The Braes o Yarrow

No: 214; variant: 214L

  1. AT Dryhope lived a lady fair, The fairest flower in Yarrow, And she refused nine noble men For a servan lad in Gala.
  2. Her father said that he should fight The nine lords all to-morrow, And he that should the victor be Would get the Rose of Yarrow.
  3. Quoth he, You’re nine, an I’m but ane, And in that there’s no much marrow; Yet I shall fecht ye, man for man, In the dowie dens o Yarrow.
  4. She kissed his lips, and combed his hair, As oft she’d done before, O, An set him on her milk-white steed, Which bore him on to Yarrow.
  5. When he got oer yon high, high hill, An down the dens o Yarrow, There did he see the nine lords all, But there was not one his marrow.
  6. ‘Now here ye’re nine, an I’m but ane, But yet I am not sorrow; For here I’ll fecht ye, man for man, For my true love in Yarrow.’
  7. Then he wheeld round, and fought so fierce Till the seventh fell in Yarrow, When her brother sprang from a bush behind, And ran his body thorough.
  8. He never spoke more words than these, An they were words o sorrow; ‘Ye may tell my true love, if ye please, That I’m sleepin sound in Yarrow.’
  9. They’ve taen the young man by the heels And trailed him like a harrow, And then they flung the comely youth In a whirlpool o Yarrow.
  10. The lady said, I dreamed yestreen—- I fear it bodes some sorrow—- That I was pu’in the heather green On the scroggy braes o Yarrow.’
  11. Her brother said, I’ll read your dream, But it should cause nae sorrow; Ye may go seek your lover hame, For he’s sleepin sound in Yarrow.
  12. Then she rode oer yon gloomy height, An her heart was fu o sorrow, But only saw the clud o night, Or heard the roar o Yarrow.
  13. But she wandered east, so did she wast, And searched the forest thorough, Until she spied her ain true love, Lyin deeply drowned in Yarrow.
  14. His hair it was five quarters lang, Its colour was the yellow; She twined it round her lily hand, And drew him out o Yarrow.
  15. She kissed his lips, and combed his head, As oft she’d done before, O; She laid hin oer her milk-white steed, An bore him home from Yarrow.
  16. She washed his wounds in yon well-strand, And dried him wi the hollan, And aye she sighed, and said, Alas! For my love I had him chosen.
  17. ‘Go hold your tongue,’ her father said, ‘There’s little cause for sorrow; I’ll wed ye on a better lad Than ye hae lost in Yarrow.’
  18. ‘Haud your ain tongue, my faither dear, I canna help my sorrow; A fairer flower neer sprang in May Than I hae lost in Yarrow.
  19. ‘I meant to make my bed fu wide, But you may make it narrow; For now I’ve nane to be my guide But a deid man drowned in Yarrow.’
  20. An aye she screighed, and cried Alas! Till her heart did break wi sorrow, An sank into her faither’s arms, Mang the dowie dens o Yarrow.