Lord Livingston

No: 262; variant: 262A

  1. IT fell about the Lammas time, When wightsmen won their hay, A’ the squires in merry Linkum Went a’ forth till a play.
  2. They playd until the evening tide, The sun was gaeing down; A lady thro plain fields was bound, A lily leesome thing.
  3. Two squires that for this lady pledged, In hopes for a renown, The one was calld the proud Seaton, The other Livingston.
  4. ‘When will ye, Michaell o Livingston, Wad for this lady gay?’ ‘To-morrow, to-morrow,’ said Livingston, ‘To-morrow, if you may.’
  5. Then they hae wadded their wagers, And laid their pledges down; To the high castle o Edinbro They made them ready boun.
  6. The chamber that they did gang in, There it was daily dight; The kipples were like the gude red gowd, As they stood up in hight, And the roof-tree like the siller white, And shin’d like candles bright.
  7. The lady fair into that ha Was comly to be seen; Her kirtle was made o the pa, Her gowns seemd o the green.
  8. Her gowns seemd like green, like green, Her kirtle o the pa; A siller wand intill her hand, She marshalld ower them a’.
  9. She gae every knight a lady bright, And every squire a may; Her own sell chose him Livingston, They were a comely tway.
  10. Then Seaton started till his foot, The fierce flame in his ee: ‘On the next day, wi sword in hand, On plain fields meet ye me.’
  11. When bells were rung, and mass was sung, And a’ man bound for bed, Lord Livingston and his fair dame In bed were sweetly laid.
  12. The bed, the bed where they lay in Was coverd wi the pa; A covering o the gude red gowd Lay nightly ower the twa.
  13. So they lay there, till on the morn The sun shone on their feet; Then up it raise him Livingston To draw to him a weed.
  14. The first an weed that he drew on Was o the linen clear; The next an weed that he drew on, It was a weed o weir.
  15. The niest an weed that he drew on Was gude iron and steel; Twa gloves o plate, a gowden helmet, Became that hind chiel weel.
  16. Then out it speaks that lady gay—- A little forbye stood she—- ‘I’ll dress mysell in men’s array, Gae to the fields for thee.’
  17. ‘O God forbid,’ said Livingston, ‘That eer I dree the shame; My lady slain in plain fields, And I coward knight at hame!’
  18. He scarcely travelled frae the town A mile but barely twa Till he met wi a witch-woman, I pray to send her wae!
  19. ‘This is too gude a day, my lord, To gang sae far frae town; This is too gude a day, my lord, On field to make you boun.
  20. ‘I dreamd a dream concerning thee, O read ill dreams to guid! Your bower was full o milk-white swans, Your bride’s bed full o bluid.’
  21. ‘O bluid is gude,’ said Livingston, ‘To bide it whoso may; If I be frae yon plain fields, Nane knew the plight I lay.’
  22. Then he rade on to plain fields As swift’s his horse coud hie, And ther he met the proud Seaton, Come boldly ower the lee.
  23. ‘Come on to me now, Livingston, Or then take foot and flee; This is the day that we must try Who gains the victorie.’
  24. Then they fought with sword in hand Till they were bluidy men; But on the point o Seaton’s sword Brave Livingston was slain.
  25. His lady lay ower castle-wa, Beholding dale and down, When Blenchant brave, his gallant steed, Came prancing to the town.
  26. ‘O where is now my ain gude lord He stays sae far frae me?’ ‘O dinna ye see your ain gude lord Stand bleeding by your knee?’
  27. ‘O live, O live, Lord Livingston, The space o ae half hour, There’s nae a leech in Edinbro town But I’ll bring to your door.’
  28. ‘Awa wi your leeches, lady,’ he said, ‘Of them I’ll be the waur; There’s nae a leech in Edinbro town That can strong death debar.
  29. ‘Ye’ll take the lands o Livingston And deal them liberallie, To the auld that may not, the young that cannot, And blind that does na see, And help young maidens’ marriages, That has nae gear to gie.’
  30. ‘My mother got it in a book, The first night I was born, I woud be wedded till a knight, And him slain on the morn.
  31. ‘But I will do for my love’s sake What ladies woudna thole; Ere seven years shall hae an end, Nae shoe’s gang on my sole.
  32. ‘There’s never lint gang on my head, Nor kame gang in my hair, Nor ever coal nor candle-light Shine in my bower mair.’
  33. When seven years were near an end, The lady she thought lang, And wi a crack her heart did brake, And sae this ends my sang.