Gil Brenton

Gil Brenton
Gil Brenton has sent oer the fame,
He's woo'd a wife an brought her hame.
Child has 8 (A to H) versions of Gil Brenton with two tunes. Bronson has three tunes all recorded prior to 1900. The ballad does not seem to have survived into current oral tradition.

[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H ]

Version A.[ HOME ] [ Numbered List ]

A.a. Jamieson-Brown MS., No 16, p. 34. b. William Tytler's Brown MS., No 3. From the recitation of Mrs Brown of Falkland, 1783, (ex) Aberdeenshire. A. b. Ritson-Tytler-Brown MS., pp. 22-30; copied by Joseph Ritson, c. 1792-1794.

1 Gil Brenton has sent oer the fame,
He's woo'd a wife an brought her hame.

2 Full sevenscore o ships came her wi,
The lady by the greenwood tree.

3 There was twal an twal wi beer an wine,
An twal an twal wi muskadine:

4 An twall an twall wi bouted flowr,
An twall an twall wi paramour:

5 An twall an twall wi baken bread,
An twall an twall wi the goud sae red.

6 Sweet Willy was a widow's son,
An at her stirrup-foot he did run.

7 An she was dressd i the finest pa,
But ay she loot the tears down fa.

8 An she was deckd wi the fairest flowrs,
But ay she loot the tears down pour.

9 'O is there water i your shee?
Or does the win blaw i your glee?

10 'Or are you mourning i your meed
That eer you left your mither gueede?

11 'Or are ye mourning i your tide
That ever ye was Gil Brenton's bride?'

12 'The[re] is nae water i my shee,
Nor does the win blaw i my glee:

13 'Nor am I mourning i my tide
That eer I was Gil Brenton's bride:

14 'But I am mourning i my meed
That ever I left my mither gueede.

15 'But, bonny boy, tell to me
What is the customs o your country.'

16 'The customs o't, my dame,' he says,
'Will ill a gentle lady please.

17 'Seven king's daughters has our king wedded,
An seven king's daughters has our king bedded.

18 'But he's cutted the paps frae their breast-bane,
An sent them mourning hame again.

19 'But whan you come to the palace yate,
His mither a golden chair will set.

20 'An be you maid or be you nane,
O sit you there till the day be dane.

21 'An gin you're sure that you are a maid,
Ye may gang safely to his bed.

22 'But gin o that you be na sure,
Then hire some woman o youre bowr.'

23 O whan she came to the palace yate,
His mither a golden chair did set.

24 An was she maid or was she nane,
She sat in it till the day was dane.

25 An she's calld on her bowr woman,
That waiting was her bowr within.

26 'Five hundred pound, maid, I'll gi to the,
An sleep this night wi the king for me.'

27 Whan bells was rung, an mass was sung,
An a' man unto bed was gone,

28 Gil Brenton an the bonny maid
Intill ae chamber they were laid.

29 'O speak to me, blankets, an speak to me, sheets,
An speak to me, cods, that under me sleeps;

30 'Is this a maid that I ha wedded?
Is this a maid that I ha bedded?'

31 'It's nae a maid that you ha wedded,
But it's a maid that you ha bedded.

32 'Your lady's in her bigly bowr,
An for you she drees mony sharp showr.'

33 O he has taen him thro the ha,
And on his mither he did ca.

34 'I am the most unhappy man
That ever was in christend lan.

35 'I woo'd a maiden meek an mild,
An I've marryed a woman great wi child.'

36 'O stay, my son, intill this ha,
An sport you wi your merry men a'.

37 'An I'll gang to yon painted bowr,
An see how 't fares wi yon base whore.'

38 The auld queen she was stark an strang;
She gard the door flee aff the ban.

39 The auld queen she was stark an steer;
She gard the door lye i the fleer.

40 'O is your bairn to laird or loon?
Or is it to your father's groom?'

41 'My bairn's na to laird or loon,
Nor is it to my father's groom.

42 'But hear me, mither, on my knee,
An my hard wierd I'll tell to thee.

43 'O we were sisters, sisters seven,
We was the fairest under heaven.

44 'We had nae mair for our seven years wark
But to shape an sue the king's son a sark.

