EDITED BY KATHARINE LEE BATES,
"The plaintive numbers flow For old, unhappy, far-off things, And battles long ago."
Probably no teacher of English literature in our schools or colleges would gainsay the statement that the chief aim of such instruction is to awaken in the student a genuine love and enthusiasm for the higher forms of prose, and more especially for poetry. For love is the surest guarantee of extended and independent study, and we teachers are the first to admit that the class-room is but the vestibule to education. So in beginning the critical study of English poetry it seems reasonable to use as a starting-point the early ballads, belonging as they do to the youth of our literature, to the youth of our English race, and hence appealing with especial power to the youth of the human heart. Every man of letters who still retains the boy-element in his nature—and most men, Sir Philip Sidney tells us, are "children in the best things, till they be cradled in their graves"—has a tenderness for these rough, frank, spirited old poems, while the actual boy in years, or the actual girl, rarely fails to respond to their charm. What Shakespeare knew, and Scott loved, and Bossetti echoes, can hardly be beneath the admiration of high school and university students. Rugged language, broken metres, absurd plots, dubious morals, are impotent to destroy the vital beauty that underlies all these. There is a philosophical propriety, too, in beginning poetic study with ballad lore, for the ballad is the germ of all poem varieties.
This volume attempts to present such a selection from the old ballads as shall represent them fairly in their three main classes,—those derived from superstition, whether fairy-lore, witch-lore, ghost-lore, or demon-lore; those derived from tradition, Scotch and English; and those derived from romance and from domestic life in general. The Scottish ballads, because of their far superior poetic value, are found here in greater number than the English. The notes state in each case what version has been followed. The notes aim, moreover, to give such facts of historical or bibliographical importance as may attach to each ballad, with any indispensable explanation of outworn or dialectic phrases, although here much is left to the mother-wit of the student.
It is hoped that this selection may meet a definite need in connection with classes not so fortunate as to have access to a ballad library, and that even where such access is procurable, it may prove a friendly companion in the private study and the recitation-room.
KATHARINE LEE BATES.
WELLESLEY COLLEGE, March, 1904.
BALLADS OF SUPERSTITION. THE WEE WEE MAN TAMLANE TRUE THOMAS THE ELFIN KNIGHT LADY ISOBEL AND THE ELF-KNIGHT TOM THUMBE KEMPION ALISON GROSS THE WIFE OF USHER'S WELL A LYKE-WAKE DIRGE PROUD LADY MARGARET THE TWA SISTERS O' BINNORIE THE DEMON LOVER RIDDLES WISELY EXPOUNDED
BALLADS OF TRADITION. SIR PATRICK SPENS THE BATTLE OF OTTERBURNE THE HUNTING OF THE CHEVIOT EDOM O' GORDON KINMONT WILLIE KING JOHN AND THE ABBOT OF CANTERBURY ROBIN HOOD RESCUING THE WIDOW'S THREE SONS ROBIN HOOD AND ALLIN A DALE ROBIN HOOD'S DEATH AND BURIAL
ROMANTIC AND DOMESTIC BALLADS. ANNIE OF LOCHROYAN LORD THOMAS AND FAIR ANNET THE BANKS O' YARROW THE DOUGLAS TRAGEDY FINE FLOWERS I' THE VALLEY THE GAY GOSS-HAWK YOUNG REDIN WILLIE AND MAY MARGARET YOUNG BEICHAN GILDEROY BONNY BARBARA ALLAN THE GARDENER ETIN THE FORESTER LAMKIN HUGH OF LINCOLN FAIR ANNIE THE LAIRD O' DRUM LIZIE LINDSAY KATHARINE JANFARIE GLENLOGIE GET UP AND BAR THE DOOR THE LAWLANDS O' HOLLAND THE TWA CORBIES HELEN OF KIRCONNELL WALY WALY LORD RONALD EDWARD, EDWARD
The development of poetry, the articulate life of man, is hidden in that mist which overhangs the morning of history. Yet the indications are that this art of arts had its origin, as far back as the days of savagery, in the ideal element of life rather than the utilitarian. There came a time, undoubtedly, when the mnemonic value of verse was recognized in the transmission of laws and records and the hard-won wealth of experience. Our own Anglo-Saxon ancestors, whose rhyme, it will be remembered, was initial rhyme, or alliteration, have bequeathed to our modern speech many such devices for "the knitting up of the memory," largely legal or popular phrases, as bed and board, to have and to hold, to give and to grant, time and tide, wind and wave, gold and gear; or proverbs, as, for example: When bale is highest, boon is nighest, better known to the present age under the still alliterative form: The darkest hour's before the dawn. But if we may trust the signs of poetic evolution in barbarous tribes to-day, if we may draw inferences from the sacred character attached to the Muses in the myths of all races, with the old Norsemen, for instance, SagAc being the daughter of Odin, we may rest a reasonable confidence upon the theory that poetry, the world over, finds its first utterance at the bidding of the religious instinct and in connection with religious rites.
Yet the wild-eyed warriors, keeping time by a rude triumphal chant to the dance about the watch-fire, were mentally as children, with keen senses and eager imagination, but feeble reason, with fresh and vigorous emotions, but without elaborate language for these emotions. Swaying and shouting in rhythmic consent, they came slowly to the use of ordered words and, even then, could but have repeated the same phrases over and over. The burden—sometimes senseless to our modern understanding—to be found in the present form of many of our ballads may be the survival of a survival from those primitive iterations. The "Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw" of The Elfin Knight is not, in this instance, inappropriate to the theme, yet we can almost hear shrilling through it a far cry from days when men called directly upon the powers of nature. Such refrains as "Binnorie, O Binnorie," "Jennifer gentle an' rosemaree," "Down, a down, a down, a down," have ancient secrets in them, had we ears to hear.
One of the vexed questions of criticism regarding these refrains is whether they were rendered in alternation with the narrative verses or as a continuous under-song. Early observers of Indian dances have noted that, while one leaping savage after another improvised a simple strain or two, the whole dancing company kept up a guttural cadence of "Heh, heh, heh!" or "Aw, aw, aw!" which served the office of musical accompaniment. This choral iteration of rhythmic syllables, still hinted in the refrain, but only hinted, is believed to be the original element of poetry.
In course of time, however, was evolved the individual singer. In the earlier stages of society, song was undoubtedly a common gift, and every normal member of the community bore his part in the recital of the heroic deeds that ordinarily formed the subject of these primeval lays. Were it the praise of a god, of a feasting champion, or of a slain comrade, the natural utterance was narrative. Later on, the more fluent and inventive improvisers came to the front, and finally the professional bard appeared. Somewhere in the process, too, the burden may have shifted its part from under-song to alternating chorus, thus allowing the soloist opportunity for rest and recollection.
English ballads, as we have them in print to-day, took form in a far later and more sophisticated period than those just suggested; yet even thus our ballads stand nearest of anything in our literature to the primitive poetry that was born out of the social life of the community rather than made by the solitary thought of the artist. Even so comparatively small a group as that comprehended within this volume shows how truly the ballad is the parent stock of all other poetic varieties. In the ballad of plain narrative, as The Hunting of the Cheviot, the epic is hinted. We go a step further in A Lytell Geste of Robyn Hode,—too long for insertion in this collection, but peculiarly interesting from the antiquarian point of view, having been printed, in part, as early as 1489,—and find at least a rough foundation for a genuine hero-lay, the Lytell Geste being made up of a number of ballads rudely woven into one. A poem like this, though hardly "an epic in miniature,"—a phrase which has been proposed as the definition of a ballad,—is truly an epic in germ, lacking the finish of a miniature, but holding the promise of a seed. Where the narrative is highly colored by emotion, as in Helen of Kirconnell or Waly Waly, the ballad merges into the lyric. It is difficult here to draw the line of distinction. A Lyke-Wake Dirge is almost purely lyric in quality, while The Lawlands o' Holland, Gilderoy, The Twa Corbies, Bonny Barbara Allan, have each a pronounced lyric element. From the ballad of dialogue we look forward to the drama, not only from the ballad of pure dialogue, as Lord Ronald, or Edward, Edward, or that sweet old English folk-song, too long for insertion here, The Not-Browne Mayd, but more remotely from the ballad of mingled dialogue and narrative, as The Gardener or Fine Flowers i' the Valley.
The beginnings of English balladry are far out of sight. From the date when the race first had deeds to praise and words with which to praise them, it is all but certain that ballads were in the air. But even the mediteval ballads are lost to us. It was the written literature, the work of clerks, fixed upon the parchment, that survived, while the songs of the people, passing from lip to lip down the generations, continually reshaped themselves to the changing times. But they were never hushed. While Chaucer, his genius fed by Norman and Italian streams, was making the fourteenth century reecho with that laughter which "comes never to an end" of the Canterbury story-tellers; while Langland, even his Teutonic spirit swayed by French example, was brooding the gloomy Vision of Piers the Plowman,—gloom with a star at its centre; while those "courtly makers," Wyatt and Surrey, were smoothing English song, which in the hands of Skelton had become so
"Tatter'd and jagged, Rudely raine-beaten, Rusty and moth-eaten,"
into the exquisite lyrical measures of Italy; while the mysteries and miracle-plays, also of Continental impulse, were striving to do God service by impressing the Scripture stories upon their rustic audiences,—the ballads were being sung and told from Scottish loch to English lowland, in hamlet and in hall. Heartily enjoyed in the baronial castle, scandalously well known in the monastery, they were dearest to the peasants.
"Lewd peple loven tales olde; Swiche thinges can they wel report and holde."
