A Collection of Ballads by Andrew Lang

Transcribed by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk A Collection of Ballads Contents: Sir Patrick Spens Battle Of Otterbourne Tam Lin Thomas The Rhymer “Sir Hugh; Or The Jew’s Daughter” Son Davie! Son Davie! The Wife Of Usher’s Well The Twa Corbies The Bonnie Earl Moray Clerk Saunders Waly, Waly Love Gregor; Or, The Lass Of Lochroyan
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  • 1897
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Transcribed by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk

A Collection of Ballads


Sir Patrick Spens
Battle Of Otterbourne
Tam Lin
Thomas The Rhymer
“Sir Hugh; Or The Jew’s Daughter”
Son Davie! Son Davie!
The Wife Of Usher’s Well
The Twa Corbies
The Bonnie Earl Moray
Clerk Saunders
Waly, Waly
Love Gregor; Or, The Lass Of Lochroyan The Queen’s Marie
Kinmont Willie
Jamie Telfer
The Douglas Tragedy
The Bonny Hind
Young Bicham
The Loving Ballad Of Lord Bateman
The Bonnie House O’ Airly
Rob Roy
The Battle Of Killie-Crankie
Annan Water
The Elphin Nourrice
Johnnie Armstrang
Edom O’ Gordon
Lady Anne Bothwell’s Lament
Jock O The Side
Lord Thomas And Fair Annet
Fair Annie
The Dowie Dens Of Yarrow
Sir Roland
Rose The Red And White Lily
The Battle Of Harlaw–Evergreen Version Traditionary Version
Dickie Macphalion
A Lyke-Wake Dirge
The Laird Of Waristoun
May Colven
Johnie Faa
Hobbie Noble
The Twa Sisters
Mary Ambree
Alison Gross
The Heir Of Lynne
Gordon Of Brackley
Edward, Edward
Young Benjie
Auld Maitland
The Broomfield Hill
Willie’s Ladye
Robin Hood And The Monk
Robin Hood And The Potter
Robin Hood And The Butcher


When the learned first gave serious attention to popular ballads, from the time of Percy to that of Scott, they laboured under certain disabilities. The Comparative Method was scarcely understood, and was little practised. Editors were content to study the ballads of their own countryside, or, at most, of Great Britain. Teutonic and Northern parallels to our ballads were then adduced, as by Scott and Jamieson. It was later that the ballads of Europe, from the Faroes to Modern Greece, were compared with our own, with European Marchen, or children’s tales, and with the popular songs, dances, and traditions of classical and savage peoples. The results of this more recent comparison may be briefly stated. Poetry begins, as Aristotle says, in improvisation. Every man is his own poet, and, in moments of stronge motion, expresses himself in song. A typical example is the Song of Lamech in Genesis–

“I have slain a man to my wounding,
And a young man to my hurt.”

Instances perpetually occur in the Sagas: Grettir, Egil, Skarphedin, are always singing. In Kidnapped, Mr. Stevenson introduces “The Song of the Sword of Alan,” a fine example of Celtic practice: words and air are beaten out together, in the heat of victory. In the same way, the women sang improvised dirges, like Helen; lullabies, like the lullaby of Danae in Simonides, and flower songs, as in modern Italy. Every function of life, war, agriculture, the chase, had its appropriate magical and mimetic dance and song, as in Finland, among Red Indians, and among Australian blacks. “The deeds of men” were chanted by heroes, as by Achilles; stories were told in alternate verse and prose; girls, like Homer’s Nausicaa, accompanied dance and ball play, priests and medicine-men accompanied rites and magical ceremonies by songs.

These practices are world-wide, and world-old. The thoroughly popular songs, thus evolved, became the rude material of a professional class of minstrels, when these arose, as in the heroic age of Greece. A minstrel might be attached to a Court, or a noble; or he might go wandering with song and harp among the people. In either case, this class of men developed more regular and ample measures. They evolved the hexameter; the laisse of the Chansons de Geste; the strange technicalities of Scandinavian poetry; the metres of Vedic hymns; the choral odes of Greece. The narrative popular chant became in their hands the Epic, or the mediaeval rhymed romance. The metre of improvised verse changed into the artistic lyric. These lyric forms were fixed, in many cases, by the art of writing. But poetry did not remain solely in professional and literary hands. The mediaeval minstrels and jongleurs (who may best be studied in Leon Gautier’s Introduction to his Epopees Francaises) sang in Court and Camp. The poorer, less regular brethren of the art, harped and played conjuring tricks, in farm and grange, or at street corners. The foreign newer metres took the place of the old alliterative English verse. But unprofessional men and women did not cease to make and sing.

Some writers have decided, among them Mr. Courthope, that our traditional ballads are degraded popular survivals of literary poetry. The plots and situations of some ballads are, indeed, the same as those of some literary mediaeval romances. But these plots and situations, in Epic and Romance, are themselves the final literary form of marchen, myths and inventions originally POPULAR, and still, in certain cases, extant in popular form among races which have not yet evolved, or borrowed, the ampler and more polished and complex genres of literature. Thus, when a literary romance and a ballad have the same theme, the ballad may be a popular degradation of the romance; or, it may be the original popular shape of it, still surviving in tradition. A well-known case in prose, is that of the French fairy tales.

Perrault, in 1697, borrowed these from tradition and gave them literary and courtly shape. But Cendrillon or Chaperon Rouge in the mouth of a French peasant, is apt to be the old traditional version, uncontaminated by the refinements of Perrault, despite Perrault’s immense success and circulation. Thus tradition preserves pre-literary forms, even though, on occasion, it may borrow from literature. Peasant poets have been authors of ballads, without being, for all that, professional minstrels. Many such poems survive in our ballad literature.

The material of the ballad may be either romantic or historical. The former class is based on one of the primeval invented situations, one of the elements of the Marchen in prose. Such tales or myths occur in the stories of savages, in the legends of peasants, are interwoven later with the plot in Epic or Romance, and may also inspire ballads. Popular superstitions, the witch, metamorphosis, the returning ghost, the fairy, all of them survivals of the earliest thought, naturally play a great part. The Historical ballad, on the other hand, has a basis of resounding fact, murder, battle, or fire-raising, but the facts, being derived from popular rumour, are immediately corrupted and distorted, sometimes out of all knowledge. Good examples are the ballads on Darnley’s murder and the youth of James VI.

