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The Gay Goshawk

No: 96; variant: 96G

  1. WHEN grass grew green on Lanark plains, And fruit and flowers did spring, A Scottish squire in cheerfu strains, Sae merrily thus did sing:
  2. ‘O well fails me o my parrot That he can speak and flee; For he will carry love-letters Between my love and me.
  3. ‘And well fails me o my parrot He can baith speak and gang; And he will carry love-letters To the maid in South England.’
  4. ‘O how shall I your love find out? Or how shall I her know? When my tongue with her never spake, Nor my eyes her ever saw.’
  5. ‘O what is red of her is red As blude drappd on the snaw; And what is white o her is white As milk, or the sea-maw.
  6. ‘Even before that lady’s yetts You’ll find a bowing birk; And there ye’ll sit, and sing thereon, Till she gaes to the kirk.
  7. ‘Then even before that lady’s yetts You’ll find a bowing ash; And ye may sit and sing thereon, Till she comes frae the mass.
  8. ‘And even before that lady’s window You’ll find a bed o tyme; And ye may sit and sing thereon, Till she sits down to dine.
  9. ‘Even abeen that lady’s window There’s fixd a siller pin; And a’ these words that I tell you, Ye’ll sit and sing therein.
  10. ‘Ye’ll bid her send her love a letter, For he has sent her five; And he’ll never send anither ane, To nae woman alive.
  11. ‘Ye’ll bid her send her love a letter, For he has sent her seven; And he’ll never send anither send, To nae maid under heaven.’
  12. This little bird then took his flight, Beyond the raging sea, And lighted at that lady’s yetts, On tower o gowd sae hie.
  13. Even before that lady’s yetts He found a bowing birk; And there he sat, and sang thereon, Till she went to the kirk.
  14. Even before that lady’s yetts He found a bowing ash; And then he sat and sang thereon, Till she came frae the mass.
  15. Even before that lady’s window He found a bed o tyme; And then he sat and sang thereon, Till she sat down to dine.
  16. Even abeen that lady’s window Was fixd a siller pin; And a’ the word that were tauld him, He sat and sang them in.
  17. ‘You’re bidden send your love a letter, For he has sent you five; Or he’ll never send anither send, To nae woman alive.
  18. ‘You’re bidden send your love a letter, For he has sent you seven; And he’ll never send anither send, To nae maid under heaven.’
  19. ‘Sit in the hall, good ladies all, And drink the wine sae red, And I will to yon small window, And hear you bridie’s leed.
  20. ‘Sing on, sing on, my bonny bird, The sang ye sung just now;’ ‘I’ll sing nae mair, ye lady fair, My errand is to you.’
  21. ‘If ye be my true-lovie’s bird, Sae well’s I will you ken; You will gae in at my gown-sleeve, Come out at my gown-hem.’
  22. ‘That I am come frae your true-love, You soon shall see right plain; And read these lines below my wing, That I hae brought frae him.’
  23. When she looked these lines upon, She read them, and she leuch: ‘O well fails me, my true-love, now, O this I hae eneuch.
  24. ‘Here is the broach on my breast-bane, The garlings frae my hair, Likewise the heart that is within; What woud my love hae mair?
  25. ‘The nearest kirk in fair Scotland, Ye’ll bid him meet me there:’ She has gane to her dear father, Wi heart perplexd and sair.
  26. When she came to her auld father, Fell low down on her knee: ‘An asking, asking, father dear, I pray you grant it me.’
  27. ‘Ask what you will, my dear daughter, And I will grant it thee; Unless to marry yon Scottish squire; That’s what shall never be.’
  28. ‘O that’s the asking, father,’ she said, ‘That I’ll neer ask of thee; But if I die in South England, In Scotland ye’ll bury me.’
  29. h5The asking’s nae sae great, daughter, But granted it shall be; And tho ye die in South England, In Scotland we’ll bury thee.’
  30. She has gane to her step-mother, Fell low down on her knee: ‘An asking, asking, mother dear, I pray you grant it me.’
  31. ‘Ask what ye please, my lily-white dove, And granted it shall be:’ ‘If I die in South England, In Scotland bury me.’
  32. ‘Had these words spoke been in again, I woud not granted thee; You hae a love in fair Scotland, Sae fain’s you woud be tee.’
  33. She scarce was to her chamber gane Nor yet was well set down, Till on the sofa where she sat Fell a deadly swoon.
  34. Her father and her seven brithers, They made for her a bier; The one half o ‘t was gude red gowd, The other siller clear.
  35. Her seven sisters were employed In making her a sark; The one half o ‘t was cambric fine, The other needle-wark.
  36. Then out it speaks her auld step-dame, Sat on the sofa’s end: Ye’ll drap the het lead on her cheek, Sae do you on her chin; For women will use mony a wile Their true-loves for to win.
  37. Then up it raise her eldest brither, Into her bower he’s gane; Then in it came her youngest brither, The het leed to drap on.
  38. He drapt it by her cheek, her cheek, Sae did he by her chin; Sae did he by her comely hause; He knew life was therein.
  39. The bier was made wi red gowd laid, Sae curious round about; A private entrance there contriv’d, That her breath might win out.
  40. The first an kirk in fair Scotland, They gard the bells be rung; The niest an kirk in fair Scotland, They causd the mass be sung.
  41. The third an kirk in fair Scotland, They passd it quietly by; The fourth an kirk in fair Scotland, Clerk Sandy did them spy.
  42. ‘O down ye’ll set this corpse o clay, Lat me look on the dead; For I may sigh, and say, alas! For death has nae remeid.’
  43. Then he has cut her winding sheet A little below her chin, And wi her sweet ruby lips She sweetly smil’d on him.
  44. ‘Gie me a sheave o your white bread, A bottle o your wine; For I hae fasted for your sake Fully these lang days nine.
  45. ‘Gae hame, gae hame, my seven brithers, Gae hame and blaw your trumpet; And ye mat tell to your step-dame This day she is affronted.
  46. ‘I camna here to fair Scotland To lye amo the dead; But came to be Clerk Sandy’s wife, And lay gowd on my head.
  47. ‘Gae hame, gae hame, my seven brithers, Gae hame and blaw your horn; And ye may tell in fair England In Scotland ye got the scorn.
  48. ‘I came not here to fair Scotland To mix amang the clay; But came to be Clerk Sandy’s wife, And wear gowd to my tae.’
  49. ‘Sin ye hae gien us this ae scorn, We shall gie you anither; Ye sall hae naething to live upon But the bier that brought you hither.’