Blood & Roses Volume 2

by Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger

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about

WHEN IS A BALLAD NOT A BALLAD? WHEN IT HAS NO TUNE. It is with this conundrum and its answer that Bertrand Bronson opened his introduction to The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads. While agreeing with the spirit of the answer, we would go a little further and say that "a ballad is not a ballad until it is sung."

We had been singing ballads for quite a long time when this recording was made. Of the hundred-and-forty albums we had made, more than half have contained at least one or two ballads; and as far as live concerts and clubs are concerned, we have both regarded the ballads as a necessary part of any program.

What is it about the ballads that we find so fascinating? Well, the stories themselves are first rate. They have certainly stood the test of time, and that isn't a bad recommendation. Then again--the poetry can be breathtaking. Most of the ballads we've sung contain some memorable lines: perhaps it is just a phrase, a line of incremental repetition, or it can be an entire stanza: but however brief the moment of pure poetry, it generally generates enough heat and light to radiate an entire ballad. Finally, there is the element of challenge. The mere length of most of the ballads is challenge enough. We sometimes regard them as actors regard the great classic roles of Hamlet, Lady MacBeth, Clytemnestra and King Lear.

On the face of it, the challenge is a formidable one. You are faced with an audience made up of a number of separate individuals who may or may not share anything in common (other than the more or less sophisticated attitude to life and each other, which is the result of long exposure to TV and radio, with its instant news, instant politics, instant simulated passion yelled, sobbed and moaned by a never-ending succession of pop-singers).

And the ballad singer, for the next eight or ten or twelve minutes is going to sing a tale in the form of a long narrative poem organised into twenty or thirty (or more) quatrains, tied to a melody that will be repeated every four lines. Not much room for manoeuvre! Furthermore, the poetry is of a kind that few people in the audience have had the opportunity to become familiar with. It is full of odd usages, repetitions, strange combinations of romantic love and incredible violence. To complicate matters still further, some of the texts are in braid Scots. A challenge indeed...!

Occasionally, the challenge has been taken up with results that have been less than encouraging. "Sir Patrick Spens" with spangles and a rock accompaniment; they have dragged "Barbara Allen", protesting, into the Middle Ages to the (albeit skilled) thrumming of shawns and crumhorns. But the ballads don't lend themselves to this kind of treatment. They don't make good "production numbers". The poetry gets in the way: too much action, too many incidents, and the quality of the language leads to a kind of rock parody. The words of the ballads have something of the feeling of stones fashioned into a smooth perfection by endless tides. Attempts to create settings, arrangements for the poetry only succeed in making it seem overdressed--like putting a silk garter on the Venus de Milo. Also, in a curious way, a ballad appears to have difficulty breathing inside an arrangement, for though the bond that fuses the ballad text and tune into a single whole is oddly flexible and appears to be constantly shifting its centre of gravity, it appears to be unable to function in the proximity of foreign musical influences.

Our own feelings for the ballads are something that we have nurtured throughout most of our joint working life as singers. Time and again we have returned to this or that ballad and discovered

something new in it. Occasionally we have been led to conduct major explorations into territory that we thought we already knew. The end result has been the complete reworking of a ballad...and a new search for the degree of tension to match one's new understanding of the piece. Finding the right amount of tension and sustaining it over thirty or forty stanzas: That's where the skill lies!

And what is tension? It is compounded of many elements. It is the right weight of vocal attack, the weight which best suits the theme and the nature of the ballad; it is the right tempo, the one in which the action of the story has time to unfold without confusing the listener; it is the right pulse, that is the right combination of breathing, articulation, sense and shape of the tune; it is complete empathy with words and music; it is the right length of pause, of silence between the verses, during which both listener and singer make the jump into thinking to a new unit of the story; and finally, it is creative judgment, the singer's knowledge of how far tune and text can be teased out and worked in each performance without destroying any part of the ballad's structure; it is the singer's ability to add colour to a word, to thicken or attenuate a line, to let a hint of harshness creep into the tone, to suggest that somewhere--not far off--there is a laugh lying in wait..and to be able to do all these things without upsetting the delicate balance of the ballad, and, moreover, without the listener being aware that it is being done.

