The Book of Old English Ballads
George Wharton Edwards

Part 2 out of 3

Scotland shall rue it alway."

Then in a rage King Jamie did say,
"Away with this foolish mome;
He shall be hanged, and the other be burned,
So soone as I come home."

At Flodden Field the Scots came in,
Which made our English men faine;
At Bramstone Greene this battaile was seene,
There was King Jamie slaine.

His bodie never could be found,
When he was over throwne,
And he that wore faire Scotland's crowne
That day could not be knowne.

Then presently the Scot did flie,
Their cannons they left behind;
Their ensignes gay were won all away,
Our souldiers did beate them blinde.

To tell you plaine, twelve thousand were slaine,
That to the fight did stand,
And many prisoners tooke that day,
The best in all Scotland.

That day made many [a] fatherlesse child,
And many a widow poore,
And many a Scottish gay lady
Sate weeping in her bower.

Jack with a feather was lapt all in leather,
His boastings were all in vaine;
He had such a chance, with a new morrice-dance
He never went home againe.


This was written to adapt the ballad to the seventeenth century.

Now heaven we laude that never more
Such biding shall come to hand;
Our King, by othe, is King of both
England and faire Scotland.

Helen of Kirkconnell

I wad I were where Helen lies;
Night and day on me she cries;
O that I were where Helen lies,
On fair Kirkconnell lea!

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!

O think na but my heart was sair
When my Love dropt and spak nae mair!
I laid her down wi' meikle care,
On fair Kirkconnell lea.

As I went down the water side,
Nane but my foe to be my guide,
Nane but my foe to be my guide,
On fair Kirkconnell lea.

I lighted down my sword to draw,
I hacked him in pieces sma',
I hacked him in pieces sma',
For her sake that died for me.

O Helen fair, beyond compare!
I'll make a garland of thy hair,
Shall bind my heart for evermair,
Until the day I dee!

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!"

O Helen fair! O Helen chaste!
If I were with thee, I were blest,
Where thou lies low and takes thy rest,
On fair Kirkconnell lea.

I wad my grave were growing green,
A winding-sheet drawn ower my een,
And I in Helen's arms lying,
On fair Kirkconnell lea.

I wad I were where Helen lies!
Night and day on me she cries,
And I am weary of the skies,
Since my Love died for me.

Robin Hood and Allen-a-Dale

Come listen to me, you gallants so free,
All you that love mirth for to hear,
And I will tell you of a bold outlaw,
That lived in Nottinghamshire.

As Robin Hood in the forest stood
All under the greenwood tree,
There he was aware of a brave young man,
As fine as fine might be.

The youngster was clad in scarlet red,
In scarlet fine and gay
And he did frisk it over the plain,
And chaunted a roundelay.

As Robin Hood next morning stood
Amongst the leaves so gay,
There did he espy the same young man
Come drooping along the way.

The scarlet he wore the day before
It was clean cast away;
And at every step he fetched a sigh,
"Alas! and a well-a-day!"

Then stepped forth brave Little John,
And Midge, the miller's son;
Which made the young man bend his bow,
When as he see them come.

"Stand off! stand off!" the young man said,
"What is your will with me?"
"You must come before our master straight,
Under yon greenwood tree."

And when he came bold Robin before,
Robin asked him courteously,
O, hast thou any money to spare,
For my merry men and me?

"I have no money," the young man said,
"But five shillings and a ring;
And that I have kept this seven long years,
To have at my wedding.

"Yesterday I should have married a maid,
But she was from me ta'en,
And chosen to be an old knight's delight,
Whereby my poor heart is slain."

"What is thy name?" then said Robin Hood,
"Come tell me, without any fail."
"By the faith of my body," then said the young man,
"My name it is Allen-a-Dale."

"What wilt thou give me," said Robin Hood,
"In ready gold or fee,
To help thee to thy true love again,
And deliver her unto thee?"

"I have no money," then quoth the young man,
"No ready gold nor fee,
But I will swear upon a book
Thy true servant for to be."

"How many miles is it to thy true love?
Come tell me without guile."
"By the faith of my body," then said the young man,
"It is but five little mile."

Then Robin he hasted over the plain,
He did neither stint nor lin,
Until he came unto the church
Where Allen should keep his weddin'.

"What hast thou here?" the bishop then said,
"I prithee now tell unto me."
"I am a bold harper," quoth Robin Hood,
"And the best in the north country."

"O welcome, O welcome," the bishop he said,
"That music best pleaseth me."
"You shall have no music," quoth Robin Hood,
"Till the bride and bridegroom I see."

With that came in a wealthy knight,
Which was both grave and old;
And after him a finikin lass,
Did shine like the glistering gold.

"This is not a fit match," quoth Robin Hood,
"That you do seem to make here;
For since we are come into the church,
The bride shall chuse her own dear."

Then Robin Hood put his horn to his mouth,
And blew blasts two and three;
When four-and-twenty bowmen bold
Came leaping over the lea.

And when they came into the church-yard,
Marching all in a row,
The first man was Allen-a-Dale,
To give bold Robin his bow.

"This is thy true love," Robin he said,
Young Allen, as I hear say;
And you shall be married this same time,
Before we depart away."

"That shall not be," the bishop he cried,
"For thy word shall not stand;
They shall be three times asked in the church,
As the law is of our land."

Robin Hood pulled off the bishop's coat,
And put it upon Little John;
"By the faith of my body," then Robin said,
"This cloth doth make thee a man."

When Little John went into the quire,
The people began to laugh;
He asked them seven times into church,
Lest three times should not be enough.

"Who gives me this maid?" said Little John,
Quoth Robin Hood, "That do I;
And he that takes her from Allen-a-Dale,
Full dearly he shall her buy."

And then having ended this merry wedding,
The bride looked like a queen;
And so they returned to the merry greenwood,
Amongst the leaves so green.

Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne

When shaws beene sheene, and shradds full fayre,
And leaves both large and longe,
Itt is merrye walkyng in the fayre forrest
To heare the small birdes songe.

The woodweele sang, and wold not cease,
Sitting upon the spraye,
Soe lowde, he wakened Robin Hood,
In the greenwood where he lay.

"Now, by my faye," sayd jollye Robin,
"A sweaven I had this night;
I dreamt me of tow wighty yemen,
That fast with me can fight.

"Methought they did mee beate and binde,
And tooke my bow mee froe;
Iff I be Robin alive in this lande,
Ile be wroken on them towe."

"Sweavens are swift, master," quoth John,
"As the wind that blowes ore the hill;
For if itt be never so loude this night,
To-morrow it may be still."

"Buske yee, bowne yee, my merry men all,
And John shall goe with mee,
For Ile goe seeke yond wight yeomen,
In greenwood where the bee."

Then they cast on their gownes of grene,
And tooke theyr bowes each one;
And they away to the greene forrest
A shooting forth are gone;

Untill they came to the merry greenwood,
Where they had gladdest to bee;
There were they ware of a wight yeoman,
His body leaned to a tree.

A sword and a dagger he wore by his side,
Of manye a man the bane;
And he was clad in his capull hyde,
Topp and tayll and mayne.

"Stand you still, master," quoth Little John,
"Under this tree so grene,
And I will go to yond wight yeoman
To know what he doth meane."

"Ah! John, by me thou settest noe store,
And that I farley finde:
How offt send I my men beffore,
And tarry my selfe behinde!

"It is no cunning a knave to ken,
And a man but heare him speake;
And itt were not for bursting of my bowe,
John, I thy head wold breake."

As often wordes they breeden bale,
So they parted Robin and John;
And John is gone to Barnesdale;
The gates he knoweth eche one.

But when he came to Barnesdale,
Great heavinesse there hee hadd,
For he found tow of his owne fell wes
Were slaine both in a slade.

And Scarlette he was flying a-foote
Faste over stocke and stone,
For the sheriffe with seven score men
Fast after him is gone.

"One shoote now I will shoote," quoth John,
"With Christ his might and mayne;
Ile make yond fellow that flyes soe fast,
To stopp he shall be fayne."

Then John bent up his long bende-bowe,
And fetteled him to shoote:
The bow was made of tender boughe,
And fell down to his foote.

"Woe worth, woe worth thee, wicked wood,
That ere thou grew on a tree;
For now this day thou art my bale,
My boote when thou shold bee."

His shoote it was but loosely shott,
Yet flewe not the arrowe in vaine,
For itt mett one of the sherriffes men,
Good William a Trent was slaine.

It had bene better of William a Trent
To have bene abed with sorrowe,
Than to be that day in the green-wood slade
To meet with Little Johns arrowe.

But as it is said, when men be mett
Fyve can doe more than three,
The sheriffe hath taken Little John,
And bound him fast to a tree.

"Thou shalt be drawen by dale and downe,
And hanged hye on a hill."
"But thou mayst fayle of thy purpose," quoth John,
"If itt be Christ his will."

Lett us leave talking of Little John,
And thinke of Robin Hood,
How he is gone to the wight yeoman,
Where under the leaves he stood.

"Good morrowe, good fellowe," sayd Robin so fayre,
"Good morrowe, good fellow," quoth he.
"Methinks by this bowe thou beares in thy hande,
A good archere thou sholdst bee."

"I am wilfulle of my waye," quo' the yeoman,
"And of my morning tyde:"
"Ile lead thee through the wood," sayd Robin,
"Good fellow, Ile be thy guide."

"I seeke an outlawe," the straunger sayd,
"Men call him Robin Hood;
Rather Ild meet with that proud outlawe
Than fortye pound soe good."

"Now come with me, thou wight yeman,
And Robin thou soone shalt see;
But first let us some pastime find
Under the greenwood tree.

"First let us some masterye make
Among the woods so even;
We may chance to meet with Robin Hood
Here att some unsett steven."

They cutt them down two summer shroggs,
That grew both under a breere,
And set them threescore rood in twaine,
To shoote the prickes y-fere.

"Leade on, good fellowe," quoth Robin Hood,
"Leade on, I doe bidd thee."
"Nay, by my faith, good fellowe," hee sayd,
"My leader thou shalt bee."

The first time Robin shot at the pricke,
He mist but an inch it fro;
The yeoman he was an archer good,
But he cold never shoote soe.

The second shoote had the wightye yeoman,
He shote within the garlande;
But Robin he shott far better than hee,
For he clave the good pricke-wande.

"A blessing upon thy heart," he sayd,
"Good fellowe, thy shooting is goode
For an thy hart be as good as thy hand,
Thou wert better then Robin Hoode.

Now tell me thy name, good fellowe," sayd he,
"Under the leaves of lyne."
"Nay, by my faith," quoth bolde Robin,
"Till thou have told me thine."

"I dwell by dale and downe," quoth hee,
"And Robin to take Ime sworne;
And when I am called by my right name,
I am Guy of good Gisbrne."

"My dwelling is in this wood," sayes Robin,
"By thee I set right nought:
I am Robin Hood of Barnesdale,
Whom thou so long hast sought."

He that had neither beene kithe nor kin,
Might have seen a full fayre sight,
To see how together these yeomen went
With blades both browne and bright:

To see how these yeomen together they fought
Two howres of a summers day,
Yett neither Robin Hood nor Sir Guy
Them fettled to flye away.

Robin was reachles on a roote,
And stumbled at that tyde;
And Guy was quicke and nimble with-all,
And hitt him ore the left side.

"Ah, deere Lady," sayd Robin Hood tho,
"Thou art but mother and may';
I think it was never mans destinye
To dye before his day."

Robin thought on Our Ladye deere,
And soone leapt up againe,
And strait he came with a 'backward' stroke,
And he Sir Guy hath slayne.

