207].

XXVI

‘O yonder sits my father, the King,
And yonder sits my mother, the Queen;

XXVII

‘And yonder stands my brother Hugh,
And by him my William, sweet and true.’

XXVIII

But the last tune that the harp play’d then—
Binnorie, O Binnorie!
Was, ‘Woe to my sister, false Helèn!’
By the bonnie milldams o’ Binnorie.

FOOTNOTES:

[204] twin’d = robbed, deprived.

[205] my warldis make = my one mate in the world.

[206] soummin’ = swimming.

[207] by lane = alone, of itself.


[Pg 107]

24. The Broomfield Hill

I

There was a knight and a lady bright
Set trysts[208] amang the broom,
The ane to come at morning ear[209],
The other at afternoon.

II

‘I’ll wager, I’ll wager, I’ll wager wi’ you
Five hundred merks and ten
That a maid shanna gae to the bonny broom
And a maiden return again.’—

III

‘I’ll wager, I’ll wager, I’ll wager wi’ you
Five hundred merks and ten
That a maid shall gae to the bonny green broom
And a maiden return again.’

IV

The may she sat at her mother’s bower door
And aye she made her mane:
‘O whether shou’d I gang to the Broomfield Hill,
Or should I stay at hame?

V

‘For if I do gang to the Broomfield Hill,
A maid I’ll not return;
But if I stay frae the Broomfield Hill,
My love will ca’ me man-sworn.’

VI

Up then spake an auld witch-wife,
Sat in the bower abune:
‘O ye may gang to the Broomfield Hill,
And yet come maiden hame,
[Pg 108]

VII

‘For when ye gang to the Broomfield Hill,
Ye’ll find your love asleep,
Wi’ a silver belt above his head,
And a broom-cow[210] at his feet.

VIII

‘Tak’ ye the bloom frae aff the broom,
Strew’t at his head an’ feet,
And aye the thicker that ye do strew,
The sounder he will sleep.

IX

‘Tak’ ye the rings aff your fingers,
Put them in his right hand,
To let him know when he does wake,
His love was at his command.’

X

Lord John has ta’en his milk-white steed
And his hawk wi’ his bells sae bright,
And he’s ridden swift to the Broomfield Hill,
[Was never a baulder] knight.

XI

‘Now rest, now rest, my milk-white steed,
My lady will soon be here,
And I’ll lay my head by this rose sae red,
And the bonny burn sae near.’

XII

She’s pu’d the broom-flower on Hive Hill,
And strew’d on ’s white breast-bane,
And that was to be wittering[211] true
That maiden she had gane.
[Pg 109]

XIII

‘O where were ye, my milk-white steed,
That I hae coft[212] sae dear,
That wadna watch and waken me
When there was maiden here?’—

XIV

‘I stampèd wi’ my foot, master,
And gar’d my bridle ring,
But no kin’ thing wald waken ye
Till she was past and gane.’—

XV

‘And wae betide ye, my gay goss-hawk,
That I hae coft sae dear,
That wadna watch an’ waken me
When my true-love was here.’—

XVI

‘I clappèd wi’ my wings, master,
And aye my bells I rang,
And aye cried, Waken, waken, master,
Before the ladye gang!’—

XVII

‘But haste, but haste, my gude white steed,
To come the maiden till,
Or a’ the birds of the gude greenwood
O’ your flesh shall have their fill!’—

XVIII

‘Ye needna burst your gude white steed
Wi’ racing o’er the howm[213];
Nae bird flies faster thro’ the wood
Than she fled thro’ the broom.’

FOOTNOTES:

[208] trysts = assignations.

[209] ear = early.

[210] broom-cow = branch of broom.

[211] wittering = information, token.

[212] coft = bought.

[213] howm = holm, river-mead.


[Pg 110]

25. Earl Mar’s Daughter

I

It was intill a pleasant time,
Upon a simmer’s day,
The noble Earl Mar’s daughter
Went forth to sport and play.

II

And while she play’d and sported
Below a green aik tree,
There she saw a sprightly doo[214]
Set on a tower sae hie.

III

‘O Coo-me-doo, my love sae true,
If ye’ll come doun to me,
Ye’se hae a cage o’ gude red gowd
Instead o’ simple tree.

IV

‘I’ll put gowd hingers[215] roun’ your cage,
And siller roun’ your wa’;
I’ll gar ye shine as fair a bird
As ony o’ them a’.’

V

But she had nae these words well spoke,
Nor yet these words well said,
Till Coo-me-doo flew frae the tower
And lichted on her head.

VI

Then she has brought this pretty bird
Hame to her bowers and ha’,
And made him shine as fair a bird
As ony o’ them a’.
[Pg 111]

VII

When day was gone, and night was come,
About the evening-tide,
This lady spied a gallant youth
Stand straight up by her side.

VIII

‘From whence cam’ ye, young man?’ she said;
‘That does surprise me sair;
My door was bolted right secure,
What way hae ye come here?’—

IX

‘O haud your tongue, ye lady fair,
Lat a’ your folly be;
Mind ye not o’ your turtle-doo
Ye wiled from aff the tree?’—

X

‘What country come ye frae?’ she said,
‘An’ what’s your pedigree?’—
‘O it was but this verra day
That I cam’ ower the sea.

XI

‘My mither lives on foreign isles,
A queen o’ high degree;
And by her spells I am a doo
With you to live an’ dee.’—

XII

‘O Coo-me-doo, my love sae true,
Nae mair frae me ye’se gae.’—
‘That’s never my intent, my love;
As ye said, it shall be sae.’
[Pg 112]

XIII

Then he has stay’d in bower wi’ her
For six lang years and ane,
Till six young sons to him she bare,
And the seventh she’s brought hame.

XIV

But aye, as ever a child was born,
He carried them away,
And brought them to his mither’s care
As fast as he could fly.

XV

When he had stay’d in bower wi’ her
For seven lang years an’ mair
There cam’ a lord o’ high renown
To court this lady fair.

XVI

But still his proffer she refused
And a’ his presents too;
Says, ‘I’m content to live alane
Wi’ my bird Coo-me-doo.’

XVII

Her father swore a michty oath
Amang the nobles all,
‘The morn, or ere I eat or drink,
This bird I will gar kill.’

XVIII

The bird was sitting in his cage
And heard what they did say;
Says, ‘Wae is me, and you forlorn,
If I do langer stay!’
[Pg 113]

XIX

Then Coo-me-doo took flight and flew
And afar beyond the sea,
And lichted near his mither’s castle
On a tower o’ gowd sae hie.

XX

His mither she was walking out
To see what she could see,
And there she saw her one young son
Set on the tower sae hie.

XXI

‘Get dancers here to dance,’ she said,
‘And minstrels for to play;
For here’s my young son Florentine
Come hame wi’ me to stay.’—

XXII

‘Get nae dancers to dance, mither,
Nor minstrels for to play;
For the mither o’ my seven sons,
The morn’s her wedding-day.’—

XXIII

‘O tell me, tell me, Florentine,
Tell me, an tell me true;
Tell me this day without a flaw
What I will do for you?’—

XXIV

‘Instead of dancers to dance, mither,
Or minstrels for to play,
Turn four-and-twenty well-wight[216] men
Like storks in feathers gray:
[Pg 114]

XXV

‘My seven sons in seven swans
Aboon their heads to flee;
And I mysel’ a gay goshawk,
A bird o’ high degree.’

XXVI

Then siching said the Queen hersel’,
‘That thing’s too high for me!’
But she applied to an auld woman
Wha had mair skill than she.

XXVII

Instead o’ dancers to dance a dance,
Or minstrels for to play,
Four-and-twenty well-wight men
Turn’d birds o’ feathers gray.

XXVIII

Her seven sons in seven swans,
Aboon their heads to flee;
And he himsel’ a gay goshawk,
A bird o’ high degree.

XXIX

This flock o’ birds took flight and flew
Beyond the raging sea,
And landed near the Earl Mar’s castle,
Took shelter in every tree.

XXX

They were a flock o’ pretty birds
Right comely to be seen;
The people view’d them wi’ surprise
As they dancèd on the green.
[Pg 115]

XXXI

These birds flew out frae every tree
And lichted on the ha’,
And [frae the roof] with force did flee
Amang the nobles a’.

XXXII

The storks there seized [ilk wedding-guest]
—They could not fight nor flee;
The swans they bound the [bridegroom fast]
Below a green aik tree.

XXXIII

They lichted next on the [bride-] maidens,
Then on the bride’s own head;
And wi’ the twinkling o’ an e’e
The bride an’ them were fled.

XXXIV

There’s ancient men at weddings been
For sixty years or more,
But siccan a curious wedding-day
They never saw before.

XXXV

For naething could the companie do,
Nor naething could they say;
But they saw a flock o’ pretty birds
That took their bride away.

FOOTNOTES:

[214] doo = dove.

[215] hingers = hangings, curtains.

[216] well-wight = strong, lusty.


[Pg 116]

26. Proud Lady Margaret

I

Fair Margret was a proud ladye,
The King’s cousin was she;
Fair Margret was a rich ladye,
An’ vain as vain cou’d be.

II

Ae night she sat in her stately ha’
Kaimin’ her yellow hair,
When in there cam’ a gentle Knight,
An’ a white scarf he did wear.

III

‘O what’s your will wi’ me, Sir Knight?
O what’s your will wi’ me?
You’re the likest to my ae brither
That ever I did see.

IV

‘You’re the likest to my ae brither
That ever I hae seen;
But he’s buried in Dunfermline kirk
A month an’ mair bygane.’—

V

‘I’m the likest to your ae brither
That ever ye did see;
But I canna get rest in my grave,
A’ for the pride o’ thee.
[Pg 117]

VI

‘Leave pride, Margret, leave pride, Margret,
Leave pride an’ vanity;
Cou’d ye see the sights that I hae seen
Sair warnèd ye wou’d be.

VII

‘For the wee worms are my bedfellows,
An’ cauld clay is my sheets,
An’ when the stormy winds do blow
My body lies and sleeps.

VIII

‘O ye come in at the kirk-door
Wi’ the red gowd on your crown;
But when you come where I have been,
You’ll wear it laigher[217] down.

IX

‘O ye come in at the kirk door
Wi’ the gowd prins[218] i’ your sleeve,
But when you come where I have been
Ye maun gie them a’ their leave.

X

‘Leave pride, Margret, leave pride, Margret,
Leave pride an’ vanity;
Ere ye see the sights that I hae seen,
Sair alter’d ye maun be.’

XI

He got her in her stately ha’,
Kaimin’ her yellow hair;
He left her on her sick, sick bed
Mournin’ her sins sae sair.

FOOTNOTES:

[217] laigher = lower.

[218] prins = pins.


[Pg 118]

27. Clerk Saunders

Part I

I

Clerk Saunders and may Margaret
Walk’d owre yon garden green;
And deep and heavy was the love
That fell thir twa between.

II

‘A bed, a bed,’ Clerk Saunders said,
‘A bed for you and me!’
‘Fye na, fye na,’ said may Margaret,
‘Till anes we married be!’—

III

‘Then I’ll take the sword frae my scabbard
And slowly lift the pin;
And you may swear, and save your aith,
Ye ne’er let Clerk Saunders in.

IV

‘Take you a napkin in your hand,
And tie up baith your bonnie e’en,
And you may swear, and save your aith,
Ye saw me na since late yestreen.’

V

It was about the midnight hour,
When they asleep were laid,
When in and came her seven brothers,
Wi’ torches burning red:

VI

When in and came her seven brothers,
Wi’ torches burning bright:
They said, ‘We hae but one sister,
And behold her lying with a knight!’
[Pg 119]

VII

Then out and spake the first o’ them,
‘I bear the sword shall gar him die.’
And out and spake the second o’ them,
‘His father has nae mair but he.’

VIII

And out and spake the third o’ them,
‘I wot that they are lovers dear.’
And out and spake the fourth o’ them,
‘They hae been in love this mony a year.’

IX

Then out and spake the fifth o’ them,
‘It were great sin true love to twain.’
And out and spake the sixth o’ them,
‘It were shame to slay a sleeping man.’

X

Then up and gat the seventh o’ them,
And never a word spake he;
But he has striped[219] his bright brown brand
Out through Clerk Saunders’ fair bodye.

XI

Clerk Saunders he started, and Margaret she turn’d
Into his arms as asleep she lay;
And sad and silent was the night
That was atween thir twae.

XII

And they lay still and sleepit sound
Until the day began to daw’;
And kindly she to him did say,
‘It is time, true love, you were awa’.’
[Pg 120]

XIII

But he lay still, and sleepit sound,
Albeit the sun began to sheen;
She look’d atween her and the wa’,
And dull and drowsie were his e’en.

XIV

Then in and came her father dear;
Said, ‘Let a’ your mourning be;
I’ll carry the dead corse to the clay,
And I’ll come back and comfort thee.’

XV

‘Comfort weel your seven sons,
For comforted I will never be:
I ween ’twas neither knave nor loon
Was in the bower last night wi’ me.’

Part II

I

The clinking bell gaed through the town,
To carry the dead corse to the clay;
And Clerk Saunders stood at may Margaret’s window,
I wot, an hour before the day.

II

‘Are ye sleeping, Marg’ret?’ he says,
‘Or are ye waking presentlie?
Give me my faith and troth again,
I wot, true love, I gied to thee.’

III

‘Your faith and troth ye sall never get,
Nor our true love sall never twin[220],
Until ye come within my bower,
And kiss me cheik and chin.’
[Pg 121]

IV

‘My mouth it is full cold, Marg’ret;
It has the smell, now, of the ground;
And if I kiss thy comely mouth,
Thy days of life will not be lang.

V

‘O cocks are crowing on merry middle-earth,
I wot the wild fowls are boding day;
Give me my faith and troth again,
And let me fare me on my way.’

VI

‘Thy faith and troth thou sallna get,
And our true love sall never twin,
Until ye tell what comes o’ women,
I wot, who die in strong traivelling?’

VII

‘Their beds are made in the heavens high,
Down at the foot of our good Lord’s knee,
Weel set about wi’ gillyflowers;
I wot, sweet company for to see.

VIII

‘O cocks are crowing on merry middle-earth,
I wot the wild fowls are boding day;
The psalms of heaven will soon be sung,
And I, ere now, will be miss’d away.’

IX

Then she has taken a crystal wand,
And she has stroken her troth thereon;
She has given it him out at the shot-window,
Wi’ mony a sad sigh and heavy groan.
[Pg 122]

X

‘I thank ye, Marg’ret; I thank ye, Marg’ret;
And ay I thank ye heartilie;
Gin ever the dead come for the quick,
Be sure, Marg’ret, I’ll come for thee.’

XI

It’s hosen and shoon, and gown alone,
She climb’d the wall, and follow’d him,
Until she came to the green forèst,
And there she lost the sight o’ him.

XII

‘Is there ony room at your head, Saunders?
Is there ony room at your feet?
Or ony room at your side, Saunders,
Where fain, fain, I wad sleep?’

XIII

‘There’s nae room at my head, Marg’ret,
There’s nae room at my feet;
My bed it is fu’ lowly now,
Amang the hungry worms I sleep.

XIV

‘Cauld mould is my covering now,
But and my winding-sheet;
The dew it falls nae sooner down
Than my resting-place is weet.

XV

‘But plait a wand o’ bonny birk,
And lay it on my breast;
And shed a tear upon my grave,
And wish my saul gude rest.’
[Pg 123]

XVI

Then up and crew the red, red cock,
And up and crew the gray:
‘’Tis time, ’tis time, my dear Marg’ret,
That you were going away.

XVII

‘And fair Marg’ret, and rare Marg’ret,
And Marg’ret o’ veritie,
Gin e’er ye love another man,
Ne’er love him as ye did me.’

FOOTNOTES:

[219] striped = thrust.

[220] twin = break in two.


28. The Daemon Lover

I

‘O where hae ye been, my long, long love,
These seven long years and more?’—
‘O I’m come to seek my former vows,
That ye promised me before.’—

II

‘Awa’ wi’ your former vows,’ she says,
‘For they will breed but strife;
Awa’ wi’ your former vows,’ she says,
‘For I am become a wife.

III

‘I am married to a ship-carpenter,
A ship-carpenter he’s bound;
I wadna he kenn’d my mind this nicht
For twice five hundred pound.’

IV

He turn’d him round and round about,
And the tear blinded his e’e:
‘I wad never hae trodden on Irish ground
If it hadna been for thee.
[Pg 124]

V

‘I might hae had a noble lady,
Far, far beyond the sea;
I might hae had a noble lady,
Were it no for the love o’ thee.’—

VI

‘If ye might hae had a noble lady,
Yoursel’ ye had to blame;
Ye might hae taken the noble lady,
For ye kenn’d that I was nane.’—

VII

‘O fause are the vows o’ womankind,
But fair is their fause bodie:
I wad never hae trodden on Irish ground,
Were it no for the love o’ thee.’—

VIII

‘If I was to leave my husband dear,
And my wee young son alsua,
O what hae ye to tak’ me to,
If with you I should gae?’—

IX

‘I hae seven ships upon the sea,
The eighth brought me to land;
With mariners and merchandise,
And music on every hand.

X

‘The ship wherein my love sall sail
Is glorious to behowd;
The sails sall be o’ the finest silk,
And the mast o’ beaten gowd.’
[Pg 125]

XI

She has taken up her wee young son,
Kiss’d him baith cheek and chin;
‘O fare ye weel, my wee young son,
For I’ll never see you again!’

XII

She has put her foot on gude ship-board,
And on ship-board she has gane,
And the veil that hangit ower her face
Was a’ wi’ gowd begane[221].

XIII

She hadna sail’d a league, a league,
A league but barely twa,
Till she minded on her husband she left
And her wee young son alsua.

XIV

‘O haud your tongue o’ weeping,’ he says,
‘Let a’ your follies a-bee;
I’ll show where the white lilies grow
On the banks o’ Italie.’

XV

She hadna sail’d a league, a league,
A league but barely three,
Till grim, grim grew his countenance
And gurly[222] grew the sea.

XVI

‘What hills are yon, yon pleasant hills,
The sun shines sweetly on?’—
‘O yon are the hills o’ Heaven,’ he said,
‘Where you will never won.’—
[Pg 126]

XVII

‘O whaten-a mountain is yon,’ she said,
‘Sae dreary wi’ frost and snae[223]?’—
‘O yon is the mountain o’ Hell,’ he said,
‘Where you and I will gae.

XVIII

‘But haud your tongue, my dearest dear,
Let a’ your follies a-bee,
I’ll show where the white lilies grow,
In the bottom o’ the sea.’

XIX

And aye as she turn’d her round about,
Aye taller he seem’d to be;
Until that the tops o’ that gallant ship
Nae taller were than he.

XX

He strack the top-mast wi’ his hand,
The fore-mast wi’ his knee;
And he brake that gallant ship in twain,
And sank her in the sea.

FOOTNOTES:

[221] begane = overlaid.

[222] gurly = rough, surly.

[223] snae = snow.


29. Clerk Colven

I

Clerk Colven, and his gay ladie,
As they walk’d in yon garden green,
The belt about her middle jimp[224]
It cost Clerk Colven crowns fifteen.
[Pg 127]

II

‘O hearken weel now, my good lord,
O hearken weel to what I say;
When ye gang to the wall[225] o’ Stream
O gang nae near the weel-faur’d may[226].’

III

‘O haud your tongue, my gay ladie,
Now speak nae mair of that to me;
For I nae saw a fair woman
[That I cou’d] like so well as thee.’

IV

He’s mounted on his berry-brown steed,
And merry, merry rade he on,
Till that he came to the wall o’ Stream,
And there he saw the mermaiden.

V

‘Ye wash, ye wash, ye bonny may,
And ay’s ye wash your sark o’ silk.’—
‘It’s a’ for ye, you gentle knight,
My skin is whiter than the milk.’

VI

He’s ta’en her by the milk-white hand,
He’s ta’en her by the sleeve sae green,
And he’s forgotten his gay ladie,
And he’s awa’ wi’ the mermaiden.

VII

—‘Ohone, alas!’ says Clerk Colven,
‘And aye so sair as akes my head!’
And merrily leugh[227] the mermaiden,
‘O ’twill win on[228] till you be dead.
[Pg 128]

VIII

‘But out ye tak’ your little pen-knife,
And frae my sark ye shear a gare[229];
Row[230] that about your lovely head,
And the pain ye’ll never feel nae mair.’

IX

Out he has ta’en his little pen-knife,
And frae her sark he’s shorn a gare;
She’s ty’d it round his whey-white face,
But and ay his head it akèd mair.

X

‘Ohone, alas!’ says Clerk Colven,
‘O sairer, sairer akes my head!’—
‘And sairer, sairer ever will,
And aye be war’[231] till ye be dead.’

XI

Then out he drew his shining blade
And thought wi’ it to be her deid[232],
But she’s become a fish again,
And merrily sprang into the fleed[233].

XII

He’s mounted on his berry-brown steed,
And dowie[234], dowie rade he hame,
And heavily, heavily lighted down
When to his ladie’s bower he came.

XIII

‘O mither, mither, mak’ my bed,
And, gentle ladie, lay me down;
O brither, brither, unbend my bow,
’Twill never be bent by me again!’
[Pg 129]

XIV

His mither she has made his bed,
His gentle ladie laid him down,
His brither he has unbent his bow,
—’Twas never bent by him again.

FOOTNOTES:

[224] jimp = slim, slender.

[225] wall = well.

[226] weel-faur’d may = well-favoured maiden.

[227] leugh = laughed.

[228] win on = continue.

[229] gare = gore, strip.

[230] row = roll, wrap.

[231] war’ = worse.

[232] deid = death.

[233] fleed = flood.

[234] dowie = dolefully.


30. Young Hunting

I

‘O lady, rock never your young son young
One hour longer for me;
For I have a sweetheart in Gareloch Wells
I love thrice better than thee.

II

‘The very sole o’ that lady’s foot,
Than thy face is mair white.’—
‘But nevertheless now, Young Hunting,
Ye’ll bide in my bower this night?’

III

She has birl’d[235] in him Young Hunting
The good ale and the wine,
Till he was as fou drunken
As any wild-wood swine.

IV

[She has kiss’d him by] the candle-light
And the charcoal burning red,
And up she has ta’en Young Hunting,
And she’s had him to her bed.
[Pg 130]

V

And she’s minded her on a little pen-knife
That hang’d below her gare[236],
And she has gi’en Young Hunting
A deep wound and a sair.

VI

Then up and spake the popinjay
That flew abune her head:
‘Lady, keep well your green cleiding[237]
Frae good Young Hunting’s bleid!’—

VII

‘O better I’ll keep my green cleiding
Frae good Young Hunting’s bleid
Than thou canst keep thy clattering tongue
That trattles in thy head.’

VIII

‘O lang, lang is the winter’s night,
And slowly daws[238] the day!
There lies a dead man in my bower,
And I wish he were away.’

IX

She has call’d upon her bower-maidens,
She has call’d them ane by ane:
‘There lies a dead man in my bower,
I wish that he were gane.’

X

They have booted and spurr’d Young Hunting
As he was wont to ride—
A hunting-horn about his neck,
And a sharp sword by his side;
And they’ve had him to the wan water,
Where a’ men ca’s it Clyde.
[Pg 131]

XI

In the deepest pot of Clyde-water
It’s there they flang him in,
And put a turf on his breast-bane
To hold Young Hunting down.

XII

Then up and spake the popinjay
That sat upon the tree;
‘Gae hame, gae hame, ye fause lady,
And pay your maids their fee.’—

XIII

‘Come down, come down, my pretty bird,
That sits upon the tree;
I have a cage o’ beaten gold,
I’ll gie it unto thee.’—

XIV

‘How shall I come down, how can I come down,
How shall I come down to thee?
The things ye said to Young Hunting,
The same ye’re saying to me.’

XV

She hadna cross’d a rigg[239] o’ land,
A rigg but barely ane,
When she met wi’ his auld father,
Came riding all alane.

XVI

‘Where has ye been, now, lady fair,
Where has ye been sae late?
We hae been seeking Young Hunting,
But him we canna get.’—
[Pg 132]

XVII

‘Young Hunting kens a’ the fords o’ Clyde,
He’ll ride them ane by ane;
And though the night was ne’er so mirk,
Young Hunting will be hame.’

XVIII

O there came seeking Young Hunting
Mony a lord and knight,
And there came seeking Young Hunting
Mony a lady bright.

XIX

And it fell ance upon a day
The King was bound to ride,
And he has miss’d Young Hunting,
Should hae ridden on his right side.

XX

And they have to his true love gane;
But she sware by the thorn,
‘O I have not seen Young Hunting
Since yesterday at morn.

XXI

‘It fears me sair in Clyde Water
That he is drown’d therein!’
O they have sent for the King’s divers,
To dive for Young Hunting.

XXII

‘Gar dive, gar dive!’ the King he cried,
‘Gar dive for gold and fee!
O wha will dive for Young Hunting’s sake,
Or wha will dive for me?’
[Pg 133]

XXIII

They dived in at the tae water-bank,
They dived in at the tither:
‘We can dive no more for Young Hunting,
Altho’ he were our brither.’

XXIV

It fell that in that lady’s castle
The King was boun to bed,
And out it spake the popinjay
That flew abune his head:

XXV

‘Leave off, leave off, your day diving,
And dive upon the night;
And where that sackless[240] Knight lies slain
The candles will burn bright.’

XXVI

They left their diving on the day,
And dived upon the night;
And over the place Young Hunting lay
The candles shone fu’ bright.

XXVII

The deepest pot in Clyde Water
They got Young Hunting in,
With a green turf tied across his breast
To keep that good lord down.

XXVIII

Then up and spake the King himsel’,
When he saw the deadly wound:
‘O wha has slain my right-hand man,
That held my hawk and hound?’
[Pg 134]

XXIX

Then up and spake the popinjay,
Says, ‘What needs a’ this din?
It was his light leman took his life,
And hided him in the linn[241].’

XXX

She sware her by the grass sae green,
So did she by the corn,
She hadna seen Young Hunting
Since Monanday at morn.

XXXI

‘Put not the wyte[242] on me,’ she says,
‘It was my May[243] Catheren.’
Then they have cut baith thorn and fern,
To burn that maiden in.

XXXII

When they had ta’en her May Catheren,
In the bonfire set her in;
It wouldna take upon her cheeks,
Nor yet upon her chin,
Nor yet upon her yellow hair,
To heal the deadly sin.

XXXIII

Out they have ta’en her May Catheren,
And put the lady in:
O it took upon her cheek, her cheek,
Took fast upon her chin,
Took fast upon her fair body—
She burnt like hollins[244] green.

FOOTNOTES:

[235] birl’d = poured.

[236] gare = gore, in the skirt.

[237] cleiding = clothing.

[238] daws = dawns.

[239] rigg = ridge.

[240] sackless = innocent.

[241] linn = stream, pool.

[242] wyte = blame.

[243] May = Maid.

[244] hollins = holly.


[Pg 135]

31. The Great Silkie of Sule Skerrie

I

An earthly nourrice[245] sits and sings,
And aye she sings, ‘Ba, lily wean!
Little ken I my bairn’s father,
Far less the land that he staps in.’

II

Then ane arose at her bed-fit,
An’ a grumly guest I’m sure was he:
‘Here am I, thy bairn’s father,
Although that I be not comèlie.

III

‘I am a man, upo’ the lan’,
An’ I am a silkie[246] in the sea;
And when I’m far and far frae lan’,
My dwelling is in Sule Skerrie.’

IV

‘It was na weel,’ quo’ the maiden fair,
‘It was na weel, indeed,’ quo’ she,
‘That the Great Silkie of Sule Skerrie
Suld hae come and aught[247] a bairn to me.’

V

Now he has ta’en a purse of goud,
And he has pat it upo’ her knee,
Sayin’, ‘Gie to me my little young son,
An’ tak thee up thy nourrice-fee.

VI

‘An’ it sall pass on a simmer’s day,
When the sin shines het on evera stane,
That I will tak my little young son,
An’ teach him for to swim his lane[248].
[Pg 136]

VII

‘An’ thu sall marry a proud gunner,
An’ a proud gunner I’m sure he’ll be,
An’ the very first schot that ere he schoots,
He’ll schoot baith my young son and me.’

FOOTNOTES:

[245] nourrice = nurse.

[246] silkie = seal.

[247] aught = own.

[248] his lane = alone, without assistance.


32. The Wife of Usher’s Well

I

There lived a wife at Usher’s well,
And a wealthy wife was she;
She had three stout and stalwart sons,
And sent them o’er the sea.

II

They hadna been a week from her,
A week but barely ane,
When word came to the carline[249] wife
That her three sons were gane.

III

They hadna been a week from her,
A week but barely three,
When word came to the carline wife
That her sons she’d never see.

IV

‘I wish the wind may never cease,
Nor fashes[250] in the flood,
Till my three sons come hame to me
In earthly flesh and blood!’
[Pg 137]

V

It fell about the Martinmas,
When nights are lang and mirk,
The carline wife’s three sons came hame,
And their hats were o’ the birk.

VI

It neither grew in syke[251] nor ditch,
Nor yet in ony sheugh[252];
But at the gates o’ Paradise
That birk grew fair eneugh.

VII

‘Blow up the fire, my maidens!
Bring water from the well!
For a’ my house shall feast this night,
Since my three sons are well.’

VIII

And she has made to them a bed,
She’s made it large and wide;
And she’s ta’en her mantle her about,
Sat down at the bedside.

IX

Up then crew the red, red cock,
And up and crew the gray;
The eldest to the youngest said,
‘’Tis time we were away.’

X

The cock he hadna craw’d but once,
And clapp’d his wings at a’,
When the youngest to the eldest said,
‘Brother, we must awa’.
[Pg 138]

XI

‘The cock doth craw, the day doth daw,
The channerin’[253] worm doth chide;
Gin we be miss’d out o’ our place,
A sair pain we maun bide.’—

XII

‘Lie still, lie still but a little wee while,
Lie still but if we may;
Gin my mother should miss us when she wakes,
She’ll go mad ere it be day.’—

XIII

‘Fare ye weel, my mother dear!
Fareweel to barn and byre!
And fare ye weel, the bonny lass
That kindles my mother’s fire!’

FOOTNOTES:

[249] carline = old woman.

[250] fashes = troubles.

[251] syke = marsh.

[252] sheugh = trench.

[253] channerin’ = fretting.


33. A Lyke-Wake Dirge

I

This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
Every nighte and alle,
Fire and fleet[254] and candle-lighte,
And Christe receive thy saule.

II

When thou from hence away art past,
Every nighte and alle,
To Whinny-muir thou com’st at last:
And Christe receive thy saule.
[Pg 139]

III

If ever thou gavest hosen and shoon,
Every nighte and alle,
Sit thee down and put them on:
And Christe receive thy saule.

IV

If hosen and shoon thou ne’er gav’st nane
Every nighte and alle,
The whinnes sall prick thee to the bare bane;
And Christe receive thy saule.

V

From whinny-muir when thou may’st pass,
Every nighte and alle,
To Brig o’ Dread thou com’st at last;
And Christe receive thy saule.

VI

From Brig o’ Dread when thou may’st pass,
Every nighte and alle,
To Purgatory fire thou com’st at last;
And Christe receive thy saule.

VII

If ever thou gavest meat or drink,
Every nighte and alle,
The fire sall never make thee shrink;
And Christe receive thy saule.

VIII

If meat or drink thou ne’er gav’st nane,
Every nighte and alle,
The fire will burn thee to the bare bane;
And Christe receive thy saule.
[Pg 140]

IX

This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
Every nighte and alle,
Fire and fleet and candle-lighte,
And Christe receive thy saule.

FOOTNOTES:

[254] fleet = floor. Other readings are ‘sleet’ and ‘salt’.


34. The Unquiet Grave

I

‘The wind doth blow to-day, my love,
And a few small drops of rain;
I never had but one true-love;
In cold grave she was lain.

II

‘I’ll do as much for my true-love
As any young man may;
I’ll sit and mourn all at her grave
For a twelvemonth and a day.’

III

The twelvemonth and a day being up,
The dead began to speak:
‘Oh who sits weeping on my grave,
And will not let me sleep?’—

IV

‘’Tis I, my love, sits on your grave,
And will not let you sleep;
For I crave one kiss of your clay-cold lips,
And that is all I seek.’—
[Pg 141]

V

‘You crave one kiss of my clay-cold lips;
But my breath smells earthy strong;
If you have one kiss of my clay-cold lips,
Your time will not be long.

VI

‘’Tis down in yonder garden green,
Love, where we used to walk,
The finest flower that ere was seen
Is wither’d to a stalk.

VII

‘The stalk is wither’d dry, my love,
So will our hearts decay;
So make yourself content, my love,
Till God calls you away.’

[Pg 142]

BOOK II

35. Hynd Horn

I

Hynd Horn’s bound, love, and Hynd Horn’s free,
With a hey lillelu and a how lo lan;
Where was ye born, or in what countrie?
And the birk and the broom blows bonnie.

II

‘In good greenwood, there I was born,
And all my forbears me beforn.

III

‘O seven long years I served the King,
And as for wages I never gat nane;

IV

‘But ae sight o’ his ae daughter.
And that was thro’ an auger-bore.’

V

Seven long years he served the King,
And it’s a’ for the sake of his daughter Jean.

VI

The King an angry man was he;
He sent young Hynd Horn to the sea.

VII

He’s gi’en his luve a silver wand
Wi’ seven silver laverocks[255] sittin’ thereon.

VIII

She’s gi’en to him a gay gold ring
Wi’ seven bright diamonds set therein.
[Pg 143]

IX

‘As lang’s these diamonds keep their hue,
Ye’ll know I am a lover true:

X

‘But when the ring turns pale and wan,
Ye may ken that I love anither man.’

XI

He hoist up sails and awa’ sail’d he
Till that he came to a foreign countrie.

XII

One day as he look’d his ring upon,
He saw the diamonds pale and wan.

XIII

He’s left the seas and he’s come to the land,
And the first that he met was an auld beggar man.

XIV

‘What news, what news? thou auld beggar man,
For it’s seven years sin I’ve seen land.’

XV

‘No news,’ said the beggar, ‘no news at a’,
But there is a wedding in the King’s ha’.

XVI

‘But there is a wedding in the King’s ha’
That has halden these forty days and twa.’

XVII

‘Cast off, cast off thy auld beggar weed[256],
And I’ll gi’e thee my gude grey steed:

XVIII

‘And lend to me your wig o’ hair
To cover mine, because it is fair.’—
[Pg 144]

XIX

‘My begging weed is na for thee,
Your riding steed is na for me.’

XX

But part by right and part by wrang
Hynd Horn has changed wi’ the beggar man.

XXI

The auld beggar man was bound for to ride,
But young Hynd Horn was bound for the bride.

XXII

When he came to the King’s gate,
He sought a drink for Hynd Horn’s sake.

XXIII

The bride came trippin’ down the stair,
Wi’ the scales o’ red gowd in her hair;

XXIV

Wi’ a cup o’ the red wine in her hand,
And that she gae to the auld beggar man.

XXV

Out o’ the cup he drank the wine,
And into the cup he dropt the ring.

XXVI

‘O got ye this by sea or land?
Or got ye it of a dead man’s hand?’—

XXVII

‘I got it na by sea nor land,
But I got it, madam, of your own hand.’

XXVIII

‘O, I’ll cast off my gowns o’ brown,
And beg with you frae town to town.

XXIX

‘O, I’ll cast off my gowns o’ red,
And I’ll beg wi’ you to win my bread.
[Pg 145]

XXX

‘O I’ll take the scales o’ gowd frae my hair,
And I’ll follow you for evermair.’

XXXI

She has cast awa’ the brown and the red,
And she’s follow’d him to beg her bread.

XXXII

She has ta’en the scales o’ gowd frae her hair
And she’s follow’d him for evermair.

XXXIII

But atween the kitchen and the ha’
He has let his cloutie[257] cloak down fa’.

XXXIV

And the red gowd shinèd over him a’,
With a hey lillelu, and a how lo lan;
And the bride frae the bridegroom was stown[258] awa’,
And the birk and the broom blows bonnie.

FOOTNOTES:

[255] laverocks = larks.

[256] weed = clothes.

[257] cloutie = full of clouts, patched.

[258] stown = stolen.


36. Hynd Etin

I

May Margaret sits in her bower door
Sewing her silken seam;
She heard a note in Elmond’s wood,
And wish’d she there had been.

II

She loot[259] the seam fa’ frae her side,
The needle to her tae[260],
And she is on to Elmond’s wood
As fast as she could gae.
[Pg 146]

III

She hadna pu’d a nut, a nut,
Nor broken a branch but ane,
Till by there came the Hynd Etin,
Says, ‘Lady, lat alane.

IV

‘O why pu’ ye the nut, the nut,
Or why break ye the tree?
For I am forester o’ this wood:
Ye should spier[261] leave at me.’—

V

‘I’ll ask leave at nae living man,
Nor yet will I at thee;
My father is king o’er a’ this realm,
This wood belongs to me.’

VI

The highest tree in Elmond’s wood,
He’s pu’d it by the reet[262],
And he has built for her a bower
Near by a hallow seat[263].

VII

He’s kept her there in Elmond’s wood
For six lang years and ane,
Till six pretty sons to him she bare,
And the seventh she’s brought hame.

VIII

It fell out ance upon a day
He’s to the hunting gane,
And a’ to carry his game for him
He’s tane his eldest son.
[Pg 147]

IX

‘A question I will ask, father,
Gin ye wadna angry be.’—
‘Say on, say on, my bonny boy,
Ye’se nae be quarrell’d by me.’

X

‘I see my mither’s cheeks aye weet,
I never can see them dry;
And I wonder what aileth my mither
To mourn [sae constantly].’—

XI

‘Your mither was a king’s daughtèr,
Sprung frae a high degree;
She might hae wed some worthy prince
Had she na been stown[264] by me.

XII

‘Your mither was a king’s daughtèr
Of noble birth and fame,
But now she’s wife o’ Hynd Etin,
Wha ne’er gat christendame.

XIII

‘But we’ll shoot the buntin’ o’ the bush,
The linnet o’ the tree,
And ye’se tak’ them hame to your dear mither,
See if she’ll merrier be.’