There comes a moment during the singing of a long ballad when everything is working. You have moved into the story crabwise, not giving too much of yourself at first. Then, suddenly, for a moment you are conscious of the people listening, and they are all breathing in time with you! And all around you there is silence, except for the voice guiding you through the ineluctable dark landscape of the ballad.

© Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger (1979)

About Child and Bronson:

The definitive collection of traditional ballad texts was made by Francis J. Child (The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1882-1892, five volumes).

The definitive collection of tunes was made by Bertrand Barris Bronson (The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads, Princeton, New Jersey, 1959-1972, four volumes).

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released April 12, 1982

Produced by Neill MacColl
Engineered by Nick Godwin
Recorded at Pathway Studios

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Ewan MacColl London, UK

This site is maintained by the MacColl family, aiming to make Ewan's catalogue available to download.
Ewan MacColl is known to most as a songwriter and singer, but he was also of significant influence in the worlds of theatre and radio broadcasting. His art reached huge numbers through the folk clubs, greater numbers through his recordings and untold millions through the radio. ... more

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Track Name: Chylde Owlet (Child 291)
Lady Erskine sits into her bower,
A-sewing her silken seam,
A bonnie sark for Chylde Owlet
As he gangs oot and in.

His face was fair, lang was his hair,
She's ca'd him to come nigh;
O, ye maun cuckold Lord Ronald
For a' his lands and kye.

O lady, haud your tongue for shame
That such should e'er be done;
How could I cuckold Lord Ronald
And me his sister's son?

Then she's ta'en oot a wee penknife
That lay beside her bed,
And pricked hersel' below her breist
Which made her body bleed.

Lord Ronald's come into her bower
Whaur she did mak' her mane;
O, who's is a' this blood, he says,
That sparks on your hearth-stane?

Young Chylde Owlet, your sister's son,
Is new gene frae my bower;
Gin I hadnae hae been a good woman
hae been Chylde Owlet's whore.

Then he has ta'en young Chylde Owlet
Cast him in prison strang,
And a' his men a council held
To work Chylde Owlet wrang.

Some said Chylde Owlet should be hung,
Some said that he should burn,
Some said they would hae Chylde Owlet
Between wild horses torn.

There are horses in my stable stand
Can rin richt speedily;
It's ye maun to my stable gang
And wile oot four for me.

They've put a horse to ilka foot
And ane to ilka hand,
And sent them oat ower Elkin Moor
As fast as they could gang. (go) every

There wasnae grass or heather knows
Nor broom nor bonnie whin,
But drappit wi' Chylde Owlet's blood
And pieces o' his skin.

There wasnae stane on Elkin Moor,
Nor yet a piece o' rush,
But drappit wi' Chylde Owlet's blood
And pieces o' his flesh.
Track Name: Sweet William’s Ghost (Child 77)
Lady Margaret sitting in her own lone home
Alone, O all alone,
When she thought she heard a dismal cry,
She heard a deadly moan.

Is it my father Thomas, she said,
Or is it my brother John?
Or is it my love, my own dear Willie
Come home to me again?

I am not your father Thomas, he said,
Nor am I your brother John;
But I am your love, your own dear Willie
Come home to you again.

Then where are the red and rosy cheeks
That even in winter bloom?
And where are the long and yellow hair
Of the love I lost too soon?

The ground have rotten them off, my dear,
For the worms are quick and free;
And when you're so long lying in your grave
The same will happen thee.

He took her by her lily-white hand
And begged her company;
He took her by her apron band
Says, Follow, follow me.

She took her underskirts one by one
And wrapped them above her knee,
And she's over the hills on a winters night
In a dead man's company.

They walked, they walked to the old churchyard
Where the grass grow grassy green;
Here's the home where I live now
The bed I do lie in.

