The Twa Brothers

No: 49; variant: 49C

  1. THERE were twa brithers at ae scule; As they were coming hame, Then said the ane until the other ‘John, will ye throw the stane?’
  2. ‘I will not throw the stane, brither, I will not play at the ba; But gin ye come to yonder wood I’ll warsle you a fa.’
  3. The firsten fa young Johnie got, It brought him to the ground; The wee pen-knife in Willie’s pocket Gied him a deadly wound.
  4. ‘Tak aff, tak aff, my holland sark, And rive it frae gore to gore, And stap it in my bleeding wounds, They’ll aiblins bleed noe more.’
  5. He pouit aff his holland sark, And rave it frae gore to gore, And stapt it in his bleeding wounds, But ay they bled the more.
  6. ‘O brither, tak me on your back, And bear me hence away, And carry me to Chester kirk, And lay me in the clay.’
  7. ‘What will I say to your father, This night when I return?’ ‘Tell him I’m gane to Chester scule, And tell him no to murn.’
  8. ‘What will I say to your mother, This nicht whan I gae hame?’ ‘She wishd afore I cam awa That I might neer gae hame.’
  9. ‘What will I say to your true-love, This nicht when I gae hame?’ ‘Tell her I’m dead and in my grave, For her dear sake alane.’
  10. He took him upon his back And bore him hence away, And carried him to Chester kirk, And laid him in the clay.
  11. He laid him in the cauld cauld clay, And he cuirt him wi a stane, And he’s awa to his fathers ha, Sae dowilie alane.
  12. ‘You’re welcome, dear son,’ he said, ‘You’re welcome hame to me; But what’s come o your brither John, That gade awa wi thee?’
  13. ‘Oh he’s awa to Chester scule, A scholar he’ll return; He bade me tell his father dear About him no to murn.’
  14. ‘You’re welcome hame, dear son,’ she said, ‘You’re welcome hame to me; But what’s come o your brither John, That gade awa wi thee?’
  15. ‘He bade me tell his mother dear, This nicht when I cam hame, Ye wisht before he gade awa, That he might neer return.’
  16. Then next came up his true-love dear, And heavy was her moan; ‘You’re welcome hame, dear Will,’ she said, ‘But whare’s your brither John?’
  17. ‘O lady, cease your trouble now, O cease your heavy moan; He’s dead and in the cauld cauld clay, For your dear sake alone.’
  18. She ran distraught, she wept, she sicht, She wept the sma brids frae the tree, She wept the starns adoun frae the lift, She wept the fish out o the sea.
  19. ‘O cease your weeping, my ain true-love, Ye but disturb my rest;’ ‘Is that my ain true lover John, The man that I loe best?’
  20. '’Tis naething but my ghaist,’ he said, ‘That’s sent to comfort thee; O cease your weeping, my true-love, And ‘twill gie peace to me.’