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And bring four in his cumpanie ;
Five Erles sail gang yoursell befor,
Gude cause that you suld honour'd be.


" And, gif he refuses to do that,

We'll conquess baith his landis and he ;
There sail nevir a Murray, after him,
Hald land in Ettricke Foreste free."

Then spak the kene Laird of Buckscleuth,
A stalworthe man, and sterne was he
" For a King to gang an Outlaw till,
Is beneath his state and his dignitie.

" The man that wons yon Foreste intill,

He lives by reif and felonie !
Wherefore, brayd on, my sovereign liege,

Wi' fire and sword we'll follow thee ;
Or, gif your courtrie lords fa' back,

Our Borderers sail the onset gie."-

Then out and spak the nobil King,
And round him cast a wilie ee
" Now, had thy tongue, Sir Walter Scott,
Nor speak of reif nor felonie :

For, had every honest man his awin kye,
A right puir clan thy name wad be !"

The King then call'd a gentleman,
Royal banner-bearer there was he ;

James Hoppringle, of Torsonse, by name ;
He cam and knelit upon his kne*.


" Wellcum, James Pringle of Torsonse !

A message ye maun gang for me :
You maun gae to yon Outlaw Murray,
Surely where bauldly bideth he.

" Bid him mete me at Permanscore,
And bring four in his cumpanie ;
Five erles sail cum wi' mysel,
Gude reason I suld honour'd be;

" And gif he refuses to do that,

Bid him luke for nae gude o' me !
There sail nevir a Murray, after him,
Have land in Ettricke Foreste free."

James cam before the Outlaw kene,

And served him in his ain degre,
Wellcum, James Pringle of Torsonse !

What message frae the King to me ?"-

" He bids ye meet him at Permanscore,

And bring four in your cumpany,
Five erles sail gang himsell befor,
Nae mair in number will he be.

" And gif you refuse to do that,

(I freely here upgive wi' thee),
He'll cast yon bonny castle down,
And make a widowe o' that gaye ladye.


" He'll loose yon bluidhound Borderers,

Wi' fire and sword to follow thee ;
There will nevir a Murray, after thysell,
Have land in Ettricke Foreste free."-

" It stands me hard," the Outlaw said ;
" Judge gif it stands na hard wi' me,
Wha reck not losing of mysell,
But a' my offspring after me.

" My merryemen's lives, my widowe's teirs

There lies the pang that pinches me ;
When I am straught in bludie card,
Yon castell will be right dreirie.

" Auld Halliday, young Halliday,

Ye sail be twa to gang wi' me ;
Andrew Murray, and Sir James Murray,
We'll be nae mae in cumpanie."

When that they cam before the King,
They fell before him on their kn6
" Grant mercie, mercie, nobil King !

E'en for his sake that dyed on tree."

" Sicken like mercie sail ye have ;

On gallows ye sail hangit be !"
" Over God's forbode," quoth the Outlaw then,

I hope your grace will bettir be !
Else, ere ye come to Edinburgh port,
^ I trow thin guarded sail ye be :


" Thir landis of Ettricke Foreste fair,

I wan them from the enemie ;
Like as I wan them, sae will I keep them,
Contrair a' kingis in Christentie."

All the nobilis the King about,

Said pitie it were to see him dee
" Yet grant me mercie, sovereign prince,
Extend your favour unto me !

" I'll give you the keys of my castell,

Wi' the blessing o' my gaye ladye,
Gin thou'll make me sheriffe of this Foreste,
And a' my offspring after me."

" Will thou give me the keys of thy castell,

Wi' the blessing o' thy gaye ladye ?
I'se make thee sheriffe of Ettricke Foreste,

Surely while upward grows the tree ;
If you be not traitour to the king,

Forfaulted sail thou nevir be."

" But, Prince, what sail cum o' my men ?

When I gae back, traitour they'll ca' me,
I had rather lose my life and land,
Ere my merryemen rebuked me."

"Will your merryemen amend their lives ?

And a' their pardons I grant thee
Now, name thy landis where'er they lie,
And here I RENDER them to thee."


" Fair Philiphaugh is mine by right,

And Lewinshope still mine shall be ;
Newark, Foulshiells, and Tinnies baith,
My bow and arrow purchased me.

" And I have native steads to me,

The Newark Lee and Hangingshaw,
I have mony steads in the Foreste schaw,
But them by name I dinna knaw."

The keys of the castell he gave the King,

Wi' the blessing o' his feir ladye ;
He was made sheriffe of Ettricke Foreste,

Surely while upward grows the tree ;
And if he was na traitour to the King.

Forfaulted he suld never be.

