Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
 
23. Binnorie
 
 
I

THERE were twa sisters sat in a bour;
  Binnorie, O Binnorie!
There cam a knight to be their wooer,
  By the bonnie milldams o’ Binnorie.
 
II

He courted the eldest with glove and ring,
        5
But he lo’ed the youngest abune a’ thing.
 
III

The eldest she was vexèd sair,
And sair envìed her sister fair.
 
IV

Upon a morning fair and clear,
She cried upon her sister dear:        10
 
V

‘O sister, sister, tak my hand,
And we’ll see our father’s ships to land.’
 
VI

She’s ta’en her by the lily hand,
And led her down to the river-strand.
 
VII

The youngest stood upon a stane,
        15
The eldest cam and push’d her in.
 
VIII

‘O sister, sister, reach your hand!
And ye sall be heir o’ half my land:
 
IX

‘O sister, reach me but your glove!
And sweet William sall be your love.’—        20
 
X

‘Foul fa’ the hand that I should take;
It twin’d me o’ my warldis make.
 
XI

‘Your cherry cheeks and your yellow hair
Gar’d me gang maiden evermair.’
 
XII

Sometimes she sank, sometimes she swam
        25
Until she cam to the miller’s dam.
 
XIII

Out then cam the miller’s son,
And saw the fair maid soummin’ in.
 
XIV

‘O father, father, draw your dam!
There’s either a mermaid or a milk-white swan.’        30
 
XV

The miller hasted and drew his dam,
And there he found a drown’d womàn.
 
XVI

You couldna see her middle sma,’
Her gowden girdle was sae braw.
 
XVII

You couldna see her lily feet,
        35
Her gowden fringes were sae deep.
 
XVIII

You couldna see her yellow hair
For the strings o’ pearls was twisted there.
 
XIX

You couldna see her fingers sma,’
Wi’ diamond rings they were cover’d a’.        40
 
XX

And by there cam a harper fine,
That harpit to the king at dine.
 
XXI

And when he look’d that lady on,
He sigh’d and made a heavy moan.
 
XXII

He’s made a harp of her breast-bane,
        45
Whose sound wad melt a heart of stane.
 
XXIII

He’s ta’en three locks o’ her yellow hair,
And wi’ them strung his harp sae rare.
 
XXIV

He went into her father’s hall,
And there was the court assembled all.        50
 
XXV

He laid his harp upon a stane,
And straight it began to play by lane.
 
XXVI

‘O yonder sits my father, the King,
And yonder sits my mother, the Queen;
 
XXVII

‘And yonder stands my brother Hugh,
        55
And by him my William, sweet and true.’
 
XXVIII

But the last tune that the harp play’d then—
  Binnorie, O Binnorie!
Was, ‘Woe to my sister, false Helèn!’
  By the bonnie milldams o’ Binnorie.        60
 
GLOSS:  twin’d] robbed, deprived.  my warldis make] my one mate in the world.  soummin’] swimming.  by lane] alone, of itself.
 

CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors