I wish I were where Helen lies!
Night and day on me she cries; And I am weary of the skies, For her sake that died for me. 40
THE LOWLANDS OF HOLLAND.
Mr. Stenhouse was informed that this ballad was composed, about the beginning of the last century, by a young widow in Galloway, whose husband was drowned on a voyage to Holland. (_Musical Museum_, ed.
1853, iv. 115.) But some of the verses appear to be old, and one stanza will be remarked to be of common occurrence in ballad poetry.
A fragment of this piece was published in Herd's collection, (ii.
49.) Our copy is from Johnson's _Museum_, p. 118, with the omission, however, of one spurious and absurd stanza, while another, not printed by Johnson, is supplied from the note above cited to the new edition. Cunningham makes sense of the interpolated verses and retains them; otherwise his version is nearly the same as the present. (_Songs of Scotland_, ii. 181.)
"The love that I have chosen, I'll therewith be content, The saut sea shall be frozen Before that I repent; Repent it shall I never, 5 Until the day I die, But the lowlands of Holland Hae twinn'd my love and me.
"My love lies in the saut sea, And I am on the side, 10 Enough to break a young thing's heart, Wha lately was a bride; Wha lately was a bonnie bride, And pleasure in her e'e, But the lowlands of Holland 15 Hae twinn'd my love and me.
"My love he built a bonnie ship, And set her to the sea, Wi' seven score brave mariners To bear her companie; 20 Threescore gaed to the bottom, And threescore died at sea, And the lowlands of Holland Hae twinn'd my love and me.
"My love has built another ship 25 And set her to the main; He had but twenty mariners, And all to bring her hame; The stormy winds did roar again, The raging waves did rout, 30 And my love and his bonnie ship Turn'd widdershins about.
"There shall nae mantle cross my back,[L33]
Nor kame gae in my hair, Neither shall coal nor candle light 35 Shine in my bower mair; Nor shall I chuse anither love, Until the day I die, Since the lowlands of Holland Hae twinn'd my love and me." 40
"O haud your tongue, my daughter dear, Be still, and be content; There are mair lads in Galloway, Ye need nae sair lament."
"O there is nane in Galloway,[L45] 45 There's nane at a' for me; For I never loved a lad but ane, And he's drowned in the sea."
33-36, 45-48. With the conclusion of this piece may be compared a passage from _Bonny Bee-Ho'm_, vol. iii. p. 57.
"Ohon, alas! what shall I do, Tormented night and day!
I never loved a love but ane, And now he's gone away.
"But I will do for my true love What ladies would think sair; For seven years shall come and gae, Ere a kaime gae in my hair.
"There shall neither a shoe gae on my foot, Nor a kaime gae in my hair, Nor ever a coal or candle light Shine in my bower nae mair."
See also _The Weary Coble o' Cargill_.
THE TWA BROTHERS.
From Jamieson's _Popular Ballads_, i. 59.
The ballad of the _Twa Brothers_, like many of the domestic tragedies with which it is grouped in this volume, is by no means the peculiar property of the island of Great Britain. It finds an exact counterpart in the Swedish ballad _Sven i Rosengrd_, _Svenska F. V._, No. 67, Arwidsson, No. 87, A, B, which, together with a Finnish version of the same story, thought to be derived from the Swedish, will be found translated in our Appendix. _Edward_, in Percy's _Reliques_, has the same general theme, with the difference that a father is murdered instead of a brother. Motherwell[C] has printed a ballad (_Son Davie_) closely agreeing with _Edward_, except that the crime is again fratricide. He has also furnished another version of _The Twa Brothers_, in which the catastrophe is the consequence of an accident, and this circumstance has led the excellent editor to tax Jamieson with altering one of the most essential features of the ballad, by filling out a defective stanza with four lines that make one brother to have slain the other in a quarrel. Jamieson is, however, justified in giving this more melancholy character to the story, by the tenor of all the kindred pieces, and by the language of his own. It will be observed that both in _Edward_ and _Son Davie_, the wicked act was not only deliberate, but was even instigated by the mother. The departure from the original is undoubtedly on the part of Motherwell's copy, which has softened down a shocking incident to accommodate a modern and refined sentiment. But Jamieson is artistically, as well as critically right, since the effect of the contrast of the remorse of one party and the generosity of the other is heightened by representing the terrible event as the result of ungoverned passion.
