Rare Willie Drowned in Yarrow, or, The Water o Gamrie

No: 215; variant: 215H

  1. THEY were saddled a’, they were briddled a’, Bridegroom and a’ was ready; ‘Stop,’ says he, ‘My nobles a’, For I’ve left something behind me.
  2. ‘It is your blessing, mother dear, To bound [to] the bride-styl with me:’ ‘God’s blessing now, my son,’ says she, ‘And mine and a’ gang wi ye!
  3. ‘For ye are scarce nineteen years of age When ye met in wi bonny Maggie, And I’m sure, my dear, she’ll welcome you This day in the kirk o Gemrie.’
  4. It’s they have ridden up, it’s they have ridden down, And joy was in their gallant company; It’s they have ridden up, and they have ridden down, Till they came to the water o Gemrie.
  5. When they came to the water, it was flooded; In the middle Sweet William he fell; The spray brook over his horse’s mane, And the wind sang his funeral knell.
  6. ‘O much is the pity! O much is the pity!’ Cried that joyful company; ‘O much is the pity! O much is the pity!’ But alas! now are woeful and wae.
  7. Hame and hame came his stead, And ran to its ain stable; They’ve gien it corn and hay to eat, As much as it was able.
  8. His mother she was a waefu woman, As dung as woman could be; ‘My son,’ says she, ‘is either hurt or slain, Or drowned in the waters of Gemrie.’
  9. It’s up and spak her daughter Ann: ‘What needs be a’ this mourning? He’s lighted at yon bonny kirk-style, And his steed has run away from him.’
  10. ‘O had yer tongue, my daughter Ann, Nor scold na me about mourning; Hadna my son there men enew To hae taken his steed from him?’
  11. They’ve ridden up, they’ve ridden down, Till they came to the kirk o Gemrie; There they saw his winsome bride, Alone at the kirk-style standing.
  12. ‘Where away is the man,’ says she, ‘That promised me fair wedding? This day he vowd to meet me here, But O he’s lang o coming!’
  13. Up and spak his brother John, Says, ‘Meg, I’ll tell ye plainly; The stream was strang, and we rade wrang, And he’s drownd in the water o Gemrie.’
  14. She’s torn the ribons frae her hair, That were baith thick and many; She’s torn them a’, lettin them fa’, And she’s away to the waters o Gemrie.
  15. She[’s] sought him up, she’s sought him down, Until that she’s gotten his body, And she’s laid it on the green, green grass, And flung her mantle oer him.
  16. ‘O Willie was red, but O now he’s white! And Willie was wondrous bonny, And Willie said he’d marry me, Gin ere he married oney.
  17. ‘He was red, he was white, he was my delight, And aye, aye I thought him bonny; But now since Willie has dy’d for me, I will sleep wi him in the same grave at Gemrie.’