45 'O it fell on a Saturday's afternoon,
Whan a' our langsome wark was dane,

46 'We keist the cavils us amang,
To see which shoud to the greenwood gang.

47 'Ohone, alas! for I was youngest,
An ay my wierd it was the hardest.

48 'The cavil it did on me fa,
Which was the cause of a' my wae.

49 'For to the greenwood I must gae,
To pu the nut but an the slae;

50 'To pu the red rose an the thyme,
To strew my mother's bowr and mine.

51 'I had na pu'd a flowr but ane,
Till by there came a jelly hind greeme,

52 'Wi high-colld hose an laigh-colld shoone,
An he 'peard to be some kingis son.

53 'An be I maid or be I nane,
He kept me there till the day was dane.

54 'An be I maid or be I nae,
He kept me there till the close of day.

55 'He gae me a lock of yallow hair,
An bade me keep it for ever mair.

56 'He gae me a carket o gude black beads,
An bade me keep them against my needs.

57 'He gae to me a gay gold ring,
An bade me ke[e]p it aboon a' thing.

58 'He gae to me a little pen-kniffe,
An bade me keep it as my life.'

59 'What did you wi these tokens rare
That ye got frae that young man there?'

60 'O bring that coffer hear to me,
And a' the tokens ye sal see.'

61 An ay she rauked, an ay she flang,
Till a' the tokens came till her han.

62 'O stay here, daughter, your bowr within,
Till I gae parley wi my son.'

63 O she has taen her thro the ha,
An on her son began to ca.

64 'What did you wi that gay gold ring
I bade you keep aboon a' thing?

65 'What did you wi that little pen-kniffe
I bade you keep while you had life?

66 'What did you wi that yallow hair
I bade you keep for ever mair?

67 'What did you wi that good black beeds
I bade you keep against your needs?'

68 'I gae them to a lady gay
I met i the greenwood on a day.

69 'An I would gi a' my father's lan,
I had that lady my yates within.

70 'I would gi a' my ha's an towrs,
I had that bright burd i my bowrs.'

71 'O son, keep still your father's lan;
You hae that lady your yates within.

72 'An keep you still your ha's an towrs
You hae that bright burd i your bowrs.'

73 Now or a month was come an gone,
This lady bare a bonny young son.

74 An it was well written on his breast-bane
'Gil Brenton is my father's name.'

Version B.[ TOP ]

Scott's Minstrelsy, ii, 117, ed. 1802. Ed. 1830, iii, 263. Partly from the recitation of Miss Christian Rutherford.

1 Cospatrick has sent oer the faem,
Cospatrick brought his ladye hame.

2 And fourscore ships have come her wi,
The ladye by the grenewood tree.

3 There were twal and twal wi baken bread,
And twal and twal wi gowd sae reid:

4 And twal and twal wi bouted flour,
And twal and twal wi the paramour.

5 Sweet Willy was a widow's son,
And at her stirrup he did run.

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

7 'O is your saddle set awrye?
Or rides your steed for you owre high?

8 'Or are you mourning in your tide
That you suld be Cospatrick's bride?'

9 'I am not mourning at this tide
That I suld be Cospatrick's bride;

10 'But I am sorrowing in my mood
That I suld leave my mother good.

11 'But, gentle boy, come tell to me,
What is the custom of thy countrye?'

12 'The custom thereof, my dame,' he says,
'Will ill a gentle laydye please.

13 'Seven king's daughters has our lord wedded,
And seven king's daughters has our lord bedded;

14 'But he's cutted their breasts frae their breast bane,
And sent them mourning hame again.

15 'Yet, gin you're sure that you're a maid,
Ye may gae safely to his bed;

16 'But gif o that ye be na sure,
Then hire some damsell o your bour.'

17 The ladye's calld her bour-maiden,
That waiting was into her train;

18 'Five thousand merks I will gie thee,
To sleep this night with my lord for me.'

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

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

21 'Now, speak to me, blankets, and speak to me, bed,
And speak, thou sheet, inchanted web;

22 'And speak up, my bonny brown sword, that winna lie,
Is this a true maiden that lies by me?'

23 'It is not a maid that you hae wedded,
But it is a maid that you hae bedded.

24 'It is a liel maiden that lies by thee,
But not the maiden that it should be.'

