Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
 
57. Babylon
 
or, The Bonnie Banks o’ Fordie
 
 
I

THERE where three ladies live in a bower—
  Eh, wow, bonnie!
And they went out to pull a flower
  On the bonnie banks o’ Fordie.
 
II

They hadna pu’ed a flower but ane,
        5
When up started to them a banisht man.
 
III

He’s ta’en the first sister by her hand,
And he’s turn’d her round and made her stand.
 
IV

‘It’s whether will ye be a rank robber’s wife,
Or will ye die by my wee pen-knife?’        10
 
V

‘It’s I’ll not be a rank robber’s wife,
But I’ll rather die by your wee pen-knife.’
 
VI

He’s killed this may, and he’s laid her by,
For to bear the red rose company.
 
VII

He’s ta’en the second ane by the hand,
        15
And he’s turn’d her round and made her stand.
 
VIII

‘It’s whether will ye be a rank robber’s wife,
Or will ye die by my wee pen-knife?’
 
IX

‘It’s I’ll not be a rank robber’s wife,
But I’ll rather die by your wee pen-knife.’        20
 
X

He’s killed this may, and he’s laid her by,
For to bear the red rose company.
 
XI

He’s taken the youngest ane by the hand,
And he’s turn’d her round and made her stand.
 
XII

Says, ‘Will ye be a rank robber’s wife,
        25
Or will ye die by my wee pen-knife?’
 
XIII

‘It’s I’ll not be a rank robber’s wife,
Nor will I die by your wee pen-knife.
 
XIV

‘For in this wood a brother I hae;
And gin ye kill me, it’s he’ll kill thee.’        30
 
XV

‘What’s thy brother’s name? come tell to me.’
‘My brother’s name is Baby Lon.’
 
XVI

‘O sister, sister, what have I done!
O have I done this ill to thee!
 
XVII

‘O since I’ve done this evil deed,
        35
Good sall never be my meed.’
 
XVIII

He’s taken out his wee pen-knife,
  Eh, wow, bonnie!
And he’s twyn’d himsel’ o’ his ain sweet life
  On the bonnie banks o’ Fordie.        40
 
GLOSS:  twyned] taken away, bereaved.
 

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