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Full text of "Old ballads"



ra (EoIIege 




FROM THE LIBRARY OF 

L. E. HORNING, B.A., Ph.D. 
(1858-1925) 

PROFESSOR OF TEUTONIC 
PHILOLOGY 

VICTORIA COLLEGE 



Pitt Press Series 



OLD BALLADS 



CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS WAREHOUSE, 
C. F. CLAY, MANAGER. 

Hoirtrott: FETTER LANE, E.G. 
100, PRINCES STREET. 




F. A. BROCKHAUS. 
#eto lorfe: G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS. 
ISombag anU Calcutta: MACMILLAN AND CO., LTD. 



[All Eights reseived.~\ 



OLD BALLADS 



Edited by 
FRANK SIDGWICK 

Editor of "Ballads and Poems illustrating English History,' 
" Popular Ballads of the Olden Time," etc. 



CAMBRIDGE : 

at the University Press 

1908 



ma 



CTainbritrgr: 

PRINTED BY JOHN CLAY, M.A. 
AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS. 



PREFACE 

NOTHING is more difficult in preparing a book of 
this kind than the selection of a title. In the 
present case the title is the simplest possible; but it 
needs a word of explanation. A companion volume, 
published last year, included certain of the popular 
ballads which deal with historical events ; the present 
volume almost exhausts the rest of our national stock 
of ballads, in so far as they can be conscientiously 
adapted to school purposes. Many of the best have of 
necessity been omitted, for one reason or another ; but 
enough good material is here, it is hoped, to stimulate 
interest in a form of literature which is only now be- 
ginning to be utilised for educational purposes. With 
such an object in view, an editor of popular ballads 
must be allowed powers of deletion and alteration 
which in a scientific work would be reprehensible, and 
I have therefore freely revised the texts; but I have 
not gone so far as to alter popular assonances into 
rhymes, nor have I changed the peculiarities of Scottish 
orthography, as the language is a vital part of these 
ballads. It would be impossible, for instance, to trans- 
late into equally effective English the last two lines of 
The Two, Corbies. In compensation, I have modernised 
four or five excellent long ballads from their seven- 
teenth-century spelling in the Percy Folio MS. e.g. 
The Lord of Learne, The Heir of Linne, Will Stewart 
and John, and Thomas o' Pott, the two latter, I 
believe, for the first time. 



VI PREFACE 

The Introduction is an attempt to put before pupils 
in simple language an explanation of the fundamental 
difference between popular literature and the other 
kind. The teacher will easily be able to enlarge on 
the subject by suggesting parallels, from Homer to 
nursery rhymes. As to the ballads themselves, they 
are above all things intended to be learnt by heart; 
and I suggest that their strong dramatic qualities 
enable them to be recited in dramatic form, with 
narrator or spokesman, and a number of characters 
according to the personae of each ballad. Some of the 
longer ones have been divided into parts; or, rather, 
I have indicated a few points here and there at which 
the ballad-dramatist drops his curtain with the phrase 
" Let us now leave talking " of so-and-so, and raises it 
again with " Let us talk more " of some one else. 

Not too much stress has been laid in the Notes on 
comparisons with ballads and tales in other languages ; 
it is better for the pupil himself to evolve parallels 
from his own reading of so-called "fairy-tales," folk- 
tales or Marchen. Selections from Grimm or Perrault, 
and Dasent's Tales from the Norse, might well be read 
simultaneously with these ballads, in order to stimulate 
curiosity and research in this direction. 

The textual notes are for the most part simply 
explanatory, and as a rule philology goes no further 
than a hint at derivatives still in common use. 



F. S. 
May, 1908. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

INTRODUCTION 1 

OLD BALLADS 13 

The Lord of Learne ..... 13 

Young Bekie 28 

The Twa Sisters of Binnorie ... 34 

King Estmere 38 

The Heir of Liniie 48 

Barbara Allan 53 

Lord Randal 54 

Fair Annie of Bough Boyal ... 55 

The Gay Goshawk ..... 60 

Thomas Bymer 64 

Edward 66 

The Twa Corbies 68 

The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington . . 69 

Young Benjie 71 

The Lyke-Wake Dirge .... 75 

The Demon Lover 76 

Fair Helen of Kirconnell . . . 78 

The Bonny Earl of Murray . . . 79 

Bonnie George Campbell .... 80 

.The Twa Brothers 81 



Vlii CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Fair Annie 83 

The Cruel Brother 87 

Young Waters 90 

Brown Adam 92 

King Edward and the Tanner of Tamworth . 94 

Will Stewart and John 101 

Bewick and Grahame 114 

Dick o' the Cow 122 

John o' the Side 131 

Sir Hugh in the Grime 137 

The Braes of Yarrow 139 

Sir Patrick Spence 142 

The Gardener 144 

Thomas o' Pott 145 



NOTES 



161 



INTRODUCTION. 

BEFORE beginning to read the ballads contained in 
this book, it is necessary to understand quite clearly 
what a ballad in the strict sense of the word is ; because 
the name has been applied, in one spelling or another, 
to many different things. 

' Derivation of the word Ballad. It is derived from 
a late Latin word ballare, to dance ; and it will be very 
important to remember this original meaning. Thence 
the Latin ballatio, and its derivatives balada in Pro- 
ven9al, and balade in early French, mean 'a song 
intended as the accompaniment to a dance/ Then it 
came to mean simply a song ; and to the Elizabethans 
ballates, ballades, etc., merely signified any simple 
sentimental or romantic song of the day, set to a tune 
regularly repeated for each verse. Moreover the name 
was applied to other forms of composition; what we 
call the ' Song of Songs ' was called the ' Ballet of 
Ballets of Solomon' in the Bishops' Bible of 1568; and 
above all, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, 
a ballad or ballet meant a popular topical song, sung 
in simple metre to a well-known tune, celebrating or 
attacking some famous or notorious person. The idea 
of song in the word ballad remained current till late in 
s. 1 



2 INTRODUCTION 

the eighteenth century, and it was so used by such 
writers as Addison and Johnson. At the same time, 
however, the modern use of the word was beginning to 
come into existence; but it was usually necessary to 
qualify it with the adjective ' old/ ' The old ballads/ 
then, meant a number of songs, short, lively, written in 
verses usually of four lines each and in a simple metre, 
sung to popular tunes, and narrating a popular story. 
Many such songs it was the custom to publish as 
'broadsides 7 single sheets of paper with the verses 
printed only on one side, so that they could be used 
(as they often were) for pasting on the walls of rooms 
or houses. These broadsides were sold in the streets 
and in country towns and villages by professional 
singers and pedlars, who were accustomed first to 
advertise their ballads by singing them, and then to 
sell them for a penny per copy to the crowd they had 
attracted. But the term 'old ballads' today is not 
sufficient for students of literature, because it would 
imply the inclusion of all sorts of songs which at one 
time or another have been generally alluded to as 
1 ballads'; and therefore it is now customary to call 
them 'popular ballads' or 'traditional ballads/ So 
much for the history of the word. It is now necessary 
to learn exactly what is meant by a 'popular' or 
' traditional ' ballad. 

Traditional Literature. A baby learns a certain 
amount before it is able to read. As soon as it can 
talk, it reproduces words and phrases which it has 
heard spoken by others; and a little later stories are 
told to it from memory or are read to it out of a book. 
In other words, before the child acquires the power of 
reading for itself, its knowledge of language and its 




INTRODUCTION o 

acquaintance with literature are obtained by 'oral 
tradition 7 that is, by having those words, phrases, 
stories, etc., handed on by word of mouth. Of the two 
physical methods of transmitting language speaking 
and writing the child avails itself first of the oral 
method. 

Now it is broadly true to say that the growth of 
the mind of a child resembles the growth of the mind 
of a people or nation. Those who are unable to read 
have the compensation of learning by heart, often 
more easily than those who can read ; and this is true 
not only of primitive people in days before books were 
common, or before books existed at all, but also of 
illiterate people, such as are still to be found in many 
an English village. These people may be called ' un- 
lettered/ but they cannot be called ignorant; and if 
they possess knowledge and yet cannot read, whence 
and how has their knowledge come ? Obviously from 
other people, by ' oral tradition ' as in the case of the 
child. 

The word * Popular.' We have been speaking of 
the ' people ' above, both those who are ' primitive ' in 
history and those who are 'primitive' in their know- 
ledge. A moment's thought will show that the English 
adjective 'popular' is derived from the Latin populus, 
people ; and its true meaning is ' that which belongs 
to, or appeals to, the people ' ; the derivation thence of 
its modern sense of 'that which is a favourite with 
every one' can easily be followed. Nowadays, when 
one speaks of a ' popular person,' one is understood to 
mean a person who is everybody's hero and favourite, 
and a 'popular song' is the song which every one 
knows. But in speaking here of the ' popular ballad,' 

12 



4 INTRODUCTION 

the older meaning must be applied we mean 'the 
ballads that belong to the people/ 

Popular or Traditional Ballads. We can now 
translate this expression as follows : ' Simple narrative 
songs that belong to the people and are handed on by 
word of mouth.' But this definition demands further 
explanation. 

In the first place, how can a song be said to 'belong 
to the people ' ? To understand this, we must go back 
in imagination to very early times, not forgetting that 
the word ballad contains the idea of dancing. 

When people are gathered together to perform 
some labour, especially any piece of work where all 
must move together for example, rowers at the oars 
of a galley, fishermen hauling in their nets, sailors 
round the capstan-bars, men reaping corn, women 
weaving at the loom or even spinning it is natural 
and essentially human to accompany such rhythmic 
motions with the voice. When a mariner hauls on a 
rope, he says ' Heave-ho ! ' When one is in a swing, 
one is inclined to sing in time to the movement of 
the body. This innate desire, that the voice should 
accompany the moving limbs rhythmically, has always 
existed in the human race; and mankind gave vent 
to it in the earliest days, transferring to festivals 
originally forms of worship derived from daily occu- 
pations the song which accompanied those motions; 
hence came festal dance and song, intimately con- 
nected. 

This is the beginning of rhythm,, which is the 
parent of verse. Imagine a festival taking place in 
the childhood of the world ; some community or clan 
are singing and dancing together joyously. Of what 



INTRODUCTION 5 

are they to sing? We may suppose something has 
happened in their clan one of their number, let us 
say, has slain a man belonging to another clan. They 
make up a song, narrating this event ; some one speaks 
a line, another adds a second line, another a third, and 
so on. When they have had enough of it, it stops. 
Who is the author ? Every one who has helped ; the 
song is made, not by one poet, but by the people; and 
the song ' belongs to the people/ and it is a 'simple 
narrative/ 

The song has been made, but it is not yet f tradi- 
tional/ We must next suppose that the result is 
satisfactory; those who have made it and those who 
have heard it carry it in their memories. At the next 
festival, or on any occasion which chances to recall it, 
one of the clan begins to recite or sing the song again. 
Is it likely that he should remember it exactly as it 
was sung first? Enquiry would no doubt show that 
most of those, who were present when it was made, 
recollect different versions of the song ; the main facts 
of the story will be there in all versions, but neverthe- 
less there will be differences between the song as 
remembered by one man and as remembered by 
another. And suppose there are ten different versions 
of the same song current in one generation, how many 
might there not be in the course of years? Against 
this chance of variation, it is true, we must set the fact 
that primitive memories are as a rule good and exact ; 
but they are not in practice good enough to transmit 
traditional verse without variations. 

Thus the popular ballad is born, and thus by oral 
tradition it is distributed in ever-widening circles and 
in numerous forms over an unlimited area. Remember- 




6 INTRODUCTION 

ing our original supposition, that the birth of s 
ballads and popular stories took place in prehistoric 
times, we shall be able to understand more easily why 
it is that one can find ballads and folk-tales telling the 
same story in many different languages. Nearly all 
the ballads in this book exist in other languages; 
G-erman, French, and especially Scandinavian, Nor- 
wegian, Swedish, and Danish. And we must not jump 
to the conclusion that therefore one of our ballads 
must be a translation of a ballad which happens to 
tell the same story in another language ; it is doubtless 
nearer the truth to suppose that the ballad existed 
before the languages separated one from another. 

Subject-matter of Traditional Ballads. It is now 
obvious that any piece of history treated as a ballad 
stands a great chance of being corrupted by tradition 1 
until it can scarcely be recognised for history at all ; 
so that we find the earliest ballads to be those which 
are not historical; rather they narrate or illustrate 
phases of early civilisation. We might say they begin 
with mere jests and riddles; then, romantic tales are 
grafted thereon, success in winning a husband or a 
wife being made to depend on guessing or answering 
such riddles. This leads us to ballads of kinship 
and pure romance; next, ballads of superstition 
miraculous transformations, witches, ghosts, fairies and 
other supernatural agencies. Legendary ballads are 
made out of popular tales from the classics or from 
sacred tradition, and some ballads (cf . Thomas Rymer) 
appear to have been fashioned about the fifteenth 
century out of the verse romances. As might be 

1 See my Ballads and Poems illustrating English History, Pitt 
Press Series, 1907. 



INTRODUCTION 7 

expected, some of the latest ballads are those com- 
posed about historical events so comparatively recent 
that we can apply to them the test of independent 
records ; but even these we must admit as ' traditional ? 
on the strength of the fact that we find them existing 
in the mouths of the people in more or less varying 
versions. 

The End of Traditional Ballads. ' Tradition dies 
hard'; that is to say, it takes a long time for the 
human race to forget traditional legends entirely. Con- 
sider for a moment how much the memories of men 
have been affected by the invention of printing in five 
hundred years; and balance against that consideration 
this other that the mere fact of a piece of tradition, 
story or verse, being printed, preserves it from entire 
oblivion. Here is the dilemma ; if you record in black 
and white such a tradition (hitherto handed down 
orally), you presumably prevent it from disappearing 
altogether but the mere fact that you do so record 
it renders the chance of its still continuing in oral 
tradition very small, because there is no use in tasking 
the mind to remember things which are on record and 
can therefore be re-learnt when necessary. 

Traditional ballads, then, may be said to have 
begun to perish as soon as they began to be written 
down or printed. On the other hand, it is being proved 
today that even in twentieth-century England it is still 
possible to find old villagers, people of the humblest 
and most illiterate class, who can sing certain old 
English ballads, having learnt them orally from their 
parents, who learnt them from theirs. Quite recently 
a ballad has been taken down, from the singing of 
Lincolnshire peasants, which narrates an event known 




8 INTRODUCTION 

to have taken place in the fifteenth century; 
ballad has survived in the memories of an illiterate 
class, without being written down, for four hundred 
years ! 

Methods of Corruption. Traditional literature, of 
course, is far more liable to alteration and corruption 
than written or printed literature. In the following 
ballads many instances will be found, where something 
has obviously gone wrong; and while sometimes it 
is easy to put it right, it is just as often impossible to 
guess what the ballad originally said. Certain words, 
for example, fall out of use, and their meaning is for- 
gotten; what do the ballad-singers do? In one case 
they will retain the word without understanding it 
and this often leads to mis-pronunciation or alteration 
into a similar sound; in another case they will sub- 
stitute for the old word the new word which has come 
into use and this often means something more or less 
different. The schoolboy who had been told that the 
Equator was 'an imaginary line running round the 
earth' did not know what 'an imaginary line' was, 
but he remembered the sound of the words; and 
thus, when asked what the Equator was, replied, 
'A menagerie lion running round the earth.' This 
illustrates one method of corruption in oral tradition, 
and in studying popular ballads we must always be 
prepared to find such corruptions. 

Characteristics of Popular Ballads. It will be 
convenient to note a few of the most prominent 
features of popular ballads those which help to dis- 
tinguish them from other kinds of verse. 

In the first place the ballad is a narrative; it sets 
out to tell a story, and it tells it, by hook or by crook, 



INTRODUCTION 9 

as shortly and economically as it can. Read the first 
lines of a number of ballads, and you will see that they 
waste no time in getting to business. As it starts with- 
out preface, so it ends without epilogue; the story is 
seldom finished before the last verse. We shall see 
that this feature can occasionally be made a test of the 
genuineness of a ballad ; where we find (say) a couple 
of verses, drawing a moral at the end of a ballad, we 
must suspect them of being an addition. 

A ballad, economical of words as it is, often repeats 
itself sometimes a line, sometimes a verse, sometimes 
a series of verses. Especially characteristic is what 
is called ' incremental repetition'; that is, repetition 
where some new feature is added each time. 

Again, ballads have acquired a kind of vocabulary 
and phraseology of their own, and are full of conven- 
tional expressions or ' commonplaces/ A few examples 
will suffice. The ballad-town is f Linne ' ; Linne some- 
times has a mayor; the mayor has a daughter fair; 
and she has ' twa marys ' or two maids, ' to keep her 
from thinking lang' (that is, from thinking the time 
long, in days when two maids diverted you with their 
conversation) ; if she wishes to send a message, there 
was sure to be a 'bonny boy/ or a c kitchen boy/ at 
hand 'to run her errand soon'; if she finds it necessary 
to stab herself or some other person, she always has a 
' wee penknife' which 'hangs low down by her gair' 
(that is, by the 'gair' or gore of her skirt, the gore 
being the cloth cut to fit the side of the skirt). When 
a man approaches a house, if there is no 'proud 
porter' to be bribed 'with gold and fee/ the visitor 
has to 'tirl at the pin' (rattle the latch). Boys who 
go errands ' slack their shoes and run/ and when they 



10 INTRODUCTION 

come to a river (usually the bridge is broken), th< 
'bend their bows and swim/ 

These are only a few of the most frequent c coi 
monplaces' in ballads, but plenty of others equally 
picturesque and naive will be found. 

A conventional omission, also very common, 
that of the speaker's name; a ballad will suddenly 
plunge into conversation without telling you who is 
supposed to be speaking. This, of course, is a natural 
consequence of the singing or recitation of ballads, for 
the narrator's voice can easily show the change of 
speaker dramatically; but it is not always easy or 
even possible to guess the speaker when reading a 
ballad for the first time. 

These various characteristics will be found to 
pointed out in the Notes as they occur. 

Sources of the Texts. We must now say some- 
thing as to the sources whence we get the texts of our 
ballads. Firstly, there are printed sources beginning 
with the 'broadsides' mentioned above; but these do 
not as a rule go back much before the seventeenth 
century, and even then they were usually re- written in 
a poor style for the broadside press. The printing of 
collections of ballads did not begin until more than a 
century later; but in 1765 came the first really im- 
portant work on the subject. 

This was called Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, 
collected by Thomas Percy, afterwards Bishop of 
Dromore; and in addition to the extraordinary effect 
the book produced at the time, ' Percy's Reliques ' has 
remained popular ever since. Ballads had at no time 
lacked a champion; but towards the end of the 
eighteenth century English poetry had become highly 



INTRODUCTION 11 

artificial, and the Reliques may be said to have been 
the first step in the direction of assisting it back to 
simpler forms. The book strongly influenced Sir Walter 
Scott who at the age of thirteen forgot his dinner, so 
entranced was he with his first perusal of the Reliques 
Wordsworth, and Coleridge, all of whom played im- 
portant parts subsequently in the revival of a simple 
and natural style of poetry. 

But it is interesting to observe that Percy found it 
necessary to apologise for the roughnesses and crudities 
of the ballads, and not only to re- write and ' correct ' 
these, ' the more obsolete poems/ but also to add ' little 
elegant pieces ' of Elizabethan verse, for instance in 
order to make the Reliques acceptable. His ballads 
were printed from many sources ; he copied some from 
collections of broadsides, and some were sent him, 
written down from tradition. But he possessed another 
and most valuable source of ballad-texts. This leads 
us to the manuscript sources. 

In the first half of the seventeenth century, a man 
(who is thought to have been a Lancashire man, from 
his dialect and spelling) wrote down in a tall narrow 
manuscript book a very large number of traditional 
ballads, romances, and poems. We must recollect that 
at this date roughly 1650 this man would probably 
be regarded as eccentric, for caring at all about old 
poetry ; England was still full of glorious new poetry. 
His manuscript does indeed contain a few songs of his 
own day, but far the greater portion consists of old and 
traditional verse. We do not know whence he got 
it, but it was most probably written down from the 
recitations of people who knew the poems by heart. 

About a hundred years later, this manuscript 



12 INTRODUCTION 

volume belonged to a gentleman at whose house the 
young Thomas Percy used to visit; the gentleman 
did not value the book, and his servants used to light 
fires with pages torn from it. Percy was already 
interested in old poetry, and begged it from his friend. 
Afterwards he used it to help him in making the 
Reliques, though he altered its texts freely, and even 
tore some pages out (including King Estmere) to send 
to the printer of the Reliques. These pages have of 
course disappeared, and we shall never know what was 
written on them, or how much Percy altered their 
contents to print in his book. But the manuscript, 
torn and incomplete as it is, still remains one of the 
ballad-collector's most valuable documents. After long 
concealment in private hands, it is now safe in the 
British Museum, where it can be seen any day ex- 
hibited in a case in the King's Library. Such is 
Percy's 'Folio Manuscript.' 

There are also other valuable manuscripts made by 
collectors of ballads from tradition, chiefly Scottish; 
but everything that is of value in these, as well as the 
whole of the * Percy Folio,' has now been printed, and 
ballad-students who wish to find new texts must now 
either ransack old books and manuscripts in the hopes 
of finding something hitherto overlooked, or must go, 
as they still may go with reasonable hope of success, 
to the ultimate sources of all popular ballads, the 
mouths and memories of the people. 



OLD BALLADS 

THE LORD OF LEARNE 

[PART I] 

It was the worthy lord of Learne, 

He was a lord of a high degree; 
He had no more children but one son, 

He set him to school to learn courtesy. 

Learning did so proceed with that child 

I tell you all in verity- 
He learned more upon one day 

Than other children did on three. 

And then bespake the school-master, 

Unto the lord of Learne said he, 10 

"I think thou be some stranger born, 
For the Holy Grhost remains with thee." 

He said, "I am no stranger born, 

Forsooth, master, I tell it to thee, 
It is a gift of Almighty God 

Which He hath given unto me." 

The school-master turn'd him round about, 
His angry mind he thought to assuage, 

For the child could answer him so quickly, 
And was of so tender year of age. 20 



OLD BALLADS 

The child, he caused a steed to be brought, 

A golden bridle done him upon ; 
He took his leave of his schoolfellows, 

And home the child that he is gone. 

And when he came before his father, 

He fell low down upon his knee, 
"My blessing, father, I would ask, 

If Christ would grant you would give it me. 

"Now God thee bless, my son and my heir, 
His servant in heaven that thou may be ! 30 

What tidings hast thou brought me, child, 
Thou art comen home so soon to me?" 

" Good tidings, father, I have you brought, 

Good tidings I hope it is to me; 
The book is not in all Scotland, 

But I can read it before your eye." 

A joyed man his father was, 

Even the worthy lord of Learne; 
"Thou shalt go into France, my child, 

The speeches of all strange lands to learn." 40 

But then bespake the child his mother 
The lady of Learne and then was she 

Says, " Who must be his well-good guide, 
When he goes into that strange country ? " 

And then bespake that bonny child 

Until his father tenderly, 
Says, "Father, I'll have the hend steward, 

For he hath been true to you and me." 



THE LORD OF LEAKNE 15 

The lady to counsel the steward did. take, 

And counted down a hundred pounds there, 50 

Says, " Steward, be true to my son and my heir, 
And I will give thee mickle mere." 

"If I be not true to my master," he said, 

" Christ himself be not true to me ! 
If I be not true to my lord and master, 

An ill death that I may die ! " 

The lord of Learne did apparel his child 
With brooch, and ring, and many a thing; 

The apparel he had his body upon, 

They say was worth a squire's living. 60 

The parting of the young lord of Learne 

With his father, his mother, his fellows dear, 

Would have made a man's heart for to change, 
If a Jew born that he were. 

The wind did serve, and they did sail 

Over the sea into France land: 
He used the child so hardly, 

He would let him have never a penny to spend. 

And meat he would let the child have none, 

Nor money to buy none truly; 70 

The boy was hungry and thirsty both ; 
Alas ! it was the moe pity. 

He laid him down to drink the water 
That was so low beneath the brim ; 

He was wont to have drunk both ale and wine, 
Then was fain of the water so thin. 



16 OLD BALLADS 






And as he was drinking of the water 

That ran so low beneath the brim, 
So ready was the false steward 

To drown the bonny boy therein. 80 

" Have mercy on me, worthy steward ! 

My life," he said, "lend it to me! 
And all that I am heir upon," 

Says, "I will give unto thee." 

Mercy to him the steward did take, 
And pulFd the child out of the brim; 

Ever alack ! the more pity, 

He took his clothes even from him. 

Says, " Do thou me off that velvet gown, 

The crimson hose beneath thy knee, 90 

And do me off thy cordivant shooii 
Are buckled with the gold so free. 

"Do thou me oif thy satin doublet, 

Thy shirtband wrought with glistering gold, 

And do ;me off thy golden chain 
About thy neck so many a fold. 

"Do thou me off thy velvet hat 

With feather in that is so fine, 
All unto thy silken shirt 

That 's wrought with many a golden seam." 100 

The child before him naked stood, 

With skin as white as lily flower; 
For his worthy lord's beauty 

He might have been a lady's paramour. 



THE LOUD OF LEARNE 17 

He put upon him a leather coat, 

And breeches of the same beneath the knee, 
And sent that bonny child him fro, 

Service for to crave, truly. 

He pulled then forth a naked sword 

That hanged full low then by his side, no 

" Turn thy name, thou villain/' he said, 

"Or else this sword shall be thy guide." 

" What must be my name, worthy steward ? 

I pray thee now tell it me." 
"Thy name shall be poor Disaware, 

To tend sheep on a lonely lea." 

The bonny child, he went him fro, 

And looked to himself truly, 
Saw his apparel so simple upon; 

Lord! he weeped tenderly. 120 

Unto a shepherd's house that child did go, 
And said, " Sir, God you save and see ! 

Do you not want a servant boy 

To tend your sheep on a lonely lea?" 

" Where was thou bgrn ? " the shepherd said, 
" Where, my boy, or in what country ? " 

" Sir," he said, " I was born in fair Scotland 
That is so far beyond the sea." 

"I have no child," the shepherd said, 

" My boy, thou'st tarry and dwell with me ; 130 
My living," he said, "and all my goods, 

I'll make thee heir of after me." 

8. 2 



18 OLD BALLADS 

And then bespake the shepherd's wife, 
To the lord of Learne thus did she say, 

"Go thy way to our sheep/' she said, 

"And tend them well both night and day.' 

It was a sore office, Lord, for him 

That was a lord born of a great degree! 

As he was tending his sheep alone, 

Neither sport nor play could he. 140 

[PART u] 

Let us leave talking of the lord of Learne, 

And let all such talking go; 
Let us talk more of the false steward 

That caused the child all this woe. 

He sold this lord of Learne his clothes 
For five hundred pounds to his pay there, 

And bought himself a suit of apparel, 
Might well beseem a lord to wear. 

When he that gorgeous apparel bought 

That did so finely his body upon, 150 

He laughed the bonny child to scorn 
That was the bonny lord of Learne. 

He laughed that bonny boy .to scorn ; 

Lord ! pity it was to hear ! 
I have heard them say, and so have you too, 

That a man may buy gold too dear. 

