The Laird of Wariston

No: 194; variant: 194C

  1. ‘MY mother was an ill woman, In fifteen years she marrid me; I hadna wit to guide a man, Alas! ill counsel guided me.
  2. ‘O Warriston, O Warriston, I wish that ye may sink for sin! I was but bare fifteen years auld, Whan first I enterd your yates within.
  3. ‘I hadna been a month married, Till my gude lord went to the sea; I bare a bairn ere he came hame, And set it on the nourice knee.
  4. ‘But it fell ance upon a day, That my gude lord returnd from sea; Then I did dress in the best array, As blythe as ony bird on tree.
  5. ‘I took my young son in my arms, Likewise my nourice me forebye, And I went down to yon shore-side, My gude lord’s vessel I might spy.
  6. ‘My lord he stood upon the deck, I wyte he haild me courteouslie: Ye are thrice welcome, my lady gay, Whae’s aught that bairn on your knee?’
  7. She turnd her right and round about, Says, ‘Why take ye sic dreads o me? Alas! I was too young married, To love another man but thee.’
  8. ‘Now hold your tongue, my lady gay, Nae mair falsehoods ye’ll tell to me; This bonny bairn is not mine, You’ve loved another while I was on sea.’
  9. In discontent then hame she went, And aye the tear did blin her ee; Says, Of this wretch I’ll be revenged For these harsh words he’s said to me.
  10. She’s counselld wi her father’s steward What way she coud revenged be; Bad was the counsel then he gave, It was to gar her gude lord dee.
  11. The nourice took the deed in hand, I wat she was well paid her fee; She kiest the knot, and the loop she ran, Which soon did gar this young lord dee.
  12. His brtother lay in a room hard by, Alas! that night he slept too soun; But then he wakend wi a cry, ‘I fear my brother’s putten down.
  13. ‘O get me coal and candle light, And get me some gude companie;’ But before the light was brought, Warriston he was gart dee.
  14. They’ve taen the lady and fause nourice, In prison strong they hae them boun; The nourice she was hard o heart, But the bonny lady fell in swoon.
  15. In it came her brother dear, And aye a sorry man was he: ‘I woud gie a’ the lands I heir, O bonny Jean, to borrow thee.’
  16. ‘O borrow me, brother, borrow me? O borrowd shall I never be; For I gart kill my ain gude lord, And life is nae pleasure to me.’
  17. In it came her mother dear, I wyte a sorry woman was she: ‘I woud gie my white monie and gowd, O bonny Jean, to borrow thee.’
  18. ‘Borrow me, mother, borrow me? O borrowd shall I never be; For I gart kill my ain gude lord, And life’s now nae pleasure to me.’
  19. Then in ti came her father dear, I wyte a sorry man was he; Says, ‘Ohon, alas! my bonny Jean, If I had you at hame wi me!
  20. Seven daughters I hae left at hame, As fair women as fair can be; But I woud gie them ane by ane, O bonny Jean, to borrow thee.’
  21. ‘O borrow me, father, borrow me? O borrowd shall I never be; I that is worthy o the death, It is but right that I shoud dee.’
  22. Then out is speaks the king himsell, And aye as he steps in the fleer; Says, ‘I grant you your life, lady, Because you are of tender year.’
  23. ‘A boon, a boon, my liege the king, The boon I ask, ye’ll grant to me;’ ‘Ask on, ask on, my bonny Jean, Whateer ye ask it’s granted be.’
  24. ‘Cause take me out at night, at night, Lat not the sun upon me shine, And take me to yon heading-hill, Strike aff this dowie head o mine.
  25. ‘Ye’ll take me out at night, at night, When there are nane to gaze and see, And hae me to yon heading-hill, And ye’ll gar head me speedilie.’
  26. They’ve taen her out at nine at night, Loot not the sun upon her shine, And had her to yon heading-hill, And headed her baith neat and fine.
  27. Then out it speaks the king himsell, I wyte a sorry man was he: ‘I’ve travelld east, I’ve travelld west, And sailed far beyond the sea, But I never saw a woman’s face I was sae sorry to see dee.
  28. ‘But Warriston was sair to blame, For slighting o his lady so; He had the wyte o his ain death, And bonny lady’s overthrow.’