In the romantic class, we may take Tamlane. Here the idea of fairies stealing children is thoroughly popular; they also steal young men as lovers, and again, men may win fairy brides, by clinging to them through all transformations. A classical example is the seizure of Thetis by Peleus, and Child quotes a modern Cretan example. The dipping in milk and water, I may add, has precedent in ancient Egypt (in The Two Brothers), and in modern Senegambia. The fairy tax, tithe, or teind, paid to Hell, is illustrated by old trials for witchcraft, in Scotland. {1} Now, in literary forms and romance, as in Ogier le Danois, persons are carried away by the Fairy King or Queen. But here the literary romance borrows from popular superstition; the ballad has no need to borrow a familiar fact from literary romance. On the whole subject the curious may consult “The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies,” by the Reverend Robert Kirk of Aberfoyle, himself, according to tradition, a victim of the fairies.

Thus, in Tamlane, the whole donnee is popular. But the current version, that of Scott, is contaminated, as Scott knew, by incongruous modernisms. Burns’s version, from tradition, already localizes the events at Carterhaugh, the junction of Ettrick and Yarrow. But Burns’s version does not make the Earl of Murray father of the hero, nor the Earl of March father of the heroine. Roxburgh is the hero’s father in Burns’s variant, which is more plausible, and the modern verses do not occur. This ballad apparently owes nothing to literary romance.

In Mary Hamilton we have a notable instance of the Historical Ballad. No Marie of Mary Stuart’s suffered death for child murder.

She had no Marie Hamilton, no Marie Carmichael among her four Maries, though a lady of the latter name was at her court. But early in the reign a Frenchwoman of the queen’s was hanged, with her paramour, an apothecary, for slaying her infant. Knox mentions the fact, which is also recorded in letters from the English ambassador, uncited by Mr. Child. Knox adds that there were ballads against the Maries. Now, in March 1719, a Mary Hamilton, of Scots descent, a maid of honour of Catherine of Russia, was hanged for child murder (Child, vi. 383). It has therefore been supposed, first by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe long ago, later by Professor Child, and then by Mr. Courthope, that our ballad is of 1719, or later, and deals with the Russian, not the Scotch, tragedy.

To this we may reply (1) that we have no example of such a throwing back of a contemporary event, in ballads. (2) There is a version (Child, viii. 507) in which Mary Hamilton’s paramour is a “pottinger,” or apothecary, as in the real old Scotch affair. (3) The number of variants of a ballad is likely to be proportionate to its antiquity and wide distribution. Now only Sir Patrick Spens has so many widely different variants as Mary Hamilton. These could hardly have been evolved between 1719 and 1790, when Burns quotes the poem as an old ballad. (4) We have no example of a poem so much in the old ballad manner, for perhaps a hundred and fifty years before 1719. The style first degraded and then expired: compare Rob Roy and Killiecrankie, in this collection, also the ballads of Loudoun Hill, The Battle of Philiphaugh, and others much earlier than 1719. New styles of popular poetry on contemporary events as Sherriffmuir and Tranent Brae had arisen. (5) The extreme historic inaccuracy of Mary Hamilton is paralleled by that of all the ballads on real events. The mention of the Pottinger is a trace of real history which has no parallel in the Russian affair, and there is no room, says Professor Child, for the supposition that it was voluntarily inserted by reciter or copyist, to tally with the narrative in Knox’s History.

On the other side, we have the name of Mary Hamilton occurring in a tragic event of 1719, but then the name does not uniformly appear in the variants of the ballad. The lady is there spoken of generally as Mary Hamilton, but also as Mary Myle, Lady Maisry, as daughter of the Duke of York (Stuart), as Marie Mild, and so forth. Though she bids sailors carry the tale of her doom, she is not abroad, but in Edinburgh town. Nothing can be less probable than that a Scots popular ballad-maker in 1719, telling the tale of a yesterday’s tragedy in Russia, should throw the time back by a hundred and fifty years, should change the scene to Scotland (the heart of the sorrow would be Mary’s exile), and, above all, should compose a ballad in a style long obsolete. This is not the method of the popular poet, and such imitations of the old ballad as Hardyknute show that literary poets of 1719 had not knowledge or skill enough to mimic the antique manner with any success.

We may, therefore, even in face of Professor Child, regard Mary Hamilton as an old example of popular perversion of history in ballad, not as “one of the very latest,” and also “one of the very best” of Scottish popular ballads.

Rob Roy shows the same power of perversion. It was not Rob Roy but his sons, Robin Oig (who shot Maclaren at the plough-tail), and James Mohr (alternately the spy, the Jacobite, and the Hanoverian spy once more), who carried off the heiress of Edenbelly. Indeed a kind of added epilogue, in a different measure, proves that a poet was aware of the facts, and wished to correct his predecessor.

Such then are ballads, in relation to legend and history. They are, on the whole, with exceptions, absolutely popular in origin, composed by men of the people for the people, and then diffused among and altered by popular reciters. In England they soon won their way into printed stall copies, and were grievously handled and moralized by the hack editors.

No ballad has a stranger history than The Loving Ballad of Lord Bateman, illustrated by the pencils of Cruikshank and Thackeray. Their form is a ludicrous cockney perversion, but it retains the essence. Bateman, a captive of “this Turk,” is beloved by the Turk’s daughter (a staple incident of old French romance), and by her released. The lady after seven years rejoins Lord Bateman: he has just married a local bride, but “orders another marriage,” and sends home his bride “in a coach and three.” This incident is stereotyped in the ballads and occurs in an example in the Romaic. {2}

Now Lord Bateman is Young Bekie in the Scotch ballads, who becomes Young Beichan, Young Bichem, and so forth, and has adventures identical with those of Lord Bateman, though the proud porter in the Scots version is scarcely so prominent and illustrious. As Motherwell saw, Bekie (Beichan, Buchan, Bateman) is really Becket, Gilbert Becket, father of Thomas of Canterbury. Every one has heard how HIS Saracen bride sought him in London. (Robert of Gloucester’s Life and Martyrdom of Thomas Becket, Percy Society. See Child’s Introduction, IV., i. 1861, and Motherwell’s Minstrelsy, p. xv., 1827.) The legend of the dissolved marriage is from the common stock of ballad lore, Motherwell found an example in the state of Cantefable, alternate prose and verse, like Aucassin and Nicolette. Thus the cockney rhyme descends from the twelfth century.

Such are a few of the curiosities of the ballad. The examples selected are chiefly chosen for their romantic charm, and for the spirit of the Border raids which they record. A few notes are added in an appendix. The text is chosen from among the many variants in Child’s learned but still unfinished collection, and an effort has been made to choose the copies which contain most poetry with most signs of uncontaminated originality. In a few cases Sir Walter Scott’s versions, though confessedly “made up,” are preferred. Perhaps the editor may be allowed to say that he does not merely plough with Professor Child’s heifer, but has made a study of ballads from his boyhood.

This fact may exempt him, even in the eyes of too patriotic American critics, from “the common blame of a plagiary.” Indeed, as Professor Child has not yet published his general theory of the Ballad, the editor does not know whether he agrees with the ideas here set forth.