25 O wrathfully he left the bed,
And wrathfully his claiths on did.

26 And he has taen him thro the ha,
And on his mother he did ca.

27 'I am the most unhappy man
That ever was in christen land!

28 'I courted a maiden meik and mild,
And I hae gotten naething but a woman wi child.'

29 'O stay, my son, into this ha,
And sport ye wi your merrymen a';

30 'And I will to the secret bour,
To see how it fares wi your paramour.'

31 The carline she was stark and sture;
She aff the hinges dang the dure.

32 'O is your bairn to laird or loun?
Or is it to your father's groom?'

33 'O hear me, mother, on my knee,
Till my sad story I tell to thee.

34 'O we were sisters, sisters seven,
We were the fairest under heaven.

35 'It fell on a summer's afternoon,
When a' our toilsome task was done,

36 'We cast the kavils us amang,
To see which suld to the grene-wood gang.

37 'O hon, alas! for I was youngest,
And aye my wierd it was the hardest.

38 'The kavil it on me did fa,
Whilk was the cause of a' my woe.

39 'For to the grene-wood I maun gae,
To pu the red rose and the slae;

40 'To pu the red rose and the thyme,
To deck my mother's bour and mine.

41 'I hadna pu'd a flower but ane,
When by there came a gallant hende,

42 'Wi high-colld hose and laigh-colld shoon,
And he seemd to be sum king's son.

43 'And be I maid or be I nae,
He kept me there till the close o day.

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

45 'He gae me a lock o his yellow hair,
And bade me keep it ever mair.

46 'He gae me a carknet o bonny beads,
And bade me keep it against my needs.

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

48 'What did ye wi the tokens rare
That ye gat frae that gallant there?

49 'O bring that coffer unto me,
And a' the tokens ye sall see.'

50 'Now stay, daughter, your hour within,
While I gae parley wi my son.'

51 O she has taen her thro the ha,
And on her son began to ca.

52 'What did you wi the bonny beads
I bade ye keep against your needs?

53 'What did you wi the gay gowd ring
I bade ye keep abune a' thing?'

54 'I gae them a' to a ladye gay
I met in grene-wood on a day.

55 'But I wad gie a' my halls and tours,
I had that ladye within my bours.

56 'But I wad gie my very life,
I had that ladye to my wife.'

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

58 'And keep, my son, your very life;
Ye have that ladye to your wife.'

59 Now or a month was cum and gane,
The ladye bore a bonny son.

60 And 't was weel written on his breast-bane,
'Cospatrick is my father's name.'

61 'O rowe my ladye in satin and silk,
And wash my son in the morning milk.'

Version C.[ TOP ]

Cromek's Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway Song, p. 207. “From the recital of a peasant-woman of Galloway, upwards of ninety years of age.”

1 We were sisters, we were seven,
We were the fairest under heaven.

2 And it was a' our seven years wark
To sew our father's seven sarks.

3 And whan our seven years wark was done,
We laid it out upo the green.

4 We coost the lotties us amang,
Wha wad to the greenwood gang,

5 To pu the lily but and the rose,
To strew witha' our sisters' bowers.

6 . . . . . I was youngest,
. . . . . my weer was hardest.

7 And to the greenwood I bud gae,
. . . . .

8 There I met a handsome childe,
. . . . .

9 High-coled stockings and laigh-coled shoon,
He bore him like a king's son.

10 An was I weel, or was I wae,
He keepit me a' the simmer day.

11 An though I for my hame-gaun sich[t],
He keepit me a' the simmer night.

12 He gae to me a gay gold ring,
And bade me keep it aboon a' thing.

13 He gae to me a cuttie knife,
And bade me keep it as my life:

14 Three lauchters o his yellow hair,
For fear we wad neer meet mair.

* * * * *

15 Next there came shippes three,
To carry a' my bridal fee.

16 Gowd were the beaks, the sails were silk,
Wrought wi maids' hands like milk.

17 They came toom and light to me,
But heavie went they waie frae me.

18 They were fu o baken bread,
They were fu of wine sae red.

19 My dowry went a' by the sea,
But I gaed by the grenewode tree.

20 An I sighed and made great mane,
As thro the grenewode we rade our lane.

21 An I ay siched an wiped my ee,
That eer the grenewode I did see.

22 'Is there water in your glove,
Or win into your shoe?
O[r] am I oer low a foot-page
To rin by you, ladie?'