He took Sir Guy's head by the hayre,
And stuck itt upon his bowes end:
"Thou hast beene a traytor all thy liffe,
Which thing must have an end."

Robin pulled forth an Irish kniffe,
And nicked Sir Guy in the face,
That he was never on woman born
Cold tell whose head it was.

Sayes, "Lye there, lye there now, Sir Guy,
And with me be not wrothe;
Iff thou have had the worst strokes at my hand,
Thou shalt have the better clothe."

Robin did off his gowne of greene,
And on Sir Guy did throwe,
And hee put on that capull hyde,
That cladd him topp to toe.

"The bowe, the arrowes, and litle horne,
Now with me I will beare;
For I will away to Barnesdale,
To see how my men doe fare."

Robin Hood sett Guy's horne to his mouth,
And a loud blast in it did blow:
That beheard the sheriffe of Nottingham,
As he leaned under a lowe.

"Hearken, hearken," sayd the sheriffe,
"I heare nowe tydings good,
For yonder I heare Sir Guy's horne blowe,
And he hath slaine Robin Hoode.

"Yonder I heare Sir Guy's horne blowe,
Itt blowes soe well in tyde,
And yonder comes that wightye yeoman,
Cladd in his capull hyde.

"Come hyther, come hyther, thou good Sir Guy,
Aske what thou wilt of mee."
"O I will none of thy gold," sayd Robin,
"Nor I will none of thy fee.

"But now I have slaine the master," he sayes,
"Let me goe strike the knave;
For this is all the rewarde I aske.
Nor noe other will I have."

"Thou art a madman," said the sheriffe,
"Thou sholdst have had a knightes fee;
But seeing thy asking hath beene soe bad,
Well granted it shale be."

When Little John heard his master speake,
Well knewe he it was his steven;
"Now shall I be looset," quoth Little John,
"With Christ his might in heaven."

Fast Robin hee hyed him to Little John,
He thought to loose him belive:
The sheriffe and all his companye
Fast after him can drive.

"Stand abacke, stand abacke," sayd Robin;
"Why draw you mee so neere?
Itt was never the use in our countrye,
Ones shrift another shold heere."

But Robin pulled forth an Irysh knife,
And losed John hand and foote,
And gave him Sir Guy's bow into his hand,
And bade it be his boote.

Then John he took Guy's bow in his hand,
His boltes and arrowes eche one:
When the sheriffe saw Little John bend his bow,
He fettled him to be gone.

Towards his house in Nottingham towne
He fled full fast away,
And soe did all the companye,
Not one behind wold stay.

But he cold neither runne soe fast,
Nor away soe fast cold ryde,
But Little John with an arrowe soe broad
He shott him into the 'backe'-syde.

Robin Hood's Death and Burial

When Robin Hood and Little John
Down a down, a down, a down,
Went o'er yon bank of broom,
Said Robin Hood to Little John,
"We have shot for many a pound:
Hey down, a down, a down.

"But I am not able to shoot one shot more,
My arrows will not flee;
But I have a cousin lives down below,
Please God, she will bleed me."

Now Robin is to fair Kirkley gone,
As fast as he can win;
But before he came there, as we do hear,
He was taken very ill.

And when that he came to fair Kirkley-hall,
He knocked all at the ring,
But none was so ready as his cousin herself
For to let bold Robin in.

"Will you please to sit down, cousin Robin," she said,
"And drink some beer with me?"
"No, I will neither eat nor drink,
Till I am blooded by thee."

"Well, I have a room, cousin Robin," she said,
"Which you did never see;
And if you please to walk therein,
You blooded by me shall be."

She took him by the lily-white hand,
And led him to a private room;
And there she blooded bold Robin Hood,
Whilst one drop of blood would run.

She blooded him in the vein of the arm,
And locked him up in the room;
There did he bleed all the live-long day,
Until the next day at noon.

He then bethought him of a casement door,
Thinking for to begone;
He was so weak he could not leap,
Nor he could not get down.

He then bethought him of his bugle-horn,
Which hung low down to his knee,
He set his horn unto his mouth,
And blew out weak blasts three.

Then Little John, when hearing him,
As he sat under the tree,
"I fear my master is near dead,
He blows so wearily."

Then Little John to Fair Kirkley is gone,
As fast as he can dree;
But when he came to Kirkley-hall,
He broke locks two or three;

Until he came bold Robin to,
Then he fell on his knee;
"A boon, a boon," cries Little John,
"Master, I beg of thee."

"What is that boon," quoth Robin Hood,
"Little John, thou begst of me?"
"It is to burn fair Kirkley-hall,
And all their nunnery."

"Now nay, now nay," quoth Robin Hood,
"That boon I'll not grant thee;
I never hurt woman in all my life,
Nor man in woman's company.

"I never hurt fair maid in all my time,
Nor at my end shall it be;
But give me my bent bow in my hand,
And a broad arrow I'll let flee;
And where this arrow is taken up,
There shall my grave digged be.

"Lay me a green sod under my head,
And another under my feet;
And lay my bent bow by my side,
Which was my music sweet;
And make my grave of gravel and green,
Which is most right and meet.

"Let me have length and breadth enough,
With a green sod under my head;
That they may say when I am dead,
Here lies bold Robin Hood."

These words they readily promised him,
Which did bold Robin please;
And there they buried bold Robin Hood,
Near to the fair Kirkleys.

The Twa Corbies

As I was walking all alane,
I heard twa corbies making a maen:
The tane unto the t'ither did say,
"Whaur shall we gang and dine the day?"

"O doun beside yon auld fail dyke,
I wot there lies a new-slain knight;
And naebody kens that he lies there
But his hawk, his hound, and his lady fair.

"His hound is to the hunting gane,
His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl hame,
His lady's ta'en another mate,
Sae we may mak' our dinner sweet.

"O we'll sit on his white hause bane,
And I'll pyke out his bonny blue e'en;
Wi' ae lock o' his gowden hair
We'll theek our nest when it blaws bare.

"Mony a ane for him makes maen,
But nane shall ken whaur he is gane.
Over his banes when they are bare,
The wind shall blaw for evermair."

Waly, Waly, Love be Bonny


O waly, waly up the bank,
And waly, waly down the brae,
And waly, waly yon burn side,
Where I and my love were wont to gae.
I leant my back unto an aik,
I thought it was a trusty tree;
But first it bow'd, and syne it brak,
Sae my true love did lichtly me.

O waly, waly, but gin love be bonny,
A little time while it is new;
But when its auld, it waxeth cauld,
And fades awa' like morning dew.
O wherfore shuld I busk my head?
Or wherfore shuld I kame my hair?
For my true love has me forsook,
And says he'll never loe me mair.

Now Arthur-Seat sall be my bed,
The sheets shall neir be prest by me:
Saint Anton's well sall be my drink,
Since my true love has forsaken me.
Marti'mas wind, when wilt thou blaw,
And shake the green leaves aff the tree?
O gentle death, when wilt thou cum?
For of my life I am wearye.

'Tis not the frost that freezes fell,
Nor blawing snaws inclemencye;
'Tis not sic cauld that makes me cry,
But my love's heart grown cauld to me.
Whan we came in by Glasgow town,
We were a comely sight to see;
My love was clad in black velvet,
And I myself in cramasye.

But had I wist, before I kist,
That love had been sae ill to win,
I had lockt my heart in a case of gowd,
And pinnd it with a siller pin.
And, oh! that my young babe were born,
And set upon the nurse's knee,
And I myself were dead and gane!
And the green grass growing over me.

The Nut-brown Maid

Be it right, or wrong, these men among
On women do complain;
Affirming this, how that it is
A labour spent in vain
To love them wele; for never a dele
They love a man again:
For let a man do what he can,
Their favour to attain,
Yet, if a new do them pursue,
Their first true lover then
Laboureth for nought; for from her thought
He is a banished man.

I say not nay, but that all day
It is both writ and said
That woman's faith is, as who saith,
All utterly decayed;
But, nevertheless, right good witness
In this case might be laid,
That they love true, and continue,
Record the Nut-brown Maid:
Which, when her love came, her to prove,
To her to make his moan,
Would not depart; for in her heart
She loved but him alone.

Then between us let us discuss
What was all the manere
Between them two: we will also
Tell all the pain, and fere,
That she was in. Now I begin,
So that ye me answere;
Wherefore, all ye, that present be
I pray you, give an ear.
I am the knight; I come by night,
As secret as I can;
Saying,' Alas! thus standeth the case,
I am a banished man.'


And I your will for to fulfil
In this will not refuse;
Trusting to shew, in wordes few,
That men have an ill use
(To their own shame) women to blame,
And causeless them accuse:
Therefore to you I answer now,
All women to excuse,--
Mine own heart dear, with you what chere?
I pray you, tell anone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.


It standeth so; a dede is do
Whereof great harm shall grow
My destiny is for to die
A shameful death, I trowe;
Or else to flee: the one must be.
None other way I know,
But to withdraw as an outlaw,
And take me to my bow.
Wherefore, adieu, my own heart true!
None other rede I can:
For I must to the green wood go,
Alone, a banished man.


O Lord, what is this worldys bliss,
That changeth as the moon!
My summer's day in lusty May
Is darked before the noon.
I hear you say, farewell: Nay, nay,
We depart not so soon.
Why say ye so? wheder will ye go?
Alas! what have ye done?
All my welfare to sorrow and care
Should change, if ye were gone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.


I can believe, it shall you grieve,
And somewhat you distrain;
But, afterward, your paines hard
Within a day or twain
Shall soon aslake; and ye shall take
Comfort to you again.
Why should ye ought? for, to make thought
Your labour were in vain.
And thus I do; and pray you to,
As heartily as I can;
For I must to the green wood go,
Alone, a banished man.


Now, sith that ye have shewed to me
The secret of your mind,
I shall be plain to you again,
Like as ye shall me find.
Sith it is so, that ye will go,
I wolle not leave behind;
Shall never be said, the Nut-brown Maid
Was to her love unkind:
Make you ready, for so am I,
Although it were anone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.


Yet I you rede to take good heed
What men will think and say:
Of young and old it shall be told,
That ye be gone away,
Your wanton will for to fulfil,
In green wood you to play;
And that ye might from your delight
No longer make delay.
Rather than ye should thus for me
Be called an ill woman,
Yet would I to the green wood go,
Alone, a banished man.


Though it be sung of old and young,
That I should be to blame,
Theirs be the charge, that speak so large
In hurting of my name:
For I will prove, that, faithful love
It is devoid of shame;
In your distress, and heaviness,
To part with you, the same:
And sure all tho, that do not so,
True lovers are they none;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.


I counsel you, remember how,
It is no maiden's law,
Nothing to doubt, but to renne out
To wood with an outlaw:
For ye must there in your hand bear
A bow, ready to draw;
And, as a thief, thus must you live,
Ever in dread and awe;
Whereby to you great harm might grow:
Yet had I lever than,
That I had to the green wood go,
Alone, a banished man.


I think not nay, but as ye say,
It is no maiden's lore;
But love may make me for your sake,
As I have said before,
To come on foot, to hunt, and shoot
To get us meat in store;
For so that I your company
May have, I ask no more:
From which to part, it maketh my heart
As cold as any stone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.


For an outlaw this is the law,
That men him take and bind;
Without pity, hanged to be,
And waver with the wind.
If I had nede, (as God forbede!)
What rescue could ye find?
Forsooth, I trow, ye and your bow
For fear would draw behind:
And no mervayle: for little avail
Were in your counsel then:
Wherefore I will to the green wood go,
Alone, a banished man.