So far the Editor had written, when news came of Professor Child’s regretted death. He had lived to finish, it is said, the vast collection of all known traditional Scottish and English Ballads, with all accessible variants, a work of great labour and research, and a distinguished honour to American scholarship. We are not told, however, that he had written a general study of the topic, with his conclusions as to the evolution and diffusion of the Ballads: as to the influences which directed the selection of certain themes of Marchen for poetic treatment, and the processes by which identical ballads were distributed throughout Europe. No one, it is to be feared, is left, in Europe at least, whose knowledge of the subject is so wide and scientific as that of Professor Child. It is to be hoped that some pupil of his may complete the task in his sense, if, indeed, he has left it unfinished.

Ballad: Sir Patrick Spens

(Border Minstrelsy.)

The king sits in Dunfermline town,
Drinking the blude-red wine o:
“O whare will I get a skeely skipper To sail this new ship of mine o?”

O up and spake an eldern-knight,
Sat at the king’s right knee:
“Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor That ever saild the sea.”

Our king has written a braid letter,
And seald it with his hand,
And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens,
Was walking on the strand.

“To Noroway, to Noroway,
To Noroway oer the faem;
The king’s daughter of Noroway,
‘Tis thou maun bring her hame.”

The first word that Sir Patrick read, Sae loud, loud laughed he;
The neist word that Sir Patrick read, The tear blinded his ee.

“O wha is this has done this deed,
And tauld the king o me,
To send us out, at this time of the year, To sail upon the sea?”

“Be it wind, be it weet, be it hall, be it sleet, Our ship must sail the faem;
The king’s daughter of Noroway,
‘Tis we must fetch her hame.”

They hoysed their sails on Monenday morn, Wi’ a’ the speed they may;
They hae landed in Noroway,
Upon a Wodensday.

They hadna been a week, a week
In Noroway but twae,
When that the lords o Noroway
Began aloud to say:

“Ye Scottishmen spend a’ our king’s goud, And a’ our queenis fee.”
“Ye lie, ye lie, ye liars loud!
Fu’ loud I hear ye lie!

“For I brought as much white monie
As gane my men and me,
And I brought a half-fou’ o’ gude red goud, Out o’er the sea wi’ me.

“Make ready, make ready, my merry-men a’! Our gude ship sails the morn.”
“Now ever alake, my master dear,
I fear a deadly storm!

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.”

They hadna sail’d a league, a league, A league but barely three,
When the lift grew dark, and the wind blew loud, And gurly grew the sea.

The ankers brak, and the top-masts lap, It was sic a deadly storm;
And the waves cam o’er the broken ship, Till a’ her sides were torn.

“O where will I get a gude sailor,
To take my helm in hand,
Till I get up to the tall top-mast; To see if I can spy land?”

“O here am I, a sailor gude,
To take the helm in hand,
Till you go up to the tall top-mast But I fear you’ll ne’er spy land.”

He hadna gane a step, a step,
A step but barely ane,
When a bout flew out of our goodly ship, And the salt sea it came in.

“Gae, fetch a web o’ the silken claith, Another o’ the twine,
And wap them into our ship’s side,
And let na the sea come in.”

They fetchd a web o the silken claith, Another o the twine,
And they wapped them roun that gude ship’s side But still the sea came in.

O laith, laith, were our gude Scots lords To weet their cork-heel’d shoon!
But lang or a the play was play’d
They wat their hats aboon,

And mony was the feather-bed
That fluttered on the faem,
And mony was the gude lord’s son
That never mair cam hame.

The ladyes wrang their fingers white, The maidens tore their hair,
A’ for the sake of their true loves, For them they’ll see na mair.

O lang, lang may the ladyes sit,
Wi’ their fans into their hand,
Before they see Sir Patrick Spens
Come sailing to the strand!

And lang, lang may the maidens sit,
Wi’ their goud kaims in their hair, A’ waiting for their ain dear loves!
For them they’ll see na mair.

O forty miles off Aberdeen,
‘Tis fifty fathoms deep,
And there lies gude Sir Patrick Spens, Wi’ the Scots lords at his feet.

Ballad: Battle Of Otterbourne

(Child, vol. vi.)

It fell about the Lammas tide,
When the muir-men win their hay,
The doughty Douglas bound him to ride Into England, to drive a prey.

He chose the Gordons and the Graemes, With them the Lindesays, light and gay;
But the Jardines wald nor with him ride, And they rue it to this day.

And he has burn’d the dales of Tyne,
And part of Bambrough shire:
And three good towers on Reidswire fells, He left them all on fire.

And he march’d up to Newcastle,
And rode it round about:
“O wha’s the lord of this castle?
Or wha’s the lady o’t ?”

But up spake proud Lord Percy then,
And O but he spake hie!
“I am the lord of this castle,
My wife’s the lady gaye.”

“If thou’rt the lord of this castle,
Sae weel it pleases me!
For, ere I cross the Border fells,
The tane of us sall die.”

He took a lang spear in his hand,
Shod with the metal free,
And for to meet the Douglas there,
He rode right furiouslie.

But O how pale his lady look’d,
Frae aff the castle wa’,
When down, before the Scottish spear, She saw proud Percy fa’.

“Had we twa been upon the green,
And never an eye to see,
I wad hae had you, flesh and fell;
But your sword sall gae wi’ mee.”

“But gae ye up to Otterbourne,
And wait there dayis three;
And, if I come not ere three dayis end, A fause knight ca’ ye me.”

“The Otterbourne’s a bonnie burn;
‘Tis pleasant there to be;
But there is nought at Otterbourne, To feed my men and me.

“The deer rins wild on hill and dale, The birds fly wild from tree to tree;
But there is neither bread nor kale, To feed my men and me.

“Yet I will stay it Otterbourne,
Where you shall welcome be;
And, if ye come not at three dayis end, A fause lord I’ll ca’ thee.”

“Thither will I come,” proud Percy said, “By the might of Our Ladye!”–
“There will I bide thee,” said the Douglas, “My troth I plight to thee.”

They lighted high on Otterbourne,
Upon the bent sae brown;
They lighted high on Otterbourne,
And threw their pallions down.

And he that had a bonnie boy,
Sent out his horse to grass,
And he that had not a bonnie boy,
His ain servant he was.

But up then spake a little page,
Before the peep of dawn:
“O waken ye, waken ye, my good lord, For Percy’s hard at hand.”

“Ye lie, ye lie, ye liar loud!
Sae loud I hear ye lie;
For Percy had not men yestreen,
To dight my men and me.

“But I have dream’d a dreary dream,
Beyond the Isle of Sky;
I saw a dead man win a fight,
And I think that man was I.”

He belted on his guid braid sword,
And to the field he ran;
But he forgot the helmet good,
That should have kept his brain.