When that he had all that gorgeous apparel 

That did so finely his body upon, 
He went a wooing to the duke's daughter of France, 

And called himself the lord of Learne. 160 



THE LORD OF LEARNE 19 

The duke of France heard tell of this; 

To his place that worthy lord was come truly; 
He entertained him with a quart of red Rhenish wine, 

Says, " Lord of Learne, thou art welcome to me ! " 

Then to supper that they were set, 

Lords and ladies in their degree; 
The steward was set next the duke of France; 

An unseemly sight it was to see. 

Then bespake the duke of France, 

Unto the lord of Learne said he there, 170 

Says, " Lord of Learne, if thou '11 marry my daughter, 

I '11 mend thy living five hundred pounds a year." 

Then bespake that lady fair, 

Answered her father so alone, 
That she would be his married wife 

If he would make her lady of Learne. 

Then hand in hand the steward her he took, 
And plight that lady his troth alone, 

That she should be his married wife, 

And he would make her the lady of Learne. 180 

Thus that night it was gone, 

The other day was come truly; 
The lady would see the roe-buck run 

Up hills and dales and forest free. 

Then she was ware of the young lord of Learne 

Tending sheep under a briar, truly; 
And thus she called unto her maids, 

And held her hands up thus on high, 
Says, " Fetch me yond shepherd's boy, 

I'll know why he doth mourn, truly." 190 

22 



20 



OLD BALLADS 



When he came before that lady fair 

He fell down upon his knee; 
He had been so well brought up 

He needed not to learn courtesy. 

"Where wast thou born, thou bonny boy, 

Where or in what country?" 
" Madam, I was born in fair Scotland, 

That is so far beyond the sea." 

"What is thy name, thou bonny boy? 

I pray thee tell it unto me." 
"My name," he says, "is poor Disaware, 

That tends sheep on a lonely lea." 

"One thing thou must tell me, bonny boy, 

Which I must needs ask of thee : 
Dost not thou know the young lord of Learne? 

He is come a- wooing into France to me." 

"Yes, that I do, madam," he said; 

And then he wept most tenderly; 
"The lord of Learne is a worthy lord, 

If he were at home in his own country." 

" What ails thee to weep, my bonny boy ? 

Tell me or ere I part thee fro." 
"Nothing but for a friend, madam, 

That's dead from me many a year ago." 

A loud laughter the lady laughed; 

O Lord, she smiled wondrous high; 
"I have dwelled in France since I was born; 

Such a shepherd's boy I did never see! 



200 



THE LORD OF LEARNE 21 

"Wilt thou riot leave thy sheep, my child, 

And come unto service unto me ? 220 

And I will give thee meat and fee, 
And my chamberlain thou shalt be." 

"Then I will leave my sheep, madam," he said, 

" And come into service unto thee ; 
If you will give me meat and fee, 

Your chamberlain that I may be." 

When the lady came before her father, 

She fell low down upon her knee; 
"Grant me, father," the lady said, 

"This boy my chamberlain to be." 230 

"But nay, nay," the duke did say, 

" So, my daughter, it may not be ; 
The lord that is come a-wooing to you 

Will be offended with you and me." 

Then came down the false steward 

Which called himself the lord of Learne, truly: 
When he looked that bonny boy upon, 

An angry man i-wis was he. 

" Where was thou born, thou vagabond ? 

Where?" he said, "and in what country?" 240 
Says, "I was born in fair Scotland 

That is so far beyond the sea." 

"What is thy name, thou vagabond? 

Have done quickly, and tell it to me." 
"My name," he says, "is poor Disaware; 

I tend sheep on the lonely lea." 
"Thou art a thief," the steward said, 

"And so in the end I will prove thee." 



22 OLD BALLADS 

Then bespake the lady fair, 

"Peace, lord of Learne, I do pray thee; 250 

For if no love you show this child, 

No favour can you have of me." 

"Will you believe me, lady fair, 

When the truth I do tell ye? 
At Aberdonie beyond the sea 

His father Jie robbed a hundred and three." 

But then bespake the duke of France 

Unto the boy so tenderly, 
Says, "Boy, if thou love horses well, 

My stable groom I will make thee." 260 

And thus that that did pass upon 

Till the twelve months did draw to an end; 

The boy applied his office so well, 
Every man became his friend. 

[PART in] 
He went forth early one morning 

To water a gelding at the water so free ; 
The gelding up, and with his head 

He hit the child above his eye. 

"Woe be to thee, thou gelding!" he said, 

"And to the mare that foaled thee! 270 

Thou has stricken the lord of Learne 
A little tiny above the eye. 

"First night I was born, a lord I was; 

An earl after my father doth die; 
My father is the worthy lord of Learne; 

His child he hath no more but me; 
He sent me over the sea with the false steward, 

And thus that he hath beguiled me." 



THE LORD OF LEARNE 23 

The lady was in her garden green, 

Walking with her maids, truly, 280 

And heard the boy this mourning make, 

And went to weeping truly. 

"Sing on thy song, thou stable groom, 

I pray thee do not let for me, 
And as I am a true lady 

I will be true unto thee." 

"But nay, now nay, madam!" he said, 

" So that it may not be, 
I am ta'en sworn upon a book, 

And forsworn I will not be." 290 

"Sing on thy song to thy gelding, 

And thou dost not sing to me; 
And as I am a true lady 

I will ever be true unto thee." 

He said, "Woe be to thee, gelding, 

And to the mare that foaled thee ! 
For thou hast stricken the lord of Learne 

A little above mine eye. 

"First night I was born, a lord I was; 

An earl after my father doth die; 300 

My father is the good lord of Learne, 

And child he hath no other but me. 
My father sent me over with the false steward, 

And thus that he hath beguiled me. 

"Woe be to the steward, lady," he said, 

"Woe be to him verily! 
He hath been above this twelve months' day 

For to deceive both thee and me. 



24 OLD BALLADS 

"If you do not my counsel keep 

That I have told you with good intent, 3 j o 

And if you do it not well keep, 

Farewell ! my life is at an end." 

"I will be true to thee, lord of Learne, 

Or else Christ be not so unto me; 
And as I am a true lady, 

Fll never marry none but thee!" 

She sent in for her father, the duke, 
In all the speed that e'er might be ; 

"Put off my wedding, father," she said, 

"For the love of Grod, these months three. 320 

"Sick I am," the lady said, 

"0 sick, and very like to die! 
Put off my wedding, father duke, 

For the love of G-od, these months three." 

The duke of France put off this wedding 
Of the steward and the lady, months three; 

For the lady sick she was, 
Sick, sick, and like to die. 

She wrote a letter with her own hand, 
In all the speed that ever might be; 330 

She sent over into Scotland 
That is so far beyond the sea. 

When the messenger came before the old lord of 
Learne, 

He kneeled low down on his knee, 
And he delivered the letter unto him 

In all the speed that ever might be. 



THE LORD OF LEARNE 25 

First look lie looked the letter upon, 

Lo! he wept full bitterly; 
The second look he looked it upon, 

Said, "False steward! woe be to thee!" 340 

When the lady of Learne these tidings heard, 

Lord! she wept so bitterly: 
"I told you of this, now, good my lord, 

When I sent my child into that wild country." 

"Peace, lady of Learne," the lord did say, 
"For Christ his love I do pray thee; 

And as I am a Christian man, 
Wroken upon him that I will be." 

He wrote a letter with his own hand 

In all the speed that e'er might be; 35 

He sent it into the lords in Scotland 

That were born of a great degree. 

He sent for lords, he sent for knights, 

The best that were in the country, 
To go with him into the land of France, 

To seek his son in that strange country. 

The wind was good, and they did sail, 
Five hundred men into France land, 

There to seek that bonny boy 

That was the worthy lord of Learne. 3 6 

They sought the country through and through, 
So far to the duke's place of France land: 

There they were ware of that bonny boy 
Standing with a porter's staff in his hand. 



26 OLD BALLADS 

Then the worshipful they did bow, 
The serving-men fell on their knee, 

They cast their hats up into the air 
For joy that boy that they did see. 

The lord of Learne, then he light down, 

And kissed his child both cheek and chin, 370 

And said, " Grod bless thee, my son and my heir, 
The bliss of heaven that thou may win!" 

[PART iv] 

The false steward and the duke of France 

Were in a castle top truly : 
"What fools are yond," says the false steward, 

"To the porter makes so low courtesy?" 

Then bespake the duke of France, 

Calling my lord of Learne truly, 
He said, "I doubt the day be come 

That either you or I must die." 380 

They set the castle round about, 

A swallow could not have flown away; 

And there they took the false steward 
That the lord of Learne did betray. 

And when they had taken the false steward, 

He fell low down upon his knee, 
And craved mercy of the lord of Learne 

For the villainous deed he had done, truly. 

" Thou shalt have mercy," said the lord of Learne, 
"Thou vile traitor! I tell to thee, 390 

As the laws of the realm they will thee bear, 
Whether it be for thee to live or die." 



THE LORD OF LEARNE 27 

A quest of lords that there was chosen 

To go upon his death, truly : 
There they judged the false steward, 

Whether he was guilty, and for to die. 

The foreman of the jury, he came in; 

He spake his words full loud and high: 
Said, "Make thee ready, thou false steward, 

For now thy death it draws full nigh!" 400 

Said he, "If my death it doth draw nigh, 
God forgive me all I have done amiss ! 

Where is that lady I have loved so long, 
Before my death to give me a kiss ? " 

" Away, thou traitor ! " the lady said, 

"Avoid out of my company! 
For thy vile treason thou hast wrought, 

Thou had heed to cry to God for mercy." 

First they took him and hanged him half, 

And let him down before he was dead, 410 

And quartered him in quarters many, 
And sod him in a boiling lead. 

And then they took him out again, 

And cutten all his joints in sunder, 
And burnt him eke upon a hill; 

I-wis they did him curstly cumber. 

A loud laughter the lady laughed; 

Lord! she smiled merrily; 
She said, "I may praise my heavenly King, 

That ever I seen this vile traitor die." 420 



28 OLD BALLADS 

Then bespake the duke of France, 

Unto the right lord of Learne said he there, 

Says, "Lord of Learne, if thou wilt marry my 

daughter, 
I'll mend thy living five hundred pounds a year." 

But then bespake that bonny boy, 
And answered the duke quickly, 
"I had rather marry your daughter with a ring 

of gold, 

Than all the gold that e'er I blinked on with 
mine eye." 

But then bespake the old lord of Learne, 
To the duke of France thus he did say, 

"Seeing our children do so well agree, 
They shall be married ere we go away." 

The lady of Learne, she was for sent 

Throughout Scotland so speedily, 
To see these two children set up 

In their seats of gold full royally. 



YOUNG BEKIE 

Young Bekie was as brave a knight 

As ever sail'd the sea; 
An' he's done him to the court of France, 

To serve for meat and fee. 

He had nae been i' the court of France 

A twelvemonth nor sae long, 
Till he fell in love with the king's daughter, 

An' was thrown in prison strong. 



YOUNG BEKIE 29 

The king lie had but ae daughter, 

Burd Isbel was her name ; 10 

An' she has to the prison-house gane, 

To hear the prisoner's mane. 

"0 gin a lady would borrow me, 

At her stirrup-foot I would run; 
Or gin a widow would borrow me, 

I would swear to be her son. 

"Or gin a virgin would borrow me, 

I would wed her wi' a ring; 
I'd gie her ha's, I'd gie her bowers, 

The bonny tow'rs o' Linne." 20 

barefoot, barefoot gaed she but, 

An' barefoot came she ben; 
It was no for want o' hose an' shoon, 

Nor time to put them on; 

But a' for fear that her father dear, 

Had heard her making din: 
She's stown the keys o' the prison-house dor, 

An' latten the prisoner gang. 

whan she saw him, Young Bekie, 

Her heart was wondrous sair! 30 

For the mice but an' the bold rottons 

Had eaten his yallow hair. 

She's gi'en him a shaver for his beard, 

A comber till his hair, 
Five hunder pound in his pocket, 

To spen', and nae to spair. 




30 OLD BALLADS 

She 's gi'en him a steed was good in need, 

An' a saddle o' royal bone, 
A leash o' hounds o' ae litter, 

An' Hector called one. 

Atween this twa a vow was made, 

'Twas made full solemnly, 
That or three years was come and gane, 

Well married they should be. 

He had nae been in's ain country 

A twelvemonth till an end, 
Till he's forced to marry a duke's daughter, 

Or then lose a' his land. 

"Ohon, alas!" says Young Bekie, 

"I know not what to dee; 50 

For I canno win to Burd Isbel, 

And she kensnae to come to me." 

O it fell once upon a day 

Burd Isbel fell asleep, 
An' up it starts the Billy Blin, 

An' stood at her bed-feet. 

"0 waken, waken, Burd Isbel, 

How can you sleep so soun', 
Whan this is Bekie's wedding day, 

An' the marriage gain' 011? 60 

" Ye do ye to your mither's bow'r, 

Think neither sin nor shame; 
An' ye tak' fcwa o' your mither's marys, 

To keep ye frae thinking laiig. 



YOUNG BEKIE 31 

"Ye dress yoursel' in the red scarlet, 

An' your marys in dainty green, 
An' ye pit girdles about your middles 

Would buy an eaiidome. 

"0 ye gang down by yon sea-side, 

An' down by yon sea-stran'; 70 

Sae bonny will the Hollans boats 

Come rowin' till your han'. 

"Ye set your milk-white foot aboard, 

Cry, Hail ye, Domine! 
An' I shall be the steerer o't, 

To row you o'er the sea." 

She's ta'en her till her mither's bow'r, 

Thought neither sin nor shame, 
An' she took twa o' her mither's marys, 

To keep her frae thinking lang. 80 

She dress'd hersel' i' the red scarlet, 

Her marys i' dainty green, 
And they pat girdles about their middles 

Would buy an eaiidome. 

An' they gid down by yon sea-side, 

An' down by yon sea-stran'; 
Sae bonny did the Hollan' boats 

Come rowin' to their han'. 

She set her milk-white foot on board, 

Cried "Hail ye, Domine!" 90 

An' the Billy Blin was the steerer o't, 
To row her o'er the sea. 



32 OLD BALLADS 

Whan she came to Young Bekie' s gate, 

She heard the music play; 
Sae well she kent frae a' she heard, 

It was his wedding day. 

She's pitten her han' in her pocket, 

Gi'n the porter guineas three; 
"Hae, tak' ye that, ye proud porter, 

Bid the bride-groom speak to me." 100 

whan that he cam up the stair, 

He fell low down on his knee : 
He hail'd the king, an' he hail'd the queen, 

An' he hail'd him, Young Bekie. 

"O I've been porter at your gates 

This thirty years an' three; 
But there's three ladies at them now, 

Their like I never did see. 

"There's ane o' them dress'd in red scarlet, 
And twa in dainty green, no 

An' they hae girdles about their middles 
Would buy an earldome." 

Then out it spake the bierly bride, 

Was a' goud to the chin: 
"Grin she be braw without," she says, 

"We's be as braw within." 

Then up it starts him, Young Bekie, 

An' the tears was in his ee : 
"I'll lay my life it's Burd Isbel, 

Come o'er the sea to me." 120 



YOUNG BEKIE 33 

quickly ran he down the stair, 

An' when he saw 'twas she, 
He kindly took her in his arms, 

And kiss'd her tenderly. 

"0 hae ye forgotten, Young Bekie, 

The vow ye made to me, 
Whan I took ye out o' the prison strong 

Whan ye was condemn'd to die? 

"I gae you a steed was good in need, 

An' a saddle o' royal bone, 130 

A leash o' hounds o' ae litter, 
An' Hector called one." 

It was well kent what the lady said, 

That it wasnae a lee, 
For at ilka word the lady spake, 

The hound fell at her knee. 

"Tak hame, tak hame your daughter dear, 

A blessing gae her wi', 
For I maun marry my Burd Isbel, 

That's come o'er the sea to me." 140 

"Is this the custom o' your house, 

Or the fashion o' your Ian', 
To marry a maid in a May mornin', 

An' send her back at even ? " 






34 OLD BALLADS 



THE TWA SISTERS OF BINNORIE 

There were twa sisters sat in a hour, 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
There came a knight to be their wooer, 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 

He courted the eldest wi' glove and ring, 

Binnorie, Binnorie I 
But he lo'ed the youngest aboon a' thing, 

By the bonny mill-dams o j Binnorie. 

He courted the eldest with brooch and knife, 
Binnorie, Binnorie ! I0 

But he lo'ed the youngest aboon his life, 
By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 

The eldest she was vexed sair, 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
And sair envied her sister fair, 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 

The eldest said to the youngest ane, 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
" Will ye go and see our father's ships come in ? " 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 20 

She's ta'en her by the lily hand, 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
And led her down to the river-strand, 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 



THE TWA SISTERS OF BINNORIE 35 

The youngest stude upon a stane, 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
The eldest came and push'd her in, 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 

She took her by the middle sma', 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 30 

And dashed her bonny back to the jaw, 

By the bonny mill-dams o } Binnorie. 

" sister, sister, reach your hand ! " 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
"And ye shall be heir of half my land," 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 

"0 sister, I'll not reach my hand," 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
"And I'll be heir of all your land," 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 40 

" Shame fa 7 the hand that I should take," 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
"It's twined me and my world's make," 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 

"0 sister, reach me but your glove!" 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
"And sweet William shall be your love," 

By the bonny mill-dams o } Binnorie. 

"Sink on, nor hope for hand or glove," 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 5 

"And sweet William shall better be my love," 
By the bonny mill-dams o> Binnorie. 

32 



36 OLD BALLADS 

"Your cherry cheeks and your yellow hair," 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
" Grarr'd me gang maiden evermair," 

By the bonnie mill-dams o' Binnorie. 

Sometimes she sunk, and sometimes she swam, 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
Until she came to the miller's dam, 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 60 

" father, father, draw your dam ! " 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
" There 's either a mermaid or a milk-white swan," 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 

The miller hasted and drew his dam, 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
And there he found a drown'd woman, 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 

You could not see her yellow hair, 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 70 

For gowd and pearls that were sae rare, 

By the bonny mill-dams d> Binnorie. 

You could na see her middle sma', 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
Her gowden girdle was sae bra', 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 

An' by there came a harper fine, 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
That harped to the king at dine, 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 80 



THE TWA SISTERS OF BINNORIE 37 

When he did look that lady upon, 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
He sigh'd and made a heavy moan, 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 

He 's ta'en three locks o' her yallow hair, 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
And wi j them strung his harp sae fair, 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 

The first tune he did play and sing, 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 90 

Was, "Farewell to my father the king," 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 

The nextin tune that he play'd syne, 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
Was, "Farewell to my mother the queen," 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 

The lasten tune that he play'd then, 

Binnorie, Binnorie ! 
Was, "Wae to my sister, fair Ellen!" 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 100 





38 OLD BALLADS 



KING ESTMERE 

Hearken to me, gentlemen, 

Come and you shall hear; 
I'll tell you of two of the boldest brether 

That ever born were. 

The tone of them was Adler young, 

The tother was King Estmere; 
They were as bold men in their deeds 

As any were, far and near. 

As they were drinking ale and wine 

Within King Estmere's hall: 10 

"When will ye marry a wife, brother, 
A wife to glad us all ? " 

Then bespake him King Estmere, 

And answered him hastily: 
<e I know not that lady in any land 

That's able to marry with me." 

"King Adland hath a daughter, brother; 

Men call her bright and sheen; 
If I were king here in your stead, 

That lady should be my queen." 20 

Says, "Rede me, rede me, dear brother, 

Throughout merry England 
Where we might find a messenger 

Betwixt us two to send." 



KING ESTMERE 39 

Says, "You shall ride yourself, brother; 

I'll bear you company; 
Many through false messengers are deceived, 

And I fear lest so should we." 

Thus they renisht them to ride 

Of two good renisht steeds; 30 

And when they came to King Adland's hall, 

Of red gold shone their weeds. 

And when they came to King Adland's hall, 

Before the goodly gate, 
There they found good King Adland 

Rearing himself thereat. 

"Now Christ thee save, good King Adland, 

Now Christ you save and see!" 
Said, "You be welcome, King Estmere, 

Right heartily to me." 40 

"You have a daughter," said Adler young, 

"Men call her bright and sheen; 
My brother would marry her to his wife 

Of England to be queen." 

"Yesterday was at my dear daughter 

The King his son of Spain, 
And then she nicked him of 'nay/ 

And I doubt she'll do you the same." 

"The King of Spain is a foul paynim, 

And 'lieveth on Mahound, 5 

And pity it were that a fair lady 
Should marry a heathen hound." 




40 OLD BALLADS 

"But grant to me," says King Estmere, 

"For my love, I you pray, 
That I may see your daughter dear 

Before I go hence away." 

"Although it is seven years and more 

Since my daughter was in hall, 
She shall come once down for your sake, 

To glad my guestes all." 60 

Down then came that maiden fair, 

With ladies laced in pall, 
And half a hundred of bold knights 

To bring her from bower to hall, 
And as many gentle squires 

To tend upon them all. 

The talents of gold, were on her head set, 

Hanged low down to her knee, 
And every ring on her small finger 

Shone of the crystal free. 70 

Says, "Grod you save, my dear madam," 

Says, " Grod you save and see ! " 
Said, "You be welcome, King Estmere, 

Right welcome unto me; 

"And if you love me as you say, 

So well and heartily, 
All that ever you are comen about 

Soon sped now it shall be." 

Then bespake her father dear : 

"My daughter, I say nay; 80 

Eemember well the King of Spain 

What he said yesterday; 



KING ESTMERE 41 

"He would pull down my halls and castles 

And reave me of my life. 
I cannot blame him if he do, 

If I reave him of his wife." 

"Your castles and your towers, father, 

Are strongly built about; 
And therefore of the King of Spain 

We need not stand in doubt. 90 

"Plight me your troth now, King Estmere, 

By heaven and your right hand, 
That you will marry me to your wife 

And make me queen of your land." 

Then King Estmere he plight his troth 

By heaven and his right hand, 
That he would marry her to his wife 

And make her queen of his land. 

And he took leave of that lady fair 

To go to his own country, 100 

To fetch him dukes and lords and knights, 

That married they might be. 

They had not ridden scant a mile, 

A mile forth of the town, 
But in did come the King of Spain 

With kempes many a one; 

But in did come the King of Spain 

With many a bold barone, 
Tone day to marry King Adland's daughter, 

Tother day to carry her home. 



no 



42 OLD BALLADS 

She sent one after King Estmere 

In all the speed might be, 
That he must either turn and fight, 

Or go home and lose his lady. 

One while, then, the page he went, 

Another while he ran; 
Till he had overtaken King Estmere 

I-wis he never blan. 

" Tidings, tidings, King Estmere!" 

"What tidings now, my boy?" 
"0 tidings I can tell to you 

That will you sore annoy : 

"You had not ridden scant a mile, 

A mile out of the town, 
But in did come the King of Spain 

With kempes many a one; 


"But in did come the King of Spain 

With many a bold barone, 
Tone day to marry King Adland's daughter, 
Tother day to carry her home. 130 

"My lady fair she greets you well 

And evermore well by me; 
You must either turn again and fight, 

Or go home and lose your lady." 

Says, "Rede me, rede me, dear brother, 

My rede shall rise at thee; 
Whether it is better to turn and fight, 

Or go home and lose my lady ? " 



KING ESTMERE 43 

"Now hearken to me/' says Adler young, 

"And your rede must rise at me; 140 

I quickly will devise a way 
To set thy lady free. 

"My mother was a western woman 

And learned in gramary, 
And when I learned at the school, 

Something she taught it me. 

" There grows an herb within this field, 

And-if it were but known; 
His colour, which is white and red, 

It will make black and brown; 150 

"His colour, which is brown and black, 

It will make red and white; 
That sword is not in all England 

Upon his coat will bite. 

"And you shall be a harper, brother, 

Out of the north country, 
And I'll be your boy so fain of fight 

And bear your harp by your knee. 

"And you shall be the best harper 

That ever took harp in hand, 160 

And I will be the best singer 

That ever sung in this land. 

"It shall be written in our foreheads 

All and in gramary, 
That we two are the boldest men 

That are in all Christenty." 




44 OLD BALLADS 

And thus they renisht them to ride H 

On two good renisht steeds; 
And when they came to King Adland's hall 

Of red gold shone their weeds. 170 

And when they came to King Adland's hall, 

Until the fair hall-gate, 
There they found a proud porter 

Rearing himself thereat. 

Says, "Christ thee save, thou proud porter,," 
Says, "Christ thee save and see!" 

"Now you be welcome," said the porter, 
"Of what land soever ye be." 

"We ben harpers," said Adler young, 
"Come out of the north country; 

We ben come hither until this place 
This proud wedding for to see." 

Said, "And your colour were red and white, 

As it is black and brown, 
I would say King Estmere and his brother 

Were comen until this town." 

Then they pulled out a ring of gold, 

Laid it on the porter's arm : 
"And ever we will thee, proud porter, 

Thou wilt say us no harm." 190 

Sore he looked on King Estmere, 

And sore he handled the ring; 
Then opened to them the fair hall-gates; 

He let for no kind of thing. 



KING ESTMEKE 45 

King Estmere he stabled his steed 

So fair at the hall-board; 
The froth that came from his bridle-bit 

Light in King Bremor's beard. 

Says, "Stable thy steed, thou proud harper/' 
Says, " Stable him in the stall ; 200 

It doth not beseem a proud harper 
To stable him in a king's hall." 

" My lad he is so lither," he said, 

"He will do nought that's meet; 
And is there any man in this hall 

Were able him to beat?" 

"Thou speakest proud words," says the King of 
Spain, 

"Thou harper, here to me; 
There is a man within this hall 

Will beat thy lad and thee." 210 

"0 let that man come down," he said, 

"A sight of him would I see; 
And when he hath beaten well my lad, 

Then he shall beat of me." 

Down then came the kempery-man 

And looked him in the ear; 
For all the gold that was under heaven 

He durst not nigh him near. 

" And how now, kemp ? " said the King of Spain, 
" And how, what aileth thee ? " 220 

He says, "It is writ in his forehead, 
All and in gramary, 

That for all the gold that is under heaven 
I dare not nigh him nigh." 



46 OLD BALLADS 

Then King Estmere pulled forth his harp 

And played a pretty thing ; 
The lady upstart from the board 

And would have gone from the king. 

"Stay thy harp, thou proud harper, 

For God's love I pray thee! 
For and thou plays as thou begins 

Thou'lt till my bride from me." 

He struck upon his harp again 

And played a pretty thing; 
The lady lough a loud laughter 

As she sat by the king. 

Says, "Sell me thy harp, thou proud harper, 

And thy stringes all, 
For as many gold nobles thou shalt have 

As here be rings in the hall." 240 

"What would ye do with my harp," he said, 

"If I did sell it ye?" 
"To play my wife and me a fit 

When married we had be." 

"Now sell me/' quoth he, "thy bride so gay, 

As she sits by thy knee, 
And as many gold nobles I will give 

As leaves ben on a tree." 

"And what would ye do with my bride so gay 
If I did sell her thee? 250 

More seemly it is for that lady fair 
To wed with me than thee." 



KING ESTMERE 47 

He played again both loud and shrill, 

And Adler he did sing 
" O lady, this is thy own true love ; 

No harper, but a king. 

