Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray
   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
189. O Waly, Waly
O WALY waly up the bank,
  And waly waly down the brae,
And waly waly yon burn-side
  Where I and my Love wont to gae!
I leant my back unto an aik,        5
  I thought it was a trusty tree:
But first it bow’d, and syne 1 it brak,
  Sae my true Love did lichtly 2 me.
O waly waly, but love be bonny
  A little time while it is new;        10
But when ’tis auld, it waxeth cauld
  And fades awa’ like morning dew.
O wherefore should I busk 3 my head?
  Or wherefore should I kame 4 my hair?
For my true Love has me forsook,        15
  And says he’ll never loe me mair.
Now Arthur-seat sall be my bed;
  The sheets shall ne’er be prest by me:
Saint Anton’s well sall be my drink,
  Since my true Love has forsaken me.        20
Marti’mas wind when wilt thou blaw
  And shake the green leaves aff the tree?
O gentle Death, when wilt thou come?
  For of my life I am wearíe.
’Tis not the frost, that freezes fell,        25
  Now blawing snaw’s inclemencie;
’Tis not sic cauld that makes me cry,
  But my Love’s heart grown cauld to me.
When we came in by Glasgow town
  We were a comely sight to see;        30
My Love was clad in the black velvèt,
  And I mysell in cramasie. 5
But had I wist, before I kist,
  That love had been sae ill to win;
I had lockt my heart in a case of gowd 6        35
  And pinn’d it with a siller 7 pin.
And, O! if my young babe were born,
  And set upon the nurse’s knee,
And I mysell were dead and gane,
  And the green grass growing over me!        40
Note 1. Destroy. [back]
Note 2. Wretched stuff. [back]
Note 3. Then. [back]
Note 4. Slight. [back]
Note 5. Adorn. [back]
Note 6. Comb. [back]
Note 7. Crimson cloth. [back]


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