When Percy wi the Douglas met,
I wat he was fu fain!
They swakked their swords, till sair they swat, And the blood ran down like rain.

But Percy with his good broad sword,
That could so sharply wound,
Has wounded Douglas on the brow,
Till he fell to the ground.

Then he calld on his little foot-page, And said–“Run speedilie,
And fetch my ain dear sister’s son, Sir Hugh Montgomery.

“My nephew good,” the Douglas said,
“What recks the death of ane!
Last night I dreamd a dreary dream, And I ken the day’s thy ain.

“My wound is deep; I fain would sleep; Take thou the vanguard of the three,
And hide me by the braken bush,
That grows on yonder lilye lee.

“O bury me by the braken-bush,
Beneath the blooming brier;
Let never living mortal ken
That ere a kindly Scot lies here.”

He lifted up that noble lord,
Wi the saut tear in his e’e;
He hid him in the braken bush,
That his merrie men might not see.

The moon was clear, the day drew near, The spears in flinders flew,
But mony a gallant Englishman
Ere day the Scotsmen slew.

The Gordons good, in English blood,
They steepd their hose and shoon;
The Lindesays flew like fire about, Till all the fray was done.

The Percy and Montgomery met,
That either of other were fain;
They swapped swords, and they twa swat, And aye the blood ran down between.

“Yield thee, now yield thee, Percy,” he said, “Or else I vow I’ll lay thee low!”
“To whom must I yield,” quoth Earl Percy, “Now that I see it must be so ?”

“Thou shalt not yield to lord nor loun, Nor yet shalt thou yield to me;
But yield thee to the braken-bush,
That grows upon yon lilye lee!”

“I will not yield to a braken-bush,
Nor yet will I yield to a brier;
But I would yield to Earl Douglas,
Or Sir Hugh the Montgomery, if he were here.”

As soon as he knew it was Montgomery, He stuck his sword’s point in the gronde; The Montgomery was a courteous knight,
And quickly took him by the honde.

This deed was done at Otterbourne,
About the breaking of the day;
Earl Douglas was buried at the braken bush, And the Percy led captive away.

Ballad: Tam Lin

(Child, Part II., p. 340, Burns’s Version.)

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

There’s nane that gaes by Carterhaugh But they leave him a wad,
Either their rings, or green mantles, Or else their maidenhead.

Janet has kilted her green kirtle
A little aboon her knee,
And she has braided her yellow hair A little aboon her bree,
And she’s awa’ to Carterhaugh,
As fast as she can hie.

When she came to Carterhaugh
Tam Lin was at the well,
And there she fand his steed standing, But away was himsel.

She had na pu’d a double rose,
A rose but only twa,
Till up then started young Tam Lin, Says, “Lady, thou’s pu nae mae.

“Why pu’s thou the rose, Janet,
And why breaks thou the wand?
Or why comes thou to Carterhaugh
Withoutten my command?”

“Carterhaugh, it is my ain,
My daddie gave it me;
I’ll come and gang by Carterhaugh,
And ask nae leave at thee.”

* * * * *

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

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

Four and twenty ladies fair
Were playing at the chess,
And out then cam the fair Janet,
As green as onie grass.

Out then spak an auld grey knight,
Lay oer the castle wa,
And says, “Alas, fair Janet, for thee But we’ll be blamed a’.”

“Haud your tongue, ye auld-fac’d knight, Some ill death may ye die!
Father my bairn on whom I will,
I’ll father nane on thee.”

Out then spak her father dear,
And he spak meek and mild;
“And ever alas, sweet Janet,” he says. “I think thou gaes wi child.”

“If that I gae wi’ child, father,
Mysel maun bear the blame;
There’s neer a laird about your ha
Shall get the bairn’s name.

“If my love were an earthly knight,
As he’s an elfin grey,
I wad na gie my ain true-love
For nae lord that ye hae.

“The steed that my true-love rides on Is lighter than the wind;
Wi siller he is shod before
Wi burning gowd behind.”

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

When she cam to Carterhaugh,
Tam Lin was at the well,
And there she fand his steed standing, But away was himsel.

She had na pu’d a double rose,
A rose but only twa,
Till up then started young Tam Lin, Says, “Lady, thou pu’s nae mae.

“Why pu’s thou the rose, Janet,
Amang the groves sae green,
And a’ to kill the bonie babe
That we gat us between?”

“O tell me, tell me, Tam Lin,” she says, “For’s sake that died on tree,
If eer ye was in holy chapel,
Or christendom did see?”

“Roxbrugh he was my grandfather,
Took me with him to bide,
And ance it fell upon a day
That wae did me betide.

“And ance it fell upon a day,
A cauld day and a snell,
When we were frae the hunting come, That frae my horse I fell;
The Queen o Fairies she caught me,
In yon green hill to dwell.

“And pleasant is the fairy land,
But, an eerie tale to tell,
Ay at the end of seven years
We pay a tiend to hell;
I am sae fair and fu’ o flesh
I’m feared it be mysel.

“But the night is Halloween, lady,
The morn is Hallowday;
Then win me, win me, an ye will,
For weel I wat ye may.

“Just at the mirk and midnight hour
The fairy folk will ride,
And they that wad their true love win, At Miles Cross they maun bide.”

“But how shall I thee ken, Tam Lin,
Or how my true-love know,
Amang sae mony unco knights
The like I never saw?”

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

“For I’ll ride on the milk-white steed, And ay nearest the town;
Because I was an earthly knight
They gie me that renown.

“My right hand will be gloyd, lady,
My left hand will be bare,
Cockt up shall my bonnet be,
And kaimd down shall my hair;
And thae’s the takens I gie thee,
Nae doubt I will be there.

“They’ll turn me in your arms, lady,
Into an esk and adder;
But hold me fast, and fear me not,
I am your bairn’s father.

“They’ll turn me to a bear sae grim,
And then a lion bold;
But hold me fast, and fear me not,
As ye shall love your child.

“Again they’ll turn me in your arms
To a red het gaud of airn;
But hold me fast, and fear me not,
I’ll do to you nae harm.

“And last they’ll turn me in your arms Into the burning gleed;
Then throw me into well water,
O throw me in wi speed.

“And then I’ll be your ain true-love, I’ll turn a naked knight;
Then cover me wi your green mantle, And cover me out o sight.”

Gloomy, gloomy was the night,
And eerie was the way,
As fair Jenny in her green mantle
To Miles Cross she did gae.

About the middle o’ the night
She heard the bridles ring;
This lady was as glad at that
As any earthly thing.

First she let the black pass by,
And syne she let the brown;
But quickly she ran to the milk-white steed, And pu’d the rider down,

Sae weel she minded whae he did say,
And young Tam Lin did win;
Syne coverd him wi her green mantle, As blythe’s a bird in spring.