XIV

It fell upon anither day,
He’s to the hunting gane
And left his seven [young] children
To stay wi’ their mither at hame.
[Pg 148]

XV

‘O I will tell to you, mither,
Gin ye wadna angry be.’—
‘Speak on, speak on, my little wee boy,
Ye’se nae be quarrell’d by me.’—

XVI

‘As we came frae the hind-hunting,
We heard fine music ring.’—
‘My blessings on you, my bonny boy,
I wish I’d been there my lane.’

XVII

They wistna weel where they were gaen,
Wi’ the stratlins[265] o’ their feet;
They wistna weel where they were gaen,
Till at her father’s yate[266].

XVIII

‘I hae nae money in my pocket,
But royal rings hae three;
I’ll gie them you, my little young son,
And ye’ll walk there for me.

XIX

‘Ye’ll gi’e the first to the proud portèr
And he will let you in;
Ye’ll gi’e the next to the butler-boy
And he will show you ben[267];

XX

‘Ye’ll gi’e the third to the minstrel
That plays before the King;
He’ll play success to the bonny boy
Came thro’ the wood him lane.’
[Pg 149]

XXI

He ga’e the first to the proud portèr
And he open’d and let him in;
He ga’e the next to the butler-boy,
And he has shown him ben.

XXII

He ga’e the third to the minstrel
That play’d before the King,
And he play’d success to the bonny boy
Came thro’ the wood him lane.

XXIII

Now when he came before the King,
Fell low upon his knee;
The King he turn’d him round about,
And the saut tear blint[268] his e’e.

XXIV

‘Win up, win up, my bonny boy,
Gang frae my companie;
Ye look sae like my dear daughtèr,
My heart will burst in three.’—

XXV

‘If I look like your dear daughtèr,
A wonder it is none;
If I look like your dear daughtèr,
I am her eldest son.’—

XXVI

‘Will ye tell me, ye little wee boy,
Where may my Margaret be?’—
‘She’s just now standing at your yates,
And my six brithers her wi’.’—
[Pg 150]

XXVII

‘O where are a’ my porter-boys
That I pay meat and fee,
To open my yates baith wide and braid,
Let her come in to me?’

XXVIII

When she cam’ in before the King,
Fell low down on her knee:
‘Win up, win up, my daughter dear,
This day ye’se dine wi’ me.’—

XXIX

‘Ae bit I canna eat, father,
Nor ae drop can I drink,
Until I see my mither dear,
For lang for her I think.’

XXX

When she cam’ in before the queen,
Fell low down on her knee;
‘Win up, win up, my daughter dear,
This day ye’se dine wi’ me.’—

XXXI

‘Ae bit I canna eat, mither,
Nor ae drop can I drink,
Until I see my sister dear,
For lang for her I think.’

XXXII

When that these twa sisters met,
She hail’d her courteouslie;
‘Come ben, come ben, my sister dear,
This day ye’se dine wi’ me.’—
[Pg 151]

XXXIII

‘Ae bit I canna eat, sister,
Nor ae drop can I drink,
Until I see my dear husband,
So lang for him I think.’—

XXXIV

‘O where are a’ my rangers bold
That I pay meat and fee,
To search the forest far an’ wide,
And bring Etin back to me?’

XXXV

Out it speaks the little wee boy:
‘Na, na, this mauna be;
Without ye grant a free pardon,
I hope ye’ll nae him see.’—

XXXVI

‘O here I grant a free pardon,
Well seal’d by my own han’;
Ye may mak’ search for Young Etin
As soon as ever ye can.’

XXXVII

They search’d the country wide and braid,
The forests far and near,
And they found him into Elmond’s wood,
Tearing his yellow hair.

XXXVIII

‘Win up, win up now, Hynd Etin,
Win up an’ boun[269] wi’ me;
We’re messengers come frae the court;
The King wants you to see.’—
[Pg 152]

XXXIX

‘O lat them tak’ frae me my head,
Or hang me on a tree;
For since I’ve lost my dear lady,
Life’s no pleasure to me.’—

XL

‘Your head will na be touch’d, Etin,
Nor you hang’d on a tree;
Your lady’s in her father’s court
And a’ he wants is thee.’

XLI

When he cam’ in before the King,
Fell low down on his knee;
‘Win up, win up now, Young Etin,
This day ye’se dine wi’ me.’

XLII

But as they were at dinner set
The wee boy ask’d a boon:
‘I wish we were in a good kirk
For to get christendoun.

XLIII

‘For we hae lived in gude green wood
This seven years and ane;
But a’ this time since e’er I mind
Was never a kirk within.’—

XLIV

‘Your asking’s na sae great, my boy,
But granted it sall be;
This day to gude kirk ye sall gang
And your mither sall gang you wi’.’
[Pg 153]

XLV

When unto the gude kirk she came,
She at the door did stan’;
She was sae sair sunk down wi’ shame,
She couldna come farther ben.

XLVI

Then out and spak’ the parish priest,
And a sweet smile ga’e he:
‘Come ben, come ben, my lily-flower,
Present your babes to me.’

XLVII

Charles, Vincent, Sam and Dick,
And likewise John and James;
They call’d the eldest Young Etin,
Which was his father’s name.

FOOTNOTES:

[259] loot = let.

[260] tae = toe.

[261] spier = ask.

[262] reet = root.

[263] hallow seat = holy man’s or hermit’s cave.

[264] stown = stolen.

[265] stratlins =? stragglings.

[266] yate = gate.

[267] ben = further in.

[268] blint = blinded.

[269] boun = go.


37. Erlinton

I

Erlinton had a fair daughter;
I wat he wear’d her in[270] a great sin;
For he has built a bigly bower,
And a’ to put that lady in.

II

An’ he has warn’d her sisters six,
An’ sae has he her brethren se’en,
Outher to watch her a’ the night,
Or else to seek her morn an’ e’en.
[Pg 154]

III

She hadna been i’ that bigly bower,
Na not a night but barely ane,
Till there was Willie, her ain true love,
Chapp’d[271] at the door, cryin’ ‘Peace within!’

IV

‘O whae is this at my bower door,
That chaps sae late, nor kens the gin[272]?’—
‘O it is Willie, your ain true love,
I pray you rise an’ let me in.’—

V

‘For a’ sae weel as I like ye, Willie,
For a’ sae weel as I ken the gin,
I wadna for ten thousand pounds, love,
Na, no this night wad I let ye in.

VI

‘But in the green-wood is a wake[273],
And at the wake there is a wane[274],
An’ there I’ll come as sune the morn, love,
Na, no a mile but barely ane.

VII

‘On my right hand I’ll have a glo’[275], love,
And on my left hand I’ll have nane;
I’ll have wi’ me my sisters six, love,
And we will wauk the wood our lane[276].’

VIII

Then she’s gane to her bed again,
She has layen till the cock crew thrice,
An’ then she said to her sisters a’,
‘Maidens, ’tis time for us to rise.’
[Pg 155]

IX

She pat on her back her silken gown,
An’ on her breast a siller pin,
An’ she’s ta’en her sisters by the hand,
An’ to the green-wood she is gane.

X

They hadna wauk’d in the bonny green-wood,
Na no an hour but barely ane,
Till up start Willie, her ain true love,
Wha frae her sisters has her ta’en.

XI

An’ he has kiss’d her sisters six,
An’ he has sent them hame again,
But he has keepit his ain true love,
Sayin’ ‘We’ll wauk the woods our lane.’

XII

They hadna wauk’d in the bonnie green-wood
Na no an hour but barely ane,
Till up start fifteen o’ the bravest outlaws
That ever bare either blood or bane.

XIII

Then up bespake the foremost knight,—
An’ O but he spake angrilỳ:
Says, ‘Yield to me thy ladye bright,
This night shall wauk the woods wi’ me.’—

XIV

‘I like her weel, my ladye bright,
And O my life but it lies me near!
But before I lose my ladye bright
I’ll rather lose my life sae dear.’
[Pg 156]

XV

But up an’ spake the second knight—
I wat he spake right boustruslie—
Says, ‘Baith your life an’ your ladye bright
This night shall wauk the woods wi’ me.’—

XVI

‘My ladye is my warldis meed[277]:
My life I winna yield to nane;
But if ye be men of your manheid,
Ye’ll only fight me ane by ane.—

XVII

‘O sit ye down, my dearest dear,
Sit down an’ hold my milk-white steed,
An’ see that ye dinna change your cheer
Until ye see my body bleed.’

XVIII

He set his back unto an aik[278],
He set his feet against a stane,
He’s feightin a’ these fifteen outlaws,
An’ kill’d them a’ but barely ane.

XIX

An’ he has gane to his ladye dear,
I wat he kiss’d her cheek an’ chin—
‘Thou art mine ain, I have bought thee dear,
An’ now we will wauk the woods our lane.’

FOOTNOTES:

[270] wear’d her in = led her into.

[271] chapp’d = knocked.

[272] gin = trick, or sleight, of the door-latch.

[273] wake (obscure).

[274] wane = dwelling, arbor.

[275] glo’ = glove.

[276] our lane = we alone.

[277] warldis meed = world’s reward, most precious thing in the world: or perhaps corrupted from warldis make, mate.

[278] aik = oak.


[Pg 157]

38. Earl Brand

I

O did ye ever hear o’ brave Earl Brand?
Ay lally, o lilly lally
He courted the King’s daughter o’ fair England
All i’ the night sae early.

II

She was scarcely fifteen years that tide[279]
Till sae boldly she came to his bedside.

III

‘O Earl Bran’, fain wad I see
A pack of hounds let loose on the lea.’—

IV

‘O lady, I have no steeds but one,
But thou shall ride, and I will run.’—

V

‘O Earl Bran’, my father has two,
And thou shall have the best of tho’.’—

VI

They have ridden o’er moss and moor,
And they have met neither rich nor poor,

VII

Until they met with old Carl Hood:
—He’s aye for ill and never for good.

VIII

‘Earl Bran’, if ye love me,
Seize this old carl, and gar him die.’—

IX

‘O lady fair, it wad be sair
To slay an old man that has grey hair.
[Pg 158]

X

‘O lady fair, I’ll no do sae;
I’ll gie him a pound and let him gae.’

XI

‘O where hae ye ridden this lee-lang[280] day?
Or where hae ye stolen this lady away?’—

XII

‘I have not ridden this lee-lang day,
Nor yet have I stolen this lady away.

XIII

‘She is my only, my sick sistèr,
Which I have brought from Winchester.’—

XIV

‘If she be sick and like to dead,
Why wears she the ribbon sae red?

XV

‘If she be sick and like to die,
Then why wears she the gold on high?’

XVI

When came the carl to this lady’s yett[281],
Rudely, rudely he rapp’d thereat.

XVII

‘O where’s the lady o’ this ha’?’—
‘She’s out with her maids to play at the ba’.’—

XVIII

‘Ha, ha, ha! ye are a’ mista’en;
Gae count your maidens o’er again.

XIX

‘I met her far beyond the lea,
With the young Earl Brand, his leman to be.’
[Pg 159]

XX

Her father arm’d of his men fifteen,
And they’re ridden after them all-by-dene[282].

XXI

O’er her left shoulder the lady look’d then:
‘O Earl Bran’, we both are ta’en!’—

XXII

‘If they come on me ane by ane,
Ye may stand by and see them slain.

XXIII

‘But if they come on me ane and all,
Ye may stand by and see me fall.’

XXIV

They have come on him ane by ane,
And fourteen men he has them slain.

XXV

But the fifteenth man behind stole round,
And he’s gi’en him a deadly wound.

XXVI

But for a’ sae wounded as Earl Brand was
He has set his lady on her horse.

XXVII

They rode till they came to the water o’ Doune.
And there he lighted to wash his wound.

XXVIII

‘O Earl Bran’, I see your heart’s bloud!’—
‘It’s na but the glent[283] o’ my scarlet hood.’

XXIX

They rode till they came to his mother’s yett,
So faint and feebly he rapp’d thereat.
[Pg 160]

XXX

‘O my son’s slain, he’s falling to swoun,
And a’ for the sake of an English loun!’—

XXXI

‘So say not sae, my dearest mother,
But marry her to my youngest brother.

XXXII

‘This has not been the death o’ ane,
But it’s been the death o’ fair seventeen.’

FOOTNOTES:

[279] tide = time, season.

[280] lee-lang = live-long.

[281] yett = gate.

[282] all-by-dene = all together.

[283] glent = gleam.


39. The Douglas Tragedy

I

‘Rise up, rise up, now Lord Douglas,’ she says,
‘And put on your armour so bright;
Let it never be said that a daughter of thine
Was married to a lord under night.

II

‘Rise up, rise up, my seven bold sons,
And put on your armour so bright,
And take better care of your youngest sister,
For your eldest’s awa the last night.’

III

He’s mounted her on a milk-white steed,
And himself on a dapple grey,
With a bugelet horn hung down his side;
And lightly they rode away.

IV

Lord William look’d o’er his left shoulder,
To see what he could see,
And there he spy’d her seven brethren bold
Come riding over the lea.
[Pg 161]

V

‘Light down, light down, Lady Margret,’ he said,
‘And hold my steed in your hand,
Until that against your seven brethren bold,
And your father, I mak’ a stand.’

VI

O, there she stood, and bitter she stood,
And never did shed one tear,
Until that she saw her seven brethren fa’,
And her father, who lov’d her so dear.

VII

‘O hold your hand, Lord William!’ she said,
‘For your strokes they are wondrous sair;
True lovers I can get many an ane,
But a father I can never get mair.’

VIII

O she’s ta’en out her handkerchief,
It was o’ the holland sae fine,
And aye she dighted[284] her father’s wounds,
That were redder than the wine.

IX

‘O chuse, O chuse, Lady Margret,’ he said,
‘O whether will ye gang or bide?’
‘I’ll gang, I’ll gang, Lord William,’ she said,
‘For ye’ve left me no other guide.’

X

He’s lifted her on a milk-white steed,
And himself on a dapple grey,
With a bugelet horn hung down by his side;
And slowly they baith rade away.
[Pg 162]

XI

O they rade on, and on they rade,
And a’ by the light of the moon,
Until they came to yon wan water,
And there they lighted doun.

XII

They lighted doun to tak’ a drink
Of the spring that ran sae clear,
And doun the stream ran his gude heart’s blood,
And sair she gan to fear.

XIII

‘Hold up, hold up, Lord William,’ she says,
‘For I fear that you are slain.’—
‘’Tis naething but the shadow of my scarlet cloak,
That shines in the water sae plain.’

XIV

O they rade on, and on they rade,
And a’ by the light of the moon,
Until they cam’ to his mother’s ha’ door,
And there they lighted doun.

XV

‘Get up, get up, lady mother,’ he says,
‘Get up, and let me in!
Get up, get up, lady mother,’ he says,
‘For this night my fair lady I’ve win.

XVI

‘O mak my bed, lady mother,’ he says,
‘O mak it braid and deep,
And lay Lady Margret close at my back,
And the sounder I will sleep.’
[Pg 163]

XVII

Lord William was dead lang ere midnight,
Lady Margret lang ere day,
And all true lovers that go thegither,
May they have mair luck than they!

XVIII

Lord William was buried in St. Mary’s kirk,
Lady Margret in Mary’s quire;
Out o’ the lady’s grave grew a bonny red rose,
And out o’ the knight’s a brier.

XIX

And they twa met, and they twa plat[285],
And fain they wad be near;
And a’ the warld might ken right weel
They were twa lovers dear.

XX

But bye and rade the Black Douglas,
And wow but he was rough!
For he pull’d up the bonny brier,
And flang ’t in St. Mary’s Lough.

FOOTNOTES:

[284] dighted = dressed.

[285] plat = pleated.


40. Glasgerion

I

Glasgerion was a King’s own son,
And a harper he was good;
He harpèd in the King’s chamber
Where cup and candle stood,
And so did he in the Queen’s chamber,
Till ladies waxèd wood[286].
[Pg 164]

II

And then bespake the King’s daughter
And these words thus said she:
[‘There’s never a stroke comes over this harp,
But it glads the heart of me.’]

III

Said, ‘Strike on, strike on, Glasgerion,
Of thy striking do not blin[287];
There’s never a stroke comes over thine harp
But it glads my heart within.’

IV

‘Fair might you fall, lady,’ quoth he;
‘Who taught you now to speak?
I have loved you, lady, seven year;
My heart I durst ne’er break.’—

V

‘But come to my bower, my Glasgerion,
When all men are at rest;
As I am a lady true of my promise,
Thou shalt be a welcome guest.’

VI

But home then came Glasgerion,
A glad man, Lord, was he!
‘And come thou hither, Jack, my boy,
Come hither unto me.

VII

‘For the King’s daughter of Normandye
Her love is granted me;
And before the cock have crowen
At her chamber must I be.’
[Pg 165]

VIII

‘But come you hither, master,’ quoth he,
‘Lay your head down on this stone;
For I will waken you, master dear,
Afore it be time to gone.’

IX

But up then rose that lither[288] lad,
And did on hose and shoon;
A collar he cast upon his neck,
He seemèd a gentleman.

X

And when he came to that lady’s chamber
He tirl’d[289] upon a pin;
The lady was true of her promise,
Rose up and let him in.

XI

He did not kiss that lady gay
When he came nor when he yode[290];
And sore mistrusted that lady gay
He was of some churle’s blood.

XII

But home then came that lither lad,
And did off his hose and shoon,
And cast that collar from ’bout his neck;
He was but a churlè’s son:
‘Awaken,’ quoth he, ‘my master dear,
I hold it time to be gone.

XIII

‘For I have saddled your horse, master,
Well bridled I have your steed;
Have not I served a good breakfast
When time comes I have need?’
[Pg 166]

XIV

But up then rose good Glasgerion,
And did on both hose and shoon,
And cast a collar about his neck;
He was a Kingé’s son.

XV

And when he came to that lady’s chamber,
He tirl’d upon a pin;
The lady was more than true of her promise,
Rose up, and let him in.

XVI

Says, ‘Whether have you left with me
Your bracelet or your glove?
Or are you back return’d again
To know more of my love?’

XVII

Glasgerion swore a full great oath
By oak and ash and thorn,
‘Lady, I was never in your chamber
Sith the time that I was born.’—

XVIII

‘O then it was your little foot-page
Falsely hath beguiled me’:
And then she pull’d forth a little pen-knife
That hangèd by her knee,
Says, ‘There shall never no churlè’s blood
Spring within my bodye.’

XIX

But home then went Glasgerion,
A woe man, Lord, was he;
Sayes, ‘Come hither, thou Jack, my boy,
Come thou hither to me.
[Pg 167]

XX

‘For if I had kill’d a man to-night,
Jack, I would tell it thee,
But if I have not kill’d a man to-night,
Jack, thou hast killéd three!’

XXI

And he pull’d out his bright brown sword,
And dried it on his sleeve,
And he smote off that lither lad’s head
And ask’d no man no leave.

XXII

He set the sword’s point till his breast,
The pommel till a stone;
Through the falseness of that lither lad
These three lives wern all gone.

FOOTNOTES:

[286] wood = crazy, wild with delight.

[287] blin = stint, cease.

[288] lither = rascally, vile.

[289] tirl’d = rattled.

[290] yode = went.


41. King Estmere

I

Hearken to me, gentlemen,
Come and you shall heare;
Ile tell you of two of the boldest brether
That ever bornè were.

II

The tone of them was Adler Younge,
The tother was Kyng Estmere;
They were as bolde men in their deeds
As any were, farr and neare.
[Pg 168]

III

As they were drinking ale and wine
Within his brother’s hall,
‘When will ye marry a wyfe, brother,
A wyfe to glad us all?’

IV

Then bespake him Kyng Estmere,
And answered him hartilye:
‘I know not that ladye in any land,
That’s able to marrye with mee.’—

V

‘Kyng Adland hath a daughter, brother,
Men call her bright and sheene;
If I were kyng here in your stead,
That ladye shold be my queene.’—

VI

Saies, ‘Reade me, reade me, deare brother,
Throughout merry England,
Where we might find a messenger
Betwixt us towe to sende.’—

VII

Saies, ‘You shal ryde yourselfe, brother,
Ile beare you companye;
Many a man throughe fals messengers is deceived,
And I feare lest soe shold wee.’

VIII

Thus they renisht[291] them to ryde,
Of twoe good renisht steeds,
And when they came to Kyng Adland’s halle,
Of redd gold shone their weeds[292].
[Pg 169]

IX

And when they came to Kyng Adland’s halle,
Before the goodlye gate,
There they found good Kyng Adland
Rearing[293] himselfe theratt.

X

‘Now Christ thee save, good Kyng Adland;
Now Christ you save and see.’—
Sayd, ‘You be welcome, Kyng Estmere,
Right hartilye to mee.’

XI

‘You have a daughter,’ said Adler Younge,
‘Men call her bright and sheene;
My brother wold marrye her to his wiffe,
Of Englande to be queene.’—

XII

‘Yesterday was att my deere daughter
Kyng Bremor his sonne of Spayn,
And then she nickèd[294] him of naye,
And I doubt sheele do you the same.’—

XIII

‘The Kyng of Spayne is a foule paynim,
And ’lieveth on Mahound,
And pitye it were that fayre ladye
Shold marry a heathen hound.

XIV

‘But grant to me,’ sayes Kyng Estmere,
‘For my love I you praye,
That I may see your daughter deere
Before I goe hence awaye.’—
[Pg 170]

XV

‘Although itt is seven yeers and more
Since my daughter was in halle,
She shall come once downe for your sake,
To glad my guestès alle.’

XVI

Downe then came that mayden fayre,
With ladyes laced in pall[295],
And halfe a hundred of bold knightes,
To bring her from bowre to hall,
And as many gentle squiers,
To tend upon them all.

XVII

The talents of golde were on her head sette
Hanged low downe to her knee,
And everye ring on her small finger
Shone of the chrystall free.

XVIII

Saies, ‘God you save, my deere madam,’
Saies, ‘God you save and see!’—
Said, ‘You be welcome, Kyng Estmere,
Right welcome unto mee.

XIX

‘And, if you love me, as you saye,
Soe well and hartilee,
All that ever you are comen about
Soone sped now itt shal bee.’

XX

Then bespake her father deare:
‘My daughter, I saye naye;
Remember well the Kyng of Spayne,
What he sayd yesterdaye.
[Pg 171]

XXI

‘He wold pull downe my halles and castles,
And reave me of my lyfe;
I cannot blame him if he doe,
If I reave him of his wyfe.’—

XXII

‘Your castles and your towres, father,
Are stronglye built aboute,
And therefore of the Kyng his sonne of Spaine
Wee neede not stande in doubt.

XXIII

‘Plight me your troth, nowe, Kyng Estmere,
By heaven and your righte hand,
That you will marrye me to your wyfe,
And make me queene of your land.’

XXIV

Then Kyng Estmere he plight his troth,
By heaven and his righte hand,
That he wolde marrye her to his wyfe,
And make her queene of his land.

XXV

And he tooke leave of that ladye fayre,
To goe to his owne countree,
To fetche him dukes and lordes and knightes,
That marryed they might bee.

XXVI

They had not ridden scant a myle,
A myle forthe of the towne,
But in did come the Kyng of Spayne,
With kempès[296] many one.
[Pg 172]

XXVII

But in did come the Kyng of Spayne,
With manye a bold barone,
Tone day to marrye Kyng Adland’s daughter,
Tother daye to carrye her home.

XXVIII

Shee sent one after Kyng Estmere,
In all the spede might bee,
That he must either turne againe and fighte,
Or goe home and loose his ladye.

XXIX

One whyle then the page he went,
Another while he ranne;
Till he had oretaken Kyng Estmere,
I-wis he never blanne[297].

XXX

‘Tydings, tydings, Kyng Estmere!’—
‘What tydings nowe, my boye?’—
‘O tydinges I can tell to you,
That will you sore annoye.

XXXI

‘You had not ridden scant a mile,
A mile out of the towne,
But in did come the Kyng of Spayne,
With kempès many a one:

XXXII

‘But in did come the Kyng of Spayne,
With manye a bold barone,
Tone daye to marrye Kyng Adland’s daughter,
Tother daye to carry her home.
[Pg 173]

XXXIII

‘My ladye fayre she greetes you well,
And ever-more well by mee;
You must either turne againe and fighte,
Or goe home and loose your ladye.’—

XXXIV

Saies, ‘Reade me, reade me, deere brother,
My reade shall ryse[298] at thee;
Whether it is better to turne and fighte,
Or goe home and loose my ladye.’

XXXV

‘Now hearken to me,’ sayes Adler Yonge,
‘And your reade must rise at me;
I quicklye will devise a waye
To sette thy ladye free.

XXXVI

‘My mother was a westerne woman,
And learned in gramarye,
And when I learnèd at the schole,
Something shee taught itt mee.

XXXVII

‘There growes an hearbe within this field,
And iff it were but knowne,
His color, which is whyte and redd,
It will make blacke and browne.

XXXVIII

‘His color, which is browne and blacke,
Itt will make redd and whyte;
That sworde is not in all Englande
Upon his coate will byte.
[Pg 174]

XXXIX

‘And you shal be a harper, brother,
Out of the north countrye,
And Ile be your boy, soe faine of fighte,
And beare your harpe by your knee.

XL

‘And you shal be the best harper
That ever tooke harpe in hand,
And I wil be the best singer
That ever sung in this lande.

XLI

‘Itt shal be written in our forheads,
All and in grammarye,
That we towe are the boldest men
That are in all Christentye.’

XLII

And thus they renisht them to ryde,
Of tow good renisht steedes,
And when they came to Kyng Adland’s halle,
Of redd gold shone their weedes.

XLIII

And whan they came to Kyng Adland’s halle
Untill the fayre hall yate[299],
There they found a proud portèr,
Rearing himselfe thereatt.

XLIV

Sayes, ‘Christ thee save, thou proud porter,’
Sayes, ‘Christ thee save and see!’—
‘Nowe you be welcome,’ sayd the porter,
‘Of what land soever ye bee.’
[Pg 175]

XLV

‘Wee beenè harpers,’ sayd Adler Younge,
‘Come out of the northe countrye;
Wee beenè come hither untill this place
This proud weddinge for to see.’—

XLVI

Sayd, ‘And your color were white and redd,
As it is blacke and browne,
I wold saye Kyng Estmere and his brother
Were comen untill this towne.’

XLVII

Then they pulled out a ryng of gold,
Layd itt on the porter’s arme:
‘And ever we will thee, proud portèr,
Thow wilt saye us no harme.’

XLVIII

Sore he looked on Kyng Estmere,
And sore he handled the ryng,
Then opened to them the fayre hall yates,
He lett for no kind of thyng.

XLIX

Kyng Estmere he stabled his steede
Soe fayre att the hall-bord;
The froth that came from his brydle bitte
Light in Kyng Bremor’s beard.

L

Saies, ‘Stable thy steed, thou proud harpèr,’
Saies, ‘Stable him in the stalle;
It doth not beseeme a proud harpèr
To stable his steed in a kyng’s halle.’
[Pg 176]

LI

‘My ladde he is so lither[300],’ he said,
‘He will doe nought that’s meete;
And is there any man in this hall
Were able him to beate?’

LII

‘Thou speakst proud words,’ sayes the Kyng of Spaine,
‘Thou harper, here to mee;
There is a man within this halle
Will beate thy ladd and thee.’—

LIII

‘O let that man come downe,’ he said,
‘A sight of him wold I see;
And when hee hath beaten well my ladd,
Then he shall beate of mee.’

LIV

Downe then came the kemperye man,
And lookèd him in the eare;
For all the gold that was under heaven,
He durst not neigh[301] him neare.

LV

‘And how nowe, kempe,’ said the Kyng of Spaine,
‘And how, what aileth thee?’—
He saies, ‘It is writt in his forhead,
All and in gramarye,
That for all the gold that is under heaven,
I dare not neigh him nye.’

LVI

Then Kyng Estmere pull’d forth his harpe,
And play’d a pretty thinge;
The ladye upstart from the borde,
And wold have gone from the king.
[Pg 177]

LVII

‘Stay thy harpe, thou proud harpèr,
For God’s love I pray thee;
For and thou playes as thou beginns,
Thou’lt till[302] my bryde from mee.’

LVIII

He stroake upon his harpe againe,
And play’d a pretty thinge;
The ladye lough a loud laughter,
As shee sate by the king.

LIX

Saies, ‘Sell me thy harpe, thou proud harpèr,
And thy stringës all;
For as many gold nobles thou shall have,
As heere bee ringes in the hall.’

LX

‘What wold ye doe with my harpe,’ he sayd,
‘If I did sell itt yee?’—
‘To playe my wiffe and me a fitt[303],
When abed together wee bee.’

LXI

‘Now sell me,’ quoth hee, ‘thy bryde soe gay,
As shee sitts by thy knee;
And as many gold nobles I will give
As leaves been on a tree.’

LXII

‘And what wold ye doe with my bryde soe gay,
Iff I did sell her thee?
More seemelye it is for her fayre bodye
To lye by mee then thee.’
[Pg 178]

LXIII

Hee played agayne both loud and shrille,
And Adler he did syng,
‘O ladye, this is thy owne true love,
Noe harper, but a kyng.

LXIV

‘O Ladye, this is thy owne true love,
As playnlye thou mayest see,
And Ile rid thee of that foule paynim
Who partes thy love and thee.’

LXV

The ladye looked, the ladye blushte,
And blushte and lookt agayne,
While Adler he hath drawne his brande,
And hath the Sowdan slayne.

LXVI

Up then rose the kemperye men,
And loud they gan to crye:
‘Ah! traytors, yee have slayne our kyng,
And therefore yee shall dye.’

LXVII

Kyng Estmere threwe the harpe asyde,
And swith[304] he drew his brand,
And Estmere he and Adler Yonge
Right stiffe in stour[305] can stand.

LXVIII

And aye their swordes soe sore can byte,
Throughe help of gramarye,
That soone they have slayne the kempery men,
Or forst them forth to flee.
[Pg 179]

LXIX

Kyng Estmere tooke that fayre ladye,
And marryed her to his wiffe,
And brought her home to merry England,
With her to lead his life.

FOOTNOTES:

[291] renisht = perhaps for ‘revisht’, dressed, arrayed.

[292] weeds = garments.

[293] rearing = leaning.

[294] nickèd = refused.

[295] pall = fine cloth.

[296] kempès = fighting-men.

[297] blanne = halted.

[298] My reade shall ryse = my counsel shall arise, or spring, from thee.

[299] yate = gate.

[300] lither = naughty.

[301] neigh = come nigh, approach.

[302] till = entice.

[303] fitt = strain of music.

[304] swith = swiftly.

[305] stour = press of fighting.


42. Fair Annie

I

‘It’s narrow, narrow, mak your bed,
And learn to lie your lane;
For I’m gaun owre the sea, Fair Annie,
A braw Bride to bring hame.
Wi’ her I will get gowd and gear,
Wi’ you I ne’er gat nane.

II

‘But wha will bake my bridal bread,
Or brew my bridal ale?
And wha will become my bright Bride,
That I bring owre the dale?’—

III

‘It’s I will bake your bridal bread,
And brew your bridal ale;
And I will welcome your bright Bride,
That you bring owre the dale.’—

IV

‘But she that welcomes my bright Bride
Maun gang like maiden fair;
She maun lace on her robe sae jimp[306],
And comely braid her hair.
[Pg 180]

V

‘Bind up, bind up your yellow hair,
And tie it on your neck;
And see you look as maiden-like
As the day that first we met.’—

VI

‘O how can I gang maiden-like,
When maiden I am nane?
Have I not borne six sons to thee,
And am wi’ child again?’—

VII

‘I’ll put cooks into my kitchen,
And stewards in my hall,
And I’ll have bakers for my bread,
And brewers for my ale;
But you’re to welcome my bright Bride,
That I bring owre the dale.’

VIII

Three months and a day were gane and past,
Fair Annie she gat word
That her love’s ship was come at last,
Wi’ his bright young Bride aboard.

IX

She’s ta’en her young son in her arms,
Anither in her hand;
And she’s gane up to the highest tower,
Looks over sea and land.

X

‘Come doun, come doun, my mother dear,
Come aff the castle wa’!
I fear if langer ye stand there,
Ye’ll let yoursell doun fa’.’
[Pg 181]

XI

She’s ta’en a cake o’ the best bread,
A stoup o’ the best wine,
And a’ the keys upon her arm,
And to the yett[307] is gane.

XII

‘O ye’re welcome hame, my ain gude lord,
To your castles and your towers;
Ye’re welcome hame, my ain gude lord,
To your ha’s, but and your bowers.
And welcome to your hame, fair lady!
For a’ that’s here is yours.’

XIII

‘O whatna lady’s that, my lord,
That welcomes you and me?
Gin I be lang about this place,
Her friend I mean to be.’

XIV

Fair Annie served the lang tables
Wi’ the white bread and the wine;
But ay she drank the wan water
To keep her colour fine.

XV

And aye she served the lang tables
Wi’ the white bread and the brown,
And aye she turn’d her round about,
Sae fast the tears fell doun.

XVI

She took a napkin lang and white,
And hung it on a pin;
It was to wipe away the tears,
As she gaed out and in.
[Pg 182]

XVII

When bells were rung and mass was sung,
And a’ men bound for bed,
The bridegroom and the bonny Bride
In ae chamber were laid.

XVIII

Fair Annie’s ta’en a harp in her hand,
To harp thir twa asleep;
But ay, as she harpit and she sang,
Fu’ sairly did she weep.

XIX

‘O gin my sons were seven rats,
Rinnin’ on the castle wa’,
And I mysell a great grey cat,
I soon wad worry them a’!

XX

‘O gin my sons were seven hares,
Rinnin’ owre yon lily lea,
And I mysell a good greyhound,
Soon worried they a’ should be!’

XXI

Then out and spak the bonny young Bride,
In bride-bed where she lay:
‘That’s like my sister Annie,’ she says;
‘Wha is it doth sing and play?

XXII

‘I’ll put on my gown,’ said the new-come Bride,
‘And my shoes upon my feet;
I will see wha doth sae sadly sing,
And what is it gars her greet.
[Pg 183]

XXIII

‘What ails you, what ails you, my housekeeper,
That ye mak sic a mane?
Has ony wine-barrel cast its girds,
Or is a’ your white bread gane?’—

XXIV

‘It isna because my wine is spilt,
Or that my white bread’s gane;
But because I’ve lost my true love’s love,
And he’s wed to anither ane.’—

XXV

‘Noo tell me wha was your father?’ she says,
‘Noo tell me wha was your mither?
And had ye ony sister?’ she says,
‘And had ye ever a brither?’—

XXVI

‘The Earl of Wemyss was my father,
The Countess of Wemyss my mither,
Young Elinor she was my sister dear,
And Lord John he was my brither.’—

XXVII

‘If the Earl of Wemyss was your father,
I wot sae was he mine;
And it’s O my sister Annie!
Your love ye sallna tyne[308].

XXVIII

‘Tak your husband, my sister dear;
You ne’er were wrang’d for me,
Beyond a kiss o’ his merry mouth
As we cam owre the sea.
[Pg 184]

XXIX

‘Seven ships, loaded weel,
Cam owre the sea wi’ me;
Ane o’ them will tak me hame,
And six I’ll gie to thee.’

FOOTNOTES:

[306] jimp = slender, trim.

[307] yett = gate.

[308] tyne = lose.


43. The Lass of Lochroyan

I

‘O wha will shoe my bonny foot?
And wha will glove my hand?
And wha will bind my middle jimp[309]
Wi’ a lang, lang linen band?

II

‘O wha will kame[310] my yellow hair,
With a haw bayberry[311] kame?
And wha will be my babe’s father
Till Gregory come hame?’—

III

‘Thy father, he will shoe thy foot,
Thy brother will glove thy hand,
Thy mither will bind thy middle jimp
Wi’ a lang, lang linen band.

IV

‘Thy sister will kame thy yellow hair,
Wi’ a haw bayberry kame;
The Almighty will be thy babe’s father
Till Gregory come hame.’—
[Pg 185]

V

‘And wha will build a bonny ship,
And set it on the sea?
For I will go to seek my love,
My ain love Gregory.’

VI

Up then spak her father dear,
A wafu’ man was he;
‘And I will build a bonny ship,
And set her on the sea.

VII

‘And I will build a bonny ship,
And set her on the sea,
And ye sal gae and seek your love,
Your ain love Gregory.’

VIII

Then he’s gart build a bonny ship,
And set it on the sea,
Wi’ four-and-twenty mariners,
To bear her company.

IX

O he’s gart build a bonny ship,
To sail on the salt sea;
The mast was o’ the beaten gold,
The sails o’ cramoisie[312].

X

The sides were o’ the gude stout aik,
The deck o’ mountain pine,
The anchor o’ the silver shene,
The ropes o’ silken twine.
[Pg 186]

XI

She hadna sail’d but twenty leagues,
But twenty leagues and three,
When she met wi’ a rank reiver[313],
And a’ his companie.

XII

‘Now are ye Queen of Heaven hie,
Come to pardon a’ our sin?
Or are ye Mary Magdalane,
Was born at Bethlehem?’—

XIII

‘I’m no the Queen of Heaven hie,
Come to pardon ye your sin,
Nor am I Mary Magdalane,
Was born in Bethlehem.

XIV

‘But I’m the lass of Lochroyan,
That’s sailing on the sea
To see if I can find my love,
My ain love Gregory.’—

XV

‘O see na ye yon bonny bower?
It’s a’ covered owre wi’ tin?
When thou hast sail’d it round about,
Lord Gregory is within.’

XVI

And when she saw the stately tower,
Shining both clear and bright,
Whilk stood aboon the jawing[314] wave,
Built on a rock of height,
[Pg 187]

XVII

Says, ‘Row the boat, my mariners,
And bring me to the land,
For yonder I see my love’s castle,
Close by the salt sea strand.’

XVIII

She sail’d it round, and sail’d it round,
And loud and loud cried she,
‘Now break, now break your fairy charms,
And set my true-love free!’

XIX

She’s ta’en her young son in her arms,
And to the door she’s gane,
And long she knock’d, and sair she ca’d,
But answer got she nane.

XX

‘O open, open, Gregory!
O open! if ye be within;
For here’s the lass of Lochroyan,
Come far fra kith and kin.

XXI

‘O open the door, Lord Gregory!
O open and let me in!
The wind blows loud and cauld, Gregory,
The rain drops fra my chin.

XXII

‘The shoe is frozen to my foot,
The glove unto my hand,
The wet drops fra my yellow hair,
Na langer dow[315] I stand.’
[Pg 188]

XXIII

O up then spak his ill mither,
—An ill death may she die!
‘Ye’re no the lass of Lochroyan,
She’s far out-owre the sea.