"0 lady, this is thy own true love, 

As plainly thou mayst see, 
And I'll rid thee of that foul paynim 

Who parts thy love and thee." 260 

The lady looked, the lady blushed, 

And blushed and looked again, 
While Adler he hath drawn his brand 

And hath the Sowdan slain. 

Up then rose the kempery-men 

And loud they 'gan to cry: 
"Ah, traitors, ye have slain our king, 

And therefore ye shall die." 

King Estmere threw the harp aside, 

And swithe he drew his brand, 270 

And Estmere, he, and Adler young 

Right stiff in stour did stand. 

And aye their swords so sore can bite 

Through help of gramary, 
That soon they have slain the kempery-men 

Or forced them forth to flee. 

King Estmere took that fair lady 

And married her to his wife, 
And brought her home to merry England, 

With her to lead his life. 280 



48 OLD BALLADS 



THE HEIR OF LINNE 

Of all the lords in fair Scotland 

A song I will begin; 
Amongst them all there dwelt a lord, 

Which was the unthrifty lord of Linne. 

His father and mother were dead him fro, 
And so was the head of all his kin; 

To the cards and dice that he did run 
He did neither cease nor blin. 

To drink the wine that was so clear, 
With every man he would make merry; 

And then bespake him John of the Scales, 
Unto the heir of Linne said he: 

Says, "How dost thou, lord of Linne? 

Dost either want gold or fee ? 
Wilt thou not sell thy lands so broad 

To such a good fellow as me?" 

"For all my gold is gone/' he said, 

" My land, take it unto thee." 
"I draw you to record, my lordes all." 

With that he cast him a Grod's penny. 

He told him the gold upon the board, 
It wanted never a bare penny. 

" That gold is thine, the land is mine ; 
The heir of Linne I will be." 



THE HEIR OF LINNE 49 

"Here's gold enough," saith the heir of Linne, 

"Both for me and my company." 
He drunk the wine that was so clear, 

And with every man he made merry. 

Within three quarters of a year 

His gold and fee it waxed thin, 30 

His merry men were from him gone, 

And left him himself all alone. 

He had never a penny left in his purse, 

Never a penny left but three, 
And one was brass, and another was lead, 

And another was white money. 

"Now welladay!" said the heir of Linne, 

" Now welladay, and woe is me ! 
For when I was the lord of Linne, 

I neither wanted gold nor fee. 40 

"For I have sold my lands so broad, 

And have not left me one penny; 
I must go now and take some rede 

Unto Edinburgh, and beg my bread." 

He had not been in Edinburgh 

Not three quarters of a year, 
But some did give him, and some said nay, 

And some bid "To the deil gang ye! 

"For if we should hang any landless fere, 

The first we would begin with thee." 5 

" Now welladay ! " said the heir of Linne, 
"Now welladay, and woe is me! 

s. 4 





50 OLD BALLADS 

"For now I have sold my lands so broad, 
That merry man is irk with me; 

But when that I was the lord of Linne, 
Then on my land I lived merrily. 

"And now I have sold my land so broad, 
That I have not left me one penny ! 

God be with my father ! " he said, 
"On his land he lived merrily." 

Still in a study there as he stood, 
He unbethought him of a bill 

He unbethought him of a bill 

Which his father had left with him; 

Bade him he should never on it look 

Till he was in extreme need; 
"And by my faith," said the heir of Linne, 

"Than now I had never more need." 



He took the bill, and looked it on, 

Good comfort that he found there; 70 

It told him of a castle wall 

Where there stood three chests in fere. 

Two were full of the beaten gold, 
The third was full of white money. 

He turned then down his bags of bread, 
And filled them full of gold and fee. 

Then he did never cease nor blin, 

Till John of the Scales' house he did win. 

When that he came to John of the Scales, 
Up at the speer he looked then. 80 



THE HEIR OF LINNE 51 

There sat three lords upon a row, 

And John o' the Scales sat at the board's head, 
And John o' the Scales sat at the board's head, 

Because he was the lord of Linne. 

And then bespake the heir of Linne, 

To John o' the Scales' wife thus said he; 

Said, "Dame, wilt thou not trust me one shot 
That I may sit down in this company ? " 

"Now Christ's curse on my head," she said, 
"If I do trust thee one penny ! " 90 

Then bespake a good fellow, 

Which sat by John o' the Scales his knee ; 

Said, " Have thou here, thou heir of Linne, 

Forty pence I will lend thee; 
Some time a good fellow thou hast been; 

And other forty if need be." 

They drunken wine that was so clear, 
. And every man they made merry; 
And then bespake him John o' the Scales, 
Unto the lord of Linne said he; 100 

Said, " How dost thou, heir of Linne, 
Since I did buy thy lands of thee? 

I will sell it to thee twenty pound better cheap 
Nor ever I did buy it of thee." 

"I draw you to record, lordes all." 
With that he cast him a God's penny; 

Then he took to his bags of bread, 
And they were full of the gold so red. 

42 



52 OLD BALLADS 

He told him the gold then over the board, 
It wanted never a broad penny. no 

"That gold is thine, the land is mine, 
And heir of Linne again I will be." 

"Now welladay!" said John o' the Scales' wife, 

"Welladay, and woe is me! 
Yesterday I was the lady of Linne, 

And now I am but John o' the Scales' wife ! " 

Says, "Have thou here, thou good fellow, 

Forty pence thou did lend me, 
Forty pence thou did lend me, 

And forty pound I will give thee. 120 

"I'll make thee keeper of my forest, 
Both of the wild deer and the tame," 



But then bespake the heir of Linne, 

These were the words, and thus said he, 

"Christ's curse light upon my crown, 
If e'er my land stand in any jeopardy ! " 



BARBARA ALLAN 53 



BARBARA ALLAN 

It was in and about the Martinmas time, 
When the green leaves were a-falling, 

That Sir John Graeme, in the West Country, 
Fell in love with Barbara Allan. 

He sent his men down through the town, 
To the place where she was dwelling; 

" haste and come to my master dear, , 
Grin ye be Barbara Allan." 

hooly, hooly rose she up, 

To the place where he was lying, 10 

And when she drew the curtain by, 

" Young man, I think you're dying." 

"0 it's I am sick, and very, very sick, 

And 't is a' for Barbara Allan." 
" the better for me ye 's never be, 

Tho' your heart's blood were a-spilling." 

"0 dinna ye mind, young man," said she, 
"When ye was in the tavern a drinking, 

That ye made the healths gae round and round, 
And slighted Barbara Allan ? " 20 

He turn'd his face unto the wall, 

And death was with him dealing; 
"Adieu, adieu, my dear friends all, 

And be kind to Barbara Allan." 



54 OLD BALLADS 

And slowly, slowly raise she up, 
And slowly, slowly left him, 

And sighing said she could not stay, 
Since death of life had reft him. 



She had not gane a mile but twa, 

When she heard the dead-bell ringing, 30 

And every jow that the dead-bell geid, 

It cry'd, "Woe to Barbara Allan!" 

"O mother, mother, make my bed, 

O make it saft and narrow! 
Since my love died for me to-day, 

1 7 11 die for him to-morrow." 



LORD RANDAL 

" O where hae ye been, Lord Randal, my son ? 

where hae ye been, my handsome young man?" 

"I hae been to the wild wood; mother, make my 

bed soon, 
For I 'm weary wi' hunting, and fain wald lie down." 

"Where gat ye your dinner, Lord Randal, my son? 
Where gat ye your dinner, my handsome young 

man?" 
"I dined wi' my true-love; mother, make my bed 

soon, 
For I 'm weary wi' hunting, and fain wald lie down." 



LORD RANDAL 55 

" What gat ye to your dinner, Lord Randal, my son ? 
What gat ye to your dinner, my handsome young 
man ? " 10 

" I gat eels boil'd in broo ; mother, make my bed soon, 
For I 'm weary wi 7 hunting, and fain wald lie down." 

" What became of your bloodhounds, Lord Randal, 

my son? 
What became of your bloodhounds, my handsome 

young man ? " 
"0 they swell'd and they died; mother, make my 

bed soon, 
For 1 7 m weary wi' hunting, and fain wald lie down." 

"01 fear ye are poison'd, Lord Randal, my sonf 
O I fear ye are poison'd, my handsome young man ! "" 
" yes, I am poison'd ; mother, make my bed soon,. 
For I'm sick at the heart, and I fain wald lie 
down." 20 



FAIR ANNIE OF ROUGH ROYAL 

"0 wha will shoe my fu' fair foot? 

And wha will glove my hand? 
And wha will lace my middle jimp, 

Wi 7 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 Grregor come hame?" 




56 OLD BALLADS 

"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 hame." 

"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." 20 

she has gotten a bonny boat, 

And saiFd the sa't sea faem; 
She lang'd to see her ain true-love, 

Since he could no come hame. 

"0 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, 30 

And lang she's knock'd and sair she ca'd, 
But answer got she none. 

"0 open the door, Love Grregor," she says, 

"0 open, and let me in; 
For the wind blaws thro' my yellow hair, 

And the rain draps o'er my chin." 



FAIR ANNIE OF ROUGH ROYAL 57 

"Awa', awa', ye ill woman, 

You're nae come here for good; 
You're but some witch, or wile warlock, 

Or mermaid of the flood." 40 

"I am neither a witch nor a wile warlock, 

Nor mermaid of the sea, 
I am Fair Annie of Rough Royal; 

open the door to me." 

"Grin 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." 

"0 dinna you mind now, Love Gregor, 

When we sat at the wine, 5 

How we changed the rings frae our fingers? 
And I can show thee thine. 

" yours was good, and good eneugh, 

But ay the best was mine; 
For yours was o' the good red goud, 

But mine o' the di'monds fine. 

"But open the door now, Love Gregor, 

open the door I pray, 
For your young son that is in my arms 

Will be dead ere it be day." 60 

"Awa 7 , awa', ye ill woman, 

For here ye shaiino win in; 
Gae drown ye in the raging sea, 

Or hang on the gallows-pin." 



58 OLD BALLADS 

When the cock had crawii, and day did dawn, 

And the sun began to peep, 
Then up raise him Love Gregor, 

And sair, sair did he weep. 



"01 dream'd a dream, my mother dear, 

The thoughts o' it gars me greet, 70 

That Fair Annie of Rough Royal 
Lay cauld dead at my feet." 

"Grin it be for Annie of Rough Royal 

That ye make a 7 this din, 
She stood a 7 last night at this door, 




"O wae betide ye, ill woman, 

An ill dead may ye die ! 
That ye wouldno open the door to her, 

Nor yet would waken me." 80 

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 toss'd her sair. 

And "Hey, Annie!" and "How, Annie! 

O Annie, winna ye bide?" 
But aye the mair that he cried "Annie," 

The braider grew the tide. 

And "Hey, Annie!" and "How, Annie! 

Dear Annie, speak to me ! " 90 

But aye the louder he cried "Annie," 

The louder roar'd the sea. 



FAIR ANNIE OF ROUGH ROYAL 59 

The wind blew loud, the sea grew rough, 

And dash'd the boat on shore; 
Fair Annie floats on the raging sea, 

But her young son raise no more. 

Love Grregor tare his yellow hair, 

And made a heavy moan; 
Fair Annie's corpse lay at his feet, 

But his bonny young son was gone. 100 

cherry, cherry was her cheek, 

And gowden was her hair, 
But clay-cold were her rosy lips, 

Nae spark of life was there. 

And first he's kissed her cherry cheek, 

And neist he's kissed her chin; 
And saftly press'd her rosy lips, 

But there was nae breath within. 



"0 wae betide my cruel mother, 

And an ill dead may she die! no 

For she turn'd my true-love frae the door, 

When she came sae far to me." 



60 OLD BALLADS 



THE GAY GOSHAWK 



" 



well's me o' my gay goshawk, 
That he can speak and flee; 
He'll carry a letter to my love, 
Bring back another to me." 

"0 how can I your true-love ken, 

Or how can I her know ? 
When frae her mouth I never heard couth, 

Nor wi' my eyes her saw." 

"0 well sail ye my true-love ken, 

As soon as you her see; 10 

For, of a' the flow'rs in fair Englan', 

The fairest flow'r is she. 

"At even at my love's bow'r-door 

There grows a bowing birk, 
An' sit ye down and sing thereon 

As she gangs to the kirk. 

"An' four-and- twenty ladies fair 

Will wash and go to kirk, 
But well sail ye my true-love ken, 

For she wears goud on her skirt. 20 

"An' four-and-twenty gay ladies 

Will to the mass repair, 
But well sail ye my true-love ken, 

For she wears goud on her hair." 



THE GAY GOSHAWK 61 

even at that lady's bow'r-door 

There grows a bowin' birk, 
An 3 he sat down and sang thereon, 

As she gaed to the kirk. 

"0 eat and drink, my marys a', 

The wine flows you among, 3 

Till I gang to my shot-window, 

An' hear yon bonny bird's song. 

"Sing on, sing on, my bonny bird, 

The song ye sang yestreen, 
For I ken by your sweet singin', 

You're frae my true-love sen'." 

first he sang a merry song, 

An' then he sang a grave, 
An' then he peck'd his feathers gray, 

To her the letter gave. 40 

"Ha, there's a letter frae your love, 

He says he sent you three; 
He canna wait your love langer, 

But for your sake he'll die. 

"He bids you write a letter to him; 

He says he 's sent you five ; 
He canno wait your love langer, 

Tho' you're the fairest woman alive.^' 

"Ye bid him bake his bridal bread, 
And brew his bridal ale, 5 

An' I'll meet him in fair Scotlan' 
Lang, lang or it be stale." 



62 OLD BALLADS 

She 's done her to her father dear, 

Fa'n low down on her knee : 
"A boon, a boon, my father dear, 

I pray you, grant it me." 

" Ask on, ask on, my daughter, 

An' granted it sail be; 
Except ae squire in fair Scotlan', 

An' him you sail never see." 

"The only boon my father dear, 

That I do crave of thee, 
Is, gin I die in southin lan's, 

In Scotland to bury me. 

" An' the firstin kirk that ye come till, 

Ye gar the bells be rung, 
An' the nextin kirk that ye come till, 

Ye gar the mass be sung. 

"An' the thirdin kirk that ye come till, 
You deal gold for my sake, 70 

An' the fourthin kirk that ye come till, 
You tarry there till night." 

She 's done her to her bigly bow'r, 

As fast as she could fare, 
An' she has ta'en a sleepy draught, 

That she had mix'd wi' care. 

She 's laid her down upon her bed, 

An' soon she 's fa'n asleep, 
And soon o'er every tender limb 

Cauld death began to creep. 80 



THE GAY GOSHAWK 63 

Whan night was flown, an' day was come, 

Nae ane that did her see 
But thought she was as surely dead 

As ony lady could be. 

Her father an' her brothers dear 

Garred make to her a bier; 
The tae half was o' guid red gold, 

The tither o' silver clear. 

Her mither an' her sisters fair 

Garred work for her a sark ; 9 

The tae half was o' cambrick fine, 

The tither o' needle-wark. 

The firstiii kirk that they came till, 

They garred the bells be rung, 
An' the nextin kirk that they came till, 

They garred the mass be sung. 

The thirdin kirk that they came till, 

They dealt gold for her sake, 
An 7 the fourthin kirk that they came till, 

Lo, there they met her make ! 100 

" Lay down, lay down the bigly bier, 

Let me the dead look on." 
Wi' cherry cheeks and ruby lips 

She lay an' smil'd on him. 

"0 ae sheave o' your bread, true-love, 

An' ae glass o' your wine, 
For I hae fasted for your sake 

These days is fully nine. 



64 OLD BALLADS 

"(rang hame, gang name, my seven bold brothers, 
Gang hame and sound your horn; no 

An' ye may boast in southin lan's 
Your sister's play'd you scorn." 





THOMAS RYMER 

True Thomas lay o'er yond grassy bank, 

And he beheld a lady gay, 
A lady that was brisk and bold, 

Come riding o'er the ferny brae. 

Her skirt was of the grass-green silk, 

Her mantle of the velvet fine, 
At ilka tett of her horse's mane 

Hung fifty silver bells and nine. 

True Thomas he took off his hat, 

And bowed him low down till his knee : 10 
"All hail, thou mighty Queen of Heaven! 

For your peer on earth I never did see." 

"O no, no, True Thomas," she says, 
"That name does not belong to me; 

I am but the queen of fair Elfland, 
And I'm come here for to visit thee. 

"But ye maun go wi' me now, Thomas, 
True Thomas, ye maun go wi' me, 

For ye maun serve me seven years, 

Thro' weal or wae, as may chance to be." 20 



THOMAS RYMER 65 

She turned about her milk-white steed, 
And took True Thomas up behind, 

And aye whene'er her bridle rang, 
The steed flew swifter than the wind. 

For forty days and forty nights 

He wade thro' red blude to the knee, 

And he saw neither sun nor moon, 
But heard the roaring of the sea. 

they rade on, and further on, 

Until they came to a garden green : 30 

" Light down, light down, ye lady free, 

Some of that fruit let me pull to thee." 

"0 no, no, True Thomas," she says, 

"That fruit maun not be touched by thee, 

For a' the plagues that are in hell 
Light on the fruit of this country. 

"But I have a loaf here in my lap, 

Likewise a bottle of claret wine, 
And now ere we go farther on, 

We'll rest a while, and ye may dine." 40 

When he had eaten and drunk his fill; 

"Lay down your head upon my knee," 
The lady said, "ere we climb yon hill, 

And I will show you fairlies three. 

" see not ye yon narrow road, 

So thick beset wi' thorns and briers ? 

That is the path of righteousness, 
Tho' after it but few enquires. 

s. 5 



66 OLD BALLADS 

"And see not ye that braid braid road, 

That lies across yon lily leven ? 
That is the path of wickedness, 

Tho' some call it the road to heaven. 

"And see not ye that bonny road, 
Which winds about the ferny brae? 

That is the road to fair Elfland, 

Where you and I this night maun gae. 

"But, Thomas, ye maun hold your tongue, 

Whatever you may hear or see, 
For gin ae word you should chance to speak, 

You will ne'er get back to your ain country." 60 

He has gotten a coat of the even cloth, 
And a pair of shoes of velvet green, 

And till seven years were past and gone 
True Thomas on earth was never seen. 



EDWARD 

"Why does your brand sae drap wi' bluid, 

Edward, Edward? 
Why does your brand sae drap wi j bluid, 

And why sae sad gang ye, ? " 
"0, I hae killed my hauke sae guid, 

Mither, mither: 

0, I hae killed my hauke sae guid, 
And I had nae mair but he, O." 



EDWAKD 67 

"Your haukis bluid was nevir sae reid, 

Edward, Edward. 10 

Your haukis bluid was nevir sae reid, 

My deir son I tell thee, 0." 
" 0, I hae killed my reid-roan steid, 

Mither, mither: 
O, I hae killed my reid-roan steid, 

That erst was sae fair and frie, 0." 

"Your steid was auld, and ye hae gat mair, 

Edward, Edward: 
Your steid was auld, and ye hae gat mair, 

Sum other dule ye drie, 0." 20 

"0, I hae killed my fadir deir, 
Mither, mither : 
O, I hae killed my fadir deir, 
Alas! and wae is me, O!" 

"And whatten penance wul ye drie for that, 

Edward, Edward? 
And whatten penance wul ye drie for that, 

My deir son, now tell me, 0." 
"I'll set my feit in yonder boat, 

Mither, mither: 30 

I'll set my feit in yonder boat, 

And I'll fare over the sea, 0." 

" And what wul ye doe wi' your towers and your ha 7 , 

Edward, Edward? 
And what wul ye doe wi' your towers and your ha', 

That were sae fair to see, 0?" 
" I '11 let them stand till they doun fa', 

Mither, mither: 
I'll let them stand till they doun fa', 

For here never mair maun I be, 0." 40 

52 



68 OLD BALLADS 



r wife. 




" And what wul ye leive to your bairns and your wife, 

Edward, Edward? 
And what wul ye leive to your bairns and your wife, 

Whan ye gang over the sea, ? " 
"The warldis room, let them beg throw life, 

Mither, mither: 

The warldis room, let them beg throw life, 
For them never mair wul I see, 0." 

"And what wul ye leive to your ain mither deir, 

Edward, Edward? 50 

And what wul ye leive to your ain mither deir? 

My deir son, now tell me, 0." 
"The curse of hell frae me sail ye beir, 

Mither, mither : 

The curse of hell frae me sail ye beir, 
Sic counseils ye gave to me, 0." 



THE TWA CORBIES 

As I was walking all alane, 

I heard twa corbies making a mane, 

The tane unto the t'other say, 

"Where sail we gang and dine to-day?" 

"In behint yon auld fail dyke, 
I wot there lies a new-slain knight; 
And nae body kens that he lies there, 
But his hawk, his hound, and lady fair. 






THE TWA CORBIES 69 

"His hound is to the hunting gane, 

His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl name, 10 

His lady's ta'en another mate,, 

So we may mak' our dinner sweet. 

"Ye '11 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 sail ken whare he is gane: 

O'er his white banes, when they are bare, 

The wind sail blaw for evermair." 20 



THE BAILIFF'S DAUGHTER OF ISLINGTON 

There was a youth, and a well-beloved youth, 

And he was a squire's son; 
He loved the bailiff's daughter dear, 

That lived in Islington. 

She was coy, and she would not believe 

That he did love her so, 
No, nor at any time she would 

Any countenance to him show. 

But when his friends did understand 

His fond and foolish mind, 10 

They sent him up to fair London, 
An apprentice for to bind. 








70 OLD BALLADS 

And when he had been seven long years, 

And his love he had not seen: 
" Many a tear have I shed for her sake 

When she little thought of me." 

All the maids of Islington 

Went forth to sport and play; 
All but the bailiff's daughter dear; 

She secretly stole away. 

She put off her gown of gray, 

And put on her puggish attire; 
She is up to fair London gone, 

Her true-love to require. 

As she went along the road, 

The weather being hot and dry, 
There was she aware of her true-love, 

At length came riding by. 

She stept to him, as red as any rose, 
And took him by the bridle-ring : 30 

"I pray you, kind sir, give me one penny, 
To ease my weary limb." 

"I prithee, sweetheart, canst thou tell me 

Where that thou wast born?" 
"At Islington, kind sir," said she, 

"Where I have had many a scorn." 

"I prithee, sweetheart, canst thou tell me 

Whether thou dost know 
The bailiff's daughter of Islington?" 

"She's dead, sir, long ago." 40 



THE BAILIFF'S DAUGHTER OF ISLINGTON 71 

"Then I will sell my goodly steed, 

My saddle and my bow; 
I will into some far country, 

Where no man doth me know." 

"0 stay, stay, thou goodly youth! 

She ? s alive, she is not dead ; 
Here she standeth by thy side, 

And is ready to be thy bride." 

"0 farewell grief, and welcome joy, 

Ten thousand times and more! 5 

For now I have seen my own true-love, 

That I thought I should have seen no more." 



YOUNG BENJIE 

Of a' the maids o j fair Scotland, 

The fairest was Marjorie; 
And young Benjie was her ae true-love, 

And a dear true-love was he. 

And wow ! but they were lovers dear, 

And loved fu ? constantlie; 
But ay the mair when they fell out, 

The sairer was their plea. 

And they hae quarrelled on a day, 

Till Marjorie's heart grew wae, 10 

And she said she'd chuse another luve, 

And let young Benjie gae. 



72 OLD BALLADS 

And he was stout, and proud hearted, 

And thought o't bitterlie, 
And he's gaen by the wan moon-light, 

To meet his Marjorie. 

"0 open, open, my true love! 

O open, and let me in ! " 
"I dare na open, young Benjie, 

My three brothers are within." 

"Ye lied, ye lied, my bonny burd, 

Sae loud's I hear ye lie; 
As I came by the Lowden banks, 

They bade gude e'en to me. 

"But fare ye weel, my ae fause love, 

That I hae loved sae lang ! 
It sets ye chuse another love, 

And let young Benjie gang." 

Then Marjorie turned her round about, 

The tear blinding her ee, 30 

"I darena, darena let thee in, 
But I'll come down to thee." 

Then saft she smiled, and said to him, 

"0 what ill hae I done?" 
He took her in his armes twa, 

And threw her o'er the linn. 

The stream was strang, the maid was stout, 

And laith laith to be dang, 
But, ere she wan the Lowden banks, 

Her fair colour was wan. 40 



YOUNG BENJIE 73 

Then up bespak her eldest brother, 

" see na ye what I see ? " 
And out then spak her second brother, 

"It's our sister Marjorie!" 

Out then spak her eldest brother, 

"0 how shall we her ken?" 
And out then spak her youngest brother, 

" There's a honey mark on her chin." 

Then they've ta'en up the comely corpse, 

And laid it on the ground: 50 

" wha has killed our ae sister, 
And how can he be found? 

"The night it is her low lykewake, 

The morn her burial day, 
And we maun watch at mirk midnight, 

And hear what she will say." 

Wi' doors ajar, and candle-light, 

And torches burning clear, 
The streikit corpse, till still midnight, 

They waked, but naething hear. 60 

About the middle o' the night, 

The cocks began to craw, 
And at the dead hour o' the night, 

The corpse began to thraw. 

" wha has done the wrang, sister, 

Or dared the deadly sin? 
Wha was sae stout, and feared nae dout, 

As throw ye o'er the linn?" 





OLD BALLADS 

'' Young Benjie was the first ae man, 

I laid my love upon; 
He was sae stout and proud-hearted, 

He threw me o'er the linn." 

"Sail we young Benjie head, sister, 

Sail we young Benjie hang, 
Or sail we pike out his twa gray een, 

And punish him ere he gang ? " 

"Ye mauna Benjie head, brothers, 

Ye mauna Benjie hang, 
But ye maun pike out his twa gray e'en, 

And punish him ere he gang. 80 

"Tie a green gravat round his neck, 

And lead him out and in, 
And the best ae servant about your house, 

To wait young Benjie on. 

"And ay, at every seven year's end, 

Ye '11 tak him to the linn; 
For that 's the penance he maun drie, 

To scug his deadly sin." 



THE LYKE-WAKE DIRGE 75 



THE LYKE-WAKE DIRGE 

This ae nighty this ae night, 

Every night and all, 
Fire and fleet and candle-light, 

And Christ receive thy saule ! 

When thou from hence away art past, 

Every night and all 
To Whinny-muir thou comest at last; 

And Christ receive thy saule ! 

If ever thou gavest hosen and shoon, 

Every night and all I0 

Sit thee down and put them on; 
And Christ receive thy saule ! 

But if hosen and shoon thou never gave none 

Every night and all 
The Whins shall prick thee to the bare bone; 

And Christ receive thy saule ! 

From Whinny-muir when thou mayst pass 

Every night and all 
To Brig o' Dread thou comest at last; 

And Christ receive thy saule ! 20 

From Brig o ? Dread when thou mayst pass 

Every night and all 
To Purgatory fire thou comest at last; 

And Christ receive thy saule ! 



76 OLD BALLADS 

If ever thou gavest milk or drink, 

Every night and all 
The fire shall never make thee shrink; 

And Christ receive thy saule ! 

But if milk nor drink thou never gave none, 
Every night and all 30 

The fire shall burn thee* to the bare bone; 
And Christ receive thy saule ! 

This ae night, this ae night, 

Every night and all, 
Fire and fleet and candle-light, 

And Christ receive thy saule ! 



THE DEMON LOVER 

"0 whare hae ye been, my dearest dear, 
These seven lang years and more?" 

