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.
 
56. Leesome Brand
 
or, The Sheath and the Knife
 
 
I

‘THERE is a feast in your father’s house,
The broom blooms bonnie and sae it is fair—
It becomes you and me to be very douce,
And we’ll never gang down to the broom nae mair.’
 
II

But it is talk’d all over [the land],
        5
‘Lady Marget’s plighted to Leesome Brand.’
 
III

He’s done him to her father’s stable
And tane twa steeds baith wicht and able:
 
IV

Ane for him, and another for her
To carry them baith wi’ might and virr.        10
 
V

When they had ridden about six mile,
Lady Marget then began to fail.
 
VI

‘O gin I had but a gude midwife
Here this day to save my life!
 
VII

‘Ye’ll take your arrow and your bow
        15
And ye will hunt the deer and roe.
 
VIII

‘But be sure ye touch not the milk-white hynde,
For she is o’ the woman-kind.’
 
IX

He took sic pleasure in deer and rae
Till he forgot his ladye gay.        20
 
X

Till by it came that milk-white hynde,
And then he mind on his ladye syne.
 
XI

He heard her gie a loud, loud cry,
He shot his bow, and he let her lie.
 
XII

When he saw she was lying still,
        25
He threw down his bow and came running her till;
 
XIII

But he found his ladye lying dead,
Likewise her young son at her head.
 
XIV

He’s houkit a grave, long, large and wide,
He’s buried his auld son doun by her side.        30
 
XV

It was nae wonder his heart was sair
When he shool’d the mools on her yellow hair.
 
XVI

His mother lay owre her castle wa’;
There was music and minstrels and dancing and a’.
 
XVII

[She said as she look’d owre] dale and down,
        35
‘My son comes merrilie to the toun.’—
 
XVIII

‘Seek nae minstrels to play in your room,
Your son comes sorry to the toun.
 
XIX

‘O I hae lost my gowden knife;
I rather had lost my ain sweet life!        40
 
XX

‘And I hae lost a far better thing,
The gilded sheath that it was in.’—
 
XXI

‘Are there nae gowdsmiths here in Fife
Can make to you anither knife?
 
XXII

‘Are there nae sheath-makers in the land
        45
Can make a sheath to Leesome Brand?’—
 
XXIII

‘There are nae gowdsmiths here in Fife
Can make to me sic a gowden knife;
 
XXIV

‘Nor nae sheath-makers in the land
Can make to me sic a sheath again.        50
 
XXV

‘For I’ve lost my lady I loved sae dear,
The broom blooms bonnie and sae it is fair—
Likewise the son she did me bear,
And we’ll never gang doun to the broom nae mair.’
 
GLOSS:  douce] quiet.  wicht] sturdy.  virr] vigour.  her till] to her.  houkit] dag.  auld] eldest, first-born, shool’d] shovelled.  mools] mould.
 

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