XXIV

‘Awa’, awa’, ye ill woman,
Ye’re no come here for gude;
Ye’re but some witch or wil’ warlock,
Or mermaid o’ the flood.’—

XXV

‘I am neither witch nor wil’ warlock,
Nor mermaid o’ the sea,
But I am Annie of Lochroyan,
O open the door to me!’—

XXVI

‘Gin ye be Annie of Lochroyan,
As I trow thou binna she,
Now tell me of some love-tokens
That pass’d ’tween thee and me.’

XXVII

‘O dinna ye mind, love Gregory,
As we sat at the wine,
We changed the rings frae our fingers?
And I can shew thee thine.

XXVIII

‘O yours was gude, and gude enough,
But ay the best was mine,
For yours was o’ the gude red gowd,
But mine o’ the diamond fine.
[Pg 189]

XXIX

‘Yours was o’ the gude red gowd,
Mine o’ the diamond fine;
Mine was o’ the purest troth,
But thine was false within.’—

XXX

‘If ye be the lass of Lochroyan,
As I kenna thou be,
Tell me some mair o’ the love-tokens
Pass’d between thee and me.’—

XXXI

‘And dinna ye mind, love Gregory!
As we sat on the hill,
Thou twin’d me o’ my maidenheid,
Right sair against my will?

XXXII

‘Now open the door, love Gregory!
Open the door! I pray;
For thy young son is in my arms;
And will be dead ere day.’—

XXXIII

‘Ye lie, ye lie, ye ill woman,
So loud I hear ye lie;
For Annie of the Lochroyan
Is far out-owre the sea.’

XXXIV

Fair Annie turn’d her round about:
‘Weel, sine that it be sae,
May ne’er woman that has borne a son
Hae a heart sae fu’ o’ wae!
[Pg 190]

XXXV

‘Tak down, tak down that mast o’ gowd,
Set up a mast of tree;
It disna become a forsaken lady
To sail sae royallie.’

XXXVI

When the cock had crawn, and the day did dawn,
And the sun began to peep,
Up then raise Lord Gregory,
And sair, sair did he weep.

XXXVII

‘O I hae dream’d a dream, mither,
I wish it may bring good!
That the bonny lass of Lochroyan
At my bower window stood.

XXXVIII

‘O I hae dream’d a dream, mither,
The thought o’t gars me greet!
That fair Annie of Lochroyan
Lay dead at my bed-feet.’—

XXXIX

‘Gin it be for Annie of Lochroyan
That ye mak a’ this mane,
She stood last night at your bower-door,
But I hae sent her hame.’—

XL

‘O wae betide ye, ill woman,
An ill death may ye die!
That wadna open the door yoursell
Nor yet wad waken me.’
[Pg 191]

XLI

O he’s gane down to yon shore-side,
As fast as he could dree,
And there he saw fair Annie’s bark
A rowing owre the sea.

XLII

‘O Annie, Annie,’ loud he cried,
‘O Annie, O Annie, bide!’
But ay the mair he cried ‘Annie,’
The braider grew the tide.

XLIII

‘O Annie, Annie, dear Annie,
Dear Annie, speak to me!’
But ay the louder he ’gan call,
The louder roar’d the sea.

XLIV

The wind blew loud, the waves rose hie
And dash’d the boat on shore;
Fair Annie’s corpse was in the faem,
The babe rose never more.

XLV

Lord Gregory tore his gowden locks
And made a wafu’ moan;
Fair Annie’s corpse lay at his feet,
His bonny son was gone.

XLVI

O cherry, cherry was her cheek,
And gowden was her hair,
And coral, coral was her lips,
Nane might with her compare!
[Pg 192]

XLVII

Then first he kiss’d her pale, pale cheek,
And syne he kiss’d her chin,
And syne he kiss’d her wane, wane lips,
There was na breath within.

XLVIII

‘O wae betide my ill mither,
An ill death may she die!
She turn’d my true-love frae my door,
Who cam so far to me.

XLIX

‘O wae betide my ill mither,
An ill death may she die!
She has no been the deid[316] o’ ane,
But she’s been the deid of three.’

L

Then he’s ta’en out a little dart,
Hung low down by his gore[317],
He thrust it through and through his heart,
And words spak never more.

FOOTNOTES:

[309] jimp = slim.

[310] kame = comb.

[311] haw bayberry =? a corruption for ‘braw ivory’: or bayberry may = laurel-wood.

[312] cramoisie = crimson.

[313] reiver = robber.

[314] jawing = surging.

[315] dow = can.

[316] deid = death.

[317] gore = skirt, waist.


[Pg 193]

44. Young Bekie

I

Young Bekie was as brave a knight
As ever sail’d the sea;
And he’s doen him to the court of France,
To serve for meat and fee.

II

He had nae been i’ the court of France
A twelvemonth nor sae long,
Til he fell in love with the king’s daughter,
And was thrown in prison strong.

III

The king he had but ae daughter,
Burd Isbel was her name;
And she has to the prison-house gane,
To hear the prisoner’s mane.

IV

‘O gin a lady wou’d borrow[318] me,
At her stirrup-foot I wou’d rin;
Or gin a widow wou’d borrow me,
I wou’d swear to be her son.

V

‘Or gin a virgin wou’d borrow me,
I wou’d wed her wi’ a ring;
I’d gie her ha’s, I’d gie her bowers,
The bonny towrs o’ Linne.’

VI

O barefoot, barefoot gaed she but[319],
And barefoot came she ben[320];
It was no for want o’ hose and shoone,
Nor time to put them on;
[Pg 194]

VII

But a’ for fear that her father dear
Had heard her making din:
She’s stown the keys o’ the prison-house door
And latten the prisoner gang.

VIII

O whan she saw him, Young Bekie,
Her heart was wondrous sair!
For the mice but and the bold rottons[321]
Had eaten his yallow hair.

IX

She’s gi’en him a shaver for his beard,
A comber till his hair,
Five hunder pound in his pocket,
To spen’ and nae to spair.

X

She’s gi’en him a steed was good in need,
An’ a saddle o’ royal bone[322],
A leash o’ hounds o’ ae litter,
And Hector callèd one.

XI

Atween this twa a vow was made,
’Twas made full solemnly.
That or three years was come an’ gane,
Well married they should be.

XII

He had nae been in ’s ain country
A twelvemonth till an end,
Till he’s forc’d to marry a duke’s daughter,
Or than[323] lose a’ his land.
[Pg 195]

XIII

‘Ohon, alas!’ says Young Bekie,
‘I know not what to dee;
For I canno win to Burd Isbel,
An’ she kensnae to come to me.’

XIV

O it fell once upon a day
Burd Isbel fell asleep,
And up it starts the Billy Blind[324],
And stood at her bed-feet.

XV

‘O waken, waken, Burd Isbel,
How can you sleep so soun’,
Whan this is Bekie’s wedding day,
An’ the marriage gaïn on?

XVI

‘Ye do ye to your mither’s bowr,
Think neither sin nor shame;
An’ ye tak twa o’ your mither’s marys[325],
To keep ye frae thinking lang.

XVII

‘Ye dress yoursel’ in the red scarlèt,
An’ your marys in dainty green,
An’ ye pit girdles about your middles
Wou’d buy an earldome.

XVIII

‘O ye gang down by yon sea-side,
An’ down by yon sea-stran’;
Sae bonny will the Hollan’s boats
Come rowin’ till your han’.
[Pg 196]

XIX

‘Ye set your milke-white foot abord,
Cry, Hail ye, Domine!
An’ I shal be the steerer o’t,
To row you o’er the sea.’

XX

She’s tane her till her mither’s bowr,
Thought neither sin nor shame,
And she took twa o’ her mither’s marys,
To keep her frae thinking lang.

XXI

She dress’d hersel’ i’ the red scarlèt,
Her marys i’ dainty green,
And they pat girdles about their middles
Wou’d buy an earldome.

XXII

And they gid down by yon sea-side,
And down by yon sea-stran’;
Sae bonny did the Hollan’s boats
Come rowin’ to their han’.

XXIII

She set her milke-white foot on board,
Cried, Hail ye, Domine!
And the Billy Blind was the steerer o’t,
To row her o’er the sea.

XXIV

Whan she came to young Bekie’s gate,
She heard the music play;
Sae well she kent frae a’ she heard,
It was his wedding day.
[Pg 197]

XXV

She’s pitten her han’ in her pocket,
Gi’en the porter guineas three;
‘Hae, tak ye that, ye proud portèr,
Bid the bride-groom speake to me.’

XXVI

O whan that he cam up the stair,
He fell low down on his knee:
He hail’d the king, and he hail’d the queen,
And he hail’d him, Young Bekie.

XXVII

‘O I’ve been porter at your gates
This thirty years an’ three;
But there’s three ladies at them now,
Their like I never did see.

XXVIII

‘There’s ane o’ them dress’d in red scarlèt,
An’ twa in dainty green,
An’ they hae girdles about their middles
Wou’d buy an earldome.’

XXIX

Then out it spake the bierly[326] bride,
Was a’ goud to the chin;
‘Gin she be braw without,’ she says,
‘We’s be as braw within.’

XXX

Then up it starts him, Young Bekie,
And the tears was in his e’e:
‘I’ll lay my life it’s Burd Isbel,
Come o’er the sea to me.’
[Pg 198]

XXXI

O quickly ran he down the stair,
And whan he saw ’t was shee,
He kindly took her in his arms,
And kiss’d her tenderly.

XXXII

‘O hae ye forgotten, Young Bekie,
The vow ye made to me,
Whan I took you out o’ the prison strong,
Whan ye was condemn’d to die?

XXXIII

‘I gae you a steed was good in need,
An’ a saddle o’ royal bone,
A leash o’ hounds o’ ae litter,
An’ Hector callèd one.’

XXXIV

It was well kent what the lady said,
That it wasnae a lee,
For at ilka word the lady spake,
The hound fell at her knee.

XXXV

‘Tak hame, tak hame your daughter dear,
A blessing gae her wi’!
For I maun marry my Burd Isbel,
That’s come o’er the sea to me.’

XXXVI

‘Is this the custom o’ your house,
Or the fashion o’ your lan’,
To marry a maid in a May mornin’,
An’ to send her back at even?’

FOOTNOTES:

[318] borrow = ransom.

[319] but = out.

[320] ben = in.

[321] rottons = rats.

[322] royal bone = ivory.

[323] Or than = Or else.

[324] Billy Blind = a friendly household fairy. See p. 80.

[325] marys = maids.

[326] bierly = stately.


[Pg 199]

45. Young Beichan
(Another version of the foregoing)

I

In London was Young Beichan born,
He long’d strange countries for to see;
But he was ta’en by a savage Moor
Who handled him right cruellie.

II

For he view’d the fashions of that land,
Their way of worship viewèd he;
But to Mahound or Termagant
Would Beichan never bend a knee.

III

So thro’ every shoulder they’ve bored a bore,
And thro’ every bore they’ve putten a tree,
And they have made him trail the wine
And spices on his fair bodie.

IV

They’ve casten him in a dungeon deep,
Where he could neither hear nor see;
And fed him on nought but bread and water
Till he for hunger’s like to die.

V

This Moor he had but ae daughter,
Her name was callèd Susie Pye,
And every day as she took the air
She heard Young Beichan sadly crie:

VI

‘My hounds they all run masterless,
My hawks they flie from tree to tree,
My youngest brother will heir my lands;
Fair England again I’ll never see!
[Pg 200]

VII

‘O were I free as I hae been,
And my ship swimming once more on sea,
I’d turn my face to fair England
And sail no more to a strange countrie!’

VIII

Young Beichan’s song for thinking on
All night she never closed her e’e;
She’s stown[327] the keys from her father’s head
Wi’ mickle gold and white monie.

IX

And she has open’d the prison doors:
I wot she open’d twa or three
Ere she could come Young Beichan at,
He was lock’d up so curiouslie.

X

‘O hae ye any lands or rents,
Or cities in your own countrie,
Cou’d free you out of prison strong
And cou’d maintain a lady free?’—

XI

‘O London city is my own,
And other cities twa or three;
I’ll give them all to the lady fair
That out of prison will set me free.’

XII

O she has bribed her father’s men
Wi’ mickle gold and white monie,
She’s gotten the keys of the prison strong,
And she has set Young Beichan free.
[Pg 201]

XIII

She’s fed him upon the good spice-cake,
The Spanish wine and the malvoisie;
She’s broken a ring from off her finger
And to Beichan half of it gave she.

XIV

‘Go set your foot on good shipboard,
And haste you back to your own countrie,
But before that seven years has an end,
Come back again, love, and marry me.’

XV

It was long or seven years had an end
She long’d full sore her love to see;
So she’s set her foot on good ship-board
And turn’d her back on her own countrie.

XVI

She’s sailèd east, she’s sailèd west,
She’s sailèd all across the sea,
And when she came to fair England
The bells were ringing merrilie.

XVII

‘O whose are a’ yon flock o’ sheep?
And whose are a’ yon flock o’ kye[328]?
And whose are a’ yon pretty castles,
That I so often do pass by?’

XVIII

‘O they are a’ Lord Beichan’s sheep,
And they are a’ Lord Beichan’s kye,
And they are a’ Lord Beichan’s castles
That you so often do pass by.
[Pg 202]

XIX

‘O there’s a wedding in yonder ha’,
Has lasted thirty days and three;
Lord Beichan will not bed wi’ his bride
For love of one that’s ’yond the sea.’

XX

When she came to Young Beichan’s gate
She tirlèd[329] softly at the pin;
So ready was the proud portèr
To open and let this lady in.

XXI

‘Is this Young Beichan’s gates?’ she says,
‘Or is that noble lord within?’—
‘He’s up the stairs wi’ his bonny bride,
For this is the day o’ his weddin’.’—

XXII

‘O has he taken a bonny bride,
And has he clean forgotten me?’
And sighing said that ladye gay,
‘I wish I were in my own countrie!’

XXIII

She’s putten her hand in her pockèt
And gi’en the porter guineas three;
Says, ‘Take ye that, ye proud portèr,
And bid the bridegroom speak with me.’

XXIV

And she has ta’en her gay gold ring,
That with her love she brake so free;
Says, ‘Gie him that, ye proud portèr,
And bid the bridegroom speak with me.’
[Pg 203]

XXV

O when the porter came up the stair,
He’s kneelèd low upon his knee:
‘Won[330] up, won up, ye proud portèr,
And what makes a’ this courtesie?’—

XXVI

‘O I’ve been porter at your gates
I’m sure this thirty years and three,
But there is a lady stands thereat
The fairest I did ever see.’

XXVII

It’s out then spake the bride’s mother,
—Aye, and an angry woman was she—
‘Ye might have excepted our bonny bride,
And twa or three of our companie.’

XXVIII

‘My dame, your daughter’s fair enough,
And aye the fairer mote she be!
But the fairest time that ever she was,
She’ll no compare wi’ this ladye.

XXIX

‘For on every finger she has a ring,
And on the mid-finger she has three,
And as mickle gold she has on her brow
’Would buy an earldome o’ land to me.

XXX

‘And this golden ring that’s broken in twa,
She sends the half o’ this golden ring,
And bids you speak with a lady fair,
That out o’ prison did you bring.’
[Pg 204]

XXXI

Then up and started Young Beichan
And sware so loud by Our Ladye,
‘It can be none but Susie Pye,
That has come over the sea to me!

XXXII

O quickly ran he down the stair,
Of fifteen steps he made but three;
He’s ta’en his bonny love in his arms
And kiss’d and kiss’d her tenderlie.

XXXIII

‘O have ye ta’en another bride,
And have ye quite forsaken me?
And have ye clean forgotten her
That gave you life and libertie?’

XXXIV

She’s lookèd over her left shoulder
To hide the tears stood in her e’e;
‘Now fare-thee-well, Young Beichan,’ she says—
‘I’ll strive to think no more on thee.’

XXXV

‘O never, never, Susie Pye,
For surely this can never be,
That ever I shall wed but her
That’s done and dreed[331] so much for me!’

XXXVI

Then up bespake the bride’s mother—
She never was heard to speak so free:
‘Ye’ll not forsake my only daughter,
Though Susie Pye has cross’d the sea.’
[Pg 205]

XXXVII

‘Take home, take home your daughter, madam,
She’s never a bit the worse for me;
For saving a kiss of her bonny lips
Of your daughter’s body I am free.’

XXXVIII

He’s ta’en her by the milk-white hand
And led her to yon fountain-stone[332];
He’s changed her name from Susie Pye
And call’d her his bonny love Lady Joan.

FOOTNOTES:

[327] stown = stolen.

[328] kye = kine, cattle.

[329] tirlèd = rattled.

[330] won = win, get.

[331] dreed = suffered.

[332] fountain-stone = font.


46. Childe Waters

I

Childe Waters in his stable stood
Stroking his milk-white steed:
To him came a fair young lady
As ever wore woman’s weed.

II

Says, ‘Christ you save, Childe Waters!’
Says, ‘Christ you save and see!
My girdle of gold, which was too long,
Is now too short for me.

III

‘And all is with one child of yours
I feel stir at my side:
My gown of green, it is too strait;
Before it was too wide.’—
[Pg 206]

IV

‘If the child be mine, Burd Ellen,’ he said,
‘Be mine as you do swear,
Take you Cheshire and Lancashire both,
And make that child your heir.’

V

She says, ‘I would rather have one kiss,
Childe Waters, of thy mouth
Than I would have Cheshire and Lancashire both,
That lies by north and south.’—

VI

‘To-morrow, Ellen, I must ride
Far into the north countrye.’—
‘Then I will run low by your side:
Your foot-page let me be!’—

VII

‘If you will be my foot-page, Ellen,
As you do tell it me,
Then you must cut your gown of green
An inch above your knee.’

VIII

Childe Waters leapt on his milk-white steed,
And fast away did ride:
Burd Ellen has kilted her gay clothing,
And ran low by his side.

IX

All this long day Childe Waters rode,
She barefoot by his side;
Yet was he never so courteous a knight
As to say, ‘Burd Ellen, ride.’
[Pg 207]

X

He has ridden, and she has run,
And barefoot through the broom;
Yet was he never so courteous a knight
As to say, ‘Put on your shoon.’

XI

‘Ride softly,’ she said, ‘Childe Waters!
O why do you ride so fast?
The child which is no man’s but yours
My body it will brast.’

XII

He has ridden on high horseback,
And she’s run low beside,
Until they came to a wan water—
I think men call it Clyde.

XIII

Says, ‘See’st yon water, Ellen,
That flows from bank to brim?’—
‘I trust to God, Childe Waters
You will never see me swim.’

XIV

The firsten step Burd Ellen stept,
The water came to her knee;
‘Ochon, alas!’ said Burd Ellen,
‘This water’s o’er deep for me!’

XV

The neisten step Burd Ellen stept,
The water came to her middle;
And sighing said Burd Ellen,
‘I’ve wetted my golden girdle!’
[Pg 208]

XVI

The thirden step Burd Ellen slept,
The water came to her pap;
And the bairn that was in her two sides
For cold began to quake.

XVII

‘Lie still, lie still, my own dear babe!
Ye work your mother woe;
Your father that rides on high horseback
Cares little for us two.’

XVIII

About the midst of Clyde-water
There was a yeard-fast[333] stone:
He lightly turn’d his horse about
And took Burd Ellen on.

XIX

When she over the water won,
She then came to his knee:
Says, ‘How far is it to your lodgin’
Where we this night may be?’—

XX

‘Seest thou not yon castle, Ellen?
Of red gold shines the gate:
There is twenty-and-four fair ladies
And one my worldly mate.

XXI

‘Seest thou not yon castle, Ellen?
Of red gold shines the tower:
There is twenty-and-four fair ladies,
And one my paramour.
[Pg 209]

XXII

‘Seest thou not yon castle, Ellen,
That shines so fair to see?
There’s a lady in it, Ellen,
Will sunder you and me.’—

XXIII

‘I do see the castle, Childe Waters:
Of red gold shines the gate.
God give you good then of yourself,
And of your worldly mate!

XXIV

‘I wish no ill to your lady;
She ne’er wish’d none to me;
But I wish the maid most of your love
Dries[334] this and more for thee.

XXV

‘I wish no ill to your lady;
She ne’er comes in my thought;
But I wish the maid most of your love
That dearest has you bought.’—

XXVI

‘But my hounds shall eat of the bread of wheat,
And you of the bread of bran;
And you shall curse the heavy hour
That ever your love began.

XXVII

‘But my horse shall drink of the good red wine,
And you of the water wan;
And you will sigh and say “Alas,
That ever I loved a man!”’—
[Pg 210]

XXVIII

‘O, I will drink of the wan water,
And eat of the bread of bran;
And aye will I bless the happy hour
That ever I loved a man.’

XXIX

O four-and-twenty gay ladies
Were playing at the ball,
But Ellen, the fairest lady,
Must bring his steed to stall.

XXX

And four-and-twenty gay ladies
Were playing at the chess,
But Ellen, the fairest lady,
Must bring his horse to grass.

XXXI

When bells were rung, and mass was sung,
And a’ men bound to meat,
Burd Ellen was at the bye-table
Among the foot-men set.

XXXII

‘O eat and drink, my bonny boy,
The white bread and the beer.’—
‘The never a bit can I eat or drink,
My heart’s so full of fear.’—

XXXIII

‘O eat and drink, my bonny boy,
The white bread and the wine.’—
‘O I cannot eat nor drink, master,
My heart’s so full of pine[335].’
[Pg 211]

XXXIV

But out and spake Childe Waters’ mother,
And a skilly[336] dame was she:
‘Where met ye with that little foot-page
That looks so sad on thee?

XXXV

‘Sometimes his cheek is rosy red,
And sometimes deadly wan;
He’s liker a woman big with bairn
Than a young lord’s serving-man.’

XXXVI

And then bespake Childe Waters’ sister,
And these were the words said she:
‘You have the prettiest foot-page, brother,
Let him go into chamber with me.’—

XXXVII

‘It is more meet for a little foot-page,
That has run through moss and mire,
To take his supper upon his knee,
And sit by the kitchen fire,
Than to go into chamber with any lady
That wears so rich attire.

XXXVIII

‘Rise up, rise up, my bonny boy;
Give my horse corn and hay.’—
‘O that I will, my master dear,
As quickly as I may.’

XXXIX

She’s ta’en the hay under her arm,
The corn into her hand,
And she’s gone to the great stable
As fast as e’er she can.
[Pg 212]

XL

‘O room ye round, my bonny brown steeds!
O room ye near the wall!
For this pain that strikes me through my sides
Full soon will gar me fall.’

XLI

She’s lean’d her back against the wall,
Strong travail seized her on;
And even among the great horse’ feet
Burd Ellen brought forth her son.

XLII

And that beheard Childe Waters’ mother,
Sat in her bower alone.
‘Rise up, rise up, Childe Waters,’ she said,
‘Seek neither hose nor shoon!’

XLIII

She said, ‘Rise up, thou Childe Waters,
I think thou’rt a cursèd man;
For yonder’s a ghost in thy stable
That grievously doth groan,
Or else some woman labours of child,
She is so woe-begone.’

XLIV

But up then rose Childe Waters,
Stay’d neither for hose nor shoon,
And he’s doen him to the stable-door
Wi’ the clear light of the moon.

XLV

And when he came to the stable-door,
Full still there he did stand,
That he might hear Burd Ellen,
How she made her monand[337].
[Pg 213]

XLVI

She said, ‘Lullabyè, my own dear child!
Lùllabye, dear child dear!
I would thy father were a king,
Thy mother laid on a bier!’—

XLVII

‘O open the door, Burd Ellen!
O open and let me in!
I want to see if my steed be fed,
Or my greyhounds fit to rin.’—

XLVIII

‘How can I open, how shall I open,
How can I open to thee,
When lying amang your great steeds’ feet,
Your young son on my knee?’

XLIX

He strack the door hard wi’ his foot,
And push’d it wi’ his knee;
And iron locks and iron bars
Into the floor flung he.
‘Be not afraid, Burd Ellen,’ he says,
‘There’s none comes in but me.’

L

‘An asking, an asking, Childe Waters,
An asking I beg of thee:
May the meanest maid about your house
Bring a glass o’ water to me!’

LI

Up he has ta’en his bonny young son,
Gar’d wash him wi’ the milk;
And up he has taken his fair lady,
Gar’d row[338] her in the silk.
[Pg 214]

LII

‘Peace now,’ he said, ‘Burd Ellen,
And be of good cheer, I pray;
Your bridal and your churching both
Shall be upon one day.’

FOOTNOTES:

[333] yeard-fast = fast in earth.

[334] Dries = endures.

[335] pine = pain.

[336] skilly = wise, knowledgeable.

[337] monand = moaning.

[338] row = wrap.


47. Childe Maurice

I

Childe Maurice hunted the Silver Wood,
He whistled and he sang:
‘I think I see the woman yonder
That I have lovèd lang.’

II

He callèd to his little man John,
‘You don’t see what I see;
For yonder I see the very first woman
That ever lovèd me.’

III

He says, ‘Come hither, my little man John,
That I pay meat and fee,
For thou shalt go to John Steward’s wife
And greet her well from me;

IV

‘And as it falls as many times
As knots be knit in a kell[339],
Or merchantmen go to leeve[340] Londòn
To buy ware or to sell;
[Pg 215]

V

‘And as it falls as many times
As any heart can think,
Or school-masters are in any school
Writing with pen and ink.

VI

‘Here is a glove, a glove,’ he says,
‘Lined wi’ the silver-gris[341];
Bid her to come to Silver Wood
To speak with Childe Maurice.

VII

‘And here is a ring, a ring,’ he says,
‘A ring of the precious stone:
He prays her come to Silver Wood
And ask the leave of none.’—

VIII

‘Well do I love your errand, master,
But better I love my life.
Would ye have me go to John Steward’s castle,
To tryst away his wife?’—

IX

‘Do not I give you meat?’ he says,
‘Do not I give you fee?
How daur you stop my errand
When that I bid you flee?’

X

This little man John one while he yode[342],
Another while he ran;
Until he came to John Steward’s castle
I wis he never blan[343].
[Pg 216]

XI

He ask’d no porter’s leave, but ran
Up hall and bower free,
And when he came to John Steward’s wife,
Says, ‘God you save and see!

XII

‘I come, I am come from Childe Maurice—
A message unto thee!
And Childe Maurice he greets you well,
And ever so well from me,

XIII

‘And as it falls as oftentimes
As knots be knit in a kell,
Or merchantmen go to leeve Londòn
To buy ware or to sell;

XIV

‘And as oftentimes he greets you well
As any heart can think,
Or schoolmasters are in any school
Writing with pen and ink.

XV

‘Here is a glove, a glove,’ he says,
‘Lined wi’ the silver-gris;
Ye’re bidden to come to Silver Wood
To speak with Childe Maurice.

XVI

‘And here is a ring, a ring of gold,
Set wi’ the precious stone:
He prays you to come to Silver Wood
And ask the leave of none.’—
[Pg 217]

XVII

‘Now peace, now peace, thou little man John,
For Christ’s sake I pray thee!
For gif my lord heard one o’ thy words
Thou must be hangèd hie!’

XVIII

O aye she stampèd with her foot
And winkèd with her e’e;
But for all that she could say or do
Forbidden he would not be.

XIX

‘It’s surely to my bower-woman,
It cannot be to me!’—
‘Nay, I brought it to John Steward’s lady,
And I trow that thou art she.’

XX

Out then spake the wily nurse,
Wi’ the bairn just on her knee:
‘If this be come from Childe Maurice
It’s dear welcome to me.’—

XXI

‘Thou liest, thou liest, thou wily nurse,
So loud as I hear thee lie!
I brought it to John Steward’s lady,
And I trow thou be not she.’

XXII

Then up and rose him John Steward,
And an angry man was he:
‘Did I think there was a lord in the world
My lady loved but me!’
[Pg 218]

XXIII

He struck the table wi’ his foot,
And kepp’d[344] it with his knee,
Till silver cup and ezar[345] dish
In flinders they did flee.

XXIV

He call’d unto his horse-keeper,
‘Make ready you my steed!’
So did he to his chamberlain,
‘Go fetch my lady’s weed[346]!’

XXV

O he dress’d himself in the holland smock,
[The mantle and the snood],
And he cast a lease[347] upon his back,
And he rode to Silver Wood.

XXVI

And when he came to Silver Wood,
No body saw he there
But Childe Maurice upon a block
Combing his yellow hair.

XXVII

Childe Maurice sat in Silver Wood,
He whistled and he sang:
‘I think I see the woman come
That I have lovèd lang.’

XXVIII

But then stood up him Childe Maurice
His mother to help from horse:
‘O alas, alas!’ says Childe Maurice,
‘My mother was ne’er so gross!’
[Pg 219]

XXIX

‘No wonder, no wonder,’ John Steward he said,
‘My lady loved thee well,
For the fairest part of my body
Is blacker than thy heel.’

XXX

John Steward had a little brown sword
That hung low down by his knee;
He has cut the head off Childe Maurice
And the body put on a tree.

XXXI

And he prick’d the head on his sword’s point,
Went singing there beside,
And he rode till he came to the castle
Whereas his lady ly’ed[348].

XXXII

And when he came to his lady—
Look’d o’er the castle-wall—
He threw the head into her lap,
Saying ‘Lady, tak’[349] the ball!’

XXXIII

Says, ‘Dost thou know Childe Maurice’ head,
If that thou dost it see?
And lap it soft, and kiss it oft,
For thou loved’st him better than me.’

XXXIV

But when she look’d on Childe Maurice’ head
She ne’er spake words but three:
‘I never bare no child but one,
And you have slain him, trulye.’
[Pg 220]

XXXV

And she has taken the bloody head
And kiss’d it, cheek and chin:
‘I was once as full o’ Childe Maurice
As the hip is o’ the stane.

XXXVI

‘I got him in my mother’s bower
Wi’ mickle sin and shame;
I brought him up in the good greenwood
Under the shower and rain.’

XXXVII

And she has taken her Childe Maurice
And kiss’d him, mouth and chin:
‘O better I love my Childe Maurice
Than all my royal kin!’

XXXVIII

‘Woe be to thee!’ John Steward he said,
And a woe, woe man was he;
‘For if you had told me he was your son
He had never been slain by me.’

XXXIX

Says, ‘Wicked be my merry men all,
I gave meat, drink and cloth!
But could they not have holden me
When I was in all that wrath?’

FOOTNOTES:

[339] kell = hair-net, i. e. give her as many greetings as there are meshes in a net.

[340] leeve = lovely.

[341] silver-gris = a fur of silver-grey.

[342] yode = walked.

[343] blan = stopped, stayed.

[344] kepp’d = caught.

[345] ezar =? for ‘mazer,’ maple.

[346] weed = clothing.

[347] lease = leash, thong.

[348] ly’ed = lived.

[349] tak’ = take, catch.


[Pg 221]

48. Brown Adam

I

O wha would wish the wind to blau
Or the green leaves fa’ therewith?
Or wha would wish a lealer love
Than Brown Adam the Smith?

II

But they hae banish’d Brown Adam,
Frae father and frae mither;
And they hae banish’d Brown Adam,
Frae sister and frae brither.

III

And they hae banish’d Brown Adam
Frae the flow’r o’ a’ his kin;
And he’s biggit[350] a bow’r i’ the good green-wood
Between his ladye and him.

IV

O it fell once upon a day
Brown Adam he thought long,
And he is to the green-wood
As fast as he could gang.

V

He has ta’en his bow his arm over,
His sword intill his han’,
And he is to the good green-wood
To hunt some venison.

VI

O he’s shot up, and he’s shot down
The bunting on the breer[351];
And he’s sent it hame to his ladye,
Bade her be of good cheer.
[Pg 222]

VII

O he’s shot up, and he’s shot down,
The linnet on the thorn,
And sent it hame to his ladye,
Said he’d be hame the morn.

VIII

When he cam’ till his lady’s bow’r-door
He stood a little forbye,
And there he heard a fu’ fause knight
Tempting his gay ladye.

IX

O he’s ta’en out a gay gold ring
Had cost him mony a poun’;
‘O grant me love for love, ladye,
And this sall be your own.’—

X

‘I lo’e Brown Adam well,’ she says,
‘I wot sae does he me;
I wadna gie Brown Adam’s love
For nae fause knight I see.’

XI

Out he has ta’en a purse of gold
Was a’ fu’ to the string;
‘O grant me love for love, ladye,
And a’ this sall be thine.’—

XII

‘I lo’e Brown Adam well,’ she says,
‘An’ I ken sae does he me;
An’ I wadna be your light leman
For mair nor ye could gie.’
[Pg 223]

XIII

Then out he drew his lang, lang bran’,
And he’s flash’d it in her e’en:
‘Now grant me love for love, lady,
Or thro’ you this sall gang.’—

XIV

‘O,’ sighing said that gay ladye,
‘Brown Adam tarries lang!’—
Then up and starts him Brown Adam,
Says, ‘I’m just to your hand.’

XV

He’s gar’d him leave his bow, his bow,
He’s gar’d him leave his brand;
He’s gar’d him leave a better pledge—
Four fingers o’ his right hand.

FOOTNOTES:

[350] biggit = built.

[351] breer = briar.


49. Jellon Grame

I

O Jellon Grame sat in Silverwood,
He sharp’d his broadsword lang;
And he has call’d his little foot-page
An errand for to gang.

II

‘Win up, my bonny boy,’ he says,
‘As quickly as ye may;
For ye maun gang for Lillie Flower
Before the break of day.’—

III

The boy has buckled his belt about,
And through the green-wood ran;
And he came to the ladye’s bower
Before the day did dawn.
[Pg 224]

IV

‘O sleep ye, wake ye, Lillie Flower?
The red sun’s on the rain;
Ye’re bidden come to Silverwood,
But I doubt ye’ll never win hame.’

V

She hadna ridden a mile, a mile,
A mile but barely three,
Ere she came to a new-made grave
Beneath a green aik tree.

VI

O then up started Jellon Grame
Out of a bush thereby;
‘Light down, light down, now, Lillie Flower,
For it’s here that ye maun lye.’

VII

She lighted aff her milk-white steed,
And kneel’d upon her knee;
‘O mercy, mercy, Jellon Grame,
For I’m no prepared to die!

VIII

‘Your bairn, that stirs between my sides,
Maun shortly see the light;
But to see it weltering in my blood
Would be a piteous sight.’—

IX

‘O should I spare your life,’ he says,
‘Until that bairn were born,
Full weel I ken your auld father
Would hang me on the morn.’—
[Pg 225]

X

‘O spare my life now, Jellon Grame!
My father ye needna dread!
I’ll keep my babe in gude green-wood,
Or wi’ it I’ll beg my bread.’—

XI

He took nae pity on Lillie Flower,
Though she for life did pray;
But pierced her through the fair body
As at his feet she lay.

XII

He felt nae pity for Lillie Flower,
Where she was lying dead;
But he felt some for the bonny bairn
That lay weltering in her bluid.

XIII

Up has he ta’en that bonny boy,
Given him to nurses nine;
Three to sleep, and three to wake,
And three to go between.

XIV

And he bred up that bonny boy,
Call’d him his sister’s son;
And he thought nae eye could ever see
The deed that had been done.

XV

O so it fell upon a day,
When hunting they might be,
They rested them in Silverwood,
Beneath that green aik tree.
[Pg 226]

XVI

And many were the green-wood flowers
Upon that grave that grew,
And marvell’d much that bonny boy
To see their lovely hue.

XVII

‘What’s paler than the primrose wan?
What’s redder than the rose?
What’s fairer than the lilye flower
On this wee know[352] that grows?’—

XVIII

O out and answer’d Jellon Grame,
And he spak hastilie:
‘Your mother was a fairer flower,
And lies beneath this tree.

XIX

‘More pale she was, when she sought my grace,
Than primrose pale and wan;
And redder than rose her ruddy heart’s blood,
That down my broadsword ran.’—

XX

Wi’ that the boy has bent his bow,
It was baith stout and lang;
And thro’ and thro’ him, Jellon Grame,
He gar’d an arrow gang.

XXI

Says,—‘Lie ye there, now, Jellon Grame!
My malisoun gang you wi’!
The place that my mother lies buried in
Is far too good for thee.’

FOOTNOTES:

[352] wee know = little hillock.


[Pg 227]

50. Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard

O wow for day!
And, dear, gin it were day!
Gin it were day, and I were away—
For I ha’ na lang time to stay.

I

As it fell on one holy-day,
As many be in the year,
When young men and maids together did go
Their matins and mass to hear,

II

Little Musgrave came to the church-door—
The priest was at private mass—
But he had more mind of the fair women
Than he had of Our Lady’s grace.

III

The one of them was clad in green,
Another was clad in pall[353],
And then came in my Lord Barnard’s wife,
The fairest amongst them all.

IV

She cast an eye on Little Musgrave
As bright as the summer sun;
And then bethought him Little Musgrave,
‘This lady’s heart have I won.’

V

Quoth she, ‘I have loved thee, Little Musgrave,
Full long and many a day.’—
‘So have I loved you, fair ladye,
Yet never word durst I say.’—
[Pg 228]

VI

‘But I have a bower at Bucklesfordberry,
Full daintily it is dight;
If thou’lt wend thither, thou Little Musgrave,
Thou’s lig[354] in my arms all night.’

VII

Quoth he, ‘I thank thee, fair ladye,
This kindness thou showest to me;
And whether it be to my weal or woe
This night I will lodge with thee.’

VIII

With that beheard a little tiny page,
By his lady’s coach as he ran.
Says, ‘Although I am my lady’s foot-page,
Yet I am Lord Barnard’s man.’

IX

Then he’s cast off his hose and shoon,
Set down his feet and ran,
And where the bridges were broken down
He bent his bow and swam.

X

‘Awake! awake! thou Lord Barnard,
As thou art a man of life!
Little Musgrave is at Bucklesfordberry
Along with thy own wedded wife.’—

XI

‘If this be true, thou little tiny page,
This thing thou tellest to me,
Then all the land in Bucklesfordberry
I freely will give to thee.
[Pg 229]

XII

‘But if it be a lie, thou little tiny page,
This thing thou tellest to me,
On the highest tree in Bucklesfordberry
Then hangèd shall thou be.’

XIII

He callèd up his merry men all:
‘Come saddle me my steed;
This night must I to Bucklesfordberry,
For I never had greater need.’