23 'O there's nae water in my glove,
Nor win into my shoe;
But I am maning for my mither
Wha's far awa frae me.'

* * * * *

24 'Gin ye be a maiden fair,
Meikle gude ye will get there.

25 'If ye be a maiden but,
Meikle sorrow will ye get.

26 'For seven king's daughters he hath wedded,
But never wi ane o them has bedded.

27 'He cuts the breasts frae their breast-bane,
An sends them back unto their dame.

28 'He sets their backs unto the saddle,
An sends them back unto their father.

29 'But be ye maiden or be ye nane,
To the gowden chair ye draw right soon.

30 'But be ye leman or be ye maiden,
Sit nae down till ye be bidden.'

31 Was she maiden or was she nane,
To the gowden chair she drew right soon.

32 Was she leman or was she maiden,
She sat down ere she was bidden.

33 Out then spake the lord's mother;
Says, 'This is not a maiden fair.

34 'In that chair nae leal maiden
Eer sits down till they be bidden.'

35 The Billie Blin then outspake he,
As he stood by the fair ladie.

36 'The bonnie may is tired wi riding,
Gaurd her sit down ere she was bidden.'

* * * * *

37 But on her waiting-maid she ca'd
'Fair ladie, what's your will wi me?'
'O ye maun gie yere maidenheid
This night to an unco lord for me.'

38 'I hae been east, I hae been west,
I hae been far beyond the sea,
But ay, by grenewode or by bower,
I hae keepit my virginitie.

39 'But will it for my ladie plead,
I'll gie't this night to an unco lord.'

* * * * *

40 When bells were rung an vespers sung,
An men in sleep were locked soun,

41 Childe Branton and the waiting-maid
Into the bridal bed were laid.

42 'O lie thee down, my fair ladie,
Here are a' things meet for thee;

43 'Here's a bolster for yere head,
Here is sheets an comelie weids.'

* * * * *

44 'Now tell to me, ye Billie Blin,
If this fair dame be a leal maiden.'

45 'I wat she is as leal a wight
As the moon shines on in a simmer night.

46 'I wat she is as leal a may
As the sun shines on in a simmer day.

47 'But your bonnie bride's in her bower,
Dreeing the mither's trying hour.'

48 Then out o his bridal bed he sprang,
An into his mither's bower he ran.

49 'O mither kind, O mither dear,
This is nae a maiden fair.

50 'The maiden I took to my bride
Has a bairn atween her sides.

51 'The maiden I took to my bower
Is dreeing the mither's trying hour.'

52 Then to the chamber his mother flew,
And to the wa the door she threw.

53 She stapt at neither bolt nor ban,
Till to that ladie's bed she wan.

54 Says, 'Ladie fair, sae meek an mild,
Wha is the father o yere child?

55 'O mither dear,' said that ladie,
'I canna tell gif I sud die.

56 'We were sisters, we were seven,
We were the fairest under heaven.

57 'And it was a' our seven years wark
To sew our father's seven sarks.

58 'And whan our seven years wark was done,
We laid it out upon the green.

59 'We coost the lotties us amang,
Wha wad to the greenwode gang;

60 'To pu the lily but an the rose,
To strew witha' our sisters' bowers.

61 . . . . . 'I was youngest,
. . . . . my weer was hardest.

62 'And to the greenwode I bu[d] gae.
. . . . .

63 'There I met a handsome childe,
. . . . .

64 'Wi laigh-coled stockings and high-coled shoon,
He seemed to be some king's son.

65 'And was I weel or was I wae,
He keepit me a' the simmer day.

66 'Though for my hame-gaun I oft sicht,
He keepit me a' the simmer night.

67 'He gae to me a gay gold ring,
An bade me keep it aboon a' thing;

68 'Three lauchters o his yellow hair,
For fear that we suld neer meet mair.

69 'O mither, if ye'll believe nae me,
Break up the coffer, an there ye'll see.'

70 An ay she coost, an ay she flang,
Till her ain gowd ring came in her hand.

71 And scarce aught i the coffer she left,
Till she gat the knife wi the siller heft,

72 Three lauchters o his yellow hair,
Knotted wi ribbons dink and rare.

73 She cried to her son, 'Where is the ring
Your father gave me at our wooing,
An I gae you at your hunting?

74 'What did ye wi the cuttie knife,
I bade ye keep it as yere life?'

