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   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
28. The Dowy Houms o Yarrow
 
Traditional Ballads
 
 
LATE at een, drinkin the wine,
  Or early in a mornin,
The set a combat them between,
  To fight it in the dawnin.
 
“O stay at hame, my noble lord!        5
  O stay at hame, my marrow!
My cruel brother will you betray,
  On the dowy 1 houms 2 o Yarrow.”
 
“O fare ye weel, my lady gaye!
  O fare ye weel, my Sarah!        10
For I maun gae, tho I neer return
  Frae the dowy banks o Yarrow.”
 
She kissed his cheek, she kaimd 3 his hair,
  As she had done before, O;
She belted on his noble brand,        15
  An he’s awa to Yarrow.
 
O he’s gane up yon high, high hill—
  I wat he gaed wi sorrow—
And in a den spied nine armd men,
  I the dowy houms o Yarrow.        20
 
“O ir 4 ye come to drink the wine,
  As ye hae doon before, O?
Or ir ye come to wield the brand,
  On the bonny banks o Yarrow?”
 
“I im no come to drink the wine,        25
  As I hae don before, O,
But I im come to wield the brand,
  On the dowy houms o Yarrow.”
 
Four he hurt, and five he slew,
  On the dowy houms o Yarrow,        30
Till that stubborn knight came him behind.
  An ran his body thorrow.
 
“Gae hame, gae hame, good-brother John,
  And tell your sister Sarah
To come and lift her noble lord,        35
  Who’s sleepin sound on Yarrow.”
 
“Yestreen 5 I dreamed a dolefu dream;
  I kend 6 there wad be sorrow;
I dreamd I pu’d the heather green,
  On the dowy banks o Yarrow.”        40
 
She gaed up yon high, high hill—
  I wat she gaed wi sorrow—
An in a den spy’d nine dead men,
  On the dowy houms o Yarrow.
 
She kissed his cheek, she kaimd his hair,        45
  As oft she did before, O;
She drank the red blood frae him ran,
  On the dowy houms o Yarrow.
 
“O haud your tongue, my douchter dear,
  For what needs a’ this sorrow?        50
I’ll wed you on a better lord
  Than him you lost on Yarrow.”
 
“O haud your tongue, my father dear,
  An dinna grieve your Sarah;
A better lord was never born        55
  Than him I lost on Yarrow.
 
“Tak hame your ousen, 7 tak hame your kye, 8
  For they hae bred our sorrow;
I wiss that they had a’ gane mad
  Whan they cam first to Yarrow.”        60
 
Note 1. Rent. [back]
Note 2. Furrows. [back]
Note 3. Tearing. [back]
Note 4. Empty. [back]
Note 5. Sad. [back]
Note 6. Flat land by a river. [back]
Note 7. Combed. [back]
Note 8. Are. [back]
 

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