"0 I am come to seek my former vows, 
That ye promised me before." 

"Awa' wi' your former vows," she says, 

"Or else ye will breed strife; 
Awa' wi' your former vows," she says, 

"For I'm become a wife. 

"I am married to a ship-carpenter, 

A ship-carpenter he's bound; 10 

I wadna he ken'd my mind this nicht 

For twice five hundred pound." 



THE DEMON LOVER 77 

She has put her foot on gude ship-board, 

And on ship-board she's gane, 
And the veil that hung o'er her face 

Was a' wi' gowd begane. 

She had na sailed a league, a league, 

A league but barely twa, 
Till she did mind, on the husband she left, 

And her wee young son alsua. 20 

"0 haud your tongue, my dearest dear, 

Let all your follies a-be; 
I'll show whare the white lillies grow, 

On the banks of Italie." 

She had na sailed a league, a league, 

A league but barely three, 
Till grim, grim grew his countenance, 

And gurly grew the sea. 

"0 haud your tongue, my dearest dear, 

Let all your follies a-be; 3 

I'll show whare the white lillies grow, 
In the bottom of the sea." 

He's ta'en her by the milk-white hand, 
And he's thrown her in the main; 

And full five-and-twenty hundred ships 
Perish'd all on the coast of Spain. 



78 OLD BALLADS 



FAIR HELEN OF KIRCONNELL 

I wish I were where Helen lies,, 
Night and day on me she cries, 
that I were where Helen lies, 
On fair Kirconnell Lee! 

Curst be the heart that thought the thought, 
And curst the hand that fired the shot, 
When in my arms burd Helen dropt, 
And died to succour me. 

think na ye my heart was sair, 

When my love dropt down and spak nae mair? 10 
There did she swoon wi' meikle care, 
On fair Kirconnell Lee. 

As I went down the water side, 
None but my foe to be my guide, 
None but my foe to be my guide, 
On fair Kirconnell Lee. 

1 lighted down, my sword did draw, 
I hacked him in pieces sma', 

I hacked him in pieces sma', 

For her sake that died for me. 20 

Helen fair, beyond compare, 
I'll make a garland of thy hair, 
Shall bind my heart for evermair, 
Untill the day I die. 



FAIR HELEN OF KIRCONNELL 79 

O that I were where Helen lies, 
Night and day on me she cries, 
Out of my bed she bids me rise, 
Says, " Haste, and come to me ! " 

Helen fair ! O Helen chaste ! 

If I were with thee I were blest, . 30 

Where thou lies low, and takes thy rest, 
On fair Kircoiinell Lee. 

1 wish my grave were growing green, 
A winding-sheet drawn ower my e'en 
And I in Helen's arms lying 

On fair Kirconnell Lee. 

I wish I were where Helen lies, 
Night and day on me she cries, 
And I am weary of the skies, 

For her sake that died for me. 40 



THE BONNY EARL OF MURRAY 

Ye Highlands and ye Lawlands, 
Oh ! where have you been ? 

They have slain the Earl of Murray, 
And they lay'd him on the green! 

Now wae be to thee, Huntly, 
And wherefore did you sae? 

I bade you bring him wi j you, 
But forbade you him to slay. 



80 OLD BALLADS 

He was a braw gallant, 

And lie rid at the ring; 
And the bonny Earl of Murray, 

Oh! he might have been a King. 

He was a braw gallant, 

And he play'd at the ba'; 
And the bonny Earl of Murray 

Was the flower amang them a'. 

He was a braw gallant, 

And he play'd at the glove; 
And the bonny Earl of Murray, 

Oh! he was the Queen's love. 20 

Oh! lang will his lady 

Look o'er the castle Down, 
E'er she see the Earl of Murray 

Come sounding thro' the town. 



BONNIE GEORGE CAMPBELL 

Hie upon Hielands 

And low upon Tay, 
Bonnie George Campbell 

Rade out on a day. 
Saddled and bridled 

And gallant rade he; 
Hame came his gude horse, 

But never cam he ! 



BONNIE GEORGE CAMPBELL 81 

Out cam his auld mither 

Greeting fu j sair, 10 

And out cam his bonnie bride 

Rivin' her hair. 
Saddled and bridled 

And booted rade he; 
Toom name cam the saddle, 

But never cam he ! 

"My meadow lies green, 

And my corn is unshorn; 
My barn is to big, 

And my babie 's unborn." 20 

Saddled and bridled 

And booted rade he; 
Toom hame cam the saddle, 

But never cam he ! 



THE TWA BROTHERS 

There were twa brethren in the north, 
They went to the school thegithar; 

The one unto the other said, 
"Will you try a warsle afore? 3 ' 

They warsled up, they warsled down, 

Till Sir John fell to the ground, 
And there was a knife in Sir Willie's pouch, 

Gied him a deadlie wound. 

"0 brither dear, take me on your back, 

Carry me to yon burn clear, 10 

And wash the blood from off my wound, 

And it will bleed nae mair." 
s. 6 




82 OLD BALLADS 

He took him up upon his back, 

Carried him to yon burn clear, 
And washed the blood from off his wound, 

But aye it bled the mair. 

"Oh brither dear, take me on your back, 

Carry me to yon kirk-yard, 
And dig a grave baith wide and deep, 

And lay my body there." 

He's ta'en him up upon his back, 

Carried him to yon kirk-yard, 
And dug a grave baith deep and wide, 

And laid his body there. 

"But what will I say to my father dear, 

Grin he chance to say, Willie, whar's John?" 

"Oh say that he's to England gone, 
To buy him a cask of wine." 

"And what will I say to my mother dear, 

Grin she chance to say, Willie, whar 's John ? " 30 

"Oh say that he's to England gone, 
To buy her a new silk gown." 

"And what will I say to my sister dear, 

Grin she chance to say, Willie, whar 's John ? " 

"Oh say that he's to England gone, 
To buy her a wedding ring." 

"But what will I say to her you lo'e dear, 
Grin she cry, Why tarries my John?" 

"Oh tell her I lie in Kirk-land fair, 

And home again never will come." 40 



FAIR ANNIE 83 



FAIR ANNIE 

* 

"0 I'm ga'en o'er the sea, Fair Annie, 

A braw bride to bring hame. 
Wi' her I will get gowd and gear; 
Wi' you I ne'er got nane. 

"But wha will bake my bridal bread, 

Or brew my bridal ale? 
And wha will welcome my brisk bride, 

That I bring o'er the dale ? " 

"It's I will bake your bridal bread, 

And brew your bridal ale; 10 

And I will welcome your brisk bride, 
That you bring o'er the dale." 

"But she that welcomes my brisk bride 

Maun gang like maiden fair; 
She maun lace on her robe sae jimp, 

And braid her yellow hair." 

She's ta'en her young son in her arms, 

Another in her hand, 
And she's up to the highest tower, 

To see him come to land. 20 

"Come up, come up, my eldest son, 

And look o'er yon sea-strand, 
And see your father's new-come bride, 

Before she come to land." 

62 



84 OLD BALLADS 

" Come down, come down, my mother dear, 

Come f rae the castle wa' ! 
I fear, if langer ye stand there, 

Ye '11 let yourseF down fa'." 

And she gaed down, and farther down, 

Her love's ship for to see, 
And the topmast and the mainmast 

Shone like the silver free. 

And she's gaen down, and farther down, 

The bride's ship to behold, 
And the topmast and the mainmast 

They shone just like the gold. 

She's ta'en her seven sons in her hand, 

I wot she didna fail; 
She met Lord Thomas and his bride, 

As they came o'er the dale. 4 

"You're welcome to your house, Lord Thomas, 

You're welcome to your land; 
You're welcome with your fair lady, 

That you lead by the hand. 

"You're welcome to your ha's, lady, 

You're welcome to your bowers; 
You're welcome to your hame, lady, 

For a' that's here is yours." 

"I thank thee, Annie, I thank thee, Annie, 
Sae dearly as I thank thee; 50 

You're the likest to my sister Annie, 
That ever I did see. 



FAIR ANNIE 85 

" There came a knight out o'er the sea, 

And steal' d my sister away; 
The shame scoup in his company, 

And land where'er he gae!" 

She hang ae napkin at the door, 

Another in the ha', 
And a' to wipe the trickling tears, 

Sae fast as they did fa'. 60 

And aye she served the long tables 
With white bread and with wine; 

And aye she drank the wan water 
To haud her colour fine. 

And aye she served the lang tables, 
With white bread and with brown; 

And aye she turned her round about, 
Sae fast the tears fell down. 

And he's ta'en down the silk napkin, 

Hung on a silver pin, 70 

And aye he wipes the tear trickling 
A' down her cheek and chin. 

And aye he turned him round about, 

And smiled amang his men; 
Says, "Like ye best the old lady, 

Or her that's new come hame?" 

When bells were rung, and mass was sung, 

And a' men bound to bed, 
Lord Thomas and his new-come bride 

To their chamber they were gaed. 80 



86 OLD BALLADS 

Annie made her bed a little forbye, 

To hear what they might say; 
"And ever alas," Fair Annie cried, 

" That I should see this day ! 

"Gin my seven sons were seven young rats, 

Running on the castle wa j , 
And I were a gray cat myself 

I soon would worry them a'. 

"Gin my seven sons were seven young hares, 
Eunning o'er yon lily lee, 90 

And I were a grew-hound myseF, 
Soon worried they a' should be." 

And wae and sad Fair Annie sat, 

And dreary was her sang, 
And ever, as she sobb'd and grat, 

"Wae to the man that did the wrang!" 

"My gown is on," said the new-come bride, 

"My shoes are on my feet, 
And I will to Fair Annie's chamber, 

And see what gars her greet. 100 

"What ails ye, what ails ye, Fair Annie, 

That ye make sic a moan ? 
Has your wine barrels cast the girds, 

Or is your white bread gone? 

"0 wha was't was your father, Annie, 

Or wha was 't was your mother ? 
And had ye ony sister, Annie, 

Or had ye ony brother?" 



FAIR ANNIE 87 

" The Earl of Wemyss was my father, 
The Countess of Wemyss my mother; no 

And a' the folk about the house 
To me were sister and brother." 

"If the Earl of Wemyss was your father, 

I wot sae he was mine; 
And it shall not be for lack o' gowd 

That ye your love sail tyne. 

"I've seven ships upon the sea 

All loaded to the brim, 
And five of them I'll give to thee, 

And twa shall carry me name." 120 



THE CRUEL BROTHER 

There was three ladies play'd at the ba', 

With a hey ho and a lillie gay 
There came a knight and played o'er them a', 

As the primrose spreads so sweetly. 

The eldest was baith tall and fair, 
But the youngest was beyond compare. 

The midmost had a graceful mien, 

But the youngest look'd like beauty's queen. 

The knight bow'd low to a' the three, 
But to the youngest he bent his knee. 

The lady turned her head aside; 

The knight he woo'd her to be his bride. 10 





88 OLD BALLADS 

The lady blush'd a rosy red, 

And say'd, "Sir knight, I'm too young to wed." 

"0 lady fair, give me your hand, 

And I'll make you lady of a' my land." 

"Sir knight, ere ye my favour win, 
You maun get consent frae a' my kin." 

He's got consent frae her parents dear, 
And likewise frae her sisters fair. 

He's got consent frae her kin each one, 

But forgot to speak to her brother John. 20 

Now, when the wedding day was come, 

The knight would take his bonny bride home. 

And many a lord and many a knight 
Came to behold that lady bright. 

And there was nae man that did her see, 
But wish'd himself bridegroom to be. 

Her father dear led her down the stair, 
And her sisters twain they kiss'd her there. 

Her mother dear led her thro' the close, 

And her brother John set her on her horse. 30 

She lean'd her o'er the saddle-bow, 
To give him a kiss ere she did go. 

He has ta'en a knife, baith lang and sharp, 
And stabb'd that bonny bride to the heart. 

She hadno ridden half thro' the town, 
Until her heart's blude stain'd her gown. 



THE CRUEL BROTHER 89 

"Kide softly on," says the best young man, 

"For I think our bonny bride looks pale and wan." 

"0 lead me gently up yon hill, 

And I'll there sit down, and make my will." 40 

"0 what will you leave to your father dear?" 
" The silver-shod steed that brought me here." 

" What will you leave to your mother dear ? " 
" My velvet pall and my silken gear." 

" What will you leave to your sister Anne ? " 
"My silken scarf and my gowden fan." 

" What will you leave to your sister Grace ? " 
"My bloody clothes to wash and dress." 

"What will you leave to your brother John?" 
"The gallows-tree to hang him on." 50 

" What will you leave to your brother John's wife ? " 
"The wilderness to end her life." 

This lady fair in her grave was laid, 
And many a mass was o'er her said. 

But it would have made your heart right sair, 
To see the bridegroom rive his hair. 



90 OLD BALLADS 



YOUNG WATERS 

About Yule, when the wind blew cule, 

And the round tables began, 
A, there is cum to our king's court 

Mony a well-favour'd man. 

The queen luikt owre the castle-wa', 

Beheld baith dale and down, 
And there she saw Young Waters 

Cum riding to the town. 

His footmen they did rin before, 

His horsemen rade behind; 10 

Ane mantel of the burning gowd 

Did keip him frae the wind. 

Growden-graith'd his horse before, 

And siller-shod behind; 
The horse Young Waters rade upon 

Was fleeter than the wind. 

Out then spake a wylie lord, 

Unto the queen said he: 
"0 tell me wha's the fairest face 

Rides in the company?" 20 

"I've seen lord, and I've seen laird, 

And knights of high degree, 
But a fairer face than Young Waters 

Mine eyne did never see." 



YOUNG WATERS 91 

Out then spake the jealous king, 

And an angry man was he: 
"0 if he had bin twice as fair, 

You micht have excepted me." 

"You're neither laird nor lord," she says, 
"But the king that wears the crown; 30 

There is not a knight in fair Scotland 
But to thee maun bow down." 

For a' that she could do or say, 

Appeased he wad nae be, 
But for the words which she had said, 

Young Waters he maun die. 

They hae ta'en Young Waters, 

And put fetters to his feet; 
They hae ta'en Young Waters, 

And thrown him in dungeon deep. 40 

"Aft have I ridden thro' Stirling town, 

In the wind but and the weit; 
But I ne'er rade thro' Stirling town 

Wi' fetters at my feet. 

"Aft have I ridden thro' Stirling town, 

In the wind but and the rain; 
But I ne'er rade thro' Stirling town 

Ne'er to return again." 

They hae ta'en to the heading-hill 

His young son in his cradle, 50 

And they hae ta'en to the heading-hill 

His horse but and his saddle. 



92 OLD BALLADS 

They hae ta'en to heading-hill 

His lady fair to see, 
And for the words the queen had spoke 

Young Waters he did die. 



BKOWN ADAM 

O wha would wish the win' to blaw, 

Or the green leaves fa 7 therewith? 
Or wha wad wish a leeler love 

Than Brown Adam the Smith? 

His hammer's o' the beaten gold, 

His study's o' the steel, 
His fingers white are my delite, 

He blows his bellows well. 

But they ha' banish'd him, Brown Adam, 

Frae father and frae mither, 10 

An' they ha' banish'd him, Brown Adam, 
Frae sister and frae brither. 

And they ha' banish'd Brown Adam 

Frae the flow'r o' a' his kin; 
An' he 's biggit a bow'r i' the good green wood 

Between his lady an' him. 

it fell once upon a day 

Brown Adam he thought lang, 
An' he would to the green wood gang, 

To hunt some venison. 20 



BROWN ADAM 93 

He's ta'en his bow his arm o'er, 

His bran' in till his han', 
And he is to the good green wood, 

As fast as he could gang. 

he's shot up, an' he's shot down, 

The bird upo' the briar, 
An' he's sent it hame to his lady, 

Bade her be of good cheer. 

he's shot up, an' he's shot down, 

The bird upo' the thorn, 30 

And sent it hame to his lady, 

And he'd he hame the morn. 

When he came till his lady's bow'r-door 

He stood a little forbye, 
And there he heard a f u' f a'se knight 

Temptin' his gay lady. 

he's ta'en out a gay gold ring, 

Had cost him mony a poun' : 
"0 grant me love for love, lady, 

An' this sail be your own." 40 

"I loo Brown Adam well," she says, 

"I wot sae does he me; 
An' I would na gi' Brown Adam's love 

For nae fa'se knight I see." 

Out he has ta'en a purse of gold, 

Was a' fu' to the string: 
"Grant me but love for love, lady, 

An' a' this sail be thine." 




94 OLD BALLADS 

"I loo Brown Adam well," she says, 

" An' I ken sae does he me : 
An' I wouldna be your light leman 

For mair nor ye could gie." 

Then out has he drawn his lang, lang bran', 

An' he 's flash'd it in her een : 
"Now grant me love for love, lady, 

Or thro' you this sail gang!" 

" 0," sighing said that gay lady, 

"Brown Adam tarries lang!" 
Then up it starts Brown Adam, 

Says, "I'm just at your han'." 60 

He's gard him leave his bow, his bow, 

He's gard him leave his bran'; 
He's gard him leave a better pledge 

Four fingers o' his right han'. 



KING EDWARD AND THE TANNER 
OF TAMWORTH 

In summer time, when leaves grow green, 

And blossoms bedeck the tree, 
King Edward would a hunting ride, 

Some pastime for to see. 

With hawk and hound he made him bowne, 

With horn, and eke with bow; 
To Drayton Basset he took his way, 

With all his lords a-row. 



KING EDWARD AND THE TANNER OF TAMWORTH 95 

And lie had ridden o'er dale and down 

By eight of clock in the day, 10 

When he was ware of a bold tanner, 
Come riding along the way. 

A fair russet coat the tanner had on 

Fast buttoned under his chin, 
And under him a good cow-hide, 

And a mare of four shilling. 

"Now stand you still, my good lords all, 

Under the green wood spray; 
And I will wend to yonder fellow, 

To weet what he will say/ 7 - 20 

"Grod speed, Grod speed thee," said our king. 

"Thou art welcome, Sir," said he. 
"The readiest way to Drayton Basset 

I pray thee to shew to me." 

"To Drayton Basset wouldst thou go, 
Fro the place where thou dost stand ? 

The next pair of gallows thou comest unto, 
Turn in upon thy right hand." 

"That is an unready way," said our king, 

" Thou dost but jest, I see ; 30 

Now shew me out the nearest way, 
And I pray thee wend with me." 

"Away with a vengeance!" quoth the tanner: 

" I hold thee out of thy wit : 
All day have I ridden on Brock my mare, 

And I am fasting yet." 



96 OLD BALLADS 

"Gro with me down to Drayton Basset, 

No dainties we will spare; 
All day shalt thou eat and drink of the best, 

And I will pay thy fare." 40 

"Gramercy for nothing,' 7 the tanner replied, 

"Thou payest no fare of mine: 
I trow IVe more nobles in my purse, 

Than thou hast pence in thine." 

"God give thee joy of them," said the king, 

"And send them well to prief." 
The tanner would fain have been away, 

For he weened he had been a thief. 

" What art thou," he said, " thou fine fellow ? 

Of thee I am in great fear, 50 

For the clothes thou wearest upon thy back 

Might beseem a lord to wear." 

"I never stole them," quoth our king, 

"I tell you, Sir, by the rood." 
"Then thou playest, as many an unthrift doth, 

And standest in midds of thy good." 

"What tidings hear you," said the king, 

"As you ride far and near?" 
"I hear no tidings, Sir, by the mass, 

But that cow-hides are dear." 60 

"Cow-hides! cow-hides! what things are those? 

I marvel what they be?" 
"What, art thou a fool?" the tanner replied; 

"I carry one under me." 



KING EDWARD AND THE TANNER OF TAMWORTH 97 

"What craftsman art thou?" said the king, 

"I pray thee tell me trow." 
"I am a barker, Sir, by my trade; 

Now tell me what art thou?" 

"I am a poor courtier, Sir," quoth he, 

"That am forth of service worn; 70 

And fain I would thy prentice be, 
Thy cunning for to learn." 

"Marry, heaven forfend," the tanner replied, 

"That thou my prentice were: 
Thou wouldst spend more good than I should win 

By forty shilling a year." 

"Yet one thing would I," said our king, 

"If thou wilt not seem strange: 
Though my horse be better than thy mare, 

Yet with thee I fain would change." 80 

"Why, if with me thou fain wilt change, 

As change full well may we, 
By the faith of my body, thou proud fellow, 

I will have some boot of thee." 

"That were against reason," said the king, 

"I swear, so mote I thee, 
My horse is better than thy mare, 

And that thou well mayst see." 

"Yea, Sir, but Brock is gentle and mild, 
And softly she will fare: 90 

Thy horse is unruly and wild, I wis; 
Aye skipping here and there." 




98 OLD BALLADS 

"What boot wilt thou have?" our king replied; 

"Now tell me in this stound." 
"No pence nor half pence, by my fay, 

But a noble in gold so round." 

"Here's twenty groats of white money, 

Sith thou will have it of me." 
"I would have sworn, now," quoth the tanner, 

"Thou hadst not had one penny. 100 

"But since we two have made a change, 

A change we must abide, 
Although thou hast gotten Brock my mare, 

Thou gettest not my cow-hide." 

"I will not have it," said the king, 

"I swear, so mote I thee; 
Thy foul cow-hide I would not bear, 

If thou wouldst give it to me." 

The tanner he took his good cow-hide, 

That of the cow was hilt; no 

And threw it upon the king's sadell, 
That was so fairly gilt. 

" Now help me up, thou fine fellow, 

'Tis time that I were gone: 
When I come home to Gillian my wife, 

She'll say I am a gentleman." 

When the tanner he was in the king's sadell, 

And his foot in the stirrup was; 
He marvelled greatly in his mind, 

Whether it were gold or brass. 120 



KING EDWARD AND THE TANNER OF TAMWORTH 99 

But when his steed saw the cow's tail wag, 

And eke the black cow-horn, 
He stamped, and stared, and away he ran, 

As the devil had him borne. 

The tanner he pulFd, the tanner he sweat, 

And held by the pummel fast : 
At length the tanner came tumbling down; 

His neck he had well-nigh brast. 

"Take thy horse again, with a vengeance," he said, 
"With me he shall not bide." 130 

"My horse would have borne thee well enough, 
But he knew not of thy cow-hide. 

rf Yet if again thou fain wouldst change, 

As change full well may we, 
By the faith of my body, thou jolly tanner, 

I will have some boot of thee." 

" What boot wilt thou have ? " the tanner replied, 

"Now tell me in this stounde." 
"No pence nor halfpence, Sir, by my fay, 

But I will have twenty pound." 140 

"Here's twenty groats out of my purse; 

And twenty I have of thine : 
And I have one more, which we will spend 

Together at the wine." 

The king set a bugle horn to his mouth, 

And blew both loud and shrill : 
And soon came lords, and soon came knights, 

Fast riding over the hill. 

72 




100 OLD BALLADS 

"Now, out alas!" the tanner he cried, 

"That ever I saw this day! 
Thou art a strong thief; yon come thy fellows 

Will bear my cow-hide away." 

"They are no thieves," the king replied, 

"I swear, so mote I thee: 
But they are the lords of the north country, 

Here come to hunt with me." 



And soon before our king they came, 

And knelt down on the ground: 
Then might the tanner have been away, 

He had lever than twenty pound. 160 

"A collar, a collar, here!" said the king, 

"A collar," he loud gan cry: 
Then would he lever than twenty pound, 

He had not been so nigh. 

"A collar, a collar," the tanner he said, 

" I trow it will breed sorrow : 
After a collar cometh a halter, 

And I shall be hanged to-morrow." 

"Away with thy fear, thou jolly tanner, 

For the sport thou hast shown to me, 170 

I wot no halter thou shalt wear, 
But thou shalt have a knight's fee. 

"For Plumpton Park I will give thee 

With tenements fair beside; 
*Tis worth three hundred marks by the year, 

To maintain thy good cow-hide." 



KING EDWARD AND THE TANNER OF TAMWORTH 101 

"Gramercy, my liege/' the tanner replied, 
"For the favour thou hast me shown; 

If ever thou comest to merry Tamworth, 

Neat's-leather shall clout thy shoon." 180 



WILL STEWART AND JOHN 

It's by two men I sing my song; 

Their name is William Stewart and John. 
William he is the elder brother, 

But John he is the wiser man. 

But William is in care-bed laid, 

And for the love of a fair lady; 
If he have not the love of the Earl of Mar's daughter, 

In faith, for love that he must die. 

Then John was sorry for his brother, 

To see him lie and languish so : 10 

"What do you mourn for, brother?" he says,, 

"I pray you tell to me your woe. 

"Do you mourn for gold, brother? 

Or do you mourn for fee ? 
Or do you mourn for a likesome lady, 

You never saw her with your ee ? " 

"I do not mourn for gold," he says, 

" Nor I do not mourn for any fee ; 
But I do mourn for a likesome lady, 

I ne'er blinked on her with mine ee." 20 



102 OLD BALLADS 

"But when harvest is gotten, my dear brother 

All this is true that I tell thee 
Gentlemen they love hunting well, 

And give wighfc-men their cloth and fee. 

" Then I '11 go a wooing for thy sake, 

In all the speed that I can gone, 
And for to see this likesome lady, 

And hope to send thee good tidings home." 

John Stewart is gone a-wooing for his brother 

So far into fair Scotland; 30 

And left his brother in mickle fear 
Until he hear the good tydand. 

And when he came to the Earl of Mar's house, 

So well he could his courtesy; 
And when he came before the Earl, 

He kneeled low down upon his knee. 

"0 rise up, rise up, John Stewart! 

Rise up now, I do bid thee ; 
How doth thy father, John Stewart, 

And all the lords in his country?" 40 

"And it please you, my lord, my father's dead; 

My brother and I cannot agree; 
My brother and I am fallen at discord, 

And I am come to crave a service of thee." 

"O welcome, welcome, John Stewart, 

A welcome man thou art to me; 
I'll make thee chamberlain to my daughter, 

And for to tend of that lady so free. 



WILL STEWART AND JOHN 103 

"And if thou wilt have a better office, 

Ask, and thou shalt have it of me; 50 

And where I give others a penny of wage, 
In faith, John, thou shalt have three." 

And then bespake him John Stewart, 
And these were the words said he : 

" There is no office in your court 
This day* that better pleaseth me." 

The Friday is gone, the Sunday is come; 

All this is true that I do say; 
And to the church that they be gone, 

John Stewart and the lady gay. 60 

And as they did come home again 

(I-wis it was a meeten mile), 
John Stewart and the lady gay, 

They thought it but a little while. 

" I am a messenger, lady," he says, 

"I am a messenger to thee." 
"0 speak for thyself, John Stewart," she says, 

"A welcome man that thou shalt be." 

"Nay, by my faith," says John Stewart, 

" Which, ever alas! that may not be; 70 

He hath a higher degree in honour, 
Alas, lady, than ever I. 

"He is a lord, now, born by birth, 
And an earl after his father doth die; 

His hair is yellow, his eyes ben gray; 
All this is true that I tell ye. 




104 OLD BALLADS 

"He is fine in the middle, and small in the waist, 

And pleasant in a woman's eye; 
And more nor this he dies for your love; 

Therefore, lady, show some pity." 80 

"If this be so," then says the lady, 

"If this be true that thou tells me, 
By my faith, then, John Stewart, 

I can love him heartily. 