[C] The stanza mentioned by Motherwell, as occurring in Werner's _Twenty Fourth of February_, (Scene i.) is apparently only a quotation from memory of Herder's translation of _Edward_. When Motherwell became aware that a similar tradition was common to the Northern nations of Europe, he could no longer have thought it possible that an occurrence in the family history of the Somervilles gave rise to _The Twa Brothers_.
The three Scottish ballads mentioned above, here follow, and Motherwell's _Twa Brothers_ will be found in the Appendix. Mr.
Sharpe has inserted a third copy of this in his _Ballad Book_, p.
56. Another is said to be in _The Scot's Magazine_, for June, 1822.
Placing no confidence in any of Allan Cunningham's _souvenirs_ of Scottish Song, we simply state that one of them, composed upon the theme of the _Twa Brothers_, is included in the _Songs of Scotland_, ii. 16.
"The common title of this ballad is, _The Twa Brothers_, or, _The Wood o' Warslin_, but the words _o' Warslin_ appearing to the editor, as will be seen in the text, to be a mistake for _a-wrestling_, he took the liberty of altering it accordingly. After all, perhaps, the title may be right; and the wood may afterwards have obtained its denomination from the tragical event here celebrated. A very few lines inserted by the editor to fill up chasms, [some of which have been omitted,] are inclosed in brackets; the text, in other respects, is given genuine, as it was taken down from the recitation of Mrs. Arrott." JAMIESON.
"O will ye gae to the school, brother?
Or will ye gae to the ba'?
Or will ye gae to the wood a-warslin, To see whilk o's maun fa'?"
"It's I winna gae to the school, brother; 5 Nor will I gae to the ba'?
But I will gae to the wood a-warslin; And it is you maun fa'."
They warstled up, they warstled down, The lee-lang simmer's day; 10 [And nane was near to part the strife, That raise atween them tway, Till out and Willie's drawn his sword, And did his brother slay.]
"O lift me up upon your back; 15 Tak me to yon wall fair; You'll wash my bluidy wounds o'er and o'er, And syne they'll bleed nae mair.
"And ye'll tak aff my Hollin sark, And riv't frae gair to gair; 20 Ye'll stap it in my bluidy wounds, And syne they'll bleed nae mair."
He's liftit his brother upon his back; Ta'en him to yon wall fair; He's washed his bluidy wounds o'er and o'er, 25 But ay they bled mair and mair.
And he's ta'en aff his Hollin sark, And riven't frae gair to gair; He's stappit it in his bluidy wounds; But ay they bled mair and mair. 30
"Ye'll lift me up upon your back, Tak me to Kirkland fair;[L32]
Ye'll mak my greaf baith braid and lang, And lay my body there.
"Ye'll lay my arrows at my head, 35 My bent bow at my feet; My sword and buckler at my side, As I was wont to sleep.
"Whan ye gae hame to your father, He'll speer for his son John:-- 40 Say, ye left him into Kirkland fair, Learning the school alone.
"When ye gae hame to my sister, She'll speer for her brother John:-- Ye'll say, ye left him in Kirkland fair, 45 The green grass growin aboon.
"Whan ye gae hame to my true love, She'll speer for her lord John:-- Ye'll say, ye left him in Kirkland fair, But hame ye fear he'll never come."-- 50
He's gane hame to his father; He speered for his son John: "It's I left him into Kirkland fair, Learning the school alone."
And whan he gaed hame to his sister, 55 She speered for her brother John:-- "It's I left him into Kirkland fair, The green grass growin aboon."
And whan he gaed hame to his true love, She speer'd for her lord John: 60 "It's I left him into Kirkland fair, And hame I fear he'll never come."
"But whaten bluid's that on your sword, Willie?