Is there any room at your head, my love,
Is there any room at your feet?
Is there any room about you at all
For me to lie down and sleep?

My father is at my head, dear girl,
My mother is at my feet.
Upon my heart are three hell-hounds
Bound my soul to keep.

One is for my drunkenness
And another is for my pride,
And one is for promising a pretty fair girl
That she should be my bride.

She took the cross from all on her bosom
And smoted him on the breast,
Here's your token I kept so long
God send you a happy rest.

Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight, my love,
Farewell, dear girl, said he;
If ever the dead may pray for the living
My love, I'll pray for thee.
Track Name: Fair Flower of Northumberland (Child 9)
The provost's ae dochter was walking her lane
A young lassie's love whiles is easy won,
She heard a poor prisoner making his mane,
And she was the fair flower of Northumberland.

Gif any lady would borrow me,
Oot into this prison strang,
I would mak' her a lady o' high degree
For I'm a great lord in fair Scotland.

She is awa' to her faither's bed-stock,
A young lassie's love whiles is easy won,
And she's lifted the keys to fit mony a braw lock
And she's lowsed him oot o' yon prison strang.

She's done her doon to her faither's stable,
A young lassie's love whiles is easy won,
And she's ta'en oot a steed baith swift and able
To carry them baith to fair Scotland.

They rid till they cam' tae Crawford Moor,
A young lassie's love whiles is easy won,
Get eff o' my horse, ye brazen-faced whore,
Get ye awa' back to Northumberland.

O pity, O pity, O pity, she cried,
O that my love was so easy won!
Have pity on me as I had upon thee
When I lowsed ye oot o' yon prison strang.

How can I hae ony pity on thee,
Why was your love so easy won?
When I hae a wife and bairnies three
And they're dearer to me than Northumberland.

A cook in your kitchen I will be,
O that my love was so easy won;
I'll serve your lady maist constantly
For I daurna gang back to Northumberland.

A cook in my kitchen ye never shall be
Why was your love so easy won?
I winna hae ony sic servants as thee,
Get ye awa' back to Northumberland.

O laith was the lassie to part wi' him,
A young lassie's love whiles is easy won;
But he hired an auld horse and he fee'd an auld man
To carry her back to Northumberland.

When she cam' her faither before,
A young lassie's love whiles is easy won;
She's doon on her knees and she louted low
Though she was the fair flower of Northumberland.

O dochter, O dochter, why was ye sae bold,
Why was your love sae easy won?
To be a Scot's whore and just fifteen year auld,
And ye the fair flower of Northumberland.

Her mither she spoke and she gied a wee smile,
O that her love was sae easy won,
She's no' the first that the Scots hae beguiled
And she's still the fair flower o' Northumberland.
Track Name: The Laird O' Wariston (Child 194)
My mither was an ill woman,
At fifteen years she married me;
I hadnae wit to guide a man,
Alas! ill fortune guided me.

O Wariston, O Wariston,
I wish that ye may sink for sin!
I was but bare fifteen years auld
When first I cam' your yetts within.

I hadnae been a month a bride
When my guid lord geed tae the sea;
I bore a bairn ere he cam' hame
And set it on the nurse's knee.

Then it fell oot upon a day
That my guid lord cam' fae the sea;
I dressed myself in rich attire,
As blithe as ony bird on tree.

I took my young son in my arms,
My lord he hailed me courteously;
I'm blithe to see you, my dear lass,
But wa's is that bairn at your knee?

She turned herself' richt roond aboot,
O, why think ye sae ill o' me?
Ye ken I was ower young a bride
To ken ony ither man but thee.

Ye lee, ye lee, my lady gay
And black's the tongue that spak the lee!
Anither got ye wi' that bairn
While I was sailing on the sea.

O Wariston, ye acted ill
To lift your hand to your ain lady;
He struck her till the blood ran done,
And cursed his bairn maist bitterly.