"Bid him meet me at St Patrick's Church, 

On Sunday after St Andrew's day; 
The flower of Scotland will be there, 

And then begins our summer's play. 

"And bid him bring with him a hundred gunners, 
And rank riders let them be, 90 

And let them be of the rankest riders 
That be to be found in that country. 

"The best and worst, and all in like, 

Bid him clothe them in one livery; 
And for his men green is the best, 

And green now let their liveries be. 

"And clothe himself in scarlet red, 

That is so seemly for to see ; 
For scarlet is a fair colour 

And pleasant in a woman's ee. 100 

"He must play sixteen games at ball, 

Against the men of this country; 
And if he win the greater part, 

Then I shall love him more tenderly." 



WILL STEWART AND JOHN 105 

What the lady said, John Stewart writ, 

And to Argyle Castle sent it he; 
And when Willie Stewart saw the letter, 

Forth of care-bed then lope he. 

He mustered together his merry men all, 

He mustered them so lovelily; no 

He thought he had scarce on half a hundred, 
Then had he eleven score and three. 

He chose forth a hundred of the best 
That were to be found in that country; 

He clad them all in one colour, 
And green i-wis their liveries be. 

He clad himself in scarlet red, 

That is so seemly for to see; 
For scarlet is a fair colour 

And seemly in a woman's ee. 120 

And then towards Patrick's Church he went, 

With all his men in brave array, 
To get a sight, if that he might, 

And speak with his lady gay. 

When .they came to Patrick's Church, 
She kneeled down by her mother truly: 

" mother, if it please you to give me leave, 
The Stewart's horse fain would I see." 

"I'll give you leave, my dear daughter, 

And I and my maid will go with ye." 130 

The lady had rather have gone herself, 
Than have had her mother's company. 




106 OLD BALLADS 

When they came before Willie Stewart, 

So well he could his courtesy. 
"I would kiss your daughter, lady/' he said, 

"And-if your will that so it be." 

The lady's mother was content 

To do a stranger that courtesy; 
And when Willie had gotten a kiss, 

I-wis she might have teemed him three. 140 

Sixteen games were played that day there; 

This is the truth that I do say; 
Willie Stewart and his merry men, 

They carried twelve of them away. 

And when the games that they were done, 
And all the folks away were gone 

But the Earl of Mar and William Stewart, 
The Earl would needs have William home. 

And when they came unto the Earl's house, 
They walked to a garden green; 150 

For to confer of their business 
Into the garden they be gone. 

"I love your daughter," says William Stewart, 
"But I cannot tell whether she loveth me." 

"Marry, God defend," says the Earl of Mar, 
" That ever so that it should be ! 

"I had rather a gallows there was made, 
And hang thee for my daughter's sake; 

I had rather a fire were made at a stake, 

And burn thee for my daughter's sake! 160 



WILL STEWART AND JOHN 107 

"To chamber, to chamber, gay lady," he says, 
" In the devil's name now I bid thee ! 

And thou get thee not to thy chamber soon, 
I'll beat thee before the Stewart's eye." 

And then bespake William Stewart, 

These were the words that then said he : 

"If thou beat thy daughter for my sake, 
Thou'st beat a hundred men and me." 

Then bespake John Stewart; 

Lord, an angry man was he ! 170 

" churl, if thou wouldst not have matched with my 
brother, 

Thou might have answered him courteously." 

"0 hold thy peace, John Stewart, 

And chamber thy words now, I bid thee; 

If thou chamber not thy words soon, 

Thou'st lose a good service so shalt thou do me." 

"Marry, hang them that cares," says John Stewart, 

"Either for thy service or for thee; 
Services can I have enough; 

But brethren we must ever be." 180 

William Stewart and his brother John 

To Argyle Castle gone they be; 
And when Willie came to Argyle Castle, 

Into care-bed then lope he. 

A Parliament at Edinburgh was made, 
The King and his nobles all met there; 

They sent for William Stewart and John, 
To come amongst the other peers. 





108 OLD BALLADS 

Their clothing was of scarlet red, 

That was so seemly for to see; 
Black hats, white feathers pie wed with gold, 

And set all on their heads truly. 

Their stockings were of twisted silk, 
With garters fringed about with gold; 

Their shoes were of the cordevain, 
And all was comely to behold. 

And when they came to Edinburgh, 

They called for John Stewart and Willie. 

"I answer in a lord's room," says Will Stewart, 
"But an earl I hope to be." 200 

"Come down, come down," says the Lord of Mar, 

I knew not what was thy degree." 
churl, if I might not have matched with thy 

daughter, 
It had not been 'long of my degree. 

"My father he is the King his brother, 

The King is uncle unto me; 

O churl, if I might not have matched with thy 
daughter, 

It had not been 'long of my degree." 

"0 hold your peace," then said the King, 

"Cousin William, I do bid thee; 210 

In faith, cousin William, he loves you the worse 
Because you are akin to me. 

"I'll make thee an earl with a silver wand, 

And add more honours still to thee; 
Thy brother John shall be a lord 

Of the best at home in his country. 



(C 

(( 



WILL STEWART AND JOHN 109 1 

" Thy brother Kester shall be a knight ; 

Lands and livings I will him give, 
And still he shall live in court with me, 

And I'll maintain him whilst he doth live." 220 

And when the Parliament was done 

And all the folks away were gone, 
Willie Stewart and John his brother, 

To Argyle Castle they be gone. 

But when they came to Argyle Castle, 

That was so far in that country, 
He thought so much then of his love 

That into care-bed then lope he. 

John Stewart did see his brother so ill, 

Lord, in his heart that he was woe! 230, 

"I will go wooing for thy sake 
Again yonder gay lady to. 

"I'll clothe myself in strange array; 

In a beggar's habit I will go, 
That when I come before the Earl of Mar 

My clothing strange he shall not know." 

John he got on a clouted cloak, 

So meet and low then by his knee, 
With four garters upon one leg, 

Two above and two below truly. 240 

"But if thou be a beggar, brother, 
Thou art a beggar that is unknown; 

For thou art one of the stoutest beggars 
That ever I saw since I was born. 



110 OLD BALLADS 

"Here, give the lady this gay gold ring, 
A token to her that is well known; 

And if she but advise it well, 

She'll know sometime it was her own." 

"Stay, by my faith, I go not yet," 

John Stewart he can reply; 
"I'll have my bottle full of beer, 

The best that is in thy buttery. 

" I '11 have my satchel filled full of meat ; 

I am sure it will do no harm; 
For before I come to the Earl of Mar's house, 

My lips, I am sure, they will be warm." 

And when he came to the Earl of Mar's house, 

By chance it was of the dole-day; 
But John could find no place to stand, 

Until he came to the lady gay. 260 

But many a beggar he threw down, 
And made them all with weeping say: 

"He is the devil; he is no beggar; 

That is come forth of some strange country." 

And now the dole that it is dealt, 
And all the beggars be gone away, 

Saving John Stewart, that seemed a beggar, 
And the lady that was so gay. 

"Lady," says John, "I am no beggar, 

As by my clothes you may think that I be; 270 

I am your servant, John Stewart, 
And sent a messenger to thee." 



WILL STEWART AND JOHN 111 

"But if thou be John Stewart, 

As I do think that so thou be, 
Avale thy cap, avale thy hood, 

And I will stand and speak to thee. 

11 How doth thy brother, John Stewart, 

And all the lords in his country?" 
" fie upon thee, wicked woman ! 

My brother he doth the worse for thee." 280 

With that, the tears stood in her eyes; 

Lord, she wept so tenderly! 
Says, "Lay the blame unto my father; 

1 pray you lay it not to me. 

" Commend me to my own true-love, 
That lives so far in the North country, 

And bid him meet me at Martingsdale 
Fully within these dayes three. 

" Hang them," says the lady gay, 

"That lets their father witting be! 290 

I'll prove a lady full of love, 

And be there by the sun be a quarter high. 

"And bid him bring with him a hundred gunners, 

And rank riders let them be; 
Let them be of the rankest riders 

That be to be found in that country. 

"The best and worst and all in like, 

Bid him clothe them in one livery; 
And for his men green is the best, 

And green now let their liveries be. 300 



112 



OLD BALLADS 




"And clothe himself in scarlet red, 

That is so seemly for to see; 
For scarlet is a fair colour, 

And pleasant in a woman's ee." 

What the lady said, John Stewart writ; 

To Argyle Castle sent it he; 
His bag and his dish and showing horn 

Unto three beggars he gave them all three. 



And when Willie Stewart saw the letter, 

Forth of care-bed then lope he; 310 

He thought himself as lusty and sound 
As any man in that country. 

He mustered together his merrymen all, 

He mustered them so lovingly; 
He thought he had had scarce half a hundred, 

Then had he eleven score and three. 

He chose forth a hundred of the best 
That were to be found in that company, 

And presently they took their horse, 

And to Martingsdale posted he. 320 

And when he came to Martingsdale, 
He found his love staying there truly; 

For she was a lady true of love, 

And was there by the sun was a quarter high. 

She kissed William Stewart and his brother John, 

So did she part of his merry men. 
"If the churl thy father he were here, 

He should not have thee back again ! " 



WILL STEWART AND JOHN 113 

They sent for the priest,, they sent for the clerk, 
And they were married there with speed; 330 

William took the lady home with him, 
And they lived together long time indeed. 

And when twelve months had come and gone, 

The lady then she bore a child; 
They sent John Stewart to the Earl of Mar 

To come and christen the barne so mild. 

"I had rather make thee Earl of Mar, 

And marry my daughter unto thee; 
For by my faith," says the Earl of Mar, 

"Her marriage is marred in our country." 340 

u lf this be so," then says John Stewart, 
U A marriage soon that thou shalt. see; 

For my brother William, my father's heir, 
Shall marry thy daughter before thine eye." 

They sent for priest, they sent for clerk, 
And married there they were with speed; 

And William Stewart is Earl of Mar, 

And his father-in-law dwells with him indeed. 



114 OLD BALLADS 



BEWICK AND GRAHAME 

Old Grahame lie is to Carlisle gone, 

Where Sir Robert Bewick there met he; 

In arms to the wine they are gone, 
And drank till they were both merry. 

Old Grahame he took up the cup, 

And said, "Brother Bewick, here's to thee, 
And here's to our two sons at home, 

For they live best in our country." 




"Nay, were thy son as good as mine, 

And of some books could he but read, 10 

With sword and buckler by his side, 

To see how he could save his head; 

"They might have been call'd two bold brethren 

Where ever they did go or ride; 
They might have been call'd two bold brethren, 

They might have crack'd the Border-side. 

"Thy son is bad, and is but a lad, 

And bully to my son cannot be; 
For my son Bewick can both write and read, 

And sure I am that cannot he." 20 

"I put him to school, but he would not learn, 
I bought him books but he would not read; 

But my blessing he's never have 

Till I see how his hand can save his head." 



BEWICK AND GRAHAME 115 

Old G-rahame called for an account, 

And he ask'd what was for to pay; 
There he paid a crown, so it went round, 

Which was all for good wine and hay. 

Old Grrahame is into the stable gone, 

Where stood thirty good steeds and three; 30 
He's taken his own steed by the head, 

And home rode he right wantonly. 

When he came home, there did he espy 

A loving sight to spy or see, 
There did he espy his own three sons, 

Young Christy Grahame, the foremost was he. 

There did he espy his own three sons, 

Young Christy Grahame, the foremost was he; 

"Where have you been all day, father, 

That no counsel you would take by me?" 40 

" Nay, I have been in Carlisle town, 

Where Sir Robert Bewick there met me; 

He said thou was bad, and calFd thee a lad, 
And a baffled man by thou I be. 

" He said thou was bad, and call'd thee a lad, 

And bully to his son cannot be; 
For his son Bewick can both write and read, 

And sure I am that cannot thee. 

"I put thee to school, but thou would not learn, 
I bought thee books, but thou would not read ; 50 

But my blessing thou's never have 

Till I see with Bewick thou can save thy head." 

82 




116 OLD BALLADS 

"Oh, pray forbear, my father dear; 

That ever such a thing should be! 
Shall I venture my body in field to fight 

With a man that's faith and troth to me?" 

"What's that thou sayst, thou limmer loon? 

Or how dare thou stand to speak to me? 
If thou do not end this quarrel soon, 

Here is my glove, thou shalt fight me." 63 

Christy stoop'd low unto the ground, 
Unto the ground, as you'll understand; 

"0 father, put on your glove again, 

The wind hath blown it from your hand." 

" What 's that thou sayst, thou liinmer loon ? 

Or how dare thou stand to speak to me? 
If thou do not end this quarrel soon, 

Here is my hand, thou shalt fight me." 

Christy Grahame is to his chamber gone, 

And for to study, as well might be, 70 

Whether to fight with his father dear, 
Or with his bully Bewick he. 

"If it be my fortune my bully to kill, 

As you shall boldly understand, 
In every town that I ride through, 

They '11 say, There rides a brotherless man ! 

"Nay, for to kill my bully dear, 

I think it will be a deadly sin; 
And for to kill my father dear, 

The blessing of heaven I ne'er shall win. 80 



BEWICK AND GRAHAME 117 

"0 give me your blessing, father/' he said, 
"And pray well for me for to thrive; 

If it be my fortune my bully to kill, 
I swear I'll ne'er come home alive." 

He put on his back a good plate-jack, 

And on his head a cap of steel, 
With sword and buckler by his side; 

gin he did not become them well! 

"0 fare thee well, my father dear! 

And fare thee well, thou Carlisle town! 90 

If it be my fortune my bully to kill, 

1 swear I'll ne'er eat bread again." 

Now we'll leave talking of Christy Grrahame, 

And talk of him again belive; 
But we will talk of bonny Bewick, 

Where he was teaching his scholars five. 

Now when he had learn'd them well to fence, 
To handle their swords without any doubt, 

He's taken his own sword under his arm, 

And walk'd his father's close about. 100 

He look'd between him and the sun, 

To see what farleys he could see; 
There he spy'd a man with armour on, 

As he came riding over the lee. 

"I wonder much what man yon be 
That so boldly this way does come; 

I think it is my nighest friend, 
I think it is my bully Grrahame. 



118 OLD BALLADS 

" O welcome, O welcome, bully Grahame ! 
O man, thou art my dear, welcome ! 

man, thou art my dear, welcome! 
For I love thee best in Christendom." 

" Away, away, bully Bewick, 

And of thy bullyship let me be! 
The day is come I never thought on; 

Bully, I'm come here to fight with thee." 

"0 no! not so, O bully Grahame! 

That e'er such a word should spoken be! 

1 was thy master, thou was my scholar; 

So well as I have learned thee." 120 

"My father he was in Carlisle town, 
Where thy father Bewick there met he; 

He said I was bad, and he call'd me a lad, 
And a baffled man by thou I be." 

"Away, away, O bully Grahame, 

And of all that talk, man, let us be! 

We'll take three men of either side 
To see if we can our fathers agree." 

"Away, away, bully Bewick, 

And of thy bullyship let me be ! 130 

But if thou be a man, as I trow thou art, 

Come over this ditch and fight with me." 

" no, not so, my bully Grahame ! 

That e'er such a word should spoken be ! 
Shall I venture my body in field to fight 

With a man that's faith and troth to me?" 



BEWICK AND GRAHAME 119 

"Away, away, O bully Bewick, 

And of all that care, man, let us be ! 

If thou be a man, as I trow thou art, 

Come over this ditch and fight with me." 140 

''Now, if it be my fortune thee, Grahame, to kill, 
As God's will 's, man, it all must be : 

But if it be my fortune thee, Grahame, to kill, 
'Tis home again I'll never gae." 

"Thou art then of my mind, bully Bewick, 

And sworn-brethren will we be; 
If thou be a man, as I trow thou art, 

Come over this ditch and fight with me." 

He flang his cloak from off his shoulders, 

His psalm-book out of his hand flang he, 150 

He clapp'd his hand upon the hedge, 
And o'er lap he right wantonly. 

When Grahame did see his bully come, 
The salt tear stood long in his eye; 

"Now needs must I say that thou art a man, 
That dare venture thy body to fight with me. 

"Now I have a harness on my back; 

I know that thou hath none on thine; 
But as little as thou hath on thy back, 

Sure as little shall there be on mine." 160 

He flang his jack from off his back, 
His steel cap from his head flang he; 

He's taken his sword into his hand, 
He's tied his horse unto a tree. 




120 OLD BALLADS 

Now they fell to it with two broad swords, 
For two long hours fought Bewick and he; 

Much sweat was to be seen on them both, 
But never a drop of blood to see. 

Now Grahame gave Bewick an ackward stroke, 
An ackward stroke surely struck he; 170 

He struck him now under the left breast, 
Then down to the ground as dead fell he. 

"Arise, arise, O bully Bewick, 

Arise, and speak three words to me ! 

Whether this be thy deadly wound, 

Or Grod and good surgeons will mend thee." 



"0 horse, horse, bully Grahame, 
And pray do get thee far from me! 

Thy sword is sharp, it hath wounded my heart, 
And so no further can I gae. 180 

"0 horse, horse, bully Grahame, 
And get thee far from me with speed! 

And get thee out of this country quite, 

That none may know who's done the deed/' 

"0 if this be true, my bully dear, 
The words that thou dost tell to me, 

The vow I made, and the vow I'll keep; 
I swear I'll be the first to die." 

Then he stuck his sword in a moudie-hill, 

Where he lap thirty good foot and three; 190 

First he bequeathed his soul to G-od, 
And upon his own sword-point lap he. 



BEWICK AND GRAHAME 121 

Now Grahame he was the first that died, 
And then came Robin Bewick to see; 

"Arise, arise, son," he said, 

" For I see thou 's won the victory. 

"Arise, arise, son/ 7 he said, 

"For I see thou's won the victory." 

"Father, could ye not drunk your wine at home, 
And letten me and my brother be? 200 

" Nay, dig a grave both low and wide, 

And in it us two pray bury; 
But bury my bully Grahame on the sun-side, 

For I'm sure he's won the victory." 

Now we'll leave talking of these two brethren, 
In Carlisle town where they lie slain, 

And talk of these two good old men, 
Where they were making a pitiful moan. 

With that bespoke now Robin Bewick; 

"0 man, was I not much to blame? 210 

I have lost one of the liveliest lads 

That ever was bred unto my name." 

With that bespoke my good lord Grahame; 

"0 man, I have lost the better block; 
I have lost my comfort and my joy, 

I have lost my key, I have lost my lock. 

"Had I gone through all Ladderdale, 

And forty horse had set on me, 
Had Christy Grahame been at my back, 

So well as he would guarded me." 220 



122 OLD BALLADS 

I have no of more my song to sing, 

But two or three words to you I'll name; 

But 'twill be talk'd in Carlisle town 

That these two old men were all the blame. 




DICK 0' THE COW 

Now Liddisdale has long lain in, 

There is no riding there at a'; 
Their horse is growing so lidder and fatt 

That are lazie in the sta'. 

Then Johnie Armstrong to Willie can say, 

"Billie, a riding then will we; 
England and us has been long at a feed; 

Perhaps we may hitt of some bootie." 

Then they're com'd on to Hutton Hall, 

They rade that proper place about; 10 

But the laird he was the wiser man, 
For he had left nae gear without. 

Then he had left nae gear to steal, 

Except six sheep upon a lee; 
Says Johnie, " I 'd rather in England die, 

Before their six sheep gaed to Liddisdale with me. 

"But how call'd they the man we last with mett, 

Billie, as we came over the know?" 
"That same he is an innocent fool, 

And some men calls him Dick o' the Cow." 20 



DICK O' THE COW 123 

"That fool has three as good kine of his own 
As is in a,' Cumberland, billie," quoth he; 

"Betide my life, betide my death, 

These three kine shall go to Liddisdale with me." 

Then they're com'd on to the poor fooFs house, 
And they have broken his walls so wide; 

They have loosed out Dick o' the Cow's kine three, 
And ta'en three coverlets off his wife's bed. 

Then on the morn, when the day grew light, 

The shouts and crys rose loud and high; 30 

"Hold thy tongue, my wife/' he says, 
"And of thy crying let me bee. 

"Hald thy tongue, my wife," he says, 

"And of thy crying let me bee, 
And ay that where thou wants a kow, 

Grood sooth that I shall bring thee three." 

Then Dick's com'd on to lord and master, 

And I wot a drearie fool was he; 
"Hald thy tongue, my fool," he says, 

"For I may not stand to jest with thee." 40 

" Shame speed a' your jesting, my lord," quo' Dickie, 
"For nae such jesting 'grees with me; 

Liddisdale has been in my house this last night, 
And they have ta'en my three kine from me. 

"But I may nae langer in Cumberland dwell, 

To be your poor fool and your leal, 
Unless ye give me leave, my lord, 

To go to Liddisdale and steal." 




124 OLD BALLADS 

"To give thee leave, my fool," lie says, 

"Thou speaks against mine honour and me; 

Unless thou.give me thy troth and thy right hand, 
Thou '1 steal f rae nane but them that sta' from thee." 

" There is my troth and my right hand; 

My head shall hing on Hairibie, 
I'll never cross Carlisle sands again, 

If I steal frae a man but them that sta' frae me." 

Dickie has ta'en leave at lord and master, 

And I wot a merrie fool was he; 
He has bought a bridle and a pair of new spurs, 

And has packed them up in his breek-thigh. 60 

Then Dickie's come on for Puddinburn, 

Even as fast as he may drie; 
Dickie's come on for Puddinburn, 

Where there was thirty Armstrongs and three. 

"What's this com'd on me!" quo' Dickie, 
"What mickle wae's this happen'd on me, 

Where here is but ae innocent fool, 

And there is thirty Armstrongs and three!" 

Yet he's com'd up to the hall among them all; 

So wel he became his courtesie; 70 

"Well may ye be, my good Laird's Jock, 

But the deil bless all your companie ! 

"I'm come to plain of your man Fair Johnie Arm- 
strong, 

And syne his billie Willie," quo' he; 
"How they have been in my house this last night, 

And they have ta'en my three kye frae me." 



DICK O' THE COW 125 

Quo' Johnie Armstrong, "We'll him hang;" 
"Nay/' then quo' Willie, "we'll him slae; 

We'll nit him in a four-nooked sheet, 

Give him his burden of batts, and let him gae." 80 

Then up bespake the good Laird's Jock, 

The best falla in the companie; 
"Sit thy way down a little while, Dickie, 

And a piece of thine own cow's hough I'll give to. 
thee." 

But Dickie's heart it grew so great 

That never a bit of it he dought to eat; 

But Dickie was ware of ane auld peat-house, 

Where there all the night he thought for to sleep. 

Then Dickie was ware of that auld peat-house, 

Where there all the night he thought for to lie ; 90- 

And a' the prayers the poor fool prayed was, 

"I wish I had a mense for my own three kye!" 

Then it was the use of Puddinburn, 

And the house of Manger to un, all hail ! 

These that came not at the first call 

They got no more meat till the next meal. 

The lads, that hungry and aevery was, 
Above the door-head they flang the key. 

Dickie took good notice to that; 

Says, "There's a bootie yonder for me." ioa 

Then Dickie 's gane into the stable, 

Where there stood thirty horse and three; 

He has ty'd them a' with St Mary knot, 
All these horse but barely three. 



126 OLD BALLADS 






He has ty'd them a' with St Mary knot, 

All these horse but barely three; 
He has loupen on one, taken another in his hand,, 

And out at the door and gane is Dickie. 

Then on the morn, when the day grew light, 
The shouts and cries rose loud and high; 

"What's that thief?" quo' the good Laird's Jock, 
"Tel me the truth and the verity. 

"What's that thief?" quo' the good Laird's Jock, 

"See unto me ye do not lie." 
"Dick o' the Cow has been in the stable this last night, 

And has my brother's horse and mine frae me." 

"Ye wad never be tell'd it," quo' the Laird's Jock, 
" Have ye not found my tales f u' leal ? 

Ye wad never out of England bide, 

Till crooked and blind and a' wad steal." 120 

"But will thou lend me thy bay?" Fair Johnie 
Armstrong can say, 

"There's nae horse loose in the stable but he; 
And I'll either bring ye Dick o' the Cow again, 

Or the day is come that he must die." 

"To lend thee my bay," the Laird's Jock can say, 
"He's both worth gold and good monie; 

Dick o' the Cow has away twa horse, 
I wish no thou should make him three." 

He has ta'en the Laird's jack on his back, 

The twa-handed sword that hang leugh by his 
thigh; 130 

He has ta'en the steel cap on his head, 
And on is he to follow Dickie. 



DICK O' THE COW 127 

Then Dickie was not a mile off the town, 

I wot a mile but barely three, 
Till John Armstrong has o'erta'en Dick o' the Cow, 

Hand for hand on Cannobie lee. 

"Abide thee, bide now, Dickie, then, 
The day is come that thou must die." 

Dickie looked o'er his left shoulder, 

"Johnie, has thou any mo in thy company? 140 

"There is a preacher in our chapell, 

And a' the lee-lang day teaches he; 
When day is gane, and night is come, 

There 's never a word I mark but three. 

"The first and second's Faith and Conscience, 
The third is, Johnie, Take heed of thee! 

But what faith and conscience had thou, traitor, 
When thou took my three kye frae me? 

"And when thou had ta'en my three kye, 

Thou thought in thy heart thou was no well sped; 150 

But thou sent thy billie Willie o'er the know, 
And he took three co'erlets off my wife's bed." 

Then Johnie let a spear fa' leugh by his thigh, 
Thought well to run the innocent through, 

But the powers above was more than his, 
He ran but the poor fool's jerkin through. 

Together they ran or ever they blan; 

This was Dickie the fool, and he; 
Dickie could not win to him with the blade of the 
sword, 

But he fell'd him with the plummet under the eye. 160 



128 OLD BALLADS 

Now Dickie has fell'd Fair Johnie Armstrong, 
The prettiest man in the south country; 

"Gramercie," then can Dickie say, 

"I had twa horse, thou has made me three/ 7 

He has ta'en the laird's jack off his back, 

The twa-handed sword that hang leugh by his thigh; 

He has ta'en the steel cap off his head; 

" Johnie, I'll tell my master I met with thee." 



When Johnie waken'd out of his dream, 

I wot a dreary man was he; 170 

"Is thou gane now, Dickie, then? 
The shame gae in thy company ! 

"Is thou gane now, Dickie, then? 

The shame go in thy companie! 
For if I should live this hundred year, 

I shall never fight with a fool after thee." 

Then Dickie corned home to lord and master, 

Even as fast as he may drie. 
"Now, Dickie, I shall neither eat meat nor drink 

Till high hanged that thou shall be!" 180 

"The shame speed the liars, my lord!" quo' Dickie, 
" That was no the promise ye made to me ; 

For I'd never gane to Liddisdale to steal 
Till that I sought my leave at thee." 

" But what gart thou steal the Laird's Jock's horse ? 

And, limmer, what gart thou steal him ? " quo' he ; 
"For lang might thou in Cumberland dwelt 

Or the Laird's Jock had stoln ought frae thee." 



DICK O* THE COW 129 

" Indeed I wot ye lee'd, my lord, 

And even so loud as I hear ye lie; 190 

I wan him frae his man, Fair Johnie Armstrong, 

Hand for hand on Cannobie lee. 