XIV

But some they whistled, and some they sung,
And some they thus could say,
Whenever Lord Barnard’s horn it blew:
‘Away, Musgrave, away!...

XV

‘Methinks I hear the threstle cock,
Methinks I hear the jay;
Methinks I hear Lord Barnard’s horn,
Away, Musgrave, away!’—

XVI

‘Lie still, lie still, thou little Musgrave,
And huggle me from the cold;
’Tis nothing but a shepherd’s boy
A-driving his sheep to the fold.’

XVII

By this, Lord Barnard came to his door
And lighted a stone upon;
And he’s pull’d out three silver keys,
And open’d the doors each one.
[Pg 230]

XVIII

He lifted up the coverlet,
He lifted up the sheet:
‘Dost thou like my bed, Little Musgrave?
Dost thou find my lady sweet?’—

XIX

‘I find her sweet,’ quoth Little Musgrave,
‘The more ’tis to my pain;
I would gladly give three hundred pounds
That I were on yonder plain.’—

XX

‘Arise, arise, thou Little Musgrave,
And put thy clothès on;
It shall ne’er be said in my country
I have kill’d a naked man.

XXI

‘I have two swords in one scabbard,
They are both sharp and clear;
Take you the best, and I the worst,
We’ll end the matter here.’

XXII

The first stroke Little Musgrave struck,
He hurt Lord Barnard sore;
The next stroke that Lord Barnard struck,
Little Musgrave ne’er struck more.

XXIII

With that bespake this fair lady,
In bed where as she lay:
‘Although thou’rt dead, thou Little Musgrave,
Yet I for thee will pray.
[Pg 231]

XXIV

‘And wish well to thy soul will I
So long as I have life;
So will I not for thee, Barnard,
Although I’m thy wedded wife.’

XXV

He cut her paps from off her breast;
Great pity it was to see
That some drops of this lady’s heart’s blood
Ran trickling down her knee.

XXVI

‘Woe worth you, woe worth, my merry men all,
You were ne’er born for my good!
Why did you not offer to stay my hand
When you saw me wax so wood[355]?

XXVII

‘For I have slain the fairest lady
That ever wore woman’s weed,
Soe I have slain the fairest lady
That ever did woman’s deed.

XXVIII

‘A grave, a grave,’ Lord Barnard cried,
‘To put these lovers in!
But lay my lady on the upper hand,
For she comes of the nobler kin.’

FOOTNOTES:

[353] pall = fine cloth.

[354] lig = lie.

[355] wood = mad, fierce.


[Pg 232]

51. Lord Ingram and Childe Vyet

I

Lord Ingram and Childe Vyet
Were both born in one hall;
Laid both their hearts on one lady;
The worse did them befall.

II

Lord Ingram woo’d Lady Maisry
From father and from mother;
Lord Ingram woo’d Lady Maisry
From sister and from brother;

III

Lord Ingram woo’d Lady Maisry
With leave of all her kin;
And every one gave full consent,
But she said ‘no’ to him.

IV

Now it fell out, upon a day
She was dressing of her head,
That in did come her father dear,
Wearing the gold so red.

V

‘Get up now, Lady Maisry,
Put on your wedding-gown;
For Lord Ingram he will be here,
Your wedding must be done.’—

VI

‘I’d rather be Childe Vyet’s wife,
The white fish for to sell,
Before I were Lord Ingram’s wife,
To wear the silk so well.
[Pg 233]

VII

‘I’d rather be Childe Vyet’s wife,
With him to beg my bread,
Before I were Lord Ingram’s wife,
To wear the gold so red....

VIII

‘O where will I get a bonny boy,
Will win gold to his fee,
And will run unto Childe Vyet
With this letter from me?’—

IX

‘O here I am, the boy,’ says one,
‘Will win gold to my fee,
And carry away any letter
To Childe Vyet from thee.’

X

The first line that Childe Vyet read,
A grievèd man was he;
The next line that Childe Vyet read,
A tear blinded his e’e.
‘I wonder what ails my one brother,
He’ll not let my love be!

XI

‘But I’ll send to my brother’s bridal—
The gammons o’ the swine—
With four and twenty buck and roe,
And ten tun of the wine;
And bid my love be blithe and glad,
And I will follow syne.’
[Pg 234]

XII

There was no groom in that castle
But got a gown of green;
And all was blithe, and all was glad,
But Lady Maisry was neen[356].

XIII

There was no cook in that kitchen
But got a gown of grey;
And all was blithe, and all was glad,
But Lady Maisry was wae.

XIV

O sweetly play’d the merry organs
Within her mother’s bower;
But dumb stood Lady Maisry,
And let the tears down pour.

XV

O sweetly play’d the harp so fine
Within her father’s hall;
But still stood Lady Maisry,
And let the tears down fall.

XVI

’Tween Mary Kirk and the castle
Was all spread o’er with garl[357],
To keep Lady Maisry and her maidens
From tramping on the marl.

XVII

From Mary Kirk to the castle
Was spread a cloth of gold,
To keep Lady Maisry and her maidens
From treading upon the mould.
[Pg 235]

XVIII

When mass was sung, and bells were rung,
And all men bound for bed,
Lord Ingram and Lady Maisry
In one bed they were laid.

XIX

When they were laid into one bed,
It was both soft and warm;
He laid his hand over her side,
Says, ‘I think you are with bairn.’—

XX

‘I told you once, so did I twice,
When ye came for my wooer,
That Childe Vyet, your one brother,
One night lay in my bower.

XXI

‘I told you twice, I told you thrice,
Ere ye came me to wed,
That Childe Vyet, your one brother,
One night lay in my bed.’—

XXII

‘O father your bairn on me, Maisry,
And on no other man;
And I’ll gie him to his dowry
Full fifty ploughs of land.’—

XXIII

‘I will not father my bairn on you,
Nor on no wrongeous man,
Though ye’d give him to his dowry
Five thousand ploughs of land.’
[Pg 236]

XXIV

He has taken out his trusty sword
And laid it between them tway;
Says, ‘Lie you there, you ill woman,
A maid for me till day.’

XXV

Then in it came him Childe Vyet,
Shed back his yellow hair,
And gave Lord Ingram to the heart
A deep wound and a sair.

XXVI

Then up did start him Lord Ingram
Shed back his coal-black hair,
And gave Childe Vyet to the heart
A deep wound and a sair.

XXVII

There was no pity for those two lords,
In bower where they lay slain;
But all was for Lady Maisry,
In bower where she went brain[358].

XXVIII

Says, ‘If I have been an ill woman,
Alas, and woe is me!
And if I have been an ill woman,
A good woman I’ll be.

XXIX

‘Ye’ll take from me my silk attire,
Bring me a palmer’s weed;
And for their sakes the world thoro’
I’ll gang and beg my bread.
[Pg 237]

XXX

‘If I gang a step for Childe Vyet,
For Lord Ingram I’ll gang three;
All for the honour that he paid
At Mary Kirk to me.’

FOOTNOTES:

[356] neen = none, not.

[357] garl =? gravel.

[358] brain = mad.


52. Fair Janet

I

‘Ye maun gang to your father, Janet,
Ye maun gang to him sune;
Ye maun gang to your father, Janet,
In case that his days are dune.’

II

Janet’s awa’ to her father
As fast as she could hie:
‘O what’s your will wi’ me, father?
O what’s your will wi’ me?’—

III

‘My will wi’ you, Fair Janet,’ he said,
‘It is both bed and board;
Some say that ye love Sweet Willie,
But ye maun wed a French lord.’

IV

Janet’s awa to her chamber
As fast as she could go;
Wha’s the first ane that tappèd there,
But Sweet Willie her jo[359]?

V

‘O we maun part this love, Willie,
That has been lang between;
There’s a French lord coming o’er the sea
To wed me wi’ a ring.’—
[Pg 238]

VI

‘If we maun part this love, Janet,
It causeth mickle woe;
If we maun part this love, Janet,
It makes me in mourning go.’—

VII

‘But ye maun gang to your three sisters,
Meg, Marion and Jean;
Tell them to come to Fair Janet,
In case that her days are dune.’

VIII

Willie’s awa’ to his three sisters,
Meg, Marion and Jean:
‘O haste and gang to Fair Janet,
I fear that her days are dune!’

IX

Some drew to them their silken hose,
Some drew to them their shoon,
Some drew to them their silk manteils,
Their coverings to put on;
And they’re awa’ to Fair Janet
By the hie light o’ the moon....

X

‘O I have borne this babe, Willie,
Wi’ mickle toil and pain;
Take hame, take hame your babe, Willie,
For nurse I dare be nane.’

XI

He’s ta’en his young son in his arms
And kiss’d him cheek and chin,
And he’s awa’ to his mother’s bower
By the hie light o’ the moon.
[Pg 239]

XII

‘O open, open, mother!’ he says,
‘O open, and let me in!
The rain rains on my yellow hair
And the dew drops o’er my chin;
And I hae my young son in my arms,—
I fear that his days are dune.’

XIII

Then with her fingers long and sma’
She lifted up the pin,
And with her arms sae long and sma’
Received the baby in.

XIV

‘Gae back, gae back now, Sweet Willie,
And comfort your fair ladye;
For where ye had but ae nourice
Your young son shall hae three.’

XV

Willie he was scarce awa’
And Janet put to bed,
When in and came her father dear:
‘Mak’ haste, and busk[360] the bride!’—

XVI

‘There’s a sair pain in my head, father,
There’s a sair pain in my side;
And ill, O ill I am, father,
This day for to be a bride!’—

XVII

‘O ye maun busk this bonny bride,
And put a gay mantle on;
For she shall wed this auld French lord,
Gin she should die this morn.’
[Pg 240]

XVIII

Some put on the gay green robes,
And some put on the brown;
But Janet put on the scarlet robes,
Shone foremost thro’ the town.

XIX

And some they mounted the black steed,
And some mounted the brown;
But Janet mounted the milk-white steed,
Rode foremost thro’ the town.

XX

‘O wha will guide your horse, Janet?
O wha will guide him best?’—
‘O wha but Willie, my true-love?
He kens I love him best.’

XXI

And when they came to Mary’s kirk
To tie the holy ban’,
Fair Janet’s colour gaed and came,
And her cheek look’d pale and wan.

XXII

When dinner it was past and done,
And dancing to begin,
‘O we’ll go take the bride’s maidens,
And we’ll go fill the ring.’

XXIII

O ben then came the auld French lord,
Saying, ‘Bride, will ye dance wi’ me?’—
‘Awa’, awa’, ye auld French lord!
Your face I downa see.’
[Pg 241]

XXIV

O ben then came Sweet Willie,
He came with ane advance:
‘O I’ll go tak’ the bride’s maidens,
And we’ll go tak’ a dance.’—

XXV

‘I’ve seen ither days wi’ you, Willie,
And so has mony mae[361],
Ye would hae danced wi’ me mysel’,
Let a’ my maidens gae.’

XXVI

O ben now came Sweet Willie,
Saying, ‘Bride, will ye dance wi’ me?’—
‘Ay, by my sooth, and that I will
Gin my back should break in three.’

XXVII

She hadna danced her o’er the floor,
She hadna turn’d but thrice,
When she fell doun at Willie’s feet,
And up did never rise.

XXVIII

Willie’s ta’en the key of his coffer
And gi’en it to his man:
‘Gae hame, and tell my mother dear
My horse he has me slain;
And bid her be kind to my young son,
For father he has nane.’

FOOTNOTES:

[359] jo = sweetheart.

[360] busk = array.

[361] mae = more.


[Pg 242]

53. Old Robin of Portingale

I

God! let never soe old a man
Marry soe young a wife
As did old Robin of Portingale!
He may rue all the days of his life.

II

For the Mayor’s daughter of Lin, God wot,
He chose her to his wife,
And thought to have lived in quietnesse
With her all the dayes of his life.

III

They had not in their wed-bed laid,
Scarcely were both on sleepe,
But up she rose, and forth she goes
To Sir Gyles, and fast can weepe.

IV

Saies, ‘Sleepe you, wake you, faire Sir Gyles?
Or be you not within?
[Or hear you not your true love
That tirleth at the pin?’]—

V

‘But I am waking, sweete,’ he said,
‘Lady, what is your will?’—
I have unbethought[362] me of a wile
How my wed lord we shall spill.

VI

‘Four and twenty knights,’ she sayes,
‘That dwells about this towne,
E’en four and twenty of my next cozens
Will help to ding[363] him downe.’
[Pg 243]

VII

With that beheard his little foot-page,
Was watering his master’s steed;
Soe [sore a hearing it was to him]
His very heart did bleed.

VIII

He mournèd, sikt[364], and wept full sore;
I swear by the Holy Rood
The teares he for his master wept
Were blent water and bloude.

IX

With that beheard his dear mastèr
As he in his garden sate;
Sayes, ‘Ever alack, my little page,
What causes thee to weepe?

X

‘Hath any one done to thee wronge,
Any of thy fellowes here?
Or is any of thy good friends dead,
What makes thee shed such teares?

XI

‘Or if it be my head-cookes-man
Griev’d againe[365] he shall be,
Nor noe man within my house
Shall doe wrong unto thee.’—

XII

‘But it is not your head-cookes-man,
Nor none of his degree;
But or tomorrow, ere it be noone
You are deemèd[366] to die.
[Pg 244]

XIII

‘And of that thanke your head-steward,
And, after, your ladie fair.’—
‘If it be true, my little foot-page,
Of my land I’ll make thee heir.’—

XIV

‘If it be not true, my deare master,
God let me never thye[367].’—
‘If it be not true, thou little foot-page,
A dead corse shalt thou be.’

XV

He callèd down his head-cookes-man
In kitchen supper to dress;
‘All and anon, my deere master!
Anon at your request!’—

XVI

[‘Let supper be drest, and of the best
Let it preparèd be]
And call you downe my faire lady,
This night to supp with mee.’

XVII

And downe then came that fair lady,
’Was clad all in purple and palle[368];
The rings that were upon her fingers
Cast light thorrow the hall.

XVIII

‘What is your will, my owne wed lord,
What is your will with mee?’—
‘’Tis I am sicke, fayre lady,
Sore sicke and like to dye.’—
[Pg 245]

XIX

‘But an you be sicke, my owne wed lord,
Soe sore it grieveth mee;
But my five maidens and my selfe
[Will bedd you presentlye].

XX

‘And at the waking of your first sleepe
You shall have a hott drinke made,
And at the waking of your next sleepe
Your sorrowes will have a slake.’

XXI

He put a silk cote on his backe
’Was thirteen inches folde,
And put a steele cap upon his head
’Was gilded with good red gold.

XXII

And he layd a bright browne sword by his side,
And another at his feete,
And full well knew Old Robin then
Whether he shold wake or sleepe.

XXIII

And about the middle time of the night
Came twenty-four Knights in;
Sir Gyles he was the foremost man,
Soe well he knew that ginne[369].

XXIV

Old Robin with a bright browne sword
Sir Gyles’ head he did winne,
Soe did he all those twenty-four,
Ne’er a one went quicke[370] out [agen];
[Pg 246]

XXV

None but one little foot-page
Crept forth at a window of stone;
And he had two armes when he came in
And [when he went out he had one].

XXVI

Upp then came that ladie light,
With torches burning bright;
Shee thought to have brought Sir Gyles a drinke,
But shee found her owne wed Knight.

XXVII

And the first thing that shee stumbled upon
Was of Sir Gyles his foote;
Sayes, ‘Ever alacke, and woe is me,
Here lies my sweet hart-roote[371]!’

XXVIII

And the second thing shee stumbled upon
Was of Sir Gyles his head;
Sayes, ‘Ever alacke, and woe is me,
Here lyes my true-love deade!’

XXIX

He cut the papps beside her brest,
And bade her wish her will;
And he cutt the eares beside her heade,
And bade her wish on still.

XXX

‘Mickle is the men’s blood I have spent
To doe thee and me some good’;
Sayes, ‘Ever alacke, my fayre lady,
I thinke that I was woode[372]!’
[Pg 247]

XXXI

And he shope[373] the cross on his right sho’lder
Of the white flesh and the redd,
And he went him into the Holy Land,
Wheras Christ was quicke and deade.

FOOTNOTES:

[362] unbethought = bethought.

[363] ding = smite.

[364] sikt = sighed.

[365] againe = in return.

[366] deemèd = doomed.

[367] thye = thrive.

[368] palle = fine cloth.

[369] ginne = gin, contrivance, here a door-latch.

[370] quicke = alive.

[371] hart-roote = heart-root, dear one.

[372] woode = mad.

[373] shope = shaped, made.


54. Lord Thomas and Fair Annet

I

Lord Thomas and Fair Annet
Sat all day on a hill;
When night was come, and sun was set,
They had not talk’d their fill.

II

Lord Thomas said a word in jest,
Fair Annet took it ill:
‘I’ll never wed a tocherless[374] maid
Against my ain friends’ will.’—

III

‘Gif ye’ll not wed a tocherless wife,
A wife will ne’er wed ye:
Fare ye well now, Lord Thomas,
It’s fare ye well a wee.’

IV

O Annet she’s gane till her bower,
Lord Thomas down the den;
And he’s come till his mither’s bower
By the lee[375] light o’ the moon.
[Pg 248]

V

‘O sleep ye, wake ye, mither?’ he says,
‘Or are ye the bower within?’—
‘I sleep right aft, I wake right aft;
What want ye with me, son?

VI

‘Where have ye been a’ night, Thomas?
O wow, ye’ve tarried long!’—
‘I have been courtin’ Fair Annet,
And she is frae me gone.

VII

‘O rede[376], O rede, mither,’ he says,
‘A gude rede gie to me:
O sall I tak’ the nut-brown bride,
And let Fair Annet be?’—

VIII

‘The nut-brown bride has gold and gear,
Fair Annet she’s got nane;
And the little beauty Fair Annet has
O it will soon be gane.

IX

‘It’s an’ ye wed the nut-brown bride,
I’ll heap gold wi’ my hand;
But an’ ye wed her, Fair Annet,
I’ll straik[377] it wi’ a wand.

X

‘The nut-brown bride has sheep and kye,
Fair Annet she’s got nane;
Son Thomas, for my benison
Bring ye the brown bride hame.’—
[Pg 249]

XI

‘But alas, alas!’ says Lord Thomas,
‘O fair is Annet’s face!’—
‘But what matter for that, son Thomas?
She has nae ither grace.’—

XII

‘Alas, alas!’ says Lord Thomas,
‘But white is Annet’s hand!’—
‘What matter for that, son Thomas?
She has not a fur’[378] o’ land.’—

XIII

‘Sheep will die in cots, mither,
And owsen[379] die in byre;
And what is warldis wealth to me,
An’ I getna my heart’s desire?’

XIV

And he has till his sister gane:
‘Now, sister, rede ye me;
O sall I marry the nut-brown bride
And set Fair Annet free?’—

XV

‘I’se rede ye tak’ Fair Annet, Thomas,
And let the brown bride alane,
Lest ye should sigh and say Alas!
What is this we brought hame?’—

XVI

‘No, I will tak’ my mither’s counsel,
And marry me out of hand;
And I will tak’ the nut-brown bride;
Fair Annet may leave the land.’
[Pg 250]

XVII

Up then rose Fair Annet’s father
Twa hours or it were day,
And he is gone to Fair Annet,
To the bower wherein she lay.

XVIII

‘Rise up, rise up, Fair Annet,’ he says,
‘Put on your silken sheen;
Ye are bidden come to St. Mary’s Kirk,
To see a rich weddin’.’...

XIX

‘My maids, gae to my dressing-room
And dress to me my hair;
Where’er ye laid a plait before
See ye lay ten times mair.

XX

‘My maids gae to my dressing-room
And dress to me my smock,
The one half is o’ the holland fine,
The other o’ needle-work.’

XXI

At yae[380] tett[381] o’ her horse’s mane
Was tied a silver bell,
And yae tift[382] o’ the norland wind
It gar’d them a’ to knell.

XXII

Four and twenty gay good knights
Rade by Fair Annet’s side,
And four and twenty fair ladies
As gin she had been a bride.
[Pg 251]

XXIII

And when she came to Mary’s Kirk,
She shimmer’d like the sun;
The belt that was about her waist
Was a’ wi’ pearls bedone[383].

XXIV

And when she came to Mary’s Kirk,
And sat down in the deas[384],
The cleiding[385] that Fair Annet had on
Enlighten’d a’ that place.

XXV

She sat her by the nut-brown bride,
And her e’en they were sae clear,
Lord Thomas he clean forgat the bride
When Fair Annet drew near.

XXVI

He had a rose into his hand,
He gave it kisses three,
And reaching by the nut-brown bride,
Laid it on Annet’s knee.

XXVII

‘O wha is this, my father dear,
Blinks in Lord Thomas’s e’e?’—
‘O this Lord Thomas’s first true-love
Before he lovèd thee.’

XXVIII

Up then spake the nut-brown bride—
She spake wi’ mickle spite:
‘And where gat ye the rose-water
That washes thy face so white?’—
[Pg 252]

XXIX

‘O I did get my rose-water
Where ye will ne’er get nane,
For I did get that very rose-water
Into my mither’s wame[386].’

XXX

The bride she drew a long bodkin
Frae out her gay head-gear,
And strake Fair Annet to the heart,
That word spak’ never mair.

XXXI

‘O Christ thee save!’ Lord Thomas he said,
‘Methinks thou look’st wondrous wan;
Thou was used to look with as fresh a colour
As ever the sun shined on.’

XXXII

‘O art thou blind, Lord Thomas?’ she said,
‘Or canst thou not very well see?
Or dost thou not see my own heart’s blood
Runs trickling down my knee?’

XXXIII

Lord Thomas he saw Fair Annet was pale,
And marvellèd what mote be;
But when he saw her dear heart’s blood,
All wood-wroth[387] waxèd he.

XXXIV

He drew his dagger frae his side,
That was so sharp and meet,
And drave it into the nut-brown bride,
That fell dead at his feet.
[Pg 253]

XXXV

‘Now stay for me, dear Annet,’ he said,
‘Now stay, my dear!’ he cried;
Then strake the dagger untill his heart,
And fell dead by her side.

FOOTNOTES:

[374] tocherless = without a dowry.

[375] lee = calm, pleasant.

[376] rede = counsel.

[377] straik = stroke, as one might smooth over the top of a bushel of corn to make it bare measure.

[378] fur’ = furrow.

[379] owsen = oxen.

[380] yae = each.

[381] tett = tuft.

[382] tift = puff, whiff.

[383] bedone = adorned.

[384] deas = daïs, pew.

[385] cleiding = clothing.

[386] wame = womb.

[387] wood-wroth = mad with rage.


55. Rose the Red and White Lily

I

O Rose the Red and White Lilly,
Their mother dear was dead,
And their father married an ill woman
Wish’d them twa little gude.

II

Yet she had twa as fu’ fair sons
As e’er brake manis bread;
And Bold Arthur he lo’ed her White Lilly
And Brown Robin Rose the Red.

III

O they hae biggit a bigly[388] tow’r,
And strawn it o’er wi’ sand;
There was mair mirth i’ these ladies’ bow’r
Than in a’ their father’s land.

IV

But out and spake their step-mither,
At the stair-foot stood she:
‘I’m plaguit wi’ your troublesome noise!
What makes[389] your melodie?
[Pg 254]

V

‘O Rose the Red, ye sing too loud,
White Lilly, your voice is strang:
But gin I live and bruik[390] my life,
I’ll gar ye change your sang.’

VI

She’s call’d her son, Brown Robin,
‘Come hither, my son, to me;
It fears me sair, my eldest son,
That ye maun sail the sea.’—

VII

‘Gin it fear you sair, my mither dear,
Your bidding I maun dee;
But be never warse to Rose the Red
Than ye ha’ been to me.’—

VIII

‘O haud your tongue, my eldest son,
For sma’ sall be her part;
You’ll ne’er get kiss o’ her comely mouth,
Tho’ you sh’uld break your heart.’

IX

She’s call’d her son, Bold Arthur:
‘Come hither, my son, to me;
It fears me sair, my youngest son,
That ye maun sail the sea.’—

X

‘Gin it fear you sair, my mither dear,
Your bidding I maun dee;
But be never warse to White Lilly
Than ye ha’ been to me.’—
[Pg 255]

XI

‘O haud your tongue, my yongest son,
For sma’ sall be her part;
You’ll ne’er get kiss o’ White Lilly’s mouth
Tho’ it break your very heart.’

XII

When Rose the Red and White Lilly
Saw their twa loves were gane,
Then stoppit ha’ they their loud, loud sang
For and the still mournin’:
And their step-mither stood forbye,
To hear the maiden’s mane[391].

XIII

Then out it spake her White Lilly:
‘My sister, we’ll be gane;
Why should we stay in Burnèsdale
To waste our youth in pain?’

XIV

Then cuttit ha’ they their green clothing
A little below their knee,
And sae ha’ they their yellow hair
A little abune their bree[392];
And they’re do’en them to haly chapel,
Was christen’d by Our Ladye.

XV

There ha’ they changed their ain twa names,
Sae far frae ony town;
And the tane o’ them hight[393] Sweet Willy,
And the tither Roge the Roun[394].
[Pg 256]

XVI

Between this twa a vow was made,
And they sware it to fulfil;
That at three blasts o’ a bugle-horn
She’d come her sister till.

XVII

Now Sweet Willy’s gane to the Kingis court,
Her true-love there to see,
And Roge the Roun to good green-wood,
Brown Robin’s man to be.

XVIII

As it fell out upon a day
They a’ did put the stane,
Fu’ seven feet ayont them a’
She gar’d the puttin’-stane gang.

XIX

She lean’d her back against an oak,
And ga’e a loud Ohone!
Then out it spake him Brown Robin,
‘But that’s a woman’s moan!’

XX

‘O ken ye by my red rose lip?
Or by my yallow hair?
Or ken ye by my milk-white breast?
For ye never saw it bare.’

XXI

‘I ken no by your red rose lip,
Nor by your yallow hair;
Nor ken I by your milk-white breast,
For I never saw it bare;
But come to your bow’r whaever sae likes
Will find a lady there.’
[Pg 257]

XXII

About the tenth hour of the night
The lady’s bow’r-door was broken;
And ere the first hour of the night
The bonny knave-bairn[395] was gotten.

XXIII

When days were gane, and months were run,
Rose the Red took travailing;
And sair she cried for a bow’r-woman,
Her pine[396] to wait upon.

XXIV

Then out it spake him Brown Robin:
‘Now what needs a’ this din?
For what cou’d any woman do
But I cou’d do the same?’—

XXV

‘It was never my mither’s fashion,
Nor sall it e’er be mine,
That belted Knights shou’d e’er stand by
Where ladies dreed[397] their pine.

XXVI

‘But tak’ ye up my bugle-horn,
And blaw three blasts for me;
I’ve a brither in the Kingis court
Will come me quickly ti’.’—

XXVII

‘O gin ye hae a brither on earth
That ye love better nor me,
Ye blaw the horn yoursel’,’ he says,
‘For ae blast I’ll not gie.’
[Pg 258]

XXVIII

She set the horn untill her mouth,
And blawn three blasts sae shrill;
Sweet Willy heard i’ the Kingis court,
And came her quickly till....

XXIX

[Word is to the kitchen gane,
And word is to the ha’,
Bold Arthur’s lost his little foot-page,
To the green-wood stown awa’.]

XXX

And word has gane to the Kingis court,
To the King himsel’ [at dine]
‘Now, by my fay,’ the King can say,
[‘Sweet Willy we maun find.’]

XXXI

‘Bring me my steed,’ then cry’d the King,
‘My bow and arrows keen;
I’ll ride mysel’ to good green-wood
An’ see what’s to be seen.’

XXXII

‘An’t please your grace,’ says Bold Arthur,
‘My liege I’ll gang you wi’,
An’ try to find my little foot-page
That’s stray’d awa’ frae me.’

XXXIII

O they have hunted in good green-wood
The back but and the rae.
And they’ve drawn near Brown Robin’s bow’r
About the close of day.
[Pg 259]

XXXIV

Then out it spak’ the King in haste,
Says, ‘Arthur, look an’ see
Gin that be no your little foot-page
That leans against yon tree?’

XXXV

Bold Arthur took his bugle-horn,
And blew a blast sae shrill,
Sweet Willy started at the sound
And ran him quickly till.

XXXVI

‘O wanted ye your meat, Willy?
Or wanted ye your fee?
Or get ye ever an angry word,
That ye ran awa’ frae me?’—

XXXVII

‘I wanted nought, my master dear;
To me ye aye was good;
I came but to see my ae brither
That wons[398] in this green-wood.’

XXXVIII

Then out and spak’ the King again,
Says, ‘Bonny boy, tell to me
Who lives into yon bigly bow’r,
Stands by yon green oak-tree?’

XXXIX

‘O pardon me,’ says Sweet Willy,
‘My liege, I daurna tell;
And I pray you go no near that bow’r,
For fear they do you fell[399].’—
[Pg 260]

XL

‘O haud your tongue, my bonny boy.
For I winna be said nay;
But I will gang that bow’r within,
Betide me weal or wae.’

XLI

They’ve lighted off their milk-white steeds,
And saftly enter’d in;
And then they saw her, Rose the Red,
Nursing her bonny young son.

XLII

‘Now, by the rood,’ the King could say,
‘This is a comely sight;
I trow, instead of a forrester,
This is a lady bright!’

XLIII

Then out it spake White Lilly
And fell down on her knee:
‘O pardon us, my gracious liege,
An’ our story I’ll tell to thee.

XLIV

‘Our father was a wealthy lord,
That wonn’d in Barnèsdale;
But we had a wicked step-mother,
That wrought us mickle bale[400].

XLV

‘Yet she had twa as fu’ fair sons
As ever the sun did see;
An’ the tane o’ them lo’ed my sister dear,
An’ the tother said he lo’ed me.’
[Pg 261]

XLVI

Then out and spak’ him Bold Arthur,
As by the King he stood,
‘Now, this should be my White Lilly,
An’ that should be Rose the Red!’

XLVII

Then in it came him Brown Robin
Frae hunting o’ the deer,
But whan he saw the King was there,
He started back for fear.

XLVIII

The King has ta’en him by the hand
And bade him naething dread;
Says, ‘Ye maun leave the good green-wood,
Come to the court wi’ speed.’

XLIX

Then up he took Brown Robin’s son,
And set him on his knee;
Says, ‘Gin ye live to wield a bran’,
My bowman ye sall be.’

L

The King he sent for robes o’ green,
And girdles o’ shining gold;
He gart the ladies be array’d
Most comely to behold.

LI

They’ve doen them unto Mary Kirk,
And there gat fair weddìng,
And whan the news spread o’er the lan’,
For joy the bells did ring.
[Pg 262]

LII

Then out it spak’ her Rose the Red,
And a hearty laugh laugh’d she;
‘I wonder what would our step-dame say,
Gin she this sight did see!’

FOOTNOTES:

[388] bigly = commodious, habitable.

[389] makes = means.

[390] bruik = brook enjoy.

[391] mane = moan.

[392] abune their bree = above their brows.

[393] hight = was called.

[394] Roun = roan, red.

[395] knave-bairn = man-child.

[396] pine = pain.

[397] dreed = endured.

[398] wons = dwells.

[399] fell = kill.

[400] bale = harm.


56. Leesome Brand
or, The Sheath and the Knife

I

‘There is a feast in your father’s house,
The broom blooms bonnie and sae it is fair
It becomes you and me to be very douce[401],
And we’ll never gang down to the broom nae mair.’

II

But it is talk’d all over [the land],
‘Lady Marget’s plighted to Leesome Brand.’

III

He’s done him to her father’s stable
And tane twa steeds baith wicht[402] and able:

IV

Ane for him, and another for her
To carry them baith wi’ might and virr[403].

V

When they had ridden about six mile,
Lady Marget then began to fail.

VI

‘O gin I had but a gude midwife
Here this day to save my life!
[Pg 263]

VII

‘Ye’ll take your arrow and your bow
And ye will hunt the deer and roe.

VIII

‘But be sure ye touch not the milk-white hynde,
For she is o’ the woman-kind.’

IX

He took sic pleasure in deer and rae
Till he forgot his ladye gay.

X

Till by it came that milk-white hynde,
And then he mind on his ladye syne.

XI

He heard her gie a loud, loud cry,
He shot his bow, and he let her lie.

XII

When he saw she was lying still,
He threw down his bow and came running her till[404];

XIII

But he found his ladye lying dead,
Likewise her young son at her head.

XIV

He’s houkit[405] a grave, long, large and wide,
He’s buried his auld[406] son doun by her side.

XV

It was nae wonder his heart was sair
When he shool’d[407] the mools[408] on her yellow hair.

XVI

His mother lay owre her castle wa’;
There was music and minstrels and dancing and a’.
[Pg 264]

XVII

[She said as she look’d owre] dale and down,
‘My son comes merrilie to the toun.’—

XVIII

‘Seek nae minstrels to play in your room,
Your son comes sorry to the toun.

XIX

‘O I hae lost my gowden knife;
I rather had lost my ain sweet life!

XX

‘And I hae lost a far better thing,
The gilded sheath that it was in.’—

XXI

‘Are there nae gowdsmiths here in Fife
Can make to you anither knife?

XXII

‘Are there nae sheath-makers in the land
Can make a sheath to Leesome Brand?’—

XXIII

‘There are nae gowdsmiths here in Fife
Can make to me sic a gowden knife;

XXIV

‘Nor nae sheath-makers in the land
Can make to me sic a sheath again.

XXV

‘For I’ve lost my lady I loved sae dear,
The broom blooms bonnie and sae it is fair
Likewise the son she did me bear,
And we’ll never gang doun to the broom nae mair.

FOOTNOTES:

[401] douce = quiet.

[402] wicht = sturdy.

[403] virr = vigour.

[404] her till = to her.

[405] houkit = dug.

[406] auld = eldest, first-born.

[407] shool’d = shovelled.

[408] mools = mould.


[Pg 265]

57. Babylon
or, The Bonnie Banks o’ Fordie

I

There where three ladies live in a bower—
Eh, wow, bonnie!
And they went out to pull a flower
On the bonnie banks o’ Fordie.

II

They hadna pu’ed a flower but ane,
When up started to them a banisht man.

III

He’s ta’en the first sister by her hand,
And he’s turn’d her round and made her stand.

IV

‘It’s whether will ye be a rank robber’s wife,
Or will ye die by my wee pen-knife?’

V

‘It’s I’ll not be a rank robber’s wife,
But I’ll rather die by your wee pen-knife.’

VI

He’s killed this may, and he’s laid her by,
For to bear the red rose company.

VII

He’s ta’en the second ane by the hand,
And he’s turn’d her round and made her stand.

VIII

‘It’s whether will ye be a rank robber’s wife,
Or will ye die by my wee pen-knife?’

IX

‘It’s I’ll not be a rank robber’s wife,
But I’ll rather die by your wee pen-knife.’
[Pg 266]

X

He’s killed this may, and he’s laid her by,
For to bear the red rose company.

XI

He’s taken the youngest ane by the hand,
And he’s turn’d her round and made her stand.

XII

Says, ‘Will ye be a rank robber’s wife,
Or will ye die by my wee pen-knife?’

XIII

‘It’s I’ll not be a rank robber’s wife,
Nor will I die by your wee pen-knife.

XIV

‘For in this wood a brother I hae;
And gin ye kill me, it’s he’ll kill thee.’

XV

‘What’s thy brother’s name? come tell to me.’
‘My brother’s name is Baby Lon.’

XVI

‘O sister, sister, what have I done!
O have I done this ill to thee!

XVII

‘O since I’ve done this evil deed,
Good sall never be my meed.’

XVIII

He’s taken out his wee pen-knife,
Eh, wow, bonnie!
And he’s twyn’d[409] himsel’ o’ his ain sweet life
On the bonnie banks o’ Fordie.

FOOTNOTES:

[409] twyned = taken away, bereaved.


[Pg 267]

58. Prince Robert

I

Prince Robert has wedded a gay ladye,
He has wedded her with a ring;
Prince Robert has wedded a gay ladye,
But he daur na bring her hame.

II

‘Your blessing, your blessing, my mother dear,
Your blessing now grant to me!’—
‘Instead of a blessing ye sall have my curse,
And you’ll get nae blessing frae me.’

III

She has call’d upon her waiting-maid,
To fill her a glass of wine;
She has called upon her fause steward,
To put rank poison in.

IV

She his put it to her roudès[410] lip,
And to her roudès chin;
She has put it to her fause, fause mouth,
But the never a drop gaed in.

V

He has put it to his bonny mouth,
And to his bonny chin,
He’s put it to his cherry lip,
And sae fast the rank poison ran in.

VI

‘O ye hae poison’d your ae son, mother
Your ae son and your heir;
O ye hae poisoned your ae son, mother,
And sons you’ll never hae mair.
[Pg 268]

VII

‘O where will I get a little boy,
That will win hose and shoon,
To rin sae fast to Darlinton,
And bid Fair Eleanor come?’

VIII

Then up and spake a little boy,
That wad win hose and shoon,
‘O I’ll away to Darlinton,
And bid Fair Eleanor come.’

IX

O he has run to Darlinton,
And tirlèd at the pin;
And wha was sae ready as Eleanor’s sel’
To let the bonny boy in?

X

‘Your gude-mother’s made ye a rare dinour,
She’s made it baith gude and fine;
Your gude-mother’s made ye a gay dinour,
And ye maun come till her and dine.’

XI

It’s twenty lang miles to Sillertoun town,
The langest that ever were gane;
But the steed it was wight, and the ladye was light,
And she cam’ linkin’ in.

XII

But when she came to Sillertoun town,
And into Sillertoun ha’,
The torches were burning, the ladies were mourning,
And they were weeping a’.
[Pg 269]

XIII

‘O where is now my wedded lord,
And where now can he be?
O where is now my wedded lord?
For him I canna see.’—

XIV

‘Your wedded lord is dead,’ she says,
‘And just gane to be laid in the clay;
Your wedded lord is dead,’ she says,
‘And just gane to be buried the day.

XV

‘Ye’se get nane o’ his gowd, ye’se get nane o’ his gear,
Ye’se get nae thing frae me;
Ye’se na get an inch o’ his gude broad land,
Tho’ your heart suld burst in three.’

XVI

‘I want nane o’ his gowd, I want nane o’ his gear,
I want nae land frae thee;
But I’ll hae the rings that’s on his finger,
For them he did promise to me.’

