The Blaeberry Courtship (2)
"Will ye gang to the Highlands, my jewel, wi' me?
Will ye gang to the Highlands my flock for to see?
It is health to my jewel to breathe the fresh air,
And to pu' the blaeberries in the forest sae fair."
"To the Highlands, my jewel, I'Il no gang wi' thee,
For the road it is lang and the hills they are hie,
For I love these low valleys and the sweet cornfields
Before all the blaeberries your wild mountains yields."
"O the hills are bonny when the heather's in bloom.
'T would cheer a fine fancy in the month o' June
To pu' the blaeberries and carry them home,
And set them on your table when December comes on."
Then up spake her faither, that saucy old man:
"Ye might 'a' chosen a mistress amang your ain clan.
It's but poor entertainment for our Lowland dames,
For to promise them berries when the wild heather blooms.
"Tak up your green plaidie, walk over yon hill,
For the sight o' your Hieian' face does me much ill.
I'll wed my own daughter, and spend pennies too,
To whom my heart pleases, and what's that to you?"
He called on his daughter, he gave her advice,
Saying, "If ye'll gang wi' him I'm sure ye're not wise.
He's a poor Hielan' fellow, he's as poor as a crow,
Of the clan o' the caterans for aught we may know.
"But if ye gang wi' him I'm sure ye'll gang bare,
Ye'll get naething that faither or mither can spare;
Of all ye possess I'll deprive ye for aye,
If ower the hills, lassie, ye gang away."
"Keep back your hand, faither, ye're no willin' to give,
But I'll fain go wi' him as sure as I live!
What signifies gold or treasure to me
When the Highland hills is 'tween my love and me?"
Now she's awa wi' him in spite o' them a',
Awa' to a place which her eyes never saw.
He had no a steed for to carry her on,
But aye he said, "Lassie, think na the road long."
In a short time thereafter they came to a glen.
The lass being weary she sat hersen doon.
"Rise up, my brave lassie, and let us gang on,
For the sun will be gane doon before we get hame."
"My shoes are all torn and my feet are all rent,
I'm weary wi' travellin' and like to faint.
Were it not for the sake o' your kind companie
I wad lie in this desert until I wad dee."
In a short time thereafter they cam to a grove
Where the flocks they were feeding in numberless droves.
While Alan stood musing his flocks for to see,
"Step on," said the lassie, "that's na pleasure to me."
Twa bonnie laddies wi' green tartan trews
And twa bonnie lassies were butting the yoes:
"Ye're welcome, honoured master, ye're welcome again,
This while we've been lookin' for ye comin' hame."
"Put in your,yoes,lassies, and gang awa hame.
I hae brought a swan frae the north to tame.
Her feathers are fallen, and where can she fly?
The best bed in all the house, there shall she lie."
The laddies did whistle and the laddies did sing,
And they made to the lassie a broad bed of down.
The lassie's heart was doon and couldna' well raise
Till mony a lad and lass came in wi' mony a phrase.
Early next morning he led her to the high,
And bade her look round her as far as she could spy:
"These lands and possessions -- I have no debt to pay
Ye scarce can walk round them in a long summer's day."
"O Alan, O Alan, I'm indebted to thee,
A debt, dear Alan, I never can pay.
O Alan, O Alan, how cam ye to me?
Sure I'm not worthy your bride for to be."
"Why call ye me Alan when Sandy's my name?
Why call ye me Alan? Ye're surely to blame.
For don't ye remember, when at school wi' me,
I was hated by all the rest, loved by thee?
"How oft have I fed on your bread and your cheese
When I had naething else but a handful o' peas.
Your hard-hearted faither did hunt me wi' dogs;
They rave all my bare heels and tore all my rags."
"Is this my dear Sandy whom I loved so dear?
I have not heard of you for mony a year.
When all the rest went to bed, sleep was frae me
For thinkin' whatever had become o' thee."
"In love we began and in love we will end,
And in joy and mirth we will our days spend;
And a trip once more to your faither we'll go
To relieve the old farmer of his toil and woe."
Wi' men and maidservants to wait them upon
Awa in a chaise to her faither they've gone.
The laddie went foremost, that brave Highland loon,
Till they cam to the gate that leads to the toon.
When they cam to the gate he gave a loud roar:
"Come doon, gentle farmer, Katherine's at your door!"
He looked out at the window and saw his daughter's face;
Wi' his hat in his hand he made a great phrase.
"Haud on your hat, faither, and don't: let it ta'.
It's not for the peacock to bow to the craw!"
"O haud your tongue, Sandy, and don't taunt me,
My daughter's nae worthy your bride fot to be!"
Then he's held the bridle-rein until he came doon,
And then he conveyed him into a fine room.
Wi' the best o' Scotch whisky they drunk o' a toast
And the son and the faither drunk baith in one glass.
From Ballads and Sea Songs from Nova Scotia, Mackenzie
Collected from John Henderson