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.
 
28. The Daemon Lover
 
 
I

O WHERE hae ye been, my long, long love,
  These seven long years and more?’—
‘O I’m come to seek my former vows,
  That ye promised me before.’—
 
II

‘Awa’ wi’ your former vows,’ she says,
        5
  ‘For they will breed but strife;
Awa’ wi’ your former vows,’ she says,
  ‘For I am become a wife.
 
III

‘I am married to a ship-carpenter,
  A ship-carpenter he’s bound;        10
I wadna he kenn’d my mind this nicht
  For twice five hundred pound.’
 
IV

He turn’d him round and round about,
  And the tear blinded his e’e:
‘I wad never hae trodden on Irish ground        15
  If it hadna been for thee.
 
V

‘I might hae had a noble lady,
  Far, far beyond the sea;
I might hae had a noble lady,
  Were it no for the love o’ thee.’—        20
 
VI

‘If ye might hae had a noble lady,
  Yoursel’ ye had to blame;
Ye might hae taken the noble lady,
  For ye kenn’d that I was nane.’—
 
VII

‘O fause are the vows o’ womankind,
        25
  But fair is their fause bodie:
I wad never hae trodden on Irish ground,
  Were it no for the love o’ thee.’—
 
VIII

‘If I was to leave my husband dear,
  And my wee young son alsua,        30
O what hae ye to tak’ me to,
  If with you I should gae?’—
 
IX

‘I hae seven ships upon the sea,
  The eighth brought me to land;
With mariners and merchandise,        35
  And music on every hand.
 
X

‘The ship wherein my love sall sail
  Is glorious to behowd;
The sails sall be o’ the finest silk,
  And the mast o’ beaten gowd.’        40
 
XI

She has taken up her wee young son,
  Kiss’d him baith cheek and chin;
‘O fare ye weel, my wee young son,
  For I’ll never see you again!’
 
XII

She has put her foot on gude ship-board,
        45
  And on ship-board she has gane,
And the veil that hangit ower her face
  Was a’ wi’ gowd begane.
 
XIII

She hadna sail’d a league, a league,
  A league but barely twa,        50
Till she minded on her husband she left
  And her wee young son alsua.
 
XIV

‘O haud your tongue o’ weeping,’ he says,
  ‘Let a’ your follies a-bee;
I’ll show where the white lilies grow        55
  On the banks o’ Italie.’
 
XV

She hadna sail’d a league, a league,
  A league but barely three,
Till grim, grim grew his countenance
  And gurly grew the sea.        60
 
XVI

‘What hills are yon, yon pleasant hills,
  The sun shines sweetly on?’—
‘O yon are the hills o’ Heaven,’ he said,
  ‘Where you will never won.’—
 
XVII

‘O whaten-a mountain is yon,’ she said,
        65
  Sae dreary wi’ frost and snae?’—
‘O yon is the mountain o’ Hell,’ he said,
  Where you and I will gae.
 
XVIII

‘But haud your tongue, my dearest dear,
  Let a’ your follies a-bee,        70
I’ll show where the white lilies grow,
  In the bottom o’ the sea.’
 
XIX

And aye as she turn’d her round about,
  Aye taller he seem’d to be;
Until that the tops o’ that gallant ship        75
  Nae taller were than he.
 
XX

He strack the top-mast wi’ his hand,
  The fore-mast wi’ his knee;
And he brake that gallant ship in twain,
  And sank her in the sea.        80
 
GLOSS:  begane] overlaid.  gurly] rough, surly.
 

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