Tam Lin

No: 39; variant: 39G

  1. TAKE warning, a’ ye ladies fair, That wear gowd on your hair, Come never unto Charter’s woods, For Tam-a-line he’s there.
  2. Even about that knight’s middle O’ siller bells are nine; Nae ane comes to Charter wood, And a maid returns again.
  3. Lady Margaret sits in her bower door, Sewing at her silken seam; And she langd to gang to Charter woods, To pou the roses green.
  4. She hadna poud a rose, a rose, Nor broken a branch but ane, Till by it came him true Tam-a-line, Says, Ladye, lat alane.
  5. O why pou ye the rose, the rose? Or why brake ye the tree? Or why come ye to Charter woods, Without leave askd of me?
  6. ‘I will pou the rose, the rose, And I will brake the tree; Charter woods are a’ my ain, I’ll ask nae leave o thee.’
  7. He’s taen her by the milk-white hand, And by the grass-green sleeve, And laid her low on gude green wood, At her he spierd nae leave.
  8. When he had got his wills of her, His wills as he had taen, He’s taen her by the middle sma, Set her to feet again.
  9. She turnd her right and round about, To spier her true-love’s name, But naething heard she, nor naething saw, As a’ the woods grew dim.
  10. Seven days she tarried there, Saw neither sun nor meen; At length, by a sma glimmering light, Came thro the wood her lane.
  11. When she came to her father’s court, As fine as ony queen; But when eight months were past and gane, Got on the gown o’ green.
  12. Then out it speaks an eldren knight, As he stood at the yett: ‘Our king’s daughter, she gaes wi bairn, And we’ll get a’ the wyte.’
  13. ‘O had your tongue, ye eldren man, And bring me not to shame; Although that I do gang wi bairn, Yese naeways get the blame.
  14. ‘Were my love but an earthly man, As he’s an elfin knight, I woudna gie my ain true love For a’ that’s in my sight.’
  15. Then out it speaks her brither dear, He meant to do her harm: ‘There is an herb in Charter wood Will twine you an the bairn.’
  16. She’s taen her mantle her about, Her coffer by the band, And she is on to Charter wood, As fast as she coud gang.
  17. She hadna poud a rose, a rose, Nor braken a branch but ane, Till by it came him Tam-a-Line, Says, Ladye, lat alane.
  18. O why pou ye the pile, Margaret, The pile o the gravil green, For to destroy the bonny bairn That we got us between?
  19. O why pou ye the pile, Margaret, The pile o the gravil gray, For to destroy the bonny bairn That we got in our play?
  20. For if it be a knave-bairn, He’s heir o a’ my land; But if it be a lass-bairn, In red gowd she shall gang.
  21. ‘If my luve were an earthly man, As he’s an elfin rae, I coud gang bound, love, for your sake, A twalmonth and a day.’
  22. ‘Indeed your love’s an earthly man, The same as well as thee, And lang I’ve haunted Charter woods, A’ for your fair bodie.’
  23. ‘O tell me, tell me, Tam-a-Line, O tell, an tell me true, Tell me this night, an mak nae lie, What pedigree are you?’
  24. ‘O I hae been at gude church-door, An I’ve got christendom; I’m the Earl o’ Forbes’ eldest son, An heir ower a’ his land.
  25. ‘When I was young, o three years old, Muckle was made o me; My step-mother put on my claithes, An ill, ill sained she me.
  26. ‘Ae fatal morning I went out, Dreading nae injury, And thinking lang, fell soun asleep, Beneath an apple tree.
  27. ‘Then by it came the Elfin Queen, And laid her hand on me; And from that time since ever I mind, I’ve been in her companie.
  28. ‘O Elfin it’s a bonny place, In it fain woud I dwell; But ay at ilka seven years’ end They pay a tiend to hell, And I’m sae fou o flesh an blude, I’m sair feard for mysell.’
  29. ‘O tell me, tell me, Tam-a-Line, O tell, an tell me true; Tell me this night, an mak nae lie, What way I’ll borrow you?’