" There 's the jack was on his back, 

The twa-handed sword that hung leugh by his 

thigh; 
There's the steel cap was on his head; 

I have a' these tokens to let you see." 

"If that be true thou to me tells 

(I trow thou dare not tell a lie), 
I'll give thee twenty pound for the good horse, 

Well telPd in thy cloak-lap shall be. 200 

"And I'll give thee one of my best milk-kye 
To maintain thy wife and children three; 

And that may be as good, I think, 
As ony twa o' thine might be." 

"The shame speed the liars, iny lord!" quo' Dickie; 

" Trow ye ay to make a fool of me ? 
I'll either have thirty pound for the good horse, 

Or else he's gae to Mattan fair wi' me." 

Then he has given him thirty pound for the good 
horse, 

All in gold and good monie; 210 

He has given him one of his best milk-kye 

To maintain his wife and children three. 

Then Dickie 's come down through Carlisle town, 

Even as fast as he may drie. 
The first of men that he with met 

Was my lord's brother, Bailiff Grlazenberrie. 

s. 9 




130 OLD BALLADS 

"Well may ye be, my good Ralph Scrupe!" 
"Welcome, my brother's fool!" quo 5 he; 

"Where did thou get Fair Johnie Armstrong's horse ?" 
" Where did I get him but steal him," quo' he. 220 

te But will thou sell me Fair Johnie Armstrong's horse ? 

And, billie, will thou sell him to me ? " 
"Ay, and thou tell me the monie on my cloak-lap, 

For there's not one farthing I'll trust thee." 

"I'll give thee fifteen pound for the good horse, 

Well told on thy cloak-lap shall be; 
And I'll give thee one of my best milk-kye 

To maintain thy wife and thy children three." 

" The shame speed the liars, my lord ! " quo' Dickie, 
" Trow ye ay to make a fool of me ? 230 

I'll either have thirty pound for the good horse, 
Or else he's to Mattan Fair with me." 

He has given him thirty pound for the good horse, 

All in gold and good monie; 
He has given him one of his best milk-kye 

To maintain his wife and children three. 

Then Dickie lap a loup on high, 

And I wot a loud laughter leugh he; 

"I wish the neck of the third horse were broken, 
For I have a better of my own, and onie better 
can be." 240 

Then Dickie com'd hame to his wife again. 

Judge ye how the poor fool he sped! 
He has given her three score of English pounds 

For the three auld co'erlets was ta'en off her bed. 



DICK O' THE COW 131 

"Hae, take thee there twa as good kye, 

I trow, as all thy three might be; 
And yet here is a white-footed nag, 

I think he '11 carry both thee and me. 

"But I may no langer in Cumberland dwell; 

The Armstrongs they'll hang me high." 250 

But Dickie has ta'en leave at lord and master, 

And Burgh under Stanemuir there dwells Dickie. 



JOHN O' THE SIDE 

Peter o' Whitfield he hath slain, 

And John o' Side, he is ta'en, 
And John is bound both hand and foot, 

And to the New-castle he is gane. 

But tidings came to the Sybil o' the Side, 

By the water-side as she ran; 
She took her kirdle by the hem, 

And fast she run to Mangerton. 

[When she came into the hall,] 

The lord was set down at his meat; 10 

When these tidings she did him tell, 

Never a morsel might he eat. 

But lords they wrung their fingers white, 
Ladies did pull themselves by the hair, 

Crying "Alas and welladay! 

For John o' the Side we shall never see mair. 

92 





132 OLD BALLADS 

"But we 'II go sell our droves of kine, 

And after them our oxen sell, 
And after them our troops of sheep, 

But we will loose him out of the New Castell." 20 

But then bespake him Hobby Noble, 
And spoke these words wondrous high; 

Says, "Give me five men to myself, 
And I'll fetch John o' the Side to thee." 

"Yea, thou'st have five, Hobby Noble, 
Of the best that are in this country; 

I'll give thee five thousand, Hobby Noble, 
That walk in Tyvidale truly." 

"Nay, I'll have but five," says Hobby Noble, 
"That shall walk away with me; 30 

We will ride like no men of war, 
But like poor badgers we will be." 

They stuffed up all their bags with straw, 

And their steeds barefoot must be; 
"Come on, my brethren," says Hobby Noble, 

"Come on your ways, and go with me." 

And when they came to Culerton ford, 
The water was up, they could it not go; 

And then they were ware of a good old man, 
How his boy and he were at the plough. 40 

"But stand you still," says Hobby Noble, 

"Stand you still here at this shore, 
And I will ride to yonder old man, 

And see where the gate it lies o'er. 



JOHN O' THE SIDE 133 

"But Christ you save, father!" quoth he, 

" Christ both you save and see ! 
Where is the way over this ford ? 

For Christ's sake tell it me." 

"But I have dwelled here three score year, 
So have I done three score and three; 50 

I never saw man nor horse go o'er, 
Except it were a horse of tree." 

"But fare thou well, thou good old man! 

The devil in hell I leave with thee, 
No better comfort here this night 

Thou gives my brethren here and me." 

But when he came to his brether again, 

And told this tidings full of woe, 
And then they found a well-good gate 

They might ride o'er by two and two. 60 

And when they were come over the ford, 

All safe gotten at the last, 
"Thanks be to Grod!" says Hobby Noble, 

"The worst of our peril is past." 

And then they came into Howbrame wood, 
And there then they found a tree, 

And cut it down then by the root; 
The length was thirty foot and three. 

And four of them did take the plank, 

As light as it had been a flea, 70 

And carried it to the New Castle, 
Where as John o' Side did lie. 




134 OLD BALLADS 

And some did climb up by the walls, 
And some did climb up by the tree, 

Until they came up to the top of the castle, 
Where John made his moan truly. 

He said, "God be with thee, Sybil o' the Side! 

My own mother thou art," quoth he; 
"If thou knew this night I were here, 

A woe woman then wouldst thou be. 80 

" And fare you well, Lord Mangerton ! 

And ever I say God be with thee! 
For if you knew this night I were here, 

You would sell your land for to loose me. 

" And fare thou well, Much, Miller's son ! 

Much, Miller's son, I say; 
Thou has been better at mirk midnight 

Than ever thou was at noon o' the day. 

"And fare thou well, my good lord Clough! 

Thou art thy father's son and heir; 90 

Thou never saw him in all thy life 

But with him durst thou break a spear. 

"We are brothers childer nine or ten, 

And sisters children ten or eleven; 
We never came to the field to fight 

But the worst of us was counted a man." 

But then bespake him Hobby Noble, 

And spake these words unto him; 
Says, " Sleepest thou, wakest thou, John o' the Side, 

Or art thou this castle within?" 100 



JOHN O' THE SIDE 135 

"But who is there," quoth John o } the Side, 
"That knows my name so right and free?" 

" I am a bastard-brother of thine ; 
This night I am comen for to loose thee." 

" Now nay, now nay," quoth John o' the Side, 

"It fears me sore that will not be, 
For a peck of gold and silver," John said, 

"In faith this night will not loose me." 

But then bespake him Hobby Noble, 

And till his brother thus said he; no 

Says, "Four shall take this matter in hand, 

And two shall tent our geldings free." 

Four did break one door without, 

Then John brake five himsel'; 
But when they came to the iron door, 

It smote twelve upon the bell. 

"It fears me sore," said Much, the Miller, 
"That here taken we all shall be;" 

"But go away, brethren," said John o' Side, 
" For ever alas ! this will not be." 120 

" But fie upon thee ! " said Hobby Noble ; 

"Much, the Miller, fie upon thee! 
It sore fears me," said Hobby Noble, 

"Man that thou wilt never be." 

But then he had Flanders files two or three, 

And he filed down that iron door, 
And took John out of the New Castle, 

And said "Look thou never come here more!" 



136 OLD BALLADS 

When lie had him forth of the New Castle, 
"Away with me, John, thou shalt ride." 

But ever alas! it could not be, 

For John could neither sit nor stride. 

But then he had sheets two or three, 
And bound John's bolts fast to his feet, 

And set him on a well-good steed, 
Himself on another by him set. 

Then Hobby Noble smiled and lough, 
And spoke these words in mickle pride; 

"Thou sits so finely on thy gelding 

That, John, thou rides like a bride." 140 

And when they came thorough Howbrame town, 
John's horse there stumbled at a stane; 

"Out and alas!" cried Much, the Miller, 
"John, thou '11 make us all be ta'en." 

" But fie upon thee ! " says Hobby Noble, 

"Much, the Miller, fie on thee! 
I know full well," says Hobby Noble, 

"Man that thou wilt never be." 

And when they came into Howbrame wood, 

He had Flanders files two or three 150 

To file John's bolts beside his feet, 
That he might ride more easily. 

Says " John, now leap over a steed ! " 

And John then he lope over five. 
"I know well," says Hobby Noble, 

"John, thy fellow is not alive." 



JOHN O* THE SIDE 137 

Then he brought him home to Mangerton; 

The lord then he was at his meat; 
But when John o' the Side he there did see, 

For fain he could no more eat. 160 

He says " Blest be thou, Hobby Noble, 

That ever thou wast man born! 
Thou hast fetched us home good John o' the Side, 

That was now clean from us gone." 



SIR HUGH IN THE GRIME 

Good Lord John is a hunting gone, 

Over the hills and dales so fair, 
For to take Sir Hugh in the Grime, 

For stealing of the bishop's mare. 

Hugh in the Grime was taken then 

And carried to Carlisle town; 
The merry women came out amain, 

Saying " The name of Grime shall never go down." 

then a jury of women was brought, 

Of the best that could be found; 10 

Eleven of them spoke all at once, 

Saying " The name of Grime shall never go down." 

And then a jury of men was brought, 

More the pity for to be! 
Eleven of them spoke all at once, 

Saying "Hugh in the Grime, you are guilty." 




138 OLD BALLADS 

Hugh in the Grime was cast to be hang'd, 
Many of his friends did for him lack; 

For fifteen foot in the prison he did jump, 
With his hands tied fast behind his back. 



Then bespoke our good Lady Ward, 

As she set on the bench so high; 
"A peck of white pennys I'll give to my lord, 

If he'll grant Hugh Grime to me. 

"And if it be not full enough, 

I'll stroke it up with my silver fan; 

And if it be not full enough, 

I'll heap it up with my own hand." 

"Hold your tongue now, Lady Ward, 

And of your talkitive let it be ! 30 

There is never a Grime came in this court 
That at thy bidding shall saved be." 

Then bespoke our good Lady Moor, 

As she sat on the bench so high; 
" A yoke of fat oxen I '11 give to my lord, 

If he'll grant Hugh Grime to me." 

"Hold your tongue now, good Lady Moor, 

And of your talkitive let it be! 
There is never a Grime came to this court 

That at thy bidding saved shall be." 40 

Sir Hugh in the Grime look'd out of the door, 

With his hand out of the bar; 
There he spy'd his father dear, 

Tearing of his golden hair. 



SIR HUGH IN THE GRIME 139 

"Hold your tongue, good father dear, 

And of your weeping let it be ! 
For if they bereave me of my life, 

They cannot bereave me of the heavens so high." 

Sir Hugh in the Grime look'd out at the door; 

Oh, what a sorry heart had he ! 5 

There he spy'd his mother dear, 

Weeping and wailing " Oh, woe is me ! " 

" Hold your tongue now, mother dear, 

And of your weeping let it be ! 
For if they bereave me of my life, 

They cannot bereave me of heaven's fee. 

"I'll leave my sword to Johnny Armstrong, 

That is made of metal so fine, 
That when he comes to the border-side 

He may think of Hugh in the Grime." 60 



THE BRAES OF YARROW 

"I dreamed a dreary dream this night, 
That fills my heart wi' sorrow; 

I dreamed I was pouing the heather green 
Upon the braes of Yarrow. 

"0 true-luve mine, stay still and dine, 

As ye ha' done before, 0;" 
"0 I'll be hame by hours nine, 

And frae the braes of Yarrow." 



140 OLD BALLADS 

"I dreamed a dreary dream this night, 
That fills my heart wi' sorrow; 

I dreamed my luve came headless hame, 
O frae the braes of Yarrow! 

"0 true-luve mine, stay still and dine, 
As ye ha 7 done before, 0;" 

"0 I'll be hame by hours nine, 
And frae the braes of Yarrow." 

"0 are ye going to hawk," she says, 
" As ye ha' done before, O ? 

Or are ye going to wield your brand, 
Upon the braes of Yarrow?" 

"01 am not going to hawk," he says, 
"As I have done before, 0, 

But for to meet your brother John, 
Upon the braes of Yarrow." 

As he gaed down yon dowy den, 
Sorrow went him before, 0; 

Nine well-wight men lay waiting him, 
Upon the braes of Yarrow. 

"I have your sister to my wife, 
Ye think me an unmeet marrow; 

But yet one foot will I never flee 
Now frae the braes of Yarrow." 

Then four he kill'd and five did wound, 
That was an unmeet marrow ! 

And he had weel nigh won the day 
Upon the braes of Yarrow. 



THE BRAES OF YARROW 141 

But a cowardly loon came him behind, 

Our Lady lend him sorrow ! 
And wi' a rapier pierced his*heart, 

And laid him low on Yarrow. 40 

Now Douglas to his sister's gane, 

Wi' meikle dule and sorrow: 
"Gae to your luve, sister," he says, 

"He's sleeping sound on Yarrow." 

As she went down yon dowy den, 

Sorrow went her before, 0; 
She saw her true-love lying slain 

Upon the braes of Yarrow. 

She swooned thrice upon his breast 

That was her dearest marrow; 5 

Said, "Ever alas, and wae the day 

Thou went'st frae me to Yarrow!" 

She kist his mouth, she kaimed his hair, 

As she had done before, 0; 
She wiped the blood that trickled doun 

Upon the braes of Yarrow. 

Her hair it was three quarters lang, 

It hang baith side and yellow; 
She tied it round her white hause-bane, 

And tint her life on Yarrow. 60 



142 OLD BALLADS 



SIR PATRICK SPENCE 

The king sits in Dumferling toune, 

Drinking the blude-reid wine: 
"O whare will I get a guid sailor, 

To sail this schip of mine?" 

Up and spake an eldern knicht, 

Sat at the king's richt knee. 
"Sir Patrick Spence is the best sailor 

That sails upon the sea." 

The king has written a braid letter, 
And signed it wi' his hand, 10 

And sent it to Sir Patrick Spence, 
Was walking on the sand. 

The first line that Sir Patrick read, 

A loud lauch lauched he; 
The next line that Sir Patrick read, 

The teir blinded his ee. 

"0 wha is this has done this deid, 

This ill deid done to me? 
To send me out this time o' the yeir, 

To sail upon the sea! 20 

" Make haste, make haste, my merry men all, 
Our guid schip sails the morne ! " 

"0 say na sae, my master deir, 
For I feir a deadlie storme. 



SIR PATRICK SPENCE 143 

" Late, late yestreen I saw the new moone 

Wi } the auld moone in hir arme, 
And I feir, I feir, my deir master, 

That we will cum to harme." 



our Scots nobles wer richt laith 

To weet their cork-heil'd schoone; 30 

But lang ere a,' the play were played, 

Their hats they swam aboone. 

lang, lang may their ladies sit 

Wi' their fans into their hand 
Or ere they see Sir Patrick Spence 

Cum sailing to the land. 

O lang, lang may the ladies stand, 

Wi' their gold kerns in their hair, 
Waiting for their ain deir lords, 

For they '11 see them na mair. 40 

Haf owre, haf owre to Aberdour, 

It's fiftie f adorn deip, 
And there lies guid Sir Patrick Spence, 

Wi' the Scots lords at his feit. 





144 OLD BALLADS 



THE GARDENER 

The gardener stands in his bower-door, 

With a primrose in his hand, 
And by there came a leal maiden, 

As jimp's a willow wand. 

"0 lady, can you fancy me, 

For to be my bride? 
You'll get a' the flowers in my garden 

To be to you a weed. 

"The lily white shall be your smock, 

Becomes your body neat; 10 

And your head shall be deck'd with jelly flower, 

And the primrose in your breast. 

"Your gown shall be o' the sweet-william, 

Your coat o' camovine, 
And your apron o' the salads neat, 

That taste baith sweet and fine. 

"Your stockings shall be o' the broad kail-blade, 

That is baith broad and long; 
And narrow, narrow at the coot, 

And broad, broad at the brawn. 20 

"Your gloves shall be the marigold 

All glittering to your hand, 
Well spread o'er wr 5 the blue blaewort, 

That grows in corn-land." 



THE GARDENER 145 

" fare you well, young man," she says, 

" Farewell, and I bid adieu ; 
[O fare you well, young man/' she says, 

For I cannot fancy you.] 

" Since you Ve provided a weed for me 

Among the summer flowers, 30 

Then I'll provide another for you 

Among the winter showers. 

"The new-fallen snow to be your smock, 

Becomes your body neat; 
And your head shall be decked with the eastern wind, 

And the cold rain on your breast." 



THOMAS 0' POTT 
[PART i] 

All you lords of Scotland fair, 

And ladies also bright of blee; 
There is a lady amongst them all, 

Of her report you shall hear of me. 

Of her beauty she is so bright, 

And of her colour so bright of blee; 

She is daughter to the Lord Arundel, 
His heir-apparent for to be. 

"I'll see that bride," Lord Phenix says, 

"That is a lady of high degree, 10 

And if I like her countenance well, 
The heir of all my land she'st be." 

s. 10 



146 OLD BALLADS 

To that lady fair lord Phenix came, 
And to that likesome dame said he; 

"Now G-od thee save, my lady fair, 
The heir of all my land thou'st be." 

"Leave off your suit," the lady said; 

"You are a lord of honour free; 
You may get ladies eriow at home, 

And I have a love in mine own country. 20 

"I have a lover true of mine own, 
A serving-man of a small degree ; 

Thomas o' Pott it is his name; 
My first and last love he shall be." 

"Gif Thomas o' Pott then be his name, 

I wot I ken him so readily; 
I can spend forty pounds by week, 

And he cannot spend poundes three." 

"Grod give you good of your gold," she said, 
" And also, sir, of your fee ! 30 

He was the first love that ever I had, 
And the last, sir, he shall be." 

With that Lord Phenix was sore amoved; 

Unto her father then went he; 
He told her father how it was proved 

How that his daughter's mind was set. 

"Thou art my daughter," Lord Arundel said, 

"The heir of all my land to be; 
Thou'st be bride to the Lord Phenix, 

Daughter, gif thou'll be heir to me." 40 



THOMAS O' POTT 147 

For lack of her love this lady must lose, 

Her foolish wooing lay all aside; 
The day is appointed and friends are agreed; 

She is forced to be the Lord Phenix bride. 

With that the lady began to muse; 

A grieved woman, Grod wot, was she ; 
How she might Lord Phenix beguile, 

And scape unmarried from him that day. 

She called to her her little foot-page, 
To Jack her boy, so tenderly; 50 

Says, " Come thou hither, thou little foot-page, 
For indeed I dare trust none but thee. 

"To Strawberry Castle, boy, thou must go, 
To Thomas Pott, thereas he can be, 

And give him here this letter fair, 

And on Grilford Green bid him meet me. 

" Look thou mark his countenance well, 

And his colour tell to me; 
And hie thee fast and come again, 

And forty shillings I will give thee. 60 

"For if he blushes in his face, 

Then in his heart he's sorry be; 
Then let my father say what he will, 

For false to Potts I'll never be. 

"And gif he smile then with his mouth, 

Then in his heart he'll merry be; 
Then may he get him a love where he can, 

For small of his company my part shall be." 

102 




148 OLD BALLADS 

Then one while that the boy he went, 

Another while, God wot, ran he; 
And when he came to Strawberry Castle, 
There Thomas Potts he see. 

Then he gave him this letter fair, 

And when he began then for to read, 

The boy had told him by word of mouth 
His love must be the Lord Phenix bride. 

With that, Thomas Potts began to blush; 

The teares trickled in his eye: 
"Indeed this letter I cannot read, 

Nor never a word to see or spy. 80 

" I pray thee, boy, to me thou '11 be true, 
And here's five mark I will give thee; 

And all these words thou must peruse 
And tell thy lady this from me. 

" By faith and troth she is mine own, 

By some part of promise so it's be found; 

Lord Phenix shall not have her, night nor day, 
Without he can win her with his hand. 

"On Gilford Green I will her meet; 

And bid that lady for me pray, 90 

For there I'll lose my life so sweet 

Or else the wedding I will stay." 

Then back again the boy he went, 

As fast again as he could hie; 
The lady met him five mile on the way: 

"Why hast thou stayed so long?" says she. 



THOMAS O' POTT 149 

"Boy," said the lady, "them art but young; 

To please my mind thou '11 mock and scorn; 
I will not believe thee on word of mouth 

Unless on this book thou wilt be sworn." 100 

"Marry, by this book," the boy can say, 
"As Christ himself be true to me, 

Thomas Potts could not his letter read 
For teares trickling in his eye." 

"If this be true," the lady said, 

"Thou bonny boy, thou tells to me, 

Forty shillings I did thee promise, 

But here's ten pounds I'll give it thee. 

"All my maids," the lady said, 

"That this day do wait on me, no 

We will fall down upon our knees; 

For Thomas Potts now pray will we. 

"If his fortune be now for to win 

We'll pray to Christ in Trinity 
I'll make him the flower of all his kin, 

For the Lord of Arundel he shall be." 

[PART n] 

Now let us leave talking of this lady fair, 
In her prayer good where she can be; 

And I'll tell you how Thomas o' Pott 

For aid to his lord and master came he. 120 

And when he came Lord Jocky before, 
He kneeled him low down on his knee. 

Says, "Thou art welcome, Thomas Potts, 
Thou art always full of thy courtesy. 




150 OLD BALLADS 

"Hast thou slain any of thy fellows, 

Or hast thou wrought me some villainy ? " 

" Sir, none of my fellows have I slain, 
Nor have I wrought you no villainy. 

"But I have a love in Scotland fair, 

I doubt I must lose her through poverty; 130 
If you will not believe me by word of mouth, 

Behold the letter she writ unto me ! " 

When Lord Jocky looked the letter upon, 

The tender words in it could be : 
"Thomas Potts, take thou no care, 

Thou'st never lose her through poverty. 

"Thou shalt have forty pounds a week, 

In gold and silver thou shalt row; 
And Harby town I will thee allow 

As long as thou dost mean to woo. 140 

"Thou shalt have forty of thy fellows fair, 

And forty horse to go with thee, 
And forty spears of the best I have, 

And I myself in thy company/ 7 

"I thank you, master," said Thomas Potts, 
"Neither man nor boy shall go with me; 

I would not for a thousand pounds 
Take one man in my company/' 

"Why, then, God be with thee, Thomas Potts! 

Thou art well known and proved for a man; 150 
Look thou shed no guiltless blood, 

Nor never confound no gentleman. 



THOMAS O' POTT 151 

"But look thou take with him some truce; 

Appoint a place of liberty; 
Let him provide as well as he can, 

And as well provided thou shalt be." 

And when Thomas Potts came to Gilford Green 

And walked there a little beside, 
Then was he ware of the Lord Phenix 

And with him Lady Rosamond his bride. 160 

Away by the bride rode Thomas o' Pott, 
But no word to her that he did say; 

But when he came Lord Phenix before 
He gave him the right time of the day. 

"O thou art welcome, Thomas o' Pott, 

Thou serving-man, welcome to me! 
How fares thy lord and master at home, 

And all the ladies in thy country ? " 

" Sir, my lord and master is in good health, 

I wot I ken it so readily; 170 

I pray you, will you ride to an outside, 
A word or two to talk with me? 

"You are a nobleman/' said Thomas o' Pott; 

"And born a lord in Scotland free; 
You may get ladies enow at home; 

You shall never take my love from me." 

"Away, away, thou Thomas o' Pott! 

Thou serving-man, stand thou aside ! 
There's not a serving-man this day, 

I wot, can hinder me of my bride." 180 



OLD BALLADS 

"If I be but a serving-man," said Thomas, 
"And you are a lord of honour free, 

A spear or two with you I'll run 
Before I'll lose her thus cowardly." 

"On Gilford Green I will thee meet, 
Nor man nor boy shall come with me." 

"As I am a man," said Thomas o' Pott, 
"I'll have as few in my company." 

With that, the wedding-day was stayed; 

The bride unmarried went home again; 
Then to her maidens fast she lough, 

And in her heart she was full fain. 

"But all my maids," the lady said, 

"That this day do wait on me, 
We'll fall down again upon our knees; 

For Thomas o' Pott now pray will we. 

"If his fortune be for to win 

We'll pray to Christ in Trinity 
I'll make him the flower of all his kin, 

For the Lord of Arundel he shall be." 200 

[PART in] 

Now let us leave talking of this lady fair, 
In her prayers good where she can be; 

I'll tell you the truth how Thomas o' Pott 
For aid to his lord again came he. 

And when he came to Strawberry Castle, 
To try for his lady he had but one week; 

Alack, for sorrow he cannot forbear, 
For four days then he fell sick. 



THOMAS O' POTT 153 

With that, his master to him came; 

Says, " Prithee tell me without all doubt, 210 
Whether hast thou gotten the bonny lady, 

Or thou maun gang the lady without?" 

"Marry, master, that matter is yet untried; 

Within two days tried must it be; 
He is a lord, I am but a serving-man; 

I doubt I must lose her through poverty." 

"Why, Thomas o' Pott, take thou no care, 

My former promises kept shall be; 
As I am a lord in Scotland fair, 

Thou'st never lose her through poverty. 220 

"Thou shalt have half my land a year, 
And that will raise thee many a pound; 

Before thou shalt lose thy bonny lady 

Thou shalt drop angels with him to the ground. 

"And thou shalt have forty of thy fellows fair, 

And forty horses to go with thee, 
And forty spears of the best I have, 

And I myself in thy company." 

"I thank you, master," said Thomas o' Pott; 

"But of one thing, sir, I would be fain; 230 
If I should lose my bonny lady, 

How shall I increase your goods again?" 

"Why, if thou win thy lady fair, 
Thou may well forth for to pay me; 

If thou lose thy lady, thou hast loss enough, 
Not one penny will I ask thee." 



154 OLD BALLADS 

"Master, you have thirty horses in hold, 
You keep them rank and royally; 

Amongst them all there's one old horse 

This day would set my lady free. 240 

"That is a white, with a cut tail; 

Full sixteen years of age is he; 
Grif you would lend me that old horse, 

Then I should get her easily." 

"A foolish part," Lord Jocky said, 

"And a foolish part thou takes on thee; 

Thou shalt have a better than ever he was, 
That forty pounds cost more nor he." 

"0 master, those horses ben wild and wicked, 
And little can skill of the old train; 250 

Grif I be out of my saddle cast, 

They ben so wild they'll never be ta'en. 

"Let me have age, sober and wise; 

; Tis part of wisdom, you know it plain; 
If I be out of my saddle cast, 

He'll either stand still or turn again." 

"Thou shalt have that horse with all my heart, 

And my coat-plate of silver free, 
And a hundred men to stand at thy back, 

For to fight if need shall be." 260 

"I thank you, master," said Thomas o' Pott; 

"Neither man nor boy shall go with me; 
As you are a lord of honour born, 

Let none of my fellows know this of me. 



THOMAS O' POTT 155 

" For if they wot of my going, 

I wot behind me they will not be; 
Without you keep them under a lock, 

Upon that green I shall them see." 

