Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
30. Young Hunting

‘O LADY, rock never your young son young
  One hour longer for me;
For I have a sweetheart in Gareloch Wells
  I love thrice better than thee.

‘The very sole o’ that lady’s foot,
  Than thy face is mair white.’—
‘But nevertheless now, Young Hunting,
  Ye’ll bide in my bower this night?’

She has birl’d in him Young Hunting
  The good ale and the wine,        10
Till he was as fou drunken
  As any wild-wood swine.

[She has kiss’d him by] the candle-light
  And the charcoal burning red,
And up she has ta’en Young Hunting,        15
  And she’s had him to her bed.

And she’s minded her on a little pen-knife
  That hang’d below her gare,
And she has gi’en Young Hunting
  A deep wound and a sair.        20

Then up and spake the popinjay
  That flew abune her head:
‘Lady, keep well your green cleiding
  Frae good Young Hunting’s bleid!’—

‘O better I’ll keep my green cleiding
  Frae good Young Hunting’s bleid
Than thou canst keep thy clattering tongue
  That trattles in thy head.’

‘O lang, lang is the winter’s night,
  And slowly daws the day!        30
There lies a dead man in my bower,
  And I wish he were away.’

She has call’d upon her bower-maidens,
  She has call’d them ane by ane:
‘There lies a dead man in my bower,        35
  I wish that he were gane.’

They have booted and spurr’d Young Hunting
  As he was wont to ride—
A hunting-horn about his neck,
  And a sharp sword by his side;        40
And they’ve had him to the wan water,
  Where a’men ca’s it Clyde.

In the deepest pot of Clyde-water
  It’s there they flang him in,
And put a turf on his breast-bane        45
  To hold Young Hunting down.

Then up and spake the popinjay
  That sat upon the tree;
‘Gae hame, gae hame, ye fause lady,
  And pay your maids their fee.’—        50

‘Come down, come down, my pretty bird,
  That sits upon the tree;
I have a cage o’ beaten gold,
  I’ll gie it unto thee.’—

‘How shall I come down, how can I come down,
  How shall I come down to thee?
The things ye said to Young Hunting,
  The same ye’re saying to me.’

She hadna cross’d a rigg o’ land,
  A rigg but barely ane,        60
When she met wi’ his auld father,
  Came riding all alane.

‘Where has ye been, now, lady fair,
  Where has ye been sae late?
We hae been seeking Young Hunting,        65
  But him we canna get.’—

‘Young Hunting kens a’ the fords o’ Clyde,
  He’ll ride them ane by ane;
And though the night was ne’er so mirk,
  Young Hunting will be hame.’        70

O there came seeking Young Hunting
  Mony a lord and knight,
And there came seeking Young Hunting
  Mony a lady bright.

And it fell ance upon a day
  The King was bound to ride,
And he has miss’d Young Hunting,
  Should hae ridden on his right side.

And they have to his true love gane;
  But she sware by the thorn,        80
‘O I have not seen Young Hunting
  Since yesterday at morn.

‘It fears me sair in Clyde Water
  That he is drown’d therein!’
O they have sent for the King’s divers,        85
  To dive for Young Hunting.

‘Gar dive, gar dive!’ the King he cried,
  ‘Gar dive for gold and fee!
O wha will dive for Young Hunting’s sake,
  Or wha will dive for me?’        90

They dived in at the tae water-bank,
  They dived in at the tither:
‘We can dive no more for Young Hunting,
  Altho’ he were our brither.’

It fell that in that lady’s castle
  The King was boun to bed,
And out it spake the popinjay
  That flew abune his head:

‘Leave off, leave off, your day diving,
  And dive upon the night;        100
And where that sackless Knight lies slain
  The candles will burn bright.’

They left their diving on the day,
  And dived upon the night;
And over the place Young Hunting lay        105
  The candles shone fu’ bright.

The deepest pot in Clyde Water
  They got Young Hunting in,
With a green turf tied across his breast
  To keep that good lord down.        110

Then up and spake the King himsel’,
  When he saw the deadly wound:
‘O wha has slain my right-hand man,
  That held my hawk and hound?’

Then up and spake the popinjay,
  Says, ‘What needs a’ this din?
It was his light leman took his life,
  And hided him in the linn.’

She sware her by the grass sae green,
  So did she by the corn,        120
She hadna seen Young Hunting
  Since Monanday at morn.

‘Put not the wyte on me,’ she says,
  ‘It was my May Catheren.’
Then they have cut baith thorn and fern,        125
  To burn that maiden in.

When they had ta’en her May Catheren,
  In the bonfire set her in;
It wouldna take upon her cheeks,
  Nor yet upon her chin,        130
Nor yet upon her yellow hair,
  To heal the deadly sin.

Out they have ta’en her May Catheren,
  And put the lady in:
O it took upon her cheek, her cheek,        135
  Took fast upon her chin,
Took fast upon her fair body—
  She burnt like hollins green.
GLOSS:  birl’d] poured.  gare] gore, in the skirt.  cleiding] clothing.  daws] dawns.  rigg] ridge.  sackless] innocent.  linn] stream, pool.  wyte] blame.  May] Maid.  hollins] holly.


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