The Twa Sisters

No: 10; variant: 10F

  1. THERE was two ladies livd in a bower, Hey with a gay and a grinding O The youngest o them was the fairest flower About a’ the bonny bows o London.
  2. There was two ladies livd in a bower, An wooer unto the youngest did go.
  3. The oldest one to the youngest did say, ‘Will ye take a walk with me today, And we’ll view the bonny bows o London.
  4. ‘Thou’ll set thy foot whare I set mine, Thou’ll set thy foot upon this stane.’
  5. ‘I’ll set my foot where thou sets thine:’ The old sister dang the youngest in, At, etc.
  6. ‘O sister dear, come tak my hand, Take my life safe to dry land,’ At, etc.
  7. ‘It’s neer by my hand thy hand sall come in, It’s neer by my hand thy hand sall come in, At, etc.
  8. ‘It’s thy cherry cheeks and thy white briest bane Gars me set a maid owre lang at hame.’
  9. She clasped her hand[s] about a brume rute, But her cruel sister she lowsed them out.
  10. Sometimes she sank, and sometimes she swam, Till she cam to the miller’s dam.
  11. The miller’s bairns has muckle need, They were bearing in water to bake some breid.
  12. Says, ‘Father, dear father, in our mill-dam, It’s either a fair maid or a milk-white swan.’
  13. The miller he’s spared nae his hose nor his shoon Till he brocht this lady till dry land.
  14. I wad he saw na a bit o her feet, Her silver slippers were made so neat.
  15. I wad he saw na a bit o her skin, For ribbons there was mony a ane.
  16. He laid her on a brume buss to dry, To see wha was the first wad pass her by.
  17. Her ain father’s herd was the first man That by this lady gay did gang.
  18. He’s taen three links of her yellow hair, And made it a string to his fiddle there.
  19. He’s cut her fingers long and small To be fiddle-pins that neer might fail.
  20. The very first spring that the fiddle did play, ‘Hang my auld sister,’ I wad it did say.
  21. ‘For she drowned me in yonder sea, God neer let her rest till she shall die,’ At the bonny bows o London.