The versions in which we possess such ballads to-day are comparatively modern. Few can be dated further back than the reign of Elizabeth; the language of some is that of the eighteenth century. But the number and variety of these versions—the ballad of Lord Ronald, for instance, being given in fifteen forms by Professor Child in his monumental edition of The English and Scottish Popular Ballads; where "Lord Ronald, my son," appears variously as "Lord Randal, my son," "Lord Donald, my son," "King Henrie, my son," "Lairde Rowlande, my son," "Billy, my son," "Tiranti, my son," "my own pretty boy," "my bonnie wee croodlin dow," "my little wee croudlin doo," "Willie doo, Willie doo," "my wee wee croodlin doo doo"—are sure evidence of oral transmission, and oral transmission is in itself evidence of antiquity. Many of our ballads, moreover,—nearly a third of the present collection, as the notes will show,—are akin to ancient ballads of Continental Europe, or of Asia, or both, which set forth the outlines of the same stories in something the same way.
It should be stated that there is another theory altogether as to the origin of ballads. Instead of regarding them as a slow, shadowed, natural growth, finally fossilized in print, from the rhythmic cries of a barbaric dance-circle in its festal hour, there is a weighty school of critics who hold them to be the mere rag-tag camp-followers of mediaeval romance. See, for instance, the clownish ballad of Tom Thumbe, with its confused Arthurian echoes. Some of the events recorded in our ballads, moreover, are placed by definite local tradition at a comparatively recent date, as Otterburne, Edom o' Gordon, Kinmont Willie. What becomes, then, of their claims to long descent? If these do not fall, it is because they are based less on the general theme and course of the story, matters that seem to necessitate an individual composer, than on the so-called communal elements of refrain, iteration, stock stanzas, stock epithets, stock numbers, stock situations, the frank objectivity of the point of view, the sudden glimpses into a pagan world.
In the lands of the schoolhouse, the newspaper, and the public library, the conditions of ballad-production are past and gone. Yet there are still a few isolated communities in Europe where genuine folk-songs of spontaneous composition may be heard by the eavesdropper and jotted down with a surreptitious pencil; for the rustics shrink from the curiosity of the learned and are silent in the presence of strangers. The most precious contribution to our literature from such a, source is The Bard of the Dimbovitza, an English translation of folk-songs and ballads peculiar to a certain district of Roumania. They were gathered by a native gentlewoman from among the peasants on her father's estate. "She was forced," writes Carmen Sylva, Queen of Roumania, one of the two translators, "to affect a desire to learn spinning, that she might join the girls at their spinning parties, and so overhear their songs more easily; she hid in the tall maize to hear the reapers crooning them, ... she listened for them by death-beds, by cradles, at the dance, and in the tavern, with inexhaustible patience.... Most of them are improvisations. They usually begin and end with a refrain."
The Celtic revival, too, is discovering not only the love of song, but, to some extent, the power of improvisation in the more remote corners of the British Isles. Instances of popular balladry in the west of Ireland are givrn by Lady Gregory in her Poets and Dreamers.
The Roumanians still have their lute-players; old people in Galway still remember the last of their wandering folk-bards; but the Ettrick Shepherd, a century ago, had to call upon imagination for the picture of
"Each Caledonian minstrel true, Dressed in his plaid and bonnet blue, With harp across his shoulders slung, And music murmuring round his tongue."
Fearless children of nature these strolling poets were, even as the songs they sang.
"Little recked they, our bards of old, Of autumn's showers, or winter's cold. Sound slept they on the 'nighted hill, Lulled by the winds, or bubbling rill, Curtained within the winter cloud, The heath their couch, the sky their shroud; Yet theirs the strains that touch the heart,— Bold, rapid, wild, and void of art."
The value and hence the dignity of the minstrel's profession declined with the progress of the printing-press in popular favor, and the character of the gleemen suffered in consequence. This was more marked in England than in Scotland. Indeed, the question has been raised as to whether there ever existed a class of Englishmen who were both ballad-singers and ballad-makers. This was one of the points at issue between those eminent antiquarians, Bishop Percy and Mr. Ritson, in the eighteenth century. Dr. Percy had defined the English minstrels as an "order of men in the middle ages, who subsisted by the arts of poetry and music, and sung to the harp the verses which they themselves composed." The inflammable Joseph Ritson, whose love of an honest ballad goes far to excuse him for his lack of gentle demeanor toward the unfaithful editor of the Reliques, pounced down so fiercely upon this definition, contending that, however applicable to Icelandic skalds or Norman trouveres or ProvenASal troubadours, it was altogether too flattering for the vagabond fiddlers of England, roughly trolling over to tavern audiences the ballads borrowed from their betters, that the dismayed bishop altered his last clause to read, "verses composed by themselves or others."
Sir Walter Scott sums up this famous quarrel with his characteristic good-humor. "The debate," he says, "resembles the apologue of the gold and silver shield. Dr. Percy looked on the minstrel in the palmy and exalted state to which, no doubt, many were elevated by their talents, like those who possess excellence in the fine arts in the present day; and Ritson considered the reverse of the medal, when the poor and wandering gleeman was glad to purchase his bread by singing his ballads at the ale-house, wearing a fantastic habit, and latterly sinking into a mere crowder upon an untuned fiddle, accompanying his rude strains with a ruder ditty, the helpless associate of drunken revellers, and marvellously afraid of the constable and parish beadle."
There is proof enough that, by the reign of Elizabeth, the printer was elbowing the minstrel out into the gutter. In Scotland the strolling bard was still not without honor, but in the sister country we find him denounced by ordinance together with "rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy beggars." The London stalls were fed by Grub-street authors with penny ballads—trash for the greater part—printed in black-letter on broadsides. Many of these doggerel productions were collected into small miscellanies, known as Garlands, in the reign of James I.; but few of the genuine old folk-songs found a refuge in print. Yet they still lived on in corners of England and Scotland, where "the spinsters and the knitters in the sun" crooned over half-remembered lays to peasant children playing at their feet.
In 1723 a collection of English ballads, made up largely, though not entirely, of stall-copies, was issued by an anonymous editor, not a little ashamed of himself because of his interest in so unworthy a subject; for although Dryden and Addison had played the man and given kindly entertainment—the one in his Miscellany Poems, the other in The Spectator—to a few ballad-gypsies, yet poetry in general, that most "flat, stale, and unprofitable" poetry of the early and middle eighteenth century, disdained all fellowship with the unkempt, wandering tribe.
In the latter half of that century, however, occurred the great event in the history of our ballad literature. A country clergyman of a literary turn of mind, resident in the north of England, being on a visit to his "worthy friend, Humphrey Pitt, Esq., then living at Shiffnal in Shropshire," had the glorious good luck to hit upon an old folio manuscript of ballads and romances. "I saw it," writes Percy, "lying dirty on the floor under a Bureau in ye Parlour; being used by the Maids to light the fire."
"A scrubby, shabby paper book" it may have been, with some leaves torn half away and others lacking altogether, but it was a genuine ballad manuscript, in handwriting of about the year 1650, and Percy, realizing that the worthy Mr. Pitt was feeding his parlor fire with very precious fuel, begged the tattered volume of his host and bore it proudly home, where with presumptuous pen he revised and embellished and otherwise, all innocently, maltreated the noble old ballads until he deemed, although with grave misgivings, that they would not too violently shock the polite taste of the eighteenth century. The eighteenth century, wearied to death of its own politeness, worn out by the heartless elegance of Pope and the insipid sentimentality of Prior, gave these fresh, simple melodies an unexpected welcome, even in the face of the reigning king of letters, Dr. Johnson, who forbade them to come to court. But good poems are not slain by bad critics, and the old ballads, despite the burly doctor's displeasure, took henceforth a recognized place in English literature. Herd's delightful collection of Scottish songs and ballads, wherein are gathered so many of those magical refrains, the rough ore of Burns' fine gold,—"Green grow the rashes O," "Should auld acquaintance be forgot," "For the sake o' somebody,"—soon followed, and Ritson, while ever slashing away at poor Percy, often for his minstrel theories, more often for his ballad emendations, and most often for his holding back the original folio manuscript from publication, appeared himself as a collector and antiquarian of admirable quality. Meanwhile Walter Scott, still in his schoolboy days, had chanced upon a copy of the Reliques, and had fallen in love with ballads at first sight. All the morning long he lay reading the book beneath a huge platanus-tree in his aunt's garden. "The summer day sped onward so fast," he says, "that notwithstanding the sharp appetite of thirteen, I forgot the hour of dinner, was sought for with anxiety, and was found still entranced in my intellectual banquet. To read and to remember was in this instance the same thing, and henceforth I overwhelmed my school-fellows and all who would hearken to me, with tragical recitations from the ballads of Bishop Percy. The first time, too, I could scrape a few shillings together, which were not common occurrences with me, I bought unto myself a copy of these beloved volumes, nor do I believe I ever read a book half so frequently, or with half the enthusiasm."
The later fruits of that schoolboy passion were garnered in Scott's original ballads, metrical romances, and no less romantic novels, all so picturesque with feudal lights and shadows, so pure with chivalric sentiment; but an earlier result was The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, a collection of folk-songs gleaned in vacation excursions from pipers and shepherds and old peasant women of the border districts, and containing, with other ballads, full forty-three previously unknown to print, among them some of our very best. Other poet collectors—Motherwell and Aytoun—followed where Scott had led, Scott having been himself preceded by Allan Ramsay, who so early as 1724 had included several old ballads, freely retouched, in his Evergreen and Tea-Table Miscellany. Nor were there lacking others, poets in ear and heart if not in pen, who went up and down the country-side, seeking to gather into books the old heroic lays that were already on the point of perishing from the memories of the people. Meanwhile Ritson's shrill cry for the publication of the original Percy manuscript was taken up in varying keys again and again, until in our own generation the echoes on our own side of the water grew so persistent that with no small difficulty the much-desired end was actually attained. The owners of the folio having been brought to yield their slow consent, our richest treasure of Old English song, for so perilously long a period exposed to all the hazards that beset a single manuscript, is safe in print at last and open to the inspection of us all. The late Professor Child of Harvard, our first American authority on ballad-lore, and Dr. Furnivall of London, would each yield the other the honor of this achievement for which no ballad-lover can speak too many thanks.
A list of our principal ballad collections may be found of practical convenience, as well as of literary interest. Passing by the Miscellanies, Percy, as becomes one of the gallant lineage to which he set up a somewhat doubtful claim, leads the van.
Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. 1765.
Herd's Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, etc. 1769.
Ritson's Ancient Popular Poetry. 1791.
Ritson's Ancient Songs and Ballads. 1792.
Ritson's Robin Hood. 1795.
Scott's Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. 1802-1803.
Jamieson's Popular Ballads and Songs. 1806.
Finlay's Scottish Historical and Romantic Ballads. 1808.
Sharpe's Ballad Book. 1824.
Maidment's North Countrie Garland. 1824.
Kinloch's Ancient Scottish Ballads. 1827.
Motherwell's Minstrelsy, Ancient and Modern. 1827.
Buchan's Ancient Ballads and Songs of the North of Scotland. 1828.
Chambers' Scottish Ballads. 1829.
Whitelaw's Book of Scottish Ballads. 1845.
Child's English and Scottish Ballads. 1857-1858.
Aytoun's Ballads of Scotland. 1858.
Maidment's Scottish Ballads and Songs. 1868.
Bishop Percy's Folio Manuscript. 1868.
Child's English and Scottish Popular Ballads (issued in parts). 1882-98.
A WORD WITH THE TEACHER.
The methods of ballad-work in the class-room must of course vary with the amount of time at disposal, the extent of library privilege, and the attainment of the students. Where the requisite books are at hand, it may be found a profitable exercise to commit a ballad to each member of the class, who shall hunt down the various English versions, and, as far as his power reaches, the foreign equivalents. But specific topical study can be put to advantage on the ballads themselves, the fifty collected here furnishing abundant data for discussion and illustration in regard to such subjects as the following:—
/ Teutonic. Ballad Language Dialectic. Idiomatic.
/ / Description. / Ballad Stanza Peculiar Fitness. Variations. Ballad Music / Metre. Irregularities in Accent. Rhyme. Significance of Irregularities.
/ Introduction. / Dramatic Element. Ballad Structure Involution of Plot. Proportion of Element. Conclusion.
/ Government. Early English and Scottish Family. Life as reflected in the Employments. Ballads Pastimes. Manners.
Early English and Scottish / Aspirations. Character as reflected Principles. in the Ballads Tastes.
Democracy in the Ballads.
Nature in the Ballads.
Color in the Ballads.
History and Science in the Ballads.
Manhood in the Ballads.
Womanhood in the Ballads.
Childhood in the Ballads.
Standards of Morality in the Ballads.
Religion in the Ballads / Pagan Element. Christian Element. / Catholic. Protestant. Figures of Speech / Enumeration in the Ballads General Character. Proportion.
/ Epithets. / Numbers. Stock Material Refrains. of the Ballads Similes. Metaphors. Stanzas. Situations.
Humor of the Ballads. / In what consisting. At what directed.
Pathos of the Ballads. / By what elicited. How expressed.
/ In Form. Beauty of the Ballads. In Matter. In Spirit.
A more delicate, difficult, and valuable variety of study may be put upon the ballads, taken one by one, with the aim of impression upon a class the very simplicity of strength and sweetness in this wild minstrelsy. The mere recitation or reading of the ballad, with such unacademic and living comment as shall help the imagination of the hearer to leap into a vivid realization of the swiftly shifted scenes, the sympathy to follow with eager comprehension the crowded, changing passions, the whole nature to thrill with the warm pulse of the rough old poem, is perhaps the surest way to drive the ballad home, trusting it to work within the student toward that spirit—development which is more truly the end of education than mental storage. For these primitive folk-songs which have done so much to educate the poetic sense in the fine peasantry of Scotland,—that peasantry which has produced an Ettrick Shepherd and an Ayrshire Ploughman,—are assuredly,
"Thanks to the human heart by which we live,"
among the best educators that can be brought into our schoolrooms.
BALLADS OF SUPERSTITION.
THE WEE WEE MAN.
As I was wa'king all alane, Between a water and a wa', There I spy'd a wee wee man, And he was the least that e'er I saw.
His legs were scant a shathmont's length, And sma' and limber was his thie, Between his e'en there was a span, And between his shoulders there was three.
'He took up 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.
"O wee wee man, but thou be strang! O tell me where thy dwelling be?" "My dwelling's down at yon bonny bower; O will you go with me and see?"
On we lap, and awa' we rade, Till we cam' to yon bonny green; We lighted down for to bait our horse, And out there cam' a lady sheen.
Four and twenty at her back, And they were a' clad out in green, Though the King o' Scotland had been there, The warst o' them might hae been his Queen.
On we lap, and awa' we rade, Till we cam' to yon bonny ha', Where the roof was o' the beaten gowd, And the floor was o' the crystal a'.
When we cam' to the stair foot, Ladies were dancing, jimp and sma'; But in the twinkling of an e'e, My wee wee man was clean awa'.
* * * * *
"O I forbid ye, maidens a', That bind in snood your hair, To come or gae by Carterhaugh, For young Tamlane is there."
Fair Janet sat within her bower, Sewing her silken seam, And fain would be at Carterhaugh, Amang the leaves sae green.
She let the seam fa' to her foot, The needle to her tae, And she's awa' to Carterhaugh, As quickly as she may.
She's prink'd hersell, and preen'd hersell, By the ae light o' the moon, And she's awa to Carterhaugh, As fast as she could gang.
She hadna pu'd a red red rose, A rose but barely three, When up and starts the young Tamlane, Says, "Lady, let a-be!
"What gars ye pu' the rose, Janet? What gars ye break the tree? Or why come ye to Carterhaugh, Without the leave o' me?"
"O I will pu' the flowers," she said, "And I will break the tree; And I will come to Carterhaugh, And ask na leave of thee."
But when she cam' to her father's ha', She looked sae wan and pale, They thought the lady had gotten a fright, Or with sickness sair did ail.
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.
She hadna pu'd a rose, a rose, A rose but barely twae, When up there started young Tamlane, Says, "Lady, thou pu's nae mae."
"Now ye maun tell the truth," she said, A word ye maunna lie; O, were ye ever in haly chapel, Or sained in Christentie?"
"The truth I'll tell to thee, Janet, A word I winna lie; I was ta'en to the good church-door, And sained as well as thee.
"Randolph, Earl Murray, was my sire, Dunbar, Earl March, was thine; We loved when we were children small, Which yet you well may mind.
"When I was a boy just turned of nine, My uncle sent for me, To hunt, and hawk, and ride with him, And keep him companie.
"There came a wind out of the north, A sharp wind and a snell, And a dead sleep came over me, And frae my horse I fell; The Queen of Fairies she was there, And took me to hersell.
"And we, that live in Fairy-land, Nae sickness know nor pain; I quit my body when I will, And take to it again.
"I quit my body when I please, Or unto it repair; We can inhabit at our ease In either earth or air.
"Our shapes and size we can convert To either large or small; An old nut-shell's the same to us As is the lofty hall.
"We sleep in rose-buds soft and sweet, We revel in the stream; We wanton lightly on the wind, Or glide on a sunbeam.
"And never would I tire, Janet, In fairy-land to dwell; But aye, at every seven years, They pay the teind to hell; And I'm sae fat and fair of flesh, I fear 'twill be mysell!
"The morn at e'en is Hallowe'en; Our fairy court will ride, Through England and through Scotland baith, And through the warld sae wide, And if that ye wad borrow me, At Miles Cross ye maun bide.
"And ye maun gae to the Miles Cross, Between twelve hours and one, Tak' haly water in your hand, And cast a compass roun'."
"But how shall I thee ken, Tamlane, And how shall I thee knaw, Amang the throng o' fairy folk, The like I never saw?"
"The first court that comes alang, Ye'll let them a' pass by; The neist court that comes alang Salute them reverently.
"The third court that comes alang Is clad in robes o' green, And it's the head court of them a', And in it rides the Queen.
"And I upon a milk-white steed, Wi' a gold star in my croun; Because I am a christen'd knight They give me that renoun.
'First let pass the black, Janet, And syne let pass the broun, But grip ye to the milk-white steed, And pu' the rider doun.
"My right hand will be glov'd, Janet, My left hand will be bare, And thae's the tokens I gie thee; Nae doubt I will be there.
"Ye'll seize upon me with a spring, And to the ground I'll fa', And then you'll hear an elrish cry That Tamlane is awa'.
"They'll turn me in your arms, Janet, An adder and a snake; But haud me fast, let me not pass, Gin ye would be my maik.
"They'll turn me in your arms, Janet, An adder and an aske; They'll turn me in your arms, Janet, A bale that burns fast.
"They'll shape me in your arms, Janet, A dove, but and a swan: And last they'll shape me in your arms A mother-naked man: Cast your green mantle over me— And sae shall I be wan!"
Gloomy, gloomy was the night, And eerie was the way, As fair Janet, in her green mantle, To Miles Cross she did gae.
About the dead hour o' the night She heard the bridles ring, And Janet was as glad o' that As ony earthly thing.
There's haly water in her hand, She casts a compass round; And straight she sees a fairy band Come riding o'er the mound.
And first gaed by the black, black steed, And then gaed by the broun; But fast she gript the milk-white steed, And pu'd the rider doun.
She pu'd him frae the milk-white steed, And loot the bridle fa'; And up there raise an elrish cry; "He's won amang us a'!"
They shaped him in fair Janet's arms An aske, but and an adder; She held him fast in every shape, To be her ain true lover.
They shaped him in her arms at last A mother-naked man, She cuist her mantle over him, And sae her true love wan.
Up then spake the Queen o' Fairies, Out of a bush o' broom: "She that has borrowed young Tamlane, Has gotten a stately groom!"
Up then spake the Queen o' Fairies, Out of a bush of rye: "She's ta'en away the bonniest knight In a' my companie!
"But had I kenned, Tamlane," she says, "A lady wad borrow thee, I wad hae ta'en out thy twa gray e'en, Put in twa e'en o' tree!
"Had I but kenned, Tamlane," she says, "Before ye came frae hame, I wad hae ta'en out your heart of flesh, Put in a heart o' stane!