Right well know ye, that women be
But feeble for to fight;
No womanhede it is indeed
To be bold as a knight:
Yet, in such fear if that ye were
With enemies day or night,
I would withstand, with bow in hand,
To greve them as I might,
And you to save; as women have
From death men many a one:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.


Yet take good hede; for ever I drede
That ye could not sustain
The thorny ways, the deep valleys,
The snow, the frost, the rain,
The cold, the heat: for dry, or wet,
We must lodge on the plain;
And, us above, none other roof
But a brake bush, or twain;
Which soon should grieve you, I believe,
And ye would gladly then
That I had to the green wood go,
Alone, a banished man.


Sith I have here been partynere
With you of joy and bliss,
I must als part of your woe
Endure, as reason is:
Yet am I sure of one pleasure;
And, shortly, it is this:
That, where ye be, me seemeth, parde,
I could not fare amiss.
Without more speech, I you beseech
That we were soon agone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.


If ye go thyder, ye must consider,
When ye have lust to dine,
There shall no meat be for you gete,
Nor drink, beer, ale, nor wine.
No shetes clean, to lie between,
Made of thread and twine;
None other house, but leaves and boughs,
To cover your head and mine;
O mine heart sweet, this evil diete
Should make you pale and wan;
Wherefore I will to the green wood go,
Alone, a banished man.


Among the wild dere, such an archere,
As men say that ye be,
Ne may not fail of good vitayle,
Where is so great plenty:
And water clear of the ryvere
Shall be full sweet to me;
With which in hele I shall right wele
Endure, as ye shall see;
And, or we go, a bed or two
I can provide anone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.


Lo! yet, before, ye must do more,
If ye will go with me:
As cut your hair up by your ear,
Your kirtle by the knee;
With bow in hand, for to withstand
Your enemies, if need be:
And this same night before day-light,
To wood-ward will I flee.
If that ye will all this fulfil,
Do it shortly as ye can
Else will I to the green wood go,
Alone, a banished man.


I shall as now do more for you
Than 'longeth to womanhede;
To shorte my hair, a bow to bear,
To shoot in time of need.
O my sweet mother, before all other
For you I have most drede:
But now, adieu! I must ensue,
Where fortune doth me lead.
All this make ye: Now let us flee;
The day cometh fast upon;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.


Nay, nay, not so; ye shall not go,
And I shall tell ye why,--
Your appetite is to be light
Of love, I wele espy:
For, like as ye have said to me,
In like wise hardely
Ye would answere whosoever it were
In way of company.
It is said of old, Soon hot, soon cold
And so is a woman.
Wherefore I to the wood will go,
Alone, a banished man.


If ye take heed, it is no need
Such words to say by me;
For oft ye prayed, and long assayed,
Or I you loved, parde:
And though that I of ancestry
A baron's daughter be,
Yet have you proved how I you loved
A squire of low degree;
And ever shall, whatso befall;
To die therefore anone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.


A baron's child to be beguiled!
It were a cursed dede;
To be felawe with an outlawe!
Almighty God forbede!
Yet better were, the poor squyere
Alone to forest yede,
Than ye should say another day,
That, by my cursed dede,
Ye were betrayed: Wherefore, good maid,
The best rede that I can,
Is, that I to the green wood go,
Alone, a banished man.


Whatever befall, I never shall
Of this thing you upbraid:
But if ye go, and leave me so,
Then have ye me betrayed.
Remember you wele, how that ye dele;
For, if ye, as ye said,
Be so unkind, to leave behind,
Your love, the Nut-brown Maid,
Trust me truly, that I shall die
Soon after ye be gone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.


If that ye went, ye should repent;
For in the forest now
I have purvayed me of a maid,
Whom I love more than you;
Another fayrere, than ever ye were,
I dare it wele avow;
And of you both each should be wroth
With other, as I trow:
It were mine ease, to live in peace;
So will I, if I can;
Wherefore I to the wood will go,
Alone, a banished man.


Though in the wood I understood
Ye had a paramour,
All this may nought remove my thought,
But that I will be your:
And she shall find me soft and kind,
And courteys every hour;
Glad to fulfil all that she will
Command me to my power:
For had ye, lo! an hundred mo,
Of them I would be one;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.


Mine own dear love, I see the proof
That ye be kind and true;
Of maid, and wife, in all my life,
The best that ever I knew.
Be merry and glad, be no more sad,
The case is changed new;
For it were ruth, that, for your truth,
Ye should have cause to rue.
Be not dismayed, whatsoever I said
To you, when I began;
I will not to the green wood go,
I am no banished man.


These tidings be more glad to me,
Than to be made a queen,
If I were sure they should endure:
But it is often seen,
When men will break promise, they speak
The wordes on the splene.
Ye shape some wile me to beguile,
And steal from me, I ween:
Then, were the case worse than it was,
And I more wo-begone:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.


Ye shall not nede further to drede;
I will not disparage
You, (God defend!) sith ye descend
Of so great a lineage.
Now understand; to Westmoreland,
Which is mine heritage,
I will you bring; and with a ring,
By way of marriage
I will you take, and lady make,
As shortly as I can:
Thus have you won an erly's son,
And not a banished man.


Here may ye see, that women be
In love, meek, kind, and stable;
Let never man reprove them then,
Or call them variable;
But, rather, pray God that we may
To them be comfortable;
Which sometime proveth such, as he loveth,
If they be charitable.
For sith men would that women should
Be meek to them each one;
Much more ought they to God obey,
And serve but Him alone.

The Fause Lover

A fair maid sat in her bower door,
Wringing her lily hands;
And by it came a sprightly youth,
Fast tripping o'er the strands.

"Where gang ye, young John," she says,
"Sae early in the day?
It gars me think, by your fast trip,
Your journey's far away."

He turn'd about wi' surly look,
And said, "What's that to thee?
I'm ga'en to see a lovely maid,
Mair fairer far than ye."

"Now hae ye play'd me this, fause love,
In simmer, 'mid the flowers?
I shall repay ye back again,
In winter, 'mid the showers."