Wha ever heard, in ony times,

Sicken an outlaw in his degre",
Sic favour get before a King,

As did the OUTLAW MURRAY of the Foreste free ?



* I A HE incident here recorded is of a similar nature to that
-* of "The Dowie Dens." The scene of the tragedy is
in the Glen of Blackhouse, a wild romantic region, through
which flows the Douglas Burn joining the Yarrow below the
public road in the neighbourhood of the Craig. " Blackhouse
was a very old possession of the great house of Douglas. One
of the family sat in a Parliament of Malcolm Canmore at
Forfar, as baronial lord of Douglas Burn. Whether or not the
lady who fled from her father's tower was a Douglas, it is now
impossible to say. But if she were, this would account for the
disparity in social rank between herself and her lover, at which
tradition hints. The bridle-road across the hills, which the
fleeing lovers are said to have followed, can still be easily traced.
It is one of the main old Border roads or riding tracks between
the Yarrow and the Tweed. From Blackhouse Tower, it leads
along the broad hill tops by way of the Hundleshope, or by
Crookstone, to the Tweed at Peebles, proceeding across the
watershed of the Douglas, Glenrath and Glensax Burns, and by
the ridge of the Fa' Seat the highest of the hills in that wild
district. From the central path various branches of roads
diverge, each traceable still to some ancient peel, with which it
afforded a ready connection to the mounted Borderer. The


knight and his lady love were making their way to the home of
the former when overtaken by her father and her seven brothers.
The stones which are said to mark the scene of the fatal conflict
are, however, greatly older than any reasonable date which can
be assigned to the story of the ballad, and, instead of their being
only seven, as is commonly alleged, there are eleven in all now
visible. Three of these are still standing, and eight are lying
flat on the ground. In form they present the appearance of a
semi-circle, the section forming the base lying to the north or
up the hill. The breadth of the section at the base is fifteen
paces, or about forty-five feet. The distance of every stone in
the circle from its neighbour seems to have been nine paces, or
twenty seven feet. The structure obviously belongs to the
general class of stone circles common on the Lowland hills,
which might have been places of judicature, or worship, or
burial, or all three. Still it is quite possible that in this, as in
other instances, these ancient stones became the scene of a
historical event." (History and Poetry of Scottish Border,
pp. 407-8.)

" RISE up, rise up, now, Lord Douglas," she says,
" And put on your armour so bright ;
Let it never be said that a daughter of thine
Was married to a lord under night.

" Rise up, rise up, my seven bold sons,
And put on your armour so bright,
And take better care of your youngest sister,
For your eldest's awa' the last night."


He's mounted her on a milk-white steed,

And himself on a dapple grey,
With a bugelet horn hung down by his side,

And lightly they rode away.

Lord William lookit o'er his left shoulder,

To see what he could see,
And there he spy'd her seven brethren bold,

Come riding o'er the lee.

" Light down, light down, Lady Marg'ret," he said,
" And hold my steed in your hand,
Until that against your seven brethren bold,
And your father, I make a stand."

She held his steed in her milk-white hand,

And never shed one tear,
Until that she saw her seven brethren fa',

And her father hard fighting, who loved her so dear.

" O hold your hand, Lord William !" she said,
" For your strokes they are wondrous sair ;
True lovers I can get many a ane,
But a father I can never get mair."

O she's ta'en out her handkerchief,

It was o' the holland sae fine,
And aye she dighted her father's bloody wounds,

That were redder than the wine.



" O chuse, O chuse, Lady Marg'ret," he said,
" O whether will ye gang or bide ? "

" I'll gang, I'll gang, Lord William," she said,
" For you have left me no other guide."

He's lifted her on a milk-white steed,

And himself on a dapple grey,
With a bugelet horn hung down by his side,

And slowly they baith rade away.

O they rade on, and on they rade,

And a' by the light of the moon,
Until they came to yon wan water,

And there they lighted down.

They lighted down to tak a drink

Of the spring that ran sae clear ;
And down the stream ran his gude heart's blood,

And sair she 'gan to fear.

" Hold up, hold up, Lord William," she says,

" For I fear that you are slain ! "
" Tis naething but the shadow of my scarlet cloak,
That shines in the water sae plain."

O they rade on, and on they rade,

And a' by the light of the moon,
Until they cam to his mother's ha' door,

And there they lighted down,


" Get up, get up, lady mother," he says,
" Get up, and let me in !
Get up, get up, lady mother," he says,
" For this night my fair lady I've win.

" O mak my bed, lady mother," he says,
" O mak it braid and deep !
And lay Lady Marg'ret close at my back,
And the sounder I will sleep."

