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The Twa Knights

No: 268; variant: 268A

  1. There were twa knights in fair Scotland, And they were brothers sworn; They made a vow to be as true As if they'd been brothers born.
  2. The one he was a wealthy knight, Had lands and buildings free; The other was a young hynde squire, In rank of lower degree.
  3. But it fell ance upon a day These squires they walkd alone, And to each other they did talk About the fair women.
  4. 'O wed a may,' the knight did say, 'For your credit and fame; Lay never your love on lemanry, Bring nae gude woman to shame.'
  5. 'There's nae gude women,' the squire did say, 'Into this place but nine;' 'O well falls me,' the knight replied, 'For ane o them is mine.'
  6. 'Ye say your lady's a gude woman, But I say she is nane; I think that I could gain her love Ere six months they are gane.
  7. 'If ye will gang six months away, And sail upon the faem, Then I will gain your lady's love Before that ye come hame.'
  8. 'O I'll gang till a far countrie, And far beyond the faem, And ye winna gain my lady's love Whan nine lang months are gane.'
  9. When the evening sun did set, And day came to an end, In then came the lady's gude lord, Just in at yon town's end.
  10. 'O comely are ye, my lady gay, Sae fair and rare to see; I wish whan I am gane away Ye keep your mind to me.'
  11. She gae 'm a bason to wash in, It shin'd thro a' the ha; But aye as she gaed but and ben She loot the saut tears fa.
  12. 'I wonder what ails my gude lord He has sic jealousie; Never when we parted before, He spak sic words to me.'
  13. When cocks did craw, and day did daw, This knight was fair at sea; Then in it came the young hynde squire, To work him villanie.
  14. 'I hae a coffer o gude red gowd, Another o white monie; I woud gie you 't a', my gay lady, To lye this night wi me.'
  15. 'If ye warna my lord's brother, And him sae far frae hame, Even before my ain bower-door I'd gar hang you on a pin.'
  16. He's gane frae the lady's bower, Wi the saut tear in his ee, And he is to his foster-mother As fast as gang coud he.
  17. 'There is a fancy in my head That I'll reveal to thee, And your assistance I will crave If ye will grant it me.
  18. 'I've fifty guineas in my pocket, I've fifty o them and three, And if ye'll grant what I request Ye'se hae them for your fee.'
  19. 'Speak on, speak on, ye gude hynde squire, What may your asking be? I kenna wha woud be sae base As nae serve for sic a fee.'
  20. 'O I hae wagerd wi my brother, When he went to the faem, That I woud gain his lady's love Ere six months they were gane.
  21. 'To me he laid his lands at stake Tho he were on the faem, I wudna gain his lady's love Whan nine lang months were gane.
  22. 'Now I hae tried to gain her love, But finds it winna do; And here I'm come, as ye her know, To seek some help frae you.
  23. 'For I did lay my life at stake, Whan my brother went frae hame, That I woud gain his lady's love Whan he was on the faem.'
  24. But when the evening sun was set, And day came to an end, In it came that fause carline, Just in at yon town's end.
  25. 'O comely are ye, my gay lady, Your lord is on the faem; Yon unco squire will gain your love, Before that he come hame.'
  26. 'Forbid it,' said the lady fair, 'That eer the like shoud be, That I woud wrang my ain gude lord, And him sae far at sea.'
  27. 'O comely are ye, my gay lady, Stately is your fair bodie; Your lovely visage is far chang'd, That is best known to me.
  28. 'You're sair dune out for want o sleep Sin your lord went to sea; Unless that ye do cease your grief, It will your ruin be.
  29. 'You'll send your maids unto the hay, Your young men unto the corn; I'll gar ye sleep as soun a sleep As the night that ye were born.'
  30. She sent her maids to ted the hay, Her men to shear the corn, And she gard her sleep as soun a sleep As the night that she was born.
  31. She rowd that lady in the silk, Laid her on holland sheets; Wi fine enchanting melodie, She lulld her fast asleep.
  32. She lockd the yetts o that castle Wi thirty locks and three, Then went to meet the young hynde squire To him the keys gae she.
  33. He's opend the locks o that castle, Were thirty and were three, And he's gane where that lady lay, And thus to her said he.