  30. ‘The morn is Halloweven night, The elfin court will ride, Through England, and thro a’ Scotland, And through the world wide.
  31. ‘O they begin at sky setting, Rides a’ the evening tide; And she that will her true-love borrow, [At] Miles-corse will him bide.
  32. ‘Ye’ll do you down to Miles-corse, Between twall hours and ane, And full your hands o holy water, And cast your compass roun.
  33. ‘Then the first an court that comes you till Is published king and queen; The next an court that comes you till, It is maidens mony ane.
  34. ‘The next an court that comes you till Is footmen, grooms and squires; The next an court that comes you till Is knights, and I’ll be there.
  35. ‘I Tam-a-Line, on milk-white steed, A goud star on my crown; Because I was an earthly knight, Got that for a renown.
  36. ‘And out at my steed’s right nostril, He’ll breathe a fiery flame; Ye’ll loot you low, and sain yoursel, And ye’ll be busy then.
  37. ‘Ye’ll take my horse then by the head, And lat the bridal fa; The Queen o’ Elfin she’ll cry out, True Tam-a-Line’s awa.
  38. ‘Then I’ll appear in your arms Like the wolf that neer woud tame; Ye’ll had me fast, lat me not go, Case we neer meet again.
  39. ‘Then I’ll appear in your arms Like the fire that burns sae bauld; Ye’ll had me fast, lat me not go, I’ll be as iron cauld.
  40. ‘Then I’ll appear in your arms Like the adder an the snake; Ye’ll had me fast, lat me not go, I am your warld’s make.
  41. ‘Then I’ll appear in your arms Like to the deer sae wild; Ye’ll had me fast, lat me not go, And I’ll father your child.
  42. ‘And I’ll appear in your arms Like to a silken string; Ye’ll had me fast, lat me not go, Till ye see the fair morning.
  43. ‘And I’ll appear in your arms Like to a naked man; Ye’ll had me fast, lat me not go, And wi you I’ll gae hame.’
  44. Then she has done her to Miles-corse, Between twall hours an ane, And filled her hands o holy water, And kiest her compass roun.
  45. The first an court that came her till Was published king and queen; The niest an court that came her till Was maidens mony ane.
  46. The niest an court that came her till Was footmen, grooms and squires; The niest an court that came her till Was knights, and he was there.
  47. True Tam-a-Line, on milk-white steed, A gowd star on his crown; Because he was an earthly man, Got that for a renown.
  48. And out at the steed’s right nostril, He breathd a fiery flame; She loots her low, an sains hersell, And she was busy then.
  49. She’s taen the horse then by the head, And loot the bridle fa; The Queen o Elfin she cried out, ‘True Tam-a-Line’s awa.’
  50. ‘Stay still, true Tam-a-Line,’ she says, ‘Till I pay you your fee:’ ‘His father wants not lands nor rents, He’ll ask nae fee frae thee.’
  51. ‘Gin I had kent yestreen, yestreen, What I ken weel the day, I shoud taen your fu fause heart, Gien you a heart o clay.’
  52. Then he appeared in her arms Like the wolf that neer woud tame; She held him fast, let him not go, Case they neer meet again.
  53. Then he appeared in her arms Like the fire burning bauld; She held him fast, let him not go, He was as iron cauld.
  54. And he appeared in her arms Like the adder an the snake; She held him fast, let him not go, He was her warld’s make.
  55. And he appeared in her arms Like to the deer sae wild; She held him fast, let him not go, He’s father o her child.
  56. And he appeared in her arms Like to a silken string; She held him fast, let him not go, Till she saw fair morning.
  57. And he appeared in her arms Like to a naked man; She held him fast, let him not go, And wi her he’s gane hame.
  58. These news hae reachd thro a’ Scotland, And far ayont the Tay, That Lady Margaret, our king’s daughter, That night had gaind her prey.
  59. She borrowed her love at mirk midnight, Bare her young son ere day, And though ye’d search the warld wide, Ye’ll nae find sic a may.