Lord William was dead lang ere midnight,

Lady Marg'ret lang ere day
And all true lovers that go thegither,

May they have mair luck than they !

Lord William was buried in St. Marie's Kirk,

Lady Marg'ret in Marie's quire ;
Out o' the lady's grave grew a bonny red rose,

And out o' the knight's a brier.

And they twa met, and they twa plat,

And fain they wad be near;
And a' the warld might ken right weel,

They were twa lovers dear.

But bye and rade the Black Douglas,

And wow. but he was rough !
For he pull'd up the bonny brier,

And flang'd in St. Marie's Loch.




THE following is in some respects one of the most
interesting of all the Border ballads. It is suffused by a
pathetic feeling as tender and touching as anything of the kind
ever produced. The scene is vividly portrayed : every detail of
the sad story stamps itself indelibly upon the memory, and
captivates the imagination with an irresistible fascination. The
disconsolate widow weeping over her murdered husband ; the
overwhelming consciousness of loneliness and desolation ; the
tragic difficulty experienced in conveying the body to its last
resting place ; the unutterable agony with which she " laid the
mool' on his yellow hair," and "turned about awa' to gae;" and
the unconquerable strength of her affection for her " lovely
knight," which even death could not vanquish all these
elements in the tragedy are depicted with a graphic and realistic
power which has seldom been surpassed.

The scene of this tragedy is in the immediate neighbourhood
of St. Mary's Loch. In the preface to this ballad in the Border
Minstrelsy, Scott states that it was " obtained from recitation in


the Forrest of Ettrick, and is said to relate to the execution of
Cockburn of Henderland, a Border freebooter, hanged over the
gate of his own tower by James V, in the course of that memor-
able expedition, in 1529, which was fatal to Johnnie Armstrong,
Adam Scott of Tushielaw, and many other marauders." The
grave of Perys Cockburn and his wife Marjory is on a wooded
knoll on the banks of a small stream which joins the Meggat
near St. Mary's Loch, but it would appear that this ballad is in
no way applicable to this famous freebooter. Aytoun asserts
that it is only a skilful adaptation of an old English ballad
called "The Lady turned Serving-Man," which is printed in the
third volume of Percy's Reliques. He says : " The first three
stanzas are transferred almost verbatim ; and I observe, more-
over, that in the two last, the adapter has borrowed lines from
' Helen of Kirkconnel ' and ' The Twa' Corbies.' I cannot,
therefore, hold it to be ancient in its present shape, and with
reference to the incident to which Sir Walter Scott refers. Mr
Kinloch has given a Scottish version of the English ballad,
entitled ' Sweet Willie,' which has undergone the change to be
expected. No doubt there are several instances of ballads being
current, under slightly altered forms, both in England and
Scotland ; but in no case have I found the coincidence so close
as here ; and the fact that lines are also taken from extant and
undoubted Scottish ballads, seems to me a farther proof that
the ' Lament ' can only be regarded as a cento." Such
criticism, however, in no way affects the literary excellences of
the ballad.


MY love he built me a bonny bower,
And clad it a' wi' lilye flour,
A brawer bower ye ne'er did see,
Than my true love he built for me.

There came a man, by middle day,
He spied his sport, and went away,
And brought the King that very night,
Who brake my bower and slew my knight.

He slew my knight, to me sae dear ;
He slew my knight, and poin'd his gear ;
My servants all for life did flee,
And left me in extremitie.

I sew'd his sheet, making my mane ;
I watch'd the corpse myself alane ;
I watch'd his body night and day ;
No living creature came that way.

I took his body on my back,

And whiles I gaed, and whiles I sat ;

I digg'd a grave, and laid him in,

And happ'd him with the sod sae green.


But think na ye my heart was sair,
When I laid the moul' on his yellow hair ;
O think na ye my heart was wae,
When I turn'd. about, away to gae ?

Nae living man I'll love again,
Since that my lovely knight is slain,
Wi' ae lock of his yellow hair,
I'll chain my heart for evermair.




ALLAN RAMSAY was born Oct. 15, 1686, in the village of
Leadhills, Lanarkshire. On his father's side he was
descended from the Ramsays of Dalhousie, a fact which gave
the poet considerable satisfaction, as is evidenced by the lines :

" Dalhousie, of an auld descent
My chief, my stoupe, my ornament !"