XVII

‘Ye’se na get the rings that’s on his finger,
Ye’se na get them frae me;
Ye’se na get the rings that’s on his finger,
An’ your heart suld burst in three.’

XVIII

She’s turn’d her back unto the wa’,
And her face unto a rock,
And there, before the mother’s face,
Her very heart it broke.

FOOTNOTES:

[410] roudès = hag-like.


[Pg 270]

59. Young Andrew

I

As I was cast in my first sleepe,
A dreadfull draught[411] in my mind I drew,
For I was dreamèd of a young man,
Some men callèd him Yonge Andrew.

II

The moone shone bright, and it cast a fayre light:
‘Welcome,’ says she, ‘my honey, my sweete!
For I have loved thee this seven long yeare,
And our chance it was we co’ld never meete’

III

Then he tooke her in his armès two
And kissèd her both cheeke and chin,
And twise or thrise he kissèd this may[412]
Before they two did part in twin.

IV

‘Faire maid I cannot do as I wo’ld;
[Yet what I can will I pleasure thee]
Goe home and fett[413] thy father’s red gold,
And I’le goe to the church and marry thee.’

V

This ladye is gone to her father’s hall,
And well she knew where his red gold [lain],
And counted forth five hundred pound,
Besides all other jewels and chaines:

VI

And brought it all to Younge Andrew,
It was well counted upon his knee:
Then he tooke her by the lilye-white hand
And led her up to an hill sae hie.
[Pg 271]

VII

She had on a gowne of blacke velvett,
(A pityfull sight after ye shall see)
‘Put off thy clothes, bonny wenche,’ he sayes,
‘For no foot further thou’st gang with mee.’

VIII

But then she put off her gowne of velvett,
With many a salt teare from her e’e,
And in a kirtle of fine breaden[414] silke
She stood before Yonge Andrew’s e’e.

IX

Sayes, ‘O put off thy kirtle of silke,
For some and all shall goe with mee;
Unto my owne lady I must it beare,
Whom I must needs love better than thee!’

X

Then she put off her kirtle of silke,
With many a salt teare still from her e’e;
In a petticoate of scarlett redd
She stood before Yonge Andrew’s e’e.

XI

Sayes, ‘O put off thy petticoate,
For some and all shall goe with mee;
Unto my owne ladye I will it beare,
That dwells soe far in a strange countrye.’

XII

But then she put off her petticoate,
With many a salt teare still from her e’e,
And in a smocke of brave white silk
She stood before Yonge Andrew’s e’e.
[Pg 272]

XIII

Sayes, ‘O put off thy smocke of silke,
For some and all shall goe with me;
Unto my owne ladye I will it beare,
That dwells soe far in a strange countrye.’—

XIV

Sayes, ‘O remember, Yonge Andrew,
Once of a woman you were borne;
And for the birth that Marye bore
I pray you let my smocke be upon!’—

XV

Sayes, ‘Yes, fayre ladye I know it well,
Once of a woman I was borne;
Yet for noe birth that Marye bore
Thy smocke shall not be left upon.’

XVI

But then she put off her headgeare fine—
She had billaments[415] worth a hundred pound—
The hayre was upon that bonny wench’ head
Cover’d her bodye downe to the ground.

XVII

Then he pull’d forth a Scottish brand,
And held it there in his owne right hand;
Sayes, ‘Whether wilt dye upon my sword’s point,
Or thou wilt goe naked home againe?’—

XVIII

‘Life is sweet,’ then, ‘Sir,’ said she,
‘Therefore I pray you leave me with mine;
Before I wo’ld dye on your sword’s point
I had rather goe naked home againe.
[Pg 273]

XIX

‘My father,’ she sayes, ‘is a right good earle
As any remaines in his owne countrye;
Gif ever he doe your bodye take,
You are sure to flower a gallow-tree.

XX

‘And I have seven brethren,’ she sayes,
‘And they are all hardy men and bold;
Gif ever they doe your bodye take
You’ll never again gang quicke over molde.’—

XXI

‘If your father be a right good earle
As any remaines in his owne countrye,
Tush! he shall never my bodye take,
I’ll gang soe fast and over the sea.

XXII

‘If you have seven brethren,’ he sayes,
‘If they be never soe hardy and bold,
Tush! they shall never my bodye take,
I’ll gang soe fast over Scottish molde.’

XXIII

This ladye is gone to her father’s hall,
Where every body their rest did take;
For but the Earle which was her father
Lay wakin’ for his deere daughter’s sake.

XXIV

‘But who is that,’ her father can say—
‘Who is’t soe privily knows the pinn?’
‘It’s Helen, your owne deere daughter, father,
I pray you rise and lett me in!
[Pg 274]

XXV

[‘I pray you, pray you, lett me in!’—]
‘Noe, by my hood!’ quoth her father then;
‘My house thou’st never come within,
Without I had my red gold againe.’

XXVI

‘Nay, nay, your gold is gone, father,
[Yet I pray you rise and let me in!’]
‘Then naked thou came into this world,
And naked thou shalt return againe.’

XXVII

‘Nay, God forgave His death, father,
And soe I hope you will doe mee.’
‘Away, away, thou cursèd woman!
Pray God an ill death thou may dee!’

XXVIII

I’ the morning, when her father got upp,
A pittyful sight there he might see;
His owne deere daughter was dead, without clothes,—
And this was the end of that bonny ladye.

XXIX

But let us leave talking of this ladye
And talke some more of Yonge Andrew:
For false he was to this bonny ladye—
More pitty that he had not beene true!

XXX

He was not gone in the forest a mile,
Or half a mile into the heart of Wales,
But a shee-wolfe caught him by such a wyle
That hee must come to tell noe more tales.
[Pg 275]

XXXI

And now Yonge Andrew he is dead,
But he never was buryèd under molde;
And there as the wolfe devourèd him
There lyès all this great Earle’s gold.

FOOTNOTES:

[411] draught = picture.

[412] may = maid.

[413] fett = fetch.

[414] breaden = braided.

[415] billaments = habiliments.


60. The Gay Goshawk

I

‘O well’s me o’ my gay goss-hawk,
That he can speak and flee!
He’ll carry a letter to my love,
Bring back another to me.’—

II

‘O how can I your true-love ken,
Or how can I her know?
Whan frae her mouth I never heard couth[416],
Nor wi’ my eyes her saw.’—

III

‘O well sall ye my true-love ken,
As soon as you her see;
For, of a’ the flow’rs in fair England,
The fairest flow’r is she.

IV

‘At even at my love’s bower-door
There grows a bowing birk,
An’ sit ye down and sing thereon,
As she gangs to the kirk.
[Pg 276]

V

‘An’ four-and-twenty ladies fair
Will wash and go to kirk,
But well sall ye my true-love ken,
For she wears gowd on her skirt.

VI

‘An’ four-and-twenty gay ladies
Will to the mass repair,
But well sall ye my true-love ken,
For she wears gowd on her hair.’

VII

O even at that lady’s bower door
There grows a bowing birk,
An’ he set down and sang thereon,
As she gaed to the kirk.

VIII

‘O eet and drink, my marys[417] a’,
The wine flows you among,
Till I gang to my shot-window[418],
An’ hear yon bonny bird’s song.

IX

‘Sing on, sing on, my bonny bird,
The song ye sang the streen[419],
For I ken by your sweet singin’
You’re frae my true-love sen.’

X

O first he sang a merry song,
An’ then he sang a grave,
An’ then he peck’d his feathers gray,
To her the letter gave.
[Pg 277]

XI

‘Ha, there’s a letter frae your love,
He says he sent you three;
He canna wait your luve langer,
But for your sake he’ll dee.

XII

‘He bids you write a letter to him;
He says he’s sent you five;
He canna wait your luve langer,
Tho’ you’re the fairest alive.’—

XIII

‘Ye bid him bake his bridal-bread,
And brew his bridal-ale,
An’ I’ll meet him in fair Scotland
Lang, lang or it be stale.’

XIV

She’s doen her to her father dear
Fa’n low down on her knee:
‘A boon, a boon, my father dear
I pray you, grant it me!’—

XV

‘Ask on, ask on, my daughter,
An’ granted it sall be;
Except ae squire in fair Scotland,
An’ him you sall never see.’—

XVI

‘The only boon, my father dear,
That I do crave of thee,
Is, gin I die in southin lands,
In Scotland to bury me.
[Pg 278]

XVII

‘An’ the firstin kirk that ye come till,
Ye gar the bells be rung,
An’ the nextin kirk that ye come till,
Ye gar the mass be sung.

XVIII

‘An’ the thirdin kirk that ye come till,
You deal gold for my sake,
An’ the fourthin kirk that ye come till,
You tarry there till night.’

XIX

She is doen her to her bigly[420] bow’r,
As fast as she could fare,
An’ she has tane a sleepy draught,
That she had mixt wi’ care.

XX

She’s laid her down upon her bed,
An’ soon she’s fa’n asleep,
And soon o’er every tender limb
Cauld death began to creep.

XXI

Whan night was flown, an’ day was come,
Nae ane that did her see
But thought she was as surely dead
As ony lady cou’d be.

XXII

Her father an’ her brothers dear
Gar’d make to her a bier;
The tae half was o’ guid red gold,
The tither o’ silver clear.
[Pg 279]

XXIII

Her mither an’ her sisters fair
Gar’d work for her a sark;
The tae half was o’ cambrick fine,
The tither o’ needle wark.

XXIV

The firstin kirk that they came till,
They gar’d the bells be rung,
An’ the nextin kirk that they came till,
They gar’d the mass be sung.

XXV

The thirdin kirk that they came till,
They dealt gold for her sake,
An’ the fourthin kirk that they came till,
Lo, there they met her make[421]!

XXVI

‘Lay down, lay down the bigly bier,
Lat me the dead look on!’—
Wi’ cherry cheeks and ruby lips
She lay and smil’d on him.

XXVII

‘O ae sheave[422] o’ your bread, true love,
An’ ae glass o’ your wine!
For I hae fasted for your sake
These fully days is nine.

XXVIII

‘Gang hame, gang hame, my seven bold brothers,
Gang hame and sound your horn;
An’ ye may boast in southin lands
Your sister’s play’d you scorn!’

FOOTNOTES:

[416] couth = word.

[417] marys = maidens.

[418] shot-window here = bow-window.

[419] the streen = yestreen.

[420] bigly = commodious.

[421] make = mate, lover.

[422] sheave = slice.


[Pg 280]

61. Willie’s Lyke-Wake

I

‘Willie, Willie, what makes you sae sad?’
And the sun shines over the valleys and a’
‘I lie sairly sick for the love of a maid.’
Amang the blue flowers and the yellow and a’.

II

‘O Willie, my son, I’ll learn you a wile,
How this pretty fair maid ye may beguile.

III

‘Ye maun lie doun just as ye were dead,
And tak’ your windin’-sheet round your head.

IV

‘Ye maun gie the bellman his bell-groat,
To ring your dead-bell at your lover’s yett[423].’

V

Willie lay doun just as he war dead,
And took his windin’-sheet round his head.

VI

He gied the bellman his bell-groat
To ring his dead-bell at his lover’s yett.

VII

‘O wha is this that is dead, I hear?’—
‘O wha but Willie that lo’ed ye sae dear?’

VIII

She is hame to her father’s ain bour:
‘I’ll gang to yon lyke-wake[424] ae single hour.’—

IX

‘Ye maun tak’ with you your brither John;
It’s not meet for maidens to venture alone.’—
[Pg 281]

X

‘I’ll not tak’ with me my brither John,
But I’ll gang along myself all alone.’

XI

It’s when she cam’ to her true lovers yett,
She dealt the red gold round for his sak’.

XII

It’s when she came to her true lover’s bed
She lifted the sheet to look at the dead.

XIII

He’s ta’en her hand sae meek and sae sma’,
[And ca’d her his wife before them a’].

XIV

‘Fair maid, ye cam’ without horse or boy,
But I’ll send you home with a merry convoy.’

FOOTNOTES:

[423] yett = gate.

[424] lyke-wake = corpse-watching.


62. Fair Margaret and Sweet William

I

As it fell out on a long summer’s day,
Two lovers they sat on a hill:
They sat together that long summer’s day,
And could not talk their fill.

II

‘I see no harm by you, Margaret,
Nor you see none by me;
Before to-morrow eight o’clock
A rich wedding shall you see.’

III

Fair Margaret sat in her bower-window
Combing her yellow hair,
She saw Sweet William and his brown bride
Unto the church draw near.
[Pg 282]

IV

Then down she laid her ivory comb,
And up she bound her hair;
She went out from her bower alive
But alive never more came there.

V

When day was gone, and night was come,
And all men fast asleep,
Came in the ghost of fair Margaret,
And stood at William’s feet.

VI

‘How like ye the lady, Sweet William,
That lies in your arms asleep?
God give you joy of your gay bride-bed,
And me of my winding-sheet!’

VII

When night was gone, and day was come,
And all men waked from sleep,
His lady said to Sweet William,
‘My dear, I have cause to weep:

VIII

‘I dream’d a dream, Sweet William,
That seldom comes to good:
My bower was fill’d with wild-wood swine,
And our bride-bed full of blood.’

IX

He callèd up his merry men all,
By one, by two, by three.
Saying, ‘I’ll away to Fair Margaret’s bower,
With the leave of my ladye.’
[Pg 283]

X

And when he came to Fair Margaret’s bower
He knockèd at the ring;
And who so ready as her seven brothers
To rise and let him in?

XI

‘O, is she in the parlour?’ he said,
‘Or is she in the hall?
Or is she in the long chamber
Amongst her merry maids all?’—

XII

‘No, she’s not in the parlour,’ they said,
‘Nor she’s not in the hall:
But she is in the long chamber,
Laid out against the wall.’—

XIII

He turnèd up the covering-sheet,
And look’d upon the dead.
‘Methinks her lips are pale and wan,
She has lost her cherry red.’

XIV

With that bespake the seven brothers,
Making a piteous moan:
‘You may go kiss your jolly brown bride,
And let our sister alone.’—

XV

‘If I do kiss my jolly brown bride,
I do but what is right;
For I made no vow to your sister dear,
By day nor yet by night.
[Pg 284]

XVI

‘Deal on, deal on, my merry men all,
Deal on your cake and wine!
For whatever is dealt at her funeral to-day
Shall be dealt to-morrow at mine.’

XVII

Fair Margaret died on the over night,
Sweet William died on the morrow:
Fair Margaret died for pure, pure love,
Sweet William died for sorrow.

XVIII

Go with your right to Newcastle,
And come with your left side home;
There you will see these two lovers
Lie printed on one stone.

63. The Twa Brothers

I

There were twa brethren in the North,
They went to school thegither;
The one unto the other said,
‘Will you try a warsle[425], brither?’

II

They warsled up, they warsled down,
Till Sir John fell to the ground,
And there was a knife in Sir Willie’s pouch
Gied him a deadly wound.
[Pg 285]

III

‘Tak’ aff, tak’ aff my holland sark,
Rive[426] it frae gare[427] to gare.
And stap it in my bleeding wound—
’Twill aiblins[428] bleed nae mair.’

IV

He’s pu’it aff his holland sark,
Rave it frae gare to gare,
And stapt it in his bleeding wound—
But aye it bled the mair.

V

‘O tak’ now aff my green cleiding[429]
And row[430] me saftly in,
And carry me up to Chester kirk,
Whar the grass grows fair and green.

VI

‘But what will ye say to your father dear
When ye gae home at e’en?’—
‘I’ll say ye’re lying at Chester kirk,
Whar the grass grows fair and green.’—

VII

‘O no, O no, when he speers[431] for me
Saying, “William, whar is John?”
Ye’ll say ye left me at Chester school
Leaving the school alone.’

VIII

He’s ta’en him up upo’ his back,
And borne him hence away,
And carried him to Chester kirk,
And laid him in the clay.
[Pg 286]

IX

But when he sat in his father’s chair,
He grew baith pale and wan:
‘O what blude’s that upon your brow?
And whar is your brither John?’—

X

‘O John’s awa’ to Chester school,
A scholar he’ll return;
He bade me tell his father dear
About him no’ to mourn.

XI

‘And it is the blude o’ my gude grey steed;
He wadna hunt for me.’—
‘O thy steed’s blude was ne’er so red,
Nor ne’er so dear to me!

XII

‘And whaten blude’s that upon your dirk?
Dear Willie, tell to me.’—
‘It is the blude o’ my ae brither
And dule and wae is me!’—

XIII

‘O what sall I say to your mither?
Dear Willie, tell to me.’—
‘I’ll saddle my steed and awa’ I’ll ride,
To dwell in some far countrie.’—

XIV

‘O when will ye come hame again?
Dear Willie, tell to me!’—
‘When the sun and moon dance on yon green:
And that will never be!’

FOOTNOTES:

[425] warsle = wrestle.

[426] rive = tear.

[427] gare = gore.

[428] aiblins = perhaps.

[429] cleiding = clothing.

[430] row = wrap.

[431] speers = asks.


[Pg 287]

64. The Cruel Brother

I

There were three ladies play’d at the ba’,
With a hey ho! and a lily gay!
By came a knight and he woo’d them a’
As the primrose spreads so sweetly.
Sing Annet, and Marret, and fair Maisrie,
As the dew hangs i’ the wood, gay ladie!

II

The first ane she was clad in red:
‘O lady fair, Will you be my bride?’

III

The midmost ane was clad in green:
‘O lady fair, will you be my queen?’

IV

The youngest o’ them was clad in white:
‘O lady fair, be my heart’s delight!’—

V

‘Sir knight ere ye my favour win,
Ye maun get consent frae a’ my kin.

VI

‘Ye maun go ask my father, the King:
Sae maun ye ask my mither, the Queen.

VII

‘Sae maun ye ask my sister Anne,
And dinna forget my brother John.’

VIII

He has sought her from her father, the King
And sae did he her mither, the Queen.
[Pg 288]

IX

He has sought her from her sister Anne:
But he has forgot her brither John.

X

Now when the wedding day was come,
The knight would take his bonny bride home.

XI

And many a lord and many a knight
Came to behold that ladie bright.

XII

And there was nae man that did her see
But wish’d himself bridegroom to be.

XIII

Her father led her down the stair,
And her mither dear she kiss’d her there.

XIV

Her sister Anne led her thro’ the close,
And her brother John set her on her horse.

XV

She lean’d her o’er the saddle-bow,
To give him a kiss ere she did go.

XVI

He has ta’en a knife, baith lang and sharp,
And stabb’d that bonny bride to the heart.

XVII

She hadna ridden half thro’ the town,
Until her heart’s blude stain’d her gown.

XVIII

‘Ride saftly up,’ said the best young man;
‘I think our bride come hooly[432] on.’
[Pg 289]

XIX

‘Ride up, ride up,’ said the second man;
‘I think our bride looks pale and wan.’

XX

Up then comes the gay bridegroom,
And straight unto the bride he came.

XXI

‘Does your side-saddle sit awry?
Or does your steed [go heavily]?’—

XXII

‘O lead me gently over yon stile,
For there would I sit and bleed awhile.

XXIII

‘O lead me gently up yon hill,
For there would I sit and make my will.’—

XXIV

‘O what will you leave to your father dear?’—
‘The milk-white steed that brought me here.’—

XXV

‘What will you leave to your mother dear?’—
‘My wedding shift that I do wear.’—

XXVI

‘What will you leave to your sister Anne?’—
‘My silken snood and my golden fan.’—

XXVII

‘What will you leave to your brother John?’—
With a hay ho! and a lily gay!
‘The gallows-tree to hang him on.’
And the primrose spreads so sweetly.
Sing Annet, and Marret, and fair Maisrie,
And the dew hangs i’ the wood, gay ladie!

FOOTNOTES:

[432] hooly = slowly, softly.


[Pg 290]

65. Edward, Edward

I

‘Why does your brand sae drop wi’ blude,
Edward, Edward?
Why does your brand sae drop wi’ blude,
And why sae sad gang ye, O?’—
‘O I hae kill’d my hawk sae gude,
Mither, mither;
O I hae kill’d my hawk sae gude,
And I had nae mair but he, O.’

II

‘Your hawk’s blude was never sae red,
Edward, Edward;
Your hawk’s blude was never sae red,
My dear son, I tell thee, O.’—
‘O I hae kill’d my red-roan steed,
Mither, mither;
O I hae kill’d my red-roan steed,
That erst was sae fair and free, O.’

III

‘Your steed was auld, and ye hae got mair,
Edward, Edward;
Your steed was auld, and ye hae got mair;
Some other dule ye dree[433], O.’—
‘O I hae kill’d my father dear,
Mither, mither;
O I hae kill’d my father dear,
Alas, and wae is me, O!’
[Pg 291]

IV

‘And whatten penance will ye dree for that,
Edward, Edward?
Whatten penance will ye dree for that?
My dear son, now tell me, O.’—
‘I’ll set my feet in yonder boat,
Mither, mither;
I’ll set my feet in yonder boat,
And I’ll fare over the sea, O.’

V

‘And what will ye do wi’ your tow’rs and your ha’,
Edward, Edward?
And what will ye do wi’ your tow’rs and your ha’,
That were sae fair to see, O?’—
‘I’ll let them stand till they doun fa’,
Mither, mither;
I’ll let them stand till they doun fa’,
For here never mair maun I be, O.’

VI

‘And what will ye leave to your bairns and your wife,
Edward, Edward?
And what will ye leave to your bairns and your wife,
When ye gang owre the sea, O?’—
‘The warld’s room: let them beg through life,
Mither, mither;
The warld’s room: let them beg through life;
For them never mair will I see, O.’

VII

‘And what will ye leave to your ain mither dear,
Edward, Edward?
And what will ye leave to your ain mither dear,
My dear son, now tell me, O?’—
[Pg 292] ‘The curse of hell frae me sall ye bear,
Mither, mither;
The curse of hell frae me sall ye bear:
Sic counsels ye gave to me, O!’

FOOTNOTES:

[433] dule ye dree = grief you suffer.


66. Lord Randal

I

‘O where hae ye been, Lord Randal, my son?
O where hae ye been, my handsome young man?’—
‘I hae been to the wild wood; mother, make my bed soon,
For I’m weary wi’ hunting, and fain wald lie down.’

II

‘Where gat ye your dinner, Lord Randal, my son?
Where gat ye your dinner, my handsome young man?’—
‘I dined wi’ my true-love; mother, make my bed soon,
For I’m weary wi’ hunting, and fain wald lie down.’

III

‘What gat ye to your dinner, Lord Randal, my son?
What gat ye to your dinner, my handsome young man?’—
‘I gat eels boil’d in broo’; mother, make my bed soon,
For I’m weary wi’ hunting, and fain wald lie down.’

IV

‘What became of your bloodhounds, Lord Randal, my son?
What became of your bloodhounds, my handsome young man?’—
‘O they swell’d and they died; mother, make my bed soon,
For I’m weary wi’ hunting, and fain wald lie down.’

V

‘O I fear ye are poison’d, Lord Randal, my son!
O I fear ye are poison’d, my handsome young man!’—
‘O yes! I am poison’d; mother, make my bed soon,
For I’m sick at the heart, and I fain wald lie down.’

[Pg 293]

67. The Twa Corbies
(SCOTTISH VERSION)

I

As I was walking all alane,
I heard twa corbies[434] making a mane:
The tane unto the tither did say,
‘Whar sall we gang and dine the day?’

II

‘—In behint yon auld fail[435] dyke
I wot there lies a new-slain knight;
And naebody kens that he lies there
But his hawk, his hound, and his lady fair.

III

‘His hound is to the hunting gane,
His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl hame,
His lady’s ta’en anither mate,
So we may mak’ our dinner sweet.

IV

‘Ye’ll sit on his white hause[436]-bane,
And I’ll pike out his bonny blue e’en:
Wi’ ae lock o’ his gowden hair
We’ll theek[437] our nest when it grows bare.

V

‘Mony a one for him maks mane,
But nane sall ken whar he is gane:
O’er his white banes, when they are bare,
The wind sall blaw for evermair.’

FOOTNOTES:

[434] corbies = ravens.

[435] fail = turf.

[436] hause = neck.

[437] theek = thatch.


[Pg 294]

68. The Three Ravens

I

There were three ravens sat on a tree,
They were as black as they might be.

II

The one of them said to his make[438],
‘Where shall we our breakfast take?’

III

‘Down in yonder greenè field
There lies a knight slain under his shield;

IV

‘His hounds they lie down at his feet,
So well do they their master keep;

V

‘His hawks they flie so eagerly,
There’s no fowl dare come him nigh.

VI

‘Down there comes a fallow doe
As great with young as she might goe.

VII

‘She lift up his bloudy head
And kist his wounds that were so red.

VIII

‘She gat him up upon her back
And carried him to earthen lake.

IX

‘She buried him before the prime,
She was dead herself ere evensong time.

X

‘God send every gentleman
Such hounds, such hawks, and such a leman!’

FOOTNOTES:

[438] make = mate.


[Pg 295]

BOOK III

69. The Nut-Brown Maid

I

He. Be it right or wrong, these men among
On women do complain;
Affirming this, how that it is
A labour spent in vain
To love them wele; for never a dele[439]
They love a man again:
For let a man do what he can
Their favour to attain,
Yet if a new to them pursue,
Their first true lover than[440]
Laboureth for naught; for from her thought
He is a banished man.

II

She. I say not nay, but that all day
It is both written and said
That woman’s faith is, as who saith
All utterly decay’d:
But nevertheless, right good witnèss
In this case might be laid
That they love true and continùe:
Record the Nut-brown Maid,
Which, when her love came her to prove,
To her to make his moan,
Would not depart; for in her heart
She loved but him alone.
[Pg 296]

III

He. Then between us let us discuss
What was all the manere
Between them two: we will also
Tell all the pain in fere[441]
That she was in. Now I begin,
So that ye me answere:
Wherefore all ye that present be,
I pray you, give an ear.
I am the Knight. I come by night,
As secret as I can,
Saying, Alas! thus standeth the case,
I am a banished man.

IV

She. And I your will for to fulfil
In this will not refuse;
Trusting to show, in wordès few,
That men have an ill use—
To their own shame—women to blame,
And causeless them accuse.
Therefore to you I answer now,
All women to excuse:
Mine own heart dear, with you what cheer?
I pray you, tell anone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

V

He. It standeth so: a deed is do
Whereof great harm shall grow:
My destiny is for to die
A shameful death, I trow;
[Pg 297] Or else to flee. The t’ one must be.
None other way I know
But to withdraw as an outlàw,
And take me to my bow.
Wherefore adieu, mine own heart true!
None other rede I can[442]:
For I must to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

VI

She. O Lord, what is this worldis bliss,
That changeth as the moon!
My summer’s day in lusty May
Is darked before the noon.
I hear you say, farewell: Nay, nay,
We dèpart not so soon.
Why say ye so? whither will ye go?
Alas! what have ye done?
All my welfàre to sorrow and care
Should change, if ye were gone:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

VII

He. I can believe it shall you grieve,
And somewhat you distrain[443];
But afterward, your painès hard
Within a day or twain
Shall soon aslake; and ye shall take
Comfort to you again.
Why should ye ought? for, to make thought,
Your labour were in vain.
[Pg 298] And thus I do; and pray you to,
As hartèly as I can:
For I must to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

VIII

She. Now, sith that ye have showed to me
The secret of your mind,
I shall be plain to you again,
Like as ye shall me find.
Sith it is so that ye will go,
I will not live behind.
Shall never be said the Nut-brown Maid
Was to her love unkind.
Make you readỳ, for so am I,
Although it were anone:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

IX

He. Yet I you rede to take good heed
What men will think and say:
Of young, of old, it shall be told
That ye be gone away
Your wanton will for to fulfil,
In green-wood you to play;
And that ye might for your delight
No longer make delay.
Rather than ye should thus for me
Be called an ill womàn
Yet would I to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
[Pg 299]

X

She. Though it be sung of old and young
That I should be to blame,
Theirs be the charge that speak so large
In hurting of my name:
For I will prove that faithful love
It is devoid of shame;
In your distress and heaviness
To part with[444] you the same:
And sure all tho[445] that do not so
True lovers are they none:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

XI

He. I counsel you, Remember how
It is no maiden’s law
Nothing to doubt, but to run out
To wood with an outlàw.
For ye must there in your hand bear
A bow readỳ to draw;
And as a thief thus must you live
Ever in dread and awe;
Whereby to you great harm might grow:
Yet had I liever than
That I had to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

XII

She. I think not nay but as ye say;
It is no maiden’s lore;
But love may make me for your sake,
As I have said before,
[Pg 300] To come on foot, to hunt and shoot,
To get us meat and store;
For so that I your company
May have, I ask no more.
From which to part it maketh my heart
As cold as any stone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

XIII

He. For an outlàw this is the law,
That men him take and bind:
Without pitie, hangèd to be,
And waver with the wind.
If I had need (as God forbede!)
What socours could ye find?
Forsooth, I trow, you and your bow
For fear would draw behind.
And no mervail; for little avail
Were in your counsel than:
Wherefore I’ll to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

XIV

She. Right well know ye that women be
But feeble for to fight;
No womanhede it is, indeed,
To be bold as a knight:
Yet in such fear if that ye were
With enemies day and night,
I would withstand, with bow in hand,
To grieve them as I might,
[Pg 301] And you to save; as women have
From death men many one:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

XV

He. Yet take good hede; for ever I drede
That ye could not sustain
The thorny ways, the deep vallèys,
The snow, the frost, the rain,
The cold, the heat; for dry or wete,
We must lodge on the plain;
And, us above, no other roof
But a brake bush or twain:
Which soon should grieve you, I believe;
And ye would gladly than
That I had to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

XVI

She. Sith I have here been partynere
With you of joy and bliss,
I must alsò part of your woe
Endure, as reason is:
Yet I am sure of one pleasùre,
And shortly it is this—
That where ye be, me seemeth, pardé,
I could not fare amiss.
Without more speech I you beseech
That we were shortly gone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
[Pg 302]

XVII

He. If ye go thyder, ye must consider,
When ye have lust to dine,
There shall no meat be for to gete,
Nether bere, ale, ne wine,
Ne shetès clean, to lie between,
Made of the thread and twine;
None other house, but leaves and boughs,
To cover your head and mine.
Lo, mine heart sweet, this ill diète
Should make you pale and wan:
Wherefore I’ll to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

XVIII

She. Among the wild deer such an archère,
As men say that ye be,
Ne may not fail of good vitayle
Where is so great plentè:
And water clear of the rivere
Shall be full sweet to me;
With which in hele[446] I shall right wele
Endure, as ye shall see;
And, or we go, a bed or two
I can provide anone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

XIX

He. Lo yet, before, ye must do more,
If ye will go with me:
As, cut your hair up by your ear,
Your kirtle by the knee;
[Pg 303] With bow in hand for to withstand
Your enemies, if need be:
And this same night, before daylight,
To woodward will I flee.
If that ye will all this fulfil,
Do it shortly as ye can:
Else will I to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.

XX

She. I shall as now do more for you
Than ’longeth to womanhede;
To short my hair, a bow to bear,
To shoot in time of need.
O my sweet mother! before all other
For you I have most drede!
But now, adieu! I must ensue
Where fortune doth me lead.
All this make ye: Now let us flee;
The day cometh fast upon:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

XXI

He. Nay, nay, not so; ye shall not go,
And I shall tell you why—
Your appetite is to be light
Of love, I well espy:
For, right as ye have said to me,
In likewise hardily
Ye would answere whosoever it were,
In way of companỳ:
[Pg 304] It is said of old, Soon hot, soon cold;
And so is a womàn:
Wherefore I to the wood will go,
Alone, a banished man.

XXII

She. If ye take heed, it is no need
Such words to say to me;
For oft ye prayed, and long assayed,
Or I loved you, pardè:
And though that I of ancestry
A baron’s daughter be,
Yet have you proved how I you loved,
A squire of low degree;
And ever shall, whatso befall,
To die therefore anone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

XXIII

He. A baron’s child to be beguiled,
It were a cursèd deed!
To be felàw with an outlaw—
Almighty God forbede!
Yet better were the poor squyere
Alone to forest yede[447]
Than ye shall say another day
That by my cursèd rede
Ye were betrayed. Wherefore, good maid,
The best rede that I can,
Is, that I to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
[Pg 305]

XXIV

She. Whatever befall, I never shall
Of this thing be upbraid:
But if ye go, and leave me so,
Then have ye me betrayed.
Remember you wele, how that ye dele;
For if ye, as ye said,
Be so unkind to leave behind
Your love, the Nut-brown Maid,
Trust me trulỳ that I shall die
Soon after ye be gone:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

XXV

He. If that ye went, ye should repent;
For in the forest now
I have purveyed me of a maid
Whom I love more than you:
Another more fair than ever ye were
I dare it well avow;
And of you both each should be wroth
With other, as I trow:
It were mine ease to live in peace;
So will I, if I can:
Wherefore I to the wood will go,
Alone, a banished man.

XXVI

She. Though in the wood I understood
Ye had a paramour,
All this may nought remove my thought,
But that I will be your’:
[Pg 306] And she shall find me soft and kind
And courteis every hour;
Glad to fulfil all that she will
Command me, to my power:
For had ye, lo, an hundred mo,
Yet would I be that one:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

XXVII

He. Mine own dear love, I see the prove
That ye be kind and true;
Of maid, of wife, in all my life,
The best that ever I knew.
Be merry and glad; be no more sad;
The case is changèd new;
For it were ruth that for your truth
Ye should have cause to rue.
Be not dismayed, whatsoever I said
To you when I began;
I will not to the green-wood go;
I am no banished man.

XXVIII

She. These tidings be more glad to me
Than to be made a queen,
If I were sure they should endure;
But it is often seen
When men will break promise they speak
The wordis on the splene[448].
Ye shape some wile me to beguile,
And steal from me, I ween:
[Pg 307] Then were the case worse than it was,
And I more wo-begone:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.

XXIX

He. Ye shall not nede further to drede:
I will not disparàge
You (God defend), sith you descend
Of so great a linàge.
Now understand: to Westmoreland,
Which is my heritage,
I will you bring; and with a ring,
By way of marriàge
I will you take, and lady make,
As shortly as I can:
Thus have you won an Earle’s son,
And not a banished man.

XXX

Here may ye see that women be
In love meek, kind, and stable;
Let never man reprove them than,
Or call them variable;
But rather pray God that we may
To them be comfortable;
Which sometime proveth such as He loveth,
If they be charitable.
For sith men would that women should
Be meek to them each one;
Much more ought they to God obey,
And serve but Him alone.

FOOTNOTES:

[439] never a dele = never a bit.

[440] than = then.

[441] in fere = in company, together.

[442] rede I can = counsel I know.

[443] distrain = distress.

[444] part with = share with.

[445] tho = those.

[446] hele = health.

[447] yede = went.

[448] on the splene = in haste.


[Pg 308]

70. Fause Foodrage

I

King Easter has courted her for her lands,
King Wester for her fee,
King Honour for her comely face,
And for her fair bodie.

II

They had not been four months married,
As I have heard them tell,
Until the nobles of the land
Against them did rebel.

III

And they cast kevils[449] them amang,
And kevils them between;
And they cast kevils them amang,
Wha suld gae kill the king.

IV

O, some said yea, and some said nay,
Their words did not agree;
Till up and got him, Fause Foodrage,
And swore it suld be he.

V

When bells were rung, and mass was sung,
And a’ men bound to bed,
King Honour and his gay ladye
In a high chamber were laid.
[Pg 309]

VI

Then up and raise him, Fause Foodrage,
When a’ were fast asleep,
And slew the porter in his lodge,
That watch and ward did keep.

VII

O four-and-twenty silver keys
Hang hie upon a pin;
And aye, as ae door he did unlock,
He has fasten’d it him behin’.

VIII

Then up and raise him, King Honour,
Says—‘What means a’ this din?
Or what’s the matter, Fause Foodrage,
Or wha has loot you in?’—

IX

‘O ye my errand weel sall learn,
Before that I depart.’—
Then drew a knife, baith lang and sharp,
And pierced him to the heart.

X

Then up and got the Queen hersell,
And fell low down on her knee,
‘O spare my life, now, Fause Foodrage!
For I never injured thee.

XI

‘O spare my life, now, Fause Foodrage!
Until I lighter be!
And see gin it be lad or lass,
King Honour has left me wi’.’—
[Pg 310]

XII

‘O gin it be a lass,’ he says,
‘Weel nursèd it sall be;
But gin it be a lad bairn,
He sall be hangèd hie.

XIII

‘I winna spare for his tender age,
Nor yet for his hie hie kin;
But soon as e’er he born is,
He sall mount the gallows pin.’—

XIV

O four-and-twenty valiant knights
Were set the Queen to guard;
And four stood aye at her bour door,
To keep both watch and ward.

XV

But when the time drew near an end,
That she suld lighter be,
She cast about to find a wile,
To set her body free.

XVI

O she has birled these merry young men
With the ale but and the wine,
Until they were a’ deadly drunk
As any wild-wood swine.

XVII

‘O narrow, narrow is this window,
And big, big am I grown!’—
Yet through the might of Our Ladye,
Out at it she is gone.
[Pg 311]

XVIII

She wander’d up, she wander’d down,
She wander’d out and in,
And, at last, into the very swine’s stythe
The Queen brought forth a son.

XIX

Then they cast kevils them amang,
Which suld gae seek the Queen;
And the kevil fell upon Wise William,
And he sent his wife for him.

XX

O when she saw Wise William’s wife,
The Queen fell on her knee:
‘Win up, win up, madam!’ she says:
‘What needs this courtesie?’—

XXI

‘O out o’ this I winna rise,
Till a boon ye grant to me;
To change your lass for this lad bairn,
King Honour left me wi’.

XXII

‘And ye maun learn my gay goss-hawk
Right weel to breast a steed;
And I sall learn your turtle dow[450]
As weel to write and read.

XXIII

‘And ye maun learn my gay goss-hawk
To wield both bow and brand;
And I sall learn your turtle dow
To lay gowd[451] wi’ her hand.
[Pg 312]

XXIV

‘At kirk and market when we meet,
We’ll dare make nae avowe,
But—“Dame, how does my gay goss-hawk?”
“Madame, how does my dow?”’

XXV

When days were gane, and years came on,
Wise William he thought lang;
And he has ta’en King Honour’s son
A-hunting for to gang.

XXVI

It sae fell out, at this huntìng,
Upon a simmer’s day,
That they came by a fair castell,
Stood on a sunny brae.

