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.
 
49. Jellon Grame
 
 
I

O JELLON GRAME sat in Silverwood,
  He sharp’d his broadsword lang;
And he has call’d his little foot-page
  An errand for to gang.
 
II

‘Win up, my bonny boy,’ he says,
        5
  ‘As quickly as ye may;
For ye maun gang for Lillie Flower
  Before the break of day.’—
 
III

The boy has buckled his belt about,
  And through the green-wood ran;        10
And he came to the ladye’s bower
  Before the day did dawn.
 
IV

‘O sleep ye, wake ye, Lillie Flower?
  The red sun’s on the rain;
Ye’re bidden come to Silverwood,        15
  But I doubt ye’ll never win hame.’
 
V

She hadna ridden a mile, a mile,
  A mile but barely three,
Ere she came to a new-made grave
  Beneath a green aik tree.        20
 
VI

O then up started Jellon Grame
  Out of a bush thereby;
‘Light down, light down, now, Lillie Flower,
  For it’s here that ye maun lye.’
 
VII

She lighted aff her milk-white steed,
        25
  And kneel’d upon her knee;
‘O mercy, mercy, Jellon Grame,
  For I’m no prepared to die!
 
VIII

‘Your bairn, that stirs between my sides,
  Maun shortly see the light;        30
But to see it weltering in my blood
  Would be a piteous sight.’—
 
IX

‘O should I spare your life,’ he says,
  ‘Until that bairn were born,
Full weel I ken your auld father        35
  Would hang me on the morn.’—
 
X

‘O spare my life now, Jellon Grame!
  My father ye needna dread!
I’ll keep my babe in gude green-wood,
  Or wi’ it I’ll beg my bread.’—        40
 
XI

He took nae pity on Lillie Flower,
  Though she for life did pray;
But pierced her through the fair body
  As at his feet she lay.
 
XII

He felt nae pity for Lillie flower,
        45
  Where she was lying dead;
But he felt some for the bonny bairn
  That lay weltering in her bluid.
 
XIII

Up has he ta’en that bonny boy,
  Given him to nurses nine;        50
Three to sleep, and three to wake,
  And three to go between.
 
XIV

And he bred up that bonny boy,
  Call’d him his sister’s son;
And he thought nae eye could ever see        55
  The deed that had been done.
 
XV

O so it fell upon a day,
  When hunting they might be,
They rested them in Silverwood,
  Beneath that green aik tree.        60
 
XVI

And many were the green-wood flowers
  Upon that grave that grew,
And marvell’d much that bonny boy
  To see their lovely hue.
 
XVII

‘What’s paler than the primrose wan?
        65
  What’s redder than the rose?
What’s fairer than the lilye flower
  On this wee know that grow?’—
 
XVIII

O out and answer’d Jellon Grame,
  And he spak hastilie:        70
‘Your mother was a fairer flower,
  And lies beneath this tree.
 
XIX

‘More pale she was, when she sought my grace,
  Than primrose pale and wan;
And redder than rose her ruddy heart’s blood,        75
  That down my broadsword ran.’—
 
XX

Wi’ that the boy has bent his bow,
  It was baith stout and lang;
And thro’ and thro’ him, Jellon Grame,
  He gar’d an arrow gang.        80
 
XXI

Says,—‘Lie ye there, now, Jellon Grame!
  My malisoun gang you wi’!
The place that my mother lies buried in
  Is far too good for thee.’
 
GLOSS:  wee know] little hillock.
 

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