Sair she grat as she geed hame
And O, the saut tear blint her e'e
Her faither's Jock ill-counselled her
It was to gar her lord to dee. wept
blinded

The nurse she took the deed in hand,
And ill, I wat, her fee she won;
She cast the knot and drew the noose
That killed the Laird o' Wariston.

Word has gane through bower and ha'
And word has game to Embro Toon;
That the lass has killed her ain dear lord,
Ay, killed the Laird o' Wariston.

O tie my kerchie roond my face,
Let no' the sun upon me shine,
Tak' me to yon heidin' hill,
Strike aff this dowie heid o' mine.

They've ta'en her oot when nicht did fa'
Nor sun nor moon on her did shine,
They've led her to yon heidin' hill
And heided her baith neat and fine.

O Wariston, O Wariston,
Wi' your gear and gowd and pride and a';
Ye bear the weight o' your ain death,
And your bonnie lady's cruel downfa'.
Track Name: The Half Hitch (Child 31)
It's of a rich merchant in Plymouth did dwell,
He had a fine daughter, most beautiful girl;
A young man of honour and riches supplied,
He courted this young girl to be his bride,
O, to be his bride.

He's courted her long till he gained her love,
At length she intended her young man to prove;
Once more he asked her, once more she denied,
She told him down plainly she would not be his bride,
She would not be his bride.

Of all the sad oaths that he to her did swear,
Saying, Straight home I quickly will steer;
I'll have the first woman who says she'll have me
Though she be as mean as the beggar can be,
As the beggar can be.

She's ordered her servants her love to delay,
Her rings and her jewels she quick laid away;
She put on all the old rags she could find,
She looked like the beggar before and behind,
Before and behind.

She blacked up her hands on the chimney back,
Her face likewise from corner to crack;
Then away down the road she flew like a witch,
With her petticoat hoisted all on her 'half-hitch'
All on her 'half-hitch'.

See now he comes a-riding, in haste he drew near.
He cried out, Alas! For my vow I do fear.
For she stubbed along with her shoe-heels askew,
He soon overtook her and said, Who be you?
And said, Who be you?
(spoken) I'M A WOMAN, I GUESS.

This answer it struck him with fear to the heart,
He wished from his life that he soon might depart.
O heavens! cried he, But I wished I'd been buried,
And quickly he asked her, he says, Are you married?
He says, Are you married?
(spoken) NO I AIN'T!

This answer it struck him unto a dead man,
He stumbled, he staggered, he hardly could stand.
O, how can I bear my hard burden? thought he,
So quickly he asked her, says, Will you have me?
Says, Will you have me?
(spoken) WELL - YES, I GUESS I WILL IF I HAVE TO.

This answer it suited as bad as the rest,
His heart it lay heavy in this young man's breast;
His courage near failed him, he durst not go home
His parents would think he was surely undone,
Surely undone.

His father said, Son you are sure for to rue,
But let's clean her up and it's maybe she'll do.
So published* they were and invited the guests,
And soon it was time for the bride to be dressed,
For the bride to be dressed.
(spoken) NO, I GUESS I'LL JUST GET MARRIED IN MY OLD DIRTY CLOTHES, I S'POSE.

When the wedding was over, they sat down to eat,
With her hands she grabbed hold of the cabbage and meat,
Her fingers was burned and the tongues they did wag
As she licked them and wiped them all on her old rags,
All on her old rags.

Some laughed in their sleeves till their sides was bust in;
But fiercer than ever she at it again,
And as she sat grabbing they to her replied,
Go sit yourself down by your true lover's side,
By your true lover's side.
(spoken) NO, I GUESS I'LL JUST SIT AWAY IN THE DIRTY OLD CHIMNEY CORNER, LIKE I USED TO, I S'POSE.

Some laughed in their sleeves till their sides they did ache,
And others with sorrow, right ready to break;
Come, give me a candle and I'll go to bed,
For I mean to go all by myself, she said,
By myself, she said.
(spoken) HUSBAND! WHEN YOU HEAR MY OLD SHOE GO 'CLONG' THEN YOU MAY COME UP TO ME.

