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The Braes o Yarrow

No: 214; variant: 214C

  1. THERE were three lords birling at the wine On the dowie downs o Yarrow; They made a compact them between They would go fight tomorrow.
  2. ‘Thou took our sister to be thy bride, And thou neer thocht her thy marrow; Thou stealed her frae her daddie’s back, When she was the rose o Yarrow.’
  3. ‘Yes, I took thy sister to be my bride, And I made her my marrow; I stealed her frae her daddie’s back, And she’s still the rose o Yarrow.’
  4. He is hame to his lady gane, As he had done before! O; Says, Madam. I must go and fight On the dowie downs o Yarrow.
  5. ‘Stay at hame, my lord,’ she said, ‘For that will cause much sorrow; For my brethren three they will slay thee, On the dowie downs o Yarrow.’
  6. ‘Hold your tongue, my lady fair, For what needs a’ this sorrow? For I’ll be hame gin the clock strikes nine, From the dowie downs o Yarrow.’
  7. She wush his face, she kamed his hair, As she had dune before, O; She dressed him up in his armour clear, Sent him furth to fight on Yarrow.
  8. ‘Come you here to hawk or hound, Or drink the wine that’s so clear, O? Or come you here to eat in your words, That you’re not the rose o Yarrow?’
  9. ‘I came not here to hawk or hound, Nor to drink the wine that’s so clear, O; Nor I came not here to eat in my words, For I’m still the rose o Yarrow.’
  10. Then they a’ begoud to fight, I wad they focht richt sore, O, Till a cowardly man came behind his back, And pierced his body thorough.
  11. ‘Gae hame, gae hame, it’s my man John, As ye have done before, O, And tell it to my gay lady That I soundly sleep on Yarrow.’
  12. His man John he has gane hame, As he had dune before, O, And told it to his gay lady, That he soundly slept on Yarrow.
  13. ‘I dreamd a dream now since the streen, God keep us a’ frae sorrow! That my lord and I was pu’ing the heather green From the dowie downs o Yarrow.’
  14. Sometimes she rade, sometimes she gaed, As she had dune before, O, And aye between she fell in a soune, Lang or she cam to Yarrow.
  15. Her hair it was five quarters lang, ‘Twas like the gold for yellow; She twisted it round his milk-white hand, And she’s drawn him hame from Yarrow.
  16. Out and spak her father dear, Says, What needs a’ this sorrow? For I’ll get you a far better lord Than ever died on Yarrow.
  17. ‘O hold your tongue, father,’ she said, ‘For ye’ve bred a’ my sorrow; For that rose’ll neer spring sae sweet in May As that rose I lost on Yarrow.’