The Braes o Yarrow

No: 214; variant: 214[Q]

  1. There lived a lady in the West, I neer could find her marrow; She was courted by nine gentlemen, And a ploughboy-lad in Yarrow.
  2. These nine sat drinking at the wine, Sat drinking wine in Yarrow; They made a vow among themselves To fight for her in Yarrow.
  3. She washed his face, she kaimed his hair, As oft she’d done before, O, She made him like a knight sae bright, To fight for her in Yarrow.
  4. As he walked up yon high, high hill, And down by the holmes of Yarrow, There he saw nine arme:d men, Come to fight with him in Yarrow.
  5. ‘There’s nine of you, there’s one of me, It’s an unequal marrow; But I’ll fight you all one by one, On the dowie dens of Yarrow.’
  6. Three he slew, and three they flew, And three he wounded sorely, Till her brother John he came in beyond, And pierced his heart most foully.
  7. ‘Go home, go home, thou false young man, And tell thy sister Sarah That her true-love John lies dead and gone On the dowie dens of Yarrow.’
  8. ‘O father dear, I dreamed a dream, I’m afraid it will bring sorrow; I dreamed I was pulling the heather-bell In the dowie dens of Yarrow.’
  9. ‘O daughter dear, I read your dream, I doubt it will prove sorrow; For your true-love John lies dead and gone On the dowie dens of Yarrow.’
  10. As she walked up yon high, high hill, And down by the holmes of Yarrow, There she saw her true-love John, Lying pale and dead on Yarrow.
  11. Her hair it being three quarters long– The colour it was yellow– She wrapped it round his middle sma, And carried him hame to Yarrow.
  12. ‘O father dear, you’ve seven sons, You may wed them a’ tomorrow, But a fairer flower I never saw Than the lad I loved in Yarrow.’
  13. The fair maid being great with child, It filled her heart with sorrow; She died within her lover’s arms, Between that day and morrow.