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The Twa Brothers

No: 49; variant: 49E

  1. THERE were twa brothers at the scule, And when they got awa, ‘It’s will ye play at the stane-chucking, Or will ye play at the ba, Or will ye gae up to yon hill head, And there we’ll warsel a fa?’
  2. ‘I winna play at the stane-chucking, Nor will I play at the ba; But I’ll gae up to yon bonnie green hill, And there we’ll warsel a fa.’
  3. They warsled up, they warsled down, Till John fell to the ground; A dirk fell out of William’s pouch, And gave John a deadly wound.
  4. ‘O lift me upon your back, Take me to yon well fair, And wash my bluidy wounds oer and oer, And they’ll neer bleed nae mair.’
  5. He’s lifted his brother upon his back, Taen him to yon well fair; He’s wash’d his bluidy wounds oer and oer, But they bleed ay mair and mair.
  6. ‘Tak ye aff my holland sark, And rive it gair by gair, And row it in my bluidy wounds, And they’ll neer bleed nae mair.’
  7. He’s taken aff his holland sark, And torn it gair by gair; He’s rowit it in his bluidy wounds, But they bleed ay mair and mair.
  8. ‘Tak now aff my green cleiding, And row me saftly in, And tak me up to yon kirk-style, Whare the grass grows fair and green.’
  9. He’s taken aff the green cleiding, And rowed him saftly in; He’s laid him down by yon kirk-style, Whare the grass grows fair and green.
  10. ‘What will ye say to your father dear, When ye gae hame at een?’ ‘I’ll say ye’re lying at yon kirk-style, Whare the grass grows fair and green.’
  11. ‘O no, O no, my brother dear, O you must not say so; But say that I’m gane to a foreign land, Whare nae man does me know.’
  12. When he sat in his father’s chair, He grew baith pale and wan: ‘O what blude’s that upon your brow? O dear son, tell to me;’ ‘It is the blude of my gray steed, He wadna ride wi me.’
  13. ‘O thy steed’s blude was neer sae red, Nor eer sae dear to me: O what blude’s this upon your cheek? O dear son, tell to me;’ ‘It is the blude of my greyhound, He wadna hunt for me.’
  14. ‘O thy hound’s blude was neer sae red, Nor eer sae dear to me: O what blude’s this upon your hand? O dear son, tell to me;’ ‘It is the blude of my gay goss-hawk, He wadna flee for me.’
  15. ‘O thy hawk’s blude was neer sae red, Nor eer sae dear to me: O what blude’s this upon your dirk? Dear Willie, tell to me;’ ‘It is the blude of my ae brother, O dule and wae is me!’
  16. ‘O what will ye say to your father? Dear Willie, tell to me;’ ‘I’ll saddle my steed, and awa I’ll ride, To dwell in some far countrie.’
  17. ‘O when will ye come hame again? Dear Willie, tell to me;’ ‘When sun and mune leap on yon hill, And that will never be.’
  18. She turnd hersel right round about, And her heart burst into three: ‘My ae best son is deid and gane, And my tother ane I’ll neer see.’