"Had I but had the wit yestreen That I hae coft this day, I'd hae paid my teind seven times to hell, Ere you'd been won away!"
* * * * *
True Thomas lay on Huntlie bank; A ferlie he spied with his e'e; And there he saw a ladye bright, Come riding down by the Eildon tree.
Her skirt was o' the grass-green silk, Her mantle o' the velvet fine, At ilka tett of her horse's mane, Hung fifty siller bells and nine.
True Thomas he pu'd 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'm but the Queen of fair Elfland, That hither am come to visit thee!
"Harp and carp, Thomas," she said, "Harp and carp alang wi' me; And if ye daur to kiss my lips, Sure of your bodie I shall be!"
"Betide me weal, betide me woe, That weird shall 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, Through weal or woe as may chance to be."
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.
O they rade on, and further on, The steed gaed swifter than the wind; Until they reached a desert wide, And living land was left behind.
"Light down, light down now, Thomas," she said, "And lean your head upon my knee; Light down, and rest a little space, And I will show you ferlies three.
"O see ye na that braid braid road, That stretches o'er the lily leven? That is the path of wickedness, Though some call it the road to heaven.
"And see ye na yon narrow road, Sae thick beset wi' thorns and briers? That is the path of righteousness, Though after it but few enquires.
"And see ye na yon bonny road, That winds about the ferny brae? That is the way to fair Elfland, Where you and I this night maun gae.
"But, Thomas, ye maun hauld your tongue, Whatever you may hear or see; For if ye speak word in Elfin land, Ye'll ne'er win back to your ain countrie!"
O they rade on, and further on, And they waded through rivers aboon the knee, And they saw neither sun nor moon, But they heard the roaring of a sea.
It was mirk mirk night, there was nae stern-light, And they waded through red blude to the knee; For a' the blude that's shed on earth, Kins through the springs o' that countrie.
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 lie!"
"My tongue is my ain!" True Thomas he said, "A gudely gift ye wad gie to me! I neither douglit to buy nor sell, At fair or tryste where I may be.
"I dought neither speak to prince nor peer, Nor ask for grace from fair ladye!" "Now hauld thy tongue, Thomas!" she said "For as I say, so must it be."
He has gotten a coat of the even claith, And a pair o' shoon of the velvet green; And till seven years were come and gane, True Thomas on earth was never seen.
* * * * *
THE ELFIN KNIGHT.
The Elfin knight stands on yon hill; (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) Blawing his horn baith loud and shrill, (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
"If I had the horn that I hear blawn, (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) And the bonnie knight that blaws the horn!" (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
She had na sooner thae words said; (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) Than the Elfin knight cam' to her side: (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
"Thou art too young a maid," quoth he, (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) "Married wi' me you ill wad be." (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
"I hae a sister younger than me; (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) And she was married yesterday." (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
"Married to me ye shall be nane; (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) Till ye mak' me a sark without a seam; (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
"And ye maun shape it, knifeless, sheerless, (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) And ye maun sew it, needle-threedless; (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
"And ye maun wash it within a well, (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) Whaur dew never wat, nor rain ever fell, (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
"And ye maun dry it upon a thorn, (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) That never budded sin' Adam was born." (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
"O gin that kindness I do for thee; (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) There's something ye maun do for me. (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
"I hae an acre o' gude lea-land, (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) Between the saut sea and the strand; (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
"Ye'll plough it wi' your blawing horn, (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) And ye will sow it wi' pepper corn, (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
"And ye maun harrow't wi' a single tyne, (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) And shear it wi' a sheep's shank bane; (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
"And bigg a cart o' lime and stane, (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) And Robin Redbreast maun trail it hame, (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
"And ye maun barn it in a mouse-hole, (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) And ye maun thresh it in your shoe sole; (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
"And ye maun winnow it wi' your loof, (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) And ye maun sack it in your glove; (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
"And ye maun dry it, but candle or coal, (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) And ye maun grind it, but quern or mill; (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
"When ye hae done, and finish'd your wark, (Blaw, blaw, blaw winds, blaw,) Then come to me, and ye'se get your sark!" (And the wind has blawn my plaid awa'.)
* * * * *
LADY ISOBEL AND THE ELF-KNIGHT.
There cam' a bird out o' a bush, On water for to dine, An' sighing sair, says the king's daughter, "O wae's this heart o' mine!"
He's taen a harp into his hand, He's harped them all asleep, Except it was the king's daughter, Who ae wink couldna get.
He's luppen on his berry-brown steed, Taen 'er on behind himsell, Then baith rede down to that water That they ca' Wearie's Well.
"Wide in, wide in, my lady fair, Nae harm shall thee befall; Aft times hae I water'd my steed Wi' the water o' Wearie's Well."
The first step that she stepped in, She stepped to the knee; And sighing sair, says this lady fair, "This water's nae for me."
"Wide in, wide in, my lady fair, Nae harm shall thee befall; Aft times hae I water'd my steed Wi' the water o' Wearie's Well."
The neist step that she stepped in, She stepped to the middle; "O," sighend says this lady fair, "I've wat my gowden girdle."
"Wide in, wide in, my lady fair, Nae harm shall thee befall; Aft times hae I water'd my steed Wi' the water o' Wearie's Well."
The neist step that she stepped in, She stepped to the chin; "O," sighend says this lady fair, "I'll wade nae farer in."
"Seven king's-daughters I've drownd here, In the water o' Wearie's Well, And I'll mak' you the eight o' them, And ring the common bell."
"Sin' I am standing here," she says, "This dowie death to die, Ae kiss o' your comely mouth I'm sure wad comfort me."
He's louted him o'er his saddle bow, To kiss her cheek and chin; She's taen him in her arms twa, An' thrown him headlong in.
"Sin' seven king's-daughters ye've drownd here, In the water o' Wearie's Well, I'll mak' you bridegroom to them a', An' ring the bell mysell."
* * * * *
In Arthurs court Tom Thumbe did live, A man of mickle might, The best of all the table round, And eke a doughty knight:
His stature but an inch in height, Or quarter of a span; Then thinke you not this little knight, Was prov'd a valiant man?
His father was a plow-man plaine, His mother milkt the cow, But yet the way to get a sonne This couple knew not how,
Untill such time this good old man To learned Merlin goes, And there to him his deepe desires In secret manner showes,
How in his heart he wisht to have A childe, in time to come, To be his heire, though it might be No bigger than his Thumbe.
Of which old Merlin thus foretold, That he his wish should have, And so this sonne of stature small The charmer to him gave.
No blood nor bones in him should be, In shape and being such, That men should heare him speake, but not His wandring shadow touch:
But all unseene to goe or come Whereas it pleasd him still; And thus King Arthurs Dwarfe was born, To fit his fathers will:
And in foure minutes grew so fast, That he became so tall As was the plowmans thumbe in height, And so they did him call
Tom Thumbe, the which the Fayry-Queene There gave him to his name, Who, with her traine of Goblins grim, Unto his christning came.
Whereas she cloath'd him richly brave, In garments fine and faire, Which lasted him for many yeares In seemely sort to weare.
His hat made of an oaken leafe, His shirt a spiders web, Both light and soft for those his limbes That were so smally bred;
His hose and doublet thistle downe, Togeather weav'd full fine; His stockins of an apple greene, Made of the outward rine;
His garters were two little haires, Pull'd from his mothers eye, His bootes and shooes a mouses skin, There tand most curiously.
Thus, like a lustie gallant, he Adventured forth to goe, With other children in the streets His pretty trickes to show.
Where he for counters, pinns, and points, And cherry stones did play, Till he amongst those gamesters young Had loste his stocke away,
Yet could he soone renew the same, When as most nimbly he Would dive into their cherry-baggs, And there partaker be,
Unseene or felt by any one, Untill a scholler shut This nimble youth into a boxe, Wherein his pins he put.
Of whom to be reveng'd, he tooke (In mirth and pleasant game) Black pots, and glasses, which he hung Upon a bright sunne-beam.
The other boyes to doe the like, In pieces broke them quite; For which they were most soundly whipt, Whereat he laught outright.
And so Tom Thumbe restrained was From these his sports and play, And by his mother after that Compel'd at home to stay.
Whereas about a Christmas time, His father a hog had kil'd, And Tom would see the puddings made, For fear they should be spil'd.
He sate upon the pudding-boule, The candle for to hold; Of which there is unto this day A pretty pastime told:
For Tom fell in, and could not be For ever after found, For in the blood and batter he Was strangely lost and drownd.
Where searching long, but all in vaine, His mother after that Into a pudding thrust her sonne, Instead of minced fat.
Which pudding of the largest size Into the kettle throwne, Made all the rest to fly thereout, As with a whirle-wind blowne.
For so it tumbled up and downe, Within the liquor there, As if the devill had been boiled; Such was his mothers feare,
That up she took the pudding strait. And gave it at the door Unto a tinker, which from thence In his blacke budget bore.
From which Tom Thumbe got loose at last And home return'd againe: Where he from following dangers long In safety did remaine.
Now after this, in sowing time, His father would him have Into the field to drive his plow, And thereupon him gave
A whip made of a barly straw To drive the cattle on: Where, in a furrow'd land new sowne, Poore Tom was lost and gon.
Now by a raven of great strength Away he thence was borne, And carried in the carrions beake Even like a graine of corne,
Unto a giants castle top, In which he let him fall, Where soone the giant swallowed up His body, cloathes and all.
But in his stomach did Tom Thumbe So great a rumbling make, That neither day nor night he could The smallest quiet take,
Untill the giant had him spewd Three miles into the sea, Whereas a fish soone tooke him up And bore him thence away.
Which lusty fish was after caught And to king Arthur sent, Where Tom was found, and made his dwarfe, Whereas his dayes he spent
Long time in lively jollity, Belov'd of all the court, And none like Tom was then esteem'd Among the noble sort.
