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.
 
38. Earl Brand
 
 
I

O DID ye ever hear o’ brave Earl Brand?
  Ay lally, o lilly lally
He courted the King’s daughter o’ fair England
  All i’ the night sae early.
 
II

She was scarcely fifteen years that tide
        5
Till sae boldly she came to his bedside.
 
III

‘O Earl Bran’, fain wad I see
A pack of hounds let loose on the lea.’—
 
IV

‘O lady, I have no steeds but one,
But thou shalt ride, and I will run.’—        10
 
V

‘O Earl Bran’, my father has two,
And thou shalt have the best of tho’.—
 
VI

They have ridden o’er moss and moor,
And they have met neither rich nor poor,
 
VII

Until they met with old Carl Hood:
        15
—He’s aye for ill and never for good.
 
VIII

‘Earl Bran’, if ye love me,
Seize this old carl, and gar him die.’—
 
IX

‘O lady fair, it wad be sair
To slay an old man that has grey hair.        20
 
X

‘O lady fair, I’ll no do sae;
I’ll gie him a pound and let him gae.’
 
XI

‘O where hae ye ridden this lee-lang day?
Or where hae ye stolen this lady away?’—
 
XII

‘I have not ridden this lee-lang day,
        25
Nor yet have I stolen this lady away.
 
XIII

‘She is my only, my sick sistèr,
Which I have brought from Winchester.’—
 
XIV

‘If she be sick and like to dead,
Why wears she the ribbon sae red?        30
 
XV

‘If she be sick and like to die,
Then why wears she the gold on high?’
 
XVI

When came the carl to this lady’s yett,
Rudely, rudely he rapp’d thereat.
 
XVII

‘O where’s the lady o’ this ha’?’—
        35
‘She’s out with her maids to play at the ba’.’—
 
XVIII

‘Ha, ha, ha! ye are a’ mista’en;
Gae count your maidens o’er again.
 
XIX

‘I met her far beyond the lea,
With the young Earl Brand, his leman to be.’        40
 
XX

Her father arm’d of his men fifteen,
And they’re ridden after them all-by-dene.
 
XXI

O’er her left shoulder the lady look’d then:
‘O Earl Bran’, we both are ta’en!’—
 
XXII

‘If they come on me ane by ane,
        45
Ye may stand by and see them slain.
 
XXIII

‘But if they come on me ane and all,
Ye may stand by and see me fall.’
 
XXIV

They have come on him ane by ane,
And fourteen men he has them slain.        50
 
XXV

But the fifteenth man behind stole round,
And he’s gi’en him a deadly wound.
 
XXVI

But for a’ sae wounded as Earl Brand was
He has set his lady on her horse.
 
XXVII

They rode till they came to the water o’ Doune.
        55
And there he lighted to wash his wound.
 
XXVIII

‘O Earl Bran’, I see your heart’s bloud!’—
‘It’s na but the glent o’ my scarlet hood.’
 
XXIX

They rode till they came to his mother’s yett,
So faint and feebly he rapp’d thereat.        60
 
XXX

‘O my son’s slain, he’s falling to swoun,
And a’ for the sake of an English loun!’—
 
XXXI

‘So say not sae, my dearest mother,
But marry her to my youngest brother.
 
XXXII

‘This has not been the death o’ ane,
        65
But it’s been the death o’ fair seventeen.’
 
GLOSS:  tide] time, season.  lee-lang] live-long.  yett] gate.  all-by-dene] all together.  glent] gleam.
 

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