_Aye as the gowans grow gay_; "And ye shall be the eight o' them," 35 _The first morning in May_.
"O sit down a while, lay your head on my knee,"
_Aye as the gowans grow gay_; "That we may hae some rest before that I die,"
_The first morning in May_. 40
She stroak'd him sae fast, the nearer he did creep, _Aye as the gowans grow gay_; Wi' a sma' charm she lull'd him fast asleep, _The first morning in May_.
"Wi' his ain sword belt sae fast as she ban' him, 45 _Aye as the gowans grow gay_; With his ain dag-durk sae sair as she dang him, _The first morning in May_.
"If seven kings' daughters here ye ha'e slain,"
_Aye as the gowans grow gay_, 50 "Lye ye here, a husband to them a',"
_The first morning in May_.
THE WATER O' WEARIE'S WELL.
From Buchan's _Ballads of the North of Scotland_, ii. 201. Repeated in Scottish _Traditional Versions of Ancient Ballads_, Percy Society, xvii. 63.
The three ballads which follow, diverse as they may now appear, after undergoing successive corruptions, were primarily of the same type. In the first (which may be a compound of two ballads, like the preceding, the conclusion being taken from a story of the character of _May Colvin_ in the next volume) the Merman or Nix may be easily recognized: in the second he is metamorphosed into the Devil; and in the third, into a ghost. Full details upon the corresponding Scandinavian, German, and Slavic legends, are given by Grundtvig, in the preface to _Noekkens Svig, Danmarks G. Folkeviser_, ii. 57: translated by Jamieson, i. 210, and by Monk Lewis, _Tales of Wonder_, No. 11.
There came a bird out o' a bush, On water for to dine; And sighing sair, says the king's daughter, "O waes this heart o' mine!"
He's taen a harp into his hand, 5 He's harped them all asleep; Except it was the king's daughter, Who ae wink cou'dna get.
He's luppen on his berry-brown steed, Taen her on behind himsell; 10 Then baith rade down to that water, That they ca' Wearie's well.
"Wide in, wide in, my lady fair, Nae harm shall thee befall; Aft times hae I water'd my steed, 15 Wi' the water o' Wearie's well."
The first step that she stepped in, She stepped to the knee; And sighing sair, says this lady fair, "This water's nae for me." 20
"Wide in, wide in, my lady fair, Nae harm shall thee befall; Aft times hae I water'd my steed, Wi' the water o' Wearie's well."
The next step that she stepped in, 25 She stepped to the middle; And sighing, says, this lady fair, "I've wat my gowden girdle."
"Wide in, wide in, my lady fair, Nae harm shall thee befall; 30 Aft times hae I water'd my steed, Wi' the water o' Wearie's well."
The niest step that she stepped in, She stepped to the chin; And sighing, says, this lady fair, 35 "They shou'd gar twa loves twine."
"Seven king's-daughters I've drown'd there, In the water o' Wearie's well; And I'll make you the eight o' them, And ring the common bell." 40
"Sin' I am standing here," she says, "This dowie death to die; Ae kiss o' your comely mouth I'm sure wou'd comfort me."
He louted him ower his saddle bow, 45 To kiss her cheek and chin; She's taen him in her arms twa, And thrown him headlang in.
"Sin' seven king's daughters ye've drown'd there, In the water o' Wearie's well, 50 I'll make you bridegroom to them a', An' ring the bell mysell."
And aye she warsled, and aye she swam, Till she swam to dry land; Then thanked God most cheerfully, 55 The dangers she'd ower came.
THE DaeMON LOVER.
This ballad was communicated to Sir Walter Scott, (_Minstrelsy_, iii.
195,) by Mr. William Laidlaw, who took it down from recitation. A fragment of the same legend, recovered by Motherwell, is given in the Appendix to this volume, and another version, in which the hero is not a daemon, but the ghost of an injured lover, is placed directly after the present.
The Devil (Auld _Nick_) here takes the place of the Merman (Nix) of the ancient ballad. See p. 198, and the same natural substitution noted in _K.u.H._--_Marchen_, 3d ed. iii. 253.
"O where have you been, my long, long love, This long seven years and more?"-- "O I'm come to seek my former vows Ye granted me before."--
"O hold your tongue of your former vows, 5 For they will breed sad strife; O hold your tongue of your former vows, For I am become a wife."
He turn'd him right and round about, And the tear blinded his ee; 10 "I wad never hae trodden on Irish ground, If it had not been for thee.
"I might hae had a king's daughter, Far, far beyond the sea; I might have had a king's daughter, 15 Had it not been for love o' thee."--
"If ye might have had a king's daughter, Yer sell ye had to blame; Ye might have taken the king's daughter, For ye kend that I was nane."-- 20
"O faulse are the vows of womankind, But fair is their faulse bodie; I never wad hae trodden on Irish ground, Had it not been for love o' thee."--
"If I was to leave my husband dear, 25 And my two babes also, O what have you to take me to, If with you I should go?"--
"I hae seven ships upon the sea, The eighth brought me to land; 30 With four-and-twenty bold mariners, And music on every hand."
She has taken up her two little babes, Kiss'd them baith cheek and chin; "O fair ye weel, my ain two babes, 35 For I'll never see you again."
She set her foot upon the ship, No mariners could she behold; But the sails were o' the taffetie, And the masts o' the beaten gold. 40
She had not sail'd a league, a league, A league but barely three, When dismal grew his countenance, And drumlie grew his ee.
The masts that were like the beaten gold, 45 Bent not on the heaving seas; But the sails, that were o' the taffetie, Fill'd not in the east land breeze.--
They had not sailed a league, a league, A league but barely three, 50 Until she espied his cloven foot, And she wept right bitterlie.
"O hold your tongue of your weeping," says he, "Of your weeping now let me be; I will show you how the lilies grow 55 On the banks of Italy."--
"O what hills are yon, yon pleasant hills, That the sun shines sweetly on?"-- "O yon are the hills of heaven," he said, "Where you will never win."-- 60
"O whaten a mountain is yon," she said, "All so dreary wi' frost and snow?"-- "O yon is the mountain of hell," he cried, "Where you and I will go."
And aye when she turn'd her round about, 65 Aye taller he seem'd for to be; Until that the tops o' that gallant ship Nae taller were than he.
The clouds grew dark, and the wind grew loud, And the levin fill'd her ee; 70 And waesome wail'd the snaw-white sprites Upon the gurlie sea.