Amongst his deedes of courtship done, His highnesse did command, That he should dance a galliard brave Upon his queenes left hand.
The which he did, and for the same The king his signet gave, Which Tom about his middle wore Long time a girdle brave.
Now after this the king would not Abroad for pleasure goe, But still Tom Thumbe must ride with him, Plac'd on his saddle-bow.
Where on a time when as it rain'd, Tom Thumbe most nimbly crept In at a button hole, where he Within his bosome slept.
And being neere his highnesse heart, He crav'd a wealthy boone, A liberall gift, the which the king Commanded to be done,
For to relieve his fathers wants, And mothers, being old; Which was so much of silver coin As well his armes could hold.
And so away goes lusty Tom, With three pence on his backe, A heavy burthen, which might make His wearied limbes to cracke.
So travelling two dayes and nights, With labour and great paine, He came into the house whereas His parents did remaine;
Which was but halfe a mile in space From good king Arthurs court, The which in eight and forty houres He went in weary sort.
But comming to his fathers doore, He there such entrance had As made his parents both rejoice, And he thereat was glad.
His mother in her apron tooke Her gentle sonne in haste, And by the fier side, within A walnut shell, him plac'd:
Whereas they feasted him three dayes Upon a hazell nut, Whereon he rioted so long He them to charges put;
And thereupon grew wonderous sicke, Through eating too much meate, Which was sufficient for a month For this great man to eate.
But now his businesse call'd him foorth, King Arthurs court to see, Whereas no longer from the same He could a stranger be.
But yet a few small April drops, Which settled in the way, His long and weary journey forth Did hinder and so stay.
Until his carefull father tooke A hollow straw in sport, And with one blast blew this his sonne Into king Arthurs court.
Now he with tilts and turnaments Was entertained so, That all the best of Arthurs knights Did him much pleasure show.
As good Sir Lancelot of the Lake, Sir Tristram, and sir Guy; Yet none compar'd with brave Tom Thum, In knightly chivalry.
In honor of which noble day, And for his ladies sake, A challenge in king Arthurs court Tom Thumbe did bravely make.
Gainst whom these noble knights did run, Sir Chinon and the rest, Yet still Tom Thumbe with matchles might Did beare away the best.
He likewise cleft the smallest haire From his faire ladies head, Not hurting her whose even hand Him lasting honors bred.
Such were his deeds and noble acts In Arthurs court there showne, As like in all the world beside Was hardly seene or knowne.
Now at these sports he toyld himselfe That he a sicknesse tooke, Through which all manly exercise He carelesly forsooke.
Where lying on his bed sore sicke, King Arthurs doctor came, With cunning skill, by physicks art, To ease and cure the same.
His body being so slender small, This cunning doctor tooke A fine prospective glasse, with which He did in secret looke
Into his sickened body downe, And therein saw that Death Stood ready in his wasted guts To sease his vitall breath.
His armes and leggs consum'd as small As was a spiders web, Through which his dying houre grew on, For all his limbes grew dead.
His face no bigger than an ants, Which hardly could be seene: The losse of which renowned knight Much griev'd the king and queene.
And so with peace and quietnesse He left this earth below; And up into the Fayry Land His ghost did fading goe.
Whereas the Fayry Queene receiv'd With heavy mourning cheere, The body of this valiant knight Whom she esteem'd so deere.
For with her dancing nymphes in greene, She fetcht him from his bed, With musicke and sweet melody So soone as life was fled:
For whom king Arthur and his knights Full forty daies did mourne; And, in remembrance of his name That was so strangely borne,
He built a tomb of marble gray, And yeare by yeare did come To celebrate the mournefull day, And buriall of Tom Thum.
Whose fame still lives in England here, Amongst the countrey sort; Of whom our wives and children small Tell tales of pleasant sport.
* * * * *
Her mither died when she was young, Which gave her cause to make great moan; Her father married the warse woman That ever lived in Christendom.
She served her well wi' foot and hand, In everything that, she could dee; But her stepmither hated her warse and warse, And a powerful wicked witch was she.
"Come hither, come hither, ye cannot choose; And lay your head low on my knee; The heaviest weird I will you read That ever was read to gay ladye.
"Mickle dolour sail ye dree When o'er the saut seas maun ye swim; And far mair dolour sail ye dree When up to Estmere Crags ye climb.
"I weird ye be a fiery snake; And borrowed sall ye never be, Till Kempion, the kingis son, Come to the crag and thrice kiss thee. Until the warld comes to an end, Borrowed sall ye never be!"
O mickle dolour did she dree, And aye the saut seas o'er she swam; And far mair dolour did she dree On Estmere Crags, when up she clamb.
And aye she cried on Kempion, Gin he would but come to her han':— Now word has gane to Kempion, That siccan a beast was in the lan'.
"Now by my sooth," said Kempion, "This fiery beast I'll gang and see." "An' by my sooth," said Segramour, "My ae brither, I'll gang wi' thee."
They twa hae biggit a bonny boat, And they hae set her to the sea; But a mile afore they reach'd the shore, Around them 'gan the red fire flee.
The worm leapt out, the worm leapt down, She plaited nine times round stock and stane; And aye as the boat cam' to the beach, O she hae strickit it aff again.
"Min' how you steer, my brither dear: Keep further aff!" said Segramour; "She'll drown us deep in the saut, saut sea, Or burn us sair, if we come on shore."
Syne Kempion has bent an arblast bow, And aimed an arrow at her head; And swore, if she didna quit the shore, Wi' that same shaft to shoot her dead.
"Out o' my stythe I winna rise, Nor quit my den for the fear o' thee, Till Kempion, the kingis son, Come to the crag an' thrice kiss me."
He's louted him o'er the Estmere Crag, And he has gi'en that beast a kiss: In she swang, and again she cam', And aye her speech was a wicked hiss.
"Out o' my stythe I winna rise, An' not for a' thy bow nor thee, Till Kempion, the kingis son, Come to the crag an' thrice kiss me."
He's louted him o'er the Estmere Crag, And he has gi'en her kisses twa; In she swang, and again she cam', The fieriest beast that ever you saw.
"Out o' my stythe I winna rise, Nor quit my den for the fear o' thee, Till Kempion, the kingis son, Come to the crag an' thrice kiss me."
He's louted him o'er the lofty crag, And he has gi'en her kisses three; In she swang, a loathly worm; An' out she stepped, a fair ladye.
Nae cleeding had this lady fair, To keep her body frae the cold; But Kempion took his mantle aff, And around his ain true love did fold.
"An' by my sooth," says Kempion, "My ain true love!—for this is she,— They surely had a heart o' stane, Could put thee to this misery.
"O was it wer-wolf in the wood, Or was it mermaid in the sea, Or wicked man, or wile woman, My ain true love, that mis-shaped thee?"
"It was na wer-wolf in the wood, Nor was it mermaid in the sea; But it was my wicked stepmither, And wae and weary may she be!"
"O a heavier weird light her upon Than ever fell on wile woman! Her hair sall grow rough, an' her teeth grow lang, An' aye upon four feet maun she gang."
* * * * *
O Alison Gross, that lives in yon tower, The ugliest witch in the north countrie, Has trysted me ae day up till her bower, And mony fair speech she made to me.
She straiked my head, and she kaim'd my hair, And she set me down saftly on her knee; Says, "Gin ye will be my lemman sae true, Sae mony braw things as I wad you gie."
She shaw'd me a mantle o' red scarlet, Wi' gowden flowers and fringes fine; Says, "Gin ye will be my lemman sae true, This gudely gift it sall be thine."
"Awa', awa', ye ugly witch! Haud far awa', and lat me be; I never will be your lemman sae true, And I wish I were out o' your companie."
She neist brocht a sark o' the saftest silk, Weel wrought wi' pearls about the band; Says, "Gin ye will be my ain true-love, This gudely gift ye sall command."
She shaw'd me a cup o' the gude red gowd, Weel set wi' jewels sae fair to see; Says, "Gin ye will be my lemman sae true, This gudely gift I will you gie."
"Awa', awa', ye ugly witch! Haud far awa', and lat me be; For I wadna ance kiss your ugly mouth For a' the gifts that you could gie."
She's turn'd her richt and round about, And thrice she blew on a grass-green horn; And she sware by the moon, and the stars That she'd gar me rue the day I was born.
Then out she has ta'en a silver wand, And she's turn'd her three times round and round; She's muttered sic words, that my strength it fail'd, And I fell down senseless on the ground.
She's turned me into an ugly worm, And gar'd me toddle about the tree; And ay, on ilka Saturday's night, Auld Alison Gross, she cam' to me,
Wi' silver basin, and silver kaim, To kaim my headie upon her knee; But or I had kiss'd her ugly mouth, I'd rather hae toddled about the tree.
But as it fell out on last Hallowe'en, When the Seely Court was ridin' by, The Queen lighted down on a gowan bank, Nae far frae the tree where I wont to lye.
She took me up in her milk-white hand, And she straiked me three times o'er her knee; She changed me again to my ain proper shape, And I nae mair maun toddle about the tree.
* * * * *
THE WIFE OF USHER'S WELL.
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.
They hadna been a week from her, A week but barely ane, When word cam' to the carline wife, That her three sons were gane.
They hadna been a week from her, A week but barely three, When word cam' to the carline 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 Martinmas, When nights are lang and mirk, The carline wife's three sons cam' 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, now, maidens mine, Bring water from the well! For a' my house shall feast this night, Sin' my three sons are well."
And she has made to them a bed, She's made it large and wide; And she's happed her mantle them about, Sat down at the bed-side.
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 doth, craw, the day doth daw, The channerin' worm doth chide; Gin we be miss'd out o' our place, A sair pain we maun bide."
"Lie still, lie still 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."
O it's they've ta'en up their mother's mantle, And they've hangd it on the pin: "O lang may ye hing, my mother's mantle, Ere ye hap us again!
'Fare-ye-weel, my mother dear! Fareweel to barn and byre! And fare-ye-weel, the bonny lass, That kindles my mother's fire."