So upstairs whe went and a-thrashing about.
His mother said, Son what's all this about?
O mother, dear mother, pray say not one word,
No comfort to me can this whole world afford,
This whole world afford.
(spoken) HUSBAND! MY OLD SHOE DONE GONE 'CLONG' A LONG TIME AGO. AIN'T YOU COMIN'?

So up he arose and he staggered along -
But they give him a candle and they bid him go on.
I'd rather to go in the darkness, he said,
For I very well know how to get to my bed,
How to get to my bed.

He launched into bed with his back to his bride,
But she rolled and she tumbled from side unto side;
She rolled till the bed-legs did holler and squeal,
He says, Dear what ails you? Why can't you lie still?
Why can't you lie still?
(spoken) MY SHINS ARE SORE. CAN'T YOU GET A CANDLE TO GREASE 'EM BY, DEAR?

So up he arose for to grease his wife's shins.
Behold, she lay dressed in the finest of things;
He says, Is it you, my dear jewel, at last?
She says, Yes it is, and our troubles are past,
Our troubles are past.

So downstairs they went and a frolic they had
And all them sad hearts was merry and glad;
She looked like a picture, right pleasing to spy
With many full glasses, we bid them good-bye,
We bid them good-bye.
Track Name: Lady Diamond (Child 269)
There was a king and a noble king,
A king o' muckle fame,
And he had an only dochter dear,
Lady Diamond was her name.

He had a servant, a kitchie boy,
A lad o' muckle scorn,
And she loved him lang and she loved him aye
Till the grass o'er-grew the corn.

When twenty weeks were gene and past,
Then she began to greet;
For her petticoat grew short before
And her stays they wadnae meet.

Then it fell oot on a winter's nicht,
The king could get no rest;
And he has gene by his dochter's bower
Just like a wandering ghaist.

He's led her by the milk-white hand
Tae the bed-chamber within;
What ails ye, lass, that ye look sae wan,
And your apron winna pin?

O father dear, upbraid me not,
Dinna tak' free me my joy;
For I hae forsaken your high-born lords
Tae marry your kitchie boy.

Gae ca' to me my merry men a',
By thirty and by three;
Gae fetch to me yon kitchie boy,
We'll kill him secretly.

There wasnae ae sound to be heard
No' another word was said,
Till they hae got him fast and sure
Between twa feather beds.

They've cut the hairt oot o' his white breast,
Put it in a gowden bowl;
And they've gi'en it to his lady dear
That she might her love behold.

O come to me, my honey, my hairt,
O come to me, my joy;
O come to my, my honey, my hairt,
My ain dear kitchie boy.

She's ta'en the heart o' her ain true love,
And she grat baith lang and sair;
Till the blood was washed by her ain saut tears
And at last she breathed nae mair.

O where were ye, my good men a'
That took baith meat and fee,
That ye didnae hold my cruel hand
And keep his blood free me?

For gane is a' my heart's delight,
And gane frae me my joy,
For my bonnie Diamond she is deid
For the love o' a kitchie boy.
Track Name: Fair Janet (Child 64)
Go to your father, Janet
Go to your father soon,
Go to your father, fair Janet
I fear his days are done.

So she's away to her father
Down upon her knee;
What would you have, dear father?
What would you have with me?

My will with you, Janet,
It is for bed and board,
They say you love little Willie
But you're gonna marry a lord.

If I must leave little Willie
All for to marry some lord,
Then by my vow, said fair Janet,
He'll never come in my bed.

Then she's away to her chamber,
Fast as she could run;
Who's the first one knocking there,
Little Willie, her darling one.

We must part our love, Willie,
That's long been us between,
For there's a lord come over from France
Gonna marry me with a ring.
There's a lord come over from France
I got to go with him.

If we must part our love, Janet,
It's for sorrow, grief and woe,
If we must part our love, Janet,
I'll into mourning go.

First send to me your sisters,
Meg and Mary and Jean,
Bid them come to my bedside,
I fear my time is come.