XXVII

‘O dinna ye see that bonny castell,
Wi’ halls and towers sae fair?
Gin ilka man had back his ain,
Of it you suld be heir.’—

XXVIII

‘How I suld be heir of that castell,
In sooth, I canna see;
For it belangs to Fause Foodrage,
And he is na kin to me.’—

XXIX

‘O gin ye suld kill him, Fause Foodrage,
You would do but what was right;
For I wot he kill’d your father dear,
Or ever ye saw the light.
[Pg 313]

XXX

‘And gin ye suld kill him, Fause Foodrage,
There is no man durst you blame;
For he keeps your mother a prisoner,
And she darna take ye hame.’—

XXXI

The boy stared wild like a gray goss-hawk;
Says—‘What may a’ this mean?’—
‘My boy, ye are King Honour’s son,
And your mother’s our lawful Queen.’—

XXXII

‘O gin I be King Honour’s son,
By Our Ladye I swear,
This night I will that traitor slay,
And relieve my mother dear!’—

XXXIII

He has set his bent bow to his breast
And leaped the castell wa’;
And soon he has seized on Fause Foodrage,
Wha loud for help ’gan ca’.

XXXIV

‘O haud your tongue, now, Fause Foodrage,
Frae me ye shanna flee!’—
Syne pierced him through the fause, fause heart,
And set his mother free.

XXXV

And he has rewarded Wise William
Wi’ the best half of his land;
And sae has he the turtle dow,
Wi’ the truth o’ his right hand.

FOOTNOTES:

[449] kevils = lots.

[450] dow = dove.

[451] lay gowd = embroider in gold.


[Pg 314]

71. The Fair Flower of Northumberland

I

It was a knight in Scotland born,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
Was taken prisoner and left forlorn,
Even by the good Earl of Northumberland.

II

Then was he cast in prison strong,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
Where he could not walk nor lie along,
Even by the good Earl of Northumberland.

III

And as in sorrow thus he lay,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
The Earl’s sweet daughter walk’d that way,
And she the faire flower of Northumberland.

IV

And loud to her this knight did crie,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
The salt teares standing in his eye,
And she the faire flower of Northumberland.

V

‘Faire lady,’ he said, ‘take pity on me,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
And let me not in prison dee[452],
And you the faire flower of Northumberland.’—

VI

‘Faire sir, how should I take pity on thee?
Follow, my love, come over the strand
Thou being a foe to our countrie,
And I the faire flower of Northumberland.’
[Pg 315]

VII

‘Faire lady, I am no foe,’ he said,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
‘Through thy sweet love here was I stay’d,
For thee, the faire flower of Northumberland.’—

VIII

‘Why shouldst thou come here for love of me,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
Having wife and children in thy countrie?
—And I the faire flower of Northumberland.’—

IX

‘I swear by the blessèd Trinitie,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
I have no wife nor children, I,
But I’ll make you my ladye in faire Scotland.

X

‘I swear by Him that was crown’d with thorn,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
That I never had wife since the day I was born,
But I live a free lord in faire Scotland.’—

XI

She stole from her father’s pillow the key,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
And soon out of prison she’s set him free
To wend with her into faire Scotland.

XII

Likewise much gold she got by sleight,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
And all to help this forlorne knight
To wend from her father to faire Scotland.
[Pg 316]

XIII

She’s led him down to her father’s stable,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
And she’s stolen two steeds both wight[453] and able,
To carry them on to faire Scotland.

XIV

They rode till they came to a water clear,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
‘Good Sir, how should I follow you here,
And I the faire flower of Northumberland?

XV

‘The water is rough and wonderful steepe,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
And on my saddle I shall not keepe,
And I the faire flower of Northumberland.’—

XVI

‘Fear not the ford, faire lady,’ quoth he,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
‘For long I cannot stay for thee,
And thou the faire flower of Northumberland.’

XVII

From top to toe all wet was she:
Follow, my love, come over the strand
‘This have I done for love of thee,
And I the faire flower of Northumberland.’

XVIII

They rode till they came to a Scottish moss,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
He bade her light off from her father’s horse,
Says, ‘Go, get you back to Northumberland.
[Pg 317]

XIX

‘For I have a wife and children five,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
In Edenborrow they be alive,
So get thee home to Northumberland.’—

XX

‘Have pity on me as I had it on thee!
Follow, my love, come over the strand
A cook in your kitchen I will be,
Even I, the faire flower of Northumberland.

XXI

‘Or take me by the body so meek,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
And throw me in the water so deep,
For I darena go back to Northumberland.’

XXII

He turn’d him around and he thought of a plan,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
He bought an old horse and he hired an old man
To carry her back to Northumberland.

XXIII

When she came thro’ her father’s ha’,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
She louted[454] her low amongst them a’,
She was the faire flower of Northumberland.

XXIV

Down came her father, he saw her and smiled,
Follow, my love, come over the strand
‘You arena the first the false Scots have beguiled,
And ye’re aye welcome back to Northumberland!’

FOOTNOTES:

[452] dee = die.

[453] wight = sturdy.

[454] louted = bowed.


[Pg 318]

72. Young John

I

A fair maid sat in her bower-door,
Wringing her lily hands,
And by it came a sprightly youth,
Fast tripping o’er the strands.

II

‘Where gang ye, young John,’ she says,
‘Sae early in the day?
It gars me think, by your fast trip,
Your journey’s far away.’

III

He turn’d about wi’ a surly look,
And said, ‘What’s that to thee?
I’m gaen to see a lovely maid,
Mair fairer far than ye.’—

IV

‘Now hae ye play’d me this, fause love,
In simmer, ’mid the flowers?
I shall repay ye back again,
In winter, ’mid the showers.

V

‘But again, dear love, and again, dear love,
Will ye not turn again?
For as ye look to other women,
Sall I to other men.’—

VI

‘Go make your choice of whom you please,
For I my choice will have;
I’ve chosen a maid more fair than thee,
I never will deceive.’
[Pg 319]

VII

She’s kilted up her claithing fine,
And after him gaed she;
But aye he said, ‘Ye’ll turn again,
Nae farther gang wi’ me.’—

VIII

‘But again, dear love, and again, dear love,
Will ye ne’er love me again?
Alas, for loving you sae well,
And you nae me again!’

IX

The firstan town that they cam’ till,
He bought her brooch and ring;
And aye he bade her turn again,
And nae farther gang wi’ him.

X

‘But again, dear love, and again, dear love,
Will ye ne’er love me again?
Alas, for loving you sae well,
And you nae me again!’

XI

The nextan town that they cam’ till,
He bought her muff and gloves;
But aye he bade her turn again,
And choose some other loves.

XII

‘But again, dear love, and again, dear love,
Will ye ne’er love me again?
Alas, for loving you sae well,
And you nae me again!’
[Pg 320]

XIII

The nextan town that they cam’ till,
His heart it grew mair fain,
And he was as deep in love wi’ her
As she was ower again.

XIV

The nextan town that they cam’ till,
He bought her wedding gown,
And made her lady of ha’s and bowers,
Into sweet Berwick town.

73. Lady Maisry

I

The young lords o’ the north country
Have all a-wooing gone,
To win the love of Lady Maisry,
But o’ them she wou’d hae none.

II

O they hae courted Lady Maisry
Wi’ a’ kin kind of things;
An’ they hae sought her Lady Maisry
Wi’ brooches an’ wi’ rings.

III

An’ they ha’ sought her Lady Maisry
Frae father and frae mother;
An’ they ha’ sought her Lady Maisry
Frae sister an’ frae brother.
[Pg 321]

IV

An’ they ha’ follow’d her Lady Maisry
Thro’ chamber an’ thro’ ha’;
But a’ that they cou’d say to her,
Her answer still was Na.

V

‘O haud your tongues, young men,’ she says,
‘An’ think nae mair o’ me;
For I’ve gi’en my love to an English lord,
An’ think nae mair o’ me.’

VI

Her father’s kitchy-boy heard that,
An ill death may he dee!
An’ he is on to her brother,
As fast as gang cou’d he.

VII

‘O is my father an’ my mother well,
But an’ my brothers three?
Gin my sister Lady Maisry be well,
There’s naething can ail me.’—

VIII

‘Your father an’ your mother is well,
But an’ your brothers three;
Your sister Lady Maisry’s well,
So big wi’ bairn gangs she.’

IX

‘Gin this be true you tell to me,
My malison light on thee!
But gin it be a lie you tell,
You sal be hangit hie.’
[Pg 322]

X

He’s done him to his sister’s bow’r,
Wi’ meikle doole an’ care;
An’ there he saw her Lady Maisry
Kaiming her yellow hair.

XI

‘O wha is aught[455] that bairn,’ he says,
‘That ye sae big are wi’?
And gin ye winna own the truth,
This moment ye sall dee.’

XII

She turn’d her right and roun’ about,
An’ the kame fell frae her han’;
A trembling seiz’d her fair body,
An’ her rosy cheek grew wan.

XIII

‘O pardon me, my brother dear,
An’ the truth I’ll tell to thee;
My bairn it is to Lord William,
An’ he is betroth’d to me.’—

XIV

‘O cou’d na ye gotten dukes, or lords,
Intill your ain country,
That ye draw up wi’ an English dog,
To bring this shame on me?

XV

‘But ye maun gi’ up the English lord,
Whan your young babe is born;
For, gin you keep by him an hour langer,
Your life sall be forlorn[456].’—
[Pg 323]

XVI

‘I will gi’ up this English blood,
Till my young babe be born;
But the never a day nor hour langer,
Tho’ my life should be forlorn.’—

XVII

‘O whare is a’ my merry young men,
Whom I gi’ meat and fee,
To pu’ the thistle and the thorn,
To burn this woman wi’?’—

XVIII

She turn’d her head on her left shoulder,
Saw her girdle hang on a tree;
‘O God bless them wha gave me that,
They’ll never give more to me.

XIX

‘O whare will I get a bonny boy,
To help me in my need,
To rin wi’ haste to Lord William,
And bid him come wi’ speed?’—

XX

O out it spake a bonny boy,
Stood by her brother’s side:
‘O I would run your errand, lady,
O’er a’ the world sae wide.

XXI

‘Aft have I run your errands, lady,
Whan blawn baith win’ and weet;
But now I’ll rin your errand, lady,
Wi’ saut tears on my cheek.’
[Pg 324]

XXII

O whan he came to broken briggs,
He bent his bow and swam,
An’ whan he came to the green grass growin’
He slack’d his shoone and ran.

XXIII

O whan he came to Lord William’s gates,
He baed[457] na to chap[458] or ca’,
But set his bent bow till his breast,
An’ lightly lap’ the wa’;
An’, or the porter was at the gate,
The boy was i’ the ha’.

XXIV

‘O is my biggins[459] broken, boy?
Or is my towers won?
Or is my lady lighter yet,
Of a dear daughter or son?’—

XXV

‘Your biggin is na broken, sir,
Nor is your towers won;
But the fairest lady in a’ the land
For you this day maun burn.’—

XXVI

‘O saddle me the black, the black,
Or saddle me the brown;
O saddle me the swiftest steed
That ever rade frae a town!’
[Pg 325]

XXVII

Or he was near a mile awa’,
She heard his wild horse sneeze:
‘Mend up the fire, my false brother,
It’s na come to my knees.’

XXVIII

O whan he lighted at the gate,
She heard his bridle ring;
‘Mend up the fire, my false brother,
It’s far yet frae my chin.

XXIX

‘Mend up the fire to me, brother,
Mend up the fire to me;
For I see him comin’ hard an’ fast,
Will soon mend it up to thee.

XXX

‘O gin my hands had been loose, Willy,
Sae hard as they are boun’,
I would have turn’d me frae the gleed[460],
And casten out your young son.’—

XXXI

‘O I’ll gar burn for you, Maisry,
Your father an’ your mother;
An’ I’ll gar burn for you, Maisry,
Your sister an’ your brother.

XXXII

‘An’ I’ll gar burn for you, Maisry,
The chief of a’ your kin;
An’ the last bonfire that I come to,
Mysel’ I will cast in.’

FOOTNOTES:

[455] aught = owed.

[456] forlorn = lost to you.

[457] baed = abode, tarried.

[458] chap = knock.

[459] biggins = buildings.

[460] gleed = glowing fire, embers.


[Pg 326]

74. Bonny Bee Ho’m

I

By Arthur’s Dale as late I went
I heard a heavy moan;
I heard a ladie lamenting sair,
And ay she cried ‘Ohone!

II

‘Ohone, alas! what shall I do,
Tormented night and day!
I never loved a love but ane,
And now he’s gone away.

III

‘But I will do for my true-love
What ladies wou’d think sair;
For seven year shall come and go
Ere a kaim[461] gang in my hair.

IV

‘There shall neither a shoe gang on my foot,
Nor a kaim gang in my hair,
Nor e’er a coal nor candle-light
Shine in my bower nae mair.’

V

She thought her love had been on the sea,
Fast sailing to Bee Ho’m;
But he was in a quiet cham’er[462],
Hearing his ladie’s moan.

VI

‘Be husht, be husht, my ladie dear,
I pray thee mourn not so;
For I am deep sworn on a book
To Bee Ho’m for to go.’
[Pg 327]

VII

She has gien him a chain of the beaten gowd,
And a ring with a ruby stone:
‘As lang as this chain your body binds,
Your blude can never be drawn.

VIII

‘But gin this ring shou’d fade or fail,
Or the stone shou’d change its hue,
Be sure your love is dead and gone,
Or she has proved untrue.’

IX

He had no been at Bonny Bee Ho’m
A twelve month and a day,
Till, looking on his gay gowd ring,
The stone grew dark and gray.

X

‘O ye take my riches to Bee Ho’m,
And deal them presentlie,
To the young that canna, the auld that maunna,
And the blind that does not see.

XI

‘Fight on, fight on, my merry men all!
With you I’ll fight no more;
But I will gang to some holy place
And pray to the King of Glore[463].’

FOOTNOTES:

[461] kaim = comb.

[462] cham’er = chamber.

[463] Glore = Glory.


[Pg 328]

75. Sir Patrick Spens

I. The Sailing.

I

The king sits in Dunfermline town
Drinking the blude-red wine;
‘O whare will I get a skeely[464] skipper
To sail this new ship o’ mine?’

II

O up and spak an eldern knight,
Sat at the king’s right knee:
‘Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor
That ever sail’d the sea.’

III

Our king has written a braid letter,
And seal’d it with his hand,
And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens,
Was walking on the strand.

IV

‘To Noroway, to Noroway,
To Noroway o’er the faem;
The king’s daughter o’ Noroway,
’Tis thou must bring her hame.’

V

The first word that Sir Patrick read
So loud, loud laugh’d he;
The neist word that Sir Patrick read
The tear blinded his e’e.

VI

‘O wha is this has done this deed
And tauld the king o’ me,
To send us out, at this time o’ year,
To sail upon the sea?
[Pg 329]

VII

‘Be it wind, be it weet, be it hail, be it sleet,
Our ship must sail the faem;
The king’s daughter o’ Noroway,
’Tis we must fetch her hame.’

VIII

They hoysed their sails on Monenday morn
Wi’ a’ the speed they may;
They hae landed in Noroway
Upon a Wodensday.

II. The Return.

IX

‘Mak ready, mak ready, my merry men a’!
Our gude ship sails the morn.’—
‘Now ever alack, my master dear,
I fear a deadly storm.

X

‘I saw the new moon late yestreen
Wi’ the auld moon in her arm;
And if we gang to sea, master,
I fear we’ll come to harm.’

XI

They hadna sail’d a league, a league,
A league but barely three,
When the lift[465] grew dark, and the wind blew loud,
And gurly grew the sea.
[Pg 330]

XII

The ankers brak, and the topmast lap[466],
It was sic a deadly storm:
And the waves cam owre the broken ship
Till a’ her sides were torn.

XIII

‘O where will I get a gude sailor
To tak’ my helm in hand,
Till I get up to the tall topmast
To see if I can spy land?’—

XIV

‘O here am I, a sailor gude,
To tak’ the helm in hand,
Till you go up to the tall topmast,
But I fear you’ll ne’er spy land.’

XV

He hadna gane a step, a step,
A step but barely ane,
When a bolt flew out of our goodly ship,
And the saut sea it came in.

XVI

‘Go fetch a web o’ the silken claith,
Another o’ the twine,
And wap[467] them into our ship’s side,
And let nae the sea come in.’

XVII

They fetch’d a web o’ the silken claith,
Another o’ the twine,
And they wapp’d them round that gude ship’s side,
But still the sea came in.
[Pg 331]

XVIII

O laith, laith were our gude Scots lords
To wet their cork-heel’d shoon;
But lang or a’ the play was play’d
They wat their hats aboon.

XIX

And mony was the feather bed
That flatter’d[468] on the faem;
And mony was the gude lord’s son
That never mair cam hame.

XX

O lang, lang may the ladies sit,
Wi’ their fans into their hand,
Before they see Sir Patrick Spens
Come sailing to the strand!

XXI

And lang, lang may the maidens sit
Wi’ their gowd kames[469] in their hair,
A-waiting for their ain dear loves!
For them they’ll see nae mair.

XXII

Half-owre, half-owre to Aberdour,
’Tis fifty fathoms deep;
And there lies gude Sir Patrick Spens,
Wi’ the Scots lords at his feet!

FOOTNOTES:

[464] skeely = skilful.

[465] lift = sky.

[466] lap = sprang.

[467] wap = wrap.

[468] flatter’d = tossed afloat.

[469] kames = combs.


[Pg 332]

76. The Lord of Lorn

I

It was the worthy Lord of Lorn,
He was a lord of high degree;
And he has set his one young son
To school, to learn civility.

II

He learn’d more learning in one day
Than other children did in three;
And then bespake the schoolmaster,
Unto the heir of Lorn said he:

III

‘In faith thou art the honestest boy
That ere I blinkt on with mine e’e;
I think thou be some easterling born,
The Holy Ghost it is with thee.’

IV

He said he was no easterling born,
The child thus answer’d courteouslye:
‘My father he is the Lord of Lorn,
And I his one young son, perdie.’

V

The schoolmaster turn’d round about,
His angry mind he could not ’swage;
He marvell’d the child could speak so wise,
He being of so tender age.

VI

He girt the saddle to the steed,
A golden bridle done him upon;
He took his leave of his schoolfellows,
And home this Child of Lorn has gone.
[Pg 333]

VII

And when he came to his father dear
He kneelèd down upon his knee:
‘God’s blessing, father, I would ask,
If Christ would grant you to give it me.’—

VIII

‘Now God thee bless, my son, my heir,
His servant in heaven that thou may be!
What tidings hast thou brought me, child?
Thou art comen home so hastilye.’—

IX

‘Good tidings, father, I have you brought,
Good tidings I hope it is to thee;
There’s never a book in all Scotland
But I can read it truëlye.’

X

A joyèd man his father was
All in the place where he did stand:
‘My son, thou shalt go into France,
To learn the speeches of ilka land.’

XI

‘Who shall go with him?’ said his lady;
‘Husband, we have no more but he.’—
‘Madam,’ he saith, ‘my hend[470] steward,
For he hath been true to you and me.’

XII

She call’d the steward to an account,
A thousand pound she gave him anon;
Says, ‘Steward, I’ll give thee as mickle more
If thou be as good to my one son.’—
[Pg 334]

XIII

‘If I be false unto my young lord,
Then God be the like to me indeed!’
—So now to France they both are gone,
And the God [of Heaven] be their good speed!

XIV

Over the sea into France land
They had not been three weeks to an end,
But meat and drink the child got none,
Nor penny of money in purse to spend.

XV

The child ran to a river’s side;
He was fain to drink the water thin;
And after follow’d the false steward
To drown the bonny boy therein.

XVI

‘But nay, by Mary!’ said the child,
He askèd mercy pitifullye;
‘Good Steward, let me have my life,
And all I have I will give to thee!’

XVII

Mercy to him the steward did take,
And pull’d the child out o’er the brim
But, ever alack, the more pitye!
He took his clothing even from him.

XVIII

Says, ‘Do thou me off that velvet gown,
The crimson hose beneath thy knee,
And do me off thy cordinant[471] shoon
That are buckled with the gold so free.
[Pg 335]

XIX

‘Do thou me off thy satin doublèt,
Thy shirtband wrought wi’ glisterin’ gold,
And do me off thy golden chain
About thy neck with many a fold.

XX

‘And do me off thy velvet hat,
With feather in it that is so fine;
And all unto thy silken shirt,
That’s work’d with many a golden seam.’

XXI

But when the child was naked stript,
With skin as white as the lily flow’r,
He might, for his body and his bewtie,
Have been a princess’ paramour.

XXII

He put him in an old kelter[472] coat,
And hose of the same above the knee,
And he bade him go to a shepherd’s house,
To tend sheep on a lonely lee.

XXIII

The child said, ‘What shall be my name?
Prithee, good Steward, tell to me.’—
‘Thy name shall be Poor Disaware,
To tend sheep on a lonely lee.’

XXIV

The child came to the shepherd’s house—
O Lord! he weepèd pitifullye—
Says, ‘Do you not want a servant-boy,
To tend your sheep on a lonely lee?’
[Pg 336]

XXV

‘I have no child,’ the shepherd said,
‘My boy, thou’st tarry and dwell with me;
My living, my house, but and my goods,
I’ll make thee heir of them all, perdie.’

XXVI

And then bespake the shepherd’s wife
Unto the child so tenderlye:
‘Thou must take the sheep and go to the field,
And tend them upon the lonely lee.’

XXVII

Now let us leave talk of the child
That is tending sheep on the lonely lee,
And we’ll talk more of the false steward,
Of him and of his treacherye.

XXVIII

He bought himself a suit of apparel
That any lord might a-seem’d to worn;
He went a-wooing to the Duke’s daughter,
And call’d himself the Lord of Lorn.

XXIX

The Duke he welcomed the [brisk] young lord
With three baked stags and the Rhenish wine:
If he had wist him the false steward,
With the devil he’d have bade him dine.

XXX

But when they were at supper set
With dainty delicates that was there,
The Duke said, ‘If thou’lt wed my daughter
I’ll give thee a thousand pound a year.’
[Pg 337]

XXXI

Then hand in hand the steward her took,
And plight that lady his troth alone,
That she should be his married wife,
And he would make her the Lady of Lorn.

XXXII

The lady would see the roebuck run
Up hills and dales and the forest free,
When she was ’ware of a shepherd’s boy
Was tending sheep on a lonely lee.

XXXIII

And ever he sigh’d and made his moan
[Unto himself] most pitifullye,
‘My father is the Lord of Lorn,
And knows not what’s become of me!’

XXXIV

O then bespake the lady gay
And to her maid she spake anon,
‘Go fetch me hither yon shepherd’s boy:
I’ll know why he doth make his moan.’

XXXV

But when he came to that lady fair
He fell down low upon his knee;
He was [of birth and] so brought up
He needed not to learn courtesye.

XXXVI

‘What is thy name? Where wast thou born?
For whose sake makest thou this moan?’—
‘I am Poor Disaware, in Scotland born,
And I mourn one dead these years agone.’—
[Pg 338]

XXXVII

‘Tell me [of Scotland], thou bonny child,
Tell me the truth and do not lee:
Knowest thou there the young Lord of Lorn?
He is come into France a-wooing of me.’—

XXXVIII

‘Yes, that I do, madam,’ he said,
‘I know that lord, yea, verilye;
The Lord of Lorn is a worthy lord,
If he were at home in his own countrye.’—

XXXIX

‘Wilt leave thy sheep, thou bonny child,
And come in service unto me?’—
‘[I thank you, madam]; yea, forsooth,
And at your bidding I will be.’

XL

When the steward look’d upon the child
He ’gan bewrail[473] him villainouslye:
‘Where wast thou born, thou vagabone?
Thou art a thief, I will prove thee.’

XLI

‘Ha’ done! ha’ done!’ said the lady gay,
‘Peace, Lord of Lorn, I do pray thee!
Without you bear him more good will,
No favour will you get of me.’

XLII

O then bespake the false steward,
‘Believe me or no, I tell to thee,
At Aberdonie, beyond the seas,
His father robbèd thousands three.’
[Pg 339]

XLIII

But then bespake the Duke of France
(The child was pleasant to his e’e),
Says, ‘Boy, if thou love horses well,
My groom of stables thou shalt be.’

XLIV

The child applied his office so well
Till that twelve months drew to an end;
He was so courteous and so true
That every man became his friend.

XLV

He led a gelding forth one morning,
To water him at the water so free—
The gelding up, and with his head
He hit the child above the e’e.

XLVI

‘Woe worth thee, gelding!’ said the child,
‘Woe worth the mare that foalèd thee!
Thou little knowest the Lord of Lorn:
Thou’st stricken a lord of high degree.’

XLVII

The lady was in her garden green,
And heard the child that made this moan:
All weeping [straight] she ran to him
And left her maidens all alone.

XLVIII

‘Sing on thy song, thou stable groom,
I will release thee of thy pain.’—
‘Nay, lady, I have made an oath;
I dare not tell my tale again.’—
[Pg 340]

XLIX

‘Sing on thy song, then, to thy gelding,
And so thy oath shall savèd be.’—
But when he told his horse the tale,
O the lady wept full tenderlye.

L

She sent in for her father the Duke:
‘O sick I am, and like to dee!
Put off my wedding, father,’ she said,
‘For the love of God, these monthës three.’

LI

The lady she did write a letter
Full speedily with her own hand;
She has sent it to the Lord of Lorn
Wheras he dwelt in fair Scotland.

LII

When the Lord of Lorn had read the letter
His lady wept, Lord! bitterlye;
‘Peace, Lady of Lorn, for Christ his love!
And wroken[474] upon him I will be.’

LIII

The old lord call’d up his merry men,
And all that he gave cloth and fee,
With seven lords to ride beside him,
And into the land of France rides he.

LIV

The wind was good, and they did sail
Five hundred men into France land,
Till they were ’ware of the Heir of Lorn,
Stood with a porter’s staff in ’s hand.
[Pg 341]

LV

The lords then cast their hats into air,
The serving-men fell on their knee.
‘What fools be yonder,’ said the steward,
‘That makes the porter courtesye?’

LVI

‘Thou’rt a false thief,’ said the Lord of Lorn,
‘[This child, thy master] to betray!’
And they set the castle round about,
A swallow could not have flown away.

LVII

And when they had taken the false steward,
By the law of France all hastilye
A quest of lords there chosen was
That judged this traitor he must dee.

LVIII

First they took him and hang’d him half,
And then they lat him down anon,
And quarter’d and put him in boiling lead,
And there he was sodden, breast and bone.

LIX

O then bespake the Lord of Lorn,
With many other lordës mo,
‘Sir Duke, if you be as willing as we,
We’ll have a marriage before we go.’

LX

But then bespake the Duke of France,
Unto the Child of Lorn right there:
Says, ‘Heir of Lorn, if thou’lt marry my daughter,
I’ll mend thy living a thousand a year.’
[Pg 342]

LXI

But then bespake that Child of Lorn,
And answer’d the Duke right merrilye:
‘I had rather have her with a ring of gold
Than all the gold you can proffer to me.’

FOOTNOTES:

[470] hend = courteous.

[471] cordinant = of Cordovan leather.

[472] kelter = of undyed wool.

[473] bewrail = rail at.

[474] wroken = revenged.


77. Edom o’ Gordon

I

It fell about the Martinmas,
When the wind blew shrill and cauld,
Said Edom o’ Gordon to his men,
‘We maun draw to a hauld[475].

II

‘And what a hauld sall we draw to,
My merry men and me?
We will gae to the house o’ the Rodes,
To see that fair ladye.’

III

The lady stood on her castle wa’,
Beheld baith dale and down;
There she was ’ware of a host of men
Cam’ riding towards the town[476].

IV

‘O see ye not, my merry men a’,
O see ye not what I see?
Methinks I see a host of men;
I marvel wha they be.’
[Pg 343]

V

She ween’d it had been her lovely lord,
As he cam riding hame;
It was the traitor, Edom o’ Gordon,
Wha reck’d nae sin nor shame.

VI

She had nae sooner buskit[477] hersell,
And putten on her gown,
But Edom o’ Gordon an’ his men
Were round about the town.

VII

They had nae sooner supper set,
Nae sooner said the grace,
But Edom o’ Gordon an’ his men
Were lighted about the place.

VIII

The lady ran up to her tower-head,
Sae fast as she could hie,
To see if by her fair speeches
She could wi’ him agree.

IX

‘Come doun to me, ye lady gay,
Come doun, come doun to me;
This night sall ye lig within mine arms,
To-morrow my bride sall be.’—

X

‘I winna come down, ye fals Gordon,
I winna come down to thee;
I winna forsake my ain dear lord,
That is sae far frae me.’—
[Pg 344]

XI

‘Gie owre your house, ye lady fair,
Gie owre your house to me;
Or I sall brenn yoursel’ therein,
But and your babies three.’—

XII

‘I winna gie owre, ye fals Gordon,
To nae sic traitor as yee;
And if ye brenn my ain dear babes,
My lord sall make ye dree[478].

XIII

‘Now reach my pistol, Glaud, my man,
And charge ye weel my gun;
For, but an I pierce that bluidy butcher,
My babes, we been undone!’

XIV

She stood upon her castle wa’,
And let twa bullets flee:
She miss’d that bluidy butcher’s heart,
And only razed his knee.

XV

‘Set fire to the house!’ quo’ fals Gordon,
All wud[479] wi’ dule and ire:
‘Fals lady, ye sall rue this deid
As ye brenn in the fire!’—

XVI

‘Wae worth, wae worth ye, Jock, my man!
I paid ye weel your fee;
Why pu’ ye out the grund-wa’[480] stane,
Lets in the reek to me?
[Pg 345]

XVII

‘And e’en wae worth ye, Jock, my man!
I paid ye weel your hire;
Why pu’ ye out the grund-wa’ stane,
To me lets in the fire?’—

XVIII

‘Ye paid me weel my hire, ladye,
Ye paid me weel my fee:
But now I’m Edom o’ Gordon’s man,
Maun either do or dee.’

XIX

O then bespake her little son,
Sat on the nurse’s knee:
Says, ‘Mither dear, gie owre this house,
For the reek it smithers me.’—

XX

‘I wad gie a’ my gowd, my bairn,
Sae wad I a’ my fee,
For ae blast o’ the western wind,
To blaw the reek frae thee.’

XXI

O then bespake her dochter dear—
She was baith jimp[481] and sma’:
‘O row[482] me in a pair o’ sheets,
And tow me owre the wa’!’

XXII

They row’d her in a pair o’ sheets,
And tow’d her owre the wa’;
But on the point o’ Gordon’s spear
She gat a deadly fa’.
[Pg 346]

XXIII

O bonnie, bonnie was her mouth,
And cherry were her cheiks,
And clear, clear was her yellow hair,
Whereon the red blood dreips.

XXIV

Then wi’ his spear he turn’d her owre;
O gin her face was wane!
He said, ‘Ye are the first that e’er
I wish’d alive again.’

XXV

He turn’d her owre and owre again;
O gin her skin was white!
‘I might hae spared that bonnie face
To hae been some man’s delight.

XXVI

‘Busk and boun[483], my merry men a’,
For ill dooms I do guess;
I canna look in that bonnie face
As it lies on the grass.’—

XXVII

‘Wha looks to freits[484], my master dear,
It’s freits will follow them;
Let it ne’er be said that Edom o’ Gordon
Was daunted by a dame.’

XXVIII

But when the lady saw the fire
Come flaming owre her head,
She wept, and kiss’d her children twain,
Says, ‘Bairns, we been but dead.’
[Pg 347]

XXIX

The Gordon then his bugle blew,
And said, ‘Awa’, awa’!
This house o’ the Rodes is a’ in a flame;
I hauld it time to ga’.’

XXX

And this way lookit her ain dear lord,
As he cam owre the lea;
He saw his castle a’ in a lowe[485],
As far as he could see.

XXXI

Then sair, O sair, his mind misgave,
And all his heart was wae:
‘Put on, put on, my wighty[486] men,
Sae fast as ye can gae.

XXXII

‘Put on, put on, my wighty men,
Sae fast as ye can drie!
For he that’s hindmost o’ the thrang
Sall ne’er get good o’ me.’

XXXIII

Then some they rade, and some they ran,
Out-owre the grass and bent;
But ere the foremost could win up,
Baith lady and babes were brent.

XXXIV

And after the Gordon he is gane,
Sae fast as he might drie;
And soon i’ the Gordon’s foul heart’s blude
He’s wroken[487] his dear ladye.

FOOTNOTES:

[475] hauld = place of shelter.

[476] town = stead.

[477] buskit = attired.

[478] dree = suffer.

[479] wud = mad.

[480] grund-wa’ = ground-wall.

[481] jimp = slender, trim.

[482] row = wrap.

[483] Busk and boun = trim up and prepare to go.

[484] freits = ill omen.

[485] lowe = flame.

[486] wighty = sturdy, active.

[487] wroken = avenged.


[Pg 348]

78. Lamkin

I

It’s Lamkin was a mason good
As ever built wi’ stane;
He built Lord Wearie’s castle,
But payment got he nane.

II

‘O pay me, Lord Wearie,
Come, pay to me my fee.’—
‘I canna pay you, Lamkin,
For I maun gang o’er the sea.’—

III

‘O pay me now, Lord Wearie,
Come, pay me out o’ hand.’—
‘I canna pay you, Lamkin,
Unless I sell my land.’—

IV

‘O gin ye winna pay me,
I here sall mak’ a vow
Before that ye come hame again,
Ye sall hae cause to rue.’

V

Lord Wearie got a bonny ship,
To sail the saut sea faem;
Bade his lady weel the castle keep,
Ay till he should come hame.

VI

‘Gae bar the doors,’ the lady said,
‘Gae well the windows pin;
And what care I for Lamkin
Or any of his gang?’
[Pg 349]

VII

But the nourice was a fause limmer[488]
As e’er hung on a tree;
She laid a plot wi’ Lamkin,
Whan her lord was o’er the sea.

VIII

She laid a plot wi’ Lamkin,
When the servants were awa’,
Loot him in at a little shot-window[489],
And brought him to the ha’.

IX

‘O whare’s a’ the men o’ this house,
That ca’ me the Lamkin?’—
‘They’re at the barn-well thrashing;
’Twill be lang ere they come in.’—

X

‘And whare’s the women o’ this house,
That ca’ me the Lamkin?’—
‘They’re at the far well washing;
’Twill be lang ere they come in.’—

XI

‘And whare’s the bairns o’ this house,
That ca’ me the Lamkin?’—
‘They’re at the school reading;
’Twill be night or they come hame.’—

XII

‘O whare’s the lady o’ this house,
That ca’s me the Lamkin?’—
‘She’s up in her bower sewing,
But we soon can bring her down.’
[Pg 350]

XIII

Then Lamkin’s tane a sharp knife,
That hung down by his gare[490],
And he has gi’en the bonny babe
A deep wound and a sair.

XIV

Then Lamkin he rockèd,
And the fause nourice sang,
Till frae ilka bore[491] o’ the cradle
The red blood out sprang.

XV

Then out it spak’ the lady,
As she stood on the stair:
‘What ails my bairn, nourice,
That he’s greeting[492] sae sair?

XVI

‘O still my bairn, nourice,
O still him wi’ the pap!’—
‘He winna still, lady,
For this nor for that.’—

XVII

‘O still my bairn, nourice,
O still him wi’ the wand!’—
‘He winna still, lady,
For a’ his father’s land.’—

XVIII

‘O still my bairn, nourice,
O still him wi’ the bell!’—
‘He winna still, lady,
Till ye come down yoursel’.’—
[Pg 351]

XIX

O the firsten step she steppit,
She steppit on a stane;
But the neisten step she steppit,
She met him Lamkin.

XX

‘O mercy, mercy, Lamkin,
Hae mercy upon me!
Though you hae ta’en my young son’s life,
Ye may let mysel’ be.’—

XXI

‘O sall I kill her, nourice,
Or sall I lat her be?’—
‘O kill her, kill her, Lamkin,
For she ne’er was good to me.’—

XXII

‘O scour the bason, nourice,
And mak’ it fair and clean,
For to keep this lady’s heart’s blood,
For she’s come o’ noble kin.’—

XXIII

‘There need nae bason, Lamkin,
Lat it run through the floor;
What better is the heart’s blood
O’ the rich than o’ the poor?’

XXIV

But ere three months were at an end,
Lord Wearie came again;
But dowie[493], dowie was his heart
When first he came hame.
[Pg 352]

XXV

‘O wha’s blood is this,’ he says,
‘That lies in the cham’er[494]?’—
‘It is your lady’s heart’s blood;
’Tis as clear as the lamer[495].’—

XXVI

‘And wha’s blood is this,’ he says,
‘That lies in my ha’?’—
‘It is your young son’s heart’s blood;
’Tis the clearest ava’[496].’

XXVII

O sweetly sang the black-bird
That sat upon the tree;
But sairer grat Lamkin,
When he was condemn’d to dee.

XXVIII

And bonny sang the mavis
Out o’ the thorny brake;
But sairer grat the nourice,
When she was tied to the stake.

FOOTNOTES:

[488] limmer = wretch, jade.

[489] shot-window = a window opening on a hinge.

[490] gare = a seam of the skirt.

[491] bore = hole, crevice.

[492] greeting = wailing, crying.

[493] dowie = heavy, sorrowful.

[494] cham’er = chamber.

[495] lamer = amber.

[496] ava’ = of all.


[Pg 353]

79. Hugh of Lincoln
and The Jew’s Daughter

I

A’ the boys of merry Lincoln
Were playing at the ba’[497],
And by it came him sweet Sir Hugh,
And he play’d o’er them a’.

II

He kick’d the ba’ with his right foot,
And catch’d it wi’ his knee,
And thro’-and-thro’ the Jew’s window
He gar’d the bonny ba’ flee.

III

He’s doen[498] him to the Jew’s castell,
And walk’d it round about;
And there he saw the Jew’s daughter
At the window looking out.

IV

‘Throw down the ba’, ye Jew’s daughter,
Throw down the ba’ to me!’—
‘Never a bit,’ says the Jew’s daughter,
‘Till up to me come ye.’—

V

‘How will I come up? How can I come up?
How can I come up to thee?
I winna come up, I darena come up,
Without my play-feres[499] three.’

VI

She’s ta’en her to the Jew’s garden,
Where the grass grew long and green,
She’s pu’d an apple red and white
To wyle the pretty boy in.
[Pg 354]

VII

She’s wyled him in through ae dark door,
And sae has she through nine;
She’s laid him on a dressing table,
And stickit him like a swine.