75 'O haud yere tongue, my mither dear;
I gae them to a lady fair.

76 'I wad gie a' my lands and rents,
I had that ladie within my brents.

77 'I wad gie a' my lands an towers,
I had that ladie within my bowers.'

78 'Keep still yere lands, keep still yere rents;
Ye hae that ladie within yere brents.

79 'Keep still yere lands, keep still yere towers;
Ye hae that lady within your bowers.'

80 Then to his ladie fast ran he,
An low he kneeled on his knee.

81 'O tauk ye up my son,' said he,
'An, mither, tent my fair ladie.

82 'O wash him purely i the milk,
And lay him saftly in the silk.

83 'An ye maun bed her very soft,
For I maun kiss her wondrous oft.'

84 It was weel written on his breast-bane
Childe Branton was the father's name.

85 It was weel written on his right hand
He was the heir o his daddie's land.

Version D.[ TOP ]

Buchan's Ancient Ballads and Songs of the North of Scotland, i, 204.

1 We were sisters, sisters seven,
Bowing down, bowing down
The fairest women under heaven.
And aye the birks a-bowing

2 They kiest kevels them amang,
Wha woud to the grenewood gang.

3 The kevels they gied thro the ha,
And on the youngest it did fa.

4 Now she must to the grenewood gang,
To pu the nuts in grenewood hang.

5 She hadna tarried an hour but ane
Till she met wi a highlan groom.

6 He keeped her sae late and lang
Till the evening set and birds they sang.

7 He gae to her at their parting
A chain o gold and gay gold ring;

8 And three locks o his yellow hair;
Bade her keep them for evermair.

9 When six lang months were come and gane.
A courtier to this lady came.

10 Lord Dingwall courted this lady gay,
And so he set their wedding-day.

11 A little boy to the ha was sent,
To bring her horse was his intent.

12 As she was riding the way along,
She began to make a heavy moan.

13 'What ails you, lady,' the boy said,
'That ye seem sae dissatisfied?

14 'Are the bridle reins for you too strong?
Or the stirrups for you too long?'

15 'But, little boy, will ye tell me
The fashions that are in your countrie?'

16 'The fashions in our ha I'll tell,
And o them a' I'll warn you well.

17 'When ye come in upon the floor,
His mither will meet you wi a golden chair.

18 'But be ye maid or be ye nane,
Unto the high seat make ye boun.

19 'Lord Dingwall aft has been beguild
By girls whom young men hae defiled.

20 'He's cutted the paps frae their breast-bane,
And sent them back to their ain hame.'

21 When she came in upon the floor,
His mother met her wi a golden chair.

22 But to the high seat she made her boun:
She knew that maiden she was nane.

23 When night was come, they went to bed,
And ower her breast his arm he laid.

24 He quickly jumped upon the floor,
And said, 'I've got a vile rank whore.'

25 Unto his mother he made his moan,
Says, 'Mother dear, I am undone.

26 'Ye've aft tald, when I brought them hame,
Whether they were maid or nane.

27 'I thought I'd gotten a maiden bright;
I've gotten but a waefu wight.

28 'I thought I'd gotten a maiden clear,
But gotten but a vile rank whore.'

29 'When she came in upon the floor,
I met her wi a golden chair.

30 'But to the high seat she made her boun,
Because a maiden she was nane.'

31 'I wonder wha's tauld that gay ladie
The fashion into our countrie.'

32 'It is your little boy I blame,
Whom ye did send to bring her hame.'

33 Then to the lady she did go,
And said, 'O Lady, let me know

34 'Who has defiled your fair bodie:
Ye're the first that has beguiled me.'

35 'O we were sisters, sisters seven,
The fairest women under heaven.

36 'And we kiest kevels us amang,
Wha woud to the grenewood gang;

37 'For to pu the finest flowers,
To put around our summer bowers.

38 'I was the youngest o them a';
The hardest fortune did me befa.

39 'Unto the grenewood I did gang,
And pu'd the nuts as they down hang.

40 'I hadna stayd an hour but ane
Till I met wi a highlan groom.

