Home  »  The Oxford Book of Ballads  »  87. Jamie Douglas

Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944). The Oxford Book of Ballads. 1910.


87. Jamie Douglas


I WAS a lady of high renown

As ever lived in the north countrie;

I was a lady of high renown

When the Earl Douglas luvèd me.


And when we came through Glasgow toun,

We were a comely sight to see;

My gude lord in the black velvèt,

And I mysel’ in cramasie.


But when we came to Douglas toun,

We were a fine sight to behold:

My gude lord in the cramasie

And I mysel’ in the shining gold.


And when that my auld son was born

And set upon his nurse’s knee,

I was happy a woman as e’er was born,

And my gude lord he luvèd me.


But O an my young son was born

And set upon his nurse’s knee

And I mysel’ were dead and gane,

For a maid again I’ll never be!


There cam’ a man into this house,

And Jamie Lockhart was his name,

And it was told to my gude lord

That I was owre in love wi’ him.


O wae be unto thee, Blackwòod,

And ae an ill death may ye dee!

For ye was the first and foremost man

That parted my gude lord and me.


I sent a word to my gude lord,

‘Come down, and sit, and dine wi’ me,

And I’ll set thee on a chair of gowd,

And a siller towel on thy knee.’—


‘When cockle-shells turn silver bells,

And mussell grow on every tree,

When frost and snow turns fire to burn,

Then I’ll sit down and dine wi’ thee.’


When that my father he had word

That my gude lord had forsaken me,

He sent a fifty brisk dragoons

To fetch me home to my ain countrie.


‘Fare thee well, my Jamie Douglas!

Fare thee well, ever dear to me!

But O, an my young babe were born

And set upon some nourice’ knee!


‘And fare thee well, my pretty palace!

And fare ye well, my children three!

God grant your father grace to be kind,

More kind to you than he was to me!’


Then slowly, slowly rase I up,

But quickly, quickly he cam’ doun,

And when he saw me sit in my coach,

He made his drums and trumpets sound.


When we cam’ in by Edinbro’ town,

My father and mother they met me

Wi’ trumpets soundin’ on every side;

But it was nae music at a’ to me.


‘Now hau’d your comfort my father dear,

And mother your weeping let abee!

I’ll never lye in another man’s arms

Since my dear lord has forsaken me.’


It’s very true, and it’s aft-times said,

The hawk will flie far far frae her nest:

And a’ the warld may plainly see

They are far frae me that I luve best.

Lament of Barbara, Marchioness of Douglas


O waly, waly, up the bank,

And waly, waly, doun the brae,

And waly, waly, yon burn-side,

Where I and my Love wont to gae!


I lean’d my back unto an aik,

I thocht it was a trustie tree;

But first it bow’d and syne it brak—

Sae my true love did lichtlie me.


O waly, waly, gin love be bonnie

A little time while it is new!

But when ’tis auld it waxeth cauld,

And fades awa’ like morning dew.


O wherefore should I busk my heid,

Or wherefore should I kame my hair?

For my true Love has me forsook,

And says he’ll never lo’e me mair.


Now Arthur’s Seat sall be my bed,

The sheets sall ne’er be ’filed by me;

Saint Anton’s well sall be my drink;

Since my true Love has forsaken me.


Marti’mas wind, when wilt thou blaw,

And shake the green leaves aff the tree?

O gentle Death, when wilt thou come?

For of my life I am wearìe.


’Tis not the frost, that freezes fell,

Nor blawing snaw’s inclemencie,

’Tis not sic cauld that makes me cry;

But my Love’s heart grown cauld to me.


When we cam’ in by Glasgow toun,

We were a comely sicht to see;

My Love was clad in the black velvèt,

And I mysel’ in cramasie.


But had I wist, before I kist,

That love had been sae ill to win,

I had lock’d my heart in a case o’ gowd,

And pinn’d it wi’ a siller pin.


And O! if my young babe were born,

And set upon the nurse’s knee;

And I mysel’ were dead and gane,

And the green grass growing over me!

cramasie] crimson.auld] eldest.lichtlie] slight, treat with disrespect.