Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
Earl Brand
OH 1 did ye ever hear o’ brave Earl Bran’?
  Ay lally, o lilly lally!
He courted the king’s daughter of fair England,
  All i’ the night sae early.
She was scarcely fifteen years of age        5
Till sae boldly she came to his bedside.
  ‘O Earl Bran’, fain wad I see
A pack of hounds let loose on the lea.’
‘O lady, I have no steeds but one,
And thou shalt ride, and I will run.’        10
‘O Earl Bran’, my father has two,
And thou shall have the best o’ them a’.’
They have ridden o’er moss and moor,
And they met neither rich nor poor.
Until they met with old Carl Hood;        15
He comes for ill, but never for good.
‘Earl Bran’, if ye love me,
Seize this old carl, and gar him die.’
‘O lady fair, it wad be sair,
To slay an old man that has grey hair.        20
‘O lady fair, I’ll no do sae,
I’ll gie him a pound and let him gae.’
‘O where hae ye ridden this lee lang day?
O where hae ye stolen this lady away?’
I have not ridden this lee lang day,        25
Nor yet have I stolen this lady away.
‘She is my only, my sick sister,
Whom I have brought from Winchester.’
‘If she be sick, and like to dead,
Why wears she the ribbon sae red?        30
‘If she be sick, and like to die,
Then why wears she the gold on high?’
When he came to this lady’s gate,
Sae rudely as he rapped at it.
‘O where’s the lady o’ this ha’?’        35
‘She’s out with her maids to play at the ba’.’
‘Ha, ha, ha! ye are a’ mista’en:
Gae count your maidens o’er again.
The father armed fifteen of his best men,
To bring his daughter back again.        40
O’er her left shoulder the lady looked then:
‘O Earl Bran’, we both are tane.’
‘If they come on me ane by ane,
Ye may stand by and see them slain.
‘But if they come on me one and all,        45
Ye may stand by and see me fall.’
They have come on him ane by ane,
And he has killed them all but ane.
And that ane came behind his back,
And he’s gi’en him a deadly whack.        50
But for a’ sae wounded as Earl Bran’ was,
He has set his lady on her horse.
They rode till they came to the water o’ Doune,
And then he alighted to wash his wounds.
‘O Earl Bran’, I see your heart’s blood!’        55
‘’Tis but the gleat o’ my scarlet hood.’
They rode till they came to his mother’s gate
And sae rudely as he rapped at it.
‘O my son’s slain, my son’s put down,
And a’ for the sake of an English loun.’        60
‘O say not sae, my dear mother,
But marry her to my youngest brother.
‘This has not been the death o’ ane,
But it’s been that o’ fair seventeen.’
Note 1. From Robert White’s papers. Of this ballad Professor Child says (Engl. and Scot. Pop. Bal. Part I, p. 88), “Earl Brand was first given to the world by Mr. Robert Bell, 1857 (Ancient Poems, etc.), has preserved most of the incidents of a very ancient story with a faithfulness unequalled by any ballad that has been recovered from English oral tradition.” The story of the ballad is found says Child, in the “corresponding Scandinavian ballad Ribold and Guldborg.” (See Eng. and Scot. Pop. Bal. Part I, p. 88). Another version based upon a fragment, called The Douglas Tragedy, was printed by Scot in the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, 1803. [back]

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