VIII

And first came out the thick, thick blood,
And syne came out the thin,
And syne came out the bonny heart’s blood;
There was no more within.

IX

She’s row’d[500] him in a cake o’ lead,
Bade him lie still and sleep;
She’s thrown him into Our Lady’s draw-well,
Was fifty fathom deep.

X

When bells were rung, and mass was sung,
And a’ the bairns came hame,
Then every lady had hame her son,
But Lady Helen had nane.

XI

She’s ta’en her mantle her about,
Her coffer by the hand,
And she’s gone out to seek her son,
And wander’d o’er the land.

XII

She’s doen her to the Jew’s castell
Where a’ were fast asleep;
Cries, ‘Bonnie Sir Hugh, O pretty Sir Hugh,
I pray you to me speak!’
[Pg 355]

XIII

She near’d Our Lady’s deep draw-well,
And fell down on her knee:
‘Where’er ye be, my sweet Sir Hugh,
I pray you speak to me!’—

XIV

‘O the lead is wondrous heavy, mother,
The well is wondrous deep;
The little penknife sticks in my throat,
And I downa[501] to ye speak.

XV

‘Gae hame, gae hame, my mither dear,
Prepare my winding sheet,
And at the back o’ merry Lincoln
The morn I will you meet.’

XVI

Now Lady Helen is gane hame,
Made him a winding sheet,
And at the back o’ merry Lincoln
The dead corpse did her meet.

XVII

And a’ the bells o’ merry Lincoln
Without men’s hands were rung;
And a’ the books o’ merry Lincoln
Were read without man’s tongue;
And never was such a burial
Sin’ Adam’s day begun.

FOOTNOTES:

[497] ba’ = ball, football.

[498] doen = betaken.

[499] play-feres = playfellows.

[500] row’d = wrapped.

[501] downa = cannot, have not the force to.


[Pg 356]

80. The Heir of Linne

I

The bonny heir, and the well-faur’d[502] heir,
The weary heir o’ Linne—
Yonder he stands at his father’s yetts[503],
And naebody bids him in.

II

‘O see for he gangs, and see for he stands,
The unthrifty heir o’ Linne!
O see for he stands on the cauld causey[504],
And nane bids him come in!’

III

His father and mother were dead him fro’,
And so was the head o’ his kin;
To the cards and dice that he did run,
Did neither cease nor blin[505].

IV

To drink the wine that was so clear
With all he would mak’ merrye;
And then bespake him John o’ the Scales,
To the heir of Linne said he:

V

‘How doest thou, thou Lord of Linne
Doest want or gold or fee?
Wilt thou not sell thy lands so broad
To such a good fellow as me?’

VI

He told the gold upon the board,
Wanted never a bare pennye:
‘The gold is thine, the land is mine,
The heir of Linne I will be.’
[Pg 357]

VII

‘Here’s gold enow,’ saith the heir of Linne,
‘For me and my companye.’
He drank the wine that was so clear,
And with all he made merrye.

VIII

Within three quarters of a year
His gold it waxèd thin;
His merry men were from him gone,
Bade him, ‘To the de’il ye’se gang!’

IX

‘Now well-a-day!’ said the heir of Linne,
‘I have left not one pennye.
God be with my father!’ he said,
‘On his land he lived merrilye.’

X

His nourice at her window look’d,
Beholding dale and down,
And she beheld this distress’d young man
Come walking to the town.

XI

‘O see for he gangs, and see for he stands,
The weary heir o’ Linne!
O see for he stands on the cauld causey,
And nane bids him come in!’—

XII

‘Sing owre again that sang, nourice,
The sang ye sung just now.’—
‘I never sung a sang i’ my life
But I would sing owre to you.
[Pg 358]

XIII

‘Come here, come here, Willy,’ she said,
‘And rest yoursel’ wi’ me;
I hae seen you in better days,
And in jovial companye.’—

XIV

‘Gie me a sheave[506] o’ your bread, nourice,
And a bottle o’ your wine,
And I will pay it you owre again
When I am Lord of Linne.’—

XV

‘Ye’se get a sheave o’ my bread, Willy,
And a bottle o’ my wine;
But ye’ll pay me when the seas gang dry,
For ye’ll ne’er be Lord o’ Linne.’

XVI

Then he turn’d him right and round about,
As will a woman’s son,
And aff he set and bent his way
And cam’ to the house o’ Linne.

XVII

But when he cam’ to that castle,
They were set down to dine;
A score of nobles there he saw,
Sat drinking at their wine.

XVIII

Then some bade gie him beef and fish,
And some but bane and fin,
And some bade gie him naething at a’,
But let the palmer gang.
[Pg 359]

XIX

Then out it speaks him John o’ Scales,
A saucy word spak’ he:
‘Put round the cup, give the beggar a sup,
Let him fare on his way.’

XX

Then out it speaks Sir Ned Magnew,
Ane o’ young Willy’s kin:
‘This youth was ance a sprightly boy
As ever lived in Linne.’

XXI

He turn’d him right and round about,
As will a woman’s son,
Then minded him on a little wee key
That his mother left to him.

XXII

His mother left him this little wee key
A little before she deed;
And bade him keep this little wee key
Till he was in maist need.

XXIII

Then forth he went, these nobles left
All drinking in the room;
Wi’ walking rod intill his hand
He walk’d the castle roun’:

XXIV

Till that he found a little door,
And therein slipp’d the key;
And there he found three chests in fere[507]
Of the red and the white monie.
[Pg 360]

XXV

Back then through the nobles a’
He went and did not blin,
Until he cam’ where John o’ the Scales
Was seated [at the wine].

XXVI

Then out and spake it John o’ Scales,
He spake wi’ mock and jeer:
‘I’d gie a seat to the Lord o’ Linne
If sae be that he were here.

XXVII

‘When the lands o’ Linne a-selling were
A’ men said they were free;
I will sell them twenty pound better cheap
Nor ever I bought of thee.’—

XXVIII

‘I tak’ ye to witness, nobles a’!’
—He cast him a God’s pennye[508]
‘I will buy them twenty pound better cheap
Nor ever he bought of me.’

XXIX

He’s done him to the gaming-table,
For it stood fair and clean;
And there he’s tould as much rich gold
As free’d the lands o’ Linne.

XXX

He told the gold there over the board,
Wanted never a broad pennye;
‘The gold is thine, the land is mine,
Lord o’ Linne again I’ll be.’
[Pg 361]

XXXI

‘Well-a-day!’ said John o’ the Scales’ wife,
‘Well-a-day, and woe is me!
Yesterday I was the Lady o’ Linne,
And now I’m a naebodye!’

XXXII

But ‘Fare thee well,’ said the heir of Linne,
‘Now John o’ the Scales!’ said he:
‘A curse light on me if ever again
My lands be in jeopardye!’

FOOTNOTES:

[502] well-faur’d = well favoured.

[503] yetts = gates.

[504] causey = causeway, pavement.

[505] blin = stint, check.

[506] sheave = slice.

[507] in fere = together.

[508] God’s pennye = earnest or luck-penny.


81. Fair Mary of Wallington

I

When we were silly sisters seven,
—Sisters were so fair,—
Five of us were brave knights’ wives,
And died in childbed lair[509].

II

Up then spake Fair Mary,
Marry wou’d she nane;
If ever she came in man’s bed,
The same gate[510] wad she gang.

III

‘Make no vows, Fair Mary,
For fear they broken be;
Here’s been the Knight of Wallington,
Asking good will of thee.’—
[Pg 362]

IV

‘If here’s been the knight, mother,
Asking good will of me,
Within three quarters of a year
You may come bury me.’

V

But when she came to Wallington,
And into Wallington hall,
There she spy’d her [lord’s] mother,
Walking about the wall.

VI

‘You’re welcome, welcome, daughter dear,
To thy castle and thy bowers.’—
‘I thank you kindly, mother,
I hope they’ll soon be yours.’

VII

She had not been in Wallington
Three quarters and a day,
Till upon the ground she could not walk,
She was a weary prey.

VIII

She had not been in Wallington
Three quarters and a night,
Till on the ground she could not walk,
She was a weary wight.

IX

‘Is there ne’er a boy into this town,
Who’ll win him hose and shoon,
That will run to fair Paddington,
And bid my mother come?’
[Pg 363]

X

Up then spake a little boy,
Near unto her a-kin:
‘Full oft I have your errands gone,
But now I will it run.’

XI

Then she call’d her waiting-maid
To bring up bread and wine:
‘Eat and drink, my bonny boy,
Thou’ll ne’er eat more of mine.

XII

‘Give my respects to my mother,
She sits in her chair of stone,
And ask her how she likes the news,
Of seven to have but one?

XIII

‘Give my respects to my mother,
As she sits in her chair of oak,
And bid her come to my sickening,
Or my merry lake-wake[511].

XIV

‘Give my love to my brothers
William, Ralph, and John,
And to my sister Betty fair,
And to her white as bone:

XV

‘And bid her keep her maidenhead,
Be sure [to keep it lang:]
For if e’er she come into man’s bed,
The same gate will she gang.’
[Pg 364]

XVI

Away this little boy is gone,
As fast as he could run;
When he came where brigs were broke,
He laid him down and swum.

XVII

When he saw the lady, he said,
‘Lord may your keeper be!’—
‘What news, my pretty boy,
Hast thou to tell to me?’—

XVIII

‘Your daughter Mary orders me
As you sit in a chair of stone,
To ask you how you like the news,
Of seven to have but one?

XIX

‘Your daughter gives you her commands,
As you sit in a chair of oak,
And bids you come to her sickening,
Or her merry lake-wake.

XX

‘She gives command to her brothers
William, Ralph, and John,
[And] to her sister Betty fair,
And to her white as bone.

XXI

‘She bids her keep her maidenhead,
Be sure [to keep it lang:]
For if e’er she come into man’s bed,
The same gate will she gang.’
[Pg 365]

XXII

She kickt the table with her foot,
She kickt it with her knee,
The silver plate into the fire,
So far she made it flee.

XXIII

Then she call’d her waiting-maid
To bring her riding-hood,
So did she on her stable-groom
To bring her riding-steed.

XXIV

‘Go saddle to me the black, the black,
Go saddle to me the brown,
Go saddle to me the swiftest steed
That e’er rid to Wallington!’

XXV

When they came to Wallington,
And into Wallington hall,
There she spy’d her son Fenwick,
Walking about the wall.

XXVI

‘God save you, my dearest son,
Lord may your keeper be!
Tell me where is my daughter fair,
That used to walk with thee?’

XXVII

He turn’d his head him round about,
The tears did fill his e’e:
‘’Tis a month,’ he said, ‘since Fair Mary
Took her chambers from me.’
[Pg 366]

XXVIII

She went on [to her daughter’s chamber];
And there were in the hall
Four and twenty ladies,
Letting the tears down fall.

XXIX

Her daughter had a scope[512] into
Her cheek and eke her chin,
All to keep in her dear life
Till her dear mother came.

XXX

‘Come take the rings off my fingers,
The skin it is so white,
And give them to my mother dear,
For she was all the wyte[513].

XXXI

‘Come take the rings off my fingers,
The veins they are so red,
Give them to Sir William Fenwick,
I’m sure his heart will bleed.’

XXXII

Then she took out a razor
That was both sharp and fine,
And out of her left side she has taken
The heir of Wallington.

XXXIII

There is a race in Wallington,
And that I rue full sare;
Tho’ the cradle it be full spread up,
The bride-bed is left bare.

FOOTNOTES:

[509] lair = lying-in.

[510] gate = way.

[511] lake-wake = lyke-wake, corpse-watching.

[512] scope = bandage, gag.

[513] wyte = blame, cause of trouble.


[Pg 367]

82. Young Waters

I

About Yule, when the wind blew cule,
And the round tables began,
O there is come to our King’s court
Mony a well-favor’d man.

II

The Queen luikt owre the castle-wa’
Beheld baith dale and down,
And there she saw Young Waters
Come riding to the town.

III

His footmen they did rin before,
His horsemen rade behind;
Ane mantel of the burning gowd
Did keip him frae the wind.

IV

Gowden-graith’d[514] his horse before,
And siller-shod behind;
The horse Young Waters rade upon
Was fleeter than the wind.

V

Out then spak’ a wylie lord,
Unto the Queen said he:
‘O tell me wha’s the fairest face
Rides in the company?’—

VI

‘I’ve sene lord, and I’ve sene laird,
And knights of high degree,
Bot a fairer face than Young Waters’
Mine eyne did never see.’
[Pg 368]

VII

Out then spake the jealous King,
And an angry man was he:
‘O if he had bin twice as fair,
You micht have excepted me.’

VIII

‘You’re neither laird nor lord,’ she says,
‘But the King that wears the crown;
There is not a knight in fair Scotland
But to thee maun bow down.’

IX

For a’ that she cou’d do or say,
Appeas’d he wad nae bee,
But for the words which she had said,
Young Waters he maun dee.

X

They hae ta’en Young Waters,
And put fetters to his feet;
They hae ta’en Young Waters, and
Thrown him in dungeon deep.

XI

‘Aft have I ridden thro’ Stirling town,
In the wind but and the weet;
But I neir rade thro’ Stirling town
Wi’ fetters at my feet.

XII

‘Aft have I ridden thro’ Stirling town,
In the wind but and the rain;
But I neir rade thro’ Stirling town
Neir to return again.’
[Pg 369]

XIII

They hae ta’en to the heiding-hill[515]
His young son in his craddle;
And they hae ta’en to the heiding-hill
His horse but and his saddle.

XIV

They hae ta’en to the heiding-hill
His lady fair to see;
And for the words the Queen had spoke
Young Waters he did dee.

FOOTNOTES:

[514] graith’d = harnessed.

[515] heiding-hill = beheading mound.


83. The Queen’s Marie

I

Marie Hamilton’s to the kirk gane,
Wi’ ribbons in her hair;
The King thought mair o’ Marie Hamilton
Than ony that were there.

II

Marie Hamilton’s to the kirk gane
Wi’ ribbons on her breast;
The King thought mair o’ Marie Hamilton
Than he listen’d to the priest.

III

Marie Hamilton’s to the kirk gane,
Wi’ gloves upon her hands;
The King thought mair o’ Marie Hamilton
Than the Queen and a’ her lands.
[Pg 370]

IV

She hadna been about the King’s court
A month, but barely ane,
Till she was beloved by a’ the King’s court,
And the King the only man.

V

She hadna been about the King’s court
A month, but barely three,
Till frae the King’s court Marie Hamilton,
Marie Hamilton durstna be.

VI

The King is to the Abbey gane,
To pu’ the Abbey tree,
To scale[516] the babe frae Marie’s heart;
But the thing it wadna be.

VII

O she has row’d[517] it in her apron,
And set it on the sea—
‘Gae sink ye or swim ye, bonny babe,
Ye’se get nae mair o’ me.’

VIII

Word is to the kitchen gane,
And word is to the ha’,
And word is to the noble room
Amang the ladies a’,
That Marie Hamilton’s brought to bed,
And the bonny babe’s miss’d and awa’.
[Pg 371]

IX

Scarcely had she lain down again,
And scarcely fa’en asleep,
When up and started our gude Queen
Just at her bed-feet;
Saying—‘Marie Hamilton, where’s your babe?
For I am sure I heard it greet[518].’—

X

‘O no, O no, my noble Queen!
Think no sic thing to be;
’Twas but a stitch into my side,
And sair it troubles me!’—

XI

‘Get up, get up, Marie Hamilton:
Get up and follow me;
For I am going to Edinburgh town,
A rich wedding for to see.’

XII

O slowly, slowly rase she up,
And slowly put she on;
And slowly rade she out the way
Wi’ mony a weary groan.

XIII

The Queen was clad in scarlet,
Her merry maids all in green;
And every town that they cam to,
They took Marie for the Queen.

XIV

‘Ride hooly[519], hooly, gentlemen,
Ride hooly now wi’ me!
For never, I am sure, a wearier burd
Rade in your companie.’
[Pg 372]

XV

But little wist Marie Hamilton,
When she rade on the brown,
That she was gaen to Edinburgh town,
And a’ to be put down.

XVI

‘Why weep ye sae, ye burgess wives,
Why look ye sae on me?
O I am going to Edinburgh town,
A rich weddìng to see.’

XVII

When she gaed up the tolbooth stairs,
The corks frae her heels did flee;
And lang or e’er she cam down again,
She was condemn’d to die.

XVIII

When she cam to the Netherbow port,
She laugh’d loud laughters three;
But when she came to the gallows foot
The tears blinded her e’e.

XIX

‘Yestreen the Queen had four Maries,
The night she’ll hae but three;
There was Marie Seaton, and Marie Beaton,
And Marie Carmichael, and me.

XX

‘O often have I dress’d my Queen,
And put gowd upon her hair;
But now I’ve gotten for my reward
The gallows to be my share.
[Pg 373]

XXI

‘Often have I dress’d my Queen
And often made her bed;
But now I’ve gotten for my reward
The gallows tree to tread.

XXII

‘I charge ye all, ye mariners,
When ye sail owre the faem,
Let neither my father nor mother get wit
But that I’m coming hame.

XXIII

‘I charge ye all, ye mariners,
That sail upon the sea,
That neither my father nor mother get wit
The dog’s death I’m to die.

XXIV

‘For if my father and mother got wit,
And my bold brethren three,
O mickle wad be the gude red blude
This day wad be spilt for me!

XXV

‘O little did my mother ken,
The day she cradled me,
The lands I was to travel in
Or the death I was to die!’

FOOTNOTES:

[516] scale = drive away, get rid of.

[517] row’d = wrapped.

[518] greet = wail, cry.

[519] hooly = gently.


[Pg 374]

84. The Outlaw Murray

I

Ettrick Forest is a fair forest,
In it grows many a seemly tree;
There’s hart and hind, and dae and rae,
And of a’ wild beasts great plentie.

II

There’s a castle, bigg’d[520] wi’ lime and stane;
O gif it stands not pleasantlie!
In the fore-front o’ that castle fair,
Twa unicorns are bra’ to see;
There’s the picture of a knight, and a lady bright,
And the green hollìn[521] abune their bree[522].

III

There an Outlaw keeps five hundred men,
He keeps a royal companie,
His merry men are a’ in ae livery clad,
O’ the Lincoln green sae gay to see;
He and his lady in purple clad,
O gin they live not royallie!

IV

Word is gane to our noble King,
In Edinburgh where that he lay,
That there was an Outlaw in Ettrick Forest,
Counted him nought, nor his courtrie[523] gay.

V

‘I make a vow,’ then the gude King said,
‘Unto the Man that dear bought me,
I’se either be King of Ettrick Forest,
Or King of Scotland that Outlaw’s be!’
[Pg 375]

VI

Then spake the Earl hight Hamilton,
And to the noble King said he,
‘My sovereign prince, some counsel take,
First at your nobles, syne at me.

VII

‘I rede[524] ye, send yon braw Outlaw till,
And see gif your man come will he:
Desire him come and be your man,
And hold of you yon forest free.

VIII

‘Gif he refuses to do that,
We’ll conquess baith his lands and he!
Or else we’ll throw his castle down,
And mak’ a widow o’ his gay ladye.’

IX

The King call’d on a gentleman,
James Boyd (the Earl of Arran his brother was he);
When James he came before the King,
He kneel’d before him on his knee.

X

‘Welcome, James Boyd!’ said our noble King,
‘A message ye maun gang for me:
Ye maun hie to Ettrick Forest,
To yon Outlàw, where dwelleth he.

XI

‘Ask him of whom he holds his lands,
Or man wha may his master be,
And desire him come and be my man,
And hold of me yon forest free.
[Pg 376]

XII

‘To Edinburgh to come and gang,
A safe warrànt I sall him gie;
And gif he refuses to do that,
We’ll conquess baith his lands and he.

XIII

‘Thou mayst vow I’ll cast his castle down,
And mak’ a widow o’ his gay ladye;
I’ll hang his merry men, pair by pair,
In ony frith[525] where I may them see.’

XIV

James Boyd took his leave o’ the noble King,
To Ettrick Forest fair cam’ he;
Down Birkendale Brae when that he cam’,
He saw the fair forest wi’ his e’e.

XV

Baith dae and rae, and hart and hin’,
And of a’ wild beasts great plentie;
He heard the bows that boldly ring,
And arrows whidderand[526] him near by.

XVI

Of that fair castle he got a sight;
The like he ne’er saw wi’ his e’e!
On the fore-front o’ that castle fair,
Twa unicorns were bra’ to see;
The picture of a knight, and lady bright,
And the green hollìn abune their bree.

XVII

Thereat he spyed five hundred men,
Shooting with bows on Newark Lee;
They were a’ in ae livery clad,
O’ the Lincoln green sae gay to see.
[Pg 377]

XVIII

His men were a’ clad in the green,
The knight was armèd cap-a-pie,
With a bended bow, on a milkwhite steed;
And I wot they rank’d right bonnilie.

XIX

Thereby Boyd kend he was master man,
And servèd him in his ain degree:
‘God mote thee save, brave Outlaw Murray!
Thy ladye, and all thy chivalrie!’—
‘Marry, thou’s welcome, gentleman,
Some king’s messenger thou seems to be.’—

XX

‘The King of Scotland sent me here,
And, gude Outlàw, I am sent to thee;
I wad wot of whom ye hold your lands,
Or man wha may thy master be?’—

XXI

‘Thir lands are mine,’ the Outlaw said;
‘I own nae king in Christentie;
Frae Soudron[527] I this forest wan,
When the King nor his knights were not to see.’—

XXII

‘He desires you’ll come to Edinburgh,
And hauld of him this forest free;
And, gif ye refuse to do this thing,
He’ll conquess baith thy lands and thee.
He hath vow’d to cast thy castle down,
And mak’ a widow o’ thy gay ladye;
[Pg 378]

XXIII

‘He’ll hang thy merry men, pair by pair,
In ony frith where he may them find.’—
‘Ay, by my troth!’ the Outlaw said,
‘Than wad I think me far behind.

XXIV

‘Ere the King my fair country get,
This land that’s nativest to me,
Mony o’ his nobles sall be cauld,
Their ladies sall be right wearíe.’

XXV

Then spak’ his lady, fair of face:
She said, ‘’Twere without consent of me,
That an outlaw suld come before a King;
I am right rad[528] of treasonrie.
Bid him be gude to his lords at hame,
For Edinburgh my lord sall never see.’

XXVI

James Boyd took his leave o’ the Outlaw keen,
To Edinboro’ boun’ is he;
When James he cam’ before the King,
He kneelèd lowly on his knee.

XXVII

‘Welcome, James Boyd!’ said our noble King,
‘What forest is Ettrick Forest free?’—
‘Ettrick Forest is the fairest forest
That ever man saw wi’ his e’e.

XXVIII

‘There’s the dae, the rae, the hart, the hin’,
And of a’ wild beasts great plentie;
There’s a pretty castle of lime and stane,
O gif it stands not pleasantlie!
[Pg 379]

XXIX

‘There’s in the fore-front o’ that castle
Twa unicorns, sae bra’ to see,
There’s the picture of a knight, and a lady bright,
Wi’ the green hollìn abune their bree.

XXX

‘There the Outlaw keeps five hundred men,
He keeps a royal companie;
His merry men in ae livery clad,
O’ the Lincoln green sae gay to see:
He and his lady in purple clad;
O gin they live not royallie!

XXXI

‘He says, yon forest is his ain,
He wan it frae the Soudronie;
Sae as he wan it, sae will he keep it,
Contrair all kings in Christentie.’—

XXXII

‘Gar warn me Perthshire, and Angus baith,
Fife, up and down, and Lothians three,
And graith[529] my horse,’ said our noble King,
‘For to Ettrick Forest hie will I me.’

XXXIII

Then word is gane the Outlaw till,
In Ettrick Forest, where dwelleth he,
That the King was comand to Ettrick Forest,
To conquess baith his lands and he.

XXXIV

‘I mak’ a vow,’ the Outlaw said,
‘I mak’ a vow, and that trulie:
Were there but three men to tak’ my part,
Yon King’s coming full dear suld be!’
[Pg 380]

XXXV

Then messengers he callèd forth,
And bade them hie them speedilye:
‘Ane of ye gae to Halliday,
The Laird of the Corehead is he.

XXXVI

‘He certain is my sister’s son;
Bid him come quick and succour me;
The King comes on for Ettrick Forest,
And landless men we a’ will be.’—

XXXVII

‘What news? what news?’ said Halliday,
‘Man, frae thy master unto me?’—
‘Not as ye would; seeking your aid;
The King’s his mortal enemie.’—

XXXVIII

‘Ay, by my troth!’ said Hailiday,
‘Even for that it repenteth me;
For gif he lose fair Ettrick Forest,
He’ll tak’ fair Moffatdale frae me.

XXXIX

‘I’ll meet him wi’ five hundred men,
And surely mair, if mae may be;
And before he gets the forest fair,
We a’ will die on Newark Lee!’

XL

The Outlaw call’d a messenger,
And bid him hie him speedilye
To Andrew Murray of Cockpool:
‘That man’s a dear cousin to me;
Desire him come and mak’ me aid
With a’ the power that he may be.’
[Pg 381]

XLI

‘It stands me hard,’ Andrew Murray said,
‘Judge gif it stand na hard wi’ me;
To enter against a king wi’ crown,
And set my lands in jeopardie!
Yet, if I come not on the day,
Surely at night he sall me see.’

XLII

To Sir James Murray of Traquair,
A message came right speedilie:
‘What news? what news?’ James Murray said,
‘Man, frae thy master unto me?’—

XLIII

‘What needs I tell? for weel ye ken
The King’s his mortal enemie;
And now he is coming to Ettrick Forest,
And landless men ye a’ will be.’

XLIV

‘And, by my troth,’ James Murray said,
‘Wi’ that Outlaw will I live and dee;
The King has gifted my lands lang syne—
It cannot be nae warse wi’ me.’

XLV

The King was comand thro’ Cadden Ford,
And full five thousand men was he;
They saw the dark forest them before,
They thought it awsome for to see.

XLVI

Then spak’ the Earl hight Hamilton,
And to the noble King said he,
‘My sovereign prince, some counsel tak’,
First at your nobles, syne at me.
[Pg 382]

XLVII

‘Desire him meet thee at Permanscore,
And bring four in his companie;
Five earls sall gang yoursell before,
Gude cause that you suld honour’d be.

XLVIII

‘And, gif he refuses to do that,
With fire and sword we’ll follow thee;
There sall never a Murray, after him,
Hold land in Ettrick Forest free.’

XLIX

The King then call’d a gentleman,
Royal banner-bearer there was he,
James Hope Pringle of Torsonse by name;
He cam’ and kneel’d upon his knee.

L

‘Welcome, James Pringle of Torsonse!
A message ye maun gae for me:
Ye maun gae to yon Outlaw Murray,
Surely where boldly bideth he.

LI

‘Bid him meet me at Permanscore,
And bring four in his companie;
Five earls sall come mysell before,
Gude reason I suld honour’d be.

LII

‘And gif he refuses to do that,
Bid him look for nae good o’ me;
There sall never a Murray, after him,
Have land in Ettrick Forest free.’
[Pg 383]

LIII

James cam’ before the Outlaw keen,
And servèd him in his ain degree.—
‘Welcome, James Pringle of Torsonse!
What message frae the King to me?’—

LIV

‘He bids ye meet him at Permanscore,
And bring four in your company;
Five earls shall gang himsell before,
Nae mair in number will he be.

LV

‘And gif you refuse to do that,
(I freely here upgive wi’ thee,)
He’ll cast your bonny castle down,
And mak’ a widow o’ your gay ladye.
There will never a Murray, after thysell,
Have land in Ettrick Forest free.’—

LVI

‘It stands me hard,’ the Outlaw said,
‘Judge gif it stands na hard wi’ me:
What reck o’ the losing of mysell?—
But a’ my offspring after me!

LVII

‘Auld Halliday, young Halliday,
Ye sall be twa to gang wi’ me;
Andrew Murray, and Sir James Murray,
We’ll be nae mae in companie.’

LVIII

When that they cam’ before the King,
They fell before him on their knee:
‘Grant mercy, mercy, noble King!
E’en for his sake that dyed on tree.’
[Pg 384]

LIX

‘Siccan[530] like mercy sall ye have;
On gallows ye sall hangit be!’—
‘Over God’s forbode,’ quoth the Outlaw then,
‘I hope your grace will better be!
Else, ere you come to Edinburgh port,
I trow thin guarded sall ye be.

LX

‘Thir lands of Ettrick Forest fair,
I wan them from the enemie;
Like as I wan them, sae will I keep them,
Contrair a’ kings in Christentie.’

LXI

All the nobles the King about,
Said pity it were to see him dee.
‘Yet grant me mercy, sovereign prince,
Extend your favour unto me!

LXII

‘I’ll give thee the keys of my castell,
Wi’ the blessing o’ my gay ladye,
Gin thou’lt make me sheriff of this forest,
And a’ my offspring after me.’—

LXIII

‘Wilt thou give me the keys of thy castell,
Wi’ the blessing of thy gay ladye?
I’se make thee sheriff of Ettrick Forest,
Surely while upward grows the tree;
If you be not traitor to the King,
Forfaulted[531] sall thou never be.’
[Pg 385]

LXIV

‘But, Prince, what sall come o’ my men?
When I gae back, traitor they’ll ca’ me.
I had rather lose my life and land,
Ere my merry men rebukèd me.’—

LXV

‘Will your merry men amend their lives,
An’ a’ their pardons I grant thee?
Now, name thy lands where’er they lie,
And here I render them to thee.’—

LXVI

‘Fair Philiphaugh is mine by right,
And Lewinshope still mine shall be;
Newark, Foulshiells, and Tinnès baith,
My bow and arrow purchased me.

LXVII

‘And I have native steads to me,
The Newark Lee and Hanginshaw;
I have mony steads in Ettrick Forest,
But them by name I dinna knaw.’

LXVIII

The keys of the castle he gave the King,
Wi’ the blessing o’ his fair ladye;
He was made sheriff of Ettrick Forest,
Surely while upward grows the tree;
And if he was na traitor to the King,
Forfaulted he suld never be.

LXIX

Wha ever heard, in ony times,
Siccan an outlaw in his degree
Sic favour get before a King,
As did Outlaw Murray of the forest free?

FOOTNOTES:

[520] bigg’d = built.

[521] hollin = holly.

[522] bree = brow.

[523] courtrie = courtiers.

[524] rede = advise.

[525] frith = wood.

[526] whidderand = whizzing.

[527] Soudron = Southron, English.

[528] rad = afraid.

[529] graith = harness.

[530] siccan = such.

[531] Forfaulted = forfeited.


[Pg 386]

85. Glenlogie

I

Four-and-twenty nobles rade to the King’s ha’,
But bonny Glenlogie was the flow’r o’ them a’.

II

Lady Jeanie Melville cam’ trippin’ down the stair;
When she saw Glenlogie her hairt it grew sair.

III

She call’d to the footman that ran by his side:
Says, ‘What is your lord’s name, an’ where does he bide?’—

IV

‘His name is Glenlogie when he is from home:
He’s of the gay Gordons, his name it is John.’—

V

‘Glenlogie, Glenlogie, an you will prove kind,
My love is laid on you; I am tellin’ my mind.’—

VI

He turn’d about lightly, as the Gordons do a’;
Says, ‘I thank you, Lady Jeanie, but I’m promised awa’.’

VII

She call’d on her maidens her bed for to make,
Her rings from her fingers she did them a’ break.

VIII

‘Where will I get a bonny boy, to win hose and shoon,
To go to Glenlogie and bid Logie come?’

IX

When Glenlogie got the letter, amang noblemen,
‘I wonder,’ said Glenlogie, ‘what does young women mean?
[Pg 387]

X

‘I wonder i’ the warld what women see at me,
That bonny Jeanie Melville for my sake shou’d dee?

XI

‘O what is my lineage, or what is my make,
That bonny Jeanie Melville shou’d dee for my sake?

XII

‘Go saddle my black horse, go saddle him soon,
Till I ride to Bethelnie, to see Lady Jean!’

XIII

When he came to Bethelnie, he rade round about,
And he saw Jeanie’s father at the window look out.

XIV

When he came to the gateway, small mirth was there;
But was weepin’ and wailin’, a’ tearin’ their hair.

XV

O pale and wan look’d she when Glenlogie came ben,
But red ruddy grew she whene’er he sat down.

XVI

‘Turn round Jeanie Melville, turn round to this side,
And I’ll be the bridegroom, and you’ll be the bride!’

XVII

O ’twas a merry weddin’, and the portion down told,
Of bonny Jeanie Melville, scarce sixteen years old!

[Pg 388]

86. Lady Elspat

I

‘O brent’s[532] your brow, my Lady Elspat;
O gowden yellow is your hair!
Of a’ the maids o’ fair Scotland
There’s nane like Lady Elspat fair.’

II

‘Perform your vows,’ she says, ‘Sweet William;
The vows which ye ha’ made to me;
And at the back o’ my mither’s castle
This night I’ll surely meet wi’ thee.’

III

But wae be to her brother’s page,
Wha heard the words this twa did say!
He’s tauld them to her lady mither,
Wha wrought Sweet William mickle wae.

IV

For she’s ta’en him, Sweet William,
And she’s gar’d bind him wi’s bow-string.
Till the red blood o’ his fair body
Frae ilka nail o’ his hand did spring.

V

O it fell ance upon a time
That the Lord Justice came to town;
Out she has ta’en him, Sweet William,
Brought him before the Lord Justice boun’.

VI

‘And what is the crime now, madame,’ he says,
‘Has been committed by this young man?’—
‘O he has broken my bonny castle,
That was well biggit[533] wi’ lime and stane.
[Pg 389]

VII

‘And he has broken my bonny coffers,
That was well bandit[534] wi’ aiken[535] ban’;
And he has stolen my rich jewels;
I wot he has them every ane.’

VIII

Then out it spak’ her Lady Elspat
As she sat by the Lord Justice’ knee:
‘Now ye hae tauld your tale, mither,
I pray, Lord Justice, you’ll now hear me.

IX

‘He hasna broken her bonny castle,
That was well biggit wi’ lime and stane;
Nor has he stolen her rich jewels,
For I wot she has them every one.

X

‘But tho’ he was my first true love,
And tho’ I had sworn to be his bride,
’Cause he had not a great estate
She would this way our loves divide.’

XI

Then out it spak’ the Lord Justice
(I wot the tear was in his e’e):
‘I see nae fault in this young man;
Sae loose his bands, and set him free.

XII

‘Tak’ back your love now, Lady Elspat,
And my best blessing you baith upon!
For gin he be your first true love,
He is my eldest sister’s son.
[Pg 390]

XIII

‘There is a steed within my stable
Cost me baith gowd and white monèy;
Ye’se get as mickle o’ my free land
As he’ll ride about in a summer’s day.’

FOOTNOTES:

[532] brent = straight, smooth.

[533] biggit = built.

[534] bandit = bound.

[535] aiken = oaken.


87. Jamie Douglas

I

I was a lady of high renown
As ever lived in the north countrie;
I was a lady of high renown
When the Earl Douglas luvèd me.

II

And when we came through Glasgow toun,
We were a comely sight to see;
My gude lord in the black velvèt,
And I mysel’ in cramasie[536].

III

But when we came to Douglas toun,
We were a fine sight to behold:
My gude lord in the cramasie
And I mysel’ in the shining gold.

IV

And when that my auld[537] son was born
And set upon his nurse’s knee,
I was happy a woman as e’er was born,
And my gude lord he luvèd me.
[Pg 391]

V

But O an my young son was born
And set upon his nurse’s knee
And I mysel’ were dead and gane,
For a maid again I’ll never be!

VI

There cam’ a man into this house,
And Jamie Lockhart was his name,
And it was told to my gude lord
That I was owre in love wi’ him.

VII

O wae be unto thee, Blackwòod,
And ae an ill death may ye dee!
For ye was the first and foremost man
That parted my gude lord and me.

VIII

I sent a word to my gude lord,
‘Come down, and sit, and dine wi’ me,
And I’ll set thee on a chair of gowd,
And a siller towel on thy knee.’—

IX

‘When cockle-shells turn silver bells,
And mussell grow on every tree,
When frost and snow turns fire to burn,
Then I’ll sit down and dine wi’ thee.’

X

When that my father he had word
That my gude lord had forsaken me,
He sent a fifty brisk dragoons
To fetch me home to my ain countrie.
[Pg 392]

XI

‘Fare thee well, my Jamie Douglas!
Fare thee well, ever dear to me!
But O, an my young babe were born
And set upon some nourice’ knee!

XII

‘And fare thee well, my pretty palace!
And fare ye well, my children three!
God grant your father grace to be kind,
More kind to you than he was to me!’

XIII

Then slowly, slowly rase I up,
But quickly, quickly he cam’ doun,
And when he saw me sit in my coach,
He made his drums and trumpets sound.

XIV

When we cam’ in by Edinbro’ town,
My father and mother they met me
Wi’ trumpets soundin’ on every side;
But it was nae music at a’ to me.

XV

‘Now hau’d your comfort my father dear,
And mother your weeping let abee!
I’ll never lye in another man’s arms
Since my dear lord has forsaken me.’

XVI

It’s very true, and it’s aft-times said,
The hawk will flie far far frae her nest:
And a’ the warld may plainly see
They are far frae me that I luve best.
[Pg 393]

Lament of Barbara, Marchioness of Douglas

XVII

O waly, waly, up the bank,
And waly, waly, doun the brae,
And waly, waly, yon burn-side,
Where I and my Love wont to gae!

XVIII

I lean’d my back unto an aik,
I thocht it was a trustie tree;
But first it bow’d and syne it brak—
Sae my true love did lichtlie[538] me.

XIX

O waly, waly, gin love be bonnie
A little time while it is new!
But when ’tis auld it waxeth cauld,
And fades awa’ like morning dew.

XX

O wherefore should I busk my heid,
Or wherefore should I kame my hair?
For my true Love has me forsook,
And says he’ll never lo’e me mair.

XXI

Now Arthur’s Seat sall be my bed,
The sheets sall ne’er be ’filed by me;
Saint Anton’s well sall be my drink;
Since my true Love has forsaken me.

