Page images

O wae be to thee, Lady Margaret,” he said,

“ And an ill death may you die; For if you

had told me he was your son, He had ne'er been slain by me.”


A fragment of this singular story appeared in Herd's Collection, 1776. It was inserted complete in Scott's

Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, 'prefaced by an admirable essay on the Fairy Mythology of Scotland. But Scott either interpolated himself, or adopted the interpolations by others, of at least a dozen stanzas—bearing the stamp of “modern antiquity” so visibly and palpably about them, as not only to spoil the charm of the ballad, but to fail in deceiving the most careless reader. Professor Aytoun, in his recent collection, presents the public with a version amended by and collated with several others; but I have preferred to republish that of Sir Walter Scott, with the omission of the modern stanzas, that add nothing to the story, and that have the additional demerit of weakening the strength and diluting the sturdy beauty of the original.-C. M.

O I FORBID ye, maidens a',

That wear gowd on your hair,
To come or gae by Carterhaugh,

For young Tamlane is there.

There's nane, that gaes by Carterhaugh,

But maun leave him a waud,
Either goud rings, or green mantles,

Or else their maidenheid.

Now, gowd rings ye may buy, maidens,

Green mantles ye may spin ;
But, gin ye lose your maidenheid,

You'll ne'er get that agen.
But up then spak her fair Janet,

The fairest o' a' her kin;
“I'll cum and gang to Carterhaugh,

And ask nae leave o' him.” Janet has kilted her green kirtle, *

A little abune her knee;
And she has braided her yellow hair,

A little abune her bree.
And when she came to Carterhaugh,

She gaed beside the well;
And there she fand his steed standing,

But away was himsel.
She hadna pu'd a red, red rose,

A rose but barely three;

and starts a wee, wee man, At Lady Janet's knee. Says—“Why pu' ye the rose, Janet?

What gars ye break the tree? Or why came ye to Carterhaugh,

Withouten leave o' me?” “Oh I will pu' the flowers,” she said,

“And I will break the tree, For Carterhaugh it is mine ain;

I'll ask nae leave o' thee.” * The ladies are always represented, in Dunbar's poems, with green mantles and yellow hair.—Maitland Poems, vol. i.

p. 45.

He's ta'en her by the milk-white hand,

Amang the leaves sae green ; And what they did I cannot tell

The green leaves were between.

He's ta'en her by the milk-white hand,

Amang the roses red;
And what they did I cannot say-

She ne'er returned a maid.

When she cam to her father's ha',

She looked pale and wan;
They thought she'd dreed some sair

Or been wi' some leman.

She didna comb her yellow hair,

Nor make meikle o' her heid; And ilka thing that lady took

Was like to be her deid.

It's four and twenty ladies fair

Were playing at the ba';
Janet, the wightest of them anes,

Was faintest o' them a'.

Four and twenty ladies fair

Were playing at the chess;
And out there came the fair Janet,

As green as any grass.

Out and spak an auld gray-headed knight,

Lay o'er the castle wa'"And ever alas! for thee, Janet,

But we 'll be blamed a'!”

“Now haud your tongue, ye auld gray

knight, And an ill death may ye die, Father

my bairn on whom I will, I'll father nane on thee.”

Out then spak her father dear,

And he spak meek and mild“And ever, alas ! my sweet Janet,

I fear ye gae with child.”

“ And if I be with child, father,

Mysel' maun bear the blame; There's ne'er a knight about your ha'

Shall hae the bairnie's name.

“ And if I be with child, father,

'Twill prove a wondrous birth; For well I swear I'm not wi' bairn

To any man on earth.

"If my love were an earthly knight,

As he's an elfin gray,
I wadna gie my ain true love

For nae lord that ye hae.”

She princked hersel' and prinned hersel,

By the ae light of the moon, And she's away to Carterhaugh, To speak wi' young

And when she cam' to Carterhaugh,

She gaed beside the well;
And there she saw the steed standing,

But away was himsel'.

She hadna pu'd a double rose,

A rose but only twae,
When up and started young Tamlane,

Says-Lady, thou pu’s nae mae !
“Why pu' ye the red, red rose, Janet,

Within this garden green, And a' to kill the bonny babe,

That we got us between ?

“The truth ye 'll tell to me, Tamlane ;

A word ye mauna lie ;
Gin e'er ye was in holy chapel,

Or sained* in Christentie."

“ The truth I 'll tell to thee, Janet,

A word I winna lie;
A knight me got, and a lady me bore,

As well as they did thee.

“Randolph, Earl Murray, was my sire,

Dunbar, Earl March, is thine; We loved when we were children small,

Which yet you well may mind. “When I was a boy just turned of nine,

My uncle sent for me, To hunt, and hawk, and ride with him,

And keep him companie.

“ There came a wind out of the north,

A sharp wind and a snell; And a dead sleep came over me, And frae my horse I fell.

" Sained :" hallowed.


« PreviousContinue »