So he's away to his sisters,
Meg and Mary and Jean,
Bid them go to fair Janet,
I fear her time is come.

Some drew on silk stocking,
Some drew on silk gown;
Some drew on their green mantle
All for o ride to town,
And they're away to fair Janet
Fast as they could run.

Come here, come here, little Willie,
Take your little young son;
Carry him home to your mother's house,
Mother I dare be none.

He's taken to him his baby,
Kissed both cheek and chin,
He's away to his mother's house,
Open and let me in.

The rain rains on my shoulder,
The dew drops on my skin,
Here's my little young baby
Open and take him in.

Go back to Janet, Willie,
She has more need of thee,
And where you had but one nurse,
Your young son shall have three.

In and came her father,
Stood at her bedside,
Get up, get up, you fair Janet
Tonight you become a bride.

There's a cruel pain in my breast, father,
And a cruel pain in my side,
Too ill, too ill, dear father,
This night to become a bride.

Get up get up, you Janet,
Put on your wedding gown,
For you'll be a bride in the evening
Though you be dead in the morn.

Bridesmaidens, lift me up easy,
Lift me up easy for to ride,
Bridesmaidens, sit me up easy,
I am a deathly bride.

When they brought her to marry
To tie the wedding band,
Janet was so pale and wan,
Barely could she stand.

Up and bowed her husband:
Bride, will you dance with me?
Away, away, you old French man
Your love I never will be.

Up and stepped little Willie:
Janet, dance with me.
By my vow and that I will
Though my body do break in three.

Through the dance, fair Janet,
Through the dance but twice,
When down she fell at Willie's feet,
Never again to rise.

Take the bracelet from my arm, Willie,
Take the garter from my knee;
Give them to our little young son,
His mother he never will see.

Go home and tell my mother
My little mare has me thrown;
Bid her be kind to my little young son,
Father he'll never have none.
Track Name: Child Maurice (Child 83)
Gil Morice was an earl's son
His name it waxed wide,
It wasnae for his great riches
Nor for his muckle pride.

His face was fair, lang was his hair
In the wild wood where he stayed,
But his fame was by a lady fair
That lived on Carronside.

Whaur will I get a bonnie boy
That will win hose and shoon,
That will gang to Lord Bernard's ha'
And bid his lady come?

O, ye maun rin for me, Willie,
And ye maun rin for pride;
When other boys rin on their feet,
On horseback ye shall ride.

O no, O no, my maister dear,
I daurnae for my life;
I'll no' gang to the bauld baron's
For to tryst forth his wife.

My boy Willie and my dear Willie
And my bird Willie, he said,
How can ye strive against the stream
For I shall be obeyed.

O no, O no, my maister dear,
In greenwood you're your lane
Gie ower sic thochts I would ye pray
For fear that ye be slain.

Haste haste, I say, gang tae the ha'
And bid her come with speed;
Gin ye refuse my high command
I'll gar your body bleed,

You'll bid her tak' this gay mantle,
It's a' gowd but the hem,
And bid her come to the greenwood
E'en by hersel' alane.

Ah, there it is, the silken sark,
Her ain hand sewed the sleeve,
Bid her come to the greenwood
Speir nae bauld baron's leave.

Noo, since I maun your errand rin
Sair, Sair against my will;
I'll mak' a vow and keep it true,
It shall be done for ill.

The baron he's a man o' micht,
And ne'er could bide a taunt;
And ye shall see before it's nicht
Hoo sma' ye hae to vaunt.

When he cam' to the broken brig
He bent his bow and swam,
And when he cam' to grass growin'
Set doon his foot and ran.

And when he cam' to the castle wa'
He would neither chap nor ca';
He set his bent bow to his breist
And lichtly leapt the wa'.

He would tell no man his errand
Though twa stood at the gate,
But straight into the ha' he cam'
Whaur great folk sat at meat.

O hail, ye michty sir and dame,
My message winna wait;
Dame, ye maun to the greenwood gang
Before that it be late.