41 'He keeped me sae late and lang
Till the evening set and birds they sang.

42 'He gae to me at our parting
A chain of gold and gay gold ring;

43 'And three locks o his yellow hair;
Bade me keep them for evermair.

44 'Then for to show I make nae lie,
Look ye my trunk, and ye will see.'

45 Unto the trunk then she did go,
To see if that were true or no.

46 And aye she sought, and aye she flang,
Till these four things came to her hand.

47 Then she did to her ain son go,
And said, 'My son, ye'll let me know,

48 'Ye will tell to me this thing:
What did you wi my wedding-ring?'

49 'Mother dear, I'll tell nae lie:
I gave it to a gay ladie.

50 'I would gie a' my ha's and towers,
I had this bird within my bowers.'

51 'Keep well, keep well your lands and strands;
Ye hae that bird within your hands.

52 'Now, my son, to your bower ye'll go:
Comfort your ladie, she's full o woe.'

53 Now when nine months were come and gane,
The lady she brought hame a son.

54 It was written on his breast-bane
Lord Dingwall was his father's name.

55 He's taen his young son in his arms,
And aye he praisd his lovely charms.

56 And he has gien him kisses three,
And doubled them ower to his ladie.

Version E.[ TOP ]

Elizabeth Cochrane's Song-Book, p. 146, No 112.

1 Lord Benwall he's a hunting gone;
Hey down, etc.
He's taken with him all his merry men.
Hey, etc.

2 As he was walking late alone,
He spyed a lady both brisk and young.

3 He keeped her so long and long,
From the evening late till the morning came.

4 All that he gave her at their parting
Was a pair of gloves and a gay gold ring.

5 Lord Benwall he's a wooing gone,
And he's taken with him all his merry men.

6 As he was walking the Haleigh throw,
He spy'd seven ladyes all in a row.

7 He cast a lot among them all;
Upon the youngest the lot did fall.

8 He wedded her and brought her home,
And by the way she made great moan.

9 'What aileth my dearest and dayly flower?
What ails my dear, to make such moan?

10 'Does the steed carry you too high?
Or does thy pillow sit awry?

11 'Or does the wind blow in thy glove?
Or is thy heart after another love?'

12 'The steed does not carry me too high,
Nor does my pillow sit awry.

13 'Nor does the wind blow in my glove,
Nor is my heart after another love.'

14 When they were doun to supper set,
The weary pain took her by the back.

15 'What ails my dearest and dayly flower?
What ails my dearest, to make such moan?'

16 'I am with child, and it's not to thee,
And oh and alas, what shall I doe!'

17 'I thought I had got a maid so mild;
But I have got a woman big with child.

18 'I thought I had got a dayly flower;
I have gotten but a common whore.'

* * * * *

19 'Rise up, Lord Benwall, go to your hall,
And cherrish up your merry men all.'

* * * * *

20 'As I was walking once late alone,
I spy'd a lord, both brisk and young.

21 'He keeped me so long and long,
From the evening late till the morning came.

22 'All that he gave me at our parting
Was a pair of gloves and a gay gold ring.

23 'If you will not believe what I tell to thee,
There's the key of my coffer, you may go and see.'

24 His mother went, and threw and flang,
Till to her hand the ring it came.

25 'Lord Benwall, wilt thou tell to me
Where is the ring I gave to thee?'

26 'Now I would give all my lands and tower,
To have that lady in my bower.

27 'I would give all my lands and rents,
To have that lady in my tents.'

28 'You need not give all your lands and tower,
For you have that lady in your power.

29 'You need not give all your lands and rents,
For you have that lady in your tents.'

30 Now it was written on the child's breast-bone
Lord Benwall's sirname and his name.

31 It was written on the child's right hand
That he should be heir of Lord Benwall's land.

32 'Canst cloath my lady in the silk,
And feed my young son with the milk.'

Version F.[ TOP ]

a. Motherwell's MS., p 219. From the recitation of Mrs Thomson, February, 1825. b. Motherwell's Minstrelsy, Appendix, p. xvi, the first stanza only. F. b. Motherwell, 1827, Appendix No 5. Singer unknown. Collected by Andrew Blaikie, Paisley.

