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

ERLINTON had a fair daughter;
  I wat he wear’d her in a great sin;
For he has built a bigly bower,
  And a’ to put that lady in.

An’ he has warn’d her sisters six,
  An’ sae has he her brethren se’en,
Outher to watch her a’ the night,
  Or else to seek her morn an’ e’en.

She hadna been i’ that bigly bower,
  Na not a night but barely ane,        10
Till there was Willie, her ain true love,
  Chapp’d at the door, cryin’ ‘Peace within!’

‘O whae is this at my bower door,
  That chaps sae late, nor kens the gin?’—
‘O it is Willie, your ain true love,        15
  I pray you rise an’ let me in.’—

‘For a’ sae weel as I like ye, Willie,
  For a’ sae weel as I ken the gin,
I wadna for ten thousand pounds, love,
  Na, no this night wad I let ye in.        20

‘But in the green-wood is a wake,
  And at the wake there is a wane,
An’ there I’ll come as sune the morn, love,
  Na no a mile but barely ane.

‘On my right hand I’ll have a glo’, love,
  And on my left hand I’ll have nane;
I’ll have wi’ me my sisters six, love,
  And we will wauk the wood our lane.’

Then she’s gane to her bed again,
  She has layen till the cock crew thrice,        30
An’ then she said to her sisters a’,
  ‘Maidens, ’tis time for us to rise.

She pat on her back her silken gown,
  An’ on her breast a siller pin,
An’ she’s ta’en her sisters by the hand,        35
  An’ to the green-wood she is gane.

They hadna wauk’d in the bonny green-wood,
  Na no an hour but barely ane,
Till up start Willie, her ain true love,
  Wha frae her sisters has her ta’en.        40

An’ he has kiss’d her sisters six,
  An’ he has sent them hame again,
But he has keepit his ain true love,
  Sayin’ ‘We’ll wauk the woods our lane.’

They hadna wauk’d in the bonnie green-wood
  Na no an hour but barely ane,
Till up start fifteen o’ the bravest outlaws
  That ever bare either blood or bane.

Then up bespake the foremost knight,—
  An’ O but he spake angrily:        50
Says, ‘Yield to me thy ladye bright,
  This night shall wauk the woods wi’ me.’—

‘I like her weel, my ladye bright,
  And O my life but it lies me near!
But before I lose my ladye bright        55
  I’ll rather lose my life sae dear.’

But up an’ spake the second knight—
  I wat he spake right boustruslie—
Says, ‘Baith your life an’ your ladye bright
  This night shall wauk the woods wi’ me.’—        60

‘My ladye is my warldis meed:
  My life I winna yield to nane;
But if ye be men of your manheid,
  Ye’ll only fight me ane by ane.—

‘O sit ye down, my dearest dear,
  Sit down an’ hold my milk-white steed,
An’ see that ye dinna change your cheer
  Until ye see my body bleed.’

He set his back unto an aik,
  He set his feet against a stane,        70
He’s feightin a’ these fifteen outlaws,
  An’ kill’d them a’ but barely ane.

An’ he has gane to his ladye dear,
  I wat he kiss’d her cheek an’ chin—
‘Thou art mine ain, I have bought thee dear,        75
  An’ now we will wauk the woods our lane.
GLOSS:  wear’d her in] led her into.  chapp’d] knocked.  gin] trick, or sleight, of the door-latch.  wake (obscure).  wane] dwelling, arbor.  glo’] glove.  our lane] we alone.  warldis meed] world’s reward, most precious thing in the world: or perhaps corrupted from warldis make, mate.  aik] oak.


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