The Cruel Brother

No: 11; variant: 11I

  1. THERE war three bonnie boys playing at the ba, Hech hey and a lily gay There cam three ladies to view them a’. And the rose it smells sae sweetlie
  2. The first ane was clad in red: ‘O,’ says he, ‘ye maun be my bride.’
  3. The next o them was clad in green: ‘O,’ says he, ‘ye maun be my queen.’
  4. The tither o them was clad in yellow: ‘O,’ says he, ‘ye maun be my marrow.’
  5. ‘Ye maun gang to my father’s bouer, To see gin your bride he’ll let me be.’
  6. Her father led her doun the stair, Her mither at her back did bear.
  7. Her sister Jess led her out the closs, Her brother John set her on the horse.
  8. She loutit doun to gie him a kiss; He struck his penknife thro her breist.
  9. ‘Ride on, ride on,’ says the foremaist man; ‘I think our bride looks pale and wan.’
  10. ‘Ride on, ride on,’ says the merry bride-groom; ‘I think my bride’s blude is rinnin doun.’
  11. ‘O gin I war at yon bonnie hill, I wad lie doun and bleed my fill!
  12. ‘O gin I war at yon bonnie kirk-yard, I wad mak my testament there!’
  13. ‘What will ye leave to your father dear?’ ‘The milk-white steed that brocht me here.’
  14. ‘What will ye leave to your mother dear?’ ‘The bluidy robes that I do wear.’
  15. ‘What will ye leave to your sister Ann?’ ‘My silken snood and gowden fan.’
  16. ‘What will ye leave to your sister Jess?’ ‘The bonnie lad that I loe best.’
  17. ‘What will ye leave to your brother John?’ ‘The gallows pin to hang him on.’
  18. ‘What will ye leave to your brother John’s wife?’ ‘Sorrow and trouble a’ her life.’
  19. ‘What will ye leave to your brother’s bairns?’ ‘The warld’s wide, and let them beg.’