"But again, dear love, and again, dear love,
Will ye not turn again?
For as ye look to ither women,
I shall do to other men."

"Make your choice o' whom you please,
For I my choice will have;
I've chosen a maid more fair than thee,
I never will deceive."

But she's kilt up her claithing fine,
And after him gaed she;
But aye he said, "Ye'll turn again,
Nae farder gae wi' me."

"But again, dear love, and again, dear love,
Will ye never love me again?
Alas! for loving you sae well,
And you na me again."

The firstan' town that they came till,
He bought her brooch and ring;
But aye he bade her turn again,
And gang nae farder wi' him.

"But again, dear love, and again, dear love," etc.

The nextan' town that they came till,
He bought her muff and gloves;
But aye he bade her turn again,
And choose some other loves.

"But again, dear love, and again, dear love," etc.

The nextan' town that they came till,
His heart it grew mair fain;
And he was deep in love wi' her.
As she was ower again.

The nextan' town that they came till,
He bought her wedding gown;
And made her lady o' ha's and bowers,
In sweet Berwick town.

The Mermaid

To yon fause stream that, near the sea,
Hides mony an elf and plum,
And rives wi' fearful din the stanes,
A witless knicht did come.

The day shines clear--far in he's gane
Whar shells are silver bright,
Fishes war loupin' a' aroun',
And sparklin' to the light.

Whan, as he laved, sounds cam sae sweet
Frae ilka rock an' tree;
The brief was out, 'twas him it doomed
The mermaid's face to see.

Frae 'neath a rock, sune, sune she rose,
And stately on she swam,
Stopped i' the midst, and becked and sang
To him to stretch his han'.

Gowden glist the yellow links
That round her neck she'd twine;
Her een war o' the skyie blue,
Her lips did mock the wine;

The smile upon her bonnie cheek
Was sweeter than the bee;
Her voice excelled the birdie's sang
Upon the birchen tree.

Sae couthie, couthie did she look,
And meikle had she fleeched;
Out shot his hand--alas! alas!
Fast in the swirl he screeched.

The mermaid leuch, her brief was gane,
And kelpie's blast was blawin',
Fu' low she duked, ne'er raise again,
For deep, deep was the fawin'.

Aboon the stream his wraith was seen,
Warlochs tirled lang at gloamin';
That e'en was coarse, the blast blew hoarse,
Ere lang the waves war foamin'.

The Battle of Otterburn


It fell about the Lammas tide,
When husbands winn their hay,
The doughty Douglas bound him to ride
Into England to take a prey.

The Earl of Fife, withouten strife,
He bound him over Solway;
The great would ever together ride
That race they may rue for aye.

Over Ottercap hill they came in,
And so down by Rotheley crag,
Upon Green Leighton they lighted down,
Styrande many a stag;

And boldly brente Northumberland,
And harried many a town;
They did our Englishmen great wrong
To battle that were not bown.

Then spake a berne upon the bent,
Of comfort that was not cold,
And said, "We have brente Northumberland,
We have all wealth in holde.

"Now we have harried all Bamborough shire
All the wealth in the world have we;
I rede we ride to Newcastle,
So still and stalworthlye."

Upon the morrow, when it was day,
The standards shone full bright;
To the Newcastle they took the way,
And thither they came full right.

Sir Henry Percy lay at the Newcastle,
I tell you, withouten dread;
He has been a March-man all his days,
And kept Berwick upon Tweed.

To the Newcastle when they came,
The Scots they cried on hyght:
"Sir Harry Percy, an thou bist within,
Come to the field and fight:

"For we have brente Northumberland,
Thy heritage good and right;
And syne my lodging I have take,
With my brand dubbed many a knight."

Sir Harry Percy came to the walls,
The Scottish host for to see:
"And thou hast brente Northumberland,
Full sore it rueth me.

"If thou hast harried all Bamborough shire,
Thou hast done me great envy;
For the trespass thou hast me done,
The one of us shall die."

"Where shall I bide thee?" said the Douglas;
"Or where wilt thou come to me?"
"At Otterburn in the high way,
There mayst thou well lodged be.

"The roe full reckless there she runs,
To make thee game and glee;
The falcon and the pheasant both,
Among the holtes on hee.

"There mayst thou have thy wealth at will,
Well lodged there mayst thou be;
It shall not be long ere I come thee till,"
Said Sir Harry Percye.

"There shall I bide thee," said the Douglas,
"By the faith of my body."
"Thither shall I come," said Sir Harry Percy,
"My troth I plight to thee."

A pipe of wine he gave them over the walls,
For sooth, as I you say;
There he made the Douglas drink,
And all his host that day.

The Douglas turned him homeward again,
For sooth withouten nay;
He took his lodging at Otterburn
Upon a Wednesday;

And there he pyght his standard down.
His getting more and less;
And syne he warned his men to go
And get their geldings gress.

A Scottish knight hoved upon the bent,
A watch I dare well say;
So was he ware on the noble Percy
In the dawning of the day.

He pricked to his pavilion door,
As fast as he might ronne;
"Awaken, Douglas!" cried the knight,
"For His love that sits in throne.

"Awaken, Douglas!" cried the knight,
"For thou mayst waken with wynne;
Yonder have I spied the proud Percy,
And seven standards with him."

"Nay, by my troth," the Douglas said,
"It is but a feigned tale;
He durst not look on my broad banner,
For all England so hayle.

"Was I not yesterday at the Newcastle,
That stands so fair on Tyne?
For all the men the Percy had,
He could not garre me once to dyne."

He stepped out at his pavilion door,
To look, and it were less;
"Array you, lordyngs, one and all,
For here begins no peace.

"The Earl of Menteith, thou art my eme,
The forward I give to thee;
The Earl of Huntley cawte and keen,
He shall with thee be.

"The Lord of Buchan, in armour bright,
On the other hand he shall be;
Lord Johnstone, and Lord Maxwell,
They two shall be with me.

