PR Website

The Gay Goshawk

No: 96; variant: 96E

  1. ‘O WALY, waly, my gay goss-hawk, Gin your feathering be sheen!’ ‘And waly, waly, my master dear, Gin ye look pale and lean!
  2. ‘O have ye tint at tournament Your sword, or yet your spear? Or mourn ye for the southern lass, Whom you may not win near?’
  3. ‘I have not tint at tournament My sword, nor yet my spear, But sair I mourn for my true-love, Wi mony a bitter tear.
  4. ‘But weel’s me on ye, my gay goss-hawk, Ye can baith speak and flee; Ye sall carry a letter to my love, Bring an answer back to me.’
  5. ‘But how sall I your true-love find, Or how suld I her know? I bear a tongue neer wi her spake, An eye that neer her saw.’
  6. ‘O weel sall ye my true-love ken, Sae sune as ye her see, For of a’ the flowers of fair England, The fairest flower is she.
  7. ‘The red that’s on my true-love’s cheik Is like blood-drops on the snaw; The white that is on her breast bare Like the down o the white sea-maw.
  8. ‘And even at my love’s bouer-door There grows a flowering birk, And ye maun sit and sing thereon, As she gangs to the kirk.
  9. ‘And four-and-twenty fair ladyes Will to the mass repair, But weel may ye my ladye ken, The fairest ladye there.’
  10. Lord William has written a love-letter, Put it under his pinion gray, And he is awa to southern land, As fast as wings can gae.
  11. And even at that ladye’s bour There grew a flowering birk, And he sat down and sang thereon, As she gaed to the kirk.
  12. And weel he kent that ladye feir Amang her maidens free, For the flower that springs in May morning Was not sae sweet as she.
  13. [He lighted at the ladye’s yate, And sat him on a pin, And sang fu sweet the notes o love, Till a’ was cosh within.]
  14. And first he sang a low, low note, And syne he sang a clear, And aye the oerword of the sang Was, Your love can no win here.
  15. ‘Feast on, feast on, my maidens a’, The wine flows you amang, While I gang to my shot-window, And hear yon bonny bird’s sang.
  16. ‘Sing on, sing on, my bonny bird, The sang ye sung yestreen; For weel I ken by your sweet singing Ye are frae my true-love sen.’
  17. O first he sang a merry sang, And syne he sang a grave, And syne he peckd his feathers gray, To her the letter gave.
  18. ‘Have there a letter from Lord William; He says he’s sent ye three; He canna wait your love langer, But for your sake he’ll die.’
  19. ‘Gae bid him bake his bridal bread, And brew his bridal ale, And I sall meet him at Mary’s kirk, Lang, lang ere it be stale.’
  20. The lady’s gane to her chamber, And a moanfu woman was she, As gin she had taen a sudden brash, And were about to die.
  21. ‘A boon, a boon, my father deir, A boon I beg of thee!’ ‘Ask not that paughty Scotish lord, For him you neer shall see.
  22. ‘But, for your honest asking else, Weel granted it shall be:’ ‘Then, gin I die in southern land, In Scotland gar bury me.
  23. ‘And the first kirk that ye come to, Ye’s gar the mass be sung, And the next kirk that ye come to, Ye’s gar the bells be rung.
  24. ‘And when ye come to St Mary’s kirk, Ye’s tarry there till night:’ And so her father pledged his word, And so his promise plight.
  25. She has taen her to her bigly bour, As fast as she could fare, And she has drank a sleepy draught, That she had mixed wi care.
  26. And pale, pale grew her rosy cheek, That was sae bright of blee, And she seemed to be as surely dead As any one could be.
  27. They drapt a drap o the burning red gowd, They drapt it on her chin; ‘And ever alas,’ her mother cried, ‘There is nae life within!’
  28. They drapt a drap o the burning red gowd, They drapt it on her breast-bane; ‘Alas,’ her seven bauld brothers said, ‘Our sister’s dead and gane!’
  29. Then up arose her seven brethren, And hewd to her a bier; They hewd it frae the solid aik, Laid it oer wi silver clear.
  30. Then up and gat her seven sisters, And sewed to her a kell, And every steek that they pat in Sewd to a siller bell.
  31. The first Scots kirk that they cam to, They gard the bells be rung; The next Scots kirk that they cam to, They gard the mass be sung.
  32. But when they cam to St Mary’s kirk, There stude spearmen all on raw, And up and started Lord William, The chieftane amang them a’.
  33. ‘Set down, set down the bier,’ he said, ‘Let me looke her upon:’ But as soon as Lord William touched her hand, Her colour began to come.
  34. She brightened like the lily-flower, Till her pale colour was gone; With rosy cheek, and ruby lip, She smiled her love upon.
  35. ‘A morsel of your bread, my lord, And one glass of your wine, For I hae fasted these three lang days, All for your sake and mine.
  36. ‘Gae hame, gae hame, my seven bauld brothers, Gae hame and blaw your horn; I trow you wad hae gien me the skaith, But I’ve gien you the scorn.
  37. ‘Ah woe to you, you light woman, An ill death may you die! For we left father and mother at hame Breaking their hearts for thee.’