* * * * *
A LYKE-WAKE DIRGE.
This ae nighte, this ae nighte, Everie nighte and alle, Fire, and sleete, and candle-lighte, And Christe receive thye saule.
When thou from hence away art paste, Everie nighte and alle, To Whinny-muir thou comest at laste, And Christe receive thye saule.
If ever thou gavest hosen and shoon, Everie nighte and alle, Sit thee down and put them on, And Christe receive thye saule.
If hosen and shoon thou ne'er gav'st nane, Everie nighte and alle, The whinnes shall pricke thee to the bare bane, And Christe receive thye saule.
From Whinny-muir when thou mayst passe, Everie nighte and alle, To Brigg o' Dread thou comest at last, And Christe receive thye saule.
From Brigg o' Dread when thou mayst passe, Everie nighte and alle, To Purgatory Fire thou comest at last, And Christe receive thye saule.
If ever thou gavest meate or drinke, Everie nighte and alle, The fire shall never make thee shrinke, And Christe receive thye saule.
If meate or drinke thou ne'er gav'st nane, Everie nighte and alle, The fire will burne thee to the bare bane, And Christe receive thye saule.
This ae nighte, this ae nighte, Everie nighte and alle, Fire, and sleete, and candle-lighte, And Christe receive thye saule.
* * * * *
PROUD LADY MARGARET.
'Twas on a night, an evening bright, When the dew began to fa', Lady Margaret was walkin' up and doun, Looking ower the castle wa'.
She lookit east, she lookit west, To see what she could spy, When a gallant knight cam' in her sight, And to the gate drew nigh.
"God mak' you safe and free, fair maid, God mak' you safe and free!" "O sae fa' you, ye stranger knight, What is your will wi' me?"
"It's I am come to this castle, To seek the love o' thee; And if ye grant me not your love All for your sake I'll die."
"If ye should die for me, young man, There's few for ye will maen; For mony a better has died for me, Whose graves are growing green."
"O winna ye pity me, fair maid, O winna ye pity me? Hae pity for a courteous knight, Whose love is laid on thee."
"Ye say ye are a courteous knight, But I misdoubt ye sair; I think ye're but a miller lad, By the white clothes ye wear.
"But ye maun read my riddle," she said, "And answer me questions three; And but ye read them richt," she said, "Gae stretch ye out and die.
"What is the fairest flower, tell me, That grows on muir or dale? And what is the bird, the bonnie bird, Sings next the nightingale? And what is the finest thing," she says, "That king or queen can wale?"
"The primrose is the fairest flower, That springs on muir or dale;
The mavis is the sweetest bird Next to the nightingale; And yellow gowd's the finest thing, That king or queen can wale."
"But what is the little coin," she said, "Wad buy my castle boun'? And what's the little boat," she said, "Can sail the warld all roun'?"
"O hey, how mony small pennies Mak' thrice three thousand poun'? O hey, how mony small fishes Swim a' the saut sea roun'?"
"I think ye are my match," she said, "My match, an' something mair; Ye are the first ere got the grant Of love frae my father's heir.
"My father was lord o' nine castles, My mither lady o' three; My father was lord o' nine castles, And there's nane to heir but me, Unless it be Willie, my ae brither, But he's far ayont the sea."
"If your father's lord o' nine castles, Your mither lady o' three; It's I am Willie, your ae brither, Was far ayont the sea."
"If ye be my brither Willie," she said, "As I doubt sair ye be, This nicht I'll neither eat nor drink, But gae alang wi' thee."
"Ye've owre ill-washen feet, Margaret, And owre ill-washen hands, And owre coarse robes on your body, Alang wi' me to gang.
"The worms they are my bedfellows, And the cauld clay my sheet, And the higher that the wind does blaw, The sounder do I sleep.
"My body's buried in Dunfermline, Sae far ayont the sea: But day nor night nae rest can I get, A' for the pride of thee.
"Leave aff your pride, Margaret," he says; "Use it not ony mair, Or, when ye come where I hae been, Ye will repent it sair.
"Cast aff, cast aff, sister," he says, "The gowd band frae your croun; For if ye gang where I hae been, Ye'll wear it laigher doun.
"When ye are in the gude kirk set, The gowd pins in your hair, Ye tak' mair delight in your feckless dress, Than in your mornin' prayer.
"And when ye walk in the kirkyard, And in your dress are seen, There is nae lady that spies your face, But wishes your grave were green.
"Ye're straight and tall, handsome withal, But your pride owergangs your wit; If ye do not your ways refrain, In Pirie's chair ye'll sit.
"In Pirie's chair ye'll sit, I say, The lowest seat in hell; If ye do not amend your ways, It's there that ye maun dwell!"
Wi' that he vanished frae her sight, In the twinking of an eye; And naething mair the lady saw But the gloomy clouds and sky.
* * * * *
THE TWA SISTERS O' BINNORIE.
There were twa sisters lived in a bower; Binnorie, O Binnorie; The youngest o' them, O she was a flower, By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
There cam' a squire frae the west, Binnorie, O Binnorie; He lo'ed them baith, but the youngest best, By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
He courted the eldest wi' glove and ring, Binnorie, O Binnorie; But he lo'ed the youngest abune a' thing, By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
The eldest she was vexed sair, Binnorie, O Binnorie; And sore envied her sister fair, By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
The eldest said to the youngest ane, Binnorie, O Binnorie; "Will ye see our father's ships come in?" By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
She's ta'en her by the lily hand; Binnorie, O Binnorie; And led her down to the river strand, By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
The youngest stood upon a stane; Binnorie, O Binnorie; The eldest cam' and pushed her in, By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
"O sister, sister, reach your hand, Binnorie, O Binnorie; And ye shall be heir of half my land," By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
"O sister, I'll not reach my hand, Binnorie, O Binnorie; And I'll be the heir of all your land; By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
"Shame fa' the hand that I should take, Binnorie, O Binnorie; It has twined me and my world's make;" By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
"O sister, sister, reach your glove, Binnorie, O Binnorie; And sweet William shall be your love;" By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
"Sink on, nor hope for hand or glove, Binnorie, O Binnorie; And sweet William shall be mair my love, By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
"Your cherry cheeks, and your yellow hair, Binnorie, O Binnorie; Had gar'd me gang maiden ever mair," By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
Sometimes she sank, and sometimes she swam, Binnorie, O Binnorie; Until she cam' to the miller's dam; By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
The miller's daughter was baking bread, Binnorie, O Binnorie; And gaed for water as she had need, By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
"O father, father, draw your dam! Binnorie, O Binnorie; For there is a lady or milk-white swan," By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
The miller hasted and drew his dam, Binnorie, O Binnorie; And there he found a drown'd woman, By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
Ye couldna see her yellow hair, Birmorie, O Binnorie; For gowd and pearls that were sae rare; By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
Ye couldna see her middle sma', Binnorie, O Binnorie; Her gowden girdle was sae braw, By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
Ye couldna see her lilie feet, Binnorie, O Binnorie; Her gowden fringes were sae deep, By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
"Sair will they be, whae'er they be, Binnorie, O Binnorie; The hearts that live to weep for thee!" By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
There cam' a harper passing by, Binnorie, O Binnorie; The sweet pale face he chanced to spy, By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
And when he looked that lady on, Binnorie, O Binnorie; He sighed and made a heavy moan, By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
He has ta'en three locks o' her yellow hair, Binnorie, O Binnorie; And wi' them strung his harp sae rare, By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
He brought the harp to her father's hall; Binnorie, O Binnorie; And there was the court assembled all; By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
He set the harp upon a stane, Binnorie, O Binnorie; And it began to play alane, By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
And sune the harp sang loud and clear, Binnorie, O Binnorie! "Farewell, my father and mither dear!" By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
And neist when the harp began to sing, Binnorie, O Binnorie! 'Twas "Farewell, sweetheart!" said the string, By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
And then as plain as plain could be, Binnorie, O Binnorie! "There sits my sister wha drowned me!" By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie.
* * * * *
THE DEMON LOVEE.
"O, where hae ye been, my lang-lost love, This lang seven years an' more?" "O, I'm come to seek my former vows Ye granted me before."
"O, haud your tongue o' your former vows, For they'll breed bitter strife; O, haud your tongue o' your former vows, For I am become a wife."
He turned him right an' round about, And the tear blinded his e'e; "I wad never hae trodden on Irish ground If it hadna been for thee.
"I might hae had a king's daughter Far, far ayont the sea, I might hae had a king's daughter, Had it nae been for love o' thee."
"If ye might hae had a king's daughter, Yoursel' ye hae to blame; Ye might hae taken the king's daughter, For ye kenn'd that I was nane."
"O fause be the vows o' womankind, But fair is their fause bodie; I wad never hae trodden on Irish ground Had it nae been for love o' thee."
"If I was to leave my husband dear, And my twa babes also, O where is it ye would tak' me to, If I with thee should go?"
"I hae seven ships upon the sea, The eighth brouct me to land, Wi' four-and-twenty bold mariners, And music of ilka hand."
She has taken up her twa little babes, Kiss'd them baith cheek and chin; "O fare ye weel, my ain twa babes, For I'll never see you again."
She set her foot upon the ship, No mariners could she behold; But the sails were o' the taffetie, And the masts o' the beaten gold.
"O how do you love the ship?" he said, "O how do you love the sea? And how do you love the bold mariners That wait upon thee and me?"
"O I do love the ship," she said, "And I do love the sea; But wae to the dim mariners That naewhere I can see!"
They hadna sailed a league, a league, A league but barely three, When dismal grew his countenance, And drumly grew his e'e.
The masts that were like the beaten gold, Bent not on the heaving seas; The sails that were o' the taffetie Fill'd not in the east land breeze.
They hadna sailed a league, a league, A league but barely three, Until she espied his cloven hoof, And she wept right bitterlie.
"O haud your tongue o' your weeping," he says: "O' your weeping now let me be; I will show you how the lilies grow On the banks of Italy."
