The Gay Goshawk

No: 96; variant: 96C

  1. ‘O WELL is me, my jolly goshawk, That ye can speak and flee, For ye can carry a love-letter To my true-love from me.’
  2. ‘O how can I carry a letter to her, When her I do not knaw? I bear the lips to her never spake, And the eyes that her never saw.’
  3. ‘The thing of my love’s face is white It’s that of dove or maw; The thing of my love’s face that’s red Is like blood shed on snaw.
  4. ‘And when you come to the castle, Light on the bush of ash, And sit you there and sing our loves, As she comes from the mass.
  5. ‘And when she goes into the house, Sit ye upon the whin; And sit you there and sing our loves, As she goes out and in.’
  6. And when he flew to that castel, He lighted on the ash; And there he sat and sang their loves, As she came from the mass.
  7. And when she went into the house, He flew unto the whin; And there he sat and sang their loves, As she went out and in.
  8. ‘Come hither, come hither, my maidens all, And sip red wine anon, Till I go to my west window, And hear a birdie’s moan.’
  9. She’s gone unto her west window, And fainly aye it drew, And soon into her white silk lap The bird the letter threw.
  10. ‘Ye’re bidden send your love a send, For he has sent you twa; And tell him where he can see you, Or he cannot live ava.’
  11. ‘I send him the rings from my white fingers, The garlands off my hair; I send him the heart that’s in my breast: What would my love have mair? And at the fourth kirk in fair Scotland, Ye’ll bid him meet me there.’
  12. She hied her to her father dear, As fast as gang could she: ‘An asking, an asking, my father dear, An asking ye grant me; That, if I die in fair England, In Scotland bury me.
  13. ‘At the first kirk of fair Scotland, You cause the bells be rung; At the second kirk of fair Scotland, You cause the mass be sung.
  14. ‘At the third kirk of fair Scotland, You deal gold for my sake; And the fourth kirk of fair Scotland, O there you’ll bury me at.
  15. ‘And now, my tender father dear, This asking grant you me;’ ‘Your asking is but small,’ he said, ‘Weel granted it shall be.’
  16. She hied her to her mother dear, As fast as gang could she: ‘An asking, an asking, my mother dear, An asking ye grant me; That if I die in fair England In Scotland bury me.
  17. ‘And now, my tender mother dear, This asking grant you me;’ ‘Your asking is but small,’ she said, ‘Weel granted it shall be.’
  18. She hied her to her sister dear, As fast as gang could she: ‘An asking, an asking, my sister dear, An asking ye grant me; That if I die in fair England, In Scotland bury me.
  19. ‘And now, my tender sister dear, This asking grant you me:’ ‘Your asking is but small,’ she said, ‘Weel granted it shall be.’
  20. She hied her to her seven brothers, As fast as gang could she: ‘An asking, an asking, my brothers seven, An asking ye grant me; That if I die in fair England, In Scotland ye bury me.
  21. ‘And now, my tender brothers dear, This asking grant you me:’ ‘Your asking is but small,’ they said, ‘Weel granted it shall be.’
  22. Then down as dead that lady drapd, Beside her mother’s knee; Then out it spoke an auld witch-wife, By the fire-side sat she.
  23. Says, Drap the hot lead on her cheek, And drop it on her chin, And drop it on her rose-red lips, And she will speak again: For much a lady young will do, To her true-love to win.
  24. They drapd the het lead on her cheek, So did they on her chin; They drapt it on her red-rose lips, But they breathed none again.
  25. Her brothers they went to a room, To make to her a bier; The boards of it was cedar wood, And the plates ow it gold so clear.
  26. Her sisters they went to a room, To make to her a sark; The cloth of it was satin fine, She bids you meet her there.’ And the steeking silken wark.
  27. ‘But well is me, my jolly goshawk, That ye can speak and flee; Come shew to my any love-tokens That you have brought to me.’
  28. ‘She sends you the rings from her fingers, The garlands from her hair; She sends you the heart within her breast; And what would you have mair? And at the fourth kirk of fair Scotland, She bids you meet her there.’
  29. ‘Come hither, all my merry young men, And drink the good red wine; For we must on to fair Scotland, To free my love frae pine.’
  30. At the first kirk of fair Scotland, They gart the bells be rung; At the second kirk of fair Scotland, They gart the mass be sung.
  31. At the third kirk of fair Scotland, They dealt gold for her sake; And the fourth kirk of fair Scotland Her true-love met them at.
  32. ‘Set down, set down the corpse,’ he said, ‘Till I look on the dead; The last time that I saw her face, She ruddy was and red; But now, alas, and woe is me! She’s wallowit like a weed.’
  33. He rent the sheet upon her face, A little above her chin; With lily-white cheeks, and lemin een, She lookt and laughd to him.
  34. ‘Give me a chive of your bread, my love, A bottle of your wine; For I have fasted for your love These long days nine; There’s not a steed in your stable But would have been dead ere syne.
  35. ‘Go home, go home, my seven brothers, Go home and blow the horn; For you can say in the south of England Your sister gave you a scorn.
  36. ‘I came not here to fair Scotland To lye amang the meal; But I came here to fair Scotland To wear the silks so weel.
  37. ‘I came not here to fair Scotland To ly amang the dead; But I came here to fair Scotland To wear the gold so red.’