Out then spak the Queen o Fairies,
Out of a bush o broom:
“Them that has gotten young Tam Lin Has gotten a stately groom.”

Out then spak the Queen o Fairies,
And an angry woman was she;
“Shame betide her ill-far’d face,
And an ill death may she die,
For she’s taen awa the bonniest knight In a’ my companie.

“But had I kend, Tam Lin,” she says,
“What now this night I see,
I wad hae taen out thy twa grey e’en, And put in twa een o tree.”

Ballad: Thomas The Rhymer

(Child, Part II., p. 317.)

True Thomas lay on Huntlie bank;
A ferlie he spied wi’ his ee;
And there he saw a lady bright,
Come riding down by the Eildon Tree.

Her skirt was o the grass-green silk, Her mantle o the velvet fyne,
At ilka tett of her horse’s mane
Hang fifty siller bells and nine.

True Thomas he pulld aff his cap,
And louted low down to his knee:
“All hail, thou mighty Queen of Heaven! For thy peer on earth I never did see.”

“O no, O no, Thomas,” she said,
“That name does not belang to me;
I am but the queen of fair Elfland, That am hither come to visit thee.

“Harp and carp, Thomas,” she said,
“Harp and carp, along wi’ me,
And if ye dare to kiss my lips,
Sure of your bodie I will be!”

“Betide me weal, betide me woe,
That weird sall never daunton me;
Syne he has kissed her rosy lips,
All underneath the Eildon Tree.

“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.”

She mounted on her milk-white steed,
She’s taen True Thomas up behind,
And aye wheneer her bride rung,
The steed flew swifter than the wind.

O they rade on, and farther on–
The steed gaed swifter than the wind– Until they reached a desart wide,
And living land was left behind.

“Light down, light down, now, True Thomas, And lean your head upon my knee;
Abide and rest a little space,
And I will shew you ferlies three.

“O see ye not yon narrow road,
So thick beset with thorns and briers? That is the path of righteousness,
Tho after it but few enquires.

“And see ye not that braid braid road, That lies across that lily leven?
That is the path of wickedness,
Tho some call it the road to heaven.

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

“But, Thomas, ye maun hold your tongue, Whatever ye may hear or see,
For, if you speak word in Elflyn land, Ye’ll neer get back to your ain countrie.”

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

It was mirk mirk night, and there was nae stern light, And they waded thro red blude to the knee; For a’ the blude that’s shed an earth
Rins thro the springs o that countrie.

Syne they came on to a garden green,
And she pu’d an apple frae a tree:
“Take this for thy wages, True Thomas, It will give the tongue that can never lie.”

“My tongue is mine ain,” True Thomas said, “A gudely gift ye wad gie me!
I neither dought to buy nor sell,
At fair or tryst where I may be.

“I dought neither speak to prince or peer, Nor ask of grace from fair ladye:”
“Now hold thy peace,” the lady said, “For as I say, so must it be.”

He has gotten a coat of the even cloth, And a pair of shoes of velvet green,
And till seven years were gane and past True Thomas on earth was never seen.

Ballad: “Sir Hugh; Or The Jew’s Daughter”

(Child, vol. v.)

Four-and-twenty bonny boys
Were playing at the ba,
And by it came him sweet Sir Hugh,
And he playd o’er them a’.

He kickd the ba with his right foot
And catchd it wi his knee,
And throuch-and-thro the Jew’s window He gard the bonny ba flee.

He’s doen him to the Jew’s castell
And walkd it round about;
And there he saw the Jew’s daughter, At the window looking out.

“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.”

“How will I come up? How can I come up? How can I come to thee?
For as ye did to my auld father,
The same ye’ll do to me.”

She’s gane till her father’s garden,
And pu’d an apple red and green;
‘Twas a’ to wyle him sweet Sir Hugh, And to entice him in.

She’s led him in through ae dark door, And sae has she thro nine;
She’s laid him on a dressing-table, And stickit him like a swine.

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 nae mair within.

She’s rowd him in a cake o lead,
Bade him lie still and sleep;
She’s thrown him in Our Lady’s draw-well, Was fifty fathom deep.

When bells were rung, and mass was sung, And a’ the bairns came hame,
When every lady gat hame her son,
The Lady Maisry gat nane.

She’s taen her mantle her about,
Her coffer by the hand,
And she’s gane out to seek her son, And wandered o’er the land.

She’s doen her to the Jew’s castell,
Where a’ were fast asleep:
“Gin ye be there, my sweet Sir Hugh, I pray you to me speak.”

“Gae hame, gae hame, my mither dear,
Prepare my winding-sheet,
And at the back o merry Lincoln
The morn I will you meet.”

Now Lady Maisry is gane hame,
Make him a winding-sheet,
And at the back o merry Lincoln,
The dead corpse did her meet.

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 neer was such a burial
Sin Adam’s days begun.

Ballad: Son Davie! Son Davie!


“What bluid’s that on thy coat lap?
Son Davie! Son Davie!
What bluid’s that on thy coat lap?
And the truth come tell to me, O.”

“It is the bluid of my great hawk,
Mother lady, Mother lady!
It is the bluid of my great hawk,
And the truth I hae tald to thee, O.”

“Hawk’s bluid was ne’er sae red,
Son Davie! Son Davie!
Hawk’s bluid was ne’er sae red,
And the truth come tell to me, O.”

“It is the bluid of my grey hound,
Mother lady! Mother lady!
It is the bluid of my grey hound,
And it wudna rin for me, O.”

“Hound’s bluid was ne’er sae red,
Son Davie! Son Davie!
Hound’s bluid was ne’er sae red,
And the truth come tell to me, O.”

“It is the bluid o’ my brother John,
Mother lady! Mother lady!
It is the bluid o’ my brother John, And the truth I hae tald to thee, O.”

“What about did the plea begin?
Son Davie! Son Davie!”
“It began about the cutting o’ a willow wand, That would never hae been a tree, O.”

“What death dost thou desire to die?
Son Davie! Son Davie!
What death dost thou desire to die? And the truth come tell to me, O.”

“I’ll set my foot in a bottomless ship, Mother lady! mother lady!
I’ll set my foot in a bottomless ship, And ye’ll never see mair o’ me, O.”

“What wilt thou leave to thy poor wife? Son Davie! Son Davie!”
“Grief and sorrow all her life,
And she’ll never get mair frae me, O.”

“What wilt thou leave to thy young son? Son Davie! son Davie!”
“The weary warld to wander up and down, And he’ll never get mair o’ me, O.”

“What wilt thou leave to thy mother dear? Son Davie! Son Davie!”
“A fire o’ coals to burn her wi’ hearty cheer, And she’ll never get mair o’ me, O.”

