Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray
   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
3. The Douglas Tragedy
Traditional Ballads
“RISE 1 up, rise up, now, Lord Douglas,” she says,
  “And put on your armour so bright,
Let it never be said that a daughter of thine
  Was married to a lord under night.
“Rise up, rise up, my seven bold sons,        5
  And put on your armour so bright,
And take better care of your youngest sister.
  For your eldest’s awa 2 the last night.”
He’s mounted her on a milk-white steed,
  And himself on a dapple grey,        10
With a bugelet horn hung down by his side,
  And lightly they rode away.
Lord William lookit oer his left shoulder,
  To see what he could see,
And there he spy’d her seven brethren bold,        15
  Come riding over the lee.
“Light down, light down, Lady Margret,” he said,
  “And hold my steed in your hand,
Until that against your seven brethren bold,
  And your father I mak a stand.”        20
She held his steed in her milk-white hand,
  And never shed one tear,
Until that she saw her seven brethren fa,
  And her father hard fighting, who lovd her so dear.
“O hold your hand, Lord William!” she said,        25
  “For your strokes they are wondrous sair;
True lovers I can get many a ane,
  But a father I can never get mair.”
O she’s taen out her handkerchief,
  It was o the holland sae fine,        30
And aye she dighted 3 her father’s bloody wounds,
  That were redder than the wine.
“O chuse, O chuse, Lady Margret,” he said,
  “O whether will ye gang or bide?”
“I’ll gang, I’ll gang, Lord William,” she said,        35
  “For ye have left me no other guide.”
He’s lifted her on a milk-white steed,
  And himself on a dapple grey,
With a bugelet horn hung down by his side,
  And slowly they baith rade away.        40
O they rade on, and on they rade,
  And a’ by the light of the moon,
Until they came to yon wan water,
  And there they lighted down.
They lighted down to tak a drink        45
  Of the spring that ran sae clear,
And down the stream ran his gude heart’s blood,
  And sair she gan to fear.
“Hold up, hold up, Lord William,” she says,
  “For I fear that you are slain;”        50
“’Tis naething but the shadow of my scarlet cloak,
  That shines in the water sae plain.”
O they rade on, and on they rade,
  And a’ by the light of the moon,
Until they cam to his mother’s ha door,        55
  And there they lighted down.
“Get up, get up, lady mother,” he says,
  “Get up, and let me in!
Get up, get up, lady mother,” he says,
  “For this night my fair lady I’ve win.        60
“O mak my bed, lady mother,” he says,
  “O make it braid and deep,
And lay lady Margret close at my back,
  And the sounder I will sleep.”
Lord William was dead lang ere midnight,        65
  Lady Margret lang ere day,
And all true lovers that go thegither,
  May they have mair luck than they!
Lord William was buried in St. Mary’s kirk,
  Lady Margret in Mary’s quire;        70
Out o the lady’s grave grew a bonny red rose,
  And out o the knight’s a brier.
And they twa met, and they twa plat, 4
  And fain they wad be near;
And a’ the warld might ken right weel        75
  They were twa lovers dear.
But bye and rade the Black Douglas,
  And wow but he was rough!
For he pulld up the bonny brier,
  And Flang’t in St. Mary’s Loch.        80
Note 1. Wiped. [back]
Note 2. Intertwined. [back]
Note 3. Current. [back]
Note 4. I will. [back]


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