"Swynton fair field upon your pride
To battle make you bowen;
Sir Davy Scot, Sir Walter Steward,
Sir John of Agerstone."


The Percy came before his host,
Which ever was a gentle knight,
Upon the Douglas loud did he cry,
"I will hold that I have hight;

"For thou hast brente Northumberland,
And done me great envy;
For this trespass thou hast me done
The one of us shall die."

The Douglas answered him again,
With great words up on hee,
And said, "I have twenty against thy one,
Behold, and thou mayst see."

With that the Percy was grieved sore,
For sooth as I you say;
He lighted down upon his foot,
And shot his horse clean away.

Every man saw that he did so,
That ryall was ever in rout;
Every man shot his horse him fro,
And light him round about.

Thus Sir Harry Percy took the field,
For sooth as I you say,
Jesu Christ in heaven on high,
Did help him well that day.

But nine thousand, there was no more,
If chronicle will not layne;
Forty thousand Scots and four
That day fought them again,

But when the battle began to join,
In haste there came a knight,
Then letters fair forth hath he ta'en,
And thus he said full right:

"My lord, your father he greets you well,
With many a noble knight;
He desires you to bide,
That he may see this fight.

"The baron of Grastock is come out of the west,
With him a noble company;
All they lodge at your father's this night,
And the battle fain would they see."

"For Jesu's love," said Sir Harry Percy,
"That died for you and me,
Wend to my lord, my father, again,
And say thou saw me not with ee;

"My troth is plight to yon Scottish knight,
It needs me not to layne,
That I should bide him upon this bent,
And I have his troth again;

"And if that I wend off this ground,
For sooth unfoughten away,
He would me call but a coward knight,
In his land another day.

"Yet had I lever to be rynde and rent,
By Mary that mykel may,
Than ever my manhood should be reproved
With a Scot another day.

"Wherefore shoot, archers, for my sake,
And let sharp arrows flee;
Minstrels, play up for your warison,
And well quit it shall be.

"Every man think on his true love,
And mark him to the Trinity;
For to God I make mine a-vow
This day will I not flee."

The bloody heart in the Douglas' arms,
His standard stood on high,
That every man might full well know;
Beside stood starres three.

The white Li n on the English part,
For sooth as I you sayne,
The luces and the crescents both
The Scots fought them again.

Upon Saint Andrew loud did they cry,
And thrice they shout on hyght,
And syne marked them on our Englishmen,
As I have told you right.

Saint George the bright, our Lady's knight,
To name they were full fain,
Our Englishmen they cried on hyght,
And thrice they shout again.

With that sharp arrows began to flee,
I tell you in certain;
Men of arms began to join;
Many a doughty man was there slain.

The Percy and the Douglas met,
That either of them was fain;
They schapped together, while that they sweat,
With swords of fine Collayne;

Till the blood from their basenets ran
As the roke doth in the rain.
"Yield thee to me," said the Douglas,
"Or else thou shalt be slain;

"For I see by thy bright basenet,
Thou art some man of might;
And so I do by thy burnished brand,
Thou art an earl, or else a knight."

"By my good faith," said the noble Percy,
"Now hast thou rede full right;
Yet will I never yield me to thee,
While I may stand and fight."

They swapped together, while that they sweat,
With swordes sharp and long;
Each on other so fast they beat,
Till their helms came in pieces down.

The Percy was a man of strength,
I tell you in this stound
He smote the Douglas at the sword's length,
That he felled him to the ground.

The sword was sharp, and sore did byte,
I tell you in certain;
To the heart he did him smite,
Thus was the Douglas slain.

The standards stood still on each side;
With many a grievous groan,
There they fought the day, and all the night,
And many a doughty man was slone.

There was no freyke that there would fly,
But stiffly in stour did stand,
Echone hewing on other while they might dry,
With many a baleful brand.

There was slain upon the Scottes side,
For sooth and certainly,
Sir James of Douglas there was slain,
That day that he did die.

The Earl of Menteith he was slain.
Grysely groaned upon the ground;
Sir Davy Scot, Sir Walter Steward,
Sir John of Agerstone.

Sir Charles Murray in that place,
That never a foot would fly;
Sir Hugh Maxwell, a lord he was,
With the Douglas did he die.

There was slain upon the Scottes side,
For sooth as I you say,
Of four and forty thousand Scots,
Went but eighteen away.

There was slain upon the English side,
For sooth and certainly,
A gentle knight, Sir John Fitzhugh,
It was the more pity.

Sir James Harebotell there was slain,
For him their hearts were sore
The gentle Lovel there was slain,
That the Percy's standard bore.

There was slain upon the English side,
For sooth as I you say,
Of nine thousand Englishmen,
Five hundred came away;

The others were slayne in the field,
Christ keep their souls from woe,
Seeing there were so few friends
Against so many a foe!

Then on the morn they made them biers
Of birch and hazel gray;
Many a widow with weeping tears
Their makes they fetch away.

This fray began at Otterburn,
Between the night and the day;
There the Douglas lost his life,
And the Percy was led away.

Then was there a Scottish prisoner ta'en,
Sir Hugh Montgomery was his name,
For sooth as I you say,
He borrowed the Percy home again.

Now let us all for the Percy pray,
To Jesu most of might,
To bring his soul to the bliss of heaven,
For he was a gentle knight.

The Lament of the Border Widow

My love he built me a bonny bower,
And clad it a' wi' a lilye flower,
A brawer bower ye ne'er did see,
Than my true love he built for me.

There came a man, by middle day,
He spied his sport and went away,
And brought the king that very night,
Who brake my bower, and slew my knight.

He slew my knight, to me so dear;
He slew my knight, and poined his gear;
My servants all for life did flee,
And left me in extremitie.

I sewed his sheet, making my mane;
I watched the corpse, myself alane;
I watched his body, night and day;
No living creature came that way.