And when Thomas came to Gilford Green, 

And walked there some houres three, 270 

Then was he ware of the Lord Phenix, 
And four men in his company. 

" You have broken your vow," said Thomas o' Pott, 
"Your vow that you made unto me; 

You said you would come yourself alone, 

And you have brought more than two or three." 

"These are my men," Lord Phenix said, 

"That every day do wait on me; 
Gif any of these should at us stir, 

My spear should run through his body." 280 

"I'll run no race," said Thomas o' Pott, 
"Till that this oath here made may be: 

If the one of us be slain, 
The other forgiven that he may be." 

"I'll make a vow," Lord Phenix says, 
"My men shall bear witness with thee; 

Gif thou slay me at this time, 
No worse beloved thou shalt be." 

Then they turned their horses round about, 

To run the race more eagerly; 290 

Lord Phenix he was stiff and stout, 
He has run Thomas quite through the thigh, 



156 OLD BALLADS 

And bare Thomas out of his saddle fair; 

Upon the ground there he did lie. 
He says, "For my life I do not care, 

But for the love of my lady. 

"But shall I lose my lady fair? 

I thought she would have been my wife. 
I pray thee, Lord Phenix, ride not away, 

For with thee I will lose my life." 300 

Though Thomas o' Pott was a serving-man, 

He was also a physician good; 
He clapped his hand upon his wound, 

With some kind of words he staunched the blood. 

Then into his saddle again he leapt; 

The blood in his body began to warm; 
He missed Lord Phenix body there, 

But ran him through the brawn of the arm, 

And he bore him quite out of his saddle fair; 

Upon the ground there did he lie; 310 

Says, "Prithee, Lord Phenix, rise up and fight, 

Or yield this lady sweet to me." 

"To fight with thee I cannot stand; 

Nor for to fight I cannot, sure; 
Thou hast run me through the brawn of the arm 

That with a spear I cannot endure. 

"Thou'st have that lady with all my heart, 
Sith it was like never better to prove, 

With never a nobleman this day, 

That will seek to take a poor man's love." 320 



THOMAS O' POTT 157 

"Why then be of good cheer/' says Thomas Potts, 
" Indeed your butcher I '11 never be, 

For I- will come and staunch your blood, 
Grif any thanks you'll give to me." 

As he was staunching the Phenix blood, 

Lord, in his heart he did rejoice ! 
"I'll never take lady of you thus, 

But here I'll give you another choice. 

"Here is a lane of two miles long; 

At either end set we will be; 33 

The lady shall sit us between; 

Her own choice shall set her free." 

"If thou '11 do so," Lord Phenix says, 
"Thomas o' Pott, as thou dost tell me, 

Whether I get her or go without her, 
Forty pounds I will give thee." 

And when the lady there can stand, 
A woman's mind that day to prove: 

"Now by my faith," said this lady fair, 

"Thomas o' Pott shall have his love!" 340 

Toward Thomas o' Pott the lady she went, 

To leap behind him hastily. 
"Nay, abide awhile," said Lord Phenix, 

"For better yet proved thou shalt be. 

"Thou shalt stay here with all thy maids 
In number with thee thou hast but three 

Thomas and I'll go behind yonder wall; 
There the one of us shall die." 




158 OLD BALLADS 

But when they came behind the wall, 
The one would not the other nigh; 

Lord Phenix he had given his word 
With Thomas o' Pott never to fight. 

"Grive me a choice," Lord Phenix says, 

"Thomas o' Pott, I do pray thee; 
Let me go to yonder lady fair, 

To see whether she be true to thee." 

And when he came that lady to, 

Unto that likesome dame said he : 
"Now G-od thee save, thou lady fair, 

The heir of all my land thou'st be. 

"For this Thomas I have him slain; 

He hath more than death- wounds two or three; 
Thou art mine own lady," he said, 

"And married together we will be." 

"If Thomas o' Pott this day thou have slain, 
Thou hast slain a better man than thee; 

And I'll sell all the 'state of my land, 
But thou'st be hanged on a gallows-tree." 

With that, the lady she fell in a swoon; 

A grieved woman, I wot, was she; 370 

Lord Phenix he was ready there, 

Took her in his arms most hastily. 

" lady sweet, and stand on thy feet ! 

This day Thomas alive can be; 
I'll send for thy father, Lord Arundel; 

And married together I will you see." 



THOMAS O' POTT 159 

"I'll see that wedding," Lord Arundel said, 
"Of my daughter's love that is so fair, 

And sith it will no better be, 

Of all my land he shall be the heir." 380 

"Now all my maids," the lady said, 
"And ladies of England fair and free, 

Change never your old love for no new, 
Nor never change for no poverty. 

"For I had a lover true of my own, 

A serving-man of a small degree; 
From Thomas o' Pott I'll turn his name, 

And the Lord of Arundel he shall be ! " 



NOTES 



THE LORD OF LEARNE 

This story of the young Lord of Learne (also called the Lord of 
Lome, under which title the ballad is often referred to by the 
Elizabethan dramatists) and the false steward, is derived from a 
romance known as Eosivall and Lillian, which must have been 
popular in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and continued 
to be recited in verse form in Scotland until early in the nineteenth 
century. Sir Walter Scott remembered a person who " acquired the 
name of Roswall and Lillian, from singing that romance about the 
streets of Edinburgh," circa 1770. 

The best-known of similar stories is the Goose-girl in Grimm's 
Fairy Tales. 

The version of the ballad printed here is derived from the Percy 
Folio MS. (see Introduction, pp. 11 12), and was therefore written 
down about 1650. 

24. that. This insertion of an apparently redundant or un- 
necessary that occurs often in this particular manuscript, and may 
be due to the dialect in which it is written. Cf. in this ballad 
11. 30, 56, 278, 288, 393, &c. but notice that in many instances it is 
used in an optative sentence, exactly as it is used in Ireland to-day 
to express a wish (see the plays of J. M. Synge). 

42. and then. This, again, is a redundant phrase. Cf. the and 
in early literature : 

"When that I was and a little tiny boy," 

in the song sung by the Clown at the end of Shakespeare's Twelfth 
Night. See 1. 110. 

46. Until, unto. 

47. hend, friendly, noble. 

52. mickle mere, much more. 

67. He is of course the steward. 

76. fain, desirous. 
S. 11 



162 OLD BALLADS 

82. lend, grant. 

89. Do thou me off: do q/f (otherwise contracted into doff, as do 
on into don) = take off. The me is called the ethic dative, as in 
"Kill me this knave," implying for me. 

91. cordivant, made of leather from Cordova in Spain; also 
cordivain. A cordwainer is an old name for a shoemaker. See 
Will Stewart and John, 195. 

91 2. Note the omission of the relative which. Of. 11. 147- 
3756. 

107. him fro, from him. 

115. Disaware is the name adopted by Roswall in the romance. 

122. see, protect. So often in this phrase. 

130. thou'st = thou shalt. 

141 4. This kind of remark in the first person is of constant 
occurrence in ballads, in places where a dramatist would simply mark 
a change of scene. 

156. A proverb, meaning that too much jnay be given even for 
valuable things. 

168. Unseemly; it was held to be not proper that those of low 
birth, like the steward, should sit at meat with the nobly-born. 

172. mend, increase. 

221. fee, wages. 

238. i-wis, certainly. 

266. gelding, a kind of horse. 

284. let, stop. 

289. We must understand that the steward had exacted an oath 
from the Lord of Learne that he would not reveal the truth about 
himself to anybody. He avoids doing so by speaking to the horse, 
knowing, of course, that the lady overhears him. This trick is a 
favourite one in folk-tales. 

348. Wroken, avenged. 

369. light, alighted. Of. 1. 178, plight = plighted. 

393. quest, jury. 

412. sod, soused; lead, a cauldron. A large pan or vat, used 
for salting meat, is still called a salting-lead. 

416. I-wis; see note on 1. 238. curstly cumber, savagely torture. 

4278. These and several other lines, it will be noticed, are too 
long for the ballad-metre; but this is no reason for altering them. 

For further information, see my Popular Ballads of the Olden 
Time, Second Series, 182. 



NOTES 163 

YOUNG BEKIE 

There is a great number and variety of stories similar to this in 
many countries of Europe ; but the English or rather the Scottish 
version has undoubtedly been grafted on to the legendary story of 
Gilbert Becket, the father of St Thomas. He is said to have been 
captured and imprisoned by a Saracen prince, named Admiraud, 
whose daughter set him free and then followed him to England, 
knowing no English save the words 'London' and 'Gilbert.' After 
much wandering and trouble, she found him and was married to 
him. But it must not be rashly imagined that 'Bekie' is derived 
from 'Becket ' ; the similarity of the names may account for the joining 
of the two stories, but 'Bekie ' was probably the name of the hero of the 
ballad before contamination with the Becket-legend took place. 

4. fee, pay, money. 

10. Burd = maiden. Cf. Fair Helen of Kirconnell, 7. 

12. mane, moan. 

13. borrow, ransom, buy off. 

20. Linne, an imaginary place, the stock-locality in ballads. 
Here we must suppose that it is young Bekie's home. 

21 2. tout... ben, out... in. The two words were originally pre- 
positions, equivalent to be-out and be-in, the be- being identical with 
the prefix in behind, beside, before, &c. They then were used, 
especially in Scottish dialect, as adverbs both of rest and motion. 
Later they became substantives, so that a but-and-ben house means a 
house with an outer and an inner chamber. They are constantly 
used in conjunction in Scottish ballads. 

27. stown = stolen. 

31. tout an' = and. rottons, rats. 

38. royal bone. In early poetry, most saddles are described 
as being made of roelle bone (rewel, rowel, and other corruptions are 
found). It is not known exactly what roelle means, but a derivation 
from the French rouelle has been suggested implying that the peak 
of the saddle was made of bone, rounded and polished. 

40. i.e. one was named Hector. 

43. or, ere, before. 

52. kensnae, knows not. 

55. the Billy Blin ( = the Blind Man), the name of a benignant 
domestic spirit or demon, who appears only in a very few ballads. 
There are German and Dutch references to a similar spirit with a 
similar name. 





164 OLD BALLADS 

63. marys, maids. 

64. thinking lang, thinking it long, or tedious. Observe that 
burd Isbel would be bored, had she not 'twa marys' to keep her 
company and divert her. 

85. gid = gaed, went. 

101. he is the proud porter. 

113. bierly, stately. 

116. We 's loe = we shall be. 

135. ilka, each. 

137. This of course is spoken by young Bekie to the parents of 
the 'bierly bride,' who in the next verse naturally resent his jilting of 
their daughter. 

See my Popular Ballads, First Series, 6. 

THE TWA SISTERS OF BINNORIE 

The story in this ballad has long been popular not only in England 
and Scotland, but in all Scandinavian countries. The name of the 
place or river Binnorie (which should be stressed on the second 
syllable to rhyme with 'story') has nothing to do with the ballad; 
it is part of an attached burden. Several Scottish versions have quite 
another burden. 

1. bour ( = bower) should be so pronounced as to rhyme approxi- 
mately with wooer. 

31. jaw, wave; i.e. threw her into the river. 

43. twined, parted : my world's make, my earthly mate. 

55. garr'd me gang, caused me to go. 

61. We must suppose the miller's son to be speaking; he is 
actually mentioned in one version. 

75. bra' = bra w, brave. 

93. syne, afterwards. 

See also my Popular Ballads, First Series, 141. 

KING ESTMERE 

This ballad was rewritten by Bishop Percy from an older form 
preserved in his Folio MS., but he tore out the pages on which it was, 
originally written, so that they are now missing. 

3. brother, brothers; cf. brethren. 

5 6. tone...tother, i.e. the one... the other. 

18. sheen, beautiful. 



NOTES 165 

21. rede, advise. King Estmere is speaking. 

25. Adler is speaking. 

29. renisht. The meaning and derivation of this word are 
unknown (see Introduction, p. 8). It probably means harnessed or 
accoutred. 

32. weeds, clothes; as we speak of 'widow's weeds.' 

36. rearing himself, standing. 

38. see, protect. Of. The Lord of Learne, 122, &c. 

47. i.e. refused him. 

50. Mahound, Mahomet. Charles Kingsley quotes this verse at 
the head of Chapter xv. of Westivard Ho ! 

62. pall, fine cloth. 

67. Notice omission of the relative. 

78. sped, arranged. 

84. reave, rob, deprive. 

90. doubt, fear. See Young Benjie, 67. 

93. to your wife : to = as ; cf . ' take to wife. ' 

103. scant, scarcely. 

106. kempes, knights, fighting-men. The word is derived from 
the same source as champion. 

118. I-wis, surely, truly : blan, lingered. 

136. My counsel shall be set up by you. 

144. gramary, magic (French, gramoire, a conjuring-book). 

148. And-if=if. 

149 150. i.e. the herb will make black and brown the colour of 
that man who is white and red. 

157. fain, desirous. 

183. Said : i.e. the porter said. And = if. 

189. will, desire. 

195. It is quite in keeping with ancient custom for knights to 
ride into the hall, and stable their steeds beside the tables, but not 
for harpers. 

198. Bremor is the name of "the king his son of Spain "= the 
son of the king of Spain. 

203. lither, lazy. 

215. kempery-man, fighting-man. Cf. 106. 

218. nigh, approach. 

231. and, if. Cf. 148, 183, &c. 

232. till, entice. 
235. lough, laughed. 




166 OLD BALLADS 

237. King Bremor is speaking. 

243. fit, song, or part of a song. Ballads were sometimes divided 
into ' fits.' 

244. be = been. 
248. ben = are. 

264. Sowdan, soldan, sultan. The name was given to any pagan 
king, and Bremor, we are told, ' 'lieveth on Mahound.' 
270. swithe, quickly. 

272. stiff in stour, staunch in fight (a ballad ' commonplace'). 

273. can is an auxiliary of the verb 'to be,' can be meaning 
is; thence can is often used as to does or do, but is sometimes 
confused with '<jan = began. Here can bite = do bite. 

THE HEIR OF LINNE 

This text is also from the Percy Folio, and will be found to contain 
characteristics of that manuscript. See The Lord of Learne, Thomas 
o' Pott, &G. 

'Linne,' of course, is the town so dear to ballads, but any attempt 
to identify it (for example, with Lincoln or King's Lynn) is a waste of 
labour. See Young Bekie, 20. 

There are Oriental stories Arabic, Persian, Turkish, &c. re- 
sembling (in part) this ballad ; but in these the climax comes when 
the hero, in attempting to hang himself in despair, pulls down the 
ceiling to which the rope is fastened, and so reveals a hidden treasure. 

8. Win, linger. See King Estmere, 118, &c. 

14. fee, money. See Lord of Learne, 221. 

17, 18. The Heir speaks. 

19. John of the Scales speaks. 

20. a God's penny = an 'earnest-penny,' a penny given to clinch 
a bargain. 

36. Presumably a silver penny; but it is not clear what the use 
is of a brass or lead penny. Brass, however, may mean bronze or 
copper. 

43. The order of the lines is corrupt, rede = advice. 

49. fere, companion, friend. 

54. irk with, weary of. 

62. unbethought him = bethought him on, or bethought him 
of. This curious expression occurs only two or three times in the 
Folio MS. bill = paper, document. 



NOTES 167 

70. that is superfluous ; see note on The Lord of Learne, 24. 

72. in fere, together. Lit. 'in company' ; see 49. 

75. bags of bread = a beggar's collecting bags. 

80. speer. This is corrupt, and the meaning is not known. 
It has been conjectured that a 'speer' may have been a hole in the 
wall of a house through which visitors made inquiries (Scottish speir, 
to ask). 

87. trust me one shot. Shot = reckoning, as in the phrase still in 
use, 'to pay the shot ' = to pay the bill. The Heir asks credit for one 
occasion only. 

103 4. i.e. cheaper by twenty pounds than its cost. 

122. Some lines are lost here. It will be seen that a good deal 
of corruption has rather spoiled the arrangement and rhymes of this 
ballad. 

BARBARA ALLAN 

Although this ballad does not appear to be very old, and cannot 
be traced back beyond the seventeenth century, it has been widely 
popular, appealing to such different men as Samuel Pepys and Oliver 
Goldsmith. It is apparently, as Pepys calls it, "a little Scotch song." 
The tune is still well-known. 

9. hooly, slowly. 

10, 12. It has been suggested that lying and dying should be 
interchanged. 

15. ye 's=you shall. 
31. jow, stroke : geid, gave. 

Further information will be found in my Popular Ballads, First 
Series, 150. 

LORD RANDAL 

This ballad illustrates several characteristics of popular literature. 
It is also known as Lord Ronald, Lord Rendal, The Croodlin Doo, and 
so on. Sir Walter Scott tried to identify the hero with Thomas 
Randolph (or Randal), Earl of Murray, who died at Musselburgh in 
1332. But a similar story is found in many other lands; and the 
poisoning is usually done by means of snakes (rather than 'eels') 
a common ancient way of poisoning. This ballad, moreover, is 
one of those that have been transferred at one time or another to 
America, where 'Lord Randal' has become corrupted into 'Tiranti.' 



168 OLD BALLADS 



i; the 



Notice that, simple as the ballad is, it is full of repetition ; 
whole story could be told in five questions and five answers : 
Q. "0 where hae ye been?" 
A. "I hae been to the wild wood." 
Q. "Where gat ye your dinner?" 
A. "I dined wi' my true-love," etc. 
Nor are we given any reason for the poisoning ; Lord Eandal's true- 
love may or may not have intended to poison him, but that is no 
concern of the ballad-singer's. 
4, &c. wald = would. 
11. broo, broth. 




FAIR ANNIE OF ROUGH ROYAL 

This ballad supplies us with a very good instance of the dramatic 
nature of the singing. The replies from inside the house (11. 37 40, 
45 48, 61 64) to Fair Annie's appeals, are spoken by Love Gregor's 
mother ; but we do not know this ih reading the ballad until we come 
to line 80, where we find that the lover has been asleep all night, and 
that it was his mother who feigned his voice in order to turn Fair 
Annie from the door. 

French, German, and modern Greek ballads tell a similar story. 

3. jimp, slender, graceful. 

5. kaim = comb. In ancient times it was a kind act of courtesy 
to comb the hair of other people. 

9. Presumably Fair Annie's mother is replying. 

19. maun gang = must go. 

39. wile = vile; warlock, wizard. 

67. i.e. he raised himself up, rose up. 

70. gars me greet, makes me weep. 

76. wan no in = won not in. To win in, like to win through, 
implies to pass in or through in the face of opposition. 

78. dead = death. 

106. neist=next. 

110. die : pronounce dee in the Scottish way, to rhyme with me. 

Further information will be found in my Popular Ballads, First 
Series, 179. 



NOTES 169 



THE GAY GOSHAWK 

In this charming and happy ballad, a true-loving lady outwits her 
father by pretending to be dead, in order that she may escape from 
her home in England to her Scottish lover, who owns a useful 
goshawk. We need not remark that a goshawk cannot sing, much 
less speak ; this does not matter to the ballad-singer ! 

1. well 's me o'= well is it for me that I have, or " it is a good 
thing for me to have a goshawk," etc. 

5. The bird replies. 

7. couth, speech, word. 

20. goud = gold. 

27. he is the goshawk. 

29. marys = maids. See Young Bekie, 63. 

31. shot-window. Perhaps a bow-window; perhaps a window 
that (opens and) shuts. This is one of the ballad-words that have 
been continued in tradition after the meaning has been forgotten; 
see Introduction, p. 8. 

34. yestreen = yester e'en, yesterday evening. 

44. die: see note on Fair Annie of Rough Royal, 110. 

52. lang or = long ere, long before. 

53. done her, betaken herself. 

54. Fa'n= fallen. 

59. This gives us a dramatic hint that the lady's father dis- 
approved of her lover. 

63. gin = if; southin, southern. 

65. till = to. 

66. gar, make, cause. 

70. deal, distribute (as we say 'deal' of playing-cards). 
73. bigly = lit. habitable; but as it is the 'stock epithet' of bower, 
it has lost part of its meaning. Cf. 1. 101. 
86. i.e. caused to be made for her a bier. 
87 8. tae...tither; cf. tone...tother in King Estmere, 56. 
90. sark, shroud. 
100. make = mate, lover. 
105. sheave, slice. 
See also my Popular Ballads, First Series, 153. 




170 OLD BALLADS 



THOMAS RYMER 

'Thomas the Rhymer' is well-known from Sir Walter Scott's 
ballad in The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border ; his version is based 
on the one given here. 

The ballad, in relating the journey of a mortal to the nether- 
world, must be associated with a vast number of popular stories of 
wide vogue, all of which relate such an incident. It is sufficient to 
suggest the visits of Odysseus to Hades and of Aeneas to the infernal 
regions. The story of Thomas is more closely connected with a 
legend of the Arthurian cycle, in which Morgan le Fay (an en- 
chantress, and King Arthur's sister) took Ogier the Dane away to 
live with her at Avalon for two hundred years, which seemed but 
twenty to Ogier. 

Our ballad is the debris of a metrical romance, popular in the 
fifteenth century, called Thomas of Erceldoune. This romance tells 
first the story of Thomas's visit to 'fairyland,' and then proceeds 
to narrate how Thomas obtained from the Queen of Elfland his gift 
of prophecy. 

For Thomas Rymour of Erceldoune is a historical character ; he 
was a seer, poet, and prophet of the twelfth century, and ' prophecies ' 
attributed to him were popular in Scotland until quite recently. 

But we must suppose that some bard, between the twelfth and 
fifteenth centuries, wishing to put Thomas's prophecies into the form 
of a poem, thought it best to give first some explanation of his 
prophetic power; and, having elsewhere heard a good story about a 
visit to 'Elfland,' he tacked that story on to the tale of Thomas of 
Erceldoune. His prophecies, however, have entirely disappeared 
from the ballad ; once again the ballad-singer is only concerned with 
the narrative. 

7. ilka, each: tett, lock (of hair). 

10. till, to. 

1114. This mistake on Thomas's part is paralleled by a 
similar mistake in the story referred to above, where Ogier the Dane 
mistakes Morgan le Fay for the Virgin. 

20. weal or wae, weal or woe, good or ill. 

44. fairlies, marvels, wonders. 



NOTES 171 

50. lily leven, lily lawn, a smooth lawn set with lilies. 

59. gin ae, if any. 

61. even cloth, cloth with the nap or rough surface worn away. 

See my Popular Ballads, Second Series, 1. 



EDWARD 

Compare this ballad with Lord Randal. As there, so here; 
Edward can be reduced to a simpler form in four-line stanzas: 

"Why does your brand sae drap wi' bluid, 

And why sae sad gang ye, 0?" 
"0, I hae killed my hauke sae guid, 

And I had nae mair but he, 0." 

Notice that it is not absolutely necessary to mention 'Edward' and 
his 'Mither' all through; if the ballad were recited in four-line stanzas 
as above, observe how much more dramatic the ending would be : 

"And what wul ye leive to your ain mother deir, 

My dear son, now tell me, 0?" 
"The curse of hell frae me sail ye beir, 

Sic counseils ye gave to me, 0." 

for until the word 'ye' in the last line, we should not know that 
it is his mother to whom the man is speaking. And we may suspect 
that the names have been added, as Edward occurs in no other 
Scottish ballad, except as the name of an English king. 

13. reid-roan = red- roan, red or chestnut mixed with white or 
grey thickly interspersed. 

16. erst, formerly. 

20. dule, grief, pain, sorrow: drie, endure, undergo. 

45. The warldis room, the space of the world, "the whole world 
wide." Otherwise we might read The warld is room = the world is 
wide, or spacious. 

56. In this last line is a hint that the mother advised Edward to 
kill his father. 

See also my Popular Ballads, First Series, 189. 




172 OLD BALLADS 



THE TWA CORBIES 

There is an English version, The Three Ravens, in 
published in 1611; but it does not approach the Scottish version 
in the beauty of its poetry. 

2. corbie, the Scotch for crow. 

5. fail dyke, wall of turf. 

13. hause-bane, neck-bone, collar-bone. 

16. theek, thatch. 



THE BAILIFFS DAUGHTER OF ISLINGTON 

In many languages ballads are found, in which the simple plot is 
that a woman in disguise tells her lover that his sweetheart is dead, 
by way of trying his constancy. 

"The Bailiff's Daughter of Islington" means the daughter of the 
bailiff of Islington. See note on King Estmere, 198. 

The version given here is taken from a 'broadside' (see Intro- 
duction, pp. 2, 10). 

12. i.e. to bind (him) an apprentice, to apprentice him to a trade. 
The usual period was seven years, as in line 13. 

22. puggish, poor, ragged. 

24. require, seek. 

45 8. It is easy to rearrange the lines so as to rhyme, simply 
by transposing the second and third of this verse. 

49 52. Notice that this verse appears to be added unnecessarily 
in the broadside version. 



YOUNG BENJIE 

The most interesting point about this ballad is its reference 
(11. 53 60) to the custom of the ' lyke-wake,' concerning which 
there will be more to say in the notes to the next piece. 

8. plea, quarrel. 

13. stout, stiff, stubborn. See 1. 37. 

21. burd, maiden. See Young Bekie, 10. 



NOTES 173 

27. sets ye chuse, befits you to choose. 
30. ee = eyes. 

36. linn, stream. 

37, 38. stout: see note above, 1. 13. Here it means she was 
resolute not to be drowned, just as in the next line laith to be 
dang loth to be dinged (beaten, overcome). 

39. wan = won. Cf. note on Fair Annie of Rough Eoyal, 76. 

40. wan, pale. 
51. ae, only. 

53. lyke wake = (literally) body- watch; the custom of watching 
the corpse of a dead person through the night. See notes on The 
Lyke-ivake Dirge. Lyke, body, is the same word as lych in lych- 
y ate, the covered gateway into a churchyard where a corpse is set 
down by the bearers of the bier. 

Here we must notice that Marjorie's brothers have a reason for 
watching their sister's corpse, because they suspect that she was 
murdered. During the time between death and burial that is, 
during the lyke-wake the disembodied spirit is 'supposed to hover 
round the corpse, and will, if called upon, reveal the cause of 
death. 

57. Wi' doors ajar. To leave the door 'partly open' was sup- 
posed to be a strong inducement to the dead to speak. Therefore it 
was usual either to shut it altogether, or to leave it wide open, 
because under ordinary circumstances the corpse was not desired to 
speak ; the wide-open door was preferred, because the ceremony was 
attended by many neighbours and friends, and great hospitality was. 
exhibited. Bodies are still so 'waked' in Ireland to-day. 

candle-light: see The Lyke-Wake Dirge, 3. 

59 . streikit = stretched out. 

60. waked = watched. 
64. thraw, twist, turn. 

67. feared nae dout: dout = fear. The phrase simply means 
'had no fear.' 

69. ae = one, or only. See above, note on 51. 

73. head, i.e. behead. 

81. gravat, cravat, neck-band. Benjie, it seems, was to be 
blinded, and then led about by a rope round his neck. But why 
should it be green? 

87. drie. See note on Edward, 20. 

88. scug, expiate, pay for. 



174 OLD BALLADS 



THE LYKE-WAKE DIKGE 

This song used to be sung during the watch over the body before 
burial. There is a version in a manuscript of 1686, where the song is 
recorded by a man who had it from his father sixty years previously; 
and the following note is attached. 