His father was superintendent of the lead mines owned by
Lord Hopetoun. His mother was of English descent, the
daughter of a Derbyshire gentleman who had been brought to


Leadhills to introduce some improvements in the art of mining.
He was quite young when his father died, and not long after his
mother married a Mr Crichton, a small landholder in Lanark-
shire. Allan was educated in the parish school, and before he
left he was able to read Horace " faintly in the original." He
was apprenticed to a wig-maker in Edinburgh, an occupation
which most of his biographers are pleased to distinguish from
that of a barber. His vocation, which he was sometimes
humourously pleased to describe as that of a " skull thacker,"
was by no means uncongenial to the poet. He followed it long
after the term of his apprenticeship had expired. Ultimately he
became a bookseller, and started the first circulating library in
Scotland. His writings are voluminous, his best known pro-
duction being the " Gentle Shepherd," an exquisite pastoral,
much read by former generations, and still admired by every
true lover of poesy. He was prosperous in business, in this
respect presenting a pleasing contrast to the vast majority of the
votaries of the Muse. He died at Edinburgh, January 7th,
1758, in the seventy-third year of his age, and was buried
in Greyfriars' Churchyard.

His poems on Yarrow are not of a particularly high order.
He has not succeeded in catching the spirit of Yarrow and its
surroundings ; but they possess an interest all their own, coming
as they do from his pen, and that too at a period long anterior
to the time when Wordsworth and Scott were destined to
throw around the vale that bright halo of romance in which it is
now enshrined.



HAPPY'S the love which meets return,
When in soft flames souls equal burn ;
But words are wanting to discover,
The torments of a hopeless lover.

Ye registers of heav'n, relate,

If, looking o'er the rolls of fate,

Did you there see, mark'd for my marrow ?

Mary Scott, the flower of Yarrow ?

Ah, no ! her form's too heav'nly fair,
Her love the gods above must share,
While mortals with despair explore her,
And at a distance due adore her.

O, lovely maid ! my doubts beguile,
Revive and bless me with a smile ;
Alas ! if not you'll soon debar a
Sighing swain the banks of Yarrow.

Be hush, ye fears ! I'll not despair,
My Mary's tender as she's fair ;
Then I'll go tell her all my anguish,
She is too good to let me languish.

With success crown'd I'll not envy
The folks who dwell above the sky ;
When Mary Scott's become my marrow,
We'll make a paradise of Yarrow.



'TWAS summer, and the day was fair,
Resolv'd awhile to fly from care,
Beguiling thought, forgetting sorrow,
I wander' d o'er the braes of Yarrow ;
Till then despising beauty's power,
I kept my heart, my own secure ;
But Cupid's dart did there deceive me,
And Mary's charms do now enslave me.

Will cruel love no bribe receive ?
No ransome take for Mary's slave ?
Her frowns of rest and hope deprive me ;
Her. lively smiles like light revive me.
No bondage may with mine compare,
Since first I saw the charming fair :
This beauteous flower, this rose of Yarrow,
In nature's gardens has no marrow.

Had I of heaven but one request,
I'd ask to lie in Mary's breast ;
There would I live or die with pleasure,
Nor spare this world one moment's leisure;
Despising kings and all that's great,
I'd smile at court's and courtier's fate ;
My joy complete on such a marrow,
I'd dwell with her and live on Yarrow.


But tho' such I ne'er should gain,
Contented still I'll wear my chain,
In hopes my faithful heart may move her,
For leaving life I'll always love her.
What doubts distract a lover's mind ?
That breast, all softness, must prove kind ;
And she shall yet become my marrow
The lovely, beauteous Rose of Yarrow.



WILLIAM HAMILTON, of Bangour, was born of an
ancient and wealthy Ayrshire family in the year 1704.
His poetic genius asserted itself at an early age. Before he was
twenty he had contributed several poems to Allan Ramsay's
renowned Tea-table Miscellany. He was a man of fine culture,
and of the most elegant manners ; was highly popular with the
aristocracy of his native county, and won for himself the
appellation of " the elegant and amiable Hamilton." Like the
majority of young men of that age, he had strong Jacobite
sympathies ; and, as happened in numerous other cases, he had
to " bear the brunt " of his loyalty to the Stuarts. When the
battle of Culloden finally determined the fate of the Pretender,
he was fain to seek a refuge among the wild fastnesses of the
Highlands. Here he wandered for a considerable time, under-
going great privations, until ultimately he succeeded in making
his escape to France. After living in exile for some time, his
friends brought influence to bear upon the government in his
favour, with the result that he was restored to his country, and to
the paternal estate which he had forfeited. His health was
never robust. He died, after a lingering illness in Lyons,
France, on March 25th, 1754, in the fiftieth year of his age.


The first edition of his poems was published, without his
name or consent, in Glasgow, in the year 1748. The first
genuine edition was published by his friends in 1760 with
a portrait by Strange. The best and most complete edition
of his poems, edited by James Paterson, appeared in 1850.