I took his body on my back,
And whiles I gaed, and whiles I sat,
I digged a grave, and laid him in,
And happed him with the sod so green.

But think na ye my heart was sair,
When I laid the moul' on his yellow hair;
Think na ye my heart was wae,
When I turned about, away to gae?

Nae living man I'll love again,
Since that my lovely knight is slain;
W? ae lock of his yellow hair
I'll chain my heart for evermair.

The Banks o' Yarrow

Late at e'en, drinking the wine,
And ere they paid the lawing,
They set a combat them between,
To fight it in the dawing.

"What though ye be my sister's lord,
We'll cross our swords to-morrow."
"What though my wife your sister be,
I'll meet ye then on Yarrow."

"O stay at hame, my ain gude lord!
O stay, my ain dear marrow!
My cruel brither will you betray
On the dowie banks o' Yarrow."

"O fare ye weel, my lady dear!
And put aside your sorrow;
For if I gae, I'll sune return
Frae the bonny banks o' Yarrow."

She kiss'd his cheek, she kaim'd his hair,
As oft she'd done before, O;
She belted him wi' his gude brand,
And he's awa' to Yarrow.

When he gaed up the Tennies bank,
As he gaed mony a morrow,
Nine armed men lay in a den,
On the dowie braes o' Yarrow.

"O come ye here to hunt or hawk
The bonny Forest thorough?
Or come ye here to wield your brand
Upon the banks o' Yarrow?"

"I come not here to hunt or hawk,
As oft I've dune before, O,
But I come here to wield my brand
Upon the banks o' Yarrow.

"If ye attack me nine to ane,
Then may God send ye sorrow!--
Yet will I fight while stand I may,
On the bonny banks o' Yarrow."

Two has he hurt, and three has slain,
On the bloody braes o' Yarrow;
But the stubborn knight crept in behind,
And pierced his body thorough.

"Gae hame, gae hame, you brither John,
And tell your sister sorrow,--
To come and lift her leafu' lord
On the dowie banks o' Yarrow."

Her brither John gaed ower yon hill,
As oft he'd dune before, O;
There he met his sister dear,
Cam' rinnin' fast to Yarrow.

"I dreamt a dream last night," she says,
"I wish it binna sorrow;
I dreamt I pu'd the heather green
Wi' my true love on Yarrow."

"I'll read your dream, sister," he says,
"I'll read it into sorrow;
Ye're bidden go take up your love,
He's sleeping sound on Yarrow."

She's torn the ribbons frae her head
That were baith braid and narrow;
She's kilted up her lang claithing,
And she's awa' to Yarrow.

She's ta'en him in her arms twa,
And gi'en him kisses thorough;
She sought to bind his mony wounds,
But he lay dead on Yarrow.

"O haud your tongue," her father says,
"And let be a' your sorrow;
I'll wed you to a better lord
Than him ye lost on Yarrow."

"O haud your tongue, father," she says,
"Far warse ye mak' my sorrow;
A better lord could never be
Than him that lies on Yarrow."

She kiss'd his lips, she kaim'd his hair,
As aft she had dune before, O;
And there wi' grief her heart did break,
Upon the banks o' Yarrow.

Hugh of Lincoln


Four and twenty bonny boys
Were playing at the ba',
And up it stands him sweet Sir Hugh,
The flower among them a'.

He kicked the ba' there wi' his foot,
And keppit it wi' his knee,
Till even in at the Jew's window
He gart the bonny ba' flee.

"Cast out the ba' to me, fair maid,
Cast out the ba' to me."
"Never a bit," says the Jew's daughter,
Till ye come up to me."

"Come up, sweet Hugh, come up, dear Hugh,
Come up and get the ba'."
"I winna come, I mayna come,
Without my bonny boys a'."

She's ta'en her to the Jew's garden,
Where the grass grew lang and green,
She's pu'd an apple red and white,
To wyle the bonny boy in.

She's wyled him in through ae chamber,
She's wyled him in through twa,
She's wyled him into the third chamber,
And that was the warst o' a'.

She's tied the little boy, hands and feet,
She's pierced him wi' a knife,
She's caught his heart's blood in a golden cup,
And twinn'd him o' his life.

She row'd him in a cake o' lead,
Bade him lie still and sleep,
She cast him in a deep draw-well
Was fifty fathom deep.

When bells were rung, and mass was sung,
And every bairn went hame,
Then ilka lady had her young son,
But Lady Helen had nane.

She row'd her mantle her about,
And sair, sair 'gan she weep;
And she ran unto the Jew's house,
When they were all asleep.

"My bonny Sir Hugh, my pretty Sir Hugh,
I pray thee to me speak!"
"Lady Helen, come to the deep draw-well
'Gin ye your son wad seek."

Lady Helen ran to the deep draw-well,
And knelt upon her knee:
"My bonny Sir Hugh, an ye be here,
I pray thee speak to me!"

"The lead is wondrous heavy, mither,
The well is wondrous deep;
A keen penknife sticks in my heart,
It is hard for me to speak.

"Gae hame, gae hame, my mither dear,
Fetch me my winding-sheet;
And at the back o' merry Lincoln,
It's there we twa sall meet."

Now Lady Helen she's gane hame,
Made him a winding-sheet;
And at the back o' merry Lincoln,
The dead corpse did her meet.

And a' the bells o' merry Lincoln
Without men's hands were rung;
And a' the books o' merry Lincoln
Were read without men's tongue:
Never was such a burial
Sin' Adam's days begun.

Sir Patrick Spens

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

O up and spak' an eldern knight,
Sat at the king's right knee,
"Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor,
That ever sailed the sea."

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

"To Noroway, to Noroway,
To Noroway o'er the faem;
The king's daughter of Noroway
'Tis thou maun bring her hame."

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

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

"Be it wind, be it weet, be it hail, be it sleet,
Our ship must sail the faem;
The king's daughter of Noroway,
'Tis we must fetch her hame."


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