"O hold thy hand, thou savage moor, 105 To hurt her do forbear, Or else be sure, if I do live, Wild horses shall thee tear."
With that the rogue ran to the wall, He having had his will, 110 And brought one child under his arm, His dearest blood to spill.
The child, seeing his father there, To him for help did call: "O father! help my mother dear, 115 We shall be killed all."
Then fell the lord upon his knee, And did the moor intreat, To save the life of this poor child, Whose fear was then so great. 120
But this vile wretch the little child By both the heels did take And dash'd his brains against the wall, Whilst parent's hearts did ake: That being done, straightway he ran 125 The other child to fetch, And pluck'd it from the mother's breast, Most like a cruel wretch.
Within one hand a knife he brought, The child within the other; 130 And holding it over the wall, Saying, "Thus shall die thy mother,"
With that he cut the throat of it; Then to the father he did call, To look how he the head did cut, 135 And down the head did fall.
This done, he threw it down the wall Into the moat so deep; Which made the father wring his hands, And grievously to weep. 140 Then to the lady went this rogue, Who was near dead with fear, Yet this vile wretch most cruelly Did drag her by the hair;
And drew her to the very wall, 145 Which when her lord did see, Then presently he cried out, And fell upon his knee: Quoth he, "If thou wilt save her life, Whom I do love so dear, 150 I will forgive thee all is past, Though they concern me near.
"O save her life, I thee beseech; O save her, I thee pray, And I will grant thee what thou wilt 155 Demand of me this day."
"Well," quoth the moor, "I do regard The moan that thou dost make: If thou wilt grant me what I ask, I'll save her for thy sake." 160
"O save her life, and then demand Of me what thing thou wilt."
"Cut off thy nose, and not one drop Of her blood shall be spilt."
With that the lord presently took 165 A knife within his hand, And then his nose he quite cut off, In place where he did stand.
"Now I have bought my lady's life,"
He to the moor did call; 170 "Then take her," quoth this wicked rogue, And down he let her fall.
Which when her gallant lord did see, His senses all did fail; Yet many sought to save his life, 175 But nothing could prevail.
When as the moor did see him dead, Then did he laugh amain At them who for their gallant lord And lady did complain: 180 Quoth he, "I know you'll torture me, If that you can me get, But all your threats I do not fear, Nor yet regard one whit.
"Wild horses shall my body tear, 185 I know it to be true, But I prevent you of that pain:"
And down himself he threw.
Too good a death for such a wretch, A villain void of fear! 190 And thus doth end as sad a tale As ever man did hear.
KING MALCOLM AND SIR COLVIN. See p. 173.
From Buchan's _Ballads of the North of Scotland_, ii. 6.
There ance liv'd a king in fair Scotland, King Malcolm called by name; Whom ancient history gives record, For valour, worth, and fame.
And it fell ance upon a day, 5 The king sat down to dine; And then he miss'd a favourite knight, Whose name was Sir Colvin.
But out it speaks another knight, Ane o' Sir Colvin's kin; 10 "He's lyin' in bed, right sick in love, All for your daughter Jean."
"O waes me," said the royal king, "I'm sorry for the same; She maun take bread and wine sae red, 15 Give it to Sir Colvin."
Then gently did she bear the bread, Her page did carry the wine, And set a table at his bed;-- "Sir Colvin, rise and dine." 20
"O well love I the wine, lady, Come frae your lovely hand; But better love I your fair body, Than all fair Scotland's strand."
"O hold your tongue now, Sir Colvin, 25 Let all your folly be; My love must be by honour won, Or nane shall enjoy me.
"But on the head o' Elrick's hill, Near by yon sharp hawthorn, 30 Where never a man with life e'er came, Sin our sweet Christ was born;--
"O ye'll gang there and walk a' night, And boldly blaw your horn; With honour that ye do return, 35 Ye'll marry me the morn."
Then up it raise him, Sir Colvin, And dress'd in armour keen; And he is on to Elrick's hill, Without light of the meen. 40
At midnight mark the meen upstarts; The knight walk'd up and down; While loudest cracks o' thunder roar'd, Out ower the bent sae brown.
Then by the twinkling of an e'e 45 He spied an armed knight; A fair lady bearing his brand, Wi' torches burning bright.
Then he cried high, as he came nigh, "Coward, thief, I bid you flee! 50 There is not ane comes to this hill, But must engage wi' me.
"Ye'll best take road before I come, And best take foot and flee; Here is a sword baith sharp and broad, 55 Will quarter you in three."
Sir Colvin said, "I'm not afraid Of any here I see; You hae not ta'en your God before; Less dread hae I o' thee." 60
Sir Colvin then he drew his sword, His foe he drew his brand; And they fought there on Elrick's hill Till they were bluidy men.
The first an' stroke the knight he strake, 65 Gae Colvin a slight wound; The next an' stroke Lord Colvin strake, Brought's foe unto the ground.
"I yield, I yield," the knight he said, "I fairly yield to thee; 70 Nae ane came e'er to Elrick-hill E'er gain'd such victorie.
"I and my forbears here did haunt Three hundred years and more; I'm safe to swear a solemn oath, 75 We were never beat before."
"An asking," said the lady gay, "An asking ye'll grant me:"
"Ask on, ask on," said Sir Colvin, "What may your asking be?" 80
"Ye'll gie me hame my wounded knight, Let me fare on my way; And I'se ne'er be seen on Elrick's hill, By night, nor yet by day; And to this place we'll come nae mair, 85 Cou'd we win safe away;
"To trouble any Christian one Lives in the righteous law, We'll come nae mair unto this place, Cou'd we win safe awa'." 90
"O ye'se get hame your wounded knight, Ye shall not gang alane; But I maun hae a wad o' him, Before that we twa twine."
Sir Colvin being a book-learn'd man, 95 Sae gude in fencing tee, He's drawn a stroke behind his hand, And followed in speedilie.
Sae fierce a stroke Sir Colvin's drawn, And followed in speedilie, 100 The knight's brand and sword hand In the air he gar'd them flee.
It flew sae high into the sky, And lighted on the ground; The rings that were on these fingers 105 Were worth five hundred pound.
Up he has ta'en that bluidy hand, Set it before the king; And the morn it was Wednesday, When he married his daughter Jean. 110