  34. 'O wake, O wake, ye gay lady, O wake and speak to me; I hae it fully in my power To come to bed to thee.'
  35. 'For to defile my husband's bed, I woud think that a sin; As soon as this lang day is gane, Then I shall come to thine.'
  36. Then she has calld her niece Maisry, Says, An asking ye'll grant me, For to gang to yon unco squire And sleep this night for me.
  37. 'The gude red gowd shall be your hire, And siller's be your fee; Five hundred pounds o pennies round, Your tocher it shall be.'
  38. She turnd her right and round about, And thus to her did say; O there was never a time on earth So fain's I woud say nay.
  39. But when the evening sun was set, And day drawn to an end, Then Lady Maisry she is gane, Fair out at yon town-end.
  40. Then she is to yon hynde squire's yates, And tirled at the pin; Wha was sae busy as the hynde squire To lat that lady in!
  41. He's taen her in his arms twa, He was a joyfu man; He neither bade her meat nor drink, But to the bed he ran.
  42. When he had got his will o her, His will as he lang sought, Her ring but and her ring-finger Away frae her he brought.
  43. With discontent straight home she went, And thus lamented she; Says, Wae be to yon young hynde squire! Sae ill as he's used me.
  44. When the maids came frae the hay, The young men frae the corn, Ben it came that lady gay, Who thought lang for their return.
  45. 'Where hae ye been, my maidens a', Sae far awa frae me? My foster-mother and lord's brother Thought to hae beguiled me.
  46. 'Had not she been my foster-mother, I suckd at her breast-bane, Even before my ain bower-door, She in a gleed shoud burn.
  47. 'The squire he thought to gain my love, He's got but Lady Maisry; He's cutted her ring and her ring-finger, A love-token for to be.
  48. 'I'll tie my finger in the dark, Where nae ane shall me see; I hope to loose it in the light, Amang gude companie.'
  49. When night was gane, and birds did sing, And day began to peep, The hynde squire walkd alang the shore, His brother for to meet.
  50. 'Ye are welcome, welcome, landless lord, To my ha's and my bowers; Ye are welcome hame, ye landless lord, To my lady white like flowers'
  51. 'Ye say I am a landless lord, But I think I am nane, Without ye show some love-token Awa frae her ye've tane.'
  52. He drew the strings then o his purse, And they were a' bludie; The ring but and the ring-finger Sae soon as he lat him see.
  53. 'O wae be to you, fause hynde squire, Ane ill death mat ye dee! It was too sair a love-token To take frae my ladie.
  54. 'But ae asking of you, hynde squire, In your won bowers to dine;' 'With a' my heart, my brother dear, Tho ye had asked nine.'
  55. Then he is to his lady's father, And a sorrow man was he: 'O judge, O judge, my father dear, This judgment pass for me.
  56. 'What is the thing that shoud be done Unto that gay lady Who woud gar her lord gae landless, And children bastards to be?'
  57. 'She shoud be brunt upon a hill, Or hangd upon a tree, That woud gar her lord gang landless, And children bastards be.'
  58. 'Your judgment is too rash, father; Your ain daughter is she That this day has made me landless; Your squire gaind it frae me.
  59. 'Yet nevertheless, my parents dear, Ae favour ye'll grant me, And gang alang to my lost ha's, And take your dine wi me.'
  60. He threw the charters ower the table, And kissd the yates o tree; Says Fare ye well, my lady gay, Your face I'll never see.
  61. Then his lady calld out to him, Come here, my lord, and dine; There's nae a smith in a' the land That can ae finger join.
  62. 'I tied my finger in the dark, Whan nae ane did me see; But now I'll loose it in the light, Amang gude companie.
  63. 'Even my niece, Lady Maisry, The same woman was she; The gude red gowd shall be her hire, And likeways white monie.
  64. 'Five hundred pounds o pennies round Her tocher then shall be, Because she did my wills obey, Beguild the squire for me.'
  65. Then they did call this young hynde squire To come right speedilie, Likeways they calld young Lady Maisry. To pay her down her fee.
  66. Then they laid down to Lady Maisry The brand but and the ring; It was to stick him wi the brand, Or wed him wi the ring.
  67. Thrice she minted to the brand, But she took up the ring; And a' the ladies who heard o it Said she was a wise woman.