Ballad: The Wife Of Usher’s Well

(Child, vol. iii.)

There lived a wife at Usher’s Well,
And a wealthy wife was she;
She had three stout and stalwart sons, And sent them oer the sea,

They hadna been a week from her,
A week but barely ane,
When word came to the carline wife
That her three sons were gane.

They hadna been a week from her,
A week but barely three,
Whan word came to the carlin wife
That her sons she’d never see.

“I wish the wind may never cease,
Nor fashes in the flood,
Till my three sons come hame to me, In earthly flesh and blood!”

It fell about the Martinmass,
Whan nights are lang and mirk,
The carline wife’s three sons came hame, And their hats were o the birk.

It neither grew in syke nor ditch,
Nor yet in ony sheugh;
But at the gates o Paradise
That birk grew fair eneugh.

* * * * *

“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.”

And she has made to them a bed,
She’s made it large and wide;
And she’s taen her mantle her about, Sat down at the bedside.

* * * * *

Up then crew the red, red cock,
And up and crew the gray;
The eldest to the youngest said,
“‘Tis time we were away.”

The cock he hadna crawd but once,
And clapp’d his wings at a’,
Whan the youngest to the eldest said, “Brother, we must awa.

“The cock doth craw, the day doth daw, The channerin worm doth chide;
Gin we be mist out o our place,
A sair pain we maun bide.

“Fare ye weel, my mother dear!
Fareweel to barn and byre!
And fare ye weel, the bonny lass
That kindles my mother’s fire!”

Ballad: The Twa Corbies

(Child, vol. i.)

As I was walking all alane,
I heard twa corbies making a mane;
The tane unto the t’other say,
“Where sall we gang and dine the day?”

“In behint yon auld fail 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.

“His hound is to the hunting gane,
His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl hame, His lady’s ta’en another mate,
So we may make our dinner sweet.

“Ye’ll sit on his white hause-bane,
And I’ll pike out his bonny blue een; Wi ae lock o his gowden hair
We’ll theek our nest when it grows bare.

“Mony a one for him makes mane,
But nane sall ken whae he is gane,
Oer his white banes, when they are bare, The wind sall blaw for evermair.”

Ballad: The Bonnie Earl Moray

(Child, vol. vi.)


Ye Highlands, and ye Lawlands
Oh where have you been?
They have slain the Earl of Murray, And they layd him on the green.

“Now wae be to thee, Huntly!
And wherefore did you sae?
I bade you bring him wi you,
But forbade you him to slay.”

He was a braw gallant,
And he rid at the ring;
And the bonny Earl of Murray,
Oh he might have been a King!

He was a braw gallant,
And he playd at the ba;
And the bonny Earl of Murray,
Was the flower amang them a’.

He was a braw gallant,
And he playd at the glove;
And the bonny Earl of Murray,
Oh he was the Queen’s love!

Oh lang will his lady
Look oer the castle Down,
Eer she see the Earl of Murray
Come sounding thro the town!
Eer she, etc.


“Open the gates
and let him come in;
He is my brother Huntly,
he’ll do him nae harm.”

The gates they were opent,
they let him come in,
But fause traitor Huntly,
he did him great harm.

He’s ben and ben,
and ben to his bed,
And with a sharp rapier
he stabbed him dead.

The lady came down the stair,
wringing her hands:
“He has slain the Earl o Murray,
the flower o Scotland.”

But Huntly lap on his horse,
rade to the King:
“Ye’re welcome hame, Huntly,
and whare hae ye been?

“Where hae ye been?
and how hae ye sped?”
“I’ve killed the Earl o Murray
dead in his bed.”

“Foul fa you, Huntly!
and why did ye so?
You might have taen the Earl o Murray, and saved his life too.”

“Her bread it’s to bake,
her yill is to brew;
My sister’s a widow,
and sair do I rue.

“Her corn grows ripe,
her meadows grow green,
But in bonnie Dinnibristle
I darena be seen.”

Ballad: Clerk Saunders

(Child, vol. iii.)

Clerk Saunders and may Margaret
Walked ower yon garden green;
And sad and heavy was the love
That fell thir twa between.

“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.

“For in may come my seven bauld brothers, Wi’ torches burning bright;
They’ll say,–‘We hae but ae sister, And behold she’s wi a knight!'”

“Then take the sword frae my scabbard, And slowly lift the pin;
And you may swear, and save your aith. Ye never let Clerk Saunders in.

“And take a napkin in your hand,
And tie up baith your bonny e’en,
And you may swear, and save your aith, Ye saw me na since late yestreen.”

It was about the midnight hour,
When they asleep were laid,
When in and came her seven brothers, Wi’ torches burning red.

When in and came her seven brothers,
Wi’ torches burning bright:
They said, “We hae but ae sister,
And behold her lying with a knight!”

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 than he!”

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!”

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!”

Then up and gat the seventh o’ them,
And never a word spake he;
But he has striped his bright brown brand Out through Clerk Saunders’ fair bodye.

Clerk Saunders he started, and Margaret she turned Into his arms as asleep she lay;
And sad and silent was the night
That was atween thir twae.

And they lay still and sleeped sound
Until the day began to daw;
And kindly to him she did say,
“It is time, true love, you were awa’.”

But he lay still, and sleeped sound,
Albeit the sun began to sheen;
She looked atween her and the wa’,
And dull and drowsie were his e’en.

Then in and came her father dear;
Said,–“Let a’ your mourning be:
I’ll carry the dead corpse to the clay, And I’ll come back and comfort thee.”

“Comfort weel your seven sons;
For comforted will I never be:
I ween ’twas neither knave nor loon Was in the bower last night wi’ me.”

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.

“Are ye sleeping, Margaret?” he says, “Or are ye waking presentlie?
Give me my faith and troth again,
I wot, true love, I gied to thee.”

“Your faith and troth ye sall never get, Nor our true love sall never twin,
Until ye come within my bower,
And kiss me cheik and chin.”

“My mouth it is full cold, Margaret,
It has the smell, now, of the ground; And if I kiss thy comely mouth,
Thy days of life will not be lang.

“O, cocks are crowing a merry midnight, I wot the wild fowls are boding day;
Give me my faith and troth again,
And let me fare me on my way.”

“Thy faith and troth thou sall na get, And our true love sall never twin,
Until ye tell what comes of women,
I wot, who die in strong traivelling?

“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.

“O, cocks are crowing a merry midnight, I wot the wild fowl are boding day;
The psalms of heaven will soon be sung, And I, ere now, will be missed away.”

Then she has ta’en 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.

“I thank ye, Marg’ret, I thank ye, Marg’ret; And aye I thank ye heartilie;
Gin ever the dead come for the quick, Be sure, Mag’ret, I’ll come for thee.”

