The Gay Goshawk

No: 96; variant: 96A

  1. ‘O WELL’S me o my gay goss-hawk, That he can speak and flee; He’ll carry a letter to my love, Bring back another to me.’
  2. ‘O how can I your true-love ken, Or how can I her know? Whan frae her mouth I never heard couth, Nor wi my eyes her saw.’
  3. ‘O well sal ye my true-love ken, As soon as you her see; For, of a’ the flowrs in fair Englan, The fairest flowr is she.
  4. ‘At even at my love’s bowr-door There grows a bowing birk, An sit ye down and sing thereon, As she gangs to the kirk.
  5. ‘An four-an-twenty ladies fair Will wash and go to kirk, But well shall ye my true-love ken, For she wears goud on her skirt.
  6. ‘An four and twenty gay ladies Will to the mass repair, But well sal ye my true-love ken, For she wears goud on her hair.’
  7. O even at that lady’s bowr-door There grows a bowin birk, And she set down and sang thereon, As she ged to the kirk.
  8. ‘O eet and drink, my marys a’, The wine flows you among, Till I gang to my shot-window, An hear yon bonny bird’s song.
  9. ‘Sing on, sing on, my bonny bird, The song ye sang the streen, For I ken by your sweet singin You’re frae my true-love sen.’
  10. O first he sang a merry song, An then he sang a grave, An then he peckd his feathers gray, To her the letter gave.
  11. ‘Ha, there’s a letter frae your love, He says he sent you three; He canna wait your love langer, But for your sake he’ll die.
  12. ‘He bids you write a letter to him; He says he’s sent you five; He canno wait your love langer, Tho you’re the fairest woman alive.’
  13. ‘Ye bid him bake his bridal-bread, And brew his bridal-ale, An I’ll meet him in fair Scotlan Lang, lang or it be stale.’
  14. She’s doen her to her father dear, Fa’n low down on her knee: ‘A boon, a boon, my father dear, I pray you, grant it me.’
  15. ‘Ask on, ask on, my daughter, An granted it sal be; Except ae squire in fair Scotlan, An him you sall never see.’
  16. ‘The only boon, my father dear, That I do crave of the, Is, gin I die in southin lands, In Scotland to bury me.
  17. ‘An the firstin kirk that ye come till, Ye gar the bells be rung, An the nextin kirk that ye come till, Ye gar the mess be sung.
  18. ‘An the thirdin kirk that ye come till, You deal gold for my sake, An the fourthin kirk that ye come till, You tarry there till night.’
  19. She is doen her to her bigly bowr, As fast as she coud fare, An she has tane a sleepy draught, That she had mixed wi care.
  20. She’s laid her down upon her bed, An soon she’s fa’n asleep, And soon oer every tender limb Cauld death began to creep.
  21. Whan night was flown, an day was come, Nae ane that did her see But thought she was as surely dead As ony lady coud be.
  22. Her father an her brothers dear Gard make to her a bier; The tae half was o guide red gold, The tither o silver clear.
  23. Her mither an her sisters fair Gard work for her a sark; The tae half was o cambrick fine, The tither o needle wark.
  24. The firstin kirk that they came till, They gard the bells be rung, An the nextin kirk that they came till, They gard the mess be sung.
  25. The thirdin kirk that they came till, They dealt gold for her sake, An the fourthin kirk that they came till, Lo, there they met her make!
  26. ‘Lay down, lay down the bigly bier, Lat me the dead look on;’ Wi cherry cheeks and ruby lips She lay an smil’d on him.
  27. ‘O ae sheave o your bread, true-love, An ae glass o your wine, For I hae fasted for your sake These fully days is nine.
  28. ‘Gang hame, gang hame, my seven bold brothers, Gang hame and sound your horn; An ye may boast in southin lans Your sister’s playd you scorn.’