Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. IV. Wordsworth to Rossetti
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. IV. The Nineteenth Century: Wordsworth to Rossetti
 
Edmund’s Song (from Rokeby)
By Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)
 
O, BRIGNALL banks are wild and fair,
  And Greta woods are green,
And you may gather garlands there,
  Would grace a summer queen.
 
And as I rode by Dalton-hall,        5
  Beneath the turrets high,
A Maiden on the castle wall
  Was singing merrily,—
 
Chorus.
‘O, Brignall banks are fresh and fair,
  And Greta woods are green;        10
I’d rather rove with Edmund there,
  Than reign our English queen.’—
 
‘If, maiden, thou would’st wend with me
  To leave both tower and town,
Thou first must guess what life lead we,        15
  That dwell by dale and down:
And if thou canst that riddle read,
  As read full well you may,
Then to the greenwood shalt thou speed,
  As blithe as Queen of May.’—        20
 
Chorus.
Yet sung she, ‘Brignall banks are fair,
  And Greta woods are green;
I’d rather rove with Edmund there,
  Than reign our English queen.
 
‘I read you, by your bugle-horn,        25
  And by your palfrey good,
I read you for a ranger sworn,
  To keep the king’s greenwood.’—
 
‘A ranger, lady, winds his horn,
  And ’tis at peep of light;        30
His blast is heard at merry morn,
  And mine at dead of night.’—
 
Chorus.
Yet sung she, ‘Brignall banks are fair,
  And Greta woods are gay;
I would I were with Edmund there,        35
  To reign his Queen of May!
 
‘With burnished brand and musketoon,
  So gallantly you come,
I read you for a bold dragoon,
  That lists the tuck of drum.’—        40
‘I list no more the tuck of drum,
  No more the trumpet hear;
But when the beetle sounds his hum,
  My comrades take the spear.
 
Chorus.
And, O! though Brignall banks be fair,
        45
  And Greta woods be gay,
Yet mickle must the maiden dare,
  Would reign my Queen of May!
 
‘Maiden! a nameless life I lead,
  A nameless death I’ll die;        50
The fiend, whose lantern lights the mead,
  Were better mate than I!
And when I’m with my comrades met,
  Beneath the greenwood bough,
What once we were we all forget,        55
  Nor think what we are now.
 
Chorus.
‘Yet Brignall banks are fresh and fair,
  And Greta woods are green,
And you may gather garlands there
  Would grace a summer queen.’—        60
 
 
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