1 There were three sisters in a bouir,
Eh down and Oh down
And the youngest o them was the fairest flour.
Eh down and O down

2 And we began our seven years wark,
To sew our brither John a sark.

3 When seven years was come and gane,
There was nae a sleeve in it but ane.

4 But we coost kevils us amang
Wha wud to the green-wood gang.

5 But tho we had coosten neer sae lang,
The lot it fell on me aye to gang.

6 I was the youngest, and I was the fairest,
And alace! my wierd it was aye the sairest.

7. . . . .
Till I had to the woods to gae.

8 To pull the cherrie and the slae,
And to seek our ae brither, we had nae mae.

9 But as I was walking the leas o Lyne,
I met a youth gallant and fine;

10 Wi milk white stockings and coal black shoon;
He seemed to be some gay lord's son.

11 But he keepit me there sae lang, sae lang,
Till the maids in the morning were singing their sang.

12 Would I wee or would I way,
He keepit me the lang simmer day.

13 Would I way or would I wight,
He keepit me the simmer night.

14 But guess what was at our parting?
A pair o grass green gloves and a gay gold ring.

15 He gave me three plaits o his yellow hair,
In token that we might meet mair.

16 But when nine months were come and gane,
This gallant lord cam back again.

17 He's wed this lady, and taen her wi him
But as they were riding the leas o Lyne,

18 This lady was not able to ride,
. . . . .

19 'O does thy saddle set thee aside?
Or does thy steed ony wrang way ride?

20 'Or thinkst thou me too low a groom?
. . . . .

21 'Or hast thou musing in thy mind
For the leaving of thy mother kind?'

22 'My saddle it sets not me aside,
Nor does my steed ony wrang way ride.

23 'Nor think I thee too low a groom
. . . . .

24 'But I hae musing in my mind
For the leaving of my mother kind.'

25 'I'll bring thee to a mother of mine,
As good a mother as eer was thine.'

26 'A better mother she may be,
But an unco woman she'll prove to me.'

27 But when lords and ladies at supper sat,
Her pains they struck her in the back.

28 When lords and ladies were laid in bed,
Her pains they struck her in the side.

29 'Rise up, rise up, now, Lord Brangwill,
For I'm wi child and you do not know 't.'

30 He took up his foot and gave her sic a bang
Till owre the bed the red blood sprang.

31 He is up to his mother's ha,
Calling her as hard as he could ca.

32 'I went through moss and I went through mure,
Thinking to get some lily flouir.

33. . . . .
'But to my house I have brocht a hure.

34 'I thocht to have got a lady baith meek and mild,
But I've got a woman that's big wi child.'

35 'O rest you here, Lord Brangwill,' she said,
'Till I relieve your lady that lyes so low.'

36 'O daughter dear, will you tell to me
Who is the father of your babie?'

37 'Yes, mother dear, I will tell thee
Who is the father of my babie.

38 'As I was walking the leas o Lyne,
I met a youth gallant and fine;

39 'With milk-white stockings and coal-black shoon;
He seemd to be sum gay lord's son.

40 'He keepit me sae lang, sae lang,
Till the maids in the morning were singing their sang.

41 'Would I wee or would I way,
He keepit me the lang simmer day.

42 'Would I way or would I wight,
He keepit me the simmer night.

43 'But guess ye what was at our parting?
A pair of grass green gloves and a gay gold ring.

44 'He gave me three plaits o his yellow hair,
In token that we might meet mair.'

45 'O dochter dear, will ye show me
These tokens that he gave to thee?'

46 'Altho my back should break in three,
Unto my coffer I must be.'

47 'Thy back it shall not break in three,
For I'll bring thy coffer to thy knee.'

48 Aye she coost, and aye she flang,
Till these three tokens came to her hand.

49 Then she is up to her son's ha,
Calling him hard as she could ca.

50 'O son, O son, will you tell me
. . . . .

51 'What ye did wi the grass green gloves and gay gold ring
That ye gat at your own birth-een?'

52 'I gave them to as pretty a may
As ever I saw in a simmer day.

53 'I wud rather than a' my lands sae broad
That I had her as sure as eer I had.

54 'I would rather than a' my lands sae free
I had her here this night wi me.'

55 'I wish you good o your lands sae broad,
For ye have her as sure as eer ye had.