His reputation as a poet may be said to rest mainly on his
exquisite lyric, " The Braes of Yarrow." Many of his other
poems reveal qualities of a high order, but this production is of
such distinguished merit as to completely put all his other
effusions into the shade. It is highly probable that his poems
as a whole may be forgotten, and pass into oblivion, but as long
as Yarrow possesses charms for the poetic mind, and as long as
the heart is susceptible of pure and lofty emotion, so long will
" The Braes of Yarrow," be read, and sung, and admired.


A. BUSK ye, busk ye, my bonny, bonny bride;

Busk ye, busk ye, my winsome marrow !
Busk ye, busk ye, my bonny, bonny bride,
And think nae mair on the braes of Yarrow.

B. Where gat ye that bonny, bonny bride ?

Where gat ye that winsome marrow ?
I gat her where I darena weel be seen,
Pu'ing the birks on the braes of Yarrow.

Weep not, weep not, my bonny, bonny bride ;

Weep not, weep not, my winsome marrow !
Nor let thy heart lament to leave

Pu'ing the birks on the braes of Yarrow.


B. Why does she weep, thy bonny, bonny bride ?
Why does she weep, thy winsome marrow ?
And why dare ye nae mair weel be seen,
Pu'ing the birks on the braes of Yarrow ?

A. Lang maun she weep, lang maun she, maun she weep,

Lang must she weep with dool and sorrow,
And lang maun I nae mair weel be seen
Pu'ing the birks on the braes of Yarrow.

For she has tint her lover, lover dear,

Her lover dear, the cause of sorrow ;
And I hae slain the comliest swain

That e'er pu'd birks on the braes of Yarrow.

Why runs the stream, O Yarrow, Yarrow, red ?

Why on thy braes heard the voice of sorrow ?
And why yon melancholious weeds,

Hung on the bonny birks of Yarrow ?

What's yonder floats on the rueful, rueful flude ?

What's yonder floats ? O, dool and sorrow !
'Tis he, the comely swain I slew

Upon the doolful braes of Yarrow.

Wash, O wash his wounds, his wounds in tears,
His wounds in tears of dool and sorrow,

And wrap his limbs in mourning weeds,
And lay him on the braes of Yarrow.


Then build, then build, ye sisters, sisters sad,

Ye sisters sad, his tomb with sorrow,
And weep around in waeful wise,

His helpless fate on the braes of Yarrow.

Curse ye, curse ye, his useless, useless shield,
My arm that wrought the deed of sorrow,

The fatal spear that pierced his breast,

His comely breast, on the braes of Yarrow.

Did I not warn thee not to, not to lo'e,
And warn from fight ? but to my sorrow ;

Ower rashly bauld, a stronger arm

Thou mett'st, and fell on the braes of Yarrow.

Sweet smells the birk, green grows, green grows the grass,

Yellow on Yarrow's braes the gowan,
Fair hangs the apple frae the rock,

Sweet the wave of Yarrow flowin'.

Flows Yarrow sweet ? as sweet, as sweet flows Tweed,

As green its grass, its gowan as yellow,
As sweet smells on its braes the birk,

The apple from its rocks as mellow.

Fair was thy love, fair, fair indeed thy love,

In flow'ry bands thou did'st him fetter ;
Though he was fair, and weel beloved again,

Than me he never lov'd thee better.


Busk ye, then busk, my bonny bonny bride,
Busk ye, busk ye, my winsome marrow,

Busk ye, and lo'e me on the banks of Tweed,
And think nae mair on the braes of Yarrow.

C. How can I busk a bonny bonny bride,

How can I busk a winsome marrow,

How lo'e him on the banks of Tweed,

That slew my love on the braes of Yarrow ?

O Yarrow fields, may never, never rain,

Nor dew thy tender blossoms cover,
For there was basely slain my love,

My love, as he had not been a lover.

The boy put on his robes, his robes of green,

His purple vest, 'twas my ain sewing,
Ah ! wretched me ! I little, little kenn'd,

He was in these to meet his ruin.

The boy took out his milk-white, milk-white steed,

Unheedful of my dule and sorrow,
But ere the to-fall of the night,

He lay a corpse on the braes of Yarrow.

Much I rejoic'd that woful, woful day;

I sang, my voice the woods returning ;
But lang ere night the spear was flown

That slew my love, and left me mourning.


What can my barbarous, barbarous father do,
But with his cruel rage pursue me ?

My lover's blood is on thy spear ;

How canst thou, barbarous man, then woo me ?

My happy sisters may be, may be proud,

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