Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
 
150. The Dowie Houms of Yarrow
 
 
I

LATE at een, drinkin’ the wine,
  And ere they paid the lawin’,
They set a combat them between,
  To fight it in the dawin’.
 
II

‘O stay at hame, my noble lord!
        5
  O stay at hame, my marrow!
My cruel brother will you betray,
  On the dowie houms o’ Yarrow.’—
 
III

‘O fare ye weel, my lady gay!
  O fare ye weel, my Sarah!        10
For I maun gae, tho’ I ne’er return
  Frae the dowie banks o’ Yarrow.’
 
IV

She kiss’d his cheek, she kamed his hair,
  As she had done before, O;
She belted on his noble brand,        15
  An’ he ’s awa to Yarrow.
 
V

O he ’s gane up yon high, high hill—
  I wat he gaed wi’ sorrow—
An’ in a den spied nine arm’d men,
  I’ the dowie houms o’ Yarrow.        20
 
VI

‘O are ye come to drink the wine,
  As ye hae doon before, O?
Or are ye come to wield the brand,
  On the dowie houms o’ Yarrow?’—
 
VII

‘I am no come to drink the wine,
        25
  As I hae done before, O,
But I am come to wield the brand,
  On the dowie houms o’ Yarrow.’
 
VIII

Four he hurt an’ five he slew,
  On the dowie houms o’ Yarrow,        30
Till that stubborn knight came him behind,
  An’ ran his body thorrow.
 
IX

‘Gae hame, gae hame, good brother John,
  An’ tell your sister Sarah
To come an’ lift her noble lord,        35
  Who ’s sleepin’ sound on Yarrow.’
 
X

‘Yestreen I dream’d a dolefu’ dream;
  I ken’d there wad be sorrow;
I dream’d I pu’d the heather green,
  On the dowie banks o’ Yarrow.’        40
 
XI

She gaed up yon high, high hill—
  I wat she gaed wi’ sorrow—
An’ in a den spied nine dead men,
  On the dowie houms o’ Yarrow.
 
XII

She kiss’d his cheek, she kamed his hair,
        45
  As oft she did before, O;
She drank the red blood frae him ran,
  On the dowie houms o’ Yarrow.
 
XIII

‘O haud your tongue, my douchter dear,
  For what needs a’ this sorrow?        50
I’ll wed you on a better lord
  Than him you lost on Yarrow.’—
 
XIV

‘O haud your tongue, my father dear,
  An’ dinna grieve your Sarah;
A better lord was never born        55
  Than him I lost on Yarrow.
 
XV

‘Tak hame your ousen, tak hame your kye,
  For they hae bred our sorrow;
I wiss that they had a’ gane mad
  Whan they cam’ first to Yarrow.’        60
 
GLOSS:  dawin’] dawn.  curn] pack.  widdifu’s] gallows-birds, fit to fill a ‘widdie’ or halter.  graith] harness, arms.  riving] tearing.  yate] gate.  lawin’] reckoning.  marrow] married mate.  dowie] doleful.  houms] water-meads.  ousen] oxen.
 

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