The Gay Goshawk
No: 96; variant: 96E
- ‘O WALY, waly, my gay goss-hawk,
Gin your feathering be sheen!’
‘And waly, waly, my master dear,
Gin ye look pale and lean!
- ‘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?’
- ‘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.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.
- ‘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.
- ‘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.
- ‘And four-and-twenty fair ladyes
Will to the mass repair,
But weel may ye my ladye ken,
The fairest ladye there.’
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- [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.]
- 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.
- ‘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.
- ‘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.’
- 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.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- 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.
- ‘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.
- ‘But, for your honest asking else,
Weel granted it shall be:’
‘Then, gin I die in southern land,
In Scotland gar bury me.
- ‘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.
- ‘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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!’
- 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!’
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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’.
- ‘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.
- She brightened like the lily-flower,
Till her pale colour was gone;
With rosy cheek, and ruby lip,
She smiled her love upon.
- ‘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.
- ‘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.
- ‘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.’