You're bidden tak' this gay mantle
It's a' gowd but the hem;
And ye maun gang to the greenwood
E'en by yoursel' alane.

Ah, here it is, a silken sark,
Your ain hand sewed the sleeve;
Ye maun speak wi' Gil Morice,
Speir nae bauld baron's leave.

The lady stampit wi' her foot
And winkit wi' her e'e;
But for a' that she could say or do,
Forbidden he wouldnae be.

For a' that she could say or do,
Forbidden he wouldnae be,
It's surely to ane o' my bower maidens,
It ne'er could be to me.

Then oot and spak the auld nurse,
The bairn upon her knee;
If it be come fae Gil Morice,
It's dearly welcome to me.

Ye lee, ye lee, ye filthy nurse,
Sae loud's I hear ye lee;
I brocht it tae Lord Bernard's lady,
I trow ye be nae she.

Then oat and spak the bauld baron
And an angry man was he;
He kicked the table wi' his foot,
In flinders gart it flee.

Gae fetch a robe o' yon clothing
That hings upon the pin;
And I will to the greenwood gang
And speak wi' your leman.

O bide at hame, my ain dear lord,
I warn ye, bide at hame!
Nor wyte man wi' violence
That ne'er to you did nane.

Gil Morice sits in the greenwood
He whistled and he sang;
O what means a' these folk coming?
My mither tarries lang.

When the baron cam' to the greenwood
Wi' muckle dule and care,
There he saw brave Gil Morice
A-kaimin' his yellow hair.

No wonder, noo, Gil Morice brave,
My lady lo'es ye weel;
For the fairest part of my body
Is blacker than your heel.

Yet ne'ertheless, Gil Morice brave,
For a' thy great beauty;
Ye'll rue the day that ye were born,
That heid shall gang wi' me.

Then he has ta'en his trusty brand
And slait it on the strae;
And through Gil Morce' fair body
He gart cauld iron gae.

Then he has ta'en Gil Morice' heid
And set it upon a spear,
And the meanest man in a' his train
He had the heid to bear.

Then he has ta'en Gil Morice up
And laid him across his steed,
And ta'en him to his painted bower
And laid him on a bed.

The lady sits at the castle wa',
Beheld baith dale and doon;
And there she saw Gil Morice' heid
Come trailin' through the toon.

Far more I lo'e that bloody heid
But an' that bloody hair,
Than Lord Bernard and a' his lands
As they lie here and there.

Then she has ta'en Gil Morice up
And kissed baith mouth and chin;
I aince was fu' o' Gil Morice
As hip is o' the stane,

I got thee in my faither's ha'
Wi' muckle grief and shame,
And brocht ye up in the greenwood
Under the heavy rain.

Oft hae I by thy cradle sat
And watched thee soundly sleep;
Noo I maun gang about thy grave
The saut tears for to weep.

Then she has kissed his bloody cheek
Syne and his bloody chin.
Better I lo'e my Gil Morice
Than a' my kith and kin.

Awa', awe', ye ill woman
And an ill deith may ye dee;
Gin I had kent he was your son
He'd ne'er been slain by me.

Upbraid me no', Lord Bernard,
O upbraid me no', for shame!
Wi' that same sword noo pierce my heart
And put me out o' pain.

Since naething but Gil Morice' heid
Your jealous rage could quell,
Wi that same hand noo tak' her life
That ne'er to you did ill.

Enough o' blood by me's been spilt,
Seek no' your deith fae me,
I'd rather it had been mysel'
Than either him or thee.
43 Wi' wae, sae sair I hear your plaint
Sair, sair, I rue the deed
That e'er this cursèd hand o' mine
Did gar his body bleed.

But dry your tears noo, winsome dame,
Ye cannae heal his wound;
Ye saw his heid upon my spear,
His heart's blood on the ground.

I curse the hand that did the deed,
The heart that thocht the ill,
The feet that bore me wi' sic speed
The comely youth to kill.

I'll aye lament Gil Morice
As though he were my ain;
I'll never forget the dreary day
On which the youth was slain.

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