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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
 
63. The Twa Brothers
 
 
I

THERE were twa brethren in the North,
  They went to school thegither;
The one unto the other said,
  ‘Will you try a warsle, brither?’
 
II

They warsled up, they warsled down,
        5
  Till Sir John fell to the ground,
And there was a knife in Sir Willie’s pouch
  Gied him a deadly wound.
 
III

‘Tak’ aff, tak’ aff my holland sark,
  Rive it frae gare to gare,        10
And stap it in my bleeding wound—
  ’Twill aiblins bleed nae mair.’
 
IV

He’s pu’it aff his holland sark,
  Rave it frae gare to gare,
And stapt it in his bleeding wound—        15
  But aye it bled the mair.
 
V

‘O tak’ now aff my green cleiding
  And row me saftly in,
And carry me up to Chester kirk,
  Whar the grass grows fair and green.        20
 
VI

‘But what will ye say to your father dear
  When ye gae home at e’en?’—
‘I’ll say ye’re lying at Chester kirk,
  Whar the grass grows fair and green.’—
 
VII

‘O no, O no, when he speers for me
        25
  Saying, “William, whar is John?”
Ye’ll say ye left me at Chester school
  Leaving the school alone.’
 
VIII

He’s ta’en him up upo’ his back,
  And borne him hence away,        30
And carried him to Chester kirk,
  And laid him in the clay.
 
IX

But when he sat in his father’s chair,
  He grew baith pale and wan:
‘O what blude’s that upon your brow?        35
  And whar is your brither John?’—
 
X

‘O John’s awa’ to Chester school,
  A scholar he’ll return;
He bade me tell his father dear
  About him no’ to mourn.        40
 
XI

‘And it is the blude o’ my gude grey steed;
  He wadna hunt for me.’—
‘O thy steed’s blude was ne’er so red,
  Nor ne’er so dear to me!
 
XII

‘And whaten blude’s that upon your dirk?
        45
  Dear Willie, tell to me.’—
‘It is the blude o’ my ae brither
  And dule and wae is me!’—
 
XIII

‘O what sall I say to your mither?
  Dear Willie, tell to me.’—        50
‘I’ll saddle my steed and awa’ I’ll ride,
  To dwell in some far countrie.’—
 
XIV

‘O when will ye come hame again?
  Dear Willie, tell to me!’—
‘When the sun and moon dance on yon green:        55
  And that will never be!’
 
GLOSS:  warsle] wrestle.  rive] tear.  gare] gore.  aiblins] perhaps. cleiding] clothing.  row] wrap.  speers] asks.
 

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