Brown Robin

No: 97; variant: 97C

  1. ‘THERE is a bird in my father’s orchard, And dear, but it sings sweet! I hope to live to see the day This bird and I will meet.’
  2. ‘O hold your tongue, my daughter Mally, Let a’ your folly be; What bird is that in my orchard Sae shortsome is to thee?
  3. ‘There are four-an-twenty noble lords The morn shoud dine wi me; And ye maun serve them a’, Mally, Like one for meat and fee.’
  4. She servd the nobles all as one, The horsemen much the same; But her mind was aye to Brown Robyn, Beneath the heavy rain.
  5. Then she’s rowd up a thousand pounds Intil a servit white, And she gae that to Brown Robyn, Out ower the garden-dyke: Says, Take ye that, my love Robyn, And mysell gin ye like.
  6. ‘If this be true, my dame,’ he said, ‘That ye hae tauld to me, About the hour o twall at night, At your bower-door I’ll be.’
  7. But ere the hour o twall did chap, And lang ere it was ten, She had hersell there right and ready To lat Brown Robyn in.
  8. They hadna kissd nor love clapped Till the birds sang on the ha; ‘O,’ sighing says him Brown Robyn, ‘I wish I were awa!’
  9. They hadna sitten muckle langer Till the guards shot ower the way; Then sighing says him Brown Robyn, ‘I fear my life this day.’
  10. ‘O had your tongue, my love Robyn, Of this take ye nae doubt; It was by wiles I brought you in, By wiles I’ll bring you out.’
  11. Then she’s taen up a cup o wine, To her father went she; ‘O drink the wine, father,’ she said, ‘O drink the wine wi me.’
  12. ‘O well love I the cup, daughter, But better love I the wine; And better love I your fair body Than a’ the gowd in Spain.’
  13. ‘Wae be to the wine, father, That last came ower the sea; Without the air o gude greenwood, There’s nae remeid for me.’
  14. ‘Ye’ve thirty maries in your bower, Ye’ve thirty and hae three; Send ane o them to pu a flower, Stay ye at hame wi me.’
  15. ‘I’ve thirty maries in my bower, I’ve thirty o them and nine; But there’s nae a marie amo them a’ That kens my grief and mind.
  16. ‘For they may pu the nut, the nut, And sae may they the slae, But there’s nane amo them a’ that kens The herb that I woud hae.’
  17. ‘Well, gin ye gang to gude greenwood, Come shortly back again; Ye are sae fair and are sae rare, Your body may get harm.’
  18. She dressd hersell into the red, Brown Robyn all in green, And put his brand across his middle, He was a stately dame.
  19. The first ane stepped ower the yett, It was him Brown Robyn; ‘By my sooth,’ said the proud porter, ‘This is a stately dame.
  20. ‘O wi your leave, lady,’ he said, ‘And leave o a’ your kin, I woudna think it a great sin To turn that marie in.’
  21. ‘O had your tongue, ye proud porter, Let a’ your folly be; Ye darena turn a marie in That ance came forth wi me.’
  22. ‘Well shall I call your maries out, And as well shall I in; For I am safe to gie my oath That marie is a man.’
  23. Soon she went to gude greenwood, And soon came back again; ‘Gude sooth,’ replied the proud porter, ‘We’ve lost our stately dame.’
  24. ‘My maid’s faen sick in gude greenwood, And sick and liken to die; The morn before the cocks do craw, That marie I maun see.’
  25. Out it spake her father then, Says, Porter, let me know If I will cause her stay at hame, Or shall I let her go?
  26. ‘She says her maid’s sick in the wood, And sick and like to die; I really think she is too gude Nor ever woud make a lie.’
  27. Then he whispered in her ear, As she was passing by, ‘What will ye say if I reveal What I saw wi my eye?’
  28. ‘If ought ye ken about the same, O heal that well on me, And if I live or brook my life, Rewarded ye shall be.’
  29. Then she got leave o her father To gude greenwood again, And she is gane wi Brown Robyn, But ‘twas lang ere she came hame.
  30. O then her father began to mourn, And thus lamented he: ‘O I woud gie ten thousand pounds My daughter for to see.’
  31. ‘If ye will promise,’ the porter said, ‘To do nae injury, I will find out your daughter dear, And them that’s gane her wi.’
  32. Then he did swear a solemn oath, By a’ his gowd and land, Nae injury to them’s be dune, Whether it be maid or man.
  33. The porter then a letter wrote, And seald it wi his hand, And sent it to that lady fair, For to return hame.
  34. When she came to her father’s ha, He received her joyfullie, And married her to Brown Robyn; Now a happy man was he.
  35. She hadna been in her father’s ha A day but barely three, Till she settled the porter well for life, Wi gowd and white monie.