"O what hills are yon, yon pleasant hills, That the sun shines sweetly on?" "O yon are the hills o' heaven," he said "Where you will never won."
"O what'n a mountain's yon," she said, "Sae dreary wi' frost an' snow?" "O yon is the mountain o' hell," he cried, "Where you and I maun go!"
And aye when she turn'd her round about, Aye taller he seemed for to be; Until that the tops o' that gallant ship Nae taller were than he.
He strack the tapmast wi' his hand, The foremast wi' his knee; And he brak that gallant ship in twain, And sank her i' the sea.
* * * * *
RIDDLES WISELY EXPOUNDED.
There was a knicht riding frae the east, Jennifer gentle an' rosemaree. Who had been wooing at monie a place, As the dew flies ower the mulberry tree.
He cam' unto a widow's door, And speird whare her three dochters were.
The auldest ane's to a washing gane, The second's to a baking gane.
The youngest ane's to a wedding gane, And it will be nicht or she be hame.
He sat him doun upon a stane, Till thir three lasses cam' tripping hame.
The auldest ane she let him in, And pin'd the door wi' a siller pin.
The second ane she made his bed, And laid saft pillows unto his head.
The youngest ane was bauld and bricht, And she tarried for words wi' this unco knicht.
"Gin ye will answer me questions ten, The morn ye sall be made my ain.
"O what is heigher nor the tree? And what is deeper nor the sea?
"Or what is heavier nor the lead? And what is better nor the breid?
"O what is whiter nor the milk? Or what is safter nor the silk?
"Or what is sharper nor a thorn? Or what is louder nor a horn?
"Or what is greener nor the grass? Or what is waur nor a woman was?"
"O heaven is higher nor the tree, And hell is deeper nor the sea.
"O sin is heavier nor the lead, The blessing's better nor the breid.
"The snaw is whiter nor the milk, And the down is safter nor the silk.
"Hunger is sharper nor a thorn, And shame is louder nor a horn.
"The pies are greener nor the grass, And Clootie's waur nor a woman was."
As sune as she the fiend did name, Jennifer gentle an' rosemaree, He flew awa in a blazing flame, As the dew files ower the mulberry tree.
* * * * *
BALLADS OF TRADITION.
SIR PATRICK SPENS.
The King sits in Dunfermline toun, Drinking the blude-red wine; "O whaur shall I get a skeely skipper, To sail this gude ship of mine?"
Then up an' spake an eldern knight, Sat at the King's right knee; "Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor That ever sailed the sea."
The King has written a braid letter, And seal'd it wi' his hand, And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens Was walking on the sand.
"To Noroway, to Noroway, To Noroway o'er the faem; The King's daughter to Noroway, It's thou maun tak' her hame."
The first line that Sir Patrick read, A loud laugh laughed he, The neist line that Sir Patrick read, The tear blinded his e'e.
"O wha is this hae dune this deed, And tauld the King o' me, To send us out at this time o' the year To sail upon the sea?
"Be it wind or weet, be it hail or sleet, Our ship maun sail the faem, The King's daughter to Noroway, 'Tis we maun tak' her hame."
They hoisted their sails on Monday morn, Wi' a' the speed they may; And they hae landed in Noroway Upon the Wodensday.
They hadna been a week, a week, In Noroway but twae, When that the lords o' Noroway Began aloud to say—
"Ye Scotsmen spend a' our King's gowd, And a' our Queenis fee." "Ye lie, ye lie, ye liars loud, Sae loud's I hear ye lie!
"For I brouct as mickle white monie, As gane my men and me, And a half-fou o' the gude red gold, Out owre the sea wi' me.
"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.
"I saw the new moon late yestreen, Wi' the auld moon in her arm; And I fear, I fear, my master dear, That we sall 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 ropes they 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 whaur will I get a gude sailor Will tak' the helm in hand, Until I win to the tall top-mast, And see if I spy the land?"
"It's here am I, a sailor gude, Will tak' the helm in hand, Till ye win to the tall top-mast, But I fear ye'll ne'er spy land."
He hadna gane a step, a step, A step but barely ane, When a bolt flew out of the gude ship's side, And the saut sea it cam' in.
"Gae, fetch a web of the silken claith, Anither o' the twine, And wap them into the gude ship's side, And let na the sea come in."
They fetched a web o' the silken claith, Anither o' the twine, And they wapp'd them into that gude ship's side, But aye the sea cam' in.
O laith, laith, were our gude Scots lords To weet their cock-heeled shoon, But lang ere a' the play was o'er They wat their hats abune.
O laith, laith were our gude Scots lords To weet their milk-white hands, But lang ere a' the play was played They wat their gouden bands.
O lang, lang may the ladies sit, Wi' their fans into their hand, Or ever they see Sir Patrick Spens Come sailing to the land.
O lang, lang may the maidens sit, Wi' their gowd kaims in their hair, A' waiting for their ain dear loves, For them they'll see nae mair.
Half owre, half owre to Aberdour, It's fifty fathom deep, And there lies gude Sir Patrick Spens, Wi' the Scots lords at his feet.
* * * * *
THE BATTLE OF OTTERBURNE.
It fell about the Lammas tide, When muirmen win their hay, That the doughty Earl of Douglas rade Into England to fetch a prey.
And he has ta'en the Lindsays light, With them the Gordons gay; But the Jardines wad not with him ride, And they rue it to this day.
Then they hae harried the dales o' Tyne, And half o' Bambrough-shire, And the Otter-dale they burned it haill, And set it a' on fire.
Then he cam' up to New Castel, And rade it round about: "O who is the lord of this castel, Or who is the lady o't?"
But up and spake Lord Percy then, And O but he spake hie: "It's I am the lord of this castel, My wife is the lady gay."
"If thou'rt the lord of this castel, Sae weel it pleases me! For ere I cross the Border fell, The tane of us shall dee."—
He took a lang spear in his hand, Shod with the metal free; And forth to meet the Douglas then, He rade richt furiouslie.
But O how pale his lady looked Frae aff the castle wa', As doun 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 shall gae wi' me."
"Now gae up to the Otterburne, And bide there dayis three, And gin I come not ere they end, A fause knight ca' ye me!"
"The Otterburne is a bonnie burn, 'Tis pleasant there to be; But there is nought at Otterburne To feed my men and me.
"The deer rins wild on hill and dale, The birds fly wild frae tree to tree; But there is neither bread nor kale, To fend my men and me.
"Yet I will stay at the Otterburne, 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," Earl Percy said, By the might of our Ladye!" "There will I bide thee," said the Douglas, "My troth I plight to thee!"
They lichted high on Otterburne, Upon the bent sae broun; They lichted high on Otterburne, And pitched their pallions doun.
And he that had a bonnie boy, He sent his horse to grass; And he that had not a bonnie boy, His ain servant he was.
Then up and spake a little boy, Was near of Douglas' kin— "Methinks I see an English host Come branking us upon!
"Nine wargangs beiring braid and wide, Seven banners beiring high; It wad do any living gude, To see their colours fly!"
"If this be true, my little boy, That thou tells unto me, The brawest bower o' the Otterburne Sall be thy morning fee.
"But I hae dreamed a dreary dream, Ayont the Isle o' Skye,— I saw a deid man win a fight, And I think that man was I."
He belted on his gude braid-sword, And to the field he ran; But he forgot the hewmont strong, That should have kept his brain.
When Percy wi' the Douglas met, I wot he was fu' fain: They swakkit swords, and they twa swat, Till the blude ran down like rain.
But Percy wi' his gude braid-sword, That could sae sharply wound, Has wounded Douglas on the brow, That he fell to the ground.
And then he called his little foot-page, And said—"Run speedilie, And fetch my ae dear sister's son, Sir Hugh Montgomerie.
"My nephew gude!" the Douglas said, "What recks the death of ane? Last night I dreamed a dreary dream, And ken the day's thy ain!
"My wound is deep; I fain wad sleep! Tak' thou the vanguard o' the three, And bury me by the bracken bush, That grows on yonder lily lea.
"O bury me by the bracken bush, Beneath the blumin' brier; Let never living mortal ken That a kindly Scot lies here!"
He lifted up that noble lord, Wi' the saut tear in his e'e; And he hid him by the bracken bush, That his merry men might not see.
The moon was clear, the day drew near, The spears in flinders flew; And many a gallant Englishman Ere day the Scotsmen slew.
The Gordons gay, in English blude They wat their hose and shoon; The Lindsays flew like fire about, Till a' the fray was dune.
The Percy and Montgomery met, That either of other was fain; They swakkit swords, and sair they swat, And the blude ran down between.
"Now yield thee, yield thee, Percy!" he said, Or else I will lay thee low!" "To whom maun I yield," Earl Percy said, "Since I see that it maun be so?"
"Thou shalt not yield to lord or loun, Nor yet shalt thou yield to me; But yield thee to the bracken-bush That grows on yonder lily lea!"
This deed was done at the Otterburne About the breaking o' the day; Earl Douglas was buried at the bracken bush, And the Percy led captive away.
* * * * *
THE HUNTING OF THE CHEVIOT.
THE FIRST FIT.
The PersA" owt off Northombarlande, And a vowe to God mayd he, That he wold hunte in the mountayns Off Chyviat within days thre, In the mauger of doughtA" Dogles, And all that ever with him be.
The fattiste hartes in all Cheviat He sayd he wold kill, and cary them away: "Be my feth," sayd the dougheti Doglas agayn, "I wyll let that hontyng, yf that I may."
Then the PersA" owt of Banborowe cam, With him a myghtye meany; With fifteen hondrith archares bold; The wear chosen owt of shyars thre.
This begane on a monday at morn, In Cheviat the hillys so he; The chyld may rue that ys un-born, It was the mor pittA".
The dryvars thorowe the woodA"s went, For to reas the dear; Bomen byckarte uppone the bent With ther browd aras cleare.
Then the wyld thorowe the woodA"s went, On every sydA" shear; Grea-hondes thorowe the grevis glent, For to kyll thear dear.
