He look'd atween him and the sun, And a' to see what there might be, 80 Till he spied a man in armour bright, Was riding that way most hastilie.
"O wha is yon, that came this way, Sae hastilie that hither came?
I think it be my brother dear, 85 I think it be young Christie Graeme.
"Ye're welcome here, my billie dear, And thrice ye're welcome unto me!"-- "But I'm wae to say, I've seen the day, When I am come to fight wi' thee. 90
"My father's gane to Carlisle town, Wi' your father Bewick there met he: He says I'm a lad, and I am but bad, And a baffled man I trow I be.
"He sent me to schools, and I wadna learn; 95 He gae me books, and I wadna read; Sae my father's blessing I'll never earn, Till he see how my arm can guard my head."
"O God forbid, my billie dear, That ever such a thing suld be! 100 We'll take three men on either side, And see if we can our fathers agree."
"O hald thy tongue, now, billie Bewick, And of thy talking let me be!
But if thou'rt a man, as I'm sure thou art, 105 Come o'er the dyke, and fight wi' me."
"But I hae nae harness, billie, on my back,[L107]
As weel I see there is on thine."-- "But as little harness as is on thy back, As little, billie, shall be on mine."-- 110
Then he's thrown aff his coat o' mail, His cap of steel away flung he; He stuck his spear into the ground, And he tied his horse unto a tree.
Then Bewick has thrown aff his cloak, 115 And's psalter-book frae's hand flung he; He laid his hand upon the dyke, And ower he lap most manfullie.
O they hae fought for twae lang hours; When twae lang hours were come and gane, 120 The sweat drapp'd fast frae aff them baith, But a drap of blude could not be seen.
Till Graeme gae Bewick an ackward stroke, Ane ackward stroke strucken sickerlie; He has hit him under the left breast, 125 And dead-wounded to the ground fell he.
"Rise up, rise up, now, billie dear, Arise and speak three words to me!
Whether thou's gotten thy deadly wound, Or if God and good leeching may succour thee?" 130
"O horse, O horse, now, billie Graeme, And get thee far from hence with speed; And get thee out of this country, That none may know who has done the deed."--
"O I have slain thee, billie Bewick, 135 If this be true thou tellest to me; But I made a vow, ere I came frae hame, That aye the next man I wad be."
He has pitch'd his sword in a moodie-hill, And he has leap'd twenty lang feet and three, 140 And on his ain sword's point he lap, And dead upon the ground fell he.
'Twas then came up Sir Robert Bewick, And his brave son alive saw he; "Rise up, rise up, my son," he said, 145 "For I think ye hae gotten the victorie."
"O hald your tongue, my father dear, Of your prideful talking let me be!
Ye might hae drunken your wine in peace, And let me and my billie be. 150
"Gae dig a grave, baith wide and deep, And a grave to hald baith him and me; But lay Christie Graeme on the sunny side, For I'm sure he wan the victorie."
"Alack! a wae!" auld Bewick cried, 155 "Alack! was I not much to blame?
I'm sure I've lost the liveliest lad That e'er was born unto my name."
"Alack! a wae!" quo' gude Lord Graeme, "I'm sure I hae lost the deeper lack! 160 I durst hae ridden the Border through, Had Christie Graeme been at my back.
"Had I been led through Liddesdale, And thirty horsemen guarding me, And Christie Graeme been at my back, 165 Sae soon as he had set me free!
"I've lost my hopes, I've lost my joy, I've lost the key but and the lock; I durst hae ridden the world round, Had Christie Graeme been at my back." 170
15, Scott, Ye sent;
16, Ye bought.
22. Newcastle C. B., and hay.
Shall I venture my body in field to fight With a man that's faith and troth to me?
N. C. B.
107-118. Instead of this passage, the Newcastle copy has the following stanzas:--
He flang his cloak from off his shoulders, His psalm-book from his pouch flang he, He clapped his hand upon the hedge, And o'er lap he right wantonly.
When Graham did see his bully come, The salt tears stood long in his ee; "Now needs must I say thou art a man, That dare venture thy body to fight with me.
"Nay, I have a harness on my back; I know that thou hast none on thine; But as little as thou hast on thy back, As little shall there be on mine."
He flang his jacket from off his back, His cap of steel from his head flang he; He's taken his spear into his hand, He's ty'd his horse unto a tree.
THE LAMENT OF THE BORDER WIDOW.
_Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border_, iii. 94.
This fragment was obtained from recitation in Ettrick Forest, where it is said to refer to the execution of Cockburne, of Henderland, a freebooter, hanged by James V. over the gate of his own tower. There is another version in Johnson's _Museum_, (_Oh Ono Chrio_, p. 90,) which, Dr. Blacklock informed Burns, was composed on the massacre of Glencoe.
But in fact, these verses seem to be, as Motherwell has remarked, only a portion (expanded, indeed,) of _The Famous Flower of Serving Men_: see vol. iv. p. 174.
There are some verbal differences between Scott's copy and the one in Chambers's _Scottish Songs_, i. 174.
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, 5 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; 10 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; 15 No living creature came that way.
I tuk 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. 20
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, 25 Since that my lovely knight is slain; Wi' ae lock of his yellow hair I'll chain my heart for ever mair.