Gil Brenton

No: 5; variant: 5D

  1. WE were sisters, sisters seven, Bowing down, bowing down The fairest women under heaven. And aye the birks a-bowing
  2. They kiest kevels them amang, Wha woud to the grenewood gang.
  3. The kevels they gied thro the ha, And on the youngest it did fa.
  4. Now she must to the grenewood gang, To pu the nuts in grenewood hang.
  5. She hadna tarried an hour but ane Till she met wi a highlan groom.
  6. He keeped her sae late and lang Till the evening set and birds they sang.
  7. He gae to her at their parting A chain o gold and gay gold ring;
  8. And three locks o his yellow hair; Bade her keep them for evermair.
  9. When six lang months were come and gane. A courtier to this lady came.
  10. Lord Dingwall courted this lady gay, And so he set their wedding-day.
  11. A little boy to the ha was sent, To bring her horse was his intent.
  12. As she was riding the way along, She began to make a heavy moan.
  13. ‘What ails you, lady,’ the boy said, ‘That ye seem sae dissatisfied?
  14. ‘Are the bridle reins for you too strong? Or the stirrups for you too long?’
  15. ‘But, little boy, will ye tell me The fashions that are in your countrie?’
  16. ‘The fashions in our ha I’ll tell, And o them a’ I’ll warn you well.
  17. ‘When ye come in upon the floor, His mither will meet you wi a golden chair.
  18. ‘But be ye maid or be ye nane, Unto the high seat make ye boun.
  19. ‘Lord Dingwall aft has been beguild By girls whom young men hae defiled.
  20. ‘He’s cutted the paps frae their breast-bane, And sent them back to their ain hame.’
  21. When she came in upon the floor, His mother met her wi a golden chair.
  22. But to the high seat she made her boun: She knew that maiden she was nane.
  23. When night was come, they went to bed, And ower her breast his arm he laid.
  24. He quickly jumped upon the floor, And said, ‘I’ve got a vile rank whore.’
  25. Unto his mother he made his moan, Says, ‘Mother dear, I am undone.
  26. ‘Ye’ve aft tald, when I brought them hame, Whether they were maid or nane.
  27. ‘I thought I’d gotten a maiden bright; I’ve gotten but a waefu wight.
  28. ‘I thought I’d gotten a maiden clear, But gotten but a vile rank whore.’
  29. ‘When she came in upon the floor, I met her wi a golden chair.
  30. ‘But to the high seat she made her boun, Because a maiden she was nane.’
  31. ‘I wonder wha’s tauld that gay ladie The fashion into our countrie.’
  32. ‘It is your little boy I blame, Whom ye did send to bring her hame.’
  33. Then to the lady she did go, And said, ‘O Lady, let me know
  34. ‘Who has defiled your fair bodie: Ye’re the first that has beguiled me.’
  35. ‘O we were sisters, sisters seven, The fairest women under heaven.
  36. ‘And we kiest kevels us amang, Wha woud to the grenewood gang;
  37. ‘For to pu the finest flowers, To put around our summer bowers.
  38. ‘I was the youngest o them a’; The hardest fortune did me befa.
  39. ‘Unto the grenewood I did gang, And pu’d the nuts as they down hang.
  40. ‘I hadna stayd an hour but ane Till I met wi a highlan groom.
  41. ‘He keeped me sae late and lang Till the evening set and birds they sang.
  42. ‘He gae to me at our parting A chain of gold and gay gold ring;
  43. ‘And three locks o his yellow hair; Bade me keep them for evermair.
  44. ‘Then for to show I make nae lie, Look ye my trunk, and ye will see.’
  45. Unto the trunk then she did go, To see if that were true or no.
  46. And aye she sought, and aye she flang, Till these four things came to her hand.
  47. Then she did to her ain son go, And said, ‘My son, ye’ll let me know,
  48. ‘Ye will tell to me this thing: What did you wi my wedding-ring?’
  49. ‘Mother dear, I’ll tell nae lie: I gave it to a gay ladie.
  50. ‘I would gie a’ my ha’s and towers, I had this bird within my bowers.’
  51. ‘Keep well, keep well your lands and strands; Ye hae that bird within your hands.
  52. ‘Now, my son, to your bower ye’ll go: Comfort your ladie, she’s full o woe.’
  53. Now when nine months were come and gane, The lady she brought hame a son.
  54. It was written on his breast-bane Lord Dingwall was his father’s name.
  55. He’s taen his young son in his arms, And aye he praisd his lovely charms.
  56. And he has gien him kisses three, And doubled them ower to his ladie.