Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
36. Hynd Etin

MAY Margaret sits in her bower door
  Sewing her silken seam;
She heard a note in Elmond’s wood,
  And wish’d she there had been.

She loot the seam fa’ frae her side,
  The needle to her tae,
And she is on to Elmond’s wood
  As fast as she could gae.

She hadna pu’d a nut, a nut,
  Nor broken a branch but ane,        10
Till by there came the Hynd Etin,
  Says, ‘Lady, lat alane.

‘O why pu’ ye the nut, the nut,
  Or why break ye the tree?
For I am forester o’ this wood:        15
  Ye should spier leave at me.’—

I’ll ask leave at nae living man,
  Nor yet will I at thee;
My father is king o’er a’ this realm,
  This wood belongs to me.’        20

The highest tree in Elmond’s wood,
  He’s pu’d it by the reet,
And he has built for her a bower
  Near by a hallow seat.

He’s kept her there in Elmond’s wood
  For six lang years and ane,
Till six pretty sons to him she bare,
  And the seventh she’s brought hame.

It fell out ance upon a day
  He’s to the hunting gane,        30
And a’ to carry his game for him
  He’s tane his eldest son.

‘A question I will ask, father,
  Gin ye wadna angry be.’—
‘Say on, say on, my bonny boy,        35
  Ye’se nae be quarrell’d by me.’

‘I see my mither’s cheeks aye weet,
  I never can see them dry;
And I wonder what aileth my mither
  To mourn [sae constantly].’—        40

‘Your mither was a king’s daughtèr,
  Sprung frae a high degree;
She might hae wed some worthy prince
  Had she na been stown by me.

‘Your mither was a king’s daughtèr
  Of noble birth and fame,
But now she’s wife o’ Hynd Etin,
  Wha ne’er gat christendame.

‘But we’ll shoot the buntin’ o’ the bush,
  The linnet o’ the tree,        50
And ye’se tak’ them hame to your dear mither,
  See if she’ll merrier be.’

It fell upon anither day,
  He’s to the hunting gane
And left his seven [young] children        55
  To stay wi’ their mither at hame.

‘O I will tell to you, mither,
  Gin ye wadna angry be.’—
‘Speak on, speak on, my little wee boy,
  Ye’se nae be quarrell’d by me.’—        60

‘As we came frae the hind-hunting,
  We heard fine music ring.’—
‘My blessings on you, my bonny boy,
  I wish I’d been there my lane.’

They wistna weel where they were gaen,
  Wi’ the stratlins o’ their feet;
They wistna weel where they were gaen,
  Till at her father’s yate.

‘I hae nae money in my pocket,
  But royal rings hae three;        70
I’ll gie them you, my little young son,
  And ye’ll walk there for me.

‘Ye’ll gi’e the first to the proud portèr
  And he will let you in;
Ye’ll gi’e the next to the butler-boy        75
  And he will show you ben;

‘Ye’ll gi’e the third to the minstrel
  That plays before the King;
He’ll play success to the bonny boy
  Came thro’ the wood him lane.’        80

He ga’e the first to the proud portèr
  And he open’d and let him in;
He ga’e the next to the butler-boy,
  And he has shown him ben.

He ga’e the third to the minstrel
  That play’d before the King,
And he play’d success to the bonny boy
  Came thro’ the wood him lane.

Now when he came before the King,
  Fell low upon his knee;        90
The King he turn’d him round about,
  And the saut tear blint his e’e.

‘Win up, win up, my bonny boy,
  Gang frae my companie;
Ye look sae like my dear daughtèr,        95
  My heart will burst in three.’—

‘If I look like your dear daughtèr,
  A wonder it is none;
If I look like your dear daughtèr,
  I am her eldest son.’—        100

‘Will ye tell me, ye little wee boy,
  Where may my Margaret be?’—
‘She’s just now standing at your yates,
  And my six brithers her wi’.’—

‘O where are a’ my porter-boys
  That I pay meat and fee,
To open my yates baith wide and braid,
  Let her come in to me?’

When she cam’ in before the King,
  Fell low down on her knee:        110
‘Win up, win up, my daughter dear,
  This day ye’se dine wi’ me.’—

‘Ae bit I canna eat, father,
  Nor ae drop can I drink,
Until I see my mither dear,        115
  For lang for her I think.’

When she cam’ in before the queen,
  Fell low down on her knee;
‘Win up, win up, my daughter dear,
  This day ye’se dine wi’ me.’—        120

‘Ae bit I canna eat, mither,
  Nor ae drop can I drink,
Until I see my sister dear,
  For lang for her I think.’

When that these twa sisters met,
  She hail’d her courteouslie;
‘Come ben, come ben, my sister dear,
  This day ye’se dine wi’ me.’—

‘Ae bit I canna eat, sister,
  Nor ae drop can I drink,        130
Until I see my dear husband,
  So lang for him I think.’—

‘O where are a’ my rangers bold
  That I pay meat and fee,
To search the forest far an’ wide,        135
  And bring Etin back to me?’

Out it speaks the little wee boy:
  ‘Na, na, this mauna be;
Without ye grant a free pardon,
  I hope ye’ll nae him see.’—        140

‘O here I grant a free pardon,
  Well seal’d by my own han’;
Ye may mak’ search for Young Etin
  As soon as ever ye can.’

They search’d the country wide and braid,
  The forests far and near,
And they found him into Elmond’s wood,
  Tearing his yellow hair.

‘Win up, win up now, Hynd Etin,
  Win up an’ boun wi’ me;        150
We’re messengers come frae the court;
  The King wants you to see.’—

‘O lat them tak’ frae me my head,
  Or hang me on a tree;
For since I’ve lost my dear lady,        155
  Life’s no pleasure to me.’—

‘Your head will na be touch’d, Etin,
  Nor you hang’d on a tree;
Your lady’s in her father’s court
  And a’ he wants is thee.’        160

When he cam’ in before the King,
  Fell low down on his knee;
‘Win up, win up now, Young Etin,
  This day ye’se dine wi’ me.’

But as they were at dinner set
  The wee boy ask’d a boon:
‘I wish we were in a good kirk
  For to get christendoun.

‘For we hae lived in gude green wood
  This seven years and ane;        170
But a’ this time since e’er I mind
  Was never a kirk within.’—

‘Your asking ’s na sae great, my boy,
  But granted it sall be;
This day to gude kirk ye sall gang        175
  And your mither sall gang you wi’.’

When unto the gude kirk she came,
  She at the door did stan’;
She was sae sair sunk down wi’ shame,
  She couldna come farther ben.        180

Then out and spak’ the parish priest,
  And a sweet smile ga’e he:
‘Come ben, come ben, my lily-flower,
  Present your babes to me.’

Charles, Vincent, Sam and Dick,
  And likewise John and James;
They call’d the eldest Young Etin,
  Which was his father’s name.
GLOSS:  cloutie] full of clouts, patched.  stown] stolen.  loot] let.  tae] toe.  spier] ask.  reet] root.  hallow seat] holy man’s or hermit’s cave.  stown] stolen.  stratlins]? stragglings.  yate] gate.  ben] further in.  blint] blinded.  boun] go.


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