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Rare Willie Drowned in Yarrow, or, The Water o Gamrie

No: 215; variant: 215E

  1. ‘O WILLIE is fair, and Willie is rare, And Willie is wondrous bonny, And willie says he’ll marry me, Gin ever he marry ony.’
  2. ‘O ye’se get James or ye’se get George, Or ye’se get bonny Johnnie; Ye’se get the flower o a’ my sons, Gin ye’ll forsake my Willie.’
  3. ‘O what care I for James or George, Or yet for bonny Peter? I dinna value their love a leek, An I getna Willie the writer.
  4. ‘O Willie has a bonny hand, And dear but it is bonny!’ ‘He has nae mair for a’ his land; What woud ye do wi Willie?’
  5. ‘O Willie has a bonny face, And dear but it is bonny!’ ‘But Willie has nae other grace; What woud ye do wi Willie?’
  6. ‘Willie’s fair, and Willie’s rare, And Willie’s wondrous bonny; There’s nane wi him that can compare, I love him best of ony.’
  7. On Wednesday, that fatal day, The people were convening; Besides all this, threescore and ten, To gang to the bride-steel wi him.
  8. ‘Ride on, ride on, my merry men a’, I’ve forgot something behind me; I’ve forgot to get my mother’s blessing, To gae to the bride-steel wi me.’
  9. ‘Your Peggy she’s but bare fifteen, And ye are scarcely twenty; The water o Gamery is wide and braid; My heavy curse gang wi thee!’
  10. Then they rode on, and further on, Till they came on to Gamery; The wind was loud, the stream was proud, And wi the stream gaed Willie.
  11. Then they rode on, and further on, Till they came to the kirk o Gamery; And every one on high horse sat, But Willie’s horse rade toomly.
  12. When they were settled at that place, The people fell a mourning, And a council held amo them a’, But sair, sair wept Kinmundy.
  13. Then out it speaks the bride hersell, Says, What means a’ this mourning? Where is the man amo them a’ That shoud gie me fair wedding?
  14. Then out it speaks his brother John, Says, Meg, I’ll tell you plainly; The stream was strong, the clerk rade wrong, And Willie’s drownd in Gamery.
  15. She put her hand up to her head, Where were the ribbons many; She rave them a’, let them down fa’, And straightway ran to Gamery.
  16. She sought it up, she sought it down, Till she was wet and weary; And in the middle part o it, There she got her deary.
  17. Then she stroakd back his yellow hair, And kissd his mou sae comely: ‘My mother’s heart’s be as wae as thine! We’se baith asleep in the water o Gamery.’