Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
Græme and Bewick
Scott’s Border Minstrelsy
 
GUDE Lord Græme is to Carlisle gane:
  Sir Robert Bewick there met he;
And arm in arm to the wine they did go,
  And they drank till they were baith merrie.
 
Gude Lord Græme has ta’en up the cup,        5
  “Sir Robert Bewick, and here’s to thee!
And here’s to our twae sons at hame!
  For they like us best in our ain countrie.”—
 
“O were your son a lad like mine,
  And learned some books that he could read,        10
They might hae been twae brethren bauld,
  And they might hae bragged the Border side.
 
“But your son’s a lad, and he is but bad,
  And billie to my son he canna be:
*        *        *        *        *
“Ye sent him to school, and he wadna learn:        15
  Ye bought him books, and he wadna read.”—
“But my blessing shall he never earn,
  Till I see how his arm can defend his head.”—
 
Gude Lord Græme has a reckoning called;
  A reckoning then called he;        20
And he paid a crown, and it went roun’;
  It was all for the gude wine and free.
 
And he has to the stable gane,
  Where there stude thirty steeds and three;
He’s ta’en his ain horse amang them a’,        25
  And hame he rade sae manfullie.
 
“Welcome, my auld father!” said Christie Græme,
  “But where sae lang frae hame were ye?”—
“It’s I hae been at Carlisle town,
  And a baffled man by thee I be.        30
 
“I hae been at Carlisle town,
  Where Sir Robert Bewick he met me;
He says ye’re a lad, and ye are but bad,
  And billie to his son ye canna be.
 
“I sent ye to school, and ye wadna learn;        35
  I bought ye books, and ye wadna read;
Wherefore my blessing ye shall never earn,
  Till I see with Bewick thou save thy head.”
 
“Now, God forbid, my auld father;
  That ever sic a thing suld be!        40
Billie Bewick was my master, and I was his scholar,
  And aye sae weel as he learned me.”—
 
“O hald thy tongue, thou limmer loon,
  And of thy talking let me be!
If thou does na end me this quarrel soon,        45
  There is my glove, I’ll fight wi’ thee.”—
 
Then Christie Græme he stoopèd low
  Unto the ground, you shall understand;—
“O father, put on your glove again,
  The wind has blown it from your hand?”—        50
 
“What’s that thou says, thou limmer loon?
  How dares thou stand to speak to me?
If thou do not end this quarrel soon,
  There’s my right hand, thou shalt fight with me.”—
 
Then Christie Græme’s to his chamber gane,        55
  To consider weel what then should be;
Whether he should fight with his auld father,
  Or with his billie Bewick, he.
 
“If I suld kill my billie dear,
  God’s blessing I shall never win;        60
But if I strike at my auld father,
  I think ’twald be a mortal sin.
 
“But if I kill my billie dear,
  It is God’s will, so let it be;
But I make a vow, ere I gang frae hame,        65
  That I shall be the next man’s die.”—
 
Then he’s put on’s back a gude auld jack,
  And on his head a cap of steel,
And sword and buckler by his side;
  O gin he did not become them weel!        70
 
We’ll leave off talking of Christie Græme,
  And talk of him again belive;
And we will talk of bonny Bewick,
  Where he was teaching his scholars five.
 
When he had taught them well to fence,        75
  And handle swords without any doubt,
He took his sword under his arm,
  And he walked his father’s close about.
 
He looked atween him and the sun,
  And a’ to see what there might be,        80
Till he spied a man in armour bright,
  Was riding that way most hastilie.
 
“O wha is yon that came this way,
  Sae hastilie that hither came?
I think it be my brother dear!        85
  I think it be young Christie Græme.—
 
“Ye’re welcome here, my billie dear,
  And thrice ye’re welcome unto me!”—
“But I’m wae to say, I’ve seen the day,
  When I am come to fight wi’ thee.        90
 
“My father’s gane to Carlisle town,
  Wi’ your father Bewick there met he:
He says I’m a lad, and I am but bad,
  And a baffled man I trow I be.
 
“He sent me to school, and I wadna learn;        95
  He gae me books, and I wadna read;
Sae my father’s blessing I’ll never earn,
  Till he see how my arm can guard my head.”—
 
“O God forbid, my billie dear,
  That ever such a thing suld be!        100
We’ll take three men on either side,
  And see if we can our fathers agree.”—
 
“O hald thy tongue, now, billie Bewick,
  And of thy talking let me be!
But if thou’rt a man, as I’m sure thou art,        105
  Come o’er the dyke, and fight wi’ me.”—
 
“But I hae nae harness, billie, on my back,
  As weel I see there is on thine.”—
“But as little harness as is on thy back,
  As little, billie, shall be on mine.”—        110
 
Then he’s thrown aff his coat o’ mail
  His cap of steel away flung he;
He stuck his spear into the ground,
  And he tied his horse unto a tree.
 
Then Bewick has thrown aff his cloak,        115
  And’s psalter-book frae’s hand flung he;
He laid his hand upon the dyke,
  And ower he lap most manfullie.
 
O they hae fought for twae lang hours;
  When twae lang hours were come and gane,        120
The sweat drapped fast frae aff them baith,
  But a drap of blude could not be seen.
 
Till Græme gae Bewick an ackward stroke,
  Ane ackward stroke strucken sickerlie;
He has hit him under the left breast,        125
  And dead-wounded to the ground fell he.
 
“Rise up, rise up, now, billie dear!
  Arise and speak three words to me!—
Whether thou’s gotten thy deadly wound,
  Or if God and good leeching may succour thee?”—        130
 
“O horse, O horse, now, billie Græme,
  And get thee far from hence with speed:
And get thee out of this country,
  That none may know who has done the deed.”—
 
“O I hae slain thee, billie Bewick,        135
  If this be true thou tellest to me;
But I made a vow, ere I came frae hame,
  That aye the next man I wad be.”
 
He has pitched his sword in a moodie-hill,
  And he has leaped twenty lang feet and three,        140
And on his ain sword’s point he lap,
  And dead upon the ground fell he.
 
’Twas then came up Sir Robert Bewick,
  And his brave son alive saw he;
“Rise up, rise up, my son,” he said,        145
  “For I think ye hae gotten the victorie.”—
 
“O hald your tongue, my father dear!
  Of your prideful talking let me be!
Ye might hae drunken your wine in peace,
  And let me and my billie be.        150
 
“Gae dig a grave, baith wide and deep,
  And a grave to hald baith him and me;
But lay Christie Græme on the sunny side,
  “For I’m sure he wan the victorie.”
 
“Alack! a wae!” auld Bewick cried.        155
  “Alack! was I not much to blame?
I’m sure I’ve lost the liveliest lad
  That e’er was born unto my name.”
 
“Alack! a wae!” quo’ gude Lord Græme,
  “I’m sure I hae lost the deeper lack!        160
I durst hae ridden the Border through,
  Had Christie Græme been at my back.
 
“Had I been led through Liddesdale,
  And thirty horseman guarding me,
And Christie Græme been at my back,        165
  Sae soon as he had set me free!
 
“I’ve lost my hopes, I’ve lost my joy,
  I’ve lost the key but and the lock:
I durst hae ridden the world round,
  Had Christie Græme been at my back.”        170
 
 
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