Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
The Gay Goss-Hawk
Scott’s Border Minstrelsy
“O WALY, waly, my gay goss-hawk,
Gin your feathering be sheen!”
“And waly, waly, my master dear,
Gin ye look pale and lean!”
“O have ye tint, at tournament,        5
Your sword, or yet your spear?
Or mourn ye for the southern lass,
Whom ye may not win near?”
“I have not tint, at tournament,
My sword nor yet my spear;        10
But sair I mourn for my true love,
Wi’ mony a bitter tear.
“But weel’s me on ye, my gay goss-hawk,
Ye can baith speak and flee;
Ye sall carry a letter to my love,        15
Bring an answer back to me.”
“But how sall I your true love find,
Or how suld I her know?
I bear a tongue ne’er wi’ her spake,
An eye that ne’er her saw.”        20
“O weel sall ye my true love ken,
Sae sune as ye her see;
For, of a’ the flowers of fair England,
The fairest flower is she.
“The red, that’s on my true love’s cheek,        25
Is like blood-drops on the snaw;
The white, that is on her breast bare,
Like the down o’ the white sea-maw.
“And even at my love’s bouer-door
There grows a flowering birk;        30
And ye maun sit and sing thereon
As she gangs to the kirk.
“And four and twenty fair ladyes
Will to the mass repair;
But weel may ye my ladye ken,        35
The fairest ladye there.”
Lord William has written a love-letter,
Put it under his pinion gray;
And he is awa to southern land
As fast as wings can gae.        40
And even at the ladye’s bouer
There grew a flowering birk;
And he sat down and sung thereon
As she gaed to the kirk.
And weel he kent that ladye fair        45
Amang her maidens free;
For the flower that springs in May morning
Was not sae sweet as she.
He lighted at the ladye’s gate,
And sat him on a pin;        50
And sang fu’ sweet the notes o’ love,
Till a’ was cosh within.
And first he sang a low, low note,
And syne he sang a clear;
And aye the o’erword o’ the sang        55
Was—“Your love can no win here.”—
“Feast on, feast on, my maidens a’,
The wine flows you amang,
While I gang to my shot-window,
And hear yon bonny bird’s sang.        60
“Sing on, sing on, my bonny bird,
The sang ye sung yestreen;
For weel I ken, by your sweet singing,
Ye are frae my true love sen.”
O first he sang a merry sang,        65
And syne he sang a grave;
And syne he picked his feathers gray,
To her the letter gave.
“Have there a letter from Lord William;
He says he’s sent ye three;        70
He canna wait your love langer,
But for your sake he’ll die.”—
“Gae bid him bake his bridal bread,
And brew his bridal ale;
And I shall meet him at Mary’s kirk,        75
Lang, lang ere it be stale.”
The lady’s gane to her chamber,
And a moanfu’ woman was she;
As gin she had ta’en a sudden brash,
And were about to die.        80
“A boon, a boon, my father deir,
A boon I beg of thee!”—
“Ask not that haughty Scottish lord,
For him you ne’er shall see:
“But, for your honest asking else,        85
Weel granted it shall be.”—
“Then gin I die in Southern land,
In Scotland gar bury me.
“And the first kirk that ye come to,
Ye’s gar the mass be sung;        90
And the next kirk that ye come to,
Ye’s gar the bells be rung.
“And when you come to St. Mary’s kirk,
Ye’s tarry there till night.”
And so her father pledged his word,        95
And so his promise plight.
She has ta’en her to her bigly bouer
As fast as she could fare;
And she has drank a sleepy draught,
That she had mixed wi’ care.        100
And pale, pale, grew her rosy cheek,
That was sae bright of blee,
And she seemed to be as surely dead
As any one could be.
Then spake her cruel step-minnie,        105
“Tak ye the burning lead,
And drap a drap on her bosome,
To try if she be dead.”
They took a drap o’ boiling lead,
They drapped it on her breast;        110
“Alas! alas!” her father cried,
She’s dead without the priest.”
She neither chattered with her teeth,
Nor shivered with her chin;
“Alas! alas!” her father cried,        115
“There is nae breath within.”
Then up arose her seven brethren,
And hewed to her a bier;
They hewed it frae the solid aik,
Laid it o’er wi’ silver clear.        120
Then up and gat her seven sisters,
And sewed to her a kell;
And every stitch that they put in
Sewed to a siller bell.
The first Scots kirk that they cam to,        125
They garr’d the bells be rung;
The next Scots kirk that they cam to,
They garr’d the mass be sung.
But when they cam to St. Mary’s kirk,
There stude spearmen all in a raw;        130
And up and started Lord William,
The chieftane amang them a’.
“Set down, set down the bier,” he said,
“Let me look her upon:”
But as soon as Lord William touched her hand,        135
Her colour began to come.
She brightened like the lily flower,
Till her pale colour was gone;
With rosy cheek, and ruby lip,
She smiled her love upon.        140
“A morsel of your bread, my lord,
And one glass of your wine;
For I hae fasted these three lang days,
All for your sake and mine.—
“Gae hame, gae hame, my seven bauld brothers,        145
Gae hame and blaw your horn!
I trow ye wad hae gi’en me the skaith,
But I’ve gi’en you the scorn.
“Commend me to my grey father,
That wished my saul gude rest;        150
But wae to my cruel step-dame,
Garr’d burn me on the breast.”—
“Ah! woe to you, you light woman!
An ill death may ye die!
For we left father and sisters at hame        155
Breaking their hearts for thee.”

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