It’s hosen and shoon, and gown alone, She climb’d the wall, and followed him,
Until she came to the green forest, And there she lost the sight o’ him.

“Is there ony room at your head, Saunders? Is there ony room at your feet?
Is there ony room at your side, Saunders, Where fain, fain I wad sleep?”

“There’s nae room at my head, Marg’ret, There’s nae room at my feet;
My bed it is full lowly now,
Amang the hungry worms I sleep.

“Cauld mould is my covering now,
But and my winding-sheet;
The dew it falls nae sooner down
Than my resting-place is weet.

“But plait a wand o’ bonnie birk,
And lay it on my breast;
And shed a tear upon my grave,
And wish my saul gude rest.

“And fair Marg’ret, and rare Marg’ret, And Marg’ret, o’ veritie,
Gin ere ye love another man,
Ne’er love him as ye did me.”

Then up and crew the milk-white cock, And up and crew the gray;
Her lover vanish’d in the air,
And she gaed weeping away.

Ballad: Waly, Waly


O waly, waly, up the bank,
O waly, waly, down the brae.
And waly, waly, yon burn side,
Where I and my love wont to gae.
I leaned my back unto an aik,
An’ thocht it was a trustie tree,
But first it bow’d and syne it brak, Sae my true love did lichtly me.

O waly, waly, but love is bonnie
A little time while it is new,
But when it’s auld it waxes cauld,
And fades away like morning dew.
O wherefore should I busk my head,
O wherefore should I kame my hair,
For my true love has me forsook,
And says he’ll never love me mair.

Now Arthur’s Seat shall be my bed,
The sheets shall ne’er be pressed by me, St. Anton’s well shall be my drink,
Since my true love has forsaken me. Martinmas wind, when wilt thou blaw,
And shake the green leaves off the tree! O gentle Death, when wilt thou come?
For of my life I am wearie!

‘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’s grown cauld to me. When we came in by Glasgow toun
We were a comely sicht to see;
My love was clad in the black velvet, And I mysel in cramasie.

But had I wist before I kist
That love had been sae ill to win,
I’d locked my heart in a case of gold, And pinned it wi’ a siller pin.
Oh, oh! if my young babe were born, And set upon the nurse’s knee;
And I myself were dead and gane,
And the green grass growing over me!

Ballad: Love Gregor; Or, The Lass Of Lochroyan

(Child, Part III., p. 220.)

“O wha will shoe my fu’ fair foot?
And wha will glove my hand?
And wha will lace my middle jimp,
Wi’ the new-made London band?

“And wha will kaim my yellow hair,
Wi’ the new made silver kaim?
And wha will father my young son,
Till Love Gregor come hame?”

“Your father will shoe your fu’ fair foot, Your mother will glove your hand;
Your sister will lace your middle jimp Wi’ the new-made London band.

“Your brother will kaim your yellow hair, Wi’ the new made silver kaim;
And the king of heaven will father your bairn, Till Love Gregor come haim.”

“But I will get a bonny boat,
And I will sail the sea,
For I maun gang to Love Gregor,
Since he canno come hame to me.”

O she has gotten a bonny boat,
And sailld the sa’t sea fame;
She langd to see her ain true-love, Since he could no come hame.

“O row your boat, my mariners,
And bring me to the land,
For yonder I see my love’s castle,
Close by the sa’t sea strand.”

She has ta’en her young son in her arms, And to the door she’s gone,
And lang she’s knocked and sair she ca’d, But answer got she none.

“O open the door, Love Gregor,” she says, “O open, and let me in;
For the wind blaws thro’ my yellow hair, And the rain draps o’er my chin.”

“Awa, awa, ye ill woman,
You’r nae come here for good;
You’r but some witch, or wile warlock, Or mer-maid of the flood.”

“I am neither a witch nor a wile warlock, Nor mer-maid of the sea,
I am Fair Annie of Rough Royal;
O open the door to me.”

“Gin ye be Annie of Rough Royal–
And I trust ye are not she–
Now tell me some of the love-tokens That past between you and me.”

“O dinna you mind now, Love Gregor,
When we sat at the wine,
How we changed the rings frae our fingers? And I can show thee thine.

“O yours was good, and good enough,
But ay the best was mine;
For yours was o’ the good red goud, But mine o’ the diamonds fine.

“But open the door now, Love Gregor,
O open the door I pray,
For your young son that is in my arms Will be dead ere it be day.”

“Awa, awa, ye ill woman,
For here ye shanno win in;
Gae drown ye in the raging sea,
Or hang on the gallows-pin.”

When the cock had crawn, and day did dawn, And the sun began to peep,
Then up he rose him, Love Gregor,
And sair, sair did he weep.

“O I dreamd a dream, my mother dear,
The thoughts o’ it gars me greet,
That Fair Annie of Rough Royal
Lay cauld dead at my feet.”

“Gin it be for Annie of Rough Royal
That ye make a’ this din,
She stood a’ last night at this door, But I trow she wan no in.”

“O wae betide ye, ill woman,
An ill dead may ye die!
That ye woudno open the door to her, Nor yet woud waken me.”

O he has gone down to yon shore-side, As fast as he could fare;
He saw Fair Annie in her boat,
But the wind it tossd her sair.

And “Hey, Annie!” and “How, Annie!
O Annie, winna ye bide?”
But ay the mair that he cried “Annie,” The braider grew the tide.

And “Hey, Annie!” and “How, Annie!
Dear Annie, speak to me!”
But ay the louder he cried “Annie,” The louder roard the sea.

The wind blew loud, the sea grew rough, And dashd the boat on shore;
Fair Annie floats on the raging sea, But her young son rose no more.

Love Gregor tare his yellow hair,
And made a heavy moan;
Fair Annie’s corpse lay at his feet, But his bonny young son was gone.

O cherry, cherry was her cheek,
And gowden was her hair,
But clay cold were her rosey lips,
Nae spark of life was there,

And first he’s kissd her cherry cheek, And neist he’s kissed her chin;
And saftly pressd her rosey lips,
But there was nae breath within.

“O wae betide my cruel mother,
And an ill dead may she die!
For she turnd my true-love frae my door, When she came sae far to me.”

Ballad: The Queen’s Marie

(Child, vi., Border Minstrelsy.)

Marie Hamilton’s to the kirk gane,
Wi ribbons in her hair;
The king thought mair o Marie Hamilton, Than ony that were there.

Marie Hamilton’s to the kirk gane,
Wi ribbons on her breast;
The king thought mair o Marie Hamilton, Than he listend to the priest.

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.

She hadna been about the king’s court A month, but barely one,
Till she was beloved by a’ the king’s court, And the king the only man.

She hadna been about the king’s court A month, but barely three,
Till frae the king’s court Marie Hamilton, Marie Hamilton durst na be.