"At the funerals iu Yorkshire, to this day they continue the 
custom of watching and sitting up all night till the body is inhearsed. 
In the interim some kneel down and pray by the corpse, some play 
at cards, some drink and take tobacco ; they have also mimical plays 
and sports.... This belief in Yorkshire was, amongst the vulgar, and 
perhaps is in part still, that after the person's death the soul went 
over Whinny-moor." 

The superstition as recorded in the Dirge is this : after death the 
spirit has to cross Whinny-moor (i.e. a moor covered with whins, or 
furze, and therefor* prickly), the passage of which is facilitated by 
shoes ; and the spirit of the man, who during his life charitably gave 
away even a single pair of shoes, is provided with that very pair to 
ease his way across the moor. Then comes the 'Brig o' Dread' 
(perhaps a corruption of the 'bridge of the dead,' or else = 'the dread- 
ful bridge '), over which lies the way to Purgatory, where again those 
who were charitable in life reap their reward. 

A superstition like this is not confined to Yorkshire, nor to 
England, nor even to Europe ; ideas similar to those of the Bridge, 
the Moor, and the Shoes can be found in many lands and in all 
ages. Only a few can be given here. The early Scandinavian 
mythology contains all three; a bridge which rings to the tramp 
only of mortal feet ; a moor over which all souls had to pass on their 
way to the realms of Hela, Goddess of Death ; and helsko, Hell-shoon 
(or shoes), provided to assist the traveller. Another way of pro- 
viding the dead with Hell-shoon is to burn a pair with the corpse; 
this superstition may be seen in a dialogue of Lucian, the Greek. 
Mohammedans have a belief that over their hell is stretched the 
Al-Siraty a bridge finer than a hair and sharper than a razor. 

Observe that in the Dirge this old, wide- spread, Pagan super- 
stition is linked to a Christian refrain. 

3. Fire and fleet: an expression formerly used in legal docu- 
ments and wills, to mean ' fire and house-room ' two privileges that 



NOTES 175 

a dying person might bequeathe. Fleet is actually the same word as 
the modern fiat in the sense of a set of rooms in a house. 

Another version of the Dirge reads ' Fire and sleet ' ; in which case 
sleet must be made to mean salt. In Scottish lyke-wakes a small 
wooden plate, containing a little salt, an emblem of the immortal 
spirit, and a little earth, carefully separated from the salt, to signify 
the corruptible body, was put on the breast of the corpse. 

candle-light. A candle was invariably kept burning, throughout 
the lyke-wake, in the same room as the corpse. 

9. hosen and shoon : notice the old plurals ending in -n ; cf. 
housen, &c. 

For this ballad and the last, see my Popular Ballads, Second 
Series, 83, 88, and Appendix, pp. 23844. 

THE DEMON LOVER 

This ballad is unfortunately incomplete, there being a gap in the 
story after line 12. Fully narrated, it would run like this : A 
woman, married to a ship's carpenter, but previously the sweetheart 
of another man who has since disappeared, is visited by a demon, who 
makes the woman believe it is her former lover. (In the missing 
portion the demon by some means tempts her away ; perhaps she is 
fascinated by the idea of seeing "white lilies grow on the banks of 
Italic.") She leaves her husband and young son, goes on board the 
demon's ship, and is thrown into the sea and drowned. 

16. begane, overlaid, decorated. 

20. alsua^also (a Scottish spelling). 

21. baud, hold. 

28. gurry, tempestuous. 

35 6. It is difficult to see the exact bearing of these lines on 
the story. 

FAIR HELEN OF KIRCONNELL 

This poem, it should be noticed, like others of these memorial- 
songs or dirges, is not exactly a narrative so much as a lyrical ballad. 
It appears, however, to be founded on the following traditional story. 

Fair Helen, of the clan of Irving (or Bell), looked with favour on 
Adam Fleming ; but her relatives pressed on her the suit of his rival, 
whose name is said to have been Bell (perhaps a kinsman). When 




176 OLD BALLADS 

Helen continued to meet Adam in the kirkyard of Kirconnell, past 
which flows the river Kirtle, the jealous lover hid himself in the 
bushes on the bank; and, being discovered there by Helen, levelled 
his carbine at Adam. Helen flung herself into her true-love's arms 
and received the shot intended for him. Whereupon Adam slew his 
rival, and went abroad to Spain to fight infidels; but being still 
inconsolable returned and perished on Helen's grave. According to 
Sir Walter Scott, a tombstone with the inscription Hie jacet Adamus 
Fleming is to be seen (or was when Scott wrote) in the kirkyard of 
Kirconnell, which is near Dumfries. 

The lament is supposed to be sung by Adam Fleming. The tune 
is still well-known. 

7. burd: see Young Bekie, 10; Young Benjie, 21. 

11. meikle = much. The phrase does not mean that Helen took 
great trouble to swoon ; it means that she swooned as the result of 
much pain and trouble. 

13 20. As these verses contain each only a pair of rhyming 
lines, it may be suspected that they have been dragged in from some 
other ballad of four lines to a verse. They are, moreover, a sudden 
change from lyric to narrative. 



THE BONNY EARL OF MURRAY 

James Stewart, son of Sir James Stewart of Doune (Castle Down, 
22), became Earl of Murray by his marriage with the heiress of the 
Kegent Murray, and was called bonny because he was "of comely 
personage, of a great stature, and strong of body like a kemp." In 
the last months of 1591, a rumour came to the King that Murray had 
either assisted in or countenanced the attack made a short time before 
on Holyrood House by Stewart, Earl of Bothwell ; and Huntly was 
ordered to arrest him. Murray, however, refused to surrender to 
his feudal enemy Huntly, and the house of Donibristle the Lady 
Doune's house, where Murray was was set on fire. Murray rushed 
out, and was mortally wounded. There is a tradition that as he lay 
dying, Huntly struck him in the face, whereat the bonny Earl said, 
"You have spoiled a better face than your own." This took place in 
February, 1592. 

Notice (from 11. 78) that this is the King's lament. 



NOTES 177 

9. braw= brave. 

10. the ring was a game of skill in horsemanship; the com- 
petitors attempting to thrust the point of a lance through a ring 
suspended by a cord from a beam. 

18. It is not certain what kind of game the glove was. 



BONNIE GEOEGE CAMPBELL 

Editors, who have wished to discover a historical foundation for 
this lament, have found plenty of George Campbells to whom it 
might refer. But another version gives the first name as James, so 
we need not attempt an exact definition. 

10. greeting : see note on Fair Annie of Rough Royal, 70. 

12. rivin', tearing. 

15. toom, empty. 

17. The bonnie bride is supposed to be speaking. 

19. i.e. My barn is still to be built. 

THE TWA BROTHERS 

In other versions of this ballad, the wound that Sir Willie gives 
Sir John is accidental. But this is a corruption, in all probability ; 
it is far more characteristic of a ballad-hero that he should lose his 
temper and slay his brother. Moreover, the intentional murder adds 
to the pathetic generosity of the murdered brother in providing 
excuses for his absence to be made to his father, mother, and sister. 

4. warsle= wrestle. The ballad, like many others, has become a 
children's game in certain parts of the world. 

FAIR ANNIE 

Fair Annie has been stolen from her home by a knight to 
become his bride, and they have seven sons. Apparently on account 
of his poverty, Lord Thomas, at the opening of the ballad, announces 
his intention of bringing home a richer bride, and Annie submits 
meekly. But it turns out that the new bride is Fair Annie's sister, 
so she returns home, leaving five rich ships behind her to relieve 
Lord Thomas. 

2. braw, brave, handsome. 

3. gear, goods, property. 

s. 12 



178 OLD BALLADS 

15. jimp. See The Gardener, 4. 

16. braid, plait. This would make her appear to the new bride 
only a maiden, as married women wore their hair bound up, or under 
a cap. Customs of this kind are not yet extinct even in Gre 
Britain. 

55. scoup, fly, hasten. 

57. hang Changed. 

64. baud = hold, keep, preserve. 

81. forbye, apart. Cf. Brown Adam, 34. 

91. grew-hound = greyhound. 

95. grat = greeted, wept. 

103. girds- girths, hoops. 

116. tyne, lose. 

See also my Popular Ballads, First Series, 29. 



THE CRUEL BROTHER 

The lesson in ancient etiquette that this ballad teaches is that it is 
unpardonable for a maiden not to secure her brother's consent to her 
marriage. In this story the brother was quite within his rights (in 
the eyes of the ballad's singer and audience) when he slew his sister. 

Another characteristic point is that the dying girl should be- 
queathe good things to her friends (except ' sister Grace, ' whose 
legacy is scarcely enviable), and evil things to her slayer and his 
wife. Compare similar testaments in Edward. 

The refrain must of course be sung or recited in each verse. 

2. played o'er, beat. 

5. mien, face, appearance. 

29. close, courtyard. 

44. pall, robe. 

56. rive, tear. See Bonnie George Campbell, 12. 



YOUNG WATERS 

Historical foundations have been elaborately sought for this 
ballad, but similar ballads are popular elsewhere; and the story is 
simple enough: a queen, by admiring a courtier too much, makes 
the king her husband jealous, and the courtier is put to death. 



NOTES 179 

2. round tables, some kind of game, it is not known what. 
13. gowden-graith'd, harnessed with gold. 

41. This is the lament of Young Waters. 

42. but and = and. Cf. Young Bekie, 31. 

49. heading-hill = beheading-hill. Places of execution used to 
be selected on high ground, that the warning might be visible to many. 

See also my Popular Ballads, First Series, 146. 

BROWN ADAM 

An excellent ballad, improving from verse to verse up to the last 
line, which contains a satisfactory climax. 

6. study = stithy, anvil. This whole verse maybe looked upon 
as an interpolation. Suspicion must always rest on verses in which 
the third line contains an internal rhyme, as here. Moreover, though 
ballads occasionally make extraordinary statements, no one can 
believe that a hammer of so soft a metal as gold could be of much 
use. Nor do smiths have white ringers, as a rule. 

15. biggit = bigged, built. See Bonnie George Campbell, 19. 
18. thought lang : see Introduction, p. 9, and Young Bekie, 64. 
34. forbye, apart. 

37. he is of course the full false knight. 
41. loo = love. 

46. string. Ancient purses were simply bags, the top being 
tied with a string. 

51. leman, sweetheart. 

KING EDWARD AND THE TANNER OF TAMWORTH 

This Edward is called Edward IV. in the title of the ballad ; but 
as similar stories are told not only of other Edwards and several 
Henrys, but also of kings other than English, it is simplest not to 
specify. The story of a king's encounter with a bluff yeoman appeals 
to the popular imagination in much the same way as a ballad of. 
Robin Hood. 

5. bowne = Scottish boun, ready. 

16. It must be remembered that coins change in value according 
to the amount they will buy. As late as Elizabeth's reign, four 
shillings would buy what we now pay thirty or forty shillings for. 

122 



180 OLD BALLADS 

20. weet, know. 

23. readiest, quickest, shortest. 

29. unready, indirect. 

43. nobles, coins worth one-third of a pound. 

46. i.e., and God send that you may enjoy (prief) them well. 

48. The tanner thought the king to be a thief. 

55. unthrift, spendthrift. 

56. i.e., you are surrounded by all you possess = you have no more 
than the clothes you stand up in. 

67. barker tanner. An infusion of bark is used in the proc( 
of tanning leather. 

84. boot, payment. 

86. so mote I thee = so may I thrive. A ballad 'commonplace,' 
used for strengthening an assertion. 

94. stound, time. 

97. A groat = 4d. (20 x 4d. =6s. 8d., or a noble ; see 1. 43). 

110. hilt, flayed. 

121 122. The tanner's ' cow-hide ' was the ivhole skin, from horns 
to hoofs. 

128. brast^ burst, broken. 

160. lever = rather; he would rather lose twenty pounds than be 
there. 

161. The king calls for a collar to put on the tanner as a sign of 
knighthood ; the tanner thinks he is going to be hanged. 

175. marks are worth two nobles. 

180. Neat's-leather, ox -leather. Neat = cattle ; cf. neat-herd. 



WILL STEWART AND JOHN 

There is only one full text known of this ballad, and that is in 
the Percy Folio Manuscript (see Introduction, pp. 11 12) ; it displays 
as usual certain peculiarities of language (see notes on The Lord of 
Learne, 24, 42, <fec.). The first verse in the MS. is apparently simply 
a lyrical introduction, and as it has nothing to do with the story, it is 
here omitted. 

The ballad tells a capital story, but the allusions it contains to 
various old manners and customs make it interesting also from an 
antiquarian standpoint. 

1. by=of, about. 



NOTES 181 

5. care-bed: a bed to which a care-worn or troubled person used 
to go (cf. sick-bed). William, it will be seen, resorts to it often, 
always on account of his love (which he thinks is hopeless) for the 
Earl's daughter. 

8. that : see note on The Lord of Learne, 24. 

15 16. The relative ' whom ' is dropped, and her inserted in its 
place. 

24. wight-men, huntsmen, cloth and fee ; clothing and money 
together formed the wages of servants of this kind. 

26. gone = go (an old form of the infinitive). 

32. tydand = tiding (another old form). 

34. could = did: past tense of can, as in King Estmere, 273 
(see note). 

62. meeten = measured, i.e. a full mile; as one says 'a good 
mile.' 

75. ben = are. 

90. rank, sturdy, courageous. 

108. lope = leapt. 

116. i-wis, certainly. Cf. The Lord of Learne, 238. 

134. See note above, 1. 34. 

136. And-if=if. See King Estmere, 148. 

138. This, it should be observed, is the kiss of courtesy, which 
by ancient custom might be demanded by a knight of a lady. 

140. teemed, allowed. 

141 144. These games were football-matches, which were always 
popular on the Scottish Border. Sir Walter Scott notes that such 
games were the means of collecting large bodies of men together 
sometimes with evil result, as on one occasion at least a murder was 
plotted at a grand football meeting. 

163. And = if. 

168. Thou 'st = thou shalt. Cf. The Lord of Learne, 130. 

174. chamber, restrain, suppress. 

191. plewed. This word is unknown; the meaning must be 



195. cordevain: see note on The Lord of Learne, 91. 
199. room, place, position. 

205. the King Ms = the King's. See note on King Estmere, 198. 
237. Notice this description of the beggar's dress, and of his 
equipment in 1. 308. clouted, patched. 
243. stoutest, bravest. 




182 OLD BALLADS 

252. buttery, store-room. 

258. the dole-day: i.e. the day when the great houses gave 
away doles (cf. deal, to give out a word we still use in games of 
cards; cf. The Gay Goshawk, 70), or gifts of food, drink and money. 

265. dealt : see last note. 

275. avale, take off. Lit. 'lower,' of the visor of a helmet. 

290. witting, knowing, aware. 

292. i.e. by the time the sun has travelled a quarter of his 
journey. 

307. showing horn is supposed to mean shoeing-horn, as a 
pun on the beggar's horn, as it might assist him in taking in his 
liquor. For bag cf. The Heir of Linne, 75. 

336. barne = bairn, child. 

337. thee is John Stewart. The Earl of Mar is of course in- 
dignant that his daughter should have been carried off ; but his 
indignation does not prevent him from making a pun on his own 
name in 1. 340. 



BEWICK AND GRAHAME 

In this ballad we are more definitely on the Border than in the 
last, and the next three are true 'Border Ballads.' A feature of this 
ballad is the allusion to the old institution of ' brotherhood in arms ' 
(1. 56; cf. also the use of bully = brother). The tragical conclusion 
points a moral, that fathers, even if merry with wine, should not 
boast about the respective merits of their sons. 

18. bully = brother. (So in Scottish minnie = mother, tittie = 
sister.) buUy is the same word as billie in Dick o' the Cow, 6. 
It is used by Shakespeare of Bottom the weaver in the Midsummer- 
Night's Dream. 

44. by=on account of. Compare by in Will Stewart and John, 1. 

57. 11mm er loon : lit., low-born wretch. 

85. plate -jack, plated coat. 

94. belive, soon. 

102. farleys, strange things. Cf. fairlies in Thomas Rymer, 44. 

114. i.e. let me be free of thy brotherhood. Compare Hues 126, 
130, &c. 

151 2. He vaulted over the fence, lap = lope, as in Will 
Stewart and John, 108. 



NOTES 183 

169. ackward. Perhaps 'back-handed,' perhaps simply 'awk- 
ward.' 

177. horse, get on horse-back. Bewick means 'ride away.' 

189. moudie-hill, mole-hill. We must of course understand 
that he stuck the pommel of his sword in the soft earth, with the 
point upwards. 

214. block = bargain : i.e. 'I have had the worst of the bargain.' 

See also my Popular Ballads, Third Series, 101. 



DICK 0' THE COW 

This and the following ballad are concerned with the raiders and 
'cattle-lifters ' (cattle- thieves) of the Border, who flourished about the 
middle of the sixteenth century. The Armstrong family were always 
prominent in these affairs, which as a rule take place in or near 
Liddesdale, a valley on the Scottish side of the Border, just to the 
north of Carlisle. 

'Dick o' the Cow ' does not mean 'Dick of the Cattle,' because the 
word in Scotch would be 'Kye.' 'Cow' perhaps means 'broom,' 
implying that Dick lived in a hut built in the broom or furze. 

1. lain in : i.e. not gone out 'riding.' 

3. Udder, lazy. 

6. billie, brother. See Beivick and Grahams, 18. 

7. feed = feud. 

18. know, hillock, a low rise. 

32. Cf. Bewick and Grahame, 114. 

46. leal, loyal. 

54. Hairibie, the place of execution at Carlisle. 

57. at, of. 

62. drie, endure, hold out. See Edward, 20, &c. 

73. plain= complain. 

74. syne, as well, also. 

79_80. i.e. we'll tie him up in the sheet by the four corners, 
give him all the blows he can bear, and let him go. 
84. hough, ankle, joint of the foot. 
86. dought, was able. 
92. mense, house. 
97. aevery, ravenous. 
103. St Mary knot, a triple knot. 



184 OLD BALLADS 

118. leal, true. Cf. 1. 46. 

129. jack, jerkin, coat. 

130. leugh, low. 
140. mo, more. 

157. or = ere, before: blan, stopped. 

160. plummet, pommel, handle. 

185. gart = garred, made. 

200. tell'd = told, counted out. 

223. and = if. See 1. 240. 

237. lap a loup = leapt a leap. 

238. leugh = laughed. 
240. and = if. 

252. All the places in this ballad, except Burgh under Stanemuir 
are round Liddesdale. See the map in my Popular Ballads, Third 
Series. 

JOHN 0' THE SIDE 

More than most, this ballad plunges into its subject, narrating 
in the first two lines that John o' the Side (which is on the river 
Liddel in Liddesdale, nearly opposite Mangerton) is taken prisoner 
for having slain Peter o' Whitfield. Peter appears also in another 
ballad, not so good as this, which is called Hobby Noble after its 
hero, whose acquaintance we make in this ballad. 

John o' the Side was another of the Armstrong family, the famous 
freebooters, and first appears about 1550 in a list of borderers against 
whom complaints were laid before the Bishop of Carlisle. 

This text of the ballad, from the Percy Folio MS., is much 
better than that inserted in The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border by 
Sir Walter Scott. The ninth line, which can be guessed fairly easily, 
is missing in the MS. 

5. Sybil is John's mother, as is shown by 1. 78. 

28. Tyvidale = Teviotdale, north of Liddesdale, in Eoxburgh. 

32. badgers, pedlars, corn-dealers, carrying bags. 

37. Culerton, Chollerton, on the Tyne. 

44. gate, way. 

46. Cf. The Lord of Learne, 122 and note. 

52. tree, wood. 

59. well-good is simply a stronger form of 'good.' 

72. where as = where. 



NOTES 185 

80. woe = woeful. 

103. bastard-brother, a half-brother. 

110. till = to. 

112. tent, guard ; gelding, a horse, as in The Lord of Learne, 266. 

125. Flanders files. It is not known that files were specially 
made in Flanders ; but, whatever they were, they appear to have been 
useful and highly effective. 

132. Because his legs were chained. 

137. lough, laughed. See note on Dick o' the Cow, 238. 

141. thorough = through. The old form of the word survives in 
a few words, such as thoroughfare, thoroughbred, &c. 

160. fain, pleasure. 



SIR HUGH IN THE GRIME 

This ballad, of which the text here given is from a 'broadside' 
(see Introduction, pp. 2, 10), exhibits a curious corruption in the 
hero's name. 'Hugh in the Grime ' = Hugh of the Graeme (Graham), 
or, simply, Hugh Graham. 

The full story is not given in this ballad ; Sir Hugh was hanged 
at Carlisle because he stole the bishop's mare so much we learn. 
But Sir Hugh's theft of the mare was only a retaliation for a more 
serious wrong, said to have been done to him by the bishop. Whether 
the charge is true or not, sympathy is enlisted on behalf of Sir Hugh 
as against the Bishop of Carlisle; and Hugh Graham may have been 
on the same list as John o' the Side (see note on last ballad). 

1. Lord John of this ballad is Lord Scroop, Warden of the West- 
Marches (on the Border), who appears in Kinmont Willie. 

21. good Lady Ward and Lady Moor (33) have not been identified. 

56. fee, reward. Compare The Lord of Learne, 221, &c. 

For these last three Border Ballads, see also my Popular Ballads, 
Third Series, 75, 156, and 89. 



THE BRAES OF YARROW 

Yarrow Water is a tributary of the Tweed, and flows into it near 
Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott's house. 

The ballad tells us that a man, married to a lady with nine 
brothers, was considered by them to be an 'unmeet marrow' (i.e. an 



186 OLD BALLADS 

unfit mate) for her; so in true ballad style they slew him, though he 
killed four of them. 

25. dowy, dark, gloomy; den, valley. 

27. well-wight, strong, sturdy. 

42. dule, grief. We must suppose that if the dule and sorrow 
was shown by Douglas, he was trying to pretend that he had not 
assisted in the murder. It is possible, however, within the limits of 
ballad-grammar, to understand that it was the sister who was grieved. 

53. kaimed, combed. 

58. side, long. 

59. hause-bane, neck. Cf. The Twa Corbies, 13. 

60. tint, ended. 




SIR PATRICK SPENCE 

This version of a famous ballad simply narrates that 'the king' 
chose Sir Patrick Spence, as his best sailor, to sail his ship; we are 
not told what the cargo was, nor whither the ship was bound. 
' Dumferling ' (Dunfermline) is on the north side of the Firth of 
Forth ; and if 'haf owre to Aberdour' means merely half-way across 
the Firth from Aberdour (near Dunfermline), Sir Patrick's voyage 
was not a long one. 

Later versions of the ballad, however, contain other details. The 
ship is bound for Norway, and the freight is a king's daughter. In 
one case the object of the voyage is to bring back the king of 
Norway's daughter ; in another, to bring home the king of Scotland's 
daughter ; or again, to take the Scottish king's daughter out to 
Norway. In support of the last variation of the story, it has been 
discovered that Margaret, daughter of Alexander III. of Scotland, 
was married to Erik, king of Norway, in 1281 ; and many of the 
knights who accompanied her to Norway were drowned in a storm 
but on the return voyage. Those who attempt to prove our ballad 
historical, in accordance with these facts, also point out that 'half 
over to Aberdour' (i.e. from Norway) is a small island called Papa 
Stronsay, on which there is a tumulus known as 'the Earl's knowe' 
(knoll), and this is said to mark the grave of Sir Patrick Spence. 
The ballad may have been founded on fact, but it is idle to 
speculate. 



NOTES 187 

Sir Walter Scott's version of this ballad is unnecessarily long. 
He calls the hero Spens. 

5. eldern, elderly, old. 

6. Notice omission of the relative; also 1. 12. 
9. braid, broad (a ballad-commonplace). 

13 16. This usually happens when ballad-people receive letters. 
Compare The Lord of Learne, 337-340. 

22. the morne=dn the morning, to-morrow. 

25 26. When the crescent moon appears to hold in its curve 
the rest of the globe, dimly visible, it is regarded as an omen of bad 
weather. 

29. laith, loth. 

30. weet = wet. Shoes at one time were made with heels of cork. 
32. they refers to hats; aboone = above. The nobles' hats swam 

on the surface, above the nobles. 

35. Or ere = before. See Young Bekie, 43; The Gay Goshaick, 
52; <fec. 

41. Haf owre = half (way) over. See above. 

42. fadom = fathom ; as /ader = father, in Edward, 21. 



THE GARDENER 

This pretty little ballad is characteristic in that it is a lyrical 
dialogue, in which the lady retorts in riddling fashion on her lover, 
refusing his suit. In the course of its existence it has become con- 
fused with other folk-songs of the same kind. 

I have supplied two missing lines (27, 28). 

3. leal (lit. loyal), true. 

4. jimp, slender. Cf. Fair Annie of Rough Royal, 3. 

5. fancy, like, desire. The word is still used in this sense. 
8. weed, dress. Cf. King Estmere, 32. 

10. The relative ichich is probably omitted here. 

11. jellyflower=gilliflower, pink. 
14. camovine=: camomile. 

17. kail-blade, the leaf of some vegetable, perhaps lettuce. 

19. coot, ankle. 

20. brawn (i.e. muscle of the leg), calf. 
23. blaewort, the blue cornflower. 



188 OLD BALLADS 




THOMAS 0' POTT 

The hero of this ballad is the serving-man's ideal a menial 
successful in marrying a nobleman's daughter. It is probably not 
much earlier than the seventeenth century, quite late for a ballad; 
and this version comes from the Percy Folio. 

1. The first verse is a kind of invocation. 

2. blee, countenance. 

12. she 'st=she shall. Cf. 11. 16, 62, &c. 

25. Gif=if. Cf. gin, The Gay Goshawk, 63. 

44. i.e., the lady is betrothed to Lord Phenix. 

54. thereas = whereas (see John o' the Side, 72), where. 

68. i.e., 'I will have no more to do with him.' 

69. that. See note, The Lord of Learne, 24. 
78. See note on Sir Patrick Spence, 1316. 
86. i.e., So it shall be proved by her promise. 
88. Without = unless. Still so used. 

130. doubt, fear. 

138. row, roll; as we say 'rolling in riches.' 

160. bride does not imply that Lady Eosamond was the wife of 
Lord Phenix. See above, 1. 44, and below, 1. 190. 

171. an outside, a quiet or retired spot. 

191. lough = laughed. See John o' the Side, 137, &c. 

192. fain, happy. 

224. angels, pieces of money. The expression means 'throw 
away money,' or as we say now 'play ducks and drakes with it.' 

230. fain, desirous. Compare 1. 192, and see The Lord of 
Learne, 76. 

232. i.e., How shall I pay you back? 

238. rank, high-fed. Compare Will Stewart and John, 90. 

249. ben = are. 

250. i.e., are but little acquainted with the training that older 
horses have undergone. 

291. stiff and stout. Probably a corruption of stiff in stour, for 
which see King Estmere, 272. 



NOTES 189 

304. He used one of the many charms that are popularly sup- 
posed to stop bleeding. Samuel Pepys records a Latin one in his 
Diary : 

"Sanguis mane in te, 
Sicut Christus fuit in se; 
Sanguis mane in tua vena, 
Sicut Christus in sua poena; 
Sanguis mane fixus, 
Sicut Christus quando fuit crucifixus." 

318. Sith = since. 

350. nigh, approach. Cf. King Estmere, 218. 



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