56 'I wish ye good o your lands sae free,
For ye have her here this night wi thee.'

57 'Gar wash my auld son in the milk,
Gar deck my lady's bed wi silk.'

58 He gave his auld son kisses three,
But he doubled them a' to his gay ladye.

Version G.[ TOP ]

Herd's Ancient and Modern Scots Songs, 1769, p. 244; ed. 1776, i, 83.

1 As Bothwell was walking in the lowlands alane,
Hey down and a down
He met six ladies sae gallant and fine.
Hey down and a down

2 He cast his lot amang them a',
And on the youngest his lot did fa.

3 He's brought her frae her mother's bower,
Unto his strongest castle and tower.

4 But ay she cried and made great moan,
And ay the tear came trickling down.

5 'Come up, come up,' said the foremost man,
'I think our bride comes slowly on.'

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

7 'My saddle is not set awry,
Nor carries me my steed owre high;

8 'But I am weary of my life,
Since I maun be Lord Bothwell's wife.'

9 He's blawn his horn sae sharp and shrill,
Up start the deer on evry hill.

10 He's blawn his horn sae lang and loud,
Up start the deer in gude green-wood.

11 His lady mother lookit owre the castle wa,
And she saw them riding ane and a'.

12 She's calld upon her maids by seven,
To mak his bed baith saft and even.

13 She's calld upon her cooks by nine,
To make their dinner fair and fine.

14 When day was gane, and night was come,
'What ails my love on me to frown?

15 'Or does the wind blow in your glove?
Or runs your mind on another love?'

16 'Nor blows the wind within my glove,
Nor runs my mind on another love

17 'But I nor maid nor maiden am,
For I'm wi bairn to another man.'

18 'I thought I'd a maiden sae meek and sae mild,
But I've nought but a woman wi child.'

19 His mother's taen her up to a tower,
And lockit her in her secret bower.

20 'Now, doughter mine, come tell to me,
Wha's bairn this is that you are wi.'

21 'O mother dear, I canna learn
Wha is the faither of my bairn.

22 'But as I walkd in the lowlands my lane,
I met a gentleman gallant and fine.

23 'He keepit me there sae late and sae lang,
Frae the evning late till the morning dawn.

24 'And a' that he gied me to my propine
Was a pair of green gloves and a gay gold ring;

25 'Three lauchters of his yellow hair,
In case that we shoud meet nae mair.'

26 His lady mother went down the stair:
. . . . .

27 'Now son, now son, come tell to me,
Where's the green gloves I gave to thee?'

28 'I gied to a lady sae fair and so fine
The green gloves and a gay gold ring.

29 'But I wad gie my castles and towers,
I had that lady within my bowers.

30 'But I wad gie my very life,
I had that lady to be my wife.'

31 'Now keep, now keep your castles and towers,
You have that lady within your bowers.

32 'Now keep, now keep your very life,
You have that lady to be your wife.'

33 'O row my lady in sattin and silk,
And wash my son in the morning milk.'

Version H.[ TOP ]

Kinloch MSS, v, 335, in the handwriting of Dr John Hill Burton.

1 We were seven sisters in a bower,
Adown adown, and adown and adown
The flower of a' fair Scotland ower.
Adown adown, and adown and adown

2 We were sisters, sisters seven,
The fairest women under heaven.

3 There fell a dispute us amang,
Wha would to the greenwood gang.

4 They kiest the kevels them amang,
O wha would to the greenwood gang.

5 The kevels they gied thro the ha,
And on the youngest it did fa.

6 The kevel fell into her hand,
To greenwood she was forced to gang.

7 She hedna pued a flower but ane,
When by there came an earl's son.

8 'And was he well or was he wae,
He keepet me that summer's day.'

9 And was he weel or was he weight,
He keepet her that summer's night.

10 And he gave her a gay goud ring
His mother got at her wedding.

* * * * *

11 'Oh is yer stirrup set too high?
Or is your saddle set awry?

12 'Oh is yer stirrup set too side?
Or what's the reason ye canna ride?'

* * * * *

13 When all were at the table set,
Then not a bit could this lady eat.

14 When all made merry at the f[e]ast,
This lady wished she were at her rest.
* * * * *

[ HOME ][ TOP ]

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional