Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
The Dowy Houms of Yarrow
LATE 1 at e’en, drinkin’ the wine,
  And ere they paid the mornin’
They set a combat them between,
  To fight it in the dawnin’.
‘O stay at hame, my noble lord!        5
  O stay at hame, my marrow!
My cruel brother will you betray,
  On the dowy houms o’ Yarrow.’
‘O fare ye weel, my lady gaye!
  O fare ye weel, my Sarah!        10
For I maun gae, tho’ I ne’er return
  Frae the dowy banks o’ Yarrow.’
She kiss’d his cheek, she kaimd his hair,
  As she had done before, O;
She belted on his noble brand,        15
  An’ he’s awa to Yarrow.
O he’s gane up yon high, high hill—
  I wat he gaed wi’ sorrow—
An’ in a den spied nine arm’d men,
  I’ the dowy houms o’ Yarrow.        20
‘O are ye come to drink the wine,
  As ye hae doon before, O?
Or are ye come to wield the brand,
  On the dowy banks o’ Yarrow?’
‘I am no come to drink the wine,        25
  As I hae doon before, O,
But I am come to wield the brand,
  On the dowy houms o’ Yarrow.’
Four he hurt, an’ five he slew,
  On the dowy houms o’ Yarrow,        30
Till that stubborn knight came him behind,
  An’ ran his body thorrow.’
‘Gae hame, gae hame, good brother John,
  An’ tell your sister Sarah
To come an’ lift her noble lord,        35
  Who’s sleepin’ sound on Yarrow.’
‘Yestreen I dream’d a dolefu’ dream;
  I ken’d there wad be sorrow;
I dream’d I pu’d the heather green,
  On the dowy banks o’ Yarrow.’        40
She gaed up yon high, high hill—
  I wat she gaed wi’ sorrow—
An’ in a den spied nine dead men,
  On the dowy houms o’ Yarrow.
She kiss’d his cheek, she kaim’d his hair,        45
  As oft she did before, O;
She drank the red blood frae him ran,
  On the dowy houms o’ Yarrow.
‘O haud your tongue, my douchter dear,
  For what needs a’ this sorrow?        50
I’ll wed you on a better lord
  Than him you lost on Yarrow.’
‘O haud your tongue, my father dear,
  An’ dinna grieve your Sarah;
A better lord was never born        55
  Than him I lost on Yarrow.
‘Tak hame your ousen, tak hame your kye,
  For they hae bred our sorrow;
I wiss that they had a’ gane mad
  Whan they cam first to Yarrow.’        60
Note 1. From Scott’s Materials for Border Minstrelsy. “There is no basis for an identification of the story with any historical event. The facts must have occurred often enough, and there is a similar story in other ballads.” This ballad suggested The Braes of Yarrow, by William Hamilton of Bangour. See Book of Georgian Verse. Scott thought the hero was Walter Scott, third son of Thirlestaine, slain by Scott of Tushielaw. [back]

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