The begane in Chyviat the hyls above, Yerly on a monnynday; Be that it drewe to the oware off none, A hondrith fat hartes ded ther lay.
The blewe a mort uppone the bent, The semblyd on sydis shear; To the quyrry then the PersA" went To se the bryttlynge off the deare.
He sayd, "It was the Duglas promys This day to meet me hear; But I wyste he wold faylle, verament:" A gret oth the PersA" swear.
At the laste a squyar of Northombelonde Lokyde at his hand full ny; He was war ath the doughetie Doglas comynge, With him a myghtA" meany;
Both with spear, byll, and brande; Yt was a myghti sight to se; Hardyar men both off hart nar hande Wear not in ChristiantA".
The wear twenty hondrith spear-men good, WithowtA" any fayle; The wear borne along be the watter a Twyde, Yth bowndes of Tividale.
"Leave off the brytlyng of the dear," he sayde, "And to your bowys lock ye tayk good heed; For never sithe ye wear on your mothars borne Had ye never so mickle need."
The dougheti Dogglas on a stede He rode aft his men beforne; His armor glytteryde as dyd a glede; A bolder barne was never born.
"Tell me what men ye ar," he says, "Or whos men that ye be: Who gave youe leave to hunte in this Chyviat chays, In the spyt of me?"
The first mane that ever him an answear mayd, Yt was the good lord PersA": We wyll not tell the what men we ar," he says, "Nor whos men that we be; But we wyll hount hear in this chays, In the spyt of thyne and of the.
"The fattiste hartes in all Chyviat We have kyld, and cast to carry them a-way: "Be my troth," sayd the doughtA" Dogglas agayn, "Ther-for the ton of us shall de this day."
Then sayd the doughtA" Doglas Unto the lord PersA": "To kyll all thes giltles men, Alas, it were great pitte!
"But, PersA", thowe art a lord of lande, I am a yerle callyd within my contrA"; Let all our men uppone a parti stande, And do the battell off the and of me."
"Nowe Cristes cors on his crowne," sayd the lord PersA", "Whosoever ther-to says nay; Be my troth, doughtA" Doglas," he says, "Thow shalt never se that day.
"Nethar in Ynglonde, Skottlonde, nar France, Nor for no man of a woman born, But, and fortune be my chance, I dar met him, on man for on."
Then bespayke a squyar off Northombarlonde, Richard Wytharynton was him nam; "It shall never be told in Sothe-Ynglonde," he says, "To kyng Herry the fourth for sham.
"I wat youe byn great lordes twaw, I am a poor squyar of lande; I wyll never se my captayne fyght on a fylde, And stande myselffe, and looke on, But whyll I may my weppone welde, I wyll not ffayll both hart and hande."
That day, that day, that dredfull day! The first fit here I fynde; And youe wyll here any mor a' the hountyng a' the Chyviat, Yet ys ther mor behynd.
THE SECOND FIT.
The Yngglyshe men hade ther bowys yebent, Ther hartes were good yenoughe; The first off arros that the shote off, Seven skore spear-men the sloughe.
Yet byddys the yerle Doglas uppon the bent, A captayne good yenoughe, And that was sene verament, For he wrought hom both woo and wouche.
The Dogglas pertyd his ost in thre, Lyk a cheffe cheften off pryde, With suar speares off myghttA" tre, The cum in on every syde:
Thrughe our Yngglishe archery Gave many a wounde full wyde; Many a doughete the garde to dy, Which ganyde them no pryde.
The Yngglyshe men let thear bowys be, And pulde owt brandes that wer bright; It was a hevy syght to se Bryght swordes on basnites lyght.
Throrowe ryche male and myneyeple, Many sterne the stroke downe streght; Many a freyke, that was full fre, Ther undar foot dyd lyght.
At last the Duglas and the PersA" met, Lyk to captayns of myght and of mayne; The swapte togethar tyll the both swat, With swordes that wear of fyn myllA n,
Thes worthA" freckys for to fyght, Ther-to the wear full fayne, Tyll the bloode owte off thear basnetes sprente, As ever dyd heal or rayne.
"Holde the, PersA"," sayd the Doglas, "And i' feth I shall the brynge Wher thowe shalte have a yerls wagis Of Jamy our Scottish kynge.
"Thoue shalte have thy ranson fre, I hight the hear this thinge, For the manfullyste man yet art thowe, That ever I conqueryd in filde fightyng."
"Nay," sayd the lord PersA", "I tolde it the beforne, That I wolde never yeldyde be To no man of woman born."
With that ther cam an arrowe hastely Forthe off a myghtte wane; Hit hathe strekene the yerle Duglas In at the brest bane.
Thoroue lyvar and longs bathe The sharp arrowe ys gane, That never after in all his lyffe-days, He spayke mo wordes but ane: That was, "Fyghte ye, my merry men, whyllys ye may, For my lyff-days ben gan."
The PersA" leanyde on his brande, And sawe the Duglas de; He tooke the dede man be the hande, And sayd, "Wo ys me for the!
"To have savyde thy lyffe I wolde have pertyde with My landes for years thre, For a better man, of hart nare of hande, Was not in all the north contrA"."
Off all that se a Skottishe knyght, Was callyd Sir Hewe the Mongonbyrry; He sawe the Duglas to the deth was dyght, He spendyd a spear, a trust! tre:—
He rod uppon a corsiare Throughe a hondrith archery: He never styntyde, nar never blane, Tyll he cam to the good lord PersA".
He set uppone the lord PersA" A dynte that was full soare; With a suar spear of a myghttA" tre Clean thorow the body he the PersA" bore,
A' the tother syde that a man myght se A large cloth yard and mare: Towe bettar captayns wear nat in ChristiantA", Then that day slain wear ther.
An archar off Northomberlonde Say slean was the lord PersA"; He bar a bende-bowe in his hande, Was made off trusti tre.
An arow, that a cloth yarde was lang, To th' hard stele halyde he; A dynt that was both sad and soar, He sat on Sir Hewe the Mongonbyrry.
The dynt yt was both sad and sar, That he on Mongonberry sete; The swane-fethars, that his arrowe bar, With his hart-blood the wear wete.
Ther was never a freake wone foot wolde fle, But still in stour dyd stand, Heawyng on yche othar, whyll the myght dre, With many a balful brande.
This battell begane in Chyviat An owar befor the none, And when even-song bell was rang, The battell was nat half done.
The tooke on ethar hand Be the lyght off the mone; Many hade no strenght for to stande, In Chyviat the hillys aboun.
Of fifteen hondrith archars of Yonglonde Went away but fifti and thre; Of twenty hondrith spear-men of Skotlonde, But even five and fifti:
But all wear slayne Cheviat within; The hade no strengthe to stand on hie; The chylde may rue that ys unborne, It was the mor pittA".
Thear was slayne with the lord PersA" Sir John of Agerstone, Sir Rogar the hinde Hartly, Sir Wyllyam the bolde Hearone.
Sir Jorg the worthA" Lovele, A knyght of great renowen, Sir Raff the ryche RugbA", With dyntes wear beaten dowene.
For Wetharryngton my harte was wo, That ever he slayne shulde be; For when both his leggis wear hewyne in to, Yet he knyled and fought on hys kne.
Ther was slayne with the dougheti Douglas, Sir Hewe the Mongonbyrry, Sir Davye Lwdale, that worthA" was, His sistars son was he:
His Charls a MurrA" in that place, That never a foot wolde fle; Sir Hewe Maxwell, a lorde he was, With the Duglas dyd he dey.
So on the morrowe the mayde them byears Off birch and hasell so gray; Many wedous with wepyng tears Cam to fach ther makys away.
Tivydale may carpe off care, Northombarlond may mayk grat mon, For towe such captayns as slayne wear thear, On the march perti shall never be non.
Word ys commen to Eddenburrowe, To Jamy the Skottishe kyng, That dougheti Duglas, lyff-tenant of the Merches, He lay slean Chyviot with-in.
His handdes dyd he weal and wryng, He sayd, "Alas, and woe ys me! "Such an othar captayn Skotland within," He sayd, "y-feth shall never be."
Worde ys commyn to lovly Londone, Till the fourth Harry our kyng, That lord PersA", lyffe-tennante of the Merchis, He lay slayne Chyviat within.
"God have merci on his soil," sayd kyng Harry, "Good lord, yf thy will it be! I have a hondrith captayns in Ynglonde," he sayd, "As good as ever was hee: But PersA", and I brook my lyffe, Thy deth well quyte shall be."
As our noble kyng mayd his a-vowe, Lyke a noble prince of renowen, For the deth of the lord PersA" He dyde the battell of Hombyll-down:
Wher syx and thrittA" Skottishe knyghtes On a day wear beaten down; Glendale glytteryde on ther armor bryght, Over castill, towar, and town.
This was the Hontynge off the Cheviat; That tear begane this spurn: Old men that knowen the grownde well yenoughe, Call it the Battell of Otterburn.
At Otterburn began this spurne Uppon a monnynday: Ther was the dougghtA" Doglas slean, The PersA" never went away.
Ther was never a tym on the March partes Sen the Doglas and the PersA" met, But yt was marvele, and the redde blude ronne not, As the reane doys in the stret.
Jhesue Christ our balys bete, And to the blys us brynge! Thus was the Hountynge of the Chevyat: God send us all good endyng.
* * * * *
EDOM O' GORDON.
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.
"And whatna hauld sall we draw to, My merry men and me? We will gae to the house o' the Rodes, To see that fair ladie."
The ladie stude on her castle wa', Beheld baith dale and down, There she was ware of a host of men Were riding towards the town.
"O see ye not, my merry men a', O see ye not what I see? Methinks I see a host of men— I marvel what they be."
She ween'd it had been ner ain dear lord As he cam' riding hame; It was the traitor, Edom o' Gordon, Wha recked nor sin nor shame.
She had nae suner buskit hersell, Nor putten on her goun, Till Edom o' Gordon and his men Were round about the toun.