Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Georgian Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Georgian Verse.  1909.
 
Brignall Banks
By Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)
 
O BRIGNALL 1 banks are wild and fair,
  And Greta woods are green,
And you may gather garlands there
  Would grace a summer queen.
And as I rode by Dalton-hall,        5
  Beneath the turrets high,
A maiden on the castle wall
  Was singing merrily:
 
‘O, Brignall banks are fresh and fair,
  And Greta woods are green:        10
I’d rather rove with Edmund there
  Than reign our English queen.’
 
‘If, maiden, thou wouldst wend with me,
  To leave both tower and town,
Thou first must guess what life lead we        15
  That dwell by dale and down,
And if thou canst that riddle read,
  As read full well you may,
Then to the greenwood shalt thou speed,
  As blithe as Queen of May.’        20
 
Yet sung she, ‘Brignall banks are fair,
  And Greta woods are green;
I’d rather rove with Edmund there
  Than reign our English queen.
 
‘I read you, by your bugle horn,        25
  And by your palfrey good,
I read you for a ranger sworn
  To keep the king’s greenwood.’
‘A ranger, lady, winds his horn,
  And ’tis at peep of light;        30
His blast is heard at merry morn,
  And mine at dead of night.’
 
Yet sung she, ‘Brignall banks are fair,
  And Greta woods are gay;
I would I were with Edmund there,        35
  To reign his Queen of May!’
 
‘With burnished brand and musketoon
  So gallantly you come,
I read you for a bold dragoon,
  That lists the tuck of drum.’        40
‘I list no more the tuck of drum,
  No more the trumpet hear;
But when the beetle sounds his hum,
  My comrades take the spear.
 
‘And O, though Brignall banks be fair,        45
  And Greta woods be gay,
Yet mickle must the maiden dare
  Would reign my Queen of May!
 
‘Maiden! a nameless life I lead,
  A nameless death I’ll die;        50
The fiend whose lantern lights the mead
  Were better mate than I!
And when I’m with my comrades met
  Beneath the greenwood bough,
What once we were we all forget,        55
  Nor think what we are now.
 
‘Yet Brignall banks are fresh and fair,
  And Greta woods are green,
And you may gather garlands there
  Would grace a summer queen.’        60
 
Note 1. From Rokeby. [back]
 
 
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