The king is to the Abbey gane,
To pu the Abbey tree,
To scale the babe frae Marie’s heart; But the thing it wadna be.

O she has rowd it in her apron,
And set it on the sea:
“Gae sink ye, or swim ye, bonny babe, Ye’s get na mair o me.”

Word is to the kitchen gane,
And word is to the ha,
And word is to the noble room,
Amang the ladyes a’,
That Marie Hamilton’s brought to bed, And the bonny babe’s mist and awa.

Scarcely had she lain down again,
And scarcely faen asleep,
When up then started our gude queen, Just at her bed-feet,
Saying “Marie Hamilton, where’s your babe? For I am sure I heard it greet.”

“O no, O no, my noble queen!
Think no such thing to be!
‘Twas but a stitch into my side,
And sair it troubles me.”

“Get up, get up, Marie Hamilton,
Get up, and follow me,
For I am going to Edinburgh town,
A rich wedding for to see.”

O slowly, slowly raise she up,
And slowly put she on;
And slowly rode she out the way,
Wi mony a weary groan.

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.

“Ride hooly, hooly, gentlemen,
Ride hooly now wi’ me!
For never, I am sure, a wearier burd Rade in your cumpanie.”

But little wist Marie Hamilton,
When she rade on the brown,
That she was ga’en to Edinburgh town, And a’ to be put down.

“Why weep ye so, ye burgess-wives,
Why look ye so on me?
O, I am going to Edinburgh town,
A rich wedding for to see!”

When she gaed up the Tolbooth stairs, The corks frae her heels did flee;
And lang or eer she cam down again, She was condemned to die.

When she cam to the Netherbow Port,
She laughed loud laughters three;
But when she cam to the gallows-foot, The tears blinded her ee.

“Yestreen the queen had four Maries,
The night she’ll hae but three;
There was Marie Seaton, and Marie Beaten, And Marie Carmichael, and me.

“O, often have I dressd my queen,
And put gold upon her hair;
But now I’ve gotten for my reward
The gallows to be my share.

“Often have I dressd my queen,
And often made her bed:
But now I’ve gotten for my reward
The gallows-tree to tread.

“I charge ye all, ye mariners,
When ye sail ower the faem,
Let neither my father nor mother get wit, But that I’m coming hame.

“I charge ye all, ye mariners,
That sail upon the sea,
Let neither my father nor mother get wit, This dog’s death I’m to die.

“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!

“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!”

Ballad: Kinmont Willie

(Child, vol. vi.)

O have ye na heard o the fause Sakelde? O have ye na heard o the keen Lord Scroop? How they hae taen bauld Kinmont Willie,
On Hairibee to hang him up?

Had Willie had but twenty men,
But twenty men as stout as be,
Fause Sakelde had never the Kinmont taen Wi eight score in his companie.

They band his legs beneath the steed, They tied his hands behind his back;
They guarded him, fivesome on each side, And they brought him ower the Liddel-rack.

They led him thro the Liddel-rack.
And also thro the Carlisle sands;
They brought him to Carlisle castell. To be at my Lord Scroope’s commands.

“My hands are tied; but my tongue is free, And whae will dare this deed avow?
Or answer by the border law?
Or answer to the bauld Buccleuch?”

“Now haud thy tongue, thou rank reiver! There’s never a Scot shall set ye free:
Before ye cross my castle-yate,
I trow ye shall take farewell o me.”

“Fear na ye that, my lord,” quo Willie: “By the faith o my body, Lord Scroope,” he said, “I never yet lodged in a hostelrie–
But I paid my lawing before I gaed.”

Now word is gane to the bauld Keeper, In Branksome Ha where that he lay,
That Lord Scroope has taen the Kinmont Willie, Between the hours of night and day.

He has taen the table wi his hand,
He garrd the red wine spring on hie; “Now Christ’s curse on my head,” he said, “But avenged of Lord Scroope I’ll be!

“O is my basnet a widow’s curch?
Or my lance a wand of the willow-tree? Or my arm a lady’s lilye hand,
That an English lord should lightly me?

“And have they taen him, Kinmont Willie, Against the truce of Border tide?
And forgotten that the bauld Bacleuch Is keeper here on the Scottish side?

“And have they een taen him, Kinmont Willie, Withouten either dread or fear,
And forgotten that the bauld Bacleuch Can back a steed, or shake a spear?

“O were there war between the lands,
As well I wot that there is none,
I would slight Carlisle castell high, Tho it were builded of marble stone.

“I would set that castell in a low,
And sloken it with English blood;
There’s nevir a man in Cumberland
Should ken where Carlisle castell stood.

“But since nae war’s between the lands, And there is peace, and peace should be; I’ll neither harm English lad or lass,
And yet the Kinmont freed shall be!”

He has calld him forty marchmen bauld, I trow they were of his ain name,
Except Sir Gilbert Elliot, calld
The Laird of Stobs, I mean the same.

He has calld him forty marchmen bauld, Were kinsmen to the bauld Buccleuch,
With spur on heel, and splent on spauld, And gleuves of green, and feathers blue.

There were five and five before them a’, Wi hunting-horns and bugles bright;
And five and five came wi Buccleuch, Like Warden’s men, arrayed for fight.

And five and five, like a mason-gang, That carried the ladders lang and hie;
And five and five, like broken men; And so they reached the Woodhouselee.

And as we crossd the Bateable Land,
When to the English side we held,
The first o men that we met wi,
Whae sould it be but fause Sakelde!

“Where be ye gaun, ye hunters keen?”
Quo fause Sakelde; “come tell to me!” “We go to hunt an English stag,
Has trespassed on the Scots countrie.”

“Where be ye gaun, ye marshal-men?”
Quo fause Sakelde; “come tell me true!” “We go to catch a rank reiver,
Has broken faith wi the bauld Buccleuch.”

“Where are ye gaun, ye mason-lads,
Wi a’ your ladders lang and hie?”
“We gang to herry a corbie’s nest,
That wons not far frae Woodhouselee.”

“Where be ye gaun, ye broken men?”
Quo fause Sakelde; “come tell to me?” Now Dickie of Dryhope led that band,
And the nevir a word o lear had he.

“Why trespass ye on the English side? Row-footed outlaws, stand!” quo he;
The neer a word had Dickie to say,
Sae he thrust the lance thro his fause bodie.

Then on we held for Carlisle toun,
And at Staneshaw-bank the Eden we crossd; The water was great and meikle of spait, But the nevir a horse nor man we lost.

And when we reachd the Staneshaw-bank, The wind was rising loud and hie;
And there the laird garrd leave our steeds, For fear that they should stamp and nie.

And when we left the Staneshaw-bank,
The wind began full loud to blaw;
But ’twas wind and weet, and fire and sleet, When we came beneath the castell-wa.