Then he cut aff her head Fra her lily breast bane, And he hung 't up in the kitchen, It made a' the ha' shine. 90
The lord sat in England A-drinking the wine: "I wish a' may be weel Wi' my lady at hame; For the rings o' my fingers 95 They're now burst in twain!"
He saddled his horse, And he came riding doun; But as soon as he viewed, Belinkin was in. 100
He hadna weel stepped Twa steps up the stair, Till he saw his pretty young son Lying dead on the floor.
He hadna weel stepped 105 Other twa up the stair, Till he saw his pretty lady Lying dead in despair.
He hanged Belinkin Out over the gate; 110 And he burnt the fause nurice, Being under the grate.
43. _Tores._ The projections or knobs at the corners of old-fashioned cradles, and the ornamented balls commonly found surmounting the backs of old chairs. MOTHERWELL.
THE LAIRD OF WARISTOUN.
Jamieson and Kinloch have each published a highly dramatic fragment of this terrible story. Both of these are here given, and in the Appendix may be seen Buchan's more extensive, but far less poetical version. With this last, we have printed Mr. Chambers's account of the events on which these ballads are founded.
Jamieson's copy was taken down by Sir Walter Scott, from the recitation of his mother. _Popular Ballads_, i. 109.
Down by yon garden green Sae merrily as she gaes; She has twa weel-made feet, And she trips upon her taes.
She has twa weel-made feet; 5 Far better is her hand; She's as jimp in the middle As ony willow-wand.
"Gif ye will do my bidding, At my bidding for to be, 10 It's I will make you lady Of a' the lands you see."
He spak a word in jest; Her answer wasna good; He threw a plate at her face, 15 Made it a' gush out o' blood.
She wasna frae her chamber A step but barely three, When up and at her richt hand There stood Man's Enemy. 20
"Gif ye will do my bidding, At my bidding for to be; I'll learn you a wile Avenged for to be."
The Foul Thief knotted the tether; 25 She lifted his head on hie; The nourice drew the knot That gar'd lord Waristoun die.
Then word is gane to Leith, Also to Edinburgh town, 30 That the lady had kill'd the laird, The laird o' Waristoun.
"Tak aff, tak aff my hood, But lat my petticoat be; Put my mantle o'er my head; 35 For the fire I downa see.
"Now, a' ye gentle maids, Tak warning now by me, And never marry ane But wha pleases your e'e. 40
"For he married me for love, But I married him for fee; And sae brak out the feud That gar'd my dearie die."
LAIRD OF WARIESTOUN.
Kinloch's _Ancient Scottish Ballads_, p. 53.
It was at dinner as they sat, And when they drank the wine, How happy were the laird and lady Of bonnie Wariestoun.
The lady spak but ae word, 5 The matter to conclude; The laird strak her on the mouth, Till she spat out o' blude.
She did not know the way Her mind to satisfy, 10 Till evil cam into her head All by the Enemy.
"At evening when ye sit And when ye drink the wine, See that ye fill the glass well up 15 To the laird o' Wariestoun."
So at table as they sat, And when they drank the wine, She made the glass aft gae round To the laird o' Wariestoun. 20
The nurice she knet the knot, And O she knet it sicker; The ladie did gie it a twig, Till it began to wicker.
But word has gane doun to Leith, 25 And up to Embro toun, That the lady she has slain the laird, The laird o' Wariestoun.
Word's gane to her father, the great Duniepace, And an angry man was he; 30 Cries, "Fy! gar mak a barrel o' pikes, And row her doun some brae."
She said, "Wae be to ye, Wariestoun, I wish ye may sink for ain; For I hae been your gudwife 35 These nine years, running ten; And I never loved ye sae weill As now when you're lying slain."
"But tak aff this gowd brocade, And let my petticoat be, 40 And tie a handkerchief round my face, That the people may not see."
THE QUEEN'S MARIE.
Of this affecting ballad different editions have appeared in Scott's _Minstrelsy_, Sharpe's _Ballad Book_, p. 18, Kinloch's _Scottish Ballads_, and Motherwell's _Minstrelsy_. There is also a fragment in Maidment's _North Countrie Garland_, which has been reprinted in Buchan's _Gleanings_, p. 164, and a very inferior version, with a different catastrophe, in Buchan's larger collection, (ii. 190,) called _Warenston and the Duke of York's Daughter_. Kinloch's copy may be found with Maidment's fragment, in the Appendix to this volume: Motherwell's immediately after the present.
Sir Walter Scott conceives the ballad to have had its foundation in an event which took place early in the reign of Mary Stuart, described by Knox as follows: "In the very time of the General Assembly, there comes to public knowledge a haynous murther, committed in the court; yea, not far from the Queen's lap; for a French woman, that served in the Queen's chamber, had played the whore with the Queen's own apothecary. The woman conceived and bare a childe, whom, with common consent, the father and mother murthered; yet were the cries of a new-borne childe hearde, searche was made, the childe and the mother were both apprehended, and so were the man and the woman condemned to be hanged in the publicke street of Edinburgh. The punishment was suitable, because the crime was haynous. But yet was not the court purged of whores and whoredoms, which was the fountaine of such enormities: for it was well known that shame hasted marriage betwixt John Sempill, called the Dancer, and Mary Levingston, sirnamed the Lusty. What bruit the Maries, and the rest of the dancers of the court had, _the ballads of that age_ doe witnesse, which we for modestie's sake omit. KNOX'S _History of the Reformation_, p. 373.
"Such," Sir Walter goes on to say, "seems to be the subject of the following ballad, as narrated by the stern apostle of Presbytery. It will readily strike the reader, that the tale has suffered great alterations, as handed down by tradition; the French waiting woman being changed into Mary Hamilton, and the Queen's apothecary into Henry Darnley. Yet this is less surprising, when we recollect, that one of the heaviest of the Queen's complaints against her ill-fated husband, was his infidelity, and that even with her personal attendants."
Satisfactorily as the circumstances of Knox's story may agree with those of the ballads, a coincidence no less striking, and extending even to the name, is presented by an incident which occurred at the court of Peter the Great. "During the reign of the Czar Peter," observes Mr. C.
K. Sharpe, "one of his Empress's attendants, a Miss Hamilton, was executed for the murder of a natural child,--not her first crime in that way, as was suspected; and the Emperor, whose admiration of her beauty did not preserve her life, stood upon the scaffold till her head was struck off, which he lifted by the ears and kissed on the lips. I cannot help thinking that the two stories have been confused in the ballad; for, if Marie Hamilton was executed in Scotland, it is not likely that her relations resided beyond seas; and we have no proof that Hamilton was really the name of the woman who made the slip with the Queen's apothecary."