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   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
30. The Baron of Brackley
 
Traditional Ballads
 
 
INVEREY cam doun Deeside, whistlin and playin,
He was at brave Braikley’s yett 1 ere it was dawin. 2
 
He rappit fu loudly an wi a great roar,
Cried, ‘Cum doun, cum doun, Braikley, and open the door.
 
‘Are ye sleepin, Baronne, or are ye wakin?        5
Ther’s sharpe swords at your yett, will gar 3 your blood spin.
 
‘Open the yett, Braikley, and lat us within,
Till we on the green turf gar your bluid rin.’
 
Up spak his ladie, at his bak where she lay,
‘Get up, get up, Braikley, an be not afraid;        10
The’r but young hir’d widifus 4 wi belted plaids.’
 
‘Cum kiss me, mi Peggy, I’le nae langer stay,
For I will go out and meet Inverey.
 
‘But haud your tongue, Peggy, and mak nae sic din,
For yon same hir’d widifus will prove themselves men.’        15
 
She called on her marys, 5 they cam to her hand;
Cries, ‘Bring me your rocks, 6 lassies, we will them command.
 
‘Get up, get up, Braikley, and turn bak your ky. 7
Or me an mi women will them defy.
 
‘Cum forth then, mi maidens, and show them some play;        20
We’ll ficht them, and shortly the cowards will fly.
 
‘Gin I had a husband, whereas I hae nane,
He woud nae ly i his bed and see his ky taen. 8
 
‘Ther’s four-and-twenty milk-whit calves, twal o them ky, 9
In the woods o Glentanner, it’s ther thei a’ ly.        25
 
‘Ther’s goat i the Etnach, and sheep o the brae,
An a’ will be plundered by young Inverey.’
 
‘Now haud your tongue, Peggy, and gie me a gun,
Ye’ll see me gae furth, but I’ll never cum in.
 
‘Call mi brother William, mi unkl also,        30
Mi cousin James Gordon; we’ll mount and we’ll go.’
 
When Braikley was ready and stood i the closs,
He was the bravest baronne that eer mounted horse.
 
Whan all wer assembled o the castell green,
No man like brave Braikley was ther to be seen.        35
 
.  .  .  .  .  .  .

‘Turn bak, brother William, ye are a bridegroom;
 
‘Wi bonnie Jean Gordon, the maid o the mill;
O sichin and sobbin she’ll soon get her fill.’
 
‘I’m no coward, brother, ’tis kend I’m a man;
‘I’ll ficht, my dear brother, wi heart and gudewill,        40
 
‘I’ll ficht i your quarral as lang’s I can stand.
And so will young Harry that lives at the mill.
 
‘But turn, mi dear brother, and nae langer stay:
What’ll cum o your ladie, gin Braikley thei slay?
 
‘What’ll cum o your ladie and bonnie young son?        45
O what’ll cum o them when Braikley is gone?’
 
‘I never will turn: do you think I will fly?
But here I will ficht, and here I will die.’
 
‘Strik dogs,’ crys Inverey, ‘and ficht till ye’re slayn,
For we are four hundred, ye are but four men.        50
 
‘Strik, strik, ye proud boaster, your honour is gone,
Your lands we will plunder, your castell we’ll burn.’
 
At the head o the Etnach the battel began,
At Little Auchoilzie thei killd the first man.
 
First thei killd ane, and soon they killd twa,        55
Thei killd gallant Braikley, the flour o them a’,
 
Thei killd William Gordon, and James o the Knox,
And brave Alexander, the flour o Glenmuick.
 
What sichin and moaning was heard i the glen,
For the Baronne o Braikley, who basely was slayn!        60
 
‘Cam ye bi the castell, and was ye in there?
Saw ye pretty Peggy tearing her hair?’
 
‘Yes, I cam by Braikley, and I gaed in there,
And there saw his ladie braiding her hair.
 
‘She was rantin, and dancin, and singin for joy,        65
And vowin that nicht she woud feest Inverey.
 
‘She eat wi him, drank wi him, welcomd him in,
Was kind to the man that had slain her baronne.’
 
Up spake the son on the nourice’s knee,
‘Gin I live to be a man, revenged I’ll be.’        70
 
Ther’s dool 10 i the kitchin, and mirth i the ha,
The Baronne o Braikley is dead and awa.
 
Note 1. Shoe. [back]
Note 2. Moan. [back]
Note 3. Ever you have. [back]
Note 4. Knowledge. [back]
Note 5. Gate. [back]
Note 6. Dawning. [back]
Note 7. Make. [back]
Note 8. Gallows-birds. [back]
Note 9. Maidens. [back]
Note 10. Distaffs. [back]
 

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