Rose the Red and White Lily

No: 103; variant: 103B

  1. NOW word is gane thro a’ the land, Gude seal that it sae spread! To Rose the Red and White Lillie, Their mither dear was dead.
  2. Their father’s married a bauld woman, And brought her ower the sea, Twa sprightly youths, her ain young sons, Intill her companie.
  3. They fixd their eyes on those ladies, On shipboard as they stood, And sware, if ever they wan to land, These ladies they woud wed.
  4. But there was nae a quarter past, A quarter past but three, Till these young luvers a’ were fond O other’s companie.
  5. The knights they harped i their bower, The ladies sewd and sang; There was mair mirth in that chamer Than a’ their father’s lan.
  6. Then out it spak their step-mither, At the stair-foot stood she: I’m plagued wi your troublesome noise! What makes your melodie?
  7. O Rose the Red, ye sing too loud, White Lillie, your voice is strang; But gin I live and brook my life, I’se gar you change your sang.
  8. ‘We maunna change our loud, loud song For nae duke’s son ye’ll bear; We winna chnage our loud, loud song, But aye we’ll sing the mair.
  9. ‘We never sung the sang, mither, But we’ll sing ower again; We’ll take our harps into our hands, And we’ll harp, and we’ll sing.’
  10. She’s calld upon her twa young sons, Says, Boun ye for the sea; Let Rose the Red and White Lillie Stay in their bower wi me.
  11. ‘O God forbid,’ said her eldest son, ‘Nor lat it ever be, Unless ye were as kind to our luves As gin we were them wi.’
  12. ‘Yet never the less, my pretty sons, Ye’ll boun you for the faem; Let Rose the Red and White Lillie Stay in their bowers at hame.’
  13. ‘O when wi you we came alang, We felt the stormy sea, And where we go, ye neer shall know, Nor shall be known by thee.’
  14. Then wi her harsh and boisterous word She forc’d these lads away, While Rose the Red and White Lillie Still in their bowers did stay.
  15. But there was not a quarter past, A quarter past but ane, Till Rose the Red in rags she gaed, White Lillie’s claithing grew thin.
  16. Wi bitter usage every day, The ladies they thought lang; ‘Ohon, alas!’ said Rose the Red, ‘She’s gard us change our sang.
  17. ‘But we will change our own fu names, And we’ll gang frae the town, Frae Rose the Red and White Lillie To Nicholas and Roger Brown.
  18. ‘And we will cut our green claithing A little aboon our knee, And we will on to gude greenwood, Twa bauld bowmen to be.’
  19. ‘Ohon, alas!’ said White Lillie, ‘My fingers are but sma, And tho my hands woud wield the bow, They winna yield at a’.’
  20. ‘O had your tongue now, White Lillie, And lat these fears a’ be; There’s naething that ye’re awkward in But I will learn thee.’
  21. Then they are on to gude greenwood, As fast as gang coud they; O then they spied him Robin Hood, Below a green aik tree.
  22. ‘Gude day, gude day, kind sir,’ they said, ‘God make you safe and free:’ ‘Gude day, gude day,’ said Robin Hood, ‘What is your wills wi me?’
  23. ‘Lo here we are, twa banishd knights, Come frae our native hame; We’re come to crave o thee service, Our king will gie us nane.’
  24. ‘If ye be twa young banishd knights, Tell me frae what countrie:’ ‘Frae Anster town into Fifeshire; Ye know it as well as we.’
  25. ‘If a’ be true that ye hae said, And tauld just now to me, Ye’re welcome, welcome, every one; Your master I will be.
  26. ‘Now ye shall eat as I do eat, And lye as I do lye; Ye salna wear nae waur claithing Nor my young men and I.’
  27. Then they went to a ruinous house, And there they enterd in, And Nicholas fed wi Robin Hood, And Roger wi Little John.
  28. But it fell ance upon a day They were at the putting-stane, Whan Rose the Red she viewd them a’, As they stood on the green.
  29. She hit the stane then wi her foot, And kepd it wi her knee, And spaces three aboon them a’ I wyte she gard it flee.
  30. She sat her back then to a tree, And gae a loud Ohon! A lad spak in the companie, I hear a woman’s moan.
  31. ‘How know you that, young man?’ she said, ‘How know you that o me? Did eer ye see me in that place Ae foot my ground to flee?
  32. ‘Or know ye by my cherry cheeks? Or by my yellow hair? Or by the paps on my breast-bane? Ye never saw them bare.’
  33. ‘I know not by your cherry cheeks, Nor by your yellow hair; But I know by your milk-white chin, On it there grows nae hair.
  34. ‘I never saw you in that cause Ae foot your ground to flee; I’ve seen you stan wi sword in han Mang men’s blood to the knee.
  35. ‘But if I come your bower within, By night, or yet by day, I shall know before I go If ye be man or may.’
  36. ‘O if you come my bower within, By night, or yet by day, As soon’s I draw my trusty brand, Nae lang ye’ll wi me stay.’
  37. But he is haunted to her bower, Her bigly bower o stane, Till he has got her big wi bairn, And near sax months she’s gane.
  38. Whan three mair months were come and gane, They gaed to hunt the hynde; She wont to be the foremost ane, But now stayd far behynd.
  39. Her luver looks her in the face, And thus to her said he; I think your cheeks are pale and wan; Pray, what gaes warst wi thee?
  40. O want ye roses to your breast? Or ribbons to your sheen? Or want ye as muckle o dear bought luve As your heart can conteen?
  41. ‘I want nae roses to my breast, Nae ribbons to my sheen; Nor want I as muckle dear bought luve As my heart can conteen.
  42. ‘I’d rather hae a fire behynd, Anither me before, A gude midwife at my right side, Till my young babe be bore.’
  43. ‘I’ll kindle a fire wi a flint-stane, Bring wine in a green horn; I’ll be midwife at your right side, Till your young babe be born.’
  44. ‘That was neer my mither’s custom, Forbid that it be mine! A knight stan by a lady bright Whan she drees a’ her pine.
  45. ‘There is a knight in gude greenwood, If that he kent o me, Thro stock and stane and the hawthorn Sae soon’s he woud come me tee.’
  46. ‘If there be a knight in gude greenwood Ye like better than me, If ance he come your bower within, Ane o us twa shall dee.’
  47. She set a horn to her mouth, And she blew loud and shrill; Thro stock and stane and the hawthorn Brave Roger came her till.
  48. ‘Wha’s here sae bauld,’ the youth replied, ‘Thus to encroach on me?’ ‘O here I am,’ the knight replied, ‘Hae as much right as thee.’
  49. Then they fought up the gude greenwood, Sae did they down the plain; They niddart ither wi lang braid-swords, Till they were bleedy men.
  50. Then out it spak the sick woman, Sat under the greenwood tree; O had your han, young man, she said, She’s a woman as well as me.
  51. Then out it speaks anither youth, Amang the companie; Gin I had kent what I ken now, ‘Tis for her I woud dee.
  52. ‘O wae mat worth you, Rose the Red, An ill death mat ye dee! Altho ye tauld upo yoursell, Ye might hae heald on me.’
  53. ‘O for her sake I was content For to gae ower the sea; For her I left my mither’s ha, Tho she proves fause to me.’
  54. But whan these luvers were made known, They sung right joyfullie, Nae blyther was the nightingale, Nor bird that sat on tree.
  55. Now they hae married these ladies, Brought them to bower and ha; And now a happy life they lead; I wish sae may we a’.