XXII

Marti’mas wind, when wilt thou blaw,
And shake the green leaves aff the tree?
O gentle Death, when wilt thou come?
For of my life I am wearìe.
[Pg 394]

XXIII

’Tis not the frost, that freezes fell,
Nor blawing snaw’s inclemencie,
’Tis not sic cauld that makes me cry;
But my Love’s heart grown cauld to me.

XXIV

When we cam’ in by Glasgow toun,
We were a comely sicht to see;
My Love was clad in the black velvèt,
And I mysel’ in cramasie.

XXV

But had I wist, before I kist,
That love had been sae ill to win,
I had lock’d my heart in a case o’ gowd,
And pinn’d it wi’ a siller pin.

XXVI

And O! if my young babe were born,
And set upon the nurse’s knee;
And I mysel’ were dead and gane,
And the green grass growing over me!

FOOTNOTES:

[536] cramasie = crimson.

[537] auld = eldest.

[538] lichtlie = slight, treat with disrespect.


[Pg 395]

88. Katharine Johnstone

I

There was a may, and a weel-far’d[539] may,
Lived high up in yon glen;
Her name was Katharine Johnstone
She was courted by mony men.

II

Doun cam’ the Laird o’ Lamington
Out frae the North Countrie,
All for to court this pretty may,
Her bridegroom for to be.

III

He tell’d na her father, he tell’d na her mither,
He tell’d na ane o’ her kin,
But he tell’d the bonnie lass hersel’
An’ her consent did win.

IV

But up then cam’ Lord Faughanwood
Out frae the English Border,
And for to court this pretty may,
A’ mounted in good order.

V

He’s tell’d her father, he’s tell’d her mither,
And a’ the lave[540] o’ her kin;
But he’s tell’d na the bonny lass hersel’
Till on her weddin’-e’en.

VI

She’s sent unto her first fere[541] love,
Gin he would come to see,
And Lamington has sent back word
Weel answer’d should she be.
[Pg 396]

VII

Then he has sent a messenger
Right quietly thro’ the land,
For four-and-twenty armèd men
To ride at his command.

VIII

The bridegroom from a high window
Beheld baith dale and down,
And there he spied her first fere love
Cam’ riding to the toun.

IX

She scoffèd and she scornèd him
Upon her weddin’-day,
And said it was the Fairy Court
He saw in sic array!

X

When a’ were at the dinner set,
Drinking the blude-red wine,
In cam’ the Laird o’ Lamington
The bridegroom ’should hae been.

XI

‘O come ye here to fight, young lord?
Or come ye here to play?
Or come ye here to drink good wine
Upon the weddin’-day?’—

XII

‘I come na here to fight,’ he said
‘I come na here to play;
I’ll but lead a dance wi’ the bonny bride,
And mount and go my way.’
[Pg 397]

XIII

There was a glass of the blude-red wine
Was fill’d them up between,
But aye she drank to Lamington,
Wha her true love had been.

XIV

He’s ta’en her by the milk-white hand,
And by the grass-green sleeve;
He’s mounted her high behind himsel’,
At her kin he’s spier’d[542] nae leave.

XV

There were four-and-twenty bonny boys
A’ clad in the Johnstone grey,
They swore they would tak’ the bride again
By the strong hand, if they may.

XVI

It’s up, it’s up the Cowden bank,
It’s down the Cowden brae;
The bride she gar’d the trumpet sound
‘It is a weel-won play!’

XVII

The blude ran down by Cowden bank
And down by Cowden brae,
But aye she gar’d the trumpet sound
‘It’s a’ fair play!’

XVIII

‘My blessing on your heart, sweet thing!
Wae to your wilfu’ will!
Sae mony a gallant gentleman’s blood
This day as ye’ve gar’d spill.’
[Pg 398]

XIX

But a’ you lords of fair England,
If you be English born,
Come never to Scotland to seek a wife
Or else ye’ll get the scorn.

XX

They’ll haik ye up[543], and settle ye by[544],
Until your weddin’-day;
Then gie ye frogs instead o’ fish,
And do ye foul, foul play.

FOOTNOTES:

[539] weel-far’d = well-favoured.

[540] lave = rest.

[541] fere = mate.

[542] spier’d = asked.

[543] haik ye up = hold you in suspense.

[544] settle ye by = keep you waiting aside.


89. Johnie Armstrong

I

Sum speiks of lords, sum speiks of lairds,
And sick lyke men of hie degrie;
Of a gentleman I sing a sang,
Sum tyme called Laird of Gilnockie.

II

The King he wrytes a luving letter,
With his ain hand sae tenderly,
And he hath sent it to Johnie Armstrang,
To cum and speik with him speedily.

III

The Eliots and Armstrangs did convene;
They were a gallant cumpanie—
‘We’ll ride and meit our lawful King,
And bring him safe to Gilnockie.’
[Pg 399]

IV

‘Make kinnen[545] and capon ready, then,
And venison in great plentie;
We’ll wellcum here our royal King;
I hope he’ll dine at Gilnockie!’—

V

They ran their horse on the Langholme howm,
And brak their spears wi’ mickle main;
The ladies lukit frae their loft windows—
‘God bring our men weel hame agen!’

VI

When Johnie cam’ before the King,
Wi’ a’ his men sae brave to see,
The King he movit his bonnet to him;
He ween’d he was King as weel as he.

VII

‘May I find grace, my sovereign liege,
Grace for my loyal men and me?
For my name it is Johnie Armstrang,
And a subject of yours, my liege,’ said he.

VIII

‘Away, away, thou traitor strang!
Out o’ my sight soon mayst thou be!
I grantit never a traitor’s life,
And now I’ll not begin wi’ thee.’—

IX

‘Grant me my life, my liege, my King!
And a bonny gift I’ll gie to thee:
Full four-and-twenty milk-white steids,
Were a’ foal’d in ae yeir to me.
[Pg 400]

X

‘I’ll gie thee a’ these milk-white steids,
That prance and nicker[546] at a speir;
And as mickle gude Inglish gilt[547],
As four o’ their braid backs dow[548] bear.’—

XI

‘Away, away, thou traitor strang!
Out o’ my sight soon mayst thou be!
I grantit never a traitor’s life,
And now I’ll not begin wi’ thee!’—

XII

‘Grant me my life, my liege, my King!
And a bonny gift I’ll gie to thee:
Gude four-and-twenty ganging[549] mills,
That gang thro’ a’ the yeir to me.

XIII

‘These four-and-twenty mills complete
Sall gang for thee thro’ a’ the yeir;
And as mickle of gude reid wheit,
As a’ thair happers[550] dow to bear.’—

XIV

‘Away, away, thou traitor strang!
Out o’ my sight soon mayst thou be!
I grantit never a traitor’s life,
And now I’ll not begin wi’ thee.’—

XV

‘Grant me my life, my liege, my King!
And a great great gift I’ll gie to thee:
Bauld four-and-twenty sisters’ sons,
Sall for thee fetch, tho’ a’ should flee!’—
[Pg 401]

XVI

‘Away, away, thou traitor strang!
Out o’ my sight soon mayst thou be!
I grantit never a traitor’s life,
And now I’ll not begin wi’ thee.’—

XVII

‘Grant me my life, my liege, my King!
And a brave gift I’ll gie to thee:
All between heir and Newcastle town
Sall pay their yeirly rent to thee.’—

XVIII

‘Away, away, thou traitor strang!
Out o’ my sight soon mayst thou be!
I grantit never a traitor’s life,
And now I’ll not begin wi’ thee.’—

XIX

‘Ye lied, ye lied, now, King,’ he says,
‘Altho’ a King and Prince ye be!
For I’ve luved naething in my life,
I weel dare say it, but honesty:

XX

‘Save a fat horse, and a fair woman,
Twa bonny dogs to kill a deir;
But England suld have found me meal and mault,
Gif I had lived this hundred yeir!

XXI

‘She suld have found me meal and mault,
And beef and mutton in a’ plentie;
But never a Scots wyfe could have said
That e’er I skaith’d[551] her a puir flee.
[Pg 402]

XXII

‘To seik het water beneith cauld ice,
Surely it is a greit folie—
I have asked grace at a graceless face,
But there is nane for my men and me!

XXIII

‘But had I kenn’d ere I cam’ frae hame,
How thou unkind wadst been to me!
I wad have keepit the Border side,
In spite of all thy force and thee.

XXIV

‘Wist England’s King that I was ta’en,
O gin a blythe man he wad be!
For anes I slew his sister’s son,
And on his breist bane brak a trie.’

XXV

John wore a girdle about his middle,
Imbroider’d owre wi’ burning gold,
Bespangled wi’ the same metal,
Maist beautiful was to behold.

XXVI

There hung nine targats[552] at Johnie’s hat,
And ilk ane worth three hundred pound—
‘What wants that knave that a King suld have,
But the sword of honour and the crown?’

XXVII

‘O where got thou these targats, Johnie,
That blink sae brawlie[553] abune thy brie[554]?’—
‘I gat them in the field fechting,
Where, cruel King, thou durst not be.
[Pg 403]

XXVIII

‘Had I my horse, and harness gude,
And riding as I wont to be,
It suld have been tauld this hundred yeir,
The meeting of my King and me!

XXIX

‘God be with thee, Kirsty, my brother,
Lang live thou Laird of Mangertoun!
Lang mayst thou live on the Border syde,
Ere thou see thy brother ride up and doun!

XXX

‘And God be with thee, Kirsty, my son,
Where thou sits on thy nurse’s knee!
But an thou live this hundred yeir,
Thy father’s better thou’lt never be.

XXXI

‘Farewell! my bonny Gilnock hall,
Where on Esk side thou standest stout!
Gif I had lived but seven yeirs mair,
I wad hae gilt thee round about.’

XXXII

John murder’d was at Carlinrigg,
And all his gallant companie;
But Scotland’s heart was ne’er sae wae,
To see sae mony brave men die—

XXXIII

Because they saved their country deir
Frae Englishmen! Nane were sa bauld,
Whyle Johnie lived on the Border syde,
Nane of them durst cum neir his hauld.

FOOTNOTES:

[545] kinnen = rabbits.

[546] nicker = neigh.

[547] gilt = gold.

[548] dow = are able to.

[549] ganging = going.

[550] happers = mill-hoppers.

[551] skaith’d = hurt, wronged.

[552] targats = round ornaments.

[553] blink sae brawlie = glance so bravely.

[554] brie = brow.


[Pg 404]

90. Clyde Water

I

Willie stands in his stable door,
And clapping at his steed,
And over his white fingers
His nose began to bleed.

II

‘Gie corn unto my horse, mither,
Gie meat unto my man;
For I maun gang to Margaret’s bour
Before the nicht comes on.’—

III

‘O bide at hame this nicht, Willie,
This ae bare nicht wi’ me:
The bestan bed in a’ my house
Sall be well made to thee.

IV

‘O bide at hame this nicht, Willie,
This ae bare nicht wi’ me:
The bestan bird in a’ the roost
At your supper, son, sall be.’—

V

‘A’ your beds and a’ your roosts
I value not a pin;
But I sall gae to my love’s gates
This nicht, gif I can win.’—

VI

‘O stay at home, my son Willie,
The wind blaws cauld an’ sour;
The nicht will be baith mirk and late
Before ye reach her bour.’—
[Pg 405]

VII

‘O though the nicht were ever sae dark,
Or the wind blew never sae cauld,
I will be in my Margaret’s bour
Before twa hours be tald.’—

VIII

‘O an ye gang to Margaret’s bour
Sae sair against my will,
I’ the deepest pot o’ Clyde’s water
My malison[555] ye’se feel.’

IX

As he rade owre yon high high hill,
And doun yon dowie[556] den,
The roaring that was in Clyde’s water
Wad fley’d[557] five hundred men.

X

His heart was warm, his pride was up,
Sweet Willie kentna fear;
But yet his mither’s malison
Aye soundit in his ear.

XI

‘O spare, O spare me, Clyde’s water:
Your stream rins wondrous strang:
Mak’ me your wrack as I come back,
But spare me as I gang!’

XII

Then he rade in, and further in,
And he swam to an’ fro,
Until he’s grippit a hazel bush
That brung him to the brow.
[Pg 406]

XIII

Then he is on to Margaret’s bour,
And tirlèd at the pin;
But doors were steek’d and windows barr’d,
And nane wad let him in.

XIV

‘O open the door to me, Marg’ret!
O open and let me in!
For my boots are fu’ o’ Clyde’s water
And the rain rins owre my chin.’—

XV

‘I darena open the door to you,
Nor darena let you in;
For my mither she is fast asleep,
And I maun mak’ nae din.’—

XVI

‘O hae ye ne’er a stable?’ he says,
‘Or hae ye ne’er a barn?
Or hae ye ne’er a wild-goose house
Where I might rest till morn?’—

XVII

‘My barn it is fu’ o’ corn,’ she says,
‘My stable is fu’ o’ hay;
My house is fu’ o’ merry young men;
They winna remove till day.’—

XVIII

‘O fare ye weel then, May Marg’ret,
Sin’ better may na be!
I’ve gotten my mither’s malison
This nicht, coming to thee.’
[Pg 407]

XIX

He’s mounted on his coal-black steed,
—O but his heart was wae!
But ere he came to Clyde’s water
’Twas half up owre the brae.

XX

‘An hey, Willie! an hoa, Willie!
Winna ye turn agen?’
But aye the louder that she cried
He rade agenst the win’.

XXI

As he rade owre yon high high hill,
And doun yon dowie den,
The roaring that was in Clyde’s water
Wad fley’d a thousand men.

XXII

Then he rade in, and farther in,
Till he cam’ to the chine;
The rushing that was in Clyde’s water
Took Willie’s riding-cane.

XXIII

He lean’d him owre his saddle-bow
To catch the rod by force;
The rushing that was in Clyde’s water
Took Willie frae his horse.

XXIV

‘O how can I turn my horse’s head?
How can I learn to sowm[558]?
I’ve gotten my mither’s malison,
And it’s here that I maun drown!’
[Pg 408]

XXV

O he swam high, and he swam low,
And he swam to and fro,
But he couldna spy the hazel-bush
Wad bring him to the brow.

XXVI

He’s sunk and he never rase agen
Into the pot sae deep ...
And up it waken’d May Margaret
Out o’ her drowsie sleep.

XXVII

‘Come hither, come here, my mither dear,
Read me this dreary dream;
I dream’d my Willie was at our gates,
And nane wad let him in.’—

XXVIII

‘Lie still, lie still now, my Meggie:
Lie still and tak’ your rest;
Sin’ your true-love was at your gates
It’s but twa quarters past.’—

XXIX

Nimbly, nimbly rase she up,
And nimbly put she on;
And the higher that the lady cried,
The louder blew the win’.

XXX

The firstan step that she stept in,
She steppit to the queet[559]:
‘Ohon, alas!’ said that lady,
‘This water’s wondrous deep.’
[Pg 409]

XXXI

The neistan step that she stept in,
She waded to the knee;
Says she, ‘I cou’d wade farther in,
If I my love cou’d see.’

XXXII

The neistan step that she wade in,
She waded to the chin;
The deepest pot in Clyde’s water
She got sweet Willie in.

XXXIII

‘Ye’ve had a cruel mither, Willie!
And I have had anither;
But we sall sleep in Clyde’s water
Like sister an’ like brither.’

FOOTNOTES:

[555] malison = curse.

[556] dowie = dismal, gloomy.

[557] fley’d = frightened.

[558] sowm = swim.

[559] queet = ankle.


91. Young Benjie

I

Of a’ the maids o’ fair Scotland,
The fairest was Marjorie;
And young Benjie was her ae true love,
And a dear true-love was he.

II

And wow! but they were lovers dear,
And loved fu’ constantlie;
But ay the mair when they fell out,
The sairer was their plea[560].
[Pg 410]

III

And they hae quarrell’d on a day,
Till Marjorie’s heart grew wae,
And she said she’d chuse another luve,
And let young Benjie gae.

IV

And he was stout, and proud-heartèd,
And thought o’t bitterlie,
And he’s gaen by the wan moon-light,
To meet his Marjorie.

V

‘O open, open, my true love!
O open, and let me in!’—
‘I dare na open, young Benjie,
My three brothers are within.’—

VI

‘Ye lied, ye lied, my bonny burd,
Sae loud’s I hear ye lie;
As I came by the Lowden banks,
They bade gude e’en to me.

VII

‘But fare ye weel, my ae fause love,
That I hae loved sae lang!
It sets[561] ye chuse another love,
And let young Benjie gang.’

VIII

Then Marjorie turned her round about,
The tear blinding her e’e,
‘I darena, darena let thee in,
But I’ll come down to thee.’
[Pg 411]

IX

Then saft she smiled, and said to him,
‘O what ill hae I done?’
He took her in his armis twa,
And threw her o’er the linn[562].

X

The stream was strang, the maid was stout,
And laith laith to be dang[563];
But, ere she wan the Lowden banks,
Her fair colour was wan.

XI

Then up bespak her eldest brother,
‘O see na ye what I see?’
And out then spak her second brother,
‘It’s our sister Marjorie!’

XII

Out then spak her eldest brother,
‘O how shall we her ken?’
And out then spak her youngest brother,
‘There’s a honey mark on her chin.’

XIII

Then they’ve ta’en up the comely corpse,
And laid it on the grund:
‘O wha has killed our ae sister,
And how can he be found?

XIV

‘The night it is her low lykewake[564],
The morn her burial day,
And we maun watch at mirk midnight,
And hear what she will say.’
[Pg 412]

XV

Wi’ doors ajar, and candle-light,
And torches burning clear,
The streikit[565] corpse, till still midnight,
They waked, but naething hear.

XVI

About the middle o’ the night,
The cocks began to craw,
And at the dead hour o’ the night,
The corpse began to thraw[566].

XVII

‘O wha has done the wrang, sister,
Or dared the deadly sin?
Wha was sae stout, and feared nae dout,
As thraw ye o’er the linn?’—

XVIII

‘Young Benjie was the first ae man,
I laid my love upon;
He was sae stout and proud-heartèd,
He threw me o’er the linn.’—

XIX

‘Sall we young Benjie head, sister,
Sall we young Benjie hang,
Or sall we pike out his twa gray e’en,
And punish him ere he gang?’—

XX

‘Ye mauna Benjie head, brothers,
Ye mauna Benjie hang,
But ye maun pike out his twa gray e’en,
And punish him ere he gang.
[Pg 413]

XXI

‘Tie a green gravat[567] round his neck,
And lead him out and in,
And the best ae servant about your house,
To wait young Benjie on.

XXII

‘And ay, at every seven years’ end,
Ye’ll tak him to the linn;
For that’s the penance he maun drie[568],
To scug[569] his deadly sin.’

FOOTNOTES:

[560] plea = quarrel.

[561] sets = befits.

[562] linn = stream.

[563] dang = overcome.

[564] lykewake = corpse-watching.

[565] streikit = stretched out.

[566] thraw = twist, writhe.

[567] gravat = cravat, collar.

[568] drie = endure.

[569] scug = screen, expiate.


92. Annan Water

I

Annan water’s wading deep,
And my love Annie’s wondrous bonny;
And I am laith she suld weet her feet,
Because I love her best of ony.

II

‘Gar saddle me the bonny black,
Gar saddle sune, and make him ready;
For I will down the Gatehope-Slack,
And all to see my bonny ladye.’

III

He has loupen on the bonny black,
He stirr’d him wi’ the spur right sairly;
But, or he wan the Gatehope-Slack,
I think the steed was wae and weary.
[Pg 414]

IV

He has loupen on the bonny grey,
He rade the right gate[570] and the ready;
I trow he would neither stint nor stay,
For he was seeking his bonny ladye.

V

O he has ridden o’er field and fell,
Through muir and moss, and mony a mire:
His spurs o’ steel were sair to bide,
And frae her fore-feet flew the fire.

VI

‘Now, bonny grey, now play your part!
Gin ye be the steed that wins my deary,
Wi’ corn and hay ye’se be fed for aye,
And never spur sall make you wearie.’

VII

The grey was a mare, and a right good mare;
But when she wan the Annan water,
She couldna hae ridden a furlong mair,
Had a thousand merks been wadded[571] at her.

VIII

‘O boatman, boatman, put off your boat!
Put off your boat for gowden money!
I cross the drumly[572] stream the night,
Or never mair I see my honey.’—

IX

‘O I was sworn sae late yestreen,
And not by ae aith, but by many;
And for a’ the gowd in fair Scotland,
I dare na take ye through to Annie.’—
[Pg 415]

X

The side was stey[573], and the bottom deep,
Frae bank to brae the water pouring;
And the bonny grey mare did sweat for fear,
For she heard the water-kelpy[574] roaring.

XI

O he has pu’d aff his dapperpy[575] coat,
The silver buttons glancèd bonny;
The waistcoat bursted aff his breast,
He was sae full of melancholy.

XII

He has ta’en the ford at that stream tail;
I wot he swam both strong and steady,
But the stream was broad, and his strength did fail,
And he never saw his bonny ladye!

XIII

O wae betide the frush[576] saugh[577] wand!
And wae betide the bush of brier!
It brake into my true love’s hand,
When his strength did fail, and his limbs did tire.

XIV

‘And wae betide ye, Annan Water,
This night that ye are a drumlie river!
For over thee I’ll build a bridge,
That ye never more true love may sever.’—

FOOTNOTES:

[570] gate = way.

[571] wadded = wagered.

[572] drumly = turbid.

[573] stey = steep.

[574] water-kelpy = water-sprite.

[575] dapperpy = diapered.

[576] frush = brittle.

[577] saugh = willow.


[Pg 416]

93. Rare Willy drowned in Yarrow

I

‘Willy’s rare, and Willy’s fair,
And Willy’s wondrous bonny;
And Willy heght[578] to marry me,
Gin e’er he marryd ony.

II

‘Yestreen I made my bed fu’ braid,
The night I’ll make it narrow,
For a’ the live-long winter’s night
I lie twin’d[579] of my marrow[580].

III

‘O came you by yon water-side?
Pu’d you the rose or lilly?
Or came you by yon meadow green?
Or saw you my sweet Willy?’

IV

She sought him east, she sought him west,
She sought him braid and narrow;
Sine, in the clifting[581] of a craig,
She found him drown’d in Yarrow.

FOOTNOTES:

[578] heght = promised.

[579] twin’d = deprived.

[580] marrow = mate.

[581] clifting = cleft.


[Pg 417]

94. The Duke of Gordon’s Daughter

I

The Duke of Gordon had three daughters,
Elizabeth, Marg’ret and Jean;
They would not stay in bonny Castle Gordon,
But they went to bonny Aberdeen.

II

They had not been in bonny Aberdeen
A twelvemonth and a day,
Lady Jean fell in love with Captain Ogilvie
And awa’ with him she would gae.

III

Word came to the Duke of Gordon,
In the chamber where he lay,
Lady Jean was in love with Captain Ogilvie,
And from him she would not stay.

IV

‘Go saddle to me the black horse,
And you’ll ride on the grey,
And I will gang to bonny Aberdeen
Forthwith to bring her away.’

V

They were not a mile from Aberdeen,
A mile but only one,
Till he met with his two daughters,
But awa’ was Lady Jean.

VI

‘Where is your sister, maidens?
Where is your sister now?
Say, what is become of your sister,
That she is not walking with you?’
[Pg 418]

VII

‘O pardon us, honour’d father,
O pardon us!’ they did say;
‘Lady Jean is wed with Captain Ogilvie,
And from him she will not stay.’

VIII

[Then an angry man the Duke rade on]
Till he came to bonny Aberdeen,
And there did he see brave Captain Ogilvie
A-training of his men on the green.

IX

‘O woe be to thee, thou Captain Ogilvie!
And an ill death thou shalt dee.
For taking to thee my daughter Jean
High hangit shalt thou be.’

X

The Duke has written a broad letter,
To the King [with his own han’;]
It was to hang Captain Ogilvie
If ever he hang’d a man.

XI

‘I will not hang Captain Ogilvie
For no lord that I see;
But I’ll gar him put off the broad scarlèt,
And put on the single liver[582]ỳ.’

XII

Now word came to Captain Ogilvie,
In the chamber where he lay,
To cast off the gold lace and scarlet,
And put on the single liverỳ.
[Pg 419]

XIII

‘If this be for bonny Jeanie Gordon,
This penance I can take wi’;
If this be for dear Jeanie Gordon,
All this and mair will I dree[583].’

XIV

Lady Jeanie had not been married
A year but only three,
Till she had a babe upon every arm
And another upon her knee.

XV

‘O but I’m weary of wand’rin’!
O but my fortune is bad!
It sets not the Duke of Gordon’s daughter
To follow a soldier lad.

XVI

‘O but I’m weary, weary wand’rin’!
O but I think it lang!
It sets not the Duke of Gordon’s daughter
To follow a single man.

XVII

‘O hold thy tongue, Jeanie Gordon,
O hold thy tongue, my lamb!
For once I was a noble captain,
Now for thy sake a single man.’

XVIII

But when they came to the Highland hills,
Cold was the frost and snow;
Lady Jean’s shoes they were all torn,
No farther could she go.
[Pg 420]

XIX

‘Now woe to the hills and the mountains!
Woe to the wind and the rain!
My feet is sair wi’ going barefoot:
No farther can I gang.

XX

‘O were I in the glens o’ Foudlen,
Where hunting I have been,
I would go to bonny Castle Gordon,
There I’d get hose and sheen[584]!’

XXI

When they came to bonny Castle Gordon,
And standing on the green,
The porter out with loud loud shout,
‘O here comes our Lady Jean!’—

XXII

‘You are welcome, bonny Jeanie Gordon,
You are dear welcome to me;
You are welcome, dear Jeanie Gordon,
But awa’ with your Ogilvie!’

XXIII

Over-seas now went the Captain,
As a soldier under command;
But a message soon follow’d after,
To come home for to heir his land.

XXIV

‘O what does this mean?’ says the Captain;
‘Where’s my brother’s children three?’—
‘They are a’ o’ them dead and buried:
Come home, pretty Captain Ogilvie!’
[Pg 421]

XXV

‘Then hoist up your sail,’ says the Captain,
‘And we’ll hie back owre the sea;
And I’ll gae to bonny Castle Gordon,
There my dear Jeanie to see.’

XXVI

He came to bonny Castle Gordon,
And upon the green stood he:
The porter out with a loud loud shout,
‘Here comes our Captain Ogilvie!’—

XXVII

‘You’re welcome, pretty Captain Ogilvie,
Your fortune’s advanced, I hear;
No stranger can come to my castle
That I do love so dear.’—

XXVIII

‘Put up your hat, Duke of Gordon;
Let it fa’ not from your head.
It never set the noble Duke of Gordon
To bow to a single soldier lad.

XXIX

‘Sir, the last time I was at your Castle,
You would not let me in;
Now I’m come for my wife and children,
No friendship else I claim.’

XXX

Down the stair Lady Jean came tripping,
With the saut tear in her e’e;
She had a babe in every arm,
And another at her knee.
[Pg 422]

XXXI

The Captain took her straight in his arms,
—O a happy man was he!—
Saying, ‘Welcome, bonny Jeanie Gordon,
My Countess o’ Cumberland to be!’

FOOTNOTES:

[582] single livery = private’s uniform.

[583] dree = endure.

[584] sheen = shoes.


95. The Bonny Earl of Murray

I

Ye Highlands and ye Lawlands,
O where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl of Murray,
And hae laid him on the green.

II

Now wae be to thee, Huntley!
And whairfore did ye sae!
I bade you bring him wi’ you,
But forbade you him to slay.

III

He was a braw gallant,
And he rid at the ring;
And the bonny Earl of Murray,
O he might hae been a king!

IV

He was a braw gallant,
And he play’d at the ba’;
And the bonny Earl of Murray
Was the flower amang them a’!
[Pg 423]

V

He was a braw gallant,
And he play’d at the gluve;
And the bonny Earl of Murray,
O he was the Queen’s luve!

VI

O lang will his Lady
Look owre the Castle Downe,
Ere she see the Earl of Murray
Come sounding through the town!

96. Bonny George Campbell

I

Hie upon Hielands,
And laigh[585] upon Tay,
Bonny George Campbell
Rade out on a day:
Saddled and bridled,
Sae gallant to see,
Hame cam’ his gude horse,
But never cam’ he.

II

Down ran his auld mither,
Greetin[586]’ fu’ sair;
Out ran his bonny bride,
Reaving[587] her hair;
‘My meadow lies green,
And my corn is unshorn,
My barn is to bigg[588],
And my babe is unborn.’
[Pg 424]

III

Saddled and bridled
And booted rade he;
A plume in his helmet,
A sword at his knee;
But toom[589] cam’ his saddle
A’ bluidy to see,
O hame cam’ his gude horse,
But never cam’ he!

FOOTNOTES:

[585] laigh = low.

[586] greeting = crying, lamenting.

[587] Reaving = tearing.

[588] bigg = build.

[589] toom = empty.


[Pg 425]

BOOK IV

97. Judas

I

Hit wes upon a Scere-thorsday[590]
that ure loverd[591] aros;
Ful milde were the wordès
he spec to Judas.

II

‘Judas, thou most to Jurselem,
oure mete for to bugge[592];
Thritti platen[593] of selver
thou bere up othi rugge[594].

III

‘Thou comest fer ithe brode stret,
fer ithe brode strete,
Summe of thine tunesmen[595]
ther thou meist i-mete.’

IV

Imette[596] wid is soster,
the swikele[597] wimon:
‘Judas, thou were wrthè[598]
me stende the wid ston[599],
For the false prophete
that tou bilevest upon.’
[Pg 426]

V

‘Be stille, leve[600] soster,
thin herte the to-breke!
Wiste min loverd Crist,
ful wel he wolde be wreke[601].’

FOOTNOTES:

[590] Scere-thorsday = Thursday before Easter.

[591] ure loverd = our lord.

[592] bugge = buy.

[593] platen = plates, i. e. coins, pieces.

[594] rugge = ridge, back.

[595] tunesmen = townsmen.

[596] Imette = being met.

[597] swikele = treacherous.

[598] wrthè = worthy.

[599] me stende, &c. = men stoned thee.

[600] leve = dear.

[601] wreke = avenged.


98. St. Stephen and King Herod

I

Saint Stephen was a clerk
In King Herod’s hall,
And servèd him of bread and cloth
As every king befall.

II

Stephen out of kitchen came
With boar’s head on hand,
He saw a star was fair and bright
Over Bethlehem stand.

III

He cast adown the boar’s head
And went into the hall;
‘I forsake thee, Herod,
And thy workès all.

IV

‘I forsake thee, King Herod,
And thy workès all,
There is a child in Bethlehem born
Is better than we all.’—
[Pg 427]

V

‘What aileth thee, Stephen?
What is thee befall?
Lacketh thee either meat or drink
In King Herod’s hall?’—

VI

‘Lacketh me neither meat ne drink
In King Herod’s hall;
There is a child in Bethlehem born
Is better than we all.’—

VII

‘What aileth thee, Stephen?
Art wode[602] or ’ginnest to brede[603]?
Lacketh thee either gold or fee,
Or any rich weed[604]?’—

VIII

‘Lacketh me neither gold ne fee
Ne none rich weed;
There is a child in Bethlehem born
Shall helpen us at our need.’—

IX

‘That is all so sooth, Stephen,
All so sooth, I-wys,
As this capon crowè shall
That li’th here in my dish.’

X

That word was not so soon said,
That word in that hall,
The capon crew Christus natus est
Among the lordès all.
[Pg 428]

XI

‘Risit[605] up, my tormentors,
By two and all by one,
And leadit Stephen out of this town,
And stonit him with stone.’

XII

Tooken they Stephen
And stoned him in the way;
And therefore is his even
On Christe’s own day.

FOOTNOTES:

[602] wode = mad.

[603] brede = become (mad).

[604] weed = clothing.

[605] Risit, leadit, stonit = imperatives.


99. The Maid and the Palmer

I

The maid she went to the well to washe,
Dew fell off her lily-white fleshe.

II

White she washte, and white she rong[606],
White she hang’d on the hazel wand.

III

There came an old palmer by the way,
Says, ‘God speed thee well, thou fair may.’

IV

‘Has tow either cup or can,
To give an old palmer drink therein?’

V

Says, ‘I have neither cup nor can,
To give an old palmer drink therein.’
[Pg 429]

VI

‘But an thy leman[607] come from Rome,
Cups and cans thou wilt find soon.’

VII

She swore by God and good Saint John
Leman she had never none.

VIII

Says, ‘Peace, fair maid, you are forsworne,
Ninè children you have borne.

IX

‘Three were buryed under thy bed’s head,
Other three under thy brewing lead[608].

X

‘Other three play on yon greene;
Count, maid, and there be nine.’—

XI

‘But I hope you are the good old man
That all the world beleeves upon.

XII

‘Old palmer, I pray thee,
Penaunce that thou wilt give to me.’—

XIII

‘Penaunce I can give thee none
But seven year to be a stepping-stone.

XIV

Other seven a clapper in a bell,
Other seven to lead an ape in hell.

XV

When thou hast thy penaunce done,
Then thou’st come a mayden home.’

FOOTNOTES:

[606] rong = wrung.

[607] leman = lover.

[608] lead = vat.


[Pg 430]

100. The Falcon

I

Lully, lulley! lully, lulley!
The faucon hath borne my make[609] away!

II

He bare him up, he bare him down,
He bare him into an orchard brown.

III

In that orchard there was an halle,
That was hangèd with purple and pall[610].

IV

And in that hall there was a bed,
It was hangèd with gold sa red.

V

And in that bed there li’th a knight,
His woundès bleeding day and night.

VI

At that bed’s foot there li’th a hound,
Licking the blood as it runs down.

VII

By that bed-side kneeleth a may[611],
And she weepeth both night and day.

VIII

And at that bed’s head standeth a stone,
Corpus Christi written thereon.

IX

Lully, lulley! lully, lulley!
The faucon hath borne my make away.

FOOTNOTES:

[609] make = mate.

[610] pall = fine cloth.

[611] may = maiden.


[Pg 431]

101. The Cherry-Tree Carol

i

I

Joseph was an old man,
And an old man was he,
When he wedded Mary
In the land of Galilee.

II

Joseph and Mary walk’d
Through an orchard good,
Where was cherries and berries
So red as any blood.

III

Joseph and Mary walk’d
Through an orchard green,
Where was berries and cherries
As thick as might be seen.

IV

O then bespoke Mary,
So meek and so mild,
‘Pluck me one cherry, Joseph,
For I am with child.’

V

O then bespoke Joseph
With words so unkind,
‘Let him pluck thee a cherry
That brought thee with child.’

VI

O then bespoke the babe
Within his mother’s womb,
‘Bow down then the tallest tree
For my mother to have some.’
[Pg 432]

VII

Then bow’d down the highest tree
Unto his mother’s hand:
Then she cried, ‘See, Joseph,
I have cherries at command!’

VIII

O then bespake Joseph—
‘I have done Mary wrong;
But cheer up, my dearest,
And be not cast down.

IX

‘O eat your cherries, Mary,
O eat your cherries now;
O eat your cherries, Mary,
That grow upon the bough.’

X

Then Mary pluck’d a cherry
As red as the blood;
Then Mary went home
With her heavy load.

ii

XI

As Joseph was a-walking,
He heard an angel sing:
‘This night shall be born
Our heavenly King.

XII

‘He neither shall be born
In housen nor in hall,
Nor in the place[612] of Paradise,
But in an ox’s stall.
[Pg 433]

XIII

‘He neither shall be clothèd
In purple nor in pall[613],
But all in fair linen,
As were babies all.

XIV

‘He neither shall be rock’d
In silver nor in gold,
But in a wooden cradle
That rocks on the mould.

XV

‘He neither shall be christen’d
In white wine nor red,
But with fair spring water
With which we were christenèd.

iii

XVI

Then Mary took her young son
And set him on her knee;
‘I pray thee now, dear child,
Tell how this world shall be.’—

XVII

‘O I shall be as dead, mother,
As the stones in the wall;
O the stones in the street, mother,
Shall mourn for me all.

XVIII

‘And upon a Wednesday
My vow I will make,
And upon Good Friday
My death I will take.
[Pg 434]

XIX

‘Upon Easter-day, mother,
My uprising shall be;
O the sun and the moon, mother,
Shall both rise with me!’

FOOTNOTES:

[612] place = palace.

[613] pall = fine cloth.


102. The Carnal[614] and the Crane

I

As I pass’d by a river side,
And there as I did reign[615],
In argument I chanced to hear
A Carnal and a Crane.

II

The Carnal said unto the Crane,
‘If all the world should turn,
Before we had the Father,
But now we have the Son!

III

‘From whence does the Son come?
From where and from what place?’—
He said, ‘In a manger,
Between an ox and an ass!’

IV

‘I pray thee,’ said the Carnal,
‘Tell me before thou go’st,
Was not the mother of Jesus
Conceived by the Holy Ghost?’—
[Pg 435]

V

‘She was the purest Virgin,
And the cleanest from sin;
She was the handmaid of our Lord,
And mother of our King.’—

VI

‘Where is the golden cradle
That Christ was rockèd in?
Where are the silken sheets
That Jesus was wrapt in?’—

VII

‘A manger was the cradle
That Christ was rockèd in;
The provender the asses left
So sweetly he slept on.

VIII

‘There was a star in the West land,
So bright did it appear
Into King Herod’s chamber,
And where King Herod were.

IX

‘The Wise Men soon espied it,
And told the king on high,
A princely babe was born that night
No king could e’er destroy.

X

‘If this be true, King Herod said,
As thou tellest unto me,
This roasted cock that lies in the dish
Shall crow full fences[616] three.
[Pg 436]

XI

‘The cock soon freshly feathered was
By the work of God’s own hand,
And then three fences crowèd he
In the dish where he did stand.

XII

‘Rise up, rise up, you merry men all,
See that you ready be,
All children under two years old
Now slain they all shall be.

XIII

‘Then Jesus, ah! and Joseph,
And Mary, that was so pure,
They travelled into Egypt,
As you shall find it sure.

XIV

‘And when they came to Egypt’s land,
Amongst those fierce wild beasts,
Mary, she being weary,
Must needs sit down to rest.

XV

‘Come sit thee down, says Jesus,
Come sit thee down by me,
And thou shalt see how these wild beasts
Do come and worship me.

XVI

‘First came the lovely lion,
Which Jesu’s grace did spring,
And of the wild beasts in the field,
The lion shall be the king.
[Pg 437]

XVII

‘We’ll choose our virtuous princes,
Of birth and high degree,
In every sundry nation,